Sunday, November 29, 2015

At Least I Can Laugh

And it was supposed to be such a nice day, today.

My nephew is heading out to the great country of Mexico soon, to be a missionary. I am so excited for him! His farewell was today. We were really looking forward to going to Idaho to see him speak in church before he left, however, that is not what happened.

"Mommy! Mommy, I have poop in my bed. Moooommmmmyyyyy, it is everywhere. Moooommmmmyyyyy!"

That was my wake up call this morning.

Apparently, Beth has some sort of explosive diarrhea, which rendered it impossible for us to go. My parents, however, were lovely and offered to take Keith and Faye with them to the Farewell. Faye wanted to go, while Keith opted to stay home. Jeffrey was going to take Keith to church, and I was going to stay home with Beth. It was all arranged.

The morning went fairly smoothly. Keith's hair is getting long, which always results in a ridiculous tail. I had him get the scissors for me and I cut the tail off. Everything was fine and normal, everyone was ready for church on time, and 2 minutes before the boys were about to leave for church, Beth decided to pull out the drama that she is so good with.

She went downstairs and I called to her. Keith was lovely and went downstairs to fetch her.

"She is eating stuff." was his report.

Beth came upstairs, happily, her chin all wet, smelling like laundry detergent.

Her breath smelled like laundry detergent.

I tried very hard not to panic. I may have done a better job at it than Jeffrey did. He concealed it better than I did, but I think in actuality, I had less panic. It's not a contest, of course. But I would have won if it were.

Jeffrey and I searched the laundry room, and I have no idea how my girl did it, but somehow, she was able to get the laundry container open, and decided to lunch on an Oxiclean laundry pak. But only a nibble. Not enough to actually do anything, just enough to get the pod open.
I googled. Google was not helpful. It only added to the heap of stress, and it did not have what I needed. According to google, if a child bites into a liquid detergent pod, it is typically fatal. That is what Google said again and again and again. Nothing at all about the powder paks.

On the package of the detergent paks it said to wash off the child's face, wash out their mouth, give them a drink of water, and contact a physician. We did all of that, and called our family doctor who we love. He said he had no idea, and to call Poison Control. Which is exactly what we had been trying to avoid because last time they had us go to ER, and we spent the night there, and she was fine. But, since the doctor recommended it, I sent Jeffrey off to church and called Poison Control. They were lovely. They said I had done exactly the right thing, and that she was fine. They said that with the powder pods, there were very rarely complications, and at worst, she might have some slight vomiting, but to watch her.

And down she went for a nap.

And she was fine.

The boys got home from church, we had some dinner. Beth was sitting next to me, and since she had just gone potty, she was bare bumed. She sipped her hot cocoa, and then got excited, and said "Mommy, go peepee." Which I took to mean that she needed to go to the bathroom again. In actuality it meant that the diarrhea was back and all over the stool and floor. So we popped her into the tub, which made her quite happy, because she is quite the little fish! Except then she threw up in the tub, which promptly ended her bath. And I was so grateful that she was already in the tub for that bit.

I cleaned her off again, got her dressed and diapered, and she went down to play with Keith and Jeffrey while I cleaned up the kitchen from dinner. Faye got home, and I went downstairs with her, only to discover that Beth had been playing with markers. In Jeffrey's defense, he had given her paper to draw on, which she absolutely loves to do. Except she found a purple sharpie. That sneaky girl of mine, lifted up her sleeves and the legs of her pants, and drew all over herself. And then when she heard me coming, she pulled down her sleeves and the legs, and grinned as big as can be. Because she knew what she was doing was wrong. Except it was a permanent marker! All over herself!

And then I went into the bathroom and saw a few chunks of blond hair on the floor. Keith's hair. I couldn't figure out why his hair would be all over the floor, I had cut his tail off and thrown it away in the kitchen. I looked at him, and it became incredibly obvious that Keith had cut his bangs. He said he couldn't see when he did his math, and so he had to cut a window in his hair. Which just made me laugh, and ask him why on earth he hadn't told me so we could get him a proper hair cut?

To top it all off, Jeffrey has come down with the same stomach bug the rest of us had earlier this week (of which I have yet to mention), so there is that as well.

Can it be bedtime yet?


The crazy thing is, the more things that go wrong in the day, the more humorous I find the day. I am not saying that facetiously at all, today has been downright hilarious! I love awkwardness and unpredictability. But sometimes, there is just too much in a day, and today has worn me out! But I guarantee that I will be splitting my sides remembering today in a week's time or so. Just as soon as I get over the exhaustion!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blue Whales and Mommying

This morning as I was walking into the kids' school, I saw a mini-van parked next to the curb in front of the main doors. A woman was standing next to the open passenger side door. She was wearing pajama bottoms, and her hair was slightly on the bed head side. I could see some khaki clothed legs sticking out of the door. The woman's head was tilted down, and it looked to me, (the passer by) that some serious negotiations were in progress.

Which made me smile.

And then I surprised myself with the thought "I really love being a mom!"

I was slightly taken aback with that thought, prompted by the scene in front of me, but as I entered the school doors, I thought on it, and decided it is so true. Even when kids are being ridiculous. Even when I am the one in my pajamas with bed head, coaxing my child out of the vehicle and into the school, I love being a mom!

That thought has been on constant replay in my brain today. I was privileged to be one of the parents to chaperone the field work today, and we got to go with the kids to the Living Planet Aquarium. Once upon a time, we had a family pass there and would go all the time, but not since they changed locations and increased their price.

It was so wonderful and we learned so much!

The kids have been studying bison so far this year. We talked about why we would be going to the aquarium when they had been learning about bison. Although there would be no bison in the aquarium, we would be able to learn about different habitats and animals, and how they adapt to their habitats. Because it is important to understand about adaptation.

Keith loved learning about the penguins.
They didn't do much. They really just stood there, and at first, I thought they were a display, based upon the awkward positions they were in. A few swam around, but other than that, there wasn't much to see. Which was sad. In the past when we had gone, the penguins were running all over the place, playing tag, swimming around and having a grand old time. Today, they were acutely aware of all the kids, and were modeling for them. At least that is what I led my group to believe. We were disappointed to not see the otters play, either. I was really looking forward to that. We just had bad timing, is all. They had eaten about half an hour before we got there, and so were dozing in the corner.

But that was quickly made up for by the rope bridge over South America. I was so impressed with Keith. He is typically terrified of heights. I couldn't believe he went over it!

And then there were the sharks. Let's just talk about the shark tunnel, shall we? It really was amazing!

and the phosphorescent jelly fish.

My favorite bit of all, though, was probably the class they held, special for us. They took us up to a special room where a teacher (who works at the aquarium) came out and talked to the kids about the blue whale. Which is the largest creature, in all history of time, to have ever lived on the earth. While we learned lots of interesting things about the blue whale, the thing I found most interesting was the fact that it is hunted by orca. At least that is what she told us. Keith and I talked about it on the way home, and really wondered how. How on earth can an orca, which is typically four times smaller and weighs 13 times less than a blue whale, kill and eat a blue whale?! And so, in an effort to teach my son to find his own answers, we decided to research it when we got home. And we found we had been slightly mislead. While orcas can hunt the blue whale, they don't typically, unless it is a baby, injured, or sick. And usually leave the babies alone, anyway, because there is often a whale escort to help protect the babies. One of their defenses, aside from their size, is they are one of the fastest creatures in the whole ocean. Some of their blood vessels are large enough for an adult human to swim through. Seriously fascinating stuff!

After the field work, I took Keith home with me. We stopped by Sconecutter, which I love, and he has never had. Truth be told, I haven't been there in nearly 7 years, but I remember liking it, so I took him there. He loved it! It wasn't as good as I remembered, but memory always makes things better than they are, I think. BUT! Sitting in the restaurant with my little man, was absolutely wonderful. I love spending that one on one time with him.

When he finished, we drove to my parents to pick up the girls. We listened to one of Keith's CDs the whole way back, and Keith texted to his dad, all about his field work. The whole drive back, I kept thinking how lucky I am. On the CD was Free Falling, a song that will always remind me of Keith. When I was pregnant with Keith, I had been home from my mission for less than a year, and that song is all about my last area. Reseda, Ventura Blvd, Mulholland Drive, etc. While the song has nothing to do with my mission, it always made me happy to sing it, as I have such fond memories of that area. When I was pregnant with that boy, I would crank that song and sing as loud as I could. It was lovely having that memory flood my mind while we spent some time together.

When we eventually walked in the door of my parent's house, Beth saw me, and ran over and gave me a five minute hug. I love those! She was so happy to see me, and I her. Faye was mad that I was there because she wanted to keep playing with her cousins, but Beth was tugging on her ear, which is the surest sign of all that she is ready to sleep, so we headed home.

Oh what a wonderful blessing it is to be a mother. I love these kids of mine to pieces and even on the bad days (which today was not one!) I am so grateful that I alone get to be their mother.

Now that my favorite part of the day is recorded, I guess it is time to move on to regular business.

My little sister moved here from Alabama! She and her family are currently living with my parents as they look for a house. Her husband is going to finish school, which is why they decided to move here. I am beyond thrilled to have a sibling living in the same state as me again. My kids are doubly thrilled to have cousins here to play with. They do have cousins on Jeffrey's side, which is wonderful, but it is nice for them, when we visit my parents, to finally have cousins to play with there, as well.

Faye had a birthday. She is now 6. I will write about that later.

I typically go to bed around 8. I am exhausted all the time, and pregnancy brain has set in, which feels a lot like my brain before I was taking iron. I am so thankful for iron!

For all of these reasons, and the fact that Beth has been beyond needy, for no apparent reason (a tear filled "Mommy, I need you!" is her favorite phrase right now) is why I have been remiss in my journaling. I make no promises to be better because life happens. Which is wonderful!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Locked Out

Today was amazing, an adventure, a trial all wrapped up and presented with an innocent smile, and grand intentions.

Before I get into that, though, I must talk about the miracle of this morning. I have mentioned before Faye's turtle-istic tendencies when it comes to getting ready in the morning. It doesn't matter how early she gets up, she will make us nearly late every single morning. But not this morning! Last night I had her get her clothes for the next day ready. We laid them out, including socks and shoes. I then told her that whoever got ready for school first would get to ride in the front back seat next to Beth, instead of the back back seat. For some reason that is the coveted seat, and there has been much fighting over it.

Jeffrey left for work around 5:30/. I couldn't sleep any longer, so I got up and began to clean up my room. And then my favorite part of the morning happened.

"Mommy. I awake now. Mommy!"

Beth lays her head down next to the crack beneath her door and calls for me. She doesn't ever raise her voice. It isn't yelling, it is very conversational. Sometimes her voice gets very sing-songy, and it is adorable. I open her door slowly so as not to hit her in the head, she jumps up, says "lost my binki." It is usually on the floor next to her bed. Sometimes it is still in her bed. We pick it up, she puts her arms up, I lift her, and her arms encircle my neck as she lays her head on my shoulder and whispers "Mommy bed." And then we go cuddle in my bed with her hair tickling my nose.

I love it! I am so glad it happens every morning, and I worry about this ritual not happening when the baby is born. I will really miss it if we can't do it anymore! The toddler/preschool age is my absolute favorite!

Faye woke up around 6:30. She immediately began to get ready for school. She was all dressed by the time Keith woke up, and when he saw that she was beating him in the getting ready for school category, he rushed downstairs and began to get ready as well.

By 7:30, everyone was ready for the day and a delicious breakfast of oatmeal was being eaten, Keith made his lunch, the kids actually washed out their dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and we had prayer and were out of the house on time! There were no tears, no wanting to pull my hair out with negotiating or nagging of Faye to just hurry up and put her clothes on, there is not much choice when she has a uniform, for heaven's sake!

As we walked out the door this morning, it began to snow!


When Beth and I got home, we did some laundry, some cleaning, some reading. She is such a sweet helper she is!

We got Faye home from school, and while I was making lunch, Beth disappeared. Faye said she was playing in my bathroom. I asked her to go and get Beth out, and to close the door so she couldn't get in anymore.

Oh the adventurous life with small children.

They are always just trying to help when things go horribly wrong.

Faye must have figured that if she locked my bedroom door, Beth would not be able to get into my makeup any more, and the problem would be permanently solved. Except the door lock is broken. When we moved in the doorknob was messed up a bit, and it locks no problem, but if you are on the outside of the door, picking the lock is incredibly difficult. Which comes in very handy when we want to wrap presents, or have a private conversation. It doesn't work so well, however, when there is no one on the inside to unlock the door.

This happened at noon. I tried everything I could think of to get the door open. I did not succeed. And so I didn't finish cleaning my bathroom today. Instead the girls and I lit a fire, and read, and played Candy Land. With our Halloween candy, which I must telly you, makes for a game infinitely more fun!

Beth had a blast dancing with our pilgrim statues. She kept calling them Mommy and Daddy. She would hug them and carry them around. It was adorable to watch.

She and Faye were playing and running around. Beth says "I hungry. Eat you!" and then chases whoever she chooses around, and pretends to eat them. When Faye decided to let her catch her, Beth sat and stroked Faye's face in her hands meanwhile melting my heart. The sisterly love was incredible to behold!

Jeffrey eventually got home, and he couldn't get the door to open, either. He went down to detox from work, and I began to make dinner. Finally, around 6 I got very impatient. My feet were cold, and I wanted my slippers, but more than that, I just wanted access to my room! I decided we needed to climb a ladder, open the (hopefully) unlocked window, climb in, and get the door open that way. Jeffrey decided to just go buy some very long needle nose pliers. Within a minute of attempting to open the door with those babies, we had access! I was so excited and happy to finally be able to enter my room again!

And then I remembered that heaters work best when all the doors of the house are open. My bedroom was arctic! No worries, though, it soon warmed up wonderfully.

Although the majority of my plans for the day were un-accomplish-able (my cleaning supplies were in my bathroom, and my shoes and keys were in my bedroom, so I couldn't go anywhere), I had a lot of fun with the kids, and am hoping that with the success of last night, this laying out the clothes thing will catch on and help us to be on time and organized every morning!

By the end of the day, though, I was done. More than done. Had I been brownies in the oven, I would have been burned to the point of spitting out every morsel and having to wash away the taste with some other sort of food. I had done more one on one time with the girls, having them on top of my for nearly the whole day. I usually get a bit of a break to replenish during Beth's nap, but today Faye craved the attention, and so I gave it to her. I tried to retreat to my newly opened room, but the girls could not leave me alone! And I am so torn by this, because I love that they want to be with me. I love that they crave my attention, and that I can help them feel so special and needed and loved! At the same time, sometimes I need time to replenish my well of giving love. Today was one of those days. I tried so hard to be patient. Finally, after the millionth time of Faye jumping on my bed because she is a bat, and Beth squealing "Mommy! Look!" and showing me something, or doing something, I just wanted to focus, for just a minute, on my book!

And I yelled at them.

They left the room, but were back a few minutes later.

Rinse and repeat.

Five times over.

Finally, near tears from exhaustion (remember, I had been up since 5:30, and this whole carrying a baby things just makes me so very tired anyway), I picked up Beth. She wrapped those cutie pie arms of hers around my neck, laid her head on my shoulder, and sighed happily. I held her close, and told her I was sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at her. I shouldn't have lost my patience and turned into the yelling mom ogre that I was. I was just tired, and although that wasn't a good excuse at all, it was the truth. She patted my back and said "It's okay, Mommy. It's alright. I know. I love you." I was so surprised with her grown up words. My heart puddled into my feet with humility and gratitude. What a wonderful girl she is, and what a lesson on acceptance and forgiveness to teach her mother! I didn't want to put her down in her bed, but knew that I should. I gave her an extra squeeze, put her into her bed (again), pulled her blankets close and gave her a big kiss and bum pat. I then left her room reluctantly. And went straight into Faye's room. I did the same thing with her. I told her I was so sorry for being a grump, and I was going to go to bed so I could be happier tomorrow. And she did the same thing Beth did, but with more words. "I know, Mom. I love you. We all have bad days. You are the best Mommy in the world! And the prettiest. And you are my favorite person in the whole wide world!" Again, heart in puddles. I gave her a long slow squeeze, kissed her head and told her I love her as I left her room.

Seriously! Are there words to articulate, let alone comprehend the feelings from these girls? They are so good and kind and loving and forgiving. The personify unconditional love. I don't deserve them, and I am grateful every single day for them, and for the things they teach me! Keith is included in that, he just kept to himself mostly today. He likes to play legos, or draw, or read, or work on things on his own in his room. Which on days like this, is absolutely ideal and preferable after a day like today. But he is included in my gratitude, and that unconditional love. My kids are so good! What a blessing they are in my life.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ghost Hunting and Labor

Oh my goodness, what a delightful time this past week has been!

Friday the kids woke up chomping on the excitement in the air. The morning was a flurry of costumes and hair fixing and chatter. 'Hurry!' they seemed to whisper with every motion of their bodies.

Of course, we had to pause outside the door for pictures. 

Keith was the Doctor. The 10th Doctor, to be precise. Faye chose to be Alice in Wonderland, and I think she was the most darling Alice ever! Beth, of course wanted to join the picture. She was still in her pajamas and wearing her jacket. She always insists on wearing the hood to whatever jacket or coat she has on, and as I looked at the picture later, I had to laugh. She could have been in costume as the Unabomber.

I got to help in Faye's class. It was so much fun! Before her class, though, there was a costume parade. I found a seat in the gym, and waited for the parade to begin.

Michael Jackson's Thriller came on over the loudspeaker, and those adorable little kindergartners strutted in, excitedly, timidly, proudly showing off their costumes. As they ambled into the room, like a line of confused ants, tears sprang to my eyes and a knot to my throat. There was just too much cuteness in the room for this pregnant lady to handle. I tried to discreetly wipe away my tears, but oh my goodness, the room was oozing with charming little goblins, monsters and princesses! Happily, I was able to get my erratic emotions under control just when Faye came by. And her sweet happy smile nearly did me in! It will be nice to no longer be controlled by weird random bursts of crying for no apparent reason. By the time Keith came through, I was able to just smile and wave, and no tears came, although I would be lying if I said they didn't threaten.

After the kids had gone through, it was time to get helping with the class party. I had brought some brooms and witch hats for an obstacle race for the kids. They came to me in groups of 4-5 and it was so much fun watching how they tried to maneuver those big brooms. We then played "Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Ghost" until it was time for them to move on to the next section. I am so glad I was able to help out and look forward to the next time I am needed in her class.

The rest of the day was crazy busy. I met my sister in law for lunch and the kids ran around playing while we visited. We got home from that and Jeffrey was home. His mother had just had surgery on her foot, so we went to visit her. We made some dinner for them, and then we went home and to bed.

Because Saturday was the important day, anyway.

We all got up, just brimming with anticipation. The kids kept asking when it was time to go trick or treating? I had a few errands to run, and the girls came with me. Now, I had been stewing over what I could be for Halloween. I had already been Hester Pryne (from The Scarlet Letter) when I was pregnant with Faye, which I thought was hilarious. This would probably be my last chance to use my pregnancy in a costume, and so I needed to make it good. Nothing was coming to me. It was the afternoon of Halloween, and I was stumped. I finally decided on just going as a life size Barbie, which would mean that Faye would fix my hair, makeup, and pick out my clothes. But, as I was driving home from the store, I had a stroke of brilliance.

A pregnant pause! I could be a pregnant pause! It is punny, and clever, and oh my goodness, how sly would that be? And so, in that one moment, it was decided. I was going to go as a Pregnant pause.

I have to say, I was incredibly disappointed with how few people got it. Apparently, a pregnant pause is not every day speech for most people? It pays to be literary, is all I have to say. While I think my costume was brilliant, it was incredibly disappointing to have to explain what it is to nearly everyone I encountered. (A pregnant pause is a pause that gives the impression that it will be followed by something significant. Example: "And the winner is.....")

Finally, around 3 we began the preparations with our costumes. I had to grin the whole time. Those children of mine sure are wonderful! They were helpful with each other's costumes, and we got out the door in no time at all. We stopped by Adrienne's house to pick up Keith's sonic screwdriver which he had accidentally left there. We then stopped by my mom's house, our friends Gary and Felina because I had some stuff to give to Felina. Then my grandma's house, and Jeffrey's parent's house. We had left by 4. We were only at each house for 10-15 minutes, but somehow, those four visits took up 2 hours! Our friends that we were Trick or Treating with were at the house before we got home!

We rushed home, I ate some pumpkin chili so I could survive the excitement of the night without getting sick, and we left!

And it was so fun, and they were adorable, and cute, and I just love them to pieces, and I wish we could repeat Halloween night a few times more during the year because gosh, it is so much fun!

Unfortunately, we had to cut our trick or treating short. I was getting sick and began dry heaving on the side of the road, so we just rushed back home and I had some more chili.

The Nerds arrived shortly after that, and we chatted for a bit. Kylie, her twin Kelsie, Andrea and I decided to go ghost hunting. Apparently there is a pond near my house where the children and I like to play, that is said to be one of the most haunted places in Utah. Of course we had to check it out! The boys stayed behind with the kids and we headed out, and oh my goodness, it was beautiful! The way the stars, the clouds, the moon reflected in the water was breathtaking. The shadow of the trees looked like lace hanging down, and what a lovely evening it was!

After the pond, we decided to go to a cemetery in a neighboring city. One that I had heard all growing up to stay away from after dark because there were lots of murders there, and it was haunted. So of course, we had to go there! Alas, it was barricaded off and there were police cars inside, deterring any ghost hunting. While waiting at a red light, though, a car full of teenage boys pulled up alongside us and tried flirting with us. They wanted us to roll down the windows, race them, etc. It was very funny and quite flattering. Of course they couldn't see my costume, otherwise I am sure there would have been a very different outcome there. We went to one more cemetery. This one I know well. I used to walk around it a lot with Keith when he was a baby. I love it there, and told them a few ghost stories that I had learned from the groundskeeper I had become friends with. We drove around a bit, and the weirdest thing happened. I got hit on the head. Not by anyone in the car, but I distinctly felt something hit the top of my head. Had I not been in a car with a roof over my head, I would have assumed a pine cone or acorn had fallen on me, but no one in the car had touched me, and there was a roof over my head, so I just can't explain it, other than it was a bit creepy. Just when we decided to leave the cemetery, we turned a bend, and saw...  something. No idea what it was. In actuality, it was probably a reflection on the window, or something like that, which my brain translated into being a white translucent teenage girl, floating above the ground a bit. Needless to say, we left the cemetery immediately. The rest of the night we joked about the ghost girl, though. It was a lot of fun, and I hope I get to do the same thing next year as well! We got home, joined up with the guys and I fell asleep while they all watched a 1950's horror flick called Them! which is about giant man eating ants.

I was so happy when Sunday rolled around. A day of rest. The best day! I had decided we would not be late for church. There really is no excuse for us being late. Church starts at 1. I began my preparations by throwing a roast into the crockpot. I got the kids ready, and I was getting myself ready when I had to stop.

Pain in my lower back. But weird pain. Pressure pain. I figured they were Braxton-Hicks. So, I stopped my process of preparation for church and pulled out good ol' Doctor Google. Everything I read said if I felt pain in my lower back, where there hadn't been pain before, I needed to contact my doctor. I sighed, waited through another pain surge (they were coming about every 2 minutes, in waves, and lasting for about 30 seconds), and then texted my midwife. She said it sounded like preterm labor. She advised me to lay down, drink 2 glasses of water, and see if they will go away. I asked her if I could do my sitting down at church, but she advised against it, saying I really should be laying on my side. This was really difficult for me to hear. I had missed church last week as well, because I had been sick and spent the whole day in the bathroom. I didn't want to miss another week! But more than that, I didn't want anything to go wrong with the baby. I have never had any sort of preterm labor before, though, so I did exactly what my midwife advised. I sent my family off to church without me, and I laid down and took a nap.

I feel bad that I have only actually been there once since I was released. It probably appears that I am ditching church because I am unhappy with not being in primary any longer. But that is not the case at all, I keep having these ridiculous things happen to me, right before we are heading out the door for church! Oh, and I did get a new calling. I am the mid-week activities coordinator for Relief Society. I am very excited for this calling. It is the same calling I had before we moved into this ward, and I had to laugh. Apparently I can only do two things. Play with children, or plan activities. But I am so happy for this opportunity. I am sure I will have a lot of fun with it. I was really sad, though, because I missed my first meeting with the other sisters on the committee yesterday. Happily, the preterm labor has gone away, and I am going to just take it easy for a bit, to see if that will help it not come back.

What a weekend! I honestly am not sure how we survived so much going on! I am happy to try to get back to my regular schedule, though. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dreary Happiness

Today was bleak and grey.

Or, in other words, it was Autumn beautiful. 

It began way too early, though. I mean, I was planning on getting up at 6 anyway. I wanted to read my scriptures and then get started on cleaning up the mess in the kitchen that I hadn't cleaned the night before. The kids (yes, Keith and Faye- under the direction of their father) had put me to bed at 7:30 last night. I was just too tired to stay awake any longer. And so, when 6 o'clock am rolled around, I was getting ready to get out of bed and get a start on my morning. Except Faye had other ideas. She had a bad dream and so came and wanted to cuddle. Since this was before I had actually gotten out of bed or turned any lights on, I figured I would cuddle with her until she was ready to go back to sleep, and then I would get started on my morning.

Silly me. Faye is never ready to go to sleep. Especially in the mornings.

And she likes to have company. Which means she woke Beth, of course. 

Together, they dilly-dallied. I tried to help Faye get ready for school, but she just wouldn't have it. When it was time to walk out the door, Faye still wasn't dressed, let's not even mention her hair which hadn't seen a comb for nearly two days! But we couldn't be late for school, so my daughter went to school looking like a homeless child. And she forgot her coat, but we didn't have time to go back for it.

Beth and I got home, and she made me the happiest mom ever. She decided to go potty on her own (which is a common occurrence around here) and while she was in the bathroom, she pooped on the potty! I was so excited. It is the first time she has intentionally pooped on the potty, and she eventually did it twice today! 

Yay for progress!

Now, Beth had been tugging on her ear for two days, and was exceptionally whiny, so I decided to take her in to the doctor. She kept saying her ear hurt, and it was always the same one, the same side, which suggested that it was a legitimate problem. When I called, they could see her at the same time Faye got out of school, so I would have to check her out early so she wouldn't come home to an empty house and freak out. I called and talked to the school about the best time to get Faye, and it was decided, since I would have to swing by to take her jacket to the school for recess, I may as well just check her out right before recess because then she wouldn't have to go home in the middle of centers, which would be disruptive, and it would make her mad.

She was mad to have to leave school early.

Apparently it was all for naught, though, as Beth does have a little fluid behind her eardrum, but she doesn't have an infection of any kind. Which is wonderful, but sort of a waste of a trip.

During Beth's nap time, Faye and I lit a fire, because it was cold in our house. I had put slippers on over my socks, I put on my poncho as I was already wearing two shirts, and I put on my wool hat. I was still cold, so the fire was decided on.
Picture courtesy of Faye
Faye and I pulled out some colored pencils and we curled up in front of the fire (with some heavy duty blankets over us. Yes, I was that cold!) to color, me in my new coloring book, and her in her new sketch book. It was sweet, the bonding time we shared. She grinned a lot, and kept hugging me and calling me the best mommy ever. Faye is very loving and complimentary, she is. Keith got home, and instead of coloring, we made some cocoa and I read Harry Potter while we sipped our cocoa. I was exhausted and really was having such a hard time focusing on anything, so I decided that maybe a walk would help.

We woke Beth up, and we went for our annual Leaf-crunching walk. 

It was beautiful!

There weren't a lot of leaves to crunch, but the air was wonderfully nippy. We were bundled up in scarves and hats, and high spirits. Beth chased Keith and Faye and they ran, laughing, making me laugh right along with them. As we rounded a corner, we saw a house with lovely crisp leaves for the stomping along the sidewalk, and gorgeous golden piles of leaves all over the grass. I gave the kids strict instruction that they could kick the leaves on the sidewalk all they wanted, but they were to stay out of the piles on the lawn. Except as we got closer, our friends were outside, raking leaves and putting them into bags. For the exchange of letting us romp through their piles, make leaf angels, bury each other, make it rain gold, etc, we helped them bag up some leaves.

It was SO much fun, for all of us, and it seemed to do the trick! I was no longer moving at a slug's pace. I had slightly more energy and was happy and eager to make dinner when we got home.

That is, until Beth began screaming for no apparent reason. Which is not like her at all. She is usually so mild tempered, and rarely throws fits for which we have no idea the source. But as I was cooking dinner, something I did really angered her, and she would have none of it, yet she couldn't tell me what it was, because she was just that mad. Typical. Jeffrey picked her up and loved on her while I finished cooking, and then I felt bad, but I took my plate of food into my bedroom, and hid behind my bed while I ate, relishing the peace.

I have been doing that a lot this pregnancy. I normally love the hustle and bustle of the dinner hour. I usually insist that everyone be present, and we talk and enjoy each other's company. But for some reason, more and more often I am wanting to retreat to the quiet of my room to eat dinner alone and in peace. I feel so guilty about it, but I keep telling myself it is just until this baby is born, and then I won't be quite so tired, or tired in this same way, and then I will be able to handle the noise without it making me crazy. Because I really am not handling it well. 

But by the time bedtime comes around, I am ready to be tagged in for my turn of "whack-a-mole" with kids. One child gets tucked in, another gets up. That one gets tucked in, another one is up. Beth is the worst culprit right now.

She is in a toddler bed, and she knows how to open her bedroom door. A deadly combination. So I try to lock it. But if she can't open it, she will lie on the floor in front of the door, hollering to us through the crack beneath the door, and while it makes me laugh and smile, it also tears at my heart strings. I would hate for that to be her first memory, being locked in her room. Also, she has learned that if she says she has to go potty, we will always let her out. She is usually right, which is nice, but getting her back in bed once she has gotten out is like trying to stuff a cat into a tiny bird cage without a bird. Nigh impossible! Sometimes, if I don't check on her, she will sleep on the floor in front of the door, and then wake up in the middle of the night freezing, so I have to be careful that doesn't happen, either.

Tricky stuff, this bedtime!

I am happy to say, though, that all of my beautiful children are nestled in their beds, and Beth hasn't tried to get up for the past 15 minutes which means it is time for me to unlock her bedroom door. I don't like to leave it locked throughout the night, in case of an emergency, but just long enough for her to give up on trying. Judge all you want, but it totally works. After a few attempts, she gives up, crawls back into bed and goes to sleep.

I have to say, despite my weird exhaustion (I should be over this now, right? I am nearly 20 weeks along, which is half way!), today was simply lovely. Dreary autumn days are always full of memories just waiting to be made. I am so glad that we could have some to make today. I am hoping tomorrow will be just as memorable, albeit slightly more productive!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This is What it Does to Me

I am riding on a high right now. I just finished a book. 

More than that, though, yesterday was fantastic! my friend Kylie and I had planned to go hiking on Friday, but when it came near the time to leave, I just didn't feel well. I contacted her, and we decided to go to the Church History Museum in SLC because they have an art museum upstairs, and it would be lovely to go see the art without worrying about little hands touching, knocking over, destroying someones heart and soul work.

But we got sidetracked and ended up visiting for a long time, and actually watching a movie in the visitor's center at Temple Square. Where we completely lost track of time, because Kylie and I don't very often have a chance to just sit and talk, the two of us. Which is why we had planned the GNO in the first place. After we had been there for 4 hours which seemed like 1, Shem (my life long friend and her boyfriend) asked if we wanted to meet up with him for some Viet Namese food. 

Sigh. It was delicious! And then we went to a Cajun place for alligator cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, and deep fried Twinkies. It was a gastronomically exquisite evening, combined with the best company anyone could ask for, and I am excited for the next time we go out! Hopefully our friend Felina can join us this next time as she had plans last night and wasn't able to come.

Today, I finally got Beth's room clean! A while ago, too long to mention here because frankly, it is embarrassing, Faye had decided to play in Beth's room. She had carpeted the floor with all of the clothes from drawers and hangers, set up booby-traps with every toy in Beth's room, and then left. Since then, I have either had too much going on, something would come up, or I was not feeling well, and would just close Beth's door and pretend the mess didn't exist. Until today. I tackled that room, and in much less time than I expected, her room is once again restored to factory settings. It looks lovely, and Beth and Faye had fun spinning around, or "flying" as Beth calls it. And then Faye said "I love when Beth's room is clean. It looks and feels so nice in here!" I really wish she could remember that she likes the same thing to be done in her room, too. Silly girl.

When I finished cleaning her room, I pulled out my mental To Do list and examined it. Looking at that old and tattered list full of Shoulds and Musts dampened my mood a bit from the triumph of slaying that mess of Beth's room. My shiny armor dulled and my heart sagged while the list loomed above me, rearing its loathsome head, spewing out all the things that I have ever put there and not gotten around to crossing off. Cleaning out the gutters, winterizing my yard, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the cleaning closet, cleaning my bedroom, baking bread, mopping the floor... and then out of the corner of my eye, Temptation glistened as the sunbeams cut through the window and caressed my book.

I mentioned before that Adrienne had found my Something Wicked This Way Comes book, after I had already checked it out of the library. The plastic protective coating enshrouding the book reflected a glare into my eye, completely vanquishing any hold on me the ToDo list once held, and I happily pounced on my book with a cup of Pumpkin Cocoa, and lost myself in the whorl of words, twisting and pulling me down. Reading, devouring, drowning in the story, only surfacing when lungs are exploding, suffocating from want of air. Because that is what Ray Bradbury does to me. When I surface, gasping for breath from his wordsmithing, I always am surprised to see my room, my house, my life continuing on, living as if I had not just escaped the greatest peril with the hero of the story. Shocked that I am comfortably sitting, my legs tucked beneath me, leaning on the edge of the couch, shoulders hunched, eyes eagerly feasting on the smorgasbord before me.

And anyway, reading SWTWC is on my ToDo list. Because I haven't read it in such a long time, and I discovered it takes place between October 20-24. So I was determined to finish it before midnight tonight, for reasons completely unknown to me, it was vital I finish the book tonight. So I smiled, shoving the monstrous ToDo into the recesses of my mind and caging it there until the day I, in mock bravery and  juvenile enthusiasm, call it forth, pen unsheathed, armed and ready to cross off a task and diminish the list. Except the Lerneaen Hydra-list never diminishes, no matter how much I cross off. There is always more to do. And so, it is best for all involved that my ToDo list stay caged and hidden so I can happily live my life in denial that such a grotesque monster even exists.

But as it always goes when I make up my mind to devote a large chunk of my day to reading, lots of interruptions were in store.

My parents came by bearing belated birthday gifts. I hadn't felt well when we went there for my birthday, so they sweetly decided to come see me. And since I always have cold feet, they decided to get me some alpaca soft wool socks and slippers. I am hoping the foot coverings will help, and at least they are deliciously comfortable.

Also, tonight was the night we got to go to the pumpkin patch with our ward. Kylie joined us, and I am so glad she did! She helped me keep track of Beth and Faye and get pumpkins, and she joined in the face painting, and oohed and aahed appropriately when the girls just wanted to perform for her all night long. It was so much fun!

And then we got home and visited some more, and bedtime, and then, the delectable sound of silence that comes with the beckoning of a book. 

I could finish it, no problem!

And so I heated up some water for more Pumpkin Cocoa, and set about the serious business of reading with my orange mug beside me, a life preserver to buoy me out of the ocean of words and imagery, to ground me every once in a while with a sip. My orange mug, the only mug for pumpkin cocoa, leaching the color of the liquid for an intoxicating sameness, not knowing where the cocoa starts or the mug ends, always surprised by the empty bottom with its Cyclops eye staring back at me, unblinking and aware, judging my inattention. Somehow it empties itself while I read, because I swear I didn't stop at all in the story to take a sip and yet the proof stares at me with the empty dry eye of the bottom of the cup. Not a good life preserver after all.

But I did it. I finished my book, and I am elated. I feel triumphant, as if finishing the book fought off some evil lurking in the shadows. "Beware the autumn people," the book said. The autumn people hiding just out of sight and by finishing my book on the day the story ends in the book somehow gives me a boost of invincibility against the imagined and so real antagonist of every story I have ever read.

Somehow, reading Ray Bradbury gives me the desire to write more, too. I long to lasso the words and tame them the way he has. To spin stories out of cobwebs and dreams and through them create a cinematic event. I lack his talent, but I guess I just need to be content with my little corner of the wide world of words on the web. I am just happy I can read his books and feels his words rise up in me, the pressure building, taking a viable place in my head and my heart, ready to spew forth ash and fire and be reborn in the clumsy and weak Phoenix of my creation and imitation.

Reading. This is what it does to me.

Happily, just like my ToDo list, my reading list never shrinks but is always stretching and growing. And I absolutely do not mind that one bit! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Week of Tender Mercies and Comedic Mishaps

This week has been ridiculous!

Monday I woke up intending to clean. Because honestly, the bedrooms need it. I keep promising myself I will clean, and it keeps not happening. So I was determined.

Except I got a wicked migraine.

I tried water. It didn't do anything except make me nauseous.

I tried Tylenol. As expected, it did absolutely nothing for the pain.

I tried caffeine. It didn't touch the migraine one iota.

I tried sleep. Except I have a 2 year old who is in constant physical contact with me. Usually I love it, but not when I have a migraine. And not when the 5 year old gets home from school at 11. And not when I am supposed to watch my cousins boys after school.

So I called my midwife, thinking she would sympathize with me, but ultimately say "I'm sorry, there really isn't anything else you can take."

And that is when my miracle happened!

She actually answered the phone instead of her nurse, or the voicemail. I talked to her a bit about what I have done, and asked if there was anything at all, because I cannot live with a migraine like that! And then she offered me lortab. Lortab does the exact thing that Tylenol does to me. Absolutely nothing. She suggested Tylenol with codeine in it. As aforementioned, Tylenol doesn't do anything, and the one time I had codeine in my cough syrup, it made me so loopy, I vowed I would never take it again. Finally, she offered me percocet. Since I have never had it, and I was desperate, I decided to go for it. But because it is a controlled substance, the prescription has to be handwritten and hand-delivered to the pharmacy instead of called in or sent in electronically. Jeffrey, the wonderful man that he is, knew of my plight and so decided to come home early to help me with this because I really couldn't drive with my head in the pain it was. As we were driving to get the script, we had to stop at a tire place to fix a flat! And by the time that was fixed, we realized we wouldn't have time to get up to my midwife's office and back to the school in time to get the boys, not to mention Keith's class treat for his birthday since his birthday was over Fall break! So we turned around, got the boys, and made them all suffer in the car ride to get the script, and then to the pharmacy to get my prescription. By the time we got home, the poor boys only had 15 minutes to play together. I felt bad, but really, there wasn't anything I could do about it.

I took the percocet, and have learned that from now on, the only time for me to ever take that stuff is if it is right before I go to sleep. It made me very dizzy, which made me sick. 10 minutes before a family dinner. Sad, I know.

Tuesday, however, really made up for Monday. It was the eye of the storm. It was my birthday, and when I woke up, Jeffrey surprised me by staying home from work that day. I had a very relaxed morning, and then around noon I got to go to Adrienne's house, childless, and I visited her for a good 4 hours without a single call from Jeffrey asking me to come home. I think that is a record! And it was perfect! It was relaxing and peaceful and we laughed so much, and wondered why we don't get together more often because even though I see her probably more than any of my other friends, it just doesn't seem like enough, ever! Her kids were a little mad that I didn't bring mine with me, though. Best of all, Adrienne gave me the best accidental birthday gift I have ever wanted! She realized she had borrowed my Something Wicked This Way Comes! 

I have my book again! Except sort of, because I had actually gone to the library and gotten a copy of it that very day, because one way or another, I was going to read that book this week! Except now, Adrienne still has it, and we are going to read it together, which makes it infinitely better!  When I got home, we loaded the kids into the van and dropped them off at their grandparent's house so Jeffrey could take me on a date. I got some delicious curry, and we talked and really enjoyed the food and each other's company, so much. I couldn't believe that we had been in the restaurant for an hour and a half! And then we did the chore part of the date. None of my previous maternity clothes fit me, so we went clothes shopping, which happens to be one of my least favorite things to do in the world! Jeffrey was very happy with the Star Wars steering wheel cover and Darth Vader mugs he found. I found a wonderful plaid shirt, and get to return the two others because they really don't fit as well as I thought. But he was very pleased with our excursion, so that makes it wonderful. I went to bed that night feeling happy and rested.

And then that night happened. Faye had a nightmare, so she came to cuddle in the middle of the night. Except she sleeps like a fish gasping for its last breath, flopping desperately around. Basically impossible for a light sleeper to sleep next to her. After about 30 minutes of that, I began pleading with Jeffrey to take her back to her bed, where she tricks her into sleeping with him, and I get to sprawl, and the three of us are all happy, because we can all sleep. Things played out exactly as I had planned, except about an hour later, Keith came up because he had a nightmare and was scared. Sigh. He climbed into bed with me, and immediately fell asleep as a heat seeking missile. It didn't matter where I went on the bed, he would always find me and squish up against me so that in the end, I was on the edge of the bed, clinging for dear life, and Keith was deeply sleeping, happily unaware of the discomfort he was causing. Somehow I was able to fall asleep like that, though how, I can't quite figure out.

My phone rang at 7:03. It was one of my renters calling to tell me that there was flooding in the basement of the house. I asked her if she could tell me the source, but she couldn't.


And so, as soon as the kids were off to school, Beth and I got to go up and figure it out. Luckily it was from a drain backing up and not a leaking water heater! And so I called a plumber to go out and fix it, except I don't know the schedules of the 4 girls living there, or when they will be home to let the plumber in. So I got a quote and then asked the girls to call and schedule it...

Faye came home from school with a problem. She needed to use the bathroom, but when she tried, it was excruciatingly painful. She sat on the potty and when it came out, she screamed and clung to me. Tears streamed down her face, and the screams were heart wrenching! When I helped her wipe, I saw there was blood on the toilet paper. Knowing the painful feeling probably meant she had a UTI, I was planning on just taking care of it on my own. When I saw the blood, I decided it would be best if I could get a doctor to step in and help take care of it. I called and made an appointment with her doctor, and got her to drink a lot of water. She had a full Gatorade, and nearly a full water bottle of cranberry juice. And she refused to use the bathroom. I took her to her appointment, and she refused to go. 

This was the sweet nurse who gave her the candy bar. Love her!
Her appointment was at 4, the doctor couldn't see her until he got a urine sample and could assess the situation and so, she and I paced the hall, her indecision following us and blocking every positive step forward. The memory of the pain was too great. The nurses promised her a king sized candy bar. She also asked them to cheer and clap for her when she finally did go. One nurse put a sticker of Olaf on the bottom of the urine catcher so that he would be made of "yellow snow." I thought that was funny, though Faye didn't quite get it. I promised her a girl's night where she and I would watch the new Cinderella, and a new water bottle of her very own. She had been using Keith's. And then Jeffrey told her he would take the training wheels off her bike, and get her a new helmet. All this, just so she would go to the bathroom! When the doctor finally did come in, he said he was impressed with how long she held out! But when the nurse mentioned going over to the hospital to get a catheter put in, I think all these little things are so worth it to not have to do that! She tested positive for a UTI, and he was going to culture the urine to make sure nothing else was wrong.

When we all got home for the night, and were just simply ready for the day to be done, Jeffrey told me about his day. It consisted of phone guys trying to fix something, but not knowing what to fix. They tried anyway, and something happened, so they had to call the ambulance. They asked Jeffrey to go out and direct the first responders in to where they guy was. While he was about to do that, he got to diffuse a situation of a very fed up and frustrated tech support guy. While all this was going on, I was calling him, trying to give him updates on Faye.

We laughed at how ridiculous everything was, and decided to go to bed early, because that day just needed to end! I was so grateful that I had had such a wonderful and restful day before all of that. I know that it was a tender mercy that all of this stuff waited a day to happen so that I could have a peaceful day to prepare as it were.

Today was basically normal. I got the kids off to school early. I went in and talked to Faye's teacher about her having a water bottle in class, and asked her to please encourage her to use the bathroom as she hadn't yet that morning. Her teacher is wonderful and did a great job helping Faye to drink, and Faye is simply stubborn. The memory of the pain was still fresh in her mind, so she just didn't say anything and anytime anyone asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom, she would say no. I hoped she would go for her teacher if she wouldn't go for me. Beth and I then went home. I was again going to tackle the bedrooms today, but just when I finished fixing Beth's hair, I got a call from the school. Faye had had an accident and I needed to pick her up or bring her a change of clothes. I hunted through her clothes, and there wasn't a single pair of underwear left clean! So, I picked Faye up from the school, and we went to the store to get some undies so she would have something clean to put on and not exacerbate her infection.

Beth was tired, I got tired, Faye was loud and woke Beth up from her nap. Keith and Faye played outside while I tried to summon the energy to get up and do anything at all around the house. We needed to go visit my dad for his birthday today, and to go to my niece's birthday party today. The kids were so excited!

Except Jeffrey got home from work late. He had to make up for missing Tuesday, so he has been staying late every day this week. When he got home, he just went to bed as he wasn't feeling well. I made some delicious herb crusted salmon that I was so excited to try for dinner, with a side of brussle sprouts. It looked beautiful! I pulled the fish out of the oven, though, and it smelled a bit fishy. But I had just bought it the day before, so it couldn't be too bad, I reasoned.

And then I tasted it.

We ended up throwing that big beautiful fish which tasted like ammonia and rotten kelp out and ordering a pizza. I did not feel well after taste testing that fish. It was horrible! And what a waste of all those lovely herbs and the parmesan cheese. I was so sad to say goodbye to that lying majestic and delicious looking dinner. The kids were so excited, though. They always want pizza instead of anything. And the brussle sprouts were salvageable, which I ate happily.

All the while, I couldn't help but laugh at the way things seem to be adamantly against my plans for cleaning lately. Anytime I set aside a day to clean, something happens which keeps me from being able to do what I need to do. My fingers are crossed that tomorrow morning will be different. I am hoping to go hiking in the afternoon, if I can just get at least one of the bedrooms clean tomorrow, I will feel like I finally have done something!

But really, where would the humor in that be?