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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Mad Dash to Colorado

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

This week was packed to the rim with preparations for and travel to Colorado.

Sunday I cleaned out gutter traps after all the rain from the previous day, and in preparation for the coming onslaught of more rain. After that, I took it easy. Hannah came by right after church to pick up her leftover pizza from the night before, and then left for some peace and quiet (and pizza) at her sanctuary. Kira came home much later than usual after two emergency situations came up at church, and she had to help coordinate efforts toward resolving them. I had lunch ready for the boys as soon as they walked through the door, but they didn't care, because Kira had given them snacks to keep them from a mutiny while she dealt with the situations at church. I took them to a park while Kira kept working on stuff.

On the drive to the park, I happened to notice a weird lump under my left ear. I tried not to panic, and made a game plan for squeezing in a doctor appointment before we left for our trip. At the park, Carver read the whole time while the other boys played. Kira had finished with the church crises by the time we were home and then she took over with family night, then dinner.

Bedtime was rough. The younger two have had some weird energy in the nights this week. They say that they are tired but then they roll around and keep each other awake, and then come out of their room looking for Kira. Maybe the trip will wear them out enough that we won't have to deal with that this next week. Hannah didn't come over due to another early morning the next day with the bus inspections, but we were late to bed anyway.

Monday morning I scheduled an appointment to get that lump checked the next day. Avey surprised us all when she made herself a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Apparently she found some new things to like at girls' camp. Kira left for work, and then the neighbors came to play. That made for lots of drama: Merritt wanted to play a video game with the boy neighbor, but he didn't want to play with Merritt just then because they were enjoying the trampoline. Merritt didn't want to play on the trampoline, so he moped and whined outside so they could all hear. That got the girl neighbor to start poking fun at Merritt, making things worse. Finally, the boy took pity on Merritt and played with him a little while before leaving at lunchtime. I tried to work in between all of that nonsense, but didn't get much done.

Kira came home for a couple of hours. I offered Carver some money to try taking Apollo on a walk while I baked up a few cookies to have on hand for some house guests coming on Wednesday. He tried it, but Apollo wouldn't leave the garage. He just hung around like he was expecting me to come along, too. Eventually, he got Apollo out of the garage, but then they still made it only a little way down the road before Apollo decided he should come back. Merritt occupied himself in the kiddie pool, and then Kira left for her evening clients. We had a big rainstorm come through just before bedtime, but then the sun came out again before setting. Hannah came over to join Avey and me for a movie.

Tuesday, Kira got up before me, because she had already scheduled a doctor appointment for herself. She got breakfast going and then left for her appointment, while I tried to work. Once she was home, I went to my doctor appointment. I got a general physical, finding me in good health. The doctor was not very concerned about the lump, thinking that it is likely just a swollen lymph node, and it should go away on its own, but she gave me some things to watch for if it's something else. We scheduled me to get bloodwork done the next day.

I came home to work more, push Merritt on our neighbor's big swing, and start packing the kids' stuff for our impending trip. I was very worn out in the afternoon, but I fed the boys dinner while Kira left to sign the kids up for swimming lessons. That turned out to be an unmitigated nightmare, so she changed her mind and came home to help with bedtime. Hannah came over for TV, and then we had another rainy night.

Wednesday, Kira and I got up a little early to go get our blood drawn. We got the boys their food, and then left them in Avey's hands. We ran a couple of errands while out, and then came home. We got working the rest of the afternoon, mostly cleaning to prepare for my cousin and her family to stay with us that night, and packing for our own trip. Avey had a BBQ and swim party scheduled for the evening, but we worried it would get rained out with the downpour we had all afternoon. It still happened though, so that was a nice thing to break up her day. Hannah got a haircut that day, and really likes how it turned out, so Kira may try out this lady when she's ready for a trim.

My cousin and her family arrived about 8:00, on their way to Buffalo, New York. I had a meal of shrimp scampi ready for them, and we had a nice time catching up with them. We'd seen them last summer, but their daughter is so much bigger now. She had a very fun time while the boys showed her all of their stuff and played with her on the slide and trampoline. We had some fun watching the fireflies, too, before getting them all to bed.

We got up to start breakfast and I had a dissertation to read before our trip, so I did that in between getting people food. Hakan and I left for an appointment with a pediatric dentist, saying our goodbyes to my cousin and her family, who were gearing up to get back on the road. This dentist says that his dark tooth looks alright, but gave us some things to watch out for. He thinks they will probably be fine until his permanent tooth comes in. Hakan and I went to the store to stock up on snacks for our trip, filled up the gas tank, and headed home. I finished reading the dissertation, then mowed the grass before finishing packing. Hannah got her new crown, so she came over that night to show it off and then helped clean out the fridge and pack the van before going to bed later than we should.

Friday, I got up and started finishing last-minute packing, and loading the car. Of course, Hakan decided to sleep in for the first time in his life, but he did get up so that we weren't waiting around for him to get on the road. It was an uneventful drive, thankfully, and it's so nice that the kids are older.

We made it to the hotel in Nebraska around 3 that afternoon, and so there was plenty of time for swimming, and Apollo took a couple of walks.

Saturday was the big day. Omaha has a huge zoo that I had been to as a young pup, but I hadn't been since they made all of their updates and expansions, so every time we stop in Nebraska, I think that we should spend a day and see the zoo. We finally did it this time. We dropped Apollo off at a doggie day care, and he looked like he thought I would never come back for him. We then made it to the zoo.

The heat made it very uncomfortable, and there were so many people there, but we still had a great time overall. We just needed another full day to recover.

You can click through the photos below.

We picked up Apollo, who ended up doing just fine at the daycare, and Hannah took him to the hotel while the rest of us went for food. We then swam again and called it a night.

We got on the road a little later than I'd hoped today but we're doing alright, and should arrive around dinnertime. We're excited to see everyone, and we celebrate Kira's birthday this week. We'll let you know how it goes next time!

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