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  • Elijah Ricks

Happy Campers

Updated: Jul 25

This week was marked mostly by day camp for the two youngest humans in the family.


Last Saturday afternoon, we decided to get everybody out of the house (and away from screens), so we went to Michigan City for some shopping at three stores. We worked pretty quickly so that we could head home at a decent time. Kira had a birthday coupon for a free pizza, so we did that for dinner.


Sunday was gray and a little rainy throughout the day, so at least it wasn't blazing hot. I got the kids ready for church and then got into the backyard to cut down weeds and some bushes that try to grow in every year on the south side of the house. I tried several methods to get them cut back as deeply as I could so that maybe they would stop popping up every year, but then I regretted it when I came inside because my back was pretty painful in the same lower area as it always is. At least I know how to help it get better - it just takes time.


Anyway, Kira had a visit planned after church, so Hannah brought the kids home. I made lunch and then dragged the boys and Apollo to the dog park. Hannah kept an eye on Apollo while I kept an eye on the boys. Avey worked on some chores at home, and Kira eventually made it home from her marathon of church things to do. When we got home from the dog park, the neighbor kids were waiting to play with our boys, so they all hung out in the backyard, and they even brought the neighbor dog over to run around with Apollo. We had a brief family night lesson and activity, and then bedtime for the boys. I sat in the yard for a while as night was setting in to see a few last hummingbirds come by, the fireflies come out, and a few bats fly by. We played dominoes for a while before going to bed.


Monday was the first day of the day camp for Jesse and Merritt at the Indiana Dunes. Kira and I both got up with the alarm to get them fed and sprayed all over with sunscreen and bug spray. My back was still hurting quite a lot, so I moved rather slowly and stretched out whenever I could during the day. Kira took the boys to camp, bringing along two neighbor boys also. Merritt was pretty nervous as he had never done it before, but Carver has done it every year we've been here (he's now in the older group that starts next week), and Jesse did it last year, so they assured him it would be okay. He had a good time.


I cut the grass and got to my day job with new fires to put out. That took most of the day. Kira left for her work, and then I picked up the boys while Avey and Carver stayed home. One of the neighbor kids I picked up invited everybody over to his house, but I wanted to make sure that would be okay with the adults involved, so once we got that set I took the boys home for lunch before taking them back to the neighbor's to play in their pool. They had a great time and I got my work nearly finished by the time they came home. It was then just a matter of feeding them dinner and getting them ready for bed. Kira came home for bedtime and was in the kitchen when Merritt came downstairs, lamenting out loud how much he missed her. I thought he would notice that she was there, but he didn't, so I suggested that we try calling her. He still didn't notice that her phone was ringing in the next room, and started talking to her for a minute, also not noticing that she was talking in the next room. She finally walked into the living room while he was talking to her on the phone, and he realized what was happening and was so excited to have her home.


Tuesday Kira let me sleep in a bit while she got the boys ready for and delivered to camp. I did my day job when I woke up. Carver was in the mood for some money for a game he wanted, so he vacuumed out the truck. In the afternoon, he convinced the other two boys that they should get the game, so they also did some chores to earn money, and Carver was very good at coaching them on how to do their chores and helping them add up how much money they had earned. They earned the game by the end of the day. I had a stupid meeting in the afternoon, and so Kira took the boys and dog to the park where they had arranged to meet Jesse's erstwhile girlfriend and her siblings. I say "erstwhile" because Jesse had hoped it would be a real date, but when he spoke with her she said that she thinks it's best if she does not have a boyfriend until she is older, but they could still be friends. He was a bit disappointed, because he had even planned out the date in advance:

Still, he was glad that they could remain friends. I finished up my meeting and then cleaned out the rat cage, but then Kira was home early as it was just too hot at the park, so she offered for the kids to all play at our house. They hung out maybe 40 minutes before leaving. We had dinner and then I ran to the grocery store as a pseudo outing. It was then bedtime for the kiddos.


I took my turn on Wednesday, getting up to feed and spray the boys for camp. I dropped them off and came back home to work. Kira had a doctor appointment around noon, but woke up so late that she figured that she would just go in fasting and get her blood drawn, too. I went to pick up the boys while she was gone, but there was a line about 50 cars long to get back in. I had never seen it that backed up. I ended up getting to the boys 20 minutes late because of that line, but the directors were very understanding and knew that there was a long line. I got the kids fed at home and then Kira came home. I ran to the store for a quick outing and then came home to bathe the boys. Kira had planned to take the 3 older kids to the church to clean and then hang out for a youth activity about family history. Carver was actually excited for both things, and Jesse went along because he doesn't think he's ever tired when it's bedtime. So it was just Merritt and I at home. I got him fed and in bed before hanging out at the TV by myself. The others came home late, but brought ice cream with them for a fun treat.


Thursday, Kira took the boys to camp again and let me sleep. I just couldn't bring myself to do my normal job that morning, so instead I did some small projects I'd wanted to do for a while. I sealed up some cracks in our cement around the house, and then I patched a hole in the cement through which I think a chipmunk has been getting into the garage. I then finally showered and did my normal day job for a while before taking Avey to an appointment 20 minutes away. After that, we drove another 20 minutes to get her toe x-ray and that took forever, but we learned that it is fully healed. We then made a quick stop at the hardware store and then got her some dinner before heading home. Kira kept busy while we were gone; first taking the boys to the pool for a while, and then inviting our two neighbor kids over so that their mother could focus on getting packed for their move in the next week. We were all very tired by the end of the day, and then Kira was on the phone for the night while Hannah, Avey, and I watched TV together.


Friday Kira took another shift getting the boys ready for camp, but I did get up to see them off. It was beach day, so we had planned to all go and meet the guys at the beach. Avey was not very interested in going, and Carver said that he wasn't too thrilled about it either, so Kira just went instead.

I planned on bringing Avey and Carver for the afternoon presentation that reviews what they did for the week and shows pictures of all their activities. Before that, Hannah and I ran a little errand together and then she hung out at our place until it was time to go. It sure looked like the boys had a good time, and Merritt even said he's excited to do it again next year. Carver and Avey will be in the older group starting Monday, and it goes twice as long, so we'll see just how wiped out they are by the end.


We got everybody home and showered the two beach-goers, and then I took Avey to hang with friends for a little while downtown. I ran a couple of errands while she was there, and then picked her up to go home. The boys were starting dinner, so I helped with that and then the kids were playing games with neighbors, so we let them play a little longer than usual before bedtime.


We wished we'd gone to bed earlier the next morning when we were awoken very early in the morning by a severe thunderstorm. It was raining cats and dogs, as they say, and the lightning and thunder were very loud. The power flickered off a few times, so we were quite glad that it came back on each time. The boys all got up extra early and then Merritt was scared. Fortunately, they had their little electric lanterns for exactly this sort of occasion (a Christmas gift from my youngest brother). Everybody is cranky today (except me, as I am immune to all human emotion; #sarcasm). Hannah was planning to go to the temple early this morning, but after the crazy storm and loss of sleep, she opted to postpone as well.


Jesse wanted to go play racquetball today, but we realized that the only gym shoes he has are the shame of the household. So he and I went on a shoe-shopping trip instead of racquetball (the worst trade in the history of the world). We found a good pair and a few other items we needed and then came home.


This afternoon we are planning to go to an open house for a young adult in the branch, but it's probably going to be a nightmare with how cranky these boys are.


We've got another busy week planned as my summer semester ends on Monday, the older two start camp, and Kira will take a little vacation with her best-friend-since-elementary-school. Details are forthcoming.

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