Saturday, November 26, 2022


This little cutie was pretty willing to play with Josie when we went out to Utah but has been rather leery of her now that Auntie Josie is on her turf. I'm not quite sure why. Josie thinks it's because she doesn't have to go to her because there are so many options, whereas in Utah Josie was considered a safe alternative to Mom. 

It's okay though because our cat adores Josie, so she's getting lots of cuddle time in still. 

Joseph Standing Memorial and Lookout Mountain and my great-grandfather

On our way up to Chattanooga, we stopped by the Joseph Standing Memorial near Varnell, Georgia. Joseph Standing was serving as a missionary in the Southern States Mission and was ultimately killed—lynch-style—by a mob in 1879.

Andrew, Reid, and I each read Mary Ella Engel's Praying With One Eye Open this past year. The title comes from a line in a threat/letter given to the missionaries, that they should pray with one eye open. And evidently—and unfortunately—the threat was...rather sincere.

So it was interesting to go see the memorial and imagining what the area might have looked like some 140 years ago.

The kids mostly had fun jumping over this little stream:

Walnut Street Bridge

Somewhat on a whim we headed up to Tennessee today. 

We hadn't precisely planned on going to Tennessee this weekend. 

But also when we were moving to Georgia (in 2019), we drove through Chattanooga right at sunset and it was gorgeous. Everything—the sunset, the river, the mountains. 

It almost made me want to stop. 

We only had two hours left in our drive, though, (after having spent days in the car already) and we were all ready to just get to our new home. 

But—we promised ourselves—we'd definitely get up there to explore. It's so close! Only two hours away!

And so—three and a half years later—we finally made good on that promise!

Our first stop in Chattanooga itself was the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge. This was Alexander's favourite part of our trip. He told us so when we were back home having pie when we asked him what his favourite part of our adventure was: "Tennessee. Big. Blue. Bridge," he managed to say around bites.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

In the leaves

This morning while Andrew was busy in the kitchen, I tackled the front yard. We try to follow the "leave the leaves" principle (see here, here, or here), but I also worry about snakes a little bit, which means that I have to worry about where rodents are going to nest a little bit, which means we do have to tidy up the yard a little bit. We get a lot of leaves. 

Admittedly, no one wanted to join me outside (even though it was gorgeous) until I had already done most of the work and created a ginormous pile for them to jump in (all the better for rodents to nest in and snakes to hide in, I know, but they don't nest or hide in freshly raked piles, so we were all good).

Zoë and Phoebe were the first to join me.

Auntie Josie is here!

My sister Josie arrived yesterday afternoon. 

I had a meeting at 1:00, so Andrew to Zoë to go pick her up from the metro station (we'll drive her to the airport when she leaves since she has to be there so early in the day), which I should probably get used to calling MARTA at some point since no one knows what I'm talking about when I say "metro" here. Or they do. They just always give me a "huh" face before correcting me with MARTA. 

Zoë was so excited to be selected as a companion for this trip that she got dressed and did her hair without any complaining at all. And then she proceeded to ask whether or not it was time to go every five minutes for the next four hours. We eventually set a timer on our Alexa device so that Zoë could ask her how long until it was time to leave to pick up Auntie Josie and that worked well. 

When the pulled back up at home, I had finished my meeting and was just putting Phoebe down for a nap, so the rest of us visited quietly with Josie while she slept. One of the first things she noticed, of course, was how much the children had grown. The children noticed, too! All of a sudden Auntie Josie is a lot smaller than she used to seem!

Rachel is the only one taller than far. Josie is pretty used to being the shortest one in the family, though. She's been shorter than all of her siblings for her whole life and is shorter than many of her nieces and nephews already (to that point, so am I, even though I'm the second-tallest sister)!

Friday, November 18, 2022

I have friends, I definitely have friends!

Our teenagers are having their first movie night since, probably, the early days of 2020.

So it's only been about three years since they've had friends over to hang out. Three long years. 

I don't know what took us so long to figure something like this out (and I know we're "overreacting" and the pandemic is "over" and blah, blah, blah, but I also know that Omicron took us out in June and we've had a heckuva time keeping healthy since then (we've had about a million little "fevers of unknown origin" since having COVID and I'm fairly sure the explanation for them is COVID, but...whatever), and we'd kind of like to not get sick again because yikes), but/so we're outside partiers now. Whereas before we were...just...hermits. 

Three years is a long time to go without hanging out with friends, so we laid down moolah for a fire pit and a projector and screen, and we taught our kids night games, and then they were ready to invite some friends over for a chilly movie/games night. 

They made s'mores and drank hot chocolate and watched a movie and chatted and then apparently were going to play games (but I'm not actually sure what they're up to at the moment).

And we definitely should have done this ages ago. We're just a little bit...slow...sometimes.

World Prematurity Day!

I was looking for pictures of my dad last night (because he's the employee of the year at his hotel and needed a picture of himself for their awards ceremony) and I came across the sweetest picture of Benjamin at the butterfly house (at the Museum of Life and Science). I shared it with him because it's just such a sweet little smile (he was the cutest little guy) and then I realized that today was World Prematurity Day, so together we came up with this little image of him to share on Facebook:

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A bouncing baby girl

Phoebe's birthday was pretty low-key. Over the course of six kids, I've learned that babies just really don't care about birthday parties. Especially that first one. 

They're too little to know how to blow out candles or rip open presents. They won't remember any of it. 

So, I while we did do cake—And, oh, you should have seen Phoebe staring at us while we sang the Happy Birthday song to her (she was like, "You guys are so weird... Please stop looking at me...")!—and I did buy a few presents for Phoebe, we didn't have her blow out her candle and I didn't even bother wrapping her presents. 

Andrew just took her out of the room and I set down her gifts and then he brought her in. And she was super excited about discovering these new things! Here she is making her way toward her presents:

A couple of spook-related stories

Currently, we are reading Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston and in one of the chapters she mentioned throat singing in passing, so we looked up some videos about it (among other things, like facial tattoos). This one is pretty informative and has some good sound samples:

And then I had the kids write about what they'd learned. Alexander had quite a bit to say:

Monday, November 14, 2022

Phoebe's 1 year stats and birthday balloons

Phoebe had her one-year check-up this morning, where we learned that she hates:
  • having her head circumference measured
  • sitting on the scale
  • stretching to be measured
  • the stethoscope
  • the otoscope
  • having her finger lanced for a hemoglobin count
  • that flashy thing they use to test babies' vision
  • the crinkly paper on the exam table
  • having the doctor check her hips
  • vaccinations
The only thing that was relatively easy for the doctor to do was peer down Phoebe's wide-open throat. 

The only thing Phoebe enjoyed was shaking her head at the doctor and saying, "Uh-uh!" (unless she was too busy screaming to speak, which was often). 

So, basically, things went really well.

As I suspected, Phoebe is my biggest one year old (but I'm sure she'll stringbean-ify once I wean her, since that's what all my kids have seemed to do)! She is 21 lbs. 9 oz. and is 29.25 inches (2 feet 5.25 inches). Her head was 17.88 cm, which shocked the doctor because she jumped her curve quite a bit (not an alarming-alarming amount, but just enough to make the doctor re-measure her to make sure the nurse hadn't mis-measured...which Phoebe, of course, valiantly tried to refuse).