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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

To Beach or Not to Beach

This week was full of camp for Carver, some outings for the rest of us, and another disappointing trip to the beach.

Sunday, Kira got word that the stake choir was starting back up, so she offered to take the boys so that they could play in the gym during practice (they used to love doing that before the pandemic dismantled choir). The younger two went, but then didn't get to play in the gym, because that's where practice was. They put them there where they could socially distance...

While they were gone, Avey worked on making a second wreath for our double front doors so that they could match. They look great! I was feeling like doing some projects, too, so I installed a pull string for both gates so that the kids would stop climbing on the gates to try and unlatch them from the other side (bending the hinges). Carver and I then went on a walk with Apollo.

When Kira was home with the other boys, we hopped in the van to go and sing to the bedridden sister in the branch for her birthday. That didn't take long, and then we were home for dinner and some family night activities before the bedtime routine. Kira wanted to watch some Olympics for a little while, so we did that before calling it a night.

Monday was the first day of camp for Carver. This was his first year in the older group, and it was the first time they had ever allowed kids as old as 14, so we were not sure how it would go. He came home and said it was "awesome," though. It went until 3:00 each day, so he often came home pretty wiped out, but at least it got him off of the screen. It was pretty hot, so I offered to take the kids to the splash pad. Merritt was the only one who wanted to go, so we went, where he played in the water for about 10 minutes before wanting to move to the park. At least he had a good time.

We made it home to get Kira the car so that she could go see her client for the afternoon. We found a big package on our doorstep. It was our robot vacuum! I got that set up while the kids played video games together. I then started dinner and we watched the vacuum work. It was pretty fun to watch and see it navigate around. It did a good job, and so we've used it in different areas of the house about every day. I like that it also encourages us to keep stuff off of the floor in the first place so that the place is slightly tidier than usual. It's been a very nice upgrade: it's so nice to have the floors noticeably cleaner.

That night, Hakan's loose tooth was begging to jump out of his mouth, and so he let me try it again. It popped out easily, and he was surprised by how little it hurt.

That was his first baby tooth to go, and now he's pretty sure he can see the permanent one starting to poke through.

He could not wait to show Kira when she came home, so he had me keep it a secret, and then surprised her. He then had a hard time falling asleep as he imagined how his friends would react when he showed them the next day. I'm glad to have that tooth out, because now his bite is finally normal - that was the tooth that his top one kept hitting after his accident, so at least he can chew normally now.

I took Carver to camp again on Tuesday, and then went for some groceries on the way home. My summer course was over, so I did some grading and calculated the grades, then after lunch I took Merritt to the same splash pad again while Kira took the other kids to the YMCA. Merritt did the same thing - played in the water about 10 minutes before going to the playground. The kids had a great time at the YMCA, trying out the exercise room and playing around in the racquetball court.

We made it home in time for Carver's arrival from camp. The kids then played video games together before dinner and bed.

Wednesday was another standard morning of getting Carver to camp. With my course all done, I was feeling free to do some house projects, so I went into the backyard to level out some bricks I had placed around our AC unit long ago. I then spread some dirt around the fire pit to level it better for when I mow around it. Avey worked on some weeding, and then I went to get some supplies for a couple of shelving projects I had in mind. I wanted to build another shelf for a cabinet in which we keep our board games, but it's an odd shape. I got that cut and it fits very nicely. I then installed three more shelves in the garage for a little more storage. While I was working on all that, Kira took the kids to the YMCA again. Carver came home with reports of his adventures at camp, and then hopped on video games. Once Kira got home with the rest of the kids, we did dinner, and bathed the boys. Kira had an RS presidency meeting that night, so she went to that. Hakan had not quite had his fill of the day, so he went with Avey and Apollo on a walk around the neighborhood. Kira was gone until late. Hannah came over for a movie.

On Thursday, Kira took Carver to camp and I prepared for my student's dissertation defense. She passed, and I'm very glad to have that one behind me. In the afternoon, we all loaded up in the car to go shopping for shoes for the school year. We made it home just in time for Carver to get home with the carpool. He had climbed 3 big dunes that day, so he was quite tired. I took the other kids to the park, made pleasant by the cool breeze, and then we fed the kids at home before going to meet Hannah for ice cream at our favorite place downtown. We all got very sticky eating it in the park, but they still had a grand time coming up with some games to play on and around the gazebo. They didn't want to go home after that, so we all went to see Hannah's place nearby before finally heading home for bed.

Friday we were up early because Kira and the two younger boys had appointments with the doctor. I got them fed and then took Carver to camp. Once I was home, Kira took the boys, worried how they would react once they found out they were getting shots. They did ok, thankfully. When they got home, they showed off their stickers they got from the doctor. We then did lunch and got ready to head to the beach to meet up with Carver's camp group. The problem was that the weather decided to be a glorious 70 degrees, and it was rather windy. The waves were dangerously high, and so they did not allow any swimming in the lake.

They were able to wade just a bit, and eventually we moved closer to a little pond in which they could swim more.

I spent most of the time walking Apollo around again, and didn't get more than my feet wet.

After a while it was time to go and see the final report of the week at the camp center, so I drove to meet Carver and sat with him through that. He had a really good week, and is excited to do it again next year. We then drove back to pick up the others who were still at the beach. Hakan, of course, didn't want to ever leave, but we did eventually get everybody back in the car and home to bathe off the sand.

Saturday was finally a chance to sleep in after Carver's camp was all over. After breakfast, Merritt started an impromptu dance party in the TV room. Kira planned to do several projects for her calling, and so I tried to start my project for the day (pruning all the dead branches from a tree) while the kids occupied themselves. Hakan helped out with some yardwork for a while before giving up and then things started to fall apart. Merritt wanted to go to a park, but Hakan wanted to go to the YMCA, and no one wanted to budge. Eventually we got everyone to agree to the YMCA, and so I took them all there while Kira had the house to herself.

We all had a good time and got a good workout there. We picked up Wendy's on the way home for lunch, and then I got to start on my tree project. I was surprised just how many dead branches there were, but I got them.

I then started burning them in the fire pit, but it probably took longer to burn them than it did to prune them. The kids came out to take advantage of the fire, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. Kira got her projects done, plus a few others that had been on her to-do list for a long time. Once the kids were all in bed, and we older kids started watching TV, I started going through some drawers to organize them better. That's been on my to-do list for years...

This next week is likely to be full of efforts to squeeze out some fun from summer. School starts before we know it...

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