Monday, January 26, 2015

Hey Everybody! It's Family Night...

During quiet time yesterday Rachel and Miriam put together an FHE lesson for today. It was quite elaborate and quite humorous.

The lesson started with Rachel dumping a handful of sea shells and rocks and stuff out of a bag.

"Who made these?" she asked.

"Heavenly Father," I said.

"Good," she said. "Now..."

Rachel had chosen some pictures of the Savior from the Gospel Art Kit. She'd covered one of the pictures with little squares of paper and she found a die my Aunt Judy made many years ago that has question words instead of numbers. We had to take turns rolling it and answering whatever question she asked us about Jesus's life and if we mentioned one of the pictures she'd chosen we got to hold that up.

Benjamin got to go first. He rolled "what" (and nearly pegged Rachel in the head with the die).

"What does Jesus do?" Rachel asked.

"Jesus 'oves me!" Benjamin said, giving himself a hug. "Jesus hugs me!"

"Yeah, but what does he doooooo?" Rachel repeated.

"Rachel, that's a good answer. He's two," I reminded her.

"Fine," she said. "Your turn next."

Two months later...

Sometimes I leave our Thankful Tree up until January. We started it mid-October (around Canadian Thanksgiving) and added leaves to it through late-November (around American Thanksgiving) when our celebrations gave way to Christmas. And now it's the end of January and I'm just getting around to taking it down. Thanksgiving was two months ago and Christmas was put away the first week of January so I'm really slacking.

But there was a perk! When we did our lesson on the Vision of the Tree of Life a few weeks ago for FHE (last week maybe?) we still had a tree ready and waiting for us. Add a broom handle held up by Dad for an iron rod and an afghan tossed on the floor for the filthy waters and we managed to put on a pretty good play.

Still, it's almost February so it's about time the tree got taken down. I pulled all the leaves off today before I realized that I didn't ever take a picture of the kids in front of least not an official picture. This one will have to do:

How the kids reacted

"I think we have a name for the baby," Andrew announced in the car on the way to church yesterday.

"What is it?" the girls chorused.

"It has a Z in it," Andrew said.

"Eliza!" Rachel cheered.

"Elizabeth!" Miriam squealed.

I may or may not have been slowly poisoning them against Andrew's name choice (not that it was difficult since Elizabeth was on the list of names that they had suggested).

"No, it begins with the letter Z," Andrew said.

"Zy'meria!" Rachel exclaimed (there's a girl in her class named Zy'meria).

"Not Zy'meria," I said.

"Then what?" the girls wanted to know.

"Zoë," Andrew said.

"Zoë?" the girls said, trying out the unfamiliar sound in their mouths.

They weren't quite sold on the idea at first. But I think they're coming around to it.

Benjamin, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be a fan of the name at all.

"Can you say Zoë?" I asked him.

"No," he replied.

"Well, that's going to be the baby's name," Andrew told him.

"How 'bout not Zoë," Benjamin said. "How 'bout girl name? How 'bout...Puppy?!"

"Puppy...?" I asked. "That's the best girl's name you can come up with?"

"Es! Puppy!" Benjamin said. "Baby name Puppy!"

In spite of that excellent suggestion, we'll be sticking with Zoë for now.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A name for the baby

I'm about 22 weeks along so it's about time we settled on a name. I was 22 weeks when we picked out a name for Rachel. I was 22 weeks when we picked out a name for Benjamin. We were rather ambitious when we picked out a name for Miriam, settling the matter by 16 weeks.

Naming children is seeming to get harder and harder the more we carry on with it. I liked nothing until the first week of January when we were sitting in fast and testimony meeting and I looked up the name Eliza on my phone. Though I generally do my best to pay attention and make my children do the same, we were in the middle of a really weird testimony about "seeing fifteen murders with my own eyes, watching people drown in their own blood..." and other seriously weird stuff that I was both happy to ignore and happy that my children were also engrossed in other activities.

(Disclaimer: fast and testimony meeting isn't always that weird)

Anyway, I was looking up Eliza and Andrew leaned over and said, "Oh! I like the name Eliza!" And then he saw one of the suggested names by Eliza was Amelia. "Oh! I like Amelia better!" he said.

And I liked both those names, too, but I still wasn't quite sure about them.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Purple Slide Park

We stopped at the "purple slide park" after preschool for a bit of a pre-lunch romp. The swings here are so low to the ground that even Benjamin could get on by himself (if he'd try). Miriam was boldly jumping off the swing, which was probably alright as long as she doesn't try it on our swing set (because our swings are much, much higher off the ground).

Nesting: They just might fit

The baby and Benjamin won't have to share a room for a while (because the baby will be in our room) but we got him a new (to us) toddler bed so that we could reclaim the crib, anyway. The toddler bed goes where the piano used to be. The piano is now in front of the fireplace because we never use it (the fireplace, not the piano).

I made a few other small changes and made the kids help clean up the toys and we're finally to the point where we can call this room livable. The baby will be in the dark bed (we just have to put the crib rails back on) and Benjamin will be in the light bed. The dresser has a couple of empty drawers that are reserved for baby.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Busy days

I've been a little obsessed with a contest Auntie Em entered lately (and that might be an understatement). She's trying to win a trip to the Bleeding Disorders Symposium in St. Louis this March and she's been clinging—just barely—to first place for the past few days.

This morning when I first checked she was four votes ahead. Right now she's about 70 votes ahead. And I'm still a bit nervous even though there're only an hour until voting ends. Winning this contest would be so wonderful for them and though it's a "free" trip, I have to repeat the adage that nothing in life is free. This contest has been a lot of work! I really hope they win!

Here's the picture in the contest—it's my adorable nephew, Gavin, wearing a shirt that says, "I love someone with hemophilia":

Goals: looking back and looking forward

We did fairly well on our bucket list for 2014, though we didn't manage to complete all of our goals. That's okay because we have 2015 to look forward to!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cheer and Sleep

Benjamin had a hard time falling asleep last night. I fell asleep on the couch listening to him complain from his bed. He read books. He zoomed cars across his pillow. He kicked his wall. He threw all his stuffed toys and blankets out of his bed. He made annoying sounds with his mouth.

I woke up when he started screaming, "Mom! Mom! Mom!"

Moments before Andrew had been in there to show him that it was actually very, very dark.

"Me see sun! Outside mine windy—a sun! Time a wake up! Me see sun!" he'd been calling out. He hadn't been too happy when Daddy showed him just how very dark it could be...because it was night.

Andrew and I went to bed about half an hour after Benjamin fell asleep. I just couldn't stay awake any longer and with cheer on Saturday mornings and church at 9 AM we don't really have a good day for sleeping in anymore, which is fine. It just means we also don't have a night we can stay up irresponsibly late anymore, either. Our children are really going to miss having free access to the television those mornings.

This morning Benjamin woke up when the alarm went off but seemed to not want to get up, which was fine with me. He's got a croup-like cough again (yes, seriously; it's either again or still—I can't even tell because I swear he's been coughing since...October?) and he and I were up quite a bit between the hours of 2 and 6 AM. I didn't want to get out of bed either so I nudged Andrew until he got out of bed.

Benjamin got up and tried to follow him out of the bedroom.

"Not you," I growled from the bed. "You lie down and go back to sleep."

He ran back to his little mat/nest on the floor and cried, so I pulled him into bed with me and reminded him to close his eyes until they stopped opening and his breathing got heavy. Then I went ahead and fell asleep again, too. We didn't wake up until 9:30.

Andrew took the girls to cheer (only Miriam is in cheer but Rachel really wanted to see what it was like), but as it turned out the basketball teams they were supposed to cheer for didn't show up (either of them) so instead they just practiced for an hour. This was probably for the best because they'll be cheering for a Duke women's basketball game in a couple of weeks but have only had two practices this year. They needed some extra time to nail down their routines.

A twenty-minute project

This morning Andrew brought out a shelf we bought ages ago to put up beside Miriam's bed. Ever since she started reading her bed has been full of books and it kind of needs to stop, but we've been a little slow in getting it put up.

"Today's the day," Andrew announced. "Do you want to find a stud while I get the drill?"

Sure. Yeah. Sure, I'll just find a stud. Because finding studs is easy.

I started hitting the wall with my knuckle, listening closely for any change of sound. Nothing really stood out to me. We've measured walls before so we could guess where the studs were but this time Andrew said, "Why don't we just get a stud finder? How much can they cost—like $20?"

He started getting ready to go to the hardware store and I said, "Why don't you take some of our Christmas money and get a power washer, too? Because I was looking at rental prices and, frankly, we can buy a machine with the same money we'd spend renting one a couple of times."

Andrew agreed this was a good idea. We have so much gross build up on our play set that our children have been refusing to play on it and—let's face it—life is better when they're out playing on it. We also just...we live in the south. Lots of humidity, lots of pollen. Things get yucky, fast; our swing set isn't the only thing that needs a good power washing.

Soon Andrew was home with a power washer.

"We should set it up right now!" he said.

"Right now?" I asked. "I thought we were going to do Miriam's shelf. All the tools are on her bed and..."