End of Summer

Our August was a lot of fun. We played at the lake(s), went hiking, went to a bonfire/s’mores party at Golden Gardens with Holly and Jansen’s ward, went to our ward salmon bake. Christopher and the big kids hiked up Crystal Mountain and took the gondola down. Megan went to camp and the boys missed her. Ben lost both his front teeth. The kids went constantly back and forth between our house and the Carl’s, to the point where the kids were asking what was for dinner at both houses and eating whatever sounded better to them. Shay and I let them until school started.
















Logan’s 4th Birthday

Logan turned four in the middle of August, if that tells you about how busy we’ve been around here. He had fun opening his presents and having a little party at the park. I’m happy to report the cupcakes tasted delicious, but they looked awful. We swirled peanut butter and chocolate frosting, and it looked like poop. The kids ate them with no complaints. The adults politely declined.

At four years old, Logan is starting to become one of the big kids. He loves books and Special Agent Oso and Minecraft. He enjoys playing outside, but has no stamina for long walks. He eats everything, but especially loves oatmeal, pita bread sandwiches (pita, hummus, and cucumber), and spaghetti. His favorite color is red. He likes sharing a room with his brothers, and still sleeps on the bottom bunk. He still wakes up if he’s cold or wet or has a bad dream. A few nights ago he had a night terror. I ran in his room where he was screaming, “There’s a squirrel in my bed!” I calmed him down and tucked him back in. The brothers barely stirred.

He absolutely loves his preschool, and has trouble playing independently because he loves being with friends. Brookie is his best cousin. Ben is his best brother. He’s starting to enjoy playing Legos with the big boys, which is awesome! He can’t keep up with them on the trampoline yet. He still gets left behind when Dad or Mom takes the big kids on adventures, but when he can hike a mountain or sit through a movie, he’ll be right there with them. With Logan’s 4th birthday, it’s safe to say we are officially out of the baby stage!


Ben convinced Logan to share his birthday money from Gigi, and they each chose a “Beanie Boo”. Logan picked the “pink fluffy unicorn”.





Desmond, Margot, Brooklyn, Isaac, and Logan


Gift from Grandma and Grandpa


Birthday song at church

School, Day Two

Today was Wednesday, late start for Megan, so we didn’t have to get up until 7:30. Gavin read our scripture and requested a big pot of oatmeal for breakfast, which we ate with fresh strawberries, frozen blueberries, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Ben pitched a fit at the bus stop because it was the first day of kindergarten and he wasn’t allowed to be first on the bus anymore. The driver had to sign in each kindergartner for the first time and Ben was incredibly impatient. Our bus stop has about 20 kids at it, mostly boys. They are rowdy and loud and one of our little neighbors, an only child and first time kindergartner, was holding tightly to both parents and quietly crying. Stephanie Rubyor (also a mom of three boys) and I had to yell at them to quit scaring the little girl. Hopefully she’ll get used to them.

Logan got to meet his teachers today. He’s going to Catholic preschool and I’m thrilled so far. I convinced my best friend Laura to enroll her youngest in Logan’s class, so we’ll be able to carpool. After the meet and greet, we walked across the street to the library and talked while Logan played computer and Asher put about 50 books in their library bag.

After lunch, I made Logan have quiet time and he fell asleep (yay!) Unfortunately, it was early release day so Gavin and Ben came home 15 minutes later. While Gavin listened out for Logan, I took Ben on a long walk to get his energy out. When we got home, Logan was just waking up. We waited for Megan to get home, I made a pot of soup (three in a row–I kind of love Fall), and we played outside again until dinner. Christopher stopped by the Farmers’ Market on the way home and brought back a flat of nectarines, so life is good.

I went ahead and took Logan’s “first day of school” pictures even though he doesn’t start until next week. He picked out the shirt because it has a pocket, and he likes to carry around a pen in it. Our photo shoot lasted about ninety seconds.

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First Day of School

My day began just after midnight, when I was going to bed. Megan came into my room, fully dressed, and said, “Oh, good, you’re up already.” I laughed, pointed out that it was 12:08, and helped her back to bed. She was obviously a little out of it, and relieved to hear she still had six hours to sleep.

At 6:30, my alarm went off, and we got up and started the day for real. We read scriptures for the first time since June and had first breakfast. Megan left at seven, and the boys’ bus doesn’t come until nine, so we have a solid two-hour stretch of the boys just waiting. I need to figure out a productive way for them to fill that time. I hate the schedule.

Gavin and Ben jumped onto the bus without looking back, a good sign. Ben immediately found a friend and started chatting, while Gavin, as a fifth grader, took the very back seat and enjoyed the solitude. I’m not sure if anyone sat by him later. There are still two school buses for our relatively small neighborhood. Each bus only stops 2 or 3 times and fills completely.

Logan and I took the slow walk home in the rain. When I asked him if he was happy or sad his brothers were gone, he said, “Happy. I don’t care.” Within five minutes he changed his tune: “I miss the brothers.” We went to the playgroup at the Lutheran church, Trader Joe’s, and spent a quiet, rainy afternoon at home. I’m not going to lie; it was long. I need to remember how to keep him occupied so I can get some stuff done. We read books, cleaned, and made a pot of soup. I took out the easel so he could paint and color. My friend Sheryl brought by some fresh bread, which was perfect because I had made split pea soup.

Megan bounced in the door at 2:30. Her day was awesome and the play-by-play took an hour. She loves her teachers, she was brave and found a place to sit at lunch, and she was able to help lots of sixth graders as a WEB Leader. I was so happy for her. We spent 45 minutes putting her hair in curlers Monday night, but with the rain her hair frizzled immediately. She definitely has her mama’s hair, and I’m wondering what will happen when she hits puberty.

We picked Gavin and Ben up from the bus at four. Ben ran right past us, through puddles, in the street, all the way home. Gavin was slower, and when I asked him to take out the recycling he melted down, so we got some soup and bread in him right away. After that and some Lego time, he was ready to do chores. Gavin’s favorite part of the day was “silent reading time” and there “wasn’t really a part he didn’t like.” Ben had P.E. That’s all I was able to get out of him. Here’s to another great year.







Last Day of Summer

And… the summer is over. I can’t wait until the kids are in school so I can blog all about it. We have spent the last week or two getting ready for the year, buying and organizing supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, and clothes. I think all four kids are excited and anxious.

Megan is starting 8th grade and was thrilled when she saw her schedule today and has three teachers she had last year–all whom she loves. She is taking two classes for high school credit, 1st year Spanish and 10th grade Geometry. I guess it’s real now, because those grades will be on the transcript. I’m surprisingly not worried about it. Megan will be playing violin in orchestra again, trying out for the volleyball team, and participating in WEB–Where Everybody Belongs. She went to several WEB training meetings last week and participated in the orientation for the sixth graders. She continues to be helpful, kind, intelligent, and hard-working. She continued to save money for her orchestra Disney trip by babysitting, pet sitting, and house sitting. She’s only about halfway to her $1000 goal, so she’s thinking about becoming a tutor and/or child’s birthday party entertainer this Fall. If she could legally get a job, I know she would.

Gavin can’t believe he’s starting 5th grade, and at dinner said, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this! Ten years!” I was frazzled during “meet the teacher” today because I thought we were running late and when I got to the class his teacher said, “Actually, you’re 30 minutes early.” Because I can’t read. I told her, “I have too many kids” and she laughed and I think it’s going to be a good year. Gavin is sweet, helpful, kind, and a natural puzzle solver. He spent most of his summer playing Legos and Minecraft, chess and Rook.


Every time I mentioned school to Ben, he nonchalantly replied, “Oh, I’m not going to school.” But when today came, he did go meet his teacher, and was polite, charming, and as sweet as could be. He said hello to every kid and adult he passed, and it seemed like everyone at that school, for better or worse, knows who Ben is! Ben is most excited, of course, for recess, where he will play soccer, and PE.

Logan is going to be sad tomorrow when he realizes he doesn’t start school until September 9. But his day will come.

Palmetto Falls Fourth

We spent the 4th of July at Palmetto Falls Waterpark on Ft. Jackson. It was cloudy so the crowds were light. Ben was just tall enough to go on all the slides and Logan was big enough for the smaller ones, so everyone was happy. Ben probably climbed the stairs to ride the bigger slides a hundred times. Logan refused to wear his puddle jumper and we had to keep a close eye on him.

You might notice that Ben has the brightest neon yellow shirt you’ve ever seen. Best purchase I’ve ever made. He was easy to spot in the ocean, at the pool, and at the waterpark, and I’m sure he’ll be wearing it to the lake here, too.

Gavin got stung by a wasp towards the end of our trip but thankfully had no reaction. In the evening we went to Jeff and Melody’s for more swimming and a BBQ with cousins.

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Just Keep Swimming

Of course it was hot in South Carolina, so we needed a place to swim. Fortunately, Emily and Lauren (formerly) Kamber were at Hunting Creek a lot, so we tagged along. It seems smaller than it did when I was a kid, but it was perfect for my crew. Sometimes Cait and family went with us, sometimes Ethan. Thankfully no injuries like last year.

Ben improved his swimming, and Logan progressed quickly. By the end of our three weeks in South Carolina, he could finally swim a short distance, raising his head to breathe. The last pictures are in the Dryden’s back yard, next door to my parents.

The butterfly picture was at Hunting Creek. A butterfly the exact color as Ben’s swim shirt followed him around for a half hour, continually landing on him. It would fly up in the trees, and then eventually circle the pool until it found Ben. Sadly, the poor creature followed Ben to the car, where it landed on the hot, black dashboard and died immediately.

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Riverbanks Zoo

When my mom had a day off work, we headed to the zoo. I rode with my dad and the kids, Cait and Tim took their car, and Mom and Ethan joined us later. We loved feeding the giraffes, goats, and lorakeets. The big kids did the ropes course and rock wall, while Logan rode the carousel over and over again. I was happy he was old enough to ride by himself so I didn’t have to as well!

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After our week at Fripp, we spent two weeks in Columbia and enjoyed all our usual adventures. One of the first places we headed was EdVenture, one of our favorite children’s museums. We met my cousin Kelly there with her two kids, and ended up staying the entire day. Even Megan and Gavin had fun, and when they got bored I sent them to the library, which is an actual branch of the county library within the museum. Logan had the most fun, I think. It was the longest time we had ever spent there, because no one needed a nap, and we didn’t have a membership so we couldn’t just come back the next day like we have in years past. The three big kids were old enough to go off on their own, so I just kept tabs on Logan.

One day I should make a book of all the cute EdVenture photos I have.

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The day we left Fripp, Christopher and I were able to take Megan and Gavin to Charleston for the day. It was an especially moving time to be in the city because it was the week after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church. We were able to have some good talks with the kids about racism, hate, violence, forgiveness, and love. We walked from the Battery to the church, arriving as yet another funeral was beginning. We briefly paid our respects before heading back to our car. I love the history of Charleston and there was a feeling of peace and unity among its residents. In addition to our visit to Emanuel AME, we toured the Market, several waterfront parks, and ate some really great food.