Monday, August 31, 2015

How Miriam got to grade one

I started worrying about Miriam starting kindergarten years ago. She's got a fall birthday, which meant she missed the kindergarten cutoff last year. And I knew in advance that she would miss it so I started worrying about it before then. Because worrying is one of my talents.

We considered getting her tested for "early entrance" to kindergarten but that testing would have had to come out of our own pocket and it wasn't cheap, so instead we kept her home, doing her own thing, and going to Miss Annie's preschool one morning a week for fun. She hated knowing that all her little friends were off to kindergarten and she was stuck at home, though I think we enjoyed each other's company for that "extra" year.

When she started kindergarten this year she was just so excited to go to school but I could see within a few days that her passion was being stifled. She'd say things like, "Kindergarteners don't write," or, "I don't have to read chapter books because kindergarteners can't," and things like that, which drove me a little crazy because of course they can! If you're in kindergarten and you can do those things then kindergarteners can. There aren't any rules about stuff like that.

I don't think it was coming from the teacher, really, but from the students.

Anyway, the girls were in soccer last spring and so was one of Rachel's friends from grade one, who I knew had been moved up from kindergarten. I spoke with his mom about how that worked for them, but she openly discouraged me from trying when she found out Miriam wasn't at an all-day, prestigious preschool (because apparently prestigious preschools exist). I had a few other people try to dissuade me (a friend who's a kindergarten teacher and thinks that foundation is invaluable) but almost everyone who knows Miriam at all was super supportive.

Rachel's grade one teacher came to her baptism, which happened to be on the second day of school, so I spoke with him about it and he said to go for it, with one condition—that Miriam come to his class. That, really, was certainly one of our biggest wishes because Rachel had had such a positive year in his classroom, and Miriam had spent so much time there as well that she knew the environment and everything, but I really had no control over what classroom she'd be assigned to.

So, that week I sent an email to Miriam's teacher asking if we could have Miriam accelerated to grade one. She forwarded it to the principal who forwarded it to the AIG (Academic and Intellectually Gifted...or something) coordinator, who each wrote back to me to explain that their AIG programs would be integrated in the classrooms this year (they used to pull students to do enrichment activities and now they're doing a "differentiated model," so the teachers will have students of different levels working on different projects but no one will really know if they're AIG or not (which I like better to tell the truth)) and that perhaps that would put my mind at rest.

I insisted I still wanted her to be tested, so they said they would.

Baptism talk preview

The children's sacrament meeting presentation is coming up and Rachel was asked to write a talk about baptism. This evening she came up with a draft. We'll be bulking some parts up (it needs to be about twice as long) and softening some other parts (because sometimes you need to just leave it at the polite way of saying things):


Hi, I'm Rachel Heiss and I was asked to give a talk on why I was baptized. I got baptized because I knew it is a commandment from Heavenly Father and, Jesus was baptized, so if it's that important I thought I should get baptized too. A scripture says "if men ye are not born of water and of the spirit, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." That is just, in a polite way, saying: If you are not baptized then you cannot go to heaven. I DO want to go to heaven so I did.

I bear my testimonie that getting baptized was a good choice and that you should do it too!

In the name...etc.

There's so much about this talk this is just great.

Andrew started smiling when he noticed she erased "men" and replaced it with "ye." She's our little feminist.

I couldn't help but smile at "just, in a polite way, saying..."

On the whole a fabulous first draft, I'll say.

Homemade Spaghetti

Sometimes Andrew gets ambitious about dinner. Yesterday was one of those times. While I was busy with the baby, he and the other kids made homemade spaghetti—and had a blast doing it.

He and Rachel made the dough together and while it was sitting I took the kids for a walk (because some of them had far too much energy) and when we got home the dough was ready to be rolled out.

Here's Rachel taking a turn with the roller:


Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'm the most humble person I know

At 8:20 this morning I was still in my underthings, running around the house—doing hair, dressing Benjamin, bathing the baby, packing the diaper bag, choosing my clothes—but we managed to make it out the door by 8:30 and as I opened my yogurt in the car I silently prayed that it wouldn't spray all over me. It didn't. Hallelujah.

I sat with Andrew and the kids until the intermediate hymn so that I could do things like nurse Zoë (twice) and run a screaming Benjamin out of the chapel after he banged his head on the bench (once).

My favourite part of my talk was when I quoted Matthew 5:14–16 and Rachel and Miriam looked up and mouthed the words along with me. It's one of the scriptures we've been working on this year—and not the only one they knew that was quoted in sacrament meeting. Hannah, the girl woman (I guess we're grown ups now) who spoke before me quoted James 1:27 and the girls quoted it along with her.

I told Hannah I was happy when I saw her name on the program because I had been so nervous about being the second speaker—this was my first time. The second speaker, see, has to bend their talk to fit within the time parameters of the meeting. Did the first speaker(s) take too much time? Better trim that talk on the fly. Was the first speaker a very nervous youth who wrote a single-paragraph talk? Better drum up something else to say...

Being the first speaker is much more comfortable, but I was told I was going to be the second speaker and to prepare a 15 minute talk, so I did. There's this nifty calculator that will tell you how many words a speech should be to fill a certain amount of time. Fifteen minutes is 1950 words (Rachel has to give a two-minute talk in the near future, so that will be about 260 words). My talk ended up being 2384 words (or 18.3 minutes) long and I delivered the whole thing, along with some off-the-cuff remarks relating to Hannah's talk and other things I thought of, and we ended the meeting right on time, much to my relief. I was so worried I'd run out of things to say and still have, like, ten minutes left in the meeting. Usually the bishop just calls on one of the youth to give their testimony (they're forewarned about this probability annually).

Hannah said she was worried for the opposite reason. The last time she spoke she left her husband about two minutes so she did her best to keep within the 15-minute timeframe as well. I told her I wouldn't have minded if she had gone over because I also wrote in, and underlined, early escape routes in case time was running short.

Anyway, here's my talk in case you want to read it:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pig Pickin' 2015: Out of this world!

Today was our ward's annual pig pickin' and nothing terrible happened on the way there, which we're rather happy about. Our first year we got lost and only found our way because Sister Michael was kind enough to follow us until we hit a dead end and then told us to follow her. Our second year there was a huge accident and police were rerouting traffic and it took everyone forever to get to the park. Last year we almost were a huge accident that would have caused traffic to be rerouted.

This year we just drove to the park without anything out of the ordinary happening at all. It was great!

I don't know why we don't visit this park (Little River Regional) more often, really, but we're sure to in the future. I just learned they have free programming throughout the year—"tiny trekkers" is one I think we'll start attending because I think Benjamin will really like it. It's like story time...but in the woods with a ranger...so it might be a little easier for my rambunctious boy to get through.

Anyway, the pig pickin' was fun! We arrived at 11:01—right on time—so had plenty of time to play at the playground while we waited for other people to arrive. Rachel asked if she could take Zoë down the slide so I told her that she could, thinking she'd—of course—take her down on her lap, but the she sat Zoë down at the top of the slide!

"Oh, don't do that!" I said (Zoë can't even sit up yet). "You have to hold her on your lap! Make sure her legs are on top of your legs, not outside of them...there you go..."


Calli—the moth—takes flight

Remember the caterpillar that Miriam found, the one that built a cocoon the day after she picked it up, which was devastating to a tear-inducing level? Well, tonight we noticed something fluttering around in the jar and it was most exciting!



Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday night

I've been a little stressed out (that might be an understatement) about the talk I'm supposed to give on Sunday but it's finally coming together so I feel like I can take a break and write about something else for a while.

After the girls got home from school we headed to the pool because it's Friday so there was no homework to worry about. Yippee! It's starting to cool down already—some trees are even deciding it's full-on autumn and are dropping their leaves—so that means the pool is, too. By no means is the pool cold; it's simply not as warm as it has been. By the end of summer my kids have been conditioned to believe that outdoor pools should feel like taking a nice, warm bath, so by the end of August, when the pool's likely warmer than it is in the beginning of May, the kids aren't so sure about getting in, even though they're totally game when it comes to swimming in cold water in May.

Anyway, it took a little while for them to get in, but once they were in they had fun. We haven't gone for a while because Miriam had swimmer's ear and Benjamin had croup, but I think we're all just about healthy again (thank goodness).

I was sitting on the side nursing Zoë before getting in when Miriam started screaming that a fly had landed on Benjamin. Sometimes we're pestered by horseflies at the pool—and horsefly bites are no laughing matter!

"What kind of fly?" I asked.

"A dragonfly!" she screamed. "Get it off him! Get it off him! Benjamin! Swim to the side! Dunk your head under the water! Get it off!"

"A dragonfly?" I repeated. "Are you sure it's not a horsefly?"

"No! It's a dragonfly! It's long and skinny and it's right on his head! Oh, what are we going to do?!"

By this time, Benjamin had frantically paddled over to the side of the pool and was freaking out.

"Turn around so I can see," I said. "I can't get it off if I can't see it."

He turned around and there, indeed, was a dragonfly just hanging out on his head.

"Oh, it is just a dragonfly," I said. "It's nothing to worry about. Dragonflies don't hurt people."

Though in her defense dragonfly sounds a lot scarier than horsefly...

We left it there because having a dragonfly resting on your head is kind of cool. It stayed on his head for several more minutes—right up until he attempted a back float.


Almost mobile, but not quite

Zoë's not quite mobile yet but she's starting to get keen on the idea. She can roll from side to side, just not over, and she pivots on her little play mat, running around in little circles while still laying down, kind of like Homer Simpson here:

funny gifs

Basically, if I put her down and walk away for a minute I never find her quite where I put her. 

Last night I caught her purposely playing for the first time! She rolled to her side and squirmed around until she caught one of her toys. Then she batted it around and pulled it up to her mouth to suck on it. She was having a lovely time!


Before dinner she was sitting in her bouncy chair and Benjamin was rocking her gently, which was fine, but then he said, "I'm going to rock her harder!" and started really making that chair move.

"No, Benjamin! Don't!" I said. "You could hurt her! And we don't want to scare her!"

But when I looked over she was smiling at him. I still made him stop because her head is still way too big for her little neck to support fully...but she was having fun.

She's growing up right before our eyes! Part of me is sad because I want my snuggle buddy back (she actually enjoys floor time now so doesn't want to be held all the time) but another part of me thinks it will be really nice when she can entertain herself for a while because then, perhaps, I'll get a few more things done around here...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Today's Adventure: Three Three and Under

I've flaked out on visiting teaching the past couple of months, but my companion's been keeping up with things, which has been nice. I guess turn around is fair play since the same thing happened in reverse when she had her baby...but, honestly, I should be starting to pull my act together by now, right?

Anyway, my companion emailed me to let me know that she met with two of the sisters (she had a craft day with one and then her husband home teaches the family of the other sister we visit so she just went with her husband and chatted with her then) but that she hadn't seen our third sister yet, so I said I'd contact her and set up an appointment.

Unfortunately, Marian (that's our third sister) was super busy this week and said she didn't know when we could get together for a visit (though we are having book club at her house this evening (part of her busyness, I suppose)) but that she needed a babysitter for Jay on Thursday morning and...would I mind? And of course I didn't because Benjamin adores Jay.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Would you like to swing on a...swing?

I took the little ones to the park yesterday morning. Benjamin's been up with croup—coughing and crying—every night since Saturday and yet he somehow manages to bound of bed in the morning and play all day with seemingly endless energy resources. It seems a little unfair!

Rachel had a lot of energy as a toddler/preschooler so I secretly enjoyed it when she came down with an illness because it would knock her out. She'd sleep. She'd rest quietly on the couch. She'd be quiet. She would ask for little and demand nothing.

Miriam was the opposite. She was a quiet, calm child, but when she was sick she was a lot of work. She was clingy and whiny and melodramatic about everything. I'd have to work hard to keep her happy when she was sick, so I was always grateful when she got better and we could get back to our regular routine. Of course, I was also always grateful when Rachel recovered from sicknesses...but her recovery meant more work for me, not less.

But Benjamin! Oh, man! He's a lot of work when he's healthy and when he's sick! In fact, he can be a little overwhelming—loud and energetic—when he's feeling healthy, but when he starts to feel sick he will kick things up a notch—be extra loud and energetic.

I don't know where he finds the reserves to do this.

Anyway, Andrew and I have been pulled from bed several times every night since Saturday to deal with either Zoë or Benjamin—changing diapers, filling humidifiers, nursing (that's just me), turning on lullabies and patting backs, and so on. But then the day is just a regular day.

"Don't you want to rest? You were up all night coughing and crying," I'll say to Benjamin.

"I seel sine!" he'll assure me with a croaky voice.

So I took them to the park yesterday morning shortly after the girls were off to school. It's nice and cool in the mornings lately, I feel like, so we walked there and played until nearly lunchtime.

I put Zoë in the swing and gave her some very gentle pushes (since she's really too small to be sitting in a bucket swing with that bobbly head of hers) and she seemed to really enjoy it. So I took a million pictures of her...


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ukulele Christmas music

When I was still a senior in high school but simultaneously a freshman in college I roped Andrew into take a music notation class with me where we learned to use the program Finale. I think I was only taking it because my mom was taking it and the class was going to be dropped unless x-number of people signed up—so she recruited the number of people required.

I'm not sure how much I learned, honestly. My musical theory background was/is fairly non-existant so I felt like I was duplicating some pretty crazy stuff. And it was my first time using a Mac, really, so the entire computer lab felt foreign to me as well as the program and the music and everything. I managed to squeak out a good grade, but I really struggled.

And then I never used Finale again because it's like $600.

Andrew, meanwhile, breezed through the class. He'd waltz in late, grab the assignment, bang on the keyboard for a few minutes, print off his finished copy, and make a quick exit. Easy A for him. And you'd think he could have at least spoken to me. Once. But he didn't. We sat in the same room twice a week for an hour for an entire semester and he didn't ever speak to me. Sheesh.

And then he never used Finale again because it's like $600.

I've since forgiven Andrew for not paying the least bit of attention to me that semester.

Oh, and I married him.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Good things come in threes

Zoë's three months old! Crazy how time flies!


Xylophone

Our little ukulele choir is already looking at Christmas music. Yes, in August. And, yes, because we need that much time to prepare and not only for the eight and under crowd either because we're trying to stretch ourselves—to move beyond C, G7, and F, to add more difficult strumming patterns (and maybe even some finger picking).

We've been playing for so long that Benjamin's no longer a baby and is starting to think he needs a ukulele of his own to play with. He and Miriam are pretending these ukuleles are violins, currently, but you get the idea (and it drives Rachel crazy when he borrows hers):



Friday, August 21, 2015

So, this happened...

I met with the principal, AIG coordinator, and Miriam's kindergarten teacher today and we unanimously decided that moving Miriam into grade one would be a good idea. More on that later, but until then, here is the face of the world's newest kindergarten graduate:


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tummy Time

Zoë's really warming up to tummy time. Sure, sometimes she'll still bury her face on the floor and scream about it ("Please don't make me do this!"), but other times she's all smiles. This morning we tried some tummy time and she was not in the mood so she was screaming and rubbing her face on the floor.

"Why doesn't she just turn her head to the side and rest if she doesn't want to lift her head up?" Rachel asked.

I don't know because that would make more sense, wouldn't it? But since when do small children make sense? I'm betting this is one of many reasons the back-to-sleep campaign was started—babies don't just think of turning their heads to the side to breathe.

Anyway, Zoë thought tummy time was a pretty okay activity for this afternoon and spent a few minutes "playing" with us from her tummy:


Artwork Palooza

For an assignment, Rachel had to write a cover letter for a job application. It's basically fantastic:


People Portraits

I just went through a load of papers on my desk. I swear my kids put every piece of paper they touch on my desk. I do my best to keep it clear but paper multiples there. A bunch of it ended up in the recycling bin today, but I took pictures first, of course.

Miriam gave our FHE lesson this week. It was on friendship and for her game she had us hold a picture of a Nephite and a Lamanite that she'd drawn. We were supposed to make them fight because Nephites and Lamanties aren't a good example of friends.

I love the attention she gave to their muscles.


If your children have a day off school...

You'll probably make them help you mop the floor.

Mopping the floor will make them hot and thirsty.

They'll probably ask for a drink of water—with ice!

Getting the ice will remind them that there are freezies in the freezer.

They'll want one of those, too.

So you'll tell them they may have one each—but only if they eat it outside.

They'll probably spill an impressive amount on their way out the door, anyway.

This was not the only chunk of freezy on my floor...

Melting sugar water will make your floors sticky...again...

So you'll have to get out the mop.

Cleaning up their never-ending messes will probably make you wish your children were back in school. (But having your children back in school will probably make you wish they could just have a day off to spend with you)!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Winning at scripture study

I'm not sure what toy McDonald's is giving out with their happy meals now but when Andrew and the kids were making their way across the country and back again they were giving out little minion translators (for the record, I don't think they're swearing) so we have quite the collection. For a while they were all turned on in the toy box and any time anyone bumped the toy box it would set off a domino effect of minions crying out from their hiding places.

"Aaaaayiiiii!"

"Poopaye!"

"Sa la ka!"

"Bi-do!"

"Ay! Para tu!"

One by one we dug them out and switched them off. We thought we'd found them all until one night Andrew dropped a Book of Mormon as he was getting the scriptures down for family scripture study and it landed in the toy box setting off an, "Aaaaayiiii!"

The kids thought that was so funny they spent several minutes dropping their scriptures and screaming, "Aaaaayiiii!"

Because we're reverent like that.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Does it even make sense what I'm doing?

This afternoon, just as we were getting ready to head out the door, Benjamin walked out of my bathroom, where he'd run to get some chapstick. Instead had a tube of Burt's Bees "guava lip shimmer" and was smearing it all over his face.

"Does it even make sense what I'm doing?" he asked innocently, his cheeks purple-hued and sparkling.

No, buddy. It doesn't. But little ever does make sense when you're the brains behind the operation.

He was quite put out when I took a washcloth and wiped his face.

"I wanted it there!" he wailed.

This boy gets away with more fashion faux pas than I'd like to admit. On Saturday, for example, he wore his shirt backwards the entire day—he went out shopping, visited the library, and attended Rachel's birthday party, all with his shirt on backwards.

But I put my foot down on the whole leaving the house with a purple face business.

My favourite littles

I took the little ones to the museum this morning—one of our favourite default activities. It was nice for Benjamin to get to be (almost) completely in charge. I left him buckled in his car seat while I got Zoë settled in the front carrier—he was getting hot and impatient but at least he wasn't running amok in the parking lot.

"Don't forget to unbuckle me, Mom!" he pleaded. 

"Oh, you want to come, too?" I asked. "I thought I'd just leave you in the car and take Zoë in."

"No!" Benjamin said, kicking his legs and straining against his shoulder straps. "You can't leave me! I'm your favourite!"

And so it seems I spent my afternoon following around my favourite little boy, only making him stop to feed Zoë or take potty/diaper changing breaks.

Here we are by the dinosaur exhibit. Zoë and I are sitting in the shade while Benjamin digs in the dirt.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Doctor Who Party: Rachel's 8th Birthday

Rachel's birthday party was a smashing success. For our gathering activity we had the kids make their own sonic screwdriver pen (inspired here), using a regular ballpoint pen and polymer clay. Andrew was quite worried about sticking pens into the oven until I started removing the ink chambers from all the pens.

It was kind of nice doing an older-kid party because all our guests were pretty self-sufficient. I only had to help Benjamin.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

TARDIS family

Rachel finished watching the last episode of the Eleventh Doctor the night before her birthday party (which I'm well aware was about a month late). She chose a Doctor Who theme for her party, which is just as well because we have a bit of Doctor Who fever at this house. Even the children who haven't watched it are rather into it. Benjamin and Miriam are always talking about Adipose and Daleks, building TARDISes and other things out of LEGO, and drawing pictures of all things Doctor Who.

I'll showcase some of their work (and elaborate on the party) a bit later, but for now I'll post some pictures of our kids with the TARDIS we made this morning using the box our piano came in, a sour cream container, paper, and tape. The kids were thrilled both to be involved in the process of making it and with the finished project.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Grad Parent BBQ

Last night we went to the Duke Grad Parents picnic and swimming party. Now that Andrew's the co-president we figure we should attend an event every now and again. We met some other crazy families who were still in grad school but had a handful of children accompanying them (though I think we had the most children out of everybody—so we're the craziest, I guess). We had a lovely (catered) barbecue meal (no cooking, no clean up—perfect). And we had a great time swimming, too!

Here we are eating dinner (picture by Sondra):


No more pitter-patter of Calli's feet

While Rachel was at her Activity Days...activity...I took Miriam, Benjamin, and Zoë for a bedtime walk. We made it all the way next-door when Miriam stopped short.

"A caterpillar!" she screamed, though more accurately she said something like, "A callipitter!"

She stooped to pick it up and it was all anyone could talk about for the rest of the walk. She laughed as it crawled up and down her arm. She chided it for dropping onto the ground. She tickled it and cooed at it. And if anyone tried talking about anything else the conversation was quickly refocused on the caterpillar.

"I'm going to call her Leafy!" Miriam said, but later the poor creature went through Greenie, Tickly, Squidgy, Crawly, Inchy, and Wriggly, before Miriam finally settled on "Calli," which is short for callipitter, obviously.

"We have to make a habitat for Calli!" Miriam said as we approached home. "I'm going to need a jar and some leaves and..."

We talked about how caterpillars are, contrary to how Eric Carle portrays them, often very picky eaters and will only eat one type of plant. She'd found Calli next to a maple(ish) leaf, so decided that maple leaf was probably destined to be Calli's dinner.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The 2015–16 School Year Thus Far

Tonight I went out in the pouring rain to attend the Third Grade Parent Orientation. In a couple of weeks we'll have the Kindergarten Curriculum Information Seminar Thingy. It's all very official. The school year is well under way and I fear that I'm already so frazzled that I fear I'll never be able to sign another form ever again.

Initial kindergarten homework.
Initial kindergarten reading.
Initial weekly take-home folder.
Initial third grade reading.

Thank goodness I don't have to initial third grade homework every day.

Getting the kids to do the work is enough of a chore. They expect me to remember to sign off on everything I've clearly made them do? They can't take my child's word that they read twenty minutes? I'm expected to make note of how long my kindergartener read aloud for?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Messiest kid

It's possible that Benjamin is the messiest kid on the face of the planet. He can use a fork he simply chooses not to. No, really, he literally chooses not to.

The other night we reminded him to use his fork and he said, "I don't want to!"

"But you're getting so messy!" I protested.

"I know!" he smiled. "I want to take a bath!"

Tricky little boy! He'd gotten filthy during a meal last week so Andrew gave him a bath and once he figured out that if he treated mealtime like he was auditioning for Extreme Messy Eating he would earn a bath he started smearing his face with food every night.

It was getting so ridiculous that Andrew eventually told him he wouldn't get a bath no matter how messy he got. So we've been washing him off with a washcloth or at the kitchen sink after meals, which isn't quite as much fun as a bath. Here's hoping he decides to start using a fork again!

It's a good thing he's cute...


Serious smiles

Zoë's a rather serious baby so when she smiles it's quite the treat. She was smiling and cooing while Miriam was holding her on Sunday afternoon, which was a relief because she was the world's grumpiest baby at church!


Tummy Time

Zoë hasn't been a fan of tummy time, really, but she recently figured out that floors aren't for eating and has nearly come to peace with it. She used to think, see, that anything touching her face was meant for eating so when we'd try tummy time she'd root at the floor until she was hopping mad—how dare it touch her face and not contain milk?!

Life's developing more zest for Zoë, though. There are ceiling fans! And a terrifying, yet interesting, big brother! And dancing toys! And mirrors with a baby just like her inside of them!

Yes, life is becoming magical, and tummy time is becoming less of a nuisance and more of an opportunity to explore the world from a different angle. So while Zoë might not be quite sure about this tummy time business, she's tolerating it.


Saturday, August 08, 2015

Hazing

We really need to get to bed, but first I'm going to tell you a story. Because I feel like I've been doing all the stupid stuff around the house lately. But Andrew just evened up the score.

Andrew's now the co-president of GradParents. They're hosting a pool party next week and Andrew figures we should go...since he's the co-president and all. We've somehow managed to miss every single activity the past three years.* Because we're super social people.

Anyway, in order to be an official "club" they have to register with the school every year. To do that, they had to complete an anti-hazing statement, which is just a bunch of rules you promise to obey in order to prevent hazing from occurring. They listed some items that might be considered hazing, such as, "sleep deprivation or interruption of consecutive sleep hours."

"We might run into issues there," Andrew said.

If parenting is a club—which apparently it is—then there's some serious hazing going on in this house right now. Any parents out there not experiencing "sleep deprivation or interruption of consecutive sleep hours"? Show of hands? Anyone? Bueller?

So, Andrew's been working on a grant proposal this evening. That, and a long email updating his main advisor on the work he's been doing the last little while. He just finished up and clicked send.

"Your message was sent to Ken Rogerson," his computer told him.

"Ack! No!" Andrew said. "I was supposed to send that to Judith!"

He wrote and email explaining to Ken that he meant to send that email to Judith but sent it to him by mistake—and complained about having 9 AM church (Ken is in our ward) and mentioned that we should, in theory, empty his freezer of milk soon (I'm using their freezer to store the milk that won't fit in our freezer). He finished up and clicked send.

"Your message was sent to Judith Kelley," his computer told him.

"Ack! No!" Andrew laughed. "It just keeps getting worse!"

So he's busy writing an email telling Judith that he meant for that message to be sent to Ken and for the first message to be sent to her. Let's all cross our fingers he gets the right person in the "to" field...

We're a little sleep deprived over here.

*Not quite true! Once Andrew went to a lunch and got free t-shirts for the kids. But he went to the lunch alone and only for food and free t-shirts. I guess we'll have to actually make an effort to get everyone out of the house, but leaving the house is so hard.

What else can we donate?

Miriam's been torn between growing her hair out until Halloween and cutting it off right now. She been trying to decide between being Rapunzel (again) or being Elsa and she needed long blonde hair for either person. I was rooting for keeping her hair through October. Andrew, however, has been rooting for cutting it off right now and has been talking about how easy it will be to brush and how she'll no longer get food and toothpaste and small woodland creatures stuck in her hair (at least not as much). But then I would tell her how beautiful her long hair is (I always wished I could grow my hair that long but I never managed it), trying to win with vanity. But then Andrew told her that she could donate her hair to children in need, appealing to her philanthropic instincts, and she was sold. There was no going back.

This evening we went swimming and then washed and dried Miriam's long, long hair. Andrew helped with the drying part while I nursed Zoë and I think everyone had a lot of fun with that (except Rachel, who was off reading).



Friday, August 07, 2015

And when the moon shines over the cow shed...

By my estimation we shipped off 451.5 ounces (about 3.5 gallons) of my milk this morning, but I just got a call telling me they'd thawed and measured it—495 ounces (about 3.8 gallons)! I was 50 ounces off, which makes sense because I round quite a bit when I record the amount on the bags.

It's not an exact science (on my end).

We managed to completely rid our freezer (and one freezer across the street) of breastmilk and filled our big cooler:



Now we only have (approximately) 8.5 ounces of milk in our freezer (from this morning). It sure feels liberating to have all that space back, though I'm sure we'll fill it again in the next couple of weeks.

Next week (whenever that shipping container gets to me) I'll be sending out another batch (I still have milk in one house across the street and one house across town) and then I'll be quiet on the milk front for a while.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Just gimme that milk

I started pumping and storing extra milk mere days after Zoë was born. Unfortunately, being approved as a donor was a painfully long process this time around.

First, the WakeMed bank wouldn't communicate with me until I had stored at least 200 ounces. Fortunately I had a supply of milk bags leftover from when I was a milk donor three years ago so I didn't have to go out and buy a bunch. But, honestly, you'd think they could send milk bags to a potential donor, right?

The Colorado milk bank was much more willing to get the ball rolling. They sent me the necessary paperwork before I was ready to donate a drop (though I'd technically already met the minimum 200 ounces, that milk was staying in North Carolina). They sent my blood sample kit and some milk bags to my mom's house in Utah and I continued to pump there, filling up both my mom's basement freezer and my mother-in-law's freezer:

My mother-in-law's freezer

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What my mornings look...

The other day...or night...I tried to adjust my covers but couldn't. They were stuck firmly out of place. I lifted my head to see what the deal was and there was Benjamin, sleeping soundly at the foot of the bed. He looked as if he had stumbled through our door and just collapsed on the bed before he could bother waking either of us up to tell us what he wanted. I was too tired to move him back to his own bed so I left him there, adjusting my legs so that I wouldn't accidentally kick him off the bed, and snuggled next to Zoë.

Four in the bed is a little bit crowded, but it's nice to be surrounded by so much love.

On the mornings when Benjamin wakes up in his own bed, he quickly runs into my room and jumps into bed with Zoë and me (because that's usually where we can be found (Andrew's been doing bus duty in the morning—because he's a rockstar)). I don't mind so much but, truth be told, Benjamin kind of freaks Zoë out.

Her face reads, "I'm not so sure about this. Save me! Why is he still here?!" while his says something more along the lines of, "I'm so funny. Actually, I'm hilarious! And I'm totally rocking this big brother thing."



They'll sort their relationship out eventually, I suppose.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Saturday at the museum

Speaking of things that are fitting Zoë now—the giraffe onesies that (I think) Uncle Patrick picked out for Zoë finally fit. I packed them out to Utah (even though they'd just come to us from there when Zoë was born) just in case Zoë grew a ton while we were out there, but she didn't. She saved her major growth spurts for after we got back home and now she fits in these onesies, which just a few weeks ago looked huge. The tag says 0–3 months, but they're certainly a bigger 0–3 months than other things she used to wear but no longer fits!


Sunday in pictures

Zoë is growing so fast! Things that I thought couldn't possibly ever fit her are already getting too small—for example, this adorable dress from the Rogersons and the booties I crocheted for her:


Smart phones. Smart me.

I forgot my pump when I walked out the door to go to church this morning. Technically, I remembered the pump but forgot everything else—bottles, flanges, diaphragms and valves. In order to pump I need to have all of the above, not some of the above but, unfortunately, some was all I had so I couldn't pump.

Not pumping can be devastating for me. It's uncomfortable, first of all, and, second of all, it can be embarrassing. But I was wearing a few layers and my top layer doesn't really show wetness so I figured it would be okay to wait until I got home from church to pump. It would have to be okay. Still, I was sad about forgetting my pump so I took out my phone to text Andrew that I forgot it and when I did that I saw that the last person I had been texting with was our good friend Steve.

"When did I text Steve?" I wondered as I clicked on his name to re-read our conversation. Had he texted me and I missed reading it? I didn't remember texting him...so imagine my surprise when the conversation I thought I'd had with Andrew (regarding Benjamin's poor little noggin) popped up on the screen.

Re-reading this conversation was hilarious considering Steve is...a doctor! 

Adding to the embarrassment is that I then got on Facebook and fished for medical advice again. I probably wouldn't have done that had I known I'd been talking to a doctor in the first place...but I thought I was talking to my husband who doesn't handle injuries with much aplomb (which is why I figured he was googling first aid). 

Still, though, the question of how, exactly, I'd managed to text Steve remained. The contacts in my phone are listed alphabetically by last name, so Andrew and Steve are pretty close together (Steve is at the end of my G list and Andrew is at the top of my H list) but I hadn't used my phone to text Andrew Steve. I had used my computer, so when we got back home I checked my computer to see if I had an open conversation with Steve. I didn't. I had an open conversation with Andrew—the very same one that is filed under Steve's name on my phone. 

Then Andrew noticed that the phone number was different. When I uploaded the picture to the chat window, my computer decided to direct it to an old number I had listed for Andrew (rather than Andrew's current number). That old number of Andrew's is Steve's current phone number, so that's how I texted Steve—completely by accident!