Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas 2010

There's nothing anyone could have said, although many tried, that could have prepared me for the heart-ache that would arrive with the Christmas season.  And it turns out that there was no project big enough and no to-do list long enough to stop my mind from constantly being turned to my mom. 

She loved Christmas.  And I loved the way she did Christmas.  Everything she did defines my version of the way Christmas should be done.   From homemade toffee and salami to homemade gifts and decorations--everything she did was just as it should be.

She would call me at least 3 times a day to discuss gifts for everyone, or just to tell me what she'd bought for the girls because she couldn't stand keeping it a secret.  Nothing made me happier than watching the extremely practical, frugal, budget-bound mother I knew growing up slowly turn into the buy-random-lavish-overpriced-unneccesities-just-because-I-can mom.

She would have loved to see all the work that my siblings and I did to raise money for our sister.  My mom worried about Cynthia constantly, and would call me all the time with ideas or questions about how we could help her.  She would have been "tickled pink" (her words) at the sight of all of her children pooling their resources for their big sister. 

She would have LOVED the fact that Reid, upon my request, clipped boughs from our blue spruce out front, threw them in the tree pot she gave us and made our own Christmas tree!  We weren't going to be here for almost half of the month, so it seemed like middle-ground between no tree and big tree :)

She would have loved to hear about the girls visiting Santa, and how Grace just spoke right up and talked to him--no tears, no fears.  And how he couldn't understand a thing Abby said, but responded with a perfect "Oh, that'll be nice."

I feel like I cried my (pre-pregnancy) weight in tears this holiday season.  I missed my mom more than I had since she passed away.  It had never felt so permanent.  So unchangeable.  I needed to call her SO MANY TIMES.  Between questions about Christmas, sewing/crocheting projects and fund-raising stuff--i just NEEDED my mom!!! And it hurt so much to think that she's gone, and that she'll be gone for all the Christmases to come.  The faith i have that I'll see her again someday, and that we'll be together forever did nothing to ease the pain of her being gone during the holidays--which was sad and made me feel like I was missing the whole point of the season. 

I thought it would help if I buried myself in projects, especially the kind she used to do.  So, on top of the fund-raising, I made a quilt for my dad and siblings--one that should have started in October or November--but didn't because of morning sickness.  I had these two pairs of her pajamas that were the inspiration for the quilt:

Both pairs, as you can see, were very pink, and i didn't want it to look like a baby quilt.  So with MUCH help from a dear friend of mine, Gina, i found just the right combination of colors and spent every free second in December working on this:

Even with all the quilting no-no's and short cuts i took, it still took so much longer than i'd anticipated!  But it was probably the only thing I did that made my mom feel closer.  Most things just reminded me how far away she is, but when I worked on this--it didn't feel like that.  So, although i complained non-stop about how this was stressing me out and taking over my life...the truth is, i really, really, really loved working on it. 

My favorite part is this little p.j. pocket :)

I didn't realize how much I needed to be with my family until we got to Provo a week before Christmas--5 of my 7 siblings were there-- and I felt like my grief was lifted.  There were people around me who were feeling as sad as I was--who also missed Mom. And I was home, in my mom's home.  I was able to "deck" my parent's halls (my dad had 'saved' all the Christmas decorating for us :) ) which was SOOO healthy and healing and good for my aching heart.  It was just so good to be back where all of my memories of her and Christmas take place. 

We went to the cemetery.  That was a beautiful and sad moment.  I hadn't seen my mom's grave marker yet.  It was a lot like when I first saw her obituary--it made it feel even more real.  Why does it need to keep feeling more real???

We sang some carols, including one of her favorites--The Holly and the Ivy.  We cried.  We hugged.  We grieved.  

We also had so many joyous moments.  For the first time all season, I was truly able to enjoy Christmas and all the wonderfulness that comes with it!

We had a birthday party for Kristie/Baby Shower for Jared and Kristie's little girl--Alia Kathryn Ashworth--who'll be born in a couple weeks.  And we even convinced the men in the family to play a baby shower game!  Granted it was Baby Shower Taboo rather than Name The Melted Candy Bar In The Diaper...

We play Celebrity Bowl Game (as always) and stayed up past 1am (as always)
(no photos...thank heavens)

We did a little Nativity with hymns and scriptures.

We ran barefoot in the snow (by "we" i do not mean "me"--i was the designated photographer :) )

We had a great time just being together.  It wasn't "my year" to have Christmas at my house, so this little jaunt to Provo for some pre-Christmas celebrating wasn't actually in the plans.  But plans changed.  And I'm so glad they did.  I don't know if I could have really enjoyed our next few days up in Wyoming at Reid's house if I hadn't had those three days in Provo.  It was just what I needed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Catching up

I spent most of October and November wanting to puke, laying on the couch, and sleeping. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, since i really was able to hold down food, get out and take Grace to kindergarten every day, and maintain most functions as a mom. But when i wasn't absolutely needed throughout the day, I usually crashed.

I got feeling lots better right around the beginning of December, which is when life got insanely busy (as i'm sure it did for all of you) so I never got around to updating this sad, neglected blog.  But that's what January is for!  Here's what we were up to....


We took the girls to the Littleton Historic Museum, which has a 1860's farm behind it. I foolishly thought we could combine this outing with a quick family photo. Bad idea.  I wish i could say that the biggest problem with family photos in general, and this day, was my kids. It wasn't. It was their father. Reid is the WORST when it comes to family photos! He is grumpy. He is ornery. From the moment I say, "let's take a photo" he is saying, "babe, the girls don't want to do this" in a whiny i-wanna-kill-him kinda voice. It is, to this date, the biggest ongoing battle we have. We can sometimes joke about it. But usually i just want to strangle him. His attitude OBVIOUSLY rubs off on the girls, so they're miserable. I'm trying to bribe them, keep them happy, and keep the steam from coming out of my ears, since i don't really know how to photoshop steam out. And we all look like we're faking being a happy family.

What i learned this day is that attempting such a feat in the middle of what SHOULD have been a fun family day was a BAD idea. It made for 5 grumpy people, all wanting to leave, but not being allowed to until we'd found the perfect pumpkins, played with pioneer toys and had some fun, damnit!

Anyway, here are the best we came up with.  Between the wind and Reid's "Girls, do you want to be done with photos?" i feel pretty lucky you can see most of our faces.

This photo really captured the entire outing--Abby was mostly pleasant, Eliza mostly cried and Grace mostly grumped.  If you'd captured my attitude in a photo, i'd probably have been giving Reid the bird.  HAPPY FALL FESTIVAL! :)  


Grace dressed up as Jesse from Toy Story. I somehow managed to make her some chaps, turn a white shirt into a Jesse shirt, and figured out a hat/hair ensemble--which all turned out really cute. (her red-yarn braid isn't showing in this picture, but it was cute!)

Abby dressed up as Little Bo Peep from Toy Story.  Somewhere, at some garage sale, i guess, i got this Little Bo Peep dress.  I never knew how thankful i'd be for it years later, when it saved me from having to make one!

Eliza dressed up as Mrs. Potato Head from Toy Story. Never in my life have i created something so homemade looking. I mean, it had potential, i guess, but WOW did it turn out homely. And you should see it in person. It was a mix of atrocious and adorable.  But c'mon! I was feeling really sick. And she's two. And it went really well with her permanently crazy hair (which deserves its own post).  And for whatever reason, everywhere we went--her costume got the most comments :). 

Some friends put together a little party for all our kids a week or two before Halloween. Eliza got to be Tinkerbell for this gathering....which i probably shoulda just stuck with...


Tom and Jana came out in early November for a brief but wonderful visit. Our girls were thrilled to have "baby Gabe" around (he's no longer a baby...but we can't quite drop the "baby" part....)
Jana and I crocheted up a storm--she is amazing and was so helpful in getting me jump-started for my sister's fundraiser. It was so nice to have them here!!

Reid's mom, dad and little sister drove through some nasty weather to join us for Thanksgiving. We loved having them here!
Reid ran a 5K Thanksgiving morning, and came home exhausted and with a sore knee. But that did not prevent him from tackling the turkey. He seriously prepared one of the best turkeys i've ever had.

The girls had fun making the rolls with Grandma.

The dinner was delicious.  The kids gobbled down 20 fingers worth of olives before the meal even began.   Everything was delicious.  And I was so sad not to have the stomach to eat even my first serving....but i made up for it in leftovers :)

After dinner we read some little papers we'd been collecting in a mug--things we were thankful for. We had Grace read the last one, which said "I'm thankful that my mom has a baby in her belly." She looked up and me and gasped, "What?!?!? Why does it say that?" She was completely shocked and so happy, she just kept hugging my belly saying, "my baby, my baby." Abby was happy, too. And Eliza didn't really get it. Reid's parents weren't really paying attention when she read it, so we had to re-read it. The whole "announcement" didn't go down like i had envisioned it. But it was a priceless moment, nonetheless.

Now onto December.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's a....

Just take a guess.  A stab in the dark, if you will.

Due: June 10, 2011

The girls (and their parents!) are all so excited to have a little boy in our home.  From the moment we told them why mommy was on the couch all the time we were having a baby, they've been pretty certain that it was a little boy.  Considering how much sicker i've been this time around, how much weight i've gained (!!!) and how i couldn't get enough protein (yes, meat!) for the first 3 months--i was thinking it was a little guy, too.  But really, going into this ultrasound this morning, I realized that truly i just wanted to see a healthy baby in there.  And we very thankfully did.