Today while I was forcing the children to help clean the house, Miriam wondered aloud when they'd get to go back to school because being at home was so boring. I was like, "What do you mean 'boring?' We're cleaning the house so we can go do something fun. If you want to get to the fun part faster then stop sniffling and pick up the pace."
That's probably why she wants to go back to school, truthfully. Her teacher is super nice. I'm pretty heartless. Just ask my kids.
Why, just a few minutes ago Benjamin got out of bed to show me a little hangnail that's causing him grief and instead of expressing sympathy I...sniffed his finger? In my defence, I'm rather sleepy (Zoë went to bed at 4:45 AM last night) and I was reading a friend's blog post about the sense of smell. I think I meant to fake kiss his finger but ended up sniffing it instead, uttering, "Mmm...that's too bad. Get back to bed. I love you."
Anyway, I'm heartless. And I force my kids to do chores.
Even school is better than this.
Our fun activity, which we did eventually get around to doing, was a hike along the river. Fall hasn't always been one of my favourite seasons, but here where fall stretches and lingers for months, it really is. I suppose I have always enjoyed autumn, but sometimes in the north autumn is too brief to even think about enjoying. Here, however, autumn is an actual factual thing. And it's beautiful.
Here's a lovely zigzag spider that I found in our front garden as we were headed to the van. Isn't she beautiful?
And here's a little mushroom we spotted along the trail:
Fall is always a wonderful time to spot brightly-coloured (and probably lethal) mushrooms.
Here's Zoë's hiking face:
I wasn't too sure about following the kids across this stream...
...but I did anyway, baby and diaper bag and all.
By the time I got across Miriam and Benjamin were nearly to the top of the hill:
Here's another lovely little mushroom:
Zoë did quite a bit of walking but also wanted to be carried a fair bit of the way. I've been trying to get her to say "up" but she seems to think that grunting at me with outstretched arms will do. She did, however, surprise us all by saying, "Hand! Hand! Hand!" We made it to a little clearing in the woods and she wanted to follow Benjamin, but take me along with her. "Han! Han! Han!" she demanded, reaching for my hand.
We took a few trail selfies (it was hard to get her to look at the camera and smile at the same time):
Here's Benjamin showing off some acorns that he found:
And here's Zoë showing off a stick she found (she was really proud of that stick):
When all our tummies were starting to grumble and the sun was sinking so low in the sky that the woods were feeling spooky, we decided to head home. Here are the kids crossing the creek again:
A few days ago we had to talk to Benjamin about swear words. He loves Hamilton, as we all do, and we have a version of the soundtrack with a few choice words bleeped out. There are some other words left in, however, that we'd rather not have our children say. The girls don't seem to have a problem with this, but they both have a firmer grasp of lexicography. They've read the lyrics to all the songs and know exactly what's being said.
Benjamin, however, is flying by the seat of his pants. He has no clue what's going on.
While we were in DC he kept singing "Burr—shekel me not!"
It took us quite a while to realize he was singing the line, "Burr, check what we got."
Anyway, a few days ago he glommed onto the line, "I'm the damn fool that shot him."
He kept singing this over and over and over again. I don't think he really knew what he was singing, but we talked about it anyway and said that damn wasn't really a word we used in our house. Sometimes it shows up in the scriptures and we can say it then, but otherwise we simply don't say it.
That one conversation did little to stop him from saying that line (just as it has had little effect on quelling his use of the words stupid, dumb and idiot) but thanks to having his sisters home from school full-time, he's found himself being heavily policed. They are more than willing to
We crossed various streams on this little hike, and not without incident. In fact, Rachel, Benjamin, and Miriam all ended up with soggy feet. One of the girls (I can't remember which one) mentioned something about her "damp feet."
"We do not say that!!" Benjamin objected, happy to have—for once—found himself on the right side of the law.
"Say what?" the girls asked.
"Damp feet," Benjamin said.
"Oh, that's fine to say," Rachel said.
"Oh, okay!" Benjamin said, repeating what his sister had said...but without the final p. "I have dam[
"It means wet," I said.
"I have everything dam[
"You've really got to work on that final [p]," I sighed.
Now whenever we sing that line of the song we'll think of Benjamin and his damp socks, damp shoes, and damp pants. Everyone else might wonder where 'wet' came from, but we will know and it will be hilarious.
Zoë was pretty worn out by the end of the hike. She asked to be picked up (by standing in front of me with her arms up and grunting—not by saying the word) and refused to be put back down. She rested her head on my shoulder and if she ever popped up to look around I'd say, "Do you want to walk?" and she'd solemnly shake her head no and then snuggle into my shoulder again.
I can't blame her for feeling so exhausted. Oh, wait...yes, I can. She's the one who kept us both up until 5 o'clock in the morning. It's no wonder she was exhausted. And I completely blame her for that because I gave her every opportunity to fall asleep. Oh, and although she took a nap this afternoon it only lasted for twenty lousy minutes.
We were both zombies today, she and I. But I'm glad we got out of the house, anyway, because the river sure is pretty and we had so much fun walking through the woods together, even if we got a little bit damp!