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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Last Week of Summer

School starts on Monday, so we were glad to have my sister in town to help us squeeze some life out of our last week.

We started off with a light day on Monday, still recovering from the road trip. We made a trip to the library, got some ice cream, and continued to re-adapt to the humidity back here. The kids had a good time trashing the library, and got plenty messy at the ice cream shop, so it was a good day. 

On Tuesday, we took advantage of the cheap matinee at a theater, and went to see Incredibles 2, the sequel to a favorite of ours. We were surprised that none of us had to take any of the kids out of the theater. We must have had enough snacks and the movie was engaging enough for them all that we could enjoy the whole thing. 

Wednesday was a little bit up in the air, but we decided to go crazy and head to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, as it’s free (you pay for parking), and we had heard pretty good things about it. The morning started out a little slow when we found animals sleeping, and moved slowly through the exhibits, and then we stopped for lunch at a picnic table. That turned into a bright part of the day when we discovered the sparrows surrounding us really enjoy bagel. The kids had a grand time tossing little crumbs to them and watching them scramble. We even saw a male grab a chunk, and then he flew over to a female to feed it to her. Maybe chivalry is not dead, after all.

The afternoon was better as we went to see more animals and they were active and about. Just as we were feeling wiped out and wondering if we should call it a day, we opted to go see if we could find the polar bears. We walked around their exhibit without a sign of them, but as we continued on, Kira learned from another couple that the bears were swimming, and we could see them if we went down a path we had missed. We backtracked and found them, putting on a very entertaining performance:

We hung out there for a good, long while, and then caught the giraffes on our way out, just as they came out for the day.

Thursday was my sister’s last full day with us, so we needed to make it really count. We visited the beach that’s about 5 minutes away (on Lake Michigan). We got there in the morning for the good parking, and so the water was a little cool, but we got used to it pretty quickly and had a blast.

Avey was a little disappointed that the waves were not as high as the last time we were at the beach, but still had a great time going out with her kickboard trying to ride some of the waves in.

The boys all had fun switching back and forth between playing in the sand, throwing rocks in the water, and splashing around in the waves. 

It was a very enjoyable day, and we were sad to leave.

That night, Kira and I took the school kids to their separate school welcoming orientation things while my sister stayed home with Hakan. Merritt joined us because he is known to freak out without one of us around. Fortunately for my sister, Hakan was very wiped out by the busy week, so was asleep very quickly. Avey was also tired from the long day, so was not thrilled to have to try to learn how to open a combination lock for her locker and also figure out where everything is in her new school. She is in an intermediate school for 5th and 6th grades, and so her schedule works more like a high school where each subject is taught in a different room with a different teacher. I gave her a combo lock we have at home so that she can practice with it before Monday and hopefully get her ahead of the game. She seems to have it down now, so she can make some friends by helping them out as they practice tomorrow. 

Carver was excited to go to his school. He thrives on the social surroundings and academics. We learned that his teacher will be leaving in September on maternity leave, but the substitute was there, and will be in the classroom from the beginning, so we hope that it won’t be too much of a transition. 

We found that the bus stop is right in front of our house, so we are going to try to have the kids take the bus each morning and see how that works out. It should save Kira some stress, especially because I’ll be gone by about 6:30 a.m. two days a week this semester. 

Friday was a gloomy day as I took my sister to the airport in the morning, and then we did a few various errands and jobs around the house, feeling the impending doom of normal life quickly approaching. I was so wiped out after the weeks of travel and overall craziness that I called it a night early. I was glad I did because I felt pretty good on Saturday: well enough to finally try fixing the gutters after mowing, trimming, and weeding. It was scary getting on the roof of our two-story house, but I got things looking much better. I will need a couple of parts to get it all the way to what I want, but at least I know what seems to be the problem now. 

Today has been our normal routine, except that Merritt has been especially whiny and clingy. 

We’ll see how the week goes with the older kids back in school, and I’ll report on that next week. Wish us luck!


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