what's up ON TIME THIS WEEK (ly).

This week was a lot slower paced than the past month or so has been, which I thought would be nice, but I'm finding that makes me stir-crazy.  I did allow Tuesday to be my official Couch Day, which was good and needed, but other than that I haven't really wanted to sit still much.

I got a handle on some of the house cleaning that has been neglected.  (The UPSTAIRS cleaning, because I'm still in a lot of pain and avoid the stairs like they're made of hellfire.  Really nicely carpeted hellfire.  And as our laundry room is in the basement, I'm super behind on laundry.  Oh well.) 

I also finally took a tour of the labor and delivery floor, which was... fine.  It will be fine.  It will all be fine.  As it is a teaching hospital, I was given the heads up that pretty much everyone and their mom will get to come in and ask me the same series of questions over and over, at whatever times of the day their rounds begin, and I have no say in the matter.  So I will need to bring a sign (from home - they don't provide this) that all """"""""""necessary"""""""""" medical staff should be wearing Jason masks upon entering my room, as they assume all risk and liability if I should choose to punch anybody.  Which I likely will.

The one 'win' in all of this is that I actually got to check "take hospital tour" off my list.  Which means I only have two items left - to arrange for a hospital grade pump, and to buy a van.  No small cookies, but there are only TWO THINGS LEFT!  They probably won't get done before I deliver (today is my due date, after all), but they're both manageable.  (And, on a side note, all three of my freezers are stuffed to bursting!  I had to sit on the lid of the chest freezer today just to get the oatmeal muffins to fit.  I feel so accomplished, like I've successfully gathered stores for the winter.)

Okay, anyway - on to photos! Because that's the best part of any blog; forget the blahblahblah, just show us the pictures of the adorable kids!


Rocco was adorable all week, as per usual.

This is his favorite thing to do: climb up on Penelope's bed and read.  Also, wear his tiny baseball cap.

Penelope's butterfly garden brought its A-game.  All five caterpillars had survived and made their cocoons, and spent about a week just chilling out.  Then this past Saturday, they all emerged in their resurrection bodies, and looked pretty smug about it all.  (All except one, whose cocoon never really fully attached to the 'chrysalis station,' so it laid on the floor of the enclosure for the whole week.  When it emerged, it had a really rough time.  It was more pitiful than smug, and maybe even a bit surprised that it made it that far.  Then it died.)

The directions said to wait 3-5 days before releasing them into 'the wild' (hilarious; as though I'm the kind of person who a) chauffeurs butterflies, and b) drives into the wild with such idiotic intentions).  But I was still so worried I wouldn't know when the 'right' time would be.  So we waited until Tuesday, which was still safely in the 3-5 day window.  But like, they started mating with each other by that point.  They did NOT wait around for some kind of apocalypse to motivate them to perpetuate the species.  They apparently did not even wait around for butterfly puberty.  They got their wings all dried off and then were all like, 'Okay, sexy new body: check.  Let's go hound-dog some chicas.'  So we knew for sure it was time to release them.

We released four, and three flew away right away.  This little fella seemed pretty weak and discombulated, so I lovingly named him Bird Fodder, and we just kind of left him out there to figure it out on his own.  At least we know he didn't die a virgin.

And in other random news, I went grocery shopping and stocked up on a few necessities for the following couple of weeks.  I met with a few friends.  I finished two books I'd been working on forrr. evvvvv. errrrr.  Todd arranged for a couple babysitters and we went on a final date night before I'm locked down again by a breastfeeding infant.  And Laurelai got a crazy nosebleed.  I have no idea what happened - it was like 10:30 at night, and she suddenly started shrieking hysterically in her bed, so Todd went in to check on her.  Not only had her nose been bleeding, but she had somehow managed to wipe it all over her face like full-coverage foundation before realizing it was blood.  It was everywhere - her hands, her feet, her legs, her blankets.  But by the time Todd got in there to see what was up, her nose wasn't actually bleeding anymore.  So very weird.

And that was our week!  No other news, except to tell you that today is my due date!  From here on out, we can start grappling with the reality that an actual baby is on the way.  Oh, you mean, you've realized that all along?  Well, aren't you a genius?

our weekend in des moines.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Des Moines to hang out at my parents' new house for the weekend.  We got there late Friday night, and after everyone got up the next morning, all the kids thoroughly enjoyed playing on the bunk beds.

After breakfast, we headed to the zoo for the morning.

I just love it when the kids get to see animals nursing their babies - I feel like it lessens the feeling of awkwardness and the taboo around breastfeeding in general when they understand that this is just how mamas get their babies fed.  Usually we only see it on things like baby animal documentaries, so it was really neat to see this mama giraffe nursing her baby!

Laurelai found a shady spot to ride when she got hot and tired.

After we got home, almost all the kids said their favorite thing to see that morning was the underwater viewing of the seals and sea lions.

Three generations on one (sturdy) bench!

The kids were thrilled to try out the rope bridge...

I, on the other hand, was hesitant to test the weight limits.

It turns out, the rope bridge IS strong enough to withstand the weight of a small, pregnant bus.  Whew.  I look relieved-slash-annoyed at how hard it was to get up that slight incline.

Once we got home, the kids were pretty tuckered out, so they spent a while couch thumping, then headed outside to play in the massive tree in my mom's yard.

Then the kids played yard games for a bit before dinner.  I just love how stoked Finneas is in these photos.

How "summertime" is this?!

 Then, before bed, the kids got to play around with some sparklers.  Ever-cautious Atticus wasn't sure about them right at first.  Laurelai, on the other hand, almost caught everyone (including herself) on fire countless times because she was so reckless in her excitement.  It's so funny how kids can be so different.

(I will say that Atticus did come around eventually.)

After that, the kids all had baths and went to bed, and the next morning we visited my sister's church, which was amazing! We loved it.  Then we had lunch at my parents' and headed home.  Such a fun weekend!

no news is... barely news.

Just popping in to say I didn't have time to blog, but to reassure everyone I am NOT IN LABOR.  I'm at that point in pregnancy where every time I call someone on the phone, they answer, "YESSSSS....?????!" and anytime I'm running late, everyone's like, "I was wondering if you had 'other things' going on," as though I am not typically a perpetually tardy person.  (I am.)  So - to put any minds at ease, I am, as usual, simply pregnant and out of time to blog. 

That is all!

our trip to south dakota: snakes and birds and horses; oh my!

Our last day in Custer was super fun and super full.  The boys started the morning off right, hunting down our breakfast with replica (read: convincing, but not real!) rifles Papa Tony had borrowed from a neighbor.

Then we loaded into the van and headed into Rapid City to visit Reptile Gardens.  It's like a zoo, but it just houses snakes, alligators and spiders... and, oddly enough, birds and prairie dogs.  (Don't ask me; I don't know.)  It also has THE most beautiful plants.  It always takes me by surprise how much I like going here - like, randomly, I really love this place.

I really felt a kinship with this turtle.  He looked simultaneously like he was enjoying the sun, and also like he wasn't really on good working terms with his legs.  I was all, "I feel you, Guy."

These turtles reminded me of the kids.  I'm now going to start saying things like, "Stop trying to be 'Turtle On Top'," and "There's plenty of room on the rock for the both of you," and "Sun your own shell, and let him sun his."  And when a million kids are talking at once, I'm going to be like, "You kids are just a regular pile of turtles!"  That one makes less sense, but it's whimsical, so it's still a keeper.

This girl looked totally sassafrass wielding an arcade rifle that was literally bigger than she was.  (If you haven't noticed already, guns are kind of a thing in cowboy country.)

Once we got home, the little kids went down for nap, and the big kids went outside to play.  Penelope got to realize her dream of riding a horse for the first time!  Beforehand, I had tried to talk her through just how big horses are, and how high up you feel when you get up there - "You have to decide now whether or not you're going to choose to be brave, even if you feel scared.  Make the choice now, while you're sober-minded, and then continue to choose your choice, even if your feelings change."

Uh, it turned out the pep talk on courage was totally unnecessary, because the next thing I knew, she was coming up the pasture, riding Joe without even a saddle.

Girlfriend was enamored.  First, she got to help Todd's dad brush and saddle Joe.

Then it came time to get up in the saddle and ride.  At first, Penelope rode by herself while Tony led Joe down the driveway with a lead rope.

But Penelope wanted to ride out in the pasture, so Tony got up there with her and they headed out for a bit.  She loved every second of it.

Finneas also tried his hand at riding, because he's Finneas and his philosophy about trying new and thrilling things is always, "Sure, why not?"

He was a total natural, though he wasn't really the horse-lover at heart that Penelope seems to be.  He was all, "Cool, brah.  Thanks for the good times."  And then he was on to the next Finneas Activity: chilling in the recliner like a boss.

It was a great day, full of fun and semi-exhausting things to do, which was exactly what we needed - the kids conked out right away when we put them to bed.  Which was perfect, since we had to get up early the next morning to make the drive home...