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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Cope Reunion Recovery

[Apologies for no new pictures. I added some videos to last week's post, if you're really in the mood.]

We left off last time having finished the Cope reunion of 2022 and preparing for the drive back across the country.

We were up for church on Sunday so that Kira's mother could show us off a bit. I showered and fed the boys while Kira got herself ready. Merritt was in his usual form for church - unable to stop talking. He just let his lips fly with his stream of consciousness, telling me all about videos he's seen, stories he's heard, things that happened at school, and so on. We often have the same conversations repeat. One of them is about California, which he pronounces "Kalee-FOR-nia." He likes to process how far away it is, how that's where Disneyland is, how I've been there before, how many hotels we would need to stay at if we drove there, and so on. He's been rather obsessed with California, probably mostly because his Kindergarten teacher loves Disneyland - I'm guessing she made it sound like California was paradise, so he thinks that it's the place to be. I've decided not to mention the rampant homelessness...

Anyway, so Merritt talked my ear off during all of Sacrament Meeting, and then we all skipped out to go and walk the grounds of the Oquirrh Temple nearby. It was very hot, but we had a pleasant time admiring the beauty and I looked up some history about it.

We then went back to Grandma's for some lunch and naps (for the grown-ups), and then packing up for our long, impending drive. Once we were basically set, we then played some board games with Kira's mom, and then all sang her a song as a family.

We were invited to join Nate's (my older brother) family for dinner, and Isaac (my youngest brother) came, too. I coached the kids on the way there how to subtly sell Indiana to my brothers to see if we can get them convinced to come move by us. That was a repeating joke (but not a joke) throughout the evening as we had nice chats and played some fun games. The food was great, too, and then we had to part ways to get our kids in bed at a decent time.

Monday morning came and got us all in the van again for the long and arduous drive home. It was our long day - I purposefully made it a longer drive so that we could have a shorter day on Tuesday. We made it to our hotel and ate and swam. Merritt wanted to sleep with me on the hideaway bed, so I was on it again, and slept so much worse than I had on the way to Idaho...

Tuesday morning we slept in later than I had thought we would, and so I got up and while everyone else was still down, I showered and then started packing. People slowly awoke, and then we finished packing and headed down to their breakfast. I picked the same line of hotel we liked so much on the way to Idaho, but this one was in a different city. Its breakfast was not as well-stocked, so we were a little disappointed. Merritt threw a royal fit. He refused to eat anything, and insisted that he did not want to go home - he wanted to stay at the hotel and swim. He was clearly still very tired and hungry, and did not want to be in the car all day (welcome to the club). We were glad that he didn't scream and start knocking stuff over. He made only a small scene and then did willingly get in the car.

The drive felt much shorter, fortunately, and the kids did very well in the car for the second day. It probably helped that the weather was cooler as we drove East, and the sun was behind us at the hotter parts of the day. We arrived home around 6:30 p.m. to find Hannah and Apollo waiting for us in the front yard. We started unloading the car, and were thankful that Hannah had thought to get some staples for us (milk, bread, etc.). She even made the kids' favorite treat while we fed them a quick dinner. They went to bed late, and we grownups watched a little TV just to feel like we were back home. We then went to sleep in our own beds.

I slept so much better than I had the whole trip, but was still up just a little after 8 because I felt like I had so much to do. I fed the boys, cleaned our kitchen sink, and got caught up on my work emails. Once Kira was up, I went out to mow our grass that had grown 2-weeks-worth. It wasn't so bad in the front yard, as it tends to grow more slowly there, but the backyard was very long. It felt nice to get it all tame again. In the afternoon, I took all the kids swimming at the middle school, because apparently they didn't get enough of that on our trip. They all had a good time, and then when it was time for us to leave, Kira sent me a text that Carver had been invited to swim at his friend's house. I dropped him off on the way home, where he got even more soaked. At home, Merritt and Jesse both played with one of the neighbor kids, but they did it in shifts just because of how it worked out. Kira spent most of her day doing unpacking and laundry, and then coordinating her clients for the following Monday. Hannah stayed home that night.

Thursday I slept the most solid I had in years, apparently really needing to get all caught up. I still could have slept longer, but it was a nice big chunk of uninterrupted sleep. I then fed the youngest two and left for Costco while Kira took over things. I came home to unload and then we fed the kids lunch before Kira took them all to a park while Avey did an appointment. I stayed home to get caught up on work, and then did our trashes and did some weeding (they had really gotten out of control while we were gone). They came home for dinner and bedtime, but Jesse kept coming downstairs long after we had put him to bed. He just wasn't tired, apparently.

Friday I was up earlier than usual because I wanted to spread out some grub control before the rain came. I did that quickly, beating the rain, and then made pancakes for the kids (but mostly for myself). The rain came not long after that, and really soaked our thirsty ground, so that was great. Of course, now I'll probably have to mow sooner.

Anyway, I did some of my day job and then showered, and then Merritt helped me wash all the filth of the trip off of the van in the rain, soaping it off thoroughly, and then letting the rain rinse most of it off. Avey then vacuumed the van out, almost finishing before Kira needed it. She had arranged to take the boys to Merritt's best friend's house, where they were invited to swim in the pool. They had a good time while I cleaned out the rat cage, ate lunch, sorted laundry, and then did more of my real job.

After dinner, I took Avey on a brief outing to the dollar store and then she walked Apollo in between rain showers. Then it was bedtime for the boys. Jesse fell asleep just fine, so we hope that he's getting back on his usual schedule. Hannah was at a comedy show with a friend, and so Kira, Avey, and I finished a show we'd been working on since coming home, and then went to bed.

Today is cloudy, but not rainy, so maybe we can get these boys out on their bikes or something. We are gearing up for next week when the younger two boys have their day camp at the Indiana Dunes. This will be Merritt's first time going, but we've had a kid do it every year since we moved here, and it's always lots of fun. Avey and Carver will do it the week after Jesse and Merritt.

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