Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Lost his marbles

For weeks we've been hearing an odd sound in our car every time we rounded a corner—a rolling, a scraping, a gentle clinking as it came to rest on the opposite side of where it once was. We soon recognized it as the sound of a marble rolling around and we figured we'd better find it before it drove us crazy while making our four-day drive across the country.

We checked every cup holder (our van has a generous number of cup holders), every cubby hole, every secret compartment, every last nook and cranny we could think of. The rogue marble was no where to be found.

We continued to voice our consternation over the marble issue until Benjamin came forward to confess that he had "accidentally" stuffed a marble between the lining of the door and the window in—of all places—the back hatch.

How that could have possibly been an accident, we'll never know (because, honestly, he shouldn't "accidentally" have access to the back hatch), but a little investigation revealed that this was indeed the location of the missing marble.

It is stuck deep inside the recesses of our back hatch.

We began brainstorming on how to fix the issue: we would need to take off the lining of the door in order to fish around or perhaps we could just stuff something down there to keep it from moving or perhaps...

"Is it a metal marble?" I asked Benjamin. "Or a glass one?"

Benjamin started shrinking before my eyes; he pulled his head down and raised his shoulders until they were level with his ears. Appearing very turtle-like he asked with a trembling voice, "Which answer is the bad one?"

Friday, June 14, 2019


I am the world's best and most catastrophic rounder, according to Andrew. He told me this after he suggested we take a packing break and I said, "We only have ten more days!!"*

"Eleven," he calmly corrected.

"Today is almost over," I said.

"But today is not over yet so we still have eleven days. You are the world's best and most catastrophic rounder. You make everything sound like impending doom!"

So, there are eleven days until our truck arrives. But by the time we wake up tomorrow there will only be ten days until our truck arrives (and two weeks until we really take off) so in honour of eleven (almost ten) days until we once again cram all of our belongings into the back of a truck, I give you our ten highs and lows from life in Spanish Fork.*

* Now there really are only ten days until our truck arrives, which honestly feels more like nine...

I feel like we did something like this before leaving a few other homes (though I'm not sure we did one for Durham, but I could probably do one retrospectively). So without further ado, I give you a few lists of things that "we" think we'll miss/look forward to, and by "we" I mean "I":

Ten highs we experienced in Spanish Fork:

  1. Alexander's birth
  2. Miriam's baptism 
  3. Benjamin started kindergarten
  4. Rachel's spectacular last year of elementary school
  5. Andrew graduated from Duke
  6. Nancy got to play with gamelan and take a writing class
  7. Zoë went from baby to big kid—from potty training to preschool
  8. We got to go to Grover again (and visit Alberta, for that matter)
  9. Rachel got to go to the temple for the first time at the Payson temple
  10. We always had family to invite to everything
Ten lows we experienced in Spanish Fork:
  1. Karen's death
  2. Alexander's broken arm
  3. We frequently felt smothered by family drama
  4. Some of us have struggled to find friends here
  5. Sometimes the train wakes up the baby at 2 AM
  6. There are no bo-berry biscuits here
  7. It's so far from the ocean
  8. This last winter was so long and we were sick the entire time
  9. The library was just so small, guys
  10. We were perpetually stressed out over our impending unemployment

Ups and Downs

I started another post this evening, but then the baby started crying and I didn't finish it. I will try to get to it in the morning. In the meantime, Miriam has been trying to compose a piece of music every day this summer, which is simply not something I have ever thought of doing. I mean, I've always been a bit of a writer—constantly journaling and even trying my hand at poetry and lyrics since I was barely able to hold a pencil. But composing music isn't really something that I ever thought of just...doing...for fun...

Here's the song she wrote today (it's a duet, written for four hands):

I hope she keeps going because, frankly, that's pretty neat.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Zoë's first talk

Zoë gave her first talk in primary this past Sunday. She helped write her talk and I stood beside her and whispered prompts in her ear while she very bravely talked into the microphone. I loved that every time I prompted her to say Benjamin she instead said "Benny." She sure loves her big brother (and I sure love when he's a good example for her).

Here's the transcript of her talk:

Before the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. When they asked him why, Jesus said that it was, “an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” He wanted his disciples to follow his example by serving others. He wants us to follow his example, too, and gives us the promise that “if ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” This means that if we serve others we will feel happy. 

Serving others means being nice, loving them, and taking care of them.

My brother Benjamin set a good example of service yesterday. My mom asked him to empty the dishwasher, so he put away all the clean dishes, and then he loaded the dirty dishes into the dishwasher without being asked. It made my mom happy, it made Benjamin happy, and I’m sure it made Jesus happy as well because Benjamin followed his example!

I serve when I play nicely with my baby brother, when I do my chores without crying, and when I deliver cookies to people who are sad. There are lots of ways to serve others and when we do that’s following Jesus’s example. And that makes everybody happy!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


She had trouble thinking of times that she's served others, but when we were walking home from church she reminded me about the primary's service activity a few weeks ago where her class got to go back into the nursery and wash the toys for all the babies (now that they're great big Sunbeams). That would have been a good example to include, I suppose, but the things she thought of were just fine.

The Hogle Zoo

If my memory serves me correctly, I haven't been to the Hogle Zoo since February 2008, when Rachel was just seven months old! We took a commemorative photo by the elephant statue to mark the occasion. Rachel is just a tad bit bigger than she was back in 2008 (and I look a tad bit tired-er) but we're still both pretty cute!

Alexander was very unhappy that I chose to hold someone other than...him
One of my mom's students works at the zoo and told her that she was able to get a spectacular deal on admission, so my mom's been meaning to treat us on an outing and realized that we're running out of time—fast! So today was the day!

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Helping hands

After dinner I asked Benjamin to unload the dishwasher so that I could do the dishes that had accumulated in the sink today. He complained for a bit, but I told him I would work along side him—he could do the low stuff (kid dishes and pots, pans, and tupperware) and I could do the high stuff (glass and sharps, mostly). He thought that was a pretty good deal but was still being a bit of a stinker.

And then I turned on some music—OK Go—and suddenly he didn't want to leave the kitchen.

I completely expected him to run away the minute the dishwasher was empty but instead he turned around and started rinsing dishes and loading them into the dishwasher! He did the dishes entirely by himself! Without being asked!

(Don't mind the shocked look on his face; I was rather shocked myself.)

It was such a lovely gift (that I hope keeps on giving).

Part of the magic may have been that he couldn't get enough of OK Go, so when we're settling into our new routine in Georgia, perhaps we'll have the child whose dish night it is choose the clean up music (because—brace yourselves—you're all getting a dish night).

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Leave it to beavers

Last Saturday my parents took the kids (all save Alexander) to see the new live-action Aladdin and Andrew and I worked ourselves to death (just about) packing stuff up. It was wonderfully helpful (and the kids had a good time, which is nice because we have absolutely abysmally boring plans for this entire summer, I fear).

We repeated last weekend's plan this weekend, but on steroids.

Aunt Linda took the kids (save Alexander) out to lunch on Friday and then kept Benjamin and Zoë the entire afternoon. Andrew and I worked while they were gone and got Rachel and Miriam's bedrooms just about emptied. After Linda dropped off the girls we finished up their bedrooms (and now they're camped out in the guest room downstairs for the time being).

This morning my mom picked up the kids (save Alexander) to go to her ward's primary fair, where they had a blast eating more cotton candy than sounded appetizing to me (ie. any). She then kept them for the entire afternoon. They watched cartoons with my dad, did some art project with Auntie Josie, played with the cat, and came home happy.

Andrew and I worked like beavers, disassembling bookshelves to take with us, selling furniture we decided didn't make the cut, backing boxes, rearranging spaces.

The fact that we're moving is really starting to sink in—empty walls and echoey bedrooms tend to have that effect.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Black and blue

This poor baby can't catch a break. Alexander's poor little noggin is so pathetically covered in bruises that I feel sad every time I look at him. And then yesterday he and Zoë had a fight over whether the bathroom door should be open or closed and...Alexander lost.

Or won.

I'm not sure. It's kind of hard to adjudicate this mess.

This picture was taken after he shed many, many tears
Zoë was team "close the door," but she was having a hard time because Alexander—team "keep the door open"—had his hand through the hinge-side of the door. So Zoë kept slamming the door, trying to get it to shut, while Alexander was holding onto the door screaming wildly because he was acting as a door stop.

So, like, he won—technically—because the door stayed open.

But did he really win? Because two days later he still has a bruise on his hand.

If you ask him what happened to his hand he will put on a pouty face and point toward the bathroom door and, will say accusatorially, "Bwo-Bwo!" which is how he says Zo-Zo.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019


Yesterday Andrew promised the children that if they were good we could watch Captain Marvel as a family. And they were rather well-behaved. But then Karolla invited Benjamin to go to the baseball game with her and Grandpa.

"No, thanks," Benjamin said when Grandpa asked him if he wanted to go.

"What?" I asked, truly shocked.

Benjamin adores Karolla and is always asking to do things with her.

"I want to watch Captain Marvel," he explained.

"We can do that anytime," I told him. "This is a one-time offer. They only have baseball tickets tonight. And besides, we're moving in three weeks and then you won't be around to invite to a baseball game."

"Yeah. I still want to watch Captain Marvel."

"I'm not sure you're making the right choice here," I said. "When you're given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity versus an any-old-day opportunity you take the once-in-a-lifetime thing!"

"Yeah. I still want to watch Captain Marvel."

I'm clear, you're clear, we're all clear

Seven years ago I had a hard day.

I can say that with quite a lot of confidence because even though I don't precisely recall what happened on June 5, 2012, most of my days seven years ago this month were difficult. June 2012 was an exhausting, scary, overwhelming month.

When Benjamin was getting ready to turn one, I had a hard time being happy. I had a healthy baby boy (now), it was true, but reflecting on his birth was not remotely a fun thing to do.

I had spent the past year experiencing mini panic attacks whenever he nursed (I had heart palpitations the entire time (25 months!) I nursed him; thanks, anxiety), always afraid he was going to choke or that he wasn't getting enough nourishment. He was small for his age. He had severe reflux. He was behind in his milestones. He had not had an easy entry into life, and I didn't find much joy in reflecting on his first year.

I remember wondering if I would ever feel at peace on his birthday. Would I ever "get over" this?!

I'm happy to report that the answer to both those questions is yes.

I don't know when it happened, or how, but this year I noticed that I was...fine. I didn't feel like crying once. There were no hospital alarms ringing in my ears, no thoughts of how things might have been different had he not jumped the gun.

He's fine. He's happy. He's thriving.

I'm fine. I'm happy. I'm thriving.