Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Success!

Dear Kate and Riley,
The holiday celebrations are in full swing this year and we are having a blast. Zach and I have been shopping, listening to Christmas music in the car, obsessing over Christmas lights, and reading Christmas books.

Tonight we had our ward party which was a "breakfast with Santa". We all came in our pj's, had breakfast for dinner and got to meet Santa! I was nervous because of Zach's experience last year but it is surprising what an understanding of presents can do for a child's fear of strange men dressed in red suits! We have waved at Santa at the mall a few times and talked a lot about sitting on his lap and telling him what he wants. Zach always says "cars, choo-choos" when we talk about Santa, this kid knows what he wants.

I think the only thing working against us was the long line and other kids getting scared. The longer he waited and the more kids he saw freak out, the more nervous he seemed to get. But, he did just fine! He was definitely nervous but he sat on Santa's lap and replied "yeah" quietly to every question. I don't think he got out any of his wishes but with some coaching we think Santa understood what Zach wants. It was really sweet and just more proof that my baby is growing up.

We think we'll even give him another chance to talk to Santa next week.


Zach and his buds Dane and Will were SO cute in their pj's! This is about half of our play group who are all blond 2 year old boys. They are too cute.

Zach started out listening intently to Polar Express

But his attention span is only so long

Then Will found him and it was all over. These two are too cute lately, they love each other so much.

He was nervous but not crying! I was a proud mama!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday

Dear Kate and Riley,
How is it possible that three years have gone by? We decided to celebrate your birthday yesterday since Sundays are a little chaotic these days. We went and bought some toys to donate, I always love getting to pick out some girly things for you since I only get to buy Zach trains and trucks and it looks like that's all I'll be buying for the next few years.

After that we stopped by the cemetery. There is a new marker next to yours with the words Families are Forever across the top and a scripture from 2nd Nephi on the bottom. I have a feeling those parents chose that spot for their baby because they were comforted by the pictures and words on your marker. I was sad for that family but happy that they chose that spot right next to you two, it made me feel good to think that maybe that family in their grief saw that spot and knew it was the right place for their baby to be.

Zachary wanted to sit down on the grass by your stone. I thought it was strange but he actually sat very quietly and I had a few moments of very peaceful reflection. I was amazed at everything that has happened in the past three years. There was another very new grave there and the very sad parents were there grieving. I thought back to three years ago when we probably looked much like that couple, so sad, so distraught and wondering if we'd ever find joy in our lives. And here I sat, just a little ways down from them, with Zachary in my arms and your brother in my belly. I thought about how my heart still aches for you and yet it is so full of joy and gratitude for my baby in my arms and my baby who will hopefully soon be in my arms. How I have such a greater appreciation for them than I ever could have before you. We have found peace and joy.

This year alone I know three other moms who have lost babies. I have had the chance to talk to each of these mothers, to share things about my journey with them, to understand them when others may not have, to listen and hopefully comfort them. I think that shows that something positive and uplifting has come from your lives here on earth. I have a feeling that you are doing great things in heaven as well and it makes me happy to know that.

I love you, I miss you. A day has never gone by that we don't pray for you and thank Heavenly Father for letting us briefly have you in our lives and in our arms. Zachary doesn't quite understand but it was a precious moment yesterday when I sat with him, we looked at the picture of Jesus on your marker and told him about his sisters, how they are in heaven and with Jesus and how some day we will all be together again. He sweetly said "yeah" to everything I told him and I know some day he will understand.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration in heaven.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Lesson Learned

Dear Kate and Riley,
Zach taught me an important lesson about Christmas last night. Since this will be our first Christmas at our house on our own I have been feeling a little sad that Zach will be missing out on the big tree at my mom's and the nice Christmas decorations. I tried to convince Dad that we needed a new bigger Christmas tree (since ours is tiny and sparse) and felt like I could justify buying some new, nicer ornaments to take the place of the 99 cent ornaments I bought years ago when I was single.

Lucky for Dad pregnancy laziness kicked in and I decided we would just set up what we had. I thought I could go buy some new ornaments if the tree was too bare. So last night Dad went and got the Christmas stuff out and we set up the tree. Zach's excitement was heart-melting. He was SO happy about our little tree. He doesn't know or care that its only a little bit taller than he is. He didn't care that most of our ornaments are cheap and kind of tacky looking. He was just excited for his OWN tree (we didn't put one up last year). He exclaimed "OOOH!" over each and every ornament either proudly shouting out what it was "SNOWMAN!" or asking us if he didn't know, "WAH ID DIS?" Every time he looks at it he just exclaims "CWISTMAS TWEE!" and he will NOT let us turn the lights off, ever if he's awake they are on.

It was such a good lesson for me in this busy time of year. Its not about the biggest, best or most expensive. Its about our little family spending time together and making memories. I will always cherish the memory we made last night while Zach helped us decorate "Zachy Cwistmas Twee!"

Today he tried to HUG the Christmas tree when we came home from running errands. I think this is going to be a great Christmas.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Turkey Week

Dear Kate and Riley,
I guess nothing very noteworthy happened between Halloween and Thanksgiving! We just got back from a week in Wisconsin to visit Grandma Janice and Grandpa Ross at their new house in Waunakee, WI. I never, ever thought I would be spending any time in Wisconsin, let alone that my parents would live there! It was a very very different place from CA or Houston and it felt strange to have my parents things in a house that wasn't "ours".

We spent a week with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Jenny and Uncle Chris were there for part of the time too. It was fun, we missed Summer and Ali, but Zach liked being the center of attention and it was a little less chaotic with only one 2 year old to entertain. We came prepared for the worst but Wisconsin decided to go easy on us our first time and we had mild (?) weather-- 30's and 40's were the highs. Someone at church even said a prayer of thanks for the warm weather! The wimpy Californians did NOT think it was warm but the locals were out in their t-shirts and enjoying the fact that it was 20 degrees higher than the average for this time of year. We had no snow which was only momentarily disappointing and I think I realized more than ever that I HATE the cold and I hope we never ever have to leave CA.

Because of the "warm" weather we were able to enjoy some fun hikes and walks and Zach even spent time at the park with Papa Ross. Thankfully someone was brave enough to face the elements for the sake of entertaining the 2 year old. Thanksgiving was nice with just the 7 of us, probably the smallest I've ever had but nice.

On Saturday we headed out to the Wisconsin Dells which is a resort area where many of the resorts have indoor water parks. We spent the day at an indoor water park which was actually pretty fun! Zach of course enjoyed himself but I think the big kids did too. The Dells is a place unlike any other, really hard to describe unless you see it for yourself. Wisconsin was just so different than what we're used to.

Grandpa Ross carving the turkey

Jenny learned how to make pie crust (but I'm pretty sure our friend Marie actually made this one!)

Grandma Janice made her famous rolls-- 5 years of marriage and I still can't get them as good as mom. Maybe in another 20?

Zach sneaking rolls before dinner. This is probably the most you'll see of my belly.

The group, minus the pregnant girl (hey if I take the pictures at least I don't have to be in any of them!)

Friday hike, I loved him all bundled up

Mom all bundled up, not quite as cute

The girls

Jenny and Chris
the hike was short and perfect for Zach until we came to the end-- the cliffs of death. Not exactly crazy 2 year old friendly. I think grandma and I each had five heart attacks before we left this spot.

Wisconsin Dells-- Kalahari indoor water park!

One night we went up to the Capitol in Madison to look at Christmas lights--except there weren't any. It was FREEZING but still pretty to see the capitol all lit up.

The Zoo!
Our last day in town we went to the Zoo in Madison. It was free so we figured even if it was too cold, no big loss. There were a few indoor enclosures to warm up in between walking around in the cold so it was a successful outing.

Zach and Grandma in the monkey house. The chimps were funny and so close! (and it was heated in there, I didn't ever want to leave)

The fun thing about a small zoo was how close we got to the animals. I don't think I've ever been so close to a tiger!

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa! We had fun! But we're glad you are coming to us for Christmas.