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  • Elijah Ricks

Sheddy Week

It was a rather rough week, all things considered, but at least we had some fun, too.


Kira was gone for most of last weekend because she was asked to play the piano at a baptism in the morning, and then ran some errands before coming home. I bathed kids and did laundry and tried to keep the kids occupied. We had a play date scheduled for the afternoon with Jesse's girlfriend. She came to our house this time, and got here before Kira was home. It was nice to see Jesse and her interact. They do make a cute pair, and she had fun checking out the rats and going on a grand tour of the house that Jesse led.


Kira arrived not too long after, and so I took the chance to get out of the house if just for a few minutes. I went shopping for a few ingredients I would need for the Sunday meal the next day. The rest of the day was mostly managing kids. Merritt was especially grumpy at bedtime, but it sure seemed like he was just tired. He's been doing that much more lately - getting very irritable, mostly due to hunger and/or exhaustion. He fell asleep quickly, at least. Hannah came over and we older kids watched a movie.


Sunday was usual. I got the kids ready for church while Kira readied herself. I baked another cake from scratch that morning: this time trying a yellow cake. It turned out pretty well also. I made our meal also, and then Hannah brought home the kids while Kira stayed after to do visits in the branch for branch conference. I kept the kids occupied and washed all the dishes from all of my kitchen stuff. Hannah and Avey bathed Apollo (he was pretty long overdue), and then Hannah took him on a walk.


There was no school the next day, and so Carver was invited over to a neighbor's house. It's Ivy's family, and their son is Carver's age and also plays the cello, so it sure seems that he and Carver have lots in common. Carver got his stuff together and I made him something to eat for breakfast the next day (we can't afford to take many chances with his Celiac). He headed off around 3 p.m., and had a great time. Kira arrived after he had left, so she didn't see him until the next morning. I took a moment to get out of the house and drop off some library items, then came right home to dive back into the chaos, although I was very tired by then. Jesse was really hoping to watch a movie. He really loves playing with other kids, and so when he was not invited to the sleepover it took a real toll on him. Kira was kind and offered to let him stay up extra late and watch a movie with her, so they went and did that. Merritt again had a very grumpy display before bedtime. Avey hung out in his room with him until he fell asleep. Hannah and I just sort of hung out and then she left when it became apparent that no one else was going to join in for any card games or whatever.


Kira had several late cancellations for her work on Monday, so she spent part of the morning arranging to take the kids to an indoor playground at a local church.

Kira also made it a point to feed the kids before I got up, so that was a nice break. She picked up Jesse's girlfriend and took Jesse and Merritt. Carver came home from the sleepover about 10:00, and he had a good time, but was tired the rest of the day, of course. I worked for a while in the morning, trying to finish up last preparations for the semester, but I made sure to take a good mental break while I had the chance. Avey took Apollo on a walk and then Kira fed the boys when she got home. She then left for her afternoon clients. She had planned to be home earlier than usual, but then her last client stayed nearly 3 hours as they kept working on things. We went to bed early because I had an early day with classes starting the next day.


I slept terribly, as I usually do the night before the first day of the semester. I made it to campus with plenty of time and the classes went well. I was very nervous in the first class because a student I've seen around campus was in class. He has some obvious developmental problems, and especially seems to have trouble with composing himself. So when he came into the classroom I felt some panic come over me for how difficult this semester may be. He was very disruptive that first day - making noises, mumbling to himself, and so on. It's hard to know how much he's picking up from the lecture, so we'll see how it goes, but I had to ask him if he needed to take a break when he was getting especially loud. I could see how much he was distracting the other students, and so I felt bad for how this will affect their learning, but I thought if it continues I can speak with some people about what seems to work to help him remain calm.


Anyway, the other classes went well also, but this semester I teach 3 courses back-to-back, and I have to switch buildings every time, so there was not even a moment to catch my breath. I was exhausted and so very hungry by the time my third class ended. I will need to come up with some ways to stay on top of that, like maybe eating breakfast in the city so that it's not so long between my meals.


Anyway, Carver stayed home on Tuesday with a sore throat. He had complained of it the night before, but it wasn't clear just how much of his discomfort was due to the poor sleep at the sleepover. However, it seemed pretty clear that he had something going on. His nose was stuffy and he got some headaches. On top of that, Avey had a wave of nausea at school and so Kira picked her up early just to be safe. She seemed fine after that. Carver seemed worse by bedtime, however, so he stayed home again on Wednesday.


Wednesday, Kira let me sleep in a little and Carver slept in quite a bit, too. Once the other kids were gone, I did work and then ran for some groceries. Kira had a chiropractor appointment and worked on some preparations for Isaac's arrival that evening. I also cleaned up and then made some indoor s'mores to have on hand. It was the typical afternoon rush of homework and feeding the kids. Isaac's plane was delayed, but Hannah picked him up in Gary and he was here about 8:45 p.m. It was nice to catch up with him a bit before I went to bed.

Merritt's Shirt With 100 Dots (Hard to See)

I slept better, but was still in a pretty big sleep deficit the rest of the week from Monday night. Classes went well again, and I was relieved that the student with special needs was much quieter this time. I did have to ask him to mute a video he was playing on his laptop, but that was about all.

Merritt's Self-Portrait at 100 Years Old

I caught an earlier train to get home and then took over at home so that Kira could drive Jesse and Isaac to the Talent Show auditions. Jesse has thrown together a comedy routine where he is an ungraceful ballerino. They came back not long afterwards because there was a misunderstanding about the time, and so then Kira took Jesse again later during the correct time. I fed everyone else dinner. Hannah came over to try and solve this mystery noise problem on her car. She pulled in Isaac for another set of ears and eyes, but the cause is still not clear. We watched a little more before bedtime.


Friday, Kira shut off her alarm before it went off and then sneaked out of the bedroom to get the kids ready for school. I woke up about an hour later, and then rushed down to see the kids get on the bus. I've still not recovered from Monday night, apparently. I did some work and hung out with Isaac some. We adults met Hannah at a diner downtown and had a good lunch there. We then came home to digest and wait for the bus. The kids needed entertaining, so at least Isaac had some energy to chase them around.


Carver stayed after school for a special honor roll party, and then Kira left to get him. He said it was dumb and boring, and so he probably won't go again next time. I fed the boys dinner before Kira was back with Carver, and then I took Avey downtown to hang with friends for a while. Hannah picked up Isaac and they left to drive to South Bend to see a favorite comedian of ours. They were back a little before 10 and told us all about the show. We watched just a little and then went to bed.


We planned to go to the Shedd Aquarium on Saturday using some Christmas money, and Isaac had given Hannah a year membership there for Christmas, too. We were up early for the packing and preparations, and then we drove to the train station. We rode the bus first, and Jesse absolutely loved the bus. He spent the first 15 minutes outlining exactly what he loved about the bus.

It was apparently quite the upgrade from his school bus rides.

We then transferred to the train, and Merritt had a great time on that.

We made it to the aquarium around 11, and then saw lots of the sights. Merritt started off absolutely thrilled with the displays, and then for the rest of the day he would vacillate between pure joy and absolute misery. It was sort of like he would get hungry or tired and then realize that he was not playing a video game, so he decided that this was the worst experience of his entire life. What seemed to work well was getting some snacks in him and then distracting him with a new display.

He had the most fun at a couple of small play areas for kids his age. He ran into one of his classmates there, too, so that was good that he had a friend with whom he could play. He seemed to also have a blast watching the dolphins do their tricks, even telling a couple sitting nearby all about what the dolphins were doing. Of course, once the couple left, he decided he was bored out of his mind beyond all mortal limits. Between snacks and carrying him on my shoulders, he managed somehow to survive the Shedd Aquarium.

I overheard a couple speaking German at the play area, and so I struck up a conversation. That was fun, although I am still pretty rusty at speaking. I've been watching some series in German, and so I feel like my comprehension is at an all-time high, but it's just not the same as speaking.

Touching Sea Stars

We had a little scare when we all left to head to another section of the aquarium and then realized that Jesse was not actually with us. Hannah, Avey, and I all turned back to find him and had to backtrack pretty far. We found him. He must have stopped to wash his hands and then when he didn't see us, he wandered in the opposite direction.

Sea Horses

We had a few minutes before our train was due to come, so Merritt decided he wanted to go touch the sturgeons again - he really enjoyed that, but will not admit it now.

Merritt Touches Sea Stars

We then made it back to the train, all hungry and tired. We ran into Merritt's classmate, so they sat together on the train. Isaac treated us to pizza for dinner, and so while he ran to pick that up, I fed the boys. Kira drove Avey to a school dance that night to which she was fashionably late.

She had a good time there, and was home a little after 10. We were all very tired from the long day.


This morning was standard for a Sunday, but it's gently snowing. We will see if we can keep the insanity to a minimum for the rest of this week. Isaac leaves us on Wednesday, but we'll see if we can't convince him to come back maybe over Hannah's spring break...

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