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  • Elijah Ricks

Off to a Great Start

Updated: Jan 9

Our 2022 has started off very well so far, with no car problems, new tires, new windows, and super awesome kids...


Last Saturday it snowed all day and night, so we were not sure what would happen with church the next day. Kira even debated whether to just join over streaming video instead of physically going. We awoke to find 5 inches or so of snow.

The roads were pretty clear, however, so Kira opted to go. I got the boys ready, sent everyone off, and then shoveled the driveway while Apollo kept the sparrows who live in our bushes at bay. I showered and prepared our lunch, having it ready for when they got home (it was Fast Sunday).


In the afternoon, Jesse went out to play with the neighbor kids in the snow. Merritt went with him, although the snow was not great for packing, so it limited their fun somewhat.

Once we were all inside and warm, we had a family night lesson and then dinner before an activity. I finally found that missing game piece from a game we got at Christmas, so the kids have had fun playing the game anew this week.


The kids had school off on Monday, so of course the weather was prohibitively cold. The snow had not really melted, so at least there was that. Kira had a full day of clients, so she got ready and left, and I tended to the kids and cleaned the sinks. The boys all played outside for a good stretch given the frigid temperatures, so that was better than I had hoped. Jesse was the last one to come inside after playing with a neighbor boy. He'd been out for a very long time, so perhaps it should not have surprised me when I asked where he was and Avey told me that he was asleep in his bed. He rarely naps, and so I was a little concerned. I checked his forehead and didn't feel a temperature, so I wondered if he was just tired from always getting up too early and the many later bedtimes over the break. He awoke after about an hour, but he had a splitting headache. He drank a lot of water, and I gave him some pain medicine. That did the trick, and he was fine the rest of the day, but it was a bit concerning. Hopefully it was just overexertion in the cold.


The kids watched a movie together in the afternoon, so I tried to go get my new tires installed, but there was a long line of cars in front of me, so I decided to go back the next morning.


Because it was the last day of the break for the kids, I tried to make it a little special by getting fast food for dinner. Avey surprised me and got most of them ready for bed. Kira was home by bedtime, so we got them down and then I left for the airport to pick up Hannah. Apollo came along, thoroughly confused about what was happening. Hannah's flight arrived 30 minutes early, so I was glad that I had left earlier than I needed to. The traffic was light (for Chicago), so that was nice. We made it to her house around 10:45 p.m., and she had to get up early to drive the bus for school.


Kira kindly let me sleep in after my late night. The kids were in good spirits for getting back to school. Jesse was in a great mood. He usually puts his lunch together except for the sandwich (he has trouble spreading the Nutella), but he did the whole thing that morning, and even helped put together Merritt's lunch. I was up in time to say goodbye and then drive Avey to school. I then came home to change clothes and take the truck in to get tires put on. I was done in about 45 minutes and then went to the grocery store, really feeling the difference in traction on the winter roads. I came home to shower and get started on all of my semester preparations.


All of my course evaluations were in, so I looked those over. Of course, 90% of the comments are positive, 7% of them are glowing, and 3% of them were negative, but all I could do the rest of the day was ruminate on the negative comments. I can't please everyone, I suppose...


Kira had a chiropractor appointment in the afternoon, so she left to do that and then visit the bedridden sister in the ward. The boys came home from school while she was gone, so we started homework and unwinding. Jesse's girlfriend was not there that day, so he was quite disappointed. It was a pretty typical evening otherwise.


Wednesday was very cold and windy, but otherwise the standard routine. I was off to get my blood drawn, and once home, Kira then left to take a food order to the drop-off person. We went out to lunch at a local restaurant we pass all the time, but have never tried. It was quite good, although we made it home only 3 minutes before the boys' bus. After some unwinding, I took Carver to adjust his glasses and then pick up Avey at the school after drama club. It was a typical evening. We hadn't seen Hannah over, as she did not want to venture into the frigid air, and was quite tired from her weeks of travel.


Thursday was a typical morning, but then we had the window guys scheduled to come and install the windows we purchased months ago. They had a manufacturing delay due to the pandemic, so we waited and waited. The sales guy told us November, but then the installers called to tell us January. That was annoying, and we were nervous that they were going to remove the two biggest windows in the house on the coldest day we have seen this season (it was a high of 12 degrees or so). Still, they were there right on time, and they were very thorough. they ran into two problems they weren't sure they could solve right then, but they did get them taken care of, and they were all done around 4 p.m.

The old windows had not been professionally installed, and I discovered that water had been dripping onto them due to a problem in the roof. That had probably been going on for years, explaining why the wood around the windows was so rotted. Anyway, I fixed the roof issue a couple of years ago, but the damage to the windows had been done. I am so thrilled with the new ones, too. They let in so much more light, and these new screens are hardly noticeable at all. They keep a lot more of our warm air inside, too.

The kids were excited by all of the action going on once they got home. They got their homework done. Avey came home on the bus and told us that she had destroyed the rest of her classmates on a health quiz, getting the highest score in the class!


Avey and I were feeling the need to get out of the house, so we picked up Hannah and went to a hardware store. I got a boot dryer we're excited to try out, and I'd wanted a long power strip so that I can clean up the hideous (and probably dangerous) mess of cords behind our TV. I was feeling pretty good in the truck with the new tires and no check-engine light, on my way to one of my favorite places. We weren't gone long, and then made it home for the bedtime routine.


Kira tried to let me sleep in on Friday, but our neighbor thought he'd turn on his snowblower to take care of the inch of snow that had fallen overnight. That thing is loud enough to wake Rip Van Winkle. It was even colder than the day before, if you can believe it, so we bundled the kids up tight before sending them out for the bus. I worked more on my semester preparation, and then decided to take a break to bake Carver some brownies. I got to mixing and then realized we were out of eggs, so I ran to the store so I could finish. Kira was busy all day dealing with her calling, mostly trying to get people to do their jobs.


Once home that day, Jesse asked us if he could get his ears pierced. He's been talking about that for a few days now, and it's all he can think about (as his girlfriend still hasn't been back to school for some reason). We had a talk about it. He gave 4 reasons: (a) it would make him feel cool, (b) it would make him feel confident, (c) he is responsible enough to have fed his fish for 7 months, and (d) most of the girls in his class have their ears pierced. I explained that I wouldn't let him smoke a cigarette to feel cool and confident, so a and b were not good enough reasons. I told him he was doing a very good job with his fish, and I told him that most boys do not get their ears pierced. We also talked about how he could not wait to start Tae Kwon Do, then talked about getting his black belt, and then lost all interest within a few weeks. We then talked about how he was obsessed with joining the Boys and Girls Club, and talked about nothing else for days, then went about 8 times, and lost all interest. It's great to try new things, but ear piercing is probably too big of a cost and commitment.


He eventually agreed that he could wear clip-on and magnetic earrings for as long as he wants, and if he is really still interested in getting his ears pierced when he's 10, we'll have a new conversation about it...


When Avey was home, she shared that she had gotten the record for that day in her English class for spelling a list of words correctly. She's sure to rule over us all any day now.


That night, Kira took everybody but Merritt to a musical of Elf that was put on by the same production team Avey was part of for Sister Act. They had a good time, and made it home late. Hannah finally came over that night, but probably regretted it when she had to head out into the very cold night to go home.


Merritt has been showing everyone in the house a new magic trick he saw on a video. He fills up a plastic bag with water, and then pokes a pencil through the bag and the water does not leak out:

He's gone through 5 bags now, I think.

It's supposed to snow even more this afternoon, so we're keeping a close eye out. Kira went to a little educational session this morning to learn about something that interests her. I fed the boys, gave them haircuts, and then bathed them all. Carver wants to earn a new game for the Switch, so he's scrubbing down walls as I write this. Avey and Kira are going to a high school choir concert tonight, so who knows how we'll fill the time in between?

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