Friday, May 27, 2011

Moose Mountain

Two weeks ago, we were reunited with a group of friends for a "Spring" retreat to Moose Mountain in Heber, Utah.

Moosen Mountain!
{ Brian Regan would say.
Click here for a dose of his hilarity}

Heber did not disappoint in keeping with Utah's plan to eternalize Winter. Even so, the accommodations proved lovely and the company was above par.

I begin with the Winegars.

Meet Jen, adorable baby Hannah and ...

"Hey. Bret. What are you looking at?" He seems a little distracted, yes? I'm pretty sure it's hard to ignore my personal 'whoops and wails' for attention while taking pictures.

Turns out, he was distracted by the snowball my husband was making in the distance. Without asking, Bret knew that snowball was destined for me. Perhaps it was Andrew's way of silently apologizing to his friend for his picture happy, overly enthused wife. I'm not sure though. One thing I'm certain of, he most certainly nailed me with the snowball.
Andrew digs a snow cave in 75 degree weather

He was quite proud of himself; there wasn't a smidge of remorse. Don't worry. My camera and I had our revenge. But first, the families:

Our group has doubled in size since 2008. Recent additions pictured here:
It was a weekend of game play, puzzle solving, gourmet dinning, nap times and stimulating conversation (gun control, anyone?). The kids had fun too. My only complaint is that we didn't stay longer.
With the snow still dripping off my arm, I felt the need to orchestrate a few more photo ops. My favorite being the one of the fellas nestling near the fire place.Can you hear the crickets chirping?

"Boys! Sit by the fireplace for a picture!" It was sufficiently awkward.

Until next year, friends!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

at seven months

Henry insists we call her "Lottie Charlotte"

I love Lottie Charlotte.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Henry has a life coach

... and her name is Eliza.

The following clip features a direct, yet loving, little girl. Her intentions are honorable as she offers help and encouragement to her younger counterpart. On the receiving end of the conversation, we find a reserved yet amiable boy who is oozing with sweetness. I wish he was always this agreeable.

Their relationship is reminiscent of... oh, strange. I can't quite put my finger on it...

It will be fun to see how this baby girl influences the dynamic. So far, so good. Before we know it, Henry will be sharing his "pearls of wisdom" with her.

And if you were paying attention to the question/answer session, a final move is in the works (it's imminent, folks). We are thrilled and hopeful that all will continue to go well in the miracle sale of our Southern home and the closing on our new property.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Birthday Spoilings

I mean no disrespect (and neither does my spouse), but Andrew compared Eliza's birthday to Hanukkah this year. The comparison stems from the fact that the birthday related festivities were unintentionally drawn out for days. Despite Andrew's claim that the *hoopla* was unnecessary, he didn't want to miss a second of it.

(*Holly, I threw that word in for you in honor of your 'words with friends' victory!)

In discussing Eliza's hopes and dreams for her birthday party, the list she provided me was a mile long. After shaving off a few wants, we ended up with a swimming/slumber party with her cousins.

We met the party crew at Fairmont for a few hours of swimming. With so many Aunts, Uncles and Nanna's in attendance, Henry and Lottie were well taken care of. It left me free to spend quality time in the pool with Eliza. And while she was intimidated to try the water slide on her own, the pair of us enjoyed floating through the lazy river.

Due to a random aversion to frosting, Eliza requested a donut cake. That made my job easy; especially since my Mom picked up the donuts from the store. While on the topic of my Mom, I'd like to thank her for hosting the party, fixing breakfast and calming one of special cousin as she felt a little homesick when it came time for bed.

After Eliza opened gifts, we passed out the party favor (a.k.a. matching pajamas). My assumption that the party goers would peacefully drift to sleep during the viewing of Yogi Bear that night was proved false. Still, they went to bed easily. The fun continued the next morning with pancakes, bacon and sliding down the stairs in sleeping bags. We missed the Chamberlain sisters but have great hope that future birthdays will be spent together. (!!!!!)
We're so happy to see these faces regularly!

Before I shift away from the Eliza centric blogging trend, I have to say that Andrew and I continue to be touched/humored by Eliza's emotional make-up. It would seem that her tear ducts are closely fused to her sensitive heart. Tiredness exacerbates this facet of her personality. I'd like to conclude with three short (?) examples; as it would be a shame (from my perspective) that they escape my memory.

Our weekend was spent at a cabin in Heber with a group of friends. Because bedtimes were extended for everyone; nap time became a vacation must. Except for Eliza. While ushering our children to bed, Eliza becomes a fountain of waterworks. Sitting in the loft that overlooks the great room below, she tearfully asks,

"Mom, what if I drop my sippy cup down there? It would shatter into so many pieces. Would the police come and take me away from you forever?" I don't know what was said to inspire that thought process but she was a mess at the very thought.

Coming home from said vacation, the kids are watching, "The Little Mermaid." Eliza is doing a little better in being able to stomach the tense moments. As the final battle plays between the sea witch Ursula against Ariel and her comrades, I hear her rapidly sniffling. She is, once more, sobbing. My instinct is to scoop her in my arms and soothe her through the final moment of Disney battle, but the luggage and coolers (among other vacation necessities) dissuade me. Embarrassed over my concern, she shields her splotchy, tear stained face with her pillow. A few minutes pass, and I'm able to catch her smile as she watches Ariel and Eric's happily ever after unfold.

And finally:

Two nights ago, Eliza is at her bedroom door in tears. Bedtime has passed and her brain is creatively searching for ways to avoid sleep. Per our request, she obediently returns to her bed. Passing her door a few minutes later, I can hear that she is still upset.

"Eliza, what's the matter?" Whether or not she knows this is my weakness, I'm not sure. But I am confident that I can decipher when her tears are sincere. These tears were sincere.

"Mom! I MISS being four years old!" Surprised, I wait for her to finish, "But I really don't want to give back my birthday presents!!"

Heaven help her when she turns forty.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Five cheers for Eliza!

Dearest Eliza,

Today, on your FIFTH birthday, I honor you!

When I asked you last night what you were most looking forward to about turning five, you replied:

"Being able to read more books!" Learning to read is just one of the changes that have occurred since turning four. When I remember last summer I will think of my precious girl who was still little enough to love Thomas the train, sharing a tent with you in Lake Powell, seeing you twirl in your princess dress at Uncle Matt's wedding, and taking a vacation to the beach with two of your very best friends.

Testing too high for the public preschool program, I was left with a difficult choice. Would we send you to private preschool? It was a half hour drive from home, expensive and five days a week. With your baby sister due to arrive, I didn't feel that I would be able to provide you with all of your social and academic needs. I was a complete disaster when I dropped you off. My tears continued for weeks, even though you fully embraced your new adventure. You were collecting new friends and asking for play-dates. I was delighted and impressed with all the neat things Miss Mitzi and Miss Tina did with your class. You grew so much under their careful and loving guidance.

October arrived and so did your baby sister. You took to her instantly. You graciously share Mom's attention with two siblings. You "look after Lottie" for me when I need help. You encourage us to make her laugh and are incredibly affectionate. You are POLITE. Wow. I don't know how that happened, but I receive comments on how well you use your manners all the time.

Trying new foods remains our greatest challenge. It's something I'm determined we figure out soon no matter the circumstance. I'm sorry that I didn't stick to my guns at a younger age. I know I'm partially to blame for your fear of tasting something you may not like.

The holidays were spent as a family of five in South Carolina. We celebrated the arrival of snow and played our hearts out in it. Little did we know that in a few months we'd be landing back in Utah where you'd suddenly have a FULL DOSE of winter... straight through April. (Boo!)

I worried over you when it came time to move. You were leaving the security and familiarity of our home, your friends at preschool and your dearest playmates. Still, you handled the change with enthusiasm. You are a great example of living in the moment.

Henry remains your best friend. The pair of you play so well together. I frequently express my luck in your friendship as it frees me up to take care of the baby, make a bed or two or indulge in a selfish moment (laptop). Thank you for being a great example to him.

You are a great artist! You would be so disappointed if I left that one out.

I think you are hilarious. Nana Marie and I took you to get your nails done last night per our birthday tradition and let me tell you, it was a night of belly laughs."There isn't a shy bone in that body" Nana said as we watched you charm your way into the hearts of the three nail salon ladies. They were giggling at your reactions, scratching your itchy forehead, giving commands in a foreign language that you mysteriously understood and treating you like a Queen. They doted on you.

"She so cute!"

Your enthusiasm for the activity faded as your exhaustion caught up to you.

"Are you sleepy Eliza?"

"No. Just bored."
Minutes later you appear uncomfortable. You are fighting an urge to scratch your face.

"I feel like I have mosquito bites everywhere" And before I know it, your arm is up and the salon lady is scratching your armpit for you. Nice.

"I want my nails in a pattern please. Pink, purple, pink, purple... like that... okay?"

Dipping your feet into the warm water delighted you. However, in a matter of seconds you announce,

"This water is warm. I have to go potty!" Driving home, Nana and I laugh as we talk about the outing. Wanting to include you in the conversation I call back,

"Did you have fun, Eliza?"

"At what?"

I'm glad it was as memorable for you as it was for us! I love you.

Do you know what else is hilarious? The questionnaire you answered about me for Mother's Day.

(click to enlarge)
"My Moms favorite hobby is

Laughing out loud - still.

You have a tender heart. This is one of your greatest qualities. You are sensitive to the needs of others; even if its a Disney character. As an example: every time we watch Tangled, you tear up when it seems that all hope is lost for Flynn Ryder. Frustrated, you wipe away tears.

"My eyes want me to cry Mom!" It's as though you have zero control over your emotions. Oh weird. That sounds a little familiar.

When I leave for the grocery store, you wave me the "I love you" sign until you can't see me. You insist on a huge batch of hugs and kisses and reiterate over and over how much you'll miss me. And then you sneak in,

"Bring me back a treat, please."

I love this. We sing together at night. Right now you're favorite song is "Love is spoken here." You still ask for snuggles and have promised to stay with me forever.

Eliza, being your Mom is such a privilege. I love you! Happy birthday baby girl.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

I love my Mom.

I've been sitting on this gem of a video since January. Mothers Day seems an appropriate time to reveal the moment that my Mom learned we'd be moving back to Utah.

And I'll tell you what; since our arrival it's been nothing but fist pumps and sunshine for the lot of us. She wanted us back and man, did we deliver. Not only are we in Utah, but we're still in her basement! My parents are LUCKY DUCKS!! Joking aside, I hope that with time we'll both remember how special its been to share this chapter together. My love and admiration for my Mother continues to grow. I love you Mom! She will forever be one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.

Speaking of gifts...
I'm so thankful for Eliza, Henry and Lottie; being their Mom brings me great joy! More to come on the lovely gestures they provided to help make this day special.