A tale of two cheeses

Carnival ended this week with Mardi Gras on Tuesday February 13th. We had planned to invite all the kids in the neighborhood to parade around the park and eat doughnuts to celebrate. We bought party favors and Mardi Gras beads and invited everyone we knew. Then Monday night, the kids started throwing up. All four of them threw up multiple times that night, so there went our Mardi Gras plans. We spent the day laying around watching movies (Wild Kratts, Nothing Can Stop the Smooze, and Roger and Hammerstein's Cinderella), which was fun, but not Mardi Gras.

Alison was going to let it drop, but the kids insisted that Mardi Gras be rescheduled. So we emailed everyone to come to the park Thursday after school. Thursday ended up having a bitter, biting wind that froze us to tears. No one else braved the wind to join us, so the kids got to eat some doughnut holes and then went home.

So we took our decorated bikes and doughnuts to our regular park day on Friday. Then at least we had some other kids blow on the noisemakers, wear the beads, and eat the doughnuts with us. We're glad we finally got something of a party.

We were glad that the kids got done throwing up quickly, because Wednesday we had an appointment to get Gideon's passport. The post office was very expeditious; we got there ten minutes early, as requested, and we left 3 minutes after the appointment was scheduled to start. Gideon cooperated pretty well with the picture taking, much better than Timmy did at that age. We are getting so excited for Italy! Grandma Julie and Grandpa Craig are considering joining us for a few days in Venice.

Gideon is talking more and more each week. He's started saying "Love you bye-bye" when someone goes out the door (even just to take out the trash). On Saturday at the grocery store he requested balls and chocolate by name. And on Sunday after the sacrament prayer he said Amen repeatedly and very loudly. It's fun to have such a talkative baby.

Grandma Sheila and Grandpa Mike sent the kids each $5 for Valentine's Day, so on Saturday we went to the dollar store. The kids got fun toys and chocolate. The grandparents also sent a food processor for Mike and Alison! They haven't used theirs in years, so they passed it on to us. We are very happy and grateful. We will try making sunflower seed butter and see if that is a Gideon-safe substitute for peanut butter.

Grandma Julie is coming to visit this week. Rea saved some of her Valentine money and other money, and now she's determined to buy a Little Caesar's pizza and bake a cake to celebrate Grandma's coming. It will be a fun party planned and paid for by the kids. Maybe our weekly Carnival parties are teaching her party planning skills.

Sara suggested that we give an update on our Calming Corner. It is working very well. Kids (and Mom) go there multiple times a day and use the poster to identify how they're feeling, how they want to feel, and which strategy they'll use to get there. Timmy likes to hug a stuffed animal or read a book, while the girls tend to close their eyes, take deep breaths, and think happy thoughts. Mommy likes to use the app Insight Timer for a short guided meditation. It's been really nice to have a consistant response to whining and crying, and it seems to work for the kids too.

On Tuesday Mike went to BGDG, and played someone elses game. The game played very well for a first time game, but wasn't very strategic, so it wasn't Mike's favorite game. Next time he goes he will be able to bring one of his own games again.

Mike was also given some dogecoin as a joke by a co-worker. 1 Dogecoin is worth less than a penny, and the exchange fees for buying and selling cryptocurrencies are non-negligible, so he can't get the money as US dollars. Basically it was a useless exchange of money.

Given that the money is useless Mike has started speculating with it. He put 100 dogecoin (about $0.66 worth in USD) into an account, and has been trying to time the cryptocurrency market by exchanging it for other cryptocurrencies whenever one goes up and the other goes down. After a week of trading, he now has about $1.07 USD worth of various cryptocurrencies. This is about a 62% return. If he can keep this up at the same rate, that $0.66 could become a trillion dollars by next year. More likely he will make a mistake, and lose value until it is $0.66 again. We will keep you all up to date if we become trillionaires.

On Saturday Mike made a Parmesan, which is currently in the brine. It will age for a year, and hopefully you will hear about it then. A side effect of making Parmesan is ricotta, so we are eating about 2 or three lbs of ricotta now. Perhaps we will make some gnocchi with it.

Also on Saturday we moved more wood chips. Sara was such a big help that she earned $1.75 for her work. She cleaned a bunch of sticks up (5 bundles of them), and also hauled a bunch of rocks. She is getting really good at working hard.

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