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: