Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I love their Dad

This Dad of ours works hard every day of the week. Sunday morning's he's up at 5:30 in the morning preparing for his first early morning Bishopric meeting. However, on Fathers day, that lucky duck was excused from early Sunday meetings (Huzzah!). This provided me with the perfect opportunity to spoil him with breakfast in bed make him pose with the kids before Church for a Father's day picture!

He was(n't) thrilled.
And while this photo did make the instagram cut, it doesn't fully capture the type of Father he is. I appreciated looking at all of the fun, sweet and predictable Father's day type tributes on social media, but personally felt limited in expressing how fortunate my kids are that they landed Andrew as a Dad. 

At the end of the day, they know he loves them. And he knows that they love him. They're crazy about him, in fact. That's what matters, right? 

But since I'm back here in my happy blogging space, allow me a moment to elaborate further on their special Dad.  

Their Dad is the one who calls me from his drive home from work on a Friday because he's excited about "practicing to camp" with the kids that night. 
He's the guy who makes the fun memories happen. 
And he's the one to make sure there aren't any sugar bugs hiding in the children's mouths at bedtime. 
He's the kind of Dad who wakes up multiple times in the tent to stuff his limp like a noodle three year old daughter back into her sleeping bag so she stays warm.
When the Mama comes up with the idea to watch a movie outside a few weekends later, he magnifies the plan by adding a couch... because why not?!
We introduced our kids to the movie: The Little Rascals
It was a very fun night.

Sometimes his ideas are flat out strange (and borderline mean). Fathers day, Andrew caught a big bumble bee. Without offering an explanation, he zips it in a baggie and places it in the freezer. Once it's "fallen asleep", he ties a string to it so he can "fly" it when it's warmed up a bit. The plan had flaws, but the kids were sure intrigued by the process.
Waiting for bee to take flight...
It never happened, 
but it did "wake up"...

And finally, after a day of playing with cousins, he comes home from work and offers up a red neck style train ride. 
Even the bunnies were invited.
And Henry wore a helmet, which makes me laugh.

That, I hope, paints a more detailed picture. We love you, Andrew!

Father's day 2014

We celebrated Father's day a week late with the Flegal gang. After a great dinner, the kids disappeared with their cousins.
Time stood still for Henry as he climbed high into Bubba and Nanna's cherry tree. Without a care in the world, he filled his belly full of cherries. It was a good thing cousin Max had soaked him with the hose earlier that night because Henry was now free to be (mostly) naked while his clothes dried. Cherry juice streamed down his face and onto his bare man child chest. Smudges of dirt also dotted various places on his face and body. A feeling of satisfaction swelled within my heart as I watched my child live his summer as he jetted across the backyard in his underoos; trying to make up his mind between the swing set and trampoline.
Eliza and Cece picked up where they usually leave off. Creative Cecelia directs Eliza in some type of music video on a smart phone (for the adults to enjoy later) or they prepare a live musical number. She then does her best to recruit grown ups to the basement for Eliza's performance.
Lottie kept busy chasing the older kids as well as playing with the twins.
Fussy Forrest was the hot potato that kept being passed from adult to adult. As cute as he is, the child is work; especially when he's tired and grumpy.
It was a beautiful night spent with great people. 

To our Bubba: Happy Father's day! The expression on Eliza's face pretty much sums up how we all feel about you. You are a special Grandfather. Our kids are so blessed to know and love you. I thank my lucky stars each day as I watch Andrew with our kids. It's because of you that he's the great Dad that he is.

As for my Dad, we were able to visit him on Father's day. It was a quiet and quick visit considering he's been in the process of recovering from a brutal case of vestibular neuronitis. While on my trip, he was hit with a sudden and acute vertigo. It was vicious, to say the least, as he had no choice but to go to the ER via the paramedics. After staying in the hospital for a few days, he returned home where he's been slowly recovering. It was a scary thing, but the good news is it's generally something that only happens once. I'm glad it's not something chronic, etc.
It wasn't the Father's day he hoped for, I'm sure, but it was kind of neat to see my siblings rally around him and my Mom when it all happened.

One of the things I love most about my Dad is his ability to make people feel really good about themselves. He doesn't hesitate to compliment others and is genuine when he goes about it. He's a scholar, a scriptorian and his work relating to LDS church history is frequently highlighted in newspapers, etc... as great as all of this is, it's how he is with people that I admire most. Maya Angelou said:
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, 
people will forget what you did, 
but people will never forget how you made them feel."

And he make people feel good inside. This is what I try to emulate most. I love you, Dad.

Adventures with Alaskans

It's been a year since my brother Mark moved his family up to Alaska. After months apart, we were really excited when the Mays family, sans my brother, arrived to Utah for their highly anticipated summer visit.

You can imagine that there was a lot of catching up to do!
Don't mind Forrest. 
This is how he prefers to "catch up" with friends. 

Cousin Brynn sure loves baby Forrest. It's fun to see how she works her way over to him no matter what exciting invitations are flying at her from the older kids. While Eliza helps me with Forrest related favors around the clock, Brynn is itching for the chance to help with him. That kind of enthusiasm is fantastic.

The Mays and Chamberlain cousins were at our house last week to play. When Henry saw Scott for the first time, he sung the words:

"Hi Scott!" I know. It doesn't "sound" the same in print. But man, it was a darling little welcome. Tyler has changed the most, in my opinion, as he's crossed the line from toddler years to full fledged big boy. It's fun to see him pal around with Henry. 
Forrest and Kaitlyn
It's a shame my mild mannered, sweet as pie, super witty Mama doesn't have a blog. But if she did, I imagine her latest entry would read something like this:

Dear blog:
My grandwees are here from Alaska! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Watching them play with their cousins makes me so happy! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Nana Marie 
p.s. Yes. Ali is still my favorite.

She had plates of her homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for them in her fridge well before they arrived.  

Later in the week, we went to a movie at the dollar theater where I had a great time tailing Forrest as he explored the hallways instead of magically sitting still inside the theater. After behaving perfectly during the previews, he was done.

Following the movie, we went to Sugarhouse Park where we dined on gourmet cuisine.
It was great being together.

Of Splash Pads and Swimming Pools

Reality hit hard the day I returned home from my girl's trip. As a token of their appreciation, our insurance agency rented out a nearby aquatics center and invited their clients up for a fun family night out. I had been looking forward to this (free!) outing up until the night before where I pulled an "all nighter" with my friends; at which point the idea sounded completely awful. Needless to say, we went anyway.

 That particular day, as a whole, represents the current chapter of life I'm living. There was a deep sense of joy returning home to my children but attached to that happiness were inescapable feelings of exhaustion. And while this sounds like a fair description of life with a newborn, it currently applies. My daily physical exhaustion isn't that sharp. However, I do feel tired emotionally, and yes at times physically, from keeping up with the needs, wants, changes in moods, etc... of my kids. There's a lot going on! There's always, at least, five really good reasons why I shouldn't be taking a personal time out. There's a long list, in my brain, of things that probably should be happening but aren't... and the guilt attached to that is super annoying.

BUT... (gee, I sure hope I can articulate these feelings clearly), in general, when I don't let the stress of life swallow me whole, there is happy hum of contentment in my chest. It lives there. As I watch my children return to their sandbox again and again or watch as Forrest quickly toddles to his Dad after he's returned home from work, that hummmmm grows louder. I feel it as I listen to my children chat with each other and share their awesome, yet consistently strange, opinions with each other at the dinner table; even if making dinner robbed me of having time to do anything else productive.When Forrest is closing in on a dangerous staircase and Henry swoops in to protect him from the possible dangers without being asked, my happiness soars. Watching the kids chase our bunnies in the backyard, listening to them greet their Grandparents and kissing their super messy faces at bedtime (because bath time didn't, but probably should have, make that day's list of priorities) heightens that hum. I'm tired, overwhelmed and blissfully content. The combination doesn't make much sense.

Returning to our visit to the aquatics center, yes I was remarkably tired. However, I had a grand time with my kids. Andrew (wisely) opted to stay out of the water with the baby. We'd anticipated that Forrest would get in, but there was a strong wind that night that froze us to the bone whenever we exited the pools. This left me with the job of playing with the big kids. And I seriously loved it.
Other pool related adventures have been more low key. Although, there's a lot that goes into throwing together a "swim bag" these days. The time involved sun screening four kids and keeping them all safely afloat isn't always easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. Thankfully, most of our trips to the pool have been down at my Mom's neighborhood pool. Without her, my kids wouldn't be getting much use out of their swim suits!

Last Saturday, Andrew was able to join us for the first time this season. Despite the fact that he's entirely more relaxed than I am (which turns me into a nervous ninny), we really loved having him swim with us.     

As for the splash pad, we've been there once. Eliza was in between a day camp activity and a play date when we went, so she was still in her clothes. That didn't stop her from getting wet! My big camera is under the weather at the moment, so I hope you're enjoying the stellar quality of my iphone pics. I'm working on it. Here's to many return trips to the pool!

So long. Farewell. (Kindergarten and the 2nd grade)

There's no time to be witty and charming when you're still scrambling to catch up on the blog. I blame instagram entirely. 

Because it's important to me, here's a look at the first and last day's of school for the Fleglets.

Henry's first and last day of Kindergarten: 

 Eliza's first and last day of second grade:
And finally, look how my favorite little side kicks changed this past school year:
Looking back at my collection of photos from the month of May, I found some fun ones from "spirit week." Speaking of spirit, this Mom failed to clue in on the dates so my kids missed out on "pajama day" and I'm pretty sure there was a crazy sock day at some point that I neglected to photograph. To my devoted posterity, I extend my deepest apologies that I failed on that front. ;) 

Crazy hair day:

Having procrastinated getting Henry's hair cut for weeks, my guilt for said laziness was appeased when I realized how much hair I had to work with that morning.

 Mis-match day was my favorite: