hi monday. i love you!

 i am still drooling over this blogger's camping trip to yellowstone. maybe i will lay off all the pool talk and ask jeff for an old airstream to fix up. that will make plane tickets look pretty enticing ;) it wouldn't work for a swimming pool. he's so against a pool that it would take asking to have another baby to get him to budge. an energetic infant at 50 years old, 12 13 17 more years of school tuition... now that might make a swimming pool look enticing. just working the system! unfortunately my husband runs household system :)

speaking of pools... a blogger that has me laughing this week: scary mommy i am now a follower. her post about pool moms was so funny because it was so true! like her, i met every single mother on her list. i may have fit into almost all categories at one time. but now, 40+ with teenagers, i am a pool mom in a completely different category. one that involves: embarrassing my children with my very presence. my kids walk by and pretend not to see me. except when they need money or a snack or to tattle on someone or just need a shoulder to complain on or a ride home.  

 here's a few categories from her post. hop over and you can read the rest. 

 Now that summer is finally, hopefully, for the love of all things hot and sunscreeny, here, we have been making the rounds at some popular pools in Boulder. Sometimes I find it fascinating to watch other people interact with their kids. This may mean that I don’t get out a whole lot.

Here are some variations of Moms that I have seen at the pool:
1. The Regulars: The swimming pool that you are at is their swimming pool, you just haven’t realized it yet. They come in small groups and set up shop at the prime sunny/shady spot with their matching fold-out chairs and their coordinated snacks and brightly colored towels and eye you a little suspiciously if they don’t recognize you. They are together. You are clearly not in their togetherness with your raggedy bath towels and your chocolatey-faced children.
3. The Fun Mom: This mom makes us all look bad and I don’t like her very much. She tickles her kid going down the slide EVERY TIME and she lets the kid ride around on her back even though they are clearly choking her and she encourages games of tag where she actually tries to catch them and everything. And she brings swim noodles for chrissakes. Swim noodles. Her kids look pretty smug too, as if they know they had done something pretty great in a previous life to earn Fun Mom.
4. The Phone Moms: We all need to talk at some point, but there are some moms that literally spend the whole time on the phone at the side of the pool. It’s impressive. Their child is eating other people’s snacks, using my kid as a floaty and clogging up the slide situation by trying to go up backwards and Phone Mom is completely clueless.
5. The Toddler plus New Infant Desperation Mom: She has a new baby snoozing at the side of the pool. She has a toddler wreaking havoc like a boss. She is lucky if her swimsuit is on in the right direction. She looks a little freaked out around the eyes. We’ve all been there. You may see her nodding off a bit as she sits down in the shallow end and then get startled awake when her toddler pokes her face with an errant swim noodle.
6. The Perfect Mom: Ugh. Almost as annoying as the Fun Mom. I look at Perfect Mom and mentally berate myself for not caring more about how I present myself to the world. I mean doing 1000 sit-ups a day to have abs like that couldn’t be that hard! And I could probably attempt to wear some sort of flowy beach cover-up and wedge sandals and bring actual beach towels. I could buy actual beach towels! Perfect Mom’s children even look like they have bathed in an actual tub in the last week. Not having to take a bath is half the reason we even come to the pool.

10. The Discipline Mom: She expects her children’s perfect behavior at all times. No pushing, no sliding out of turn, and for goodness sake don’t blow your nose in the pool like that kid (pointing at my kid). She has a lot of rules and there are a lot of time-outs on the side of the pool and she talks a lot about good and bad choices. But all I can think is, jeez, give the kid a break, they all like to splash an unsuspecting friend in the face once in awhile. It just feels good.
I have fit very snugly into all of these Mom categories at one time or another, depending on the day, or the amount of sleep that has been bequeathed to me by the children in my home. Well, except for Perfect Mom. But we all know that girl has something crazy locked up somewhere.
which one is my least favorite? definitely it's the phone mom. at least hide your phone in a paperback to appear that you're not sideline parenting and face-booking at the same time. not that i see anything wrong with that ;)
a slow deep breath in the middle of the week.
 just what we needed.

i am... let's see, maybe 1/5 of the way through my book. i am a slow reader for sure.  i bought the paperback version and then checked the e book out from the library. kindles and sunshine / paperbacks and nighttime, nothing's perfect right? but a lazy morning with coffee and a book plus this view! a few minutes was even super quiet. when your kids are of babysitting age they can take their little sister to the pool. my battery is recharged for the work weekend.

wildlife... when your kids are no longer small and doing ten cute things a minute. a subject matter can be harder to come by. next thing you know i will photographing tree bark. just kidding... i seem to like photographing birds. who knew (???)

my kids are perfecting 'fake camera fun'
oh well~ i'll take it. beats a million bird pictures.

anna katherine snapped a picture of my boy, me, a hermit crab bennett is messing with and our cart of beach junk stuff. i think i was wondering why a wine bottle was in our cart. turns out it was a fancy bottle of water. (we found all the shark's teeth at folly beach. our beach of choice, sullivan's island, was almost shell-less)

 everyone was excited when daddy rolled into town. 
a few quick pictures while we waited for dinner. i am going to start posting every picture of my kids purposely making 'hurry up bug eyes.'  

a rare dinner out and we chose charleston crab house. mind me while i give a quick review. i am not a seafood fan but my son and husband are. maybe it was just an off night, but my seafood lovers agreed that the food here was awful. 

jeff looks thrilled doesn't he!

we enjoyed a late night swim. (jeff and i savored their swim from our lounge chairs.i think they call that 'sideline parenting.'  but these cool floats were pretty tempting. 
iphone pic
happy weekend!

agenda please

summer days when my kids were little,  i would scoop them up, no questions asked and off we would go. now before going anywhere, my kids want a run down of the travel agenda! as if mentally deciding whether there's more interesting and exciting things they could be doing.

i have worked almost every single weekend since mid april. i have a ton of work to catch up on in my office. everyone needs a weekend every now and then. so... i am taking my weekend in the middle of the week. we left everything; laundry, housework, office work and took a little road trip to charleston. hello! with all of my kids in tow. rare these days when my kids have more exciting choices than hanging out with their mom. daddy will join us tonight.

 we tried a beach that was closer to our hotel. it was a little more touristy, there was more public parking which naturally means crowded. the waves and current were too strong for my comfort!

 we traveled light. so light we didn't have beach pails and shovels. we used what we had~ our beach pail was a fast food cup, our shovel a cooler lid!

yay summer!

 vbs has been the highlight of our week. i hope the number of vbs pictures is not a sign that i am going into a graves family photography drought. (please not when it's summertime.) 

i took a few pictures at the musical finale.

 and a few pictures of my nephew at the finale dinner. doesn't this cookie look delicious? oh it was! two (maybe five)  bites and today i would like to crawl into a hole! (gluten is of the devil)

photograph your own family!i am entering this into my phone as a daily reminder. not really, but i should! a quick mountain trip to see my mom, we had fun, weather was great and i took maybe a dozen pictures.  
i am coveting another's blogger's summer vacation. she is currently on my dream family vacation! i have planned this trip, several ways, more times than i can count. ten days, airfare, lodging, rental car, food... i have not been able to get this trip under $12,000 ~ for five people. but i have never considered doing it this way.  i will taking my trip vicariously through this family! while my vacation sits in my expedia cart ;) 

my husband can figure out and fix just about anything... but here's his attempt at a group picture. oh and he took one. see me? i laugh every time i look at this picture.

father's day (the good, the bad)

happy father's day! a day late, but who's counting?  ready for the mandatory mushy stuff? 

i will just say my kids are so blessed to have such a wonderful father! i remind them of this all the time.
mother's day is a hard day for jeff. his mother passed away (suddenly) when bennett was two. jeff was a mama's boy, so he took it very hard! 

father's day for me is filled with mixed emotions. the day is spent mostly full of gratitude for my own children. jackpot in the dad department!  my own father, if you have noticed, is rarely mentioned here. while i do not have a bad relationship with my father. sadly, i just don't have much of a relationship at all.

my parents divorced when i was young. my dad is a super nice guy. bennett looks just like him. he lives a city away and would give you anything. when he was young, the measles left him almost completely (80%) deaf. he wears hearing aids, but still, hearing is difficult. 

why the weak relationship? why doesn't he see his grandchildren often? children of divorce, can you guess? yes. he married a rather... choose my words carefully... let's just say ~ unpredictable lady. 

 over the years, maintaining a relationship with her in the picture became exhausting. my sister and i have a no-family-drama-policy. when someone thrives on drama and another is unable to hear the drama and you tire of explaining drama to children... just say "you win" and carry on. 

there's no hard feelings or unkind words towards my dad. we still talk, just not a lot. he is welcome anytime and he knows this. i am sad because i know, if he ever really got to know his grandkids, especially bennett, he would be head over heels in love with them.  sad also that one person can change the dynamics of a family. 

 pity party over :) now for a branch of my family with zero drama. with the exception of chastising uncle mike for potty words ;) and grandkids sitting in papa's chair, there's no drama what so ever! they are awesome! 

happy father's day to papa gene too! he is a great grandfather to my kiddos! we overloaded him with kids the weekend before. oh and don't sit in his chair either ;) 


 camp and a quick visit to my mom's cabin put our family in the mountains for the first week of summer. now we needed to say hello to summer with some salt and sand. i reminded them, it's pretty neat to live half way between the mountains and the beach. i worked non-stop for two days in my office, we packed up, cleaned up, scooped up goldie and were on our way. a few days in charleston were just what we needed to officially feel like it was summer!
 my kids commented on how 'crowded' the beach was. a summer day drive to myrtle beach may be in order.these guys need to see a 'crowded' beach. 

after a little hampton inn drama ~ note to self: never ever ok a smoking room even if it is the last room available. because it will feel like you are suffocating in a nasty ashtray! thankfully the desk clerk took pity on our coughing and carrying on to switch us  with someone dying ~literally~ for a smoking room. the details of the man wanting this room were so sad. he had just completed radiation ~ for lung cancer ~ and still smoked! we knew this because he was at our door waiting to switch before we were ready. he sat on the bed, looking awfully sick while we threw everything into the hallway. with our luggage in a holding room, waiting for his room to be cleaned, we were left half dressed, wrinkled, wet hair, no make up... funny, but not funny.

 anyway... a quick trip to old navy for clothes, ponytails, powder and were off to downtown charleston... in all our glory ;) we enjoyed dinner, did a little window shopping on king street. anna katherine and i refrained from photographs, even though she looked adorable!

 the kids found this hysterical!

 and they found the beanboozled jellybeans! have you heard of them?

 it's a game where two jellybeans look the same but taste completely different. are you eating a peach or a barf flavored jellybean. disgusting! the smells were as real as real could be!

then it was back to the beach ...

sunkissed and refreshed, we can now say hello summetime!
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