“I took the kids to a barnyard and creamery. The goats are humping each other and there’s a bunny that is definitely not alive.  And we got rear ended on the way here.  Has school started yet?” – my text to a friend yesterday morning.

It has been a long hot week.

This was our first full week of summer vacation at home.  Last week we spent three days in the middle of the week at Our Happiest Place on Earth.  Not Disney, but Story Land in New Hampshire.  So this was my first week that I was full on in charge of the daily activities for three boys who either play together fabulously or throw Hot Wheels cars at each other.  There’s no in between.

So…yeah.  I’ve been pulling 18 hour days of being Julie McCoy.

I woke up on Tuesday thinking it was Friday.  That was bad wishful thinking.

There hasn’t been much in between with the weather too.  For two weeks straight it’s been either torrential rains or 95 degrees out.

Friday was one of those days.  It poured like crazy for two straight hours when we woke up and then turned blistering hot.  I needed to escape the house and chose a little creamery near us that had a barnyard.  They also had something called a “barnyard jump”, which looked like the bottom part of a bounce house.  Even showing my kids all of this, it still took us 45 minutes to get out of the house.

Herding cats is an understatement.

We got about six minutes from our house, and I slowed the car down because the car in front of me was taking a left.  I was at a complete stop when in my rear view mirror I see a small Toyota truck get closer and closer and…

BAM!

I pulled into the restaurant parking lot that was on the side of the road, and the 12 year old driving the truck got out, looking horrified.

(Yes, I’m sure she wasn’t 12.  But she looked it.  Because I’m that age now when anyone under twenty-five looks twelve.)

We exchanged info even though there wasn’t any visible damage to the car.  The kids were wide-eyed but okay.

We got to the creamery right as it opened and the sun was beating down.  As we piled out of the car, one of the girls working there walked by.

“Can you tell us where the barnyard bounce is?” I yelled across the parking lot.

“It’s down the hill but it’s not open.  It’s too wet from all the rain.”

Um…what?

“Do you think it will open this morning?” I yelled again, with a slight hint of desperation.

“I have no idea!” yelled the girl back.

Oh good.

I turned to the boys and tried to explain the situation.

“So, the big jumpy thing is wet from all the rain and it’s not open now.  I know it will be a disappointment if we can’t go on.  But let’s go look at the animals and hey…how about ice cream for lunch!”

That seemed to settle them for a bit and we checked out the barnyard.  On the hill below, more twelve-year-olds were walking around the big jumpy thing with giant hand dryers.

The barnyard had some cute baby chickens, some very loud grown-up chickens, goats, bunnies, alpacas, a pig and a cow.

The kids were most excited by a big dog that kept running by with a John Deere collar.  He ran up and down between the two fences separating us from the animals.

There was one very quiet bunny laying by its water dish.  At first, I thought he was just resting.  It was 90 degrees after all.  But then the dog ran by several hundred times and it didn’t move.  A closer inspection by me as the kids ran with the dog proved that the bunny wasn’t breathing.  The farmer (??) didn’t seem to notice and I didn’t want to upset the kids.

I was then distracted by the goats that started…um…climbing on top of each other.

“Time for ice cream for lunch!” I proclaimed.

That killed a good 30 minutes.  I’m sure Howie ate all sorts of forbidden corn syrup products in his ice cream and I knew I’d pay later, but at that moment I just didn’t care.

(note: I forgot my camera, so these pictures were taken on my incredibly old BlackBerry.  I only have space for 5 pictures to save on the phone so I delete the crummy ones along the way.  Yes, these were the best ones.)

“You can eat the bowl!”

We left when Howie tried to follow the model train into the employees only area as Lewis was yelling “Pay online! Save time!”

(another note: if anyone can tell me what that is from, I would greatly appreciate it.  So I can make sure he doesn’t watch it again.)

As I was about to tell the kids that we were going home, we noticed some kids jumping on the barnyard bounce.

So with bellies completely full of ice cream…away they went.

please don’t puke…please don’t puke….

“Get out of here bugs!! You don’t want us jumping on you!!”

Best $15 for 45 minutes I’ve spent in a long time.

(last note: I also forgot sunscreen which meant we couldn’t play on the mini-golf course that was “calling my name!” as Gerry put it.  I told them their dad would be upset if we golfed without him so we’d have to go back with him.  Sorry Tim.)

Howie insisted on saying goodbye to the animals before we left.  The definitely dead bunny was still there.

The goats were done with their…business. So they came over to say hello.

Once Lewis started taunting the goats with “Hey goat! Look at you stuck behind those two fences!”, it was time to go home.

But not before one last really bad picture. Someone is all done. Someone besides me that is…

On the way home, we drove by the spot where we were rear ended all those hours earlier.  Howie proclaimed “Hey!  That’s where that truck smashed into us!”

I am pretty sure we’ll hear that for the next 35 years.

We have ten more days before camp starts for Lewis and our Extended School Year program starts for Howie.

Until then, I’ll have my Julie McCoy hat on.  Look for me.  I’ll be the one herding the cats.

Ten more days. I can do it.

Hot summer streets
And the pavements are burning
I sit around
Trying to smile but
The air is so heavy and dry
Strange voices are saying
(What did they say)
Things I can’t understand
It’s too close for comfort
This heat has got
Right out of hand

It’s a cruel, (cruel), cruel summer
Leaving me here on my own
It’s a cruel, (it’s a cruel), cruel summer
Now you’re gone” – Cruel Summer by Bananarama

Thinking of all my friends in the Mid-Atlantic states hit hard by last night’s storm.  I hope you get your power back soon so you can read that I’m thinking about you :)