Monday, August 14, 2017

Adventure Monday!

Today was the second-to-last Monday of summer, and it was the first Monday we've been around and not busy in, like, a month. AND we had all of the reward things from the Summer Reading Program at the library. So today we had an awesome Adventure Monday!

We started the day at SkyZone, a trampoline park. The free passes were only for half an hour, and yesterday Juanito was all, "Don't you want to go for longer, though?" On the way there, Zane randomly got a spectacular nosebleed, and then in the middle of the jumping, it started bleeding again. He ran and took care of it and came back with his shirt and face smeared with blood. The kids jumped and flipped and flung themselves into the foam pit and jumped and flipped some more, and by the time the half hour was finished, they were all good with leaving. If we'd had longer, Houston and Katrina would have kept jumping, but Zane was complaining that his stomach hurt and that he might throw up. I sent him to the bathroom, just in case, but really, i think it was mostly just his muscles that hurt. He is convinced that it was because he had "lost all of his blood!" from the nosebleeds.

We went to Pizza Hut next, for the free Personal Pan pizzas. I didn't get one of the free ones, so i ordered a medium thin crust, knowing that Houston would finish his and still be hungry. Except that they accidentally made and brought out a regular crust pizza instead. The waitress was all, "Oh no! Here. You just start on this one, and i'll go have them make the right one!" Houston finished his pizza and started on the accidental pizza and managed to eat a little over half of it. (He finished off the rest before we got home. Crazy growing teenager.)

And then i had to kill time, so we went to Barnes and Noble (books!) and then to Payless, where Houston and Zane both got new school shoes.

And then! To the cheap movie theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2! Juanito woke up and met us there, and all of us totally liked it. We laughed a lot.

And then, Frostys! The kids had coupons for free Frostys from Wendy's, but they're having a "50 cents for a small Frosty" deal, so we all got Frostys, and i'm just saving the coupons for when they're more expensive.

And that was that. A fun day was had by all. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Political-ish. Sorry.

In all of the flurry of vacationing, i forgot to mention that my kids built a castle and a dragon for the library. Our library had an end-of-summer celebration, and Houston and Katrina came to work with me to take part. It was kind of a lame celebration - just cookies and juice and a table filled with cardboard, tin foil, and duct tape. One of the girls i work with was all, "You should build a castle!" and my kids were like, "Challenge accepted!" And then they spent the rest of my shift building a fairly awesome castle.

*    *    *    *    *

This is not a political blog, and i almost never post anything about politics or news, both because this is mostly a blog about my family and what we're up to, and because what i have to say is never as smart as what other people are saying. But it feels like the world - and America, especially - is just kind of falling apart right now, and that affects my family. So.

I am horrified by what is going on in this country. My whole life, i've learned about Nazi Germany and how terrible all of those Nazis were, and it was always implied that that could never happen again, especially here. And yet, here we are, with white supremacists marching around with torches, doing Nazi salutes and spewing Nazi-esque language, and they're getting away with it. Large crowds and huge numbers of Americans think they have the right idea.

And it feels like America is just broken enough that i can't even imagine how anything will ever be okay again. How can this much hate just ... get fixed? People aren't going to just suddenly stop hating, right? And i know that the answer is that love just has to be bigger than the hate, and that ultimately love wins, and i am trying to love people with all of my might, but it just feels a little bit hopeless right now. And that's where i am.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


That's our book club group! This is the second month in a row that we've all been there! Yay!

Today was, per Katrina, a "lazy day." She stayed in pajamas all day and just bummed around the house. She made cupcakes, read, drew, played with Zane....

The boys all took Juanito's drone and went to the park to play with other men who also have drones. "Drone races," apparently, although Juanito says that they only raced some of the time.

And that was today.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Registrations and School Pictures and Vets

Today was a day of much running around. Houston had registration and school pictures this morning, but it was at 9:00 and i had to work at 10:00, so i sent him with Juanito. He got his schedule and his school ID and all of that stuff that needs to be gotten at the beginning of the year. Before he left, he was all, "I really hope i'm in at least SOME classes with Chauncey this year!" When i got home, i asked him if they had any classes together, and he was all, "Oh. I forgot to check with him...."

Work was crazy, because for 3 of the 4 days i was off, they didn't have a "me" filling in, and yesterday, when they had run out of places to put books, they had someone from the main library come out to help, but, according to my coworker, he was "really kind of slow." (I totally want to ask her if it's this one guy that i trained with.) So there were carts full of books, and i totally shelved the last ones 10 minutes before my shift ended.

This afternoon, Katrina and Zane had school registration and school pictures, so as soon as i got home, i grabbed them and we went out to get them signed up for school. I think we went at the perfect time, because we flew through everything faster than we've ever done before.

And then we had a vet appointment for Emma, to get all of her shots and to get her nails clipped and all of that. (Diagnosis: She's a sweetheart and maybe a teeny bit chubby but very healthy.)

And THEN i sent Katrina and Juanito to go pick up Katrina's guinea pigs from the friend who'd been taking care of them.

Katrina has declared tomorrow a "rest day." We shall see.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Up North

This past week, we went up north.

We've taken vacations all over the place in the past - to New York and North Carolina and Iowa and Colorado and South Dakota and Kentucky and Pittsburgh - but we hadn't ever taken them around our own state. The kids have been saying for a couple of years that they really want to go see Mackinac Island, and neither Juanito or i had ever been there either. And so!

We first headed up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes/Traverse City area, because it's beautiful, and while both Juanito and i have been there separately, we've never been there together, and the kids hadn't yet been there.

This summer has been really dry. Everyone keeps commenting on how little rain we've gotten. And so, of course, it rained and rained and rained for the first two days that we were camping. The weather was nice enough to hold off raining while we started putting up the tent, but then halfway through, Juanito was all, "Oh. We don't have any tent pegs...." and so he ran off to Menard's to get some giant nails to use as tent pegs while the kids and i finished setting up what we could and then going down to the lake to see the view. (We were literally just a staircase away from the lake. It was awesome.) Before Juanito got back, though, it totally started raining, so the kids and i all sheltered in the tent and played Uno and Skip-Bo. When Juanito got back, it was pouring, so he finished setting up the tent in the pouring rain, getting absolutely drenched. (He's so nice.) We basically just huddled in the tent for the rest of the day and eventually decided that we'd just go ahead and go to Burger King, because at least it was dry.

The next morning dawned drizzly, but it cleared up and gave us sunshine for a couple of hours. We tried to take full advantage of the sun, and drove up Mission Point peninsula to the lighthouse and beach. The lake's level is really high this year, so all of the beaches are really small, which was disappointing. But it was still beautiful. And then we drove over to the Leelanau Peninsula and up to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. That beach was nearly non-existent, and so at this point i started totally doubting my memory, and asked one of the ladies working there if we were at the right place. She seemed confused, but an old man standing nearby was all, "Oh! You want Peterson Beach! Just turn by the purple trees!" And Peterson Beach was totally cool, and the kids loved looking all over it for rocks, but it's not the beach i was thinking of. Weird. We all looked and looked for Petosky stones or really any pretty rocks, but none of us had any luck with actual Petosky stones. (Juanito did later realize that he had totally found one, not recognized it as a Petosky stone, and threw it away. Bummer.)

While we were at Peterson Beach, it totally started raining again, so we stopped at a couple of places (the 45th parallel, the world's biggest cherry pie pan, a place where a guy has giant bare metal statues), and then headed back to the campsite. Juanito managed, with a lot of effort and even more lighter fluid, to start a fire with all of the wet wood, and so we ate hot dogs in the rain and eventually all ended up in the warm, dry car and decided that we just needed to find someplace dry to sit for a while. So we went to Bud's for ice cream.

By the next day, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining, and lo, it was So! Much! Nicer! We drove over to the coast, stopping first at the Cherry Bowl Drive-in theater, where they have a whole ton of crazy statues and whatnot outside, and then to a gravity hill, where things roll up hill (not really, but they seem to) (and i'm not sure we actually found it, but it was still fun trying), and then we asked the GPS to take us to Gwen Frostic's, and instead it took us to a muddy little two track that went off into the woods. Juanito was all, "Um. We're totally going to get stuck. This CAN'T be it." We got out and walked up the track, and it really was just more woods leading to a field with a whole bunch of beehives and beyond. We did eventually find the place, and it had a real parking lot and everything.

And then! Pierce Stocking Drive! For anyone who hasn't been to Sleeping Bear Dunes, this is the scenic drive that you kind of have to take, because it leads to spectacular views and ridiculously giant dunes that nobody sane would ever go down (there are literally signs saying, "Don't do it. It'll take you 2 hours to get back up, and if you can't make it, then you have to pay to get rescued."). There were also smaller dunes that could be climbed, and those we did climb. The boys had fun running full-tilt down the dunes. Katrina ran down in a more controlled fashion. I usually had my camera and was perfectly content to walk down.

Everyone climbed "The Dune," a huge-but-not-as-insane dune just up the road from Pierce Stocking drive. At the top, the kids dug a giant hole while Juanito carved a heart into the sand. I originally thought that they were going to go up and then come right back down, so i was all, "Go ahead! I'll stay here," but then they never came back, so i ended up going up after all, just in time to take pictures and catch my breath and then head back down. We walked out over the dunes at Sleeping Bear Point to the beach, and the kids played in the lake for a little while. We'd originally planned to walk out to the ghost forest, but Houston and Katrina were both pretty finished by that point, so we called it a day.

On Sunday (the next day), we packed up camp and drove up to Mackinaw, stopping at random places along the way. The first, unplanned, stop came when we drove past a store with a giant bear, and all of us were like, "Oh my gosh!!! That is the creepiest bear EVER! We need to go back!" So Juanito turned around and we took pictures, and then the kids all found sweatshirts for $15-$17 that they wanted to buy, and so they did, and they wore those sweatshirts every single day for the rest of the trip. (OH! Also! On day 2, i realized that Zane had brought exactly zero (0) shirts with him and would have to wear the same shirt every day. Awesome.)

We then stopped at a giant trout fountain, a random unicorn on the side of the road, Deadman's hill overlook, and Petosky on our way to our campground in Mackinaw City. Our campground was right on Lake Huron and had an awesome view of the Mackinac Bridge. The kids loved it, because there was a beach and a playground and horseshoes and basketball and volleyball. And they actually played all of those things.

Monday morning we woke up and went to Mackinac Island. The ferry out there is a slow ferry, and it takes you right under the Mackinac Bridge. It was really cool. Houston even made up a song about it, and it might have been the most annoying song that has ever been sung - at least, it was after the first 10 minutes.

The first thing we did when we landed was to go and rent bikes, which we then mostly walked up to the top of the hill where the big fort was. Once up there, we rode down the middle of the island, which was mostly downhill (awesome!), until we got to the highway that runs around the perimeter of the island, and then we took that back to town. Along the way, we stopped a few times at beautiful views, at the Devil's Kitchen, and at trees growing straight out of giant cliffs. We then returned the bikes and sat in the park to eat some lunch. (Me, while riding bikes: "Don't let me forget to take pictures of us with the bikes!" And...i totally forgot. Sad me!)

From there, we hiked out to Anne's Tablet, Arch Rock, Sugar Loaf Rock, Fort Holmes, a buggy museum, and the Grand Hotel (we came down the street from the back, and so we totally got to see the Grand Hotel for free. If we'd come the other way, we would have had to pay and totally wouldn't have gone in.). It was a lot of walking, and a lot of it was up and down hills and stairs, and usually none of that would have been a problem. As i was planning the trip, i was all, "Our family is great at walking all over for long distances!" What i didn't know was that Zane's left foot has been hurting him when he walks long distances (you have to tell me these things, child!!!) and so he was miserable for a lot of the walking. Poor kid. He kept asking, "Are we almost back to town? Can we go taste the fudge now?"

We did eventually get to town and walk around and taste lots of fudge, and all three of my kids were disappointed to realize that...they don't like fudge. (So then they were all like, "I just won't get any more samples," to which i was like, "What?! No! Get them and give them to me!") We walked through some of the stores, until they all seemed to be kind of the same thing, and then we collectively decided to be finished. It was already after 7:00, anyhow. We took the fast boat back - on the top, front seats, and it was really cool and also really windy.

The next morning we packed up camp, went into town to buy some fudge for ourselves and my parents, and then headed up to the Upper Peninsula. We wanted to both go over the Mackinac Bridge and also let the kids be able to say that they've been to the UP. We stopped at the "Patriotic Moose" and a fairly stupid store that has a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, but they're surrounded by a chain link fence and are also kind of dumb. We stopped and got pasties for lunch, because when you're in the UP, you have to eat pasties. And then we went back across the bridge and headed home. Along the way, we stopped at a store that claims to have "a man-eating clam," which was...fine, but it also had a whole lot of other incredible-ness - a giant bear, a hammerhead shark you could pretend was eating you, creepy-ish fisherman mannequins and pirate mannequins and all manner of bizarre merchandise.

And then we stopped at the world's largest crucifix and nun doll museum. I had no idea what to expect, but it was honestly pretty interesting. There were a few definitely creepy dolls, and it was kind of weird that there were some that were Barbie dolls and some that were regular dolls and some that were human-sized, but it was really interesting to see how many different kinds of habits there are.

And then a giant beer bottle and Robinson's Scenic Garden, which is a yard filled with a whole bunch of weird or cute or creepy statues. The creepiest, by far, was the clown head with giant horns like a bull. I don't even know what to do with that.

And then HOME! Real beds! A good shower! A roof and a stove and a refrigerator! Yay!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Zane is eleven!

It's Zane's birthday today! This boy - this absolutely adorable and silly and awesome kid - is now eleven years old and ready to enter middle school. How is that possible?!

In a lot of ways, it gets harder and harder to write birthday posts for my kids, because they don't change as much from year to year. When they were turning 2 or 3, there were huge, obvious changes in development and skills, but when they're turning eleven or 15.... Not so much.

So i don't think that Zane's personality has done a whole lot of changing in the past year. He's still the same incredibly energetic, wiggly, hilarious, sweet, happy boy that he has been for years. He loves people and is at his happiest when he is with family or friends - and people who he meets tend to become friends pretty quickly if they allow it.

He loves listening to stories, whether they're read by me or an audio book, and he will spend hours listening to books while he's playing with Legos or other random toys in his room. His favorites are currently Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. (When i'm reading them, he tends to listen while hanging upside down on the, right way, upside, with his feet on the wall....)

When he is actually reading the books himself, however, he always prefers non-fiction. Books about the deadliest bugs or the biggest earthquakes or why bats are mammals fascinate him. And, unlike me, he actually remembers many of the facts that he reads. He will happily tell you all kinds of random factoids if you get him on the subject.

He, like most kids his age, loves playing video games. His favorite is Minecraft, and his favorite way to play it is as a team with Houston or Katrina or one of his friends. He regularly has friends call him, and then he puts the phone on speaker, sets it next to him on the desk, and plays a game with that friend so that they can talk to each other while playing together.

He'll actually talk on the phone with friends for ages even if they aren't playing computer together. Out of all of my kids, he's the only one who regularly calls friends and just ... talks to them. And i suppose that's not entirely surprising, because Zane just loves to talk. There are times when he will just sit down by you and start talking, and he will just talk and talk and talk.

When Zane isn't bouncing around, he's surprisingly thoughtful. He makes sweet signs for his siblings' doors. He'll sit next to me, grab my foot, and give me a spontaneous foot rub. He'll stand in the kitchen and chat with me while i'm cooking. He'll offer to sit in the back of the van because none of the kids wants to. He tells me a hundred times a day, "I love you!"

Zane loves bike rides, especially with his dad. He loves candy. He loves Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." He loves science. He loves exploring. He loves climbing around in the "forest" by our house with Katrina. He loves PopTarts. And he thinks that he, himself, is pretty awesome.

He is just so happy and loving. He reminds me a bit of Emma sometimes: everybody is just a friend that he maybe hasn't met yet. I hope that he can forever keep his level of curiosity and optimism. I just adore this kid. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Zane's pre-birthday party

Tomorrow is Zane's birthday. Weeks ago, i realized that i would be working on his birthday, and i hatched a brilliant plan to have him have friends sleep over the night before his birthday so that they'd be around in the morning and early afternoon, and then he wouldn't even NOTICE that i wasn't here. And so he invited his three best friends...and two of them were going to be out of town. So he invited another friend. And all was planned, and lo, it was a good plan.

And then one of the friends' mom let me know that they were going to have to pick up their son at 9:45 in the morning, because he had choir practice. And then when the other friend was dropped off today, his mom was all, "Oh, i have to pick him up at 10:00 for a dentist appointment tomorrow." And so there went all of my brilliant plan, right out the window. Dang it.

Nevertheless, Zane DID have two friends over today, and they had great fun running around and having Nerf gun wars and playing games and ... doing whatever it is that 10-year-old boys do. Zane was gleefully happy. And then one of his friends started feeling sick, so we had to call his mom to come and get him. But he still has one friend over! So...yay?!

I didn't want to have a whole cake for Zane two days in a row, and by awesome coincidence, today is Harry Potter's birthday, so instead Katrina and i made cupcakes and i put some frosting and a whole bunch of sprinkles on the table, and everyone decorated their own cupcakes Harry Potter-y or just with a giant mess of frosting, depending on the person in question.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I am a nerd

Just in case i needed proof that i am a total nerd, today i proved it to myself.

In the library, we put new books on a special "New books" shelf for six months. New books keep coming in, and so by the end of the month, the new books shelves generally start getting rather full. One of the parts of my job that i really enjoy is at the beginning of the month, when i get to go and pull all of the 6-months-ago books off of the shelf. I don't know why it's fun, but it just ... is. So i sort of, kind of look forward to the first of the month.

Today, we were pretty slow, and i was putting books away, and one of my co-workers came over and said, "So we're close to enough to the end of the month that we decided we could go ahead and pull the older new books today. I've already gotten most of them, but you can get the ones in the random places if you want?" And i felt genuinely kind of sad. And then realized how utterly ridiculous that was.

So. Dork.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pizza! Movie! Night!

It was pizza-movie night tonight! That's my pizza on the left and Katrina's on the right. She doesn't like pizza sauce...or any toppings, really, so her "pizza" consists of the crust, barbecue sauce, and just the teeniest bit of cheese. It's ridiculous, but it is actually making progress, because until a few months ago, her "pizza" was just a loaf of bread made from her portion of the pizza dough. Super healthy. Maybe someday we'll get her to the point where she actually adds toppings.

Zane's "pizza," meanwhile is usually several little different bits of things that he makes. He'll have a few little balls of bread, a pizza-ish thing with olives and feta cheese, some breadsticks.... He, like Katrina, does not like pizza sauce or anything resembling it, so he basically just eats bread. Bread is totally a healthy meal. Shut up. (When we have spaghetti, both of them just eat the plain noodles. If my children make it to adulthood without my wrecking them, it'll be a miracle)

A few weeks ago, Katrina was like, "So when should i read Twilight?" and Beth, Juanito, and i all simultaneously yelled, "Never!" (Which, i mean, sure, go ahead and read it. I have. But it's so not worth it.) And then the kids were all like, "When can we watch the movies?" and we adults all went, "Huh. I mean...they're totally, totally stupid, but they're not inappropriate. And it might be fun to watch them and just mock them like crazy...." And so. A couple of weeks ago, we watched the first movie and all laughed like crazy and mocked mercilessly. And today we watched the second one and all rolled our eyes an insane amount and mocked mercilessly. And Beth made cookies of moons and wolves, and they were awesome.

So to sum up: We are watching the dumbest movies ever while two of the kids eat food that is basically nothing but carbs, and we are all enjoying ourselves immensely.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Metal Mouth!

This morning Houston and Katrina got to go to the orthodontist. Woo!

We didn't know what they were going to do to Katrina yet, because they had done all of the molds and whatnot, but the orthodontist was still trying to determine the best course of action. So when she got called back, i got to go with her to talk to the orthodontist. She (the ortho) looked at Katrina's teeth from all angles, because "they just looked really different on the X-ray than on the pictures...." And then she was all, "Okay. So. There are three courses of action we could take. The first and most aggressive course of action is surgery. We would break her jaw and pull the bottom jaw forward. That involves an overnight stay in the hospital and about 2 weeks of not being able to eat, and it's pretty miserable, but the end product is that her chin would be pulled forward."

Katrina and me: "........."

Orthodontist: "Yeah. people are usually either really for or really against that one. Option two is that we could pull a couple of teeth from the top, which would pull the top teeth back and line up the bite that way."

Kat and me: "Yeah. Um. I mean, we'd rather not pull teeth if possible?"

Ortho: "The third option is that we can fix the bite as best we can with braces and lots of rubberbands, and just accept that in the end she'll still have a little bit of an overbite."

Kat and me: "Yeah. That sounds good." Because honestly, it's not like we're doing braces for cosmetic reasons, because Katrina is already gorgeous and her teeth don't bother her. We just want to fix them so that in the future her teeth and her bite don't give her problems. A bit of an overbite is FINE.

So she just got spacers today, which will be exchanged for expanders next week, and they're going to just do expanders for a while until the top jaw is a bit more rounded and less crowded. So she's going to get that gap between her front teeth for a bit.

Meanwhile, Houston actually DID get braces on today! He looks so cute with them! I asked if it hurt when they put them on, and he said, "No. Not really. But when they were taking the old appliance off, it really felt and sounded like they were breaking my teeth apart! Because they just had to break them off of the teeth!!!"

So far, Houston's only complaint is "I just don't know what to do with my lips. Nothing feels normal." And Katrina's just started bothering her after bedtime, so she took some ibuprofin and will hopefully sleep pain-free. Yay!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


We spent the past several days in Kentucky, visiting Juanito's family. He was able to see everyone except his sister, who lives in England. The rest of us only got to see his parents and one brother. But it was a lovely visit.

On Sunday, we got to go out for dinner with Lauren, who is still "family" even though she's not technically family anymore, and who we all just adore. Katrina, especially of the kids, loves Lauren and has a not-regular-but-definitely-occasional pen-pal relationship with her. And she's just one of those people with whom i really don't want to fall out of contact.

Juanito's mother had all of her friends over for a campfire in the evening, which ended up being a not-campfire because it was just plain too hot outside for anyone to want to sit around a fire. Katrina made a little fake fire to put in the middle of the table, and that suited us all just fine. Less mosquitoes that way too!

On Monday, we went into town, because it's just part of our tradition. We took pictures in all of the usual spots - with the caboose museum that has never once been open when we've been there, with the sign that says, "Wilmore, KY," and in the grocery store that awesomely has a TARDIS and this year had added 221B Baker St. as well! (My kids went to the owner and suggested that, as long as they're adding awesome British icons, they should add Platform 9 3/4 as well, especially since they already have the shopping carts. The owner, who is a little old man who has very obviously never read Harry Potter, said that his sons-in-law are actually the ones responsible for building those things, and he had us write it down so that he could pass the suggestion along. My kids are now all very hopeful that the next time we got, there will be a Platform 9 3/4 for them.) We also got ice cream at the drug store, because it's the only place i know that still has a drug store with an ice cream counter, and so obviously we need to go there while we have the opportunity!

On Monday evening, we went out to the farm where Juanito's dad and brother live. They have chickens (so Houston is happy) and kittens (so Katrina is happy) and lots of random wood piles to climb on (so Zane is happy). They also have a goat, who Juanito's dad insists is friendly and is trying to lovingly nuzzle us, but i am here to tell you that he is wrong, and that that goat is kind of a jerk. He kept headbutting us and trying to stab us with his horns and would run at us if he saw us across the yard, and there was nothing loving about it.

On Tuesday, we went to High Bridge Park, because none of my kids knew what i was talking about when i mentioned High Bridge. They were all like, "What? That isn't somewhere i've been...." until we were actually there, and then they were all, "OH! Yes! This is where i brought Puppy one time and almost threw him off the cliff!" Emma came with us to the park, and she loved it, but she nearly gave me a heart attack when Katrina was walking her toward the bridge and she jumped up onto the wall that lines the road, and if she'd gone over she would have fallen a million feet and died. And then, after i had stopped freaking out about that, Houston casually remarked, "Well, and if she'd gone over, she'd probably have pulled Katrina over as well, because she had the leash around her wrist."

And then we left and drove home and got here at around midnight. The end. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Houston and his loot

A couple of months ago, Houston decided that he desperately wanted to get a "Loot Crate," which is a ... crate full of loot. I don't fully understand it, but i *think* that you can choose a theme, like "Star Trek" or "Lord of the Rings" or something equally geeky. Houston, of course, chose Harry Potter. And so he ordered it and then waited and waited, eagerly watching the mailman every single day for about three weeks before finally calling them and asking why it wasn't coming. And they were all, "Oh. Oops."

And so they promised him, "Okay, so...we'll send one in two months when we have another Harry Potter one, okay?" And so he waited another two months, completely impatiently, and then started stalking the mailman again, and yesterday his Loot Crate finally arrived, and he was ecstatic! And yet, sweetheart that he is, he totally waited for me to get home from work so that i could watch him open it.

So he got that shirt, pictured up there. And a leather-bound journal. And a wand pen. And bookends. And...i think a weird brooch. And lo, he is thrilled.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Braces prep

Katrina is going to start the braces-getting process next week (we don't know yet what the actual plan is, if she's going to first get a device and then braces or just start on the braces right away), but in preparation, she first needed to go get X-rays and molds and impressions and stuff. We happened to be there when nobody else had appointments (benefit of going early during the summer!), so i got to go back with her. Usually parents aren't allowed in the back, partly because there's not enough room, but mostly because of HIPAA. My favorite part was the X-rays. She got one panoramic of her head from ear to ear, and one of her head in profile. The panoramic one just looked fairly creepy, but the profile one was awesome! It was her perfect little skull, with just a ghost of her actual face over it, and it was absolutely fascinating. I would love to have had more time to look at it!

Katrina and Houston (who is also getting proper braces next week) are both clamoring to eat all of their favorite things that they're not going to be able to eat once they have braces. Bagels! Caramel! Mike 'n Ikes! Popcorn! Katrina is all, "Can we get like...3 King-sized Twix bars? Because they're my favorite, but they caramel so i won't be able to eat them!!!" And Houston is all, "We need to get Asiago bagels at least ONCE before next week!" Poor almost-going-to-be-deprived kids.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Work stuff

I'm not sure exactly how hot it got today, but i think it must have been above 90, and the humidity was super high, which meant that it was just straight up hot out today. Which...mid-July. Of course it's hot. But it's important to know that it was hot because otherwise this will not matter as much:

Sometimes when i'm running around shelving books, it's just warm enough in the library that i use whatever book is in my hand to fan myself before putting it where it belongs. I'm all: fan, fan, fan, shelve. New book. Fan, fan, fan, shelve. Etc. Our library is old and big and difficult to keep cool, so, y'know it gets warm, is what i'm saying. But today, as i was walking by one of the vents, i noticed that it was suddenly blowing warm air. Not just not-cool, WARM. I walked into the lobby to let the librarian know, assuming that vent was broken, and steam was pouring out of the big vent in the lobby. The front doors were steamed up the way the mirror is when you get out of a hot shower.

Turns out! The maintenance guys were there trying to fix there air conditioners, but for some reason they decided that they needed to turn on the boiler and run the heat for a few minutes to fix something. So! The entire library was sweltering in moments. It was insane. After 5-10 minutes, the librarian was all, "Yeah. You should just go and sit in the back and try to cool down a little, because you're really flushed. Just...take an extra break!" And eventually they fixed the air, and an hour or so later it finally started cooling down, and ... that's the end of the story. Huh. It sounded more interesting in my head.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Adventure Monday

We had a much shorter and less crazy Adventure Monday this week. We stayed in town and just kind of took our time and meandered a bit.

We started at the Eastown library, which is a KDL library rather a GRPL one, so the kids all filled out and turned in the summer reading stuff there. The KDL libraries totally have better prizes than do the Grand Rapids ones. They got envelopes of stuff like "Go to Skyzone for half a hour for free!" and "Free Frosty at Wendy's!" and "Free Pizza Hut pan pizza!" And then the librarian was all, "Okay, and you can come over here and pick out a book, and Zane was all, "TO KEEP?!?!?!" which totally made me giggle, because we were in a library. Just getting to borrow a book wouldn't be a very good prize. They all crowded around the cart of books, and Houston immediately spotted "Fablehaven" and grabbed it, at which Katrina was all, "WHAT?! I want that book!!!" but there were, sadly, no more copies. She got "City of Embers" instead, and Zane got "Hatchet." So they all walked away happy.

From there, we just walked all around Eastown, enjoying the lovely day and the pretty lake and everything.

And then we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch, which was probably the most exciting thing we've done yet, according to Houston. They were all seriously thrilled. And lo, it was delicious.

And that was about it.

And then tonight, Beth came over and we watched the next 3 episodes of Doctor Who, so we are now approximately halfway through the season that just ended. Yay!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Katrina got a free frozen yogurt for reading enough hours, and she's been begging me to go with her ever since. And so this afternoon the two of us went on a date for frozen yogurt and shopping for her friend's birthday present. (Nothing like last minute shopping! We got the present and headed straight to the party. And Katrina chose a feather boa instead of tissue paper to put into the gift bag, and it was so absolutely perfect.) And then she was gone basically all day. It was a pool party, so she loved it, but they were swimming for 5 hours, so she was EXHAUSTED by bedtime!

Meanwhile, the boys and i just kind of hung out for the afternoon. Houston made dinner (macaroni and cheese, because Katrina doesn't like it), which is one of the reasons that having big kids really is sometimes the absolute best.

Tonight, i taught the kids how to make "zentangles," which is just basically a fancy way of doodling, and Katrina and Houston immediately jumped in, while Zane had a mini-breakdown because it wasn't turning out the way he wanted, until he started over and got a ruler so that he could make straight lines, and then he happily drew as well. And while they all drew, i read them a chapter and a half of Harry Potter. Yay!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lost tooth!

Zane has been trying to lose that tooth for months, and tonight, long after he should actually have been asleep, it finally came out and he came running down to show me. The tooth is now sitting under a glass on the table, waiting for the tooth fairy to come. (That's how we did it when we were little. Katrina and Houston both wrote the tooth fairy notes, which she answered when she left money, and as a result, Zane's tooth fairy is much more prompt than the other kids'. Throwing some money under a glass takes three seconds. Sitting down to answer questions in carefully wiggly handwriting takes a lot more effort.)

Juanito left for Seattle tonight. He'll only be gone a couple of nights, but he'll hopefully have tons of fun. A whole bunch of friends from Peru are having a reunion, and one of his friends works for the airline and was all, "Well. If you can get to Chicago, then i can get you to Seattle...." I was like, "I mean! You HAVE to go!" So he'll be doing...stuff.... And hopefully taking pictures. And should come back exhausted but hopefully happy.

Friday, July 14, 2017

My job, sometimes

Things that happened at the library today:

1. I unintentionally befriended a lady who comes in every single day, sometimes more than once a day, and now she will not stop talking to me. Today she talked and talked and talked about her children and her grandchildren and her hair and how she's totally an introvert, and all the while, i was trying to put books on shelves, so i'd go down an aisle to shelve something, and she'd keep talking, so i either had to stop and go back out so that i could hear her and not be rude, or i could just be rude and ignore her. And THIS is why i generally don't say much to patrons beyond, "Hi!"

2. The YMCA brought a giant group of little kids into the library for 30-45 minutes, and they were not overly loud or obnoxious or anything, so that was lovely, but i figured that there was really no point in my shelving anything in there until they left, because i'd just have to go back through and clean it all up again anyhow. And OH MY GOSH, i totally had to clean up after them. They managed to make a ridiculous disaster of the shelves - books put in backwards and lying in piles and just tossed about.

So as i was straightening that up, this small girl child (maybe 2-3 years old) was there with her sister and her mother, and she had the absolutely most piercing scream i think i've ever heard. And she made use of it repeatedly. Even the teen who comes almost every day for the entire day and sits in the corner looking at the internet, oblivious to every single thing around him, even when it's crazy, totally looked up when she screamed. And that's saying something.

3. But the most notable thing from today was totally the possibly used condom that i found tucked away in the middle of a Pokemon graphic novel in the kids' area. I was putting the books all back onto the shelves in order, and the very top (open) end was just barely peeking out of the top, except it was green so i didn't know what it was, so i started pulling it out before i realized what it was. I mostly calmly brought it to the front desk to ask the librarian what we should do with THAT situation, and she was all, "Well. THAT'S a new one." And then i washed my hands obsessively for the next hour. (Or maybe less. But seriously...EW.) (Incidentally, we all agreed that THAT book was going to have to be taken out of circulation, because there was no cleaning that was going to be good enough. Ever.) (Except that SHE got to wear gloves as she handled the book.)

So all in all, working in the library is sometimes a lot weirder than i'd expected.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book club

At tonight's book club, we had everyone there, i think maybe for the first time ever. I mean, since we started, we've had a few people drop out and a few people join, but with this particular group, we've always got some people missing. So it was fun, tonight, to actually get to see everyone.

I think it's interesting how well we all get along, because we've got everyone from my mom, who's 70 to the Katies who are 24, and while everyone is college-educated, the degrees vary from bachelor's to doctorate and from English to ... something related to finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer. But i really like everyone! And we have good discussions! Yay!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The library had an event tonight to "walk around downtown and take pictures of doorways and gateways." In theory, that sounded like fun, but in reality, there were about 50 people, all of whom were trying to take pictures of the same things. So Beth and i broke off from the group and walked around by ourselves. Because i might still be taking obvious and lame pictures, but at least i'm taking them without a crowd of people around me! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Adventure Monday!

We headed up to Newaygo for Adventure Monday today. I can't say that i've ever actually been to Newaygo (except for a quick stop once with Beth), though i guess i might have been. All in all, it's not a super exciting town. We had fun in the surrounding areas, though!

There are two dams - the Hardy Dam and the Croton Dam - near the actual city of Newaygo, and we started at the Hardy Dam. There's a nature trail that goes along the river there, starting at the dam, and it's a perfectly fine nature walk. There's nothing exciting about it, but it's quite a lovely area, and the trees are super tall, and there were not a lot of bugs, and honestly, the lack of bugs is what actually sold it for me. We walked and walked for about an hour and a half? Maybe two hours? Basically we walked until we got to a spot where we'd have had to walk on logs to cross a river, and i was like, "Nope! Time to turn around!" And it actually turned out to be perfect, because we got back to the car just before it started pouring.

The rain lasted just long enough to make me change the plan to include walking around downtown Newaygo, and actually...we totally could have skipped it. AND the rain quit just as we got there, but i wasn't sure if it was going to start up again, so i didn't want to just drive straight back out and have it start raining again. On the way in, though, we stopped at the cement fist heads poking up out of the grass, and that was totally worth stopping for.

So the good news is, it didn't rain again. So after walking around town for a while, we headed back out to nature. First we went to a "park" that's basically a million (Fine. 234. STILL.) steps down to a little beach. The beach was actually quite lovely. There was a little stream running through the middle of it, lined with rocks that were absolutely perfect for skipping. The river was totally smooth, and there were cool tree roots to climb around on (for the Zanes among us), and it was totally peaceful, and everyone really, really liked it. And then we had to climb back UP the steps, but we'll just skip over that part.

And then we ran to the Croton Dam, which was really cool and i would have loved to have had more time there, but Juanito needed to get home for Zumba, so we just stood up on the bridge to see it and then went home.

By the time we got home, we were all exhausted and just fell onto the couch to watch "Fantastic Beasts." All of us except Juanito, who had to go to Zumba. (And i would say, "Poor guy," except that he loves it.)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The weekend

Doctor Who season 10 started a while back, but since we live in America and don't have cable, we don't really have a good way to watch it, so we'd not seen any of this season yet. Until yesterday! I was shelving movies, and a DVD of the first six episodes of season 10 was right there, so i immediately checked it out. (This is one of my favorite parts of working at the library - i can see and grab books and movies that i didn't even know existed!) And then Beth came over yesterday afternoon, and we all watched 3 episodes in a row. We didn't exactly MEAN to watch 3 in a row, but they were just so! good! There was much gasping and laughing and a bit of screaming, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, with the possible exceptions of Zane and Juanito, who just don't love the Doctor like the rest of us do.

And then last night, our friend Karla was in town, studying for an exam and staying with Beth, so when she was finished studying for the night, i went to Beth's house, and the three of us sat up talking and talking and talking until about 1:00, when i finally just had to go home to get some sleep. I really love my friends!

Today, after church, we all went to my parents' house for dinner, and then to Jackie's house for swimming. It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm but not unbearably hot. The kids would have probably stayed in the water for the rest of the day and night, but we cruelly forced them to get out and go home at about 5:45.

So all in all, an exceptional weekend. 

Friday, July 7, 2017


Our bed is situated so that our heads are right by the window, and so when it's hot and the windows are open, i sometimes sleep with my hand right up by the screen to get as much fresh (and hopefully slightly cooler) air as possible. And so last night, at about 3:30, i woke up when the temperature randomly and suddenly dropped a lot - i would guess at least 10 degrees. My first thought was, "Well, that's lovely," a thought that lasted about 10 seconds until the storm hit.

It went from not raining to an absolute downpour with no in-between. The wind started blowing, pelting the windows with rain. Most of the time - almost always - we can leave the windows open when it rains, because with the trees and the roof the way they are, it just never rains into the house. Last night, though, i had to run around the house closing all of the windows, because otherwise we'd have woken up to a lot of wet floors. By the time i got to Katrina's window, maybe 3 minutes after the rain started, there was already a puddle on her windowsill.

The thunder and lightning were amazing. There was apparently hail. This morning, there were giant branches and partial trees down all over the place, and a lot of the city was without power. My co-worker woke up to a trampoline in her backyard (and they don't own a trampoline). Happily, our house was untouched.

About half an hour before i got off work this afternoon, Juanito and Katrina showed up at the library. It was apparently "National Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day," so they walked downtown, and when Katrina got blisters (because she was wearing flipflops), they decided to just head to my library because it was closer than home. Yay!

Thursday, July 6, 2017



Zane has always felt emotions deeply. Deeply and usually briefly. It does not take much to push him over the edge into misery. He'll be perfectly happy, and then suddenly he's in the depths of despair. There are times when he will disappear, and i'll find him curled up somewhere in a corner, weeping softly because his feelings were hurt. Even when he was tiny, he had the absolutely saddest sad face in the world. When he is sad, he is ALL THE SAD. He could not be any sadder. But fifteen minutes later, he's back to being completely cheerful.

Because the thing is, his general state of being is just really, truly happy. He's just genuinely gleeful as a rule.

I love this video, because it's such a perfect representation of Zaney. Bouncy and full of energy and just absolutely thrilled to be himself.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Recovering from the weekend

After a weekend full of going places and doing things, today was a much calmer kind of day. I went back to work. The boys all seemed to do practically nothing all morning/early afternoon. When i came home, i took Houston to get his hair cut because it was getting surprisingly long and shaggy again.

Katrina, however, went to the pool with her friends for a friend's birthday, where she swam like crazy, got a bit sunburned, and came home absolutely exhausted. She got home at about 4:30, took a shower, and spent the rest of the day collapsed in various spots around the house. She and Emma were practically having a competition to see who could lay around the most.

I read a couple of chapters of Harry Potter to the kids, and then a chapter of Masterminds 2. We watched an episode of Psych. And that was about it for the day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fourth of July!

Because it's the Fourth of July, i didn't have to work today, which meant that when Chellie asked me if i wanted to go to our grandpa's house for the night, we totally could!

We first stopped by to visit my grandpa, who is in a nursing home now. (He's almost 98 and healthy and completely mentally sound...but still almost 98.) While we were there, he gave us each a book that he'd made about himself and his life. I'm looking forward to reading it! And then we drove over to the house and just had time to bring our stuff inside before Chellie texted to ask if we wanted to meet them in Grand Haven to eat dinner.

We ate (Burger King. Because we are fancy.) and then went back to the house, where the kids immediately begged to go swimming. So they all threw on their bathing suits, and we headed down to the "beach." (There is no actual beach this year. There's a ladder going down from the bank to a lower part of the bank that's behind the sea wall that was put in back in the 80's, and which has been completely covered for 30 years, and then once you jump down from the sea wall, you're basically in the water. There's sand, but the waves keep it wet, so you can't actually put a towel down to sit on or anything.) The kids ran into the water which was not nearly as cold as i'd expected, and Chellie and i kind of stood around for a little while before deciding that as long as we were going to be not relaxing on the beach anyhow, we might as well take a walk down to our aunt and uncle's house. The kids swam along, out in the lake, while Chellie and i just kept gawking at how completely foreign the entire beach looked this year.

After saying a quick hello to our uncle and aunt and a cousin who happened to be visiting from California this week, we walked back to our grandparents' house, where the kids swam and swam until we finally dragged them back to the house at about 8:30 or 9:00. They all changed into pajamas, and before long we headed out to watch the sunset.

This morning, Zane, Chellie, her son, and i all woke up at about 8:00, walked down toward the beach to look at the glass-smooth lake, ate some breakfast, played piano, and finally woke the other kids up at 9:30. And as soon as breakfast was finished, the kids all got their bathing suits back on and begged to be allowed to go swimming again.

This time we brought chairs down to the beach and tried to sit in them, which sort of worked, except that every time a wave came in, the sand beneath us would get wet and our chair would sink a little deeper into the sand. So it wasn't ideal, but at least it was a place to sit. The kids swam until we dragged them out at around noon to go pack all of our stuff into the cars before everyone else showed up.

My parents, Jackie, Eric, and Cheyanne, and Jim and Alisha and their kids all came out for lunch, and then some of us went back down to the beach (i don't think my kids would ever choose to just ... not swim). Later we had a cornhole tournament (which Juanito/Zane and i soundly lost) and just hung out and enjoyed the company and the lovely weather.

And then tonight, we went to the fireworks, of course. We always go to the same spot - Juanito's favorite place ever to watch the fireworks - and this year Jackie, Chellie, and some of their kids joined us. And it was fun - we played games and did sparklers and the kids ran around a lot - but the actual fireworks were disappointing. They changed the spot that they shoot them off from, which meant that the fireworks were partially behind trees, were lower down, and were farther away from us. It was very sad. Sigh. (I mean, they were still fireworks, but they were just not as happy as usual.) Here's hoping they'll move back next year.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2

Beth and i went to Meijer Gardens today for a little while. The day was all bright and sunny and warm, and then the moment we got there, the sun suddenly went away and it started drizzling. It drizzled off and on while we walked around, and we finally went inside when it started actually raining enough that it seemed like it might start pouring at any second. And shortly after i got home, it did start to rain in earnest. But even in the rain, flowers are still pretty, so it was not a wasted trip. :)

Tonight we watched "Independence Day," a tradition around the 4th of July in our house. I have to's completely ethnocentric and there are obvious problems with, y'know, physics, but i just love that movie. I think it's mostly because i love all of the actors. Jeff Goldblum! Will Smith! Bill Pullman! The guy who plays the father! Randy Quaid! They're all so lovable! (I'm a dork.)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

It's July!

My brother Jim works in one of the tallest (maybe THE tallest?) buildings downtown, and he's way up on the ...something high-eth...floor. And since he's really nice, he let us all come up and stand on the balcony with him and watch the amazing downtown fireworks! It's really the absolutely best place in ... probably the entire city in which to watch the fireworks. Plus we don't have to fight through crowds of people and sit on the uncomfortable streets! Double-plus good!

Friday, June 30, 2017

I might have done that a few too many times too.

Yesterday morning, Katrina woke up at 10:30, which is possibly the latest she's ever slept, so naturally, when she finally DID wake up, we all commented on it. Turns out...she stayed up until 2:00 in the morning finishing her book.

And honestly, that is one thing that i will never (as long as it's not a school night) ever be upset with my kids for. "Oh, you stayed up all night reading? Totally legit."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Library! Picnic!

Today all three kids came to work with me. I gave them each a scavenger hunt-like list of things to find in the library (authors with our last name, a book with the word "chicken" in it, a place you'd like to visit). Houston and Katrina both found every single thing. Zane got about halfway before giving up, which honestly? Is more than i'd kind of expected. They all had fun, and i was super-proud of how really well-behaved they all were. I have a lot of groups of kids to compare them to now, and they were absolutely awesome.

Tonight we had a picnic with all of the relatives from my mom's side of the family that live in the general area. Or at least all of the relatives who could make it. The picnic was supposed to be yesterday, but we got rained out, so we moved it to today instead. And for most of the time, it was perfect. After we ate and had been sitting talking for a little while, it started to look and feel like it was going to rain. (Me: "It's going to rain." My dad: "No - i was looking at the radar, and it showed that there's no rain!" Me: "Um, i'm looking at the sky, and ... it's going to rain." 3 minutes later: Rain.)

So it started drizzling, and then it started raining in earnest, but only in spurts. My kids are the proverbial "not smart enough to come in out of the rain" type of kids, apparently, because as soon as it started raining, they all ran around getting soaked while the rest of us took shelter under the pavilion.

Some people left as soon as it started raining. Some of us stayed and talked with some of the relatives we just don't see very often. And i was reminded, as i am every time we get together with family, that i just really, really like my relatives.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Just a summer day

I've been giving the kids little challenges to do while i'm at work - things like, "Make brownies!" or "Find something that looks awesome under the microscope and draw me a picture of it!" or "Play a game that you've never played before!" And sometimes they do it, and sometimes they don't. Katrina's done all of them so far, i think, but the boys are a lot more apt to just ... not. Today, they got individual challenges, and Houston's was to make a cool animal out of Lego. So he made a cat. A pretty awesome cat, honestly.

Katrina wanted to have her friend Alex over today, but Alex doesn't wake up until after i'd be at work, so Katrina was all, "What if i ride my bike to her house and then we can ride back together!" Which would be fine on the way back, but it's a bit farther than i'd like her to go on her own yet. So instead, all three kids rode their bikes to get her and bring her back. Yay! Bike ride!

Houston's been begging me to teach him to play Tripoly, ever since last week when they were supposed to play a game they hadn't played in a long time, and they wanted to play Tripoly but couldn't figure out how to play it. But having at least 4 people is best, and Zane insisted that he didn't want to play because he didn't like it. (His dislike of the game is based on his last time playing it, back when he was about 4 years old.) So today, with Alex here, we had 4 people who were all willing to play! Yay! Zane watched us for about an hour and then was all, "Can i play?" Because it's a fun game!

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.

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. honestly okay with me.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Adventure Monday, the first

Mondays are my day off, so this summer we're switching from Adventure Thursdays to Adventure Mondays. Today was the first official day off for Katrina and Zane - the first day that they'd usually be going to school but aren't - AND it's a Monday, so it was the perfect day to start off the summer.

We started the day by going out to breakfast with my parents. Pancakes! Fun! The kids got all you can eat, and Zane finally declared himself full after his 8th pancake. That kid is a bottomless pit.

After breakfast, we stopped at the store and got a giant frisbee thing, and then went to my kids' favorite park. Usually i can know what color shirts my kids are wearing, and then i can easily find them simply by color. And usually a shirt that's bright green like Zane's was would be the easiest thing in the world to spot. But today, there were three giant groups of kids there, obviously from some daycare-type places, and one of the groups had shirts the exact color of Zane's shirt and another group was wearing blue shirts the exact color as Katrina's. So that strategy worked not at all today.

Anyhow. It's the kind of park that's all wooden and is sort of like a castle? Like, with lots of little places to hide and explore and climb on? So the kids ran around like crazy and got all hot and sweaty, and eventually Houston and Katrina got bored and wandered over to where i was. So then the three of us went to the giant field and tried to play frisbee and realized that we are all remarkably terrible at it. However! If you have a giant, soft frisbee and it's a somewhat windy day, and none of you particularly care if the frisbee is dropped more often than it's caught, then it's really fun even when you suck at it! Zane joined us for a little while, got bored, and went back to the playground. Katrina suggested trying to throw the frisbee from one end of the field to the other, to see who could get there first, so we did that, and she totally kicked our butts.

When we were finished playing and Zane still wasn't bored, Katrina and Houston got out their notebooks and started working on their magazines for a little while. (They both have magazines. Houston's is "The Egg," and Katrina's is "The Kat." They are completely ridiculous and carry silly stories that they make up. They're quite entertaining.)

And eventually, finally, Zane was ready to leave, so we all piled back into the car and went to another park, this time to feed the ducks. One of the first things Zane asked me on his very first day off was, "It's summer! Can we go feed the ducks?!" So now we have.

And that was all i could think of to do today, because i just wasn't feeling terribly creative. So we came home and everyone read and played and generally hung out.