Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm ready to talk about it

Reid's on his way back from Phoenix. He's only been there since yesterday, but it feels like a week.

So, I have some time to blog. I've thought about posting something along these lines before, but I wasn't ready for the cold, hard truth that I'm hoping I'll get. Today I'm ready.

Here's the timeline, in all its gory details. Skimping over this will only weaken your empathy for me and desire to help me. You must read every word of this timeline to fully understand how much i need you right now. all of you.

Jan 9- Emily gets sinus infection which leads to pink eye
jan 11- Eliza gets pink eye
jan 14 Abby gets pink eye
Jan 16 Grace gets pink eye
jan 19 Eliza gets pink eye AGAIN
jan 20 Abby's pink eye STILL NOT GONE
Jan 22 Abby' pink eye STILL NOT GONE
Jan 23 Abby's Pink eye finally gone after THREE antibiotic treatments!!
Jan 24 We finally think we're healthy enough to leave the house for the first time in almost 3 weeks, and we go to little Bria's party. Two days later our friend, Dana, gets pink eye (yeah, i felt really, really awesome about that--Dana you were sweet to pretend you could have gotten it anywhere else!!)
9 days of healthiness and then...

Feb 2 -Grace gets the stomach flu. Abby starts coughing on and off.
Feb 5 We decide we can leave the house again
Feb 9 Abby's pink eye is back
Feb 25 We babysit and kill our friends' little toad (could be related? dunno. just thought it was worth mentioning) :)
Feb 10-March 3 -we all get little colds/coughs that have us staying home most of those days...going crazier by the minute
March 4 Emily Sprains her ankle (completely unrelated, but just want to point out the complete awesomeness of the timing here)
March 5 Grace gets a fever and a terrible cough, misses all sorts of events. total bummer. Abby's still coughing on and off.
March 8 Grace and Abby get the runs. the kind that don't stay in the diaper, even sort of. love this.
March 9 Eliza gets the nasty cold that Grace had. But this one does NOT turn into anything worse.
March 10 Eliza somehow doesn't suffocate on a wrapper that's lodged in her throat for 12+ hours (again, not related, but it seems to add, doesn't it?)
March 15-26th we are healthy, mostly, and we get out of the house quite a bit
March 27 Eliza lets out one little cough and i KNOW that it is going to be RSV (bronchiolitis). And it was.
March 30 Eliza's in the ER getting nebulized.
April 5 Eliza's all better. Abby gets INSANELY sick. Fever of 103.5, can't breathe, needs the nebulizer, coughs till she pukes. She got what Eliza had.
April 11 Emily gets it, too. Sore throat, fever, chills, cough that's never really gone away. awesome.
April 16-May 14 - these weeks were pretty good to us. We were just starting to feel normal. and then today
May 15 Abby has fever of 101 and a cough and snotty nose

Seriously, people. WHAT IS UP?!?!?!?

I would just LOVE for ANYONE and EVERYONE to tell me what their theories on this are. Why are we more sick than other families in our shoes? Why do we not only catch everything that's going around, but we catch the stuff that isn't going around!!

I'm aware that we're more exposed than other people. All Mormons are. Our chapel is like a petri dish, housing and keeping warm all the germs of the season. But there's not much I can do about that. Also, we get out lots; the girls have lots of friends. We don't like to stay home. I'm not going to change that, either.

I'm aware that Abby is sometimes..."underdressed"-- She is prone to nakedness. It is MUCH harder to keep her clothed than you might think. (see exhibit I) She has no problem opening our back door. And she doesn't care WHAT the weather's like outside (see exhibit II). So, at least 3 times a week she's running around half dressed (can i call a diaper "half''?) in 50 degree weather. Could this be it? i've wondered. maybe i should listen to my mom a little more than i do....hmmmm

I'm also aware that as long as we all eat grapefruit off the the same spoon, and share the same water bottle at the park that I can't be that surprised when we pass things around in our family. But this isn't my big concern. All families pass things around. I expect things to get passed around within our family. (see exhibit III) What I want to know is who's passing it to us?!?!? Why won't they leave us alone!?!?
And don't even start on the whole "maybe you should stop feeding your kids all that healthy veggie and fruit and whole grain stuff" cause that's the ONLY thing that makes me feel okay about the situation. Can you imagine how bad I'd feel if we were this sick AND we ate crap!?!? Although, I must admit, i have considered eating nothing but red vines and fruit snacks next winter --just for an experiment...i'll keep you posted on my decision about that...
Some people who know me would NEVER call me a germ freak. And some do. The ones who've seen all three of my kids eat things off of the floor multiple times would not. The one's who've seen me around other sick kids would. I don't freak out about germs that I don't know about. But when i do know about a sick kid who's near mine, I try desperately to keep my kids away from him, wash our hands, etc.

I wish the world of mommies could divide into two groups: those who DON'T care about their kids being exposed to germs, and those who DO. I'm to the point where I'd join the first group. Why, you might ask? Because i've determined that the worst part of having sick kids is being cooped up. If I didn't care about getting other peoples' kids sick, then i wouldn't care nearly as much when my own got sick. and how silly is that?!?!? How silly is it that when my kid gets a fever i'm almost never concerned about that child's health (babies excluded) but only about the affect that's going to have on our social life? Am I the only one that sees the irony in this? I'm seriously thinking of starting a group here in my 'hood. I'll call it the Mom's That Don't Care 'bout Germs Club. And we'll all have shirts with our logo printed on the front--a boy licking the shopping cart handle, with his sister in the cart, sucking on some coins. Okay, i've completely lost it here, haven't I....

I really am interested in ALL your theories, people. Open to ALL suggestions. Please try to be as tactless here as possible. I'm not lookin' for sunshine, peeps. I'm desperate. I want the truth. I can handle the truth.
Meanwhile I should try to get some sleep because Eliza's 5th and 6th teeth (front middle) are just about through, and she's been whimpering, on and off, since i put her down 3 hours ago. Abby's cough keeps waking her up. And Reid's flight lands just before midnight, so really, i won't be able to fall all the way asleep cause i'll be waiting for him to come home... but i gotta rest up for my kick boxing class in the morning! (yes, that's a tinge of excitement for an exercise class. More than a tinge, really. I'm a changed person. i joined a gym. And yet i still seem to catch whatever my kids get...:)
Exhibit I
I swear it looked like a warm day when I told them they could have these little homemade Popsicles!! Poor Abs is shivering!!
Exhibit II
Exhibit III - The Binki Swap
My girls love to play in Abby's crib. And i usually get the binkis out before they play in there. But sometimes there's one or two hiding under the bumper. And they just LOVE to share them!

Violet's Dress

And here's another post i never published:

I made this cute dress for the birthday of an even cuter friend of Grace's--Miss Violet. She and Grace are only 2 weeks apart, and have been good friends since the day their moms fell in love :) It was so fun making this for her. Once again, i really could have used a pattern...thank heavens for seam rippers, scissors, and extra fabric :) Grace and Abby were both lots of help by letting me try it on them--over and over again!

Easter weekend

I just realized that i never published this post about Easter. I think i was waiting for pics of the girls in their matching dresses...but that still hasn't happened. Pictures of ANY kind are hard to come by in this home....maybe this weekend it'll happen :) Anyway, this is old news, but here's our Easter weekend.
We had such a fun Easter weekend with my dad, sister and brother. My girls were so excited to have visitors, and they warmed right up--well, not Eliza--she screamed lots every time she'd see a face that wasn't mine, but Abby and Grace just LOVED all the attention and fun we had. Here's Grace just LOVING having Grandpa in the back with her (thanks, Grandpa, for squeezing between those massive car seats!!)
Apart from eating TONS of good food, playing games, spoiling the girls with too much attention (nathan!) and watching a couple movies, we also got out a bit. We spent Friday afternoon up in Boulder, one of my favorite places in Colorado (it's a total hippie town and i LOVE it!)

My brother caught me talking about how great it would be to live in Boulder and never have to shave again...

and then we ate the BEST Middle Eastern Food in ALL OF DENVER at Damascus--seriously, i can't imagine ANYBODY not liking the food there!!!

We spent most of Saturday doing Easter stuff--dying eggs, filling eggs, finding eggs, opening eggs, eating eggs, eggcetera. Grace was so into the whole dying thing--it was so fun! We dipped them in oil first--in an attempt to get a "marbled" look. Julia's and mine were kinda lame--but Grace, who just dipped and dipped and dipped got the best looking ones---and she was so proud of herself! She's getting to be so much fun to do crafty things with--i love it!

We then hid all the plastic eggs around our backyard. By "hid" i mean put them on the grass in plain sight for Abby, and put them against the fence or in our retaining wall for Grace. (these girls are definitely related to their parents--terrible at finding things!) The girls had a blast finding them, but had a hard time staying focused when some of the eggs started opening up in their baskets. We would have let them take their time and snack along the hunt, but it was about 10 degrees outside, so we were rushing them on their way.

Of course i couldn't' just fill their eggs with lame candy--so i bought things that they don't get to eat very often that they just LOVED--chocolate fishies, teddy grahams, fruit snacks, Lucky Charms--you know, the stuff all you fun moms give your kids regularly :) (i know, i know, my kids are completely deprived and have no chance at growing up to be normal citizens, but that's just the way the cookie--or in our case, the whole wheat cracker--crumbles:))

Here are the girls in their matching Easter jammies. This isn't a tradition in our family...yet. Maybe if Target has cute p.j.'s on clearance again this year it'll become one!

We spent Sunday going to church, getting peeps to the airport, and having a little Family Night about Easter and why it means so much to us. It was a perfect Easter weekend. It's always so fun to have family around. I don't know why we live so far from them!! When we were in Boston we felt like Denver was just around the corner from our families. But we're now realizing that both are a day's travel away, which is just too far!! Abby just cried and cried when we dropped everyone off at the airport. It made her feel better knowing that Grandpa would be back just two weeks later with Grandma... in fact, that kinda helped me fight back the tears, too!!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

My mom and dad

My parents flew into town the night of our fancy ball. They watched our kids that night (which included Eliza crying for 40 minutes straight!). They were here for Grace's birthday party the next morning, and helped out a TON! They were here for Grace's actual birthday (april 26th), and then flew out on Monday evening. It was a really busy weekend, and i'd hoped for some more down time, but tried to take advantage of what we had. On Monday morning we did this (highly recommended)little "family history" interview--it was sooooooo great!! I learned so much about my parents that i never would have or could have known otherwise. I asked them questions about their wedding day, their proudest moments as parents, the homes they grew up in, etc. And I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed it!! For example, when i asked them what the key was to a successful marriage, they simultaneously blurted out "patience/endurance"--it was hilarious!!

I love my mom and dad so much. I'm so glad that i went to college in the same town where they lived. It wasn't until i was about 18 years old that i started realizing that my parents weren't evil and out to destroy me and my social life :) I loved getting to know them as a fellow "grown-up" and having them help me with my school work. I don't know for sure that I never asked them for help with school in H.S., but i have no recollection of it. But once I figured out that i kinda liked them, i realized that they were great assets when it came to smart-people stuff :)

I hate that so many of the good friends that i've made over the past 6-7 years don't even know them! They are such good people, who've had really good lives, and raised seven (seriously stellar) children. My parents never gossip, never play the "keeping up with the Joneses" game, and never seem to get caught up in all the stupid stuff that so many of us do. They're so smart--they speak like 5 languages between the two of them! They're both wonderful teachers. And how cute is it that after 40+ years of marriage my mom finally got my dad taking piano lessons from her--the world's best piano teacher! And he's getting so good, too! He's a wonderful dad and husband. I've often thought that I'm married to an amazing dad and husband because I was raised by one. My dad's also a crossword genius. It blows my mind when i sit down with him and see him at work. My mom is an AMAZING mother, musician, teacher, and poet. Although i fought her tooth and nail, she taught me to play the piano, and saw my potential, and helped me reach it. She's so good at taking care of her kids, still, and she keeps us all connected when cell phones just aren't enough :) And most importantly, my mom and dad are both such loving, generous, honest Christ-like people. If I could choose two people in the whole wide world that I could be like when i grow up it would be them. Which works out really well, you know, genetically and all...

And I have LOVED watching them with my own kids. It's the sweetest thing in the world. Grace absolutely adores her Grandma. Abby loves roughing around with Grandpa. And it makes me so happy to see how much they all look forward to seeing each other. I am perfectly happy being nothing more than the middle man between them :) And as is always the case, i didn't take anywhere NEAR enough pictures of them when they were here.

I'm still figuring out these collages--i don't know how to crop the pictures in them, so some things are unintentionally cut out

Here's a poem that my mom wrote when she was 16 years old. It was published in some book back then, and 5 decades later this sweet lady who does digital scrapbooking put together this layout, and contacted the alumni assoc. at byu to find my mom and tell her how much she's loved this poem through the years. isn't that great?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Grace's Birthday

I was pretty dead-set against throwing a party for Grace this year. She hates that kind of attention, she has more toys than 99% of kids in this world, and she's had one every year since she was born--i thought we could take a year off :) Yet as her big day got closer she somehow convinced me to do it!

About 3 things i was absolutely positive. First, Grace had everything any almost 4 year old girl could ever need. Second, there was a part of me, and i didn't know how dominant that part might be, that thirsted for a charity-based party with hippie-friendly party favors. And third, i was unconditionally and irrevocably going to force everyone who came to re-use one of their "less-used" toys as a gift for Grace.

The party was a complete success. At the end of the day Grace and I were both really happy with how it all turned out :)

Grace LOVED the princess cake i attempted to make (this was one of those times when i was really, really grateful to not be a perfectionist--sorry to all you who are, just scroll down really fast....)

The main activity was painting flower pots, and planting the pansies that Grace and I would deliver to a Senior Care center just up the road from our place. It was so much fun. The kids mostly seemed to understand what they were doing, and who they were doing it for. And, for the party favor, all the kids got to go home with their very own white pot, a couple paint pens, a bag of soil, and a pansy to plant once they got home. Grace helped me paint all the pots white before the party

Here are the kids on a tarp in our dining room (it was freezing outside!) painting their pots

Reid was in charge of filling their pots with soil

My dad helped the kids pick which pansies they wanted to plant

The final product!!
We delivered these a few days later and the people there were so appreciative and loved knowing that a bunch of 3-4 year olds had painted these just for them!!

We played a few games outside (it was colder than we'd hoped for, but the kids didn't mind) and Reid had this AWESOME bubble-maker going

The kids are lined up ready to play Red Light, Green Light. This game is definitely more fun when half the kids don't have a clue how to play it!

The kids all ate cupcakes because it somehow seemed easier to make cupcakes than figuring out how to cut into and serve the doll cake.

Here are all nine of the kids at the party: Isabelle, Violet, Zach, Karly, Grace, Brae, Izzy, Maryn, and Ashton. Grace has some awesome friends!

Grace's friends all gave her the best gifts ever--and they didn't have to go BUY anything!
We also did a Toy Drive for the Denver Rescue Mission--so people brought toys/clothes/formula/diapers, etc that their kids no longer need for the kids in the shelters downtown. It took almost 2 weeks to get the stuff there, but in those two weeks we talked and talked and talked about how many kids there are that don't have any of the luxuries we have. And i really think that Grace gets it. She just kept adding toys of hers to the pile. She even got to the point where she was adding toys that she liked to the pile! That felt so huge to reid and me.

When we dropped the stuff off, there were a few homeless people in the park across the street, and Grace just looked and looked at them. And then, a few blocks down the road she said, in a really pensive kind of way, "I have lots of things, don't I." I don't know how to explain it, but I knew right then that a tiny little part of her really does understand how fortunate we really are. We've been talking about these children who don't have homes, who can't just go to the store and buy whatever food they need, who don't know about God and how much He loves them--and I really know that she understands a little bit of what we've talked about. Let's be honest, I'm 30 years old, and I still don't even have a clue about most of the heartache that exists in the world. But doing all of this with my sweet 4-year old has taught me a log about giving, spending, charity, selfishness, and about what things really matter to me and what things i want my girls to learn and know. I could write and write about all i've been thinking about lately, but really, no one now, or 30 years from now is gonna want to read my rambling :)
And now for the About Grace portion of this post:
Grace has been so sweet lately, i'm thinking that i'm really going to love the 4's! She's got such a big heart--i learn that more and more every day. She's such a good sister. I know i've said that so many times before, but she really is! As soon as Eliza wakes up from a nap Grace is the first one up there, playing with her in her crib, helping her sit up, and then doing silly things that make Eliza giggle uncontrollably. If Abby needs help, or gets hurt, Grace comes running to find me (and usually sends an unnecessary surge of panic thru my veins). Just today at the park Grace sat next to Eliza on the blanket and broke her crackers and cheerios into Eliza-bite-sized pieces and fed them to her. She often refers to her sisters as "sweetie" or "sweetheart"--the terms she hears me use :) She was wired to be a big sister!

Some things i love about Grace:

I love that she still announces it to whomever is in the room when she's got to go potty.
She has an AMAZING imagination--she can play with her toys by herself for almost 45 minutes--as long as at least one of those toys is some sort of a princess doll
She LOVES food! She eats just about everything. Her favorite foods are grapefruits, pears, bell peppers, grapes, smoothies, and applesauce. Her favorite sweets are ice cream and M&M's, and really anything that has sugar in it....poor deprived girl! :)
She has a way of making all of her little friends do exactly what she tells them to. We're not at all sure how it happens, but she controls them somehow...and i think it's hilarious!
She's still convinced that any toys left on the floor really will be sucked up by the vacuum...i have no intentions of EVER telling her that her life-sized Seraphina cat could never be vacuumed up :) She loves listening to the Shel Silverstein CD of poems we have
She is, by far, happiest when she's wearing a dress
When she's trying to convince Abby to do what she wants to do she slows down and repeats the first syllable of certain words. For example, "Abby, do you wa-wa-want to watch Ti-Ti-Tinkerbell with me?" or "Abby, let's go ju-ju-jump on mom's bed u-u-upstairs, okay"
I love listening to her sing the phrase "the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam"--it's almost like she's playing that MadGab game--the sounds and syllables are all there, but the words just ain't
She asks so many questions that are getting REALLY hard for me to answer! Like, "How are we all going to die?"--seriously, what do you say to that? she was NOT okay with the simple "No one knows" bit, so we talked about it for like 10 minutes!
She has her very own vocab. Here are a few examples: alotter=more (e.g. i have alotter apples than Abby); matter=mind/care (e.g. mom, do you matter about this dress or can i wipe my hands on it?). Also, her superlatives aren't always quite right, e.g. "i'm more beautifuler than her right now" (she equates beauty with the amount of accessories/clothing wearing--that's it.
She loves to give her toys away to her friends. almost every day she'll be playing with some toy and she'll say, "mom, i want to give this to so-and-so, forever. i don't even matter about it anymore."

Oh, I just love this girl!!! Happy Birthday, Grace!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009



I can now see why people don't like going to the dentist. the drill is LOUD, there's lots of jolting and pressure, it smells of burning enamel, etc. But that blessed N2O made it all seem more like an interactive movie that i was watching, and occasionally participating in than real life. loved it!

i didn't actually laugh much, but i did think that the things coming out of my mouth were VERY funny. I guess that's really no different from every day life for me.
I kept saying everything that i was thinking. I guess that's no different from every day life, either. I guess the difference was that i didn't care if anybody else thought i was funny or stupid or tactless or clueless. i was in a very happy place :)

Laughing gas has moved up high on my list--right under epidurals--of things i'm really, really, really grateful i don't have to live without.

What i want to know is how many of you moms out there that just love natural child birth also just love natural dentistry? Sarah? Meredith?

i'm kidding, that's just the nitrous oxide talking...

Monday, May 4, 2009

epidurals and laughing gas

It's no small secret that i love epidurals. I'm not big on taking medicine if it can be avoided, generally speaking, but i am a big fan of epidurals.

I will find out in less than 12 hours if i feel the same way about laughing gas. I'm 30 years old, and i have my first cavity.

I'm freaking out a little. My dentist (who's also a friend of ours from church in Boston) obviously saw the panic in my face as soon as he informed me that my perfect dental record was no more. Without even asking me, he told his hygenist we were going to need nitrous.

I think i'm about to find out why so many people dread going to see their dentist...