Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Andrew's Birthday

We missed celebrating Andrew's birthday yesterday because he had to work late; he was gone before we were up in the morning and came home after the kids were in bed. Today, although he missed dinner—which was super fancy (grilled cheese and tomato soup from a can)—he was home in time to have a little family party before bed.

Dinner was a little rushed because the kids had doctor appointments after school, which we didn't finish with until nearly 5:00, and Rachel had Activity Days at 6:00. She helped me make dinner and we were sitting down to eat by 5:30. Truthfully, I haven't made tomato soup in ages but we might be making it more often because my most picky eater (I'll let you guess who that is (just kidding: it's Zoë—duh)) tasted her bowl of soup and said, "Oh, Momma! Dis nummy!" and slurped down three bowlfuls!

Never mind the fact that Miriam is a dedicated tomato soup hater. If Zoë will eat it, we'll be making it.

After dinner I sent the kids upstairs to decorate some wrapping paper for Daddy's present. Rachel didn't participate (she was at church), but Miriam did the section on the left and Benjamin and Zoë did the section on the right:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Family resemblance

Cousin Carter was over yesterday and since he had his first hair cut a few weeks ago and since Andrew, Benjamin, and Grandpa also recently got the traditional Heiss haircut we had to take a picture of the four of them together:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Meanwhile, in Idaho: Arwyn Delsa

Emily's been feeling anxious for the birth of her baby (I, uh, don't blame her) and was going to ask her doctor to strip her membranes at her appointment on Thursday to try to get the ball rolling. But then she was feeling so uncomfortably itchy and had such a pain under her ribs that she decided she'd better make an effort to see her doctor today, which she did, and was subsequently diagnosed with prenatal cholestasis.

Basically, she had a buildup of bile in her liver (probably due to those darn pregnancy hormones *shakes fist*) and so bile acids leaked into her bloodstream. 

Other than some sharp pains in the liver-region and intense itchiness (due to the bile acid in the blood), this poses no risk to the mother. Unfortunately, it carries a greater risk of stillbirth for the baby and there really aren't many great treatments available other than delivery. Since Emily was coming up on 39 weeks (I believe she's 38 weeks 5 days) her doctor didn't hesitate to schedule an induction for her at all. Emily was a bit nervous because she'd never been induced, but by 5:30 this afternoon she found herself in the hospital getting hooked up to...something (pitocin?).

Karen immediately started packing to head up to Idaho when she heard the news. She arrived at 8:15 (Marsha, Morgan's mom, went over to take care of the other kids after she got off work—update: that was the plan anyway, but they weren't able to get in contact with her so Emily drove herself to the hospital and got things started and Morgan stayed with the other kids until Karen arrived!) and Emily had the baby at 9:57, which Andrew views as an unfortunate accident. Had Emily waited only 2 hours and 3 minutes more, Arwyn would have been born on Andrew's birthday.

Hey, Everybody! It's Family Night!

Yesterday morning I asked Benjamin to help unload the dishwasher and though he moaned and groaned about it he agreed that he'd unload the top rack. But then we got to chatting as we worked together (I put away the glass and other up-high stuff) and he ended up unloading the bottom rack as well, leaving only the silverware for his sisters. 

I told him what a nice thing that was for him to do and then told him about going the "second mile." And then I started making mental plans for a family night lesson on that topic, just to really drive the message home. 

But while we were walking home from church Miriam told me that she had a family night lesson all planned out and that it was about baptism and the sacrament and that she had photocopies from her primary class and was completely 100% prepared to deliver a stellar family night lesson the following night. 

So...she taught the family night lesson tonight because who can argue with that? 

We'll touch on going the second mile later. 

Miriam's lesson was so sweet. She first had us fill in the blanks on a message that said,
When I partake of the sacrament, I renew my covenants with Heavenly Father. I promise to ________ __________ _______ _______ and to ___________ ______ ___________.
We had to draw a slip of paper and glue it onto the right spot and for some reason she decided we'd take turns oldest to youngest, which was a challenging exercise in patience for the youngest among us.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dancing with Moana

Tonight we went to the MPA opening social, which was supposed to be up in the canyon but, due to the rather dreary weather we had today, was relocated to a chapel in Provo—specifically the "City Center Building." We had an address for the building but when we put that address into Google Maps it deposited us at the Provo City Center Temple, which clearly wasn't where we were supposed to be.

Andrew wandered around a bit, asking people about where the City Center Building might be (and everyone treated him like he was just a little bit crazy and kept pointing to the temple—but, no, luaus are not usually (or ever) held in the temple so that was clearly not where we were supposed to go) while I watched the kids wander around.

Rachel and Benjamin

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fall is here, hear the yell

Tomorrow's high is 59°F with a low of 39°F (meanwhile, back in Durham it's a high of 84°F and a low of 64°F), and the thing is, the extended forecast doesn't show the temperature going back up. We have a couple of days in the mid-seventies but the rest of the ten-day forecast is filled with fifties and sixties. 

There's no turning back: autumn is approaching.

Benjamin asked for socks for his hands while the kids were playing outside today. And when Rachel donned a sweater, Miriam asked why she put on her "winter coat."

Little do my children know all the layers they'll be bundled up in before leaving the house each morning to walk to school—in the snow and cold. Actual winter gear—no makeshift plastic-bags-under-fleece-pants instead of snow pants, no layers of sweaters in lieu of a winter coat, no rain boots insulated by three pairs of socks. 

And they'll have proper mittens—not just socks on their hands.

Yes, winter is coming.

I'm tired, so very tired. I am awfully, awfully T-I-R-E-D.

For whatever reason, Benjamin was rather worn out around bedtime. I don't know why, precisely, because he'd been running around like a wild child the whole livelong day, right up until the moment I finally managed to make him stop and sit...and then it all caught up with him, I guess.

The first story we read was Hush Little Baby, which of course you can't really read (because it must be sung) and in the middle of singing this story to him and Zoë, Benjamin melted into my shoulder and said, as if he were being hypnotized, "Whoa. This story is making me very sleepy."

I took it like a compliment though because, as I explained to Benjamin, it is a lullaby, so...

Soon after, when I'd finally managed to herd all my children into their individual beds, I reminded Benjamin to say a prayer and he went with his default, no-thought, super-short prayer:

"Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for today. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Then he launched into a huge monologue directed at me.

"Do you know why I had to say such a super short prayer? It's because I'm so tired that I can't even pray because today was just so busy with the picnic and I really want to go to school tomorrow because even though it's not a picnic day I think it will still be fun. I think I want to listen to music but I also want to leave my window open so I can hear the cars outside. Do you think I can do both at the same time? I probably can because my window is open and I just turned on my music so..."

"Benjamin," I interrupted. "If you're too tired to talk to Heavenly Father I think you're probably too tired to talk to me so why don't you..."

I was about to tell him to be quiet and go to sleep, but he interrupted me and told me I was absolutely correct.

"I just have to say another prayer really quick!" he said. And then he prayed, with the utmost sincerity, "Dear Heavenly Father, I'm sorry that I can't talk to you right now but I'm really tired and I need to go to sleep. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

And then, miraculously, he lay still and quiet in his bed (for the most part) until he'd fallen asleep.

A teddy bear picnic

Yesterday afternoon Benjamin rushed out of school and plopped down in the grass beside me before I even had the chance to heave my whale-like figure off the lawn get up.

"I have to show you a paper from my backpack!" he gushed, so even though we were in a flurry of activity with dozens of kindergarteners and their caregivers milling about us as they, too, sought to be reunited with each other after their long 2.5 hours day apart, I happily let him unzip his backpack and, with great gusto, present to me this Most Exciting Paper because he never wants to show me what's in his backpack.

I had to have a frank discussion with him about who was in charge of ensuring he obtained an adequate education (that would be me, not Grandma (though Grandma is my helper), so he had to show me the papers in his backpack (though he was free to share them with Grandma as well as me, keeping the papers from me was not an option)) to get him to allow me to go through his school things. (Sheesh—this kid!)

But not this time.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The carnival

For FHE (I guess...because it's Monday and that's what we did (and we did it as a family so it totally counts (our friends the Rogersons would call it "post-activity justification," or something like that))) we went to the school carnival.

We'd had a bad case of the Mondays at our house. The kids weren't exactly misbehaving...they just weren't exactly behaving either. Zoë was in a particularly sour mood. And, let's just say that before we left the house I gave my girls a lengthy lecture about pitching in (because I had asked them to help me clear the table and do the dishes so that I could take care of the grumpy baby but they insisted that they'd rather take care of the grumpy baby so they took her outside to play but then the grumpy baby abandoned them and they just kept playing what they were playing so I ended up with both a grumpy baby and all the clean up...and then I asked the grumpy baby to go potty so we could leave and she threw a huge fit about not wanting to go potty so I said, "Fine, I will go potty while you're rolling around on the ground screaming and when I get back it will be your turn," and she ended up peeing her pants like ten seconds later and coming to find me, crying, "Momma, I peepee floor!" and I was like, "AHHHHHH!!! WHY?!?!?" because, like, I had just tried to get her to go! So I had to then change her and clean the floor (it was on the kitchen floor, thank goodness) and my kids were not responding to my voice (for whatever reason it's at a frequency they can just tune out) and I was feeling a little crazy). 

So none of the females in our house were in a great mood when we left.

Benjamin was fine. He missed the lecture because he'd been banished to the backyard, not because he was being bad...simply because he was far too excited about the carnival and I couldn't stand it anymore. But he actually listened and stayed in the backyard until it was time to go. 

And before that he scarfed down his dinner, cleared his plate without being asked and then said, "I'm going to go get ready for the carnival!"

"What do you mean by 'get ready?'" I asked. "You're already dressed. You just need shoes..."

I really didn't want him changing his clothes and generating more laundry. I have enough trouble keeping up with it as it is (and Andrew may or may not have just run out to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple more dress shirts because I only did laundry on Tuesday last week (I usually do it twice a week, at least) and he may or may not have run completely out of dress shirts). But, thank goodness, a change in wardrobe was not what Benjamin meant.

"I mean," Benjamin explained, "That I need to clean up my cars. I left them all over my floor and I won't be ready to go to the carnival until my room is clean."

"Oh!" I said, legitimately shocked. "That you may most definitely do."

And then he actually did!

And then he came back downstairs and started bouncing off the walls, which was about when he got banished to the backyard.

When Andrew joined us at the fair and I told him about our frustrating pre-departure he said to Benjamin, "Wow, Ben! How does it feel to not get in trouble when all your sisters did?"

Benjamin giggled proudly.

Anyway, the carnival! The carnival!

We went ahead and bought the $10 armbands for the kids (except that Zoë's was free because she's in the 3-and-under crowd) because I figured that Benjamin would just race from inflatable to inflatable the whole evening long, and when each turn on an inflatable is 6 tickets (equivalent to $1.50) things start adding up pretty quick. The armband lets the kids do an infinite number of games/inflatables all evening long, so it was well worth it.

Easley didn't have that deal so we were always rationing out tickets at the school carnival, which meant a lot of disappointment on Benjamin's part.

When we got to the carnival I told the girls to stay together and bid them farewell and then followed Benjamin around while Zoë grumped in the stroller (Andrew wasn't there yet and I can't be everywhere at once).

The inflatables were kind of set up in graduating sizes, so we encountered a small one first. Benjamin waited his turn, climbed inside, bounced around, and then went down the slide. Zoë waited with us, climbed inside, started crying, turned around, climbed back out, sat in the stroller and said, "Hmph. No!"

We went to the next inflatable and pretty much the same thing happened, and then again at the next. 

Finally we made it to the tallest slide there.

"Do you want to go on this one?" I asked Zoë.

"Oh, yeah!" she said. 

"Ummm, I'm not helping her," Benjamin told me.

"Ummm, yes, you are," I told him.

And the two of them set off to conquer the tall slide. Zoë didn't end up needing much help at all but Benjamin took his duty very seriously (in spite of not wanting to look after her at all).

Here they are climbing up the ladder:

At the playground

Today was Benjamin's very first Monday in the classroom—and it was an early release day, to boot! Last week was Labour Day and the week before he started kindergarten on a Tuesday and the week before that he didn't have school (while the girls did) so he missed out on Monday after Monday, which is probably fine because Mondays are hard. 

My kids, at any rate, were particularly sluggish this morning. But we got them all out the door in time to make it to school (phew!) and then Zoë and I spent just a couple of hours together before heading to pick Benjamin up from kindergarten. His day is only 2 hours and 40 minutes long, anyway, but on early release days he's barely at school for 2 hours (it's a little crazy).

He usually comes out of class starving and always wants to go straight home for lunch. For some reason they don't do snack time at this school—for anyone—which is kind of a weird concept for me to wrap my head around. The girls pack a lunch, and get 2-3 recesses every day (which is awesome because in North Carolina they only ever got one (highly regimented) recess) but there's no dedicated snack time. I grew up with everyone taking their snack out to the playground for morning recess—you'd wolf it down and then go play. Same thing with lunch—wolf it down, run out to play. But here they don't do snacks. I'm not sure why. 

Are they afraid the playground would become too littered? It's been my casual observation that Americans litter more often than Canadians do (like, we were just at the school carnival and there were candy wrappers all over the school yard—I just don't think that would have been stood for by either parents or the school administration at any school I attended (classes rotated playground trash duty anyway so we knew not to litter and instead stuffed our pockets full of wrappers and peels and baggies (like responsible children (so that our mothers could find them while doing laundry)))) so that's a valid concern.

And a child in Benjamin's class has a peanut allergy, so I guess not having snack time at all eliminates (or greatly diminishes) the chance of contamination. But going from 8 am (when my kids eat breakfast) to nearly noon (when Benjamin gets out of school) seems like a long time for little kids to be going without refuelling. 

I distinctly remember having snack time in kindergarten (and I was in half-day kindergarten) because my friend would bring an orange and chew on a segment until she'd sucked all the juice out and then she'd spit out all the skin and stuff and I thought it was so gross (but I picked my nose, so who am I to judge?).

Anyway, all this is to say that Zoë and I decided we'd pack up a snack to bring with us when we picked Benjamin up to see if we couldn't convince him to spend some time at the playground with us. He was more than happy to oblige Zoë's desire to go to the "play-ound" when snack time was involved (let me tell you, walking past the playground to pick Benjamin up every day and not stopping has been torture for this poor two-year-old (I suppose not every declined playground trip was Benjamin's fault; I also wasn't on board because I'd been so sick (but I'm better now so I feel up for the playground)).

Here they are enjoying some peach slices: