Monday, May 16, 2022
Saturday, May 14, 2022
When we planned this beach trip we had no idea it was Mother's Day weekend. It was simply a week that worked for us—we looked at schedules for finals and last teaching days and so forth and didn't really consult a traditional calendar at all. So it was a nice surprise to wind up at the beach on Mother's Day.
We woke up and attended our sacrament meeting via Zoom before heading down to the beach for some wholesome recreational activity.
We've been playing a lot of badminton lately. Several years ago we got the cheapest set we could find at Wal-Mart. The net is still going strong, but the rackets all broke. Restringing a racquet probably isn't too difficult, but we just ordered replacement rackets instead (since some racquets were a little bent, etc., etc., etc.) and turned the old racquets into butterfly nets for the kids...which they then brought on the beach trip.
Friday, May 13, 2022
Getting to the beach was so easy; Phoebe had not yet discovered her passionate dislike for traveling in her car seat. Our stopping and going was perfectly timed with her desired napping schedule, so she slept in the car, woke up for Ocmulgee, slept in the car, and then screamed for the last half hour before we made it to the condo. That, I suppose, is when she realized how terrible traveling can be because she screamed every other time we put her in the car after that!
We arrived at the condo, took the elevator up to the fourth floor, found our door, and explored the inside. Zoë, Alexander, and Benjamin claimed an obvious children's room with a single and full bed. Andrew and I took the main bedroom with a full bed and adjoining bathroom (but then it ended up that it was easier for Andrew to sleep in a full bed with Zoë and Alexander than to sleep in a full bed with me and Phoebe, so Andrew slept in the kids' room and Phoebe and I took the whole bedroom/bathroom combo for ourselves, which I felt a teensy bit guilty about all week). Grandpa took the other bedroom with a full bed. Rachel and Miriam were on the hide-a-bed in the living room. It worked out well.
There wasn't a lot of usable closet space, unfortunately, so all of our stuff was just kind of "out" all week. The kitchen cupboards were all full of dishes...so our food was just...out on the counter. The hallway closet contained the HVAC system. My bedroom closet contained the water heater.
"A water heater??" Alexander said when we opened the door. "In the closet?! That is wildly unsafe! They should have put this thing in the basement!"
Our water heater is...in the basement.
I pointed out that the condo doesn't technically have a basement. Beneath us is another apartment. Beneath that is another one. And under that one is yet another one. Below that is the parking garage.
The water heater had to go somewhere and this closet seemed like as good a spot as any.
Then I reassured him that it was perfectly safe.
We had bigger fish to fry when it came to safety—keeping our eyes peeled for alligators. Here's Zoë by a sign in front of our condo, warning us that alligators are common in these areas.
Thursday, May 12, 2022
This last semester was rough for Andrew. My semester was fine; busy, but fine. Andrew's semester was just rough. His students were burned out and he was burned out and...I don't think he's ever been so happy to submit final grades before.
He gets Maymester off before he's back to teaching again.
But when I say he gets Maymester off, I mean that lightly. His vacation time has been interrupted for various meetings (dissertation defense meetings, among other things), so the past couple of days Grandpa and I have taken the kids to the beach and Andrew has met up with us later. And the funny thing is that it's way more fun for everyone when Daddy comes!
They have a lot of fun with Grandpa, too, I think. He spent a lot of time out jumping in the waves with the kids.
It's even possible they had fun with me, though I'm more anxious about everything (sharks, guys...and alligators...and snakes...and ticks...and sunburns...and meteors crashing into the planet) so I spend more time doing things like slathering children with sunscreen than playing (they burned anyway, but think about how much worse it would have been without my efforts). I tend to have an extra hard time loosening up and playing when I have a nursing baby because what if she needs me and I'm cold and wet and covered in sand (or worse, eaten by a shark)? That would be horrible (or at least uncomfortable).
Anyway, Daddy was fun for boogie-boarding, danger-sandcastles (the ones built down by the surf), and all sorts of adventures. Grandpa was good for wave jumping and Phoebe naps. I was good for shell hunting and safe-sandcastles and sunscreen reapplication and Phoebe cares. Divide and conquer.
But this is a post mostly about how great Andrew is to us.
I am typing this up while wearing his sweater (because the thermostat at the condo is set to freezing and my sweater is...somewhere in the room with a sleeping Phoebe...and I'm freezing...he is, too, but he's letting me have a turn).
He's done a great job juggling work and play on this trip.
Here are a few pictures of him playing this afternoon—watching the waves with Phoebe:
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Taking this week to relax and be a family has caused us (or at least me) to reflect on all our sweet babies, who have been alike in some ways and different in others. They've also been a lot of hard work! I was realizing, as Grandpa was pacing the beach with Phoebe, how easy a trip like this would have been with children ages 5 to 15 (really only 4.5 to nearly 15).
All of the kids can feed themselves, dress themselves, sit up by themselves. Most of them can swim proficiently. All of them can help shlep stuff to and from the beach. Easy.
Or at least easier.
Phoebe is wonderful but—man!—babies are a lot of work!
Anyway, when we pulled up to our condo at Hilton Head after a long stretch of driving, I hopped right out to unbuckle Phoebe, who was screaming inconsolably in her car seat. I fully expected every toy I'd handed her to cascade onto the ground the minute the door opened, but they didn't. She was hoarding all the toys in her lap.
It was Alexander who would toss toys overboard (to the door-side of his car seat so that no one could grab them for him).
So in that way, Phoebe and Alexander are different.
Tonight at dinner, as I was feeding Phoebe guacamole and refried beans (and Zoë was turning up her nose at the same because she hates beans (though she likes guacamole)), I remarked how amazing it was that Phoebe has enjoyed everything she's tasted so far because Zoë didn't like her first taste of anything.
Phoebe has had avocado and beans, obviously. She's also had strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, watermelon, apples, bananas, celery, green beans, carrots, peas, corn, red peppers...little tastes of sandwich bread, peanut butter, Ritz crackers, cheese puffs, daal, Cheerios, scrambled eggs, hardboiled eggs (just the yoke)...
She really doesn't like to be left out of eating so she's pretty much had a taste of anything anyone has been eating.
Here she is eating some pistachio ice cream from Leopold's (which his apparently the best ice cream in Savannah):
Monday, May 09, 2022
Many of the pictures that we have from the past couple of days were actually taken by either Rachel or Miriam, so it'll be like a surprise for me as I go through them. I spent a lot of time holding a fussy baby, so it just made sense to pass off the camera.
We were actually pretty lucky on the way down here, Phoebe-wise. She fell asleep for her morning nap just as we were leaving, woke up when we arrived at Ocmulgee Mounds, happily toured around, and then when we got back in the car she was ready for her afternoon nap. She slept until we were about a half hour away from our destination and then screamed nonstop until we arrived. What a good little traveller, we thought. But we've not been so lucky in the car since then, so it's probably a good thing we called off that Utah trip (since Phoebe has decided the car seat is her personal little torture chamber).
Anyway, here she is taking a quick turn around the museum at Ocmulgee with Grandpa:
Friday, May 06, 2022
We had the world's most delicious blueberries with dinner this evening. Dinner was leftovers: tomato soup, tacos, pancakes, and dal. The blueberries were not leftover, but they were heavenly. Even the big ones, which I usually avoid because they are sometimes sweet and mushy, were tart and juicy (just the way I like them).
Phoebe enjoyed playing with some leftover green beans, but she got really excited about those blueberries.
She looks like a normal, sweet & innocent little baby, right?
Thursday, May 05, 2022
Wednesday, May 04, 2022
Miriam had her National Piano Playing Audition today. She played two pieces, which she's spent the past couple of months memorizing. She was rather worried about performing them today, but ended up getting straight C's, which is a good thing—C is for "commendable" or something. A's are for things that "require attention" and hurt your score. But she passed with flying colours, as we knew she would.
Here are a few videos of her warming up on a grand piano that costs just about as much as our house. She made a few mistakes, but that's bound to happen when you're learning on an electric keyboard older than yourself. Something tells me our keyboards somehow don't compare to this elegant 9 ft. grand piano (that, again, is worth as much as our house). She reported that she played better during her audition (only she and the judge were allowed in the room while she was officially playing, but since her audition was right around lunchtime, she was able to sneak into the studio to warm up early and Andrew went in with her then).
Here's 'Gymnopédie No.1' by Erik Satie: