Monday, April 21, 2014


Way back in 2011, Julia expressed her desire to have a pet.  She would take any animal we'd give her, she just wanted a pet.  Honestly, I think she wanted a pet so she could say she had one when they talked about them at preschool.  In December, Santa worked his magic, and a betta fish came to join our family.  We named him Winston.

Winston has been a silent but strong member of our family.  He lived through two moves and even, at times, neglect, in the form of the murkiest water I've ever seen.  He spent countless hours in his rainbow cave, and was the champion of calm living.  The girls were sure to include him in drawings of our family.  I know he was a fish, and thus our physical interaction with him was limited, but we all loved him. 

It is with great sorrow that I must announce that Winston passed away this weekend.  He died sometime Friday night/Saturday morning.  Clark had high hopes that his Good Friday death would foretell an Easter Sunday resurrection, but that was not to be.  We said a few words, shed a few tears, and sent him to a watery grave.  Julia was particularly heartbroken.  She couldn't bear to watch the send off, and instead cried on the stairs.  She feels things deeply, that one.  Ella, on the other hand, wanted to see "dead Winston" and laughed at the idea of flushing him down the toilet.  My daughters look alike but act so differently.

Perhaps one day we'll move on and find a new fish, but for now we are content to hold on to the memories of Winston and mourn our loss. 

(I know it might seem a little ridiculous, but I really am quite sad that he's gone.  I see his empty fishbowl and want to cry.)

Monday, April 07, 2014


Let me tell you a story from today.  It all started last night.

At about 1am, I woke up to cries of, "Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!"  I dragged myself out of bed, to find my darling 3 year old in the bathroom.  "I'm done and I pooped."  It occurred to me, in my foggy sleep-stupor state, that maybe we should start teaching this kid to wipe her own bum.

Hands were washed, and everyone went back to bed.  But a few minutes later, I hear the pitter-patter of Ella's feet come out of her room and to my room.  The door opens.  And Ella announces (not in a whisper): "I need to go to the doctor today."

This gets my attention, as you may imagine.

I begin my line of questioning.  "What's the matter?"

"I need to go to the doctor."

"Why do you need to go to the doctor?"

"I can't tell you."

"What can't you tell me?"

"I did something I wasn't supposed to do."

"And what was that?"

"I swallowed a coin.  My special gold coin."  ....aaaand cue tears. 

Let me go back in time a bit for you.  About a month ago, we were driving around, running errands, when Ella declares she is SO BORED.  So I glance in the backseat, find a green button, and tell her to play with it.  In hindsight, I realize that giving a child a button to play with may not be the best idea.  But desperate times, you know.  So she has a button.  2 minutes later: "The button!  It's gone!"

"Where did it go?"

"Down my froat!"

"Down your coat?"

"No, my froat!"

Throat.  She had swallowed the button.  After the initial panic wore off, I did what I usually do in these situations.  I called my mom.  I took her advice and called the doctor's office.  Of course, it was a Saturday.  These things only happen after hours.  So I left a message, waited for a call back, explained the situation, and was told that she would probably be ok, but to watch for any signs of abdominal discomfort, vomiting, etc.  I explained to Ella that she needed to tell me if she had any pain in her tummy.  She didn't, and 2 days later that green button came out the other end.  (True love is searching someone else's stool for a green button.)  We had a big talk about how we don't put anything in our mouth except for food, and that was that.

Until last night.  This explained her late night bathroom run.  She had remembered what happened last time, and was doing her best to poop that coin out.  After some tears, I asked if her tummy hurt.  "Yes, it hurts right here, I have to go to the doctor!"  I asked if she was sure she swallowed the coin, or if maybe she dreamed it.  "No, it was in real life!  I swallowed my special gold coin!"  (None of this is in a quiet voice, mind you.)  The special gold coin is some euro coin we found a few weeks ago.  Which makes things worse because I have no idea how big that is, or even what amount it was which would give us a clue as to the size of the mystery coin.  And so, again, I called the doctor's office and left a message with the answering service.  Not a moment after I hung up the phone, Ella says, "Well, I need to get some more sleep."  And heads toward her bed.

Now wait a minute.  2 seconds ago she was in pain and needed to go to the doctor.  Now she's fine and wants to go to bed?  I asked her if she was still in pain, and got some confusing response about how it used to hurt this much (arms spread wide), but now it only hurts this much (arms brought closer together).  At this point I am seriously questioning if she dreamed this whole thing up.  I began to probe further, but Clark cut me off saying, "I think I can talk her into pink monkeys in a minute here, let's just get her in bed."  Off to bed she goes.  I, however, get to stay up to wait for the return call, which I was told to expect within 15-20 minutes.  "If you haven't heard from her by then," the message-taker directed, "Call back."

35 minutes later I called back, and told them to forget it, this whole thing might have been a dream, and I am going to bed and putting my phone on silent.  I'd call our regular doctor in the morning. 

I did, indeed, call the doctor this morning.  He was concerned that the coin (if indeed there was a coin) could become lodged in the esophagus, and it is possible to have no symptoms when this happens, so he ordered an x-ray.  Ella quite enjoyed the x-ray.  I did my best to impress upon her that this was NOT fun, and she should NOT try to get another one any time soon.

I just got a call back with the results of the x-ray.  They couldn't find anything that would indicate a foreign body, and a coin would show up pretty clearly if it was there.  I still get to watch her closely, and take her in if she has any symptoms, but it's highly likely that she dreamed she swallowed a coin.

This is the part where we all breath a big sigh of frustration, mixed with a bit of relief, and go lock up all the coins and buttons.

The End.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

GC Success

General Conference with kids can be very challenging.  For the past 5 years, I've struggled with how to approach it.  I want to listen and learn, but I have 2 small children who also need my attention.  I want them to be quiet, but that is unrealistic.  Last fall I think I finally gave up any expectation that I would listen during General Conference, and thus I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised that I got to listen to some small portion of the talks. 

So I was going into this weekend with the same lowered expectations, tempered with a bit of hope due to the excitement levels of said small children.  We have been talking a lot about General Conference this week.  We have talked some about how we get to listen to the prophet and apostles, but mostly we've been talking about things we get to do during conference. 

One thing we've done for at least a year now is treat buckets, inspired by Simply Kierste.  Except they are kind of like the "low budget, non-cute" version, because honestly, would I ever create something that darling?  We use bowls.  And handwritten words on slips of paper, taped to the bowls.  With scotch tape.  High class, that's what we are.  We learned the first time we did this that it isn't a great idea to have a whole load of candy sitting out, because then you eat a whole load of candy and feel ill.  So now we mix it up with pretzels, crackers, raisins, peanuts, etc.  My kids really look forward to this, and they absolutely loved shopping for the treats and coming up with the words.  It's amazing how much it helps them pay attention.

We also pitch the play tent in the living room, so they can watch like the people of King Benjamin.  And print out oodles of coloring pages.  And pull out every puzzle in the house.  Basically any quiet activity we can think of.  And then, when that all fails, I've told the girls they can go play somewhere else, so long as Mom and Dad can listen to conference.  The only person they have to sit and listen to is the prophet.  That's the deal. 

I also took the time yesterday to talk with Julia (who has been praying for the prophet and apostles to do well on their talks all week) about how we can gain personal revelation from General Conference.  I told her that if she has any questions or concerns, she can get answers through the talks at GC.  And then I asked her if she had any questions.  She wanted to know why Heavenly Father and Jesus had to be in heaven instead of on earth, where they could help us better.  This led to a discussion about faith and how Heavenly Father and Jesus help us from heaven.  It was a beautiful conversation, and I am so grateful I could have that with my sweet daughter.  She is a thinker, that one, and has an amazing grasp on gospel principles. 

I have to say that today was a roaring success.  Everyone was in the living room for all 4 hours of conference, except when I bipped into the kitchen to make bagels (another conference-time tradition!).  In fact, while I was shaping said bagels, Ella came into the kitchen, almost in tears, asking me if I was going to watch the prophets.  I told her I was listening, and she said, "But you need to come watch them.  You're going to miss the whole thing!"  When I asked Ella at dinner what she thought of General Conference, she said, "It was so much fun!"  Did we have some moments where no one was listening?  Well, sure.  But on the whole, everyone was happy, quiet, and at least somewhat paying attention. At bedtime, both girls expressed that they were excited for tomorrow.  Excited!  For 2 more sessions of conference!  Unbelievable.  I am one lucky mama.

(Stay tuned for tomorrow's post where everyone was in tears and nobody listened to conference.  Because obviously that would happen after I posted about how awesome today was.)