Sunday, January 27, 2013

Christmas Morning

Finally, the Christmas blog you've all been waiting for. Well, maybe not, but my family sure has been. I was frustrated with the pictures because I accidently switched my camera to RAW. My computer doesn't handle RAW files well, so I had to convert them, making the pictures yellow and grainy in the process. I told Dave we had to repeat Christmas morning so I could redo the pictures, but he thought I was kidding. Especially since we had just put the tree away.

Our neighbor Andy made this for the kids. It's a sign for their swing set - he even installed it for us. I love it SO much I almost wish we could hang it up in the house instead.

Spencer has really been enjoying his microscope. Recently he looked at spider parts and mold from a lime. VERY cool.

Tyler loves his iPod. It was funny, when he first went out Christmas morning, he was helping the little boys find their Santa presents and getting excited for them. After awhile, he said, "Mom, I can't find my present." He wasn't expecting something so small, and he was thrilled!

I was so impressed with Levi this year. He knew what several of the gifts were, but he never gave them away. He was very excited to give Spencer a harmonica and book.

Here's me and my funny bed head and broken glasses. Chloe always loves my necklaces!

 My boys love wearing suit coats to church, and Dallin was excited to get a new one.

Levi didn't try to open presents early either. Very impressive. However, he did eat everyone's stocking candy.

Chloe was so happy!

When I asked Levi what he wanted for Christmas, he said a monster umbrella. I didn't know if such a thing even existed, but lo and behold, it does! How cute is that? I love Amazon!

They've all really enjoyed playing with this make-your-own monster puppet. We like monsters around here.

Spencer liked his Perplexus so much last year that he asked for the harder one this year. 

Opening presents from grandma.

These superhero dress-ups are the best. Levi, especially, wears them ALL the time. They're great because they can easily slip them on over their heads.

Some items just need to be replaced from time to time because they're so fun, i.e. goofy glasses.

As you may have noticed in these pictures, Levi has a huge laceration on his right eyelid. He split it open in the bathtub right before Christmas. Luckily, Dave had some Dermabond on hand and was able to glue it shut - the laceration, not his eye.

It was a little chilly, but we managed to play with our new toys before it started to rain. We got the boys a basketball hoop, which kept Dave busy Christmas Eve. There's always something to put together!

Even I like Brennan's green machine - it's super fun!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Holiday Baking

I love making desserts, so naturally one of my favorite things about Christmas is holiday baking. This year I made fudge (pecan and marshmallow), molasses cookies, truffles (almond and peppermint), magic cookie bars, and of course sugar cookies (hard and crunchy for Dave and iced for the rest of us). 

But let me back up. A couple weeks before Christmas, we made gingerbread houses. I like to bake 3/4 size houses so everyone can make their own little house. We used to make them on Monday nights for family home evening, but that felt too rushed. So this year we made them on a Sunday afternoon and invited a young couple from church to join us. This worked out great. Plus the lighting was better for pictures.

There's just something so fun about decorating with candy and icing!

Dave went around the table and stuck candy to everyone's faces. That was a hit.

A great thing about this activity is that everyone can do it (check out Spencer's fabulous icing bag holding technique), and it always looks super colorful and festive.

And it isn't too stressful to put the houses together, now that I know the secret about using meringue powder and beating it for 10 full minutes. It was so stiff it burned out my hand mixer. Why wasn't I using my KitchenAide?  I don't know. I guess I have to learn something every year. At least now I have a nice new hand mixer. 

So proud!

Dallin has learned that the more candy he puts on, the more candy he eats off. Smart!

Our friends, Alyssa and Jesse.

We knew they'd love it - they're both artists! 

Now on to the rest of the baking. Of course fudge is everyone's favorite to help with. I don't like to do the marshmallow cream because it's so messy, but they love that part!

Levi perked right up after his nap when we stuck a fudgey spoon in his hand. 

Classic! This is my old, broken rolling pin. Dave's sweet mother gave me a French rolling pin for Christmas, and I LOVE it!

The boys were a huge help. They iced and sprinkled a ton of cookies. We usually go caroling when we hand out the plates of goodies. But it was cold and rainy this year, so we cheated and stayed in the car while the boys ran to each house. We sang carols in the car and enjoyed all the Christmas lights as we drove around. It was lovely.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chloe, 10 months

I couldn't upload pictures for about a week, but the problem seems to have magically corrected itself. Isn't that nice? I think I'll start with Chloe's 10 month update, and what a month it has been! 

She is just an eating machine these days. Sometimes she'll let us feed her, but mostly she wants to do it herself. It's nice because I can put her in her high chair and throw food at her while I clean up the kitchen or make dinner. That way I know she's safe and not choking on something on the floor, plus it frees up my hands.

Christmas was lovely. Chloe was easy and content. She loved her gifts as well as the wrapping and boxes. She never did try to pull lights or ornaments off the tree. What a good baby!

She especially likes this giraffe ball popper toy.

Christmas really is a baby's dream - all those wrappings on the floor to play with!

She got her first tooth in December and her second tooth in January, so that's exciting. Now whenever she cries, we say, "Maybe she's teething." 

I love watching her play with toys. She concentrates so hard to figure it all out. She still doesn't try to crawl, but she'll sit on her bum and just rotate around and around. 

Things got ugly three days after Christmas. Her eyes had been a little goopy earlier in the week, but otherwise she was totally fine. Then all of a sudden she was sad. I took the boys to the riverbed for Spencer to get a water sample to look at with his new microscope. Chloe just wasn't very happy, and when we got home she sounded a little tight in her chest. I gave her a breathing treatment (which she hadn't needed since her last hospitalization), and it seemed to help. But when Dave came home from work she was worse - sad, clingy, coughing, fever. We were up all night with her, and by the next morning we knew this was more than a little cold. She was working really hard to breath. We prayed about it and knew we had to take her to the hospital right away. 

We took her to the E.R., and they admitted her with RSV. Again. My heart sank. I didn't want to be there again! I wanted to be home with my kids, enjoying their Christmas break. I didn't know how long we would be there, but the doctor assured me it wouldn't be nearly as long as when she was 2 weeks old. She was bigger and stronger, but she would need oxygen for a least a couple of days. They were able to take her off the oxygen by Sunday night, and we left Monday morning. But she was still really sick. 

We wondered several times that week if she would need to go back to the hospital. She needed breathing treatments every 4 hours without fail, and her fever wouldn't go away. We took her to the doctor for a follow-up, and her oxygen was so low they almost sent us right back to the peds unit. But after a treatment it went up enough that we were able to go home. However, both her ears were infected. This explained the persistent fever and crankiness. They started her on antibiotics and told us to follow up in 2 days. 

Then she completely stopped peeing, and we spent all of our time trying to get her to drink something. Dave patiently gave her water and gatorade drop by drop, which she fought and often threw up. The doctor said that if she didn't have a wet diaper by the next day then she would have to go to the hospital for I.V. fluids. She also gave her a strong antibiotic shot for the ear infections. Our whole family and many friends prayed for her. She woke up with a slightly wet diaper, and I was ecstatic. She really turned the corner that weekend, and she was practically back to normal a few days after that.

We didn't do anything big or exciting for Christmas. We never went to the beach or on a hike or a family bike ride - all the things we normally like to do over the holidays. I felt bad about that, but the boys didn't complain. The world revolved around this little girl, and we experienced a growing experience instead. We are all thankful for prayer and priesthood blessings, and we are especially grateful to have our baby back. 

We appreciate everything so much more now - every wet diaper, every smile and coo, and every toy she plays with.

Unfortunately, her illness has really messed up her sleep. She's been waking up at night again, which she hadn't done in months. She also hates to take medicine, which she used to love.

Chloe is now almost 11 months, so it's a good thing I got this update done. She has her moments (she's got quite a temper!), but she is also sweet and lovable. She makes my heart go crinkle, crinkle!