Monday, January 21, 2019

End of July

The kids were troopers for the long car ride home from Utah, but they apparently had some excess energy stored up when we got back because Kelly, B, and Sammy spent FIVE HOURS rolling around wrestling together the next morning.  
 I took the little boys to run an errand, and we saw a sign for a British car show at St. Edward State Park on the way back.  They weren't as impressed with the delorean as I was, but they loved the miniature trucks. 
 A lot of time was spent excavating a giant pit under the trampoline and filling it with water.  The positive of this: no weeds are ever going to grow there.  The negative: nothing will ever grow there.  I'm glad they had fun. 
 Since no one wanted to get back in the car again for a while unless it was absolutely necessary, we made short trips to our neighborhood park. 
 During piano lessons, Sister Nielsen let the kids get the skateboards out of the storage shed.  I'm pretty sure that sliding around on their bellies is the only way these boys ever thought to use them.  Dorothy was there at the same time as us pulling weeds for money.  Eventually the skateboards were abandoned because absolutely everyone thought pulling weeds as a group was more fun.  How do I get them to start a spontaneous weed pulling party in my yard?
 We went to Saltwater Park in Shoreline.  The sound was as icy as ever, but that doesn't stop these water lovers. 
 Kelly spent ages trying to ride this piece of driftwood. 
 Kelly can come stay with us anytime if he will read to B and Sammy.  They have a voracious appetite for books and friends. 
 We went blueberry picking in North Bend with the Blackwelders. 
 We hit the sprinkler park again. 
 Kelly left us to stay with another friend for a week, but they met us at Bellevue Downtown Park to play in the water and ease our separation. 
 You may have noticed that Sammy is not often wearing pants in our summer pictures. This was our summer of potty training (after our winter and spring of potty training. Potty training is sloooooow).  Since this baby is not a baby anymore, I decided to stop putting off some of the house projects that were tough to tackle with babies in the house. 
 After balancing a ladder precariously on the stairs so that I could tape the ceiling, we painted our stairs wall.  Previously the wall had been painted white, but badly, so that you could see that it used to be blue.  Since we moved in I have wanted to make it into a bright accent wall. 
 So we did it!  Our house is finally starting to be what we planned when we moved in.  We got new carpet, pulled out the icky blue carpet in the living room to expose the hardwood floor, and painted my accent wall. 
The Carvers moved into a neighborhood with a community pool, and they invited us to come swim with them.  We had a great time, but I am SOOOOO ready for Sammy to be done toilet training.  I don't know if he has ever met a pool or bathtub that he didn't poop in.  It was pretty embarrassing when the wading pool had to be closed, especially since there were only a few families there, and it was pretty obvious who was responsible.  Yuck.  
I love all of Sammy's squishy babyhood, but nine years of changing diapers, bleaching tubs, evacuating pools, washing diapers, and wiping bottoms has me looking forward to diaper free days. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

July Utah Trip

On July 16 we crammed a bunch of kids in the car and left for Utah.  I swear we don't watch videos all the time on road trips.  That is just when the kids are peaceful enough for me to snap a photo with all of their heads in it.  
 Anni, who is the director of Astro Camp, was enormously pregnant all summer.  Our kids were signed up to go to the last camp of the summer, which started July 17.  Anni had a c-section scheduled for the day after the last day of camp.  With her summer workload, she didn't make it.  Her water broke on July 14, and on July 15 John Neil Jensen was born.  He was named after our grandpa, who went by Jack for his whole life, so we call him Jack. 
Camp went on without Anni, who was recovering in the hospital for the duration of the final camp of the summer.  Jared, Kelly, Eloise, Maren, and B all went to astro camp.   
So Todd and I got little boy duty.  What does one do with a couple of crazy little dudes? We took Grandma Jill to D.I. to get something she needed.  
 Then we went to the hospital to check out James's new baby bro.  He is an absolute doll, and the spitting image of Grandma Charlie. 
 Yes, the boys needed swords to carry in their teeth through the hospital.  They are such cute little pirates that no one asked us to take our weapons outside. 
 We had great ambitions to do lots of fun activities after astro camp, but the kids were so drained when they got home that we maxed out at this really fun splash pad about a mile from Anni's house. 
 Kelly got a splash pad injury, but he absolutely loved all of the water play.  That is all he wanted to tell his mom about when she called. 
 Isn't this precious?  Sorry about the hospital gown portrait, Anni.  You guys are just so cute. 
 On day 2 of Astro Camp we went to the children's museum. 
 James kind of thinks he owns the place.  It was fun to watch them play and explore, except for when James disappeared. Twice.
 We made it to astro camp graduation safe and sound, and with all of the children we were supposed to have. 

 We were all so tired after astro camp that all we wanted to do was spend a couple more hours at the splash pad. 

 When Anni came home from the hospital, it was time for us to take our large crew and clear out.  Our plans kept fluctuating until we were pretty close to the date of needing another place to stay.  We ended up with this ENORMOUS AirBnB that had a ping pong table and an air hockey table.  We could easily have slept double the number of kids we had there. 
 We went back to Anni's so I could fix meals for everyone, and we could make sure Anni and baby Jack got as little quiet as possible.  I get the feeling Anni isn't too big on quiet, based on the parade of visitors in her hospital room, and the fact that she voluntarily had a third child. 
 Since Astro Camp was over we had the energy to go to an actual swimming pool.  This one had waves.  We played Marco Polo, sharks and minnows, and got thoroughly sunburned.  Jared even worked up the nerve to go off the diving board. 
 Look at this sweet tiny thing!  I am the new baby whisperer.  Or else Jack was peaceful for me because I move a lot.  He is so precious. 
 Back at our GIGANTIC AirBnB, I got some lovely portraits of sunburns to remember our trip by. 

 We drove home on July 20.  Kelly and Jared found these coke bottles with Kelly and Nina's names on them.  When we got home I printed out this picture and mailed it to Nina. I think this was the photo that cheered her up the most. 
 For some unidentified reason, Kelly is in love with Oregon.  Maybe he saw some VWs there.  He is also in love with old school volkswagens. 
The trip home went pretty smoothly.  When we got home we were really ready to hole up for a couple of days and recover from all of the travel and craziness of the last couple of weeks.  Of course rest isn't actually part of our vocabulary. 

Cub Scout Camp Week

Tuesday, July 10, was the first day of Cub Scout Day Camp.  Parents were asked to volunteer two days for each child they sent to camp.  This year, for the first time ever, girls were invited.  Isabella and Ira Blackwelder moved in just in time.  Dorothy was also excited to be included.  
 Cambell is our stake's cub scout den master, and he had two boys at camp, so he went to all four days of camp.  At one point he also wore everybody's hats. 
 There were so many wood crafts!  When Jared got frustrated with his, I was really impressed when Andrew, an older scout, came over and patiently helped him to get caught up.
 Tuesday was also dress like a cow for a free Chicken sandwich day at Chick-fil-A.  Kelly found this absolutely humiliating.  I think you can see from his face how he feels about this. He absolutely did not trust me when I said that everyone there would be dressed like a cow.  The grumpy look disappeared a few minutes later when an adult in a full cow costume showed up, and he looked around and saw that hardly anyone in the restaurant wasn't dressed like a cow. Then, of course, there was a free sandwich, and a play area that was filled with kid/cows. 
 I think Kelly was also struggling with adjusting to early bedtime and early waking that we had to do for camp. An only child, Kelly is not used to waking up at the crack of dawn to catch the camp carpool.  He was a trooper. 

You leave a three year old unattended for five minutes, and he makes himself gloves out of face cream. 
 7-11 is free slurpee day!  We met up with the Blackwelders there.  We were lucky.  Even though it was a warm day, there was no line when we went in. 
 We hadn't planned on any of the girls going to cub scout camp, so we planned activity days for 7-11, too.  Dorothy and Bella were tired, but they made it.  This was one of our last activities with Dorothy because the Carvers bought a house in another ward and left us.  We are happy for them getting out of their tiny apartment, but sad to lose them to another neighborhood. 
 Staying in a house with other kids was an adjustment for Kelly.  My kids in particular have no boundaries, as you have seen before.  If someone is doing something interesting, they had better be ready to snuggle. 
 On Thursday I babysat Lucas and Landon Blackwelder while Sherrie volunteered at cub scout camp.  We went to the zoo, of course.  Landon was hilarious in the petting area.  He was delighted to be there, but he spent the whole time staying as far from every living animal as possible. 

 Eloise turned into a vicious predator in the butterfly garden. 
 And since a morning at the zoo isn't exhausting enough for a twenty month old, we went to Peter Kirk Park for sprinkler park after we were done at the zoo.  It was close to where we needed to pick up the cub scout campers, anyway. 
 Friday I went to cub scout camp again. 
 This was a lot of fun, and maybe a day (and three woodcrafts) longer than it absolutely needed to be, but Eloise can hardly wait to go with Jared (and Isabella) next summer. 
 To recover from a long week at camp, there is nothing like some trampoline sprinkler time. 
 And a Sunday afternoon craft. 
That was all the recovery time we got because the next day we were off to Utah.