Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Rachel is 14!!

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 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!

Rachel baked her own cake on Sunday—a chocolate one, in support of my gestational diabetes. I am somewhat allergic to chocolate (truthfully I've never been tested, but both my brothers have and they had reactions to chocolate and since I have adverse reactions to chocolate I figure I simply don't have to be tested at this point; kind of like I haven't actually been tested for gestational diabetes yet (that's tomorrow—oh, boy!) but, like, basically I can assume that I have no cake for me...because things like fruit and whole-grain bread or pasta are enough to shoot my sugars through the roof).

Miriam had wanted to make Rachel's cake, but since she's new to making cakes she wanted to use a cake mix, something Rachel considers anathema to the baking world. So Rachel baked the cake and made the icing and did the crumb coat. But she (mostly) let Miriam decorate it with Oreos (it was a cookies'n'cream themed cake). The girls decorated it last night before they went to bed.

I'm including a lot of pictures of her cake here because she likes to document her baking adventures and I'm the only one who took pictures of the cake this evening:

It was a pretty solid cake because this particular piece was dropped on the table while making its way from the cake platter to the plate. And then was deposited on Alexander's (plastic) plate by mistake because Andrew didn't realize was Alexander's plate. Obviously that is far too much cake for Alexander, so it was then dumped from Alexander's plate onto a glass plate to be handed to an older child and after all that the cake somehow still managed to look good.

Here we all are getting ready to sing to Rachel and dig into her cake:

Here's Andrew working hard to light all those many candles (fourteen of them?!?!):

Here are the kids gathering around to sing and give Rachel some birthday (more) wishes:

Here's Rachel laughing because one of the kids did something silly, which made her laugh...and accidentally snuffed out several candles:

And here's Andrew rushing to get them all relit before we finished singing:

Here's Rachel pretending to blow out her candles again after I missed capturing the moment she actually blew them out:

Rachel's old enough now that her birthday gifts aren't very surprising. Instead they were selected from a carefully curated list. But that's totally fine with me because that means I didn't waste any money getting something she doesn't like. 

Miriam got Rachel a set of Russian piping tips, which includes a tricolour coupler, which Rachel was particularly excited about:

Between this and the airbrush my sister got for her (but sent early so she could use it for Miriam and Benjamin's cakes), she can't wait for another birthday so she can do more baking!

Her Young Women leader got her The Little Women Cookbook, with a cover that matches the cover the replacement volume of Little Women we gave her for Christmas because she (and Miriam) had read her old copy so many times that it had completely fallen apart. She was very excited about it (as was Miriam) and is already plotting out dinners she wants to make, so I have no complaints about it either!

When Andrew handed it to her from the pile he said, "Oooh! This one feels like underwear! Let's see who it's from. Oh. Sister Dallin. I retract the underwear comment. That would be awkward. Plus this feels nothing like underwear. You know what? Just go ahead and open it. Here."

It was pretty funny!

The rest of the family got Rachel some new fairy lights for her bedroom (since her old ones stopped working), as well as a couple of book sets that she's been pining over (but which are so popular at the library that she was, like, 63rd in line when we tried to put it on hold (which means waiting something like 1323 days)...and then it's hard to control whether you'll get to access the books in the order they're intended to be read). 

She also got a gift card from Naanii and Bumpa and some birthday money from Grandpa, so she's pretty well set to buy whatever she wants but didn't get.

Here's everyone else watching Rachel open her gifts...

Alexander, with his head being kicked by Baby #6:

Alexander with his head not being kicked by Baby #6:

And here are Miriam, Zoë, and Benjamin watching with verifiable interest:

It's hard to believe this amazing girl has been with us for 14 years! We'll get to her birthday balloons soon (we just put them up as part of our Family Night yesterday), but in the meantime I'll just say that she is a wonderful, wonderful human being. She is kind and thoughtful, talented and passionate. We love her to pieces!

Happy birthday, Rachel!

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