One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas was a lot of fun this year. With the kids growing up, we got to explain more of what the season means (with some help from the Grinch). Here's our second annual living nativity. This year the role of Joseph went to Kurtis. Mary was played by Genna. The three kings (wise men) were played by Julia (not much of a wise man), Carter, and Casey (who stabbed everyone repeatedly with his new fake switchblade--very much in the Christmas spirit).

You'll notice the angels played by Molly and Maggie. Kate and Sophie were the shepherds, and they had their hands pressed together in prayer the entire time. They never broke character. That's dedication. The Baby Jesus was of course played by the most recent newborn, Ben. Sam declined playing any part of the nativity. Evidently the scriptures didn't have any non-compliant, disruptive toddlers anywhere in the narrative.

We also made our annual trip to the Oakland Temple to see the Christmas lights. I brought my trusty camera and trusty tripod and had fun running around the grounds while neglecting my family and leaving all the parenting to Annie and the grandparents.

The new manger scene:

The grounds from just inside the gates. They changed the lights up from last year. I liked the new look quite a bit.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sam, Monthly

Annie has been diligent in having portraits taken of each of the kids for each of their first twelve months of life. We recently scanned all of Sam's portraits, and it would be wrong of me not to share. Enjoy.

Sam at One Month. Asleep, be-overalled, and curled up as only babies can be. He also has the most hair he'll have for several months. Where did it go? The hair fairy took it.

Sam at Two Months
. Still asleep and still unable to lift his one-hundredth percentile head off the ground.

Sam at Three Months. Finally able to lift his head and smile. Or strain, not sure which one it is. Back in the overalls and now overtly adoring his mother.

Sam at Four Months. Almost sitting up. He's mastering the squinty-eyed smile for which he has become famous. The moose is also very appropriate. He's turning into one. And again, notice that perfectly symmetrical head.

Sam at Five Months
. Back on his belly, but showing off his neck muscle strength and coordination. Winter is here, and he is properly dressed for it.

Sam at Sixth Months
. Now he's just showing off. He's grown hair once again (it took a liberal dose of Chia Head to get a good crop growing). And look at him on the verge of crawling.

Sam at Seven Months
. With Winter on its way out, Sammy turns to the islands for his fashion sense. He's sitting up and displaying his weapon block collection.

Sam at Eight Months
. He's going for a Eur0-minimalist look that will only work for as long as he's in diapers. Thereafter, my boy, you'll have to wear some pants (I know, I, too, loathe having to wear pants). Check out that tuft of hair that Annie managed to style!

Sam at Nine Months
. He has so much hair now that a mohawk is in order. Actually, it's more of a faux-hawk, a la his Uncle Brian. His patented blue eyes are developing that impish look that we've come to expect of him.

Sam at Ten Months. That's the smile we know! That's the flaxen fuzz we know! That's the ball my forehead will soon know!

Sam at Eleven Months
. Sam's becoming a little man. He's back with the island theme, sporting board shorts and looking like he should be in a department store ad. I'd buy those shorts for a cool $19.99.

Sam at One Year
. Ah, full circle (orbitally speaking at least). My how they grow. He's standing, though not walking. And he's menacing any furniture he can get his hands on.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Caught in the Candy Dish

What? What's this? What parent in their right mind would leave a candy dish within easy reach of a toddler who has just recently learned how to toddle? Not us. At least, not within easy reach. But we knew this day would come--the day when the ceramic snowman would give up his M&M offerings to unauthorized personnel.

If humans are tool-using monkeys, then Sam is no exception. In fact, he has learned how to put his car to multiple uses.
Not only does his car provide transportation (if limited, and foot-powered), but it can also be used as a ramming device, and now as a mobile step stool.

Needless to say, the candy dish got moved. (to a place where mommy and daddy have even more ready access, much to our waistlines' and thighs' delight--both were looking for greater mass and surface area)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beneath the Christmas Tree

It's moments like the one captured below that make parenting worthwhile. Moments where you suddenly realize that your kids have been paying attention, and that your kids are even cooler than you thought they were (and you were already being generous with that opinion).

The particular child in question here is Kate. She had gone quiet for a good hour in the living room. Only when bed time approached did she come back up for air. We asked her what she had been doing, and she led us to this scene beneath the Christmas tree.

Take a moment to soak it in. Can you see what she did? Click on the picture if you want a blown-up view.

That's right. She made her own nativity scene, with toys and implements that she had on hand. And consider how thorough she was. At the heart of the display she has the baby Jesus lying on a Polly Pocket murphy bed, with Joseph and Mary sitting on either side. I don't know what brand of toys these are, but they're reminiscent of Legos.

Next we have the role of the Wise Men being played by two Cinderellas, Belle (a second Belle can be found to the right of the scene), Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty. This might be a bit revisionist on Kate's part (she's a burgeoning feminist), but she doesn't have many male figurines to work with. Prince Philip has been missing for months, and Prince Charming got thrown away when his legs broke off.

Then there's the livestock. Though traditionally an ox and a donkey is used, Kate used two varieties of pony.

But there's more. The role of the herald angel is played by Barbie Mariposa (with butterfly wings). If this were analyzed in terms of hierarchy of scale, the angel would rein supreme.

What's not shown in the photo is that Kate rearranged some of the tree ornaments so that a star hung just above the Polly Pocket 'manger.'

And all of it beneath a Christmas tree!

Yup. I think we'll keep doing this parenting thing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holding Ben

Annie has enlisted the aid of the twins so that she doesn't have to feed Ben so often (an onerous task, as anyone can attest to). When one of her soap operas comes on, or she's preparing for her daily nap, or she wants to go to the mall for some 'mommy time', she warms up a bottle, picks up hungry Ben, and commandeers a twin.

Thankfully, they're good sports about it. They even seem to enjoy it. Here's Kate, equipped with diaper rag, bottle, and a boppy pillow. And a smile. There's a trooper.

I'm not sure what Genna's smile here is all about. But it can't be good. Not for Ben. Not for the family. Not for humanity. But we're just glad that she's finally earning her keep.

On a side note, Ben has learned how to fly. He's done so earlier than expected. Julia was our earliest flyer, but since we've been told that boys are slower in developing, we thought we had another month or so before he became airborne. Not so. Luckily I was there on his first flight. I was able to seize him as he passed by the kitchen table before he came down for a landing. The first landings are always so painful.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus

Santa Claus had numerous pre-Christmas engagements, and we were there for two of them. How in the world does he squeeze in all these appearances and still keep the elves productive? It's yet another Christmas miracle.

The girls awaited their turn on Santa's lap with eager anticipation. They came dressed in their own Christmas garb and wore their favorite matching silver head bands. If Genna looks unenthused, she's just playing it cool, so as not to seem over eager. She's psyching out the big man.

Poor Sam didn't know what awaited him as Annie plucked him from his stroller and brought him up on stage. But once he saw his destination, he fought. And hard. Santa took it all with a smile, though I think he has tagged Sam for his naughty list. In my opinion, a little dose of stranger anxiety is probably a good thing. And you know how kids can sense evil...

We didn't make Sam wait long. Just long enough for me to capture his horror on camera.

And for the coup-de-grace. Is there anything more precious than an angelic little baby being held by Santa (there is, but let's not be technical)? Even Santa seemed caught up in the moment. Ben, as usual, was oblivious.

As a side note, in every one of these photos I had to filter out the kids' red eyes. But never once did Santa have red eye. This is further proof that Santa isn't a mere human. His retinas are different, which must allow him to see better at night. Nocturnal vision would be a must in his line of work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

At the Christmas Tree Farm

The day after Thanksgiving is the day we devote to preparing for Christmas. This entails wading through the flotsam that is our garage storage to find the bins that contain the decorations that will soon festoon our house. But that's just my task.

The kids get to enjoy a trip to the Christmas tree lot, where we search for this year's victim. Here are photos I took of our visit to Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm. Here's a plug for the place: it's lots of fun. They've got a nice nativity scene, a sleigh ride with Santa Claus, plenty of help, free hot cider and popcorn. Good stuff.

Now, on to the photos.

Kate's always ready with a pose. She can drop whatever she's doing, no matter how important or menial, and strike one. She never fails. And I love it. Makes my job as photographer so much easier.

Genna poses with little prompting as well. She usually prefers some sort of prop, though. The autumn landscape of the Christmas tree farm offered little in the way of flowers, but Genna was perfectly happy posing with a bedraggled sprig of dandelion.

As our resident three-year-old, Julia requires a bit of finesse to catch properly on camera. She likes having photos taken of her, but she just can't sit still for long. But this didn't daunt me. I used it to my advantage and was able to get a picture which, unlike most other photos, sums up the subject in a single wink of the shutter.

Sam didn't get much room to roam, what with Santa riding around in his diesel sleigh and terrorizing the guests. But he was content with his bear ears and stick. He even managed not to hurt himself.

Ben was oblivious to the occasion, which was fine with us. He radiated cuteness from the double stroller (safe from Sam's reach) while we debated which tree to get. Oh, sweet oblivion.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Boys

Yikes the boys are growing up. We're administering growth-stunting hormones to them, but that doesn't seem to be helping at all.

Sam can't get enough of his car and has even managed to break it. I expect nothing less of him. In fact, I would be disappointed if he hadn't. But now I need to go out and find a new caster to repair it. I'll take that expense out of his future earnings.

Ben's head, unlike that of his brother, is in a normal range in terms of circumference (not in terms of raw processing power, which is off the charts). That means that he is able to hold it up for an appreciable length of time. He was able to hold it up during the entire length of his bath, despite the prodding and scrubbing his mother administered to him.

But he wouldn't look at the camera, try as I might to pry his eyes off of the fascinating wall beside him. Hopefully the girls will start teaching him some tips for how to pose, and like it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

At the Patch

It's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd try to get caught up. Hence the disparity between subject matter to release date.

Here's our annual visit to Bobby Dazzler's Pumpkin patch. The first thing the girls do upon arrival is scramble to the top of the hay bail pile, like mountaineers searching for the peak of K2, and perch beside the pumpkin sign. I, like an intrepid documentarian, was there to capture it all on SD card.

Next we loaded them into a John Deere wagon and hauled them around the patch. You'll notice that Ben isn't present. That's because he's still in utero at this point. That's how far behind I am in my posts. So, Ben is there. He's just enjoying a nice warm float in amniotic fluid as opposed to jouncing around in a wagon full of his large and dangerous siblings.

This next one is the obligatory family photo, much to the pumpkins' dismay (though I admire their structural integrity: over-fed me and pregnant Annie can strain the load capacities of almost any squash). Please note that Annie got all the kids to don their Halloween garb. This shot is but one of many, for the innocent bystander that we waylaid to take this photo had to contend with a Sam who wasn't amenable to taking photos. Not with so many pumpkin victims awaiting him.

No sooner had Sam laid into the pumpkins than the pumpkins had their revenge. Sam didn't realize that it's hard for a 14-month-old to balance atop a round, smooth surface for very long. After a brief cry, he picked himself up off the hay-strewn ground, ready for more.

Once safely back in the wagon, Sam had his revenge. Every pumpkin we placed in the wagon with him was inspected and summarily ejected. He's tough on produce, especially the seasonal stuff. Note the shirt: I Love My Mummy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby Ben

At long last...the much-anticipated photo spread of the newest addition to the Lindsay Clan. Please welcome Benjamin Walker Lindsay.

Little Ben was thrown (almost literally--the midwife had to catch him without gloves on--Annie got him out in one push) into this world at 11:33 on 10/22. That's four days after his due date--a fact his mother will drill into him every time he misbehaves. He weighed in at 7lbs 12oz, and 20" in length.

Here he is getting the birth goop washed off him by the not-too-gentle-but-still-kind hands of the L&D staff. He made plaintiff little mewlings throughout the sudsy ordeal. I think the sounds were meant to be cries, but they were way too endearing.

Once his body was degooped, the nurse wrapped him up in a towel and rinsed his head off. He had settled down by this time and seemed unimpressed by her ministrations. The youth these days are desensitized and jaded so quickly.

Here he is only a couple of days later. He had already been introduced to his sisters and brother (Sam didn't know what to make of the newcomer. And he hasn't figured it out yet). You can see that he has a healthy shock of hair, dark eyes, and a blinkless stare that could soften even the most hardened criminal. Those are my feminine and matronly hands holding him...oh, wait. Those aren't my hands. They're Annie's aunt's hands. Nevermind.

Unlike his pale, nearly-bald, blond, and blue-eyed brother, Ben is hairy, olive-skinned, and endowed with a normal-sized head (gets that from his mother's side). He has sideburns and elfin ears, which has earned him the nickname of Wolfman. Here he is reposed in the classic angelic pose of all werewolves during the new moon.

Here he is today, doing what he does best: napping and looking good while he does it. After about six days of extra-uterine life, he seems to be a good-natured lad with a healthy appetite and a propensity for filling his diaper. He doesn't cry without good cause, sleeps well at night, and has yet to sass back or earn the wrath of his siblings. We're thinking that we'll keep him.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Yet More DB

Just a few more Dillon Beach photos.

Here's what you get when give all the girls apples and have them line up on a bench. Well, uh, you get a row of six girls eating apples on a bench.

Ah, sisters and cousins. So nice. I'm posting this not only to show how nice they get along, but also to showcase Julia's shmarmy smile. I see her selling used Buicks or hosting a game show when she grows up.

Sam is living proof that man is a tool using animal. Sure, he may have no idea what a sand rake is for, but he enjoys holding it. He is also living proof that man is a weapon using animal. The tool was quickly turned to violence, though it was the sand and his own head that bore the brunt of his aggression.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

More DB

I need to get caught up on my posts, and I wanted to continue with my Dillon Beach Spread.

So here goes.

This is Sam's first encounter with sand, which is always a big first in any child's life. He was pleased, but evidently not too hungry, because not too much ended up in his mouth. Sad to say, that hat wasn't long for his head. It soon came to be shade for a grateful patch of sand.

I'm not sure how to explain this next photo. Brian got his hands on a Fox hat and started flashing gang signs. His fingers are twisted into some distorted mockery of a W for West Side, and the Vulcan sign for peace. When I pointed this out to him, he pulled a 9mm on me, shot me in the shoulder, and took my wallet. He's a lot more hard core than I thought. Christine thought the whole thing was cute. Ah, gangsta love.

This next one was too sweet. I actually got a small cavity just from seeing it. Genna's in pink, Julia's in blue. The ocean's also in blue. Mornings at the beach house can be idyllic (once the shrieking has abated).

Sam soon turned to eating sand, as all red-blooded children must. In fact, he was so enamored with the sand that when we plucked him from its gritty surface, he grimaced and flopped to express his displeasure. But that only made his hat become skewed at a jaunty angle, so the camera was once again summoned to duty.

We didn't take the kids to the park for the late night Petaluma fireworks. It's not a lack of patriotic zeal that kept us away: we just didn't feel like dealing with four youngins late at night in huge crowds. But we did celebrate, if a bit less...climactic. We gave the kids their own set of glowsticks, brought them into the walk-in pantry, and turned off the lights. It turned into a photo op for me. And guess what? I think they were just as happy with the glowsticks and a decent bedtime as they would have been with fireworks and grumpiness.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Twins at the Beach

Yowsers, it's been a while since my last post. So, I thought I'd make it up to you with some quality photos of the twins. These shots were taken during our annual trip to Dillon Beach.

Genna and Kate began kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. They're growing up so quick. Anybody have any means of stunting a kid's growth?