Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life as a Mom

***All this occurred yesterday as I was trying to blog***

Just before writing my last post I put Livs to bed, bundled up both the big kids and sent them outside to play. 2 hours later I am finally, finally posting because I:

1) Sat down to write and 2 minutes later heard Livs bonk her head on her crib. Soothed baby girl and put her back to bed.

2) Sat down to write and suddenly kids desperately needed blue colored water to spray on their snow creations. Mixed blue water and sent kids back out to the snow.

3) Sat down to write when the laundry cycle finished. Changed wash to dryer.

4) Sat down to write and suddenly Cares was crying in the backyard. Brought her inside, changed her out of snowy clothes and sent her upstairs for quiet play time.

5) Sat down to write and decided to read some blogs for a bit instead.

6) Ready to write when Bentley needed the snow tube inflated so he could try sledding down the small hill in our yard. Inflated tube for Beans and tossed it out to him.

7) Sat down to write when Bentley promptly decided he was done sledding and ready to come in. Undressed another snowy kid and sent him up to play with Cares.

Honestly--how did all of that just take 2 hours? Story of my life I swear. Sometimes I think it is rather miraculous that I get anything done at all. But honestly, I love this life of mine as a mom. I think that reading The Mother in Me has been an amazing reminder of that (even though I just started into it last night.) How I know my soul would ache if I couldn't love and snuggle and nurture and giggle with my children. They are such a happy gift...a happy and very, very busy gift. They wear me out but I sure love raising them. My loveliest of treasures--and this picture makes me want to scoop each one of them up in a tight cuddle this very second. And so I think I will...except for that gorgeous baby because she is napping like an angel...later for her though.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Up at the Cabin

On Saturday, my in-laws hosted their annual Boxing Day party (my hubby is half-Canadian you know--got to celebrate those kind of things...although I have no idea what Boxing Day is all about...) We visited with more family, ate dinner, and then bailed a little early to head up the canyon to my parents' cabin.

We spent Sunday up in the gorgeous, sunny, smog free mountains. A small group of us had a lovely little religious meeting--sharing beloved memories of favorite Christmases and testimonies of the Savior and His gospel. Bentley and Cares each shared a story of Jesus that we read about this December from our family scripture study. I was so proud of them for being brave enough to share and for remembering things so well. On Sunday evening my whole family gathered at the cabin for dinner--our last time together until May (when we'll celebrate my mom's 60th birthday)

We came home on Monday after some sledding, some lunch and a game of trains. As we drove home my hubby and I decided we had just had one of the most perfect cabin adventures ever. Olivia took a 5 hour nap on Sunday afternoon, and slept for 14 1/2 hours that night. She was an amazing sleeper up there and I am sure that made it all the more relaxing for me. We finally got some real bonding time with tiny Mason and it was very fun to see my brother and his wife so smitten with their little guy. I am really loving seeing my big brother as a dad--setting up cribs, rocking his baby, and even rescuing Olivia with extra formula when we forgot to bring ours up! We fit in many train games, a little Canasta, and even played a hilarious round of the Newlywed game late Saturday night with Heidi and Ben, Tye and Stacey and my parents. Joseph and I totally lost, but know we are the most "in love" so it doesn't matter ;)

This picture was supposed to show all the baby swapping between moms--but guess whose daughter freaked out when she saw that her own mommy was most definitely not holding her? We had to trade back to calm her down...

Silly Max and sweet Bentley playing cars

mini-me and mini-Cec

Joe took over the camera for a bit and captured this shot of the boys. They love making the classic "stupid face" for pics these days.

10 minutes later I took this shot of them not knowing we already had some. I think they are way funny :)

Finally some smiles

Chad and Max hanging out

Marsh and the cheesy posers

It was one crazy, holiday whirlwind the past week and these last few days at home have felt so calm and very needed (even though we played at my sister's house for about 5 hours yesterday--which still feels easy and quite routine for me :)

Now, when will I get my house out of Christmas mode and all the decorations back in storage? Haven't decided on that quite yet...


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And Christmas Day

Both Bentley and Olivia woke up at 7:15 Christmas morning, and so the festivities began! Livs drank her bottle on her daddy's lap and the three of us watched Bentley unveil each little treasure from his stocking.

the early risers on Christmas morning
(please ignore Livvie's gross, snotty nose...but now you won't because I wrote that...)


Cares came wandering into the living room about an hour later and we all did the same thing, watching her examine each find. Bentley had a hard time with this idea and kept trying to "help" her dig through her stocking. Let's just say he has much less patience with girl stuff and just wanted to see what all of it was in a matter of minutes and then move on to the big stuff under the tree.

Which we eventually did. It is so fun to have both a son and daughter--I love how they adore and desire such totally different things. Bentley wanted to open his gift of "something to wear" first because he knew it wouldn't be any fun. And yet Cares has been dying to open her gift with clothes in it because she has been super excited to see them and wear them. She was dressed in her new digs exactly 10 seconds after she opened her present. Bentley's big gift was a Leapster which he loves. Cares big gift was a Barbie and The 3 Musketeers dress-up dress which she looks adorable in. Olivia was asleep during most of the gift opening (back down for her morning nap) but she has a new stroller/walker awaiting her when she decides she's ready to walk.

We spent the rest of the day at my in-laws' house for a delicious breakfast, gift giving and receiving, Ticket to Ride (boardgame) and a nonsense animal game Maggie made all of us play, a huge Christmas dinner of Chicken Cordon Bleu and rice pilaf, lots of talking and laughing, and hours on end of cousin play time. Cares has 3 girl cousins who are all her same age and they disappeared together for almost the entire afternoon. There was a lipgloss fiasco at the end of it all (Cares' ruined a brand new turtleneck...good thing she has so many others to wear :) but they had so much fun playing and pretending together, tucked away in the play room.

Grandkid gift time at Nanny's house

Olivia loved her new sock puppy and squealed and squealed with delight over it. She totally stole the show, and everyone's hearts I might add, with her little display :)

Baby Finch is such a darling, chubby mush that I just had to post this picture of him.
Cheeks to die for, am I right?

We made it home around 6 pm that evening and all of us got ready for bed and hit the sack early. And by early I mean 10:30 pm for my hubby and me...which is as early as we have gone to bed in about 6 months. It was a very merry Christmas.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

A little history of "us":

When we were first married, my hubby and I celebrated Christmas nonstop for days on end--mostly because our families lived about a mile away from each other and it was easy to make the trek to and fro, back and forth, again and again and again. But, we simply don't believe in doing that anymore. And decided a few years ago that it was easier, more polite, and more fun for our kids if we arrived somewhere and actually stayed for all the festivities--beginning to end.

Now we spend Christmas eve with my family and Christmas day with Joseph's family. While it isn't the ideal choice for either of our mothers, it's a solution we can both agree on (after years of arguing about fairness and whose family got to see more of us...you know the drill.) And it's a choice that keeps us sane and allows our little family a chance to actually relax and enjoy cousins and grandparents and all that family time we so look forward to each season. We don't have "on" years or "off" years although many of our siblings do (and somehow they are all "on" at the same time in both families...how did we get left out of that decision?) but we do get to spend quality time with both sets of parents (all our kids' grandparents) every year which we really love.

Without further adieu, our Christmas eve this year:

the grandkids (minus tiny newborn Mason) re-enacting the Nativity--
one of my very favorite Christmas traditions

Max the cow and Connor the donkey
(never mind the fact that Olivia the sheep was soooo over her costume after 2 minutes flat...)

King Ethan and King Bentley

Heidi and Ben

My cuddly little family

Bentley and the Lego building boys

and he showed much appreciation for his gift :)

Chad and Maddie Jane

Cares showing off her new chair. It goes with the new art table my mom gave to my kids--
the one I asked her to get them because I wanted them to have it in their toy room...so yes, it was basically a gift for me too!

My mom with her 3 granddaughters
(to match her new, although hidden, bracelet which has all their names on it)

"us"



Thursday, December 24, 2009

On a slightly different note...

Bentley woke up this morning and I think he is ready for Christmas to be here. You be the judge.

video

Real Joy of the Season

From President Monson
December 2009, First Presidency Christmas Devotional:

"My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Real joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the World, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ... ye have done it unto me.”

At this joyous season, may personal discords be forgotten and animosities healed. May enjoyment of the season include remembrance of the needy and afflicted. May our forgiveness reach out to those who have wronged us, even as we hope to be forgiven. May goodness abound in our hearts and love prevail in our homes.


As we contemplate how we’re going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season, let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others.

The Savior gave freely to all, and His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing and bestowed light in the darkness.

He gave us His love, His service, and His life.


May you have a wonderful Christmas. May there be love and kindness and peace within your hearts and homes. May even those whose hearts are heavy rise with the healing which comes alone from Him who comforts and assures.


With the Spirit of Christ in our lives, we will have goodwill and love toward all mankind, not only during this season, but throughout the year as well."


Ask me sometime about the sweet young woman in my Mia Maid class who taught me so much about this last week...

And Merry, Merry Christmas to all.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Button Snowmen

Our Christmas craft on Sunday morning:






These were super easy to make and the kids got quite carried away--embellishing whatever they could and adding colors and "limbs." I wish our button sizes had varied a bit more but we worked with what we had and they turned out pretty cute. Our tree's branches are quickly filling up with homemade ornaments this year--such a shift from the carefully picked out decor it has had in years past. But it's so much better this way, I think. Crafty little hands making lovely little projects to decorate our tree--something I will surely miss when my darlings are all grown up.

Kids make Christmas so magical and bright...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What Shall We Give?

Have you seen this?

I have a new favorite carol and have been singing/humming it all weekend. I played it for my young women today and hope it touched their hearts. Of course I have a hard time listening to it without tearing up...those last few lines are simply too beautiful for me:

What Shall We Give to the Babe in the Manger?

What shall we give to the babe in the manger,
What shall we offer the child in the stall?
Incense and spices and gold we've got plenty-
Are these the gifts for the king of us all?

What shall we give to the boy in the temple,
What shall we offer the man by the sea?
Palms at his feet and hosannas uprising;
Are these for him who will carry the tree?

What shall we give to the lamb who was offered,
Rising the third day and shedding his love?
Tears for his mercy we'll weep at the manger,
Bathing the infant come down from above.

--Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Traditional Catalon lyrics
George Frideric Handel & Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych






Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Classic


Seriously, how great is that movie? I hadn't seen it for years and years but I knew my little Bentley would love it. We watched it last night and let me tell you--he absolutely did. I have never heard him laugh so hard over and over and over again, and it was cracking me up! Today he and Cares set up "traps" all over our living room with upturned chairs and piles of sharp cars carefully laid out. Cares kept calling out for Kevin (Bentley) and then they'd work on some new project. Too cute for me.

My sister-in-law Krista is a total Home Alone junkie. She and her hubby and darling kids slept over here last night for some fun family bonding. And she was quoting lines all over the place! We have a new holiday favorite this year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So Far

I had a dentist appointment at 8:00 am this morning. And since I've been back I have:
--cleaned up breakfast
--fed Olivia and put her back down for a nap (beautiful baby slept for 13 straight hours last night...)
--folded a load of laundry and started another
--swept the kitchen floor and cleaned it
--picked up Bentley's room

It is only 10:30 am and I feel like I've accomplished so much. I need to get my lazy self going early more often (this is easier said than done for me...) I am usually just getting my bed made and thinking about what to wear this time of day.

I still need to vacuum (once the baby is awake) and address Christmas cards. And so very much more. But that is all I really feel like doing today (yes, I feel like vacuuming--my baby moves around everywhere and any tiny thing she finds goes right in her mouth...the good old cruiser phase. I am trying my best to keep things clean for her. )

I'll end with a totally non-related photo because I am in love with it (and him):



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lights and Nights

We lucked out and chose the perfect night to walk around outside. After many days at 20 degrees or so, we happened upon a 43 degree night last night. Cares could not be bothered to wear her coat and ditched her hat after a while because she was getting too sweaty. This from a girl who hates to feel cold--have you noticed she wears a turtleneck every day? And tucks every layer in to keep in the heat? She is one quirky little thing I tell you...

Anyway, our lovely evening at Temple Square:




Livs started our evening stroll happy as can be all bundled in her stroller

and she ended it like this...sleeping away.


Now it's funny that I posted pics of my sleeping baby because during the last 2 days she has basically been boycotting sleep in any form. That cat nap I captured above was technically her "afternoon nap" yesterday (at 6:00 pm) because she played, jabbered, cried (and even pooped at one point) in her crib for over 2 1/2 hours--all while she was supposed to be sleeping. Of course she had a horrible night too, waking several times and finally crying herself back to sleep come 1:00 in the morning. I've learned that good naps = a good night's sleep so I set out with fresh resolve today.

And then she did the same thing--fought her naps for all she was worth. And finally fell asleep for her "morning nap" at 12:50 pm, woke up at 2:45 pm--just in time for me to pop over to church and teach the young women. I tried to get Olivia to take another nap earlier this evening but she would not have it. I am so perplexed as to what is going on. And very frustrated. And tired. In fact, I should be in bed because I am expecting a rough night once again.

I will add that my 5 year old has suddenly developed sleep issues of his own within the past month or so. He wakes in the middle of the night very upset and disoriented several times a week. Any ideas on why he is waking so often? Is it an age/school/growth thing? Do you think it's just a phase? He has been my most solid sleeper basically from birth. I need him to be one again! Our nights of late have been 'tricky' to say the least...

I need to quit blogging already and get to sleep. Good night :)


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tutus, Tiaras and Clara







My mom treated her daughters and granddaughters to an evening at Ballet West's The Nutcracker this week. And it was as magical as ever. That ballet will never get old for me. I love that the choreography is still exactly the same as when I performed in it so many, many years ago. I will always imagine being backstage as the overture begins and feeling so giddy and nervous and excited to perform--so many good memories when I think back on it. I loved seeing the ballet company in the dressing room halls getting warmed-up and chatting together. I loved performing in the Capital Theater. And I loved having my family there with flowers for me at the end of the show. I hope my own daughters will have that chance one day if they grow to love ballet as much as I did. And I really had to love ballet to make myself go try-out year after year. Those auditions were hard, plain and simple. Whether I was 7 or 12 they were hard. And very technical and super intimidating. I would know because I tried out 6 times. And only made it twice.

Anyway, I am losing my focus with all the reminiscing...My darling Caroline was thrilled to be going on such a big girl date and as we watched the party girls she pointed out her favorite girl and favorite dress and then quickly changed her favorite to Clara. As the snow princess danced she kept telling me how beautiful all of it was--the snow, the tiaras, the tutus, the dancing, and the music. And I couldn't agree more. In the end, she made it all the way to the end (thanks to a 2 hour nap earlier that day) and made-up her mind that Clara was indeed her very favorite. The next morning she showed Bentley at least 3 different things she had seen Clara do in the ballet and it was adorable. Thank you for an enchanting night out Mom! Cares and I loved it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mine

My 3 favorite gifts. Ever.
(a tiny sampling from our photo shoot last week)







Thank you Janessa!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hall Closet

Thank goodness this thing is in order because we are using it every day (it's the home of all our snow and cold weather gear).

Before pics on the left and after pics on the right. Do those before pics scare anyone else besides me? Am I really that much of a mess?...wait...don't answer that. Just see how orderly I really can be--one space at a time :)