Saturday, May 28, 2016

A little chaos

I took the kids swimming on Tuesday afternoon. Andrew texted to say that he was leaving campus about ten minutes before I happened to check my phone for the time (because the clock at the pool has been broken for at least a year now). I texted back that we were "pooling," and made the mistake of not saying "but we'll be leaving soon."

I gave the kids five minutes and then we packed up to head home, where I figured we'd have a quick spaghetti dinner since it was getting rather late. The kids wanted to wait for Daddy outside, though, so I threw on a pot of water to boil and went outside to supervise.

Side note: Zoë can open our storm door, so that's interesting. She let herself outside today while I was helping Benjamin in the bathroom. She and I have opposite opinions on this newly acquired skill.

Anyway, Andrew didn't come and didn't come and didn't come until finally he did come and we went inside and saw that it was nearly 7:00 (he figured that if we were having fun at the pool he'd just stay on campus to get some things done and I didn't get his "keep on pooling" text until after he got home). I was rather relieved when he finally pulled up on his scooter.

"I was thinking make-your-own dinner tonight. We can use stuff from the freezer and leftovers and..." He paused, noticing the pot of boiling water on the stove. "That is unless you had plans."

"Make-your-own is fine," I said, turning off the burner. "It's late, we've got to get the kids to bed; we can do spaghetti tomorrow."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Durham Bulls

Rachel was rather excited for her last rehearsal before the baseball game. She was a little fed up with having to rehearse for things, between the musical and this, but I think both were great things for her to do (and I think she agrees with me).

We made it to the stadium a few minutes before the gates opened. Ordinarily they open the gates an hour before the game starts but due to impending weather they moved the start time a half hour earlier...but opened the gates at the same time, so it was absolutely imperative that we arrive on time since it left us very little wiggle room for getting lost or anything like that. We dropped Rachel off with the choir and found our seats.

Here's Zoë enjoying a bit of the pre-game festivities (her favourite parts of the game were the music and all the clapping):

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A new record

Rachel has been concerned about all her "records" being broken by subsequent babies. She really doesn't need to worry, though, because after tallying things up she still holds several records. Zoë is the heaviest now (probably, in part, due to the fact that she held down every drop of milk she ever got (it's got to be the milk because she's not all that interested in food (she's always like "Ew. Tell me why we eat again?")) (hooray for no reflux!)), but Rachel was the heaviest at birth. 

Today Zoë weighed in at a whopping 20 lbs. 15 ounces. She's 29.92 inches tall.

At age one, Benjamin was 18 lbs. 12 ounces and 27.5 inches tall.

Miriam was 18 lbs. and 1 measly little ounce (smaller than Benjamin!!) and 27.95 inches tall (but somehow no one cared that she was tiny; the doctor gave us such grief over Benjamin's small stature).

Rachel was 19 lbs. 12 ounces and 30.5 inches tall.

At birth Zoë was 7 lbs. 2.5 ounces and 20 inches.
Benjamin was 4 lbs. 13 ounces and 16.5 inches.
Miriam was 7 lbs. 1 ounce and 18.9 inches.
Rachel was 7 lbs. 7 ounces and 19.5 inches.

So, Zoë was my longest baby at birth and the heaviest at age one. Rachel was my heaviest baby at birth and my earliest walker (and tallest at age one). Miriam was my lightest baby at age one and my best sleeper. Benjamin was my smallest baby at birth and had the most hair.

And since it was just Zoë's birthday, let's list a few more of her achievements: she's my second-earliest walker (she can take a good dozen or so steps) and my earliest whistler (anybody else out there have a baby who whistles? Just me?). 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Zoë's one!

Time seems to speed up with each child. It's rather cliché to say "it goes so fast," but it honestly does. When I was suffering through months and months of not sleeping, due to Rachel, I would feel almost offended when people would suggest that "it goes so fast" because it felt torturously slow, like I was stuck in some inane cycle: feed the baby, get thrown up on, get pooped on, [rinse, if you're lucky], and repeat! It felt like she would never grow up. She'd never stop spitting up, she'd never learn to sleep through the night, she'd never wean. Babyhood was hard and laborious and lonesome and eternal, or so it felt.

But then I added one more. I was still feeding a baby and getting spat up on constantly, but I was also reading stories and doing little crafts, and going to the park.

And then I added one more. I was still feeding a baby and was getting spat up on even more than ever, but I was also reading stories, doing little crafts, going to the park, volunteering in a classroom, attending dance recitals, and so forth.

And then we added one more. I was still feeding a baby but was blessed to get one without reflux (hallelujah!) and was also reading stories, doing little crafts, going to the park, volunteering in two classrooms, going to soccer practice, being in a musical, shuttling kids to ukulele practice, and so forth.

These kids have filled our lives with so much goodness that time is suddenly feeling more like a whirlwind and less of a never-ending dirge. So even though I haven't had a proper sleep in months, I made the mistake of blinking and all of a sudden Zoë turned a year old!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"To be their secretary? I don’t think so."

(The title is a line from...Hamilton. Because what else would it be from?)

Last week the second counsellor of the bishopric jumped up at the end of sacrament meeting to give "one last announcement," which was that the bishopric would be reorganized the following Sunday. Our bishop had been serving for five years, which is about the upper limit of tenure for a bishop (it's a time intensive calling; no one wants it for forever), so this announcement wasn't exactly unexpected. Knowing a week in advance was a little unusual, though, since we're not really supposed to speculate about who's going to be called next. But who can even help themselves after an announcement like that?

And then Saturday morning Andrew's phone rang.

"Yes. Yes. Yes," he said. "Sure. 10:15? That will be fine. Yes. Alright, see you then."

He hung up the phone.

"Oh, no," he said.

"Who was that?" I asked.

"The stake president," he said.

"Oh, no," I said.

"He wants to meet with me...and with you...before church tomorrow."

"Oh, no!" I said.

If we hadn't been speculating before that phone call we were certainly speculating after it because do you know who you don't want to get a phone call from after an announcement of that nature? The stake president.

And so we speculated. We quickly ruled out bishop and 95% ruled out counsellor (because surely you'd need more than 24 hours notice for a calling like that).

"Executive secretary, then," I said.

"Or it could just be a random stake calling," Andrew said.

"I guess so," I said. "But why would they do that this Sunday?"

"Killing two birds with one stone?" Andrew posited.

"My money's still on executive secretary," I said.

"But who would call me?" Andrew wondered.

He's been in primary for the past few years and had recently begun feeling that he was a bit on the periphery of things (especially a couple of weeks ago when someone compassionately asked me if Andrew was "ever going to make it back to church"; I was like, ", he makes it every week...").* Sometimes that's just how it goes when you're serving in primary (though, for the record, I think primary is a great place to be, primary workers do, at times, feel invisible).

Anyway, after thinking for a few minutes, Andrew said, "It's Ken."

My thoughts had already moved on from the conversation so I said, "What?"

"The new bishop—it's Ken."

"Really? I dunno..."

I didn't have any counter-guesses. I'm not very good at speculating about these kinds of things, though I did think to myself that it would be hilarious to text Justus (he's the now-former second counsellor and is currently out of town at his brother's wedding) to congratulate him on being sustained as the new bishop of the ward because he had me sustained to a new calling (that I hadn't even been asked about) while I was out of town a couple of years ago. And it would have been hilarious, too, but I didn't do it because when the new callings were made I suddenly realized that I needed someone to cover for me for music time in primary (I was covering for my friend Marian (Justus's wife, who is obviously also out of town at that wedding)) since (spoiler alert) I had to go to watch Andrew be set apart after sacrament meeting.

So Laura covered for me (when I was supposed to be covering for Marian).

Backtracking...we made it to the church by 10:15 and then, while Zoë and Benjamin wrestled on the floor of the classroom we met in (those two were the epitome of reverence today...not), the rest of us sat reverently and quietly while Andrew was extended the call (to be executive secretary for, yes, Ken Bishop). And then we had choir practice. And then we had sacrament meeting. And then Andrew was set apart. And then we had the rest of church. And then we had some (surprise) training after church.

By 3:00 our kids were dying because that's a whole lot of time to be expected to be on your best, most reverent behaviour for when you're any age, but especially when you're...three. (In full disclosure they didn't mind the last hour because we sent them all outside to play with the Green kids (their dad's the new second counsellor (and their mom had a bag of jolly ranchers, which she split among the kids (lunch of champions))).

There will be a few hiccups as we get used to the new norm. For example, I'll have to get the kids ready for church on my own (we'll see how that goes) and since we only have one car Andrew will be taking the scooter to church now. But at the end of the day it boils down to this: booking the church for Trading Tables just got a whole lot easier. So, score!

* Disclaimer: I found this encounter hilarious.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Schoolhouse of Wonder

Miriam's class had a field trip today at West Point on the Eno's Schoolhouse of Wonder. They bussed the kids out there so it was a much less taxing day than it was when I hiked there with Rachel's class in March! Because of the wet and rainy weather we've been having this week the river was a little swollen so our planned class (exploring the river) was changed to a plant/insect class, which was still fun. It's the same class Rachel did when she was in grade one and I accompanied her class to the Eno.

We did the plant walk first. Here's Miriam holding up a beech nut she found (with the rest of the class hunted around in the dirt for more):

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mother's Day

It might not seem incredibly timely for me to be writing about Mother's Day over a week after the holiday, but it is because I just found some papers in Rachel's backpack that she was supposed to give me on Mother's Day but didn't. So it's like celebrating twice!

The girls always make a big picture for Mother's Day in art class at school. Typically, each grade does the same project year after year so we're seeing repeat projects now that Miriam's following along behind Rachel. Sometimes I think it's great—like, we have two misshapen pumpkins made out of clay that I'll probably keep forever and bring out each fall to set on the mantle because what's better than one adorably misshapen pumpkin? Two adorably misshapen pumpkins. That's what!

Other times I'm like, "Oh, yeah. This project. Why? Why are we repeating this?"

That would be the case of the picture on the left. The one featuring an old CD.

It's beautiful. And I love it because Miriam made it. (But also...why?)

What time is it? Pool time!

The pool opened on Sunday, but, of course, we didn't go. The kids were a little disappointed that we weren't the first crazy ones in the pool (which is always a little bit cold in May) but they were excited to go on Monday. They've been counting down for weeks for this day.

I took the little ones in the early afternoon, just to check it out (and also in case it rained later in the day (we're in for a rainy week)). I didn't pack a swim suit for myself because (a) I was hoping the kiddie pool would be open so I could let them just splash around in there and (b) I didn't think they'd really want to stay that long, but I was surprised on both fronts. The kiddie pool was still closed (they're doing some renovations) so I let the kids play on the steps of the big pool, which, although chilly, was so much fun that these two little ones didn't want to leave.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Walking and sliding

I was sure Zoë would be walking much earlier than her first birthday. With so many slaves to carry her around, however, she's been putting off this task. Her step-taking count was capped at three. That was the farthest she seemed to think she needed to go under her own power: three measly steps.

Then last night while we were Skyping with my parents, she suddenly stood up and toddled right across the living room, laughing and squealing as she chased after Benjamin, surprising everyone. Our living room is admittedly on the small size so getting across only took her six or seven steps. Still, she blew her previous record right out of the water.

She has not attempted so much as a single step today, but I'm sure she'll be walking everywhere soon enough.

We went to the park this afternoon (to warm up after a dip in the pool, which, having just opened, is a bit on the chilly side) and Zoë was crawling around on the bridge. I was supervising her at very close range to make sure she didn't fall off and break her arm or anything (not that that there's a precedent for that on this particular bridge or anything (and if you read that post, go ahead and laugh at my opening line because I used the words "Benjamin" and "officially potty trained" in rapid secession and here we are, nearly two years later...hahaha! He's still struggling and the struggle is real)).

Anyway, Zoë suddenly hightailed it off the bridge and headed for the slide. I left the side of the bridge and started running to the bottom of the slide but I was too late. Zoë beat me to it and zoomed down, superman style, and ended up with a face full of mulch.

She didn't cry, exactly, but she certainly wasn't happy about the results and cried when I tried to help her go down the slide (at less of a break-neck speed/position) later. I'm sure she'll warm back up to slides eventually...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ward campout

Miriam was so excited about the ward campout that she wrote a note to take to school, explaining that she'd need to be a car rider. I signed off on it at the bottom to make it all official (you never can tell).