Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

This Christmas was completely wonderful from beginning to end. Well, maybe except for Boy Howdy's reluctance to indulge his mama. Christmas Eve for me growing up was the spiritual night, the night to reenact the nativity and sing beautiful Christmas songs. Cheeks was all over playing Mary with her Baby Jesus all wrapped up but Boy Howdy wanted nothing to do with being Joseph, a shepherd or anything else. So instead, we tried our best to reenact it using the little people's nativity my parents gave us a few years ago. Despite his reticence I think we adequately, albeit shortly captured the reverent spirit of Christmas.

Another Booren tradition is opening the presents from the children to each other. At the beginning of the month, I took the kids to Target to pick out presents they wanted to give to us and to each other. Hats is what they chose. Awesome. What wasn't so awesome was having to wait until Christmas to use them.

A few other Boy Howdy issues for the night - not wanted to wear the special Christmas PJs I made for him and his sister and not wanting to stand nicely in front of the tree so I could take a picture.


The next morning, Boy Howdy was all exuberance opening presents and exclaiming that he had gotten just what he had always wanted. After a scrumptious, not at all healthy, Christmas breakfast and a touch of tidying up we moved into Christmas dinner making mode. I hosted my brother Jared and sister Megan's families for the holiday. The dinner was wonderful, made even better by two kind and awesome siblings and their spouses pitching in and not being cranky for the minor missteps along the way. The food was yummers, dessert awesome, and after it was done the kids entertained each other while the adults got the rare privilege of playing a game while children are awake (at least it's a rare privilege for Matthew and me). What a completely lovely day. I have no complaints and was utterly sad when the day was over, not to be relived until next year.

I should note that we don't do Santa at our house. Not that the kids don't know who he is and what he does but we've never brought him up in relation to what they are getting for Christmas. So when we were at Costco having lunch a few days before Christmas and a man sitting next to us kindly asked what Boy Howdy wanted Santa to bring him, I love that Boy Howdy responded, "I already have 4 presents,"(fingers up to gesture just how many 4 was)  as if to say, why do I need Santa?

He got more than 4 presents.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December Shenanigans

Nothing other than Christmas is super blog worthy of it's own so here are a few pictures from the month to show what silly children we have.

First off, the Saturday before Christmas Matthew decided he wanted to institute the Christmas tradition of making and decorating cookies. The children were so excited to do it and Matthew even indulged me by letting me make chocolate sugar cookies. Everyone got their own color in a baggie to frost. I felt pretty proud of myself for thinking of this because I'm sure it would have ended with a lot more mess and way more frustrated parents had this thought not occurred to me. Boy Howdy was so excited at the end to be able to eat some of his leftover icing.

Matthew got a haircut earlier that day before the cookies began and while I was distracted, Cheeks took the opportunity to rifle through my makeup smearing herself with my waterproof mascara. I sure love my 2-year old. Boy Howdy made similar mischief. I will not be disappointed when the ruin mommy's makeup phase ends.
 Boy Howdy thought my Christmas stockings made the perfect boots but refused to stand still so I could get a picture of him before I took them away.

Matthew took off the week before Christmas and we had lots of fun as a family going to OMSI and exploring the Children's Museum.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Christmas Tree Decorating

Each year Christmas decorating has evolved in our home. Two years ago everything was put together in the cover of darkness and sleeping babies. Last year, the tree was a joint effort but decorating was still left to after bedtime. This year, with Boy Howdy wanting a job and to help we opted to let him and little sister join in. Ornaments we actually care about was a mom job but shatterproof red balls and stuffed ornaments I made were all their dominion. The LOVED it and took the job very seriously as you can obviously tell.
The seriousness lasted a while . . . and then the silliness began. Cheeks wanted to drop balls off her head (even got big brother to join in) and hold as many in her arms as possible. I'm not sure we put up much of a fight when it came to playing with balls. I think the only stipulation we put on them was they could only have those that didn't have strings on them. Done.

When it came to putting our stars up (not pictured) again we, for the first time ever, let Boy Howdy help. Cheeks was slightly interested in helping, but Boy Howdy was very serious about his job as the tape boy. If any of us even looked at the tape, he would complain we were doing his job. The problem with Boy Howdy, the helper, is that he is also a boy of routine. So if, at some point, he begins climbing on a chair to give his father tape, then every time afterwards he had to climb on the chair to give his father tape, even if it meant having to then jump off because his father was now on the other side of the room. The chair still needed to be climbed no matter the efficiency. We tried to be as patient as possible, but when each piece of tape takes three or four times as long to deliver than the last, it took a lot of effort to not move on without him. Lessons in patience. That is what children give us. Just breathe.

But Christmas is up in our home and Boy Howdy alternates wondering if it will be Halloween night tonight and wondering why there isn't anything in his stocking yet. Ah Christmas with young children.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Did I mention I was pregnant? About a year and a half ago Matthew and I felt like there was another little one who needed to be part of our family. After struggling for Boy Howdy and not at all for Cheeks we weren't sure what to expect as far as trying to get pregnant again or if we even could. Early that summer I had some ovarian issues making me wonder if a hysterectomy was in our future. Thankfully, by the end of the summer, those concerns had subsided and our chances for conceiving were promising. At least I didn't have to go through major surgery nixing all chances completely. Fast forward to 5 weeks ago when I found out I was pregnant. I was excited, Matthew was excited, the children were excited. When I first told them they both immediately wanted to pull up my shirt and see the baby that was in my tummy. Boy Howdy's next reaction was to ask: Are we going to get rid of Cheeks when we have the new baby? Will the baby play with his toys (this was asked in fear, not hope)? Will the baby sleep in his bed (again, more fear)? When I answered in the negative to all of his concerns (maybe hope about Cheeks) he seemed excited about the baby. I put a baby app on my tablet and Boy Howdy LOVED watching the videos of the developing baby. I think it caused Matthew some amount of concern at his fascination but I thought it was sweet. I think, in Boy Howdy's mind, he was looking at "our baby." He called the 6-week fetus (the one that looks more like a tadpole than a baby) the crazy baby.

A couple weeks ago I stopped feeling nauseous (although that had never been super strong) or tired and I stopped getting fatter. I was getting a little concerned. So when I had the opportunity to schedule a dating ultrasound I was quick to get it done as soon as possible (this past Tuesday). The baby was found, but way little and without a heartbeat. Even though my doctor wasn't positive, I was pretty sure my baby was gone when I stopped experiencing symptoms.

Last night (Saturday) I'm pretty sure I passed our sweet bundle of hope and joy. So why am I documenting this for posterity and all the world?
  • Even if I get pregnant again quickly, this baby, Baby Hope, no matter how small it may have been, still needs to be acknowledged and made real. Baby Hope needs to be rejoiced and mourned, even if at the same time. This wee Baby Hope had a beautiful place in our family even if for a short time.
  • I need to publicly thank my dear friends and family who have flooded me with such love and support and prayers that I would feel completely remiss if I did not mention their acts of service. Strength from my dear husband, help with my children, loving texts and phone calls, offers of meals (even if not accepted), cookies, gorgeous flowers, putting our name on the temple prayer list, and PRAYERS. Oh how thankful I am for my dear sweetnesses who have shown such Christlike love for me and my family.
  • I need to publicly thank a very merciful Father in Heaven. Even in the midst of such sadness, I have felt overwhelming peace and comfort that is not natural to me. I have been carried this week by Him for which I am eternally grateful. Yesterday especially, I was given the gift of a day out to see Riverdance and lunch with my sisters. I knew I was most likely losing the baby, but it wasn't until I got home that the baby came and left. On the drive home, I knew it was happening and yet I felt such peace that everything would be okay that sadness didn't seem appropriate just then. Don't get me wrong, this is sad and I have cried over the loss of Baby Hope. But last night, peace and love from my Heavenly Father overcame it all. What a special gift.
So Baby Hope. I love you. I am thankful for your joyful presence in my family. You have made me a better person and for that I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who brought you to us for a little while.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Maturing Artwork

I am swooning. Ok, I realize there are 6 fingers on "Daddy the Stone", that there is hair coming out of his hat and there is so much else wrong with his figure, but how fun is it to see your child growing out of scribbles and into figures in just the last few days. I could have watched Boy Howdy draw for hours. His picture of a Dinosaur drawn the other day may stay on the refrigerator for the next few years.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Family Date

Once a month, for a few days, Matthew goes out of town. The kids have really fallen in love with their dad and so every day while he was gone they asked if he was coming home today. Boy Howdy fell IN LOVE with talking on the phone with his dad. Not that he had anything to say to him, he just wanted to hold the phone next to his ear and revel in the time with his dad, albeit from far away. So when he came home on Friday, I thought it would be fun to go out together as a family instead of hoarding Matthew all to myself with a babysitter for the children. We opted for bowling.

Boy Howdy has bowled, but this was Cheeks' first time. Thankfully, at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon, we had the bowling alley to ourselves, so the children were free to show their passion and enthusiasm without us reigning them in fearing we were bothering those around us. And oh how they showed their enthusiasm.

This picture of them sitting was a rare thing as both of them bounced around for much of the hour always eager for it to be their turn, so excited to see their ball come back in the ball return, and just happy to have their dad back. It may be one of the cutest and fun things I have done with my children. It may be our new Matthew comes home, let's celebrate, traditions. I love my babies.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Quiet Time

My children, sadly, have more or less aged out of naps. Sigh. But I have recently started doing reverse quiet time, wherein, I put myself in my room and tell the Boy and Girl Howdys that they are not to come get me until the big hand of the clock is at a certain point. I have been gratefully surprised at how well this has worked in my favor thus far. Tender mercies. We don't always do it, but Sundays after church and lunch are a must (I guess until we move to 11:00 church in a few months). We've only done it two Sundays but both attempts have met with rousing success. Today when I came out of my room feeling ready to be a mom again, I found Cheeks asleep cuddled next to her dad (along with monkey and baby, also tucked in). It took me a little longer to find the Boy Howdy. I had to search both floors a couple of times before I finally found him in the hall closet cuddled up on a big pillow with some books. Oh how I love having a completely quiet house for some portion of the afternoon.

P.S. The children weren't initially super keen on quiet time but the promise of chocolate pudding afterwards proved enough of a motivator to not bother me or their father. Sweet bliss.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

My poor children, to have such a lazy mom who doesn't LOVE Halloween. Poor Cheeks was a chef for Halloween since it was a gift her grandmother gave her for her birthday and I was too lazy to come up with anything else (honestly, didn't register to come up with costumes until a week before and then I took the path of least resistance.  Boy Howdy was a fireman, a legit costume recycled from last year when he REFUSED to wear it. It was too big for him anyway last year so it made the perfect costume this year. Poor boy didn't even get asked what he wanted to be. The costume was chosen for him, again, because he has a lazy mom.

Thanks to a Curious George Halloween special the children have been watching on repeat for a couple of weeks, Boy Howdy was eager for the big day. For weeks he wanted Halloween to be today, and all day today he has been asking if it is still Halloween, scared he is going to somehow miss it. 

We had planned on going to our ward's Trunk or Treat at the church a few blocks away. But then it started raining, pouring really. And we decided since the children still don't know what they are missing, instead of traipsing out into the cold wet night we would stay home, get costumes on and "Trick or Treat" here. It was AWESOME! While the kids were finishing their dinner and getting dressed up I sent Matthew upstairs with a lot of candy to "hide" for the babes to find. They were soooooo excited! It was like an Easter egg hunt except without the complication of eggs and a whole lot more candy. The joy on their faces as they found treat after treat made me feel like I wasn't such a bad mom after all. 

Do you see the look on that boy's face? How can you not love that look? What added to their joy was being allowed to eat 5 or 6 pieces of candy at once. They had almost died and gone to child heaven.

While they were enjoying their spoils, we had a very small handful of trick or treaters come to our door. Boy Howdy ran to the door each time so very excited to pack their little bags with candy. Even parents got candy. I love small children and their enthusiasm and love.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Courtside Reunion 2015 - Boston

These women fill my cup. Uplifting, it is the theme when we get together. These women love the Lord, love being moms and love their husbands. Their conversation is always on the up and up and always filled with love, laughter and joy (even when talking about hard things). I am still amazed that I get to associate with them. When figuring out who would be roommates in college, I still don't quite remember how I got involved with them, but I am eternally grateful I did. They are my sweetnesses.

This first picture was taken in a pew box in the historical north church in Boston. We all dreamed of what it would be like to go to church in a box where you could keep your children contained more easily.

Isn't the foliage gorgeous. The weather was definitely colder than we had hoped but the scenery made up for it in spades.

Harvard campus has started putting out fun chairs on the quad. We couldn't help but want to get our picture taken in them.

And then, of course, us in front of the temple. We didn't get a chance to attend this time, but there is something about being on temple grounds that is always so special. For me, especially, this was wonderful as I felt like I grew up in that temple while I was living in Boston as a very young single adult.

Love Love Boston and I Love Love Love my darling college girls. Thanks go to Matthew for taking days off work so I could go and thanks go to my children who were sweethearts to their father.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Crayon Crafting

I am a good mom. I promise, but sometimes I feel like having children in my 30s has made me a lazy mom. So it's times like these that I feel pretty good about my children's childhood. I found a post explaining how to melt broken crayons into new ones. So, Boy Howdy and I spent a bit of time peeling off old crayon wrappers and organizing them for cooking. I was so impressed at the result. 10 minutes to cook and about 5 to cool and they were ready for coloring. Boy Howdy oohed and ahhed and Cheeks just wanted to hold them all. Thanks to great recycling ideas that help me to feel like I am winning at motherhood.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hawaii Grandma and Grandpa Visit - Saturday

Father Marler joined the merry group on Saturday morning (along with Matthew's brother Aaron). He came bearing gifts, not to be outdone in the affections of his grandchildren by his wife. Boy Howdy was enthralled with the airport set, and insisted that Hawaii Grandpa play with him.

The plans for Saturday was to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum. For sure Father Marler, Aaron and Matthew would love it. Boy Howdy, I thought, would love it as well. He mostly did, but a 3-year old's interest in reading about all the history behind each plane was extremely minimal. So while the others wandered around soaking it all in, we found airplane seats and a kid's zone that proved more entertaining. Included in the kid's zone is a basketball hoop with a ball not to be thrown but blown. The kids could have spent hours here. And it was pretty fun trying to capture their sweet little expressions.


We loved having them to visit this week. I could not have asked for more from my darling Mother Marler. Thanks for coming! Please come back soon!!!