Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why Grase is Grounded From Scissors For a Week.

Do they plan these things ahead of time, after I put them to bed? Do they lay there in the dark plotting and scheming how they can use household items in ways that I could never wildly dream or predict? And why do they always look so surprised at my reaction when I find them standing in the middle of an evidence-spattered living room?

I slept in a little past 8:30. Girls had been downstairs for an hour by themselves. What I saw was a little like a murder scene. There were rice krispies littering the floor. All over. From the kitchen table to the living room wall. There were empty mini cereal boxes. I counted four. I saw Ruby's pajama pants and a discarded diaper. A toasted waffle broken into pieces lying on the carpet. There was washable red marker on the ottoman and a few letters written on the carpet near the back door. My entire magnetic grocery list pad of paper (that used to be on the fridge) had the letter "y" written on each page and the pages were spread throughout the room. There were two cups of milk lying on their side, lifeless. Ruby was mostly naked and running places. Grace looked like she had done something very wrong.

I stormed over to the couch. And then I saw them. In the middle of a pile of markers, to the left of some paper, next to a pair of scissors, were three substantially thick locks of brown hair. Ruby's hair.

"What HAPPENED???????!!!"

"I layded down on the couch, and den Grace CUDDED my HAIR!!" (with an inflection toward the end that implied the whole experience was very exhilarating for the both of them).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Around These Parts, We're More Mature.

I took this three days ago, people. That means today she looks another 3 days past age 17. I mean, today is just a day at the end of July. Just a day that doesn't mean much, except today she seems older to me. Maybe all my hard work paid off, maybe it was all the healthy food I made her eat, maybe it was just the natural occurrence of things.

But the truth is, and must be, that it's not me that is responsible for this wonderful person she has become. It's all her. Inside the little bug of a baby she used to be, was this beautiful, leafy, bloomy thing just waiting to show me what it means to be the mother of a 5 year old. She had an extra red leather pouch full of pure GOODNESS inside her heart that I didn't know about. How could that be?

A few weeks of preschool has helped, and now she writes all the time, on everything, with every single pen. Did I mention she writes ALL THE TIME? Consequently, keeping to the theme of change, she changed Ruby back to no "E" on the end of her name and changed the spelling of her own name to "GRASE". Mmm Hm. She helps me with everything. Even when I don't want it (I don't usually). Her fits shortened a little each day, each week, until her emotions have became somewhat under control for the first time in her life. And it still surprises me every single time she says, "ok" instead of throwing me one.

She starts kindergarten in a few weeks. I have to say I am more prepared than I was back in May. It might be Lillie's arrival, maybe it's the fact that Ruby is acting completely insane, maybe it's because the universe shifted somehow and is whispering to me that it will be okay. But when she brought her little papers home each day from preschool, she would have a thousand index cards with words and pictures written on them. On at least half of them she wrote, "Momee" or "Dadee Smylie". It really is a small consolation, but if I worried that she didn't think about me while she was at school? She does.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Lack, Therefore I Am.

Doesn't Ruby look like she walked a thousand miles? So we had a primary activity at the church on Saturday. I got caught up doing a musical presentation for the kids, so I asked my friend Jennifer to take care of the pioneer photograph area. She didn't do what I would have done, which was stand the kids against the wall, take a picture, turn it to black and white and then pass it off as a pioneer photograph. Oh no. She bought costumes on eBay, turned the photographs to sepia, found a background online, cutout the pictures, and came up with this. THE CUTEST pioneer photograph ever!! Some people just do things better no matter what you ask them.
I am not a person that prepares ahead of time. I am last minute. Often last second. I tell people it's because I perform best under pressure. But the truth is- shhh- that I am just lazy. And I would like to tell you something I know for a fact. Some people are MAGICAL. Like my mom, who freezes home made soup broth for weeks ahead. And starts planning the Women's Conference program years ahead of time. Or my sister in law Ashley who brings completely new meaning to the word "organized". Or Debbi, who blogs AND scrapbooks. Or the primary president in our ward who shows up to a meeting with all kind of little "things". You know what I'm talking about: little magnets, and cards, and puts tablecloths on tables, and plans centerpieces, and gives out chocolate bars wrapped in "I love Primary". These people are truly mystical to me, and they make it look so easy! I would like to make a stamp of their essence and be able to duplicate it where my life is lacking, please.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

They Changed the Spelling of Her Name

Grace and Ruby decided they would change the spelling of Ruby's name to R-u-b-y-e. This is for many purposes. One, it's more like Grace's. Now with five letters each, and ending with "e", they will be too similar now to ever fight again...? Two, it makes more phonetic sense. "E" making a long "eeeee" sound instead of just a dudly "y". I see where they're coming from. All over the house, where there is written "GRACE", there is now written also, "RUBY...E". The "E" a little crooked from being added on.

Also, sometimes Ruby trips on the sidewalk, gets a massive bulge under her skin in the forehead area, and I don't notice it until an hour later. And. I take a picture of it. I'm a good mother, or at least that's what my girls say (when I twist their arm until they do). But isn't it such a pretty purple color? I just love purple.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Emotionally Displayed.

If you haven't noticed, we love babies in our house.

This was not entirely understood until today. A normal morning, I sat at the computer eating a form of white bread for breakfast. Lillie was wrapped in a blanket laying on my chest while Ruby tornadoed around my room. Suddenly, she stopped, frozen, bent over, face inches from the carpet.

"A ANT! Mommy, uh, A, AAAANT!"
"Ya, An Ant. Get it."
"But I don't have a cup! You, you, you have tuh take a CUP and put it over duh ANT and den you can put it in the TOILET!!"

We talked about cups for a few minutes, the physics involved in catching and smooshing the ant, and what would be done once we caught it. I did not want to remove myself from my perch of course, so I kept telling her that she had to take care of the ant. She stared at me with the weight of that responsibility. Eyes round and full of that deep blue thought. Ruby takes things very seriously.

So she smooshed it. I reluctantly helped her pick it up in a cup that she found in the bath toy container. She ran with anticipation to the toilet, dumped the ant carcass in the water, and flushed it down. It was mid-flush, I sat in my comfy chair, she was in the bathroom. Then came the shriek. Followed by a moan. I turned around quickly to see her walking heavily into the room, her shoulders hunched, moaning a long string of something inaudible. As she came closer, I could see the tears already streaming down her cheeks along with that little drip that comes from her nose when she cries. She was a wreck. And this is what she said.

"MOMMY. The ant wasn't a big ant 'cause I thought it was a big ant. But it wasn't a big ant it was a BABY ANT!! I didn't want to flush a baby ant!" Sobbing, rubbing eyes, lips red and drooling a little bit. Then with a new realization of what happened came a louder cry, "I FLUSHDED A BABY ANT! The baby ant is DEAD!"

And the wailing continued. We love babies in this house, yes we do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Infant Baby Has Hairy Thighs.

I think the baby honeymoon is over. I have had a couple of days with the girls and it has been no walk in the park. Grace and Ruby are back to their normal antics, eating water-logged pretzels and filling cereal bowls with honey while I am upstairs trying to stretch out my morning sleep. I trust they are safe and behaving, but only one of those is usually true. Lillie is still full of gorgeousness and even a night of fitful sleep (not even 1 solid hour at a time last night) can't deter me from LOVING her, kissing! kissing! kissing! her, and unraveling my impatience faster than it takes to stride from my bed to her crib.

It's the little things I will remember forever. The way Ruby's toenails curl a little bit on the right side. The smell of Grace's little kid sweat. Lillie's hairy thighs. Her body wrapped tightly in a blanket, her mouth in an "oh" shape, not making one tiny sound. The way the low light of nighttime spills across her face, her lips, and it's only her and I. In the dark silence of night. It's something that's taken me all these years and three little girls to appreciate. That newborn-baby-nighttime thing.

I cooked dinner last night. Ya. And I picked up Grace from school with Ruby and Lillie in tow. I am proud of myself! Now if I can only get the baby section of my brain to reattach itself to the rest of my brain, that will really get me back into real life. Generally, I space out when people are talking to me, I don't answer my phone much, and Grace and Ruby's bedtime keeps getting EARLIER. I even go to the baby section while grocery shopping when I don't need anything.. just to peruse the wipes and binkies and whatever else will remind me of her. What can I say? I love my life.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Father Time, I Like You, But We Need To Break Up.

Lillie is 2 weeks old today. I glanced at the clock right before I took these photos... 6:55p.m. Almost to the minute, two weeks ago, I met her. I have learned a few things about her since then.

1. She is by nature, a calm and content baby.

2. Pooing is a feat, only to be followed by hours of blissful, peaceful sleep.

3. She's not worried about her baby acne, she knows these things happen.

4. She feigns slight anxiety when surrounded by her loud sisters, only a shadow of what's to come as the youngest in the family.

5. She was born with beautiful lips and they're not going anywhere.

6. She loves me, prefers me, humors her father, and lastly, prefers me.

7. Those disdainful hiccups. She's tough, she muscles through them, but if she had her choice, there would be no such thing.

8. She hardly cries. She squawks a little, grunts a little. Cries even less.

9. She's more sensitive to sound than my other two babies.

10. Doesn't mind when I put my face in her face, touch my lips to hers, kiss her neck, let her latch onto my bottom lip or chin, and just generally get up in her business. She doesn't mind at all.

p.s., she doesn't sleep in this crib, this is the girls' doll crib. i have a thing for babies in small containers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Be Nice To Your Mother.

When Ruby was a newborn, she used to shoot her poo straight toward me in hyper-speed while I changed her diaper. Really, it was QUITE the phenomenon. And it was always when I wasn't looking, when I had turned away for half a second. One time, Jake's sister Ali was with me and she witnessed the strange event when Ruby shot poo and it took on an indescribable form and landed in a huge glob on my shirt. Only to stick there, me laughing uncontrollably, until I could swipe it off. That little infant has grown into a girl and she is every bit as unpredictable. It's hard to have the propensity for her "question marathons" these days. It's hard to be patient as she bounces off every wall in the house. But she used to be my baby and she isn't anymore, so I force myself to have patience MOST of the day. We're doing fairly well.
Here is a photo shoot that went awry. Sometimes Lillie doesn't want to sleep in a tiny basket. And I don't blame her. I keep saying to myself, I have THREE kids. I have THREE daughters. It's weird. It's strange and wonderful. It makes me picture the future. Taking them to concerts when they're 15 (assuming that they'll have good taste in music), cooking together and hiking together and sitting in the kitchen late at night talking. My dismay when they won't go to bed for the 50th time and are running around their room being hyper sisters together. I hope they share things. I hope they share with each other and share with me. I hope a thousand things, but I'll start with this: I hope they will always be nice to their mother!

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Family of Girls

There's a bottle of sanitizer by the couch. A pack of diapers by the crib. A pile of milky blankets by my bed. Baby shampoo by the sink. All of these welcome signs that we're adjusting to a baby again after 3 years. It's like a blanket has been gently placed over our family. Lillie is that type of baby. So calm, so peaceful. She has made us so incredibly happy. Of course I wanted a third baby. Of course. But you really never know what you're going to get. Lillie is like a gift, a blessing, a truce. I must have done something really right in my life to deserve her. I give Jake a look from across the room and tell him thank you for giving me another baby and he says thank you to me, too. We're all so in love with her.
Grace and Ruby love her (it took Ruby a few days to want to hold her. The photos above were of her first time). Girls just have a mothering instinct. I get a lot of "She needed her pacifier, so I put it in her mouth", and "I think she needs to wear this hat, ya, she needs to wear it, I'll put it on her, I CAN PUT IT ON HER, MOM". They're just so helpful all the time!
I can't wait to see what this new life will bring to our family, our lives. I don't want this time to slip away as fast as it did with the other girls, but I know it will. Until then, I will sniff her breath, neck, cheek, hand, until I memorize their smell. Her lips are like pillows and she's all mine. My baby Lillie.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Our Lillie Donna Smylie. 9lbs 2oz, 21" long. 06-28-08.

She is here. I am in a deep love all over again. I love everything. The pacifiers, the milk comas, even the little digestive system that is working in full force! I love her. Her neck smells like an angel and she is the most beautiful thing (along side G and R) I've ever seen.

It is impossible to keep this short:

I woke up at the beach house on Saturday, June 28th (two days past my due date) at 4a.m. with contractions about 10 minutes apart. They ached, so I knew they were much different than the others I had been having for months. I stayed awake with them for a couple of hours, and finally woke Jake and told him to pack up our things since we needed to drive an hour and a half toward home and the hospital, possibly. Contractions continued, and by 9 a.m. we were back in town and in the hospital with them 5 minutes apart. I was dilated to 3-4 cm. and kept laboring, walking the hospital halls for an hour. They checked me again and I had not dilated any further. I was then informed that I was not in active labor and, "Honey, you'll know when you are because you won't be SMILING, ok?" I was like, "Do you want to fight?" But, we took our things and went home, frustrated, still having crampy contractions about 6-10 minutes apart.

I went to my mother-in-law's for a few minutes, hoping to take a bath and relax and then decided to go home and stick with Jake and those noisy energetic girls that are my other daughters. It was around 1pm. For the next few hours I ate chocolate, baked some bread and tried to pass the time. I read some labor stories on the internet and really thought that my labor was fake and that it was going to go away and I would be pregnant forever. You know, those kind of rational thoughts.

This is where the fun begins. I was on the phone at 6:10pm when my water broke. Two distinct pops and small gush. There was no mistaking it. I was so excited and I believe I even squealed in delight. This meant that I wouldn't. be. pregnant. forever. Wonderful! Jake started moving around erratically getting our things together. We took a few photos of Grace's new gap and I BLOGGED. Hey, I figured, my water broke with Grace and she wasn't born until 14 long hours later, so I thought I had at least a little bit of time. But no. People, I didn't have time. I wish I would have known.

Contractions get strong, they get fast, they get close together. We put things in the car and wait for Jake's sister to show up to watch the girls. Suddenly, I felt some very strange pains. I tell Jake we need to leave NOW. We put the girls in the car and drive a couple of blocks to a parking lot where Jake's sister meets us. I am squinching my eyes shut by now from the strong pain that is taking over my body so quickly. It is 6:38pm when we leave the parking lot, heading to the hospital. We drive for another 5 minutes and I get my first bearing down contraction. As in I feel like I need to push a baby out of my body. This is not a pleasant feeling, especially since I'm in the passenger seat of a mini-van.

Contractions are right on top of each other and Jake is passing people illegally in the turn lane. At this point he thinks I'm in tremendous pain but does not know the extent. I am groaning and moaning. We pull into the hospital parking garage, I get out of the car, stand up and start pushing right then and there. I couldn't help it. I was trying not to. Jake was panicked, with hospital bags in his hands, poised at the elevator, looking at me in total shock. It was then he realized this could happen right here instead of upstairs with the doctors and nurses. That contraction passed and I waddled to the elevator. He ran to get me a wheelchair when we got out of the elevator, I sat down, I tried to [not] push her out in the wheelchair. It was very, very hard not to. I was making weird noises, Jake was sprinting pushing me as fast as he could down the hall. Back in the elevator to go upstairs. Baby is coming. Now. People are staring. Feel like we are in a movie.

Finally get upstairs, nurses help us into a room, I get out of the wheelchair and say very loudly that I want an epidural. I know in the back of my mind that it's too late. Too late for anything. But I ask anyway. Nurse tells me to sit on the bed. I say no I have to push. I am standing up next to the bed, gripping the mattress, literally feeling like the baby is going to fall out and if I sit down I will sit on her head. That contraction finally eases up just enough to rip my street clothes off, get a robe on, and lie on the bed (6:56p.m.). One nurse says, "Honey, we need to check you!" She doesn't even touch me, takes one look down there and says "She's complete! Sorry, but you're not getting an epidural!" Jake says later that he could see her head crowning. At this point, the whole room explodes with commotion and the doctor comes speed walking in the room and only has time to put on one glove. The nurse is then telling me not to push yet. I yell at her that I can't help it! One little push and her head is out (6:58p.m.)! Extreme euphoric pain, but relief and happiness is right around the corner, I can feel it.

The cord was wrapped around her neck twice (I had my eyes shut tight through this part) and she didn't cry right away. I delivered the rest of her body and she was then thrust onto my chest. I cried then. I cried for my beautiful new daughter, cried in relief, in shock. Jake cried, we both knew that this was a turning point in our lives. It was the most bonding thing we've ever been through. After that, it was a blur. They weighed her and I think somebody took my blood pressure. They had me sign all the forms I was supposed to sign before I was treated. Donna and Ashley were supposed to have been in the room for the birth, but were only minutes behind us and missed it entirely. They came in literally 5 minutes after she was born and started taking photos and video (thank you!!).

I am feeling good. Everyone has been so helpful to us! Our family couldn't have been more kind, thoughtful and generous. It is good to be so loved! My head is in this weird fog and everything in my life seems to look blurry except that sweet little face of my new baby Lillie. She was worth it. Life could not possibly get any better than this.