Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter Sunday and Andrew turns 31

 My world.
Twas the night before Easter...
and this Mama bunny was exhausted.
Hopping up and down, the children pleaded to have a peek inside of their Easter baskets. It was early Sunday morning and I was getting myself ready for Church. The birthday boy, who had been awake for awhile, volunteered to bake the cinnamon rolls intended for his birthday breakfast. I know. My wife skills are incredibly impressive.
"You can have a small taste of a treat." I said. "But let's have breakfast first." Because I'm sure that the sugar in cinnamon rolls is far more healthy than that found in a jelly bean. Ha ha.

Lottie seriously adores him. 
 9:00 church sure doesn't allow much time to bask in a fun holiday/birthday morning, but when you remember what Easter is truly about, being in church and focusing on the miracle of the Savior's resurrection is more important. However, the kids did take the time to go outside and greet their new bunny friends and check out their sweet little bunny hutch.
 The bunnies will one day have their own place inside the chicken coop.
For now, based on our kids level of interest, this spot is perfect for frequent bunny interaction.
Meet Pipsy (Pipsqueak) and Bun-Bun (Cinnamon Bun).
They are bunny saints: both patient and cuddly. 
It totally makes sense for my girls to be wearing Christmas jammies
considering how the two holidays tie in together, yes?! 
As for Henry... it totally makes sense that he's wearing size 3T pajama bottoms
considering that he's related to Andrew;
who still wears clothes he wore in junior high on a semi-regular basis.
True story. 

Having to give the lesson in Relief Society at 9:00, chaos broke out right around 8:00 a.m. as I insisted that I had to be a half an hour early to experiment with the t.v./ where's the cord that hooks this up to my phone/ media is frustrating/ i am now pulling my hair out/ but they are awesome uplifting Mormon messages/ Andrew come help me now!/  I promise I downloaded the file/ messy situation.

All things considered, Church went well. I felt the spirit, Andrew pulled through and the short clips I had prepared worked during my lesson and my kids didn't stain the church bench with the giant carrot shaped bag of cheese balls they were gifted in Primary. As I drove the children home, the heavens parted and I began to hear a choir of angels sing as I realized that my baby was ready for his mega Sunday afternoon nap. And so was Lottie.

Sunday naps are the best kind of naps.

Following Forrest's nap, I allowed my self to bathe in a personal pool of sentimentality as I said the words to my family.

"This is Forrest's first Easter." With his birthday a few weeks away, I realized that it was one of his last "big" firsts (if that makes sense).
And that was the best I could do in terms of taking photos of my kids in their Easter best. With our attention now turned to man of the hour, birthday boy Andrew, we made our way to Salt Lake for a quick visit to my parent's home on Canyon View Dr. (for the last time, *SOB*) and then over to Bubba and Nanna Teresa's for dinner.
Aside from the impromptu cousin water fight, I failed on the photo taking front. Imagine if you will, my handsome husband blowing out his birthday candles on a fragrant and lovely coconut cream cake. His thoughtful sister Katie made it for him. She is the best and so was that cake! Yum!

Remember how we have a constant surplus of eggs? How pathetic would it be if we didn't dye any of them?! You don't have to answer that because the Monday following Easter the kids and I made it our business to get that done. With Andrew on the road for another week long business trip, we had to wait until Forrest was in bed so I could help the children and participate.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In Lieu Of Easter Egg Hunts

You know it was a wild and crazy weekend when you wake up Monday morning feeling relieved! Lately, our weekends have left little time for relaxing. How about sleeping in? Well that's completely (and sadly) out of the question these days.

It's nearing 8:00 a.m. Soccer is calling. We have to take two cars because only 50% of our crew is ready to go. Lucky for me, Henry's team is still warming up when I arrive with Lottie and Forrest. We've only just settled in our chairs when Lottie begins her usual chant.

"Mom, I'm hungry." I pretend not to hear her. "Mom!! I'm hungreeeeee" Her request has turned into a familiar little song. And she's on repeat. Never mind that I watched her eat a massive bowl of cereal less than 15 minutes ago at home.

"I'm sorry, honey. I didn't bring snacks." I reply.

"But Mom" the song continues, "I'm hungreeee!" At some point, Andrew's decide to step in. BLESS HIM. Reaching underneath my chair, he begins rummaging for what I assume is a piece of grass or perhaps an edible root or other pioneer type food. Instead, Prince Charming has found a large, wiggly worm. He proceeds to THROW the worm at our beloved three year old.

"You're hungry, Lottie? Eat this!" He starts to laugh.


Lottie, fully aware of what she's been hit with, recoils in absolute horror. Her three year old panic attack breaks my heart. I can't help but feel angry with Andrew.

And so are all of the other soccer Moms on the field. Like laser beams, they were shooting their silent, yet awful, eye daggers! Meanwhile Lottie is still hollowing like a banshee and everyone, and their dogs, take notice.

And that's how our weekend began. Two hours later, we're at Eliza's soccer game where the 'by the book' referee forces Eliza to take her earrings out; its either that or she can't play. During past games, they allowed her to put tape over them, so I feel frustrated by the sudden change.

"It's okay." He tries to reassure me. "Her ears won't close in 40 minutes."

I can now say from experience that he's completely wrong about that. Watching Andrew maneuver those earrings back in was so sad. It was a thousand times worse than having them pierced. Sheesh. From her game, we jetted up into Ogden for the Earth Day art contest award ceremony. For the second year in a row, Eliza was a winner. Henry's entry didn't win, but he was still gracious about it.

With two soccer games and the Ogden Nature Center on our agenda, it didn't leave anytime to hunt for Easter Eggs. That's okay because we went prepared with a picnic and stuck around the Nature Center to enjoy their Earth Day festivities.
Check out Lottie's expression in the bottom left photo.
She's just been licked!
This girl is talented in more ways than one.
I'm so proud of her. 
And, because I'm biased, I thought Henry's picture was likewise awesome!
 Henry's Earth Day drawing
Eliza's Earth Day drawing

From there, we stopped at I.F.A. (Andrew loves that place) to buy bunny food and then drove to select our bunnies. We wrestled with the decision on whether or not to surprise the kids (that was the original plan) but since we were so close and had a full day ahead of us still, we told them we were doing the Easter Bunny a favor and thought it would be fun to let the kids choose the ones they wanted. 
Arriving back home, Andrew went to work constructing our bunnies a new (temporary he says) home.
"I'm going outside to build the bunny hutch." Using miscellaneous scraps of wood, some of which had previously been painted on by kids, as well as old door hinges donated from family members, etc... he gets to work doing what he does. He's kind of amazing like that. I'm allowed to brag. It was the day before his 31st birthday after all so his awesomeness has totally been on my mind.

The days events continued as Eliza and I went to temple square where we enjoyed a very special evening together. Dressed in her beautiful baptism dress, we met her Primary president for a little photo session. Nanna Teresa joined us which we both loved. I can't begin to express how beautiful the flowers and trees on the temple grounds looked. The weather was also perfect. I know. People hate that word, but the conditions couldn't have been lovelier. I was very emotional as I watched her climb the stairs of the temple, knowing that she's chosen to begin her journey on the Lord's covenant path.

"I want to touch the temple, Mom." You can't deny the spirit that surrounds the temple and I look forward to when she readies herself for her first temple recommend and we take her insider for the first time. I'm excited to share her photos and will do it as soon as I get them.

From there, we went to dinner with Nanna Teresa at City Creek and enjoyed the incredible "people watching" experience that was Comic Con. Holy cow, that was super entertaining. Next year, I'm taking my kids downtown to meet all of the Disney Princesses who are lounging in the food court.

A trip to the grocery store, cleaning the house, last minute preparations for Dad's birthday and finishing up my lesson for Relief Society is how the day ended. IT WAS INSANE. Hooray for bedtime.
Next up, Easter Sunday and Andrew turns thirty one.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Out and About

Never mind that there's a possibility of snow in the forecast. Just don't think about that. And while I welcome the rain that will hopefully green up our lawn, I think we'd all be pleased with another (and another) round of this beautiful Spring weather.
With a fresh supply of kites (thank you, Easter Bunny), we'd totally be "up" for an afternoon of friendly wind.

Here's a summary of what we've been up to...

15 minutes (give or take) down the road is a park my children lovingly refer to as the, "Castle Park!"
A hop, skip and a jump away from the Castle Park, nestled in a most lovely neighborhood, sits an empty lot. I can't believe I'm about to type these words but that lot is the site of my parent's future home!(!!!!). Attached to their move are a mix of emotions; especially for my parents. This change marks the end of a memorable, important and special chapter in their life. I haven't fully processed the "goodbye" to Canyon View Drive myself because I'm so distracted by my excitement. The distance from our home to Nana and Papa's was reduced from forty minutes to 17ish. Hey; but who's calculating?!  

Mia and Eliza
Cool news continued: the Chamberlain Chicks live in the same neighborhood.
These melt my heart.
It's rare when I capture I genuine Lottie smile.
As for cousin Sara, she's a star!

Soccer season is in full swing. The best part, so far, has been attending Eliza's practices. Henry and Lottie are free to roam the playground, while Forrest and I walk the track or visit with other "soccer Moms."
It's all fun and games at the park until Lottie takes a tumble. She is left with a baby sized scratch on her palm and subsequently loses her marbles completely.

"Do you want to sit in the stroller with Forrest while Mama walks the track until you feel better?" I suggest. With crocodile tears falling down her cheek, she nods her head in agreement. Less than thirty seconds later, she takes a look at her hand and the sob fest resumes. As fast I can, I make it around the track as her tearful serenade (tantrum) continues.

Bandaids, really and truly, are magic. Despite my frustration, I had to smile at how her mood INSTANTLY shifted when that bandaid was applied to her small, but seemingly significant, injury. 

Lottie and Forrest were also treated to a morning at the mall. I rarely frequent the mall, so we had to make the most of it with a visit to the kid playland. It was gratifying watching Forrest has his fill of fun for once!
He isn't terribly deprived though.
Sometimes an incredibly special and doting big brother will make the rounds with him on the hardwood floor. The other day he showed Forrest the art of driving race cars. It was adorable.
However, a more common scene involves a left behind baby, pining for his older siblings and the exciting, adventure filled life they lead in their shared backyard.

Be patient sweet babe. Please let me keep you to myself for now. In a blink, you'll be apart of their crew full time. (*GIANT SOB*).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

That Dad

This photo makes me all warm and weepy inside.

And while I feel ashamed that all of my Mother's goodhearted attempts to turn me into a seamstress flopped, I find consolation, joy even, in the tender feelings that accompanied a scene which included my husband teaching Eliza how to work at sixty + year old sewing machine.  

I should note that this beautiful sewing machine belonged to Grandma Flegal. It was Andrew's one request when her belongings were being gifted to her posterity.

Did I know he could sew? Nope! Am I surprised that he can? Nope! Anyway, after a few you tube tutorials on how to work this particular machine, he was set. And Eliza is thrilled about it. 

Why, yes. That's a paper towel they're working with. You have to start somewhere, I suppose.
Henry soon got in on the action. It was his job to lift the "foot" up and down per Andrew's request. 
This was a great activity to lead into our morning of General Conference. Multi-tasking proved difficult so we soon put their new "toy" away so we could listen better. General Conference, women's conference especially, was wonderful; but more on that later.

I mentioned a post back that Andrew's been gone on business related travels. It feels excessive at the moment but he's in the midst of learning all about his new company which means he's attending training meetings and visiting plants where the engines are built, etc. The frequency should slow down once he's more acclimated.

The good news is, he's still a great Dad. And when he's home, he's engaged with the children. Aside from sewing paper towels together; here's what they've been up too:

A former co-worker of Andrew's invited our family down to see some of their farm animals.

"You should bring your kids!" The man encouraged. "Our miniature horse had a baby!" Are we kidding? You can't decline an offer containing that much cuteness. Sadly, I missed out as I was busy having an awesome time at a cell phone picture taking/editing class (read: I was having Ali friend time and loving it).

"Are you okay taking all of the children with you?" I asked him.

"They're good kids. Absolutely." I was surprised and pleased with his confidence. Even so, that didn't stop me from packing a bag of baby and child related essentials for their outing and putting it on the front seat of his car the night before. I've got his back.

Lucky for me, he remembered to take pictures. Here's the baby miniature horse!

The kids, Forrest included, each had a turn riding the Mama horse.
And as a bonus, the man who invited the kids over is likewise an engineer who opted to build a swing for his senior design project. When I say "swing," imagine a series or rotating swings that you'd see at a fair. I'll be honest, I'm glad I wasn't there to panic about this in person. Watching the video I was more than nervous as I observed the speed!! The kids deemed this, "The best day ever!" Click HERE to see the video as I am having a hard time uploading it directly to this post. I think it's worth a look because in addition to our kids, he put his dog on one of the swings too. You don't see that everyday!

The day improved when we were reunited in Salt Lake at Nanna Teresa's house where we enjoyed time with the Taylors and Jensens (and Bubba and Nanna of course).
Cutie pie cousins, Ellie and Lottie

 Last Friday, the Chamberlain chicks came up for a campfire cookout. And while hot dogs and store bought potato salad (shhh, don't tell Mel that I'm a huge slacker!) were on the menu, we did bust out the dutch oven to make a delicious peach crisp.
 Jokingly we informed Andrew that he was in charge of the kids as Ami and I had plans to disappear to go shopping. He was awesome and gave us the green light. We did take Forrest, however. Ami was so nice to keep him occupied so I could try on clothes. I benefit so much on her advice when shopping. I hope this becomes a more frequent occurrence!

Soccer has resumed and with it has come Henry's weekly 8:00 a.m. soccer game. It's painful waking up and hauling the kids out the door so early. However, once we're there and settled, I have a total blast watching the kids play.

Sunday afternoon, we kissed Andrew goodbye once more as he set off to Indiana. Hugging him, I suddenly choked up as I had flashbacks of when I said goodbye to him when he left on his mission. Sheesh. That was hard. Remembering that chapter put it all into perspective. I can easily do a week. After all, he didn't leave me alone this time.
 With a big sister who serves as my right hand, a delightful dragon and a demanding, yet endearing, cowgirl princess, I have a lot to keep me occupied. And let's not forget him...
Forrest Flegal ~ 11 months old

Forrest's fever surfaced again after days of feeling great. He also has two super swollen teeth ready to break through his gums and a mouth full of unending drool. I hope that those teeth are the culprit to his suddenly sleepless nights and fever. Poor, sweet baby.

*Update: He's happy and healthy again. The fever is gone. 
Have I mentioned that I love my kids?!

We'll see you soon, Daddy. We love you so much!
Sadly, I had to cancel my last hair cut appointment. 
It's a shame that you can definitely tell.