Friday, September 29, 2017

P is for poke

Due to parent/teacher conferences Benjamin didn't have kindergarten this morning so he got to accompany me to the doctor for my very last shot (of progesterone). It's really quite exciting because not only does it mean that the baby will at least be born at term (if not full term), it also means that I don't have to endure any more painful shots in my rear end (hallelujah).

I took Benjamin and Zoë in to get flu shots on Monday (Rachel and Miriam had theirs last week) so they were extra sympathetic about my "poke" this morning. Zoë was so funny about her flu shot. The bigger kids all got their shot in their arm; Zoë is such a tiny thing, however, that the nurse decided that her thigh was still the best place for her shot. But because all the other kids had been or were currently complaining about their sore arms, Zoë was, too.

"Gock-gor goke me!" she'd sniff over and over again, rubbing her arm. "Ow-me."

(Translation: "Doctor poke me. Owie.")

She could not be convinced that her arm was fine, even though her bandaid was on her leg. Everyone else had a sore arm so she did, too, and that was final.

Yesterday she kept jabbing me with a toy, saying, "Goke! Goke! Goke!"

I was like, "Ow! Stop that! Zoë, that hurts! Stop poking me. Seriously. Ow. Stop."

Finally I took her instrument of torture away—because come on!—and she got all sulky, patted my shoulder, and explained matter-of-factly, "Mommy, I gock-gor!"

Well, then! Poke away!

Anyway, both kids were very concerned at the doctor this morning. Benjamin wanted to know why it was so hard to push the shot in because his shot "just took a second—POW! Done."

It's because this stuff is thick as all get out!

Zoë kept repeating, "Gock-gor goke you? Gock-gor goke you? Gock-gor goke you?" which I'm sure my "gock-gor" couldn't decode at all, so I decoded it for him. Sometimes I do that in public just so people don't think my children are crazy.

"Yes, the doctor poked me. It's alright."

One day she'll figure out other phonemes, like /d/ or /p/, and then we'll all understand her a lot better.

Speaking of P...

[WARNING: slightly inappropriate (ie. potty-word themed) story below; reader discretion is advised]

What baby?

Last night Andrew formally admitted that he hardly gets a chance to think about our impending addition during the day and when he gets home he's always a little surprised to see me waddling around, large with child. Like, "Oh, yeah! She's pregnant!"

I've suspected as much for quite some time now. Most telling was one evening a few weeks ago when I was shopping online for a new car seat. Both Andrew and I were in the office (he was working; I was shopping...obviously) so when I'd mostly made up my mind I asked him his opinion.

"I'm just going to go ahead and get another car seat like Zoë's because I know I like it. It's not an infant seat but it says 5 lbs. and up, and I never carry around my babies in their car seats anyway, so it feels like a waste of money to get one of those to use for a year when we can just get a convertible car seat and use it for several years, ya know? So, what do you think—blue or grey?"

"Do we need an extra car seat?" Andrew replied, slightly distracted. "I guess that's a good idea if, like, Zoë's car seat isn't around and we need to take her somewhere in another vehicle or..."

"Honey," I said in a chastising tone, glaring at the back of his head.

He turned around in his chair to face me.

"What?" he asked innocently.

"I'm not getting an extra car seat. I'm getting a car seat for the new baby..."

"Oh, yeah!" he gasped. ""

Good recovery.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Autumn comes, the summer is past

Zoë, as it turns out, has no solid memory of autumn to draw on and so far she's finding this new season to be rather frustrating. Every morning when we walk outside to say goodbye to the kids she takes in the crisp fall air, the cloudy mountains, and the freshly fallen leaves and starts muttering about how "messy" and "gucky" everything is.

"Ugh! Ugh! Trees—yellow! Messy, messy trees! Grass—messy! Ugh! Yellow trees."

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

An Actual "School Night!"

Last night was "Grandparent Night" at the school. It's basically just a ploy to get grandparents to spoil their children at the book fair, but they also had some treats and activities to do...which is more than their old school ever did (with Easley's "grandfriend" breakfasts we never had planned activities beyond eating a class-donated breakfast and either sitting around the classrooms or traipsing down to the book fair). The PTA sponsored this event so as room parent I didn't have to do anything

Oh, did I mention that I'm room parent for Benjamin's class? I tried desperately (read: I simply didn't volunteer for the position) to get out of it this year because I've been room parent for either Rachel or Miriam (or both) since Rachel started kindergarten and, frankly, it can be quite a lot to handle when you have to (a) plan parties and coordinate grandfriend breakfasts and solicit donations and volunteers and help out in the classroom and with all the fundraising and (b) have a new baby. 

I know because I've done it. And I'm feeling a little swamped right now already and since we have a new baby on the way I thought it was an excellent excuse to take a year off. 

But Benjamin's teacher is my friend and no one signed up to be room parent. So I said I would do it. 

And it's really not half as bad as it was at either Easley or Eno Valley. All I have to do is coordinate parent volunteers for two field trips, one field day, and one "Kinder 500" day (whatever that is). No parties. No begging for donations. 

I guess I have to do stuff for teacher appreciation week as well, but I can totally handle that because kindergarten teachers get two room parents (because of the whole half-day/AM/PM thing) so I only have to do half the appreciating (not that I don't fully appreciate his teacher...just that I sometimes don't particularly enjoy decorating doors).

Anyway, I've always gone to the grandfriend breakfasts (I think Andrew went to one once when I was double booked...or when they moved the school schedule to start at 7:45 and I was like, "There is literally no way I can get myself and a baby and a preschooler out the door in time to make it") and have helped set out the breakfast and greet the parents and once I think I even took the girls down to the book fair. But they've never had their grandparents take them...

...until now!

Now we live close enough to grandparents that our grandparents can go! So my parents had the honour of escorting my children to Grandparent Night.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Trading places

I guess I'm nesting?

Frankly I feel like I have been force-nesting the past several months (moving will do that to you, I suppose) and though I don't really feel like I have the time or energy to do anything to get ready for baby, I know that baby is coming and there are things I have to do (and so I'm ever so slowly getting around to doing them).

I guess that's not really nesting.

"Nesting is the act of preparing your home for your baby's arrival, often fueled by big bursts of energy late in pregnancy," so says BabyCenter, and although I am preparing my home for my baby's arrival (I guess), it is certainly not fuelled by "big bursts of energy."

So I'm not really nesting. But I'm preparing anyway.

Part of my preparations involved going through Benjamin's old clothes and desperately trying to remove all the spit-up stains from them. That child had reflux so bad! Isn't it funny how they seemed so clean when I (almost tearfully) packed them away but now that I'm busting them out—five-ish years later—they're absolutely covered in yellow stains? (That's the proteins from breastmilk, apparently, and the solution is evidently OxiClean so maybe I need to give that a try because I still have a whole pile of adorable outfits that look somewhat disgusting).

So I sorted and I washed (and we all oohed and aahed over the tiny preemie outfits that were too big for Benjamin when he was brand new) and I folded up the "newborn" and 0-3 month clothes for Alexander. And then I left them in piles on the floor because...I had no idea what I was going to do with them.

They sat around so long that I ended up folding them a second time (thanks, kids) before it dawned on me that we have half an empty dresser sitting in Miriam's room.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Women's Broadcast

Yesterday I took Rachel and Miriam to the General Women's Broadcast (and pre-party). Miriam isn't technically old enough but we brought her anyway because she'll be eight in one month (we may have called her an imposter the whole time, but we brought her). 

Our stake had a couple of service projects (fleece blankets and card making (I think the cards were to go to Meals on Wheels; I'm not sure where the blankets were headed). The girls and I had fun helping tie a pretty peach quilt.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Living here: Libraries and other tales

Sometimes I still have to remind myself that we live here now. Like, for realsies. It's not an extended vacation or visit. We're not going back. That chapter of our life is over. We're here now.

Sometimes that's a good thing. Like when my niece calls to see if she can drop by to play with my kids, or when the mountains are glowing majestically in the morning sunshine, or when my doctor doesn't say anything about my temple garments because, well, he's Mormon, too. 

And then I just kind of smile and think to myself, "This is nice."

Sometimes, however, it's less nice. Like when our friends in North Carolina are on fall break and are all heading to the beach because it's still warm enough to do that and we (a) don't have any fall break to speak of and (b) are entirely unacclimatized to this weather (why so cold?!); or when we go to church and I look around at all the homogeny and realize that no one is going to be belting baptist hymns as they walk down the aisle to bear their testimony this week...or any week; or when we visit the library for the first time and realize (a) how small it is, (b) that it is an independent library, not a branch with loaning privileges at other branches, and (c) we are on "probation" for a few months and can have only ten items (ten items!!) checked out at any given time per family (not per card—per family). 

And then I almost want to start crying and think to myself, "We live here now?"

Yeah, the library was kind of a big one for me this week. I literally almost cried when they said we could check out ten whole items. Like, ten? How do I fuel my family of readers for more than...a day...with only ten books? Gulp.

Concerts and Roadkill

On Thursday night my mom invited me to a master class that my cousin (well, my dad's cousin's son) was playing in, so imagine my surprise when I arrived at the concert hall (a good ten minutes late) and found out that it was jam-packed because it wasn't a master class at all. It was a full blown concert for some visiting faculty of percussion. My mom was pretty surprised by it as well.

Even though I was a little underdressed for a concert of that calibre, it was fun to get to go. And even though I didn't quite communicate to my mom that Rachel was coming with me she graciously allowed Rachel to sit on her lap for the whole concert...well, at least for the half we stayed for.

We left during intermission because (a) it wasn't exactly what we had been expecting to attend and (b) it was a school night so sticking around for the second half of the concert wasn't exactly feasible.

When we got outside it was cold, dark, and rainy. I don't like driving in the rain, but I can do it. And I don't like driving in the dark, but I can do it. Driving in dark while it's raining is, quite possibly the worst (except maybe for snow...dunno about that one...yet). To further increase my anxiety, I was in Andrew's car—his mom's old car—which I'm not as used to driving as our van (though I did originally learn to drive in it).

So, we're driving along and things are going just fine, despite my white knuckles, and we're almost home when I spy an entire trail of eyes on the side of the road. It's a family of raccoons looking to cross the street. I slowed down and one of the raccoons ran across the road but the rest stayed exactly where they were.

I had a car coming up behind me pretty quickly and since the raccoons weren't moving I figured I should probably just go. So I did. I brought my car up to speed and...then that one raccoon that had ran across the road turned around and darted right in front of me!


"Moooooooom!" Rachel wailed from the backseat.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Andrew's Birthday

We missed celebrating Andrew's birthday yesterday because he had to work late; he was gone before we were up in the morning and came home after the kids were in bed. Today, although he missed dinner—which was super fancy (grilled cheese and tomato soup from a can)—he was home in time to have a little family party before bed.

Dinner was a little rushed because the kids had doctor appointments after school, which we didn't finish with until nearly 5:00, and Rachel had Activity Days at 6:00. She helped me make dinner and we were sitting down to eat by 5:30. Truthfully, I haven't made tomato soup in ages but we might be making it more often because my most picky eater (I'll let you guess who that is (just kidding: it's Zoë—duh)) tasted her bowl of soup and said, "Oh, Momma! Dis nummy!" and slurped down three bowlfuls!

Never mind the fact that Miriam is a dedicated tomato soup hater. If Zoë will eat it, we'll be making it.

After dinner I sent the kids upstairs to decorate some wrapping paper for Daddy's present. Rachel didn't participate (she was at church), but Miriam did the section on the left and Benjamin and Zoë did the section on the right:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Family resemblance

Cousin Carter was over yesterday and since he had his first hair cut a few weeks ago and since Andrew, Benjamin, and Grandpa also recently got the traditional Heiss haircut we had to take a picture of the four of them together:

Meanwhile, in Idaho: Arwyn Delsa

Emily's been feeling anxious for the birth of her baby (I, uh, don't blame her) and was going to ask her doctor to strip her membranes at her appointment on Thursday to try to get the ball rolling. But then she was feeling so uncomfortably itchy and had such a pain under her ribs that she decided she'd better make an effort to see her doctor today, which she did, and was subsequently diagnosed with prenatal cholestasis.

Basically, she had a buildup of bile in her liver (probably due to those darn pregnancy hormones *shakes fist*) and so bile acids leaked into her bloodstream. 

Other than some sharp pains in the liver-region and intense itchiness (due to the bile acid in the blood), this poses no risk to the mother. Unfortunately, it carries a greater risk of stillbirth for the baby and there really aren't many great treatments available other than delivery. Since Emily was coming up on 39 weeks (I believe she's 38 weeks 5 days) her doctor didn't hesitate to schedule an induction for her at all. Emily was a bit nervous because she'd never been induced, but by 5:30 this afternoon she found herself in the hospital getting hooked up to...something (pitocin?).

Karen immediately started packing to head up to Idaho when she heard the news. She arrived at 8:15 (Marsha, Morgan's mom, went over to take care of the other kids after she got off work—update: that was the plan anyway, but they weren't able to get in contact with her so Emily drove herself to the hospital and got things started and Morgan stayed with the other kids until Karen arrived!) and Emily had the baby at 9:57, which Andrew views as an unfortunate accident. Had Emily waited only 2 hours and 3 minutes more, Arwyn would have been born on Andrew's birthday.

Hey, Everybody! It's Family Night!

Yesterday morning I asked Benjamin to help unload the dishwasher and though he moaned and groaned about it he agreed that he'd unload the top rack. But then we got to chatting as we worked together (I put away the glass and other up-high stuff) and he ended up unloading the bottom rack as well, leaving only the silverware for his sisters. 

I told him what a nice thing that was for him to do and then told him about going the "second mile." And then I started making mental plans for a family night lesson on that topic, just to really drive the message home. 

But while we were walking home from church Miriam told me that she had a family night lesson all planned out and that it was about baptism and the sacrament and that she had photocopies from her primary class and was completely 100% prepared to deliver a stellar family night lesson the following night. 

So...she taught the family night lesson tonight because who can argue with that? 

We'll touch on going the second mile later. 

Miriam's lesson was so sweet. She first had us fill in the blanks on a message that said,
When I partake of the sacrament, I renew my covenants with Heavenly Father. I promise to ________ __________ _______ _______ and to ___________ ______ ___________.
We had to draw a slip of paper and glue it onto the right spot and for some reason she decided we'd take turns oldest to youngest, which was a challenging exercise in patience for the youngest among us.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Dancing with Moana

Tonight we went to the MPA opening social, which was supposed to be up in the canyon but, due to the rather dreary weather we had today, was relocated to a chapel in Provo—specifically the "City Center Building." We had an address for the building but when we put that address into Google Maps it deposited us at the Provo City Center Temple, which clearly wasn't where we were supposed to be.

Andrew wandered around a bit, asking people about where the City Center Building might be (and everyone treated him like he was just a little bit crazy and kept pointing to the temple—but, no, luaus are not usually (or ever) held in the temple so that was clearly not where we were supposed to go) while I watched the kids wander around.

Rachel and Benjamin

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fall is here, hear the yell

Tomorrow's high is 59°F with a low of 39°F (meanwhile, back in Durham it's a high of 84°F and a low of 64°F), and the thing is, the extended forecast doesn't show the temperature going back up. We have a couple of days in the mid-seventies but the rest of the ten-day forecast is filled with fifties and sixties. 

There's no turning back: autumn is approaching.

Benjamin asked for socks for his hands while the kids were playing outside today. And when Rachel donned a sweater, Miriam asked why she put on her "winter coat."

Little do my children know all the layers they'll be bundled up in before leaving the house each morning to walk to school—in the snow and cold. Actual winter gear—no makeshift plastic-bags-under-fleece-pants instead of snow pants, no layers of sweaters in lieu of a winter coat, no rain boots insulated by three pairs of socks. 

And they'll have proper mittens—not just socks on their hands.

Yes, winter is coming.

I'm tired, so very tired. I am awfully, awfully T-I-R-E-D.

For whatever reason, Benjamin was rather worn out around bedtime. I don't know why, precisely, because he'd been running around like a wild child the whole livelong day, right up until the moment I finally managed to make him stop and sit...and then it all caught up with him, I guess.

The first story we read was Hush Little Baby, which of course you can't really read (because it must be sung) and in the middle of singing this story to him and Zoë, Benjamin melted into my shoulder and said, as if he were being hypnotized, "Whoa. This story is making me very sleepy."

I took it like a compliment though because, as I explained to Benjamin, it is a lullaby, so...

Soon after, when I'd finally managed to herd all my children into their individual beds, I reminded Benjamin to say a prayer and he went with his default, no-thought, super-short prayer:

"Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for today. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Then he launched into a huge monologue directed at me.

"Do you know why I had to say such a super short prayer? It's because I'm so tired that I can't even pray because today was just so busy with the picnic and I really want to go to school tomorrow because even though it's not a picnic day I think it will still be fun. I think I want to listen to music but I also want to leave my window open so I can hear the cars outside. Do you think I can do both at the same time? I probably can because my window is open and I just turned on my music so..."

"Benjamin," I interrupted. "If you're too tired to talk to Heavenly Father I think you're probably too tired to talk to me so why don't you..."

I was about to tell him to be quiet and go to sleep, but he interrupted me and told me I was absolutely correct.

"I just have to say another prayer really quick!" he said. And then he prayed, with the utmost sincerity, "Dear Heavenly Father, I'm sorry that I can't talk to you right now but I'm really tired and I need to go to sleep. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

And then, miraculously, he lay still and quiet in his bed (for the most part) until he'd fallen asleep.

A teddy bear picnic

Yesterday afternoon Benjamin rushed out of school and plopped down in the grass beside me before I even had the chance to heave my whale-like figure off the lawn get up.

"I have to show you a paper from my backpack!" he gushed, so even though we were in a flurry of activity with dozens of kindergarteners and their caregivers milling about us as they, too, sought to be reunited with each other after their long 2.5 hours day apart, I happily let him unzip his backpack and, with great gusto, present to me this Most Exciting Paper because he never wants to show me what's in his backpack.

I had to have a frank discussion with him about who was in charge of ensuring he obtained an adequate education (that would be me, not Grandma (though Grandma is my helper), so he had to show me the papers in his backpack (though he was free to share them with Grandma as well as me, keeping the papers from me was not an option)) to get him to allow me to go through his school things. (Sheesh—this kid!)

But not this time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The carnival

For FHE (I guess...because it's Monday and that's what we did (and we did it as a family so it totally counts (our friends the Rogersons would call it "post-activity justification," or something like that))) we went to the school carnival.

We'd had a bad case of the Mondays at our house. The kids weren't exactly misbehaving...they just weren't exactly behaving either. Zoë was in a particularly sour mood. And, let's just say that before we left the house I gave my girls a lengthy lecture about pitching in (because I had asked them to help me clear the table and do the dishes so that I could take care of the grumpy baby but they insisted that they'd rather take care of the grumpy baby so they took her outside to play but then the grumpy baby abandoned them and they just kept playing what they were playing so I ended up with both a grumpy baby and all the clean up...and then I asked the grumpy baby to go potty so we could leave and she threw a huge fit about not wanting to go potty so I said, "Fine, I will go potty while you're rolling around on the ground screaming and when I get back it will be your turn," and she ended up peeing her pants like ten seconds later and coming to find me, crying, "Momma, I peepee floor!" and I was like, "AHHHHHH!!! WHY?!?!?" because, like, I had just tried to get her to go! So I had to then change her and clean the floor (it was on the kitchen floor, thank goodness) and my kids were not responding to my voice (for whatever reason it's at a frequency they can just tune out) and I was feeling a little crazy). 

So none of the females in our house were in a great mood when we left.

Benjamin was fine. He missed the lecture because he'd been banished to the backyard, not because he was being bad...simply because he was far too excited about the carnival and I couldn't stand it anymore. But he actually listened and stayed in the backyard until it was time to go. 

And before that he scarfed down his dinner, cleared his plate without being asked and then said, "I'm going to go get ready for the carnival!"

"What do you mean by 'get ready?'" I asked. "You're already dressed. You just need shoes..."

I really didn't want him changing his clothes and generating more laundry. I have enough trouble keeping up with it as it is (and Andrew may or may not have just run out to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple more dress shirts because I only did laundry on Tuesday last week (I usually do it twice a week, at least) and he may or may not have run completely out of dress shirts). But, thank goodness, a change in wardrobe was not what Benjamin meant.

"I mean," Benjamin explained, "That I need to clean up my cars. I left them all over my floor and I won't be ready to go to the carnival until my room is clean."

"Oh!" I said, legitimately shocked. "That you may most definitely do."

And then he actually did!

And then he came back downstairs and started bouncing off the walls, which was about when he got banished to the backyard.

When Andrew joined us at the fair and I told him about our frustrating pre-departure he said to Benjamin, "Wow, Ben! How does it feel to not get in trouble when all your sisters did?"

Benjamin giggled proudly.

Anyway, the carnival! The carnival!

We went ahead and bought the $10 armbands for the kids (except that Zoë's was free because she's in the 3-and-under crowd) because I figured that Benjamin would just race from inflatable to inflatable the whole evening long, and when each turn on an inflatable is 6 tickets (equivalent to $1.50) things start adding up pretty quick. The armband lets the kids do an infinite number of games/inflatables all evening long, so it was well worth it.

Easley didn't have that deal so we were always rationing out tickets at the school carnival, which meant a lot of disappointment on Benjamin's part.

When we got to the carnival I told the girls to stay together and bid them farewell and then followed Benjamin around while Zoë grumped in the stroller (Andrew wasn't there yet and I can't be everywhere at once).

The inflatables were kind of set up in graduating sizes, so we encountered a small one first. Benjamin waited his turn, climbed inside, bounced around, and then went down the slide. Zoë waited with us, climbed inside, started crying, turned around, climbed back out, sat in the stroller and said, "Hmph. No!"

We went to the next inflatable and pretty much the same thing happened, and then again at the next. 

Finally we made it to the tallest slide there.

"Do you want to go on this one?" I asked Zoë.

"Oh, yeah!" she said. 

"Ummm, I'm not helping her," Benjamin told me.

"Ummm, yes, you are," I told him.

And the two of them set off to conquer the tall slide. Zoë didn't end up needing much help at all but Benjamin took his duty very seriously (in spite of not wanting to look after her at all).

Here they are climbing up the ladder:

At the playground

Today was Benjamin's very first Monday in the classroom—and it was an early release day, to boot! Last week was Labour Day and the week before he started kindergarten on a Tuesday and the week before that he didn't have school (while the girls did) so he missed out on Monday after Monday, which is probably fine because Mondays are hard. 

My kids, at any rate, were particularly sluggish this morning. But we got them all out the door in time to make it to school (phew!) and then Zoë and I spent just a couple of hours together before heading to pick Benjamin up from kindergarten. His day is only 2 hours and 40 minutes long, anyway, but on early release days he's barely at school for 2 hours (it's a little crazy).

He usually comes out of class starving and always wants to go straight home for lunch. For some reason they don't do snack time at this school—for anyone—which is kind of a weird concept for me to wrap my head around. The girls pack a lunch, and get 2-3 recesses every day (which is awesome because in North Carolina they only ever got one (highly regimented) recess) but there's no dedicated snack time. I grew up with everyone taking their snack out to the playground for morning recess—you'd wolf it down and then go play. Same thing with lunch—wolf it down, run out to play. But here they don't do snacks. I'm not sure why. 

Are they afraid the playground would become too littered? It's been my casual observation that Americans litter more often than Canadians do (like, we were just at the school carnival and there were candy wrappers all over the school yard—I just don't think that would have been stood for by either parents or the school administration at any school I attended (classes rotated playground trash duty anyway so we knew not to litter and instead stuffed our pockets full of wrappers and peels and baggies (like responsible children (so that our mothers could find them while doing laundry)))) so that's a valid concern.

And a child in Benjamin's class has a peanut allergy, so I guess not having snack time at all eliminates (or greatly diminishes) the chance of contamination. But going from 8 am (when my kids eat breakfast) to nearly noon (when Benjamin gets out of school) seems like a long time for little kids to be going without refuelling. 

I distinctly remember having snack time in kindergarten (and I was in half-day kindergarten) because my friend would bring an orange and chew on a segment until she'd sucked all the juice out and then she'd spit out all the skin and stuff and I thought it was so gross (but I picked my nose, so who am I to judge?).

Anyway, all this is to say that Zoë and I decided we'd pack up a snack to bring with us when we picked Benjamin up to see if we couldn't convince him to spend some time at the playground with us. He was more than happy to oblige Zoë's desire to go to the "play-ound" when snack time was involved (let me tell you, walking past the playground to pick Benjamin up every day and not stopping has been torture for this poor two-year-old (I suppose not every declined playground trip was Benjamin's fault; I also wasn't on board because I'd been so sick (but I'm better now so I feel up for the playground)).

Here they are enjoying some peach slices:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Family dinner

Last night we had a little family get-together at my Uncle Bruce's place in Salt Lake. My Auntie Arlene was in town, having just dropped her granddaughter (Lexi) off at BYU-I, so we got together for dinner (courtesy of Aunt Sara) and visiting. My mom's cousin Mary came with her daughter Debby and one of her sons, Gordon and Louise came, Carlie and Mike, Kelli and Allen (and Allen's mom), Andrew and I and our four kids, my mom and dad with Patrick and Josie, Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara along with (Sara's) Benjamin and his fiancée, and, of course, Auntie Arlene.

Was that everybody?

Sara said she was expecting about thirty people, so twenty-five isn't bad!

Zoë had fallen asleep on the way there and was super grumpy when we made her wake up. She spent the first hour or so shunning everyone, which was a real shame because as the only baby figure there she was garnering a lot of attention.

Louise sat down on a couch near me while I was cuddling Zoë on my lap and I had just finished saying something about how it takes her a long time to warm up to people when Benjamin came into the room, waltzed over to Louise, and clambered up beside her.

"He is also mine," I said, and then added. "They're pretty much polar opposites when it comes to meeting new people."

"I'm gathering that," she said as Benjamin made himself nice and cozy on her lap.

Here's Benjamin taking a snuggle on Naanii's lap:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A full weekend

On Friday night we took Rachel and Miriam to BYU to see Renée Elise Goldsberry in concert. She played the original Angelica in Hamilton, so to say they were excited about this would be a bit of an understatement. We weren't the only ones: the concert sold out within a couple of days—every single seat was taken. 

We got to campus a little bit early so that we could check out the library. We haven't yet gotten library cards for our public library and we weren't terribly impressed with its looks as we drove by it; it's tiny. But, we have access to the HBLL at BYU, which has a large children's collection.

"How big, though?" Andrew wanted to know.

"Oh, it's pretty big," I assured him. 

Apparently he hadn't spent a lot of time in the children's collection as an undergrad (or graduate student). Go figure. 

I, however, had rifled through the children's collection on several occasions. My mom started working at the BYU library when I was in high school, but Josie was still in elementary school so we were still checking out loads of children's books. I also worked in receiving and unboxed/processed pretty much all the incoming picture books for the library (in addition to other books, but I liked processing picture books because...I still like reading picture books and this was as good of an excuse as any). 

The girls picked out some novels to read but we didn't get any picture books because we hadn't brought our library bags. And we've been going through our collection at home, which is a good thing to do as well. 

There was a display on old medical books (pulled from Special Collections, no doubt (I also used to work there!)) and they had a plague doctor costume you could try on. Kind of creepy... 

Miriam (left) and me (right) trying on the costume (Rachel wouldn't try it on, though she excitedly helped us try it on—she prefers to be a costume designer, not a costume wearer)

Saturday, September 09, 2017

A little pep talk

Zoë tagged along with me to my appointment this morning. Since moving here she's accompanied me several times. All the other kids have come with me as well. They seem to expect it here—the rooms are bigger (with four chairs in some of the rooms) and the doctors and nurses all seem happy to see the children.

My clinic in Durham was not so welcoming. They preferred no tag-along children, with firm rules about "no more than two" visitors, and their offices were cramped with usually only one chair. So I rarely took my children in with me (Rachel and Miriam came to Alexander's second ultrasound and that's all, really).

Anyway, all that is to say that Zoë has come with me often enough that she knows what to expect when I go to the doctor now.

Today she happily watched the fish in the lobby and read stories in my lap until we got called back. We followed the nurse into one of the rooms and I sat down in a chair. Zoë climbed onto the chair next to me, took my hand, and stared sombrely into my eyes.

"Goke Mommy," she said sadly.

"Yes, Mommy's going to get a poke."

"Happy," she urged me, "Mommy—happy."

"I will be brave," I assured her

"Happy," she said again firmly, but kindly, as she reached over to give my bottom (the injection site) a little pat.

"I'll be happy," I smiled.

Satisfied, she sat back in her chair and requested we pull out her "gook" to read while we continued to wait for the doctor. And now I know which child to bring with me for moral support in the future. 

Friday, September 08, 2017

32 w 3 days

Today my doctor told me I only have three more injections to go (he typically stops administering them at 35 weeks), which means I should get my last shot on September 29. So if these extra hormones keep doing their job we should definitely have an October baby (and although an October baby wasn't exactly in our plans for this year, an October baby suddenly became the goal for this year and we've almost made it—yay).

With Zoë I got my last shot at 36 weeks and 2 days (May 7). She was born 16 days later (May 23).

It takes about a week for the shot to be fully absorbed (or whatever) into the body (that's why it's in such a thick oil) so the effects of my last shot with Zoë wore off around May 14 and Zoë was born around a week after that. So I'm going to guess that we're not quite going to make it to Halloween with this baby. My guess is he'll make an appearance around the middle of October, missing out on the busy week of birthdays for the Heiss cousins (Carter and Kayl on the 28th, and Miriam on the 25th) and crowding out my older sisters' birthday week (Irish twins: October 10th and October 14th).

So all of a sudden it feels like we're almost to the finish line (but I reserve the right to complain in the not-too-distant future about how terribly pregnant I feel and how this pregnancy has seemed to last forever).

Also, I thought I'd randomly note that I can eat red potatoes!

That might not sound very exciting to you, but it's kind of exciting for me. I don't even know why I can eat them and not have them affect my blood sugar (like, at all, guys). Mentally it just doesn't check out for me because potatoes are starchy and french fries are death and russet potatoes certainly aren't on my GD menu. But we made mashed potatoes out of baby red potatoes last week and I have been eating leftovers all week long (I didn't have any the night that we originally had them because I was too scared to try them) and I might just live off them until the baby comes because I can.

Who knew?

Apparently red potatoes have a lower glycemic load than russet, especially if you leave the skin on (which we did). Interestingly, leftover potatoes seem to have a lower glycemic index in general, compared to freshly cooked potatoes. For example, a boiled red potato consumed cold (or reheated, I guess) has a glycemic index of 56, while a fresh boiled red potato has a glycemic index of 89.

I don't know what magic is going on behind the scenes (because that sounds really weird) but leftover potatoes don't hurt my feelings (or blood sugar levels) so I guess I'll keep eating them.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Achievement unlocked: Queenhood

This morning I was followed into the bathroom by a very grumpy, very sleepy little girl (who'd kept me up for hours in the middle of the night). She shuffled into the bathroom and lay down on the bath mat, resting her head on my feet while I was sitting on the toilet (which wasn't at all awkward).

Then Benjamin, who is a real slug-a-bug in the mornings, stumbled into the hallway and collapsed, prostrate, behind Zoë, right in the doorway to the bathroom.

Andrew walked by, ignoring (and stepping over) Benjamin, and I called out, "In the mornings my children fall down to worship me while I sit upon my throne."

Andrew backtracked to take in the scene and started laughing.

"I wish," he said, "That this was an appropriate thing to take a picture of."

Seriously, though, this moment of my life needs to be immortalized somehow. Any illustrators out there?

Left vs. Right

With half day kindergarten it seems like a lot of the responsibility of teaching my child falls in my lap, which is fine because I enjoy teaching my children. However, I'm much more of a free spirit when it comes to learning than the curriculum here allows so I'm feeling a little stressed.

This month, for example, Benjamin is, simply enough, supposed to:

  • Memorize and say a phone number
  • Name the five sense and related body parts
  • Demonstrate spatial relationship knowledge
  • Retell a narrative story
That sounds fairly doable to me, but then I've also had the following sprung on me:
  • practice counting to 100 
  • know the quantity, counting word, and written numerals for numbers 0–10
  • know nearly all the letters and sounds of the alphabet
  • read twenty minutes per day
  • learn to print his name with an initial capital followed by lowercase letters
  • print the alphabet using the Slingerland technique (because I'm trained in that and all)
That is quite the list for September. I mean, he's been in school for less than two weeks and already he's supposed to know all the sounds and letters of the alphabet? He's gone through T, F, H, S, and M at school. Maybe I should have sent him to preschool after all...though he does seem to be responding well to reading lessons now (we started over again in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) so I'm hoping we'll just cruise through the rest of the book and it'll be smooth sailing. We'll see...

NC to Utah: The drive (finally)

Now that summer is somewhat officially over—because Labour Day has passed, obviously, and now all the pools and splash pads and things are shutting down for the season...not because we've made it to the fall equinox or anything official like that—I suppose it's high time I shared a little bit about the kids' trip out here. 

Writing about things I didn't participate in can be difficult to do since I wasn't there, so you can consider whatever I write as hearsay. There is, however, photographic evidence to be had (and while I'm waiting on aunts and uncles to share pictures from Goblin Valley (which is where the kids were on Labour Day), I may as well share the long overdue pictures from their cross-country trip).

Here's our truck all loaded up on Tuesday morning, July 25th after Andrew and I finished stuffing our mattresses in:

Monday, September 04, 2017

Gool, gork, gike. And Alexa.

Zoë isn't fond of initial consonants, except for G. She likes G a whole lot. All the others, though, she tends to leave off (or change them to G).

For example, this week she was feeling lonely while all her siblings were at school and began to ask where everyone had gone or was going. Daddy had left for work long ago and Grandpa had just left the house for a bike ride. She knew all of this, yet she still had to know.

"Acha go? Mimi go? 'Enji go?" she asked.

"I don't know," I said. "Where did the kids go?"

"Know," she shrugged. "Gool."


If there's one thing Zoë looks forward to every Sunday (besides getting snacks in nursery), it's singing in church. She loves singing along with the congregation and flapping her arm along with the chorister. She usually loves leafing through the hymnbook but has had a few bad experiences recently.

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew helped her turn to the right hymn and she found, much to her dismay, that someone had scribbled all over the page. This was terribly upsetting for her. She kept angrily whimpering things like, "Draw. My gook! Draw," and shaking her head. Being angry about the hymnbook kept her quietly occupied the entire meeting!

Lake Powell vs. Lazy Sunday

This morning the family went to church in Hanksville and then drove out to Lake Powell to see the lake from that side (which has never been done before). I think that's the side with the Bullfrog Marina, though I don't think I've ever actually been to Lake Powell before, so don't take my word for it. 

When Karen was telling me about stopping by the lake I asked if she wanted me to send along Benjamin's puddle jumper. He can swim but, you know, peace of mind and all that. 

"No, I don't think we'll be getting in," she said. "We're planning on going on Sunday."

But then when I was packing, Reid said, "Make sure to pack things the kids can get wet in because we're stopping by Lake Powell."

"Oh, Karen said you wouldn't be getting in," I replied.

He scoffed and asked, "Do you really think your children can look at the lake and not get in it?"

My little water babies? The ones who want to go swimming every day? The ones who claim toilets as their personal wading pools? The ones who must splash in every puddle, dance in every rain storm, run through every sprinkler?

"Yeah, no," I agreed. "But they each packed an extra outfit so they can get wet in anything (except their church clothes, of course)."

So, that's what happened this afternoon. 

Karen texted me around 6:00 to say, "By the way, we did NOT let the kids swim in Lake Powell this afternoon." And Shayla tagged me in this picture on Facebook:

Sunday, September 03, 2017

More of yesterday's Grover

Aunt Shayla posted some more pictures of their adventure through Little Wild Horse Canyon, so here they are:

Sunday pants problems

This morning Karen posted a picture of the kids before they headed off to hike Little Wild Horse Canyon with Grandpa, Uncle Jacob, Aunt Shayla, Carter, Uncle Todd, and Kayl.

Uncle Todd, Kayl, Grandpa, Benjamin, Rachel, Miriam, and Uncle Jacob

Virus update

Before I get to the big kids, first I'll give an update on the Zoë home front. She threw up this morning when she woke up. I'm not sure why because I honestly don't think this is a tummy bug. I'm pretty sure it's just because I washed the sheets (I washed the sheets on Wednesday and she threw up on Friday (though it still felt like Thursday since it was the middle of the night) so it would follow that when I washed the sheets on Friday she would throw up on them on Saturday, right?). 

After throwing up, she had a nice, warm bath (with no seizures this time (and no fever either)), ate a bowl of cereal, and then agreed to go back to bed (for a three-hour nap) because she wasn't functioning very well. When she woke up she was back to her chipper(er) self and demanded breakfast (again). This time she had four bowls of cereal (because Andrew and I were tag-teaming some chores and weren't paying attention to how many times the other had filled her bowl) and has since kept it down, along with a few snacks and dinner.

I'm not sure she's feeling 100% yet but I'm confident she's feeling much better.

Without any other kids to take care of, and with a very sleepy Zoë on our hands (unusual for her and us), Andrew and I managed to sleep in until 10:00 (though I got up at 7:30 for my breakfast routine and then went back to bed) and then Andrew went grocery shopping while Zoë and I napped. My head no longer feels like it's on the verge of exploding so I think I will survive this thing as well. 

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Sickness, Seizures, and Stuff

I've been suffering from a terrible sinus infection-kind-of-thing for the past few weeks. It's been downright miserable. Poor Zoë caught it last week or so and has been suffering along with me. Between the two of us we've probably used up an entire rain forest's worth of tissues. 

Yesterday afternoon I left the kids playing with some Play-Doh while I went off to have a little nap. Rachel said she would be happy to keep an eye on the little ones who were happily making little Play-Doh creations. Naturally, however, moods quickly disintegrated and I woke up to screaming and yelling. Zoë had been rescued by Grandpa by the time I willed myself out of bed and she was sitting on the couch downstairs getting settled in for a show. 

She asked me to sit with her, so I did, and she and I ended up taking a little dinnertime nap together and when we woke up she was burning up—with a temperature of 103°F. I gave her some medicine and spent the rest of the evening cuddling her and was quite surprised when she agreed to go to bed (she usually doesn't on days that she naps). 

At around 11:00 she woke up and was fussing but it was still too early to give her another dose of ibuprofen, but her fever seemed to have broken a bit—it was down to 101°F—so I wasn't too worried about sending her back to bed without another dose. After all, fevers are good because they mean your immune system is working, right?

She helped me with my late-night snack (curse you, gestational diabetes) and then happily went back to sleep. Every night I eat a greek yogurt with either almonds or pumpkin seeds, and a bowl of popcorn. It was my go-to snack when I was pregnant with Zoë and it seemed to work to keep my fasting numbers in check so I've been using it this time around with similar results (my numbers have been a bit higher but I have a hunch that is stress-related because the past few months have been...crazy). I'm already totally sick of eating greek yogurt, nuts, and popcorn every evening (just like I'm sick to death of eggs for breakfast every morning) but I also already know that after this baby is born it will get to be around 11:00 at night and I'll think to myself, "What I wouldn't give for a Greek yogurt and a bowl of popcorn!"

Similar to how when I was nursing Zoë I craved graham crackers and grape juice—because that was the snack that I would have in the NICU lounge after every visit with Benjamin, I'm sure.

Anyway, she filled up on popcorn and then went back to bed, in my bed this time. I joined her soon after and we slept blissfully until I woke up a few hours later to her pathetic little whimperings. She was radiating heat so I took her temperature and it was again up to 103°F. 

I asked her if she'd like a bath, but she told me no and refused to get up. I'm not supposed to lift her so forcing her to take a bath (or do anything) can be difficult. Instead I got a cloth wet and spread it over her. Then I measured out another dose of ibuprofen and began coaxing her to drink it. She took a little sip and promptly began vomiting. 

She was lying down on the bed and I had been bending over her, supporting her head upright a little, so the first little bit sprayed my hair and shirt. The next little bit was less projectile and just oozed out, caking her hair with vomit and creating a nasty halo around her sweet little head.