Thursday, January 31

Cabbage Patch Doll

It seems like I've been posting a lot of pictures of Brooklyn lately. It's not that the boys haven't been doing cute things lately, but it sure seems like I haven't been snapping my camera as usual. This photo was taken a while ago, but I never got around to posting it. I can't remember if I ever posted about Brooklyn's doll that she got for Christmas, so although I'm in danger of being redundant, I'll recount the story here. My Grandmother thoughtfully sent some money as a gift right after Brooklyn was born. I had strict instructions to spend it on her, and from previous experience, I knew that 'spend it on the baby' didn't mean 'buy diapers and wet wipes'. I held onto this money for weeks, trying to think of just the right thing to buy, when it finally hit me--a doll! I wanted desperately to be in charge of purchasing Brooklyn's very first doll. With just that in mind, I went to our local Wal-Mart a few weeks before Christmas. I perused the dolls in the doll aisle, checking out the dolls that 'talked', the dolls that were squishy and soft, and even dolls that had bodily functions we won't discuss here. In the end, though, I kept going back to the doll of all dolls: the Cabbage Patch Kid. See, I had a Cabbage Patch growing up, and I loved it. The more I thought about it, the more inconsequential the price tag became, and before long, I knew she had to have the perfect Cabbage Patch waiting for her on the Christmas tree. Fast forward several days, two e-bay auctions, and way too much time spent on the computer, and I finally located the perfect doll. On Christmas morning, I unwrapped it for her, held it up in front of her, and promptly realized that the doll I purchased for our two month old daughter was actually bigger than our daughter. Just in case you don't believe me, here's the photographic proof.
I'm confident that someday Brooklyn will appreciate the time it took to find a doll that resembles her in some way, and perhaps will even appreciate the cost. I'm even confident that she'll someday grow to be bigger than her doll.

Tuesday, January 29

A Blessing

We had Brooklyn blessed in our ward a couple of weeks ago, and it was beautiful. Mary graciously made her blessing dress, finishing it the day before she was born. In the hours before Ammon and I left for the hospital for her birth, we marveled over the tiny sleeves, petite bodice, and teeny-tiny collar. Little did we know that the little girl destined to wear the dress would actually be dwarfed in the lengths of fabric. Coupled with her tiny size, and the fact that we moved a week before we had intended to bless her in our Dayton Branch, we postponed the blessing until the first Sunday in January. In all the rush of remembering everything else we had to take to church that day, the diaper bag got left behind. My camera is stored in my diaper bag so I don't miss any of those 'can you believe how cute they are!?!' moments, but without the aforementioned bag I was unable to take any photos of Brooklyn in her blessing dress. These are the shots that I attempted to take several days later, but I couldn't find her white headband, and she also wasn't entirely pleased with the process. I know I didn't manage to capture how beautiful she looked in her gown, but at least you can get an inkling.

Monday, January 28

A Chosen Disciple

Last night, thanks to a phone call from the east coast, we learned that President of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley had passed away. Somewhat shocked, and intensely sad, I got online this morning to read the article I knew would be featured on the front page of the Deseret News in Utah.

I don't have any words to express what a tragedy this is for our world. I know that he is with his wife now, and his welcome beyond the veil is something I wish I could have seen. In the article I read here, these words, from President Hinckley's first general conference address in 1995, touched my heart.

"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"This is a time to be strong.
"It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth and the importance of our mission.
"It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow.
"It is a time to be found keeping the commandments.
"It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain.
"It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike."

Friday, January 25

How Sweet it Is

Last Saturday, amongst the craziness of preparing and attending Jeremy's ill-fated Chuck E Cheese birthday party, I had also planned a gathering of women from our new ward, meant to facilitate getting to know each other and making new friendships. When I hit upon the idea of inviting several women that I barely know over to my house, I decided to call Angela and ask her what I should plan. Being married to an officer in the United States Air Force, Angela has moved several times in the last 10 years, and is well-versed at fitting into new areas and quickly making friends. Her idea? A chocolate themed party. I went to the party store, purchased the pinkest, glittery-est, most sparkly invitations I could find, and filled them out, tactfully requesting that everyone bring their favorite chocolate dessert, and to leave their husbands and children at home. I quickly made the decision to provide chocolate fondue, which I assumed would be devoured by everyone in attendance. As it happened, on the day of the actual party, things didn't quite go as planned. I had intended to do most of the prep for my party ahead of time, cutting up fruit, portioning pretzels, marshmallows, and other items to dip into the chocolate sauce. Amongst the craziness that Jeremy's party (and early morning basketball game that Ammon needed to coach) there was absolutely no time to do things ahead of time. Therefore, on Saturday afternoon, we were in a scramble to get everything done in time. My wonderful husband left me sitting on the couch holding a sleeping Brooklyn, and proceeded to scrub the kitchen. I don't mean that he simply wiped down the counters and loaded the dishwasher, I mean he scrubbed the kitchen. He wiped walls, cabinets, and appliances. He swept, scrubbed, and shined the floor. He even pulled apart the leaves of the table to clean the ever present gunk from between the halves. He washed dishes, he cleaned the sink, he even shined the toaster! I was so impressed, grateful, and flattered that he was concerned enough with the success of my party to go to this much effort. After a quick dinner and a rushed bedtime for the kids, I planned to spend the remainder of the evening dicing and arranging the various kinds of fruit I had purchased. However, reality was different once again. As I once again tended to a fussy baby, Ammon started getting the food ready for dipping. I managed to do some one-handed tasks and organizing while Ammon slaved at the table with a cutting board and knife. After 45 minutes of cutting, this:

is what the first plate looked like. Not enough, you say? Being unable to fit the rest of the fruit on the first platter, and with only ten minutes to spare, he also constructed this:

Needless to say, the party was a huge hit, and I can take almost no credit. I wasn't responsible for the sparkling clean apartment, and aside from putting a few other items in bowls, and preparing the chocolate sauce, I had nothing to do with the food, either. In fact, in hindsight, I have a hard time remembering if I did anything of note to prepare for this party. Imagine the delight of my guests, when they walked into my pristine kitchen, and saw this:

laid out for our feast.

I can barely even express how grateful I am for a husband who doesn't sit back and support passively. When I undertake something monumental, like a large party on a day that is already brimming with activities, he jumps in and makes it happen. He's a wonderful testament to the kind of men I hope our boys grow up to be, and the kind of man I hope our daughter marries. Those people who thought we wouldn't last a year when we first announced our plan to marry? I guess the jokes on them, because the last 8 years of my life have been the sweetest of all.

Thursday, January 24

Does Cincinnati Like Us?

Since we moved to Cincinnati about two months ago, it sure seems as though Cincinnati doesn't like us. Almost constantly, one member or another of our family has been sick and or injured. Mostly, it has been Ammon, thanks to the air-sharing that goes on in his office. The kids have not escaped untouched, though, and most recently we seem to be experiencing a bout of upper respiratory infections, and possibly bronchitis. After our Chuck E Cheese melee on Saturday, Jeremy started in with a mild cough on Sunday morning. Since he had no other symptoms, we went ahead and took him to church and chalked it up to childhood weirdness. However, by Monday morning he was still coughing, and by Monday night he had a fever. On Tuesday, he spent most of the day lazing around on the couch, and wasn't any better yesterday. Yesterday evening I took his temperature, and it was 102.7. Luckily, so far the ibuprofen seems to be helping, and for a few hours between doses he'll almost seem normal. Last night we were counting our blessings that nobody else has come down ill yet, but alas, we counted those blessings too early. At about 10:30 at night (why is it always at 10:30pm?! What is so magical about those last few minutes before I crawl into bed and doze off?!) Kadon woke up coughing so violently that he actually vomited, and wheezing dangerously. Out came our trusty nebulizer and steroid, and he spent about 30 minutes in bed with Mom to make sure that he was breathing normally before we shuttled him off to his own bed. Three more times during the night, he coughed until he woke himself up. This morning, Brooklyn has a slight fever, and both boys are still coughing on a regular basis. I'm hoping that this illness manages to skip the adults and Brooklyn, but I'm not too optimistic. Wish us luck that whatever this is isn't dangerous for Brooklyn to get, as we are in peak RSV season right now, and even the thought of our delicate little girl being afflicted with those three scary consonants scares me silly.

Wednesday, January 23

Downtown Trolley

A couple weeks before Christmas, Janice and I took our boys to see a Christmas train display in downtown Cincinnati. As much as the boys liked the elaborate display, complete with a full mountain village surrounding it, the true highlight of the day was a free Holiday Trolley that runs a circuit around downtown. It was such a fun chance to check out downtown Cincinnati, and the driver of the trolley was even dressed up as Santa Claus, which I thought was a great touch.

These are the boys waiting to get onto the Trolley. There are several designated stops around the city, and this was the one closest to where the train was displayed.
Ding, ding, ding went the trolley! (anyone out there get the movie quote?)
See the barely contained exuberance? I love it. Such a huge, overflowing grin warms my heart on the coldest of days.
Janice, with my folded up stroller and the three boys, boarding the trolley. I'm sure she won't thank me for this picture, but I think it's really cute.

Tuesday, January 22

A Late Christmas

I'm terribly late in posting Christmas pictures, but here they are, nonetheless. Better late than never, right?
Kadon continues to amaze us with those big brown eyes, and curly orb of hair. Both the boys received a box of Kid K'nex, which they have really enjoyed playing with since then. I think in this photo Kadon is watching Jeremy, who is mid-change from t-shirt to sweatshirt. My parents got him a Colts sweatshirt for Christmas, and he insisted on putting it on immediately.

Here is the Christmas tree. I hastily snapped this picture while the kids were exploring their stockings. Not too shabby a pile, huh?
The kids were thrilled with their stockings this year. They got the usual candy, crackers, and chocolate, along with an assortment of books, new Play-doh, and some flashcards for Jeremy. At this exact moment, Kadon is waaaay more interested in Jeremy's Cars fruit snack than he is in his own stocking, even though it contains his very own packages of fruit snacks. Somehow, what Jeremy has always seems a little sweeter.
Jeremy was absolutely thrilled with his Transformers Search and Find book. He actually spent a good 10 minutes perusing it on Christmas morning, which is pretty remarkable if you've ever meant our rambunctious son. On a side note, see those cute jammie pants? My creation for this year. I meant to get a picture of all of us, but it just didn't happen. Brooklyn's pair didn't work out too hot, it was difficult to sew seams that small on fabric that tiny, so she only wore them for about an hour.

Kadon, with his most beloved gift. In fact, this picture is kind of crooked, because he was moving too quickly for me to get to him. This is a Thomas the Tank Engine flashlight, which also makes train noises when you push it around. One month later, we're already on the second set of batteries, and I'm pretty sure it will soon be a third. We found it on clearance at a KB Toys that was going out of business, and I had to convince Ammon to buy it. He didn't agree that Kadon would love it, but thankfully, was willing to concede to the woman who spends all day with the child. Kadon can't get enough, and loves to bring the flashlight into our bedroom at 6:30 am when he gets up, which is really, really early for flashlight face.

Monday, January 21

Chuck E. Cheese, Please.

So, last Tuesday was on Jeremy's birthday, and the only thing this child wanted to do for his party was go to Chuck E. Cheese. Why does he want to go to Chuck E. Cheese, you ask? Well, because PBS early morning cartoons tell him that it is the only place a kid can go 'to be a kid'. Knowing that this stage of childhood only lasts a small window of time, Ammon and I resigned ourselves to an afternoon of crappy pizza and arcade games, figuring this was simply a rite of passage that we could no longer avoid. We were wrong, people. Wrong on so many levels.
First of all, does anybody out there in cyber-land know that you actually have to make reservations for Chuck E. Cheese on a Saturday?! I didn't, so if any of you had clued me in on that little tidbit, I'm sure we would have been granted a much more helpful server, and possible even enough chairs to seat everybody, instead of forcing the adults to hover around one end of the table and eat standing up. And without plates. Or drinks. Or napkins, actually. But that's another story.
So, back to the party. Because it was Jeremy's party, we decided to let him choose two friends to invite from church, along with his cousins. Unfortunately, we didn't calculate that with two friends and several cousins, come approximately 73 other people. Of course, we knew these extra parents, siblings, and assorted hangers-on were coming, but we never actually sat down to figure out the sheer volume. I admit, when the waitress asked me how many there were to be seated in our non-reserved table, I fibbed. By about half. So......after dropping $50 on pizza, four drinks, and about a million tokens, we sat back and watched the throbbing crowd around us. It was hysteria, people. Everywhere you looked there were pizza-stained faces, delirious with sugar, crowds, and missed naptime. The birthday boy disappeared into the crowd with his friend, and a cup full of tokens, never to be seen (or heard from) again. After about 30 minutes, the adults were begging for mercy. Even willing to eat the cardboard-like pizza and feed coins into machines, simply to make it all go away. Wisely, I made the decision to bring the cake and presents back to my house. Hysteria confined to my apartment rather than the throbbing, writhing mass of toddler-dom at Chuck E. Cheese? Much better, trust me.

Sunday, January 13

Saturday, January 12

The Problem with Having a Girl

There are problems. Seriously.

It's called choosing just one photo. I mean, seriously, how could you delete any of these?

Told y'all she had blue eyes.

Thursday, January 10

The Master Suite

Sounds fancy, huh? Alright, here's the dirt: (actually, there's not much dirt. I keep it pretty clean, and I don't think we've technically lived here long enough to make it dirty. Just a funny saying, you know?)

Obviously, this is the bed. The window overlooks our lovely parking, and I made the drapes myself. We have the great luck of living in the center of the building, so the security light is right outside our window. I mean RIGHT outside our window. We didn't sleep for the first four days that we lived here, which is exactly how long it took me to unpack my sewing machine, find a fabric store, and make these extra-thick lined drapes. What a difference a dark room makes to your REM cycle....
This is standing in front of said window, facing into our bathroom. Don't tell me that my wall hanging is crooked, it's already driving me nuts. I'll have you know, after I took this picture and uploaded it onto my computer, I ran right back upstairs to straighten it. Pure laziness that I didn't retake the picture again, but I thought about it. That's just the kind of neurotic that I am. Did I mention the master bathroom? LOVE IT!!

Ta da! We have officially come full circle. This, my friends, is the closet door. The same closet door that I was standing in front of last time I posted.
So, now that you've seen the whole layout, what do you think?

Wednesday, January 9

The Upstairs

This is at the top of the stairs. The door on the far right is the boys bathroom. Next to that, the room that is completely dark in this picture is the boys bedroom, and on the left of there is the door to Brooklyn's room. If I went all the way to the top of the stairs and made a right in front of the bathroom, it would take me into our bedroom. More on that later.
This is the bunkbed that the boys got for Christmas as a joint Fellows family gift. They're loving it, and Mom is loving the extra space. I'm standing in the doorway of their room to take this picture.
Now I'm standing in front of their closet, in front of the bookcase you can almost see on the right edge of the above picture. The dresser on the left is Kadon's, and Jeremy's is on the right.
This is Brooklyn's room, right next to the boys room. I'm standing right in the doorway, and can almost get the whole room in. On the other side of the green shelves on the left edge of this picture is her closet, and that's all there is to the room. Pretty small, but it definetely serves the purpose.
This is the end of our bedroom. Looking down the length of the hallway, there is Brooklyn's room, and the dresser you see in our bedroom is Ammon's. Next to me on my left is our closet, it's situated over the stairs, in that empty space. It's pretty large, and I couldn't take a picture of it because it's a mess!

Next: the master bedroom

Tuesday, January 8

The Grand Tour

I have been asked repeatedly to take pictures of our new apartment to post on our blog, so this afternoon I went on a photo expidition around our townhouse, and here is the result. If you're like me, and have a completely voyeuristic tendency when it comes to other people's houses, this post will be right up your alley.

I opened our front door and stood on the front porch to get this picture. On the left edge of the picture, you see the banister leading up the stairs. When I looked at the empty townhouse before moving, I mistakingly assumed that the apartment was much smaller, and left some furniture at Russ and Mary's house in order to compensate for the small living space. After being here for several weeks, though, I think the living room is screaming out for the coffee table. Besides, I need somewhere to put my chocolate milk and graham crackers when I decide to have an evening snack in front of the television.
This is the other end of the living room. I'm standing between the bookcase and the sofa you can see in the previous picture. Pretty nice, huh? (Check out that coatrack! Merry Christmas, Mom!)
This is standing in front of the entertainment center, facing the hallway leading to the kitchen. The door on the left is the small bathroom tucked underneath the stairs. Did I mention how much we are loving having multiple toilets?
Ah, the kitchen. Go back up to the previous picture. The corner you can just see, in front of the last set of metal doors? That's where I'm standing. On my left along the wall there is a large window, the back door, and the pantry (behind some more metal doors. Nice, huh?) The towel on the back of the dining room chair is for my kids to deposit their shoes on after they're done playing outside. So far, the only downside I've discovered in living out here is that Always. Makes for very muddy shoes.
Again, I had to open the front door and stand outside to take this picture. This is the staircase that I walk up and down approxamitely 463,000 times a day. Just in round numbers. Can I count that as my exercise for the day?

Tomorrow, the upstairs. I just know you're waiting with baited breath.

Monday, January 7

Potty Wars

We started potty training Kadon today.
What I mean to say is, I started potty training Kadon today. And not this morning. First, I went to the doctor, stopped at Wal-Mart (and picked up some new undies!), went to McDonalds (to reward the boys for being so patient at the doctors office) then came home and put Kadon down for a nap. But after that, we totally started potty training. Kadon has been wearing his Thomas the Tank Engine underwear since about 3 o'clock this afternoon, and as of 5:40 has only had one accident. I let him go outside, which I knew was a bad call, but it's a freakish 70 degrees today, and I couldn't keep him inside. So sue me.