Sunday, August 25, 2019

Don't Go Breakin' My Eye! I Couldn't If I Tried!

We planned to go to the pool on Thursday. As we were sitting down to lunch, I looked up at Gwen to discover her lower eyelid was swollen.

"Ahhh!" I blurted out. "Gwen, what happened to your eye?"

She had no idea anything was even wrong with it. It didn't hurt or itch or anything, though she may have caused permanent eye damage by trying to look down at her own eyelid to see what was wrong.

I was pretty sure she was having an allergic reaction to something she had touched with her hand and then touched that hand to her eye, but she couldn't recall touching anything out of the ordinary. I called my pro bono health consultants, i.e. Linz, Heidi, and Dan. Linz had had a similar thing happen a month ago and told me to give her Benadryl. Dan said he would come home so that I could take her to the doc, just in case, but first he needed to do some store visits.

By the time he got home, her eye was fine. And I didn't give her Benadryl because I didn't have any. I canceled the doc appointment and was mad at myself for missing the pool over nothing.

Just a couple hours later:

So, moral of the story--my go-to parenting emergency of plan of "do nothing" strikes once again and works.

My parenting book shall be called The Secret (of Parenting) and shall be about the Law of Inaction. Also to be included are chapters covering when to actually change your clothes versus when you can just rub spit-up stains into whatever outfit you are wearing (which I did this week while we were out and about). Also a chapter about fooling your kids into thinking lesser local theme parks are actually Disneyland.

Speaking of theme parks, Dan's office hosted a carnival for all of families of the employees this week.

First, we had to head up to Dan's cubicle so he could print something off and give it to his boss. We gave the kids a talk about being quiet and not interrupting Dad's workplace, and they really took it to heart.

At which point it bounced off of their hearts and into the trash. The were LOUD, and I was stressed.

But after that, we went to the carnival outside in the parking lot.

The girls had a blast.

Dan took Harris on this spinny ride. I cannot do spinny rides. I used to get carsick when I had to ride in the backseat on the way to the grocery store as a kid. I often got to sit toward the front of the car on road trips, which was the sole perk of my condition. One time, I threw up into a canister of cheetos (or whatever the generic brand of that is. Cheese curls? Fake-os? Whatever, they were good.), and my siblings could barely find it in their hearts to forgive me.

Which isn't as bad as the time I threw Mark's little toy car out of the window and we had to go back for it.

Or as bad as the time David accidentally sat on his pb&j sandwich and tormented me with said sandwich the rest of the trip.

Or the time the boys wouldn't tell us their "Black Magic" secret. After years of reflection, I'm pretty sure there was no rhyme or reason to their Black Magic method, and that really ticks me off.

My mom had a rule that we couldn't swim at the pool at Motel 6 on road trips unless we were all quiet for thirty minutes in the car. She's a smart lady. We were a rowdy bunch.

ANYWAY. Why did I go off on that? No spinny rides for me.

I captured this amazing photo of June thoroughly enjoying herself but was unable to get the timing right for Gwen. So here is Gwen behind some really happy kids who are thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Inside the office building was face painting and balloon animals and all that jazz. No, not the musical "Chicago". That would be hardly appropriate for a kids' carnival.

Gwen requested a temporary tattoo on her hand.

When I wasn't around, June requested a temporary tattoo on her belly. And they gave it to her. Amazing.

Harris was too small for the majority of the rides, so he really enjoyed the bowling game that was set up inside. Which is interesting because we have a bowling set and he hasn't touched it once.

And then took our balloons and goody bags and headed to the cafeteria for lunch.

And yes, we went to church this morning.

Action shot of Beck in the swing!

 And here's a more artistic pose of the children. Harris in the forefront, girls in the background. A nice tribute to the Olan Mills photography style.

After church, we had Family Home Evening. Dan taught the lesson from the "Come Follow Me" curriculum. Today's lesson was on Paul's call for the Corinthians to be more unified in their congregations. To illustrate, he had the girls complete several tasks with their legs tied together. They started out a jumbled mess on the floor but by the end, they were pretty coordinated! They even knew how to bend over together and picked things up at the same time.

So we are leaving them like that.

Just kidding.

And a special surprise in the mail this week. Aunt Carrie took pity on the poor girls losing the Lego Camp contest and sent them a bunch of Lego glasses. 

All is right in the world again.

The End.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


This week, the girls went to LEGO Camp. Every day the guy running it told us parents to come early to come see the creations of that day before the kids had to break everything down and clean up all of the LEGOs. I knew I would not get there early most days but committed to myself  to at least get there early on the last day to get some pictures. I got there a little early, but alas everything was already cleaned up.

I did, however, take a photo of Gwen's hat she wore to one day of LEGO camp because she wanted me to. So there's that. We can pretend her hat is made of LEGOs.

I don't know if you can tell, but Gwen put this outfit together HERSELF.
I wish I looked this good in a hat. Pulling off a baseball cap is a big accomplishment in my book.

All week Gwen told me about the LEGO glasses one kid would win on the last day for doing really well at camp. When I picked her and June up on the last day, Gwen's lips were quivering and I knew she hadn't won. But she kept saying "my glasses, my glasses" so I finally went over to the teacher to verify the situation. He just looked at me and shook his head, not saying a word. So there's that.

We also went to a play about space at the library. What can I say--we were STEMming it up in a major way this week. If you know me at all, STEM skills describe me to a T.

My kids were mega into it, with June attempting to shout out loud questions during the middle of the play. This stresses me greatly.

The grand finale of the play involved several kids volunteering to play the role of all of the planets. Gwen was selected to be Mars, for which she was required to sport a red fireman hat because Mars is red. Harris thought he was selected for a role as well and marched up there with all of the other kids and would not come sit back down despite my best efforts. The presenters made up a role for him on the spot so he was cast last minute as the junior planet Pluto. Which was perfect because he was looking quite junior next to the group of older kids.

I'm old enough to remember when Pluto was just a regular ol' planet.

June LOVES the solar system. Her class studied it last year and went to the planetarium, plus it's been the focus of our library programs this summer, plus we read a ton of books about it at home.

So while my girls may be well informed about space and the planets, one thing they definitely do NOT know about is what are the latest gadgets.

The other day I pulled out an old CD player to play some audiobooks. I normally play books and music for them on my phone but had found some books on CD I wanted to play for them. When they saw this CD player, they thought our family had arrived. What was this new amazing piece of gadgetry?!?!?
They played my old CDs and danced it up. They've asked if they can keep this new and exciting device in their very own room.

They think I'm awesome for having a CD player. They are the only ones.

And last night, we returned for the second year in a row to the West Point dance concert. It was amazing.

Dan complies with my requests to go though he doesn't enjoy dancing. The band was so good, the view was beautiful, and everyone got into it despite the crazy heat and humidity. Harris was our biggest dancer this year. You couldn't get him off the dance floor to take a break. He even joined in on the conga line.

That's me in the black dancing with Gwen in the pink. My knee length jersey dress was saturated with sweat. The sweat weighed it down and stretched it out to be ankle length by the end of the night. YUCK.
Our view at the end of the night. We drove home on windy roads in the rain. We got home after 11, and everyone was exhausted, which was the same story this morning when we woke up for church.

Which led to this amazing photo shoot.
This picture perfectly encapsulates how the photo session went. And I only had time for two photos, and this was the better one.

It was my turn to play the organ at church today, and June asked if she could sit up on the bench with me. I made her promise not to touch any buttons or stops or pedals. She promised and did a great job of refraining. But that didn't stop her from talking to me through every hymn. "Mom, which song are you playing? Where are you at? What does 'deny' mean? Mom, Mom, MOM!" So peaceful.

After church, a still very tired June asked me to pull a wiggly tooth out. I did, and she was very excited to hold onto this tooth because, as you may recall, she lost her first lost tooth. She took the tooth from my hand and took it to the bathroom sink to wash the blood off of it. As soon as the gush of water hit the tooth in her hand, she promptly dropped the tooth down the sink.

And that was that.

She cried and cried and begged me to take apart the pipes to find her tooth. And then begged me to go to whatever river the water would be dumped into and to find her tooth.

Sorry if the hole in her mouth makes you queasy. It does me.

I have a feeling each tooth will be lost in some unique and tragic way. 

And this buddy started smiling and cooing this week. And still seems to find my screeching voice comforting. We're a match, Beck and me.

 The End.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Summer Can't End.

Everyone is talking about going back to school, and I hate it. We still have 3 weeks left of summer here on the East Coast. And I want it to last a long time. Not because I'm one of those good moms who wants my kids around me at all times and wants to sleep with their kids in bed with them and wants kids on her lap all of the time. I do like snuggles (gross word), but I like my space too.

More than any of that, I just really don't want to start packing lunches again. 

Or having to be at certain places or certain times.

And I abhor homework.

I already bought all of the girls' back to school clothes and school supplies so that we could enjoy the rest of the summer without worrying about any of that. But it did sort of implant school thoughts in my brain in a permanent way.

Anyway, we did enjoy some good summer days this past week.

Last we left off, Dan took his fam and our girls to the Priesthood Restoration Site. Here they are in the front of the replica of the Hale Home.

It was fun to have them here. Having more adults than kids is a great way to handle any and all kid situations. Kiduations, if you will.

On Monday, we went to the beach. Or "down the shore" if you're from Jersey.

There were some majorly choppy waves, and everyone got sunburned but it was a really fun day.

On Tuesday, Dan and I went on a date while Grandma Kristi, Papa and Mikaela watched the kids. While we were gone, they all did crafts together. Kristi brought each child's initial in wood so that they could paint them. She brought a "B" for Beck as well, which Mikaela painted super fancy. I have found this letter "B" next to Beck all this week. June keeps insisting that he have it near him at all times. One day I found him like this during this nap:

So comfy!!

Speaking of initials, Dan's coworker had this sweater made with Beck's initials. Though June insists it really stands for "Big Detective June". She's been really into the Nate the Great and Cam Jansen easy reader mysteries lately.

Dan's family left Tuesday, and it's been pretty boring without them here. We did take a walk one early morning because it was nice and cool out. I was in such a hurry to take advantage of the good weather before things got hot and sweaty again that the kids all just wore their pajamas. Just like, always I took the kids way too far before deciding to loop back. Lots of complaining ensued. 

Holding hands with Dolly:

 The kids love to either run ahead or walk so slowly that I trip over them with the stroller.

Beck didn't complain, which makes him this week's best kid.

We like to say the numbers on each mailbox and then add them together and then subtract them from each other. We're a lot of fun.

Yesterday, the weather was great AGAIN, and we all went down to the park. Dan rode his bike down and pulled Gwen and Harris in the bike trailer. I drove June and Beck down, with June crying the whole way because she wanted to ride in the bike trailer. Not to be confused with the ride home when I drove Gwen and Beck in the van with Gwen crying the whole way because she wanted to be in the bike trailer.

There's always a lot of crying.

But the truly big news from the park was that I rode a bike!!

I have always been a TERRIBLE bike rider. Truly awful. And I haven't really ridden a bike in 25ish years. Dan knows this and challenged me to ride his bike. He had to hold it for me while I tried to hop on. And then he had to continue to hold it as I pedaled. Riding on that bike seat made me feel like I was giving birth again, but this time to a bike. Youch. But I got up! And pedaled! With both feet! It was not pretty. I was super wobbly. But I was proud of myself. And the next time I got up BY MYSELF and shouted to Dan, "Did you SEE THAT!?!? Are you watching!?!?!" just like the kids always do. 

Then that mean ol' Gwen raced by me on her training wheels, darting dangerously close to where I was wobbling along. "Get away from me, Gwen!" I yelled. "Stop hogging the road!" She laughed at me mercilessly and sped up, leaving me to eat her dust.

Kids are cruel.

And today we had Stake Conference. 

The older three kids cooperated for a photo

until they didn't.

I'm pretty sure that spot in the floor has a permanent indentation from Harris's bum from when he throws this anti-photo shoot tantrum every Sunday.

And the Beckster, who did not throw an anti-photo shoot tantrum. He's really trying to hold on to the best kid record for two weeks in a row.

The End.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

BBB. Beck. Baby. Blessing.

Dan's parents and sister Mikaela came into town for Beck's baby blessing.

As with all of my children, Grandma Kristi made the blessing outfit. They are all so exquisite, and I have this dream that I will give each kid their blessing outfit to be used on their own sons or daughters one day.

I was holding Harris during the blessing, and he is a bit of a maniac. So it was hard to get everything Dan said. I wanted to write it down but my hands were full. But I do know that he blessed Beck to be able to discern between good and evil, to seek out the Lord early, to obey the commandments, to serve a mission and to find an eternal companion.

It was a beautiful blessing.

We've been having so much fun having grandparents in town. Thursday, they took the kids to the see the Lion King movie. Everyone said it was really meh. Gwen thought the lion was scary, and so she hated it.

Yesterday, Dan drove everyone (minus Beck and me) into the city to go on the Staten Island Ferry and to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. It was hot and humid and sweaty and uphill, and everyone is glad they did it, but I don't know if you could convince them to do it again.

Right now, everyone minus Harris, Beck and me are in Pennsylvania at the Priesthood Restoration Site. Tomorrow, we go to the beach. We always seem to do this to Dan's parents when they come--overschedule. It's hard for me not to make people see everything they can see on the East Coast while they are here. I worry that this is their one chance to see stuff, so I make every single day count. It's too much.

Every night, the kids go to bed without a fight because they are exhausted. It's the best part of the whole thing.

And one more of the man of the hour:

The End.