Tell me it's after midnight, and I really oughtn't stay up to blog. I know. I will be tired tomorrow. But then again, it's already after midnight so I will be tired anyway. And quiet moments are so rare...
Judging by the thousands of pictures on my phone, we've done plenty to merit some fatigue. Here are some photos from the beginning of summer.
Trips to the zoo: The elephants aren't the only super-sized things around--one ice cream easily feeds our whole family.
Check out this enormous atlas moth, newly emerged from its chrysalis. So fascinating!
And let's not forget the big fun that can be had splashing.
(Spoiler alert: the zoo now has since added a ginormous splash pad where the whole family can have a whale of a good time.)
Swim Lessons: Three kids in three sessions at three different schools. Eli passed his beginner level at Norris with our favorite tough-love instructor Roger. Mouth full of water? "Spit it out or swallow." Can you spot our big guy sandwiched between some even bigger friends? Brooklyn and Talia are in the "Skilled" level, having finished a session at Burke and nearly finished a second session at Morton. So proud of them for sticking with it!
Camping at Platte River. Brooklyn camped with her Junior Girl Scout troop at Platte River state park at the beginning of summer. Sleeping in a teepee is always memorable.
Oh no! Raccoons gnawed a hole in the bottom of this box and pulled out all the hot dog buns through the opening. Gotta give 'em credit for resourcefulness! We were busy packing up our house while the Scouts were camping so I only stayed a day, but this amazing leader, Angie, stuck with the girls for the whole time.
Brooklyn wading in the creek.
After a short hike, we made it to this cute little waterfall.
Life is always best with a campfire.
Add in some canoeing at twilight, and it makes for a great day...
...at least until torrential rains hit. Just for the record, teepees leak...a lot. Plus, there's nothing like playing "Mafia" to calm everyone down. I have to confess, once the storm passed, I felt pretty grateful to be headed home to sleep in my nice dry bed.
Baseball. Eli's playing on his very first "Junior Storm Chaser" baseball team through the YMCA. Can't say that he's actually played much due to cancellations for extreme heat, but it's been fun nonetheless. Even more fun was the evening that Eli spent with his Papa Kay at a championship game for the College World Series. Thanks to an awesome Father's Day gift from NomiAnn, they had seats right behind the first-base dugout. Wowzers!
Fond Farewells. Before Jason left, we hosted a farewell get-together for some church friends at Pipal Park. Here's Jason manning the grill.
We sure will miss these great friends!
Adults from left to right: Christy Rawlings, Jessica and Bret Gardner, and Adrianne Stewart.
Jason and Fred Washington.
Last but not least, our daredevil Annika.
Buh-bye Otis. Aw man, just looking at this puppy dog face is enough to make me cry. I am so sad to be leaving such great neighbors (human and canine.) Sure wish we could have the Synowieckis around to chat with over the fence forever.
Annika with Lily and Connor.
The Synowiecki and Wheeler clans together...a rather dirty looking bunch. Brooklyn and Talia were particularly grungy, having just spent the day at Hummel Day camp.
Another photo of Otis.
Lily and Annika, patiently waiting for their hot dogs.
The Big Move. Back on our side of the fence, it was a huge frenzy getting everything ready to move. Even though we hired some help (thank heavens), it was still mighty exhausting. Since Brooklyn and Talia were at camp, Annika was sometimes left to entertain herself. Apparently digging in the dirt and then dumping it all over her head is a favorite pastime.
Before we knew it, it was time to pick up a Penske Truck. Eli was so excited to ride shotgun for a few miles home.
Hogging up the alley. At least it wasn't trash day!
Naturally, it was a hundred degrees the day we loaded the truck. I think Jason's shirt says it all, particularly since he's normally not a very sweaty guy.
While we might have been able to cram a little bit more into the truck, we called it quits because there is a 26000 pound gross weight limit. Not that we were cutting it close or anything.
Once we got through the FHA inspection and the endless scraping and painting of trim, everything went very smoothly with the closing. I thought I would feel a sense of relief when our home sold, but mostly I felt sad. The house seemed lonely without us and I feel lonely without it. When will our kids ever have such an amazing space again?
I already miss the porch swing...
...and the play structure. (Not to mention the trampoline and finished basement. I even miss the stairs--at least some of them.)
I know this home has been a lot of work, but we put so much into it that saying farewell feels like leaving a piece of ourselves behind. My only comfort is in knowing that we left this beautiful house in even better shape than when we bought it. How I pray the new owners will love and care for it as well!
I also hope they recovered from the street being torn up on the day they wanted to move in.
In the end, it's important to remember that a house is just a house. Once their popsicles were finished, we scooped up everything most precious to us and buckled them into our minivan for relocation to NomiAnn and Papa Kay's house.
Here's to future homes, likewise loved and filled with loving family.