Saturday, July 9, 2016

Who wouldn't want to build a deck with 4 children?

Hey Peeps—

Currently I'm sporting a nice red "hot spot", or "blotch" as it were, on my back.  Actually there's a few blotches, all different shapes and sizes.  I learned a valuable lesson today:  never ask a 4 year old to rub sunscreen on your back.  They do shoddy work, and sometimes they pick their nose before touching you.  My options were limited however to:  a grumpy 13 year old female, or an 11 year old with layers of Cool Ranch Doritos on his fingertips.  Obviously I had to ask Zoe. 

I don't really mind the sunburn today, after all, it was another beautiful Colorado day spent with people I love the most.  Even if they are grumpy.  We headed over to The Bay in Broomfield because just the thought of Water World makes me hyperventilate.  The Bay is great for many reasons: 1. It's affordable 2. You don't walk 4 miles to park 3. The crowds are not bad 4. You get to appreciate tattoos all day long.  The only negative I have heard was from Faith.  She and Rachel say, "the giant soft pretzels have too much salt".  Will on the other hand, while licking it off was saying "ohhhhhhh this salty pretzel is so good", as he acquired early onset congestive heart failure. 

Summer is moving along, and as I say every summer, it is going way too fast.    After we returned home from our 4300 mile road trip, we hit the ground running.  Thankfully I work part time, because those couple days a week at work give me a chance to rest up and get ready for being with my kids the rest of the week.  We've gone to Mid-Air Adventures in Thornton!  We've gone camping in Rocky Mountain National Park AND saw a real live bear!  We've watched the Westminster City Park Fireworks show!  And as I've mentioned, we've been to The Bay a couple times to work on my base tan.  So far, we've spent numerous hours with friends, and we have spent even more together as a family.  This is the kind of summer that makes memories. 

One of the hardest things we took on this summer is re-building our backyard deck.  All the kids have joined in for several days of work.   I won't lie, "demo day" was exciting.  Or so I heard.  Thankfully I was at work.   After the demo, Billy had to go to Home Depot about 4000 times, and then once more because he forgot something.  Finally, the rebuild has begun to take shape, and board by beautiful board, we have a deck once more. 

Building a deck with 4 children isn't easy.  Not only does one have to make sure the 4 year old doesn't touch the saw, it's best if the 16 year old doesn't either.  You have to constantly remind the kids to stay focused and do the task at hand.  And while hydration is very important you have to remind the kids that going inside for water every 5 minutes is excessive.  Everyone has to work together as a team, and its important to know your limitations.  For example, I am more  of an "idea man" and Billy is better on the "manual labor" side of things.  However, just because I'm great at saying things like, "hey, let's rebuild our deck", doesn't mean I'm afraid of some heavy lifting.    Faith and I spent one whole hour moving giant planks from the front yard to the back, while the boys had a wonderbar thingy pulling at the remaining rotted wood.  I tried very hard to not envision a splinter the size of a nail impaling their eye.  It's best to keep me moving, rather than let me sit still and ruminate over such topics like "how I lost a finger while building a deck" and "I barely ever used the left side of my brain anyway". 

On the morning Faith and I were moving planks, I overheard Billy telling the boys that they were learning a real skill, and how important it is to know how to work hard and use your hands.  After Billy enlightened them on learning a skill, they discussed politics, superheroes, and the ever popular and always stupid Star Wars.  All of us bonded as we worked in the sun, sweating from hard labor, and being proud of a job well done.

I so look forward to the next decade as we appreciate this deck.  I can't wait for the warm summer nights and the sunny winter days sitting on the deck talking about the events of the day.  As the years pass by in this house, where we have lived 11 years, I find it harder and harder to picture us leaving. We've talked about moving, but how could we walk away from the memories?  So many nights cuddled on the couch before people grew 6 feet tall.  There have been thousands of meals around a tiny table where we laughed and cried through tacos and spaghetti.   There's a hallway upstairs where we played catch before everyone got too strong to knock the pictures off the wall.  There's a room we sit in every morning before school to regroup, to talk and pray and remind each person that they are loved.  There are too many lessons learned, too many conversations in front of the fireplace, where we shared something special with the people we love most in this world.  This deck, that I sit on now, is a beautiful place where s'mores will be made, songs will be sung, and hands will be held.  Thank you God for another warm summer night, on a strong and solid foundation, that we have never had to build alone.