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  • Elijah Ricks

Over the Hill

Updated: Nov 14

This week was a celebration of my birthday for some reason, more sick kids, and lots of stuff to do.


Last Saturday, Kira made me a waffle breakfast and then got to work on my cake: a Boston Cream Pie. Hannah joined for the waffles and then patiently let Merritt ramble on about everything that came to his mind. He mostly narrated everything he was doing on his video game, and demanded that she retain each detail about whatever he did and why. She left a little later.


The day was prohibitively windy, and so that limited any outdoor activity. Jesse took an old bed sheet on the trampoline and tried to let the wind carry him off like a kite:

Otherwise, we were mostly confined to the indoors. We ate my cake in the late afternoon.

We're Going to Need a Bigger Cake for All the Candles!

Kira and I then fed the boys and left Avey in charge while we went to Chicago for the concert my siblings had bought. It was a smooth drive, and the parking was shockingly easy.

We got there with good time - able to get in and seated just a few minutes before the opening band, Poppy, of whom I had never heard before, but enjoyed. After a pause to change out the stage, Jane's Addiction came on and put on a good show. Finally, the band we'd come for came on, The Smashing Pumpkins.

They had a really great show, playing a wide range of their music from nearly all of their albums over the years. It was also a good balance of new stuff with their classics.

We also got out of the arena and parking lot with relative ease, so it was smooth sailing home. We made it home just a few minutes before midnight, so we were very glad to get to change the clocks in the right direction that night! When I went up to get in my pajamas, Jesse came out of his room in tears. He complained of a headache, which is rare for him. I gave him some medicine and he went back to bed, but he seemed like he may be coming down with something.


Avey had a good report about how the evening went. We're so glad that she's old enough and responsible enough to keep the boys from starting up a meth lab while we're away!


Sunday morning came too early, but we felt pretty okay after nearly 8 hours of sleep. Jesse was still feeling pretty bad, although it wasn't clear what it was. He didn't seem feverish, but it's not like him to fake an illness. He's easily our best kid in terms of getting himself ready without asking (which I never would have guessed based on his 2- and 3-year-old behavior), and so when he says he's not feeling very well, I believe him. He stayed home with me and tried to rest. I mostly worked on laundry and lunch, but I did unwind a bit. Hannah came over after church, but Kira took the boys to visit an older lady in the branch and have them sing her a few primary songs, so she was a bit later.


Merritt tried Kira's leftover waffles from the day before and actually liked them (probably just because I hadn't made them).


Hannah left after lunch, and then I opened my presents, which were all very thoughtful and timely - thank you again to all who contributed! We then watched an old family video of my family when I was about 14 or whatever - that was fun. We then played some backyard games and had dinner. It felt very late for some strange reason that probably was not at all related to turning back the clocks. We got the kids to bed and then chatted with Avey, and Merritt came downstairs complaining of a stuffy nose. We worried he would wake up sick the next morning... Jesse was up in the night with a rough cough, so it looked likely that he would be home sick the next day.


Monday was my official birthday (ugh). Kira let me sleep in. I had planned to just have a quiet day at home while Kira went into work. I'd hoped to get my work done and then maybe watch a movie or something. Jesse was home sick, though. He seemed to be mostly okay, but with his occasional cough it just seemed best that he not go in. I tried to get through my work, but a lot of stuff kept pouring in, so it took longer than I had hoped. I kept Jesse fed and he worked on his schoolwork that he was missing. Kira got a break at work and brought Jesse and me some lunch. I then took a little drive just so that I could get out of the house for the day, but came home after not too long so that Kira could leave for her afternoon clients. The mail brought three birthday cards!

Jesse Built a Rover Explorer From a Kit

When the bus brought Merritt, he was in a great mood after passing off his +4 math that day. It was a normal afternoon of homework and preparations for the next day. I fed everyone, Avey walked Apollo, and it felt dark so very early that it's rather unsettling. Hannah brought over some Culver's frozen custard to share with us that night while we watched a little TV, and then we got to bed.


Tuesday was standard for me, but it was a remote learning day for the kids (election day). Kira got to sleep in a little and then got up to start the taskmaster role. She said that the kids did a great job staying focused. They were probably glad to have a different day. I kept busy in the city and then home to help with dinner before we started parent-teacher conferences. We weren't able to connect with Jesse's teacher, but we did a virtual meeting with Merritt's teacher. Naturally, she had nothing but praise for the little stinker.

Jesse Composts

Hannah stayed home that night, and we called it an early night, too.


Kira let me sleep in again on Wednesday, and Jesse was home sick again after the cough still lingered. He was almost entirely better, so we were sure he would go back in the next day. He focused on getting his tasks done, and I did my work, too. Kira left for the chiropractor.


I tried to start the dishwasher that morning, but it was just not going for it. I've been dealing with this for months now - we close the door and push the button to start it, but it needs an extra squeeze or push or something before it will finally start. I've tried a couple of different things - I did fix one issue weeks ago, but it was not the problem keeping it from starting. Anyway, I finally couldn't stand it anymore, and decided to try something else. There was a little latch that hooks when we close the dishwasher door, and the latch did not feel loose or anything, but it looked like it could have been closing lower. Anyway, I tried removing it and bending it so that it would close tighter - it took about 5 minutes, and now the dishwasher is working like a dream. I'm so glad that did the trick, and I'm so frustrated that it didn't occur to me earlier! At least we didn't waste money on a repairman...

I picked Avey up from school that afternoon, and she told me that her 8th grade teacher (from last year) had been killed in a car accident the night before (read more here). She was 24, and had just been married this year, so it was all very tragic. She'd heard that there would be a candlelight vigil at a church in Chesterton, so we decided to take her after we were done running errands.


I went shoe shopping, but didn't find anything good, so we got Avey to her appointment and then I tried to rush to another store. That was a waste of time, so I decided to try online shopping. I bought some shoes online, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they turn out alright.


I dropped Avey at the church for the vigil. There were a lot of people there, including lots of the teacher's former and current students. There was even a news crew there. I left Avey to have some time to herself and went to the library to answer emails from work. We then drove home to trade out with Kira, who took Merritt to gymnastics while I got the boys ready for bed.

Hannah joined us that night for some TV.

I was awake a little early the next morning after waking from a bizarre dream. I was able to get breakfast started for the boys before leaving for the city. It was a nice warm day, and Jesse was finally well enough to go. Kira then had a nice day with the house to herself. My classes went well, but there was lots to do in between. I bathed Merritt when I got home, and Kira did the trashes and dishes. Carver practiced a Christmas song on his cello - Kira wants him to have it ready to play in church. I noticed that the music also had guitar chords on it, so we tried it out as a duet (with me on guitar). It sounded really nice, so we are maybe going to keep working on it as a duet.


Kira was up early on Friday to get ready and volunteer at Jesse's school. It was Veterans Day, so Jesse's grade was putting on a pancake breakfast for the veterans in the area, and it included a little program. Kira took some food to prepare and Jesse had a brief speaking part.

Kira drove Jesse to school, but Merritt still wanted to stick behind to ride the bus, so he did that.


Avey was feeling a little crummy the night before, so she slept in a little longer on Friday, but then got up to get to math class. I drove her there and then came home to keep working. Kira came home and had good reports from the Veterans Day breakfast.

I worked more and then met Hannah for some racquetball. She had interviewed someone that morning to help out in the office, so her empire is slowly coming together...


I ran by the hardware store on my way home (added a latch to my shed door). The bus came to drop off the first load of boys, and Jesse left to go play at a friend's house. Avey stayed late after school, helping with the backstage stuff for the musical. I baked a cake just for fun that afternoon.

I'll probably bake another one in honor of my brother's birthday this Friday.


Hannah joined for just a little while to have some cake before going home to get to bed early. She went to the temple this morning.


Kira had some stake meeting this morning, so she was up to get ready for that. I got to sleep in, but then fed the boys and am now trying to keep them from tearing the house apart. Today is in the 30s, so we're maybe going to get our first snow of the season. But that means the kids don't want to go outside... It's likely to be a lazy day for the most part.

This is the last week of school before I get Thanksgiving break, so I'm looking forward to that. We hope to have everyone healthy for a full week of school for once!


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