1 Comment

Progress Report: Jared

As promised! Here’s Jared’s progress report from April!


“Jared is a sweet 3-year-old boy currently enrolled in the ODR. He scored well in all areas in his Ages and Stages Questionnaire, without any areas for concern.

Social-Emotional: Jared has a very sweet temperament, enjoying spending time with any of his peers who share his love for trains, cars, and other vehicles. Sometimes this can be difficult for him, if the game is in too ‘close quarters’ and he feels his space is being crowded, or he doesn’t have the room to maneuver and execute his elaborate car-displays. Because of their shared love for these kind of games, Jared spends most of his time playing in parallel alongside Charlie, but will happily play with all of his peers. He loves group time and enjoys opportunities to socialize with his peers (snack and lunch time).

Physical: Outside in the playground, Jared spends the majority of his time speeding around on the playground bikes, and really enjoys when elements of race-tracks or city roads (“Red Light! Green Light!”) are incorporated into this play. Inside, Jared shows a willingness to try new fine motor table-top activities but will often re-direct towards his favorite cars and trains after a short period. Jared loves singing and any songs that involve a gross motor component, such as jumping, mimicking, or making motions during group activity.

Language: Jared demonstrates excellent language skills to express himself within the classroom. At times when he is extremely frustrated (say, if a peer is persistently trying to take a toy and his words aren’t sufficient to get them to stop), he will vocalize in protest, but in those moments, his teachers offer him support and encourage him to persist with using his words to self-advocate. Jared has a fantastic sense of memory, and will often relate things that we’re discussing (either at group time or during other organic conversations that come up) to things he has experienced with his family, or earlier in the year. He speaks in clear, full sentences to get his point across, and really enjoys being a part of group conversations with his peers, as well as one-on-one with his caretakers. We love having Jared in the class and are excited to see how he progresses throughout the year!”

Leave a comment

Another Week

Hi. How are your respective summers going? Are they hot and humid without A/C, filled with social gatherings for preschoolers and too many stressful projects? If so, you’ve got company. Here are our goings-on this week.

Preschool has been going well, as usual, though the twins come home extra exhausted because they spend most of their days outdoors playing in the water and painting every available surface with chalk.

7.1.16 (1)

On Friday night their classroom hosted a pizza party to say goodbye to three outgoing students. Their teacher made goody bags with bubbles, chalk, and fruit snacks. Rebekah was tickled pink to spend an extra unsanctioned hour with her friends and had a total meltdown when it was time to leave. We made up for the tragedy with 10 minutes of bubble-blowing before bed.

Preschool also continues to be the source of pictures I didn’t have to take, which is my one of my very favorite features.

7.14.16 (1)7.14.16 (2)7.14.16 (6)

Saturday was a particularly long, hot day. It began by walking to Star Market with the twins in order to buy ingredients for the two meals we’re hosting today. I expected the trip to be more difficult, as usual, because I was bringing kids, but they ended up being completely helpful. They happily carried all of our items in their carts and loaded them onto the conveyor belt at the register. It was so adorable that I got a couple pictures for you. Although they’re dressed in church clothes, I want to reassure my readers that it we were not, in fact, shopping on the Sabbath. We were just out of clean clothes.

7.16.16 (1)

After the grocery store, we came home so I could address the laundry situation. The kids whined the whole time about playing their Kindles, so I eventually sent them outside to play with chalk. When you don’t have a nice suburban yard for your kids to play in, you make do with three square feet of asphalt.

7.17.16 (1)7.17.16 (2)7.17.16 (3)

After dealing with laundry, I spent Saturday morning inventorying all the items I’ve compiled for the East End House in the past few months. It involved moving thirty heavy boxes into my living room, opening them all, going through their contents, and then repackaging them in labeled boxes to make better use of space. Considering that we don’t have working A/C, it ended up being pretty hot work, but now the only thing left is to load the boxes into cars on Monday morning and deliver them. It turns out that collecting $4,000 worth of items for charity is a big job! The twins will be particularly pleased to have their bedroom back.

7.17.16 (4)

Saturday afternoon was slotted for a play date with Rebekah’s best friend from preschool, so I pushed the stroller through three miles of high-heat high-humidity Cambridge summer. I must have smelled really awful by the time we got there, but the hosting parents graciously said nothing about it. Rebekah was completely enamored with a lifestyle in which you have a whole box dedicated to dress-up clothes alone, and Jared thinks we should get a backyard with a hammock. Success.

We spent the evening in Harvard Square chowing down on a mix of Mediterranean food and Chipotle. I nursed two cans of Diet Coke that tasted phenomenal after such a long, hot day. Despite all its craziness, I’m still a really big fan of summer.

In other news, Rebekah is giving a talk in primary today on the temple. We’re still trying to teach her how to speak slowly, but if you can understand the following, we’re well on our way.

And so life carries on. I got an A on my French midterm, so that seems to be going well. Apparently it’s possible to read Derrida and Durkheim after only four weeks of study. In between my study schedule, I’ve even had time to start a new show with Mike: The Newsroom. It turns out that Aaron Sorkin’s idealism works best on the set of the oval office, but we’re enjoying his latest anyway. Our internet company finally convinced us to upgrade to a cable package (by offering it at the same price as our current service) so we can stream HBO online. It’s improving the quality of our television consumption, and since nothing helps beat the stress of crazy summers like mindless TV after the kids are in bed, I think we’re well set for a successful month and a half before the new semester.

 

Leave a comment

Farmhouse, NH

Last weekend we kicked off the third of three vacations we had planned for our crazy summer, thanks to the genius idea of a friend from church who thought “Wouldn’t it be fun to rent a lodge with friends for the Fourth?” (As an introvert, I cannot imagine ever having this thought, but I’m glad she did, because it was oodles of fun).

Our family was the first to arrive on Friday night at around 11:00 pm. We’d doubled our estimated drive time by leaving late, getting caught in traffic, stopping at McDonald’s for dinner (much needed–happy meal toys pepped our tired children right up), getting lost, and driving through a torrential rainstorm. The only way we managed to get there safely was catching some lucky reception that let me call my brother so he could get me directions on Google Maps, and then the free wi-fi we stumbled across outside of the library in the tiniest town I have ever seen: Bath, NH. (We also got lost on the way home, for what it’s worth, but that was actually a bonus because we stopped at a roadside stand in Vermont and bought a gallon of maple syrup.)

We spent Saturday getting acquainted with all our favorite features of the lodge. For Mike and all the other guys in the group, it was the bumper pool table just off the kitchen. They started the weekend looking up the rules on Wikipedia and ended with an complete ranking bracket.  My favorite feature wasn’t discovered until Sunday, but my life was forever changed when Tory introduced me to Diet Coke Italian Sodas: diet coke, lemon, lime, and a couple tablespoons of cream. Heaven! For the kids, of course, the best part was the swimming pond out back and the endless supply of adults willing to shuttle them around.

6.2.16 (1)

The only obnoxious feature of the weekend was a farm dog named Hazlenut who followed us everywhere, begged for our food, and had Jared on edge all day. We eventually taught him to stand his ground and growl at her, rather than shrieking and clinging to the nearest adult. I may have just taught my child to turn fear into anger, which I’m pretty sure leads directly to the Dark Side, but it made for a more enjoyable trip.

On Sunday we attended a super tiny church we’d passed on the way in. I am being 100% accurate when I tell you that there were only twenty people in attendance, and all of them were over 60. The town matriarch came over to welcome us at one point–(we know she’s the town matriarch, by the way, because she gave the mission moment and sang the loudest in the choir of three people)–and said “It’s so nice to see a whole row of kids!” It wasn’t until after she left that we realized she was referring to us as much as to Jared and Rebekah.

I spent Sunday afternoon exploring the farm with the group while the twins napped. We visited the giant boar, the newly-hatched chicks, and the baby goats.

Jared, Rebekah, and Ari were thick as thieves all weekend. They shared a bed in the linen closet, threw rocks into the pond, snuck contraband cookies, and played a lot of electronics. (Sorry about the blurry bath pictures. The second one is particularly bad, but I’ve included it because I’m pretty sure it shows us what Jared will look like when he’s twenty.)

6.2.16 (3)

6.2.16 (4)

No summer getaway would be complete without s’mores around a fire, of course. Jared and Rebekah eagerly helped us carry wood outside, where we stayed up late hatching plans (viz. a Ragnar relay at the end of August, maybe?! Not sure I’m really qualified to run a Ragnar, but I might just try…)

6.2.16 (2)

We survived tick-free, came away extra grateful for our Cambridge friends, and have already agreed to return next year. Rebekah is fine with that plan–she loved “the lakehouse-farmhouse.” Jared is still worried about Hazlenut. As for me? If the academy doesn’t work out, I’m planning on buying a farm in New Hampshire.

1 Comment

Progress Report: Rebekah

Yesterday Rebekah came home from preschool with a progress report, which I instantly knew that I would want to read over again ten years from now. This blog post is my only hope of successfully saving the thing and has the added benefit of currying favor with the grandmothers upon whom we depend for the twins’ upcoming birthday gifts. For the rest of you: sorry, feel free to skip this one.



4/12/16

“Rebekah is a sweet 3-year-old girl currently enrolled in the [redacted] classroom. She scored well in all areas in her Ages and Stages Questionnaire, without any areas for concern.

Social-emotional: Rebekah is very social and despite being one of the newer members of the class, has worked herself well into the social fabric of the classroom! Although she will play with all of her peers, she particularly loves spending time with classmates J, L, A. Although she was initially reluctant to initiate games (instead preferring to join pre-existing games that had already been established by her friends), lately, she has demonstrated more of a desire to orchestrate the proceedings and define her role in these dramatic play scenarios. At times when things don’t necessarily go her way or she’s having a hard time waiting for her turn (during group time, for example), Rebekah can initially get frustrated and pouty, reflexively drawing her thumb to her mouth to self-soothe. In those moments, we usually remind her that the best course of action would be to verbalize what’s upsetting her, and encourage her to use her words in order to problem solve.

Physical: Rebekah is really fearless when it comes to gross motor activities, and especially loves jumping (especially from “heights,” like the rock walls surrounding the school). She also demonstrates a real adeptness with certain fine motor activities, such as using scissors (with the appropriate grasp) to maneuver around tricky corners (she absolutely loves any activity that involves having the opportunity to cut!). Lately, Rebekah has been creating elaborate drawings in the classroom (that she will meticulously work on until she feels her “vision” has been realized!) that have taken on an impressive photo-realistic quality (verging from “representative shapes” into clearly defined forms and figures).

Language: Rebekah demonstrates excellent language skills to express herself within the classroom. For example, she uses her ability to speak clearly and in full sentences to draw connections between stories read aloud during group-time to her home life. She is able to tell stories about things that occur outside of school, and takes full advantage of meal times to speak with her peers (comparing lunch items, discussing their weekends or future plans, things that happen to be on her mind, etc.) We love having Rebekah in the class and are excited to see how she progresses throughout the year!”



We’ve been told to expect Jared’s progress report sometime in the future. Hopefully it will include similar laugh-out-loud lines, like calling a toddler’s art skills “photo-realistic!” I took hardly any art history in college, but I’m still fairly certain that term doesn’t mean what they think it means. I’m torn between annoyance on behalf of 1960s American painting and preening on behalf of my clearly prodigious daughter.

1 Comment

Derek + Josie

Another one bites the dust! Derek and Josie made their way into matrimonial bliss last weekend, and Mike and I packed up the crew and flew all the way across the country to witness it. Thanks to the new travel reward card we got last year in order to finance the trip and my mom’s unfathomable willingness for extended babysitting, we were there for the sealing, open house, reception, and even got to spend Monday evening hanging out with the newlyweds at their apartment.

Of course, anyone who has ever been involved in a wedding knows that they come with a big dollop of stress. We made sure to add our own stresses by traveling with a family of four. I started out the journey with a mad scramble to get ahead on my coursework, packing and transporting my family to the airport, and a car accident. Then we launched ourselves straight into the physical stresses of travel (jet lag + airport food) and the full-throttled craziness of all weddings everywhere. It would be impolitic to list everything, but we definitely made batches of emergency wedding brownies, procured signage for the Oregon open house, ate contaminated rice, and socially navigated our way to complete exhaustion by the end of the weekend. In the end, Derek and Josie were successfully hitched and (hopefully) enjoying their Plan B Honeymoon in Leavensworth.

6.15.16 (1)

The car damage. Entirely my fault, and entirely in a rental car, and entirely ruining my day. I pulled into a parking lot while the other car drove off (it was a large commercial moving van and was completely fine, so I guess that’s a blessing), called the company and found out I was liable for the damage, cried for a little bit , and then drove back home so I could attend my French class an hour late.

6.17.16 (2)

Emergency wedding brownies, brought to you by my husband and my mother

In between all the madness, though, there was a bunch of time spent with family, and we loved every second of it. The twins in particular have warmed up to Washington as the place where they can have pretend snowball fights at 6:00 am and eat popsicles on demand.

6.17.16 (1)

Even though the wedding was the central event of the trip, I have exactly zero pictures from it and instead have exactly three other photos to share with you, the best of which wasn’t even taken by me.

1.) This rainbow Mike and I saw as we drove from Portland to the Dalles after the sealing. It was rainy and dreary all day long, right up until we came out from the temple for photos, and then it was an unbelievably gorgeous, spectacular day. It was a fun opportunity to muse on covenants right after attending an ordinance.

2.) Mike, sleeping on a pool chair at his dad’s apartment complex, while Cliff and Naomi swam with our kids. I played video games on my phone for a solid hour. And then we woke up Mike and grilled fish. It was the most relaxing part of the trip, I think.

6.20.16 (1)

3.) The first time I’ve seen Brett in person since before his mission! And Jeff.

6.18.16 (1)

It was a weekend of chess, Father’s Day (I gave Mike the Breaking Bad shirt pictured above, and my own father was the thrilled recipient of a teddy bear from the Harvard gift shop), substitute teaching the sunbeams, and Flat Earth conspiracy theories. Nothing is ever as crazy and as crazy fun as visiting family.

All good things come to an end, however, and eventually Tuesday morning saw us bright and early at the airport for three flights and twelve hours of travel. The kids did as well as could be expected and were only obnoxious and embarrassing about 45% of the time. We got home at 7:30 pm our time, ate dinner, and crashed. The kids were out immediately. Mike and I figured we’d turn off our alarms for the next morning and just wake up whenever our bodies decided it was time. We ended up sleeping in far later than we’d expected and spent Wednesday morning madly breakfasting, bathing, packing lunches, and hurling the kids out the door to preschool in a whirlwind 40 minutes. The whole time, Jared whined about how “I don’t like preschool; I like Washington” and Rebekah demanded licorice for breakfast. They spoil so easily, don’t they? Here’s looking at you, grandparents. I can’t wait until the next time we get to visit the Tri-Cities and you can spoil them all over again.

Leave a comment

Scooper Bowl

Despite some cooler weather this week, we’ve continued to eat as if ’twere the advent of summer. Our farm share had its first pick-up on Wednesday such that we are now drowning in a sea of lettuces, we went to an all-you-can eat ice cream festival on Thursday, and then spent Friday evening visiting with friends at a BBQ. I’ve only got pictures of the middle event, however, because it evoked the most glee from the kids.

Mike went during the day with his office and killed off 5 cups of ice cream…

6.9.16 (1)

… and then he went with us after dinner, where between the four of us we killed off another 16 cups. Mike was appalled at our low tolerance for sugar. He had hoped we could pull off an additional 8 cups, at least. The kids were thrilled with just about every flavor, but especially enjoyed the rainbow-dyed sherbet. “It tastes like fruit snacks!”

6.9.16 (2)6.9.16 (3)6.9.16 (4)

I think I’ve nailed down which PhD programs I’ll be applying to. Now I have to start the process of actually applying to them, which will be much more difficult. I’m also still heading up our community service effort to buy a bunch of supplies and appliances for the East End House. One of our ward members donated two thousand dollars (!!!) which gave me the boost I needed to keep going with the project. Now it’s a matter of identifying what’s within our budget and calling appliance companies to see if they’d give us a discount since it’s for charity. And I’m still helping to organize the 2017 meeting of MSH here in Boston, which will involve a couple more meetings this summer. And our Relief Society just got a new president, so there’s been an uptick in my church meetings as we help get her situated. My intensive French class begins tomorrow. Hopefully it’s not too intensive for the rest of my life.

Mike spends all his time at work these days, with occasional jaunts to the temple for the sake of youth temple trips at which he may or may not deliver beautiful devotionals about D&C 128.

This kids are still thriving at preschool where I’m sure they’re the favorites of all the teachers (Right? Right. Surely. How could they not be?). They’re as excited about our upcoming trip to Washington as are the grandmas. We’ve been helping the twins while away the time with fun things like popsicles and playgrounds, so it seems only fair that we help you grandmas survive, as well. How about some more miscellaneous media?

Here’s a picture of Jared from earlier this Spring when their preschool class went to “the tree park.”

6.1.16 (3)

Last Saturday we went to a primary activity at the temple. Here’s our family picture (sans Mike). It was rather bright, as you can tell!

6.4.16 (1)

And here is what might be my favorite component of the twins’ insect unit at preschool: The Insect Song. I had no idea this song even existed until one of them spontaneously asked me if I’d like to hear the insect song. When I agreed, expecting atonal nonsense syllables, imagine my surprise when they both burst into this masterpiece:

See you all soon!

1 Comment

Butterfly Costumes

It’s been back to normal, boring life for us this week. We used Memorial Day to recuperate from vacation, mostly by eating all the leftovers Cliff and Naomi left behind (french toast with berries and whipped cream!). On Tuesday I made a special trip to Target to finally update my workout wardrobe, since it turns out that running in Boston humidity in several layers of cotton is just a bad idea. My first newly-outfitted run took place on Friday morning, and it made a world of difference! I’m still researching PhD programs and trying to figure out what life in New York or Chicago would look like. And I had a lovely phone conversation with my Dad yesterday for his birthday–that might need to become a more regular occurrence! Mike, of course, has been working long, long hours, six days a week. He’s putting in overtime at the office and writing a review course for a major civil engineering exam prep company.

The preschool has been pretty active this week. They planted their vegetable garden and sent the twins home with the bug costumes they completed last week. I’m pretty darn impressed with the size and quality of these butterfly wings! If I were three years old, I would be ecstatic about this. Which, of course, Rebekah is.

5.31.16 (2)5.31.16 (4)

We’ve been promised that Jared also has wings forthcoming, but in the meantime he’s happy wearing Rebekah’s antenna headband.

6.2.16 (3)

Speaking of wearing Rebekah’s stuff, not five minutes ago I overheard Rebekah dressing Jared in her old dress. “Look, mom! Now we are both so pretty!”

6.5.16 (1)

And when I said that life was “boring” this week, I should have specified: it was definitely not boring for the kids. There was one event, in particular, that had them over-the-top manically excited for several days. It was the making and consumption of homemade chocolate popsicles. Oh my word the excitement! They were definitely worth being excited over, though. Quite yummy!

In case you, too, have your own batch of preschoolers, here’s the recipe: 2 cups coconut milk, 3 Tb cocoa, a couple Tb of honey, and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Next time I’ll add 1/2 cup water to stretch the mixture some. It ended up being really rich and only making about 5 small popsicles. When you get to the consumption stage, be sure to smear as much chocolate on your teeth as possible.

6.3.16 (1)6.3.16 (3)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.