Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Taking Wednesday head on

It's the last Wednesday of the semester. Our children are tucked into their beds (with three of the five suffering from mild head trauma; it's fine) and Andrew is on his way home. And I'm just so relieved that the end of the semester is here.

I suppose I should explain that head trauma before we go much farther.

Grandpa and I tag-teamed a buttermilk pancake dinner (I made the batter, he cooked them up), then sent Miriam off to Activity Days. The remaining kids and I walked down to the train park to toss around a frisbee. It was rather windy, as it often is here, and the wind kept grabbing our hot pink disc and whirling it up ridiculously high into the air (which was fine because our playing "field" is a little bowl—with hills on all sides—so the frisbee couldn't get too far away).

I spotted Alexander heading for a discarded juice box that I didn't want him to play with, so I picked it up and jogged it down to the trashcan (PSA, fellow Americans: you, too, can put trash into the trashcan!). While I was doing that, Rachel tossed the frisbee and Benjamin and Zoë both went for it and collided head-on. They both sat down, howling and holding their heads, and blaming each other for not letting the other have any turns.

They both have a little goose egg but were able to calm down fairly quickly and we worked out a turn-taking system and all was well.

Soon it was time to head home so that Rachel could head over to the church where the youth were playing flag football for mutual. I assumed Rachel was having fun because she's into that sort of thing.

I never was, not really. I was always a...delicate...child.

I wasn't prone to illness, I don't think, but I was just...small. Wafer-thin. Gangly. Awkward. Whatever.

I didn't excel at team sports.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Good Berry, and other bunny tales

Zoë's Sunbeams teachers told her that Easter was next Sunday, which she passed along to us at the dinner table. "Easter is next week and I'm so excited!" she squealed, squirming in her seat, and bouncing her hands in the air for emphasis. 

We went to story time at the library on Monday and it was all about bunnies, which I thought Zoë would love—and indeed she seemed to have had a wonderful time! We read bunny stories, we learned a bunny poem, we did some bunny dances, and wrapped everything up by making a little bunny craft—a cute bunny-ear headband!

She happily wore it all around the library as we checked out books and visited the play room and took a turn at the iPad station. She kept it on her head all the way home and into the house. 

And then she said, "Why did we learn about bunnies today? It's not Easter yet. Easter is next week!"

"Oh, just to get you excited about Easter, I suppose," I said casually because I thought we were having a casual conversation but apparently we were not. Apparently this was more of an existential matter because the next thing I knew, Zoë had ripped off her bunny-ear headband and had thrown it to the ground.

"Well, I was already excited about Easter before any of this stuff happened!" she screamed, stomping on her headband. "Why did she do this to me?!! I don't need bunny ears to tell me I'm excited about Easter!"

Talk about evil librarians! What was our sweet story time lady even thinking?!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring Organ Recital (plus a duet with dad)

I'm at once relieved and sad to be finished with organ for the semester, which is how I feel about many things in life. I'm relieved because two hours of class each week (plus commute time) was an awfully big commitment for a 9-year-old. We're very lucky Miriam enjoys practicing because otherwise I don't know how she would have made it through this year (I suppose if she didn't enjoy practicing we wouldn't have signed her up)! I suppose I'm the one who is commitment-averse. I always sign my kids up for things and then wince at how much I've committed to (teaching preschool, soccer practice, play practice, organ lessons, etc). I love that they are learning new things but...I'm also I'm glad that she has her Tuesdays and Thursdays to just come home from school and play in the backyard, rather than rushing right back out the door.

Miriam with her teacher, Nora Hess (my mom took this picture a few Tuesdays ago, I believe)
But I'm also sad it's over because it's been such a fabulous experience for Miriam! She has loved her teachers and classmates, which is such a blessing because this has been such a difficult year for her at school. And in the face of that, organ has brought her so much joy! All the kids are just so sweet and they have this shared interest of everything organ, which has helped them be friendly with each other. And it's been so wonderful to have this class not only as a musical outlet for Miriam but as an emotional one as well.

So I really hate to say goodbye. But, here we are...

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Alexander at 18 months

While Andrew was teaching Elder's Quorum and I was teaching Relief Society this morning, Alexander had his first day of nursery! Good thing we had Grandpa on hand to go with him, otherwise I don't know what we would have done. Grandpa said he did very well—he loved the bubbles, enjoyed playing with the toys, and was thrilled someone was giving him snacks. Next week Grandpa will try to step out (we'll see how that goes—ha!). 

"This is my life."
It's hard to believe that Alexander is already 18 months old already!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Sunday with my mom's family

How is it Thursday night and I'm only now getting around to writing about Sunday?

I wish I didn't feel so frazzled all the time, but I do. My aunt said the funniest thing on Sunday. She said my children were well-behaved. She said that my cousin's children were exhausting and wild but mine were wonderfully well-behaved. I suppose that was a fair observation from the couple of hours she saw them because they were all remarkably well-behaved. But I think she would change her tune if she ever agreed to babysit them for ten days (it just so happens she recently returned from babysitting for my cousin for ten days).

My children are wonderful (as are my cousin's) but...they can also be exhausting.

I have been so frustrated by the dynamic Benjamin and Zoë have going on this week (both collectively and individually) that I'm just at my wit's end. They have been awful. Off the wall—off the charts—awful.

But they were well-behaved on Sunday, so that's good, I guess.

Anyway, we got together with my Auntie Colleen and Uncle Bruce (and Uncle LeRon and Aunt Sara) after conference on Sunday. We had a potluck dinner up at Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara's clubhouse. My mom brought potato salad and chips and salsa. Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara brought a bucket of fried chicken. We brought a fruit pizza (in honour of Josie's birthday, though she wouldn't let us sing to her), a cheeseball and crackers (and cheese slices for those of us who are afraid of cheeseballs (Andrew)), and a vegetable tray.

"You brought enough food to feed an army!" Sara said when we filed into the clubhouse with all those trays of food.

"Well," I shrugged, "I also brought an army!"

Five kids can eat a lot.

We had a lovely time visiting together. Zoë and Benjamin spent quite a bit of time playing with their magtastix set. We discovered how to make tops during general conference and the kids had a blast making and spinning tops during the afternoon session and we decided to take the fun with us to the clubhouse.

L to R: My mom, Aunt Sara, Auntie Colleen, Uncle Bruce, Uncle LeRon

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night

On Saturday evening we attended a BCC Press dinner prior to going to a book launch reading for AshMae Hoiland and Rachel Hunt Steenblik. Andrew does most of the typesetting for these books (there are a couple he hasn't done), which is a nice little hobby for him. 

Rachel Hunt Steenblik just released her second book of poetry about Heavenly Mother (Mother's Milk was first, and this one is called I Gave Her A Name). Ashley Mae Hoiland did the artwork for the book, a smattering of which can be seen below:

She also released her memoir about being diagnosed with MS, A New Constellation. 

Monday, April 08, 2019

Like a spring of water

We went on a field trip to Dripping Rock for family night. After sitting for eight hours listening to church talks this weekend I figured doing something more physically active was called for. Plus we've been following the Come Follow Me manual and due to General Conference the same little section of scriptures was stretched over two weeks, so we've already covered a lot. I wanted to make sure to cover things in a different way. So we went to Dripping Rock, which is a short little hike that the kids all enjoy.

Technically I guess the trail is closed but every single time we go it seems the trail is closed in some capacity or another! So we decided we'd hike it anyway (and we had plenty of company on the trail).

Friday, April 05, 2019

BYU Last Week (Rachel at the Science Fair)

Last week we also spent a day at BYU! 

Rachel won her school science fair project and then won the district science fair again, so she got to compete at the regional level! I had to teach preschool that morning (I only have to teach one more time!) so she rode into campus with her friend Kenzie (whose dad also works at BYU but he doesn't have an early morning class on Wednesdays so he was able to take the girls in when they needed to be there and not hours before). Alexander, Zoë and I went to pick her up.

My mom met us at the MOA and we walked up to the Harmon building together so that we could find her. She was stuck in some raffle meeting (Zoë was super excited Cosmo was there):

My mom had to leave before seeing Rachel, but Rachel says that she saw us from the audience and waved (though we didn't catch her wave).

Thursday, April 04, 2019

BYU this week

To really switch things up for spring break, we decided not to go to the pool today and instead hung out at BYU. How is spring break going, you ask? Well, we went swimming on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 

Andrew was out of town Thursday through Sunday last week—so our friends April and James invited us to hang out at the pool with them and it was the best idea ever and I'm so glad they got us out of the house. The kids enjoyed it so much that we've just been...going and going and going...even though it's super crowded because it's spring break. 

The worst part about Andrew's trip out of town was that it covered the days that we ordinarily see him the most. Monday through Thursday it's kind of non-stop business over here. So last week we dealt with our ordinary Monday through Thursday horribleness and then Andrew was gone until Sunday night and then we jumped right back into our Monday through Thursday horribleness again. 

So really spring break has been a bit of a dud.

Yesterday was so ridiculous that I didn't even see Andrew at all (at least not technically). He left the house before anyone was up because he teaches an early morning class on Wednesdays. He also teaches an evening class on Wednesdays up in Salt Lake, which he commutes to on the train because we're forward-thinking environmentalists. Last night his train broke down and was stalled for an hour on the tracks so he didn't get home until after midnight (which is technically Thursday, not Wednesday). It was a long day. 

And then he left this morning before anyone got up. 

Miriam had to get to campus for her organ class, so we decided that we'd all just go have a museum day and then leave her there for her class. We met up with Naanii and Auntie Josie, which was fun! We walked through the MOA and then visited the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, which currently has a lovely exhibit on the Middle East with some very beautiful costumes displayed. 

And then we went where the kids really wanted to go: The Bean Museum!

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

I ruined dinner twice in one night!

I took out the Instant Pot to steam some potatoes and vegetables for dinner and noted that the steaming basket was already in place so I peeled some potatoes and tossed them into the pot, added some carrots, and poured in a cup of water...which in turn poured out of the base of the Instant Pot, cascaded off the counter, and splashed onto my feet.

I froze, confused—shocked, even—and my eyes settled on the Instant Pot liner, which I had sat on the counter to dry after I washed it this morning (and thus it was most definitely not inside the Instant Pot, where it was supposed to be).

Luckily, I hadn't turned the Instant Pot on and I hurriedly removed the vegetables and then ran upstairs muttering, "Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no," praying that Instant Pots are like cell phones and that it will just dry out and be perfectly fine. I hopped onto the internet and found that Instant Pots are like cell phones and our pot will probably dry out just fine (even if it doesn't, it's at least cheaper to replace than some cell phones, so there's that).

Sometimes the internet can be a very unwelcoming, even threatening place. But today I read a thread about dumping water into an unlined Instant Pot that had 324 very supportive comments and have never felt so grateful for the internet in all my life.

"Me, too."

"Just joined this club."

"Count me in. I'm letting mine air dry before using it again."

"Good idea. That worked for me."

"Baking at 11:30 PM. Bad idea. I could almost taste that rice pudding, too."

"Now a member of the club—with 2.5 cups of MILK!!!"

"Oh, bother. Me, too."