Friday, February 27, 2015

Bootie Booty

I've been doing quite a bit of crocheting lately, so much that Andrew remarked, "It's like you're nesting...but without standing up."

He might be onto something.

I've made multiple pairs of booties and I even broke out the blanket I started just before Benjamin was born (thinking I still had two months to complete it—ha!) but never finished (I will finish it before Zoë is born). My most recent project has been a dress for Zoë. In theory it was going to be her coming home outfit but once I started working it up it became rather clear that it's not going to fit a newborn. Zoë will have to grow into it.

I found a free pattern on this knitting/crocheting website. It's literally just a scan of an article from an Australian newspaper dated 1888. It was quaint—they called it a petticoat—and used easy enough stitches that it gave me enough confidence to break away from the usual hats/booties/blankets that I make.

In order to work the pattern, though, I had to translate it from British to American terms (why can't we just agree on which stitch is which) and rework a few more things that simply didn't make sense to my brain. Oh, and I used remnant yarn that Andrew's aunt gave to me back when Miriam was toddling around so I had to throw some stripes in. I thought that the yellow I grabbed would easily work up into an infant dress...but when it ended up looking so big I knew I needed to make some adjustments.

Anyway, I finished it tonight!

Snow Day #9

Last night my friend Laura braved the ice and snow and gave me a ride to book club.

I never volunteer to host book club because my living room sits about five people (even family scripture study feels squishy sometimes) and the bedrooms are right off the living room, which means my kids would sit awake all night listening to everyone talking. Not that we'd say anything terrible, just that they should be sleeping.

Attendance was so sparse last night, however, that I really could have hosted it. There were seven women there. I didn't even read the book (but I finished a book I've been working on since January sometime, so); it was still fun.

On the way home, Laura and I talked about ukulele practice. The roads were still rather icy so I knew Andrew would want to take the van in the morning (there's no way his scooter, trusty though it is, could navigate all the ice ruts), which would leave me without a vehicle. But we're supposed to play at Relief Society night this Thursday so we had to get together to practice.

The best—the only—solution was to have me host ukulele practice.

"That'll work," I said. "I'll just need to clean my house."

"Oh, you don't have to do that," she said.

"Oh, I really do though," I said.

Our entire house was covered with soggy snow stuff and muddy footprints—just part of the joy of snow days!

When I opened the front door, though, I caught Andrew in the act of cleaning the house.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Day #8

As promised, there will be no complaining about today's snow day being unwarranted because we actually got snow this time! And, boy, was it ever exciting snow!

Andrew had stayed up late working so we went to bed rather late. Benjamin came in while I was clearing some clothes off the bed (by putting them on hangers like a responsible adult) and grabbed my leg and I might have freaked out a bit, but we got over that and soon Benjamin was settled in his little nest on our floor and we were ready for bed, too.

I finished brushing my teeth, turned off the lights, and hopped into bed. As I was getting comfy I saw lights flashing around the room.

"Did you see that?" I asked Andrew.

"See what?" he asked.

"I don't even know," I said. "I think it was lightning...or something."

"It's not lightning," Andrew said. "It couldn't have been lightning. It's probably just some animal outside setting off the light outside our window."

"But it's flashing," I said. "Not steady."

"Well, the light on the side of the house has been flickering lately..."

"There! Did you see that?!" I asked when I saw a brilliant flash again.

"No. What?" Andrew asked.

"It happened again!" I said. "How are you not seeing this?!"

"My eyes are closed," he said. "I'm tired."

"Well, open them!" I said. "This is crazy!"

We heard a boom and saw a green and orange flash and the power went out.

"Is it the transformer?" Andrew asked.

Somewhere behind our house is a transformer, we think, because that's where we hear the noise whenever the power has gone out before.

"I don't know," I said as the power came back on.

There was another boom and a flash and then silence. This time the power did not come back on (and wouldn't for over twelve hours).

"Guess it was just the transformer," I said. "But that was a really big flash! It lit up the whole sky!"

We got out of bed and fumbled around in the dark to find flashlights and extra blankets. In theory, I have a flashlight that I keep on my nightstand for emergencies such as this. In reality, that flashlight is often commandeered by the children for shadow puppets and ghost story telling and other official childhood business. In other words, it was not where it was supposed to be.

Fortunately, cellphones will do in a pinch and I was able to find one of our camping flashlights (that we keep on a shelf in our closet because with the number of thunder storms we get out here it's just smart to keep them handy) and then I went to check on the girls. They were having a "sleepover" in Rachel's bunk, along with a billion stuffed animals, so they were pretty roasty-toasty but I threw an extra quilt on them, anyway. When I did Rachel woke up and I explained to her that the power was out, but that she should go back to sleep. She made sure she knew where her little battery-operated reading lamp was that she got for Christmas, first.

Next I put some extra blankets on Benjamin—who we've been putting to bed in double layers of pyjamas anyway since he's incapable of staying under a blanket—and spread one on our bed as well.

We checked the carbon monoxide detector and researched things like how long food can stay good in a fridge without power and a million other things I was so worried about that I couldn't sleep and then we went to bed.

I kept seeing flashes.

"Did you see that?" I asked. "That's not the transformer. The transformer is kaput. I'm pretty sure it's lightning."

"I didn't see anything," Andrew said.

"Were your eyes closed again?"

"It's two o'clock in the morning," he pointed out.

"Well, this is really cool. Will you just get out of bed and open the blinds a little so I can see out the window, because I'm not sleeping, but I'm also not getting out of this bed. I feel as graceful as a walrus; I'm not rolling over."

He did, because he's awesome. And then we just watched the lightning for a while, since we determined that that's what it was. Lightning during a snow storm is rather amazing. It lights up the sky and reflects on the ground and you can't even hear the thunder because everything is so insulated. But it's also rather freaky...because lightning during a snow storm? Who thought of that?

Anyway, we were eventually able to fall asleep and we woke up to seven inches of glorious white stuff. I'm only able to call it glorious because we've been waiting for it for so stinking long (did you see our picnic in the sunshine yesterday?). Ordinarily I feel rather meh about snow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow Day #7

We've officially used up all our snow days, so today is our first snow day that wasn't built into the calendar. How we'll make that up (and the next couple that are surely coming down the pike) is yet to be determined.

At least we had a beautiful day (47°F!) to play with instead of being cooped up or out in the cold!

The kids spent most of the day playing outside after they managed to get dressed appropriately. Miriam had a tough time getting ready to go outside. She put on one pretty dress after another and I kept telling her to go back and change into something that could get muddy.

Finally she emerged from her room wearing a super old play dress that we grabbed for Rachel at a trading tables event years ago (so has been through at least three children, though I would guess more) and a pair of leggings (that came into our possession through similar means) that already had a small hole in the knee.

"Mom, these are old enough that they, like, have holes in them," Miriam said, coming out into the living room and twirling so I could see what she was wearing.

"Perfect!" I said. "Go outside!"

And that's where they stayed for hours.

We even had a picnic on the back deck. It was just that beautiful. The only reason Benjamin is wearing a hat is because he has been waiting for his turn for days but one of the girls is usually wearing it (because, as you can see, it's a little too big for him so he gets stuck with a smaller hat and one of the girls wears this bigger one).

Dreams Do Come True in New Orleans!

Pretty much 100% of my knowledge of New Orleans comes from Disney's The Frog Princess. I'm going to guess that it's not entirely accurate information, given that people turn into frogs in that movie, but it is what it is.

Andrew, on the other hand, has been down to New Orleans a couple of times since we've moved here. Apparently it's a popular city to hold conferences in. Because that's why Andrew goes—not for Mardi Gras, even though this most recent conference lined up perfectly with this year's Mardi Gras celebration.

Due to last week's winter weather, Andrew had the option to change his flight to an earlier one (for free) or to risk having his flight rescheduled to a later flight, should his flight be cancelled. He opted for the earlier one because he had to be there to present a paper. So he changed his flight and was lucky enough to find another night in a hotel. He ended up staying in three different hotels, wheeling a broken suitcase all around the city as he was hotel hopping.

The first few days he did anything but conferencing. He read books and couldn't help but attend the Mardi Gras parade because his hotel was right on the parade route! He had to wear a special bracelet to prove he was a hotel guest (they were kicking out all the riffraff from the street, I guess).

New Dresses

My dresses from eShakti came today and even though I'm over six months pregnant I couldn't wait to try them on. And they were magical—not at all like trying on something from the store! They magically fit across my shoulders and around my arms and through the bust, were long enough, and were just the way I wanted. That never happens!

I can't say much for the waist right now. I didn't exactly measure my waist. I just took a number listed on the sizing chart from a swimsuit place I used last year (LimeRicki—linked to the sale page, of course, since that's the only page I've ever visited—where you can find cute swim suits that'll actually cover your body and they have my size which is cool because finding swim suits in a store is nigh unto impossible).

I had two different gift certificates for eShakti, both set to expire the beginning of March and I shopped on a day when they were having a 30% off sale (evidently I should have waited for today; they're having a buy 2, get 1 free sale). It was awesome because I don't think I've ever had that much money to shop with all at once! I shopped around for hours (literally; it was sad) trying to find designs that would be forgiving of waist measurements. I found two that I thought would work. They both came with belts. They also both button so I can wear them while nursing.

Rachel, photographer extraordinaire, took pictures for me this morning:

I tried on the blue dress first and it even fit over my belly, which made me a little nervous for sizing, but I think it will be alright. My belly hasn't quite pushed up into my rib cage yet and that's where the dress is most fitted. So while it's a little loose it'll be fine. It's also jersey knit so it's rather forgiving.

The red dress has a side zipper and, to be honest, it's not zipped up in these pictures (but I won't have any trouble zipping it up after Zoë's here). It's a little more fitted and the fabric isn't as stretchy as the blue dress (in fact it's not really stretchy at all) but I think it will be fine once I'm actually able to try it on. At any rate it will fit better than anything I could have found in a store (clothes shopping is the worst—seriously)!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tomorrow and a tooth

The kids have been obsessing over the musical Annie. Rachel's been reading about it on wikipedia and looking up the words to songs. They've been turning on the soundtrack and singing and dancing in the living room. It's been a lot of fun!

Benjamin loves the song "Tomorrow!" because tomorrow is one of his favourite words. He's spent so much time practicing the song that he no longer says "tomowwy" and can mostly say it correctly. Here's a video of him singing to himself in the mirror (don't mind the noise of the girls fighting/apologizing in the background; they've been stuck at home with each other (snowed in!) for over a week):

Andrew didn't come home until around 10 PM today. He came bearing bo-berry biscuits (wise man). The kids were all still awake (even though I dragged them outside at 7:30 for a pre-bedtime walk, hoping they'd wear themselves out, get chilled to the bone, and be ready to stop jumping off the couch already so we could snuggle down in our nice warm beds but apparently they were just wired).

It was Rachel who answered Andrew's IM to me, asking me if I wanted bo-berry biscuits or anything.

She wrote back: "yeah! For Rachel to." and then tried to fix her mistake with this: "Oh oops. Rachel to?"

He wrote back, "Leaving now (to car). Toooo!" and she said, "Why did Dad type that? Toooo? That doesn't even make sense."

Clearly it's because she should have typed too and not to. Andrew knew immediately it was her and not me. And when he walked in the door, Rachel raced out to get a bo-berry biscuit, which she couldn't bite because her loose tooth hurt too much.

Andrew insisted on pulling it out. There were tears. But only a few.

And she found that eating her bo-berry biscuit was much easier once it was out (and there was a little piece of broccoli stuck under her tooth, so it was a good thing we took it out; Andrew said, "I hope you had broccoli for dinner tonight!" We did).

There goes tooth #3 for this girl (finally—I think she's been waiting for another tooth to fall out since around this time last year). Growing up right before our eyes, dropping teeth into our hands. Parenting is awesome. And a little gross at times.

Snow Day #6

My comfort this week will be that Rachel spent twice as long in school than she did last week because she went the whole day on Monday. Last night I looked at the forecast and I started to see closures rolling in—not here, per se, but still. Andrew and I haggled over whether it would be a two-hour delay, and early-release, or a full day off for us.

When the alarm went off at 6:30 AM school was already on a two-hour delay, so we turned off Rachel's bus-rider alarm, and went back to bed. By the time we checked the news again school had been cancelled so we went ahead and turned off our alarm as well.

Not a flake had fallen from the sky when we dragged ourselves out of bed, but by the time Andrew left for school (at 9:30 AM) we could tell we were legitimately snowed in.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Family History—we are doing it

Tonight for FHE we played a little game with our family tree. I wrote four generations of our family on piece of paper (the kids, me and Andrew, our grand/parents, and our great-/grandparents) and let the kids take a turn drawing a name out and figuring out where they fit into our family tree. My original plan was to also have everyone (who had one) tell a quick memory of the person but we got off to a late start and had to cut things short.

Still, the kids enjoyed it and they did a pretty good job. The names that were tricky for them were their great-grandmothers since I used maiden names instead of married names.

Here are the kids sitting "kiss-koss-appy-sauce" on top of our family tree:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

All good things, all good things

There is not much sweeter than listening to Benjamin take a turn during family scripture study. I'll have to record him sometime when I have two extra hands (ie. Andrew's). He says nearly everything wrong—but very seriously—and he turns the page every few words. It's darling.

But not as darling as his prayer this evening.

He's been a little confused about our living situation lately. Every time we Skyped with Daddy Benjamin would say something about "Daddy's house" and "our house." We've all been telling him that Daddy's only going to be gone for one week but that, of course, means nothing to him. One day, one week, one year, forever? What's the difference? He has no concept of time. He just knew that Daddy was gone.

He's spent a lot of time looking out the window, watching for Daddy, and whenever we've left the house (three whole times this week, folks) he looks for Daddy everywhere. Then when we get home and he sees Andrew's scooter sitting in the driveway he says, "Yay! Daddy's home!" and I have to remind him that Daddy's not home. It's been pretty pitiful, and I can't say for certain because I don't know what's going on in that little head of his, but I think a lot of his acting out this week has been from not understanding what happened to Daddy.

I was helping him say his prayers this evening. Sometimes he repeats whatever I say verbatim. Other times he'll make up his own stuff. Tonight was a mixture of both.

"Dear Heavenly Father," I said.

"Dear Heznee Saah," Benjamin said.

"I'm thankful for this day," I said.

"Sank-you me sor day," he said.

"Please bless me to have a good sleep," I said.

"Peas bess me has good seep," he said.

"Please bless Daddy to come home safely," I said.

"Peas find mine Daddy! Him so much lost!" Benjamin said passionately.

Tomorrow morning will be a happy morning for these kids, I think. And—who are we kidding?—for me, too, though I'll see Andrew before the kids because I'm letting myself stay up to wait for him (being the mean mom that I am, I'm not letting the kids wait up).

Friday, February 20, 2015

Snow Day #5

Dear South,

I realize you're used to winter weather only being around for a day or two and then disappearing completely for a while until it decides to rear its ugly head again. But we've already missed five days of school this season and here's the forecast for next week (temperatures in Fahrenheit):

What's your plan? 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow Day #4

The novelty is wearing off. My patience is wearing thin.

This morning started out with a bang, quite literally. Rachel said Benjamin got too much cereal for himself. He said that he didn't. She said that he did. He said that he didn't. She said that he did. And then he shoved her with all his little two-year-old might.

She fell off the bench, scraping her back, and flinging her bowl of cereal across the room.

I put Benjamin in time out, checked out Rachel's back, and swept the floor...but I'm still crunching the occasional Cheerio so I should probably sweep again (and I'm sure I will).

Benjamin's been very physical this week—lots of hitting and throwing and attempts at biting and even a little bit of stabbing with tiny LEGO swords. His poor sisters.

When I call him on the carpet for it he just shrugs and says, "I don't like [whoever he abused]."

So he's been spending a lot of time with his nose in the corner or being sent to his room to play alone or sitting on my lap, and he's certainly been spending a lot of time apologizing.

But the good news is that he's spontaneously started waking up dry in the mornings! I told him yesterday that if he woke up dry again (today) that we could make a new sticker chart for him, so we did, and he's so excited about it! I asked him how he earns stickers while we were in the bathroom and he explained it quite well, and then some.

"Me stay dry h'all night long!" he said (using his usual little mixture of whole and all), "Me get sticky on my sticky chart!"

That was the exact answer I was looking for, but then he went on for his "then some" explanation: "Me not stay dry halloween night! Halloween night—so scary! Me stay dry hall Kissy night! I like Kissy! And us have Kissy tree! And my friends come—Mickey Mouse comes! Oh, Santa comes! I stay dry Kissy night, hall night long!"

Evidently saying h'all reminded him of Halloween, which reminded him that he much prefers Christmas.

It's a good thing he's cute otherwise we'd probably have a harder time dealing with his less cute moments.

In other good news, he woke up last night, as he usually does, but I was able to put him back to bed in his own bed, where he stayed for the rest of the night. I slept solidly from like 1 AM to around 5 AM. That is the largest block of sleep I've gotten in ages. And it felt marvelous. And of course I went back to sleep at 5 AM because of course I did.

Rachel got to go to a friend's house this afternoon, which was a nice change of pace. We all bundled up to walk her halfway there, meeting our friends halfway to drop her off, and it was, indeed, rather cold. I had the kid all bundled up before I had myself ready to go so they went outside and waddled around in the cold until I joined them. I brought Benjamin's stroller (so we could move faster than toddler pace) and a blanket (so I could wrap him up) out and when he saw me unfolding his stroller he came running.

"Oh, nice!" he cheered, climbing in.

We drove to pick her up because we decided we didn't want to repeat the walk. And we survived.

Currently? Currently I'm ignoring the children who are supposed to be picking up LEGO. And I guess they are; they're just doing it really slowly.

I'm just writing this and chatting with my friend Crystal on Facebook (thanks, Crys, for keeping me sane since 2006) and trying to come to terms with Snow Day #5 coming up tomorrow...oh, and the snow in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday next week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow Day #3

I woke up this morning and then stayed in bed for a few hours, sipping water, while the kids watched Arthur on Netflix...for a few hours. Part of me felt a little guilty about it. Part of me felt like my throat was on fire. I let sickness win over my guilt and the kids had their way with the television.

When I got up things were already starting to get drippy and melty outside. It was a beautiful sunny day and even our neighbourhood streets, which hadn't been paved at all, were fairly clear of ice and even dry in some parts. I realize not all streets in the area were as clear as mine (later I drove on some that weren't) but in all honesty it was just the kind of sort of day where I was rolling my eyes at the south (sorry, south). The ice—even in the shade—was slushy. Anyway...

More snow was in the forecast for the late afternoon and now we're in for a bit of a cold snap. By cold snap I mean like -15°C (3°F). Here that's record breaking low, just so my Canadian friends understand. It hasn't been that cold down here for like one hundred years or something, so I guess it's not just a "cold snap" to the locals. It's like...unfathomably cold. It's hide-yo-kids-hide-yo-wife cold.

I've been in colder weather than this. And we still had outside at recess, mind you, because "indoor recess" doesn't happen until temperatures dip below -20°C (-4°F). And that's not like "Oh, no! It's below -20°! Let's cancel school!" it's just like, "It's a little chilly today. Let's keep the kids inside, eh?" Because we still went to school even when it was below -20°.

Are you serious?! I can hear my southern friends saying. Yes, I am serious. Very. Want evidence:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day #2

Technically yesterday wasn't a full snow day so we don't have to make it up, but today is still our second snow day of the year. Tomorrow will be our third. And I have a feeling we can just kiss a full week of spring break goodbye because I doubt we'll make it to school this week.

Not only do they cancel school for snow down here. They also cancel it for cold.

Which, I mean, fine. Kids might not have appropriate gear and freezing at the bus stop isn't terribly fun. But, like...I really shouldn't get started on this subject.

Besides, I'm flying solo this week so I don't really mind not having to deal with the morning rush and the freezing cold bus stop on my own. So far it hasn't been too bad, probably because our awesome ward has taken pity on poor, pregnant, and sick me (because I finally got that cold my entire family had last week—ugh!). We had lasagna for dinner on Monday (thanks, Alisyn!) and still have half a pan we can eat another night.

The kids have been fairly good. I thought that by letting them play out in the snow for two hours before bed and then letting them watch half of Annie until super late last night that they'd at least sleep in this morning, but they didn't.

Benjamin woke up first but I told him to lie down and be quiet because no one else was up yet. About half an hour later Rachel ran into my room screaming, "Where's Miriam?!"

"She's in her bed...sleeping," I moaned.

"No she's not!" Rachel insisted. "She's gone!"

So I got up and raced to their bedroom with Rachel and there was Miriam, sleeping peacefully with her head on her pillow and the blankets up to her waist.

"Oh," Rachel said. "Huh. I checked and she was gone. She must have blended in with the bed or something."

No one was going to sleep after that incident, although we did try. Or at least I did. But somehow Miriam magically woke up (Rachel insists she woke up independently; Miriam insists Rachel woke her up) and the girls got up for breakfast and then Benjamin was like, "Well, if they're up..."

The girls across the street were already up and sledding down their driveway (their mother wasn't impressed with how early they'd gotten up, either) so my kids rushed through breakfast so that they could play outside as well. The girls are both fully capable of dressing themselves to go outside—zippers and everything—so all I had to do was bundle up Benjamin and make sure the girls had their ears covered.

Benjamin doesn't have appropriate snow gear...yet. Last year a friend gave us some 3T snow pants but I completely forgot about them until I went to pull out Rachel's snow pants yesterday and then I was like, "Oh, look at these!"

We held them up to Miriam and then we held them up to Benjamin; ultimately we decided that they'd be better on Miriam so she got the real snow pants and Benjamin got the makeshift snow pants. Not only did they go up to his ears almost, but who knows how many plastic bags I'd need to fashion snow pants for Miriam?!

I used the same pattern I used last year, with regular clothes under footie-jammies, followed by a layer of plastic bags, followed by another pair (or two) of pants), except this year I had to use two extra bags to make the legs long enough. I was actually pretty excited about that because it was proof that this child is growing. I mean, he outgrew shopping bags—what further evidence could anyone want?

He was pretty excited about his snow pants.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow Day #1

Outside I can hear the tinkle, tinkle of falling ice pellets, so there will be no school tomorrow. We stayed outside and went sledding in the dark after dinner. I'm hoping the kids will have worn themselves out enough that they sleep all through the night and sleep in tomorrow (especially Benjamin).

Here he is enjoying the snow we got late this afternoon:

This poor little boy is completely convinced that Santa is coming—because it's snowing and Santa always flies his sleigh through the snowy night to bring us presents. Always.

Alas, Santa won't be coming.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


In Rachel's entire life I think I've not sung a lullaby (or twenty) to her before bed only a handful of times. She'll wait up until midnight to hear a lullaby if she has to (and has).

It's not even like I'm an amazing lullaby singer. Lately I've been stuck on I Am Like a Star and that's the one song everyone gets. Except Benjamin. He's kind of in the twenty lullaby zone right now, but his sisters have been weaned down to one and there they'll stay.

Miriam, though? She misses lullabies all the time. I think she's missed lullabies a handful of times this week. She's been sick and has been falling asleep so fast that I can hardly get to her. She falls asleep while I'm singing to Benjamin. She falls asleep while I'm doing the dishes. She just...falls asleep...which is so weird.

Tonight she was being wild and crazy—kicking people and climbing all over everyone during skype. And Benjamin was jumping off the couch. And the two of them were twirling around in circles all over the living room. Once we'd finished skyping with my parents we did scriptures and prayer, read two short stories, and then the kids were sent straight to bed.

I sat down at the computer and was like, "Phew! The kids are in bed! Goodbye crazy, hello quiet!"

I looked at a draft of my niece's graduation announcement that my sister sent to me and I gave her some feedback. Like, for example, I told her that the year is 2015 now. It's a mistake anyone older than age ten would make—and that's why you always have someone edit your work. I remember laughing at silly adults who couldn't keep their years straight when I was a little kid. But then I turned into a silly adult and I can't keep my years straight and it just keeps getting worse.

Anyway, ten minutes later—ten minutes—I went in to sing to Miriam first because I'd missed singing to her so many nights in a row and was starting to feel bad about it. So I figured Benjamin could wait (he was having fun jumping on his bed, anyway). But Miriam was fast asleep. Completely zonked.

In ten minutes!?

Meanwhile, Benjamin's, like, jumping on his bed and Rachel's getting all hyper because she overheard Andrew tell me that DPS announced school will be released three hours early tomorrow, pending this huge snow storm that's due to arrive at like 8:00 at night (so getting out of school at noon is totes justifiable (winky face, south—you know I love you and your snow fearing ways (I love a lot of things that drive me crazy (but honestly, delay school, let school out early—I don't care; half days are awesome. Just don't cancel a day because making up snow days bites))).

25 week belly

Some people, like certain sisters of mine, have been hinting about a belly shot, which is something I just haven't gotten around to this pregnancy. I don't know why; maybe it's just a forth pregnancy thing. Like, I'm pretty sure I just look about as pregnant as I did with everybody else...except maybe a little more pregnant. Today at church people kept saying things like, "Oh, look! You're finally starting to show!" and I was like, "Uh...starting?"

I didn't wear yoga pants under my dress to church, in case you were wondering

Quiet Time Spoils

The girls were sent to their room for quiet time this afternoon. They read and coloured and played together; the things they drew were quite impressive, I though (but I'm a little biased).

Here's Miriam's "before and after" princess picture (Rachel helped her with some of it):

Cinderella, Briar Rose, and Snow White

I don't like that wind

Last night we were under a wind advisory from 7 PM to 6 AM and it sure was howling out there. I can't actually remember if the warning was for wind speed or for wind chill but whatever it was, it brought a chilly "arctic airmass" down to us, fast. We went outside once to look at the trees and stood on our balcony barefoot and without sweaters. It was freezing and snowing when we opened the door again just minutes later.

Benjamin was beside himself with worry, which might be an inherited fear because his daddy was terrified of wind when he was a little boy (and I'm totally interested in further research in this area because I've thought fears could be inherited for years now).

"Mom! What's that sound?" he called from his bed.

"It's the wind," I answered. "Go to sleep, baby."

A few minutes later he said again, "What's that sound, Mom?"

"The wind," I said. "Just go to sleep."

"What's that sound, Mom?"

"The wind."

"Mom! What's that sound?"

"The wind."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started bright and early with me taking the kids to a basketball game Miriam was cheering at and Andrew heading off to a scout merit badge training session. Benjamin's been looking forward to this basketball ever since we mentioned it during calendar on Monday at family night. Usually Andrew just gets up and takes Miriam to these Saturday morning games so we just don't mention the word "basketball" and Benjamin has no idea what he's missing. He loves basketball.

Anyway, before I even got out of bed Andrew said, "Oh! I can give you your present now!" and he opened the drawer of the filing cabinet.

"You didn't even wrap it?" I asked.

"Nope!" he said, completely unashamed. "Here!"

He tossed me a box and I didn't even have to open it to know what he got me—because he didn't wrap it. It was a pierogi mold!

"You're not going to cry?" Andrew asked.

"No. Have I ever cried over a present?"


This has been a goal of his since we got married. He's done some thoughtful things—just not anything that would make me cry.

With dinner plans underway in my head, I forced myself out of my cozy bed and headed to the breakfast table. We managed to make it to the basketball game on time and Miriam did a cute little Valentine's Day cheer at half-time (and regular cheering throughout the game).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Miriam's Valentine Haul

With a fever of 102°F and a constant cough, Miriam had to miss preschool yesterday (I think I already mentioned that) and she was a little bit distraught because it was her Valentine's Day party! Of all the day to miss preschool it had to be party day.

I, personally, believe that parties are an integral part of childhood education. Letting the kids break away from their ever-important daily schedule to just have fun together for an extended period of time? Super important. And she missed it.

Not that they don't have fun other days at preschool. But, honestly, this little lady goes to preschool solely for socialization. She already done learned her ABCs good enough at home that focusing on a letter per week is a little agonizingly slow for her. But she really likes seeing her friends every week and I think it's probably healthy for her to get away from me every once in a while.

Anyway, her teacher (who was actually Kiki this week since Annie's on maternity leave) dropped off her valentine bag this afternoon and Miriam was in heaven!

She went through and read each valentine and gave me the somewhat ridiculous candy count:

3 packages of M&Ms
3 lollipops
1 Rice Krispie treat
1 Fun Dip
1 box of conversation hearts
1 saltwater taffy

and 2 pencils and 1 little thing of bubbles (which are obviously not candy).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My kids (yes, plural) slept for two hours this afternoon

Sometimes I swear my kids sit around thinking up ways to make me a liar.

I put both Benjamin and Miriam down for a naps around 1:00 and he was asleep by 1:30 while she was almost asleep. I set my alarm for 3:30 thinking I wouldn't need it because the kids would surely wake me up before two hours was up.

But then my alarm did go off and it was awesome.

My kids were still sleeping. Both of them.

Benjamin's awake now. He stumbled out of his room a few minutes after I got out of bed. But Miriam's still sleeping. I'm torn between waking her up so she'll still go to bed tonight (she hasn't taken a nap in ages) and just letting her sleep because she's actually sleeping and not coughing.

I must say that having a quiet house for two hours was amazing—even if all I did for those two hours was sleep and my house is still a complete mess and even if it means my two little ones are so sick.

Energizer Bunny

Lately Benjamin has been our last child asleep at night and our first child awake in the morning—this is on top of still waking up a few times at night. He's still taking a nap every day, thank goodness (though only for about a half hour).

So, when friends say things about how their three year old is still taking a two hour nap every afternoon (that she has to be woken up from or she'd sleep longer) and still sleeps well at night, I kind of just shake my head and laugh to myself.

That's not my child.

You know who my child is? Anna, from Frozen, gives you a good glimpse into (two-thirds of) my children with this single quote: "The sky's awake, so I'm awake, so we have to play!"

Benjamin's constant question at bedtime is, "Tomorrowy...sun comes up?"

"Yes. Tomorrow and everyday. The sun comes up every day."

He'll ask this probably ten times a night. He's just so worried about it. And in the morning the first words out of his mouth are usually something along the lines of, "Sunny day! Hooray!" or "Sun did come up!"

A few mornings ago he actually woke up before it was even light outside. When he mentioned "sunny day" after I told him to lie down, he said, "Oh, not sunny day?"

"Not yet. It's still sleeping time."

"Me hear birds. Birds awake, me awake, too!"

And when he wakes up, he's so entirely awake. This morning he woke up when Andrew got up to shower, so Andrew just took him in the shower with him rather than let him wander the house and disturb everyone else, which was probably a fabulous idea because one of his favourite first-thing-in-the-morning games is to play "Santa's sleigh" on our bed.

He sits down on Andrew's pillow (because Andrew's usually the first one out of bed) and pulls the blanket up to his waist. He uses the top blanket as reigns. He bounces up and down while tugging on the blanket and yelling at the top of his lungs nonstop.

"Hey, hey! I'm Santa! 'Is a mine Santa's sleigh! 'Ook at mine 'eindeer! Hey! Hey! Hey! Me-ee Kissmas! Hey! Hey! Hey!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

For me?

Late last night just before I was ready to drift off to sleep, Andrew said, "Oh! If a package comes tomorrow don't open it."

"Why not? I asked.

"Because it's a present," he said, like it should be obvious.

"For what?!" I asked.

Andrew didn't answer right away, so I let my wheels spin.

What possible reason could he have to get a present for me? (I was already assuming it was for me since he told me quite specifically not to open it). Mother's Day wasn't until May. My birthday's not until June. Those celebrations are rather far away and he can't always be counted on to get me presents for those days, anyway (which is totally fair because I'm equally sporadic in my gift-giving).

Turns out he didn't answer right away because he was giving me a minute to figure it out. I never did.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


We had preschool at our house this morning and kept things pretty low-key as usual. The only excitement of the morning was when, instead of ringing the doorbell once, L. pounded on the storm door and screamed, "Let me in! Let me in! Let me in!" before ringing the doorbell approximately ten times in rapid succession.

I just about had a heart attack.

But we survived that and went on with our quiet morning, reading a story, doing an activity, reading a story, doing an activity, ad infinitum.

Benjamin knows our "routine," which is short and sweet (and doesn't include the pledge of allegiance because hearing children chant that creeps me out; I'm probably the only "preschool teacher" in the entire United States who doesn't include that in their morning routine but I just...can't). We start preschool with our alphabet song. This one, with sign language.

This morning I asked the kids to sit on the couch (to keep them from jumping around the room) but Benjamin was so busy doing something else (not sure what) that he couldn't come right away so he yelled, "Don't sing assabet song out me! Wait me! Don't sing out me!"

He loves the alphabet song. He's probably just about ready for a little joy school of his own...or at least more frequent trips to the library for story time. He couldn't stop gushing about the story time we went to yesterday. At dinner when Andrew asked him what his favourite part of the day was he said, "Go ay-bee." When Andrew asked what he did at the library Benjamin sighed happily and said, "Oh, sing songs! 'Ead stories! Make hearts!"

If he was a little more proficient of a speaker he'd probably have tacked on, "All in all, it was a pretty great day!" He had this aura of satisfaction about him the whole day, and in a similar way he just adored preschool this morning.

Monday, February 09, 2015

There is beauty all around when there's

Tonight for Family Home Evening we set a goal to show more love to each other—and to try to notice when others are being loving to us—this week. Hopefully that will promote some harmony in our home. We'll see...

We also sat down together at the kitchen table and got valentines ready to send out to our family. Here's the damage we did:

1 birthday card
10 hand-written notes
11+ kid-made valentines*
25 store-bought valentines

...all for 33 relatives. We stuck to great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And I think we even managed to get everything in the appropriate envelopes. As an added bonus I finally sat down and started a spreadsheet to hold everyone's addresses so I can stop asking for them (or hunting them down in old messages) every time I want to mail something. I've been meaning to do this for years now but I only ever think of it at Christmastime and things are always a little too busy at that time of the year to actually do it. But February? February's not so busy.

I totally had time to do it in February. Why didn't I think of that before?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sick or not sick? That is the question

I spent most of last night at the toilet, shivering uncontrollably, and doing unmentionable things, but otherwise feeling fine. By that I mean that I didn't have a fever. Still, I was mighty uncomfortable.

When I felt things were finally over I crawled back into bed and texted Andrew to tell him that I'd been up half the night being sick. I realize he was right there beside me, but the man is an absolute zombie when he wakes up. You can't tell him anything (or things like this happen) because chances are high that he's still half-asleep and dreaming until he's been awake for a good ten minutes.

The only time—the only time—I've ever seen him jump into action after being torn from his sleep is that one time I was 33 weeks pregnant and screamed from the bathroom, "Help! I'm bleeding!"

That is the one time.

And even then he didn't quite ask me what was going on until we were halfway to the hospital.

I've just learned to not wake him up for much. I mean, occasionally I do, like if multiple children are throwing up in the middle of the night. And I'd probably wake him up if the house was on fire or something. But even that one time I woke him to tell tell him I was hearing screaming he just patted me sloppily on the head, assured me it was the wind, rolled over, and went back to sleep...when what it really was was our neighbour being chased around by her knife-wielding mentally-unstable brother-in-law.

Super oops (but don't worry; someone else helped her).

So last night I just texted him to explain how sick I'd been. He read them after his alarm (and a couple of snoozes) went off and since I was awake (because I'm usually more disturbed by his alarm than he is) he asked me how I was feeling and suggested that I stay home and rest while he braved church with the three kids alone.

That was an excellent plan, truthfully, because I don't think there was any way I could have peeled myself out of bed.

And then he asked an interesting question: "Is this a side effect of your shot?"

I hadn't even thought about it so I just said, "I dunno. Maybe."

Both nausea and diarrhea are listed as possible side effects, but I suppose any number of things could have caused to my little problem as well. I mean, I got the shot on Friday morning and didn't have any nausea until Saturday

"Are you going to get up or are you going to stay home today?" he asked. "Why don't you just stay home today?"

"Yeah," I said, and pulling an Andrew I rolled over and went back to sleep and didn't get up until church was nearly over.

All I know is I was so miserable last night and so tired this morning and I'm so grateful Andrew took the kids to church by himself today.


I'm still so grateful Andrew took the kids to church by himself today even though Rachel's skirt was on inside out the entire day and Miriam wore a dress that is approximately three sizes too big for her—things I didn't find out until everyone came home from church.

Ice cube capades and rereading books

"I not has ice!" Benjamin pouted in the middle of dinner last night. He threw such a fit about it that we knew he had to have ice or we'd just have our hands full. We read a story recently called The Baby on the Way by Karen English, and with a title like that you'd think it would have something to do with preparing an soon-to-be older sibling about their new role but it wasn't about that at all. Rather it's about a grandson who asks his grandmother if she was ever a little girl, then if she was ever a baby. She answers and tells him that she was even "the baby on the way."

So the story is the grandmother retelling the story of when her family was preparing for her to be born, which I suppose is kind of like a story preparing children for a new baby in the house, but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting from the title.

Anyway, about in the middle of the book she said that whenever she would cry her mama would tell all the siblings (there were nine of them) to "Give her what she wants," because "she was tired by the tenth child.

Shoot! I'm tired by the fourth (which I've mentioned isn't a 'large' family in my religious culture (though ten is certainly starting to sound large) but is apparently considered a large family here...and it does pull my attention in a crazy number of directions at once) so our Plan A was to give in—as soon as—to his simple request so that we could continue dinner in peace.

The main problem was that no one wanted to get up to get ice for him.

He can use the refrigerator to get ice or water depending on what setting was last used, but he has no idea how to change settings (and I'm not sure he can reach those buttons even with the stool he has to stand on to reach in the first place). Lately he's been enjoying getting water so much that every morning—almost the very first thing—he gets out five cups and fills them one by one, declaring, This a Daddy cup, this a Mommy cup, this a Shasha cup, this a Mimi cup, this a my cup!"

(And in case you're wondering his current pronunciation of his own name is "Benja-him").

Anyway, he wasn't about to get his own ice. We didn't want to disturb the girls from their plates because they were already eating so slowly. I certainly wasn't planning on standing up (I've got that fourth baby in my tummy, remember?). That left Andrew, who had plenty of ice in his own glass, which probably inspired Benjamin's little tantrum in the first place.

Andrew reached his hand into his glass to fish out an ice cube for Benjamin (he's done this trick before), but Benjamin flipped out more.

"Don't touch the ice, Dad!" he shrieked. "Don't touch it! Dad! DON'T!"

"Why not?" Andrew asked, pausing his ice-fishing expedition.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Family Walk Fail

This morning Andrew took Miriam to cheer and then they went grocery shopping. I stayed home with Rachel and Benjamin and we worked to clean up the house a bit.

This afternoon Rachel went to a birthday party at a neighbourhood friend's house, Miriam went to play with the girls across the street, and Benjamin and I took a nap while Daddy prepped dinner. It's a beautiful day and he wants to barbecue (and I say all the more power to him). By the time I woke up, Benjamin had already been awake for a while and Andrew was ready for a nap, so he fell asleep on the couch and Benjamin and I played around and then started getting ready to go on a walk to pick up Rachel from her friend's house.

Benjamin and I woke Andrew up, but Andrew made no sign of ever getting off the couch, so I assumed he wasn't coming with us. I put Benjamin's shoes on, put his sweater on, said goodbye, grabbed the keys, got the stroller out of the trunk, put the keys back inside, and left. After all, I figured it was probably a good idea to pick Rachel up on time since she'd been there for four hours.

Andrew swears he had gotten up to go to the bathroom and get ready so he could come with us (I don't recall seeing any evidence of this). He made Miriam come home so she could come on a family walk with us but by the time she was ready to go we were long gone and Andrew freaked out a bit.

"I don't know if I've been watching too much Broadchurch or what but I suddenly started thinking, 'What if she was abducted right under my nose? I don't even have a solid alibi. They're going to think I did it!'" he told me.

Friday, February 06, 2015

An afternoon at the museum

This afternoon we went to the Museum of Life and Science for a couple of hours because Benjamin has been dying to go. Every time we get in the car he says, "How 'bout us go moo-see-um!"

I had to take the kids to a parent meeting for the upcoming silent auction for Rachel's school on Wednesday night. When we got out of the meeting it was almost 8:00 PM and it was super dark outside.

"How 'bout us not go home," Benjamin suggested. "How 'bout us go moo-see-um?"

"It's dark," I said. "The museum is closed."

"Tomowwy—sun comes up," he said. "Us go moo-see-um tomowwy."

"We'll see," I said. "I think Daddy needs to take the car tomorrow though."

"Us go moo-see-um! Just take Daddy's sukey!"

"Oh," I said. "There's no way we'll all fit on the scooter!"

Baby babblings

We may not have Benjamin sleeping through the night yet but we do have him trained to come quietly into our room and lie down on the floor. He used to wake me up and then cry about not being allowed in the bed. But I just can't be kicked from the outside while I'm being kicked from the inside. I just can't. So on the floor he goes.

In theory he's supposed to sleep on that blue mat and the maternity pillow (which my friend Melissa gave to me because she doesn't need it anymore, but which I tried and didn't like as much as just my regular ol' body pillow) is supposed to keep him from rolling off said mat (he calls it his "nest" or his "puppy bed" depending on his mood). Obviously it doesn't work out like that in real life and he ends up either banging his head on a piece of furniture or sleeping on the hardwood floor, so I usually have to get up in the middle of the night to make adjustments to Benjamin's bed (such as lifting his poor wee head off the hardwood floor and wedging a pillow under it as I did early this morning).

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Why my house is a mess even though I clean all day

Whining Warning; This post contains a lot of whining

Benjamin woke up bright and early yesterday morning completely obsessed with the idea of playing basketball. It was all he could talk about and he talked about it a lot.

"I get ready! Go backy-ball team! Me...I need mine backy-ball! Sun come up—backy-ball day," he nattered on and on about basketball.

Unfortunately for him, yesterday was actually take Miriam to preschool day. I explained this and he said, "Aster Mimi go pee-school, me...I go backy ball team!"

"I'm not sure that's going to happen, little buddy," I said. And it didn't.

We dropped Miriam off at preschool (co-op with Lincoln) and then I had the gall to drive home. Benjamin was livid. He screamed the whole way, only calming down at intersections long enough to beg me to turn the wrong way.

"Go 'is way, Mommy! Go 'is way!" he'd plead.

I'd turn the opposite (and correct) direction.

"No! Not 'is way! Mom! Mine backy-ball team not 'is way! Mom! Go uzzy way! Stop! Mom! Nooooooo!" he'd scream until the next intersection.

He is like his father (and like his father's mother) and knows his way around town pretty well. I, on the other hand, still rely heavily on the GPS because I was born without a sense of direction, so it always amazes me when he'll tell me step-by-step how to get to church (which is a twenty minute drive withI believe, six turns). Anyway, the point of all that is to tell you that he knew exactly where we were going and it wasn't where he wanted to go. In my defense, I wasn't quite sure where to take him. You can't just show up at Cameron Stadium and say, "My son would like to play and/or watch basketball now, thank you."

So when we got home I showed him the little basketball hoop we have in the backyard but it was too cold outside to be interesting, I guess, because he went down the slide once and then asked to go inside.

Once inside I settled him down in the living room with his cars while I cleaned the bathroom.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Baby Booties

I went to a baby shower for my friend Mickie this past Saturday. After three boys she's finally getting a girl!

I worked up a pair of baby booties for her and though they didn't turn out as well as I was hoping they turned out alright:

Even though I've been crocheting for over ten years now, it's a mostly self-taught and very part-time hobby so, crochet-speak still stymies me every now and then. I've figured a lot of things out over the year, for example, YO means "yarn over." It doesn't mean that the pattern-writer is interjecting their pattern with "Yo!"

So it's "insert hook into stitch, pull up a loop, yarn over, insert hook into next stitch..." and not, "insert hook into stitch, pull up a loop, yo!"

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sleep, baby, sleep

This is what Benjamin's room looks like every night after he falls asleep:

If I could get him to magically fall asleep, I would. But I can't. So he gets reading time like his sisters. He comes out to show me every book he chooses.

"'Ook at 'is one, Mom!" he'll say.

"That's great," I'll say. "Get in your bed and read it to yourself."

As much as I love story time it has to end at some point and the kids have to be sent to bed. I can only talk for so long before I just can't talk anymore. Or be touched anymore. And the kids just have to go to bed. They just have to.

It's not like I'm stingy with stories either. Tonight we read three picture books and finished Stuart Little (and we had so many chapters left that my voice was cracking by the end). And then the girls demanded to know if there was a sequel because, honestly, that ending in no way ties anything off at all. So I had to tell them, in the words of E.B. White,
"There is no sequel... A lot of children seem to want one but there isn’t any. I think many readers find the end inconclusive but I have always found life inconclusive, and I guess it shows up in my work."
The girls shuffled off to bed, hardly satisfied with that response. Benjamin went to watch the Super Bowl half-time show with Daddy (he really liked the dancing sharks) and then was sent to bed again but instead started playing the piano. He was quickly caught being out of bed because...piano....and was sent to bed again where he decided to "quietly read books by himself," which mean that he continued to get out of bed every two minutes to show me what book he's going to read next.

Unlikely synonyms

Benjamin's still mastering the art of speaking (who isn't?) and only recently has begun using the pronoun "I" to refer to himself. This morning he was full of "I go church, too!" and "I found my pants!" and "I see something!"

It made him suddenly sound grown up since yesterday was full of "Me go, too!" and "Me see something!"

He's getting quite easy to understand and I'm thrilled because there was a time when I wondered if he'd ever attempt speaking at all—let alone master it. Still, he has his own little code that you have to learn if you want to understand him well enough. I'm still learning this code.

A while ago the kids were obsessed with playing fairies. They each found a long, thin object they decided was a wand of sorts—a pencil, a stick, and an actual pink sparkly wand. I'll let you guess who had which wand.

Just kidding. I have to tell you that Benjamin had the pink sparkly wand. And he would not let the game die out.

The girls gave up the game after a few hours but Benjamin carried it on for days. He clung to that pink sparkly wand like it was his lifeline. And he'd run around the house tapping people with it and saying, "Poof! Me a shark! Daddy a shark! Mommy a shark!"

"Did you turn me into a shark?" Andrew asked.

Benjamin looked up at him, furrowed his eyebrows, and ran away. He came back a few minutes to try to explain himself.

Cheering at Duke

Miriam's squad got to cheer during half-time at a basketball game in the Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke. Everyone seems to be super impressed when they hear this until we clarify that it was a women's basketball game, as if that should make any difference. The women's basketball team is actually ranked higher than the men's basketball team but it's certainly not as celebrated. The stadium wasn't nearly as full as it's been when we've attended men's games—there were no Cameron Crazies or anything like that—but I think that was better for us.