Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scrambled Thoughts VI

1.  You might just have to get used to the idea that every single post from now until the end of this pregnancy could be titled Scrambled Thoughts...

...because that seems to be all my brain is capable of right now.  At least I'm numbering them, and using the cool way: Roman Numerals.  That way you still get variety, you see.

2.  When you turn three years old, you should get three parties.  

 If you do, that's how you'll know you're loved.  If you don't... well... who am I to judge?  First party for Miles was with Nana, Poppy and the gang.  Poppy lit the match on his jeans and we all cheered for him.  Then we cheered for Miles because he was so skilled in blowing the fire out.  Then we ate cake.  And discussed the question, does anyone really love birthday cake? 

The cat seemed to love it, anyway.

Second party was with friends at Lake Powell.  Miles was a bit grumpy.  He preferred to sit at a table by himself and scowl.  But the rest of us had fun.  Hey...  it's his party and he'll cry if he wants to.

Since this was his actual birthday, the kids and I worked hard to turn the day around for him. 

We had a six hour car ride home from Powell (that came closer to seven because I got on the freeway going the WRONG WAY after filling up with gas and, as luck would have it, the next exit wasn't for 18 miles), we stopped in a cute little town called Panguitch (I've always wanted to visit Panguitch after seeing the sign so many times on my little vacations growing up.  I knew it must be cool with a name like Panguitch - it did not disappoint) and had Chubby burgers and ice cream.  Deeeeeelicious!
He was much happier after that.

The third party was thrown by Grandma.  Fun that Miles and his Uncle Steve have birthdays close enough to throw a joint party!  Steve was nice enough to let Miles blow the candles out on the cake.  We opened presents, said hello to Daddy on the iPhone, played with a 'conversation volleyball', and destroyed a colorful pinata.  Spoiled, loved little boy, this one!

3.  When you turn six your parents still love you, even if you don't get six parties.

"If you could do anything you want on your birthday, what would it be?" I asked.  He thought for a minute... no... he thought for three seconds before a grin spread wide over his face and he started jumping up and down.  "Chuck-E-Cheese!"  Okay then.  Plan birthday party - check.  He and Brian played about thirteen games of basketball (really.  Count them) and got a zillion tickets from it.  Then we all ate a $20 cardboard pizza.  Best. Party. Ever.

He invited his two best friends and after the Chuck-E-Cheese festivities, we traveled back to the house for presents, cake and ice cream.

No words.  No words to describe how much I love this boy.  The other day as I was folding laundry, I had to pause and hug one of his shirts - just thinking about him and his sweetness is enough to send me to tears.  But we'll have to turn that into another blog post on a day I'm feeling a little more... put together in the head. 

4.  Popsicle jokes are not very funny.

But you have to laugh at them anyway.  And then you have to laugh a few minutes later when it's told again.  And then the next day as you're driving home in the car.  And then a week later when it pops up around the dinner table.  And all the times in between.

Also, you should not ever buy your kids a joke book.  Unless you have the patience of a saint.  Or unless you have a knack for producing adequate laughs when your gut reaction is to gently take the book from the child's hands and tear it into pieces.  Sometimes I bring up a laugh imagining that...

5.  You should seriously consider getting a pair of Carson's new shoes. 

Apparently they can make you jump higher and run faster.  Plus, they light up when you walk.

6.  Never burn garlic powder in the microwave.

Never, never, never burn garlic powder in the microwave.  And, if you read online that the way to suck moisture out of your hard block of garlic powder is to put it in a brown bag and microwave it for three minutes, it LIES!  It might burst into flames and produce thick, golden, billowing smoke that will seep from the sides and then flood out the door when it's opened.  Then you'll have to evacuate yourself and your kids from the house because every time you try to inhale you end up sputtering coughs and dripping tears from you eyes.  "Get down on the floor and crawl out the back door!" you might yell to your kids.  Looking up at the ceiling, you might not even be able to see which corner your smoke detector is in.  But when it goes off, then you'll remember.  After a time, you'll probably be able to go back inside the house, but when you do you might see that the smoke has gone throughout the whole house and left a golden yellow haze, plus a film, over everything... especially in the cupboard directly over the microwave.  Let's hope that cupboard doesn't hold every single dish you own.  This would create a ton of dishes for you to do.  Plus, trust me, the smell of burnt garlic mixed with smoke is a terrible, terrible smell.  And, if you're pregnant, it might make you vomit several times over the next month because that smell could linger.  And linger.  And linger.  But maybe you'll have great kids who are willing to take all the dishes out of the cupboards, wipe the shelves with a happy smelling Clorox wipe, and load the dishes in the dishwasher.  Twice.

Better to just not burn the garlic in the first place...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dreaming in Colors of Pink and Blue

"Just how sure are you?" Brian asked.
"97%," I replied confidently.
"Wow... that's just going to make it easier for me to laugh at you when you're wrong," he smirked.  I gave him my side smile and raised one eyebrow to indicate that I was surely not going to be wrong on this one.

It was a treat to be traveling alone together in the car on a weekday morning.  We wove our way through the traffic and lights on our way to the OB's office where the ultrasonographer had my name next to his 9:40 appointment.  I've been looking at pink quilts and bedsets for over a month now.  Planning the hairbows and little tights with darling dainty shoes.  The gender check would just give me ground to rub in that I had been right all along.

"I know," I admitted, "I used to roll my eyes when people said they knew - but now I get it."  I halfheartedly tried to defend my position, but knew I couldn't really explain how I knew - just that I did.  Mother's intuition, I guess.  Plus, the pregnancy has been almost identical to McKenzie's pregnancy and almost nothing like the boys'.

I swung my water bottle by my side as we strolled into the office and then laughed with the check-in lady about the slow computers.  Soon I was lying comfortably on my back and welcomed the warm gel as it squirted onto my belly.  Our ultrasonographer was a military man, turning 50, and just back from Afghanistan.   Talkative, a bit boisterous, and gave off enough self-confidence to somehow make you feel both comfortable and on guard.  The lights went low and the magic wand began making it's way around the bulge that held our baby.  There she was!  Our baby!

Measurements, measurements, measurements.  Head.  Brain.  Heart.  Stomach.  One kidney.  Two kidneys...

"Okay, getting close to gender now, so be careful where you look if you don't want to know!" The ultrasonographer slid the wand down the baby's body to measure the leg bone.  After several ultrasounds in my life, I've become pretty good at recognizing what I see, and that first pass through the leg bones brought a smile to my face.  Looks like I had the proof I needed to start shopping for tights and hair-bows after all.

He finished measuring the leg bones and said, "Alright, let's see if we can get a good picture of the gender here... ... oh! that's a great picture!" He froze the frame and sat back with his arms folded across his chest.  "Any guesses?" he asked.

My jaw dropped.

"I... was... wrong!" I said.
"Ha!" Brian said simultaneously.
The ultrasonographer laughed.  "I see that all the time," he said.  "Parents don't actually care what it is... they just want to be right!"

I was in a state of shock for the rest of the ultrasound.  A boy?  We're having a boy!  I was so sure, though... a boy!?  After the ultrasound, Brian was kind.  He didn't rub it in at all.  Instead, he pulled out his ipod touch and started sifting through boy names.  "Alister?"  "Ammon?"  "Aaron?"  "Acopotalus?"  We laughed at some, sneered at others, and thoughtfully nodded our head at a few.  Hadn't we been though this before?

The rest of my day was spent blowing up blue balloons, streaming blue streamers, pulling out all the blue blankets and stuffed animals I could find and arranging them all over the kids' room.  In big blue letters I spelled out
B O Y !

and hung it from the bunk beds.  All the blue animals rested on the top bunk, pointing their faces towards the door to welcome the kids home from school.  Stepping into the hall to take in the room, I smiled, locked the door from the inside and shut it in front of me.  In bold letters I made one more banner:  Boy or Girl? it read, and strung it on the outside of the door. 

After the kids scrambled off the bus, they weren't even halfway through the yard before they started yelling, "Do you know!?  Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?!"  
"I do," I said calmly.  
"WELL?!?!?!  What is it!?"
"I can't tell you yet."
"Whyyyyyyyyyy?" they whined.
"Because Daddy wants to be here to tell you, too.  He will be home in one hour.  But I'll show you part of my surprise right now."  I led them down the hall to their locked bedroom door.  They jumped up and down at the banner outside as McKenzie read it out loud, "Boy or Girl?"  I explained that their room was decorated in either all pink or all blue, depending on whether it was a brother or a sister joining our family.  After trying the locked door, the anticipation seemed to melt their legs right on the spot and they crumbled to the floor with exaggerated moans of agony in having to wait 'a whole hour' to open the door.  Knowing we'd get nowhere on our homework in that state, I piled all the kids in the car and took them to the library and the grocery store to pick up the new books on hold and to get dessert for the missionaries we were feeding that night.  But mostly to kill the hour a little quicker than sitting in the house, staring at the door, would feel like.  

Daddy came home while I was in the middle of sauteing onions.  I turned off the stove at the eager request from the children (and husband) that 'now' was the time to open the door.  Brian held the kids back a bit and, grabbing the video camera, I unlocked the door and carefully let myself in to capture their faces as they opened the door.  I sat in the bedroom alone for only 10 seconds or so, but it was enough... my brain quieted from the hustle of the day and, for the first time, I let the joy touch my heart that we would be welcoming another son into our family.  Joy in the truth that my kids love each other so deeply and were already in love with this new baby.  Joy at the excitement radiating from my husband.  "Alright!" Daddy's voice came from outside the door, "Open it up!"  The doorknob rattled just before the door swung open and an eager bolus of children stumbled into the room.

"Well," said McKenzie pulling up short, "I guess we're having another boy!"
"Boy!" said Carson.
Miles was living on the excitement of the other two children as he had, in fact, helped me decorate the room and knew exactly what it looked like inside.  But you wouldn't have known it from the surprised and excited look on his face.  Bright eyes, mouth half open, curls dancing on top of his head as he bounced up and down, mirroring his older brother and sister.  "I'm a boy!" he kept on saying.

That night I felt a deep, deep sense of gratitude.  Gratitude so intense that I left the house to go for a walk at 11:00pm and called my mom to talk about the day.  We talked for almost two hours and, at 1:00am, I crawled into bed next to my sleeping, warm husband.

So grateful for that man.  So grateful for my happy kids.  So grateful for the anticipation of our new, little son.  Yes, a girl would have been fun but, after all, now I don't have to worry about finding a way to organize more hairbows... or spend time finding little tights, or dainty shoes....  My last thoughts before I fell asleep were of McKenzie.  I had been so worried about how she would take the news (it was quite clear from early on that she and I were both cheering for a little sister), but she was so delighted... I even heard several heartfelt giggles from her as she told Grandma.  I thought of our book club... of the many nights I've lay in her bed (long after the boys are asleep) to talk about life.  Hooray that I get to keep that special girl to myself for a while longer - perhaps forever - as my only daughter. 

And, man, do I love raising boys... 

 (as long as they aim properly)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Lifesaver

My beautiful sister, Amber.

Can you believe she took 4 months out of her life to come live with me?  With her around, I feel like we are almost staying on top of life... dishes are usually done... kids feel loved and played with... the playroom gets clean more often than not... she even brought a cute little purple hippo filled with rice that you can stick in the microwave and use as a heating pad.

This pregnancy is going so much better than all my others did.  It's because of Amber.

And, don't worry.  I'm not upset at all that I've been asked three times if she's my daughter...  three times!  Daughter?  Daughter!?  Do I really look like I could have a 22 year old daughter?  But, again, I'm totally not upset about it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scrambled Thoughts V (part 2)

4. If you're going to use green apple scented Swave shampoo as your bubble bath, you do not need to empty a quarter of the bottle into the running water...

...even if you're filling up Nana's gigantic bathtub.  Apparently knowing the ratio of water to bubble bath soap is not one of those things that comes along with a mother's intuition.  At least for me... ahem.  The water level only reached about halfway up the sides of the bathtub before it was clear that any more water would result in bubbles streaming and seeping over the sides of the tub (clean floor!).  Consequently, this bath session became all about fun and not about getting clean since a shower was necessary afterwards.

But... I think we all agreed that it was most definitely worth it.

5. If you've ever wanted to lie on a giant waterbed out in the middle of your front lawn, I know the secret.

All you need is a giant plastic tarp, a roll of duct tape, a hose, and some crazy people to put it all together.

 (I know, I know... the exposure hurts your eyes on this one.  Sorry.  But their faces are just too cute to delete.)  Use the duct tape to makes sure all sides are sealed tightly.  Waterproof tightly.  But, make sure to leave a little hole on the last side to insert the hose into.

Fill it up, tape off the small opening, and enjoy!

Warning:  Once you let the kids walk on it, it will start to puncture smallish holes all over (or biggish holes, depending on the size of the foot that goes through).  But, don't worry about that, because it kind of makes it more fun that way, anyway.

 6.  If you have an uncle who will let you push him over again and again, then you have a cool uncle.

At least, if you're Miles.  Especially if your uncle lets you push him over outside on the hard pavement. 

7.  If one hand is around a delicious homemade roll, and the other hand is around a golden retriever...

...and if that golden retriever starts eying that roll... may want to move one of your hands.  Preferrably the one with the roll.  Otherwise... may end up disappointed. 

If only I had snapped one more picture after this one so I had that adorable facial expression that came a fraction of a second after this one: sharp eyes with furrowed eyebrows halfway between bewilderment and anger, directed right at the happy dog.  Hilarious - once we realized that Zoe did not, in fact, mistake part of Miles's hand for an extra chunk of roll. 

8. Nana's are the greatest.

 Love how all of them are completely transfixed on the television and oblivious to Nana's hilarious position.  Hey, at least she's getting a foot rub out of it!

9.  Miles might one day be a professional four wheel racer.

But probably not.  Because he was a bit terrified of this machine.  It took him a full day to warm up to the idea of going out on it.  The other kids had a great time, though. 

10.  It's kind of cool when your 8 year old daughter comes up from the dressing room in a cute pink dress, and then your mother pulls up an old picture of herself that she's recently scanned into her computer from back when she played Barbara in My Turn On Earth...

...and you realize that it is the exact same dress.  You are then forced to think about whether your 8 year old is giant, or if your 20something mother is tiny.  Then it pulls up all sorts of other fun things to think about.  You see your 8 year old twirling in the grass and picture your mother twirling, dancing and singing in the very same dress across the stage.  You know your mom has an angelic voice and you can almost hear the applause from the audience.  Almost picture the tears in their eyes as she sings the very same lullaby that she sang to you as a child, So sleep, sleep till the darkness ends, guarded by your angel friends.  Sleep, sleep till the darkness ends, guarded by your angel friends. 

11.  Family is fun.

And smoky skylines can be beautiful.  Even when ash is slowly floating down on you and you're slightly worried that the fires are going to come up over the mountain and engulf the beautiful city you love.

But you keep jumping rope and enjoying the days.  You keep laughing with your parents and siblings because you know that you can't stay forever.  And regardless of where the fires are or are not, soon your airplane will pull up to your terminal and it will be time to board.  So you enjoy, and enjoy, and enjoy.

Then when you are back home, snug on your own couch, you can pour through the pictures and remember the fun.  Remember the love.  Remember the happiness that family brings.