Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Phys Ed

We had a great first day back at (home)school! By the time I dragged myself out of bed in the morning the kids had all had breakfast and had cleaned up the table. Rachel and Miriam had mostly finished with their daily math section and Zoë was sitting at the table with her math workbook (Benjamin was playing Lego in the basement and Alexander, though he had had breakfast with the kids, was now with me). Further, Rachel had started a load of laundry, had put away the clean dishes and loaded all the dirty ones into the dishwasher. It was pretty remarkable!

We started reading The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which all of the children seem to being enjoying so far. They did their writing responses with little complaint and then we all finished up math (most especially Benjamin, who had to go from start to finish). Then we headed out for PE.

Rachel wanted to explore the new playground we found (since she was too cool to go out with us last week). It turns out that Monday in the early afternoon is a much less busy time for the park than Friday mid-afternoon. I even managed to park in the parking garage.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Miriam's 11!

When Andrew asked Miriam what her favourite part of being 10 was, she didn't say me (rude). She said everything was good about being 10, except for March. Considering yesterday, her birthday, was March 238th, that's a considerable amount of the year she took an exception to! We jokingly asked her how she enjoyed having her birthday in the spring, rather than in the fall, like it usually is, and she replied that it was wonderful because she usually has a more autumnal cake but this year she felt justified in picking a more spring/summer flavour. 

She went with what Rachel called a "basic" vanilla cake, with raspberry filling. And it honestly was the most delicious cake Rachel has made to date. Miriam also requested that the cake be decorated simply and elegantly. So here it is:

Birthday buddies

Miriam turned 11 today, which is breaking my heart a little bit. I have enjoyed being her primary activity leader so much and I'm going to miss her when she graduates into the Young Women's program in January (it still blows my mind that all the girls move up together because when I was that age you had to wait until you turned 12 to graduate from primary, a policy that came with its own set of challenges). But it's not like she'll be entirely gone from my life. 

I mean, we're homeschooling and are in the middle of a global pandemic so tend to just stay home a lot, so I'm going to see her frequently, and I'm sure she'll enjoy getting to spread her wings a little bit, assuming we ever get to a wing-spreading stage...which...I mean...I dunno.

This afternoon I did get an email notifying the young women and their parents that all in-person activities have been cancelled through November and will be replaced by virtual activities (three cheers for that because...hello), due, of course, to the pandemic and the rising numbers we're seeing now. While I'm happy about this change, I do find it confusing because our numbers are still lower than they were when they originally started pushing for (and holding) in-person activities while Rachel and I were raising a big fuss about...you know...the pandemic. And now that the numbers have been, from my perspective, holding steady, they are suddenly deciding to not have in-person activities. 

Nationally, our numbers don't look great so I imagine Georgia will spring up there soon. But I think this call has less to do with Georgia's numbers (or even our county numbers) and more to do with the fact that there are "a few" cases within the ward, though I don't know that we'll ever know who.

But none of that has much of anything to do with Miriam's birthday and more to do with just my overall feeling of being crushed alive. It's fine. I haven't been finding the time I'd like to write (here or elsewhere) and so I'm going to squish my "October Birthday Buddies" into one post, which really isn't fair because although they are born within the same month, their birthdays are farther apart (11 days) than Zoë and Benjamin's (10 days), though not by much. This is just one more way for them to learn that life isn't fair (and that it can't be fair)—sorry and you're welcome.

First we'll catalogue our birthday balloons. Here's Alexander with his birthday balloons this morning before we finally took them down. We meant to get around to making more for him but his birthday ended up being a little busier than we expected—with re-stretching our carpet and putting our basement back together.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Baby love

Alexander has always been very touched by music. Whenever music comes on—be it in a movie or video game or session of General Conference—Alexander will turn to his nearest sitting companion and whisper, "I like this music!" Sometimes he can't help but wiggle to the beat, or, if it's really getting to him, he'll hop up and dance. 

This afternoon he was listening to primary music on his "phone" and he came to me, rather weepy, and blubbered, "I found a new song for me and for you, Mommy. It's our song. It's about how you're my dearest, dearest mother, and I love you! And I do! And that's why it's our song. And it's so special to me and..."

He kept talking but was crying so hard I could hardly understand what he was saying. Tears were streaming down his sweet little face. 

I pulled him onto my lap and we sat there and listened to (and practiced singing) the song while he hit the "play again" button over and over again. He had me sing it for him at bedtime, while he stroked my face and hummed along. 

He's the sweetest, most tender little thing

The song is "Dearest Mother, I Love You," a song that I somehow escaped primary without learning (but a song I think Alexander will have learned before he gets to primary (in about two short months—how is that even possible?!)):

Gentle words I hear you say.
Your kind hands help me each day.
You’re my mother kind and true;
Dearest mother, I love you.

An outing

It's our last day of fall break. So for a special treat I decided to take the children to a new park. We have hardly gone anywhere the past seven months, so a new park would be a real treat! It's a park I've seen people posting pictures of but somehow we've never managed to find (in our defense it only opened last year, so I guess it's fairly new to . Finally I pulled it up on the map and figured things out. 

It's really the "city green," a little social area behind some shops. There were signs directing us to park in the "parking deck," but I just couldn't find a spot I thought I could pull into, but after a little bit of a panic attack I managed to find this spot that was close enough to being in the parking deck that I thought it counted as such:

Yes, I know there are several spots visible inside the parking deck but...I left them for someone who feels like they can park in a parking garage. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Bye-bye bushes

Our neighbour was lucky enough to score a couple loads of fill dirt and when I went to ask her where she got it (because we desperately needs some fill dirt over here) she said someone was digging a pool and wanted to get rid of it so she told them to come dump it in her yard) since she has some low areas she wants to fill). She also said that she probably has more dirt than she could possibly use so we're welcome to some (since her husband is feeling keen to get their driveway back). 

So today we prepped our front yard for some DIY landscape work. The house had some scraggly bushes out front that we just didn't love. Plus we need to raise that entire area of the house so that it slopes away from the house rather than towards it, for basement flooding reasons. 

Here's a look at our house in July (after our new windows were installed):

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Pumpkin pop-in

We've gotten very used to having an empty calendar the past few months. The last time we had a primary "activity" (earlier this summer) I accidentally put it on the calendar for 10:00 PM instead of 10:00 AM so we ended up missing out on it. We had a "pumpkin pop-thru" this weekend and I made sure to put the correct time on the calendar so we would get all the correct reminders and we remembered to go!

Good thing, too, because I needed to distribute craft supplies to my primary girls for our next couple of activities. Here I am reppin' the Bulldogs (Andrew likes to laugh at me because I legitimately can never remember what school I go to (or its acronym)—not GSU, UNC, AUC, UVU, BYU...UGA! That's the one):

Friday, October 16, 2020

Well-child checks

I took three of the kids in for their doctor appointments today. Our doctor's office typically only allows two children at a time but I asked for an exception to the rule because—and my doctor agrees and was the first to suggest it—it makes no sense for me to come in three times for five kids when I could just come in twice. Right? Sure. 

Added to that policy (that I'm skirting around) are some new COVID rules, including the fact that only one caregiver is allowed to accompany children at their appointments. So I chose to take Rachel, Zoë, and Alexander, thinking that if either one of them got too scared and out of hand there would still be a grown-up type person to help with the not-so-scared one? 

It didn't work out that way because they wanted Rachel in her own private room and had me going back and forth between the rooms and it ended up being rather awkward. At one point I was with Rachel and the doctor said something like, "You'd better get back to your other two because our nurses have better things to do than babysit all day," and I was like, "Ummm...okay?" because the little plan of me ping-ponging between the rooms was her idea, not mine. And the nurse, who was doing vision and hearing screenings on the kids and wasn't even finished when I got back. So it was a little awkward, but I'm sure it was fine...

One day I'll figure out the right combination of children to take to the doctor. Today was not that day.

Another Little Chatt

The little kids wanted nothing more than to go back to the Chattahoochee today with their big sisters, who were free from things like birthday cake baking and basement restorations and were happy to take a break to go rambling in the woods, so things worked out well for everyone. They were all hoping to get to splash around in the water a bit but, like I mentioned, things were a little more floody than yesterday.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Little Chat

We're in the middle of our fall break right now. It was supposed to be a lovely, relaxing week. Instead it was...well...the week that it was...so we'll be taking next week off, too, to recover from this week. And that's one of the reasons I love homeschooling—we can just do that if we want to (and we do). 

Yesterday for his birthday, Alexander wanted to go to the Chattahoochee. I didn't pack extra clothes for kids because I knew the river would be too high to play in. I did not account for tributary streams in my plans so the kids ended up soaking wet, of course, because the tributary streams were at just the right level for splashing in. Today I took the kids to the river again and this time I packed extra clothes for Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander and although they 100% were planning on playing in the stream, even that was too high to play in today. The lovely bank we played on yesterday was absolutely flooded, river water was rushing from the river upstream and things were a little crazy. So the kids didn't get wet at all. 

I may have just discovered a way to keep my kids dry at the river—packing a change of clean clothes for them! It's Murphy's Law, right?

Anyway, here are the kids (yesterday) tossing some stones into the river from some stairs that were fairly well dry: