Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

It was our merriest yet.  I hope yours was too.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Annual Christmas Eve Journal Write 2015

Every time I told The Boy today that tomorrow is Christmas it's just blown my mind that it's already here.  But here it is, and it feels marvelous.  I'm so glad to have snow on the ground and kids asleep in bed (at last -- their sleeping habits have taken a turn lately, but they were tired enough that they eventually crashed) and to be sitting with The Wife enjoying these deliciouses:
The overtired children are reluctantly nestled all snug in their beds, which means it's time for this. Ah, Jack. It's been too long.
I feel like Christmas has really sneaked up on me this year, even more than it usually does.  It seems like we've been really busy the last few weeks but we've managed to get it all done and have been trying to keep the focus on the reason for the season, especially for our little ones (though of course he somehow has grasped the concept of Santa Claus quickly and handily).  There have been a lot of things lately that have made it even more important to keep Christ in our hearts and minds, and I'm always grateful for a special occasion to bring Him back to the forefront where He belongs.
I took a second (almost literally) after a concert at Temple Square to stop and smell the Christmas.
Last night I finished reading A Christmas Carol and Other Stories (which included The Chimes and The Cricket On the Hearth), and as always it was a great reminder to do the right things for the right reasons.  I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

And now... as soon as this movie is over I'm totally going to take a leaf out of the kiddos' book and crash in my delicious bed.  Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Nine Is Fine

Baby!  She's 3/4 of a year old.  She is getting bigger and smoochier and funnier and showing more personality every day.  It's amazing to be able to see her thinking and processing and learning and making decisions.  (Yes, I remember when this happened with The Boy too, but it seems all fresh and new all over again this time around.)  She's currently a little picky with what she likes (accompanied by very amusing facial expressions), she sleeps great through the night (not so well during naps), and she is definitely up on her hands and knees for crawling purposes (getting more and more independent, which makes me especially glad I finally put that baby gate up).  She's starting to get over stranger danger, at least with aunts and uncles and definitely Nana and Papa, and she seems particularly snuggly lately, especially when she's a bit sleepy.  (This is something I don't seem to recall being the case with The Boy.)  The Wife wrote her update here, and so without further ado here are some Instapictures:

This seems to be more a showcase for BB, but LS looks super cute too, and it seems fairly timely.  Insert joke prompt about Yoda and a Tiger walking into an H&M here.
What happened to our tiny helpless baby??
Just practicing her flexibility one morning.
Hanging out with Daddy while Mommy and BB sleep in a little.
Mommy's really liking the dress-over-jeans look these days.
Epic bedhead.  Gorgeous face.
We like our variation of Elf On the Shelf best of all.
We're looking forward to spoiling her on Christmas morning later this week!  (And by spoiling her I mean giving her just a few age-appropriate presents, because let's face it, she'll be much more interested in the wrapping paper than what's inside of it.)  This smoochface!  I can hardly stand it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day of Giving Thanks 2015

Something I have noticed lately is that holidays and time off mean a lot more when you actually have to leave your house to go to work, and this year Thanksgiving break was just the thing.  It was so nice to (sleep in and) spend more time with my peeps and eat together and be thankful for each other.

There were various festivities this year.  First, of course we had the T-Gives treatment in Thanksgiving, which was a big hit.  I try to pick songs the kids might not know that well (or at all) totally on purpose, because there are so many songs we just don't get to ever sing.  Not on my watch!
We said if the feathers were all plucked he would get eaten.  Lucky thing, we ran out of time both times.
Next was a fun potluck lunch at work, which was a big success.  Everyone signed up for things and some went above and beyond to make the real deal (I will say that my gravy was worth the wait).  It's fun to work in an office so I can finally participate in these sorts of things that I heretofore had only heard about afterward.  We all ate too much (of course), but we were glad it was two full days before actual Thanksgiving so we wouldn't be burned out, as if.
It was amazing!  A full Thanksgiving spread.
Don't forget the pie!  I can personally attest that at least 2/3 of this was delicious.
Maybe I collected this plate of seconds just to take this picture, and then again, maybe I didn't.
Then came the actual day!  It was bright and clear and cold and very nice.  In years past my sister has organized a Turkey Trot event, but as time has gone by things have been busier or we've opted for other happenings, so when I asked and found out there wasn't anything planned this year, I decided to plan my own!  I like a T-Gives morning run, so even if it ended up being a couple of people or even just myself it would be fun.  Despite the cold, a great group of family (including out-of-towner visitors Emily and the trips!) met at the trailhead and took more or less my usual run along the trail and back.  It ended up being just about 3.5 miles, and Katy (who insists she's not much of a runner) pulled ahead in the end to beat me and Little Miss.  Some walked, some ran, some biked, some went the whole length and some turned around whenever they felt like it, and there were treats and overall I think it was really fun for all.  (Not to mention FREE.)  New tradish?!?  I'll bring the Costco pumpkin streusel muffins again...
Baby's first 5K!
Not a bad turnout!  Thanks for coming, everyone!  Same time, next year?
She's thrilled as you can see.
(And yes, I did just write that on the path with sidewalk chalk, along with the mile markers as I went along.)
Then of course dinner!  I actually took a few pictures this year, amazingly.  Everything tasted delicious and I tried to remember to take a minute to be especially grateful for my kith and kin and foodstuffs.
Interesting groupings!  The Boy loves seeing his cousins, but he especially loves Uncle Matt.
This one is so cute it deserves to be posted all on its own. 
This is just about all The Boy was interested in during Thanksgiving dinner (and of course in a different cup every time).  He will learn.  I put my foot down when it came to the Sprite Zero.
And then we had a quick photoshoot with Cami!

Then to round things out with a churchish bookend, I did a musical number of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, and decided to callback to Appleton and rock this nice touch of bling, gifted from some of my dear elder buddies as I was heading home some seven (!!!) years ago.

And that's about it.  It's a very nice season, the one in between Halloween and Christmas.

There's so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Our boy is halfway to another year, and what a half-year it's been!  He's learning so much and speaking in amazing full sentences (sometimes with conjugation or tense!) and counts to ten pretty easily.  He's not too picky about eating, though he always wants to eat some of Baby's puffs.  He does great at Nursery, though the late church schedule is none to his liking, and he always likes to see and meet and play with little people his age (whether he knows them or not).  We introduced him to the Big Boy Bed a few weeks ago, maybe a bit abruptly, but after a few napless days and rough nights he started to figure it out.  The potty hasn't been quite as successful, but we're really not pushing it yet, so as to not force too many big adjustments all at once.  (Don't let's look forward to the day when we have to wean him of the binky...)  But he'll at least sit on it without much fuss, so that's improvement!  He's a bit contrary sometimes, and he can make himself heard quite forcefully (even if he's not actually using words or speaking fluent Whinese), and we've made use the naughty spot on occasion, but overall he's sweet and funny and loves life.  He's getting more and more independent and making his desires known -- what book to read, what shirt(s) to wear, what he wants to do and when he wants to do it.  He loves jumping on the trampoline, which is a story worth telling all its own, and he still loves anything with wheels, he loves being thrown up in the air, in any of its many varieties.  I'm always glad to see his enthusiastic face when I come home at the end of a long day.
Taken on his second birthday.  We love so much how he loves books.
The Wife's first Instapost.  Cool shades.
He loves mowing the lawn with Daddy.
At the now (at present?) playground at the mall while the girls take a shopping break. 
He loves commissioning sidewalk art. And he's a fairly reasonable client.
Who doesn't love a good splash pad?? 
He's really liking the water, and he always loves cousin Jack.
This shot is magical.  Nice one, Wife.
What did I say about that lawnmower??

Sometimes around mid-morning he decides to go night-night in Mommy and Daddy's bed.
He liked the carnival all right, but he was just barely too short to ride the train.  There is something so heartbreaking about this.  He was a good sport about it though.
We participated in a local activity!  There were lots of fun things to do there, including visit these lizards.
  And this hike!  He hiked most of the way all by himself.
You never know what you're going to find in the raingutters of a previously-owned house.  In this case, it was this train car that was an instant favorite (and which, apparently, is worth some amount of money).
Picnic!  It lasted all of maybe ten minutes.  But the important thing is that we had it.
The Bumbo might have been meant for Baby, buuuut...
New stroller!  It's feels a bit like pushing a limousine.
Father's Day surprise!  Doesn't that just say good morning?
These two sillies at bedtime.
Soooo we need to get one of these pronto.
Such a good napper on our way home from Moab.
It took him a few minutes to brave the tunnel but then it was all I could do to get him away when it was time to go home.  I love seeing this boy overcome his fears.
He looks spr srs, but he was really excited to get his face painted at the ward party and talked about it all the next day even as it hung on for dear life.
Hiking with Nana and Papa and the new balance bike!  It's taking a while but he's getting used to it, and he r.  At this rate he'll definitely be riding a real bike at an earlier age than his dear old dad.
When I was little I took a bite out of a cookie and called it a rocking chair.  With this kid it's French toast dinosaurs.
... and occasionally trains made out of any and every food.
Such a good helper for Mommy!  Missing things like this is one thing that makes working away from home that much harder.

Getting some perspective.  He loves to see or drive by the temple and always mentions Angel Moroni.
IIII don't think that's the best way to eat muffin batter.
Squish Mommy!!!
Always a good time at the park, and on this day the lucky kid had the run of the place.
He really was much more into picking blackberries than this picture might seem to suggest.  We also had to go back once we realized he had dropped that car at some point during his picking.
Hey bro.  Cool hat bro.
Hanging out at Daddy's old Timberline stomping grounds during a ward activity.  We should go up the canyon more often, it's just so close.
He really loves the produce from the garden.  Like, meaning they're his friends.
He likes reading to Little Sister.  Look how she loves him!
The best day of his life?!?  (Also our 6th anniversary.)
I didn't intend on giving him my old Pound Puppy quite yet, but once he discovered it he loved it so much I couldn't part him from it.
He really loves riding the pony.  He really does not love getting off the pony.
Finally hanging out at the cooool aquarium.
Future Goonie.
This is what can happen between spring and fall, but the important thing is, do you spy a secret Little Mister?
Again with the helping...
These two buds.
Drinking on the job.
He really likes to act out the actions and expressions from his books.
Why so serious?
Such a nice fat pile of crinkly leaves!
Thank you, H&M, for providing this furry Yoda hat moment.
This is happening, and after just a few days' adjustment, it's happening pretty well!  The toilet is taking a little longer, but at least he doesn't burst into tears when he sits on it anymore.
Those actions!  This is also a faaaavorite book.
I taught him the ways of the duct tape while working on a project, and eventually the piece I gave him ended up on his chest like a badge of honor.
He doesn't get babysat a lot, but when he does he insists on a bedtime story.  Dad's English accent was a thing of wonder.
This was a long and arduous process, but The Boy finally has his trampoline back (just in time for winter) (which, if it's anything like last winter, will mean plenty of jumping weather).
And on his very 2.5 day, I took him to his first real movie, to see my favorite role and his name twin on the big screen, and we both loved every second.  He laughed and gasped and sat still almost the entire time.  It's so fun to have little outings just the two of us. (Though we missed our girls terribly.)
Well, that was a lot of pictures.  But it has been half a year, and I do tend to like to overpost when it comes to the Insta-pour.

This sweet boy is learning and growing so much.  Sometimes we look over at him and can't believe how tall and big and strong and grown-up he looks.  There are also those times when we have to remember that he's definitely still in many ways our little baby, but he's on his way, and we're loving watching it happen.  I get sad a little bit when I think what kind of world he's growing up in, but we'll do our best and he finds so much joy in simple things that I am grateful for the perspective he provides.  These days he still occasionally happily says it's Halloweentime, but he's looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

See you in six!

P.S.  Blogger, this template is still so awful, especially for uploading/rearranging pictures.  Has this seriously not been updated in ten years??  Just putting it out there.