We've settled into a routine of cereal, morning chores / play outside time, 2nd breakfast, school time while Wendell naps, a late lunch, afternoon outing (errands about 2x per week, a couple of fun outings, and sometimes playtime at home), cleanup, movie / dinner prep time, baths, toothbrushing, and bedtime stories. It is very helpful to plan out either the night before or first thing in the morning what all of the meals will be, what special chore we'll be doing in the morning, what the school activities will be, and what we'll do in the afternoon. Iris is especially interested in hearing the plan for each day. I'm pretty amazed at how much more smoothly the days go when they're planned out and when I'm committed to having meals ready at particular times.
The garden is going pretty well - we're getting a big handfull of berries every day, plus plenty of cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplants, onions, and a few green beans. Oh, and the kale is still going strong. We got a couple of figs this week, plus the tree seems to be setting a nice second crop. One of the plum trees has a couple dozen unripe plums on it, one of the apple trees has about a dozen small apples, and one of the grape vines has a few clusters of green grapes, so hopefully there will be more fruit for us soon.
The kids are signed up for the summer reading program at both of the libraries in walking distance of our house. The prizes include passes to go swimming at the Plunge and passes for two different science museums. We're looking forward to a few exciting days. :-)
I noticed a rough spot and a hole on one of my molars last weekend and thought I had lost a filling. When I went to the dentist, it turned out that I had actually lost a bit of tooth next to an old filling. Since I'm pregnant, the dentist just cleaned up the spot and put in a temporary filling. No painkillers were offered, but thankfully I had no pain. I need to go back and get the whole shebang (temporary filling + old filling) replaced with a new permanent filling sometime in the fall. I really try hard to take good care of my teeth and eat healthy food, although I know I have too much sugar. I wonder how much the tooth breakage was caused by just having crappy teeth, and how much all the pregnancies and nursing have been taking a toll on my body.
I finally bought a sewing machine (from IKEA of all places) a couple weeks ago and made a bunch of wipes out of some flannel blankets. We'd been given a bunch of flannel blankets that were just a little too small for swaddling babies, so we hadn't used them very much. Meanwhile, most of our flannel baby wipes had gotten pretty threadbare and were starting to develop holes, so it was nice to be able to turn something we hadn't gotten much use out of into something we will use a lot. I was also able to replace the elastic in half a dozen diapers that Wendell had been peeing out the legs of. They seemed to be in good shape other than the worn-out elastic, which is great, considering that they've been in use for almost 4 years now.
Ben and I have been spending way too much time on ancestry.com lately. About a month ago, a woman contacted me on 23andme because we were predicted to be 3rd cousins and she was curious how we were related. Because she mentioned German and Irish ancestry and most of her family having been in the Philadelphia area for several generations back, I thought the connection was likely to be on my mom's side. Unfortunately, all I really knew was my mom's maiden name and the area she'd grown up in. The woman messaged me back with, "Oh, is your mom [name]? And was her father [name]? If so, I think you're a Tricebock." And she linked me to the whole Tricebock genealogy. My great-grandmother (whose maiden name was Tricebock) had 10 siblings. I traced out a lot of their descendants, mostly wondering how large this family had gotten and wondering if I had any semi-famous 3rd cousins. I didn't find anyone famous, but I did find 3 sets of fraternal twins (not counting Neil & Zinnia), and all of their mothers are Tricebock descendants rather than the wives of Tricebock descendants. So I guess twins do run in my family. :-) Also, our combined tree is huge - most of Ben's and my great-grandparents had 6+ siblings, and several had 10+ siblings. I'm curious how common that was back in the day.
Finally, here are a couple of anecdotes about Iris and Neil...
Iris loves to look through the recycling basket in our kitchen for things to use for projects. The other day, she found a paper towel tube and an empty can that had previously contained tomatoes. She put the can over the tube and proudly showed her creation to Ben, saying, "Potato dickhead!" "What???!!!" "Potato dicked. See - it says on the can." Sure enough, the can said "Petite diced".
While we were at story time last week, the librarian read a book about a desert toad who encounters other desert animals while looking for water. The toad met a scorpion. Lots of kids were chiming in with their comments about the various animals, and Neil was trying to as well. He got frustrated that nobody was listening and said loudly, "Excuse me, I'm trying to tell you something!" The room got quiet as he went on, very earnestly, "Did you know that scorpions were prehistoric animals?" Afterwards, he came and sat quietly right next to me for the rest of the story time.
And now, it is long past my bedtime. Goodnight!