Monday, December 21, 2009

A Mother Should Be So Proud

Colin is predictably unpredictable. You never know what stunt he's going to be up to next. In the spirit of the holidays he recently became enamored with some themed underwear. Maybe he has a future as a Chippendale? That's my boy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Praise God!

I'm generally not an effusive person when it comes to religion and spirituality, but upon hearing the good news today that my dad's cancer has not spread I think a good amount of celebration and worship is appropriate. Thank you for all of your continued blessings, Lord, on our family. And, as my dad and I agreed, 2009 has been a rough year, so looking on the bright side, 2010 has nowhere to go but up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Outfits

I remember well the excitement of a new dress for Christmas (the one that pops into my mind was a little black velvet number with a dropwaist and metallic green, pink, and blue ruffles, which had to have been in the early 90s). We've been keeping the tradition alive and although the budget was much smaller this year than its been in previous years all the kids were still outfitted in brand new duds for Christmas brunch and the Sunday School Christmas program at church. I bought Cecily's Christmas dress from Dillards after Christmas last year (the timing was just perfect - finding out the gender right before Christmas and in time for all the post-Christmas sales) - it was a traditional plaid with a teeny bit of smocking. Colin wore a plaid button down and red corduroy pants, a huge score I made at The Children's Place outlet last spring when we went to Oregon. Ian's outfit was black dress pants, a red button down, and a red, grey, and black argyle sweater (that dude is very dapper and likes to dress up). Allegra had a lovely dress with a black velvet bodice and gold diamond-patterned full skirt with matching doll outfit, and Hero had a red sleeveless dress with black sheer netting and a black knit jacket to go over (both purchased the day after Thanksgiving). They looked cute as ever. Allegra and Ian had group solos during the Sunday School program and Colin just about made me cry when he was up there singing Away in A Manger with the itty bitty kids.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This is about our bazillionth season of Nutcracker, or so it feels. Way back in September Ballet Idaho holds auditions for the supplementary childrens' roles in their professional production of The Nutcracker. Hero was in the Party Scene and, for the first time, was one of the garland girls (they perform a dance during the party scene). She gets to be on stage for quite a long time and this year she finally landed a beautiful costume. Allegra was a mini mouse and in the Arabian mini-variation. SO many hours of rehearsing were put into the show - it really takes dedication on the girls part (they literally have had just one weekend off from October through December). James and I got to go to the Saturday evening performance and they were wonderful. Once The Nutracker is over, the girls are both happy for their weekends back and sad to be done (Allegra especially finds it magical - she insists that she will be Clara some day).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Violin Time

Friday marked the end of the first semester for my violin studio. I had six students perform in my recital of the eight that I currently am teaching. It was a tad crazy with having to shuffle between ballet and the music academy, but everything worked out and we celebrated with cake and punch after the recital. Now I'm officially on Christmas break, woo-hoo.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Drama

This is a post I would have been more than happy not to have to make. But, in the interest of telling it like it is, here goes:

On Wednesday night I had to teach a makeup lesson and James wasn't home from work yet, so Allegra, Cecily, Colin, and Ian hung out in the office for 30 minutes. When I was done and came into the office Cecily was really upset and inconsolable, which is not like her at all. It took quite a while for me to calm her down and even after she was calm she still would erupt in screaming every few minutes. Then she started coughing and gagging, which resulted in vomitting - it scared me, but at the same time, sometimes kids do that when they get super upset. It was Awana Grand Prix night and Hero had a car to race, so we bundled Cecily into her carseat and headed down to pick Hero up from ballet and then scooted over to Meridian for Awana. Cecily screamed bloody murder in her carseat, so much so that she gagged and vomitted some more. She even refused to take her bottle. Once we got to Awana and I was holding her she calmed down again and even took a nap in my arms. We got home late from Awana, about 9, and we bathed Ceci and she acted like her normal self for most of the time, but then started screaming again. She wouldn't take her nighttime bottle. I thought that maybe she was just sick (she's had a little runny nose and congestion for most of the month) and put her crib mattress on an incline and turned the humidifier on. But she just wasn't acting like herself, and I told James that in all of my baby-raising experience I've never seen one acting like this, which concerned me greatly. So he called the pediatrician's after-hours number and spoke to a nurse who suggested that we take her to the Urgent Care facility that was open til 10 out in Eagle. I was afraid for her to be in the carseat by herself with the choking and all the children were already in bed, so we told Hero that she was in charge and took off with Cecily at 9:45. She fell asleep in the car and slept the whole way there, very peacefully and I was starting to feel foolish for panicking. As the doctor began the assessment everything looked completely normal and Cecily was happy and smiling. And then I lied her on the table and the doctor shone her light in her mouth and used the tongue depressor and there was something silver in the back of Cecily's throat! I about passed out when I saw it. The doctor immediately said that she wouldn't pull it out there and sent us to St. Luke's ER, calling them ahead of time to let them know we were coming. That car ride was SO scary! We got there and were immediately brought back and Cecily's breathing was monitored (which was steady and fine) and the ER doctor ordered x-rays. She had partially swallowed the metallic spring from a wooden clothespin (which, we learned later, Colin had broken while I was teaching). The x-rays were pretty scary-looking. The ER doctor felt that it would be prudent to remove the item in the OR, so the ENT doctor was called in. About an hour and a half after we got to the emergency room Cecily was taken downstairs for surgery. They put her under general anesthesia and did a laryngoscopy (I think that's the right spelling). The surgery took less than five minutes, but it was a nervous wait for James and I in the deserted OR floor. The ENT doctor said that it came out without a hitch, only drawing a tiny bit of blood and leaving no swelling. What a relief! After the surgery Cecily went up to the PICU for monitoring. When they finally let us up to see her she was in a nurse's arms and completely back to her old self, smiling and happy. She showed absolutely zero effects from the traumatic events of the night. I can't say the same for her parents. It was horrible. But the outcome turned out as well as could be expected. We were able to take her home just an hour after surgery and we made it back to our house by 1am, which isn't bad, all things considered (we'd called Lynn over to spend the night with the older kids since we thought we'd be there all night). I feel so fortunate that we followed our gut instincts and try not to spend too much time dwelling on the "what-ifs". Thankfully the Man Upstairs was watching out for our little angel that night. Here's some pictures of her pricey ER visit souvenirs - the item in the bag is what was in her throat.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

For Cecily

For the first time, we needed a new stocking because we've run out. I bought a bunch of really pretty sequined stockings back when James and I first got married, but they are all claimed now. I was feeling pretty bad about Cecily not having a stocking but I just wasn't finding anything cute. This morning I received an email from Pottery Barn Kids advertising free shipping on all stockings. They were already on sale, and I'm a sucker for anything personalized, so the timing was positively serendipitous. So now Cecily will have a stocking for Christmas, yay!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Even the Dog's in the Mood

We always go way too long between grooming for Rory. I have the best intentions - everytime I pick her up and she's so cute and fluffy I say "I WILL take her in earlier next time". And inevitably that doesn't happen. Her last grooming was in August so it was sorely needed. I tried to give her a trim around Halloween and it did not go well. Luckily the groomer was able to fix it (although they still had to shave most of her body) and even give her some Christmas bows to match her Christmas collar.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tree #2

I think that my formal tree in the music room turned out the best it's been in a long time this year. We went with an 8.5ft Grand fir, which is really full and wide - the needles almost have a bit of curl to them. I had some new green fern leaf picks that I'd purchased last year at Macy's post-Christmas sale and I just wish I'd bought more, they look fantastic. I really need to work on that tree skirt though. I bought a cheap silver one from Walmart when we first started doing two trees instead of one and I haven't upgraded yet. Silver's actually a hard color to find in a tree skirt. Some day. I think that we kept up with watering the tree for about a week this year - that must be some kind of record (I know, I know, we're pathetic). The tree looks kind of funky in the picture, but I promise the angel is straighter than it looks and there aren't whole chunks of no tinsel LOL.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Weather Outside

Is frightful for driving but delightful for getting in the Christmas spirit. We woke up yesterday to softly falling snow and it stuck! We're blanketed in a downy, soft covering of fresh snow and it isn't likely to melt this week with cold, cold temperatures predicted for the duration. This morning it was -4 (-14 with windchill factor). We've given up on making the girls ride their bikes to school this week, for which they are quite grateful, I'm sure. I love snow and cold weather prior to January. After we're done celebrating the New Year though, it can go away and spring can come LOL. I'm praying this sticks around til Christmas, but not holding my breath.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More Firsts

It seems like every month I have to make a "firsts" post, but I suppose that's par for the course with an infant. Cecily had her 6 month check up (a little bit late) on Friday - she's doing great (weighed in at 16lbs4oz, which is perfectly average). Then on Saturday came a day I've been waiting a very long time for - I got to put a little ponytail with a barette into Cecily's hair. I felt bad putting it in because I had to pull pretty hard to get it to stay, but Cec was so cute all day. We've got a long way to go til pigtails though. She also got her first taste of finger foods (rice crackers) and juice in a sippy cup. She's growing so fast. Love you, Cecaroni (as your littlest big brother calls you)!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Preparations

I've tried to spread the process of getting the holiday stuff up out a bit. We put the artificial tree up the weekend before Thanksgiving, finished up the outdoor lighting this past Sunday, and purchased and decorated the real tree on Saturday. Managing to do all this while doing some serious shopping on Black Friday (up at 3:15am, hit the mall by 4) has been a bit of a chore, but I'm glad it's all up and oh-so-pretty. I think I'm going to cut back on my holiday baking somewhat as I'm just too exhausted this year, but hopefully I can keep up with everything else. I love Christmas, even though I'm already down two Christmas ornaments and one Christmas in the City figurine (thanks Colin and Allegra). I wonder how much Christmas paraphernalia will actually survive the kids' childhood.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Thanksgiving is a no-stress holiday for me, which I absolutely love. I don't host it, and don't have any plans to in the near future. We hang around the house cooking the stuff we bring, and decorating the house for Christmas. That's the extent of work I have to do for Thanksgiving. Pretty sweet, huh? This year we contributed cranberry sauce (the real homemade kind, it's fun to hear the berries pop), cranberry-marshmallow salad, and Swiss Almond floret bake. It was a wonderful, bounteous feast at the in-laws, as always. I'm thankful for every crazy moment in my crazy life and I wouldn't trade it for the world (most of the time anyways - when I came downstairs from putting Ceci down to a nap this morning to find that Colin had dumped an entire bottle of Dreft all over the laundry room floor, I might have been willing to take a break for a while LOL).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Tribute

Mom - Thank you for all of your support, wisdom, patience, advice, and love.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Half the Year - Gone!

It's so very hard to believe that Cecily is 6 months old today. She's growing so fast - she likes her veggies now, she has a great sense of humor not to mention a little bit of a temper, and she can now sit up. Her 6 month checkup isn't til the first week in December but we're quite sure she's doing awesome. Dear, darling, silly little monkey-girl - we love you so much!

Cecily 6 Months Ago
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Cecily Today
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Colin's Personal Plaything

Cecily is probably the most expensive doll in the history of toys, but that seems to be exactly what Colin thinks of her as. We always have to be on guard when he's around her. Yesterday he decided that either she was a good substitute for a coloring book or, more concerning, that she needed some tats. Either way she ended up covered in blue marker on her face and arms. Cecily was happy as a clam, at least. Today I found Colin laying on the floor using Cec as a footstool while he was watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Again, Cecily really didn't seem to care (surprisingly enough). I always thought that having an older brother would be awesome, I didn't realize it was actually a safety hazard.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Score One for Good Taste!

I'm so lucky - my future sister-in-law has good taste. These are the bridesmaid dresses she picked out, although they will be in black with a lime green sash around the middle. I think they are so pretty. Now it's time to get super-motivated with the Wii Fit LOL. I'm so excited to be in the wedding - I know that, for a lot of people, wedding party invitations are a dime a dozen and women get tired of shelling out money for dresses and everything. But not me - I've only been in two wedding parties in my entire life (my uncle's and James's sister's) so the idea is still fun and fresh. I remember being very sad as a girl because I was never a flower girl and then as I got older I was upset because I didn't have any sisters so I'd never get to be a maid of honor. Well, I'm mostly over the bitterness now, I promise LOL, but this wedding will be lots of fun. Even though it's Ryan getting married. My little brother. That's absolutely insane. We've already started planning our summer vacation. Due to the economics of buying SIX plane tickets, we are planning on driving. After our last drive to Wisconsin in 2006 we swore that we'd never do it ever again. But I guess the painful memories kind of fade the farther out you get from it, just like childbirth. We are tentatively planning to take advantage of the drive to stop at Mt Rushmore. Besides the wedding, of course, we are hoping to take the kids to Wisconsin Dells and Noah's Ark. They are SO excited. It's been too long since we've been back home. And on a side note about my own good taste LOL, look what I got from Mom and Dad for an early Christmas gift. My old coats were pretty worn out, and last year I had maternity coats, so it was time for a new one. This one was a smoking deal from Old Navy and I feel so pretty in it. Of course it hasn't been cold enough to wear it yet much, but we're supposed to be seeing some snow tonight and this weekend.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Stereotypical Mom

I'm starting to look like I'm playing the Mom role in a bad sitcom - constantly covered in spit-up, plus, Cecily learned a new trick, motorboating. You know, when they make that spitty, blowing, motor sound. The start of this new "skill" coincided with the introduction of vegetables this week. So, I've spent the greater part of the week covered in a fine mist of squash. Kids are fun (oh where's the sarcasm font when you need it). She does seem to like the veggies more than the rice cereal, which never really caught on. But on a positive note, I did purchase a full apron on eBay in the hopes of keeping my clothes a little more presentable. I love, love, love aprons, but I don't have enough time to make my own right now, so I'll gladly pay someone else to do it for me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Family Tradition

If I'm being honest, I'll admit that I haven't done this every year (or even most years), but in the spirit of being frugal and green I decided to turn all seven of our jack-o-lanterns into pumpkin puree. I'd never actually heard of anyone roasting their own pumpkins prior to meeting James' mother, but it's actually kind of fun, if you can overlook the huge mess that takes over your kitchen since it takes hours from start to finish. I now am the proud posessor of about 8 gallons of pumpkin puree. :-) Here's the process:

1. Cut your pumpkins into rough rectangles, discarding the bottom, top, and carved portions. Remove the top layer of inside flesh and wrap in aluminum foil.

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2. Roast in oven until pumpkin is very soft and an orange hue (as opposed to yellow) - this takes between 60 to 90 minutes. Then remove from oven, allow to cool until you can handle it, take off aluminum foil and cut off pumpkin skin.

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3. Puree on high for several minutes in food processor or blender until pumpkin is the consistency of a beginner baby food. Freeze extra.

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4. Enjoy delicious homemade goodies like this Pumpkin-Cranberry-Walnut bread. :-)

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween - A Little Late

Well I'm a tad late getting this on, but better late than never, right? It seemed strange to have Halloween on a Saturday - just the luxury of having the entire day to prep, I guess. The morning started with picking up the girls bright and early from an event called A Sleepover with Miss Idaho at the Red Lion hotel downtown. They (so I hear) had lots of fun getting makeovers, eating, and watching movies with about 60 other girls on Friday night/Saturday morning. Then we had Nutcracker rehearsals in the morning and a Boise State game in the early afternoon. Hero carved all seven pumpkins that afternoon. I'm so relieved - pumpkin carving is not my favorite thing. It becomes quite a daunting task when you are talking about seven LOL. We managed to get up our outside Halloween decorations right before it got dark (oops). Then we had a nice dinner (thanks Mom!) and the festivities began. Cecily got ready first - she was dressed up as Tinkerbell (she was covered in the glitter from the costume for two days LOL). Colin was Captain Hook, minus the fantastic hat that goes with the costume that was no where to be found, of course. Ian was a cowboy, and judging from all the mugging for the camera he did, he was quite proud of his costume. Allegra was the American Girl, Kirsten, and I personally had a soft spot for her costume. She wore a handmade dress that resembled the dress Kirsten wears in the first book, as well as a striped apron and gingham sunbonnet. Oh, and I had to complete the ensemble with the cutest red lace up boots. I even did her hair in the little put-up braid rings. She was SO cute. Hero was a Greek goddess and she was very fortunate that it was such a warm, perfect night for trick or treating. Really, the weather couldn't have been better if we'd custom-ordered it. It was almost balmy, and completely dry. We stayed out (well, the three older kid - Cecily and Colin turned in pretty early) until 9:15 tricking or treating.