• Elijah Ricks

Auntie Hannah

This week was full of fun and devoid of sleep. My sister visited for the celebration of Hakan’s birthday, so we tried to maximize our time with her. We spent most of Monday acclimating to the change. The older three basically tackled her, with the two older boys fighting to monopolize her attention. She was patient and generous, even though she must have been exhausted from her early and long flight.

On Tuesday, she and Kira attended the LDS temple in the area. Traffic and travel kept them gone for several hours while I kept the kids from descending into complete anarchy, and then we enjoyed some of Chicago’s finest stuffed pizza for our dinner.

Wednesday became a bit of a down day while we adults tried to squeeze a movie in between the feeding flurries and hailstorms of poopy diapers. We watched Split, which left us all a little terrified and very much in awe of James McAvoy’s skill as an actor.

Thursday was where the real fun began, as we took Avey out of school a little early so that we could all check out the Garfield Park Conservatory. That was one of the biggest highlights of the week because, in addition to all of the nifty plants and the large pond the kids tested out, they had a dozen or so baby goats frolicking on the grounds. We spent a lot of our time there, feeding the adults (the young ones were a little too shy) leaves and grass through the fence. It was so much fun to watch them; Merritt seemed to think they were dogs, as he kept making his little barking noise while he tried to soak it all in.

Of course, Friday was Hakan’s birthday! We got the boys all ready after Avey was gone for school, and headed off to the forest preserve we had most recently enjoyed. Hakan had been so heartbroken when we had to leave that time, and my sister wanted to check one out, so we thought it would be a great activity to go. Carver was very hesitant to go, and understandably after he cut his toe the last time. We made sure everybody had close-toed shoes this time, and everyone had a blast – we even saw a turtle out there in the wild!

After Hakan’s nap and Avey’s return from school, everyone but Kira and Merritt (napping) left for Hakan’s favorite restaurant (McDonald’s) for his birthday meal. We returned home to cake and gift opening. He loved everything.

Later in the evening there began a downpour of rain, so most of us went out to play in it. That was probably Hakan’s favorite part of the day – splashing in big puddles, getting as wet as he wanted, all hand-in-hand with his Auntie.

Saturday we made a quick trip to the pet store. Avey really wanted to hold a snake, so we all took turns passing one around, and the worker told us all about what nice pets ball pythons are for kids (thanks a lot). Avey can’t wait until Merritt is old enough that Kira will let her have a python, and she’s excited to take care of a fish to prove that she is responsible enough. We’ll open that chapter in another month or so.

My sister left that afternoon to everyone’s dismay. We enjoyed having her around as a calming presence, an extra pair of hands, and as a fresh set of eyes for how cute our kids can be. Hakan no doubt misses the extra one-on-one time, but we’re sure to see her again before too long.

This next week we’re back to normal life, for better or worse.


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