Monday, August 19, 2019

First day of school (August 5)

I suppose with two weeks and two awards under our belts, it's time I officially announce that we've gone back to school.

Miriam and Benjamin leave bright and early in the morning. When they take the bus we get to watch the sun rise. Sometimes they catch a ride with Daddy on his way out the door and then they don't have get up quite so early. I wish that it was socially acceptable for them to ride their bikes to school because (although hilly) it's really not that far. But it's simply not, though at their elementary school I could probably fight for the right.

At a neighbouring elementary school, this is the policy in their student handbook regarding biking (and, actually, also walking (just replace "bike" with "walk")):
Riding a bike to and from school is a privilege reserved for fourth and fifth grade students only. (Exception – younger students who are accompanied to and from school by a parent or guardian may ride a bike; parent should meet child at the bike racks in the afternoon.)  
We do not encourage bike riding to and from school due to the high volume of car and bus traffic in and around our school campus.
Thank goodness our elementary school isn't so strictly against pedestrian traffic (though, I mean, you saw what we went through to get permission to allow our children to walk). Dare I explain to them that much of the vehicular traffic around the school could be eliminated if they encouraged students (and parents) to walk or ride their bikes instead of being chauffeured?

Anyway, here are Benjamin and Miriam waiting for the bus on the first day of school:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Not NOT tossing things

We had a rushed dinner of breakfast burritos and fruit smoothies for dinner on Friday.

Rachel's school day doesn't finish until ridiculously late (5:00, folks) so getting dinner in her before she has to head off to any evening activity can be tricky. This Friday she had a sleepover at a friend's house (who was moved into the other ward, unfortunately, but I'm sure they'll manage to stay friends) so we had to get moving quickly.

"Put these back in the freezer outside, please," Andrew said, zipping up the bag of frozen mixed berries.

So Rachel grabbed the berries and headed to the garage when suddenly there arose such a clatter we ran to the living room to see what was the matter.

Frozen berries were everywhere—rolling all over the floor leaving trails of bright red berry juice, oozing down the walls, melting into little puddles of stickiness.

"What...happened?!" I gasped.

"I don't know!" Rachel said. "It just...broke open!"

"Were you tossing it?" I asked.

On the potty train

Because I can't get enough chaos in my life, I've kind of started potty training Alexander with gusto. I had him fairly comfortable with using the potty a few months before we moved but then I gave up because I knew moving would cause a huge regression (and I didn't have enough brain cells to be constantly wondering when the last time he used the potty was).

My girls have all been fairly easy to potty train (and trained rather young).

Benjamin was an absolute (potty) train wreck.

I'd like to not repeat that with Alexander.

So we're working on it, slowly but surely. We just came across his little potty this week and he was rather excited to find it. He hasn't actually used it all that much, but he's at least excited about it. And he's consistently telling me after he's already gone potty that he needs to go potty. So that's, like, close...right?

Today after church I noticed he was still dry, which meant he'd been dry since we'd left for church, so I told him it was time to sit on the potty. He gladly ran to the bathroom so he could sit on the potty and then he sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and did nothing.

He was starting to get antsy so I told him to just stay put and I would get a couple of books to read.

So I ran to his room and was just picking a couple of books off the floor when he ran in after me.

"Did it—potty! Did it—potty! Did it!" he squealed happily.

"Did you go potty on the potty?" I asked.

"Did it—potty!" he proudly affirmed.

"Let's go see!" I said, and we ran back to the bathroom together.

"What a big boy!" I said, because he had indeed gone potty on his potty.

"I think he needs a treat!" Zoë said. "Can he have unicorn fruit snacks? And can I have my own pack of unicorn fruit snacks? Because he should get a treat for going on the potty. Want a treat, Alex?"

So we went and split a pack of fruit snacks.

I always swore I wouldn't bribe my kids (with food) to potty train them. But here we are.

I think I'll see if stickers will motivate him. I've used sticker charts before (which are a form of bribery, I suppose).

Youngest choir director ever

We only had one hour of church (again) today, so I don't know how we'll even handle two hours next week (and to think we used to be able to sit through three hours). Alexander, who had woken up a smidge too early, was ready for a nap by the time we got to church. He insisted on nursing through the opening exercises (which were long because all we did was sustain people; our ward just got reorganized so it was a lot of people) and was completely zonked by the time we were even halfway through all the sustainings. 

And so he missed when his name was called. 

"If we could have Alexander Heiss stand," the bishop said. 

I looked down at my baby, who'd just settled down for a long (and kind of strange because he hasn't napped at church in ages) sacrament-meeting nap.

Andrew, who knew the bishop was actually talking about him, gave me a this-is-awkward glance, and then stood up. 

"Alexander has been called to be the ward choir director," the bishop continued. "All in favour manifest it."

And the entire ward raised their hands in support of our sweet, sleepy baby becoming the next ward choir director. It made Andrew and I both feel a little giggly. We got it sorted out "in post" when Andrew went to be set apart. But it's still funny.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I have been wrongly accused of only sharing embarrassing stories of other people on this blog while keeping my own embarrassing stories secret. Now, it may be true that I share more embarrassing stories about other people than I do about myself, but all I can say to that is: it's not my fault that I don't do many embarrassing things!

Just kidding. There are so many embarrassing stories about me on this blog it isn't even funny. In fact, this whole blog could be considered one big embarrassing story. I mean, sometimes I go back to read a post I wrote years ago and find my self shaking my head and muttering, "Nancy, Nancy, Nancy..." Like, what was I thinking?! I always find my current self more wise, mature, and enlightened than my past self. That said, my current self still has a long way to go.

So, without further ado, here is another embarrassing story to add to my collection:

I took a shower with Alexander the other day. It's easier to have him in the shower with me than wandering around the house doing who knows what. Actually, he's usually fine on his own while I shower and Zoë's usually fine on her own while I shower, but the combination of the two is...a complicated dynamic. So, Zoë was sent to her room for some quiet time while Alexander and I hopped into the shower.

Usually he's pretty happy in there. He likes splashing in the water and looking down the drain and playing with the shampoo bottle and my toes. He loves showering so much sometimes he has two or three a day. He'll get in with Dad, then he'll get in with Mom, he'll hop in with any sibling.

This particular day, however, Alexander kept trying to escape the shower. He'd push the door open and run away, dripping wet, and, likewise dripping wet, I'd hop out and grab him and bring him back in. I was trying to shower as fast as I could but it was difficult to do very much of anything with him running away every thirty seconds. Finally, I finished rinsing off, grabbed a towel, and wrangled Alexander until he was dry and diapered and then set him free.

Then I got dressed and went about my day.

I did some laundry, unpacked a couple of boxes (because we're still doing that, yes), made lunch, had lunch, cleaned up from lunch...and my hair was still wet.

But we live in a humid place now, so maybe that's why it seemed to be taking forever to dry.

Alexander and I had a nap, we woke up, read stories, did more laundry hair was still not dry. But it didn't quite feel wet either. It was just...wettish and weird.

And then I realized that in all of that shower chaos I had neglected to rinse my hair! So it wasn't wet, really. It was just...lathered in soap...which made it look (and feel) wet. So really quick before I left to meet the kids at the park I had to rinse my hair.

I've been laughing about it ever since—I went the entire day with shampoo in my hair!

Not easier, just different

Making Alexander's baby book has been a fair bit of emotional labour for me. Between feeling a little bit of the sting of death (Grandma and Alexander loved each other so much, guys), I'm also a little bit in mourning for my child-bearing years.

New borns are the best.

They're exhausting, sure, but they're also the absolute sweetest. And I make 'em so cute.

But also I know that, like puppies, babies grow up into toddlers (and toddlers are a hot mess (still cute, but absolutely a hot mess)). And then preschoolers—boy, howdy. Then grade school. Then teenagers, which is a yet-unknown ball of wax.

We had a contractor over this morning to look at our basement (we want to put switches in for our lights because we're getting tired of having to turn on the lights for the kids any time they want to go down there (they're pull-string lights right now)) and he was laughing because Zoë and Alexander were fighting and I was trying to get them to not to.

"Let me tell you," he said. "You think two is hard. Wait until you have three."

"We have five," I said.

"I'll shut up now," he said. "But seriously. It doesn't get easier. It just gets different."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Why'd you have to go and make things so complexiated?

Today I got an offer for a free Shutterfly book and since Alexander is coming on two years old and since I haven't yet gotten around to putting a baby book together for him (a little bit of procrastination + a little bit of denial that he's as old as he is) I decided that now is probably as good a time as any.

But it's also a strange time to be reflecting both on my sweet baby boy and on the last two years in general.

Some little person switched my phone data off sometime this morning, so I spent the whole day blissfully unaware that anyone had been attempting to contact me all day. No notifications on my phone: zero. We played outside with sidewalk chalk, we read stories, we had nap time, we had a tea party, we did some chores, we went to the park to meet Benjamin and Miriam after school.

I tried to post a picture of Alexander being silly.

"Connect to cellular data plan or wifi" my phone alerted me.

So I turned on my cellular and my phone blew up. Metaphorically, of course.

Text messages came flying at me, fast.

1, 2, 3. Ping, ping, ping.

4, 5, 6. Ping, ping, ping.

7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What happened, baby?

While I was putting a load of laundry in, Zoë locked Alexander in my bedroom.

Not that we can prove that. When I asked her who locked the door she said, "Me. But the lock is on Alexander's side so it could have been him, too. Like, it didn't have to be me."

So I think that means she did it but like the good little lawyer she is, she's building a case for reasonable doubt. Like, sure, it was her...but was it though?

Anyway, I started looking around the house to find something long and thin to pick the lock with. I found a long nail but it was too fat. I found a mini screwdriver but it was too short. Finally I found our set of long, thin screwdrivers and selected one that fit through the hole in the knob and connected with the lock mechanism. And then I set to work picking that lock.

I poked, I prodded, I jiggled, I jaggled.

No luck.

Meanwhile, Alexander is crying and pounding on the door and Zoë's starting to feel awfully bad about the distress she's caused.

"It's okay, baby boy!" she sang while she stroked the door. "We're going to get you out of there. Can you just turn the lock? Just turn the lock, okay, baby?"

"Doo-ooo-ooo-ooor!" Alexander wailed.

Zoë ran off to her room and came back with her (old, retired) iPhone blasting primary songs and stuffed it under the door to Alexander.

"To help him feel better," she sniffed.

I tried picking the lock some more but to no avail.

Monday, August 12, 2019

A day in Durham

Last weekend we drove up to Durham for our friend Brooke's wedding, which was lovely. The kids behaved remarkably well on the drive up there and were so excited to stay in a hotel. 

Here they are on the luggage cart (not smiling for some reason (I'm not sure why because they were so excited about hopping on)):

A little more hair pulling

When we started going through the process of getting the necessary forms for our children to attend public schools in order and it ended up being far more complicated than necessary, I said something to Andrew about how fixing the system was "a hill I would be willing to die on."

So this morning I met with our state representative, Beth Moore, and she was super nice and understanding—and curious—about it. I came prepared for the meeting, armed with health form requirements in other states, evidence of discrepancies on how Georgia law is enforced in relation to these forms, and so forth. She promised she'd look into it more and see how we could simplify it for future families (either removing the Georgia-physician clause or extending the time frame or...something) the next time they're in session (which won't be until January).

I felt pretty good with how things went and really hope we can make some headway because it's been such a ridiculous mess for us (and everyone else who moves to the state).

Now I have to decide how many other hills I'm willing to die on or whether I should just let things go.

Transportation to and from school is still stressing me out. I thought today was the first day of orchestra, so we sent Miriam to school with her cello and sent a transportation form in with Benjamin. Since Miriam wouldn't be walking with him on orchestra days, I'd like for him to ride the bus. All was well and fine with the world until I got an email from the orchestra club in the afternoon informing me that orchestra begins next week.

I couldn't have Miriam walking by herself and her cello while Benjamin was escorted onto a bus.

Unfortunately, you're not allowed to call the school or email the school to request a change in transportation. Ideally you send in the transportation form in the morning with your student and they hand it to the teacher and then whatever needs to happen happens. But in emergencies you can fax a change in. So I decided I'd fax a change in—as archaic as that sounds.

It says right on the change form that you can fax it into the school before 2:30 (but not to email or call about transportation changes).

But also faxing is archaic, so I called to make sure they'd received my fax I was told, "Ma'am, you're supposed to send these forms in with your child in the morning."