Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More on today

This morning Benjamin decided to make a birthday card for Rachel. It's birthday season at our house right now so you can pretty much choose anyone to make a card for and it would be appropriate. He was so proud of getting all those letters in there!

Get well cards and unibrows

Miriam's class sent home some get-well cards with Rachel on Friday afternoon. Miriam happily sifted through the pile of cards, apparently taking careful notice of each one because when she'd finished looking through them all she piled them up and pounded the stack on the table to make it nice and neat.

"That was nice of your class to send you cards," I said.

"Yes," she agreed. "There's only one problem. I didn't get one from Xak."

She had actually written down the name of each sender so she could check to see who she got cards from and who she didn't get cards from. I wouldn't say she was ungrateful for the cards she got, because she was grateful, but...sometimes her expectations exceed reality.

"Maybe Xak wasn't at school when they made the cards," I suggested.

"Yeah, maybe," she said.

When I was in grade one I don't think I even knew the names of everyone in my class (not even by the end of the school year). It was a stressful year for me, I was shy, I didn't talk to anyone if I had the option of not talking to them.

Miriam, on the other hand, seems to know all the kids in her class, all the kids in the other grade one classes, and all the kids in all the kindergarten classes. She's a super socialite. Everyone wants to be her friend and that works out just fine because she wants to be everyone's friend in return.

She knows she's cute and funny and smart and friendly and I don't think anything could make her think otherwise, at least at this stage in her life (and hopefully she'll retain that confidence throughout those terrible middle school years (which seem to be approaching quickly all of a sudden (now that Rachel's entering grade four (and I realize Miriam isn't Rachel, but she's only two years behind!)) because she is cute and funny and smart and friendly).

A while ago she came home from school, practically floated off the bus, and ran into the house to announce with glee, "Mom! Guess what! I have a unibrow!"

"Yes, beautiful girl, you kind of do," I said.

"Not just kind of!" she squealed. "It's an actual unibrow!"

"How exciting," I said.

"I know!" she said.

I have a feeling she won't always love this about herself (but at least it's something she can't blame on me because this trait did not come from me (*cough* it was Andrew *cough*) but maybe she'll surprise me and not ever give in to what our society says is beautiful and love every little bit of herself forever. Wouldn't that be awesome? Because every little bit of her is beautiful.

Now to find a book about Frida Kahlo for her...

Maybe it will end after all

To his credit, Benjamin stayed dry last night. He's been good about that for the entire month of May. I'm not saying that he's never wet the bed (because he certainly has); I'm just saying that he's been good about staying dry. In fact, we printed out a sticker chart with 25 spots for stickers and, although we started it on April 21 (and those days in April were a joke because he wet the bed every other day), it's now full of stickers. He had a couple of runs where he stayed dry for a full five days at a time.

So perhaps there is an end to things like potty-training Benjamin.

Zoë, on the other hand, is back to the torturous sleeping schedule she likes to pull every once in a while. She never sleeps well; she always stays up far later than every other baby on the block. That's just her style. But recently she's been trying to outdo herself. She stayed up until around 2:00 on Saturday night, so I had a little chat with her on Sunday about needing to go to bed before then. She laughed in my face and then stayed up until around 3:00 on Sunday night.

Last night she was acting tired on our way home from dinner, singing to herself, and slow-blinking, so I had half a hope she'd retire at a decent hour. But, no. We got her out of her carseat and she stayed awake until 3:30.

I know that eventually she'll max out her ability to stay awake and she'll fall asleep around 10:00 one night and then, for the most part, stay sleeping through the night. Waking up to nurse every two hours, of course, because that's still how we roll. On a good night.

On a bad night she stays asleep for half hour bursts. I suppose, to be honest, she did fall asleep at 9:00 last night. For forty minutes. And then she was like, "Party time!"

But it was so ridiculous because it was lonely, boring party time and she knew it. Every time anyone coughed or cleared their throat in their sleep she'd get all excited and call out, "Oh, hi!"

"It's the middle of the night," I'd remind that sleep-stealing monster Zoë. "No one is coming to play with you. Everyone is sleeping."

One day soon she'll start going to bed at a decent hour. Shoot, I'd take 11:00 or even midnight and call that a decent hour. I'm not sure how many more 3:00s I can take though.

Monday, May 30, 2016

It will never end

We had dinner at the bishop's house tonight (only the bishop wasn't there because he was out bishoping, so his wife was left to host all on her own (thank you)). We ate food, we played games, we visited. The kids played outside and inside and were having a great time...and then Benjamin disappeared. I sent Miriam to go find him; she returned to report that he was in the bathroom and needed help.

I had already drawn the short straw and was holding Zoë on my lap while playing Scum, so I sent Andrew to go check on him.

Turns out he'd pooped his pants, majorly.

He's three years, eleven months, and 27 days old and I honestly cannot wait for this to stop.

Every time I think he's finally potty trained, he goes and does something like this.

Usually I have extra clothes in my diaper bag for him but I must have not replenished my stash after the last time he needed extra clothes (not always for pooping; sometimes just for splashing in puddles) and all I had was a t-shirt for him. I did, however, have several diapers for Zoë.

Benjamin got to wear one of those. He was mortified for a few minutes and hid himself in the basement but later lost all sense of shame and joined everyone upstairs for ice cream.

Before I let him eat I made him have a chat with me. He answered every question I asked him with "I dunno," until I threatened to not let him have any ice cream at all and then I started getting serious answers.

Memorial Day Poetry

Here's a poem Miriam wrote this morning:

Hey, look, it's Memorial Day.
What do you say when it's Memorial Day?
Hooray, there's no school!

Hey! Hey! It's Memorial Day.
Look at the flag. Red, white and Blue.
That's cool.

Houseplants and broken pots

I have been trying to collect houseplants immune to my negligent nature. So far there have been many casualties, but the orchid Andrew gave me a few years (!!!) ago is still alive so I've slowly been gaining confidence.

I sprouted an avocado tree a few months ago. It's still sitting in a jar of water because I'm too nervous to put it in soil because it's beautiful and I don't want to accidentally kill it so it will probably be in its jar for a while... But hydroponics is a thing, right? Hydroponics is even kind of trendy right now, I think, and I'm nothing if not a trend-follower (ask my completely up-to-date wardrobe ("Hello, the early 2000s are calling.")).

Birthday songs and Benjamin swimming

Today I was supposed to help out in Sunbeams (which is Benjamin's current class), because one of his teachers is out of town, but then I was asked to cover singing time for the girl who was covering for the chorister and said yes, completely forgetting that I was already supposed to be helping in Sunbeams.

Because that's the way my brain works.

So after sacrament meeting I asked another mom to help out in Sunbeams (and she was more than happy to—thanks, Lisa!) so that I could do singing time.

We did the opening song in junior primary and Benjamin gave the opening prayer. The primary president welcomed us to primary, glanced at her paper and said, "It looks like we don't have any birthdays here today, so we'll just move on," so I sat down we moved on.

While one of the children was reciting this month's scripture, the secretary, my friend Heidi, leaned over and whispered, "Did you do birthdays yet?"

"Oh, she said there weren't any birthday children here today," I whispered back.

Heidi double-checked her list.

"There definitely are birthday children here," she said.

"Oh, who?" I asked.

"Ummm...Benjamin..." Heidi said.

"Oh, that birthday boy," I said. "My birthday boy. Yeah, I guess we should sing to him."

"Too bad Marcella's not here," Heidi said. "We'll have to remember to sing to her next week."

"Well, her mom's the music director. I think she'll remember her own daughter's birthday," I said.

"Maybe," Heidi agreed, smiling while tilting her head from side to side. "But then again, she might not."

Point taken.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A little chaos

I took the kids swimming on Tuesday afternoon. Andrew texted to say that he was leaving campus about ten minutes before I happened to check my phone for the time (because the clock at the pool has been broken for at least a year now). I texted back that we were "pooling," and made the mistake of not saying "but we'll be leaving soon."

I gave the kids five minutes and then we packed up to head home, where I figured we'd have a quick spaghetti dinner since it was getting rather late. The kids wanted to wait for Daddy outside, though, so I threw on a pot of water to boil and went outside to supervise.

Side note: Zoë can open our storm door, so that's interesting. She let herself outside today while I was helping Benjamin in the bathroom. She and I have opposite opinions on this newly acquired skill.

Anyway, Andrew didn't come and didn't come and didn't come until finally he did come and we went inside and saw that it was nearly 7:00 (he figured that if we were having fun at the pool he'd just stay on campus to get some things done and I didn't get his "keep on pooling" text until after he got home). I was rather relieved when he finally pulled up on his scooter.

"I was thinking make-your-own dinner tonight. We can use stuff from the freezer and leftovers and..." He paused, noticing the pot of boiling water on the stove. "That is unless you had plans."

"Make-your-own is fine," I said, turning off the burner. "It's late, we've got to get the kids to bed; we can do spaghetti tomorrow."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Durham Bulls

Rachel was rather excited for her last rehearsal before the baseball game. She was a little fed up with having to rehearse for things, between the musical and this, but I think both were great things for her to do (and I think she agrees with me).

We made it to the stadium a few minutes before the gates opened. Ordinarily they open the gates an hour before the game starts but due to impending weather they moved the start time a half hour earlier...but opened the gates at the same time, so it was absolutely imperative that we arrive on time since it left us very little wiggle room for getting lost or anything like that. We dropped Rachel off with the choir and found our seats.

Here's Zoë enjoying a bit of the pre-game festivities (her favourite parts of the game were the music and all the clapping):

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A new record

Rachel has been concerned about all her "records" being broken by subsequent babies. She really doesn't need to worry, though, because after tallying things up she still holds several records. Zoë is the heaviest now (probably, in part, due to the fact that she held down every drop of milk she ever got (it's got to be the milk because she's not all that interested in food (she's always like "Ew. Tell me why we eat again?")) (hooray for no reflux!)), but Rachel was the heaviest at birth. 

Today Zoë weighed in at a whopping 20 lbs. 15 ounces. She's 29.92 inches tall.

At age one, Benjamin was 18 lbs. 12 ounces and 27.5 inches tall.

Miriam was 18 lbs. and 1 measly little ounce (smaller than Benjamin!!) and 27.95 inches tall (but somehow no one cared that she was tiny; the doctor gave us such grief over Benjamin's small stature).

Rachel was 19 lbs. 12 ounces and 30.5 inches tall.

At birth Zoë was 7 lbs. 2.5 ounces and 20 inches.
Benjamin was 4 lbs. 13 ounces and 16.5 inches.
Miriam was 7 lbs. 1 ounce and 18.9 inches.
Rachel was 7 lbs. 7 ounces and 19.5 inches.

So, Zoë was my longest baby at birth and the heaviest at age one. Rachel was my heaviest baby at birth and my earliest walker (and tallest at age one). Miriam was my lightest baby at age one and my best sleeper. Benjamin was my smallest baby at birth and had the most hair.

And since it was just Zoë's birthday, let's list a few more of her achievements: she's my second-earliest walker (she can take a good dozen or so steps) and my earliest whistler (anybody else out there have a baby who whistles? Just me?). 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Zoë's one!

Time seems to speed up with each child. It's rather cliché to say "it goes so fast," but it honestly does. When I was suffering through months and months of not sleeping, due to Rachel, I would feel almost offended when people would suggest that "it goes so fast" because it felt torturously slow, like I was stuck in some inane cycle: feed the baby, get thrown up on, get pooped on, [rinse, if you're lucky], and repeat! It felt like she would never grow up. She'd never stop spitting up, she'd never learn to sleep through the night, she'd never wean. Babyhood was hard and laborious and lonesome and eternal, or so it felt.

But then I added one more. I was still feeding a baby and getting spat up on constantly, but I was also reading stories and doing little crafts, and going to the park.

And then I added one more. I was still feeding a baby and was getting spat up on even more than ever, but I was also reading stories, doing little crafts, going to the park, volunteering in a classroom, attending dance recitals, and so forth.

And then we added one more. I was still feeding a baby but was blessed to get one without reflux (hallelujah!) and was also reading stories, doing little crafts, going to the park, volunteering in two classrooms, going to soccer practice, being in a musical, shuttling kids to ukulele practice, and so forth.

These kids have filled our lives with so much goodness that time is suddenly feeling more like a whirlwind and less of a never-ending dirge. So even though I haven't had a proper sleep in months, I made the mistake of blinking and all of a sudden Zoë turned a year old!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"To be their secretary? I don’t think so."

(The title is a line from...Hamilton. Because what else would it be from?)

Last week the second counsellor of the bishopric jumped up at the end of sacrament meeting to give "one last announcement," which was that the bishopric would be reorganized the following Sunday. Our bishop had been serving for five years, which is about the upper limit of tenure for a bishop (it's a time intensive calling; no one wants it for forever), so this announcement wasn't exactly unexpected. Knowing a week in advance was a little unusual, though, since we're not really supposed to speculate about who's going to be called next. But who can even help themselves after an announcement like that?

And then Saturday morning Andrew's phone rang.

"Yes. Yes. Yes," he said. "Sure. 10:15? That will be fine. Yes. Alright, see you then."

He hung up the phone.

"Oh, no," he said.

"Who was that?" I asked.

"The stake president," he said.

"Oh, no," I said.

"He wants to meet with me...and with you...before church tomorrow."

"Oh, no!" I said.

If we hadn't been speculating before that phone call we were certainly speculating after it because do you know who you don't want to get a phone call from after an announcement of that nature? The stake president.

And so we speculated. We quickly ruled out bishop and 95% ruled out counsellor (because surely you'd need more than 24 hours notice for a calling like that).

"Executive secretary, then," I said.

"Or it could just be a random stake calling," Andrew said.

"I guess so," I said. "But why would they do that this Sunday?"

"Killing two birds with one stone?" Andrew posited.

"My money's still on executive secretary," I said.

"But who would call me?" Andrew wondered.

He's been in primary for the past few years and had recently begun feeling that he was a bit on the periphery of things (especially a couple of weeks ago when someone compassionately asked me if Andrew was "ever going to make it back to church"; I was like, ", he makes it every week...").* Sometimes that's just how it goes when you're serving in primary (though, for the record, I think primary is a great place to be, primary workers do, at times, feel invisible).

Anyway, after thinking for a few minutes, Andrew said, "It's Ken."

My thoughts had already moved on from the conversation so I said, "What?"

"The new bishop—it's Ken."

"Really? I dunno..."

I didn't have any counter-guesses. I'm not very good at speculating about these kinds of things, though I did think to myself that it would be hilarious to text Justus (he's the now-former second counsellor and is currently out of town at his brother's wedding) to congratulate him on being sustained as the new bishop of the ward because he had me sustained to a new calling (that I hadn't even been asked about) while I was out of town a couple of years ago. And it would have been hilarious, too, but I didn't do it because when the new callings were made I suddenly realized that I needed someone to cover for me for music time in primary (I was covering for my friend Marian (Justus's wife, who is obviously also out of town at that wedding)) since (spoiler alert) I had to go to watch Andrew be set apart after sacrament meeting.

So Laura covered for me (when I was supposed to be covering for Marian).

Backtracking...we made it to the church by 10:15 and then, while Zoë and Benjamin wrestled on the floor of the classroom we met in (those two were the epitome of reverence today...not), the rest of us sat reverently and quietly while Andrew was extended the call (to be executive secretary for, yes, Ken Bishop). And then we had choir practice. And then we had sacrament meeting. And then Andrew was set apart. And then we had the rest of church. And then we had some (surprise) training after church.

By 3:00 our kids were dying because that's a whole lot of time to be expected to be on your best, most reverent behaviour for when you're any age, but especially when you're...three. (In full disclosure they didn't mind the last hour because we sent them all outside to play with the Green kids (their dad's the new second counsellor (and their mom had a bag of jolly ranchers, which she split among the kids (lunch of champions))).

There will be a few hiccups as we get used to the new norm. For example, I'll have to get the kids ready for church on my own (we'll see how that goes) and since we only have one car Andrew will be taking the scooter to church now. But at the end of the day it boils down to this: booking the church for Trading Tables just got a whole lot easier. So, score!

* Disclaimer: I found this encounter hilarious.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Schoolhouse of Wonder

Miriam's class had a field trip today at West Point on the Eno's Schoolhouse of Wonder. They bussed the kids out there so it was a much less taxing day than it was when I hiked there with Rachel's class in March! Because of the wet and rainy weather we've been having this week the river was a little swollen so our planned class (exploring the river) was changed to a plant/insect class, which was still fun. It's the same class Rachel did when she was in grade one and I accompanied her class to the Eno.

We did the plant walk first. Here's Miriam holding up a beech nut she found (with the rest of the class hunted around in the dirt for more):

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mother's Day

It might not seem incredibly timely for me to be writing about Mother's Day over a week after the holiday, but it is because I just found some papers in Rachel's backpack that she was supposed to give me on Mother's Day but didn't. So it's like celebrating twice!

The girls always make a big picture for Mother's Day in art class at school. Typically, each grade does the same project year after year so we're seeing repeat projects now that Miriam's following along behind Rachel. Sometimes I think it's great—like, we have two misshapen pumpkins made out of clay that I'll probably keep forever and bring out each fall to set on the mantle because what's better than one adorably misshapen pumpkin? Two adorably misshapen pumpkins. That's what!

Other times I'm like, "Oh, yeah. This project. Why? Why are we repeating this?"

That would be the case of the picture on the left. The one featuring an old CD.

It's beautiful. And I love it because Miriam made it. (But also...why?)

What time is it? Pool time!

The pool opened on Sunday, but, of course, we didn't go. The kids were a little disappointed that we weren't the first crazy ones in the pool (which is always a little bit cold in May) but they were excited to go on Monday. They've been counting down for weeks for this day.

I took the little ones in the early afternoon, just to check it out (and also in case it rained later in the day (we're in for a rainy week)). I didn't pack a swim suit for myself because (a) I was hoping the kiddie pool would be open so I could let them just splash around in there and (b) I didn't think they'd really want to stay that long, but I was surprised on both fronts. The kiddie pool was still closed (they're doing some renovations) so I let the kids play on the steps of the big pool, which, although chilly, was so much fun that these two little ones didn't want to leave.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Walking and sliding

I was sure Zoë would be walking much earlier than her first birthday. With so many slaves to carry her around, however, she's been putting off this task. Her step-taking count was capped at three. That was the farthest she seemed to think she needed to go under her own power: three measly steps.

Then last night while we were Skyping with my parents, she suddenly stood up and toddled right across the living room, laughing and squealing as she chased after Benjamin, surprising everyone. Our living room is admittedly on the small size so getting across only took her six or seven steps. Still, she blew her previous record right out of the water.

She has not attempted so much as a single step today, but I'm sure she'll be walking everywhere soon enough.

We went to the park this afternoon (to warm up after a dip in the pool, which, having just opened, is a bit on the chilly side) and Zoë was crawling around on the bridge. I was supervising her at very close range to make sure she didn't fall off and break her arm or anything (not that that there's a precedent for that on this particular bridge or anything (and if you read that post, go ahead and laugh at my opening line because I used the words "Benjamin" and "officially potty trained" in rapid secession and here we are, nearly two years later...hahaha! He's still struggling and the struggle is real)).

Anyway, Zoë suddenly hightailed it off the bridge and headed for the slide. I left the side of the bridge and started running to the bottom of the slide but I was too late. Zoë beat me to it and zoomed down, superman style, and ended up with a face full of mulch.

She didn't cry, exactly, but she certainly wasn't happy about the results and cried when I tried to help her go down the slide (at less of a break-neck speed/position) later. I'm sure she'll warm back up to slides eventually...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ward campout

Miriam was so excited about the ward campout that she wrote a note to take to school, explaining that she'd need to be a car rider. I signed off on it at the bottom to make it all official (you never can tell).

Friday, May 13, 2016

Alternative dimension

After a few rough nights with Zoë (we're talking going to bed at 4 or 5 am) and knowing that I'd have to spend the afternoon herding children around on a hot, dusty field, when Benjamin woke me up (and more to the point he woke up the baby!) on Wednesday morning I actually cried.

He felt bad about that so Thursday morning he let me and Zoë have a good long sleep in while he quietly entertained himself. Sure, he entertained himself by pushing chairs in order to reach everything that's too high for him to reach and getting it down...but he did it quietly! He got down the kids' baby books and looked through them, got down the markers and drew me a picture, built himself a lovely fort in the living room, and then got down his Easter basket and gorged himself on Reese's Pieces.

"Do you want some breakfast?" I asked.

"I already had breakfast," he said.

"You did?!" I asked, noticing the lack of mess usually indicative of him getting himself food (no milk jug—no dirty dishes!—on the table, no cereal scattered about, no spills). "What did you have?"

"Actually, I didn't have breakfast," he said.

"Why did you say you did?" I asked. "Did you forget?"

"No, I just had candy!" he admitted.

That's when I noticed the bench was out of place. He'd had his fill of candy and then put his little basket back up. Frankly, I don't even care that he had candy for breakfast because it meant I got to sleep for a little while longer and sometimes sleep is more important than nutrition. Besides, this is like solid evidence that my three-year-old knows that candy isn't real food, right? Because he freely admitted that candy doesn't equal breakfast.

We had a pretty happy morning. Benjamin pretended that he was President and wrote out a declaration:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What I learned from Amelia Earhart (besides that she was an author)

I finished reading Amelia Earhart's The Fun of It the other day. It was interesting to read her thoughts on flying and feminism with my 2016 goggles on. She wrote the bulk of the book while she was (somewhat secretly) preparing for her solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932 (eighty-four years ago).

I only started marking passages in the second half of the book because Rachel had been carting it back and forth to school while reading it (she stole it from me, which I guess is alright because we got it for her school project, but still...).

At one point she asked a head honcho weather bureau man if there was any reason there couldn't be such a thing as a weather woman. He answered that there wasn't, "except that they would have to go out in bad weather sometimes and climb ladders to collect data." Truly there wasn't anything holding women back from being meteorologists except that women simply weren't meteorologists (p. 127).

A bit later she supposes that autogiros will take over the skies for short commutes through cities and things like that. "In fact," she says, "with the giro as with many new developments, so much is likely to happen that I am planning on returning to earth in a couple of hundred years to check up on its doings" (p. 139).

I had to look up what autogiros were! They're like a cross between a plane and a helicopter, kind of. They're still used but they're not incredibly common. Though I think if Earhart were to check in on things she'd be happy to see that there are, at least, several female meteorologists.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Field day for grade three

Field day with 8/9 year olds is a whole lot easier than field day with 6/7 year olds! From dividing them into teams to celebrating with freezies the whole day was easier. Kids do a lot of growing up in such a short amount of time. They followed directions and I wasn't worried about losing any of them. Benjamin was eager to join in the activities; he knew just what to do since he'd spent he whole day yesterday figuring out what to do.

Here he is at the balloon toss station:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Field Day for grade one

The little ones and I spent the afternoon with Miriam's class for field day. We were glad it wasn't a terribly hot day and although we were sad it was overcast yesterday (we missed Mercury's transit across the sun (though the kids still went out to look at the sun when it finally peeped out between the clouds around 5:00 anyway)) we were happy for the cloud cover today. We got plenty sweaty in the mid-eighties. We didn't need full sun!

Here are the kids enjoying a bit of a limbo (they didn't have to bend backwards):

Monday, May 09, 2016

Jerrymeandering into the future

With Andrew's line of study politics frequently come up for conversation at the dinner table. Tonight the kids were asking about Hilary Clinton, which led to a discussion of carpetbagging, since Clinton ran for (and won) one of New Yorks seats in the senate, shortly after moving to New York. She was frequently accused of being a carpetbagger during her campaign.

"So it's basically when someone moves to a state or city specifically to campaign for a political office there but without ever really living there so they might not really know the needs of the area they're supposed to be representing. I don't know why they call it carpetbagging..." Andrew trailed off.

"Really?" I asked. "You can just hear the word 'carpetbagging' and figure out the etymology? It's not like it's terribly obscure."

"Yeah, Dad," Rachel said. "Like Mary Poppins!"

"Mary Poppins...?" Andrew asked.

"Dad! Her magical carpetbag! A carpetbag is like a suitcase!"

"Oh!" exclaimed Andrew as he saw this (very logical) connection between Mary Poppins and political jargon.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Mother's Day Saturday

For Mother's Day I decided to give myself an eye exam. My glasses are several years old (five? six?) and they've been giving me subtle signals that they'd like to be replaced (for example, they fly off my face at random). Technically I suppose I should be having my eyes examined every 1–2 years, so I've been running a little behind schedule.

I scheduled an appointment quite a while ago when I was expecting Zoë but ended up cancelling the appointment because I was having a terrible couple of days and didn't feel like I could make it through an eye exam.

I rescheduled about six months ago but ended up cancelling that appointment as well. My grandma passed away and my eye exam was scheduled for the very same weekend of her funeral.

So the very fact that I made it to the appointment at all is a bit of a miracle.

The good news is my prescription hasn't changed! It's been the same for about fifteen years now—my vision is rather terrible, but holding steady.

The bad news is that I have dry eyes, apparently.

"You don't want a contact exam, do you?" the doctor asked.

"Just glasses," I said.

"Good," he said. "Your eyes are so dry; I don't think you'd be a good candidate for them."

Good, because I didn't ever like contacts when I did wear them...probably because I have dry eyes.

I should have new glasses in a few days. And will be looking into eye drops, though I'm hoping that once Zoë start sleeping for longer chunks of time—which will allow me to start sleeping for longer periods of time—that my symptoms will...diminish. Though I think my dad suffers from dry I'll just have dry eyes for ever and ever.

The kids had fun helping me pick out new frames.

We went out for lunch at Moe's because Miriam had earned a certificate for a free meal at school somehow, and then we stopped by Duke Gardens to take a little walk...

Food, glorious food!

I know Andrew cooked dinner on Sunday night. And I know I cooked dinner on Monday and last night. I think we had pizza on Saturday. The rest of the week we had...crazy amounts of leftovers and not very much time for dinner preparation. I don't know why. It's not like we're doing a musical or anything like that. Andrew's just been swamped with work and research and I guess the kids didn't like what we made because they didn't eat much the night it was made and didn't really help make much of a dent on Tuesday or Wednesday (which were both declared leftover nights).*

Last night I made tacos (because how could I not?) and there weren't any leftovers.

Tonight we ignored the last container of leftovers in the fridge and let the kids make their own dinners. We had oriental noodles and corn dogs and peanut butter and jam sandwiches and nachos and peaches and Mandarin oranges and cucumbers and orange peppers and that sort of thing. Literally whatever they wanted, so long as it meant I didn't have to plan it or prepare it.

We also had a movie night so that I could finally suffer through watch the new Star Wars movie.

Miriam was eating her peanut butter and jam sandwich (with, I should mention, homemade peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam (Andrew's been having a little too much fun with the food processor lately)) a little too slowly so we decided to start the movie before she'd finished. She happily moved her dinner into the living room, setting up on the picnic blanket we'd spread out for popcorn.

She left her plate sitting on the floor while she went off to put on her pyjamas. Andrew came in to set up the movie and stepped right on her plate. Jam and peanut butter oozed out of her sandwich, all over his sock.

"Apparently Miriam left her sandwich on the floor," he said with a grimace.

I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

Chickery Chick

The little ones and I headed into school today to help out during the teacher appreciation luncheon. More specifically I'd signed up to watch Miriam's class during the luncheon and then we stayed for the rest of the afternoon because the kids really wanted me to. And by kids I mean my kids.

I think Rachel asked me every single day this week if I would be picking them up after school on Friday and, if that was the case, if she could meet me in Miriam's classroom. I couldn't figure out why she was so fixated on this scenario until I walked into the classroom and heard, "Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!"

Miriam's teacher hatches chicks every year with his class. Sometimes, for variety's sake, he's able to score some duck eggs. Once he even got his hands on some peacock eggs! These particular eggs are the eggs of the chickens Rachel's class hatched. "So I'm basically a grandparent now," Rachel said.

Anyway, she's been racing to Miriam's class to look at the chicks before class starts (and she has to be on the other end of the school) every morning this week, but so far Mr. A has not let the kids pick up the chicks because they were so new and he has so many visitors before school and isn't quite ready to supervise. But he promised Rachel that they could hold the chicks after school if I was there.

So that's where her sudden desire to meet me in Mr. A's room on Friday afternoon came up.

Honestly, I was rather exhausted from (surprise, surprise) an agonizingly long night with Zoë, and I knew that if I went home I would crash and not want to leave the house ever, ever again, so at the behest of my children I stuck around for the entire afternoon. And I even survived. And Rachel came to meet us in Miriam's classroom and everyone got to hold chicks and there was much rejoicing.

Sadly, I didn't get a picture of Rachel holding her "grand-chicks" because I forgot the camera and then my phone ran out of memory before she even got there. We'll be in to see the chicks again, I'm sure. Everyone loves the chicks! All my children agree that it's the most wonderful time of the year.

Miriam likes to hold them wrapped up in a kleenex to avoid feeling their claws and/or getting pooped on:

Friday, May 06, 2016

Yes and No

Zoë said the word "no" before she learned how to shake her head "no," but recently she picked up on our head signals and started testing the waters. And it's been hilarious.

Now she thinks whenever I say no it's a game, which is fine because ultimately it stops her from doing whatever it is I want her to stop because if she hears the word no she must shake her head.

Yes is a little trickier. It takes mad balancing skills to nod. We witnessed Zoë fall completely over a couple of times tonight while we were playing with her. Unfortunately I didn't catch any of that on the camera, but here she is showing off her new skills...

In other news, the girls asked if I would braid their hair while we were watching a movie so I told them to grab a brush and some hair elastics, which they did. Zoë had a little meltdown trying to steal the brush from me. I sent Miriam off to find a different brush fro Zoë to play with, thinking that would calm her down.

As it turned out, Zoë didn't want a brush. Zoë wanted to brush.

Miriam handed her the hairbrush and Zoë immediately started running it through Rachel's hair. She was so proud of herself (but eventually had to be removed because she was making more of a mess of things; she screamed while being bounced in Daddy's arms while I finished braiding her sisters' hair).

It's fun watching her learn things.

Learning is an amazing process.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

This and/or that

Benjamin spent a happy few minutes pushing Zoë around the yard on this little toy tractor. Unfortunately, when I ran to get the camera (quick—they're getting along!) he decided that instead of pushing her he'd instead sit on the tractor with her. She was not impressed.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

That Benja-boy

This morning we were sitting in church, quietly listening to the ward announcements being read over the pulpit. We'll be having a ward campout in the next couple of weeks, so that's super exciting. 

"Breakfast will be provided..." we were told. 

"BREAKFAST!" Benjamin squealed loudly. 

Sometimes he seems irreverent but is very attentive. Other times he's rather inattentive but seems reverent. I'm not sure which is better (since it's very rare that he's both attentive and reverent at church (and, let's be honest, quite frequently he's both inattentive and irreverent)) so I suppose we'll just be thankful for any moment he's quiet and calm as well as being thankful for the moments when he's paying attention to what's going on.

Recently he's become quite interested in writing and drawing (as I think I've mentioned) and I'm pretty excited about it because it means that maybe he'll be ready for kindergarten after all!

We got a package in the mail a few days ago and as soon as I emptied the box, Benjamin wanted it.

"Can I have this box?" he asked.

"Sure," I said.

"Can I use the markers?" he asked.

"Sure," I said. 

A few minutes later he excitedly shouted, "THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN PAPER!"

Here he is with a recent, boring, ol' on-paper drawing: