Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Photos

Amelia must have taken this picture.  That is the exact look he gets on his face every time he sees her coming. 

  C.T. lounging in the baby bouncer - looking like a teenager trying to act cool.

Lily making salsa with Dad.  She loves to help with cooking - and eating.

Amelia doing her daily scripture reading.  She has a fascination with scriptures and carries them around with her frequently.  Apparently she liked this page as she has marked it by folding it over so nicely.

Horseless stagecoach ride, anyone?
Hanging out after church on a Sunday afternoon.

Have I mentioned that Wes is a colicky baby?  He cries.  And cries.  But isn't he cute anyway?

Never too early to try and teach him some moves from "Just Dance Kids" on the Wii, right?

Look at these smiling experts! Could those plastered-on smiles be any bigger?  I think these kids are all naturals at my picture pose.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Occupational Hazard

I have a new blister on my hand today.  From my steam mop.  Does that seem ridiculous to you?  Because it does to me.  I know so many people who are fans of the steam mop, but I have to say I am lukewarm about it at best.  And the fact that I got a blister from it today didn't help its case.  It's so strange that I got a blister.  I mean, I've had that thing for over a year.  It's not like using it was an uncommon occurrence.  A couple of weeks ago I got two enormous blisters from the lawn mower.  That I can understand.  I haven't used the lawn mower since Amelia was a baby.  But blisters from house cleaning?  Something that I do routinely?  I would have thought I'd have calluses by now.  Oh well.  I guess I should look on the bright side and be grateful I have soft and delicate hands...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Seperation Anxiety

It's 1:00 in the morning and I can't bring myself to go to bed.  I'm sitting here in the office/baby's room, reading blogs of people I don't even know.  Every so often I will hear little grunts and sounds of a squirming little body coming from the sleeping baby in the room.  I think that's why I can't leave really. 

I want to be with my little baby as much as possible.  I spend a whole lot of time lately just hanging out with him.  Talking to him, holding him, protecting him from his loving siblings.  I don't know why, but tonight especially I just don't want to leave him. 

Maybe it's because so many of these random blogs I find are written by women who have had a child die.  I think a lot about what it means as a parent to have a child die.  I think about how it always feels so out of the ordinary when a child dies, but yet it happens so very often. I remember that it happened even more often not so long ago in history.  I reflect on the lives of all of those pioneer women.  A woman who had NOT experienced a child's death was certainly the exception then.

I feel so lucky for every day I get with these four of mine.  I try not to think about what it would be like without them.  But sometimes I just can't help it.  It's those times that I find myself in a baby's room at 1 o'clock in the morning, relieved to hear every toss and turn.  I dismiss the idea of leaving him for the night to sleep in my own bed, a whole hallway away from him.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Those Days

Does anyone else with little children ever have one of those days?  Those days when you really want to walk into your kitchen, grab all of the fruit snacks and cracker packets and dump them on the table, walk to the freezer and snip open all of the Otter Pops, turn the television on to PBS kids, and go back to bed for the day and let the kids live it up?  I was feeling a bit like that this morning.  But, I overcame it to an extent and made the little ones blueberry pancakes and made all the beds and made sure they all got dressed and gathered some laundry and fed the baby a couple of times in there, and then I did lay down with my little bundle and take a nap.  I LOVE taking naps with babies.  Of course that "nap" was interrupted for several reasons including CT needing to know how to make the sound come out of the computer since Dad hooked it up to speakers, Lily wanting me to take the plastic wrappings off of  the "Princess and the Frog" DVD that Tyler's mom sent her the other day, and Amelia wanting to know if I had washed her favorite blanket yet, since it got a little damp in the night.  I'm sure you can figure out how.  I finally fully committed to my day and spent some time on the treadmill and told the kids we were heading out to the swimming pool after lunch.  I'm sure the kids will have more fun doing that that than they would just watching PBS kids all day with unlimited snacks...or maybe not.  But I'll feel better about myself anyway. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Things I Love About Summer:
1) No morning rush to get kids to school. 
2) No nighttime rush to get kids to bed.
3) Little tan bodies with bright white behinds.
4) Popsicles for dessert.
5) 98 cent strawberries.
6) Our annual family reunion.
7) Hearing the kids shout "Cannonball!" each time they jump in the pool.

Things I Loathe About Summer:
1) The heat.
2) The humidity.
3) Girls sweaty, straggly hair minutes after you finish putting in the pigtails and cute bows in the first place.
4) The electricity bill.
5) Dealing with wet swimming suits and towels all the time.
6) The heat.
7) The humidity.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Photographic Evidence of Progress

Hanging out in the NICU under the special light to treat jaundice (with his cool "shades" to protect his eyes).
While in the NICU he looked like this - IV in his head, feeding tube in his nose, etc, etc.  Plus he went down to 4 pounds 9 ounces. 

Once we got him home he was looking much more comfortable!  No tubes, wires, or anything!

He's just still trying to figure out what that whole week with the beeping machines and the bright lights was all about...
 P.S.  At his 3 week doctor's appointment on Thursday he weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces!  That's really good.

Friday, March 18, 2011

He's a Keeper

So I had a baby last week. Wesley Bisel Brock was born on March 10.  (Amelia says "Baby Wes-a-ley")  It was a little crazy.  I hadn't been feeling my best so I called the nurse at my doctor's office.  She said my symptoms sounded like a gallbladder problem and to eat a low fat diet.  Luckily, the next day I had a regularly scheduled doctor's appointment.  The nurse called me back and checked my blood pressure...thirty minutes later I was all prepped for a C-section waiting to be wheeled into the operating room.  I had developed a sudden, apparently severe, case of pre-eclampsia (which, as some of you may know, Tyler refers to only as "some strange disease").  The whole situation really freaked Tyler out at first and he was worried he was going to miss the whole thing rushing to take the girls to play with friends and gather our hospital stuff and meet me there.  Once he was there and the operation was started he was quite fascinated and kept standing up and peering over the drape to try and see all of my internal organs laid out all over the place.  He said he couldn't ever get a good view.  He did managed to see them pull out the baby.  We thought it was kind of funny that the doctors kept saying "he was breech too!".  It's not like he was ready to be born.  He was 36 weeks.  He still technically had four weeks left in there.  He was still moving all around and not at all in "locked and loaded" position.  Anyway - he made it out at a whopping 5 lbs. 6 oz., 19 inches long.

Unfortunately that wasn't quite big enough for his little body to regulate his blood sugars and they took him to the NICU the night he was born.  He ended up staying there for a week.  We got to bring him home yesterday and it has been more adorable than I could have imagined to see the kids with him.  Especially C.T.  I told Tyler I wish I could make a video of every time the two of them are together, like their own little reality show.  I can't handle the cuteness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Don't Get It

What is it that I don't get?  I'll give you some hints:

1) It is animated.
2) It is feature length.
3) It has a lot of big name stars lending their voices to it's characters. (Why does Cate Blanchett always gets roles of ethereal women with long flowing hair?  In this case, ridiculously long and ridiculously flowing.)
4) It is a Japanese import.
5) It is supposed to have some greater meaning about harmony or nature or true love or something. 

Did you figure it out?  It is the movie "Ponyo".

We have a tradition of watching a family movie on Sunday afternoons.   As a child my family always watched "Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights and I remember those times fondly.  Now we use our handy Netflix to pick one family friendly movie a week.  This week I convinced the family to watch "Ponyo" because it was rated "G" and I remember vaguely hearing some good reviews of it a couple of years ago. 

For some inexplicable reason, my kids LOVED it.  I myself was kind of freaked out by the whole thing.  Particularly by Ponyo's parents - the androgynous looking father with the hideous purple bags under his eyes and the bafflingly large aforementioned Cate Balnchett as the mother. 

The kids want to watch it every day.  I made a rule that they can watch a half hour of it per day.  I can't decide if they would grow out of their Ponyo phase faster if I just let them watch the whole thing a couple of times or if I keep up the installment plan. 

It's not all bad - the little boy in it has excellent manners that hopefully my children are noticing.  Maybe they'll start calling all adults "San" from now on...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Days

It snowed.  They canceled school.  It is really, really cold.  They canceled school again.  I'm unprepared for this.  I had plans.  Things to do.  Projects to work on.  CT's birthday is Thursday and I really need to go to the store.  CT's birthday party is on Saturday and I really need to go the store.  Our driveway is nice and clear behind Tyler's car, but apparently it is a solid sheet of ice behind mine.  (I'm taking Tyler's word for this since I didn't step outside once today.)  My mom called and told me to make cookies and sit down and read a good book.  Well, frankly I'm too tired to make cookies.  And I don't have a good book that I haven't already read 9,000 times.  (The novelty of our quaint small town library has worn off.  I miss having something new to read.)  If I could hibernate I believe I would.  Just wake me up for my due date. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Book

Tyler heard this book review on NPR as he was driving home from work the other day.  When he got home he was telling me about it.  He wondered if it was something I'd be interested in reading myself.  And it was.  I ordered it on Amazon as we were still discussing it.  The book came the other day, but I refrained from starting it.  I was saving it for some time when I really needed a book - like a waiting room or a park watching the kids play or something like that.  Yesterday afternoon I decided I might as well read it now.  So I did. It's not a long book.  I read the whole thing last night. 

After reading the reviews I didn't quite know what to expect.  It was called "powerful" and "wildly important" and "an enlarging experience".  On NPR they alluded to it being entertaining and funny.  I'll be honest here - while I read it I wasn't laughing.  After I finished I told Tyler that maybe for people who haven't actually lived it themselves this book is all of those things the reviewers said.  For me, this book was simply true.  Real.  I liked the way the writer was able to express much of what I think and feel.  I liked reading another woman's account of having a stillborn baby who seemed just as much at a loss of what came next as I was.

I can't resist posting just a sampling of excerpts that I really related to.  Here is a passage on missing what you don't have (that could have come out of my journal but instead came from this book): 

"He was a person.  I missed him like a person.  Seeing babies on the the street did not stab me with pain the way I know they stab some grieving women, those who have lost children or simply desperately want to have them.  For me, other babies were other babies.  They weren't who I was missing.  Every now and then a baby could take me by surprise and make me weep...Babies born to mothers who'd been pregnant at the same time as me hurt a little.  I didn't mind hearing about them, but I didn't want to meet them...One new mother enfolded me in a hug and said "Oh, Elizabeth, I am so sorry about your baby" - and I just wanted her to leave, because I didn't want to be a good and decent and functioning human being and ask after her baby.  Even now I have a hard time with the babies born to friends around our baby's birth.  It's not logical, and yet there it is: this one is one month older, this one three weeks younger.  But mostly I just missed my own child."

One of the big issues I continue to struggle with is how we all deal with grief, how we offer comfort to others - or not.  She had this to say about helping others grieve:

" need everyone you know after a disaster, becasue there is not one right response.  It's what paralyzes people around the grief-stricken, of course, the idea that there are right things to say and wrong things and it's better to say nothing than something clumsy.  I needed all of know that other people were sad made my baby more real.  As I was going mad from grief, the worst of it was that sometimes I believed I was making it all up.  Here was some proof that I wasn't." 

  I have to stop myself or I'll end up quoting half the book here, so this is the last one:
"After most deaths, I imagine, the awfulness lies in how everything's changed: you no longer recognize the form of your days.  There's a hole.  It's person shaped and it follows you everywhere, to bed, to the dinner table, in the car.  For us what was killing us was how nothing had changed.  We'd been waiting to be transformed, and now here we were, back in our old life."

I'm glad I read this book.  I finally feel like here is a woman who would understand me.  Who would want to understand me.   I'm not quite sure how I would react to this book if I hadn't been through something like it myself...but I feel there is always something valuable about trying to see things from another person's perspective.  (If you're interested, my copy is available for borrowing.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Not So Jolly

Remember when I told you about the disaster that was visiting Santa at the Ho-Ho-Hoe- Down?  Well, I finally have the picture to show you.  It cracks me up. 

It might be too small to see well, but the icy stare Lily is pulling off is a real classic.  C.T.'s isn't far behind.  Now I know what to threaten them with if they misbehave around Christmas.  "If you do that again I will take you to visit Santa!".  That should stop them in their tracks. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mystery Man

Today is CT's last day off from school for the "Winter Break" (remember the good old days when we used to call it Christmas Vacation?).  I know - it's weird that he starts back up on a is a teacher work day, kind of easing those teachers back into the daily grind.  I actually like it that he has today off.  Even though he is kind of crazy and certainly adds an element of chaos to our day I miss him when he's not around. 

Anyway, today we ran a couple of errands.  First we went to the library to return some items that we have had for three weeks - through no fault of our own I might add.  I tried to return them on the day they were due, Dec. 23rd,  only to find a sign on the library door saying the library was closed that day.  That sign was right next to another sign I'd seen last time we were there that proclaimed the library would be closed the 24th through the 27th for Christmas, and then again on Dec. 31st.  Fine.  I tried returning them again on Dec. 28th only to find a new sign saying the library was closed that day as well.  Fine.  I don't mind them being closed for a long holiday - I just wish they would put up one accurate sign before the break starts, or update their voicemail greeting, or post it on the web site, none of which seems to be in their grasp.  Finally, today, they were open again. 

I told the kids that after the library we would run into Dollar General and check out their Christmas clearance items. I have a hard time paying full price for Dollar Store seasonal items and only ever feel good about the price/quality ratio when the goods are marked 75 percent off or more.

When we go to a store like that I usually let each child pick one item that costs no more than a dollar so they were all excited.  The bad part about it is that they take about 45 minutes to choose an item that they will inevitabely forget about or break by the next morning.  After much looking and discussing and reminders by me that it "must cost only $1" they each had something in their little hands and we headed to the check out.  When we got there the cashier said to me "Oh, that man who just left wanted me to give this to you". And she hands me a bag with an "Ultimate Ninja Elite" action figure in it for CT and two "Glamor Girl and Puppy" sets for the girls.  To say the kids were happy about it is an understatement - particularly the boy.  As for me, this is the first time in my life I can recall something like this happening to me.  I've heard stories like it before, of course.  Who hasn't?  But it's never actually happened.  I was really touched that someone would do something like that.  And then I began to worry that my kids looked like underprivileged orphans and I really should have redone their hair before we headed out to do our errands.  Then I remembered that my friend had an experience where strangers paid for her family's dinner at IHOP, and her kids never look like orphans, so I took some comfort in that.  Did my kids each need a new toy today?  No.  But they were super excited to get it - and more than that they got to experience first hand the benefits of kindness from strangers.  I'm sure it is a story we will tell in our family forever.  "Remember the time that man we didn't know bought us each a toy at the store?  Just for no reason?".  As a mother I am so thankful to that man, not just because he bought my children a toy they like, but because he provided an example of thoughtfulness and reaching out to others, an example of how an unexpected kindness can mean a lot.  So thanks, man in the black cowboy hat, for truly making my day.