Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Maren!

Grandma flew out to visit us on Wednesday night; she wanted to see the grandkids and offered to give Andrew and me a night away from them, something we've never done. The kids didn't know she was coming so we were busy getting them into bed like usual when there was a knock at the door (Grandma rented a car). We asked Miriam to stop what she was doing and to answer the door and when she did Grandma said, "Anybody need a Grandma?"

Miriam stood there with her mouth wide open for a second before jumping into Grandma's arms. Grandma had to go into the girls' room to see Rachel (whose nose was already stuck in a book); Rachel flew out of bed to see Grandma. 

Benjamin took a little more coaxing to get out of his room. He actually asked for permission to get out of bed, which was kind of strange because he usually has no qualm getting out of bed for any reason ("Where's my cup? Where's my bus? I want to read another book! What's that noise?" and so on). By this time, Grandma was sitting on a chair in the living room holding Rachel and Miriam on her lap. Benjamin came to his doorway, looked out, and fell over he was so surprised.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A morning with Rachel

Andrew's defending his prospectus today so had to leave the house a little earlier than usual which meant that I got to wait for the bus with Rachel. I completely checked out of her morning routine this year, which makes me equal parts sad and happy. It's been so nice to not have to wake up early in the morning with the pregnancy blahs and I really appreciate Andrew adjusting his schedule so he can be the one to wait for the bus every day, but I also felt a little bit of guilt for never seeing her in the morning. Then a friend reminded me that those one-on-one moments with her dad are important, too, and that I had nothing to feel guilty about.

It was nice to see a fresh and cheerful Rachel, though! Usually by the time she's home from school her hair is wild and her temper short. That's how she gets out of bed, too, but it wears off over breakfast and she eventually morphs into a happy (slightly silly) child.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Benjamin's Birthday Poster

It's finally finished! It only took, like, three years, but it's finally finished! I had it all put together by March and was just waiting to get some pictures from Andrew's computer (since we usually download our "nice" pictures there and I only have snapshots from the point-and-shoot cameras on mine). We vowed we'd have it on the wall before Zoë was born so last night I said, "We need to just finish this already—do you have like five minutes?" And when we were finished he said, "Oh, is that all you had left?! I was totally holding you back!" 

Just a little bit, there, Mr. Prospectus.

Sleep, baby, sleep...

In a crazy turn of events, I missed singing to Benjamin and Rachel this evening. They were both fast asleep by the time I went to sing (at 9:00), while Miriam—Miriam!—was still up reading.

Rachel went to the zoo today on a class field trip (which she'll write about later, in theory). She had to be at school at 7:15 AM and didn't arrive back at school until 5:15 PM. It was quite a long day for her.

We sent her with a camera (our old semi-problematic camera) and she proved her responsibility by not losing or breaking it and by taking a million selfies:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Rachel's FHE lesson

Rachel was in charge of tonight's family night lesson; she decided this during yesterday's quiet time and made a poster and everything! She wanted us to learn about how to take care of the earth (since it's one of Heavenly Father's creations and we're supposed to be good stewards).

First she showed us a diagram of the greenhouse effect and we discussed climate change and how it's hurting our planet. Specifically she wanted to inform us that there are polar ice caps on either end of the globe and that global warming negatively impacts "these little guys right here" (meaning her stuffed polar bears and penguins).

Whistle while you...JUST DO IT ALREADY!!!

Today it took Benjamin two hours and twenty minutes to put away the dishes, and by dishes I mean the silverware and the plastic plates and cups. It's not that intense of a job. There were tears and time outs and utter rebellion.

"Grab another plate and put it away, Ben," I'd urge.

"No, thanks," he'd say.

"You need to put away your dishes before we have lunch," I'd remind him.

"You put away the dishes," he'd say. 

"I already put away my dishes. You need to do the rest. It's your job."

Eventually Miriam and I gave up and had lunch without him, which just about broke his achy-breaky heart into a million pieces. But, honestly! He was driving me crazy.

"Where this fork go?" he'd ask.

"You know where that fork goes," I'd say. "You know where everything goes. Just put them away!"

He put a bunch of silverware with the tupperware and then put some plastic plates in the silverware drawer—just for kicks. Then he'd open the drawer and hang on it like a monkey, which is a big no-no. Did I mention he was driving me a little bonkers?

Finally, finally he finished his job and I gave him his lunch. And, truthfully, he's still getting on my nerves. He's not being terrible; he's just being two. 

The other day I was equally frustrated (with everybody). I can't even remember what everyone was doing, which probably means no one was being terrible but sometimes things just get a little loud/overwhelming in our house and I start to lose it. Andrew stepped in and said, "Rachel—you need to stop doing x! Miriam—you need to stop doing y! Benjamin—you just need to stop being two!"

And he almost can, but then he'll be three and...that's not much different. It's a good thing the hilariousness of two- and three-year-olds offsets the hysterics otherwise I don't know what I'd do.

Thankfully, Miriam was wonderfully helpful today. She helped me fold the laundry (in exchange for points) and then said, "I ran out of time to do my Saturday chore so I guess I'll do that today to make up for it!" She tidied up the living room and vacuumed all by herself (for no points) while I was doing my postprandial workout this afternoon. I could have kissed her (and I did)!

So I guess it was worth it to spend those two painful hours haranguing Benjamin about dishes—because hopefully by the time he's five he'll be as capable/helpful as his big sisters (which will leave me free(er) to pull my hair out over Zoë's two-year-old antics). 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Happy premature birthday to me!

My birthday isn't for another two months but Miriam made a card for me yesterday, anyway. Her original plan was to hide the card from me and give it to me on my birthday but then she decided she'd probably forget where she hid it (wise child) and gave it to me early. And it's the best card ever.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Definitely nesting

Clearly our due date is creeping up on us. We're a full week past when Benjamin was born, I only have two shots left, and I'm definitely in nesting mode. Things around the house that I've never even noticed before are driving me crazy so I've been tackling them slowly while doing other more normal getting-ready-for-baby activities.

For example, I caulked the shower on Monday. Yesterday I cleaned out the shed and sorted through baby clothes and treated for stains. Today I sold some bikes and a tent on Craigslist and washed a bunch of baby clothes. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


This morning I took the kids to the park. We walked, of course, and Miriam asked if she could run ahead all on her own so I told her that she could and as she ran down the road she spread her arms wide and said, "Hooray! I'm as free as the wind!"

We had a pretty fun time at the park but eventually decided we should go home for some lunch. On our way we stopped by an adjoining neighbourhood to make contact with one of the sisters I'm supposed to visit teach but who I haven't been able to contact. I only realized this month that she lives within walking distance from us, so we stopped by on our way home.

She was sick and napping, but I did get to chat with her grandmother who was tending her children. She has a daughter Miriam's age and a younger son (just over a year old, I believe). The phone number I was given was rather outdated, but I now have her cell number as well as the grandma's cell number (four generations live in the same household). I'm going to see if she'll join as at the park one of these beautiful spring days...when we're all healthy again.

Museum Monday

On Monday morning I got a text from a friend inviting us to join them at the museum, but there was no way that was happening in the morning. We did, however, make it in the afternoon, and unlike Friday morning when the place was teeming with people, on Monday afternoon the museum was practically deserted.

We went outside to get a little walk in first, stopping by the farm. When Benjamin climbed onto the stairs inside the alpaca shelter, three alpacas rushed in to see him. Often they shy away from the crowds but today I guess they were a little bored and were curious about the little boy who'd come to visit them (or all just decided they were hungry at the same time). Benjamin was a little unnerved by their sudden appearance in their stall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Everyday is Earth Day

This evening was Rachel's musical performance at school, which made everyone feel a little harried at home. Fortunately we were all able to arrive at the school with smiles on our faces even if we didn't manage the same thing at the dinner table.

The flyer that was sent home gave us strict instructions to have the children report to their classrooms "no earlier than 6:40 PM," since the show was slated to begin promptly at 7:00.

We got there and had her in her classroom pretty much exactly at 6:40 on the dot, we walked into the gym and it was packed. I ran into Annie (Callin's mom) and we were both like, "What? How?" It was like 6:42, I kid you not. That was even part of the reason dinner was such a frenzy—we didn't want to get there and not be able to find seats like last year. But, there were no seats so we sent our husbands to get more chairs down and set them up. And then we sat and waited for twenty minutes for the program to start.

I wonder how long other parents were waiting (you know—the ones with the good seats (or any seat for that matter)).

Finally the kids came walking into the gym sporting their beautiful "recycled" costumes. The title of this year's performance was Every Day is Earth Day, so the kids were supposed to fashion an outfit out of recycled items over spring break. Some kids got really into it (one little boy (under the H in EARTH)) made a tree with applesauce packets for leaves) and others didn't. Rachel fell into the latter category.

She made a skirt out of some scrap material she found at Trading Tables, she made a belt out of egg carton pieces, she wore a hand-me-down shirt (which totally counts as helping the environment), and her crowning effort was the fez I helped her make out of a sour cream container and a scrap piece of fleece (because fezzes are cool).

Miriam's FHE lesson

Miriam gave the lesson for family night last night and we promised my mom on Sunday that we'd tell her about it. It was an interesting lesson, that's for sure! Miriam had wanted to give the lesson last week but I didn't let her because she didn't prepare anything. She's spent the last week preparing and was so ready for last night.

For the first part of her lesson we watched a short video about Samuel the Lamanite that I helped her find. She'd decided on Monday afternoon that she should probably have a scripture to go along with her lesson so she got down The Book of Mormon, opened it up, and said, "I'm going to find a scripture in Helaman chapter thirteen." And she did (and then she asked me to help her find a movie of it).

After we watched the movie she read Helaman 13:2–3 to us.

Then she got out her notebook and read the little talk she'd written based on some old stationary she found in a box. Each page of stationary had a little verse about friendship on it. She chose certain pages to turn into a "song" for us.

The top of the page says "What do friends do to you when you give them a gift!" She didn't wait for us to answer (after all that sentence ended with an exclamation mark, not a question mark) but just continued with the rest. "Here's a song for you to hear.

(Sidenote: her lowercase g's are always backwards, which makes it rather entertaining when she writes the word egg.)

8 is Great

I'm not quite sure how we have an almost-eight-year-old in the house, but we do, so we were invited to attend "8 is Great," a special evening to help children preparing for baptism understand what their baptism day will be like.

I've been involved with "8 is Great" in this ward for the previous two years because I was in the primary presidency, so it was a little weird to be an invitee rather than on the planning committee. It was a rather low-key event, but I don't see how they could have helped that. Rachel's class is down to two members: Rachel and Callin. When we moved in there was a whole row of sweet little girls: Eliza, Grace, Chloe...and others we didn't get to know quite as well. One by one they moved away, leaving just Rachel and Callin.

Numbers were few, but we had a good time. We played Baptism Bingo, which was more of a mix between tic-tac-toe and Jeopardy. There was a 5x5 chart on the chalkboard and we had to try to get at least four in a row. Rachel and Callin took turns choosing a box and answering the corresponding question (asking their families for help when they needed it, but for the most part they came up with the correct answers on their own).

One question that Rachel got right was a fill-in-the-blank scripture, John 3:5: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into _____________________."

That's one of the scriptures we've memorized as a family this year so she didn't miss a beat when answering it. There were a lot of other questions (24, to be exact) but I can't remember them all.

We got to have a tour of the baptismal font and were shown how to fill it, and we talked about what clothes to wear and bring and other relatively boring details like that.

Rachel is rather excited to turn eight. Just before April's General Conference this year, she found a flyer for last September's "Cookies & Conference" activity for the General Women's Broadcast in the church bag (let's not talk about how often I clean that thing out (the answer is obviously not "every six months")) and said, "I can go to this! I'll be eight!"

I didn't have the heart to tell her that paper was from an activity that happened six months ago, so I just said, "Yup! You can!" because there's going to be another get-together this September as well.

It'll be fun to have someone to go with (a built-in someone). I've just watched from home since we moved out here because going seems like so much work that late at night, but I think I could make myself go for some one-on-one time with Rachel. Plus, I won't be diabetic then so "Pie and Prophets" or "Cookies and Conference" or whatever they come up with will sound more like an appetizing event rather than an are-you-trying-to-kill-me one.

Still, I can't believe eight is right around the corner!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shout, pout, let it all out

My numbers were good.

And now they're not. Not at all.

For lunch I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich paired with a nice bowl of cottage cheese. I hate cottage cheese but a half cup has almost two servings of protein, which is pretty awesome. So, less than three carbs for lunch and three whole servings of protein plus a half hour on the exercise bike (yes, on the Sabbath, but see, if I don't exercise after eating then I basically can't eat—for real).

Two hours after eating and my blood sugar was 136 mg/dL (on the new monitor). I freaked out and checked it on the old monitor and it was 118 mg/dL (which is still high but not as high).

I know that fruit sets me over the edge; I know that. But that high? It was a small banana, guys. And in theory I should be able to eat a little fruit every now and then. And I paired it with plenty of fat and protein and my bread was whole gives?!

Last night for dinner I had a carefully measured single serving of noodles noodles with cottage cheese and a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and almonds. After a half hour on the bike my blood sugar was 110 mg/dL, which is still relatively high (though below my 120 mg/dL limit). I only had one serving of carbohydrate because my numbers had been ridiculously high all day, so I decided to experiment by cutting out some carbs just to see what would happen. Turns doesn't matter.

So, basically, right now I feel like I can't eat anything. There is no way to burn off all the sugar I consume since even one serving of carbohydrate puts me higher than I'd like to be. And it's not even like I'm eating one serving of pure sugar. I have had no sweets for about a month now: no candy, no ice cream, no cookies, no cereal, no honey. Nothing. No sugar.

I don't really want to go on medication for this, but I no longer believe diet and exercise is going to cut it. I really don't. Now I have to wait about two weeks to see my doctor and by then the baby's probably going to weigh ten pounds.

Part of the discrepancy in my numbers, I'm sure, is the new monitor. I've done a few double tests just to see where things line up and my new monitor consistently reads 10 to 20 mg/dL higher than my old monitor. But it's hard to say which monitor is giving the more accurate reading...

Suffice it to say, I'm going crazy.

Eating anything makes my blood sugar difficult to control, but I also can't wait too long between eating because my goal is to keep my blood sugar stable (so I have to avoid dropping too low between meals).

I felt like I was killing myself before, getting my numbers to sit just right. I don't even want to think about what I have to do now. I ride the exercise bike for an hour and a half every day. I try to eat perfectly manicured meals, balancing my proteins and carbs and getting lots of vegetables (and hardly any fruits) in there.

I have had an egg for breakfast every morning for the last three weeks. I HATE EGGS! But every morning I get up and I make an egg and a piece of toast and eat that with a spinach salad on the side. And I can do that for as long as necessary even though I hate it. But I can't do it for every meal.

It's dinner time right now. Everyone is eating except for me. I'm waiting for a little while longer because I have to take my blood sugar after dinner, too, and I don't really want to add any sugar to the 140 mg/dL already cruising my blood stream before I take my blood sugar again. BUT if I don't eat soon then I won't have time to work out before we leave for 8 is Great (because we have a daughter turning eight this year—what?!) and that's going to be problematic as well.

I meant to have a handful of almonds with lunch as well, but I forgot because Benjamin woke up from his nap just as I was finishing up. I napped during lunchtime, see, because I had a snack after church so I could make it through choir but then choir was basically cancelled (we sang through one song) which meant that I would have been fine not having a snack and waiting until lunch. Except that I already had my snack, which meant that by the time everyone else was having lunch it was too soon for me to have lunch. So I took a nap.

And then Andrew magically got everyone to take a nap (granted, the girls had a late-over at a friend's house and then we had to get up somewhat early to get ready for church) so when I woke up to my alarm telling me that enough time had passed—in theory—and I could eat again everyone was asleep. But Benjamin woke up just as I was finishing and instead of getting the almonds, like I was intending to do, I...forgot. Maybe if I had eaten those it would have helped (drought in California be darned) but perhaps not.

So, right now I'm sad and mad and stressed (and all those negative emotions help raise your blood sugar levels—yay!) and if there was a magical pill I could swallow to regulate all this without as much of a headache (which, there kind of is) I would take it in a heartbeat. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Craft Night Service

We had our Relief Society craft night tonight. I didn't sign up for any crafts and was so worn out by the end of the day that I almost didn't go, but then Andrew reminded me that if I went he'd have to do bedtime on his own—that kind of sealed the deal for me.

I had wanted to go to help with the service project craft because it was my brainchild—or at least my suggestion. I told Andrew I'd stay until the kids were in bed. I ended up staying until 10 PM (but even then one child was still up reading so perhaps I kind of kept my word).

Part of the challenge of group service projects is finding something that is easy enough for everyone to do, yet that also fits a small budget. The no-sew stockinette hats from Angel Outfitters were perfect (I got the idea from the Teeny Tears website; my friend Krystal sews for them). People donated funds to pay for materials (all the crafts were pay-per-make so people would pay for something and send the "change" toward materials or simply make a direct donation) and then we sat around and made hats.

It was a fairly lonely table at the beginning of the evening because most people who came to craft night had signed up for multiple projects to do, but there were always a few working away with me, and toward the end of the evening our table was full.

We went through one whole roll of stockinette, which made 42 sets of hats—one to dress the baby in and a matching one for bereaved parents to have as a keepsake (so 84 hats total).

Friday, April 17, 2015

33w3d: Beating Benjamin

"Tomorrow's your anniversary!" my doctor said. "And how big was the baby you delivered at 33 weeks, 4 days?"

"He was 4 lbs. 13 oz.," I said.

"And your other babies?"

"7 lbs. 7 oz. and 7 lbs. 1 oz.," I said. "But it looks like this one's aiming for more than that. I don't know how I'm going to push a big baby out..."

I'm slightly terrified. I had an ultrasound today to check the baby's growth. She's doing great but, uh, she measured 5 lbs. 13 oz. (a full pound heavier than Benjamin was at this stage in the game), and I still have six weeks to go.

"It does look like she's aiming to be a bit bigger, but you'll do fine," my doctor said. "You never can tell what's going to happen when you shake the tree of life. My guess is she's pulling some big genes from somewhere because your numbers are great—textbook great. I can't really make any suggestions to your diet or exercise because everything looks great."

So great, in fact, that I've been given permission to check my blood sugar only three times a day (what an honour) rather than four. That might not sound like a huge thing but, honestly, it made me almost giddy.

And my blood pressure is great.

And my cervix looks great.

And everything's great.

I'm the most boring high-risk pregnant lady he knows of (but, he emphasized, I'm still high risk).

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Like father, like son

"I'm so ready to vege," Andrew said, stumbling out of his office after turning in his prospectus last night.

"Wanna watch a show?" I asked.

"Yeah, but only one episode because I also want to go to bed. I was up way too late last night and then got up at six this morning."

"What time did we go to bed, anyway? I didn't look at the clock when I got up."

"Around three," he said. "Do you even remember moving to the bed?"

"Yes, of course..." I said.

"Oh, that's right. You're not me."

Unless he's awake for a significant time—a couple of hours—Andrew remembers nothing from his night wakings, which is always slightly disconcerting for me when we have a new baby and I send him to do anything for the baby. Usually I just do all the night time stuff because waking Andrew up is quite impossible in the first place and then I really can't trust that he'll do everything right (eg. put a diaper back on the baby and put the baby back in bed (unimportant things like that)) before he returns to bed himself. And then even if he does manage to do what I ask him (which is usually just, "Bring me the baby,") when I thank him for getting up with the baby in the night he says, "I got up with the baby?"

The baby thing is just an example (as well as something I'm gearing up to deal with in a month and a half) but pretty much any time he gets up for anything he doesn't remember it.

And it's been a longstanding understanding between us that he's not responsible for anything he says before he showers. Because—I believe it was in our first year of marriage—he once told me to, "Leave me alone, idiot," or something like that when I was waking him up in the morning and then could not figure out why I was upset with him later in the morning (after he'd had his shower).

He's since, for the most part, grown out of calling people names (carryover from childhood, I guess (something that happens when you get married in your early twenties)) but I still don't take anything he says seriously until after he's showered for the day because chances are he isn't really awake before then.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


For the last few weeks there has been a mysterious event on our calendar, coinciding with the last day of classes for Andrew: "TURN."

That's all it says. I assumed, for a while, that it was some crazy acronym of Andrew's. There are several that dot our schedule: GPSC meeting, SGRW, BCFAC meeting. There are also a few of my own sprinkled around: VT Carrie, OB and 17P. I'm able to identify most of them as normal acronyms, even if I can't tell you exactly what the letters stand for. But...TURN?

As it turns out, he typed "TURN IN PROSPECTUS" into the calendar and the computer decided that "PROSPECTUS" was the place he would "TURN" in.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This degenerate age of miracles

I'm so happy to be back in Anne Shirley's head, though I think I only have one more book to read after I finish this one. Today a couple of quotes stuck out to me as I was reading on the pollen-dusted front porch and watching to make sure the kids didn't get run over while they chalked up the street.

First, is this:
[Mrs. Gibson says,] "This is a degenerate age, Miss Shirley." 
"Homer said the same thing eight hundred years, B.C.," smiled Anne.
I think that's referring to The Iliad, though I'm not sure because I've never exactly read The Iliad, but a quick Google search revealed that Homer does refer to a degenerate age (though from what I read about that he was talking about physically small, not morally wonton). But it's true! What's now considered the halcyon days of yesteryear was then thought morally reprehensible.

Like sewing collarless dress and wearing rouge and kissing your wife's cheek on the steps of the chapel—oh my!

So, really, every day and age has had their problems and every day and age has had their merits.

Later, still at Mrs. Gibson's house, is this charming exchange:
"You talk as if it was something to eat," grumbled Mrs. Gibson. "Babies are common enough." 
"Oh, no, babies are never common," said Anne.... "Every one is a miracle."

Crayons and pollen

Phew! It's 8:45 PM and I just closed Benjamin's door because he was telling knock-knock jokes to himself and, as terrible as this sounds, I just can't listen to him talk anymore. Plus he doesn't even know any good knock-knock jokes.

Once he told one that actually made us laugh and ever since then he's been pretty sure he's hilarious all the time. And, really, that's often the case. But the knock-knock jokes...ugh.

This was his joke, in case you were wondering:

Knock! Knock!
Who's there?
Sam who?

This was probably only funny because we all knew he was saying 'somebody.'

At any rate he was a bit of a terror today, which is fair, I suppose, because he is at the tail end of the terrible twos and really hasn't been too terrible so far. But today I am just so happy it's bedtime.

This morning Benjamin found a bowl that had HEISS written on the bottom while he was putting away the dishes (for an hour). He found the bowl quite distressing.

"Mom! Who coloured on this bowl? Who did this?" he demanded to know.

"Oh, that was me," I said. "I wrote our name on the bottom. We must have taken it somewhere."

"Mommy!" he chided, "That's so bad! We colour on paper! Don't do that any, any, anymore!"

I had to laugh a bit about it because just yesterday he scribbled on the wall at the dentist and he definitely got in trouble for that.

Later in the day he pointed out a work of art he'd completed on the blinds. He'd carefully balanced crayons on the slats. I was relieved that he didn't scribble on anything because this child, specifically, has been my most common culprit in that department. This time Miriam got the lecture about being sure to put the lid on the crayon box (because Benjamin, fortunately, can't unscrew it by himself yet).

Saturday, April 11, 2015


With our new chore system has come a lot of questions about allowance. Miriam was the first to bring it up today while she was clearing off the table after dinner.

"Will you give me 55 cents per chore?" she asked Andrew.

"No," he snorted.

"Why not?"

"You have no concept of money," he said.

"Uhhhh... Yes, I do—saving it up!"

"Okay, but that's all you know. How many cents are in a dollar?" he quizzed her.

"Let's see," she hedged. "If you have twenty quarters and seventy pennies..."

"Now you're just making stuff up," Andrew observed.

"Yes, I am," Miriam nodded.

Later while I was helping Rachel do the dishes she brought up the idea of allowance again, but not before learning how to use the sprayer on the kitchen sink.

"What is this thing for?" she asked.

"It's a sprayer," I said.

"How does it work?" she asked, squeezing the trigger.

"Well, you have to turn the water on first," I said.

She turned the water on...but still had her hand on the trigger so ended up soaking herself. It was hilarious, except that it got everything in the kitchen wet, and Rachel had dirty feet so then everything got muddy in addition to just wet. I told her that she needed to clean up that mess now, too, which she was fine with because, "sometimes [she] love[s] cleaning and sometimes [she] hate[s] cleaning and [she] can never figure out when or why; but right now [she] love[s] cleaning, so..."

"When can we have an allowance?" she asked while she was mopping the floor and I was cleaning the stove.

"I don't know," I answered. "Probably when Daddy gets a Real Job."

"He has a job," she said.

"Yes," I said. "But you know what I mean—a Real Job, like one that pays money. We've talked about this before."

"I know, I know," she sighed. "At least we get money in our birthday cards...and we find money on the street sometimes. Hey! It's like the street pays us our allowance!"

Yes, that's exactly what it's like.

So much soccer

Miriam had her first soccer game this morning. Andrew drove, so on the way we listened to Wavin' Flag in three different languages so we could get "pumped up!" When I drive we don't usually listen to music, much to Benjamin's disappointment.

The game was...cute. The kids all crowded around the ball, taking turns kicking it, and scoring on whichever goal they happened to be closest to, whether it was their own or not. Without any goalies were were several goals scored, but a lot of those goals were technically own goals, not that it matters when you don't keep score. They were just happy to be out there playing.

Miriam's the one wearing the rainbow socks, Rachel's old shorts, and her jersey tucked in:

Thursday, April 09, 2015

There's no place like...

Sometimes I enjoy living thousands of miles away from our families. There's so much adventure in this world, so much to see, so much to explore; I enjoy traveling but even more than that I like living places. Sometimes (often) the idea of settling down in any one place intimidates me. Though I'm sure we'll have to make a commitment like that sometime (and trust me, that's what it felt like when we signed onto a five year program here (I'm starting to breathe easier now that we have two years "left" because two years is an amount of time that makes sense to me)) I hope that when we do it will be somewhere with lots of adventure and newness to it. 

With that newness and adventure comes the often unsavoury side effect of being far away from family. Missing the big things—the weddings and funerals and the like—are obvious downsides, but there are everyday downsides, too.

Sometimes all I want to do is go for a walk with my mom. Or attend that family dinner. Or not have to think about time zones before trying to communicate with anyone back "home."

Currently, I'm missing out on this:

Naps and soccer and things

In order to get Benjamin to go to bed before 11:00 at night we took away his afternoon nap. Some days he's fine until bedtime and then falls asleep very nicely. Other days he crashes in the late afternoon and it doesn't matter if he sleeps for an hour or five minutes—he'll stay awake as long as he can after bedtime. For example, he took a five minute nap in the car today and he just barely fell asleep.

It's 9:45 PM, which is way better than 11:00, I'll admit, but still! People who have their kids in bed by 7:00 baffle me. How? How do you do this thing?! How?!!!

Probably not by having soccer practice until after 7:00, that's my guess.

Anyway, Benjamin crashed yesterday afternoon as well. I think playing hard outside all day is wearing him out more than being trapped inside during the winter did. He and the girls were watching Signing Time on Netflix because Auntie Katharine had said that Kayl likes to watch it and we thought that if we watched it too then the kids might just learn the same signs as Kayl (who has some communication barriers) and it might be fun to use those signs the next time we see Kayl.

Soon though, this was the scene on the couch—Benjamin fell asleep and collapsed on Rachel's lap (Miriam was diligently mimicking signs, off to the left of this picture):

Clearly Benjamin wasn't going to pick up any sign language that way!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Eno River Walk (and Wade)

Exercising after every meal can get tricky—there's clean up and kid stuff and so much else to do. Sometimes I hop on the exercise bike because that way I don't have to get the kids ready and drag them along with me on a walk. Other times the thought of hopping on the bike one more time kills me so I get the kids ready and drag them along with me on a walk.

I'm still high risk and will be until I deliver, but I'm to the point now (I'm not going to have a micro-preemie and am almost to the point where Benjamin was born) where my doctors are encouraging me to exercise again...a lot because of the diabetes. A lot like three times a day for a half hour.

I will admit that I'm a little worried about the message this is sending to my children ("I ate, therefore I must now bike/walk for a half hour,") because I'm not sure that's a healthy message to be broadcasting so we talk a lot about how my body isn't processing sugar and I'm not exercising to burn off calories or to loose weight or to look better; I'm doing it to keep myself and the baby healthy.

Because I've had gestational diabetes my risk of developing type two diabetes is higher than it would be otherwise. I told Andrew that I knew why that was. It's because they take these poor women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy and restrict their diet and tell them to work out three times a day when all they want to do is eat a bowl of ice cream and take a nap. After this baby comes, I swear I'm going to eat an ice cream cone and then I'm just going to sit there and let it digest on its own. And that's why we're at higher risk for developing type two diabetes. Because this is torture. That's why.

Anyway, today was one of those days when I couldn't fathom getting on the bike again. Last night I had the hardest time getting through my workout after dinner. I kept checking my timer.

"Has it been a half hour yet? Only three minutes?! Okay—I can do this."

I thought that a good night's rest would have me all set to go today, but my post-breakfast bike ride was much the same. Ugh. So after lunch the kids and I got ready to go for a hike.

"Us go hiking in the 'oods?" Benjamin asked.

"Yes, buddy. We're going to go hiking in the woods."

"'At's not a good idea!" Benjamin said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"'Ere's lotsa scary things in the 'oods!"

"There's not a lot of scary things in these woods," I assured him. Just ticks and poison ivy and copperheads, mostly. Other than that, they're all good.

The first thing we saw was a gigantic turtle sunning itself on a log. I swear it was as big as my head.

Ice Cream Man

We've given the girls more responsibilities around the house, realizing that they're probably ready to move beyond simply putting away the dishes. They've been helping out with more, of course, but not on an official level. But we decided that they could—so now they're assigned different dinner jobs every day (ranging from doing the dishes to sweeping the floor) and it's been so nice to not have to do all of that myself.

"It's like we have a standard of cleanliness now," Andrew said one evening when the kitchen was clean before the children were put to bed.

"Hey, I had a standard of cleanliness before!" I said defensively. "It just wasn't very high..."

"Okay," he said. "It's like we have a slightly higher standard of cleanliness now."

For real. It's been so nice to not have to do everything everyday.

We also made a list of extra jobs (like folding laundry, sweeping the front steps, washing a door, playing with Benjamin for twenty minutes) that the girls can do to earn points, which they can then spend (on TV time...or to pay for lost library books).

This means that Benjamin has been put on dish duty. He is almost three, after all. He hates putting away the silverware (but only now that it's his job; he enjoyed it before it was his job) so I try to make him do that first thing in the morning so we don't have to fight about it later.

After he finished putting away the silverware this morning he set up an ice cream stand under the silverware drawer.

"What'oo want?" he asked me. "This is my ice cream shop! What'oo want?"

"Lemon gelato," I answered (because what else is there to want?).

"Okay. Beep, beep, beep," he said, punching in a secret code on top of the stool before climbing out of his store to bring me my request. "Here you go!" he said, handing me an imaginary something, "Emonade chacado."

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Yesterday, today, and...that's all

This morning I had to leave the house relatively early, with all the children in tow, to go to an appointment with my nutritionist—which I guess I passed (yay!) so I don't have to go back (yay!) which means that I'm back down to only one doctor's appointment per week (yay!). We managed to get out of the house on time, which was quite the accomplishment considering yesterday when I suggested before ten o'clock in the morning that we go to the library we didn't manage to leave the house until four o'clock in the afternoon!

These little munchkins were driving me bonkers yesterday! So much fighting! So much defiance!

They wouldn't even get dress and yet proclaimed they wanted to go to the library.

Yes, they really were driving me bonkers.

"There go more italics! But a few italics really do relieve your feelings," quoth Anne (of Windy Poplars) because—guess what?!—I found my book! It was in a forgotten diaper bag since late 2014 probably.

That was part of our problem yesterday morning. Once the kids were finally dressed I had them go through their books to make sure we had them all. Ordinarily this is a simple task because everyone has their own card and so we look to see how many books are checked out on each card, count through any given stack, and only have to go looking through if the numbers don't add up. Usually they do.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Egg Smackdown 2015

Continuing our grand tradition—eight years running—we had our annual Easter Egg Smackdown before/in preparation of lunch today. Egg dying was a bit lame. Andrew tried a couple of tricks to make the eggs easier to peel, and they worked...they just also made it so nothing would stick to the shell. We couldn't draw on them with crayons and even the dye was still coming off on our fingers. But they were easy to peel, so...

Here are our somewhat boring eggs (we did end up saving those glitter packets for when Benjamin's not a two-year-old on the verge of becoming a three-nager):

Our Easter Morn

Because Andrew started out the Easter season with Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday Mass in New Orleans, he thought it would be fun to finish it off with Easter Sunday at the Duke Chapel. Not that Easter is over per se. We've only just made it through Holy Week—there's still Easter Week left. Still, he thought it was a fitting "end."

My thought was, "On a weekend when we're each attending ten hours of church meetings and where we're trying to make the kids sit through eight hours of church meetings you're suggesting we submit ourselves to another hour of church? Are you serious?"

He was.

So this morning we got up, rifled through our Easter baskets, ate breakfast, got dressed, and left.

Here are the girls holding up their chocolate bunnies. Benjamin got one as well. They're all different and they all have names. Benjamin's bunny was named Sunny. Rachel's Bunny was named Honey. Miriam's bunny was named...Yummy. Who thought that was fair to poor Yummy the Bunny? S/he doesn't stand a chance of surviving Easter with a name like that!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Dying the Eggs

Of all the holidays to be diabetic for, Easter's a good one. Christmas on the other hand, now that would be a doozy. But I think I can handle Easter. I don't mind missing out on Easter candy too much (Peeps? Nasty) and the traditional food—hard boiled eggs—is totally in line with my diet.

Anyway, we dyed our eggs this afternoon during the second session of General Conference. We figured it was as quiet of an activity as colouring pages or purposely annoying one another is.

The kids were rather excited about it. I think they're more excited about tomorrow's Easter Egg Smackdown, but they think dying eggs is rather fun, too.

Sleeping boy

I have a friend who lives in Hawaii and she posted on Facebook how she fell asleep on the couch last night, only to wake up at six o'clock in the morning to her husband turning on General Conference.

Poor thing! We're six hours ahead of her so we weren't up at 6 AM for conference. We don't have conference until noon, so when I got up to check my blood sugar in the morning (no sleeping in for diabetics but I really haven't been getting up as often in the night to pee now that I'm "controlling" my blood sugar so I guess that evens things out a bit) everyone in the house was still fast asleep.

Here's Benjamin chilling on the floor:

Who sleeps like that, really, with their hands behind their head?

Friday, April 03, 2015

Andrew went to DC

Last night I dragged the kids out of the house at 10:00 at night so we could pick Andrew up from the bus stop. He was coming in from DC where he'd just spent a couple of days, primarily for a one-day course taught by Edward Tufte. Since Andrew will be teaching/assisting a class on the subject matter, Duke paid for him to go. And he was super excited to go, too.

Graphs and charts make Andrew ridiculously happy. He moonlights as a typesetter. Basically what I'm saying is...attending this course was a dream come true for him.

Anyway, his bus was supposed to roll in by 8:50 PM but he texted to let me know he'd be late, so we left late, but then he was even later than we'd supposed. The bus didn't show up until around 11:00! It was so ridiculous—it sat for a half hour on the other side of Durham while they switched drivers. Like...what?!

The kids were happy to stay up and wait. I was so finished parenting so I let them choose a movie—they watched Tarzan...and then some My Little Pony...before we left. Benjamin got bored and was playing with some plastic dinosaurs on the floor and then he got tired and lay down all over them.

"Ouch. This hurts, Mom," he said. "This hurts so bad."

"Then get up," I suggested. "You're lying on a bunch of dinosaurs."

"Me can't," he sniffed. "Me so tired!"

My driving face

As I was backing up the car today Benjamin scolded me.

"Just go, Mom! Just go. Don't do that!" he said.

"Do what?" I asked.

He proceeded to make a terrible face at me, scrunching up his eyes, opening his mouth, and sticking out his tongue a little.

"That," he said. "Don't do that. Just drive."

"Does my face really look like that when I back up?" I asked.

"A little," Rachel answered honestly.

Driving is not my thing, guys. Driving is not my thing.

Baby Shower

Andrew's colleagues threw a baby shower for us today; it was so nice of them. I think the masterminds behind the party were Jen, Ade, and Sierra, though everybody helped. Those three girls, though, were extra excited to meet our kids because they really like Harry Potter and Doctor Who and having the opportunity to get down and draw on the sidewalk with chalk.

Sierra and Ade drawing with the kids

Thursday, April 02, 2015

31 week appointment

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

My BMI is "low" for my height. It always has been. Like, since day one of my life.

Because of this I was told to eat a lot and to "conserve energy" so that I can put on more than the 26 pounds I gained with each of the girls. They asked me to shoot for more like forty pounds.

I think this is dumb because my girls were both over 7 pounds at birth, so...just fine. Also this number sounded astronomically high to me considering my starting weight. Like, just put on 40% of your body weight in nine months. Easy, peasy.

Because I'm at risk for preterm labour I'm not supposed to do any "rigorous" exercise, nor am I supposed to lift anything over 20 pounds, including Benjamin.

I'm now diabetic so I've been put on a special diet. I have to eat x-number of carbs and x-number of proteins at any given meal or snack. I have to eat six times a day. I have to space my meals beautifully so that I can test my blood sugar correctly. I can't eat anything beyond what I eat with my meals/snacks. I have to exercise after each meal.

I lost weight with this last weigh in. Tsk, tsk.

But a few of my glucose numbers were a little high, so the doctor told me to increase the amount of exercise I was doing after each meal...but without increasing the amount of food I'm consuming.

Oh, and I'm supposed to gain weight for my next appointment.

Please tell me how that is supposed to work.

But, the baby seems healthy and I seem healthy. I have a "growth scan" scheduled in two weeks just to make sure the baby isn't the size of an elephant (which I doubt is the case).

Now I'm off to do my post-meal exercise...because all I do is eat, exercise, check my blood sugar, and eat again. I can do this for the next two months.

PS. Zoë, you can come next month. Not like, May 1. That's too soon. But you don't have to wait until June 2, that's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A day at the museum

One of Rachel's requests over spring break was a visit to the Museum of Life and Science; she thought it was high time she got to go, too, since I've taken Benjamin and Miriam who knows how many times while she's been at school.

We're taking spring break pretty easy this year—I'm not supposed to do any traveling, like, at all, and Andrew's getting ready to defend his prospectus so doesn't feel like he can take any time off, anyway. Our plans are few, but a trip to the museum was something I could make happen so this afternoon we went.

I was due for a post-lunch "workout" so I told the kids we were going to walk to the far end of the complex first and then make our way back, so that's what we did. And my blood sugar levels were just fine when I checked them. My morning, breakfast, and lunch numbers are usually good. It's my post-dinner numbers that get questionable.

One day this week I ate the very same thing for lunch and for dinner and then did the exact same amount of exercise after each meal and yet my evening number was close to maxing out while my lunchtime number was just fine. Super lame. Anyway...

We walked all the way to the bear exhibit; the bears were out by the waterfall, which is unusual for them from my observations. Usually they're on the other side of their habitat.