Friday, September 18, 2020

Snippets from this week

Where to even begin?

Hurricane Sally blew past us this week, dropping our temperatures into what really felt like fall (though I do believe it will warm up again for a while before fall is truly here). At least her trajectory kept the smoke from the west coast fires at bay (we had friends in Maryland and Ontario showing pictures of the haze; we had lovely air quality, however, due to the hurricane). The rain was different from a regular southern downpour; the wind was really lashing rather than simply falling. 

A few big branches dropped here and there. And Sally discovered—and took advantage—of a weak join in our roof, so now we get to discover the ins and outs of getting one's roof (and drywall) repaired (which we're just thrilled about). 


Rachel made a birthday cake for Andrew's birthday, with some help from Alexander. He loves helping Rachel bake. 

When the cake came out of the oven he asked if he could try some and Rachel told him that he would have to "wait until Daddy's birthday," a phrase he really internalized. 

"I can't wait 'til Daddy's birthday," he came to tell me. 

How sweet, I thought, then said, "Well, you're just going to have to. It's only two days away."

"Two days is a long time," he gulped.

"Daddy's birthday will be here soon enough," I assured him.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sweet boy

Shortly before 5:00 this morning I awoke to hearing someone screaming, "Mommy!" so I stumbled out of bed to investigate and found Zoë sitting up in bed, screaming her head off. Alexander had also gotten up and was making his way up Zoë's (bunkbed) stairs to comfort her. He reached over her bedrail and patted her on her head. 

"I can't sleep because Zoë is crying," Alexander explained. 

"I can hear that," I agreed. "Let's see if we can't make her feel better."

She calmed down enough to stop screaming long enough to tell me that she'd had a terrible nightmare (and did not want to talk about it), but then she started into wailing again.

"Let's go to the bathroom," I suggested. "Everybody can go potty. We can get a little drink, snuggle back into our beds, turn on some lullabies..."

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Jumping into the pool

We have gone swimming 17 times (I think) in the past 4 weeks, which translates to roughly 40 hours in the pool, and Alexander finally today decided he could jump in. Last summer he was all about jumping in the pool but he started out this year's pool season feeling so timid. Now that he can confidently go under water (today he kept telling me, "I am a fish! I am!") Zoë convinced him that jumping into the pool would be a lot of fun and they spent a long time doing just that this afternoon.

Here they are first jumping from the stairs (because jumping from the ledge was too scary):

But eventually jumping from the ledge didn't seem very scary either:

Maybe we'll convince him to jump off the diving board in the next couple of weeks before the pool season is over.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Good clean (sterilized) humour

Andrew believing Zoë needed to "stabilize" her feather is...not something we've let go of very easily in our house. It was the topic of dinner conversation last night when Rachel came up with a joke. She said something like, "There's a man named Bill and he's got lazy eyes with a propensity toward wandering. What do you say to get Bill's eyes to focus?"

Answer: "Stay, Bill eyes!"

Andrew then challenged her little joke by calling it nothing but "horse gossip."

"Horse gossip?" she wondered.

"Yeah," he said. "Stable lies."

It was a rather entertaining dinner. 

Happy things

Now that I've got all that negative stuff off my chest, you should know that I don't really consider myself a negative person. Sure, I'm really good at coming up with worst-case scenarios but I also am really good at finding the positive in even the most pathetic of situations (at least, I think so). So here are a few cute things my little ones have said recently (really just a few though because I need to get to bed).

I took the kids for a walk the other night (Wednesday—when the emergency electricians were over making it so our house didn't spontaneously combust) and we found so many hints of fall. We're still enjoying our daily swim, of course, but the leaves are starting to turn and Zoë found an acorn and an owl feather. 

She's very much into a new series we found (at the friendly neighbourhood "little free library" near the pool) called Owl Diaries (and, of course, Alexander loves owls as well, so he's been enjoying listening to Zoë read about this little owl world) so was very excited to have found an owl feather.

Negative Nelly

COVID rates have been dropping in Georgia in recent weeks, which makes me feel a bit better about life. But still this pandemic is not over, which means that things will probably get worse again. And I don't know how to come to terms with that fact and the fact that this pandemic something that our country seems to want to sweep under the rug. We can't just sweep it away. It's here and I...

I have a friend who is a COVID widow.

While she has been stuck in bed, too sick to do much of anything, and while her husband was in a hospital, his life draining out of him, we were pushing for in-person activities—a pool party for the young women!—and it breaks my heart. I could we be asking for in-person activities when this family—here—had been suffering so much at the hand of this disease?

It doesn't make sense to me.

This friend worked with me, with the children, doing whatever it is we're doing now. It used to be "activity days" but now I think it's "primary activities." What I wouldn't give for a good verb. Anyway, because she's been so sick and another leader has been sick with non-COVID things, we're down to two leaders instead of four. So I'm in charge of the girls and another friend is in charge of the boys. But she called to ask me the other day how I "felt" about in-person activities. 

"How I feel about in-person activities?" I repeated, in shock.

Like, she knows why we're so "understaffed," doesn't she?

"Yeah. I'm just trying to gather people's feelings about in-person activities."

"I feel...we...would not participate," I said. 

I just can't. Not yet. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Alexander swimming underwater

We, of course, went back to the pool today. It was a little bit cloudy and chilly, but not too bad once we were in the water. And because it was a little bit cloudy and chilly we had the pool all to ourselves (though the tennis courts were busy). Here's Alexander doing a little bit of (heart-stopping) swimming practice:


I broke out the pulse oximeter last night before bed. Andrew ordered one months ago (a pandemic panic purchase) but we haven't really had cause to use it. But last night I measured Alexander's oxygen levels before putting him to bed, for my own peace of mind. He was fine; I'm just a worrier. 

Yesterday I took the three little ones to the pool by myself. Rachel and Miriam stayed home for various reasons (Rachel because she was feeling a little behind in math and thought a quiet sibling-free house might help her accomplish quite a bit more and Miriam because she didn't want to have to rush home to shower and finish her work before her organ lesson) and while it was fine for me to take the little ones to the pool by myself, I did miss my big helpers. 

Zoë has completely abandoned her floatie. She hasn't put it on in quite some time now. This is great...but it also means I have to watch her a little more closely. The other day we were all at the pool and Zoë and Alexander wanted a snack so I took them out of the pool to have a granola bar and then took out my phone (a distraction!) to Marco Polo with some friends (in Finland and Idaho—hi Bridget and Crystal!) since the other three kids were together playing in the 4-foot area where they all can touch the bottom (and Rachel's technically old enough to supervise at the pool, anyway, according to the rules). Anyway, one minute Zoë was beside me, just opening her granola bar, and the next thing I know she was hurling herself into the pool from a diving block. 

"How'd she get over there so fast?" I wondered. "And how did she finish her granola bar that fast?"

Kids are just fast, I guess.

Her little head popped up out of the water but she seemed to be having trouble getting a breath.

"Turn onto your back!" I urged, then commanded Rachel to grab her sister (she was only a couple arm's lengths away). 

Rachel scooped her up and Zoë immediately stopped flailing about. It was then that we noticed the cause of her breathing issues—her cheeks were stuffed full of granola bar! She looked like a little chipmunk and couldn't open her mouth to take a breath to (literally) save her life. Silly thing! 

She's always trying to flaunt the "no food in the pool" rule.

Anyway, yesterday I had the littlest three at the pool and Alexander was in a rather brave mood. He didn't want his floatie on and instead wanted to practice swimming on his own. Usually this involves me helping him do back floats (I hold his head and he puts out his arms and legs) or him hopping from the stairs to me and back again. So far he hasn't wanted to put his face in the water at all, but yesterday he did

He put his face in and was so proud of himself that he wanted to keep doing it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Buttercup, the Gulf Fritillary

I pulled up a link on the Gulf Fritillary and Alexander exclaimed, "Mom! You did it! You 'dentifieded Buttercup!" 

'Dentifying things is a very important pastime in our house and it's true—today we 'dentified the Gulf Fritillary. We were at the pool today, chilling without a care in the world because we took a (much-needed) break from our studies, and the little ones had decided they were about ready to go home so I'd wrapped them all up in towels and sat them in the sun to warm up, but the bigger ones weren't quite ready to leave so I gave them fifteen minutes. Rachel and Miriam were playing a game with a ball and the ball went onto the deck so Miriam hopped out to grab it and when she did...a Gulf Fritillary lit on her dripping wet shorts and refused to get off.

Meant to do that sooner...

We had calzones for dinner last night.

My friend Crystal mentioned once about her daughter, Benjamin's age, making mini pizza pockets by filling refrigerated dough with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Benjamin is always wanting to make dinner so I thought I'd let him try it. We hardly ever use store-bought dough these days but I knew we had a couple tubes in our fridge waiting to be used so I dug them out and...decided we needed a backup dinner plan! One tube of dough expired in August 2019 and the other expired in January 2020. Evidently those tubes of dough had been waiting for us to use them for a lot longer than we thought. 

Instead we whipped up some quick pizza dough and then somehow Andrew took over helping Benjamin fill them and do an egg wash. Everything turned out beautifully and Benjamin was very proud to have made dinner. 

We played Quidditch for family night last night.