Monday, September 26, 2011

Idaho/Yellowstone--Summer Vacation 2011

You wanna know why I am so behind on blogging?  it's because i spend every free minute i have laughing with and smiling at my baby!!!  I am so madly in love with him, and can never get enough of him!!  So in the evenings, when the girls are down and i have time to blog--i don't.  I just play with my little night owl, and  i get him to laugh and squeal, and i absolutely LOVE it!  But, until i'm caught up at LEAST on our summer vacation and the first days of school, i'm not allowing myself to post more recent pictures of James...and believe me, that's ALL i wanna blog about!!!  I'm a little obsessed with him....

Just 4 weeks after James was born we left for 19 days to spend time with both of our families.  And though our families are in UT and WY, we spent the majority of our time at reunions in Idaho.  My dad and 6 of us 7 siblings (as always, we missed Cynthia!), spouses and kids included, spent 5 days in Island Park, Idaho.  Years ago my uncle Rick built my grandma a cabin there, so we used to go there lots growing up.  Soon after my mom passed away last year, we all decided that our next reunion--and the first without her--would take place there, where there are so many memories of her. 

It was wonderful. We spent time at the river, both wading and rafting.

We spent 3 days in beautiful Yellowstone

Love the colors in this pic!

And we spent a lot of time taking care of the injured.  My brother, Nathan, rented 5 mountain bikes for fun excursions.  But on the first night there, Julia ate it--big time.  This is a picture of her leg on day 2 or 3.  It was awful!!  People would stare at it as they'd pass by her.  They must've thought she was a leper.

The cabin we rented was awesome.  We spent lots of time in the kitchen--cooking fancy meals that both a zero-carb guy and a zero-meat gal could eat.  Believe it or not, we did it!  We ate like kings at that little cabin!  We also played games, though not nearly enough.  We roasted marshmallows.  We stayed up late.  We thoroughly enjoyed each others company.

We went to visit Grandma's cabin.  The current owners were there and kindly let us in!  It was so fun to see it again, and so crazy how SMALL that place felt.  I was 8 or 9 last time I was there, so I remembered it being lots bigger.  The owners loved hearing about the cabin's history and we loved seeing what they've done to it.  Sadly, not a one of us got a picture of it!!! (sorry, Robbin's cousins!) That was a highlight of the trip for me.  My mom would have LOVED to see that cabin!

This trip was also our first time meeting Jared and Kristie's little girl, Alia.  She is the happiest, cutest, fattest little baby in the world!  No one could get enough of her and her thighs!! (which aren't even pictured here--just trust me, they're amazing!)

She and James had much to talk about, mostly about who would be fatter by Christmastime (pretty sure James is gonna win)  This is the first time in my family that there have been TWO cousins born within less than 3 years of each other!  They love each other already :)
If Anthony had been there, we would have had ALL of my parents' grandkids there.  Just he and Cynthia and Tom were missing.  And my mom, of course.  All were missed.

After 5 days in Island Park/Yellowstone I forced encouraged begged my dad and siblings to take a detour home via Stay Valley, WY (Reid's parents' home) for James's baby blessing/christening.  On the way there, we stopped for lunch in Jackson, WY, where we said our goodbyes to Kevin, who had a flight to catch.

And then we drove up to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton Nat'l Park.  That lake is just as beautiful as everyone told me it would be!  We rode the ferry across the lake, and then hiked to the Hidden Falls. 

 We crashed that night at Reid's parents' house.  They were so good to my family.  Mike made us an AMAZING chicken dinner and Marie got ALL of the bedrooms ready for the whole crew.  I felt so grateful that Reid's parents were willing to let us all stay there, and that my family was willing to add 2 to 6 hours to their drives home, just to be there for the blessing of this little guy.

This little blessing outfit is 50+ years old. Mike wore it as a baby, then Reid (and Tom) and now James.  And the blanket and sweater were Reid's, too--knit by his mom and grandma.  So sweet to have such precious heirlooms passed down!

I love these two guys so much!!!
It was so awesome to have both Grandpa's be part of the event.  James's blessing was beautiful.  Reid was calm and collected, as usual.  Though he did say something to the effect of "you are a special daughter, i mean, son of God"--it was pretty awesome.  I guess that's what blessing THREE girls in a row will do, huh :)

Later that night, Nathan busted out his AMAZING firework show that most of the crew got to enjoy--gotta love Wyoming's firework laws :)  And the next morning, after enjoying a breakfast of amazing fresh strawberries from Mike and Marie's garden, we all went our separate ways.  Reid and I drove back to Provo.  The first leg of our trip was a stop in Provo to introduce some of my life-long BFF's to Mr. James.  As always, it was awesome spending some time with them!  We'd left a bunch of stuff there, planning to return to UT to spend some time with Tom and Jana during the awkward two-day window we had between reunions. They wouldn't be coming to the Allred reunion because Jana was 38 weeks pregnant.  But Jana's baby decided to come TWO weeks early!  So, we got to meet sweet Winnie, which was a treat we hadn't anticipated!!

After two short days in Utah, which included getting together with some of my besties from our Boston days (so good to see you guys!) we drove up to Albion, Idaho for an extended Allred family reunion.  Reid's grandparents on both sides lived in this rural farmland part of Idaho, so he and his siblings and cousins went there every summer growing up.  Now many of them have kids of their own, and they were all so giddy about being back on their old stomping grounds.

We fished and barbecued at Lake Cleveland, picnicked and climbed at City of Rocks, played games and grilled at the Bed & Breakfast, and just enjoyed catching up/getting to know people.

love this picture that my SIL, Alisa, took!

Grace and Ella--attached at the hip, as usual

Minus the puckered lips, this is what i looked like most of the time.  i learned that this is not called "carrying" your baby, but rather "wearing" your baby.  whatever you call it, James and i loved it!

Here are most of the 2nd cousins

Abby, front and center
Grace, front and center.  I'm sensing a trend...

After 3 fun-filled days in Southern Idaho, we headed back to Star Valley for a week with Reid's immediate family. On the way home we stopped by the farm that Marie grew up on. The farmer-wanna-be in me spent most of the time there dreaming of a day when I'd have 5 acres of land to grow my orchards, my crops, raise some chickens, maybe even some cows.  And then we entered the barn.  And the stench was enough to literally reach into my conscience and kill all my farm dreams dead.  Thank you, manure.  You just saved us a lot of money.

The kids loved watching the pigs, and we loved hearing Marie tell stories of growing up on a farm.  And had the manure not already killed my fantasies, her stories would have.  Turns out having a farm is a lot of work.  And i don't do work. 

The week we spent in Wyoming was, as always, absolutely wonderful!! Grandma and Grandpa spoiled us all rotten.  The weather is always amazing in the summer.  They have an amazing back yard.  It's the PERFECT grandparent house!!  We got to swim, play by the canal, feed the horses, eat from their amazing garden, and even give Grandpa a haircut!

We also spent a day at the Lincoln County Fair.  And though there are (thankfully!!) no pictures to prove it, Reid and I embarrassed ourselves and our families by singing in the Karaoke contest.  We sang a duet.  From Disney's High School Musical.  It was well out of our ranges, and didn't help that right before us two 10 year old tweens sang a different song from the same show.  How embarassing!!!  But Karen begged us to do it, and it was one of those things that I figured would be embarassing in the moment, but not at all later.  i was wrong.  I'm actually more embarrassed for myself now than ever.  It was that bad.

Spending that extra week in Wyoming meant missing our first week of school here.  Who starts school on August 1st, anyway?  :)  We didn't tell Grace that she'd miss the first week of school until we absolutely had to.  We didn't want it to ruin her vacation, and we knew that we weren't going to change our minds about it, so, like all good parents, we lied to her.  How did she take it when she realized that her first day was not everyone else's first day of school?  you'll just have to wait probably a month or two since that's about how often I blog now until my next post!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

My (not so) little guy

Do you know what happens when you don't blog for 2+ months?

This tiny little thing

transforms into this adorable, loveable, kissable, squeezable chunk of a hunk!

James, following in the footsteps of his oldest two sisters, has chubbed up quite nicely.  He's nothing but rolls and chubs and I can't get enough of him!!!  He and Abby and Grace are tied for 1st place as my easiest babies (should i erase that someday before Eliza can read?).  There's something to be said about FAT and HAPPY babies (and Eliza was neither)!

He almost never fusses, he sleeps TONS--like three 2-3 hour naps and 10 hours at night--and he LOVES to sleep in his crib.  He falls asleep best if he's by himself in his crib.  This means not as much snuggly, cuddly, sweet baby rockin' time for this mama, but he makes up for it when he wakes up and nestles his face into my neck. 

He's content to kick it on the floor for 30+ minutes at a time. He eats 6-7 times a day, about 6 minutes each feeding.  He nurses almost exclusively, but takes a bottle if i'm not around (which has happened about, oh....once).  He wakes up at 5am to eat and goes right back to sleep until 8 or so.  I'm telling you--he's a dreeeeeam!!! 

As a newborn he had SERIOUS issues with his carseat.  I mean, one minute he'd be sound asleep and the next he'd be screaming bloody murder--clearly in intense pain.  My friend described it best when she said "it's like his car seat comes alive and starts stabbing him repeatedly."  Exaggeration?  Not even slightly.  It was intense!!  Thankfully he's outgrown whatever it was that was hurting him so badly and does just fine in the car seat now.

He smiles a ton--except for when the camera is in his face.  He coos, too.  Literally says "coo" over and over.  Who knew babies did this?  not me.  And he loves to be swaddled.  Thank heavens my friend, Laura, gave me 4 of the best swaddling blankets ever

The girls LOVE him.  They legitimately help out with him, too--by playing with him, holding him, giving him his binki, taking his right index finger out of his mouth, checking on him when he's napping (which i'm just as inexplicably neurotic about with this baby as i was the other three), washing his hair in the bath, rocking him to sleep in his car seat--i mean legitimately helpful!  It's awesome!

At his 2-month appointment he weighed 14lbs 5oz and was 24 inches long.  95th percentile for weight, 85th for height, and 75th for head (really?  i have a hard time believing that one).  He was miserable after his shots.  I've never had a baby react so poorly to vaccinations. It was heart-breaking, but by the next morning he was over it. 

And, in case you still don't believe that the first picture and the second picture are the same baby, here are about 38 photos of the "in between" to show you the newborn-to-chubbers-transformation.  Do you think 38 will cut it?  not entirely sure...

About 2 weeks old:
 sporting the one and only thing i've made for him

 wearing the p.j.'s my mom kept all these year. My little brother, Jared, wore these 30 years ago

 chillin' with dad

 more chillin' with dad

 love that little face!!

 This is how Abby "holds" James when the TV's on...
3 weeks old:

 My engine and caboose!

I took this picture with a blog post title in mind...something clever like "Just a few of my latest creations"  Get it?  the ottoman, the dresser, the baby...I'm so funny!

LOVE this pic of Abby and James!

James at the Cherry Creek beach in his "wave rider" outfit that you can't even see in this me, he was adorably appropriately dressed

4 weeks old:

This was back when he could sleep for hours in the middle of our loud and crazy front room.

still can't believe i have FOUR kids.  it's insane, it really is.
Love him in this plaid dress shirt...even if he does look a little drunk in this photo

James meets Aunt Julia

the cheeks! the cheeks!!
6 weeks old:

with Grandpa Ashworth

i really hesitated posting this picture.  I get sleepy just looking at myself here.  But it's one of about 2 pictures i have with James. plus i'm booty-tired about 90% of the time, so why pretend, right?
Can't get enough of either of these two
one of his first smiles...i think
7 Weeks old:

3-6 month hat that no longer fits

Grace "set up" James's bed this day--blanket, pillow pet, stuffed animals--she was very proud of her work

Eliza's the least interested in James, but even so she does love to hold him. 

This is one of 4 amazing onesies my sister-in-law made for James.  Under the owl it says "woot woot." I love these little "muscle shirts!"
2 Months Old

woops.  dunno how this one got in here

his belly cannot be contained by these 3-6 month jammies

no, i don't wear these glasses regularly now.  my girls found these and wanted me to wear them all day.  the world is a bit clearer with them on...
gives a whole new meaning to "double chin"

2 1/2 months old:
How can you NOT love that face!?
The whole crew