Monday, October 21, 2019

Infinity Stones

This story is an old one but a good one that never got recorded (I don't think).

After a particularly long day (we've had a lot of those lately), we were sending the children off to bed and Andrew said in a rather annoyed* voice, "Miriam, I thought I told you to pick up your infinity stones!"

Miriam turned back around with quite a bewildered look on her face.


He grabbed her infinity scarf from the floor, balled it up, and tossed it to her.

"This is a scarf, Dad."

"Huh. What did I say?"


We all (even Andrew who was exhausted and grumpy (we all have those moments)) dissolved into uncontrollable laughter and have been joking about this for weeks, cautioning Miriam not to snap while she's wearing her infinity scarf and making jokes about Thanos.

(If you don't get this, that's alright because I hardly do. It's some Marvel comics thing. I watched some movie with them in it, so I kind of get the snapping thing, but mostly I'm just playing along because the kids (and Andrew) are enjoying the joke).

* To his credit he is really an incredibly patient father and had asked her several times over the course of the evening to gather the stuff she'd left strewn about the room.

You are my Sunbeam, my only Sunbeam...

I have another story to add to my repertoire of missing Sunbeams, but this time instead of being the one to lose a pupil, the lost pupil was one of my own.

Being the big two-year-old that he is, Alexander went to nursery quite well this week. I promised him that I'd stay with him the entire time but I didn't interact with him at all. I did my best to just be a piece of furniture in the room (which made me feel a teensy bit guilty because it meant that I just sat there and didn't play with any of the kids or help clean up toys or pass out snacks or anything...but, gotta do what you gotta do) and urged him to instead rely on his peers and leaders.

"These are our friends!" I told him. "Grab a car and play with your friends. You know Kate. You know Winston. You know Bruce. They're all friends."

Alexander bravely selected a car and stood by me.

"Well, this is just boring," I told him. "Look at how much fun your friends are having playing on the car mat! Can you drive your car with them? Mommy will stay right here."

Alexander went over and started driving his car on the mat, too. And he had a good time doing it, too. Every now and then he'd look up at me and would act like maybe he was planning on bolting across the room to me, so I'd signal to him to "stay" and then give him a big smile and thumbs up. He played the whole play time and when they were called for snacks he got very excited and ran over to me (probably because he didn't know what to do because he's never stayed in nursery long enough to really figure anything out because he's too busy having panic attacks).

"I don't have any snacks," I shrugged.

So he boldly ran over to the one of the nursery leaders who'd been trying to gain his trust and he pulled on her skirt.

The other kids had found their snacks at their seats, so she guided Alexander over there and he climbed up onto a chair and happily tucked into his snacks.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Gather for Goats

A few weeks ago, as part of our discussions on the UN's 17 goals of sustainability, we settled on doing a fundraiser for Gather for Goats to help do our part and finally—and suddenly—we managed to pull it together today.

We had originally planned on doing it Saturday morning but the forecast for Saturday morning was looking particularly dismal (cold and rainy) and we didn't think even the promise of hot chocolate would lure anyone our direction. So as I was hemming and hawing over whether we should postpone until next Saturday (which would be hard considering all the goodies we'd baked this week) it dawned on me that Friday afternoon/evenings are a thing. 

So, in a flurry of activity this afternoon we managed to (1) make and deliver flyers in our neighbourhood, (2) announce it on our ward FB page and on our neighbourhood website-app-thingy, (3) make rice krispie treats, (4) make a banner for our table, and (5) set everything up. 

The kids had high hopes of earning $300 (because then they'd get to name a goat! (which would be given to a family of Syrian refugees living in Jordan to provide milk)) but only managed to rake in $70 (which is a pretty good amount, I think, especially considering that donations are matched 1:1 through the month of October). 

Here they are with their cute little stand:

Zoë is pouting because she was told she would have to wait before she could have hot chocolate. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

So many things

A friend delivered a stillborn baby the other day—8 lbs. 6 oz, 22 inches long. She'd made it through ten long months of pregnancy. She was at the finish line. She had gone into labour naturally, her water broke, she called her midwife, the midwife came over to check for a heartbeat, and...there was none. After being rushed to the hospital, they found that her baby had suffered from a prolapsed cord—the umbilical cord dropped into the birth canal before the baby's head engaged and the pressure from the baby then engaging in the birth canal cut off the flow of blood between the baby and the placenta, essentially suffocating the baby (if I'm explaining things correctly).

And I just...

I'm so sad.

I mean, a lot of things make me sad. But I'm just so sad for them.

To be at that moment where you think, "This is it!" and then instead of "it" being wonderful, "it" is anguish. I just...

Thursday, October 17, 2019


We're a little behind on our thankful tree this year because instead of making one out of paper I decided to paint one on the wall, which feels like a rather bold move, but I think it will be the end...when I'm finally finished. 

Rachel pointed out that "it's a cool idea but might look kind of silly the rest of the year," so I explained that we had big plans for ever-evolving wall art. Not only is it a thankful tree—it can also be a poet-tree, a Christmas tree, a heart tree, a tree with blossoms, a family tree, a tree filled with butterflies. There's no end to how we could bedazzle a tree. So a tree is going on my wall.

It feels like a rather brave thing to do since (a) it's so permanent and (b) I'm not, per se, an artist. But we're going to roll with it and see how it goes. 

Instead of painting our thankful tree tonight, however, I'm working on another family book (free offer expires on Sunday) about our last couple of years in Spanish Fork. There's a lot of ground to cover there. And instead of doing that, I'm sitting here writing. 


After pulling off Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, I made soup on Tuesday. 

It's cold, guys. 

It's put-an-extra-blanket-on-the-bed cold. 

We dropped from the nineties down to the fifties in the past week and we're f-f-f-f-freezing! 

Obviously we're not literally freezing because we haven't even turned the heater on yet (our HVAC system is so old that we have to switch over manually from cooling to heating, like barbarians) but we've definitely broken out our sweaters and fuzzy socks so that we can stand being inside our house (it's 66 degrees currently). 

So I made soup—cabbage roll soup, to be precise (this recipe).

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Well child checks, part 3

Phew! We did it! We made it to all our appointments! Though the doctor did mention that in spite of Alexander starting to walk again she'd still like us to take him in for an x-ray since he's still limping. I just...honestly...they're so expensive and I'm kind of flying solo this week and I don't know if I can wrestle him down onto the x-ray table again.

Alexander isn't a fan of the doctor.

Or the dentist.

Or the bug guy.

Or his nursery leaders.

Or anyone, really.

When the bug guy came to spray last week, Alexander clung to me the whole time, whispering, "Scare me. Scare me. Scare me."

Today when he found himself at the doctor's office—yet again—he immediately grew nervous. I reassured him several times that it wasn't his turn. We were here for Benjamin and Rachel. He'd paid his dues.

He sat on my lap feeling anxious.

Finally they called us back and we went to the weighing/measurement station and everything was fine until the nurse explained to Benjamin that, "We're just going to do the very same things we did with baby brother..."

Alexander lost it.

"Noooo!" he screamed, wrapping his arms tightly around my neck. "Nooo! Not my turn! Not my turn! NOOOT! MYYYY! TUUUUURN!"

Monday, October 14, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving, part 1

Between orchestra, a quick stop at the playground, and general unruliness, we only got about half a day's schoolwork in (which is fine because I am considered the "superintendent, principal, teacher" of my school, according to Georgia law, and can declare that Saturday's field trip also counted as a half day of school (even though the trip was much longer than a full day of school...I'm not sure we were learning that whole time) so between Saturday and today we're right on track), not that we couldn't have just taken a break since technically it should have been our fall break. 

See? Fall.

Alexander is two!

I realized late on Saturday evening that Andrew wouldn't be home to celebrate Alexander's birthday on Monday (today) and then I further realized that he wouldn't really be home any evening this week (love that for us) so our options were to celebrate Alexander's birthday on Sunday this week or on Sunday next week. We decided to go with this week, so I quickly whipped up a cake so that we could celebrate Alexander's birthday on his birthay-eve (which is when I did the hard work of labouring with him, really, so it almost feels like his birthday since he squeaked into the world shortly after midnight).

The poor guy wasn't feeling well on Sunday and was running a low-grade fever all day. I'm not sure if it's from his flu shot or whether it's simply of an unexplained origin, but he was pretty miserable (he's all better today though). Here he is napping with Daddy after church while I finished decorating his cake:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tales from the carnivorous forest

Here is Miriam's story about her walk through a carnivorous forest:

"SNAP!" a mimbi had landed on a tree, and it had disappeared from sight. It was pretty cold outside. 

"B U R P!"

Out came the bones.

Suddenly, the human-eater was sucking me out of the mud. I grabbed my knife and cut the tongue off my arm. The poison dart rocks were hard to avoid. They were everywhere! I always got them confused with the non-poison dart rocks. Suddenly I sunk into a patch of hungry-earth and grabbed one of the sausage vines. I sung like Tarzan until it was safe. I sung down and landed on the dippopotumas's feathery back. 

"Go! Go! Go!" I cried.

Then the man-throw trees unfurled their roots and slithered towards me. I grabbed the sausage vine and a giant stick bug and jumped onto the tree. It started to swallow and "SNAP! SNAP! Buuuurrrrpp! Beeeelllccchh!"

Out came the bones.

Kennesaw Mountain (family adventure, part 2)

This second part of our little adventure—the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park—was the part we didn't research well. We simply didn't realize that the battlefield was the mountain (though they also have this lovely little field out front):

But Atlanta traffic is such that it's worth it to stop and hike up and down a mountain (even if you're a little underprepared for such an undertaking) rather than be stuck in traffic forever. So we hiked the mountain.