Noah's Blessing Day

Monday, December 31, 2007

Yesterday was a big day for our baby boy. Not only did he turn six weeks old, it was also his blessing day! He wore the most perfect little outfit made by my mom-- an old-fashioned one-piece suit with knicker-style bottoms, a double-breasted vest with teeny bowtie, and a "Newsie" style cap. (The cap didn't stay on long... wiggly boy!). His proud papa officially christened him Joseph Noah and gave a sweet blessing for his life with us. It was a good moment, made even better by the fact that both Joe's and my family were able to be there and share it with us.
A pretty great end to a pretty wonderful year, I'd say!

Christmas 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

This has been an unusual year for me. Typically, I am over-excited about Christmas, with its bows and lights and songs and trees and cocoa and giftwrap and stories and firesides and activities and tearjerker films and family gatherings... I relish the first listening of my favorite carols for the year... I plan elaborate gift ideas... I live for the traditions and prepare for perfect gatherings.

But this year, all I want for Christmas is right here, in my little Mason Attic. It's not too fancy-- the little apartment with dust bunnies in each corner and a pile of laundry needing to be folded. There's no designer Christmas tree with matching ornaments... No beautiful mantle with stockings and fresh greenery artfully arranged. We don't have cute furniture (well, except for the bed and the crib...) and the hardwood floors are getting scuffed...

But in the pack-n-play crib behind me is a grunting, snuffling little 6-week-old trying to get to sleep... His sighs and snorts are so perfectly dear and satisfying that I think I don't need any other music. And in the room adjoining this one, my handsome, loving, due-for-a-haircut, overgrown kid of a husband is sprawled on the couch watching his gift from me (three seasons of Arrested Development on DVD) at a minuscule volume out of respect for the baby (What a good dad!). He is equipped with hugs and kisses on demand, so what other gifts could I possible ask for? And I am in my p.j.s, rested from a nice afternoon nap, comfortable and content with the time I have gotten to spend with our families but oh-so-glad whenever we make it HOME...

And this is all I need this year. I don't need gifts and "memory making moments" and trimmings and parties. All I need is my husband Joe. My baby Noah. Some choice moments with Joe's family and some good ones with mine as well. And my HOME.

So peace to you and yours, and I hope you can find the joy and contentment I have found this Christmas season. I'm sure that in no time at all, the world will crowd back into my life (and yours as well), but until then, I am going to feel this pervasive deep gratitude and let this moment last a bit longer.

Let Me Just Say:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

from our wacky family to yours.


A Fun Activity For Your Christmas Break:

Monday, December 24, 2007

click on the picture to be taken to a cool interactive gingerbread house...Get your decorating fix the virtual way! No mess!

Today's fun provided by children's book illustrator

Who Could Resist This Face?

Friday, December 21, 2007

He's one month and three days today... Can he stay this small forever, please?

R.I.P., Pink Razr... + a Request:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My cell phone died a tragic and horrible death. The kind of death from which there is no recovery. So if you consider yourself one of my "contacts", even if it's not too often, will you please email me, call and leave a voice mail, or text me your phone number? I need to rebuild my list.
Please DON'T leave your number in the comments section here, as it can be seen by creeps. (No, I don't mean YOU, Steven. I MIGHT mean YOU, Pickaxe Gary...)

If you don't have my email or cell, let me know via comment and we'll figure it out.




Well, It Makes ME Laugh!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So, OfficeMax has this ridiculous Elf Generator that never fails to make me laugh. You plug in a photo or two of your own, let the "machine" work its magic, and before you know it, you and your loved ones have JAZZ HANDS while they shimmy away! (I really think the key is to find photos where the people are already making ridiculous faces... Hence, my family is perfect!!)

Enjoy this gallery of elves, and keep an eye out for a few more to be added. I really think my parents need "elfing".

Merry Christmas!!

*Emily, Joe and Lil' Noah*
click HERE

*Kyle and Beckie*

click HERE

*Peter, Mary, Dave and Max the Toy Poodle*
click HERE

*Tamara and Steven*
click HERE

*Mom and Dad*
click HERE

*Sarah and Kirsti*
click HERE

I'm a Sucker For Surveys...

Monday, December 17, 2007

My sister Kirsten has this survey on her blog. My brother Steve followed suit. So here I am... jumpin' on the bandwagon. Everyone, feel free to copy/paste into your own blog and do it too. Happy Monday!
If my house were burning down and I could only retrieve one object, I'd save my___?
By "object", I'm going to assume my dumb bird and my amazing husband and perfect son (and various and sundry Masons) are all taken care of...And Joe already said he'd grab the computer hard drive (photos, documents, etc.) so I get to grab either some journals or some scrapbooks/photo albums.

If I were a superhero, the superpower I'd most want is_____?
To fly. Seriously. I love when I have flying dreams.

The song that best describes my life is______?
"Top of the World"-- Carpenters... (c'mon, sing along with me!)

My favorite beverage is_____?
Mountain Dew. Or Cherry Limeades from Sonic.
Or, these days, Starbucks hot cocoa.

My favorite candle scent is____?
Pumpkin Spice.

My favorite restaurant is_____?
Cheesecake Factory or TGIFridays or California Pizza Kitchen...

If I had to wear the same color shirt every day, it would be_____?
Turquoise. Or Red. Or Brown.

My favorite hymn is_____?
"Be Still My Soul" and "The Spirit of God"

If I were given one million dollars and 24 hours in which to spend it I would buy____?
An apartment in Rome ($280, 000). A cabin in the mountains in Utah ($450,000). Pay off student loans for myself and my whole family (maybe $100,000 total, if that?). A HUGE Anthropologie splurge ($10,000). Tickets for a trip to the British Isles, including tickets to a few Arsenal soccer games for Joe ($10,000). A new VW Bug, aqua with whitewall tires ($25,000). Tickets for a future trip to Korea to see Joe's parents ($5,000). Tickets for my parents to take a trip of their own ($5,000). Savings ($100,000). The rest spent on presents for my friends and siblings ($15,000). I've thought this out.

If I had to eat the same thing for dinner every day for the rest of my life, it would be_____?
Steak and loaded potatoes, asparagus, salad, mountain dew, cupcakes for dessert.

The one movie that I wouldn't mind watching over and over again is_____?
The LOTR trilogy, including cast commentary and all extras. Best movie of all time. Or Sound of Music, 'cause I love to sing along.

The strangest place I've ever been to is_____?
the operating room during my c-section. It felt like they were making bread in my abdomen. It was the strangest, most disconcerting sensation ever.
The place I'd most like to visit is_______?
Back to Italy or back to San Francisco.

The two adjectives that best describe me are____ and________?
Zany and Passionate

The person I spend the most time on the phone with is______?

My mom. With Genny, Katie, Sarah and Rochelle in the next spot.

The last person I talked on the phone with is______?

Mary. We talked about cruisin' around STL to take some photographs.

This morning I ate_____ for breakfast.
Blueberry Danish in a can we made at home... with cold skim milk.

On a scale of one to ten, with one being a neat freak and ten being a total slob, I'm a_____?
I LOVE organization, but fail at it a lot... And I HATE total slobness... so I am about a 4.

The store I buy most of my clothes from is______?
Old Navy or Target. Though I'd LOVE to stock my entire wardrobe at Anthropologie.(Seriously, who could resist??)

The one thing for which I'd most like to be remembered after I die is_____?
Being a genuine, good, creative, warm, loving mom and wife.

The best Christmas present I ever got was______?
Anything my mom or dad makes me... Like a chalkboard/felt board when I was 4, Cabbage Patch kid and Care Bear when I was 7 or 8, Dad painted a wooden train for me about 5 years ago and wrote a book of poems last year... Mom is making Noah's blessing outfit this Christmas... The list goes on and on.

The general authority who I most enjoy hearing speak is_____?
All of them! (I'm REALLY missing Neal A. Maxwell, and haven't been able to choose a favorite since.)

My favorite perfume is_____?
Anything fresh, light, slightly citrusy. (Like Clinique Happy).

On average, I'm about_____ minutes late for church on Sundays.

The last book I read is______?
Sybil. You know, the multiple personality lady?

My favorite television show is______?
Scrubs. The Office.

My favorite Sesame Street character is_____?
Cookie Monster. I love that shade of blue!!
If my life were made into a movie, I'd want______ to play me.
Zooey Deschanel 'cause she's quirky. Maggie Gyllenhaal because she's spunky... Viggo Mortensen because he's hot. (Whaaa...?)

My greatest fear is______?
The untimely death of someone I love-- esp. my husband or son.

If I could choose a new name for myself, it would be_____?
Zoe, Chloe, Pepper, Piper, Laurel... Something quirky and/or artistic.

When I was five, I wanted to be a(n)______ when I grew up.
Teacher!!! Isn't that cute? For many years afterward, teaching was NOT my career choice. I went through the Cetacean Biologist phase (humpback whales are the best), the Singer in a Rock Group phase, the Broadway Actress phase, and more seriously, the Graphic Designer phase... before landing solidly back in the teaching track almost 20 years later. So even 5-year-olds can be wise, eh?

If I was given an extra $10 at Wal-Mart, I would______?
Either buy candy, or go buy art supplies.

In five years, I'd like to be doing the following:

Being an oh-so-clever stay-at-home mom with two of our four children (one on the way), taking lots of bright, colorful, genuine photographs of them, making sweet little arts and crafts with them, reading lots of books to/with them, taking nature walks with them, sewing stuff for our home, making yummy meals for my hubby, making a little money with photographs or some other creative endeavor, maybe substitute teaching or tutoring somewhere, feeling at peace
with being poor and simple, working on being less and less worldly... In touch with my own soul and tuning out the noise of the world. Happy with my small, simple, lovely family universe.
My favorite day of the week is____?
These days? Any day. They are all nearly identical. So, maybe Wednesday? Monday? Yeah, I'll go with Monday. The fresh start of a new week, Beckie is off work, church has edified me, Joe is usually home with us... Yep. Okay.

My favorite temple is_____?

Nauvoo or Salt Lake City.

My dream job is____?
Designing kids' bedrooms, being an apprentice to some good photographers (Katie, are you hiring?), making movie previews, movie critic, cupcake baker...?

My favorite animated Disney movie is_____?

Aladdin or Little Mermaid...

The last movie I was in a theater is_____?
August Rush. I cried. For good reasons.

My Little Thoughts...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Today, Joe, Noah and I bundled up, took the stroller out, and walked to Starbucks for some hot chocolate and pastries. I had a chocolate chip banana bread and Joe had this cranberry concoction with frosting on top that was to die for. We enjoyed the brisk air, the walk, the together time, looking in at the perfect little baby face tucked in among blankets and the stocking cap my mom knitted him... Altogether, we enjoyed every moment of our little field trip.
Honestly, the image in my head of walking around our amazing neighborhood with a baby in a stroller has been one of my favorite images all throughout my pregnancy. What a lovely ideal. So far, it is living up completely to the dream.

So... while I have posted lots and lots of pictures lately, there hasn't been much wordy substance to go along with them... I attribute this mostly to the new task I've had of balancing weird sleep schedules, new responsibilities, and finding balance among it all. Frankly, I probably haven't been THAT awake these past three weeks. Lately, though, I am feeling like I finally have coherent thought, creative urges, and time to do little things in between all the new stuff (soothing, diaper changing, feeding, sanitizing, lotioning, bathing, dressing, washing, ogling, cooing, rocking, singing, showing off, photographing, etc.). I have even gotten HALF my Christmas gifts done with 11 days left! I might even get the rest done!

Anyway... today's post is dedicated to my thoughts, ramblings and words, to make up for the recent lack. I think it is good for my brain to stay fit with ponderings once in a while, even when the weird sleep routine isn't what it is used to. So I'll leave you with a list of said ramblings--

a. I AM getting between 6 1/2 and 8 hours of sleep each night.... It's just punctuated with 20-45 minute feeding breaks 3 or 4 times a night.

b. I MOSTLY feel very calm and competent as a new mom. I give a LOT of credit to being 30, being one of 7 kids, and being the last of my friends to have kids (benefit of lots of observation and pointers!).

c. That said, I ABSOLUTELY could not remain calm and competent without Joe, who is such a natural dad that it is spooky. (You sure you don't have a few kids tucked away somewhere, Sweetie??) Joe takes Noah right when I feel that calmness start to fray... And his fresh energy gets our son back to where he needs to be, and all is well in the house.

d. Noah seems to be a textbook baby-- He DOES fuss, but there is always a reason, and if treated, baby is fine again.

e. His cry is still newborn-y and cute, but I can see that losing its charm eventually.

f. Noah loves: the swing for naps, the bouncy seat for "awake/observing the world" time, his car seat for naps, the "vibrate option" on above accessories, being swaddled (but not GETTING swaddled. There IS a difference), Dad's football carry, baths, his Arsenal binkie, diaper changes.

g. I currently love: hot showers, Noah sleeping longer than 1.5 hours, little baby socks, the smell of Noah's hair, spooning with Joe every time I get back in bed, walks around my neighborhood, anything thirst-quenching (I am ALWAYS thirsty), getting packages/Christmas cards in the mail (Katie, yours is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G), TV shows on DVD, message boards online, making gifts, not worrying about school at ALL...

h. I feel 95% healed from the birth/surgery/pregnancy... the other 5% involves more weight loss and a few other minor things, but I feel MOSTLY myself again.

i. Christmas feels like no big deal this year. We have been getting gifts all throughout the autumn because of showers and such, and now we have the best gift of all, so I'm really not NEEDING the whole Christmas experience. In fact, I am MORE emotionally in tune than usual because of Noah and Joe, and I don't need Christmas stories/movies/moments to bring that feeling to the surface.

j. having said that, when I DO reflect on the real reason for the season, I get really really choked up as I think of that teeny little baby being born, because, well... isn't it obvious? God REALLY loved his son, didn't he? I think I'm getting it, REALLY getting it, for the first time this year.

...On that note... Thanks for coming along with me on this wandering, rambling entry. It's nice to be in my own head again, if only for a moment.

Happy Friday!

Oh, Rochelle....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

July photos aren't too long ago, right??


When Joe and I road-tripped out to Utah/Nevada several months ago, one of my stops was to hang with my dear friend Rochelle and her cute boys (three little ones and one very tall one.) I ditched Joe and went to church with them one Sunday, and I corralled the whole gang, made them go outside in the broiling sun, and took a few cute family shots of them. (And of course, one or two of Rochelle and me...)

I know this is ridiculously delinquent in posting, but can't we forget that little oversight and just enjoy how good-looking this family is?

(love you, Rochelle...)

{and if you look closely, you'll see how 4-year-olds get after taking one too many...}
{Brothers can be best friends or worst enemies. Today, it's the first one.}
{Miss you, Ro.}Did you happen to notice those boys' blue blue eyes? (Baby, too??) Girls will be lining up one day!

...see my pink hair and the preggy belly? I miss both of those, too. But Noah is a fair trade.

As for you, Kate Bro., Kate Ben., MacPhersons, and other such amigos and amigas... I never posted pics of YOU either, from that trip in July. Get ready. This'll happen SOON.

Ah, 4 a.m. Am I really this awake right now? Did my son really just let me sleep OVER 2.5 hours just now? (okay, it was only ten minutes over 2.5, but these days, those extra ten minutes are precious...)

Photo of the Day

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snapped this one this morning. It's my current favorite.

A Bit of Holiday Cheer:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I am like a little mouse in the attic here... Holed up in the top floor of our Masonic Lodge, avoiding RSV for my little one by keeping to the apartment, mostly. It has been a slower, more lovely pace, but one weird side effect is that it really is NOT beginning to look/feel a lot like Christmas everywhere I go.

I don't hear the canned Christmas carols in every store, I don't see many decorations around, I don't have bags and bags of gifts I hunted down at the mall... I haven't seen one single Santa Claus yet.... No Salvation Army bell ringers... No snow flurries on my windshield...

It's just me and my baby and often my husband in our little cocoon. I've just begun listening to carols here at home, and even sent Joe out on Tuesday (Monday??) to get us a Christmas tree (but a small one, this year, okay, Babe?) but other than that, it's just GENERIC WINTER up here in my life.

Funny, then that nearly a week later, we finally got around to decorating the tree and the house for Christmas. The poor lil' tree sat in its watered stand for DAYS before I could muster the desire and energy to pull out Christmas boxes and begin. But last night was the night, and we put on the movie White Christmas, got sleeping Noah in the festive mood, and got our teeny little tree ship-shape:

{Joe puts on the first ornament}

{Noah doesn't realize it, but he's part of the fun!}

{the angel goes on last...}

...and just for fun:
(I have the lofty goal of taking a few more of these "Santa Pics" until I am PERFECTLY satisfied, but for now, this one will do. It was a quick snapshot at the time!)

...He kinda looks like Quasimodo here. Sad...

This Cute Lil' Family

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jaime is one of my good friends here in St. Louis. She is SUPER-creative (check out her Etsy store HERE and her blog HERE), a mother of two really really ridiculously good-looking children, and still manages to be productive and clever. Her hubby is a 4th-year med student, which means he is REALLY busy, and yet they manage to be a really good team with their kids.

A week or so before I had Noah, I had the opportunity to take their family photos... and though it is a few weeks later, here are some of my favorites from our afternoon together:

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