Corona Virus Quarantine Day #105, 106, 107, 108: The Fourth, Friends, Family and Belly laughs! July 3, 4, 5, 6th, 2020

Corona Virus Quarantine Day #105, #106, #107, #108: The Fourth, Friends, Family and Belly laughs: July 3, 4, 5, 6 2020:

I took a few days off of posting so I could enjoy some out of town company we had in for the past 3 days.  If there is anything better than laughing with old friends…I don’t know what it is.

Our family friend Sally and her two kids, Sydney and Zander came in town.  We have known Sally our entire lives.  Our parents were friends, and our dad built their house literally right behind our own growing up.  We had a path between our houses where we could run back and forth.  We went to each others birthday parties, played Barbies, went on our annual apple picking extravaganza, celebrated Christmas Eve every year and even stood up in each other’s weddings.  Sally’s mom made our Halloween costumes, we had sleep overs, I’m pretty sure they put makeup on my face for the first time…the memories and the list of things we have done together through the years is very long.

While Sally lives in Chicago we don’t get to see each other near as much as we’d like and certainly not like when we were kids.  I have so many fond memories of the Shirebell foursome.  Being the youngest of the four I didn’t get to go on all the adventures (my age would have made some of these inappropriate) but my list of memories is very long.  Some of my favorite include washing our hair with peach shampoo in the hose in the summer.  Swimming in our backyard pool pretty much everyday making wave pools, playing colors and spinning in our rafts.  I can remember Amy, Sally’s older sister exposing me for the first time to the song Daisy Duks…still love that song (don’t judge me).  I miss our endless trips to Chi-Chi’s eating chips and salsa and queso until we felt ill and always pretending it was our birthday.  I can remember rides in the station wagon to museums and Rock and Roll McDonald’s (still not sure how our parents didn’t get pulled over as we sat in that back seat that faced out and stuck our feet out the window.  Going to the beach downtown and then over to Ed Debevic’s for food.  That is of course where we met Fred Savage when the Wonder Years were all the rage.  Going to St. Michael’s Summer Fest and listening to Joe Bell and the band rock out. Sally’s mom made me the best candy corn Halloween costume ever made (really wish I knew what happened to this bad boy).  Apple picking each year, eating the best cheese and feeding the ducks.  Nancy’s Pizza yum, yum, yum.  Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve will always be among my favorite memories, especially the Ballatore.  My 21st birthday in Lawrence.  Karaoke…lots of karaoke Sally always steals the show.

Many of these memories won’t make sense to people reading this, but they will always make sense to me and they will always make me smile.

This weekend I got to see someone who watched me grow into the person I am today.  Someone who was a part of that journey.  Someone I love.  I also got to see her beautiful children and witness all the goodness they got from their mama.  It makes me tear up a little bit just thinking about it.  I wish our kids could grow up the way we did…together…but this visit, just confirmed for me how important these times we do get to spend together really are.

They are about more than friendship and a lifetime of memories.  To me it is also about history.  I want my kids to know about my childhood, my memories and my life before they came into the picture.  I want them to know who I love and who holds an important place in my heart.  This weekend…they got to see some of that.  It was pretty damn awesome.

Also, Sally got to see our children, learn about them and see how they are a bit like me and that was super meaningful to me as well.

Jennifer and I were blessed with a beautiful childhood. We had parents who loved and supported us and allowed us to try new things, gave us good life experiences and showed us how to be a good friend.  No one is a better friend than Ellen Bell.  I am grateful that our parents met the Shireman’s at a church retreat because it allowed us to have this friendship for a lifetime.

Our weekend was full of exciting adventures of swimming, bouncing, fishing, eating (lots of eating) and laughing our faces off. We even got to visit with other friends too.  Jennifer’s college teammate and best friend Julie came in town.  Julie is the funniest person that I know.  She actually hosted me on my recruiting trip to Iowa 20+ years ago.  We have remained in contact since that day.  While Jennifer and Julie were teammates, Jennifer’s friendship with Julie allowed her to become my friend as well.  For that I’ll always be grateful.  Julie is a kind, generous, hilarious person that makes any experience better by being a part of it.  I have many memories with her over the last 20 years as well but the one that sticks out the most is the laughter.  You can’t be with this person and not have a good time.  Our kids really enjoyed meeting her and Cooper is now pretty convinced we will be visiting her and going to a hockey game with her…so I better clue her in on that one.

It was a busy, full and fun weekend.  I laughed more than I have in a long time and felt like the corona virus was a thing of the past (I wish that was true).

I think the pictures will tell the story better than I can…and we have a lot of pictures.  So enjoy!

On Friday we went to Lake Olathe.  This was our first visit.  Due to Covid you have to sign up for a 2 hour time spot and you can only stay for 2 hours.  So we had one hour to swim in the lake and one hour to jump on that monstrosity.  Oh man…did they have a good time on that bounce house thing.

The blob was a fan favorite.  They loved to get bounced on this bad boy and they could catch some serious air.  It was so much fun to watch!

  Ellen bouncing on the blob! 

Finley didn’t get too far on this one but still pretty fun!

Fiona Bell…didn’t get video of the very highest one but man…she loved this so much!

Fletcher wasn’t tall enough to go on the bounce house so he went on a kayak ride!  

More lake fun…paddle boards, kayaks and rafts!  

When we got back to Jen’s after the lake it rained.  The pool was happy because it helped the pool fill up but the kids did not want it to rain!  Rain, Rain, go away!  Logan and Fletcher at their finest!

Jennifer bought some Americana cookies to decorate and the kids had the best time.  This was a good rainy afternoon activity!  The girls were definitely a bit more delicate with their cookie making skills.  Sydney won the prize though…hers were for sure the very best!  

A little pickle ball in the barn amongst friends.  Fletcher loved snuggles and getting tickled by his fav Sally!  

Fletcher took a serious liking to Sally, Sydney and Zander.  Sally offered to take him home with her and he was more than happy to oblige.  He was ready to hop in their car for sure and head to Chicago.  

Saturday morning we went down to Uncle Brent and Aunt Laura’s pool to swim.  The kids had a blast playing with their cousin Willie, jumping off the diving board and dunking the basketball.

Fletchy really liked being thrown off the diving board by Willie.  He only landed on his face once.  Immediately after emerging he said “ok that hurt…can we do it again?”  Crazy man!

Swimming in the pool as it filled all the way up on the 4th of July.  We spent a lot of time in the water on the 4th of July!


I can’t even.  So glad Jennifer caught this image.  He was a big fan of his 4th of July decor!

Sally and Ellen…Fiona and Daddy!  Cuties in overalls!

Fletcher and Brady eating their special treat.  Sisters and buds…look at this background!  

Cooper also loved his bling.  Fletcher was a huge fan of Julie’s dog Abraham Lincoln.  He even tried to ride on him because “mom he’s like a small horse.” 

Jill Mullen (another one of Jen’s college teammates and friends), Julie Williams, me, Sally Shirebell, Jennifer…5 women…all awesome!  

Love the one of us all laughing…That’s what we do when we get together.  Sally has the best laugh ever.  Loved hearing it all weekend! 

 A trampoline with a sprinkler attached…yes please.  We went from the pool to the trampoline pretty much all day!  

Firework time!  The kids has a blast with sparklers and the poppers!   Sydney was so sweet and helped Fletcher with his poppers and sparklers.  Melts a mom’s heart!

These ones make my heart happy. Happy kids, great fireworks (HUGE shout out to Uncle Luke and his firework show)  Julie was there too…she kept Uncle Luke company!  Good times had by all!  

That’s a lot of kids…The Mullen’s, The Gile’s, The Dorsey’s and the Zikas kids!  Good times were had by all!

We are going to miss our Chicago buddies!  We hope to see you again soon!  

What a weekend!  I’m exhausted.  On another note I was supposed to start camp today and I’m so disappointed that we cannot be in the gym.  I’m so glad I had these amazing people to help distract me from that disappointment.

I treasure these people and these memories.  I look forward to making many more in the future!



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