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  • Elijah Ricks

Jesse Turns 8

Updated: Jun 5

This week was the last week of school for the kiddos, and Jesse's birthday bash!


Last Sunday was the branch anniversary that had been taking over Kira's life. It went really well, with several guests and family members of the branch members joining in the festivities. I picked up the boys to keep them out of Kira's hair as she managed the event. I fed them all at home and then took the younger two to a park while Avey kept an eye on Carver at home. The boys got along famously, mostly playing games where I chase them. Kira got home around 3 in the afternoon after all was done.


Avey was busy for most of the day doing outdoor projects. She line trimmed and then cleaned out the fire pit (which needed it badly). We had a little fire in it afterwards to make sure it didn't stay clean for long.


One problem was that while Avey tried to do yard work, she kept the shed carefully closed, but Jesse wanted to help with the work. His big birthday present was hidden in the shed, so as Avey tried to keep it hidden, he became more curious about what might be inside. He eventually caught a glimpse of his big gift (a car he can drive). That spoiled the surprise, but he was very excited about it. He opted not to look at it any more closely, and waited to try it out even though I offered.


Merritt had been bragging about his new trick on the playset, and so Hannah came over in the late afternoon to see it. He spins upside down on a handlebar, and then spins back the other way while still holding on. It's pretty fancy, and he's very proud of it.


Monday, the boys woke me up extra early because they were so loud downstairs, so I got up and got them fed and ready for school. Kira slept in only until about 7:15, and then she left to help with Carver's class party for the end of the year.

(That's Carver With His Teacher on the Right)


Avey had a rough night and was also very tired, so we let her miss her first class to try and rest. She felt a little better when I took her late.


I was busy at home trying to manage my new job as director. It's amazing the kind of stuff that will pour in. This week, Marketing wanted a list of places that our alumni have been hired. Luckily, I found an obscure document with some of that information, so I was able to pass that on. Anyway, after that kind of thing, I took Apollo on a walk.


Kira brought the boys home from school. They'd all had a good day with spirits high for the last few days of the academic year. I took the older three kids shopping for presents they wanted to buy Jesse. The way it worked out, they just asked Jesse what things he would like and they paid for them. Again, this exercise spoiled the surprise, but apparently he's not too worried about it. We stopped by the pet store before coming home, just to check out rodents he might want (he's been thinking of mice or rats after his fish died). They had almost nothing in stock, so we left pretty quickly.


It was a cool and sunny evening, and so the boys played outside after dinner, and we finally had to drag them inside for bed. The sun doesn't set until around 8 now, and so it doesn't really get dark until closer to 8:30 or later. That always makes bedtime a little more difficult.


Tuesday was my turn to sleep in, or so Kira thought. That was nice, and then I had a pointless meeting over the computer. After that, I took Apollo to Hannah's to help me pick up a very heavy concrete flower pot. Then we swung by the hardware store for some potting mix and took it home. Boy was I glad to have my little trailer for my riding mower to haul that chiropractor's dream to the backyard! I then transplanted some flowers Kira got from the branch on Mother's Day into the pot, and they are now enjoying their new home on our back patio.

I then transplanted two sunflowers that Merritt grew to our neighbor's garden (as we don't have a great place for them). I then cut the grass.


The mail brought bad news from the eye doctor - the insurance didn't pay for my latest visit because I went 4 days earlier than I was allowed (for shame!). I spent about an hour on the phone trying to get that sorted out, and now I get to wait for them to see if they will allow me to have my eyes checked so early. I'm upset that my stupid eye doctor didn't know either, or didn't say anything when they told me how much my insurance would pay.


Anyway, Avey came home from school, but then couldn't find an art project that she needed to finish. She was sure she had it on the bus, but it was nowhere to be found in the house. By the time we figured it out, the bus barn had closed for the day, but luckily we know a person on the inside. Hannah got in and found the art project on Avey's bus and then brought it over, saving the day.


Kira let me sleep in a bit after I had a rough night. We are planning a trip to Idaho and Utah in July, and I made the mistake of starting to work out how much gas would cost for the whole thing. That sent me down a spiral of rethinking everything so that I didn't sleep very well. Once I got up, I worked and walked Apollo in between rainfall. Kira got a nap, and then she kept busy with laundry and phone calls. Merritt came home on the bus with a heartbreaking story of how he and his best friend weren't friends anymore. He couldn't give us many details, but it sounds like maybe he got too bossy (no surprise there), and so his friend made his feelings known. We tried to reassure him that maybe he could apologize the next day, and he cheered up. It seemed the best time to go and pick out Jesse's new bike, so Avey came along with us, and we got him all set. He picked his new wheels (again, losing any element of surprise), and then we got some groceries before coming home. It got very windy and rainy once we were home, so he had to wait to test out his bike on the roads. I put the two old and rusty bikes we had out on our lawn with a "free" sign, and they were gone within about 2 hours.


Thursday was the last day of school and also Jesse's official birthday! I got up a little early when the boys woke me up with their noise. I let Kira sleep, but she came down to say goodbye before going back to bed. Because I got started early, and because everyone was excited for the last day of school, the boys were ready for the bus about 30 minutes early, but still insisted on going outside to wait for it. Jesse wore a cap and gown outfit that we had from Avey's preschool, but he took it off after a while at school. Once they were off and I had dropped Avey at school, I got to work and then took Apollo on a walk downtown. We were a couple of blocks from Hannah's house, but he led us over there and had a great time trying to find the chipmunks and rabbits in her backyard.


We went home and then Kira and I went to Jesse's school with a balloon to join him for lunch (we did it for each of the boys this year on their birthdays). We started at recess, where we were a big novelty attraction. About 6 of his classmates crowded around us and barraged us with questions and information. One little girl told us all about her mom who uses drugs and her abusive father she doesn't want to ever see again, and how her aunt is about to adopt her. That's some heavy stuff for an 8-year-old, but gave us some nice gratitude for how good we have it in our house.


After joining Jesse's class pizza party, mostly helping hand stuff out to the hungry kids, Kira and I went to have lunch at a little diner that Avey likes. We then came home for a little break before Kira went back to pick up the younger boys from school as a last-day treat. Carver opted to ride the bus with his friend one last time, as they'll both be at a new school next year. Jesse went to try out his new bike after we got the seat adjusted, and Avey went to hang out with friends at a park. Jesse then had a bunch of the neighbor kids come over to play in the backyard for a little birthday bash. It was a normal dinner and bedtime after all of that.


It was a rough night for Kira when Merritt woke us up at 2:00 a.m., thinking that it was time to get up. She was up with him for a while, and all of the commotion woke Jesse also. What a nightmare! I let her sleep in while I fed the boys and baked Jesse's cake. Jesse then wanted to try out his little car, but of course it's nothing but rain all day. We pulled the cars out of the garage so that he could drive it around in there. He is really excited to get to try it out in the yard and neighborhood. I showed him how he could connect his phone and play music from the car's speakers, and how it even has a remote control he can use to drive it!

We opened presents and had lunch and cake around midday, and then everyone left to see a movie at the theater, except that Carver was not feeling up for it, and so I stayed home with him.

Jesse really enjoyed the movie, and he even bought a big tub of popcorn with his birthday money from relatives. By the time they made it home, it had finally stopped raining, so Jesse and Merritt wanted to go out and splash in the puddles. Jesse went on his new bike, and Merritt decided that he was ready to try without training wheels.

I took him down the street a little, but he gave up after not too long, so we'll keep at it. He then put away his bike and just ran through the puddles in his rain boots. Avey walked Apollo. The boys came home completely drenched, and so we got them in the shower as soon as we came home. It was a standard evening otherwise.


Saturday morning, I got up after sleeping in a little and made pancakes, bacon, and eggs for the kids, and let Kira sleep. It's a beautiful day, and so when Jesse was done eating, he headed straight for his new car, and has been driving in the backyard for about an hour now. I'll need to cut the grass today once it's all dried out, and we'll probably get these kids out of the house and to a park later.


Thanks for all the thoughtful gifts and cards for Jesse!

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