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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Long Sick

Being sick over Christmas is no fun! We managed to do many of our traditions, though. Everyone got Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Swaddling Clothes presents. Sara loved her new dolls, Timmy was excited to get a Playmobile nativity set, and Rea can't wait to start horseback riding lessons next month. Alison got a new phone, which prompted weeks of work to get her old phone replaced under warranty and send it to Katie. That should be completed tomorrow, which is exciting. Mike's favorite was his new board game about meteors.

Then we tried to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas (which, if you recall, were originally after Christmas; that works well for Alison, who is never organized enough to do them before). The first few days we got to spend with the Brown and Poulson grandparents, which was awesome. We did a few activities at home, like making homemade face paints and finger paints, but we mostly watched a lot of movies. It's really hard being too contagious to leave the house for over a month. The kids enjoyed the movies, though.

Two of our twelve days of Christmas activities are a New Year's Eve party and a New Year's Day game day. This year we were too contagious to invite people over, so we did them by ourselves. For New Year's Eve, we got one of the big $60 Lego Elves sets and put it together as a family. It was awesome and will definitely be a tradition. New Year's Day everyone picked a game and we played them all: Tales of the Crystals, Myrmes, Robots on the Line, and Feurio. It was very fun, even without having people over.

On Twelfth Night, we had fish and pasta for dinner, and then made a crown-shaped cinnamon roll cake. It was delicious and Rea found the crown! She had us all go outside and play in the snow and make shadow plays on the wall, and then come in and cuddle by the fire and listen to an audiobook. It was a very nice Twelfth Night, despite being so tired of being sick.

Finally, this week we started to feel better. Alison started up school again for the kids; we did the First Great Lesson, which was very popular, as always, and Rea learned to use the internet to do research. Timmy has been studying woolly mammoths, and Alison has created some activities for him, and Sara is doing a lot of art. For scriptures, Alison is drawing an outline of a symbol of a scripture story in the kids' Book of Mormon, and then the kids color it while she reads the story. They're playing with math blocks for math, which no one wants to start but everyone enjoys once we're into it, and Rea and Sara just did an assessment to start spelling with the Words Their Way program. The kids have really been enjoying school time, and Alison is proud of how well they're concentrating.

In the afternoons, they try to go outside every day. The weather has been ridiculously warm, so it ought to be easy, but when she's sick, Alison really doesn't like getting everyone dressed up in their outdoor gear (it's still wet and windy, so kids need coats and things even if it's warm). But they got a few good days this week, and she hopes they'll get out every day next week.

Mike is still sleeping polyphasicly, and he's using the time to be an online adjunct professor at BYU-I. He's doing this mainly as a service, although if Alison starts teaching English to kids in China when she sleeps polyphasicly, between the two of them they might make enough to travel and support themselves with their online jobs. That would be cool. Mike is finding being a professor really easy, although replying to all the students' introductory posts took a lot of time this week. He expects it to slow down a bit. If it does, maybe he'll teach English for an hour a night too.

Oh, and goals! Mike wants to make $100/month on Patreon and save $100,000 so we can retire, submit 12 games to publishers, 30 minutes/day of scripture study, and exercise every day. Alison's goals are polyphasic sleep, using a prayer journal, creating a Calming Corner for the kids (and herself), and speak French whenever Mike is home. Rea wants to improve her prayers (maybe with a prayer journal), use the calming corner, learn to ride a horse, and do Sudoku puzzles. Sara's goals are to climb a tree, practice positive thinking, draw pictures of 10 scripture stories and tell them, and stop the habit of saying "I can't." Timmy was asleep when we set goals, so we don't have his. We set goals for Gideon: use the potty, go to nursery (May!), stay in sacrament meeting, and not scream at Timmy every time they're together. We'll see how we do this year. In 2017 the boys achieved most of their goals, and the girls mostly did not.

The break is over.

It has been nearly a month since we posted. Sorry about that. We have all been sick for most of it. Our entire family got a nasty cough, which went on and on and on.

Mike even got sick, which is saying something, because he usually doesn't. During the long sickness, we had a lot of soup, and Mike used his "work from home" ability far more than he ever expected to.

The kids have mostly recovered. Alison and Mike still have coughs.

During the time, we made gingerbread cookies (which turned out really good).

Rea wrote a short story unprompted recently:

Creel and the dragon
By Rea
Once upon a time a girl named Creel rescued herself from the dragons. The end.

It was pretty short, but it has all of the elements of a story. We were excited about it.

Timmy has really loved building legos, and making board games with Mike. He and Mike are working on the Jurassic universe game that mike made a few years back. Timmy loves to throw all sorts of animals into a space ship and send them to a planet.

Sara is doing really well during team clean recently. She can work so hard. It is great, because we sometimes wondered if she would ever get there.

Gideon is talking more daily, and walking around a lot. He has voluntarily started cleaning up during team clean, which is fun to see, however we have to watch him, since he sometimes cleans up things to the trashcan that do not need to be there.

We made new years goals, which I will let Alison write about. I think I am going to end this, and go to sleep however.

Here's a bunch of pictures:

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Two weeks before Christmas

It snowed multiple times this week. We didn't get a ton of snow, but it was enough. The kids skated on a frozen pond one day at nature group. They enjoyed that quite a bit.

We made half and half barley and wheat bread this week. Other than with Sara, it was well received. Because Sara didn't like it we probably won't make it again.

Most of the week we have been doing Christmas things. It feels like we have most everything ready, which is nice. Alison reminds me that we still have seven more things to do...

Friday we went with Amy and Dave to The Last Jedi. It was pretty funny, and the characters seemed to develop into deeper characters throughout the movie. I won't spoil it, but generally we liked it.

The kids were babysat by Loren and his family while we were there. It is sort of funny to Mike that Alison is in contact with them more than he is, but that is what home schooling does.

On Saturday we went to a performance of the nutcracker. The kids enjoyed it, even Timmy, who mainly liked the fight with rats. Gideon got fussy about half way through, so Mike took him out to prevent his noise from ruining the show.

Mike is having Scott print up some pieces for a board game - he is getting ready to submit it to a publisher, and wants it to look good.

The kids are really excited for their grandparents to come over, and for Christmas. Timmy is also especially excited about Santa.

Gideon is now trying to walk all over the place. He still falls a ton, but he is definitely making progress.

Today Rea seems to have developed a cough, so it will be another sick week probably.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

the Gunks

Oh man, we started up a blog post last weekend, and somehow never completed it. I am posting this late, because better late than never.

Timmy's arm brace is now off. His thumb is still a little bit tender, but he is taking it manfully.

On Wednesday of last week we went to the library as part of Rea's date night to see Santa. The kids enjoyed it.

On Friday we went to Star Ward Christmas at the Off Broadway Theatre. It was pretty funny. There was this part where a character was dressed up in a small person costume (because he was supposed to be far away from the audience, not because he was supposed to be an actual little person.), and he was trying to move a large rock, which ended up being very funny.

Gideon is talking a lot this week. He mimics quite well, and he is so cute.

We decided to strip the minerals off of our cloth diapers this week. It is an amazingly huge task. It took hours spread over the course of two days. Now that it is done, the diapers are softer, and they will hopefully irritate Gideon less.

The kids have been going to a "7 habits" class. It has been fun for them. They like learning the habits, and are referring to them in our daily basis.

Tuesday of this week Alison and the kids went to a park with a pond. The pond was frozen over and the kids boot-skated on it and had fun.

Tuesday night Mike did more tithing settlements. It is hopefully drawing to a close, but you never can tell.

Also, this week the air has been absolutely horrible. It is one of those inversions. This is one of the main reasons why Alison and I want to move away from Utah. Half the winter has bad air quality.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Gremlins must have stole our post from last week.

Apparently we forgot to post about the trip to California. We went for the entire week of Thanksgiving. It was fun, however we mostly all got sick and were throwing up the last half of the week. Timmy was the only person that remained immune to the sickness. Mike even got it (Gideon smearing vomit on his face probably was the deciding factor).

The kids were pretty good on the drive there, but Gideon screamed for hours on the drive back.

We spent the last week mostly trying to get back into the swing of things. The kids suffered from grandparent withdraw, and the after effects of the sickness made it difficult for the adults as well.

On last Sunday the Peruvian Park ward tithing settlements began. Mike was gone for hours, and he will be up until about Christmas Sunday. It is the hardest part of his calling, but it only happens once a year, so the calling is still a relatively easy one.

This week Mike also finished his Ion Award submissions - this year he was able to prepare three games for the competition. Here is to hoping that he does well.

He also released his new website PlaytestHub for an open beta. He hasn't gotten much traction on it so far... Hopefully people start trying to use it soon.

Finally, we also set up the Christmas tree this week. Alison and the kids have been doing Christmas things on a daily basis, but as Mike is writing this post, he doesn't really remember what they were :).

That is all.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Beauty and Les Mis.

On Monday we had a family night. we went to see Beauty and the Beast at the library. It was a play put on by some teenage theatrical group who did a pretty good job. It was free, so for the price it was amazingly good, despite a few technical difficulties. The actors got extra time to talk to the kids before it started, and afterward Sara got to meet her favorite characters, the three silly village girls who follow Gaston around. Everyone really enjoyed it for a special family night treat.

Most of this week, other than that, we spent getting ready for our trip. We made lists and packed containers and filled our car with everything we  could need. The kids were so very excited and wanted to help, although there wasn't much they could do.

On Friday Alison and Mike went to the play Les Miserables at Hillcrest Highschool. They did an amazing job. It is such a good play, and they performed it with no small amount of skill. We were really happy that we went. We have purchased a year pass to this high school's theater program. It's really affordable and the plays look good.

On Saturday we drove down to California for the Poulson family annual Thanksgiving trip. It is always a long drive, and Gideon wasn't too happy by the end, but we made it with minimal fuss. Our kids are pretty good travellors, all things considered. The drive took all day; we got up, ate breakfast, and left, and arrived at night with just enough time to eat chicken potpie before going to bed. Everyone slept well that night.

Mike received word on Saturday that he got second place in the Iludo board game design competition for The Age of Vikings. He really needs to look for a publisher for that game.

Sunday after church Alison and the kids played on the beach with the grandparents, while Mike and Chauncey discussed new game ideas. It was a pretty fun vacation day for everyone. We will enjoy having a whole week here.

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.