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  • Elijah Ricks

Masterpiece

This week was marred by Hannah falling ill, but we had lots of nice things going on, too.


I forgot to mention last week that I was highlighted in the "Faculty Friday" project at my university. It's just a little get-to-know-you thing, but it was kind of fun. See it here.


In the afternoon last Saturday, we picked up Merritt's new pair of glasses after he had broken his frames last week.

They are the same shape, but different colors, so he looks as good as always. Shortly after that, our former neighbor called Kira and invited our kids to go along with them to an arcade, go-kart, and mini-golf sort of place not too far away. It was short notice, but we took a poll and found that only Merritt and Jesse wanted to go, so we got them ready for that. It was nice to get them an outing and have fewer kids to manage so that Kira could get her Sunday lesson prepared and such.

It ended up being an unusually social Saturday, because Ivy came over to play with Apollo, and then Avey wanted a ride to the library to help a friend work on an art project. Kira then brought both of them home, as they figured it would be easier to work from here.


I baked an experimental cake while everything was going on - a chocolate cake with a chocolate pudding layer in the middle, frosted with caramel frosting. It turned out well, and disappeared too quickly.


Carver, who wasn't interested in doing much, eventually did practice his cello and showered. Avey and the friend hung out a little longer before I took him home, and the other boys came home after a fun time.


Hannah was not feeling well, so she opted to stay home that night and try to get some sleep. It was a lazy night for the rest of us.

Sunday I was up to get just Merritt fed, as the other boys opted to fast for the morning. Kira joined a meeting by phone and then took the kids. Hannah was still not feeling great, but went to church and wore a mask the whole time. I relaxed some because there was no need to cook our fancy Sunday meal - the branch was having their Christmas celebration that evening. Kira and I baked rolls to take. Hannah didn't come to that, but did pick up a rapid COVID test from us. It was positive, so she called in sick to the bus the next day and stayed home to rest.

Carver and Merritt put up a royal fit when we reminded them of the branch Christmas party. They could not believe the injustice of going back to the church again - surely, no one had ever suffered something this awful. Kira and I convinced them to come, and of course once we were there they had a blast telling jokes and running around the gym and trying the foods there. One sister in the branch had even brought a gluten-free macaroni and cheese that helped Carver to feel part of the whole thing.


The food was really good, and then it was past their bedtime, so I brought them home after the meal and Kira stayed to watch a broadcast. I put the kids to bed, and Avey worked on a school project late into the night. Kira was home around 9 and we went to bed not long after.


Kira let me sleep on Monday, but then I took Avey to school and Kira took a nap. I had two honors theses to read, and they were very different from each other. One was written by my good and faithful student, who turns in drafts regularly and on time, who dependably updates me on progress, and who follows through with her commitments. The other was from a student with good intentions but just can't seem to find the time to do anything on her project, and so it was in pretty sad shape.


Anyway, that took up most of my time, so I had little time before the bus brought back the boys. Kira was busy with her clients, but it was a good and productive day for her. It was a typical afternoon, but then that evening was Carver's second orchestra concert of the semester, so we met Kira at the school. You would think that they'd have learned their lesson last time, but seating was still a nightmare, even after they split up the concert into two waves to stagger the incoming crowds. I suppose it's a good problem to have - lots of people wanting to hear their loved ones play. Anyway, we could really hear the improvement in play. You can listen to one of their songs here.


We found out that Avey's artwork dedicated to her recently passed teacher (see last week's post) was incredibly well-received. The principal had shared it with the teacher's family, and they loved it - planning to create digital prints to frame in their homes. The principal was so impressed with it that he asked if he could highlight it in the weekly newsletter that the school sends to everyone each week. Kira also posted it on the stake's Facebook page as an example of giving service and "light[ing] the world." At this rate, she'll be getting commissioned for new projects across the nation in no time.


Tuesday was busy as usual. Kira had to be up early to get ready for a funeral for one of the deaths that occurred last week. She would sing a solo at the service, so was a little nervous. I was in the city all day, but kept in touch. She said that it went well, and it was a nice service.


In the city, I was invited to attend a little party for some students in a special program. Some of them are graduating this semester and they were asked to invite professors who have had an impact on them, so it was neat to get the invitation. I knew three of the graduates, it turned out.


Hannah was still ill, so she stayed home. She was at least doing a little better. It sounds like she had milder symptoms than Kira and I did when COVID made its way through our house.


I let Kira sleep on Wednesday morning, and I was surprised to have to wake Merritt at 6:50 a.m. He was quite upset that he had missed his chance to play video games before needing to get ready for school, but he made it through alright.

Kira rested a bit after they had left, and then had a chiropractor appointment. I worked and then had two stupid meetings back-to-back. After lunch, I ran some errands and missed the bus coming home. Avey stayed late after school for a choir rehearsal. Her concert is later today.


I was up a little before my alarm on Thursday, and then it was a rather rough day energy-wise. It was my last class of the semester that afternoon, but at least it went well. I made it home on a little later train, and Kira already had the trashes gathered and kids fed. Still no Hannah that night, and Kira was on the phone, so Avey and I watched a little before I went to bed.


Friday morning I fed the kids while Kira got ready to help with a field trip in Jesse's class. It was a stupid rainy day and they had a lot of things planned for the outdoors at the Duneland Learning Center, so of course it was a bit miserable for many of the kids who were cold and wet.

At one activity, the kids did a name-learning activity where they were asked to share their names and an object that they could bring with them on a trip that started with the same letter as their name. Jesse said that he brought a "joint." He meant, of course, that he had brought an elbow joint, and such, but Kira and Jesse's teacher exchanged a glance given the word's double-meaning.


It was a pretty good time, even if the weather was bad. I kept busy with the house to myself working on some last grading things. Kira brought home Jesse and Merritt early, but then we got a call from Carver at his school - he had missed the bus, and so did our neighbor. I went to pick them both up.


Avey was home on the bus, and we found her PSAT scores were in. She destroyed that test, with her scores all above the 90th percentile in all areas. We expect to be hearing from the top universities in the country soon with their full-scholarship offers.


Avey went to hang out with some friends at the YMCA at a weekly get-together thing. I dropped her off and then went grocery shopping until she was done. We gave a ride to one of her friends and then came home where Kira had fed everyone else. Hannah was finally feeling well enough to come by, so we watched some TV together once the boys were asleep.


This week will be full of grading for me and finishing up the semester. Avey's choir concert is this afternoon, and we will see if we can't finish up some Christmas shopping too!

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