Friday, September 23, 2022
Monday, September 19, 2022
Sunday, September 18, 2022
I will slowly make my way through the week that I spent in Utah...beginning with our flight out, which was a lovely mid-afternoon flight. Grandpa drove us to the airport and dropped us off at curbside check-in, which meant I could check my luggage outside and walk through the airport with only my carry-on (plus a baby) in tow, which was nice.
Phoebe and I made it to our gate with plenty of time to spare, even though I forgot to take my computer out of my backpack (so they had to scan my luggage twice). Phoebe loved looking out the big window at all the airport happenings (and you can see her little air filter by her feet; I was so nervous about flying it's not even funny).
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Friday, September 09, 2022
I didn't think I could get more stressed out today, but then I did!
Because I'm all about stretching myself, pushing my limits.
I'm trying to pack today while also finishing up a big chunk of my thesis proposal. And flying stresses me out anyway. And I need to, like, make sure everything is ready for the kids while I'm gone (it's not). And...just...I'm really good at stressing out about things...to the point of hardly being able to function...
And then I decided to pull out Phoebe's birth certificate.
Because some airlines like to see proof of age for lap infants. And also because it's a good idea to have, like, identification while traveling. So I get out our Very Important Papers and start sifting through them.
Wednesday, September 07, 2022
A neighbour posted a number of costumes she was aiming to get rid of, among them some lederhosen and a dirndl dress—both brand new, size 4T and 6T!! No one else was asking for these (though there were many moms excited about the other costumes being offered—Princess Anna, Olaf, etc.) so I thought I'd grab these, even though I didn't think the kids would want to use them for Halloween. Zoë, I know, has her heart set on being She-Ra.
Anyway, we took a stroll around the block this morning to collect the costumes and were excited to find that they fit perfectly. Zoë and Alexander have been wearing them all day! And Alexander has announce that this is what he'd like to wear for Halloween now (which makes life easy for me).
I had this thought that I should do posts about what we're currently reading...but I also know that I'm simply too scatterbrained to hunt down cover images and so forth (although that would probably make this post a lot more interesting) or to keep up with this in the long run (though perhaps one day when my thesis isn't looming over me). Anyway...
We are reading aloud Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley. By way of introduction we read She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lynn Fulton, which stayed very true to the information in the forward of Frankenstein. I also picked up a graphic novel of Frankenstein (edited by Jason Colby), which most of the kids have read, though I haven't read it yet, so they know what's going to happen while I...don't. They're being very good about spoilers.
What's extra fun (and unusual for us) is that Andrew listened to it during his commute the last little while, so he's able to hop in on discussions as well. It's not often we're all reading the same book at once (though now Andrew has finished and we have not)!
Zoë is (and soon Benjamin will be) also reading Wonder by J. R. Palacio, which is an interesting pairing with Frankenstein. They're reading this on their own, but Rachel, Miriam, and I have all read it so it's made for some good discussions.
Saturday, September 03, 2022
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
It was a dark and stormy night and, as is the case several times a night, I was coaxing (read: nursing) Phoebe back to sleep, drifting in and out of sleepy, myself, when I heard a distinct rap-rap-rapping that yanked me into a state of being very wide awake.
It had sounded as if someone had been tapping the window right above my head.
It was impossible...
We're on the second floor.
Perhaps some animal...
But, no. It was a distinctly human pattern of knocking: rap, rap, rap.
It was impossible...
And yet I heard what I heard.
I reached over, shook Andrew, and whispered, "Did you hear that?!"
"What?" he mumbled.
"Someone was knocking on the..."
Monday, August 29, 2022
When Grandpa moved to Georgia, he arrived wearing a red polo shirt, which Alexander was excited about because he has a red polo shirt! Ever since this realization, he's been wanting to coordinate a red shirt day with Grandpa, but somehow they have never managed it!
The first time we tried, Grandpa didn't get the text, so Alexander dressed in his red shirt and Grandpa didn't. And then the next time Grandpa came over he wore his red shirt and Alexander didn't. And it's just been months of missed opportunities and dashed hopes. It's not like something like this is even that hard to coordinate...we just struggle sometimes. And that's okay.
Yesterday, however, Alexander put on his red polo shirt and was thrilled to pieces when Grandpa arrived for dinner wearing...his red polo shirt!
Sunday, August 28, 2022
The younger kids and I wrote our own psalms today during primary. Benjamin had to write his fast because a friend came to the door to see if he could play outside (we were overtime already, so this was fine); I've never seen him write so efficiently.
Oh, Lord, your majesty is proclaimed in all things, from the trees to the bugs, every life cycle you engineered to go on forever. From mosquito larva to a fetus in a mother's belly your mark on the world is everywhere.
Oh, Jesus, you died for us. In the tomb, you rose again. At the last supper you said, 'I will give this piece of bread to the person who betrayed me.' You are the Son of God.
Alexander chose to copy out the chapter heading of Judges 15 (weird flex, but okay):
Samson burns the grain of the Philistines—They burn his wife and father-in-law—Samson slays a thousand Philistines at Lehi with the jawbone of an ass.
I am not yet satisfied with my psalm, but I'll share an early draft of it, anyway:
The tree, when cut, reveals the fingerprint of God within its core, echoing rings that match my own. My image reflects his glory, my dominion mirrors his power to succor or destroy.
As a tree sways in the storm, I will yield my will to His hand. I will wield my own hands gently, allowing his goodness, which flows within me, to trickle through me, drip by drip, and ripple outward into the world.
Saturday, August 27, 2022
I took Miriam to mutual the other night, along with all the little kids because mutual took advantage of the great outdoors, so I figured that I would let my kids play while she hung out at mutual and then we'd all go home together. But my kids wanted to participate in the activity—which was plogging (picking up trash while walking/jogging)—so we ignored the playground and helped pick up trash along the river instead (though we did our best to steer clear of Miriam and let her be with her peers...except, perhaps, for Benjamin...who will be her peer at mutual soon enough, anyway).
Mists were rising off the river and it was quite beautiful, inspiring, really. I'm surprised Zoë didn't make a note of it. She's hit a writing block and has been hankering for some good ol' fashioned inspiration to strike her. She even took her little notebook and pen on an outing with Grandpa earlier this week—where they got chased by ducks hoping for a nibble and impeded by great geese flapping their wings—but Grandpa had made her leave her notebook in the car so apparently she wasn't too inspired. She said she'll have to just copy down poems from Charlotte's Web and other places, since sometimes writing down poetry inspires her. She's pretty smart. But I'll have to remind her that she can write from the memory of a moment; she doesn't have to feel inspired in nature and sit down to write a poem just then.
(Update: She just now (at 11:53 pm) came to show me the poem and narrative she wrote about her outing with Grandpa so it looks like her writing block is over and I can cancel the lecture.)
Like these mists. I'll save them in my head for a poem another day:
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
This morning after I gave the older kids their writing assignment, Alexander asked what he could write about. So I told him that he could write about riding his new pedal bike. Then I went upstairs to put Phoebe down for a nap, but instead ended up reading a couple of books with her and then wandering back downstairs to check on something. On our way down the stairs, we ran into Alexander, who was rushing up the stairs to show me his work.
He had written an entire page!
I admit that I was initially skeptical of its quality given how little time he had spent writing (Phoebe and I read two books, but they were board books, so...like...we weren't upstairs that long), but Alexander had carefully written an entire story!
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Monday, August 22, 2022
A while ago Zoë revealed to me that when she feels poorly about herself she makes a list of reasons why she's an absolute failure in her "hate journal." In it she had quite an extensive list of reasons why she deserved to feel poorly. She's a maniac. She's a jerk. She's selfish. She can't do anything right...
And...it was so sad. Absolutely broke my heart. And made me feel so anxious I felt nauseated.
We talked about how it might be better to write more positive things about herself because—and not to make her feel poorly for being wrong but...she was 100% wrong about herself—she's really quite wonderful and so, so lovable. Always lovable.
I love her so much and I just...wanted her to love her, too.
We've since had several lessons on how to write through our emotions (how to capture and release our sadness and anger and grief...and joy and love and happiness). We've also read through Shannon Hale's Real Friends series and talked about it a lot. And have been working through Anxiety Relief for Teens with Miriam...but with everyone else, too (Zoë included).
Anyway, the other night I checked on Zoë before going to bed and found her sleeping parallel to her pillow (horizontally across the bed), with a notebook and pen resting on her pillow. She'd stayed up past "lights out" to write a poem about Halloween.
My children are already passionately excited for Halloween.
So we've started reading Frankenstein together.
Because how else do you respond to that level of excitement about Halloween in August? Like, we're not decorating yet! I'm not a big decorator, anyway, but...we are not decorating for Halloween yet! But, fine, I'll read a spooky story with you.
Rachel's birthday was over a month ago, but her birthday balloons have been sitting stalely on the birthday trees waiting for Andrew to buckle down and write out a birthday message for Rachel.
The summer wasn't ideal, truly. We spent a lot of time being sick, a lot of time navigating disasters in the house (like, for example, our oven has been out of commission for about as long as Rachel has been 15), a lot of time...I don't even know what. All small stuff, really, but exhausting stuff nonetheless. And somehow Andrew didn't sit down to write a birthday balloon when everyone else did. So we waited and waited and waited.
And tomorrow his semester starts (mine started last week) so he's been puttering around the house with first day jitters, tidying things up, and he wanted those balloons down. But first we made him fill out a balloon and Rachel posed with it to show how appreciative she is:
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Did I ever write about the time Alexander noticed the symbol denoting the number of players for a game, in this instance "2–5 players," and interpreted it to mean "pooping contest?"
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Not to whine, but Zoë came down with a fever last night. And then I did, too. So we've both been miserable. That "streak" of having everyone be healthy sure didn't last long. I honestly don't know what's going on with us but...it's not super fun.
Anyway, Rachel and Miriam finished their data visualization course and gave their final presentations today. They both did an excellent job (as did their friends whose presentations I watched). Most of our invited guests just stayed in their assigned Zoom room, but I hopped around a bit because I felt bad that our girls had so many guests in their rooms while others had...fewer. We're talking, like 11 to 3. Plus, it was fun to see what the other kids did!
And we were so grateful to have family show up for them! Grandpa and Naanii & Bumpa, as well as Uncle Patrick and Auntie Josie, plus Andrew and I were logged in on different devices. It was well-attended. And Uncle Patrick asked some fabulous questions (which the girls said they were very thankful for because other viewers weren't asking many questions at all).
Naanii was happy that both girls chose topics that fell within her purview.
Rachel analyzed ticket prices and attendance of major broadway shows across time, while Miriam compared the music of Taylor Swift (her favourite pop singer) to the music of Bach (her all-time favourite musician).
Not only did they learn a lot about data and coding and design and camaraderie, they also gained confidence in the trial-and-error method of learning.
Miriam used to get so frustrated with math when she didn't get things right away, but today while she was doing math, she found a pattern her textbook hadn't pointed out to her and tested it on a number of problems to see if it consistently worked out. She wrote down pages and pages of math work, scribbled a bunch of stuff out, and kept on going.
Without even crying!
She was treating her math the same way she's been treating her coding these past few weeks—as an experiment to do and re-do until she figures out how to make it do what she wants it to do.
Not that this data visualization course didn't ever make her cry...because she definitely did some of that.
But overall it was a good experience. Probably even a great experience!
Andrew has all sorts of plans to have the girls keep their skills sharp, so I'm excited to see what they come up with!
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Not to brag, but, for the first time in about eight weeks, everyone at our house is healthy! And the girls are at the tail end of their coding class and didn't have any tutorials due today, so they joined us at the pool as well. It was fun to have all the kids there together.
The oldest four spent a lot of time playing in the diving tank. Zoë showed off her "unicorn dive," which from the deck looks like it's going to be a hot mess (especially since she biffed it while running on the driveway and scraped up her elbows and knees, so her hobbling on the deck was especially hobbly today), but which looks very graceful once she hits the water.
So perhaps it's really a narwhal dive. I doubt narwhals are very graceful on land.
(Note the hand being held up like a horn; that's integral to this dive's form).
"Help! Help! Alexander's shorts are caught on his bike!" Zoë came yelping down the driveway.
I was just buckling Phoebe into her stroller so we could go for a walk. Zoë and Alexander were riding their bikes around while they were waiting for everyone else to get ready to leave.
Knowing that Alexander was on his balance bike (he's working on figuring out his pedal bike but is still much faster on his balance bike, so he takes that when we go for walks), I wasn't sure how his shorts could get stuck anywhere. Yesterday Zoë had tried to ride her bike with too long of a skirt and that was perilously close to getting caught in her chain. But pedal bikes don't have a chain or gears or anything. So how could Alexander's shorts get caught on his bike?!?
We see these acorn plum galls quite often and only recently did we ever take one home to cut it open. Inside it does look rather plum-like—fleshy white fruit that bleeds red when its cut. This isn't a plum at all, however, but a tumor caused by an itty baby cynipid wasp that was laid on an acorn cap. I've seen other galls before, mostly on leaves, but these acorn plums were surprising to me when Benjamin filled the cupholders of the stroller with acorns (from the same oak he found this acorn plum) and I noticed that the gall really did have the same pattern as the acorn cap. So I guess I could see how it could grow alongside an acorn.
The kids have been very interested in collecting bugs lately. The weather is starting to turn fall-ish so we're starting to find dead cicadas all over the place. Interestingly enough, we're also seeing a lot of cicada molts as well. And I can't figure out why because I feel like we usually start finding those old molts earlier in the summer and expired cicadas later. But maybe they've always been contemporaneous and I just...am remembering wrong.
It could happen.
Monday, August 15, 2022
Andrew and I spoke in church on Sunday. I've only been stressing out about it since March or so. Whenever we were asked (which was March or so). Grandpa came to hang out with the kids during sacrament meeting (they zoomed in), not because Rachel and Miriam aren't capable of handling the little kids on their own (they are), but just because it's nice to not always have to be responsible for the little ones. And because Phoebe can be a handful.
My topic was "God's Perspective is Greater Than My Own," which felt a little huge. Even with so much notice, I don't feel like the talk ended up where I wanted it to be, but...it is what it is.
Andrew's topic was something easy like: "Isn't the World Pretty?" but he worked the complication of stewardship into it. You can read his talk here. Mine is below:
Saturday, August 13, 2022
And she's certainly a clever, curious baby!
Last night I was doing the dishes and Phoebe was continuously trying to climb into the dishwasher, of course. In my current phase of life the children are often on dish duty and I am merely a helper. Often my job is simply keeping Phoebe occupied while the dish-doers do the dishes (because my children are getting more and more capable as time wears on). However, I was reminded of when I was the main dishwasher of the house because my children were largely too little to be helpful so I would always wash the dishes. And I would do it after I had all the kids down for the night because there was simply too much chaos to ever do it before.
Because babies would be climbing onto the dishwasher and things...
But, the big kids were all at Grandpa's house last night, so I did the dishes after dinner and Phoebe was absolutely determined to get into the dishwasher. I plopped her into her walker to keep her at bay, which usually works. However, she's gotten pretty good at navigating that thing and, as it turns out, the walker is designed in such a way that it slides right under/over the dishwasher door. Phoebe just lined herself up and pulled in like it was her designated parking spot.
Friday, August 12, 2022
Alexander has been experiencing a recurrent fever the past little while. He's usually fine during the day, but by the time we put him to bed he'll be running a temperature. Not always. Just often.
We put him to bed with a fever last night. He woke up still feeling feverish this morning. Evidently he knew that something was amiss because he texted me to ask me to bring him some breakfast upstairs. Now food is usually verboten upstairs...unless you happen to be quarantining in your room. There has been a lot of eating in unusual places over the course of the summer as various people have been isolating for various reasons.
Anyway, I didn't respond to his text messages right away because I was still in bed with Phoebe, but when I did grab my phone to look at it the first few messages were from Benjamin's phone and I immediately became concerned.
I took a screen shot and sent it to Andrew (who was long-since up and working downstairs; he's got that 7 am thing going on) and asked him to verify whether Benjamin was, like, even in the house?! He has been known to sleep walk and I was just a little concerned at the nonsensical nature of this text. Why was he talking about lunch? Back out to his house? What is he even talking about?
Tuesday, August 09, 2022
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I'm so, so scared!" he blubbered.
"I thought I heard...I thought I heard..." he hiccuped. "I thought I heard the garage going up and down! But it can't be!!!"
"IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?!?!"
Sunday, August 07, 2022
Saturday, August 06, 2022
Wednesday, August 03, 2022
On Tuesday the big girls made it to the pool with us. They don't have their class on Tuesday evenings, so even though they were working away most of the day, they didn't feel like they had a hard and fast deadline so they could take some time out to play a little. Which is probably good.
It was so nice to have Rachel watch Phoebe in the pool while I worked with Alexander on his swimming skills. I was hoping to have him out of his Puddle Jumper this summer...but then we ended up being home sick all summer instead of spending every day by the pool...so...that didn't really happen. But he was doing really well yesterday. He swam two lengths of the pool "chasing" me (so I was walking backwards in front of him and he was swimming towards me). He does really well swimming in the shallow end and can remember all the working parts that come together to mean "swimming." His flutter kick is fantastic, his arms make big, wide arcs in the sky, he will lift up his head to breathe and then just keep swimming...
But when we're in what he feels is "deep" water, all he can think about is how deep the water is. So he stops kicking his legs, starts doggy paddling with his arms, and essentially starts drowning.
Once he gains a little confidence I think he'll be good to go, but he's kind of an anxious kid. Always has been! He was never one to wander away from Mommy and get into mischief. He always had to know right where I was. At all times. Even now he likes his lists, and makes up checklists for thunderstorms and zombie apocalypses and so forth. He's got to know what to do!! And he likes things to be just so!!
The other kids also had fun at the pool (they usually do). Here's a few pictures of Miriam and Phoebe making eyes at each other while I was getting Phoebe changed to go home (I remembered diapers this time):
Tuesday, August 02, 2022
I took the four youngest kids to the pool this afternoon while Rachel and Miriam were stuck at home working on the tutorials for their data science course. The description says it should be about 10 hours of work per week, but I'm sure the girls put in at least 40 hours last week. They are working on that class all day, everyday, it seems. But they're learning a ton! Andrew's been quite impressed with how much they're covering (since he teaches the same sort of stuff in his data visualization course) and how well the girls are doing. Anyway, we left them home to finish their assignments and headed to the pool which was, predictably, empty.
Public schools are back in session this week and we couldn't be happier to have public spaces to ourselves again!
We had the pool to ourselves and had a...decent...time. I gotta tell you, though. Going to the pool with the four youngest kids is a lot of work! Going to the pool with all six is, honestly, quite a lot easier...because Rachel and Miriam are such good helpers and can hold the baby without me worrying for her safety. Benjamin and Zoë try to be good helpers, but...you know...they're just littler.
So it was kind of an exhausting trip to the pool for me. Benjamin and Zoë insisted on pushing each other's buttons and were constantly bickering (which was rather irksome to me) and Phoebe and Alexander just...take a lot of supervision. (And it had already been a bit of an exhausting day already).
But they sure are cute little pool buddies!
Sunday, July 31, 2022
Phoebe (and—let's face it—many of her siblings) were playing with the Jenga blocks during sacrament meeting. It's not terrible that they were all building block towers
instead of while listening because Phoebe's favourite part about playing with blocks is knocking towers over (sucking on the blocks is probably a close second, but she only does that when there are no towers to knock over).
So I posted a few pictures of Phoebe enjoying Jenga...
Saturday, July 30, 2022
I didn't always make a grand pronouncement when my babies cut their first teeth, so finding the exact date of "the first tooth" for each of my babies was tricky. Of course, some babies are more vocal about these things than others. They cry, they fuss, they drool, they bite. Others just had their teeth pop right through. So I suppose making a big announcement (or not) depended a bit on that. Or perhaps it had more to do with nothing at all.
I feel like my kids have been "early" teethers, though now that I've looked up the dates of their first tooth cutting, I don't necessarily think that's the case.
I think the reason I feel like that is because when Zoë was a baby and had two little baby cousins her very same age, she got teeth at five months, while her cousins were showing no sign of teething (and I thought it was a teensy bit unfair because I was breastfeeding while her cousins were bottle-fed (and nothing is wrong with that, except that it seemed cruel to me that their little mouths were soft and gummy for their bottle nipples, while Zoë's little mouth seemed to be full of razor wire)).
But, on the whole, I don't think my kids were particularly early teethers.
Here's the breakdown:
So Phoebe is definitely my latest teether because her mouth is still gummy, gummy, gummy and she's 8.5 months old. I'll have to come back here to update her information when she does get her teeth. Not that I'm in a hurry for that (but I have been wondering when my other kids got their teeth).
It's funny to me that Phoebe—who is most enthusiastic about the idea of eating—is a relatively late teether, while Zoë—who hated all foods—got her teeth so stinking early!
(I, for the record, cut my first tooth on my mom's birthday—December 12, 1985—when I was just 5.5 months old. You're welcome, Mom!)
Friday, July 29, 2022
July was a difficult month for reasons that I can't seem to put my finger on.
We inched our way out of quarantine, but have spent two more weeks being sick with other things. The girls went to DC and I taught Benjamin and Zoë cursive. Alexander got a pedal bike. Phoebe only slept for half an hour at a time for several weeks (but is doing hour+ long chunks these days). I managed to read one book from cover to cover and can't fathom how I ever managed to be a mom and work and go to school.
I have about two more weeks to pull myself together before I dive back in again.
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Let's just say the lilacs are not doing well.
We currently don't have COVID, as far as we know, but we've been quarantining and isolating like it's nobody's business.
The girls dutifully fulfilled their post-trip isolation period with grace. Zoë, however, got sick with something that wasn't COVID but which had her laid up in bed for several days. We thought that with how well (but gently) we isolated her that the rest of us would be spared. Unfortunately, Benjamin got sick on Monday and has been in gentle isolation since Monday.
Phoebe slept in our bed until Zoë was better (she usually joins us in bed, but it's nice to have her start out the night in her own bed so I can get some work accomplished). Now Alexander is sleeping on the floor in the girls' room so Benjamin can have his room to himself all night.
We went a little crazy with air purifiers, but they seem to work. Andrew's been monitoring the AQI in his office and without the air purifier on, the AQI was above 150, but with the air purifier on it's been lingering around 50. So clearly it helps.
Monday, July 25, 2022
Saturday, July 23, 2022
First and foremost, let it be known throughout the land that I find Phoebe phenomenally cute. It's not even just my opinion, though. It's a solid fact.
Look at her sitting in the stuffed animal bin:
Zoë stuck her in there one morning while they were playing together. Adorable, right?
Thursday, July 21, 2022
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
I suppose I should have saved that picture of Rachel for this moment—the moment where I'm thinking about having been her mom for fifteen years (which feels unreal, if we're being honest).
When I think about Rachel, I think about grace. Offering her grace, sure, but also offering myself grace.
My mom told me something that my friend's mom used to say (which I never heard her say, but I suppose she had no reason to tell it to me)—when she and/or her daughter found themselves or their relationship in a "tricky situation" that they had to sort out (and I'm sure my children are hearing me say, "Tricky situation!" in the goofy way I do when I talk about Phoebe's insatiable efforts to crawl and climb over everything), she would say, "We need to be patient with one another because we've never done this before. You have never been my daughter before [in this situation] and I have never been your mother [in this situation]."
Something like that. Honestly, I was probably about 15 years old when my mom told it to me and oddly enough, that wasn't yesterday (though it almost feels like yesterday), but it's stuck with me.
I think it's applicable to all people, every day. Or at least almost every day. We are all learning, all the time.
Or, at least, that's my hope.
Rachel arrived with a fiery personality. She was quick-witted and passionate. Her favourite phrase when she was a toddler—which is perhaps her favourite phrase even now—was, "What else about _________?"
These were the magic words that could unlock stories and knowledge (and prolong bedtime).
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
One reason I was nervous about sending the girls to DC was because, well, we're in the middle of a big wave (of COVID, in case we ever get so removed from this situation that this will need to be clarified for future readers; one can hope). We still haven't done much or gone many places and DC is a bustling city teeming with human vectors. But I also felt like I can't take everything away from my kids. And they felt like the risks were worth it to meet up with Michael. And I did annoying things like ask that the plane riders in our group wear masks on the plane...and forbid that my children should dine indoors (good thing food trucks are plentiful in DC)...and insist that my children wear masks indoors...and send a HEPA filter with my girls...and...and...and...
We did what we could to make it as less risky as possible. But naturally there were still risks.
So when Grandpa told us that he was up coughing all night on Sunday, we began to feel a little worried.
Already we'd mostly confined Rachel and Miriam to the basement. But when we got word of Grandpa's cough we got a little stricter about their period of confinement. They've been wearing masks whenever they come upstairs and have been taking their meals downstairs and so forth, we've got air purifiers set up around the house.
Grandpa tested negative on Sunday. He tested negative on Monday.
Zoë woke up with a fever around 2 AM last night. And then she just...stayed up...the rest of the night. And I mostly did, too, between running to check on her and getting up with Phoebe and just having my mind spiral with stories of doom and despair. It was a busy night! And then there was a big storm around 6:00 this morning, which Zoë was remarkably calm about.
I'll have to share some of our text messages back and forth. She's a hilarious texter.
Anyway, eventually I fell asleep until around 8:30 AM, when Phoebe and Alexander woke up. We were making our way downstairs together to get some breakfast (and to fetch some breakfast for Zoë, who has been taking her meals in her room today) when I looked out the front door window and noticed a little brown orb scooching around the front porch.
It was a little box turtle!
Rachel and Miriam are working on narratives about their DC trip, so I'll hold off on posting any more pictures of them for the moment. They have some super fun pictures from their day at the spy museum, for example. (I was about to say that they had some darling pictures from the spy museum but because they (Rachel, Michael and Miriam) are a trio of teenagers, I figured "fun" would be a much more "hip" thing to say than "darling," but the pictures are absolutely darling).
Anyway, on Saturday evening Diana texted me to say that the flight she and Michael had been supposed to take had been cancelled, so they were stuck in DC for an extra day and were now routed to fly through Atlanta rather than having a non-stop flight to Salt Lake (where Richard and Diana's other kids were during this trip; Richard, on the other hand, flew straight home to Washington (state)).
They would have a five-hour layover at ATL, so...
They showed up at our house around 10:00 on Sunday morning. We'd just finished watching sacrament meeting and I hadn't told Rachel or Miriam that they were coming, so the girls were pretty surprised (I had to tell the younger kids because they demanded to know why they had to get changed out of their pyjamas; the girls were watching sacrament meeting downstairs on their own because they're having a little quarantine period, just in case).
Here's a picture of everyone together (sans moi):
Monday, July 18, 2022
Thursday, July 14, 2022
This is just to say that I took this picture of Rachel when we went to the pool for the first time in about a month (July 8) and I think she looks so beautiful:
Phoebe had fallen asleep in the van on the way to the pool (yes, we put her in her carseat in nothing but her diaper—all the easier to get her ready for swimming) and Rachel got her out of her carseat and snuggled with her while I finished getting sunscreen and stuff on Zoë and Alexander.
Beautiful and helpful.
What more could I ask for?
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
All of that and I didn't even post a picture of Diana!
Here she is chilling with Miriam (and likely everyone else) in the AirBnB:
Hey y’all. Richard, Michael and I are flying to WA DC July 12-16.We were having a discussion like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Reid came and was our history buff during the trip?” Which then led to, “and maybe he’d come and bring Rachel, which would be cool for Michael to get to know her better, too.”
Reid was immediately on board. He likes history and it had been a few years since he'd been to DC.
I think it was me who suggested that Reid take Miriam as well as Rachel, because those three (second) cousins are all pretty close in age.
Here's Rachel, 7 months old, meeting Michael for the first time in February 2008:
Hearth seems like such an antiquated term, and yet our home has two hearths without me fully realizing it. I always call our hearths "the fireplace ledges," as in, "Oh, no! The baby is climbing on the fireplace ledge!" because that's what Phoebe did today.
July 4 found her fussing at the base of the stairs because she couldn't follow Zoë and Alexander up.