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  • Elijah Ricks

Everything Hakan

Updated: May 31

This was a supremely busy week with Hakan's birthday celebration piled on top of everything else we could cram in, and the wonky weather didn't help one bit...


I had no plans to do my day job on Monday because Kira had clients and other appointments spread across the whole day. That was rather liberating for me to have no expectations, and so I focused on other projects and Merritt. I dug up the bricks around the fire pit, because I wanted to set them firmly with landscape adhesive and then fill in gaps with some locking sand. After I got them dug out, Merritt and I took Kira to work and then stopped by the grocery store for a few things before coming home. I then dug the dirt a little deeper so that I could pour in some gravel, and I got through about half of the brick laying before Merritt requested to go for a picnic lunch at a park about 15 minutes away. It was very hot out, so I doubted he would play very long before we needed to be home for Hakan getting off the bus, so I packed a quick lunch and we left. He had in mind to eat at a little table at the park, so that's what we did:

The heat and humidity were getting to us both after a little play time, so we left for home and Hakan's arrival. I then got the boys settled and got back to work on my brick project for a while before we had to go get Carver from Robotics Club. It was their last meeting, so they took apart their robot so that they could use it next year. While we were waiting in line at the school for Carver, I realized that Avey's bus was parked there, too, transferring some students. I called her to see if she was on it and wanted to just get in our car, and so she hopped off and came over. I don't know why that didn't occur to me every Monday...


Back at home, I finished my bricks, very pleased with how level they were, and terrified that one of the thousands of neighborhood kids who come over would step on them before the adhesive had fully cured. I put up a little barrier around the fire pit and then when they all came over to play I told them about the project and to please not step on the bricks for a few days. By some miracle, they actually left them alone!


Merritt was aching to play a dodge ball game that they had all played on Sunday - they bounce on the trampoline and try to avoid a ball that Kira throws at them. No one wanted to play the whole afternoon, so after dinner his brothers and I played it with him, finally scratching his itch.

Carver's Yarn Project

Kira was going to be late at work, so I dropped off the car for her and chatted a bit before Hannah brought me home in her car. I got them to bed and we older kids watched some TV.


Tuesday morning I had made an appointment for our car to get checked out. It started making a concerning grinding noise when we turned left, so it seemed like a good idea to get that fixed. I loaded up my bike into the van and dropped off the car, then rode my bike home. The painters came to finish up the laundry room ceiling finally, and so we waited for them to finish so that I could paint the walls and install our new light fixture. I cut the grass while they worked. They finished in the afternoon, so I cleaned up the room as best I could and then did my part finishing the walls. I was worried I'd run out of paint, but it was just the right amount, and I was sort of glad to be able to put it to use (I'd bought it almost 3 years ago when we moved in, and used only little bits to touch up here and there). Still, it was a lot of work, and I was very worn out by the time I was done. Kira was very busy keeping the kids occupied once they were home, too. Once I was done, we got the boys to help us move everything back in, and now we are so glad to have our laundry room back!

Avey learned of a field trip for her club that day after school, and wanted to go. Of course, our car was in the shop, so I called around 1 to see if they had any updates. They hadn't even looked at it yet, making me wonder if I don't know what an appointment is, or if they don't. They assured me they would look at it very soon. They eventually told me what the problem was and said that they could finish it before they closed. They close at 6, and Avey's trip was over at 5, so she made the gamble and went on the trip. Around 5:20, I called for an update on the car, and they told me that the wrong part was delivered, so they couldn't finish the car until the following afternoon. I told them of my frustration with the situation. Luckily, our very kind friend (whose dog is Apollo's best buddy) happened to be there and offered to pick up Avey. Kira went with her. While they were gone, I got a call from the mechanics that they located the correct part and would stay late to finish the car that night (damn right). I rode my bike down there, absolutely exhausted from the rest of the day, and picked up the van. Hannah stayed home that night, due to an early morning for her the next day.


Wednesday was Hakan's birthday, so we had big plans. Kira and I were both still pretty wiped out from the day before, so we rallied to make it a good day for him. In typical Hakan fashion, he just couldn't seem to focus on his remote learning tasks for the day. We tried to get him to focus so that we could then have it behind us and celebrate his birthday, but he struggled to find the motivation. I baked his cupcakes and when he looked at the batter, he said he didn't really like that flavor. It was the flavor he requested just a couple of weeks ago when we talked about it, so that was fun (#sarcasm). He loved the cupcakes anyway.


Just as I predicted, he said early in the day, "I can't wait for my next birthday!" Today he started a list of things he wants at Christmas. That boy...


He did eventually suffer through his assignments. Kira had a phone appointment in the morning, and then she and Avey went to the chiropractor for the last time. Once they were home, Hannah came over for gifts and cupcakes.

He was so thrilled with each of the gifts - thank you to all who contributed! Merritt enjoyed trying out the weights, too:

After all of that, we got the kids loaded into the car to go to Zao Island in a neighboring town. We played mini-golf, rode go-karts, checked out their real alligators, and played in the arcade. Hakan even tried out the batting cages.

One of Hakan's gifts was to get a betta fish he'd wanted for some time, so we tried to do that on the way home. Chesterton doesn't have a pet store, so I looked up the closest one to where we were and when we got there it turned out that they don't have any fish. We loaded back up into the car, all about at wits end with the heat, humidity, and nonstop "fun" of the day. We went to another store, and found his fish and a few other items before heading back home. We got pizza for Hakan's favorite dinner, and then Avey was off to a youth activity. I got Hakan's fish all set up in his new home. He's named him "Jack," and does a very good job feeding him each morning and night.


Thursday cooled down significantly, where we even needed jackets. The kids went to school, and I finally finished getting my summer course all set up. I got an email from someone at the university, saying that they were going to cross-list my course so that some other students could take it and get credit. I figured that would be fine. Kira had a phone meeting for church, and then she went to visit the bedridden sister in the branch. Once I was done with my work, I installed our broom holder in the laundry room, but in a more logical location, and then I put the smoke detector up.


The boys came home from school with Hakan decked out in a birthday hat and with some little trinkets. Carver seemed especially grumpy, probably feeling jealous of Hakan getting the extra attention. I wanted to get out of the house for a bit, so I jumped in the car to go to the hardware store for some supplies, and then Avey texted that she had missed the bus again, so I turned around and picked her up, and she came with me to the store. On the way there, we had a stressful time trying to keep track of a spider in the car that she couldn't quite reach. We let it out of the car once we got to the parking lot.


Once we were home, I put up a wall shelf that Avey picked out for her room, and then I put up a hook to keep the headphones for the digital piano from just always lying on the floor:

I then installed some more hooks in the laundry room for all of our gear, and so that Hannah could have some hooks for her jacket or whatever when she comes over. We did the dinner and bed routine, and then Hannah was over to watch a movie with Avey and me while Kira was on the phone with her mom. Just before bed, I thought I would do a quick last thing to my online course, and I found that all of the content had been erased once they cross-listed my course. I started panicking, because the course starts on Tuesday. I could always copy the content back over, but it takes several hours to get everything in the right place, set up the due dates, and so on. I had a rough night's sleep worrying about the course.

Friday was cold and rainy. I got my course put back together with less difficulty than I'd expected, so that was nice. Kira worked on preparing her talk for Sunday, and then I took Apollo on a walk in between the showers of rain. In the afternoon, I made some small drawers for a screw organizer I found used - it was missing 6 drawers. Lots of neighbor kids came over wanting to play, but some of the kids do not get along well with each other, so we feel like we need to supervise closely. Kira was kind enough to show them our laser tag guns we got a few Christmases ago, and then played with them until it was time for them to go home. Our neighbor brought by the key for her house so that Avey could take care of her pets while she goes on a trip, and she also brought by some gifts for Hakan. We told her he likes sharks, and so she got him lots of shark gear:

Saturday was finally a day to sleep in, though I was still worn out all day. I got up and fed the kids breakfast so that Kira could sleep a little longer and then have some time to herself. Hakan and I built his solar-powered robot that he got for his birthday, and then he tested it out:

Between that and his remote-control car he got, he's been busy!


I cut the grass, but the engine was sputtering and blowing out black smoke, so it took me a few minutes to figure out that the carburetor needed adjusting. I fixed that and then finally finished the grass, then Hannah came over for some help cutting wooden stakes she'd bought to make a fence for her garden. I trimmed the hedges in the afternoon and also took Avey for a haircut. She got it much shorter, but now it's even shorter than she had wanted. It still looks good, but it wasn't all that she'd hoped for. At least some people can still grow hair...


Kira polished up her talk before the day was out, and then Hakan used some of his birthday money to get another pizza, and we wrapped up the day.


Kira gave her talk today, and it went very well. She had a good delivery, and had a nice balance of personal stories with specific things to learn from them. She's very good at public speaking for someone who doesn't like to do it.


We've been invited over to the branch president's house for dinner tonight, so let's hope we don't make complete fools of ourselves. This is also the last week of school for the kids! See you on the other side!

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