Wednesday, December 27, 2017

On Driving in New England

It took me awhile to push "Publish" on this one...  I'm kind of embarrassed by how long it is and I don't really know why wrote it.  I just feel a need to get this off my chest.  Sorry.

     I had been led to expect that the drivers in Massachusetts would be rude, pushy, speed-demons, cut-you-off-crazy, etc etc.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that people in MA actually observe the rules of the passing lane!  Really!  It is the coolest thing. EVER.  If two people are in the left lane of the highway1 and the car behind is driving faster than the car ahead, it is polite and expected that the car in front will temporarily move aside, to the right, let the faster car pass, and then get back into the left-hand lane.  And if the car in the left lane gets passed on the right, they will move over into the right lane (with a bit of shame) after being passed.  Sometimes, if the front, slower car is not realizing the behind car wants to pass, it is not considered rude for the behind car to quickly flash their lights.

This whole beautiful scenario would never ever ever happen in UT.  People pass in every lane, including the right lane (which IS considered rude here).

     Most people in UT cannot merge.  For real.  I remember being stuck in traffic on I-15 at 10:30pm only to find out the hubbub was caused by a 1-lane merge because of construction.  ONE LANE people.  Merging is not even noticed here.  It happens so effortlessly.  People just know that you go every other car and everyone gets in as tightly as they can and it's awesome!  They go down from 4 lanes to 1 and you hardly notice it's happening!

Crazy roads:
     I think most of the "rudeness" can probably be attributed to the shear craziness of the road layout.  The streets look as if a road engineer's toddler dumped a bowl of spaghetti onto the ground and served as the inspiration.  Where we live, it's rather rural so there are just a few main roads, but in Lowell and Boston it is out. of. control. insane!
- Have you ever been to a 7-way stop sign?  I have.
- Have you ever been using google maps, had it say "turn slight right" and wondered which slight right it was talking about?  I have.
- Have you ever looked at the map and wondered why the roads require you drive in such a round about way when if you blazed a trail straight there you would travel one-tenth the distance?  I have.
- Have you ever been following phone directions and every other street you pass it says you can turn there and arrive with a similar ETA?  I have.
- Have you ever had directions tell you that when the road Ts you should turn left, but if you turn right you'll have a similar ETA?  I have.

In fact, when people meet up at a location, as common as commenting about the weather is to ask which way they took to get there.

Don't even try using GPS in Boston when you're near a "highway" because it gets really confused and will think you're on when you're not or off when you're on.  And then there are the underground highways... just forget about it.

On the plus side, when you finally know how to get around without a GPS the drive always feels like you're taking the secret back-road way to get somewhere, which makes you feel cool.

Also, it's a really, really beautiful drive through all the trees.  It still takes my breath away. 

Lots of driving:
  I remember looking at houses and Jay being excited that we were only a 20 minute commute to work.  20 minutes?!!  That sounded horrific to me.  Spending 40 minutes in a car? Every. single. day?!

When we lived in Provo, UT, Jay was a 6 minute drive from work. We had a grocery store, doctor's office, orthodontist, gym, dentist, restaurants, elementary school and high school (and like 7 churches) all within walking distance.  I rarely went to Walmart because I knew it would take 12 minutes to get there2.  TWELVE!  Who has 24 minutes to spend driving to walmart!!

Now, as I've spoken to more people around, 20 minutes is, in fact, a great commute!  (especially since he only goes into work on days he is teaching or has a meeting...  working from home is an even better commute!)  Jay's dad drives 45 minutes one way AND he leaves at 4AM to avoid the rush-hour3 traffic.  45-minutes to an hour is considered completely normal.

I pretty much assume that if I'm going anywhere outside of our town (which is most of the time, since the only thing inside our town I drive to is the elementary school and the library) it's going to be a minimum 10 minute drive, and usually closer to 20.  Luckily, we have discovered audiobooks and the peace in the backseat that comes from listening to them, so I try to think of our commutes as educational experiences.

Also, the kids are trapped when I feel the need to lecture counsel about various family or household concerns.  It can be a handy time if you use it wisely ;)

Freeway on/off ramps:
  Whoever planned the ramps that connect two freeways together should be fired (if they haven't been already...)  It is very hard to explain to anyone who lives here.  They don't get it.  How could you do it any other way?  I started to feel like I was going crazy until I heard an Oregonian friend complain about the same thing.  It will be difficult to explain without a picture, but I'll do my best...
Let's say you are on highway A and you want to get to highway B.  So, you take the exit and guess where it spits you out?  Right before highway B's exit to get back onto highway A!  It's completely insane!  So now you have a scramble of cars who have just entered highway B and want to remain there, but they are in a lane that will automatically shove them back onto the highway they just came from.  Meanwhile, they are trying to change lanes into a mass of cars who want to be on highway A and so they all have to essentially trade places.  It's very stressful and unnecessary and a great cause for traffic during the earlier mentioned rush-hour times.

Punny/rhyming freeway signs:
     On the other hand, MA has some pretty clever freeway signs such as "click-it or ticket", "Don't drink and drive.  Arrive alive", "Use yah blinkah", "Designated drivers make the best New Year's Dates", and "Keep calm and drive on".

Turning left:
     Something I strongly dislike about the roads here is they are mostly very narrow and lack a left turning lane.  This means that if old Joe in front of you needs to turn left during a busy time, there's going to be a big backup of cars behind him, waiting for him to turn.  Making people wait behind me stresses me out to no end.  I strongly dislike inconveniencing people.  However, I've come to see that it's just the way of life here and I've never been beeped at for not turning when I should have, or heard someone else do it either.  (It's probably worse in Boston though).

Right of way ignored:
     Because of the left turning thing I just mentioned, there is a very strange phenomenon that has appeared seemingly out of kindness, but I still find obnoxious at times.  On many occasions, when there is a backup of cars behind a timid left-turner, an oncoming car will slow-down to let the left-turner go ahead.  (Usually, the slowing car will flash their lights as a sign that they can turn left)  There are times when I have been a grateful recipient of such treatment, but there have also been times when people do it unnecessarily and it just causes confusion- such as when the car I decide to turn after ends up being a person that decides to slow down to let me go, but doesn't flash their lights.  Now not only are the people behind me being held up, but the people behind the slowed car must stop as well.  It's particularly annoying if the car that slows is the last car in a string of cars.  They need not have slowed because there was nobody behind them, and actually, now I end up waiting more time to realize they are slowing than if they had just kept up the pace and let me go after them.

  This kind of driving requires mind-reading of strangers and is probably the hardest thing for me to get used to.

All things being said, I think driving here has made me a much less road-rageous creature and also much more compassionate to the seemingly weirdo driver.  Having been lost many times and therefore doing some weird maneuvers on many occasions myself has allowed me to more easily give crazy drivers the benefit of the doubt.

Closing school:
  When I was a kid, I think we were allotted 3 snowdays, which we almost NEVER had to use at the end of the school year.  I can only remember a small handful of times when school was cancelled because of the snow, and the picture I have of myself was with the snow depth actually tower above the height of my 4th grade self.  I still remember walking to school one time when the wind and the snow were coming down with such force that I couldn't even see my hand when it was completely outstretched in front of my face.  School was not cancelled that day.
   Here, it is much much more common.  The last 3 years we have used almost all of our 5 snow days.  I used to laugh and point fingers at these wimpy New Englanders who cancel school when they suspect an all night storm, but now that I've driven around in it, I understand why.
   The roads here, as I've mentioned earlier, are very windy and narrow and hilly and all the trees make for poor visibility as well.  One time I drove to Jay's parents (who live a 4 minute drive away) during a snow storm and I slid off the road when I was barely driving 5mph around a curve. 
   Also, the snow here is much much wetter than it is in UT and therefore is much more prone to forming ice on the roads.
   My final point about closing schools so easily is every child is picked up in a school bus here.  Buses are much less stable in snow than even a front-wheel drive minivan.

So there you have it.  On a whole, I find driving here to be more positive than I expected.  If we could just combine the passing/merging habits of MA with the better planning of UT, we might be on to something!

1. New Englanders call them "highways", not "freeways".  To me a "highway" has high speeds but may, occasionally have lights whereas a "freeway" would never have lights.  They do not use the term "freeway" out here at all.
2. looking back, there were many, many, much better reasons not to shop there...
3.Rush-hour is a misnomer. It's a lot longer than 1 hour.  a lot.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kid Conversation

Peach: (to me) Mom, can I use your banjo?
Me: what?! Do you mean my ukulele?
Peach: NO! Your BAN-JO!
Me: I don't have a banjo!
Peach: Well then what is Hazel wearing?

I look over at Hazel who had stolen my fuzzy sweater poncho.

Me: That's a poncho
Peach: A banjo?
Peach: A pon-jo?
Peach: Well can I wear your Bancho now? I'm cold.

Kid Conversation

The other day Peach had the realization that if we are all children of God, then I (her mom) would be her sister.

Peach: (to Hazel) Guess what!  Mom is my sister!  Because Heavenly Father is both of our fathers!
Hazel: Yeah, that's Jesus!
Jay: No, Jesus is our brother too, because he is the son of God.
Hazel: (with great surprise and a bit of disgust) WHAT?!  My brother?! But he has a beard!!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Math Game for Kids: Number Boxing

Now that Halloween's over (except, it's not for us, because we had a huge storm the night before and half our area was without power so it's been postponed until Friday, but anyway...) if you find your kids having too much candy, you might challenge them to boxing.  How it works:
You say a number, and see if they can make a filled in rectangle with that number of candies. (It works best if they're all the same size- like m&ms)

Can you make more than one box?

That's it.

Don't tell them their secretly learning about factoring and prime numbers-
If it can't be boxed, i.e. it can only be arranged in a line, it's prime.
If it can be boxed, the dimensions multiplied together will give you the number.  Some numbers have more than one box! (ex. 24 = 2x12, 3x8, 4x6)
If it's dimensions are equal, it is a square number!

Libby Conversation

Jay likes to sleep with his feet out.  I don't.  He always untucks the bottom of the sheet.  I usually don't mind, as long as the bottom of the sheet doesn't hang down past the end of the comforter.  Yesterday it did.  I tucked it in.

Jay: [laying down in bed, sarcastically] There seems to be something strange about our bed tonight.  Did you do something to it?
Me: Sorry, I couldn't stand it.  I had to tuck it in.  It looked like we were living in the house of a homeless person.

wait a second...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Waiting for the School Bus

Look at Toad's left foot.  awwwwww
and 'cause I can never pick just one...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kid Conversation

I often read a chapter of something-or-other to the girls before bed, and tonight we started reading "The Secret Garden" (which I'm embarrassed to say, I have never actually read before, even though I have seen the movie many times and I was even in the play in 4th grade!).  **spoiler alert** In the first chapter, Mary's parents (and many of their servants) die of cholera, and my girls were asking about what that was.  I was telling them about contaminated drinking water and how there are still some poor countries in the world that still don't have indoor plumbing and battle with water contamination.

Hazel:  They just need to get a sink!  Then they'd have clean water!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kid Conversations on Vacation

Prepping for a red eye flight home
We just got back from a Utah/Yellowstone/Sun Valley family trip- spurred by Jay's cousin getting married in Sun Valley (Thanks Lauren!).

We flew into the Salt Lake City airport (cheaper! and to visit friends and family) and rented a car there.  Needless to say, we spent a LOT of time in the car.  I thought it would be generous to allow each child to pick out a "road trip treat" at Trader Joe's for everyone to enjoy and snack on together, during the long drives.

At our favorite burger joint in Provo
The Frog: [with great frustration and annoyance in his voice] The reason I don't like living in this family is because all we do is share!

He almost left his jelly beans behind so that he wouldn't have to share them.  We could not seem to convince him that some jelly beans were better than none.  (I still can't believe I was trying to convince my son to let me buy him some candy!!) Once he found out he would get to be the jelly bean manager, he decided it might be worth it after all.  (me thinks the sleep deprivation may have been talking all along...)

Toad's first In-n-Out
The next day after about hour 4 or 5 in the car Hazel was getting really fed up.
Hazel: The only things I want to do are eat cookies or GO. HOME!

Pretty soon we saw our first buffalo, and boy did that create some excitement!  We pulled over and everyone got out of the car so we could point to the one, tiny buffalo off in the distance.  Everyone got back into the car, more enthusiastic, and then we rounded the corner and there were seemingly hundreds of buffalo, EVERYWHERE, including crossing the road right in front of us.

Wedding welcome dinner w/ cousin P
When we got to our cabin that night, The Frog got the roll away bed and we didn't set it up properly, so if he didn't balance perfectly in the middle, it would fall over or close up on him.  We had a good laugh imagining him trying to sleep there all night.  Jay to the rescue- fixed it :)

Cousin A meeting Toad
We had fun convincing the kids there was a dragon living in "dragon's breath cave" at Yellowstone.  We enjoyed the general scenery, paint pots and bubbling mud pits, more buffalo, elk, a pronghorn and even spotted a coyote.  The burgers we had were actually good and reasonably priced- a very pleasant surprise after our overpriced, subpar meal at the hotel where we stayed.  The scenery was beautiful and it only felt crowded when we approached "Old Faithful".  Turns out their predicted times are not quite as "faithful" and even though we were there 45 min early to get a good seat, we ended up watching it shoot up into the air from the car as we were on our way to the parking lot.  After seeing the gigantic parking lot and how completely packed it was, we opted not to get out and deal with the post-eruption traffic that would soon emerge.
Treats at "The Chocolate"

We drove back through the Tetons, the next day, on our way to Sun Valley for a delightful 48 hours of outdoor wedding celebrations with kids everywhere and delicious food.  Bonus: our airbnb condo rental had a community pool, hot tub, and sauna.

Back to Salt Lake City to visit grandma, cousins, and friends.

Krispy Kreme!
After all this driving, you can imagine our surprise when The Frog suddenly exclaims: Hey! They have McDonald's in Utah!  I thought it was only in Massachusetts!

Jay and I got a good laugh out of that.

Me: They have McDonald's all over the world!
Jay: They have it in Paris!
Me: They have them in Hungary and Japan!
Peach:  [matter-of-factly, in a very know-it-all tone of voice] Of course they have it in Hungary, 'cause it's hungry!

These are all just cell phone shots.  I still haven't uploaded any camera pics.  Don't hold your breath.  It's been awhile since I've uploaded any photos, yeah?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Kid Conversation

We had friends from church over to play one morning last week.  M. (a girl) is Peach's age and E. (a boy) is Hazel's age.

Hazel has mentioned E. often, such as one time when we bought her new church shoes and once the purchase was finalized she exclaimed, "I can't wait to show them to E.!".  E. often has gifts for Hazel, every time they get together whether it be at church or at one of our homes- usually random things he's made out of paper- my favorite being a piece of paper with scribbles on it, folded in half and clearly cut with scissors, which was supposed to be a sleeping bag for her Lala Loopsie toy.  It's very sweet.

Well, this particular time, E. and Hazel ran off together and I barely noticed them while I chatted with their mom for over an hour.  After our friends left, I questioned Hazel:

Me: Wow, I didn't really see you and E. at all.  What were you two doing together?
Hazel: Oh, we were just talking about how great it is to be a McCarthy and a Hillam (his last name).  Right now I'm a McCarthy, but one day, when I'm older, I'll be a Hillam.
Me: **raised eyebrows** Oh really?  How are you going to do that?
Hazel: Well, when I'm 5 3/4, I'll just move my carseat into his car.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kid Conversations

Usually, my kids make their own lunch in the morning, but we were particularly rushed one day because I slept in and so I was helping.

Peach and I are alone in the dining room.
Me:  what kind of sandwich do you want? Turkey? PBJ?
Peach: I want a turkey sandwich, except only with cheese.
Me: So, you want a cheese sandwich?  No turkey?
Peach: Yes.

Less than 5 minutes later, now The Frog and I are alone
Me: What kind of sandwich do you want? Turkey? PBJ?
The Frog: Ham and cheese.  Except no cheese.

I have no comments.  Just questions.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Kid Conversation

Hazel: Mommy, daddy is a dinosaur, do you wanna know why?
Me: Sure.
Hazel: Because he eats meat!
Me: You mean to say, he's a carnivore?
Hazel: Yeah, and Toad is a milkavore!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Parenting Win!

The Frog came home from a birthday party recently...

Me: How was the party? Was it fun?
The Frog: Good. Yeah.
Me: Did they have food?
The Frog: Yes, I ate the pizza but I didn't eat any birthday cake.
Me: Really?!!  Why not?
The Frog:  It was store bought...


Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Toddler

Hazel has definitely been the one that plays best by herself - although Peach maybe never got a chance to prove herself, being squished in between the other two so closely.  I have appreciated Hazel's self-entertaining abilities immensely, especially with having a new baby around.  However, sometimes this leads me to stumble upon some interesting findings.
Fairly normal, just a regular-old day building a snow man. inside.  Hazel is truly her mama's daughter and often prefers to stay inside on a cold day, observing the beautiful the snow from the warmer side of the window.  Sometimes her older siblings can get her to go out, but you'd never find her out in the snow by herself, and for sure not in a sled. No. Way. Whereas The Frog, who absolutely loves it, will go out alone if he must.
Hazel often gets ahold of my phone and enjoys playing with the few functions that require no password, especially setting random alarms (that occasionally go off in the middle of the night...) and taking photos.  Usually it's just one blurry shot with 22 exact replicas, but occasionally something interesting appears.  I like that you can see her reflection in the door knob.
Once I was going through her photos and I noticed that she had taken at least 80 shots of the pew behind ours one Sunday.  It was actually hilarious to scroll through because most of the shots were a play-by-play of a 2-year old trying to climb over the back of her pew and her mom struggling to keep her from doing it.
Hazel often leaves little remnants of human life, whether it be arranged artifact displays
or evidence of the discovery that chopsticks happen to perfectly fit inside the bookcase-shelf peg-holes.  (and a butterfly eraser not only stays on a pencil, but also fits on a chopstick end!  How multifaceted!)
Hazel: "Mom.  Guess which hand the carrot is in."
Me: "The left"
Hazel: (whispering) "Mom, guess the other one"
Me: "The right"
Hazel: (yelling triumphantly) "WRONG!!"
Hazel loves to make and abandon "obsperiments" (experiments) anywhere, but mostly in the bathroom or kitchen.  For awhile she asked if she could make "Christmas soup" which always consists of water and lots of cinnamon, usually some sprinkles, and then any combination of other spices, grains, and leavening agents available at the time.  She has, thankfully, learned never to partake of her "Christmas soups".
This is the day Hazel discovered that "Uni" (short for "unicorn", obviously) could share her clothes and hair accessories.
I have no explanation for what is going on here...  Hopefully she's not anticipating a future game with Toad.
I believe I ordered a hamburger, and this is what she brought me.  Glad she's health conscious.
Little Toad can boast that he has already been accessorized more than any of his predecessors by 4 months.  Usually he has nothing to do with it, but he takes it in stride.  Not pictured are the hair clips, outerwear and even a hicky his oldest sister gave him on his fore arm.
Why hang only one hanger on your bunkbed ladder, when 10 hangers would be 10 times the fun?!
This lovely number was a gift to moi from Peach.  She wrote some sweet nothings and then taped a bunch of my foreign coins and a few other little numbers as well.  This must have impressed Hazel immensely for soon thereafter I was presented with this:
Which is really rather sweet since she taped a few of her most prized possessions (and had Peach write a few more sweet nothings on her behalf...) and gave it to me. :)
Hazel is quite the princess in the making.  She enjoys all things pink, sparkley, cupcake, rainbow or fairy related.  She loves dresses and skirts and is usually wearing one, even if she also has on pants.  I could fill pages and pages of hilarious outfit combinations she painstakingly chooses for herself.  I don't like to take too many photos of outfits, though, because I don't want her to associate what she wears with what I think of her.  I try to constantly remind her that the thing that makes her the most beautiful is being kind and her smile.
Don't you just want to squeeze her?!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Monkey Eats" Rhymes with Orange

Every time I get pregnant and have a new baby, I have noticed a decline in my ability to procure words at the right times or remember why I walked into a room.  I always chalked it up to the sleep deprivation and stolen Omega-3s but I swear this time it is SO BAD that there must be some old age thrown in there.  I thought that having more time to recover from the previous 3 babies would have helped.  (and don't get me started about this post-4th baby belly...)

SO, this time I decided to take matters into my own hands and actively get this memory exercised!  Rather than memorizing pi to the 100th place or other triumphant (yet pointless) memory feats, I am trying to learn a few languages. I got the Duo Lingo app for my phone and now while I'm nursing, I review my Spanish and Hungarian, and I'm trying to learn several others as well.

Now for the reason I felt inspired to sit down...

I have always felt it a travesty that nothing rhymes with orange.  I am one who enjoys making up my own lyrics to beloved tunes, on the fly, and un-rhyme-able words really throw off my game!

Well, as I have been studying French, it has become very apparent that many many words, in French, rhyme with "orange".  "I eat" ("je mange"= zhuh mahnzh) for one- which makes it exceedingly fun to say "I eat an orange"  = "Je mange une orange", but even more fun to say "The monkey eats an orange" = "Le sange mange une orange".

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to find out exactly how many words rhyme with "orange" in French.  Turns out 625!!

So if you ever feel like rhyming with orange, rest assured it should be fairly easy in French!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

FHE Fail

In our family, we have what we call FHE - short for "Family Home Evening".  Every Monday (almost), after dinner, we have a family pow-wow of sorts where we can discuss any family issues, have a short lesson on something I think would be valuable for our kids, and then usually a treat (this is a loose term.  My kids consider graham crackers w/ leftover frosting, or a spoonful of peanutbutter with chocolate chips stuck in it to be a treat) and an activity of some kind (board/card games, talent shows, etc.).  Lessons have ranged from acting out scripture stories, how to accept a "no" answer, all the way to how to properly fold laundry.

This past Monday, I thought we needed a refresher in "honesty".  Things were going very well- I told the classic story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, everyone offered their thoughts about the moral of the story, why people lie, why it's important to always tell the truth, what bad things can happen if we lie, etc etc.

 Then, I decided to illustrate the point that telling one lie often ends up spiraling into many many lies, to cover up the first lie.  I should have quit while I was ahead...

I asked The Frog to try to find out about my day.

The Frog: "So mom, what did you do today while I was at school?"
Me: "I discovered a grizzly bear in our yard, and so I chased it down!"
The Frog: "Oh really?  I thought grizzly bears didn't live around here, where did it come from?"
Me: "It escaped from a circus!"
The Frog: "Where is the circus?"
Me: "In Lowell."
The Frog: "How did you hear about it?"
Me: "Dad told me."
etc. etc.

I eventually cut it off in order to point out that I had to keep lying to cover up my initial lie.

Hazel raises her hand, so I call on her:
Hazel: "mom, can I have a turn telling lies?!"

Then she makes us ask about her day and she makes up some wild story about a rabbit.

Pretty soon, everyone sees how FUN it is to tell lies and wants to take turns!

**smacking forehead**

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Tall Order?

See that?  That's my receipt from IKEA.  We've decided to take advantage of their 20% off deal and we're redoing our kitchen!!!  I am SO EXCITED!  (and exhausted)

to be continued...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kid Conversation

We were trying to get into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day and had green pancakes and The Frog left some evidences of leprechauns in the basement.  (some green and gold beans in a lazy pile)  I wish I had videoed Hazel's wide-eyed reaction.  "Let me see!!!"

On the way to school, we had this conversation:

Me: Do you know what reminds me of leprechauns?  Rumpelstiltskin.
Peach: Do you know what reminds me of leprechauns?  Jesus leprechauns.
Me: What?!
Peach: [in an, this is so obvious tone of voice] Yeah, you know... Jesus Leprechauns!
Me:  No, really, I don't.  What "Jesus Leprechauns"?
Peach: You know... Jesus healed the 10 leprechauns...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Daddy, fix it!"

This year for Christmas, we decided to go minimal in the "stuff" and try to give everyone experiences instead.  I confess, they did each get pajamas and one activity (The Frog got a game, Peach a make-your-own lotions/soaps/chapstick kit, and Hazel got some cute pots and pans for her kitchen- mostly so she'd stop stealing mine) and an experience.  Really, the experiences were intended to be for the whole family.  Hazel got to pick a movie for everyone to go to together, Peach's was for everyone to go to Fun World- a local arcade-ish kind of place where you get tickets (We NEVER let them do those kinds of things.  I loath the junk "prizes" they can earn...) and The Frog got a family trip to The Great Wolf Lodge.
We were so busy having fun, this is one of the only pictures we took while we were there- the kids are warming up on the heater, in their swim suits, while we read scriptures that morning before going swimming :) (edit!  I found more pictures on my camera!!  I'm adding them below! :D)
The kids got to sleep in their own log-cabin-looking room with 3 beds and a (oh wow!) TV!

Now, my kids have no experience with TV because we have never had normal TV since we've been married.  We do own a TV, but only for playing video games and watching movies.  The kids watch shows using our Amazon Prime membership on their iPads, so having a TV with a remote!! was super exciting for them.  They chose the Disney channel.

After about 30 minutes of watching TV Peach comes over to Jay and I.

Me: "Are you done watching TV already?  I would have thought you'd be happy doing that all day!"
Peach: [whining] "It's so annoying! They keep showing these things that have nothing to do with the story!"
Jay & I start laughing
Jay: "Those are advertisements.  That's one of the reasons why we don't watch TV at our house."
Peach: "Daddy, fix it!!"

Friday, February 10, 2017

Obscuse Me

I was reading a book to Hazel a couple weeks ago (it's basically understood that that is what we do together while I'm nursing Toad) and after reading the word "pure" she interrupted me to correct my pronunciation.

Hazel: "Mom, didn't you mean to say 'pyour'?  It's 'pyour' not 'pyer'."

I took every ounce of my being not to point out to her that she says, "obshausted", "obsperiment", "obspecially" and "obscuse me" instead of "exhausted", "experiment", "especially" and "excuse me" in retaliation.  But then I remembered how cute it is and decided it was for the best.

How long do you think I can get her to keep it up?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Kid Conversation

Hazel:  Mom, guess what!? (yanking on the skin under one eye and smiling) I have no idea how I move my eyeballs...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

McCarthy 4.0

Announcing McCarthy version 4.0:

Born 11/25/16 3:19 AM
7 lbs. 7 oz.
21" long (although this is debatable...)

Me and the shiny new babe

Daddy and "mini me"

Big sisters

Peach is thrilled!

He is much loved by all- the girls are constantly making up excuses to sneak peak at him while he sleeps and argue about who gets to hold him next.  The Frog, at first a bit more nervous about holding him for extended periods (and I don't get the feeling it's because The Frog always seems to be the one who gets spit up upon), does enjoy Toad's funny baby facial expressions (there are so many!) and likes to pretend he's getting punched across the room by Toad's wild arm movements.  I think the most endearing act of love is that The Frog put his favorite stuffed animal in Toad's crib when we got home from the hospital, and it is still there.  The Frog is now as obsessed with getting in his cuddle-time.
Cousins Came to Visit
Cousins came to visit

Auntie saved me from horrible hospital food

Toad is so far a pretty good baby- I won't say he's the easiest or the hardest.  His schedule is still, well, not really any kind of schedule yet, but I am getting *some* sleep, *most* nights- which is an improvement because when he was born he would have wakeful moments at about 2 in the afternoon and 2 in the morning.

I knew babies were a lot of work when I signed up for this, but I did kind of forget...  I would be lying if I didn't say I was relishing every moment, however.  Hazel used to seem so small, but now she's practically a giant by comparison, and I remember feeling the same way about Peach when Hazel was born.  They really do get big sooo fast, and I'm determined to enjoy every squiggley, fuzzy, squishy, twitchy, hiccupy, spit-uppy moment.

As far as pregnancies go, it was better than the last one.  Or maybe it wasn't...  but I was expecting it to be worse, and it wasn't!  So in my mind, it was better :)  It was nice not having 2 toddlers to pick up after and no diapers to change.  My hips hurt much much more at night this time around, though.

Labor was by far the shortest, and I think it's because it was the first time when my water broke before I started having contractions.  If you're not a fan of birth stories, go ahead and skip the next couple of paragraphs :D

I told Toad that he either needed to come by Monday before Thanksgiving, or wait until after Thanksgiving because I was NOT going to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital.  He obediently obliged and my water broke at about 11:45 PM- after Thanksgiving dinner.  Luckily, I was sleeping on a towel, and being paranoid about ruining my mattress, I got out of bed as fast as a beached walrus could muster.  No contractions yet, so I decided to take a shower, as per tradition.  (After #1, I learned to always shower before going to the hospital because I feel too light headed for the next couple of days to do it and let's just say, I'm not the kind of person who can hide how long it's been since they've bathed...)  Contractions started at 2.5 minutes apart while I was showering.  We texted Jay's mom (the saint had just hosted Thanksgiving and, we found out later, was coming down with something!!  We <3 12:30="" 3="" again="" and="" at="" away.="" came="" do="" don="" great="" hair="" happen="" i="" in="" knows="" look="" made="" morning.="" my="" nbsp="" over="" p="" pam="" promise="" right="" she="" shortly.="" since="" so="" sure="" t="" that="" the="" this="" to="" usually="" when="" who="" will="" you="">
We got to the hospital at about 1 AM, dilated to 5cm.  This was my best labor, I think, because I finally found a way to be comfortable while lying down!  They had this awesome peanut thing that I put between my knees to help support my hips while I laid down on my side (I would have slept with that thing every night if I had known it existed!  Wicked hip pain this pregnancy).  It was the most relaxed I've ever been during labor.  Once again, he was caught by the nurse (even though I warned her that once I was ready to push, he'd be out).  It was the most painful one I remember, but usually it takes a couple pushes and this time it was just one really prolonged one.  I remember, at least with Hazel, pushing once, feeling like there was a rock (her head) in my birth canal but feeling no pain until she actually emerged.  This time, he must have been at a weird angle or something because it was so uncomfortable! I just had to get him out!
I'm awake, I promise...


Ok!  I've sat down to work on this over a dozen times and keep getting interrupted!  No idea what I was about to say.  I better quit while I'm ahead :)