Monday, March 30, 2015

First day of spring break

This morning was drizzly and dreary. We played board games together (the Harry Potter LEGO game, Chutes and Ladders (*shudder*), and Headbandz) and everything was peachy keen until I suggested the girls clean their room before lunch. Then, oh, boy!

Their room is mostly clean now but tempers were running high for quite some time, long enough for the sun to come out and dry up all the rain, so after lunch we took a walk to the park. I suppose Benjamin and I were the only ones who walked. Miriam and Rachel rode their bikes.

One of the swings at the park broke (a long time ago) so the girls figured out how to swing spider-style.

They were quite happy with themselves until they ended up bonking heads. Then Rachel was furious with Miriam for accidentally bonking her in the head. It's not like Miriam escaped the encounter unscathed. She had a bonk to match the one Rachel wore. And besides, I pointed out to Rachel, didn't you just kick Miriam when you were swinging solo and send her sprawling on the ground. Miriam was covered from head to toe in mud.

"That's different!" Rachel fumed. "I didn't do that on purpose."

"And neither did Miriam. That's what accidentally means."

Things were better after she calmed down again.

Things I didn't say at church

Yesterday in Sunday School we discussed Matthew 11: 28–30, among other things.

Side note: Having never really attended adult Sunday School for any length I realized that I have no idea what the adult classes are called. And I only realized that yesterday when a young woman in our ward, who recently returned from her mission, popped into the room and asked me, "Is this Gospel Doctrine?" and I said tentatively, "Ummm...yes..."

That sounded right, but really how different are the names "Gospel Doctrine" and "Gospel Essentials." Isn't doctrine essential? What class was I in? The right one, surely, whatever one that was. Why don't we have singing time? I sure miss singing time. I'm happy to not be wrangling children for once but I do miss singing time.

"Oh, there's my mom!" she said. "Looks like this is the right place."

So, it is called Gospel Doctrine.

Matthew 11:28–30 says:
28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We were just getting to the good part when I had to go check my blood sugar (nine more weeks; who's counting?) so when I came back in I was happy to hear that Mosiah 24 had been mentioned, a beautiful story where the faithful people in bondage—Alma and his people—prayed to God for deliverance and the answer to their prayer was, essentially, "not yet." But, the Lord also promised that he would ease their burdens—not by taking them away, but by giving them strength to bear them.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
I find that scripture so easy to relate to because how often has a trial ever been completely vaporized before my eyes? Like, never. But I do find that I'm stronger than I think I am and that I'm able to get through trials that I didn't necessarily think I'd be able to handle, and I think that's because I'm yoked with the Lord. Or at least trying to be.

One woman mentioned that we need to be "equally yoked." When we think of that we typically think of putting two equal things together, and that was essentially what the woman said as well—you yoke two oxen of approximate size and strength together and they magically can do amazing things. I nodded because we've all heard that a billion times, but the more I thought about it, the more I found it...wrong.

I am not equal to the Lord. At all.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

That awkward moment when...

Choir was a trying experience today. My kids were not in the mood to behave. I know you all think they're perfect little angels, but punches were thrown the chapel! My sweet little girls in their matching Easter dresses were punching and kicking each other, pulling each other's hair, stepping on each other's head. They were doing it as discretely as possible, but it was happening nonetheless, and when we got into the van they got a stern talking to and cried all the way home.

Blotchy-faced and quite solemn, they filed out of the van when we got home.

"And I was so hoping to take a picture of you in your matching Easter clothes," I said.

In return I was given icy stares of death. No pictures were taken this afternoon.

Benjamin was misbehaving in a different, more regular, yet still exhausting, basic two-year-old sense. He was throwing toys around, running around screeching, and constantly escaping through the chapel doors into the corridors of the church building, which in turn give him access to the parking lot and wide, wide world.

Early on in our choir hour, my friend's husband, whose name happens to be Ben, left the chapel after speaking to her briefly. He usually takes 4/5 kids home after church, while she and one daughter stay for choir (her to sing, her daughter to hang out with my daughters). My little Benjamin followed him right out, so I got out of my seat, raced down the platform stairs, and followed him into the hall.

"Benjamin, honey!" I called out.

It was only when my friend's husband turned around in response that I realized I'd suddenly put myself in a rather awkward position. Turning a little bit red in the face, I did the only thing I could.

I raced up to my Ben, grabbed his arm, and said, "My Ben, you need to stay here."

"Gotcha," other Ben said, waving goodbye.

It wasn't too big of a deal, I suppose, but it was momentarily awkward/embarrassing and I still find it terribly, terribly funny.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Movin' and groovin'

This baby can be quite the wiggle worm. Miriam and Rachel love to feel her moving around. Benjamin's only recently begun to enjoy feeling her move, though I think he's still a little tripped out by it. If this baby is hard for me to envision, I can only imagine how weird/hard it is for him to imagine there's an actual baby inside my tummy. But then again, perhaps his imagination is better oiled than mine is.

Yesterday when I sat down to rest, Zoë started having her own personal dance party. Miriam and Benjamin—especially Benjamin—were having a grand ol' time feeling her bounce around:

Easter Egg Hunt

The primary Easter egg hunt was was this morning. I'm not sure what to say about it other than that it happened, the kids found plastic eggs full of candy, donuts and juice/milk were served.

It was an egg hunt. The kids were happy about the candy. The end.

I wish I had more to say about this activity but that's literally all that happened. It was still fun for the kids to get to run around for a minute, hunting eggs and seeing their friends.

The kids were so excited to choose their baskets this morning. Miriam chose a beautiful basket with a long handle and a floral ribbon around it, but then Rachel stepped in and said with a hint of superiority, "I'm going to use this blue basket because it will be easier to handle during the hunt, which means I'll be able to find more eggs. Your basket will be too difficult to control." Miriam promptly switched out her basket for a red one in the same style as Rachel's.

Benjamin was, perhaps, the most excited of all the kids. I asked him if he even knew what happened at an egg hunt.

"You just find eggs, Mom," he said.

I don't think he has any memory of Easter egg hunts past, but I suppose the phrase "egg hunt" is relatively self-explanatory.

I can't believe March is already over and Easter is right around the corner, but we are rather happy to be on spring break!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Birth Day, Riley! (or, The Internet was Down so I Caulked the Bathtub)

This morning I was planning on working on the family newsletter after breakfast, but instead the internet went down so I decided to re-caulk the tub, a project that has been a long-time coming. There are a couple of moldy spots on the tub that I have not been able to get clean the entire time we've been here and it's been driving me fairly crazy.

A few weeks ago when I was scrubbing the tub it dawned on me that the tub wasn't moldy, rather the caulk was shriveled up and rotting and needed to be replaced.

Today was the day I tackled that.

The internet was down, it was raining, and Andrew took the car to campus.

What else was I going to do?

The first step was to remove the old caulk. We bought what I thought was magical caulk remover, but it turns out it's only magical if you apply enough elbow grease. It took me hours to get the old caulk out. When I was finished I...took a nap...and then got up and got ready to re-caulk the tub.

I got my supplies, studied some how-tos online (the internet came back on), loaded the caulking gun, snipped the tip of the caulk tube, and got to work...kind of.

I squeezed that trigger with all of my might but nothing happened and I thought to myself, "This (also) is going to be a lot more work than I bargained for if I can't even get any caulk to come out!"

And then caulk started oozing out the back of the tube because, as it turns out, you're supposed to put something long and sharp down the tip of the caulk tube to break the seal inside. I missed that step, probably causing dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of handier people than me to roll in their graves.

I found a long wood skewer in a drawer and poked a hole in the tube and then spent the next hour caulking the tub while also trying to keep caulk from oozing out the back of the gun.

It was a much messier project than I intended it to be but we ended up with a beautifully caulked tub, if I do say so myself.

The leftover caulk, as well as the caulking gun, went into the trash because there was no way to salvage them that I could see.

"That's why we got a $2 caulking gun," Andrew shrugged when I showed him the damage I'd done.

Other casualties of this project were an entire roll of paper towels and my sanity, though the latter should be recuperated in time no longer spent agonizing about how to get those mold spots off the tub (because they weren't mold spots—just gnarly old caulk). I suppose the overall cleanliness of the house was yet another casualty because Benjamin and Miriam got out the trains and the blocks and the farm and books and little pet shops and...everything else we own.

I'll make them clean that up tomorrow after the egg hunt.

While I was without internet and was busy with my bathtub, more exciting things were happening in other parts of the world (if you can imagine anything more exciting than caulking a bathtub).

My friend went to the hospital to be induced (41 weeks and so ready to have this pregnancy over with) and Auntie Sarah went in the hospital to spontaneously have her baby boy (9 days early). Auntie Sarah was scheduled to be induced on Monday (at 39 weeks) because this little boy was measuring big but he decided to come on his own.

He was born this afternoon around 4:00 our time (so around 2:00 in Utah), and the doctors were right—he was big! 9 pounds, 9 ounces and 20 inches long! Way to go, Sarah!

His name is Riley William and doesn't he just look sweet?

I already put his birthday on the calendar, not that I'm great with birthdays (but I am trying). His birthday is the same day as my parents' anniversary, so his birth was a good reminder to wish my parents a happy anniversary (happy anniversary again, Mom and Dad)!

It was a pretty productive day, even if I didn't get as much done on the family newsletter as I'd hoped to. I did, however, finish reading my mom's cousin Ted's autobiography—all fifty-nine pages of it. He passed away in October so I'm trying to condense his autobiography so I can include a life sketch in the newsletter. I was also sent a "brief life sketch" of his but he had nine kids and dedicated a paragraph to each of them, so it was more a "family sketch" than a "life sketch." I hope to include a few good stories from his longer autobiography.  Once I'm done with that the rest of the newsletter should be, as Andrew would say, plug and play. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Soccer season begins!

The girls had their first day of soccer today. We rushed through dinner and then loaded everyone into the van. I dropped Andrew and Rachel off at their field (Andrew's coaching Rachel's team again) and then headed over to Miriam's field with Miriam and Benjamin. It was a rather frenetic hour, but we made it everywhere on time.

A few girls from Rachel's team last season are on her team this season again, and her friend Callin is playing as well, though he's on a different team.

Miriam didn't know anyone on her team, though her friends Rhett, Marcella, and Alden are all at the same practice location on different teams/sports (baseball is going on right now as well).

Annie, Marian, and I were all relieved to see each other at practice because we each have two kids doing different things at different places and were wondering how things were going to work out when we didn't have two parents available on any given Thursday next Thursday night when Andrew won't be around.

Annie said she'll be at that practice location next week (she's switching off with her husband when they can) so she'll keep an eye on Rachel while I take Miriam to her practice. I told her we'd be happy to take charge of either of her boys if her husband ever gets called in.

Thursdays (and Saturdays) are going to be crazy the next few weeks. Game days are going to be crazy!

It'll be worth it, though, I'm sure. Miriam had a blast today and Rachel was already in love with soccer so she had a lot of fun, too.

Benjamin had a little less fun. I made him go on a diabetes walk with me and he tripped and fell and scraped his elbow and knee. Both wounds were bleeding but he just hopped right up and took off away from me as fast as he could.

"Don't touch it, Mommy!" he cried (like, literally cried). "It's fine. Me just fine. Don't even touch it. Me just keep 'alking. Me fine. Keep going. Don't touch it."


I have been on the phone for a full hour sorting out insurance nonsense.

So, haha, one of my insurances will only cover the Abbott brand—with a $30 co-pay. And my doctor's office said that would be my cheapest option. But my other insurance will only cover the brand Accu Chek—with a $3 copay.

I'm pretty sure that $3 is cheaper than $30, but how can one tell, really? I mean, they both have threes in them, so...confusing!

Now I'm kind of upset that I opened that stupid bottle of $30 test strips when I could have gotten what's got to be practically the very same thing for $3. Not that I had any option because I have to test four times a day (and with Benjamin they only had me check fasting numbers and after one meal, so twice a day (no wonder this seems more complicated this time)) and I was all out of strips.

Guess who has two (rather large toe-)thumbs and will be switching their prescription next time they go in for an appointment? This girl.

Too bad I already had my appointment for this week this morning. Not that it matters because I already opened the silly bottle of test strip gold that I'll be bleeding all over for the next 25 days.

Insurance is such a huge mess. Whose idea was it, anyway? Public market, competition, good for the economy, blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

Universal coverage for all, and for all a good night. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Learning curve

"When Zoë come?" Benjamin asked this evening.

"In a couple of months," I answered.

"Maybe open your tummy door and just get Zoë here, Mom," Benjamin suggested. "That'd be great! That's a great idea! Just open tummy, get Zoë out!"

He's a little excited to meet this mystery person, as we all are. I've reached the point of my pregnancy where it's offensive when people don't notice I'm pregnant. We had the missionaries over for dinner and for dessert we fed them a box of lemon cookies that Andrew had picked up for me pre-diabetes. The plan was actually to have strawberries for dessert. Andrew cut them all up and didn't even add any sugar (just for me)...and then he upset the bowl when he was getting it out of the fridge and the strawberries went all over the kitchen floor. Boxed cookies was our spur-of-the-moment backup plan.

"Hey—that expires on my due date!" I protested jokingly. "I could potentially eat those!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Maybe? Say maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Last night for family night Andrew gave the kids a lesson on gestational diabetes and how they can help our home be a happier place. The essence of the lesson was that Mommy gets really possessive about food when she's "dieting" (and by dieting I mean controlling my diet, not restricting calories).

When I was pregnant with Benjamin (we were living with Andrew's parents at the time) I had a stash of high-protein snacks—nuts and beef jerky and things—to balance out my daily with something other than peanut butter. One day my bag of beef jerky went missing and with all my pregnant emotion I wailed, "Who stole my beef jerky?!"

Grandpa sheepishly brought it up from his office. The pesky Beef Jerky Thief has yet to live that moment down. That, or I have yet to live down how upset I was about my beef jerky being missing. Either way you shake it, it's a perfect illustration of how possessive I get about food when I'm pregnant and on a stricter diet than usual.

My children are snack thieves as well. I understand that I'm in charge of feeding them and I usually put them first but currently I'm (constantly) thinking about what and when I need to eat next.

The other day I got out a string cheese, opened it, and took a bite. While I was chewing, Benjamin casually walked by, slipping that string cheese from my hand as smoothly as a relay racer passing a baton.

"Thanks," he said, and then he looked at it and frowned. "It's broken."

"Yeah," I said. "Because I got it out for me and already bit it."

"Okay," he shrugged, heading out the front door to play.

I was getting a new string cheese out of the fridge when Miriam walked by and said, "Is that for me?" And then Rachel was like, "What's for her? Can I have one, too?" And I wad like, "Leave me alone! I just want a snack!!"

So after getting cheese out for everyone I finally got some cheese for myself. Not that it's really a big deal to get cheese out for everyone. But this happens every time I try to get food ready. Even if I've just fed the kids, they'll still want what I'm having for a snack. Like, "Oh, but you only gave apples to us. Why do you get apples and almonds?"

Another thing is exercising after meals. Sometimes they're good about helping with that and other times they're not. I try to go on a half-mile walk or do fifteen minutes of yoga soon after eating, but I have this entourage of underage human beings I'm responsible for. So if I want to go on a walk after a meal I have to get them to want to go on a walk as well, and like I said, sometimes they're excited to go and will get ready right away and will walk at a nice pace and be completely cooperative.

Other times it takes me an hour to convince them to get their shoes and jackets on and then they walk like snails and insist on balancing on the curb and picking every dandelion they see and I think to myself, "Well, this walk was about as taxing as sitting on the couch."

So instead of always forcing them to go on walks I'll turn on a yoga movie. Recently if I turn on a Yoga Kids movie they abandon me after five minutes and I'm left doing alphabet yoga on my own. But if I turn on my prenatal yoga they all want to do it with me. Weirdos.

Here's Rachel thinking she's funny because she followed the directions and placed "one hand over her heart and the other hand over her growing baby." Miriam and Benjamin chose to remain with their hands in namaste.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I am not the energizer bunny (but Andrew might be)

Sometimes I feel like I have no big projects going on. Other times I feel like projects pile up into a big monster and attack me from behind. March is turning out to be one of those months. This week is turning out to be one of those weeks.

Andrew was sick all week but by Thursday he was starting to feel better. I'd been asking him to get boxes of kid clothes down from the attic so that I could sort through them before Trading Tables.

"Next week," he kept telling me. "Next week."

The poor man was in the middle of trying to throw together his dissertation committee and working on a billion other things, so it's not like he had anything else to do. But I'm nesting! Where are his priorities?!

Finally we came to this week—the week when there was no "next week" on which to put off a trip to the attic—and he comes home from school throwing up. So I waited some more. I waited until Thursday night when I came home from book club. At 11:30 PM.

"Did you make it up to the attic?" I asked.

"Not yet," he said. "But I'm planning on it. Just let me finish a few things here and then I'll go up."

So at 1:30 AM (yes, you read that correctly) he went up into the attic to find the boxes of kid clothes, which were a little all over the place, especially the box of baby girl clothes, which was way at the back because we haven't needed it in years.

"It's kind of a mess up here," Andrew said. "I'm going to organize it really quick."

"I know I said I really wanted these boxes," I said. "But do you know what I want even more right now? Sleep. I want sleep. Right now."

"I'll be fast."

He eventually came out of the attic and announced all the Christmas stuff was together, etc. etc. etc. And we went to bed. Hallelujah! But then I had the worst heartburn of my life. Heartburn like "wake up at 5 AM literally choking on stuff that exited your stomach the wrong way" heartburn. It was the worst night ever. I could hardly get out of bed on Friday morning...and kind of didn't.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Women and church and change and why it'll probably be okay

In 1979, President Kimball "gave" an address at what was then called the "Women's Fireside Address" where he charged women to be "sister scriptorians," a phrase that didn't take long to be inducted into standard Mormon vocabulary.

Andrew and I were having a conversation today and that phrase popped into my head so I used it...and  then I figured that I should probably read the talk so I knew the context around it. I've said it a million times before and have heard it even more times, but I've never read President Kimball's talk.

In my defense, I wasn't even born when it was given so...I'm not entirely culpable.

But how in the world did I not know that his wife read his talk on his behalf?! And why in the world did that shock me so much?!

I think it's a beautiful sentiment that The Prophet of God sent his wife to read his address to the women of the church (he, meanwhile, was sick in a hospital bed), especially when his talk begins with him assuring us that "the ways of the world will not prevail, for the ways of God will triumph."

He then states that "we had full equality as his spirit children. We have equality as recipients of God's perfected love for each of us"

Then he quotes Elder John A. Widtsoe, who wrote, "The place of a woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for men and women alike" (that's from the Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161).

Sending Sister Camilla Kimball—his equal partner, his "special helper"—to fill in for him proves to me that he believed those words fully. I just can't get over my surprise that a woman acted as the mouthpiece for the prophet. Still, another part of me can't believe that I should have cause to be surprised.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's official

Well, I finally got the test results for my three-hour glucose tolerance test and, like I knew I would, I failed spectacularly. My fasting numbers were too low and my 1, 2, and 3 hour levels were too high. Yes, all of them.

I have another check up tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll get to learn more then. I already have a prescription for a glucometer, test strips, and lancets. Yippee. My favourite.

It's a good thing I wasn't checking my numbers today because I'm sure they'd be all wonky. Andrew—of all people—developed a sort of stomach bug. Usually it's the kids who get sick first and then the parents inevitably get it later. This time Andrew was the first to go down.

I started feeling queasy last night and although I haven't thrown up I haven't felt great all day. Andrew gave me instructions to let the kids watch Netflix all day long. So I did. And I only felt slightly guilty in the few minutes I managed to stay awake between 7:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Who knew it was even possible to sleep that long after sleeping at night?

Then when I finally ate something I ate a hefty meal of...chicken broth. Miriam made cheese and crackers for herself and Benjamin because she was my "super duper helper" today, which basically meant she was in charge of changing shows on Netflix and opening packages of fruit snacks.

Benjamin fell asleep on the couch this afternoon and when he woke up it took him a long time to perk up. Here he is lying on the floor, telling me that his "all me" hurts:

It's possible he'll be the next to come down with whatever this is (because my "all me" certainly hurt today) though I'm sincerely hoping that the only person who responds to this bug with vomit is Andrew.

Now even though I still don't feel great, I'm going to do some yoga with the kids...because that cereal I had for dinner probably needs to be worked through my blood stream a bit more efficiently than my body is able to do on its own. 

You should have heard the cheers when I announced cereal was on the menu for dinner. 

What can I say? I'm a crowd pleaser.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Science Fair

Phew! We made it through the science fair! Rachel seemed to have a good time; she was a little shy about explaining her project at first but she got braver as the night went on.

Here she is setting up a little quiz about her project:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekend Ramblings

Yesterday Andrew took Benjamin out shopping while I had a nap and the girls had quiet time. I'm not even sure how long I slept or how many books the girls read or how long the boys were gone. They were on a quest for chilis and couldn't find any at our usual stores. They also picked up some angel food cake and sugar-free angel food cake (which is still rather high in carbs) because we were having friends over for dinner. Benjamin was quite exhausted when they got home.

"Us got food at Costco," he told me.

"You did?" I asked. "Did you eat lunch there too?"

"No," he sighed. "Us cake...go nuzzy store...get more sood...go nuzzy store...get more sood...go nuzzy store..."

"You did a lot of shopping," I said.

"Yeah. My tummy is so dumpy! Me need 'unch!" he said.

So we gave him some lunch. At around 3:00. No big deal. And in our defense he got free samples at Costco so it's not like he was starving.

We had one of Andrew's colleagues and her husband over for dinner. We've been meaning to be more social with people in his program, but we're a little introverted and have a billion kids. Perhaps those are lame excuses but it's all we've got.

Friday, March 13, 2015

There is safety in following the prophet

Miriam's been trying to give a talk in primary for three months now. We were on the schedule in January but it was our first week back from our trip to Utah and we didn't get a reminder email so we completely spaced it. So we were put on the schedule for February, except the day that we were scheduled for ended up being the special stake conference. So we were put on the schedule for March and...we're so ready for this.

When I told Miriam her topic she asked for a paper, went into her bedroom, and emerged a few minutes later with this:

Little things

"Me need change my pants and my underwear," Benjamin announced when he came inside for dinner last night. "But!" he explained, "But, me not pee my pants. Me just fall down in a puddy!"

And indeed he had. He was soaked with muddy water, which I'll take over pee any day.

We went on a mile-long walk this morning, going down a dead-end street we don't ordinarily walk down because I calculated it out and going down to the end of that street puts us at a half mile. The last time we went down that street was on the great sand-gathering expedition of 2014.

Miriam said, "Oh, I remember this street! It's a dead end! And I was so tired I had to ride home in the wheel barrow! I have such a good memory!"

We passed a perfectly normal-looking house and Benjamin said, "Ooh! That's Santa's house! Me found Santa's house! Me so happy!"

"Why do you think that's Santa's house?" I asked.

"Cuz," he said.

We kept on walking and turned around at the end of the street. On the way back Benjamin said, "This is Santa's house! Mom—look at the mailbox!"

On the mailbox was a blue and white candy cane made out of jingle bells, evidently forgotten when Christmas decorations were pulled down.

"See? It's Santa's house!" Benjamin insisted.

I'm not sure a leftover decoration means Santa lives there and I tried to explain that to Benjamin but he's fairly certain that remnant was The Sign he's been looking for.

Other than our pleasant walk, the children were anything but pleasant today. Bedtime was more than welcome this evening. For real.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ramblings on the day

Rachel took the bus this morning because Miriam, Rachel, and I all had to be somewhere at 9:00 AM. Andrew's been driving Rachel to school this week since he's "on spring break" and no one wanted to get up early enough to put her on the bus. But apparently she doesn't hate riding the bus to school because when we told her she was going to be a bus rider in the morning she said, "Finally! I haven't taken the bus once this week!"

"I thought you didn't like taking the bus," I said.

"I like it in the morning," she said. "I don't like it in the afternoons. I think people are too tired in the mornings to misbehave so they all just sit quietly and I like that."

The afternoons can get a little wild. She rides home with our neighbour to avoid the chaos. I suppose she could ride to school with our neighbour as well but she enjoys taking the bus and is worried about being late (sometimes our neighbours run a little behind schedule in the morning).

After she was on the bus we finished getting everyone else ready to head out the door. I got dropped off at the doctor first.

"Have fun, Mommy!" Benjamin told me.

"Oh, I will," I said, and then Andrew drove off to drop Miriam at preschool.

I suppose I did kind of have fun. I had my blood drawn. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I got my 17P shot. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I had my blood drawn. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I had my blood drawn. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I had my blood drawn. And then it was time to go.

I've finished 75 flowers for Zoë's blanket, so I only need approximately 125 more.

I'm trying to do as much as I can before I have to start pricking my fingers.

I don't have the results of the test back but I'm 100% positive that I failed with flying colours because my fingers and toes were tingling, which is just not a good sign. Who even comes up with these tests? I realize that the answer to that question is "pretty smart people," but the pregnant lady that I am wants to answer "twisted sadistic people."

Fasting over night isn't terrible and in fact is rather normal, except for the whole no water thing. What is that about? Then they poke you. And then they make you guzzle 100 grams of sugar and tell you to just keep not drinking anything else for the next three hours and to just sit in the office because physical activity can throw off the results of the test. Then they poke you a few more times and laugh to themselves as you leave their office in a lightheaded stupor.

Does anyone respond well to that sort of treatment?

Andrew arrived to pick me up with a grocery bag filled with protein-heavy snacks.

"You're awesome!" Miriam said when I opened the door.

"No! Mom's not awesome!" Benjamin yelled. "Mimi—you're awesome!"

"Did you hear what he said?" Miriam gushed. "He said I'm awesome!"

Somehow she's trained him to believe that she's awesome. She'll say, "Hey, Benjamin, you're awesome!" and then he'll say, "No—you're awesome!" and then she'll gush about how he just called her awesome. It happens frequently enough to not be a fluke.

I'd like to know how she managed to pull that one off. I really do.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Black, Vixie, Hangrabetant

I decided to forego napping today in favour of earning an earlier bedtime. Benjamin's been staying up way too late at night and I figured napping was probably the culprit since I think he's now napped longer than either of his sisters (not counting that 6–9 months he spent not napping when he was around a year old). 

Nap time was getting a bit ridiculous, too. I'd spend an hour coaxing him to stay in his bed and fall asleep to earn a half hour of shuteye. Not a great tradeoff. 

After dinner I was so exhausted that I had to sit down and rest. Andrew and Rachel went into the bedroom/office to work on Rachel's science fair project and Benjamin and Miriam were commanded to have a few minutes of quiet time. Miriam pulled out a Junie B. Jones book and started reading to herself on the couch. Benjamin curled up beside her to listen to her mutter the words under her breath and sneak a peak at any accompanying illustrations. I just sat and relished the silence.

When I looked over at the kids on the couch I was surprised to see Benjamin nodding off (yes, he's sitting beside a pile of unfolded laundry)...

Compound Words

Benjamin has recently begun to string his sisters' names together, turning them from Rachel and Miriam to Mimi-Sasha. He speaks of them as if they are a single entity.

"Mimi-Sasha want to play outside," he told me the other day. "That's fine. That's fine Mimi-Sasha play outside. Me want to play inside. Me play ogi* inside. That's fine. Mimi-Sasha outside. Me inside. That's fine."

And it was fine, though he did eventually join them.

The truth is that quite often it's Mimi-Sasha against Benjamin. He's the little brother who, though more useful than a newborn, can't really do much yet. They're able to pal around more. He'll feel like less of a third wheel when he's older, I'm sure.

Today he called Miriam Mimi-Sasha to her face. Usually when he says it he really is talking about the two of them doing something he's not. But today he walked right up to Miriam and said, "Mimi-Sasha, want to play with me?"

"I'm just Miriam," Miriam pointed out.

"Okay," Benjamin agreed. "Want to play with me?"

The truth is that Benjamin probably spends more time playing with Miriam than Mimi-Sasha spends playing together, and that might be why he feels so left out when Rachel comes home and she and Miriam morph into Mimi-Sasha.

He doesn't seem to mind too much being the uninvolved quasi-participant in their games, like the little brother in And You Can Be The Cat by Hazel Hutchins. The only thing he really can't stand is when they close a door in his face. Then he'll cry to me, "Mimi-Sasha shut me out!"

Anyway, I just had to write down that Mimi-Sasha thing because it's adorable. He makes up a lot of compound words like that.

"Thank-you-me" is how he says thank you, but the other night when he was praying on behalf of the whole family he realized that he couldn't really say "Thank-you-me" because there were a whole lot of us so he end up saying, "Thank-you-me-us for the day! Thank-you-me-us for our family! Thank-you-me-us for our house!"

This boy.

Remember when I worried he wouldn't ever learn to talk? Now he talks all the time. All. The. Time.

He's too sweet. He has my whole heart.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

You had one job, Pancreas!

Last night as I couldn't find my phone, which was a problem because I knew it needed to be charged. The last place I had it was at the playground—we met some friends for a picnic lunch yesterday—but I was pretty sure I brought it home because I used it for navigation purposes.

The GPS Andrew's parents gave us for our 6th (maybe) wedding anniversary (to help us find our way out of their house and into the real world) has been acting up a lot more than it's been working lately. Instead of replacing the GPS we got a stand-thingy to hold our phones since they're equipped with GPS already.

That's when it dawned on me that I probably left it in the car. Because I always leave my phone in the car now, which is probably the biggest downside to having our phones double as the GPS for the car.

Andrew went out to get my phone for me. He handed it to me and I checked for notifications. There were several. One was a voicemail from my doctor's office, specifically from the lab/health information supervisor, asking me to call her back. 

"This can't mean good news," I sighed. "I have gestational diabetes, which means you'll have to deal with grumpy wife."

"You don't know that!" Andrew said. "Check your chart online."

"I've checked it multiple times today. There's nothing there."

"Check it again. If she called that probably means they have your results."

"Yes, and it also probably means she's calling to tell me that I failed."

"They've never called you before."

Monday, March 09, 2015

Every boring detail

I've always been interested in stories from the past, which is why I suppose I've become the de facto family history guru of my family (a brave move considering I have no idea what I'm doing). Historical fiction and biographies are by far my favourite genre. Sometimes a nice fantasy is...nice...but I'd far rather escape into history than into another realm.

Once when I was younger my mom agreed to send me to my aunt's house for a couple of weeks so I could hang out with my cousins, eat way more popsicles than was good for me, and work on the farm. My mom drove me down from High River to Raymond so that my aunt could pick me up from my grandma's house, except she wasn't able to make the trip the same day my mom was so I ended up having to stay overnight at my grandparents' house by myself.

And I was terrified.

My grandpa was scary and my grandma was boring and their house was so quiet and there was a large portrait of some old ancestors above the fireplace in the basement that really creeped me out.

When my mom left I sat on the stairs and cried, making my grandma feel terrible, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Spring has sprung (I hope)

On Friday we had a two hour delay before school because it had rained on Thursday night and then supposedly froze overnight. What happened in our area was that it dried out over night and by the time we went out to catch the bus at 10:00 there was a distinct something in the air that told us spring was here.

It was still cold—below freezing according to official documentation (but somehow the water was defying laws of physics and was not freezing)—but it was different from the bitter nippiness of deep winter days. On this particular morning, winter was bidding us farewell and spring was telling us hello all at the same time, so even though it was cold it was pleasant.

I'm hoping that's the last of winter because I hate winter. So much.

Sometimes when I tell people this they say something like, "You're from Canada. How can you hate winter?" to which I retort, "I'm from Canada. That's why I hate winter."

I don't suffer from allergies (unlike Andrew) so spring and I are pretty good friends. I'm looking forward to it.

This morning our windshield was frosty, but I think this will (hopefully) be the last time that happens and really I think we can blame part of that on daylight savings since we suddenly found ourselves going to church an hour before we normally would. Why do we subject ourselves to such nonsense?

Anyway, by the time we got to church things had warmed up quite a bit and we had a wonderful day. We got to borrow one of my friend's twins during sacrament meeting, which Benjamin was over the moon about (except that the baby kept putting things into his mouth) and Rachel had a fun time holding a baby small enough to not mind being held. He was wiggly enough, though, that when we gave him back Rachel sighed with relief.

After church everyone rushed to change into shorts (except for me—I stayed in my church clothes because getting dressed takes so much effort (lifting legs and crazy stuff like that) and because the skirt I wore comes with such great memories) and we had lunch sitting on the back deck.

Here's the skirt I wore today—I'm 27 weeks and 5 days, for the record (I usually round up to the next week when people ask how far along I am on Sundays (so I'll just say that I'm 28 weeks) but today I accidentally rounded up my rounding up and told a friend I was 29 weeks (wishful thinking, I guess)):

Thursday, March 05, 2015

It feels not great

Andrew was home this morning because I had my OB appointment and he didn't have class, so he was there when Benjamin made a crash landing in the living room. I can't even remember what he was doing, but he fell hard, and crunched his arm funny when he landed. Andrew swears he heard a pop, but I didn't. At any rate there was a lot of screaming and many, many tears. Benjamin was probably the most unconsolable he's ever been.

We quickly eliminated an arm break. At least, we think we did. But once my little sister broke her arm when she was jumping on the bed and fell off and we didn't know until about a week later when she fell off someone's skateboard and broke it again. She'd been complaining the whole time and I think she even was taken in for some x-rays but the doctor didn't find a break...until he x-rayed higher on her arm, where he thought the new break was and was like, "Oh. Huh. So. Yup. She did break her arm last week, too!"

I think she was about three at the time.

Anyway, we don't think Benjamin broke his arm because he stopped complaining about that pretty fast. It's just his finger—his "singy"—that hurts. And he's being adorable about it, of course.

Andrew was trying to see what he could do with it and where exactly it hurt. He tried touching it in places and asking, "Does it hurt here? Does it hurt here?" But Benjamin just said, "It hurts ezzywhere!"

It really didn't seem too bad—it was just a little red and swollen and he refused to do anything with it.

He wasn't really happy about the picture taking...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Picture this

During sacrament meeting on Sunday the girls drew and coloured pictures for me and Andrew.

Here's the front of Miriam's picture:


Tomorrow's forecast has been a little iffy. It keeps switching between plain ordinary rain and heavy snow, depending on which side of freezing things are supposed to be. Right now it's just rain, but even that hardly matters because it's supposed to drop below freezing overnight, so I'm guessing Friday morning will at least be bring us a delayed-start to our day.

I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment on Friday morning and I really didn't want to end up missing it so I called this morning to see if I could switch to Thursday morning and they had one opening so I grabbed it. So let that three-hour delay come! I might not have eggs or bread or milk but at least I'll have a doctor's appointment under my belt.

Today though? Today was beautiful and to celebrate we went outside without sweaters on.

"Out a sweaty?" Benjamin asked quizzically when I announced we were ready to go this morning after we put on shoes.

"Without a sweater," I told him. "It's nice outside. Try it."

He pushed open the door and stepped outside, immediately spreading his arms and lifting his face into the sunshine.

"That's nice!" he agreed. But he insisted on getting a sweater anyway.

Oh, spring. You're such a tease! Can you just be here already?

Apparently Rachel's teacher admonished her class to keep their jackets on because, and I quote, "just because it's warm outside doesn't mean that spring is here, so keep your jackets on!"

"But I didn't listen to her," Rachel said. "It was so hot running around I had to take my sweater off!"

I told her that was fine because it doesn't really matter what season it is—if it's hot outside you can take your jacket off and if it's cold outside you can put a jacket on. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, whatever. Dress for the weather, not the season.

Benjamin and I wore shorts and t-shirts today. Miriam wore a dress without pants underneath, which she was excited about.

Our first stop of the day was the library for Dr. Seuss's birthday party. We listened to some stories, sang some songs, watched an enactment of Green Eggs and Ham, made Cat in the Hat hats, played Pin the Star on the Sneech, made Cat in the Hat snacks with slices of banana and strawberry, and took some pictures at the photo booths. We skipped the face painting because face paints are terrifying according to my children. We had quite a bit of fun!

Snack Time!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Changing dynamics

We took the kids to the store today and it was such a momentous occasion that Rachel actually prayed to thank Heavenly Father that "we were able to go to the store and buy things." Apparently we haven't taken them shopping since before Christmas. Because shopping is the worst.

But Target sent me a coupon for a $20 gift card if I'd make a baby registry with them. So I made the registry just to get the gift card. Their ploy worked, I guess, because we ended up spending more than $20, of course.

We picked out a couple of outfits for Zoë and found some Easter-y things for next month (so we don't have to go shopping for that later), including matching dresses for the girls that were super on sale (seriously—sometimes Target has amazing sales, but only sometimes; other times I'm like, "Uh, twenty cents off isn't a sale price...but thanks for putting it on the clearance rack anyway.").

It was pretty late by the time we were heading home and even later after we'd gotten all ready for bed. When we pulled into the driveway Andrew said, "Remember what we're doing as soon as we get into the house? Pyjamas, teeth, bed."

"And stories!" Benjamin said. "Me can't go bed 'out stories!"

"And a story," Andrew added.

"And a gink!" Benjamin said. "Me need a gink!"

"And a drink. You're going to go through every little detail of your bedtime routine now, aren't you?"

"Hehehe! Yup!" Benjamin giggled.

Because it was so late Rachel didn't fully participate in story time; instead she perched on the arm of the couch while reading her own book...and listening. I completely sympathized with her. It's so hard to choose between personal reading time and story time with Mom. I hated growing out of the story time phase. Fortunately for me, my little sister is nine years younger than me so I was able to passively listen in for a long time.

Both Miriam and Benjamin were smooshing their little faces against my shoulders and it was breaking my heart to think about our family dynamics changing again.

Have I mentioned yet that I've been uber emotional this pregnancy?

Shopping was exciting. Everyone was looking at tiny little outfits and saying which ones they liked best. We found a book in the dollar section called Zoe's First Book of Seasons it. (Zoë will love that she shares a name with a character on Sesame Street for at least the first few years of her life, I'm sure).

Story time was sad for me, though, when it ordinarily isn't. I guess because first there was one and it was so uncomplicated. She'd climb onto my lap and we'd read stories. And then there were two, and that was fine because one could sit on my lap and the other beside me. And then there were three, and it was still fine because I'd have one on my lap and one on either side of me.

This picture is from July 30, 2012, but it's basically how story time has gone for nearly three years now:

Benjamin on my lap, and a girl on either side of me.

Monday, March 02, 2015

End of cheer and kindergarten registration

This past Saturday Miriam had what I think was her last day of cheer...maybe. I'm not sure what's happening with snow make-up days and such. She had a good run and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Plus she got a trophy so she's definitely feeling like a champ.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Family Game Night

Looking at the forecast last night we knew our schedule would probably be thrown off, but when our alarm went off at 6:30 there was still no news so Andrew went ahead and took a shower. I was a little surprised when he climbed back in bed after his shower instead of waking me up.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

Sometimes he does weird things in the morning when he first wakes up.

"Going back to bed," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Church has been postponed until 2:00. Freezing rain or something."

So we slept in until 9:30 because our kids are exhausted from staying up super late the last few weeks. Seriously. They're out of control. I was telling little girls to stop whispering to each other at 10:45 one night. Sheesh!

Sleeping in was wonderful. Then the kids spent the morning playing LEGO, we Skyped with Andrew's parents, we ate breakfast and lunch, and then we went to church for an hour—that's all.

We gave someone from our ward—a born and raised southerner—home and he found our ice scraper on the floor of our van.

"What's this?" he asked, picking it up. "Looks like it probably comes in pretty handy. Is it for cleaning your car somehow?"

He rubbed it on the carpet.

"It's for scraping ice and snow off the windshield," I explained.

Those were my outside words. My inside words were, "No wonder snow shuts this place down."

When we arrived home Andrew immediately started on dinner (because it's fast Sunday but he's the only one fasting because I don't fast when I'm pregnant and the kids haven't even attempted such a feat yet) while I rallied the troops to clean the living room.

Rachel wanted to play the Harry Potter LEGO game she got for Christmas, which we hadn't even opened until today because it involved building the board and that just looked too intimidating of a project with three excited children bouncing around. Today, though, there must have been an abundance of patience in the atmosphere because we put it together (which easily took longer than it did to play the actual game) and played through one round before Benjamin had a complete meltdown.

Finished Dress

I finished the dress (for real) last night, including weaving in all the ends, which is the most tedious part of any project. We went to Miriam's last cheer event for a basketball game, so I sat for an hour and worked the shell border around the bottom of the dress (pausing to watch Miriam perform at halftime).