Friday, September 30, 2011

Berries, Dancing, and Fuzzy Baby Hair

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Matt again. That video just makes me happy.

. . . cuddling Anna, and rubbing my chin on her soft, fuzzy baby hair.

. . . hunting for little container garden strawberries with Joy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beauty in the Corridor

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally getting to the store for a flu shot, only to learn that they had stopped administering it for the day.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading books with Daniel.

And another thing . . .

. . . as I approached our front door today, I noticed Anna intently staring upward. I followed her gaze, and noticed that the corridor walls and ceiling were different shades of grey depending on the way the light struck them. It was actually rather picturesque, and it reminded me that there is beauty and wonder everywhere if you just slow down enough to notice it. I have so many, many things to do that I tend to rush around, already thinking about the next task before I've finished the current one. I'm fortunate to have children to remind me to savor the small joys of life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jar Jar, Flying Magnets, and Y!

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel throwing a board book at my shin. And a magnet at my cheek. And a Lego tower at Joy's forehead. I don't think he intentionally throws them directly at us; he just throws so darn many things that some of them are bound to strike people.

. . . learning that there has been a recent listeria outbreak in tainted canteloupe. The article said that you're pretty safe unless you have a compromised immune system (i.e. you're elderly, pregnant, etc.), but you may not show any symptoms until weeks after you eat the tainted food. Good grief - is nothing safe to eat these days?

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel calling the color orange "Jar Jar."

. . . baking with Joy today.

. . . Daniel (who has recently decided that the alphabet is totally awesome), gleefully shouting "Y!" every time he caught sight of my BYU shirt today.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy may have a political career ahead of her. She refuses to answer any question she finds inconvenient or incriminating. Examples:

Parent: "What do we do in the rocking chair?" [correct answer: sit, not stand or jump]
Joy: "Ummm . . . somersaults."

Joy: "Don't call Anna [a nickname]."
Parent: "Well, don't you call Daniel [another nickname]?"
Joy: "Mostly I call him Daniel."
Parent (thinks): "You're avoiding the question, chica."

Parent: "Why is Daniel crying?"
Joy: "I don't remember."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tired and Hugged

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . feeling dog tired most of the day.

. . . losing my temper with Daniel over a few trivial things, partly because I was dog tired.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy giving me lots of hugs and kisses when I dropped her off at school.

. . . doing puzzles with Joy this afternoon.

. . . Phillip giving me a big hug.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blessings and Family

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna receiving her baby blessing in sacrament meeting this morning. The blessings Phillip was inspired to pronounce upon her reminded me what a privilege it is to welcome this little daughter of God into our family.

. . . lots of relatives joining us to celebrate that sweet, sacred event. I love being with our extended family.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Worm and Tickle Monster

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Joy read a board book over and over as we walked home from the library. Seeing her stroll along with her nose in a book reminded me of myself as a girl.

. . . Daniel pushing the library door open for another patron.

. . . Phillip asking for a turn holding Anna. Men little imagine how cute we think it is when they show love for their children.

. . . hearing the big kids laugh as they chased each other around the front room.

. . . Phillip playing Tickle Monster and nabbing them as they ran by. Joy often tried to stay out of reach, but Daniel would usually charge right at Phillip, meeting his ticklish fate head on.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Equinoctial Cuddles

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . breaking up kid fights, especially when I don't know who started it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . holding Anna close while she's in cuddle mode (which is most of the time) and there are no distractions. It's like watching a sunset or eating a bowl of ice cream--life is just simple and good.

. . . trying a simple banana smoothie recipe that I found on (of all places) The Weather Channel website.

. . . celebrating the autumnal equinox by baking pumpkin cookies with Joy.

. . . using the words "autumnal" and "equinoctial" in a blog post.

. . . finally sifting through most of the clutter on my desk. I still have a few piles left, but they're smaller, and at least now I know what's in them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rookie of the Year

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel throwing everything he can get his hands on. Perhaps the kid has a future in baseball.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna giving me an outrageously cute smile. Right before she spit up down my shirt.

And another thing . . .

. . . this morning my mother-in-law offered to hold down the fort while I got out of the house on my own. I used that precious freedom . . . to go to Costco. At this stage of my life, running an errand quickly and efficiently without someone talking my ear off is a heady indulgence.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Temple, A Balloon, and Chopsticks

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel giggling like crazy each time Phillip blew up a balloon then let it go so it could splutter wildly around the room.

. . . some women from the stake volunteering to babysit young children so their parents could worship in the temple today. I couldn't go in for very long before I had to get back and feed Anna, but it was still lovely to be in the temple.

. . . listening to Phillip offer a prayer before we went inside the temple. His prayers tend to be very thoughtful, and they are one of the many reasons I love him.

. . . a Korean friend bringing us Korean beef and sticky rice for dinner, complete with chopsticks. Tasty and fun.

And another thing . . .

. . . I'm actually going to bed at a sensible hour tonight because I'm even more tired than I was yesterday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bread, Chalk, and a Yellow Shirt

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . putting numbing cream on my big kids' arms an hour before their flu shots this morning, only to get to the doctor's office and learn that I had put it on the wrong spot.

. . . Joy freaking out when she found out that the shot was going to hurt after all.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baking bread, then eating it.

. . . Daniel finally developing the dexterity to color with sidewalk chalk, but still getting more of it on his face than on the ground.

. . . Anna going down easily tonight.

. . . Daniel getting a kick out of saying the word "yellow." I was going over color names with him this morning, and he decided that "yellow" was a lot of fun to say, so he said it at every opportunity. It helped that he had a yellow shirt on, so he always had at least one thing to talk about.

. . . cuddling Anna this evening.

And another thing . . .

. . . I am dog tired.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tired, Crazy, and Back in My Pre-Bump Jeans

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . filling out lots of doctor forms so my kids can switch to the new pediatrician office.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . putting on non-maternity clothes.

. . . Pink Grandma and Aunt Laura joining us for dinner.

. . . Anna dozing off without a whimper tonight after sitting in the swing for a while. Of course, she woke up an hour later and fussed for ten minutes, but then she crashed for the night. That swing was worth every penny we paid for it.

And another thing . . .

. . . I decided to take everyone to Trader Joe’s. Our actual experience in the store was fine, since the two youngest were restrained (Daniel in the cart, Anna in the sling) and the TJ workers are so cheerful that I can’t help smiling back at them. The transitions to and from the car were just crazy.

. . . I keep staying up too late, and I can feel the sleep deprivation starting to get the better of me. Tomorrow may be a rough day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Manna, Fro Yo, and Entomophagy

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . going for a walk with the kids. It was good to get some fresh air and a change of scene.

. . . churning my latest batch of homemade yogurt (which turned out very well - the thermos works much better than the crockpot) into vanilla frozen yogurt. Yum.

And another thing . . .

. . . today I read about a growing trend in developed countries (most other parts of the world have been doing it for millennia). It's called entomophagy--or in other words, eating insects. Sure they’re high in protein and easier to farm than cattle, but I would have a really, really hard time making myself eat something with a thorax.

. . . in Sunday school today, I got to thinking about the manna God fed the Israelites in the wilderness. Manna was delicious, miraculous food (Exodus 16: 14-15, 31) that sustained them year after year, but since they ate it all day every day they soon grew tired of it and forgot to appreciate it (Numbers 11:4-6). I experience the same phenomenon with my kids. They are sweet and wonderful, and I’m blessed to have them in my life, but since I spend so many hours with them every single day it’s easy to forget how lucky I am.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waffles and Sniffles

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna fussing a lot this evening. She tends to nap a lot during the day, be wide awake in the late afternoon, then go down hard in the evening. She's tired, but even once we get her to sleep she wakes frequently to cry some more before dropping off again. I wish I knew how to ease that transition for her. I'm sure we'll figure it out sooner or later, but in the meantime, it's rough going for all parties.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making waffles for my family. It feels good to be cooking again.

. . . chatting at the annual ward barbecue.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . awaking at 5:30am to the sound of Anna snuffling and snorting as she struggled to breathe with a stuffy nose (courtesy of one of her adoring siblings, no doubt).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . spending some time with just Daniel while Joy was at preschool and Anna napped. Since Joy constantly wants my attention and Daniel is usually content to play on his own, it has been hard for me to spend time with just him. I think it will be a good thing for us to have some one-on-one time on a regular basis this school year.

. . . noting that Daniel (like his mother) ignored every other component of tonight's fruit salad until the last raspberry was consumed.

. . . visiting with a cheerful, thoughtful woman who has a wonderful ability to warm hearts and lift spirits. When I grow up, I want to be like her.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Hilarious Nugget

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . having a giggle contest with Daniel.

. . . taking a leisurely walk with the kids on a pleasantly cool morning.

. . . Daniel finding it uproariously amusing to dump a half-eaten chicken nugget from his plate into his lap over and over and over and over . . .

And another thing . . .

. . . I love that Anna finds it comforting when I cuddle her. If she starts to cry, she often calms right down if I just pick her up, hold her close, and softly tell her that things are OK.

. . . you can always tell when Daniel has gotten bored with a toy, utensil, drink, etc., because he will suddenly chuck it as hard as he can. It's as if something in his brain says, "Hmmm--I'm bored, but I know a surefire way to liven things up."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

School, Smiles, and a Homecoming

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip walking in the door, home from his travels.

. . . Daniel being very cooperative at a doctor appointment so we could get to school in time to pick Joy up. Thanks, Little Buddy.

. . . Joy eagerly telling me what she did at school today.

And another thing . . .

. . . they say infants don’t really learn to smile until they’re two or three months old, but Anna’s facial expressions still strike me as pleasant and cheerful, most of the time. Of course, her rides in the car seat are still notable exceptions to that rule.

. . . Joy started her first day of preschool today. I wondered how things would go since she has been a little clingy lately, but after a few minutes she gave me a hug and told me I should leave. I was relieved and proud of her for being willing to let us go, but I also felt a bit wistful to think that my firstborn is starting school. It’s just another reminder that childhood is fleeting and my daughter is growing up. Sometimes I get tired of her wanting to spend so much time with me, but in a few years her interests and attention will lie elsewhere, and before I know it she’ll be gone from home completely. It's actually a rather surreal thought at this point.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Small Circus

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . eagerly opening a new bag of Circus Animal cookies (I've been craving them for weeks and finally decided to buy some this morning) and discovering that it was only a quarter full. Even the cookies looked smaller than I remembered. I felt a bit cheated, but that certainly won't keep me from eating all of them.

. . . debating whether to let Daniel kiss Baby Anna now that he has a cold. I decided to wipe his nose often and let him kiss her hair.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . eating a night-before-school-starts cupcake with my kids after dinner.

. . . taking a nap.

. . . visiting a friend who thinks my baby is just delightful. It's good to be reminded that in addition to being substantial sources of stress, my children are endearingly wonderful, and my life is sweeter because they are a part of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Treasures Amid Chaos

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel chucking his cup of strawberry smoothie on the floor.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting Joy's new classroom before she starts preschool on Wednesday. Joy had a great time meeting her teacher, decorating part of a bulletin board, and going on a treasure hunt to find different places around her classroom.

. . . Phillip giving Joy a priesthood blessing this evening in preparation for the new school year. Before he offered the blessing he took a minute to talk with her about it. I think his loving, reverent manner taught her more than words could what a sacred privilege it is to receive a priesthood blessing.

And another thing . . .

. . . this morning really drove home the fact that my life has suddenly become a lot more complicated. I had to wake Anna up early to get to the preschool tour in time, and it took a lot of time and effort to get the kids ready, then in and out of the car each time. Once we got home, I struggled to prepare lunch while Joy talked my ear off and the other kids were fussy. The rest of the day was much calmer, and before I know it I'll probably be handling three kids like a veteran circus juggler, but for now I'm reluctant to even take them all out of the house at the same time if I can possibly help it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Trying Not To Cough

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . spending most of Relief Society suppressing the urge to cough. I really wanted to stay and hear the lesson, but I probably looked like I was sitting on a tack the whole time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my parents and sister coming to visit Anna (and the rest of us, too ;).

. . . relaxing on the couch with my sweetheart this evening. We'd both had a long, full day, and it felt good to just sit together and do nothing for a while.

And another thing . . .

. . . many babies find rides in the car soothing. Anna is not one of those babies.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Milk Maid Meditation

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up super tired this morning. It was partly my fault for staying up a little late, and partly Anna's fault for waking me up so many times then getting up early.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling Anna and calling her "Milk Maid."

. . . folding and stuffing programs for church tomorrow with my husband (he's handling them for a clerk who's out of town). It's a fitting activity for the week of our anniversary, since that is essentially how we met: folding and stuffing programs in a singles ward, where Phillip was Sunday School president and I was ward librarian.

And another thing . . .

. . . both the big kids are currently obsessed with a certain toy. They often play with it together, and I have mixed emotions whenever I see them doing that. On the one hand, it's great that they're learning to cooperate. On the other hand, it's only a matter of time before things go awry, and there is no real way for me to tell who was responsible (and therefore who I should discipline or assist). So much of their playtime is like that--a perpetual teeter-totter of camaraderie and conflict.

. . . remember those breathing exercises you learned in childbirth class? I don't think I've ever used them while I was in labor, but lately I'm using them a lot when I feed Anna. The first minute or so after she latches on is just not fun (especially if Joy chooses that precise moment to start peppering me with questions).

. . . Google's spellchecker is just weird sometimes. It didn't recognize "Anna's" so I checked to see what alternatives it suggested. It proposed Ana's, Anni's, and Ania's, but not Anna's. Srsly?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Home with Fuzzy and Happy

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . forgetting a cardinal rule of newborn parenting: don't put on any shirt you care about until two seconds before you walk out the door, because it will surely be spit up upon.

. . . dribbling blueberry smoothie on my white shirt. Can't blame the baby for that one.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending an orientation for Joy's new preschool. I'm excited for her - I think she'll have a great time there.

. . . stroking Anna's soft, fuzzy hair.

. . . watching Joy and Phillip head off for a church daddy-daughter campout. I think they'll have a great time.

. . . hanging out with Daniel. He sure is a cheerful little guy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Big Kids, Tiny Berries

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting a wicked cramp in my leg as I was sleepily stretching in bed this morning.

. . . trying to fix lunch right when Anna decided to start crying for no apparent reason.

. . . Phillip having to stay really late on campus. Eating dinner without my husband is kind of like trying to party if none of my guests showed up--it can be done, but it's hard to really put my heart into it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy helping me tidy up the room.

. . . getting a bunch of little tasks done this morning.

. . . hugging Daniel (he's getting so big - he looks less like a baby and more like a boy every day).

. . . Joy reading to Daniel and helping him pick (miniscule) strawberries to eat from our container garden.

. . . learning that a friend successfully defended her PhD dissertation today. It's been a long, rough road, and I'm thrilled for her.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy cheering for Daniel when he won the game they were playing.

. . . hugging my husband.

. . . eating really good Italian bread a friend bought to accompany the dinner she made for us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Almost Autumn

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling Anna.

. . . watching Joy and Daniel play follow-the-leader in the store this morning. It's so fun to watch them play together. Of course, they were like gas and matches after naptime, but we won't talk about that.

. . . chatting with a friend this afternoon. It was nice to just spend some time connecting with her while our kids played.

And another thing . . .

. . . I’m excited that it’s September and we’re quickly approaching autumn. I love the comfortable coolness of fall, and the way it always beckons me to fire up the oven and bake good things. I also love autumn because I associate it with the beginning of holiday season. Yes, summer has its share of holidays (including my birthday), but they aren’t the sort that involve fun decorations, family traditions, and a bit of magical fun. I don’t own any Labor Day decor, but I love decorating our apartment for Halloween and Christmas, and even the approach of the autumnal equinox makes my heart beat a little faster because it’s the inaugural day of pumpkin cookie season in our home.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running on Fumes with a Dead Battery

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up at 7am feeling like I'd been hit by a bus. I'm sure I would have felt far worse if I'd gotten up at 5am, though (see below).

. . . working up the nerve to go to the store, then spending half an hour putting on kids' shoes and shepherding everyone out to (and into) our vehicle, only to discover that three lights were left on inside it and the battery was dead. Siiiiiigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my dear husband taking charge of Anna at 5am so I could sleep a little more.

. . . our Korean neighbor kindly trying to resuscitate our unresponsive car.

. . . Joy helping me knock down all the water bottle bowling pins for our home evening activity.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy asked me to take turns finding a hidden toy this morning. The first time she found it, she told me she scored 100 points. The next time, she said she scored 800 points. She never bothered to tell me how many points I got (perhaps it was my job to calculate and verbalize that information). Needless to say, Joy won that game.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nonstop Parenting = Tired

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna randomly deciding to stay awake while the other kids had nap/quiet time. Usually that is when I study scriptures and generally recharge my batteries, but I never got a chance to regroup today so I'm pretty worn out.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hugging my husband.

. . . Daniel helping me clear the table after dinner.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Peace and Quiet

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . nursing. It's OK most of the time, but the first minute or so still hurts every time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the rest of the day. Phillip took Joy and Daniel up to my parents' cabin, so Anna and I got to just relax at home all day. Actually, Anna is a world champion relaxer--she slept almost the entire day. As for me, I enjoyed napping, showering, blogging, baking some bread, and cuddling my little girl, whether she was awake to appreciate it or not.


Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . noticing that most of my container garden is withering because it spent the last week of August unwatered. Technically, unrolling a hose and watering lots of pots probably isn't on the list of approved postpartum activities, but those thyme and rosemary plants have been with me longer than two of my children. I'm not letting them croak that easily (and I don't trust myself to remember to ask Phillip to water them when he gets home).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . nursing getting better. It still hurts, but not in a "will the cruel torment never end?!?" sort of way.

. . . figuring out a few ways to integrate Baby's schedule with the big kids' needs. I don't have all the details figured out yet, but today's little success were encouraging.

And another thing . . .

. . . this afternoon I found myself reflecting on a book called Deep Survival, by Laurence Gonzales. After reviewing the cases of numerous people who survived hazardous situations (or didn’t), Gonzales notes that the key to survival isn’t necessarily wilderness training (though that certainly helps), but rather character traits and attitude. He says survivors don’t pin their hopes on rescuers, but make the determination to get themselves out of trouble one small step at a time, even if the odds seem impossibly long. They set small goals, set up routines, and never quit. What’s more, they keep a sense of humor, notice and enjoy the beautiful details around them, count their blessings, and celebrate their successes. They pray for help, and help others (thus becoming a rescuer, not a victim).

Gonzales wrote his book partly for people who want to survive shipwrecks and snowstorms, but mostly for people who want to “survive” job loss, addiction, illness, or any other source of stress. As I considered the survival traits he outlined, I reflected that they are exactly the sort of ideas I’ve been looking for to become a better parent, both in my current challenges and in the years ahead.

I’ve already seen that meshing three kids’ schedules is much easier (and less stressful), when I just try to figure it out bit by bit, one day at a time, rather than strategize what I will do every minute of every day for the next few years. I’m sure I’ll have a routine set up before I know it; the bigger question is whether I’ll remember to play and pray—enjoying the small, sweet moments, and seeking God’s help and guidance to keep improving.

P.S. Please don't feel compelled to assure me that I'm a good parent. I know I'm doing a good job, but I could be doing better. I want to progress, not coast.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . nursing. One side is doing OK, but the other one really, really hurts.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching my baby girl "smile" in her sleep.

. . . smiling in my sleep (while my mom took Joy and Daniel to the park - thanks, Mom).

. . . raising my arms up high to stretch my tired back, then glancing down to see Daniel doing the same stretch. Namaste.

And another thing . . .

. . . in a small way, the first days of nursing always give me a greater appreciation for the Atonement. Like the Savior, I endure intense pain on behalf of someone I love, who has no real comprehension of what I'm going through for them.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcoming Mih-Mih

It's fitting that my 600th Bluestocking post should be about something special.

The most memorable things about this weekend have included . . .

. . . the arrival of my baby daughter, Anna.

. . . all the help we've received from family and friends.

. . . cuddling my new baby, and hearing her little baby sounds.

. . . hugging my kids when I got home, and seeing them be excited about their new sister (I hope that lasts). Joy loves to kiss her cheek, and Daniel keeps cheerfully pointing at baby things and saying "Mih-mih" (his word for "Anna").

. . . watching my husband's tender smile as he holds our little baby.

And another thing . . .

. . . of course, it isn't all precious moments. I was tired as heck this morning, and I'm still not sure how I'm going to integrate the needs of our little girl into our busy life, but I'm sure I'll figure it out, bit by bit. I managed the first two times, and countless moms have adapted to a third child before me.

. . . they say if you latch your baby on correctly, nursing shouldn't hurt. Either that is bunk, or I've just never learned to do it right. At any rate, nursing really hurts the first week or two, and this time is no exception. Sigh. . . [wince!].