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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Mighty Big Merritt

The biggest news of this week was of course Merritt's birthday! He is now 4 years old, and thinking he is hot stuff.

We were all looking forward to this event, mostly so that we could finally replace his beloved "skeleton jammies," that had really been showing their age for months:

Hannah and my younger brothers all went together to get him a new pair that fit right, still glow in the dark, and even include more bones. We'll have to have him model them sometime.

Merritt is at a perfect age for birthdays, because he is easy to please, and thinks everything is amazing. We started the day off getting a small car tower from our neighbor. They got it put together and then had a blast and a half just with that.

I was swamped with grading and other tasks, but then we got Wendy's for lunch and did his cake and presents. We kicked that off with the boys opening a gift from Hannah. Inspired by Hakan's tying of his baby blanket around his head, she sewed them all black headbands and then embroidered their initials in their favorite color in the front. They were absolutely thrilled, and have been playing "ninjas" ever since.

Merritt also got a dollar store foam katana, and the other boys were so envious that they went later that afternoon to get their own. It's been a great bonding experience for them.

He's loving being 4, and tells us his age all the time. He's said each day since, "Dad, I'm still 4!"

Playing in the Puddles

In other news, we've had a typically busy week with e-learning and with my crazy grading. Tomorrow is the last day for "classes," and then we start finals, so that's meant a lot of preparation, and I keep fielding emails from students who are suddenly concerned about their grades. It happens every semester, but I still am surprised by it every time.

We had a lot of rain again, which put a damper on much of the week. With our boredom, the kids have had to be creative. Hakan has had a project in mind for several days. I put a brush-style spacer on the bottom of my shed door to discourage insects from coming in and hopefully keep rodents out, and I had to saw off the end piece. Hakan was excited to find a use for the end piece, so he's been poring over the brush, contemplating uses for it. I wanted to attach something to the end so that it could serve as a broom, but he wanted the handle piece to have some use. He shot down several ideas, and then when I randomly suggested a spoon, he called it "genius." I helped him superglue a spoon to it, so he is the inventor of the world's first sbroom:

He used it several times this week to eat his Cheerios. I suggested he could sweep up any that he spilled.

We were very pleased to have gorgeous weather over the weekend, so the boys played on the trampoline off and on for a few hours each day. I took advantage of the weather to finally take down the stupid old shed. I'd done some work on it last week, but figured it was time to get serious before the weather turned again. I fed the kids breakfast Saturday morning and then headed out with a hammer and a pry bar.

Hannah joined me later, and when we'd removed enough of the supporting boards, we figured we could just rock it to pieces, which we did:

Avey and Kira then helped to take the thing apart bit by bit.

Hannah and I got it almost done on Saturday, and then I finished it up and took down the foundation today.

Now I'm waiting for a good day to go get grass seed so I can till the ground and get this thing looking like less of an eyesore. It was a ton of work, but it's so nice to be nearly done with this project. This is probably the biggest thing I've wanted to do (myself) to the house since we bought it.

A new fun thing going on is that our dishwasher is not working again. I fixed the burned out switch about a year ago, but now it seems that the whole control panel is on the fritz, which is more expensive, so I'm using our home warranty to take care of that. The repair person should be by Wednesday, so I did our whole load in the dishwasher by hand today, and we've transitioned to paper plates for as long as we can.

Avey discovered a recipe for nacho cheese this week, so she's tried it a couple of times after the first attempt didn't quite turn out the way she wanted. I didn't get to try the first batch, but this second one turned out very tasty.

Our plans for this upcoming week mostly consist of survival. Our governor has announced that some of the restrictions will be lifted this week, so that we may be able to go to parks and such. We'll see how things change, and hopefully we'll start to get a sense of normalcy soon.

We hope you're all staying sane!

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