How I canned salsa today

1. Jonathon obtained a bag of tomatoes from a family in our ward.

2. I posted on Facebook inviting women from the ward to come and can if they wanted to.

3. I arranged a day and time to can with a few women, one of whom happens to be my visiting teacher. (The other two ended up cancelling at the last minute due to circumstances beyond their control.)

4. 11:00. We started an hour later than the time arranged because that’s how life with four kids goes, for both of us. (She was cleaning up a massive honey mess involving her one-year-old. I was dealing with a baby and cleaning my kitchen to pre-canning standards.)

5. 11:30. I went to the school after getting a phone call saying that Duplo had fallen on the playground at lunch and that the nurse wasn’t there so they couldn’t send him back out to play without me giving them permission to.

6. 11:45. At school, I got the details. Duplo had been running away from a bee and tripped on a rock. He was pretty badly scraped up on his arm, shoulder, and back, and he was saying it hurt a lot to move his arm. I had him squeeze my finger, which is what my mom (a nurse) did to determine if a bone was broken. He had a good grip. I was able to take his arm out of the sleeve of his shirt to get a look at his shoulder, but I didn’t see any bruising, and his range of motion seemed okay, even if he said it hurt when I moved his arm certain ways. I held him for a while as he cried and ultimately decided to check him out for the rest of the day.

7. 12:15. Finally back home. The lady who just moved in across the street and was going to can with us today came over to share some tomatoes from her garden in exchange for some of our salsa. Noticing Duplo, she sent her husband, who is a nurse, over to take a look at his arm. Her husband said he couldn’t tell but thought he’d dislocated his shoulder, and if he wasn’t using his arm within a few hours, he’d recommend taking him in.

8. Finally got to do some canning. I peeled tomatoes for a bit before taking a lunch and nursing-the-babies break.

Please note that my lovely canning partner had been working on canning this entire time.

9. 1:00 to 3:00. I alternated between productive chopping and whatnot, and caring for a VERY fussy baby, managing a three-year-old who seemed to need me every five minutes for some crisis or another (including going swimming in our kiddie pool in 60-degree weather in all his clothes, changing clothes and getting wet again, stripping to his birthday suit outside, putting shorts back on, peeing his pants, etc.), and tending to an injured six-year-old.

10. 3:00. I picked up Lego from school. THIS went uneventfully.

11. 3:15. I finally decided that there was absolutely no way that the canning was going to be done before my 4:00 piano teaching appointment. With my canning partner’s encouragement, I also decided to take Duplo to the doctor because, while he said his arm wasn’t hurting as much as before, he wasn’t using it at all either. His left shoulder was hanging lower than his right, and his arm hung limply at his side.

12. 3:30. After rescheduling the piano lessons for tomorrow and calling the doctor, I left with Duplo, Robo (who was too fussy to leave), and El Guapo (who just really wanted to come). Lego stayed home with my canning partner and her four boys. (Are you getting seriously impressed with her yet?)

13. Around 4:00. Finally got to see the x-rays: broken clavicle (collarbone), and very noticeable. Duplo gets to wear a sling until he doesn’t want/need it anymore. The doctor said that clavicles tend to heal really well, especially in children, so that’s reassuring. I feel bad for waiting so long to take him in now.

14. 4:30. We finally got back from the doctor. Meanwhile, my canning partner had finished the chopping and had combined all the ingredients into a stock pot (with a little help from me over the phone so she could find things like sugar, vinegar, and salt). It was on its way to boiling when I returned, and she was getting to work on the second double batch (we ended up quadrupling the recipe). She had also called her husband to bring over a frozen pan of chicken enchiladas she had to feed her family and mine tonight, so he was there for a few minutes.

15. 4:30 to 6:30. We both worked pretty hard. She filled jars and processed them while I chopped green peppers. I removed jars from the canner while she finished chopping tomatoes. She processed a second group of jars while I mixed together the second pot full. We both took turns dealing with dishes. And Robo was fussy fussy fussy, so I took quite a few short breaks to try nursing him, putting him to sleep, snuggling him, etc. Even when I was working, he was on my lap or on my hip.

16. Around 6:00. My friend’s foreign exchange student from Denmark showed up to help, and mostly she took over caring for Robo, which was WONDERFUL.

17. 6:45. We finally ate dinner. After dinner, we finished processing the last few jars. (Okay, she did. I was finally managing to get Robo to sleep.)

18. 7:45. She finally finished labeling everything, then gathered up her stuff and left.

Can I hear three cheers for the best visiting teacher and canning partner ever? She deserves a medal, I swear. And I deserve some chocolate, I think, for surviving this day.

Catching my breath

Where has the summer gone? I usually don’t feel like it’s really summer unless I go camping or unless I take the kids swimming. We usually do swimming lessons, hikes, day trips.

This year? This year I had a baby, attended a wedding in Albuquerque (which was the highlight of the summer!), attended my grandpa’s funeral in Denver (oddly, another highlight because the funeral was so affirming and joyful), and moved.

Moving and I are definitely on the rocks right now. Our relationship is not doing very well. When we were young, there was something fun about moving to a better place, meeting new people, and even trying to figure out how to decorate a different space. While this move was to a much better house than our last, the move itself was so very stressful that I am not eager to ever move again. Too bad we are planning on doing exactly that in a year—to our own home, hopefully. And then we can be done. Hopefully.

As soon as I can, I will take pictures because this house really is pretty and spacious, and it has a pretty yard, and the school seems all sorts of awesome. Plus little perks like a dryer vent that is less than 30 feet long, allowing our clothes to actually dry in the dryer, as well as a stove and oven that work perfectly without any quirks. And, you guys!


I keep thinking it’s all going to come crashing down because it’s too good to be true. Now, excuse me, I have some boxes to unpack.

Introducing Robo

Our fourth son, Rhys Benjamin (pronounced “Reese”), was born last Friday. He was 7 lbs. 12 oz. at birth and 21 inches long. That’s almost exactly the size Lego was at birth (one ounce lighter). He was born at 5:13 a.m. two days after his due date, which was similar to Lego as well. And whereas Lego was born on 4/4, Robo was born on 6/6. Funny how things work out.

He’s a bit of an intense little soul with a STRONG desire to suck/eat that I had a hard time keeping up with for the first few days of his life. I actually had to supplement with formula after each nursing session in order for him to be satisfied enough to go to sleep. There were a couple nights where he’d be up for three hours straight in the middle of the night and nurse twice on both sides, then eat 4 oz of formula before going back to sleep. He seems to be doing much better now, though, and I haven’t had to make a bottle in two days. Hooray!

The other three boys fight over whose turn it is to hold Robo, and Lego in particular has really stepped up his responsibility game. He even asked to change a diaper yesterday, and he did a great job.

We are all smitten with little Robo and happy to have him in our family.

Home stretch

April was a whirlwind. It started off with Lego’s birthday, followed by a busy spring break, Easter, a yard sale, my brother’s BYU graduation, Lego’s baptism (which I will blog about as soon as I can get pictures onto my computer), my brother’s sealing in the temple, and my niece’s baby blessing. It’s not surprising, then, that while I felt pregnant, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the reality that a baby is coming very soon.

Now that the craziness is over, I have May to plan, prepare, clean, and make freezer meals. And I have to admit, I’m getting excited for this new little one. I can’t wait to meet him.

It feels good to check things off my To Do before Baby list too. If he was born today, the main thing I’d be stressed about would be his name. People keep asking if we’ve picked a name yet, and the answer is a big, fat NO. No, we don’t have several options we’re thinking about. No, we don’t have much of a clue at all. Yes, we realize we are really down to the wire.

The car seat, though? That I have cleaned. The crib? Cleaned, made up, and ready. The baby’s dresser is filled with his clothes, many of which were lent by my sister. I am almost done preregistering online at the hospital. I need to sanitize the pacifiers, and I haven’t bought diapers yet, but there’s plenty of time.

One more month. It feels good.

Public Service Announcement

I am now seven months pregnant, or thereabouts. And yes, I look at least eight, if you go by how other women look. The thing is, other women are often taller than I am, so they distribute the giant basketball a little more evenly than I do. I’m also rather small boned, so the baby can’t hide anywhere at all. It just sticks straight out from me in a bit of an alarming way.

Lately, I’ve had lots of people ask me when I’m due. When I say June, there’s always a subtle (or not-so-subtle) raising of eyebrows, widening of eyes, or even, “Oh, that long?” It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s nowhere near as infuriating as the people who flat-out don’t believe me.

“Just don’t have the baby here!” I won’t. I’m not due for two more months, and I believe I’ve done this before.

“[Brinestone] won’t be here for Easter.” Um, yes, I most definitely will. But when I explain that having the baby within three weeks is very, very improbable, they respond with, “Well, if you do have your baby before Easter, so-and-so can cover for you.”

I get it. Lots of women deliver prematurely. I haven’t delivered even a week early yet. This might be the one time I do, but I’m not planning on it based on the size of my belly alone.

So maybe . . . maybe don’t comment on the size of a woman’s pregnant belly at all? Maybe acknowledge that different women have different-sized babies, that different women carry their babies differently in their various shaped bodies and that the woman herself is probably a better judge of when she’ll deliver than you are.

Rant over. Now a hilarious picture of me nine months pregnant with Duplo, my second.