education · Fibro Flares · Kids · mental health · parenting · waxing philosophical

Day 165: On Seeing and Believing

At this very moment, K is walking around gazing in every direction and whispering, “Wow!” Why? Because she can actually see everything for the first time in a long time, that’s why.

This is where I confess a parenting fail: it seems that I haven’t had my kids’ eyesight checked in two and a half years. I didn’t have an appointment scheduled for anytime in the near future, either, but last week Mum called my attention to the fact that while K could see the shape of the wall clock, she couldn’t see any of the numbers or hands.

Insight Medical 20/20 Vision Digital Acuity Chart Package – Insight Medical  Technologies

So this week I whisked her off to see our optometrist. Looking at the black-and-white letter chart, K announced that she couldn’t read any of the letters. The doctor switched to a chart with larger letters, this one starting with a giant E at the top, and K could read the top two lines. Everything below them was blurry.

“Don’t worry,” the optometrist said, “we have this instrument that verifies what the kids are telling us. They can’t fool us.”

Why on earth would a kid try to fool an optometrist? I thought. And then I thought, What has made him distrust children’s self-reporting? And then, How does it feel to be the kid in the chair, with the optometrist saying outright that he thinks you’d lie?

I felt insulted on K’s behalf, and on behalf of all the children who have come through that office. Then I realized that I’m equally guilty of disbelieving my kids, although I do like to think I’m less obvious about it.

One of my kids (I won’t name names here) was complaining about foot pain and couldn’t be more specific than that. There hadn’t been any kind of impact or accident that would have caused it, and since I mostly heard about it right at bedtime I shrugged it off as a stalling tactic. Two weeks later, when said child really couldn’t stop complaining, we went to the doctor who diagnosed it as something called Sever’s disease, which is inflammation in the growth plate of the heel. After lots of Advil and many weeks of physiotherapy and taping, the foot was feeling much better. I, on the other hand, was feeling like a total heel for not believing my child the first time. More than two weeks of pain for my child were my fault because I just didn’t believe the kid.

This post was going to be about believing children, but I think it’s a bigger issue than that. We don’t believe anyone, really. If you’re too sick to work, your boss doesn’t believe you until you present a note from your doctor. Heaven help you if you have an invisible disability or chronic illness; people with fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalitis (formerly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), mental health issues, and other invisible-but-disabling conditions are accustomed to hearing people suggest that they’re not sick, or not that sick, or that they could just pull up their socks and get better. I personally know people with chronic conditions who use mobility devices (usually a cane) not because they need them, strictly speaking, but because without some visible signifier, very few people will believe you if you tell them you need the “reserved for disabled” seating at the front of the bus.

How many individuals went through school being told that they were lazy and lying about being unable to do their work, when there were real learning disabilities affecting them? How often do we blame and punish children for their aggressive or impulsive behaviour when there are structural differences in areas of the brain that deal with self-control? How many adults believe that “problem” students could do better if only they wanted to?

We don’t believe what we can’t see. Not in others, and sometimes not even in ourselves. I can’t count the times I’ve pushed myself harder than I should: either because after months of good self-care I start to wonder if I imagined the whole pain-and-fatigue thing, or just because I’ve internalized the idea that to be sick or disabled you have to look miserable.

I hope that we can change this on a societal level. So many social issues could be tackled head-on if we believed people when they shared their experiences (instead of explaining them away.) I don’t have a proposal or idea of how we could effect this change; so in the spirit of being the change I wish to see in the world, I think I’ll start by believing my children… and myself.

fame and shame · mental health · well *I* think it's funny...

Day 114: Breaking up with Rexall

There are four members of this family on daily prescription medications. The majority of those prescriptions are for ADHD meds, a fact which has led me to believe that we should just put it in the water and be done with it. We could just attach a filter to our tap that adds Ritalin to the water until 4 p.m.; I’d call it “Britalin.”

(I got distracted again, didn’t I?)

As I was saying, we have a lot of prescriptions in this family, and of course none of them are synchronized; this means that we’re requesting refills and picking up at our local Rexall pretty much weekly. It was an agony: they rarely picked up the phone (and in fact we often got a busy signal) and even though we could request refills online, there was no way to see whether the refill was ready before we headed over there.

“This makes no sense,” Mr. December groused. “This whole industry is backward. Why does it take so long to fill a prescription? Why isn’t more of this online and automated?”

After a particularly irritating experience trying to call Rexall this weekend, I decided to try an online pharmacy that delivers. A bit of Googling yielded some results and I narrowed my choices down by turnaround time for new prescriptions (I’d like to have all our pescriptions at the same pharmacy, so I needed a place that could deliver, for example, antibiotics for an ear infection the same day.)

I’ve settled on the pharmacy. I did the online signup on Monday; Today I was notified that all our records have been transferred. Logging into the app, I was delighted to see that not only can I submit new prescriptions by uploading a picture of them, but I can also see each of my prescriptions, the date prescribed, number of refills, date dispensed, and the doctor who prescribed it. That’s right, folks — for the first time in my life, I have access to my own pharmacy record! It’s time to party like it’s 2015, which is roughly when every other industry seems to have introduced this level of customer access online.

(Side note: the pharmacist called me on Monday afternoon to ask me if I had another phone number for the Rexall pharmacy, because the number I gave him seemed to be out of order. “I’ve called five times and it’s a constant busy signal,” he explained apologetically. “It must be out of order.” “No,” I sighed, “That’s par for the course with them. That’s why we’re switching.”)

This morning I noticed that N’s prescription was missing from his online profile. Curious, I called the pharmacy; I almost dropped my coffee cup when they picked up on the first ring. Not only did I get to speak to the pharmacist within a minute, but after sorting out the issue for N, he suggested to me that he could synchronize my prescriptions so that they all get renewed at the same time. It sounds so simple; why did my old pharmacy never suggest it?

Mr. December’s take is that the folks at Rexall probably thought they were working really hard to serve their clients; they might even have felt a bit heroic, working nonstop with the phone ringing off the hook all the time. They weren’t, though — their system was hopelessly inefficient and out-of-date. It’s sort of like me without my ADHD meds: I feel like a martyr, running around and trying to do everything, when the fact is that if I had a better system I’d be twice as productive in half the time.

Hmm… sounds like the Rexall pharmacy could really use my new water filtration system, doesn’t it?

community · education · Keepin' it real · Kids · mental health · waxing philosophical · whine and cheese

Day 111: Boundaries

Well, I just got read the riot act by a friend of mine. I was lamenting how difficult it was for me to say “no” to things like playdates; she pointed out that I don’t owe anybody a reason for not wanting to make plans. “No” is, apparently, a sufficient answer.

Mind. Blown.

I grew up with the notion that when you’re invited to do something, you say yes unless there’s a direct conflict. And when you have to say no, you explain why you can’t do it so the other person doesn’t feel bad. Mr. December was the first person I knew who would actually say, upon being invited to something, “No.” And when asked why not: “I don’t want to.”

That was news to me. I could just skip events because I didn’t want to go? Wow.

So back to my friend and her words of wisdom. She said, “Sara, you and I are forty years old. We are too old to be letting people deplete our energy when they’re not even particularly close to us!” Well, when she put it that way, it sounded absurd. Why on earth would I say “yes” to something for someone I rarely (if ever) see or speak to, and then be too tired to read my kids a book at bedtime? How messed up is that? And how messed up is it that I couldn’t really see that for thirty-nine years of my life?

As Ontario gradually opens back up and people are allowed to gather in small groups again, I’ve felt my anxiety level rising. I’ve been very happy in this little cocoon, with my closest family, on our own schedule. Saying “no” to other people is always a bit stressful for me, as if I feel responsible for their feelings if I say no to whatever they’re asking me to do. I’ve found myself wishing more often than not that I could just live this life for a few more years.

The truth is that I should be able to craft the life I want for me and my kids. Mr. December and I had a conversation on Friday (standing in the freezing waters of Lake Ontario) about how we’d like to do something brave or outrageously different, like homeschooling for the year and travelling with the kids. Or something far simpler, like putting a six-month moratorium on evening or weekend extracurricular activities, in order to preserve time for a work period in the morning and family time in the evenings.

Sometimes fear creeps in: If our kids take a year off extracurriculars (dance, choir, etc) will they be very behind most kids their age when they go back? Will they be missing out on gaining skills and mastery in those areas?

Maybe. But maybe they’ll be just where they need to be — at home with us, playing outdoors with their best buddies, spending time with their grandparents, and learning the importance of family, community, and being able to set your own boundaries.

birthing babies · crafty · education · fame and shame · Kids · mental health · parenting · whine and cheese

Day 92: Not My Sport

I’ve been listening to The Parenting Junkie Show (podcast) for over a year now. There have been a lot of good topics and episodes, but my favourite by far was Avital’s comparison of parents to olympic athletes.

Her point was that nobody expects an elite athlete to be good at every sport. Of course all athletes are physically fit, but nobody criticizes a sprinter for being bad at swimming, and no skier spends time frantically trying to get better at bobsledding. Every elite athlete focuses on one event.

Parents, on the other hand (myself included here), feel like to be good (or amazing) parents we have to be good at all the things parents are supposed to do. It doesn’t feel like enough to be amazing at planning travel and outings with the kids; We also need to be able to plan birthday parties, do crafts, help with algebra homework, instil discipline, enforce bedtimes, discover and nurture the children’s talents, and foster social skills. Oh, and get a nutritious dinner on the table (and into their tummies.)

Anyhow, Avital pointed out that as parents, it’s okay to have a specialty. I tried to get my head around this philosophy (I don’t have to be good at everything? But I’m the parent! I do have to be good at everything because it all falls to me!) but as much as I’ve tried, I can’t help feeling like a failure when I bump up against one of my weak spots.

Last night I jokingly told Mr. December that I’m considering having a fifth child just so I can feel competent again for a couple of years. You see, I’m really good with babies and toddlers. I get them. I can handle the crying, the constant holding and rocking and shushing, the diapers, the feeding, the spontaneity and the need for flexibility. I understand what they need, and I love providing it. I don’t know if I’d call myself an elite athlete in the baby event, but I’m pretty darn close.

Then those babies grow up and go to school, and it’s not my sport anymore. I mean, I’m not a delinquent by any means, but the school years seem to require so much more organization and consistency, which are two of my weakest areas. I can create systems and organize supplies beautifully, but enforcing the systems consistently? Nope. Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

Do you know why my kids’ school agendas were never signed? Because I only remembered to ask for them once a week at best. Yes, they should be responsible enough to remember to get them signed in the first place, but my point is that I couldn’t consistently reinforce that at home. When my kids were at Montessori they used to bring home a portfolio of their work every Friday, to be returned empty on Monday. After a few months the teachers started giving my kids their homework in a paper envelope; they’d figured out that those plastic folders weren’t coming back. For reasons unfathomable to me, I just couldn’t return them.

All of this to say that these days I’m constantly feeling like I’m failing, or like I should do better or be better, and I suspect it’s probably as frustrating as a swimmer being told she has to pivot and become a distance runner. I could do it, but where all the other marathoners were running, I’d be walking (and then limping) to the finish. And yet these things need to be done, and by and large I’m the one who needs to do them. I have to teach these kids consistency and discipline even though my own is sorely lacking. It doesn’t help that Mr. December is nothing if not organized and disciplined. I look pretty darned incompetent in comparison.

But we’re not supposed to compare ourselves to other parents, right? We’re supposed to have our own events and focus on our strengths. And yet… it’s lovely that I can design a house, build furniture, sew quilts, navigate all sorts of medical issues with aplomb, comfort most crying infants in mere seconds, lead singalongs, plan a fabulous road trip, and read stories with all the funny voices; still, the truth is that right now (for the past three months if not more) none of those skills are in demand. So what’s a mom to do?

education · Independence · Kids · mental health · parenting · The COVID files · waxing philosophical · whine and cheese

Day 91: Having Difficulty

Dear Family,

Today was a difficult day for me. I slept very poorly last night even though I went to bed early, and I mostly walked around in a daze all day today. I’m sorry I wasn’t more available to you. Nevertheless, there are some things that I want you to understand:

I get that it’s frustrating to have a wife or mom who’s disorganized and tired much of the time. Please believe that it’s frustrating to be that wife or mom. I want to be available, on the ball, and organized for everyone, and when I can’t, it hurts – especially when I can see that I’m disappointing the people who matter most to me, and even more so when it’s not an infrequent event.

I know you’re super frustrated to be stuck at home with us instead of out there with your friends. I know that our existence right now is a lot like the movie Groundhog Day, the same thing over and over. But you know what? Our relationship doesn’t reset itself every morning. If you unload all your angst by yelling at me for an hour, I might not want to snuggle on the couch and watch movies right after that.

It’s okay to have to figure things out for yourself. Not sure what you’re supposed to do next in your workbook, and now I’m napping? Don’t you think there’s an excellent chance that what I want you to do next is the… wait for it… NEXT thing in the workbook? Use some imagination here, people! Look for clues! Maybe my 90-minute nap made it more difficult for you to know what to do, but it’s disingenuous to say that you couldn’t do anything without my say-so. Especially when your checklist specifically says “check the calendar for page numbers!”

I have ADHD. I have depression. I have fibromyalgia. I have a concussion. These are not excuses, they are facts. I try my best. It’s often not good enough. It makes me angry too — the me that I see these days is not who I thought I’d be at forty. It’s not who I want to be for myself or for you. On days like today I’m not the mom I want you to remember when you think of your childhood.

I don’t like wallowing in self-pity. I don’t like crying; it gives me a headache. I’m going to bed now so I can be a better me tomorrow; hopefully tomorrow my best will be good enough.


education · mental health · parenting · whine and cheese

Day 66: Signal flare

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Fibro-flare wh- oh, crap.

Yeah. Crap.

My body hurts and my brain is mush. Regrettably, I’m not in any shape to write something witty today. You’ll have to make do with my rambling.

#SorryNotSorry #ItsMyBlogAndIllWhineIfIWantTo #FibromyalgiaSucks

We restarted our weekly responsibility charts for the kids this week. We had abandoned them in January when E had pneumonia and I had zero bandwidth for printing, posting, changing, and checking these lists. It has become clear that we need it, though. So… here we go again.


This morning two kids discovered that they couldn’t log into the family computer. Then they learned that it was because they didn’t complete their dinnertime jobs last night. Want to guess how many kids did their jobs today? That’s right, all four.

I’ve decided that I’m tired of accepting excuses. “This work is TOO HARD!” one kid screamed before bursting into noisy tears.  “This question MAKES NO SENSE!” shouted another. I think I spent about an hour today being yelled at. Tomorrow I’m just going to walk out if they start yelling at me, but today I stayed mostly calm and delivered the following lines ad nauseam:

“You can do hard things.”

” ‘This is stupid’ sounds like code for ‘this work is hard.’ ”

“I don’t care if you hate it. That’s the assignment. Do it.”

“I know you don’t feel well. Unfortunately when you have chronic symptoms like seasonal allergies, all the empathy in the world won’t get you out of doing your work.”

Okay, that last one was for myself as much as it was for R. When the kids were in school, I would have heeded this fibro-flare’s warning and gone back to bed to rest. This time? Not so much. And by 4:00 I was really feeling the cumulative toll of full-body pain, screaming kids, and the low-level depression that is my constant companion these days. To put it bluntly, I was done.

Dinner made me feel better. Not the food (although that was good too,) but the fact that everyone ate at least some vegetables; the fact that N ate chicken (a nice change from his all-carb diet) and K loved the salad; and the fact that we were all sitting down to dinner and having a conversation that started with karma and led to a discussion of monotheism, polytheism, and the various ways that we as humans try to make the world seem fair. You know — everyday, run-of-the-mill dinner table conversation.

Somehow it’s almost 10 p.m. I’m going to bed now, in the hope that my fibromyalgia un-flares magically overnight. If it does, and I’m successful at taming the craft supplies, you might get a tour of our Makery tomorrow. Otherwise you’ll be subjected to more of my inane rambling. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

education · family fun · Kids · mental health · parenting · waxing philosophical · whine and cheese

Day #Ican’tcount: School’s out for summer

First things first: Apparently, just like with our counting of the omer, I can’t count one day at a time. I have two posts titled “Day 58”, and I’m not going back and changing numbers. So today doesn’t get a day, and tomorrow’s entry will continue the counting from yesterday’s. Clear as mud? OK.

Our government finally announced today that schools will be closed until the end of June. That changes absolutely nothing in this house, since I will continue to assign work and teach my children things that schools don’t teach anymore; Things like cooking, times tables, and how to identify and fix run-on sentences (that was today’s writing lesson.)

On the surface, I don’t have much to be stressed about. I’m learning, though, that the stress of uncertainty is insidious. I attended an online town hall meeting for E’s school, where the general message seemed to be, “We’re preparing for anything, because we can predict nothing.” Great to know they’re preparing, but it’s more than a little frustrating to come out of a meeting with only the same knowledge you brought in.

The kids’ Jewish overnight camp told us weeks ago that they wouldn’t be running this summer, while the overnight music camp they attend at the end of August is still hopeful about being able to open. I started cancelling our epic family trip to the U.K. that we’d planned for June (four weeks in England, Wales, and Scotland! Sob!) and simultaneously looking for a cottage to rent this summer (although apparently there’s a ban on short-term vacation rentals in Ontario right now.) See why I’m feeling so uncertain?

At least life is never boring around here; today we held a funeral for a bird that flew headfirst into our glass patio door. Poor little guy — we put on vinyl gloves (that we have thanks to COVID) and checked to see if he was breathing at all or if he had any kind of little birdie pulse. No and no.

N got to work digging a little bird grave, while E looked around for a stone to mark it with. Meanwhile, R held our bird friend gently. “I know he’s dead, but we should still treat him respectfully,” she said. “He’s a human being, after all.”

“Um, R? He’s not a human being. He’s a bird.”

“OK, yeah. But he’s a creature and we should be kind,” She clarified as she gently laid the bird in the ground.

At times like this, I realize that despite all their tantrums, weird behaviour, picky eating, hitting, laziness, backtalk, rivalry, lack of hygiene, and flouting of bedtime… these kids are going to be wonderful adults.

Poor birdie. We hardly knew ye.

Apathy · blogging · DIY · education · Kids · mental health · parenting · snarky · The COVID files · whine and cheese

Day 32: Please stop talking to me.

Disclaimer: This is a complaint-filled post. If you are “triggered” by privileged people complaining about their lives even though they have it better than 99% of the population, then you misunderstand the nature of my blog. Please go somewhere else. 

Y’all, I’m tired. Like, soul-weary tired. I can’t even. What’s the point? What is there to look forward to? Our well-planned family trip to the UK is probably not going to happen. K’s bat mitzvah is in January, but we don’t really know what the world will look like this January. Will a bat mitzvah with all our friends and family even be possible?

And there are people around me. All. The. Time. Even when I go to the bathroom, I’ve got people pounding down my door and insisting that it’s an emergency.

“What’s the emergency?” I bark at the kid who managed to pick the lock.

“I think my finger looks bruised.” Says the kid, oblivious to the fact that my pants are around my ankles and I’m holding a wad of toilet paper.

“Get. Out.” I growl.

“Can I have a hug?” The kid asks, coming towards me with outstretched arms.

This is not a one time occurrence. This conversation or one very much like it happens at least five times a week. Maybe I should post a flow chart on my bathroom door:

I need eema flow chart

You know, I just spent half an hour making that flow chart. This is what I do under stress. Flow charts, Bingo cards, top ten lists. Obviously a way better use of my time than identifying and solving my problems.

This afternoon I spent an hour ignoring my kids so I could get some work done. I set up my table saw and cut everything I needed to cut for as many projects as I could think of: a pullout desk in the library, shelves for inside my vanity cabinet, a new drawer for our violin bows. I just love running things through that saw. No matter how crazy everything else in my life gets, that saw always cuts straight and square. Perfection.

I was graced with a few moments of sunshine while I was working on the back patio, so I took the opportunity to take a couple of “look at me in my coveralls and work boots using big power tools” selfies.

I could tell you more about my day, but I won’t because I’m just out of clucks to give. So you won’t hear me rambling about how in the absence of matzah my kids made themselves black beans and salsa for breakfast, or about how truly confusing and crappy K’s school assignments are, or about the fact that today’s “counting the omer” good thing was “Choosing names for our future pet chickens.” (There are no pet chickens in our future, I can assure you.)

As I type this I’m praying that nobody calls for me or asks me anything, because right now the only words I can summon in response to “Eema?” are “PLEASE STOP TALKING TO ME!”

If I went to bed now, would my husband or kids notice? Let’s find out.

Apathy · bikes planes and automobiles · family fun · Jewy goodness · Kids · mental health · parenting · The COVID files · whine and cheese

Day 29: Yes, I can count.

Sorry about yesterday (day 28). I started feeling kind of dizzy and fatigued around the kids’ bedtime so I went to my bed to rest for a few minutes. That’s the last I saw of yesterday.

But as an FYI, we played lots of board games yesterday and also offered copious screen time, so everyone was pretty happy.

This morning I woke up with vertigo. I went back to sleep. Woke up with slightly less vertigo, and started the day.

I can probably save us all a lot of time if I just say that today involved a lot of whining and multiple requests for extra screen time (which were not granted.) Mr. December and I started watching a lecture series using our projector in the attic. Our giant beanbag was so warm and cozy, and the lecturer’s voice so calm and soothing, that I fell asleep. At some point Mr. December turned off the lectures and went downstairs, and the kids cuddled up to me from all sides. It was a delicious nap.

When counting the omer this afternoon I asked the kids what today’s good thing was, and the consensus was “nobody murdered anybody” (hey, it’s important to keep expectations low.) K pointed out that this is only day 3 of the omer and we should probably save “no murders today” for someday a bit closer to the end, so N dug a chocolate bar out of the pantry and passed it around. Now day 3 says “chocolate.” Good enough.

I’ve noticed that my stamina and strength are waning. Sure, I could theoretically go for a bike ride, but where? The beauty of biking (for me) is that it’s exercise and transportation. With no place I need to go, what’s the point? I guess it would make sense to start doing my HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout videos again; it’s just so hard to get motivated to do it. I’ve got this strange apathy going on. I can see myself wasting time on stupid things, I have a ton of projects that need to be done, and I can’t get myself to do them. This sucks.

The kids seem to believe that screen time is the only thing they can do right now. Never mind the family library, the swings in the attic, or the craft room in the basement. Never mind dozens of board games and a big backyard. There is “NOTHING TO DO!” and they’re bored. Too bad. I remember the glory days when we had just moved in and had no screens available to the kids — they played elaborate imaginative games, they coloured, they read books. That’s it. Tomorrow I’m hiding the power cords for both family computers. Wish us luck.

crafty · DIY · Jewy goodness · Kids · mental health · The COVID files

Day 19: Who’s crazy now?

I woke up early today. It could have been the sunshine streaming in through the gaps in my curtains. It could have been that my brain was just ready. More likely it was the sound of the kids talking and swinging on the hammocks directly below my bedroom.  Thanks, kids.

R looked like she was in a pretty dark mood, so I dragged her out for a quick walk before her first online class of the day (there were five in total, but I’m pretty sure she skipped phys. ed.) We were both feeling better when we came back inside. IMG_3011

E’s class had a model passover seder. We had to set her up with her own little seder plate with all the symbolic foods on it. I managed everything except the shank bone – at the last minute I cut out a bone-shaped piece of cardboard and added it to her plate. Impressively, she made the charoset with only a little help from me.

Deciding that I needed to boost my mood and mental health today, I headed down to the Makery to tidy up. I ended up installing a shelf and building a set of paper trays to store the gazillion different kinds of paper we keep down there.

Speaking of my unspeakably huge crafting stash, I’ve realized that I’ve been preparing for this quarantine thing all along. I am so glad that I’m a maximalist when it comes to craft supplies. Because of COVID we’re having our own little seder at home this year, instead of going to my parents’ house. The problem is that we don’t have some of the stuff you might want when hosting a seder. A seder plate, for example. I might have to use a normal plate with little plastic bowls to hold each symbol.

But wait! I just happen to have a plastic mould for a seder plate… and also half a box of plaster of paris powder! E and I mixed the plaster (I tried to explain ratios to her, but I think it went over her head), poured it into the mould, and waited. We ended up popping it in the oven on the “dehydrate” setting for an hour or so. Then I decided to “clean it up” a little — you know, shave off the ridges from the mould, flatten out the bottom… that sort of thing. Which I did, with the help of tools from my vast collection: a wide metal putty knife, my x-acto knife, my combination square, and two different grits of sandpaper.

They said I was crazy to keep all those random craft supplies… but who’s crazy now? (insert maniacal laughter here.)


Also notable today: N ate half a hamburger. This is big news. He’s the pickiest eater in our family and normally on hamburger night he’ll eat a bun slathered in ketchup and mustard. Why he dared to try some meat tonight is beyond me; I’m just happy he did. It was so notable that R asked for my phone so she could take a picture of the historic moment.

There was plenty of outdoor time for the kids — their giant hole in the mud is coming along nicely — and even some treats, namely popcorn and muffins. Even with three doctor’s appointments (one of which I missed — I’m sorry, Dr. D!) and the family laptop refusing to charge, it was a pretty good day.