Saturday, July 22, 2017

Packing with and without "helpers"

Yesterday I managed to farm off all my children and tackled Rachel's room on my own. This afternoon I managed to farm off all my children except one (Zoë) and Andrew and I tackled Benjamin and Miriam's bedroom together.

"Working without the kids here is pretty amazing," I told Andrew. "I think I've done more the last couple of afternoons than I have the entire summer. The kids are always fighting and getting into things and unpacking as I'm packing..."

"Really?" he asked. "They do that?"

And then we heard a *CRASH*

"Zoë," I groaned.

I found her in Miriam and Benjamin's room surrounded by toys. She'd knocked over a box that I'd just packed up (and had left unattended while I went to find tape). It was pretty good timing for her to knock it over, I guess—a perfect illustration of what I've been up against all summer.

(I also had a container in the room that I'd been using as a trash receptacle (Dear children: if you can't find any of the dinky little fair toys you've collected over the past five years I have no idea what happened to them. Love, Mom) and she purposely grabbed that and emptied it all over the floor while I was helping Andrew wrangle some stretch wrap over a piece of furniture. Oi.)


Friday, July 21, 2017

Andrew's a DOCTOR!

There won't be a ceremony until next spring and he still has a list of required revisions to complete but (more or less) he's done! And I don't think I've seen him this at ease with life since 2012.

Danielle, one of the candidates in Andrew's cohort, decorated his door for him and made him cookies (she defended in May)

Rachel is TEN!

My friend Laura took all of my kids yesterday and kept them all afternoon. She picked them up around 11:15 and then Andrew went to get them after work. It was amazing! I got so much accomplished!

All three girls had pigtails in the morning (and I didn't do any of them)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Benjamin's Pool Party

Benjamin turned five at the beginning of June and with Andrew scrambling to finish his dissertation and the end of the school year and everything else, it was just kind of a crazy time for us to try to throw a party for him...so we didn't. We celebrated as a family at the pool but we didn't do anything with friends because I wanted to choose a date when Andrew would be around to help. 

Time kept slipping by and all of a sudden we we're moving in six days and Rachel's birthday is tomorrow...so we picked today!

The girls pointed out that this would be when his birthday party would have been held had he had the decency to wait until his due date. Rachel very graciously and maturely has been allowing him to be the center of attention today (even though it's her birthday-eve), though she did breathe a sigh of relief when I came out of my bedroom with a pile of freshly wrapped birthday presents labeled "To Rachel."

We, uh, didn't get anything for Benjamin this time around because we gave him presents on his actual birthday. This was hard for him to process. He though we should do the whole thing over again from start to finish. He wanted birthday cereal and presents and a cake. 

"No, no," I said. "We did cake and presents and cereal on your birthday, remember?"

"That was when I turned five," he pointed out. 

"Right," I said. "And this is your five-year-old party. But it's just a party, not your birthday..."

"But how come Rachel gets to choose birthday cereal?"

"Because it really is Rachel's birthday."

"But she doesn't get a party?"

"Right."

She's not even getting cake tomorrow. (I told you she was being gracious and mature!) 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

No brainer

While we were playing UNO we were treated to a terrific storm this evening, which was ushered in with a percussion prelude before the rains began. Benjamin wondered how there could even be thunder and lightning without rain, so I explained a bit about dry thunderstorms and then said, "Dry thunderstorms have been happening quite a lot in British Columbia recently, which has started hundreds of forest fires, and that's no bueno."

Now, I realize that "no bueno" is an Anglicized slaughtering of the Spanish language, but we fairly regularly throw in phrases from other languages at our house while we speak English. "Shall we turn or go ʿala ṭool?" while we're out walking, for example. Or "Ostorozhno, don't walk in front of the swings." Or "Ciao, bellissima! Have a nice day!"

I don't know why....just whatever comes out comes out. So, anyway, I've been saying "no bueno" for years.

Tonight, Rachel—who will be ten years old on Thursday—paused and very carefully repeated, "Wait. No bueno?"

"Yup."

"What?! I have always thought you were just saying 'no brainer' in a goofy voice! What does bueno even mean?!"

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Every Relationship

spoke in church at the end of April so I was pretty sure I was off the hook until we got to our new ward, but no. But apparently you're never safe because I was asked to give a talk this week (Andrew is speaking next week). Fortunately, I was the middle speaker so I didn't have to worry about ending the meeting on time, which made the whole ordeal a lot less stressful. I wasn't given a topic, however, which made things a little more stressful. I was told to give my "parting remarks," whatever that means, but also talk about the gospel, obviously. So this is what I ended up with (my only regret is that I didn't manage to squeeze in a lesson from Wicked—"Because I knew you/I have been changed for good"; but there's only so much one can say in 10–15 minutes):

Every Relationship

As many of you know, our time in D2 has come to an end and we’ll be heading off on a new adventure, so these are, essentially, my valedictory remarks. Taking time to introduce our family seems almost trivial at this point since next week is our last Sunday here. Those of you who know us do and those of you who don’t, unfortunately, won’t. We’ve been in Durham for about five years while my husband Andrew has been working towards a PhD in Public Policy. We moved here with our two little girls, Rachel and Miriam—then only five and two—and a brand new baby Benjamin. We’re leaving with two relatively big girls—now ten and seven—and a five-year-old Benjamin (along with a two-year-old Zoë and a half-baked baby boy)!

We feel like our family has done a lot of growing up here and it’s rather difficult to say goodbye, especially for our children since this is the only home they remember.

A few months ago, long after the children had been put to bed, I heard a sniffling sound coming from one of their rooms. After a little investigation I found the culprit—our oldest daughter, Rachel—crying in bed. She was worried about having to say goodbye to all the wonderful people she knows here and was fretting about how she’d make friends at our new place. She wondered if making new friends would even be worth the effort since, as of right now, we only have a one-year contract where we’re going and have no idea yet where we will be after that.

I assured her that of course making new friends—even short term friends—would be worth it.

People are always worth it. “Remember,” we’re told in D&C 18:10, “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” As “Latter-day Saints [we] see all people as children of God in a full and complete sense; [we] consider every person divine in origin, nature, and potential.” In Psalms 82:6, the Lord says, “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches, “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” And 2 Nephi 26:33 states that “all are alike unto God.”

All people. All souls. All of you in this room. All human beings. Everyone, everywhere.

We are all children of Heavenly Parents who love us.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Benjamin's prayers

With the promise of being able to watch an episode of How to Train Your Dragon before bed, Benjamin's behaviour after dinner was on point. He cleared his dishes, he picked up the books in his room, he played dominoes and trains with Zoë while the rest of us played "Ticket to Ride," he ate his ice cream and then ran himself a bath. He got dressed and hung up his towel.

Perhaps most miraculously of all, he managed to sit still through scriptures!

"We'll have Benjamin say the prayer," Andrew said when we'd put the scriptures away. "Because he sat so nicely. But it's going to be a nice prayer, slow enough for everyone to understand."

"Okay," said Benjamin.

"And only one 'good day,'" Rachel added.

"No!" Benjamin wailed. "Seven!"

"Just one will do," Andrew said.

"Okay, okay," Benjamin agreed, and he started to pray.

"Dear Heavenly Father," he said. "We're thankful for this day. We're thankful for the good day that we could have today..."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Our last beach trip

Our little run to the beach yesterday was far too short of a trip to give the coast a proper goodbye (so we'll pretend that we haven't said our goodbyes). We went to one of our favourite beaches: North Topsail Island. It was the perfect day. It wasn't terribly windy, the water was nice and warm, and it was actually quite a lot cooler than it was in Durham so it was a great way to escape the dog days of summer that we're suffering through.

We applied sunscreen in the parking lot before hitting the sand because we're finally getting smart about these kinds of things (putting sunscreen on sandy children is...exfoliating). Even Andrew put sunscreen on willingly. He, himself, spread it on his arms and legs. I only had to do his face—and he stood still for that part. We've been married for 11.5 years and that has never happened.

"Aw, you're growing up," I teased.

"I am not," he said. "I just don't want to get burned this time."

"Aw, you're growing up," I repeated.

Last time he got burned and then had to fly out to BYU for interviews and was flaking dead skin everywhere, which I guess he felt was unprofessional or something. He's getting weirdly excited about dressing professionally for someone who loves flip-flops so passionately. I guess it's all part of growing up (which he's not doing; don't worry). 

Because we'd already sunscreened-up, the kids were free to run to the water when we found to our spot and they wasted no time in doing so. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Things Zoë screamed at the beach

1) More la-lo! [Lots of water!]
2) Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!
3) Shoes—off!
4) Hat—on!
5) Come!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Moving on

I spent the afternoon erasing...
Errant pencil marks
Something sticky
Tiny, grimy finger prints
Crusted-on boogers
Too many scuff marks
...off my empty walls.

They said that I would miss this,
The wise ones who came before.
They said that I would miss this:
The messes
The handprints
The toys on the floor.