Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This is the life.

I could write a whole post about the hilarious B sayings I have heard in the past 24 hours.  For example, while riding in the car today listening to Christmas music (SOMEBODY can't let go of Christmas, and now that we're halfway there again, why stop now?), B heard the line in the second verse of "Away in a Manger" that says, "'Til morning is nigh."  
B: "Why does it say ''Til morning is night?' Morning can't be night."
Me: "It doesn't say night.  It say nigh.  It means coming soon.  When morning it nigh it is almost morning."
B: "No, it says night.  Listen to it again."
Eloise: "I'm sure it says nigh, like almost morning."
B: "Did you say night? It says night. Morning isn't night, though."
Another repetition of the song did nothing to convince him that it wasn't about morning being night.  
Or else he just likes being right.  This is him feigning sadness when I asked if I could take a picture of his swollen lip.  
 My Friday mother's helper, Bailey, cleaned out the refrigerator.  You know what that means.  Sliding down the slanted fridge floor, of course.  B is rocking the Tinkerbell dress.
 Sammy has discovered books, but he believes that there is only one book, and it is this one.  Whenever anyone is reading anything, Sammy brings his book, which he calls "boat," and puts it on top of the other book to insist on reading it.  This is me tandem reading Sammy's book and a picture book for the other kids.  Fortunately, Sammy isn't too picky about who reads to him, and his book doesn't actually require reading skills, so any of the other kids can help him read his book.
 Sammy does not like anyone else turning the pages of his book.  It doesn't matter if he skips pages.  It is HIS book.
 Eloise loves mothering Sammy.  She gets offended when he wants his real mom to push him in the swing.  Or feed him, or carry him, or dress him, or keep him out of the street.  It is nice to have some extra hands and eyes sometimes.  It is fun to see how Eloise cares for her brothers.
 Sammy is learning to climb.  Today B announced that as a big brother, it is his job to teach Sammy to jump off stuff.  I predict some injuries in their future.  As a side note, isn't Sammy adorable in these jammies?
 This picture seems to show Sammy looking at a book other than HIS book, but I'm sure he just opened the cover to see if there was a chicken on the first page.
 When there was no chicken, he went in search of his one true book.
 Speaking of chickens, Sammy insisted on riding the rooster at the Yakima Fruit Market, our favorite grocery store.  This is a milestone.  The older kids all ride the rooster every week when the market is open, and this was Sammy's first time.  Many of the store employees remember riding the rooster when they were kids, too.
 This morning Benjamin wanted to be Batman in this suit that was designed for someone around nine or ten years old.  He also put on his bat wings from last year's Halloween costume.  I said, "B, it's going to be hard for you to walk in this costume."
He replied, "But it will be easy to fly!"
 Jared loves to eat outside because the table rules (no reading at the table, don't carry your food around, stay seated while eating, don't stand on the table, etc.) are thrown out the window.  He can get comfortable with a book and a bowl of enchiladas.
This is the life.

60 Parks of Summer

The Knight children have set a goal of going to sixty different parks between the first day of summer and the first day of autumn.  This is the best goal ever!  I love prioritizing play over other things, and I feel like the skills and confidence of these kids is growing before my eyes.  I haven't gotten pictures from all eight of the parks that we have been to so far, but here is a sampling.
We went to Grass Lawn Park to the splash pad when the 80 degree weather forecast for last Monday never materialized.  The asphalt around the splash pad here makes the day feel warmer.
 Sammy is fearless!  He has started to prefer showers at home.  He loves the water, and copies all of the water games of the older kids, as much as he understands.
 Eloise slipped on a slick spot and bruised her hip pretty badly, but she jumped up and kept on playing.  She was even up for a second trip to this splash pad later in the week.
 Jared climbed to the top of the spinning merry go round as it was moving, and B learned to hop on and off while it was in motion!
 We picked a very wet afternoon to go to Juanita Bay Park.  Apparently it isn't such a great place to look for turtles sunning themselves when it is pouring rain.  This was a fun adventure, though.  I was wise to bring the baby leash, accurately predicting that Sammy would try to climb off of the boardwalk at the first opportunity.
 Lilly pads!  The great thing about rainy days is having the park all to ourselves.
 On a friend's recommendation we checked out Forest Park in Everett. This might be better than Kelsey Creek Farm, since some of the animals run loose.  B said that this Billy Goat looked like Grandpa Knight, since it has a beard.
 If there is one thing that B loves more than animals, it is baby animals.  He was wildly excited to find baby chicks, or "Cheeps," as he calls them.
 The sign at the entrance calls for slow feet and quiet voices so that we don't startle the animals.  Fortunately the animals seemed pretty imperturbable. Slow feet and quiet voices are not things that Jared is acquainted with.
 We were there as the farm was closed up, so the ducklings were moved safely into their box for the night.  We got to pet this one.
 The leash was a good idea here, too, since Sammy takes a bit too much interest in bowls of water belonging to goats.  The kids are looking at a turkey named Marvin who gobbled away delightfully.  This may be the first time the kids have heard an actual turkey.
 Jared thought it was awesome that this goat, Isabella, stayed under the table with him.
 Forest Park also has a splash pad.  We were there on a Saturday, so the park was mobbed, but it was a little bit breezy, so the splash pad was not very crowded, for as long as we wanted to play.
 Sammy found some big kids to follow.  I give him a lot of freedom to move around, as long as he is safe and I can see him.  I frequently see people looking around to see if they can find his mom, since he obviously isn't concerned about where I am.  I do occasionally have to do long sprints to keep him out of trouble, but it is fun to watch him discover the world without interference.
 Jared didn't last long in the cold water.
 He decided to try the monkey bars for the first time ever.  He made it halfway across.  Parks are magical.
 Today we went to Log Boom Park in Kenmore.  Somehow, in the three or four times I have been to this park before, I had never discovered that it has a dock, which is the perfect place to watch planes take off from the air harbor.  B and Jared cheered when they saw a plane lift off from the water.  Sammy cheered when he saw everyone else cheering, and Eloise was having fits about people potentially falling off of the unsecured sides of the dock, so I'm not sure she noticed anything else.  She is our family's safety patrol.  She does love spinning in circles, though.
 B did not love it as much.  His favorite thing at parks right now is making temporary friends.  After we went to Rhododendron Park last week, he told me, "A person I didn't know played with me, and it was fun! I didn't even know them!"  He had such a good time with his park friends, that now he looks for park friends as soon as we are in the park.  Eloise is the life of a party of friends, but doesn't like to initiate contact with new people.  Jared does his own thing, joining others if he is invited and interested, but sometimes declining. B is very social.  He loves making friends for the duration of an activity.  He comes home from the park with tales of events and conversations that I knew nothing about.
After we played on the playground we went for a walk on the Burke Gilman Trail, an old railroad line that has been converted to a paved trail.  It runs from the east side over through Seattle, and it happens to pass through Log Boom Park on the north shore of Lake Washington.  We decided that it counts as a park, since it is maintained by King County Parks.  Sammy fell asleep on the walk.  
 B got really sweaty on his bike.  We were happy to get home for a popsicle and lunch on the front porch.  
Hurrah for the lovely warm weather.  If you are looking for us this summer, we will be outside.  52 parks to go!


Something about summer makes me feel desperate to be outside as much as possible.  I seem to hit autumn every year feeling exhausted.  This year I have decided to embrace the madness and keep my expectations for house work and school work very minimal.  We enjoyed a last quiet day at the beach park before the weather cooled off for a week, and then the school year ended.  
 Sammy loves the water, dogs in the park, throwing rocks, and splashing.  He doesn't love waves, but he gets braver every time we go to the beach.
 Eloise wasn't happy in her swimming suits (too tight or too loose), so she ended up in one of B's suits.  She wasn't a fan of the mesh built into the shorts, but that didn't keep her from having a great time at the beach.  These kids have surprising stamina for sun and swimming.
 We were surprised to learn that we had never taken Todd with us to Kelsey Creek Farm, so we took care of that on a cool Saturday in June.

 Sammy's vocabulary is exploding, and his personality is emerging in a big way.  He walks a fine line between loving being the adorable baby (yes, he knows he is cute) and wanting to do everything that the big kids do.  He has absolutely no awareness of his personal limitations.  If he can't climb onto something, he will stand next to it and yell, "Down! Down!" until someone brings him a stool.  He loves music, especially songs with actions that he can mimic.  He was really mad when I took this towel off to put his pajamas on, and insisted on having it back on so that he could hold it and flap the towel like wings.  I predict that we are going to have a competition between this little goofball and B for who is the bigger goofball.
 One day I watched all three of a friend's children for a whole day while they packed up to move to a new house.  Having three extra kids around is no big deal, most of the time, but these three kids included two year old twin boys.  They kept me on my toes for sure.  We had kids aged 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 2, and 1.  It was a busy day.
 We took them in the woods and taught them to eat wild berries.  Huckleberries are ripe, and I have never seen them so big and abundant.  Sammy, who calls them "hubbabubba," now wants to eat everything that looks remotely like a berry.  Oops.  It's not like we could take our eyes off him for a second anyway, as he runs pell-mell after the older kids.
 B has at least three costumes on every day, and at other times he will drop to the floor, stop using his arms and legs, and become a snake. I hear about what he wants to be for Halloween at least four times a day, and it is something different every time.  He does love his princess dress ups.  I love his sweet face.
 Benjamin graduated to a booster seat in the car, since he was trading seats with Eloise all of the time anyway, and Eloise and B are roughly the same size.  This brown car seat is supposed to work as a booster, but it turned out to be too wide and awkward to reach around comfortably to buckle, so we got a new backless booster for Jared, and B got Jared's seat.  Sammy thought I was putting this car seat on the ground as a resting spot for him while he played on the driveway.  He sat in it for ages before he got distracted.
 B always wants to be one of the big kids.  This makes him very happy.
 Also so far in June I pitted and canned forty pounds of cherries, turning my arms and fingernails black, and B gave his first talk in primary.  It was basically the cutest thing ever.  I'll print the full text of the talk at the end of this post.  The words are all his.  Imagine him doing a fist pump saying, "They said, YES! They said they wanted to get BAPTIZED!"

Benjamin's First Primary Talk: June 19, 2016
Alma worked for the bad king, for Noah.
Abinadi came to teach him Jesus and Heavenly Father.
Alma believed Abinadi.  
Alma needed to run away and hide from King Noah.  
Alma taught the people secretly.  
Alma said for all of them to have faith and repent.  
He asked them if they wanted to be baptized.  
They acted like he asked if they wanted a piece of cake!
They said, “”Yes!”
They said they wanted to get baptized.  
They clapped their hands.

I will be baptized when I am eight.
When I’m eight, I’m going to clap my hands when I’m baptized.  

I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus love me.  
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Knight-Christensen Campout 2016

Rebecca Christensen expressed a desire to go camping for her birthday this year, so we planned an impromptu camping trip to Tolt MacDonald Park. We went the weekend after Memorial Day, and a week before school got out around here, so I didn't expect it to be impossible to find a campsite.  If we made a reservation for a weekend night, we would have to reserve two nights, since that is the policy at this campground.  I started to get a little bit concerned about finding a place when I happened to mention to a friend, Jillyn, on Thursday that we were hoping to go camping the following evening, and the friend also happened to be planning to go to the same campground on the same evening.  We planned to go a little bit earlier to the campground and claim campsites.  I called the campground reservation line on Friday morning, and there were still two campsites unclaimed. 
When we got there, a little before 4:00, there was only one campsite left.  The campground host looked the other way as we filled the one campsite with a few more than the eight person per campsite limit.  It wasn't hard for the host to not notice us, since we were in the farthest campsite from the entrance to the campground.  It was a long half mile hike pulling a cart full of camping gear to our campsite.  
The water was COLD, but it felt nice in the sun on a hot day.  Sammy loves throwing rocks.  B doesn't seem to feel extreme temperatures.  He just waded on in until he was afraid of being swept away.  
 The Christensens arrived a bit later, and Rebecca gathered everyone old enough to understand into a safety huddle to discuss rules and fire safety.
 Our friend who we had mentioned we were camping to ended up being in the next campsite over (the second to last one claimed).  It was three seven year old girls (Eve, Dorothy, and their friend Evelyn) and their dads.  Grant and Jared spent most of their time bouncing between the two campsites.  They even found a fallen log that acted as a "secret passage" between blackberry brambles to the girls' campsite.
Daniel is such a chill baby.
 Sammy has a hard time not running constantly.  Fire+Sammy=four adults was almost not enough.  There were a million mosquitoes.  We lathered on the bug spray.  Jared and Sammy, who didn't get bug spray on their faces, were eaten up.  Eloise was mostly ignored by the bugs, and the rest of us got a few bites apiece.
 This was our first time using our new tent that we got for Christmas.
I know what you are thinking.  Doesn't the sun set rather late at this time of year in these northern places? Why, yes.  It does.  What is that small child doing awake in the dark, you ask?  Well, all of the children slept rather terribly.  Sammy in particular was pretty bad at sleeping in a tent.  B seems to have improved slightly, by which I mean that he didn't end up hiking back to the car to scream all night, but it was a very short night, as far as sleeping goes.
 To compound the exhaustion the kids were already experiencing, we fed them birthday cupcakes and sugary cereal for breakfast. Things could have been much worse.  I would have enjoyed the mayhem more if I had slept better, but it's camping.
  B loves entertaining Baby Daniel.
 Rebecca and I spent the morning soothing hurt feelings, rolling up sleeping bags, tending small injuries, and counting little heads as they darted around in circles.  Todd and Cambell fetched carts, loaded carts, and hauled gear to the car.
Eventually the last of the gear was loaded into carts, and we started the long trek back to the cars.  Sammy fell asleep in the baby carrier on the way, which he hardly ever does.  The other kids were all great carrier sleepers at his age, but Sammy hates to feel like he is missing anything.
Happy Birthday, Rebecca!  There is still enough summer left to do this again. . . maybe.