Sunday, April 22, 2018

drawing some monkeys

It was too cold. Too cold for Aderyn to have her first soccer practice of the season. We go to this particular league because they don't do Sunday games, but they only do the league in the spring time. And it always seems that the spring gets started too late and has many rained out days. If we were practicing and playing in the fall there would be less difficulty with starting the season. I wouldn't feel like we were paying money to the league and not getting to have her play for that money. But it was under 40 degrees on Monday so they cancelled practice. We were supposed to make it up on Saturday, but they cancelled that as well. Let's hope they don't cancel this coming Monday's practice. [there is a threat of rain...I've warned Aderyn already...but hopefully it will hold off till after practice! -r]

Torben and Rebecca got to tag along with Paela's school field trip to the Indy race track on Tuesday. Torben was very excited to see all the race cars, but kept asking why none of them were moving. I guess they don't just race cars around the track all day long and you have to visit the museum. Torben and Paela talked all week long about the tour buses that crossed the finish line -- even if they weren't racing. [it's the track they race the Indy 500 on. Who knew? -r]

Other than our usual weekly evening activities, we spent the evening playing games at our friend's house. The Clifford's have a couple of children the same age as our kids. The kids were supposed to run around and jump on the trampoline, but they all wanted to join in playing Betrayal with us, so it turned into a long game.

And yesterday I spent most of the day at the Zoo. I was invited to do a plein air painting along with 14 other artists at the Zoo for charity. So I went and did a bunch of sketches of baboons and orangutans and cheetahs and lions. Eventually I settled on doing one watercolor of an orangutan and one of a cheetah. I'm not too thrilled by the experience and I'm not sure I would repeat it in a year. Plein air just isn't really my thing -- I understand how the challenge could make me a better observationist, but the experience just wasn't comfortable or streamlined.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

teach me to...

We were back in the swing of things pretty quickly. Both girls said Monday that it felt like they had been back to school for ages! So things felt pretty normal for them, I guess.

The weather has been weird, but it sounds like it's been weird everywhere. Snow in April, lots of rain, one day of hail, a few precious days reached 70 and a few horrid days were freezing. The kids took full advantage of the warmer days to play outside.

Aderyn had some art at a show, so the girls and Wayne went to see on the way to activity days Thursday. The girls had fun at the activity night, of course. Paela went to a friend's birthday party Saturday and made lots of crafts. Aderyn got to meet her soccer coach and see a few of the kids that will be on her team. Practice is supposed to start tomorrow, but, well, snow. We'll see. And Torben has one more speech therapy session Friday.

I had a Relief Society activity yesterday, and came home with a craft and a tomato plant. And had a chance to visit with some ladies. Then I spent the rest of the day working on my lesson, since I was subbing in Relief Society today. I'd spent some time earlier in the week, but time flies so I still had much to do. Also, I was anxious about it, so it is better to be over prepared. I think it went alright today; I'm mostly just glad to be done! Now I can go back to hanging out behind the piano. Yay. Works has been normal -- fixing bugs and implementing new features.

Wayne had some meetings with a program review guy. It made for some long days, but there was some good feedback so he didn't begrudge the time spent. And he fixed a light, repaired a couple of toilets and painted some patches on our ceiling. He also won an award at an art show in Maryland, so that's fun.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

last of spring break

It was the last week of the children's spring break. They filled it with as many playdates as they could. The one day that they didn't have friends over they ran about telling Rebecca how bored they were. [well, mostly just Aderyn...]

We also did another monthly Lego mini build. I think it was the first time Torben saw another kid there his age. Unlike the previous few months he has done a Lego mini build in lightning speed, this week he kept staring at the other kids to see what step they were on. He took his sweet time building his Lego frog.

Work has been going fine. It is hard to believe I'm in the last month of classes since it still feels like we have a long way to go. Not to mention that summer term is racing upon me and I have classes to teach.

The kids and Rebecca took another trip to the zoo in the cold weather. It was much more uneventful this time [which is a good thing! We saw penguins and butterflies, which we had missed, but it was too cold for the eagle and most of the plains animals. -r]. I think I'm finally moved into my new studio in downtown Kokomo. It is amazing what taller ceilings do for a room. I did not upgrade the square foot measurements, but because the walls are ~11 feet tall the room feels much bigger.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


This week was the start of spring break for the kids! In which we had oodles of play dates. The kids had wrote a list of friends they hoped to play with and we invited and invited out our ears until there was someone to play with most days during the week. In fact, by Thursday Aderyn finally had a day without a friend coming, and she said it was boring! So Friday she went to a friend's house. I'm glad they have enjoyed having friends to play with, but eesh the planning and coordinating is not my favorite thing. At least they all play nicely so it's worth it. We have less lined up this week, so maybe I need to write some texts...

We also did some sponge painting, had story time, and Paela made a terrarium and learned more about ozobots at the library. We heart the library! And we checked out books up to our limit. Aderyn and Torben have already read all their books, so apparently 60 books for our family in one week is not enough? Or they both just need longer books. :)

There was lots of rain, so Paela vetoed the idea to visit the zoo until Saturday morning dawned bright and clear. We all had fun visiting the zoo again! The kids kept the map and circled all the things they want to go back to see, so hopefully the weather is kinder this week so we can return. I think they circled almost the entire map between them all. They had fun finding hidden easter egg signs all over the zoo, and seeing the dolphins and orangutans and cheetahs. Although funny story. We were visiting the lions and the zookeepers were doing a little talk/training. As I studied the map to optimize what we still had time to see, I noticed in my peripheral vision some water squirting and that everyone around Torben (including his sisters) had backed away from where he stood. But then I realized it wasn't water and quickly pulled him back too! Silly lion was spraying her territory. Poor Torben. Luckily he was wearing the hood up on his coat, so we just washed the coat when we got home. [Shame on all of us for not helping poor Torben]

Wayne learned that he gets to be one of the artists at the zoo's "paint out" event in a few weekends, so he scouted out more about where he might like to draw/paint. Fun times!

Last Sunday evening we enjoyed a stake choir concert for Easter, and this weekend it's been lots of conference. We went to the Church for the "morning" session today, and are working on our easter dinner now.

And this week is more of the same. Go spring break part two!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

start of spring break

Well, what did we do?

Paela went to a birthday party for a friend from school. They went to Sky Zone, which is one of those warehouses full of large trampolines. Paela bounced and bounced for a few hours and still didn't wear herself out enough to fall asleep at a decent hour. She thinks we should go to Sky Zone for Torben's birthday party when he turns 5.

Speaking of parties, the girls decided that for the start of their Spring break they would each invite a friend over after school on Friday. They called it a 'puppy party' and did games and crafts about puppies. I'm not sure where they got this idea, but it made for an afternoon full of activities and Torben liked to follow them around.

Aderyn did her soccer evaluation this week. We tried to get over to the soccer field before the weather turned cold again, but as we were waiting in line to do each activity the wind picked up and made it horribly cold Monday evening. Thankfully, Aderyn decided to wear her coat and only her hands were cold. We managed to get all those tests done and it only took us about an hour.

That is about it for us this week. The kids are on Spring break and I am not so we don't get to travel like some other people. But I think they have planned to do other things locally.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


The last two weeks can be summarized in two words: viruses and Illinois.

We were gone last weekend to Illinois for Camilla and Victor's daughter Vera's baby blessing. It was fun to see them! And their apartment! And to swim! And our kids love staying in hotels, even if it is just one night! It was so nice to be able to join them for this.

And then we came home and it was Wayne's spring break and three fifths of us got a stomach bug. Eesh. At least we never got organized enough to invite anyone for pi(e) day like I thought about doing? Because there was not one day last week that we were all well enough to have company. We did make a chocolate chip cookie dough pie just for us, and pizza pie. And Paela shared some facts about pi with us.

Torben missed three days of school, and Aderyn missed two. Actually, Aderyn missed a field trip, which was how I knew for sure she was sick despite no temperature and no symptoms. Usually I have to send kids to school until they show symptoms because both girls carry their worry in their tummies. But this time I kept her home, which is good because half an hour later....

Wayne was having a pretty good spring break -- he got to visit art in Indy and Chicago, and got started on a new algorithm, and went to draw at the zoo as well. And then he caught the bug too. Ugh. But he got to see his art in an actual exhibit in Chicago! Usually we just send it off and hunt the internet for pictures of proof that his art was put up. But this was close enough to go see. And the zoo had some fun stories too. He drew the bears, who were playing together, but when they saw Wayne drawing them, they both hid! One hid behind a small tree, and would peek out to see if Wayne was still there. As if he wasn't mostly still visible. Hehe. And then the orangutan. He decided he wanted to see Wayne's drawing and would bang on the glass to get Wayne to show him. If he didn't like the drawing (of other orangutans) he would look away, but when it was a drawing of himself he would keep banging to get another look!

I also had a couple of committee meetings mixed in there, and there was a lego mini build and some babysitting. But otherwise things were fairly normal. Paela enjoyed playing piano at activity days, and is loving being able to share that talent with others. Torben is making up games like "super slide" and "awesome" ("Awesome" is a co-creation with Aderyn). And Aderyn says she may have too many friends at school, because she is basically friends with all the girls. So there.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

busy saturday

Here's what I did yesterday.

We woke up early and rushed to get all our house cleaning done before 10AM. The girls went to an activity where they baked sacrament bread (more on that later) and some cinnamon rolls. Torben's friend Curtis came over to get away from all the girls converging on his house to make these baked goods and the two of them played dress up, nerf, and etc. I did a 2 hour long shopping trip. First to Home Depot for a bunch of materials to do projects around the house. Second to Meijer and third to Aldi. At Home Depot, I had them cut some particle boards for repairing our attic. Luckily I didn't need these to be visually or spatially cut correctly because the kid just butchered them. I can't believe they authorized this guy to use their board saw because he was literally hacking at it with the blade. It was a humorous sight to see and I was so thankful that no one would ever see these cuts.

Back at home, I started with the easy jobs. I have replaced two of the three toilet fill valves because the old ones were leaking a huge mess, making noise and generally being awful. Unfortunately, even with the water main off it made a huge mess and some black ink stuff got everywhere. But it looks like that is under repair.

I painted parts of our ceiling in the living room a flat white (instead of the bad glossy white patch job I did before). It is very difficult to make sure you have painted everywhere when the paint you are covering up is glossy -- it looks the same as the wet paint. After things dried we learned two things: 1) I probably only got like 30% of coverage and 2) the ceiling white paint is so old and yellowed that actually white paint looks blue and discolored on top of it.

Next, Paela and I climbed up into the ceiling to patch up the dozen holes in the side boards. We are still confused as to where these holes came from. They are impacted holes, not chewed and since we have no close leaning tree cover it would take a super flying squirrel to bash these holes in. Our best guess is that some amateur replaced the siding at some point and kept leaning their extension ladder and punching through the hardboard shell. Another clue is that many of the holes have a matching 'pair' hole about the distance of a ladder. Needless to say, it was a very crappy thing to do and to not fix it, leaving the attic open to any visitor who wants to get under the siding. I went up with Paela and tried to cover them up with particle boards. Paela learned that she doesn't like being left alone in the attic with a flashlight, but doesn't mind so much being left up there if she is right next to the entryway to the 2nd floor.

After the attic I did some chores outside the house including doing weed and feed. I'm still amazed that I am doing this at the beginning of March. I mean, c'mon. This is going to be a real long lawn mowing season.

Torben ended up having two playdates on Saturday. Aderyn went over to a friend's house on Friday. Paela did her reading night until almost 10PM on Friday with Rebecca. Paela and I did some more ozobot coding activities at the library on Tuesday night and we generally stayed busy.

I woke up this morning without a voice. The cold I have had this week has been steadily getting worse. The sore throat and nasal congestion finally got stronger than me and took me out. However, Rebecca pointed out that if I were to stay in bed I wouldn't feel better than if I got up and went to church anyway. And she was right. I don't know that my Gospel Doctrine lesson was coherent, but at least I tried.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

yes my gatekeeper

Again, there are too many things to fit in a week. Decisions, every single day.

I was asked to help organize a Walk a Mile in a Refugee's Shoes event at our local Church building come May. So there was a meeting to find out what they need me to do. Apparently I just need to set up an eventbrite link, so that's easy. And then Wayne was asked to help with printing things, so he had a meeting this week for that as well.

Paela had regional science fair Saturday, so she and I spent the day on Marion University campus for that. She talked to five judges, and was very brave. It is nice to share your passions with people. She also had coding club twice this week too, but coding club is a short thing so just one more meeting for that. And then Friday Paela dressed up like Neil Armstrong for the "live wax museum" at school, where she presented a speech about him and a poster she had made. Wayne attended that since it was on a day he didn't have to teach, and it overlapped Torben's speech appointment. She was glad to have him there and worked hard to memorize her speech. She spent the week making a paper mache helmet, and a quick run to goodwill for white clothes and some badges printed from the computer completed her ensemble.

Aderyn had a reading night celebration at the school, and Wayne went to help run that event. It was circus themed, and Aderyn loved getting a book and bouncing in the bounce house and watching the magician. She couldn't pick a favorite part.

Torben had a private speech session this week too, in which the therapist did an evaluation of him. Once finished, she pronounced that if Torben had just walked in that day, she wouldn't have recommended therapy for him. But since his other therapy was greatly reduced that same week, we'll have him meet a few more times before dropping that support as well, and then see how he does.

I did some work and tutoring, and Wayne had more to do at work than is possible to fit in as well. It's a theme. And then we fed the missionaries a couple of times. It's kind of annoying to have to scheduled time to feed them separately in order to feed both the Elders and the Sisters, but what can you do?

We also found some suspicious holes in the attic, but we think they have been there awhile? We aren't quite sure, but there are no signs of critters, so now we have to figure out what to do about that. Ah, home ownership. The magic and the mysteries.

Monday, February 19, 2018

broken lights on a valentine's evening

Toben had his speech services significantly reduced (twice in a nine week period instead of every week). The school speech therapists decided that he's doing much better (within normal ranges for his age) and they will not continue to offer him speech through the school, they will just monitor him occasionally. We might disagree that he is finished, but we do admit he is doing much better than even a year ago.

[Regression is a thing he has done in transitions before, and the transition to Kindergarten next year is a big one. Also, he has had to work hard for most of his sounds so far, and there are sounds that are yet to come. And a couple of his sounds that he got at the word level are still not integrated in conversational level speech. These are the primary reasons I gave when I petitioned for the monitoring visits instead of outright dismissal like they wanted. Torben has made so much progress in general! He is doing great! People are understanding him! I just hate to see his support end at an inopportune time. They will still provide preschool, and he will continue private speech a little longer as well. -r]

Rebecca helped out at the kids' school. The kids had robotics (a celebration meeting -- the last one) and coding club and Valentines day parties. Torben loves to help out at his sisters' classes. He even got to drive the robot!

Rebecca and I were able to drop the kids off at a friend's house to go to a Relief Society dinner at church. It was kind of a belated Valentines day dinner. When we left the activity (at night) we found that our headlights weren't working. After stopping at an Autozone and trying a bunch of things, it turns out that the lowbeams were broken, but the high beams worked fine. So we drove home with our brights on. Not great, but we made it home. [we'll put in new lights this week, but it was late and we didn't really have tools on hand, so... -r]

On Saturday, we took a trip to IKEA and got a handful of new shelves for people and did lots of projects around the house. I put in new insulation on the garage door, installed a bunch of shelves and did a bunch of other things as well. Who knows what?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

and more robots

Paela had one more regional robotics competition Saturday. Rinse and repeat. She had a blast again, thankfully. This time they got one extra point in the programming part, though the competition was stiffer overall so that translated to 5th place. This was held at the school that often wins state, and has won international before. So.

The caveat this time was that Wayne had an all day meeting on campus in Kokomo, so the younger kids came along to help. We took three bags of games, colored pencils, and books and took over a table in the cafeteria. Aderyn was Torben's helper for the day, tasked to come find me if they needed me before I came back to the cafeteria, and I made many trips back and forth on my own to try and balance helping them and helping the team. Plus some other younger siblings saw what fun Aderyn and Torben were having, and came over to join. Both kids loved sharing and explaining rules to the other kids. It was an exhausting day, but worth it.

Paela will definitely participate in robotics again.

All three kids participated in the lego mini build this week. I pre-made pizza so we could just bake it when we got home and still have time for homework that night. That worked pretty well, and helped us meet our budget for the month, so that was nice.

A friend came to hang out with our kids Friday evening so Wayne and I could make a temple session together. She has a kid Paela's age, so they had fun playing pretend/house together. And then Paela attempted to introduce them to a board game that only she had played before. It was nice to visit the temple together, and for kids to have some fun.

And today Church was iced out. So I guess they do cancel Church around these parts sometimes. Now we know!