This is why my laundry isn’t done…

After seven months of hectic business travel mashed in between a family life with three children and a business owning husband working twelve to eighteen hour days, I would have been content to stay home this past weekend and only take in our local county fair. In between the fair, maybe I would have done some laundry, organized my closets that are in disarray, put away toys that have taken over every room of our house, emptied laundry baskets that never quite seem to get emptied or maybe just have taken a nap.
We would have eaten cotton candy all weekend, viewed the livestock entries, 4-H projects, gone to the rodeo and 
rode on every kiddie ride at the fair. 
But we didn’t just go to the fair and otherwise stay home to empty laundry baskets. Because who needs their laundry baskets emptied, closets organized or toys not stuffed in every corner and cup board of the house? Well I do actually. But this is summer on the prairie, our single season of the year that it does not snow or sleet. There is our a long prairie winter to organize. Summer is for getting out and about and taking it all in as a family. 
So…
we did more than just take in our local county fair. 
We had our yard landscaped. This is phase one landscaping with more to come as our budget allows. We will seed grass in a few weeks. Then I will share more before and after pictures. Landscaping is the first labor intensive project my husband has not done himself or with his father at our house in two years. It saves on his back after he built the retaining wall outside of our walk out basement last summer. Plus landscaping a hay field is not an easy task. We left phase one to the professionals which left us more time…
this past weekend to camp and experiment cooking over the campfire with our new cookware…for dummies. The set was a gift from my mother to Nathan which he was thrilled with and excited to use. I’ll share our step by step tutorial on cooking Pioneer Woman’s “Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich” (steak) recipe later this week.
On Saturday morning we drove with Nana and Gpa Eldon to Bismarck to the zoo. Miss E was more secure watching the bears and tigers behind cages than feeding the goats and prairie dogs. 
E finished up swimming lessons and would keep going every day if she could. 
And when she is not swimming, she wants to ride her bike. When we camped on Saturday, E mastered her riding with training wheels and pedaled all around the campground, carefully supervised by parents and grandparents. She keeps us at bay though. We cannot be too close because she can do it by herself and makes that very clear.
Anika discovered while camping she loved smoke from the camp fire and
designer sunglasses. 
Anika was all smiles despite the fact she…drum roll…started to cut her very first tooth. Actually it feels like more than one is cutting but there is definitely one tooth for our one year old now. 
But our weekend and family fun had a void in it and that was Hunter James, who has a little more than a week left to visit with his family on the west coast. This is the tenth summer of his summer visits.

It used to be that I flew out to visit in the middle of his time away and spent a long weekend with Hunter. Now he calls me frequently and later this week we will have a Skype date. (For you non-Skype users…Skype is one of my essential tools for working from home. Free video calls via your computer.) Skype is also a must have when you travel on business and want to chat with your kiddos at home and see their faces. Skype is also a necessity when your 12 year old son has been gone for ten days and you miss him terribly.

People ask “Are you used to Hunter being gone?”
Are you kidding? I am his mother. No, I am not used to it.
Plus, it is a new thing for Elizabeth who just wants Hunter’s “trip” as she calls it to be “all done”.

While we miss you greatly Hunter James, we are happy to hear your voice when you call and about your fun adventures you are having…(like going to a Mariners games tomorrow night!) But when you come home soon, I will sleep peacefully again knowing all my kiddos are sleeping soundly in their beds in our home.

And then just maybe I will go empty a laundry basket, organize a closet, prevent toys from overtaking every last open space in our house or maybe not. Maybe we will just go eat s’mores.

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