Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Zoë's 8th birthday (a guest post by Rachel)

Two more of us fell to this week’s mysterious plague today: Mom and Grandpa. Because 2 of the adults were down for the count, Zoë had a pretty low-key birthday. In the morning we just hung out at the beach (Grandpa was still feeling alive at this point so he came with us). 

We (successfully) flew a kite for the first time, got it 150 feet in the air using the entire string, and almost hit some beachgoers with it when it decided to fall. We did not, however, almost hit Alex. We just hit him, and he had a big red mark on his neck for a couple of days. The kite stayed up in the air for a sold half hour, though, which is fantastic compared to the day before when the wind was stormy. 

After a while, we headed back to the house to have lunch and do cake and presents for Zoë. She opened all her presents, including a set of scriptures and a scripture case, and we read birthday balloons to her.

Phoebe wrote:

Phoebe loves you! (A lot of scribbles)

Alex wrote:

I love you zoe happy birthday at the beach (hearts)

You are da best kus you good piano player and a good sister (more hearts)

Ben wrote:

8 is great and so are you! You are a great piano player, better than me at it. You are also a good sister. Love you! (creepy unicorn picture that I think we have to include because it’s so great)

Miriam wrote:

Happy birthday Zoe! How are you already 8! That’s crazy! You are so good at everything you do, like piano and drawing. I’m excited to see what you do this year. 8 is great, and so are you! (fancy cursive happy birthday)

I (Rachel) wrote:

I can’t believe you’re already eight, Zoë! Happy birthday! You’re such a great piano player, artist, and writer, and I’mm glad you’re my sister. I love you! -Rachel

Zippy learner

Opalescent clothing

Eloquent writer

(Somehow I was the only one to write an acrostic for her? We strayed from tradition today, apparently.) 

Mom wrote: 

Zoë’s a swimmer supreme!

This beach life, for her, is a dream…

She splashes in waves, 

Eats 10 fruit rolls a day,

And never, no never, is mean!

Happy birthday, lovely lady! You’ve gotten taller and wiser this year. I can tell! You’re growing up great and we’re proud of you. I love watching you be a big sister. You are thoughtful and kind, and make up fun games! You’re a good reader, writer, piano player, and friend. Keep learning, keep being kind, keep being wonderful, wonderful you! I love you! -Mom

And Dad wrote:

ZOË! I’m so excited that you’re eight! You’re such a fun kid and a good nice friend to everyone and a great helper. You’ll have a great year growing up more and more and learning more and more! Happy birthday! - Dad

When we finished with birthday balloons and presents, we went to the kitchen to have cake. It was a beach themed lemon cake (from a box) with cream cheese frosting and apricot jam filling.

It’s a little bit of a miracle that I finished it because I baked it the day I was sick and could barely move and then decorated it when I was still recovering, but I think it turned out nice! Zoë barely ate any because she was so focused on the ice cream and Mom and Grandpa didn’t eat it at all that day because they were sick (or about to get sick, in Grandpa’s case), but it was pretty good. After we lit the candles, Dad accidentally blew them all out while blowing out the match, so we had to light them all again before we could sing to Zoë. 

Here's the sequence of pictures of the lighting and blowing out of candles:

We went back to the beach with Mom after cake and stayed there until it started to get stormy. Mom and Grandpa went to rest (it is a rough illness, though fortunately short-lived) while the rest of us had pancakes and watched the new Disney movie Strange World, which was a bold choice considering we were in Florida

Then Mom walked out of her room to say that she had a fever, and we all cheered. This sounds odd, but for this sickness the fever meant that the nausea was over and you only had a few hours left of being sick, so it was a good thing. Grandpa was disappointed that he didn’t have one yet. 

We sent the little kids (and Mom and Grandpa) to bed, and hoped that we were finally done being sick. 


Mom is editing to add: And they were (finally done being sick, that is)!

Below are some pictures I took of the kids playing on the beach on Zoë's birthday. If the camera seems trained on Phoebe and Alexander, that's because it largely was. Phoebe is a loose cannon and Alexander is my weakest swimmer, so my attention was focused on them. But I had my older kids under instruction to be very responsive to my every holler because I really wasn't feeling great and if one of the littler kids got into trouble in the water I'd need some quick help from them.

We're all still alive and well...

Here's Benjamin charging up the beach for some reason:

And here he is escorting Phoebe down to the surf:

If you want an idea of the condition of the sweet little curls his hand is resting on, here you go:

She was a cute windswept baby:

Here are the kids all playing together:

Here are all six kids playing together in a single shot (I'm realizing my days with views like these—all six kids being kids together—are limited and already feel nostalgic about it):

Phoebe loved playing in the sand.

Here are the kids venturing into the water:

And the landlubber carrying her bucket of dirt:

Water kids:

Land kid:

Where's Miriam? I'm not sure. I think she was probably looking for shells while helping me shadow Phoebe and keep and eye on the swimmers. The big kids were pretty good at taking turns helping me keep track of all the heads I needed to keep track of.

The sea was rather choppy the last few days of our trip. When Miriam checked the weather forecast, it had a notification that said "rip current advisory" and she spent several minutes trying to figure out how/why the current died and whether that was even possible. Tides come in and go out like clockwork. Can they really just die like that? 

Further investigation revealed that the weather was not mourning the current—no resting in peace for the ocean—but was warning beachgoers to be cautious about rip tides that were predicted to hit Florida's east coast near where we were staying.

The water was fine (though a little choppy, like I mentioned...but when is the ocean not choppy?)

We found several pink feathers at the beach that we imagined came in with the seaweed from flamingoes off the coast of Africa or perhaps farther south in the Caribbean or something.

But then we started seeing roseate spoonbills everywhere and gave up on the flamingo idea and decided they were spoonbill feathers. Still pretty!

(We saw a sign on some flamingo-themed business (since you find those in Florida) that said, "Let's flamingle!" and we always appreciate a good pun so we laughed at that sign quite a bit).

We didn't see any flamingoes. No alligators, either. 

Look, there's Miriam in the background, trailing after Phoebe:

And here are the kids in the water again:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the cloudiness and/or your camera (phone?) made for some really beautiful water and sky pictures!

    Great post, Rachel and Nancy. I think my favorite line was, "We did not, however, almost hit Alex. We just hit him, and he had a big red mark on his neck for a couple of days." And, wow that was such a direct hit on his neck; it's like he was looking up or something...