Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A monster-sized memory

Last Saturday, Bubba took the boys to a Monster Truck rally!

Roaring engines,
monster trucks, 
demolition & destruction, 
 an endless supply of popcorn,
and Bubba.

What could be better? Every once in awhile, they are entitled to a vacation from the influence of estrogen. Thanks again, Bubba! They had a great time!

Monday, February 27, 2012

slippers and stripes

 This little darling is Lottie's special friend.

She is one more reason why we love Friday at our house. Her Mama and I take turns hosting their weekly get together. It works out well for Henry as she has an older brother who also comes over to play. On my "off-week," you will find me spending the morning volunteering in Eliza's Kindergarten class or laying in bed eating a giant bar of chocolate squeezing in a dentist appointment, among other things.

When Lottie got the memo that her pal was on her way over, she wanted to make sure she was ready.
With Eliza away at school, Lottie helped herself to her big sister's slippers. It would seem that she has adopted the same "borrowing clothes" philosophy that I held as a youth. If they never know you borrowed it, they most definitely won't mind...

...until you spill (and stain) their oatmeal colored Old Navy t-shirt with your red Hi-C fruit punch at lunch.  I am sorry about that, Ami. I suppose I ought to apologize to my parents too; after all, they had to witness the fall out. Man. I can't WAIT for my girls to be teenagers! Ka-ka-ka- KARMA!

Don't say I didn't warn you, Miss Lottie.

Even if you look totally adorable tromping around in princess slippers, it's probably a better idea if you ask her first..
(16 and a half months)
*ding dong*

Our friend is here! Let the morning of pretzel eating, sippy cup stealing and playroom playing begin. And to top it all off, we conclude with a few fascinating minutes of Baby Einstein.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Ca-COUGH-ony of phlegm

If the gag-inducing title wasn't enough of a hint, I can sum up the past week briefly. We have been sick. I can't complain though. As far as 'coughs and colds' go, we've had worse. The good news is that among the runny noses and coughing spells, we've continued to manage a few moments of silly.

Before the height of the illness hit, Eliza had an appointment with the dentist that I felt she was well enough to keep. Having put Lottie down for an early nap, I was able to focus on stocking the diaper bag with the essentials as well as goodies fit to entertain the younger kids. I was also successful in making sure Eliza's teeth were scrubbed and in rounding up three size appropriate pairs of socks and the accompanying pairs of shoes. As I loaded the children into the car, I felt that my preparations were sufficient. Excuse the vanity, but when my effort to be organized makes an outing occur smoothly, I welcome the boost of confidence. I can handle my life.
 As the fleglets and I shuffle through the door, I am pleased to see that we have arrived five minutes early. Sweet! My triumphal train of thought is then interrupted by the kind receptionist.

"You know," I sense a hint of hesitation, "I think your appointment was scheduled for next Wednesday." That's right folks. I was one week and five minutes early to the dentist. How's that for having a solid handle on things? As my ego begins to deflate, I mentally feel the clicking of sudden connections in my brain.

"Today isn't the 22nd, is it?" With a sad smile, she shakes her head and murmurs, "No." As I begin to collect the shoes that Lottie has already discarded, I feel my face turn red.

"Hang on just a minute." She disappears into a hallway. I continue to pack up our things, my perfectly thought out (*sniff) things. The receptionist returns with the happy news that there is room for Eliza as an afternoon appointment had just canceled.

You're right. Rather than labeling that moment as silly, I'd call it humbling. Let's try another.

Lottie has started using our names. Hearing her enthusiastically say, "E-yi-zah!" or "Won-ree!" melts our hearts. Thrilled by the new development, Eliza yells,

"She says my name, Mom! It's a MIRACLE!" Henry was likewise impressed when his baby sister obediently followed me to the door that leads to the garage. Usually she is in my arms when we are heading out on an errand. Her increased understanding wasn't missed by him.

"Look Mom! She is following us!" I respond in an equal tone of happiness. Agreeing with my thoughts, Henry adds, "Ya, maybe she can follow Jesus now too!"

(Eliza on her 100th day of Kindergarten)

Troy and Gabriella, of High School Musical fame, have Eliza contemplating her own love life. In the beginning, the prospect of finding her true love had her stressed out in a big way. Sharpay's interference in Troy and Gabriella's love story likewise confused and frustrated Eliza. As a result, questions that I was gearing up to answer when she was a teenager have already begun to surface.

Thanks to Kindergarten, she is more aware of what a "crush" is. Surprising to me has been her lack luster response to it all. Convinced that a classmate has a crush on her leaves her feeling "weird." She is not boy crazy the way some of her friends are. Rather, she deems it to be silly yet maintains a deep devotion to her Carolina beaus. It's pretty sweet, actually.

As I outline these conversations, keep in mind that I'm doing my best to keep these chats age appropriate. We've discussed the types of qualities that her future "true love" should have; among them is the fact that he will be okay moving in with our family because Eliza never wants to live away from her Mom. :)

 (we're a package deal)

She will date lots of boys and when she finds the one "who is the nicest" to her, she will choose him. In the car the other day, she informs me that she has her mind made up. Talon is her true love.

"But Mom," she says, "even after I'm married to Talon, can I still have special time with Luke?" I'm curious, dear reader, how would you have handled that one!?


Eliza was looking over my Valentine's blog post. I showed her the pictures of her Daddy and me as teenagers. She seemed impressed by the red balloons and the flowers.

"That was really sweet of him, Mom!" She said admiringly. And then, "When I have my true love I'll give him lots of sweet things; starting with a bow tie!"
Continuing on the Eliza train, she gave her second talk in Primary.

I asked her if I could record one of her practice runs before Church. She dictated while I typed the story of Daniel and the lion's den for her. Her talk went so well. I was lucky enough to play the part of puppeteer as she shared it with the kids in primary.

( According to Eliza, Daniel was a hairy man.)
 Valentine's Day has come and gone. Eliza, it would seem, is looking ahead to Halloween. Walking up the stairs today, I was confronted with this warning. 

"Ther is a gost in this holl. eeeeeeeeek!"

And sure enough, to the left of said warning was the 'gost.' Eeeeeeeeeeeeek, indeed.

Out of snow, Andrew and the ruffians had to substitute their snowball war with something new. Their weapon of choice: air soft guns. Equipped with safety eye wear, it was Andrew against three for about 45 minutes on Saturday afternoon. Despite coming in within a bleeding knuckle and pellet sized bruises on his face; his expression was pure joy.


Andrew took the kids to the fish store while I attended a session at the Bountiful temple. The temple was extremely busy! That's a good thing. Even better than finding a parking space was walking into the chapel to find my sister sitting there. We had no idea the temple was in eachother's plans for the day. It was a nice way to spend the morning; lunch at Barbacoa after wasn't bad either.  

My claim for "silly moments" flopped. This post was not short, it was sugary and sappy. BUT! To make up for it, I will conclude (Amen and Halelujiah!) with a photo of Henry with his new haircut which, to be honest, looks a bit silly!
Oh man, how I love him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Look of Love

Our Valentine's Day in numbers:
  • The number of Valentines made for classmates, friends and teachers = forty five.
  • The number of ideas inspired by Pinterest that helped make our morning a little more special = one (idea found here
 Having outgrown her Dora shoes (in both size and personal taste),
Cupid gave Eliza a pair of new sparkly shoes!

 As for Henry, Cupid knows that his heart belongs to Legos.

Legos posses magical qualities. They have this special ability to keep my kids quiet at the kitchen table for hours. I see piles and piles of legos in our future. This brings me to my next stat.
  • The number of times I've stepped on a stray lego piece while barefoot =  three. *Que crazed Mom reaction*
  •  The number of times a lady I didn't know at Church suddenly began dispersing gift after gift upon my girls during Sacrament meeting = one.
This is a true story. While sitting in the chapel on Sunday, the woman sitting behind us, randomly hands me a package wrapped in lavender tissue paper. Inside I find a lovely pair of Lottie sized dress-up fairy wings. Confused, somewhat embarrassed and grateful, I turn to her and silently mouth,

"Wow! Thank you!?!" I wanted to ask her, "What for?" but considering the circumstances, I didn't. I do my best to quietly place the tissue paper out Lottie's grasp when suddenly, she hands me another one! This one is larger. What is going on?! Inside of this one was this darling dress.

Bows and bracelets followed. It was so kind of her! I most definitely will be plugging her business when the information become available to me. Anyway, after packing up a bag full of Lottie sized goodies, I considered her set for Valentine's Day!
  • The number of photos I had to take before I caught them all with their eyes open  = twenty. 
  • The number of year's Andrew has called me his valentine = ten!
Here's a fun look back at our first one. You'll be relieved to see that my cheesy nature has remained intact after all these years.

By small and simple things,

 *great things come to pass.

(*the BEST)

I love you, Schatz!

Monday, February 13, 2012

fish fish, she got her wish

My heart was full of appreciation when I opened my eyes Saturday morning and saw that the clock read 9:01. Returning to my pillow, I closed my eyes once more. As I wrestled with the decision to get out of bed, I could feel that my body had benefited from the extra dose of rest. The congestion in my chest wasn't nearly what it had been the night before.

Despite feeling exhausted from the events of the day, thoughts of my friend's darling girl kept my mind alert with worry. Sleep had finally come and thanks to the heroics of a husband who willingly woke up with the children, my cold symptoms were dwindling.

Forgive the over-dramatic tone; but these days the 'tokens of love' that I appreciate most come in the form of extra sleep, a clean kitchen sink and the removal of trash bags without having to issue the request. Trotting down the stairs to the kitchen, I search for my benefactor. I'm eager to thank him for waking up with the kids. Before I can get out a word, I observe that he is ready to dash out the door. The children are following close behind.

His eyes are alive with excitement as he babbles out a rush of information. I hear the words, "found on KSL" and then the phrase, "a fish tank for Eliza," followed by an enthusiastic assurance of, "such a GREAT deal!" Following a quick kiss "Goodbye," Andrew, Eliza and Henry are pulling out of the driveway.

And then there were two.

Back in the day, the 10 gallon fish tank used to live on Andrew's nightstand. Realizing his attention span had no room for me while watching the fish tank night after night, it was evicted from the spot! Ever since then, it has served as Henry's night light. And now, Eliza has finally joined the club. 

It isn't the fact that we have two fish tanks that makes today's post significant, but my desire to document and/or preserve the feeling that comes when I watch Andrew gather with the kids to watch the fish eat every night. That "moment" is a constant in our nightly routine. While I'm scurrying to hunt down toothbrushes, hang the towels from the evening bath or tossing dirty laundry into a basket, Andrew is gathering the kids to watch him sprinkle a pinch of fish food into the tank. Henry is quick to inconveniently position himself in front of his Dad's view of the tank, but even so he lets him be. The length of time they spend watching the fish  usually depends on when I interrupt the calming scene. And I will confess, that even though I think one aquarium is more than suFISHent, I'm happy for each minute they spend quietly visiting in front of those tanks. 

These pictures would have been all the more tender had Andrew actually been home from work when they were taken! As much as we love to have Daddy home at bedtime, it doesn't always happen.
The fish department at our local pet store has been struck with a case of "ick," which puts the fish purchases on hold. With that being the case, we have to thank Henry for kindly supplying Eliza's tank with one of his guppies and one of his shrimp.  

Our weekend also included cleaning (and lots of it), a movie night with a special friend, a lunch date with my Mom and sister and an evening of pizza, puppet shows and Mr. Popper's Penguins with the Mays and Chamberlain families.

Oh yes. The "boys" also went shooting. 

 As I previously mentioned, our thoughts and prayers have been with our neighbor, Emylie Parker. Other fighters in need of your well wishes and prayers are Millie Flamm and Tenley Wilson. Please remember them all.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

mail a hug

After all the perusing I've done on Pinterest, I thought it was about time to bring a project to life. It's no secret that I'm not the sharpest crayon in the craft box (or that my analogies have been pretty miserable as of late); which is exactly why we started with the perfectly simple, "mail a hug" activity. It was evident that motivation was in full supply when the children learned that the future recipients of their "hugs" are friends we dearly miss. 
Step 1:  Paint hands. Warning: It does tickle.

(oooh! I must be getting craftier if I have an actual 'step by step' process!)

Step 2:  With fingers spread apart, slowly place hand on paper.
"Hello, Dada?"

* Please note: Requests to give your baby sister a RED or BLUE high five will firmly be denied.

Step 3:  Wash your hands clean. And for the love, please hang the towel back up on the rack when you are through.

Step 4:  Allow paint to dry.

Step 5:  Cut hand prints and attach to curly ribbon with tape.

 Step 6:  Give yourself a hug, blow a few kisses in the mailing envelope and off it goes.

 Credit for the long distance hug from (here)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Twinkies

A darling set of twins joined our family last year, remember?! Look at them now!

We sure love spending time with them! James is a solid, strong, sweet baby. He weighs about the same as Lottie. He and I make sure we have time to catch up whenever we're able to get together. Ellie has her Daddy firmly wrapped around her finger. She is such a little beauty. Their Mama, Katie, is constantly going. Watching her go from baby to baby, based on whoever needs her most, humbles me. My hat goes off to her!

 In a blink, they will be chasing after Lottie... together they will stir up all kinds of mischief!

Uncle Mike flew to Salt Lake last week to celebrate Bubba's birthday! It was an evening spent eating wonderful food and enjoying great company.

 Happy Birthday Bubba! We love you!
  Our sweet Charlottes

Grandma Popcorn, who just turned 94 I believe, is most beloved.  We love you Grandma!



 It was a big week for Lottie.
Finally hitting the 20 pound mark, Lottie was introduced to a front facing car seat. Her reaction was a mixture of confusion and delight. If I could comment on her behalf, I would imagine she'd say something like,

"Seriously?! This is what I've been missing!"

In other news, we are done nursing. If it had been up to her, we would have concluded that chapter last December, but because I have an inexplicable need to be "fair,' I dragged it out (pun intended) until month 15. 

Heads up!!!

It's recently been brought to my attention that my 
open nature is offensive to all of humanity. 
So, please discontinue reading if my thoughts 
on breastfeeding my children makes you uncomfortable.
Never mind the fact that nursing is about as natural and traditional 
and 'organic' as a chocolate chip cookie. 
This is my journal and if I can't overcome my constant 
insecurity of needing to "censor" thoughts,
I will pull the plug on being public. 
Oh, how very threatening, eh?

Eliza, also weaned at 15 months, felt the loss of nursing most.We were living in Germany at the time. I was pregnant with Henry and my body needed to be done. Shortly after making the resolve to wean her, she came down with a fever. It was a sad night as I could no longer offer her that security and comfort of nursing. Andrew insisted I stay in bed while he tended to our sick baby girl in my place. Having inherited every gene of sappiness and sentiment that her Mother could offer, it's somewhat expected, in a strange Motherly sense, that we'd both react dramatically to the void.

Henry responded differently to the change. He would nurse whenever I offered; primarily in the morning, nap and bedtime. He didn't expect, demand or initiate the way Eliza had. I was surprised, at 15 months, when I realized I had nursed him as long as Eliza. I decided I was ready to be done but worried he'd react like his sister. Indicative of his personality, he took it all in stride. Like Andrew, Henry goes with the flow. Something I really appreciate about him lately is how he can make-do and be happy no matter where he is. We need that type of ease to balance those of us who are a little higher maintenance. Speaking of...

Enter Lottie:

Last fall she began refusing to nurse at bedtime. The only time she accepted the invitation was in the morning... you know, in the middle of the rush that accompanies sending children off to school. We went with it anyway and am glad that I did. In recent days, I accepted that she was done and I could be too.

As she's grown, so has her desire to cuddle her Mom. Lottie initiates this. Plopping herself into my lap she will allow me to snuggle her to my heart's content. It's a welcome change and I feel the timing a blessing. One reason why I opt to nurse as long as I do is because it ensured time to physically connect with a busy, busy baby! In keeping with my comparisons, Lottie's on a mission to prove her independence. Who has time to nurse when there is exploring to be done? She's ready to be big like her brother and sister and had no problem saying farewell to that form of bonding.

Taking a cue from Lottie, who has fully embraced the business of growing up, I will be brave as I once again forfeit my "super power."