Sunday, November 15, 2015

More Zach-Talk

"No. Swear words. I wanna use swear words!" -Zach, when Will gently corrected him ('gosh-darnit, Zach')

"Dad, will you sing "Hatty-Birthday-To-You?" -Zach

"Hannaburger" [hamburger] -Zach

"I wanna see the wopter-copter [helicopter]." -Zach

Thursday, October 29, 2015

And Speaking of God

I went to a parent-teacher conference for Zach the other day, at his religiously-affiliated preschool. The conference was immensely gratifying, almost as much so as Elise's (in which her teacher reportedly said she wished she had a classroomful of Elises and compared her to J.K. Rowling! *Cough, cough,* genius daughter!).

Zach's teacher says he is doing wonderfully, talking up a proverbial storm, and generally getting along great. This is especially nice because I haven't even been the one responsible for bringing him to his school, packing his little lunch, or doing the majority of the Zach-upbringing, in months--except for schlepping him around to his siblings' after-school activities, and immersing him in the requisite swearing-while-driving.

Thank goodness for family, community support, and good help when a new baby is born.

So we're (Zach n' I) driving home from the conference and have the following exchange:

Zach: (singing, making preschool-sanctioned hand gestures) Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Give a little clap, clap, clap! Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Fold them just like that!

(bows head in prayer) God is great, God is good; let us thank Him for our food. A-MEN!

Me: Oh, you're praying before you eat your sandwich, just like you do in school.

Zach: Yeah!

Zach: Hey Mom.

Me: What.

Zach: (Shouting at top of lungs) G-D DAMMIT!

In retrospect, Zach's teacher seemed to be laughing about something and looking at me out of the corner of her eyes during the conference.

It's back to the Swear Jar for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


This article is awesome:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

In The Fall of the Year

Zach's moment of zen: getting to hold BeeBee George

Saturday, September 19, 2015

All Eyez On G

Two weeks ago yesterday, George was born at 35 weeks, and at least two weeks earlier than I'd originally thought he would be. He spent a week in the NICU, not strictly due to the prematurity but because he was breathing too shallowly when he first came out. Thankfully, he is home now and doing much better. I am much better, too, now that I'm not itching nearly as badly (curse you, cholestatic liver).

George Thomas B.
6.28 lb (I think!) He was a pretty good size for how early he was.
19" long

Here he is with Daddy.

The NICU thing was pretty strange, especially at first. It felt SUPER, ALL SORTS OF WRONG to leave the hospital without George. I kept having bad dreams when I got home; not that I got much sleep anyway because I was supposed to be up every 3 hours pumping, and even when I did get a little shut-eye I would wake up drenched in sweat. When he finally came home I felt incredibly relieved, and not just to avoid fighting the traffic to see him.

Also, I hate pumping.

So far, George seems to enjoy being awake often between the hours of 10pm and 5am, sleeping while being held, Skittles-flavored breastmilk, and pooping. He dislikes nasal cannulae and hiccups.

The kids are enjoying him, too. Even Zach has been pretty into him; he desperately wants to hold Baby George, but this is a dicey proposition for a two-year-old and a preemie. Maybe when he gets a little bigger and hardier (George, not Zach. Zach is plenty big and hardy--speaking of big, it is Will's tenth birthday today, and we just celebrated Zach's 2nd and James 11th. Quit growing up so fast, kids.)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Curious George and The Terrible Itch

Warning: Author is itchy and bitchy

I'm developing an obnoxious pregnancy complication that I had during my last pregnancy: obstetric cholestasis.

The nontechnical explanation is this. It's where you itch like you have a full-body mosquito bite, especially at night when you're (fer the LOVE of GOD) trying to sleep. Your palms, soles of feet, cheeks, upper back, upper arms, boobs, skin between the toes, and pretty-much-everything-elses itch. But yeah, especially the hands and feet.

It's getting bad enough that I've scratched open some of the skin on my feet from scratching in my sleep.

The technical explanation has something to do with the liver, gallbladder, bile acids/salts in the bloodstream, sensitivity to pregnancy hormones, a medication called Ursodiol, another medication called Benadryl, utter exhaustion, and wishing one were able to unzip and remove one's own skin. Oh, and weekly or twice-weekly fetal nonstress tests. And hand-wringing (mine), because stillbirth is a little more likely than in usual times.

The only thing that helps the itching is NOTHING WHATSOEVER OMG. It doesn't help that the temperatures outside have been hovering around 100.

The poor kids are sick of my being sick/bitchy and quite ready to return to school, I think.

The only good news is that I have some really awesome sitters helping me (Joe is away on a four-day bachelor party right now, because of course), and that this stupid complication means they'll be inducing me early again this time. Thankee Jesus--no need to worry about having a baby on the side of the 405.

My prediction is Sept 17th, though they (docs) haven't committed to anything yet. But the 17th would be good, because Will wouldn't have to share a birthday (his 10th birthday!) with Baby George. Did I mention we're probably naming the baby George?


Lately Zach has taken to lifting people's shirts, exposing their bellies, and saying, "Baby George?" He especially loves to do this to Daddy. I wonder if he is expecting Curious George The Monkey to come out of Mom's tummy at the end of all this, though, because that's one of his favorite book characters and the only frame of reference he has for "George".

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Death of a SalesVan

Our dejected minivan finally shucked its mortal coil.

It happened during our multi-state road trip a few weeks ago. We'd just reached an elevation of approximately 11,000 feet, near the top of Mount Crumpet or something like that (read: overlooking Denver and 45 minutes shy of our ultimate destination, which was my brother's house). We'd already seen the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and hiked briefly through Bryce Canyon. We'd stayed in and around the "parks" region of Southern Utah enough to be getting antsy of all the Mormon/cowboy weirdness, obligatory tourism, and blazing heat, and were driving intently toward Max and Megan's. The kids had only been mildly to moderately obnoxious that day, and Joe and I were just starting to shout to each other--over the usual child-related din--about how the minivan was doing with this grand journey.

Me: (puts feet up on the dashboard, and aims the A/C directly at pregnant torso) So how's the van doing?!
Joe: You know, it's actually doing amazingly well for being at almost 200k miles!

(5 minutes later)

Minivan: RATTATATATATAT! GRrrrrrrRRRRRR! (Horrible engine noises) *Car refuses to accelerate*

Me and Joe: Oh shit.

We put the flashers on and pulled over into a weigh station area for large commercial vehicles that was right near the tippy-top of the mountain pass. The kids started to get nervous, but we reassured them that everything was going to be fine; we just needed to put a little bit of oil in the car and all would be right as rain. Somehow we managed to coast in the far right lane to a gas station, where Joe poured in, like, four quarts of oil. The van was still loud, lethargic, and very unhappy. And the minute the guy at the repair shop heard the noise the car was making in an idle, he began to shake his head in a way that was both definitive and sad.

"The damage is done," the repair guy prognosticated. Due to some kind of loose bearing rattling around all over inside, the engine was probably minutes away from seizing. But that wasn't before he informed us that there was exactly jack-sh*t on the mountain in terms of towing, car rental services, or places to comfortably stop (other than where we were standing). We could cut our losses now or we could try to make it through THE ONE LAST TINY HILL of the mountain pass (about 3 miles long) before a long downward trajectory to the city.

Naturally, we decided to try to coast it.

100 feet into the THE ONE LAST TINY HILL, the van went to the little diamond mine in the sky. Indeed, it proved to be worth more dead than alive because the junkyard (after much ado and effort to get the title) offered us more for it than the CarMax dealership would have, had it been in any way serviceable.

(This was taken after Triple-A finally showed up and the van was towed to the bottom. And Zach was the only one who didn't get the memo about making a sad face.)

Anyway, the van's long-coming martyrdom was a sacrifice that won't soon be forgotten; we got a much nicer car after Megan came and picked us up. The American Dream was alive and well for us that day, as we bought a very-gently-used, pricey foreign dream car with all the accompanying bells whistles, extra seats, and safety features.

Fast forward to today: I take four kids to the DMV to register a vehicle purchased out of state and only cried twice in doing so. Alas, that is a story for another day.