This year that flurry included a couple of trips to the aquarium, swimming, zoo trips, and music camp, as well as an entire day spent in Utah County with the Moores. That was a really fun day - I think I'll start there.
We decided to just blow the wad and do every Provo-type thing we could think of. (Well, besides the Bean Museum and the Creamery, but only because we ran out of time.) We had been invited to go to Thanksgiving Point's awesome Children's Museum with our old friend Danna and so we spent the morning there, bringing a picnic with us to enjoy on the lawn between activities. The museum was slightly challenging because we had Jr. High and High School kids with us as well as preschoolers and other littles. Plus I think they were really putting the capacity of the building to the test. So many people! If we had only had the littles I think we could have easily spent another entire day there -it seemed that we had hardly scratched the surface when it was time to go. The kids really loved it though. Then the plan had been to go to Seven Peaks in Provo after that but there were some ominous clouds in the distance and besides, the kids all wanted to go to Lowe's Xtreme Air Sports, the trampoline park. Again. We had all been there several times over the summer, but hey, I guess if the kids were dying to go and it meant I didn't have to hang out in a swimsuit, then whatever. Emily and I chatted the afternoon away while the kids worked themselves into a sweaty and tired bunch.
We also enjoyed a visit from our Seattle cousins, and ended up going BACK to Lowe's with Smitty as well as Bitty's friend. They all did what they seem to love the most which is get really sweaty and tired and then go to In-n-Out Burger on our way home. I love the picture of the kids wearing their fancy hats. I did not expect them all to happily don them for a picture, so I snapped it quickly before the spell was broken.
Random Zoo Pictures - I can't even remember if there was an occasion for this trip. Oh yes - I think there was one evening that was open for Zoo Booster Members. It was pleasant to be there later in the evening, especially with the animals being so much more active at that time. Those cubbies sure are cute. So are the lions. Ha ha.
Also in August was my sister's annual cello camp, aka Salty City Band Camp. Cap was not too keen on going this year, but since it might be my sister's last year of doing it (more on that later), I made him go. As I expected he would, he had a good time and the performance at the farmer's market on Saturday was a treat.
Another memorable evening from summer's last few weeks was spent at a great little swimming pool up in the high avenues that I didn't even know about. I guess it's one of those private pools you have to buy a membership to for a few thousand dollars then pay a monthly membership as well - sorry kids! It only took a week for them to stop begging me to buy into it. I don't blame them - it really was fun. The occasion was that our dear Durhams from Seattle came into town and we celebrated the Mrs.' 40th birthday there with pizza, salad, ice-cream bars and most importantly a wonderful gathering of dear friends. I know I was able to see the Durhams in June, but it's never enough. Every time I'm with them my heart is filled with a very sweet longing to be nearer to them. I'm lucky to have friends like these.
My children absolutely loved this pool. Skippidy was awesome at the diving board - I know I'm a total baby but I was so happy to once again be excused from spending time hanging out in a swimming suit. Maybe someday that will be my favorite thing but....at this moment, not so much. I guess that's not really because I don't like my suit or something, it's just that I wanted to be there talking with my friends who I don't get to see very often, and if I had been in the pool my kids would have demanded a lot of attention and interaction. As it was, they had the Durham kids to play with. I was tickled to see that our two gangs of children seemed to really get along. I have hopes of getting together more often in the future. Oh - I got off on a tangent. Sorry. I was going to say that Skippidy loved the little diving board, and my big kids experienced their first high dive. They could not get enough of it and leaped off of its towering platform over and over and over again, even after they got their first tastes of just how hard water can be when you're headed towards it too quickly.
Here was a great event for me - the annual Preslar family (UN)camping trip! Normally we head up the Mirror Lake Highway one weekend in August to hang out with our Preslar relatives. Last year only two families plus the grandparents made it, and there were no other kids besides my own. It was challenging. And this year the two families with trailers were trailer-less due to sales and mechanical issues. Plus Troy and also two of his brothers could simply not get away from work. I proposed a family BBQ on our back porch, but happily Rick and Tonja upped the ante by offering their spacious home and yard for a family un-campout overnight. It was SO MUCH FUN. I know that most of the brothers think we should still try to make efforts to go to the mountains and camp every year, but as much as I love the mountains, I would be okay to do this every year for the foreseeable future. It was so much less....hard! And so much cleaner. And so much more hygienic. We made it up to Millville just in time to enjoy a hamburger cookout together before we set up tents on the back lawn then sprawled out with glowsticks (provided by the awesome Tonja) and watched The Sandlot which was projected onto a giant sheet hanging from their back deck.
After the movie we roasted s'mores then WENT TO THE BATHROOM (this is a very important detail in my book) then crawled into our tents. Our tent was laid so thickly with foam pads that I slept better than I do at home. I snuggled with the kids and read Harry Potter to them...no wait, even better, we listened to Jim Dale read Harry Potter to us from my phone. And we slept. (Also an important detail.)
The next day we had an awesome breakfast before heading on a long walk to a new splash pad to let the kids frolic for a while.
Can you see why I want to make this our new annual tradition? Don't hate me. I still love the mountains.
We did get in one more Seven Peaks evening with the Moores, although it wasn't at Provo, much to my middle child's chagrin:
That was probably the week before school started, and by that point I was feeling worn thin. (Not literally. Dang it.) All that fun was adding up, and I could barely stomach one more deliciously perfect burger and fries for dinner on the way home from some outing or other....I'd definitely call that a 1st World Problem. Even so, I was feeling like I had accomplished a great feat by really stuffing those last three weeks of summer full to the brim with....
But THEN.....my dear friend/adopted auntie/mom I babysat for 100 years ago Jeanne called me. I love her. She recently purchased the cabin her parents built when she was in college and spent the rest of her life going to. She's very thrilled to have made the purchase and she decided that she would like to give me and my family a chance to stay there. We didn't have much time before school started, but the kids and I made room on a Friday night and Saturday morning to go up.
I have to say here how much I love my husband Troy. This was a hard summer for him, as I mentioned before, and these activities were tinged with some sadness because he just could not join us. Of course, most working daddies can't get away that often to spend a summer day at the zoo or going swimming or whatever, but even things like the cabin he couldn't escape for. We missed him, we love him, we're proud of the work he's doing, and things are getting better. I just didn't want to go ahead without mentioning that it was sad to go off and do stuff without him as if we didn't care.
The cabin was darling, and it was a rather magical last hurrah for us - we only stayed one night, and it was no one but the three kids and me, but that made it all the more precious. It was the weekend before school started and we just went up into the quiet mountains and were together. We picked our favorite meals, like Trader Joe's orange chicken and waffles with Nutella. We explored the cabin and watched movies and went for walks. We brought our favorite board game. Jeanne came up and showed us where the river was and where the giant swings were. This cabin is not on the exact same property as the old "Up The Weber" family cabin I spent my childhood going to, but it was close to the very same Weber River and the landscape and smells and sights were just the same. How strange that now I'm the mom packing up food and bags and kids and books and games and taking my kids up through Weber Canyon to a cabin in the hills.
|I love this picture of Cap teaching Bitty how to skip rocks|
|Everyone did a good job pitching in, helping with dishes and clean up.|
|The best was roasting s'mores and then singing Brighton Camp songs as the sun went down and the stars came out. |
Oooo Oooo I want to Linger...
Now this is kind of cheating, because this fun activity happened a full week after school started, but it was supposed to happen in the summer and we just didn't get it together until then. We got a chance to go tubing with the Burnetts. It was a lovely late-summer evening. One down side was that Bitty, who does not enjoy being on boats (a recent development - last time we did this she LOVED it and sang camp songs at the top of her lungs the entire ride), absolutely refused to go, so I left her with a friend without even trying very hard to convince her to join us. Oh well. Anyway, we spent the evening tubing on East Canyon Reservoir. The biggest surprise for me was that Skippidy absolutely ate it up. I thought she'd be crying and terrified but no way. Not even a moment of fright. She just had a whale of a time.
So there you go. The End of Summer Smash. It really was smashing. And fun, and expensive, and exhausting. But we did it. Just in time for school to start....