Tuesday, July 17


I don't know if you'll remember, but last year we stopped at Albertson's on the way to Chuck-E-Cheese and got the only little boy cake they had- a bright blue Cookie Monster cake that made for some fun blue surprises the next day.  When I asked the girls what kind of cake we should get Kael, they said immediately, "A red Elmo!  So we'll have red poop this time!"  And you'll never guess where they wanted to celebrate. 
I was planning on making a regular old cake at home, but ran out of time, so on our way to Chuck-E's we stopped again at Albertson's.  I brought Kael in with me to point out his favorite cake, and lo and behold-  the only little boy cake on display?  Bright red Elmo, which Kael immediately singled out.

Although his first reaction to the hideously dressed rodent approaching was one of distress,

immediately after Chuck-E left, Kael started calling for him.  I missed the first two yells, which were so loud he actually yelled his candle out instead of blowing it.  But we got him to re-enact it, even though it's not nearly as intense as the first couple of calls...

When we got home, Daddy hooked up the bike trailer and took him for a ride.  Maybe his first... it's been a long time since we got this thing out.
His sisters were more than happy to take turns while he rode every time.

He is a little spoiled...

I was right to be curious about what having a boy would be like. This kid has been the exact opposite of his sisters so far in just about every area.

The girls were all very outgoing. I couldn't usually keep up with them after sacrament meeting as they booked it to nursery and waited for someone to let them in.  This kid won't enter unless I go in and stay for an hour. 

The girls have never played alone... they're always playing with each other. Kael is content to hunker down on his own for a while. This is one of his favorite spots.

I wouldn't let him climb up onto that stool.

He's the loudest kid we've ever had....

and the most naked.  He does run exactly like Anya did when she was his age, though. 
 Bushwhacker style.

He's been the easiset to put down for naps and bedtime.  So easy- I just grin my head off almost every time he goes down with a smile and I remember that cringe I used to have whenever I closed a nursery door behind me.
One of the other few similarities...
He's just as affectionate as the girls are.  Every night he calls "Miiiiiiaaaa!  Shiiishers!"  (He doesn't use Anya or Bree's names unless we tell him to) and puckers his lips waiting for them to drop their toothbrushes or books or pajamas and run into his room.  Then he runs to them with his arms flug wide and yells "Huuug!" as he squeezes with all his might, and puckers up again and smacks them right on the lips.  He'll kiss anyone who mentions the word, we've learned. 
He has nooooo idea we think he's the cutest thing in the house.
Love this boy. Bring on the two's!

Saturday, July 14

Better than I thought

So far, this housekeeper idea is working way better than I anticipated.  I forgot to factor in the tendency my girls have to show off for people they don't see every day.  It hasn't been on my list of desirable kid-behaviors before, since all it's done is raise whine-levels and mess with sleep schedules.

The day after she came the first time, the girls finished cleaning the toy room that she had started helping them with.  And we kept it clean for two whole days!  That's never happened before.  Then another first:  Bree was the one to clean it the next week.  Alone!  I was visibly astonished by what I saw when I went up after an hour- she laughed at the incredulous look on my face and was so proud of herself she didn't stop talking about it all day.

Mia spent an entire morning helping me catch up on laundry.  Granted, she was procrastinating starting schoolwork.  But still...  she was excited to keep going until it was done, and usually these guys poop out after fifteen minutes.

My first hypothesis isn't very generous: they are trying to show up the housekeeper.  They didn't give a hoot about helping me before they saw someone else doing it.  There is a small chance they've been willing to do this all along, but were just too overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff they let accumulate on their floors when I let them. 

In all actuality, we're not getting any more done than we did before Zach was in residency and I wasn't pregnant. She is just one person- there's only so much you can do in two hours.  But with hers and the girls' help, we've reached functional again.  Stress-level has gone way down- I've stopped growling and started just yelling "time-out" again.  For an entire week, no one has told me the clean pajamas are all gone, we've had clean dishes when we needed them, and our feet aren't blackened from crossing the famous Nevada dust layer covering our entire ground floor of tile. (Which I can walk across at the end of most days without gimping... bonus!)

I'm crossing my fingers that the girls' eagerness isn't because of the novelty of the situation.  If this mini-trend continues, and the girls are really getting a little neater, then when I've got my body back and mostly to myself, and we don't need help anymore, things should end up better than they started, right? Right? 

Okay, I'm back from a laughing fit.  Kael is now taking his third bath of the day.  I think we might not be going ice skating for a while.

Friday, July 6

Bump Hump Day

Halfway there!  I've already slowed down considerably.  By the end of the day I can't walk, and in the mornings it takes me an hour to quit gimping around- especially days I go to the grocery store.  Woo hoo!  For some reason though, knowing this is the last time I'll ever feel this way makes it considerably more bearable than it was with the last pregnancy.  Also- this time I knew what I was in for... whereas with Kael's pregnancy I was shocked at how I felt, and fear of the unknown made me a little wimpier.

Unfortunately, this time I have an almost two-year-old who is speeding up at the same rate I'm slowing down.

I can't get the girls to clean a completely toddler-tornado messed up house- I can only get them to maintain their own messes.  ("But Kaaaeel got these out! He has to clean it!")  When we left on vacation to Utah last month, we had a completely clean house.  Zach had a day off before we got home and even mopped the entire floor downstairs.  I was determined to keep it up, knowing I'd start feeling the baby-weight soon.

Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, my weakening hold on damage control has lost control of the damage. Even Zach tries to help, but he's only around a couple hours a day, and one of those is dinner and the other is usually fish-tank or pool or lawn or other awesome honey-do stuff.  (Can I just stop and say- my husband is He-man? Yeah.) 

So we're taking extreme measures for a few weeks.  We're using the girls' ice skating lesson money to hire a housekeeper to get us from disaster-house back to damage-control-house.  I let the girls choose, actually.  Do you want me to pay for help getting this place back to rights or do you want to help me yourselves and keep your lessons?  They decided they wanted help for a while, if they could start back up again once the house is clean.  I don't think they fully understand that they will still have a very big part in that process... but it was getting too hard to tie all those laces anyway, so I can't say I was disappointed with their choice.

What's awesome, and what you'd better not tell the girls, is that we found a bunch of housekeepers on Care.com willing to work for $10 an hour.  Which is going to end up costing half what the lessons did, mwah ha.

We've got two people doing little "trial-runs" over the next week, and hopefully we'll find a good fit.  This will be really weird, having someone else doing the weekly stuff I usually do.

You know how people advertise their weight-loss goals to provide some sense of accountability for their goal? Well, cyber-space, this is my mess-loss goal:  get everything back running the way it's supposed to in a month with professional help, maintain it for another month, but spend the time Miss Housekeeper is saving me, helping the girls form better habits.  By the time school starts, I'm hoping to get down to very minimal visits from our helper until I get my body back.

Wednesday, July 4

Who knew

We've been trying for years to get the kids into swimming lessons, but weird logistical problems have always kept us from doing it.  Every class I found needed parental involvement, and I was outnumbered.  By the summer I felt comfortable trusting one of the twins by the side of the pool while I helped the other, I had an infant to leave by the side of the pool, and I really didn't want to deal with that. When we moved here last summer, knowing we wanted a pool at our house, we were especially anxious to get them into lessons.  But we missed deadlines while we moved four times and I was trying to find a house.
So this summer we found ourselves with a pool and four kids who couldn't swim a stroke. 
Turns out we didn't need lessons after all.  You throw them in enough times, and they figure it out.  It helps that they can touch the bottom in every part of the pool- I don't think the twins would have been able to get out of their floaties alone otherwise.
In a matter of weeks they've gone from hating their faces splashed to swimming underwater across the pool. Now they're teaching themselves to float and kick and do arm strokes! They're no Olympians, but we were just shooting for not drowning. :)

That's Bree under there!  Even two weeks ago, I never would have believed it.

Same with Mia!  Anya was in trouble, so she missed out this time around... but she's been doing the same.