Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Better Late Than Never: The phrase “better late than never” has replaced “meatloaf” as Arthur’s latest arbitrary phrase he says all the time. It’s more likely to be accidentally accurate.

[No comments] Sienna Talks: I had a zoom meeting this week, graduating Sienna from speech therapy (for sh, ch, and j sounds). The teacher asked me to stay on after and do her parent teacher conference really quick. Basically, she enthused about how Sienna always had something to contribute and that it was valuable, and was just so fun and the best, and she needs to work on subtraction facts, and then she detailed entire conversation about Sienna’s hair that had occurred one day after school when I had fixed it in pigtail braids.

[No comments] Birthday Weekend: For my birthday, we took the whole family parasailing. We loved it! It was so gentle and fun. John and I tried a new Mediterranean place for dinner. Then on Sunday, we went for a hike, did my new puzzle, and had friends over for ice cream cake. A great birthday weekend.

Last week, I went out with a bunch of friends for tacos. It’s been a long time since I went to a birthday dinner friend group dessert party thing. It was nice to be doing that again. After tacos, we walked half a mile in the dark in search of a dessert place. I love that I have friends who are up for such things.

Oh look, Basketball: Tonight John took Dalton to a YM pickle ball activity. Except the leaders didn’t plan ahead and the courts were all full so… they played basketball instead. Shocking, I know. Dalton was SO disappointed. We’ve already complained about the quality of the YM activities, so doing so again won’t do much. We’ve been trying to vote with our feet, but John is the deacon’s advisor and is trying to be supportive. Perhaps they should have asked him to be supportive by reserving a pickle ball court, or helping plan activities that aren’t dodgeball, volleyball, church cleaning, career night, repeat. Argh.

The YW learned an after school snack recipe and Dalton said he’d have much rather done that. I know, buddy.

Spiritual Experiences: A few weeks ago, I donated blood successfully for the first time. I lay there the whole time without my phone pondering my mortality (and that of my friend’s niece who recently had a blood transfusion, which is what inspired me). It’s been a long time since I had such a spiritual experience.

That same week I read The Book of Longings, which was fabulous. By the time I got it from the library I had seen it recommended from five or six different sources. Toward the end of the book, the main character (Jesus’ wife, whose main longing is to have a voice in this world) writes a hymn to Sophia, the Greek incarnation of the feminine divine. I was spellbound by the bits of poetry she sings. And then I read the author’s note and learned they were from an actual poem found buried, presumably written by a woman. So I looked up the poem and read the entire thing. Thunder, Perfect Mind. The resonating of the poem in my heart was shocking. It describes opposites in everything and So Much Power. The novel, and that poem, have imprinted on me.

Saturday Plans: We spent Saturday morning at Soak City with friends. It was great to have so many adults and big kids that like doing stuff, and no little babies. Arthur can only do 3 sets of the water slides, but it worked out well between everyone.

Drama This Week: Maggie auditioned for the school musical (Matilda). They didn’t get a part, which was expected. We mostly had Maggie do it for practice. Maggie also expressed interest in the theater class’s reading of War At Home, followed by a screening of Come From Away, so John, Maggie and I went to that. I liked the musical even better than I remembered.

Maggie also finished physical therapy this week.

Math Magician:
Me: if we spent $202 on groceries, and $44 was for Tressa, how much were our groceries?
Arthur: 158
Me: So close! It’s $168. …

President Chadwick: Sienna saw a thank you card for John, from the CalCPA admin and said “President? Dad isn’t president!” And then “Chapter?!?

Iceland: Tuesday: We arrived early at the hotel and had breakfast and took a 3 hour nap. Ate a world famous Hot dog from the stand right outside our hotel room window. Walked to chocolate factory. Iceland fly over - this was basically Soarin’ Around the World, but longer and more tipsy. It was pouring rain when we came out, and we narrowly avoided getting wildly splashed by passing cars.
In the evening we did a food tour. We were the youngest people. It was great to try lots of traditional Icelandic food and get a good introduction on our first night.

Wednesday: went on a tour to the Active volcano - Fagradalsfjall. We did not see lava spewing out, which was disappointing but it was still a great excursion. Lava fields were so cool. Fresh, smooth-ish black lava, still steaming. Fog drifted in an out, so we got some cool views, even being up in the clouds. People we met invited us to drinks after. It was fun to make friends.

Thursday inside the volcano tour of Thrihnukagigur. We descended 400 feet into the Extinct volcano bd got to climb around inside for half an hour. It poured rain for 20 minutes shortly after we got back out. But the best part was the 2 mile walk (each way) to the volcano, across 4000 year old lava fields covered in moss. It was like trolls from Frozen. We also got to climb down into some lava tubes. Friday: Blue Lagoon. We did a short hike at the Blue Lagoon, which confused people. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere (being literally a pile off waste water from a nearby geothermal energy plant, that was dumped into a lava field). We tried three face masks and explored the entire lagoon. Then we had lunch in the restaurant - John had celeriac, and I had steak and potatoes that might have been one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.

Saturday: Landmannalauger hike in the colored hills. This place had so many different terrains. The hike itself was about what John and I would do on a typical weekend, but as a group, we went much slower. This time, John and I were by far the oldest people in our group. At the end of the hike, we got to swim in the hot spring, which was so cool. The perfect way to end a long hike.

Back to School: The first few days of high school have gone well. Maggie said the first day was “better than expected.” They’ve been biking alone, handling assignments, being responsible.

Dalton crashed his bike on the way to school on th first day, but otherwise had a good day.

Sienna’s brand new backpack zipper got stuck and she couldn’t get her lunch box out. Luckily, all California students get free lunch this year!

Arthur walked into kindergarten like no big deal. He is perfectly happy to be back in school, and I am very glad it’s 3 1/2 hours this year. In fact, other than the kids have to wear masks indoors, there aren’t many changes from a regular school year.

Homesick Already: Last night, Arthur was asleep on the floor at the foot of our bed and he sat up and started crying for Maggie. When I patted his back, he spurred “n go back home” and then lay down and went back to sleep. He denies this, and John didn’t hear it, but it’s true; I saw the whole thing.

Adult: We went to Mesquite on our honeymoon. Today, on the day our marriage turns 18, we drove straight on through, because $27 hotel rooms are no longer our priority.

Dessert Fridge: The other day, Arthur opened the freezer and said “let’s see what’s in the dessert fridge” and now Dessert Fridge is a thing. Yes, I buy a lot of popsicles.

Swimmers: So proud of the kids at their swim meet today. The meet was very early - we left the house at 6:45 - but they had great attitudes. They all obviously put in a big effort for each of their races. Each of them got at least one Heat Winner. (Arthur’s was for the relay in which theirs was the only team competing, but still). Our kids rock at Heat 2. And now I am looking at their times, and it looks like every single race was a time improvement. Pretty awesome kids!

Going Home: I told Arthur to charge his tablet for the long drive tomorrow and he asked how long it was. When I told him ten hours he said “ugh! Can’t we go to a different one?” A different what? Home? A new California?

We are going to the Lehi pool with family in the morning, before driving home.

Washington: Day 1.
Drove to Redding, CA. It was 109°. We were able to make a half hour pool reservation.

Day 2.
Drove to Lake Cushman, Washington, with a stop at Walmart for provisions. So glad to meet the Prestons, just minutes after we arrived. They are staying at a cabin down the road. We walked down to the lake and watched the summer solstice sun set at 9pm.

Day 3.
We slept until 8am and then headed down to Cushman Lake with the kayaks. We all took a turn, including Wally. On Dalton’s second turn, he went out into the main lake all by himself, he was so confident, and I was so proud. This is one of the reasons we take our kids to do stuff like this - so they’ll feel confident doing stuff!

Kids jumped off the dock, played at the playground and wore themselves out. In the afternoon, John and I hiked Upper Big Creek Loop, which was close to five miles, and exhausting. Then we went to the Prestons cabin for hamburgers and to play in their big open yard.

Day 4.
First, we drove to North Beach in Port Townsend to look for sea glass. I loved this part. All the kids had fun digging on the rocks and collected lots of glass. Then, we went to the Hurricane Ridge area of Olympic National Park in Port Angeles for a picnic and a short hike. The hike gave us a fantastic view of Olympic NP and even to Canada. We stopped in Hoodsport for ice cream on our way back. I had a delicious lemon cheesecake raspberry swirl.

Day 5
I spent most of this day sick at home with Arthur’s cold, and Jodi and the little kids. We did take them into town for ice cream, and down to the lake with floaties for an hour. Meanwhile, John and Franco took Maggie, Dalton, and Franco in a fishing excursion. They all got to catch salmon to bring home to eat, and had a great time on the boat with amazing views.

Day 6
Today we drove 4 hours to Hoh rainforest, where we took turns watching Wally/doing the Hall of Mosses hike. It was so green! Then we went to Ruby beach, which was covered in rocks and driftwood. Arthur and Sienna hopped in in their clothes and had a blast splashing with cousins. We also stacked a lot of rock piles.

Day 7
One of the coolest parts of our Washington trip was visiting High Steel Bridge. It was a 45 minute drive from our cabin, including a few miles of dirt road. The bridge is 365 feet above the gorge, beautiful view of the river and a waterfall, Franco took some fun pictures with his drone.

We had lunch together, then went down to the lake for some mega floatie, kayaking fun. The Saturday vibe at the lake was very different but we still had fun. Dalton and John kayaked all the way across the lake!

Day 8
Drove a million hours to Utah. Sigh. Ok, it was just 14.

Paint Party/Yoda Armor: Last night I dreamt I was at an enormous birthday party for a friend. I felt pretty specia that I was in the “friend” seating, where she threw paint all over us. Then we were supposed to dance at the party, including in a bounce house. But the area I was in got lame fast so I left to try to find some other friends. I was eating a Rice Krispie treat that had blue sprinkles and white frosting and ran into a ward member. I asked if she made it, and then someone handed her a metal storage box and it turned out to hold doll sized armor (except obviously it was for baby yoda, not a doll) and we realized we needed to get it off the planet. That is all.

: Dalton and Sienna’s sort of yearly well visits at 8.5 and 11.5 Dalton was 70 pounds, 58 inches. Sienna was 51 pounds, 52 inches.

Back to Disney: After 14 1/2 months, we made it back to Disneyland! We had a great time. When we got into the park half an hour early, the lines were all secretly open. The lines were all outdoors and spaced out, so we were able to take turns sitting on some of them. The weather was pretty nice. We were able to go on everything we had planned including the new Snow White (lame), Rise of the Resistance (still stressful to get a boarding pass, but finally Maggie got to go on the whole thing), and Arthur’s first time in Indiana Jones (obsessed) and Splash Mountain. We also got to enter the Haunted Mansion through the service entrance, which was fun, and also cut off most of the line.

The only downsides was the food options were very limited, including being entirely out of churros, and they closed some of the lines at 45 minutes, so it took us several tries to get on Splash Mountain.

More Waffles: Me: Arthur woke me up at 5:30 and I could t go back to sleep.

John: You always say that, but there are never waffles on the table.

Sale: Anyone want a five year old who barely eats real food, plays video games all day, and wakes up at 5:30 even on the weekend? Comes with a broken arm.

May is the Worst: Deleting piano, gym, tennis, and drawing class from my schedule. Feels good. May is always so full of end of the year events, it’s always such a relief when it’s done.

In Which Arthur Breaks His Arm: After school one day, I took Arthur to the playground to wait for Sienna to get out. He went flying off the monkey bars and landed on his left wrist. “I was there! I saw the whole thing” In fact, I was taking a video. He took him to the pediatrician later that afternoon, and then to get an x ray. Confirmed a buckle fracture in his radius, as well as a small fracture in the ulna. The next day, he got a waterproof cast put on for three weeks. I don’t know how much good the waterproof cast will do since he can barely swim as is and how he has a giant cast on his arm. But school is almost out and swim team will soon be upon us!

Arthur is handling it pretty well. Only complains of pain if he twists it, which he doesn’t do because he doesn’t move or us that arm. Which is kind of funny because he is left handed. But he went back to school once the cast was on, and has a good attitude about it. Now if only he’d sleep later, and in his own bed.

Lightyears : Arthur: I think I’m only ten meteors faster than him.

I think he means meters, which is somewhat closer to being correct. Also, Arthur is pretty fast.

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