Monday, June 01, 2020

Rise up

I honestly don't know what to say or do right now. I don't have any eloquent words to deliver. 

I don't know what to do. I didn't feel like joining in any marches was safe (Andrew's office building downtown had its windows smashed in, for example). I didn't volunteer to help clean things up downtown either.

We just stayed home...where we've been pretty much solidly for the last few months. 

I was already worried about what the numbers (the coronavirus numbers) would look like after Memorial Day weekend. Now I'm doubly worried about what we'll see over the next couple of weeks with so many people—thousands and thousands and thousands—out on the streets, protesting racial injustices still so prevalent in our society. And rightly so. 

We talked about racism for our church lesson today. I picked some resources out and was surprised when Andrew knew about the people who wrote them just off the top of his head. I had to look them up. But, anyway, the first story I shared was a talk by Alexander B. Morrison.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Fairies and other conversations

Before, during, and after breakfast the littlest three were crafting up a fairy kingdom with materials they'd mined from the recycling bin. I read to them from The Ickabog while they worked (and/or ate (and which you should check out if you have elementary-aged kids; it's a project J.K. Rowling is hosting—she's releasing a couple of chapters every day and has an illustration contest for the children)).

Zoë, who was hard at work colouring in the fairy garden she'd made for the castle grounds, suddenly stopped colouring, looked up at Benjamin and said, "Benny, do you think fairies are real?"

"Oh, absolutely," he answered.

"Mom, do you think fairies are real?"

"Oh, I don't know..." I hedged.

Benjamin puffed out his chest and said authoritatively, "Don't ask her. Grown ups are really bad at knowing this sort of thing!"

And thus I was saved from having to either confirm or deny the existence of fairies. 

I found their little exchange rather poetic. I also found this tree poetic:

Fix-It Felix

Today was a busy day of house projects. I spent most of the day reglazing windows (now that we finally have a stretch of sunny weather again), Rachel and Miriam spent most of the day painting their cabinet doors in the garage (we started painting the built-ins in their bedroom just about as soon as we moved in and, yes, are just getting around to painting the cabinet doors now (I'm very excited to get them out of the garage)), and Andrew spent most of the day shopping.

With current social distancing measures—limiting the number of people in stores and so forth—shopping seems to take forever. Plus Andrew had to go to the hardware store because while the kids were playing Lego in the basement (I will get around to highlighting their Lego creations, Mom) they noticed a pinhole leak had sprung in one of our pipes. Luckily it was in an exposed area (which probably helped us discover and fix it a lot easier than it otherwise would have been).

Here are a few pictures of the children playing in the windows while I worked. Alexander is saying, "I can stick my hand right through the window!"

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sweetest boy

This morning Alexander came into my room at 7:00, which isn't terribly early (but which is early enough to qualify as early for me) and he climbed into bed, snuggled up to me, and explained, "It is morning time. I'm just here for snuggles, not for sleeping, so I still get a sticker!"

And it was the cutest thing he did the entire day up to that point (only to be eclipsed by another fifty things before breakfast because he's too darn cute).

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Ink, pink, a bottle of a ink, my baby's in the bathroom sink

Tonight while I was getting Alexander ready for bed I plopped him into the bathroom sink, which he thought was silly (it was silly). 

Mind over matter

I changed the furnace filter today, a long overdue item of business.

But, like, honestly, the furnace/AC is in the attic and the filter for the furnace/AC is at the back end of the unit, requiring a body to crawl through the attic on their hands and knees, over and under ducts and wires, along a narrow spider-frass-covered plank balanced across the crossbeams. Oh, and it's dark. And you will get spiderwebs in your hair. And probably bang your head once or twice.

It was...not pleasant.

Nobody wanted to do it. We actually bribed Miriam to go exploring up there ($6 was her price, for the record (we offered her $5, she countered with $20, Andrew offered her $6, she took it, and then spent it all at the Lego store)) but she wasn't able to find the furnace filter so I had to go up there anyway. No one gave me $6.

Turns out you have to remove the cover (which is screwed on) in order to access the filter, which I wasn't expecting at all because we've lived lots of places and haven't ever had to unscrew an access panel to find the filters. In our Durham house the filter was actually right in the living room wall, which was handy! Our current house actually has two units and the one in the basement has a super accessible filter—it's just right there when you look at the furnace, slips in and out, no screwdriver necessary.

It literally took us an hour to change the darn filter in the attic. But, next time it should take just a few minutes to get over the initial feeling of not wanting to do it.

"It's really not so bad once you're up here," I told Andrew, as I crawled through some spider webs.

And it wasn't. Like, once you actually start doing it it's just a thing that you're doing and not the horrible nightmare you imagined.

Goats and things

I taught Miriam how to play (a very basic version of) cat's cradle this evening. It took her a few minutes to get it down but she's practically an expert now and she loves it.

"This is a really fun game!" she said. "How did you learn it?"

"My friends and I played it when I was younger. I don't remember who taught me, exactly, but the game has been around for a long, long time so it could have been anyone."

"Oh. When was the game invented?"

"A long time ago," I told her. "The game is so old that no one really knows where it came from, though I think it may be from China. Speaking of which, there's also Chinese jump rope, which is like cat's cradle but, like, with your legs. I don't remember how to play but my sister had a Chinese jump rope when we were kids."

Wikipedia tells me that in Canada we call it "yoki" but, uh, my family didn't. We always called it Chinese jump rope. Perhaps I'll look into those as well. I just ordered another jump rope kit for the kids because Miriam found the remainder of our last set, which I guess we left in North Carolina when we moved, and strung a rope for herself today and was trying to learn how to jump (which was a very frustrating experience for her, though she did make a lot of progress).

It's time for us to get back into jumping rope again, I guess. I've been meaning to be better at offering my kids physical activity this next school year anyway (aside from let's go for a walk and play at the park) so this is something fairly rigorous but simple enough to just pull out and play with in the cul-de-sac. And goodness knows we need another outlet for our energy.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Some thoughts

Memorial Day is always such a weird holiday for me. I don't know how to celebrate it and it always sneaks up on me. I actually have to use a mnemonic device to even remember that it/when it exists. Memorial Day is in May, see? As opposed to Labour Day, which is in September for some reason, or Veteran's Day, which is is somehow different than Memorial Day and takes the place of Remembrance Day, which is a far superior holiday (in my opinion).

America hasn't been very good at teaching me what these holidays are about. I think in theory Memorial Day is to honour soldiers who have passed away. In practice it seems to be a great big summer kick off (as a Canadian, it always felt a little early to be kicking off summer in May considering we go to school through June). There are barbecues and pool parties but not a lot of actual remembering going on (from what I can tell), so it doesn't really feel like that's what Memorial Day is for (coming from an outsider).

But that's fine.

People celebrate and remember things in different ways.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Just duet

Benjamin has been reluctantly slogging through piano lessons this year. Playing the piano is a skill he wishes he had but it's not really something he wants to put a lot of effort into (in short: he's discovered one life's lovely paradoxes). Getting him to practice is a bit of a battle, getting him to focus is...also a bit of a battle, but—you know what?—we're making headway!

Here he is playing a duet of Ode to Joy with Miriam this morning:

Ignore his funky wrist flops. It's not great form but we are picking our battles over here. He mostly played the right notes and he's mostly on beat and he didn't walk away in the middle of a song to look at that thing he saw out of the corner of his eye so we're calling it a win!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Splash Pad

My sweet sister Kelli sent us a little splash pad to use over the course of the summer since we'll be avoiding such things this summer (very unfortunately). The kids all loved it. Kelli thought the three littlest ones would appreciate it, while the older two might think it was a little lame. But, when we were deciding our favourite parts of the day during dinner Rachel said that her favourite part of the day was playing on the splash pad!

Benjamin, unsurprisingly, was basically unstoppable. The cold water didn't bother him at all; he was the first one in and the last one out.

But all the other kids had fun with it, too.