Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chloe's upcoming birthday

I'm sitting here, trying to find a blue bike for Chloe's birthday, and she's listing off all the other things she wants. This includes a gun, a fishing game, and a machine to make her stomach flat. I would be more concerned about the whole body image thing, but I know she's just parroting back a commercial she's seen for a product only available on TV. They told her she needs it, so it must be true. Lately she "wishes" for just about everything she sees. At this moment she's also wishing for the bus from her book, the clothes the character is wearing, the diaper Addie is holding, Playdough, swimming shoes like Curious George . . .

Some other recent gems:

When Chloe says, "Mom?" and I answer, "Yes?" or "What?" I know I'll usually get one of two answers. The first is a dreamy, "I love you." The second is, "I not say nothing!" I know I'm already going crazy. Apparently now I'm hearing things, too.

The other day she went with the first response. "Mom, I love you," appropos of nothing. How sweet. With tears in her eyes, she followed it up with, "But I really, really, really love Dad." Ouch.

Lately, Chloe has been talking a lot about being a mom when she grows up. This makes me feel a little better about the job I'm doing since she thinks its something she would like to do. However it's also turned into a bargaining tool to be used whenever I won't let her help me do something, i.e. anything to do with the bathroom remodel. "But Mom, I'm going to be a mom so I need to learn so I need to help you!"

She got in a heated discussion with her friend Josh the other day because when she said she wanted to be a Mom, he said he wanted to be a Fireman. She kept pleading, "No, Josh, you have to be a Dad!" She brought it up to me a couple days later. "Mom, I don't want Josh to be a Fireman. I want him to be a Dad and I can be a Mom and we can be in love." That would be fine with me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's day photos

Amazingly, we were all ready for church on time this Sunday with enough minutes left over to take a few pictures before we headed out the door.

We started with me. During Chloe's pregnancy, I took pictures every month to document my growing belly. With Addie, I got most of the months documented. This time around, there have been very few days when I've actually gotten myself looking good enough to want to take a picture, and then most the time I've forgotten to do it. So here's my 37 week belly. I've been pretty sure that I'm clearly pregnant, but recent feedback has made me doubtful. Hopefully this clears it up, right? Right?
After my little photo shoot, Chloe decided she wanted in on the action. And like the Top Model she is, she was ready with lots of poses.

Addie just watched from a safe distance.
She eventually agreed to be in a picture, too, but her smiling skills seem to have reverted back to the "slightly special" variety.
And here's my cute husband with his girls on Father's Day. We sure do love him and appreciate all he does for us.

Quick Pics

I've just returned from a mother/daughter swim party tonight. What I really want is a break from all their craziness, but instead I'm powering through and trying to have fun activities before I have this baby and become nothing more than a human dairy.

So here are a few pictures from our lives lately. I did some arrangements for a wedding reception. I do enjoy doing flowers. Hopefully I'll get my flower blog updated shortly with the rest of the pics.

My garden is growing like mad. I thought I was keeping up on the zucchini, but I was wrong. I know I should have included a small child for perspective or something, but the top one is about 15 inches long. I made 12 mini loaves of zucchini bread and a batch of zucchini cookies, which my children would not eat, with it.
I'm so fortunate to have my very own personal stylist with tons of accessories at hand. And usually underfoot. All over my house.
Friday, my friend Ashley and I spent the day torturinng ourselves. A train promoting the upcoming Disney version of A Christmas Carol came to town and we decided to take our kids to go see it. We waited in the the hot sun for over 2 1/2 hours, watching people pass out and vomit, having the kids disregard the manmade "snow" as "just bubbles," to spend 15 minutes tops on a train full of displays the kids weren't the least bit interested in. Actually, Ashley spent less time than that since as soon as we got to the head of the line, Josh had to go to the bathroom. But here's Addie in front of a mirrored display.
Here's the kids before Ashley had to force her way off the train and make for the portapotties.
And here's Chloe in front of the final display, sort of. Apparently, our camera is dying and is too weak to keep its lens open.
After the train, I took Chloe to the portapotty where she immediately started hugging the pole to the urinal, and questioning all the bodily deposits she could see in the potty. There really are no words. We then went into an inflatable theatre and watched a 3-D preview of the movie. It's motion capture, like The Polar Express, and to be honest, I still find the technology incredibly creepy. We started this little adventure thinking it would be fun to take the kids to the movie in November, but Chloe was pretty freaked out by the preview, and I'm still haunted by the creepy animation, so I just don't think it's going to put us in the right holiday spirit.

On the way home, the little kids fell asleep and we promised the bigger kids ice cream cones. We stopped at McD's for the icecream, and ordered 2 cones. As soon as I pulled up to the second window, and they handed me my order, Addie woke up and said, pitifully, "Too, too?" So the kind employee let me order another cone with only a small eye roll. Addie only dropped it twice on the 5 minute drive home. Perhaps if she had been willing to hold it with her whole hand instead of just her fingertips we would have been more successful.

Today Chloe woke up begging for oatmeal cookies. I told her we didn't have any. She asked again later, and I gave the same reply. This afternoon, I told her we were going to make oatmeal cookies, expecting a joyous, grateful response. Instead I got, "I don't want to make oatmeal cookies. I don't like oatmeal cookies. Let's make chocolate chip cookies instead." Fine. She actually drove her point home by accidently selecting an oatmeal cookie at the pool party this evening, taking a bite, and then disgustedly placing the cookie back on the serving tray.

But here's Addie, thoroughly enjoying her beater. Hopefully your screen is bright enough to make out just how much batter there is all over her face.

The belly strikes again

I was setting up for my Relief Society lesson on Sunday, when one of my Young Women came up to me. This particular YW is very young, and very talkative, and often speaks her mind with no self editing whatsoever. She began by telling me how much she missed me in Young Women's. I told her I missed being in there, too. She then asked if I'd had my baby yet. I looked down at my giant, taut belly, and laughingly said, "No, not yet." Her reply, "Oh, I just wondered if you were just still fat or something."

Good thing they announced a few minutes later that this was my last lesson before going on "maternity leave." I think maybe that means I can stop attending church until I not only have the baby, but also no longer look "fat."

In better news, I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and have an induction scheduled for 13 July! I won't have to wait indefinitely this time for the doctors to finally believe me when I tell them I don't go into labor on my own. Hoooray!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Addie's Death Wish Day

I emerged from the shower today to find Addie and Chloe sitting in a pile of medication pulled from a high shelf in the linen closet. Addie was happily crunching on a children's Pepto tablet. I immediately pulled the "candy" away and asked Chloe what happened. She said Addie did it, and seemed to be telling the truth. Basically, Addie opened the linen closet, scaled a couple shelves, emptied the turntables of medication, opened a child proof bottle, and consumed half of it, by my calculations. Good news is, after talking to the advice nurse and poison control, children's Pepto is essentially Tums, and she'll be just fine.

During lunch, Addie decided to piece by piece, flick her ketchup covered leftovers to the floor. Then she mashed her grapes flat with her plate. These are not dangerous activities in and of themselves, but are pretty risky behavior in front of a mom fresh off the phone with poison control who has a destroyed linen closet. I took her in her room to get her dressed and noticed that her diaper was dangerously askew. I spent the next few minutes chasing her around, trying to pin her down so I could change her. Before I could get her, I heard the squirt of juicy poop and cringed. As the poop soaked through her pants, I hustled her into the bathroom. I got the diaper off and was attempting to clean up the mess when she rumbled again and coated the stool, my bathroom vanity, the wall and the floor with more excrement. At this point, I just threw her in the shower. As I choked back tears of frustration, I cleaned up the mess. Addie kept calling out, "Poop! Shower!" Fortunately it was the kind of poop that just ran down the drain, so I let it. What else could I do? I at least felt grateful that I'd had the foresight to get her to the bathroom before I attempted the project.

I was relieved when that hour of my life was over. Things improved after that, but Addie still seemed to have it in for herself. We went to the tile store to order the tile for the shower surround, and after we left, Addie was upset about her hands being dirty. I didn't look too closely until we got to our next location, when I saw that they seemed to be covered with something sticky. It all came together when I remembered that one of the employees at the tile store had been gluing some new displays together, and I had seen Addie playing with some tiles right before we left the store. Sorry, Style's 'N' Tile, for wrecking your new display. At least she did it quietly.

Speaking of quietly, yesterday Addie mastered the art of quietly moving the stool through the kitchen. Usually she grabs it and pushes it for all she's worth, making a noise like a freight train, and inevitably getting caught before she completes what ever mission of mischief she's on. It was pretty obvious that she'd figured that whole pattern out because though I could still hear the stool moving, she was really trying hard not to get caught. I went into the kitchen to find her rhythmically pressing the water dispenser button on the fridge. I guess we'll have to start using the lock feature again.

But back to today. We then ran a few more errands where Addie continually tried to stand up while in the stroller, but thankfully didn't make it out. Apparently a good head crack was in the works, though, because at our last stop, she fell off the stool in the bathroom and landed hard on her back. Poor thing. She did wake up from the nap she took after that, so I think we're clear on the concussion front.

We have a couple more activities planned for tonight, and I hope she survives. It just doesn't seem to be her day. Or mine, for that matter.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I was sitting in church today on a chair so hard I was sure I would be limping the rest of the day. The 5 year old girl sitting next to me "whispered" to her mom, "Is she going to have a baby?" Her mom looked at me and I responded, "Yes, I am." The girl then leaned back to her mom and asked, "Is that why she's fat?" I about wet myself laughing. The mom was embarrassed, but we all have our turn. Just a couple weeks ago at church, as we walked by a large woman, Chloe asked, "Why is that lady so big?" It wasn't as easy to answer her.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And then there's Addie

She just came running toward me, carrying something I couldn't immediately identify, shouting, "Hi now. Hi now." When she got closer, I realized it was a bottle of Tylenol. Hi now=Tylenol. Got it. She's been whining all day, so why not? I drugged her up.

I was in the bathroom the other day and she came running in saying, "Mom, Spill!" I came into the living room to find water everywhere, including all over her. At least it was water. I was mostly impressed that one, she had time to tattle on herself before Chloe did; and two, that she knew the word "spill." She comes up with new words everyday. It just amazes me.

She spilled more water on herself later that day when Chloe, trying to be helpful, filled a sippy cup with water for Addie but didn't get the lid on all the way. Addie then also had the misfortune of slipping in that water and soaked herself even more on the floor.

She's started using the word "Amen" at the end of prayers, and occasionally even folds her arms and holds still. Most the time, though, she just rebels against the whole idea of order and reverence.

Addie's favorite word right now, at almost 22 months, is, of course, "No." I hear it a lot, loudly and emphatically, usually accompanied by head shaking and hand swatting. At the moment, despite the Tylenol, she is inconsolable, yelling, "No" and rolling herself across the floor. That's right. Wear yourself out.

Conversations with Chloe

I've actually been taking notes, and here are some recent nuggets from Chloe.

She's just picked up the phrase, "Morning, noon and night." As in, "Mom, we need to eat candy morning, noon and night." Chloe is also no longer asking, "Why, Mom, why?" or even giving a knowing, "Oh," after I say the inevitable, "Because!" and then picking right back up with a, "But why, Mom?" Now she answers every request with, "Why not?" but not an agreeable "why not." It's a "why not that really means why and I don't actually want to do it, so I'll throw a negative in there."

She's been very sweet about the baby in my tummy. Every night after prayers, she hugs and kisses the baby, and she loves to talk about how the baby is coming "on my birthday." Lately, though, she's developed a sympathetic pregnancy of her own. She's even illustrated it.
In addition to the belly on Chloe, I would also like to point out that both she and Addie have earrings (the idea of pierced ears has become a recent topic of conversation), Addie has some amazing hair (Though to be fair, her "pillow perm" every morning lately has been incredible. Bracken was actually concerned that there might be something wrong with her hair.), and my belly is above my arms. I know I've always carried high, but . . .

In any case, her baby chicks (there seem to be 3 of them) are also due on her birthday, want lots of extra food, and need hugs and kisses from Daddy every night. I guess she thinks I've got enough going on in my own belly without needing to hug and kiss her gestational mystery.

I think she might be a bit disappointed, though, when my baby appears. She's told me this week that she really wants this baby to be a boy so that she'll have someone to dance with. I've tried to tell her that the baby is a girl, and that's not going to change at this point, but I'm not sure the message is sinking in. She is willing to look for other partners, though. We had a technician working on our phone the other day and Chloe leaned over and said, "Mom, lets feed him some food, and then he can dance with me!" She already knows the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

Chloe is generally really good about saying her prayers, but they do get a bit repetitive. Every day before Bracken leaves for work, she prays, "Help Dad to go to work." On Saturday he was leaving to donate blood, and she realized mid-prayer that her normal phrase wasn't going to work and we got, "Help Dad go to w--something."

Bedtime prayers are much the same. The other night they went off on a tangent, though. "Dear Heavenly Father, please help me sleep well. Help Addie go to sleep. And stay in her bed. And not play with her toys. And not make a mess." I'd like to think she's just trying to help her sister out since Addie's only real contribution to prayers right now is an "Amen" and occasional reverence, but I really just think she's enjoying being a bossy older sister.

Here's another bit of Chloe art for you. She was asked to draw a picture for her Primary teacher who is moving.

Instead it turned into a tribute to her Grandpa Geilman, Nana, their very fluffy dog Cassie, and Chloe's great desire for her Grandpa to take her fishing. I don't know how or why she's latched onto this idea, but I think Grandpa should definitely take her up on it.

Finally, this morning, I had hooked up our new digital converter box and was scanning through the new stations we were getting (kind of. I'm not sure I'm a fan). I passed the Spanish PBS kid's station and Chloe requested (demanded) that I return to that channel. I said, "Chloe, that show is in Spanish and you don't speak Spanish, so I don't think you really want to watch it."

"But Mom, I do. See, Spanish." Fine. I let her watch the rest of the show. Then the next program started and she still didn't want me to change the channel. She did, however, ask me what was going on. I said, "I don't know, Chloe, I don't understand Spanish."

"Well, I do." I guess we'll be watching a lot more V-me in the future. I wouldn't want her to lose her language skills.

Fun with Grandpa Jack

Every other Sunday we go to dinner at my in-laws. We got some good pictures from our last visit. This wasn't quite one of them.
This next one's a little closer.

And got it. Both smiling, neither looking "special."
But that doesn't ever last for very long, does it?
This car is a child favorite. That day Addie was steering, Chloe was pushing, and Syrus was refueling.
These next ones were just cute. Here's Grandpa and Chloe.
And Grandpa and Addie.
And all three of them together. They do love their Grandpa.
And here's a final picture of Bracken with little Gillian. She is getting so cute and chunky.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bodega Bay is for the Birds, and the Mannions

This last weekend we went on our annual/biannual camping trip with our dear friends, the Mills. I was told I was crazy for going camping at 8 months pregnant, but we have a great air mattress, and I would much rather do it now than with a baby. Besides, Dave is a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) RN, and the handiest camper, so I figured we were in good company. We headed up to Bodega Bay on Friday. The town is famous for being the location of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." We did have some fairly intrepid birds visit our campsite, but nothing frightening. We also had a couple of voles poking their heads out of holes right by our tents. The kids named them Mohawk and RolyPoly.

The campground was on a thin strip of land at the bottom of the bay, right by a couple of jetties and our site was just a few feet from the beach. We were expecting the weather to be clear and in the mid 70's, but instead we got overcast and mid 50's. Which didn't slow the girls down one bit.

They dived right in.

Can I tell you how happy I am to be getting smiling pictures of my little girl? I love that grin.

Chloe and Josh in the water.

Running Chloe.Is it just me, or does this picture look like I have just given birth to Addie?
She was very into "hoodies" this trip. She kept pulling up her hood, and anyone elses, and yelling, "Hoodie!" She also discovered her name as we were driving out, and kept repeating, "Addie, Addie Addie" throughout the drive. And the whole time we camped. And constantly since we've been home.
This was the first time we've been camping without a child who was just learning to walk. Add in the fact that we were also camping on rough sand instead of fine dirt, and the whole trip was a much cleaner experience than we'd had in the past. We also didn't have to bring a pack'n'play. Both our girls slept in sleeping bags. The first night could have gone better. I, of course, put off my midnight potty trip as long as possible, then couldn't get back to sleep. Addie then woke up and wouldn't settle back down, even though she was in bed with us, and I started to fear that we weren't going to get any more sleep that night. Oh, and did I mention that there's a beacon that beeps every 5 seconds at the end of the jetty? Fortunately, we were all able to get back to sleep eventually.

The next day we headed back to the beach. Here are Addie, Bracken, Dave, Parker, Chloe, and Ashley looking for shells. Josh has apparently had enough of that activity and is off to bigger and better things.Addie and Daddy walking down the beach.

Chloe and Parker examining a starfish.
Chloe, Addie and Dad, smiling for the camera. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
Excited Addie. There were all sorts of dogs (She fortunately shows no lasting trauma from her dog bite experience, though I was angry to see that same man, and his dog, sitting even closer to the playground than before when I last went to the library), crabs, starfish, water-squirting anemones, and lots of nice people to check out.

Cute face.

Chloe, in her swimsuit, in the freezing cold, but loving it. (She's just ahead of Josh and Dave.)
Bracken and Parker. I'll have to see if Ashley's shot of the front side is as cute.
Playing in the sand.
Me, feeling the wet soaking into my bum, but still not motivated to get up.
Sharing M&M's by the campfire.
These two are such buds.
Playing horsie. How many times did we have to shout, "No ropes around the neck!"
Addie enjoyed the opportunity to play with Josh's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She particularly liked making them kiss.
We nearly packed it up and left early that night. The wind changed direction and intensity and it got chilly. Fortunately, by the time our fire died down for the night, things were much calmer. We slept much better that night. No one woke up, except for me, and boy was that a freezing walk to the toilet.

The last morning of camp, all dressed and ready to go. As soon as she can call all her peeps.
Cute girl Chloe.
Is the loudest child in the world actually telling me to be quiet while she makes a fake phone call?
These next couple shots were taken by Chloe. She's finally figured out the view screen, and did a good job! There were several more still lifes and documentary style shots I didn't include, that were nevertheless well composed and clear.

Posing while eating. Note the hand on her sister's arm.
This picture I find very amusing. Where's my belly?
We took one last visit to the beach that morning. We have so much fun camping with the Mills, and we get along great, but we have one major problem. Our kids wake with the dawn, and there is no getting them back to sleep. And, as I've mentioned before, Addie does not have a volume control or mute button. The only way to let our friends get the rest they deserve, is to just take the kids somewhere else.
As we played on the beach, Addie uttered her first complete sentence, "I see a boat!" Bracken and I were both pretty shocked. She uses a lot of words, but usually sticks to screeching one noun or verb at a time.

We packed up camp and stopped at the bathrooms before leaving the campground. We turned off the car to pray for safe travel, and then couldn't get the car to start again. After a panicky half hour in which we decided not to tour the sights of Bodega Bay, even though Bracken loves Hitchcock, and just go home, the ranger was able to jump our car. We left the park and drove past the visitor's center, and Bracken went in to look for just a minute. I was actually really glad when his 1 minute turned into 10 and he came out grinning with a map in hand. I would have hated to be so close, and have him miss seing parts of Hitchcock history. We checked out the Tides Restaurant, the location of the reverse shot of the kids running from the schoolhouse, then went inland to the town of Bodega to the schoolhouse.
By the time we got home, Addie had been strapped into her seat for about 4 hours. You'd think she'd be dying to get out of the car, but, no. We had the whole car unloaded before I finally dragged her, kicking and screaming, into the house. I guess she just didn't want the weekend to end.
I can't say I blame her. It was so nice to spend time with friends, meet some new people, enjoy time in nature, and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. And even though it took me 3 days to finally get everything put away, and my car is still full of sand, I would do it again in a heartbeat.