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Month: March 2013

peep show reminder

peep show reminder

Quick reminder that THIS SUNDAY is the deadline for the Peep Show! We have one entry so far. Did I mention I’m considering cash prizes this year?

Go, and do.

scarlet fever

scarlet fever

I thought the flu was the worst that could happen. And we got through it and it wasn’t as bad as I expected and I thought we were home free. Bring on the spring weather and let’s go out and play!

But then on Monday Oliver had a fever. And then he threw up. We gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed and in the morning he was chipper as could be. Then, because I am a bad mother and was tired of not having anything fun to do and feeling guilty that my boys had been sitting around the apartment for what feels like months, I took them to an Easter egg hunt at the church. As soon as we got off the train, Oliver started dragging. But because I am a bad mother, I thought it was just leftover from the day before and that once he got inside he’d perk right up. And then, once we got to church, I noticed that his face looked a little pink and puffy. It kind of a little bit freaked me out, but we were already there, so we might as well enjoy it, right?

On the way home, Simon said he wasn’t feeling well and might throw up. Oliver nearly fell asleep on the train. By the time we got home, he was burning up again. And by dinner it looked like he had broken out in hives. I vowed to call the doctor in the morning, even if he woke up looking and feeling good again. Which he did. He was still a little pink, and he still had a bit of a rash, but he seemed fine. Still, I called the doctor and he told me to bring him in: in could be Strep.

Which it was. Classic case, apparently. I had no idea because Oliver never complained of a sore throat. And this particular strain of strep presented as scarlet fever. Hence the pink, puffy face, the fever, the rash. He also had bumps on his tonsils and throat, but I hadn’t thought to look there. With antibiotics, he should be fine. His skin might start peeling in a few days, and he might get really itchy, but it shouldn’t get any worse.

However, because Oliver had Strep, Simon had to be tested as well. The doctor took one look at him and was sure he had it. He had small sore on his chin and another just inside his nostril. His lips were dry and puffy and cracked. These are also symptoms of Strep, apparently. Again, I had no idea.

Clearly Simon’s case was not as bad as Oliver’s. And clearly we are lucky that even though I am a bad mom, I still managed to determine that fever+vomiting+rash+red puffy face=something bad. And clearly we are ready to be done with this. So, so ready.

a love-watch we’ll keep

a love-watch we’ll keep

We try to get to bed before midnight. We really do. But if it actually happens, it’s a small miracle. Between the 3 kids and all our projects, we feel pretty good if we’re able to turn out the light for good before the clock turns to 12:00.

One night last week we were especially tired. I was getting ready for my trip and Elsa was being very needy. So when we turned out the light at 11:55, I was feeling like it was a pretty big victory. However, we had only been lying there a minute or two when we heard the boys’ bedroom door open. A few seconds later there was a knock at the door. We went out to the living room to see what was up.

It was Simon. He’s been having trouble sleeping lately: falling asleep, staying asleep, getting his mind to quiet down. He’ll ask to come out and join us 2 hours after we’ve put him to bed. And the next day he’ll be dragging. We don’t know what to do about it, exactly. I tell him he gets it from me, that I have a hard time falling asleep as well, and then encourage him to lie still and breathe deep and slow. I was expecting more talk of not being able to sleep when I went out to see what had prompted him to knock on our door at that moment.

Instead, he stuttered, and he seemed near tears. “I don’t like it when . . . when . . . when . . . . I just, I just, I just . . . . Well, I just don’t really like it when you go to bed because then who will watch over me?”

Cue the “Awwwws.” Micah and I were a little taken aback. Simon rarely gives any indication of neediness. He’s so independent and sensible that such emotion and vulnerability were surprising.

We immediately assured him that we’re still on watch, even when we’re sleeping. We often hear when they get up to use the restroom, we check on them when we hear them coughing or crying, we know when they creep out of their beds to go sleep on the couch. He seemed a little bit relieved, but still near tears. So I went with him to his bed, climbed up the ladder and lay down with him for a few minutes, until he was comfortable and said it was okay for me to leave.

let’s hear it for the girls!

let’s hear it for the girls!

Girls’ weekends are where it’s at. Even if one of the girls is your squirmy little worm of an 8-month-old.

Elsa and I took off for a weekend in Indiana on Thursday afternoon, and after the extra 5 hours at the airport waiting for a plane that was sitting on a tarmac in Baltimore for 3 extra hours for no apparent reason, we had a fabulous time.

We stayed with my friend Allison for the first and last night and had a great time chatting with Allison and Ben (Well, I chatted. Elsa kept quiet.) and getting to know Allison’s kids better. And we hooked up with Micah’s mom and some sisters-in-law and nieces for the Time Out for Women on Friday and Saturday.

I must say that I feel very privileged to have so many lovely ladies in my life. Their friendship and examples are inspiring and I came home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and reconnected.

But it didn’t end there! Because just a few hours after I got home we got word that my sister had her baby, a girl. Little Sophie is exactly 8 months younger than Elsa and I can’t wait for the two of them, and Sophie’s sister Lydia, to get to know each other. I’m sure they’ll be great friends.

And maybe, 30 years from now, we’ll all be meeting up for a girls’ weekend of our own, with more sisters and nieces and daughters and daughters-in-law.

pi(e) day 2013

pi(e) day 2013

It’s never fun to be sick on a holiday, especially not on one so widely celebrated and well-known as Pi(e) Day. Right?

Okay, so maybe it’s just us. But still, it was a little bit heart-breaking to have to postpone our celebration to St. Patrick’s Day. It was for the best, of course, because who wants to go for pie and leave with the flu? The postponement, however, seemed to leave our celebration somewhat subdued. We had a decent showing, but it felt a little empty anyway.

Which was really too bad because I made some of the best pies ever. We did whoopie pies, which – in all honesty – didn’t turn out that great. But the lemon blueberry layer pie is something we will continue to fiddle around with in anticipation of our ward’s chili cookoff in October. And the butternut squash galette has me wondering if it wouldn’t be worth it to submit a savory pie to the contest. I just don’t know how it would be handled. I don’t know if it’s ever been done. But I do know that it was really, really tasty and I’m tempted to buck convention just because I think it is up to the challenge.

What do you think? Would a savory pie stand a chance in a pie contest?

 

sounding things out

sounding things out

My new favorite thing is to listen to Simon read. He’s been really good at it for a long time, but I’m just realizing that it doesn’t necessarily all come so naturally. I mean, it does, but it doesn’t. There are just so many words that he’s reading now that he’s never heard before. Or if he’s heard them, he doesn’t know what they look like.

Take “pa-RAD-ix” for example. Or that is what he kept saying when he was telling me about it. I couldn’t figure it out, no matter how many times he repeated it to me. He finally got the book to show me: “paradox.”

And this morning he was reading a book we got him for Christmas to Oliver. “APP-oh-loh” I heard him say. I looked at the book. It was Moonshot. “Apollo” is what he meant.

There are many more that I can’t think of at the moment, but I wanted to record for posterity this fun quirk that kind of illustrates the level of his asynchronous development. I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of itin years to come.

pinewood derby

pinewood derby

We did have an eye in the storm of flu symptoms yesterday. Oliver had been awake and energetic all day. Simon and Micah had shown nary a sign of illness for a few weeks. And it was a our ward’s pinewood derby.

Micah had been working on his car for a couple of weeks. The boys were excited and intrigued by the prospect of the race. So after dinner the boys headed out while Elsa and I settled down for a girls’ night (doing dishes, putting baby to bed 3 times, watching the first few episodes of “Party of 5,” Nutty Bars).

The car Micah built was in the “no rules” division. He rigged up a rubber band motor to propel his sleek red machine down the track to victory. Earlier in the day, the motor had not been doing so great. But the addition of some rubber tires from Oliver’s rip-roaring racing car seemed to do the trick and the boys were hopeful that if the rubber band didn’t back fire, they’d have a good showing.

As it turns out, only one other car was entered in the “no rules” division – one with a CO2 cartridge. The cartridge misfired the first run down the ramp: one point for the Heiselts. The second time both cars performed well and the other car came out the winner: tied at 1. And the third run, well, it looked like (Red) Rover nosed out the competition. But who could be sure? Very few people were paying attention at that point.

We’re claiming the victory.

keeping spirits up when we’re down

keeping spirits up when we’re down

It did not occur to me until just this week that more kids = more sick days.

With three kids and two adults passing this illness around, we’ve been basically housebound for a week now. Simon had a mild version a couple of weeks ago, but Elsa and I are suffering from upper-respitory issues, Oliver is sleeping like he’s gets candy for every hour he’s out, and Micah is just starting to get a taste of what we’ve been experiencing for the past several days.

Fevers, snot, coughing, achiness, fatigue. In short, I think we have the flu.

The good news is that most of our symptoms should be cleared up by tomorrow or Tuesday. The bad news is that the rest of our symptoms might linger for weeks.

We’re drinking essential-oil infused orange juice, honey-lemon tea, and recovery smoothies (berries, yogurt, almonds, ginger) to speed things along and keep us as comfortable as possible.

We’re sleeping as much as Elsa’s hacking cough will let us. (Poor girl, poor parents.)

And we’re trying to keep our spirits up by baking birthday cakes. Because birthday cakes are sure to raise anyone’s spirits, even if it isn’t anybody’s birthday.

(This cake is a blackberry cake with blackberry buttercream and blackberry puree details – Simon was the art director for the cake design.)

mothering, writing, balancing

mothering, writing, balancing

My big concern in writing for Babble is that I don’t give my kids the time they need. I don’t want their memories of me to be that I’m always on the computer. I want to be sure we still have plenty of time to go out and do things, and for me to play with them and read to them during their waking hours.

Up until now, that hasn’t been too difficult to manage. I run in the morning, I’m with the kids all day (and I sneak in writing here and there when they are busy with other things), and then I sit and type while they are sleeping. In theory, things will continue on like that. Micah and I generally have 2-3 hours after the kids are in bed that we can work on our projects. I should be able to crank out a few posts in that time. If I’m focused.

But I know there will be times when that isn’t possible, and I’ll need to write several posts in one day or something, and they’ll be left to fend for themselves while I peck away at the keyboard and resize images in photoshop.

The reason I’m writing this, I think, is to remind myself that my family is my priority, and the balance needs to tip in their favor. The reason I’m doing this writing is so that we can have opportunities to go places and do things together as a family, and it would be a shame to negate that by putting them off every day. I want to not just be around, I want to be engaged. I want to be present in mind and body.

That’s the goal.

sad little animal

sad little animal

You’ve never seen or heard anything so heart-piercingly pathetic as Elsa when she’s sick. The poor girl makes the saddest little animal sounds to complement her arsenal of happy screeching. She’s had a fever off and on for a few days, and she has the normal sick infant mix of saliva-snot-tears covering her face much of the time. It’s really something to test your hard-heartedness. Just try not to pick that baby up when she scrunches up her face and whimpers.

The good news is that she is sleeping well, so our sympathy for her never flows over into frustration. And with all that rest, I’m sure she’ll be back and in high spirits in a day or so.