Thursday, February 28, 2013

baby gray is here!

Another cousin, hooray!  The kids have all waited a long time for Uncle Shawn and Aunt Kelsey's baby to arrive.  In fact, when this little guy's mom and dad decided to wait to his birth to find out if he was going to be a boy or girl, the cousins were dying of anticipation!  We were so excited to get the message early one morning that BABY BOY had arrived, safe and sound!  In fact, the girls knew it was likely he would be born that day, and made sure I would call them at the school to let them know if their new little cousin was a boy or a girl!

Hoping these two little guys are buddies!

The other day we were looking at his beautiful baby pictures, and the girls were oooohing and aaaahing over him.  I thought it was so cute when Ryenne exclaimed, "Oh!  I'm so proud to be his cousin!"  They are in love.  Me too, I might add.  I was so happy to spend an afternoon cuddling him after Kelsey got home from the hospital.  And today I'd had a little bit of a rough morning and happened to run into Kelsey and baby Gray.  Lucky for me, I got to cuddle him for a while and what do you know?  That little guy turned my frown upside down! 

Welcome, Baby Gray.  We're so happy you're here!  

ps.  Kelsey showed me this picture of Shawn when he was a little guy.  When Sam was small, I always thought he looked like Shawn, but I couldn't believe when I saw this.  It's like looking at a circa 1982 Samuel!

king george for two, please

Since Courtney and I have been together since the beginning of time we have a high school song.  Of course we do!  (That was the cool thing to do, you know).   But give us some credit, because at least we chose one with a little staying power.  George Strait, Cross My Heart, thank you very much.  I have to admit I love music but I've never been one to keep up on what's cool and what's not in that scene- which I'm sure is shocking to you since I'm always on the cutting edge of all things hip and trendy.  But alas, I do have to say:  George Strait has class.  I like me some of his music. 
Therefore, when I heard the cowboy was riding away and this would be his last concert tour I thought to myself:  Darn it self, I know you haven't even been to a concert before, and you and your man are typically too cheap and a little too uncool to do things like that, but this has to be done.  And even though it was two months after tickets went on sale (because I'm nothing if not johnny-on-the-spot about things like this) I set about to finding a pair of them to give to my best guy for Christmas. 
Uhhhh.  That went well.
Lucky for us, I have a great friend who happened to hear about my despairing search and happened to find me some tickets that some sweet lady was selling for almost nothing after having won them on the radio.  Lucky for me she either didn't know how much they were going for, or was tickled pink to make even a little cash that I was able to get two semi-decent seats for a grrrrrreat price.  Even luckier, my sweet sister-in-law was willing to venture into the ghetto to pick them up for me.  A Christmas miracle, indeed.

And so it happened that me and my high school sweetheart went to hear King George play in his very last concert.  Here is the verdict:
*People watching was almost as good as the listening was.  Okay, it was better. 
*Beer and loud music do funny, funny things to people.
*I could have worn ear plugs and have still heard very well, thank you. 
*I'm not much of one to drool over movie stars (which um, hello! he's more than just a singer! didn't you ever see Pure Country?)
but I think Mr. Strait is pretty handsome, even though, holy cow-  he's getting old.
*Which, now that we've mentioned the movie thing - You're great, George, but stick with the singing.
*I love myself some George Strait and all, but some people reaaaaaallly love themselves some Martina Mcbride and George Strait.
(I would say we could have done without Martina Mcbride,but I'm afraid the lady sitting behind us might hunt me down- 
She was a fan in the most enthusiastic of terms.)
And finally. . .
*Wouldn't you know it, he never even played Cross My Heart.  Couldn't believe it.  We had to listen to that back at the hotel, which was actually pretty enjoyable.  Who knows, if he'd played it for us we might have even been inspired to dance in the aisles.
Probably not, but you never know about people at concerts. 

i might be biased, but i think this little guy is pretty handsome

winter reunion 2013

Instead of exchanging presents with Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas, we headed to Bear Lake a few weeks later to hang out and spend what is one of our favorite weekends of the year.  It's the Winter Reunion! 

I had to smile when I found this note, written by Emmy:

(We were awestruck when we came up out of the canyon and this was our first view of the lake. 
It's hard to tell, but it was completely covered by clouds.  BEAUTIFUL!)

The indoor gym is always a favorite, and if we are really ambitious we the kids play in the snow.  The favorite activity for the adults seems to be lounging around in our jammies and chatting all weekend.  Other then for getting dressed up for church on Sunday, the official dress code is pj's.  My kind of weekend. 

Other favorite activities include Sardine games every night (even the littles join in, and man- it is frrrrreaky dark).  We get some good laughs out of that. Courtney and I are partners, cuz I need his big muscles to make me not feel so scared.  Claire is on her own (or with Aunt Kerri.  Thank goodness for that Aunt Kerri, she's a trooper- I'll tell you what).  Courtney and I just might not try to find people at all.  Instead, we might find a dark corner to hang out in and freak people out by touching them as they walk by.  We probably don't do that though, 'cuz that would be kind of jerky. 

Midnight usually finds us starting a game of that or Scum, for which we pull all of the tables together for the 20ish adults and kids who join in.  (And if you started out trying to go to bed instead, you tend to lay there and listen to everyone laughing and wish you would have joined, so the next night you figure you might as well join in the fun from the beginning.) 

  (As you can see, parties like this produce some radical hairdo's).

Someone was about ready to have a baby (in a week!), and didn't she look cute?  Which brings me to fun activity #156:  aunties helping paint and paper alphabet letters for the nursery, whilst the uncles poke fun.  What's a get-together without a Relief Society-ish craft project (except way cuter than any I've ever seen)?  You can never have too much Modge Podge, that's what I say. 

Lucky for Uncle AJ, Emmy and Halle were on hand to help him out with his ballet skills. 

Can't we do this every weekend? 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

us, right now

Ryenne.  Oldest, almost as tall as mom, and "awesomest" (if you ask her).  Funny.  Quotes movies like you can't believe, a trait that comes from her dad's side.  Flute playin', on pointe dancin', friend lovin' girl.  She can be sweet and a little bit sassy.  Adores her little brother, except when he is in her room.  She's an ardent fan of her dad's Patriots, and enjoys defending them against the multitude of boys at school and on the bus who like to give her a hard time.  In fact, when one of our good friends team won the Patriots and went on to play in the Superbowl, she made some cookies to take as a sorry-for-giving-you-such-a-hard-time and good-luck-lets-be-friends gift before the game.  Unbeknownst to them, she had added a cup or so of salt to the dough before cooking and delivering them to him(okay, I might have helped with this idea).  She couldn't resist writing a little "caw-caw-caw!" on the bottom of the plate.  Later that night after eating and grossing out at her "nasty cookies", we received them back on our doorstep with an "eat crow" sign.  (Their team won!)  Ryenne can be a lot of fun.  I've also noticed lately that she is starting to prefer her friend's company to ours (what?), and loves cooking up plans to party.  She's also starting to look much to old for my liking.

Kate.  Kate has loved fifth grade and has a fantastic little group of friends.  She loves her teacher's funny stories.  She is an avid reader, which means she usually always has a book in her hand.  This includes while she is eating, getting her hair done, and sometimes even while walking (she gets this from her moms side!).  Kate is very witty and has a great sense of humor.  She recently tried out for the school play and was a little disappointed that she didn't get a speaking part.  What made it worse, in her eyes, is that she received the part of a cornstalk.  I tried to explain that I had been in several plays which I hadn't had a speaking part and still had a lot of fun.  She looked at me and said, "But were you a cornstalk, mom?"  We laughed when she told us the well-meaning director had told the kids that she had tried to pick out parts that fit their personalities.  Kate was a little disillusioned to think she had the personality of a cornstalk.  However, in her typical, optimistic way she and her dad found a different way to look at things.  She says, "When someone asks me about the play, I can always tell them 'I'm all ears'!"  Kate is starting up soccer again for Spring, and since there isn't a girl's team her age, she is joining an all boys team.  I don't know many ten year old girls who would be willing to do that, but I think she's going to do just fine!

Emmy.  Emmy always likes to look and do her best, no matter where she is.  She went to Grandma's house last week and upon arrival, told Grandma that she wanted to go to work with Grandpa, so she brought three outfits to wear, depending on what they were going to do.  Kate laughed and said, "Isn't that just like us?  She brought three outfits, and I didn't bring any!"  Kate would be happy to wear her pj's all day long (gets that from her moms side!).  Emmy loves school and loves to make friends.  She had a rough month or so this fall when she was having a hard time leaving for school, but now she's doing great.  She is always very conscientious about getting her homework and reading done, and never forgets to have her planner signed (which is new for us since I've always been awful about that stuff).  She loves, loves, loves new clothes (gets that from a few of her aunts!), always wants her hair done just right, and still loves teaching her little sister school but doesn't always love sharing a room with her.  We still call her Skippy.

Claire.  Ahhhhh, Claire.  Claire is loving preschool at Aunt Kerri's house, and asks each night if she has school the next day or if it's her "day off".  She prefers not having a day off.  She loves her little brother and is always trying to help/teach him with something.  Sometimes, he likes it too.  She loves movies.  Loooooooves movies.  She could watch them all day if I'd let her.  Like her biggest sister, she can quote any movie she's seen and is often a character from one of them.  Most commonly, she is known as Elizabeth Swan.  Her dad is Will Turner.  She's big into pirates right now.  (She doesn't like when her pirate kisses me.)  Her dad is her best buddy, and she still loves being any where he is- especially at night.  Most nights find her arriving in our bed so she can snuggle with her daddy.  With our oldest three, that was against the rules.  Claire sets her own.  Lately, she has had an obsession with "good whiskey" and often remarks with enthusiasm when she drinks something that she deems "good whiskey".  This is especially nice at church when she changes the words to the hymn to sing about her good whiskey.  Ask Uncle Shawn and Aunt Kelsey about that one. 

Sam.  Oh, we love our Sam.  He is turning into all boy, which makes us all smile.  Almost anything is turned into a sword or a gun and all animals growl.  He has an obsession with shoes and boots of every kind and so our house is constantly littered about with random shoes.  Lately, he likes wearing hats like his daddy.  He thinks his onesie's and jammies are a pocket, so we always find treasures inside of them.  Spoons, cell phones, and toys are a few of the things he likes to stick down his clothes for a later day.  The other day I could hear our phone ringing near me but couldn't find it anywhere.  After practically turning the couch inside out, I realized it was down Sam's shirt.  He's becoming quite the climber, and is starting to be very creative in finding ways to get to what he wants.  He doesn't talk much at all, but does sign language to tell us please, thank you, more, and all done.  He can say momma, dadda, shhhhoo (for shoe), and haaa (for hat).  We like to think he is a genius despite the lack of vocabulary.  He loves his swaddling blanket and sucks his thumb while holding his blanket to his nose, just like his big sister Ryenne did when she was his age.  He's a good sleeper and still takes two to three naps a day if our schedule permits.  If not, he's pretty easy going anyway.  He loves to drink (thankfully, no "good whiskey" yet) and if he's fussy, oftentimes a sippy cup of water will do the trick.  We love his kisses and hugs. 

These pictures are his one year pictures, (taken about four months late!) so he has a few more than the others!

I tell you what, it's been a while since I've had my own "yearbook photo" taken.  Our good friend, Nicole took our pictures just before Christmas.  We had a fun location in mind, but after trying a few times and it not working out, she suggested we use our front porch.  It was a pretty windy day, but I actually love having them at our house.  She insisted on taking a few of me, so now I guess we've got a decent one for my obituary (oops, not funny anymore?) 

Anyway, I love this family of mine.  Ryenne was mostly annoyed with me when I tried to make her smile for her pictures, and Emmy was mortified that someone would see us out on our front porch (oh! the shame!).  It's official.  Courtney and I have reached the point where we cause embarrassment to our children.  Sam wouldn't hold still, but what can you expect from a little guy?  I love the shots of Kate giggling (that's just her), and smile at Claire's missing teeth.  All in all, I loved how our pictures turned out.  We didn't plan on having Buddy in our pictures, but of course his neurotic personality couldn't be alone and so he invited himself.  It actually turned out to be such a blessing, as he was killed just a week or so later.  The night he died, Ryenne commented on how we didn't really plan on having them in our pictures but he ended up being in them anyway.  "I think that was a tender mercy, mom."  I had thought the same thing, and was touched that she had recognised it too.  I know that sounds kind of corny, like we are some of those "crazy dog people".  But what I love is that these pictures capture us so well, right now, at this very stage of our lives.  Freckles, missing teeth, favorite pets, and our own front porch.  I love this stage of our lives, warts and all, and I'll always look at these pictures and remember how we were, right now.  I'll remember how we've been through a lot the past few years, and we've come through it okay.  A little stronger, a little more appreciative of what we have.  Happy to be here, together.

I like us.