Thursday, June 29, 2017

Oh, poop.

Yesterday I took the kids swimming and Zoë decided, once again, to take a little nap while we were cuddling in the deep end. Soon after she fell asleep, Benjamin bolted out of the pool to the bathrooms.

I've spent the past few weeks training him to use the men's bathroom. He's spent his whole life trailing after me in the women's bathroom so that is where he feels at home but we had an unfortunate run in with some overprotective parents who got really upset with me for allowing my then-four-year-old boy to use the women's restroom.

The problem was that he needed to go potty so he ran off to do so and I didn't follow him quite fast enough because I was coaxing Zoë out of the pool. Apparently—and I totally believe this—he pulled his pants down "early." But then their rant went on to say that he had "exposed" himself "indecently" to an impressionable young girl of eight, who ran to tell her father about "the boy in the girl's bathroom showing his private parts to me."

"He is four years old," I tried explaining. "I'm sure he pulled his pants down before he was in the stall but I'm equally sure it wasn't for the pleasure of exposing himself to anybody. It was because he's recently potty trained and was trying to make it to the toilet in time."

I was told he should be sent to the men's bathroom to take care of his needs if he can't "wait" until he's in the stall to drop his shorts.

"He still needs help pulling up his pants when he's finished," I objected. "Sending him into the men's bathroom alone won't solve his exposure issues since he'll probably end up waddling out to have me help him fix his swim shorts. He's just a little boy."

Kudos for talking with your daughter about these issues and kudos to her going to you when she felt there was an issue. You're doing something right and have an open channel of communication. That's great. We've had these conversations with our children also. But, let me remind you, again, that he is four years old. Not fourteen. Not forty. Four. He left babyhood, like, yesterday. He wasn't showing his private parts off; they were just there. No ill intent. He doesn't know any better. He is four. I don't know what else to tell you but please keep yelling at me in front of all these people.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Li'l prankster

Yesterday while Rachel was in the shower, Andrew taught Zoë a few hilarious pranks.

Now, Zoë isn't one to take to new things very quickly—not even birthday cake or water (two things she loves now, after multiple exposures). She has turned up her nose at pretty much everything ever presented to her since birth. But pranks? She took to those immediately (at least as the one on the dishing out end of things).

First they filled a cup with cold water and dumped it on her.

While Rachel was shrieking in the shower, Zoë ran shrieking out of the bathroom.

"Throw! Aich-o! La-lo!" she managed to say between her laughs. "More! More! More throw!"

Next they turned off all the bathroom lights and the same thing happened—Rachel started shrieking out of consternation while Zoë was shrieking with glee.

"Dark! Aich-o! More dark! More!"

She was clapping her hands and absolutely begging to get Rachel again.

"Are you a prankster?" I asked her.

"Dup," she said.

I'm sure eventually Andrew will regret teaching her these little tricks...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lost time accidents

Today I was making dinner and Zoë was watching. She loves to "see!" while we work in the kitchen, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because observing and doing is how children learn about the world. She loves to fetch spoons and hot pads or whatever we might need while we cook. The downside, of course, is that she's a limit-pushing toddler.

When I took the pan off the stove to take to the table, I reminded her it was time to climb down from her stool and cautioned, "The stove is still very hot. Don't touch!"

She looked at me with defiance, stuck out one little finger, and touched the stove—just to ensure I wasn't making stuff up.

I wasn't.

She crashed to the floor from her perch, wailing about "HUUURRRRT!"

Well, duh. 

We ran her finger under cold water until her "ow-me" felt "kay" again. She hopped down and went to play with her siblings (who were busy in the living room creating a masterpiece out of DUPLO), only to run back to me minutes later screaming, "HUUURRRT!!! More la-lo! More la-lo!"

So I helped her hop back onto her stool so she could run some more cold water over her finger. 

Here's a sad little Zoë:


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Birthday to me

The children spent the morning fighting until I lost it with them and cried, "It is my birthday! I have no presents. I have no cake. It's raining and Dad took the car so we can't even go anywhere. The least you can do is get along for a little while!"

They tried a bit harder after that, but it was still a little bit of a letdown of a birthday. 

We tried to turn things around in the afternoon by walking to the pool (in the rain), swimming (in the rain), and walking home from the pool (in the rain). We were lucky it was just drizzling instead of the downpours we've had the past few days. 

When I was on swim team we'd occasionally (at least once every summer) have what was called "Hell Week." You can probably imagine what that entails—a whole lot of sets and drills that no one really wants to do. I think it was meant to push us to our limits. Or to help us appreciate the next week when the coach went back to normal instead of the crazed coach of fury from Hell Week. 

It's not my favourite phrase, but it is what it is.

Andrew is in Dissertation Hell Week(s) right now. He's writing and writing like he's running out of time because, quite literally, he is. He has everything planned out and outlined and is just picking off sections and pounding them out. He's gone before we wake up (unless someone has a doctor appointment), he doesn't get home until bedtime, and then once the kids are in bed he's back to the old grinding stone until well past midnight. 

Zoë at 2 years

This morning Zoë had her two-year check-up. She's tallish (34.5 inches; 69th percentile) but rather thin (24 lbs; 16th percentile), which the doctor said was fine compared to how chubby she was at 6 months because breastfed babies tend to do that (chunk out before petering out).

Zoë was so excited to get to go to the doctor—really she was just excited that she was going to get to leave the house with Mommy while everyone else had to stay at home with Daddy. But she also loves stethoscopes and was excited that the doctor was going to listen to her heart. She happily put on her shoes and marched out of the house. She happily strode across the parking lot and bravely announced that she wanted to be the one to set off the sensor for the automatic door.

But once we were inside and she started to remember what goes on in a place like this she wasn't so happy about being there anymore. She did not want to go back there when the nurse called her name, but she followed anyway and cooperated for all of her measurements. Then she sat on my lap and cried until the doctor came in. Even though I explained that she wasn't going to have any shots she just couldn't relax.

Right now she negates a lot of things by shaking her head. So she'll say exactly the thing that she doesn't want but will shake her head while saying it.

Whenever Andrew gets her into her pyjamas she always reminds him, "Tickle!" but with a head shake, so, don't tickle!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Afternoon adventure

We went to the museum after lunch for some much needed time away from our half-packed house. Today was a perfect day for it because the rain is taking a break (it's a rainy, rainy week 'round these parts) and yesterday's storm cooled things off nicely so it wasn't too hot. The museum wasn't too crowded, either, because half of it is closed. 

One of the exhibits houses some endangered red wolves as part of a breeding program. They finally saw some success and a litter of pups was born a couple of months ago. Puppies sound a lot like children because—wouldn't you know it?—those little wolf pups managed to sneak out of their enclosure!

While they pose no threat to people (yet), they closed off the wilderness area while they searched for them. They found a couple on the outside of the fenced area on Tuesday evening. Their dad was trying to feed them regurgitated meat through the fence when they were spotted.

The last little pup had to weather yesterday's storm all on her own—the torrential downpour and lightning-filled sky must have been frightening for such a little thing! She, too, found her way back to the enclosure on her own this morning (though she had to be helped back inside). 

I think they spent the rest of the day looking for pesky puppy escape routes and sealing them up.

Anyway, because half the museum was closed off to visitors a lot of people chose not to visit the museum. But we did! Even though we didn't get to see the baby wolves we still had a fun time. 

We visited the farm:


A Benjamin blunder

Last night we were on a walk and Benjamin was his usual uncontainable self, running ahead to "beat" everybody, running back to "find" everybody, suddenly stopping to look at this or that, "flying" around like a dragon, yanking on his little sister's arm, yelling at the top of his lungs. You know, that kind of thing.

I saw a t-shirt awhile ago that mused "I'm a mom. I work from son up to son down."

There's little I can do to wear this child out. Today we went for a walk after breakfast, then we walked to the pool, swam for three hours, and walked home. Then he played outside in the heat. And he still didn't go to bed easily.

But I digress.

We were out walking yesterday and he was being boisterous and wild. We were coming up to a big van parked on the side of the road (which he managed to avoid running into; no small feat for him) and he loudly proclaimed, "I'M GOING TO KICK MY BUTT!" meaning, of course, that he was going to run with such vim that his heels would be making contact with his rear end.

So, anyway, he hollered these words and then took off running goofily past the van, only to come to a screeching halt when a couple of rather amused-looking neighbours stepped out from the other side of the van.

Benjamin was mortified. The rest of us burst out laughing.

Andrew pointed out that his mortification proves that although we rarely see evidence of it within our own four walls, the boy is picking up social cues (and recognized that he just pulled a nice faux pas). So he is learning...


Friday, June 16, 2017

Acceptance letters are exciting

Andrew and I were excited when we got into BYU.

We were excited when he got accepted at AUC.

We were excited when he got into BYU (again).

We were excited to be here at Duke.

But this morning FedEx rang our doorbell and delivered what is, perhaps, the most exciting letter of all—a job offer! We'll be heading back to BYU (because we just can't get enough of that place) for a one-year assistant professorship. We have no idea what we'll be doing beyond this one year, but at least we have a one-year plan in place.

We've been sitting around biting our nails for quite some time, and although we still have quite a few ducks yet to get in line, at least we know what direction to prod those unruly ducks.

Why Miriam had that not-so-sharp pencil at the piano

Miriam has been busy transcribing a song (Down in the Valley) on the piano. She began plucking the tune out by ear and then asked for a blank page of sheet music so she could write it down. She's doing a great job, from my layman's view.

She just finished with the melody and realized that although she decided on the key of C, every F was sharped and her song began and ended on D. At first she thought it might be in the key of G, due to the F sharp, but the D part was boggling her mind.

At ukulele one day, my friend Laura told us that you can usually tell what key a song is in by its ending note. My mind was blown (but that's pretty easy to do when it comes to music theory). Anyway, having remembered this little tidbit, Miriam decided that her song must be in the key of D major—with an F sharp and a C sharp (even though there is no C in the song).

All she's got to figure out now is what her left hand is going to do.

I was not doing this kind of thing when I was seven.

(I also wasn't stabbing people with pencils, but, you know...)


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Backstabbing little sisters

Rachel let out an ear-piercing scream, stormed off to her room, and slammed the door. 

"What now?" I asked, my patience already worn tissue paper thin by today's shenanigans.

"You told us to clean our rooms so we could go to the pool," Miriam explained.

"Yes, but why did Rachel scream?"

"Because I was playing the piano."

"Yes, but why did she scream?"

"Because I told her to give me one minute, so she started counting to one minute, but she was counting too fast, so I told her so."

"And that made her scream?"

"Well, she got mad and started playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star really loudly on the piano."

"Yes, I heard that part. But what made her scream like that?"

"She was playing so loud that I couldn't even think!"

"So..."

"So...I stabbed her with a not-so-sharp pencil."

Mmmhmmm. That's the kind of day we had. The kind of day where one of your sweet-natured little girls stabs the other in the back with a (not-so-sharp (but sharp enough to have left its mark)) pencil.

Fortunately we're all friends again. The girls are even having a sleepover in Rachel's room tonight (though one of them didn't think it was particularly fair that she is now having "lights out" time while Rachel is having "extra show" time, but one of them has a hole in her back and the other does not, so it looks pretty darn fair to me).

Tomorrow we're going for a stab-free day.

Setting that bar real high.


Swimming solo

It felt like a billion degrees today, though it was only in the high 80s, so we were quite surprised when we arrived at the pool and found we had it—in all its lukewarm glory—to ourselves. 


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pool naps, eczema, and getting married

Andrew took the van in for a tune up today, in preparation for its maiden (at least at our hands) voyage across the continent, so the kids and I walked to the pool this afternoon for a swim. In the past we've often walked, but in recent history walking to the pool and then swimming and then walking home has been a little tiring. Nevertheless, it's what we did. And we had fun.

We played for a couple of hours and Zoë even had a nap.

She can get quite wild at the pool, jumping in, paddling over to the side, and climbing out to do it all over again. She didn't ever want anyone to catch her, screaming at them, "No! No! No!" while waving her little palm at them (her older sisters, in particular, kept trying to catch her). She's quite confident in her little puddle jumper (and even without it).

Eventually she got plum worn out and wanted me to hold her, which, in the pool, I can do!

Not lifting anything over 20 lbs. is quite a difficult command to follow when the little 20-something lbs. person in your house has been used to being carried around for her whole life. We still get some good snuggles in the rocking chair or sitting on the couch or lying in bed together, but it's just not the same as being carried around.

Sure, she's gained quite a lot of independence since I began refusing, at my doctor's orders, to pick her up (if by "independence" you mean "allowing Rachel to carry her around," which I do, because in the past she was a strict "momma only" girl), but I think she feels like there's a part of her life missing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Parked cars and cupboard doors

Today while we were out on a family walk, Benjamin ran into a parked truck and gave himself a lovely goose egg. We were all just walking along when there was a loud *clunk* followed by a tremendous amount of screaming.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Learning about life

While going through Rachel's end-of-year papers, I came across a rough draft of a poem about mothers (I assume it's a rough draft because it's similar to but not the same as the one she wrote in the Mother's Day card she gave me).


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Containing contaminants

We didn't go swimming today, although everyone would have loved to.

In celebration of the end of the school year, we took the kids to Barnes and Noble to pick out their summer reading book (read any eight titles and choose a free book; not a bad deal) and then took them out to dinner at Cracker Barrel (we had a gift card to use) before coming home to watch the new Beauty and the Beast with Hermione Granger and Matthew Crawley (I mean, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens).

In the middle of the movie Zoë sprinted off to her little potty, making it in time only to half-way sit on it before exploding diarrhea into her potty, onto the floor, and even spraying the wall a bit.

Andrew was a champ and cleaned her up and got her into the bathtub in the kids' bathroom. I watched her in there while Andrew cleaned up the mess she'd made in our bathroom.

A couple rounds of this later, the movie ended and we were getting the kids ready for bed. Andrew had wrapped Zoë in a towel (again) and laid her on the bed, ready to slap a nighttime diaper on her at lightning speed before she could poop all over him. Apparently she was done with that end of the spectrum, however, because instead she threw up all over our bed and the towel and herself.

While Andrew, my hero, dealt with that, I made the other kids clean everything off their floors, remove superfluous stuffed animals and blankets from their beds, and pick out a throw up bowl to sleep with.

You can never be too careful.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Goodbye to Easley

Today was the last day of school, so I picked up the girls and took some goodbye pictures. 

Here's Miriam with Ms. Gillie:


GD, round 3

I feel like I won today. Not only did I get my 17P shot, but I also got full, official support for not taking the 3-hour glucose test because, yes, I failed my first one-hour test. When the coordinator (or whoever) called me to let me know that I'd failed and started explaining the test, I kind of cut her off, explaining that I'd already seen my results online and would like to decline the 3-hour test in favour of beginning treatment immediately.

"Oh, I don't know..." she hemmed. "It's very important to get an accurate diagnosis..."

"Is it, though?" I asked. "I had gestational diabetes with my last two pregnancies so my chances of getting it again are pretty high already. Considering I failed the one-hour test, I don't think my chances of passing the three-hour test are very good. Even if I do pass the three-hour test they'll have me retake the one-hour test in a couple of weeks, which I will probably fail, which means I'd have to take another three-hour test. Why put myself through all of that—keeping the drink down and getting my blood drawn and finding childcare... I would rather just not and call myself diabetic."

"I'll have to talk to the doctor about it and get back to you," she said, but she never did.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Medical Covfefe

Due to Benjamin's spontaneous premature delivery, I'm a marked woman. I fell into the high risk category with Zoë and I'm high risk this time around as well. There's no way around it, really.

With Zoë they had me take 17P, a progesterone injection, to help relax my uterus (which can be quite cantankerous) and convince my body not to go into labour. Under its patented name, Makena, this injection is quite cost prohibitive—about $1000 per week for about 20 weeks!

(If you looked at that link, you'd see that each injection is only 1 mL, which costs only (haha) $767.98, but they send you an "extra" fifth mL in each monthly shipment just "in case" you mess up a dose, so it winds up being more expensive due to the fifth dose you aren't using every four weeks).

I have consistently had private insurance but my insurance wasn't willing to cover this medication with Zoë so we applied for medicaid, and medicaid covered it, and Zoë was born healthy at full term. Hooray.

Still, the whole story behind the cost of this medication makes me fuming mad.

Wrapping up the school year

Yesterday the kids had their end-of-year celebrations and since I'm one of three room parents in Miriam's class and the room parent in Rachel's class, I got to do a bit of the planning and carrying out of said celebrations (they are always celebrations; never parties (school is not for partying)). 

Fortunately, one of the other room moms in Miriam's class took over the bulk of the planning and grade four decided to do a grade-level celebration, which meant I got to plan in conjunction with the room parents from the other grade four classes because...I'm kind of feeling overwhelmed with life right now. I don't know how I would have pulled off two end-of-year activities on my own, so I'm glad I didn't have to!

Miriam's celebration was first. A pizza lunch was planned for both Miriam and Rachel, but I only paid for us to eat with Rachel's class (since we worked it out to be cheaper and, well, at this stage in our lives I'm kind of a major cheapskate) so before we went into Miriam's class I spoke with Benjamin about how we were only going to Miriam's party to take some pictures and help. We were not going to eat because we were going to eat with Rachel's class in just a little while. So were we going to eat anything? No. No, we were not going to eat anything.

Next thing I know, he's eaten two pieces of pizza...so obviously our little talk really sank in.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Miriam's musings

It's the end of the school year, which, along with the regular craziness and relief, is also bringing a bit of heartache. I signed the forms to withdraw my kids from their school today since they won't be going back next year; I guess this gives them permission to forward whatever is necessary to the new school...or something. It was just another nail in the coffin of this chapter of our life in Durham.

Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye, so I'm a little sad the year is ending. But at the same time I'm relieved that all the class parties will be over with (tomorrow!) and that we can kiss our alarm clocks goodbye. I'm also excited to see all the work the kids have been hiding at school.

Sure, 90% (or more) of it will end up in the recycling bin but there are some real gems in there, as well. Today Miriam brought home her writing folder.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Benjamin is 5!

We celebrated Benjamin's birthday throughout the day, starting with presents because we figured we'd have a happier day if he was able to playing with his new things rather than merely anticipating their arrival. 

His big sisters gave him some frisbees and Naanii and Bumpa sent a dragon fireball popper toy that was a huge hit. The kids had fun playing with those for quite some time in the morning. 

Zoë gave him a package of socks because somehow his socks are no where to be found—all of them! They're just gone. I suppose it's about time he got some new socks, anyway, since his old ones are a couple of years old, but still. How do you misplace all your socks?

When he opened them he said, "What?! Zoë! Mom bought these. You just wrapped them! I don't know if that counts..."

Lazy two-year-old. 

He was happy to have new socks, though.

Ichabod Ruggles

I had my second ultrasound today. This time it was transabdominal, thank goodness ( because the one to determine the due date was transvaginal not very much fun). Baby is very clearly a boy and everything is measuring beautifully. The only thing we couldn't get a clear picture of was his face because...


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Book walk

Last night I took the kids on a walk before bed and they were very excited to find a bin of books in a neighbour's yard marked "FREE." They rifled through the bin and each found a treasure (or two or three) to take home. 


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A day of animals

Yesterday Benjamin captured a beautiful Pandora Sphinx moth. He kept it in a container for observation, and wanted to keep it forever, but I was able to convince him that it was better left in the wild.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Nightmares and Hopscotch

I just got Zoë tucked in again after her midnight pee. So far she hasn't screamed—all it takes is faith, trust, a back rub, a lullaby, fresh ice water, 100 reassurances that I'll "be back" (if only in the morning, or, more realistically, when she climbs into my bed in a couple of hours) the soundtrack from Moana, being tucked in a snuggly quilt. Oh, and something I forgot. Dust. Yup, just a little bit of pixie dust.

Truthfully, she usually screams. So there really must be a pixie in there.

Never mind. Thar she blows. Andrew's going in to comfort her. We'll see how that goes.

So, she's two and I think her grand record for "Most Time Spent In Own Bed" is three whole hours. But at this point I'm pretty much used to it.

What gets hard is when Benjamin wakes up in the middle of the night, which he usually doesn't at this point, but I've been making an effort to be a more emotionally-available, less-reactive parent after reading a book my mom sent me, called Childhood Disrupted.

Benjamin is a hard child to parent. When my mom was reading this book she thought of him (and me) because of his time in the NICU, because apparently even stress from those early, early days can effect someone for the rest of their life. It makes sense, I guess. That time was hard for me. I felt like I was being forced to abandon my baby—even though I knew that's where he needed to be to keep him alive. Being away from him was...hard.

I have to remember that it was hard(er) for him, too (and accept that it will always be part of who he is).

Long Weekend Fun

Andrew spent the day on campus—writing, of course. The kids spent the morning playing outside, which was fine for the most part, but it became clear that we'd have to do something to continue enjoying each other's company. The kids spent all day Saturday and Sunday pushing each other's buttons. It was a miracle they were playing nicely together at all, but I knew it wouldn't last. 

But what to do? Honestly. What. To. Do?

I had visions of taking the kids to the zoo or the museum or hiking or camping this weekend but, uh, that was all before The Toe. Maybe I'm a wimp but all of a sudden this didn't feel like prime time to be walking around at the zoo all day (plus Andrew decided to go to campus...perhaps because I'm a wimp). 

"You could take them to the pool still," Andrew said. "Just don't get in with them."

Truthfully, that idea stresses me out to no end. I'm a trained lifeguard (or, was...whatever) so you'd think I'd be cool with the idea but, actually, no. Being around water stresses me out 10x more than it does the average person. Putting my kids in the water...without me right there to save them should they need it?! Insanity.

But the children were very nearly ready to eat one another alive, so I decided to brave the pool. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Nursery

I got a substitute for nursery on Sunday because chasing around a bunch of two-year-olds sounded like a bit too much work with my poor wee toe in such a sorry state. It was nice to have a week off, and Memorial Day weekend was a good weekend to do it because so many people were out of town that the chapel was eerily quiet. We had eight kids, total—with both nurseries combined.

Zoë has never really gone to nursery on her own. I've left her for a few minutes at a time to run errands (eg. getting supplies from the nursery cabinet, which isn't in our nursery room) but she's always cried the whole time I was gone. And the one week (in six months of nursery attendance, but really nearly a year of being in nursery) that I stayed home sick and Andrew took her to church she ended up hanging out with him because she couldn't stop blubbering.

This Sunday, however, I sneaked away while she was investigating the toys and she didn't even notice. I took her potty in the middle of nursery and she cried for a minute when I dropped her back off, but recovered in record time.

"Stay, Momma! Stay!" she begged.

"I can't stay right now," I said. "But I'll be back. I'm going to come do singing time with you at the very end. It's snack time right now—you don't want to miss out. Look, there's your spot!"

She wasn't very happy about the idea of us parting, and she wailed as she ran across the room away from me, but by the time I'd walked around to peek in the other set of doors she was happily seated.

When I came back in to do singing time she said, "Momma—gack!"

"Yes, I'm back," I said, gathering her into my arms. "Of course I'm back. Mommas always come back!"

Perhaps now that she's two she's getting over this separation anxiety thing...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ex-storm-inate

My walking mileage has significantly decreased this week (while my biking mileage has significantly increased). I'm not going to blame that on Tuesday's little toe incident, but....oh, wait. Yes, I am.

Still, the kids like going for walks and so we've gone on a few painfully slow walks (literally painfully slow). I think it was Wednesday afternoon when Benjamin begged to go on a walk between cloud bursts (we've had a rather rainy week). I told him that we could, but only a "one speed bump walk" (because that's how we measure walking distances (except we ignore the speed bump closest to our house)).

As I was hobbling along pushing the stroller, Benjamin skipped and bounced beside me.

"Looks like there's another storm coming," I said.

"Well, when this storm ex-storm-inates can we play outside some more?" Benjamin asked, quite seriously.

I looked at him sideways, not sure if he was making a joke or not. He was definitely serious.

"What does ex-storm-inate mean?" I asked.

"It means that the storm gets calmer and calmer and calmer until it uses up all its storminess and then it's gone!" he explained.

Cleaning out the attic

As I mentioned, we cleared out the attic on Monday night after FHE. What I didn't mention was that I made the girls come up with me to help out, and help out they did!

We had a few mishaps along the way. For instance, Rachel, who was quite timid up there and found the whole experience slightly traumatizing, was passing a box down to Andrew but was too afraid to close enough to the hole in the ceiling to actually reach him. So she just...dropped it.

He tried to catch it/shield himself but it ended up hitting him, sending him sprawling, and then crashed on the floor (busting a corner of the box in the process).

It wasn't a great experience, but the good news is that things only went up from there. And we learned a lot about communication (because remember how I would say, "Do you have it?" and Dad would say, "Ok, go it," before I let go of any boxes? That's called communication).

Miriam surprised me by being very brave. She was so comfortable getting right over the hole to lower boxes down that she was making me nervous. I was afraid she was going to end up tumbling through the hole (with her box) on top of Andrew. I had to tell her to not lean her whole entire little self over the hole.

She was—rather excitedly—climbing back in the shelving unit and pushing boxes to the front and then hopping down to help heft it off the shelf. Rachel was climbing back in the shelving unit to help maneuver boxes around but she took a little more coaxing/prodding/threatening.

"No, you will go back there with your sister. It won't break. I was just in there and I'm much heavier than you. All the heavy boxes we already took out were in there as well. You are just one little girl; you won't be the straw that breaks the camel's back (or the shelf or what have you). You'll be fine, I promise. Seriously, get in there and help your sister now."

It's great to have such big, capable helpers now.

Even if one was too brave and the other too timid.

Or, what if it's not them? Maybe it's me.

I will never be satisfied.

For example, now that "empty the attic" is crossed off our intimidatingly long to-do list, I'm a little dissatisfied by the maze of boxes that have taken over our house. But, oh, well. It needed to get done and it's giving me plenty of time to go through the contents to make sure we really want to keep what's inside.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Budding photographer

I went to get the pictures of Zoë's birthday off the camera and, much to my surprise, instead of only tens of pictures on the camera there were hundreds


A certain little boy found the camera this morning and decided to record life at his level.

Toe problems

Below are pictures of the toenail that I'm sure cost me an arm and a leg to remove, but I just could not pull it off myself so I texted Andrew and begged him to come rescue me (he'd taken the van to Duke today since it was raining). While we were waiting, Benjamin and Zoë stroked my arms and kissed my cheeks and brought me a nice glass of ice water.

"Happy, Momma! Happy!" Zoë pleaded. 

"I'm trying," I assured her.

Andrew's hopeless when it comes to this kind of thing, but he drove me to the doctor, so that was nice. 

Lidocaine is also nice. 

Once my toe was numbed up, the doctor grabbed a big pair of scissor-tweezer things and wiggled and yanked until my toenail popped off. Honestly, it didn't make anything feel better (except for the lidocaine part) but at least it's gone now.

Next time I'll be sure to rip the whole thing off in one blow. And there will probably be a next time because this toe has no hope. It's the toe I broke in high school (and by "I broke" what I mean is "Jake broke") during ballroom, causing "profuse" bleeding and, a few days/weeks later, the nail to fall off. It also took a beating during the "Halloween Half" marathon a few years ago—seven miles of downhill running was harsh and, yup, a few days after the race I started shedding toenails, this one included. At this rate I'm almost positive there will be a next time for this particular toe.

The doctor suspects I may have broken my toe as well (fun times) but we decided to forgo an x-ray because the treatment would be nothing, so knowing for sure whether or not it's broken is...pointless. 

And now for pictures (feel free to skip this part; I kind of don't like my feet anyway but they're extra unpleasant in these pictures):

Happy Birthday to Zoë!

My plans for the afternoon involved fixing the blinds in Miriam and Benjamin's room, wrapping presents, squeezing in a quick nap, and then spending some joyful after school hours letting the kids help me finish decorating Zoë's birthday cake—a beautiful ocean scened, Moana-themed cake. 

Instead what I ended up doing was tipping the stool over as I was trying to fix the blinds and ramming my toe somewhere on the way down, ripping my toenail almost off (but not quite) and then spending the next four hours at the InstaCare waiting doctor rip it the rest of the way off because neither Andrew or I could stomach doing it at home.

I didn't fix the blinds, wrap presents, take a nap, or finish decorating the cake.

When I finally got home (around 5:00), the kids and I set to work moulding ocean critters out of fondant while Andrew (my hero, who drove home from campus to take care of me...missing a meeting with his advisor even) made enchiladas for dinner. 

The kids all had a lot of fun playing with (and eating) the fondant. Needless to say, the cake didn't end up quite as pristine as I was hoping but, under the circumstances, I'd say it turned out wonderfully. And we had a good time together, which is really the most important thing. We based our cake off this one; here's our finished product:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Potty talk

We've had a few accident-free days this week, so I guess you could say that potty-training is going well (which still boggles my mind after spending years potty training that Benja-boy). Just tonight Zoë wouldn't go to sleep, evidently because she had to go potty. She kept crying "la-lo" so Andrew went in and refilled her bedtime cup (which she'd already finished) but she still kept crying "la-lo" so I figured that instead of water she wanted to use her yellow potty. And she did. And then she went straight to sleep.

We really need to get that child to say something—anything—for "potty" (other than "la-lo").

At nursery I have a pretty steady stream of children coming up to me to announce they have to go potty. Today was no different. We had twelve kids in there today (and not even everyone was there) so it was pretty exhausting. I felt like I spent half my time texting parents "so-and-so needs to go potty," which is way better than the olden days when you'd have to walk the child around the church to find their parents so their parents could take them potty (except, I guess, if you have one of those little kid-sized bathrooms in the nursery; I worked in a nursery once that had one and it was rather awesome).

Zoë's never very far away from me at nursery. She keeps me on a tight leash. I don't know what we're going to do when it comes time to send her to nursery without me.

Anyway, since Zoë has no words for pottying yet, she'd just piggyback on with whoever was asking whenever she had to go.

"I need to go potty," someone would whine to me.

"Dup! Dup! Me!" Zoë would emphatically add ("dup" is how she says "yup").

So I'd text the well-spoken child's parent to come get them, and then I'd text Andrew to ask him to take Zoë (sometimes I'll just take her myself...but not when there are twelve kids in there).

Once we get this girl some appropriate vocabulary we'll be golden!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chickery chicks and ducklings, too

We picked the girls up from school this afternoon, planning on killing some time with them between school and ukulele practice. We knew that Mr. A. had some little hatchlings in his room but hadn't been down to see them yet, so we figured we stop by to take a gander. I warned Benjamin that it wasn't a sure thing, however, because sometimes on Fridays kids take the hatchlings home to babysit over the weekend (something our children have been dying to do for the past four years...but something I've always said no to).

We were in luck, however, and they were still in the classroom. Mr. A. let the kids spend a good 45 minutes playing with the ducklings and chicks (and looking at the snails and beetles the class is studying and playing with puppets and reading stories—"once your classroom, always your classroom," is Mr. A's motto). It was a fun afternoon!

Here are the girls taking a peek at the chicks:


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pickles and Guckles

One night at dinner last week Zoë wanted something. We knew this because she kept pointing and grunting, "Ah more! Ah more!" We kept offering her the wrong things and each time she had to tell us "No!" her frustration grew. She pointed harder she grunted louder. Her dense parents simply couldn't figure it out.

Finally she, quite exasperatedly, shouted, "PICKLE!"

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.

I don't know why she didn't come out and say it sooner. Perhaps because she's never said that word before so she wasn't sure she could (though she definitely knows a lot more words than she lets on).

Pickle makes sense to me, though, because she knows the word "buckle," though she pronounces it, "guckle," and pickle isn't too different from that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The pool is open!

Even though Saturday's high was, like, 67°F, the kids insisted on going to the pool because it was finally, finally open. So we all got ready to swim and trekked over to the pool, only the find that our pool key wasn't working. 

The kids were all upset by this. I, honestly, wasn't because swimming when it's that cold outside isn't that tempting for me.

On Monday the kids wanted to try going again. We had done a little investigating during the day and had found that our pool privileges had been revoked because, well, our house sold, so the key was "turned off" until they management company could verify that the pool key was in the right hands. So we just had to prove that our new landlord knew that we had the pool key and—presto!—our pool privileges were restored.

And there was much rejoicing, believe me.

The kids were so excited to go, and I was, too, because, aside from this weekend's cold front, it really is getting warm and humid enough that being outside is rather unpleasant unless you're in the pool. 

We did do quite a bit of swimming in the big pool, but I did't take any pictures of that. So here are the kids chilling in the baby pool (with a friend). And by "chilling" what I mean is "warming up." The baby pool is usually much warmer than the big pool. 

Me: Go sit by the kids. Zoë: No. (That is always her answer, to everything.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

I've got a head like a wiffle ball

Yesterday evening we went for a walk after dinner when I was struck in the head by a rogue wiffle ball. It came out of nowhere, pegged the top of my head, and sailed off again—clearing half a yard and a driveway before landing on the grass on the other side.

Two kids came running out to the street, one was holding a bat. They apologized and made sure I was alright, which I was...because it was a wiffle ball.

Still, I was a little dazed. It hit hard enough to make an audible 'bonking' noise and caused me to bite my tongue (out of surprise or because of the impact? I'm not sure). My head was a sore for a a little while, but I'm fine now. Had it been a baseball it would have been a different story, I'm sure. Mostly it was just...surprising.

When I put the kids to bed last night Rachel said, "Good night, wiffle ball head."

This made me think of the "theme song" for Camp Cariboo, a television show we'd occasionally watch after school when I was younger—I've Got a Head Like a Ping Pong Ball. I suppose it's really just an annoying camp song...but it was also their theme song. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home...

Andrew's home!

He was out at BYU again, this time for an LDS scholars political science conference, which he said was awesome. And I believe him, even though it meant that I was, once again, left at home with a handful of children. Really that's fine because I'm a stay-at-home mom, so staying home with children is something that I expect to do (and enjoy doing). But it's nice to have someone to spell you off at the end of the day, someone to spar with child #3 at bedtime while you're busy sparring with child #4, someone to say, "You look tired; I'll make dinner tonight," someone to carry on an adult conversation with.

For those keeping track (just me?), he was at BYU May 10–13 (he arrived home around 1 AM on the 14th, technically). He was at BYU April 12–15. He went to the ISA conference (in Baltimore) February 20–25. And he was at BYU February 1–4.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

More adventures in potty training

This afternoon the big girls were invited to a friend's house after school. He's on their bus route, so they just had to get off at an earlier stop, which meant that the kids and I had a "free" afternoon—an afternoon where we didn't have to be home to meet the girls after school. Benjamin has been begging to go to the museum for quite some time now, so that's what we decided to do.

He was excited to go without his older sisters because when they go with him he never gets to decide where to play. Not that he doesn't enjoy going with them, because he does. It's just that sometimes he also likes to go without them.

It was supposed to be super crowded today with twenty-three school buses, but we went late enough in the afternoon that most of the field trips had left already, leaving the museum relatively uncrowded for once.

Benjamin led the way and Zoë and I followed. Soon we ran into some friends and they all played together nicely in the outdoor playground before moving into the treehouse area. We weren't quite ready to leave when our friends called it a day, so we stuck around to play some more. Benjamin and Zoë were climbing all over the treehouse. I was watching them from below.

Benjamin would pop out of one of the little tree houses and appear on one of the suspended walkways, Zoë toddling along a few steps behind. Then they'd disappear into one of the houses and I'd watch the bridges until they appeared again. And so it went.

There's Benjamin, there's Zoë.

Where'd they go?

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Shady Acres

A couple of weeks ago, Miriam told me about a spot in the schoolyard where she and her friends like to play. Drawing heavily from Anne of Green Gables, they have called it "Shady Acres" and there's a rock, a stump, a hill (originally an anthill, they changed it to be the big hill), and a couple of bushes nearby. They named everything in Shady Acres as follows, respectively:

  • The Rock Obama
  • Donald Stump
  • Hillary Clinton
  • George HW Bush
  • George W Bush

When I was out with the kids at recess last Thursday they gave me a tour of Shady Acres. Noting the fence bordering their magical world, I said, "What about Abraham Chain-Lincoln?"

They loved it. And now I'm totally cool in the eyes of a bunch of grade twoers (or second graders, whatever you'd prefer to say*). Woohoo!

Yesterday when we were walking past the playground to go to Rachel's chorus performance (because we always park in the front parking lot and end up walking the whole way around the school (parking in the bus lot just feels wrong)), Miriam told us that she and her friends have since added two more presidential places:

  • James Garfield (the little field below Hillary Clinton)
  • John F. Can-nedy (the garbage can; why not James Buchanan?) 

How she and her friends got to be so hilarious, I'll never know. But I love it.

* In Canada we tend to add -er onto the grade number. When I first moved to the states and would talk about "grade teners," my friends thought I was talking about "great tenors" for the longest time. Because we also don't use the terms freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior to refer to high school students in Canada (at least, not at my high school) so to me people were grade niners, teners, eleveners, and twelvers. Totally not related to this post at all, except that's still often use the -er suffix instead of using ordinal number followed by the word grade (eg. first grade, second grade, etc. vs. first grader, second grader, etc.) and because "great tenors" kind of has something to with choir and I mentioned Rachel's chorus performance (she gets upset whenever I call it choir rather than chorus; I'm not sure what the difference is, really). But there you go: it's tangentially related.


Benjamin's future children

In case you're wondering, Benjamin is going to have 100 daughters—including eight sets of twins—and, at the very end, one son. He has already named the first several daughters, drawing from a number of books, movies, musicals, and inspirational people in his life:

  • Heather
  • Buttercup
  • Jo
  • Rose
  • Crystal
  • Elizabeth
  • Annie
  • Rachel
  • Miriam
  • Zoë
  • Mommy
  • Nancy

His son will be named Andrew.

I don't know why he didn't think to have two sons and name the other one Benjamin. I mean, I think Benjamin's a pretty great name, personally. And I know when I was four I thought my name was so beautiful that I named stuffed animals after myself.

He also told me that when he gets married, Miss Annie will come to his wedding (which will be in Utah (Miss Annie missed preschool last week because, incidentally, she was away for her nephew's wedding)) and give him a big and beautiful bouquet, which he will then give to his wife. Unless his wife doesn't want it, in which case he will give it "to one of [his] ancestors."

I don't think he knows what an ancestor is...but he's going to give once of them his wife's rejected bouquets.

I just asked him what an ancestor was and he said, "A sister who's an aunt. So Josie is an aunt-sister because she's my aunt and your sister." Basically he has no idea what an ancestor is but Josie can expect rejected bouquets in the future, I guess.

He also was just "reading" over my shoulder and noticed the lack of Benjamin on the list.

"Mommy, where's my name on that list?" he said.

"It's not," I said. "This is a list of your daughters."

"Well, go ahead and add my name. I'll have two sons: Andrew and Benjamin."

I knew he'd come around to his own awesomeness. And, in all honesty, his list of names isn't bad. I mean, there's no "Wonder Woman" or "Cupcake Breath" or anything weird like that on the list. And a whole lot of the names sound like names I would choose for my own children...oh, wait...

Rachel's spring concert

This evening we went to Rachel's spring chorus concert for FHE (because what option did we have, Earl? None.). We were happy to go, of course, and she was excited to sing with her friends. 


They sang a lot of fun songs and even had a few numbers with some choreography.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Summer Book Exchange

Our kids' school is doing a "summer book exchange" for the kids. Last week they could bring in books from home to donate to the school collection—for every two books donated they earned one ticket to use at the exchange (with the possibility of earning five tickets total, though no limit to the number of books they could donate).

We went through our books and selected twenty books (plus a few more) that we felt we could part with. It was actually pretty easy for the kids to get rid of a book or two (or ten) when there was the possibility of choosing new books on the horizon.

Today was Rachel's day at the media center, which meant she got to use her five tickets to choose five books. She was very sweet and carefully selected a book with Zoë in mind (a "Llama, Llama" book), one for Benjamin (a "Black Lagoon" book), and one for Miriam (a "Princess Pony" book). She used her two remaining tickets on herself.

I thought it was so sweet that she kept her siblings in mind while she was "shopping."

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Moving nerves (yes, already)

Today in sacrament a visitor got up to share his testimony—and to talk about the experience his family had in the six short, but memorable, years they spent in "the Durham ward" (there was only one ward back then). Hearing him speak made me tear up a bit.

He mentioned how the old-timers in the ward said it was difficult to invest time in relationships with the rambling students who blow in and out so quickly. It is also difficult for the rambling students to invest in relationships where they go. Your heart gets broken over and over again when it comes time to leave. But these relationships are so very worth it.

He lived next-door to an older couple who filled the role of parents for him and his wife, and grandparents for their children, and when they were getting ready to move, he remarked that he would never be able to pay back the kindness their neighbours had shown them. Their neighbour said that wasn't important—but paying it forward was. So he's tried to be that "spark" wherever life has taken him, reaching out to people, and so forth.

It was a touching testimony.

This evening Rachel was having a bit of a meltdown about our impending move. Our move is a temporary move. We have a one-year plan and then...who knows?!

"How" she asked, "do you make friends if you are just going to move in a year anyway?"

An excellent question with a difficult answer: it's hard...but important...to put yourself out there and forge new relationships.

Fortunately, I relate to her very well.

Le-le, La-la, La-lo

Zoë's vocabulary is surprisingly large and diverse. She is always breaking out words we had no idea she knew and her vocabulary covers an astounding number of topics. However, she also doesn't talk much. She's kind of a screamer by nature, so she's perfectly content communicating solely with grunts, squawks and screeches as well.

She doesn't use any words to communicate about her potty needs yet. I mean, she has words, but she doesn't necessarily use them. Mostly she'll say, "Uh-oh!" or "Yucky!" but for the life of me I can't get her to agree to say, "Potty!" or even just "Pee-pee!"

Today before church I took her potty and then asked her what she was going to say if she needed to go potty.

"La-lo!" she said.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Another newt

This morning we came across a red-spotted newt eft (juvenile) as we were coming home from our morning walk. It was slowly meandering across the driveway between cloudbursts. I knew what it was straight away because this is our second red-spotted newt eft sighting. 

They're bright orange (the adults are really green—the red-spotted part is because they keep their red spots, not because of their overall colouring) so you'd think we'd spot them more often but apparently we only spot them on rainy spring days every few years or so.

Here's Zoë saying, "Hi! Hi! Hi!" to our little newt friend:

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Potty training...again

Remember that one time I potty trained Benjamin and it took like four years? Because we'd started with elimination communication with him when he was tiny—which had worked great with both his older sisters, but not so well with him—and then just kept trying everything. And I kept being like, "Okay, now he's potty trained." And then I'd be like, "This time for realsies." And then I'd be like, "By Jove! I think he's got it!"

But then, inevitably he'd start a pooping-in-his-pants streak or a wet-the-bed-five-times-a-night streak or a what-is-this-toilet-you-speak-of streak.

Even now I'm like, "Is he potty trained? Really?"

I'm totally afraid to call it because I know I'll jinx it.

Getting that child to use the toilet was such a full time job when Zoë was little that we didn't really do elimination communication with Zoë. Benjamin was such a problematic potty-goer that I couldn't waste any effort looking for newborn potty signals. So Zoë's just been in diapers, which is...fine. It's not my preference, but it's fine.

She's on her second full day of underwear today, though, and...she did amazingly well. Like, I'm basically in shock because...what? I guess after the Benjamin fiasco I was expecting a living nightmare for the next however long (months...years?).

Zoë had one accident today. One. The whole day long.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Potty training, take 4

Zoë has been very vocal about her wants regarding potty training. When she wants to wear underwear, by golly, she wants to wear underwear! When she wants to wear a diaper there is no changing her mind. She so unlike "the lamb so mild" that I have mostly been letting her have her way but recently she's been showing signs of potty training readiness, whether she wants to or not.

Yesterday she pulled off her diaper, which she had already pooped in, and then ran to sit on the potty, smearing poop all over it in the process, and then tried wiping her own bum, well...I knew it was time. So I told her that she was done with daytime diapers and could wear underwear again.

She wasn't happy, but she did it—and she didn't have a single accident the rest of the day!

So this morning I went ahead and put her into underwear again. She went through seven pairs in less than two hours. How, even, does one do that?! But I finally got her to use the potty and then she didn't have a single accident the rest of the day! She even ran to the potty for #2, which is kind of a big deal for her. 

Swimming surprise

This afternoon our neighbour rang the doorbell to see if he could borrow our bicycle pump, so I went and got the bicycle pump for him and only closed the storm door, knowing he'd be back to return it shortly. I was rather surprised when, a few minutes later, I heard the storm door open and someone clomped into the house.

I was helping Zoë in the bathroom so we hurried back out and were surprised to see Rachel and Miriam home! It's an early release day. I've got to stop forgetting about those! 

Our potential new school has early release days every Monday. I should be able to remember that—at least better than I remember these once-every-couple-of-months early release days. 

I was wondering what to do with the kids on a lovely afternoon when they all disappeared. I found them "helping" our neighbour (a different neighbour) wash her car. Really, Benjamin was spraying the honeysuckle bush* but was actually spraying his sisters. Really the bush is not supposed to be a honeysuckle bush either, but did you know that another name for honeysuckle is "woodbine"? I didn't either until I looked it up. There's a nursery rhyme in a book I picked up at a library discard sale when Rachel was a baby that seemed rather new to me when I first read it, but now I have it memorized and I often find myself imploring my babies (and children) to, well, sleep, but also to "be always like the lamb so mild / a calm and sweet and gentle child."

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Nature wreath, take 2

On our walk this morning Benjamin asked if we could collect things to make a "pretty thing like we did that one time." So that's what we did. There were a lot more colours around in people's gardens but we didn't want to pick their flowers, so we stuck to wildflowers and fallen petals. We found some colours that we couldn't find in the fall, which I suppose is the way things should be in the spring when everything is coming alive. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

The cute, the sweet, and two-ness

Can I take a moment to brag about how cute my baby was for church today? Good. Because she was adorable. She even wore shoes to church for the first time in a long time (she's always so eager to run out to the car that she goes barefoot and then one of her big sisters will buckle her in and then I'll leave the house and never check her feet (which is probably better for her sweet baby toes, truthfully))! And she let me do her hair. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Rachel's Field Day

Rachel's field day was much like Miriam's, only with older kids and a few different activities. Our first station was the water tag station. Rachel got a turn being one of the attackers (which made Miriam rather jealous, since Miriam didn't get a turn when she played):

 

Spring Fling: Pobody's Nerfect

After spending the morning at the school and the afternoon at ukulele practice we headed back to the school for the annual Spring Fling, which was made 100% more awesome by the addition of some inflatables. Some friends of ours sponsored the event this year and provided an inflatable slide and a bouncy house and I'm pretty sure the kids (and many adults) thought it was the best thing ever.

We hardly saw the girls; they were off running around with their friends.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Miriam's Field Day

We managed to make it to school on time for Miriam's field day, rolling (pulling for some of us (Benjamin)) out of bed at 8:20 and leaving the house at 8:45. Phew! I forgot the camera, though, so all the pictures are from my cell phone, which means they aren't fabulous. 

This year the kids went to each station class by class (in past years they've split the classes into smaller groups). I really liked it this way. Sometimes finding enough volunteers can be tricky! This way we had the teacher plus whoever showed up to help. I stayed the whole time, another parent was there for about half the time, and someone's grandma showed up to help for a bit the second half. It worked out well, and the kids all had fun together.

Our first station was a pass-the-hoop game where the kids stood in a circle and...passed a hoop around. They had to step through the hoop to pass it on. 


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sassy pant kids

I was outside weeding the garden sometime last week while we were waiting for the bus to arrive and Benjamin noticed that "the girls across the street" (we've lived here for almost five years and that's still what we call them) were playing in their backyard. He asked if he could see if they were allowed to play, so I told him that he could, and off he ran.

Zoë desperately wanted to follow him, but I kept telling her to wait for her sisters. I do let her go over to play, but only when one of them takes her so they can keep her out of trouble and escort her back home when she decides she's finished playing.

She listened for a minute but then started wandering down the driveway toward the street.

"Not you," I said. "You have to wait for your sisters."

She stuck by me for a few more minutes before inching her way to the street again.

"Uh-uh. You wait until Mimi and Rachel come home."

Soon, despite all my firm, steadfast commandments she was soon standing at the very edge of the driveway.

"Zoë..." I warned.

She turned her head to look first one way, then the other before defiantly declaring, "No car!" and making a mad dash across the street.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rainy walk

We went for a walk through our neighbourhood to see how things were. My camera was on a wonky setting but I couldn't fix it until we were made it to the playground because it was pouring rain (and I didn't want to fiddle with it until I was under the awning). I didn't take an umbrella because, frankly, I don't have enough arms to handle the umbrella, a camera, and two children, so we were just embracing the rain.

Here's the creek behind our house:


Really it's not bad, at least not compared to how things are a little farther downstream.

Rushing, rising riv'lets...

It has been raining steadily for the past three days. I wouldn't say it's pouring—though it certainly has poured at times—but it's been raining heavily. "Heavy bands of rain..." is what the news has been saying. It's hardly let up at all.

The Eno River is breeching its banks. Police have gone house-to-house in the little "sub-neighbourhood" just off of our neighbourhood to evacuate the area and the houses in our neighbourhood that back the river have been warned to be ready.

We're far enough away from the river that I'm not too worried, though I am keeping a close eye on the creek behind our house. It's been fine so far.

Andrew wants me to take the kids on a walk to see if we can see the river (though since houses line the river I'm not sure we'll be able to...)

Apparently the bridge over the creek that the kids have to cross to get to school was nearly flooded this morning when Andrew dropped them off (water was about flush with the road), so I'm not sure how they'll get home if the waters don't start receding...seriously.

Here's a picture of the mill at West Point on the Eno (so if we've taken you there, it'll give you some sort of reference to how high the water is):

From WRAL

Monday, April 24, 2017

Making scripture study count

Last night we were reading D&C 64 as a family (technically only the second half of it because sometimes we can only get through half a chapter in one sitting because when we call the kids for scripture study recently Benjamin and Zoë seem to have heard, "Time for wrestle mania!" and it's just...difficult). When we get to short verses we'll sometimes have Zoë take a turn because (when she's not wrestling Benjamin) she likes to hold her own set of scriptures and babble along.

While Benjamin is capable of repeating whole phrases at a time, and can even sound out some of the words himself, Zoë can only repeat one word at a time.

She got verse 32 last night: "But all things must come to pass in their time."

She's pretty picky about what words she'll attempt saying, so sometimes she'll repeat them and sometimes she'll stare at us like we're crazy. This is how it went down last night:

Me: But
Zoë: But
Me: All
Zoë: ...
Me: Things
Zoë: Sings
Me: Must
Zoë: Must
Me: Come
Zoë: ...
Me: To
Zoë: THREE!!!

We all started laughing. She thought I was trying to get her to count: come, to, three!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

All the conference talks

This morning I had to add a quote to my talk. 

I had promised myself the night before I wasn't going to touch it, but then I had a dream about giving my talk and in my dream I used this quote in my conclusion. It was still in my mind when I woke up. I knew it was an actual quote from one of the talks I had read this past month (there were many); it was only a question of figuring out which one it was from. 

While I was using the search command on talk after talk after talk, Rachel came up to me and said, "Huh. Where do you find those?"

"Find what?" I asked.

"Conference talks," she said.

"Oh, they're all online. You just go to lds.org and search for them."

"Cool, 'cuz I need to read some," she said.

"Which ones?" I asked.

"All of them," she said.

Good luck, I thought because there are a lot of conference talks. 

Royal Children

Zoë (re)discovered our dress-ups and has fallen in love with putting on costumes. Her favourite dress seems to be this pink one, which she would have worn to church today if I had allowed it:

Her Highness, Princess Puppybottom, with the royal puppy resting loyally at her feet