As I've mentioned many times before, first and foremost, my blog is my place to record my family's history. And I do that ad nauseum. But I have another high hope that I can possible get to a point where I am caught up enough on my family's history that I can then go off on other tangents of which I have many thoughts and opinions. And maybe even get into some serious back stories. Because there are stories. I'm talking about life history stories B.C. (Before Children), not the least of which is mine and Brandon's love story which I started and never finished over two years ago. And with everyone in school all day this year, that actually feels like a possibility.
But for today? It's June 2014. June ended up being our busiest month of the summer by far. Kate had Girls Camp with the church the first week of summer (no pictures), Kate and Elizabeth both did some sewing lessons with Kate's friend's mom and made a bunch of clothes (Elizabeth) and an awesome cosplay cape (Kate--also no pictures), Will had Scout Camp the second week of June (more stories and pictures to come) and also participated in a couple of merit badge classes through the rec. center (which means we spent a good chunk of time in June pushing and prodding him to do the "homework" for some of the most tedious required merit badges--definitely no pictures), and lastly, we did two full weeks of Reynolds Camp the 3rd and 4th weeks of June. (That requires a post of its own, for sure.) And now that Brandon is serving as the Bishop of our congregation (yep, lots going on these last several months that I haven't recorded!), he attended a few days of both camps as well as the older boys' "High Adventure" camp where he just about died from dehydration. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but he did start to get pretty faint and sick after running out of water on mile 22 after hiking through 15 miles of slot canyons in southern Utah followed by 7 totally exposed to the sun miles in over 100 degree weather. All in one day. (Yes, another story, and you guessed it: no pictures.)
So while the older kids and Brandon were away at their various camps, me and whoever was home managed to fill in the blanks quite nicely. Our Kate-less week was interesting, because the other teenager in the house kind of morphed back into a little kid while she was gone and was perfectly happy to hang out with and play with his little sisters more often than not. Isn't it interesting how dynamics can change so much when just one family member is taken out of the equation?
There was a good day or two completely taken over by squirt gun wars:
And Will learned that when he cuts the grass he should BAG IT:
Another full day or so was taken up by creating this mini box apartment from our patio furniture boxes. Imaginative, cooperative, tech-free days like this make a mother happy. Wish they happened more often:
I took the three of them with me up to Salt Lake one afternoon to a lunch with some of my Power of Moms friends and then to an antique store William was dying to go back to (he and Brandon had gone before):
Outside Blue Lemon up at City Creek:
Will had some money burning a hole in his pocket and almost blew all of it on a cool, old pocket watch (it was really expensive!), but I talked him into thinking about it for awhile and he's never mentioned it again. Elizabeth, on the other hand, just had to spend some of her money on a (much less expensive) vintage camera from the time of her Molly American Girl doll and the year Mimi was born. (Not that you're an antique, Mimi, but the 40's were quite awhile ago. :D)
No, it doesn't work, but it sure looks fun and makes for great pretend play:
That same day my kids were excited to be asked by a neighbor who was going out of town to feed and walk their dog for a couple of days. Dolly is a big girl:
And then Kate came home, and Will left for Scout Camp. The morning of:
Such a great group of boys, and his Scout leaders are absolutely fantastic, too:
I wish you could hear Will tell his own stories from Scout Camp because you would be rolling with laughter, but suffice it to say, on the second day of camp, he didn't drink enough water for the heat/elevation/physical activity and ended up in the E.R. on I.V. fluids due to heat stroke after throwing up like 11 times when he tried to guzzle down a bunch of water too late. Once I found out what happened and how he was being treated I was okay, but my heart almost jumped out of my throat when I got that unexpected late night call from his Scout leader saying, "Will is just fine, but . . ." (Of course I knew that meant he wasn't just fine.)
Isn't this a nice room with really nice equipment? Wouldn't you pay $900 a night for this room? Apparently I would , because I just paid the bill yesterday. Moral of the story: drink lots of water when camping in high elevations in Utah!!
My surgeon husband has a favorite phrase he likes to use when I get too worked up over petty little childhood illnesses and accidents: "It takes a lot to die." Yes, yes it does. And Will was far from death the next afternoon after his leader brought him home late, late, late the night before and he slept until 2pm. Insufferable:
And then the very next morning I drove his rehydrated booty right back up to Scout Camp so he could complete all those crazy merit badges I didn't want to have to do with him at home. Because I'm that kind of supportive, involved mother. Doesn't he look like he's being totally deserted here:
Everyone was glad to have him back. And he was definitely glad to be back and not under the protective wing of his mother anymore:
And then, if you can believe it or not, after driving the two and half hours back home, I noticed I got a text from Will's leader about 5 minutes after I left saying he had cut his finger really badly in his woodworking class and did I want to come back. Seriously? No. He is the son of Mr. It-Takes-A-Lot-To-Die, so I was more than happy to hear that they just super glued that finger back together. His finger couldn't have been cut that badly because after never picking up a gun before in his life, he got 5 bulls eye's in a row on his first try in the rifle shooting merit badge class. I guess I have a natural sharp shooter on my hands! (One of the guys in his troop who hunts frequently with his dad was suddenly very interested in making Will his friend.)
With Will back at camp, the girls could get back to doing our own thing. Like getting a group haircut at the nice salon I usually only go to myself. All of them were in dire need of a really good cut and not just the whack across the bottom that they do at the walk-in places where I take them 95% of the time. Aren't they so pretty?
Finally checked out the shiny new aquarium in a nearby town. The shark tunnel:
Best shot of the day for an iPhone:
Maybe this one is the best. Rachael's face:
The chronology gets a little fuzzy from here on out, so I'm just throwing down the rest of June's pictures at random.
Utah has some really, really good shaved ice stands in the summer. Hokulia is a new favorite:
Elizabeth and I walking the girls (of the canine variety). June is one of my very favorite months because it's usually not too hot, everything is still green (as opposed to dry and yellow as it sometimes gets here in Utah in the late summer), and it feels like summer is going to last forever. That's what I was thinking about on this walk:
The creek behind our house. Will is the only one who tubed it this year, but I sure love to look at it:
The girls thought it was great fun to have sleeping bag "slumber parties" in our bedroom with the dogs several different times this summer:
Much like the finger in the nose picture, why in the world Rachael is wearing this random arm band from one of the Halloween costumes in the basement is beyond me:
Rachael comes into our room to sleep in the middle of the night a few times a month anyway. I woke up to this hysterical sight one morning:
Swimming lessons with her bestie:
After Brandon started functioning as the Bishop of our congregation, I pretty much needed a different, less time-intensive position at church myself. How about team teaching the adorable three-year-olds? Several of them are quite a handful, and if I spent most of my days at home with squirmy babies and toddlers I might not appreciate this job, but I've been surprised at how entertaining it can be to try to teach theology to these little faces:
Teaching Will to pump gas for me. He has to learn sometime:
And green smoothies:
I can't even remember now how this began, but we started talking about nose size among the Reynolds boys, and I instigated a series of pictures to determine who, indeed, has the largest nose:
The caption I posted with this one on FB on IG said, "What is a father? Someone who wastes and wears out the best years of his life sharing everything he has to offer in the hopes of giving his children all they need to be happy and successful. That's my dad. He's been "holding" and "feeding" me for as long as I can remember. Love you, Dad! Happy Father's Day!"
I would have much rather celebrated him in person, but sometimes insufficient tributes are all we can do.
Speaking of great dads, Brandon has been uber focused on getting our kids proficient at golf this summer. I know I've written about this before, but we aren't really competitive team sports people (especially after moving to the competitive team sports capitol of the world where you can't be on a high school team unless you received private training from a personal coach from 18 months on . . .). We like the idea of being active in sports and activities that can be enjoyed throughout life and together as a family. Brandon really likes golf, but he hasn't played much over the years because he hasn't felt like he could justify the time away from family when he's gone so much already, but now that the older kids have taken a liking to golf, he can have his cake and eat it too. And the good news is that Kate will most likely be on the girls golf team this year:
Okay, this is really sad to me now (for reasons I will disclose in a future post), but I started training for a half marathon in June. I have always said I'm not a runner (and I'm not) and how much I despise running (because I do), but Will's best friend's mom somehow talked me into training for the Hobble Creek half marathon with her and even managed to get me excited about the process of training for and hopefully accomplishing this pie-in-the-sky goal. The furthest I had ever run without stopping up to this point was 2 miles, so when I got to 4 miles I was definitely feeling pretty proud of myself:
My regular summer morning bike rides and runs were a highlight of my day and on occasion I would have to stop and take a picture or two of the gorgeous scenery. Or the llamas in the hood:
On this particular day, I ended my run on the trail behind our house and took a few "before"pictures of our "yard":
Because the very next day the machines started rolling in:
So exciting! We're getting a yard! (Significant progress has been made since this picture was taken, but I don't think we're looking at grass until September . . .)
Rachael has spent most of her childhood either pretending to be an animal of some kind (primarily a dog, cat, or cheetah) OR being pregnant/having recently given birth. She told me the night before this picture was taken as she was drifting off to sleep that her twins were going to be born the next day, and lo and behold! It came to pass:
Identical twins. Obviously:
Summer Solstice date night with my honey. This was taken after 9pm:
And since we now had one of the contenders for largest Reynolds boy nose in town with us, the picture taking recommenced as did the absent brother's analysis via group text:
#2, #6, #1, #3 We were missing Marc (#5) who was in London doing some opera directing, but the rest of his cute family was with us.
Trent (#4) is the small nosed, high tech analyst in Santa Monica who couldn't be with us either, but was happy to text in the results of our experiment:
Tenzi. The McLeod's find the coolest things you've never seen or heard of before:
But first, my very favorite picture of the month. Little Miss Personality dancing in her bedroom: