Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Father's Day to the Best of the Best

Happy Father's Day to Dan the Man Jolley!

Father's Day at our house consists of getting to sleep in 15 minutes longer than usual and getting a present or two. I need lots of help getting this crew to church on time, so Dan doesn't get much of a break from that.

The girls and I made him breakfast in bed. I don't like breakfast in bed! Do you? Dan does, so we obliged. Gwen was cranky the whole time and cried as I sang "Happy Father's Day" to Dan. She screamed so loudly that he didn't even know what I was saying. Sounds about right.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a tube of biscuit dough the next time you are at the store and make yourself a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. It's my fave thing at McDonald's, and the homemade version is also excellent.

I think Dan actually ate one of those sandwiches and the girls commandeered the rest.

This card was especially fitting because one of his presents was matching ties with Harris!

Dan is pretty hard to predict sometimes. He can be really into cheesy stuff and the next second he is rolling his eyes at something cheesy. So I wasn't sure if he would be into matching ties. And he kind of wasn't. Haha. But he did it to humor me.

When I saw that his initial reaction was somewhere between "meh" and "this is embarrassing", I put on my best mom voice and sang out to him, "If any of the other dads make fun of you, they're just jealous!"

We then discussed how inaccurate that statement is most of the time. My mom used it on me a lot, and I look back now and think, "No, Mom. I don't think the popular kids are secretly jealous of how uncool I am and how dorky my clothes are. I think they really are just having a good time laughing about it."

But I know I'll say the same thing to my kids.

Dan the Man with his children. This is Gwen's most cooperative-looking photo of that day, followed by a close runner-up:

I should frame this.

Speaking of frames, his other present was this nice frame for his diploma.

For dinner, I made coconut shrimp. I was really frazzled putting it together because I was also making a new dessert at the same time. Unfortunately, this resulted in my forgetting to take the shells off the shrimp. It was horrible. And Dan just choked it down with a smile anyway because that's the kind of guy he is. Also, he's really used to choking down horrible food around here.

It's really quite symbolic for Father's Day because the kids and I started choking the life out of Dan when he became a father.

Happy Father's Day, Dan! We really do appreciate you even if Father's Day feels like every other day at our house with loud, cranky kids and an old, cranky wife. Love you!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dan is Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving.

First person to name the movie in the comments section gets to clean my house.

Dan turned the big 3-0 this May, and I'm happy to have him join me in the thirtysomething club. The club of falling asleep during the opening credits of movies, getting excited about shopping at Aldi and driving a minivan. Though I've been doing those first two since I was 16. I also like Lawrence Welk. 

Dan's big request for his birthday was chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe), and I have to say--I did a pretty good job. It was delicious. Also part of being in the thirtysomething club is counting your calories, and this baby clocks in at 600+ calories per slice. If you cut it into twelfths. So we invited another family over to help us devour this beauty so that we wouldn't be able to ourselves.

I know, I know. It's cracked. My cheesecakes always crack.

Happy Birthday, Dan!

The best birthday present Dan received was his sweet baby Harris and also this sweet baby which came in the mail:

Five days after Harris was born, Dan had to take his final finals. Ever. Luckily, his professors heard about the baby and said he could take the tests from New Jersey instead of having to fly back down to Florida for them. Unfortunately, this meant that he would also be missing graduation, which was the day after finals. Dan was bummed about this, but I was so excited. The thought of having to attend a graduation days after giving birth really did not appeal to me. I feel like people always look stunning at graduations, but my postpartum wardrobe plan consisted of cutting a hole out of one of my bed sheets to wear while also attempting to watch the entire outdoor ceremony from the confines of my car. But I was saved!

My BFF Linz came and visited for a few days at the end of May, and we had a fabulous time. I am SO BAD at taking pictures when people come to visit. Especially Linz. Because we are too busy having fun. And we are quite the pair. There are very few people who would be okay with flying across the country to help me with my crazy kids, and she has done it quite a few times. There are also very few people I can ask to watch A Walk to Remember with me for the sole purpose of poking fun at it, but Linz will do that too. She's BFF material for sure.

This was right before my crew headed to our town's little Memorial Day parade. The girls wanted to wear costumes, and so we went with it. It rained like crazy the entire parade, but it was one of the best Memorial Days I've ever had. Because at the end, the town follows the parade to the local VA hall where there is a flag and prayer ceremony to remember those from our town who have died in service to our country. They read each name and rang a bell, and I felt the Spirit so strong. I loved it.

And then looked over at my girls and remembered that we let them wear Halloween costumes. Whoops.

June wore bat wings that day. Wings I had ordered special so that she could wear them on "Favorite Book Character Day" at school. Her favorite book is about bats, and we read it every single night. Black shirt, black pants, bat wings. Easy, right? Except that after we attended the Memorial Day festivities, the bat wings went missing.

Friday was the big day, and by Thursday night I still hadn't found them. June was REALLY upset about this, and it stressed me out. Friday morning, I gave the house one last look but couldn't find them. I finally persuaded June to dress up like another book character, Pinkabella.


Not to be left out, Gwen also dressed like Pinkabella that day.

I put June on the bus and was relieved the ordeal was over. The second I walked back through the front door of the house, I knew where the wings were. The one place I forgot to look. I walked right to my closet and looked on the top shelf, and there they were.

I'm tired, folks.

Lastly, I try to send a pic of the girls to their grandmas on the regular. But my subjects are ridiculous to work with.

The following series could be aptly called--Gwen: A Case Study.

and "To the Left, to the Left"

"June Leaves the Family."

"Let's Go Spend a Bunch of Time in the Car Together."

"This is the Best We Can Do."

"Harris is the Only Willing Participant."

"Please Let Me Be Anywhere but Here."

"A Girl and Her Dog."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Still Alive.

It turns out that having three kids is more than having two kids. I feel like I've been running ever since Harris joined us. BUT. I infinitely prefer it this way. I've heard it both ways--"It's better to have the baby out than in" and also "It's better to have the baby in than out" and I can definitely say I'm in the first camp. I have many friends who suffer from postpartum depression, but for me, I think I have "partum depression". I am so sad when I'm pregnant. I am so relieved when I'm not.

Harris is so sweet. He doesn't cry too much. He has been harder than my other kids to get on a schedule, but not awful. I think the biggest obstacle I face is simultaneously wanting him on a schedule while also needing him to nap when he should be awake so that I can help other little kids. We go a lot of places, so he's always falling asleep in the car when he should be awake. But it's fine. We'll get there. I'm not stressing over it.

He's 4.5 weeks old and almost 11 pounds. He eats like he's starving constantly (my genes). His bowels function most adeptly. He's a nice boy.

BIG NEWS in our family. No one has any cavities! That is a first. I took the girls to a pediatric dentist and marveled at the world that is pediatric dentistry. First off, I can't imagine being a pediatric dentist. Aside from the fact that the world of science and medicine seem rather otherworldly to my artsy fartsy brain, I can't imagine getting little kids to do stuff most adults avoid doing. But times have changed since I was a kid. Going to the dentist is like going to Disneyland now. I found a place with a space/rocket ship theme, and both girls loved it and were very compliant.

They watched movies as they had their teeth cleaned, and true to form, they wouldn't answer any questions posed by the dentist because they were too busy watching tv. If you put a screen in front of one of my kids, they turn comatose to the life outside. It's a talent, really.

June's class went on a field trip to the zoo, and she came home painted like this:

Love it.

The girls and Dan went to church without me a few Sundays, and it was really nice to have the quiet time at the house with Harris. Also, June's hair is so long. Sometimes, I attempt to french braid it. I'm not very good at hair. I have found that if I braid it after a really long break, it looks decent. However, if I try to do it again and again in the same week, it doesn't work. Thus, practice doesn't always make perfect.

I've been trying to pay more attention to Gwen. Poor middle child. Being sandwiched between a special needs older sibling and a newborn baby hasn't been very kind to Gwen, Luckily, she had lots of attention when Grandma Sandy and Grandma Kristi took turns coming for visits. She and I spend a lot of time doing puzzles while Harris sleeps. But her favorite thing is just to get out of the house, so we do that a lot too.

I made it to church for Mother's Day. Gotta pick up my M Day swag! We had no good pictures of us all together, but here are a few of us broken up.

June gave me the following card she made at school for Mother's Day.
 "My Mommy"
By: June
My mommy's name is Heather and she is 23 years old.
My mom looks beautiful when she combs her hair.
My mom laughs when I tell her a joke.
My mom is really good at tickling me.
When I am at school, my mom flies.
The best thing my mom cooks is butterfly cake.
My favorite thing to do with my mom is eat together.
If I could buy her a gift, I would buy my mom a toy.
I love my mom more than a car.

I guess that's a hint to brush my hair more often? And yes, eating is a major bonding activity in this household. Good thing I'm only 23 and still have great metabolism. (Note: I'm 32.)

And one more of that baby.

At first, everyone said he looked like me. Now everyone is saying Dan. What say ye?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Harris Keith Jolley

I was scheduled to be induced Saturday morning, April 15th. It didn't sit well with me because it's Tax Day, and I felt like every year we attempted to celebrate Harris's birth, I would also be thinking about how much I owe the government. And then give Harris a really cheap and sad party where I was sitting in the corner trying to calculate how many purchases made for the party were tax deductible and wondering if I could claim any of his party attendants as a dependent.

Well, apparently Harris also hated the idea of his party being hijacked by the IRS because he decided to make an early appearance. On Friday the 14th, I was lying on the bed in the late afternoon trying to get comfortable. Dan came home from work a little early that day and was setting up the trampoline in the backyard. All of a sudden, I felt horrible pain all through my body. "This must be a contraction," I thought. Even though this is my third kid, I've never experienced contractions before. Just a side note--contractions are horrible.

I yelled out to Dan through the window that I was in a lot of pain and that I needed him to time my contractions. I expected 10 minutes to go by. Nope.

Two minutes later, another horrible contraction. I was screaming. Two minutes later, another one.

I felt so confused. This was like the movies, and everyone knows birth isn't really like the movies. Dan insisted I called my doctor, but I felt stupid doing so because I had only had 3 contractions and I know you're supposed to contract for an hour or so consistently before you call. But I called and then screamed into the phone. As you can imagine, this was not very helpful to anyone, but I couldn't speak.

Dan took the phone from me and just shouted, "HEATHER JOLLEY IS ON HER WAY TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW."

He called our babysitter who said she could be at our house in 15 minutes. We didn't have 15 minutes. So Dan told her to come and then knocked on our neighbor's house so that she could sit with the girls while the babysitter was driving over.

Our neighbor came over and found me screaming in the kitchen. I never said good-bye to the girls. I think they were watching tv the whole time and didn't even realize that we were leaving.

Dan helped me out to the car. I put on my seat belt and then quickly took it off again because it hurt really bad. By this point, the pain was so intense and I was hitting things. Like Dan's poor sun visor in his car that will probably never function the same.

We drove up to the hospital (luckily only 11 minutes away), and Dan ran get to a wheelchair while I was in the car. But then I had the thought--what if I deliver in this car?!?!? So in between contractions (I only had about a 30 second break in between by this time), I waddled out of the car and attempted to walk into the hospital. And then I started screaming in the parking lot. And I saw some young girl heading to her car, and I yelled out to her, "WILL YOU TAKE ME TO LABOR AND DELIVERY?!?!?" She helped me into her car just as Dan was pulling up with the wheelchair, so I got in the wheelchair instead.

Dan ran as fast as he could, pushing my pregnant bod into the hospital. He almost passed out.

I was screaming the whole way into the hospital and they took me right into a room where a nurse checked me.

"She's at least a 6," she said. "But I can't tell because she won't stop moving."

"DRUGS!" I yelled out. "I WANT DRUGS!!"

Everyone reassured me that drugs were on the way, but I knew they were lying. There was no way I could even sit still long enough for an epidural by this time.

I was a screaming witch banshee by this point. I hope I never see any of those people ever again. I kicked a nurse off of me who was trying to get the baby's heartbeat and in so doing was pressing down on my crotch in a most painful way. I realized my face was numb, and I called out, "I can't feel my face!!" And the nurse next to me told me it was because I was hyperventilating and that I needed to slow my breathing. "I CAN'T!" I screamed back at her.

About 3 minutes later, a resident OBGYN came in and told me to push if I felt like I needed to. I needed to. I dug my nails into another nurse's arm while I pushed, and everyone said, "You're doing great! Look there's his head!!" I didn't want to look. I wanted to die.

So I called out, "I WANT TO DIE!" And the nurse whose arm I was clawing to death said, "Oh honey, you're not going to die." And I said, "YOU AREN'T LISTENING. I WANT TO DIE."

Two more pushes, and Harris was OUT. Weighing in at NINE pounds, one ounce. Ouchhhhh. And they put him on my chest, and I have to admit that at that point I didn't want him anywhere near me. That baby tried to kill me!! I still had to deliver the placenta and get stitched up and I had this baby on my chest, and I called out, "I CAN'T BE A MOTHER RIGHT NOW."

I'm sure I'm one of those patients they talk about for years after.

Anyway, after the placenta came out, I felt ONE MILLION TIMES BETTER. I took a deep breath, smiled and said calmly to everyone, "I would just like to apologize for my behavior just now." And everyone laughed.

The whole thing was about 40 or 50 minutes from first contraction to delivery.

Then my mom came into town, and everything was great. We went for Frostys. (I just looked up the plural of Frosty, and it's quite a debate. Some people claim the plural is the same as the singular, some say it's Frostys. Some say Frosties. Some say Frosty's. What say ye?)

 We took June to get her ears pierced and she hardly even cried.

Our whole family missed Easter Sunday, so we observed one week later. The girls wore matching dresses, and I thought it was adorable (even though I said I would never do that). And we had an Easter egg hunt in the backyard.

 My mom is such a babe. She detests when I use that word to describe her, but really, there is no other word that fits. Babe.

The girls didn't want to wear shoes and we have a gravel driveway, so the egg hunt was interesting.

And that's a wrap. I'm healing, and I'm tired. Harris gets up every 3 hours to eat. My hormones are all over the place. I laugh and I cry in the same sentence. Especially when people ask me if I would do natural childbirth again. Just do yourself a favor and don't ask.