Saturday, October 25, 2014

DC Trip, Day 5 (October 14)

We spent the morning playing in Caitlin's awesome basement. She's a Southern California girl and although she's experienced wintery weather on vacations she has never had to live in a place with winter. She asked me about winters out here and I told her that they weren't that bad—it snows every now and then but it's not, like, the North Pole. I told her she'd be fine.

And then we had the 2013–2014 North American Cold Wave and everything I'd told her about winter in the northern southern States was completely invalidated.

She was going crazy trying to figure out how to keep two little boys inside and entertained all winter long, but luckily had an unfinished basement to fill with fun things: a bouncy house and a mini roller coaster among them.

The kids had an absolute blast!

Birthday Spotlight

Miriam got to celebrate her birthday at school on Thursday, which meant she got to bring in a few of her favourite things to show to the class and they "spotlighted" her. She had no trouble finding things to bring in but she did have a little trouble understanding exactly what spotlighting was—she took it quite literally.

They're going to put a spotlight on me!" she said excitedly.

"No, no," I said. "They're going to spotlight you, which means they'll talk about you and share reasons why you're important."

"Yeah. With a spotlight!"

"Not an actual spotlight. There's not going to be a spotlight shining on you."

"Yeah, okay, Mom."

"No, really. I just want you to know there's not an actual spotlight. It's figurative. They're just going to talk about you. They're not going to shine anything on you."

"Right... Mom. It's a spotlight. So..."

When we were walking out to the car I asked her if she enjoyed her special day and she kind of shrugged her shoulders dejectedly and sighed, "They didn't even bring out the spotlight, Mom."

I think she understands now but it was a steep and disappointing learning curve.

The first thing Miriam pulled out of her bag was a little container of LEGO minifigures:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Benjamin Talks

This little boy has the sweetest voice and he always tilts his head to the side when he asks a question which just makes things that much sweeter. He's talking more and more every day and I just can't get enough of the things he says.

Yesterday he was chattering away to me the whole time we were driving to pick Miriam up from co-op preschool.

"Mom! Turn 'ound!" he demanded. "Turn 'ound! Me see park! Mom—me see Sasa's schoo. Sasa's schoo's park! Mom! Turn 'ound!"

"We can't stop at the park," I told him. "We have to pick Miriam up from preschool."

"Mimi pee-schoo Inky 'ouse? Me 'ike Inky 'ouse. Me go 'side Inky 'ouse? Me go pee-schoo a Mimi. Me big boy. Me pee-schoo a Mimi, Inky 'ouse."

"You might be able to come inside Lincoln's house for a minute but you're still a little bit young for preschool."

"No. Me big boy," Benjamin insisted.

"I know you're a big boy but you still have some growing to do."

"Me see Inky 'ouse! Mom! See? Inky 'ouse—punkies! Big punkies Inky 'ouse!"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stake Conference Sunday

This morning as Rachel was getting into the van she came head to head with a ginormous German shepherd. She quickly closed the van door and waited for everyone else to join her. The dog ran around the side of the house and disappeared "into the woods," as Rachel told us.

I asked her to say the prayer (because sometimes we forget to say family prayer on Sunday mornings until we've already piled into the van) and she promptly began even though Andrew said, "Wait a minute!"

Since Rachel was praying I was trying to listen to what she was saying. The line "please bless Mommy and Daddy to enjoy listening to the talks at conference..." stuck out in my mind.

Andrew, however, was completely ignoring her. He backed out of the driveway and kept backing up until he got to the neighbour's house. Mr. Lee was out with his three dogs (that my kids love) who were all barking wildly at the woods.

"Is there a big dog back there?" Andrew called through his window.

"HUGE!" Answered Mr. Lee, whose dogs I consider to be on the large size. "Looks like a German shepherd."

"He was in our yard earlier," Andrew said. "We need to find out where he belongs to."

"He's pretty timid for his size," remarked Mr. Lee. "He's terrified of my dogs!"

We bid Mr. Lee a good day, Andrew rolled up his window, and we headed off to church.

"Why don't you try again, Rachel," I said, giving Andrew a chiding look since he'd clearly misbehaved during the prayer.

"Alright," she said, and she began to pray again saying almost word for word what she'd said before until she got to the part about conference. "And please bless us all to enjoy listening to the talks at conference," she said with emphasis.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

You should see the other guy

It was a day much like any other day, though a little heavy on the alliteration.

Upon completing the primary presentation practice, we had a party with pizza, punch, and pumpkin pastries in the gym. After pigging out on pumpkin pastries, the primary was a pretty peppy pack, pelting and prancing pell-mell around the place as they played. Our adult parley was (partially) unexpectedly punctuated by the piercing, plangent puling of a preschooler in the pangs of pain.

"He's probably not crippled; just panicking," his mother proclaimed.

A purplish splotch appeared on his perspiring brow. He and a playmate had walloped pates.

The other person spoiled by this mishap was a perplexity until I spotted my own offspring sporting a proportionate purplish protuberance.

Seriously, though.

Rachel collided with a four-year-old and left him screaming on the floor while she continued running around playing tag with everybody else. He's a pretty big guy for his age—rather tough—and was soon comforted. All he got was a little bruise. Rachel, on the other hand, developed quite the goose egg.

We'll have to compare their battle scars tomorrow at church. 


Despite our attempts at remaining germ-free, Benjamin has acquired a stomach bug. He was as happy as could be all morning while we were at the primary presentation practice. We went straight to Rachel's soccer game after the rehearsal. Benjamin and Miriam wanted to play at the playground for a while before heading over to watch the game so I sat with them and we discovered two things: first, that Miriam can cross the monkey bars all on her own, and second, that Benjamin has explosive diarrhea.

"Hey, Mommy!" he said cheerfully, as he waddled over to me from where he'd been playing—actively playing—with a steering wheel.

"Oh, no," I said, taking in his unusual gait. "Did you go potty?"

He nodded and hummed "Um-hmm!" in assent (that's his new thing).

Usually if he's going to go potty without telling me he'll slink off to a corner somewhere and covertly squat down—which gives me time to catch him before too much damage is done. This time he didn't even stop playing so it was obvious it was going to be bad. And it was.

"Miriam," I said. "I need you to get the van keys from Dad. I can't move Benjamin like this. I need you to find Dad and get the keys and bring them back to me all on your own."

"All on my own?" she gulped.

Friday, October 17, 2014

DC Trip, Day 4 (October 13)

Are you getting burned out from hearing about our DC trip? I know I am. But I will forge ahead anyway...

On Monday morning we had an appointment for a tour at the Capitol Building. Getting there was a bit of a pain...for some of us. We rented a parking spot online and walked from there to the Capitol Building. We were crossing one of several streets when the walk sign turned to a flashing hand. "Oh, no!" Rachel said as she took off running. She sprinted the rest of the way across the street and jumped onto the marble-ish sidewalk and (thanks in equal part to her crocs and the rain) completely biffed it.

She slid and landed—hard—on her rear end, and immediately started crying.

Miriam, who was running right behind her also slipped but managed to catch herself without doing too much damage. She sure was angry though. "Rachel could have at least warned us it was slippery!" she said indignantly as she peeled herself off the sidewalk.

"Rachel did warn us that it was slippery," I said. "Remember that part how she slipped and fell. That was the warning."

Poor Rachel was so sore she could hardly stand up straight. She's still quite bruised (and we're—what?—four days later now), poor thing.

The instruction on our tour booking told us to arrive at least 45 minutes early during peak season and 30 minutes early during non-peak season. We're  pretty well in non-peak season here and even with Rachel hobbling along we arrived plenty early but there was still a long line waiting to go through security. We were at the very top of the stairs and managed to get inside with five minutes before our tour time, which left us just enough time to run to the restrooms (which were the most impressive restrooms my kids have seen—they kept commenting on how pretty everything was and how nice everything smelled).

Here we are waiting in line to see the movie before the tour:

Andrew and Benjamin with Philo T. Farnsworth behind them

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DC Trip, Day 3 (October 12)

Sunday was a better day...for us. Unfortunately, Caitlin's boys decided to have another go-round of the stomach I'm fairly certain that it wasn't a great day for her. We did our best to stay out of their hair, which meant we spent most of the day running around (when all I wanted was an afternoon nap). Still, it was a good day.

We went to church in the morning but only stayed for sacrament meeting because their ward was practicing for their primary presentation the whole two hours and we didn't want the kids to have to sit through all of that. So after a yummy lunch of chicken noodle soup, courtesy of Caitlin (and a lovely change from the PB&J we had on the menu every day this week), we headed downtown once again. We parked in the Jefferson Memorial parking lot and visited the memorial there.

Andrew is named after Thomas Jefferson (Thomas is his middle name) and so, in extension, is Benjamin since he shares Andrew's middle name. Here they are with their namesake:

DC Trip, Day 2 (October 11)

This was by far the roughest day of our trip. We had two goals: go to the zoo and attend the landing of Air Force One. You know, simple things. We decided to take the metro, which was our one big mistake because the metro only runs every twenty minutes or so on the weekends. This basically added an hour onto a regularly 45 minute trip. We spent so long waiting for trains!

When we got to the zoo we called our friends to tell them we wouldn't be able to make it back in time to attend the landing. Not if we had to count on spending two hours getting back home!

The zoo was the one thing the kids had asked to do while we were in DC. We haven't been to a zoo since we lived in Cairo. So basically the children had never been to a zoo. They were pretty excited about it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DC Trip, Day 1 (October 10)

So, surprise! We went to Washington DC this weekend!

Our plans were a little up in the air until the night before we left because the friend we'd been planning on staying with has two little boys and those two little boys got sick with a stomach bug and she didn't know that we wanted to be there in the throes of, well, throwing up. We very nearly went camping at the Outer Banks (where we could have seen a shark feeding frenzy—too bad we missed that) instead but after much discourse we decided to postpone our trip for a day and still head up, so on Abra's birthday we loaded up the car and headed north.

Washington was clearing out for the weekend so we took our chances and headed straight into the city center. There was plenty of (free!) parking at the Arlington Cemetery so we wandered around there for awhile before walking from Virginia to DC proper.