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Monday, February 28, 2011

Football or Leap Frog?

Just some random photos I snapped of my boys. I just thought it was so cute how, in the brief moment I took the photo, they ended up being perfectly positioned for a game of football, or more preferably for this mama - leap frog. (Football doesn't scare me, but injuries while playing football does just a bit. If either of them choose that as a sport to pursue, I'll just need to learn to get over it, I guess.)

Doesn't it look like Ben's about to snap the (invisible) ball to Hugh? Hut, hut, hut. Hike!

Sometimes I just look at these two little bundles of joy and feel so completely overwhelmed that I've been blessed so much. I'll never know how I got so lucky.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A birthday, a baptism and double the brownies

Highlights of this week (minus the photos because of some technical difficulties we're having):

Monday - My sister's birthday. Since she lives nearly a thousand miles away, we decided to celebrate by making ourselves a pan of Nutella Brownies. THE brownie of all brownies. I don't know if I'll ever eat regular brownies ever again. Happy Birthday, Dawnie!

Tuesday - Snuggled up all day and stayed away from the rainy weather outside. Hugh was hating life because of a terrible rash that just kept getting worse, no matter what I tried. Late that night I watched part of Mansfield Park with my man. I just love Jane Austen.

Wednesday - After putting the boys to bed, Marc had some meetings and I had the house to myself. All day I dreamt up different ways I could spend that precious alone time. I ended up cleaning, like the kind where you get groovin' and movin' and can't stop. Not even close to what I had in mind, but it felt good to have everything so clean. My whole perspective of housework has totally transformed after a discussion I was part of last Sunday... a post of its own for another day, I suppose.

Thursday - This should be a post of its own, too... Hugh had his 9 month appointment. He's now 30 inches (he's grown nine inches in nine months!) and weighs 20 pounds 10 ounces (that's 12 pounds in nine months). He's in the 90th percentile for height, 25th percentile for weight, and 95th percentile for his head size (47 inches). Made the most delicious enchiladas, with extra for leftovers on Friday.

Friday - It snowed! Yes, real, falling snow in our little valley. To celebrate, we took a family photo toward the end of one of the flurries. My friend, Kelly, came to visit with her youngest two, which the boys totally loved - and, I did, too! Also, I made Nutella Brownies. Again. (This time for a baptism... but, I still put some aside for us for later. Oh, I'm so bad!)

Saturday - Hugh decided not to go down for his morning nap. Watched BYU work their magic against San Diego. Hugh decided he didn't want to sleep in the afternoon either. Well, he actually woke up because of some noisy neighbors and I was unable to coax him back into dreamland. Got some super happy news from a friend, while chatting over a cup of hot cocoa together. Also, it was a big day for our dear Tracey, sending her lots of love and happy thoughts. fFinished watching Mansfield Park. It was just alright. I'm not sure if anything could beat Pride and Prejudice.

Sunday - Ben fell asleep in my arms during the second hymn at church - I Stand All Amazed. Just before that sweet moment, he was on the verge of becoming a little mini-hulk, it seemed. Once his body was completely limp, I laid him down on the comfy pew, using my sweater as a pillow/ear muffs (to keep the noise to a minimum), and thought back to my own childhood memories of waking up in similar situations in that same chapel on practically the same pew. Took a bunch of photos of the boys playing in their white Sunday shirts and khakis, with the afternoon sun shining on us (wishing I could access the photos on my camera to share with you... soon, soon, I promise!).

Another fantastic week come and gone. Another week is here to enjoy! The big question - how many times will I make Nutella brownies this week?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home Videos

Here are some fun videos of the boys! The first one is Benjamin chasing Audrey around grandpa, giggling and screaming (respectively). The second is of Hugh laughing at grandma's growl (usually is you growl at him, he'll growl back, but in this clip he was mostly just laughing, which was still super cute). And, the third one is of Benjamin falling asleep right in the middle of lunch for the first time (which is a big deal because that boy usually fights sleep like nobody's business).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Backtracking - Benjamin's birthday

Back in Decemeber when I posted about Benjamin's first birthday, I meant to come back later and add photos, but then the battery died and I couldn't retrieve the photos. So, even though it's almost two months later, here are the photos.

I made a snake cake. I got the idea from my friend Becky, who makes the most amazing cakes. After looking through photos of some of her cakes, I chose this one that seemed simple enough for a non-cake maker, like myself, and one that wouldn't be too hard to not mess up. Still, my snake didn't turn out nearly as awesome as hers. BUT, I was pretty happy at my attempt to something more than a 9x13.

If you recall, Benjamin wasn't into eating the cake. Instead, he grabbed fist-fulls and squished the cake through his fingers. But, he was loving the ice cream - definitely a Mama's boy!

One of his favorite toys of the day - the air ball popper. His birth mother, Tracey, and his birth grandmother gave it to him. Ben and Hugh both get excited when we turn it on and play with it. They love it!

I loved capturing these moments between Benjamin and Tracey. Even though he's only a year old, I get the feeling that deep within him there is an understanding of who Tracey is and how he came to us. I'm so grateful for our open adoption, for the relationship we have with Tracey. I know there must be some bitter-sweet feelings that come with participating in big events like this with us. She continues to amaze me with her ability to continue to put her love for Benjamin ahead of her own conflicting emotions. Benjamin will never doubt how much he is loved by his birth family.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our week of fun

The week with my sister in town went way too fast, just like I expected. Since we had to schedule our days around naps for our four little ones, we had to make the most of little sections of time in between.

Our days started off with Mandi and her two coming over (from my parents') for breakfast together with my two. After enjoying pancakes (on most mornings), there was always some time for playing on the floor for the four cousins before it was time for morning naps for my two. Mandi and her kids would head back to my parents, only to return after a couple of hours once my two were awake.

We'd have lunch, followed by a trip to the park or to the lake or a walk around the neighborhood. Then, we'd separate again for afternoon naps for all four kids, meeting up for another hour or so after the afternoon naps, before starting the nighttime routine of baths and books and prayers and good-night snuggles. As soon as I'd get my two down and settled for the night (a bit earlier than her kids' schedule), I'd then spend a couple of hours over at my parents' with Mandi and her kids. There was a lot of running back and forth, but it was worth it to maximize our time together.

Not only was it wonderful to spend time with my sister, I loved watching our kids connecting. We've always assumed that Lucas and Ben and Hugh would become fast friends, since the three of them are so close in age. The biggest surprise was how much Ben adored Audrey. I had assumed that the 2-year age gap (plus the fact that she's a girl) would somehow get in the way. Audrey would try to get Ben's attention and then run from him, which made him run after her giggling all the way, which then made her scream, which made Ben laugh even harder. It was super cute the way they all interacted with each other. (I did get some really great videos that I'll try to upload this week.)

It's been way too quiet around here. I wish there wasn't so much distance between us, but I'm so grateful for visits that happen much more frequently than could be expected. Luckily Mandi is much braver to make the long trip with two kids than I am... yet. One of these days I'll figure out how to do the same with the same level of competence and patience as her. Maybe.

Here's just a glimpse of our week together:

* The three boys - Hugh, Ben, Luke

* I think Hugh enjoys the swings more than it appears. Can't be sure, though.

* And, I don't know if one can enjoy swinging more than Luke.

* Ben and Audrey, flying high

* Feeding the ducks at the Lake, a big hit!

Our week together was fantastic! Perfect weather, fun activities, good company, and memories to live off of until the next time. Mandi, Audrey and Lucas - thanks for coming to see us!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh, those eyes!

Our three visitors left this morning - so early that the sun hadn't yet made its appearance. I did my best to stay busy today, so as to not be as aware of the lack of their presence. It didn't really work, though. It was such a fun week that having it end with a good-bye was a little bit of a downer. Luckily, our outing to the lake to feed the ducks helped brighten the day some.

Fortunately we got our camera working again this week (after having a dead battery for more than a month) and I had so much fun going through the photos - from the last four months. I don't have the time tonight to share some of the highlights of Mandi's visit, so that'll have to wait... but, I did want to leave with two photos of my boys that I came across tonight.

* Ben with his striking blue eyes, playing with the blinds

* Hugh and those delicious chocolatey brown eyes

Couldn't you just eat them up?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Surprise visit

All day Friday we anticipated my parents' return from there little jaunt two states away, to visit some of my siblings over the last couple of weeks. Finally at about 5:15pm, just as Ben was helping me clean up his toys so we could get started on our bath-/bed-time routine, we heard a knock on our door.

It wasn't my parents' usual knock, though. It was a softer knock. Marc looked at me curiously and asked who it could be. I wasn't expecting anyone (other than my parents). He answered the door and in walked this little girl:

That's my niece, Audrey. (That's her at her home, two states away, where it's very cold and snowy right now. There's no need for her umbrella here, or the sweater for that matter, in our 76 degree weather.) Following her through our front door was her brother, Lucas:

Unbeknownst to me, my sister made some very secretive plans to make the 13+ hour drive with my parents (and her two little ones) to spend a surprise week with us.

(I got all of these photos off my sister's blog, since I haven't gotten any photos of them since they arrived. Maybe tomorrow I'll finally remember to charge our camera battery, so it's working again.)

I was so stunned. I think the first words out of my mouth were something along the lines, "Nuh-uh!" I had just talked to Mandi on the phone less than two hours before, wanting to know what time my parents had left her house that morning, so I could get an idea of when they might be getting into town.

She was so, as the Italians say, furbo. (Which basically means sly, but it describes how she was better than just saying she was sly.) For the last couple of weeks, she's known about her plans to come and never gave any hint that she was coming, even during our phone call, just moments before they arrived.

It has been a fun weekend. I mean, how could it not? Pancake breakfast, cousins getting (re)acquainted, an afternoon playing on the swings and the slides at the park, the three boys (each five months apart) playing with the ball air popper toy, a crazy day at church (four adults with four little ones - I'm sure we provided some good entertainment), a delicious steak dinner with these amazing potatoes that my sister made (I have to get the recipe!), more playing on the floor with the kids, hide 'n seek, and good-night kisses.

The good news: they're here ALL week!

The bad news: time flies when you're having fun. Saturday is going to come much too soon.