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).
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Friday, May 21, 2021
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Sometimes we get a little behind schedule. For example, today is the day I finally got around to making Alexander's birthday poster. It's taken us a while to get these posters up before...but never 3.5 years! At least we'll be able to fill his frames (that have been diligently hanging (empty) on our walls for nearly two years) before his fourth birthday!
I'm not sure it's perfect, but it's done, and I've been working hard to learn that done is often better than perfect because perfect often means nothing and usually something is better than nothing. Alexander is very excited about the prospect of having something of himself on the wall next to his siblings.
There are other times, however, when we're well ahead of schedule!
Take this weekend, for example, when Grandpa suggested that we celebrate Zoë's birthday a week early. How's that for timely?!
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Monday, May 10, 2021
Grandpa promised the kids that once he was fully vaccinated he'd come out to visit them; they've been looking forward to "May" for weeks upon weeks for this very reason! Well, Grandpa's fully vaccinated now (as is Daddy, and I just had my second shot this morning so I'm two weeks away from being considered fully vaccinated myself) and his plane touched down on Saturday the 8th.
Alexander and Zoë were so excited that they set out "Grandpa outfits" on their floor the night before so that they could be sure to look extra wonderful when Grandpa arrived. Then they—along with Benjamin—slept on their bedroom floor because they were too excited for beds.
Friday, May 07, 2021
Thursday, May 06, 2021
Even though we started our school year in July we didn't take our "back-to-school" pictures until August when everyone else started their school year. Today we took our "last day of school" pictures, though the public school kids won't do that for a few more weeks.
We have a ton of cord left over so we'll probably be doing some more weaving at some later date, though for now I think all our basket-weaving desires have been fulfilled.
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
I took Benjamin to the library today—his first time being in any public building (other than the dentist's and doctor's offices) since last March. And maybe I shouldn't have taken him, but it was a pretty low-contact trip. He needed to do some browsing so he could choose something to read because I just haven't been choosing books that suit his "vibe" lately. Plus, it's been raining non-stop for two days and (a) that child needed to get out of the house and (b) everyone else needed that child to get out of the house. So, to the library it was!
I warned him that we wouldn't be able to just waltz on in, that we'd have to stop for a temperature check first, but it seems like they abandoned that practice sometime between my last visit and this one. Here's Benjamin in the stacks looking for books that Alexander might like:
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
It's our last week of the school year! Initially I told the kids that we would just hang out at the pool all day (since we've completely run out of curriculum and the kids aren't ready to dive into next year quite yet), but we had a huge storm system move through today and it was...dark and stormy...all day. It was pouring rain for hours upon hours. Thunder, lightning, the whole nine yards. We couldn't even safely go outside to splash in the puddles.
So instead we tried our hands at basket weaving.
We ordered this kit a while ago (around Easter) but it's just been sitting around waiting for Mommy to feel patient enough to get into it. I turned in my final paper last night and woke up this morning feeling quite a bit more patient than I have in several weeks (correlation or causation?) and since we needed to eat up our day with something I thought it would be a good day for basket weaving.
I should mention that I ordered a kit that came with four bases, which is clearly one too few bases for the number of children in our family. I can't remember how I rationalized this at the time of purchase. Did I think to myself obviously not all the children are capable of weaving a basket so they'll be happy to share with each other! That sounds a little naive... Or did I think that the kit came with five bases? Or did I figure we'd be industrious enough to make another base by ourselves? I don't know what I was thinking, but when the kids pointed out there were only four bases...but five children...I said, "Well, that's because basket weaving is only part of today's educational journey. The first part is a battle to the death. Survivors get to make a basket. Losers..."
Alexander disappeared upstairs and returned a few minutes later with a (fake, plastic, annoying, got-it-in-a-box-of-hand-me-downs-and-now-he-sleeps-with-it) knife.
"I've got my fighting weapon," he announced, waving his knife around. "Where's your fighting weapon, Mom? Where's your fighting weapon, Rachel? How come no one has a fighting weapon?"
So we had to explain that we weren't actually going to have a battle to the death over basket weaving supplies. We were going to share with and help each other. Because evidently that needed to be explained (because the three-year-old weirdly doesn't pick up on sarcasm yet).
One day...when that knife is not so closely guarded...it will disappear.
Monday, May 03, 2021
Yesterday when dinner was busy cooking away in our InstantPot(s) and everyone was busy setting the table for dinner, Alexander kept mysteriously appearing with his mouth full of food.
"What are you eating?" I asked him.
"Potatoes," he said with bulging cheeks.
"Potatoes?" I wondered.
We were indeed having potatoes for dinner, but they were cooking in the aforementioned InstantPot and were not ready for consumption.
"How could he be eating potatoes?" I asked Andrew. "He's not...getting into the garbage...do you think?"
Andrew had put potato peelings in the garbage...
We were still wondering about what Alexander could be eating when he showed up with another mouthful of food.
"What are you eating?" Andrew asked.
"Muh-hrm-murh-hmm," Alexander mumbled.
"What's in your mouth?" Andrew asked. "Open up."
Alexander quickly chewed, swallowed, and then opened up his mouth to reveal...an empty mouth.
"What was in there?" Andrew asked.
"Potatoes!" Alexander said.
"What potatoes?!" Andrew asked.
"The potatoes," Alexander said.
"Can you show us where you are finding these potatoes?"
Alexander led us to the kitchen, straight to a container of...cherry tomatoes.
"Someone left it open," he shrugged.
So, he'd been eating (unwashed) cherry tomatoes, not potato peelings from the garbage, which I honestly think is probably better for him (not that potato peelings are necessarily bad either, but they are when they've been in the garbage with everything else (for example, the packaging from raw hamburger (because the other InstantPot had meatloaf in it))).
Saturday, May 01, 2021
The kids have been having a Harry Potter marathon of sorts, with four of them reading the series at once. They started on April 20 and there were tears when Benjamin walked in on all three of his sisters with the first book open in their laps. I had been going to ask him to practice the piano just then, but he ran past me (sobbing), burst into his room, and slammed the door.
I followed him upstairs and knocked quietly on his door, entering only when I heard his muffled, "Come in."
He was furiously reading a copy of Harry Potter in his bed.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY DIDN'T TELL ME WE WERE STARTING!!" he cried. "I have to catch up! I have to win! They're all a bunch of cheaters!"
I let him have some calming-down reading time and then his sisters clarified that this marathon was more of a journey than a race. Rachel and Miriam had decided they wanted to read it along with Zoë, who is reading it through for the first time by herself, and Benjamin decided he wanted to tag along on this journey as well (mistaking it for a competition). He's definitely winning because Zoë is reading at her own pace and Rachel and Miriam are managing quite a few other side projects, while Benjamin is plowing through at break neck speed.
He wants to beat his last record for reading through the series (which is something like eight months, he told me) and considering he's already on book five or six, I think he'll definitely achieve a new personal record in this department.
Here are Benjamin, Rachel, and Zoë reading in the music room (without being mad at each other):