Friday, December 28, 2012

Seizing the night, the very late night.

Last night at about eight thirty I left the house to get paper towels.
I returned with this stuff instead:
This is what happens when Dave is busy with MBA applications, I get out alone for the first time in weeks, Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, and Kohl's is open till eleven. It was the perfect storm.And yes, I got a fur scarf. All I can say is, BAM! Polka dot skinnies, denim shirt, reindeer thermal, sweater slippers, and running shoes - every girl should have a giddy shopping spree once in a while.

Every girl should not then stay up till 1am cleaning the house for company (super excited for Kyle and Megan to get here so we can party!) and then get four broken hours of sleep thanks to a congested baby, but you roll with it.

Luckily, Dave is good at rolling with it, so when the crazy overcomes me (like that guy in Fight Club, but domesticated) and I wake everyone up in the middle of the night by loudly scrubbing, spraying and rinsing the upstairs bathroom, he doesn't lock me in the closet. In fact, he has the decency when I finally get in bed to ask me how my shopping trip was and did I get anything fabulous. I would have murdered me! Staying out till 11 shopping and then rattling around the house cleaning like a crazy person... It's a good thing I married a chill guy. Who I will call now to stop at Costco on his way home. We still need paper towels...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our First Christmas in UT!

I have had Christmas in VA, England, and Vegas, but never Utah, though I've lived here for about eight years. While we were missing friends and family, I must admit it was a fabulous Christmas! A snowy Christmas Eve gave us a winter wonderland, plus Riley is old enough now to unwrap presents and get caught up in all the excitement Christmas brings.

We were not without family fun, either - we enjoyed spending Christmas Eve and Christmas lunch with the Harrelds and extended family from Vegas and Logan. It was a cozy, happy couple of days - we packed in as much holiday activity as Dave's work schedule would allow and slept the sleep of the thoroughly partied-out last night.

For a taste of Christmas with the Munions, watch this:

I really need to learn how to put these things to music.

And here are  a few pictures - not half of what i took, but I have to rein myself in somehow! (But Don you should know I'll be emailing you a bunch more of you beautiful people.)


Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you were safe, warm and happy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cookie Decorating + Underpants Dancing = a Good Day.

And when it's too cold to play outside, you get creative.


Sugar shock!
Turn your back for a second and she WILL dump every last sprinkle on her cookie.

But it was totally worth it. And Don laughing in the background as Dave removes Riley is tooootally worth it!
Visions of sugar plum fairies are danced in his head, one may suppose.

I love these cozy winter evenings spent with loved ones. I love how EVERY gathering this time of year is a party. I love the cards and letters coming in (we are for sure doing cards next year - they are great!) and love starting new traditions with my little family.  I'm so excited for Riley to open her presents - we only got her two things but they are soo Riley - she is going to FLIP OUT. We did not get Joe presents as he's a clueless 5-month-old, and got small presents for each other, since we aren't millionaires yet. It really isn't about the presents, is it?
I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on their journeys.
- Charles Dickens, "Christmas Carol"
I love that book - it gets read every year about this time, ever since someone gifted it to me in forth grade. I like it because of Scrooge. He is such a hard-nosed, selfish jerk kind of person, and then a miracle opens his eyes and changes his perspective and he is able to become a kind, grandfatherly friend. So there's always hope. I also like Bob Cratchit, who is happy and patient even though his boss is awful and his circumstances humble. I like that he slides down the ice with some kids on his way home - it takes a confident, free spirit to do that. Reminds me of Dave.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lucky our men look good in pink

 Dear Joe and his pink hand-me down toys! I mean, he kind of rocks em, so it's ok. Isn't he studdly?

Don't you LOVE him? He is the sweetest - it's such a beautiful age! Toddlers are sweet too, but have a little, zing to them.

Joe is 5 months old today. And Riley is 18 months - her half birthday! To celebrate, she threw a bowl and a glass off the table for a very satisfying shatter and watched Charlie Brown's Christmas four times (she likes the dancing I think, and maybe enjoys seeing cartoons with her same proportions).

 Dave couldn't join the fun because he had food poisoning from our delicious mexican meal last night. Poor guy! His knees are sore for kneeling over the porcelain throne all night - ouch and ick. He stoically went to work this morning, but had to come home after a few hours and we have been nursing him on ginger ale, jello, and tylenol ever since. May we all get a good nights rest tonight!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 hi-light video. Christmas came early! You're welcome.

 As the year draws to a close, and I start reflecting on all the changes that have taken place in our lives I am feeling overwhelmed by how good God's been to me . It makes me want to sing a country ballad, but I won't. Instead, I made this video, hi-lighting some of our greatest blessings: the bobbies, obviously.

*Credit to Dave for teaching me how to use iMovie - I can't wait to make lots of cheesy movies in 2013.

      Riley went to nursery today! It's a big deal - I no longer have to corale her in the adult Sunday school class, pretending to learn something while subtly pushing her chubby hands out of my neighbors purse or scuffing my foot in the carpet to hide her cheerio crumbs. Of course she loves nursery - she loves playing with other babies and was fascinated by the singing and snack-time routines. They kept giving her a napkin to lay her snack on and she proudly kept blowing her nose in it, but she caught on eventually that it was for food, not boogies. I was in there with her this week to sub for one of the other teachers but next week she'll go it alone and will rock it, I'm sure.

     This weekend also marked the first time Joe was put to bed by someone other than ourselves. Friday night we went and saw the Hobbit for Jake's birthday and I was surprised how much I liked it! I thought it was funny and humorous. I am not 100% sure if that is because it was or if it was because I was so excited to get out and party like a free woman...I love our babies more than anything, but I can enjoy a night out without hauling diaper bags along as much as the next parental. 

    Saturday we went to dinner and Christmas shopping, just Dave and me. Another first: sent my steak back to the kitchen (Med-rare should NOT have purple in it still, should it?) I felt like a gangster. They brought it back perfectly cooked and delicious and my hell-raising earned us a personal visit from the manager. He pretended to be by our table to sweep, but then talked to us, all timid-like, as if I were indeed a gangster. Dang it feels good...

    Do you ever think I just can't stop typing? It gets a little silly sometimes. It's this ole brain! You know, I lost my debit card this week for four days - just found it in my robe pocket. I also lost my phone, Riley's snow boot, and my coat. The boot and coat aren't coming back I think. I'm hoping that someday when I get to sleep through the night that I will turn into less of a flake. Mom, your thoughts?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Sumo're baby antics

 Sometimes your belly is so fat and your body so bare that sumo stomping is the only practical thing to do.

That "ba-ba"ing she was doing was Riley's take on "boom, boom!"
Yep, Dave sure has taught her some valuable life skills.

Other common evening rituals: splashing in the bath, running laps around the couch, rocking and singing very slow, sleepy songs, sneaking out of bedrooms (similar to Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment, that laser scene), watching tv and hanging out with my best friend hottie of a husband, eating treats or nachos, reading in bed, and family prayer before finally snuggling into my pillow.

 I sure enjoy our evenings!
What they lack in glamor they make up for in coziness.

Also: Riley found a new hiding place:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year! Yay!

So in the past week:

We had a December barbecue with some of Dave's mission buddies we love.
Riley tried to steal herself another baby brother.
 (It's nice when kids entertain themselves. Like shooting balls into a laundry basket filled with Koby, for instance.)

Later, we had a nice visit from some of our favorite Texans: Joe and Patti Smith, ladies and gentlemen! Riley crawled right up in Joe's lap for a good long cuddle. She does this rarely and I wonder, does Riley remember Joe? She's only seen him a couple times, but they truly were wonderful times.  

Pat quickly charmed Joe, which is not an easy task, let me tell you.

They came to visit Joe's mom, who just started her 18 month mission in the Family History Center on Temple Square. She is a lovely woman, of course - all the Smiths are. She raised 11 kids too! She had all kinds of Grandmotherly wisdom:
"Hug your boys - girls are easy to hug, but remember to hug your boys."
"Everyone should have at least three kids - two to replace themselves, and one extra, just in case." Insurance babies! Love it.

 Also this week: 
  • Lots of birthdays: Chris, Jon, and Angie.
  • I attended my first cookie exchange and chocolate-making demo (note: homemade almond joys are divine and have ruined the classic, packaged version for me forever, not that I was ever a huge fan.)
  • Ward Christmas breakfast: Dave made up his own breakfast casserole and it was scrummy, the primary rang in the Christmas spirit with a nativity program which almost killed me with cuteness.
  • Riley's first haircut. I'm missin that mulletty goodness.
  • Joe grew his first teeth and breastfeeding got a little weirder.
  • Andrea moved to Orem.
  • Christmas secrets floating all over the place.
  • MBA applications that practically write themselves! Ha! If only!
  • April Hendricks came for lunch and we discovered she works only a stones throw away. Literally! I could, from our porch break her office window with a stone.
 It is such a delightfully busy time of year. Not a lot of time for naps or blogging, but we cherish the time spent with loved ones and the abundance of Christmas spirit. The beautiful decorations, music, and presents under the tree are so much fun, but it's that Christmas spirit that makes this holiday magical.

I heard a story in conference about a father and son who attended a temple dedication and while the dad was gawking at the beauty of the building, the little boy was experiencing profound spiritual feelings. He asked his Dad, "What's happening here? I've never felt this way before." 

I'm wondering if people might have a similar revelation if they looked beyond all the beautiful 'things' at Christmas and paused to recognize the feelings in their hearts. There might be less stress about expensive gifts, dressing to kill, or having the house decorated to perfection. The spirit of Christmas is, after all, there for us in the very humblest of circumstances. It was strongest in a barn where a poor young family stayed the night and delivered their baby boy. Whether there are presents under your tree or not, whether you have a tree or not, the Christmas spirit, or Christ spirit, is there to uplift, comfort, and inspire. There is always love and peace on earth, when you pause to listen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cuddling Consequences

Well of course you see pictures of MY "consequences" all the time (it all started with a cuddle... actually, with home teaching.  Actually with moving into Foxwood. And so forth.) But here we are talking about that Riley.

Riley is a cuddle monster and I will bet you one MILLION dollars that nothing is better than her chubby arms wrapped around my neck and her awkward baby kiss that leaves sticky on my cheek. However I have two videos on my camera from this week and they both show that being so darn huggable is not without costs.

Oh Joe, you little bully you.

Then you've got this little guy - our neighbor friend who camped out by the door and wailed when his mom dropped him off (so cute/sad). Riley was beside herself trying to cheer him up - she kept trekking up and down the stairs with her books and toys, tried to get him to stomp with her, shoved her binkie in his mouth - all for naught (I was there too, obviously, but my attempts to console him were not well received either, understandably - mom just wasn't me!) Then Riley moved in with full cuddle energy and well, it worked just a little too well. She was wrapped up for about seven minutes and it probably would have been longer but she eventually pinched his cheeks so he, reluctantly, let her go.

And we all learn valuable lessons -

  •  Cuddlers beware: if you are going to engage, always make sure you have an exit strategy.
  •  Cuddler hopefuls: come on too strong and you might end up alone and sore-cheeked.
  • Don't gross out your brother.

 And you think YOU are the one meant to be teaching THEM the lessons :)

*Editors note 11/30/12: I just got off the phone with my mom - I told her about the cuddle session of yesterday and I thought her response was just lovely: she pointed out what great empathy a one-year old showed in reaching out to her distraught visitor. There is the real take-away lesson, isn't it? That there is nothing wrong with focusing all our energy in alleviating the distress of others, and if we can bring ourselves to bother with others, to overcome whatever reticence is holding us back and give them a piece of ourselves, we can make the world a better place. Go ahead - give em a hug! 

Ah, that Mom - she has some pretty inspirational perspectives! Mom's are special like that, and I guess I need to up my game, being a mom and all. There was a definitely more to be got from this experience than cuddling guidelines for a preteen playbook. Though I will someday have preteens...and to them, you are welcome, in advance. 

But seriously, the world needs more huggin'!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Easy like sunday morning? Haha, good one.

That Lionel Richie was full of crap - Sunday mornings are fun and exciting times but about as easy as playing pick up sticks with your butt cheeks (um, that was from 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles', a certain mother's favorite movie so... the crass saying stays.) Nevermind that we don't have church till one, we always find ample ways to fill the time. Have a few pictures from our day, beginning about 6:30am:

Joe comes into his own when he manages to tangle a fistful of Riley's hair around his fingers. 
She actually enjoyed it as much as he did.
Riley decides to "help" unpack Christmas decor:
We roust Dave from his slumbers so we can finish the tree together!
Good morning, starshine! The earth says, "Hello!" (we've been watching a lot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lately. Someone maybe should get us new children's movies for Christmas.) 
Riley is nothing if not persistent. Gets it from Dave, I think - this battle of the wills lasted about ten minutes.
Daddy helping Riley hang the book bear.
Then Riley helping Joe, but not getting much interest from that quarter.
And finally: our beautiful, childproofed tree? We'll see...

Cupcakes for the my lesson today, complete with Christmas tree sprinkles.

And finally: getting dolled up for church. The moment I saw her unscrew the mascara and swipe it across her face kind of passed in horrified slow motion. 
Well THANKS, fine motor skill development - life just got a little more complicated.
Of course, add in all the usual stuff: breakfast, diapers, get spit up on, weather a candy-cane removal induced toddler meltdown, baths, lunch, vacuum crumbs by the tree (Riley's new favorite place to eat), launder for the sake of clean undies, and pack the diaper bag - add all that stuff and you would have a more complete account.

I guess the point is, if Lionel Richie were being honest, the song would go, "Easy like Sunday mornings before kids or church callings." Or, "Crazy like Sunday mornings." But EASY like Sunday morning?? I love your sweet jams, Lionel, but lets get real. Pick up sticks.