Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Memorial Day Weekend 2019

We kinda have a plan every Memorial Day weekend. We start off the Saturday by going to our neighbors' barbecue. Those people know how to party. The weather was perfect, and we ended up staying for four-ish hours while the kids played with our neighbors' grandkids, alternating their fun water table and tractor toys and then coming to our yard to jump on the trampoline and play in the sandbox. After four hours, I had to come in and lie down and take a rest. But the rest of the party attenders always stay well into the night, sometimes finally ending things around 2 am. 2 am is right about when I'm interrupting my REM cycle yet AGAIN in order to take my fourth potty break of the night. I'm a real party animal.

And then Sunday, we of course go to church.

I played the organ for the hymns, as well as the piano in order to accompany a special musical number. I feel like a T-Rex when I play either instrument because my arms barely stretch over my belly. I was really struggling, and several people noticed. And I got a couple of comments about my waddling. Which is also accurate. You know how, in the olden days, the women would go into seclusion for the last several weeks? I need to be a part of that plan. Where do I sign up?

Monday morning, we dressed in our reds, whites and blues and headed to our town's teeny tiny Memorial Day parade. It lasts about 25ish minutes, and we can walk to it.

We always park it in front of the old post office that was flooded a decade ago and never reopened, which is across the street from the old coin shop, dry cleaners and comic book store.

I love Whippany, New Jersey. It's such a nice small town.

As always, we walked down with our neighbors. Not the BBQ neighbors, but the neighbors from the other side.

I'm just going to go ahead and count these photos as my "maternity photo shoot" and call it good.

As always, I cried through the whole thing. Every Americana song, every Sousa march, every everything.

The bagpipers always bring a tear to my eyes.

I always enjoy seeing our city council walk by. Because I always look for that guy's hair.

I never cry more than when some veterans drive by.

 But this year, I also cried at the volunteer firefighters, the local T-ball and dance teams, as well as the Cub, Boy, and Girl Scout troops. I was just this pregnant, patriotic blubbering mess.

And of course, seeing our neighbor's daughter on the trombone in the local high school marching band is a huge highlight, and I screamed like a banshee.
One-third of our high school is in the marching band. It's really cool.

We usually follow the parade to the American Legion down the street so that we can hear the names of each veteran casualty from our hometown read and a bell rung in their honor, but I just couldn't handle any more walking, so we went home.

We had a leisurely day of reading and napping and movie-watching, and then for dinner, Dan hooked up the hose to the trampoline so the kids could jump on it as he also grilled burgers and hot dogs. We ate outside, and it was really blissful. Here's a moment of the girls I caught where they were sharing a chair and eating a chocolate ice cream cone (June) and a strawberry popsicle (Gwen). It made me very excited for summer and no school and no homework and no screaming to get everyone out the door for the bus at 8:30. Not that I ever scream. But I want those mothers who do scream to get the break they deserve.

It's been a bit hard for me to jump back into normal life after such a nice weekend. 

But today, I managed to do something new to June's hair. (New-ish? Have I done this before?)

And she and Gwen are matchy match in their dresses, and they love it and I love it, and I hope they always love it because I always will.

And I took Gwen and Harris on errands this morning, and we ended at the library where they could play computer games and then Gwen could color while Harris played with his favorite stuffed animal they have, this white dog.

Here he is stuffing the dog's tail into the "No Eating" sign from the table. This is why we can't get a dog.

I may not actually be in the picture, but I'm pretty well represented by Tigger there. That's how I look most of the time these days.
And yes, that's our trick or treat/library bag.

The End.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Dan is Thirty-Two. And Then Some Trivial Things.

Dan the Man, the best guy I know, had a birthday this week. When we were first married, Dan didn't really do a lot for birthdays. And then I ruined him. I'm sure by a lot of standards I don't do a lot either, but I definitely upped the ante those first few years. 

In those years, Dan didn't really want to do anything. But I insisted that we do big things. I threw him a huge party one year. It was very stressful for both of us. We love to have people over for dinner, but big party-throwers we are not. Dan ended up manning the grill his whole birthday and hardly spoke to anyone. I tried a bunch of over-the-top recipes and didn't know what I was doing, and no one ate anything. We didn't know how much food we needed to feed a crowd, and we ended up with pounds and pounds of leftover carnitas. Which isn't exactly the worst thing in the world. But still. Not what we had planned.

We've relaxed on birthdays a lot since then. We still want it to be special and nice. We always have a great time at the huge birthday parties everyone else is throwing for their kids every year, but we don't do that every year. We definitely will do something bigger some years, but a lot of years we will have a small gathering and call it good. Much more our style.

This past year, I was so sick with this pregnancy that I begged we not do a thing. The thought of even having to try to look happy and festive caused me great stress. I still don't regret the decision to cancel my birthday last year.

I'm not in great shape for Dan's birthday this year either. Luckily, my husband is pretty chill and easy to please. I told him--I cannot be creative this year. I cannot guess something cool that you want. Please just tell me exactly what you want--what you want to eat, what you want to do and what you want to receive. And he complied.

He requested four meals spread throughout the month of May. We did a pot roast and mashed potatoes with cream cheese corn and parmesan rolls one day. I say "we" because he still helps even when it's his birthday. He's cool like that. We did Hawaiian Haystacks another day. This isn't a special meal for most, but I hardly ever make it so it's special for Dan. We went out for Thai one night when my mom was here. And I still need to make a Cafe Rio meal sometime.

What he wants to do and what he wants to receive go together. He wants to get back into cycling. So we have been bike shopping, but haven't found the one yet. Will report more on this later.

I did manage to surprise him in one very minor way--with breakfast burritos from a local dive for his breakfast in bed.

And Ohhhhh Yessss. The traditional candy bar poster.

"Dear Dan/Dad--
There are many 'Riesens' why we love you. No. 1, you don't like 'Kats'. No. 2, you are so great with all of these darn 'Sour Kids'. I know you want a dog; maybe we can get a 'Fish'. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Don't worry! Here's your favorite--Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme. "

In other news, I did the coolest hair on June the other day.

As I finished it off and we were ready to head for the bus, it began to RAIN. And I don't know if I'll ever be able to pull it off again. Woe is me.

And Gwen requested milkmaid braids, but her latest haircut made her hair too short to make the braids meet.

Not milkmaid braids. More like demon horns. So we had to pull them out.

Another good dentist visit. This was Harris's first time in the chair! And though I begged, they won't sever his tongue tie for another couple of years. We have taken him to an ENT doctor and now a pediatric dentist, and they both said it's better to wait.

And I took these pictures to show how excited we are about being outside in the good weather, but they just look like Gwen is doing a ceremonial dance around Harris's dead body.

The End.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Good Day Follows A Bad.

Even though Mother's Day was a ways back and June gave me some stuff she made at school, I found another stash of presents from her that she had hidden and then forgotten about.

This reminds me of my mom, and subsequently of myself. My mom is famous for finding good deals, and she used to load up on candy bars from Hy-Vee when they would go on sale for 5 for a dollar. And then she would hide them around the house to save them for a special occasion, and then said special occasion would roll around and she couldn't remember where she hid them. 

I have done this same thing for many holidays--not being able to remember where I hid the presents or the treat for FHE or what have you. June seems to be inheriting the mom brain early.

June's other presents consisted of this drawing with her favorite "shape": a smily heart face.

And these are always fun:

I'm as nice as Gwen? That's frightening. I love that June considers herself smart and funny and helpful. This paper was more of a compliment to herself than to me. HA!

I have a good night's sleep every three days or so. I still have to get up multiple times to go to the bathroom (sometimes up to 6 or 7), but I can sleep well in between and go to bed early enough the night before that I wake up feeling decently rested. Other nights, I am up for two to three hour stretches at a time, fighting restless legs and discomfort and anxiety and heartburn.

So the days alternate between good and bad as well. I can usually be okay without one good night's sleep, but the second time in a row I'm pretty much toast. Yesterday was like that. I was foggy and weak and my back was hurting. I discovered that I had given June the wrong lunch and completely forgotten to pack her morning snack. We didn't go many places. Just to story time and then home. Harris was grumpy because he just wants to play outside, and this also makes Gwen grumpy because she loves people and staying home is boring.

So we were kind of a mess yesterday, and this sort of day happens more often than I care to admit.

But today has been good. I slept well, and we started off at the park.

Even though my stamina is limited, I made the decision that I would yes as much as I could to Harris, who always has endless demands on our outings. Which meant on the way out, we stopped at the baseball diamond so he could run around. And I let him open and shut the minivan doors a few times, his favorite.

So the kids were in good moods as we ran errands after we left the park this morning.We made a stop for Dan's birthday tomorrow and a couple other things, and everyone listened. 

I wish I would remember this more often--invest in my kids, and they are easier to work with! Or maybe it's a form of pre-earned bribes. Manipulation. Whatever, it works.

It has turned warm lately. Springish/summerish weather. Which means our landlord instaled our window AC units this past weekend, and we Jolley girls pulled out our summer uniforms--dresses.

I wear this allllllll of the time. It is a sack with holes.

And we bought a sandbox, and Harris wants to live in it.

Do you see that amazing ladder (ahem . . pallet) leading up to the trampoline? Dan's idea. And it works. Harris loves it. It freaks me out. And yesterday, Harris fell off of it and cut his face. We are good parents.

And in conclusion, a spiritual thought.

I live in a lot of fear. I have tons of unwarranted anxiety. Some of it is warranted. But most of it isn't.

As I have mentioned 9238783 times on this blog, this pregnancy has kicked my bum. This pregnancy, I have had: morning sickness, restless legs, back pain, frequent urination, hemorrhoids (TMI?), the flu for three weeks, allergies, low iron, blah blah blahhhhhhhhhh. I know a lot of women have worse. This has been hard for me, though.

And I talk about it a lot. Too much. I need to listen to others more. One day, I was telling Dan, "I just need to talk about my sadness for a minute." With a kind twinkle, he joked, "Oh Heather, we always talk about your sadness." He is right. He has been extremely longsuffering.

This morning, as I again started feeling sorry for myself, I read in the scriptures:

It's quite ridiculous to compare the Savior's Atonement to my pregnancy. My pregnancy doesn't compare to that. It's not even the most minute fraction of what the Savior went through. But this verse did remind me--there are a lot of things I do every day, and a lot of them matter. But this pregnancy--this fourth baby--is one of the reasons I am here on this earth. It's one of my purposes. I was grateful for this reminder, though I'm still a complainer and I can't imagine myself acting like it's fun when it's not.

And thanks to you who read this blog. You all have also endured a lot of complaining posts and the like. Thanks for being my friends.

The End.

Sunday, May 19, 2019


Our little town had an event yesterday for the little ones called "Touch A Truck". There were all sorts of large vehicles, mostly from our local government, that you could climb into and honk the horn.

This is right up our alley. Our girls love anything like this, and Harris has a special place in his heart for school buses, so he was especially excited for that one, even though it was the least exciting vehicle there.

Harris loves the school bus so much that he will sit by our front window watching for them to pass by. We live across the street from two schools (a middle school and a special education private school) so there is ample opportunity for bus sightings. June's bus driver knows Harris's name, and June once had a week long substitute bus driver who thought Harris's daily excitement to see her was so cute that she bought him a toy school bus on her last day driving for June.

We climbed aboard the bus at Touch a Truck first and were delighted to see that June's bus driver was the one who had volunteered to work at the event. We love Miss Debbie! 

Gwen loves buses too and is very excited to ride the bus next year as a kindergartner, though she actually won't be. Kindergartners ride the bus in our district, and June had special permission to ride this first grade year, but it won't be extended next year and I'm not putting Gwen on the bus and the driving June to the same school. We've had the conversation, but she's in denial. She also thinks she's going to be in June's class with her next year. Oh Gwen. The brutal truths that await you!!! Wait until you hear about income tax.

Here we are inside . . . something. I can't remember.

June was CRAZY about trying all of the horns, and it drove me sufficiently nuts to be called a successful family outing.

Inside a tractor-thingy? What can I say--I certainly know my large work vehicles.

This was inside a howitzer from our local Picatinny Arsenal. Just looking inside this thing made me claustrophobic.

And a huge public works vehicle.

We also stopped by a police car and had fun with that (not pictured). The officer knew June by name because he sometimes goes to the school to help her school officer with car line. And June's school officer, Officer John, is June's favorite person and she talks his ear off every single day. I often call June her school's mascot because everyone knows her. So this other officer called out to June, and she ran over to check out his vehicle and to play with his siren over and over and over again and then she somehow got a hold of his live radio and then the officer sent us on our way. Shocker.

And miscellaneous from the week:

Gwen cuddled up next to me after Grandma Sandy left and took a nap on my bed. This is a rare event these days, and I fully enjoyed it. I think she was tuckered out from the many activities she did with Grandma.

Calling Harris Potter . . . Harris needs glasses. He's going cross eyed like his dad did at this age. These are just the ones we tried on, and I had to take a photo QUICK because the man helping us needed my attention. So, it's not the best photo. I will get better ones when his real glasses get shipped in this week.
So far, Harris has had to wear a helmet, attended physical therapy to correct his torticollis, currently attends speech therapy, needs glasses to correct his crossing eyes and has a wretched tongue tie we are hoping to sever soon. Dan's and my genes are hard at work with this one!

And church today:

June was given that lamb by Grandma Sandy when she was here, and it goes everywhere with us. She quickly settled on the exotic and unique name "Lammie".

It's not really a lamb. It's a llama. And I've told this to June, and then she cries. I even showed her on the tag where it says "LLAMA", and then she made me cut the tag off. Oh June, what brutal truths await you.

Anyway, she insisted on a Lammie the Llama photo shoot this morning before church.

And here I am at 36,000 weeks. I have not posted many pregnancy photos and decided to get brave. I bought this dress for my grandma's funeral, and the description online promised me that I would be able to wear it for the duration of my pregnancy. It was too loose at Grandma's funeral, but when I put it on this morning, I felt like I was wearing a corset. I practically had to have it surgically removed after church.

In fact, I was so achy and uncomfortable at church today that I ended up leaving a little early. Dan followed me out to the parking lot and unbuttoned my dress for me so I could breathe on the drive home. Liberating!

The End.