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Monday, January 11, 2016

Letters to Lincoln, month 19


I shouldn't be surprised by how verbal you are, but I am. It seems like you're learning dozens of new words every day. You refer to yourself as "ME!" or "Linky" and it's so cute. When I walk down the hall, you yell "ME come!" If I try to go downstairs to do laundry, you yell "ME come!" When we look at photos in our Chatbooks, you yell "BABY! Linky!" I love it. You're also identifying objects around the house now, like table, chair, couch, and the various toys that have exploded all over every room. You have a name for everyone except Aspen, although we're working on it so hard. I've at least got you making a pronounced "P" sound for Penny. I think it breaks her heart a little that you won't say anything for her yet, but you WILL say the name of Uncle Seth's dog.

You're always falling down and falling off of things and there's always a bump, bruise or cut on you (usually your FACE). You love to run and sing and jump and ride on a little fire truck toy Uncle Seth gave us. You love to play with Aspen and you LOVE to follow her into the bathroom. She lets you pull out the toilet paper for her, and then she takes you over to the sink and helps you wash hands just like her. I finally had to buy a second stool so both of you could be at the sink at the same time without fighting.

You don't like going to nursery at church by yourself, but I think the problem is me dropping you off. But with Dada working all but 1 Sunday every month, I don't really have much of a choice. When your Tia Phia was visiting over Christmas she was able to take you and leave you in there after a few minutes and it was awesome. But since that's a luxury we don't have every week, it looks like I'm now an unofficial member of the nursery.

You love to take walks and you love seeing the buses when we take Aspen to and from school. If Dada is home and takes Aspen instead of us, you're very disappointed to miss out. BUT!! Here's something amazing- you've transitioned your naps from morning to afternoon, so now I get about 1.5 hours to myself every afternoon while you nap and your sister is at school! YAY!! It also makes taking you to work in the morning much easier, since you're not begging for a nap before my shift is up.

Aspen and your dad wanted you to get a real big-kid hair cut this month, so I bit the bullet and you got a little faux hawk. Even though you screamed through most of the cut, it turned out really cute. BUT I STILL HATE IT. If you're going to act like a baby all the time, then I think you should look like one, too.

Aspen is thrilled because she says that when she dreams about you, your hair is always in a mohawk and you're three years old. So her life has just been made. And Dada prefers you with this short hair because he must have a cold black heart. JUST KIDDING. It really is a great cut on you and I'm just feeling really sorry for your future wife someday because I obviously have issues.

When Aspen was about this age, we got obsessed with hearing her say the world 'salsa.' There's actually a video of her saying it in her 19-month blog post (which can be seen below). So I had to do the same for you:

We love you little guy!


See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye, 2015.

Here's a roundup of our 2015, month-by-month:

In January we were able to spend one free night at Kev's work, and it was glorious. Linc slept in the master bathroom and we got one of the most restful nights of sleep in months. Aspen still talks about that one time we went to dad's hotel and went swimming in the winter. My sister also got married in January and it was lovely to see so much of our family that month.

In February it was warm enough to go to the park in just sweatshirts! I also didn't sleep much this month, either.

In March Aspen's tic-cough about drove me insane, and I started a selfie challenge with the kids. Still no sleeping.

In April I turned 30, and I got some amazing Easter pictures of the kids. We also went to the zoo as a whole family! On the spur of the moment! Wee! Little sleep was had by me.

In May, Kev's health took a bad turn but we somehow survived. I still affectionately refer to the whole thing as "THAT DAMN MECKEL." Before the Meckel we did have a fun visit to the farm. Linc also got his super-expensive Canadian bouncer, and I started writing my book in earnest. Kev's sister Tiff came to town to help me recover from the stress of Kev's hospitalization and it was such a wonderful visit despite the circumstances. There was an increase in the sleeping.

In June Linc turned ONE! I took him and Aspen to This Is The Place to celebrate (free admission thanks to my work!). We hosted an Arrested Development-themed party for Linc and Aspen filled out another questionnaire for Father's Day. Kev and I also celebrated our 9th anniversary by doing absolutely nothing, but I did wake up to fresh-picked wildflowers. We all had another lovely visit to one of my favorite places- Silver Lake. Sleeping continued to be a fickle mistress.

In July Lincoln started walking, and I took the kids to see the Pioneer Day floats at the Expo Center. Aspen turned five, we went to the zoo one last time with our pass, and Aspen got to camp outside in her CARS tent for the first time. Linc slipped into a sleep routine of waking up between 6-7am, but sleeping almost through the night.

In August I gave Linc his first haircut, and my parents came to visit. We celebrated some family birthdays and went to the new Aquarium. At the end of the month (in 100* temps!) Aspen started Kindergarten. There were more nights of good rest, with early-morning wake ups.

In September Linc and I worked hard on finding a good schedule with my hours at work and Aspen's afternoon school. Writer's block hit me pretty hard and continued through October. At this time, Kev was solely responsible for Linc in the night as often as possible.

In October I took the kids to hunt witches at Gardner Village, and the whole family went on the Heber Creeper with our friends Kimberly and Brad. The kids had a great Halloween, and I took them to Wheeler Farm to ride the tractor and visit their "pumpkin patch." Linc started sleeping a little later in the mornings, and I sometimes had to wake him and Aspen at 730 so I could get them ready to go to work with me.

In November I took Aspen to see Disney on Ice with two of her cousins, and she got to have a sleepover. I didn't blog about it, but I hosted some of Sophia's in-laws for Thanksgiving and we enjoyed a huge meal together. Also not pictured: No-Shave November happened in our house. Strangely, it continued through December. Linc woke many nights this month and needed Kev to sit in his room with him until he fell back asleep on his own in his crib. Kev ended up falling asleep on the floor himself and spending quality time with Linc (*sarcasm*).

In December I took the kids to see the Festival of Trees and the whole family hunted for elves at Gardner Village. We spent an afternoon and evening in Ogden at the Christmas Village and a wedding reception, and we had a wonderful Christmas. Linc rarely woke any nights this month and he routinely started sleeping until 7 or later in the mornings.

It's been a very full year, and two things I'm very grateful for are Kev's improved health, and Linc's improved sleeping habits. He now sleeps! Although he doesn't go to sleep without being nursed or bounced, at least I get 12 hours out of him nearly every night. I don't even remember when sleep became the norm... but it just did. AND I'M SO GRATEFUL.

This year had a lot of challenges, but a lot of blessings, too. We were able to start doing more together as a family as I came out of zombie mode. I look forward to 2016 and all that we'll experience since I'm no longer a shut-in!

Happy New Year!

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

I'm so glad we had snow for Christmas! It's so magical to look out the window in the evening and see the neighborhood reflecting light. It's so bright and cheery and encouraging. We were pounded with snow (but not as much as those south of us) and I shoveled twice on Christmas since the kids and I were expecting family to come over throughout the day.

On Christmas Eve the kids got to open a present once Kev was home from work. Aspen received a cute tin tea set from Jeshua's family, and she promptly set up a party for some of the dolls she was given long ago by me (old-school Kirsten! Anne of Green Gables!) and Sophia. It was so cute!

Linc was given a V-Tech sportsy center thing that lets him play basketball or soccer. For a while now, he would point at neighbors' houses and yell "BALL!" and I'd be confused because I almost never saw whatever ball he was talking about. Eventually I realized he was talking about basketball HOOPS. Many of the houses he can see from our living room windows have a hoop and he loves them. When he got that gift from my parents he was ecstatic. He loves the little basketball it came with, and he immediately figured out all the functions of the thing, and how to make it sing, count and cheer for him. Aspen likes it too, and it's nice they can pretend they're playing soccer together.

After the kids were in bed I cleaned up the living room and filled all the stockings. I'm so glad we get to host some of my family most years. It's so wonderful having Seth and Sophia come over and celebrate with us. And I love getting little things for my siblings' stocking (LIKE DOLLAR STORE SELFIE-STICKS!!).

Since Kev worked all day Christmas, we held off on opening the presents in the morning. It was so hard! Aspen was so patient though, and didn't really bother me about it; she just continually referenced that we were waiting for Dad and he would be home soon and then we'd open ALL THE PRESENTS. She kept her cool until we were nearly done with dinner and then she said, "I don't care about dessert so I'm not going to eat anymore I just want to finally open my presents!" Bless her little heart.

ANYWAY. Their stockings were more full than usual because Kev said it was fine if I gave the kids their movies and some of the smaller toys/art supplies I'd picked out for them. I needed them to have some new things to play with to help us get through the day!

It was helpful that I let them eat chocolate for first-breakfast. Linc was PSYCHED (as seen below hahahahaha!!).

And despite receiving at least a foot of snow overnight in their neighborhood, Sophia and Jose dug themselves out and came up to our house around 830 in the morning. The kids were able to open the presents from my sister and it was so fun to see them enjoying what she and Jose brought.

Aspen's still at the age at which she'll open something and yell, "Oh this is just what I always wanted!" even if she's never seen the thing before in her life. She did that with the cute glowing wand Sophia brought her. I love it! She is always so gracious at Christmas.

Linc loved the school bus Jeshua's family sent him, and we used it throughout the morning to crash into some of his other toys. He's into trains now, and Kev found a little Thomas engine stuck in the mud at work and he gave that to Linc (so awesome). 

Later in the afternoon Uncle Seth came, which is very exciting because he also brings his dog, Sampson. Linc has learned to say both Uncle and Zshamzsham so that's adorable. Sam will actually play fetch with Linc, which is why he loves that dog so much. Maddie is old and grouchy and will fetch the ball only a couple of times before she's over it.

Uncle Seth also teaches Linc new ways to play with balls!

When Kev finally got home we had the chaos of presents! Aspen was so excited about the Pony-making play-doh set. I managed to capture the look on her face when she read the box and realized what it meant.

One of the last couple of presents she opened were the two Equestria dolls she asked for. The happiness on her face is priceless! Now she has all those dolls and I never have to shop for them ever again.

My parents also sent Linc this bouncy donkey and he totally FREAKED OUT as we opened it. I don't know if he knew what it was, but I think he saw the kids on the box riding it and he was gunning for a turn. I was going to get the bike pump for it but Linc was like, NOW!! so Seth just blew it up manually. And then Seth rode it down the hall so the rest of the night Linc yelled, "DONKEY! UNCLE! DONKEY! UNCLE!" He wouldn't go to bed until Seth rode the donkey one last time into Linc's room. And then he laid it down and they covered it with a blanket so Linc would give it a rest. I about died.

Seth gave Aspen her first Lego set and it's a cops and robbers scene. She pulled it out first-thing this morning and built the bad guy hideout almost entirely by herself. She really loves to engineer things. Her Grandpa Taylor gave her a fort building kid and Kev put together the rocket shape before he left for work. Then Aspen proceeded to draw and cut out space shapes (rockets, planets, aliens etc) for me to tape onto her ceiling so she can pretend to fly past them.

We also got to make ponies together while Sophia kept Linc from screaming at me and climbing on the table with us. I bought this play-doh set for her birthday this summer but decided she was getting too many things already so saved it for now. I love doing that so much that maybe I actually purposely forgot to give Linc the toy vacuum I bought him this year for Christmas and it's okay to give it to him for his birthday...

It was a great Christmas and I'm so glad the kids had so much fun. Today Sophia and Jose have the kids at a children's museum so I can enjoy the best gift of all- a chance to relax after a hectic couple of days. But really, I've already gotten some work done for OSSS, done some laundry and sorted through photos from the week. I suppose doing all that without Linc screaming at me to pick him up is sort of like relaxing :).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

A night in Ogden

We had a VERY busy Thursday last week! I feel like a completely different person than last year, when I could barely leave the house or change out of pajamas. Now we're filling our days with activities, and even keeping the kids up until 10pm (WHO AM I?!).

We went up to Ogden for three very important activities: to meet some new baby twins, to see Christmas Village, and to attend my step-sister's reception.

Those twinners are just darling. There's a two-pound weight difference right now, and holding the baby girl is like holding a doll. She's just so teeny! Her brother is still petite, but it makes such a big difference that he's two pounds bigger. I'm so glad we were able to meet them and take some photos for Matt and Alissa. Cell phone photos are great and all, but sometimes you just need to use a real camera in crappy hospital light!

We actually had dinner in the hospital cafeteria because it's really good (so much better than the disgusting food I had at St. Mark's) and then we headed to see the lights downtown. I really love Christmas Village and I am going to try my best to make it a yearly tradition. It's free and it's so big! There's so much to see! I've missed it.

Both kids really loved it. Linc kept yelling "MORE!" and Aspen was running to all the houses like a maniac. It was really freezing, but we managed to keep warm in all our layers. Linc was so cute, reaching up to hold mittened hands with me every time we walked away from a house.

Aspen really wanted to run through all the snow since she got new boots this winter. She and Kev traipsed around a bit while Linc and I made our way back to the car. Hopefully next year we'll be able to see all the lights, houses and the performances happening on the stage. I know Aspen desperately wanted to check that out.

We headed north for Andrea's reception and made it just in time! The lights were down and the music was playing so the kids could dance dance dance.

It was good to see my step-siblings and my step-dad (who flew into town for the wedding) for a little while. And the kids obviously loved eating cake and dancing. Aspen has recently figured out how to hoist Lincoln up and swing him around and she made use of that skill on the dance floor. It was so cute to watch them dance.

The only downside was Kev feeling sad about no longer living in Ogden. I swear he was driving at least 10 mph slower than necessary so he could stare at all the stuff that's new/difference in Ogden since our last visit. He wants to move back so badly! Maybe someday... but for now we're staying put because I cannot stand the thought of packing up and moving a house and two kids.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Letters to Lincoln, month 18

Little Linc-

You're so lucky to have your sister. Even though you often fight dirty (leaving bite marks on her arms) she still shares her candy with you and her toys and wants to play with you. I don't doubt you've completely won her over with your dimple and hugs.

Speaking of hugs- one day when roaming the halls at church, we saw Aspen get out of her class. The two of you ran toward each other and embraced in a big hug before she continued on to the Primary room. It was so cute I almost forgave you for refusing to go to Nursery. Another day, when we met Aspen at school for pickup, you wanted to be put down so you could hug her when she came over to us. I die!!

You're not always so sweet, though. You're in a biting/hitting/throwing things stage and it's awful. One of your favorite things to throw is food for the dog. As soon as you get something to eat, you get down from your chair (you mostly refuse the booster seat) and call out "DOGGGGIIIIIEEEEE!" She then follows you around the house while you gleefully throw food for her. It's pretty terrible. I find crackers and smears of food all over the place. But if I try to enforce feeding you at the table, you just say "Done!" and get down and refuse to eat. And then you're hangry.

Lately you're obsessed with reading. You say "book" as well as sign it and bring books to me all the time. We probably spend at least one hour every day reading. Well, sometimes it's more like me holding you in my lap while you very aggressively turn the pages of every book you can get your hands on. But other times I'm actually able to read the words. When you sit and pretend-read to yourself, it's usually with great anticipation that there will be a ball or a bird on the next page. When you happily stumble across one or the other, you offer up your fat-belly-cackle and yell.

Your vocabulary has really expanded in the last month. You've started referring to yourself as "me" and you started saying "hippo," "apple" and "more" (you've always had a unique sign for more, but now you actually say it). You're working on saying "Aspen," and "Uncle," but they both sound a lot like your word for "apple." It's still very exciting, though. When you want a drink, you make a sound like you've just had one, and you're refreshed. Y'know? Like, "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" after a sip of a cold bev. You also say "WEEEEEEEEEE" whenever you see a slide. Your words for "truck" and "look" sound exactly the same, but that's probably because when you see a truck you're kind of yelling "LOOOOOK!" so that I'll see it, too. You love buses and have learned many actions for "The Wheels on the Bus" from Nursery (where you no longer let me leave you). And you're amazing at saying "SHHH!" You also love a train song they sing in Nursery and you do the actions with a huge smile on your face. Aspen loves being able to sing songs with you now! Some of the other new words that I can remember you saying are "cup," "spoon," "car," "star," "koala," "up," "down," and "ow." And you're all over the animal sounds, too.

You still love eating yogurt and fruit purees (I love those pouches, man), as well as beans, corn, bananas and apples. Getting you to eat every meal is ridiculously hard and I try to limit snacks throughout the day so you'll be forced to give in at meal times. It doesn't always work. I know for some weird reason your Uncle Seth had a lot of success feeding you cool-whipped-covered-pie at Thanksgiving, but I don't know what that's about.

Sleep has been so much better at night, although I did recently make the mistake of going into your room around midnight after you'd already woken up once and put yourself back to sleep. I thought I could be as magical as your Dada and just encourage you to lay down and let me sit in your room with you until you were asleep again. AN HOUR LATER I finally gave up on that pipe dream and woke up your Dada and made him deal with you. So, that's why I don't go into your room anymore you little squirt. But I suppose that by spending the first year of your life nursing and holding you every time you slept, I've met my quota and it's someone else's turn now. BOO YAH.

You're a funny little dude, Linc, and we do get a kick out of you when you're not an emotional basket case. Dada and I have actually considered that you're louder than your sister, which is saying a lot. However, her volume is just a matter of her voice always being set as loud as it can go; yours is more like screaming a lot about everything. Like if I try to go to the bathroom without bringing you with me. Or if I don't let you push the button to open the garage door before I put you in the car. Or if you're not the one to give Maddie her treat when she goes into her bed before we leave the house. Or, y'know, if I hold your sister on my lap instead of you. Someone has obviously learned the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

But we love you and we're so glad you've come. I am so excited to see you and Aspen enjoy Christmas this year, and all the wonderful magic the season has in store.


See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Elf hunt at Gardner Village

For our Advent activity yesterday, we went to Gardner Village after school. The elves are up to all kinds of mischief and we hunted down most of them.

Aspen also got a lesson on GIVING. We went inside the toy store there and I asked her to pick out something she thought Linc would like to receive from her for Christmas. She picked a fun little wind-up toy and I think he really will love it.

But when we were leaving, she pouted and told me she wanted something, too. I reminded her that she got to make a wishlist this year for Christmas, and Linc didn't. I told her how important it is to remember to think of others at Christmastime, because that's really what the whole season is about.

Thankfully she was okay afterward and I hope she'll be able to face a little shopping trip to pick out something for Kev next week without her also wanting something for herself. It's a tough lesson to learn!

We had a nice visit with the ducks at the Village, too. Much better than one of my other visits with Aspen. Linc had the idea to look in my bag for crackers and the ducks LOVED that.
We fed them most of his Cheerios and I was surprised how close they got to the screaming kids. I love seeing Linc with birds since he's so obsessed with them.

I've tried to plan these outings on days Kev is off work, since it's nice to have the extra pair of eyes and hands with both kids. I love to let Linc run free as often as possible instead of confining him to the stroller, but I can only do that if I have someone else with me because DUH.

And it's great to see Kev enjoy these trips during the week with the kids. There are less crowds and traffic and he gets a taste of what it's like to be a stay-at-home-parent some days.

Aspen told me her favorite days to open in the calendar are the ones with a strip of paper in them because it means she gets to go do something extra fun, or receive a little gift. I asked her what she thinks about the days with candy or coins in them and she said the candy is okay, but she hates getting money. HA! It's too bad there are a handful of days left with coins in them. I hope she can somehow get over her disappointment.

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