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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Couches and Carvers

Updated: Mar 5

It was a trying week what with some illness making its way through the household, but we are excited to celebrate Carver turning 11 years old today!

Last Saturday, Kira took the boys to the church because it was their turn to clean it. As a reward, Kira treated them to a treat from Wendy's and then they watched a movie at home. Merritt was invited to play with a friend in the branch that afternoon, and so Kira took him over there and dropped him off. Avey had also been invited to a birthday party that afternoon, and so I drove her there to drop her off. I went home for about an hour and then went back to pick her up and transport her to the school for the play performance that night. Back at home it was fairly typical stuff of dinner and bedtime.

Hannah came over for a bit and then I left to pick up Avey at the school. It turned out that the show was later than usual because they spent extra time during intermission trying to free a boy from his seat in the audience. Apparently he had gotten himself pinned in the folding seat and couldn't free himself, and so they had to take it apart. He was reportedly just fine, although the extent of the psychological trauma may never be known.

It was nice to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning, and then it was otherwise typical. Once all were off to church I cleaned sinks, baked brownies, did dishes, sorted laundry. We had a relatively brief window in between everybody getting home and getting them to the high school to see the last performance of Avey's play, so I got their lunches ready and then drove Avey to be there before call, then came back home to finish feeding them. We made it in time and had our choice of seats, but the boys voted to sit close to where they could see Avey handling the spotlight like a boss.

The show was entertaining, although perhaps not as flashy as the last one. We found out that the main character was actually a stand-in because the usual actor was ill. So the one we saw was just a little deadpan and read from the script the entire time. Luckily, the precise and smooth work of the spotlight kept the entire thing looking professional and really helped the audience to lose themselves in the story.

In any case, during the show I was getting messages from some neighbors hoping that Jesse and Carver could come and play in the relatively nice weather. So right after the play we sort of rushed out to get them dropped off. Merritt asked if he could stay and play also, and so we let him do it with some trepidation, because he tends to have a hard time with that group. It turned out that we were wrong to let him stay, because he had chosen to wear shorts against our advice (it was much too cold), and then he just couldn't keep up with the big kids, and felt like he wasn't allowed to go inside. Lesson learned.

At home, I worked on cooking our dinner and Avey wrestled with the mixed emotions of having another show over. She also didn't get to stay and hang out with the rest of the cast, so if we had only known that the boys were invited to play, we would have taken two cars.

Avey is planning on auditioning for the next play on Monday, so we're all keeping our fingers crossed that she gets the part she deserves. We'll keep you posted.

We had a standard rest of Sunday with school preparations and bedtime routine.

During the night, I started to feel some symptoms of the illness that has been making its way through the house. My throat felt off, and I could tell that my breathing was a little more labored thanks to a slightly stuffy nose. If you know much about me, you've noticed that breathing with ease is one of my favorite things to do, and so anytime that something tries to prevent me taking a breath, I can get somewhat perturbed. It was a bit of a difficult night, in any case. Kira was kind to let me linger in bed after the rough night.

Carver had also not been feeling quite himself, but was alright to go to school it seemed, and so we got everybody off to their respective institutions of learning. It was rainy all day, and by the time the boys went outside to wait for the bus, there was already a large puddle at the bottom of our driveway. Of course, Merritt went straight to it and walked through it with his normal shoes. I quickly ran out to hand him a dry pair of socks if he wanted to change them at school just as he was getting onto the bus. This is why we don't let 6-year-olds get tattoos - they just don't think of consequences.

Merritt Got All Muddy

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day getting a little bit sicker and grading the living daylights out of a ton of assignments that had been turned in. Kira napped a bit and then got ready for work and left. I finally finished all of my grading by the time the bus came, and then it was a standard afternoon of homework and such. Thankfully, it had stopped raining by then, so Merritt went outside for a little while and Avey walked the dog.

We Really Enjoyed Merritt's Interpretation

At dinner, Carver ordered a large meal but then slowed down quite a bit and stopped halfway through. He said that he wasn't feeling very well, and then he tossed his cookies. He was not in good shape, so I sent him to bed early and he seemed happy to do so. I read with the other boys and got them ready for bed as Kira arrived home. Carver came downstairs around 9:00 p.m., feeling like he hadn't really slept, so we gave him some medicine and sent him back.

Kirby Impersonates Avey

He felt really well the next morning, and kept his breakfast down just fine. He said he felt better than he had for a few days, so he went to school like normal. It was still a rough night for me as my nose and throat got even worse. It was a very long day for me in the city, especially with my low energy. Still, before I started my Psychology of Violence course, a student asked me if I ever thought of starting a podcast - she apparently enjoys the course so much that she might even listen to it in her spare time. That was a nice boost to my ego. I had a break for lunch, and then I was scheduled to attend a course in the afternoon to observe one of my colleagues and give feedback on his teaching. I was gearing up for the 2.5 hours, but it worked out nicely for me to leave halfway through, and so I got home at a decent hour.

Hannah was there keeping Apollo company and dropping off some awesome cookies for us. Kira was at a primary boys' activity with all the kids, where they made ice cream sundaes.

Jesse is Full of Hidden Talents

It was nice to get to just unwind a bit and wallow in my exhaustion when I got home. I made Merritt's lunch for the next day, and then helped get everyone in bed once they were back. Merritt had a good time at the activity, but then just complained when he got home (obviously tired). He had passed off his "+8" math, so that was a nice thing to celebrate with him.

It was another rough night for me, and then Wednesday might have been my worst day of symptoms along with the exhaustion of having not slept for most of the week. Kira let me stay in bed as she got the boys fed and on the bus. Avey had a day of e-learning at home because the 11th graders at the high school were taking the SAT. She slept in and then had a pleasant day of working at her own pace in the comfort of her own room.

We were expecting our new couch and loveseat to arrive that afternoon, and so Kira had moved a chiropractor appointment to the morning so that it wouldn't conflict. Of course, then we got notice that the delivery guys were going to be there hours earlier than planned. It's a good thing I was home - I cleared a path and they brought our stuff all boxed up. I then put the legs on one of them and took our old death trap out to the curb for our trash to pick up.

Good riddance. As I took it apart, it was more apparent just how much it had fallen apart since we got it used. Merritt's jumping on it had sure destroyed the old gal.

I had a very stupid faculty meeting, made even worse with my dumb symptoms. After that was done, I put together the other couch and then Kira and I got the room all rearranged, trying to figure out the best configuration. We were trying to keep a little corner couch that Merritt likes to jump on and Apollo sleeps on at night. We are making strict rules that no Merritts can bounce on the new furniture, and we are keeping Apollo off of them also, so we want to hang onto that corner couch until we find a way to transition them onto something else.

When the boys saw the new couches, they were really excited. Merritt did a very good job of not bouncing on them, and seems to understand the reasons and respect them. He said we could get rid of the corner couch right away as far as he was concerned. Apollo seems like he's not ready to let go yet, though.

The boys especially enjoy burying themselves in the several pillows that came with the couches. They are a really nice upgrade to the room, and we almost feel like real people.

That afternoon, I took Avey to an appointment 20 minutes away and then made a Walmart run before coming back home. It was a typical evening.

I slept much better compared to the rest of the week, but it was still rough getting up and off to the train. Classes went well, probably in no small part due to the fact that it was the last day of teaching before spring break! After lunch, I did a stupid cybersecurity training that's required, and then got a little real work done before coming home.

It was a typical evening, except that there was talk of a massive winter storm on its way the next day. Some sources made it sound like we needed to board up our windows and stock up on hardtack. The forecast made it seem like it would be relatively mild, though. In any case, Kira found a message the next morning that school would be e-learning, and so the kids were thrilled that they got to skip the routine, and Kira and I were glad to sleep in a little longer.

I got up to feed them before their scheduled video meetings with their classes, and then Kira managed them. She said it was much easier this time than in times past. In the past it was probably more work for Kira than for the kids.

What I found funny is that we didn't have even a drop of rain until maybe 10:00, and then this is what it looked like by the time the boys' bus would have been here to drop them off:

It was snowy, but the roads were just dandy at that point.

Anyway, it came down consistently after that so that the roads did get bad by 4:00 or so. Avey and I were feeling kind of antsy, so we made a quick run to the grocery store for a few things we needed. The roads were even worse by the time we were back, so Hannah opted to stay home that night. It had stopped snowing by bedtime, and is all expected to melt today.

Today is Carver's birthday, so we have a little get-together with his friends planned this afternoon. Kira make him pancakes for breakfast, and I fed the other boys and baked two cakes (one gluten-free, and one for the rest of us). Jesse has been bored, so he put together a table-tennis setup with Carver.

He also decided to go outside and shovel the driveway all on his own, even though we told him the snow is all going to melt anyway:

At least he appreciates the value of hard work for its own sake.

We are planning on having Carver's friends over at 3 this afternoon, and then we'll do cake and ice cream and presents! He asked for a gluten-free Pizza Hut pizza, so we'll go and pick that up for dinner. I'll report more on his party next week.

I am looking forward to my spring break this week, although I still have kind of a lot of stuff to do. I'll be sure to take some little breaks, too.

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