Sunday, January 13, 2019

June Part I

We did SO MUCH in June.  Just reviewing the pictures is making me tired.  We started on June 1 with a trip to the Seattle temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and national donut day.  We also made a trip to our neighborhood park, and watched a broadcasted program to commemorate a revelation extending the priesthood to all worthy male members of our church, regardless of race.  It was really beautiful.  
Near the end of last school year, Todd and I made the decision to put the kids in public school.  It wasn't an easy decision, and I'm still rethinking it daily, but Jared tested into an accelerated program, which sounded like it would be just what he needed to challenge him academically and socially.  The other kids had been asking to try public school for a long time.  Since homeschooling has always been a lifestyle choice for us as much as an educational one, it made sense for us to try public school for all of them if we were going to do it for one of them.  The last year of homeschooling was really, really hard.  As much as I love homeschooling, our kids each needed some space from each other.  After a lot of prayer, we decided to go ahead with public school. 
We had a lot of preparing to do.  I started with a hundred pages of paperwork for the schools, and then I hung this groovy coat rack that I got for $2 at a thrift store.  It matches our home decor perfectly, and it is strong enough to hold all of the backpacks and coats.  It's a little bit ridiculous that we lived her for six years before we had a place where the kids could reach to hang their own jackets.  This coat rack is a game changer. 
Benjamin built a painting machine out of legos.  It is so much fun to watch kids learn and create things on their own.  He built this using a picture in a library book as a guide.  Who says you need to read fluently to be able to learn from books?
B let me trim the sides of his hair, as long as the top was still long enough to be styled.  The kid loves his hair. 
We went to the Klondike Gold Rush Museum in Seattle with the Carvers.  It's always free, although it's downtown, so parking is tres cher. Since the museum is run by the National Park Service, the kids got to do a scavenger hunt in the museum as part of the junior ranger program.  This was our first introduction to the junior ranger program, and we love it.  We couldn't wait to go to another national park or monument to get another junior ranger badge. 
And, because a museum field trip isn't exhausting enough, we stopped at North Rose Hill Woodlands Park on the way home. 
Todd and Eloise left on June 8 to go to Arizona for our niece, McKenzie's, baptism.  While they were gone, the boys and I decided to party by checking out the Bellevue Aquatic Center.  It was okay.  Sammy is getting very brave in the water.  Jared passed the swim test so he could go down the water slide. 
The boys had wanted to put up the tent in the back yard for the weekend, but it got miserably rainy, so we put up the tent downstairs instead, and then everyone ended up in their own beds because they were too silly together and no one could sleep. 
Jared tried out for city swim team.  First the kids have to demonstrate strokes the length of the pool, and then, if they are capable, they get entered into a lottery for spaces on the team.  Jared wasn't quite strong enough this year, but there is always next summer.  I wish our swim season was longer.  On June 9 it was not even 60 degrees out.  All of the skinny little swimmers were shivering as they waited for their turn in the water. 
We went to Olive Garden for lunch to celebrate Jared being brave enough to try for swim team.  Sammy and B introduced us to that little known Italian side dish: french fries.  Spaghetti with fries. Mmmmmmm. (*Gag*)
When we got out of the church, the boys all forgot that Todd and Eloise were gone, and they were afraid we were leaving Eloise.  Even without Daddy and Eloise, the Sunday walk must go on.   Sammy almost had the pedal bike figured out.  He is good at balancing, so I just gave him a lot of boosts and we moved along pretty well. 
And that is just the first week and a half of June.

Eloise's second haircut

Right at the end of May, Miss Eloise, who, you will remember, recently had her hair chopped off, surfaced one morning with her hair looking a bit uneven on top.  When it came time to brush her hair in the morning I took a closer look and realized that some hair was missing.  Eloise, convinced that she was going to be in all kinds of trouble when I noticed her self trim, dove under a couch cushion wailing and wouldn't come out for so long that Sammy made a game out of diving under his own couch cushion in imitation.  When she finally calmed down enough to speak, and to believe that I wasn't one bit angry, Eloise explained that she had been bothered by the hair in her eyes that morning, and, finding a pair of barber's scissors handy in the downstairs bathroom, had cut the hair out of her eyes.  She led me downstairs and showed me where she had stashed the locks of hair in a cupboard.  
 Now, if I had stumbled upon a pile of hair in a cupboard looking like a dead rat, I would have been much more alarmed than I would have been to find a big wad of hair in the garbage can, but I guess fear is not rational.  She was trying to hide her impulsive haircut from me. 
To be honest, I was surprised, but I really found the whole situation hilarious.  I didn't laugh out loud.  Poor Eloise's sensibilities could not have handled it.  It was tough, though. 
 When Eloise had finally been coaxed out from under her cushion, and grew bold enough to explain her actions (and clean up the dead rat she had left in the cupboard), I took the scissors, a comb, and a cup of water, and put her in front of the mirror to straighten up the trim.  She made the first few cuts, and then I attempted to make it blend more naturally into the rest of her hair.  We were both pretty happy with how it turned out.
I hope Eloise has been empowered to continue solving her own problems without being ashamed of her efforts.  I did ask her to run future haircuts by me first, if possible. If we hadn't had a free hour to work through this challenge, this could have turned out a lot less positive for all of us. 
 Benjamin, on the other hand, wants more hair, not less. Todd told him he couldn't grow his hair long (too much maintenance), but he promised to buy him a long wig so that he could experience long hair. 
As expected, long hair was fun for approximately 45 seconds. 
 Sammy had to try it, too.  They both pronounced it too tickly. 
They thought they looked hilarious, but both of them decided that they were okay with letting me cut their hair as long as I let them grow their hair a little longer on top.  And that was the end of a very hairy saga. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019


Little boys who have a big sister sometimes get their nails painted.  
They love it. 
 Anything girls can do, boys can do, right? Sammy and B were startled by Eloise having short hair, and it occurred to B that if girls can wear their hair short, boys can wear their hair long.  They had a brief fascination with hair. 
 Springtime means art messes can sometimes be moved outside. 
 Jared's cub scout troop had a visit from a K-9 officer. 
 I had a date with B. We got a free Chick-fil-A kids meal as part of our swag at our wet, miserable 5K. 
 Eloise and I went to a card making party. 
 The woods are our other home. 
 Eloise is really into photography lately.  She can stay occupied for hours with a camera in her hands. 
 We made Sammy a sign for his room.  It looks pretty good, huh?
 Sack races in pillowcases lead to guaranteed giggles. 
 Although Jared is getting waaaay too old for kid stuff like going to the zoo, he isn't too old to get stuck, er, strategically remain in a tree for an extended period. 

 Leave the kids in the woods for a few minutes and they will start building dams. . . and poking each other. 
 I probably have about three hundred pictures of Eloise making wonky faces on my phone. 
 Sometimes she takes selfies of all of us. 
 And portraits.  Feel free to hire her.  Just be warned that she does occasionally take portraits of dog poop she finds in the grass.  I'll spare you the visual. 
 Todd and I had a date to hear David Archuleta singing with the Ensign Chorus at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.  There were a lot of teenaged girls in the audience, but it was close to my birthday, so Todd suffered it.     
 The trampoline is absolutely the best place to drink from an open cup, right?
 We got new carpet! We finally finished one of the projects we planned to do right away when we moved in. It only took six and a half years.   
 When the rug burn set in from making carpet angels, the kids spread some flour around to make snow angels.  They had a good time, but the mess took ages to clean up.  It has been hard convincing them that we shouldn't do flour angels once a week. 
 The new carpet is really soft.  It's a great place to play cards with the Christensens. 
 This is the beginning of B's refusing haircuts phase.  Sometimes he also refuses to change out of his Sunday clothes before our Sunday afternoon walk. 
 Too bad McDonald's has the worst fast food, because they have the best play place.  Sometimes we just have to stop for an ice cream cone so we can use the play area. 
 Mostly we play outside, especially when the sky is this irresistible blue. 
 One day I was running in the woods with Shadow off leash, and she disappeared into the bushes.  When I rounded a corner so that I could see her, I found that she had caught a possum.  I don't know who was more startled between Shadow and the possum.  They stared at each other for a minute before I called Shadow off, laughing out loud.  Shadow is truly an embarrassment to her wolf ancestors, and she is a few brain cells short of being a carnivore, but she's a very gentle dog, and I'm grateful for that. 
 This is at Kelsey Creek Farm. I believe Eloise is making her, "I can't believe that pig is so enormous!" face. 
 Daddy has NO IDEA that he's getting double bunny eared. 
 The kids went to the dentist.  No cavities this time. 
 Sammy is in love with his new toothbrush.  He will sleep with it beside him. 
 Jared tried something he was afraid to do on the playground and conquered it!
 Eloise followed his lead. 
 Sammy had yet another accident jumping on the trampoline with a bunch of big kids less than a year after his last broken leg scare.  He had to wear a boot for a day until we heard back from the doctor. It was only a sprain, but he had a pronounced limp for a solid week.  That is a long time in toddler time.  Aunt Cheyenne broke her ankle horribly on April 21, and she had just moved from a cast into a walking boot about a week before Sammy's accident.  They got to be boot buddies for a day. That did not make Sammy any happier about having to wear the boot.  Keeping the boot on was an uphill battle, so I'm glad it was brief. 
 This is the grey we expect from Washington skies in the spring, but summer was on its way.