Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Benjamin takes charge

Yesterday was family home evening and Benjamin decided it was his turn to conduct. He proudly stood up in front of the armoire and shouted at the top of his lungs, "Sammy night! Sammy night! Sammy night!" over and over again (that's "Family night!" for those not fluent in Benjaminese).

The first thing we traditionally say when we play the part of conductor is, "Welcome to family night." Benjamin has picked up on this (and apparently only this).

When I prompted Benjamin to invite other family members to choose an opening song and say the opening prayer he did so grudgingly and then when those family members dared open their mouths he charged at them and yelled in their faces, "MINE TURN! MINE! TURN! MINE!" before returning to his place at the front of the room and yelling, "Sammy night! Sammy night! Sammy night!"

I think it's safe to say that the power went straight to his head.

We did manage to strip him of his powers calm him down eventually (though not before he buried his face in the couch to sob every last bit of grief out of his system—because how could we?!) and had a wonderful family night lesson by Rachel and Miriam.

Miriam wrote a talk about honesty for the first part of the lesson and then Rachel planned a little game about honesty to play after.

Here is a transcript of Miriam's talk:

Honesty is when you do a good thing and not honesty is when you do a bad thing with uot telling the truth. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

If that's not just as clear as mud, I don't know what is.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Snakey gross

While taking the garbage out this morning I found a fairly large leopard slug clinging to the side of the bin. I scooped it up on a piece of cardboard so I could show the kids. When I was little I used to collect slugs with my bare hands but those days might be over. We read a book called Boom Snot Twitty the other day—Snot is an aptly named snail. I don't know that I really want to pick up snot globs the size of my finger. Just sayin'...



The kids were equal parts fascinated and disgusted.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Busy Saturday

8:30 AM Leave house to clean church building

We had our first (of many to come) Harry Potter nights (it's fall intercession so Rachel's on a three-week break) so one wanted to get up this morning. But we did it. We left the house 13 minutes late (which was technically only three minutes to late because we told ourselves to plan to leave early or we'd be late) and arrived at the church five minutes early.

9–11 AM Clean church building

I have a hunch not everyone who was supposed to showed up because cleaning the church seemed to take forever. It was us, the "manager" (for lack of a better word), and one other family. The kids had a blast though. They cleaned all the windows, inside and out, they tidied the chapel, and Rachel helped Andrew clean the bathrooms while Benjamin and Miriam helped me with the kitchen.

11:00 AM Grab a quick lunch at Wendy's 

Poor planning = no packed lunch, no time to drive home = eating out. We didn't realize how full our schedule was for the day until it was too late to fix it. The kids didn't complain at all because we only do fast food burgers when we go to the beach (we've gone to the beach twice this year). Benjamin's a big enough eater now that we have to actually order him something now. He had chicken nuggets. Rachel's a big enough eater now that she's given up on kid's meals. She had a junior bacon cheeseburger. Miriam said, "Well, I'm getting a kid's meal. I'm a kid. And I'm not ever giving that up."

11:45 AM Picture day for soccer 

Around 11:30 we started getting panicked messages from parents, saying that the photographer was packing up to head home and that we'd have to go to a different location for pictures. But we convinced the photographer to stick around...for us, at least. The girls mostly ran around like crazy while they waited for the group picture (they did individual pictures first).



Friday, September 26, 2014

Ogi panes and monocles

When my brother Patrick was little he was a LEGO ninja. He could sift through the gigantic box of LEGO we inherited from the Looses and put together almost anything. I thought about young Patrick when Benjamin brought me a LEGO plane he'd built.

"Ogi pane! Ogi pane! Ogi pane! Zoomie!" he said, flying the plane toward the camera.


I drop down to earth with a thud

"You'll probably have a good many more and worse disappointments than that before you get through life," said Marilla, who honestly thought she was making a comforting speech. "It seems to me, Anne, that you are never going to outgrow your fashion of setting your heart so on things and then crashing down into despair because you don't get them." 
"I know I'm too much inclined that, way" agreed Anne ruefully. "When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts. . .it's like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud." 
"Well, maybe it does," admitted Marilla. "I'd rather walk calmly along and do without both flying and thud. But everybody has her own way of living. . .I used to think there was only one right way. . .but since I've had you. . . to bring up I don't feel so sure of it."
Anne of Avonlea, "Chapter XVII: A Chapter of Accidents" by L. M. Montgomery
DISCLAIMER: This post is entirely TMI (and uses words like "blood" and "infertility") but I don't even care because I'm grumpy right now. Reader discretion is advised.

That line by Anne—"When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud"—has been swimming in my brain for some time now. 

I tried so hard not to hope, and I did a good job, too...for a while. 

Every month I think this could be the month. But it never is.

 I'm coming to terms with that, slowly. 

Oddly enough it helps to say the words out loud, to say the things my brain is screaming but in a calm, deliberate way. 

I am not allowed to be tired or sick or emotional without anyone wondering aloud if I'm expecting. 

"You said on Facebook you were 'so tired' yesterday? What's got you so tired? What's that all about?" a well-meaning friend asked me this morning with a wink and smile and a quick glance at my abdomen. 

Not that. But perhaps that. Or at least the absence of that. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Passing Notes

The girls have been playing school after school every day which has yielded such gems as this unit on Egypt:


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Time is Money

Miriam has been working hard at understanding how time works. She knows the months of the year, she knows the days of the week, she knows her birthday comes last every year. September has been a tough month for her to get through. She's been counting down to October since the very first day of September because September is of no value to her. It's only in the way of her birthday month and she can't wait to start celebrating Miriam!

She also knows that her grandparents live in a different time zone, which only complicates things for her. Andrew and I will often use the phrase "our time or theirs?" while trying to coordinate Skype calls on Sunday afternoons. We'll also say things like, "I guess it's pretty early for you," or "I guess we should hang up and put the kids to bed so you can go eat dinner" and other things along those lines.

While we were Skyping with my parents on Sunday, Miriam asked, "Is it still September for you?"

I guess she was hoping that it was October somewhere!

Rachel, on the other hand, has been trying to figure out how money works. She still isn't quite sure which coin is worth what (and would probably figure this out sooner if she would handle money but she hates touching metal (she hates touching pie tins and cookie sheets (and buttons and hair elastics, even though those aren't always metal))) but at least they all look different so she understands that one kind of coin is intrinsically worth more or less than any other given kind of coin. Paper money is a little more difficult to understand because—let's be honest—it's all just paper.

Right now her school is having a book fair and she desperately wanted to buy a book, so on Tuesday morning when I took her to school for "grand-friend day" (the magical day when you invite a grandparent (or other person...like your mom) to tour your classroom and then hopefully visit the book fair and spoil you rotten) I said she could take some of her birthday money with her.

She had a $5 bill from Grandma and Grandpa and a $5 bill from Naanii and Bumpa.

"I only have these two dollars," she said, "So I guess I can't get much. Do you think I need the rest of my money?"

"Probably not," I said. "These two dollar bills are worth five dollars each so altogether you have ten dollars and that's quite a lot to spend."

"But I have more money in my room!" she said and she ran off to find all the coins she's collected (either by finding them in the street or by trading in her baby teeth to the tooth fairy). She came out of her room carrying a kleenex. Inside were all her coins. "I hate touching these things!" she said.

I made her put them back in her room and we just took her $10.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Double Drink

I just can't bring myself to sit in the back of the chapel where the folding chairs are. I've had several friends suggest that this is the "proper" place for families with small, disruptive children but I disagree—and many families with small children also disagree since there's quite the collection of small, disruptive children near the front of the chapel. I guess I just had small wards growing up in the boonies of Canada, but we didn't even have an overflow section (at least not regularly, and at least not a section of the gym) so I always recall sitting in the chapel proper, whether we were misbehaving or not.

Rachel and Miriam behave just fine in sacrament meeting. It's Benjamin we have trouble with. He picks fights with his sisters, screams when he doesn't get his own way, and is loud in general. As my mom pointed out last night while we were skyping, he seems to like the sound of his own voice. He'll holler about this and that for no reason whatsoever. Keeping him quiet is nearly impossible, especially when he's in a room with such wonderful acoustics!

At least we always seem to come away with a few good sacrament meeting tales every week.

This week he was as excited about the sacrament as he always is—can't complain about free bread and water!—but was insistent on getting more than one serving. Once his "gink" was finished he asked for another one.

"You only need one," I said. "Remember—it's not a snack. It's to help us remember Jesus."

"Okay," he said and then turned around, stood up, and lunged over the back of the bench toward the tray being passed down the row behind us.

"Benjamin!" I whispered. "Sit down!"

"Duh-boo gink!" he said over and over again, increasing his volume each time. "Duh-boo gink! Duh-boo gink! Duh-boo gink! Duh-boo gink!"

What was he begging for? A double drink.

He loves doubles.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Andrew's 30th birthday

On Thursday night we discussed The Phantom Tollbooth at book club (because we think it's fun to review some childhood classics from this side of childhood and/or to see what we missed in English class because we were simply too young to understand) and I was responsible for supplying treats.

While Miriam was at preschool Benjamin and I made some sugar cookie dough together. It has to sit in the fridge for a few hours so it was good to get it out of the way in the morning.


Bad Hair Days

This morning the girls got dressed and then came to me to have their hair done at exactly the same time and I almost burst out laughing.