Sunday, January 20, 2008

Life's been fast and crazy lately and it doesn't show signs of slowing down any time soon. It's been a huge roller coaster ride with various things that have come up, but things are looking much better now and I'm feeling more excited about my life than I have in a long, long time.

Last weekend we celebrated Jared's birthday #2 since his birthday gets sort of swept under the rug a lot on New Years. We had a special breakfast, went for a gorgeous hike in Zions and had a nice lunch in Springdale near there and had a few friends over for a dinner party and game night that night.
On Friday Jared was in Vegas all day for meetings with some promising new clients and after a big fancy dinner with salesmen and clients, he didn't get home until 2am (I talked to him most of the way on the phone to keep him awake). Then this weekend Jared's best man from our wedding, Derek Ransom, is in town so they went for a fun, crazy mountain bike ride on Saturday (Jared went over the handlebars SEVERAL times and is limping around and scraped up but he's OK - I can't believe he dares to do this stuff on his bike!). They're doing another ride tomorrow and we'll do a hike with Derek's family and ours which should be fun. Last night Jared and I went to see "O" (a Cirque de Soleil show) in Vegas as Jared's big birthday present and it was an amazing spectacle - how in the heck do they come up with this stuff? The acrobatics and diving and sets and costumes were all amazing - and once we gave up trying to come up with any sort of meaning for the seeming symbolism of what was happening on stage, we were able to just let it flow and really enjoy it - even though we were so tired. We got some dinner after the show, enjoyed watching the crazy people who are always to be found in vegas, and got home close to 4am. It was so fun to go on a "real" date and really have some good time together. It was so stressful setting up babysitting (as always) but things worked out in the end with one of my young women doing the bulk of it and Jo and Aja helping out as well (thanks guys!) and it was so worth it. Jared and I have just realized lately that we simply must get out on dates and court each other more and this was a great first date since this resolution.

So with these last two really late late nights plus a lot of late late nights earlier in the week, I'm starting to get that groggy dreamlike feeling I remember from when Jared and I were first really moving forward with our relationship 10 year ago. But we did take big naps today and we'll get everything back on track this week. I do love this husband of mine so much and we've spent a lot of time really talking and figuring things out this week and our relationship is feeling renewed and exciting which makes me so happy. Better head to bed!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ollie and Si are THREE!

I can't believe my babies are now THREE. Their birthday was on Monday and we celebrated with a pancake breakfast, a pretty simple playgroup/birthday party with a few friends in the morning, lunch with Jared and Jessica Lanoue (one of our good friends and probably the twins' biggest fan - she and her husband watched them while we went to NYC and Boston and actually came away loving them all the more!), and then a birthday dinner with Jo and Aja and kids.
They were so excited about their birthday this year and sort of seemed to get it - I think seeing Ashton's recent birthday helped them out that way. It was pretty funny hearing them argue "It's MY birthday" "No, it's MY birthday" a few times during the day - the concept that it was BOTH of their birthdays was a bit challenging I guess. They got some big wheels (which Ashton and Isaac put together for them - the big boys were so proud and excited to present them to the little guys) and a second train engine for their beloved train set from Christmas (from Jo and Aja and family) plus lots of fun little gifts from friends. They're way into the present thing thanks to Christmas and were so excited about everything. They wanted a Bob the Builder cake so I did my usual - chocolate cake with stuff on top, in this case, some Bob the Builder stuff. It worked out perfectly because the cake totally fell and had a big pit in the middle for the little excavator and backhoe to dig around in. The twins were thrilled. It was one oddly textured cake - I don't know what I did wrong!

I'm hoping and praying that this year will be the year the twins really get to be more fun than work. They do seem to be headed in that direction. They're talking so much and are becoming quite reasonable about some things. Their favorite things lately:
  • Toys: their train set and garbage truck and firetruck from Christmas
  • Games: playing duck duck goose
  • Books: Are you my Mother? and this annoying book about a giant zuchinni
  • TV shows: Bob the Builder, Blues Clues (they've started using the phrase "handy dandy" which is pretty funny), Wonder Pets, this video about construction machines (There Goes a bulldozer) and a video about trains (There Goes a Train)
  • Songs: They want the "moon song" from me every night ("Winken, Blinken and Nod") and Gentle Shepherd and the "barges song" from Jared. They always belt out the "Bob the Builder" theme song when the show's starting.
  • Their daddy - they yell out "daddy, daddy!" with heart-felt excitement and RUN to fling their arms around his legs when he gets home.
  • Food: They like all foods but they really really love frozen peas (I've got to video them squealing "Peas! Peas! Peas!" when I get them out for lunch) and apples especially. They love "moothies" (smoothies) and can sniff out cookies anywhere in the house and eat them by the handful as they hide under the table, pulling the chairs in after them to try to create the appearance of nothing going on over there.
  • Nursery - they LOVE going to nursery at church and call out "dere's da chowch!" gleefully whenever we get close to the church
  • Running around on their tiptoes - they pretty much run on their tiptoes everywhere they go. Silas is especially tiptoe-prone. Jared jokes they'll be line-backer-looking ballet dancers one of these days!
  • Grabbing things from each other, then freaking out, then sharing - they've got this little routine dialog down and it's really cute when it works "Silas, can I have that" "NO" "Don't say NO, say 'in a minute'" "OK, in a minute" "1,2,3,4,5 now it's my turn!" And most of the time, sometimes after a couple times counting to 5, the guy with the toy in question passes it on over to the guy asking for it. They really are pretty good sharers and get over having things grabbed away very quickly - they've really always had to share everything so they're pretty used to it.
  • Pouting: when we don't let them have their way, they'll put on the longest, saddest faces I've ever seen (especially Oliver), then they'll give us the silent treatment as thy throw themselves on the floor and lay their on their faces until someone gives them a good reason to forget about the indignity of whatever they were just denied. Cracks us up.
Oh, I love these crazy adorable boys of mine!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Big Birthday Party and Baptism Adventures

Hopefully none of the dozens of people who were in and out of this house for Ashton's birthday and baptism were too shocked to see my Christmas tree still standing in the living room until a couple days ago - but I really didn't have a bit of time to get it out of here until then. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday getting Christmas put away and cleaning up my very dirty house after so many visitors and parties and dinners and events. It seemed like the holiday festivities would never end this year as Ashton's birthday and baptism brought all the celebrating well into January!

Ashton hasn't had a "real" birthday party with friends for years - it usually falls at the end of Christmas break and we always seem to be heading back from post-Christmas activities with relatives and his birthday just gets smooshed in there. So this year we did it up right. He had an "Inventor Party" and he and 8 of his friends spent the evening taking apart old electronic equipment (Jared raided the dumpster pile at the DI) and creating various "inventions" using the many different inventor and building sets Ashton has accumulated. Along with some pizza, present-opening and cake and ice cream, it was the party of Ashton's dreams. Grandma, Grandpa, Grammie, Grandfather and Charity all showed up to participate in the fun and it was quite an evening! We were all SO excited to see Jared's dad, Lynn, who's had a really rocky time with a heart attack and a couple strokes recently. It was touch and go for a while before Christmas and we hardly dared hope that he's make it down for Ashton's baptism - but he did - and he looked great. It pretty much totally wore me out to do this party in the midst of getting ready for Ashton's baptism and recovering from Christmas, but seeing Ashton and all the other kids having so much fun plus hearing one of Ashton's guests say "Ashton, you have the coolest mom ever!" made it all OK.

The kids had so much fun building with the
various magnetic and electronic sets we've accumulated
Taking apart a TV, VCR, tape deck, blender, etc was a big hit.
Ashton was SO excited about each present he got -
so fun to see all the kids light up with each gift.
Like Ashton's "Inventor" cake? I know, I know, I'm an amazing cake decorator. Every birthday cake is a delicious homemade chocolate cake topped with a toy or two that at least loosely fits the theme of the party. Ashton and Isaac made this molecule structure sort of thing to put on the cake. One kid declared "That's an ugly cake! I never seen a cake like that!" but then he made up for it by exclaiming as he ate, "wow, ugly cakes are way yummier than them pretty cakes with the flowers!" I guess this kid's never tried a homemade cake before. We had quite an assortment of kids from Ashton's class at the party, most of whom where pretty "wowed" by our house and 3 of whom told me they'd never tried carrots before when I offered them alongside the pizza. Ashton told them they HAD to try carrots and they did - and asked for more. Apparently carrots are now very popular with his class - he told me he had to give away all his carrots at lunch today because everyone was asking for them. Funny stuff.
At the end of the party, Ashton was showered with gifts from his grandparents and got his first set of scriptures (embossed with his name in gold) and his first journal. Then in his overtired state he got pretty snippy and rude with me during the process of getting ready for bed and in my overworked and under-appreciated state, I got pretty mad at him and he declared that he was "just not good enough to get baptized" and wanted to call the whole thing off. I tried to smooth things over but Ashton said "I've made my decision and I'm not not ready to get baptized! I'm not good enough!" What do we do with this situation? Hmmmm. Got all the relatives here, got the program made up, got the sick Grandpa to drive for 8 hours to be here... After some quick prayers for inspiration, Jared and I were able to diffuse the situation and put Ashton to bed feeling pumped up a bit and ready to start the next day fresh. Phew!

We had a nice breakfast and got everyone to the stake center a full 15 minutes early, amazingly (partially thanks to planning to go get Ashton's nonmember friend Lupe whose mom called to cancel at the last minute but we were all ready early so that we'd be able to pick him up. I guess Lupe couldn't wake up. I can't imagine having a kid who couldn't wake up at 9:30am!). Ashton and Jared were already there when the rest of us arrived, all dressed in white. Look what a big kid I have! Amazing to see my little baby boy getting baptized all of a sudden.

The little meeting was nice - I think - I'm not totally sure what was said because I was mostly trying to wrestle down the twins who were at an all-time peak of wildness for some reason. I think they knew they had me outnumbered with Jared sitting with Ashton and Grammie and Grandfather giving talks so they thought they'd take advantage of the situation. They were both stinky just as the service was about to begin so I took them out and changed them then tried to catch snippets of mom's seemingly great talk and Dad's good remarks between keeping the twins occupied with toys and trying to keep Isaac from talking loudly - he was not being very good. And then Eliza started in with whining about something. Maybe everyone was acting out because Ashton was getting so much attention - but whatever the deal was, it was NOT fun for me and I didn't exactly get to gaze at Ashton and contemplate what a good boy he is or how much he's growing up... Oh well.

When it was time to head into the baptism room, the twins ran away and with the help of our good friend Justin Lanoue and my mom, they were tackled and delivered to the baptism room. And they were both stinky again. What luck! But they could wait for the few minutes required for a baptism. Ashton was beautiful there in the water, so serious, so ready. I think he smiled and that Jared gave him a hug when he came up out of the water but I'm not quite sure because of the twins' distractions. Both of Ashton's grandpas were the witnesses. Then it was time for me and mom to take the twins out for another diaper change before they totally grossed out everyone in the room. Mom and I took them kicking and protesting to the car to get the diapers and wipes and then into the mothers room. I worked on Si and lucky mom got Ollie who proved to be coated in a thick layer of poo all the way down his legs and up his back - his shoulders were covered. I don't think I've seen a blowout that bad for years! I'll spare you the details, but mom and I spent a frantic few minutes trying to clean Ollie up as best we could with paper towels and a little bathroom sink and he was NOT pleased about it "I scared! I scared! I scared!" Poor guy. Poor us. We made it back to the room for the confirmation just as Ashton and Jared finished getting ready - with Oliver wearing only socks and a diaper. Found out later that mom and Justin both got a fair amount of poo on their clothes from grabbing Oliver as needed. Great times.

The confirmation was very nice (I think - hard to tell with Silas squirming in my arms - wish I could have taken notes - oh well). After putting Silas down and seeing that he was willing to sit on his own, I did get a chance to capture a still frame in my mind of Ashton's peaceful, reverent, handsome face between the priesthood holders who surrounded him for the blessing. It was one of those quick moments when all seems right with the world.
Click on this if you actually want to see it - turned out pretty small.
Ashton with his two wonderful grandpas

We capped off the day with a big lunch of soup and bread and left-over birthday cake and Ashton blew out candles one more time. It was so great to have both sets of grandparents here! And so nice to have some time with Charity before she leaves on her mission next week. She and I went on a beautiful but very blustery and rainy walk during the afternoon and then I got to go to the temple with her, Mom, Dad and Jo that evening. We'll all miss that Charity a lot!

Isaac remarked a couple days after Ashton's baptism that Ashton was being "really extra nice lately" and he really has tried to keep his baptismal covenants and be a good boy. He's such a great, interesting, funny, quirky, smart, quick kid. But he's also very forgetful and easily distracted which can cause some issues here and there... Good thing he's not perfect or he'd show us all up I guess. I sure love my big boy!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Temple, Charity's Farewell, Jared's B-day, New Years and Ashton's B-day

I've got to get most of the good pictures from other people - we've got so many good photographers in my family that my bothering to take photos often seems pretty pointless - but here's a bit about our trip up to SLC from December 28-Jan 1. I'm sure there are great photos of the temple, the snow fun and a bunch of other good stuff on Aja and Jo's blog, Shawni's, Saydi's, etc. But there are some good photos in here of New Years Eve on anyway.

We got to SLC on the night of the 28th and went to an early morning temple session on the 29th, then went out for a fancy brunch at Grand America. The big highlight of the time in SLC for me was being there in the temple with my husband, parents, grandma and every one of my siblings plus one sister-in-law. Piece of Heaven right there. There's nothing like having the people you hold most dear surrounding you in the temple. And it was great to randomly see a great older lady who had lived in the same apartment as me when we were both missionaries in Bulgaria (Sister Williams) and the wife of the violin teacher I had all through high school. Small small world. Then that evening we had our big family party and gift exchange at my parents' new house by Park City. The house has had issues - but some day it will be done! It was done enough though to really enjoy some time up there and it's got great space to feed and entertain a big crowd.

The next day, the 30th, was Charity's farewell talk at church as she prepares to go on her mission to London in a couple weeks. The chapel was packed with tons of family members and many of Charity's friends from Jerusalem study abroad, Wellesley, BYU, etc. That girl's got quite a following. She gave a really wonderful talk - so eloquently presented with total poise and passion - all about the necessity of sacrifice and how that strengthens your foundation of faith - plus a lot more but that's one of the main messages that struck me. We had a jam-packed luncheon-open house at my parents' house afterwards and the kids ate about 10 desserts each and were in Heaven while my sisters and I scrambled to make more sandwiches and find other stuff to put out as the huge piles of food quickly disappeared. It was snowing like crazy all night the night before and all day that day but the people still showed up in droves. When things were wrapped up, Jared and I took the kids off to Aaron and Michelle's and had a great time chatting with them while the kids had a great time with each other. Thanks to Aaron and Michelle's new Cold Stone store, we celebrated Jared's birthday early with ice cream cake.
Monday was Jared's birthday and I sent him off snow boarding with his brother Aaron - his favorite activity. Apparently the fresh snow made for an incredible day of skiing despite some pretty cold temperatures. The rest of us went up to Mom and Dad's new house to enjoy the new snow (and get stuck in it with our non-snow-worthy vehicles). The kids had so much fun but I must say I was pretty worn out by all the finding and packing and unpacking and dressing and undressing and drying and finding again of all the various snow gear as we moved from house to house! We finished the day with our traditional big New Year's party at the Carver's house - for the last time. They just sold that amazing huge palace of a house. So we'll have to find a new location next year. ALL our kids stayed up to welcome in the new year - I thought for sure they'd fall asleep in front of a video after swimming and playing like crazy. But there we were at midnight with all of them! It was really fun catching up with all my cousins and family and playing games and eating way too much great food. We threw in a little candles on the cake and singing for Jared but really he didn't get very "celebrated" this year, I'm afraid.
Playing games, eating, chatting, watching football at the Carvers' house.
Silas in Heaven - all the food you can eat and no adults interfering too much!

Me and the birthday boy, the love of my life. Here's to 2008!

New Years Day we headed home after a big old family meeting about the complications and confusion and hurt feelings involved in figuring out when, where and if we can all get together as our family expands and our places to sleep do not. It was very crowded and rather chaotic at my parents old SLC house and great and big but nowhere to sleep at my parents unfinished new house and going back and forth between the two with a huge crowd proved to be somewhat complicated especially with all the snow. But we got things worked out and long live the need for Eyres to be together! We'll always work something out - but I've always pictured the future of getting together with my family sort of like how it currently is with Jared's family - a LOT of people crammed into a LITTLE space with very little comfort or privacy but lots of good times and great memories - sort of like camping - and it really only needs to last for 28 hours or so that we're really all together - some people can come early, some can stay late, but EVERYONE doesn't have to be all together all that long. It's good to talk about the future though and get things out on the table. One big new thing was that my Dad committed to building a bunkhouse at Bear Lake one of these days and getting our input on it so that it can be designed for the future of the family. That would be great. Some day, some day.

It was great to get back home - but the fun didn't end. On the 2nd, friends from my mission (Kelly, Matt and kids) showed up for a nice visit and some talk of collaboration on CareerMothers down the road. Then Shawni and kids along with Josh showed up and stayed with us overnight to celebrate Ashton's birthday and break up the trip back to Phoenix. That evening, Jared's sister Kathryn's kids Will and Claire joined the party - they were on their way to Houston for Claire to finish up at Rice University and stayed the night - great to catch up with them - we used to see them all the time when we lived in the Bay Area and we miss them now! We started off Ashton's birthday on the 3rd with a grand birthday breakfast of Ashton's favorite breakfast burritos and said goodbye to Will and Claire who had to get on the road. Max and Elle gave Ashton a book and some advice on what he needs to do once he's baptized.Then I took Ashton, Max, Elle, Gracie, Ike and Ana to school - Ashton just HAD to be at school and bring his cousins because Heaven was smiling on him and made his birthday "Engineering Day" at Dixie Downs Elementary. The kids spent the morning learning about volcanoes and bubbles and prisms and got to use a robotic arm and do lots of other cool stuff. USU had sent down all these cool materials and instructions for every teacher to put on a different experiement or project in his or her room and they rotated throughout the school doing so many interesting and fun things.
Josh and I helped out with stuff at the school while Shawni graciously watched the twins and Liza - then I picked the kids up for lunch at Bajio and then Shawni and family had to take off. At this point, Ashton's birthday was already wearing me pretty thin - and we were just getting started!!!

That evening we did a little family party with candles in a huge cookie for Ashton to blow out.
Then Jared and I took Ashton out for a special dinner at a nice restaurant (while Jo watched the little kids - thanks!) and talked about how proud we are of him and how now that he's eigth he'll be getting a lot of new priviledges and responsiblities - helping out more with the twins (he'll trade off each month being in charge of helping one of them get dressed, do little jobs, eat their meals, etc.), getting a chance to earn more money and being responsible for buying more things, staying up later at night, getting some input on family decisions, etc. He was really serious and excited about it all and he's been really great for the most part - stepping up quite a bit since then. Wow, we may actually start to have an ally with all these little kids! We capped of the evening by having the "big talk" with Ashton - the whole birds and bees things. It really worked out well - he had good questions and seemed to really understand. We used mom and dad's book "How to Talk to your Child about Sex" and that helped a lot. So great to talk with this great kid who's innocent enough to get the whole thing in a pure way and see it for what it is - a beautiful thing to be shared between two people who really love each other that can have the result of producing a miracle - or "the best invention ever" in Ashton's terms - a baby.

More later! Lost this and rewrote half of it. Great great great. Time to go take care of all my little "kitties" - the twins just love pretending to be cats and they're getting a bit screechy!

Christmas Day

What a great Christmas we had! The kids told us repeatedly that this was the "best Christmas ever" and I have to agree with them. We didn't go anywhere (except Jared and Ashton who had to do a quick and freezing trial of Ashton's new mountain bike) or even bother getting dressed (except Eliza who HAD to delightedly put on her new clothes) and spent the entire day opening presents, playing with each new toy or game after opening it, eating great food (I did the traditional Eggs Benedict brunch and Jared did a fabulous turkey dinner), and just enjoying being together. By the end of the day, the house was trashed with wrapping paper and toy parts, we were stuffed with oranges and chocolates and tasty meals, and we were all as happy as can be. Here's a quick look at the main events of the day.

We woke up (at 7:30am - we told the kids to PLEASE wait until then to wake us up!) to the big kids sitting on the stairs with their stockings singing "Jingle Bells Batman Smells" to wake us up - not exactly charming but effective in waking us up! We opened their stockings on the stairs (Santa puts them on their doorknobs or bedknobs like he does in England and we do those before all that little stuff gets lost in the excitement of the bigger stuff).
Then Jared and I checked the living room. Santa sets out presents unwrapped like this: Here are the kids with their presents from Santa - Santa just gives one present each and that combined with a present from each set of grandparents, a present from a cousin (they draw names) and a few unexciting presents of needed clothing from me and Jared makes for a pretty good haul for each kid and enough time to really enjoy each new thing. Ashton's new mountain bike - Jared said he was amazingly good on their first ride together - hitting the steep hills and jumps with no qualms - sort of glad I wasn't there to see it and worry!

Eliza with her beloved new doll house - "It's even PINK!"

Isaac with his "surprise present that has to do with magnets" as requested from Santa - really fun magnetic building sets.

All the boys with the twins' new train set - huge hit - really fun set.

After Santa gifts, we had our eggs benedict brunch.

Then opened some more presents - here they are with some favorites.

Eliza loved her sparkly heart shirt from Grandma!The twins were SO excited to open each present and had a very hard time NOT opening presents that weren't for them. It was "love at first sight" for Eliza when she saw her new stuffed horse who she imediately named Benny. This girl is so fun to give presents to because she's so delighted about everything - "this is just what I always wanted!" "I LOVE this!" "Thank you so much!"Silas was SO excited about his new farm set from his cousin Portia. They can never get enough of tractors and farm equipment.

Oliver got a much-coveted set of Bob the Builder toys from his cousin Logan - perfect gifts with lots of different pieces so the twins could play together. When they opened this set it was like they'd found their dearest long-lost friends.The remote-control dump truck and bulldozer were huge hits with the boys. Only issue was getting them out of the packaging. Anyone know who came up with toy packaging that requires a screwdriver, some industrial-strength scissors and about 1/2 hour of time to open? SO many gifts required this.

One of the very best parts of the day was seeing the kids give each other the presents they'd bought with their hard-earned money for each other from the dollar store. I loved seeing the eyes of both giver and receiver sparkle with joy.

What a day! I LOVED just hanging out with my great family and really taking the time to play with my kids. And the kids - especially the twins- were so fabulously good with so many great new toys to keep them busy. I don't think the twins' train set got turned off for DAYS as everyone in the family (including me and Jared) had fun playing with it. It really was a wonderful day and the kids were so grateful and cute - for the most part. A great thing was that we didn't have to pack up and go anywhere until the 28th so we had a great time just hanging out together and playing with our stuff all day on the 26th and 27th as well. We'd like to make more Christmases mellow and pleasant like this one! Merry Christmas!


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