Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween from these trick-or-treaters!

Halloween seemed to take forever to get here (because my kids started planning and counting down way early) but then once it was here it really seemed to pounce on us. Somehow I'm always scrambling on Halloween and it seems like Andrew frequently has had to work on Halloween (he had to work Halloween evening again this year), so I was grateful that Grandpa was able to come over for the most chaotic dinner of the year. 

I dunno. Something about dressing a half dozen children in finicky costumes while trying to temper their excitement enough to get some healthy food in their bodies before sending them out door to door collecting candy gets me feeling like Cinderella. 

"Cinderella! Fix my hair! Attach my breastplate! Put on my arm bands! Change my diaper!"

Friday, October 28, 2022

Benjamin FTW!

This morning Benjamin was sitting at his computer taking his math test on expressions and equations—and I mean really taking his math test. In past units he'd spend about 10 minutes on a 20 question test, fail, and then have to do it over again, but today he was really working. The test ended up taking him just over two hours to complete, but he did amazingly well on it (only had to take it once!) and, in his defense, there were a few distractions here and there.

For one thing, his little siblings couldn't seem to stay away! 

Phoebe would crawl up to his desk to see what he was doing, and then I'd cart her away, and the next thing I'd know Alexander would be there as him a question about Minecraft. While I was off finding a book for Alexander, Zoë decided she'd better get down her ukulele and sing and play at the top of her the same room as Benjamin. So we had a little revolving-door circus going on.

For another something burning? It smells like something is burning...

Benjamin—thankfully—allowed himself to be distracted by the burning smell (I'm sure the smoke helped distract him, too) and located a charging cord that was feeling a little too hot, hot, hot!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Alexander's well-child check

Briefly—before I blog about Miriam's birthday—I have to write a little bit more about our wee birthday boy this month. 

I took him in for his well-child check and he's doing well. He's just tiny. 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Pick Me Up

Warning: This story is not a pick-me-up kind of tale. It's sad and scary. But the title works.

We're all familiar with The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a fable wherein a shepherd boy gets bored and decides to alert the village that a wolf is approaching the flock, so they all come running to help save him and he's like, "Just kidding! There's no wolf! I just wanted to see what you'd do!" And everyone gets kind of grumbly because that's not a very funny joke, but the next time he cries wolf they all come running back anyway because what if it's real this time?! And, of course, it isn't real. He's just pulling their leg once again.

This continues until the townspeople get sick of having the wool pulled over their eyes and decide they'll just ignore the silly shepherd, which does not bode well for the shepherd when he sees an actual wolf approaching the flock. Naturally he cries out for help and...nobody comes. 

As a fable, there are various morals offered, but it basically can be boiled down to this: liars don't get to choose when people believe them (and thus it's better to be known as being honest and truthful).

That story is important but peripheral background knowledge for the following story:

My family has a family group chat. 

This was a surprising but welcome little institution to spring up out of the loneliness of the pandemic. We'd never had a family group chat before! And we really do feel much more connected to each other (if I may be so bold as to speak on behalf of everyone). It's nice.

But my sister Kelli—I tell you!—she is the most notorious butt-dialer on the planet!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The chipmunk mystery

Things that we know:

1) There was a mysterious smell in the TV room (entertainment room?), a musty, rotty, yucky smell that we couldn't quite identify. We could only smell it from one specific spot in the room but couldn't find anything musty/rotten/yucky nearby. And if we got too far away from this one specific spot, we'd lose the scent, so we knew the smelly thing had to be near that one spot. 

2) Phoebe loves to go outside and she loves putting everything in her mouth. When we go outside she mostly just wants to put things in her mouth. If there is a thing outside, she will try to put it in her mouth. Often she succeeds in putting things in her mouth. Rocks. Dirt. Leaves. Acorns. Bugs. Wood chips. She wants to taste it all. We went outside on Tuesday and she crawled around putting everything in her mouth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Alexander is 5!

Alexander has become quite adept at calendaring and numbers and things lately, so you'd better believe he'd been counting down to his birthday for weeks prior to the event. Now that it's happening, he's been counting "days since" he turned five.

Here's is morning message, alerting us that he'd finally done it and "today" (October 14th) he was five:

Here he is with his "5" crown on (Benjamin made it for him to wear, and, boy, did he wear it with pride):

Thursday, October 13, 2022

This week

We started this week with a quiet Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, made 100% by Rachel (except, I suppose, for the potatoes, which were left over from Sunday's dinner). We didn't get around to our traditional Thanksgiving FHE lesson because Miriam had a different lesson prepared already (since she taught YW/Sunday School on Sunday and in this house we recycle), but we did have an "underwear talk" focusing on giving thanks and we'll start our Thankful Tree soon...after Alexander's birthday.

Here's a picture of our Thanksgiving dinner:

Monday, October 10, 2022

Spiders and bones

Having only recently been home to a chipmunk, our ol' cookie container soon found itself habitat to a number of jorō spiders—eleven, to be precise. Benjamin went around snatching them out of their webs and filled this jar:

They're not very aggressive...toward humans...nor are they particularly venomous...for humans...but they were clearly uncomfortable being in such close quarters. It's not unusual to see multiple spiders in a tree, but each usually has its own web. We learned they're rather particular about that...

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Hanging out with the fam

By Friday (September 16, our last day in Utah), I could tell we had worn out our welcome and it was time to go home. Well, perhaps we hadn't quite worn out our welcome, but Phoebe was finally feeling comfortable enough that she started getting into mischief. 

A tour of HBLL

When I said Phoebe had never been to the library, what I meant was that she had never been inside our own little public library. I've always left her at home or, when she was really little, sitting in the car with Rachel while I ran in really quick. 

She has, however, been inside the library at UGA and at BYU. 

Naanii took us on a little tour of the Harold B. Lee Library (the HBLL), showing us all the things that have changed since I was last there—which was a lot! I hardly recognized the place!

Perhaps the most exciting thing right now is this exhibit that my mom put together (with some collaborators, of course) on Provo Pop Music Connections—from the Osmonds to the Killers and beyond. It's pretty cool!

I went to Utah and I saw...

In case you'd forgotten, Phoebe and I flew out to Utah about a month ago for an "epic" (according to Zoë) "Mom-and-Phoebe" trip (she was a little bit bitter she didn't get to come along and wrote Naanii a letter expressing her disappointment). 

She says "I wish I could go to Utah with Mom to visit you and Josie, but it's supposed to b a "mom and Phoebe" trip. I've missed you a ton, but I think we're not moving back to Utah. I wish we could, though. Mom has taken Phoebe everywhere! Either an epic travel, or a simple journey to the doctor's office or the library, PHoebe's always there!"

In Zoë's defense, Phoebe is rather attached to me at the present.

In Phoebe's defense, she's never entered the library. So there's that.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

38 is great!

Andrew's birthday was just a few days after I returned home from Utah (I still have plans to finish posting about that trip, but life is moving on at a ridiculous clip). Rachel, of course, made his cake. I didn't really do much of anything, other than make the children fill out some birthday balloons for him. 

Since Andrew always makes fun of everyone for always settling on acrostics, I challenged the kids to pick a different short-form poetry. My mom will appreciate our attempts since she also has been writings some short poems

Alexander wrote:

We liv in Gorgu. You are fothor. 
[We live in Georiga. You are father.]

RLiv togethor in Gorgu Bhord thrho 4 not mozior thtim.
[I'm going to be honest; beyond "we live together in Georgia" I'm not sure what he's getting at here.]

YYoui Aare Tthe BEE Best DDad
["You are the best dad," but I think he was going for an acrostic-vibe with the extra letters in there, though I don't think he understands that acrostic poems spell something because YATBD doesn't really mean anything.]

[This doesn't really need a translation.]

Chipmunk Trap

On September 7 (or so), the kids left this trap—an open animal cracker container (our summer bug-collecting jar), with a trail of acorns leading inside—hoping to catch some sort of critter. A squirrel would be ideal. The thought was that a squirrel would follow the trail of acorns into the container and then flick the lid with its tail on the way in and the lid would somehow magically spin right around the mouth of the container, thus locking the squirrel inside.

But it didn't have to be a squirrel! It could have been anything! They just wanted to catch something.