Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas in Vermont

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring--not even a mouse....well, except for Willy screaming bloody murder in his crib because, apparently, he was "choosing not to sleep".
Opening the Christmas eve present (pre-screaming in his bed)
And guess what everyone got for their Christmas eve presents? That's right: jammies. Here we all are (including our adopted daughter, Beth, who had to be in the picture. Isn't she a doll?)
Will and Beth Christmas eve:
And Santa Claus DEFINITELY came to town, bringing Will this nice push toy, Sam some soft blocks that Will secretly liked more than his own present (he kept grabbing them from Sam) and Beth an American Girl doll named Samantha whom she adored. However, she did NOT want Will to touch the doll (understandably--he's a bit of a brute), but every time they rode in the car together she would dangle the doll right next to Will, tempting him to just grab hold of the doll's hair and pull, pull, pull and, of course, he would. And, of course, Beth would shriek, "Will's pulling Samantha's hair!" I would then calmly tell her to move Samantha out of Will's reach and then Will could not reach Samantha's hair. Ah, crisis averted.
All the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Well, we forgot to hang our stockings, Josh had no stocking (hence the hockey sock in the background of the below picture) but, alas, St. Nicholas found us anyway. And what did Will get in his stocking? You guessed it: a ball! (Notice Sam's block sitting next to him--he didn't want to let those things go. I guess I know what he'll be getting for his birthday).

Here's a photo of all three kids opening presents at 3:00 p.m. That's right--we had to wait for Nate to get home from work to open the rest of the presents, so Christmas lasted ALL day.
What child is this or should we say whose child is this???? And why can we not take a decent photograph of this child? Here are our attempts at some Christmas day photos of our little guy:


Our Christmas family photo. And though we were not home for Christmas, we will always cherish our Vermont Christmases (and Vermont is practically like our second home anyway, right?)
Hark! the Herald Angels sang...or was it Hark! the tired babies screamed? This is what happened when we tried to get a picture of all three children. I HAD to post the progression of these photos:
Phase 1: Will crying, Sam dazed by the camera, Beth in "baby family" heaven.
Phase 2: Will dazed by Amy, Sam crying, Beth still in Baby heaven.
Phase 3: Will's done, Sam's done, Beth's thinking, "Where did all my babies go?"

Thanks to Nate, Amy, Sam and Beth for such a GOODLY Christmas vacation. We loved the good food, good shows, and of course, the good company. There are moments we will treasure in our hearts forever (especially the time when Amy was feeling quite hot in the backseat of the Volvo and the many times Nate traipsed around the house in his union suit with a "warming flap". Lucky us, we saw more of Nate and Amy than we had ever wanted to). Now, we're off to more adventures for the New Year. Stay tuned....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Day

Yes, we're getting some snow here in upstate NY. Last weekend we were without power for 30 hours due to an ice storm. That was an adventure. Then this weekend we got hit with two big snow storms. Church was even cancelled! I love the snow; however, I must admit that I get a little stir crazy when I must stay indoors all the time due to said snow. At least it looks like it will be a white Christmas for us in Vermont.

Here are some photos from our snow days:

Will's very first snow experience. Don't you love his boots (aka-ziplock bags)?
Will is obsessed with crawling under his crib. He is also obsessed with his dada and his blankey. So, this is the perfect combination: snuggling under his crib with his blankey and his dada. Too cute.
Today he tried so very hard to crawl under our dresser. He does not, however, come even close to fitting, but that did NOT deter him. It was hilarious.

Snow, snow, snow!
Will and Josh in the snow.

Do you think he liked the snow? I guess he hates all things winter: Santa, the cold, the snow. Hopefully, he will like Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to decorate for Christmas in 9 easy steps:

Below you will find a fool-proof method of decorating your home for the Holidays. If you will follow these 9 simple steps, then I can personally guarantee you a beautiful, expertly decorated home that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

1. Pick out a beautiful tree from the land of trees: Lowe's.
2. Retrieve Christmas boxes from basement (this is done easily enough, especially since you heart your label maker).
3. Allow your 10-month-old to dig deep into those boxes so as to find anything of pertinence (this is done with glee and, of course, squeals of delight).

4. INSIST this child place every decoration in his mouth first, to ensure that everything is up to the highest edible standard.

5. Pay your husband $13 to put up both the garland and the lights. (Why $13 you wonder? It's what is in your wallet at the time. You will find that this will be the best $13 you spend for Christmas. Not only is the work done with the precision quality of an engineer, but because he is PAID, he is your employee and HAS to do what you say. For instance, if you run out of lights half-way through, you tell that employee to go to Walmart and get some more. And then, when those high-quality, brand-new lights don't work, you tell him: "You're an engineer. You went to school for 6 years--figure something out." Of course, this employee of yours does NOT have to enjoy doing this--hence the look of anger on this husband/employee's face).
6. Watch Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs on The Discovery Channel. Yes, at times this show is hard to stomach (literally--did you see the one about the slimy eels? Or the sewer drainage?) and it will make your employee's work suffer a little (it's quite the distraction) but you will find that by giving your husband/employee total command of the remote, he will be much happier.
7. Stand in front of expertly decorated Christmas tree, holding your first born son, fling out your arm in triumph and smile as though this is your proudest moment (It probably is. Of course, your child will be transfixed with the tree and won't LOOK at the camera).

8. Go to the Ward Christmas Party, where you and your child will eat excessive amounts of Christmas ham and then force your child to sit on Santa's lap so that you will get this look: (this may not have much to do with decorating but it is somehow part of the process).
9. Slowly but surely, move all ornaments on the lower half of the tree to the upper half, so as to avoid ornament damage by this little monkey:
Hopefully, you've followed these 9 easy steps and you've found your home a happier, more exquisitely decorated place. I know we have. Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something to bring you a little holiday cheer....

Have I told you lately that Will's obsessed with climbing the stairs? Well, here's the proof. Turn the sound way up so you can hear his cute noises (but ignore my high-pitched prattle) and watch 'til the end when you'll hear Will giggle from Josh's tickling.

video

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Giving Thanks..

This Thanksgiving we gave thanks with the Madsen clan in the land of Oprah and Obama: Chi-town. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but a fun Thanksgiving gathering. And, during this trip, I managed to give thanks for the following:

  • The Corner Bakery, the scrumptious cafe that provided us with no less than four meals. Yummy, yummy.
  • Will sleeping through the night at the hotel (in the bathroom, mind you). First time he's done that while on a trip. Loved it.
  • Tickets to Wicked. Need I say more? It's just as amazing in Chicago as it is on Broadway. The best Ga-linda I've seen. (Josh was lucky enough to get to see it twice since Nate, his brother, "chose sleep").
  • Maggiano's, where we had Thanksgiving dinner. Let me just name all our courses: three types of dreamy bruschetta, two types of delectable salads, turkey that was divine, stuffing, ham, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and if you thought that wasn't enough we also had spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni with Alfredo sauce and two types of dessert. Wow. It was good. Will thought so as well since he ate and ate and ate and ate. I am pretty sure he out-ate both Josh and me, which is no small feat. Impressive.
  • Touring the fun Fields Museum (where we had lunch at, you guessed it, Corner Bakery). The best part was the children's section in the basement. They had a rubber-room. Literally--a little room made out of rubber pads complete with toys that Will loved. It was a kid haven.
  • Wildfire, another restaurant where we were served far too many courses that were far too good. Thus, Josh, Will and I all overate once again. But it was totally worth it and I'd do it again. In a heartbeat.
  • Josh and Will wearing matching outfits for Thanksgiving (see pictures below). The best part really was the fact that Josh was so very excited to match with Willy. He told me, "I'm wearing my rugby on Thursday, so plan Will's outfits accordingly." I adore my boys. Seriously adore them.
  • The fact that I did NOT have to wear a one-piece, long underwear union suit with a "trap door" in the back for our Madsen Family Christmas picture, which were taken in front of the Christmas tree in our hotel lobby. Josh, his brothers and his dad, however, were not so lucky. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, just wait 'til you receive your very own Madsen Family Christmas card. It's worth the wait.
  • Arriving safely at O'Hare Airport. Now that was a trip. 7 people, just as many bags, only 6 seats, two strollers, three car seats and a tiny SUV. Imagine what fun that was.
  • Sarah (our three year old niece) saying to an unnamed family member: "Oh, I love your big girl panties!" Oh, my tummy hurt from all the laughing.
  • And of course, the best was bonding with the Madsen family, some of my favorite people. I LOVE spending time with Josh's family, and I LOVE Will playing with his cousins. Josh and I are so blessed in our families, who just really are the best.
It was a grand trip, even though big cities with eleven adults and five kids is sometimes tricky. Boy, we were a sight. I love spending holidays with our families and I know this Thanksgiving I have MORE blessings than I can possibly ever count. My cup runneth over!

Here are the few pictures we managed to take, all on Thanksgiving day when my boys were matching:




Monday, November 24, 2008

The Evolution of Hair

No other head of hair has been through as much trauma as mine (and we are only talking color here, people. We are totally ignoring the huge tragedy that was the hair cut I received my sophomore year of college. I still shudder at the thought). It all started at my birth. Unfortunately, I was born with beautiful blond hair. I say unfortunately because no blond ever stays blond. All that happens to that blond is they get very attached to that lustrous, flaxen hair only to watch it slowly grow darker and darker, duller and duller. So, this born-blond-but-slowly turned into a mouse-brown-brunette really only has two options. Leave the boring brown color to slowly fade darker into the dreary void of dull, murky brownness or pay thousands of dollars to highlight said hair to a shimmery and bright blond. Of course, those of you who know me, know that I've chosen the second path, a path I've been trodding since I was 18 years old. I've had occasional forays into the world of brown but nothing's ever stuck. Well, it was getting to that time again, where I was frustrated with having the roots, where I was sick of constantly dying my hair and where I desperately wanted a change. And unwilling to take the unbeaten path of lackluster brown, I've forged a new path: a path of glossy, shining and exotic dark brown with a hint of red. To say that the change has left me a little bewildered (as in I have no idea who that crazy lady with a wig on is staring back at me in the mirror) would be an understatement. I am slowly adjusting to life as a brunette. Who knows how long it will last, but one thing I do know: blonds definitely do NOT have more fun.

Here's a photo highlighting my new do: (I don't seem to be highly photogenic. I think the haircut much more pleasing in person).

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And now for Will's hair evolution. Remember this photo, taken when he was just a few days old? Look at ALL that hair!
Then, at two months he went through that sad balding phase (I didn't realize quite how bald he was until looking at pictures).
And then here he is at 9.5 months old. His hair was driving me BONKERS it was so VERY long, growing over the ears and the back of his shirts. So, we took matters into our own hands and cut off that hair.

(This picture doesn't do it justice--his hair was LONG).

Below: Getting his hair cut. We distracted him by feeding him goldfish. I freaked out a little when I saw all the hair fall to the ground. It made me sad to see all that beautiful red hair on the floor.

And the finished product: a hair cut by no means professionally done, but at least not as bushy long as before. Luckily, he's so crazy cute that anything looks good on this kid!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spokane: August 21-September 3

Yes, I am aware that this trip took place three months ago, but I did want to document it for journaling purposes. And I thought you just may enjoy the photos.

Spokane: our first trip to my home, the land where I happily resided for thirteen plus years, the place where my parents, sister and two brothers currently now abide, the city that will always be my home away from home. The trip started out with a bang. Due to some crazy confusion (it's extra complicated, people) I inadvertently missed my flight--by an entire day. After some serious scrambling and $140, I was off to Spokane. The long flight home (14 hours from door to door) went relatively smoothly and here's why: the flights were empty so there was always a seat next to me to put Will; everyone was very nice to me and my cute baby boy; Will was/is still nursing, so I just nursed him for a few hours on end. Some not-so-great moments: spit-up all over me and the floor of the airplane; urine all over me and the floor of the airplane bathroom (no one told me to bring an extra pair of clothes for me); carrying Will in the baby Bjorn PLUS a HEAVY backpack and trying to go to the bathroom while on our layover. That was fun. But we survived and when my mom greeted us anxiously and excitedly at the airport, she ran for Will, grabbed him, gave him lots of loves, then, finally, acknowledged me with this, "You look like you've been on a plane all day." To say the least.

The trip was jam-packed. Not a dull moment. Of course, Spear-style, every moment was planned and occupied and we loved it. Will did fine except for when we were in the car (which we were quite a bit, traveling to and from each activity--especially to the lake). The lucky people who got to be in our car got to hear Will's vocal ability. But we loved, loved, loved all the attention and adoration, the good cooking, the good times and, of course, the great company!

To try to organize the enormous amount of pictures documenting our good times, I've separated them into the following categories: introductions, reunions, activities and the Willster.

Oh, we love Spokane and can't wait to get back there soon. Hopefully, in January!

Introductions

Will met his Uncle Cam for the first time this trip. Cam is a great uncle and Will loved his Uncle Cam. We miss Uncle Cam!

Will and Cody. Will learned quite quickly on this trip what it meant to be the younger cousin.

Cody (Ryan and Angela's youngest) and Will again.

Will met his great Grandma and Grandpa Spear! He also met his great Granny and Great Aunt Marsha and Uncle Jim, but of course, there are no photos of this--sadly enough.

We got to meet sweet baby Nixon, Jon and Michelle's new baby boy. So sweet.

Reunions

Megan, me and Toni
While in Spokane, my long-lost junior high buddy Cookie came to visit, as well as her baby girl Olivia, her mom Toni and sister Roxanna. It was beyond good to see them. Hadn't seen Cookie and her family since Cookie's wedding 5 years ago!

The gals: Roxanna, Taraka, Cookie, me and Megan.

Then we had a 10th ward reunion with our old gang from the 10th ward. It was so fun to see everyone, meet their cute kids and spouses.

THEN, my friend from the BY Megan and her CUTE daughter Laynie came all the way from Portland to see us. Though, I have no pictures of Megan, I do, however, have plenty of photos of cute Laynie and Will. (Can they PLEASE get married one day. Look how cute she is. Of course, she is a good five months older than Will, though you'd never guess because she is so tiny).

Will and Laynie at Riverfront Park.

And Will and Laynie in the bathtub. So using this for their wedding video!

And Will was reunited with his Grammy and Pompa again, too (though I didn't get any pictures with Pompa on my camera). He loves his Grammy and Pompa and wishes we could see way more of them!

Grammy and Will again. So stinkin' cute!