Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Castillo de San Marcos (a guest post by Benjamin)

May 24:

A couple days ago we were in Florida visiting a fort called the Castillo de San Marcos. The oldest masonry fort in the US is so cool! They built it in a star shape so that they could catch their enemies in a crossfire, which basically means that you are getting shot at from three sides.

That is terrifying! 

Caldecott's Grave and Our Lady of La Leche (a guest post by Miriam)

May 21, 2023:

On Sunday morning all of us were supposed to go to the older part of Saint Augustine, but that didn’t work out very well. Because of the stomach bug that we got right before we left for Florida, we all took turns being sick, and today was Rachel’s turn. We were planning on making our way to the ferry at Fort Matanzas today, but we decided that maybe that wouldn’t be the greatest idea, considering Rachel was feeling nauseous the entire day, and going on a boat, with nausea, not a good combination. So instead we spent the morning and afternoon in downtown Saint Augustine (and the surrounding area).


Pirate-y Stuff (a guest post by Zoë)

May 22 (a day no one was sick):

We went to Florida for a week. In that time, Miriam made a bonnet [knit head kerchief], that on the way there [to the Pirate and Treasure Museum], she said she felt like a pirate in the bonnet. 

Later, we made up the nickname Smee-me. Like a pirate. 

Smee-me [was wearing] pirate clothes* when we called her Smee-me, and she hated it!!!! Like, literally! She said, I quote, “I said I felt like a pirate! I don’t anymore!”

*What I mean is that she was wearing a striped shirt and black pants. Pirate clothes. See???

Anyway, we got to go to the pirate museum at Florida, AND got to fire a REAL cannon! I mean, who even lets KIDS fire cannons? The coolest thing I did though, was fire a cannon! It was CRAZY! It wasn’t a real cannon, [but it was still pretty cool. We put a lighting stick to the touch hole and held it there until *BOOM!* Phoebe was scared of it]. My favorite part of the pirate museum was probably firing a cannon. It was awesome!

Some stories

Today's word count: only 464. But I entered this evening almost too exhausted to think and was having trouble putting thoughts together. So around 1:30 I went downstairs to get the sheets out of the dryer, only to discover that while I put the sheets into the dyer, I never turned the dryer on!

Why were the sheets in the dryer? Because I washed them, obviously. That's a good thing to do somewhat regularly (or so I hear), but we had a special reason for washing them today.

You see, Phoebe joined us in bed at some point in the night, as she usually does, and she was a little difficult to settle. And she kept squirming and sniffing. And I didn't think anything of it, really, beyond, "Why is she so sniffly?! She can't have a cold. We just got over the stomach flu!"

But, like, whatever. Kids pick up germs everywhere. If we had to have the sniffles, we'd get through that, too. If only she'd settle down and sleep!

Finally (after much nursing and squirming and sniffing), she fell asleep. 

And when I woke up in the morning I realized that she had not had the sniffles. Oh, no. She was suffering from a bloody nose. There was blood all over my pillow, all over the bed, all over her, all 

So the sheets had to be washed. 

But at least she doesn't have a cold, right?

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Watch a storm roll in with me

For some reason or another, I was alone with the kids at the beach late Sunday afternoon/early Sunday evening (May 21). Miriam will be writing about what we did on Sunday downtown. But when we got back...I took the kids to the beach. 

Perhaps Grandpa was napping.

Perhaps Daddy was making dinner.

Whatever the case, Mommy was at the beach with the kids. Even Rachel had tagged along (though only to sit on the beach since Sunday was her sick day and she didn't feel like playing much).

Zoë's 8th birthday (a guest post by Rachel)

Two more of us fell to this week’s mysterious plague today: Mom and Grandpa. Because 2 of the adults were down for the count, Zoë had a pretty low-key birthday. In the morning we just hung out at the beach (Grandpa was still feeling alive at this point so he came with us). 

6 little kidlets sitting in a tree...

Here are our sweet kids in a live oak tree outside of the Fort Matanzas National Monument just last week (May 2023):

Rachel (15), Miriam (13), Benjamin (10), Zoë (8), Alexander (5), Phoebe (1)

And here they are sitting in a tree along Flytrap Trail (Carolina Beach, NC) in April 2017:

Miriam (7), Benjamin (4), Zoë (1), Rachel (9)

What a difference six years can make!

Photographs, Words, Bees, Pointillism

Years ago I read something about how if you took many photographs, one was bound to be a good shot. 

That is not to say that photography does not require skills, because it absolutely does (skills, I might add, that I do not necessarily have). It's just to say that by sheer quantity, you're bound to stumble into something akin to quality. 

I feel that way about writing right now. I have this goal to write about 1000 words per day on my thesis at the moment, which feels like a lot and...not a lot...but usually quite a lot, really. This evening after getting Phoebe into bed, I wrote 1374 words. 

I'm positive they're not all quality words, but I'm hoping by the sheer quantity of them that I managed to say something worthwhile (or at least worth keeping). 

Honeybees "may visit up to 100 flowers per trip and make up to 50 trips per day," which means that they can visit up to 5000 flowers per day, and "in order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited." Bees make their honey drip by drop, the same way I'm going to stumble-bumble across my thesis finish line.

All that is to say that I took this picture of these bees enjoying my neighbour's milkweed this afternoon and I think it's pretty. And I wrote 1374 words in this second-to-last chapter and so phew.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sick, sick, sick

Part of the reason I'm having the kids help me write about our beach trip is because I...really have a bunch of other writing I have to do. I need to write another chapter of my thesis this week (hopefully in just the next few days) so that I can spend the first couple weeks of June editing away. But another reason I'm having the kids help me write about our beach trip is because I didn't experience it all. 

None of the adults did. 

Before we left on our trip, Zoë got sick. And then Benjamin. And then Phoebe. 

We were all fine on the drive down (thank goodness). Phoebe was a gem because she was experiencing the fever-part of her sickness and so she took a couple of epic car naps! It worked out great!

We all went to the beach when we arrived and had a great time. The next day, however...

Friday, May 26, 2023

First day on the beach (May 20)

We just arrived home—safe and sound—from St. Augustine. It was a...week...a week full of wonder, a week full of woe. Mostly I think most of us had a good time most of the time. The rest of the time we took turns with that tummy bug I alluded to earlier. But I think every day at least some of us managed to hit the beach and have fun. And on the very last couple of days we all managed to get out and do things together. So all in all it was a wonderful time!

Here are a few pictures of our first little jaunt to the beach on Saturday (May 20) when we arrived. We unloaded the cars at the beach house (after convincing Alexander that we really had permission to be there) and then while Daddy went to get some groceries, the rest of us headed out the door and to the beach. 

Whereas last year we had to walk and walk and walk along the world's longest boardwalk to get to the beach from our "beachfront" condo, our beach house was literally 300 feet from the beach (about a 1 minute walk to the boardwalk, which was also rather short). The kids were confident enough that they would walk back and forth between the beach and the beach house alone or ahead of us to fetch things or use the bathroom or rinse their feet off or whatever (depending, of course, on which kids we were talking about and which adults were where).

I wouldn't want to stay there during a hurricane, but it was quite lovely for while we were there.