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Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Hard-Working Worm

This weekend, Gideon finally took his next steps (apparently he took his first step several weeks ago but hadn't repeated it until now). On Saturday he was standing up and saw something he wanted and took three solid steps before sort of collapse-shuffling the rest of the way. That evening he took another two steps, and Sunday afternoon he took one solid step and then collapsed on the next one. We're all very excited; he may be walking a bit by Thanksgiving!

The bulk of Saturday we were participating in Extra Life, which is a charity event that Mike's work put on an instance of. It is to help the primary children's hospital. We raised over $1000 for the hospital. It was pretty fun. Mike liked best playing games with the kids. You can see some of the games we streamed here.

Alison has been re-adapting to polyphasic sleep after giving it up when everyone was sick a couple weeks ago. If you've been polyphasic for more than a few months, you're supposed to be able to sleep when you're sick and then go back to polyphasic without much trouble, but Alison is not there yet. This week has been exhausting again. She is spending lots of time scrubbing walls and doing other mindless motion tasks. She's excited to get past the worst of the tiredness next week.

Timmy has decided that he is a worm anytime he doesn't want to move; he flops down on his tummy and wiggles around, helping very slowly. Despite that, he's been very good about helping clean this week; some nights he even outpaces his big sisters!

Rea decided to focus on playing the piano for the next few months; she wants to play some songs for all her relatives around Christmas time. We're using online piano lessons called Hoffman Academy right now, and it's going well.

Sara was practicing making faces on Sunday afternoon, and Alison and Miked joked that she needs acting lessons. She loves to dress up and be dramatic. We'll keep it in mind for when she's old enough.

We're all getting very excited about Thanksgiving. We need to pack this week and get ready to go. We'll leave right after milking the goats Saturday morning and drive all day Saturday, then spend a week at the beach house until we drive back next Saturday. This time we've got goat milkers already, so the rest of the preparations are much less stressful. It will be really fun!

This week Mike has been editing rule documents for his games lot. He is sort of sick of it, but he needs to finish it before December, because the Ion Award deadline is on the first day of December, and Ion awaits for no man.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

All God's Critters

Gideon is a year old today!

This week he has really started talking. He says very simple things, but he is actually communicating what he wants to now. Some of his favorite words are:

"See!", which he says while showing us something that he is holding. The correct response is "Yes, I see it." After that happens, 50% of the time he will try to put the item in his mouth, but the other 50% of the time he will say

"Throw!", and then throw it across the room. He is by far the best thrower that we have had in our family at this age.

He still signs some of the time, but he mostly likes talking. He regularly summons his siblings by saying "Rea!", and he likes to say "Hi" and "Bye" to people.

He also is still right on the cusp of walking. Any day he might decide that it is worth it and do it. He is not the type of baby to be bossed around, so we basically have to wait for him to be ready.

Timmy has been singing "All God's critters got a place in the choir" all week. He found a book at the library with the words to the song, and really loved it. It is cute to have him constantly singing it.

Rea and Alison both have been reading a series of young adult novels this week. Alison just found them for the first time, and is now reading them a lot, and Rea found out that they were fun, so she is reading them too.

Sara has been very helpful this week. She helps cooking, and also tries to help to keep giddy happy when he is being fussy.

Mike just found out that his card game is going to be published early next year. I will notify you all here when it happens.

Our family all got sick this week, and because of that, Alison stopped her new sleep schedule for a few days. She is now getting back to it. Mike has been fairly successful in his sleep schedule. He seems to be adjusting without much trouble.

Mike is also about to embark on training to become an online adjunct professor at BYU-Idaho. They sent him an email a few months ago, telling him that there was a shortage of online teachers, and he applied because it was always a dream of his to teach college courses when he retired. He has been provisionally accepted, and is now being given an assessment that will determine his online teacher skillz.

If he gets the job, it will be a part time job that he can do while he is awake in the middle of the night, so it was quite a tender mercy that this came up at the same time that he is starting a new sleep schedule.

Oh, and there was also Halloween this week. Rea was a witch, Sara was a Princess, and Timmy was a ladybug. Gideon didn't dress up, and the kids all got way more candy than they should have. We also had about all of our candy that we were supposed to give out left over. Apparently no trick or treaters will ever visit our house.
We made cookie dough out of the left over candy, and we estimate that we can bake cookies weekly from now until the end of the year and not run out.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Emeritus Eagles

On Tuesday we went to the ward trunk or treat and chili cook off. The kids enjoyed visiting all of the cars, and we all had a good time. The chili and the company both were good.

Also on Tuesday Timmy told Mike and Alison that he was an emeritus eagle. It took a while to figure it out, but he meant American.

On Wednesday we went over to Scott and Sheila's house. Mike was showing Scott the ins and outs of the laser cutter, and the whole family came over too. It was fun to talk to them. Sheila has an idea for a website for Mike to make. It sounds like a good idea, and perhaps it will be lucrative too.

On Friday, Sara and Timmy both started throwing up. They felt better by Saturday, and then on Saturday Alison and Gideon started showing symptoms of a cold. We are not sure if we just have two independent sicknesses going through the house at the same time, or if they are related. Either way, the cold is lasting much longer than the vomiting.

Mike and Alison have continued their new sleeping schedule this week. Mike feels pretty much normal, but Alison changed her schedule to accommodate being up in the night at the same time as Mike, and she is now struggling to readjust.

Gideon has also decided to change his sleeping habits. He never wants to sleep at the same time as Alison and Mike any more. It has been a bit of a challenge.

On some day this week Gideon stood up, took one step and then grabbed on to Alison. He hasn't walked farther than that yet, but it is a start.

Rea and Sara did a lot of cooking this week. They made corn bread for the chili cook-off, and helped to prepare multiple of our meals.

Rea wants us to add that Timmy and Sara stayed up late last night, and kept her up. Hopefully that doesn't continue.

Finally, Mike is getting ready for Extra Life, which is a charity fundraiser for the primary children's hospital. If you are interested in participating (via a donation, or by playing board/video games on Mike's team) you can learn more here. We will be playing games November 11th for "24 hours" (I won't likely actually play the whole time since I have a family, but some people from the team will be).

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The fall comes on little cat feet

On Monday, we had a special treat. Grandma Julie came to town to spend a week at the cabin with her sisters, and we picked her up at the airport and went to the zoo all day. It was wonderful! Grandma said that she should start coming to Utah once a month, spending a day with us and a night with Patty before going home. We would sure love that! It was great to talk and play and see all the animals.

This week Mike has begun getting ready for the Ion Awards again. He has three games this year that he hopes to have ready by December 1st. That is a month earlier than is usual, but he still hopes to have them all ready in time.

He has also been doing more work on the website that he is making in his spare time. It is nearly ready to show off to the board game design community. Perhaps in a few weeks it will be done.

Gideon is working on standing and walking and climbing on everything. This week he learned to stand for much longer at a time and once even picked up a foot while standing. He immediately fell over, but it's progress toward walking! He still likes to climb on tables, chairs, people, and everything else he can find. We're trying to teach him not to climb on the table; he understands no but doesn't always listen. We're also working on not eating small toys; he's our mouthiest baby, but again, he does understand the word no.

Timmy has been inventing animals this week; the latest one was a kind of monkey with wings and a shell. He knows a lot about real animals, too; he's really picking up information at the zoo and from books we read and retaining and using it very well. It's so fun to see him get more mature.

Sara was cleaning up very well this week. She's still in a very helpful phase, running to get things for parents. We love having her help.

Rea loves to take care of Gideon. She wants to carry him and unbuckle his car-seat and feed him and play with him. It's very nice for Alison, especially when she naps. Rea is very good to help Gideon stay happy for 20 minutes if he's awake during Alison's nap.

Alison has been doing well with her new sleeping schedule, so on Friday Mike decided to follow her example. He will take three naps during the day, and sleep 3.5 hours at night. This is, of course assuming that he can get into that sleeping schedule in a month or so. So far he is nearly 24 hours into the new schedule, and isn't really all that tired. Alison has said that it gets worse before it gets better, so this upcoming week or two might be interesting.

Saturday Alison went through all the Montessori shelves and rearranged them. She put a lot of stuff that we're not using away so that the kids could use the tallest bookshelf to stand and work at when they don't want Gideon to reach their works. We'll see how it goes this week. If the kids love it, we might install the Ikea desks that mount to the wall at standing height for the girls and let them work there.

Finally, on Saturday we ate our first home grown king oyster mushrooms from Mike and Sheila's mushroom log birthday present to me. Now both of their logs have produced mushrooms. We had the first ones in an excellent quiche. They tasted very good.

We also finished "The Castle in the Air", and started "The Wee Free Men" this week.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Meerkat baby goes berserk!

Gideon became a meerkat this week. He can crawl around, stand up on his two legs (without any support), and then squat back down to crawling all by himself. He seems to be closer to walking than he was before, and his balance is getting much better.

This week Sara, Rea, and Timmy all drew all over their faces. It took quite a lot of scrubbing to get it all off. Perhaps this will be a learning experience for them.

They also carved some pumpkins. We are not sure what they were supposed to look like, but they are pretty scary.

On Thursday Rea invited some friends over for a Halloween party. It was supposed to be a costume party, but no-one showed up in costumes since they all cam straight from school. They cut corn tortillas in the shape of pumpkins and coated them with orange oil, and toasted them into chips. Rea was very excited about this recipe. Other than that they mostly played outside. It was Alison's type of party.

Alison and Mike have been dreaming of making an onsen for a while. We went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Friday to see what they sell, and that got us thinking about the onsen again. We drew up plans that would require 100 cinder blocks to make a rectangular pool that would be able to fit our whole family in it. We would dig it into the ground and line it with stone tiles to make it look nice. There are other steps to making it, but those are the first.

While at the ReStore, an employee gave all of our kids some plush monkey toys. They are very happy about them - they even insisted that we wrote about them in this blog.

Saturday morning we went online and checked to see if anyone was selling cinder-blocks, and for how much they were selling them, and we found that a guy in Salt Lake was giving them away for free. We were only able to fit 75 into the van, so we still need 25 more for the onsen, but it was a nice thing to get for free.

We did an organized simplicity cleaning of the parents bedroom on Saturday afternoon. It was pretty easy since we had done one so recently. Mike threw out a bunch of old documents as part of it, so we had a fire last night.

As we sat around the fire, we tried the kids out on a rules-light RPG. Each person got to make up a character that had one of two traits, and then we all told a story about the characters together. When a character was doing anything that had a chance of failure, we rolled a die to see what the outcome would be. The kids really liked it, and we will probably (with some modifications) do it again some time.

We have been thinking about hosting a Haloween RPG session again - perhaps we would play a small game with the kids first, and then play an adult game after. Since the first try to get our kids playing an RPG went pretty well, we are thinking that it could be a fun thing to try out.

Alison is still adapting to her new sleep schedule. During the end of the week she was doing pretty well, so it seems like she is getting used to it. She is going to keep trying it for another week at least.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Goose Game

Alison has been on an alternative sleep schedule since Monday this week. She has been sleeping 4.5 hours each night, and taking three 20 minute naps during the day. According to her research, it takes a few weeks to adjust to the new schedule, and after that she should feel normal again. On the first two days she felt pretty much normal, but Thursday and Friday she has felt sleepy during the day.

She says that after having four children, it isn't anything that she hasn't experienced before, but she is looking forward to the adjustment period being over. If she isn't feeling normal again by the end of October she is going to go back to normal sleeping for a while to reconsider her plans.

On Tuesday, a new DB technology - Firestore - was announced by google, and Mike is going to use it on the website that he is developing. It addresses some of the concerns that Mike had about the Firebase realtime DB.

On Wednesday Timmy's cast came off. They put his hand into a splint which he is allowed to take off for baths, but which he is supposed to wear at other times for a few weeks.

On Friday we used one of the two redbox codes that we got last Christmas to rent Hidden Figures. We are really bad at watching movies, and this is the first one that sounded interesting since then. We enjoyed the movie. It wasn't inappropriate, and it was uplifting. Perhaps we will watch that Harry Potter universe movie with the other one, but probably we will not remember to do it.

On Saturday we celebrated Rea's birthday. We started with a special breakfast: eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, cider and pancakes. After that Rea and Alison went to a baptism. Marissa Dalyia came over to play in the morning.

After lunch we went canoeing on the Jordan river. We invited the Plastows to go with us (they have the Poulson's old canoe, so they were equipped to go). We ate cake while on the river, and then we hung out in shield park for a while. It was fun.

We met a canadian goose during the trip, but it wouldn't play with us.

After going home Rea built a treehouse in the front yard using some lumber that we had in our shed. We had macaroni and cheese and hotdogs for dinner (Rea's request), and then did our team clean.g

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Not to have anything planned

On Tuesday the kids and Alison went up to Nature Group, which was not at silver lake this time, so they didn't have to deal with snow. It was at a pond, and the kids did a nature scavenger hunt. They had fun looking at minnows and quacking like ducks.

That evening, Mike brought his game to the BGDG to have it played in order to try for guild approval this week. It was found wanting. The rule document was not up to snuff. He will certainly work on it some time before the end of the year, and try again.

Wednesday Alison went to writing group, and wrote her first draft of her first chapter of her book. She is rewriting it with the eventual goal of making it publishable. It went well.

On Thursday we didn't have anything planned at all, so we built a fire, and after the kids went to bed we played a game of The Madness Place (one of Mike's board games). It was nice to not have anything planned for once.

Friday we had a babysitter and went to a play. It was "Forever Dead" at the OBT. It was pretty fun and funny. They had some good singers, and they made some fun songs. We really like the OBT. Alison says "At this time in my life, I like funny plays better than serious ones. I have enough serious stuff to deal with in real life."

We came home and found that the kids were all still up and watching a movie.

Saturday and Sunday were General Conference. We watched all the sessions from home this time, and the kids loved having the reverence tent set up. The kids were not very reverent this time, though they were listening. Fortunately Conference is available in mp3 format, and we can just listen to it whenever we want to. That might be the only way to get the info from some of the talks.

Gideon has started mimicking all sorts of words this week. Among other words, he said Jesus, which was part of getting candy during General Conference. He is also standing independently for short time periods. Perhaps walking is on its way.

Timmy's cast is coming off this upcoming week, and he loves wrestling and helping. He is also taking gentleness classes so that he doesn't wrestle so vigorously with his brother.

Sara really likes being helpful, and is still working on her reading. She can read the word princess without any help.

Rea is still reading voraciously, and is fascinated by deep sea creatures right now. Mike thinks that perhaps she will grow up to be a lawyer, because she is regularly asking people if they said exactly what they meant, and taking them at exact face value.

Alison is really excited to start a new sleep schedule. She is thinking about taking three naps during the day, and sleeping for fewer hours at night. We will keep you posted as to how it works.

Mike is still working on his website, and games. He also just started programming a fractal generator for the first time in 6ish years.