Summer 2021

There are no words to express how much I love summer. And by love, I mean hate. It’s just that hate is a bad word around here and I avoid using the sucker. It’s such a harsh word, packed with intense feelings. I’d rather hear my kiddos say an actual bad word than hear them use hate. But summer, it’s over. Thankfully. It was full of long, hot, and super sunny days. Three of my favorite things. Nothing makes me more moody than sunny days. Especially never-ending sunny days in a row. And toss in temperatures over 80 degrees—I turn into the most loveliest person to be around. Filled with so much angst and quick to snap at whomever is lucky enough to enter my grumpy space.

It’s September now. Life is much better. The mornings are crisp, there are more gray days than sunny days, it’s getting darker earlier, and we’re back into a routine. And holidays are around the corner. Things are looking up!


My tendency to over-schedule did not disappoint over summer. Looking back, I’m not sure how I survived. We were here, there, and everywhere, all summer long. There were days the kids had camp followed by back-to-back playdates. I suppose the one good thing about never-ending sunny days is the never-ending outside time. I’ll give summer this one thing. Haha. I think I’ve finally convinced myself to not over-schedule. I feel like I need a remind me bot like on reddit, when I start planning next summer this December. Crazy, over-scheduled summer aside, it was all good. The kiddos made memories and that’s what matters. And maybe some of those memories include their mom losing it several days. Haha.


Let’s recap summer.

Summer camps.

Before we get to official summer camps, that wore me out, I had the bright idea to do our own summer camp in June. It was a good idea at the time but looking back it was pre-overkill, haha.

Hiking and ice cream summer camp.

Instead of going on about it here, I posted about it back in June.

Official summer camps.

Registering one kiddo for a few summer camps, reasonable. Registering four kids for a few summer camps each, exhausting. I spent most of summer as a kiddo Uber. And while exhausting, totally worth doing. There are so many fun camps around here it’s hard to pick only a few for each kiddo. I wasn’t very good at taking pictures over summer, so from looking back at our summer calendar, the kiddo camps:

Blaise.

Multi-sports camp. This was his third year attending this camp. He and Laine both enjoy going. We’re not a sports family, in traditional sports sense. Anything that requires a few practices during the week, followed by a game on the weekend is not our thing. None of the kids have ever asked to join any sports teams, so we’re lucky (so far). That’s why we like this camp. It gives them a taste of the different sports without the commitment. The sports lineup for camp included soccer, baseball, and flag football. The only downer was the first day of camp was in the low-100s, so we kept the kiddos home.

Another sports camp. Blaise really enjoyed the first one so we found a second one. He really wanted soccer but since it was a last minute find, it was basketball and flag football. This camp wasn’t so much about the sports as it was about getting Blaise out of the house, away from the urge to game all day. He was down to go and enjoyed himself. Other than the heat. The last two days of camp were cut short because it was in the mid-90s. The PNW doesn’t do heat, and I’m fine with this. But I remember practicing in the 90-degree heat back in high school.

Castaway Survival Skills. Blaise most looked forward to this camp. And the camp did not disappoint. Blaise had a blast! The gist was the kids were stranded on an island and they could only use items they found to survive. I’m not sure how closely they stuck with the theme but Blaise came home every day with a smile on his face, also looking exhausted. And for Blaise to be exhausted, it must have been fun. I imagine this will be a camp he’ll want to attend next summer also.

Laine.

Multi-sports camp. Laine also attended the sports camp with Blaise. And it was also her third year. She is our sporty, competitive kiddo. Out of the 24 kiddos attending camp, Laine was the only girl. And she kicked ass. Whatever she takes on, she excels at. Normally she would attend camp from 9am-3pm and then head straight to gymnastics practice three of the days, for four hours. But she lucked out. Her gym was closed this week for renovations. She would have been a disaster if she had gone to practice this week.

Bow craft camp. I knew this was right up Laine’s alley. When this group posted their summer camps, I showed Laine the bow craft camp. The second she read the camp name, she said, “YES.” No need for her to read the description. I knew she’d be all over this one. The camp was all about making their own functioning bow. And that’s exactly what Laine did. The only lame thing about this camp was the bugs. On day one, she was attacked by bugs galore. They love Laine (and Brian). Monday night she mentioned a bug had bit her near her eye. It was a little red but we didn’t think much of it. Tuesday morning, the poor girl’s eye was massively swollen shut. She couldn’t see out of her eye. We decided to keep her home and pumped her with Benadryl. The swelling was down by mid-afternoon and she could see out of her eye. It was still red and slightly swollen to where she was comfortable going to gymnastics practice. She was a trooper this week. Tuesday aside, she went to camp from 9am-5pm and then to practice. I told her she could skip practice this week since she’d be late and camp was so long. But nope, she wanted to go even if she was an hour-and-a-half late. By Friday, she was sore and exhausted. She’s dedicated.

Saige and Baby.

Multi-sports camp. I had the bright idea to send all four kiddos to sports camp the same week, so I could have some time without them at home. But I didn’t think this one through because Brian was taking the same week off from work to attend a virtual conference. Which means he wasn’t able to help out with drop-offs and pick-ups. Dumb move on my part. I spent more time in the car that week than I wanted to. But the kiddos had fun, so there’s that. Because Baby is five, she could only attend the half-day camp. And I try to keep Saige and Baby together—and Blaise and Laine together—two and two. The half-day sports camp was basketball, baseball, and soccer. Saige enjoyed herself but I don’t think it was because of the sports. Saige is our overly social kiddo, who thrives around people.

Ninja camp. Again, keeping Saige and Baby together, I sent them to a ninja camp at the same gym where Laine does gymnastics. It worked out. We had to be there three days this week for Laine anyway, so I timed their camp to combine dropping off Laine and picking up the girls. It was only a half-day camp and they had a blast. They’ve been going to this gym since before they can remember, so they feel comfortable there. And they tire out the kiddos, so score.

Cheerleading camp (Saige only). Saige was registered for a cheerleading camp last summer but we pulled her because of Covid. Maybe not totally because of Covid; I may have used it as an excuse not to have to drive her last summer. My over-scheduling problem. She went this summer and loved the camp. I’m not sure she wants to go again next summer but at least she checked it off her summer camp bucket list.

Scavenger hunt camp (Baby only). I was so excited for Baby to attend this camp! All of our kiddos are outdoor kiddos. They’ve all attended outdoor preschool and still attend outdoor schools. But Baby, she is a true outdoor kiddo. I mean, she wants to be a werewolf when she gets older. She embraces everything nature and outdoors, and runs at full steam in every outdoor class. The camp was with their former outdoor preschool, which holds summer camps for kiddos up to age seven. Baby LOVED this camp. They searched each day for different nature things, with a clipboard in hand. She was all about the clipboard, that she was able to keep on the last day. They hiked each day, looking for the different things. What a fun camp idea. If only it were longer! It was only three hours for four days.

Ninja camp, again. All-day. Saige and Baby loved the half-day ninja camp so much they asked if they could go full-day. Sure, selfishly. I was getting tired of Saige and Baby being home the two weeks prior. Not that I don’t love having them around, I do. But there are times when I am moody and grumpy—like during the end of fucking summer—and I just want quiet. Saige and Baby aren’t quiet. And so, full-day camp it was. And it was glorious. This was the same week Blaise was at Castaway Survival Skills camp, so I only had Laine and Maive. It was much needed, having 3/5 kiddos gone. Having two kiddos is a piece of cake.

Art in nature camp. One of my girlfriends runs an amazing outdoor school. Saige and Baby have attended classes and camps with her before, and they love her and her program. And so an outdoor art camp with her was on the books. They, of course, had a blast. Each day they came home with a different art project, all which looked fun to make. I’ll be sad when they age out of her program.

Soccer camp. Eh, not really soccer. I was spoiled with Saige and Baby gone at all-day ninja camp the week before. I wanted to find something else to send them to, without spending another grand on all-day ninja camp. I found Arena Sports had drop-in summer camp, where kiddos could go any day. The full-day option was for ages 6-12. With Baby being five, I decided it didn’t hurt to ask if she could go. Being almost six. Most places want your money. And sure enough, I was able to get an exception for her. Score! We sent the girls three days that worked out for our schedule. August was winding down and we had filled most open days with seeing friends. Those three days were very quiet at home. And Saige and Baby had a really fun time! They asked to go back. It wasn’t really soccer, more like a glorified daycare. Whatever, we all benefited. And they even had an option to buy lunch for $5. Sold. This was the only indoor camp we did over summer. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it until I enjoyed the quiet at home. Laine even went one day, and I had no kiddos at home. When I say no kiddos, I mean no big kiddos—Maive is always with me. But she’s super easy and quiet.

Not really a summer camp but I’m lumping it in under camps.

Swimming. All four kiddos take two weeks of swimming lessons every summer. Swimming is non-negotiable for the kiddos. They have to know how to swim. And they’re all very proficient swimmers; we sign up for lessons every summer to increase their swimming skills. And just to get in the water for two weeks every summer. Small town living, our swimming teacher is also the mayor. She is amazing! Blaise and Laine took swimming lessons back in their toddler years, at a popular place in Issaquah. I was never the biggest fan of theirs but it was the place to take kids to learn how to swim. That place uses floaties and goggles, and the kids have to sit quietly on the stairs when it isn’t their turn to learn. It was awful. As soon as we started the kiddos here in Carnation, they learned more in two weeks than they did in the year of weekly lessons we took in Issaquah. Our teacher here in Carnation doesn’t allow floaties or goggles, and gives the kiddos 15 minutes of free swimming time to screw around like they do swimming recreationally. She is amazing. And she’s so wonderful with the kiddos. Stern but nice, and her ability to teach the different skills is amazing. The last two summers—because of Covid—we’ve done private lessons. I think we’ll stick with this regardless of how future summers look, pandemic-wise. And Maive will join next summer. She was able to get in the pool this summer during the 15 minute free time. I’d toss her in so she would dunk underwater, and one of the kiddos would catch her to bring her back above the water. When not being dunked, she’d screw around on the stairs. She really enjoyed her pool time!


Summer trips.

One trip missing from summer is California. Our annual trip down to visit family was cancelled. The one year we were actually going to fly, with all seven of us. It sounds exhausting thinking about it now. And probably good it was cancelled in hindsight, all the logistics. Although we missed out seeing everyone. We still managed to fit a few trips in over summer.

Silverwood.

This is a trip we first did back in May 2019. I like to go to places—like theme parks—when regular school is still in session. I avoid crowds as much as I can. Which is one of the reasons we homeschool. Not a top reason but it’s on the list. The 2019 trip was perfect. It was so quiet in the park that we were able to ride a ride, and ride it again without a line and sometimes without even having to get off. There was no crowd. There were people but enough space to stay away from others. I was social distancing before social distancing was overused.

We wanted to go in 2020 also but Covid. And we weren’t going to go this year. Not because of Covid but because our summer was already jam-packed. There wasn’t a time we could squeeze in a trip before all of our summer plans and before Idaho schools were out. Crowd avoidance. Until our California trip got cancelled. A few days opened up that met my criteria. And so we spontaneously went. Instead of going on about it here, I wrote about the quick trip here.

Leavenworth.

Karann and I went away to Leavenworth for the weekend. With the goal of hiking Colchuck Lake. And that’s exactly what we did. This was the weekend it was insanely hot. And the earliest I’ve ever hit a trail, starting at 5:15am. All about the much needed weekend away here.

Cannon Beach.

Ah, Cannon Beach. I LOVE Cannon Beach. I’d like to be there now. Especially since the sun just came out after an overcast morning. If I have to see sunshine, I’d like the ocean to be the backdrop. This was our third trip down there in a year, and I’m already counting down the days until we go again. All about Cannon Beach, again, here.

Cle Elum Lake.

This was a day trip, on a Saturday. A lovely family we met a few years ago moved to Cle Elum. We went to visit them last October and it had been too long. Between both of our family schedules, we marked an August Saturday on the calendar back in spring. The plan was to hope that the weather would corporate to hang out at Cle Elum Lake. We waited to confirm until the Friday before, and lucky for us, the weather was looking lake-friendly.

We met them at their house and then followed them to Cle Elum Lake. I had no idea what to expect—a lake is pretty much a lake up here, with some variation. Unless we’re talking Lake 22. I was impressed. Not so much with Cle Elum Lake itself—it’s a lake—but being able to drive on the sand and park within a few feet of the water. It reminded me of driving on the Oceano Dunes down in Pismo Beach. And actual sand at Cle Elum Lake. That’s not a common thing around here; most beaches are rocky.

We initially parked along the shore but it was super windy. There is a spot the other kiddos like to play in, and we eventually drove there, blocking the wind with our cars. It worked out well. The kiddos played while we caught up, lunched, and then packed up and headed back home. Random things always seem to happen in my world. Like that time a lady stopped me on a busy weekend trail to sing to me. Maybe it wasn’t that random at Cle Elum Lake, but the firefighters were going around to different groups, handing out kites, toys, and whatnot. All the kids scored some stuff and the firefighters went on their merry way. I’m not a huge uniform fan, so I let the other adults chat with these people. All very nice and I did thank them—and I loved seeing a woman firefighter—but I have an aversion to uniformed people. Even though my dad was a career uniform person, and toss in the Air Force.

Kayak Point.

Another annual trip. This trip was our fifth year yurting. And it continues to be fun, minus me being a pain in the arse about sleeping. All about the trip here (and me being a butthead).

Camp Orkila.

Not to sound like a broken record… another annual trip, minus Blaise. And another all about the trip here sentence.


Summer around town.

It may seem like pictures galore. But I didn’t take that many pictures this summer. There were several days we met up with friends where I have no record of anything happening. If I didn’t keep a calendar, I would totally forget everything we do. Pictures help me actually remember though. I’m not the most visual learner but seeing the kiddos brings back specifics that happened. Usually. Not always. Let’s see what all I can remember…

Garfield Ledges.

This is a hike we first did last summer, and we did it twice within two weeks. Well, Maive and I did it twice within two weeks. This day we met up with buddies of Saige and Baby. I let Blaise and Laine sit this one out since we were meeting up to hike this same hike in two weeks, with two of their buddies. I feel like this is a hike everyone adds to their list but it takes a while to check off the list. It was a successful hike, and the girls all did great. Blaise and Laine checked it off two weeks later, and also did great. I think I’m good on doing this one for a while.

Swimmers!

One of the families we hang out with has a pool on their property. Score for the kiddos! We went over one hot afternoon and they all got their swim on. This was before everything school year ended and was a nice break from the crazy of everything ending.

Farm friends!

It’s good to have friends with pools, and super adorable animals. Two of the families we see regularly have acreage, allowing space for some of the cutest animals ever. On the left is a retired 4-H goat and on the right are some of the cutest baby pigs we’ve ever played with. I love how they ended up with three pigs (one not pictured). They were only going to get two pigs but the man they were getting the two from had one left, and he said that since nobody wanted it then he’d eat it. Our friends took the third pig. Thank goodness! Not only did they get three baby pigs, they also got three baby goats who are just as adorable. I think after I’m finished raising kiddos, I’ll move onto some acreage and raise animals.

Hitting the trails.

Not a day went by over summer where I wasn’t on the trail. Except when we were out of town. I put so much pressure on myself to get on the trail each day. I’m still undecided if this is a good or bad thing. I’ve always been a runner off-and-on, and I like to walk several miles when I’m not running. Like when my foot is being a pain. After having Maive and knowing she was my last, I was determined to finally get in shape after spending my thirties having kiddos (and a bonus baby at 40). And then Covid happened when Maive was four months old. Reading about all the deaths of young people with no underlying health conditions, it really pushed me. I had pneumonia a few years ago and it was hell. I never, ever, EVER want to have pneumonia again. My lungs felt terrible. I remember feeling so awful, and thinking I totally get how people die from pneumonia. And then seeing all the pictures of younger folks dying from Covid—carrying extra weight, impacting their lungs—I didn’t want to have any risks for Covid. Not that I have ever been in the obese camp but Covid seems to like larger folks. My threshold for not dying from Covid is being certain I can run a mile without stopping, and without having any impact on my lungs. Like no huffing and puffing. Basically, an easy mile run at the bare minimum. I can run several miles without issue, if only my damn foot would stop acting up. But that’s a whole other issue.

And while I’m not as in shape as I want to be—it’s always 10 pounds, haha—my lungs feel great and I’m no longer worried about Covid. Being vaccinated helps also!

Rattlesnake Ledge.

A quick, early morning hike. And I wrote about it here.

Lake Marcel.

Not only is it good to have friends with pools, it’s also good to have friends who live on lakes. We spent the afternoon swimming in Lake Marcel with the kiddos’ buddies. The swimming spot is perfect. It’s a shallow beach area with a slide and at the closest dock, the big kiddos can still stand. Blaise and Laine have started swimming out to the next dock. I trust their swimming skills but I don’t trust myself to watch all five kiddos when they’re further out. Not much concerns me with the kiddos but water freaks me out. I don’t want a kid to drown. Luckily they’re all still alive. Phew!

Park girls.

We had three hours to kill between Saige and Baby’s sports camp and picking up Blaise and Laine from their sports camp. Next summer, they’ll all go all-day. YES. We grabbed lunch and hit up Farrel-McWhirter to eat and hang until it was time to grab Blaise and Laine. I will always have a soft spot for Farrel-McWhirter. It’s such a great park! So many memories from my early days as a mom. Good memories. I think my favorite memory there was that day is started pouring rain. Instead of packing up and heading out, Blaise, Laine, and I continued to sit in the middle of the field, playing with sticks and shovels. We had no rain clothes on and got soaked. It didn’t matter. And the park workers who passed us all gave us smiles and waves, and a few thumbs ups. I think we were the only ones in the park other than the workers and animals. Not that I want to recreate that memory but it’s a good one.

Back at Marymoor to grab Blaise and Laine, Baby and Maive worked out. All I could think of was that Tony guy selling that Gazelle thing.

A super fuzzy, team picture.

This is all I have from this day. When we were at Silverwood, I received a text inviting Laine to a gymnastics get together in late June. This was a new thing; we hadn’t done anything like this before. I said sure, it worked out for our schedule and that was that. None of the other girls on the text thread were on her immediate team last year—only Laine and two other girls were on the same team last year. A lightbulb went off. I emailed a coach and asked if Laine leveled up. Sure enough, she did. Go, Laine! She’s now a JO Level 4. Which means nothing to anybody outside of gymnastics. I don’t even quite get the differences between levels, other than skill sets. I’m not a very good gymnastics mom though. As long as Laine is enjoying herself and working to improve her skills, I’m happy.

The get together was making individual homemade ice cream cakes. Laine had a great time and nailed her first aerial on the grass out front. She LOVES gymnastics and has definitely found her thing. And we’ve definitely spent an arm and a leg on her passion. Her competitive leo was $295 alone. That doesn’t include one of her practice leos at half the cost. It’s totally an elitist sport. But I think most sports are.

Laine, center.

Fourth of July.

The day I couldn’t care less about. I am so not a Fourth of July fan. It’s always hot and loud, and stays too light incredibly late. And I couldn’t care less about fireworks. Brian, on the other hand, LOVES the day. He takes all the kiddos to everything Carnation Fourth of July (I stay home). It’s our town’s thing. There’s the pancake breakfast, parade, other events that I’m not sure about, concluding with fireworks. Fireworks were cancelled this year, fire hazard. Which means it was a regular night around here. I’m not complaining.

The Fourth is also one of Laine’s buddy’s birthday. After the parade, we went over to her house to celebrate. One of the birthday activities was eating a donut hanging from a string, from a tree. Highly entertaining to watch the kiddos attempt this challenge.

Maive Fourth’d and partied too hard.

Climbers.

At the sports camp Blaise and Laine attended in June, they met a great kiddo whom we’ve been hanging out with over summer. And he has two younger brothers that match up with our kiddos’ ages pretty well. We met up at Farrel-McWhirter this day. Instead of tire swinging, Blaise and Laine decided to climb the wooden structure. Eh, as long as there aren’t other kiddos around wanting to swing, go ahead.

Braces be gone!

Laine scored getting braces over Covid. She only ever wore a mask to classes and activities while having braces. Not that it matters; she didn’t care. The whole process started last summer, with her getting an expander in early July. Braces went on at the end of September. And this July, the braces came off. Now it’s retainer time. The orthodontist she goes to gives cakes to kiddos who get their braces off. They also sing a song, which Laine wasn’t thrilled about but went along with to be polite.

Smile! All the piggie hair on her sweatshirt.

Park Maive.

Maive parking, with Blaise and another buddy whom he met at sports camp. My kids give out my phone number all the time.

Swimming!

More swimming, this time with the friend Blaise and Laine met at sports camp. What a great family. I’m glad my kiddos give my number out without telling me. The neighborhood they live in has a community pool, and they invited us to join them swimming this day. The kids swam for a few hours, we ate dinner, and called it a day with exhausted kiddos.

Masked Maive and ninjas.

For some reason, I’m a much better—and active—mom when Brian heads into the office. He’s been home for almost two years. After Maive was born in 2019, he was home on paternity leave for three months. He went back for about two weeks, got sick and was home a week, and then went back for about two days before Covid. He’s been home since. And while I truly love having him around, the vibe around here is different when he’s working at home. He gets into work mode as we call it, focused and in his head, even when he’s around. It’s clear he’s mentally working, all while we’re trying to tap into husband/dad. He does well trying to switch between work mode and home mode, but he’s not very good at doing this.

I’ve been kicking him out random days throughout the summer. And it’s been great with him gone. That sounds awful. I don’t want him gone, I only want him temporarily away while he’s in work mode. It’s working out for both of us. He likes being back in the office, where it’s quiet and nobody is there, and he can focus without us interrupting him. He’s been going in maybe one or two times each week. That seems to be the best of both worlds. Because having him home means I can leave kiddos when needed.

This day he went into the office. It was one of the first days I kicked him out, haha. And with him gone, we had no plans. I decided last minute to take the big kiddos to a ninja workshop at the gym. (Laine was at a summer camp.) It was a 90-minute workshop. Maive and I dropped them off and went to kill time at HomeGoods. I’ve been working with her to wear a mask. It’s not going well. She wants to wear one—she sees all the kiddos, and Brian and me wearing one—but actually wearing one, she rips it off after a few minutes. This last week she left one on for about 15 minutes. Progress. We have until February when we fly, since it’s five and under most other places.

Blackberries and horses.

It’s tradition to head back to our old neighborhood to visit our former neighbors, and pick blackberries with them. And that’s what we did again this August. This year we added horses to our blackberry picking adventure. The girls have befriended a neighbor up on the hill with property and these two horses. They like to take carrots and feed them, and we joined in this day. Maive is in a horse phase so this was a big hit for her. So were the blackberries.

Girl outing.

Another day Brian went to the office. I’m not sure why when he’s gone, we go. I turn into a more active parent when he’s not around. Probably because when he’s here, I tend to rely more on him during the day. When he’s gone, it’s all me. This day I decided we’d head out on the trail, going on the standard four-mile walk. The girls were all game. Blaise was at a summer camp otherwise he would have joined us. We set out around 9am with the plan to hit Starbucks along the way. Laine had a few gift cards from her birthday she wanted to use.

Trail – river – trail – park – trail – Starbucks – downtown – home. It was a successful outing, with a cake pop for Maive. Laine bought special treats for everyone. Except I really bought them. She should save her gift cards to use on herself.

Sneaky, sneaky.

There was a week in August when I had only Laine and Maive. The other three were at camps. Saige and Baby were set to be picked up first from ninja camp, ending at 3:30pm. Laine had practice at 4pm. We arrived in Woodinville with time to kill. Laine wanted to try bubble tea from one place we’ve passed by before. Bubble tea, check. More time to kill. We went to Petsmart to buy the piggies some chew toys. Laine took her bubble tea inside without thinking about the whole drink with a mask thing through. She managed to drink under her mask. Sneaky! The practice leo she’s wearing is what $140 gets you. I’m continuously shocked at the price of everything gymnastics. I shouldn’t be. But I am.

Remlinger!

Another day with only two kiddos. I had been wanting to take Maive to Remlinger. I figured she’s at a good age for the rides. Turns out she’s a bit small for some and the train was closed. And since Laine announced after her birthday last year, that she’s too old for Remlinger and she didn’t want to go back, I figured I’d take only Maive this day. Nope. Laine wanted to go to see Maive on the rides she said. Guess who rode all the rides she could, over and over?! Perhaps someone isn’t too old for Remlinger.

Since Laine wanted to tag along, we texted one of her friends that we were going. We were supposed to go the day before but I had a terrible migraine the night before. And I know how migraines affect me. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I haven’t had one in a few weeks.

Remlinger was fun for all the kiddos. I had only planned on staying maybe two hours; we ended up staying almost four hours. We probably would have stayed an other hour or so if we didn’t have to get Saige and Bay from camp, and if Laine didn’t have practice.

Farrel-McWhirter, again.

Another date with our friends from Blaise and Laine’s sports camp. We met at Farrel-McWhirter again. Saige and Baby were at a summer camp on Novelty Hill which made meeting here easy. All the kiddos have enjoyed this park over the years, especially as toddlers romping about in the water. Like Maive did this day.

Another park, same friends.

Look how light Maive’s hair is here! This was the Monday after our weekend yurt trip, where we spent most of the weekend outside in the sun. Anyway. We met our sports camp friends again at Cottage Lake Park. Laine had practice at 4pm and this park is on the way. Nothing eventful about this park day other than it’s always fun to play with friends.

Pizza at the park.

This was out last hurrah with friends before summer ended. We met friends at Tolt MacDonald at 10:30am and ended up staying until close to 4pm. It was one of those easy days where time flew, and the kids kept having a better time as the hours passed. They played until pizza was ordered for delivery, and then they waited (im)patiently near the parking lot for the delivery person. After a round of pizza and breadsticks—and root beer—they were back at playing for hours. It was a pretty perfect day. We didn’t have anything else on the schedule. And that felt amazing. The only commitment we ended up having was grabbing Brian from his work office. The van needed new brakes and was at the shop, and Brian had gone to the office this day.


Summer at home.

It’s getting exhausting reflecting back on summer. I’m at the tail-end of writing up everything summer and I really want to be finished. I’ll attempt to be quick…

Maive on the table.

Apparently this is how Maive ate breakfast one morning. The big kids are starting to feed her—which is helpful—and always entertaining to walk into the kitchen.

Cupcake Maive.

Sometime over summer, I bought fancy cupcakes for all the kiddos. Maive enjoyed.

Pokemon Baby.

These pictures are from Brian’s camera roll. No idea what was going on this day.

Lunch, times five.

Having five kiddos is [insert some adjective that explains having five kids]. I was going to go with exhausting but I already used that talking about writing this post. Having five kids is more exhausting than writing this post.

Maive, summering.

Jeep Maive, asleep Maive.

Stitches.

Okay, so not quick here. I started writing this back when I was working on this post as a May and June post. April is the last month I updated. It’s been a while.

It’s always something. That’s what we say around here. Because the moment we feel like things are going smoothly, something happens. Always. Take yesterday. I had been away for the weekend to Leavenworth with Karann. It was the first time I’ve left for a weekend since Blaise and Laine were toddlers. And even then, it was less than 24 hours. Other than staying in the hospital to have each kiddo, although I don’t think those nights really count. Yesterday…

Yesterday was June 27. I started this ramble on Monday, June 28. Then got distracted with you know, five kids and all.

I made it home about 1:15pm. And it was already 78 in the house. We’re in the midst of an excessive heat wave, with record setting highs. Today will be 111 degrees. Yesterday the high was 102; the average is 71 degrees. Today’s average is 72 degrees. And because of those averages, the PNW isn’t an air conditioning place. Growing up in the Sacramento area, these triple-digit temperatures are common, no big deal. But we all have air conditioning and most have swimming pools. Brian disagrees with my on that generalization. He’s probably right. But in my experience, growing up almost all my friends had pools. Myself included. And Brian. With those summer temperatures, a pool is a must. Needless to say, yesterday was hot. Inside and out. And it’s not just the degrees, it’s the humidity. You can feel the moisture in our home. We have it down, as best as we can, opening up the house overnight and using fans when we close up. But man, these temperatures are nuts. And it feels like with each summer, it’s getting hotter and hotter. We’re likely going to bite the bullet and have an air conditioning unit installed over winter, when there is less demand. Until then, we’ll deal with the heat and humidity inside. The highest it got inside yesterday was 82 degrees. Not ideal but manageable if you do nothing but sit. Under a fan. Which is what we were doing when…

Maive scored her stitches badge yesterday. The first kiddo to hit this achievement. Three hours after I made it home, to sit under a fan, we heard a thud. And then major crying. Baby and Maive were in the art room. Based on the scene when I ran in there—and Baby’s account of what happened—Maive was standing on a chair, like she usually does, and she fell off, knocking the space between her eyes on the edge of the art table. Awesome. The moment I picked her up, with blood gushing all down her face, dripping onto her body, my first thought was stitches. I don’t do well with blood and cuts, and immediately took her to Brian to check out the wound. His first comment was, stitches. We quickly cleaned her up, changed her outfit, and gathered the other kiddos into the car to head to urgent care. Maive was already an exhausted mess before the fall, and then the fall… all she wanted to do in the car ride was sleep. We were slightly concerned about a concussion, so I sat in the back, keeping her awake for the 25-minute drive to urgent care. Brian dropped off Maive and me, and took the rest of the crew for milkshakes. Urgent care was closed but thankfully the ER is in the same building. And it was quiet. Maive was seen right away. And sure enough, the moment the ER doctor walked into our room after the nurse checked in Maive, the doctor said, stitches.

Maive was a trooper! Thankfully she was tired. After they did an initial check, and decided to numb her wound so they could clean it out and make a better call on treatment, she fell asleep on my chest. She slept through them applying the numbing cream. Once the numbing cream was in full effect, the doctor cleaned her wound and started the stitches. She was awake by now. I’m pretty tough when it comes to the kids having to deal with difficult situations, but seeing Maive held down with force against her will while they stitched her up was really tough. She was amazing. Cried off and on, but dealt with it really well. The ER doctor even said she did better than most grown men, haha. Whether true or not, I’ll take her compliment. The whole process took a little over an hour. Brian and the kiddos ended up getting milkshakes and dinner, since it was now close to 6pm.

The ER visit was smooth and everyone was really great, the nurses and doctor. But I can totally see how people confess to crimes they didn’t commit, or rather give different accounts. It sure feels like you’re being interrogated about what happened when kids get hurt. The front desk woman who checked me in asked what happened. Then the nurse asked what happened. Then the ER doctor asked what happened. Even though they were all in communication with one another. And while I totally get why ask, it sure feels accusatory. And the pressure, feeling like they assume you aren’t telling the truth or are looking for holes in your answer. I noticed with each ask, I gave more detail. All true accounts, but with the constant questioning I felt like I needed to defend myself even though it was a total accident. This is why I’m not a huge authority fan. A reason why we homeschool. And I’m pretty sure if my kiddos ever run into a cop casually and they say hello, my kids will say, “I can’t speak to you without an attorney present.” Haha.

Back home with a stitched up toddler, sitting under the ceiling fan, it had already been an eventful day. But it’s always something. Brian came downstairs, asking if I had seen our closet. I hadn’t. I figured he meant Snugs threw up on the floor—like she often does with heat. A small fix, not ideal but whatever. Nope! Our closet racks that attach to the wall and hold all of our clothes—with baskets on top of the hanging shelf—disconnected from the wall. Everything fell forward. It looks like a tornado happened in there. I don’t even care. And it’s too hot today to deal with any of that.

That was June 28. Today is September 24. Maybe I’ll make posting this before October 1.

Maive post-stitches and a week later waiting to get them out.

Sleepers!

Maive asleep, and Mel and Eevee asleep. Summer is tiring.

Backyard play on a hot day.

A rare lazy day at home, playing in the backyard. And Eevee! We love having her. SHe’s such a sweetheart.

Summer piggies!

Louey and Lettuce, summering at home while we were in Cannon Beach. Our house sitter sent us pictures of the handsome boys! And my goodness they crap non-stop.

Lunch by Saige.

Saige likes to make meals. For lunch this day, noodles and nachos.

Splash!

With the HOT days, I bought a small pool for the kiddos to splash. Maive loved the sucker!

Ice cream kiddos.

One of the kiddos had the idea to ave ice cream this afternoon. Sure. As long as I didn’t have to scoop and deal with the mess, go ahead.

Sherman is back! And pom poms.

Sherman is back, again. Another year of the little guy patrolling our front post. I kept looking for him, for several weeks. No sign of him. And then one day, Brian and I were moving things on the side of the house. We moved this black mat and underneath, there was Sherman. He just sat there, exposed, looking at us like, “Yeah, I’m here. What do you want?” He’s so cute! And I love that he isn’t afraid of us. Maybe he is and froze. Either way, I’m glad to see him again. And Maive with Saige’s pom poms that has nothing to do with Sherman, other than I’m getting tired of this post and putting pictures together.

Organization boredom.

The week in August, when I only had two kiddos home, I took on cleaning and organizing the fridge and pantry. Clearly I’m getting old because these pictures excite me. Haha!

Baker Blaise!

Blaise likes to bake. A cake it was this day.

Laine art.

Laine drew this, in honor of our very missed wiener dog, Mayah.

Snugs!

Snugs has taken to piggie watch, hanging out on top of the piggie apartment. She couldn’t care less about the piggies It’s the blanket; it’s nice and cozy.

Cleaner Maive.

After organizing the pantry and fridge, I moved on to deep cleaning the kitchen. All walls, cabinets, stools, chairs, backsplash, etc. Maive helped.

Backyard artists.

The girls arting on the back patio one afternoon.

Potter Maive.

Maive helps. All. The. Time. I’m going through another plant phase. Maybe I never stopped?! Maive really likes to help with her shovel.

An August weekend.

Brian’s dad turned 70 in July. Because they were in the midst of moving, his celebration was put off until mid-August. Brian flew down Saturday morning to be there for the birthday dinner Saturday night. While he was gone, Blaise and Laine made dinner for me. They did a great job!

When Brian made it home Sunday evening, he was sent home with birthday gifts for all the kiddos. They all scored a one-hundred dollar bill from Papa and Wawa, and a Target gift card from Aunt Genna and Aunt Courtney. Happy kiddos!

Pigtails.

My luck, having four girls. I CANNOT do girl hair. I can do a ponytail at best. My attempt at giving Maive pigtails. And an attempt at getting a picture. She wasn’t interested in posing.

New toys.

Maive wanted a ride-on horse thing. And Laine wanted AirPods. Luckily they had some money from their grandparents. Although let’s be honest, they would have scored anyway.

Breakfast Saige. And juice box Maive.

Saige offered to make breakfast one day. This was her creation. Which is kind of interesting, considering she isn’t the biggest sweets fan. And Maive discovered she could open the garage fridge and grab juice boxes. I found her in there, quietly doing her thing.

Guinea pig obstacle course.

I came home to Blaise and Laine having made an obstacle course for the piggies. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves!


FINALLY. That was summer that I can remember, thanks to pictures.

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