Mar 30, 2012

Top Ten

I don't know why, but I have been constantly nauseated for a couple of months now. Recently I started throwing up again.  I average 5-6 times a week, although on a bad day, it'll happen twice in one day (usually breakfast and dinner).  My local doctor has tested my pancreas and liver, and just today an abdominal ultrasound (liver, kidneys, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas) was totally normal.  No one can account for the nausea and vomiting.  I'm just lucky that way.

Let me just get this out of the way: I'm not pregnant.  But I'll  tell you right now, the memories have come rushing back.  I don't really love re-living various vomiting episodes and related medical care.  I'm ready to move on!  Kate is seven months old, for heaven's sake!  My body can't seem to get with the program.

So tonight, when I threw up my chicken-and-fruit salad from Village Inn, and I was reminded of how much I loathe vomiting lettuce, I started compiling a list of things that are really nasty when regurgitated.  Certainly this a list that ought to be made public.  It will doubtless bless the hearts and minds--yes, even the very lives--of my dear readers and my substantial posterity.  And so I give you:

Heidi's Top Ten Nastiest Things to Throw Up 

10. Bread
9.  Taco Soup
8.  Cantaloupe
7.  Red Robin's Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Wrap
6.  Spaghetti
5.  Granola
4.  Lettuce
3.  Chicken
2.  Rice
1.  Popcorn

Did I miss anything?

I have to say that mint chocolate chip ice cream is probably the most pleasant thing to throw up (especially if recently consumed), but I don't intend to make that kind of Top Ten list.  That would just be gross.

Spring Break letters (with pictures)

Dear Weather Gods,

I love you, and I think you love me, too. There could have been no greater gift to me during Spring Break than glorious weather, and you delivered it in abundance.  I credit you with keeping my sanity [somewhat] intact for the last 10 days.

I love you.  I love you.  I love you.

Fresh-air breather


Dear Wright Co.,

You are richer and we are poorer since we first met, but I am glad that you replaced our 26-year-old beast of a furnace and our miraculously-hanging-on 15-year-old water heater.  AND you installed air conditioning, which I am sure we will love.  I could have done without having the water turned off for three hours, and the terrible fumes that permeated the house all afternoon, and the water heater noise that necessitated a new new water heater, and some of the workers' smart remarks about Garry and I "having our hands full" with five kids, but it all worked out in the end, right?

And I totally laughed [out loud!] when two of your installers geeked out over the thermostat Garry bought.

Best regards,

The customers who got a smokin' deal


Dear Chick Fil-a,

Our family visited your establishment for lunch while the Wright Co. was busy working at our house.  You may have overheard Garry's "pick your poison" comment, wherein he wondered if it was easier to keep crazy kids at home or manage crazy kids in public.  We never came to a good conclusion on that point, but your chicken was delicious, and three of our children enjoyed your indoor playground.  Apparently one of our offspring is too big for that attraction (but not so big that he can be pleasant on an outing).

It's our pleasure,

Bartle, party of seven

Dear Baby Einstein movies,

We just introduced Kate to your wondrous entertainment.  She's a fan.  Don't tell the American Academy of Pediatrics.


The lazy-bones mother


Dear McCrary Family,

Dodge ball was super awesome.  Thanks for inviting us!  Next time bring 12 green balls and Gavin will be a happier participant.

Actively yours,

The Bartle boys

Dear Costco,

I was pretty embarrassed when my debit card was declined three times in a row.  I'm so glad I had cash to pay for my groceries.  I started to get upset when my debit card wouldn't work at your gas pump a few minutes later.  Did someone hijack my account and steal my money?  Had I reset the PIN and forgotten?  Would I be able to drive to another station on gas fumes?  I finally figured it out.  I had been trying to use my Health Savings Account debit card, which is the same color as my regular debit card, and apparently my insurance company doesn't authorize charges for food and gasoline.

Hiding in shame,

If Only I Had a Brain


Dear Self,

Next time you bring home a rotisserie chicken from Costco for dinner, don't tell the boys that the part of the chicken they are eating is the breast.  No one will talk of anything except breasts for the next 30 minutes, and you will have to pretend it isn't funny.

With a straight face,

Wiser Mom


Dear J.A. Henckels,

You make sharp knives.  I probably should have had my left index finger stitched on Tuesday, but made do with steri-strips, Band-Aids, and medical tape.  I've had enough of the ER this year (read: this life).

I promise to be more careful next time.



Dear Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center,

It's a pity that you don't honor your family discount during Spring Break.  Garry forked out the extra ten bucks so he didn't have to disappoint the kids, but your policy is Really Super Lame.  I would have registered my disapproval in person if I owned (or cared to own) a swimming suit that fits.

But aren't you glad that Garry also brought in the lost little girl from the parking lot before she got snatched by some creepster?  I bet her mom is, even though she didn't know her child was missing.

Not that I am one to judge.  Especially not at that park behind you, the scene of one too many lectures from strangers.


A taxpayer


Dear Annie,

You don't read this blog, but I just have to say: I'm sooooo excited that you got your temple recommend!  I can't wait to go to the temple with you next week.  Watching you grow in the gospel has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

Much love,

Your Mormon friend


Dear Starr,

Thanks for joining me at the temple on Wednesday.  It was exactly the right kind of sanity break from our crazy lives, don't you think?

Love you,

A kindred spirit


Dear Groupon,

Thanks for offering that $25 deal on 60-minute massages the other week.  I redeemed my Groupon this week, and the massage was lovely.  Well, except for the part where I cried on the table and smeared mascara and snot all over the face rest.  That part wasn't very nice.

An embarrassed but knot-free customer


Dear Janice,

Do you have to go back to BYU-I?  Aren't you getting a great education by being our regular daytime babysitter?  What am I going to do in two weeks when I have a doctor's appointment and you're living in Rexburg?  (Seriously....I need a plan.)


The lady whose checks probably paid your tuition


Dear Candleflower Park,

When the kids and I scootered/rode/walked toward you on Thursday, I thought to myself how cool it was that we live within scootering/riding/walking distance from you.  I also thought to myself how great it would be to sit down with a book while all my children entertained themselves with your attractions.

Then Gavin cut his foot and Zachary threw up after spinning too fast on the merry-go-round.  So we went home.  It really is nice that you are close, dear park, because Zach threw up three times at the park and again in the greenway behind our house.  If we had been in the car, that would have been baaaaaad.


The lady on an adjacent culdesac


Dear Television,

You are on probation, Mr. TV.  I believe you have exactly two purposes: (1) to put me to sleep at night; and (2) to keep my children out of trouble.  Although you seem to have been on duty 24/7 this week, my children cannot seem to sit on the couch and/or stay out of the kitchen while you are babysitting.  Either you do your part to make my life easier, Mister, or I will stop paying [for] you.  I guess the other option is sewing four straight jackets with muzzles into the couch, but that doesn't really have the feng shui effect I'm going for in the living room.  So get crackin'.

The management


Dear Former Owners of This House,

When you finished the basement and installed laundry machines under the stairs, you ran 40 feet of venting pipe (I'm sure there's a proper name for this) so that dryer lint could escape the house.  You failed to appreciate that the standard maximum venting distance is 12 feet.  This probably explains why our vents (which we replaced in 2008 for an exorbitant fee) are hopelessly clogged with lint.  It does NOT explain why the people who replaced those vents in 2008 did not recommend we move our appliances.

The moral of this story is that our dryer is broken because you made a bad decision, and I am mad at you.  (Sidebar: Blaming you doesn't really make me feel better.  Or cause money to magically appear in my pockets.  But I'm blaming you anyway.)


Ticked off


Dear Friday,

I am pretty sure that Thursday was 100 hours long.  Thank you for being the standard 24, and for requiring [a bit] less of my frazzled nerves.  Thursday's 6:00 meltdown was not much fun for anyone.

The mental patient


Dear Knight in Dirty Old Car,

Thank you for jump-starting my van battery in a random parking lot.  Again.

Forever yours,

Damsel in Distress


Dear Spring Break,

I've been afraid of you for a while, but you weren't too terribly awful.  But I'm really glad you're over.

And I'm really afraid of summer.

Signing off--

The Mom

Mar 29, 2012

This little piggy

Kate loves her feet.  She loves them so much that she tries to eat them.  One day in the tub she was actually sucking on her big toes, which I found completely hilarious.

P.S. Doesn't Kate have gorgeous blue eyes?

Mar 28, 2012

look at that face

Dear Lexi,

I know you are two and it's your job to be contrary.  I know that this is just a phase, and not all of our days will be ridiculously hard. Giving up naps was such a bad idea, and you just don't know what to do with yourself after about 1:00 p.m. 

So while you are soaking in the tub, cleaning off the pool chlorine and the remnants of your second potty accident in 30 minutes, I'm just going to sit here and breathe deeply and fantasize about eating Oreos.

Maybe we can be friends again after that.



Mar 24, 2012

Betcha didn't know....

...that Gavin had a bad reaction to an immunization Friday and refused to walk all afternoon.

...that the pediatrician thought that being Gavin's mother probably required medication--for the mother.

...that I spent three hours filling out paperwork for preschools and Cub Scouts in a single day (and I'm not done). 

...that Kate can say "da-da-da-da"

...that Tyler earned his Bobcat rank.


...that I found an empty box of Oreos in my secret hiding place, but I didn't eat the last of the cookies.

...that Tyler loves to help people.

...that Zach got sunburned after playing outside all day Friday. 

...that Lexi likes to empty the dishwasher.


...that Kate and Lexi look cute in bike helmets.


...that Garry took himself to see "Hunger Games" at the IMAX because I wouldn't go.

...that Zach earned five activity badges at Tuesday's pack meeting.


...that I'm threatening to check into a hotel for two days if I don't start getting a LOT more sleep.

Good night.  :)

Family bike ride

Remember when I got a bike last year for Mother's Day?  Well, today I finally used it.  

I haven't ridden a bike for any appreciable distance since high school.  And as we all know, high school was a really long time ago. (Sidebar: One time in high school I joined my brother's Boy Scout troop on a 50-mile bike ride because I thought Young Women activities were L.A.M.E.  That was before Young Women got to do cool stuff like rappel and hike.  It seemed like all we did was tie quilts and practice dinner etiquette, and I mostly hated it.)  We also know that my appearance and fitness level are pretty much the same as they were last Mother's Day--when I was 24 weeks pregnant and deathly ill--so it was a little silly to assume I could actually participate in a family bike ride, but I did it anyway.

Today was a gorgeous Colorado day.  We set out around 4:00.  Zach and Tyler led the pack.  Garry followed with Gavin behind.  And I brought up the rear pulling two little girls.  We covered 2.5 miles in about 25 minutes.  The boys could have covered that distance much faster, but I was pretty slow on our hilly route.  That said, we all had a great time.  It was so fun to do something active as a family of seven!

The kids are already asking when we can go again.  Since I probably won't be able to walk tomorrow, I'm not sure what to tell them.  But "again" is definitely possible.

Mar 22, 2012

An update on the Mommy

I hit a big milestone today: I completed the 9-week Couch-to-5K training program.  I walked/jogged every mile of it on the treadmill in my basement, usually with at least one agitated child nearby.  It took me 11 weeks to work up to 30 straight minutes of jogging, but I can do that now without having a near-death experience.  (Although, to be perfectly honest, after about 20 minutes, my physical state is pretty sketchy.)  According to the Cardio Trainer app on my phone, I have walked/jogged 71.33 miles since January 14.

When Gavin was six months old, I ran a half marathon.  I probably spend too much time thinking about what my body used to be able to do (and how it looked).  I am constantly reminding myself that since May 2008, I have experienced a major move, had two very difficult pregnancies, tried to move again, and had the challenging task of rearing several rambunctious children in the middle of all that.  When I started exercising in January, it was really the first time in more than three years that I had exercised on a regular basis.  I was really starting at ground zero.  So I should be pretty happy about those 30 minutes of jogging today.  I guess the C25K program assumes runners can complete a mile in less than 10 minutes, so that running a 5K can be done in 30 minutes.  I'm not there yet, but I think I will be soon.

Having a program to work through has kept me motivated, even though I haven't lost a pound or an inch since January.  (How is that possible?)   I'm setting my sights on the Bolder Boulder 10K at the end of May.  I'm not really sure it's possible for me to run 6.2 miles, even with more training, but I'd like to try!  I've heard it's a super fun experience, and I need more fun things in my life.  So I'm on the lookout for a 10K training program.  Does anyone out there have a recommendation for me?

Before I register for the race, however, I need to figure out a few things.  Since seeing my Denver endocrinologist on March 1 and following up with a new PCP in Colorado Springs last week, this is what we know about me:

* I do not produce Vitamin D.
* My cholesterol, and more especially, my triglycerides, are ridiculously high.
* My post-menopausal hormone status is "not an issue at this point" (I disagree).
* My thyroid levels are in the normal range.
* I have inexplicable and unrelenting nausea and dizziness for which there is no apparent cause.
* I do not have cancer, diabetes, pancreatitis, or a pituitary tumor.
* I am thoroughly depressed about all of the above (except for the parts about not having scary diseases).

This is the current plan:

* Take four prescriptions (again! different ones!) to address the issues above.
* Have an ultrasound next week to investigate my misbehaving gallbladder.
* Have follow-up blood work on my thyroid in mid-April.

Are YOU thoroughly depressed yet?  I, for one, can't believe this is my life.  Occasionally, however, I do notice signs of progress.  I don't need quite as much sleep (I can stay awake after 8 p.m. and get out of bed before 8 a.m.).  I am making dinner most nights.  I can keep up with the laundry.  My general outlook on life is improving.

So, assuming my gallbladder doesn't have to come out in April, I'd like to run a 10K in May.  OK?  OK.

Back to the treadmill.

Mar 20, 2012

Just like Daddy

As Garry and Gavin waited in the preschool hallway for Gavin's class to open, they had the following conversation, which Garry transcribed as soon as he got to work.

Gavin: Dad, I want to give you a hug.

Squatting down I gave him a hug then he promptly sat on my knee.

Gavin: You're like a couch.

Garry: Oh good! Just what I always wanted to be when I grew up, a couch. Are you going to be a couch when you grow up?

Gavin: Yes. A pretend couch.

Garry: What else are you going to be when you grow up?

Gavin: A parent.

Garry: So you're going to be a couch and a parent, anything else?

Gavin: A PRETEND couch, not a real one. And a dad.

Garry: Well a dad is a parent. Are you going to have a job and go to work?

Gavin: Yes, but I don't know what I'm going to do yet. But I'll have to take a mug.

Garry: [laughing] So you'll take a mug to work?

Gavin: Yeah, you always take a mug to work.

Garry: What else will you do?

Gavin: I'll have to use a computer if there is one.

Garry: You're a hoot!

Gavin: Yeah, I like to hoot!

Garry then went to work and snapped this photo of his desk, which shows his computer and his giant mug of ice water.  

Gavin wants to grow up to be just like Daddy, which is a pretty great life aspiration if you ask me.

Seven months!

Wow.  Seven months old.  Isn't she beautiful?


Kate is such a sweet baby.  Don't you just want to pinch those fabulous cheeks?

Kate's milestones this month include:

* Rolling, scooting backwards and in circles, leaning over to reach toys
* Rocking on hands and knees
* Swinging outdoors
* Trying more strained foods
* Gnawing on pancakes, crackers, biscuits, pizza crusts
* Holding her bottle like a pro
* Experimenting with a sippy cup
* Having a runny nose for three weeks...and counting
* Waving?  (Not sure how intentional it is.)
* Growing into 9-12 months clothes and size 3 shoes
* Using a bigger car seat
* Taking two 2-hour naps
* Sleeping poorly at night
* Growing a lovely rooster tail

Still has a gummy grin and adorable dimples.

Still has a strong hold on our hearts.

Love you, girl.

Mar 19, 2012

Bits of today

Lexi makes her own wardrobe choices.  Need I say more?

I saw these blossoms hanging over a fence near our house and had to stop and take a picture.  Spring: I am soooo ready for you!


Daddy is a hero at our house.  When he got home from work, two girls were crying (and amazingly, one of them wasn't me).  Within five minutes he had calmed Lexi and was feeding Kate.  His spoon-becomes-an-airplane routine is top-notch.


Then he added missing screws to the new-to-us bike attachment for Gavin.  They took a spin around the cul-de-sac.

After dinner and FHE, as the boys were eating their dessert, I left with Kate in arms to feed her a bottle.  I overheard this conversation, which sprang from me singing the words to Tyler's piano piece, "Once There Was a Princess."

Tyler: That song reminds me of the Knights of the Round Table.

Zach: How many lines of symmetry does a circle have?

Tyler: 360, of course.

Zach: That is correct.

Gavin: Did you say SEXY?  Mom!  Tyler said a bad word!

Tyler: No, I didn't!  I said SIXTY.  S-i-x-t-y, not s-e-x-y.

Mom: What's going on in here? 

Mar 18, 2012


Ever wonder who provides the best stories in this family?  Yeah, neither do I.  It's always Gavin.  He just can't help himself.

Today during sacrament meeting, Gavin wanted to sit on my lap, facing me, and have an hour-long conversation.  He can be rather charming, so despite my desire for a 3-foot bubble of personal space around my being, I let him sit on my lap.

At one point he whispered in my ear, "How many people are in our family?  Seven or eight?"

I said, "Seven."

He said, "Actually, I think there are eight."

Oh boy.  I immediately wondered if this was one of those messages from God that can only be received through the mouth of a precious child.

"Oh?" I said.  "Tell me about number eight."

"Well," said Gavin, "It's a boy."

Crap.  I always thought our family would end on a boy.

(Sidebar: Remember how I nearly fell off the ultrasound table when we found out Kate was a girl?  Maybe I didn't tell my blog friends about that because I was mad about not having good "mother's intuition."  Anyway.  Back to sacrament meeting.)

"Really?  Does the boy have a name?"

Because the boy in my head has a name.

Gavin immediately said "Yes!"

"Well, what is it?"

"His name is RAMBO RICK!"

It's pretty amazing that the stake president didn't hear me snort from the middle of the eighth row.  It's nice to know I don't have to rely on my four-year-old for inspiration.

Mar 17, 2012

Lesson from a four-year-old

Last night, after a full day of play in the sun and sand and water and grass, Gavin was filthy and exhausted. During his bath, his skin started to itch.  I'm not sure what triggered the reaction, but his skin was red and blotchy and clearly felt like it was on fire.  He and Lexi and Kate were all sharing the tub.  They all started crying at once, so I wrapped towels around each of them and we crossed the hall to the girls' room.

Gavin was howling the loudest of the three, crying that his skin hurt.  Bordering on hysteria, he cried, "I need you to sing me a song and rub my back and do joint compressions!"

So I did just that.  I helped Gavin put on his favorite fleece jammies.  I sang his favorite Primary song, ("If The Savior Stood Beside Me") and I compressed his joints, one by one (in the order he specified), and then I rubbed his limbs softly.  After a few minutes he was calm and we went downstairs to his room.

Gavin climbed into bed and said, "I need you to cuddle with me.  And sing to me some more."  He snuggled up to his favorite Mr. Stanley the bear.  I hugged Gavin and pressed him into Stanley.  He said, "I love being squished.  Don't you?"  His grin of pleasure was in stark contrast to the panic of ten minutes before.

I tucked the covers all around his body, then draped Stanley's giant arm over Gavin's shoulder.  He said, "Now I want you to rub my back and sing some more."

So I did.  I sang through all of his favorite soothing songs and rubbed his back.  Within five minutes Gavin was asleep, totally at peace.

The whole experience moved me to tears.  I've been thinking about it all day, trying to figure out why Gavin's distress--and subsequent calm--struck such a chord in my heart. Tonight I think I've got it.

Gavin was clearly feeling pain last night.  With all the honesty and innocence of a child, he cried out in his distress.  He has not yet learned to ignore or shove off or hide his pain.  He looked for help immediately because he knew that someone else held the key to his healing.  There was no shame in the asking--just trust and humility.  And because his heart was so open, he accepted help when it came and easily found peace.

This is probably part of the reason that the Savior tells us to "become as little children." Gavin seems to know where to turn when his little heart is in turmoil, and he's not afraid to do it.  He turns to his mother's loving embrace, to gentle touch, to songs about Jesus. He also knows special things unique to himself that will aid his recovery.

It's a lot harder for me to cry out when I'm in pain, and I'm not as in touch with myself as he is.  I'm not totally sure what makes me tick.  But I appreciate Gavin's example of humility and trust that shows me how I can reach out when I need help--and to Whom.

Mar 16, 2012

playing hooky, part two

When we got home from the park this afternoon, I wanted to nap.  The kids, however, had another plan.  It was 75 degrees  outside (read: BLAZING HOT!), so of course swimsuits and water were required.  They wanted to wash the van.  I acquiesced, so the entire neighborhood (well, three other kids...but with my four, it looked like a lot) joined the fun.

I gave Zach a bucket and some Dawn and a pile of rags.  I told him that if he and his friends were going to use the water, they had better really wash the van!  Apparently my instructions were not explicit enough.  Zach emptied that entire Costco-sized bottle of Dawn on the van.  Then he sprayed a little water on the van.  Then all of the kids got to work.

Lexi wasn't super keen on this activity, but her new swimsuit is just so darling....

The neighbor kids all wanted to know what I was going to pay them for their hard work.  I told them I was letting them use my hose and have fun in their swim suits, and that was payment enough.  Besides, they really just made the van dirtier!  You can't even see through the windows now.

Later tonight Garry will take the van to be properly washed, as we had planned previously. But I got a few more smiles out of my kids--and consequently, out of myself--today, and that makes me happy.

pass it on!

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