Life With Nine Kids

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Heat, Childhood Memories, Pet Raccoons, and No Fireworks ... but super fun games planned!!!!

This year we had a record breaking mild winter and when everyone feared the summer was 'going to be a hot one' I balked at the thought. It was wishful thinking! Now that we're having the biggest drought I can remember and record high temps for June, I've settled in on the fact that this summer is indeed a scorcher. Since I grew up in the desert the hot heat doesn't bother me as much as some people, it just makes me drink a ton of water and miss my family in Las Vegas! I think it's funny that our weekly forecast weather picture online has a blazing orange-red sun and Vegas has a happy yellow regular sun. This 108 degree craziness makes me nostalgic for swimming as a young child, the smell of chlorine and sun tan lotion on my skin, and the ice cream truck. (All things my husband just said make me a former city girl) 

The dry heat reminds me of swimming and Las Vegas, and swimming reminds me of my Great Grandma Nana. When my sister Christy and I would go swimming at her and Grandma Smith's house Grandma Nana would make us the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I remember every detail of that house and backyard. Those are awesome magical childhood memories right there. They had horses and pet raccoons, too! We don't have coons in Las Vegas, but these ones were brought in from another state where we had been visiting on a road trip. Their mother had been killed by a nearby farmer and my Grandma Smith and family took them in and bottle fed them kitten milk. There had been three babies but one didn't survive. Rakell and Ricardo survived though, and they lived out long lives in a ginormous enclosure over a huge pine tree in Las Veagas that happened to be right next to the swimming pool.  We fed them oatmeal cookies for treats.

But, those fond memories doesn't mean I like it this hot, no way! People and animals get hurt in heat like this. To keep cool I highly recommend ice chips! Also make sure animals have cool water in the shade at all times. We've been checking on our chickens, guineas and geese 4-5 times a day. Our poor little chickens are panting like crazy. We get the ground wet at night and it helps the ground stay cooler during the day for them to lay on. During the day we check and make sure the chickens aren't staying boxed up in the hen house during the day (too hot). At night when they all go in we open their door and blow some night air in with a fan until the inside has cooled down. It helps cool things off and I'm sure helps them sleep easier. In the morning I let them out extra early so they can enjoy the hours before the burn.

The fan in the chicken house door
You know when weeds are dying that it is hot and dry. We got our water bill and it was over $100 just as I suspected it would be. (Boy I miss well water!  I'll try hard to never buy a house with city water again. We had well water when we moved in, but hooked onto city because of other homes in our area. They have failing septic tanks and it's a concern that the failing tanks contaminate area wells.) I've been watering the garden like crazy and keeping the animals cool. The goose pool takes extra water, but I bucket out the dirty water and water plants with it every other day. The kids also play in the water and I have little kids that totally waste bath water. I'm not going to cut down on garden watering, but we need to cut down on household usage big time! For one, I can't let the little kids fill their baths up without adult supervision anymore. Everyone needs to take shorter showers and the little kids tiny baths. I dream of gray water gardening someday!

Independence Day
With this dry heat comes extra responsibility for the the Fourth of July. Tons of firework shows have been cancelled. We are under extreme fire threat due to dry and dangerous conditions so we are not going to set off anything that goes into the air. This is also reminiscent of my childhood because we weren't allowed air born fireworks in Las Vegas. So we'll just have to wait on the bigger ones and set of the smaller ground ones on the concrete in the front yard (after watering the grass down well). Those fireworks are so much fun for kids anyway. They pick them out, line them up and like seeing them get lit close up. This year we are adding a twist to our festivities since the fireworks will be shortened and not leaving the ground. This year I am adding a bunch of games to our party. (To which my husband already said, "Outside??? Do you know how hot it is?" To which I said, "We have water games, too. Sheeesh." I'm am 100% an outdoors person. This is obvious.)

Fun Fourth of July Picnic Games
sack race
water gargling contest
watermelon eating contest
apple bobbing
cheerio-butter face contest (Put butter on face and using no hands try and rub your face on a table of cheerios, the person with the most wins.) 
whipped cream cheerio face (Put whipped cream on your partners face, then throw cheerios, the couple with the most that sticks wins.)
drip drip goose (Duck Duck Goose, but you get water dumped on you when the person says GOOSE)
egg roulette (8 hardboiled, 4 uncooked eggs go around in a circle and you see how lucky you are when you take turns smashing them on each others head)
Old fashioned water balloon toss -which almost always turns into water balloon fight!

                                                                 Last Years Picture 2011

Every year we have a big family celebration/tradition on the 4th. Just our big family of nine has a big celebration. We make loads of food, pie, homemade ice cream and drinks. We always have Bomb Pops during fireworks. Our Fourth of July party is one of my favorite traditions. Sitting on the porch with the whole family for our yearly family photo and fireworks is really fun. Seeing the kids all dig through the firework box that Uncle Jason gives to them each year builds lasting memories.
Pictures From Two Years Ago! Pregnant with Everett 2010
Ricky and Charlotte painted my belly

                              Be safe this year everyone. Playing with fire is dangerous!

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