Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bike Riding

Now that all our company is gone and things are getting back to normal we're trying to get back into our biking groove. We just passed the 900 mile mark on our exercise bike—we're nearing the half-way point of our goal!—but we still have some serious biking to do before the end of the year (our goal is 2436 miles).

On Monday the kids really wanted to go for a bike ride so after dinner and a quick FHE I took them around the neighbourhood while Andrew took Rachel to soccer practice. I downloaded a GPS app thing that will track my mileage and speed and so forth (though ads pop up every time I swipe the screen because I only downloaded the free version—and I'm still not convinced I like it enough to actually buy it...anyone know of a good app like this?).

My speed graph and elevation graph were mirror images of each other. Whenever the line of my elevation graph went up, the line on my speed graph plummeted. We have a few good hills in our little neighbourhood and hauling ~70% of my body weight behind me didn't help matters either.

Cute Cargo

Tadpoles: Day 39

One of Miriam's frequently asked questions these days is "Can I hold the frogs?" Unfortunately we usually have to put that off until Benjamin is napping or otherwise distracted because he just can't handle the frogs (more like he can't handle the container of water—it's just asking to be splashed in).

She's become a pro at catching the itty-bitty things:

Easter Egg Smackdown 2014

We dove into our annual Smackdown as soon as we finished finding all the plastic eggs. The girls were so excited. Rachel was talking smack all the way to church in the morning.

"I'm going to be the champion this year," she challenged. "You're all going down!"

I'd like to know when she got old enough to put sentences like that together. She was super competitive this year.

We first had to set up the bracket. Andrew put me in charge of that while he cut up potatoes.

"Why do I have to draw the bracket?" I moaned (I'm as bad as my kids sometimes). "I'm so bad at it but it seems like I do it every year!"

"Oh, you're great at drawing brackets," Andrew assured me.

"Okay, fine," I sighed. "Let's see. There are fourteen eggs so we'll needs seven...ah, whatever. I'm going to see what I can find online."

I found a lovely bracket-generating website that would make up a bracket for you with however many competitors you wanted. Perfect.

Next we went through the eggs, named them, and listed them on the bracket. Andrew, who'd abandoned his potatoes, would pull an egg out of the carton, ask whose it was, someone would claim it and christen it and then I would write the chosen name on the bracket. I was careful to make sure that no one was competing against themselves. The last two slots were automatically in Round 2. And the last two eggs both belonged to Andrew.

"Hey, wait a minute!" I said. "That's not fair! You get to skip Round 1. That's totally an advantage—your eggs will enter Round 2 untouched!"

Rachel might not be the only one who gets competitive about the Smackdown.

"I didn't mean to," Andrew said sincerely.

"Fine, I believe you. But if you win I will never let you live this down," I promised.

First up were Rachel and Miriam competing with Pinky I and Pinky II—they'd both dyed an egg pink.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Sunday

The girls were so excited to check out their curls in the morning. They looked beautiful.

Easter egg hunt (round 2)

On Saturday morning we got up somewhat early to go to the ward Easter egg hunt. Last year the primary presidency planned it and it was a ton of work—we did the hunt, a meal, and a play—this year we're in the process of planning another activity so we outsourced it to some other primary people and simply showed up to help. It was lovely that way, though we did have a few hiccups. 

The first thing we noticed, as we turned into the parking lot a full fifteen minutes before the party started, was that the parking lot was rather full. 

"Wow!" I said to Andrew. "What a turn out! And can you even believe so many people would be here early?" I mean, there is such thing as Mormon Standard Time (which is several minutes late).

The next thing we noticed was that the church smelled suspiciously of pancakes. 

"Mmmmm...pancakes," Andrew sighed.

We weren't planning on pancakes. We were planning on donuts.

The next thing we noticed was that the partition curtain in the gym was closed and all our people were shut in one third of the gym. And they were completely frazzled.

"What's going on?" I asked.

Turns out: another ward's Easter party had been rained out so they decided to just come to the church. 

Their party started a full hour before our party started so the building was empty when they arrived. If only they had looked at the calendar. They would have seen that we had the building booked. 

They reluctantly gave us back a third of the gym (how generous) and promised they'd be out (or close to out) by the time our party started. However, they were still cooking pancakes long after our start time. And when we were trying to hide the eggs their children were going around and finding them, leaving fewer eggs to go around for our children (we'd planned on ten each but didn't quite make it). 

I stood guarding one of the egg hunt locations so that children wouldn't go in and steal our eggs—and had to turn away several children. Talk about ruining the holidays. 

"Ooh! Look! More eggs!" the kids would squeal excitedly.

"Sorry, kids. No eggs for you. Happy Easter," I'd say, blocking their entrance.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Someday her (frog) prince will come

Did I mention I was obsessed with these frogs? I'm not the only one. Miriam—of all people—caught one and held it today while her self-proclaimed tom-boy sister stood by and watched, too afraid to try.

Miriam, who can't venture outdoors without putting on her "magic bracelet." Miriam, who loves doing her hair and playing princesses. Miriam, who...okay, maybe the whole princess thing works in her favour. Perhaps she thinks she'll find her prince this way.

That was actually the other funny story!

A couple of days ago, Andrew was putting a jacket on Benjamin. He looked at the tag and noted it was size 3–6 months (Benjamin's coming up on his second birthday, just for the record).

"Three to six months!" Andrew exclaimed. "Benjamin! When are you going to outgrow this? Your cousin Gavin could wear this!"

"Benjamin's not his cousin; he's his uncle," Rachel said, matter-of-factly.

"No, Benjamin is his cousin," I corrected. "Benjamin won't be an uncle until you or Miriam have children."

"That will be me! I'll have children first because I'm oldest," Rachel said.

"Not necessarily," I pointed out. "I have children and Uncle David does not, but I'm younger than Uncle David."

"That's because he's not married," Rachel said. "But I'll be getting married before Miriam."

"How can you be so sure?" I asked.

"Because Miriam said she was only going to marry a prince. Do you know how hard it is to find a prince to marry? I'm just going to marry some guy, so I'll be the first one to have kids."

So, here's Miriam searching for a frog prince to marry.

She caught one!

He's kind of cute, too!

But he hopped away!

Better luck next time, Miriam!

(She just read that as I typed it. It's still kind of weird that she can read so well.)

Tadpoles: Day 37

Our sweet little tadpoles are beginning to sprout their forelimbs, which means it's almost time to let them go. Andrew asked me if I was going to cry when the time came. I told him no. But I guess we'll have to see. I might be a little obsessed with these froglets.

Last night when we noticed their forelimbs coming in I put a plastic lid in their container, just in case anyone wanted to climb up for a rest on something without having to scale the cliff face of the rock in there. This morning I found that one little froglet was checking out its plastic lily pad.

We're so funny

In synthesizing several potential posts for the sake of "catching up" I realize I neglected to tell several funny stories. So here they are, in no particular order...

Story #1

Last week I decided to mow the front lawn. With the warmer weather things have been perking up around here and parts of our lawn were virulently reclaiming their verdure. Benjamin was nearly getting lost out there! Knowing that Andrew probably wouldn't get around to it until after he was finished with his last paper and final of the semester I decided to attack it myself. I got out the reel mower. I greased the squeaky parts. I hacked at the lawn until it was more or less mowed.

Of course, our mower won't cut everything that grows with our lawn—it won't cut the tall stalks of grass going to seed (though, honestly, we probably want our grass to go to seed so we have half a chance of growing slightly more grass than weeds) and it won't cut through the onion patches (it just flattens them for a few days)—so when I was finished the lawn looked perhaps more disheveled than when I began (though notably shorter).

Exhausted, I put the mower away.

A while later, Andrew zipped up in his scooter. He hopped off and greeted me with this charming sentiment: "I think I'll mow the lawn today. It looks awful!"

He's since found an actual lawn mower for sale on Craigslist. He'll be picking it up today. I expect things to be a lot more manicured around here from now on.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Finery

Last night after bath time I put the girls' hair up in curlers. I did Miriam's up in rag curls and Rachel's up in foam curlers. They were both a little nervous about how things would turn out in the morning but I think they both loved having curly hair for a day (even Rachel, my self-proclaimed tomboy (I'm constantly trying to convince her that it's okay to be rough'n'tumble and also get dolled up every now and then).

Tuesday–Thursday with Grandma

Grandma dropped Grandpa off at the airport in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. We joked that he came like a thief in the night—arriving after the kids went to bed on Thursday and leaving before they got up in the morning on Tuesday. We took it easy the rest of the day. Both Miriam and Grandma were sick with whatever Andrew and Miriam were sick with before. We took a lot of naps, we watched a lot of shows, we did a lot of quiet playing and reading. That was all.

Oh, we had Andrew bring home Cook Out for dinner, too. It was just that lazy of a day.

On Wednesday everyone was feeling much better. We spent the morning playing playdoh. The girls wanted to make a "free samples" section like at Costco. We had free samples of bananas and blueberries, pomegranates and lettuce, lemons and carrots, oranges and mangos, and whatever it is we decided the white stuff was (I can't remember).