So we had a super busy, seemingly endless holiday/birthday/crazy week. I really thought it would never end. Seriously. So I will begin... but just a warning, this is a doozy.
After staying up too late Thursday night sipping prosecco with some neighbors, Friday, the the actual Fourth of July, arrived. So be totally honest (I always am), I have just never liked the festivities that usually surround the Fourth. I think fireworks are silly and totally overrated... if you have seen them once, you have seen them all. I get eaten alive by bugs, there is just so much traffic everywhere, the pools are always insanely crowded and you get kicked in the face during the dive for coins. I love America and all, but my ideal day would be at home, grilling out, and enjoying a few adult bevs. The problem with that? I have kids. And I would do anything for my kids. So we decided to go to our country club pool. I agreed to check it out... but if it was too crowded, we were turning right around. We arrived and **shockingly** it didn't look too bad! We actually got primo seating right in front of the steps of the shallow end, just steps away from the orange crush bar that was set up on the pool deck! I repeat, there was an orange crush bar just steps from my lounge chair.
They had a pie-eating contest, hula hoop contest:
A Money Dive:
An AWESOME belly flop contest. This little one passed out for almost two solid hours, despite being just a few feet from the DJ:
Now this is a 4th I can hang with. It never got insanely crowded, and the fresh squeezed orange crushes were divine. All-in-all, a fantabulous day.
Saturday morning we had my nephew Tyler's birthday party. My sister took on the daunting task of having it at her house. Trying to entertain 13 kids between the ages of 2-6? Not my idea of fun. But she is ridiculous and everything was great. I mean, she made the freaking Octopod for his birthday cake (from the show The Octonauts. Look it up if you want to be impressed). That afternoon, I managed to make all the cupcakes for Layla's birthday party that was the following day (despite three trips to the store made by Matt). We then got ready for our country club's major Fourth of July/Fireworks/Amazeballs bash.
I had cautiously high expectations, because everyone I had talked to about it said that last year it was, "The BEST TIME EVER." I didn't really know what we were in for, but I did know that it was a sold out event with 1406 people attending (the actual number).
The set-up was phenomenal. They had an entire parking lot of kids activities... bouncy things, temporary tattoos, rock climbing. Yes, rock climbing. And my girls just HAD to do it. It was mostly older kids, and a lot of them were having a tough time. Summer got hooked in and looked like a monkey, scaling that wall without breaking a sweat. Layla begged to try, and I was shocked they even allowed her. It took five solid minutes to even make the harness as small as she needed it. Then... she was too small to reach basically anything. And then she started pouting:
There was a live band, a s'more bar, more of those fresh-squeezed orange crushes everywhere, and a just plain awesome atmosphere. Our table was on an area of the golf course, so the girls just ran wild.
Then the fireworks began. As previously stated, I had zero anticipation for them. But I should have... they were phenomenal. SO beyond the best I have ever seen. I actually oohed and aahed. No pictures could ever do them justice...
Yet another amazeballs part of the night?!? ZERO traffic while leaving. I'm telling you, it was such a wonderfully orchestrated event. There were no significant lines for things, I never felt claustrophobic. Those two days may have changed my opinion on the Fourth of July forever. And that is a serious statement.
So Sunday morning my only goal was to decorate the cupcakes and get everyone out the door for Layla's birthday party. I went the easy way out for her party and did it at one of those bouncy places. I made the frosting, and then did an epically horrible job icing them and putting them in a flower-shape situation. The icing started melting, then all of a sudden Layla wanted one of them to be red. I gave up. But the birthday girl had an absolutely amazing time at her party. Her cousins and friends from school came, and she had a smile on her face the entire time.
They went in this wind tunnel machine and I really couldn't pick just one picture because the sequence is that phenomenal.
She ended up being happy with her cake and had a wonderful day.
So Monday was dear Layla Mae's ACTUAL birthday... but after so many straight days of craziness, everyone (including myself) was exhausted. I was determined to somehow still make it a fun day, despite wanting to curl up in a ball and do nothing.
We started out the day with chocolate chip pancakes on the special red plate.
We made it to the pool for approximately 45 minutes (they were just done).
I bought some Barbie Mermaid movie on demand for the afternoon while Livi slept. Then, the big surprise happened. Background... a few years ago, we took Summer to the American Girl doll store for her to pick out whatever doll she wanted. Summer came to me a few months ago with her wallet, and very seriously sat me down to have a discussion. She said to me, "Mom. I know what I want to get Layla for her birthday but I'm not sure I have enough money. I really want to get her an American Girl doll. Do you think you could help me out?" What am I going to say... no?!? So we made the plan and Summer actually kept a secret for the first time in her life (although she asked 123098543089 times throughout the day if we could tell her where we were going). We drove out to Tysons with minimal traffic. (Miracle) No puking occurred. (Another miracle) I watched Layla's face as we started walking towards the store and I could tell the moment she knew where we were going. She lit up. She was in glorious amazement. She decided on Bitty Baby twins and was in heaven.
Tuesday evening we had a very exciting event-- Summer's very first swim meet. She had been on the Mini Monsters team but the coach wanted to pull her up to the big leagues. Her goal? Swim all the way across the pool. I knew she could do it. Her coaches knew she could do it. Summer? She was nervous. Very nervous. I was nervous for her. She put on a swim cap for the first time. She warmed up with the other 8 & unders (I was concerned she would expend all of her energy just during warm-ups). She got a little pep talk from daddy:
The heat before her, one little girl broke down. The meet was delayed as coaches encouraged the sobbing swimmer. The clouds were darker and closer than ever. All I wanted in the world was for Summer to get her swim in. The nerves, build-up... we just needed to get this done. Finally they made the decision and the poor little girl didn't swim. That heat finished, and then Summer was up. She went up to the edge of the pool. They ordered, "Take your marks." The buzzer went off.
She dove (more like jumped in the forward motion) in! Without hesitation! And she swam her little heart out.
I was so proud of her.Not only did she make it, she beat several people in her heat! She was so excited. Then... the monsoon began, and the herds of wet swimmers and parents were directed into the ballroom (which is sort of hilarious, considering they usually don't allow t-shirts in the clubhouse).
***Sidenote... Bonuses I have already discovered from Country Club swimming versus County... no meets on the weekend, AND a full bar for the parents pleasure.***
We finally left the crowded ballroom, tried to order dinner online to pick up on the way home, found out they didn't have power, went home to no power, went back out to try to eat at a restaurant, didn't want to deal with a wait, left the restaurant, went back to the same restaurant to order carry-out, then walked around the grocery store while we waited for our food. This was a major bonus because I finally bought deodorant. Woohoo! The power came back on at 11pm... in no way compared to the NINE days we were out of power one time at my mom's... but kind of annoying considering our power lines are supposed to be underground.
Wednesday morning arrived and everyone was moving slowly. I got us out the door to swim practice, and Layla had a very exciting first. My little peanut, the brand new four year old, went off the diving board. This warms my heart/freaks me out because in all honestly, I don't want my kids to dive. I know what I went through. I know the injuries I accrued, the dangers I put myself through. Why would I want that for my babies?!?
I would never hold my kids back from anything of course... so off the board she went.
The next part of our Wednesday was phase 2 of my broken tooth saga at the dentist. Now this may sound ridiculous, but I get serious anxiety going to the dentist, at all times. The last time I went I was in such constant pain that I would have walked there. This time? I actually had to sit in the car for a minute to calm myself down. It isn't even the pain that bothers me... it is the noise, the scraping, the tastes, the smells. It all just kills me. I sat in my chair pretending my heart wasn't pounding out of my chest, gripped the armrests so hard my knuckles were white. I also have discovered another fun fact about myself. I apparently squeeze my left butt cheek when I am tense. Not the right, not both, just the left. So after, not only is my mouth throbbing in pain, but my left butt cheek is as well. I have one more phase to go with this awful broken tooth. I have 2 1/2 weeks to anxiously await the next appointment... and anxious I will be. Blame it on my awful childhood dentist who pulled not even loose teeth WITHOUT novocaine to "make room." That is the stuff nightmares are made of.
So phew. The novel is done. As I have said before, a major reason I even do this blog is to record everything... remember the crazy. Because I really don't ever want to forget these moments.