Monday, June 30, 2014

The Dwee Dwee Blanket

Back in 2008 (when we were living in Kansas) we needed a new comforter for our bed.  I went to JC Penney during their best sale and got a white faux-down microfiber comforter.  I was very happy with it.  It seemed to be decent quality but not so nice I would be mad if the kids did bad things to it (one needs to expect this of everything one buys when there are kids in the house!)  And white can be bleached. 
It wasn't long before the stitching started coming apart.  Nothing is made like it used to be, is it? 
It was still okay for quite awhile as it slowly unraveled.  But one day I looked at it and decided it was time for it to go.  It looked pretty shabby.  
However I found I could not throw it away.   The Rabbit had just adopted it.  It was somehow now her most special blanket.  She has a million baby quilts and blankets, but it was the soft microfiber fabric that attracted her to this comforter.  
I have heard of many little kids that like to rub fabric in their fingers as a soothing mechanism,  but the Rabbit was my first child to do so.  She even gave this action a name: dwee dwee.  As in, "this is a good blanket to dwee dwee on."  It's an onomatopoeic description of the sound the fabric makes as you rub it, you see. 
So the white comforter was now Her Dwee Dwee Blanket and heaven help us if she didn't have it at bed time.  Being queen-sized it was ridiculously huge for her little self in her little bed at nighttime,  but there was no getting around it.  And there was no way I could throw it in the trash. 
Thus it remained for a few years.  The dwee dwee blanket got more and more tattered.  It began to develop holes and it had permanent marker stains. 
Just now it came out of the wash in complete shreds.  Completely unsalvageable.  Roo says it's because Rabbit and Peanut were cutting it with scissors recently.  Well, there you go.   I finally have a solid excuse to get rid of the thing once and for all. 
In general I support children having special objects.  I don't even care if they love them to ugly ratty tatters.  But I'm not so wild about it when they latch on to something that was a ratty tatter destined for the trash to begin with, especially when it's large.  However I did my best to be supportive because it was important to my little Rabbit. 
The dwee dwee blanket lived a good long life.  I am sorry for the Rabbit's sake that it is ruined.  I shall have to buy her another microfiber blanket that she can dwee dwee on, but I will find one that is more her size and that has good tight stitching. 

For a picture of the Rabbit sleeping with her Dwee Dwee Blanket, see this post from last November.  From the position of her hands I'd say she fell asleep dwee-dweeing on it.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's Happening!

I am finally starting to feel better.  Starting is the key word in that sentence: I still have plenty of yucky times.  But the "I can actually somewhat function!" times are increasing. 

Even more exciting is that I am starting to get a little bit of motivation back.  For weeks I have been looking around me at all the things that need to be done and saying "who cares?  We'll live."  Now I am looking around and thinking it's time to get caught up. 

The Badger has kept things running.  Thanks to him, we have been fed, had clean clothes, had toys and junk basically picked up, and have not been overrun by rats.  He has done a fantastic job.  But where Mom is really crucial around here is when it comes to organization.  Right now there are piles of clutter and stacks of miscellany all over the house.  And all kinds of things have been mixed up and put in the wrong places.  While we have been surviving just fine, when it comes time to put on a scout uniform for a meeting or locate an all-important permission slip, we're in big trouble.  And let's not even talk about fines for overdue library books that no one can find because they are not on their special shelf.  Organization is super important in a large family.  

Yesterday I organized the pantry.   It's not a huge job and it wasn't in terrible shape and I could mostly do it sitting on a stool.  But I was still pretty proud of myself.  I was thrilled that I felt well enough not only to do it but to want to do it.  Such a small thing, and yet so huge for me. 

Today I deep cleaned the girls' bedroom and closet.  Again, a mostly sitting down job.  But a big one.  After that I started on the boys' room.  That is going to take more than one attempt, let me tell you.  They have gotten much better about cleaning their rooms but every once in awhile I have to go down there and deep clean.  It's always an interesting experience, kind of like visiting a house of horrors.  

But I am working on it!  Yay me! 

Yay that the worst is behind me!  Yay for the happy times ahead! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

If there is any dad in the world right now who deserves a shower of praise, gifts, affection and pampering, it's my Badger. 
However, we're going to have to take a rain check on Father's Day this year.  I woke up with a bad headache.  I hope this means my morning sickness will be wrapping up soon... headaches are usually the next stage.  Anyway, he took the girls to church and I was supposed to follow later but I never made it there. 

I did feel well enough as the noon hour neared to sit on a stool in the kitchen and make macaroni and cheese and heat up some corn.  Go me!  I was pleased with myself for making the Badger a Father's Day meal, which he was not expecting at all.  I know he doesn't really like macaroni and cheese, but he pretended he did and he really appreciated that when he got home from church he didn't have to make food for the kids. 

But then he told me that he was getting a headache too, so the two of us have spent the afternoon laying down and trying to rest while simultaneously trying to keep a bunch of very active little kids under control.  It hasn't really been a great day.

Oh, dear Badger, I wish I could bake you a strawberry rhubarb pie and make homemade ice cream.  And rub your feet and bring you a big pile of fun and exciting gifts.   You have been the most faithful, loving, diligent father,  especially lately, when you have been getting very little in return.  But please know how much we all love and appreciate you... and one of these days you're going to get what you deserve.    

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another Then and Now

The Rabbit showed up next to me the other day looking like this:


The boys got that funky toy from their Grandma when the Rabbit was a baby.  And the first thing I thought of was this picture from August of 2008:


I love how for all they change they still stay so much the same.

Fish Crosses the Bridge

Last month Fish earned his Arrow of Light and crossed the bridge from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.  This is a big deal, and as a former Cub Scout leader I really really appreciated the work these leaders put in to making this a memorable ceremony for the boys.  It was really awesome.  They called them up to come sit around the fake fire with this cool Native American music playing and they talked very solemnly about what it means to be a Boy Scout.  It was great.



Then they had a really cool bridge for them to cross and the boy scout leaders met them on the other side.  I didn't get pictures of that, so I had Fish do these for me afterwards:






I remember when Fish started Cub Scouts.  Four years ago.  


What a great journey it has been.  I look forward to the years of Boy Scouts ahead!


(Aren't my blog posts so much more fun with pictures?  I am getting these put up only because I gave the baby my digital camera to play with.  Yes, it is bad for him to have the camera.  But it's one of those lesser-of-the-evils things that are always cropping up in parenting.  I am keeping an eye on him and the camera and he's so enthralled that he's not trying to climb all over me and bang on the computer.)

Mine is the Morning

The sun comes up mighty early this time of year in these parts.  I was feeling proud of myself for establishing a better getting-up time during this last school year-- I now wake up for the day about 6:30.  But right now at 6:30 the sun has been up for an hour and I feel like I'm off to a late start.  

The air is still nice and cool at 6:30 though.  And first thing in the morning I usually feel pretty okay.  So this is the time I go out and work in my garden.  


This has become my happy hour in my happy place.  There are all kinds of birds singing and everything is bright and fresh.  I feel so alive out there with my hands in the dirt.  As long as I mostly stay sitting down I can work out there for a couple of hours.  And there's plenty of weeds to pull sitting down.  


It was an adventure clearing out the front planting area, which had been a thriving perennial garden two years ago and then sat empty and weed-choked all last summer.  As I pulled out the weeds I discovered a few perennials that had survived: tickseed, leopard's bane, some strawberry plants.  I also found some things that I could not tell whether or not they were weeds or intentional plantings.  I decided to leave them alone and see what came of them.  

There were several bushes of lupine.  I still don't know whether these were planted intentionally, as they are an abundant wildflower in these parts, but they are gorgeous so I left them alone.  



Another mystery plant grew tall and handsome and put out promising buds, which then produced very unattractive flowers.  The kids said they'd seen it growing in the wilds near our house, so I dug it up.

Meanwhile, I never get tired of the miracle of growing a garden.  You put out all these seeds and you wonder if they will grow and then one day you go outside and... potatoes!


Beans!


Peas!


There's something new every day.  Today I saw zucchini and broccoli peeking out of the dirt.  Still no sign of quite a few things, like the corn.  And carrots.  I still don't have the knack for good germination of carrots.  I probably just need to keep them more moist, which is a challenge for me.  Anyway, this is what my garden looks like as of this morning:


So, my three tomato plants... I put them all in wall-o-waters when I planted them mid-May.  We had a couple of thunderstorms with very strong winds and all of the wall-o-waters blew over except one.  There was no frost on the forecast so I didn't worry about putting them back up, but when I went to put up the ladders I noticed the huge difference in size between them.  So I stuck this one's ladder down inside the wall-o-water and now this plant is twice the size of the others.  I should have done this from the beginning: put the wall-o-waters around the ladders.  Then they wouldn't have blown down.  Next year.  



So, the backyard portion of the planting bed has been divided up among the four older kids.  It will be a weedy mess and things will get dug up and picked prematurely and trampled, but everyone will learn and have fun.  


I can't wait to see what this looks like in a month!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Ramblings

Tomorrow I am 13 weeks and my morning sickness has not begun to ease up yet.  But I am just grateful to have another week under my belt. 
The typical pattern lately has been that I feel somewhat okay for maybe a couple of hours in the morning and then I am mostly nonfunctional for the rest of the day.   During that brief morning spell of okayness I like to work in my garden, or of course on Sunday I go to part of church.  Even when I am okayish I can't stand up for very long.  Sitting up driving for very long has been tough too.  But that's why I like gardening.  I can mostly do it sitting down. 
Today the Badger isn't feeling that hot either.  I think he is just tired and worn out.  We're both getting older and I can tell.  The Badger does so much lately.  Yesterday was a great example of how he is doing the work of both mom and dad.   He picked up our Bountiful Basket first thing in the morning, then made eggs for the kids for breakfast.   Then he spent several hours putting a new disposal on our kitchen sink, which turned out to be a huge project since the old one was stuck on there.  After that he ran an errand related to his calling at church.   In the afternoon he picked the girls up from their dance recital rehearsal (a friend had dropped them off) and then he made us all dinner.  Throughout the day he did tons of dishes and tidying up. 
Bean and Fish are gone for the next couple of weeks visiting family in Utah Valley.  It is so weird to have them gone.  The house is quieter and less food gets consumed but I feel like I am missing my right arm.  I am glad they get to go have some fun adventures though. 
Today after church the Badger and I were both pretty much a wreck so he turned on "The Ten Commandments" to try to keep the girls from running all over creation.  Peanut is happily watching but Roo and Rabbit ran off to the neighbor's house.  I looked out the window a few minutes ago and saw the Rabbit wobbling along on the neighbor's bike.  So it looks like Roo won't be the only one who learns to ride a two-wheeler this summer.  The Rabbit jist needed a little smaller of a bike than the one we have.  She's doing great.  I just need to get her to remember to wear her helmet.  Helmets are not exactly the Rabbit's style, you know.
Our home teachers just stopped by with a bunch of food for us, mostly frozen easy-to-prepare stuff.   Wow.  I am so grateful.  What a load that is off of my poor overworked Badger.  We have been the recipient of several generous acts of kindness in the last few weeks.  I can't even tell you how much I appreciate them.  
It's a beautiful day.  The last couple of days have been cold and rainy (which I haven't minded because my garden needed it) but most days lately have been warm and lovely.  The world around me is so beautiful.   The lilacs are done blooming but now we have iris and peonies and snowmound spirea and blue flax.  Blue flax is one of my favorite flowers ever and I have been pleased to discover that it grows wild here.  Happiness! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Surprise!

It was honestly one of the most surreal and amazing moments of my life.  My doctor and I were looking at the tiny image of my baby on the ultrasound screen, watching the itty bitty heart flicker.   I said "so there's just one?"  She moved the ultrasound wand a little bit and then  said "oh!" 
And we found ourselves looking at two tiny babies right next to each other, two tiny hearts flickering. 
I laughed.  I squealed.  I had a hard time not whooping and hollering "hooray!" at the top of my lungs.   I was so thrilled! 
I am so thrilled!   I am also in shock.  I have often-- very often-- thought about having twins,  but the reality of it it something else entirely.   I know it is going to be incredibly hard and incredibly wonderful.  I am really looking forward to it. 
I also am in completely uncharted territory right now.   I have no idea what to expect for the rest of this pregnancy.   I now know why I have been saying "have I always been this sick and I just forgot how bad it was?"  But I don't know when I will be feeling better and what I will be able to handle over the next few months.   I am scaling my life way back because for all I know I might be flat on my back in bed until December.  Hopefully not. 
But whatever happens, right now I have the privilege of carrying two wonderful little souls within me at the same time, which fills me with so much awe and wonder. 
Isn't this exciting??????

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Last But Not Least

Today we get to talk about Bean!

In the last couple of months Bean's voice has taken a huge dive.  When I heard about voice changing I always heard about embarrassing cracks.  His voice never cracked.   It just went down, but it's not done going down yet.  So right now he sometimes sounds like a foghorn.  It's so weird. He is faking it through the rest of the year with choir by singing falsetto but this will be the end of his children's choir career.   Alas.  He had such a lovely boy soprano.   I can't tell yet whether he will be a tenor or a bass... maybe a baritone.  And I am sure it will be beautiful.  

He's doing a lot of changing lately, actually.   He just looks older.  Like a teenager.  It's so weird to watch your kid go through puberty, with all that entails.  Moodiness, zits, and all that. 

We took a break from school when I started feeling so sick.   We had several books we were almost finished with that I will make him work through once I am feeling better.  I hope that is soon.  Boy, he got really lazy really fast when I dropped school and became too ill to ride herd on him all the time.  (He really takes after his mother, who was about the laziest teenager alive.) 

But really, even though he sleeps in and lazes around reading fantasy novels he has done so much to help around here lately.   He babysits, he does lots of dishes, he fetches me things and cooks me lots of tasty things.  He makes quesadillas just the way I like them.  

He did great in his two classes at the junior high this year.  His band teacher loved him to bits (so respectful and polite) and he did great with that trumpet.  Earned an A plus.  In math they don't use the traditional grading scale.  He earned a 3, which means he was competent with all the material.   He got all his work turned in, mostly on time.  I was very proud of him. 

We're going to do the same thing next year with him for school.   He may go slightly longer days at the junior high but it will still be mostly homeschool.  

Over the last few weeks Bean's ability to focus and follow through on tasks has taken a huge dive.  His brain seems to be "turned off" so much of the time.  I started noticing this a few weeks before I found out I was expecting.   He has struggled with this over the years but mostly he has slowly improved, especially when I have been conscientious about his nutrition.  Lately there has been a massive backslide.  It corresponds with the time when I got lazy about giving the kids their vitamins every day.  So I have high hopes that once I get Bean back on a consistent daily dose of a high-quality vitamin he will improve drastically.  (This has been the case in the past.)  It's tough when your oldest child can't follow through on simple tasks.  The only way he gets anything done lately is when the Badger rides herd on him.  When he does,  Bean does great things.  I am committed to doing all I can to help him with these brain circuitry problems so that he can maximize his potential.

I really appreciate Bean's skills with small children.  He is so marvelous with Prince Charming, who absolutely adores him.  I also appreciate his "native cheery temperament."  Even with the moody teenage hormones hitting him his default mood is cheerful.  That is such a blessing to me. 

Bean has had a hard time with friends lately.  He doesn't really have any close friends here and that has been wearing on him.  I feel bad about this.  He is such a friendly, people-oriented person.   There is one boy he is developing a friendship with, who comes from a very nice and very busy family.  It has not been easy to get the two of them together.  I hope we can do more with that this summer.  I also let Bean call his best friend in Oklahoma fairly often and talk. 

Bean has really enjoyed being in the Civil Air Patrol.  It has been very good for him to learn military discipline and courtesy.   He marched with them in a parade recently, carrying a flag, and that was a good experience for him. 

He has some great experiences to look forward to this summer.  He will finally get to go to scout camp for the first time (last year he missed the cutoff by a couple of days).  He is going on a high adventure trip to Canyonlands in Utah with my brother and his boys.  That is going to be awesome for him. 

Bean is such a great kid.  He is true-hearted, generous, and naturally accepting of others.  He is unusually mature and trustworthy in certain ways.  The older he gets the more he is away from home and when he is I miss him tremendously. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fun With Fish

Fish is at that totally fun age where he is really into things like magic tricks and yoyos and jokes and riddles.  He always seems to be doing something clever and have something up his sleeve. 

I am so proud of how well he did in school this year.  He had to work so hard because he was coming from behind, but he kept up with his class.  At the end of the year he is still only behind in spelling and writing conventions.   His teacher just loved him to bits (she is totally a kindred spirit, and I am so grateful he could spend his year with someone so wonderful who appreciated him so much.)  He really thrived in a structured learning environment,  though he had a hard time with many aspects of the social environment of school. 

This spring he didn't want to play soccer or do swim camp, so I talked to him about what he could do to stay active if he wasn't going to do organized sports.  He said he much preferred riding his bike to playing team sports.  He rides his bike around quite a lot.  He also jumps on the trampoline frequently (though not as much as Bean does.)

He has several casual friends but no close friends right now.  It's a hard age.  So many of the boys his age are so into electronic devices that they don't play with other kids as much.  And it is socially taboo to play with girls.   He feels bad because our neighborhood is crawling with friends for his little sisters and they are always playing with friends.  But he has been biking down to the school playground a lot lately and he will come home and say he played with so-and-so and that makes me happy.  

Fish's music talents are such a joy to me.  He switched to orchestra in January at school and took to the cello like a duck to water.  He sings beautifully and has been selected for a special state-wide choir.  I wish I could get him to do more with piano but he says he feels overloaded.  Maybe now that summer is here I can coax him to develop that talent a little bit.

I would also like to see him have more opportunities to develop his art skills.  He has so much talent there.  

Fish still has an affinity for all things British.  He prefers to dress like a British school boy from years ago (like the boys in the Narnia movies).  He can do a great British accent.  Reading the Harry Potter books this spring put even more fuel on that fire (not to mention it sent his reading level way up!) 

He also has a keen interest in all things Asia.  Probably because he loves Ninjas.

He and I have enjoyed watching BYUTV's series "Granite Flats" together.  I am not much of a TV show person, but I kind of got hooked on that one and Fish was the one of my kids that was old enough to understand it and interested enough to watch it with me.  So we would hide out in my room while everyone else was busy and curl up together and watch it on my phone.   From there he got into Studio C, BYUTV's comedy show.  I have mixed feelings about Studio C... some of it is funny and some of it is a little... what's the word... irreverent?   But Fish of course thinks it is all hilarious and begs to watch it.  I don't mind too much... at least it is clean. 

Fish is by far my most sensitive child.  He tends to build little walls around his feelings if he thinks they might get hurt.  You know, pretending that he doesn't care when he really does care deeply.  Sometimes that leads to the obnoxious behavior one often sees in kids of this age.   He is so much like me as a child and so I totally get him.  I hope someday he understands this and how much I understand him and appreciate him.  He is also my most pessimistic child so I am always praying that he will know how valuable he is to our family and to the world. 

He is simply one of my most favorite people ever.  He is just such a cool person and I relate to him on such a deep level.  I love being around him.