Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Nice Weekend and June Gives a Talk

 The first half of July was so crazy, and I have enjoyed the slower pace of the last half.  June has one week left of summer school, and then we will have a complete month off from school, which starts back up after Labor Day here in NJ. I never knew the East Coast was on such a different schedule, but June's last day was June 23rd and her first day back is after Labor Day.

A quick photo shoot before heading out to the bus. And yes, this is the best shot of that morning. Eek.

Yesterday was positively delightful. The weather was a bit cooler, but we decided to head to the pool anyway and were the sole occupants for a good portion of our time. It was awesome!

Dan was with the girls in the pool. He has a goal of getting June to pass the swim test so that she can go down the slide before the end of the summer. So he's been working with her a lot lot lot. Yesterday, he confirmed the test requirements with one of the lifeguards and found out that we had been misinformed about the test. She is a good swimmer, but the test is much harder than we originally thought. She has to jump into the pool, tread water for 30 seconds and then freestyle across the pool in 20 seconds or less.

I don't know if that's going to happen this summer. Ha. Maybe next year!

I had the easy job of sitting with Harris.

See that major flat dent in his head? I see a helmet in this baby's future.

Our pool also has four square and tetherball courts. We headed over that way next. Dan played with the girls, and then he challenged me to a match. Which was ridiculous. Because I'm terrible at stuff like that, and Dan won by 298347327 points every time.

So I started coming up with ways to beat him. I made him put one hand behind his back. He still beat me. Then I introduced a new version of the game called "Phantom Tether" where he had to keep one hand at the level of his eye for the duration of the game. He still smashed me. Then I quit while I still had some dignity, though what dignity you still have after making up a Phantom of the Opera version of a playground game, I know not. Another mystery for another day.

We went home and bathed the girls. Then, in true Jolley form, we went to check out the new Wegmans that opened in our town. Grocery stores continue to be a hot topic in this house! It was a total zoo, but had great customer service. The manager of the store saw that we looked a little lost and helped us navigate our way around and also went to the bakery and picked up some cookies for the girls.

The girls were excited about the train they had going around the deli, all of the people and all of the food. They were acting like maniacs, so we quickly picked out dinner from the 38924732987 options they have in their food court and made our way back out to the car.

We arrived home around 6. Much to our delight, all of our kids fell asleep in the car. No one had had naps that day, so we put everyone in their beds/cribs and congratulated ourselves on an unexpected "date night" and ate our dinner and watched a movie without the kids.

Until they woke up at 7. Drat.

It was still a fun night.

June was asked to give her first-ever primary talk. If you recall our primary program last year, you never know what this girl is going to say if you give her a mic. Her mother is like that too.

 I have found that a mixture of pictures and words works best for June to memorize things. We practiced and practiced. And it was going just okay. June was so distracted, and she would say something off the wall every single time. Which is pretty funny and cute, but to a point. So I was trying to limit these comments to just a couple per practice, and I didn't feel like we were progressing. So I finally told myself to STOP worrying about it. It's just a primary talk after all, and primary is the place we learn!

After Sacrament meeting, Dan turned to June and asked, "Are you ready to go give your talk?" She was SO excited, without even a trace of fear. She ran up to the podium in the chapel and tried to give her talk as everyone exited for 2nd hour classes. We had to explain to her that her talk was in primary, not Sacrament Meeting. So she ran off to the primary room.

When it came time for her turn, she jumped up and ran to the podium and hit it out of the park. I was shocked. You never know what's going to come out of that girl!

Here is her talk:

That's it. Only 6 sentences. But it was definitely the perfect length for her to learn in just a few days.

After her talk, I exclaimed, "June, you did SUCH a good job on your talk!" To which she replied, "Superwhy! Superbot!"

And we were back to normal again.

After church, we raced home to make dinner for friends. I messed up every dish and burned the main course. I also burned my thumb. I was SO frustrated that I excused myself to the other room to give Harris a bottle. When I returned, Dan has cut off the burnt side of each taquito and announced that we were just going to call them "taquito tacos". He really saved the day. And then our guests had to cancel, and we ate the taquito tacos ourselves.

And they were delish.

The end.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 'Til I Die

July has been the most fun, exhausting, go-go-go month ever.

We started the month with my sister-in-law Christine's visit. She and my brother Dave were in Boston for a work trip for him, and we had been planning for awhile to have her come down on the way back so that she and I could go into NYC together. But she didn't know when we were planning it a few months ago that she was going to be pregnant and so sick when she finally came. Poor thing was so nauseated, but what a trooper! We still did so many things, and every once in awhile she would sneak off and die a little bit, and then come back and act like everything was fine.

Every time I call Christine, I sing her name like the Phantom does in Phantom of the Opera. I have been doing that for years, and only recently did she tell me that she has never seen Phantom. I now realize how weird it has looked for me to sing her name in a deep voice every phone conversation. So, it was only fitting that we went to see Phantom while she was in town. It was an excellent performance.

Here's my secret about Phantom of the Opera--I love it, but I laugh the entire time I watch it. That Phantom is a hilarious weirdo. And Christine is so needy ("All I ask is every waking moment, turn my head with talk of summertime!" That's it, Christine? Just let me entertain you every second of my life? Yes, Raoul, sign up for a lifetime of that!)

But it was so good, and I loved it.

Christine left, and my mom came into town a few days later, and we went to "Anastasia." It was SO GOOD. I'm glad I made sure to get that girl in the row behind us in the picture. Just adds a little something, doesn't it?

Dan's parents and sister Mikaela came a few days later, and Dan blessed Harris.

I am the luckiest gal because my mother-in-law is an excellent seamstress. Beyond excellent. She made Harris's blessing outfit, and this picture does not do it justice. 

I forgot to take a picture of the details on the cuffs because she had pearl buttons there too. Exquisite.

Harris received a beautiful blessing where he was blessed to know the truthfulness of the Gospel, serve a mission, marry in the temple and to be special witness for others. The blessing was a bit difficult as he was squirming the entire time and trying to jump out of the hands of the men who were holding him. And also crying. Actually screaming. But I heard most of it and loved what I heard.

The next day, my mom left, but the Jolleys were able to stay and party for the week. We did so much with them!

Dan took them all into the city one day, and they were able to go see Phantom while I chilled at home with the kids. They wanted to take the kids, but I thought that sounded absolutely torturous for everyone, so the kids and I were content to go swimming that day and relax at home.

We also went to two outdoor concerts, the movies, to the pool and to a little lakeside beach.

Dan and his dad went golfing a couple of times, we went for walks along nature trails, we went to the park, and we grilled on the barbeque almost every night.

One day, Mike, Kristi and Mikaela watched the kids so that Dan and I could do a session at the temple. We are in the Manhattan temple district, but since we had gone into the city several times recently, we opted to go to the new Philadelphia temple for a session.

And this is what across the street from the temple looks like:

It was so beautiful, and we can't wait to go back and spend more time in Philly.

Our house felt very empty after all of our guests left, but we have kept busy with summer activities. We swim at our local pool almost every day, we go to the library all of the time, and we still grill almost every night.

Last night, we drove to Pennsylvania to go to a well-known drive in called Becky's Drive In. They have tons of stuff for kids to do before the movie starts, and it's a really popular spot for families. Which is so different from the drive-ins I am accustomed to.

One of the things they are known for is having employees dress up as characters from the movie you are going to see so that you can take pictures. They also sometimes have pony rides, train rides, and the night we went they even had a juggling act.

I bought my kids tickets for the little train, and I noticed the sweet elderly woman at the cash register was hand writing each purchase on a notebook for her inventory. No computer or anything. A nice step back in time.

To the surprise of no one, I slept in the back of the car for the duration of the movie, but the girls had a great time. We got home close to 1 AM, but that didn't stop Gwen from getting up at her usual time of 5:30. Youch.

Here's hoping for an early bedtime tonight.