Thursday, January 27, 2011

girl talk

She is growing up.

As I went through her backpack this morning, I came across another family portrait.

Her teacher went ahead and labeled each family member. Underneath the name "Henry" she wrote (per Eliza's request), "as a girl." Eliza went onto explain that only girls could have "glitter shirts." A moment passed before she added,

"A Fairy Godmother came and turned Henry into a girl!!"

This morning as her "two sisters" slept, we went through our usual morning routine. I love when I'm unexpectedly given a one on one moment with her. My world used to be full of them, but now that there's more of us to love, I feel it's important that I soak up these simple interactions.

As we talked, she made it clear that she is not boy crazy.

"Boys aren't cute. They are too boy-ee."

A boy recently asked her to be his girlfriend and sadly, he was shot down. Her best friend at preschool LOVES the boys, but Eliza isn't interested. Yet. Based on my childhood experiences, I have to wonder whose child is she!?! Here's hoping this continues into her twenties.

I love girl talk; especially if its with my four year old.

This is where I previously intended to make some lame connection between girl talk and eating Cafe Rio. Let's skip that part and just jump back to Tuesday night when we had the missionaries over for dinner.

On the menu: Cafe Rio! I can't believe it has taken me so long to attempt this. Thank you Jess for pointing me to a recipe that delivered spot on results. When Andrew tasted the cilantro ranch dressing for the first time, he hugged me. I like it when he does that.

Yesterday, we met some friends at Monkey Joes to help a special friend celebrate her fourth birthday.

I know. I need a haircut. STAT.

It's been awhile since I've been able to properly visit with the Mama's from last year's preschool co-op. Yes, I see them at Church each week but the opportunity to have a good chat has been challenging as we've all been busy.

Lottie came first. Kelsey arrived a month later, followed by our good friend Clayton and then finally, our little buddy Logan arrived just in time for Christmas.They are four of the ten babies who were born in our ward in 2010. Nursery's going to be a happening place in 18 months.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Paid Compliments

Thou Shalt Not Take Offense!

... or so they said at Church today. The talks that were given were indeed uplifting and edifying. Based on recent conversations, I'd label the meeting as being "inspired."

I begin with one of the most likable gents in my ward. Pulling me aside in the hallway he says:

"My, my Sister Flegal; you're looking unusually lovely today." If I had given into my natural tendency and taken offense, I would have have retorted,

"Please explain then. How do I usually look?" Good news. I didn't say that. Instead, I smiled grandly and thanked him for his kind(ish) words. Even if what he said is true, I'll take it. I'm proud that I'm able to pull off "lovely" - even if it is once in a blue moon.

The second experience was harder to shake.

My awesome friends offered to spend Friday night playing games with me. You see, Andrew was out of town for the weekend, which left me alone with these crazy characters. I was in need of a social fix. They arrived shortly after I'd put the older two kids in bed. As Lottie slept in her swing, we chatted and played games. Like I said, my friends rock.

While visiting, a friend... oh, let's go ahead and call him "Jared," offers up a request:

"Ali, will you pull your hair back?" Confused, I lift my curly mass of hair away from my face. I watch as he looks down at Lottie who I'm holding in my arms. He glances back up at me.

"Nope." He states in a matter of fact tone. "She didn't get her ears from you." That's it. I'm offended. But it's okay because I hadn't heard the talks from Church yet.

"Does Andrew's ears stick out like hers?" Immediately, I begin hurling words of a defensive nature at him. I can tell by his smirk that he's pleased with the reaction I'm giving him.

After the Church meeting, I walk up to this same friend. Before I can open my mouth he says,

"You're going to get those things pinned down, right?" I swallow up the reaction he's looking for and sputter...

"My salvation is more important. I am NOT offended." And I stomp away.
On a side note, how beautiful is her dress? It's multifunctional as it provided Lottie with a boat load of entertainment. Bonus.

p.s. I love her ears.

The final experience involves none other than my dearly beloved. While chatting about the movie he watched on his flight home yesterday he casually says,

"There's a character, who actually reminds me of you." I'm wise enough to know that this comparison isn't going to be between myself and Katherine Heigl.

"Oh great. I can't wait to hear what ugly actress reminds you of me."

"Oh no. She's not ugly." He stifles back a laugh, "Actually she's pretty chubby."

Are you gasping? I was. Just wait. It gets better.

"Calm down. That's not why she reminds me of you." I stare at him. "It's funny the way she just sits around and tells her husband what to do." And yes, dear reader, this conversation took place less than 24 hours after his return from a multi-day trip away from his family. Not only did he come home to healthy, happy children... the house was nearly spotless. Why? Because I do nothing. Right?!

I will acknowledge that when it comes to teasing, I'm definitely an easy target. And yes, there are times that I will play up/feign the reaction to delight the offender... ie: the situation with "Jared"... whom I count as a good friend. But on other occasions, I rush to assume the worst and have learned from experience that I'm the one that suffers most. Shrug it off, be confident in the woman I am and move on.

Like I said, the talks today were inspired. If you, like me, easily take offense...I recommend this read.

I conclude with a video. Eliza was asked to recite the first article of faith in primary today. She informed me that she was unable to do this unless it was through song. And guess what? Henry knows a song too! It's the theme from the PBS kids show, The Cat in the Hat.



Thanks for the treat Grandma Popcorn!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

simply ordinary

The snow storm that arrived last week kept Andrew home from work for two days. It was a welcomed repeat of the break he had off from work following Christmas. Our days were filled with snow, comfort food {remember the Nutella?} and getting on each others nerves. Isn't that how a family vacation ought to be? Being confined to the house kept Henry next to the big boy potty. I'm pleased to say that he made it through the week without any accidents.

Despite Henry's best efforts to contribute to the removal of ice, it honestly took days to melt/clear. Kids everywhere were elated that school was canceled the entire week. Add that on top of the observance of Martin Luther King Day and you have a handful of Moms taking out there frustration on the Facebook message boards. Call me lazy, but I love not having anywhere to be. Further evidence of said laziness... my nursing bra is most definitely inside out; the status of which will most likely remain until I decide its time for another shower.

When school is out, I enjoy welcoming my sweet, sometimes homeless looking, child into my bed. With my eyes half closed, I turn on PBS kids and melt back into my pillow. Sometimes we snuggle, but lately she'd rather sneak her Daddy's IPOD as soon as I fade back to sleep. Lottie usually arrives next. After she nurses, she shares with us all of her baby filled thoughts. Henry wakes up last. Oh heavens. Just typing his name makes me smile. His arrival signals breakfast time. Enter a tangent.

Yesterday we met some friends at Chik-Fil-A for a play date. While we were eating, Henry looks at me and loudly inquires,

"Are YOU my Mom?" Yes I am. I have the hair loss to prove it. Seriously though, I've arrived at that postpartum shedding of hair phase. When we went to leave, I was trying my best to steal Henry's attention away from a salt shaker as I headed toward the door. After saying his name 75 times, I finally call:

"Henry Flegal, it's time to go!" He starts to laugh. In an equally loud voice he replies:

"I'm not a Flegal!" It was a repeat of that Chuck-E-Cheese nightmare when he told the worker I wasn't his Mom as he bawled his way out to the car.

Henry is definitely happiest when he has someone to play with/annoy/tease. However, I will admit that having a schedule/routine that sadly revolves around Eliza's school is healthy for me. I'm more productive. And for Eliza, preschool has proven to be a definite blessing in her life.
Speaking of blessings, Lottie is three months old today! She's ignoring all of my pleas to stay little. It would seem that she's in a hurry to be Henry's substitute companion when Eliza is absent. I'd happily press pause to keep her at this stage for awhile longer if it were possible. I'm tired of blinking my eyes to discover that another six months have just passed. I swear, I'll wake up next week and Eliza will be asking me if I've seen her car keys somewhere.
Contrary to public opinion, she does not have a uni-brow. In person, you'd never think it. What you see is the shadow of her protruding brow bone that is made most prominent when wearing an expression of surprise. She has two distinct eye brows and the most delicious cheeks.

At her two month appointment (Dec. 27th), she weighed 11 pounds 9 ounces. I can't remember her height because when child #3 arrives, you realize that sadly the world doesn't revolve around what percentile your child is in. I will say that her growth chart looks great. Lottie usually wakes up once during an eleven hour stretch to eat. With each smile, I fall more in love. And with that being said, I nominate that sentence as being the sappiest of the post.

I love, love, love this baby. With two older siblings vying for their parent's attention, she does well when we have to put her down, but as soon as they are in bed, she's generally in our arms getting a full dose of Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

love at first bite

This week has been full of important moments for Henry.

Andrew introduced him to Nutella.
He was blown away.The child knows exactly what to do to get his hands (and face) on more of the good stuff. It's hard to say no to a smile like that.

As for me, I owe my day's happiness to him. We had a breakthrough in the potty training department. Out of the blue, he asked to make "poop splashes" in the potty. I know. You don't care. But hearing those "poop splashes" (his words, not mine) was music to my hears. I've (im)patiently been waiting for him to decide that he's ready. He's been asking to use the potty regularly to "tee-tee" and today, he finally he did the other. This milestone is worth blogging about. We are optimistically cautious that we're done buying size four diapers for awhile.

You can now give into your urge to punch my grateful self in the face (see previous post).

Just make sure I'm not holding this sweet thing when you do.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowed in!

Mother Nature sent the South a second helping of snow. As promised, this storm has proven to be more generous than the dusting we received on Christmas. In true Southern fashion, school was canceled before the first snow flurry fell. Road conditions may turn treacherous once the freezing rain hits; which is why we're being encouraged to avoid travel.

Clearly, Eliza didn't heed the warnings. She should have opted for the four wheel drive vehicle (see background of photo).

We took our time waking up this morning (photo courtesy of the ipod touch). Bless my sweet baby's heart. Dear little Lottie slept eight hours uninterrupted last night. After feeding her at 7:45 this morning, she went back to sleep.
Please resist the urge to punch my grateful self in the face. I assure you that motherhood continues to be a humbling experience. If you'd like me to expand on that topic, ask me how potty training is going with Henry.

It wasn't long until we were bundling up the kids for a morning sledding trip.
Please take note of Henry's thigh high stockings. He rocks the look well.

Lottie and I opted out of the sledding trip, which I hear was great fun. They met up with our friends for a few runs down the hill and then returned home to play with me. Andrew tested out the waterproof video camera Santa left me while they were out.

Classic Henry.
And Classic Andrew.
Eliza wanted her very own sledding hill, so he made her one.
Eliza's "sled" (and Andrew's awesome hat) crack me up. After the kids retreated inside for their mugs of hot chocolate, Andrew hosed down the hill with water to ensure it's extra slippery next time they go out. There's a chance we may lose power as a result of the impending ice storm. Eliza's hoping that happens because she knows that means we're in for a communal sleepover next to the fire place. Either way, we're prepared. Being married to MacGyver offers an added sense of security at the prospect.

Speaking of my MacGyver...Being a better wife and friend to Andrew is one of my resolutions this year. And while it's noble that our world revolves around our kids, I need to make sure that he knows and feels that he's the center of mine.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Name and a Blessing

This morning, Andrew gave our daughter a name and a blessing.

While he pondered the things he would say,
I took care of the small, yet meaningful, details of the day.Lottie was a vision in white. From her hair bow, to the beautiful bracelet my Mom sent, to the sweet booties from Andrew's thoughtful Aunt Jean, she looked angelic.

While the void of family was felt, we are thankful for our amazing friends that stood next to Andrew and for those who offered us kind words of support.
Speaking of friends, I'll always remember that this special day was shared with the Blasers.

Despite Clayton's best efforts to set a reverent example for his friend; when Charlotte's turn came, she pitched a royal fit.
"I did what?!"

Shortly after the blessing began, Charlotte started to cry. Her cry, which I was praying wasn't hers, quickly escalated into a wail. The positive news is that I was able to clearly understand Andrew. The Spirit that I felt as he spoke those beautiful words and promises, trumped her angry cries.

After he concluded, he held her up so the congregation could see her. Quickly, she quieted. Her eyes were wide and alert with confusion as he carried her back to our bench. That suddenly peaceful look is the image I hope to carry with me.
I'm grateful to be married to a man who honors his Priesthood.
And am thankful for the family we're building together.