My nephew, Jackson, came to stay with us this past week. Addy, his sister, had a dance competition in Myrtle Beach so my sister, Andra, brought them here from Gastonia last Friday and stayed the night before heading on down to Myrtle Beach, the car one person lighter.

On Saturday, Laura and Craig brought us a magnolia tree to plant in honor of the birth of Fawkes and Phoenix. If I had my druthers we’d have gotten rid of the pine trees in the front yard and planted it in place of one of those. They’re very large trees though, meaning they’d be pretty expensive, resulting in them still being there. And as a result of that, the tree was planted in the backyard.

Jackson and I dug a hole while Tristen, Andra, Addy, and Laura took the boys to Lewis Farm and got some blueberries and blackberries. (Craig had already gone back home.) Of course, we dug the hole a little too far to one side. Tristen said not to bother moving it, but I said the tree would be there pretty much forever, so we should make sure we’re totally satisfied with where it goes. Jackson and I filled in the one hole and dug another a few feet over from it.

We had a bit of a ceremony for it. We added the boys’ placenta along with the remnants of our wedding cake which, after two-and-a-half years, we hadn’t eaten yet. It was surprisingly still pretty good.

We (we being Tristen, Jackson, Sebastian, Fawkes, Phoenix, and I) went to the beach the next day, the first real beach trip for Fawkes and Phoenix. They’d been out to the beach a couple times before, but we’d never taken them and stayed for long. It’s probably not something we’ll do a whole lot of for a while yet. There’s a lot that goes into taking a small baby to the beach anyway, and taking two is, of course, that much more daunting.

We had fun though. Jackson and I spent a good bit of time in the water tossing Sebastian back and forth between us, which he really enjoyed. On the less fun side, I didn’t get my back very well with sunscreen, and we never reapplied on my back or Jackson’s, so we both got a little sunburn.

After the beach, we went to the pool for a bit, which was the first time Fawkes and Phoenix got in a pool. Phoenix fell asleep. Fawkes wasn’t digging it for a while.

That night, Jackson and I created a new dish. I can’t remember if we ever finalized a name for it, but it’s made like this:

  • Hot dog bun
  • Ketchup
  • Hot dog
  • BBQ
  • BBQ sauce
  • Tater tots (Tristen’s contribution)
  • Cheese

It was quite good.

Milly started a half-day performing arts summer camp at the Community Arts Center on Monday. The theme this week was Disneymania, so they did a few Disney songs and learned about blocking on stage as well as improvisation and developing a character. She knew two girls, sisters, that are friends with her friends Penelope and Adeline, and a girl from church. She seems to have made a few friends too.

That went from 9-12. On Monday, Torrie came over after dropping Sebastian off at his day school at Friends School to watch the boys while I took Milly to her camp downtown, but Jackson was comfortable watching the boys (it was during naptime anyway) so he held down the fort the rest of the week when I dropped her off and picked her up.

After I picked Milly up from her camp on Tuesday, I dropped Fawkes and Phoenix off at Torrie’s and took Milly and Jackson to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

On Wednesday evening we had a pool party at Summer Sands. It was all of us plus Torrie, Johnny, Bash, Laura, Craig, a friend of theirs and his wife plus their two grandkids. Everyone brought food and we all just hung out, swam, ate, and had a good time.

My mom came on Thursday morning. She had gone to stay and hang out with Andra and Addy in Myrtle Beach. She was going to stay a couple nights, but she’d been away from home for a couple weeks (with a small stopover in Rougemont to drop off her trailer and pick up Dad’s car) and was ready to get back. She did some work here and took Milly and Jackson out to lunch (and picked some up for me, too).

Andra and Addy arrived in the afternoon after a day of awards. Addy’s dance company won best overall dance, which was awesome.

Mom stuck around until Tristen got off work. She took our dog, well, their dog, Elmo, back to Rougemont with her to take her to the vet. She’s got a couple lumps that should be checked out, but mainly it’s just for regular veterinary checkup stuff.

The rest of us ate at Nikki’s for dinner. Fawkes and Phoenix slept through half of it, but they were pretty good when they woke up, too. Milly and Addy shared a bento box, which was good as it was a little outside of Milly’s normal comfort zone.

We had parked a couple blocks away, which was a little bit of a pain since we were carrying the boys in their car seats. Tristen forgot her phone, so I said I’d go and get it. On the way out of the restaurant, I saw that there was a spot open across the street. It was one that was marked for taxis after midnight, and I think a lot of people think is says you can’t park there at all, so the upside to me going to get Tristen’s phone, which we discovered she did have after I looked around the car for it, called it, and couldn’t hear it ring or vibrate, is that we didn’t have to walk back quite so far.

Fawkes and Phoenix got to bed later than usual that night, but they ended up sleeping really well.

Normally Milly goes back to Amanda’s on Thursdays, but I got her to let me keep her one more might so she and Addy could have some time together. The girls ended up FaceTiming Amanda to ask her to let Milly stay Friday night too, even though I explained to Milly why she couldn’t. The reason she couldn’t is that I’ve got Milly throughout most of the week and we’ll be out of town next weekend, meaning Amanda would only see Milly one Saturday and Sunday in about three weeks. Amanda told me they had asked her about it, which I felt bad about, so I showed Milly a calendar to explain what I’d told her earlier a little better. That might have sunk in better for her.

Milly and Addy also asked Amanda about Milly dying some of Milly’s hair, so Milly got to have some blue tips, although they ended up looking green.

It being the last day of a performing arts camp, Milly’s camp was putting on a performance on Friday morning, so I dropped her off there, went home for a bit, then drove everyone back a few hours later to watch it. It was a play about animals wanting to escape a zoo with some Disney songs tied into it. There wasn’t really a lead per se, and I think most of the kids got a small speaking part. Milly, who was a snakeicorn (I’ll have to ask her how she spells that since she made it up herself), which is a snake with a horn and wings, had a line.

Addy and I sat towards the front while Andra and Jackson held the boys towards the back, where there was a bit more room. Amanda and Karen were there too, and there was a bit of chatting between everyone. Milly walked back to my car to get a few things then she was off with Amanda and Karen.

That night we all watched Odd Thomas and the new Jumanji, although I was tired and fell asleep shortly after they got into the game. I do want to watch it at some point though.

Andra, Jackson, and Addison took off the next day.

I really enjoyed having Jackson around. He was super helpful, was great with Fawkes and Phoenix, and did anything I asked him to without complaining at all. Andra told me to have him mow the lawn, and it needed it, but it was too hot and it rained a good bit, so there wasn’t any good time to have him do it anyway.

I suppose that’s the closest Milly will ever have to having had an older brother. Milly spends so much time with Addison when the family all gets together that it was nice for her to have some time with Jackson.

I guess that’s where Jackson Week officially ended, but I might as well talk about the rest of the day.

Tristen, Fawkes, Phoenix, and I made an appearance at our friend Addy Marks’s Fourth of July party. Sam and Berk were there with Curren and all the babies were in Add’s pool for a bit. We didn’t stay super long though because we had a bit more going on, including…

Fawkes’s and Phoenix’s first sleepovers!

I say it separately like that because they actually were separate. Tristen’s mom wanted to have them over, but we thought it might be a bit much to handle them both since they’re still spotty sleepers at night as often as not. So Fawkes went to Nonnie’s house and Phoenix went to Torrie’s. (I think that’s right. I’m actually writing this part a couple weeks after the fact.)

That left Mom and Dad open to do whatever, so we went to celebrate our friend Drew’s birthday at Wrightsville Beach. We ate at Blue Water with him and Jenna, Sam and Berkley, Drew’s friend James Brown,  Drew’s mom Donna, his sister Emily, and her son, Eli. Eli was all about some Tristen. Fortunately he’s only three, so I don’t think I’ve got anything to worry about for a while. [Edit: Emily told me on Facebook the other day that Eli is planning to marry Tristen.]

After dinner all of us except for Donna, Emily and Eli went to a few of the bars, joined at some point by some of Jenna’s friends. Neither Tristen nor I drank very much, but we had a good time out with everyone. It was a nice change of scenery from the usual downtown thing we used to do regularly before we had two baby boys at home.