We're in countdown mode

34 weeks

35 weeks

Last night, Mr. Nick and I sat down for a bit and talked about arrangements to be made, setting up the bassinet, and packing the hospital bag. That's as far as we ever got with Miss Lu; she came before the bag was packed. This time, we're going to be prepared!

A post for Uncle

Miss Lu and her Uncle Steven celebrate Lucy's fifth birthday with ample amounts of silliness (and a game of hide the pink sand-filled balloon ball)
Lucy and her Uncle Steven have always been close. Maybe it was the whole being in Utah together while he was at BYU, or maybe it was something else ...

Like how he bought her her first car ...

Or spent a lot of time showing her cars online ...

All I know is, I'm pretty sure we have Uncle Steven to thank for the following story. On Monday, Miss Lucy and I drove over to a friend's house to deliver a loaf of bread. As we pulled up, Lucy asked which house we were going to.

"The one with the car in the driveway," I replied.

"You mean the one that has Nana's car?" she asked. I looked over and saw a silver car.

"Yes, the one with the silver car," I said.

"No, Mom, it doesn't just look like Nana's car, it's exactly like Nana's car!" insisted Lucy. I looked closer, and saw that it was indeed a Honda CRV, silver with black interior. It looked something like this:

(2009 Honda CRV courtesy of dieselstation.com)
Uncle Steven, all your hard work is paying off. Your niece notices cars in greater detail than her mother. You would have been proud :) 



Hey Nick—remember that time we were in the church kitchen getting the spaghetti dinner ready and you reached for that bottle of olive oil and then we realized just in time that it had the word "consecrated" written on it in black sharpie marker and you put it back and we found some other oil to use to keep the spaghetti from sticking together? Me too. Still makes me laugh :) 
Mr. Nick, ever curious, at Bandelier National Park this summer


Gender differences according to Miss Lu

Lucy is starting to notice differences among people. She's pretty big on making sure she understands the differences between boys and girls, for example. As in, she likes to play with her friends and form a "girls club" from which little brothers are excluded. At least until they ask if they can play too, and then she and her friends change their club to be a "boys and girls" club. (Parents are still not included.)
Keira, Lucy, and Johnny: regular members of the "boys and girls" club 

A few weeks ago, Nick took her out on a "Daddy Date" to McDonalds. When they returned, he told me they had had a conversation that left him a bit sad ...

          Miss Lu: Daddy, I'm a little sad, because boys are more special for Heavenly Father than girls.

          Mr. Nick: No they're not. Why do you think that?

          Miss Lu: Because they get to be God's special helpers, and the girls don't. [At church, she calls the boys who bless and pass the sacrament God's special helpers.]

I know there are all kinds of explanations we can give her, but it still makes me sad that at five years old she's noticing this difference and drawing the conclusion that it means boys are more special to God than girls.
Daddy + Daughter: at the kiva ruins at Bandelier National Park

On Friday, we took Lucy downtown to watch the Homecoming parade. It's a pretty big deal here in town. The schools let out two hours early and the town pretty much comes to a stop at 2:30 in the afternoon, at which point the main street is closed down and the parade begins.

Everyone and everything is in the parade. Homecoming royalty, football teams (high school, of course, but junior high too), cheerleaders, the marching band, more bands, dance troupes, rugby teams, soccer teams, gymnastic clubs, firefighters, police, realtors—basically anyone who wants to put together a float (or just hop in a car) in support of the homecoming game is welcome to march.

Lucy, Grace, and Hazel get ready for the parade
We went with the Maxwells and the Hansens; the kids sat on the curb cheering happily. Nick coached them on how to hold their hands out to catch the candy that the various marchers were tossing out (that's a big part of the tradition here—we went home with at least a pound of candy, maybe more).

There was a huge section of the parade made up of cub scouts and boy scouts. There were probably four or five different cub scout packs marching by at one point. Lucy looked them over and asked Nick "Who are they?"

Nick told her they were cub scouts. Of course, Miss Lu followed up with "I want to be a cub scout! Can I be one when I'm bigger?" I don't know what he said in response.

It's a little thing, I know. She's at an age where she wants to try anything and everything that looks remotely fun. But still I'm surprised at how much she notices, and I wonder how she will continue to process the differences she runs into.


Theories about babies

The other night, Lucy was playing in the bathtub when she called out to Dad. "Hey Dad, come here! I have something to show you!"

The "something" turned out to be "the secret ingredient to make babies with." Needless to say, Mr. Nick was quite intrigued as to what Miss Lu had come up with, so he hurried over into the bathroom. There Miss Lu proceeded to pour various "potions" back and forth, mixing them with great care and precision, before she added the secret ingredient to the mix: protein. 

Apparently, if you want to have a baby, you simply mix up some dirty bathwater and add "lots and lots of protein" and voila! You've got a baby in your tummy! 

Miss Lu studying up on useful life information


Cleaning things

I just returned from helping clean an apartment. One of the sisters I visit teach is moving into a new apartment today, and it was a great opportunity to get to know her better. Unfortunately, the experience has left me with no more cleaning energy, so my house may have to wait a few more days ...

It also reminded me of one of my favorite humorous websites, Catalog Living. They take pictures from catalogues and make up witty captions about them (which revolve around Gary and Elaine). Hilarious. Go there when you need a laugh. 

(Calm, serene, clean ... but they have a point about the "shower branch")


The third, and final, fifth birthday party

Miss Lu had many, many parties this year to celebrate her birthday. One with Grandma, one with Nana, and finally, one with her friends. It was a few weeks late, but I figured I better make it happen, especially since she kept on reminding me that she hadn't had her "friendly party" yet.

We went with a "By the Book" theme for the afternoon festivities. The invites were sent out the week before ...

I set up the party table the night before: the party started Wednesday afternoon with a picnic lunch (the schools have a half day that day). The table held our cake, crafts, and activities.

As we wrapped up the picnic, we held story time.

Games galore: "Book, Book, Movie" (aka "Duck, Duck, Goose")

"Bring the Book to Belle" (aka "Pin the Tail on the Donkey")

After the active games, we took a breather and sat down for a craft. I designed simple "All About Me" books which the kids colored and filled with pictures they cut out from old magazines.

Then it was back to something active: the piƱata was a huge "hit" (hee hee). Everyone was able to bash at it at least twice before it finally crumbled. 

(I love the look on Miss Lu's face here. I don't love my pregnant belly in the back, but oh well :)

(That's a pretty intense look too.)


Opening presents. Since we held a book-themed party, Miss Lu received a lot of books, much to her delight (and mine)!

The announcement that it was time to clean up and get ready for cake and ice-cream was greeted with much glee all around. (The cake and candle pictures didn't turn out, but there was a cake: chocolate with chocolate frosting, exactly as Miss Lu requested.)

We wrapped up with a giant balloon dance party to burn off all the sugar. Miss Lu spent a good hour the day before the party blowing up balloons and bringing them to me to tie them off. She filled up two garbage sacks!

Quite the party crew!

Having a ball

Miss Lu has been asking to play soccer for quite a while now. So I decided to sign her up for the fall season (which will conveniently wrap up just as baby brother arrives).

Her team of 5–6 year-old-kids practices two afternoons a week for 45 minutes. No games. And that's plenty. Miss Lu, of course, if possibly most excited about getting to wear a shiny uniform twice a week. (Every time we get ready for practice she poses in front of the mirror, grinning at herself.)

Her coach is great: the kids play all sorts of games to get them used to kicking the ball, running while dribbling, and touching the ball with everything except their hands.

My favorite part occurs every time they have some sort of race with rules (e.g., kick the ball only with your left foot). All the other kids take off across the field, hurrying to win. And Miss Lu is at the back with a look of intense concentration on her face as she makes absolutely sure not to touch the ball with anything other than her left foot. She may be moving slowly, but she's determined to make sure she does it correctly. 

And the uniform's pretty cute too :)


Theological speculations

Recently I had the absolute delight of listening to Miss Lu converse with a friend during dinner. The results were most intriguing.

Miss E: "If you want to ride a horse, then you need to swallow an elephant."

Miss Lu: "If you swallow an elephant, then you'll be a god!"

Miss E: "No, then the horse will be one!"

Miss Lu: "Ohhhh ..." 

I'm glad they've got that one figured out.

(Tibetan tapestry depicting the dancing Ganesh)

Count on it

Miss Lucy (in the car): "Hey, I can count to a billion!"
Mr. Nick: "Really?"
Miss Lucy: "One, two, three, ... [continues] ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one-hundred! One-hundred one, one-hundred two ... [continues] one-hundred eight, one-hundred nine, a billion!"

(I'm working on pictures for the baby's room ... this one's still evolving)


Book fishing

I'm intrigued by the concept behind BookCrossing. Essentially, you sign up, register a book (or more) you want to "release," and then send it off marked with a unique tracking number that lets you follow its journey into the wild. Could be fun, no?

(Fantastic book art by Kaspen for Anagram Book Shop (Prague) via BibliOdyssey)

We've been busy ...

... canning peaches!

Lucy has decided that she loves canning. She's a great helper. She wants to help with every step of the canning process ...

It took a few days, but we eventually ended up with 20 beautiful (and sealed!) quarts of peaches to add to our cupboards. Now, onto the garden salsa and pickles!