Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Budding photographer

I went to get the pictures of Zoë's birthday off the camera and, much to my surprise, instead of only tens of pictures on the camera there were hundreds


A certain little boy found the camera this morning and decided to record life at his level.

Toe problems

Below are pictures of the toenail that I'm sure cost me an arm and a leg to remove, but I just could not pull it off myself so I texted Andrew and begged him to come rescue me (he'd taken the van to Duke today since it was raining). While we were waiting, Benjamin and Zoë stroked my arms and kissed my cheeks and brought me a nice glass of ice water.

"Happy, Momma! Happy!" Zoë pleaded. 

"I'm trying," I assured her.

Andrew's hopeless when it comes to this kind of thing, but he drove me to the doctor, so that was nice. 

Lidocaine is also nice. 

Once my toe was numbed up, the doctor grabbed a big pair of scissor-tweezer things and wiggled and yanked until my toenail popped off. Honestly, it didn't make anything feel better (except for the lidocaine part) but at least it's gone now.

Next time I'll be sure to rip the whole thing off in one blow. And there will probably be a next time because this toe has no hope. It's the toe I broke in high school (and by "I broke" what I mean is "Jake broke") during ballroom, causing "profuse" bleeding and, a few days/weeks later, the nail to fall off. It also took a beating during the "Halloween Half" marathon a few years ago—seven miles of downhill running was harsh and, yup, a few days after the race I started shedding toenails, this one included. At this rate I'm almost positive there will be a next time for this particular toe.

The doctor suspects I may have broken my toe as well (fun times) but we decided to forgo an x-ray because the treatment would be nothing, so knowing for sure whether or not it's broken is...pointless. 

And now for pictures (feel free to skip this part; I kind of don't like my feet anyway but they're extra unpleasant in these pictures):

Happy Birthday to Zoë!

My plans for the afternoon involved fixing the blinds in Miriam and Benjamin's room, wrapping presents, squeezing in a quick nap, and then spending some joyful after school hours letting the kids help me finish decorating Zoë's birthday cake—a beautiful ocean scened, Moana-themed cake. 

Instead what I ended up doing was tipping the stool over as I was trying to fix the blinds and ramming my toe somewhere on the way down, ripping my toenail almost off (but not quite) and then spending the next four hours at the InstaCare waiting doctor rip it the rest of the way off because neither Andrew or I could stomach doing it at home.

I didn't fix the blinds, wrap presents, take a nap, or finish decorating the cake.

When I finally got home (around 5:00), the kids and I set to work moulding ocean critters out of fondant while Andrew (my hero, who drove home from campus to take care of me...missing a meeting with his advisor even) made enchiladas for dinner. 

The kids all had a lot of fun playing with (and eating) the fondant. Needless to say, the cake didn't end up quite as pristine as I was hoping but, under the circumstances, I'd say it turned out wonderfully. And we had a good time together, which is really the most important thing. We based our cake off this one; here's our finished product:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Potty talk

We've had a few accident-free days this week, so I guess you could say that potty-training is going well (which still boggles my mind after spending years potty training that Benja-boy). Just tonight Zoë wouldn't go to sleep, evidently because she had to go potty. She kept crying "la-lo" so Andrew went in and refilled her bedtime cup (which she'd already finished) but she still kept crying "la-lo" so I figured that instead of water she wanted to use her yellow potty. And she did. And then she went straight to sleep.

We really need to get that child to say something—anything—for "potty" (other than "la-lo").

At nursery I have a pretty steady stream of children coming up to me to announce they have to go potty. Today was no different. We had twelve kids in there today (and not even everyone was there) so it was pretty exhausting. I felt like I spent half my time texting parents "so-and-so needs to go potty," which is way better than the olden days when you'd have to walk the child around the church to find their parents so their parents could take them potty (except, I guess, if you have one of those little kid-sized bathrooms in the nursery; I worked in a nursery once that had one and it was rather awesome).

Zoë's never very far away from me at nursery. She keeps me on a tight leash. I don't know what we're going to do when it comes time to send her to nursery without me.

Anyway, since Zoë has no words for pottying yet, she'd just piggyback on with whoever was asking whenever she had to go.

"I need to go potty," someone would whine to me.

"Dup! Dup! Me!" Zoë would emphatically add ("dup" is how she says "yup").

So I'd text the well-spoken child's parent to come get them, and then I'd text Andrew to ask him to take Zoë (sometimes I'll just take her myself...but not when there are twelve kids in there).

Once we get this girl some appropriate vocabulary we'll be golden!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chickery chicks and ducklings, too

We picked the girls up from school this afternoon, planning on killing some time with them between school and ukulele practice. We knew that Mr. A. had some little hatchlings in his room but hadn't been down to see them yet, so we figured we stop by to take a gander. I warned Benjamin that it wasn't a sure thing, however, because sometimes on Fridays kids take the hatchlings home to babysit over the weekend (something our children have been dying to do for the past four years...but something I've always said no to).

We were in luck, however, and they were still in the classroom. Mr. A. let the kids spend a good 45 minutes playing with the ducklings and chicks (and looking at the snails and beetles the class is studying and playing with puppets and reading stories—"once your classroom, always your classroom," is Mr. A's motto). It was a fun afternoon!

Here are the girls taking a peek at the chicks:


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pickles and Guckles

One night at dinner last week Zoë wanted something. We knew this because she kept pointing and grunting, "Ah more! Ah more!" We kept offering her the wrong things and each time she had to tell us "No!" her frustration grew. She pointed harder she grunted louder. Her dense parents simply couldn't figure it out.

Finally she, quite exasperatedly, shouted, "PICKLE!"

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.

I don't know why she didn't come out and say it sooner. Perhaps because she's never said that word before so she wasn't sure she could (though she definitely knows a lot more words than she lets on).

Pickle makes sense to me, though, because she knows the word "buckle," though she pronounces it, "guckle," and pickle isn't too different from that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The pool is open!

Even though Saturday's high was, like, 67°F, the kids insisted on going to the pool because it was finally, finally open. So we all got ready to swim and trekked over to the pool, only the find that our pool key wasn't working. 

The kids were all upset by this. I, honestly, wasn't because swimming when it's that cold outside isn't that tempting for me.

On Monday the kids wanted to try going again. We had done a little investigating during the day and had found that our pool privileges had been revoked because, well, our house sold, so the key was "turned off" until they management company could verify that the pool key was in the right hands. So we just had to prove that our new landlord knew that we had the pool key and—presto!—our pool privileges were restored.

And there was much rejoicing, believe me.

The kids were so excited to go, and I was, too, because, aside from this weekend's cold front, it really is getting warm and humid enough that being outside is rather unpleasant unless you're in the pool. 

We did do quite a bit of swimming in the big pool, but I did't take any pictures of that. So here are the kids chilling in the baby pool (with a friend). And by "chilling" what I mean is "warming up." The baby pool is usually much warmer than the big pool. 

Me: Go sit by the kids. Zoë: No. (That is always her answer, to everything.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

I've got a head like a wiffle ball

Yesterday evening we went for a walk after dinner when I was struck in the head by a rogue wiffle ball. It came out of nowhere, pegged the top of my head, and sailed off again—clearing half a yard and a driveway before landing on the grass on the other side.

Two kids came running out to the street, one was holding a bat. They apologized and made sure I was alright, which I was...because it was a wiffle ball.

Still, I was a little dazed. It hit hard enough to make an audible 'bonking' noise and caused me to bite my tongue (out of surprise or because of the impact? I'm not sure). My head was a sore for a a little while, but I'm fine now. Had it been a baseball it would have been a different story, I'm sure. Mostly it was just...surprising.

When I put the kids to bed last night Rachel said, "Good night, wiffle ball head."

This made me think of the "theme song" for Camp Cariboo, a television show we'd occasionally watch after school when I was younger—I've Got a Head Like a Ping Pong Ball. I suppose it's really just an annoying camp song...but it was also their theme song. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home...

Andrew's home!

He was out at BYU again, this time for an LDS scholars political science conference, which he said was awesome. And I believe him, even though it meant that I was, once again, left at home with a handful of children. Really that's fine because I'm a stay-at-home mom, so staying home with children is something that I expect to do (and enjoy doing). But it's nice to have someone to spell you off at the end of the day, someone to spar with child #3 at bedtime while you're busy sparring with child #4, someone to say, "You look tired; I'll make dinner tonight," someone to carry on an adult conversation with.

For those keeping track (just me?), he was at BYU May 10–13 (he arrived home around 1 AM on the 14th, technically). He was at BYU April 12–15. He went to the ISA conference (in Baltimore) February 20–25. And he was at BYU February 1–4.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

More adventures in potty training

This afternoon the big girls were invited to a friend's house after school. He's on their bus route, so they just had to get off at an earlier stop, which meant that the kids and I had a "free" afternoon—an afternoon where we didn't have to be home to meet the girls after school. Benjamin has been begging to go to the museum for quite some time now, so that's what we decided to do.

He was excited to go without his older sisters because when they go with him he never gets to decide where to play. Not that he doesn't enjoy going with them, because he does. It's just that sometimes he also likes to go without them.

It was supposed to be super crowded today with twenty-three school buses, but we went late enough in the afternoon that most of the field trips had left already, leaving the museum relatively uncrowded for once.

Benjamin led the way and Zoë and I followed. Soon we ran into some friends and they all played together nicely in the outdoor playground before moving into the treehouse area. We weren't quite ready to leave when our friends called it a day, so we stuck around to play some more. Benjamin and Zoë were climbing all over the treehouse. I was watching them from below.

Benjamin would pop out of one of the little tree houses and appear on one of the suspended walkways, Zoë toddling along a few steps behind. Then they'd disappear into one of the houses and I'd watch the bridges until they appeared again. And so it went.

There's Benjamin, there's Zoë.

Where'd they go?