Friday, November 27, 2015

Grandma Layton's funeral (November 20 and 21)

My grandma's viewing went well. It was nice to get to mingle with relatives I haven't seen in a while, including my sweet little niece and nephews. See how cute we are?

Andrew, Rosie, me, Josie, Matthew

Utah (November 19 & 20)

I went up to spend some time with Reid and Karen while I was out in Utah visiting. They hosted a little family dinner with Uncle Jacob and Aunt Shayla, Aunt Katharine and Kayl, Grandma Pat and Dave, and Nicki. It was so nice to see everyone!

Here's Zoë getting reacquainted with Uncle Jacob and Aunt Shayla:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Utah, day 1 (November 18)

Well, I was going to say that the massage worked well and that Zoë really was sleeping better but she just woke up screaming bloody murder at 4:30 after sleeping unsoundly for only a few hours (like, seriously, I got her down after eleven and she was up at two). So I dunno. But that reminds me...

...that Zoë didn't sleep our first night in Utah. She screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. My mom got out the walker and Zoë, still screaming, lunged at it with interest, so I plopped her in it and Zoë, still screaming, explored the toys. She screamed and twisted this toy. She screamed and twirled that toy. She screamed and tugged at the other toy. It was ridiculous. It was also two o'clock in the morning.

Eventually we all decided we'd go to bed. Zoë, however, screamed for a few more hours before she was good and ready to call it a night.

She was a lot happier when we got ten...which was like noon for us.

We had breakfast, were reintroduced to people who love us, and started working on things for my grandma's funeral.

Here's Zoë with Auntie Josie:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Benjamin, breakfast, bumps

When we told the kids that I'd be leaving for a week—without them—the girls cheered and said, "Now we can watch Star Wars as loud as we want!" Benjamin took things a little harder.

Breakfast a week ago

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Flight sandwich

When I last left you I'd just arrived in Utah. Yesterday I flew home. Stuff happened in the middle, I promise and I'm sure I'll get to that but in the meantime life keeps happening (we've already been to the doctor this morning, for example).

The night before I left my mom's visiting teacher came over to show me some baby massage techniques, which people have sworn help their non-sleeping children sleep. Zoë did fall asleep after her massage, but only for about 20 minutes, which is an ordinary nap length for her. Then she was up and wired for the rest of the evening.

The lady said Zoë might've been upset because we only did the colic routine once (to learn it) and you're supposed to do it three times. She's not sure why but for some reason numbers are important—counting strokes and repeating sequences the right number of times.

Anyway, our first flight went okay but not great. There were a lot of babies around to look at, so they were all mostly entertained by making faces at each other. Zo hit herself in the head with a toy at one point and started howling but beyond that she was pretty good.

We had a three-hour layover in Houston which meant we had plenty of time to stretch and forget that we'd been sitting on a cramped airplane at all. It also meant that I had time to give Zoë a little massage before we boarded. I gave her the colic massage (all three times) and she slept the whole flight! The guy I was sitting beside said, "That is the best baby I've ever sat by!" He even got my backpack down from the overhead bin for me instead of running away in a dead panic (because babies are terrifying).

Andrew was a little late picking me up because Benjamin fell off the bench just before it was time to go. He hit his noggin pretty hard and quickly sprouted a big goose egg so Andrew was busy fussing over him—getting ice for his head and worrying about concussion. Benjamin still has a big bump on his head but he's acting just fine.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

To Utah we go

After drafting up a mental list of pros and cons, it was Andrew who convinced me that I should fly out for my grandma's funeral. My spontaneity has really taken a hit the past eight years or so but I managed to pack everything Zoë or I could possibly need (and more), putting on my pants straight from the dryer thirty seconds before walking out the door.

I feel like I spent all day Tuesday doing laundry (and, in my spare time, writing an obituary) and I left the house a complete mess, but Andrew's a superstar and is staying home with the kids this week and doing a much better job at keeping up with the housework than I ever do, I'm sure.

Zoë and I flew out of RDU less than 24 hours after deciding we would go. It's kind of been a whirlwind trip and I've hardly slept at all, but I guess it's been worth it.

Our first flight was great. The plane wasn't full and the people sitting around me were appreciative/ambivalent about sitting by a baby. In fact, at the end of the flight someone came up and told me that my baby had behaved better than some of the adults on the flight, which was true.

This guy in the row ahead of me had balanced his laptop/tablet on his tray, leaning it against the back of the seat in front of him. His cup of apple juice was resting on his table in front of his computer. He was watching So I Married An Az Murderer and I was happily watching along, having seen it enough times in years past I knew enough of the lines by heart that it was still entertaining.

But then the guy in front of the guy watching the movie put his seat back, upsetting the precariously balanced computer, which in turn knocked the cup of apple juice into the man's lap. Oh, was he livid! He hopped out of his seat cursing and ran to the back of the plane where I'm assuming he tried to get cleaned up a bit before sheepishly making his way back to his seat, his pants wet with apple juice, to hastily retrieve his things. He sat in an empty seat somewhere else for most of the flight but came back to his seat during landing so that he could tell off the guy in front of him again.

Now, I think he had every right to be upset (no one wants to go around with apple juice stains on their pants and there's some sort of unwritten code of conduct among frequent flyers that you ask (or at least inform) the person behind you before you put your seat back) but I also think he was partially to blame. Airplanes aren't exactly predictable--turbulence can occur at any time--so should one really be balancing their computer like that?

It made for interesting people watching, that's for sure.

We were the spectacle on the second flight. Zoë can be an uncontrollable screamer in the most usual of circumstances and, evidently, also in the most unusual of circumstances. My seat companion was probably the grumpiest lady on the face of the planet and she was not happy about having to sit by a baby (we flew American Airlines this time so we had assigned seats) when Zoë was happy. She was certainly not happy to be sitting by a baby when Zoë lost it halfway through the flight.

I spent the second half of the flight bouncing Zoë in the back of the plane, but we survived.

Our plane touched down at midnight.

My mom and Josie picked us up from the airport. Zoë screamed most of the way home (she accidentally fell asleep but then woke up determined to make up for lost time). Then Zoë screamed until 4:00 in the morning, which--may I point out?--is 6:00 in the morning EST. We slept until around 10:00 but she didn't even sleep soundly.

The poor thing has developed a cold and thinks stuffy noses are the worst. She likes to tell everyone about it. Loudly.

David, Josie, my mom, dad, and I worked like busy bees on Wednesday getting things ready for the funeral. My niece Rosie stopped by to visit and my mom, Josie, and I took a little break to go to the hymn sing in the HBLL, but other than that we just worked, worked worked. Oh, and David baked cookies and I ate them all!

My mom drove me up to Andrew's parents' house this morning and we had a little get-together with Grandma Pat, Dave, Katharine, Kayl, Nicki, Jacob, and Shayla early this evening.

It's been a good but busy couple of days.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gladys Evon Duggar (1932-2015)

My grandma passed away this morning at 7:00 MST so I've spent the morning calling my siblings, chatting with my great-uncle, feeding my children, remembering and writing.

My grandma grew up in Hosford, Florida. Here's a picture of my grandma (the girl in the dark dress) with her four brothers and her parents:

Charlie Wilson Duggar and Mary Gladys O'Neal Duggar with their children: Joseph Wesley (Buck), Willie Leonard Leonard, Edward Glen, Gladys Evon, and Charles Thomas (Tom)
(I think my cousin Shannon looks a lot like our great-grandmother. But anyway...)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Koshari, Chéri

Andrew made a lovely Lebanese dinner tonight: hummus, mana'eesh (topped with za'atar), and falafel. He's already planning on making zeit wa za'atar for dinner on Monday, but if he can find fava beans so he can make ful to go with it, "otherwise I'm making koshari," he said.

So while I was loading the dishes I started singing, "Koshari-shari! Whatever will be, will be! The future's not ours to see. Koshari-shari!"

Because I'm a nerd.

The more I sang it—because I consider children shrieking with laughter and saying, "Mom, what are you singing!?" to be calls for an encore (and thus sang it several times because I don't actually know much more of the song...Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?)—the more it started sounding like koshari, chéri.

I guess French—France—Paris—has been on my mind. But not just France.

My mind has been very busy lately.

In December 1980, President Spencer W. Kimball published an article in The Ensign about keeping a journal. In January 1981 my grandpa opened a notebook and at the very top of the very first page he wrote, "Our prophet Spencer W. Kimball asked each of us to keep a daily journal." He kept a record for the next several years—not a daily record but a record nonetheless. This simple action expressed his testimony of the gospel quite clearly to me.

Recently my facebook feed has been ablaze with chatter about the change in church policy regarding the baptism of children living with parents in a same-gender relationship (ie. it shouldn't happen). Based on the clarification of the policy, the original wording wasn't really well-written. Still, it wasn't exactly intended for public consumption—at least, not right away—it was leaked.

(Side note: This afternoon Benjamin came into the house crying, "Miriam leaked my secret!" and I was quite puzzled about his choice of words because he's three and he's talking about "leaked" secrets. What?! But now I'm thinking that perhaps we discussed the word leaked at the dinner table some point in the past two weeks, so maybe it makes sense. The secret, in case you're wondering, is that she's a witch. Not in real life. Just in the game. But she said, "I know I'm a witch!" and now everybody knows and it was Benjamin's secret and the world is over. Clearly.)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bouncing Baby Boy

Benjamin, drawing the Winged Fargle from Josh Schneider's Bedtime Monsters
Last night Andrew was out late (helping with a youth temple trip) and I had a headache, brought on by non-stop Benjamin, but it was time for family scripture study. The kids wanted to pull down the scriptures and, you know, actually read, but I've allowed Andrew to be the rememberer of our place for the past several months because I've been juggling Zoë (so sometimes I don't quite finish reading along).

"No; let's do memorized scriptures," I said. "I don't even know where we are."

Benjamin looked at me solemnly and said, "Mom, we're in North Carolina."

Though completely irrelevant (we're in Alma somewhere) his statement is 100% accurate.

Tonight Andrew was saying late on campus to listen to a speaker (Orhan Pamuk) so once again I faced bedtime alone. And once again I had a headache. If only I could record Benjamin all day long; then I could give you a headache, too! I'm constantly reminding him about "inside voices" and begging him to quit screaming. He's not usually upset about things, but he's always passionate.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Whatchu feedin' me, Willis?

I pureed our little pie pumpkins today. Poor Harry Potter was quite shocked when, channelling my inner Voldemort, I told him he was next...

Rachel made the Harry Potter pumpkin for a school assignment