Sunday, June 30, 2024

Last day of swim team

Thursday was a busy day! 

I took all three kids to swim practice in the morning because Benjamin wanted to be there for Alexander's mini-meet. Alexander graduated from Future Barracudas a while ago, so hasn't been attending their practices, but he was invited to show up for the mini-meet. 

So, we went to Zoë's practice. And then we stayed for Alexander's practice. 

For the past few weeks Andrew has been taking those two earlier in the morning. And then they've been coming home. And then Rachel leaves to take Benjamin to his practice. And then quite often I would take the little kids (including Phoebe) back to the's been a lot of juggling.

But on this particular morning I just took all three kids with me. Zoë practiced, Alexander practiced, then Alexander had his mini-meet.

Here he is all wet and shivery (and cute and tiny) and waiting for his event to be announced:

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Hosed etymology and other funny(?) things

Swimming has been rather all-encompassing this past month. Andrew remarked (quite humorously, in my opinion): "I had no idea swim team would involve so much swimming!" 

And it's true. There has been a lot of swimming. And a lot of driving kids to the pool (which, honestly, if they didn't have to cross 18 lanes of traffic between two very gnarly intersections, I'd let them ride their bikes to the's only 3 miles away...but unfortunately they'd have to cross eighteen lanes of traffic to do so. And, yes, there are traffic signals but I'm still just not sure how much I trust the traffic).

Anyway, tomorrow is our last meet (before county, which I doubt we'll qualify for) and the kids are very excited. They went to morning practice today, and then we stayed after to swim, and then we went to afternoon practice as well and Phoebe and I swam while they were practicing because they only use half the pool for the afternoon practice. 

Amazingly we've only had a couple of storms this entire month. It's been so dry. Humid. But dry. 

That's a thing, right?

We haven't had to cancel any swim practices or swim meets due to bad weather (knock on wood because it's supposed to storm a bit tomorrow), which feels...unusual for June. But we did have a good storm the other night when we decided we'd encourage Phoebe to stay in her own bed using a sticker chart.

9:00 PM

Me: …so if you stay in your bed all night, you can choose a sticker to put on your chart! Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Phoebe: Yes! I want a sticker!
Me: How do you get a sticker? Do you remember?
Phoebe: Stay in mine own bed!

1:30 AM

Phoebe: *tip-toes down hallway, knocks on door*
Andrew: What’s up, Phoebe?
Phoebe: I need help staying in my bed! I want a sticker!
Andrew: *tucks Phoebe back in, turns on some lullabies, sits with her until she falls asleep*

4:30 AM

Mother Nature: ⛈️⛈️⛈️
Phoebe: *runs down hall, busts through bedroom door*
Phoebe: THAT WAS THUNDER! I don’t want a sticker! I want you!
Mother Nature: ⛈️
Electricity: *goes out*
Phoebe: IT’S SO DARK!

Obviously mother nature was not on our side. And then she came in bed with us last night, too, claiming she could still hear the thunder from the previous night's storm. We'll see how tonight goes. a lot of kids swimming means that the water level in the pool has gone down a bit. Often rain will fill it up quite nicely. But today they had the hose on, filling the pool back up to the level it needs to be for the skimmer baskets and things to work properly. 

Phoebe thought the hose was great! It was about 98°F today and the pool was lukewarm, but the hose water was freezing (or felt comparatively so). She loved playing with it.

She stood around asking everyone who walked by, "Wanna get hosed?"

Monday, June 24, 2024

A swim meet and pneumonia

We had another "home" meet on Thursday night. 

I mentioned that I sang the national anthem with the kids last week, since they weren't comfortable doing so on their own. But this week Zoë practiced until she felt comfortable and then sang the national anthem solo...and a cappella. The national anthem in the United States has a rather tricky melody and uses quite a large vocal range; it's not easy to sing. Zoë would have preferred to have accompaniment, but she did alright singing a cappella.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Primary and Sacrament Meeting Talks

Zoë was asked to give a talk in primary at the beginning of June. Here's what she said:

Good afternoon!

I was asked to talk about what it means to be “steadfast and immovable.” When I looked up this phrase in the scriptures I found that it is followed by either “abounding in good works” (Mosiah 5:15)  or “in keeping the commandments of the Lord” (1 Nephi 2:10 and 3 Nephi 6:14). 

Being steadfast and immovable means to be loyal, faithful, firm and determined. Being steadfast and immovable does not mean we should avoid change. President Dallin H. Oaks said that “the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. ‘Repent’ is its most frequent message, and repenting means giving up all of our practices…that are contrary to the commandments of God.” We can and should fix things in our life in order to become better people.

For example, I used to not like mushrooms and would pick them out of everything. One day, my brother Ben made sautéd mushrooms. He asked me to try one, and I did. I liked it. I was not steadfast and immovable in my dislike of mushrooms. And that’s okay! 

Mushrooms still aren’t my favourite but I’m able to enjoy more meals because I can eat mushrooms without gagging. The change made my life a little bit better. 

Friday, June 21, 2024

June is busting out all over!

Rachel just got home from babysitting (at 10 til midnight—and a good thing, too, because in Georgia 15 and 17 year olds can't drive between midnight and 5 am), so I suppose it's a good time to disclose how much of a secretary I feel like lately!

My phone has been off the hook with requests for my kids to puppy-sit, plant-sit, and babysit. Not to mention tutoring. And Benjamin's trying to start up a garbage can washing hustle.

"Can Zoë come over tomorrow at 2 to tutor?"

"Can y'all do puppy duty Monday and Thursday this week?"

"Any chance one of your girls is around on Saturday afternoon and wants to babysit?"

It can be a little chaotic to coordinate everything. Throw in daily swim practices and weekly swim meets (we just got home from the swim meet at 10:45 this evening), girls' camp (which Rachel and Miriam just got back from), music lessons, and the fact that Andrew has an actual job and I have some writing projects to finish up before the school year starts's a real circus over here!

I thought I would share a few pictures of the more ordinary parts of our lives. The pictures are in reverse order (newest to oldest) because that's how they showed up when I imported them and I...don't want to take the time to switch everything.

My corn is flowering!

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Miriam's Music

Miriam recorded some beautiful pieces on the organ today. She made a goal to record one piece per month and fell a little behind in March and April and May between breaking her arm and going to Austria and preparing for her piano auditions. She recorded three pieces from various angles and edited those views together. All in one day!

Here's "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing":

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Phoebe in the pool

Phoebe is fairly convinced that she can swim—and she's not entirely wrong. She's really doing fairly well. The one thing she can't quite do is...breathe...which I think is a fairly important part of swimming. 

I've been working on teaching her how to flip onto her back but she hates it. She tends to growl one of a number of predetermined responses:

a) NO! *incoherent grumblings*
b) UGH! MOM!
c) Me gonna drown! (or sometimes "I am gonna drown!" or just "I/me drowning")
d) Me already breeved! 

The solution to drowning is obviously to get off her back and plunge her face back into the water, right? Silly kid. I keep explaining that she needs to learn how to relax and feel comfortable on her back in order to be a competent swimmer. She does not believe me, but she's making progress.

She doesn't like to rest on her back, though, because I told her she needed to flip to her back to breathe...and if she takes one breath, then she's good to go again, right? And, like, that's true for competitive—or even simply fluent—swimming. But I'd really like her to be capable of flipping onto her back and relaxing and breathing before flipping onto her stomach to continue swimming (rather than depending on me to lift her face out of the water). 

We worked really hard today and got her to be somewhat...chill...on her back. Here she is singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" for me (once she was done with the song she'd be allowed to flip back onto her tummy, see? so she was really rushing through it):

Generations and generations and generations and generations...

I redesigned our (extended) family newsletter this month. I figured that since I was changing the publication frequency from two times a year down to one time a year we could do with a good redesign as well (or at least a mediocre redesign). I decided I'd use this picture of my grandma's family standing in age order—from my great-grandfather and great-grandmother to their oldest son, Loren, on down through eleven (living*) children to their youngest, Ila June—in the header of the newsletter somehow. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Hermit crabs for FHE

Benjamin and I haven't gone running in quite a while. Swim team, as it seems, takes up a lot of time! We're planning on hopping into things again soon, but in the meantime, I thought it was probably about time we made good on that hermit crab that he technically earned...on March 20. We put off the purchase until the end of the semester and then after the beach trip and then...tonight we finally went and did it!

We took the kids to the pet store for family night and this turned out being a very exciting field trip. Several of the kids hadn't ever stepped foot in a pet store before (my bad). Phoebe was the most excited at all. She wanted to see everything.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Swim Team Stuff

Swim team sure is keeping us busy! 

Alexander started in the "Future Barracudas" program the week we got back from the beach. He said he felt "the urge to excel" in swimming...and he did! He graduated from the "Future Barracudas" program by the end of the week and practiced with the competitive team this week. 

That means he missed the kids' first swim meet (on June 6), but he was an excellent spectator and learned how swim meets work.

Here's Zoë (dead center...and dead last) swimming last week:

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Three videos of Phoebe

Here is Phoebe singing "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep":

I love that she always says "have you any wolf" instead of "have you any wool" 100% of the time. I also like how she lost track of all the deliveries the second time she sang the song. "Yes, sir! Yes, sir! One bag full. One for my master and..." then she pauses to think about it and realizes there's supposed to be three bags, not one, which means her "name" must be the recipient of two bags, but then what of the little boy who lives down the...what's the word again? Lane.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Phinizy Swamp Nature Center

We gave the Phinizy Swamp Nature Center another try on our way home from the beach. This time it was open and it was well-worth our time, I think!

They have beautiful boardwalk trails over a swamp, surrounded by tall reeds and trees dripping with Spanish moss:


Sunday, June 09, 2024

Edisto Island, Day 7: In which my knee is loath to goodbye to the beach

How is it that a week seems like such a long time at the beginning of a week and like a mere blink at the end of the week? We were quite sad to wake up to our last day on the beach. Here's Phoebe enjoying some morning stories and snuggles with Daddy:

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Edisto Island, Day 6

 After getting back from Botany Bay, we headed right back out to sit on our "own" beach.

Don't ask me why Phoebe looks so grumpy in this picture because the truth of the matter is that she loved being buried.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Botany Bay

On Thursday morning we visited Botany Bay, a beautiful land preserve on Edisto Island. We weren't really sure what to expect—some websites said to strap on your hiking boots, some websites said to wear shoes that can get wet. We mostly opted for sandals and that was a good choice.

It's a half mile walk from the parking lot to the beach, and it's best to visit at low-tide. When we checked the schedule in the morning and saw we were just about at low-tide we started hollering Grandpa's catchphrase: "Ten minutes!" (meaning that we should all be getting ready to go in ten minutes). I'm not sure we managed to leave the house in ten minutes, but we did leave pretty quickly!

Here we are looking at all the oysters and crabs we can see thanks to the low tide:

This next picture is from our walk back to the parking lot and you can see the tide is certainly much higher than it was when we came:

Benjamin is 12!

Five years ago we moved to Georgia and then Rachel turned 12, and Miriam was still only 9, and Benjamin was barely 7, and Zoë was newly 4.

Monday, June 03, 2024

Edisto Island, Day 5: Doughnut Day and Beach Birthdays

While I was at the optometrist, Daddy took the kids to Wal-Mart and a couple boxes of doughnuts fell into the shopping cart, so we started Wednesday morning with a doughnut breakfast (before Daddy and Grandpa drove off to the mechanic) and then Darla pulled out some big doughnut floats that she likes to bring to the beach and declared that it was Doughnut Day.

Edisto Island, Day 4: The van needs a spa day, too...

Edisto Island, Day 3: So Long, Sunglasses!

Going to the beach with—essentially—six grown people (Grandpa, Darla, Andrew, Rachel, Miriam, and me), two medium people (Zoë and Ben), and two small people (Alexander and Phoebe) is considerably easier than going to the beach with three small people and two grown people. Or even three grown people, one medium person, and three-and-a-half small people

Most mornings it seemed like Darla was out the door with the early-bird children and in the water by the time the rest of us stumbled onto the beach.