So...I'd like to do a summer catch-up! Summer, as far as Sam's schedule was concerned, was really quite lovely. The school year is so demanding on his time, it was nice to have something calmer. It started out still quite busy, with him working on this beast paper thing and having a condensed class he completed in 5 (?) weeks, along with an internship, but slowly the different things he had to finish petered out until this past week, where he's just been free as a bird. It'll be a bit of a jolt to have him go back to full-time law school next Tuesday. C'est la vie!
We started out the summer with a trip to the cemetery, to visit my Grandpa Butler's grave on Memorial Day. I hadn't visited any actual cemeteries in a long time on Memorial day, so I felt overdue. It made me happy to have a reason to talk about what I remembered of my grandpa.
I blew out a tire for the first time, with all the kids in the van with me (surprise), on the freeway no less! I was fortunate that it happened to be on a day when Sam was home, and I was only five minutes from home. He came to my rescue. I was thanking my lucky stars! I kept thinking "This is Utah, I bet someone will see this little woman in a minivan on the side of a road with a baby on her hip and stop to help." Nope. Bless that man.
We enjoyed water many different times, with jumping on the tramp with a sprinkler, enjoying the pool near our house and checking out a couple nearby splash pads. The girls LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE water. Atticus used to be terrified, but he's getting much better. Go Atto!
(I swear Willow really enjoyed it, she just didn't want to be in the pink floatie right then. Haha. Little miss.)
I took out one of my childhood besties for a birthday outting in June. She only lives about half an hour from me, but life gets in the way and we hadn't seen each other in ages. So glad she was game. :)
A couple days later, one of my other childhood (okay we became friends in high school; that still counts, right?) besties, her kids and me and my kids met up and went to Wheeler Farm, which is right near where I live. I love when we get together. Her oldest girls are only a few months younger than Jori, and her next daughter is only about 10 days older than Atticus. So fun to have everyone lining up so well! (We planned it.) (Just kidding.)(Maybe.)
Poor Foster was having none of it:
I discovered Winco. Oh my gosh Winco!!!
Sam and I had an overnight backpacking adventure; my first! Sam's sister Melanie and her husband Jed, who also have kids that line up with ours in age, watched our kids for us. It was a fun adventure. :) It was harder hiking in than we expected, because we got lost at one point and there were a lot of fallen trees on the path. But I'd say I enjoyed about half of the experience of hiking in, and all of the hiking out. (I knew what was in store.) Glad we went.
We discovered this place called Jungle Jim's, about 10-15 (maybe?) minutes from our house. Maybe less. It's awesome!!! They have all these fun carnival/amusement park rides, designed for kids six and under size-wise. On Tuesdays it's only $2 admission, so we met up with my sister-in-law Chantale and her kids, and then had one of my best friends/former room mates Rachael and her boys join us after we'd been there about 45 minutes. The only thing I regretted was riding with my kids once, on the roller-coaster one. Blegh. I felt sick for a while after that.
Bah haha I just re-discovered in my photos: we also were making sugar cookies one day, and read a Fancy Nancy book about how SHE was making cupcakes, while we waited for them to bake. And then we read how a pan of cupcakes got ruined, because the dog ate them...and reading this story made me burn our cookies. Oh the irony. We laughed about it for a good long while.
Jori Pori turned SIX!!! Wahhh!! She's growing too fast. This sweet girl. We had a last-minute party with a few friends from her Kindergarten class at the Sandy splash-pad to celebrate. I kinda slacked on the presents...they arrived a few days late. So me. I figured Sam took her out for a daddy-daughter date Friday, which was a fun treat; she had her party and got presents Saturday; Sunday we celebrated with my family and she got lots from her grandparents; and then hers finally arrived Monday. ish. She actually didn't mind. She's used to my winging it, I guess.
The 4th of July was really great this year; we went to the Murray parade, which does throw candy (the kids' favorite part), but we didn't stay till the end, so we didn't have to battle the crowds or deal with super grumpy, sweaty kids. Then we drove down to my parents, and in the evening just set off fireworks in their driveway. We even spent the night, since I thought we'd be there late doing the fireworks and thought that'd be a fun treat for them. It was perfect.
OH! And I had one of my most amazing moments of athleticism/pure luck to date! Dave tossed me a basketball, which he, Mike and Sam had been shooting in the hoop my parents have in their driveway. But I was holding something in each hand. So I juggled it with my right thigh (soccer juggle, not real juggle), left thigh, then kicked it toward the basket. And it WENT IN!! Amazing. Skills to pay the bills, yo.
The weekend following the 4th of July, I had my 10 year high school reunion. It was a blast, surprisingly! I had worried I'd feel sucked back into old high-school Ariel, but that wasn't the case at all. There were few enough people/enough strangers (spouses) that nobody really did that, it seemed like to me. It was just fun to see what people had done with their lives.
It was also the Hatch reunion, which...I pretty much missed in entirety. Kind of a bummer, actually. I knew I'd miss Thursday, but planned to head up Friday. I knew they were kind of planning to do a river floating thing, but I thought it was going to be in the morning. So I figured I'd get there around lunch time, they'd be done, and we'd just all relax and enjoy each other's company the rest of the time. But they actually were gone 11-5 Friday, so I got there at 1:00 and just...waited for four hours. When everyone got back, they were totally pooped. Understandable! I was there for the talent show part Friday evening, which was great. But Saturday morning there was a hike, and because Sam and I were responsible for the breakfast we missed the main one. (We did do a mini hike and checked out a cave, which was fun.) Then everyone ate and pretty much was ready to leave. So...the moral of the story is don't sleep in!! I should have headed up sooner. Oh well. Sam did awesome with the three kids all by himself, as I knew he would. And I did enjoy the company, as much as I did get to participate. I'm so lucky I married into the family I did! They're amazing, all of them. And mom and dad Hatch's absences were noted keenly (they left for a mission in Nauvoo in April).
I had a couple fun girls nights this summer, with other moms in my ward. There are so few of us! I really value their company, I've made some really great friends here. It's forced me to get to know people better. And the ward, having so few families, makes me feel more valued for bringing children to it.
We had a playdate with my sister-in-law Jandel and her kids up here, too, and had them swim in our pool with us. I love that lady! :) Atticus and her son Nathan are about the same age, and so when we have them over or we're down at their place (they live about an hour away), they have a lot of fun.
Oh and we had a craft play date with a homeschooler mom friend I've made up here, since we moved a year ago. She's totally awesome and her daughter, Jane, gets along with Jori really well. And she has two boys that Atticus is right between in age, so I'm always glad when we meet up.
The weekend of the 24th of July, we drove up to Worland, Wyoming, to visit Sam's sister Heidi and her family. It was so fun! So relaxing. I watched waaaayyy too much Once Upon a Time on my phone. But their kids, even being quite different in age, were totally welcoming and fun with ours, and everyone was so content it made it easy for me to just chill. Her husband Jim is a dentist, so he also gave us dental check-ups and cleanings. Guess who had the most cavities! Muah! 3! Yikes! Guess who had none? The children! Yup.
(Willow loving on their dog here)
It was also fun to get to know their two adopted girls, Malika and Malena (sp?) better. They're Atticus's age, actually, but developmentally they're more like Willow's age. (They have down syndrome.) So it was fun to have three little toddlers bumbling around.
We were in or driving to Worland July 22nd-26th, and after a short stay at home, during which we hosted Heidi and Jim's oldest son, Phillip, and his wife, Kat, briefly, we headed up to the Uinta's to stay in my mom's-side-of-the-family's cabin for a week with almost all of my brothers and their wives.
The cabin!!! Oh how I love it. Love love love. All of our kids have buddies their age, so they are just in heaven playing with some of their favorite people. And I absolutely love getting to relax, enjoy the nature, and enjoy the company up there, myself! Many played a lot of lasso golf, horseshoes, pool, billiards and games, along with going for great walks, fishing and a lot of snacking. Oh p.s. Sam cooked our meal entirely by himself this year. Yessssssssssssss (I've really been in a cooking funk lately. Blegh. Don't like it.) We also did a polar bear swim, which means we go to Butterfly Lake and swim across a short portion of it in the uber cold lake water. I hadn't participated for a few years, so Sam suggested I do the swim this year with my brothers while he keep an eye on the kids. Whew! It's actually pretty thrilling. Or shocking, to the system I guess. :) Glad I did it, either way.
After we got back, we went to temple square that Sunday. The kids were so funny. I just love those goofballs.
The kids and I also took Sam to Wheeler farm, which he's never been to, the week following the cabin. It's kind of an awesome little place. A little slice of farm in the middle of a busy area.
Then Willow's nursery teacher (they let Willow start attending before she's 18 months, since the nursery is so small) invited all nursery kids and their families to come swimming at her pool, and I was SO PROUD of Atticus! He, up till now, has required us to hold on to him constantly in water, unless he can stand. But he followed his sister into the deep end!! Don't worry, they were both wearing floaties. But by himself, going there, was huge!! :) That boy. So awesome.
I made a new friend at one of the library story times we did attend this summer, who looked like she had a boy about Atto's age and a girl about Willow's age. Sure enough, her boy is only a few weeks older than Atticus! He's quite a bit taller but that doesn't matter. :) And her daughter is about 5 months younger than Willow, so basically the same age too. She works during the week but is free Fridays, so we've met up a couple times and had play dates at Murray park. I'm glad to have found someone else as a potential buddy for Atticus. He's pretty shy when he first meets kids, so that can make it hard. But he really does love playing with others. And he's stuck with three not-real-rowdy girls all day! It's great when he can get someone else to be a bit more rambunctious with. Once he's comfortable, anyway.
Finally, this past Monday, our family headed up to hike Donut Falls about 20-30 minutes from our house. It was so fun!! I usually don't think, "What would I like to do? Go hiking!" to be honest with you; but usually when we do it I'm glad we did afterward. Sam thinks because my only real exposure to hiking was girl's camp and the Y growing up, my perception of hiking has been negatively tainted. He's probably right. This was nicely shaded, not steep, and not that long. Perfect. Sam and I had a bit of an adventurous experience making our way across this river trying to keep our shoes dry while holding the kids, which was both fun and nerve-wracking (I didn't want to slip and hurt Atticus!). And there were all these ground squirrels that had absolutely NO fear of humans. It was amazing! They came right up to us. Sam took some videos with my phone but he put them in slow motion so I haven't decided if I'll share them yet.
And yesterday...I got my hair cut and colored. Wahoo! I love doing that.
That's about it, really! Our summer in one...big, nutshell. Pretty great. :)