Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's been one week since you looked at me...

I tried to get breakfast before Zoë woke up this morning but I had hardly managed to walk out of the bedroom when she started to fuss. So I sat down and made Andrew bring her to me.

"She's a little escape artist," he said.



Friday, May 29, 2015

Oh, Baby Zo!

I believe I mentioned earlier that I found Anne of Windy Poplars in a long-neglected diaper bag. Well, I finished it before Zoë was born and even started in on Anne's House of Dreams during the non-stress test I did at the doctor's office a few days before she was born (only to realize that I was impatient and read that book on my kindle so I was just rereading, which wasn't as exciting because I actually wanted to be reading Anne of Ingleside but...it was fine).

Various lines kept jumping out at me, so I put little bookmarks in so that I could find them again (and I did find them and I'm going to share them all). They all seem to share a common theme; it's like I was thinking of babies and "the future" a lot while I was reading this book. I really think that if I could meet L.M. Montgomery that we'd be "kindred spirits." She says things so beautifully and when I read her words—whether in her books or quotes from her journal—I always think, "We could be friends."

Without further ado, here are a few quotes from Anne of Windy Poplars:

"Babies are such fascinating creatures," said Anne dreamily. "They are what I heard somebody at Redmond call 'terrific bundles of potentialities.'" (p. 157)



Thanks for making me cry, Maud. Look at my bundle of potentialities! I'm so in love it hurts!

Rhubarb

I remembered the other food story I was going to tell! My visiting teacher made rhubarb crisp for us.

Andrew, as you probably guessed, turned up his nose at this.

"Do people really eat rhubarb?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "It's good. It's super sour. And this stuff has strawberries with it, too!"

"You can't just combine anything with strawberries and call it good," Andrew said.

He might have had a point. Just the day before Rachel had bitten the top off a grape tomato, sucked the guts out, stuffed it with a plump blueberry and ate it.

"Well, that ruined that blueberry," she declared.

You really can't just combine anything with blueberries and call it good. The same holds true for strawberries and just about anything delicious.

"But rhubarb and strawberries is good," I assured him. "It's like lemon and strawberry. It just works."

He wouldn't try it so I did the only thing left to do: I ate his piece for him.

We were still talking about rhubarb at bedtime (it was light-hearted and probably falls under the category of "fake fighting" that our children insist we do).

"What even is rhubarb?" Andrew asked.

Zoë's homecoming: May 25

It's hard to believe we've been home for four days already and that tomorrow Zoë will be a week old! We actually went in for her one-week check up today and she's already back up to her birth weight so—hallelujah!—we don't have to go back in until her one-month check up.

Zoë had to go in for a check up the day after we got home and at the end of the appointment the NP who saw us said, "Ordinarily I'd have you come in for another weight check tomorrow but since you have so much experience with breastfeeding I guess we can wait until your one-week appointment, which you can make for this Friday."

I was floored. I mean, a two-day appointment is fairly routine. But they wanted to see me the day after we got home and then again the day after that and then again for a one-week appointment and then, in theory, again for a two-week appointment?! At what point does it stop being "support" and start being "harassment."

Support, in my mind would be a home-visit from a nurse. Dragging mothers and babies out of their house to sit in a germ-infested waiting room so many times in the first week of a baby's life seems...cruel. But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, thanks to my epic milk supply and Zoë's fabulous nursing abilities she was already back up to her birth weight when we went in for her appointment this afternoon. Our prize is that we can skip the two-week appointment (because in theory she has two weeks to get back up to her birth weight).

When she was weighed before we left the hospital she was 6 lbs. 11 oz.

She was 6 lbs. 13 oz. on Tuesday (and the NP was like, "Gee, I don't know if she's gained enough weight since coming home..." less than 24 hours ago...).

Now she's back to 7 lbs. 2 oz. and she's going to get rather chubby until around 4 months old when her growth will start to slow down and then doctors will start to get on our case about keeping her weight up. But that's just how my kids have all grown.

Anyway...we came home from the hospital four days ago and this is what Zoë looked like (we've since found the head support that goes with the carseat):

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Disjointed stories...mostly about food

"You look like you're having an internal debate over this meal," I said about the perfectly innocent broccoli/macaroni-and-cheese casserole my visiting teacher brought by.

"How could you tell?" Andrew asked.

"I just saw you eyeing it as you piled your plate with salad. It's good. I don't think there's anything in here that you don't like," I assured him.

"Penso che ci potrebbe essere tonno," he said in Italian so the kids wouldn't hear his food fears.

Why you speak foreign language at me? said my I-just-had-a-baby brain.

"Tonno..." my mouth managed to echo.

"Un pesce di mare..." Andrew prompted.

Guess how many times I used that word in Italian 101. Zero. Zero times.

"Oh," I said. "Credo di no."

"Pollo?"

"La'a."

Wrong language. Whatever. He ate the casserole, which is more than I can say about the casserole we got the night before (which everyone else thought was delicious).

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Zoë's life: day two

Andrew took the kids to church by himself on Sunday. Miriam ended up going home with her friend Lily and Rachel went home with her friend Carolina (and having her first sleepover, which she loved). In the afternoon Andrew brought Benjamin in to visit (and to watch Zoë so that I could finally take a shower). I spent the day napping and admiring this sweet baby:


Human again! I feel human again!

Holy cow. Literally. Holy. Cow.

Zoë has been a phenomenal nurser, right from the get-go. She latched on and nursed away for an hour and a half. For the rest of our stay in the hospital she'd nurse every one to two hours for a good twenty to forty minutes at a time, which meant, of course, that Mommy got very, very tired of getting up to take care of her.

I was in the hospital alone with Zoë for two days, which was both wonderful (so quiet) but also lonely (best hour: Face Time with my family—it was like having visitors) and taxing (Daddy wasn't there to help with diapers or fetching baby when I just didn't want to get out of bed...again). We had to stay the second day because I didn't have time to finish the antibiotic before Zoë was born (in our defense we did get to the hospital with four hours to spare; they were just slow administering the IV).

Anyway, she nursed well. Her latch? Beautiful. Her endurance? Amazing.

And then my milk came in and suddenly Zoë couldn't nurse for twenty minutes on each side every time she ate. Instead she'd nurse for two minutes on one side before collapsing into a milk comma.

Meanwhile, my body was like, "MILK! Milk for everyone!"

I can honestly say I have never been so engorged in my life. Not with Benjamin because I was pumping on a hospital grade pump so...I just pumped my mom's freezer full of milk. Not with Miriam because—I don't even know why! Looking back it's a huge blessing that I didn't get completely engorged with her because all we brought to Egypt was a dinky hand pump that didn't work well at all (I eventually tossed it). And not even with Rachel, although I did get mastitis a few times when she was little I don't remember ever being engorged quite like this.

To give you an idea: I weighed myself when we got home from the hospital, just because I was curious about how much everything weighed. I was down about fifteen pounds from my peak pregnancy weight, which makes sense. Seven pound baby, big ol' placenta, all that fluid and stuff. Sounds like fifteen pounds to me.

Then my milk came in and I was so engorged it would be comical were it not for the fact that it hurt so bad. I couldn't lift my arms to reach for anything, but I also couldn't put them down all the way. I had plugged ducts in my armpits, up by my collar bone, and basically everywhere else. I was waddling around like Anna in Frozen after she falls into the river...


Monday, May 25, 2015

Zoë's life: day 1

Even in the throes of labour it was difficult for me to imagine actually having another baby. I couldn't picture another baby. Even with her feet jabbing my rib cage constantly I somehow couldn't all the way believe there was an entire human being inside of me the past several months. And yet--look at that--there was! 

If Andrew or I have any concern about bringing another child into our lives, our family, the world, we are not the only ones. Concern Baby is concerned.

Zoe has some concerns about the hat the nurse slapped on her head after her bath...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A memorable Memorial Day weekend: Zoë's Arrival

"I'm not even going to set an alarm," Andrew said when we went to bed on Friday night. And for once there really was no need to. No soccer, no church, no school, no plans.

"Sounds good. But I'll probably wake you up at four o'clock in the morning to tell you I'm in labour," I joked.

I was decent though and waited until six o'clock in the morning to wake him up. I was not in labour when we went to bed but I woke up at 3:08 with a rip-roaring contraction. Ten minutes later, there was another one. Nine minutes later, there was another one. Six minutes later. Seven. Six. Seven. Eight. Eight. Eight. Finally a holding pattern. Just kidding! Seven. Ten. Ten. Ten...

Fourteen...Fourteen...Thirteen...Twelve...

"Maybe I'm not in labour after all," I thought to myself at 5:40.

With contractions now fifteen minutes apart it certainly didn't seem like real labour. What happened to longer, stronger, and closer together?

5:51
5:59
6:07
6:12

Wait? Five minutes now? Maybe I should wake up Andrew...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chilly swimming

The high today was a surprisingly cool 75°F but we went to the pool anyway because that's how we roll. I suppose the water itself wasn't too bad, but the air was rather chilly once you were wet. We stayed for about an hour.

Rachel was the first one in, of course. The little ones (and I) were a little more hesitant but eventually we all hopped in, though the hopping in didn't last long for the smallest among us.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Miriam's Preschool Graduation

Miriam had her end-of-year program this evening. The kids recited poems, sang songs, and even did a silly dance for their families to showcase what they learned throughout the year.


Miriam's Muffins

My mom is doing a series of posts about her life history and her most recent one was describing the process of freezing corn on the farm. She says,
When Colleen married her farmer, and was about to harvest her corn for the first time, she called Mom and said, "I don't know how I am going to do it all without any children to help me!" Mom assured her that it might actually be easier without the help of children! That was the first time I realized that the joyful event that freezing corn was--was a carefully created tradition that required patience and sacrifice on the part of our parents. We thought they needed us, but really we needed to help.
"Amen!" is what I thought when Miriam asked if she could make banana bread "by herself" this afternoon. Baking is another one of those things that is much easier without the help of children...and yet something children need to help with.

To her credit, Miriam did do a lot of the work herself. She mashed the bananas, which is my least favourite job (I made Benjamin do it the last time I made banana bread (we haven't been eating bananas very fast lately and today was another cool, rainy day)). She measured the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, but the sugar container was nearly empty so I had to get out our big bin and fill it up before she could measure that.

"Is it alright if some of it floofed out of the bowl?" she came to ask me while I was putting the sugar bin away.

"Yeah, that's fine," I said. "Just be careful."

But then I saw how much "floofed" out and cringed inside.

38 weeks and counting

Being high risk for multiple—and almost conflicting—reasons is so much fun complicated. Now that I've made it past 37 weeks (the shots worked—no preemie!) they're getting anxious for me to have the baby already (there was talk of induction today—that's a first for me) because of gestational diabetes.

I was at the doctor for hours today.

We had to review my blood sugar numbers, which are good. Good enough that we might not even have to worry about induction, especially since I haven't gained any weight at all this past month and am technically measuring small (which means that the baby can't have grown too much either).


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rachel's last soccer game

We went swimming after school once again, naturally. It took us a few minutes to get out the door because of homework and chores (and fighting) and packing a picnic dinner. One of the moms on Rachel's team volunteered to get pizza for after the soccer game so we didn't pack a big dinner—just enough to hold us over until 8:00 when the game would be over.

I don't know who thought a soccer game for these girls at 7:15 on a school night would be a good idea, but that's when their final game was scheduled for and then we had a pizza party after so it was definitely bedtime when we got home.

So, we swam and ate and swam some more before showering and changing and running home to pick up Daddy so we could go to soccer. It was actually a beautiful evening for soccer; it was already cooling off and was just nice rather than sickly hot.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baby blankets

Well, I finished reading the Book of Mormon on Friday, I finished Zoë's blanket on Sunday, and this morning the odometer on my bike passed 686 miles so I made it to San Fransisco. And Zoë's still not here. I have the feeling she'll hang on until the bitter end (I'm 38 weeks today!).

Her blanket ended up rather small, but it's super warm and thick. It'll probably make a better tummy time mat than a blanket this summer, but it will also make a nice car seat blanket for the winter. It's not really the sort of thing you'd wrap a baby in, but that's okay because it's pretty.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Walking, swimming, walking, and swimming

Miriam woke up ready to be my super-duper helper this morning and was a little too helpful the entire day.

"I'm going to be your super-duper helper today!" she proclaimed.

"Great," I said.

"Do you want me to open all the blinds?" she asked while I was making an egg for myself (having already helped the kids with their breakfast).

"No. I'm still in my housecoat," I explained. "I want you to wait until I get dressed."

"But I opened my blinds and it's a beautiful day!" she chirped.

"That's great," I said. "But I'm still in my housecoat. I don't want the blinds opened until I get dressed."

"Okay," she said, grabbing the string for the blind in the kitchen. "I'll just open this blind."

Oh, the one of the window I'm standing right in front of? No thanks.

"Miriam," I said, "If you're going to be my super-duper helper I'm going to need you to be a little less..."

"Cheerful?" she interjected.

"Willfully disobedient, actually," I corrected. "Cheerful is fine. Disobedient is not."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

First day at the pool

We walked to the pool after having lunch since Daddy and Rachel were off at soccer. Miriam was rather excited to go swimming and chattered the whole time about all the things she was going to do.


Last week of soccer

This morning Miriam had her last soccer game of the season as well as her kindergarten preview—both at 10:00. We decided to send her to soccer and I went to the kindergarten preview myself, which was slightly awkward because I think I was the only parent there without a kindergartener in tow, but it was still nice to see all the rooms and meet all the teachers and get the little goody bag for Miriam.

Oh, and then to sit and read my book while waiting for the game to finish. Andrew took all the kids with him so it was just me, my book, and my big ol' belly (and it was lovely).

The soccer game, I hear, was a lot of fun. Andrew gave Rachel the camera to play with and she went to town with it, taking dozens of selfies:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Toothless

This evening Rachel watched a super creepy double-episode of Dr. Who and then Andrew sent her to bed to read more of Two Towers. Suddenly we heard her screaming in her room.

"Ahhh! Ahhh! Ahhhh! Ahhh!" she screamed over and over again.

"Finally!" Andrew cheered.

How he knew she'd managed to finally yank that tooth out is beyond me. I was sure she'd been freaked out by something she'd watched/read. But, no. She'd just managed to yank her tooth out.

And now she has a very gappy smile!


I always wanted to lose my two front teeth simultaneously (when I was a kid I mean, not now) but I didn't manage it. Mine came out one at a time and the second one took so long that there was a tooth in place by the time it left a new gap. My little brother Patrick and my cousin Ash both managed to lose their two front teeth at the same time, at the same time. Somewhere there's a picture of the two of them grinning their toothless grins together.

And now Rachel's managed to do it, too! Some people have all the luck.

Maybe I should have thought of slamming my face into the bottom of my sister's swing to knock my teeth super loose (though I think if Rachel could have a redo she would avoid repeating that incident).

Spring Fling

Last night I went to bed and...didn't wake up again until 6:00 in the morning. And then I went back to bed until around 8:30. And then the kids let me take a nap in the afternoon. And it was glorious because the night before last I kept being woken up by contractions every 20 to 30 minutes—not enough to make me think I was in labour but just enough to make it impossible to really fall asleep (and nothing would stop them; it was infuriating). I was exhausted all day yesterday and when I tried to take a nap it was a big fail (the kids wouldn't even sit quietly to watch a show). But today I felt like a new person. It was great!

Fortunately, Miriam had a field trip to the farm yesterday and they were rather late getting back so I only had Benjamin home, which meant he had no one to fight with. We made banana muffins together with the cool morning air blowing through the windows. When we were finished baking the house was only 74°F! Our A/C is set to 78°F so this was kind of a huge deal—baking...in May...without the air conditioner working its hardest? Amazing. We've been having gloriously cool mornings and evenings.

Miriam with strawberries she picked at the farm

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The final countdown...

Last night I asked Andrew what he thought would happen first:

A) I'd finish biking from Price, UT to San Fransisco, CA
B) I'd finish the baby blanket I'm working on
C) I'd finish reading the Book of Mormon
D) I'd finish incubating this baby

"Whoa! No way!" he said. "Bike. Blanket. Book of Mormon. Baby."

Yes. I'm just that good at planning my hobbies (for lack of a better word) around alliteration.

And, yes. Figuring that out really made Andrew's night.

When we left off bike riding at the end of last year we'd completed 1752 of 2438 miles of our hypothetical journey, leaving us stranded around Price, UT, with 686 miles left to go. I have covered 635 miles since I started biking again (when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes) which is like 30 miles more than I biked last year. I have fifty miles left until we reach our destination, so finishing this is a totally doable feat...unless I have the baby tomorrow.

While I bike I've been alternating between reading, crocheting, and playing Two Dots. I finished a few novels before I figured I could move my scripture study to that time as well, so that's what I do for my morning bike ride now. I'm up to Moroni 5 so I'm almost finished. Five chapters left to go. I'm sure I'll finish either tomorrow or the day after.

As far as the blanket is concerned, I finished crocheting 196 flowers. I stitched them into fourteen rows of fourteen and so far have sewn six of those rows together. I'm going to work on it some more tonight so that will bring me even closer to finishing. It's not a very big blanket but it'll do (pig). Because remember that time Andrew told me it was a crazy idea and I said, "Whatever. It'll be super cute!" Turns out he was right; it was kind of a crazy idea.

The baby, is, in my opinion, ready to make her grand entrance any day now. I had a good appointment today (with no shots!) and we're really just playing the waiting game. My progesterone is wearing off so we'll see what this week brings. As much as I'd like her to come early enough that she's not, you know, born on Benjamin's birthday or something ridiculous like that I'm still completely geared up to be pregnant for a few more weeks.

But if she doesn't come soon I'm clearly going to run out of projects.

So, what's it going to be? Bike. Blanket. Book of Mormon. Baby.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Field Day

A message came home from the school informing parents that they still needed volunteers for field day, specifically for the second grade so I sent the PE teacher an email saying that I would be there...unless I was busy having a baby.

I told Zoë that if she didn't want to go to field day it was up to her to put a stop to it. Apparently she wanted to go to field day. So we went.

I was put on the first shift in the "wellness tent," which meant that I just sat there waiting for children to injure themselves, but our morning went rather smoothly and we hardly saw a child until they started filtering through to get drinks or to squeeze a sponge over their heads. They were really into the idea of cooling off by dumping water on themselves even though we lucked out and got a 70°F morning for our field day. (Yesterday was field day for kindergarten and grade one and although we weren't there for that we did walk to the park—and then looked longingly at the pool because it was so hot and humid, but today? Today was beautiful.)

We stayed at the wellness tent for about an hour before Miriam and Benjamin got bored enough that we decided to follow around Rachel's group for a while.

Our favourite station, I think, was the jump rope station. Rachel's become quite the pro, both on her own and also with others spinning the rope for her. Here she is mid-jump:


Irreverent Streak

Andrew asked Benjamin to say the prayer on dinner this evening—by himself. By the time he was finished there was not a straight face in the room. It helps that he hardly says a single word correctly. I'll write down both what he sounds like and also the translation
Dear Hesnee Saa, 
I'm sanky sor a day and... NO ONE CAN SAY ANYSING! And peas hep a sood. And peas hep a sun come up in morny. Haha! I said a sun! Our sun! In a morny! And peas hep 'em tuh seel betty. And me. And oo! And oo! And oo! And oo! [said while pointing at everyone with his fork] Ezzybody seels betty! Two ezzybodies! And... 
[after much prompting to end the prayer...]  
Inna name Seesee Chist, AMEN!
He was so emphatic about everything he said and was so proud to be saying the prayer without help.

Here, more or less, is what he said:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I'm thankful for the day and NO ONE CAN SAY ANYTHING! And please help the food. And please help the sun come up in morning. Haha! I said the sun. Our sun! In the morning! And please help them to feel better. And me. And you! And you! And you! And you! Everybody feels better! Two everybodies. And...
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 
Once again we found ourselves cracking up when we should have been at our most reverent. Eventually this irreverent streak will end, right? I mean...it has to.

I guess no one laughed during Miriam's family prayer this evening, so that's a start...

King Benjamin

We read Words of Mormon for family scripture study last night (which was an interesting juxtaposition for me since I recently finished reading Mormon (poor Mormon is so hopeful in Words of Mormon, but by the time he's writing Mormon he seems a little...depressed)). In The Words of Mormon, Mormon explains that he's going to write an abridgment of the large plates of Nephi and introduces us to King Benjamin.

In fact, King Benjamin is mentioned 10 times in the chapter/book and our little Benjamin could hardly contain himself.

The first person to say King Benjamin was Rachel and when she did he gasped and said, "Sasha just said me!"

Soon Andrew took over reading and started pausing after saying "king" and the girls and I would say, "Benjamin!" and Benjamin would giggle. And it was adorable (even though everyone acted like they were being watched).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pin the what on the what?!

We don't always have our children teach family night lessons (I taught last week); they've simply been enthusiastic about the idea of teaching lessons (that or one-upping each other, I'm not sure which). This week Miriam volunteered; she worked hard to keep her lesson focused on a central theme and came up with multiple activities ands points of discussion all on her own.



Monday, May 11, 2015

A few things I forgot

This morning Miriam greeted me by saying, "Happy Day-after Mother's Day!" which made me remember that when I walked out of the bedroom on Saturday morning I was greeted with a banner on the floor that Rachel had woken up early to make. It was a lovely surprise.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pre-baptism pictures

Just before dinner yesterday evening we got Rachel all dolled up and tromped outside to take some pictures for her baptism invitations (sometimes when companies offer me free things I just can't say no—and these free cards expire today so we had to get 'em done).

Rachel had just come home from a soccer game and was sweaty and dirty so I told her to take a shower, but then she was dripping wet so I said, "We'll have to blow dry your hair; come with me."

She followed me into the bathroom and I pulled out my blowdryer.

"You have a blowdryer?!" she asked, amazed.

"Yes," I said. "How else did you think I was going to blow dry your hair?"

"I thought you were actually going to blow on it," she said.

Obviously I don't use my blowdryer very often, but I'm sure I use it at least once a year (maybe)...so it's not like it's a complete mystery. After I finished blow drying her hair I took a section of her hair and put it into a twist.

"Will you do a twist on the other side and put them together in the back?" she asked eagerly, so I did. When I was finished with her hair she said, "This is like elf hair! Now I know what I want to be when I grow up—an elf!"

"You want to be...an elf...when you grow up," I repeated.

"I mean for Halloween!" she said. "Not when I grow up. That would be silly."

She's in the middle of reading Two Towers and watched The Fellowship of the Rings over the weekend so she's a little obsessed with elven culture and all things middle-earth. I was just happy to find a hairstyle that she liked that wasn't a ponytail. She asked me to repeat it this morning for church.



Happy Mother's Day!

I looked through my baby book to see if there was a picture of my mom holding me when I was a tiny baby but it seems she was more often behind the camera than in front of it. I did, however, find this picture of my mom posing with my brother David, about a week before I was born. I paired it up with a photo Miriam took of me posing with Benjamin about a week ago:


Benjamin took one look at it and said, "Wow. Those look same!"

Mother's Day Cards

 Miriam, card-maker extraordinare, has been peppering me with cards the entire week and they are therefore scattered all around the house, but here's one that I found. When Miriam handed it to me she said, "Is this good enough for a blog post?" Yes, my dear. It definitely is...


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Door decorating

Today was a crazy running-around-nonstop kind of day. Andrew asked me to cut his hair just before I had to leave for the doctor. I was like, "Really? Now?" He volunteered to start it himself (and did start it himself) as a commitment device. So I finished it for him. Then he decided to convince Benjamin to get his hair cut as well.

"Come on, Benjamin!" Andrew said cheerfully. "Let's cut your hair."

"No, sanks," Benjamin replied calmly. "I don't like haircuts. Them is scary. I will cry."

When I came home from the doctor Benjamin had a freshly buzzed head so Andrew was successful in luring him over to the clippers eventually.

Andrew left for work as soon as I got home and Benjamin and I left to pick Miriam up from preschool soon after that. We came home for lunch, we made an attempt to clean up the house a bit, I rode the exercise bike and washed a nearly-brand-new garbage can we're donating to a family at Rachel's school (an apartment complex nearby burned down a week or so ago and we're trying to refurnish apartments for a few families at our school who lived in the complex and lost everything), and then we gathered up materials to decorate doors at the school and headed on our way.

Here's what we did for Rachel's teacher (one of her favourite colours is pink):


36 weeks: We did it! We did it! We did it! Hooray!

I had my last 17P shot today and everyone who saw me treated it as a capstone event of my pregnancy—cheering and so forth, which I felt was apt, though also a little funny. I mean, I know that I'm happy to be finished with those beastly things but I didn't think anyone else would be more excited than I was. I'm a glutton for punishment, though, and asked for a Tdap since I hadn't had one yet and I'm supposed to get one (I guess it's a routine pregnancy thing now).

Permission to go into labour has been granted. It would be best if we waited one more week, which we probably will considering the injections take about a week to "wear off" (thus the reason for the weekly injections).

In fact, when we were Skyping with my family on Sunday everyone took guesses about when the baby will be born.

Benjamin: May 5 (sorry, buddy—you lost)
Rachel: May 10 (Mother's Day)
Miriam: May 12
Grandma: May 15 (Auntie Emily's birthday)
Patrick: May 17
Naanii: May 18
Josie: May 24
Andrew: May 28
Me: May 31 (because if I don't have my babies super early then I have them two days before my due date, which is June 2)

Basically, no one believes this baby will come in June (I certainly hope she joins us sooner than that (I want a milkshake)). It looks like she could come any time in May and make someone feel like a winner.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

School lunch and chicks

It's teacher appreciation week at our school so it's been a bit of a crazy busy week. Somehow or another I've managed to be room parent for the past three years so I'm involved in these things whether I want to be or not. Not that I mind appreciating teachers...it's just that some people get way more into appreciating teachers than I do and therefore this week has been a little crazy. I'm happy I'm not the one organizing everything!

Today I took Benjamin and Miriam in for lunch hour so I could help supervise the lunch room (so that the teachers could go to the lunch hosted by the PTA). They were super excited to go, especially Miriam who is desperately longing to go to kindergarten. She got dressed in her Duke shirt and then dug out Benjamin's Duke shirt as well, so they were quite matchy-matchy.

Volunteering at the school is rather nice now that we've been here for a couple of years because we know kids in a lot more classes and they were all excited to see us (kids from Rachel's class last year's who were divided into all the classes this year as well as kids from church) and it was fun to see them. I wasn't sure if I would see Rachel because she couldn't remember when her lunch hour was when I asked her so I took a stab in the dark and signed up one of the three hours—but it was the hour she had lunch so we lucked out.

And she was wearing her Duke shirt, too!

When she saw her little brother and sister were matching her she rolled her eyes and said, "Seriously?"

That pesky little Miriam, always trying to coordinate everyone's outfits! Rachel was a little embarrassed to be dressed exactly the same as her siblings, but she joined them at the special tables for students with "company," along with a friend, and they had a fun little lunch together.


Monday, May 04, 2015

A family dinner

When we moved out here I never imagined that we'd ever host an informal family gathering. I knew we'd have visitors, certainly, but casual family dinners? I thought those were a thing of the past.

But Andrew has a cousin who lives in Raleigh and we've had them over three times now...which really isn't a great track record considering we've lived here three years. But still.

About five months ago, Andrew's cousin Scott—or, rather, his wife, Angel—had a baby boy and we had never met him so I messaged Angel to see if we could get together for dinner sometime. She messaged back to say that would be great and that Scott's parents (Andrew's aunt and uncle) were going to be in town in May. She originally suggested May 24th but I said I was going to be 39 weeks pregnant then and didn't know that I would up to hosting a dinner, so she suggested May 3rd instead.

It's been on our calendar for quite a long time. And then Grandma asked if she could come that very same weekend, so it all worked out perfectly (and not only because Grandma got to see her brother, but also because she cooked (which meant I didn't have to))!

Angel commiserated with me about gestational diabetes because she had it, too.

Grandma-grams

Benjamin climbed up onto Grandma's lap her first evening here and felt her face, just to make sure she was really here. He kept turning her face so that she would look at him and saying, "Oh!" He was just so happy to have Grandma here and not on a screen. But then his face fell and he scrunched up his eyebrows with worry. Grabbing Grandma's face again he said, "Gammy-mom! Don't leave from us!"

"I'll stay for a few days," Grandma promised.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Mini-vacation

"Are we officially boring old people?" I sighed to Andrew as we were driving home from our mini-vacation this morning.

"I don't think so," he said. "I think this pregnancy has been hard [insert short discussion of things I did while pregnant with Rachel and Miriam and Benjamin that we didn't even dare do this pregnancy, like traveling to Israel or camping in the middle of nowhere] and that's what's made life seem boring. With you having doctor appointments every week and not being allowed to drive more than two hours away we've been pretty much stuck since we got back from Utah in January."

"That, and soccer or cheer every Saturday and you being so busy finishing your prospectus," I said—because not everything's my fault, surely!

But it's true that we haven't done anything, really, and can't do much, so when Andrew's mom suggested we take a vacation I was wondering where and what'd we'd do. I had my doctor appointment on Thursday, Andrew needed to coach soccer on Thursday, and then Saturday morning we have soccer games. And we can't go far away anyway. I was like, "What is even the point?"

Andrew said "the point" was that I haven't ever been away from my kids, except to have another baby, so it was high time I experienced that because he's gotten to do it loads of times (always going off to conferences and leaving me behind with the kids) and it's awesomely relaxing.

So Andrew ended up booking a hotel in south Durham (how exotic) with a beautiful view of a lake. We skipped soccer practice on Thursday (it ended up being cancelled due to a thunder storm, anyway) and went to the temple instead. We went out for dinner at Chili's—Andrew wanted to do a more local "foodie" restaurant but with diabetes it's easier to go to bigger chains that have published their nutrition information online—and then went to Target and walked laps around the store to burn off the dinner we just ate (because food is the bane of my existence).

A sunny day for Andrew's prospectus defense

It's been rainy, rainy, rainy since Grandma arrived, but Wednesday morning was beautiful so I took the kids to the park while we waited to hear about whether or not Andrew passed his prospectus defense.

The night before when he was working on finishing up his presentation he moaned, "I just wish it was 11:00 tomorrow!"

He texted me at 11:02 on Wednesday morning with three big letters: ABD

So now he's an official PhD candidate!

A much more relaxed Andrew met us back at the house a few hours later and helped clean things up a bit (we had so much stuff in our room waiting to go into the attic) before his mom got here. But before putting the kids to work cleaning their rooms and sweeping the floor we had a beautiful morning at the park.

We even took pictures!


It's finally gone!

Last night Grandma convinced Rachel, who was almost having an existential crisis about it, to put out her tooth. She was bawling in bed because her tooth hurt even when her lip would touch it and she was afraid it was going to fall out in the middle of the night and then she'd choke on it and...basically she'd never be happy ever again.

So Grandma let her get out of bed to play on the iPad with the condition that she wiggle that tooth the entire time. She did, and eventually that tooth popped right on out! Hallelujah!

We didn't get to see Rachel's beautiful gap until she came home from school today: