Wednesday, February 23, 2022

We painted some things

Andrew just came in from scraping paint off the windows of the front door, which we painted bright yellow on Saturday. 

We've been thinking about painting the door yellow for a few years now and on Saturday we decided that instead of saying, "One day we'll have a yellow door," we would change that to be, "Today we will have a yellow door." 

So now we have a yellow door. 

The paint we chose is called Unmellow Yellow, and it is rather bold, but perhaps not as bold as the Bold Avocado we chose to paint the dining room. 

That was more of a snap decision.

I simply said, "What if we repainted the dining room?"

And Andrew said, "What colour?"

And I said, "I dunno. Green?"

Monday, February 21, 2022

FHE Poetry

I'm taking a poetry class right now, which is wonderful and stressful at the same time. Mostly wonderful, I think.

One of the books I read recently—The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo—had an exercise inside (p. 30) that gave the reader a list of 10 nouns, 10 verbs, and 10 adjectives, and challenged them to write a poem using 5 of each of the nouns, verbs, and adjectives to craft a poem that:
  1. is three stanzas long with six lines per stanza, four beats per line (with some wiggle room)
  2. includes at least two internal and one external slant rhyme per stanza
  3. has only two end stops per stanza
  4. makes grammatical sense
  5. but is, on the whole, meaningless
Part of the lesson here is that even when you try to write something meaningless, meaning will be there nonetheless, but it can help you approach poetry without a predetermined agenda, focusing more on the sound of things rather than a "message" you want to communicate. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Phoebe and Zoë

Last Sunday (February 6), Zoë picked out an outfit for Phoebe, including a little pair of booties that I made years ago (either when Miriam was a baby or when Zoë was a baby). It probably won't surprise you to learn that Zoë picked out a very similar outfit to wear (minus the handmade slippers).

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Phoebe's first bath

Our lessons were interrupted by a Phoebe blow-out of epic proportions. Zoë and Alexander have been begging to take a bath with Phoebe, so I figured today would be a good day for it. I drew a bath and one wanted to get in with her, which would have been fine except I've been using older children as "bath chairs" for so long that I'm not sure how to bathe a baby on its own. After showing them that I'd already cleaned Phoebe off they were once again really excited about bathing with her.

And thus, at the ripe old age of 3 months and 4 days old, Phoebe had her very first official bath (before this she'd only had showers or sponge baths).

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Valentine's Day

Monday was Valentine's Day and we went all out at our house. We started the day with homemade doughnuts (baked in a cast iron form), which I had completely forgotten we'd planned to do until I smelled them baking in the morning. Andrew got up and did that. 

While we were eating our doughnuts, Andrew brought out all the gifts we got.

As the pandemic inches toward its two-year anniversary, I've been feeling a little itchy for experiences, so I did a little retail therapy. Deep down inside, I know the kids are fine. But I also want them to we provided some experiences for them for Valentine's Day.

Phoebe actually provided her own new experience and rolled from her back to her front for the first time, which I found rather surprising because she's just barely 3 months old and has shown no inclination for...anything. I mean, I understand that babies are little blobs at first but, like, all Phoebe likes to do is eat and what's she doing rolling over? And I mean, when Rachel did it, I understood because that girl was born determined to grow up. She held her head up the whole way home from the hospital, and she just smacked of determination from birth. She was going to roll and crawl and walk and run!

Phoebe? Well, Phoebe isn't like that. She's content.

Did she scream the whole entire day today? Yes, she did. But usually she's just...content. 

She likes cuddles, eating, and napping. That's it, although she is starting to make up a few little games. For example, Rachel's been trying to convince her to give out high-fives since we brought Phoebe home from the hospital. Phoebe does not understand the concept of high-fives. She doesn't know she has arms, constantly punches herself in the face (and cries about it), and is only now understanding how to grasp things (and, quite recently, to bat at her toys). But the girl doesn't grasp the concept of high-fives.

She's three months old, though, so...she's got time to figure that out.

Anyway, the other day, Rachel offered her hand for a high five and Phoebe leaned forward and rested her face in Rachel's palm. 

And that's her new game: face high fives. 

When she's in the mood to play, she'll smash her face into people's hands if they offer her a high five.

Anyway, here's a picture of Phoebe all flipped over to her stomach (and upset that she's pinning her own arm down):

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Lots of pictures of Phoebe

Phoebe still sometimes surprises me with how much she likes to sleep. She gets up in the morning and plays for a while, but soon she just wants to nurse and nap. And then she does about the same thing in the afternoon. 

So sometimes how exhausted I am surprises me. But there you have it.

She's starting to do fun things, like bring her fists (and anything she happens to grab onto) to her mouth, stick out her tongue, blow bubbles, and is tolerating tummy time a lot better these days.

Benjamin was so proud the other day when I finally gave him permission to stand up with Phoebe (I've been telling her he needed to wait until she could hold herself up a bit better and she can now). He was really quite good with her (though now he thinks he can just pick her up whenever he wants, which makes me nervous because I like to be in control of what's happening to Phoebe). 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Thursday and tree climbing and things

I promised myself I would write about last Thursday, which was a very good day. It would have made sense to write about that last Thursday or even this Thursday, but here we are on Saturday. 

Last Wednesday night Phoebe chose to stay up very late and I stayed up with her because Thursdays are Andrew's long days on campus. He's gone before the sun is up and doesn't get home until around 11:00 pm. So he can't very well be up with the baby all night. But even though my duties are more home-based and my schedule is a little more flexible, that doesn't mean that staying up half the night with the baby isn't exhausting. 
Phoebe and I went to bed around 4:00 in the morning, when she'd finally tuckered herself out, and I was surprised when we woke up to the sun streaming through the window at 9:00 am (a lovely sleep-in). 

Still tired, I dragged myself out of bed with Phoebe and we went to check on the kids. 

They had quite the surprise for us! All three little kids were engaged in their school work. They raced to show me their math lessons, all of which were executed beautifully. They'd all had breakfast. The dishwasher had been emptied. The floors were being swept. They'd been practicing the piano...

It was amazing! Such a treat!

Not every day is like that, but Benjamin (in particular) has been working on being more mindful of his daily to-do lists and making sure his work is done well. 

Here's a seemingly boring shot of his math work from the other day:

Boring...but proud...because he was doing the work and showing his work, and because of that he was getting correct answers. This is a huge thing for him. I feel like younger grades tend to push the idea that you should be able to do all your work in your head—answer quick, no fingers! And that's great for simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication questions. But it's less great when you're working on multi-step problems. I've been hounding this boy to write down his thinking for ages and he's finally understanding why!

(Even if he ends up with the wrong answer, it saves us time when we go through things and notice where he made a mistake or wrote something down wrong or whatever). 

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Evidence I'm aging

I really need to do a post about Thursday, but instead I'm going to do a post about Sunday really quick before I go entertain my littles while their big siblings are all at various church activities.

Rachel and Miriam were telling us about their Sunday School lesson on Sunday evening and were trying to communicate to us which teacher was teaching that week. They have three teachers and they don't know the names of any of them so they were trying to describe them to us (and were doing so in a rather undiplomatic way).

"It was one of the old teachers," Rachel said.

"The one with white hair," Miriam added.

"Yeah. The other old teacher was having a bad day or something. She just sat in the corner glowering at us," Rachel said.

"As old ladies are known to do," Miriam added.

"Nuh-uh!" Alexander interjected, getting ready to contradict. "Mom doesn't do that!"

And I just love that the conclusion that he jumped to after Miriam's remark was "not all old ladies do that because my mom doesn't do that" and not "perhaps my mom is not an old lady." 

In his eyes I am definitely an old lady.

No question about that!

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Phoebe in the LBD (little blue dress)

Since we so rarely go anywhere that requires getting all fancy these days (thanks, a lot, pandemic), Phoebe has very rarely gotten dressed up, herself. I did put her in my little blue dress at the end of December when we went to the church to renew our temple recommends, but I think I was too exhausted to take a picture of her. I figured that needing to take a picture of Phoebe in my little blue dress was as valid a reason for dressing her up as any, so this morning I put her in my little blue dress and took her picture. 

She was adorable as ever and, thankfully, was rather cheerful and cooperative. Considering she spent most of Thursday and Friday screaming her head off every moment she was awake, it was lovely to get to see Phoebe's friendly, smiley side come out this morning.

Here are far too many pictures of my sweet girl:

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

That one time Zoë walked into a garbage can

Yesterday was garbage day, but it was also a beautiful day, so I took the little kids for a walk while their big sisters stayed at home to work on some projects. That's when we really stopped to examine this tree, which we know is an oak tree because we've seen it when it's leafed out. But there aren't any leaves on it right now and we were just so curious about this lump of greenery in its branches. 

After determining that it was mistletoe, we had a lovely discussion about kinds of symbiosis, since mistletoe is a parasite. Zoë was afraid the mistletoe had flat out murdered this tree, but then we reminded her about the whole deciduous vs. evergreen distinction. This tree is very much alive (though the mistletoe is acting as a parasite, parasites don't always kill their hosts).

Today I was a great mom...for Zoë

I think I'm typically a pretty okay mom, perhaps even the okayest mom. When you're a mom to this many little people (and perhaps no matter how many little people), it's tricky to be a really good mom all of the time to everybody because everybody—including me—has different needs/desires and it's impossible to meet those needs/desires for everyone all the time.

There's a saying about this, I think. Something about how you can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time. This is very true in parenting. And in life, in general. It's simply impossible to cater to everyone's needs/desires.

And that's okay because I don't think everyone needs their every whim to be fulfilled. 

But, today I was an excellent mom for Zoë, and that felt good. 

It started in the morning when all the "upstairs" kids ended up in my room while Phoebe and I got ready for the day. They filtered in one by one while I was changing her diaper and then because she was so entertained by seeing her siblings and they were so thrilled to be entertaining them, we just hung out in my room for a while, making towers out of the "baby cars" Alexander "passed on" to Phoebe because he decided they're too babyish for him. 

And because Phoebe was so interested in these car towers, I took a few moments to actually do Zoë's hair. I can't remember when I last really did her hair, but I'm certain it's been at least a couple of months. I carefully brushed it and braided it for her and she liked that because she likes to feel fancy and it had been a long time since she has had fancy hair.

Zoë was particularly thrilled that she and Phoebe's pyjamas matched! Their pyjamas had not matched at bedtime last night but due to a particularly wet'n'wild night with Phoebe (necessitating a wardrobe change), they did match in the morning.

Here's Zoë spending some time with Phoebe on her play mat after she cruised through her math lesson (and while I helped Benjamin with his math lesson):