Friday, July 31, 2015

Harry Potter's birthday!

Today was Harry Potter's birthday, and we're just geeks enough that it can't go by completely unobserved.

Today was also the day that Zane had his friend to sleep over, so that he'll wake up and have Justin here on his birthday and be able to play together (rather than waking up and having church).

And so Beth and Keren came over, and we had tacos and hung out a bit, and then we decorated cupcakes. Zane and Justin decorated the cupcakes because it's Zane's birthday. The rest of us decorated them for Harry Potter's birthday. And that way, everyone was happy. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Adventure Thursday!

I used to, when the kids were little, do "Adventure Thursday" most weeks. They were little and i needed to keep them entertained somehow. We'd do exciting things like...go to the library or the park or the store or sometimes even the fire station. It didn't take much, to be honest. Just the adventure of going somewhere.

Today i resurrected Adventure Thursday, not because the kids need entertaining anymore - most of the time, they're completely awesome at entertaining themselves with rainbow looms and books and other randomness - but just for a fun summer thing to do. I honestly wasn't sure what i was going to do, because they're not 5 anymore, and things like "going to the store" don't count as adventures.

So i started with the my best hope: There's a Frank Lloyd Wright house in town, and we'd never visited it, but it's free and...might as well! I've honestly never cared for Wright houses. Everyone would talk about how amazing they were, and i was all, "Meh. They're kind of ugly." We drove up, and ... it's was ugly.

There's a whole long movie before you even get to start your tour, and i was prepared to be kind of bored, but i was too completely aghast at the sheer amount of money that must have been spent restoring this house to be bored. I don't care about ANYTHING as much as the people who refinished this house cared about things like...painstakingly removing 6 layers of paint to restore the mural underneath. Houston and i kept looking at each other in disbelief. Zane was completely bored.

But then, once we got into the house, it was amazing. Beautiful. I could actually want to live in a house like that. The kids were even completely interested and asked really good questions. (May i brag for a second? Three separate people from our group of ten came up to me and told me how great and well behaved and delightful my children are. That's the best compliment ever.) All three kids declared the tour a raging success and declared that they'd happily go back sometime with Juanito. Yay!

We drove away, and i kind of started heading in the direction that i thought i might want to go, but then we passed a park, and the kids were all, "That looks like a great park!" So i stopped and pretended like that was the plan all along. "Go play!" i ordered. And they did.

When they started getting bored, i threw them all back into the car and headed a different direction, with thoughts of going somewhere else, but then we passed the Wealthy Street Bakery, so i pulled in there and we all had a pastry. The boys and i stuck with cinnamon rolls, because you just can't go wrong with a cinnamon roll, but Katrina decided to be daring and tried a scone, and loved it.

We then drove home and got Juanito, and then we all went blueberry picking. I'm very ho-hum about blueberry picking, because i don't actually like eating blueberries, but everyone else in my family loves them. Juanito eats them by the handful. He managed to get exactly ONE in his bucket this year. But he's happy, and he always pays extra, so the owners don't care. (They wouldn't care anyhow, i think. We talked to the main guy, and he was all, "Eating them is just part of the whole experience! It's expected!")

And then, for the final adventure of the day, we headed out to Holland for a street performers fair. There were street performers up and down the main street, doing whatever they do. And it was...fine. Some people were very good. Some were quite terrible.

By the time we got home, it was bedtime, and all of the kids were quite exhausted.

They went to sleep, and i whipped up a Pokemon pillow for Zane's birthday. it would have been quicker if i hadn't sewed one of the seams completely backwards and had to rip it out. Grrr. But i think it's cute. So. Yay!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Our insurance provider suddenly decided that they were no longer going to be providing insurance to actual people. They're focusing on businesses (or something like that) instead. And so we needed to switch our insurance over, which is just a hassle. Both Juanito and i hate anything that deals with things and numbers and the business side of anything. (Seriously. We're the worst, worst couple as far as that goes. Neither of us has any business sense whatsoever.) So we just kind of...ignored it for as long as we could.

Except that the deadline was the end of July, and here we are at the end of July, so! Naturally, my first step was to turn to Google, because ... that's just where i get all my answers for everything, mostly. And Google utterly failed me, with a million insurance companies and their need for all of my information before they'd tell me anything at all. I'm pretty sure that all that's going to do is put me on every single telemarketing and junk mail list ever,

Step two: Call our current provider and ask if she has any guidance. Here's the thing about our current agent: I kind of hate her. She always sounds exasperated with me when i call, and she's not actually helpful with things like "getting us the best deal" or "being nice." So i talked to her, and she was all, "WELL. Your last day of insurance was actually yesterday, so you've lapsed, and now you're uninsurable. But i'll LOOK at one place, just to see how much they'll charge you. SIGH."

Step three: Mild panic attack. Text Juanito helpful things like, "I'm pretty sure i'm going to die before she calls back." Clean the toilet (in case i have to throw up, because ... panic!!! I do not do well with stress. At all.)

Step four: Get too nervous to wait anymore, and call our old, old insurance provider who we loved, who also changed who they were doing insurance with and so dropped us. Ask them for any ideas, please, please, please. Get super-nice, incredibly helpful agent who is all nonchalant about the fact that our coverage ended last night and who immediately offers to give us insurance. FOR $750 LESS PER YEAR THAN WE WERE PAYING.

So. Yay!

While i was waiting for her to run all of the numbers and send someone out to take pictures of our house and all that, i used up some of my nervous energy by making the kids help me get rid of some of the thirty bazillion weeds in the backyard. I'd post before and after pictures, but we can't grow grass, so the after pictures would look hardly any better. But in real life? Much better.

At about 4:00, i realized that Katrina hadn't been seen in a little while. I checked her bedroom, the backyard, the front yard - nothing. I asked the neighbor kids if they'd seen her, and they were all, "She's up there in her bedroom," pointing to my bedroom. And there she was, curled up asleep. She took a good 2-hour nap. Because even 11-year-olds need naps sometimes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


We went to Grand Haven today, to have lunch at a park with my family, and then from there went to my Grandpa's house. We visited with my grandpa for a little while, and then headed down to the beach. This week finally feels like summer - it's hot enough to actually want to maybe go into the lake and everything!

The kids had tons of fun playing in the water and the sand. The adults had fun soaking up some sunshine. We celebrated Kelly and Wyatt's and Chellie's birthdays, and could easily have celebrated Jill's, Rick's, and Zane's as well, but Jill and Rick weren't there, and Zane decided to wait until next time so that he could have a cake and singing all to himself. (Also, i think that he didn't want to be the center of THAT much attention.)

And then our family drove back to Grand Rapids to go see the movie "Inside Out" with Beth and Stephanie. All of us have been waiting and waiting to get to see that movie, and it really was incredibly good. It's all feelings-y and totally made me cry. Afterwards, Houston told me that he cried during it, both from laughing so hard and from sadness, and in the parking lot he cried into my shoulder for a few minutes, because he was so, so sad about one of the characters. It's one of those movies that, almost as soon as it was over, i thought, "Okay. I'm going to need to watch that again."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Balloon Festival!

Tonight was the balloon festival in town. Yay!

My brother and his lovely wife invited us over for dinner beforehand, so we got to hang out with them a little bit and see their cute baby, which was lovely. I like my family!

We went to the balloon festival last year as well, but it was in a totally different location this year, so it was a very different experience. For starters, we were smarter this year and didn't go so, so early, which meant that we weren't just sitting around for hours waiting for things to start. But also, they had way, way more stuff going on. It was at the fairgrounds, so they had vendors and more things for the kids to do.

It wasn't too, too windy this year, which meant that they could actually launch. Last year they barely got up for the night glow, so it was really cool to see them go up and float away. They're just so pretty!

The downside, this year, is that for the night glow, we couldn't see nearly as well. Last year, we could kind of walk among the balloons and see all of them. This year, they were packed into a square, and we had to basically stay put, so we could only see the ones on our side. (And a big, stupid Remax balloon parked itself right smack in front of us, blocking our view of some of the cooler balloons. Dang it.) But it was still beautiful and fun and i'm super-happy that we went.

By the time we got home at 11:00, though, i remembered why our kids have bedtimes that are considerably earlier than that. Holy crankiness, Batman!

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Houston has been collecting bottle caps since he was two. (I actually accidentally have pictures of him starting his collection. I obviously didn't realize THEN that this would become a 10+ -year-long thing, but he was finding them and picking them up and being cute, and.... Well, i'm me.) Recently, he was all, "Hey! It might be cool if i took a bunch of them and made a table top with them? Do you think i could do that?"

And so he and Juanito set to work. Juanito slapped together a few boards. Houston carefully, carefully chose the caps he wanted to use and then glued them on. Juanito shaved the extra half-inch of board off the ends, and tonight they poured resin all over it to hold it in place. It's really cool. The legs will come soon....

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Houston was actually the bright spot of my day today. Other than that, it was kind of crappy.

Our pipes have filled with tree roots (stupid 115-year-old house), so our basement flooded itself with sewage, which is just as awesome as you'd imagine. Last night, Juanito tried to snake the drains, but the stupid roto rooter that we'd rented was all broken, so he finally gave up at about 12:30. This morning he brought it back at 7:30 and was all, "So...your machine is broken and doesn't work." And the lady was all, "Well, if you'd have brought it back at 6:00 when we open, we could have switched it out for you." Um...? O...kay? Customer service at its best. And so he rented another one this afternoon and worked on it again, and he thinks it solved the problem, except that THIS snake had a big kink in it, so it still didn't work properly. Stupid Home Depot. And so Juanito spent the past two days working in literal crap. Poor him.

Katrina's friend Alex came over for the entire day, which was great because she's lovely. Except that for some reason, Katrina was very annoying with a million requests for extras all day. "Can we go to the park?" (Yes.) "Can we go to the pool? How about this other pool? How about the pool in Alex's backyard? Can we go to the ice cream shop? How about can we get ice cream at home??" (No! Oh my gosh! Your friend is here! PLAY!)

And Zane wins the prize by breaking the teacup that i got from my grandma when she died. He was throwing stuff for the dog, even though i've told him approximately eleventy million times to NOT DO THAT THERE because there were fragile things around that, and he knocked it off and it shattered. I'm a little bit devastated. And even though i know that he's sorry, he's completely refusing to acknowledge it, refusing to say sorry.

After dinner, Houston was walking past, and i said, "Sorry. I'm really not being interesting at all right now." And he was all, "It's fine! You were interesting all day! If i'm interesting for even a quarter of the day, i'm exhausted!" I love him.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Just another summer day

Zane and i were at the dog park today, when a huge hawk swooped down to try to catch something right by us. Both of us gasped in awe and watched it land on the fence just on the side of the fence separating the big dogs from the small dogs. And then it just sat there, watching us.

Zane: "It's an owl!"
Me: "No, it's a hawk."
Zane: "I'm pretty sure it's an owl."
Me: "Um...definitely a hawk. Look at his head."
Zane: *skeptical look.

We stood there watching it for a moment, and when it became clear that he was just going to sit there looking at us, i walked over to the fence to get a better look. And Zane exclaimed, "I need to go tell the others!!!" and ran off to do that. And that right there is a perfect picture of the difference between the two of us. He eventually moved into the small dog area where there was one lady by herself, sat down next to her, and proceeded to talk to her for the next 15 minutes. Which is really what he does every time we go. He knows lots of the dogs by name and has long conversations with their owners. Such a social kid!

And then this afternoon, Zane made friends with all of the neighbors that could possibly live nearby. A couple of them gathered, and then he brought the guinea pigs out to show them, and more gathered, and eventually there were about 10 kids in our backyard, most of whom i've never seen before. Yay!?

Meanwhile, Houston and Katrina spent the better part of the day working on crafty stuff. They watched videos about how to make different kinds of bracelets with their Rainbow Looms, and then made a whole slew of different kinds. Katrina also made a couple of Minecraft squares out of perler beads for Zane for his birthday. So much craftiness! I love it!

When Juanito got home, we set to work getting the carpet into Katrina's room. We are definitely not professional carpet layers, but it's there and i think it's mostly pretty good. And as long as everything needed to come out anyhow, we completely rearranged Katrina's room. She's now sleeping on a mattress on the floor because her bed frame wouldn't fit where she wanted the bed, but she's completely happy.

AND THEN Juanito discovered that our pipes are completely rebelling, so while he was at zumba, i went to rent a roto rooter so that he could try to snake out the drains, and he did try for about 3 hours, but the stupid roto rooter that i rented is all disfunctional, so it's completely not working. Poor Juanito. So he'll have to do that again tomorrow, i guess. Sad.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


It was a reasonably warm day today, which is really all we can ask from Michigan these days, so we spent the afternoon at a park with a splash pad with cousins, and then ate a picnic lunch before heading to Zumba.

As summer should be spent.


Years ago, before we had kids, we painted Katrina's room in super-bright colors, and then had friends come over and paint their feet and walk around to make footprints. It was weird, but i loved it.

When Katrina was born and we realized that we were going to have to use that room as an actual bedroom for these kids that we were having, we started thinking about making it more bedroom-friendly.

Step one: Carpet! Which, sadly, meant that the footprints were covered up in all but the closets. The carpet came from someone who was getting rid of it - i want to parents? - and we just threw it down, trimmed it a little, and called it good.

Step two: Paint! I'm not sure why this was step two and not step one. Regardless, we did the paint after the carpet, and in the process, a whole can of paint was knocked over right in the middle of the carpet. And so, for as long as we've had that room as a bedroom, basically, there's been a giant stiff blob of white-ish paint right in the middle of the carpet.

And that is why, when my parents' bathroom flooded recently, resulting in new ceilings downstairs and new carpets upstairs, and they offered us the only-slightly-stained-along-one-edge carpet that they were ripping out, we were all, "SURE!"

So Katrina's getting "new"carpet. The boys are all jealous. They're going to be even more jealous when they realize that she also gets the padding underneath, so it'll actually be soft.

Today: get rid of the old carpet. Tomorrow: hopefully put in the new stuff.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Katrina "couldn't fall asleep" last night, so she came downstairs and promptly fell asleep on the couch, and then Juanito sat down to "read his book" and promptly fell asleep on the couch as well. I made it up to bed, but then i totally slept through church this morning. We were all tired!

This afternoon, Juanito got Katrina's door up on her door frame. It turned out to be a much bigger and more complicated job than i think he'd expected, first because the door, as he sawed it small enough, started falling apart a little bit, and second because the door frame (being in an old house) is all crooked, so he had to saw the top of the door crooked to fit it. He eventually conquered the door, though, and Katrina is completely happy to be able to shut it and keep people (brothers) out and dogs in.

Ever since Juanito saw the movie Mad Max, he's been desperately wanting me to go see it with him. So tonight we went. I can totally understand why he likes it. Lots of crazy cars with giant tires and enormous trucks with giant tires and explosions. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Eagle Village!

Our friend Keren planned a whole day of fun and excitement for her work (and friends and family thereof), and she asked if we wanted to come and help and participate.

And so! Today we left at 7:00 in the morning and didn't get home until 8:30 at night, and we are all completely exhausted and a little bit sunburned, but it was a fun day.

While Beth, Zane, and i handed out water to all the runners, Houston, Katrina, and Juanito ran (and walked) the 5K. We totally poured out lots of waters, and then waited for everyone to get to us. It was a bit boring, so we took pictures and did zumba and chatted. And then the people started coming, and Zane ran to them with cups of water while they were still quite a ways from the table, forcing them (with cuteness) to stay hydrated. He was awesome. Katrina and Juanito ran/walked together, and then Houston walked (and ran a little) with Keren.

Beth, Zane, and i watched with growing apprehension as the sky turned dark and the wind picked up, and eventually some staff came through exclaiming, "We're the last people! We have half an hour before this storm hits us!" So we quickly packed the stuff up as best we could and then speed-walked the second half of the race to the finish line. Zane kept asking, "What if it's a tornado? What if we get hit by lightning? What if one of these trees gets hit by lightning and falls on us?" I dragged him along. We got drizzled on a bit, but made it inside before it started to pour. It rained buckets - thunder and lightning and everything - for a couple of hours.

And then, eventually, the skies cleared and the sun slowly appeared, and the kids were able to go on the bouncy toys and swim in the pool and climb the rock wall outside. We all played 9 ball, which is kind of like 4-square mixed with volleyball.

And then there was a group called "Zero Gravity," who does stunts on motorcycles and stuff. They were pretty amazing.

And then Subway and the hour and a half drive back home, and everyone pretty much crashed into bed at the first chance they had.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A door for Katrina

Katrina's bedroom has never had a door. Every once in a while, for the past several years, i'd ask her if she wanted a door. For years it was "NO!" About a year or two ago, she got all indecisive and teary, because, "It would be nice to keep my brothers from just walking into my room. But i like being less separated? I don't know!" We hung a curtain in her doorway, and that was a perfect compromise for her.

This week, with her brothers annoying her by using her room as a free-for-all, she finally decided that she wants a door, please! As soon as possible.

I looked on Craigslist and found a door (a few inches too wide) for $20, just a mile away. Juanito and Katrina have been working on making it narrower and fit for a bedroom. Katrina is waiting. Impatiently. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hermit crabs

One of Katrina's hermit crabs died while we were on vacation, and ever since then, she and Houston both decided that they wanted to get another hermit crab and have asked me when we can go every single day. The deal was: After their rooms were clean. They cleaned their rooms yesterday, so this morning, we went and got two new hermit crabs.

Houston's is Woodle and Katrina's is Lizzy.

And now i have to keep restraining myself from telling everyone, "My kids have crabs!" Because sometimes i'm a little bit immature.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lazy day

I remember my dad reading this book to us, and i always loved it. And i know that it's all controversial and often banned now, but i still love these stories. And my kids love them too. So i'm either an awesome mom for passing on this fantastic book or a horrible mom for exposing my kids to this crazy-racist book.

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We were all tired today, so we had the laziest day ever. We slept in, watched some America's Got Talent, read, took a nap, and generally just relaxed. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kalahari with my whole family!

This weekend all of my family went for a night to a water park about 4 hours away from us.

There's just too many things to make sense of easily, so i'm going to make it easy for myself and break it down into reasonable segments.

The hotel room:

  • We had our own building all to ourselves. This was amazing, in that it was a fantastic building. My brother Jim has declared that he will build his next house with that exact layout. There was enough room that we could fit all 28 of us pretty easily. The rooms were fairly sound-proof too, so when the babies cried, it didn't bother us. And when the kids were trying to go to sleep, we could be as loud as we wanted in the main room, and it wouldn't keep them awake.
  • The downside was that we were removed from the main hotel, which meant we had to walk outside and across a field and across a street to get to our room. In the sun it wasn't a problem, but at night or in the rain, it was less than ideal.
  • And there was an indoor hot tub, which we squeezed about 10 of us into last night when we got back and were all cold. Lovely.
Hanging out with the family:
  • The downside of being at a water park was that everyone kind of went hither and yon, and i kind of felt like i didn't get to see some of the family for hours at a time. We'd go on one ride, and they'd go on another, and once you were separated, the place was big enough that you might not meet up again for ages.
  • On the other hand, my kids had fun going all over with their cousins. There are lifeguards everywhere, so i felt pretty at ease letting the kids go where they wanted. (Zane's the only one i might have worried about, with his lack of danger-awareness, but since he's also afraid of going under water, i wasn't overly-concerned about his safety either.) Houston and Katrina found cousins and walked around with them, occasionally coming to go on a ride with us before flitting off with cousins again. 
  • After the park closed at 10:00, we threw most of the kids in bed and then got to hang out with the adults and older kids for a few hours. We played cards and pool. And when it was down to just a few of us, we sat around talking about ridiculous car accidents we'd had and other random stuff. It's amazing how hilarious car accidents can be. Especially when they weren't serious and they happened to someone else.
The water park itself:
  • Kalahari is ridiculously enormous. I'm pretty sure i never did see all of the rides. (Though i think i mostly missed the kiddie rides.) And fun! Juanito and i walked around together almost the entire time, and we had tons of fun on lots of rides. Our kids all had insane amounts of fun. The rides i didn't have fun on? Not Kalahari's fault. I'm just not a fan of those. Other people loved them.
  • Every single water slide is a tube. Not a single one has an open top. They're all almost completely in the dark. I feel like, with 6 basic water slides, some that use tubes and some that don't, there could have been at least ONE that allowed you to see where you were going.
  • For that very reason, the funnel was totally my favorite. The funnel that used the inner-tubes. The one you could go on with four people. You went through a dark tunnel for a moment, but then you were out in the open and could see what was happening. Plus, it was totally fun. The other funnel? The one where you went down on your back and flung around a few times and then just fell out the bottom (usually head-first) into six and a half feet of water with water pouring all around you? I wasn't so much a fan of that one, though Houston loved it.
  • It was, from the moment you walked in, incredibly over-stimulating. It is unspeakably loud. If someone walked away from you, you could not call them back. Not even if you started yelling your loudest when they were only 2 feet away. They couldn't hear you. It's hot and humid and there are a million things to see, and basically, every single sense is just assaulted from the time you walk in until you leave. It makes me incredibly thankful for my quiet house.
My own little family:
  • Katrina loved the wave pool and the rides with inner-tubes. I asked her why she liked the wave pool so much, and she was all, "Because it's a pool!" Duh. She loved the "body funnel" at first and went on it a few times, but i think that she went in head-first the last time and got a little bit hurt, and then she didn't want to go on that anymore. She went on rides with cousins and brothers and Juanito and me and my mom. She wanted to experience everything with everyone. And by the time we were ready to leave, she was completely, completely exhausted.
  • Houston loved ... almost everything. He went on the body funnel many, many times, so that he knew exactly what to do so that he could go down the hole feet-first every time. He walked around with his slightly older cousin Kelly for the first several hours, then with Katrina and the other two cousins her age, and eventually with us, and somewhere in there, with Zane. He tried the body surfing, but was SO disappointed in himself when he wasn't good at it right away that he didn't want to try it again. 
  • Zane spent the first day playing it safe. He just kind of kept to himself. He played in the kids area, with the smaller slides and loved them. He played in the water basketball area and loved it. He "accidentally" went into the wave pool. (Me: "Accidentally? How did that happen?" Him: "Well, i thought it was just a pool. And suddenly there was a bell, and then the waves started coming....") By today, though, he let me drag him along with us to the bigger slides. He went down the funnel with Juanito and me, and then another slide with the two of us, and even though he was scared, he really enjoyed them and went on them a couple more times each. He went on the "roller coaster" with Houston, and even dared to do the waterslides where you just go down on your back, all in the dark. He LOVED those waterslides, and he and Houston went on those a bunch of times. By the end, i think he'd managed to go on almost everything that was safe for him to go on. And he enjoyed it!
  • Juanito did the body surfing thing several times, and was immediately good at it, of course. He did, however, manage to crash spectacularly a couple of times, which reminded me how happy i was that *I* wasn't doing that. 
  • I went on everything at least once. Even the rides that terrified me. The ones where you're all in the dark, with water splashing your face so you can't breathe. (I don't understand why people think those are fun. My thought process while going down it: "It's okay. I probably won't die. It's okay. Ouch. OUCH! These seams really hurt my back! Can't breathe! CAN'T BREATHE! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Gotta sit up!!!!! Wait...what? I'm...finished? I'm so confused." I was highly amusing to everyone nearby.) I was brave. And i screamed a lot. So...mostly brave.
So in conclusion: It was really fun. I love my family. We are all exhausted.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Family "reunion"

This evening we had a family picnic with all of the family on my mom's side that lives nearby. And also my brother and his family, since they were in town.

It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm - and everyone in my family is awesome. Fun was had by all. My kids all ended the day sweaty and exhausted and filthy, which is exactly how kids should end a summer day. Ultimate frisbee was played, remote-controlled cars were driven, food was eaten, and babies were cooed over. Most of the adults sat around and talked and laughed for most of the time. I barely saw my kids, except when they were getting their food, the entire night.

In other words? We really ought to do this more often.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Katrina slept over at my mom's house last night, along with several of her cousins, and she come home really happy but SO SLEEPY this afternoon. By the time i told the kids to go to bed, she practically ran up the stairs to go to sleep.

Which, really, is fair, considering that the boys and i spent a lot of time being quiet and accidentally falling asleep for 10-15 minutes at a time. I kept trying to read, and then suddenly i'd realize that i fell asleep again. I guess that's fair, given the amount of sleep i was behind on.

We're going to a water park-thing this weekend with my whole family, which means that i need an actual bathing suit. I technically had one, except that it's really old and incredibly unflattering, and it makes me sad to wear it. So i went bathing suit shopping today. Blech. I am not a fan of the bathing suit shopping. There are too many that, because i am tall and somewhat busty, are incredibly indecent-looking. Nearly all, in fact, get immediately discarded because i would be constantly accidentally flashing everyone. However! I did manage to find one that looks decent and covers all of the things it should cover. Yay! And the top and bottom are separates, and Beth has a top that also looks acceptable on me that she's letting me borrow, so i won't even have to put on a wet suit if we come out and then go back in.

And that was my day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


(Y'know what? I'll get to our vacation out west AFTER this weekend, when things will calm down a little bit and be more back to normal.)

So this afternoon, almost my entire family went to SkyZone to jump on the trampolines and flip into the foam pit and generally have fun and get sweaty and be joyous.

All three of my kids - and, actually, the rest of the bigger kids and adults - spent the better part of the first half hour jumping into the foam pit.

Zane was all nervous about the foam pit, and asked for a detailed description of what it was like as we were driving there. He really, really wanted to like it, but he really, really didn't want to get hurt. Once he jumped into it the first time, he was hooked. He leapt again and again, and eventually got brave enough to try doing a flip into it. And then another flip, and another and another.

Katrina learned how to do a front flip on the trampoline, though she still can't land on her feet. She had SO much fun just leaping around on the trampolines. I think she split her time pretty evenly between the normal trampolines and the foam pit.

Houston says that he spent a long time playing dodge ball, and then realized that he really doesn't enjoy dodge ball at all. I'm not entirely sure what else he did, but he was completely, completely sweaty by the end of it. The kind of sweaty that only a teenaged boy can be.

Near the end of our time, Zane was playing dodge ball and got hit in the face. He walked out of the pit weeping, and one of the managers just happened to be right there. Just as Zane reached me, the manager came and said, "You're being very brave. Sometimes when kids get hurt, i give them a free Icee, and that makes them feel better. Would you like one?" So then Zane was both weeping in pain and completely giddy with happiness about getting an Icee. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


My brother and his family is visiting from North Carolina, and we're just not all together often enough, so today we took family pictures. We got pictures of the actual whole family - all 28 of us - but i don't have those on my computer yet. But this picture here? These are the people i grew up with. The family of which i have a million memories, most of them happy. I love these people.

I really love all of my family. The in-laws and the nieces and nephews included. Every single one of them makes me happy. When we're all together, it's loud and chaotic and a little bit overwhelming at times. But i wouldn't change it for anything.

I think that we're all just so incredibly blessed. (I actually usually roll my eyes when people say that they're blessed, but i can't think of another word that fits.) I hear people talking about hating family get-togethers, and i can't relate, because my family is the best.

Tonight, after the kids were in bed and most everyone had gone home to bed, my mom, my sister-in-law Ashley, and all six kids stayed up very, very late and played a game that is ridiculous (Tripoly) and laughed and laughed and laughed. And it was awesome.

 That is all.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Home again!

We're back from vacation!

We picked up Emma and the hermit crabs from my parents' house on the way home, and got home late last night. Being home is kind of lovely. As much as i really, really enjoyed our entire vacation, there's just something wonderful about sleeping in my own bed and using my own dishes and sitting on my own couch.

Emma wholeheartedly agrees. She's been incredibly calm and happy all day, just sleeping on whatever is near me and accepting hugs and snuggles whenever they're offered.

It's raining right now, and i have the windows open, and it smells lovely.

I was planning to start writing about the trip tonight, but my computer is being incredibly slow, and i'm too tired to wait for it. So tomorrow! Yay!