I did not get the first week of August journaled until now. We took a short vacation to Ft Collins so were gone Sunday and Monday, my usual days to write and work on family photos. I am sure many things will be forgotten except for the ones I took photos of. This summer went by really fast and slow all at the same time. I do feel a *bit* giddy about sending 3 kids off to school. I really, really love having all my kids at home, and I really, really love sending them to school. Summer is awesome. I sure enjoy the weather, the possibility to roam around the panhandle, and lazy mornings. Honestly, I've slept in all summer until 8 am which is so nice with a midnight bedtime. Back to the grindstone.
We visited the library for the second time this summer. I love the library. I love involving my kids in the summer reading program. We skipped it this year mostly because of Evelyn. That girl makes a royal mess each time we go as a family. The library has all their board games and puzzles arrayed on Evelyn accessible shelves. She is so tricky and fast! Before I can count to 3 she's dumped and mixed 4-8 games and/or puzzles. It takes me 45 minutes to sort and get the games back in their proper boxes. During that time she's pulled an entire row of books off the shelves or made a mess with the toy area. So, we stayed away this summer. I go by myself blitzkreig fashion through the library while the kids wait in the van. I had a good laugh this time. Evelyn insisted on taking the cooler with her as a purse. She packed it up at home, got it into the van and secured. I was impressed with her determination. When we arrived to the library she insisted on taking it in. I was a bit hesitant about that idea. I peeked into the cooler to find beads, princess shoes, binky, hair brush, and a mirror. Seemed harmless to me. Evelyn got the cooler into the library by sheer will and strength. She settled down to play in the toy area. I buzzed off to find a book in 30 seconds flat. I returned to find her still sitting. She had packed herself a bologna and cheese sandwich in a Princess sandwich box. She was contentedly eating her snack. I am most impressed with her ingenuity. I guess she can make her own sandwiches from now on.
The embargo on markers and writing utensils failed again. Evelyn squirreled away a green marker when I was not looking. She drew some decent circles down the hallway. I had to admire her technique. She can also make circles with nail polish and permanent markers, she is mastering all mediums. Little stinker found a rogue bottle of polish, she polished the bathroom door and her body. The next day she carefully raided my jewelry box by dumping it on the floor. I guess that was not enough because she then covered the box with pink hand sanitizer.
Wednesday I took the kids to Cheyenne for the day. My main goal was clothes shopping at Once Upon a Child. We stopped there first. The ladies at the desk lifted their eyebrows as the kids came piling in. Evelyn enjoyed a shopping spree with a kid shopping cart and various toy items. She was in heaven. The kids ran around playing some amazing game while I piled clothes into a cart. Evelyn of course had a blowout. The ladies at the front counter chewed me out for allowing Amelia to the van for a fresh diaper. They were quite impatient with me and my crew. I asked if they had any movies to play in the kid containment area. They finally put on a movie after huffing and puffing. I quickly finished my purchases and checked out. They should be grateful for my business. Dang it costs a lot to clothe just 3 kids. I bought Phillip 20 pairs of pants, 10 for half the school year and another 10 for the second half. If he does not go through that many then Everett might just have a chance at them as well. I did not get any clothes for Mia and only 2 items for Evelyn. We stopped for a fun lunch at Chik-fil-a's play area. Phillip wanted to check out toys at Target so we stopped there next. He loaded up the cart with transformers and mixels. I unloaded half of his choices and made him choose two toys and two sets of mixels. We traded carts right after walking into the store. My wallet, keys, and phone were left in the smaller cart. I discovered the missing items as I checked out. Amelia was freaking out. I asked her to say a prayer for us. I looked in the cart roundup area, yep! My items were shoved and hidden in the cart we traded out. Luckily, a store worker added carts to the one I left so my faux pas was left unnoticed by anyone.
The Children's park was closed for renovations. Boo Hoo! We love that park. Across the parking lot stood a dilapidated mini golf course from the 1950s. It was open so we paid for a round of mini golf. Everett was so darling, he hemmed and hawed over his ball and putter choice. He asked how to play the game as Mia and Phillip randomly hit their balls through the courses. He was quite excited to see that the game started with course 1, then 2, then 3, and so on. He was so careful to correctly hold the putter and putt the ball. He slowly went through the course. The older kids finished before we were even half way through. Evelyn was so, so tired. She hit the ball once then collapsed when a roll of thunder reduced her to a quivering mass of fear. She hates those loud noises. The weather cleared up after some thunder and a bit of rain. I visited two quilt shops in search for my birthday present: cute fabric. I found some decent choices at the second shop. We had dinner at my favorite Italian joint: L'Osteria Mondello. Crazy to think there is a little splatter of real Italian eats in Cheyenne, WY. The kids each ordered a slice of pizza and some bread. Mr Joe saw the kids eyeing the neatly stacked condiments, he rushed from behind the counter and put the fear of God into them. I laughed thinking he could be a drill master! We ate our meal outside in the balmy weather. Amelia and Phillip were still hungry after pizza and spaghetti. Amelia was thrilled to order some bread rolls and pay all by herself. We had a fun family day celebrating my birthday.
Thursday morning we went to the hospital for Josie's 6 mth well baby. She weighed 13 lbs 3 oz, and measured 25.5 inches. She was not happy about the immunization shots. She slept off and on the rest of the day. I took the chance to have a lazy day of photo editing Morley's Sr photos. Justin took the boys to Cabela's to get new school backpacks. They came home with a red and a blue pack for each boy. The girls went to Walmart for something important like light bulbs or more nail polish. We discovered Josie fits perfectly into the boy's new backpacks. She quite enjoyed the novelty.
Friday was my real birthday. I got the best gift that morning. Amelia walked in balancing a black crusty cookie sheet with a huge bowl of oatmeal and milk (one tsp of sugar) and a sweet card. Then all the kids piled on my bed giving me a birthday dog pile and a round of Happy Birthday. Just imagine the laughter and smiles of those angel kids on my bed. That right there is heaven. Justin brought home a bouquet of yellow roses. I opened my special cards. I nabbed Josie for some 6 month photos in the studio and outside. Amelia and I got pedicures at the new nail shop downtown. We both chose gel polish, Amelia's was mood polish that changed colors! She was giddy with excitement. I later found several photos and a video of her toes! We enjoyed Oya for dinner and time in the yard afterward. I fulfilled a wish to draw evil eyebrows on a baby and take silly photos. The kids were so impressed with Josie's eyebrows that they all wanted silly eyebrows. Oh the laughter was priceless, especially Phillip's laughs. That boy can make a rock smile. Pretty perfect day!
Saturday we packed up clothes and supplies for two nights away from home. We drove to Ft Collins to spend the weekend with the Curry family. Sean and Elaine treated Justin and I with a night on the town! Their older girls babysat the older 4 while we went on a much needed date. Sean took us to his favorite Thai restaurant. We quite enjoyed the spicy curries. I needed Elaine's advice on being a mother with very small children. She mostly conveyed that this period is hard, long, and physically demanding. I probably won't get half of what I want to get done finished. It just is. I felt better knowing that the feeling of coming apart at the seams just comes with the territory. I closed my Apple Green Photography business last week. Since then I get 1-2 messages each day asking for an exception: can you just take our photos? I just can't! I am stretched so thin my mind is scattered. One lady in particular would not take no, or even several noes as an answer. I wanted to accommodate her but one exception turns into another and another. I had two more sessions the next week and that was IT...done...done. I rented a storage unit and will put all my photography supplies there to remove the temptation. I digress. We walked around Circuit City (or some electronic store) before going to watch Suicide Squad. Sean introduced us to premium theater seating. Reclining Lazy Boys. So comfortable. Well, Josie was not so fond of me sitting for so long. She sat long enough to nurse and gnaw on her fingers. I sadly left my comfortable chair to stand in the hallway and watch the movie from the sidelines. The others did not get slobbery Josie kisses! Ha! I stole those for myself.
Whoever said vacationing with little kids is fun was daft in the head. I don't think anyone has said that. Sleeping with kids on vacation is like a slice of hell. I won't go into the gory details but by the end of the night Evelyn was using my calf muscle as a pillow, Phillip was passed out on the cold, hard floor, and Josie was protected in my arms (tingling from lack of blood flow). Phillip got up over 6 times because he was thirsty, then hungry, then scared, then had to pee, etc. I felt redeemed when Evelyn moved off the bed to find Phillip as a new pillow. The two were sprawled out on the floor, hopefully sharing the misery of the cold floor. We got dressed for church then went to Elaine's parent's ward. We passed the Ft Collin's temple on the way. It is ready for Open House this month! Josie got to meet the Curries niece, Hannah. She is a couple weeks younger than Josie, two inches taller and 4 pounds heavier than our light weight. Elaine made sweet and sour chicken for dinner. It was divine. The kids played and played with their cousins. We went on a walk after dinner. Colorado is very pretty. They have a premium on nice vistas. The kids rode bikes and scooters while the adults walked strollers. The kids found a dirt hole to muck about in. That was quite fun for the kiddos. Everett and Phillip almost died from walking back. It was way too much for their little legs. Phillip finally lost his top left front tooth. The poor tooth was hanging by a thread for a couple days. After much debating he finally let me try the floss trick. The tooth came right out with very little blood since it was already mostly out. The tooth fairy found him at the Curries and slipped an entire dollar under his pillow that night. The god of whine got a full dose during the death march back. Night 2 was a bit better, still restless and crazy but better. Thus ended my birthday week.