Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christmas Baby and Winter Temperatures? HEAVEN!

Sure, I might be hormonal and sleep deprived, but we have WINTER here. That's a big deal. The calendar and position of the earth might say "winter", but here in Hell (I mean, the Phoenix area), the message isn't received that often.

Not only is it rare to have one day in the 40s as the high, but we get two!

Yesterday, we drove in the nice winter rain up to Wickenburg to show my Mom our land. It was 44 degrees at our land site.

I wanted to get a family picture there together (rain or not) but the CF card wasn't in the camera. Grrrrrr! But it was still a nice visit and it reminds me more and more that I want to move on and get there! I just wish we can start building sooner than later, but I'm concentrating on the positive aspect that we have the land. That's a big step!

Here are the Realtor pictures of our land, taken long before we bought it. It would have been nice to have a wintery picture of the family in front of the land in the rain, but this is the next best thing....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Alexander's First Christmas

While it was low-key, and quiet, we enjoyed celebrating Christmas with our new little one, who at just shy of 3 days old, had his very first Christmas.

12/24/10 - Coming Home

We brought him home in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, which is a very special time to bring a baby home! Mikelle was at a friend's house until that afternoon, but Daddy and Christian helped Mommy bring Alexander home. Christian got a few more loving Big Brother pictures in the hospital before we left. We brought him home in his cute lil' reindeer outfit. Thank goodness the antlers aren't real. Could you imagine THAT kind of delivery? Yeow!!

Once home, Mikelle arrived and we took some important "coming home" pics with Alexander and his big brother and sister.

12/25/10 - Christmas Day

Santa brought Alexander a blue "Baby's First Christmas" stocking, and he got some toys from his big sister and big brother. A special gift Mommy received from Daddy and the kids was a locket with Mikelle and Christian's pictures in it, already holding their brand new baby brother. :-)Mommy put him in a Santa hat and got some very important Christmas pictures of him!

Mikelle and Christian absolutely adore him and are so happy to have him here. Sure, it gets hectic, as it is supposed to. They especially want to hold him all the time, and sometimes it's just not possible. However, I am so happy to have these two who already have a special bond with one another and are so happy to have this new baby brother in their lives.

Here is Mikelle and Christian Christmas Morning, and you can see their baby brother behind them, really enjoying the festivities around him. lol Please excuse Christian's attire, as he was too excited about Christmas to change out of his nightime Pull-Up into his daytime regular underwear.

Hey! Christian has pants! I'm not sure if this is before or after the picture above. Seriously, it could be either.

One of the presents for Alexander, from his big sister.

Christmas Day also marked Alexander's first little sponge bath at home. Again, all you're going to get of me (picture-wise) are hands. That's the best I can do for now. I took a picture with him the day before as we were leaving the hospital and EUW. Sure, Alexander is cute, but I offset that and ruin the picture.

And before I forget, the "stats" from the board in the hospital, on 12/22 when I delivered. I was a little alarmed that his initial Apgar Score was a 7, but thankfully all is well with Alexander. The cord was around his shoulders which made the last part of delivery a little more difficult (as opposed to Christian, who just slid right on out. Mikelle? Oy. That was one delivery that deserves it's own posting - or BLOG for that matter. Seriously.)
Christmas - Baby Please Come Home

U2's version of Christmas-Baby, Please Come Home has always been my favorite Christmas song (but it has to be U2's version. The rest don't come close! Not even the 60s original). This year, it had been making me weepy for weeks leading up to Alexander's birth. Of course, having him on 12/22 and bringing him home on Christmas Eve, I think I'll always tear up now when I hear it:

Here it is - in raw U2 form - only the way Bono and the boys can do it (:cry:) Click here or go here (it starts after the first 20 seconds):

Friday, December 24, 2010

Welcome to Our Family, Alexander!

Alexander Layne 12/22/10
8:57 p.m.
7lbs. 7oz.
20 inches long

The picture to the left is him about 12-18 hours old on 12/23/10

Just Born!

Given to Mommy after being weighed and checked out.

The following day 12/23/10. About 18 hours? In his Christmas Jammies.

Mikelle meeting her brother for the first time (12/23/10)

Christian was also so happy to meet his little brother! (12/23/10)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmases of the PAST (and 48 Hours to Baby?!)

Baby in 2 Days?
So I think I'm still good to go to start the induction on 12/22. If all goes well we'll have a baby on 12/22-12/23. I had an ultrasound done on Friday 12/17 and they say he's about 7 1/2 pounds. Therefore, I insist he's already in the 8s. I ran a few errands today with Christian (Mikelle is staying at a friend's house) and while he was well behaved, my body was not. I don't know why my mobility has to be so hosed with pregnancy while other pregnant women can run marathons up until they deliver. Even elderly people whiz passed me like track stars. Each pregnancy has some horrible ongoing pain issues. Sure, Christian's was worse than this, but let's say his was like Krakatoa and this one is like Mt. St. Helens. Still pretty bad!

Christmases of More Simple Times
Anyway, back to Christmas. A few days ago I was thinking of all the things at Christmastime from when we were kids, and how kids today have it way too good and they're just obliterated with so much out there to ask for, see, choose from, etc etc.

The thought started when I was looking for candy canes that went with the color scheme of our tree. Now, they have so many different kinds and different flavors. I was only interested in the color scheme.
Mikelle was whining that I got the Sweet Tart candy canes to put on the tree (and only because they were the right color scheme). She was whining that she wanted the Sour Patch ones. I found myself saying, "When I was a kid, we didn't have all these candy flavors of candy canes. It was Peppermint (and regular mint I think)!" And they were red and white! Maybe green and white too. But that was IT.

Sheesh. It's Candy Canes.
She still complains about the Candy Canes on the tree. They're not hanging there to taste any particular way, but that's how she sees it.

So on a message board I frequent, I mentioned the candy cane incident and asked wht they remember from Christmases of yor that indicate a much more simpler time. Here are some of the answers:

  • Well we sure as heck didn't e-mail Santa, like my niece does.
  • We also couldn't go on YouTube, Itunes or Playlist, etc to hear our favorite Christmas song. We had to hope they played it on the radio, or we went out and bought it...on a CASSETTE (or older media forms like 8-tracks or vinyl). (by the way, I do like these advancements, but I do think things are too easy at our fingertips...still, I am the one putting all this on a "blog" while listening to my blog's playlist!)
  • We didn't have more than one Christmas tree.
  • We didn't have as many Christmas lights and they weren't LED
  • We didn't have store-bought mom baked.
  • We didn't go to school so close to Christmas!
  • We didn't have green least not in my memory!
  • Another one of mine: One thing from the past that I wish was still the case. There were no INFLATABLES. Man, I hate those things. (pssst...if you do too, join my public FB Group (!/group.php?gid=146228418262 to join the cause.) Speaking of which, there wasn't Facebook or an online forum to express discord of certain decorations. Such a simpler time.
  • No pre-baked ginger bread house kits. My thought: Yeah, I'm old school on this one too. Except this year. Christian really wants to do a Gingerbread.graham cracker house and I don't have the energy this year to do it any other way than the pre-made-kit. So this year, I'm a hypocrite on this one this year.
More answers I received:
  • There were no wii or ds games. My son wants all the lastest and greatest.
  • No jibjab to make fun holiday videos.
  • No fifteen types of M & Ms or Hershey's Kisses.
  • No whole aisle of stocking stuffer crap at Target or Wal-mart (my parents actually had to shop at more than one store to find things I'd like!).
  • No spiral, pre-sliced ham (ours came in a can my dad picked up at work as his Christmas present).
  • My gift at the bank was a popcorn ball...I hoped that it would be something different each and every year, but it was always.a.popcorn.ball.
  • No on-line Santa tracking! A local radio or TV station broadcast the updates, though.
  • No restrictions on wishing people a "Merry Christmas" or being afraid of doing it.
  • This is one I relate with. I didn't travel at Christmas until my adulthood: trips halfway across the country to visit relatives (and/or be in more pleasant locations) for Christmas. Christmas happened in our family room, period. If we'd spent the money on a trip somewhere, there wouldn't have been any presents!
  • We could only see Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudoph ONE TIME a year not every other night on 3 different channels . My thoughts: I never liked the Rudolph special. Santa was JERK. There's a really good commentary on YouTube about how much of a jerk he was, but the language is pretty harsh in describing Santa and Donner's behavior (but quite accurate!)
  • When I was a kid stocking stuffers didn't cost as much as the "gifts". our stocking stuffers were: an orange, mixed nuts, some candy, a chocolate santa, a magazine (coloring book and crayons for the little kids) on good years.
  • We didn't have a whole lot of toys that were powered by anything other than us. Well until I was older and got an Atari! Man I didn't know what carpal tunnel syndrome was then but I sure got it playing Pac Man!
  • My mother would never buy those mesh stocking things and I grew up thinking I was missing out. I probably wasn't but I was only going by my lust and jealousy for store bought birthday cake, another store bought goody denied by my mother. And if you knew anything of my mother's cake decorating skills, you would understand why I thought not getting something store bought = missing out. (by the way: More on the mesh stockings further down...)
  • Follow up comment to the above: That is hilarious! You definitely weren't missing out on the mesh stockings, that candy was horrible, but I know exactly what you mean. We had a farm so we had steaks, ham etc all the time. My best friend would get things like mac n cheese (for a WHOLE meal) and hotdogs etc. I was jealous of her and she was of me. We loved eating at each other's houses.
  • Middle class people in my neck of the woods did not have multiple Christmas trees. You had one indoors and then, if you were feeling really holiday frisky and had a dad with a ladder, you had some outside lights.
  • More than one or two presents per kid under the tree. We farmed, but other than eating well, we lived in near poverty.
  • And going back tot he TV Specials, I was going to say that you couldn't buy these shows on DVD and watch them any time or over and over again. You took a bath, put on your jammies, and sat in front of the TV waiting and waiting!
  • Food Network to show you all of the great recipes and meals that the celebrity chefs make. I remember waiting for my mom's Good Housekeeping to come to see all of the pictures of the food and the gingerbread house contest winners. My mom was not a good cook and I think I was fascinated that food could actually look that good. My thoughts: (by the way, cooking and Food Network and recipes does nothing for me. If I could trade Food Network for a channel I would actually watch, I would. lol)
  • Gift cards! Well, there were, but they were paper Gift Certificates and they certainly weren't as popular for gift giving as they are now.
  • We didn't have video games, or movies in the car, for our 3 hour trip on Christmas Day to both grandparents houses. My brother and I would read a book or Highlights magazine on the road to keep us entertained or from killing each other. My thoughts: Yes, another advancement I use on car trips. At first I was against it - I wanted my kid to experience old school, but after our 2006 road trip to and from Colorado, I changed my mind. But a trip has to be at least 100 miles one way for the DVD player to come out.
  • We didn't have stores open until midnight (or later) during the holidays, nor were they ever open on Sundays. My thoughts: I do wish the Sunday thing can come back, along with no stores open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. :-(
  • Another one of mine: I don't think gift bags were around either. I go back and forth with traditional wrapping and gift bags now. Chris is more against gift bags in general, but I pointed out that the majority of our gifts under the tree are wrapped. So when a gift bag is used, it's not that big of a deal.
  • Tinsel that floated instead of draped. I think it was lethal and did all sorts of bad things. Man oh man did it hang pretty on the tree. And cool lights on the tree, if you touched one of the big lights you would have a major burn.
  • My mother always had a bowl of nuts out with the nutcracker and those weird nut picks.....I liked the filberts.......the Brazil nuts were just there b/c they came in the bag of mixed nuts....
  • So many of the things mentioned and also the canned ham and brown and serve rolls. Not sure if people didn't put lights on as much or if we just didn't do the driving around thing until I was an adult. I have noticed that there are a lot less lights out this year but we haven't been to the really big displays yet - hope to this week if it stops raining. I have to say in so many ways I like the simpler things. My son is looking forward to making snowflakes, cookies and the gingerbread house (from a kit) and other simple crafts. I do enjoy watching tons of the Christmas DVDs though but do agree that it takes away from the specialness of watching them. We also didn't have cable growing up, no VCRs, no computers. Loved listening to Christmas albums on the record player. Didn't know it but we were poor by today's standards - always had toys but nothing like it seems kids today. I knew kids that got a lot more even when I was a kid but somehow just never felt deprived really wasn't something I thought about - well maybe the cable on occasion.
Back to the mesh red stockings. Remember these? Here is my first Christmas in 1975. And there are the infamous red mesh stockings. I guess there are things from when we were kids that we are thankful for aren't around now! lol

(Click on image to see it in more detail). The pictures are from 75', and the layout is from the mid-1990s. Sorry for the bad scrapbooking quality!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Goofball Boy with Santa

Yesterday, in true tradition at the school, Santa visited. This is the first year it was just our first grader Christian with Santa for the school picture, as Mikelle has moved on to the 5th and 6th grade Middle School.

The tree to the left of him and Santa has ornaments made by the students. Christian says he has one on the tree, but you cannot see it in the shot. You can see so much of Christian's personality in this picture, as you can with many pictures of him.

Below is last year's picture of Mikelle and Christian with Santa. She was in 4th grade and he was in kindergarten. (Click on it to see it with more detail)

Baby Update
Tomorrow marks 38 Weeks. I'm a little sad this little guy didn't want to be in competition with his brother. If he was born yesterday, he would have been born at the same time as Christian. I accidentally wondered if labor started yesterday because of some dull contractions in the back, but they went away. So here we still are. I have a doctor's appt tomorrow. I hope I'm showing *some* signs of this being over soon. She'll induce on the 22nd if he doesn't come on his own before then. I really want him to come on his own before then!

And to add to the fun, at 4:30 this morning, I took a spill over a suitcase and box in my room (suitcase because of wishful thinking to go into labor, and box is a result of "nesting" and obsessive organizing). To protect my belly, my arms and shoulder got so messed up and a scraped knee.
I thought the experience would cause my water to break, but no such luck. Now I'm quite grumpy with the arm/shoulder issues along with the rib pain and back pain that has plagued me for the last 15 weeks or so.

But yesterday's tumble made me think of sharing this link again. If you can't have a sense of humor, then why live? This is the funniest and more random scene in cinema history. It was just a transitional scene to show it was 'morning' and it was a hilarious way to depict it.

PaperBoy from While You Were Sleeping:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Smiles of the Season!!!

My babies are getting too big too fast. These were taken just yesterday and I can already see the changes in the last little while from other pictures. Sure, they weren't too happy that I made them get all dressed up on a Wednesday afternoon, but you cannot tell from the pictures that they were less than thrilled with me. Plus, it helps having someone else taking the pictures rather than cranky big pregnant Mom.

I look at this huggy picture to the left and I'm so grateful Mikelle and Christian have this kind of relationship, despite repeated attempts they make to get on each others' nerves.

Here are more lovely shots of them. Mikelle is 10 and Christian is 6 1/2+.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We Survive Together

So Chris sent his Dad and Step-Mom a letter with some of our home news where they're serving their mission in South Africa. Chris's dad made a statement to the effect of:

I love you and appreciate what you are doing with your family. It's a wonder that our children survive considering the on the job training nature of being a parent. Keep up the great work.

Chris replied: When I read your statement on our children surviving I had to laugh out loud. That is so true. Sunday Christian rolled the truck into the street. He came running into the house screaming that he didn’t know “that” (the gear shift) was part of the break. I thought I didn’t have to explain the workings of a vehicle till he was 15 (he's 6!!!), I guess I was wrong. He had taken it out of gear and the natural slope of the driveway started it rolling into the street. No cars were coming and it stopped before it hit a neighbors car, thank goodness.

What's funny, is just before that happened, we sent Christian back outside to get something out of the backseat of the truck that he left there and was supposed to bring in the first time. When it was quiet and he was gone longer than he should have been, I had that "feeling" and told Chris to go check on him. Chris had a bad headache and wasn't really up to it (he was grumpy). Then, we heard the screaming. It was weird because Mikelle wasn't home, so there was no one to fight with. And our next door neighbors were putting up their Christmas lights, and Christian doesn't fight with them! Chris went outside and there was our truck in the middle of the street.

Later Chris said he remembered that I had that "feeling" just prior to it happening and mentioned he should go out there and check on him. I don't think he likes that I was right. But that's the mother's intuition for you.

And yes, the picture above isn't really a fair assessment of Christian's intellect. He's VERY intelligent, actually - to our detriment and stress level. It'll pay off someday. The picture is more indicative of a 6 year behind the wheel, no matter how smart he is.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Santa and the Reluctant 10 Year Old

So we took the kids to see Santa last night. Of all the years prior, this is the first year that Mikelle showed signs of growing out of this sort of thing. I'm not in total denial, but it still makes me sad. I told her that if she preferred, only Christian could see him, but she said she still wanted to. However, when the moment came, she was offish and had a hard time with it as her "tween"-ness is emerging from childhood.

Santa said,
"What are you, 10?" (He pegged it) She nodded and he said, "You're not too old! Get over here!"

Here she is with her first Santa picture at age 3 1/2 months, back in 2000:

Later, when I told her that even Santa got it right (her age and that she isn't too old for Santa), she had to reply that he wasn't the real Santa. :cry: I knew my baby was growing up, but I still feel a little sad. Christian got into it of course, and I look forward to next year having he and the baby go and see Santa. In the meantime, I have a little girl who is a not-so-little-girl.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Typical Day: Drama and Hilarity

Well, I'm officially on leave now, and in true "me" fashion, I'm grateful and feeling terribly guilty. Yeah, my brain is an amusement park of chaos. I'm glad I can spend the mornings laying down and napping and after getting the kids from school, go back to laying down. Yesterday, despite resting a lot, I probably tried to do too much after getting the kids. However, life doesn't stop for my preggo issues and it's also Christmastime.

First of all, yesterday, after laying down all morning into the afternoon like I'm supposed to, I pick up Christian from school. There is about 45 mins in between getting him and getting Mikelle at the bus stop, so he and I went to Kohls where I *hoped* to use my Kohls cash for a new diaper bag.

ANYWAY, so we're checking out (they don't carry diaper bags! So I got a few baby clothes) and the two ladies in front of me have piles of Kohls cash (geez, how much did they initially spend to get that much Kohls cash? dayummm) and a crazy transaction dividing up their piles of crap into more than one transaction.

The store isn't busy, but the line starts to back up, thanks to the professional shoppers. I'm just chillin' as I have plenty of time before getting to Mikelle's bus stop, so I just chat with the lady behind me. They said there was no waiting in the Men's Dept at the other end of the store, but I wasn't waddling down there.

Then we see another employee go on another register next to us and start to tinker with the computer getting ready to open the line.
Before the lady has a chance to say anything to relieve the line, Christian gets in between the two registers, looks at everyone in line, points to the new register and loudly goes (this is word for word) "THIS REGISTER IS NOW OPEN!!!!" The long line started laughing and I wanted to die. The lady who was checking out the professional shoppers says, "well, he's hired..."

I said, pointing to my big preggo belly: "And THAT is why there are 6 years between this one and him."

Mikelle's Flu Shot
Everyone but Mikelle had been taken care of with Flu Shots this year. When they were doing it at her school a few weeks ago, I forgot to do the paper work. So yesterday after I picked her up from the bus stop, I rushed to the doctor's office to get her one and they wouldn't let us sign in for one after 4pm, so I thankfully got her in there at 3:52.

What's unusual, is even though Mikelle is 10, she gets so worked up with things like this. Not only shots, but when she had strep in July, taking her to the doc to get her throat swabbed to confirm that it was strep was a dramatic production. She just gets us anxious and the worry builds up and her worry is worse than the initial shot or throat swab. Therefore, I wasn't looking forward to how this was going to be, but with a baby coming, I wanted to make sure everyone was protected as well as we could be.

Therefore, when the nurse got her in the seat, Mikelle started to panic. Christian was no help, saying, "Mikelle! You're 10 years old!" That didn't help. The nurse was to the point - telling her if she didn't sit still and calm down, they would have to have someone help hold her down. I asked Christian to go over there and hold her hand (and not say anything rude) and he was sweet and complied.

When they stuck her, Mikelle screamed and while holding her hand, Christian started to cry for her. Therefore, we had 2 crying kids and one shot. I am so happy he's a loving brother who doesn't like to see his sister in pain (unless he's the one giving it to her). As a result of the drama, both kids ended up with stickers and lollypops.

Turkeys, Bullies and Vegetarians
I have to end on this funny bit. So Mikelle likes to write and illustrate stories. Last week on Thanksgiving and into the weekend, she was writing one about a turkey that gets chased by the same bully every year. She drew the bully very streotypically: Muscles, Skull shirt, etc etc.

Then she wrote: But the turkey knew the bully's weakness...
The bully's mom always looks out the window of her apartment and the mom is a vegetarian and doesn't like her son to chase meat.