Tuesday, October 31, 2017

This is Halloween

"You're going to be here in the morning, right?" I asked Andrew last night. "Because I can get the kids ready for school and out the door on a regular day just fine, but I'm not sure I can do Halloween on my own."

My children have never worn their Halloween costumes to school before. Their old school(s) did a "Mathquerade" event every year...after school...and well before Halloween. 

While getting my children into costumes before school seemed like a hassle I'd prefer to not to experience, I was happy that this year we were invited to a grand total of zero costume parties before Halloween: no trunk-or-treat or ward party, no school parties, and the one Halloween party didn't require costumes (score). And why did that make me so happy?

Because...who has two thumbs and finished making Halloween costumes last night?

THIS GIRL!

Truthfully, the older girls put their costumes together pretty much on their own (just a little bit of guidance on my part), Zoë landed a lovely hand-me-down costume, and Alexander wore a little monster sleeper, so it was mostly just Benjamin's costume I had to worry about.

Andrew assured me that he'd be around in the morning to help with the kids—and thank goodness for that because little miss Zoë stumbled out of her room feeling cranky and...never quite got over that.

Here she is having some morning snuggles with the A-Team (Alexander and Andrew):

Monday, October 30, 2017

Eating skillz

As pleasant as Alexander has been the past few weeks, let the record show that he can also lose his patience at times. For example, when it comes time to eat Alexander is pretty sure he should get to eat right away and can get a lusty cry going if you (read: I) don't feed him right away.

We tried doing some tummy time the other day, which is always a little bit hard for Alexander. He thinks that if something is touching his face he should probably eat it.

"Hello, favourite blanket. Are you food?"


Reading

Several weeks ago Benjamin came home with a printing worksheet (as he does every Monday) and one of the words he was supposed to write was "tat."

Tat?

Like what exactly?

Tit for tat? Rat-a-tat-tat? That's a sweet tat?

They seriously couldn't come up with any other word for him to practice? Like...that?

Turns out tat wasn't so bad because just a couple weeks ago one of the words he had to write out was "hag."

Seriously?

Miriam's Birthday

Miriam's birthday celebrations began on Friday, October 13, when we joined her for a special birthday lunch at school. Zoë and I picked up Benjamin and then found Miriam in the cafeteria. Just as we were cleaning up, Rachel's class came in for lunch so we got to see her for a couple of minutes as well. (Rachel is wearing that yellow badge because she likes to go in to volunteer in the special education classes (that's her pass); I think it's so cool that the school encourages kids to volunteer with their peers).

Here are my four out-of-the-wombies together:


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thirteen

On Friday evening Andrew was invited to an intimate professional dinner of sorts and, as his wife, I was invited to attend as well. This caused somewhat of a dilemma for us because, well, we have a two-week old baby. It's not entirely professional to show up at a professional dinner with a baby in tow but I wasn't about to leave my two-week-old with a sitter (even if the sitters were my mom, sister, and niece), so it was either (a) the baby comes with us, or (b) Andrew goes alone, which also presented an awkward problem since we knew everyone else was bringing a plus one.

Andrew decided he would somehow diplomatically ask about bringing the baby along without jeopardizing his professionalism. Because you can totally do that in Happy Valley.

Luckily we know one of the other couples at the dinner fairly well. They said to of course bring the baby, and, just to make sure we felt entirely comfortable, mentioned they'd be bringing their baby along, too. Their baby is 13 months old.

So, we got to dinner (at Bombay House) and found our company. The couple we know was there with their baby, and another couple was already there as well. The unknown couple looked up at us.

"Uhhh...that baby looks significantly younger than thirteen months old," said the man.

"That baby looks significantly younger than thirteen weeks old," said the woman.

"This is Alexander," said Andrew. "He is thirteen days old."

"Well, no wonder you wanted to bring him with you!" said the woman to me. "And congratulations on getting out of the house. I can't believe you came...thirteen days..."

"Truthfully," I replied, "Getting out of the house—and leaving our four other kids home with a sitter—is probably more relaxing than it would have been to send Andrew to dinner and stay home with all five kids by myself."

Our friends have only the one baby so far, but the other two couples also had five children so they totally got it.

Alexander at two weeks

Now that Alexander is two weeks old, I have some statistics for you. He just had his two-week check up on Friday and is doing great! He's very nearly 7 lbs. (he was 6 lbs. 15.5 oz) and is already 19.7 inches long (which seems like he's grown a ton but when they measured him at his two-day mark he was already 19 inches long, which makes me think that he wasn't quite "stretched" right at birth because what kind of baby grows a full inch in just a couple of days?!). The doctor was impressed that he has already surpassed his birth weight.

Though he's still pretty skinny (just look at all that skin he has to grow into)...


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Postpartum walking

Just a few days before Alexander was born we went on a walk to the train tracks and for the very first time (that we had all the kids with us (Andrew, Zoë, and I walked along beside one while the other kids were in Grover)), a train came by. You guys, these tracks are pretty active. We can feel (and hear) trains rumbling by all day (and night) long (I joke that if there's ever an earthquake we won't even know because we'll just figure it's another train), so you'd figure that we'd have the pleasure of watching the trains go by more often than we have.

At least, I've figured it.

We've walked to the train tracks several times a week the whole time we've lived here. I've taken the kids to the little park by the tracks and we've camped out with picnics and outside activities just waiting for a train to come by. One little boy in particular (ahem, Benjamin) has been hoping to see a watch a train go by with all of his little boy heart. Yet every day he remained disappointed.

He was over the moon when we walked past the tracks at just the right moment. He stood at the fence and jumped for joy the whole time the train was passing. It didn't take long—it was just an engine and a caboose, the shortest train in history—but it was a rather thrilling moment for him.

After the train passed, he ran around and gave everyone a big hug.

"He waved at me! The engineer waved at me!" he told everybody.

Well, yesterday, I took the kids for a walk to the train tracks again and this time they saw an honest-to-goodness train—complete with 32 cars—which was way more exciting than the first train we managed to spot.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Laundry days, laundry nights (where would I be without my husband)

I'm currently in the middle of doing the laundry. 

But let's be honest: it's not very often that I'm not in the middle of doing the laundry. It's like I started doing laundry once, years and years ago, and have just...never stopped. So in that regard, I suppose doing the laundry is akin to Pringle's potato chips. But only in that regard, really.

Anyway, last week when I was, again, in the middle of doing the laundry, Alexander accompanied me into the laundry room because sometimes he needs to hide away from his older siblings (and be directly in Momma's eyesight). Besides, who doesn't love a baby in a laundry basket?



Achoo

I feel like this month has been a bit of a whirlwind of activity. So we figured we may as well bless Alexander on the same day Miriam gets baptized to both complicate and simplify our lives. It complicates things because it's one more thing to plan for (the fact that this is stressing me out is probably a sign that I need to step back and stop worrying about details) but it simplifies things because it consolidates the craziness into one day rather than two

And if there's anything I need in my life it's one less crazy day!

So once this was decided upon and the bishop's blessing was given (at Miriam's baptismal interview), I went ahead and made an invitation to send out to the family. 

I may have been in a slightly irreverent mood (Alexander and I were skipping church anyway because we're rebels (oh, and he was, like, a week old)) and came up with this while everyone was at sacrament meeting (planning, naively, to take a glorious two-hour nap afterwards...but instead they sent Zoë home to hang out with me because she had a cold and was too drippy to attend nursery, so no nap for me). Anyway, I think his invitation is slightly hilarious.

Miriam's baptism interview

There are several instances where a Mormon will meet with their bishop (or branch president or other ecclesiastical leader) and have an interview wherein they answer a series of questions. For example, there's tithing settlement (which occurs annually), temple recommend interviews (biennially), and baptism interviews (usually once, sometimes more, a lifetime).

The questions are more or less set (the baptismal interview questions, for example, are published in "Preach My Gospel") so the interviews aren't...surprising. Our family has a bit of a running joke whenever anyone meets with the bishop for an interview. We'll remind them that the answers are yes, yes, yes, no, yes, no, yes, and yes. Whether or not our yeses and nos align with actual questions is irrelevant; we still think we're funny.

Miriam met with the bishop for her baptismal interview this past Sunday.

At lunch we were joking around with her, asking her whether she had "passed" and whether our little cheat sheet (Y, Y, Y, N, Y, N, Y, Y) had helped her.

"Actually, no!" she said, not quite catching on that we were all kidding. "There weren't any questions like that at all! It was more like...incomplete sentences."

"The bishop gave you a fill-in-the-blank interview?!" Rachel gasped. "That's rough. My interview was yes/no format."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Alexander's new chair

We gave away our bouncy seat before we moved (long before we moved), wagering that we wouldn't need it again (at least in Durham...and we didn't, technically). That meant that we were without a bouncy seat for Alexander. So I finally ordered one because he needs a place to be that is at once in the thick of things and far enough removed from the action that he isn't in mortal peril.

Probably what he actually needs is a forcefield. But we figured we'd try a chair first. 

Andrew put it together on Sunday and then we let Alexander "try it out." He approached this new experience with caution, which seems to be how he approaches most things in life:

"Wait! Wait! Whoa! Why are you putting me down? Why are you putting me down? What is this thing? Help!"

Belly Button Boy

On Saturday I went to a cousin's bridal shower with my mom and Rosie. And Alexander, of course. Zoë wasn't thrilled about being left behind but she was even less happy with the idea that I'd be taking the baby—her baby—with me.

"Take my baby," she said, shaking her head at me. "No, Mommy. No."

As sorry as I was to disappoint her, I told her that Alexander was coming with me. End of story.

So I took the baby and we left for the bridal shower only a half hour after we were planning on leaving (getting ready with a newborn takes forever).

At the end of the shower, the hostess'/my cousin's children came home from their grandparents' house and little Everett watched with horror as I prepared to change Alexander's stinky bum.

"That's hurting your baby!" he said, pointing to his umbilical cord stump.

"Oh, that doesn't hurt him at all!" I assured Everett. "It's going to turn into his bellybutton!"

Everett's eyes got wide and he shook his head at me.

"That's hurting your baby," he repeated.

"It's really not," I said and tried again to explain the wonder of the umbilical cord/belly button to him. He did not respond well at all. Soon others in the room joined in the effort to soothe poor, traumatized Everett.

"Don't worry," his dad told him. "In a couple of days it will fall off and..."

"FALL OFF?!!" Everett repeated, now cowering across the room from that icky, icky umbilicus.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Meeting the family

Alexander has had a busy week getting to know his relatives! They started popping by the hospital Saturday morning at around 8:00 (when he was just 6 hours old) and there's been a steady stream of them ever since—and there's still more to meet! We haven't been the best at getting pictures of everyone but...we're a little outnumbered over here, so...anyway...

While not our first visitors in the hospital, all these little ones were perhaps the most excited and important visitors:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The fun continues...into the sky

Last week (while we were in the hospital), Grandma saw this thing pop up in her Facebook feed about a little lottery for a seat on a small plane at the Spanish Fork airport, hosted by the Springville Flying Club. It was for kids 10–17 and there were only 100 spots available, so she figured she'd go ahead and submit Rachel's name, thinking that she probably wouldn't get chosen, but, as you probably already guessed, she was.

Karen got an email on Friday informing her that Rachel was slated to fly Saturday morning at 9:50 am. They certainly didn't give a lot of advance notice!

My initial reaction was one of trepidation because airplanes—and small planes in particular—make me nervous, but I knew Andrew would be all for it* so I took a deep breath and calmly (I hope; that's what I was going for) told Karen she could accept Rachel's spot on the plane. 

The next morning Andrew took Rachel down to the airport and sent her up in a 1968 Beech, a little six-seater plane. And she had fun. And she didn't die. All good things, all good things...

Look at my wonderful village!

Not that we had any sort of spectacular plans for fall break anyway, but Alexander's arrival meant that I, for one, was completely out of commission—hunkered down, in bed, with a newborn. I admit that I was a little worried that the kids would be bored out of their minds their whole vacation and would go to school with no news other than "newborns are actually quite boring" while their friends were telling tales of camping and road trips and Disneyland and so forth. 

Fortunately, our wonderful village didn't let our children idle away their time. 

On Thursday morning, Grandma bravely took all four kids to a pumpkin patch. It cost $3 to "get in" but then all the "attractions" (except horseback rides) were free, so it ended up being a good deal. My mom was impressed with the idea because all the rides used farm equipment, which, in her opinion, makes the best sort of playground (it's the sort of playground she grew up on). I'll admit that climbing around farm equipment is rather fun (I've done a bit of it myself, though not nearly as much as my mother).

Here they are on the horse-walker-turned-swing-set:


Saturday, October 21, 2017

One week later I'm feeding my baby nightly...

This week has been a blur. It's been full of tears and laughter, naps and homework, store-bought lasagna and Relief Society casserole, more bodily fluids than I'd care to mention, and a whole lot of cuteness. But mostly it's been a blur.

Look around, look around!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin carving

Andrew accompanied the girls to a pumpkin carving activity at the church this evening. Technically Miriam isn't quite old enough for Activity Days but he took her along anyway because it was a Daddy/Daughter date night so he figured he could choose whichever daughters he wanted to take (and her birthday is in, like, one week and then she will be old enough). He probably would have taken Zoë, too, except he knew he'd be walking into a room full of carving tools (which is really no place for a toddler). 

Here they are with their pumpkins that they carved (mostly) all by themselves:


They seemed to have a good time together and I'm glad the girls could get some one-on-one time (two-on-one time...at least some older-kid-on-dad time) with their dad. Having a new baby join the family is difficult for everyone and I think they both needed a night out!

I's more tired than I think I am

Benjamin finished his reading lessons today! His prize of choice was "a boat that doesn't go in the bathtub." We found a little LEGO set of a boat and decided that qualified as not bathtub worthy so we ordered it for him. It's been sitting patiently on Andrew's desk, waiting for Benjamin to finish, which—did I mention—he managed to do today.

Way to go, Benjamin!

Pumping

My milk has come in—with a vengeance (which I should be used to by now)—so I'm rekindling a relationship very best friend, The Breast Pump. Technically speaking, I know that pumping increases my milk supply. Unfortunately, not pumping isn't an option when a raging case of mastitis is on the line (which, for me, seems to always be the case). So I'll be pumping morning and night for the next several months, which can be a pain, but it's so much better (for me) than not pumping.

When I pump I know I am clearing out enough milk that I won't get a plugged duct. I know this because I pumped with Benjamin and Zoë and got mastitis a grand total of zero times. I did not pump with Rachel or Miriam and was constantly warding off mastitis. I was not always successful. Mastitis is miserable.

When I pump my babies get a good, healthy mix of hindmilk and foremilk. I know this because Benjamin and Zoë always had lovely golden-yellow poops. Rachel and Miriam both went through terrible stages of bright green sad poop because they were mostly getting thin, watery, sugary foremilk and not much rich, creamy, thick hindmilk. It made them gassy and miserable and it took me months upon months to cut my supply down enough to satisfy a single baby. We're talking, like, twelve months here...so a long time.

Furthermore, when I pump, I'm able to share my excess (of which there is plenty).

Aside from the time commitment of pumping, it's a win-win-win situation.

Yesterday morning I was dying and decided it was time to pump to comfort because...it was time. I pumped off twenty ounces before I decided to call it quits (though in all honesty I probably could have kept going).


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Alexander's birth story

I had my last prenatal appointment yesterday afternoon (and by yesterday I mean Friday, October 13, because I started writing this on Saturday). Of course, I didn't realize at the time that it was going to be my last prenatal appointment so when I was told to strip everything waist down so my doctor could see how far along I was I asked if we could skip that part. I might be at risk for preterm labour but my cervix is super competent, like A++. I'm locked down at a big, fat zero until labour starts and then I'm a zero-to-sixty (or zero-to-ten, if you will) in no time flat kind of girl.

Later in the afternoon I began to feel...icky. Not terrible, just...irritable...

Andrew texted me that he was leaving his office to go pick up my race packet—because I may or may not have signed up for a 5K at BYU (The Sugar Rush, for diabetes research, and, yes, I was planning on walking it)—and then would be on his way home. I was like, "Perfect. Thanks for doing that for me," but by the time he finally made it home I was like, "Yeah, I dunno if I'm even going to need that anymore," because I'd begun having rhythmic-ish contractions.

Still, rhythic-ish contractions is nothing to get one's hopes up about. So I didn't, though I did admit to Andrew that they were "different" from my other contractions because I could feel them coming in waves, wrapping around my body from the back to the front...which should have been a clue. Honestly though, I always have a lot of contractions and these weren't that painful. The weird thing was that nothing would stop them (sitting, eating, walking, "napping"). They were relentless...but a little tricky to decode.

6:07
6:15 (8 minutes)
6:27 (11 minutes)
6:34 (7 minutes)
6:50 (15 minutes)
6:58 (7 minutes)
7:12 (13 minutes)
7:37 (23 minutes!)
7:51 (13 minutes)

I had been having contractions for two hours, but was still wondering if I was truly in labour at all. Because 15, 7, 13, and 23 minutes apart certainly doesn't scream "longer, stronger, closer together," does it?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

In which Zoë is spooked

The kids love sneaking into Grandpa's office to watch YouTube videos. He's gracious about it and unless he's really tied up will let them hang out for a video or two before kicking them out (he works from home). No matter what I try to convince them not to bug Grandpa, I usually end up dragging them out (sometimes kicking and screaming) at least once a day.

This little tradition really started back when we lived with Reid and Karen before—when there was only Rachel and Miriam. Grandpa had a few videos he liked to show them and, well, those are the same videos he shows to Benjamin and Zoë: The Duck Song (which the kids like to sing behind my back right now, as I tend to "waddle away") and some Sesame Street videos.

When he introduced Feist's Sesame Street appearance to Zoë he told her that it was Mommy singing and she 100% believed him.



So now she calls it the "Mommy Song" and she loves it. She wants to watch it all the time. She wants everyone to sing it to her. And she often can be found singing it to herself.

"2, 3, 4, 4! Mommy 'ong! Whoa-oh-oh! Mommy 'ong! Mommy 'ong! Duh, duh-duh-duh. Duh, duh-duh-duh-duh. Mommy 'ong! 3! 4!"

Monday, October 09, 2017

A couple of random stories

The girls and I are participating in a mother/child book club of sorts. A woman in our ward is on the Beehive Book Award committee and needs to get reviews of books on the long-list so every year she enlists the help of ward members to read and review a bunch of books. It's a little unconventional as far as book clubs go since we're all reading different books, but it's been fun so far—and it's great incentive to read through a book quickly since we meet every week!

Last week while we were walking over, Rachel started telling us a story about how her friend Kenzie had gotten into a kicking war with a boy during recess. She clarified that they were competing to see who could kick a football the furthest (not that they were kicking each other) and said something about how Kenzie was only "a foot away" from the goal.

"What kind of a foot?" Miriam wanted to know. "Like, my foot size away or..."

"Like a foot-foot," Rachel explained, slightly exasperated. "A metric foot."

"Yeah," I chuckled. "There's no such thing as a metric foot."*

"There's not!?" Rachel gasped.

"No. The metric system is like, millimeter, centimeter, decimeter, meter...ya know?"

"So what system is a foot in?"

"The imperial system."

"And that's different from the metric system?"

"Quite a bit, yeah."

It makes no sense, so yeah...it's quite a bit different from the metric system.

There is, apparently, so I stand corrected. But it's 4.8 millimeters shorter than an imperial foot. And it's only a nickname so technically there still isn't.

*****

We watched Indian Jones and the Last Crusade with the kids the other night and when they were talking about how the Holy Grail was used to collect Jesus' blood from the cross, Benjamin snorted and said to the television, "Jesus' blood is made of water, duh!"

It's like transubstantiation...only backwards.

Apparently we need to review both systems of measurement and the sacrament. 

The Thankful Tree goes up

Last week I said I was all out of ideas for FHE, but then I realized that this Monday—today—is Canadian Thanksgiving and we have built-in family night traditions surrounding that so...next week I'll be drawing a blank.

The kids were actually a little disappointed that we didn't have a full on Thanksgiving dinner (as we have in years past), or even an everything-from-a-box Thanksgiving dinner (as we have also done in years past). Instead I made pumpkin soup and no one complained (and Benjamin ate four bowlfuls) until I mentioned that it was Canadian Thanksgiving. Only then did they feel hard done by. 

Sometimes the soups my children like surprise me—like pumpkin and broccoli (soups I probably wouldn't have even considered at their age (soups that I don't think had ever been offered to me at that age)). But, I guess it's nothing to complain about as a parent.

Anyway, the soup was good. And family night was, too. 


Naanii's Race Track

Technically, I suppose it's David's race track and it dates back from the late 1980s to early 1990s. The last time Benjamin played with the race track at my parents' house was literally July 8, 2015—when he was just barely three years old. And he played with it once.

He has been bringing it up quite regularly ever since then, just reminiscing about how amazing it was to play with or asking Naanii why she didn't pack it in her suitcase when she came to visit us out in North Carolina or begging us to take him to Utah so he could play the racetrack again.

You can imagine how thrilled he was when he found out we'd be moving to Utah because living close to Naanii means living close to her racetrack!

He's been pestering Naanii about getting to use that racetrack for weeks now. Unfortunately, it took her some time to find it in the depths of her storage room since no one had used it since Benjamin had, back in 2015.

She pulled it out when we went over for FHE last week, though, and it totally made his evening.

I wish my pictures had turned out but apparently I didn't pay any attention to the settings on my camera and they were all wrong so...you get what you get and you don't throw a fit. The girls (and the grown ups) also got in on the fun, of course.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Miriam's baptism pictures

Miriam's eighth birthday is fast-approaching, which means she'll also be getting baptized soon. When Rachel was baptized we were pretty much at liberty to choose whatever date we wanted because she was one of two children from our ward getting baptized that year (and Callin go baptized out in Arizona during summer break, so...she was the only child from our ward to use the font that year). Out here, though, there are so many kids turning eight, not only in our ward but in our stake, that they have to coordinate the use of the baptismal font (and, my little environmentalist heart likes to think, conserve water), so we have an assigned day and time for baptisms.

I finally found out what that will be: November 4th.

Remember, remember, the fourth of November! (Just kidding; that's the fifth).

Miriam keeps saying things like, "I can't wait for October 25th! I can't wait for October 31st! I can't wait for November 4th! I can't wait for Alexander!"

There are a lot of things she can't wait for right now.

Yesterday, while Rachel was at BYU's homecoming spectacular with my mom (seeing Kristin Chenoweth perform live!), we took the children on a little tour de BYU and took enough pictures of Miriam that she was begging us to stop by the end.

She's wearing the very same dress that Rachel wore for her baptism (which still looks brand new because, as my mom pointed out, how often does one (eight-year-old child) actually wear an all-white dress?) and was thrilled to pieces to be able to do so. It's been hanging in her closet since we moved here and she's tried to wear it on multiple occasions but I always make her put it back and change. Because white dress.

Anyway, here are a few several pictures of Miriam in the courtyard of the JFSB:


Saturday, October 07, 2017

A Movie Star

On July 18th, 2012—more than five years ago—I took my three little kids to the park for the very first time. Technically the girls and I had been to the park dozens of times, but it was my first time taking the girls and Benjamin out. It was slightly terrifying because in addition to my fragile little boy, fresh out of the NICU, I was also juggling a canister of oxygen, which I really had no clue how to work.

I took a few pictures of Rachel and Miriam adoring their baby brother. Pictures like this:

Benjamin and Rachel, July 18, 2012

Friday, October 06, 2017

Painting with Auntie Josie

Auntie Josie came over to play with the kids during priesthood session. They've been dying to watercolor with her for whatever reason, so she brought some paint and paintbrushes along. They all happily painted together for quite some time!


Zoë made a couple of toddler creations, Rachel and Miriam each did three or four paintings, and I think Josie managed about 80% of one painting. Benjamin, on the other hand, was churning them out. He kept talking about what a good artist he was because of how many paintings he was doing compared to everyone else.

Earlier in the day he had asked Josie to draw him something, so she started to draw a pyramid, and, really, it wasn't even that complex of a drawing but he grew rather impatient while he waited for her to finish it. "It doesn't have to be good!" he told her.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Monday, Monday...

By Monday I was consumed by the family newsletter I'm in charge of (which I finally sent out today). Ordinarily I send it out by the Sunday morning of General Conference but that didn't work out this year (because the deadline for submissions was the first day of conference and because, as Andrew pointed out, I've spent the last five years' worth of priesthood sessions working on the newsletter because the kids were already in bed, but now we're two hours earlier than we were in North Carolina so priesthood session is no longer after bedtime).

Unfortunately, Mondays are also early release days for the kids so it wasn't an ideal day to be zeroed in on one thing and scatterbrained about everything else.

In my defence, I was walking out the door with plenty of time to pick Benjamin up from school on any other day of the week. I totally thought I was on top of things until my phone rang (we hadn't even reached the end of the driveway yet). I pulled it out and answered it and the voice on the other end gave her introductory spill about being so-and-so from the elementary school and then asked if she could speak with Benjamin's mother.

"This is she," I said, quite embarrassed when I realized why she was calling. "And I just remembered that today is early release day so we're already late. We were just leaving the house though, so we'll be there in a couple of minutes."

Zoë and I hopped in the van and drove to the school (for the very first time) to pick him up. We have walked every other day (and she was not happy about giving up her midday stroll) but I felt like we should probably get to the school relatively quickly. The poor boy was sitting in the office waiting to be picked up.

He looked half-relieved, half-annoyed to see us when we finally burst through the doors.

"I'm so sorry, buddy!" I said. "I didn't forget about you! I just..."

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Perspective

We went to my parents' house for FHE tonight. My mom made dinner, Patrick made a cake, we played with David's old hot wheels race track (more on that later), and I gave the lesson.

I've been reading The Bible Tells Me So... by Peter Enns. I've loved his discussion on perspective throughout the book, which helped inspire my lesson for this evening. (And now I'm all out of ideas so expect no brilliance from me for the next little while).

As an opening exercise we chose a common memory to write about for a few minutes. I threw out a few ideas but Rachel and Miriam clung to one—Zoë's birth story—so that's the one we settled on. Everyone got a pen(cil) and paper and wrote down what they remembered, and then I collected them and read them.

Zoë's story was so complicated that we couldn't really understand what she wrote, but she wrote a lot.

Uncle Patrick said: When Zoë was born I remember Facebook posts from Andrew, and my mom telling me she was born.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Rendezvous at BYU

My cousin Eric texted me on Friday afternoon to say that he was in town for the weekend (it's General Conference) and that he and his wife and baby would be in Provo for the next couple of hours, so I hustled the two little ones out the door (leaving Grandpa to meet the girls after school) and headed to Provo. I haven't seen Eric in years—more than five, at least (in fact, this may have been the last time we saw each other). At any rate, it's been long enough that he hasn't met Benjamin or Zoë and I haven't met Jocelyn or Payton. 

Obviously that's been too long for the two of us to go without seeing each other because we kind of grew up together—we're just a couple months apart:

Eric (10 months) and me (1 year)—July 1986