Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

Rachel had a soccer game this morning, which she said was her "best ever!" Her team scored two goals (and lost 2 to 10 or something like that). They've had a rough season. But it's over now because with daylight savings ending it'll be pitch black outside by the time practice begins.

I stayed at home with the little ones and we video-chatted with Uncle Patrick so he could wish her a happy birthday. He wanted to call last week but he ran out of internet. He's in wee Riviere, South Africa, doing a conservation internship right now. I guess he prepays for internet and when he uses all his "data" then he has to go buy a new plan. Or something. Anyway, we got to talk to him today, which was lovely!

We also did a lot of raking. When Andrew and Rachel came home he said, "Oh, I was just going to get the leaf blower out and do that." So he did. That was a much faster way. We made the biggest leaf pile in history and spent a lot of time jumping into it before we managed to fit it all into one yard waste bin (I stood in the bin and acted as the leaf compactor while Andrew piled the leaves in).


Trunk-or-Treat

The trunk-or-treat was a fun this year. The most popular addition was the Photo Booth. We had someone take our picture for us but I forgot to check to see if it turned out until we were on our way home and, sadly, it didn't turn out well. It's the thought that counts, right? I think I see us all in there.



Friday, October 30, 2015

What's wrong with Zoë? Oh, she was dropped on her head as a baby.

We went to the park this afternoon after the girls got home from school. Miriam was most interested in playing with Zoë, which is usually fine. Sometimes, though, Miriam forgets that Zoë is a person, not a doll that can be cast aside on a whim. I spend most of my days harping at Benjamin about treating the baby kindly. This afternoon all that energy was focused on Miriam.

"Don't swing so high."

"She can't sit up on her own yet."

"Don't just leave her there."

"Sit down to hold her."

Yadda, yadda, yadda.


Haunted Hike

This evening we headed to Little River Regional Park for their Haunted Hike. The first half was lit by friendly milk jug jack-o-lanterns and CLAWS inc. had people stationed at pavilions around the trail with various birds of prey for us to visit with. Most of them were look-only animals, but the African raven, Grip, was greeting the crowds.

Here's Benjamin taking a turn petting Grip:


Pumpkin Day

Benjamin threw up on Tuesday morning. He had requested eggs for breakfast (after I gave him applesauce to "test" his stomach) and I decided to indulge him—by actually cooking breakfast—since he hadn't eaten much on Monday and also hadn't thrown up in a while. This was a mistake. He threw up after he ate half his eggs. He just turned away from his plate, threw up all over the bench and the floor...and then turned back to his plate.

"No! Benjamin!" I said. "You can't eat more! Your tummy needs a rest! Let's wash you off and get you a little drink."

"I want to finish my brekky!" he protested.

"You are still sick," I said.

"I'm not!"

"Well, you're finished eating."

"But my tummy's not full."

"I can actually see that. See all this stuff on the floor? That's from inside your stomach. And I have to clean it up. And I don't want to have to clean it up twice so you're finished eating. You need to have a lie-down. You can have a little drink, but that's all."

This sickness has been the weirdest. He's insisted the whole time that he feels fine. And it has been driving me crazy. Most people slow down a bit when they're feverish and vomiting...but not him.

He also threw up during story time on Monday night. I finished a book, he hopped off my lap, threw up in the bowl that was on the floor, and then jumped back up on my lap.

"Anuzzy story!" he chirped.

It all happened so quick it took me a minute to figure out what had happened.

Anyway, he didn't throw up for the rest of the day on Tuesday so on Wednesday morning he insisted he was all better. He wanted to go to school with Miriam for Pumpkin Day. There's a 24-hour "rule" at their school—once a child has been clear of vomiting and fever for 24-hours they're welcome to return to school. We were about at 22 hours by 9 AM, so I decided that was close enough. We went to school.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloweens Past

I have a handful of childhood Halloween pictures in my possession, which I'll share here.

The first is from 1988; I'm three years old. My parents took me to my big brother's kindergarten class party. I dressed as a genie. My dad is wearing my hat so that it wouldn't fall off and get wet while I was bobbing for apples.



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Speaking of teeth...

Zoë was working hard on her newest tooth yesterday morning. I gave her a variety of toys to teethe on, but she eventually squirmed her way over to the little table (that Benjamin's throw up bucket was resting on) and gave the table leg a try. That, apparently was the ideal chew toy—probably a bit tastier than sterile plastic.


Math-querade Night: adding and subtracting teeth

This evening the girls and I went to the school's Math-querade party.  Benjamin stayed home with Daddy, which he wasn't very happy about, but he threw up again this morning so he wasn't fit to go out in public. That was the only time he threw up, though, so he must be getting over this bug!

I spent most of the evening helping Miriam with math activities in the K-2 room while Rachel played math games with her friends in the 3-5 room. They were both excited to give their costumes a test run.

Rachel is the (eleventh) Doctor, Miriam is Snow White, and Zoë is a Cabbage Patch Doll.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Constant Energy (in sickness and in health)

Hallway.
Bathroom.
Kitchen.
Toilet.
Bowl.
Toilet.
Bedroom.
Bowl.
Toilet.

Those are all the places Benjamin threw up today. Let's take a minute to appreciate how many times he managed to either make it to the toilet or remembered to use the throw up bucket. That's real evidence that he's growing up.

You'd think that with how sick he was he'd, I dunno, slow down a little or something. But no. Not Benjamin. He's determined to be running full steam ahead 100% of the time. 

I think I've mentioned this before, that Rachel was a difficult toddler...until she got sick...and then she was a dream. She was content to sleep it off—hardly complained, took it all lying down.

Miriam, on the other hand, was a fairly easy toddler. She was calm and quiet and a joy to be around...until she got sick...and then melodrama would start bubbling out of her. She'd get demanding and weepy and restless.

Benjamin's always on. All the time. He's hard when he's sick. He's hard when he's not. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Miriam's 6th birthday

The girls both wanted to help decorate Miriam's cake this afternoon. In fact, they'd wanted to help bake the cake as well and there were tears when, after they'd been put to bed, they realized I was baking the cake without them, but our weekend got away from us so bake the cake without them I did. But I promised they could help decorate it with me after church and choir.

They had elaborate plans, so I had to reign them in, explaining that decorating cakes isn't quite as easy as it sounds. Miriam wanted a "doctor cake," which I had thought meant she wanted a Doctor Who theme. What she actually wanted was a medical doctor theme (Miriam wants to be a doctor when she grows up) so that's what we went with. The girls had fun learning about cake decorating—applying steady pressure is tricky!



Now We Are Six: A Miriam Edition

Miriam, 4 days old
When I was one, I had just begun.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This boy

Here's a sneak peek of Benjamin's Halloween costume. I'm sure I'll be posting more pictures next week when we start going to Halloween parties left and right. Our neighbourhood party ended up being cancelled this year because the HOA party chair moved and no one has volunteered to take her position. I almost volunteered to do it but stopped myself just in time (I remembered that I don't actually like socializing, so...). But Tuesday we have Math-querade at the girls'  school (this night theriously crackth me up) and the ward Trunk-or-Treat is on Wednesday, Thursday is a girl's night out (we're watching Hocus Pocus, which we watched last night for a family movie night), and then we get Friday night off before we go out Halloweening on Saturday. Phew!

Anyway, here's Benjamin, dressed as an engineer (just half of his costume):

"What shall I do next?"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The worst kind of award

Next month I'm giving a fifteen minute talk on keeping a personal history, so to prepare I hauled down my box(es) of journals from the attic (and, no, Mom, I don't have a big copy of that particular baby picture of me that you asked about), which means that I'll probably start up some Flashback Fridays again (though I'm also seriously considering NaNoWriMo this year so that means my blogging will likely suffer a bit).

But for now, here's a flashback for Wednesday because I finally found this picture I was looking for for ages (to show to Andrew for some reason that I can't remember now and then simply because I couldn't find it).

Whenever people tell me I'm skinny as if it's a compliment I kind of cringe because, frankly, it's not something that I really like about myself. I'm freakishly skinny. 

The picture I have of myself in my brain is not that skinny. Not in an eating-disorder distortion way, just the same way I feel when I hear a recording of my voice. I'm always like, "Is that really what I sound like?!" And that's kind of how I feel when I see pictures of myself. "Is that really what I look like?"

Not every picture makes me think that, but sometimes pictures are mind-boggling.

I used to be a swimmer. I still can swim but I mean I was a swimmer. I used to live at the pool

Swimmer. S-W-I-M-M-E-R. Swimmer.

And then I grew up a little and stopped because "mens."

Anyway, when I was little I was on a team called the PoCo Marlins. At the end of the season we all got awards. Our coach had cut ems out of wood and had painted them all purple (our team colour) and then made up awards for everyone. Abra's was something to do with water polo. She had a pretty little mermaid sitting on one of the peaks of her em. It was spray painted gold and in my eight-year-old mind it was the most enviable trophy of all trophies. 

David's award was Number Man. His em had numbers painted all over it. He knew all his best times and all his friends' best times and all his friends' friends' best times, all off the top of his head. His award was cool, but not enviable (sorry, bro).

My em was just as tall as everyone else's but it was about half the thickness. It was just plain purple—nothing ornate about it at all. 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Love one another and octopuses, too!

Miriam gave our family night lesson on Monday. Her topic was "love one another." She shared a few scriptures with us (John 14:15 and John 13:34), as well as a few quotes (one of which might have been "love is an open door," which we learn from Anna and Hans (even though Hans turns out to not understand love very well at all)). And then she broke out a puzzle that she'd prepared:


Early Release Hike

This morning Zoë and Benjamin managed to get along for a little while. Lately she's been finding puppets hilarious, so Benjamin put on a little puppet show for her, which she loved. He also "read" a few books with her. It was like a miracle.


Most of our day was spent working on Benjamin's Halloween costume (turning a cardboard box into a train). We're almost finished!

Zoë playing with her toes

I'm surprised that it took so long for Zoë to find her toes, considering how much she likes to use them. She started using her feet to manipulate her toys long before she started using her hands. I suppose if she could have used her feet to play with her feet sooner she would have found them sooner...

Here she is, at it again, this time on a rocking horse during scripture study:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Zoë tales

I've been complaining about Zoë being colicky lately so my mom suggested we try a swing, to see if she likes that. I love holding babies...but there are a finite number of hours one can do that in a day. Add the screaming, screaming, screaming (screaming!) and it's a recipe for disaster. I would go to bed at one, two, three in the morning and my nerves would be completely shot. And then I'd wake up to feed Zoë whenever she woke up next. And then Benjamin would be like, "It's 7 AM!"

It was getting a little ridiculous.

But we didn't want to buy a swing and have her hate it, so I planned to send an email out to our ward to see if anyone had a baby swing sitting around gathering dust. I just hadn't done it yet.

On Sunday night, though, an email came through my neighbourhood listserv. A neighbour said she'd put out a baby swing in her front yard—it was in fine, working condition; they were just clearing out things they no longer used. It was the very same neighbour we'd snagged some baby stuff from earlier (stuff that was, in fact, in excellent condition) so I was willing to bet the swing would be, too, and immediately sent Andrew out to retrieve it.

Andrew went because Zoë was screaming and crying and as much as I can't handle it he can't handle it. I took a shower once (once—hahaha!) and when I got out he said, "You can't die, okay?"

I was like, "Deal."

Zoë had screamed the whole time for him and he was frantic.

Anyway, the swing was a big hit. She seemed to enjoy it and even let it lull her to sleep.


Halloween Costumes

Yesterday we discussed Halloween festivities during family home evening because all of a sudden Halloween is right around the corner. Part of me feels like it should be so far away. The other part of me knows that we have our neighbourhood Halloween party on Saturday.

"If you need anything for your costume that you don't have already, I need to know about it this week," I said.

"I need a bow!" Miriam said.

"Yes, you do, but first you need to find your headband."

"I just had it yesterday! Benjamin..."

"Don't blame Benjamin; you left it out. But we'll find it in time, I'm sure. And then I'll put a bow on it. Anyone else?"

"Zoë doesn't have a costume," Rachel said.

"Zoë does have a costume," I said. "I made ears for her this afternoon. And I found a blouse for you to wear, Rachel, so I think that's the last part of your costume."

"Yup. I already have my psychic paper!"

"Great. And, Benjamin, Sister Adamson said she has some material to make a ghost costume if you still want to be a ghost."

"No, I don't want to be a ghost. I want to be a..."

"That's kind of your problem," I said. "You don't know what you want to be. You want to be everything!"

"Uh-huh," Benjamin nodded fervently, and you could tell he was wondering if it really were possible to be everything all at once.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Benjamin Tales

Benjamin's been doing great on the potty training home front—he's been staying dry at night and taking himself potty during the day. It's been wonderful!

Last night, however, he had a few slip ups, which I guess is understandable since he wasn't feeling well. He and Miriam got their flu shots yesterday (and, boy, were they ever upset that Rachel got to have the flu mist, which was out of stock yesterday) so he was a little feverish (he almost got to participate in a study on the rate of febrile incidents in three-year-old flu vaccination patients but they couldn't find the head nurse so he didn't...but just so you know, he gets a low-grade fever). 

It's always hard to remember you're potty trained when you're not feeling great.

Zoë stayed up fussing until around 2:15 AM. I'd just put her to bed and crawled into bed, myself, when I heard the pitter-patter of little feet down the hallway and back again. I thought about staying in bed and pretending to be asleep, hoping that whoever had gotten up would do the same, but in the end decided to check on whoever it was. 

I rolled out of bed and made my way to the kids' rooms. I looked into Benjamin's room and noticed that his bed was empty, but I couldn't see him anywhere (it was darkish and I didn't have my glasses on). 

"Benjamin?" I called out. "Where are you?"

"I'm here," came his little voice from under the play table in his room.

Saturday Shenanigans

This morning the girls and I tried out for the stake musical—Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We had to sing and dance and read scripts. It was quite thorough. I'm sure we're destined for starring roles, like Villager #3 or something like that.

We went straight from auditions to Rachel's soccer game, where her team lost 1 to 6. They were actually quite excited about this because there are only two all-girl teams in the league and so they play them every weekend. The first game they lost 1 to 11, the second game they lost 1 to 10, so losing 1 to 6 felt pretty good.

Rachel was goalie for the first half of the game and only let in three goals. She kept out many, many other shots.


Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving

As is customary, we began our Thanksgiving celebration on Monday (which was Canadian Thanksgiving) with an FHE lesson on gratitude. We reviewed President Monson's talk called The Divine Gift of Gratitude, which he delivered on October 10, 2010 (they day before Canadian Thanksgiving that year; quite fitting since he told a story about Canadian Thanksgiving in his talk).

After reading bits of the talk, we wrote down some of the things we were thankful for on paper leaves. I hadn't yet put up the Thankful Tree (we were busy at the beach) but the kids were excited about the prospect of it.

We'd considered making a full Thanksgiving dinner on the drive home from the beach but decided against it in favour of pancakes...an idea that then devolved into cheese and crackers. It was just that kind of a day. So we didn't have our big feast until Thursday (Andrew joked that we were Americanizing the holiday by holding it that day of the week).

On Tuesday I got the Thankful Tree put up (Rachel said it's the best one I've ever made) and the kids put the leaves on for me. That evening we had soccer so we had Tuesday's traditional macaroni and cheese.



Around the hotel and Atlantic Beach

Cape Lookout lighthouse replicas are everywhere 'round these parts. It would probably be easier to count yards/signs/billboards not featuring the lighthouse than to count those with. So, naturally, our hotel garden featured a lighthouse replica:


Friday, October 16, 2015

Cape Lookout

So, we took a ferry from Harkers Island to Cape Lookout and it was possibly the coolest thing we did the entire weekend. There's a pod of dolphins in the back sound right now—a lot of mother/baby pairs, too!—because some sort of fish they love is currently spilling out of the river and into the sea and so the dolphins are just busy getting fat. They were swimming all around the boat (but we didn't get many pictures because we had four children, no life jackets (they were under our seats), and I'm super paranoid (BENJAMIN! Need I say more?)):


Missing Wallet and church on Harkers Island

We woke up early—too early—so that we could drive to Harkers Island to attend church there. There's a ward that meets in Morehead City, which is just across the Bogue Sound from Atlantic Beach City (where we were staying), but we were planning on taking the ferry from Harkers Island to Cape Lookout after church and thought it would be easier if we went to church on Harkers Island itself.

The morning was a bit of a frenzied rush but we managed to make it mostly out the door on time.

We'd loaded all the children into the van and I had gone back into our room to finish packing the diaper bag. I grabbed my cellphone and went to put it into my purse but I couldn't find my purse anywhere—and I looked everywhere.

I checked the diaper bag, the suitcase, the table. I checked the beds and even folded up the hide-a-bed couch the girls slept on. I went through the laundry bag. Andrew was looking places, too. He checked the van, all the drawers in the hotel, the bassinet. My purse was no where, which meant that my wallet was no where, too.

We'd had such a busy day on Saturday; my wallet could have fallen out of the diaper bag at any point. Andrew had been carrying it and didn't remember it falling out. I couldn't remember ever digging around in there and taking it out.

And the weirdest part was that I had my phone.

"I shouldn't have my phone if I don't have my purse!" I said. "My phone was in my purse all day yesterday!"

It was perplexing and frustrated and we were now ten minutes behind schedule so we decided to just suck it up and go to church. But my wallet! Of all the things to lose, that's the worst!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pine Knoll Aquarium and Fort Macon

We were lucky to get such a glorious day at the beach on Friday because the rest of our vacation was too cold and blustery to enjoy a good swim. Fortunately we had a lot of other things planned should hanging out on the beach all day long not look tempting.

We bought a membership to the zoo shortly before leaving on our trip because that will also let you into North Carolina aquariums for free. Admission to the zoo for our entire family is $63. Admission to the aquarium is $48.75. But a membership that lets us into both places is only $75. That's what we get for having a large family, I suppose. We're planning on hitting up the zoo later (though I do admit that I'm on the fence about the ethics of zoos and aquariums; I think when done correctly they can help raise people's awareness for the need for conservations and so forth, but who really wants to be stuck in a cage or tank for their entire life).

The Pine Knoll Aquarium was our first stop for the day. Here's a few pictures of the children enjoying the sea turtle statues:


Friday, October 09, 2015

So Much Beach

We drove to Atlantic Beach after Andrew got finished with classes for the day yesterday. When we'd barely pulled out of the driveway Benjamin announced, "I don't like the countryside." So we've been joking about that little bit of proffered information ever since, naturally.

Another gem was from Miriam who said, "How does sound work, again? I forgot."

She literally wanted us to explain how sound waves work. 

Anyway, we drove the whole way without stopping once, which is quite amazing for a 3+ hour trip with four little kids. Zoë gladly took expressed milk from a bottle (second time in her life) and only screamed for about the last half hour or so.

We checked into our hotel and went out for burgers before going to bed. The kids were still awake at around 11:30 last night, which was a little ridiculous. Still, we were up and moving at a fairly decent time in the morning (9:00 am).

Here's Benjamin snuggling "Darf Vader" and "The White Bad-Guy":


Thursday, October 08, 2015

Potty Training; is it FINALLY over?

I was in the kitchen doing something when I heard Benjamin call out, "Mom, can you come here?"

"Just a minute," I called. "I'm..." doing whatever it was I was doing. I have a brain like a sieve lately.

"Okay," he said. "I need you to wipe my bum! I just went poop on the potty!"

I almost fainted. This has been a long time coming.

Usually Benjamin hides when he needs to evacuate his bowels. It drives me crazy. I always have to be on the lookout for pooping signals.

"Why aren't you playing anymore? Why are you just sitting in the corner? Why are you smiling like that? Is that your pooping face? That's your pooping face. You need to go potty. Yes, you do. Now. Let's go. To the potty. Hup, hup. Come, on."

I have to prod and urge and beg him to poop on the potty. We've tried everything—sticker charts, bribery, scolding, punishments. Nothing has worked.

But he finally recognized he needed to go and then instead of hiding actually took himself.

I'm basically over the moon about it. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Colic, children, sidewalk chalk

At this very moment, Zoë has been awake for over five hours. That's not really monumental but let's also point out that she stayed up (screaming) until after 1:00 in the morning, was up at 3 AM and then was up again at 5 AM.

Let's also point out that this is our new normal.

So I'm a bit tired.

The kids have been misbehaving—just putting their own wants before anyone else's, which I'll admit is natural but it also leads to willful disobedience to my directions and a lot of unkindness towards each other. So I've been dealing with that all day as well.

And then I just feel overwhelmed by yard work and housework. I feel like I work so hard to make our home a little neater and then I turn around and everything I've done is completely undone. Probably because that's exactly what's happening.

I tried to start the day off nicely. Benjamin and I made muffins for breakfast while the girls were sleeping in. But did anyone say thank you for the muffins? Not so much. But they did fight over them. So there's that.

And then there are other projects that I've been working really hard at and instead of garnering praise, people are picking it apart, which is fine because I don't do it for praise and, frankly, I'm sure a little criticism (constructive or otherwise) is good for my ego. But I volunteer my time to do it—my precious evening hours that I spend working on projects one-handed while coddling a screaming baby with the other—so it would be nice if people could be a little more lavish with their gratitude.

Bee. Tee. Dubs.

Zoë is suffering from "the colic."

Monday, October 05, 2015

Sometimes boys dig holes...

This afternoon there was a soft knock on the door and I said to Zoë, "I'll bet that's one of the big kids. It sounds like the littlest of the big kids because your sisters would have opened the door themselves. What do you think? Do you think it's Benjamin?"

Zoë didn't tell me what she was thinking.

I opened the door and said, "It is Benjamin!"

"I want to come in," he said.

"I'll just bet you do," I said, thinking back to the talk Elder Haynie gave yesterday afternoon.


Lizard class

Today was Benjamin's second class at Little River Regional Park. It was on lizards and he loved it! Miss Michelle read a book called Where's My Tail? about a little lizard who drops his tail to escape from a predator and then goes on a quest to find it (hint: it slowly grows back while he's hunting around, getting longer with every page turn).

Then we looked at pictures of different lizards we might see in North Carolina. The most common, by far, is the five-lined skink, often mistakenly called a blue-tailed skink because, well, it has a blue tail. It will drop its tail when threatened as well so we often see tailless skinks running around the foundation of our house, as well as many with tails.

Miss Michelle mentioned that she's had skinks drop their tails when she's been trying to catch them.

Benjamin raised his hand and said, "Well, just catch them using a box. Then they don't lose their tails."

She thought that was a very good point. And, yes, we've caught a few that way so Benjamin speaks from experience.

After the story and discussion we headed outside to pretend to be lizards (we met in the office because it's been so wet and chilly). Each child got a lizard tail to tie around their waist—a lamanated piece of cardstock was hole-punched and threaded on the string and the cloth tail was velcroed to the cardstock—and then a few children were designated as predators and the idea was that they'd chase the lizards and steal their tails.

This wasn't the best game for toddlers. They all cried when their tails got stolen. But it was a cute concept! Miss Michelle ended up switching things up so that she was a lizard and all the other little lizards would chase her to try to steal her tail. This version of the game was much better received (but not by Benjamin who still didn't want to participate and hid behind me most of the time).


Shoelaces and Strollers

Miriam got a new-to-her pair of boots from a friend. They're pink, so she loves them and wants to wear them all the time, including to school. I told her I was totally down with that...if she'd learn how to tie them herself.

"You have two weeks until school starts up again," I said. "That gives you plenty of time to learn how to tie."

I figured she'd ask for some help or something, but no. A few hours later she comes up to me and announced, "Well, I can wear my boots to school now!"

"You tied them by yourself?" I asked.

"Yup!"



Sunday, October 04, 2015

Veiled Threats

The kids were outside playing in the afternoon drizzle—we'd even embraced our Scandinavian roots and left the baby sitting on the front porch in her stroller to enjoy the fresh air while watching her siblings play—when the mail truck pulled up. I'm sure that we'll eventually get used to mail being delivered on Sunday (though I really don't think it's necessary) but for now it's just confusing. Why is the mail truck here? Isn't it Sunday? Oh, a package! Right. They do that now.

The mailman handed the package to the children, who ran it into the house.

"It's a package! It's a package!" they chanted excitedly. "Who's it for?"

"The Heisses," Andrew read, when he managed to get the mystery package out of their clutching grasp. "But who is it from?"

"Maybe from Josie. She was sending something, but I think she was ordering from Amazon. That's not an Amazon package, so maybe it's something else."

"It doesn't say," Andrew said, tearing open the envelope.

He turned the envelope over and let the contents fall into his other hand.

"It's a book," he said, staring at the cover in alarm.

"What?" I asked.

He showed me the cover.

"Oh!" I gasped.

The cover read I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You.


Conference Mashup

Not going to lie: Saturday was a bit of a blur. 

The "morning" session for us falls over lunchtime. I fed the kids deceivingly nutritious snacks while we waited for the cinnamon buns Andrew made to finish cooking. I suppose the snacks truly were nutritious (cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, grapes, apple slices, and a peanut-butter/yogurt dip); the deception was that they were the appetizers for the cinnamon buns (which were fabulous, for the record).

Benjamin was completely obnoxious. Andrew and I took turns holding him down to keep him from tormenting his sisters. When we weren't trying reign in all his energy then we were holding Zoë who chose to scream the whole entire day. 

Was it cruel of us to try to force Benjamin to behave? Perhaps. But not really because he had a choice. He could have gone into his room to play and we would not have complained (believe me). He wanted to be where the action was, however, which meant that he couldn't just yell and throw things and punch babies and things like that. 

We're completely unreasonable as parents. I get that.

Zoë screamed the entire two-hour break between conference sessions. I was like, "Will you please do something?! Eat. Sleep. Poop. Just do something to explain the screaming!"

I snapped during Elder Holland's talk, which was beautiful in its own right, but I had just gotten Zoë settled and then Benjamin started acting like a clown again (he pinched her or yelled in her face or something) and she started screaming again and I snapped.

"Yeah, behold your mother!" I said, storming out of the living room.  "Behold your mother walk out of the room!"

Zoë and I took a little time out in the quiet (Benjamin-free) zone behind the locked bedroom door. After a few more minutes of screaming I managed to quiet Zoë down and get her to eat and then to sleep. But I was so upset that I was crying softly to myself while I coaxed her to sleep (keep in mind that Zoë had been screaming for hours by this point). It was comforting to hear Elder Holland's voice drifting through the doorway, "You're doing better than you think you are..."

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Tunak, Tunak, Tun!

As we sit, Hurricane Joaquin is knocking on our door. After waiting for it the whole day long, we're finally hearing the first splatters of rain. Our neighbours across the street said we're welcome over there, up on their hill, if the creek gets too feisty in our backyard. I'm sure everything will be fine, though we already sustained some water damage this week.

I was watching a two-year-old boy for a friend this week—Baby Jay—and he opened our new kitchen cabinet (the one that Andrew bought when Zoë was one week old, the day Uncle David arrived to help out (and swore he could put together in the half hour before he had to leave for the airport to pick David up, but he was way wrong and everything was in shambles when David arrived)) and started pulling things out.

He'd spent the whole morning pulling things out, actually. And not just from the kitchen cabinets.

It made me (momentarily) grateful that Benjamin's three and is (mostly) beyond pulling things off shelves for no good reason. Don't get me wrong. He still pulls things down, but usually he'll at least do stuff with what he pulls down. For example, he'll pull books off the shelf to "read." And then he won't put them back, of course, but at least he's reading them and not just tossing them over his shoulder because pulling things off the shelf is such great fun!

Anyway, I was nursing Zoë while Jay was getting into the particular cabinet he was getting into so I sent Rachel over to stop him (hallelujah for having older kids around). She led him away from the cabinet and then started putting stuff—mostly food storage—back in.

"I don't really know what to do with this jug of water," she said.

"Well, it goes back in the cabinet with the other jugs of water," I said.

"Yeah, but, like, it's leaking..." she said.

"Oh, no!" I groaned. "Well, put it in the sink and find a towel. I'll look at it in a minute."

When Zoë was finished I went to see what damage had been done and was sad to learn that the jug had sprung a slow leak awhile ago. The gallon jug was half empty (or half full?) but there really wasn't very much water to mop up. The particleboard shelf—of our beautiful brand new cabinet!—had been thirstily soaking it up and it was now warped...and slightly mouldy.

I was at once frustrated and grateful.

If you carrot all

We won't speak of my attempt at gardening this year. There wasn't much of an attempt to speak of. I couldn't bother with flowers or vegetables; I was busy growing far better things...