Monday, December 21, 2009


We've had some milestone numbers these last couple of weeks. It was our 10th anniversary on December 11th. Cheyenne had her 6th birthday on the 15th. Evan and I took a trip to NYC and were without kids for 4 nights, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa White's babysitting!

Married 10 years! Unfortunately, there's still a 14-inch height difference...

The 1 picture we took in NYC. It was bitterly cold that weekend. We had borrowed Lindsey's little digital camera, which was much easier to cart around than our big DSLR, but between the cold and the length of time it took to work the camera, we didn't do a lot of photography. It was a great trip, though. I had never really visited NYC, and Evan hadn't been there since he was a teenager. We stayed in NJ for the cheaper hotels, and took the train or bus into the city during the day. This very much stay-at-home mom was pretty exhausted at the end of the weekend, between walking everywhere, running up and down subway stairs, and never being able to sit down! The lunch of a hot dog pictured above was one of the few places there were benches, and since the temperature was in the single digits, we didn't linger overlong on the marble seat! We toured some museums, saw "South Pacific" on Broadway, and enjoyed meeting with some friends Sunday morning in Newark. Now we have lots of ideas about when we visit there again-- which probably won't be for years!

The kids had lots of fun playing with Grandma and Grandpa, especially once some snow fell!

Making snow angels on the deck.

Sliding down the slide.

Big smiles at the bottom.

Poor Cheyenne, with her ridiculously small snow pants, must have got some snow up her pant leg-- she doesn't look as happy. I tried to buy her a snow suit for her birthday, but I didn't read the tags closely enough at T. J. Maxx. Funnily enough, the 2T suit I bought her doesn't fit that well. I need to find a pair for the poor girl soon!

One of their favorite things to do when Grandma is there-- play Play-Doh. Since I don't have the patience to do this very often, Grandma spoils them and plays with them. Note the cute little pigtails Marilyn got in Rilla's hair!

This little girl has been without a pacifier for 2.5 weeks now! Now we're working on restricting the special blanket to the crib. Sure makes her happy to go down for her nap, since she gets her blankie and a warm corn bag!

All wasn't sunshine with Grandma, though... Sounds like she did awesome, overall, though!

Rilla is obsessed with this book, among others. "Top, Tain, Top!" she says. When Rilla approaches me with a stack of books, she insists that I read every one of them. I know about 20 board books by heart. I would be fun to have at a party!

Grandma with her lap full. Marilla has two of her favorite foods here-- flaxseed rolls, and crackers with peanut butter. I hear Grandpa made her about 93 peanut butter crackers over the course of their time here!

Building a blanket fort.

This is my extremely freaky looking son. Also, that's my new computer desk in the background! Thanks to Evan doing all sorts of wireless networking and fiddling with cords, I now have my computer in the living room! It's wonderful to be able to work on my computer while being in the same part of the house as the rest of the family.

Rilla with her milk.

Adding her blankie to the fort.

Miss Demure, all dressed for school the day we came back!

Then, her birthday! A word game from Smiths we still haven't had time to play...

And Rufus, her new piggybank! He's about the cutest little piggybank I've ever seen. Except, of course, he's a doggy, not a piggy.

Waiting oh-so-properly for the cake to be brought in.

6!! Wow! I find it hard to believe.

Eating her birthday cake.

Elliott, transported by chocolate cake bliss.

Elliott had a first last week-- Auntie Lisa took him ice-skating for the first time.

He enjoyed it, and did better than I expected him to.

Here he is, with a little three-year old boy who was also skating there. Yeah, as in a kid that's a year younger than Elliott, yet is still a lot taller. Oh, well, he's dashingly handsome and wicked smart, I guess height was too much to ask for.

Elliott has an appointment next month for his four-year follow-up with the neonatologists that cared for him when he was so tiny. The doctors there are doing a study on micro-preemies like Elliott, so they've been following him every year or so since he was a baby. I'm thinking they will be impressed with his brains, if not his pounds!

Speaking of numbers, only 2 more days of school until Cheyenne has vacation! Since Evan hasn't had work this month (depressing numbers in the bank account, but happiness at having him home!) we'll be heading up to Vaughans for Christmas and a little beyond. Looking forward to seeing Lindsey some more, and watching the cousins play. I'm sure lots of pictures will be taken!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why I Am Not Happy Tonight

My little Marilla just threw up drastically twice in a row. While having a little sick kid is never fun, there are reasons this is even more awful than normal.
  1. We weaned Marilla from her pacifier Friday night. It hasn't been a popular move. Now, when she's in need of comfort, it's so tempting to give it back to her. The thought of going through the last three nights some other time, though, is terrifying.
  2. She just threw up on the back-up blanket. Now that the pacifier is gone, this blanket is even more crucial. And the two blankets won't be out of the dryer for 2 hours.
  3. Evan and I have hotel reservations for Thursday night. It will be our tenth anniversary Friday, and, for the first time in 7-8 years, we are going away for a long weekend. Without our children. What are the odds we won't get sick at this critical juncture.
  4. It's just awful. I can't think of another concrete reason, but three reasons doesn't do this justice.
Anyway, she is in the mood to cuddle at least. And now Daddy has the brains to have a little bowl handy should she erupt again. We're low on sleepers at this point, so hoping she manages to keep it all inside, or at least in the bowl if she needs to vomit again.

I hope no one was looking for a happy blog post here! ;-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Here's one of the main reasons I don't update my blog more. Rilla believes this is a legitimate way for Mommy to use the computer-- reaching around and through her legs to reach the keyboard.

Cheyenne's class put on a program for a school assembly the Friday before Thanksgiving. They told the story of the Pilgrims.

Here is Cheyenne, saying "The first winter in America was long and hard." I was impressed-- she was loud and clear. During their songs, I could hear her voice from the back of the auditorium. I guess she does have some Vaughan blood in her!

On Tuesday, they had a program for the parents. Cheyenne told a joke-- "What's the best thing to put on pumpkin pie? Your teeth!" Ha, ha, ha!

Marilla, enjoying the hand-me-down scarves from Grandma Jill.

I guess we don't really need to buy clothes-- that is quite the outfit!

It was gorgeous weather for Thanksgiving weekend up at the farm! Thankfully, this picture, taken Wednesday, paints a pretty picture of the day. Good thing the camera wasn't out Wednesday night. That's when I burned a pie crust in Mom's terrible oven (more on that later!), inadvertently sprayed myself with the kitchen sink sprayer (making Owen's day) and covered myself in turkey juice. I came this close to crying over exhaustion and frustration.

The next morning, though, was pretty relaxing. Elliott chilled with some stuffed animals from Aunt Emma.

Cheyenne observed Auntie's knitting lesson for Tori.

Rilla had purple polka dot legs.

Cheyenne got a little snuggle time with Gilbert, who is fat and adorable!

Playing Fluxx. (Hint: don't buy this for Lisa's birthday-- I don't think she likes this game! :-)

Elliott had a great time playing with blocks...

And reading with Daddy.

Marilyn used her artistic talent to color in the Barbie coloring book. Although I don't have pictures, Ashley also did some coloring in that book-- seemed to be a popular pastime, and all the kids were impressed with their technique!

Silly kids playing together.

Finally, we started eating some appetizers and cooking!

I am the picture of purpose and resolve. I had forgotten my apron at home, so I borrowed one of Mom's. I have a sneaking suspicion it was accidentally stolen from convention one year, but I tried not to be overwhelmed with guilt.

Not a lot of marks for elegant presentation of the appetizers, but they sure were yummy! Olivia made clam dip.

Lisa made this-- a block of cream cheese spread with some sun-dried tomato pesto. Super yummy.

And Ashley's guacamole, made even better by being served in a cow bowl!

The stuffing being made.

Clementine oranges, disappearing fast.

The Cooking Cottens.

Bethaney deals with an onion...

while Justin halves brussel sprouts. It was my first time trying them-- not to bad, but I'm not sure they're worth doing a lot of work for!

As my shutter clicked here, little Gilbert's eyes closed, and he fell asleep!

Lisa's handiwork-- fancy place tags!

By the time we were ready to eat, the kids were getting silly.

Orianna. She wore pink tights with polka dots as a counter point to Rilla's purple stockings.

Yup, Elliott and Orianna are still the evil twins.

As per usual, there was obscene amounts of delicious food.

Bethaney's turkey. We all made fun of Bethaney, because she was going to start cooking her turkey while it was still frozen. Well, it was done before my carefully thawed and brined turkey. (I think that oven bags don't work right in those stand-alone roasters!) Anyway, we had two huge turkeys, so plenty of meat.

And rolls, and sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes...

And zucchini bread, and cranberry-orange relish, and cranberry horseradish relish. (Mom has a weird attachment to the last item-- none of the rest of us can stand it.)

The kids' and (some of) the ladies' table.

Digging in!

They all look like they're finding enough food.

At the kids' table. Note Bet is standing up-- there's not much peaceful eating at this table.

Olivia finds turkey hilarious.

I got to sit by Orianna Grace!

Lily giving Grandma a big hug afterwards.

Ashley, with her festive pumpkin-colored scarf.

I don't know what was in that glass, but the pictures are funny!

The kids getting ready to go for a walk with some of the aunts!

Justin provided the after-dinner music.

And, after everyone had time to let things settle a bit, there was pie! Blackberry, raspberry, pumpkin, apple, lemon meringue and pecan!

(And Evan teasing Orianna. But that's a constant.)

My lemon meringue pie wept. I can never bring myself to care about this, but I know it's a culinary no-no.

Yum, pie crust!

Lily dug into the peanuts for supper.

She's very protective of her peanuts. She didn't really trust Olivia when Olivia took this picture.

"Step away from the peanuts."

There was lots of to-ing and fro-ing, as 20-something people moved around all the extra tables.

Lily's comfortable seat.

I think she was getting a little tired by now.

So was Elliott. Though he was helped by the coffee he was sneaking from various adults.

Dad burns the baler twine from the hay in his furnace, so he brings it in after chores. A whole new level to the usefulness of baler twine was discovered, with the electric blue twine their neighbor uses. Cheyenne and the other kids loved and used it for all sorts of games.

Olivia's Black Friday purchase. Particularly beautiful when paired with these pajama pants.

Elliott was into pink, too.

Making pizza Friday night.

I did the heavy looking on while Bethaney worked on them.

She was really impressed with having her picture taken, apparently.

Remember Mom's awful oven, the one that cooked 60° hot and shocked you when you used metal spoons to stir pots on certain burners? Well, on Saturday she got a new stove! Since they paid $10 for the other one, used, 15 year ago, I'm not sure it was necessary, but it is pretty.

The greatest thing, of course, was the stove box.

It got a little crowded in there with five kids, but it kept them contained. Cheyenne was quite distressed that the other kids didn't share her decorating vision and attention to detail, but they were quite happy just crawling in and out and poking their head out the windows.

Especially the sunroof.

Saturday night, sleepy little cousins read books together.

All the kids' favorite spot-- the window ledge behind the love seat.

Gilbert chilling on Mom's lap. Look at that neck control!

A good time was held by all-- even my weird son.