Friday, March 29, 2013

The roadtrip home

video
Our return trip to Boston was in the car, which was good in some ways (we brought home a lot more than we came with, we could pack more than three ridiculous ounces of liquids, etc.) but not so much in others. Phoebe came up with the above theme song, sung several times during the 11-hour trip. There's a lot of gibberish, but the chorus is, "Stinky gas, gross!" 

We only stopped twice to fill the gas tank and once to eat lunch, so we made good time. We stopped at a family restaurant off I-80 in Pennsylvania. It was one of those greasy-spoon diner places that offers breakfast for most of the day, so the kids got breakfast food and I ordered a "Morris melt," which the menu described as "a cheese melt with fried onions and mushrooms." It appeared to be the only vegetarian option on the menu. I asked the waitress if that's all that came on it and she said, "Yep." So I ordered it. But when it came, it came with a big ground beef patty on it. I guess beef is a given there? I disassembled my sandwich and Scott got an extra patty. The good news is that we all ate lunch for less than $20.

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Post-wedding fun in Ohio

 After the wedding, we got to relax a little. We visited Uncle Dan's house to collect eggs from the chicken coop...
 ...and feed the chickens and rooster...
 ...and go for a sleigh ride in what little snow there was on the ground.
 Under the snow was just as much mud, so Scott helped push the sleigh through the muck.
 We also got to see Uncle Dan make some maple syrup. We brought a little jar home with us, and we're saving it for a special occasion with some overnight waffles. Yum!
 The kids got lots of playtime at Grandma and Grandpa's house. That would be Bruce amid a Nerf gun war. He loved playing with Legos in the basement and having lots of cousins around. Phoebe latched on to Grandpa and followed him wherever he went.
 Bruce scored this awesome "ninja hat" that Grandma gave to him. He was so happy about this that he wore it to school when we returned to Boston, despite it being 45 degrees out.
We met up with my pregnancy twin, Suzanna, for dinner. She and I ran on the BYU track and cross country teams together way back when, and after college she moved near my parents to go to medical school. She is pregnant with her first child, a boy, due the exact same day - July 16. I'm so so so happy for her; she is going to be an awesome mom.
The day before we left, we had an Easter egg hunt. The kids got lots of chocolate and goodies (that's a chocolate bunny in Phoebe's hand), which they consumed on the roadtrip home.

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Ben + Hannah's Wedding

My little brother, Ben, married his sweetheart, Hannah, last Friday. The wedding and festivities were fun, but I'm glad I have awhile until Phoebe is a bride.
We escorted Ben to his wedding in the family Suburban. Marissa took care of Ben's last-minute hair issues with her nail clippers.
 And then my mom took care of Hannah's last-minute hair issues. This was the first time I met Hannah - in the parking lot before the wedding, nervous and anxious, fussing over her hair.
 She was less anxious after the wedding. We took lots and lots of photos...
 ...and videos and more photos....
That night we had an open house near where Hannah's family lives. I think Ben is feeling left out because he doesn't have a beard and several of my other brothers and brothers-in-law are sporting beards right now.At the open house, Ben and Hannah did the traditional cake-cutting and cake-feeding. Hannah smashed it in Ben's face a bit and Phoebe thought this must have been an accident. She grabbed a napkin and ran up to the front to offer it to Ben. She got a big "Awwwww" from the crowd, then returned to me and announced, "I am adorable."
The next day was the Mars reception, which always has lots of food, an amazing cake by Uncle Dan (he doesn't just make doors), music, a wedding video, and lots and lots of relatives and friends. Scott had to work the day before, but got in the car after work and drove all night to be at the reception. Phoebe was happy to have daddy back and got a daddy-daughter dance. Again, here's to many years before we have to put on one of these mega-receptions for Phoebe.

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Hi Blogosphere, we've been busy.

 We have had a busy few weeks and things are finally slowing down enough to blog about it. Two weeks ago, my brother came to town for a day to deliver some of the doors he makes for work. Bruce and Phoebe had a lot of fun heckling Uncle Dan and Cousin Sam, who came along for the ride (and to play Lego Star Wars with Bruce).
 Our church's youth program held a babysitting fundraiser, so we took advantage of that. Phoebe called it "The Young Women's Party" and fell in love with a sweet 9-year-old boy that gave her lots of attention and fed her lots of snacks.
We still carved out some playtime every day, but the latter end of last week was crammed. I organized a blood drive at church last Thursday afternoon. This drive was more packed than the last and I recruited more help this time too, which was necessary: part-way through the drive, I left so Baby J could get picked up on time and Bruce, Phoebe, and I could head to the airport.
We took the train to the bus to the airport and somehow made it in time for our flight to Ohio. When I asked the kids why we were going to Ohio, their responses included: "To play in the basement!" "To feed the ducks with Grandpa!" "To ride the Jeep!" "To play with my cousins!" But mostly we went for my little brother's wedding, to be documented in another post to come soon...

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bruce the Wolf, Phoebe the Ninja, Emily the Boat, and Scott the Doc

 Last week we attended Bruce's Cub Scout troop's Blue and Gold Banquet. He completed all of his "Wolf" requirements and got some bling for his shirt; I'm still trying to figure out what all this scouting stuff means besides more sewing for me. One of Bruce's requirements was to learn how to cook a meal; he chose macaroni and cheese, of course. He can now turn on the stove independently (which scares me), and has made his classic dish twice without help.
 Besides providing grub at the banquet, the scouts had fun activities for kids. The theme was "knights of the round table" and there was an obstacle course complete with stick-horse-riding, cardboard-wall-climbing, catapult-slinging (pictured above), and cave-crawling. Phoebe jumped right in with the boys and had a blast.
 Phoebe blended in with the boys again when she was invited to a friend's birthday party. It seems she was born among a wave of boys, and almost all her friends are boys. This was a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle"-themed party. Phoebe hadn't heard of them, but wondered why these ninjas looked different than the ones Bruce plays with. Still, she enjoyed pounding the bad-guy-ninja balloons, chucking ninja stars into a bucket, and swiping candy from a ninja pinata.
 She was also excited about eating frosting that made her tongue pink. She may have eaten a little cake too, but mostly frosting.

And because seeing photos of me on the blog happens as often as a bigfoot sighting, here I am at 22 weeks. Just last week I felt like I doubled in size and had a few really sluggish days when I was really glad for a nap. Overall though, I'm still feeling pretty good. I'm still running 4ish miles a day and have been going at a respectable pace for the past few months, but I feel my pace will slow very soon. I've felt the baby kicking around for a few weeks, but just this week the kicks have been big enough that Bruce and Phoebe can feel them too. They like to put their hands on my belly and wait for a "high-five," as Phoebe calls them. Phoebe makes up elaborate stories about tickling the baby, making him laugh, giving him high-fives, and so forth. Sometimes she says she hears him laughing. She is so excited for Knox, as she calls him. Everyone has a different name for him; Bruce likes Edmund and Scott is on a Greek-mythology-kick with names like Apollo and Perseus (still!). I like Elliot right now, but I change my mind about every other day.

Scott is pulling really random shifts in the ER lately. He often works overnight, which means he sleeps in during the mornings and I have to try to keep kids quiet (impossible) or get out of the house. Afternoons are nice though because Scott can spend time with the kids or work on projects around the house. He put together a whole wall of wardrobe-type closets in our room last week so we now have more storage space. Next up is painting the living room and Bruce's bedroom. Anyway, Scott enjoys the fast pace, immediate reward, and quick thinking that the ER requires. Most nights it sounds like he spends 60% of his time sewing up lacerations on drunk college kids, 30% of the time diagnosing stupid stuff people shouldn't show up at the ER for ("Yes, those bumps are completely normal, sir" and "Vomiting? Nausea? When was your last period? You're pregnant"), and 10% of the time finding and treating a real problem. He has made a few rare diagnoses that he was proud of, dusted off his Russian language skills for a few patients, and perfected his sewing skills.

Perhaps he can sew all the badges and beads and whatnot onto Bruce's shirt; it won't flinch and curse as much as a drunk college kid.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Fast & Testimony Sunday

On the first Sunday of every month, our church has a sort-of "open mic morning" where anyone from the congregation can get up and share their feelings and brief testimonies about Jesus Christ and the gospel. We usually abstain from food for 24 hours (fasting) during this meeting, but being pregnant I've excused myself from that.

I usually excuse myself from getting up and speaking in front of people too. I come up with lots of excuses to avoid getting up in front of a microphone: my kids are driving me crazy, I'm too hungry and therefore cranky to get up and say anything nice, I'm sandwiched between too many people that I don't want to trip over, etc. Mostly though, I just don't like public speaking. It makes my heart beat really hard, my brain shuts down and I can't think of anything to say, my throat feels five times smaller, and I feel like I'm going to barf. I will still do it when asked, but I don't prefer to torture myself more than necessary.

Earlier this week I challenged Bruce to share his testimony this Sunday. We have been talking a lot about what it means to be baptized lately, because Bruce is almost eight years old and wants to be baptized. Part of being baptized, I told him, is being a witness of Jesus Christ. Bruce said he was scared of getting up in front of everybody (gee, I have no idea where he gets that from!), so I told him I would come too. He accepted the challenge and wrote down a few things he wanted to say.

And so today, I asked him again if he was willing and ready to share his testimony. He said he was. Phoebe then said she wanted to come too. I figured it would probably be best to bring her anyway because Scott was home sleeping after a long night shift in the ER; I didn't want Phoebe sitting in a pew by herself. When the time came, we walked up to the front. Someone else was talking, so we sat down toward the side and waited our turn. Phoebe had a hard time sitting still because she was so excited (you can thank Scott for those superbly self-confident genes). As soon as she heard "Amen," Phoebe jumped up and shouted "My turn!" while sprinting to the microphone.

She was too short for the pulpit, so I lifted her up a little and her face hit the mic: THUD. "Owww!"

She stared at the crowd for a moment and I asked her if she wanted to say something. She said, "I love my brother." She breathed in the mic for a few more seconds and I asked her the same question again. "I love my family." More breathing. "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Bruce came up to the microphone next and read his perfectly polished and prepared testimony. He talked about how Jesus was baptized and how he wanted to be baptized too. He didn't even look nervous; he did great.

And then I got up and tried to say something somewhat coherent. I admitted that I don't enjoy public speaking, but that getting outside of my comfort zone is how I grow. I testified that the Lord helps me as I seek this growth. While I spoke for a minute or two, Phoebe ran behind me to the organ and swiped the organist's shoes. Bruce tried to drag her away from mischief, eliciting a few yelps and shoves. When I finished speaking, Bruce shuttled the shoes back to the organ and I shuttled Phoebe back to our seat.

Phoebe gave me a big hug, squeezed my face, and said, "Mom, I am so proud of you."

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