In the swing of summer

 It definitely feels like summer around here. 

:  : Swimming

The kids have been using the canal by our house to cool off throughout much of the day.  Then at least every other day we spend some of our hours at the Dam. Sometimes we go other places, but it's hard to get motivated to stray very far when it only takes about five minutes to get here.

Only part of our crew. . . most days we utilize all the seats in my giant car.
And right now the water is about at the perfect level: high enough for the older kids to jump off the bridge, high enough for slightly younger ones to jump off big rocks barely poking above the surface, and still low enough in places to attempt to catch minnows.

Or, if you aren't into small fish, you can spend your time finding weapons. Lex was quickly able to find a knife, gun and a bullet. After watching all three of my boys create weapons out of whatever they have at hand (sticks, food they are eating, sister's dolls. . . ) I've come to the conclusion simply not buying boys weapons to play with will have no affect on their having weapons to play with.

Lex & KaNana
It's always nice to have pictures of the children with a bit of dirt. We wouldn't want them to be able to accuse us of locking them inside all summer once they get older. These two have clearly been enjoying the afternoon.

Israel trying to figure out how to have fun hanging out in the little kids' swim spot. I don't think this is nearly as exciting as jumping off the bridge.

: : Why do they do things like this!?

I went to put in my contacts the other day and I had no contacts. However, in their place I did have a small collection of sunflower seeds. Pretty much I just go from one thing like this to the next all day long. I don't understand. Do they want me to be blind so I can't see all the other things they are destroying! It's maddening.

: :Cruisin' by the Bay

My kids love classic cars. I'm pretty sure it's the influence of the oldest brother. He's a bit obsessed. When he gets this way there is really no way around learning about whatever the current obsession is, especially if you live with him.

Currently, he prefers TransAms. I don't understand this and I'm not sure you can really put them in the same sort of category as these cars, but he likes what he likes. Though there was a clear lack of TransAm representation, he did still find things he liked.

We came up to Polson's Cruisin by the Bay car show last year and this year the kids have been wanting to come back all summer.
Even Lex wanted to go. The older kids came to wake him up to get ready in the morning (he was sleeping in my bed) and he grumbled at them like an old man "Leave me alone! I'm tryin' to sleep!" and pulled the covers over his head.

Israel asked him if he wanted to get up and go look at some cool cars and he said, "Oh all right." He jumped straight out of bed, out of the room, and headed out the door to get in the car all in one movement. Once he decides to do something he does it. He did let me bring him back and put clothes on him, but he was grumbling about that too. He's come to terms with the fact that I won't take him anywhere 1) naked 2) in only underwear or 3) in only pajama bottoms. Still, he doesn't like having to get dressed.
I love all the line and angles and shapes in all these cars. Also, I love how shiny they are. Someone should make my car this shiny.
Lex figured out this way to pack Superman around while he looked at cars. It worked really well since he had his hands free to get into everything and it was almost like he also had a cape of his own.
 Lex was very busy running around pointing out Mustangs and Corvettes and TransAms. He doesn't actually know what any of these cars are & rarely identified anything correctly, but he wasn't interested in anyone telling him anything about that.

: : Ronan Pioneer Days: Kiddie Slicker Rodeo

Israel giving Lex some chicken chasing direction.

We didn't come home with even one chicken this year.

I believe this means we had a very successful Pioneer Days.

I kind of feel it's way too hot to go sit out in the sun and watch kids chase farm animals around, but my kids really like it. 

Zoran is such a good big brother. He took Lex and was explaining to him the stick horse race and getting him all ready to go. He even let him go first & explained to me he'd use Lex's horse for the next heat when Lex was finished.  And then some kid decided not to go and someone tried to hand Zoran a horse after the race had started!

 Do you see the look of terror in his eyes?? What? You are giving me a horse now? After the race has already started? The others will have a headstart! How will I win?!? How will I win!??"

He didn't actually say any of this, but I know it was exactly what was going through his mind. But he'd didn't whine, just picked up the horse & took off.
About that time (10 feet or so into the race) Lex had enough, dropped the horse & walked back to the start area. For a moment I thought he was actually going to participate in a game. 

Zoran & his trusty stead

A couple people asked Israel to be on a sheep dressing team once we got there.

He's actually not to bad at this livestock catching/ handling thing. Although I have no idea why you'd want to have or use this sort of skill.

They didn't win, but they were fast. All the teams in this older group were so quick. I don't think it took any of them more than a minute or so.

Chasing cows to get the money off their tails. .  . who came up with these bizarre games?
I don't even remember what exactly this crowd was chasing at this point (Azia is in there somewhere!) but whatever it is, it has my pity.

: : Highlights from the phone

I had a plan to start posting this and all these other highlights and photos from the week every Wednesday. Except this is the very first week I attempted to do this and I'm two (okay three. . . i didn't finish this yesterday) days behind. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The photos do stop back on Tuesday so maybe I'll get organized before next week.

You never know what to expect on these crazy summer days. Luckily, we have Azia who has a sense to plan for the unexpected and she knew things got especially crazy by the end of the week so she  fashioned everyone around here tinfoil hats. Even Superman got one.

My Grandma called me last week to make dinner plans for Saturday. With the Car Show and Kiddie Rodeo and two birthday parties (basically, just an average overbooked Saturday) it wasn't the most convenient day, but then I realized (as she was planning quite a few days in advance for "her day") that it was her anniversary. It took us two attempts to get to the Malt Shop since I got an ambulance call as we were pulling out the first time. But I called Dad to meet me on the highway on our way from Moeise to Missoula &amp had him take over my ambulance driving duties. And Grandma and I were able to make it in time for her August 6th dinner. I didn't realize until we were talking that it was actually the anniversary of not one, but two (of her three) marriages. She's now outlived all three of her husbands, and it seems a very odd thing to get married twice on the same day, but not really at all out of character for Grandma. And I think she must have had over 40 years of anniversaries on August 6th, so that seems reason enough to celebrate with some shrimp and ice cream.

 : : Zoran

I love this picture of my little guy & his summer-blond hair.  He is such a sweet boy when he isn't screeching at me or his brother or punching holes in the walls. Really much sweeter than any of the others. I just wish it didn't come in flashes.

Lately he seems to save the temper only for me. He really is very friendly and nice and mostly under control with most everyone else. So, I guess I should be thankful he's reserved all the rage for me rather than unleashing it on the world.

: : Haystack Fire

A bit after 4:00, early Sunday morning we got dispatched to this fire call with the Fire Department. Someone's entire stack of round bales on fire.

A pretty awful site; I can't imagine losing that much work and money if I was a rancher.

There wasn't really anything the fire department could do except keep it from spreading. I've heard from a few people that this was all insured. Hopefully.

As we were there waiting the sun started to come up from behind the mountains.
; : Back to the Water
Azia is like the missing older sister when she's with Maysa & Paisley. They are all almost exactly two years apart and from a distance she blends right in with the group. They're almost all the same size now so in a few years they'll probably seem like triplets. I think it's nice to be able to head over to the all-girl house of cousins pretty often when you have to live with three brothers. 

They have some ongoing game where they are all jelly beans? Also they do cheers in the water in some sort of strange gibberish secret girl language I don't understand. There is a lot of giggling. It is all very confusing to me.

I probably spend too much time with boys.

Israel swimming with Duke. Duke really doesn't like swimming, but Israel hasn't accepted that fact yet.

All four kids in one picture together and calm. Well sort of. They are only cooperating because their backs are to me and they don't know they are being photographed. Also Azia is fishing with her pole, but Lex is laying on the ground screaming at the fish. I'm not sure if this is part of his plan to catch them without a pole or just part of his plan to prevent Azia from catching them. Either would make sense in the world of Lex.

We stopped by to check out the bales on the way home. Fifteen hours later & they were still going. I was just going to drive my, but then I wanted a closer look and next thing I knew there was this little half naked guy right beside me excitedly yelling "Holy Crap! What is this, Mom? Holy Crap!" I do not know who he is picking things like this up from, but soon I'm going to have to keep him from leaving the house at all.

: : Lex the Shopper

Lex is starting to understand the concept of money. He understands money buys stuff. He doesn't at all yet understand what stuff he can buy with whatever amount of money he has.  At the car show he found a dime on the ground and wanted me to use it to buy him a cool black car there he thought looked like Batman's.

He found this money the other morning and wanted me to go buy him candy or doughnuts or the superman costume he'd seen the day before in a catalog.

The latest thing he's wanted to buy was a little kiddie pool he saw when I took him shopping Tuesday night. He got so excited, "Look Mom! We should get one! It's a little lake for our yard!" I was confused about it not occurring to him it was a pool, but I guess he hasn't really been anywhere recently where people have little mini-pools in their yards. What a cool idea after all, to have a little lake for your yard.

 : : Summer Storms

 I love them. The lightning is spectacular at night and these ones during the day seem almost tropical. The sun is still shinning, the sky is bright blue and everyone is getting drenched playing out in the rain.

I think we might have a few more weeks of warm weather, but with school starting before the end of this month, it seems our summer days are running out quickly.

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