Monday, January 30, 2023

Where's Daaaaddy?

This afternoon we we talking about different fabrics because Miriam has become obsessed with textiles. She is constantly inspecting what everyone's wearing and declaring whether it's stockinette or garter or cable or jersey or satin or woven or...

She happened to have on a satin skirt and was telling us about how the weave is looped over the weft in a certain way and...things like that. Satin feels silky, but is not silk. 

This led to Andrew explaining what he'd recently learned about silkworm factories. Apparently they boil/kill the silkworms in order to harvest the silk without damaging the fibers (because the silkworms chew a hole through their cocoon in order to exit). It's a little controversial these days (though, to be fair, silkworm soup is it's not as if all the silkworms go to waste...I guess). Enough silkworms are left alive to mate, and then the process starts all over again (since silkworms have evolved to be 100% dependent on humans for their survival—they can't find food, they can't fly, their only instinct is to mate, and then they die).

Andrew the Optimist

Yesterday morning—before the library had even opened—I was verbalizing my personal itinerary for the day to Andrew. 

"I need to go to the library," I said. "But I think I have time to shower first. And then I need to get started on my prospectus revisions and..."

"Oh, before you shower," said Andrew the Optimist, "We should move things around in the basement real quick and pick up those cabinets from my dad!"

A few things you should know:

(1) Reid recently had his kitchen renovated, including having new kitchen cabinets installed. It looks lovely! And the old cabinets were just sitting there, begging to be used. 

(2) Andrew is the optimist in our house. I'm what he would call a pessimist, though I prefer to call myself a realist. When we have our "Project Saturdays," he'll make a grand list of 8–10 things to accomplish and I'll say, "Cool your jets! You can pick two items...maybe three...though we might not even get through one..." 

I don't know if it's because we're inefficient project doers or what, but sometimes I'm right. Though, to be fair, sometimes he is. Most often we probably land somewhere in the middle, accomplishing more than I thought we would, but less than he dreamed we would. I can't say whether it's better to be a pessimist realist and be pleasantly surprised or to be an optimist and be mildly disappointed.

Though Andrew isn't someone who gets disappointed often. He just is happy with what he accomplishes and moves whatever he didn't accomplish to his next to-do list. So...that's the optimist in him, I guess.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Going Mythological, A New Toy Box, and a Girl and her Kitty

Alexander has been on a roll lately with his little sayings. He was talking with Benjamin and Zoë about things no human alive today has ever seen—dinosaurs and dragons and unicorns and the like—and they were trying to convince him that some of those creatures are extinct while others are merely mythological. He got all mad and insisted that extinction isn't real at all, that when a creature goes extinct they merely "go mythological!"

It's a lovely parallel form to "go extinct."


In effort to tame Phoebe and all of her...stuff...and because I've wanted one to go behind the couch for a long time, I bought a storage bench. It was already on sale, which is why I was looking at them (well, technically I was looking because I was up nursing Phoebe late at night and ran out of course turned to window shopping), but then I noticed that they had a "warehouse" one available that was being sold as "used," but which was "new," just in a damaged box. It was way cheaper, so I bought that one, and now we have a lovely little toy box behind our couch (that says on the bottom "not intended for use as a toy box").

Saturday, January 21, 2023

A me fail and a mom win

Today I officially (??) turned in my thesis proposal and then took the kids to the park to get some good, ol' fashioned fresh air after spending the last couple of weeks cooped up sick. I told the kids I wouldn't make them go running...yet...since some of them are still feeling a little sluggish, but since (a) we're sure we don't have COVID and (b) because no one has any fevers or active coughs, we did feel a walk outside and some time at an empty playground couldn't hurt anyone. 

We stopped by the little free library and grabbed some stories to read between games of tag. 

Phoebe has become demandingly independent recently, screaming and squirming to be put down so she can use her own two feet instead of being carried. When we arrived at the park there was no way she was going to allow us to strap her into the stroller, so we played at the park before going on our walk.

When the kids started their game of tag, I was initially pushing Phoebe in the swing, but then Alexander was it and no one would let him get them, so I joined in and let him tag me, and then played around with the kids for a while. And then I stopped playing to push Phoebe in the swing some more. 

Keeping everyone happy is a real balancing act!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Lego-nary and Potentially Cleaning Things

 Last night for FHE we played "Lego-nary," which could definitely use a better name. It's like "pictionary" but with Lego instead of pictures. We just paired up and spent 8 minutes putting together a Lego interpretation of a scripture story (with pictures for inspiration) and then we had to guess what story each pair had made and then each pair had to share a retelling of their story. 

It went well. Everybody loved it. Everybody made awesome-looking scenes...except for me and Phoebe. Our team underperformed, but that's okay.

Here's team "Daddy and Zoë" with the story of Jesus cleansing the temple:

Monday, January 16, 2023

Tornadoes and Scrap Paper

We're just entering our second week of classes, which means last week was our first week of classes. Already I can see my pledge to blog more slipping in favour of writing more for my classes (as it always seems to do). In theory, I should finish this semester...if I can finish writing my thesis. But I'm also taking a poetry course again could I not?

Andrew was supposed to be home late, late, late on Thursday, but he surprised me by coming home much earlier than expected.

I shouldn't have been surprised because he texted me several times to update me on his plans, but I had placed my phone on the charger so that it could be fully charged in case there was an emergency (we were on a tornado watch all day and my battery was running low), so I didn't see any of his texts until after he walked in through the door and was like, "What are you doing home?"

We were watching Matilda the Musical to keep our minds off the storm (you know how Alexander gets) and we didn't lose power or anything. 

Other places in the storm's path were not so lucky. Here's Andrew telling me that a tornado hit Selma...and that they issued a tornado warning for his area so he had to find shelter:

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Phoebe at 14 months

Phoebe turned 14 months on Friday the 13th!

She is 100% a walker these days and only crawls in the most dire of circumstances (like when the vacuum comes out and she has to get to safety fast). She suffered a few bumps and bruises along the way to foot-fluency, but her balance is pretty good these days. 

She loves to eat—things she's supposed to...and things she's not. 

Today I was reading her a story on the couch before church when she heard the microwave beep. She scooted off the couch so fast and ran to the kitchen to see who was cooking what and whether she could have some. 

Miriam was warming up some chicken noodle soup (we're all sick over here) for breakfast...and she did share with Phoebe.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Prayer refresher

Tonight we had a family night lesson about prayer. We do refresher courses every so often for the benefit of...all of us. How do you get ready for prayer? How do you say a prayer? Why do we pray? 

Sometimes we forget these things. 

We talked about The Lord's Prayer (which we'd just covered in family scripture study) and Andrew talked about what it means to avoid "vain repetitions," (which our generation was sometimes taught meant saying scripted prayers, such as The Lord's Prayer, which is a little silly given the fact that that prayer was given as a template in the first place, and given the scripted prayers we use weekly in sacrament meeting and in the temple and so forth). We read the story of the rameumptum and discussed the proper motivations for prayer. It is the thought behind the prayer that determines whether it's a vain repetition or not. 

So we talked about motivations for prayer: to express gratitude, to seek communion, to seek guidance, for comfort, to express and feel love, to reflect, and, yes, to meditate. 

(Andrew hesitated on that last reason, but I think it has merit).

Monday, January 09, 2023

Interesting mishaps

The weather has been beyond beautiful the last little while and it had been too long since we'd had a good jogging session, so today the kids and I went to the park for a run. The three older children all made biking goals this year, so they all rode to the park together. This gave me plenty of room in the back of the van to load the jogging stroller, Zoë's bike, and two of Alexander's bikes (his pedal bike, which he didn't want to ride but ended up riding, and his balance bike, which he insisted we bring along and which he didn't end up riding). 

I have a baby seat sitting in the garage but it doesn't seem to be able to attach to any of our bikes, otherwise I might have been persuaded to ride to the park with the kids. But instead I drove the younger three and all their gear (and all the water bottles) to the park. We completed our jog, did some plein air painting, played at the park, and then headed home. 

Once there, Zoë and Alexander obediently grabbed "stuff" from the van to carry inside, dropped everything in a pile just inside the door, and went to get themselves a snack, left me outside to deal with everything else (bikes, screaming babies, the whole kit and caboodle). 

I got Phoebe out of her seat and let her toddle around while I started unloading the back of the van. I took out the balance bike and put that away. Then I took out Alexander's pedal bike and just about put it away, but then I thought I would put Zoë's bike away first, since she has an easier time moving his bike to get to hers (compared to how difficult it is for him to move her bike to get to his). So her bike can go against the garage wall and then his bike can lean against hers.

Like most things in our house, bikes have to be doubled up to be put away. There are just too many of them to store them single-file. So I left Alexander's pedal bike behind Andrew's car while I reached inside the back of the van to pull out Zoë's bike. 

Keep in mind that Alexander's pedal bike has training wheels, so it stands upright on its own. This is good, because it meant that when Phoebe decided to push it back over to me it didn't topple over on top of her. 

It was also bad because it meant that as I was backing my way out of the back of the van carrying a bike, I toppled over on top of Alexander's bike that was suddenly parked directly behind my ankles. I didn't even hear Phoebe do it (since I was too busy grunting and clanging in the back of the van as I wrestled with Zoë's bike)!

So, there I was, a Mommy sandwhich—one bike under me, one bike on top of me. 

Not my finest moment. 

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Yogourt and Yelling

Phoebe-face was incredibly grumpy today. She spent most of the morning screaming. And then we took a nap. And she woke up still pretty grumpy. So she screamed most of the afternoon, too. 

She enjoyed eating (because that's pretty much her favourite thing to do). We had a smörgåsbord leftovers for dinner + homemade yogourt and granola. Phoebe really enjoyed the yogourt!

Miriam's first wedding!

My friend Becca got married yesterday—a small family affair in a cute little chapel out in Vinings—and she asked if Miriam would be the organist for her. Miriam was thrilled to pieces (and her organ teacher was thrilled to pieces) and set to work preparing. 

Like that nightmare where your teeth keep falling out...

On December 14, as you recall, I yanked one of Zoë's front teeth out. And it was horrifying. 

She's had her hands in her mouth, wriggling those incisors back and forth like she'd been hired to conduct mechanical stress tests on her teeth, for weeks now and we're all thoroughly grossed out by it all. 

So we all rejoiced when Andrew finally convinced her to let him pull out her other front tooth. We missed having her two front teeth out by Christmas, though we did manage to have them both out for Epiphany (January 6)! It wouldn't have mattered, anyway, because Zoë flew into a fury anytime anyone suggested she sing "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" for us. 

Saturday, January 07, 2023

On Christmas Day in the morning!

Here we are on the twelfth day of Christmas and I'm finally getting around to posting about Christmas morning.

Because we had church on Christmas morning and didn't want a repeat of Christmas morning tears, the kids all slept over at Grandpa's house—his Scrooge-house, with no decorations, no presents, and no internet (only because his internet was down for some reason, which factors into the story, I promise)—and in the morning Andrew dropped me and Phoebe off there and picked Miriam up because she was going to be playing the organ.

By the time I arrived, the internet guy was already there—yes, on Sunday; yes, on Christmas—trying to figure out what was wrong with Grandpa's internet. Eventually the diagnosis was, "Yup. Yup. Seems to be an outage of sorts," which wasn't very helpful, but he did what he could. We though he must have thought we were a little strange, though, to be in an obviously-Christian house filled with children but having no tree or presents (or any decorations at all) in sight. 

We sang a lot of carols, which was lovely, and since there was only one hour of church (which we streamed through Grandpa's phone—hurrah for satellites—which was hooked up to the television, it was over before we knew it and we were packing up to head home for the part of Christmas morning that the kids were really excited about.

Here they are lining up for "The Christmas Train":

Sunday, January 01, 2023

54 miles (from Selma to Montgomery)

We drove to Selma in the morning (December 28) and I have to say that Selma—bless its heart—was such an empty little town. And I say that as someone who was born in a town with a population that is now only approaching 4000 people (and who grew up in a town of (in 2000) less than 10,000 people). It made me quite sad to see how the city has been neglected. It felt almost like we were in a ghost town. 

But you don't have to take my word for it (because I'm not the only one who felt this way).