Monday, July 31, 2017

Zane's pre-birthday party

Tomorrow is Zane's birthday. Weeks ago, i realized that i would be working on his birthday, and i hatched a brilliant plan to have him have friends sleep over the night before his birthday so that they'd be around in the morning and early afternoon, and then he wouldn't even NOTICE that i wasn't here. And so he invited his three best friends...and two of them were going to be out of town. So he invited another friend. And all was planned, and lo, it was a good plan.

And then one of the friends' mom let me know that they were going to have to pick up their son at 9:45 in the morning, because he had choir practice. And then when the other friend was dropped off today, his mom was all, "Oh, i have to pick him up at 10:00 for a dentist appointment tomorrow." And so there went all of my brilliant plan, right out the window. Dang it.

Nevertheless, Zane DID have two friends over today, and they had great fun running around and having Nerf gun wars and playing games and ... doing whatever it is that 10-year-old boys do. Zane was gleefully happy. And then one of his friends started feeling sick, so we had to call his mom to come and get him. But he still has one friend over! So...yay?!

I didn't want to have a whole cake for Zane two days in a row, and by awesome coincidence, today is Harry Potter's birthday, so instead Katrina and i made cupcakes and i put some frosting and a whole bunch of sprinkles on the table, and everyone decorated their own cupcakes Harry Potter-y or just with a giant mess of frosting, depending on the person in question.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I am a nerd

Just in case i needed proof that i am a total nerd, today i proved it to myself.

In the library, we put new books on a special "New books" shelf for six months. New books keep coming in, and so by the end of the month, the new books shelves generally start getting rather full. One of the parts of my job that i really enjoy is at the beginning of the month, when i get to go and pull all of the 6-months-ago books off of the shelf. I don't know why it's fun, but it just ... is. So i sort of, kind of look forward to the first of the month.

Today, we were pretty slow, and i was putting books away, and one of my co-workers came over and said, "So we're close to enough to the end of the month that we decided we could go ahead and pull the older new books today. I've already gotten most of them, but you can get the ones in the random places if you want?" And i felt genuinely kind of sad. And then realized how utterly ridiculous that was.

So. Dork.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pizza! Movie! Night!

It was pizza-movie night tonight! That's my pizza on the left and Katrina's on the right. She doesn't like pizza sauce...or any toppings, really, so her "pizza" consists of the crust, barbecue sauce, and just the teeniest bit of cheese. It's ridiculous, but it is actually making progress, because until a few months ago, her "pizza" was just a loaf of bread made from her portion of the pizza dough. Super healthy. Maybe someday we'll get her to the point where she actually adds toppings.

Zane's "pizza," meanwhile is usually several little different bits of things that he makes. He'll have a few little balls of bread, a pizza-ish thing with olives and feta cheese, some breadsticks.... He, like Katrina, does not like pizza sauce or anything resembling it, so he basically just eats bread. Bread is totally a healthy meal. Shut up. (When we have spaghetti, both of them just eat the plain noodles. If my children make it to adulthood without my wrecking them, it'll be a miracle)

A few weeks ago, Katrina was like, "So when should i read Twilight?" and Beth, Juanito, and i all simultaneously yelled, "Never!" (Which, i mean, sure, go ahead and read it. I have. But it's so not worth it.) And then the kids were all like, "When can we watch the movies?" and we adults all went, "Huh. I mean...they're totally, totally stupid, but they're not inappropriate. And it might be fun to watch them and just mock them like crazy...." And so. A couple of weeks ago, we watched the first movie and all laughed like crazy and mocked mercilessly. And today we watched the second one and all rolled our eyes an insane amount and mocked mercilessly. And Beth made cookies of moons and wolves, and they were awesome.

So to sum up: We are watching the dumbest movies ever while two of the kids eat food that is basically nothing but carbs, and we are all enjoying ourselves immensely.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Metal Mouth!

This morning Houston and Katrina got to go to the orthodontist. Woo!

We didn't know what they were going to do to Katrina yet, because they had done all of the molds and whatnot, but the orthodontist was still trying to determine the best course of action. So when she got called back, i got to go with her to talk to the orthodontist. She (the ortho) looked at Katrina's teeth from all angles, because "they just looked really different on the X-ray than on the pictures...." And then she was all, "Okay. So. There are three courses of action we could take. The first and most aggressive course of action is surgery. We would break her jaw and pull the bottom jaw forward. That involves an overnight stay in the hospital and about 2 weeks of not being able to eat, and it's pretty miserable, but the end product is that her chin would be pulled forward."

Katrina and me: "........."

Orthodontist: "Yeah. people are usually either really for or really against that one. Option two is that we could pull a couple of teeth from the top, which would pull the top teeth back and line up the bite that way."

Kat and me: "Yeah. Um. I mean, we'd rather not pull teeth if possible?"

Ortho: "The third option is that we can fix the bite as best we can with braces and lots of rubberbands, and just accept that in the end she'll still have a little bit of an overbite."

Kat and me: "Yeah. That sounds good." Because honestly, it's not like we're doing braces for cosmetic reasons, because Katrina is already gorgeous and her teeth don't bother her. We just want to fix them so that in the future her teeth and her bite don't give her problems. A bit of an overbite is FINE.

So she just got spacers today, which will be exchanged for expanders next week, and they're going to just do expanders for a while until the top jaw is a bit more rounded and less crowded. So she's going to get that gap between her front teeth for a bit.

Meanwhile, Houston actually DID get braces on today! He looks so cute with them! I asked if it hurt when they put them on, and he said, "No. Not really. But when they were taking the old appliance off, it really felt and sounded like they were breaking my teeth apart! Because they just had to break them off of the teeth!!!"

So far, Houston's only complaint is "I just don't know what to do with my lips. Nothing feels normal." And Katrina's just started bothering her after bedtime, so she took some ibuprofin and will hopefully sleep pain-free. Yay!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


We spent the past several days in Kentucky, visiting Juanito's family. He was able to see everyone except his sister, who lives in England. The rest of us only got to see his parents and one brother. But it was a lovely visit.

On Sunday, we got to go out for dinner with Lauren, who is still "family" even though she's not technically family anymore, and who we all just adore. Katrina, especially of the kids, loves Lauren and has a not-regular-but-definitely-occasional pen-pal relationship with her. And she's just one of those people with whom i really don't want to fall out of contact.

Juanito's mother had all of her friends over for a campfire in the evening, which ended up being a not-campfire because it was just plain too hot outside for anyone to want to sit around a fire. Katrina made a little fake fire to put in the middle of the table, and that suited us all just fine. Less mosquitoes that way too!

On Monday, we went into town, because it's just part of our tradition. We took pictures in all of the usual spots - with the caboose museum that has never once been open when we've been there, with the sign that says, "Wilmore, KY," and in the grocery store that awesomely has a TARDIS and this year had added 221B Baker St. as well! (My kids went to the owner and suggested that, as long as they're adding awesome British icons, they should add Platform 9 3/4 as well, especially since they already have the shopping carts. The owner, who is a little old man who has very obviously never read Harry Potter, said that his sons-in-law are actually the ones responsible for building those things, and he had us write it down so that he could pass the suggestion along. My kids are now all very hopeful that the next time we got, there will be a Platform 9 3/4 for them.) We also got ice cream at the drug store, because it's the only place i know that still has a drug store with an ice cream counter, and so obviously we need to go there while we have the opportunity!

On Monday evening, we went out to the farm where Juanito's dad and brother live. They have chickens (so Houston is happy) and kittens (so Katrina is happy) and lots of random wood piles to climb on (so Zane is happy). They also have a goat, who Juanito's dad insists is friendly and is trying to lovingly nuzzle us, but i am here to tell you that he is wrong, and that that goat is kind of a jerk. He kept headbutting us and trying to stab us with his horns and would run at us if he saw us across the yard, and there was nothing loving about it.

On Tuesday, we went to High Bridge Park, because none of my kids knew what i was talking about when i mentioned High Bridge. They were all like, "What? That isn't somewhere i've been...." until we were actually there, and then they were all, "OH! Yes! This is where i brought Puppy one time and almost threw him off the cliff!" Emma came with us to the park, and she loved it, but she nearly gave me a heart attack when Katrina was walking her toward the bridge and she jumped up onto the wall that lines the road, and if she'd gone over she would have fallen a million feet and died. And then, after i had stopped freaking out about that, Houston casually remarked, "Well, and if she'd gone over, she'd probably have pulled Katrina over as well, because she had the leash around her wrist."

And then we left and drove home and got here at around midnight. The end. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Houston and his loot

A couple of months ago, Houston decided that he desperately wanted to get a "Loot Crate," which is a ... crate full of loot. I don't fully understand it, but i *think* that you can choose a theme, like "Star Trek" or "Lord of the Rings" or something equally geeky. Houston, of course, chose Harry Potter. And so he ordered it and then waited and waited, eagerly watching the mailman every single day for about three weeks before finally calling them and asking why it wasn't coming. And they were all, "Oh. Oops."

And so they promised him, "Okay, so...we'll send one in two months when we have another Harry Potter one, okay?" And so he waited another two months, completely impatiently, and then started stalking the mailman again, and yesterday his Loot Crate finally arrived, and he was ecstatic! And yet, sweetheart that he is, he totally waited for me to get home from work so that i could watch him open it.

So he got that shirt, pictured up there. And a leather-bound journal. And a wand pen. And bookends. And...i think a weird brooch. And lo, he is thrilled.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Braces prep

Katrina is going to start the braces-getting process next week (we don't know yet what the actual plan is, if she's going to first get a device and then braces or just start on the braces right away), but in preparation, she first needed to go get X-rays and molds and impressions and stuff. We happened to be there when nobody else had appointments (benefit of going early during the summer!), so i got to go back with her. Usually parents aren't allowed in the back, partly because there's not enough room, but mostly because of HIPAA. My favorite part was the X-rays. She got one panoramic of her head from ear to ear, and one of her head in profile. The panoramic one just looked fairly creepy, but the profile one was awesome! It was her perfect little skull, with just a ghost of her actual face over it, and it was absolutely fascinating. I would love to have had more time to look at it!

Katrina and Houston (who is also getting proper braces next week) are both clamoring to eat all of their favorite things that they're not going to be able to eat once they have braces. Bagels! Caramel! Mike 'n Ikes! Popcorn! Katrina is all, "Can we get like...3 King-sized Twix bars? Because they're my favorite, but they caramel so i won't be able to eat them!!!" And Houston is all, "We need to get Asiago bagels at least ONCE before next week!" Poor almost-going-to-be-deprived kids.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Work stuff

I'm not sure exactly how hot it got today, but i think it must have been above 90, and the humidity was super high, which meant that it was just straight up hot out today. Which...mid-July. Of course it's hot. But it's important to know that it was hot because otherwise this will not matter as much:

Sometimes when i'm running around shelving books, it's just warm enough in the library that i use whatever book is in my hand to fan myself before putting it where it belongs. I'm all: fan, fan, fan, shelve. New book. Fan, fan, fan, shelve. Etc. Our library is old and big and difficult to keep cool, so, y'know it gets warm, is what i'm saying. But today, as i was walking by one of the vents, i noticed that it was suddenly blowing warm air. Not just not-cool, WARM. I walked into the lobby to let the librarian know, assuming that vent was broken, and steam was pouring out of the big vent in the lobby. The front doors were steamed up the way the mirror is when you get out of a hot shower.

Turns out! The maintenance guys were there trying to fix there air conditioners, but for some reason they decided that they needed to turn on the boiler and run the heat for a few minutes to fix something. So! The entire library was sweltering in moments. It was insane. After 5-10 minutes, the librarian was all, "Yeah. You should just go and sit in the back and try to cool down a little, because you're really flushed. Just...take an extra break!" And eventually they fixed the air, and an hour or so later it finally started cooling down, and ... that's the end of the story. Huh. It sounded more interesting in my head.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Adventure Monday

We had a much shorter and less crazy Adventure Monday this week. We stayed in town and just kind of took our time and meandered a bit.

We started at the Eastown library, which is a KDL library rather a GRPL one, so the kids all filled out and turned in the summer reading stuff there. The KDL libraries totally have better prizes than do the Grand Rapids ones. They got envelopes of stuff like "Go to Skyzone for half a hour for free!" and "Free Frosty at Wendy's!" and "Free Pizza Hut pan pizza!" And then the librarian was all, "Okay, and you can come over here and pick out a book, and Zane was all, "TO KEEP?!?!?!" which totally made me giggle, because we were in a library. Just getting to borrow a book wouldn't be a very good prize. They all crowded around the cart of books, and Houston immediately spotted "Fablehaven" and grabbed it, at which Katrina was all, "WHAT?! I want that book!!!" but there were, sadly, no more copies. She got "City of Embers" instead, and Zane got "Hatchet." So they all walked away happy.

From there, we just walked all around Eastown, enjoying the lovely day and the pretty lake and everything.

And then we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch, which was probably the most exciting thing we've done yet, according to Houston. They were all seriously thrilled. And lo, it was delicious.

And that was about it.

And then tonight, Beth came over and we watched the next 3 episodes of Doctor Who, so we are now approximately halfway through the season that just ended. Yay!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Katrina got a free frozen yogurt for reading enough hours, and she's been begging me to go with her ever since. And so this afternoon the two of us went on a date for frozen yogurt and shopping for her friend's birthday present. (Nothing like last minute shopping! We got the present and headed straight to the party. And Katrina chose a feather boa instead of tissue paper to put into the gift bag, and it was so absolutely perfect.) And then she was gone basically all day. It was a pool party, so she loved it, but they were swimming for 5 hours, so she was EXHAUSTED by bedtime!

Meanwhile, the boys and i just kind of hung out for the afternoon. Houston made dinner (macaroni and cheese, because Katrina doesn't like it), which is one of the reasons that having big kids really is sometimes the absolute best.

Tonight, i taught the kids how to make "zentangles," which is just basically a fancy way of doodling, and Katrina and Houston immediately jumped in, while Zane had a mini-breakdown because it wasn't turning out the way he wanted, until he started over and got a ruler so that he could make straight lines, and then he happily drew as well. And while they all drew, i read them a chapter and a half of Harry Potter. Yay!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lost tooth!

Zane has been trying to lose that tooth for months, and tonight, long after he should actually have been asleep, it finally came out and he came running down to show me. The tooth is now sitting under a glass on the table, waiting for the tooth fairy to come. (That's how we did it when we were little. Katrina and Houston both wrote the tooth fairy notes, which she answered when she left money, and as a result, Zane's tooth fairy is much more prompt than the other kids'. Throwing some money under a glass takes three seconds. Sitting down to answer questions in carefully wiggly handwriting takes a lot more effort.)

Juanito left for Seattle tonight. He'll only be gone a couple of nights, but he'll hopefully have tons of fun. A whole bunch of friends from Peru are having a reunion, and one of his friends works for the airline and was all, "Well. If you can get to Chicago, then i can get you to Seattle...." I was like, "I mean! You HAVE to go!" So he'll be doing...stuff.... And hopefully taking pictures. And should come back exhausted but hopefully happy.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My job, sometimes

Things that happened at the library today:

1. I unintentionally befriended a lady who comes in every single day, sometimes more than once a day, and now she will not stop talking to me. Today she talked and talked and talked about her children and her grandchildren and her hair and how she's totally an introvert, and all the while, i was trying to put books on shelves, so i'd go down an aisle to shelve something, and she'd keep talking, so i either had to stop and go back out so that i could hear her and not be rude, or i could just be rude and ignore her. And THIS is why i generally don't say much to patrons beyond, "Hi!"

2. The YMCA brought a giant group of little kids into the library for 30-45 minutes, and they were not overly loud or obnoxious or anything, so that was lovely, but i figured that there was really no point in my shelving anything in there until they left, because i'd just have to go back through and clean it all up again anyhow. And OH MY GOSH, i totally had to clean up after them. They managed to make a ridiculous disaster of the shelves - books put in backwards and lying in piles and just tossed about.

So as i was straightening that up, this small girl child (maybe 2-3 years old) was there with her sister and her mother, and she had the absolutely most piercing scream i think i've ever heard. And she made use of it repeatedly. Even the teen who comes almost every day for the entire day and sits in the corner looking at the internet, oblivious to every single thing around him, even when it's crazy, totally looked up when she screamed. And that's saying something.

3. But the most notable thing from today was totally the possibly used condom that i found tucked away in the middle of a Pokemon graphic novel in the kids' area. I was putting the books all back onto the shelves in order, and the very top (open) end was just barely peeking out of the top, except it was green so i didn't know what it was, so i started pulling it out before i realized what it was. I mostly calmly brought it to the front desk to ask the librarian what we should do with THAT situation, and she was all, "Well. THAT'S a new one." And then i washed my hands obsessively for the next hour. (Or maybe less. But seriously...EW.) (Incidentally, we all agreed that THAT book was going to have to be taken out of circulation, because there was no cleaning that was going to be good enough. Ever.) (Except that SHE got to wear gloves as she handled the book.)

So all in all, working in the library is sometimes a lot weirder than i'd expected.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book club

At tonight's book club, we had everyone there, i think maybe for the first time ever. I mean, since we started, we've had a few people drop out and a few people join, but with this particular group, we've always got some people missing. So it was fun, tonight, to actually get to see everyone.

I think it's interesting how well we all get along, because we've got everyone from my mom, who's 70 to the Katies who are 24, and while everyone is college-educated, the degrees vary from bachelor's to doctorate and from English to ... something related to finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer. But i really like everyone! And we have good discussions! Yay!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The library had an event tonight to "walk around downtown and take pictures of doorways and gateways." In theory, that sounded like fun, but in reality, there were about 50 people, all of whom were trying to take pictures of the same things. So Beth and i broke off from the group and walked around by ourselves. Because i might still be taking obvious and lame pictures, but at least i'm taking them without a crowd of people around me! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Adventure Monday!

We headed up to Newaygo for Adventure Monday today. I can't say that i've ever actually been to Newaygo (except for a quick stop once with Beth), though i guess i might have been. All in all, it's not a super exciting town. We had fun in the surrounding areas, though!

There are two dams - the Hardy Dam and the Croton Dam - near the actual city of Newaygo, and we started at the Hardy Dam. There's a nature trail that goes along the river there, starting at the dam, and it's a perfectly fine nature walk. There's nothing exciting about it, but it's quite a lovely area, and the trees are super tall, and there were not a lot of bugs, and honestly, the lack of bugs is what actually sold it for me. We walked and walked for about an hour and a half? Maybe two hours? Basically we walked until we got to a spot where we'd have had to walk on logs to cross a river, and i was like, "Nope! Time to turn around!" And it actually turned out to be perfect, because we got back to the car just before it started pouring.

The rain lasted just long enough to make me change the plan to include walking around downtown Newaygo, and actually...we totally could have skipped it. AND the rain quit just as we got there, but i wasn't sure if it was going to start up again, so i didn't want to just drive straight back out and have it start raining again. On the way in, though, we stopped at the cement fist heads poking up out of the grass, and that was totally worth stopping for.

So the good news is, it didn't rain again. So after walking around town for a while, we headed back out to nature. First we went to a "park" that's basically a million (Fine. 234. STILL.) steps down to a little beach. The beach was actually quite lovely. There was a little stream running through the middle of it, lined with rocks that were absolutely perfect for skipping. The river was totally smooth, and there were cool tree roots to climb around on (for the Zanes among us), and it was totally peaceful, and everyone really, really liked it. And then we had to climb back UP the steps, but we'll just skip over that part.

And then we ran to the Croton Dam, which was really cool and i would have loved to have had more time there, but Juanito needed to get home for Zumba, so we just stood up on the bridge to see it and then went home.

By the time we got home, we were all exhausted and just fell onto the couch to watch "Fantastic Beasts." All of us except Juanito, who had to go to Zumba. (And i would say, "Poor guy," except that he loves it.)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The weekend

Doctor Who season 10 started a while back, but since we live in America and don't have cable, we don't really have a good way to watch it, so we'd not seen any of this season yet. Until yesterday! I was shelving movies, and a DVD of the first six episodes of season 10 was right there, so i immediately checked it out. (This is one of my favorite parts of working at the library - i can see and grab books and movies that i didn't even know existed!) And then Beth came over yesterday afternoon, and we all watched 3 episodes in a row. We didn't exactly MEAN to watch 3 in a row, but they were just so! good! There was much gasping and laughing and a bit of screaming, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, with the possible exceptions of Zane and Juanito, who just don't love the Doctor like the rest of us do.

And then last night, our friend Karla was in town, studying for an exam and staying with Beth, so when she was finished studying for the night, i went to Beth's house, and the three of us sat up talking and talking and talking until about 1:00, when i finally just had to go home to get some sleep. I really love my friends!

Today, after church, we all went to my parents' house for dinner, and then to Jackie's house for swimming. It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm but not unbearably hot. The kids would have probably stayed in the water for the rest of the day and night, but we cruelly forced them to get out and go home at about 5:45.

So all in all, an exceptional weekend. 

Friday, July 7, 2017


Our bed is situated so that our heads are right by the window, and so when it's hot and the windows are open, i sometimes sleep with my hand right up by the screen to get as much fresh (and hopefully slightly cooler) air as possible. And so last night, at about 3:30, i woke up when the temperature randomly and suddenly dropped a lot - i would guess at least 10 degrees. My first thought was, "Well, that's lovely," a thought that lasted about 10 seconds until the storm hit.

It went from not raining to an absolute downpour with no in-between. The wind started blowing, pelting the windows with rain. Most of the time - almost always - we can leave the windows open when it rains, because with the trees and the roof the way they are, it just never rains into the house. Last night, though, i had to run around the house closing all of the windows, because otherwise we'd have woken up to a lot of wet floors. By the time i got to Katrina's window, maybe 3 minutes after the rain started, there was already a puddle on her windowsill.

The thunder and lightning were amazing. There was apparently hail. This morning, there were giant branches and partial trees down all over the place, and a lot of the city was without power. My co-worker woke up to a trampoline in her backyard (and they don't own a trampoline). Happily, our house was untouched.

About half an hour before i got off work this afternoon, Juanito and Katrina showed up at the library. It was apparently "National Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day," so they walked downtown, and when Katrina got blisters (because she was wearing flipflops), they decided to just head to my library because it was closer than home. Yay!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Zane has always felt emotions deeply. Deeply and usually briefly. It does not take much to push him over the edge into misery. He'll be perfectly happy, and then suddenly he's in the depths of despair. There are times when he will disappear, and i'll find him curled up somewhere in a corner, weeping softly because his feelings were hurt. Even when he was tiny, he had the absolutely saddest sad face in the world. When he is sad, he is ALL THE SAD. He could not be any sadder. But fifteen minutes later, he's back to being completely cheerful.

Because the thing is, his general state of being is just really, truly happy. He's just genuinely gleeful as a rule.

I love this video, because it's such a perfect representation of Zaney. Bouncy and full of energy and just absolutely thrilled to be himself.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Recovering from the weekend

After a weekend full of going places and doing things, today was a much calmer kind of day. I went back to work. The boys all seemed to do practically nothing all morning/early afternoon. When i came home, i took Houston to get his hair cut because it was getting surprisingly long and shaggy again.

Katrina, however, went to the pool with her friends for a friend's birthday, where she swam like crazy, got a bit sunburned, and came home absolutely exhausted. She got home at about 4:30, took a shower, and spent the rest of the day collapsed in various spots around the house. She and Emma were practically having a competition to see who could lay around the most.

I read a couple of chapters of Harry Potter to the kids, and then a chapter of Masterminds 2. We watched an episode of Psych. And that was about it for the day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fourth of July!

Because it's the Fourth of July, i didn't have to work today, which meant that when Chellie asked me if i wanted to go to our grandpa's house for the night, we totally could!

We first stopped by to visit my grandpa, who is in a nursing home now. (He's almost 98 and healthy and completely mentally sound...but still almost 98.) While we were there, he gave us each a book that he'd made about himself and his life. I'm looking forward to reading it! And then we drove over to the house and just had time to bring our stuff inside before Chellie texted to ask if we wanted to meet them in Grand Haven to eat dinner.

We ate (Burger King. Because we are fancy.) and then went back to the house, where the kids immediately begged to go swimming. So they all threw on their bathing suits, and we headed down to the "beach." (There is no actual beach this year. There's a ladder going down from the bank to a lower part of the bank that's behind the sea wall that was put in back in the 80's, and which has been completely covered for 30 years, and then once you jump down from the sea wall, you're basically in the water. There's sand, but the waves keep it wet, so you can't actually put a towel down to sit on or anything.) The kids ran into the water which was not nearly as cold as i'd expected, and Chellie and i kind of stood around for a little while before deciding that as long as we were going to be not relaxing on the beach anyhow, we might as well take a walk down to our aunt and uncle's house. The kids swam along, out in the lake, while Chellie and i just kept gawking at how completely foreign the entire beach looked this year.

After saying a quick hello to our uncle and aunt and a cousin who happened to be visiting from California this week, we walked back to our grandparents' house, where the kids swam and swam until we finally dragged them back to the house at about 8:30 or 9:00. They all changed into pajamas, and before long we headed out to watch the sunset.

This morning, Zane, Chellie, her son, and i all woke up at about 8:00, walked down toward the beach to look at the glass-smooth lake, ate some breakfast, played piano, and finally woke the other kids up at 9:30. And as soon as breakfast was finished, the kids all got their bathing suits back on and begged to be allowed to go swimming again.

This time we brought chairs down to the beach and tried to sit in them, which sort of worked, except that every time a wave came in, the sand beneath us would get wet and our chair would sink a little deeper into the sand. So it wasn't ideal, but at least it was a place to sit. The kids swam until we dragged them out at around noon to go pack all of our stuff into the cars before everyone else showed up.

My parents, Jackie, Eric, and Cheyanne, and Jim and Alisha and their kids all came out for lunch, and then some of us went back down to the beach (i don't think my kids would ever choose to just ... not swim). Later we had a cornhole tournament (which Juanito/Zane and i soundly lost) and just hung out and enjoyed the company and the lovely weather.

And then tonight, we went to the fireworks, of course. We always go to the same spot - Juanito's favorite place ever to watch the fireworks - and this year Jackie, Chellie, and some of their kids joined us. And it was fun - we played games and did sparklers and the kids ran around a lot - but the actual fireworks were disappointing. They changed the spot that they shoot them off from, which meant that the fireworks were partially behind trees, were lower down, and were farther away from us. It was very sad. Sigh. (I mean, they were still fireworks, but they were just not as happy as usual.) Here's hoping they'll move back next year.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2

Beth and i went to Meijer Gardens today for a little while. The day was all bright and sunny and warm, and then the moment we got there, the sun suddenly went away and it started drizzling. It drizzled off and on while we walked around, and we finally went inside when it started actually raining enough that it seemed like it might start pouring at any second. And shortly after i got home, it did start to rain in earnest. But even in the rain, flowers are still pretty, so it was not a wasted trip. :)

Tonight we watched "Independence Day," a tradition around the 4th of July in our house. I have to's completely ethnocentric and there are obvious problems with, y'know, physics, but i just love that movie. I think it's mostly because i love all of the actors. Jeff Goldblum! Will Smith! Bill Pullman! The guy who plays the father! Randy Quaid! They're all so lovable! (I'm a dork.)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

It's July!

My brother Jim works in one of the tallest (maybe THE tallest?) buildings downtown, and he's way up on the ...something high-eth...floor. And since he's really nice, he let us all come up and stand on the balcony with him and watch the amazing downtown fireworks! It's really the absolutely best place in ... probably the entire city in which to watch the fireworks. Plus we don't have to fight through crowds of people and sit on the uncomfortable streets! Double-plus good!