Friday, May 31, 2013

Ticked off

This morning Rachel woke up at 6:00 again to do her morning constitutional—throwing up (which is apparently now her morning constitutional). I'll be so happy when this cough goes away.

She crawled into bed with me when she was finished and started begging me to allow her to stay home from school.

"Please, please, please let me stay home from school. I'm still sick. I need to rest. I won't bother you or anything. I won't fight with Miriam. I won't ask to do anything. I'll just rest all day in my bed."

Considering it wasn't even time to get ready for school yet and she was already pestering me, she was off to a bad start to keeping her end of the bargin.

"You're fine," I assured her. "You don't have a fever or runny nose or anything. You've been sick for nearly two weeks. Your cough is only bad in the mornings and as soon as it goes away you want to be up and doing things. You're going to school."

She stayed home on Wednesday and let's just say that things weren't entirely calm at home.

I heard Benjamin stirring, so I went out to get him from his bed so that he could nurse. Instead of bringing him back into my bed I sat on the couch to nurse him (since my spot on the bed was taken up by Rachel). He started greedily gulping down his milk and lazily closed his eyes to drift back to sleep when we were interrupted by Rachel.

She came and plopped down on the couch beside me.

"Please, please, please! I won't bother you, I promise!"

"But you are bothering me. It's not even seven o'clock yet and here you are, pestering me and waking up your brother. If you were really sick then you would go back to bed."

"I'm not that sick!"

"Then you're going to school."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Backyardigans

 Yesterday Rachel didn't go to school because she threw up in the morning, due to coughing. I tried to convince her to go to school, told her she wasn't really sick, but she held her ground. You're not supposed to go to school on the day you throw up, she informed me. She needed to stay home and rest.

So I let her.

She is sick, but just with a cold. Her awesome esophagus is the only reason she throws up all the time; it has little to do with her stomach at all.

This morning we overslept a bit but would have had her ready for school on time, had she not thrown up twice due to coughing. She had been so bored yesterday, though, that she insisted that she wanted to go to school in spite of having vomited twice. Her cough is always the worst in the morning, anyway, so I figured she'd already had the worst of it for the day.

We gave her cough medicine and then I drove her to school, leaving Andrew at home with a just-awake Miriam and a still-sleeping Benjamin. I stayed and volunteered in Rachel's classroom for the morning and she did fine so I let her stay for the afternoon.

Technically, I could have gone to the "Volunteer Tea" that afternoon, but I had to get home to my babies. And I had no desire to go since I know no one else who volunteers at the school so it would have been a real stretch for my introverted spirit to put itself out there and meet new people. I might have made myself go had we been staying at Rachel's school next year but since she's switching schools anyway I had no desire to put myself out there and meet new people.

So I came home and gardened and Andrew cut the extension cord in half when he was trimming the hedges (but he's fine (and it seems to be something that happens a lot)) and he fixed that. He was so proud of himself when he finished. I was pretty impressed, myself.

"I just did my first electric work!" he said proudly once he'd finished putting the cord together.

We used a velcro strap to hold the cord out of the way of the blades while he finished trimming the hedges and it worked out a lot better.

 When Rachel came home from school the girls practiced riding their bikes.


Benjamin in the bath

Last night Benjamin had a bit of a reflux problem shortly after dinner and right before my ride to the primary presidency meeting was due to pick me up. Since he'd just eaten an entire bowl of oatmeal and applesauce he needed a little something more than the regular wipe-down so I threw him in the bathtub.

He had such a fun time exploring that I got to wondering when the last time was that I'd actually given him a bath and...I couldn't remember. Usually he just showers with either Andrew or me. He had so much fun in the bathtub, though, that I might start giving him baths more often.

One man's trash

My friend Kim is moving in just a couple of weeks. We've been borrowing her baby bouncer (for bigger babies) for several months and she's been borrowing our baby bouncer (for littler babies). We're going to have to trade back sometime next week (technically I just have to get hers to her; she's keeping mine until the day they fly out). I'm kind of sad about this because it's been so, so useful!

Today Benjamin joined me outside to do some work in the garden. He wasn't supposed to. He was supposed to be napping but he got woken up (by Miriam who decided to play drums using a metal mixing bowl and butter knives) so I hung some towels up to dry to make a little shade tent for him and he bounced in his bouncer while I worked.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

That Benja-boy

T minus one week until my sweet baby boy will celebrate his first birthday.

He has a cold right now (again) so his face is a constantly dripping waterfall of snot/drool and we're getting our best block of sleep after we should be awake for the day. It's been a rough couple of days.

But Andrew's almost over his cold and I think Rachel might be getting over it as well (Miriam and I have so far artfully avoided being contaminated with germs (knock on wood)) so chances are Benjamin will be on the mend soon. And then maybe we'll sleep again.

Oddly enough, Benjamin's odd sleep-cycle hasn't put a damper on his ability to make mischief as it has on my ability to curb it. While I'm walking around like a zombie (in spite of the extra help Andrew's been (working from home so that Benjamin and I can sleep until noon after staying awake until sunrise)) Benjamin's toddling around getting into stuff.

Getting into stuff is Benjamin's new favourite pastime. That's how I know his first birthday is coming up.

While I was busy making dinner, Benjamin decided he was ready for a snack:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bennett Place

Last night we had a family movie night and watched Wreck-it Ralph while eating homemade pizza. Then the girls begged to sleep on the top bunk together because it wasn't a school night, so I let them—on the condition that we not hear any fighting. Surprisingly, they pulled it off.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So that's just what we'll do

This whole garden thing is kind of taking me by surprise. It started off as an experiment to see if we could get anything to grow. I've never been in charge of a garden and I was nervous because I have a history of killing off houseplants. We decided we'd start small—with one 4x4 garden box—and see how things would go this year.

Not to count our chickens before they hatch or anything, but our garden seems to be flourishing.

Here it is last week:



And here it is today:



Monday, May 20, 2013

Wrightsville Beach

When people ask me where I'm from I can never give them a straight answer because there isn't one.

Answering questions such as "Where did you move from?" or "Where were you born?" are easy to answer because there's only one possible answer. But "Where are you from?" is a difficult question with a complicated answer so when I'm asked this I take a deep breath while I think about how much of my life history I should share. I don't even have the privilege of that two word answer, "Army Brat," because I wasn't one, but I did do my share of moving around. I also have the added complication of being a dual citizen. Where do I belong? Here and there and nowhere at all.

Part of me feels like I belong at the coast, probably due to the time I spent living on the coast (briefly (but not in my memory...much) in California, several years in British Columbia, and a couple years in Egypt (those were Seas, technically, not the ocean but that still counts as coast)).

Going to the beach is a homecoming of sorts.

That's why I was so excited to move to a coastal state. But we've lived here for nine months already and I haven't seen even a hint of the ocean (except for that one time we went to South Carolina) so I've been whining about it to Andrew (and we planned and aborted a few trips) and finally, finally we made it out to the beach yesterday.

We left straight from the ballet studio and drove the 2.5 hours, past Wilmington (because, we were informed "there are no beaches at Wilmington"), all the way to Wrightsville Beach (which is in the town of Wrightsville, which is in the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (so is technically part of Wilmington ...ish)).

Parking was a bear, but we finally found a place to park after driving in a loop several times. All the parking is metered ($2 per hour—thank goodness you can pay by phone because we did not have nearly enough quarters on hand!) and there were metermaids-enforcers just strolling up and down the street, handing out tickets willy-nilly (don't they have anything better to do?).

Stumbling onto the beach was like stumbling into paradise. We were stumbling because we were dragging along three small children and a cooler (and various other packages) and it was paradise because it was the beach.


Friday, May 17, 2013

The griddle, too.

The scene: A wife stands at the kitchen sink, barefoot (but not pregnant) with three young children swarming around her (who would have been pulling on her apron strings, I'm sure, had she been wearing an apron (but she's not)) while she attempts to wash dishes.

Enter Husband.

Husband: Hey, there's a griddle over here, since you're doing hand-dishes...oh...uh... I mean...uh...I wasn't... Oh, no. I just...uh... I. Appreciate. You. So. Much.

******

He certainly backpedaled quickly, didn't he?

In truth, it was the most hilarious thing he's done recently. We both busted up laughing about, right there at the kitchen sink—because Andrew is the most undemanding person in the world and didn't mean to come across quite so...chauvinistic. We've been joking about it ever since. 

"Wife, clean my frying pan!" was tossed out, followed up by, "Wife no clean frying pan! Wife take nap!" (Thank you, Peter Pan (the girls watched it on Sunday as part of their "Post Peter Pan Party" so it was fresh in our minds)).

We also have been tacking it onto the end of pretty much anything we ask each other to do, for example:

"Could you get me a glass of water, please?"

"Sure; should I wash the griddle, too?"

It's one of those moments that will live on in infamy...at least in our home.

But the strangest of all were the people who lived in...

...our house. Probably. The strangest of all were the people who lived in...

I was reading to the girls tonight, each tucked up into a ball and cuddled into either side of me, just as they were meant to be, while the Benjaboy listened in, practicing his standing while slapping my legs with his chubby baby fingers.

"These houses were quite small," I read, "the biggest of them reaching only as high as Dorothy's waist. There were also pretty little barns, with china fences around them. Many cows and sheep and horses and pigs and chickens, all made of china, were standing about in groups.

"But the strangest of all were the people who lived in..." I paused to turn the page—since our story was interrupted by a full-colour illustration on the next page—and found, to everyone's dismay, a new chapter heading.

Huh.

I quickly skimmed through that page and then flipped to the next.

"This forest is perfectly delightful," declared the Lion, looking around him with joy. "Never have I seen a more beautiful place." Page turn. for us to go any other way except due South."

Oh, no.

We skipped from page 182 to 190 and back to 184. Fortunately 190 was repeated, but in its proper location, eight pages down the road, but page 183 was no where to be found. With bedtime looming over our heads I made the split second decision to truncate an entire page of a childhood classic.

Miriam was already so distracted by the illustration because it was of Dorothy melting the Wicked Witch of the West (which happened over the course of pages 122–123) and she wanted to know why that picture was there. Was the witch back? That would be rather troublesome because Dorothy melted her (and she didn't say "Oh, what a world!" but instead "Look out—here I go!" (this book is nothing like the movie (silver slippers? Our iconic ruby slippers were invented to show off colour television) and both Rachel and Miriam have been a little conflicted about that).

"But the strangest of all were the people who lived in this place," I told the girls after we quelled Miriam's fears about Witches regenerating after being melted by buckets of water. "We need to head South."

We finished reading the chapter and put the kids to bed. And then I hopped online and headed over to Project Gutenberg to find out what happened on page 183. I threw it into InDesign and did a little guesswork on fonts and things but Andrew caught me fudging through the process and insisted that if we were going to create an addendum at all we'd be doing it right, crop marks and all.

So, in case you were wondering...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just another manic Thursday

Strawberry picking must simply be a bigger thing down here than it is other places. Never have I ever had so many people ask me about whether or not I'd gone strawberry picking before in all my life. It's like the thing to do in the spring. Benjamin's participating in a dental study at the doctor's office and he had his first appointment today. The doctor we saw asked us straight out if we'd gone berry picking, just threw it into her smalltalk.

"Have you gone to pick strawberries yet?" she asked, as if it was our right—even our duty—to do so.

Fortunately, we went yesterday so we were able to rave about the strawberries with firsthand experience.

The appointment was easy (and we earned $50). We just had to fill out a survey about Benjamin's teeth and brushing habits. He had a short examination, got a little toothbrush to take home, and we were done (until our next appointment, approximately 18 months from now). The only thing Benjamin wouldn't do is let them look at his tongue. We did everything we could to convince him to stick it out, but he wouldn't. He wouldn't say, "Lalala," which is one of his favourite things to do (he sticks his tongue way out to say it). He wouldn't make rude noises with his tongue (another of his favourite past times). He just plain wouldn't stick out his tongue.

I noticed the chart they had sitting out and asked if they were trying to see if his tongue was loose or whether he was in need of a lingual frenectomy. They said that was exactly what they were looking for so I informed them that he had been tongue-tied but had already had his frenulum snipped. They'll still need to get a look at his tongue (for the study) but said that they'll have more opportunities to see it (when he's older and more cooperative (or uncooperative, depending on how you look at it) about sticking out his tongue).

His teeth look great, show no sign of decay, but, oh! that labial frenulum!

Apparently it's not unusual for these frenulum problems to go hand in hand. Since Benjamin was so tongue-tied it was no surprise (to the doctor) that he was also lip-tied (or whatever it's called when you have an over-achieving labial frenulum). She said to watch that area carefully (ie. avoid running the toothbrush over his frenulum) because there are a ton of nerves and blood vessels in the frenulum so it's a sensitive area of his mouth. We'll likely have to get it cut someday (if we can't "arrange" a "happy" accident like we did for Rachel last year (her friend Michael had an accidental frenectomy at the park just a while ago, too (walked too close to the swingset—BAM! Free frenectomy. Just like that)). Those methods are so messy and painful, though (and sometimes, as in Rachel's case, the recipient doesn't even need a frenectomy)).*

Up until last February I wasn't even sure what a frenulum was, but look at me, look at me, look at me now! It's fun to use the word frenulum when you know how!

Having children is so educational.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strawberry fields forever

Strawberry season (which is much better than spider season) is here and the fields have been calling our name, so we picked Rachel up after school and headed for the hills (since there aren't any strawberry fields to speak of within city limits). The girls were excited to go on an adventure.

We went to Lyon Farms, over in Creedmor, mostly because we inherited some Lyon Farms baskets from some friends who will be moving soon. We have to cross Falls Lake to get from Durham to Creedmor (or anything else on the other side) and it makes us laugh every time because once when we were young and naive and knew next to nothing about Washington, DC, some friends of ours were discussing Falls Church.

We were pretty sure they said "False Church" until the last couple of years when we realized it was Falls, not False. But you can go around calling it False Church for years and no one will notice. We call Falls Lake False Lake just to laugh at ourselves.

Anyway, Lyon Farms was a cute place with a flair for originality.


Around the house

Benjamin enjoys pulling himself up on anything he can get his hands on. He still goes about it in the most awkward fashion. The splits are this boy's best friend.


He was clinging to the dishwasher for dear life and looking mighty uncomfortable...


...so I helped him step his feet a little closer together. He was so excited.


He's been so goopy lately—his eyes and nose are constantly oozing. When he wakes up in the morning I have to clean his eyes before he can even open them. They're not too bad during the day, though, and he doesn't have a fever and hasn't been complaining, so I guess we'll just keep cleaning his eyes throughout the day and night until it gets better (or worse).


Miriam took five million years to put away the dishes today. She was supposed to finish before her friend Claire came over to play but didn't so Claire stood in the kitchen and watched Miriam work while they told each other all the names of their siblings and exchanged meal ideas.

"I had spiral macaroni and cheese for lunch!" Miriam exclaimed.

"I didn't," Claire said. "The only thing we have in our house is just rice and beans. But I have two sisters."

"Oh," said Miriam. "I only have one."

Their conversations are hilarious (that means funny—and it's one of Miriam's new favourite words, only she thinks it starts with an L and says el-larious, as in "That's L-arious."). After Miriam finished putting away the dishes they played with play dough.


I asked Claire if she would smile for me but she told me that she could not.



Benjamin went down for a nap today and slept the whole time Claire was over. He was still asleep when it was time to pick Rachel up for school (we went on a family adventure today) so we had to wake him up. After we got home this evening he fell asleep nursing (which is getting more and more unusual) but woke up in time for dinner. He even went to be before 10 o'clock. He's having a rather unusual day.



In addition to pulling up on things, Benjamin's army crawl is morphing (ever slowly) into a true crawl and he can now get from his tummy into a seated position (though he's often content to make it into a kneeling position). He's up and down and go, go, go all day long.



His favourite activities include forcing the printer to print test pages, pulling all the shoes off the shoe shelf, eating, and trying to get outside.

We've been spending a lot of time outside lately, trying to get our yard up and running. We built an official place to keep our garbage cans (since they've been sitting in the middle of our lawn) and we really like it. It tided the yard up so much just having those can out of sight.

While we were making it, Miriam kept trying to show me these green spiders she was seeing all over the place. I told her that spiders aren't usually green...but I was wrong. We have green spiders all over our yard. I'm not sure what they are. I don't think they're green lynx spiders but they might be some sort of orb spider (doesn't that web look orbish?). They're pretty little, and rather green.



It looks like spider season is upon us. We've already found some freakishly huge spiders lurking in our yard. I try to tell myself that they're good for the garden but still find them shudder-worthy. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I had fun at school. I love school. School is good for you.

Rachel was kind of on one today after school. She came off the bus smiling, ditched her backpack by Benjamin (who was outside in the bouncer watching Andrew, Miriam, and me do some work in the garden) and started a game with Miriam. Andrew headed off to help a new family move in and I started taking the laundry off the line, leaving all the clothespins in a pile for the girls to pick up.

I had asked them to pick the clothespins up yesterday when I took the laundry down but they both gave excuses and ran into the house where they sat at the table while dinner got cold and I finished taking down the laundry and picking up the clothespins. I reminded the girls of that today—that I'd asked them for help and they'd told me no and later regretted it—so they said they'd do it. But then they started fighting about it. Who would hold the bag open? Who would pick up the pins? Why did they have to do it at all? Was it even fair? Why didn't I just do it myself? Why were clothespins even invented?

Since picking up clothespins is one of the easiest jobs on the planet, I told the girls that they could work out the answers to all those questions while they picked up the clothespins and that they weren't allowed inside until all the clothespins were picked up.

That one little chore totally ruined Rachel's day. (Miriam got in a bit of a snit but quickly got back out of it).

"Work, work, work!" Rachel complained when I finally let them back in the house. It took them almost forty-five minutes to clean up the clothespins because they got sweaty and decided they should fill the watering can up and then dump it on each other's heads. When I nipped that idea in the bud, they decided they needed to fold paper fans to cool themselves off. I told them they were wasting oodles of time but gave them the go ahead (and the paper (because they weren't allowed inside)). They took so long to clean up the clothespins that Miriam even had to come inside for a potty break (before being ushered back outside to finish the job).

Seriously. I mean, I sorted the clothes, washed the clothes, hung the clothes out to dry, took them off the line and folded them and my girls can't even pick up a pile of clothespins? Come on.

Anyway, Rachel was all in a tizzy over having to work. They never work at school—they just get to have fun all day long.

"That's great!" I told Rachel. "That means you should be ready to buckle down and get to work when you get home."

Moonboots: ballad means a festival

As we were walking from the van to the church building on Sunday morning Rachel asked me a question. I don't remember what it was but I do remember my answer.

"That's a valid choice," I told her.

"What does valid mean?" she asked me.

"Valid means acceptable," I explained.

Andrew, who had been gathering up the rest of our stuff and locking the van (or who might take after his father more than he'd care to admit) caught up to us and tried to join our conversation.

"A ballad is a song," he corrected, "Not a festival."

Rachel and I both turned to look at him.

"What are you talking about?" I asked him.

"Rachel said, 'What does ballad mean?' and then you said, 'Ballad means a festival,' but a ballad is a song, not a festival," he recapped.

"I know what a ballad is," I assured him.

"Then what were you talking about?" he asked.

"She asked me what valid meant and I told her it meant acceptable."

"Oh," said Andrew, nodding his head in agreement.

Our entire family has been laughing about this all week. I suppose that's a festival acceptable.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Peter Pan 2013

Phew! Peter Pan is finished!

The end of a show always elicits such mixed emotions from me. On the one hand—huzzah for no more rehearsals, no more late nights, no more panic about fundraising or being late or running tights. On the other hand—no more thrill, no more anticipation, no more friendship-forming/costume-building pow-wows in the lobby. I'm sure the girls will continue to play Peter Pan and Flower Fairies for some time to come. Just this morning they turned their bunk bed into a theatre and dangled stuffed animals from the top bunk after tying ribbons to their limbs. The stuffed animals were "doing aerial dancing!" It was pretty cute.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the dress rehearsal on Thursday night.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dress Rehearsal

Last night the girls had a dress rehearsal at the Carolina Theater, which they were very excited for. The strangest part was that we just dropped them off and then had nothing to do. It was the weirdest feeling because the past few months have been such a frenzy of costume-making. We'd walk into the theater and be bombarded with yarn and fabric and scissors and glue. Even just on Thursday night we were all slaving away, trying to finish the Nana costume.

But last night we just dropped them off. We were instructed to be back to pick them up by 7:30, when hopefully they'd be finished. So we left.

We stood outside on the sidewalk puzzling over what to do with two hours free from children (except Benjamin, who was strapped to me...like always).

"We could go on a date," I suggested.

"I'm hungry," Andrew said. "Let's go out for dinner."

"Where should we go?" I asked.

We stood on the sidewalk and puzzled over that some more. The theater is right downtown. There are dozens of upscale (when compared to McDonald's) restaurants to try but we didn't even know where to begin, nor how much we wanted to spend. We don't have an eating-out category in our budget because we don't usually do it. After walking around downtown hand in hand (because we weren't wrangling children) and surveying a few menus, we settled on around $20 and found a cute pizza place called Pop's Trattoria. We're suckers for Italian food (especially Andrew).

They open at 5:30 and we arrived at 5:40, walked right in, and asked for a table for two.

"Do you have reservations?" the hostess asked.

"Do we need one?" Andrew asked.

"No," she said, looking through her book. "Do you want a window seat or would you rather sit in the dining room."

We opted for a window seat, even though the tables were abnormally high for dining.

"It's okay," the hostess assured us. "I can just stack a couple of high chairs for him to sit on. You can pick any table you'd like!"

We found our table and sat down to look at the menus. Their wood oven-fired pizzas are $10 a piece so we thought we'd each get one. That's how we survived our honeymoon—we'd find the cheapest pizza joint we could and then we'd each order a margherita pizza since that's typically the cheapest thing on the menu. It's somewhat normal to eat a whole pizza in Italy, according to Andrew (and my observations). Andrew asked the waiter for two pizzas, but then I went and asked how big the pizzas were.

"They're pretty big," he said. "There's no way each of you are going to eat a whole one. But half of one might not be quite enough. I'd recommend getting a pizza to split and then a salad or something as well."

So that's what we did. And it was good, though I'm pretty positive we each could have eaten a whole pizza.

We had bread while we waited, which was good. They gave us a dish of olive oil...but no vinegar. Sad day. Andrew still did a lot of dipping, but I didn't.

We also had a nice view of the bar but only realized that we were sitting in the bar when one of the owners/managers stopped by to ask Benjamin how he was enjoying sitting at the bar.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

This week

Just as I suspected, this week is being gobbled up with ballet, but we've done some other things, too. On Sunday, for example, Miriam did my hair (after church).

Here's the front:


And here's the back:

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

In which I talk about a lot of random things

In yesterday's crazy storm, a friend's house got struck by lightning—or, as Miriam would call it, flashling. This is the second family I've known of to have this happen to them right here in North Carolina. I don't think I know of anyone else whose house has been struck by lightning (unless that's how the fire in the King's apartment building started when we lived in Burnaby. I can't remember, but if it is then that would bring my total up to three).

Andrew and I were talking about this last night and I said, "How does that work? I mean, how many houses do you know around here that are taller than the trees in the yard?"

"I know, right?" he said. "It doesn't make sense for the house to get hit if there are taller things around."

We both looked at each other and instantly knew the truth: we'd been had. 

It turns out that lightning is fairly impartial to where it strikes. It turns out that we and everything else on the earth are partial to where lightning strikes. The whole water cycle plays a role in charging the atmosphere with electricity but somehow we begin radiating electricity, too, daring that thunderbolt to strike us. So, whenever a downward leader (from the cloud) gets close to an upward streamer (from the earth) is when lightning strikes. It doesn't matter how tall you are compared to your surroundings. Lightning's been known to strike the bare ground mere feet away from tall metal poles. 

"Oops," admitted Andrew. "Just this morning when we were waiting for the bus, I told Rachel that she didn't have to worry about lightning because of all the trees. She pointed out which tree was most likely to get hit first—the tallest one—and I told her she was right."

Even though lightning does not strike the tallest object you're still not supposed to take shelter under a tree because trees are more likely to be hit since they are proven "paths of least resistance" to the ground. But not only because they're tall—like, if you chose the second or third tallest tree of three trees to hide under during a thunderstorm, anyone one of them could be hit. Lightning doesn't measure to see which tree is tallest; it will just pick one. Randomly. Or maybe it will pick the puny sapling. It doesn't care.

Ideally you'd get inside a car or a building to get out of the storm—and not because of the rubber tires on the car rubber is no match for the electrical power of lightning. Rather, the car acts as a Faraday cage. I imagine houses are similar. If I'm inside, the electricity isn't going to choose me (hopefully) but will instead choose my pipes or something. 

Andrew and I were both a little spooked after reading so much about lightning yesterday. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Poor statistics

Today was a long and draining day as well. I felt like I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off for the entire three hour block at church. Nothing seemed to be going quite as planned. For example, we're trying to coordinate male teachers for all of the classes next week to give our female teachers the opportunity to attend Relief Society meeting for Mother's Day. We needed—and got!—seven volunteers. I began emailing them their assignments (once home from my crazy day of running around at church) and even as I was still sending out emails began to get replies to my message saying that they were really sorry but wouldn't actually be available to substitute next week.

Four out of seven men replied saying that other things had come up. They forgot they had to teach elsewhere. Or they got called into work. Or their wife informed them they'd be vacationing.

All good excuses. All good intentions. But such a headache for me (and Marian, who I forwarded all the emails to).

4 out of 7?! That's a 57% drop-out rate! I'm crossing my fingers we can hold onto the 43% we have left...

That's just the way today went. Three steps forward, four steps back. You can't win 'em all.

But your babies can make it onto the front page of the local newspaper and that's just as good, right?


Saturday, May 04, 2013

A Little Wilted

Our entire family is exhausted. We've worked very hard the past couple of days.

Yesterday Andrew and I spent hours digging out three large holly bushes (that wanted very much to become a tree) in our front yard. It took us between three and four hours to remove one of the stumps if that gives you any idea how long we were out there. It was back-breaking labour and Andrew, the dear boy, did most of it because I was no match for that huge stump.

Andrew rigged a lever system to pry the stump out of the ground after we'd sawed through many (many, many) roots. He'd jump on the lever and you could see the stump being wrenched from its stronghold in the ground. I'd jump on the lever and...nothing.

It took us hours of digging, sawing and...levering...to get these stumps out.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Pyjama Party

In this month's BYU Alumni email, Cute Girls Hairstyles was featured since the creator is a BYU graduate. I actually think I may have stumbled upon her blog years ago when Rachel was little but the timing just wasn't right for me to become an avid reader (perhaps because Rachel's never really enjoyed having her hair brushed). I pulled it up a couple of days ago and watched a few videos while I was nursing Benjamin. Miriam soon wandered over to join me and was absolutely hooked.

"Let's watch another one!" she'd say after each video ended.

I don't even know how many we watched but now Miriam's all about hair. Yesterday morning she requested that we do "just plain straight hair with two braids—one on this side and one on this side. Then womp, womp, put them over my head. With two headbands."

She described (and pantomimed) the Double Braid [Sparkly] Headband and sat perfectly still while I did her hair. Her hair's a little wavy because yesterday we had it in another hairdo we'd found on CGH.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Living Now

Sometimes the best medicine to fight unwanted nostalgia is to settle down for some playtime on the floor with the kiddos. Ignore the memories. Ignore the dishes. Ignore everything but them. Because they are what's really important now.

Benjamin's somehow fallen into this miraculous sleeping pattern where he, like, goes to bed at a decent hour, wakes up to nurse once in the night, and then demands to take at least one (and sometimes—get this!—two) naps a day. It's been going on for more than a couple (but less than several) days now and it's kind of amazing.

When he went down for his nap today Miriam wanted to play butterfly princesses but I just couldn't see myself doing that at the moment. Besides when "the whole house is the sky" and we're supposed to "use blankets for wings and run around the house to fly" and the baby is actually napping I start brainstorming quieter activities. So I suggested that we do some puzzles together.

Quiet. No imagination on my part. Perfect.

We did "big girl" puzzles until he woke up and then brought out the baby puzzles after (because Miriam was still in a puzzle mood).

She was trying to teach him how to do the puzzles and he was trying to explore the puzzles and it caused a little frustration for both of them because neither one of them were playing "right" in the other's eyes. But they did well together.

Unfortunate Anniversary

Suddenly it's May. Did you notice? That sure crept up on us! And May is such a scary month, too, because after May comes June and that thought alone is bringing a lot of painful memories to the surface.

I didn't think it would be like this. I really didn't. I've always been one for moving forward, but this year has been hard. In just two days, Benjamin will be eleven months old. We're coming up on his first birthday and have already started our anniversary memories.

"This time last year, I was in Ghana," Andrew reminded me yesterday.

I'm glad that he went to Ghana and I was happy for him last year, too—or at least as happy as an expectant mother can be when she's told it will be up to her to do dinnertime and bedtime by herself every day for three weeks while her husband is on the other side of the globe. I wasn't entirely alone, I realize, since we were living with Andrew's parents and mine were just down the street—but still, it was a burden.

When Andrew came home from Ghana I was thirty weeks pregnant and was due to have my glucose screening the following week. I'd fail that, have the more complicated test the next day and be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Then we'd go camping.

I'm glad that we went camping and I was glad last year as well—or at least as glad as an expectant mother can be when she has to climb up and down a ladder to the sleeping quarters and tiptoe through a mouse-infested cabin to go to the bathroom twenty thousand times a night. It was a wonderful trip and I'm truly glad we went, even if I ended up catching Rachel's horrible cold.

We'd get back from camping, I'd go to the doctor and we'd look over my glucose numbers to see if I am able to control my diabetes through diet and exercise. I will. But I'll complain about being sick and my doctor will tell me that it's just a cold and I'll be fine.

By now we're already at the end of May. It's Memorial Day and my parents invite us to go to the copper mine, a trip which doesn't work out at all, so instead we'll go to the park to play with them (and with Auntie Emily who'd come down to visit from Idaho). On Tuesday, I'd take Rachel for her kindergarten check up. She'd have to get shots. I'd have to wrestle her to the table in order for that to happen. On Wednesday, I'd take the girls to their dentist appointments but will talk Andrew into coming with us so that he can wrestle Rachel to the chair instead of me. She'll throw a fit, though, so I'll go with her and Andrew will go with Miriam.

I'm now 33 weeks pregnant.