Friday, April 12, 2024

Left arm...broken!

A few months ago I scored a push tricycle on the Buy Nothing Group. Phoebe had been putting up a fuss about riding in the stroller and I thought that perhaps a tricycle stroller would help make her fits less frequent. And I was correct! She is much happier about getting to bike around the block than she had been being pushed around the block. Eventually she'll walk around the block just fine—and she has walked around the block before—but sometimes we want to go faster than she travels on her two little legs.

So the push tricycle has been a fine solution.

I wouldn't say it's been a perfect solution, but it was free, right? And free is nice.

A few of this issues we've had with the push tricycle are:

Monday, April 08, 2024

1/4 April Haiku

It's National Poetry Month! 

I've trying to write a haiku for every day this month. 

Haiku has become such an interesting form to me (since reading Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows, which contains such wonderful discussion on Basho). What children are taught in elementary schools about stringent syllabic patterns—and, perhaps, that the poem should have something to do with nature—is woefully inadequate, not to mention slightly misleading. While the three-line rule seems to be sticking rather firmly, the 5-7-5 rule is work well in English. Syllables don't matter as much as ideas because in Japanese the poems don't contain 17 syllables but seventeen on. A good haiku makes an observation about the world by means of a surprising very few syllables.

(Read more about haiku here, here, or here, or wherever).

So, no—my haiku don't always have 17 syllables. That said, they don't always contain a surprising twist either.

I didn't promise every day's haiku would be a good haiku, did I? 

My purpose, I suppose, is to tell little stories about each day, to remember the month by. So far it's been a gloriously good month for haiku—so much has been happening with nature!

April 1

earth warms—creatures wake,
slink and worm their way inside
the boy's pants—"A skink!"

Watching the April 8, 2024 Eclipse

We had a lovely time watching the eclipse this afternoon. While we weren't in the path of totality (we were about 85%), we did notice a significant gloaming effect (another vocabulary word from today) as well as an accompanied decrease in overall temperature. 

Painted Book of Mormon Activity

Today for FHE we talked about syzygial relationships...or how thinking celestially can help us align with God. Really I just thought it would be fun to talk about alignment today, after watching the eclipse. And I was in luck because this month's Liahona had a couple of articles about just that—aligning our hearts and wills with God. I gave the kids a head's up about today's topic at dinner and told them all to come prepared to share something and everyone (except Alexander and Phoebe) was ready to share. 

We talked about some of the General Conference talks we listened to this past weekend and shared thoughts we had about scriptures we'd been reading recently. So it worked out well!

Last week we finally got around to painting the covers of our copies of The Book of Mormon. We'd seen many people do this and decided we wanted to do it as a family and told the kids they could choose whatever language they'd like for their copy of The Book of Mormon. Rachel is just finishing up her second semester of Spanish, so she chose Spanish. Miriam has been studying German for quite some time, so she chose German, as did Alexander (who studies languages by whim...the other day he told me about the "galactic" lesson he'd recently completed...but he mean Gaelic). Zoë has been learning French at co-op, so she chose French. Benjamin simply wanted English. That's what we did for Phoebe as well. I chose Russian. Andrew chose Italian. 

So we ordered all these books months ago and some of them came in right away, but the Spanish and French books were on backorder for some reason. But eventually—at long last—we received another package...with only a Spanish book in it. And then waited and waited and waited some more and finally— finally!—Zoë's French book arrived. 

We painted our books last Monday. It was pure chaos, but everyone had a good time.

We covered a portion of our table in paper to keep the little ones from accidentally (or purposefully) scribbling on the table with the paint markers.


For school today we went through the Jr. Ranger eclipse booklet, which led to some exploration of other moons in our solar system and the potential for other planets to experience eclipses. 

Then Benjamin asked for a haircut and I jumped at the opportunity before he could change his mind because...uh...he needed a haircut.

Then Benjamin and I went on a quick run, leaving Zoë to do some work on her country report. She printed out some pictures for Alexander and Phoebe to colour while she worked, which kept them very busy. Technically Rachel and Miriam were in charge, but they were diligently working on their own school work since this is Rachel's week of finals at BYU-I...and because we told Miriam that she had to finish at least one of her ASU classes before leaving for Europe. So they were home, but not interested in entertaining babies. Zoë had things covered, though!

Thursday, April 04, 2024

All things bright and beautiful

I took the kids to the park the other day, on the first day of the year that was due to be rather warm (around 80°F/26°C). I don't know if I should be slathering my kids with sunscreen before spending hours outside in January (especially considering the fact that we rarely get snow here), but I do know that I should be slathering my kids with sunscreen when the warmth of the sun feels like a punishment rather than a caress. 

Especially because my children all inherited a ridiculously fair complexion and tend to burn. I'm always forgetting that about them because, well, I simply don't burn as easily as any of them. But on this particular day, I remembered (gold star in mothering for me!) and broke out the sunscreen. 

As I was rubbing this "lotion" on Phoebe she started sniffing excitedly. 

"Mmmm...mmmmm...mmmm!" she moaned with Pavlovian desire. "This lotion! Mmmmmm! This lotion mates me wanna doe pool! Tan we doe pool today?"

It's jarring to think that in spite of not being able to really speak last summer, Phoebe has lasting memories of going to the pool (triggered by a strong olfactory association with sunscreen, apparently).

This post is actually about poetry—Happy Poetry Month!

I am notoriously bad at managing my notifications. It drives Andrew a little bit crazy. 

Right now, according to my computer, I have a manageable 31 unread text messages...but on my phone that number is 187. My phone tells me I have 18,801 unread emails on my personal account...but my computer tells me it's only 7388. I'm not sure what is up with those discrepancies, so who even knows how many unread messages I truly have?

My school email address has 2529 unread messages.

Somehow Andrew's usually able to keep on top of his notifications, but for whatever reason...I just can't. 

We had dentist appointments this week and—I kid you not—we escaped without a single cavity between all six kids and me (Andrew will be going next week). But I did not escape without racking up 43 text messages and 38 email messages all from the dentist's office

"Just a reminder..."

"To confirm your appointment..."

"Your appointment has been confirmed..."

"Click to fill out the required paperwork prior to your appointment..."

"Your paperwork is complete..."

"Your appointment is coming up today at..."

"Thank you for scheduling your next appointment with..."

"Did you enjoy your visit? Take some time to leave feedback at..."

Times. Seven. People.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Easter Egg Smackdown 2024

 Like many families in the world this week, we dyed Easter eggs. Below you'll see (from left to right, in columns) Phoebe's, Miriam's, Zoë's, Alexander's, and Benjamin's eggs, respectively:

Monday, April 01, 2024

Just to be clear

Yesterday when we were getting ready for church, the following exchange occurred (with me yelling up the stairs and the kids yelling down the stairs):

Me: Phoebe, come here! I want to do your hair!
Phoebe: Not yet!
Me: But we’re trying to get ready to go!
Phoebe: Not yet!
Me: What are you doing?
Alexander: She’s building a house!
Phoebe: Just out of LEGO! Not a real one!

It's a good thing she clarified because otherwise I would have thought she was building a real house!


Spring is here, as I've noted. We've got violets and steaming compost heaps and—apparently—lizards in the basement. The sun is flouting its bedtime and so too are the children. Thus, it was relatively late when they came inside from playing outside with the neighbours (and boy did they smell like outside kid).

We had scriptures and prayer before sending them off to shower and the following exchange occurred:

Me: Oh, you've got a ring on!
Zoë: Yeah. Alexander married Evelyn.
Alexander: But not for real. Just for pretend.
Zoë: But they really have crushes on each other.
Alexander: That's true.
Zoë: So we had a ceremony!
Alexander: A pretend ceremony.
Zoë: And they got married!
Alexander: For pretend.
Zoë: And Evelyn really gave him that ring.
Alexander: That's true.

It's a good thing he clarified that for me because otherwise I would have thought I'd have to worry about in-laws next door! 

Sneaky Skink

As promised, we are taking some time off from schoolwork this week. Well, the little kids are, at least. The bigger girls are bound by their semester schedules (and will get a lovely vacation in a couple of weeks) and I am hoping to use this time to get some good writing done (though...I'm excellent at postponing things). 

So, this morning the kids—still all in their pyjamas—were downstairs playing in the basement, when suddenly Alexander let out a blood-curdling scream.


"What's going on?" I called down the stairs. 

Alexander ran up the stairs and, melodramatically gasping for breath, explained, "! 

"There was your..." I began repeating, but Alexander cut me off, still panting.

"Pants! Yes! I felt something cold and wet on my legs and thought maybe I was peeing my pants or something…and then a lizard plopped out!"

"...of your pants?"

"Yes! Come and see!" he said, and then ran to the Tupperware drawer. "I need to find a container!"

"This isn't some sort of prank, is it?" I asked.

It is, after all, April Fool's Day.

"No!" he insisted. "A lizard was really in my pants. It's just a skink, we think. Why can't I find a lunch meat container? I can only find good Tupperware! Oh! Here's one!"