Monday, December 29, 2008

A 'Build a Bear' play by play

"Whose child IS that?"

That was the question circulating through the minds of hundreds of Fashion Place mall shoppers this morning. Their unsuspecting ears were abruptly assaulted by violent screams of fury. It was the type of noise that only a denied-of-something, two year old child, could produce.

Christmas Day, Nana Marie surprised her grand-girls with a promised visit to Build a Bear workshop. Each day, the girls anticipation grew. Eliza, somewhat clueless, was happy to go knowing that it meant spending the day with her beloved cousin Emilee. After picking out their soon to be stuffed best friends, we geared up for a long wait. The bear factory was extremely busy and sorely understaffed. It wasn't long until the Chamberlain sisters joined us. Time was spent eyeing potential outfits, naming their new friends and an eternal Eliza time passer...Sucker sucking.
The time finally came to stuff the bear,

(in awe as her bear comes to life)

make a wish, sew in a heart and seal the deal with a kiss.Sprucing her bear up at the cleaning station was her personal favorite.


If it had been up to Eliza, we'd still be sorting through outfits, trying decide which one was best. I took control, found a little purple polka dot number that was absolutely adorable and headed over to the computer to register her birth certificate

CUE MAJOR MELTDOWN. On your mark, get set, FREAK OUT, Eliza!!!

Eliza wanted to play the part of secretary for the mass of 'eager to leave' customers. My request to have her scoot her bum off the chair was met with total resistance. Forcing her myself was an experience straight from a personal nightmare.

After surviving the stares of annoyed customers longer than any normal Mom would, I scooped her up and headed out to my Mother's car to privately enjoy her meltown. As she flailed her reluctant body parts, I happily wished the amused, yet embarrassed for me, spectators a Happy New Year.

"I WANT EMEE!!" she repeatedly hollered.
Each time we leave a play date with her cousins, Eliza falls apart. Afraid that she's being wisked away to another airport and transported back to the South, she will sob uncontrollably for her Nana and blond haired cousin. It kills me. Her sadness and longing to stay with the faces she grew up with is really hard emotionally.

We recovered from the build a bear meltdown and headed to McDonalds. Along the way, I received word via text message that I'll be meeting some of my high school girlfriends for dinner at a nice restaraunt, tomorrow night. I'm such the McDonald's mother, I bet I'll stand out like a total foreigner tomorrow night. I'm excited to go, but am hoping I can find a pair of socks that match for the evening.Thank you for a great day Nana. We love her new bear. She had loads of fun playing with those cousins.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

While in Utah

I'm sitting in my parent's study. It doesn't get much better than this when it comes time to revisit the world of blogs. My days have been full, my nights have been trying (sick baby). As always, life proves that there's an oppostion in all things. The highly anticipated return to Utah is no exception.

My intent isn't to complain, but rather to record, in the few available minutes of alone time I have, our recent happenings since arriving to Utah.

For anyone who has lost sleep worrying how we fared on our flight here, (a big fat no one cares, I get it!) The children did well. Our flights arrived and departed on schedule, the weather cooperated, etc. Eliza slept the first three hour leg of our trip. Henry and his festering cold, stayed awake. He was our well behaved, zombie baby.

On Christmas Eve, it became apparent that he was suffering from a double ear infection. I'm going to skip the "why-me" aspect of this because I'm ridiculously blessed and have to say that my greatest sadness has been for his unhappiness and discomfort.

I've relished in the time I've spent with friends and family. Eliza's excitement on Christmas morning was magic. I love being on the giving end. Go ahead and assume that I say that because I am a super righteous selfless person. It's not true. Eliza was just really cute.

I know this entry is lacking fluidity, but I just have to conclude with a shout out to my friend, Steph Webb.

I'm a wicked, wicked girl for not calling you on Christmas Day. I sure thought about it leading up the 25th. I thought of you and your beautiful kids, celebrating Christmas without your sweet husband. I thank you for his service to our country and wanted to publicly thank you for the sacrifice you and your children make on your end. I admire you Steph.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Carolina Christmas

Understanding the outlandish costs involved in paying for luggage while traveling, Santa spared us an extra bag or two by visiting our little family early this year. We appreciate his cooperation and empathy. Either that or Eliza pulled some strings on our family's behalf. Following Church, I baked Christmas casserole, a traditional dish that both of our Mother's make. It earned rave reviews from the mouths involved in it's consumption. The children awoke from their afternoon naps to discover (to Eliza's EXTREME delight) that Santa had indeed come. Henry was very excited about his first gift. "Hmmm. I wonder" The baby elf quietly murmured. "Present seem to be fun and all, but I seem to be craving a little...""...wrapping paper!"
"Yes!! I found the lot!"
Eliza was thrilled with her gifts. Watching her face light up was incredibly rewarding.

The afternoon involved a surprise visit from our friend Olya and an impromptu birthday party with the Blaser family. Chocolate cake was involved.

Our bags are packed. The anticipation of entertaining our energetic children on two airplane rides tomorrow thrills me to tears. Oh come on, I know you wish it was you taking on that challenge with two small children. Pray for us!

Seriously though, we're looking forward to seeing our family & friends like you wouldn't believe.
I got my eyebrows waxed and everything!!

Before I forget, I just wanted to mention the terrifying moment I experienced at Church today. No, it was during my talk, that went well. Andrew was asked to give the closing prayer, so after the closing song, I left the stand to go and sit with our children. As I was reuniting with Henry, he suddenly grabbed my thick looped earring and plopped it in his mouth. Meanwhile, Andrew has started his prayer as I quickly realize that my son is seconds away from choking on my earring. I'm silently freaking out. Fighting my instinct to scream out for someone to assist me, I fling him forward across my lap... praying that as I swipe his mouth, that I won't push the thing down his throat. Swipe one... I can't feel it. I start pounding his back

Meanwhile...Andrew is STILL praying. I'm sure it was a thoughtful, eloquent prayer, but I can't say for certain considering the current state of hysteria I was dealing with. When is it appropriate for me to scream aloud, "MY SON IS CHOKING" - technically, he wasn't choking. But if that happened, would I have the guts to make it known to the congregation during a prayer. Absolutely I would. I learned that about myself today. Or what if he swallowed it and bypassed the choking part... would I wait for him to poop it out? Would it puncture any organs? It's amazing how insane the different types of scenarios play through a Mother's brain and how rapidly it happens as well.

However, the best scenario played out.

During my mental bout of chaos, the earring suddenly fell out. Holy Miracle. He didn't swallow it. Andrew met me back at our bench. Still recovering from my moment of potential disaster, he begins to reassure me that my talk went well, that I should go ahead and relax, etc...


Goodnight. Next post will be coming at you from SLC.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Honey, you baked!

You can ask my Mom. I've spent a lot of time bonding with my kitchen lately. The reason she can vouch for me is based on the myriad of cooking related calls she's received. Here's a sampling.

"Hey Mom, I'm calling for another recipe. Wait... let me find a pencil. Okay, I'm ready."

Next comes the plea while out shopping.

"Mom, I'm at Wal-mart. I know you don't shop in South Carolina, but what aisle will I find cornstarch. Yes Mom, I did think to check the baking aisle. By the way. What is cornstarch exactly?"

Sometimes, when I call, my tone is saturated with absolute frustration.

"Why is my cookie dough like glue? Add more flour? I want my money back. The rolling pin ad said this was "stick free". Next year, encourage me to go with my trusty friend, Pillsbury Pre-made Everything!"

After the cookies are actually resembling cookies, my confidence returns from vacation. I'm ready to tackle the simple task of making frosting.

Que next phone call.

"Mom!" I whine. "Something is seriously wrong with my frosting. It has the consistency of Eliza's snotty nose. I followed the recipe you gave me (I proceed to list recipe)... What? I wasn't supposed to add four and three fourth cups granulated sugar? That was the modified measurement for the powdered sugar? That explains it."

and then, after a long day, she's rewarded with the positive phone calls.

"The sweet and sour chicken turned out awesome. I'll definitely make it again. Gabe and Melissa seemed to really like it."

or yesterday's message,

"The cookies are soft and actually taste like sugar cookies. The new batch of frosting turned out so well. Too bad the sprinkles I bought taste like they're 75 years old, but at least they look pretty. I'm so glad I didn't go the Pillsbury route. Do you want me to bring you one on Monday for you to try?"

BECAUSE I'M GOING TO SEE HER MONDAY!! I'm very excited to head home to Utah.

Between now and then, I have a lot of bonding that needs to be done with our laundry room. Fear not, dear kitchen, you and I will reunite later today as we gear up to prepare/warm a full sized ham for our Ward's Christmas party. Ugh. The Elder's Quorum President volunteered Andrew (which means ME) to prepare it this past Wednesday while Andrew was attending mutual. So Mom, I hope you're gearing up for that phone call. I've never warmed a ham before. It shouldn't be difficult, but I have a tendency to turn the most simple of tasks to hard.

And then there's the talk I have to give on Sunday, packing, cleaning, figure out how to motivate Eliza to graduate from her Thomas Potty to the regular one by Sunday, etc... Anyway, I'm glad there's a lot to keep me busy because the excitement is eating me up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Operation "Let's Gain Weight" - particpant of one, Henry D. Flegal

Henry's nine month check up was this morning. Waking up two sleepy children, feeding their tiny bird mouths, dressing and shuttling their bums out the door by 7:30, single handedly, is an accomplishment worthy of a gold star. I don't like being late. I don't like being on time. I like being early.

As I left my driveway, I knew that I wasn't going to be early, but felt confident that I'd be signing in at the receptionist desk on time. However, due to a clog in the road - a clog -not to be mistaken with the shoe version of a clog, but the type that causes traffic jams... I should have just said "jam" or "road block" or "road closure" but I went with the word "clog" for some reason. For some reason? Am I side tracking? The reason is, the status of my body is ***UBER TIRED ***. I think "uber" is a German word. Is it Andrew? I think it means, really. Again, I should have just written, really tired. Speaking of tired. Has this blog put you to sleep yet?

Anyway... there was a road block, which made me five minutes late. That's alright. I try not to let things like this spoil my day. I have a fear that my tardiness will mess up an important someone who has to maintain a full schedule.

Despite not "loving" my doctor, I feel he's qualified. Not to mention, he excels in the martial arts. That's right, ladies and gents. There are several certificates/photos/awards of all of his martial arts accomplishments. Who needs to see framed diplomas when your Doc's a black belt. In fact, recently, he chopped cinder blocks in half with his BARE HANDS. Did I mention that he also has a law degree? Pick your chin up from off the table. I speak the truth.

Anyway, I have to say Henry's stats have upset me. I feel like a neglectful Mother that should be reported to child services. My little peanut is even littler than he was three months ago. He lost a pound. LOST. Yes, he is mobile and he's burning up more calories as a result. Not to mention, he has a few cousins that we're also peanut sized babies, but still. I feel bad. He's energetic and so happy that I don't think he's suffered. I am aware of how much he eats. I'm no scientist, but I think I know the definition of the term "well fed" and he's been "well fed."

Regardless of his current weight (14 lbs, 5 oz) I need to fatten him up.
"Operation Violet Beauregarde" is now in effect

Good thing it's the holidays. I've heard of kidney transplants between family members. Anyone know if insurance companies would be willing to cover the cost of fat implants between a Mother and her son? I'd be willing to spare a chin. Or better yet, part with my muffin top for his sake. Easily. Eww. Gross imagery. Sorry.

Henry loves food. He's very accepting. The doctor green lit a lot of foods, which surprised me. I have a month to get him plumped up. Otherwise, we'll be visiting a dreaded ''specialist" (that always sounds scary to me) to begin testing to see if there's a reason why he's not gaining weight. His height stats were also below the 5th percentile. Mentally he's right on track. Physically, he's passed each expected milestone. He just looks like he's a three month old that can stand up.

Any other Mom's out there that can relate? Share with me. Comfort me.

I'm not worried. Well, okay... I'm a little worried, but more discouraged. Yet, having read a friend's blog this morning, I'm grateful that I have access to a doctor. And I'm grateful for a Mom who is always ready to offer a voice of reassurance.

Over & Out from the warm, soon to be 70 degree weather, South.

**Word on the Today Show is that it's been ridiculously cold in other parts of the U.S. of A. Can we say 'Denver'? (Hi Ami!) Blogs are decorated with pictures of frosted yards, snow men and other reminders of the cold I left behind. Never fear, Frosty the Snowman... we'll be seeing you in Six Days!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Help A Girl Out

Last night I spent some time updating my link lists. Most of the blogs I follow, I track via the wonder that is 'Google Reader' (thanks Jensen fam, for the introduction). I figured it was time to update my actual blog with some of the ones I regularly read.

With that being said, if I have neglected, misspelled, mis-categorized anyone's blog, let me know. If you'd like your last name removed, I'd be happy to do that as well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Henry at Nine Months



By all means, read the letter but just know that there isn't an entertaining 'wow' factor to be had. These are a Mother's thoughts regarding her nine month old baby.

Dearest Henry,

On December 11th, you turned nine months old. I can't help but compare the past nine months of your life, to the nine months of our pregnancy. Similar to our first nine months together, you continue to quickly develop and change and I continue to long for a solid night of rest. However, I have to say, the method in which I now 'carry' you is an immense improvement.

A distinct difference between you and your sister (when she was at this phase), is your willingness to be held. Eliza Grace was always on the move, busy, ready to be onto her next project. Yes, you are curious and eager to explore, but most of the time, you are equally happy if you're being held. Even the most content of babies still have their moments, but for the most part, you're a gem at Church. It still surprises your Daddy and me.

Several weeks ago, you were suffering from a bad case of separation anxiety. If I set you down for a quick minute, you'd sob your way back to my legs... pleading with me to pick you back up; even in your best of moods. You're still a Mama's boy, but the need to be physically attached to me in some way, shape or form has eased up a lot.

This "need" for Mom resulted in poor sleeping habits. I know, the comparison thing is frowned upon, but in doing it, I realize how different my babies are. Eliza was a solid sleeper early on. You are still in the process of learning to self soothe. We're past the night time feedings, but you still beckon me into your room each night, requesting that I help you find your binki.

I guess the remaining changes worth noting is your ever increasing mobility, your insatiable appetite to explore, the ridiculously cute way you shake your bum with excitement when you successfully pull yourself up onto your knees (or feet) and your complete trust in trying something new to eat. You love big people food. Milk and packaged baby food makes up the majority of your diet, but we're beginning to share off of our own plates more and more.

We've had small success with sippy cups which means, like your big sister, we bypassed the bottle thing completely. Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I wanted you to try a bottle and you refused. I won't be giving up nursing anytime soon; for reasons that benefit us both. It's almost embarrassing to confess that I am that type of Mom who selfishly loves that bonding.

Your favorite song is currently, "Do you know the muffin man?"

I love the way your head smells. After I claim you back from your crib, I'll greet you with a smile and a kiss, snuggle you into my arms and begin to smell your head. I know. That may be the strangest thing anyone ever tells you in your life, but it's true. I love baby Henry head smell. It doesn't matter if you've had a bath recently or not.

You are on the "petite" side of the scale. I'll have the exact figures next Tuesday when I take you to your well child check up, but it's clear when holding babies that are younger than you that you are somewhat of a light weight. As long as your healthy, I'll happily tote a smaller baby. It provides me with the illusion that your much younger than you are in some way... however, the understanding in your eyes reminds me that you are indeed learning and advancing.

We still call you puppy. Here's why.
I'm sure all babies have a fascination with their tongues, but for whatever reason, I think of a "puppy" when I see yours.

The greatest change that I've noticed is your sister's sudden interest/need to play with you. She's interacted with you before, but now, it's her greatest pleasure to follow you on the floor, mimic your actions and to exercise her "authority" over you. It's amusing, heartwarming and absolutely terrifying. It worries me to see her touch you for fear that she'll harm you. So far, so good. The "good" easily outweighs the worry... but as you'll see from this video, I'm always a second away from panic.
video
I love being your Mom, Henry. I can't wait for your grandparents to be able to delight in your presence.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Second Place Cheap Skate

In keeping with my self imposed challenge, I'm going to go with my friend's suggestion to share with y'all something "nice" I've done for myself lately. I'm going to disregard the temptation to vent my frustration with Eliza's newly acquired habit of blowing my freshly swept piles of kitchen dust for her own personal amusement and focus on the simple, yet important, niceties I've afforded myself as of late.

Absolutely I spend money. I spend money on groceries, diapers, bills, play-date related activities for the children I'm not supposed to mention in today's blog, etc. However, I rarely spend money on myself. My wardrobe is a SOLEMN testament of this fact. I wouldn't be surprised if either of my two impeccably clothed brothers have contemplated submitting my name to the producers of the TLC show, "What Not To Wear."

Having shared my purchase history, you may better understand the complex nature of my feelings as I was faced with a random urge to buy an $8.00 bottle of perfume this past Monday. I felt wasteful, excited, justified, slightly rebellious.

So I did it. As I placed it into my shopping cart, I began rehearsing the excuses I'd use on Andrew when he noticed it, if he noticed it, that would justify the expense.

In addition to discovering my secret purchase as he assisted me with our bags of groceries, Andrew actually SWIPED it. Was he mad? Did he have immediate plans to return the non-needed item?

No.

Rather, he stuffed it in a kitchen drawer and made the incredibly FALSE assumption that I'd simply forget my deserved indulgence. When he saw the perfume he immediately made plans to give it to me for Christmas FROM HIM.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight. After 25 years, my husband still doesn't understand the concept of Christmas. In his mind, Husband:

1. Steals wife's purchase,
2. Hides it.
3. Disregards her worry that she's losing her mind.
4. Pretends he doesn't know what she's talking about when accused.
5. Wrap the thing.
6. Take the credit for the thoughtful nature of the gift Christmas morning.

I love you, babe. That plan may work in 60 years when I'm diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I may be an occasional cheap skate, but I think it's fair to say that you come in first place.

The short answer to Steph's question is that I recently bought myself an $8.00 bottle of perfume at Walmart. It's a simple self esteem boost, if you ask me. On days like today, when my hair is reminiscent of drowned cat fur and I have an important errand to run; a little dab of smelly goodness, a freshly brushed mouth and a nicely matched pair of socks can help provide a shabby Mom a slice of confidence.

Something else I have planned is more of a necessity than a splurge. I intend to find a professional to wax my eyebrows. Someone recently compared my eyebrows to fuzzy caterpillars. I wasn't offended because I knew that this person was absolutely right in their blunt assessment. My goal is to have this done shortly before I leave for Salt Lake so that my 'well together' facade is believable for the first few days of that trip.

The other Steph in my life asked to hear my worst date experience ever. Really, her suggestion has me stumped. Fortunately, my one-on-one dating experiences were pretty 'by the book.' Nothing extraordinarily awful occurred. After a lot of thought, I compiled a small sampling of a few unfortunate events. Which do you think merits it's own blogging entry?

a) Meeting and conversing with a General Authority while simultaneoulsy dodging the affections of an eager young man (not Andrew).

b) Attending the senior prom with my future husband. Sounds uber romantic right? Well it was. But be sure to throw in the misfortune of being completely sick with a crippling case of mono - I mean honestly; what other girl on the planet can say she skipped out on the making out portion of the evening when her date was the man she'd one day marry? Did I say "make out"? No Eliza, you read that wrong... I meant hand holding. Because apparently mono can be passed by holding hands... err, um...I give up. Well, I guess this suggestion is now disqualified due to my inability to keep details to a minimum.

c) Falling asleep on the shoulder of a classmate during driver's ed... not necessarily a date, but it was incredibly embarrassing. Drool was involved.

Thanks for humoring me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Challenge

So I was reading a friend's blog and discovered that they're eager to read a post that doesn't revolve around a blogger's kid(s). Well GOLLY GEE WIZ. I think I'm up to the challenge. Help a friend out. What do you want to know my thoughts on. Please don't say global warming, prop 8 or vaccines. I'm too much of a softie (literally and figuratively) to delve into that controversy during the Holiday season!. Any suggestions? Let's be creative because the only (***lameness alert***) other topic popping into my head starts with the letter "T" and ends with "WILIGHT"

Sorry Boys


She's taken.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Importance of Reading the Fine Print

Someday, my tombstone will read:

Here Lies Alison M. Flegal
A woman known for trying really hard.

Truly, I am frustrated with myself this morning.

I've done my best to stay on top of Christmas this year. With our family jet setting our way to Utah on the 22nd, I've been making plans to welcome Santa on Sunday the 21st. Most of the shopping is done, our home is decorated, an important trip to the post office has been made, gifts have been wrapped, homemade presents are completed, etc.

The remaining items on my "to-do" list include:
1. Print and send Christmas cards
2. Plot our strategical plan of action with back up plans A, B, & C for the airplane ride to SLC
3. Write a talk for Church. Delivery is scheduled for, oh - that's right. December 21st.

Last night, I left the children with Andrew in hopes of wrapping up a minor 'loose end' at Walmart. For those of you who aren't familiar with their "Site to Store" benefit, I'll explain. Basically, if you don't want to pay the cost of shipping when shopping online, you can have your item(s) delivered to your local Wal-mart and pick it up after receiving an e-mail which notifies you of it's arrival.

Days ago, my notification arrived. The item I've been waiting on is a doll house for Eliza. It's the "big" Christmas gift to Eliza this year. I've loved watching her imagination bring her dolls to life lately and feel confident that this gift will be received with great enthusiasm.

Quickly, I made my way to their pick up center and "surprise, surprise" they didn't have my order. In my hand, I held evidence, in the printed form of the e-mail confirmation, that stated the contrary - but whatever. I left, somewhat annoyed by their incompetence. Not wanting to spoil the high I receive when grocery shopping without kids, I went along my merry way, accepting I had missed some detail. I would re-examine all of the e-mails in my Inbox when I returned home.

Bottom line:

The incompetence lies with me. No matter how hard I try to stay ahead of the game, plan ahead, WHATEVER you want to call it, I fail. I'm the flaw in my planning. As I re-examined my order, it was confirmed that the doll house has in fact arrived. However, it was delivered to my former Wal-mart of choice in SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH. Great. I neglected to notify Walmart of the simple, yet hugely important detail: The Flegal's zip code has changed.

What to do, what to do. I can order another one. If the one in Utah goes unclaimed, the money will be refunded back to my card. Or, I can pick up the one in Utah when we arrive and hope we can fit the thing in a suitcase. Errr. Or, Andrew would love this... pay the price of shipping it ourselves from SLC. I don't think we'll be going that direction. Calm down, honey.

Further evidence of my claim that I'm the continued flaw, lies in this next example. Last October, I purchased a gift for Andrew and hid it in a personal drawer. During our move, Andrew was assigned the task of packing that particular drawer and discovered the only surprise I had planned for him.

Uh.

The good news is, I have time. I have time to find a solution, I have time to prepare a talk, I have time to publish this post in hopes of making someone feel better about themselves in knowing that they are more competent than I am today.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Andrew the Inventor

Please refrain from mocking our "Charlie Brown" type Christmas tree. Yes, it's meager and simplistic, but it does the job. And "yes" I'm aware I need a tree skirt. I'll get right on that (or not). Last year, our cheap red and silver ornaments magically disassembled themselves from their hooks, creating a problem for unsuspecting bare feet. With a mobile ankle biter on our hands who has an all consuming desire to put everything in his mouth, I opted to retire them this year with a hope that next year, we can rationalize purchasing a replacement set. Without my Mother's tradition of of giving us our own ornament each year, our little tree would be nakey. Because of her, it is adorned with the ornaments from my childhood - youth - adult life, each one symbolizing something from that 'era' of my life.

When Andrew and I married, I carried on the tradition. I admit that my eye balls were leaking fluid as I put out each of the four Christmas decorations I own (okay, there's a few more than four). As I happily felt the atmosphere change from a stark newborn home to a "lived in" Christmas-ish feel... I realized that my Mother's influence is everywhere in our house; whether it's a decoration she made for us, the yearly Christmas book she gives our family or something I bought with her. I know, I know. We all get it. Ali still misses her Mom.

Our kitchen - it looks a little more 'lived in' now

I'm not done reinforcing the point. Sorry. This year, the Christmas classics, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" or "I'll be home for Christmas" have real meaning and stir up feelings I haven't experienced years past. Okay, the sentimentality has passed.

Our weekend to-do list included the task of hanging up the Christmas lights on our house. After I vehemently refused Andrew's petition to join him on our roof and support his weight with the use of cardboard box; he was forced to creatively find a solution to adorn the lights on our high gable (the high peak of the front of our house).

Here he is in action, using a contraption that can best be described as a telescoping pole that featured a wrench placed in it's end. Attached to the wrench was a rope that enabled Andrew to screw in the light hooks clips and then tighten them... blah, blah, blah...

Here, let him explain it (I hope the volume works well on your computer).
video

We celebrated his triumph with a family activity to look at Christmas lights at a nearby zoo. We drove through a wilderness of lights, found ourselves in a field with bags full of purchased dog food to feed the deer and zebras that surrounded our car (I'm not making this up) and then wrapped up the cold evening with a trip to Santa's village where we saw the largest living cow on the planet (yes, I'm making that up - but he really was a HUGE cow) and a myriad of other animals.

I nearly forgot! While I was out on an errand in the afternoon, Andrew constructed Eliza a cardboard castle, courtesy of our left over moving boxes.

While Mommy is away, the kids will play

There's a tunnel that connects to another 'chamber' where Andrew placed Eliza's portable DVD player. This 'thing' will keep her entertained for days. She loves it. Have a good week y'all.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Because their Grandma's Miss them...

Dear Nana Marie & Nanna Teresa:

Henry has something to show you."I do?"

Yes, puppy. You do. Give your Nanas a great big smile. Show them what you've been working on."Oh! My teeth! ... Wait Mom, here's another view!"I've lost count of the number of teeth he has. If he wasn't napping right now, I'd go take a peek. So... what else has been going on Henry? "Eliza's been sharing her toys with me!"
"Say, what?"
"Ya Mom. It's true. Her dolls taste good."

"MOM!! It's bad enough if he's in the same room as my toys... let alone TOUCHING them, WITH HIS MOUTH! This is unacceptable."

**Editors note: The real reason behind Eliza's tears in the above photo was we told her that it was time to get ready for bed (last night).

For revenge, Eliza tutors Henry in the art of pulling ornaments off of the Christmas tree.

Okay! I admit it. That's not entirely true either. Henry is the one that's into the Christmas decorations. When Henry engages in this behavior, Eliza takes a minute to decide whose team she's on. At times, she'll transform into a mini-version of me and lightly scolds Henry. As she shakes her pointer finger, she'll reprimand him in a sing-song voice,

"No, no, no Henry!" Or, if I'm distracted, she'll join him at the base of the tree, shake it vigorously and proudly exclaim,

"Mom! I play with Hen-er-y" (She usually adds a third syllable when saying his name.) This naughty behavior bonded them in a way that made it possible for me to take a few sibling photos. It is rare that Eliza will cooperate for such a request. Really, I was surprised and delighted that she let me snap a few.We love you!

Dear Utah,
We'll be seeing you soon.
Faithfully yours,
Ali Flegal