Thursday, September 23, 2021
I feel like all I do is count things and record things lately.
Pregnancy: 30 weeks along. 10 weeks left until my due date. 9 weeks until my induction date. Fingers crossed we don't even hit that date because I'd prefer not to be induced. But we also want to make it to at least make it until November 11 (37 weeks).
Blood sugars: Fasting number upon waking up. Two hours after breakfast. Two hours after lunch. Two hours after dinner.
Food: Measuring carbs, measuring proteins, checking all nutrition labels.
Exercise: At least thirty minutes a day. If I can't squeeze in time on the bike or a short walk or some "Ring Fit" after eating, a few leg lifts, knee lifts, arm circles, cow pose, etc. goes a long way.
Homeschool: Which child is on what lesson in any given subject? Are we as far as we should be to rationalize taking time off when the baby gets here? I think so, given that Zoë has only a few pages left in her math curriculum...for the entire year. As she says, "I'm just rocketing through this!" I have a backup curriculum for her to do. But is everyone else keeping up? I have an excel spreadsheet and haven't been great at filling it in. Mostly I feel like, yes! Yes! We are all rocketing through our given curricula. There aren't a lot of notes to take...yet I feel obligated to fill out the spreadsheet (which no one besides myself will ever see).
Bills: How close am I to meeting my deductible? Did I pay the laboratory fees here? Did I pay the doctor's office there? Why did the hospital charge me full price for that nutrition class (that I had to take) and then give me a credit of $400 because as it turns out my insurance really does cover the class? Why is a 3-hour class over $500 in the first place?! I suppose they can just sit on that money. We'll consider it a deposit for future events.
Classes: Project due on Monday. Quiz due the Tuesday. Lecture on Wednesday. Paper due Sunday. Responses to classmates due Tuesday. Presentation due Sunday. Wash, rinse, repeat (in various iterations since there are three separate syllabi I'm juggling) weekly.
School in general: Plan next semester's coursework. What classes will I take? Figure out my advisory committee. Turn in my program of study. Fill out this paper work and that paperwork.
Work: Meeting on Wednesdays. Update social media. Remind everyone of various dates. This is due October 31. That is due November 6. This is due November 22. That is due December 6. Somewhere in there my own baby is due and I'll have to keep reminding people—hundreds of people!—to stick to these deadlines. But no pressure. It'll be fine.
We're coming up on the halfway point of the semester—suddenly, already—and so far I've felt like this is manageable, but for whatever reason this week is crushing me and I'm just so tired.
And this doesn't count piano lessons or laundry or tidying up, or any number of things.
Counting library books, for instance. Our books are due tomorrow so I've got to get those sorted out.
Oh, 10:00! Time for my prescribed evening snack.
I'd love to stay and chat but I have to go measure out my popcorn and nuts.
With how precisely I'm running my life by the clock, I feel like I'm living in Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane....I could use a Mary Poppins.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
After a lengthy labour (mentioned the other day), our newest little cousin has arrived on the scene (and she's so sweet)! David and Ruth were a little concerned about how she keeps twisting onto her side to sleep (you're supposed to put babies on their backs to sleep!) so I sent them a few pictures of our kids sleeping the very same way.
Look at these cousins sleeping virtually identically 14 years apart!
Anyway, I'm so excited for David and Ruth to be parents. They're going to have so much fun!
(I should also mention that these sweet little sleepers were also both 7 lbs. 7 ounces (and Rachel has been my only dark-haired baby) so they're alike in more than one way!)
Monday, September 20, 2021
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Drizzly weather meant that we had the park mostly to ourselves. We first went on a long walk through the woods and then stopped to play at various playgrounds on our way back to the car. While the kids played, I read articles and wrote (which honestly has been a dream of mine since starting grad school, though the dream involves a little more afternoon sunshine than afternoon showers, but I guess that doesn't matter because the dream is hardly ever realized, anyway). That's another perk to having pool season be over and playground season begin; there are more opportunities for "the dream."
Today I only had Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander, who insisted on dressing up as an owl even though it was nearly 80°F! He had on that darling (if I do say so, myself) crochet had and his hood the entire afternoon until he got so flushed that I forced him out of it.
Friday, September 17, 2021
On Wednesday I washed all the pool towels and all the swimsuits and put them away.
I'd washed them periodically throughout the summer, of course, but never all at once, and never with the intention of putting them away until "next year."
So I guess fall is really upon us.
The pool doesn't technically close until Sunday, but knowing the weather forecast for the rest of this week ("cold" and rainy), we called Tuesday our last day of the pool season and convinced Daddy to take a couple hours off of work to come swimming with us (since he hadn't been to the pool with us since May).
Zoë and Benjamin have both finished their primer levels of piano and have moved on to level 1. We've also moved on to Christmas music (because things take time to learn and they always want to learn a lot of Christmas music). However, with Halloween coming up first, Zoë has taken to transposing her pieces into a minor key...so it sounds spooooooky.
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
I'm a little exhausted today. Part of me is trying to figure out why I can hardly keep my eyes open (and why I couldn't remember where I left my glasses after I took them off to do some hip-opening exercises...which will be explained later). The other part of me knows that (1) I've been fretting about my sweet sister-in-law all day today (and all day yesterday, honestly...which may also be explained later), and (2) we had an unusually busy day today.
Unlike Sleeping Beauty, who falls asleep because she pricks her finger...I wake up in order to prick my finger at the same time...every day. So I got up at my very usual time and had my very usual breakfast and then started in on our very usual homeschool routine before leaving the kids with a list of things to accomplish while I went to my weekly zoom meeting for work (10 am).
Then I bustled downstairs to knock out some math with the little ones, who still need a bit of direct instruction before getting started on that subject (the older girls seem to do fine on their own and I'm fine with them being fine because that's largely how I got through math—reading a textbook and working through problems until I understood it (only I didn't have Khan Academy or YouTube or a father who was a statistician to fall back on when I got stuck (though I did have a mathematician uncle (but only after we moved to Utah)))).
Then I quickly made myself my usual lunch (never deviating from meals means no surprise blood sugar numbers, but also that I wish I could eat everything else under the sun, which is ironic because I know that after the baby's born, you know what I'll crave when I'm hungry? My "usual" meals, of course, no matter how sick of them I become before she gets here). Oh, I switch up vegetables and things...but the carbs and proteins remain the same.
Anyway, scarfed that, asked the older girls to help the younger kids get their lunches ready and then zipped out the door to my doctor's appointment (12:30).
It was supposed to be on Thursday, with an ultrasound for a growth check (because gestational diabetes requires it) but the ultrasound technician was going to be out that day, so my appointment was moved to today at the last minute.
Baby's doing great; they guess she's about 2 lbs. Everything's developing normally, I have a lovely amount of amniotic fluid. But...she's breech...silly kid. She had been vertex (head down) at my last scan, but she's adorably transverse, so I'm doing a number of exercises to encourage her to flip around again and drop into a more presentable position (thus the reason I took off my glasses this evening and then...like...where did I put them?! (but don't worry; I found them)).
These exercises are in addition to my post-prandial thanks-for-eating-this-life-sustaining-energy-source-now-quick-burn-it-all-off-before-it-kills-you exercises.
Good thing there's a baby at the end of this. Look at her being all adorable:
Monday, September 13, 2021
Andrew teaches in-person on Mondays, which means he *gulp* leaves the house. This has been somewhat of an adjustment for our household and poor Alexander still can't understand why Dad ever leaves to go anywhere because for most of his memory everyone has just always been home. There have only been three Mondays so far this semester so it's still a relatively new change. I'm sure we'll get used to it.
This morning all the boys were awake when it was time for Andrew to leave for campus (the girls, as far as we know, were all still sleeping, though it's also possible they simply hadn't emerged from the basement yet (Zoë for sure was still asleep)), so Andrew gathered our small group together to have a partial-family prayer before he left for the day. He asked Benjamin to say it, so Benjamin did.
"...and please help dad have a good time traveling..." Benjamin said.
"TIME TRAVELING!?!?!" Alexander exclaimed, his jaw just about dropping to the floor.
"...to work," Benjamin finished, annoyed at the interruption.
When Andrew left the house he said, "Goodbye! See you last week!" The boys thought that was funny. At least, Benjamin did. Alexander probably just played along (because there are a lot of things he doesn't get but pretends to).
Still, having a time traveling father is pretty neat, I guess.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
I forced the kids outside to play last Saturday morning.
Playing outside in the summer really is uncomfortable here. It's just so hot and humid. But the weather has turned to be quite decent and I wanted them outside. And, naturally, once they were outside we couldn't convince them to come back in again...
Benjamin found a praying mantis, which he wanted to keep and observe for a while:
The weather is getting cooler, which means our pool days are rapidly coming to a close. Today I asked the kids if they wanted to go to the pool but it was only in the 70s so they opted not to. It's an understandable decision but it does make me long for just a few more summer days (which I think we'll get next week, if we're lucky).
I was especially grateful for the pool yesterday when I was in such intense pain that I could hardly walk. My lower back and my hips and my pelvis were all so sore! Being in the pool took all the weight off my poor joints and I was able to walk around a bit. I was worried that this was just what the third trimester of a geriatric pregnancy was going to feel like, but I think what really happened was that I just overdid things on the exercise bike Wednesday evening.
My one synchronous (but still online) class meets Wednesdays at 5:30, but I have to eat dinner by 5:00, but then I also have to exercise, so in an effort to cram in enough exercise I put the tension on the exercise bike a little higher than I usually do and...I think that was a bad idea.
I'm feeling much better today, with just the regular discomforts of pregnancy rather than hardly being able to move. I was wondering how I'd even survive the next couple of months without the pool, but as it turns out, I think I'll manage. Still, I'm a little sad to say goodbye to the pool.
Anyway, here are the kids resting on the side of the pool:
Tuesday, September 07, 2021
As a member of the ward activities committee responsible for ward dinners, I soon learned that after accepting an assignment some people would come through and others would not. If we were planning a dinner, it was important to know who to assign to make the main dish, who to ask to bring side dishes or desserts, and who had better be on the potato chip committee.You see, as long as you have the main dish and the desserts, you can have a successful ward social. Potato chips on the other hand are nice to have, but if they do not show up the ward social is not a disaster.When we profess to be on the Lord’s side, I suspect we need to ask ourselves “Am I on the main dish, side dish or potato chip committee?”
To borrow from D&C 84:109–110 (which in turn, of course, borrows from 1 Corinthians, but we're studying D&C this year so I'll go with that) I think a better perspective is to allow:
...every [dish to] stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the [casserole] say unto the [potato chips] it hath no need of the [potato chips]; for without the [potato chips] how shall the body be able to stand?...the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect.
Once upon a time (not too long ago), I signed up to take dinner to someone in the ward and, lo, the very day of my assignment (that, granted, I volunteered for), our breaker box essentially...died...and while we had an electrician make an emergency house call, restoring limited electricity to our house (before they came back to replace/update the breaker box the next day), we couldn't run any major appliances (so the oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, etc. were all out of commission).
Using those appliances risked burning our entire house down (I slept well that night, let me tell you).
So we just ordered pizza and sent it to their house.
Like a lousy bag of potato chips...
Or was that a main dish effort? I honestly can't decide. Both? Neither?
I'm going to go with neither.
I was simply a human doing her best under the circumstances (which doesn't look like my best under other circumstances; and which probably doesn't look like your best at all). Ordinarily we do the whole home-cooked meal, with freshly-baked cookies, personally delivered (with hats and a handmade card because we forgot how people socialize and are we over doing this?).
But this other time (years ago now), I was going through a hard time. Our van had just been totaled and my sweet visiting teacher called and said to not worry about a thing because she was going to bring dinner over.
And she did!
She showed up at my front door...with a store-bought, frozen lasagna.
I thanked her for being so thoughtful, then closed the door and crumpled to the floor crying (with laughter and frustration) because...it wasn't just that our van that had been totaled. Our oven also was broken (along with what felt like everything else in our house/life) and we really could have done with a hot'n'ready meal that particular evening. I stuffed the lasagna into our freezer and then I think we probably had peanut butter and jam sandwiches for dinner (because we were poor, had no transportation, and no stove/oven).
So was she a main dish...or a potato chip?
Again, I'm going to go with neither.
She was simply a human doing her best under the circumstances, which I know didn't look like her best under other circumstances. When this happened she had toddler twins and was in the middle of moving. So I think she did great and still appreciate her to this day (because she's amazing). We ate the lasagna later (after we got a new oven) and were thankful for it.
But it doesn't change the fact that sometimes (always?) our best efforts fall short of what was required or expected...and, like, that's okay. In fact, I think that (our incessant failures) is what God expects from us. And I think there's a plan for that. I think God likes potato chips. He probably crunches them up and sprinkles them on top of his cheesy casserole and together they become *chef's kiss!*
So bring me your casseroles, your jello salads, your crinkly bags of potato chips yearning to be free!
Come as you are, bring what you've got, and together...let's eat.
Monday, September 06, 2021
I got my first paycheck this past week, which was kind of a surreal feeling. Like, I knew I was working before, but it just felt like...something I was doing...not like I was actually working. Getting that paycheck really drove home the point that I have an actual job.
Kinda wish I could set up direct deposit, but we'll work that out later.
For my job, I recently created a beautiful little "call for articles" advertisement, which I sent out on our listserv of a thousand or so people, which felt like kind of a big deal. Like, I've sent emails to a hundred people on the regular (I've managed our "family" listserv, so to speak, for the last decade) but never to nearly a thousand.
It felt kind of like handling a large wad of cash for the first time. Only emails.
"Imagine if it had a typo!" Rachel mused at dinner when I was sharing this recent accomplishment.
"Oh, that's the best part!" I said, laughing. "It did!"
Like, we're the department of language and literacy and I wrote the email and proofed it and sent it to my supervisor to have them read and proof it and we both missed my mistake, which is...super cool. Luckily, I was able to fix the mistake before I sent it to the department secretary to have her blast it to her even bigger listserv.
Friday, September 03, 2021
Last night Zoë begged me to put curlers in her hair, so I did. It really wasn't half as bad as I thought it was going to be because I'm used to Miriam wanting curly hair and Miriam has a lot of hair—it's long and it's dense. Like, there's just a whole lot of it. Putting it up in curlers takes ages. But although Zoë's hair is long, she doesn't have a lot of it, so it only took a few curlers.
After sleeping on those curlers all night, she was pleased as punch to have curly hair today...for the few hours she had curly hair. Curly hair during pool season isn't the best idea when your hair is hopelessly straight. So we took a few pictures before Zoë jumped in and ruined her curls:
Last week Benjamin figured out how to dive from the diving board; this week Miriam and Zoë figured out how to dive from the diving board. So the kids thought it would be great to redo their sequential diving act. You know, now that they all know how to dive!
It didn't go off as they planned, however, because Benjamin developed a little case of the yips.
Thursday, September 02, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Saturday, August 28, 2021
This morning at the breakfast table, Alexander was making faces and growling at Zoë.
Zoë said, "And this is exactly why eating breakfast with you is not always pleasant, Alexander."
Alexander pouted and said, "Zoë, that hurts my feelings!"
And I thought to myself: This. This is a perfect example of how difficult it is to be kind.
Who was in the right here and who was in the wrong?
Alexander wasn't targeting Zoë with the faces he was pulling and the growlings he was making. He was simply being...weird. But the sounds and faces were making Zoë feel uncomfortable (and in all honesty they were rather unpleasant), so she expressed her discomfort in what I thought was a rather eloquent, calm, and patient manner. Still, Alexander felt slighted.
So Zoë felt Alexander was being unkind by being an unpleasant breakfast companion (growling and making faces) while Alexander felt Zoë was being unkind by calling him out for being unpleasant (because his unpleasantness wasn't directed at her; it simply was).
Now, could she have simply tolerated his behaviour? Certainly.
Doesn't he deserve to exercise his face muscles, his vocal cords, his personhood?
Oh, but doesn't she also deserve to have a pleasant breakfast experience?
If this anecdote from my breakfast table—a quibble over such inconsequential, unimportant matters—is so complicated, imagine how complicated life is. In a word: very. Life is very complicated and it can be so hard to suss out who is in the right, who is in the wrong, who deserves our trust, who doesn't. It's hard to understand the motives behind everyone's actions, it's hard to know—and impossible to meet—everyone's expectations, especially when fairness and kindness come into play.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
I had a Zoom meeting today with a party who shall remain nameless, but with whom I am required to work professionally. It was a rather pointless meeting overall; I feel like I walked away with about the same amount of knowledge as I had going into the meeting. I'm sure we'll work together just fine, even though it felt like we both wanted to drop the Southern phrasal guillotine "Bless your heart!" on each other.
The meeting was short—about twenty minutes long—and about halfway through, the other party asked me, "Do you have access to the internet?"
I hesitated before answering her question because...we were currently using the internet to communicate.
"Yes..." I said.
"Have you read it?" she asked.
"Have I...read...the internet?" I asked to make sure I had heard her correctly.
We finally made it to the pool again today (after suffering through more rainy days than we would have liked) and got some good playing in, along with a decent amount of swimming practice.
Alexander has been a rather reluctant back floater. He's good at it; he just refuses to hold his float for any considerable length of time. He'd much rather be diving under the water (he spends as much time as possible with his face under the water). Today I suggested the kids have a back float contest and...I'm not saying that Alexander is competitive, or anything, but...those words were magic. He floated for forever, just humming happily to himself.
He ended up getting fourth place (beating Rachel), but in all honesty it was a rather pointless competition since these kids of mine can float for practically forever. Still, it was exciting to see Alexander hold a back float for so long!
Here's a picture of me trying to convince him to work on his back float while he kept stubbornly sinking under the water...
Monday, August 23, 2021
We were doing a video call with my mom when my dad entered the room.
"Oh, look! It's Grandpa!" my mom said.
Now, I can't remember when or why my kids started calling him Bumpa. One of them wasn't able to pronounce Grandpa, I think. And then they all just started calling him Bumpa. I think it stuck because my mom goes by Naanii, so Bumpa seemed like a logical companionship to that name, whereas Andrew's dad, who was also called Bumpa for a time, morphed back into Grandpa when the child who couldn't say Grandpa learned to say Grandpa (because we still called Karen Grandma, so it was always Grandma and Grandpa).
Long story short: My kids consider my dad to be Bumpa, not Grandpa.
The youngest children are particularly strict about this distinction, so Alexander said, "You know his name is not Grandpa! His name is Bumpa! But I have another grandpa that is on my dad's..."
At this point I melted, thinking that Alexander was going to say "side of the family," a rather complicated concept for such a little guy to make—knowing which relatives belong to which parent.
"...phone!" Alexander finished.
He has another grandpa on his dad's...phone.
It was a hilarious way for him to distinguish where he "keeps" his grandparents. Like, Mom has the "Naanii & Bumpa App" on her phone and Dad has the "Grandpa App" on his phone and we can just ring them up whenever we want to, immediately providing an indulging, admiring audience for whom he can perform his every whim.
Even though I'm sure relatives sometimes feel more theoretical than actual to Alexander's young mind, I'm grateful for the technology that allows us to so easily speak with and see each other. I'm sure he has a much better conception of who his grandparents are than I had at that age (because what I had was a disembodied voice on a telephone line; but only ever for a brief hello because long distance charges).
We're really lucky.
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Friday, August 20, 2021
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Monday, August 16, 2021
The kids enjoyed their Christmas recital so much that they immediately made plans to hold a spring recital. And then spring came and went but we didn't get around to holding a recital. And then we thought, perhaps, a mid-summer recital...but, here we are with fall rapidly approaching and obviously we still haven't done anything.
It was high time to retire some of these pieces but I simply don't have the wherewithal to put together a synchronous virtual recital right now, so we settled on an asynchronous virtual recital. Further, Rachel and Miriam weren't feeling quite ready for this (I think they had been ready earlier in the year, but then they moved on from those pieces and want to finish learning their current pieces) so they'll have a senior piano recital a little later.
We'll also be posting an encore junior recital in the near future because we learned that if the computer goes to sleep while we're recording the microphone (which is plugged into the computer) also goes to sleep, so we missed recording a duet by Benjamin and me, another of Benjamin's song, and Alexander pretending that he's also a part of things.
Without further ado, here are three of Benjamin's songs...
Bells of Great Britain:
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Friday, August 13, 2021
With public schools being back in session, our community pool has cleared right out. Now when we go we usually have it all to ourselves (sometimes there's another person or two using it). Today was mostly an all-to-ourselves day!
Now, ordinarily, having lots of friends to play with at the pool might be fun, but these aren't ordinary times, so we're glad for the space to splash and play at our leisure without worrying about social distancing. We did, however, find one friend at the pool today who we're fairly sure was safe. I mean, its skin may release toxic skin secretions, but that's mostly only a problem if you don't wash your hands before you pick your nose...and we were at the pool where there was plenty of water.
Yes, Benjamin found a Cope's grey treefrog clinging to the side of the pool.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Whenever I finish a photo book I tend to feel a little nostalgic for a while; it's both beautiful and heartrending for me to scroll through all...hundred thousand (or more ?)...pictures that we've taken over the years. Inside those many, many bits and bytes are memories of my big kids as babies (and they were all such sweet babies), of the adventures we've taken, the places we've lived, people we've loved...and people we've lost. Our successes and failures are recorded in those pictures.
One picture that I came across yesterday while I was hunting for orange pictures was a picture of little Rachel, who had scribbled all over herself with orange felt pen (marker). It was washable. It wasn't a big deal. But in this picture she is crying. And I know it's because I chided her too harshly.
I mean, I'm kind of a big "we colour on paper" kind of mom. But still...she was just a baby.
I wasn't a perfect mom (I'm still not).
So plenty of my failures are recorded in those pictures as well.
But I'm so grateful for all those many, many pictures we have. Name a single generation that has that sort of gift—to look back visually on practically every day of their life. At times, for some, it might be considered a curse, I'll grant you that. But mostly I think it's beautiful.
So it was serendipitous that our lesson for church on Sunday was on journaling (something you may have guessed I'm also fond of). We're currently covertly video-calling into our ward (with permission), since Zoom access has been disbanded, since the pandemic is "over" (but only over-not-over as we're learning; we had a lovely couple of weeks this summer with numbers in the hundreds, though we're now back up in the thousands, on par with the "first wave" and quickly gaining on the second), so I'm the Primary/Young Women/Sunday School/Relief Society teacher for our little class. (Andrew is the organist, so he's going in person; Rachel is vaccinated and the YW class president, so she's been going as well; I'm vaccinated but (a) I have four unvaccinated children, two of whom fall into the "pre-existing condition" classification we so easily write off in our society, and (b) I'm pregnant and thus more high risk). Anyway...
I got to sit and teach my kids about the importance of record-keeping for an hour. And it was great! At least...I thought so.
Monday, August 09, 2021
Yesterday while I was taking a nap Andrew watched The Prince of Egypt with the kids.
Alexander was shook.
That part at the beginning when all the babies are being rounded up and...disposed of? Horrifying.
"Why are they doing this?" he demanded to know.
"Because a prophesy said that one of the babies would free the slaves," Andrew began to explain.
"What?" Alexander asked. "Why? I don't understand. Why would Prophesy say that sort of thing? Why would Prophesy choose a baby? I mean, a baby can't even hold sharp scissors!"
"Sharp scissors?" Andrew wondered.
"To free the slaves!" Alexander said. "You're gonna need sharp scissors for that!"
"A baby can't even hold sharp scissors! It's not allowed! Prophesy doesn't know very much about babies!"
He continued to mutter random things about Prophesy (who he seems to believe is a person) and sharp scissors under his breath for the rest of the day.
And forget the part where they load Moses into a basket to float him down the Nile.
"This seems like a very bad idea..." according to Alexander.
Saturday, August 07, 2021
I started a stocking for Baby #6 (aka Phoebe) on the drive out to see my sister on Thursday morning. I finished it (more or less) this evening, which has to be some kind of stocking-knitting record! I still need to put her name on it (but, to be fair, I still have to put Alexander's name on his stocking and he's almost four). I just thought that with the baby coming so soon before Christmas and with all the other busyness we have going on in our lives (between school and work and other kids and things) that if I was going to have a matching stocking for this baby that now was the time to do it. So I did it!
Then this morning I got a Shutterfly code for a free book and knew I had to throw one of those together, too! The problem was that I wasn't sure what theme to do for it. All the kids have their 1-year baby book now, I've done Christmas and Halloween and family photos and haven't really amassed enough pictures to do another book like that...
Thursday, August 05, 2021
My sister let me know a couple of days ago that she'd be making a quick pit stop not too far from us. Her schedule was at the whim of her unloading/loading appointments, but we managed to squeeze in a little visit!
She phoned last night while we were in the middle of story time and she was on her way making her way through Illinois so we could firm up some details. While I talked with her, the boys messed around, and Zoë sat serenely beside me. Little did I know she was serenely eavesdropping!
She heard a few things like "meeting up" and "Illinois" and "a dress" and "for Zoë."
She didn't say much to me about that phone call, but, boy, was she spreading rumours this morning! She told her siblings that we were going to Illinois to meet up with Auntie K, who had a dress for her!
I had to explain that we were going to a truck stop half an hour away from our house to meet up with Auntie K, who was driving from Illinois to Georgia, and who had something small enough to fit into an envelope, and which she had already addressed to Zoë but hadn't put a stamp on yet, which she would give to Zoë.
So it was a little less of a grand adventure than Zoë imagined it was going to be, but it was certainly grand to get to see my sister! My sweet, flexible, accommodating sister!
She and Allen first suggested meeting at Cracker Barrel for lunch, but I was like, "Yeah, about that...we haven't done any inside dining the entire pandemic and...four of my kids aren't vaccinated...so..."
Instead we met in a grassy area outside of a Wendy's for an ice cream picnic, which was just as lovely, I think. Restaurants are hard for me, anyway, but in a pandemic?! Sounds like a nightmare.
As promised, Kelli had an envelope addressed to Zoë. Inside was a bedazzled unicorn wallhanging, which Zoë loves, of course.
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).