Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

This was probably one of my most relaxed, favorite Christmases to date. We started out by celebrating on Christmas Eve with family at our house and a casual buffet-style dinner of clam chowder, french bread, spinach dip, and some yummy desserts. After the last of our guests dwindled, we put the kids to bed with letters to Santa and reindeer food sprinkled on the front porch.

We made the kids wait for us before going downstairs Christmas morning, and before long it was a slurry of wrapping paper and presents. This guy's one and only gift from Santa was a cozy new puppy blanket and pillow; it was just enough. (The kids deduced that he must have been on the "naughty" list because there was nothing in his stocking- I explained that Santa knows babies don't need much.)
He's so snuggly in it I'm thinking maybe it was more for Mom!
After presents were opened, the kids set to work putting together their Lego sets around the table and creating with Play-Doh. Here's Ashlee with her food masterpiece.
Quite intricate, don't you think? I love her birthday cake.
The girls in their matching church dresses from Aunt Vera.
Each of them received a mini baby doll.
I didn't realize until posting these pictures that they are kind of dressed to match!
This guy's first Christmas, and it was magical...
...especially the lights.
We had an amazing musical church program that afternoon that I would not have wanted to miss. It was worth every moment.
We are having a beautiful, dry, sunny, cold December and Christmas was no exception. You can see we didn't even need sweaters for church.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

7 Months

No pic to go with this post, but Anthony is 7 months today and I wanted to do a post to commemorate. He has been and continues to be an absolute joy. I moved him into his brothers' bedroom a couple of weeks ago, which is going pretty well. Sometimes when he wakes at night one or both of the boys will bring him to me. Even with the going back and forth to nurse him and lay him back down, I know we are both getting better sleep apart. It's also high time I have my bedroom back to myself, which is a great feeling. With the co-sleeper disassembled it feels so spacious in there.

I believe Anthony is beginning to teethe, as he has been a little discontent these past couple of days. My babies don't typically go through a long teething spell and often times I won't even notice they're cutting teeth until I look in their mouth and see them. Anthony happens to be a little more of a sensitive guy though and my hunch is that he might be having a bit of a harder time.

He doesn't really sit up for very long on his own, though he could; for the most part he's pretty content to lay around and be loved. He rolls, but doesn't make much of an effort to get around. With all these kids in the house he's pretty entertained as it is and doesn't have much need for toys or outside stimulus.

He loves to give open-mouth kisses and we call him our "little licker." He will stick his tongue out at anything that comes near his face.

He and Rachel are beginning to interact and get silly with each other, and he is no longer as intimidated by her. Speaking of which, she is very gentle with him and aware of him. I think they're going to grow to be good buddies.

As for me, I am feeling about 80% of normal and better every day; very happy in one regard to have the postpartum period behind me once and for all. I have been running regularly, 3 times a week, and tentatively plan on competing in my first half-marathon in April. I look forward to the training experience with anticipation and awe. Right now I am averaging 3-4 mile runs and have brought my mile time down to an 8:30. I can only keep that pace for about two miles right now, so we'll see how it goes when I start running longer distances. My main thing now is getting my nutrition back where it needs to be, and weaning off the sugar and carbs I've been craving since I had Anthony. I am hoping that once I get on board with better eating habits and longer, more intense runs my body will go into burn mode.

We have many good things on the horizon and I look forward to all that 2012 has to offer.

Christmas Picture 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Showcase

Tonight Ashlee performed in the December showcase for her dance studio. Bear with me, as my camera had an extremely difficult time focusing, and for a portion of the time I was recording with a toddler on my hip. SO, the quality is not the greatest, but the performance was and I promise if you keep watching she will come into focus. Great performance tonight Ashlee!

Monday, December 12, 2011


I love a sleeping baby in-arms. It's one of the many things I will miss about not having any more of them. Anthony is such a soft baby and he just melts into you; he really is a joy to hold. Unfortunately I know that I won't be able to hold onto him forever, and it's only a short matter of time before he's off and running with the rest of the pack, so I will savor these moments. I love the innocence and trust of a baby who falls asleep in your arms. Heaven.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

On Thursday we undertook our favorite tradition of heading up to Robert's Tree Farm in Apple Hill to cut down a fresh Christmas tree. This was the first year I can remember it not being muddy, due to the lack of rain. The night was beautiful, the moon full (or nearly) and we had a great time. The best part is treking through the forest, all kids in tow, looking for the perfect tree. Well, Forrest did most of the looking while we sang and made merry, the kids making imaginary forts between the trees. I can't say we were the best tree-finding partners.

I absolutely love having Anthony all snuggled up in the baby wrap. I don't think I will ever get rid of my baby wrap.
Me and all my kiddos! It feels so nice to be a complete family.
This year Forrest passed the torch to Jacob as he undertook the responsibility of felling the tree.
Ashlee was totally in her element.
Rachel got carried some of the time, but mostly she loved running around, trying to keep up.
Again, can't get enough pictures of my last baby in the wrap! These times will be missed.
Ashlee helped, with only minimal bickering involved.
Ta-da! Dad shows off our proud find, and carried it back to the car single-handedly.

Breakfast with Santa

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boppin' It

I snapped some cute pictures while Jacob came in to lay by Anthony in the Boppy pillow this morning. I love the way the sun filters in through my bedroom windows in the morning, making it everyone's favorite place to conglomerate.

Hi buddy!

"Can I get that toe in my mouth?"
I just want to kiss him!
Staring at big brother in awe. "Will my foot ever be as big as yours?"
So lovable.

Placerville Parade

On Sunday we had the privilege of watching Ashlee perform with her dance troupe in the Placerville parade.

We arrived a little bit late after making our way through the madness to get her to the parking lot in time for a warm up before the parade began.

She was all confidence and smiles (here she is being goofy with her friends.)
I was impressed by all who came out to participate; it was quite the production.
Nearly every passer-by was tossing candy to the kids, and by the end of the parade each of my kids had a sackful. It was like Halloween all over again, just before the holidays. Oh joy.
Forrest and Anthony, with Grandma Nancy's new beau in the background.
Rachel watched from her stroller the whole time, enjoying the occasional piece of candy that came her way. She was nice and sticky afterwards.
The boys enjoyed a close-up of this tractor.
You can guess who liked these princesses...
We even saw the boys' Shihan from karate, as their demo team was in the parade as well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Halfway to a Year

It seems as if it were just yesterday I were embarking on this crazy adventure of having two babies 15 months apart, and now the year is half over. The grueling postpartum period is behind me, never to be revisited again, which I must admit brings a feeling of excitement. Among the three things I will never miss about having babies (believe me there is enough to be missed) sleeplessness is one of them (the other two being morning sickness and transition.) It was a little bit of a hurricane for a while there, but the hardest part is behind me. The funny thing is that Anthony is and always has been the perfect baby. He can take no blame for any of my struggles. However, one can only be expected to function so normally on little sleep. Lack of sleep affects so many facets of my life; the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is the main reason why I am so adamant about sleep training; it's essential for the well-being of the whole family.

Anywho, back to Anthony. He is the perfect baby. My 12 years of child rearing have taught me a thing or two, and I think Heavenly Father saw it fit to compensate me with a good baby for having two of them so close together. He is very soft, mild, and loveable.

I have been thinking lately that the one thing I am really going to miss is nursing. There is nothing like the closeness that nourishing your baby with your own body brings, and without any more pregnancies on the horizon this will be my last tie to doing this. Not that there has ever been any effort to wean on my part, but I especially will not be rushing this one. Yes, nursing is something I hold dear and sacred to my heart.

That being said, I am so anxious for all that the future holds. I look forward to "big kid" stuff like vacationing, camping, nights away with Forrest, and all those other things we've been holding back on while we've had our babies. I have many personal goals, such as running a half marathon and having the sit-down time to invest in developing other talents. I look forward to being able to more fully devote myself to our homeschool. All the kids have made sacrifices over the years when I've had my babies, and as they grow our study time can become more focused and our curriculum more advanced. In addition to mothering, I feel homeschooling is my calling and part of my livelihood.

As Anthony grows, I am enjoying having a little more time to spend doing the things I've missed with my other kids, like laying down with them at night. My nights are no longer occupied nursing a baby to sleep. The other night I was lying in bed with Noah, and we were having a conversation about how angels protect us from scary things. Out of the blue, he said, "Heavenly Father only takes us up (to heaven) when we give a good talk, right?" I was a little confused, so I asked him what he meant. He then went on to say, "Like Sister Speas; she gave a talk He really liked and so He took her up." Sister Speas was a woman in our ward who feebly bore her testimony on Fast Sunday and died later in the week from cancer. My kids were really touched by her testimony and we were talking about it in the car after church. In Noah's mind, the reason why she died later in the week was because of her sincere testimony. How would I know of this sweet innocence in his heart if I didn't take the time to be with him in the stillness that seems to only come at night?

I can not put into words my gratitude for being a mother. It is humbling to have the opportunity to bring a child into the world six times over. I do not think I would've realized my potential as a person and a woman had I not had children; for in them my life truly began. They continue to mold and shape me into the person I hope to be, now and in the eternities.

Anthony, thank you for being our perfect sixth child. Tomorrow you will be on the better half of a year, and I cherish every day with you. You complete our family.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

They come, they eat, they leave. Thanksgiving this year was pretty much a blur. I plugged in my camera battery to charge, and before I had a chance to put it back in the camera the feast was over and half our crew had taken little ones back home for some much needed sleep. We did manage to snap a few shots with our cell phones, so that will have to suffice. Let me see if I can recollect the menu: turkey, ham, cranberry apple sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrot casserole, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole, vegetables and dip, dinner rolls, sparkling cider, a jello dish, steamed seasonal veggies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, pecan pie, and caramel apple bars. Did I forget anything? I must say, our family puts on quite the potluck! We had about 24 people in all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lake Oaks Performance

Ashlee had her first troupe performance the other night at Lake Oaks community center. YouTube disabled the audio in the second video, so you'll have to imagine Prince's "When Doves Cry" in your head as you watch it. She is making a ton of progress and really thriving in dance. Her troupe classes have given her much focus and provide the opportunity to hone in on her skills. We are looking forward to the Christmas parade in December down Placerville's Main Street! Oh, and check out Rachel jammin' right along. She couldn't help herself.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mama's Babies

It's not very often I get to sit with both of my babies. The other afternoon I was sitting in my chair with Anthony, and Rachel came downstairs after waking up early from her nap. Still sleepy, she climbed up into my lap and dozed off. She woke up when Noah starting taking these pictures (reluctantly, you can see.) I love the way she loves Anthony. She's a little mama for sure. 99% of the time she wants to soothe and comfort him, and I've only had to deter her from using him as a kicking board once or twice. She is in to putting things in his mouth (a bit scary) and the other day I caught her feeding him bread. I was in the kitchen making grilled cheeses when I heard a muffled cry coming from my bedroom. Assuming Anthony had the blanket over his face I ran upstairs to find him on his back, Rachel next to him, with a mouth full of bread. Since then I have caught her putting a small bar of soap in his mouth, goldfish crackers, and orange slices. I am hoping she will outgrow this phase sooner than later.