First off, a few pictures from swimming around in our pool lately.
Ruthie used her friend Liam's goggles the other day that have a cover for the nose. She was instantly in love (she ALWAYS holds her nose for everything) and after hearing her for several days, I caved and we got some. She loves them. So did Will, until he lost his somewhere deep in Matheson Hammock today. Oh well.
It reminded me of this picture of Ruthie three years ago, haha!
|Like dunking this stroller in our pool. Twice.|
|The Irvin's also have these really fun floaties. They had such a great time in them!|
We are living in the pool right now, or our air conditioning. For some reason I have this 'summer outdoor' bug and I am just dying to play outside. Biking, playing catch, parks, you name it. Then I walk outside and am instantly wet all over from sweat and I feel like my chest is weighed down from humidity, and I remember why we are only swimming right now. Haha. But STILL so much fun!
For some reason I FORGOT about the insane humid heat for a minute and decided to walk out on a marina with my friend Brooke and her kids the other day. It was insanely hot. So much so that we spent the entire time walking back congratulating each other that we were still walking (talk about heat stroke probably) and managing, since all six of our kids had long since melted and we were carrying/pulling three each. Huzzah.
The whole reason we went is because the other day, while en route to Brooke's house, I saw crazy things on the road. At first I just saw one. It looked like a crab. A giant crab. I thought "That can't be right." and moved on. Only to see another one a block later. Then more. And more. It was crazy. For a second I thought maybe they were massive spiders, but even the banana spiders I've seen aren't quite THAT big. When I got to Brooke's house I asked her "Are there CRABS on old Cutler Bay highway?" Why, yes, yes there are. Miami is so WEIRD. Apparently it's mating season, so we went out on the marina to check it out. But I guess it is still a little early, because we didn't see very much.
|Crab holes. If you got up close you could see their crabby legs poking out.|
|That's a hermit crab. Not what we were looking for. I think Brooke said we were looking for blue crabs. Now I can't even remember.|
This walk is DEFINITELY going to have to happen again---when it is twenty degrees cooler. It was GORGEOUS!
|The little pathway you take out into the ocean.|
|Looking at puffer fish. They were actually pretty big!|
|Look at those poor, sweaty heads.|
|If I can forget about the heat, that looks like HEAVEN.|
|Those white rocks are just so enchanting.|
|There were lots of fisherman, several of whom biked out with all sorts of gear. It was neat.|
|I said "Molly, say cheese!" and she gave me a nice little wave.|
|Such a different looking beach than the swimming ones.|
|SOOO many fisherman!|
|This is my favorite. I love that little bike.|
|Brooke occupying all the kids while I snap scenery shots. Haha.|
|She picked out pants. I warned her it would be hot.|
|Waving at all the boats heading out for the day.|
That wonderful adventure ended in my gps and diaper bag with wallet being stolen. Which has been quite nightmarish, but we're getting through. Bank accounts have been changed, most of my cards have been replaced, etc. etc. Now I just need a drivers license and two more cards and we are good. Sigh. Why do I do things like that?!?! Also--why do we have one van door that doesn't consistently lock?!
On Monday I took my kids in for some quick pictures. At their milestones (newborn, 3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, 1 yr, 2 yr, etc.) I take them in and get one 8x10 for myself and 2 5x7s, one for each grandparent. I wait for a coupon and it's usually under ten bucks per kid. Since Ruthie turned four and Molly turned one (and I got one for Ruth at 2 1/2, so I got Will's as well) it was time for new ones! I have to say, it went AWESOME.
I finally know exactly how to handle the picture situation, and have enough guts (or too little patience) with the photographers to just say exactly what I want. A horizontal 8x10 of them smiling big and close up on their face. Ruth first because she will smile and be done in 2 minutes. Then Will. Then we spend the rest of the time with the baby. And it went exactly like that. We tried and tried and tried with Molly--she was even so HAPPY and giggling and smiling away. But she is SOOO quick! We'd set her on the chair and she'd be standing up before my hand even moved. She'd laugh, but into her chest. The kids would get her to smile with a stuffed animal, but if we snapped it in time, the animal would be in the picture, but if the photographer waited, Molly would have moved her head in another direction. Kudos to the photographer--we were both breathing hard by the end! She was great! And I felt so happy about Ruth and Will's PERFECT pictures that happened in two minutes, I couldn't complain about Molly. I tried to get a couple on the doorstep, but they weren't having it. At least you can see Ruth and Molly's cute matching outfits.
|And then it looked like this, so I stopped.|
What else is new in my life besides those forty pictures you ask? Because you haven't scrolled down long enough? Well, I am the second counselor in the Primary presidency, of which I am the only native English speaker. Our first counselor is really great at both languages, but our secretary has a pretty strong accent and our president...she actually does a little better than I think she gives herself credit for, but we struggle a bit understanding each other. Also, because this is MIAMI, that one calling means that I am also now honorary primary pianist, Valiant 9 and Valiant 10 Sunday School teacher, assigned to ward council (our president doesn't have a vehicle) and....haahaahaaa. But it's going to be awesome. We had our first meeting tonight and it was so much fun.
I LOVE the Latin culture, and grow to love it more and more. Our meeting consisted of focus, focus, and then PARTY WITH FOOD. Focus, focus, PARTY WITH FOOD. Haha--somehow I was always assigned juice (in theory) and I am left to wonder about their lack of faith in my cooking abilities. But then again, you won't see me throwing together empanadas anytime soon, so it's probably for the best.
They also gave me a whole lecture on the Spanish mom culture. "We mother our kids, your kids, everybody's kids!" That was because Molly was sitting on the stool (that is put beside the mic to talk into it) and I was just letting her, and all three of them basically jumped up and the counselor turned to me "Are you a relaxed mama?" and I said "Probably about those kinds of things." she says "We no relaxed mamas, we run around all of the time making sure all the babies is ok." HAHA.
I started Joy School this week with Ruthie, and I should probably break this into another post, but I'm waiting for Sterling to get home in ten minutes so I can go to bed, so I'm just going to run with it--kind of like this massive run-on sentence. Why Joy School? Mostly because I think Ruth will love it, and I want the opportunity to teach her, one on one, the really important values that we hold so dear in the gospel. I want those important values to be clear and bright right now, as a child, so she has them to build on and grow on for the rest of her life. Also, I always thought preschool would be a fun thing for little 4 year olds, but I am NOT ok with her being gone every single day, for several hours, like the preschools here. PreK 4 is a grade here. I have already been asked twice (school started Monday) about why Ruthie wasn't in school. Because I don't think she should be in a classroom that long! She should be playing and imagining and dressing up and not worrying about other kids and strict schedules. I think I want to raise my children this way because I was raised to believe that play time is important. I always remember my dad saying (he is the dean of education, so this comes with some background) that any advantage preschool gives a child scholastically is washed out by 2nd or 3rd grade and the only true indicator that has been found to show increased grades in children is invested, educated parents who spend time with the child at home. I am finding myself pondering more and more on the prophetic counsels given to us on rearing righteous children and I think Joy School is a great fit for Ruth and I. Lots of songs (we love!) and pre planned out (I love!) and focused time together (which I want!) and a little more engaging for Ruthie as she gets closer to Kindergarten. We do have one other little girl in our ward who will be joining, which I think will be great and make it so fun for Ruthie!
I also picked up six new piano students this year. Making eleven (possibly twelve) total. I do not get a babysitter for this, but I charge pretty low, so I figure it all works out. The vast majority of them come as siblings, so the sibling not having a lesson plays with my kids and between that and nap time it works out pretty smoothly. But I'm hoping that continues with doubling the numbers. Tomorrow is my first afternoon with five students--wish me luck!
And for everyone who asked--the gluten free has been going much better than I anticipated. Thanks to a new Aldi's right by our house, which has an AMAZING selection of normal-priced gluten-free foods. Including bread that Sterling will actually eat. Thank you, Aldi's. Sterling feels much, much better, and I'm finding that with him changing his diet, we actually don't have to change our diet here at the house as drastically as I first anticipated. We just found out that our good friends here have experience with gluten-free diets and they have some good tips and recipes, so we're chugging along.
And we'll end this epistle. Good night!