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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Happy Hannah!

This was another crazy week with preparations for Hannah's birthday mixed in with everything else.

Hannah joined us for lunch on Sunday, and then went home for an evening by herself. After we got the boys in bed, we started looking through old home videos for a specific video of Avey as a toddler singing the "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" song. We never did find it, but we watched a lot of old, adorable footage from those days, and then got to bed far too late.

Hakan has been fairly obsessed with science lately, so he's been working on all sorts of projects in his spare time. One of them was last week where he wanted to try to power a toy car using a balloon. A couple of years ago, I brought the kids a toy like that after a trip to a conference, but we don't know what happened to it. Anyway, Hakan thought he would fashion his own, so we tried out several versions before getting one to work ok. Then, he wanted to try it with a boat.

He may be an engineer or something when he grows up.

He has been a lot of fun (#sarcasm) since yesterday. He found an old digital watch, and put it on. Hannah figured out how to set it to the right time, and so now Hakan updates us on the time about every 10 seconds. He seems to generally struggle with the concept of units of time, and so hopefully this will help him master that, but it's a little trying for us so far.

Anyway, Monday was not terribly interesting, except that the kids were at school finally. That was nice to have some quiet around the house, so I worked and then Kira prepared for her work in the afternoon.

Tuesday was back to the city for me, and it was very busy there. My train was 20 minutes behind schedule, so I had to run straight to my classroom without stopping by my office. I got home about 8:30, and then sort of spur of the moment decided to go back out for some dinner, so Avey and I got some fast food drive-through.

Wednesday was a Costco run, and while we were over there, Hannah wanted to try out a Thai restaurant that someone recommended to her. We eventually made it home in enough time for her to eat and get to her afternoon bus run. Kira held down the fort while we were gone, and then I helped with lunch and cut the grass for what may be the last time this season. Kira and Avey then took off for some stores before dinner, and Hannah came over to solidify her birthday plans and watch some tv.

Thursday was a long day. My youngest brother, Isaac, was flying out in the evening to surprise Hannah for her birthday, but he was getting in too late for the trains. So, I drove the car into the city so that I could just hang out and try to catch up on all my missed work from Wednesday (and get ahead for the missed Friday). I woke up early, a little panicked that I would hit traffic or run into trouble at the parking garage (I hadn't used my pass there for about a year, and wasn't sure if it would still work). I made it in plenty of time, and the pass didn't work, but it was a fairly simple fix to get it going again.

I had my very long day, and then I settled in and focused for another few hours to get some work done. There was not much traffic to get Isaac, and then we were home for late bed, making plans for how to surprise Hannah.

Friday was Hannah's actual birthday, but she was driving the buses like normal, and even went into work for her second job for a while. We eventually decided to just drop by her work so that Isaac could surprise her. I had a stupid meeting, so I couldn't be there right at that time, but it sounds like Hannah was excited, albeit not entirely surprised. She sort of thought that he might come.

Anyway, she finished up work and came to our place for some sushi lunch and to make plans for the evening, after her bus shift. In the afternoon, I made her hot fudge sundae cake in the crock pot, and we ran the idea by Avey to have her get the boys to bed while we adults all went out to dinner. She was happy to do it, although it turns out she ran into several challenges, but nothing she couldn't handle.

We got take-out from Chesterton's best restaurant, and then took it to Hannah's place, where we ate and played a new card game she'd wanted to try. We then had some of her cake and then went back to our place so that Avey could join in on a movie.

Saturday, we had made plans to go to a zoo nearby. It's small compared to the zoos we know from Illinois, but it turned out to be just about the right size for our needs.

Merritt had the best time of us all, I think. He was talking fast about everything, and bouncing around like he'd just done some cocaine. At one point, he pointed at the green trash cans that were outside, and he commented to me how it looked like one of the tubes (warp zones) Mario uses (in the video game franchise, Super Mario Brothers). They were the same green color. He then ran over to inspect it, and gave me a detailed analysis on how it needed to have a hole in the top rather than the sides (like a trash can has).

We had a really good time watching some of the animals that were particularly active. There was a female bear soaking in the water who came over to interact with us, and the monkeys were eating and very animated. The lions were asleep, as usual, but the male had his tongue sticking out the whole time, so we had a good laugh at that.

Merritt saw at one of the hawk displays that there was a separate cage that was empty, and he told me that it was probably "a jail for if one of the birds is being evil." But because it was empty at the time, he concluded that "they are all being nice right now."

Carver became bored within just a few minutes of getting to the zoo, probably because he had a video game on his mind waiting for him at home. At least the rest of us had a good time.

We came home and had some lunch before opening Hannah's presents and eating more of her cake. She then had to go do some jobs, as she is dog-sitting and still needed some time to prepare a talk she gave today. Isaac went with her because he had a phone appointment with some friends.

Kira and I regrouped at home, and then got the kids bathed and in bed before Isaac and Hannah came over with pizza from our favorite place. It was fantastic, as always, and then Hannah picked our movie for the night.

Her talk reportedly went well, and she'll be over later today for a late lunch/early dinner of jaegerschnitzel and spaetzle. Isaac leaves tomorrow afternoon when I have all the kids and Kira is at work, and Hannah is driving buses, so he's agreed to take the trains to the airport. It's sure been nice to have him here, and I'm working on convincing him to move out here, too, but don't tell him. I want it to seem like his idea.

I suppose it's possible that this coming week will be a little calmer than others in recent memory, right? There's only one way to find out...

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