Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year Olympics

Leap years are pretty busy, if you think about it, what with all the leaping, olympicking, and campaigning going on. I, for one, am sick of campaigning already, and so for our special leap year FHE we (I) decided to hold our own Leap Year Olympics.

We talked about the Olympic motto: CITIUS - ALTIUS - FORTIUS (and Andrew then pulled up the MoTab performing Call of the Champtions for background music) and discussed the significance of the -er suffix. Faster! Higher! Stronger!

Then I introduced the first Olympic value—excellence—and read some snippets from a talk that President Hinckley delivered in September of 1999, focusing on the part where he said, "Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier."

Our first event was jumping on our new pogo stick thing:

This boy

The good news is...

  • my kitchen floor is clean
  • my front porch is clean
  • a new pair of Crocs is on the way for Benjamin
The bad news is...
  • Benjamin held the water button on the fridge down for a long time and flooded the kitchen
  • Benjamin opened the front door and peed onto the porch
  • We've been missing one of Benjamin's crocs for days now (they're size 7 and he's now size 9 and they both had holes on the bottom from being worn so much so I suppose it was about time but still...missing shoes...grumble)
I have a bit of a Benjamin-induced headache today. We'd get along great if I could keep my eye on him constantly but sometimes I have to do other things—like take the sheets off his bed so I can wash them or practice a dance for the stake musical—and then he gets into serious amounts of mischief.

He also peed in my friend Marian's front yard while I was buckling Zoë up. 

"Mom, I have to go pee," he said.

"Okay," I said, finishing up with her buckle. "Let's go ask..."

And there he was, pants down, watering her lawn.

"...Never mind. Let's just go home."

Today I'll just count my lucky stars that he didn't try to wipe his own bum...and end up smearing poop all over the bathroom. That was last week...

This boy.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Even dump trucks

On Monday we had (yet another) family night lesson about prayer, more particularly about how to behave properly during prayers. We had a short discussion about how we can pray to Heavenly Father anytime, anywhere, geared toward the girls and then for Benjamin's benefit we went over the ditty "we fold our arms and bow our head and listen while the prayer is said." I made up a little paper doll with moveable arms and head and Benjamin helped the doll get ready for the prayer.

Then I said, "Now we're going to get ready for prayer and see if we can sit quietly for one minute, okay? Everyone get ready. We fold our arms and bow our head and listen while the prayer is said. Good. Now everyone get ready to be so, so quiet and!"

Benjamin surprised us all by starting to pray. It was such a thoughtful prayer at first, but soon turned painfully hilarious. The seconds ticked by slowly as we listened (and tried not to laugh) while Benjamin went on and on about his dump truck, of all things.

"And thank you for my dump truck, even though I don't really like it," he said. "I do like the blue part on the back, but I don't like the yellow part on the front. I prayed for you to change it but it's still just the way it was. But I like it anyway, I guess."

The boy went on and on and on—for well over a minute—and when he was finally finished I tacked a post script to our FHE lesson.

"Heavenly Father always answers our prayers," I said, "That's true. But sometimes the answer is 'no' or 'you need to be content with what you have.' We should approach Heavenly Father with our righteous desires, not a checklist of things we want. What I'm saying, Benjamin, is that it might feel like Heavenly Father isn't answering your prayer about your dump truck when really he's saying, 'I recognize that you aren't happy about the situation you're in but you still have to go through it.' Or maybe he'll just let things stay the same because He knows they're not that big of a deal in the long run. I'm just not sure Heavenly Father cares that much about toy dump trucks."

And I knew for sure that I wasn't going to get him a new dump truck just because he didn't like the one he had!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Before, During, and After

Before the storm we spent the morning cleaning the bathroom and closet in the master bedroom so that we would have a place to shelter. When we were finished with that we put away the dishes and played with LEGO and had lunch. Here's Zoë helping with the dishes:

NOT a snow day

The kids had an early-release day scheduled for today already, but now they're coming home even earlier. This time we're not expecting snow. We're expecting this:

Scattered thunderstorms in the morning, strong thunderstorms in the afternoon with damaging winds, large hail, and possibly a tornado.

Toot Sweets! Toot Sweets!

We've been doing a lot of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang around here lately—singing, dancing, listening, reading, living. And we only have minor roles (I can only imagine what the leads are going through).

Zoë passed some gas during our couple prayer this evening.

"Oh!" she exclaimed. She smiled big and looked mighty proud of herself.

I won't speculate what that says about the environment she's being raised in.

Instead I will tell you that after the prayer Andrew quipped, "Those were some pretty sweet toots, Zoë."

And then I died laughing. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Zoë at nine months

Zoë had her 9 month well-baby visit today. Considering she's nine months old today I'd like to take this time to pat myself on the back for being right on top of things (for once). The visit took forever!

They called us back at 11:00 and the nurse weighed and measured Zoë and then said that our doctor was "a few minutes behind" but that she was working on getting caught up. I didn't see the doctor until after 12:00! It was a long wait. I was so glad that it was a rainy day because that meant Andrew decided to stay home with Benjamin this morning rather than getting soaking wet riding his scooter to school. He took the van in to campus when Zoë and I (finally) made it home.

Zoë's doing well. She's going for the title of heavy weight—at 19 lbs. 7.5 ounces and 28 inches she's certainly my largest baby at this age. She's bigger than either Benjamin or Miriam were at 12 months and is only 4.5 ounces lighter than Rachel was at 12 months. And she's only nine months old!

More likely than not she's trying to get caught up to Benjamin so that she can take him by surprise one day by beating him in a wrestling match. He's always picking on her—putting a choke hold on her and throwing her on the ground, pulling her down whenever she stands up, twisting her arm behind her back—and she hates it, but whenever she sees him lying on the floor she crawls over as fast as she can and starts wrestling with him (so she must not hate it too much).

She's doing just fine, meeting all her milestones, and growing well (obviously).

I'd list her most recent milestones, but I feel like I've already talked about a lot of them recently. She's doing regular baby things, zooming around the house, destroying anything in her path, shunning anything that is actually food, and consuming everything questionable without a second this diaper box. She literally ate a corner of this box—had cardboard in her diaper the next day and everything. But will she eat applesauce, peas, Cheerios, or rice? Not a chance (at least not so willingly).

But she's a cutie and we love her, even if she's hopeless at mealtime. Clearly she's getting enough calories with the amount of milk and cardboard she's consuming.

3rd grade musical

Rachel had her 3rd grade musical this evening called Choices Count! They sang songs about six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. They also each had a speaking part (and evidently they've also all reached that mumbly age where they could use lesson on diction (I have no clue what 98% of them said)).

Here's Rachel delivering her line:

Rachel got to say: "It’s really easy because there are only ten words and each word only has two letters in it!"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Primary Talks

Both Miriam and Rachel gave talks in primary this month. Poor Miriam was supposed to give a talk on January 17, but a special stake conference was called so they told her to be ready to speak the following Sunday (and moved the children who were supposed to speak that Sunday to the first week of February) but it snowed so church was cancelled come January 24. Miriam finally got around to giving a talk on Valentine's Day and Rachel spoke this week.

Here is Miriam's talk:
My talk is about why Jesus created the Earth. I will tell you why. So that we could get a family and so we can get sealed together and so we could get a body so we could do all the stuff that I just said. 
In family scripture study we recently read Alma 12 and in Alma 12:24 it says that “this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” That means that we are supposed to use our life to learn and grow so we can be ready to go back to heaven. The earth was created to give us a place to be away from Heavenly Father so that we can learn things on our own. This means that we will make a lot of mistakes, but that’s okay because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins, to make it so we can return to live with Heavenly Father. Jesus is the great Mediator of all men and makes it possible for us to choose liberty and eternal life instead of captivity and death.
Because Jesus and Heavenly Father love us they wanted to give us a beautiful place to live while we are away from them, so they spent a lot of time creating beautiful things for us to enjoy, like flowers, butterflies, and sunsets. Heavenly Father wants us to treat the world nicely because he worked hard on the earth. We don’t want to hurt the earth and make Heavenly Father sad, so we have to help take care of the earth.
I bear my testimony that Jesus made the earth.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I'm having a wonderful time but I'd rather be...

I only had to follow Zoë around with the camera for about three minutes to catch her whistling. She'll sometimes do it on demand (as you can see in the video) but she's mostly a spontaneous whistler.

She also really loves the babies we hide around the house for her to play with. We keep them in every bathroom, in the oven, in the doorknobs, in our phones, and in the camera. Any reflective surface is her BFF for life (because the baby she sees is just too cute to resist).

So, here she is whistling (you may have to turn up your volume):

Language Learning

I can't remember where we were when Benjamin picked up a copy of Where the Wild Things Are but we were probably at the elementary school. Maybe in Miriam's classroom. I'm pretty sure that's where. I know it wasn't at the library, still Benjamin asked if he could check it out anyway. I explained to him that we couldn't check it out because (a) we weren't at the library and (b) we have it at home anyway so even if we could borrow it (sometimes Miriam's teacher lets us borrow books) there wouldn't be much point since we own a copy ourselves.

"Can we read it at home?" he asked.

He's really big on commitment patterns lately and asks me to commit to everything from the obvious ("Can I eat breakfast in the morning?") to the foreseeable future ("Can we get this for my birthday?") to undefined moments in time ("Can we have animal crackers one day?").

Side story:

Ben woke me up on Friday morning saying, "It's one day, Mom!"

"Mmmmhmmm," I agreed sleepily.

"So?" he said expectantly, grinning from ear to ear.

"So...?" I repeated.

"One day," he said emphatically. "It's one day!"

"Is that significant?" I asked.

"Animal crackers," he hinted.

"Right. Yes. Okay. Today can be the day we eat animal crackers."

Anyway, as my little side story demonstrated, I can be a total pushover. So of course I said yes.

"Yes, we can read that book at home, Benjamin."

However, as my little side story also demonstrated, I can also be a little absentminded when it comes to all the commitments I'm forced to make and I forgot about reading that story to Benjamin.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Whistling and tongue rolling

We met some friends at Duke Park for a picnic today, which was a nice treat because we don't go to Duke Park very often. Zoë had fun exploring the playground while Benjamin ran around with his little pals.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fire at the elementary school

The girls had an exciting morning at school on Friday. A light in the girls' bathroom malfunctioned somehow and put the whole school on high alert. I guess smoke was in the hallway and it was really stinky—but they didn't know what was causing it yet, obviously.

The principal made an announcement informing the school that the fire alarm would be going off shortly (I don't know how she knew—though she was probably alerted to the smoke) and asked teachers to have their students quickly grab their jackets and line up. Ordinarily you're supposed to not bring anything with you, but it was cold and she didn't want her entire student body freezing outside.

Some classes heard the announcement and others didn't.

Rachel's classroom didn't hear the announcement and so they went outside without their coats.

Miriam's class was in the lunchroom and her teacher herded them quickly back to the classroom to retrieve their coats, which wasn't the quickest route to the safety of the out-of-doors, but I guess since the principal made the announcement about coats they figured it was more along the lines of a drill rather than an actual emergency.

The kids were quite surprised when a couple of fire engines roared onto the scene and firefighters jumped out, fully clad in their firefighting gear. Ladders were propped up to the roof and a couple of firefighters went to check the roof out. Others went inside the school to see if they could find the cause for all the concern. Soon the principal was escorted into the school. And soon after that the firefighters packed up all their gear and the children were allowed back inside.

So, it was just a malfunctioning light, which took several hours to repair, but was ultimately no threat of eminent danger. The girls' bathroom was cordoned off while repairs were being made and there was a lingering odour all day. The bathroom happens to be just a couple doors down from Rachel's classroom so she was right in the heart of all the excitement.

It was all anyone could talk about when I was in there on Friday afternoon and I'm sure the girls will have vague memories of this in the future (like I think I have a memory once of having a to evacuate the school for a fire alarm and it turned out someone lit the paper towels on fire (punk middle schoolers)). I figured I'd write it down so they can reconcile their memories later (since I can't seem to get them to write in their journals no matter what I do).

Snowy days, wet nights

Monday was President's Day here in America, and as such was slated to be a school holiday...until it snowed last month. February 15th was declared our first snow make up day so we were prepared to slug through the entire month of February without one measly day off...until it snowed on Valentine's Day, and then we knew we wouldn't be going to school on Monday after all.

At first we were put on a two-hour delay because a storm system was in the forecast. We told the girls that if it started snowing before bedtime that they could stay up late so they spent dinner and family game time on flake watch. We ate and played with the blinds open so they could be on the lookout for snow. We didn't see any so put the kids to bed like normal.

But then I checked Facebook and my friend Addi said that we had a good half inch of snow and that school was now cancelled, so I ran to the window in disbelief and, lo, there was a half inch of snow on the ground!

We're so used to getting ice pellet storms here that we half expect a snow storm to be noisy, I guess, but this snow fell so softly and silently that we didn't even notice when it happened.

The girls got out of bed to celebrate (Benjamin had already fallen asleep) because, naturally, this meant there would be no school the next day!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chin Karaoke

We made a video for family night, which we thought we'd distribute as our valentine for our families. Enjoy!

It was a perfect family night, it had it all: tears, laughter, and even some biting at the end there.


On Wednesday night I was finalizing a limerick writing activity for Rachel's class Valentine celebration. I don't know that they ever got around to finishing their limericks because our party was cut short by the assembly and their morning was cut short by the fire "drill" excitement so they were having a crazy day. Whatever the case, getting ready for this activity sure got me in a limerick-y mood. I started composing limericks in my head throughout the day as I dealt with Benjamin and Zoë and when I had theirs mostly finished I figured I should write poems for everyone else, too. So I did. 

I made little bookmarks out of them and busted out a few books for them to enjoy tomorrow. 

Andrew doesn't get a book. He gets the little set of kitchen gadgets.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine mail

Getting the mail has been rather exciting the last couple of days. Yesterday there was an envelope in the mail for Rachel and Miriam and today there was an envelope for Benjamin and Zoë, each containing valentine cards and a little bit of spending money. The kids were thrilled to get them and were very excited about the pictures Bumpa drew for them.

Valentine Miracles

On Tuesday Miriam said the dinner prayer.

"And please bless that Zoë will sleep through the night on Thursday," she said.

Andrew and I peeked at each other with one eye to silently communicate that we both thought this a strange—and oddly specific—request.

"...So that Mommy will feel up to coming to my class Valentine party on Friday," she finished.

I made it to her Valentine party today.

Zoë didn't sleep through the night because she certainly woke up every two hours to eat. However, she fell asleep before 10:00 and only woke up to eat, never to party hardy, which in our house is basically sleeping through the night.

Rachel had to be to school early for Science Olympiad, so Andrew drove her to that while I helped Miriam finish getting ready for school. She was beyond excited for Valentine's Day—she handmade cards for everyone in her class, she picked out a 95% pink outfit (her socks were brown with monkeys and hearts on them), and she was praying so hard that everything would run perfectly smoothly the whole day. So I put a little heart braid in her hair for good measure.

A burning in your bottom

There is a scripture in D&C 9:8 that reads, "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."

This scripture has popularized the phrase "a burning in [one's] bosom" in church parlance, as being a mode of receiving inspiration from the spirit. I believe I have felt many such promptings in my life—akin to knowing "in your heart of hearts" that something is correct, but more like knowing that your very spirit is receiving affirmation that something is right—but several years ago I attended a youth conference where a friend confided in me that she'd never felt a burning in her bosom—not once!—and she was worried that, perhaps, something was wrong with her.

"You're sure you've never felt the spirit?" I asked her.

"Never!" she said. "Well, maybe. Truthfully, I don't really know what a bosom is!"

We were both sixteen at the time, so I was a little shocked that she didn't realize yet what a bosom was but I figured now was as good a time as any. I put my hand over my heart (and, by extension, my bosom). "Right here, Kristin,"* I said with utmost reverence.

Once again to my shock, Kristin burst out laughing.

"What?" I asked.

"I thought!" she gasped for air between fits of laughter. "I thought...! I thought...! I thought that maybe bosom was...was... was your..."

"What?" I asked, giving into laughter myself.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Around the house

Zoë doesn't particularly enjoy crawling on the hardwood floor so she's now doing the bear walk everywhere she goes. Here she is demonstrating her skill:

She recently stumbled upon an open dishwasher for the very first time and found it quite enjoyable. She's gotten to that age where it's easier for her to be getting into the tupperware while I'm cooking, rather than have her wandering around the house. She doesn't take kindly to being penned up so instead of listening to her scream from her high chair or exersaucer I will sometimes just open the cupboard and let her play. She hasn't figured out how to open cupboards on her own yet, though I'm sure that day is coming.

Speaking of not liking being penned up, I left Zoë crying in her exersaucer today while I was figuring out dinner and the kids were playing hide-and-seek. I knew they'd left marbles out and with their game going on I couldn't be sure which doors were staying open or closed so taking away Zoë's mobility seemed like the safest bet. But then she stopped crying so I peeked out of the kitchen to check on her and she was gone, which explains why she was happy. I went on a little hunt for her and found her exploring the bathroom.

Having older children is great when they're helping but not so great when they're not helping. I explained to Rachel that she was in the exersaucer specifically because I needed her to not be underfoot for a few minutes and to keep her safe while I wasn't supervising her. I told her that if she happened to take the baby from a safe-zone that I put her in—the high chair, the exersaucer, her crib, whatever—then she was accepting the responsibility to watch the baby until I came back for her.

"But she was crying!" Rachel said. "She wanted out!"

"But she can't just wander around the house unsupervised," I pointed out, rehashing the choking hazards and other dangers curious babies find.

"Good point," she conceded.

Rachel's always quick to acknowledge when I make a good point, which is just one of many things that I like about her.

Anyway, it annoys Benjamin to no end when Zoë mucks around with things. He's constantly taking things away from her (collecting choking hazards is his favourite past time) and shutting things (and on the flip side giving her things she shouldn't have and taking her places she shouldn't be).

Here's Zoë in the middle of doing a dishwasher happy dance:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Weekend blogger

I seem to have become a weekend blogger lately and I suppose that's because there's not much to tell. We've been passing around a sickness and have been stuck at home doing not much at all. I'm bored out of my mind but until we stop coughing I don't think we'll be going much of anywhere.

Benjamin and Zoë are keeping me plenty busy at home both day and night. It seems like I go to bed frazzled from the day and wake up in the morning frazzled from the night.

Benjamin's been enjoying Sunbeams. He had a timeout in his classroom during sacrament meeting on Sunday (he was misbehaving, apparently) and he wrote his name on the chalkboard in big letters (once he was out of timeout) for Andrew. BEW.

He's never quite sure when to stop writing up-and-down lines for the N. Sometimes his name turns out BEN. Sometimes BEW. And sometimes BEWWWWWWWW.

Sunday, February 07, 2016


Last night my friend Laura emailed to ask if Miriam would wear her dress that matches Carolina's. Carolina had been growing and her days of wearing that particular dress were numbered. I responded saying that I would suggest it to Miriam—and that she'd probably take me up on the suggestion since she's wanted to coordinate dress-wearing with Carolina since she first picked up the dress at Trading Tables (about two years ago) and then saw Carolina wear the same dress a few weeks later.

Every time Carolina wore her dress (and Miriam hadn't) Miriam would whisper to me about how cool it would be if she had worn her dress, too. Evidently the same whisperings were going on in Carolina's pew.

So this morning Miriam put on her dress and, lo! Her days of wearing this particular dress are also numbered. It's a good thing we got them coordinated today because I'm not sure either of them will be found in these dresses ever again!

Miriam (6) and Carolina (9)
Miriam's dress doesn't look too short here, but let's just say it was a very good thing she was wearing thick tights! It was fun for the girls to feel special and be all matchy-matchy at least once!

(Also, apparently Carolina's little sister had pink eye last week, so that's apparently making the rounds which might explain Zoë's eyes this morning).

No church for Zoë

Zoë and I are staying home from church this morning, because reasons.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Swinging, swinging, swinging...

We have a swing set in our backyard but the kids still like to walk to the neighbourhood playground to use the swings and slides there. We've had some lovely weather this week so the little ones and I were able to make it to the park a couple of times this week. Here they are swinging, swinging, swinging...

I'm so pumped up

Now that Zoë is mobile—and therefore getting into everything all the time—I've been cutting back on pumping, working my way down to once a day, then once every few days, and now only when I need to. Andrew took in my last donation to the milk bank this week. By my calculations I've donated 4855 ounces to various milk banks (one in Colorado, one here (and a little bit straight to my friend Annie's little boy)).

4855 ounces is equal to approximately...
  • 38 gallons
  • 143.5 litres
  • 135912 grams
  • 300 pounds
  • and eight months of pumping every morning and night.
In health class (back in high school) my teacher once defined passion as being the first thing you think of doing when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think of before you fall asleep at night. If that's the case then I've certainly been passionate about pumping the past several months. 

I've pumped at home, in the car, at my mom's house, at my in-law's, at church, at a hotel, and while camping. For the longest time I wasn't able to do anything until I'd pumped in the morning and I wasn't able to fall asleep until I pumped at night—like literally could not—so I'm not sure pumping really falls into the category of passion unless eating and breathing are also included. It was more of a necessity than a passion.

Just yesterday morning I decided I couldn't live one more second without pumping again, so I did. Fifteen ounces later I could put my arms down comfortably. And that was after Zoë had had her fill.

Clearly I'm not free of the pump yet but it's nice to not be so tied down. I don't know what I'm going to do with all my free time now. Oh, wait. Yes, I do. I'll follow this cutie around cleaning up all her little exploration messes...

I've felt at once guilty and liberated by the decision to stop donating milk but, as it says in an article I read about giraffes yesterday, "since milk is costly to produce...a mother is expected to save it for her own offspring." It's time to put my extra milk energy to use elsewhere.


Edited to add that I just got my certificate of appreciation from the WakeMed Milk Bank and they say I've donated 4,379 ounces to them, which means I missed something in my records. My total is probably more like 5560 ounces altogether, which is more like 43 gallons (only 5 gallons biggie, right?). 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Worry wart

I've been rehearsing for the stake musical recently and it's been refreshing to do something that's not mothering for a little while. I just finished reading Anne of Ingleside (finally! (after losing my copy multiple times and reading several books in between!)) and I daresay I've been feeling a bit like that Anne lately: tired, washed out, "sick-and-tired of never-ending, monotonous duties . . . "

Last night I left the children (all save Zoë, who still comes with me everywhere because all food is disgusting and bottles are evil and she'll never learn to eat and I'll still be nursing her to sleep when she's in college) at home with Andrew and drove to my friend Marian's house, where she and Laura and I had met to carpool to the stake centre, all three of us leaving our husbands at home with our bunches of children.

We stopped at a traffic light and a man started approaching our car so we quickly locked our doors.

"I just want to ask a question," he called to us.

But the light turned green and off we went. It sounds callous but you can never be too careful.

"You'll have to ask someone else," Marian said. "Perhaps a car not filled with women."

I suppose there are strength in numbers and we could have protected each other, should it have come to that, but still. It was dark and we felt vulnerable.

"So, I kept having these thoughts today," said Laura, a self-proclaimed non-worrier. "Like, imagine if Marian drove us off the road and we all died. Three mothers of young children. All in one ward. How tragic would that be? What would our husbands do? How would the ward even cope with that?"

"And I'm the compassionate service coordinator!" I tacked on.

We had a good laugh about that—who would coordinate the needed service?!

To be fair, I'm co-coordinator, so my co-coordinator would take care of things. Still, it lightened the rather dour mood that had settled on our car after Laura shared her thoughts.

Andrew laughed when I told him about this because I'm always dreaming up worst-case scenarios when he goes out of town (or even sometimes when he's late coming home from school). I'm always like, "Let's take a picture of you with the kids for no reason at all right before you leave." And he's always like, "It's in case I die, isn't it?" And I'm always like, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Okay. Yes. That's the exact reason."

But I'm a self-proclaimed worrier so I expect myself to have thoughts like that. Somehow it's reassuring that a self-proclaimed non-worrier sometimes has the very same thoughts.

Monday, February 01, 2016


Andrew's on a quest to perfect basic Mexican recipes—like refried beans and such—because, as he professed the other day, "We're too poor to go out to eat at authentic Mexican restaurants and Mexican food is my favourite!"

"It is?" I asked.

"Well, I forgot about Italian food," he said.

"And pancakes?" I asked.

"Oh, and pancakes."

But Mexican food is a close third. His quest has opened our pantry to many exotic ingredients, which would surely be spurned if I were to bring them home (but apparently if he chooses to bring them home himself they're okay), such as epazote and, most recently, tomatillos. We've probably eaten these things before (tomatillos are the main ingredient in salsa verde, for example, and all my Mexican friends raved on Facebook that you can't cook without epazote). We simply haven't cooked with them. Until now.

On Saturday Andrew used the tomatillos in a dish called chicken tinga.

Yes, he made chicken.

He also made beans, as a backup, in case he, uh, chickened out. And in full disclosure he didn't eat much of the chicken, but I thought it was really good although it was really spicy.

"Taste this," he said. "It's spicy!"

"That is spicy," I gasped.

"Yeah, I can't figure out why," he said, "Except that it said to to put in two to three chipotle peppers and I just dumped the whole can in. It looked like only a couple of peppers were in the can when I opened it, but I think there were about a dozen or so. They just kept plopping out. Do you think that would make that big of a difference?"

Maybe a little bit.

Benjamin and I were the only ones who ate any significant amount of chicken, so there are a lot of leftovers (and I'm the only one eating those, which I don't mind). I wonder if it would have won over a broader audience with a little less spice...

To usher in February on a positive note...

We finally made it to the library this weekend! We dropped books off the first weekend of January before we went up to the mountains and then, for a number of reasons, we hadn't found the time to go back until this Saturday. It's been fine because we have a healthy collection of books in our house so it's not like story time stopped. We've been re-reading books.

Miriam really got into Harry Potter. Rachel read Dune. And between all of us we read dozens and dozens of picture books to Benjamin and Zoë.

Still, it's nice to have something new to read.

One of the books we picked out was Fine As We Are by Algy Craig Hall, a darling story about welcoming new little ones into your family. As a hint, it's based on the feelings the author had when his stint as an only child was forever interrupted by the arrival of quadruplet siblings. But it features frogs. And it's seriously adorable.

It's amazing how welcoming a new baby (or babies) into your life is at once easy and so very difficult. Time passes slowly yet all too fast. They enter the world a perfect stranger but you find yourself loving them more passionately than you ever could have dreamed, and although you justifiably worried about the upheaval this new person would ultimately wreak on your delicately balanced family dynamics, it doesn't take long to feel like they've always belonged right there with you.

And no matter how hard you might wish things didn't have to change or how much you wish things could go back to the way they were before (Benjamin, I'm looking at you), it's soon impossible to imagine life without them and things once again seem...fine the way they are.

This book was so sweet. I highly recommend reading it. Especially, if, let's say, your three-year-old has an open vendetta against your eight-month-old.