August Twenty Twenty

Music during the day is a must. Even as a young kid, I remember having an ’80s boombox, listening to music in my room. And then came the boomboxes with the tape deck that would automatically reverse, amazing. Then there were dual tape decks, where you could play from one and record on the other. I remember making my own radio shows. Haha. Then stereos with dual tape decks and a CD player. And the speakers were removable! I forgot about that. And then more music listening devices. I’ve had them all over the years: Walkman, Discman, MP3 player, iPod, iShuffle, iPhone, Bose SoundDock… now Pandora on Google Home.

Maive is funny. Since she was around five months, when we say, “Hey, Google,” she whips her head around to the kitchen counter, waiting for Google to answer. Makes me wonder what she thinks Google Home is up there. Google Home has become my home music listening device over the past few years. It’s linked to Pandora. Jack Johnson (Children’s) is the station we play most of the time. Everyone seems to enjoy the playlist. Except during Christmas music time. Which has gradually started earlier and earlier these past few years. Maybe we were listening to Christmas music last October. I tried putting it on a few weeks ago but only lasted one song until I switched back to Jack. Granted, it was Bing and I’m not a Bing fan. Except I do like the Bing and David Bowie song. More for David than Bing. And we play Mariachi music on Taco Tuesday; Italian music on pasta night. Occasionally Elizabeth Mitchell breaks our Jack Johnson streak.

There’s one song that plays on the Jack Johnson station often. Gloria by Michael Franti & Spearhead. Whenever it comes on, my initial reaction is ugh. But I never tell Pandora thumbs down or to skip the song. I can’t decide if I like it or not. Which is so not me. I’m usually super decisive. Even if it’s a wrong decision, I make one and deal with the consequences later. Gloria plays and every time it ends, I still can’t figure out how I feel about the damn song. Which is exactly how I feel about August.

August is really hot and super sunny, and there are people everywhere. And there is no set schedule or routine. It also feels like the loooongest month ever. And yet it goes by super fast. Yes, I know that makes perfect sense. It’s also a month with nothing… no holidays, no long weekends, no distinguishing factors. But then I look forward to August because we do have free time—we can do whatever we want, even though I thrive on all things schedules and routines. I’m able to put this aside for the month. (Kind of.) And we always end up having a great time every August. I read somewhere along the line that August is the Sunday of the year. I like this analogy. I also like Sundays. So maybe I do like August? Even though I’m thrilled it’s over? So yeah, I can’t decide if I like August or not.

Gloria, August, indecisiveness, pictures… let’s move on to August pictures. I know I like those.

August in pictures.

It wasn’t the most eventful month but a fun month. Or maybe I just didn’t take too many pictures? Either way, the damn month is over. Haha.

Dirty Harry, again. I first hiked Dirty Harry’s Balcony in June and went again in early August. Instead of going on and on here, I went on an on here. He’s still dirty.

Backyard play. The kiddos had their buddies over for a day of play. Part of the day was spent out back pulling out all the sleeping bags and chairs, setting up campsites. This has become something they do often now. I’m not sure why; we don’t camp. Whatever the reason, they enjoy themselves and make elaborate scenarios up while they play. Maive was in on the action, set up as part of Laine’s campsite.

Early breakfast. Laine looks exhausted. Probably because I had to wake her up early after doing four hours of gymnastics practice the evening before. Blaise had wilderness camp this week, and this day I took the girls hiking to Garfield Ledges.

Garfield Ledges. While Blaise wilderness summer camped, the girls and I hiked Garfield Ledges. What a perfect kiddo hike. A mile up, a mile back down. And the views. We scored and had most of the trail and ledge to ourselves. More about the hike here.

Baby is Baby. This kid marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s always in her own world. I don’t know how many Baby-isms we have around here, but she is hilarious without even trying. There’s the time I sent her to the garage fridge to grab some yogurt. She came back with chicken skewers. Or there’s the time we were cleaning her room and I asked her to hand me the Paw Patrol fire truck right behind her, and she walked across the room and brought me a cash register. This morning, she was playing with diamond stickers. I asked her to keep them on paper so Maive couldn’t get them. Baby says, “Don’t worry mom, I put them in my belly button.” Sometimes I wonder. And she constantly says, “I don’t know,” in this defeated but sweet voice when she has no idea what she’s supposed to be doing because she was in her own world when we asked her to do something. And her constant, “What the heck?” when she something mundane surprises her. When she grows up, she wants to be a werewolf. The idea of living in the woods with other werewolves, sleeping outside and roaming around appeals to her. She howls often in preparation. She’s just Baby.

On this morning, I was cleaning out my car in the driveway. Vacuuming the inside and whatnot. Kids are messy. She had it in her head she had to sit on the sidewalk and have an Otter Pop while wearing a cape. We haven’t offered Otter Pops to the kids since last summer. And I’m not sure what the cape was for. But we let her have her moment; she doesn’t ask for much.

Wilderness summer camp. Blaise was able to enjoy a week of normal with a wilderness summer camp. With masks and social distancing. This was his last day right before pick up, in a social distancing circle. What interesting times these kiddos will remember.

California. We went back home to visit family and get our swim on. More pictures and about the trip here.

Tired Mel. Mister Melvin looking exhausted after the California trip. He doesn’t swim so he spent his time down there hanging with the four beagles.

Ring of Maive. This would never fly now, only a few weeks later. Maive gets around now. She isn’t a crawler but manages to move about using this sit and spin thing she does. Laine had her large hula hoop downstairs so I placed it around Maive. She wasn’t sure what it was all about and stayed put inside the hula hoop. Like an invisible fence for babies.

Date day, plus a baby. Brian and I had the rare opportunity to spend the day together, plus Maive. Maive is with one of us 99% of the time. That 1% is when we leave her alone upstairs while she sleeps… for about 10 minutes before she senses nobody is with her.

What a nice day. Really nice. Brian and I—with Maive and Melvin—went for a long run on the trail. We totaled 7.5 miles and ran about 4-5 of those miles. I’m a solo runner, well with Melvin and sometimes Maive. I’m not really a fan of running with another runner. It wasn’t so bad. I don’t want to make it a regular thing, running with Brian, but once in a while would be nice.

After we ran, we quickly showered and left to grab lunch in Redmond. We went with Red Robin. Not fancy but it was open and they have the Impossible Burger. And, Maive was with us. We opted to sit inside since it was dead and they had just opened. It was her first time sitting in a restaurant high chair… she liked this.

Back at home, we did yard work. Which is quite hilarious because neither one of us like yard work. We literally do the bare minimum to not get a letter from the HOA. That’s kind of our goal. To see how little we can get away with before annoying the HOA lawn mafia. So far, so good. We did get a letter a few summers ago while we were in California because our lawn wasn’t green. Luckily, neither of our immediate neighbors are big lawn people either so we all had brown lawns together. Except I do enjoy weeding. It fits with my obsessive cleaning and purging thing.

But this day, Brian cleaned up the bushes around the front of our house and I potted some plants. Maive helped. And apparently we’re lawn ornament people now. Which is why he wanted to clean up the front, so we could get our lawn ornament on.

I ordered a Talavera bird bath back in April, and tossed in a Talavera flamingo while I was at it. The first flamingo came decapitated so they sent another one… that was also decapitated. The company isn’t exactly responsive. It took about six weeks between getting the first decapitated flamingo to getting them to even respond to my initial email. They’ve still never emailed me back about the second decapitated flamingo, eight weeks now. Instead, Brian suggested we keep the broken ones and try to fix them as best as we could, and call it a wash. Brian ordered glue and we have two Talavera lawn flamingos with weird necks.

Haircuts. Four out of seven of us were due for haircuts. Lucky for us, our hair person is a neighbor and lives down the street. It makes life easy and she’s great regardless of location. I took Blaise and Saige down, and then walked Saige home while Blaise was being cut. Brian left with Baby and sent Blaise home since he can walk back alone. Then Brian and Baby were cut and walked home. Confused? Larger family logistics.

French Toast Maive. I’m not much of a cook. Not much at all. French Toast is the one breakfast meal I make, and the kiddos request it often. This was Maive’s first French Toast and she approved.

And graham cracker Maive. I’ve started giving her graham crackers like dog treats. It’s usually when I’m busy and need to focus, and she wants attention. It works.

Blackberry pickers. An annual tradition, blackberry picking in our old ‘hood, with our former neighbors. This is always a nice time. It’s fun hanging out with them, and it’s fun being back in our old neighborhood. With each year that passes, it feels less like a part of us. What a strange feeling. It’s like I know we lived there but I no longer feel anything about the place. Whereas a few years ago, when we’d visit I’d long for the times we spent there. If that even makes any sense.

Blackberry picking was a success. We managed to make it home with enough blackberries for me to make jam. Not only am I a lawn ornament person now, I also make jam. Talk about getting older.

Jam making. Also known as getting older. I made blackberry jam from the berries the kiddos picked. And I made blueberry jam in early August after our 12 pound haul at Bybee Farms.

Tuesday hikers. This is the new plan that started in August: Tuesday kiddo hikes. I’ve managed to keep Tuesdays totally free from all things school and extracurriculars. So we hike. This Tuesday we met some friends and hit up Hazel Wolf Wetlands. More pictures and about that hike here.

Maivers. Just a cute baby sleeping and with her hair in full effect. It’s starting to lie flat now that it’s getting longer. I miss the floof.

Fire pit. We have a fire pit now. I was going to buy one and mentioned this when we were in California. Turns out Tara had an extra one so we brought it home. It was too hot the first few nights we were back from our trip. It finally cooled a bit one evening, so we fire pitted. The end goal is to have a set spot in our backyard for the fire pit but that won’t be for a while.

We’re not big yard people in that we care much about it, and right now it’s all about the kiddos out there. They have free range to do whatever. As long as we have a fence to keep them contained, I couldn’t care less what the yard looks like. Maybe that’ll be something I get into after my jam making gets old. And I get older.

More Maive. The happiest of babies. This kid is so freaking loved. I mean, they all are, but she has four siblings who dote on her big time. We call them her people.

Annette Lake. Another hike on the books! What a beautiful hike and lake. I could go on and on or there’s this.

Another month of trails. I’ve become quite the runner. Like I am a runner now. Even though I’ve always been one.

August Brian photos. Brian takes very few pictures. The few he takes, he uploads to our shared cloud drive. Then I find them.

August, check. It’s September now. Thankfully. Fall is in the air, along with smoke. We’re in the midst of birthday season that ends before everything holidays. And school and extracurriculars are starting up. Life is about to get busy. Rather, busier.

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