Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scottish Games 2008

We went to the Scottish games today and took TONS of pictures. I posted the best pictures on my Facebook account in an album. Feel free to look!

The Scottish games has been a family tradition for at least 16 years. Now my kids are going. Rather than visit all the for-sale booths like in previous years (once you've seen's pretty much the same stuff year after year YAWN!) we went and saw the good stuff.

We visited the children's glen first to give Garrett a chance to nurse and the boys ran around and played all the games. With their winning tickets they each bought a squirt gun which turned into a rousing water fight that lasted pretty much all day long.

We set up camp at the MacBean booth and re-connected with "cousins". Ethan was absolutely thrilled to meet a cousin about his age. And while I couldn't pin-point exactly how they were related, I assured them that they were related somewhere down the line so they rather enjoyed built in playmates.

We made the rounds to see the dancing, throwing stuff, bagpipes & drums and when the kids got tired we'd swing back by the booth to recharge with lunch, snacks, shade, sitting (or running around with squirt guns and cousins....whatever the case may be). It was a very full and productive day as outing days go.

People got all decked out in their best Scottish garb, my mother included. One man who was walking by had a very impressive sword and full outfit. He was obliging enough to take a picture with the boys. The older boy is "cousin" Andrew. If you look closely, the boys are wet in the pants area. Apparently that was the funniest place to squirt each other during the water fight.

We visited Michael's family booth and took pictures. They offered us their cooler and when the kids discovered they had bubbly water inside they kept going back for more.

Elle was quite the attraction with her sun dress and big curly blond hair. Her favorite part was meeting a "princess". She told the lady in waiting that she was pretty. In return, she taught Elle how to courtesy. Hunter took pictures with the "princess" too, although I think he liked her for entirely different reasons. (...Ahem...)

She told Hunter, "You're a little young for me" ....and he actually looked disappointed!

She continued "...maybe in another two years, then we'll talk." Later Ethan referred to her as Hunter's girlfriend. My, my...I didn't expect this so early.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I've discovered that taking pictures has helped considerably in my mental capacity. Over a two week span I really didn't take any pictures other than the one day when Hunter woke up with hives. Other than that I can't for the life of me remember anything that happened. (I must have been abducted by aliens!)

Hunter woke up complaining that his feet were itchy. I looked at them and noticed they were red and swollen with what looked like little bug bites all over. We put anti-itch cream all over his feet and then stripped his sheets to wash them. I figured he must have somehow gotten bugs in his bed.

That night when he took all of his clothes off I realized that he had horrible welts and redness all over the bottom half of him. His fanny was the worst, and I could tell at that point...they weren't bug bites. We opted not to take him to minor injury and be up until 11pm. I called the phone line, but since school is starting all of the appointments were taken. I sent an urgent message to the doctor that he needed to be seen. I gave him a generic version of benadryl for the itching, covered the red parts with hydrocortisone cream and sent him to bed.

The next morning first thing I checked his bottom. It looked significantly better, so I figured that the benadryl worked and almost called to tell the doctor, "never mind". Hunter came back shortly thereafter and complained of itching again, so I looked at his back. The night before the redness was isolated to the lower half of him. This morning his back and chest were covered with similar welts and redness. I had him strip down to see what I was dealing with. His entire body was covered with blotchy welts and redness all over. Since the cream and the benadryl seemed to work in significantly improving his fanny, I first took pictures to make sure that I had something concrete to show the doctor and then covered him in the hydrocortizone cream and gave him more benadryl.

The doctor diagnosed him with hives. We're not sure why. He said there are hundreds of reasons why people break out in hives. I wonder if it wasn't the tunafish sandwiches.

I took the kids to the pharmacy to get more benadryl. Anytime I go anywhere now it feels rather like a three ring circus. While I was waiting in line Garrett was crying because he wanted to be held, I was trying to steer the double stroller one handed and the other three were playing Limbo with the retractable ropes. Elle was short enough (even with her hair) that she could walk right under the ropes, but she bent over anyway to play fair.

That same afternoon I had my six week postpartum appointment so I just stayed and let the kids play in the courtyard for a while. I had inadvertently left my phone at home so I couldn't call my neighbor who was going to watch them to tell her that I had taken the whole crew with me for Hunter's earlier appointment. I didn't want to dump the other two on her (especially one who's potty training) for the entire afternoon.

The children each got an "arm sticker" (i.e. temporary tatoos) at Hunter's appointment. Michael doesn't like pretend tatoos because he doesn't want to encourage real ones, so we call them arm stickers. There was another little girl, about 2 years old, in the courtyard with her father. Hunter went up to her and said, "Hey, you wanna see my tatoo?" Great. That's just what a father wants to hear some random boy say to his daughter.

They all played a rousing game of tag and then I gave them the trail mix snacks I had brought.

Since I didn't have my phone/clock we showed up 20 minutes early for my appointment. The appointment time came and went. Twenty minutes after I was supposed to have been seen the children were all but swinging from the ceiling from the boredom. I locked Elle down into the stroller after a screaming match with herself and several dirty looks from the nurse behind the counter. In protest she got a hold of a magazine and threw it across the room and hit some lady. Have I really become a terror?

Forty minutes and four children were my limit. I got up and left. I didn't really want them with me anyway. Besides, the scheduled the appointment for 6 weeks after my due date, not 6 weeks after delivery. I'll reschedule. If I stayed much longer I'd probably break out in hives myself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I used my hat

Ethan was feeling malicious or destructive or needy for attention....whatever the reason, he decided to cut the shoelace on Hunter's new shoe. Since he was honest and admitted what he had done even before I had found the evidence he didn't get a time-out. However, I told him that he needed to buy Hunter a new shoelace and get him a toy costing three times what the shoelace cost. Ethan was beside himself, but didn't have anyone to blame but himself.

In order to get the money needed to make recompense we took several bags from Ethan's ever growing collection of plastic bottles to the recycle center.

Elle has been potty training and after walking to our neighbor's house she peed on their porch. This is the third time she's done it...I don't know what it is. Urge to pee translates into neighbor's porch? At least she's not making it inside... In any case she only had a shirt and panties on, but nothing substantial on bottom. She went with us as is.

Ethan counted the bottles out one by one to make sure he got the full CRV value. Weighing is faster, but you don't get as much.

We only had two pairs of gloves left, and Hunter took the other pair but promptly lost count before 30 and started over at one without accounting for the bottles already in the bin. He was excused from counting. Rather than sitting on the curb in the shade like he was told he tried throwing rocks in the parking lot, putting berries of an unknown nature in his mouth and making swords out of the various plant life in his immediate vicinity.

Garrett wanted to nurse right when we got there, so I tried to remain decent while simultaneously supervising Ethan in his count. A few times the wind caught my blanket, which was probably refreshing for Garrett in the heat, but somewhat embarrassing for me.

Meanwhile Elle was running around the Land Cruiser. I wouldn't have minded so much, but the Land Cruiser has a poor parking break that is complimented only by being in gear when parked. If knocked out of gear the vehicle could have started rolling and hurt somebody. She wouldn't sit down voluntarily. She's at a point now that she thinks it's cute to run the other way and then waggle her bottom at me when I can't quite reach her to impose my will. I finally did get a hold of her and cinched her down into her car seat eliminating the possibility of her wiggling out of the straps. She was not happy.

Counting took a lot longer than anyone could have guessed. Elle was thirsty and complained loudly about it in addition to being restrained. Hunter was thirsty too and Ethan was loosing the desire to count in exchange for a drink of water. As a complete twist of irony, we had no full bottles of water in the car to quench anybody's thirst on this particularly hot day. If Elle had pants on I could shut the car up and hauled everybody to the bank to get a drink from their drinking fountain. However, Elle's lack of imperative clothing prohibited the trip, as it would be quite voyeuristic.

We decided against counting the big black bag because the need for water was reaching imperative levels. I sent Ethan and Hunter to the bank to get a drink. Ethan came back alone and said the fountain was too high for him to reach.

Well, where is Hunter?

"He didn't want to leave without getting a drink"

Go back and get him

Ethan came back a second time without Hunter. I figured Hunter would ask for a cup, or get a chair. Knowing Hunter he would figure out a way to get the drink. Hunter finally did come out with his shirt soaking wet.

Hunter, what did you do?

"I got a drink"

Ethan said the fountain was too high. How did you get a drink?

"I got a drink"

HOW did you get a drink?

Hunter took his hat off and I noticed it was wet. "I used my hat"

It could be worse. He could have used his shoe.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lawrence Hall of Science

We went to the Lawrence Hall of Science today. The kids had seen a commercial on TV that they had a new engineering exhibit. It looked super fun and so I told them we could go.

Each time we visit a particular museum after it's been awhile it's great to see how they take the best parts of their gig and improve upon it. Some of our favorite exhibits from last time were re-arranged to a permanent configuration. They added a kindergarten and under area that the children were immediately drawn to.

The large blocks that they had in this area were intended for construction of various assigned projects, but as it turned out they were mostly used for jumping onto. Ethan was creative and he and another boy made a bridge, a house and a tower, but ultimately they were frustrated because Elle kept knocking everything down with speed and exuberance.

Hunter was invited to participate in a special language study for 3 and 4 year olds by a Berkley graduate student. He was part of the control group so he didn't get asked any funny questions, but he did get to talk to a bunch of puppets. As a thank-you he was given a special Lego block with Berkley's logo on it.

We had lunch outside on a bench and enjoyed the most BEAUTIFUL view. Rather than make the sandwiches beforehand I brought bread, peanutbutter and grape jelly and made them right there. It worked out better that way since everybody wanted two sandwiches rather than just the usual one.

Outside were several exhibits to show the children how water flows, earthquake fault lines, how wetlands were naturally replaced by settling sediment from flowing rivers. The children's favorite was the river where you could change the flow of the water.

The visiting engineering exhibit, which was advertised on television was better than I expected. There were several booths at the front of the room in which you were given an engineering problem, materials to solve it an a hint in the right direction.

I worked on the paper bridge where the span of the bridge was longer than the length of a peice of paper. The bridge also had to be strong enough to hold several wooden blocks. I first started by orienting overlapping paper in the most obvious flat way, but it had no strength to support the blocks. I turned my papers sideways and laid a platform across. Voila!! I was so pleased with myself. entire exhibit dedicated to engineering. It was like CANDY!

Elle, who has been doing very good potty-training with no accidents the past few days got so absorbed in a project that she peed her pants right in the middle of what she was doing. Yup, she's my girl!!! (The engineering interest, not the pants peeing) Fortunately, I brought an extra diaper.

Ethan's favorite project was the airplanes. You were given the task of flying a paper airplane though a triangle placed about 20 feet in the air. There were step-by step instructions how to build different models. Once you had your plane built there was a testing site where the nose of the plane was clipped in place and then a button activated the wind tunnel. You could see if your design flew well or needed modifications. Ethan got it through the triangle on the second try.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lots of love

Garret & Jenna were both blessed in church today. It was beautiful! However, in our effort to actually make it to church on time it was a regular mad dash out the door. I didn't have time to brush anybody's hair. It was most obvious on Elle who had an awful case of bed head. It was then most surprising when we got lots of complements on her hair. It was big and wild! Apparently that's how people like it.

I took lots of pictures of Garrett today because I realize that he's going to change a lot these first few months. I'd like to remember how little and cute he is at this stage. I don't think I took many pictures of my other babies when they were small. I probably figured that when they're so little all of the pictures are going to pretty much look the same.... since they're just sitting there like lumps. Cute lumps.