Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Greetings

     Okay, so maybe I've been really lax on the blog posts lately, but I promise it's only because I've been silly busy (who hasn't?).  And that's basically what this post is about -- being chronically busy.  Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusions that once all three of my kids are in full-day school things will be much better.  I have plenty of friends who've disabused me of that notion and I realize that things will only get crazier, although in different ways.

We found our Christmas tree!
     It's not even that my kids are over-scheduled or anything; I've made a conscientious effort to limit them to one extra-curricular activity per child.  Emerson is loving piano thanks to a brilliant teacher and Stella looks forward to her dance class each week with sparkling eyes, taking extra care to choose the perfect leotard-leggings combo.  Atticus has chosen the full-time pursuit of high-speed, adorable, chatty destruction (think of a talking tornado with curls and ridiculously long eyelashes).  Sure Emerson has homework, but his teacher truly understands what is an appropriate amount for first grade.  And Stella insists on her own "homework" projects while Emerson does his.
     Of course Tad and I have our little endeavors, too, like running/working out and yes that little thing called a bishopric calling.  But looking at that list and thinking of what my friends accomplish, I wonder why my "busy" takes up the whole day (and well into the night) without so much as a minute to catch my breath.  If I sit down at all by 9:30 at night lately, I feel extremely fortunate (and I should clarify that it's more of a collapse than a sit down).
     But do you know what the truly amazing part is?  I love the chaos.  No, I'm not wishing for more on my plate, but I really don't quite want to remove anything from that plate either.  I feel like just about everything we're involved in is important and satisfying in some way.  And so at Christmas time, as this chaos is more intense than any other time of year, I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas -- from my whirlwind to yours!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toothy McDuck

Emerson's First Day
Stella's First Day
After a wonderful summer of achieving new personal goals (learning to really swim, jumping off high objects, making sandwiches for themselves, an awesome ward campout in our new family tent), the kids are of course back in school.  Let's be honest, I never really worry much about Stella and school, so I wasn't too stressed for her in preschool.  You could plunk that girl down in a completely different culture and within minutes she'd have an entire entourage of friends.

The First Tooth
But I can confess to some nerves about Emerson starting first grade and being in school all day.  It's pretty amazing, though, because he's decided to absolutely love school this year.  When anyone asks him about school, he says, "I love Mrs. Barnson."  Last week they had a perfectly nice substitute, but before school on Monday, Emerson was literally jumping up and down and saying, "I can't wait for Mrs. Barnson!"  And he's learning and growing so fast.  Monkey bars -- check, reading with fluidity -- check, taking piano lessons -- check.  Here's the really big one -- last night he lost his first tooth (thus the post title).  The mixture of excitement and terror right before Tad yanked the wobbly sucker out was truly palpable.  And that super-generous Tooth Fairy brought him five dollars.

Stella at dance class
Stella's experience at preschool this year can be summed up in this short story: when I dropped her off the other day, she immediately grabbed Sophia's hand and they ran off comparing their similar shoes.  Sophia's dad then told me that she hated preschool until she made close friends with Stella and now she won't let him leave her at school until Stella shows up to hold her hand.  That's my girl, the spreader of joy and light.  She's learning to read and she can't get enough of coloring and painting.  We've already lost several new school clothing items to tragic preschool painting incidents.

Pony ride at the fair
Atticus is growing too fast.  He wanders all around naming everything he sees, combines words like a champ ("uh-oh chair"), and insists on running as much of his life as he can.  Just like big brother was, he's obsessed with trucks and tractors.  At the state fair last weekend, he literally quaked with excitement as we placed him on the seats of several real tractors.  And he finally made it through an entire two-hour session of nursery last Sunday with only one brief cry.  I've never had a child this good at getting into mischief and I constantly find things he's pulled out of closets, drawers, bags, etc.  If he wants it, Atticus will find a way to get it.

Tad's Big Cottonwood Race
Tad did another bike race, the annual Snowbird Hill Climb.  Despite a slightly longer and more challenging course, he got the same time as last year!  We really had fun cheering him at the finish of this one -- the canyons are so beautiful.  I ran our annual neighborhood Labor Day 5K and finished second overall!  The only person to beat me was an 18-year-old boy and I ran just over seven-minute miles, so I was really pleased.  My next race is a half-marathon this Saturday so fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kids in a Parade

Today the kids and I marched in the Days of 47 Youth Parade behind our stake's float.  The float had a large piggy bank to remind us all that our stake's namesake, President Heber J. Grant, repeatedly reminded church members to save their money and avoid debt.  That's why Emerson and his friends are wearing penny hats in this picture of them marching in the parade from the Deseret News:
Check out the pics next to the story and you'll see Emerson and his buddies.  Stella and Atticus waved the whole way despite having to wait for three hours in 96-degree heat next to a large pile of dirt (resulting in happy but grimy parade participants) before we started to move.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why can't summer last forever?

About this time of summer, I forget that it ever changes; I just feel like it should always be warm enough to swim, play in the back yard and pretend that jackets don't exist.  It's so fun to know I can go running early in the morning without having to worry about how dark it will be.  And I love having the windows open with the breeze blowing through and whisking away all of the lovely smells kids, dogs, and husbands create.

We're still in the process of re-doing our kitchen, just the ceiling and backsplash and flooring to go.  It's simultaneously terrifying, expensive and satisfying.  It's such a big difference already, but we'll wait for the final stage for the big online reveal.

The kids are loving summer.  The Bigs are in swimming lessons and Emerson finally worked up the courage to go off the diving board by himself (several days after Stella).  We stay after to do free swim at the great outdoor pool where we take lessons and I've come to find out that Atticus thinks he can swim.  He dives forward, plunging his whole head under water, and comes up laughing.  But his truly favorite move is to plunk down on his bum and fall back all the way under water.  It's a real workout for him and me.

Emerson has developed this character he calls the "teenager gangster" (no idea where he got these ideas).  When he wants to make fun of something, he slumps his shoulders, makes a frowny face, does a kind of duck walk, and says "whatever -- that's the teenager gangster."  He always ends up laughing hysterically.

Stella is in the process of learning to read after she came to me and asked me to teach her.  Hard to believe she just turned four last month!  She had a great garden tea party birthday which had to be moved from the garden into Grandma May's house (many thanks, Cheryll) due to inclement weather. This is truly an unfulfilled wish from my childhood that luckily Stella shared.  There's something magical about a bunch of little girls wearing tea party hats and fairy wings and concentrating completely as they carefully pour their "tea" into tiny cups.

Atticus is a whirlwind of chattering activity.  He never seems to stop talking or moving and he loves to play with his expressions to get reactions from people.  During church he wanders up and down the aisles and sits with anyone who seems interesting, male or female, young or old.  He's currently fascinated with all trucks, diggers, and trains (luckily we have plenty toys left from big brother).

It's racing season for me and Tad.  I ran my first half marathon in a few years and set a personal best of 1hr 50min despite sore quads and no sleep the week before.  Tad just did a bike race up Big Cottonwood Canyon (the one canyon he'd never ridden) Saturday and did much better than he thought -- only 1hr 29min.  He does another race in August and I do mine in September.  We'll keep all of you apprised of the results because I'm sure you won't be able to sleep well unless we do.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back from the Slack

Hello, everyone! I've been a super blog slacker and now I'm trying to redeem myself. The latest:
1. We took a really fun trip to St. George and ended up having an impromptu family reunion involving Caroline, Justin, Afton and Cheryll. We also got to spend some great time with our friends, the Moores and the Hayes. Snow Canyon was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, and we found some new yummy places to eat.
2. Atticus has been a walking champ for almost two months now. He turns on the gas when he hears the bathroom door open since that is easily his favorite room in the house. But ramps or inclines still make him a little tipsy. He loves to say "this," "no no," "dada," "mama," "ball," "up," "daga" (doggie), and some other words that I would remember if he weren't my third child.
3. Emerson and Stella are truly in the throes of a love-hate relationship. Luckily it's mostly love and they play these great imagined-scenario games for hours together. When it's the hate relationship, though, they literally hate EVERYTHING about each other. My favorite complaint from Emerson as he was grumpily emerging from bed one morning, "Stella has such an ugly way of breathing." But they really are amazing and Stella loves to say prayers in which she thanks Heavenly Father for the United States of America, the President, the Holy Ghost, etc.
4. We've had some tragedy with extended family, and while I don't think it's appropriate for me to talk too much about it on a public blog, I just wanted my family to know how thankful I am for how they've handled it. Sometimes tragedy truly does bring out the best in people. Kevin, my biggest brother, is an exceptional person and I love him so much.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Atticus!

Well, it's official -- Atticus is one year old! I can't believe it's gone by so fast and I know that's what everyone says, but it's really true. He says "Mama" and "Dada" and "no no" and crawls all over and walks all over (on his birthday really taking lots of steps without help) and yet I still expect him to be a little lap baby who needs to be held and nursed all the time. He's so sweet and snuggly still, regularly holding absolutely still for a back scratch an nuzzling his face into our chests as we put him down to bed. We had a little party for him at each grandma's house and then a little cupcake party with a few friends. He decided chocolate cake is a great face and body paint as well as a wonderfully squishy substance for molding.
Otherwise life continues to roll along as usual, only a severe longing for the end of this gray and smoggy winter to end growing more intense by the day. Emerson and Stella are thriving, learning and growing so fast that we can barely keep up. As I was reading to Stella last night, she turned pointed at the word orange, looked at me and said, "That's a bossy 'r' so it's going to say 'or'." Emerson's ability to sound out and write words is amazing, and we can't believe how clearly his penmanship has gotten. In the last couple of weeks we've had a few sunny days when they could play outside without coats and they've cherished every chance to soak up the sun. It makes a really beautiful picture, these curly-headed cuties stooping over to scratch in the dirt as the afternoon sun reflects off their faces. We are lucky.