26 November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This year Elizabeth + her bunch hosted at their beautiful house in Draper.  We, of course, popped in to see the Hayes folk too.  

Thanksgiving as told by the phones:

Elizabeth was in charge of not only housing us, but making the ROLLS.  My mom famously makes Christmas caramels but also rolls.  So far no one can quite duplicate the caramels (I have rekindled my determination to master this after discussing the issues at length with my mom on a brisk morning walk).  However, I am so happy to say Elizabeth can keep the rolls going on for the next generation.  They were so delicious.  

I made this apple pie, which recipe I slurped from Smitten Kitchen. I made the same pie last year, which looked prettier (or cleaner) than this but tasted worse.  Last year the crust was too thick, the apples underdone, and I was sad.  I had made it from scratch and wanted it to be perfect.  I had to try again this year, despite certain family fellows whipping out a pre-made crust from a box and saying, "Merz, use this!  No drama!"  Thanks to a few tips from Mother Meri, like microwaving the apple mixture for about 10 minutes, ("There's no shame in that, Merzy!") and helping me gauge the thinness of the crust, this one turned out perfect (cough cough brag brag).  I think this will be my usual contribution, because I really enjoyed myself.  

Jude and Ian eating Marshmallow Mateys and being hilarious on Aunt Elizabeth's/Mom's bed.

Jude always loves a good baby monitor to play with.

Cousins: that happy medium between friends and siblings.  They could toodle around copying and egging each other on.  I went to the gym every morning with Mimi taking on the duty of watching him, but each time I returned she'd report that he was happy and with Ian to play with, needed almost no help.

A good chunk of the group; we divided up the cooking responsibilities, and everyone took their commissions very seriously.  Sometimes it was hilarious trying to find counter space (I also made the most unhealthy mashed potatoes you've ever heard of, and on Wednesday just for fun I made Polar Express Hot Chocolate).  It was great to have everyone there, helping each other with kids, exercising, reading, watching shows, playing on the Jexies' BOSS SLIDE in the back yard, and most/best of all, TALKING.  I know Elizabeth was taking on a big load to host us all, but it made me happy to see HER so happy to have us all there.  There is nothing more important than family and the heavens that make it possible for us to be together forever.  And please note Cam doing his classic nerdy psycho face.

On the way up, Jude was great.  He took a nap, which is more than I can say for the ride home.   I'm also going to mention we left on Saturday for the precise purpose of dodging the Vegas traffic, and it was ALREADY SLOW in parts.

While on the trip I hit 30 weeks and had to do a tummy comparison.  I mostly feel good, just SO TIRED and I think Jude is the culprit for this.  SO TIRED.  I feel like I apologize 20 times a day to the baby for kicks he must sustain while I hold his big brother.  I had 2 big contractions today.  I need to say "no" to Jude some of the times he wants me to hold him.  It just needs to start happening.  

Elizabeth showed me an app that lets me fake "Bokeh".  Ask me if he ate one bite of Thanksgiving dinner.  He did not. He was a horrible eater the entire trip and sort of subsisted on milk, yogurt, raisins, and cereal.  I think he was distracted, clingy, and tired.  Traveling is hard on babies.   
Another glorious opportunity to get to know Katelyn better.  We had so much fun talking, especially while I prepped the pie crust Wednesday night.  She and Cameron are such newlyweds -- like don't let go of hands for 3 seconds or you might burst into flames. :)  They are so sweet together.  And sweet to these rugrats that came to wake them up probably a lot earlier than they were planning to wake up.

I've been wearing top knots almost non-stop for months so the hairs on the very bottom/back of my hair line are actually all breaking.  However, LIKE I'm about to start blow drying my hair on a daily basis, so I'll have to figure out a way to hide the breakage.  Anyway, Sadie was wearing a top knot when we dropped by to say goodbye on Saturday morning, and I about squealed.  She looked so cute and I love my top knot protege.  Not pictured: Jude on my hip.

Gush and love.  Aunt Sarah time.

He's crazy.  I don't know how he lives his life at the pace and intensity he does.  This was before we left Tuesday morning.  Jeff always gets sick at either Thanksgiving or Christmas (or both) and so he had to run to the Minute Clinic really quickly.  While he was doctoring I dug out scarves and beanies and coats that we never used.  It was not THAT cold.  Like 50s.  The only weather surprise was the Draper WIND.  I had no idea it was such a gust fest.  As I pumped gas at a 7-11 on the way to the gym, I felt a little like Elizabeth Bennett in the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice pondering her feelings on the English moors.  Except instead of contemplating my feelings for Mr. Darcy, I was thinking about the pros and cons of flying v. driving to Utah.

Not pictured: 
  • playing with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa Hayes'.  All the pictures turned out (or didn't) with everyone looking anywhere BUT the camera.
  • Bowling with McOmber cousins, aunts, and uncles at Fat Cats' the night before Thanksgiving.  We couldn't stay very long because Jude was tired and acting like it.  He was slightly in the dog house.  I love my cousins and never get to see them -- but we'll be back at Christmas for more. 
UT Friends: we didn't get to see ANY of you.  Please be ready to make room for us at Christmas, because we need face time.  You'll be hearing from my secretary soon (aka an email will be showing up in your inbox).

16 November 2012

Dangerous Youtube

A while ago my mom told me about the Ah-Ah stuffed monkey video on YouTube and that I should watch it.  

Then she said, "Well, you're pregnant so maybe it's not the best time."  I just watched it anyway and I still have tears streaming down my face!  I love it!

12 November 2012

Good Things (!)

  • I'm in my 3rd trimester!  There are no more trimesters beyond this one!
  • Jude has become a world class hugger and kisser.  I get about 100 hugs a day, nice tight ones!
  • Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!
  • Jeff and I got to go to the temple on Saturday!  I had almost scheduled it for November 3, but I think the peace of that place was needed even more on the 10th!
  • I found the recipe for pumpkin pie I want to try for Thanksgiving; it's Paula Deen, and that is all I need to say about that!
  • A nice man held the door open for me at the gym today and said with a nice smile, "You go ahead, mom"!
  • My baby is so cute!

He thought my red toes were "owies" and kept trying to kiss them better!

He carries his Lovey Monkey with him everywhere; so endearing!

07 November 2012

4 More Years

Last night when Obama's picture popped up on the screen declaring him the victor of Ohio, I burst into tears and they kept coming until I got a headache.  Jeff and I let the reality of the next 4 years absorb for a while, scooped Jude up from his slumbers in a blanket, and went to McDonalds to drown our sorrows in a Mint McFlurry (for me, with bites passed back to our baby), and an Eggnog Shake (for Jeff).

I've never cried about an election turn-out before.  When Clinton won I was too young to care.  When Bush won, he had my support.  When Obama won in '08, I was well prepared for that eventuality, and hoping for the best despite the fact that he did not get my vote.  

But last night was a true devastation.  I know of only a few readers of this blog who are not conservative, maybe there are more lurking, but I doubt it.  Anyway, I know that other people cried over political victories that I have hoped for.  I understand that politics are ever-changing, that there are so many sides to every decision and national problem, you can't fix every issue in one fell swoop, and so it can be tricky to judge leaders.  However, I am 100% baffled that Romney did not have a landslide victory, incumbent advantage not withstanding.  I am horrified by the journalistic bias. Even if I'm cutting Obama some slack, we all have way more to call him out on, and as I look ahead to the next 4 years, I ache over what half of America passed up last night.  

More baffling things: while everyone is complaining about tough times, they don't blame Obama.  They sure do blame George.  The statute of limitations is up on that, guys.  It's baffling that in recent months Obama gave campaign speech after campaign speech touting the exact same promises (sometimes verbatim) he did 4 years ago -- people, do you REALLY expect him to make good on these now?  When he has no one's agenda to satisfy but his own in his 2nd term?  I believe Obama revels in popularity, but I think he cherishes his own plans even more, and his plans punish the hard working and successful to give the cluelessly lazy a free ride, just to start.  What a waste.  What backwards thinking.  And I'm not talking about the downtrodden who were dealt a miserably hard hand and need help to get going, I'm talking about the capable people who sit and get loaded day in, day out, watching TV and texting on free cell phones.  

Lots of people who don't agree with me would probably assume that since Romney and I go to the same church, I was a blind enthusiast and would follow him if he were selling Activia yogurt as a BM regulator.  Not true.  It does help me to understand him better, but I don't really care what his religion is.  He was qualified to lead in a way that Obama isn't, or choses not to.  In recent weeks, I'd listen to Romney and feel happy, energized, grateful, inspired.  I'd see Obama's smug expression and hear him spout out low blows, making hypocritical remarks, and rub shoulders with the all-wise and clearly inwardly confident Katy Perry and feel ill.  

When my last tears were shed, the McFlurry was digesting, I'd deleted the Facebook app off my phone, and Jeff and I were each quiet, a few bits of lightening struck my brain and I've been clinging to them since:

1. I can't control Obama, I can't control other voters, but I can control myself.  All over again I am resolved to be a better wife and mother, and to work even harder to spiritually nourish my family.  I still have hope that this battered country can somehow pull through (probably not for 4 more years, but who knows?).  However, whatever the direction of our country, my kids need to be stronger than I was because they're going to face more than I did.

2. I have my faith, I have my covenants, and no one can any of it from me.  There is protection promised to the faithful and humble. 

3. Since Katy Perry and Rihanna were around before last night's election, the world was getting sicker anyway.  Even if Romney had won, this moral decline has long been prophesied and a concept accepted by many religions; that isn't just a Mormon thing.  It's just time to get tougher.

4. One of the first emotions to hit me when the election was called was loneliness.  I feel like I can't relate to anyone who would vote for Obama -- why the love of punishment??  And yet my countrymen said, "Everything is horrible -- here's to more of the same!!  Yay!!!"  I turned to Jeff after a few minutes and through my sobs said, "Well that's it.  We're moving to Switzerland."  That is a long shot, but I'd go and love the beauty, chocolate and Coke Lite every day.  Anyway, back to the point: I felt isolated.  I felt horrified at the thought of watching my wonderful America descend further into debt, weakness, and frustration.  So since we probably can't exactly get off a sinking ship, I felt motivated to be a patriot for the things that made America great.  I'm going to throw a bang-a-rang 4th of July party every year.  I'm going to pray harder for our country.  I'm going to be more of an enthusiast for the things we're losing our grasp on.   

Do I sound like a religious zealot, or a cheeseball?  Probably, especially to someone who thinks God's laws are not for the exciting and the awesome.  People feel pressure to be "progressive" and that means God doesn't get to make hard calls on things like abortion, marriage, work ethic, etc.  If people think that will make them happy, fine.  The older I get, the more I realize people are just going to do what they are going to do, and there's not much use worrying about it or trying to change them.  I can, likewise, do what I am going to do.

It's just a waste, and I'm still mourning that waste.

Mitt, my family loves you.  I feel indescribably grateful that you stepped up to serve, and I will always admire you.  

My hope for the next 4 years is that those I love will thrive even under these dismal circumstances.

And if you're still reading this blog post, wow.

04 November 2012

Halloween Hangover

Even though Jude is not fully aware of all that is Halloween, I think it might still have been (mostly) one of the best days of his life.  I also learned quite a bit about the world of Holidays with Toddler Jude.

This is the best it's going to get for the complete costume shot (at the ward Trunk or Treat).  Next year I'm planning for him to dress up as someone/something that has blondish curly hair.  It's not worth the battle to keep something on his head.  Maybe he'll have outgrown that....

I strategized and schemed ALL DAY so that he would be rested and ready for Jeff's firm's Trick or Treat, but also a little hungry so that he'd be so excited I was giving him candy, he'd forget about the hat on his little head.  He got a good nap, but the hat was instantly greeted with:

And I'd like to point out that's a split Kit Kat melting in his two little mittens.

Once Elizabeth told me I'd think my babies are so cute even when they're crying, and she was right!  He looks at me with these big eyes filled with juicy tears, pleading with me to save him from a completely and utterly harmless situation, and I have to laugh and give him a kiss.  He's got my heart.

This is right after he slurped an entire Reese's into his mouth.  He operated in constant fear that I was going to take every last ounce of candy away.

I just wish Jeff had been able to enjoy himself a bit more :).

He concocts a new facial expression daily.

This little alligator said something (don't ask the pregnant girl to remember what) when you opened its mouth for candy.  Jude opened and closed it about 30 times and when we started to walk away doing the fake goodbye, he picked it up to bring with him.  

I had imagined hanging out at Jeff's firm party a little longer.  I imagined hanging out at every Halloween event a little longer.  But my eyes were opened to the fact that a sugared up toddler in a costume that he's feeling funky in is a toddler tippy toeing composure, and it's best to keep moving while he's feeling good.  After a brief-ish stay at Jeff's office we were off to meet friends at the mall.  Jude seems to feel it is his duty to give Violet a hug and kiss every time he sees her.  It is heartwarming as long as he's not too zealous....

Trying to climb.  Nice.

Bringing me a present: the caution sign.

After a quick stop at the mall we took him to a few houses on our street, and put him to bed. He was so wiped out he didn't even wake up when a few herds of trick or treaters either couldn't or didn't read the "Please knock -- baby sleeping" note above the doorbell.  After a few doorbell rings I put a big, blue X in painter tape over the doorbell to make it more clear.  The next batch of kids included a 7ish year old boy who said, "Hey, there's something on your doorbell."
"I know; I put it there.  I have a sleeping baby upstairs so I don't want anyone to ring it."
"But now it's broken."
"No, tomorrow I'll just take the tape off and it'll be fine."
He looked at me like I obviously knew nothing about doorbells and their delicate nature, claimed his prize and was on his way.

There was a kid dressed up as Steve Jobs, New Balance shoes and all.  He wins for my own personal competition I silently hold every year.  Our neighborhood is crawling with kids, so not only were the dark streets sort of funky with the murmur of tons and tons of little voices, dolloped with muffled parent calls and warnings, but we were also out of candy by 8:15.  Jeff and I collapsed on the couch, commented on how it felt like it should be midnight or something, and watched HGTV for a while until heading to bed.

Other Halloween festivities:

We went to an intensely awesome party thrown by some friends from church, and it was the first time I was asked to dress up in costume in years.  I thought that chapter of my life was over.  We stuck Smarties to our jeans and went as Smarty Pants.  I wish we had a picture, but alas.  Just trust me, the costume wasn't amazing but the party planner was.  It was loads of fun.

Last Saturday we tried out one of those Carnival-esque Pumpkin Patches with some friends.  Smelled like horses (poop), full of sketchy rides that we didn't let Jude go on, etc. etc. etc.  We didn't even buy a pumpkin there.  It's always great to experiment, however, and maybe next year Jude will get to try a pony ride.  Please note in the picture, Jude is holding up 2 cars like he's just won the lottery, and Shelby on the far right is pulling her Mama's hair with a look of delight.

 Jude's constant fizzing-over enthusiasm is an infectious hoot.

Halloween is so much fun with kids (or kid)!  Even as exhausted and uncomfortable and emotionally off-kilter as I've been, I loved this holiday this year with Jude.  Now just wait till Christmas and I might pop a blood vessel.