"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Friday, September 21, 2012

Teaching Himself

Little Guy is basically running his own Kindergarten*.  He already knew how to read and now he's taken the initiative for the rest of his education. 

He knows I won't say yes to a movie or anything like that until he's done with school, so, instead of disappearing like the other kids do when when I'm busy with Mystery Baby, he finds school stuff to do. 

He worked his way through two first grade phonics readers this week.  Normally he reads them with Jed but Jed wasn't around and he decided to read them all without Dad.  Then he brings me his workbooks, asks me to read the directions (it's only a matter of time before he realizes he could read these to himself and cut out the middle man) and then goes and does workbook pages.  Yesterday he was practicing spelling the words on an ABC flip chart I'd gotten out to help him remember what some of the lower case letters looked like.  And two different days last week he brought a Bible down from his bedroom, randomly selected a couple of verses to read, read them, and then took the Bible back upstairs. 

A few days ago, Princess Sparkley ran upstairs exclaiming this, "[Little Guy] is SO smart.  He knows the whole Pledge of Allegiance just from us helping [Buddy] learn it for Scouts!"

If only all the kids were this motivated....

*He won't be five until January, but since he is a child genius**, we started him on Kindergarten stuff this school year.

**I'm not trying to be snooty and braggy about my kid.  And I'm trying to be humorous with the "child genius" comment.  Like all parents, I think my kids are smart.  But with Little Guy, I'm really really in awe of what his little brain is capable of.  And I feel like Jed and I can only take minimal credit (other than DNA).

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Our front door opens up basically in our basement.  It's above ground, but it's just a hallway, an unfinished area, and a playroom (that's usually a mess).  So there's always this awkwardness when someone comes to the door, and I want to invite them in but the living room isn't right there so they can just sit and chat for a minute.  The living room is up a flight of stairs.  It's weird.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This is how much I love treats.  And how giant my sweet tooth is. 

Example 1:

The other night Jed's phone rang twice and those two rings did in the low battery.  It was a Sunday, so it was either family, or someone from church.  Typically, family will call the other cell phone if we don't answer the first.  Mine didn't ring, signifying to me it was probably someone from church.  I hurried to get Jed's charger.  He told me I didn't need to, he'd plug it in when we went to bed.  I still got the charger.  My reasoning, what if someone wanted to bring us cookies!?!  It turned out it was our home teacher (from church) wanting to know if he could visit with us next Sunday.  Not if he could bring us treats.  BUT, to his credit, he'd already brought us cupcakes earlier in the week.

Example 2:

In welcoming everyone to church on Sunday, the bishopric member said something that made me think of the members of our congregation who haven't been to church in awhile and how we should let them know we miss them, etc.  Which, reminded me of our ward in Kansas when the ward members were worried about a guy in the ward who hadn't come in awhile and people were volunteering to drop off cookies and brownies to let him know he was missed.  Jed's response at the time was, "no one's bringing us treats!"  And something along the lines of maybe we should skip church for awhile so everyone spoils us with goodies.  Jokingly.  Sort of.  That's how I felt on Sunday, which is the wrong attitude.  I should be thinking of people I should be sharing the love with, not trying to score more goodies.  Especially since we just had a baby and people from church have been bringing us yummy meals, cupcakes and ice cream already. 

But really, what it comes down to is I LOVE TREATS.  And we'd already eaten all the frozen cookie dough and all the chocolate chips (AND they were semi-sweet, of which I am not a fan).  Not to worry, we stocked up on chocolate chips this week and I made a batch of cookies and froze half the dough.  Hopefully we'll survive and not have to start skipping church in order to get treats. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I don't remember if I ever mentioned this on the blog, but when we announced my pregnancy with Mystery Baby here, at 20 weeks and a few days, it was one of the first announcements we made.  We didn't want to tell our kids until we knew if it was a boy or a girl, so we waited until that ultrasound at 20 weeks.  Next we told our families.  Then Facebook and Blog Land.  I think other than Jed and my doctors, the only people who we told early were his sister (because we were spending some time with her at about 19 weeks and it was going to be obvious to anyone who knew me, saw me and spent any time with me (and was over 10 years old) that I was pregnant).  It turns out she'd been suspicious for months, so our big reveal wasn't so big.  I also told my BFF about it, but she lives in Arizona far away from anyone else she could spill the beans to.

So this silence, spending 20 weeks pregnant and not being able to tell anyone, was torture.  It made me want to be really anti-social (more so than normal) because I didn't want to flat out lie about it.  I didn't want to be around people too long and create suspicion that might lead to questions.  I didn't want to be involved in any conversations about pregnant people or new babies.  In the past, when these conversations happened, I would flat out deny being pregnant (because I wasn't), so my silence in any new conversation would indicate a change in my pregnancy status.

It was a weird five months.  And it wouldn't have been the end of the world had people found out, we just wanted the kids to know first and then getting to 20 weeks became sort of a game.  Each Sunday I'd have to model my outfit for Brandon and ask him if I looked pregnant.  Usually he'd say no, or you look like you've gained a little weight but not necessarily pregnant weight. 

I was thinking of all this today because I still feel like I'm being anti-social, but because I'm home with a new baby, and even when I'm out and about, I feel like a zombie due to sleep deprivation so it's only like I'm half there.  So if my conversation seems a bit lacking, it's because I'm tired.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Part of Our History

It's really strange how much September 11th has become part of our lives.  When it happened, eleven years ago, we had no children.  I remember being over dramatic about how we were going to teach our kids about this without instilling a sense of fear in them.  We even tip toed around the subject when Princess Sparkley and Buddy were little.  But it isn't something we've had to avoid.  It isn't something we've had to sit them down to talk to about.  It hasn't been the big deal I envisioned it being.  It's just something horrible that happened.  And they are, in a sense, removed from it like I'm removed from World War II even though my parents can remember the terror of that war.  I guess I like them being a little removed from it, it allows them to feel some sorrow without the fear.  When we do talk about it, it's because it just comes up in every day life.  Luckily we are able to explain it with the proper amount of respect and reverence for those who lost their lives without dwelling on the horrible people that made it happen.  It's sad to have to let our children know that there really are bad people in the world (last night we had to explain that Hitler purposely killed all the Jewish people in Germany and surrounding countries, again, not a history lesson, just a way of explaining why Jews started regrouping in Jerusalem after World War II because it all came up while reading the scriptures together).  I guess what I'm happy about is that our kids know about the memorial of it all, and not the fear.  It's not a taboo subject, like it was in books and movies when it first happened.  It's talked about and discussed and still with the proper frame of mind that it deserves. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Not Fooling Me

I am Facebook friends with someone who is really just an acquaintance from several years ago.  This person is living the life of everyone described in the book I'm reading Slouching Toward Adulthood.  This person is constantly moving around the world doing various "jobs" or volunteer work.  This person, aside from seeming a little scatterbrained also lacks basic spelling and punctuation skills.  This person's most recent status updates on Facebook have included capitalization, punctuation, and large vocabulary words.  I'm pretty sure someone else has taken over their postings.  This is why when my mom and I Skype (just the messaging, not the videos) she knows when Jed is the one doing the typing.  He capitalizes and punctuates.  I tend not to in instant messages and text messages.

Friday, September 07, 2012


Little Guy, photobombing this picture Princess Sparkley was trying to take of Buddy riding his bike.

Being a Big Brother

It turns out Little Guy is WAY excited about being a big brother.  He was nervous before Mystery Baby arrived.  He thought the baby would crawl around after him and take stuff from him.  And he will, just not yet.  One of Little Guy's goals he set for this school year is to learn to hold babies.  He asks all the time if he can hold him and comes up and softly pets his hair.  He's not totally on board with throwing away dirty diapers yet, but he's better than his siblings. 


Buddy, on the other hand, is a little freaked out by this new baby.  He was this way with Little Guy four and a half years ago, but I thought he'd be more comfortable this time round.  He says the new baby makes him nervous.  And he's very loud and screamy, which, to his credit, Buddy is not a fan of loud noises.  He's gotten better over the last few days, but he usually just waves to the baby from across the room.

Princess Sparkley of course is loving it and is a huge help holding Mystery Baby for me and helping keep him happy.  She washes his binkys as frequently as a first time mom. 

Hospital Bills

I got temporarily freaked out today when a bill arrived in the mail from the hospital for $2600+.  We just bought a new car and our budget doesn't leave room for an unexpected hospital bill.  I called maybe four different numbers before leaving a message and waiting for a response.  By the time I got a call back, I had realized that the patient was listed as Mystery Baby.  Which made me realize I was probably only getting the bill because his insurance information hadn't been processed/approved yet.  And when the call came, she explained that this was exactly the case.  Phew.

We had awesome insurance in California when Jed was working for city government and we had our first two kids.  We never got a hospital bill (or invoice) for Buddy, but with Princess Sparkley, they sent us the invoice showing us how much our insurance paid.  Wow.  It was a TON of money.  If our memories are correct, close to $30,000. 

With Little Guy, we paid out of pocket through a great program our hospital had.  We paid $3600 total (about $2000 to the hospital and about $1600 to my OBGYN, although there were some other bills in there for lab tests, etc.).  This was nearly $20,000+ less than our hospital bill from having Princess Sparkley. 

I should probably have some deep thoughts here about our country, and insurance and Obamacare.  But really, I don't.  I like how things have been, and I'd prefer they didn't change.  That's about all the deep thinking capabilities I have right now when I'm as sleep deprived as I currently am.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Mystery Baby's social security card and birth certificate came in the mail today.  Princess Sparkley was intrigued by the social security card and wondered if she'd had to sign hers.  I explained that it would be the same card she had until she changed her name (assuming she changes her name when she gets married, and assuming she gets married) so it was probably best to wait until she had a grown-up signature to sign it.

Then I thought about my own signature.  I reworked it when Jed and I were engaged because I wanted one that was less legible.  Mine was too neat, I thought.  Then I thought over the past few weeks and the crazy signatures I've been forced to render practically under duress.

First, while in labor and battling contractions, I had to sign a billion different hospital forms (and answer a bunch of questions).  Result, barely legible scribbles.

Second, while feeding Mystery Baby a bottle at the car dealership, a ton of one handed awkward scribbles finalizing the purchase of our new car.

Third, in the ER (I'm okay) with an IV hooked into me and exhaustion setting in at 5AM.

So, I guess pre-married me got my wish, I now have a signature that is not nearly as legible as it once was.  And it's just getting worse.  Before I know it, it'll look like Jed's (who strangely has THE nicest printing I've ever seen) or my brother's (whose signature is an R followed by a wavy line).

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Learning new things about oneself

On owning a new car...

Turns out we aren't the jerks who park in the middle of two parking spaces, but we are the nut jobs who park at the far end of the parking lot.
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