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:

And here's a picture of Miriam hard at work in the kitchen last night:

It's a Sound of Music theme—because Rachel is 16 (going on 17) and because Grandpa's car listened to The Sound of Music a billion times while on the road trip.

Miriam had wanted to use the grass tip for the grass, but she couldn't find it in the piping kit, so she made due with a star tip and a leaf tip (and then after she was all finished we found the grass tip in a ziplock bag inside the cake decorating box). It turned out just fine!

Here's Rachel with her cake:

And here she is opening some presents:

She got a mini waffle maker, a churro maker thingy, some books (including a few that Auntie Josie sent), some dice (which she was rather excited about), a new dress, and some cake supplies she'd asked for.

After presents we played Mexican Train while Phoebe did puzzles (she's really been enjoying puzzles lately). Here's a post about us playing UNO and Hand and Foot by candlelight a few years ago. It's always fun to shake things up a bit and pretend what we would have to do if we always had to live without power (really it's unfathomable; so much of our lives are online now—like Andrew and I were both like, "Oh, no! I have so much work to do tonight!" But without power...there isn't much work we can do). Here's Miriam pretending she's a scullery maid carrying a candle through a haunted hallway:

And here are some pictures of the aforementioned games:

After games Grandpa went home to assess his own property (that's when he learned about the downed trees) and we had scriptures and prayer. 

Rachel wondered aloud how people in the olden days kept from burning random stuff in the flames that were just...all over...tempting people to burn stuff...all the time. We decided that they probably...didn't. I mean, nowadays we have people who compulsively blend stuff or put things into hydraulic presses.

So I think it's fairly safe to say that people burned a fair amount of stuff just to see whether it would burn. Upon concluding this (which might be an entirely nonfactual conclusion), Rachel announced that she had accidentally lit her bookmark on fire.

She put out that little fire, we finished up with scriptures and prayer, and then we went out for a little stroll in the neighbourhood (because it was lighter outside than inside and I knew the kids weren't going to be in a hurry to go to bed without their fairy lights on).

We found that our poor beautiful elephant ear plants had really suffered through all the wind and rain:

The leaves that blew off did make excellent umbrellas, however:

Zoë and Miriam had fun pretending they were tiny fairy folk seeking cover from the rain:

Daddy preferred his standard black umbrella:

Here's Alexander walking down the road (I asked him to walk down the middle of the street for a picture and he was like, "Mom! No way! That's not safe!" but we convinced him that it was safe for a picture, this close to our house, because we'd made sure there were absolutely no cars coming):

We stopped to talk to our neighbours, who were out taking care of their Mexican sunflowers that had taken a beating in the storm. They asked Rachel when her birthday was (because they'd remembered that it was in July because we'd just moved in and couldn't find our birthday candles so we ran to borrow some from these neighbours the first year we lived here...when the power went out on Rachel's birthday).

"My birthday is today, actually!" Rachel said. 

So we laughed and joked with the neighbours about how we know it's time to dust off the generator when Rachel's birthday rolls around...and then *poof* the street lamps turned on and we heard a thousand A/C units whir back to life. 

"Thank goodness!" our neighbour said. "I didn't want to lug out the generator, anyway!"

Big same! Those things are heavy!

Happy birthday to Rachel! I'll transcribe her birthday balloons tomorrow (tonight I have a bunch of edits to make on my thesis before sending it to my committee) and one day...throw her a birthday party. I'm afraid I'm a little ruined for birthday parties, unfortunately... Luckily Rachel has turned out to be a very laid back person!

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