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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

New Year, Same Old...

We celebrated the end of 2022 this week, but 2023 isn't looking too different so far.

Last Saturday afternoon, Kira took Avey and Jesse to a movie. The other boys didn't want to do anything. Merritt played outside in the relatively mild weather, but Carver just wanted to lounge and play video games. I offered to take them to the library, to go get some fireworks for that evening, go to the dollar store, but they had no interest. I was so tired that I was having a hard time thinking of ways to get them entertained otherwise. When the others were home, we did dinner and then ran through the little festivities that Kira had put together. She had everyone bang pots and pans after it was dark.

It was so cold outside, but we did fire off just a few of the little spinning fireworks we had left from previous holidays. Kira then tried out some silly string in the yard, but it clogged up after not too long, so I fixed it later on and they finished it off on a different day.

Jesse Battled the Cold by Putting a Coat Over His Robe

We came inside and had toasts of sparkling cider. Merritt went to bed early because he had been up extra early that morning. I waited in his room as he fell asleep, and the older two boys stayed up until 9, playing a board game. Once they were in bed, we older kids watched a movie, and then stalled a little longer to stay up until midnight. I hadn't done that in several years, and now I remember why.

Avey Balled Up the Silly String

Sunday morning, the kids had forgotten that it was Sunday. They were all heartbroken that they had to get ready for church. It was a standard morning otherwise. After lunch, I offered to take them all to a park, but nobody was interested. Ivy came over instead, and Merritt bounced barefoot on the trampoline in the cold, insisting he was fine. We played games with Hannah that night and then went to bed a little earlier than we had been.

Monday was our last day to sleep in for the break. I fed the younger boys when I got up, and then Kira fed Carver when she was up. I took Jesse and Avey to pick up Hannah, and then we went to three stores to pick up some things.

Avey Decorated Cookies Using a Kit

Kira got word that her sister who had just had her baby was back in the hospital for some complications, so we kept a close eye on the happenings there. Once again, Kira wished that we lived closer so that she could go take care of everyone. The sister is back home now, thankfully, and we expect that the baby will come home soon, too.

School was to start the next day, and the elementary school had decided to make it fun with some themed days. One of the days was career-oriented, so the kids were to dress like what they wanted to be when they grow up. Merritt decided that he wanted to dress as a "detention teacher," because it's so easy. He informed us, "All you have to do is some paperwork and then you can just sit there."

I spent a good deal of the evening fretting over my water main. Now that I had found the access point, I wasn't sure how to remove the cover and shut it off in case of an emergency. I also wanted to paint the access cover so that I could find it more easily in the future, but it's too cold and humid to paint, so I wanted to find how to remove it so I could do it in the garage. I spent a long time looking for the correct tool on the internet, and then my brain kept working on the problem when I went to sleep, so that I did not sleep well. But, my good ol' brain figured it out, thankfully...

Tuesday was the first day back to school, so we were up far too early to see everyone off. The boys were in pretty good spirits, considering. I think it does them good to have a set routine. Avey was also up and ready earlier than usual, so Kira took her and got the boys on the bus. With everyone gone, I changed the oil on the van and then worked on the water valve, testing out the plan that had cost me sleep the night before. It worked like a charm, so I even made a video about it for others who were in my same predicament:

Of course, this was after I had painted the valve.

I then showered and worked, and then around lunchtime, Kira and I used a Christmas gift card we had to go out to lunch, almost like a real date or something. We then dropped by the store on the way home for the bus to arrive.

The younger two had good reports. Jesse's teacher had rearranged the seats in the classroom, and now Jesse sits next to his girlfriend! He was very excited about that. His class talked about resolutions for the new year, and his teacher said she wanted to be able to do 20 pushups. She got down to show her progress, and then Jesse said that he got up and plopped down next to her and did 30 pushups to show her how it's done. He was pretty proud of himself. Jesse also came home with rumors. He said that one of his classmates told him that the classmate's sister has a crush on Carver. We told Carver once he was home, and he seemed a little embarrassed, but also flattered. He knows this kid's sister and goes to school with her. We coached him a little bit on how to handle this new information so that nobody gets hurt. He seems to have no interest in romance just yet.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent on finishing their homework and hearing all about the kids' day. It was a typical evening and bedtime routine otherwise. Hannah came over for a little before we all went to bed earlier.

Wednesday, Kira let me sleep just a little longer before I got up to help the boys out the door. I left to drop off the used oil and take some waste to a local recycling center before coming home to work. I then took Apollo on a walk. I picked up Avey to take her to an appointment, and we stopped by a store on the way. I had planned to drop off our dead batteries at a hazardous waste center, but I had looked at the wrong thing online and so I missed the window I had when it was open. That was frustrating. We were home for bedtime preparations and said goodnight to the boys. Hannah stayed home, and Avey entertained herself, so Kira and I started a Polish murder mystery movie.

Kira slept in a little on Thursday, and so I fed the boys. She still took Avey to school. Kira left to help with a funeral in the branch, so she was gone for most of the day. I got an email that day informing me that one of my coworkers who had just retired last month had passed away. He seemed in good health, and so I'm quite surprised by it, and wonder about what happened.

In any case, I made muddy buddies that afternoon just as the boys were getting home from school. The rest of the afternoon was full of packaging and cleaning up the treats, managing homework, and hearing about their days. Jesse called his girlfriend and they chatted for a while. Kira was home before dinner and we got everyone to bed. Hannah was feeling a bit under the weather, so she stayed home that night.

Kira let me stay in bed a little on Friday, but I got up and dressed to go to the YMCA after dropping off Avey. I was on the treadmill for an hour, walking briskly. I felt good about doing it, but I was pretty wiped out later in the day. I wish I had the motivation to do it more regularly. Kira napped in the morning, and then she worked with her friend over the phone to get projects done around here. I worked on semester preparations and then flushed out my water heater again (I still hear the occasional knock, so I hope this did the trick).

The kids were in a good mood once they were home and done with school for the week. We saw Carver's report card and celebrated his straight A grades. We look forward to seeing the others.

Merritt loves to just spout off whatever is on his mind. This particular night he was describing a scene from the movie Shrek where the princess fights some guys. He was quite impressed by how she kicked two guys in the face while doing the splits. He told me that the guys she kicked worked for Red Robin Hood. I think he combined Little Red Riding Hood with Robin Hood. It was an honest mistake.

Hannah came over that night, feeling not too bad. She had a negative COVID test, although it was very difficult to get the test in the first place - she had quite the tale about all of that. We watched some TV before bed.

We have a gray and cool day ahead of us now. I fully intended to sleep in, but Apollo was barking at something off and on since about 7, so I eventually just got up and fed everyone. We will see where the day takes us.

This week is my last one off before the semester starts, and so I hope that I can use it wisely!

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