Thursday, August 05, 2021
Wednesday, August 04, 2021
I just turned in my final project for my first (and potentially ever) "summer short session," which is essentially a full semester condensed into 19 days (25 days, including weekends). I've been a little stressed out about the next couple of semesters, what with taking a full load of classes and doing an assistantship and homeschooling all the kids and having a new baby.
But completing this class—in the midst of everything else that has happened over the past three weeks*—has given me confidence that I can complete three classes spread over 111 days (including weekends), no problem. Technically I have to take four classes, but the fourth is more of a "filler" class, which I had thought meant it was an independent study class, but my advisor explained it's more of an "use these hours if your assistantship ends up taking more time than you're being paid for" class. So that's kind of a huge relief.
Friday, July 30, 2021
I'm just popping by real quick (because...did I mention I'm taking a summer course that smashes an entire semester into a mere 19 days of work? All I have left to do now is my final project but...it's going to be an intense couple of days getting that done) to say that today we finished up eight weeks of our school year.
Of course, we don't always do schoolwork on Fridays, so I've only counted 35 instructional days, but still. We're pretty happy to be this far "ahead" before the public schools have even started (they go back next week).
One of my primary concerns about homeschooling is that I'm not doing enough (but that also might simply be a personality flaw of mine (shhhh...it's fine)) but today Zoë finished with the first half of her math curriculum for this year, so I think we're probably doing enough in that department. She's done really well, too, except today she announced that she doesn't really need to learn any more math because she's going to be a ballet teacher when she grows up and the only math you need to learn to do that job is just counting...to keep time with the music...and she already knows all about that so she's all set!
Everyone in the family quickly intervened, telling her that she'd need to learn more math to know how much tuition to charge, how much to pay her co-teachers, how to pay her studio rental and utility fees, how to design a safe stage set, how to...etc.
So she's convinced she can start on the second half of her curriculum (though I might let her spend more time playing Prodigy) and I'm convinced that we probably are moving through our curriculum at a decent (if not accelerated) clip.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Even as the Delta variant is taking over the southern United States and as we're stubbornly refusing to socialize in groups (especially indoors), we're preparing to send the girls to orchestra next month. I'm really hoping that things will clear up by then...
But we already took a year off of orchestra and I just am not musically talented enough to give the girls the instruction that they need. Rachel is fully vaccinated and Miriam will soon be able to be vaccinated as well. The rest of us have to stay outside, anyway, and the orchestra meets in small groups, so hopefully it will be alright.
Anyway, the girls had to send in an audition video (not to get in to the orchestra, but so that their teacher/conductor can put them into an appropriate level) and we finally got around to making those videos yesterday.
Rachel recorded hers by herself while I helped Miriam put together a few songs. We've been working on a duet that she really wanted to record (though I daresay it's not her very best playing, but she recently sized up her cello and got glasses so she was working with a lot of things she wasn't quite used to), so we did that one and then Miriam recorded a couple of songs from her methods book.
Here we are playing Vivaldi's Spring:
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
I had my 20 week (and 6 day) appointment today, which included an ultrasound and a glucose test. I managed to keep the glucola drink down, so that was a bonus, but my blood draw went a little horribly. There's this one nurse that I'm never sure about...and I got her today. And when she looked at my veins and said, "This will be a tough one," I thought to myself, "Maybe we should wait for someone else..." because I've often been told my veins are like plump little juice boxes.
Let's just say she did not do a great job and forty minutes later I was still bleeding. She ended up slicing my vein a little bit? It's fine now; it just hurts and is bruising.
The ultrasound took quite a long time because baby was in a tricky position. The ultrasound technician found everything she needed measurements for except for the head. Baby is already solidly "presenting vertex" and no amount of prodding was going to make it budge (although it was certainly flip-flopping all over the place). I had to get up to empty my bladder in the middle of the ultrasound so we could keep trying to measure baby's brain (because that darn bladder was in the way).
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Today was mostly a regular school day for us, which is really fine because Rachel's pretty used to having school on her birthday (from her year-round years at Easley), but we had some fun today as well. We've been watching a lot of interviews with authors lately. Today we watched a talk Minh Lê gave at BYU's Book for Young Reader's Conference and we also got to tune in to a Zoom lecture he gave with Dan Santat (who has illustrated a few of his books) at some public library in Milwaukee.
I...just happen...to have to write a paper about one of Minh Lê's books this week...
But, I mean, the kids learned plenty from these book talks as well, so we're totally counting it as their ELA time for today. And when we do this sort of thing it makes for a good break from our ordinary routine.
Our bathroom downstairs has a plain drywall ceiling up now, which is rather exciting. It still needs to be taped and painted, but we're just happy for the drywall! The upstairs bathroom is coming along nicely as well. The new door has been framed (we're putting in a pocket door since the door is in a bad location (right at the top of the stairs) and made the doorway itself a bit bigger because the old doorway was too narrow to be considered "to code") and the subfloor and shower pan are in and the walls are coming along. We might just survive this process!
Friday, July 16, 2021
With Rachel's birthday right around the corner, I thought it was probably time to take my birthday balloons down so we can get ready to put hers up. Miriam was the one who spear-headed the birthday balloon tradition for me (which I appreciate because soliciting kind remarks for someone else makes me a whole lot more comfortable than soliciting kind remarks for myself). She sat Zoë and Alexander down one afternoon when the kids were all finished with their homework and helped them cut out and write on some balloons.
Alexander's balloons, of course are all full of scribbles, but one of his scribbles turned into a beautiful butterfly, so that was nice. Miriam also took some dictation from him: "I am so happy you play with me. I love you, Mommy!"
Zoë's balloons say, "Happy birthday! I love Mom because she is having a baby. And she's nice!"
She also wrote me an acrostic:
Ya, she's the best!
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
We are redoing the hallway bathroom upstairs, a rather urgent project considering the subfloor was rotten and we were at risk of falling through it at any moment. Why was the subfloor rotting? Well, because the previous owners redid the bathroom (likely a DIY(ikes) project) and when they built the shower they installed the shower pan incorrectly. Even though the shower curb is rather shallow (another error on their part), they didn't put the shower pan over the curb. They put it under the curb. So the shower had been just...leaking under the shower curb for years (at least two because that's how long we've lived here, but probably longer because they redid the bathroom before we bought the house, obviously).
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Zoë and Benjamin were both mighty confused to wake up in their beds this morning. Apparently they had no recollection of Andrew rousing them to make them march inside the house carrying their pillows. When the kids were confusedly and excitedly telling me about how they "woke up in [their] beds!" Alexander excitedly proclaimed, "SO DID I!" (which honestly shouldn't have been very surprising for him considering that's where he went to sleep initially).
I went out and collected the snake shed this morning (after cleaning out the gutter because we had a huge rainstorm yesterday afternoon and the gutter got a bit clogged with debris). It was definitely still very fresh, so I don't know when that snake managed to wriggle free from its (old) epidermis without anyone noticing. Andrew's been out working on the back deck the past couple of days.
Side story: We only bought a few boards because lumber is super expensive right now (and we have a few other home improvement projects going on besides the deck). But also I was adamant that we couldn't really put off replacing the worst of our boards. Andrew thought I was being overly anxious about the deck...until he went around testing boards to see which lucky few get to be replaced and...plunged through the deck up to his knee! (Looks like he found a board that desperately needed replacing!) He's a little scratched up but otherwise fine.
Anyway, I carefully peeled the shed away from the drain pipe and brick wall of our house and then the kids and I examined it. Well, the little kids and I examined it (the older girls were off weeding, playing volleyball, and eating pizza and ice cream).
The snake shed (43 inches) is a little taller than Alexander (~38 inches (he wouldn't stand still so I measured him as he was playing)). By nature the snake shed is also a little taller than the snake that shed it (since the skin stretches as the snake wriggles free and because the shed includes skin from both sides of each scale). According to a few sources I've read, a snake shed is usually 20 to 30% larger than the actual snake, so 33–36 inches is its approximate total length (assuming I did my math correctly, which is...an assumption). That's still about as tall as Alexander!
Andrew remembers first playing Carcassonne at my cousin Heather's house in Alberta (I think technically we had gone to visit Daelene's house). I vaguely remember this (I remember more heading out to visit the lake they had in their subdivision).
I remember first playing Settlers of Catan at the Masons' apartment in Cairo. Being the helpful person that I am, I shuffled the deck (word of advice: don't do that). We both learned to really enjoy Settlers (something Andrew may have already known about himself).
We have had Settlers for quite some time now and while I still enjoy playing it, I've found that my tolerance for "long games" has been steadily decreasing with each child I have. Like...fun game...but literally you want me to sit here for 1 to 2 hours, thinking about this game while simultaneously keeping the small ones happy? No, thanks.
My patience for such games runs especially thin at the end of the game when it's already clear who the winner is and everyone is just trying to keep them from sealing the deal (thereby prolonging the game (just let it end, people (especially if I've assured the little kids that "we're almost finished" a dozen times already))).
So Andrew got Carcassonne, as a treat.
It's like Settlers, but much less complicated, and it only takes half an hour or so to play out. We've been having a lot of fun with it!
Zoë and Alexander happily draw together while the rest of us play a quick game and everyone stays happy the whole time (until someone loses and then sometimes there are tears). Tonight Zoë and Alexander drew castles because Carcassonne is, to quote Zoë, "definitely based on Medieval times."
Here's the castle she painstakingly drew (Miriam taught her a new way to draw flowers, which was thrilling):
Friday, July 09, 2021
This morning I watched a cool video about how turmeric can be used as a pH indicator. I've considered trying to use red cabbage to do pH testing, but it seems like a more involved project than I'm ever quite ready to do (at least lately). You have to boil the cabbage and strain the cabbage and have the cabbage (we don't usually have cabbage). But we do have turmeric! And this looked fairly easy!
So we got our supplies and went to work. We mixed up some turmeric, which I just learned today has two r's in it! I have always said it TOO-mer-ic (or even TYU-mer-ic) and had just...never paid much attention to the label, I guess.
Monday, July 05, 2021
Well, we've done it! We've lived in Georgia for two full years, a time period which feels at once longer and shorter than it sounds. We still feel very new here—because we haven't done much exploring and hardly know our ward at all (thanks to splitting wards, and then switching stakes, and then suspending church services for COVID)—but we also feel like we've been stuck in this house for a long time.
We moved in on July 3—two years ago now—so it's been nice to mark the day on July 4 the past couple of years. We didn't do very much to mark the day (everything feels a little unexciting lately), but at church the kids had a patriotic primary lesson and Zoë came over to me (because we're still Zooming in over here, much to everyone else's very obvious annoyance (I think we'll be cut off in the next couple of weeks and then...I don't know...we'll go to sacrament meeting and then go home? Like, am I that crazy to want my kids to be vaccinated before we jump into things with both feet again? Evidently...yes)...anyway, when the music leader asked what sorts of fun things the kids were doing for the holiday, Zoë came over to me and said, "Mom, today's a holiday?"
"Yes," I said.
"What are we doing?" she asked.
"Not much," I said.
It's only fair. We didn't do much for Canada Day, either.
"We can put up some decorations!" she suggested.
"Oh, yeah...I don't decorate for this holiday," I said.
I don't decorate for many holidays.
I wonder why holidays so often feel unexciting over here...
Couldn't be me.
Friday, July 02, 2021
"Stress?" he asked.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
I volunteered to do a writing project this summer while I was between terms and it's been a little...agonizing. I don't think I will ever love the paper (or...even...like...the paper) but I think we've almost pulled it together, so that's something. I really should be working on it now because we have two weeks left to finish it, but I'm going to take a little bit of time to do some writing that's...not that.
As a treat.
Somehow we ended up with bread and apples coming out our ears. Andrew does all the grocery shopping at our house, which is wonderful, but sometimes he has a lot going on and gets a little distracted and just...buys things. And then he gets home and I'm like, "Dude! We have a case of apples right here! What are we going to do with that case of apples?!"
Like, I know we have a lot of mouths to feed but there's only so many doctors we need to keep away!
Friday, June 25, 2021
My birthday was on Tuesday and it felt like a somewhat important milestone for me because I thought that turning 36 was what would define me as being of "advanced maternal age," but as it turns out, any pregnancy at age 35 or later is considered a "geriatric pregnancy" so apparently I've been plain old this whole time.
It's kind of strange because I feel no different than I did at 21 when my first OB/GYN called me a "spring chicken." I went from spring chicken to geriatric in 14 short years! Those 14 years flew by.
Rachel, my spring chicken baby, made a birthday cake for me. She carefully researched the most diabetic-friendly cake she could find—a carrot cake (vegetables!) with applesauce (that's healthy, right?) and cream cheese frosting (cheese is protein!). It was a very delicious cake (I had a slice because I technically haven't been diagnosed with gestational diabetes yet, though I'm sure that's coming).
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Before heading home on Friday morning, we stopped by the Tybee Island lighthouse, one of five lighthouses in Georgia. It has quite a history of being built, being knocked down by a storm, being built back up again, being burned down so the Union couldn't take it, being built back up again, being knocked down by a storm, being...
But it's been standing for a long time now!
At 144 feet, it felt a little short to us compared to the North Carolina lighthouses we visited (Cape Hatteras is 210 feet tall, for example), but I guess it's not really that short because there are many, many lighthouses shorter than it.
We didn't pay to go inside (the line was long, the price was pricey) but we did take a few quick pictures!
Usually we make a goal to do a certain number of home-state and out-of-state adventures as a family. We quickly abandoned those goals the first quarter of 2020 and...didn't really set any for 2021. So we decided that while we were on this vacation, hitting multiple of home-state adventures (Ocmulgee, Tybee South, downtown Savannah, Tybee North, UGA aquarium, etc.) we may as well hit an out-of-state adventure, too! After all, we were so close to South Carolina!
Georgia's coastline is only about 100 miles, which sounds small (considering Alaska has about 6640 miles of coastline, North Carolina has about 300), but it's also the 16th longest coastline of any given state and states that I automatically consider "coastal states," like Rhode Island and Delaware, technically have less coastline (at 40 and 28 miles, respectively), though I suppose they have more coastline when you consider their overall size. I had honestly never considered Georgia a coastal state before moving here; I still have trouble considering Alabama a coastal state, but my mom's cousin in Alabama has been posting a ton of articles about Alabama's coastline lately so I guess they are (and looking at a map, this is true—they have about 50 miles of coastline). But when I'm thinking of coastal states I'm never like, "Oh, Alabama. Best beaches!" Nope. Alabama doesn't even cross my mind.
The west coast is easy. California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska. There are no states sticking a sneaky finger into the coastline pie like there are in the east. I'm looking at you, Alabama. And New Hampshire, with your 13 miles. What even is that? Anyway...
To get to South Carolina, all we had to do was cross this bridge over the Savannah River (you might recognize it from our river walk downtown):
Despite feeling sunburnt and beat-up from our long beach excursion on Wednesday, everyone still wanted to go to the beach on Thursday. I thought it best that we take a little bit of a break from the sea and sun (and avoid being at the beach during the hottest part of the day), so we spent the morning at the UGA aquarium.
We only "ate out" twice the entire time we were gone (it's amazing how many times you can fill tummies with PB&J, honestly (or dishonestly sometimes, too...because we forgot to buy jam and only realized it when we were getting ready to head to the beach on Tuesday morning so we sent Zoë and Miriam back down to the breakfast bar to grab a few little tubs of jam...which...I mean...we bought a little jar of jam for Thursday...). Wednesday evening was one of those two times because there was a Cook Out right across the street from our hotel!
We like Cook Out, but there isn't really one close to our house.
Anyway, this Cook Out meal was a little disappointing because (a) their milkshake machine was broken, which meant no milkshakes (I'm trying to be a good pregnant lady and not eat a lot of sweets because I just know I'm going to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes any day now so this was probably good for me, but was disappointing for everyone else) and (b) they forgot to put any sauce in our order and Andrew forgot to ask. So we just ate...plain hush puppies and plain chicken strips.
"We will find dessert!" Andrew promised the kids.
There's this famous ice cream place in historic downtown Savannah called Leopold's. Andrew decided we'd go there. Why not?
So we drove downtown, parked, and started walking toward Broughton Street.
Friday, June 18, 2021
We spent all day Wednesday at North Beach on Tybee Island. It was a lot less windy than it had been on Tuesday evening (which we spent at a more southerly beach on Tybee) and we heard on the news over breakfast that it was because of the big storm that rolled in that evening. I was glad the wind really was atrocious on Tuesday because...it had been a while since we'd made it to the beach...and I couldn't remember if it was always that miserable and I had just been remembering things wrong or what. The sand was stinging our legs as it hit and it was really quite uncomfortable.
But on Wednesday all we had was a lovely sea breeze and the day was perfectly beautiful.
I took a million pictures because (a) we haven't been to the beach in forever and (b) I'm a lot less adventurous when I go to the beach pregnant than when I go to the beach when I'm not so while everyone else was enjoying boogie boarding out in the waves I took a gentler approach...
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Our first stop of the day was actually at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Park, which I will write more about later, I'm sure. For now I will say that they were...hot...and interesting...and hot...and Benjamin's life was made when he got to ask a park ranger how they got their job...and we were all really hot.
I suppose we shouldn't really complain because Salt Lake City hit a record-breaking 106°F today! We were only in the 90s (with something like 97% humidity). So it was hot for us...but not as hot as some places.
What the kids really wanted to do was get to the beach already (but we had to stop for a lunch break somewhere so a picnic at Ocmulgee Mounds it was (safer than attempting a restaurant; not that many dining rooms are open yet)). The whole time we were there the little kids were trying to see the ocean from the tops of the mounds or asking if we were "there" yet, which we weren't, but after a short 2.5 hour drive we finally made it to our "beach hotel."
Alexander seems to be purposely throwing in as many /s/, /sh/, /j/, and /ch/ sounds as he can now that he can actually say those sounds. So our hotel isn't just a hotel. It's a "beach hotel." He's not even disappointed that we're thirty minutes away from the beach. He's just so excited to be here.
He also carefully pointed out each and every "gas station" along the way. Once we passed one and he said, "There's another gas 'tation..." and when he realized he forgot the initial /s/ in 'station,' he just...stuck it on the end. So he ended up sayin, "There's another gas tay-shun...ssss!" He's getting lots of good practice in and we still find it so ridiculously cute whenever he says anything with any of his new sounds.
Anyway, after checking into our "beach hotel" (half an hour away from the beach), we headed to the beach to play until the sun set (completely neglecting to have any dinner). As we were walking across the boardwalk to get to the beach, Alexander saw the ocean and exclaimed, "That's a big river!"
He was very impressed by the ocean (and practiced saying that word a billion times while he was building sand castles).
Here he is being very impressed:
Saturday, June 12, 2021
If my children ever question whether I ever loved them, please remind them that in the summer I routinely let them stay up past their bedtime so I can take them on "firefly walks" in 95% humidity.
It was absolutely sweltering this evening, but after our walk they insisted on staying outside to catch lightning bugs. I didn't take any pictures, so enjoy these pictures from June 8. I think we easily caught twice as many—even three times as many—fireflies as we caught that particular day because the firefly population seems to have exploded since then. The kids were catching fireflies left and right, coming up to me and saying, "Okay—I've got three!" Even Alexander caught several (and he's...not very good...at catching fireflies (though I really think it has more to do with his height than his skill; they so quickly fly out of his reach)).
Benjamin did not wear his flannel onesie this evening (he would have melted), but he was wearing it on June 8:
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
Due to circumstances currently beyond our control, in addition to circumstances we wanted to get control of, we had our first day of school on Monday.
For one thing, we'll be having a baby sometime in November or December (but most likely November (unless I'm jinxing myself because I've never made it to my due date before; but I'll likely be diagnosed with gestational diabetes and then they won't let me go to my due date, anyway, so...it'll most likely be November)) and I imagine we'll want to take some time off then. Probably more than we would, otherwise, at any rate. Especially because I'll be going to school full time, myself.
For another thing, the kids haven't been giving me a moment of peace! There's always a constant stream of them wanting this or that: Play with me. Get me a snack. Read me this book. Look at what I made....
No amount of interacting with them seemed to stem the flow. They just always wanted something.
And while we're not poor, we certainly aren't rich enough to, like, send our kids off to camp for a month (besides which I'd miss them too much; plus there's still a pandemic on (contrary to popular belief)). So they're just home...all the time...and I'm the only one to field their requests and complains and whatever (because somehow the kids all respect Andrew's designated work space and time) and it's been exhausting.
I was thinking about it and I thought, "You know, doing our lessons takes about the same amount of energy from me as fielding their all-day requests. Sure, I spend a few good hours with them—reading and instructing and discussing and playing—but then, once we're finished...they're sick of me. They want to go off and do their own thing, play their own games. And that gives me a few hours to do what I want (and/or need) to do without interruption every five minutes!"
So that's my secondary (somewhat sneaky) reason for starting school so early. But also, it's another pandemic summer and there's little to do with all our unvaccinated little ones and I'm preparing for a maternity leave of sorts (how a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom actually prepares for maternity leave...I don't know...but I imagine it has to look something like front-loading school days).
Anyway, we started school on Monday. And things have been going fairly well. We're reading Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth, which I initially thought was a little...dense...when it arrived (not dense as in 'stupid,' but dense as in...robust...heavy...more cerebral than the kids could manage), even though the recommended grades is 7–12 (which, I realize is more directed at Rachel and Miriam than the younger three, but I figure the younger three can sit through it since I do story time with them at various other times of the day). Anyway, yes, I realize it's recommended for middle school on up. But even then the book just seemed denser when I flipped through it. But it's been a joy to read so far. Even Benjamin likes it.
It's made up of poems and short essays and things like that, so we can pause to talk about things quite easily, which has been great.
Anyway, it's been a wonderful read so far. We're also deep into our math books, with Benjamin learning about angles, and Zoë learning about equations, and the older girls in their algebra and geometry textbooks. Here are the little ones working on their math for the day:
Monday, June 07, 2021
Sunday, June 06, 2021
and, "Ben! You are a super fun dude!"
Friday, June 04, 2021
Yesterday was a pretty great day because in addition to it being Benjamin's birthday, I also got cleared from jury duty, and we got to take our very first firefly walk of the season! I think the kids caught more than a dozen before we headed inside (they're still fairly sparse, but I'm sure there will be more soon).
Here's Benjamin showing off the firefly jar (from yesterday; they were out there again this evening):
Thursday, June 03, 2021
Tuesday, June 01, 2021
We all got out of the house for a little adventure this afternoon. It was like pulling teeth, but we did it! I wanted to do it yesterday but Andrew had put off a project with a deadline of May 31 (which he didn't realize was Memorial Day), and then Rachel had to work this morning and when she came home she immediately started baking Benjamin's birthday cake (which I appreciate) so we had to let her finish that (even though it put us a couple of hours "behind schedule," so to speak (we keep a rather flimsy schedule around here)).
Andrew suggested we could go another day, but I knew Wednesday wouldn't work since that's our busiest weekday, and I honestly don't know whether or not I'll have free time any given day this week (because I'm on call all week). But I did know that I didn't have jury duty today, and that's something, so we headed out.
I had seen a few friends post about Freeman's Mill Park and wanted to check it out for ourselves as a little local adventure (we honestly haven't gone on an adventure in ages). The park is about a half hour away from our house (longer with traffic, of course), and was surprisingly empty (given how crowded the parks closer to our house typically are).
We had fun mis-reading signs along the way. Rachel saw this sign that said, "Well water is used for irrigation" but she read it as, "Well, water is used for irrigation," and it was hilarious (because we find things like that hilarious).
Alexander has had a major breakthrough in his speech!
He started using /s/ spontaneously and organically on Sunday, which was a rather amazing thing! We've been practicing saying /s/ for quite some time now but he's never used it, on his own, in context before. And then on Sunday he was just...throwing /s/ in all over the place. And not just /s/, either. He was also using /ch/ and /j/ and all sorts of sounds that he's simply elided before (or substituted with another sound (usually /b/ or /v/).
I woke up from my nap (*yawn*) and Andrew said, "Watch this! Alexander—tell Mom what you were playing downstairs!"
Alexander mumbled something.
"Say it again," I urged him. "What were you playing downstairs?"
"Dollhouse," he said...with the /s/ (though apparently he wasn't feeling like giving me a full-sentence answer, which is odd because he's a talkative kid).
"You were playing with the dollhouse?"
Later in the afternoon I was playing LEGO with him and he was talking up a storm, throwing in his /s/ sounds all over.
"Don't do it like that. Do it like this!" he'd tell me.
And I'd swoon a little because...this!
"I'm going to build the tower. You build a fence!" he'd say.
And I'd feel all giddy because...fence!
I took all the kids (save Rachel) to the park today and the kids noticed that the bramble berries are starting to ripen. I...don't know what sort of berries they are...precisely...though I think they're more like blackberries than raspberries (because they don't leave behind the inside part when we pick them). In fact, I think they're probably dewberries (which are just...wild blackberries).
Friday, May 28, 2021
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The other day I opened the front door to retrieve a package from the front step and a lizard must have taken that opportunity to dart inside the house because soon after I closed the door I heard Alexander hollering, "There's a lizard in the hallway!"
"What?" Zoë yelled and then her shrieks joined Alexander's hollers. "There's a lizard in the hallway!"
And then Benjamin began bellowing along with them: "There's a lizard in the hallway!"
So apparently there was a lizard in the hallway.
It cornered itself in the pantry and I trapped it under an old Cool Whip container and then we worked a thin piece of cardboard under it, just like we'd do for a bug (though for bugs we often just use paper). I carried it outside and put it in a bucket for the kids to observe for a little while before we set it loose.
For FHE, Andrew decided it was high time the kids got a lecture reminding them of our COVID family motto: We are going to ROT together. Respect. Obedience. Tolerance.
So the kids got a lecture over dinner. I'm not sure it helped because today we ran into the same problem we've been having of me asking the (younger) kids to do things repeatedly and them completely ignoring me until Andrew opens his office door and then they suddenly spring into action. But it was worth a shot.
(And if they don't watch it, I'll get so tired of their behaviour that I'll just start the school year for next year...)
Anyway, when I felt that the lecture had drawn on long enough, I said, "Okay, so we did Dad's idea for family night, but I had a different, funner idea in mind..."
The kids immediately wanted to know what it was.
"Well, we need to finish eating, clean up from dinner, go on a walk, and then...I thought we could all go down to the basement and..."
"Clean it?" Rachel moaned. "How is that any more fun than Dad's idea. Like, I'd rather endure another lecture than clean the basement tonight..."
"Build a LEGO train together?" I suggested. "I thought we could each make a train car that represents us and then make a little stop motion movie of our train rolling along."
The kids agreed that this idea actually did sound like quite a lot of fun, so that's just what we did. It took us far too long—we were still finishing our creations at 9:00—and Alexander ended up having a complete meltdown about having to go to bed before we made the movie, but really I think it was better that we made the movie after we put the youngest three to bed. At any rate it was a lot less chaotic.
Here's our finished movie (which I'm sure I'll talk more about later):
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
The pool has been lovely the last couple of days! It's warm enough that getting in isn't painful and cool enough that getting in feels refreshing, so it's just about perfect. The little ones have been making great improvements with their swimming skills.
Here's a few pictures of Benjamin lounging around like a lazy bum (on a little raft we found floating in the pool; it's not ours), but really he's been working hard on both his front crawl and backstroke:
Not last night but the night before I was ripped from my sleep when the pad-mounted transformer in our front yard exploded/blew/failed. Whatever it did, there was a tremendous bang and a flash of light and our windows were open and I'm a pretty light sleeper and...it was a terrifying way to wake up.
I quickly identified the sound as a failed transformer (though I didn't know it was our transformer until later) because, well, the power had gone out. So I figured I may as well go to sleep (there's not a whole lot to be done in these scenarios). I was just about calm when I heard the thunderous pitter-patter of little feet followed by a frantic banging on my bedroom door.
Evidently the boom of the transformer blowing had woken up Alexander as well.
Here he is talking about his point of view in the morning. He explains all about how he couldn't find the doorknob because it was night and the power had gone out and so he felt confused (listen for the second time he says confused (at the very end of the clip); I can't get over how adorable he is).
He got to sleep in our bed.
Monday, May 24, 2021
As I mentioned, Rachel made Zoë's birthday cake again this year. From scratch, of course, because that's how she rolls. We haven't had cake from a mix in ages! Rachel believes this is her most elegant-looking cake to date.
Zoë requested a mermaid cake, so Rachel made a lovely blue cake, made a wave of flowers on it, and added some chocolate seashells and mermaid tails (that she molded herself and then dusted with gold using the new foodgrade air brush set Auntie K sent her for her birthday, which isn't technically until July...but Kelli knew Rachel could get a jumpstart in using it if she sent it early).
Here's Rachel placing the chocolate (they're really candy melts, not chocolate) embellishments:
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Today's the day! At long last, Zoë finally turned six years old! She's been looking forward to this day for a long time. It was a pretty good day for her but she's disappointed that (a) she has no wiggly teeth yet (she checked each and every one of them this morning), and (b) we won't be starting our new school year tomorrow (though if she really wants to get started I don't have a problem letting her break in a few of her workbooks; the other kids aren't ready to dive back in, however).