Good Boy: Arthur was obviously not feeling well today. He didn't eat well all day and threw up/spit up most of what he did eat, immediately. He was good at Knott's Berry Farm and in the car, but once we got home he basically fussed the rest of the evening. Finally around 8 I got him to nurse well with no spitting up, and go to sleep for good. (In fact, he slept until 2:15, which is leaning towards typical now, and awesome!)

His rough evening made me appreciate what a good baby he normally is, even if he wants me to hold him all day. He's especially good in the mornings, when he gets lots of chill time on the floor, listening to his siblings. And I don't really mind snuggling him down for an afternoon nap.

Zombie Mom: Literally praising the Lord for the two hours sleep I just got. In my bed, thankyouverymuch. Babies sure do mess with you.

(Arthur still normally wakes up twice, or even once, but has had a really rough couple nights. Vaccines?)

Two Months: Arthur is already 2 months old! He has learned how to smile, roll both ways, push his chest off the floor, and coo. He has NOT learned to drink out of a bottle, despite dozens of attempts. He sleeps 4-6 hours at a time at night, usually waking twice. We're just working on getting him in bed earlier. Everyday he sleeps longer not in my arms, plays better on the floor, or spends more time happy in his swing. He's not very smiley, but he is very curious and sweet.

For Such a Time as This: Esther 4:14... [W]ho knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

In December 2011 I found out at 14 weeks that the baby I was carrying no longer had a heartbeat. While difficult at the time, this was not one of the major trials of my life and it wasn't much later than I wondered if I was given this experience to help others through it. In the past couple weeks, I was again reminded of this as many people asked me for advice helping a friend who'd miscarried, or wanted to talk about their experience with me. I heard from somewhere this scripture in Esther and it jumped out in my mind again as a reminder that my experiences can, and should, be used to help others.

Once again, I think people approached me about this because I am willing to talk about it. Sometimes we just need a listening ear, or an empathetic friend.

Heart Math: Dalton is making valentines.

Ok I had 29 and here's two more so 30. 29 and count 2 more. 29, 20, 30.

Me: ..... Hahahaha!

Valentine's Day : Our Valentine's Day was extremely low key this year. John had the kids pick out a magnet for me at Knott's berry farm, and bought me a chocolate bar. I made him sugar cookies. We made lunch together, as is becoming our habit on Sundays. He grilled steak and I made sautéed spinach. We've gone out to eat at a sit down restaurant as a family the past couple years. This year went went to Johnny Rockets, in Knott's. It was perfect.

Susie's Helper: From my Instagram post on the subject: Four kids, not so hard. Newborn, however, hard. Arthur wants to be held all day, which is fine and dandy for taking naps and getting baby snuggles in, but not so much for cleaning house or making dinner that involves knives. So I started having a babysitter after school once a week and sometimes she does nothing but hold Arthur, while I do newborn-unfriendly things like shoe shopping. And baking. And cleaning the kitchen floor. It's amazing.

Today I made a double batch of chocolate chip muffins (which didn't rise...), a double batch of pretzels, which we had for dinner, picked up seeds for preschool at the hardware store, dropped off goodwill donations, put away three loads of laundry and made my bed, including putting the duvet back together. I also wanted to do my budget, and I REALLY wanted to lock myself in the bathroom and paint my toenails, but I can only do so much in 2 hours.

Parenting 801: Maggie has become queen of sass lately. I was reading some helpful articles on dealing with backtalk. Then this article showed up in my feedly.

I won't blame myself completely, because sometimes kids are naughty or completely don't listen the first three times so you have to raise your voice BUT I have found that if I'm on the ball, there's no need for me to be yelling "hurry up!" It's something to think about.

Since I'm up in the night with a baby, and tired, and he likes to be held while he naps, I like to lie down with Arthur in the afternoon. I can usually sneak away after a bit, but I get a little nap first. Sometimes this makes me grumpy. Particularly if the kids are noisy while I'm trying to sleep. But even more concerning is that it falls during a transition time, when the kids are getting home from school, and they need attention and things need to get done. Today I was feeding Arthur so I could run to Target and leave him with the babysitter, and when I went downstairs half an hour after the kids got home, Maggie hadn't even started homework. So it's an important time for me to be up and doing, but also a convenient time to nap.

Patience with Maggie, and less "bossing" seems to be helping. Getting up when Arthur wakes in the morning, and exercising if I have time, makes the mornings smoother. If only I were less tired in the afternoon. Just some observations.

Serenity Now: In the last two hours

Dalton woke me up to complain about the my little pony coloring page I printed for him. He then proceeded to bother Maggie to the point where she closed the door to keep him out of her room, prompting Sienna to open and close the door multiple times. Dalton used the closed door to drive his remote control car against over and over, thoroughly waking me, and subsequently Arthur, up.

Sienna followed me from room to room talking loudly as I tried to get Arthur back to sleep (no success)

Maggie refused to practice piano properly, despite her pre-iPad Time promises. Her back talk and arguing earned her no iPad at all tomorrow.

All three kids played chalk nicely outside together.

Tantrums and back talking from the older two (mostly Maggie) at dinner almost lost them the privilege of going to a hockey game with dad tonight.

Sienna showed off that sometimes she can not nap and still be well behaved. And then she went upstairs with her shoes on tracking black smears the entire way.

On the bright side, two are going to a hockey game, and two didn't get enough slee during the day and will go to bed early.

So There's That: I've realized the irony of my last two posts together. In my defense, I recognized I was grumpy because my nap was interrupted, but there was only so much I could do about everything else that was going on.

Today started off with Arthur throwing up in my hair, but overall it was a better day than yesterday. I even went out for half an hour this evening and got a bunch of errands run really quick (easy to do without kids!)

Arthur at 3 Months: Baby boy is 3 months old today! Last night he started dragging his knees up under his tummy, because he's ready to learn to crawl, and because he is crazy. He really likes to be on his tummy, be bounced or swung around, and is very strong. He is finally becoming more social, smiling and even giggling if he gets kisses or is tickled. He is making more eye contact and cooing and babbling. Baby coos are the best.

He still likes to be swaddled, though he also likes to suck on his hands and can't have the best of both worlds yet. He still likes to be held really a lot during the day. We're still working on naps. He usually naps with me on my bed until I can sneak away, but he did actually nap in his crib for several hours today. And he continues to sleep pretty well most nights, waking up twice or even just once sometimes.

He was really sick this week, coughing until he threw up, running nose, poor thing, up all night one night, appears to have a sore throat, and had a hard time eating for a couple days. He's on the mend now, and is sleeping tons to make up for it.

Sienna Takes Off Her Socks: There's spider web in my toes. Who do that? That's so funny, Mom!

Things That Happened at Target Today:

Breastfeeding in the toy aisle.
Cookie eating in the toy aisle.
Arthur spitting up in multiple aisles.
A loud and very long rendition of For the First Time in Forever by Sienna.
Preschool pole dancing (see above singing).
Arthur spitting up on Sienna's hair.
Sienna not noticing.
Arthur crying himself to sleep in the sling minutes before we left

Dalt Loses a Tooth: Dalton lost his first tooth last night. He was eating strawberries and went back to his video game when he noticed it was missing. I assume he ate it along with a strawberry because we couldn't find it anywhere.

He wrote a note to the tooth fairy. "Dear tooth fairy I lost u tooth."

This morning he found a dollar under his pillow. As he was putting it in his money pouch he said, "I knew it wouldn't be four quarters because fairies are small and she might be struggling by carrying them."

In related news, when I examined his super loose tooth, I discovered the permanent tooth next to the missing one has already emerged behind the baby tooth. Shark teeth!

Maggie's 9th Birthday: Maggie's 9th birthday was pretty low key. She requested chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and Cafe Rio for dinner. I told her I wasn't making her a cake since she was at a friend's birthday party that afternoon, and I have to make a cake for her party next week. But I surprised her with TNT Minecraft cupcakes, and the neighbors came over. She was surprised, which was fun!

She got some Minecraft figures for her cake, some My Little Pony toys, and tickets to an Anaheim Ducks game with Dalton and Dad.

At 9, Maggie like Minecraft, My Little Pony, reading (she is on the last Harry Potter book), entertaining her baby brother, running around the room talking to herself, playing with the neighbors, chicken flautas, and playing on her Kindle Fire.

She does not like practicing piano, doing chores (except taking out the garbage and recycling cans), talking nicely to her brother,and eating fruits and vegetables.

Daylight Savings FTW: Technically, three of my children did NOT get up at 5:45 this morning. The fourth remains asleep.

Mini Arthur Update : Arthur will be 3 months in a few days. He has started blowing raspberries, and taking naps in his crib. Yay!

Board: The kids have been really into board games lately, especially Dalton. We even got them some new card games for Christmas - My Little Pony Memory, Spot It, and Sushi Go. Maggie got more board games for her birthday, Battleship and The Game of Life. All of them have been enjoyed. I'm pretty happy because I'm a game lover.

Silly Sienna: Sienna is in one of my favorite stages, where kids say the most ridiculous things, and make up words. Here are just a few of hers.

Acidy (actually) - she acidy uses this correctly.
Tasey tisses - Crazy Kisses is lots of kisses all over.
No pahbem - no problem, instead of "you're welcome"

She says her best "sfwends" are Preston and Aubrey, and she really likes to watch random stuff on YouTube.

Me: You're watching Caillou in Spanish.
John: She's learning! She watched Snoopy come Home in German
Me: Do you speak German?
Sienna: No! I speak Preston!

When she tries to explain stuff to me she says, "I'm talking about..." Probably because I say, "I don't know what you're talking about" a little too much.

"5 weeks ago" is how long ago anything happened.

How to Pack: Baby falls asleep in car seat. Time to get started.
Change laundry.
Clean off bed.
Make bed.
Pick out clothes for one child and stack them on the bed.
Start picking out clothes for next child. Next child doesn't have enough clean clothes.
Baby wakes up.
While getting baby, get out swim suit and goggles from downstairs.
Get baby out of car seat.
Baby has pooped everywhere.
Give baby a bath.
Wash baby's clothes in the sink.
Clean car seat.
Bring laundry up.
Try on baby's Easter outfit as long as baby is naked.
Get baby dressed.
Feed baby.

That's as far as I've gotten. It's been an hour and Dalton is packed. 1 out of 6!

Swim Lessons: Dalton leaves for school at 10:45. Sienna has swim lessons at 11:40. Her swim suit is in the garage. Oh look, laundry in the dryer. I bring it in, along with a new box of carnation instant breakfast (we're out) and Sienna's swim suit. Put the carnation instant breakfast in the pantry. Throw out a couple random old things in there. Take out the recycling. Load the dishwasher.

I go upstairs to get.... something. I take up a clean towel from the laundry for Arthur's changing table. Man, their room is a mess. I throw some dirty laundry in the basket, and put Dalton's blanket on his bed. That helps. I brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. Why did I come up here? I need nursing pads. (That wasn't it.) I go downstairs with a dirty cup and my purse (that wasn't it either). Sienna tries to hide in the couch when I come downstairs. "Look I found Belle in the couch!" Ah, that was it: swim toys. She goes upstaris to get her own swim toys, and puts on her swim suit in the kitchen while I put (exhausted) Arthur in his car seat.

We're too early. Especially since her last 20 minute lesson started 13 minutes late. We'll go to the bank. Sienna requests to hear Try everything, her favorite new song from the Zootopia soundtrack.

At the bank, Sienna does gymnastics in her swim suit. Arthur spits up on the floor. I get cash for the babysitter and our trip to Utah. Sienna gets a lollipop. There's no line and the whole thing is relatively painless. Back in the car. More "bunny song". Arthur resumes crying.

He's still awake when we get to Waterworks. Sienna just has a few minutes to play before her lesson miraculously starts on time. The other kid doesn't show; free private lesson upgrade. I nurse Arthur. He falls asleep about the time Sienna's lesson ends. Guess she gets some play time. Sienna is an awesome little fish. Her favorite part of swim lessons is jumping off the giant foam train mat. Someone offers to hold my baby while I take Sienna potty. She holds him until her own kid needs to go potty. He wakes up. We head home.

Kinkeeping: I recently read an article about kinkeeping and the "invisible burden" it puts on women. Despite the fact that in our family, the majority of the tasks mentioned are done or at least shared by John, the article really got me thinking. (I don't know if it's because it's mostly John's family that requires kin-keeping, or because he's a thoughtful person in general, or because he enjoys planning vacations. Anyway, not the point.)

The article begins with an example: the woman is directing her husband to dress the baby in the outfit gifted by his mother, since she is visiting. How does she even remember? THIS is the invisible burden placed on moms. To remember every single tiny and for-the-most-part insignificant detail. To arrange every particle into place. To make sure it all happens, if not where, when and in what outfit it's supposed to.

You may not even notice. You're likely not meant to notice. It's the type of stuff you only notice when it's NOT done (Laundry, anyone?). But it's mentally draining.

Here are some examples I thought of quickly.
Putting things back where they belong. CONSTANTLY.
Clipping fingernails.
Cleaning behind ears.
Remembering special days at school.
Arranging carpool.
Checking clothing, socks and shoes for holes and fit.
Signing kids up for activities.
Remembering the location of just about everything in the house, even if it's not where it's supposed to be.
Remembering how much we have of any given ingredient, toiletry or food item at any given time.
Vacation holds.
Getting haircuts.

You might even go so far as to add:
Making sure clothes are clean.
Keeping the house stocked with food.
Planning and making meals.
Getting gas.
Paying bills.

All those things that may appear to magically get done (or NOT) if you don't see them happen.

Here's a better example with laundry. Laundry piles up in the basket. You can see it. Someone washes it and puts it away. It's probably mom, at our house. No big deal, if you stay home it's probably in your job description.

Also in the job description is washing sheets. Much less obvious. Unless someone throws up on them, you probably have to remember to wash them. Just a teeny little effort to remember, but there are a million of those things and it adds up. Moms remember everything and it takes a toll.

For some more examples, here are two blog posts I wrote about taking Sienna to swim lessons and packing for our trip.

Family Night: For Easter, we went to Sacrament Meeting with John's mom, took family pictures at the American Fork amphitheater, had a ham and potatoes dinner, and then an egg hunt in the backyard. Afterward, Nathan's family stayed late and we had a fun time playing on the piano, singing Disney songs, watching Sienna dance and having a fun family time.

Arthur at 4 Months: Arthur had his four month appointment a little late. He was 15 lb 12 oz (51%) and 26 1/4 inches (86%). He showed off his Pilates moves for the doctor who said "if you're going to act like a sixth month old, you should sleep like one!" We agree.

Rhetorical Road Rage:

Me: Do I have a sign on the front of my car that says "will brake for idiots?"
Sienna: No.

Break Me: I've been feeling quite trapped as a mom lately. I've had snatches of this before, mostly moments where I'm hiding with my nursing baby while everyone else has fun. In every day life, a person can decide "I need a break" and then go take one. A coffee break. A walk. A lunch to themselves. One can do errands on any timetable, make plans, exercise, sleep.

I wrote before about Wednesdays and how I get 1:05 to myself, minus driving time. And by "to myself" I mean, with Arthur.

I can name three people who would watch Arthur, whether he cried or not. And recently a friend told me she felt she should offer to take him on a regular basis, so we're trying that out right now. Of course, shortly thereafter I realized I have two other kids that need taking care of at that time. So, I arranged for someone to watch them as well, giving me about an hour and 20 minutes to myself, after driving time, and return for drop off requirements. Do you know what I did with it? Sat in the car writing this post. Seems like for all the effort it is to arrange time to myself, I should do something momentous, but I don't even feel like it after all that. Don't even know what I would do with time to myself. I wish I were cleaning, or exercising, but part of the reason errands seemed appealing during this time was that I had to drive across town to drop Arthur off. Seems silly to do that twice just so I can go home and clean something. Of course I have no errands to run, except for one at a place that apparently doesn't open until 10.

As you can see, arranging a break is basically more work than it's worth. I can never just go do anything because being a mom is a full-time job, not 40 hours a week, or 70 like John works sometimes. 24 hours a day Every Single Day and it never ends and even if I get a break, I had to work extra hard to plan it, arrange it, time it, pack bags for all my kids, prepare snacks, pump milk, drive them places, pick them up, clean it all up and put it away afterwards, and then watch someone's kids to pay them back for watching mine. . Bleh.

So, by the time I get an unexpected five minute break from parenting - say Sienna and Arthur actually slept at the same time - I usually end up wasting it because I'm worn out and exhausted and surely I can clean or fold laundry while they're awake, and someone's going to wake up any minute anyway.

Lest you think I sat here moping for an hour and twenty minutes, I'll have you know I also went to Target and spent $90 on stuff we didn't really need.

Wah: Yesterday's post was really about how Arthur (like most babies) needs to be PUT to sleep and how tired I am of doing it. Between nursing and rocking/patting/shushing/bouncing (yes, I can do that all at the same time) it takes 45 minutes to get him down for a 15 minute nap. Because then he wakes up right when you put him in his crib.

And it's not like this is twice a day. Babies take 3-4 naps (more if they're only 15 min....), plus bedtime, plus waking up in the night, though he's always been great about going back down in the night. It's exhausting and time-consuming physically, and so mentally draining.

According to the internet, I need a PLAN not to just SNAP and put him in his crib to cry. Who knew? Anyway, I made a plan. I've been swaddling just his lower half so he can suck on his hands, or grab his blankie, giving him a stuffed Mickey to snuggle or chew on and letting him cry up to half an hour. So far I've gotten one good nap and two good nights' sleep. He slept until 3 one night after crying for 45 minutes (in two shifts, I checked on him after half an hour) and last night he cried for 20 minutes and slept until 5 (over 9 hours). That's more like it, I tell you. Quite frankly, he was probably crying that much anyway.

I also picked out a couple simple, useful sewing projects to work on during my next few alone times that will both help me feel productive, give me a creative outlet, and allow me to do something I enjoy. For me. Besides spending $90 at Target.

[Comments] (1) Baby Spit: You know when your holding a baby and you're like "uh oh, something warm!" It's so hot, his spit up felt like a refreshing cool spray on my legs.

Gladys Knight Fireside: Last night our stake hosted a fireside by Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices choir. It was a missionary effort, and to get (free) tickets you had to give the names of the people you invited to the ward mission leader. That was no problem for us as I immediately thought of the mom of one of Maggie's friends who is a voice teacher. She was thrilled to go (and impressed it was free). In the end, she also invited a former do-worker of hers, so the three of us went and John stayed home with her daughter and all our kids.

I went to line up around 4:45. She was coming straight from work and made it just in time to be let in to be seated. And then we sat there for nearly an hour while the fireside started 45 late for some unknown reason.

But it was great. The choir was pretty good and there was a short explanation of the Restoration, which somehow was given without saying "Joseph Smith", and a couple short testimonies. But the stand out part to me was Gladys' stage presence. She walked in from the back, all sassy, conducted the choir with such spunk, told jokes, I just loved it. Can't believe she is over 70. You could tell everyone involved loved being there, and that made me smile the whole time.

Probably the longest I've left Arthur - nearly four hours. John didn't even try to feed him, and he didn't really nap and stayed up too late, but was happy being held the whole time.

6.5: Dalton is 6 1/2 now, but I just found the little doctor's note from his well visit the school made me do. He was actually 6 1/4 then. 43 pounds (25%) and 47 inches (67%).

Dalton lost his second tooth yesterday. The permanent tooth had emerged behind it some time ago and is now very far back. I hope it moves into place quickly, but I think our kids are going to need braces for sure.

Dalton loves ponies, school, learning, helping, swimming, scootering, fulfilling responsibilities, being a big brother and making lists. He is always making lists of things he wants to do and then bothering me about doing something on his list every day. He loves getting jobs or assignments and then tackling them, especially if it means he can earn ipad time.

He has started that annoying kid thing whether they bother other people on purpose, but inside he is still our sweetest kid. He gives snuggles, apologizes and forgives easily, and loves everyone. He seems to recognizes when things are crazy and is often the one to make peace and calm things down.

He is brave enough to do what he wants without regards to what "everyone else" is doing, but he is still quite sensitive. He's cried to me more than once about kids that won't play with him - most of his friends are girls and sometimes they just want to play with other girls.

With shoes, and napkins, Dalton is over 48" now and can go on the scary rides at Knott's. He doesn't love them as much as Maggie, but puts on a brave face and I'm proud of him for trying. Love my Dalton-tin.

[Comments] (1) Happy Birthday, Dad!: Sometimes John asks me if I miss my dad and the answer is usually "no." He has been gone for over 2/3 of my life. I've been married for longer than I had my dad. It's just been a long time.

But sometimes I do miss him.

Dalton: What took you so long?
Me: I was talking.
Dalton: How come you always have to talk every single day?
Me: Ladies like to talk.
*turns Pick a Little, Talk a Little on Youtube*
*starts crying*

Queen of Pigs: Sienna and John have dumped out my piggy bank full of international coins

50 pence! That's Peppa Pig money.
...I don't see Peppa Pig.

Coronation Day: Today John was called as second counselor in our new bishopric. We did not see this coming. We knew we were getting a new bishop today, and even guessed (correctly) who it would be. And sure, we were suspicious about the Stake President wanting to meet with both of us the day before a new bishop was called. But we still managed to be surprised when the words left his mouth.

So, two things. First, John is so sad to leave his calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher. Most of the ward is also sad about this. He is an amazing teacher and really enjoyed putting his lessons together. Tough act to follow.

Second, he is going to do great at his new calling as well. He is really excited to learn something new and serve in new ways in the Church. We're barely getting oriented - what other kind of major life changes do you only get a few hours' notice for? - but he is ready to dig in.

The new bishop, the other counselor, and our former bishop (now a member of the Stake Presidency) came over this afternoon to ordain John as a High Priest and set him apart. The Bishop said he had a feeling he would be called to be Bishop and as soon as he was called, he thought of a focus on loving individuals. And then John's name came to his mind as a counselor. We've joked before about assignments and callings that seemed more practical or neopotistic than revelatory, but there's no doubt to me that this call was given by revelation. It's not a case of this guy calling his friends - we barely know him, me even more than John (they have a son Sienna's age whom I worked with in nursery (and also sons Maggie and Arthur's ages)). And there are dozens of other worthy men in the ward that could fulfill the calling. But John can definitely do a great job at loving individually. He's shown that in his Sunday School lessons.

Anyway, an interesting life twist and a new adventure. We're excited. I received many condolences at church today, some of which annoyed me. I definitely need, and have already arranged for, help during Sacrament Meeting. Sienna can be ridiculous, and I generally have to feed Arthur then so I can take care of my family history calling 2nd hour. But I'm not super worried about getting the kids ready for church on my own, or about him being gone one night a week. In fact, I think that will make him work less! haha.

That Sounds Nice :

Sienna: where am I going today?
We have swim lessons later.
Sienna (wandering out of the room): I think I'm not going to cry about it today.

Bait and Switch: Since Arthur officially goes to bed and sleeps most of the night, John and I arranged to go to the temple last night. We sat in the 8:00 session when one of the workers asked for volunteers to do a sealing session, as the room was too full. Most of the people there were clearly parties with the two live endowments, so we volunteered. The temple president did the sealings, since they didn't have any sealers available. It was a short session, but he taught us a lot about the sealing ordinance and the sealing power in between, which was neat. Afterwards, we got to go to the celestial room, and since it was between sessions, John and I were the only people there by the time we left. Bonus: we went to bed a lot earlier than planned.

Hollywood and Harry: For the first part of our four day weekend, we went up to Hollywood. John found us a great apartment, right off Hollywood Blvd. The kids were impressed that we were steps away from the "holly stars". We went up Thursday night after Spring Fling/Open House at the school. On Friday morning, we went to the subway station and took the train, zillion escalators, and tram to Universal Studios, mostly to check out the new Harry Potter section. The setting is awesome, and the attention to detail. However, it was too crowded to enjoy the shops (we didn't even go into Ollivander's... 45 minute wait?) and the rides were disappointing. The first ride was a small roller coaster - short, but Sienna could go on it, and the line was also short and fast loading. The other ride involved a lengthy wait through the halls of Hogwarts. The line was cool - the first time at least - and we all waited together, even though the little kids couldn't go. But, neither John nor I liked the ride. It was a sort of virtual roller coaster. It's 3D, and you sit in a four person bench that moves with the elements of the ride - all of which are scary! The premise is that you're sneaking out of the castle to watch a Quidditch game and a dragon escapes. Which would have been awesome, but then they threw in acromantula, dementors, and the whomping willow and it was all too much. The frozen butterbeer was great, though!

The only other time I've ever been to Universal was when I was pregnant with Maggie. Not only was that 10 years ago, but I couldn't go on any of the rides. So it was a new experience. I was pleasantly surprised with all the non-Harry Potter stuff we did, which was pretty much everything. Jurassic Park was fun, The Mummy was scary, but I closed my eyes and enjoyed the ride part, and I really liked Transformers. The Minion ride was also fun and we got to see the evil minion character. Sienna screamed in terror, but then begged us to wait in line to see Megatron. You just never know with that girl.

Saturday morning, we went to Griffith Park to do pony ride. We drove to the observatory after, but there was less than no parking, so we went to a brunch place instead, then came home and relaxed. Maggie finally finished reading Harry Potter this week, so we watched most of the first part of The Deathly Hallows tonight. More weekend to come!

Arthur Zero Point Five: Arthur is officially six months old and officially crawling. He's still pretty pokey, but he gets faster every day. Sweet boy sleep around 10 hours at night, still hit or miss with the naps, but he's a better napper than Sienna was. He just has to cry about it first.

Doctor stats: 16lb 15oz (37%), 26 3/4" (53%).

I haven't given him baby food or anything. He's had bits of bread, pancakes, banana, cheese, and tastes of sauces, soups, applesauce, or whatever. Basically whatever. Today we broke Cheerios in half and fed them to him while we ate dinner. He loved it and it provides dinner time entertainment for the kids.

Bubbling Tar: Five months ago, a ward member and I stumbled upon the topic of free museum days in LA and planned to go together. We finally went up today, to the free first Tuesday at La Brea Tar Pits. I had Sienna and Arthur and her girls are 5 and 2. We had a casual experience, wandered around the museum, picnicked on the grass, admired the bubbling asphalt. I actually wish we'd watched the bubbling more. Oh well. The girls enjoyed climbing on the sloth statues, and running around the amphitheater. We got a free parking spot on the street, so the whole venture was free other than gas. The only downside was that it was really far - 90 minutes - so we spent more time in the car than at the museum. But Sienna and the 5 year old had a great time in the backseat, my friend and I had fun chatting up front, and Arthur got two 90 minute naps.

: The first day of summer break, we met our neighbors at the lake and fed the ducks. I overheard Maggie say to her friend "look at that bump! I'm getting stronger from throwing!" (Her duck food throwing bicep hahaha)

Back From Oregon : California seems much less green and the sun sure goes down early.

Boing: Sienna: Mommy, your tummy is so bouncy.

Maggie: Just don't use it as a trampoline.

Sienna's Going to Be a Great Mom: Mom, can I watch a show?Mom can I watch a show?Mom can I watch a show? how many time do I have to tell you can I watch a show?"

And then two minutes later "I heard you the first time!"

Minnie: John got called to go to the hospital with the bishop to give a blessing. It was an petite 82 year old woman who works at Disneyland playing Minnie Mouse.

Beach Beach: Today was our second beach day this week. We took the two neighbor girls and a woman with no kids from the ward, and met some more friends at Newport. We brought all the boogie boards because the kids had fun floating on them and using the paddle board at baby beach in Dana Point on Monday, but they didn't use them. They just did body surfing for three hours. Sienna and her little friend Preston had fun running around together, playing in the water, playing in the sand. I had fun talking to my friends. Arthur had a nice nap and crawled around happily, eating sand. Everyone had a great time.

Shortly after I got home, another friend texted me and asked if I'd like to go with her on Friday. Looks like it's a triple beach week! Dalton has cooking camp next week and then school is practically back, so we'll make the most of it.

Ice and Blood: Typical Saturday at Knott's berry farm yesterday. We first had to do our chapel cleaning assignment. So everyone was already nice and tired when we got there. We did the water park first. John and Dalton did some water slides while the rest of us enjoyed the wave pool, then we all did a lap in the lazy river. Arthur didn't take a nap like he has the past several times, so it wasn't as much fun.

For lunch we went to the chicken dinner restaurant - we went there our first visit with my family, but haven't been since. It's really good though. The kids meals come with jello, ice cream, and berry punch. Sienna has been carrying her plastic Snoopy cup around every since.

We went straight from lunch to the new Snoopy on Ice show. We were just on time and got decent seats - despite how crowded the park was by this point, the theater was pretty empty. I got Arthur to go to sleep, which was great. I was very impressed with the quality of the show. It was about Snoopy going to Hollywood, so there were lots of California songs. And, they played They Might Be Giants Why Does the Sun Shine? with a Griffith Obervatory background and my heart was smitten.

After the show, we stopped by the bathroom on the way out. Dalton managed to fall on his face and came out with blood pouring from his mouth - no paper towels in the bathroom of course. We used a burp cloth and a stranger's frozen water bottle to get him to the first aid station where they determined he has bit his cheek and was otherwise ok. And asking for treats again already.

I threw the horridly bloody burp cloth in the rinse and spin cycle with the swim suits and it came out completely spotless.

Also, John has been making dinner on Sundays for a while now. He comes up with clever stuff and it's usually amazing.

Peek a Boo: Dalton has been at culinary camp this week, held in a senior center in a galaxy far away. I was early today, trying to avoid traffic. Maggie was at the fair with a friend. I left Sienna at the neighbors, so I just had the baby. Arthur crawled around the hallway while we waited for the class to end and found a room of seniors playing cards. He peeked through the window at the side of the doorway and before he knew it, and older gentleman had crawled on the floor on the other side of the window to say hi to him. People are great.

Arthur Teeth: Arthur cut his first tooth this week, with here more on the way. This leaves Sienna as the earliest (almost average) tether, with Arthur following right behind, Dalt a couple months later, and Maggie way in the distance. He's been up in the night four or five nights this week and reverted back to his months-ago grumpy clingy self. he is finally starting to nap without crying, put himself to sleep more quietly and enjoy life, so I'll take it. Also, he eats a lot.

: I did a kid swap with my neighbor today, which was both exhausting and awesome. I dropped my kids off in the morning so Arthur could nap there and did all kinds of stuff.

Picked up the kids' rooms
Threw away junk
Two loads of laundry
Dropped off dry cleaning
Did some Walmart shopping
Put groceries away right after buying them!
Lay in bed and ate half a bag of chips.

At this point another neighbor asked me to watch her kid so I did. We picked up my four and she went to Costco. Then dropped off her 2 and 6 year olds and took Maggie and her friend ice skating. This left me with only five, and the babies slept for the first couple hours.

I made pretzels and got a 15 minute nap before babies started waking up. The rest of the afternoon was crazy, but we survived. Arthur only got stepped on once.


Hey this milk expires after you go back to school!
Maggie: Milk doesn't expire. Only passes expire.

Stuff I Googled Today:

Can crabs breathe air
Brazilian men's gymnastics floor
Nadia perfect ten
Wake boarding in flooded street
Carl's Jr. complaints
Wire to make costume ears stand up
Irvine dentists
Day 11 highlights
US medal count
Old man names

Letter of Introduction: Dear [Maggie's Teacher],
I’m pleased to introduce you to our oldest child, Margaret. We have three other children and Maggie is a very helpful big sister, especially to her baby brother. She is a fearless roller coaster junkie, and also enjoys Minecraft, My Little Pony, and Lego. She likes rules, and making sure everyone is following them. She always tries to do the right thing, even if no one is looking. A close circle of friends is more Maggie’s style than the popular crowd. She is friendly, kind, and inclusive. Her imagination is very active, so don’t be surprised if you catch her talking to herself! School work comes pretty easily to our bright Maggie, though as we are both avid readers, we wish she enjoyed reading for fun a little more. We are very proud of Maggie and the kind, bright girl she is growing into, and look forward to seeing how she progresses in you class.
I also look forward to helping in the classroom this year!
[Maggie's Parents]

Arthur at 9 Months : Arthur's 9 month appointment: he was 19 lbs 1 oz (having eaten four ounces of baby food in the elevator) (38%) and 29 inches tall (75%).

Little Hustler:

John quoting Nick Wilde in Zootopia: "It's called a hustle, sweetheart!"
Sienna: Don't call me Hustle!

Too Splash: More Sienna Zootopia funnies.

She went on Splash Mountain with John for the first time yesterday (yay 40 inches!). She said it was "too splash" and now she is telling me about how Judy Hopps (the rabbit character from Zootopia) was stuck. Also, she calls her "Hopps Hopps" ("Officer" Hopps).

Sacrament Thoughts: Someone in Utah should, instead of participating in an MLM, market a portable baby-proofing cover for hymn book pockets.

I felt like a space age parent feeding two of my children food from pouches at the same time.

10 Thing That Make Me Happy:

1. Long conversations with John
2. Tickling my kids
3. Being at Disneyland
4. Traveling somewhere new
5. Exploring the outdoors/hiking
6. Playing board games
7. Eating really good food
8. Snuggling
9. Singing along
10. Finishing a project

Mid-Life: When I turned 30, I made a list of thirty things I had accomplished in my 30 years. I remember starting the list several months earlier in Goa, in the resort pool, alone at night, John back in the room with the (two) kids. I'm in a different place now, physically of course, and in many other ways.

35 is probably mid-life for me. I think I am done with accomplishments. I made four wonderful children, I just need to finish them off, and that's all the mark I plan to leave on the world. The next 35 are for fun!

: Sienna, singing Let it Go: The frozen crackers all the way down!

Actual lyrics: spiraling in frozen fractals all around.

Merf: Wow, it's really easy to fake enthusiasm over text. I just forced myself to use an exclamation point instead of a period. Instant perceived joy!

Jack, the Pumpkin Pie: Sienna watched The Nightmare Before Christmas today and sang "Christmas Everybody sing to the pumpkin pie!"

Rule Bound: Maggie at Mt. Hood, was quite upset that we said Dalton was 7 so he could go on the zipline. "I feel like going back up there and telling them Dalton is 6."

She also refused to enter the McDonald's play place until John came in because it said she needed a parent. John: "The first thing she did was read the rules."

To Sum Up: I spent two hours at the pediatric ophthalmologist with a sick, teething baby, on day 10 of a nursing strike. That is all.

[Comments] (1) On Strike: One day while nursing, Arthur bit me, I yelled, and he has refused to nurse since. That was nearly three weeks ago. The whole experience has been very distressing. I was surprised at my intense emotional reaction to it. And worst of all, I've had no support. Either none of my friends have gone through this, or it's one of those things, like miscarriage, that people don't talk about.

Five friends with babies off the top of my head. One didn't occur to me, and I'm annoyed at her. Hah. One uses formula for her convenience. One pumped exclusively after a months-long battle with thrush, mastitis etc. One was only able to nurse for a week, having a breast reduction previously. And one was unable to nurse. So not much help.

The internet assured me that most nursing strikes end after 2-4 days, though anecdotal evidence showed otherwise. The pediatrician, the most supportive person I talked to, told me he would just suddenly start nursing again. I tried all the tips online, no luck at all. He is also cutting upper teeth (theoretically, it's been weeks), and had a cold in the meantime. All strikes against us.

I've been pumping three times a day (he was nursing four) and trying to get him to drink from a cup. After two weeks, I introduced sippy cups. I think we're maybe up to half of what I pump. I would not be surprised if he's losing weight, and he's always hungry.

So here is what not to say. "Maybe he's just done." He is Not. Just. Done. Literally every person I talked to said this to me, except the pediatrician (the only person who knew what she was talking about). That is the very definition of Not Supportive. This is MY baby. I have over five years of breastfeeding experience, I have weaned three babies and I can tell, he wants to nurse, but can't or won't for some reason. (I say this in present tense, but I think it likely the sippy cup has ruined it forever). He signs for it. He is just as upset as the break in our nursing relationship as I am. Maybe even more so, since he has also lost his food source. But I don't know what else to do.

Clearly, I am very upset about this. I nursed Sienna until maybe 26 months, and she was sad when I finally cut her off. I was hoping to have that wonderful, long-lasting experience again, but it may not be meant to be.

This experience also served as a reminder that we all have Stuff. Maybe you don't wear your trial on your sleeve, but that doesn't make it any less important, difficult, or significant. We all have stuff, keep that in mind when making your judgements.

Maggie, The Lion, and The Witch: When I discovered Maggie was rereading Rainbow Magic Fairy books, I got out the Narnia series, told her what it was about, and gave her the first book to read. She trudged along for her daily reading, with the promise of a movie at the end. Today she finished, and she told me she read four chapters today. She's finally excited about a book! We started the movie tonight, and she asked me to get out the next book for her so she could read it when she wakes up.

Feetie Nen: Watching Sienna put her feetie pajamas on may have been the highlight of my day. There was a lot of turning around, and an adorable face plant at the end.

The primary program was also today. I was surprised how well Sienna did since she refused to even go up for Mother's Day and Father's Day. She sang some of the songs and sat relatively still. She even went up and did her part, with a nervous "tick tock" sound of her tongue at the end. It was adorable and hilarious.

This is Halloween: I keep waiting for John to mix up his nightguard with the glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth sitting on the bathroom counter.

All Done: I've quit pumping and Arthur is drinking up the last few bags of breast milk from the freezer. I thought I'd try nursing him one more time. He laughed.

Caramel Pie: Sienna thought the process of pumpkin carving very curious. The whole time John was scooping out the innards, she kept asking "are you making caramel pie?" over and over.

Tuesdays Alone: Our neighbor and I swap kid-watching days every week. I watch her 2 year old for an hour on Wednesdays while she volunteers at the school and for 3-4 hours on Thursdays while she ice skates. She watches mine for 4-6 hours on Tuesdays for my volunteering and whatever else I need to get done. Today I volunteered for reading groups, voted, found a pair of jeans at Old Navy that fit me very well, picked up my sewing machine, at lunch at Taco Bell, and took my time looking through Halloween clearance at Target. It was a great morning. It's definitely nice to have some alone time, and also nice to tick off lots of errands without hauling kids in and out of the car. I don't mind shopping with them, but the in-and-out is annoying.

Also today was Running Club for Maggie and Dalton, during which I took the younger two to Trader Joe's and the nearby park. Then we had a quick dinner and piano lessons. The kids spent the evening sorting their Halloween candy to leave some out for the Switch Witch who will be bringing them a toy tonight.

: Poor Arthur is sick. He's got the saddest little wheezy cough, and is breathing like a poor thing. Hopefully it's at it's worst. Nothing like not being able to do anything to make your baby feel better. He's pretty happy as long as he's being held at least.

First Freckle: Arthur got his first freckle a month or two ago, just above his right hip. It's pretty cute.

Habits: Sienna has developed a nervous tic. Except it's the other kind of nervous (not nervous system) and it's more of a tick tock than a tic. She makes a clicking sound when she's nervous, like talking to an adult, meeting a character at Disneyland, or speaking in front of people - she did it at the primary program after saying her part! It was funny and also really cute.

Lately she's been sighing as she breathes. Taking constant big deep breaths for no reason. The internet has convinced me it's just a habit and she'll grow out of it, just as Maggie did with throats clearing a few months ago.

No More Rides: The kids didn't have school today, so I took them to Disneyland, where we met up with my cousin Laura. They were pretty whiny. Starving to death at 10:15 etc. Maggie was bored and wanted to leave. We had fast passes to Hyperspace Mountain. She said, and I quote: if we go one one more ride, I will kill you.

Baby Vacuum : 4 stages of vacuuming with infant.

0-1 months. Vacuum provides desirable white noise. You can vacuum in baby's room while sleeping and she won't stir. Unfortunately, it makes you bleed every time so no vacuuming gets done.

1-3 months. Vacuum wakes baby up. Getting baby to sleep is so difficult that no vacuuming gets done.

3-9 months. Baby is scared of vacuum and insists you hold him while vacuuming. This is impossible. No vacuuming gets done.

9 months-2 years. Baby thinks vacuum is a friendly pet and follows close behind. So close that you when you pull the vacuum back, you may run over baby. No vaccuming gets done.

Happy Boy: Dalton cheered when he came home from school and saw me making pretzel dogs. He also cheered for the Chipmunk Adventure movie Sienna was watching. And excitedly told me about the snack he ate. He is so optimistic most of the time, as long as he isn't "bored."

Family of Six: I am feeling the effects of having a family of six. Today I did five loads of laundry. And lots of dishes. I used to run the dishwasher every other day, but it's closer to every day now. When we were in Utah, I did a load of laundry every day. We make a load of laundry every day. On the bright side, we packed pretty light!

Last First: Arthur is one! My little king. On his first birthday, he also had his first haircut, which he took like a champ. He also learned how to go down the stairs while we were in Utah for thanksgiving. He's growing up.

Arthur likes balls, cars, touchy-feely books, biting things, and ripping paper. His favorite foods are bananas, string cheese and anything in a pouch. He loves those pouches. He only drinks a couple ounces of milk each day, and it's hard won. He takes two naps, sometimes short, sometimes long. He sleeps at night from about 6:30-6:30.

Arthur is interested in the world around him. He thinks animals, and sienna, are fascinating. He smiles at everyone, but will only go to mom or dad - or Maggie! He's started making sounds like "a-dad" and "a-mom" that may or may not actually mean what they sound like. He laughs easily. He loves Disneyland and still enjoys meeting his friends. He pretty much likes anytime we are out and about, riding in the stroller or car, and seeing the world.

His main annoying trait is clinginess. And of course I worry that he doesn't eat well.

Old School: Dalt is reading Pokemon jokes.

Me: Do you ever know what a VCR is?
Dalt: It's how they used to make movies. Like a projector.

Little Feet: A little Arthur-ism that I just love. When I'm getting him dressed, I set him on my lap, and he sees his socks, he will hold up one little foot at a time to have his sock put on. It's so precious, especially considering the amount of convincing the next kid takes to get dressed.

Chilly Disney Holiday: John had to go to work this morning, so I took the kids to Disneyland bright and early. The idea was to do Haunted Mansion holiday and Jingle Cruise since we are blocked out most of the rest of the season. I prepared the kids to wait a long time, but we didn't have to! We actually arrived at opening time, which we've been slacking on this year. They agreed on Mickey lollipops for a treat, so we grabbed those from the Candy Palace as they opened. Then we walked onto Jingle Cruise. Sienna got stuck on the boat - literally - and had to have her jacket pried out. Kids got to blow the steam whistle at New Orleans Station. We walked onto Haunted Mansion then got stuck in the seance room for ten minutes. We did Pirates, and went into a shop to have someone help cut the lollipops open. Big kids went on Big Thunder by themselves. We waited ten minutes for Buzz (only line we waited in) and then took the horse-drawn trolley back to the exit. We went over to DCA and rode Monsters, then learned how to draw Zero in the Animation Academy. Everyone did a great job of not fighting or whining up until this point. We stopped to write letters to Santa on the way out. By the time we got to the car, everyone but Arthur was grumpy. Almost made it.

Also, it was in the 40s. Soooo cold.

Game Time: We went to a big neighborhood Christmas party last night. We got. Babysitter for the two little ones, but took Maggie and Dalton. The kids spent most of the time in the game bus. When we told Maggie it was time to leave, nearly three hours later, she accused us of changing the clocks, lying about the time, and only letting her play for a hour. Also, she hadn't eaten dinner (10:30 pm).

Are You Kidding Me?: Dalton's latest thing to say is "are you kidding me?" We usually aren't.

A Tiss and a Hug: Sienna likes to give people a kiss ("Tiss") and a Hug when they leave. Sometimes she is too late, so she invented a faraway hug where she stands with her arms open. She calls this a "benis."

She also says "waybe" (maybe).

Funicular: Maggie is learning Funiculi, Funicula on the piano. I pulled up Larry's High Silk Hat on the Veggie Tales Silly Songs DVD we got (three copies of) for our wedding, and now she is interested in practicing it. Where can I find Silly Songs for all of her piano music?



© 1999-2023 Susanna Chadwick.