Clarissa’s birthday-eve

It’s after 10pm, and Lydia is so excited about Clarissa that she can’t sleep. She is right next to me while I type. In about nine hours I get induced!!! Mary is asleep, but even she has been expressing excitement about the birth. She told Lydia that she would love Clarissa more than Ammon because Clarissa is a girl. Lydia thought that was terribly mean and declared that she would love both Ammon and Clarissa exactly the same. If that’s true, I am going to have a great little helper in Lydia!

Abe set up the bassinet tonight and is cleaning the baby’s car seat. He is “papa birding,” a term my mom used to describe how my dad got things ready for us.

Here are pictures from the day:

Here’s Clarissa’s blanket!
If I were taller or had a ready stool for this picture, I could have taken a better photo. Oh, well. This coming year I am resolved to become a better photographer once and for all!
Playing in Ammon’s room this afternoon.

Ammon was the first to spot Abe return home. This is him yelling, “DADDA!!”

I also spent most of Ammon’s nap catching up on the drama in Charlottesville. Because I am pregnant, I can’t handle much news like this. I spent a long time crying in front of videos and generally feeling despair. I can not believe the alt-right even exists. It’s just so insane. Abe refused to watch the videos because he is trying to be in a good, happy place for the birth. I read him articles while he set up the bassinet, though. We are just incredulous that such hate and ignorance exist. I can not wait until we have a new president and hopefully these racist, anti-semitic, hateful people will go back to their dark corners or wherever they were before the tragedy in November.

Ready for Clarissa, and birth stories (not mine)

This morning Ammon woke up pretty content, so I let him play in his room while I got ready for the day. Abe changed his diaper and put Ammon’s basketball hoop in Ammon’s closet before he left for work.

By the time I got to Ammon, he had literally torn his closet door down trying to get to his hoop. He just barely missed smashing the window to smithereens, and when I found him, he was climbing the fallen, angled door like a slide. He really likes his hoop. (Abe took the other door off of his closet so this can not happen again.)

Also, Abe put batteries in a lot of toys tonight. The Alphaberry in Ammon’s hand has not had working batteries since Lydia was two years old.

The girls played really well again today. They are on a roll! Also, Lydia loves drawing princesses. I remember drawing very similar kinds of princesses when I was younger–with the same form as Lydia draws them and everything. But one difference is that Mary insists Lydia put RED glasses on her princesses. Lydia has been so sweet to oblige.

Also, Lydia brushed her hair for the first time ever tonight. She is brushing her hair in this picture. I have never even considered letting her try before which shows what a crazy control freak I can be. She did a great job.

Every morning for a week Lydia’s first words of the day have been, “How many more days until Clarissa gets here, not counting today? It’s taking sooooo long! I just want her to be here NOW!!!!” She continues to be very excited to meet her little sister. I know she knows how many more days are left because she asks both Abe and me this question multiple times a day. I think she just likes hearing that we are getting closer each day.

Also, I also finished Clarissa’s blanket today!! That means, according to my calculations, we are ONE HUNDRED PERCENT READY for Clarissa! Honestly, we have never been so ready for a child before. With Lydia we were physically ready but had no idea what a new baby would be like. With Ammon and Mary we were arrogant slackers and thought that we were ready but put off setting up their spaces until after they were born.  Because I have had almost two months to think of everything we need to do for Clarissa, we are so, so, SO ready.

I recently read a story Abe’s cousin posted about his miracle baby’s birth. It scared me so badly and I think about it every day, multiple times a day. His cousin’s wife basically sensed that there was something wrong because the baby had stopped moving. Since the baby had not moved before in the past, Abe’s cousin, Danny, didn’t think much of it but drove her to the hospital anyway. When they got there, they discovered the baby was literally dying and had minutes left to live. Within three minutes, they performed a c-section and saved his baby.

Danny wrote about how horrible the experience was, but how his testimony of God’s hand and miracles was strengthened. He was one red light away from having his baby die on the way to the hospital, and every single light he hit was green. When they got to the hospital, every doctor and nurse necessary was right there on hand to perform the surgery. Also, most babies who are dying because of a cord knot (as his baby was) don’t come out very well. His baby is one hundred percent normal on every test. These are some of the miracles he wrote about in his blog.

I am so glad his baby is okay! And every time Clarissa moves I say a silent, “Thank-you, God,” because I am very scared of cord knots. When I lived in Salt Lake, one of the ladies I visit taught was thirty-nine weeks pregnant and her baby died because of a cord knot. I was with her in the hospital as she gave birth to her stillborn baby girl, and the experience has stayed with me ever since. I don’t know if I have ever felt as sad as I felt when my friend delivered a perfectly beautiful but lifeless baby daughter. It was so, so awful.

Right now Clarissa is moving as I type. Thank you, God.

Anyway, I will take pictures of her blanket tomorrow when there is sunshine for lighting. Right now Abe is breaking it in by taking an evening (well, 10 pm) nap under it.

I am going to start another blanket just like this one tomorrow. I know of about five babies happening between now and the end of January that I would like to give a blanket to. Sadly, this blanket took me at least twenty hours, though maybe now I that have experience I could whittle the next one down to fifteen. I have no idea if I will ever finish another blanket like this, but I can dream! I absolutely ADORED the yarn for this blanket. Each skein was so soft, and the colors were rich and so, so fun to work with. I feel like I could make this blanket five more times and not get tired of it, but with a newborn on hand…I just don’t know. I do know that if they allow me to crochet in the hospital, I am going to crochet between contractions all day Friday and try to get a head start on this crazy goal.

Harvesting the garden

On Tuesday I spent most of the day crocheting and listening to The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East. It is a wonderful book.

I also made soup for dinner. I think I am actually starting to get better because a couple weeks ago I would not have been able to stand for that long.

Abe’s allergies are acting up, so he came home exhausted not only from his biggest work day this week, but also from his allergies. He still managed to conduct a fun FHE wherein he talked about the law of the harvest. Then he, my mom, and the kids went out and harvested our garden. I had no idea we had so many tomatoes! It was very exciting.

The kids played beautifully for most of the day. I think after the long summer, they are starting to figure out how to get along–just in time for school to start next week. 🙂

“Believe” by Imagine Dragons

On Monday Lydia spent the whole morning listening to her hip-hop song from dance, Believe, by Imagine Dragons. She literally listened to it on repeat for hours straight, and when Ammon’s nap time came, she climbed into bed and prepared to listen to it for the afternoon. She and Mary quickly became distracted by playing, but this is how nap time started:

Also, Ammon is starting to learn all sorts of new words! On Monday he added “hoop” to his growing vocabulary. It’s an appropriate accompaniment to his most favorite word, “ball.”

In the evening Abe took the kids to Qualtrics for his team party. I think they had a great time, and he probably has pictures on his phone. I’ll put them on here when he’s home next and I think of it!

Baby dreams

Lydia is so over-the-top excited for Clarissa to get here. This morning she shot into our room to check to see if Clarissa came early. I guess she got over her disappointment that Clarissa isn’t another boy like Ammon and is just happy she’s going get another baby in the family. Lydia loves babies. Today she kept telling me throughout the day that she wished Clarissa would come soon because she can’t wait to have another baby around. When she talks about the prospect of a new baby, she grins really wide and basically radiates joy. She is such a great big sister.

Mary is nonplussed by the idea of Clarissa. She seems relatively indifferent to the prospect of a new baby, although she is intrigued by Clarissa’s room and her baby toys.

Ammon has no idea he is about to be robbed of baby status. He can’t say his own name so he has started to referring to himself as “baby.” This unfortunate turn of events took place in the past couple weeks. Just as he finally learned to call himself “baby,” a smaller baby is about to show up. I hope he takes losing baby status better than Mary and Lydia did. Sometimes I think the reason they have so many emotional issues is because they never got over the trauma of losing baby status. Maybe I am bad at integrating new siblings. It’s probably my fault.

We were initially afraid to let Ammon sleep in his new room because we knew he’d end up doing this:

He did that yesterday. The girls thought it was hysterical. Now that he has that out of his system, he has been sleeping in his toddler bed like a champ!

We won’t actually put Clarissa in her room for a while, but I need a place to change and feed her at night, and right now that place is her room. Abe and I realized this yesterday and decided to train Ammon on his toddler bed ASAP.

Today I listened to conference talks and The God Who Weeps while crocheting and eating Chip cookies. Chip delivered some cookies Saturday night. I actually prefer the cookies the day after delivery when they’re a little firmer. (They deliver them warm right out of the oven, and as good as that sounds, they are always a little too soft and over-the-top buttery that way to me.) I am excited to be mobile again sometime so when I want to eat my favorite food group, chocolate chip cookies, I can actually just make them myself for a fraction of the price. In the interim, Chip cookies has been a fun, fattening discovery.

That reminds me. I gained three pounds last week. I was only supposed to gain half a pound, but it seems I took the doctor’s advice to eat more very seriously (hence the Chip cookie discovery)–and it worked a little too well. Eep.

I took a picture of the main parts of my day today. That darker yellow was a nightmare. I made so many mistakes and had to redo so many rows. I am so glad to have moved on to the next color!

Abe said that at church today he attended the best lesson he’s ever had on family history. He also took a long nap, which is awesome because he has been sleep deprived for months now. Since I’ve been immobile, he has been getting up with Ammon’s teething (Ammon has been teething now for over a year), and he gets up around 5am twice a week for basketball and temple attendance. He also works late–sometimes into the AM’s–and so sleep has been difficult for him to come by. I was so happy to see him finally get some rest.

After church the girls spent the whole day playing outside with their friends. Ammon took an epic nap, and my mom went visiting teaching after church. In the evening one of Abe’s coworkers, who I barely know, dropped off homemade cinnamon rolls because he and his wife heard that I have had a tough pregnancy. Isn’t that amazing? I couldn’t actually manage to eat one because I am stuffed with cookies, but I was so touched.

Also, I keep having birthing dreams. In the dreams, I am either giving birth or talking to medical personnel about the possibility of giving birth. I am actually looking forward to being induced because it sounds so tidy, but I won’t be complaining either if tonight my dreams finally come true.

 

Kids’ room set-up

On Saturday Abe spent the whole day working to set up the house. Clarissa is coming in less than a week, and we want to be ready. (Actually, we are way more ready than we have ever been for any kid except for Lydia. We started setting up–as in, assembling from scratch–Mary’s changing table and clothes after my water broke for her. Yikes! And Ammon’s room wasn’t ready for months until after he was born.)

Nevertheless, Abe worked so hard all day, and I am SO grateful. Ammon sat on the doll desk and was Abe’s sidekick while Abe worked.

The girls’ room was a little messy before yesterday because we were trying to cram their art space into their room because we turned the office into Ammon’s room. I was a little worried about how we were going to fit everything. Thank you, Pinterest, for your wonderful ideas. In the end, their room actually looks better than it did before the switch.

They used to have a bookshelf where this area is, but we moved that to Clarissa’s room. Clarissa, for whom we are rearranging all of these things, also has an updated, slightly more feminine nursery. We moved the yellow rug into Ammon’s new room, and we just happened to have a pink rug rolled up in the garage. It’s amazing what a change of rugs will do to a room!

I still have one more painting to find for her nursery. It’s somewhere hiding in the house.

I would love to see pictures of the spaces where my ancestors grew up. I know my grandma’s house so well in my mind and heart, and I wish I had access to my dad’s house and the spaces that surrounded my more distant ancestors too. Hopefully my posterity will think this is at least kind of interesting.

In the evening Abe took the kids to vacuum out the van and attend the Elder’s Quorum BBQ. Ammon apparently loved the trampoline but didn’t quite know how to use it. The girls had fun playing with all of the other kids there.

When they came home, everyone went straight to the bath. The kids all smelled so terrible! Now they smell like roses and daisies and everything pretty.

Abe and I finished the evening by watching the rest of Lion, which is absolutely incredible. It was my second time watching it. I watched it myself last Saturday (or maybe two Saturdays ago??–can’t remember!), and it took Abe and I a full week to finish it. We can only watch movies usually in small increments at a time. Life is so busy and tiring, one of us usually poops out after thirty minutes.

Also, another reason I haven’t been blogging is because my new yarn arrived! Thus far I have been knitting and crocheting with yarn Abe picked out. As much as I love Abe, I feel like I can safely say that we have different tastes in yarn. One of the reasons I felt motivated to learn to crochet so fast was because I felt highly motivated to get rid of all the yarn we had on hand. 🙂 And now that my yarn has come, I am starting Clarissa’s final baby blanket. I’ve calculated that it will take me at least twenty hours to finish, so every evening I have been choosing between blogging or madly crocheting. I love crocheting, so that’s been winning lately.

Knitting, Dr’s visit and Denny’s

On Friday I finished knitting Mary’s pair of fingerless gloves. When I re-learned how to knit, my goal was simply to follow some sort of pattern and make something useful. I spent hours practicing knitting and purling before I felt confident enough to start a pattern, and it felt so good to finish the girls’ gloves. It also helps that they love them! Mary wore hers the entire day, even though it was over eighty degrees outside.

The girls with their fingerless gloves. Each pair has its own unique set of mistakes–but the girls don’t care. One of Mary’s gloves is actually upside down, but Mary LOVES mismatching clothes (especially socks and shoes), so mismatching, upside-down gloves were right up her alley.

I had my OBGYN appointment in the afternoon. My mom drove me, but the doctor had emergencies and was over an hour late, so my mom had to run back, pick up Sophie and the kids from Qualtrics (where they were playing in the kid room), and drop Sophie home for a family event. Abe picked me up and drove me home. In the interim, I about died in the doctor’s office. I was half naked in an unventilated, un-airconditioned room, sitting on the uncomfortable examining bed for an hour. It was so horrible. But the doctor was really nice and assured me over and over that no matter what, they are for sure inducing me this coming Friday. I CAN NOT WAIT!!!

In the evening, Abe took the kids to Denny’s for dinner. Our friend, Nick, is a cook there and wanted to see Abe. Normally I try to have something at least planned for dinner, but after the doctor’s office I basically sat on my chair for the rest of the afternoon and ignored responsibility. Guess it worked out because they all had a great time.

With Nick. Nick has lost EIGHTY pounds since we last saw him, just by going to the gym every day! I was so inspired by Abe’s report and the picture.
Ammon ate a lot of dinner because he skipped lunch.
The waitress complimented Abe on what a good dad he is because he ordered the kids milkshakes. Abe thought that was funny because the only reason he ordered them was because he was exhausted, had just finished a stressful week, and was giving in to a family binge for relief.

 

Mary and Lydia have a lovey-dovey day

On Thursday the girls played PERFECTLY together all day. I couldn’t even believe it. They didn’t even want to go outside to play with friends because they were having such a great time together. It was a dreamy, wonderful day.

Lydia and Mary dressed Mary up as SuperMary.

This video of Lydia affirming Mary blew me away. I was so proud of both girls.

Also, Abe let Mary grill the pineapple tonight. She did a great job!

Kindergarten interview

On Wednesday Mary had her kindergarten interview. It went really well, and she is SO excited. It occurred to me that she might not actually be emotionally ready, but I guess I will just see how it goes. If she throws fits in school, then I can always take her out.

Since I was already out and about, my mom dropped me off at the nail salon for a pedicure. I chose a color that made me think of what I feel like Clarissa’s personality might be like. I actually don’t really know what she’ll be like, but I imagine that she might like a subdued, slightly shimmery pinkish purple. Normally I hate purple, but I don’t know–it appealed in this one circumstance.

Ode to our marvelous, exceptional, lovely, talented, intelligent babysitters. I LOVE THEM.

On Tuesday we had a pretty normal day. The air conditioning went out (we always forget to change our filters, so this happens with some regularity), and so I sat in my chair/lay on my bed sweating while the babysitter took care of the kids.

If we move to Texas, Abe and I both have things we will miss. He will miss being close to his family, and that has been the primary emotional counterweight for him. I’m sure the kids will miss their wonderful grandparents too.

If we move to Dallas, I will miss the amazing babysitters we have. Right now we rotate through eight exceptional young women, each of whom is more impressive than the next. I feel like I’m watching The Twelve Dancing Princesses make the rounds–each young woman is so beautiful, vibrant, creative, fun, and good with the kids. Ammon cries when Abe comes home and takes him away from the babysitter o’ the day, and the girls wait breathlessly by the door for these girls’ arrivals. Today Ammon heard that it was almost time for the babysitter to come and scrambled to the window shouting, “AMMA! AMMA!” (Emma! Emma!”).

Also, I remember what it was like before we discovered babysitters. I was going totally crazy, felt really isolated (it didn’t help that for part of that time period I didn’t have access to a car), and honestly looked forward to late night trips to the grocery store just so I could have some peace of mind. Whenever I wonder why I enrolled in cooking school, I make myself remember how trapped I felt at home without any time to myself, and then the lightbulb goes off. If I were to go back in time, I would sit down with my former self and say, “Self, you don’t need cooking school. You just need to invest in regular babysitters. In the end, that will be a lot cheaper than cooking school AND you will get what you really want: Time alone!”

Good babysitters have changed my life. Abe and I can go on dates whenever we want! I can have time alone if I need it! I can be on bedrest. That would not be possible without these incredible young women, all of whom are in walking distance and don’t need to be picked up or driven back to their houses. They also are extremely affordable, considering the supply/demand ratio of young women to families that actually use babysitters. (In Utah, most young families just rely on their nearby relatives, but since my mom lives with us and already helps out a TON with the kids, we try never to leave her alone with the kids when we go out, the only exception being if the kids are already in bed and all they need is an adult physically in the house while they sleep.)

Anyway, I was feeling fine about Texas and felt like I could leave Utah without sentiment weighing me down (especially knowing we will be back in two-three years), but then I considered the babysitter situation and literally almost cried. I am sure there are great young women in Texas, but I highly doubt I will find EIGHT exceptional young women within walking distance of my house–plus more that I have never had to call because one of the eight has always been available. Having so many babysitters means there is almost never a problem lining up an outing (except when there is a youth church event on a weekday evening, and then, if it’s a gender-specific event, I also have had great babysitting experiences with several of the amazing young men in the ward).

So, in sum, I am now in the veto-the-Texas-move camp, although I will support a move if Abe negotiates some sort of screaming deal. Normally, I adore moving and fresh starts–and Texas sounds so fun! But having considered the babysitter situation and what my life could be like when this disappears, I would infinitely prefer just to stay in Utah for now. I love staying at home with my kids, but I am now spoiled by being able to leave my kids whenever I need a break, and I can’t imagine how I would function without that in my life. No thanks.

(And I forgot to take pictures yesterday, hence this picture-free ode instead of the usual cataloguing of the day.)