Thursday, December 19, 2013

kindergarten homework

Assignment: "Write one or two sentences using both words "to" and "have."

Kiddo's response:

Monday, December 9, 2013

can't get enough of this

long time ahead

There is supposed to be actual snow tomorrow (not an inch of snow, covered by ice, like we got on Sunday), so after school, I dragged my three little people to Target to buy snow pants for Kiddo. So with the Boy in his carrier in the cart, Babs hanging off the back, and Kiddo "helping" me push, we moved from the parking lot to the store. I am very sensitive to the fact that kids move at their own pace, and I put a lot of effort into not stopping right in the entrance or exit of a store, or any other place where flow is important. I am often thwarted by Babs, who seems determined to stop in those exact places (yet is content to run like a banshee every where else).

Today was typical, I had finally pushed all three of them into the store when I have to stop suddenly so I don't run over Babs who has gotten off the cart. I strongly encouraged her to get back on, so we can get out of the doorway when I had to pull the cart to a quick stop again. This time it was to avoid running into the people ahead of us, who were also disrupting the flow.

It was a mom and her three kids, except her three kids were two teenagers, and one preteen (tween?). She was not shepherding them, just walking, assuming they would follow. The kids were laughing and talking in that non-guarded way that tells you they are friends as well as siblings, and have forgotten momentarily that their sworn duty as teenagers is to be cooler than their family.

I had a few thoughts at that moment: So this problem of stopping in front of others will never go away. That is my future. I want my kids to still like each other.

My three are so small, but they won't always be. I know that, but I'm not sure I understand that. Today was a good reminder. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

comfort brother

Babs was invited to a birthday party. A lot of it was at the local bounce house, which is loud because of the air machines for all the air slides, an odd mixture of bright colors and dim lighting with lots of shadows, and basically overwhelming to my children. (Last year, Kiddo finally broke down inconsolably for the last 20 min of someone's party. Silly me to think my children would be happy in a high stimulation environment.) Babs wouldn't go down slides unless I was with her (and I mostly had a baby strapped to my front), and as the time progressed her behavior showed more and more of the subtle distress signals that I rarely notice until too late.

Finally she looked at me and insisted that she hold the Boy. At three months old, in a public place with few places to sit on, I wasn't sure how to handle it. But she persisted, so I had her sit on the floor, then had him sit with her. See how happy he is? But it calmed her down, and then we left soon after.

Some children have stuffed animals, mine has a little brother.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

goldfish in bed

Kiddo left during scripture/prayer time to get a kleenex. She took a long time coming back. I could hear her in the hallway, so I finally called out "What are you doing?"

She shuffled into view and explained that she had stuck some goldfish crackers in her footed pajamas to save for later, and now couldn't get them out.

Monday, November 11, 2013

primary program

Kiddo has now been involved in four primary programs, even though by her age it should only be three.

The first time, at age 2 in our  unbelievable branch in NJ, she had multiple speaking parts, which she had all memorized. She also filled in for a few absent children.

The second time we lived with my parents, in a primary that was about the same size as our previous branch. There was no place for the Sunbeams, so Kiddo had no speaking part. But, the Sunbeams did have a song they sang just by themselves (all 15 or so of them). If Kiddo had not been singing, no one would have heard them.

The third time, now she was 4 and in our current congregation, she gave a three minute talk on a family history story. She did an amazing job. (Although by then she could read, we're pretty sure she had it memorized too.)

Last Sunday, she had a small part, just a quick line: I am a child of God, and He has a plan for me.

BUT, she carried the entire primary through her enthusiastic and soulful singing. She knew all the words, and sang louder than the rest of the primary combined. I have been told that she also scrunched her eyes shut and looked joyous the whole time. Many adults came up to me later to tell me how wonderful it was to see her singing with such abandon.

It's just who she is, I kept thinking. She loves the Gospel, she loves to sing, she loves to participate, she loves church. She is joyful. I'm grateful that others were able to share that too.

Friday, November 1, 2013


The boy likes to suck, although for sure he's not so good at it yet.

He treats a pacifier like my other two kids have: with a serious look of distaste, acting as if he may choke to death, and not looking for it again. (Two of my kids have also acted that way sometimes when I tried to feed them early on; it makes nursing frustrating to say the least.)

He mostly sucks on his lower lip, or his fist, now that he can finally get it to his mouth. He has tried to suck on his palm, like Babs used to, but is still struggling with the method. It's really easy to poke your eyes while sucking on your palm.

And today, I noticed, as he was sucking his fist, that he is working on finding his thumb. (Of course one time, he made the choking face again, so who knows.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

more thoughts on kindergarten

I know many people who homeschool their children. I admire them, and sincerely hope I never have to be one of them. But maybe I will. I just can't forsee the future; often life presents you with situations you never expect.

Yesterday I was driving in the neighborhood of a friend who homeschools her first grader and kindergartener (with a preschooler and toddler at home as well). I thought, maybe I should ask her if I can observe her one day, just to see what she is doing...

And then that thought was cut short by the realization that homeschooling Kiddo is completely unnecessary. The blessings of school for her are the things I could never provide for her at home: friends, knowledge in art, expertise in various child-friendly subjects, friends, independence, and friends.

She is learning, she is enjoying, and her favorite thing each day is an experience I couldn't recreate at home. Kiddo loves kindergarten. (which I always type "kinderfarten" then have to correct...)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Kiddo is in kindergarten. Every day she has a short homework assignment. Yesterday she was asked to find the letters in her sight word "like" three times, then glue those letters into her notebook. I anticipated this would take her about five minutes. I gave her an old Ensign, and left her to her work.

30 minutes, 45 minutes, later she was still not done. What was going on? She was reading the Ensign (a magazine from our church geared toward adults). I'm glad she was learning about church history. I wish she would have finished her work.

Does anyone else see the absurdity of her reviewing the word "like" while getting lost in catching up on her adult-level reading?

(But, she is learning other things, and really enjoying herself, so kindergarten is OKAY.)

Friday, October 11, 2013


This is my boy. He weighed 14 lbs at his last check-up, two weeks ago. He is 97th percentile height and weight. So the fact that he refuses to sleep in his crib, except at night (thank goodness for that), and needs to be rocked to sleep either in my arms or my new Ergo carrier (thanks to my grandma for the money for it!) cramps my style. At least he smiles like this at me. And coos a lot. He likes me, but I think I deserve it.

In addition, I have two girls. One is largely self-sufficient, especially since she is at kindergarten for most of the day. But, there is an intense hour in the morning trying to get all of us out the door so she will be on time, and then a rigid end time where I have to be there again to get her home. (Whoever said 'never wake a sleeping baby' clearly only had one child - possibly two, but definitely not three.)

The other refuses to potty train, and two mornings a week attends preschool. For reasons that can only be described as personal revelation, it is a preschool I am running. (Although thankfully I only teach every three weeks. There is a reason I am not a preschool teacher.) 

In addition we have this house. I spent all my free moments, and many of my non-free moments, for two weeks cleaning it, in preparation for the visit of family for the Boy's blessing, then a semi-annual brunch we host. My visiting teacher and friend even came over two days to help me clean. You cannot tell that I did that... Well, maybe if you squint you can, we're slightly better organized, and thanks to my dad the good will stuff we had is gone.

My point is that I have no time. My "free time" is spent nursing a baby, or playing dolls with my three-year old, or perhaps sleeping just a bit, or feeding myself, so I can feed my baby. Am I poorly organized? Am I unrealistic in what I should be doing? Have I forgotten that all I really should be doing with an infant in the house is cooing back at him? I think so.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

1st day

Kiddo had her first day of school, real school, kindergarten school. She was completely ready. (It was three weeks ago.) She made a friend, was intrigued by her friend buying lunch (she got strawberry milk!), and generally enjoyed herself. She's not really a detail girl, so that's about all the information I got.

One reason I wanted to buy this house was we could walk to school. I spent the week before school started wondering if that was such a good idea. I mean, this is what we look like as we walk to school... Well, not really. Usually I'm pushing a stroller with Babs inside. And often the Boy is struggling to free himself from the wrap. And if it's after school, Kiddo may be standing on the back of the stroller, also being pushed, uphill (no really, the walk home is uphill - except in all honesty, I make her walk on the hills). Plus I've lost Babs' sunglasses, making her less amenable to the walk. So perhaps this is the ideal version of the walk.

And, given the kids' ages, it's entirely possible I'll be walking to the school two times a day for the next seven or eight years. But, I won't be pushing a stroller the entire time.

But back to Kiddo. She loves school. She's made friends. She follows directions and comes home happy every day. This is our school girl.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

keeping up

it didn't seem so easy the first time...

As I prayed for a blessing on my breakfast, I also asked that my husband would be blessed at work, and Kiddo at school, and Babs at preschool, and I realized that some day my whole family will be out of the house.

But today it was just most. So after dropping Babs off at her preschool, the Boy and I went to the grocery store. He compliantly stayed in his carrier in the cart while I shopped. I walked at my own pace, not slowed down for little legs. I never once said "stop that!" or "be careful" or "I told you that was a bad idea!" I could think my own thoughts. It was really amazing.

As I drove home I thought, I could actually get something done with this arrangement. Last time I only had one child at home I wrote a dissertation. I wonder what I will do this time?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

the thousand words

This picture illustrates two major themes of my life right now.

1) This is the last day that all three of my kids are home together as a rule, instead of an exception. Kiddo starts school tomorrow, and while there will certainly be plenty of days where they are all home again (like say, the day after tomorrow, which is a Saturday), most days Kiddo will be at school. What will our life be like, just me, Babs and the boy? What is the new normal?

2) My house is a mess. I spend much of my "free" time working on the mess, but it's like bailing in a rainstorm with a thimble - less effective. Part of the mess is the girls that enjoy their toys a lot (a good thing). Part of the mess is that not everything has a place, or is unpacked in the right spot. Mostly we use our time differently. I remind myself that we have years here to find order, so be patient. Also, the major place I spend my time currently is on that little head just peeking out of the swing. I feed him. I hold him. He prefers to nap in my arms, and the swing is only sometimes an acceptable substitute.

But he is only this small once. So I am trying desperately to locate the fine line between enjoying him in my arms as much as possible, and not going crazy that this 10 lb child is the only thing I do. I recite often the important lines: "I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

milk for all

We finally got both girls to bed at the right time last night, largely to a) improve Babs mood (to avoid further 20 minute screaming fits like last night) and b) get Kiddo on her school schedule, ready for kindergarten on Friday. The dark side of getting them to bed on time is they wake up on time, so every one was up by 7:30. (This will be a blessing on Friday, but today I had spent the last three hours partially asleep, partially soothing the boy, so I was, I mean, AM, tired.)

So there I was on the couch, nursing the boy, then Kiddo emerges, and requests chocolate milk from her dad, and settles next to us. Not long after, Babs stumbles out of bed, and also requests chocolate milk. She curls up on my other side. All my little ones, sharing the couch with me, drinking their morning milk.

(Wouldn't a picture be swell? Well, we weren't all decent...)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

90 minutes

I took all three kids out today. Grandma was here too, so I will give credit where credit is due, and say we took all three kids out. (Because there was more than one time that I needed the second adult.) This was the first time. From all of us basically waking up, it took an hour and a half to get every one dressed, fed, and to the car. This felt extraordinarily long to me. Is it because I had to feed the boy twice? Is it because I only managed this time because I had extra help? Is it because I'm petrified of what we'll need to do in one short week when Kiddo starts kindergarten (with no additional back-up)?

I don't know, but it was a long 90 minutes.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"He's coming!"

My son was born a week ago today. It was both my longest and most exciting labors. He checked in at 8 lbs 11 oz, and 21.5 inches long. This makes him "large for gestational age" (born at 40 weeks, 1 day), so he had multiple blood pricks in his first 24 hours to make sure his blood sugar levels were appropriate. It should be noted that he is skinny, like all my babies, because he is ridiculously long to go with his "great" weight.

After approximately 8 hours of contractions (both my other labors could have fit in this time frame), some at home, and some at the hospital, we decided to break my waters so I could finish up.

As I stood to move to the hospital bed, my water spontaneously broke. I felt a huge pushing contraction, yelled "he's coming" and out came his head. (It sounds so simple. It was not.) In retrospect, I keep thinking it's miracle this happened when the midwife, nurse, and medical student were all in the room. I wonder if my husband realizes how close he was to having to catch the baby. But the midwife was there, and he (literally) caught the baby as I pushed the rest of him out. It was an intense two minutes. He emerged face first, thus the bruising in his first day photos. But, as we were deciding to break the waters, I turned to my husband and told him I was anxious to be done, but was scared about the pushing that still needed to happen. Then it finished so quickly, and that was a blessing.

They gave him to me, and labor was done. Now the real work begins.

Two postscripts:

A. I labor without drugs. But I labor with my husband's support, help, and presence. What I do would be impossible without him there. I'm so grateful for him. I'm sorry about his shoes though. As I continued to labor with an intact bag of waters, I kept worrying that they would break at an inopportune moment, and get my husband's shoes all wet. That fear was realized. (But the pushing fear was not, so I feel I got the better end of the deal.)

B. As the contractions kept coming, I often called up this picture in my head, of Babs after she had fallen asleep in my bed the night before the boy came:
Remember to be relaxed like Babs, I would remind myself. It helped a lot. (Not as much as  my husband helped me though.)

Friday, August 2, 2013

how to grow your three-year old

You can monumentally increase the size of your three-year old if you give her an infant sibling.

The boy showed up on Wednesday (his coming was interesting enough that every nurse had heard about it before they met us - are you excited to hear about too?). Babs had a fever (argh!), so didn't come to the hospital. She saw him first when we brought him home today. How small is he? How huge is she? The five-year old seems unchanged somehow, perhaps because in my mind, she wasn't still "the baby."

More details about him later. We're all doing well.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

the question for the calendar

Every night as I go to bed, I look at the calendar and wonder when this baby will come. He's not late. My due date is still five days away, but I thought (hoped?) he'd come early, which he really hasn't. Now I'm just hoping he'll come soon. Perhaps right after my mom arrives tomorrow night...

Both my sister and sister-in-law who had babies in the last year had a scheduled birth, which right now seems really great. Except I want to schedule my naturally-starting/let-my-body-be-in-charge birth. I know you can't do both, so I stare at the calendar and wonder.

While I'm waiting, a brief update on the homefront:

Three weeks ago I took Kiddo to the store so we could buy some things for the baby. (Specifically a blue based bed sheet. This was really important to me. I have it now, but from a different store. They're washed, but not on the crib yet. Blegh.) While there, she saw an E-Z-bake toy, make your own cupcakes or something. She felt she couldn't live without it, and so I bought it for her, and she has been working on earning it ever since. Each day she has various chores, and it's been good and hard for both of us.

It's hard, because I have done much less that I wished in helping her learn how to help out around the house up to this point, so there is a lot of learning/teaching going on. Each of her chores requires work from me too. But it's good, because she's learned how to do things like "feed the vacuum", help more with the dishes, wipe down the bathroom counters, and of course, put away toys. But she has learned these things. And she's had the satisfaction of earning this toy, not just getting it. So I can live with yet another thing coming in our home.

I've also had the chance to tell her that not all chores are fun. Sometimes work is work. She is fond of telling me, one or two minutes into a chore, how overwhelmingly tired she is, and how she cannot continue. My responses are not terribly compassionate. Work is work is my basic answer. And if you want your reward, you do the work.

Yet you can't keep this child down. Within moments of complaining how she is too tired to lift another fork out of the dishwasher, you have to watch where you're stepping, because she is dancing back and forth between the dishwasher and where the fork goes, explaining that she is so happy she needs to dance.

Babs got one of her fevers last week. We spent the next few days with her in our bed at night, terribly sad during the day, and saying pathetic things like, "I can't, I've got a feber." I hoped that the baby would wait until she was better. (She's better, so he can come any time now.) She sings all day long, telling stories through song and playing through song. Kiddo does the same thing, sometimes they sing little duets. They are happy children, and I appreciate that.

I also met with the mothers who will be working with me to put together a little preschool for Babs and some other kids this fall. I can't actually believe I'm doing this, but I am grateful for other mothers who are willing to work with me on this. There are five little kids, but four moms, because there is a set of twins. I'm really grateful they're fraternal so it's easy to tell them apart.

Babs still loves her baby dolls, and has a line of them, in beds of various sorts, in her room where they spend a lot of time sleeping. Today we found another doll that had been packed away, and that was what she was truly grateful for in her prayers tonight.

The thing I am most grateful for right now is my diligent, good, helpful husband, who works, seemingly tirelessly, to continue to get us settled, to take care of the house and yard, to work, and to serve at home to a group of females who seem to need more of him every day. And he continues to give. Plus he teaches Sunbeams. I am so blessed. (In fact, right now, he's doling out cheese and crackers to the three-year old who took a nap today, so isn't as tired as we'd like her to be. Instead of watching TV, which is what his tired body and mind would really like to be doing.)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

come back, my ankles

I've never had any swelling with my pregnancies, until this one. My feet are big, many of my shoes are tight, and my hands are wide too. They look like I've been hiking all day, but trust me, I have not. I know it is just the result of being very pregnant (two and a half weeks to go if he comes on time) in the summer, but I don't like it. I don't like that it's uncomfortable (as if the rest of me were feeling so great), and I don't like that there's not much I can do about it (except whine, I'm very good at whining).

In a good news/bad news moment, I'm very grateful that this summer has been exceptionally mild. I'm sure that's helped a lot. The bad news is it will finally be hot this next week. (Maybe I'll go check into a building where they believe in air conditioning, like a hospital.)

I dream of the day that my boy will be born, not because then I'll have him, but because then this crazy pregnancy will finally be over.

Here's me and my enormous belly. Maybe next Sunday I'll take a picture where you can actually see it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I don't really mind laundry. I like clean clothes, and I like empty laundry baskets. And as long as you keep the machines moving, it can usually be done in a day.

I don't like that a laundry basket is not empty again at the end of the day. And I really don't like folding the load of kids clothes. I fold, and fold, and fold, and fold, and still there are more clothes. Then once they're folded, there are (what seems like) hundreds of piles of little tiny clothes. But kids really can't sort through a clean laundry basket and find what they need - so I can't really skip that step. I have taught Kiddo how to put away her laundry - but I will only give her one category at a time, otherwise I just have to redo it the next time I go in her room.

As you may realize, I'm starting over with the really tiny baby clothes again soon. It seems that I should change my attitude about laundry, but instead I think I'll just be overwhelmed. And feel ridiculously proud of myself those times when I actually fold and put away clothes. (It's the little victories.)

Monday, July 8, 2013


My sweet little Babs is at an awkward height right now. Each time she runs to give me a hug, her head makes contact with my big belly and she basically bounces off.

Given her personality, I can't tell whether she's doing this on purpose or not.

Speaking of my big belly, since it is a recent addition (and soon-to-be subtraction) I have no body-sense of how much space it takes up. (I've taken to putting my hand on it when space is tight, because I have a sense of where my hand is, but none for where my belly is.) So in the evening I cook with an apron, so I don't accidentally burn it on the stove. I run into walls, doorways, and tables frequently. I remember this from previous pregnancies, and it's one of the more bizarre features of this time in my life.

But the boinking is new.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

rude awakening

Kiddo wakes up slowly. She lies in bed for a while, then heads out to the couch to lie there, drinking her chocolate milk and reading for a while longer.

So she couldn't possibly have enjoyed her little sister climbing into her bed this morning, shouting "We do not suck our thumbs! Stop sucking your thumb!" I wasn't in the room to watch, but I imagine that Babs was also trying to force the thumb out of the mouth at the same time.

(Apparently Babs overheard the conversation with the pediatrician about stopping the thumb sucking, but missed the conclusion, which is we wait until the baby comes and she's settled in school. A couple more mornings like this though, and Kiddo may just decide it's easier to just stop.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

who are these little people?

This morning Kiddo suggested that we write some poems. First we wrote one about a gnat, because she learned last night about the silent "g" from a Shel Silverstein poem.

Babs wanted us to write about her imaginary monsters as well, the pooty and the pomp.

The pomp is scary, and coming!

After helping them write about their subjects, I left them to draw the pictures while I went to get dressed.

"Babs, what does a pomp look like?" Kiddo asked. "Does he have a spiky head?"

"No, he has horns upon his head," Babs replied.

Why does my barely three year old know how to use 'upon' in a conversation? Why does my five year old know to write poetry in the morning? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

best friends

These two girls are best friends. They spend hours each day playing, laughing, and generally being together. They draw together, read together, play dolls together, and are usually happy to be around the other one. Very rarely can one get that involved in a game before the other is there, begging to join in.

But no best friends were meant to spend all day together, so I've recently learned that a little time apart is exactly what they need to stay friends. So while I nap each day, they have their alone time.

Don't get me wrong, there is fighting. They often don't quite agree on who should be "running" the game. It about drives Kiddo batty when Babs grabs her clothes and pulls at her ("time for a check-up!" the little one yells). And Babs can't resist the opportunity to steal that golden bear out of Kiddo's hands. And even though Babs insists on wearing pants even to church (she has "special church pants" she wears under her dress), while Kiddo is in a skirt every day, they both want to be the princess when they dance.

But as they play on the hill, running up and down, I can't help being so grateful they're both mine.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

holding out til next friday

Next Friday is the summer solstice. That's the longest day of the year. After that, there is less sunlight each day (for the next six months any way). It means we will be heading toward, not away, from having to put my kids to bed at a time that is at least twilight, and no longer full light.

I know, I could live further north, it could still be full light much later than here. But I am still looking forward to the dark coming back.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

some thoughts about babs

About two months I had surgery on some eyelid cysts. It was uncomfortable, and mentally tough. As I tried desperately to be calm and collected, I needed things to think about. I thought about my unborn child (who kicked a lot during the procedure), and I thought about this little girl right here.

Did you know her favorite color was pink? She wears this swim hat a lot, so her hair won't get cold. For about a week, her bike helmet served the same purpose. We have been potty training for three months now, and I'm trained, but I'm not sure how well she's doing. You can see that we live in an area with a lot of green. As all the dandelions of spring went to seed, we were often stopped in our trek to the car so she could get a "wish" which is what she called the flower. "Look mom! A wish!" she would call out.

She loves "honey buzz" cheerios, and eats bowls of it every day (to make up for everything else that she won't eat, with the exclamation "I hate that!"). She pushes her sister around, both physically and verbally, but barely speaks to any one outside of the family. She ripped half the pages out of her coloring book the other day, setting them aside "for grandpa." (There is also a half-eaten bowl of goldfish for him when he comes to collect.) She loves to color, and play with Kiddo's Snow White, Prince, and Queen figure. We've been talking about letters this week. I've been trying to teach her "I." Four days later, she still can't come up with the name.

She sometimes is polite, and sometimes not. For example, she just ordered me to turn up the music, "Louder." "Louder, please," I responded somewhat automatically. "LOUDER!" she yelled. (I think she thinks she was doing just what I asked, because she always wants me to say things louder, just for the joy of it.)

She wore a bandaid on her finger for a week, crying like a banshee each time it was taken off, enough to make me wonder if the hurt was actually more serious than I thought. Last night my husband made her an enormous splint, and put it on loosely enough that it would fall off while she slept (or actually that we could easily remove). This morning she is convinced that the bandaid miraculously healed her finger while she slept.

I am organizing a mother's preschool for her this fall, along with three or four other little kids her age. I really wanted to send her off to a professional preschool, but it wasn't the right choice for her. I cannot think of an organized class that she has not dropped out of, by sheer persistence of non-participation/non-attendance. She has dropped out of nursery (our church program for kids her age) because she just won't attend. Not even with me, or my husband, or grandma... Then they asked my husband to teach the kids who turn four this year, and told us Babs could attend with him. She really won't do that either. I keep trying to figure out how we're going to watch two kids while my husband shepherds eight tiny kids, and I play the piano. As for swimming class... well, she awkwardly stopped attending that class as well. She just wouldn't go into the pool area, and I was pretty sure that no one, especially the teacher with four other equally small people to watch in a pool, wanted me to leave her there screaming. She would drop out of church, but my husband and I just won't.

And yet she is truly funny. And creative. And loving, when she wants to be. And helpful, when the mood suits her. And when she's happy, she's very, very happy. Perhaps I need to rewrite the poem: "There was a little girl, who had a little curl,..." because there is no curl in her hair, but the rest fits her just fine.

Friday, June 7, 2013

experiencing vs. watching

Last year for Mother's Day I asked for a pair of rain boots. How was I supposed to enjoy rain puddles with my kids without rain boots? And I got them. In the last year I've taken my girls out in the rain exactly twice.

Today was time 2. It's been raining solidly all day. And I've been grouchy with my kids all day. I hoped taking them outside would get me out of my funk (then I could feel like a good mom). But, I don't have a rain jacket, so I had to be mentally prepared to get really, really wet.

I did, and they did too. We live on a hill, so there is a solid stream down the street all the way to the bottom. We walked it three times. They loved it. The last time, they walked back up in their feet, without rain jackets or umbrellas. But with complete joy on their faces.

I convinced them to come in with promises of a blanket and the TV. (So there they are, wrapped in a blanket, mostly without clothes.)

Because I was also out in the rain, I didn't take a picture. I wanted to be there, not worried about the camera getting wet or dropped. But will I remember the look on Babs' face, soaked from head to toe, with her stringy wet hair, as she smiled at me, sharing the fun of the puddle in her feet? Will I remember Kiddo's laugh of surprise when I jumped right next to her, and splashed her from head to toe? (I'm not that mom. But I tried it out today.) But would a picture help me remember it any better? I have no idea. But I know that I was there with them today, and that's important to me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

we do exist

During Kiddo's picture phase she took this beauty of my husband and I. So, I'm pregnant. This was his sick day this week. So there we are, looking tired. But we are here. (Kiddo explains that she thought she should take a picture of us because we love each other. Don't we look it? And yet, we do. We really do.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

the picture you can't see

Kiddo wandered around the house taking pictures today. She wanted to take one with me and Babs, so we paused what we were doing so she could take it. I was glad that at least one picture would be taken where you could see my growing belly, and I surely love my little girl.

Then reality hit, and I deleted it. The task Babs and I were completing was to get her underwear changed after an accident. She was naked from the waist down.

two friends and the miracle

This has been a daunting move for us. First of course is the packing, packing, and more packing.  Kids have to be comforted that the thing you are packing, which she has not touched for three months, will be fine in a box for three days. (Then, because she has forgotten it again, you can leave it there for much longer, and consider leaving it there forever...) Then the actual stuff has to be moved.

A particular hurdle of this move that has never been a problem in the past was my life didn't stop for the move. There were still midwife appointments, and preschool, and swimming, and ballet, and church... And then while all the big stuff moved in a day, the little stuff (finally getting the last trash out of the old house, cleaning, getting stuff out of the yard, etc.) kept dragging on and on and on (a hazard of moving four blocks away).

On Sunday, multiple people asked how the move went/was going. I did not put on a happy face. A few made general offers of help, give me a call. Two did more.

The first told me to bring my kids over the next day to play with her kids. So I did, and, since it was Memorial Day, my husband and I had three hours to work without the children. We used this time wisely. With her good help, we finished up by the end of the day. We now only have one house.

The second said, "Are you generally home during the day? I'll come over one morning and do the lifting you can't because you're pregnant." She called me the morning of her visit at 8 am (earlier than this house usually runs), and came over. She worked for two hours straight, and we unloaded at least 5 or 6 boxes. This may not sound like much until I assure you that these were the "throw everything in" boxes, so almost everything in them went to a different place. My friend ran up and down my stairs all morning, a feat I am completely incapable of right now. (Oh, I can still go up and down stairs, but I can't do it repeatedly.)

We are out of the old house. The entire downstairs is not covered with boxes. It's been a the best week of our move, thanks to my good friends. (The best weekend of our move was when we actually moved, with my mom's help. Don't think I don't remember that. And don't think for a second my husband hasn't gone above and beyond this whole time. But he has a full-time job, and I just need a little more help these days.)

I want to do that: see a friend in need, and give a concrete offer of help that is helpful. I'm not sure with two kids at home, and one on the way there is much I can do in this direction, but I'm trying.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

we're okay

Let's be honest. I'm exhausted. My husband is exhausted. And these two kids just keep moving merrily along in their life, with enough energy to make me wonder...

I'm now almost 7 months pregnant, and he is a mover. I failed my preliminary gestational diabetes test, and basically fretted for two weeks until I heard back about  my longer test (which made me sick, sick, sick), and know that I do not have gestational diabetes. I am so grateful. During the interim I had my second ultrasound (since I'm of advanced maternal age and all), in which I was offered undeniable proof that he is a boy. Maybe someday soon he'll have a different name than "baby brother." All this does make me less functional than I wish I could be. But, I am meeting my primary goals of feeding the children every day, and that's all I can ask for.

My husband is wishing that this move would actually end. Because of Memorial Day, our physical possessions should be removed by the end of the weekend, so then we can just clean, and be done. Did I mention we found some mold, actually quite a bit, as we moved out? We're grateful that's not our problem. My husband is an amazing worker, and just keeps getting this project done. (He's also primarily responsible for the unpacking on this end, so that's energy sapping too.)

Kiddo is, of course, doing great. She seems absolutely fine that preschool is done (possibly because this week has been very, very busy) and play wells with her little sister every day. I've signed her up for swimming lessons, which she loves. She gave the spiritual thought in primary last week, and did a fantastic job. She even added a portion of her talk from when we practiced (not really a surprise) so she could show the picture that she had drawn in Sacrament Meeting. She drew a picture of "Brave CTR girl. It's me." She wrote that entire caption herself (I probably helped her spell brave), including the apostrophe. I love that girl.

This week we did kindergarten orientation. Kiddo is ready to go, and loved her whole experience in the classroom. I am not. First off, I don't worry like other parents (and of course, that worries me). But my real concern, and this is serious, is Who will entertain my three-year old while Kiddo is at kindergarten next year? Babs and I don't have a together time routine. I guess we should, because Kiddo has been in preschool for a year, but we don't. Maybe she'll be really good with baby brother...

And Babs. She has thrown significantly less tantrums this week. But, she's also had a nap almost every day, which means she doesn't fall asleep until 9 or 10 (which may be driving her father crazy). Because of the very busy week we've had she's been primarily in pull-ups (oh, and she's still reluctant about the 2nd half of the process) and we have seriously backtracked in potty training. I am giving us this next (considerably quieter) week to get things back under control before I give up again.

She is also signed up for swimming lessons. The first week she participated, but looked mad and betrayed most of the lesson, and told me afterward how scary it was. The next week she refused to even enter the pool. I offered a lot of bribes, none of which enticed her. (That child won't be bribed. It's just something about her.) So the manager and I discussed our options. We then took the kids to family swim that weekend. By the end of an hour in the pool, Babs loved the water. And, week three of swimming lessons went fine. She still wasn't sure about all of it, but at the end told me how brave she was to participate, not how scared she was. Plus, she got her "dunkin donut" so that also helped. (That would be the bribe that didn't work until she was ready for it to work.) (And Kiddo, ever a good sport, gets the reward if Babs earns hers. Kiddo asked if she got a donut after swimming lessons, and I had to tell her it depended on Babs, because I'm just not mean enough to stop and get a donut for one kid and leave the other kid out, especially when the first kid doesn't need an enticement to go spend 30 minutes in the pool.)

And Babs wears a silly hat (sometimes). You can see it in the picture above. My ever wise husband got it off before church by insisting that we don't wear hats when we pray. She is a funny little girl, with a real sense of humor, and uses it a lot. Which is good. We need to laugh.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

a tale of three screams

A week ago Saturday morning, we were 90% packed, and I knew we would just be in the way, so the kids and I (and my mom) headed off to the birthday party we had been invited to, leaving my husband to move our belongings from one house to the other while we were gone. My mom had heroically moved the kitchen the day before, so at least we could eat.

The party was fun, and Babs fell asleep on the way home. We figured out where the beds were (new house), headed there, and carried her to her bed. I laid her down, she sleepily opened her eyes, and then woke up enough to have a screaming fit, because this wasn't her bed. This wasn't her room. She needed to go to her bed in her house! There was nothing we could say or do to calm her down. But, I had promised my good, tired husband, and the two good missionaries helping him, pizza, so I strapped Babs (still crying and screaming) in the car and headed off to the pizza place. Somewhere along the route Babs calmed down enough for me to figure out that the real problem was her blanket and pillow weren't there. We brought the pizza to Dad, then went back to the old house to get the blanket and pillow. Crisis solved.

Bedtime of the first night of the girls sharing a room went just about as well as we expected, and around 10 they both finally fell asleep.

The next morning, the girls emerged from their room together, and came to find us (now next door as opposed to downstairs!). Babs immediately insisted that she needed to be carried by me. I told her no, walked with her to the bathroom (hey - I'm pregnant people) while she cried to be picked up. The cries were gathering steam. After the bathroom I asked her to walk with me to the couch so I could hold her. She wouldn't. She wouldn't go anywhere unless I carried her. So I left her standing and crying in the bathroom, sat on the couch, and waited for her.

Ten minutes of crying later, she still had not moved. My husband finally got out of bed to bring her to me. She wouldn't let him pick her up. She wouldn't let Grammy pick her up. She just stayed there and cried. Around ten minutes later, I got back up, convinced her to follow me to the couch, where she cried on my lap for a long time.

Monday morning, we dropped Kiddo off at preschool, and the plan was that we would go back to the old house (that still had a lot of stuff, and needed plenty of cleaning) and work. I was a little tentative about bringing Babs back, but we decided it would be okay.

It was not. She happily walked into the house, and immediately wanted to go to her bed. As soon as I said it wasn't there she completely flipped out again. She cried and screamed and fussed and was generally inconsolable. I tried to work around it for about 10 minutes (probably only 5, time seems to slow down when my child is screaming) then announced we were leaving.

I refuse to bring her back. Occasionally we stop in the driveway and I run in the house to grab something (although since my husband cleared out the rest of our stuff yesterday, that's probably not going to happen again) and I don't talk about the other house.

These three tantrums are not the only ones we've had in the last two weeks. Babs pitches two or three a day. It makes every day more interesting.

Our basement is filled with boxes. But we're here. And we plan on staying for a long time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

preschool graduation

Tonight was preschool graduation for Kiddo. I took a few pictures from far away, but decided that the pictures were definitely not worth experiencing her presentation through a screen, so I put the camera (phone) away, and focused on my delightful daughter.

Her teacher described her as perhaps the happiest child she has ever met. And I believe she might be right. I see her all the time, so clearly I know that Kiddo is not always happy, but she is mostly happy. (Even when her sister is sitting on her back insisting on a horsey ride, and making it so she can't breathe, she just smiles away.)

The children entered singing "It's a grand ole' flag" and I could see Kiddo's future as a parade queen. She waved her flag, and had a smile and wave for everyone. As they sang the four or five songs they had prepared, she performed all the motions with great enthusiasm, and sang her heart out. I could often hear her over the other children.

Throughout it all, she just made me smile. I was so happy that this amazing child was mine. I couldn't really describe the feeling as pride, because I couldn't see that I had done much, except bring her into the world. The smile, joy, intelligence, and happiness just came with her.

I am so glad to be her mom.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

this is my house

Here's the view from the street. And as I came to do the walk-through (an hour before we bought the house) I thought, huh, I don't actually like the front door. But, a door can be painted... eventually.
Here's our kitchen. It's still small. And actually doesn't have a microwave. But it has lots of light, and looks into the backyard. Plus, there's a screen on the window, so it can be opened! How exciting.
This will be the boy's room. For the next month or two I'm sure it will just contain a lot of unpacked boxes. (But I am determined to have no unpacked boxes - past storage - in my new home! If there's no room to unpack it, then we get rid of it.) See that lovely dusty rose/mauve color? The entire house is that color.
Except the girls' room. That's green. Or at least it was until this weekend. Now thanks to my good husband, it's pink.
We have what we call an explorer's back yard (if that explorer happens to be less than 5 feet tall). There are trees and bushes, a shed, a porch, a patio, and a groundhog. Plus an above ground pool. We will miss that extensive amount of open space that we have in our current back yard, but there's still plenty of space to run, and I think we will enjoy the pool. (If we don't, it's feasible to remove.)

We can walk to the elementary school (and we will - every day starting this fall). We aren't moving wards, or even really neighborhoods, so we can keep all our doctors, and stores, and everything that we like around here. We move next Saturday. New house, here we come.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Home, here we come!

Here we are after one of the longer days of my pregnancy. (I would have appreciated less room above our head, and perhaps some belly evidence, but I wasn't thinking very much at the time of the picture, simply that it needed to be taken.) You can see in most of our faces that we are a little tired.

In the morning Kiddo went to preschool, and I packed the things one needs to keep a 5 year old and a 3 year old occupied through four or five hours of meetings. After preschool, we had a quick lunch, during which Babs disappeared and fell asleep in the her bed.

I woke her up to go to an eye doctor appointment. I'm not in the habit of bringing my children to the doctor's office, but I made an exception for this one. We sat in the waiting room for 1 hour and 20 minutes before I finally said, "I've got to go, is she going to see me or not?" She did, and what is normally a 45 minute appointment was reduced to five.

Then the kids and I jumped in the car to do a walk-through of our about-to-be-purchased house. The owners were just finishing cleaning it, and it is likely this is the cleanest that house will be for its foreseeable future. Then we got back in the car to go to closing.

The closing was exactly what that should be, kids watching iPhone's in the corner, and mom and dad signing a multitude of papers, and tying our financial future to a well-designed set of bricks and wood. And then we'd bought a house. So we took a picture. (There was a problem with the wire transfer, so the money didn't actually disappear from our account until late this morning. For a while we had both our house and our money, and that was weird, but now our money is gone. We still have the house though!)

After the picture we went out to eat, to a parent place, not a kid place, so the kids played some more iPhone. And then we took the kids home to bed. That would be our current rental, not our recently purchased house. But we'll be there more and more until two weeks from now, when we actually move in.

We're homeowners. (Would you like to know about the house? Well, stay posted, and it's entirely possible I'll actually take some pictures eventually, and tell you about it. Of course, maybe I'll just think about it...)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

my peacemaker

I worry a lot about the fact that Kiddo tends to give in to many of Babs' requests, especially when they are the loud and screaming kind. To resolve a conflict, it is usually Kiddo who backs down. I have seen this as a sign that she won't stand up for herself, or is a pushover. But my mother-in-law changed my perspective with a comment she made about it.

"That girl is a peacemaker."

She is. She does. She tries to include others, and help others, and difuse conflicts, and keep others obeying the rules. It is a beautiful trait.

And matches with what we tell Babs' often: You are so lucky to have the big sister you do - because she lets you get away with A LOT.

Friday, April 19, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

I had surgery on my eyelid this week to remove three chilazions (kind of like little cysts). It was pretty miserable, but not as miserable as the last time I tried this procedure. On the plus side, it seems to actually be working this time. I will be so excited in another week when both my eyelids are flat, smooth, and lump free. And, something about the surgery experience woke my boy up. He has been kicking up a storm, and much more expressive about everything since that day. It is nice to never worry how he's doing, but if he were kicking from the outside, I'd have a seriously bruised abdomen.

Grandma is here! She has allowed me to largely check out of the mothering business for three or four days while I try to rest my eye, and rest my soul for the craziness of our future (packing our house, closing on the new house, and moving... ).

Grandma's visit also allowed my husband and I to have a real date. We went to the temple, then a used book sale (it takes a special love of books to think you should buy a box of books just weeks before you move), then lunch. Apparently Babs pretty much fell apart while we were gone, but we are all friends again, and I loved being out with him (as always).

The day after my surgery, Kiddo came downstairs to wake me up in the morning. She was completely dressed and seemed ready for the day. She told me, "Since your eye is hurt, I'll take care of Babs today." It didn't quite work out that way, but her sincerity and desire touched my heart. I'm grateful for her kind spirit and helpful heart.

Grandma brought a T-ball set for Babs as a visiting present (Kiddo got a set of binoculars). Babs loves it. She talks about "playing with my set" and enjoys the sanctioned whacking. She prefers to whack with her golf clubs rather than her bat though - I suppose we need some tutorials soon.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

a conversation between two little girls

My husband announced to the girls this morning (in the we have before church) that he needed to plan a lesson, and mom needed a nap, so they should play together. They both happily agreed.

Babs: "Let's go to my room!"

Kiddo: "No, let's read a book together."

Babs (with much wailing): "Nooooo! Daddy said we need to PLAAAYYY!" (I love her selective obedience.)

Kiddo (giving in, as is typical between the two of them): "Okay." She goes to Babs' room. "Let's play with your little people."

Babs: Okay.

The fact that my two girls play together often and well is a tremendous blessing to me.

 (This picture is from our last, late snow storm in March. Babs is supposedly being potty trained, and Kiddo has hives, but they're still outdoors. You got to seize the moment with snow in this place.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

We appear to have bought a house. We're in the middle stage between an accepted offer (and an acceptable house inspection) and actually closing. We're also waiting to hear back on the appraisal and get our loan approved. Buying a house involves a ridiculous amount of money. And although I believe that all will work out, I'm still hesitant. (Although I'll need to start packing soon, because that takes some serious time.) The house meets our list: it goes to good schools (and we can walk to the elementary school), it's got biggish bedrooms, a great backyard, and just feels nice. At this point, I just really want it to work out.

I'm having surgery to remove some chilazions from my eyelids next week. Although I carefully planned it all so my mother-in-law could be here to help me and my children during the process, the surgery was moved two days earlier, so instead I've had to find a lot of help with my kids until she comes. Of course this is all happening in a week when my husband has reduced flexibility at work.

Kiddo really wants to name our baby "Fred." I need to find his real name soon so that I will no longer be swayed to let my five-year old name my child with a name I don't really like.

Babs, who has more name derivatives than you can imagine, is currently insisting on correcting any one who calls her by less than her full name. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Potty training is wearing me out. But, she's really doing a good job with the yellow, so I am grateful for that blessing. I have so many blessings in my life. I could be better about showing and feeling gratitude.

Friday, April 5, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

How do I convince my half-potty trained child that "making brown" is as valuable as "making yellow"? The other night we were trying to talk it up, and mentioned that everyone makes brown. "Not me!" she insisted.

We got McDonald's today for lunch. I meant to eat there, but we didn't, because as I was paying Babs threw up at my feet. She is sick again. She was heartbroken that we couldn't eat there (not that she would have eaten, she hasn't eaten all day). I think she is just tired, tired, tired, and this is how her body copes. (Does this mean we cancel our pre-conference brunch? After I went to all the trouble of inviting people over?)

I'm having some mother angst right now. What is my role as a mother to two, almost three, little people in the kingdom? How do I help them? What do I teach them? How do we balance all our competing needs? This is all much less clear now than it used to be, when I just let them grow on their own. (Argh! I just said that parenting this age is harder than the last, when I abhor people implying it's easy when they're little!)

I spent more time the week before Easter talking about the true focus of Easter than I ever have before (see note about kids being older). I'm not sure either kid learned anything accurate, but Babs did spend much of this last week singing about being in the tomb and our body and spirit coming together again, so I can call that foundation work - right?

Kiddo has a definite preference for listening to Primary music, and reading her church books (illustrated scripture stories and Friend magazine). She tells me that they make her feel peaceful. I'm grateful this happens, and that she recognizes it. She has such a sweet, sensitive soul.

Friday, March 29, 2013

success (soon)

This morning Babs and I were playing with her dollhouse dolls. A mama doll (voiced by Babs) asked a grandpa doll (voiced by me) where his baby was. I made him hug Babs, and gush "Babs is my baby."

She replied indignantly, "I not a baby, I a big girl."

Grandpa Doll continued "Oh, how do you know you're a big girl?"

"Cause I wear underwear like a big girl."

It's important to note that not all the details are worked out. She still goes through multiple pairs of underwear each day. But she wants this, and is proud of it, so I'm sure it is just a matter of (a short amount of) time (and prayer on my part, because I'm convinced that is the secret, oh and timing, that it is working now.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

deep religion with a two year old

Last night with all the lights out, lying in bed, Babs asks me "How do worms and cats talk?"

"They don't."

"But Sally, Huckle, and Lowly do."

"I know, they're just make-believe. They're pretend." This is the first time Babs has considered that her TV friends may not exist in reality. (Although, given the full presence of the internet in their lives, especially their future lives, perhaps existing in reality will have a different meaning for them afterall.)

While she digested this information, I hoped she would fall asleep. But she had more to say.

She then brought up the other thing that she's been thinking about a lot lately, Mary Magdelene and seeing the resurrected Christ. We talked about how Mary was sad, but now she's happy. She was sad because Jesus' body was lost, but then she found it. She was also sad because his hands were broken, but she'll be happy when they get fixed.

How do you discuss resurrection with an almost three year old? You let her drive the conversation.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

shaking the baby

I'm not convinced that the transition of adding a baby will be a smooth one in Babs' life. She has always been rather exclusive about her attention from me (boxing out Kiddo from a double hug or lap sitting from fairly early on), and is suspicious of all children smaller than her. One of her first interactions with our new baby was hitting my belly.

"Don't hit momma." I reprimanded. She looked up at me with her two-year old guileless (and impish) face and replied "I not hitting momma; I hitting the baby!"

So, with this history, I was more than a little concerned to hear her joyfully singing this morning, "We shaking the baby now!"

Until I recognized the tune, and remembered we listened to a kid's version of La Bamba this morning. I'll need to help her learn the correct words soon.

Monday, March 25, 2013

becoming a big girl, step three, day 1

Today we started potty training again. At some point last week I realized that since it was Kiddo's spring break, I didn't have to leave the house unless I chose to for an entire week, and that was a good time to help Babs learn to use the potty. Our day can be summed up by my husband's positive reinforcement as we were getting ready to put her to bed:

"I'm so proud of you for wearing underwear today. You even got to wear about seven pairs!"

We certainly have buy in. She wants to wear underwear. She will sit on the potty when I ask her to (I'm sure the baby marshmallows that come along with that are only part of the draw). She just hasn't quite figured out how to go when she sits there. But she is willing to try, which is way better than last time.

I could write more, but does anyone actually want the gory details? Do I want to relive them? No. And, I need to go clean those underwear (and pants, she insisted all day that she needed pants) so we can try again tomorrow.

a good nursery leader

Babs has been struggling to stay in nursery for the past while. She either wouldn't go, or found an excuse to come out (she's very good with the "I have to go potty" even if it's not true) and not go back, or even just mournfully telling the nursery leader that she wanted her mommy.

But, we weren't sure how long this phase would last (she used to go pretty well), and there was a lot of transition in the leadership, so we just ended up having Babs with us for a lot of church. But two Sundays ago, a new nursery leader was called.

And on her very first Sunday on the job, I dropped Babs off. She directly asked me, "What can we do to help her like nursery?" I told her I had no answer to that, but one thing she could do was not let her leave. Just keep responding all her excuses that she should stick it out a little longer, and that I would come back soon. I gave the same instructions to the music leader, who I work closely with since I play the piano.

When I dropped Babs off though, I immediately saw the problem. She is the oldest in the nursery, by at least a year. (There is one other kid her age whose attendance is currently spotty.) And Babs is a little to a lot nervous of smaller kids. No wonder she wants out every Sunday. (This also leads to questions of what will happen next year with Sunbeams, but we'll solve that problem another day.)

Yet the nursery leader took me at my word, even if there were some tears involved. So Babs stayed the whole time. I told her all the way home how proud I was for doing such a good job of staying in nursery. I guess my message sunk in because she told me she was proud of me for staying at my class too.

Friday, March 22, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

Last Saturday I attended a consignment sale hosted by some moms at the preschool Kiddo attends. I figured it was time to actually buy an outfit for a boy. I managed to find some things I thought were cute, for very cheap, and came home pleased with my purchases. When I took them out to show my husband, I realized I only thought they were cute because they were compared to really ugly boy clothes. (I'm sure they'll look better on my little boy.) I lacked my usual excitement to show new baby clothes to my husband. I don't like little boy clothes, at least not in comparison with baby girls clothes. I am sad I don't get to buy little girl clothes, or at least revisit them this time. My consolation is that I have a lot less I'll have to teach him about modesty. (I'm also trying to determine if I can put this little boy in my carefully chosen gender neutral clothes from Kiddo and Babs' time. Even if the colors are not pink, won't I still associate them with girls?)

At said consignment sale, I also bought a small chalkboard and felt board easel. I envisioned it being for Kiddo, but Babs is the one that colors on it every day. She especially loves the red chalk. I still need to find some felt activities to make the other side more interesting.

Last week we visited my aunt who lives in Virginia. I love to visit her because I do. My kids love to visit her because they adore her doll house, which happened to be out of commission this visit. That was a hard thing to understand. But I saw her vision for her basement, and they will really love it next time.

Almost every day this week one or both of our girls has wandered down to our room, after we thought they were settled and asleep. Babs accompanies her appearance in our room with "I had trouble falling asleep." I know she is getting less sleep that she used to get. I am very concerned that it will catch up with her soon, and she will get a fever. But, so far, she is just a little extra crazy in the afternoon and evening.

Today Babs looked at Kiddo and said "Kiddo's a little hiv-ing." It is an apt description because Kiddo is red and blotchy all over. As I looked at her rash/hives, I asked my husband (who wonderfully stayed home today so she and I could have minimal contact while she finishes being contagious) "How do we know if it's her illness, or a reaction to her medicine?"

A friend at church is pregnant, and due just a few days after me. Like me, she already has two little girls. She seriously wanted a boy. Although my husband and I were mostly neutral, we were thinking it was a girl. And now that we've both had our mid-term pregnancy, I'm having a boy, and she's having a girl. I find this amusing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


My kids woke me up this morning, because I forgot to set my alarm. I had a really hard time actually getting out of bed (sleeping for the next four months sounded much more attractive). I finally rolled out of bed, and convinced them to go upstairs, and wait for me.

Once upstairs I made Kiddo her chocolate milk, and started to make my own breakfast, all while trying to convince Babs I was not playing dolls with her yet. As my eggs cooked, I listened to Kiddo sniff and cough a bit, and determined that today was the day she would go back on her allergy medicine. She's been trying to convince me for a few days now, but I didn't agree that her symptoms warranted it (I assumed she wanted some yummy grape tablets). I called her to kitchen to get it.

As she stuck it in her mouth I thought to myself, 'I'm really glad I'm giving this to her, she has circles under her eyes.' Then I thought, 'And she's splotchy.' Then my brain caught up, and I called her back to me so I could really look at her. Her eyes, nose, and mouth were all splotchy; she had hives. Oh great.

I called my mom, who said, there's not much you can do except Benedryl. Then I texted my sister-in-law who said wait to see what the Claritin does, then try Benedryl, see how the hives react. Somewhere admidst all this communication I had Kiddo check the rest of her body, she had hives all over her trunk, arms, and legs.

Around mid-morning, with two antihistimines in her system, and zero improvement, plus the knowledge that she had a big preschool event tomorrow morning goaded me into action. We went to the doctor.

Most of the time, the reason for hives cannot be identified. But occasionally it can, like when they're caused by strep, which Kiddo has.

I feel really lucky that we got to see the nurse practitioner, who's grown son has had hives on and off his whole life. So it's something she's really familiar with, and all the possible causes. She was not expecting the strep test to come back positive, but sometimes it does. And Kiddo is one of those cases. Now we can fix it. She will not be attending grandparents day tomorrow, much to her dismay.

"What are the chances this will be heading through my whole family, like her little sister, or her pregnant mom?" I asked the NP. She said to not be surprised if Babs gets it, but if I'm careful I should be fine. So careful I will be. (If Babs gets strep next week, that will really get in the way of my plans to potty train her...)

our friend Huckle

My children, especially Babs, are obsessed with Busytown Mysteries (available on Netflix). They are so excited for the fun theme song, and every time Huckle solves a mystery, they all yell "hooray for Huckle!"

So it should have come as no surprise that as Sacrament Meeting was wrapping up last Sunday, Babs yells "Hooray for Huckle!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

two things that make me smile

It takes a while to get Babs' socks on these days. She has to stop and "get rid of my toe jam." She carefully looks between every set of toes to make sure they're clean. She also checks on her toe jam when it's time to put on her jammies. And any other time she feels the need.

About a year ago, she hated her feet to be touched. After a lot of foot and leg massages, the problem seems to be gone. Sporadically between then and now, she's needed some additional help. One way I could convince her to put up with the leg/foot rubs was to talk to her about getting rid of toe jam. Now she takes this job very seriously. And it makes me laugh. I'm also grateful it keeps her toes loose.

The second funny thing she does is while she sleeps. When it's time for Babs to actually sleep, she pushes her sleeves up above her elbows. Then when she wakes up, she pulls her sleeves down to her wrists again. Except she calls pushing her sleeves up "get my sleeves down" and pulling them down "get my sleeves up." We suspect it's because her last set of jammies were hand-me-downs from Kiddo, who pushes her sleeves up above her elbows all the time, so that's now just the way the jammies fit her, and it's how she likes to sleep.

picture day

Saturday was picture day for Kiddo's ballet class (and the rest of her studio). See her incredible sparkly costume? Her less-than professional make-up job (go ahead, zoom in, see how great I am)? Her mediocre hair-do?

My advice to her studio is this: don't ask a mom who never does her hair, and never wears make-up to do the hair and make-up for a five-year old. The results will probably be less than satisfactory. (After her class went in for the picture, the teacher came out to grab some wipes for some touch up of someone. Plenty of moms said "please don't let it be my child." I instead was hoping she was helping my child.)

But, if she's entirely beautiful anyway, it won't really matter.


Friday, March 15, 2013

one more thought

This morning I opened the dishwasher to find it empty. That meant my husband took the time before work to empty it, and I didn't have to. I am grateful. I am especially grateful because although it sounds like a small act of service, it is not. He was up at least once last night with a kid. He already gets up early to go to work so he can come home and spend the evening with us. And I know he doesn't actually like to unload the dishwasher. But he did.

thoughts at the end of the week

Babs is singing loudly in her room, clearly not taking a nap, yet also not fighting being in her room for "sleep time." Did changing her bed coincide with outgrowing her nap? or is this just another step towards her utter exhaustion? Last night after a mighty battle, I finally left her there to put herself to sleep. When my husband checked on her later he noted there were lots of toys on the floor. I replied "Yeah, those got thrown there while she threw her first tantrum." In the middle of the night, I heard her crying to me on the stairs. She had made it half way down, but lacked the courage to make it all the way down in the dark. This transition (which I was so smug about) is still going better than with Kiddo, but not going so well at all.

Kiddo watches about 30 minutes of YouTube each day, it's part of her (our) quiet time. I used to supervise it pretty closely (after the Grand Theft Auto incident*), but now I just listen to it. It also helps that she only watches non-fiction science videos and cooking videos. I guess I'm glad she's learning. It also gives us another opportunity to discuss fiction and non-fiction.

The other day Babs was pushing at Kiddo. Kiddo cried out like always, and I ignored her, because I'm just as sick of the crying as I am of the pushing. Then I saw Kiddo push back. Hard. Babs was horrified. I pretended not to see a thing, because there was no way I was telling Kiddo that she wasn't supposed to push, I was just so grateful to finally see her fight for herself.

We heard this week that an offer we made on a house was yet again passed over for a different (better) offer. This is at least the fifth house we've made an honest effort to buy. We are apparently no good at it. We are desperately trusting that when it is time, Heavenly Father will show us how to be good.

Yesterday Kiddo wrote a thank you card. She actually wrote "thank you" on the back, but filled the inside with scribbles "so Babs can read it." She then walked up to Babs and read the note. To the best of my memory, it told her she was glad they were sisters. "Can you imagine how much I love you? No, I love you more than that. I love to play with you. I love to do things with you." She reiterated how much she was grateful to have a sister like her. It is likely that listening to her recite that card was the best moment of my week.

*I see no record of that stellar moment of parenting. Last April, Kiddo asked to watch YouTube. Although I started her on something benign she managed to browse to a recording of someone playing Grand Theft Auto, and was watching blissfully when my husband walked in and figured out. He mentioned to me later that we needed to supervise all internet carefully. I totally agreed. I then confessed: normally I do. I wasn't right then because I wanted to be left alone so I could watch General Conference.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

honesty, about the bed

The second day of a big girl bed was not as smooth as the first. It was Sunday, so there was no nap (curse you - 1:30 church!). So Babs was exhausted by the end of the day. But by the time we'd got her ready for bed, she had her second wind.

In some familial delusion we put her down at her regular time. About three minutes later, she emerged, telling us happily that she woke up. We let her stay up for a while, then tried to put her back down again the same time Kiddo went. Again, she came out five minutes later. I finished settling Kiddo (have I mentioned Kiddo reads before bed, which means it only takes 15 minutes to put her to bed? I love it!), then went back with Babs. (All her other puttings to bed were done by my husband, so it seemed like my turn.) She and I talked about big girls staying in bed, I sang her some songs, and left. I also locked the door behind me. (I unlocked it before I went to bed myself.)

Upon reflection, perhaps changing her bed the day before daylight savings time began was not our best move. But Monday went very smoothly, so maybe it was just the typical hiccups. It's so nice not to lift her in and out of bed any more.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

becoming a big girl, step 2

One (but only one) of the reasons potty training failed for Babs our first time around was she had no desire to be a big girl. She (still) thinks being a baby is good stuff.

But, since that fiasco, I got pregnant, and told the kids. So when our book "I'm a big sister!" found its way back into circulation, Babs saw this as a great how-to guide. The girl in the story is a little unsure that she's ready to be a big girl, because baby's get so much attention. But as she interacts with the baby and her parents, she learns that there are three differences between babies and big girls. One is that big girls eat regular food, whereas babies drink from bottles. Another is that big girls sleep in big girl beds, not cribs. Also big girls wear underwear, but babies use diapers.

Babs has really studied this book. She knew that moving out of the crib was an important step to becoming a big sister. And we've been talking about giving the baby her crib. Recently she's become quite insistent that she needed a big girl bed. (The other night I dumped her into her crib crying because she was so sure it was too small, and I just needed her to be asleep.) So today my good husband went out "on an errand" and came back with a bed. She was, she is, so excited. Then we bought magnificently pink sheets. And she's now gone down for both a nap and bed time without a single hiccup. (This may be the only transition in her life that is going more smoothly for her than for Kiddo.)

My favorite part? So far it gives her magnificent bed head. (That and I'm desperately hoping that in a few weeks, she'll be ready to take on the last step of big girl-hood.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

This was my week to sign Babs up for preschool next year. But I chose not to. I feel like she needs some different arrangement than formal preschool this next year (she can do a formal one the year before kindergarten). I'm not clear what that arrangement will be, but I have plenty of time to think about it, and hope I can figure out what she does need.

One of my really good friends from NJ came into town last night for a wedding, so I got to spend some time with her. It was so great to talk and talk and talk. Plus, I need to buy make-up for Kiddo's ballet pictures (then recital in a few months), and she knows all about make-up! So she helped me pick out what I needed. It was an an incredible blessing.

At the end of the ultrasound, the tech announced to us that our boy weighs 11 oz. The thought I can't get out of my head since then is that he has a lot of weight to put on in the next 20ish weeks, and that's going to really expand me fast. The other main result of our visit is that we now need boys clothes, and a boy name. We've never even considered boys names, but it's clear to me that I'm picky about names.

I finally put on some maternity pants today - jeans to be specific. I feel much less like a slob than I have for the last two months as I've worn extra baggy sweats. (Perhaps my new sweatshirt is helping too.)

On Wednesday, winter storm Saturn blew through. I know it did a lot of damage in a lot of places, but once again, it passed us by with hardly any impact. But, it was a snow day for both my husband and my daughter, so we got to spend the whole day as a family together, with no place to go. It's really nice to have extra time together. We were supposed to make cookies at some point, but it didn't happen. Instead I made cookies with Kiddo yesterday. Chocolate chips, just like she asked. Except we had no chocolate chips. But the batter was good enough that we cooked some of without the chips. We'll finish them up today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

well that was unexpected

I called today to schedule the anatomy ultrasound for this new baby. They had a cancellation today, so I took it. With just enough to time to dress my children, and drop them off at a good friends' house (you know, the kind of good where you can call her up, and drop your kids off at her house five minutes later), I headed to the office. Oh, there was also enough time to call my husband, and make sure he could come too. We met at the hospital where the procedure was done.

So on the big screen, we watched the baby's heart beat, saw two hemispheres of the brain (my favorite part), and counted fingers and toes (20 total I'm happy to report). Near the end she showed us a shot of the baby, and showed us the umbilical cord, and suggested that it had been hard to get a good look...

"But I know what you're having..." she continued in a sing-song voice. Then she showed us our boy.

I think she wanted us to start cheering, or get excited, but that's not our way (we are pretty private people after all). Plus, we were surprised. We hadn't really considered a boy, I mean, we gave the idea lip service "of course we'll be happy with whatever we have" when people asked if we were hoping this one would be a boy. But we expected a girl. Yet that's not what we're having.

Kiddo is thrilled about her new brother. And since Babs takes most of her cues from Kiddo she's pretty excited too.

a dinner conversation

The other night while we were having dinner, my husband turned to Babs and asked her "How you doin'?" She smiled broadly and answered "Great!" (or "gweat," as she says it). Then she asked him, and he said fine. Then she asked Kiddo, who said she was doing good. Then she asked me, and I said okay.

Then I asked her (again), and she answered again, with the same smile, "Great!" And I was wise enough to see the moment for what it was. She was great. She was sitting at the table, involved in the conversation. She wasn't hungry, she was with the people she loved most, and we were playing a game. She is great, and I am glad to see it.

the skipping girl

I went to Walmart twice yesterday. The first time it was just me and Babs, during preschool, and I felt very productive for having done a hard thing like that (yes, going to Walmart is hard for me). After arriving home exhausted, I realized I had left a bag there. And all my proud, productive feelings went away, leaving me with frustration and more tiredness.

After picking up Kiddo from preschool, we went out for lunch (cause I could not face making them lunch). Then we headed back to Walmart to see what we could do about my missing bag. We waited in the customer service line for about 10 minutes, which is about an eternity for a tired two-year old. Finally we got to the front of the line, where the lady told me I could go pick up replacement items (they were perishables) and bring them back to her to be bagged. So, my kids and I headed to the back of store (carefully avoiding any place where they could see toys) to get my yogurt and cottage cheese. Did I mention I was tired? And Babs has a tendancy to act crazy/run off/crawl on the floor in public places, especially when she is tired? So I was weary as I tried to keep track of the two of them through the store.

Kiddo, as she is prone to do, skipped ahead of us. She seems to be skipping most of the time now. My mom often talks fondly about the years I spent skipping. (I remember skipping, I did it for years.) I always thought she was a little sentimental. But now I have a skipper. And it's wonderful. She is pretty much joy embodied when she skips from one place to another. Surely you could not move so freely and happily if you had a heavy heart.

As we finally reached the dairy section I pulled her close and said "You are a happy girl, and I am a better person because I get to be with you."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

survival instinct

I ended up having both girls with me as I visited the midwife last Friday. Luckily, Kiddo is always a sucker for new toys and books, so was thrilled with the box of toys aimed at one-year olds. And Babs is always with me, so that also wasn't such a big deal. (Providing a urine sample was more interesting than I hoped though.)

At the end of the visit, after discussing my various concerns (nothing out of the ordinary for an "elderly multigravida"), we listened to the heartbeat.

A strong beat sounded the moment she pressed the little instrument on my belly, then almost immediately disappeared.

"Third child," I explained. "It already knows that if there's any pressure there, it's time to retreat to the back."

We heard him/her moving around quite a bit, kicking a few times, and eventually got the heart beat back, briefly.


I have started feeling it, occasion gentle pokes from the inside (after all, it's only about 5 inches tall). I had forgotten the problem with early movement though - it makes me feel extra sick to my stomach.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

our valentine's ritual

Nine years ago (really? nine?) my husband and I were not married, not dating, and had just spent hours going to and from the temple. We stopped at a Wendy's on the way home, and unknowingly ordered the same thing. To say I was having a rough weekend would be an understatement. To say I was slightly hyper would also be an understatement. He sat across from me, and opened an identical sandwich to mine.

"Spicy chicken buddies!" I exclaimed, a little overexcited for the situation. To his credit, he did not run, but instead smiled back at me.

Since I realized I loved him the next night (he'd known he loved me for a while), and we got married six months later, I often think of that moment at a key moment in the start of our relationship. (Actually the whole weekend was key, but that's another story.) So I drag him to Wendy's every year for Valentine's Day. I also make him bring the kids.

After all, it's not just him and me that started that weekend, it was our whole family (all 4 1/2 of us).

(Wouldn't this be a great place for a recent (candid or professional) family photo? I'm pretty sure the last one was taken months, possibly years ago. I should work on that.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the last place I'd look

Babs loves babies. One of her favorite songs is "Santa Baby" (not one of my favorite songs, and why did it take me two months to figure out she loved it for the idea of the baby?). The Christmas season is her favorite because it's truly all about a baby.

We bought the girls a Playmobil nativity set in early December, mostly so they'd forget about my breakable set (which she didn't). But it's been a winner in the respect that she has played with Baby Jesus for more hours than I could have imagined.

A few days ago, some of their friends came by so their mom could move apartments in peace. The first thing Babs did was show them her Baby Jesus. It was also the last time I saw him. As he is approximately 2 inches tall, our chances of finding him again seemed slim.

But the other day, my good husband was both cleaning Babs' room, and packing away some toys when he found Baby Jesus. He called Babs in to share the news. He decided to be clever, and pretend to pull the baby from out of her ears, a slight of hand that is well-loved in his family (and ours).

For the next two days, Babs excitedly told anyone who would listen that Baby Jesus was lost, but we found him in her ear! No wonder I hadn't found him yet, I didn't think to look there.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


My husband was explaining what a teenager is to Kiddo today. My husband continued, "When you're a teenager, you'll disagree with most everything we say."

"Well, I will not!" Kiddo insisted.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

like you didn't know when we bought the minivan

Kiddo was pretending to be a mom a few days ago, and was taking care of her charges. At one point she says, "I'm sorry, I can't do much. Moms who are pregnant can't do very much." She's right. And she should know because her mom is pregnant.

After weeks of heavy napping and serious sickness, I finally told the kids why their sometimes-fun mom had become a seriously not-fun mom. In the ensuing weeks since breaking the news to them, I have not become any more fun. Although I have fed them, at least three times a day, every day (except when there was someone else to feed them). Except my super-star husband has been making dinner for the last two months. So I guess I've only fed them at least twice a day. But they are fed. And clothed. So there's that.

I am starting to show. Not enough to make it obvious that I'm pregnant, just enough to make me feel fat, and make sure none of my clothes fit. This baby makes its entrance in late July.

Babs asks me at least once a day "You have a baby in your tummy?" She often follows this up with "what's its name?" I tell her we don't know the baby's name, or even whether it is a boy or girl. But fret not, because "when the baby cracks open" (a technically inaccurate, but disturbing, description) it will tell her its name.

(Kiddo has "always wanted a brother." Babs has "always wanted a sister." My husband and I want someone to wear the boatloads of clothes we have out in the shed, but would be happy to learn new skills as well.)