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.