Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sweetest stocking stuffers

It was overambitious of me to decided that I'd make stockings for our newly minted family before I'd even begun making babies. In all honesty, making stockings is a whole lot easier than making babies, but I've ended up making babies faster than I can make stockings for them. 

Babies, as it turns out, require quite a lot of time and attention. Go figure.

Eight years ago, I whipped up a stocking for Miriam and we shoved her inside because when you have a tiny baby at Christmastime you need a picture of the baby in a stocking (I think there's a rule about that somewhere).

This year I stuffed Alexander into Benjamin's not-quite-finished stocking (because Alexander doesn't have a stocking yet (and why would he? Zoë doesn't have one yet either)):


I still have to add Benjamin's name and the little hanger thing on his stocking. And I think I will try to knit one up really quick for Zoë this year as well because we only have one extra one (that Grandma Sharon made, and which we've always used for our babies when I've been too slow to make a stocking for them by Christmas, which has happened 3/5 times).

I think, judging from the size of the stockings (which should be about the same size since they follow the same pattern) and the sizes of the babies stuffed into them, that Alexander isn't quite as chubby as Miriam managed to be by this age.


 But he sure is a sweet little stocking stuffer!

O Christmas Tree

We decorated the Christmas tree...on December 3rd. We gave our tree away before we moved back to Utah so Grandma set up her tree for us. We used our own ornaments, however, because Grandma's ornaments are lovely, while our ornaments are got-a-handful-of-children worthy.

This picture didn't quite turn out, but here's Alexander smiling up at Daddy:


Thanksgiving'd

I've been meaning to write about Thanksgiving for quite some time, obviously, and probably would have had more to say had I written about it in a more timely manner. But I'm so far behind I hardly know where to begin. To borrow the words of my friend Lindsay, "You know in the movies when a rider falls from their galloping horse but their foot gets stuck in the bootstrap? Maybe that's happened to you, I don't know, but that's kind of how I feel right now. I'm the rider being bounced and dragged along against my will, and December is the horse."

Because it's seriously the middle of December already, which is just crazy!

At least Thanksgiving morning was pretty relaxed. We had little to do but play because we (Andrew and I) were in charge of pie and did our baking the day before. It sure was fun to have so many little cousins around to play with!

Here are the Benjamin, Gavin, Zoë and Maren enjoying some bubbles and chalk:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Why shouldn't my goose sing as well as thy goose?

Here's a sampler of Alexander's breathing...

Here he is shortly after falling asleep for a nap:



Here he is, fast asleep in the dead of night:



Here he is that same night after changing position (creating a slight tune change):



And here he is attempting a conversation this morning after his bath:



Sometimes he breathes so quietly he almost sounds normal. Other times he's so loud I could swear there was a flock of geese flying over the house. We love him no matter how he breathes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Birthday Party

We had a surprise birthday party for my mom tonight, just with our local family members: my mom and dad and sisters and brother and some of the grandkids. It was fun!

Patrick came over a bit early to make dinner (he made pasta with a tomato-cream sauce, honey-roasted Brussels sprouts, and meatballs; Kelli brought some French bread; I made a salad and a (no-bake) blueberry cheesecake). I was glad that he took over making dinner!

It was fun to get to celebrate my mom, even though I lied to her for (probably?) the first time in my life in order to keep it a surprise. I asked her if she could come watch my little ones so that I could go to an activity with my older girls (but really there was no activity). 

One of the highlights of the evening was video-chatting with my sister's twins, who've been estranged from the family for the past few years since their father was awarded full custody. It would be great if we could start seeing them at family events again because they're only a year older than Rachel! But I suppose any contact with them is a Christmas miracle at this point.

Here's my sister, and niece, and daughter chatting with the twins:


Saturday, December 09, 2017

[lă-ring′gō-mă-lā′shē-ă]

I just diagnosed Alexander with laryngomalacia.

I'm not a doctor or anything like that, but I am a mom and so I diagnose things all the time.

Hangnail.
Second-degree burn.
Hand-foot-mouth disease.
Ingested penny.
Strep throat.
Pink eye.
Croup.

Sometimes we go in for a formal confirmation of our diagnosis (mostly so we can get a prescription) but other times we simply don't need to. There is no course of action for laryngomalacia (unless it happens to be interfering with breathing or eating, which, in Alexander's case, it's not).

Find a penny...

One day (this morning), Zoë found a penny.

"I have money!" she said, holding up the gleaming, pristine old and tarnished coin proudly.

She carried it around with her all day to show the world how rich she was. She took it to the breakfast table, she took it on a walk to pick up her big brother from school, she took it downstairs when we went to play. 

This was our downfall.

I had invited a new family over for a playdate. They have a little girl Benjamin's age, a little boy Zoë's age, and a little girl Alexander's age. So obviously it was meant to be! 

And the mom is from Russia so I kind of pounced on her after she bore her testimony on Sunday, and she very patiently  allowed me to wade through my dusty knowledge of Russian to welcome her into the ward. 

Anyway, I let my guard down while the kids were playing so that we could chat. 

In the back of my brain I was aware of what Zoë was doing. She had her prize friend The Penny with her (because why play with the actual child her age, who was busy building a train out of LEGO) and had set out a tea party (she loves playing tea party).

Most of my brain, however, was occupied with nursing Alexander and chatting with my new friend. I believe we were just on the topic of Macey's versus Macy's because she'd asked about the best grocery stores nearby and I said, "Well, there's Macey's..." And she said, "They have groceries at Macy's!?" And then I had to explain about Macey's (the grocery store) versus Macy's (the retail store).

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Suffering the children

My second cousin's wife and I were due around the same time, she with her seventh and I with my fifth. Alexander came a few weeks early, but Sharalee had her baby on Miriam's birthday so her baby ended up being that much younger than my baby. Somehow, however, she's managing to keep up with the Light the World calendar (and her seven children) this year and I...am so totally not.

I'm not keeping up with the calendar and I'm barely keeping up with my children.

Life has been just a little crazy lately.

On Saturday, for example, the scripture was "I was thirsty and ye gave me drink." It wasn't until I saw people posting on Facebook about donating towards clean water campaigns and delivering infant formula to their local food bank that I remembered that the Light the World calendar was even a thing. But my friend Alayna stopped by on Saturday to pick up some milk for her baby (I've been pumping for her) and I thought that was a happy coincidence. Usually she picks milk up on Friday, but she waited a day, and lo, it coincided with the scripture on the Light the World calendar. So that was fortuitous.

Other than that...I don't know that I've managed to do a single extra thing (we haven't had the children open any of the days on our advent calendars either; go our team).

But my cousin has been posting about the little ways she's trying to light the world, which I've appreciated because it helps remind me to go about my day more mindfully (she, for example, tried to remember how the Saviour fills her cup as she went about Saturday getting water for her children or nursing her baby, which is something I certainly didn't think to to do).

Anyway, earlier this week she wrote about how she'd failed to "love her neighbour." She had grand designs of making Chex Mix and delivering it to her neighbours with her children in one grand Yuletide Koombayah. But her plan for the day got completely derailed (I have no idea how that happened with seven children to take care of) and she failed to even make the Chex Mix, let alone visit with her neighbours.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Thanksgiving Awkwardness

I have a bit of a penchant for making a perfectly normal conversation turn awkward really fast. It's not even always my fault. I mean, sure, there are days when I have no filter. Everyone has days like that, but this mishap was not my fault at all.

We spent Thanksgiving with Andrew's family since Emily was in town and all the little cousins were having so much fun together. But I did feel bad about not seeing my family at all during Thanksgiving so I hopped on Facebook and sent a group message to my family.

I typed their names into the "to" field: Dad, Mom, Kelli, Abra, David, Patrick, Josie

Then I composed my message: "Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for all of you!"

Benign enough, right? Festive, even. Jovial.

But then I caught a glimpse of the previous messages on that thread:


And I just about died because apparently,* the last time we chatted together** was October 2014, before David and Shalise broke off their engagement. What a wonderful thing to bring up out of the blue, amirite?!

So I quickly wrote: "Awwwwwwwkward thread to hop on. Sorry about that."

My family responded with love, kindness, and laughing-so-hard-I'm-crying emoticons.

Pro tip: Sometimes when things aren't quite awkward enough you just have to stir the pot a little bit. With some practice you, too, can be as socially awkward as me.

* Or, as Benjamin would say, accordingly. While we were eating at Wendy's after our photoshoot on Saturday Andrew asked, "Who's happy?" and all the kids—except for Rachel, whose mouth was full—chorused, "ME!" And then Benjamin said, "Well, accordingly Rachel's not!" And I thought it was hilarious.

In situations like this, accordingly could work as well as apparently. Like, "accordingly the last time we chatted together it was about something that feels super awkward to talk about today. Because of course it would happen that way."


** Not that we haven't chatted together since; it's just always been with other people added in, I guess (spouses and children and things). So this was simply the last time we chatted with just my parents and siblings.

One day only

My brother David left his job in England for a new one in British Columbia, so he flew into Salt Lake City on Sunday evening, was here all day on Monday, and left early Tuesday morning to fly up to Prince George. A small part of me is jealous that he was able to secure a job in Canada—and in beautiful British Columbia to boot—but a much larger part of me is glad that I'm not moving that far north. 

To be fair, however, it's -7°C (20°F) here while it's only -1°C (30°F) there. So maybe it won't be that bad for him after all. We'll have to see. I'm sure I'll be comparing temperatures all winter (I already do that with High River all the time, anyway).

Yesterday was cold and snowy here. We were planning on meeting at BYU for dinner at the Cannon Center, but I wasn't sure that I wanted my first drive in the snow to be quite that long...and I knew I didn't want to drive in the dark on the ice on the way home. One day I'll have to drive in the snow, I'm sure, but yesterday was not that day. Instead everyone came to see me (because they're enablers)!

Here's Uncle David meeting Alexander: