Thursday, April 17, 2014

Benjamin: Day 682

I figured since I've been updating on our frogs so frequently I should at least dedicate a post to Benjamin, who is also rapidly developing. He's 1 year, 10 months, and 13 days old today.

We're currently working on both weaning and potty training and are about equally successful with both. Benjamin is fully potty trained—with only an accident or two every day. He's also fully weaned—with only an accident or two every day. In other words, he's neither weaned or potty trained but, by golly, we're getting there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saturday's Surprise

Several weeks ago Rachel was texting with Grandma and Grandma asked her to ask me if she could plan a special surprise for April 12th. We told her to go ahead and plan her surprise. Deep down inside part of me was hoping for a grand adventure sometime within these few weeks of spring break like anything to break up the monotony of the semester (which is over tomorrow—alhamdulillah).

Unfortunately, Andrew's schedule didn't allow for any out of town trips. Fortunately, part of that reason was because he agreed to teach statistics to some Kazakh government officials and was paid (what we consider) a healthy sum of money to do so. So, though we were stuck in town we had a good reason for it. And we did get to have Grandma and Grandpa come to explore our own little neighbourhood a little closer.

Camping and beach trips will have to wait until later, I suppose.

Anyway, Grandma built up a lot of hype around her surprise and had us all anxiously guessing. Every now and then she'd let a clue slip—it's a place we've never been! It's going to be a bit of a drive away. It's something we'll do in rain or shine! The girls were guessed just about everything under the sun but they didn't ever guess what it was—a trip to the New Hope Valley Railway: The Triangle's Train.

"Are we here?" the girls asked as we pulled into a gravel parking lot.

"What is this place? There's not even anything here. It's just empty. It doesn't look very fun," Rachel sniffed as she got out of the van. But just then a train came roaring past.

"A train!" she said. "We're going to ride a train!"

"Not that train," Grandma said, since the train that was roaring past was a freight train and was not stopping. "But, yes, we'll be riding on a train!"

The kids were super excited. We got there a little early, so before riding the train we went through the train museum, which was made up of old rail cars. The inside of each was set up with how things really would have been inside—they even had a coffin with a "dead body" inside the baggage car as well as a safe (made me think of The Great Train Robbery).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Friday in Hillsborough

Grandpa is someone who always likes to have a plan—in fact, he was asking about "the plan" before they'd even left the airport parking lot—so while much of this first week with Grandma was spent working around the house, going to the park on a whim, or just sitting around playing and reading, this weekend was full of Plans.

Friday's Plan was to explore Historic Hillsborough. Our first stop was at the visitor's center to get some information. The kids enjoyed exploring a few of the trees that are finally in bloom. Spring is out in full force now, everything is covered with a fine dusting of pollen and, although my family is suffering with allergies, it's beautiful!

Tadpoles: Day 30

I finally managed to entice a tadpole to stay horizontally enough long enough to measure it. It's amazing how much better developed their legs are after just a couple of days!

This one is about 2.5 cm long from tail to snout; he's enjoying some freshly microwaved lettuce.

I actually fed the frogs before my children this morning, getting their breakfast ready with a baby on my hip. I must be losing it...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt (round one)

The annual neighbourhood Easter egg hunt was this morning so even though we woke up a bit late we got ready to go in a rush and were able to make it on time. I forgot to get the Easter baskets down from the attic when I was up there last night (to get out the double air mattress that we didn't know we'd need until Grandpa suddenly showed up) so I made some up for the kids while they ate breakfast. I was worried they'd be a little small—because I made them out of lunch bags—but they ended up being a wonderful, generous size (in my opinion). Some kids had huge bags which they filled with eggs. I can't even imagine having that many eggs in my house. I think my kids got at least ten eggs each which was plenty enough.

I was happy to have Reid and Karen come with me (Andrew was running a fever all through the night so he was home in bed) because my kids were split up into three different groups. Two and under. Three through five. Six and above.

I had friends around who could have helped supervise my six year old on the hills next to the 45 MPH road but grandparents are a little more attentive (since they didn't have their own children to worry about). I think the six year olds were pulled back into the playground at the last minute, anyway, because there weren't many 3–5 year olds there. 

The baby egg hunt was over by the parking lot so Benjamin and I headed over there, leaving Grandma and Grandpa to watch Rachel and Miriam. Grandma said that Miriam was hilarious—she was stepping over eggs trying to find other eggs, not even realizing she was passing eggs up. 

Benjamin was also pretty hilarious. I told him he could pick up an egg and he was all, "Now what?":

Tadpoles: Day 28

Sometime in this busy week our tadpoles sprouted legs! We just noticed them this evening. I'm not sure the littler ones have them yet but the bigger ones certainly do. For some reason I thought the legs would be bigger but they're just little tiny things sticking out behind them.

Bits and pieces from the week

On Tuesday I planted the flower gardens in the front and side of the house. We still have to fill the planters we got for our herb garden. Andrew is looking forward to a bountiful harvest of basil.

While we were out in the yard one of the neighbour boys came over to play with the kids.

"Do you want me to find a four-leaf clover for you, Miriam?" he asked. Then he swooped down, ran his fingers over a patch of clover and pulled out this:

Thursday was exciting

Andrew rode his scooter to school on Thursday morning and posted this message on Facebook when he got to school:

So, I was riding my scooter to school this morning when some sort of bug crashed into my neck. It didn't make a mess, so I didn't worry about it.

After I sat down at my desk, I started to hear a buzzing, like there was a fly around my head or something. I kept looking around, but couldn't find anything. Meh. Stupid flies. I kept working.

10 minutes later, the buzzing hasn't stopped. Then I feel something crawling in my shirt. I panic, run to the bathroom as steadily as possible, and discover that there was a bee in my shirt. AN ACTUAL BEE WITH A STINGER. A stinger that it fortunately decided not to use (I don't know why it showed such restraint).

So now there's an angry bee flying around the men's bathroom. Sorry everyone!

Monday, April 07, 2014

An interview with Grandma

I often think about family history around General Conference, probably because the family newsletter I make up is due to be sent out the first weekend in April and October, which happens to be when conference occurs. I imagine this was by design rather than by accident, though the design was not mine. I merely inherited the system from my Auntie Colleen when I took over for her in October 2011 (she begged someone to take over for her in a message with the last issue she sent out saying, "I've done it for quite a few years now and am getting old and cranky! Haha.").

It's funny to think that I've been doing it for "so long" already. Because two-and-a-half years is long...compared to however long my aunt did it for. I rather enjoy it even if it is a headache.

Anyway, with every issue I include an article about an ancestor (as well as the news everyone sends in) so every six months, at least, I'm reminded of my family history.

In conference yesterday I enjoyed hearing Elder William R. Walker's talk about family history. He said, "the more connected we feel to our righteous forefathers, the more likely we are to make wise and righteous choices." I totally agree with that statement (it made me think of this article from The New York Times); it is so important to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers," as it says in Malachi 4:6.

Miriam "helping" Grandma with some needlepoint while watching conference
Since we have Grandma staying with us we decided to do a repeat of the FHE lesson we did with Naanii—we interviewed Grandma and played Don't Eat Pete. Having the girls ask whatever question pops into their head might not be the best format for an interview but it works for our purposes.

It is wet and the sun is not sunny

Instead of staining the deck or going to soccer practice today we did rainy-day stuff. It was really coming down for a while and the kids wanted to go outside to splash in the puddles. All three of them were out there for about thirty seconds before Miriam got water inside her boots so retreated back into the house to hang out with Grandma.