Monday, November 24, 2008

Rethinking Christmas

People keep asking me what we're planning on doing for our girls for Christmas. And everytime I hesitate to tell them what we're doing this year because I think it must sound kind of weird. But, I think that most of what i say sounds wierd to most people, so, why stop now?!?!

This year we're ChristmaCycling --and yes, we started a blog about it:) I've picked up a few things for the girls over the past few months at garage sales, and they'll have a great time opening up what i've gotten them, not to mention what Grandmas and aunts have gotten them--so no need to worry that i'm ruining their Christmas memories forever. And we've got some fun ideas for gifts for our family members. But i will proudly say that i have not bought one single thing new from a "big-box store" and i'm hoping to keep it that way. I'm on a bit of an anti-consumerism kick (you can read more about it on that blog) and i'm loving it!

But, more important than what we're not giving our girls and family members is what we are giving them. I can't say too much here, obviously, but i've never in my life felt as good about doing anything with my Christmas budget as I do this year. And I sincerely mean that. I truly feel that we are making a difference, albeit incredibly small, and that this Christmas is going to mean more than any other Christmas before.

The other morning I heard grace hurry down her ladder (she sleeps in a bunk bed) and come running into my room faster than normal. I couldn't imagine what had her in such a hurry so early (7:45 is apparently early in our house) She came to my side of the bed and yelled "mom, mom, it's snowing!!" I was famous in high school for giving "snow hugs" (Tiffany and Carrie, please tell me you remember this!) I loved that first snow so much that I gave hugs to everyone i knew...and even some that i wanted to know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) So, i think it's pretty cute that Grace shares my affinity for the first snow of the season.

The girls had fun playing in the snow, but I do not exaggerate when I say that the time it took to get them ready was greater than the time they spent outside. They're about as tough as their mom, so as soon as their little fingers were cold they wanted to come in for some hot peppermint tea.

Also, some of you have been asking to see pictures of my kitchen--some before and after shots. Here's the problem...we're not completely done yet, and it's KILLING me! We still need to do the crown molding on the top of the cupbaord, get new end panels, and get our new appliances. So, although we have our new countertops (we went with Tropic Brown) and our backplash done(which we LOVE) i'm not ready to do the full on Before and After post that i fully intend to do someday....Now, that said, because i think the little lady in this picture is adorable in her little bumbo chair (do not attempt this at home, i'm a trained professional in misusing children's equipment), i'm posting this picture, and giving you all a little preview of what we have accomplished so far. Everything in this picture is what i feel like i've spent my last three months working on, from tile to counters to sinks to faucets to Eliza--this is where almost all my non-abby and grace time has been spent. but we're pretty please with how it's turned out so far, esp the Eliza part :)

Click on the picture to get a better view of our window ledge. I was really iffy on doing it this way, but i'm glad that i got strong-armed into it, cause i like the way it turned out

And here are some more pictures of what my kids were doing while i was neglecting them so i could research the best style of sink to get, which style of backsplash we were going to go with, etc:

I swear i did not pose this picture. I guess they've just had lots of time practicing this while watching Elmo's world every morning--most productive 20 minutes of my day!!!

And on the occassion that I do give Eliza a bottle, this is how the poor girl has to drink it--propped up by blankets on her carseat.

And here's one of my two babysitters. Abby loves holding Eliza for about 25 seconds, and then she just drops her...which is exactly what you're seeing happen in this picture :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

3 months old

I don't know where the time has gone, but somehow my sweet baby Eliza is 3 months old!!!! How could this be???? why do i still feel (and look) like i have a brand new baby??? She is such a sweet baby!!

with all 3 girls i've absolutely LOVED this stage--the smiling, laughing, but still not moving stage :) She does SOOO well at night, too--i'm talking 10 hours straight! and she's tolerating little bits of dairy in my diet now--yipee!!! She smiles so much, laughs when I tickle her neck (this is total Allred thing) and I just cannot get enough of her! She still has earned herself the Fussiest Of My Babies award, but most of you know how insanely easy Abby and Grace were, so it's not saying much. She does like being held more than her two sisters did...but i think that I'm mostly to blame for that :) How could i possibly not hold this little thing?!?!?!

Cassi--am i right that you gave these p.j.'s to Grace? well, they're one of the only hand-me-downs that i'm not completely sick of...they're too cute!!!
She still sleeps tons during the day. She was looking like a "light sleeper" there for a while, but she has adapted quite well to the constant noise her sisters make, and is learning how to sleep through it really well. Abby loves nothing more then to go talk to her while she's napping--you can imagine how much I love this--yet Eliza sleeps right through it. I am a big believer in kids' ability to adapt to their surroundings, and she's proving to be capable of doing so! (Maybe in a few more weeks we'll move her out of our closet and see how well her sisters adapt to her sleeping in their room. ) She's in her crib for probably 70% of her sleeping time, the other 30% is in her carseat or here on the couch with me, or in her swing :) I should probably have her going to bed before 10:30 each night, but i LOVE my evenings with her too much to put her down with her sisters. I need my Eliza time!! And she doesn't wake up until 8am, when her sisters come in demanding breakfast. I don't know why all of my children have been such good sleepers...but i'm not complaining!!!

Three months ago i would have guessed that I'd feel a little more "together" by now. "Together" is the last thing i feel. But I don't exactly feel "separate" --if that's the opposite.... Somedays i feel like having three kids is awesome, and that having two would somehow be boring. And then on other days I feel like Grace and Abby are being cheated out of fun mom-time or crafty projects because i don't have enough hands. Somedays I just love watching my two "big girls" play with their baby sister, and play with each other. And then other days i feel like I have three babies who all need my complete attention and each one is more demanding than the other. Someday i'll have it all together and i'll know exactly where all my tupperware pieces are and I'll arrive to church meetings less than 45 minutes late and i'll get the oil changed in my van before the dealer has to call me and remind me that we're four months overdue and I'll finish the Christmas dresses that I started this time last year....but not today. Today i've got to go pretend to be a wicked witch with Grace, help Abby color another masterpiece and get at least a hundred more crinkled-nose smiles from my Eliza.

and maybe we'll survive another three months....maybe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

They DO love us!!

We've had so much family come visit us the past 2 months--it's been awesome!!! Over labor day Reid's mom and sister came and just hung out with us. Eliza was just 10 days old, so we didn't do much, but it was so fun having them here. Karen helped take all those cute pics at the top of my blog, and Marie made sure that Eliza got plenty of Grandma snuggles in :)

Then my sister, Julia (former blogger, current Facebooker), came out for a weekend in October. We had plans of going to a local historic farm's Fall Festival and drinking Postum, but the rain ruined the festival, and Kraft ruined the Postum plans (that's right, fellow Postum lovers--that beverage is no more :( ) We still managed to have a great time. We made some AMAZING pumpkin cookies (of course we used applesauce and whole wheat flour (: ), watched some classic Arrested Development episodes, stayed up too late playing Settlers--needless to say we were sad to see her go...

Aunt JuJu with sleeping Eliza

The following weekend my mom, dad and sister, Melanie all flew out. It was my mom's first time here, and it was so fun having them here. We cooked lots, visited lots, and we tried to go to the Zoo, but gave up after seeing that about a billion other people were there for Free Zoo Days. So we walked around downtown and enjoyed some delicious Indian buffet. The girls LOVED playing "fox" with Grandpa (he chases them, they scream--you know the game) and sitting next to Grandma in her rocker. Melanie was so helpful, changing diapers, getting the girls dressed, and cooking us some delicious food--and i somehow didn't get any pictures w/ her in them!!!! A day hasn't gone by since they left that Abby hasn't asked "where's Bangka? (grandpa in dyslexic) On airplane, now home." It was so good to see them it ALMOST made me think that it MIGHT be SORT OF nice to live near them (gasp) in utah (yikes!!!) there, i said it! :)

Not the greatest photo, but here's Bangka playing "fox" w/ the girls

Grandma w/ Eliza--thanks for all your babysitting, Grandma!!

And then last weekend Tom and Jana came to visit. Jana, who's 6 months pregnant, sat in a car for 8 hours, spent less than 48 hours here, and then got back in that car for 8 more hours--You're a trooper, Jana!!!

Tom and Jana w/ Eliza

We were starting to wonder if our families really loved us. Now we know that as long as we have little babies for them to hold, they'll do what it takes to get out here. We'll just have to have more babies, more often--ha ha ha!!!!!

We really do love having visitors. It's especially nice on Sunday's when Reid's gone from 6am-6pm--Sundays get lonely with an absent Reid. So, if you're thinking of coming out here, work Sunday into your schedule and save my children from a lonely and ornery mom:)

And now i've gotta clean up my disasterous house because Reid's aunt and uncle are in town for a quick visit and will be here in less than an hour!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christening Eliza

Last Sunday we blessed our sweet Eliza Mae. Reid's brother, Tom, decided to come out for the BYU v. CSU game, and his wife, Jana, decided to join him when she found out it was Eliza's big weekend. So, we did end up having family in town for it--a pleasant surprise. Our neighbors, and good friends also joined us that day.

Eliza is just the sweetest baby ever. She smiles all the time--except when the camera comes out! She reminds me of Grace as a baby in so many ways. She's got a similar calm, mellow temperament. She sleeps ALL THE TIME! She's overall just a really content baby as long as her needs are met. And she has somehow not caught the Fever/Rash virus that Abby had a couple weeks agao, and now the terrible cough that Abby has. Maybe i'll have a baby that actually has a bit of resistance to germs! Maybe she really does get my antibodies!!

I finished this dress the morning of her blessing. It wasn't exactly what i had in mind, but that's the risk i take when i refuse to use a pattern. Why do i refuse you might ask? I have no idea. I'm ridiculous--that's the only answer i can come up with.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Goodies for friends

Grace and I had so much fun getting these little Halloween goody bags ready for a few of her friends. We started by decorating the bags with glitter and glue.

And needless to say, the glitter ended up all over my deck.

If you zoom in on this photo, you'll see that, not unlike Edward, my deck glistens in the sunlight

We made these cookies that took WAY longer than i could have anticipated. And i don't know why i thought that Grace would be interested in frosting these, cause she wasn't. All she wanted to do was eat them. But I still had fun decorating them :)
We had fun delivering the goody bags. Abby cried everytime she realized we weren't staying at our friends' houses, but Grace really enjoyed giving her friends presents, and seeing their faces light up.

One of my favorite things about being a mom is doing things like this with my girls. It's so fun to see Grace's understanding of giving gifts grow. She's really into gifting right now. She takes my scotch tape and wraps up just about anything she can find and then gives it to one of us. She keeps saying how excited she is for Christmas to come because she "can't wait to give everybody presents."