Christopher left for Australia on Friday, en route to Sydney via SLC and LAX. He had only made it to Salt Lake when Ben started throwing up. He threw up three times around 7, 8, and 9 p.m. before thankfully calming down. He didn’t eat much Saturday and took a good nap, but since he didn’t throw up again I hoped he was over the worst. I also hoped it was something he ate and not a virus.
Allison’s flight was supposed to arrive at 12:30 Saturday, but she had a crazy day and ended up arriving after 3. It worked out perfectly for me because the little boys got their naps. We picked her up and headed straight to IKEA. The first thing we did was eat dinner. She was three hours ahead and feeding the kids before shopping seemed like the logical thing to do. It was also an “eat free” day at IKEA, where your meal receipt is deducted from your furniture purchase, so we loaded up on Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. Even Logan ate his kids’ meal like a big boy.
We stuck Gavin and Ben in Smaland and started shopping. I wanted to buy an Expedit bookcase and a lot of small stuff. After about 25 minutes the pager started buzzing. Ben wanted out. I put him in a buggy, and he used a stuffed soccer ball as a pillow and lay his head down. Not a good sign. We quickly maneuvered through the store and got to the checkout just as the buzzer went off to signal 60 minutes and time to pick up Gavin. We managed to fit everything in the car (barely!) and headed home. Baths and bed.
Sunday I took Megan and Gavin to church and left the little boys at home. Ben was still acting sick and Logan is too much trouble. Sacrament meeting was wonderful. Two young men from our ward were leaving on missions (Tahiti and West Indies) and they gave fantastic talks. They also apparently both come from musical families, and sang a beautiful song a capella. I remember one of the young men said the reason he was going on a mission was to, “Serve, study, teach, and change.” My perspective of a Mormon mission has changed quite a bit. I now realize the time is just as important for the young man or woman (or older person or couple) as it is for the people they are teaching. My brother didn’t baptize a single person on his mission in Germany and Austria. But his mission was still a success. While teaching English to refugees, studying the scriptures in German, and learning to love and serve a different culture, he became a better person. Not serving a mission is probably the only thing I regret about getting married so young. While nothing is stopping me from studying a language or the scriptures several hours a day, or proselytizing or performing more service around my community, it would be a cool experience to do so with no other distractions. Still, I enjoy telling people about my church and setting an example of how I think a follower of Christ should treat others. Hopefully I’m doing okay at it.
Megan, Gavin, and I went home after Sacrament Meeting and Ben was already running a fever. We spent the rest of the day trying to rest and relax, and made a yummy baked mac & cheese with veggies for dinner.
Monday was another chill day. Ben was still sick and no school for the big kids. Megan had an all-day birthday party (it was technically a slumber party from 4 p.m. Sunday to 4 p.m. Monday, but I just dropped her off Monday morning). When I dropped her off, I was tickled to see it was her and five Asian girls. I love that she has seemed to settle into the Asian crowd. After Allison and I got the little boys down for naps, I left to go mattress shopping. When Christopher and I moved into the 1930s Arlington house in 2009, our king mattress wouldn’t fit through the door. We traded it in for two twins, then topped it with a memory foam. Unfortunately, the topper was bigger than the twin mattresses, and it was constantly inching off the bed. When I woke up Monday morning, I thought, “This is ridiculous.” Christopher and I had been talking about buying a new mattress for a while, and I emailed Christopher and said, “I’m going to buy a mattress.”
I think I did well. I went to four stores, and while I really wanted the Restonic my mom and Aunt Olivia have, I found a Westin Heavenly Bed (Simmons Beautyrest) for $1000 less than the Restonic. I liked the sales guy, and there was free next-day delivery, box springs, and no sales tax. The reason it was so inexpensive was it was a last season/overstock/blemish from Macy’s. When they delivered it, I noticed it was scuffed in the corners, like it had been moved around, but other than that, it was perfect. And very, very comfortable.
After I bought the mattress, I ran home, grabbed Megan, took her to swimming, and came home to start dinner. It was sunny (!) and Allison took Logan for a walk while I made kale, sausage, and potato soup. Yum.
Tuesday I decided to keep Ben home from school, since his fever broke Monday afternoon. Fortunately, by Wednesday he was back to normal, and we dropped him and Logan at the Plewe’s for playgroup. Allison and I went shopping for bedding at Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond. When we headed to Ross, we discovered the Trader Joe’s next door was having its grand opening! So, of course, we had to stop by. Allison also bought a pumpkin steamer from Starbucks. Which Logan finished off when we picked them up.
Wednesday we also got the carpets cleaned. I had arranged for Mike to come over at 9 a.m. so we would be out of the house. He called me, “Um, I’m here, where are you?” “I’m here, where are you?” Yeah, he was at our house in Maple Valley. I had forgotten to change our address back since he cleaned the carpets of our rental home in July. Epic fail. He eventually was able to squeeze us in around 3 p.m., but by that time we had all the kids again. Gavin laid on his bed playing DS and I kept Ben out while I shuttled Megan to Activity Days and swimming. We got a pizza for dinner.
Thursday Ben was back in school. I dropped him off and got to witness his adorable-ness among his classmates. Before I left, his teacher grabbed a CD and said, “Let’s dance to Animal Action. Hmmm, what number is Animal Action again?” Most of the kids ignored, or didn’t understand the question. One boy said, “Four?” Ben replied, “No, Troy, Animal Action is number 10.” The teacher, looking at the CD case, said, “You’re right, Ben, it’s 10.”
Similarly, Thursday Gavin came home from school with The Mark of Athena, a book he and Megan have been dying to read. There are tons of holds at the public and school library, but for some reason, Gavin found it at the school library. When he tried to check it out, the librarian said, “Do you know that’s the third book in a series?”
Gavin said, “Yes.”
She said, “Have you read the first two books?”
“What are they?” (I was a little annoyed she would challenge him like this, but maybe she did because so many other kids wanted the book and she wanted to make sure he would actually read it.)
“The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.”
Gavin said when he said this she was “a little surprised, and well, impressed.”
If there is anything I do well, it is instilling a love of reading in my kids. That’s something, I guess.
Now that I’ve bragged about how smart my kids are, time to make you feel better about yourselves. Thursday afternoon Gavin left his shoes in the backyard. I asked him repeatedly to get them, and finally, after the sun had set, I insisted. Total meltdown. It’s dark, it’s wet! We gave him a flashlight and rain boots. One of my shoes is under the slide and I don’t want to stick my hand under there in the dark! There might be spiders. Too bad! Waaaaaah! You stay out there until you get that shoe! I’m going to the neighbor’s house to call the police on you for leaving me back here! Go ahead! Waaaaaah! Thirty minutes later, I’m walking back there with him to get his shoe.
Now go straight to bed. Waaaaah! You are tired, go to bed. Why don’t you love me? I love you enough to make you go to bed when you are tired. I want to read my book. No, go straight to bed. Waaaaaaah!
We even Skyped Christopher during this meltdown, and Gavin behaved just until we hung up. He ended up asleep in my bed, hours after the shoe incident.
Fortunately, Allison and I planned a fun outing for Friday. Lindsey Stirling, rock violinist (?) was playing in Seattle. Tickets were sold out but Lindsey knew Allison in Provo and she got on the VIP list! Emilie came to babysit and we grabbed a quick dinner, then headed to The Vera Project at the Seattle Center. It was a cool venue, the crowd was eclectic, and the bands were fun. The Vibrant Sound, two guys from Provo, and Von Grey, four sisters from Atlanta were the warm-up acts. I always love live music, and being there with Allison was a lot of fun. The crowd was so nerdy, too. She does arrangements of movies like Lord of the Rings and video games like Zelda and Skyrim. My favorite was her encore, a Phantom of the Opera arrangement. We stuck around after the show so Allison could stay hi to Lindsey, but there were tons of pubescent boys waiting for her to sign their violins, so we headed out so we wouldn’t look like groupies. I was a band geek in high school, and apparently Lindsey Stirling is the hero of orchestra nerds.
Saturday, Allison’s last day, I let her sleep in, and then she let me take a nap. The little boys have been waking up at 6 or earlier and it’s been brutal. In the afternoon, she took Megan Christmas shopping. Megan loves to buy gifts for others. After dinner, I took Gavin out for frozen yogurt. The kid definitely needs some more one-on-one time. Trying to balance giving him lots of love with firm discipline is tough.
Saturday before we put the kids to bed, we took some of the only pictures I took with my camera all week. We’ll have to get some better ones at Christmas. Sunday morning we left at 5 to take Allison to the airport. Janae came over and crashed on my couch so I wouldn’t have to load up the kids. Sadly, when I got home at 6:15 both little boys were wide awake. I might have been tempted to skip church, but I had volunteered to play the flute with the choir, so we got ready and arrived at church around 8:40 so I could run through one time with the choir. (Technically, I had volunteered to play the flute on Nov. 11, when Allison was in town, but the choir number was pushed to Nov. 18, when Allison was gone and Christopher was still flying home. My friends assured me they’d help with the kids, no worries!) Megan and Gavin took Logan to the gym and Ben sat nicely with his nursery teacher, Sister Holly. He just loves her.
The meeting started and by the time the opening prayer was over Logan was yelling and wiggling and Ben had dropped to the ground and army-crawled under the pews to get back to Holly, who was four rows behind us. I took them both to the foyer. After the sacrament was passed, we went into the nursery, but I realized there was no intercom in there, and I needed to know what was going on in the meeting. We walked down to the primary room and hung out in there. Logan cruised along all the chairs and Ben explored every nook and cranny to see what he could find. I knew the choir was performing after Tim Matthews’ talk. He was also conducting the meeting. I heard him start speaking, “Slight change. The choir will perform before I speak.”
So I grabbed the boys and hustled back to the chapel. On the way, Brett Muhlestein came out (Janae’s husband) and took Logan and Ben. I walked up to the stage with the choir. As we were about to begin, Ben ran in from the other side of the chapel and up on the stage where I was, in the back corner. My friend Laura, who was singing, offered to take him out but I just had him sit down. Gross miscalculation. After my initial flute part there was a vocal solo by Pepper Devine, who is Megan’s age. Unfortunately, it was during this part, 30 seconds into the performance, that Ben started acting up. Laura and I exchanged a glance and she picked him up and exited a side door. Unfortunately Pepper was standing in front of the side door, so she had to carry Ben in front of Pepper.
I texted Pepper’s mom that afternoon and said, “Tell Pepper she sounded beautiful. I’m sorry Ben disrupted her solo.” She texted back, “We didn’t even notice!” I love when people lie to make me feel better! At any rate, this story illustrates what is good and bad about the organization of a Mormon ward. When everyone is encouraged to participate, when there’s no paid clergy and no paid nursery workers, when kids are part of the service, what do you expect? I will say I felt almost no embarrassment yesterday. Perhaps I should have. Perhaps I should be wrangling Ben better. I’m sure there were more than a few people embarrassed for me. However, the only comments I heard were how beautiful my flute playing was, and one from Holly about Ben, “Well, he is certainly memorable!”
Yes, yes he is.
Christopher got home Sunday around 7 p.m. and the big kids stayed up until 9, thrilled to spend time with Daddy. Happy it’s a short work week so we can enjoy some family time this Thanksgiving.