Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Our friends, who we last visited in Iowa (though I suppose they were here over Christmas break), are in town while they're transitioning from being full-time medical students to being interns. Jodie will be staying at her parents' house in Idaho all year while Steve flits around the country doing rotations here and there. They stopped by to visit today, but only with their youngest. When I asked where their older kids were Jodie said they were swimming at their grandparents' (who happen to live a couple of doors down from us) with their cousins Emily and Ammon (who my girls play with on a fairly regular basis).

The girls immediately wanted to strip down and hop in their swimsuits so that we could join them. So we did.

All the kids splashed around in the (freezing cold) kiddie pool while the adults sat around around watched from the sidelines. All too soon it was time to go.

Jodie called her kids inside for dinner.

Michelle called her kids inside for dinner.

"Hey, my kids," I croaked. "Come get your shoes on."

They didn't hear me. And it's no wonder. I seem to have added laryngitis to my list of ailments.

"Hey! My kids!" I tried again. And failed again. Because of laryngitis.

"Just do whatever you want," Sister Gillespie filled in for me with a smile. "Because your mom can't talk."

She also told her grandchildren that they could have cookies and candy and soda pop for dinner.

She also gloated about never having to take children to swimming lessons ever again.

I think she was having one of those days when she's really happy that she's a grandparent because that title involves less responsibility than the title of parent.

What time do you go to the dentist?

"What time are the girls' dentist appointments?" Andrew asked me this morning.

"2:30," I told him. "It's on the calendar."

"Yeah, but what time are their appointments?"

"2:30—I just said that."

"So when are we going to the dentist?"


"Are you sure? Because who actually goes to the dentist at 2:30?"

"Did they change the time of the appointments? You're the one who talked to them on the phone yesterday," I said, wishing that he'd just get to the point.

"Don't you get it? It's like that joke: What time do you go to the dentist?"

"Oh...tooth hurty."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Surviving: Kindergarten evaluation, shots, and diabetes


I survived Rachel's kindergarten evaluation, which included her receiving two shots (that was the traumatic part). We brought our paperwork for North Carolina and our doctor filled that out—she passed everything (hearing, vision, developmental). She's 36.8 lbs (34th percentile) and 43.5 inches (79th percentile), putting her BMI at 13.7 (7th percentile). She's borderline underweight but just barely on the healthy side so we don't have to go see a nutritionist. Lucky us, though if she ends up taking after my side of the family I reckon she'll be tossed into the underweight category soon.

My mom was lucky because I don't think they cared so much about BMI scores when her kids were little or we'd have been at the nutritionist all the time. When I was four I was only in the 2nd percentile for BMI.

Whatever; Rachel's growing nicely. She's grown 2.5 inches and gained 2 lbs. since last year!

She has been nervous about getting shots for several weeks now and even asked to be homeschooled because then she wouldn't have to get any more shots (though she still would because we're a vaccinating family). This morning we were coaching her on how to cope with getting shots—just take a deep breath, look away, and count to ten. I read her my cousin Erin's post about her son Gareth getting his kindergarten shots and being surprised with how little it actually hurt. Rachel was pinching herself in the waiting room to "practice" dealing with pain. I told her to stop because pinching herself probably hurt more than getting a shot and she was making red marks all over her arm. She brought baby Nora so that she could hold her while getting shots and I brought some candy as bribery.

All our preparation was for naught.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rachel's last day of preschool

Today was Rachel's last day of preschool. Ever.

I thought yesterday was but then I found out that Rachel needed to be at school today because they'd be doing what she called a play (but what ended up being a puppet show) and she was the third little pig and she needed to be there.

Her preschool last year was wonderful and although she attended the very same preschool this year it was under new management and was not as wonderful. There has been very little communication home and poor Rachel was the only girl in her class—with five boys. She still enjoyed going and she did learn a lot. She knows the days of the week in Spanish, can sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Spanish, learned some sign language, and picked up some other interesting facts along the way.

Most recently they've been talking about our bodies. She learned all about blood and what white blood cells do and what red blood cells do and how your heart pumps your blood.

On the way home from school yesterday she said, "At school I said that diarrhea and banana bread are very similar because they're both brown and kind of squished up."

"I'm sure your teacher appreciated that comment," I said.

Later at dinner she took a sip of water, smacked her lips in a satisfied manner and said, "Ah, I'm going to make some pee now. That's what you do with water, you know."

How sly of her teacher to teach that bit of curriculum at the end of the school year. Now we get to enjoy all that talk at home while the teacher gets off free and easy.

Anyway, Miriam and I left to pick Rachel up from school a few minutes early so that we could watch Rachel's play (which not all the parents even knew about, unfortunately). They retold the story of The Three Little Pigs.

Rachel was the third little pig, a fact she was very proud of because that meant she was the one to trick the wolf.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So much screaming; make it stop

Some days I look into the future and picture myself sending Rachel to kindergarten. It's just around the corner for us, tomorrow being her last day of preschool, and we're moving to North Carolina so it will be full day kindergarten. Rachel will likely be taking the bus to school, which means she'll be gone from around 8:30 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon, as far as I can figure.

Yesterday that was making me sad—having my baby leave me all day long. What will I do without her? She's been my little sidekick for going on five years. We've spent one night away from each other (and that was the night I had Miriam and was held in the hospital overnight (against my will)).

Today the thought thrills me. What could be better than getting her out of the house all day long?

Absolutely nothing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Perfect Day (Sunday, May 20)

We woke up on Sunday morning and got ready for church; the girls were only a little disappointed that we brought play dresses for them instead of frilly church dresses but, honestly, there wasn't anything that could convince me to bring a frilly church dress to Grover. You never know when someone's going to burst out of the van after church and go running up the hill to go climb trees...

Goblin Valley (Saturday, May 19)

It was freezing when we woke up this morning. Literally freezing. As in there was frozen water outside.

So "the big kids" and Grandpa nixed their plans of doing Sulfur Creek (because that involves two hours of wading through...water) and decided that they'd head straight for Little Wild Horse Canyon and then head on to Goblin Valley and from there to home. Since they were packing up camp, the cabin was bustling with activity, which meant that we all woke up, too.

We had breakfast, I got the girls dressed...and then I accidentally went back to bed on purpose and slept until 11:00 or so while the girls played around outside and inside and Andrew and Grandma played Ticket to Ride. It was a glorious and much-needed nap but it did eat up quite a lovely chunk of the day.

After packing lunch, we headed to Goblin Valley, ourselves.

Rachel was much braver about "the monsters" this year than she was last year. Last year she was terrified and cried for a while before she relaxed and started having fun, all because Grandpa told her that goblins are little monsters and we'd be going to Goblin Valley to play on the goblins. And she believed him 100%.

He told her the same thing this year but this year she understood my explanation that Goblin Valley was named Goblin Valley because whoever named it thought the rocks looked like goblins, not because they actually were goblins, and that I grew up calling such geological features hoodoos, which isn't a scary name at all (except that it rhymes with voodoo).

Anyway, Rachel and Miriam were both excited to go hiking and climbing on the goblins.

And we took approximated one million pictures of them doing so. Are you even remotely surprised?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cabin Fever (Friday, May 18)

Before we left I had Andrew check the weather report and then I ran to the closet, dug out some extra sweaters and some winter hats and packed those, too. It's a good thing I did because Friday's weather stayed true to what the weatherman predicted and it got cold and windy and wet.

We woke up rather early in the morning because the BYU kids were getting ready to hike Calf Creek.

Rachel had been sleeping with me and Miriam's "camping crib" was right next to our bed. She stirred, sat up, reached for me, and said, "Momma!"

I pulled her out the pack'n'play and into my bed where she promptly stuck her thumb in her mouth and cuddled next to me for a few minutes. She must not have been quite awake through all of that because about five minutes later her eyes fluttered open and she pulled her thumb out of her mouth.

"Uhhh...uhh...uhh..." she stuttered and asked, bewildered, "Are you in my crib?"

She could see the side of the pack'n'play from where she was laying in my bed and assumed that I somehow ended up in her bed instead of the other way around. Her intonation just about killed me, not to mention the way she cocked her head and raised her eyebrows.

"No, silly girl!" I laughed. "You're in my bed."

All three of us just about died laughing and then got up to have breakfast in the cabin kitchen, where it was nice and warm.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grover 2012 (Thursday, May 17)

We spent the weekend camping in Grover, which is why I haven't blogged since last week. We're home now and have many stories to share. Andrew has, of course, left all the Grover-blogging up to me.

"Boy, you sure have a lot to blog about," he said last night.

"I sure do," I told him, "But not as much as you!"

Hopefully while I write about Grover he'll finish writing about Ghana.

After packing up the vehicles on Thursday morning, we departed for Grover. It's only a 3.5 hour drive but it definitely took us more than four hours to get there. Grandpa followed the van, which Grandma drove, all the way down so that he could stop whenever we had to go potty. And we had to stop to go potty so many times—we stopped three times in one hour just for Miriam, who had to go #1 (everybody out of the car, everybody goes—that's the rule, so that's what happened) and then twenty minutes later declared she had an urgent need to go #2 (this time we didn't make everyone get out because we'd just done that, right?) and then twenty minutes later she had to go #1 again (everybody out, everybody goes). She's going to have to work on coordinating her #1 with her BMs or that drive to North Carolina's going to be really long.

Eventually we made it to the cabin and started setting up camp. Aunt Dorothy warned us that we might find a few mouse carcasses about the cabin—we were the first ones to "use" the cabin this season, though Dorothy and Raymond went last weekend to make sure everything was working and to set out some mouse poison in order to evict their winter visitors.

We opened the door to the cabin and, lo:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Diabolical Diabetes

This morning I woke up and headed straight to the doctor for the three-hour glucose tolerance challenge because I failed the one-hour glucose one point. I figured that I would pass the three-hour test with flying colours since I had failed the one-hour test by one point. Before I went I jotted down the acceptable numbers so that I would know before being told whether I passed the test or not. I can be impatient like that sometimes.

I got in and they pricked my finger to get my fasting levels. Anything less than 95 mg/dl is acceptable. Mine was 72 mg/dl. I thought that was pretty good. And then they gave me the glucose drink, which I guzzled down. I thought that was pretty gross. 100 grams of dextrose? That's like how much sugar is in a liter of Coke. Who drinks that much sugar...ever? Not me.

An hour later they pricked my finger again. Anything less than 180 mg/dl is acceptable. Mine was 225 mg/dl. No good. But you only really fail if two of your numbers are high so I still had time to catch up.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Church and an Actual Day of Rest (April 29)

Since we arrived in Ghana we’ve had crazy fully scheduled days full of appointments, touristy things, and hours of driving in a bus. Today was a nice counterpoint to the busyness of this trip—we finally got an actual day of rest… on a Sunday even. Bonus!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

More pool time

Like I said, the girls got double pool time today. Rachel was a little grumpier for this round—the water was never the right temperature and the pool wasn't big enough and so forth—but she eventually calmed down and had fun.

Fun and Games

On Thursday when Andrew came home it was much too windy to do much of anything outside and we spent most of yesterday running errands (and sending Rachel to school since she skipped school on Thursday to come to the airport) so today was our first day playing outside together.

Reid and Karen's BYU ward had a date night afternoon at Kiwanis park and we crashed it with the girls. The main activity was kickball, using baby pools as bases. While "the big kids" were eating lunch our girls had a heyday in the pools (even though the water was freezing cold, right out of the tap, and it wasn't altogether warm outside yet, either). Karen had said that we wouldn't be swimming so I didn't bring swimsuits for the girls. I also didn't bring extra clothes for them. Because I'm so smart.


Last night we went to BYU's planetarium. Andrew first suggested that he take Rachel there on a daddy-daughter date but over lunch we decided to make it a family outing. For starters, Andrew just got home and Miriam and I were feeling a little left out—if he had been home a couple of days longer we might have been able to suck it up. More importantly, Andrew's parents hosted the ward empty-nester party last night and their nest isn't really empty if we're here, is it? We figured it was best to vacate for a while.

Rachel asked if we'd be going to a movie. Andrew told her that it was...but that it wasn't. It was something at BYU. Something exciting.

"Oh, is it a space show?" Rachel asked casually. "Because mom told me that there's a space show every Friday at BYU. And today is Friday, May 11th!"

"Wow. We looked that up like last week or the week before," I said. "She's not two-years-old anymore. There's no pulling the wool over her eyes!"

"Yeah! There's no pulling the woods over my head!" she laughed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Perfect timing

Before Andrew left Ghana he sent me a quick email saying that there was a chance he'd be able to skip the JFK leg of his flight and fly straight from Atlanta to SLC, which meant he would land at 10:30 AM instead of 2:00 PM (which sounded like a good deal to me). He said he'd either call or email once he knew, which likely wouldn't be until he landed in 6:00 the following morning.

I didn't realize until a while later that 6 AM in Georgia is only 4 AM in Utah. And then I wasn't too keen about his idea of calling home.

But at 4:30 AM, when Andrew was still stuck in customs, Miriam woke up feeling sad—so sad that she was crying uncontrollably. She must have had one of those weird dreams that just makes you feel...sad...but she couldn't remember what she had dreamt about so we just cuddled in bed for a while. Since I was up, I sent Andrew a text saying that he could call without worrying about waking me up. He never called (though he did call his dad who was not expecting a call that early and was a little disoriented).

About an hour later I turned on my computer to check on his flights. His plane had landed and his next flight was boarding. So I assumed he was on it and sent him a text message saying that I'd see him at 2:00.

He was still stuck in customs, however, and ended up missing that flight, which meant that he was able to get onto the Atlanta–SLC flight. He and his travelling companions had tried to change to this flight when they first checked in at the airport but the airline said it would be a $200+ charge per passenger to change tickets. However, when they landed, Andrew's professor's iPhone alerted them that they wouldn't have time to make their connection to JFK (apparently there's an app for that) and asked if they'd like the SLC flight instead. With one click of a button they were rebooked onto the SLC flight...for free...because they'd missed the JFK flight.

About ten minutes after I'd gotten back into bed, Andrew texted to tell me he'd be landing at 10:28 AM.

I texted back and said, "Sweet!"

He didn't get my earlier texts because his phone was turned off so he was pretty shocked that I was awake.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

We're on the final countdown over here! We had our last Skype conversation with Andrew this afternoon. We put the garbage at the curb for the final time (because when Andrew comes home that's going to be his job again). And I just put the kids to bed for the second to last time, which means that I only have to do it one more time before Andrew will be here to help!

I'm just a tad bit excited for him to come home—two more sleeps, two more sleeps, two more sleeps!

Yesterday was awful (with biting and scratching and fighting) but today was pretty good. My parents invited us out to see a movie so I had that to hold over my children's heads all day: be good, come to the movie or don't be good and don't come to the movie—it's your choice. They were good and any time they were on the verge of behaving poorly it only took one warning before they fixed their behavior.

For example, when I asked Rachel to put away the clean dishes she whined, "Why can't I do it after the movie?"

"Because you either do it before the movie or you don't go to the movie. That's why."

And the next thing I knew she was putting away the dishes with a smile on her face.

Perhaps I should use bribery more often.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

MTC and Playground-filled River Islands (April 28)

As I’ve probably mentioned several times already, BYU’s MPA program has really close connections to Empower Playgrounds (EPI), the organization that gives rural village schools special merry-go-rounds that generate electricity to charge electric lamps that kids can use to do their homework at night. Like, really close connections. Their executive director, Chris Owen, is a 1st year MPA student and is one of the students on our Ghana trip.

This morning we left Ho early to visit a couple of EPI’s installations in the Volta river. Half of our group came to Ghana a few days early to live on a tiny, poor island with one of the first merry-go-rounds, and EPI has since installed another more modern one on a neighboring island.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Welcome, welcome Sabbath please go far, far away.

On the way to church we talked about Nauvoo. For some reason (after Music and the Spoken Word) Rachel had asked Grandma where her parents served missions and the answer was South Carolina and Mississippi.

"Mississippi?!" Rachel yelped. "That's in Nauvoo!"

"Not quite," Grandma said. "The Mississippi River runs by Nauvoo but the state of Mississippi, which is where they served their mission, is not where Nauvoo is."

So we talked about Nauvoo on the way to church. Rachel still remembers quite a lot from that trip—her favourite part being Pioneer Pastimes. 

"And, oh, the Mississippi River," Rachel reminisced. "Remember watching the sun set over the Mississippi? It's beautiful!"

"Know what?" Miriam chimed in. "I have a sippy cup at home. It's beautiful."

Sometimes Miriam likes to feel like she's part of the conversation even if she has no idea what's going on. And sometimes in doing so she derails what was once a perfectly logical conversation. Such was the case today. 

After Rachel and I had finished laughing about Miriam's silly interjection, Rachel asked, "Can Mississippi be a boy's name, too?"

"What do you mean?" I asked. "I don't think I know anyone named Mississippi—boy or girl."

"Like...Mister Sippi!"Rachel said, roaring with laughter.

Sometimes my children are hilarious. No, really. They are.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Baby Shower and more playground time

Our friends from Egypt—Josh and Carolee—were in town this week. They're due with their first baby just a week after we're due with Benjamin so Carolee's sister threw her a baby shower today. When I got invited I promptly put it on my calendar and then forgot about it...until this morning.

So I quickly made a little baby washcloth and made a "bunny roll" out of it. We wrapped up a package of wet wipes and used the cloth as the "bow." I'm a lame gift-giver, I know. It's even worse for boys than for girls because for girls you can always whip up a few flowers and hot glue them onto barrettes or something. But for boys...I got nothin'.

The shower was fun. It was nice to see Carolee and Josh again and the girls had fun eating and eating and eating. The theme for the shower was "Ships ahoy! It's a boy!" so they had buckets full of popcorn, Swedish fish, and goldfish crackers with shovels for servings spoons. They had decorated an angel food cake as a bouy (with while frosting and strawberry stripes) and had ship-shaped sandwiches. It was all very cute.

We also got to decorate some onesies with some iron-on decals. Miriam chose a fish and Rachel chose a circle. I even let them do the ironing, which they thought was cool. They started to get a little crazy wound-up toward the end so we left to go to the park, but not before snapping a few pictures of us with the Schillings:

Friday, May 04, 2012

Waterfalls, flying monkeys, and misguided development (April 27)

Somewhere near the Togo–Ghana border, up near the bottom of Lake Volta, lies Wli Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in West Africa. Hiking up to it and is one of the perennial highlights of the MPA Ghana trip, and this year was no exception.

Star Wars Day

The girls started asking if we could go to the park when they woke up this morning (around 8:30). Somehow, though, we weren't ready to leave the house until around 2:00 when we had finally all gotten out of our pyjamas and brushed our hair. We had a few upsets—for example, Rachel dumped out the crayons and spent the better part of three hours picking them up (she picked them up while playing some sort of a game where her origami birds would pick up one crayon at a time and then deposit it in the took forever) and then we had to vacuum because even after she'd finally finished picking them up there were bits of paper and junk all over the floor so we figured we'd just clean up all the floor space so that we could vacuum the whole upstairs.

And then we had to eat lunch and that always takes forever. And then we still had to do hair.

But we finally made it out the door and to the playground.

I had left facebook open earlier in the day and Miriam noticed a picture of Yoda and then the girls wanted to know why someone had posted a picture of Yoda so I explained that today was Star Wars Day—"May the fourth be with you" was the caption on the picture. So our theme at the park today was Star Wars and the girls were climbing machines—they were much braver than they've ever been before.

Cries of "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi! You're my only hope!" echoed across the playground while the girls pretended to be trapped in various locations (or "stwapped," as Miriam would say).

Scissors and Corduroy

Yesterday Miriam had a bit of an accident. She had found a piece of string and came up to me, asking if I would help her cut it. I told her that I wasn't ready to cut string right then and that she'd have to wait. Rachel, however, was working on some sort of craft and said that she was ready to cut things. So Rachel grabbed the scissors and cut the string in half while Miriam held it taut. Then she left to go cut some papers.

"Rachel, be sure to put those scissors back when you're finished," I cautioned. "I don't want your sister to find them on the floor and think she needs to play with them."

"Don't worry, I will!" Rachel said, with a sigh and an eye-roll.

A few minutes later Miriam ran up to me looking very concerned.

"Mom!" she panicked, "There's dirty stuff on my hands! And there just keeps getting more and more!"

"Let me see," I said and grabbed her hands to look at them. "Oh! That's not dirty stuff—that's blood!"

I could see a definite cut in her thumb, which was obviously the source for the steady trickle of blood.

(You can have a steady trickle, right? Because it's not like this was a gushing wound—blood wasn't pouring out or spraying out or anything like that. This was just a little cut that kept steadily bleeding—like how the tortoise ran the race in The Tortoise and the Hare.)

Skyping and samaras

Today was a wonderfully relaxing day for me. Miriam and I walked Rachel to school in the morning and then came home to write a quick message to Andrew. Just when I sent the message he came online, which was rather surprising considering it was only around 9:30 in the morning (which would be about 3:30 PM in Ghana). They had just arrived at their hotel and he was setting up his room and decided to hop on the computer to see if we were on. And we were.

Right now he's at the Cape Coast...and loving it...of course.

He took us on a little walk from his bed, out the door, to the beach. His room seriously opens up right onto the beach, complete with palm trees and breaking waves. It's beautiful.

We spent some time chatting and making silly faces (because it's impossible to have a Skype call without at least one silly face when you're Skyping with children):

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Long distance relationship at 6961 miles

Sometimes Andrew stays in places (like the Technological College, which is where they're at now)  where the internet is so painfully slow (...because it makes sense that the Technological College would have subpar internet...) that we can't do anything fun (like use Skype) so instead we just chat to each other online and I like that almost as much. In fact, it might even be better than Skyping because then the kids don't get so wild and crazy showing off for the camera. Instead they talk and I type and then Andrew types and I talk and so forth and we only occasionally end up wild and crazy.

Today we had kind of a wild and crazy day, anyway, so I was happy to have the girls sit calmly beside me while we chatted with daddy. We started chatting around 5:00 PM our time, which is 11:00 PM his time. My friend Cristina had come over to help me not go crazy by providing me with grown-up talk and my children another body to jump on. It was most helpful.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Embassies, paranoid surreptitious religious discussions, and beads (April 26)

Our first stop this morning was the Dutch embassy, since the Netherlands have recently pledged substantial money for sanitation issues in Ghana. We met with the main sanitation officer for the embassy (a Ghanaian lady) and the students did a fantastic job presenting Kweku’s Biofill and getting great feedback and research.

Toilets and the temple (April 25)

BYU’s MPA study abroad to Ghana has three main purposes: (1) complete a consulting project for a nonprofit involved in some aspect of international development, (2) visit NGOs already working on various social issues, and (3) have fun doing touristy things. Last year we had two projects: research in price trends for vegetables sold in the open air markets, and research in the vocational and technical sectors of tertiary education for the Church’s PEF program (I worked on that one).

Jetlag, tour guides, and luggage (April 24)

We arrived in Accra without any problems (and without our luggage) and met up with the island goers at the incredible Alma House in Accra. This year, like last year, a group of students arrived in Ghana a few days before the rest of the group to live with village families on the island of Pediatorkope. It’s like camping, only with typhoid infested water, raw oysters and fish, malaria-bearing mosquitos, and extreme tropical heat. While it’s a great experience for them, I’m quite content with never, ever doing it. Six of the eight students on the trip went to the island this year (we actually have a relatively small group this year: 8 students, Aaron Miller (the faculty director), Dr. Rex Facer (a faculty member who’s coming later this week), and me).

An ordinary day

We walked to school in the rain this morning but it was cheerful and sunny the rest of the day. Unfortunately Miriam has a cold and I insisted that she take a nap so we didn't get to enjoy the sunny afternoon, though Rachel did go to a friend's house so I suppose she had fun.

Miriam wanted to join Rachel at her friend's house, but I kept saying no. Because Miriam is sick. She kept insisting that she was feeling fine but I saw right through her sugar-coated tones to the snotty, sneezy, head-colded baby that she really is.

She sneezed.

"What was that?" I asked.

"That wasn't anything, Momma. That was just a toot in my mouth. I'm not sick!" She put the back of her hand to her forehead to check her temperature. "I don't even have a fever, so...I'm not sick. I am happy. I just need to put on my running shoes and go to Emily's house. That's all. ACHOO!"

"What was that?"

"That was a tootie again. That was just a bless-you tootie, not a 'scuse-you tootie."

I could look past the occasional sneeze. I could look past the occasional sniffle. I could look past the occasional cough. It's the occasionally sneezing + sniffling + coughing that I can't ignore. That and the zoned look she keeps getting on her face.

So I said no and broke her heart into a thousand million pieces. But she got over it. And I let her walk with me to pick Rachel up for dinner, which made her feel happy.

After dinner we did some jobs (garbage, recycling, dishes) and then made pineapple-strawberry-banana milkshakes. The girls thought that was a pretty neat treat.

Then the girls wanted to go on a walk before bedtime, so we did. We walked until Miriam got bored of exploring and stuck her thumb in her mouth and started rubbing her ear. Then we turned around to come home, but not before finding (and playing with) a roly poly. 

Rachel carried that bug the whole way home (and dropped it at least a thousand times; I'm still in shock that it survived the whole walk) and then put it to bed in the bug house we made last week. She's practicing being a scientist, but she only wants to study butterflies, bunnies, roly polies, robins, and rocket ships.

Miriam turned into a little cuddle bug. She walked along for a while with her arm around Rachel before she asked to be picked up because she was just too tired to walk anymore (not that we'd gone far at all, but it was bedtime and she's sick). 

Bedtime was still an ordeal but both the girls were asleep before 10:00, so that's something!

I just checked on the extended weather forecast and it made me smile, not because our weather's anything special but because it shows me exactly how many more times I have to put the kids to bed on my own.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Keep on survivin'

I can't tell who is up—either Miriam is talking to herself, which is a possibility, or she's talking to Rachel, which means they're both up, which means getting up for school tomorrow is going to be a bear. Also, someone is kicking the wall. Whatever...

So far we've survived a week and a day sans Andrew.

The general consensus is that we're doing pretty okay. My mom told me yesterday that, in spite of being pregnant, I seem to be handling this year's Ghana trip better than I did last year. And just this evening Reid asked if I noticed that the girls seemed to be handling Andrew's absence better than they did last year.

I have a few theories regarding this:

1) We must not have handled last year's trip very well.
2) We are handling this year's trip much better than last year's.
3) This year my children are 2 and 4 instead of 1 and 3, which is better...somehow.
4) Andrew must have been busier than we thought this past semester since the difference between having him "home" and him being on the other side of the world is negligible.