Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Week After Last.

After our busy week last week with running kids around and birthdays and all that. this week took a decisively more lazy turn. I let the kids play to their hearts' content. Breakfast wasn't served until well after 9, we slacked on household chores, etc.

By about Wednesday, the enforcer in me came out and tried to . . . well, enforce. But nobody was listening, and my heart wasn't really in it.

It's going to be hard to bounce back from our bohemian lifestyle come September.

June takes these kind of pictures constantly and texts them to her Aunt Lindsey. Aunt Lindsey is very patient.

The girls spent a large portion of the week going through the presents Gwen received at her birthday party and playing with them. Here's a lego set.

We ordered and received the required purple leotards and tutus required for dance this year. Yes, we decided to sign Gwen back up. And this year, June will be joining in on the fun. June begged and begged to try ballet, and Gwen didn't want to be left out. We'll see how it goes.

Gwen and Dan went to the store and picked out her beloved birthday bike and helmet. She wore this helmet around the house and talked constantly about going for a bike ride.

Friday after work, Dan took her across the street to ride around the school parking lot.

The training wheels gave her a sense of invincibility, and she went from 0 to 10 in about 3 seconds. And then crashed. And then screamed so hard I could hear it inside our house.

And then Gwen declared that she hated her bike and didn't want to ride anymore.

At which point June ran across the street for a turn on Gwen's bike. She's very opportunistic.

Speaking of owies, Gwen also had her 5 year old check up this week. She had to get her last shot before starting kindergarten in the fall. She was VERY NERVOUS and refused to talk to the doctor or look her in the eye for the duration of the visit.

But June again seized the opportunity to comfort Gwen and also be in this photo.

And yesterday, the girls and I headed to our pool for the water carnival while the boys stayed home.

I love all of my kids a lot, but never have I known such liberation. No baby or toddler to drag around, no poopy swim diapers. It was amazing. The girls and I had a fantastic time together.

And today, we went to church. Dan left early for ward council, so there was no one to hold Baby Beck while I took the Sunday photo. Hence the two separate pictures.

And this was a huge bug in my backup camera. Freaked me out to DEATH.

I helped teach June's primary class at church today. The other teacher asked June, "Do you read the scriptures in your home?" And June replied, "Oh no, never!" And I was right there. And that's not even true!!!

Another girl was asked "What does your mom do for you?" And she couldn't name a blasted thing. I went to pick up Gwen from her class, and her amazing teacher showed me a yellow ribbon tied around Gwen's wrist. "She can't take it off until she tells you something from the lesson today," her teacher said. "Okay!" I answered enthusiastically. All the way home, I begged Gwen to tell me The Thing from her lesson she was supposed to tell me. She sucked on her thumb and looked out the window, ignoring me.

When we arrived home, I put Harris down for a nap, fed a screaming Beck, changed my clothes, and then was determined to get Gwen to squeal. I found her, now ribbonless, and demanded, "Gwen! What are you supposed to tell me from your lesson today?" And she looked at me and confessed, "Mom, I seriously have no idea."

Children are treasures.

I have just re-read this post and now realize it's entirely about the girls and nothing about the boys. I will try to write something about them next week. Maybe I can post Beck's feeding schedule. Oh what excitement awaits my three readers.

Sorry for the lame-o post today. We haven't eaten yet, I'm on Day 3 of not yelling at the kids and the combo is about to kill me.

The. End.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

VBS, Chuck E. Cheese and More Miscellany.

This week, the girls went to Vacation Bible School at a local Catholic parish. 

In the car on the first day:

I tell ya what. Walking these two girls into the church twice a day for drop off and pick up while also carrying a baby in a car seat and lugging Harris along, who was usually crying because he didn't want me to hold the baby, only HIM, was a real treat. More than once, Harris stopped and dropped in the middle of the parking lot to bawl his eyes out and throw a fit.

But it was a really good week and a really good program. My girls told me several times over the course of the week, "Mom! When life is scary, God is good!" or "When life changes, God is good!"

They learned songs, they ate snacks, and they made friends.

And I had mornings just with my boys, which was wonderful. 

I expected to run a lot of errands and get a lot of things done. It's like I thought I was taking two goldfish around instead of a crazy toddler and hungry baby. Two pitbulls would have been easier. But I still did enjoy time with the boys.

I took them grocery shopping.

This is the moment when Harris decided that this dark square was sacred and refused to move from it for a very long time.

And then we hung with all of the cool kids at the seafood counter.

As per usual with a shopping experience, I kept running into the same people over and over. Some of them laughed at my constant predicaments with Stubborn Harris, one man told me I had "better learn how to control him" (Haha joke is on YOU, sir!), and one wonderful. older couple from Ireland kept telling me how wonderful they thought Harris is. Which was nice. And which I needed to hear. Because I wanted to be finished with shopping and couldn't.

I think we needed to pick up a total of 4 items, and it took 68 minutes. I started to wonder if I would ever see Dan again and if I did get to, would we even recognize each other anymore? Would Harris be 18 years old and still wearing his same size 6 toddler diaper?

But alas, we finally finished and Harris got his hair cut.

And later that night, I got this pic of the boys. I mean, that is SO cute and almost makes me forget the horrendous shopping trip from earlier. But no, I cannot forget. It was seared into my memory with the anguish of a thousand DMV visits.

The last day of VBS was also Gwen's birthday. Gwen's birthday comes at the end of birthday season for me--June in March, Harris in April, Dan in May, Beck now in June, and Gwen in July. Throw in a few other special occasions and holidays--our anniversary, Father's Day, Mother's Day, end of school stuff, and a new baby--and I feel pretty much done with big celebrations. BUT, we promise our kids a real party for their fifth birthday. So this is Gwen's year. PLUS, she reminded me early on in the week that she expected her candy bar poster AND her named spelled out in pancakes. I'm actually glad she said something because my fried brain would have forgotten.

A little excited, you might say.

Gwen is my early riser, and despite my telling her the night before to stay in bed until we could bring breakfast to her the next day, she got up somewhere in the 5:00 hour and informed that she was ready for her pancakes and to please step on it.

I only succeeded in making the "G" this year, and I supplemented it with a heart-shaped pancake, which was found acceptable. "W" is a really hard letter for me to make in pancake batter.

She loved the candy bar poster and and opened several gifts from Grandma Sandy. Our gift is the party, though Dan has also promised her a trip to Walmart to get a new bike.

After those birthday festivities wrapped up, we headed to VBS. Not RIGHT after, mind you, because that would have only been 6:30 a.m. Thanks, Gwen, for that lovely wake-up call.

There was a program the last day of VBS for the parents to watch their kids perform the songs they had learned that week. Dan was working from home that day, so I put both boys down for naps and went to the program ALONE. Glor. I. Ous.

At the start of the program, they had technical difficulties. My friend Chrissy whispered to me that this happens every year and soon someone would make an announcement that they were changing the order of the program while they fixed the slideshow.

Sure enough, one minute later, an announcement was made that they were changing the order of the program while they fixed the slideshow.

Gwen's class was one of the first. My Gwen, who likes nothing better than attention, who stole the show at her dance recital last year, FREAKED out and cried and ran into the arms of her camp counselor.

Crying and about to freak out and run off.

Afterward, I asked her what happened, and she said, "I just didn't want to do the show today!!!"

June had a good time during her song.

Yes, I had them wear matching dresses. Yes, I'm the worst. No, I don't plan to change.

The next day was the party at Chuck E. Cheese. I kinda hate Chuck E. Cheese. It's gross and crowded and has creepy animatronics. Harris was terrified.

But I will say this--while my feet did stick to the gross floor and the animatronics kept blinking all of the time ("I don't want them to look at me" said June), Chuck E. Cheese was a breeze (rhyme!) because they took care of absolutely everything, and the kids had a marvelous time.

Here is Gwen blowing out the candles on her cake. I took her to Wegmans the night before to choose a cake, and then casually steered her away from all of her preferred choices until she settled on what I wanted--a cookie cake. And she did not regret it. Cookies cakes are the best kind of cake.

I know this is blurry, but this was the look on her face after she blew out the big "5" candle. So excited!!

After playing 6 trillion games and winning 60 katrillion tickets, all my kids pooled their tickets together and were able to get one very lame blow up guitar.

I need to make a t-shirt that says "I went to Chuck E. Cheese and all I got was this lame piece of candy" because that pretty much sums up how I feel about the prize options there.

But again, I make fun of it but kinda became converted to the Chuck E. Cheese birthday party because of its general ease.

Gwen has been mourning the loss of her birthday since the second the party ended. 

It was a good week. Lots of fun! Today we are all kinda crashing.

And some miscellany:

Wearing some of her presents--

Playing with the new tea set:

The three older kids have decided to start all sleeping in Harris' bed every night. It has mostly been good. Gwen snuck out one night because June and Harris were being too loud. Those partiers.

June was unable to figure out her pajama shirt one night. That's a sleeve hole.

And before church today:

June with a magnifying glass, Gwen with a pig snout, and me with a baby. Of course Harris refused to be in the picture.

He also refused to get in the car. I took this picture from inside of the van. Harris wanted to be picked up, Dan said no and that he could come down the stairs by himself, Harris said no, we all climbed into the van and waited. He was calling our bluff! He knew we weren't going anywhere without him. 

Sigh. I feel like 2 year olds have more power than they should.

The End.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Song By June

Today on the way home from church, I was telling Dan about the Relief Society lesson I had just listened to when he interrupted me so that we could listen in on the song June was singing to herself in the back seat.

Set to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?", June sang as follows:

I'm your bottom,
I'm your bottom,
I'm your bottom,
I'm your bottom,
I'm your bot-tom
I'm your bot-tom
I'm your bottom. I'm your bottom.

"June," I called back. "What on earth are you singing?"

To which she replied, "It's the song my bottom would sing if it were alive."

We really value the arts, you might say.

Which is why the girls participated in an online drawing class this week.

We also painted. Harris painted too, which was only a little stressful. Little, meaning I couldn't leave the kitchen or even walk across the kitchen to get a glass of water from the sink or even sneeze because that would mean I would blink.

We tried another week at story time. It was another week of failure. Story time was extra full and so my stroller wouldn't fit into the room. Which means I had to get Beck out of the stroller and carry him around. Which made Harris mad because he wanted to be held. Harris also refused to step a foot into the story time room and would cry if I did. I eventually put Beck back into the stroller so I could calm a screaming, jealous Harris. At which point, another mom came up to me and said those famous oft-uttered words, 

"Are you Gwen's mom?"

At which point, I briefly considered saying no. 

Despite my reluctance, I answered in the affirmative. The other mom informed me that Gwen had jumped up and down at story time and had bonked her chin and was screaming her head off.

I left sleeping Beck in the stroller near some librarians I know and took a sorta-getting-calm Harris into the story time room, which caused him to start screaming again. There was Gwen, crying into the arms of the story time librarian, who was valiantly attempting to finish a story by holding the book over Gwen's head and projecting her voice over Gwen's moans and groans.

I called to Gwen to come to me and tried to calm both crying Gwen and crying Harris, while also wondering if baby Beck was still asleep in the stroller and if June was taking to heart the conversation we had on the drive to the library that morning, the talk where I had reminded her that she can no longer dominate Miss Kellyanne's time with her zillions of questions.

When story time was over, and the group was waiting for June (who was dominating story time with her zillions of questions), I saw the looks of the other moms and dads who were filing out of the room. They were all so kind and smiled sympathetically toward me and not one of the managed to say what we all must have been thinking--LADY WHY ARE YOU HERE WITH ALL OF THESE LITTLE KIDS.

I think we may be taking a break from story time for a little while.

The other big event of the week was that Aunt Lindsey came to visit. She was here for a work trip and also because the choir she sings in was performing at Carnegie Hall. I didn't think I would be up to going so soon after having Beck, so I didn't buy a ticket a few months back. But then I decided I definitely could go, so Linz tracked down a ticket for me.

Saturday night, I took a train into the city. The train was 30 minutes late, which should have been an omen to me. Once I got to the city, I noticed there were tons of fire trucks everywhere. Most of the subways were down. A lot of buildings were dark.

Yes, I got caught in that NYC blackout you all read about.

I met up with Linz's parents and sister, and we headed to Carnegie Hall. They had evacuated the building and canceled the concert. It was SO SAD. So many people had traveled so far for that concert, and then it didn't happen. They did sing some songs outside the concert hall though, and many of the videos were posted on news sites.

I started to worry about whether I would be able to get home easily or not when a lady from my ward sent me a text telling me she was there and would I like a ride home?

Yes, yes I would.

My friend's husband took this pic. It was eerie how dark the city was! And it was so gross outside--hot and humid.

I was very glad to be home after that.

Today was my first time back to church after having Beck, as well as Beck's first Sunday at church ever.

Would you believe this is the best photo of Dan and the kids from this morning?

After that library story, I'm sure you would.

And a close-up on THE Beck.

He slept all through church. I did too but nobody oohed and awed over me.

The End.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

We Are Losing It.

The theme for this week was "losing everything". You're probably thinking--but Heather, I've been with your family and you guys are ALWAYS losing stuff. What makes this week so special?

Well, we lost more stuff than usual. Body parts and members of the family. It was a week of losing stuff, but on steroids.

First off, June lost her first tooth. She has been very dismayed by the fact that she was the only kid in her class last year who hadn't lost a single tooth. I, on the other hand, LOVED it because baby teeth are cute and full smiles are cute and I'm already terrible at playing Santa and the Easter Bunny, so I'd rather not add Tooth Fairy to the list.

Nevertheless, the dentist pointed out that June did have a slightly wiggly tooth at her last visit. And June rejoiced.

That was weeks ago, and this week it was at FULL wiggle. And once when we were wiggling it, I noticed June's permanent tooth coming in full force behind the baby tooth. 

Shark attack!

If you know me, you know I love to pick at things. It's gross, but it's true, and seeing her wiggly tooth just dangling half out of her mouth was driving me nuts. I kept begging her to let me pull it out, but she refused.

FINALLY, it was barely hanging by a thread (shudder), and she let me pull it out.

That night, trying my best to play Tooth Fairy but also trying my best not to stay up too late because I'm terrible at that, I snuck into her room twenty minutes after she went to bed. so that I could sneak a dollar under her pillow. June had had me write a note to the Tooth Fairy asking to please LEAVE the tooth because she wants to keep it forever (double shudder), so I didn't have to touch the ol' thing, but just needed to casually slip the money under the pillow and be gone. I tiptoed in and June was sound asleep. I reached up to her pillow and she flipped over WIDE AWAKE and asked, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

"I was just coming to check on you and see how you are doing!!!" I replied.

She bought that, and I later returned to her room to finish the job.

The morning, she was excited to show me the money and that the Tooth Fairy had let her keep her tooth. Hurrah.

Of course, since then, she has lost the tooth multiple other times. Every time she asks me, "Have you seen my tooth?" it reminds me of the terribly yucky feeling I had as a kid when my siblings and I let our gerbil loose in the house, and we never found it. Can't wait to stumble across that old gross tooth one day. I guess it's better than a gerbil skeleton.

New smile!

The other big loss we experienced was June herself. I felt brave and took all four kids by myself to the library for story time. There were loads of kids at story time, but I had a couple of friends there and everyone was extremely helpful and kind.

After story time ended, I called out to my kids, "Let's head out to the car." I was wearing Beck on my chest, and bent over to help Gwen and Harris into the double stroller. I turned around and June was gone.

My June is a wanderer. So I calmly checked the aisles and the corners of the library. She was nowhere to be found.

I told one of my friends that I couldn't find June, and she asked if I had checked out by the car. We had to park really far away that day because the lot was full, so I ended up parking at the community center. I told my friend there was no way June would have tried to navigate herself that far, but I did check outside the library to see if she was there. 

She wasn't.

By this time, several minutes had passed, and I alerted all of the librarians. We were all searching, and the feeling of the search had turned to frantic. In my heart, I could feel the Spirit telling me all was okay. So I held onto that peace. But still, I couldn't help but think of all of the terrible child-snatching news stories I had read recently. And it's not like I could tell everyone--don't worry! I know she's okay. Searching for a child is serious business, good feeling or not.

Maybe ten minutes had passed by this time. Ten minutes is three hours in "child searching" time. We had checked bathrooms, closets, outside and around the building, and I finally hustled over to where I had parked the car. 

Where I found June waiting for me.

"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?!?!" I shouted. 

"You said it was time to go to the car," June replied.

I'm speaking the truth when I tell you this was the first time ever that one of my kids had done something the first time I had said it. 

I asked her why she would go without me. I never send her off without me.

She didn't know. She was embarrassed and scared and crying and asked me if we could please stop talking about it.

Poor girl. Poor me.

Especially poor me.

A lost tooth, a lost kid, and a mother's lost sanity.

One thing we have not lost, however, is our patriotic spirit. On the Fourth of July, we did fireworks as a family for the first time, and the kids thought it was awesome.

I also reflected on the loss of my father, Douglas Beck, who passed away on the Fourth of July 9 years ago. My dad was one of the most honest people I had ever met. He made people laugh, and he played by the rules. These two don't always go together, and I'm grateful for his example on how to achieve both.

And another tender moment this week was when I found June "lost" in a book. 

I have been working to cultivate a love of reading in our home for years now, and it hasn't exactly been automatic. But June's reading skills have really taken off the past couple of months, and she has enjoyed several easy readers ON HER OWN this summer. A huge blessing to me.

And we are on our fourth Ramona book for our read aloud time every night.

And last, and also least--I continue to try to do the girls' hair, but I'm starting to think I'm losing this battle.

This morning, I was determined to do new and fun hairstyles on the girls for church.

June's was simple enough--a hair bow made from her hair--and she seemed pleased with the results.

Gwen's choice, on the other hand, took a very long time. And she let me know it was taking a very long time. She was cranky, and I was cranky. But I was determined to finish.

After I was all done, I found Dan and whispered, "Hey, will you go look at Gwen's hair and tell her how awesome it looks?!" 

So Dan tracked her down, looked at her hair, and then I heard him say, "Wow, Gwen, your hair looks totally crazy!"


I don't know if I'll ever get to do her hair again.

Here's the gang dressed in patriotic colors for church!

And Beck and I stayed home for one last Sunday. Back to church next week!

The End.