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  • Elijah Ricks

Spring in Our Step

Updated: Mar 15

Last Sunday, we had been invited to have dinner with the Reyes family, whom we know from the branch, but who are also intertwined in our lives in several other ways. Merritt must have been more tired than we realized, because once we got there, he insisted that he wanted to stay in the car rather than go inside. I stayed with him for a while, thinking he would slowly come around to the idea of going in. I eventually convinced him to get out of the car and just go explore outside a bit (they live in a forest area). Once we were out, however, the host called down to Merritt from his deck and invited him to go upstairs and see the fire in the fireplace. He agreed to that, and the host even let him toss a log in, which he thoroughly enjoyed.


We enjoyed a wonderful meal (although Merritt wouldn't eat anything but the rice), and then went on a walk together to a nearby park and the beach. The beach was lots of fun with the snow nearly all gone, and we arrived just in time to witness a glorious sunset.

Merritt's attitude had come full circle by then, and he was having the time of his life finding every single rock on the shore and chucking it into the water. He'd get close to the water, lob the rock, and then come running back screaming as the water sped toward him.

When it was time to head back to our host home, Merritt told us that he needed to use the restroom. That was a good thing, because he usually doesn't say anything. Of course, there were no restrooms nearby, so I took him off to a hidden spot behind a tree where he did his business. Then, for the long walk back, I offered to let him ride on my shoulders, but regretted it quickly when I felt his damp pants on my neck. It turns out he had needed to go for a while...

We had dessert back at the house, and then Hannah went with our hostess to pick up four puppies that they were going to keep an eye on for the night. We figured we should ask the kids if they wanted to stick around for that before going home, and of course they did.

The little guys were very adorable, and happy to get some loving, it seemed. Avey took each one out the front door to relieve themselves while the rest of us adored whichever was inside.

After a few minutes of excitement, the puppies seemed all tuckered out, so we let them be while I took the kids home. Kira and Hannah stayed behind to sing while the hostess accompanied them on the piano.


It must have been too much fun, because Kira had a rough night of sleep and so she got up early and did the breakfast routine by herself. Avey was already off on the bus that morning - she's taken it a few days this week. Kira napped once everyone was off to school and then got up to get ready for her client. I did some work, and then played with Merritt outside once Kira had left for work. It was gloriously sunny and warmer than usual, but windy, so we tried flying his kite.

He had fun, even though it wouldn't stay in the air for too long, as the wind was not steady.

When the boys came home on the bus, they got playing outside to enjoy the warmth. A couple of kids from school came over to see if Hakan could play. They decided to play some sort of combat game, so they spent several minutes getting decked out with every toy weapon we have in the house, and then went out to fight zombies. A neighbor kid that Hakan plays with saw the fun and came over with his own toy bow.


Hakan's had quite the week, generally. He recently tried out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again, and it's changed his entire life. His normal staple was peanut butter and honey, but he's converted now. It's funny, because he had tried PBJ before without much enthusiasm, so I'm not sure what's changed.

Hakan's Rendition of a Fart

Hakan's been picking at about 8 scabs on his forehead, cheeks, and chin this last week, and so that's been a tough one to tackle. He'll smear blood all over his face. I get it, because I remember doing the same thing when I was about his age. In any case, we covered most of them with bandages for a whole day or so, and that seems to have slowed down his interest in picking at them. He's healing up slowly now.


Monday night, Hannah surprised us with some Oreo balls she had made. We thoroughly enjoyed those while watching some TV.


Tuesday was a pretty standard morning, but there was no library class due to some technical problems, so poor Merritt was without an outlet. Once the kids were home in the afternoon, I offered to take them to a park. Merritt wanted to go to the one by the dog park, but Hakan stayed to play with a friend who showed up, and Carver wasn't interested. Avey offered to go so that Apollo could play at the dog park while I supervised Merritt. Merritt made a 4-year-old friend, so that was fun for him. He'd had a rough day, fighting off eye drops again during the day, but he did better that night.


Kira had felt crummy most of Tuesday, so on Wednesday I let her sleep in and did most of breakfast. It was remote learning that day, and Hakan simply couldn't fathom doing any work on the iPad when the sun was shining so brightly outside. He played a lot, but eventually did get his stuff done later. We had a guy come over to complete some paperwork for refinancing our mortgage - we decided to take advantage of the low interest rates. After that was done, I went to a dentist appointment for a cleaning, and forgot that I had also arranged to have a filling redone, so I was there for a while. I'd had a very light lunch, so I was very hungry by the time the numbness was gone. Kira had kept everybody on task with their remote learning, and kept up with Merritt's eye drops. We tried an idea her sister had suggested, where we lay him down, and put the drops over his tear ducts while his eyes are closed, and then he chooses to open them and let the medicine in. That worked much better for him.


It was very windy all night, which probably contributed to why Avey and I did not sleep well. She skipped the bus that morning to get a few more minutes of sleep. I showered and got breakfast going, and reminded Carver that he had committed to shower that morning (after putting up a big fight the night before). He ate his breakfast and then dashed off to shower quickly. I took Avey to school and then Kira took me to the train station for my marathon day. In the afternoon, Avey went on another bike riding adventure, this time taking Kira's phone with her so that she could call in case anything happened. She had a good time. I got home very late again, and then Avey opened a tube of superglue, but it exploded all over her hand. She spent a while getting cleaned up.


Friday was a full day. I did some work before making a run to Walgreens for a few things and then my eye appointment. I went straight to Costco from there, and then Kira helped me get it all unloaded before I did some more work. We had postponed Carver's birthday sleepover until that night, thanks to Merritt's pink eye. Carver's friend came over around 4, and brought his little brother who is good friends with Merritt. They all had a grand time, playing in the backyard and taking breaks to play video games. We got a fire going in the fire pit later in the evening, and they had fun with that. We even lit a few sparklers and such before taking the younger brother home. Avey was gracious and let Carver and his friend watch shows on her TV so that we older people could use the main TV. Merritt went to bed a bit later than usual, and we let the others stay up extra late.

They paid for it the next day, and Carver was very happy to have his friend over, but he got pretty whiny later in the afternoon. In any case, on Saturday we offered to let Carver's friend stay until noon or so, and invited his little brother back over to go to a park. We took the walkie talkies so that I could walk Apollo around while they played, but the younger brother used his to update me about every 3 seconds. At least he had fun with it.

I dropped them off at their home and came back to help with lunch. I then went back to the eye doctor to get fitted for a new pair of glasses (mine are old). When I came home I replaced some caulk along the floor of the kids' bathtub that was gross. I had used the wrong caulk the first time I did it, thinking it wouldn't really matter, but it got very dirty very quickly, so I thought I'd replace it. I then sanded down the patch that I'd put in the ceiling where the water had leaked through from the upstairs bathtub. Now we can barely see it, but I still want to paint it.


I offered Avey some money if she'd clean the mud room floor, as it was horrible from all of winter and Hakan's latest project: digging a huge hole in the backyard:

He's been tracking dirt into the mudroom a lot. In any case, Avey took me up on the offer, and worked very hard on getting the floor cleared and then cleaned. She even used the pressure washer to clean out some of the extra dirty objects, and so I offered her even more money than we'd agreed on. She did a really good job, and now the mudroom looks great.


Hannah spent a good portion of the day off birding at some place an hour or so away. It was apparently successful, though, as she saw a couple of species for the first time ever.


The rest of the day was mostly Hakan playing with all of the neighborhood kids until he ran out of steam. Merritt had a rough time going to bed, clearly over-tired. In any case, we got them all to bed, and then watched just a little TV before changing the clocks for some reason.


We don't have big plans today. Avey's dog-sitting for the neighbors again, so there's that. Otherwise, we're going to do our best to make today low-key. We're pretty bad at that, though.

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