Wednesday, June 29, 2022

7/8 of the way there

When I said we'd test Zoë, Alexander, and Benjamin "eventually," what I meant was that we'd test them today. And because the tests came in a 4-pack I decided that I would take a test, too (though I had little hope it would be negative).

Zoë and Alexander tested first and were overjoyed when their tests both showed they were negative. Alexander ran around the house cheering for several minutes. Everyone was very aware that he was now negative. 

I took my test a little later and was surprised when I didn't see a positive line creep up right away. After waiting the allotted amount of time it was still negative. I began to suspect the tests were faulty (because I'm trusting like that).

Fortunately (or not?), Benjamin's test showed that he was positive for COVID still. 

He took the news with a shrug of his shoulders and a little, "Oh, well," but later began wailing dramatically, "Why did I have to get sick last?! Now I'm the only one left!" I don't think he was truly upset about it; he just gets dramatic sometimes. 

Alexander does as well. He had been absolutely jubilant about testing negative, but soon became quite paranoid about having to continue sharing a room with Benjamin, who is still testing positive. 

I explained all about antibodies to him (which he pronounces "anti-botties"), about how he won't have long-term immunity from COVID because it's constantly evolving but that his body is really good at fighting off this particular strain that we have right now. His antibodies know just what to do for COVID right now, so even though Benjamin is still breathing out virus particles, Alexander has little to worry about. His antibodies will take care of everything. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Phoebe's crawling

Here's a sweet picture of Phoebe, who is feeling much better:


I think that in addition to being ill with COVID, she's begun teething. So she's been grumpy upon grumpy, very drooly, and her tongue is sticking out of her mouth 95% of the time. But she's darling.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Negative outlook

Rachel tested negative last week—on my birthday, on the 8th day of her illness. 

Alexander, who has been so touchy about being sick, begged to take a test, his little lips quivering. 

"Nobody's tested me lately!"

We explained that his test would likely be positive, since he'd only just tested positive a few days prior and was still likely sick, even if he was feeling better.

"But I do feel better!"

So we tested him. And the test was positive. 

"Benjamin did stand behind me in the kitchen!" Alexander sobbed. "This is all his fault!"

We had to talk him down from his anger. It's true that Benjamin was quite sick, but Alexander was already sick so the fact that Benjamin stood behind him in the kitchen had no effect on whether or not he was going to test positive. Just as Mommy's lullaby—to an already sick and feverish little boy—didn't make him get sick. He already was sick, simple as that. 

The next day—June 23, on my 8th day of illness—Andrew coaxed me into taking a test. I say coaxed because I knew it would still be positive. I still felt awful. But I took a test anyway and that positive line lit up before the control line even got wet. 

Andrew took a test on June 24—his sixth day of illness—it was negative. So we're thinking Paxlovid works fairly well! And I did my best to convince myself to stop feeling guilty for making him do so much while I rest because (honestly) I have just been much sicker. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

COVID stats

I think we're just about settled into a state of boringness over here, which is a good thing! Initial onset of COVID seemed to be the worst stage for most of us (not the case for Andrew or Rachel, however). Now we're just...slogging through things...until we're better.

Here are some quick, boring facts...

Highest temperature:

1st place: Phoebe with 105°F
2nd place: Me with 104.2°F
3rd place: Tie between Zoë and Benjamin with 103°F, or so

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Benjamin's onset

Last night (Sunday night) Phoebe and I went to bed upstairs. Not like to-bed-to-bed—just, like, sequestered in the bedroom where we did not sleep (because that would be silly). We watched Won't You Be My Neighbour, which made me cry several times, and about a billion episodes of Seinfeld, which did not. 

Andrew texted shortly after midnight to see if there was anything we needed before he went to bed. I responded that we were all good. Phoebe would be asleep soon (hahahaha) and then I'd go to bed and he was like, "Headed there myself. So tired."

He slept downstairs with Benjamin. But only partially so. 

Because Andrew tested positive on Sunday morning, he was sleeping in the entertainment room (where he could still be accessible to the kids downstairs) and he put Benjamin up in the music room (with the windows wide open to give him plenty of air circulation). 

Around 1:00 in the morning I heard a lot of footsteps. I checked my phone to see if Andrew had texted me anything. Nothing. I heard more footsteps. And more footsteps. And not much else because I have this Corsi-Rosenthal box running in the bedroom. 

I thought about texting him to tell him to get to bed (because I'm a nag like that sometimes) but then figured that he was a big boy. He could take care of himself. So I put my phone down and...proceeded to fight with Phoebe about whether or not we should sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. 

Monday, June 20, 2022


After having a rough night on Friday night, Phoebe went to bed at her usual time on Saturday night. 

Andrew texted me to say that she was hungry and sleepy. I put on my mask, washed my hands, and grabbed a squirt of hand sanitizer on my way out of the bedroom. Nursed her to sleep, returned to my...chambers. 

Around 10:30 I heard her fussing, so I went in to feed her again—grabbing my mask, washing my hands, using hand sanitizer. I felt her head first to see whether she was running a fever. 

Note to self: using your hand to check whether another person has a fever while you yourself have a fever is actually not that effective.

She felt fine to me!

But then I latched her on and her little mouth was hot! She was having trouble falling into a good suck-swallow-breathe pattern. Her little heart felt about ready to gallop away. 

I quickly unsnapped her pyjamas—just grabbed an opening and tore that thing right off her. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop! I ran to grab a thermometer—103°F! I texted Andrew to find her dosage for ibuprofen. He came up with a syringe full of medicine and then we discussed what to do with her.

Testing her would be difficult. Her little nostrils are teensy weensy. The test swab is, comparatively, quite large. We decided to presume her positive. So then...did I need to isolate from her any longer?

We entertained the idea of continuing to isolate—considering viral load and so forth—but ultimately decided she'd just room in with me. And a good thing, too. I think I nursed her for a grand total of seven hours last night! 

She was feverish and miserable and if she wasn't latched on she was not happy!

Just a timeline of emails and things

July 28, 2020 (ward email):

...I will share with you that what I am seeing in the hospital setting is very concerning regarding those ill with Covid and the overwhelming pressure it is placing on our health care system. Please protect yourself and your families. 

August 31, 2020 (RS email):

Many of you are aware that Sister I_______'s husband, J________, has been in the hospital battling COVID for several weeks. I am saddened to announce that he passed away on Sunday, August 30th. A viewing will be held on Tuesday, September 1st from 6pm to 8pm and funeral services will be held on Wednesday, September 2nd at 2pm (please arrive early - masks are required). 

September 12, 2020 (primary email):

Hello Parents of Primary Children-

Tomorrow is our 1st day of Virtual Primary!! To prepare for tomorrow, the children will need a couple of things to sing with...

 September 25, 2020 (ward email):

Hello fellow members of the Berkeley Lake Ward.  As you know, starting on 11 October, we will start having in person Sacrament meetings again.  The ward will be divided into two groups.  The first group will meet on the even Sundays and the second group will meet on the odd Sundays until we can meet all together again.  We will be sending an announcement as to how the ward will be divided in the near future.  The Sacrament meeting will continue to be broadcast via Zoom every week for the benefit of the not attending group and those that do not yet feel comfortable assembling in a larger group.

September 25, 2020 (Andrew's response):

Is there an option for giving these talks through Zoom? We’re not planning on meeting in person for a while, but if there’s a possibility to participate remotely, we’d be happy to give talks.

Also, Nancy is penciled in for an odd week, while Rachel and I are scheduled for an even week. Is our family supposed to be split across two groups?

September 26, 2020 (personal reply):

For the time being, we want the sacrament participants to be at the chapel. That may change in the future if we continue to have challenges with COVID-19.

Fortunately, we have not continued to have any challenges with COVID-19...

Saturday, June 18, 2022

I forgot to post this one

Everything sounds like crying. 

About 50% of the time the cries I hear are real. The rest of the cries are imaginary, fueling my maternal anxiety. 

Andrew's doing a phenomenal job holding things together as everything falls apart around him. 

Rachel, Miriam, and Zoë are all quarantined in the basement. I'm quarantined in our bedroom so that I can be close to Phoebe. When she needs milk, I put on my mask, wash my hands, then grab a squirt of hand sanitizer before stumbling into the hallway to meet Andrew—double masking in his own home—so he can hand her off to me.

I feed her in her room, away from the lingering virus in my room. 

Then she either naps or returns to Andrew to play.

She's decided that crawling around the house is the greatest thing ever, aside from pulling herself into quasi-standing position on car ramps, toy boxes, fireplace ledges. So she hasn't been entirely miserable, but she hasn't been entirely happy. 

She gets so excited to see me. I feel awful that I only ever spend ten minutes or so with her.

But because I'm also sick, that means I can spend more time checking in on the girls in the basement. Zoë is the most miserable. For a while it seemed like she was going to stay positive yet perky. Now she's running a temperature of 103°F and doesn't feel too hot...or feels far too hot, rather. 

She got up at 5:00 this morning (after Phoebe didn't go to bed until midnight...and then woke up at 3:00 and finally went back to bed at 4:00ish) and I just was able to lull her into taking a nap by stroking her hair and her face until she drifted off. 

I don't feel afraid of her because I have what she has. And I think I'm over the worst of it (famous last words, right?). The first night I spiked a temperature of 104.2°F and was in so much pain I couldn't sleep. But my fever eventually subsided and I felt better. And then I spiked a fever again. And then felt better. And then spiked a fever again. And then felt better. And then...

Currently I feel pretty good, all things considered.

Zoë's highest fever has been 103°F. Miriam's been up to 102°F. 

Rachel hasn't had a fever this entire time. But she's been dizzy, with a horrendous headache. She also has a cough. Miriam has had some tummy issues. Zoë can hardly speak without coughing (but doesn't cough otherwise). I have a very gentle cough. 

So not too bad on that front, but we're still experiencing the first act. 

Hopefully it will just get better from here...

Friday, June 17, 2022

Another one bites the dust (it's me!)

Slowly piecing things together...

A small family—husband, wife, baby, and, I presume, grandmother—are "too sick" to come to church but they send uncle and grandfather anyway.


October 15, 2021—the following email was sent from a councilor in the bishopric to a handful of people, me included although I had voiced several times that we are not attending in person:

Brothers and Sisters,

I normally don’t do this but I find myself in a bit of a jam.  The sacrament speakers scheduled for Sunday have come down with colds and are unable to speak. 

If any of you would be willing to take a quick assignment to speak this Sunday, please let me know.
I respond:
I spent the night in the hospital with preterm labour. We’re home now (and still pregnant), but still trying to be careful. Sorry I can’t help. 

He replies:

Fully understand. Thank you for responding. We wish you the best.  

No one checked in on us. Cool.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Super Positive (with COVID, that is)

On this, the 825th day of quasi-isolation, yea, on the very same eve the FDA gave their approval for a vaccine for children under the age of five, Rachel tested positive for COVID. 

Right now I'm mostly resigned, but initially I was so livid I was shaking.

Livid because we have done virtually nothing for such a long period of time, only to have to battle this virus now. Livid because I could have—and may as well have—blown our safety on something frivolous, like Disney World, or a trip out to Utah, or whatever. Livid because I wasn't ready to go back to church. In fact, have not "gone back" to church because mostly I feel that it isn't anyone's business to decide beans about my worthiness or devotion or whatever and I can just do what I want. But still livid because of all the pressure we've felt to return.

Livid for every "We encourage each of you to attend in person..."

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Phoebe at 7 months

Phoebe is seven months old, which—if we're rounding (and we did a lot of rounding today since that's what Benjamin's working on in math right now) is a year old! She's 58.3% of a year old. That's past the halfway point! I can't believe how fast her babyhood is flying!

She, of course, is determined to grow up. It seems babies just come that way. 

She's inching around on her belly, pretty much anywhere she wants to go. She can get out of her bed on her own (she's on a floor bed rather than in a crib) and followed me into the bathroom the other day. 

We are the proud new owners of a baby gate, which we smartly installed at the top of the stairs.

Here she is showing off her little army crawl:

Monday, June 13, 2022

Phoebe the door guardian (and brothers with swords)

We had our first day of school today, which went well. Phoebe took a nap while I met with my poetry writing group. And then we went to the pool for a few hours to kind of cool down and kind of feel like we were ingredients in a batch of human soup. It's hot and humid out, that's for sure! Phoebe refused to nap at the pool, which is actually somewhat unusual for her. She was pretty grumpy when we got home, but still refused to nap, so we went outside to play. 

She enjoyed sitting quietly outside with me, but was (grumpily) thrilled when her siblings came out to play (because she's convinced they exist to entertain her at her pleasure). The boys were practicing their swordsmanship and Zoë settled on the grass beside me to read. 

Here she is posing stoically for me, looking pretty to mark seven months:

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Benjamin's birthday balloons

Just as we spread the celebration of Benjamin's birthday over a few days (due to shipping times on some presents), so too have I spread out my blogging of his birthday. But Andrew is tidying up the dining room and wanted to take down the birthday sign because we wouldn't be needing it until "the end of July."

"Uhhhh..." I said. 

"Uhhhh..." he said. "Oh, yeah! Your birthday!"

My birthday is also in June. But that's fine. We can put the birthday sign up again. 

At any rate, I'm ready to transcribe Benjamin's birthday balloons. 

Alexander made a valiant effort and wrote:


Monday, June 06, 2022

1000 words (or something)

Here are a few pictures of us hanging out in the yard last night..

No time for shoes!!!

This morning the children helped me clean the garage, something that was long overdue. Rachel also mowed the lawn, something that was also long overdue. And then we headed to the pool to cool off. 

After a couple of hours I noticed some clouds congregating in the sky. Frothing and billowing on the horizon, they seemed hesitant to break up our fun. I was, likewise, hesitant to call it a day and figured I nurse Phoebe (because that's what she wanted to do) before calling the kids out to head home. But then the sky stopped prevaricating and pounced with unexpected ferocity.

One clap of thunder and the ever-diligent lifeguard blew his whistle to clear the pool. 

No one needed to be told twice. 

The wind—gusting at 40–50 mph, according to the weather statement—did its best to hurry us along. 

The shade umbrellas yelped and started leaping off the tables and over the fences. A few "big boys" let themselves out of the pool enclosure to chase down the stampeding umbrellas while more docile pool-goers (us) scrambled to crank closed any ones we were near. 

A few sun-loungers and patio chairs executed less-than-graceful swan dives into the pool while several tables practiced their back-handsprings on the deck. 

"Help me gather our things!" I commanded everyone. 

Caos e complimenti

Until it came time to get on our jammies, today was the polar opposite of yesterday. 

When it was time to get on our jammies, Alexander needed help unbuttoning his shirt, so Andrew called to him to come down the stairs for some help. Alexander had lifted his shirt up over his head (bottom up, so his belly was exposed and his head was covered because the button by his neck was still done up) but decided to make his way down the stairs anyway. 

When he was about three-quarters of the way down the stairs he peeked out at Andrew and then—just as Andrew said, "Alexander, that's a really dumb way to come down the stairs..."—launched himself at down the stairs full of hope that Andrew would catch him. 

Andrew did, more or less. By the time Alexander reached a decent-but-still-make-sure-your-catcher-is-ready spot to jump from, he was already upside down. Andrew managed to prevent him from landing completely on his head and then they tumbled down the rest of the way together, landing on a heap at the bottom of the stairs and exacerbating Andrew's surgery site. 

Because—fun story—Andrew had surgery last week.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Ben is ten!

It's hard to believe Benjamin has reached the double digits, the big one-oh, an entire decade.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Ideal Advice

Sometimes advice meted out is so obvious that it's useless.

For example, every evening at the beach house while I would read to and/or feed the littles before putting them to bed, Grandpa and Andrew spent time teaching Rachel and Miriam the game of "Hearts." Once I was finished putting children down and they had finished their round of "Hearts," we'd move on to "Hand and Foot" since "Hearts" is only a four-player game and I make five players.

Frequently I would end up watching them finish their games. 

One particular night, Andrew was coaching one of the girls on their winning strategy and he said, "Okay, on this round, ideally, you want to either get no points or shoot the moon."

This made us laugh because—indeed—those are the two best options. 


Phoebe at 6 months

Phoebe had her 6 month well-child check today, where it was pronounced that she's doing well. She's gained 3 lbs. since her last visit!! She's now 17 lbs. 8 oz, which is about how much Rachel weighed at her 6 month check up. For some reason Phoebe feels ginormous, but she's not really. Here's where she fits in amongst her siblings:

Rachel: 17 lbs. 8 oz.
Miriam: 16 lbs. even
Benjamin: 14 lbs. 13 oz.
Zoë: 16 lbs 13.8 oz
Alexander: 17 lbs. 1 oz.
Phoebe: 17 lbs. 8 oz.

Phoebe quite enjoys eating. She's currently eating the information sheets for the vaccines that she just got—that the clinic simply expected that she would get. And I'm all for that. No one needs (checks chewed up notes) polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, or pneumococcal diseases! I just wish that if we're being forced to "live with" COVID in this "new normal" (or is it that we've gone "back to normal"?) that the COVID vaccine would be as easy to get. But our pediatrician's office is no longer carrying it so we have to go to the Covid Vaccine Store (the CVS). 

Anyway, Phoebe is happy and healthy and nothing exciting really happened at her visit. 

She's a baby who enjoys her sleep, so as we approached her two-hour window of being awake and found ourselves still waiting for the nurse to come in with her green plastic tray of needles (and oral drops), Phoebe fell asleep, despite my best efforts tp keep her awake a little while longer. 

It was a pretty rude awakening to be roused for that! 

The nurse decided to do the drops first and Phoebe wasn't quite awake when she was offered the tube. Having fallen asleep without nursing (though not for lack of trying to convince me to nurse her), she was rather eager to suck anything that entered her mouth...but her eyes flew open with suspicion when she realized it was a vial being put in her mouth rather than warm, yummy milk. Still, the contents of the vial were evidently not vile because she greedily slurped her vaccine down without spilling a drop.

She was less enthusiastic about the needles. 

But she survived (most children do) and took a three-hour stress nap this afternoon (punctuated by a couple of brief nursing sessions). 

Let's see. She was 26 inches tall and her head is 16.63 inches around. She's growing well and meeting all her milestones so...we'll just keep keeping on.