Friday, February 24, 2017

Immigration – it has a face and a name – this one is Heiss

This is a story Aunt Stacey shared on Facebook that I wanted to be sure my kids got to read. Since they don't have Facebook yet (but do read the blog) Aunt Stacey gave me permission to share it here:

Oma, Opa, and my father on their first Sunday in San Francisco at Lands End,
before the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed.

Top 3 events of 2016

Miriam brought home a paper with her "top 3 events" of 2016:

1) We went to the State Fair with Grandma and my family.
2) Zoë learned how to say "quack" at the zoo. Ack! Ack! Ack!
3) I finished Harry Potter seven.

Obviously 2016 was a pretty good year.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cheer and Teeth

Miriam had her last cheer practice on Tuesday. Instead of a regular practice they held a showcase for their families, so the girls dressed in their uniforms and cheered for us while we cheered for them. It was all rather cheerful.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Going, going, going...

From the moment my little ones get up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night (and several moments in between (for example last night Zoë woke me up three times and Benjamin woke me up once)) these two are basically non-stop. 

I take naps when I can get them, but Benjamin hasn't napped in years and Zoë only naps under duress. Today, however, she fell asleep in the swing outside! 

A little bit of Japan

Today while we were walking we spotted this beautiful star magnolia and had to take a closer look. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blood nest

"But how?" Benjamin asked this morning. "How do you make your blood nest?"


"You know—what we were talking about last night. Every month you make a blood nest. How?"

Oh. That.

Rachel had many, many questions regarding menstruation last night (why? how? does it hurt? do all women do it at the very same time?) so I broke out the book Cycling and we discussed the whys and hows for several minutes.

I explained that when an egg is ripened and leaves the ovary it needs somewhere to go. Where do birds and reptiles put their eggs? In a nest. They just happen to have their nest be on the outside of their bodies. We also make a nest for our eggs. We just happen to do this on the inside of our bodies.

Every month while that egg is ripening, it's sending signals to our body that we need to make a nice, cozy nest of blood inside our uterus. If that egg is fertilized then it burrows into that nice, cozy "blood nest" (I guess we're calling it that now) and starts sending signals to the mother's body to continue incubating. But if that egg is not fertilized, it will stop sending incubation signals. Our body will discard the nest and start the process all over again. That's why it's a cycle. It just keeps happening.

Evidently the most fascinating part of this for Benjamin was that Mommy can make a "blood nest."*

What's your super power?

* I'm not the first to take this approach. I probably should have read this post before talking to my children about it (not that this was our first time talking about it, but this was certainly the most in-depth we've gone, which was admittedly probably a little bit much for Benjamin to comprehend) because her conversation seems to have gone a lot more gracefully than mine.

Spilled milk and poopy carpets

Yesterday morning was a little bit rough, thanks in large part to this cute thing who is, quite literally, screaming into the terrible twos:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Last night there was a daddy-daughter dance at the elementary school. Evidently it was a lot more formal than I understood it to be and when my friends started putting up pictures of their daughters —dressed in beautiful, billowy gowns, hair carefully coiffed,  their dates dressed in stately suits, elaborately knotted neckties gracing their throats—I realized that I completely underestimated this dance. 

We're in the south so I should have known: Southern Belles gonna belle.

But not us, no.

We arrived home from ukulele practice at 5:30 and the kids rushed into the house with me barking at them to, "Eat a bowl of cereal! You have to leave in fifteen minutes! Go! Go! Go!"

Miriam made a bit of an effort to dress up. She put on a skirt and tights and sparkly shoes. 

Rachel only agreed to go to the dance in the first place if she could wear pants. Fine. 

I was actually surprised when Andrew changed out of jeans and a t-shirt and put on Sunday pants and a dress shirt. He looked nice.

I wanted to take a picture of the trio before they left for the dance, but we ran out of time. I was still scrambling to feed the little ones when they left. So while my friends have pictures like this: 

Class Library

At the beginning of the school year I volunteered to help organize Rachel's classroom library. After all, I like books.

My mom is a professional librarian. I worked in a library the whole time I was at university.* I have quite a bit of respect for a well-organized bookshelf (though our home-shelving system is currently more along the lines of "not on the floor, please" than an actual system).

The books had mostly been sorted by reading level, but her teacher had gone to a training meeting where they suggested sorting the books by genre (in addition to reading level) so she asked me to come up with a classification and labeling system for that. It's been pretty fun, but rather slow-going. The kids keep reading books and not returning them to their proper bins, which is probably my fault because I haven't been able to finish labeling them yet.

Rachel, bless her heart, will sometimes use her spare time to put things back where they belong. But really I need to just buckle down and finish labeling these books!

I meant to go into the school this week but Miriam ended up calling home sick the day I was planning to go in, so then I didn't. But I did pop in to Rachel's classroom to tell her that Miriam wouldn't be on the bus (they panic if one or the other is missing in either car or bus line; and rightfully so) and to apologize to Rachel's teacher for being so remiss in my volunteer hours. I don't think I've been in since before Christmas break—and I used to go in once a week!

My excuse is that Benjamin and Zoë have been so exhausting (and sick). Or it's been cold and rainy so Andrew takes the van instead of the scooter. It just hasn't worked out. And this week was no exception.

"So," I suggested to Rachel's teacher. "Would it be alright if I brought a few bins of books home this weekend so I can label them and bring them back?"

"You don't want to spend your weekend doing that!" she objected.

"Sure, I do," I said and I almost added, "You remember which kid is mine, right? The one who thinks organizing the TIME Magazine for Kids by date is an idea of a good time..."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Making waves on a Sunday

Benjamin wanted his hair combed "straight up the middle—fwoop" for church on Sunday but then he decided it was too edgy of a look and asked for it to be combed down on the side (but not before we snapped this picture to send to Andrew (who was already at church)):