Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 24th

Last Sunday, Andrew and I had the opportunity to speak in Church. Fortunately, we had our own little cheering section in the audience to help combat our nerves. In addition to my Mom; Andrew's parents and the Taylor family came to the meeting. And while I'm certain y'all think I'm a sucker for attention, it made me extra nervous to have them there. The added pressure was worth having those extra hands to occupy our kids.

Lunch at the Flegal nest followed. Wanting to honor the Sabbath day, Andrew opted not to pull out the lawn mower for recreational purposes. Instead, feeling it was a little more holy, he brought the jeep out of moving hibernation.
Yes, Eliza is sporting a Book of Mormon. I'm not sure what game they were playing, but it's good practice because I'm pretty sure she'll be required to carry one in her purse when she enters the dating scene.
Henry and Max spent the most time riding the jeep.
More male bonding: Wickman and Tennessee. Side note: Cousin "Tenny" refers to Henry as, "Hiney." I will spare you the reasons as to why I find that nickname entirely fitting. Other highlights included the homemade ice cream Bubba made, Bocce Ball (Shipley's favorite - nudge, nudge, wink, wink - right Ship?), bad mitten and staying up late to watch the fireworks in honor of the arrival of the first Pioneers to arrive in the great Salt Lake valley.

Fabulous dah-ling! Simply fabulous!

We love when cousin Syrelle comes to visit!

Strike a pose ladies!

We've been lucky to see the Taylor family three times since we moved back to Utah.

During their most recent visit, the cousins enjoyed play-dates up at Echo Lake, at Grandma Flegal's, swimming at the Club, at Nanna Teresa's home, as well as ours.

These pictures were taken at Nanna's during a fabulous runway show directed by the inspiring Cecelia A. Taylor. It was a hit!

After telling the girls goodnight the night of their sleepover, Andrew and I made our way downstairs to the kitchen. Minutes later, Syrelle appears in the doorway. With a look of astonishment she informs us,

"Guess what!?" Smiling back at her, we reply:

"What Relly?" Taking a big breath she blurts,

"Eliza is ALREADY asleep." It was half past ten. The kids had been up late watching fireworks. It was no wonder that she was already asleep. But Syrelle couldn't believe how fast she'd faded. Her adorable expression isn't justly translated but I want it remembered anyway. She makes us laugh.

My favorite interaction between the girls happened while boating. While sitting in the front section of the boat, I overhear Eliza ask Syrelle the following:

"Syrelle, do you think you're the best person in the whole entire world?" Without hesitating she responds,

"No Eliza. I think YOU are the best person in the world."
We love you Syrelle (and Taylor crew). We can't wait until next time!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

She makes me happy when skies are gray.

Hello sweet baby girl! Welcome to your ninth month!

Please forgive me; I was beyond eager to reunite you with your crib when we moved into our new home. Finding your bedding and assembling your crib was top on our list of to-do's on move-in day. That's right. It was more important than finding the box of toilet paper.

And while it was fabulous {read: awful} to share a room with your for the past four months, I was thrilled to introduce you to your new bedroom. As awesome {again read: awful} as it was to bond all night long, you and I are waking up happier. The time apart provides us with the needed opportunity to miss each other.

Our happy morning reunions look a little something like this:

Who is delicious? Lottie is. I could kiss your face all day long. Before I forget, we finally discovered a tooth the night before your nine month mark. You win the prize for the latest tooth arrival. As a Mother who is in a committed nursing relationship, you won't hear me complaining about your lack of toothy pearls.

And while you remain curious and observant,

Your level of interaction with your siblings and desire to join their crew continues to increase. I love when they include you in their shenanigans. Even though, at times, they tease you. As a survivor of sibling teasing abuse, I have a tendency to overreact (shocking, I know) to their hurtful chants.

Henry usually instigates the cruelty.

"Lottie is an orphan! Lottie is an orphan!" He'll repeat. Clearly, he doesn't understand what he's saying but I still find myself shushing him. Another favorite is:

"Lottie is a potty! Lottie is a potty!" - I should have seen that one coming. I'm sorry. I'll have this behavior nipped in the bud before you're old enough to have your feelings hurt.

They really do adore you. Truly. You are loved.

"Lottie's such a precious baby, right Mom?" Henry will say on a daily basis. And your sister is convinced you're the absolute cutest and best baby in the world. As a totally 'blinded by love' and smothered in biased Mother, I agree with her completely.

In other news, I'd like to offer you my sincere congratulations.

You no longer tip over when I sit you down. Any minute you'll be able to sit yourself up independently, but for now we're mutually pleased that you're able to enjoy your toys (and clothes) from a new perspective. Enjoying the swing set, playing with Eliza and Henry, sitting up like a big girl and enjoying the night life in your new room aren't the only changes. Welcome to solid food land! Spoon feeding t.a.k.e.s. f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and is one stage I gladly bid farewell with each child. I know we'll still be there for awhile, but the more you eat 'table food' the better.

Not to mention, snacking on baby edibles in the high chair is another daily activity that provides the distraction needed for Mom to feed the other kids and tidy the kitchen. It's great.

This is the part where I had intended to record your height and weight stats but I'm pretty sure that I canceled that appointment today in your pediatrician's parking lot (after driving 40 minutes to SLC) as I was abruptly hit with stomach pain (not pregnant, side effect from not having a gall bladder)... super embarrassing and frustrating.

So instead, we'll conclude with my favorite picture from our most recent boating excursion.
Don't be misled by your expression. You LOVED riding on the boat. And wow! I love YOU baby girl. Even if Daddy is your absolute favorite.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I know a weiner man.

My brilliant plan to have family over for a cookout seemed less brilliant when 6:00 p.m. rolled around and the temperature was still lingering in the nineties.
Fortunately for our hungry guests, Andrew (along with his trusty hat) didn't allow the heat to halt our dinner plans. About that hat, which I'm sure will be a future family heirloom, Andrew discovered it at the dollar store last summer. And while it could have originated from our Grandmother's closet, it did not. In fact, Andrew would argue that it's a "gender neutral" accessory.

(*Clearing my throat) Y'all can decide for yourselves.

While Andrew braved the heat in order to tend to the fire, the kids kept busy as they alternated between the sprinklers and our playground. It was a happy sight that the rest of the adults enjoyed from the comfort of the shaded patio. And while I felt guilty that I wasn't keeping my hot (double meaning) husband company at the fire, my hands were busy spoon feeding this doll of a child,

as I visited with people like Ami!

After 11 years away from Utah, my sister Ami and her cute, cute family returned to Utah three months after we did. Talk about a wish come true. Next to my Mom, she was the one that I spent the most time visiting with on the phone during my Carolina days. As my children grew, so did my desire to have her nearby. We are now less than 15 minutes apart. AWESOME - pretty much sums up how I feel about our new situation.
Finally, the fire was set for roasting. Dinner was followed by lawn mower rides. Because we're fancy like that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rock on.

Amidst the sea of cardboard boxes, a single box steals my attention. The bright orange tape that outlines its edges are difficult to ignore.Taking a closer look, the scrawled print indicates that this box contains "parts." Curious, I begin to rummage through its contents to see what items would merit the special attention. I find the parts needed to construct bed frames, Lottie's crib, the remote controls, various wires needed to attach, well I'm not exactly sure. That's Andrew's job; but you get the idea. As I close the box, a feeling of appreciation and gratitude wash through me as I realize how much thought was put into the packing of our home goods. We're lucky (read spoiled) that one of the benefits attached to Andrew's new job included having our things packed by professionals, stored and finally hauled into our home for us.

However, if I was to make a single recommendation to any moving company; it would be to use that same orange tape to highlight one additional box. Four days in and dozens of unpacked boxes later, the TOILET PAPER still continues to evade me! As fun as it is to juggle a single roll of toilet paper between bathrooms, I'm looking forward to retiring the phrase:

"Eliza, can you please hurry and bring the toilet paper to Mommy's bathroom?" It's time we find the stock pile I know we had before moving. Or, to simply buy more.

Another household item that remains hidden is the dust pan. The broom was an easy find which is fortunate considering how much hard wood floor we now occupy. The accumulation of household floor dirt is temporarily living in a large pile in our entry way closet. Sweet.

Hangers... that's another needed treasure I look forward to uncovering.

Other than these silly, albeit imperative, wants; were trudging along box by box; feeling thankful to be reunited with our family's routines and establishing our new normal.

Saturday night, a dozen neighborhood children and their parents approached our door to welcome us to the cul-de-sac. Eliza, being recently reunited with her dress up box, came to the door wearing a fluffy pink skirt, a purple Hawaiian lei (no shirt), yellow high heels, a crown and a surprising somber expression.

"And this, is Eliza." I said as I tried to stifle my own laughter. She looked awesome. At least she was authentic in letting her mood, influenced by how tired she was, own her. Henry didn't realize how lucky he was to be standing next to a neighbor boy his same age. The good news continued as details of our neighborhood were relayed. We're very happy and optimistic that we've found the home and area where we will raise our kids. Life is certainly full of unexpected change, but for now we're hoping to lay down some serious roots.

Photos of the home will come later. The sight of boxes hinders all motivation for indoor picture taking. The outside, with its clouded lighting, was a far more appealing subject to capture this morning. Here's a sampling of our slice of heaven.

Can you spy Eliza and Henry?Eliza and Henry happily inherited the swing set. Andrew happily inherited a super awesome lawn mower.

The patio is outlined with great rocks.

So is the yard.

Rock on.

Friday, July 8, 2011

flying the coop

Hey kids,

Guess what?!

Oh! Hey there, Lottie! Any teeth yet? No such luck? That's okay. We have more pressing matters to attend to on our list of "to-do's."
Yes, Henry. It's true. Tomorrow night you and Bulls-eye will be settling into a new pasture.
That's right buddy! We're moving into our new home! The moving truck arrives in the morning. Despite the frightening mental image I'm currently suffering from, I may attempt a cartwheel. I'm pretty thrilled. It would seem that my excitement may be matched by Eliza's. Her smile may seem a little disingenuous, but I swear; she can't stop dancing. Seriously. She just can't contain her joy.
The girl can bust a move in her own "special" way. Bubba, I dedicate this photo to you. I'm pretty sure she was thinking about you as she struck this pose.

Off we go!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fourth(s) of July

Fireworks came early this year! Saturday night, the Mays clan (all 33 of us) congregated at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mays for a spectacular viewing of Riverton city's firework show.

Eliza was thrilled with her first jeep ride {courtesy of Uncle Mike and Aunt Sunnee.} I am told that she spent a portion of the commute with her hands raised in the air as if she were riding a roller coaster. Yahoo.Ice cream cones with sprinkles, rated G beverages, a little wiffle ball action and a handful of children bickering over who got what glow stick proceeded the firework show. We were treated to VIP seating on my brother's front lawn which was conveniently located across the street from where the fireworks emanated. It was awesome to be there with each of my siblings, parents, nieces and nephews.

Sunday the celebrations continued with a festive BBQ. My Mom provided the BBQ while I provided the "festive."
My first cheesecake.

Isn't she beautiful? Idiot proof directions can be found here at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She is my Julia Childs. I owe my culinary growth to her. I appreciate her detailed instructions and am drawn to her witty writing style. Someday, I hope, we'll be pen pals. Dinner was followed by a holiday craft. Go ahead and call us "over achievers;" but seriously, it's just my Mom. Thank you Nana Marie for organizing this project for the kids.And thank you Kate for keeping things interesting. Always.Neglecting the fact that our kids were already nearing the brink of exhaustion, Andrew took them to his Grandma's home late Sunday evening for a sleepover. Growing up it was tradition for Andrew to spend the night before the Fourth of July parade sleeping on his Grandma's back patio. Grandma's yard is a work of art. Her stunning roses, monster sized willow trees and the rushing creek out back complete an idealistic scene of picturesque beauty.
But all of that comes second to how cute and cuddly these bugs looked when I showed up early the next morning with their happy baby sister.

Breakfast with friends and family came next, followed by the parade that Andrew and I both grew up attending. Eliza and Henry reaped a bagful of candy that I've enjoyed "supervising." Dinner and games with Andrew's family wrapped up the weekend's festivities. And while we love having close access to family to share these celebrations with, we frequently reminisce and discuss the contrast of the way we spent holidays and long weekends in the South. I don't think we fully realize how unique and special that chapter was. Life is all about trade offs, right?

We had our fill this weekend and boy! We were tired. Right, Henry?Let Freedom Ring!