Sunday, July 31, 2011

Petroglyphs and Sulfur Creek (Thursday, July 28th)

This morning I was the first one awake and I stayed in the tent, waiting for my little people to wake up (more specifically Rachel) so that I could hopefully prevent a bed-wetting accident. Suddenly Rachel sat up in bed and declared, "Oh, no! I wet the bed again!"
She had been sleeping just seconds before.

I found myself, yet again, wishing I had brought a washing machine with me as I scrubbed her pyjamas and bedding, yet again, in the shower.

How ridiculous is that? Rachel hasn't wet the bed in forever! Andrew and I decided that we needed to take preemptive measures and determined that we would wake her up to use the bathroom before we went to bed and that I'd wake her up in the morning before she woke up on her own to use the bathroom again.

We ate breakfast and got ready for the day, fully intending to go hiking. However, we're a little bit slow.

We knew that we wouldn't be joining the rest of our camp on the Sulfur Creek Route (even though that's a lot of fun) but we thought we'd at least be able to hike to Hickman's Bridge or the Pioneer Register. We were wrong, so very wrong.

A picnic in the park was planned for lunch that day and we were carting the picnic (since we weren't doing the Sulfur Creek hike) so we had to be sure we would meet the group coming out of Sulfur Creek in time to feed them before they all died of starvation. Not that that was likely.

We started our day at the petroglyphs and by the time we were finished looking at them it was already past 11:00 and we were supposed to meet in the park at noon. Considering it had taken us nearly 45 minutes to stroll up and down the platform in front of the petroglyphs, we knew then that we wouldn't be able to do a two-mile hike in under an hour, no matter how "easy" or "moderate" it was rated by the rangers.

Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon (Wednesday, July 27)

We got up in the morning with the sun, basically. There aren't a whole lot of other options when your tent heats up to a million degrees the minute the sun peeps over the horizon. Miriam had moved to our bed in the middle of the night—she was cold—and she was the first one to wake up. Since she was still dry I hurried and took her out of the tent to go potty. I don't really expect her to stay dry at night yet (and we still put her to bed in diapers) but it's kind of a treat when she does stay dry.

After going potty we went away from the tents to play quietly together.

About half an hour later I heard Rachel crying.

She had wet the bed.

And I forgot to pack the washing machine.


So I washed her pyjamas and bedding in the shower and hung them out to dry. Then we had breakfast and set out to visit Goblin Valley. I have only been to Goblin Valley one other time (7 years ago) and it was approximately a billion degrees (or just 112°F (45°C)) and the rocks were hot enough to melt the flesh off your hand. Needless to say, we didn't do much exploring then.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grover, Day 1 (Tuesday, July 26)

Well, we're back from camping and I have bucket loads of stories to share. I suppose I'll begin when we pulled up to Aunt Dorothy's cabin. But first maybe I'll say that one day I want a cabin. Or at least yearly access to a cabin. It's nice to be able to go the same place year after year after year.

I first went to Grover seven years ago, before Andrew and I got married, while he was still on his mission, and his family wanted to make me fall in love with them so that I'd fall in love with him. Or something like that. I'm not really sure what their plan was but Andrew and I are married today.

It doesn't really seem that long ago that I infiltrated his family's anual vacation but then I saw Phillip step out of the car. Phillip is the neighbour boy. He also went to Grover seven years ago. Do you know how old he was seven years ago? I'll tell you. He was seven.

Not a whole lot has changed about me in seven years, at least...not that I can tell.

But I can tell you a whole lot has changed about Phillip in seven years.

For one thing, he's not a baby anymore. He's a gangly teenager.

That kind of shook my world. I was like, "Wait! When did he grow up? We just went to Grover seven years ago and he was just a little kid!"

I mean, I knew he grew up because he lives down the street, right? But for some reason realizing that seven years ago he was seven made me feel...old. Except that I haven't changed. Except that now I'm bringing along two little girls to Grover. And where did those little girls come from? Weren't they babies the last time we went to Grover?

Anyway, we pulled up to the cabin and I helped Rachel out of the van and set her on the stone path leading up to the cabin where Grandma was standing in the doorway smiling and waving. I gave her a little nudge forward and said, "Go on into the cabin with Grandma."

Instead of going into the cabin though, Rachel started twirling around in circles, looking rather disoriented. Finally she started walking off to nowhere.

"Rachel," I asked, "Where are you going?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Rachel is a completely different person in the pool—her two week session of swimming lessons certainly paid off. She still can't swim but she's certainly much more confident in the water.

Uncle David took her swimming on Friday at the family reunion. I wasn't feeling well enough to take her so either he volunteered or my mom volunteered him. I can't really remember but somehow or another David and Rachel ended up in the pool together. He had her swimming, solo, with a noodle, (which she wouldn't even do at swim lessons (she prefers when the accompanying adult holds onto the noodle with her)).


What I should be doing right now is packing, but clearly I'm feeling rather deficient in the motivation department. There's a pile of pre-selected, pre-stained clothes sitting on a heap on the floor, ready to be packed...I just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. They're our "Grover clothes." We're going camping in Grover, Utah—which is in southern Utah—which means that our children will spend approximately four days rolling around in red dirt.

We don't bring nice things to Grover.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Call to Prayer

Last Saturday we had a culture night at BYU. It was technically for the singles ward that Reid is the bishop of but we were invited to represent the Middle East. They need representation, and perhaps more importantly they need good representation. Unfortunately being from the Middle East is a bit of an unusual thing in this neck of the woods and often people seem to believe the sensationalized rumours (eg. prejudices, etc.) they hear about the Middle East from people who know very little about the area. 

So we invited Miriam to be an ambassador for her birth country and told her that we'd be behind her every step of the way. We dressed up in clothing that was, minus the flip flops and aqel (the rope around Andrew's head holding on his keffiyah), 100% purchased in Egypt. The shoes were purchased in America and the aqel in Jordan.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rachel's FOUR!

Just because I neglected to write about my own birthday and Independence Day and everything else in between does not mean that I will neglect to write about Rachel's birthday. She turned four today, can you believe it?

She woke up this morning and ran into our bedroom chanting, "I'm four, I'm four, I'm four, I'm four!"

I pulled her into bed to prolong getting out of bed snuggle and we talked a little bit about her, since it's her birthday and all. I told her that when she was baby she was the most precocious child, determined to learn the next thing, whatever it was, as quickly as possible. She was basically running by the time Miriam figured out how to crawl. 

"Why were you like that, do you think?" I asked her.

"Because I wanted to be a little girl," she answered like it was the simplest question in the world.

"And what do you want to be now that you are a little girl?"

"A grown up," she said.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Apples to Oranges

I gravely offended someone today by suggesting that Ukrainian and Russian are so closely related that speaking both Ukrainian and Russian is a mild attempt at being bi-lingual. Now, I realize that Ukraine and Russia are separate countries and, yes, I also know that their languages differ. However, I kind of have Bernard Comrie on my side. He said in The Languages of the Soviet Union, that Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian are "very close to one another, with very high rates of mutual intelligibility....The separation of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian as distinct languages is relatively recent....Many Ukrainians in fact speak a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian, finding it difficult to keep the two languages apart."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Egyptian Gypsy

This morning the girls got into some dresses we bought in Egypt—we're going to Reid and Karen's ward party tonight, despite our constant sneezing, because it's culture night and we already committed to dress in hijabs and do the hula bring koshari. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

When we're helping

Cloze quiz time. 

When we're helping we're ____________ (happy/grumpy)
And we ____________ (sing/yell) as we go;
And we _________ (love/hate) to help mother,
For we all ____________ (love/spite) her so.

Let's see how you did. If you were answering from Miriam's perspective your answers should have been:

1) happy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's in a name?

This morning my mom took Miriam to the dentist with her—the appointment was actually for Josie so it isn't like my mom was trying to wrangle Miriam while sitting in the dentist's chair. She was merely wrangling Miriam while sitting in the lobby.

She did this as a favour to me because Rachel's been taking swimming lessons and since the pool is so close we bike there but pulling the bike trailer is a lot harder than I thought. So mostly I try to make sure that Andrew pulls it but there are some days when he just has to go into work.

Bike trailer + Rachel + Miriam = nearly 90 lbs.

That's like nearly 90% of my body weight. And there ain't nobody who should have to pull that much weight around. If I could even tell you how badly my back was hurting last week...

So on Monday when Andrew had to go in to the office, Josie came over and played with Miriam so that I could take just Rachel. That was much better.

Today Josie couldn't come play with Miriam because she was going to be at the dentist, so Miriam ended up going to the dentist.

Apparently everyone at the dentist's office thought Miriam was so cute. In fact, they spent the whole morning calling her Princess Miriam. Why? Because she told them that was her name.

"What's your name?" they asked.

"Princess," she said.

"Miriam," said my mom.

And thus she became Princess Miriam.

I just tried asking her what her name was to see if she'd give me the same answer. She didn't.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Nancy," she said.

Uhhh...that's my name.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More on Meme

Yesterday Miriam insisted on having a pillow for her nap. I suppose she's old enough for one by now since technically she's old enough to be in a big girl bed. Alas, her crib is still a crib and we're not sure when that's going to change since the crib serves as a wonderful protection for her from her older sister. 

Also, Meme's not the kind of kid who will stay in bed once she's put there and I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with having her run out of her bedroom 50 times a night.

For now she'll just sleep with a pillow in her crib. 

Give me a favourite

Rachel and Miriam were playing dress-ups together this afternoon. The ringleader, of course, was Rachel, who had the entire scenario of their game worked out and was deciding what costumes they should wear.

At one point Rachel came up to me and said, "Mom, can you give me a favourite?"

"Give you a favourite?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said, "I just need you to tie this blanket around Meme's shoulders. It's her It's her cape."

"Oh, you mean do you a favour? Yes. I can do that."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quintessential Kid

This is where Miriam perched while we had family scripture study:

Miriam at 20 months

We still go to the park often, though I don't take as many pictures because it's no longer such a novelty. It's still hard to believe that we've already hit our year mark—we've been here for 1 year and 20 days. AND we've done a whole lot of growing.

Rachel's grown, of course, but Miriam has grown.

Here she is at ten months old—the picture is from August of 2010:

And here she is at twenty months old—the picture is from June 2011:

Bite marks and corn

Miriam requested that I sing Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree. I love singing this song with Miriam because she really thinks it goes "can't catch Meme...can't catch Meme..."

Unfortunately she was too gross to even try catching so I gave up singing in favour of cleaning her off.

While I was scrubbing lunch off of her I noticed that she had several bug bites—a couple on her face, a couple on her arms.

"Where'd you get all these bug bites?" I asked.

"Rachel. Bite. Meme!" said Meme.

Rachel, who had been putting away the dishes so nicely,* wheeled around and glared at Miriam. Her previously pleasant demeanor had vanished.

"I did not bite you!" Rachel fumed. "Do you even know how many times I didn't bite you? Many times."

Apparently Rachel has to restrain herself from biting Miriam more often than she's been letting on. Fortunately I could prove her innocence because the bite marks on Miriam's arms and face simply do not match Rachel's teeth. 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Princess Festival

Andrew recently started doing volunteer work for a local non-profit organization known as In Our Own Quiet Way. They focus on water issues in Kenya, or at least are trying to focus on water issues in Kenya. Every year the founders of the organization hold a Princess Festival to earn money to fund some of their projects. This year the girls and I left Andrew at home working on fliers for Quiet Way while we went and enjoyed the Princess Festival.


We got a free ticket or we wouldn't have gone. Tickets are $30 a pop (as in per child) and who has that kind of money to spend? Not us. To give a fair and honest critique, I'm not sure we would spend $30 to attend the festival, even if we had the money to spend. Don't get me wrong; the girls loved (nearly) every minute of it. I just didn't think it was worth $30 per child. $10 or even $15—maybe. $30—no. I realize it was for a good cause, but still. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sting Pain Index

I've learned a lot about bees since being so ruthlessly attacked by one yesterday. My arm is still swollen, and it's really no wonder since a bee sting is a 2.x on the Schmit Sting Pain Index, which is the equivalent of having a burning match head flip off and land on your skin, searing it to smithereens.

No really.

I have no idea how he came up with this stuff. Apparently he's been stung by most stinging insects so he's familiar with pain of being injected with acidic venom, but how does he come up with the situations to liken them to. Like, "fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel." That's a 4.0 on the Schmit Sting Pain Index and is what you'd feel if you were bit by a bullet ant.

Now, I fully believe that Schmit may have been bitten by a bullet ant, but what did he think next, "Oh, wow! This hurts a lot. It feels kind of like that time I stumbled while walking across the nail bed and impaled my foot with a rusty nail and then attempted the fire walk. Yup. It feels just like that. I never forget a pain."

Thanks, Mr. Schmit, for bringing us the pain index. And may I never meet a bullet ant because 2.x was good enough for me.

Did you know that the reason bees die after they sting is because their stinger is attached to their internal organs? This isn't a problem if they're doing a tribal war on another bee colony because then they can sting numerous times, but if they happen to sting a thick skinned creature, such as yours truly, then their stinger gets lodged and when they try to fly away they leave behind all their internal organs. It doesn't seem like a very good plan.

Also, bee venom is used to treat arthritis. Who knew? I mean, last night I felt like I had arthritis and I just don't understand how bee venom helps. [burning pain, swollen joints] + [burning pain, swollen joints] = ? Somehow I don't get the solution [free of burning pain, swollen joints]. Perhaps unsurprisingly, bee therapy is controversial and a study in the Netherlands showed that allowing bees to sting patients did not actually improve their quality of life. Go figure. Half my forearm is swollen. And I just got stung once.

Some kinds of bees huddle around the queen all winter long and just vibrate in place to increase the temperature of the hive so they all stay warm. Other bees hibernate. Other bees just die. Winter is hard for bees.

The longer the stinger is in your skin, the more venom gets in your system. So you want to pull that sucker out as soon as possible. Mixed in with that venom are some pheromones that alert nearby bees to attack—and they will, but only if you're around their hive and they feel threatened. That's the problem with killer bees, which actually aren't more deadly than your regular ol' honey bee (they just are a tad more agressive and defend their territory up to a quarter a mile away from the hive).

Anyway, I'm sure I have more important things to do and write about.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Fortunately, Unfortunately

It's raining right now so that means that I can blog instead of working or going running, right? Today's been one of those days where the good things are very good and the bad things are horrid. So I don't really feel like either running or working right now, though I will have to do the latter eventually.

I biked the girls to Rachel's swimming lessons this morning; fortunately, it's downhill so I could coast most of the way.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


You know that feeling when you're going down a hill really fast—maybe in a car or roller coaster—and then you reach the bottom of the hill and and feel, just for a moment, right before you start to go back up, that the world has stopped working?

Your stomach jumps up into your chest and it seems as though gravity is letting you spin off the earth and everything is just... uncontrollably standing still. Just for a moment. You know that it's only happening to you—and those in the car with you—and that everyone else feels perfectly normal...but how can they?

How is it that the cows in the field aren't floating away when you feel so close to being out of control yourself? And why aren't everyone's hands white from gripping onto the nearest handhold so tightly?

That's how I felt on Wednesday, only I wasn't on a roller coaster or in a car zooming down a hill. Instead I got a message from my friend Catharine with a link to a news article and two words: Nacia's brother.

The title of the article?

Crews recover teen's body from Deer Creek reservoir. 

That's all it took for my world to stop spinning and my stomach to jump into my chest.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Weddings and cousins

My cousin Jimmy got married last Saturday. We're all really proud of him. Like, we're really proud of him.

If I counted correctly there are thirteen male cousins on my mom's side of the family. They're all between the ages of 35 and 22. And exactly two of them are married. Jimmy is one of the 22-year-olds.

Anyway, we went to his wedding reception, of course and I got the girls and myself ready to go. Rachel chose a pink dress and somehow Miriam and I both ended up in purple. Rachel had me do her hair with a fake flower in it and so then Miriam wanted something extra special in her hair, too, so we sifted through our ribbons until we found a pretty purple one that matched her dress.

It wasn't a plain purple ribbon; it had an intricate silver pattern on it. Miriam thought it was dazzling and went around the house pointing out her "wibbion" to everyone in the house who would look at her.

We picked up my mom and Josie and headed down to Provo for the reception.

"Oh!" my mom exclaimed when she got in the van, "You're wearing their colours. They used a nice purple and a kind of a sage green."

(This picture is of Elizabeth, who was wearing their green (because she's Jimmy's sister), and me (wearing the shirt I wore to the reception); but this is on Sunday, not Saturday).