Friday, December 31, 2010

To Come...

I just decided I'm going to join NaBloPoMo for January (that's National Blog Posting Month). Which means I'm committing to blog every day in January. So stay tuned! Some of those days I'll use to catch up on things I missed in the past (Thanksgiving, Naomi's birthday, Christmas day, Sammy's extreme cuteness, etc.) but I promise to do something every day.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mexico!

It's been so long since I blogged because I didn't want to mention that we were about to leave for Mexico for a week. And I feel like pretty much everything that happened in December was just a lead-up to Mexico. We did "Christmas" more than a week early so that the kids could have their presents (Leapster Explorers) for the trip. So I had to do all the shopping early. And the laundry had to be done and the house had to be clean and the church responsibilities had to be taken care of, etc.
But once we made it to Mexico, oh what a time we had! My whole family was there in three neighboring beach houses. It was awesome.

I don't think Sammy was alone for three seconds straight. Nobody could bare to let him just lay anywhere. He slept in people's arms, he played in peoples arms, he was seriously coddled. Which was OK with him! Here is Sammy asleep in his Grandpa's arms.
The children ran in packs the entire week. Here is Naomi sandwiched between cousins Winter and Haley.
I admit, the adults kinda ran in packs, too.
Asher spent hours just running around the sand. He was so happy to be free of rules and restrictions and able to just run and throw and splash at his own will. We had the beach totally to ourselves, so we could let the kids run a bit more free than if there were other people around to worry about.
Here's a picture of the backs of the three houses we stayed in. They were great little houses. (Sure, our bedroom roof leaked a little, but once my awesome brothers rigged a tarp over our bed, it was all good.)
Isaiah was a little freaked out by the water and wouldn't really go close to it at all. I think he never so much as set a toe in it. But he had fun in the sand and followed whichever pack of kids wasn't down at the the water at that moment.
Naomi and Haley are best buddies.
Did I mention it was gorgeous?
It was great. Too great to really even come across in pictures or my words. We did have another "Christmas" while we were there, complete with a family gift exchange, a nativity re-enactment and pumpkin pie (you know, the essentials!). We ate local seafood. We joked with our siblings and their spouses. We lay in the sun and the sand. And on the actual "Christmas" day, we flew home, with Asher giving a cheery "Merry Christmas!" to literally everyone we passed in the airport. We arrived home just in time for a great snow storm.

Perfection.

(I'm sure more pictures will come as we share among those that were there. I can't wait to see the nativity pictures, gift opening pictures, and the professional photo shoot that Jessica did of us all on the beach. So stay tuned!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Natural Cuteness

Sammy was long overdue for a Mommy photo shoot. I don't have a fancy camera or any photography skills, but I know enough to plop a baby down on a plain background in good natural light and just let the cuteness happen!










And then our little elf was exhausted from all that cuteness and needed a nap.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Marathon

So, I'm a big fan of the show The Biggest Loser. It's amazing to me how hard the people on the show work and the amazing results. It's an inspiring show - which is a great break from all the drama and violence on TV right now.

This week on the show the final four contestants ran a marathon. At the beginning of the show (about four months before) these people couldn't even run a mile without passing out. It's just amazing.

And as I was watching, I was wishing that I could do something like that. What plans could I make for something that would be that amazing and inspiring and hard and character-growing? And then I realized that I really just did. Samuel's birth was my marathon.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything, because you all know I did plenty of whining during this, but it was a lot of long, hard work with amazing results. For four months I worked hard at growing that baby the best I could. It was emotionally and physically demanding. And one day, after hours of the hardest work of all, I won. I won my marathon.

I can do hard things. And the prize is way better than the money that the Biggest Loser gets.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lasterday

I know, I know, it's been forever. But the good news is that it's been forever because I've been busy doing other things. I am finally feeling like I really am living life again with no physical or emotional craziness. It's been more than two week since I irrationally burst into tears!


Sammy is growing and growing. He's into his 3-6 months clothes now. He's nearly outgrown the bassinet. He's trying very hard to roll over but has only made it onto his side so far. He's such a strong little guy. He has great control of his head and neck already and loves to be stood up on his feet.


Isaiah is cracking us up, as usual. Our favorite thing that he says lately is "lasterday". As in, yesterday and last time all mixed into one word. I think it's awesome and makes perfect sense as far as made up words go. He's still struggling with potty training a little bit, but I can see a faint light at the end of that tunnel.

Asher is growing into quite the smart little man. And by smart I mostly mean smart-alek. He picks up on plays on words and sasses just a little more than I'm happy about. He's definitely got his Daddy's sense of humor. He also has a constant barrage of questions for me which he is never satisfied with my short answers to.

Naomi is a genius. She's really flourishing in her 1st grade class. I can already tell that she'll be valedictorian. She still loves art, but now she enjoys her music class, too, and even gym. I'm so proud of her for not being scared of the ball the way I always was. Naomi also just lost her front tooth. So she has that cute/awkward look that I think all 1st graders have at some point.

Richard is currently out of town for a whopping 10 day trip. He taught a class in California last week, spent the weekend with his brother in Oregon, then flew back down to a different part of Cali to teach two more classes. I think he enjoys these trips, but they are hard work. And we miss him so much.

As part of Richard and I's new agreement, any time he leaves town for a long stretch like that I get to buy a plane ticket for whoever I want to come visit me. It keeps me sane. So this past weekend my big sis, Angela AND my Mommy came. We had such a great time being together. On Saturday we got a babysitter and went to the National Cathedral to see Handel's Messiah. It was seriously amazing. I admit that I had a hard time staying awake through a lot of it (Sammy is still not sleeping through the night yet), so I'm sure I could have gotten more out of it, but it was still very impressive. I was amazed how the music brought such strong feelings and emotion with so few words.

Angela, Ruth, Mom, me

So that's the news. Next up: a holiday trip to Mexico!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Albe-turkey Turkey

Here's a little ditty sung by Asher and Isaiah to put you in the holiday spirit.

video

As far as I can tell, the words to this song (which the boys learned in preschool) are as follows:

Albuquerque is a turkey
and he's feathered and he's fine
and he wobbles and he gobbles
and he's absolutely mine.

He's the best pet
You can get yet
Better than a dog or cat
He's my Albuquerque turkey
and I'm awfully proud of that.

This has been stuck in everybody in this house's minds since the boys learned it. Because they haven't stopped singing it since they learned it. Seriously.

So happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time Warp

I am seriously having a hard time believing that it is the end of November. Last thing I knew it was coming up on Summer. What happened to that? And Fall? How is it suddenly Winter (I know it actually isn't technically Winter yet, but I hear it's snowing over half the country today, so it sure feels like Winter has arrived).

Really, I think this is a serious side effect of my four months of bed rest. It really does not seem possible that it's Thanksgiving this week. The thought of Christmas is completely unreal. I feel like maybe some sort of time warp/Star Trek thing happened and I skipped a couple of months.

...Basically I DID skip a couple of months.

I guess what I'm saying is just... it feels like it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Laundry

What to do when you have mountains of laundry to fold but the baby insists on you being in his sight?
Include him in the laundry process, of course!

Fall Leaves

I finally figured out why my pictures are coming out so washed out. There's a huge slimy fingerprint on the lens! So pardon the quality of these, but I think they're still pretty dang cute.






After 4 Fall's of owning our home, I finally figured out the best way to deal with the Fall leaves in our yard. Play in them one day, then pay somebody else to clean them up the next day. But it drives me crazy that everyone insists on cleaning the leaves up so soon. I want to keep enjoying them for a couple of weeks! They're just so gorgeous. And I feel like they're a farewell to color before the long, colorless Winter. So what's the rush?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Out of Town

Richard has been going out of town a lot lately. Excessively, really. But he's had several great opportunities that he just couldn't pass up, so off he went. When he's going to be out of town for a while, I make arrangements (like when his sister Karen came to stay with us recently and in a couple of weeks my sister and Mom are coming while he's gone). But for most of his trips I just muddle through while he's away. I talk to him on the phone, and the kids Skype with him at night sometimes. On this last trip he even read them bedtime stories over Skype.

When I talk to Richard while he's out of town he's usually sitting alone in a hotel room. Often he has an evening of work ahead of him. And I have an evening of baby-ness ahead of me. And I usually can't help but think how much I'd like to switch places with him. How much I'd like to be the one all alone in a quiet room - even if I had to work while I was there.

So this weekend I get my wish. This weekend I am going "out of town". My ward is having their Super Saturday (a mega-crafty morning) until noon, then I'm just not going home afterward. I think I'll go see a movie, go out to lunch, do some shopping, hit the outlet mall, go out to dinner, then I am going to check into a hotel all alone. And I'll sit in a quiet room by myself (with no work to do!). I figure that by that evening I'll be pretty lonely. And I think that's great! I can't wait to feel lonely! I'll sleep all night with no interruptions. I'll get dressed the next morning without running downstairs three times to break up fights. Then I'll meet my family at church and resume normal life.

...Just thinking about it almost gives me goose bumps I'm so excited for it.

Here's to going "out of town"!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sleep

Take a minute and think about where you sleep. I assume you're now thinking about your bed. Now think about all the places that you don't sleep. Are you like me in that you can't sleep on an airplane? Too many people around. How about a bus? Or some other public place? It's a little creepy, right? Sleeping when you know other people could be looking at you. I don't even like falling asleep on my own couch during the day if I know Richard is walking around awake in the house. It's just weird.

Now think about babies. They sleep everywhere. Planes, buses, grocery stores, church, the car, whatever. And their favorite place is generally in their Mama's arms. Because that's where they feel safest. Not alone in a bed, but snuggled deep into the arms of the person they love the most.

It sure does feel good to be that person who Sammy loves the most. It feels good to be depended on. It feels good to be loved so unabashedly and publicly and innocently. Even when I'm exhausted from the day and rocking Sammy seems a little like torture in my exhausted state, it still feels so good to be so loved by him.

Sammy's Blessing

Sammy had a special day on Sunday. His blessing day was a beautiful, sunny, crisp Fall day. Richard blessed him in church, with his Dad (Sammy's Grandpa) and brother Kevin (Sammy's Uncle) and several friends from church. Sammy was blessed with love by many people, health, faith, and a desire for good. It was a beautiful blessing.

And he looked absolutely adorable for it in the outfit that his Grandma Ashurst made. Asher and Isaiah wore the same outfit. Sammy is the only one who actually really fit in the hat.





It was mentioned in his blessing how anxiously we waited for Sammy's little spirit to join his body here on Earth. I still feel lucky every day that we pulled off this great feat. Sammy is truly our miracle.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Breaking Point

I think everybody has a certain point at which they can no longer handle "it". Usually, for me, that point is pretty far away as far as dealing with life as it comes at me. But there's one way that I know is a sure way to have that point be a lot closer to me - not getting enough sleep. When I'm a little short on sleep, I have a very short fuse. I am impatient and frustrated. When I'm a lot short on sleep, I cry. A lot. About everything.

I mean, really, ridiculously a lot. About really, truly any little thing. And as I'm crying I know that it's ridiculous and not worth the energy of the cry - but that doesn't really matter. Knowing that what you're crying about is silly, doesn't really help you stop crying. It does sometimes help me move on more quickly after the crying is done.

So today I exploded into tears several times. And moved on. Knowing that nap time was just around the corner. At nap time I fed the baby, watched the end of a show, and settled in for a nap of my own. I had a glorious hour left to sleep before Naomi got home from school. ... 10 minutes later Sammy started crying. So I picked him up, snuggled him in to my naptime cocoon of blankets on the couch, and drifted back to sleep. ...2 minutes later he started crying again. And wouldn't stop. So I cried. And the more Sammy cried, the more I cried, until finally we were both just laying on the couch sobbing.

And then Richard came to the rescue. He took Sammy away and let me sleep. He greeted Naomi when she got home. He shushed the boys as they came down from nap time. He fed them a snack. And he did it all while holding still-grumpy Sammy.

He's my hero.

So now, after more than an hour's sleep, I can face the rest of the day. My breaking point has scouched a little further away from me. And maybe I won't even cry anymore! (today)

(I'm filing this post under "For Posterity". I know it's kind of a depressing post, but I also think these feelings are such a big part of my life right now, that they should be remembered.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

Naomi the fairy
Asher the spider
Isaiah the dalmation
Sammy the frog
Mommy the gypsy
Daddy the pirate

First Asher and Isaiah marched in their preschool parade. Asher was sure that he was too cool to march in the parade this year until his teacher reminded him that they get candy along the parade route.

Isaiah loved the idea of parading around in his costume. Too bad he wouldn't wear his puppy dog ears - most people thought he was dressed as a cow. While he marched in the parade he yelled out to me as he passed, "I love you! I love you! I love you!". It got quite a crowd reaction.Naomi's favorite part of her costume was that I put makeup on her.
I made Sammy's hat! Ribbit!
Here's the big kids at the church trunk or treat. This was actually the only trick or treating we did this year. Richard went out of town Sunday afternoon, and I wasn't about to go door to door with four kids and no help. So on Sunday I just let the kids answer the door. They were just as excited about that as the real trick or treating. There was a complicated system for figuring whose turn it was to open the door and who got to hold the bowl.
Richard put a lot of work into his costume. A hat, an eye patch, and his belt around the outside of his shirt. He had lots of fun "arrrrggghhh"ing at all the other pirates.
What does it say about me and my personal style that I could throw together a gypsy costume out of things in my closet that I really do wear regularly in real life?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sammy Smiles

I know it's a blurry, low quality image (taken by my cell phone), but here's one of Sammy's first smiles. They're still hard to come by and very fleeting, but that's Mama's gold, baby!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Growth and Change

This is Sammy as of this morning. He is wearing (just barely) the outfit he came home from the hospital in. He was swimming in it then - length wise and around the middle - and now he's squeezed into it like a sardine. What a big boy!

In other news, I'm going to have to stop nursing and I'm feeling a little sad about that. I keep having problems with clogged ducts and such (I'll spare you the details) and just can't do it anymore. I need to feel physically healthy. It's been six months since I was "normal" for heaven's sake! So goodbye to not-really-stinky diapers and sweet smelling burps. And hello to stinkier diapers, stinkier burps, and rows of dirty bottles on the kitchen counter. Oh well. I did my best to make it work.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Aunt Karen and Baby Jessica

Richard went on a week long business trip last week. so to help me out we asked Richard's little sister, Karen to come visit. The perk of asking Karen is that she has a new baby, Jessica, that we were dying to meet. She was a great help and loads of fun. The kids love Karen and instantly fell in love with Jessica, too. Who wouldn't? It was so great to get to just sit and talk with Karen (while both of us nursed our babies) for hours. Thanks for coming, Karen. We love you!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkinville 2010

This is our third year of going to Pumpkinville on the preschool field trip. First Naomi, then Asher, and this year Asher and Isaiah. Each year I've made a photo book which has turned the trip into legend at our house. Isaiah knew more about Pumpkinville before he ever went there than you would have thought possible. So we were all really looking forward to it. And it totally lived up to our expectations, as always. It was a little chilly with a brisk wind, but that just made it more Fall-y!