Sunday, April 22, 2018

A funny thing happened on the way to the...

Zoë had "quiet time" in the basement after church today. She cried like she was being sent to the executioner when in reality she was only being sent downstairs to play (it's was Benjamin's week to have quiet time in the bedroom and, well, "it's [her] bedroom, too!"). She was doing such a good job at quiet time that I asked Andrew if he had turned on a show for her. He proudly told me that he had not. She was playing

But then he went downstairs to check on her and found her fast asleep (but she only fell asleep after she'd tucked in her t-rex, because that's important). 

"That's crazy!" I said. "Do you think she's starting to need naps again this late in her waning toddlerhood? Cuz..."

Moses supposes our noses are roses*

We have lived here for—what?—eight, nine months now and we still haven't gotten over how dry it is here. Andrew's hands are so dry and cracked it's not even funny and the children have started having bloody noses at random. Rachel was getting them so frequently that we finally thought to get her some nasal spray to help keep things...moist. It seems to have helped her.

One day she was in a particularly sour mood after school and she kind of bit my head off when I asked her to practice the piano. I wanted to just ignore her attitude, but when I heard her sniffling at the piano I decided I had better check on her.

"Rachel, honey," I said. "You know that piano practice is a daily thing. I'm not trying to be mean about it and hope I didn't sound angry when I asked you to practice. I thought I asked you normally but if I raised my voice, I'm sorry."

"It's not that," she quavered.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Trash to Treasure

This part was written on Friday night:

Our ward is having a Trading Tables event tomorrow, which I suppose they're technically calling a Clothing Exchange (or something). I wasn't in charge of it, which was a nice change after heading it up for the last five years! But I've forgotten how nice they are for a cheapskate like me.

Instead of meeting the morning of to sort through things and then "shop" right away, we brought things in this evening to sort...but we also "shopped" a bit as we sorted. Some of us "shopped"...a lot. I always do. But, seriously, I took over five bags of cast-offs and only returned home with two. So, I mean, that's pretty good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Oh, brother(s), where art thou?

David moved up to Prince George in December (I think) and although he's been to Utah several times since then, it's only ever been for a day or two on his way to somewhere else. Last weekend (right when we were getting over the stomach flu) he came down again to move his things from our parents' house up to his place. He braved our germs and spent Saturday playing games at our house.

Alexander at 6 months

Alexander had his six month well-child check yesterday, which went well, and he got his vaccinations which he did not take well (he spent all night feverish and fussy).

He weighed in at a walloping 17 lbs. and 1 ounce and was 26.14 inches long, my biggest baby at six months old (and my smallest (full-term) baby at birth)!

Here are the stats for the other kids at six months (there is no blog post for Zoë because her six-month check was the day after we returned from our visit to Utah for my Grandma Layton's funeral and I just never got to blogging about taking her to the doctor, but I did look up her paperwork (so filing cabinets aren't completely defunct (though I guess I could have just as easily looked up her stats online because Duke's online system is fantastic like that, but I didn't think of that because our clinic here isn't so fancy))):

Alexander: 17 lbs. 1 ounce and 26.14 inches
Zoë: 16 lbs. 13.8 ounces and 26.18 inches
Benjamin: 14 lbs. 13 ounces and 24 inches
Miriam: 16 lbs. even (more or less) and 25 inches
Rachel: 16 lbs. 8 ounces and 27.5 inches

He is certainly growing well (the rolls on his thighs have rolls!) though if he's anything like my other children his growth will start tapering off right about now. And that's fine by me because he's so heavy!

At six months, Alexander is...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Benjamin's kindergarten performance and time with cousin James

Two weeks ago* Benjamin's kindergarten class had their end-of-the-year performance.

It seems odd to me to have all the end-of-year activities so early: the musical and Benjamin's performance in March and the choir concerts the beginning of April. I wondered why for about two seconds before I realized that it's due to end-of-year testing, which has become almost a sacred, silent ritual in elementary schools. As if stressing children out by enforcing strict silence and making them feel like their little lives depend on doing well is healthy for them.

I mean, I understand the reasoning behind testing. It's nice to know the answer to that ever burning question: is our children learning? It's nice to collect data to form policy. It's nice to know who is falling through the cracks and who is getting it. It's nice to try to figure out why.

But stop stressing the children out about it. Stop stressing the teachers out about it.

Just collect your data and move on, without linking scores to wages or other ridiculous stuff like that.

That way we can stop saying "end of year" in March. Because that's just crazy talk.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Gamelan Bintang Wahyu

We did it—baby and I—we survived a full semester of gamelan! It certainly wouldn't have been possible without a lot of outside support, mostly child-tenders: Josie and my mom who took turns pacing the halls of the HFAC with Alexander during rehearsals, Grandma and Grandpa for helping with the kids at home, and Andrew, of course, for making his schedule work with mine and getting dinner on the table and the kids into bed every Thursday and Friday, not to mention my kids being on their best behaviour both when they accompanied me to class and when they were left at home.

At lot goes in to getting Mom off to school, so thinking about ever going to graduate school (a dream that's been on the back burner for the last decade or so) has my head spinning. This was just a one credit class and...oh, boy! It was enough!

(Of course, it's a fine arts class, so that one credit hour translated into four hours of rehearsal every week. Silly fine arts credits. I honestly don't understand why they are the way they...)

Tonight we performed at BYU's Evening of Percussion, which was so fun! We had a dress rehearsal in the afternoon so it made for a bit of a long day, but I went back home with my mom for dinner and to let Alexander nap so that broke the day up a bit. The poor little guy had had enough after dress rehearsal and couldn't believe we were going back to campus for more. He screamed for Auntie Josie the entire time we were performing (which was quite a while because Odradek alone was more than twenty minutes long). I could hear his cries echoing through the halls the minute we left the stage area so I sprinted towards them until I found that little stressed-out pair (Alexander because "where's Mom?!?!" and Josie because Alexander wouldn't stop crying). He was quite happy to see me. 

Anyway, Andrew took some pictures from the audience (he brought Rachel, Miriam, and Benjamin to watch; Zoë stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa). Oddly enough, he sat right in front of my dad's cousin Jolene—she was there to watch her son Jordan play with the Panoramic Steel group. She recognized our kids and said hello to them by name, which threw them off because they certainly didn't recognize her (when's the last time we had a Duggar reunion?—let's do one this summer)!

Anyway, I am in the very back in the middle (behind those tall guys in the middle) and my mom is on the right sitting on the risers...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Morning has broken, like the first morning...

It was a morning not unlike any other morning—full of teasing and screaming and fighting and yelling. And maybe the kids were doing what they were supposed to be doing...but maybe they weren't.

I don't know. I was upstairs sitting on the couch, pumping.

Tangent time: To be honest, I was ready to start weaning off pumping. I mean, Alexander is six months old (or will be on Saturday) so I've been pumping for about half a year now. I've donated 4232.5 fluid ounces (33 gallons (Rachel is doing a unit on measurement so she should know that's 132.25 quarts, 264.5 pints)) of milk! It can be a bit of a burden, but it's a labour of love. Still, it's simply more of a challenge to do with a (fussy) baby on the cusp of mobility than with a sleepy newborn so I'd been thinking of retiring the pumps. But then my friend Joy sent me a message about her sister, who was desperately trying to get her baby to eat. She hadn't been able to nurse him and he'd been failing to thrive on formula (plummeting off his growth chart). He's doing better on breastmilk but he's not quite out of the woods yet.

So he's my new motivation for sitting on the couch pumping...while my children run amok downstairs in the mornings. It's fine. Usually. I mean, they're generally good children.

This particular morning, however, they were overly good. Or, at least, one of them was.

Benjamin had come upstairs and was being all crazy so I asked him to go downstairs to work on his chore: putting away the clean dishes. He actually complied and thundered down the stairs to get to work.

Everything was fine until all three of his sisters started screaming at him at once.

"Benjamin! Benjamin! Benjamin!" his older sisters chorused (Benjamin is a very common refrain at our house) while his younger sister screeched unintelligibly at him.

"You guys!" I hollered from the couch before...




Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Yoo-hoo unto Jesus!

The most recent hymnal for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published in 1985 (a pretty easy year for me to remember). The hymnbook prior to that was published in 1948.

Quite a few changes happened between those two publications, but my favourite is the change to How Firm a Foundation, hymn #66 in the brown 1948 edition:

How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
You who unto Jesus, you who unto Jesus,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Feeling Preachy

As he would put it, Benjamin "preached" his first family night lesson today.

For part of his primary lesson yesterday he received a mission call and a name tag and he was ready to head out into the world and share the gospel. He drew a picture of The Book of Mormon and decided he wanted to give it to the bishop, so Grandpa walked him over to the bishop's house to make the delivery. Poor Benjamin froze when the door opened, which is odd considering how talkative he usually is, and eventually, but still saying nothing, held out his drawing to the bishop's daughter.

"It's for your dad," Grandpa explained.

On the walk home Benjamin observed that missionary work is pretty scary but he was going to do his best to overcome his fears, like a good missionary would.

Over dinner he remarked that as soon as he "prepared the gospel" he was going to head out to preach some more. He even planned on wearing his name tag to school.

Not wanting to dampen his spirit, but also not wanting him to think that he really has to go around "tracting" the neighbourhood, we had him give a family night lesson on missionary work today and we talked as a family about how we can share the gospel.