Monday, August 22, 2016

This Just In

This day was inevitable.

It always is.

School starting and all that.

But this time, they ALL left.

I haven't had this much time during the day, to myself,  for 14 years.

That is a long time.

I think I'm going to like having a few extra moments of peace, including the occasional nap. But I am going to miss them like crazy.

We'll see if I get into a good routine and get a lot of things done.

Is it ironic that my first spare moments are writing about my kids? They have changed my life folks. I will never be the same. I'm pretty sure they will always be on my mind somewhere.

Let's look at our first day back to school. Technically, Robyn went last Friday, since she had the extra 7th Grade day. She was excited to be at a new school. At back to school night, she only got a lost a few times. On her first day, she did get a new locker, because her other one broke, but all minor stuff. She is going to rock Junior High!


June is her partner in crime. I love that they are only a grade apart, but this is the first time June has had a sister at her school for five years. I think it was good that they had space to find themselves, and now I think they will be perfect back together.


The littles went to a new school as well today. I took them to make sure that everyone found the right room. Pearl especially is in a strange location in the maze that is their school. I'm sure they will have it down in no time.


I think I like Daisy's teacher the most (off of first impressions). I think she is going to have a fabulous year. I feel like she has grown up a lot, and yet she still has those baby teeth on top. Come on teeth, it is time.


Ivory has a lot of changes this year as she enters the A.L.L. program. It was really good for June and I think it will be great for Ivory, who hasn't been pushed very much in the last year or so. She might have a rude awakening with homework and general workload, but I think it is just what she needs.


Although Ivory is in the middle, I think of her as a 'little' often because she is still small. Look at these three ready to go. They look like little turtles with their big shells on their backs. Hopefully, they won't want to crawl inside today. I wish only great things for them this school year.


And I wish for myself to not be too lonely. I still have Moxy. And I plan to meet my boyfriend for lunch every once in a while. Tyler is good company. No complaints if I run into him more often.

Friday, August 19, 2016

EIGHT Maids-a-milking

Week 8 was EPIC; in many ways. First, I threw my back out big time. It was really bad. I felt it coming and tried to stop the inevitable. I took an epsom salt bath to soak my back and I was headed to bed. Unfortunately, after brushing my teeth, I leaned over to wipe my mouth on a towel and all the muscles in my back went into a spasm. Highly painful. I don't recommend it.

I spend most of Sunday in bed, and much of that time I was debating whether we could go to Lake Powell. See, the Neilsen's (who you should recognize by now if you follow this blog at all) invited us to come with them this year. They go almost every year, if they can. Last year, they left Carter with us, so they could chase around one child. This year, a lot of Camille's siblings couldn't make it, so they had extra space. They thought of us. We were so excited to go, so naturally, my back being out of commission was sad news all around.

In general, it takes a good four days for me to be moving at a normal pace, so I told the Neilsen's that we would come on Wed and only stay for two days. And we were going to make the most of it.

First though, Robyn and I scheduled to go see her teacher. Mrs. Spadafora was doing very well. Bed rest had helped her baby keep her cozy place in the womb for weeks longer than expected. We stopped by to drop off some gifts Robyn had made and to chat of course. It was really fun. And I got the picture that I couldn't get at the end of school.


* Mrs. Spadafora ended up having her baby a week after we left for Lake Powell. She was a little early at 33 weeks, but she was healthy and both are doing very well last I heard.

Tuesday, I worked at the library, and shopped for food later that day, all while wearing my back brace and praying that I would be okay. I also went to the doctor this time around (which I haven't done before) and I got some muscle relaxants. I believe they helped, although not a miracle cure by any means.

Wednesday found us in the car driving to Lake Powell. Kids were so happy that we didn't miss it and so was I. It was one of the best parts of summer by far. We left in the morning, so some kids snoozed in the car.


The drive down to southern Utah is very pretty. It isn't green and lush like Washington, but there are many interesting rock formations along the way.


We did some cloud watching as well. What do you see? A bunny, or a pig?


My back wasn't happy with the drive, but it wasn't terrible either. And my view was great the whole time, what with Mr. Hotness driving.


We stopped at the gas station in the mountain. It is actually a pretty cool place. I wanted to get a shirt there, but it is hard to buy something without getting six of them.


We settled for taking a picture with the raptors and buying treats for the car.


You have to understand that there are definite gaps in the pictures. I made sure to get the camera out sometimes, but often the phone was tucked away safely. So, excuse the occasional blathering without the benefit of pictures.

We arrived at Lake Powell in the afternoon. Eric is not the best at giving directions, so we got a little lost, but we eventually found where to park. Eric and Howard came to pick us up (and all our stuff) at the dock. (Howard is Camille's dad. We called him Grandad while we were there, but sadly, I don't have any good pictures of him. He was the bomb!) Their (the Davis') houseboat was not far away and it didn't take long for all the kids to be in the water. You usually live in your suit at the houseboat. At any moment, you might get hot and decide a dip in the water is just what you need. Camille brought her paddleboard and there was a second one as well. The kids LOVED them. More pictures of those later.

The houseboat was parked by the shore, but it wasn't far from the Marina, so the water was a little dirty. There was a lot of dirt and leaves floating in the water. Howard wanted to take the boat farther down the lake to find a good spot. A speedboat can travel distances quickly, but a houseboat is much slower. A trip that would take about 20 minutes for the speedboat, took the houseboat over 2 hours. But it was totally worth it, as you will see. Howard found an excellent spot.

Once the anchors were up and we were trolling along, I remembered the camera. Check out our bunch as we traveled along scenic Lake Powell. Here is a little bit of the inside.


Tyler got to take a turn at the helm. He's an excellent driver.


June and I played Boinx for a while. Boinx is like word Mastermind. You pick a five letter word and your opponent guesses five letter words until they figure out what the word is. Like mastermind, you are told whether any of the letters match the word you are trying to guess. It is tricky, but fun. Here is June trying to guess my difficult word.


I caught a few other people around the boat.





That is Camille and Cannon. Camille is expecting their third child. At the time, she didn't know what she was having, but by the end of this post...you will. Also, up there, is Reagan next to Daisy. She is one of Stephanie's daughters. Stephanie was the only sibling of Camille's that was there. (Camille has seven siblings, so you can see it would be a bit crowded when they have a full house...boat.)

When we finally reached our desired destination, the wind was picking up. It was getting a bit stormy and close to dusk. We weren't able to anchor where we wanted, but it was important to get the boat settled before the wind got too bad. The kids still played in the water and I made dinner that evening. Beef Taco skillet reheated works great!

There was some worry about the weather. It is tradition to sleep on top of the houseboat, but it rained the night before and everyone ended up inside. However, we all opted to try the top deck. Some kids stayed indoors, but by the time I fell asleep, we have six out of seven snuggled up on top. One of my favorite memories of the trip was sitting on the top of the houseboat and letting the wind rush by. It was the perfect temperature and I love wind. It did mean the sky was overcast and we didn't get to see the amazing stars, but I almost prefer the wind.

In the morning, I was the first one up. See all the sleepyheads.


The sun was just rising in the east.


It was still overcast with awesome clouds. There was a small rainbow in the middle. I tried to catch it, but you can still hardly see it. Funny though...while I was taking this picture, I saw a phone lift from the mass of sleeping people. Turns out Eric also saw the rainbow and tried to get a picture.


Morning selfie with my sweetie.


 As the sun hit the butte, it was gorgeous. I scanned the horizon, taking pictures. Look what else I found...




Someone woke up.

Others were still definitely asleep. This picture makes me laugh. Pearl forgot Claire bear in the car and she was distraught at bedtime. Reagan loaned her a bear, but it was dark when she gave it to her. Even with a flashlight, I thought the bear was blue and black. I was very surprised, in the morning, to see it was rainbow colored.


June looks so peaceful sleeping. Even with eyes in the back of her head.


Amazingly, when the kids got up, they headed straight for the water. Everyone but June was in before the sun was truly up. Oh look, can you see Howard in one of those pictures? Sort of.




The water was already a great temperature, even that early. And the sand was so fun. It is red and soft. And it's all wavy under the water. Usually there are little schools of minnows that dart away as you step through.


With the strong winds behind us, it was time to move the boat to the location that Howard was looking for the night before. That means hauling in the anchors again. But many hands make light work. (Well...with my back, I still wasn't very helpful, but others in my crew were.)



Haha. Do you like my censored picture of the stallion? Anyway, our location just around the corner was golden. It was beautiful and right near some rocks. We did plenty of paddle boarding, often out to the rocks. Robyn claimed one as her own. (A board, not a rock.) It was hard to get her off it.


The rocks were awesome. You could swim out there and climb around and explore them. There were little lizards crawling all over the place. Although cliff diving is prohibited (due to some accidents) we did some miniature jumping off some of the rocks. We were careful to make sure there were no other rocks below. Even the invalid (me) took a turn or two. It was really fun.


The cove where the houseboat was moored was awesome. It was the perfect place to play. Also, it was out of the way, so there weren't a lot of boats with skiers making lots of waves.


Oh hello Susan. This is Camille's mom. She is awesome. She is married to Howard. Still feeling bad that I didn't get a good picture of him.


The kids wore life jackets the entire time. That way they were able to travel around wherever they wanted. We borrowed jackets from friends (thank you Turner's) but Pearl and Daisy's jackets had straps under the bum that gave them little rope rashes on their inner thigh. Ouch. I'll have to remember that next time.


Here is Stephanie and her younger daughter Camryn. Two things about Camryn. Her hair is really that color. No photo editing. She could be Ariel. Also, she does not like it if you spell her name incorrectly.


We went tubing in the afternoon. I was not allowed to tube. The back was clear on that one. But it was super fun to watch the kids go. Reagan was a good little flagger, although really, there was no one else out there. We were just practicing proper safety protocol.


Camille and Carter came out with us to take a ride too. The pregnant lady DID get to go tubing, but she had a slow ride.


June and Robyn were first up. I love this picture. The calm before the storm.


Howard was too nice. He didn't flip them...the first time. :)


Ivory and Daisy tried it out as well. They were troopers.


Back on the boat, I zoomed in to catch this picture of Tyler and June. Sadly, I put the camera down right before they flipped off. It is a right of passage.


Boat selfie!!


The sand was fun to play in. Ivory is sporting what we like to call the 'diaper'. Just wrap it around your middle instead of over the shoulders. I wrote Cazier over on the log. This is also the location where I tried to write Camryn's name and failed, much to her displeasure.


All the rocks were so cool. Tyler and I took a mini hike with the camera to catch some lovely scenery.






Tyler also caught one of the little lizards, which is impressive since they are fast. He showed it to all the kids and let them ooh and aah.


Here is the little guy close up.


And so ends the pictures of Lake Powell. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the girls trying to water ski. Howard had some learner skis. The three oldest girls took a shot. They each managed to get up, but the record for maintaining a vertical stance was only four seconds. (Ivory and Robyn tied.) There were many mishaps, including Robyn parting the waves with her face and losing my earrings, but they were so determined and positive. I know if we had had more time, they all would have been up and skiing. Unfortunately, we had to leave that evening, since I wanted to see Robyn's last swim-meet of the season. (Another post.)

Eric and Howard drove us back to the dock after many goodbyes. It was so sad to leave so soon. We had such a great time. But it was easier since we knew the Neilsen's were staying with us as soon as they returned.

So, one day later, we were able to play again. More bad news though. My back was feeling better, but Eric totally threw his out on the last day at Powell. I know it was bad because he looked exactly like I felt a week ago. I loaned him my back brace and then we made fun of him. Because a guy who doesn't move fast is an easy target. (We love you Eric!)



We played games with him to make him feel better, and even though I should have killed him at Survive, we managed to tie.


The kids loved having Cannon and Carter to play with.


But the best part was going over to Stephanie's on Sunday for the baby gender reveal. Most of Camille's family were there. It was crazy overflowing with love and laughter. Stephanie made a list of Old Wives Tales to see if we could figure out the gender, but it was pretty split between boy and girl. We took a vote and most people thought she was having a girl.


Here is the cake. Ready to see what color the frosting is inside?? (Haha. Howard, I see you back there.)



It is a GIRL! Pink filling. We are so excited for the Neilsen's. A little sister will be great for Cannon and Carter. All my girls are thrilled. And of course, I love little girls.

I love that we got to share this week with them. Lake Powell was amazing. My kids are already asking if we can go again next year. This has been an amazing summer, but going to Lake Powell made it that much sweeter. Congrats to you for making it through this epic blog post. Fifty-seven pictures later and you are still kicking.