Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Before And After

In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Harris and I both graduated from something this week.

First, Harris.

My little boy wears a helmet no more. After 7 months, we are finally done.

Here he is right before he got the helmet. I don't know WHY I didn't take an aerial picture of his head. That's where you could see the severe wonkiness of his poor head shape.

Right after he started wearing the helmet.

I forgot that his helmet ever looked that big on him.

And the week before he finished up with helmet.

And no more helmet!

Waving "hi"

Here is the before and after of his head shape from an aerial view. The red is where he started 7 months ago, and the blue is where he is now. His head still has some asymmetry, but his growth is so slow now that we're calling it good.

And me. I'm done with Smile Direct Club. It has been a GREAT experience.

I had braces, spacers, headgear and retainers when I was younger. I had crazy crooked teeth. My parents spent tons of money on me, and it took years and years to correct. Much to my dismay, as an adult my teeth started moving again. It wasn't noticeable at first, but this past summer I couldn't deny that my smile was very different in photos.

Invisalign and braces are both incredibly expensive. I heard about Smile Direct Club and decided to try it out. So much cheaper and easier than the other two options!

Here I am before:

Don't ask me why I couldn't shower and do my hair in my before pictures. Is that a spit-up stain on my shoulder? I believe it is.

To keep it consistent, I took non-showered after pictures as well. Keep it classy, Heather!


So much better. Maybe I'll do a before and after shower picture as well. You might not even recognize me.

The End.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Harris's First Birthday

The title of this post is completely tongue-in-cheek because though April 14th really was Harris's first birthday, we really didn't celebrate it at all. In fact, we celebrated our other two children on Harris's first birthday. It was weird, and very third child-y, and I'm sure it will be the first chapter of his memoir Being Third: I Might as Well Have Been Raised by Wolves. It's a working title.

Dan celebrated by being out of town. He went to Vegas for a sales conference, and for those of you who have been playing along the whole time, you know it's his hometown. So he and his mom and two of his sisters went in on the secret together so that he could surprise his dad Friday night.

So he went hiking with his family.

And dressed up as a mobster for the Vegas-themed party at his sales conference.

Caption contest on the above photo! Mine is--"Nobody, and I mean nobody, messes with Big Mike."

And everyone in his office drove sand dune buggies, and Dan was the only one that crashed. But again, I think someone was just trying to take out Big Mike.

Happy Birthday, Harris!

Meanwhile, back at home, the Wilkes met up with us to see June's art work on display at the mall.

After which, we were just strolling around when we passed by the store where pre-preteen dreams come true--Icing.

I had decided that for Gwen's 4th birthday in July, we would get her ears pierced. But at that moment, surrounded by her favorite friends, the Wilkes, the moment just seemed right for it. I don't know why I thought that it would be a good time to fill out forms and wait in a store with teeny tiny aisles and wall-to-wall trinkets as we were herding 7 kids, ages 6 and under, but alas we did it.

Feeling a bit nervous before she got started.

The Wilkes entertained the rest of the crew as they waited. Couldn't have done it without them!

Drawing the dots.

Mission accomplished. She screamed quite a bit after the first ear was done, but then she rallied and we were able to do the second ear. Good thing we don't have three ears because I don't think she could have sat for another one.

So, just to recapitulate, Gwen got her ears pierced for Harris's birthday. Happy birthday, Harris!

Cute boys! Harris was happy to be along for the ride, and we will definitely have cake in his honor soon. And often.

The next day, June insisted on wearing the missionary tag her primary teacher had made her the week before. She loves talking about being a missionary and helping people.

Gwen gave her first primary talk and did a great job of talking about Joseph Smith's First Vision. I didn't know if it would work out because the night before, she informed she was NOT going to do it and especially not if I was the one helping her. But then she jumped up and did it. Yay!

And even though I've said it before and have been totally wrong, I do believe that Spring has officially sprung. Today, we went to the park and had a picnic lunch, and June has been asking me on repeat why we can't just build a house on the big hill at the park ever since we got home hours ago.

As we were running out the door to go to the park, I realized we needed a blanket. I grabbed a really huge beach towel instead and then realized once we go there that it always seemed huge for ONE person, not five. So we sat on this tiny little towel all together and it was really cozy and sweet (or uncomfortable and tight).

The End.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Resolutions Update

We had Spring Break last week, but with Gwen being sick for most of it, we really didn't do much. Well, we did take an epic trip to Aldi where I buried June with groceries.

But I guess when you hear that all of your friends were being buried in the sand at the beach for their Spring Break, it just doesn't quite compare.

I don't have much to say this week, so I thought it'd be a good time to report back on how my resolutions are going this year. 

I'm actually still thinking about them and even doing some of them, and it's the first time in my whole life I can say that in April.

1. No Yelling. Aiyaiyaiiiiii. I'm trying. I'm honestly trying. I'm still overall better but with tons of mistakes. 


2. Preschool Gwen. I have actually been doing this (except today and yesterday when life happened)!!! So far, she knows all of her letters, uppercase and lowercase, from A through O. She puts alphabet magnets in order for me almost every day. We also trace numbers and shapes. It's all really chill and usually lasts about 30-45 minutes. 


3. No Zillow. My eighth grade social studies teacher used to say, "Excuses are like armpits. Everyone has two, and they both stink." Well. Here are my two stinky zillow addiction excuses. 

I actually was doing REALLY well all through March, and then it snowed THREE times in April, and I had to think about living somewhere else so that I wouldn't yell at my children out of weather-driven angst (See Resolution #1). If I don't want to yell, I at least need to think that one day I won't be living in an ultra expensive place where you pay more in taxes so that you can get shovel your walk more often. That don't make no sense.

Also, I really like looking at houses on zillow. That's my other excuse. 

I'm back on the horse though and have not been looking the past several days. Days. Yes, I'm awesome.


4. Pay Half of Our Student Debt. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. What a joke. We are actually going to save for a house instead, but it's killing me looking at that interest climb every month. Bleah.

5. Read Aloud. Yes! Doing it! Not an hour, but a lot! And we are enjoying it. I get my best book recommendations from Read Aloud Revival. Seriously, every book Sarah Mackenzie recommends my kids LOVE, and I love them too. We have even read some poetry, and it's gone over great. And I don't have to read some dumb Paw Patrol book. 


6. Blog once a week. I don't know that I have technically blogged every single week, but I have as many posts as there have been weeks this year, so I'm calling it a win.


7. Podcasts. I still listen to a fair amount of podcasts, but my children have really developed their musical tastes lately and only want their favorite songs in the car. Gwen's favorite song is "Africa" by Toto, and there's nothing cuter than hearing her sing:

It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

It's just darling, and I encourage it. June's favorite is "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen and "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks, which is probably a weird pick for a 6 year old girl but it talks about doves and "who who who". It's great.


8. Scriptures. I have started reading the Book of Mormon in Romanian. I haven't done that in years, and I am just loving it a lot.


A couple of stories this week--

Took Gwen to story time, as per usual. For the craft this week, I followed Miss Melissa's directions and made a rain cloud mobile. Gwen absolutely refused and made a bridge instead. Even when Dan got home from work, Gwen said, "Look, Dad. Mom made this for you."

And her bridge:

Also, Dan confessed a deep, dark secret to me this morning. He pulled me aside and said, "Heather, there's something I haven't been telling you."

He proceeded to say, "I saw some Easter candy on sale the other day when I was at the store . . . "

at which point I cut him off and started screaming, "CADBURY MINIS! CADBURY MINIS!"

And he said, "No. Starburst jelly beans."

"Oh," I replied. "Still good, but not the best."

To which he responded, "Well, I bought a bag but I've been hiding them in my car from you."

I ask you, my blog audience--is this what the modern marriage is made up of? Such disloyalty? Secrecy? Hiding candy from each other?

Yes, yes it absolutely is.

So he went and got the beans, and then we decided to see who could throw the most into their own mouths, and that was fun until it got boring, at which point, we started throwing multiples and seeing if we could catch them. We couldn't, and as they rolled all over the floor, Dan yelled out, "Don't worry--I'll eat the floor ones!" because he's the best and which is what redeemed him from the previous disloyalty. I then got really ridiculous and threw ten at Dan at the same time, and two bounced off his teeth and the rest hit him all over his face and none made it in his mouth. At which point we had to stop because there were thirty-four jelly beans all over the floor, and we are responsible adults who don't want anyone to trip and die on our kitchen floor.

We also don't want to explain to an ER doctor why a kid tripped over a bunch of jelly beans in our kitchen.

Church last Sunday. Two kids in spring wear and one in winter. Because we live in New Jersey, and you just never know.

And I'm on my last set of aligners! I'll do a before and after picture post in two weeks when I'm all done. I'm very pleased.

Now Dan has just left to go out of town for a week with work. Next week's post might just be a single picture of my girls eating jelly beans in their cereal bowls. Because that's how we roll when Dad's outta town.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

This is What My Life Looks Like Right Now.

Remember that time I waxed poetic about the spring season and how it brings rebirth to earth and also to our lives and how we can set new goals and become new people and everything is butterflies and rainbows and sunrises and new possibilities and adventures?


That's right. It snowed 24 hours after I wrote all that. We would have had a snow day if it weren't already spring break this week. "Spring Break". That's a real cute phrase.

Also, some sort of storm has hit Gwen's stomach, and she threw up on me at the dinner table while we were hosting the sister missionaries.

Much to my utter dismay, she was given my favorite salad bowl to assist her in any . . . upcoming business. That bowl and I have been sharing various salad lunches together for the past several years, and its new function really complicated our relationship.

She experienced recurring episodes throughout the afternoon and evening until I finally called her doctor, who asked me to take her to the one of the neighboring offices that had extended Sunday hours, since this was at 8:00 p.m.

The doctor there gave her a pedialyte popiscle and zofran, which Gwen promptly upchucked. So the doc sent us to the ER to get her an IV.

Gwen was just tuckered out by this point and fell asleep as we were waiting for the doc. The doctor was incredulous that the previous doc had given us food and then zofran when it should have been the other way around. So we tried that and she kept it down! She went from being a sad little cuddly Gwen to kicking me in the span of 20 minutes, so I knew it was working.

It was at this point in Gwen's resurgence of energy that my beloved salad bowl was kicked off her hospital bed and crashed onto the floor where it broke. It was just as well. I knew I would never be able to look at it the same again.

So we came home, and Gwen did fine Monday until late last night, so we are taking it very easy today. Poor girl.

Poor me.

So right now my life looks like me transporting a girl from room to room and lots of holding while watching Team Umizoomi, which I have determined is the WORST show ever (okay, second worst. Caillou always wins). 

My life also looks like:

A pseudo baby gate made out of our favorite sled held up with some ropes and supported by weights, and also--

a convenient pile of unraveled toilet paper for anyone who wants to grab a square. Thank you, Harris. I'm glad you are progressing but think the fascination-with-the-bathroom stage is the worst.

And also--

June seeking some of my attention supply which has been made scarce with Gwen's current issues. So she has been complaining of hand pain and wearing this cast made out of a band-aid and tape.

And also--

Me contemplating if I can talk June into being the goblin king from Labyrinth for Halloween this year because the hair she chopped on top awhile back just dries in the worst way but the best way if you are shooting for this look:

Image result for the labyrinth pictures david bowie
(taken from

Maybe there are still many possibilities out there even if Spring isn't coming!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter and a Birthday

It's been a celebratory week at the Jolley household. Between June's 6th birthday and Easter activities, every day has been full of fun. And I've loved it. It seems only fitting for Easter that this week the weather would finally seem to get a bit warmer and the earth seem ready for its rebirth. My heart seems to be melting with the snow as I feel liberated from this extremely long winter. I'm ready to get out of the house and live again--moving forward instead of the stagnation I have been feeling the past several weeks. It's almost as if with the prolonged terrible weather and inability to leave my house, I have also been unable to make the changes I have been needing to make with myself. Here's to a new season of moving forward with Christ.

Last Saturday, we went to our little town's Easter party. We played games, made crafts, and  . . .

DANCED. Who knew the Jolleys had it in us, (I suppose all of you did) but we got the dance party started. Namely Dan. There was a DJ playing some fun songs, and Dan took his girls out there and boogied while the rest of the crowd watched, until they finally joined in.

And Harris, true to form, was just happy to be there.

The kids took a photo with the Easter bunny, and much to June's chagrin, EB wouldn't answer any of her millions of questions. It always cracks me up seeing June try to strike up a conversation with a mascot-type person who can't talk. June's own "Nevertheless, she persisted" moment.

Many of the children attending the party were dressed in their Easter clothes, but the bohemian (i.e. tired) mom that I am let my kids dress themselves. Hence Gwen's Minnie Mouse meets Plaid Pants and Butterfly Skirt combo for the win. But she did wear her bunny shoes, which seemed appropriate.

After the party, we went over to the Wilkes house and had a pinata and pizza and ice cream cake for June's and Duncan's birthdays.

I picked out the cake from Last Licks. It had a layer of brownie batter ice cream and a layer of salted caramel with that yummy "dirt" layer in the middle. None of the wimpy kids could finish it, so I just worked my way down the table, finishing up everyone's piece because I will not waste food. And also because I have problems.

Since General Conference falls on Easter this year, we dressed for Easter last Sunday. The dresses I picked for the girls last year still fit, so they wore them again this year. And last year, Harris made his appearance two days before Easter, so this is his first year in the Easter Sunday pic. I prefer this year to last year. A lot.

Easter is my favorite holiday, and last year's Easter was kinda terrible. So I think I've been doubly excited over Easter this year.

After church, we started Easter festivities with the kids, and we've tried to do something with them every night this week (though we have totally missed a day or two that we've had to make up later).

We made resurrection rolls. This was my first time doing this, and I think we did them wrong. The rolls were not hollow when we took them out of the oven. But they were yummy. I think I needed to bake them longer to let the marshmallow evaporate, but then there would be no marshmallow in the middle, and that would make me sad.

While the rolls cooked, the girls opened plastic eggs with different items which relate to Easter. There was a thorn, pieces of silver, a flower (Garden of Gethsemane) and a few others I can't remember.

Then the rolls were done, and we gobbled them up.

The next day was June's birthday, and I attempted to make her pancakes that spelled her name, but that actually just fell apart until I smashed the broken parts together to make the letters I wanted. Kind of like how I do puzzles. I hate puzzles.

Dan always tells me how he loved getting a candy bar poster on his birthday, and this year I finally decided to do it.

Breakfast in bed! June's request. I myself can't stand eating in bed. First, mess. Second, pressure! I feel like everyone just stands around and watches you eat, and that is uncomfortable.

But June loved it.

That night, we had our rendition of the "Last Supper". We ate on the floor in the living room and had finger foods and grape juice and talked about what happened at the real Last Supper . . .

after which June opened her birthday presents. Do you see what I mean? Lots of stuff going on this week.

We've been playing a lot of Candy Land.

Fast forward to yesterday when we decorated eggs in between conference sessions--

--And today when we hid and found them.

And we've also been prepping for Easter dinner. The sister missionaries are coming over to eat with us and then watch the rest of conference.

Happy Easter to all three of you who read my blog. I know that Jesus is alive, and that we will all be resurrected too. Because he suffered all that he did, we can repent and change. The fact that I can change is the best news I will ever hear.

The End. Or hopefully the beginning.