Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Bubble days

Our neighbours have the funnest little bubble station. They can often be found blowing bubbles and are so welcoming to anyone who wants to join them. Janelle rests a plastic lid on top of a cooler. She has a little dish for bubbles and some wonderful bubble wands and doesn't seem to mind that the kids spill all over the place (which is something that stresses me out to no end). She just appreciates having kids over to play with her little boy so she can kick up her heels for a minute (and she sets out camping chairs for all the parents so they can join her for a chat while the kids play). 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A busy week

Either this week was terribly busy or we've just gotten so used to having Andrew home most of the time that it feels oppressive when he has to work and commute every day. In addition to jury duty (to which he was summoned for—and then released from—on Wednesday morning), Andrew had a number of meetings that he had to go to campus for. He ended up being on campus on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with the jury selection on Wednesday. So we're pretty much worn out this week!

On Monday, though, we went for a walk in the park after dinner, and stayed to have family home evening! Andrew taught us all how to make origami frogs and then when he moved on to origami cranes I excused myself to play with Phoebe in the park because (1) as you can see she was getting into everything and (2) origami cranes are one of the few origami patterns I'm proficient in. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Happy "essential" birthday to Andrew!

It stormed pretty hard last night—not so much that it flooded the basement or anything, but still pretty stormy. I listened to the rain as drifted in and out of sleep while I fought with Phoebe about whether or not we should be sleeping (guess who was on which side of that argument). I woke up to the unmistakable THOOM of the power going out and thought about checking on the basement...but Phoebe was asleep right beside me and I figured pretty much anything of value had already been moved out of the path of the flood, anyway. 

The power came back on around 5:00 in the morning, by my calculations (from information gathered from the flashing alarm clock, which alerted me of precisely how many hours had passed since it turned back on). We woke up in the morning and began our rush to get ready for church—stuffing the children into their Sunday best, filling their bellies with breakfast, brushing their hair and their teeth. 

We were right in the thick of it when we realized no one had seen Benjamin.

He wasn't in his bed. He wasn't downstairs playing LEGO. He wasn't answering the full-house announcement. Had he gone outside? 

His shoes were all inside and the front door was locked. Perhaps he'd gone out the garage door...but that door was locked, too...

Fortunately, checking the garage door led Andrew past the couch, where he found Benjamin sound asleep. He woke up very disoriented and spoke nonsense for a good ten minutes before he finally woke up enough to eat breakfast and get dressed. It was really quite concerning, so we were glad he snapped out of it.

Once he was dressed, he went to wait in the van while we put some finishing touches on the other kids and gathered up items for my church bag and collected all our sheet music and hymnals and...I was just putting on my cute little fall booties for the first time this season when my phone buzzed. It was a message from Grandpa:

"Church is canceled."

"Oh. Why?" I asked. "Power outage?"


Saturday, September 16, 2023

Friday, September 15, 2023

Spicy juice!

I wrote about Phoebe having many, many potty accidents the first little while after coming home from our trip. I began to worry she might be developing a UTI, but it was also a long weekend and I didn't want to have to take her into urgent care or anything (especially since she didn't have a fever or anything), so we just gave her plenty of baths, plied her with as much cranberry juice as she would take (which wasn't much, honestly), and encouraged her to void her bladder frequently. 

By the time Tuesday rolled around she was back to her regular potty-going self and has been great ever since. She takes herself potty frequently or will ask for assistance. It's such a relief! 

(Like most people on the planet, I don't actually enjoy potty training tiny humans (though I do enjoy the after math because, like most people on the planet, I don't actually enjoy changing diapers either)). 

The cranberry juice we got for her was 100% cranberry juice, which is as tart as can be! She was excited about the word "juice" because she'd had some apple juice on the plane (and that was yummy) and because one of her favourite books has the line "a moose and a goose together have juice." 

Juice is a pretty wonderful concept! 

We don't have it very often at our house, and—wow!—what a sweet treat it is!

But cranberry juice, as it turns out, was not delectable. The rest of us enjoyed drinking it, but Phoebe did not. I even watered it down for her and mixed in some which point I told Andrew he probably could have gotten one of the cranberry cocktails for her (the kind that are like 95% apple juice, 5% cranberry). 

In spite of the less delicious cranberry juice, the concept of "juice" was quite a romantic idea in her little toddler mind. 


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

DeWinton and High River (August 25)

Josie couldn't take much time off work, but she was able to join us over the weekend. On Friday morning we went back to visit the various playgrounds in the neighbourhoods near the hotel—and found a cute little frog that we caught to take a picture to send to the kids at home—before heading to the airport to pick up Auntie Josie.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

The Farm (August 28)

This is the picture I snapped of the Happy Face Barn (outside of Cayley, Alberta) on the way back to High River from Grassy Lake. 

We didn't actually return to High River. Instead we went to Okotoks! But I was happy to see the Happy Face Barn because it's a famous local landmark (it means there's just about 10 minutes left until you're home!) and I wasn't sure I'd get to see it! We weren't sure whether David would be able to meet us in Okotoks or whether we'd have to drive up to his place in Airdrie (which would mean we'd take a different route and enter Calgary from the east rather from the south). But, clearly we drove up on Highway 2 and we saw the barn, which has at times been used for political statements (though, in all honesty, I'm not sure our politics align because they were opposing providing farm "employees minimum wage, vacation pay and injury compensation benefits," which are all things that working people know...have access to (Bill 6 has since been replaced by the Farm Freedom & Safety Act, which clarifies many things in the bill...but still requires minimum wage and maternity leave and things of that nature and I can't figure why anyone would be grumpy about stuff like that). 

Anyway, I was just happy to see the Happy Face Barn.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Co off

Yescherday was the co off. It was loud eaven thou I made some new frends at the co off. It was at the church. It was a bit to loud for me. Mom siad she sind up for Ben and Zoë. When I was in my clas it was qwit, like really qwite. I loved it so much. The end.
Last week we met with our co-op for the first time. I was nervous about signing up for a co-op because...interacting with people is...not my favourite thing. But, as Alexander wrote in his (school) journal, I signed up because Benjamin and Zoë were hankering for some more peer interaction during the day.

At FHE, Andrew was reading the schedule and came across a little entry about "co off" on the calendar.

"Zoë, did you make this entry for 'co off'?'" 

"No!" she said indignantly. "I think I know how to spell co-op!"

She is a phenomenal speller (she never would have been tripped up by 'bananas' or 'vacation' like Miriam and Rachel were ('bannas' and 'vaction,' respectively) in a spelling bee). 

"Wait—co off?" I asked. "That would be Alexander."

"Oh, that's right! They're logged in on the same account!"

Because Apple only lets you have four child accounts in one family account, unfortunately. 

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

If I were a rich man...

This morning Alexander was unpacking the dishwasher when he came across the cheese grater. In the past, this was an item that he left for someone else to do since it's kind of sharp and is complicated to put away. Today, however, he told me how he's becoming a Big Boy and knows where everything in the house goes, so he'd be able to put the grater away himself (it goes in one of the upper cabinets). 

He went on to tell me how sometimes Phoebe likes to help him put away dishes, but he doesn't always love that because Phoebe doesn't always put things away in the right places. She'll put bowls with the plates and forks in the junk drawer. And that's frustrating because it ultimately makes more work for him. I commiserated with him (because—oh!—if it ain't a gospel truth that teaching children to work is often more work than simply doing the work by yourself) but explained that it's important that we left Phoebe help...even though she creates a little chaos in the process. 

To be fair to Phoebe, she is growing up to be a Big Girl and knows where practically everything in the house goes as well. Just the other day she wanted me to help her with a snagged fingernail and I told her it was one that I had better no rip off. We'd need the fingernail clippers for this one!

"Nail! Nail! Nail!" she repeated. 

"In a minute," I told her. "I can go get the nail clippers as soon as I'm finished here."

She put two and two together and headed for the stairs. 

"Get! Get! Get!" she sang as she climbed up.

She returned with the fingernail clippers and so I paused what I was doing (for transparency sake: playing a game of Shanghai Rummy...) and gave her a little manicure right then and there.

In an effort to keep her occupied away from our game for a moment longer, Andrew suggested that she go put the fingernail clippers back

"Oh, no, no, no!" I said. "These are the good nail clippers from our bathroom drawer. I want to put them back there myself. She might be trusted to retrieve the nail clippers from their spot, but I don't think we can trust her to put them back in their assigned location. Who knows where they'd end up?!"

Monday, September 04, 2023

Deklan and Holly's wedding (August 26)

The main reason for our visit to Canada was to attend Deklan and Holly's wedding (which has been on our calendar since their engagement on November 20, 2021). It was nice of them to give us plenty of notice so that we could sort our passports and plane tickets and things like that well in advance.

The wedding was beautiful and the day was gorgeous. Unfortunately, Phoebe's first attempt at napping was thwarted because she fell asleep literally two minutes before we arrived at the venue. She was a bit of a...typical tired toddler...during the ceremony, so Miriam took pictures with the camera (sitting beside Auntie Josie, who recorded the ceremony for the couple) and I dealt with Phoebe.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Waterton (August 27)

In retrospect, I should have been more forthright with Heather about our accommodations while we were in Canada. To be fair to myself, I was experiencing some insecurities regarding my likability* when I reached out to her to ask if I could stay with her while I was in Canada and, unfortunately, she and her parents and sister had reservations to camp at Waterton the very week I was due to be in Canada. 

She didn't know how desperate I was for accommodations and I was too insecure to say, "Hey! Take care of me for a minute!" So neither one of us thought to suggest that I just...housesit...for her! That would have solved all my problems!

When she drove me to the airport on Wednesday morning (spoilers!), she was like, "Nancy! I should have just given you guys the code to my house! You could have stayed there while I was away! It wouldn't have been a problem at all!"

In fact, Heather was so sweet that when I asked her if I (and my children) could spend the night at her place on Tuesday evening and have her drive me/us to the airport on Wednesday morning, so immediately said yes. 

Then apparently she turned to her mom and said, "I just said Nancy and her kids could spend the night at my place on Tuesday, but...where will I put them?"

Her mom reminded her that her camper would be sitting in her driveway so (spoilers!) I ended up sleeping in the camper with not one, not two, but five little girls! (Miriam slept inside with Sadie and Miley, so I had three of Heather's girls with me and two of my own, and Heather didn't lie—that bed in her camper is really comfortable!)

She didn't even hesitate. She just said, "Of course!" and then bothered about the details, like determining where we might sleep...and informing her husband, who has been working on advanced certifications for his pilot's license (he's already a pilot but is getting extra certifications) and who she hadn't seen for a week and who was due to arrive home on Tuesday evening that, well, he'd have a house full of company to greet him in addition to his wife and his girls. And do you know how Ryan responded to this news? 

By bringing home a little packages of airplane biscuits for the kids. 

When he walked in the door he presented them to his daughters, who immediately started squealing with glee while also calling out, "The cousins! The cousins! Did you bring some for the cousins?!"

"I brought enough for everyone," Ryan assured them, handing biscuits to my children as well.

He's definitely the calming presence in that house, perfectly complimenting Heather's natural rambunctiousness. But she is such a fun and loving and patient mother! It was fun to spend some time with her and I so appreciate how graciously they hosted us.

But, before I knew I'd be spending the night at Heather's house on Tuesday, we had arranged to meet her down in Waterton on Sunday. Waterton is a national park in southern Alberta that abuts Glacier National Park in Montana (together they comprise an international peace park). 

We went to Emerald Bay on Waterton Lake, to splash and kayak and sit and visit. 

When we were deciding where to go, Heather asked, "Are your kids allowed to swim-swim on Sundays?"

We don't have a problem with that in our household, though I know that Andrew's family did while growing up (though to be fair, when Grandma and Grandpa took our kids to Grover the year I was too pregnant with Alexander and Zoë was too sick and Andrew was too out-of-town to join them...they also let the kids swim on Sunday)! Karen texted me to say that they "did NOT let the kids swim in Lake Powell this afternoon." And later Shayla tagged me in this picture on Facebook:

An evening with Auntie Abra (August 23)

Our plane landed in Calgary around 4:00 in the afternoon. My mom had arrived at the airport at around 3:00 to pick us up, and then we were just about the last people off the plane, and then we had to stop to use the potties, so by the time we made it out to my mom she felt like she had been waiting forever!

But the nice thing was that she was waiting beside another lady, whose family members were on the same flight as us. They had been talking, and when the other party finally arrived, they said their goodbyes and my mom said something about how she hoped her daughter and children would be coming soon. 

"Oh, was it a mom traveling with three girls—a big one, a medium-sized one, and a little one?"

"Yes!" my mom said. 

"I was sitting behind them!" the woman said. "They were all so well-behaved!"

That was a nice thing to hear! 

We first went to get settled into our hotel, and then headed into downtown Calgary to meet up with Auntie Abra & Brady and Piper & Anton. Piper had offered to host a little dinner at her apartment's recreation room. She even let us swim in the pool, which was nice (though her pool was freezing cold, Piper had brought a bunch of pool noodles and squirt guns and balls and things which we appreciated getting to use)!

After we were finished swimming, we went to the rec room where Abra brought her kitten Padme. We had fun watching her hop all around the room:

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Another day with Uncle David (August 29)

David was able to drive down to Okotoks with Millie to meet up with us on our last day in Alberta. We just met at Big Rock Elementary School (because in Alberta it's normal to use the school playground equipment outside of school hours (unlike out here where they lock up the school playgrounds and put threatening signs up on the fences about trespassing)). School hadn't yet started for the kids when we were up there, so the school grounds were empty and available.

It was fun for the little girls to play together again. It sure was hard to catch a picture of them together, though! They're both such busy little climbers that it was hard to catch both their faces in the same frame—up, down, around and around! I'll post this picture of Millie and Phoebe together since there aren't any identifying characteristics in this picture, but this is how most pictures turned out, with one girl facing the camera and the other not:

A day with Uncle David (August 24)

Our first item of business on Thursday morning was a quick stop in Wal-Mart to buy the girls some new sweaters. My mom didn't feel the girls had enough warm clothing for this trip (that would be me...packing like a southerner) and Phoebe had thrown up all over the only sweater I'd packed for her. I washed it out in the hotel sink, was still so, so wet in the morning that it was completely useless for her.

So the girls all ended up with cute new Canada sweaters (Zoë lost her new sweater on the plane/airport and...we just won't talk about it because she's rather upset about it). We went to my brother David's house to play with Mille for a while (no pictures here because her parents don't put her up on social media, but a big reminder to myself to find the pictures on my computer before printing this out, if I ever get around to that some day). It was wonderful to see her—she's growing up to be a beautiful, good-natured child, so good at sharing and just fun to be around!

Then Uncle David took us to Costco for some poutine, which was so good that Zoë even ate it with the gravy (she usually doesn't when we make poutine at home...and honestly I'm not a huge fan of the gravy we usually make when we make poutine (it needs to be browner), but she ate this and was surprised by how much she liked it):

Friday, September 01, 2023

Holding down the fort

Andrew, Andrew, had one job to do while I was away. 

One. Job.

I asked him to hold down the fort. That's it! 

And just look at this mess!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Quad erratic

I have visited my aunt and uncle's farm several times over the course of my life and, being raised in a manner that many would consider to be "rural" (though I know my cousins would consider being quite metropolitan), I feel like I understand that farming is quite a lot of work! My mom would sometimes end me to the farm for weeks at a time in the summer, where I'd do rock picking and weeding and plowing and other simple (but backbreaking) chores. So I know it's not all fun and games.

However, it's also true that when city slicker cousins were visiting (for the record, our town had a population of about 7000 people at the time, but my cousins would tease me about being a city slicker) my cousins got to play more. Uncle LeRon (and the older kids, to be honest) would be busy, busy, busy all summer long, but Eric and Michelle and I had a lot of fun exploring the farm together. 

We'd go for rides on the quad (which otherwise was strictly for farm chores, not joyriding), float down the canal, jump on the trampoline, eat popsicles until we were sticky little messes, play with kittens, and just enjoy being on the farm...when we weren't out in the field making piles of rocks. 

When we were visiting the farm this time, however, it was Eric who was busy in the fields, while Uncle LeRon could take some time off to play (since he's technically retired; Michael, Craig, and Eric run the farm together now). This was quite a fun turnabouts!

On Monday morning, Uncle LeRon pulled the quads out of the quonset and taught Miriam and Zoë how to ride them. Here's Miriam on the littlest quad—this one is rather old (the same one that I used to ride when I was her age!):

Last things first...

I have many stories to share about our week in Canada, but first I have to share what happened today with Miss Phoebe because we can't stop laughing about it.

She had an excellent week potty-training-wise in Canada. She was communicating her potty needs, waiting when she was asked to wait, going when it was time to go! It was great! 

She did less well on our way home. She would not communicate her needs, didn't go when she should, and filled multiple pull-ups. It was rather frustrating, but she was exhausted from a week of bouncing around from place to place and having to be "good" all the time. I know she's just a baby, so it...just was what it was. 

These problems continued today, however. She went through just about every pair of underwear she owns!

I began to suspect that she needed to do some poopies (because constipation can increase incidences of wetting accidents) but was becoming increasingly frustrated about the way she was having accident after accident after accident.

Our entire house is in shambles right now—a huge storm system came through on the 29th and our entire basement flooded with a half inch of water. Andrew didn't end up going to bed until around 5:00 in the morning because he was working all night to get things taken care of (Grandpa, Rachel, and Benjamin were huge helps as well, but we ended up calling in a restoration crew (which cost a pretty penny...but perhaps a slightly less pretty penny than the one we'll spend fixing everything that needs to be fixed)). 

That was kind of a bummer (and then I learned that my flight was delayed by five hours, which meant that we'd completely miss our connecting flight home, so while Andrew was calling all sorts of restoration work people, I was on hold with the airline trying to change our tickets so we could still get home). 

And then we had the full day of traveling. And then we arrived to a house that is, as I mentioned, in shambles (all the couches in the music room are piled high with books, etc. etc.). 

This is all to say that...things are a little chaotic around here...and we're all feeling a little frustrated (and honestly we have a number of things to do that we don't typically have to bother about restoring a basement).

Finally, I had the last straw with Phoebe and her asking to go potty but already being wet.

"For goodness' sake, Phoebe!" I said. "I don't understand! You are home. You know where your potty is. You know how to pull down your pants. If you need to go potty, can't you just take yourself potty?"

"Yeah," she said (which is her answer to nearly everything). 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love…

One of my favourite scriptures is Alma 36:20, where Alma remarks how his “soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was his pain!” This is not the point of the scripture, necessarily, but I love the acknowledgement of two very different (and rather extreme) emotions. I’m not sure that Alma experienced his emotions simultaneously, but it’s possible to hold multiple emotions at once (which was the entire point of the movie Inside Out, so if you need to research this further, that’s a good place to start (and by “research” I mean “watch a Disney movie,” which in this case is, perhaps, synonymous)). 

It’s no secret that we’ve spent a lot of time visiting family this summer. Those visits have been wonderful and joyful…and have also included a fair bit of turmoil. 

So that’s been…nice.

And so today I’ll tell you about Amy, who was once a rather unsettling void in our family, but who now is a vibrant and much-needed puzzle piece. Here’s a picture of me awkwardly pretending I belong in the “cousins picture” the cousins wanted to grab at Deklan’s wedding because, well, first of all we took a picture of Amy, Piper, and Deklan. And Amy said, “I’m so glad we got a picture of all the cousins together before I left!”

And I was like, “Me, too! Oh, wait! My kids are your cousins, too!”

And Amy, who has a 12-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 3-year-old, gasped and said, “Oh, my goodness! You’re right! I was thinking about your kids like nieces and nephews because they’re my kids’ ages! But we’re cousins!”

And Deklan, whose new little daughter is 8 (just a month or so younger than Zoë), was like, “Huh. I keep forgetting that, too.”

It’s…like…weird…but just the way that things are.

Friday, August 25, 2023


I set my alarm for 4:30 am on Wednesday morning, but Zoë woke up at 4:00 buzzing with energy and Phoebe decided to wake up, too, so there was nothing for it except to just get up, too. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare—they say to arrive three hours early, but we got through security in about a half hour. A lot of this is due to our trump card (which is having a baby in a stroller) so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend blowing off the recommended arrival times without that. But travelers with babies in tow often do get escorted to a special, shorter security line.

Arriving so early had its perks—I didn’t have to worry about whether we were going to be late, for example—but, man, I was tired! 

Third thing about Atlanta traffic is that you can leave at 5:00 and arrive three hours early or you can leave at like, 5:30 and arrive late. Once that traffic jam starts thickening, there’s no stopping it! So, it was good that we were early. Would I have loved an hour to two more of sleep? Sure. But at least we were on time for our first flight.

Miriam was so helpful with Phoebe. She walked her all around to look at planes and the sunset and a mural of puppies. Zoë and I walked her around a little bit as well. It was nice to have a responsible person to switch off with walking around and watching all the luggage (Miriam was so nervous that she managed to get 100 “zone minutes” by the time the plane took off!).

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Let's go to Canada! Let's go today!

In just a few short hours I'll be leaving for Canada with Miriam, Zoë, and Phoebe in tow. At dinner Andrew joked that we'll be experiencing a "Thanos Snap Effect," with half the family "disappearing" (anyone born in Utah will get left behind).

I'm trying to envision the trip going smoothly—not a single hiccup to encounter—but all kinds of worries and tangles keep popping into my brain. 

I'll feel much better about things once we're through customs at Quebec, sitting at our terminal, on time for our connecting flight to Calgary. 

I'll feel ever so much better after we've landed. 

I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family but am so, so nervous about such a long flight with Phoebe. 

So I'll just continue with my cleansing breaths until we get there...

Monday, August 21, 2023

An open love letter to our neighbourhood

Andrew came home from organ lessons last Wednesday, pulled into the garage, pulled out the hedge trimmer, and gave the bush beside the garage a little haircut. It had gotten so overgrown that it was tickling the car every time he drove by and he decided, I suppose, that enough was enough. 

There are more bushes in our yard that could do with a trim. But those will have to wait until after next week because I don't think any yard work will be happening while I'm away...not because I'm the only one who ever does yard work but because the forecast for the next week is scorching. 

Anyway, Zoë chose some of the clippings and fashioned them into a crown for herself and then—because she's a nice big sister and Alexander wanted one as well—she whipped one up for her little brother, too. They were proudly walking around the cul-de-sac in their laurel-like crowns, when one of the many Miss Michelles on our street called them over to her garden, cut some black-eyed Susans, and tucked them into their crowns for them.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Phoebe bouncing at the pool

I took the kids to the pool this afternoon and in a weird turn of events, the little kids were begging to get out and go home while Rachel, Miriam, and I (along with Phoebe) were like, "But...why though?"

Honestly, I think it's because they knew schools were letting out (first of all because there's a big clock at the pool, but also because we can hear and see the busses going by) and they knew it was a Friday, which meant that their friends would be more likely to be allowed outside to play. 

The school year really puts a damper on our social life—haha! 

Anyway, Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander pulled us out of the pool around 3:15, but not before we had a whole lot of fun! 

Alexander, who almost drowned at the beginning of pool season, wants to spend most his pool time in the deep end now. He dives off the wall, he jumps off the diving board, he swims across the pool...

But he has to have a big person with him, which can be a real drag sometimes. Benjamin and Zoë are allowed in the deep end together, but Alexander has to have me or Rachel (or Miriam, in a pinch) with him in the deep end. This would be easy if Phoebe weren't so vocal and particular about where she wants to be (which is often "STAIRS!" or "WALL!" or "LADDER!" because she likes to be independent). But she's also warming up the deep end and today when Alexander asked her if she'd please come to the 4 feet with Mom so that he could go in the deep end, she said, "Yeth!" jumped into my arms, and started kicking and paddling in the direction of the deep end. So she knows what's up. 

(The diving tank, for the record, is 10 feet deep, but I will stand in the "deep" end (4–5 feet) to watch Alexander while I hold Phoebe, ready to rescue, if need be. Usually I just bark commands like, "Slow down, mister!" and "STOP! You need to let Zoë move out of the way before you jump!")

Anyway, Phoebe has discovered that she can hop around in the shallow end (it's only 2.5 feet) if she stands on her tippy toes. She loves hopping around the pool like this. I borderline hate it because one misplaced step or one little wave can tip her right over...but she has so much fun doing it that it's awfully cute. Still, I'll be glad for next swim season when she'll be a little bit taller!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Storms of the Past (a guest post by Alexander)

We tried to go to the pool today. According to the forecast we had a good hour before the impending storm hit us, and from looking at the sky that seemed to be the case! It had rained a little earlier in the day, but then cleared up a bit. So, we headed over to the pool, stopping on the way to pick up a couple of items from the Buy Nothing Group.
What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good deal!

We picked up a dart board—because I thought Benjamin would love it. Andrew thought I'd lost my mind when I first told him that I had scored a dart board. But I assured him the darts were not in any way lethal...and he felt much better.

Still, we put it up with the cement wall of our foundation behind it (rather than hanging it on any sort of drywalled area). I don't know how much we needed to worry about our walls, however, because Benjamin threw a bullseye!

What a good shot!

Who hit the 20 at the top of the board? 

But I also threw the one that's really close to the bullseye (in the triangle part of the 12).

I'm nothing if not unpredictable. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Phoebe at 21 months

Somehow Phoebe is already 21 months old. She's been busy doing a lot of growing up the past few months. From potty training (which is going pretty well, though I'd like to speak to the person in charge who decided this was a good idea the month before international travel) to giving up her high chair (a more recent development; she's now on the kid stool at the dinner table), she just keeps growing up and up and up!

This evening during our Family Night lesson, she found a pair of pants in the diaper bag and managed to put them on by herself. She was quite proud—got one leg in each pant leg and everything!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Heiss History Tour (June 11)

It was lovely to be able to walk to church on Sunday morning. Phoebe thought this was a particularly lovely treat, though we typically walk at least a few laps around the church building anyway (since Andrew and Miriam like to arrive early to get the organ all set up, and I don't like lingering inside with the kids that long). Anyway, Miriam played a lovely piece as a "special musical number"; it was fun for her to play for the congregation that heard her first fledgling pieces on the organ. 

Marshmallow the narrow-mouthed toad

To celebrate my successful thesis defense, I took the kids to the pool. We stopped by at a neighbour's house to pick up some science-y stuff she was giving away...and ended up walking away with a million old copies of National Geographic magazines and a bucket of figs. 

"I thought you'd be out celebrating," she said. 

And...I mean...we were headed to the pool, were we not?

We're not huge on big celebrations over here. An afternoon at the pool—not worrying about anything at all (except potential drownings...because y'all know I can't help but worry about something, right)—sounded lovely to me. 

First we ate the figs because we didn't want to attract wasps. 

Funny thing—and this is all anecdotal evidence, so keep in mind that I have no idea what I'm talking about—but my kids who spent time in the Middle East (Rachel and Miriam) gobbled up the figs, even though we only had one good fig year in North Carolina, and they haven't really had figs since then. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Homeschool wins

Not every homeschooling day feels particularly successful, few homeschooling days are glamorous. However, every day includes learning and growing (even if it also includes a little hair pulling (of my own hair, of course, not the children's (why would you think that?!))). I probably have more experience teaching kids how to swim than teaching anything else—in the public sphere—but I believe there is power in just showing up and jumping in the pool. 

At least you're getting wet! At least you're splashing around! At least you're trying! Usually when kids show up and get in the pool, they walk away having improved on some skill (or having conquered some fear), even if it felt (or looked) like all they did was mess around. 

That was one complaint I'd get from parents sometimes as a swim instructor—"When are you going to teach them how to swim? They're just playing around and singing songs!"

And I'd be like, "And three days ago they wouldn't even get in the pool! We're getting to the swimming part!"

And now I'm the parent (and the instructor) and I have to remind myself that progress (1) often looks like playing when children are involved and (2) can be messy. 

Today, for example, Zoë (who is already a quarter of the way through her math curriculum for the year), was finishing up her unit on area and perimeter. She was working on rectilinear shapes, that is a 2D shapes where all the angles are right angles, but which are more complicated than a simple rectangle is, being multiple rectangles mashed together. She was having a hard time envisioning how to break the shapes apart, in order to solve for unknown side lengths or calculate the area of the entire shape or what have you. 

I happened to be in the kitchen cutting up some cheese for Phoebe and had a nice rectangle of cheese on the cutting board, which I was busy cutting into cubes. Zoë came in moaning about her math and then said, "Hey! That's a rectangle!" And then she rearranged the cubes of cheese into an L-shape form, similar to what she had been working on and said, "And this is not a rectangle, but it still has the same area! And if I just split it into two rectangles—like this!—then I can add the area of this rectangle and that rectangle together and I'll have my answer! I get it!"

She popped a cube of cheese in her mouth, I put the rest in a bowl for Phoebe (who immediately set about building a tower out of cheese blocks), and that was that. Zoë didn't ever quite get around to asking a proper question or wait around for a proper answer. She just was thinking about stuff, encountered cheese, and worked out the answer (while simultaneously stealing her baby sister's snack). 

So that was one beautiful moment from this week. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Nauvoo (June 24)

I roped the kids into helping me write about our summer road trip because (1) it's good to hear their perspective about these things as well—they depend on me to record memories far too much and as much as I've tried to cultivate a passion for journal keeping within their little hearts...somehow I have, so far, failed (but Zoë has started watching the Victoria series and was very impressed by Queen Victoria's record keeping skills, so I have hope that the journal writing fire will kindle within her yet).

I've rambled so much that I'm afraid my list is completely lost, but my second reason (2) is because we did so many amazing things that truly did need to be documented, and I was so swamped with getting my thesis finished that I knew I couldn't manage to write about everything in a timely manner all on my own. I mean, here we are, having been home for 46 days already and we're still not quite done (though we are so very close). 

However, I think the kids are running out of steam. Zoë said she'd write about Nauvoo and this is what I managed to extract from her:

Nauvoo was our last stop on the way back to Georgia. Nauvoo was very pretty! Even Phoebe thinks so! We slept in a brick hotel, and on the outside, it looked very old. On the inside, not so much. We saw Sunset on the Mississippi, and got to dance on a stage. At first, I didn't want to dance on the stage, but then Mom said that it was my chance to be on the stage! We went to the temple at Nauvoo, and saw the real Sunset on the Mississippi. After that, we went to Carthage Jail. At Carthage Jail, I wanted to stay as close to the sister missionaries as possible. I don’t know why I did that, or I just don’t remember why, maybe it was because I thought they were pretty, I don’t know! But I do know that I was right behind them pretty much the whole time.

She didn't mention that I went up on stage with her because she was too afraid to go up on her own! Here are a few more pictures of the 'Sunset on the Mississippi' from Andrew's phone:

Winter Quarters and Sunset on the Mississippi (June 23, with thoughts by Alexander)

Winter Quarters was a slight deviation from our route to Nauvoo of the Sioux places (I can't really remember whether we stopped in Sioux City or Sioux Falls, though I do remember that it was dark and storming and the roads were slick and completely dark because they'd recently been repaved but hadn't yet been repainted and we were just so glad to reach the hotel alive), but we though it was worth the extra half hour of driving to make the stop at the visitor's center. 

As one of Andrew's friends commented on Twitter—they have better bathrooms than any gas station around! They're clean, they're fully functional, and you'll be greeted by no fewer than six smiling faces on your way in!

We didn't stay long, in part because we still had five hours left to drive to Nauvoo (and we wanted to be sure to get there for the 'Sunset on the Mississippi' show), but also because Alexander had just thrown up in the car the day before, if you recall, and we were nervous about whether any other kids were going to...also be sick. 

Fortunately, it just seemed to be a him-thing. Everyone else was just fine!

Here are the kids exploring some pioneer things:

Thesis Report! Thesis Report!

Today was the big day: I defended my thesis. 

It ended up being such a weird day (in part because of the timing of the thesis defense) that Phoebe completely skipped having a nap (she really did great all day but was quite ready for bed at bedtime). 

My defense went well. First my committee and I chatted about a few things—a terrible flight from Europe back to the States, having to pay $20,000 to have a number of trees removed from a backyard after this last series of storms that came through, things like that. None of that had anything to do with my thesis at all, but it's good to shoot the breeze for a bit. 

Then I was sent to a private room to twiddle my thumbs while they discussed whether I should pass the written portion, which I did. 

Then I had to give a presentation about my thesis and expand on other areas that I would have liked to write about (but didn't) and things like that. Then we discussed various parts of my thesis, my committee members asked questions, I tried to answer those questions, and then...I was sent away again while they deliberated about whether or not I passed the oral portion of my thesis...which I did.

Then we got back together to talk about future plans (which might just involve a little more school, but which for now just involve taking a deep breath). They also gave me advice about how to turn my thesis into either a series of articles or a book—ideas that could use further development, claims that could use more bravery behind them.

That was the biggest piece of advice: "If you’re going to publish, you’re going to need to make bolder claims. Make bold claims."

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Climbing trees

My children would love to have a good climbing tree in our yard, but we don't have one. The trees that would otherwise be good to climb have such a high canopy that their branches are truly unreachable. Loblolly pines, for example, easily surpass 100 feet in height and their branches usually crowd up near the top of the tree, leaving most of the trunk bare.

Trees grow upwards from their top, which means that their branches should stay wherever they first sprouted (and in fact they do), but they're often dropped as the tree gets taller. And in the case of the loblolly pines I've seen this is definitely true. All the branches are way up there. So you really can't climb them very easily. 

Tulip poplars are another tree that—at least around these parts—grow impressively tall and seem to shed their lower branches. 

Honestly, all the trees—maple, oak, whatever. They are all tall, tall tall. 

Finding good climbing trees can be hard around here! When I was young, I don't remember it being so difficult. Perhaps trees just grow...shorter...where it's cold and snowy a good portion of the year.

Nancy (center) with Kelline (right) and...either David or Abra (left (there's an ongoing family disagreement about whom))

Saying Miriam

For the past twenty months or so, Phoebe has avoided saying Miriam's name. 

Please note that Phoebe is twenty months old. 

She said Rachel's name first—either Achie and Acha. Benjamin is Buh. Zoë is Zozo or Dodo or a sound somewhere between the two. Alexander is A'duh. 

Miriam has been "No!" or "That!"

It got to be so that Miriam felt a little targeted by Phoebe's seeming refusal to attempt saying Miriam's name. Andrew swears she's said Mimi (or MeMe or some other similar sounding thing) a few times to him, but she has never called Miriam anything to her face. 

Last Sunday, however, Miriam was up on the stand and Phoebe stood up on our bench in the middle of sacrament meeting, pointed to Miriam and hollered, "MIMI!" loud enough for the entire congregation to hear her!

Miriam was so proud!

And Phoebe has called her Mimi ever since (so for an entire week now). 

Today I stayed home to do zoom church with the little kids because Alexander and Zoë both have a terrible cough (though no fever, and no other symptoms). Phoebe had a wonderful time pointing out Miriam and Daddy on the screen during all of the songs, and then about lost her mind when Grandpa got up to say the prayer!

Saturday, August 05, 2023

I knead this to be over!

The kids and I were sitting at the table having lunch and discussing Shakespeare (we're reading A Comedy of Errors at the moment) this afternoon when we heard Andrew say from the kitchen, "Alexa, how much time is left on the timer?"

We knew he had dough proofing in the oven; he'd planned to make pretzels for dinner. 

His pretzels are the best.

"You have two minutes remaining on your ten minute timer," Alexa told him.

"UGH!" he moaned. 

Everyone at the table exchanged looks. It's not usual for Andrew to be so emotional.

"Pretty sure you'll survive two minutes," I said, my voice dripping with fake sympathy.

"But I'm so tired!" he huffed. 

Everyone at the table exchanged looks again. Because literally what was his plan at...noon. Nap time?

Now, this is rich coming from a lady who treasures an afternoon nap with her toddler nearly every day. I see that. But, like, seriously, Andrew doesn't usually nap in the middle of the day. And would two minutes really throw off any napping plans that he evidently had? 

He can be so weird sometimes!


Sunday outfits for Phoebe

I will start this post by once again stating that I should be working on my thesis right now (I really need to get a presentation pulled together), but instead I'm going to blog a little bit about my baby. Because, you know what, babies grow up, and master's degrees can wait. I mean, technically I have a hard and fast deadline, but I mostly know what I'm going to say, I think...I just need to create a powerpoint.

Anyway, starting in July we started attending sacrament meeting at our ward building, fully masked, of course. We attended weekly before, just from home (which honestly is probably more work than going and just sitting in a pew). I won't talk about my feelings about the pandemic because they are too large for this platform. I will just briefly share a quote often attributed to Krishnamurti: "it is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." The sickness of society I see is our unwillingness to find solutions to our problems; instead we accept whatever ills as just the way things are. They're not the way things have to be, but we're too tired or scared or broke to do anything differently (even when what we're doing is what is making us tired and scared and broke). 

That didn't really explain anything, but that's okay. 

The point of this post is Phoebe, who hasn't spent much of her life getting dolled up and now finally is getting dolled up. I mean, I put her in dresses when I could, but in all honesty, dresses are frustrating when you're crawling around, so we just had several months where she didn't wear dresses. Now she's wearing dresses every week and it's fun to dress her up. 

Here she is with a barrette in her hair—the first and only time she's let me put something in her hair (and left it in longer than 0.3 seconds):

Hearing voices

The other night at dinner, Rachel asked Benjamin to please stop talking so much (or at least speak in a quieter voice) and he said, "You sounded like Mom just then!"

Rachel shrugged her shoulders with defeat. She's more or less accepted the fact that our voices and speech patterns are...very similar. Sometimes we can't hardly tell each other apart when we hear a playback of ourselves conversing (say, for example, if Alexander happened to record a clip of us, which is not unusual—he loves recording people). Just last week my sister Abra called to wish Rachel a happy birthday and I said, "Well, you're on speaker and I'm handing the phone to Rachel because I'm currently pushing the stroller up a big hill..."

She proceeded to have a lovely conversation with Rachel about her cat, about life, about the storm we'd just had. Then she said, "Well, I just wanted to call to wish Rachel a happy birthday!"

"Thank you!" Rachel said, somewhat confused about why Abra was talking about her in third person. 

"You're welcome??" Abra said, equally confused. "Can I talk to her?"

"You've been talking to her the whole time!!" I laughed. "I told you I put you on speaker and handed you to Rachel!"

"But she sounds so much like you! I thought you were doing all the talking!"

So Rachel is aware that our voices are, at times, indistinguishable. And sometimes you just have to accept such things as facts of life. Rachel has done so, and thus gave her defeated shrug when Benjamin pointed out that she sounded just like me. 

Zoë, however, wheeled around and chided Benjamin: "BENJAMIN! That is sooooo rude!"

Now, was it rude that Benjamin said Rachel sounded like me? Or was it rude that Zoë assumed it was rude to think that Rachel sounded like me? Or was it rude when I told Grandpa (Reid) this story at dinner he said to me, "Well, you sound exactly like your mom, so..."

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

False Alarm

I read somewhere once that a verbal fire alarm is better than one that simply beeps at you. I can't remember where I read that now, but I think the idea of it was that it can be hard to wrap your head around what's happening in a true emergency situation. The verbal cues can be enough to help you snap out of your shock and jump into action.

When we moved into this house none of the fire alarms were active. That is, most of them were completely absent and the ones that were present had no batteries in them (the batteries weren't dead...they weren't there). I could hardly sleep at night until Andrew brought home a big pack of smoke detectors from Costco. 

The ones he got are actually combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You can program them to announce what room they're in. we have a detector in every room. 

We know they work because we test them somewhat regularly—most recently when Andrew was browning the pork chops he'd just taken out of the sous vide. 

"Warning! Warning! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Smoke detected in...dining room! Evacuate...dining room! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Warning! Warning! Smoke detected in..." began the smoke detector in the dining room. Then...

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

The High Museum of Art

On Friday we took a field trip to the High Museum of Art to see the Samurai exhibit that has been running this summer. 

It will be there until mid-September and if you haven't gone to see it, you should...because it is pretty spectacular!

Rachel's Birthday Balloons

Rachel put this lovely dress on her birthday wish list and then, after church, when I had her pose while wearing it, she did this:

Shelley and Rexburg (June 20)

Our first stop on our trip back home was at Aunt Emily's house!

And, yes, you read that correctly—our first stop was Emily's house. That means we drove the whole way to Emily's house without stopping once. This was rather incredible because historically that drive hasn't always gone that smoothly for us. According to Andrew's data, that 3 hours and 31 minutes was one of our longest stretches of driving the whole trip!

The kids were so excited to hop out of the car and into the arms of their cousins! Here are a few pictures of us playing outside:

Aunt Linda's Strawberries—and other stories (a guest post by Zoë)

While we were in Utah, we picked strawberries with Aunt Linda. Her strawberry patch was by her front door. We could tell they were ripe, because the ripe ones were red. Phoebe only picked the green strawberries! That’s not good, because the green strawberries aren't ripe strawberries! Aunt Linda also has a strawberry rock. It fooled Phoebe! I think it’s to trick deer, chipmunks, and other animals that would try to eat the strawberry plants. Aunt Linda has a strawberry bucket that we put the strawberries in, and then, after we picked all the ripe, red, juicy ones, we brought the strawberries inside, and cut them up. 

Here are some pictures of me standing in Aunt Linda's strawberry patch on the Sunday after I got baptized:

Monday, July 31, 2023

Conrad visits (June 14 & June 19)

My Uncle Bruce took our family out for lunch at the Cannon Center on June 14 (Uncle Patrick's birthday!). We had quite the time finding our way there because all the regular routes are under construction and we didn't know how to get into the pedestrian walkway around the construction, though Uncle Bruce knew the way and helped us find it so we could get back to our cars easier.

A day with the Heiss cousins (June 13)

Spanish Fork has funded a number of social spaces since we moved away. They built a beautiful new library, for example, as well as this beautiful splash pad. I think they got an all-abilities playground and there's talk of building a recreation center as well. Not everyone is happy about these plans, finding public spaces to be superfluous to society (I'm friends with many of these people on Facebook), but I personally love to see my tax dollars at work in this way! Public spaces are so important to communities! 

I'm sad that they didn't have anything like this while we were there, but we survived without them...and got to enjoy them when we visited!

Grandpa suggested that we spend the day at the splash pad with our cousins on Tuesday the 13th, so that's what we did! Emily had driven down from Idaho with her kids; they stayed at Uncle Jacob's house. We didn't expect Uncle Jacob to come to the splash pad (because we were under the impression that he had to work), so we were surprised when not only Emily but also Jacob showed up! It was fun to have them both there. Andrew, Emily, and Jacob had a nice little visit together while the kids played. 

Carter and Dean were with Aunt Shayla this particular day. Aunt Shayla had taken the boys to go stay at her mom's house...because Jacob just recently asked her for a divorce. But Jacob hadn't yet told any of us this (silly guy), so there was some obvious tension in the air surrounding things unsaid. I believe their split is public knowledge at this point (like, I think they've signed papers and everything). Jacob is living in a friend's basement up in the SLC area and Shayla is in the house with the boys for the time being. So, yeah...that was a bit of a...tension...throughout the day. But it seems like things are going better now. 

Anyway, Carter and Dean missed out on the fun, and we missed seeing Shayla. But the rest of the cousins present had fun together.

Below are some pictures of them playing (I'll try—but will probably fail—to limit the commentary):

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Yellowstone: Fountain Paint Pots, Black Sand Basin, Emerald Pool, and things (June 21: coauthored by Benjamin and Mom)

On Tuesday night (June 20) we slept in Rexburg, a city in Idaho, at the AmericInn where I slept on a couch. The next day we had a two hour drive to Yellowstone. It took us a long time to get to the entrance gate, but once we got inside the park things were smooth sailing. 

We started to drive a twisting mountain road. A few moments later we saw steam rising off of the hills. 

Mom said we should probably pull over to explore, so we drove down the road to investigate and stopped at a parking lot next to a trailhead. 

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Mount Rushmore (June 22)

The drive from Devils Tower, WY, to Mount Rushmore, SD, is only 2 hours and 20 minutes (130 miles or so). Alexander, who had been feeling find at Devils Tower began wilting at Mount Rushmore. 

It's been so long now that I can't quite remember which of the children got sick when. Phoebe got sick first. On a Sunday? I feel like it was on a Sunday. Was it on June 18th? Andrew ended up going home from church early with her because we realized part way through sacrament meeting that she had a fever. She was a miserable baby all day Sunday, but woke up feeling better on Monday. 

Zoë was the next child to get sick. I can't quite remember when she got sick, but her illness followed the same trajectory as Phoebe's. She felt sick for a day and then felt better. She must have been sick on Monday because I don't remember her feeling sick while we were traveling and we were counting our lucky stars until Alexander started feeling sick at Yellowstone (June 21). 

At first he attributed his feelings of malaise to breathing in vapours from the geysers and things, so he kept saying that he wanted to "get out of here," away from all the steam. Now, granted, "toxic gases may accumulate to dangerous levels in some hydrothermal areas"so he his assumption wasn't necessarily unwarranted. But everyone else seemed fine, so we were pretty confident it wasn't toxic gasses (and we didn't spend a ton of time at any particular hydrothermal area). 

But, boy, that steam was just blowing into his face and stinging his eyes! And that sulphur smell sure was giving him a headache!

It took us an embarrassing long time to realize that he had, in fact, spiked a fever and was downright miserable. (Fortunately, all our activities were outside, so we felt we were giving others plenty of fresh air around us). 

He was so happy when we finished dragging him in and out of the car at Yellowstone and let him have a big, long rest in the car while we drove through Wyoming!

The next morning he was feeling much better, as we assumed he would be (if his illness followed the same course his sisters had experienced), and was running and climbing all over everything at Devils Tower. As I mentioned, however, he began to wilt at Mount Rushmore.

Here we all are standing in front of the monument (you may also note the thunderstorm gathering behind the hills):


Friday, July 28, 2023

Zoo trip (June 16)

Knowing that she would be doing a lot of entertaining this summer, my sister Kelli bought a fancy-schmancy pass to the zoo that allowed her a generous number of guest passes, so she treated our family to zoo visit while we were out in Utah. (Later she'd take her daughter Amy and Amy's three kids, as well as some other grandkids to the zoo; she sure is a lot of fun!)

We haven't been to the zoo since June 2019—right before we moved to Georgia—the trip that ignited Alexander's passion for all things owl. He's been quite the strigiformesphile ever since!

At first I thought it was interesting that we always take pictures of the giraffes when we very first get to the zoo, but then I realized that they're the first major attraction after the entrance, so it only makes sense to start with them.

So here we are looking at the giraffes:

The Cursèd Bathroom

We have come to the conclusion that our hallway bathroom is officially cursed. 

When we bought the place, we knew we'd have to redo the bathroom floor. We still haven't done that, but we knew that we would have to do so eventually. The tiles are all just falling apart. 

For a while the shower was leaking into the basement, but we got that fixed.

And then the upstairs bathroom fell into the hallway bathroom (both bathrooms were cursed, honestly).

And then most recently we found out that we'd screwed our towel rack into a pipe in the wall. 

As we stand, our ceiling has "naked" drywall up (to replace all the drywall that fell down when the upstairs collapsed into the downstairs), the tile floor is completely cracking up, and we have a couple of lovely holes cut into our wall. 

Well, today, Zoë was washing her hands and...water started running out of the bathroom cabinet and streaming all over the floor. 

The sink pipes have completely corroded and just...popped apart! 

To fix it, I think we'll have to do something like this (which doesn't look too complicated):

For now we just have a big "OUT OF ORDER" sign taped to the faucet. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Springville Museum of Art (June 15)

Uncle Rod has a lovely piece on exhibition at the Springville Museum of Art, so visiting the museum was on our list of things we had to do while in Utah. We unfortunately didn't get to see Uncle Rod in person, but it was fun to see his photograph. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

When is a $30 towel rack a $600 towel rack?

We came home from Utah to a leaky basement and ten billion fruit flies in the kitchen. 

Finding the cause of the fruit fly problem was relatively quick and easy—we'd left a singular banana on the kitchen counter. And then let it sit in the house for three weeks. So...fruit flies. 

We're still battling them a bit, but they're much better controlled than they were when we first arrived home. They were everywhere. Why did we leave a solitary banana to rot on the counter? I'm sure I had planned on feeding it to Phoebe with breakfast, or something. And then didn't.

Much like the cucumbers in the fridge that I had meant to prepare to take with us...and then didn't...

Anyway, the fruit fly problem was easy to diagnose. The drip? Not so much. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Strm damage and sblng beatngs (and thngs)

I'm supposed to be working on my thesis right now, and I am! But I'm also taking a quick break to write a few funny stories about our day. Because those are important, too. Perhaps more important? Like so many things in life that are seemingly less pressing but ultimately more important. 

I really ought to hurry though because we're under a severe thunderstorm warning (it's already getting dark and stormy outside) and we all know what happened last time we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. To that end, allow me to share some pictures of Grandpa's house and yard (which suffered quite a bit more than our house and yard):

The tree that is resting horizontally in this picture? It used to be vertical.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Rachel is 16!

Today was Rachel's birthday and in the spirit of Throwback Thursday, we had a massive storm roll through right at dinner time, which knocked out the power, so we celebrated her birthday in the dark...just like we did four years ago!

Fortunately, Miriam had already finished decorating the cake and Andrew had already finished cooking dinner, so all we really had to do was break out the candles and finish eating. The lights flicked off and on a few times before snapping off completely. This was soon followed by a big crash, which set half the table to screaming. 

Grandpa was sure our house had been hit by lightning, but it was only a branch that had landed on our roof. Alexander and Zoë were already panicking and Phoebe evidently wasn't feeling too safe, either, when I decided to stand up to find the emergency candles. At that point Phoebe started screaming bloody murder, so I sent Rachel and Miriam down into the basement to find the candles while I calmed down the children. And then we all finished our dinner (which was orange chicken, made by Andrew (who didn't eat any because he doesn't like chicken)).

After we finished eating we got the cake ready...and went outside to assess the damage to our house (which all seemed to be superficial, thank goodness—when Grandpa went home he discovered that his neighbour had two big trees topple, though both trees decided to land away from any buildings, which was good news).

Here's the cake that Miriam made for Rachel: