Tuesday, June 27, 2017


A couple of weeks ago, Juanito called me and said, "So i was just driving down the road, and all of a sudden the car started whining really loudly, and then it threw something out of the engine, and...the alternator is broken." Those aren't his exact words, but it was "Something, something, something, car broken, blah blah blah." And so, for the past weeks, we've been using one car, which only works because i'm sleeping when Juanito is at work and he's sleeping when i'm at work.

But tomorrow we will actually need both cars, and so tonight Juanito gritted his teeth and tucked his hair up into a plastic bag (because...dreads) and got down to the actual work of fixing the alternator. So now we have two cars again! Yay!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Adventure Monday!

Today was Monday! Hence: Adventure time!

It was Juanito's weekend off, AND Beth had today off, and so they both joined us for our adventuring. Yay!

After a quick stop at Meijer for some picnic-y foods, we headed up to a tiny town about 45 minutes away, where there is a giant slide that goes down the side of a hill. It wasn't super fast today...until Houston took off his sweatshirt and sat on it, took off his shoes and rolled down the cuffs of his jeans so that they covered his feet, and flew down the slide so fast that he flung right off the end of it and tumbled to a stop in the dirt. That, of course, created a new flurry of excitement wherein everyone had to pass around Houston's sweatshirt (it was the fastest) and have a go. Fun for all!

After sliding to everyone's hearts' content, we climbed back in the car and headed up to Montague, where the World's Largest Weather Vane lives. (It's 48 feet tall, and the arrow is something like 26 feet long.) And, i mean, it's not like a weather vane is the MOST exciting thing in the world, but now we can all say that we saw the Biggest! One! Anywhere!

Around 14 years ago, Beth and i went to Montague with Houston and had a picnic and let little 1-year-old Houston play on the playground, and so we knew there was a park nearby. We didn't know exactly where it was, although we were pretty sure it was by the water. So we started hunting, and found a spot with a field and a boat launch and a marsh walk and picnic tables, and decided that that was a lovely enough place to eat our lunch. It might have been nicer if it hadn't been quite so cold, but everyone who had hoods put them up, and we soldiered on. (I mean, it was probably in the low 60's, so it's not like we were in Siberia, but when the clouds were covering the sun and the wind was blowing, it was cold.)

We were all excited about the marsh walk, because there's one near us that we used to love, but it's been closed for a couple of years now, so this sounded promising. And it was pretty...but it was also incredibly short. It was like...walk a 100 yards, turn right, and that's the end. But it was still pretty enough to sit and enjoy it for a bit. And! There was an island? In the middle of the lake? With plants growing on it and stuff? And it was totally moving. Like...just floating along as if it's perfectly normal for islands to just meander downstream.

Anyhow. We stopped at an actual playground (probably the one we'd gone to years ago) so the kids could play for a bit, and then headed home. And that was mostly it, except that on the way home, we stopped to see a mini-Stonehenge. It's adorable - maybe 1/2 or 1/3 size - and i totally wish we could have gone closer, but it's on private property, so we had to content ourselves with standing by the gate, peering in. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017


We spent most of the day at my parents' house today. The kids all played together like crazy. It was a pretty chilly day, especially for the end of June, which meant that they could all run around outside for hours without getting sweaty and hot. So...i guess that's one thing that the cool weather is good for. (I would still choose to have it be hot most of the time. At least in summer.)

I spent a lot of the day being the token Democrat in a house full of Republicans, so...that was exciting.

Hey! Let me tell you about what Zane is like in church! That's not political!

So Zane is Zane, which means that he is a wiggler and a fidgeter, and he is not someone who can sit still and listen to anything for half an hour. Even when i'm reading Harry Potter, which he wants desperately to listen to, he spends the entire time moving and flipping upside down and hanging off the couch and .... So there's no way that he could sit and even pretend to listen to the sermon, and if we tried to make him just sit still, he'd drive everyone in the entire section insane. So we let him bring things to do.

He has an entire binder that he's assembled over the past year, and it includes paper and pencils with which to draw, comic books, books about facts about nature, Boys' Life magazine, and i don't even know what else. And with it he is able to mostly sit still.

And then, when we are standing and singing, he usually goes back and forth between Juanito and me, hugging one of us for an entire song, then switching to the other, and back. He does not like the loudness of the singing, and during the singing he does not sing along, but then i often hear him singing or humming the songs we sang later on in the week.

And lately, for reasons that i cannot possibly BEGIN to explain, he has started crab-walking everywhere. Today we were walking back down the aisle after communion, and he randomly dropped to the ground and crab-walked the rest of the way to our row. And he's crazy fast at it - he can crab-walk easily as fast as a normal person can walk quickly. He is absolutely one of the weirdest kids sometimes. (And i did have to tell him that crab-walking is not appropriate in some venues. Like...church.)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A very Katrina-y day

Katrina came to the library with me today, because every day is "bring your daughter to work" day when you work at the library! She picked a good day to come - there was no drama, and she got lots of space to herself and lots of quiet. She started out drawing and writing articles for her magazine, and then eventually grabbed "Divergent" off the shelf and spent the rest of the time reading. I asked her if she liked coming with me because it was quiet or because she got to spend time with me or because it was just fun to come to the library, and she said, "All of the above." But i suspect that "because it's quiet" is a pretty big percentage of the reason.

And then Katrina and i went to "Once Upon a Child" (a store where they sell nice used clothes) because they were having a giant sale and she needed shorts, and let me tell you.... Finding cute and also modest clothes that actually fit a 13-year-old is unreasonably hard. Nobody should be wearing shorts that are that short, especially children. And i will never understand why clothing stores can't all have a conversation and be like, "Okay, THIS is what we're going to call size 12, and THAT will be size 14. Sound good? Okay, let's ALL DO THAT THEN." That would make life a lot easier.

A few days ago, Katrina and Zane brought my giant Harry Potter Lego castle upstairs and were all, "Um...if we promise to be really careful, could we make this?" Zane lasted approximately long enough to build one room, and then Katrina spent the next couple of days working on it off and on, and today she finished it, and it is now sitting on top of the bookcase, being all cool.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I was sitting next to Houston today, and i noticed just how much his teeth actually have moved. He has big gaps in between teeth that used to be touching each other. Orthodontia is working! And also, weird! I would not have thought that that's what the first step would be, but i guess it makes sense.

Juanito, Katrina, and Zane went to pick strawberries this morning. (I was at work, but Katrina stepped up and "made sure to be really, really picky and only pick the good ones" in my place.) So now we have a whole bunch of fresh strawberries, some of which will hopefully stay good long enough that we can eat them tomorrow! Juanito's going to use some of them, he says, to make jam. And Zane desperately wants smoothies. So! Yay, strawberries!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ortho! Work! Books!

This morning was an orthodontist appointment for both Houston and Katrina.

Houston, who has had his weird metal devices, rubber bands, and a retainer for over half a year now, got some new little brackets added to his teeth. These are on the canine teeth (i think), and instead of wearing his retainer/rubber bands all day and night, he now has instructions to only wear them for about 12 hours a day. Otherwise, apparently, the teeth with the brackets might start to twist or move weirdly. So. Progress is being made! Next month: actual braces!

Katrina had her "Let us check if she has all of her permanent teeth now" appointment (she does), and so next month she's going to get ... something done. Braces? Some weird device like Houston's? I don't know. They were going to still decide. But she's all signed up now, which means that we've got two kids for whom braces are forthcoming! Kids are expensive!

Zane, meanwhile spent the entire day - from first light until bedtime - at his friend Justin's house. I saw him for about 30 seconds this morning before he left with Juanito and then again for about 30 seconds when i got home, after he should have been asleep. But he seems to have had fun.

I worked this afternoon, and usually work is lovely and at least relatively quiet for most of the time, because it IS a library, after all. But today? There is something in the air today, because people were kind of insane. For the first time since i've worked there, we actually kicked out a group of kids, because they were TERRIBLE. There were 4 of them, and they were there for like...hours...and they were screaming and pushing each other and throwing the kids' toys all over the place and screaming some more, and eventually my co-worker was like, "Okay. That's it. I've given them multiple warnings, and they are just finished." Hallelujah. Oh, and also, someone was looking at porn on one of the computers that's right in the middle of the library, and we have no idea who it was, so that's fun.

And then tonight i had book club. We read "The Nightingale," which was both well-liked by all and also was good for discussion, and that is both rare and awesome. It seems like most of the time, either a book has a lot of discussion but people hate it, or people love it but there's not much to discuss. Yay! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


I'm currently reading three different books with the kids. (I'm also reading 3 books on my own, because apparently i'm stupid.) Most of the time i'm only reading one book with the kids. Maybe two, if it's around someone's birthday and i'm reading Harry Potter with just them or something.

But right now, there are three. So first of all, i started reading "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" to the boys, because Katrina was ... somewhere. I'd only read a chapter or two, and told Katrina that she could totally catch up before i read the next part, but she decided that she wanted to read that one on her own, so i'm reading that book with just Houston and Zane.

And then i had been reading "Masterminds," which the kids all loved, and when we finished it, everyone wanted to read the sequel...but there weren't any available copies. So i put it on hold at the library, and we waited.

In the meantime, Zane has been begging to read the next Harry Potter book, because his birthday is nearly here, and it's just easier to read more often during the summer, so we started on "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

And then today, the next "Masterminds" book came in, and all of the kids NEEDED to read it immediately.

AND SO. Reading time has gotten significantly longer than it usually is. Which...is honestly okay with me.