July is over, and here’s how we spent it.
July was also the Battle of the Fruit Flies. I started keeping a running tally of how many of the flippin’ flies I killed. I finally broke 100 on day 15. ONE HUNDRED of the annoying little jerks are gone forever. Yeehaw! I started by chasing them with a fly swatter. That didn’t work too well. Then I set a trap for them. I put some cantaloupe guts in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap and poked holes in the wrap. They started congregating on the bowl. I would sneak up and use Jackson’s Backyard Safari Outfitters bug vacuum to suck ‘em up into the holding tube. Then I walked outside and released them. At one point, I captured nine at a time. After a week or so of this, I moved on to using the vacuum cleaner. Yeah, man! That eats ‘em up way faster. I got 13 in one fell swoop once.
About once a year, we take a trip to our local Six Flags amusement park. Since the heat was unbearable, we decided to arrive early and do the rides first, then eat lunch in the car and change into swimsuits. Then we moved on to the attached water park, which we had never visited before. It was lots of fun… until the one and ONLY thunderstorm of July just happened to ruin it. While seeking shelter in a nearby souvenir shop, we appeased the kids with ice cream before we headed home. It was fun while it lasted!
July 4th came, and the local cities and towns cancelled all fireworks shows because there has been a lack of rain. Our neighbors bought sparklers and shared them with us, and I got to take some of my favorite photos of the year. It’s like making art with my camera!
On one of our hot days (there was a LONG stretch where we didn’t play outside at all), Katie found some rolls of colored tape and decided to make Jackson a car track. (Yes, sometimes they can be loving siblings!)
This next photo makes my mommy heart swell with joy. Katie asked my boss if she could teach the kids in the Preschool room at church one Sunday morning. So he got her a script, we practiced and memorized it for days on end, and she got a chance to co-lead the kids. This was so awesome because she has been so self-conscious lately and won’t EVER do anything that puts her on display for others. I was proud of her for choosing to get outside her comfort zone and help lead other kids to Jesus. Attagirl!
The kids’ favorite pool toy went missing for two weeks. They forgot it at the pool and they were sad. I figured it was a lesson in responsibility, until we found another family playing with it later on. The spot where our name had been was scratched off. I asked the mom if they bought it, and she said yes. (This model hasn’t been available for a few years.) So I gave it back to her. But the next day at the pool (when this same family was there), the Toypedo was left when the family went home. Humph. I took it home and was planning to CARVE our name into it, but decided to take the high road. I am holding on to it until we see the family again, then I will personally return it to them so they don’t lose their Toypedo again. To avoid future ownership questions, I have burned our name into the other mini Toypedoes we own.
I took the kids on a day trip to nearby Washington, Missouri. We visited a friend of mine from church, who is displaying some of my photography and Katie’s Living Water bracelets (for sale) at her print shop. We poked around Washington: saw the corn cob pipe museum, the river and a caboose, had lunch and ice cream, and drove trains at the train store.
We went to a Babaloo concert at the library. This is a crazy local kids’ entertainer who sings all kinds of songs about things that make kids laugh (underwear, dancing, monsters in the bedroom). He ended the show by giving each kid a five gallon bucket and a pair of drumsticks. The kids went nuts banging their drums, and the patrons ran screaming from the library. (Just kidding.)
For one week of July, Katie went to her first LONG overnight camp. I wrote about drop off here, and a photo in this blog post shows the joy of our reunion. The day we picked her up, something cool happened. One of the girls at camp asked Jesus into her heart, and she was baptized on the day the parents picked everyone up. I love seeing baptisms!
Katie got a butterfly kit for Christmas, and we finally got our caterpillars delivered by mail. They made cocoons and emerged a few days later. It’s fun to watch them change and become something new – a great lesson for the kids.
Dan’s cousin is having a garage sale, and we are now the proud owners of a second LoveSac. We love our first one (even though Dan says it looks like college décor), and the second one looks great in our basement.
July ended with a bang. One of my high school best friends drove from Georgia and brought her family for vacation. We got to visit the best St. Louis has to offer, starting with the City Museum. You can’t go wrong with a downtown building full of slides and caves and tree houses and mosaics and upcycled craziness and an indoor circus and a mini train and a skate-less skateboard park and a GIANT praying mantis and a ferris wheel on top! It’s Dr. Seuss meets Where The Wild Things Are with a bit of The Hobbit thrown in.
We spent their last day in town at Grant’s Farm where we got to see (and touch) Clydesdale’s, watch an elephant show AND a bird show, see bald eagles, feed goats, get close to a red-tailed hawk and even closer to a hungry camel.
Every year when spring is ending and I think about the upcoming summer and what cool things we might do, I always have these big plans and ideas. Usually the heat sucks lots of the fun ideas out of me, but I can look back at this July and say we did a LOT and made great memories. What a fun summer!