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Jun 15, 2011

Once a year

Each of the last four years, I have chronicled a summer day in my life.  Today I decided to repeat the effort.  Sorry...no pictures.  And for those of you who tire of my life's minutiae, this is a post to skip!  :)

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I think I woke up when Zach came into my room at 6:30 and said, "Should I put my Day Camp shirt in the dryer?"  That jolted me to reality.  Since he had to be out the door in an hour with the shirt on his back, the answer was an emphatic, "Yes!"

But that didn't really make me want to move.  Gavin joined Garry and I in our bed.  Daylight was streaming through the windows but I was in complete denial that I needed to get up.  Baby Girl started doing her morning dance, which I invited Garry and Gavin to feel.  They couldn't discern much movement, but I enjoyed the wee one's kicks and wiggles.

Then I got out of bed, brushed my teeth, took my morning meds (there are five), took a few deep breaths to quell the nausea generated by being upright, and set about making Zach's lunch for scout camp.  I packed two peanut-butter-and-Nutella sandwiches, a banana, two cups of applesauce, chips, cheese sticks, and a Capri Sun.  (Zach reported that yesterday's meal of similar volume was just perfect.)  I pulled his water bottle from the freezer and filled the top half with cold water.

Zach and I ate cold cereal together while I asked what his camp agenda was today.  He told me more about the fun he had yesterday.  Gavin and Lexi filtered in for their own breakfasts and made a glorious mess with milk and cereal.  It always goes this way, although usually the whole family reads scriptures together amidst the chaos.  Our usual family routine was off because of Zach's early departure.

Garry dressed for work and took Zach to camp.  We squeezed in a family prayer before they left.  Garry showered last night after his Couch-to-5K workout.  It was weird for Garry to be gone at 7:25, since he usually leaves for work an hour later.  

I spent the next hour cleaning the kitchen, which was a total wreck.  I asked Gavin to get dressed 27 times, got Lexi ready for the day, helped Tyler with his piano practice, packed four more lunches and filled four more water bottles for a park outing later, sorted three days of mail, and vacuumed the rug.  I wrote off taking a shower until I realized at 8:20 that if I was super fast and didn't wash my hair, I could squeeze one in.

At 8:35, completely ready for the day (hair in a ponytail), I piled kids in the van.  Once they were buckled I raised the garage door and walked around the back of the van.  I saw my neighbor standing in her bathrobe in her driveway.  She was moving to Virginia today, and I knew this was probably my last chance to say good-bye, so I walked over.  We had a nice couple of moments, and then Gavin came tearing out of the garage and tackled Linda with a bear hug.  Then I had to go.

At 8:45 we picked up Holly the babysitter.  I dropped her off at my house with Gavin and Lexi, then took Tyler to track camp.  

It was 8:57, and as I was traveling down Meadowridge Drive, I ran over a squirrel.  Thump-thump.  In three years of living here, I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.  But it was tragic anyway, and pretty sickening, especially when I saw its little tail twitching in the rear view mirror.  Ew.  More deep breathing and rolling waves of nausea.  Ew.

At 9:01 I arrived at my weekly study group.  With three other ladies (one was absent today), I study the Doctrine & Covenants every Wednesday.  Today's discussion of Sections 18 and 19 was particularly timely for me.  I'm still chewing on a few of the new insights I gained.  During the hour, I had one isolated, uncomfortable contraction.  It was manageable, but definitely made me go, "Hmm...."

I arrived home at 10:15 and attempted to write Holly a check.  She refused payment today, saying I had overpaid when she babysat for my dental appointment Monday.  I'm pretty sure a babysitter has never told me I paid too much!  What a good girl.  She's coming back on Saturday.

After dropping off Holly, it was time to pick up Tyler from track camp.  During the pick-up I talked to a lady whose kids had been in music class with Tyler.  Apparently they dropped out in January like we did and also had a bitter experience with the teacher.  Interesting.

We swung by the house and picked up snacks, water, and lunches and drove to the park to meet friends for our old ward's playgroup.  We were nearly an hour late, but I was pleased to see that a little group still remained...and that there was a shaded pavilion.

The kids mostly played nicely, although Gavin had a few (predictable but seemingly unavoidable) altercations with other children.  I eased into conversations with the moms present.  We talked about tantrums and toddlers and ear tubes and insurance and babies and family size and summer vacations.  At noon everyone packed up and shipped out.  The length of the outing was perfect for my kids.

On the way home I called my friend Melanie.  We talked about her life and my study group and faith and deliverance and miracles.  I set the Littles up with a TV show so we could continue our conversation until nap time, which is exactly what happened, and only with a few interruptions.  Lexi's shirt disappeared during this time, and at 5:00 is still AWOL.  I should probably check the garbage can.

At 12:45 the Littles and I got down to the business of nap time.  A clean diaper for Lex and a pull-up for Gavin required repeated attempts, negotiation, wailing, and finally wrestling to accomplish.  The Littles cuddled together in Gavin's bed for a few minutes while I sang the usual silly songs.  Gavin was content when Lexi and I left.  Then I repeated the song and dance in her bedroom.  Betsy's ear in her mouth, Lexi still cried when I left her.

I settled in to check my email and Facebook and a blog or two before checking out myself.  Tyler was working on his math worksheet, math facts, and journal assignment.  I gave him a free pass on his daily chore so he could go out to play.

At 1:05 I kicked myself when the phone rang.  It usually goes off the hook the second the kids are sleeping.  But it was my pediatrician, and we briefly discussed the status of Gavin's insurance appeal.  She was faxing a letter to somebody today.  Fingers crossed!  During our conversation I could hear Gavin breathing on another phone extension.  After I hung up with the doctor I found him, confiscated the phone, and cuddled in his bed until he fell asleep, which took about two minutes.

It was then time for a Zofran fix, but I felt crummy enough that I knew I also needed to eat in order to achieve maximum nausea control for nap time.  So I had a very unhealthy snack and passed out on the couch.

I was weaving in and out of dreamland when Gavin came upstairs at 2:30.  He proudly proclaimed that he was wearing new underwear but couldn't find any clothes.  (They must have mysteriously disappeared from his bedroom floor during his nap, but I didn't check; daily clothing changes after nap time are routine.)  He cuddled with me while I rubbed his bare back, and then I talked him into reading a few books.  We got halfway through the first one when he jumped up and trotted off to the bathroom.  I fell asleep waiting for him to return.

Tyler came inside, all hot and sweaty, at the same time Gavin hollered for assistance in the bathroom.  Ty announced that the neighbors were leaving and it was time to say good-bye.  I instructed Gavin to dress so he could come with us.

Five minutes later Gavin came out in a sweatshirt and jeans with the pockets turned out.  It was 82 degrees outside, which is pretty hot for these parts.  I don't even fight these clothing choices anymore.  We said our good-byes to the neighbors and pledged to become friends on Facebook.

Then I broke out the "surprise" I had been waiting to unveil at an opportune moment.  The other day I purchased a baseball tee, bat, and glove for the boys to use together.  I figured Gavin could use the tee, Zach could pitch to Tyler, and they could all throw balls to each other.  Tyler and Gavin ran outside with their new treasures.  I showed them my ideas for playing and went back inside.

It was almost time to pick up Zach from scout camp, but Lexi, incredibly, was still asleep at 3:30.  She normally naps for 90 minutes, so 2.5 hours is completely revolutionary.  I was tempted to check on her for fear that she had died, but I resisted the urge.  I finally woke her up at 3:45 (pick-up time) and we piled in the car.  Much like the pre-nap diapers, the loading of the car was the usual three-ring circus: running, chasing, hiding, man-handling, weeping, yelling, and then, finally...buckles and snaps and a key in the ignition.

We arrived at the church at 3:51.  I sighed in relief when I realized that the scouts had not yet returned from camp.  I was off the hook for being late.  As soon as we parked I asked which child was responsible for emitting the noxious smell that was permeating the car.  Lexi confessed immediately (with glee).

At 4:00, I let the kids out of the car to play on the grass.  In our haste to leave, I had not replaced Lexi's missing shirt, so I put on one of Zach's that was hanging out in the car.  She hated that.  So then she wore Gavin's sweatshirt and Gavin wore Zach's shirt, which he loved.  Lexi still hated the sweatshirt, but wore it because it was either wear the shirt or get back in the car.  That lasted ten minutes, and then she got back in the car.

At 4:25, the scouts hadn't arrived.  I had forgotten my cell phone, but another mother finally got word that the Bears had just barely left camp!  So we continued to wait.  We were all back in the car with a/c running by then.  Gavin was hanging out the windows.  Tyler and Lexi were in the trunk with the stroller.  I was reading Raising Your Spirited Child and trying to formulate better strategies for handling (ahem, enjoying) my crazy (oops--spirited) children.  Having recently realized that I scored higher on the Spirited scale than dear Gavin, there is even more for me to consider than the average parent.

Zach finally arrived at 4:40.  We went home.  The kids ate popsicles, and I avoided making a plan for dinner.  It was too hot to cook.  The boys went outside to play with the t-ball set.  Fights erupted in less than two minutes.  I mediated.  Another two minutes passed.  More screaming and yelling.  Zach was in tears.  I suggested that he retreat to the cool basement and watch TV.  He wiped his tired little face and agreed.  I knew he needed some down time after a long, active day in the sun.  Gavin asked for a show, and I obliged, popping in the  "Dinosaur Diego" movie.  And then there was peace.  (And, for the record, not a moment of guilt about the screen time.)

So I started typing this up.

Then Lexi came into the office, completely naked.  "Det out of your office, Mommy!  Change my bum!  Get me dressed!"  Yes, ma'am!  So off we marched.  That's when I noticed how swollen my hands are today.  Feet, too.  It's 81 degrees in the house, at least where the thermostat sits, which is right under the ceiling fan, and I am hot.

Garry arrived home at 5:45.  I immediately wished, upon hearing the garage door rise, that I had asked him to bring dinner. We lounged on the couch and held hands for a while.  We talked about the day's events, a possible trip to YoYogurt for the grand opening sale, game night and Saturday project plans, and our upcoming date.  We skillfully avoided all talk of dinner.

At 6:00 Garry fired up the grill and I went out front to water my newly-planted flowers and collect the day's mail all by myself.  It's truly remarkable how quickly and efficiently those things can be done alone.  In the process I found my camera. Oops!  I guess I left it outside when I took Gavin's picture yesterday while he was digging holes for the petunias.

I directed the big boys, who were watching TV, to shower at 6:15.  I reminded them to put on clean underwear afterwards, which advice they met with groans of protest.  Nice.

At 6:35, I heard Garry ask Gavin and Lexi if they wanted hamburgers or cheeseburgers.  Hearing Lexi say "hamburger" with perfect clarity was completely adorable.  Hearing Garry ask Gavin to put on a shirt for at least the tenth time since his return home was not so adorable.  What is it with these kids who won't stay dressed?  My stomach was growling as I typed, but I knew I couldn't handle beef.

We sat down to eat around 6:45, which is way late, even by our lazy standards.  Gavin said the prayer, which included a blessing on the baby and that she could come out the tunnel.  I didn't quite hear that last part, but Garry did and was laughing hysterically by the time Gavin finished.  He filled me in when he could catch a breath.  I quickly asked Zach to tell us about scout camp, which he did.  So instead of explaining labor and delivery to the nine-and-under crowd, our dinner conversation revolved around safer subjects like fishing and tomahawk construction and sand art painting.  Lexi loudly objected to the water in her cup (she wanted milk) and had a lengthy scream-it-out period in her bedroom (adjacent to the kitchen) during this time.  Eventually she calmed down enough to rejoin the family for dinner.

At 7:15 the family dispersed again.  Gavin wanted to play baseball but instead brushed his teeth (under duress).  Tyler begrudgingly began the dishes.  Zach went down to bed (protesting), as did Lexi.  Gavin picked me to do his bedtime routine.  I sang him five Primary songs, Grandpa's Farm, and the Gavin song.  Then he screamed because he wanted me to sleep in his bed, under the six blankets he had piled on.  I spent some time straightening the laundry piles that Gavin had obviously torn up, but didn't really finish the job.  I hefted a full basket of the upstairs laundry to my bed, which left me out of breath.  I went to the bathroom.  Then I noticed Lexi's door ajar, and she wasn't in her bed.  I asked Garry where she was; he replied that she was in bed.  Hm.....  She was in MY bed, Betsy under one arm, and three pairs of pajamas under the other.  "Tuddle in Mommy's bed?" she asked.  So I obliged, knowing this was the easier route.  We sang a few songs, Garry delivered Motrin for Lexi's bulging gums, and she went back to bed...screaming.

At 7:55 I heard her climb out of bed again.  From the office (next door), I said, "Lexi, get back in bed."  She opened her door and offered a pititful, sobbing, "No...."  I walked into her room and found her sprawled on the floor, sniffling.  I asked if she'd like to sleep on the floor, and she agreed.  So I pulled her blanket and pillow out of the crib and put them on the floor.  She happily laid down on top of them.  I closed her door and left.  Then I talked to Garry about switching the crib into a daybed, or buying a toddler bed, or something.  Clearly Lexi is done with the crib.  *Sigh*

Meanwhile, Tyler diligently/tearfully worked on dishes.  He had to beat a timer to avoid consequences.  The timer came because of his fall-on-the-floor tantrum about doing dishes in the first place.  One of these kids might grow up to major in theater.

At 8:05 Tyler's timer rang, but he was working hard, so we let it slide.  He headed to bed at 8:15.

I sat in the recliner and read some more with my feet up and next to an open window.  The breeze was nice.  I was dozing off at 8:25 when it was time to meet my visiting teachers at YoYogurt, so I got up and headed out the door.

At 10:15 I came home, having eaten some delicious lemon ice frozen yogurt with strawberries and blackberries.  I also came home with a wicked headache and terrible stomachache.  However, I did enjoy the conversation with my VTs and the other ladies they visit.  I talked for a while in the parking lot with a lady whose kids have sensory issues like Gavin.  She had some good advice, and maybe some books I want to borrow.

And now, at 10:20, I will go downstairs to give Garry a kiss goodnight.  I will come back up to brush my teeth, hopefully not throw up, and go to sleep under the ceiling fan because man, it's still really hot in here!
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