Monday, February 16, 2015

Brothers and Sisters

Little baby Theo is very, very loved. I love to watch his brothers and sisters arguing over who gets to hold and play with him next. :) Here's Abe with his little Teddy Bear.

Daisy and Theo

Goldie with Theo—I LOVE this picture

Junie and Theo

Ky and Theo

Seb and Theo

The little girls love to find all their tiny toys and babies to give to Theo. They tuck him in with them so sweetly!

Monday, February 9, 2015

The world was all before them

Here it is Sam's birthday again, and it feels like it would be kind of superfluous for me to list his latest household duties, since he is currently doing, oh, ALL of the household duties: taking care of me, in addition to (as Sam described it): telling the other children to stop fighting, or to go away, or to go outside, or to stop stomping and belting a Sousa march, or to close the door to our bedroom behind them so Marigold doesn’t climb all over me and the baby. He does it all so adeptly, and I've been feeling so, so blessed. I love this quote, from a talk given at BYU by John Tanner:
To be human is to be a pilgrim and stranger, homeward bound. No mortal ever ceases to need faith, for faith is a “task for a whole lifetime.” Indeed, to believe, to love, to repent, to forgive—these tasks are always more than enough for any human life.…We all start where Adam and Eve did as they left the garden. [To quote] the concluding lines of Paradise Lost:
The World was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:
They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,
Through Eden took thir solitary way.
So the world that lies before us bids us choose our place of rest and offers us Providence as our guide. If we are lucky, we will find someone to hold hands with as, “with wandering steps and slow,” we make our “solitary way” toward home.
I'm so glad it's my Sam walking along with me, with "the world all before us"! And Sam, I'm sorry your birthday is spent taking care of everyone else this year. To make up for it, I have assembled a collection of some moments from our aforementioned journey the past year, which perhaps you have forgotten or not properly appreciated. May I remind you . . . :
You had to miss the July 4th parade this year because you were working. That means you also missed these snappy one short/one pant/half-skirt combos.


This was the night we had to go to a meeting that we dreaded. And halfway through it, you…I won't say faked a coughing fit, because the coughing was real enough (I think?), but you stepped out to use your inhaler, which gave me a chance to step out after you with a look of concern on my face, and then we ducked out the back door to the car and drove away to Cafe Rio feeling very pleased with ourselves.

Junie drew this pig in church and you sent it to me, and it still haunts my dreams.

You never got to see this, but it was a booth at the county fair where you could run around on the water inside a giant plastic bubble. There was no one else there, so the guy let all five kids go for half-price. It reminded me so much of the high-chair ball you drew for me. If only we could find a way for them to stay in these bubbles all the time!

This was the time I was driving quickly home from church to get a clean diaper, and I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a sight that made my blood run cold. Goldie was SO happy I'd forgotten to buckle her in!


Remember how we tried to make the kids sit still in your office by saying they had to stay on one of the dot rugs? Did it work?


This is when Goldie found a ball at a playground. She knew just what to do with it.


A list you made. But why? Also, Meat. (Which is probably why "happiness never lasts".)

You swung her in this swing. She laughed. There was something proto-hairlike about that fuzz on her head.




When the kids and I saw this at a Renaissance Fair, I texted you to see if you wanted it for your gesture drawing class (you were collecting all sorts of strange props at the time). You texted back, "I was hoping for something more massive and made of pure metal."


Nutmeg decided he loved you so much he just had to lick your head and hair. When you tried to get up he held you down with his paws.

Remember the day we met Christy's bunny? So cute! Almost as cute as OUR bunny.


Your friends at Avalanche had a surprise party for you and I felt sick to my stomach for two days, worrying about getting you to the right restaurant at the right time without seeming weird and giving something away. And then they gave you this picture and it was all worth it.


You had "the best banana-nut muffin ever" while you were on your business trip with Sebby. It's good that you always notify me of these things.

And then, on another business trip, the best waffle you'd ever had. And you accidentally texted this picture and "Yum!" to your co-worker instead of to me. Yum!

The girls did…whatever this is.

Daisy and I tried to see if our eyes were the same color. Not quite?


The kids always twist plastic bags of packing material to make these "strings." Who thought of doing that? And why?


This happened lots of times. There is nothing like having a bunny frolicking around in your bed.


Some nights we were greeted by the jarring sight of Junie, in her nightgown, sleeping with Star, wearing Junie's other nightgown


44,444! Oh boy!


  Remember this baby, in her last couple hours of being The Baby?

And of course you remember THIS, don't you? This sweet little bundle looking at you trustingly? He's ours, you know. I guess we both got him for our birthdays, this year.

Happy Birthday, Sam. Thanks for taking such good care of us all. I can't think of anyone I'd rather go hand-in-hand through life with!

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Van

I've been trying to detect if I have any deep existential crises prompted by our acquisition of this van, but I don't. (It's not really like going from a minivan to a van could make you less cool, could it? And, having never known or cared much about which cars were cool anyway, I never actually felt bad about driving a minivan either.) We've known for many months now that we were going to have to get a bigger vehicle if we wanted to go places together, and we've gotten used to the idea. I think my favorite part of the whole experience was going to the car place, telling the salesman that we were expecting our seventh child, and seeing absolutely no change (surprise, dismay, disdain, whatever) in his face. He said, "Oh yes, I just talked with another family this morning that was expecting their seventh too." ("Um…obviously," I was thinking. "Why else would they be here buying a van?")

Another happy occurrence was how much we liked the guy that sold the car to us. I hate and dread going car shopping, and had been steeling myself to deal with the usual faux-friendly, pushy and/or snobbish, condescending-to-women salesman to which I have become accustomed. (I know all salesmen aren't like that. But we always seem to encounter them anyway.) But this guy (his name was Jack Ivers; you should meet him) was totally wonderful. He didn't talk down to us. He was knowledgeable but not glib. He knew when to help and when to leave us alone. He talked about his grandkids. We bonded. :) When I saw him a few days later I felt like I was seeing my long-lost uncle or something! So that was nice.

What has further pleasantly surprised me is how much I like this van. I have never looked forward to driving a van, but I love this one. I like the color and I like how much room there is even in the backseats, and I love the backup camera and the front sonar so I'm not always (as) afraid of crashing into things. Sam took me out driving after we got it so I could practice parking and maneuvering around, and I'm getting better all the time. I felt like I was in Driver's Ed again, but with a nicer teacher. :) We even found some crowded church parking lots in which to test my skill. And I didn't hit anything! Yet.
And in spite of its enormity, it actually fits in our garage! Alongside our other car! We couldn't believe it.
So, hooray for vans! And what a cute little stair-step family. I love every last one of them.