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.