Friday, July 18, 2014

Sunday Afternoon

It was raining cats and dogs by the time church got out. Benjamin had been running wild for most of Relief Society so I eventually moved into the hall with him where I found a nice comfy chair and wrestled with him until he gave up and fell asleep. That was about five minutes before classes started pouring into the hallways.

"Oh, that is the worst!" a woman said to me with pity when she came out of Relief Society. "That's like when you're on a long drive and your baby falls asleep five minutes before you pull into the driveway. Then you just have to wake them up to bring them into the house and then they figure they've had a nap so there's no sense in taking another one."

That woman certainly knew what she was talking about. And it really was about as bad as that. Benjamin woke up on the way to the car, of course, since he felt like he was suddenly thrown from a comfortable bed into a cold shower. As predicted, Benjamin woke up with even more energy than he'd fallen asleep with.

Andrew was feeling so sick (once upon a time (on Saturday) we had bagels and muffins for lunch—the kids and I were eating bits off bagels when I noticed some mold and began eating with more caution. Andrew, however, had scarfed a muffin, which he admitted tasted a little off after I discovered the mold, and was having some food poisoning symptoms). He wanted nothing better than to take a long nap.

But we were in the middle of a torrential downpour! We couldn't go back to camp! Going back to camp would mean being stuck in a tent with a riled up toddler for the entire afternoon. That simply wasn’t going to promote family unity so we determined we’d revisit the nearby church history sites.

We first went through Grandin's Printing Shop—where the Book of Mormon was first published—and I must say that it was by far my favourite museum in Palmyra. We were led from room to room and shown the process of typesetting, printing, and binding. We also saw a first-edition copy of the Book or Mormon as well as some other cool historical things one is prone to stumbling upon in a museum.

Miriam with a first-edition Book of Mormon
Rachel with the same
Rachel wanted to take some pictures of me with Benjamin and Miriam while we waited for Daddy to finish being sick in the bathroom. I'm not even sure what we're standing next to, frankly. Benjamin was bouncing off the walls. He's only smiling for pictures because he was prompted to. Left unprompted he was struggling to get out of my arms and yelling at me to "STOP! STOP!" but without the T, so something more like, "SOP! SOP!" He wanted nothing more than to run around like a crazy munchkin.

Oh, Miriam, let's try that smiling thing again, shall we?

Much better. 

I had taken the kids all into the restroom with me, which is mostly fine because the girls are rather self sufficient, but also not fine because Benjamin is not. Rachel offered to keep an eye on him while I took my turn but I said, "I don't know. He's being so wild today. I think it would be better if we waited for Daddy."

"No, I can do it!" Rachel insisted. "He'll be just fine."

"Alright," I said. "Just make sure he doesn't play with anything he shouldn't or run out the door or anything like that."

"Mom, I can do this," she reassured me.

I went into a stall and closed the door but just as I did that someone opened the main restroom door, allowing Benjamin the opportunity to sneak out.

"Mom! Mom!" Rachel cried. "Benjamin ran out of the bathroom! He's gone! What do I do? What do I do?"

"You follow him!" I snapped. "Run after him, quick!"

"Oh! Oh, yeah!" she stammered and darted out of the bathroom to chase down her little brother.

Fortunately Andrew had finished by that time and was waiting for us in the hallway, so Benjamin didn't get too far. I was afraid he was going to go scuff up the original floors or touch something he shouldn't or run out into the traffic. He was so uncontainable on Sunday. I was happy to leave that beautiful museum even if it was still wet outside.

I suppose we could have dropped Andrew off at the campground and then I could have been brave and driven myself to these places, but it was raining hard and we were in a new place so I made Andrew drive us around.

We visited the Sacred Grove first, leaving Andrew to sleep in the van.

Rachel really wanted to go through the Smith’s cabin again, and I suppose we did. We just did the fast-track tour. Benjamin strutted through the front door, sailed across the floor, and ran out the backdoor. The girls and I scrambled after him. Clearly he wasn’t in the mood for a tour, little imp.

We spent quite a bit of time in the barn, though, where romping around was much more welcome.

When the rain had slowed to a drizzle we ventured down to the Sacred Grove. When we were about halfway down to the grove, Benjamin turned to me and asked to be picked up. I told him that he was too crazy and disobedient at the museum to be carried now—under no circumstances would I pick him up. He would have to walk the whole way.

"Okay," he sniffed, and turned to run down the path, his chubby little cheeks bouncing with each step.

Benjamin apparently remembered the lecture about reverence in the grove that we’d given the kids the day before because the minute we’d crossed the bridge (that Benjamin loves SO much), he turned around, put his finger to his lips and said, “Shhhhhhhh! Sacred!”

He said this to everyone who would listen to him and everyone found it terribly adorable. Of course, it would have been fantastic if he had listened to his own advice. Unfortunately, when he wasn’t busy shushing everyone in sight he was screaming about sharks and singling out every single mud puddle.

We were still in our church clothes so the girls—especially Miriam—were charged with taking great care to avoid each puddle as Benjamin discovered it. He was filthy by the time we made it out of the grove.

It was hauntingly beautiful in the grove during the storm. Mists were rising up from the forest floor and swirling around our ankles and there was little sunlight filtering through the leaves to interrupt the darkness of the woods. We were startled by several squirrels skittering through the trees, but even more so by the a sudden crack of thunder.

There’s a sign at the beginning of the trail warning visitors to exit the Sacred Grove quickly should they happen to be caught in an electrical storm or if it becomes particularly windy. I knew that Rachel would have read the sign but apparently Miriam did as well. They both jumped—and screamed—when they heard the thunder and then bolted down the path, obediently hunting for the closest exit.

Fleeing the woods
Benjamin started crying. “Scared! Eek!” he said and then inquired after his sisters. He likes to do a family roll call every once in a while. “Mimi go? Shasha go?” he asked. “Where Daddy?"

(Shasha is what he calls Rachel. It’s identical to how he pronounces the words salsa and sister so we really have no idea what he’s calling her but at least he has a consistent name for her now. He used to not call her anything and it was rather hurtful for her).

In response I picked Benjamin up, muddy feet and all, and bounded after his sisters. So much for my "under no circumstances" lecture.

“I think they’re trying to get out of the woods,” I said.

He cried (screamed and howled) until we caught up with them. Miriam had been counting the rumbles of thunder as they came.

“Five, Mom! We heard five thunders. We need to get to safety,” she insisted.

It’s been hilarious to have her suddenly reading. She keeps saying things out of the blue once she figures out what they say.

“Ten classic colors,” she announced from the backseat while we were driving. She’d managed to read the box of felt markers.

“Right here—Falls Parking,” she read when we were looking for our parking garage at Niagara Falls.

“Hold the handle,” she read on the bathroom stall door and then commanded me to hold the handle of the door until she’d finished going until I pointed out that the sign kept going, “Until the toilet flushes completely" and so I was free to let go of the door handle.

Anyway, she knew exactly what the sign had instructed visitors to do and was going to make sure we were following protocol. By the time we got to the van we were at "eight thunders." We were also soaking wet.

Daddy was sad to be woken up from his nap but cheerfully drove us to the Hill Cumorah so we could go through the visitor’s center there once again. He stayed to nap in the car while I took the children in. I’m sure we were a sight to behold—we were drenched and covered in mud. I brought the baby wipes in with me so we could clean our feet before tracking too much mud into the building.

We spent another hour or so going through the visitor’s center again. I stayed as long as my sanity would allow before herding the kids back outdoors where we were greeted with sunshine—blessed sunshine!

We woke Daddy up and went back to camp.

He said he was feeling much better after having two one-hour naps. He even made dinner while he watched the World Cup championship game while I supervised the children as they played in the middle of the street—in potholes turned to puddles by the rainstorm (it was only the road that ran through camp so it was quite untrafficked but I did have to alert the children of a few cars).

Cue ten million photos!

There's nothing sweeter than a baby splashing in fresh rain puddles.

Here are Miriam and Benjamin measuring the depth of the puddle with their fingers:

They're doing this because Miriam just put on a clean outfit and I asked her not to get it wet or dirty (a tall order when camping) because I hadn't brought many extra changes of clothes for her.

"Don't worry—I won't get wet," Miriam promised. "I'm just going to stick my finger in."

When she started to break her promise I suggested she go pull an outfit from the dirty clothes basket.

"What?!" she gasped. "The dirty clothes? Do you want us to live like pigs?"

"You're the one who wants to wallow in a muddy puddle," I pointed out.

She decided that was a fair point and went to change her clothes. While she was gone Benjamin continued to be perfectly adorable. Isn't it interesting how the same behavior that made me want to tear my hair out at the museum makes my heart grow three sizes in the great outdoors? I suppose a little outside time was all Benjamin (and I) needed.

He enjoyed some rock throwing...

Some of whatever this is...

And quite a bit of this:

When Miriam came back they floated her shoes like boats:

Sat down in the puddle just because she could:

And did a whole lot of jumping:

Have you ever seen a happier boy? Probably not.

Rachel didn't want to change her clothes so she was careful to stay out of the puddle. She showed Benjamin how to turn leaves into boats and together they sent many passenger pebbles sailing across the sea.

Playing in the mucky rainwater (I suppose the rain was clean—it was the dirt that caused the trouble) necessitated another shower for Benjamin and Miriam, which was rather a good thing considering how much sand was still in Miriam’s hair from the day before!

Andrew went to bed feeling better than he had felt first thing in the morning but still not 100%. I went to bed worrying about whether he’d be up for driving to Niagara Falls the next morning and, more importantly, home on Tuesday.


  1. Oh, I hate that Andrew got sick! But the pictures are lovely especially the ones in the sacred grove, and the reflections of Benjamin in the rain puddles!

  2. I was thinking, what is odd about Miriam? I just figured it out! THE DRESS. I am used to seeing Rachel wear that.