Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas bells were ringing

Christmas time is not officially Christmas time for me until the annual Magleby Family Little America Trip.  We had some trepidations about staying at the hotel with Eli (validated trepidations- total parental sleep that night = 4 hours) but we are a family and by golly this was a family activity. 

Eli met Santa for the first time in the hotel lobby.  
He was rather unimpressed but he'll learn.

Christmas lights at Temple Square never cease to fill my soul with 
holiday cheer.  Eli bore being hauled around in the cold with great
long suffering and secret delight in the twinklies (I hope).

This bench holds a special place in my heart.  Four years
ago on this very spot Zach popped the question.  I teared
up a bit and he immediately panicked and promised that he'd "do better".
My sweet man.  He does better every day.

We took Eli swimming for the first time after seeing the lights.  He clung to me like a spider monkey in the pool and screamed if I threatened to move him even an inch.  Hanging out with McKenna afterwards seemed to cheer him up.

A few days later we spent Christmas Eve in delightful chaos at the Judkins, where Eli got his first ever Christmas present from Maimai and then had plenty of help in opening it.

Every year I'm amazed that Marsha finds the perfect fabric for every member of the family and makes us Christmas Eve jammies.  We're talking 20 pairs here- she's incredible!

When Eli wasn't overwhelmed by gifting he was playing with/torturing? his favorite cousin Ollie. 

Having our families live ten minutes part means twice the fun as we jump from house to house in attempt to take part in as many traditions as possible.  We spent Christmas morning with my family, starting with the traditional wait at the top of the stairs.  We don't have any stairs at our apartment, so Eli is fascinated with them.  Without my restraining hand the picture would have been one of his little body cartwheeling down the steps.

Despite my desire to buy everything in sight for my child I had a hard time justifying the cost.  Will he remember?  No.  Did he like opening presents?  No.  Does he appreciate his new gifts?  Not really. Thus most of his gifts were books so that I can make sure I enjoy reading them with him.  There are some terrible, terrible childrens books out there.

Our favorite gift "for Eli" was the baby back pack.  The babe seemed to love it.  Obviously he doesn't realize that hours of torture await for the sake of "adventures".

We loved being with our family and friends and hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful holiday and have a happy New Year!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A plus plus plus plus

Parenting is a job that I never clock out of and I perform every day, but unlike my “real” job I have no one to evaluate my performance.  No boss, no quarterly reviews, no stats, and no client suggestions.  I crave feedback, but Zach, the man in the best position to observe and review my handiwork, carefully (and wisely) sticks to the script: You’re a great mother.  You’re doing a good job. Eli hasn’t died yet.

 It may be years before a grown Eli discloses to his shrink how my mothering ruined his life, but until then all I have are his well-child checkups to tell me how I’m doing.  I can’t help but assign the role of evaluator to our doctor. Whenever I bring Eli to his appointments I feel like she’s grading my nurturing ability as I compete for the motherhood scholarship.

 First, the measuring:

Weight: 19 lbs - 38% Failing grade.  But at least he doesn’t get stuck in his bumbo anymore.

Height: 27.91" - 33% Fail.  How is this possible?  Have you SEEN my family?  I’m the shortest one by a good three inches and I’m no hobbit.

Head size: 48 cm 96% A+ Baby. That’s right.  My child rocks his own gravitational pull.

 Sleeping through the night?  Room for improvement.  Actually Zach and I should probably just go to bed earlier so that we can fully appreciate his 6 AM wake up call.

Drinking from a sippy cup?  Fail.  Or maybe Eli just doesn’t like apple juice.

Pooping?  Pass.  In a big way.

 Crawling?  B+.  Eli has a powerful engine, but fails to recognize the size of the vehicle he is attempting to maneuver and is frequently stuck.  He also has a complete inability to back up.

 Teeth?  2/4

Fine motor skills?  Judging from his ability to find the tiniest speck of anything I don’t want him to eat and the lightning speed with which it is transferred to his mouth I’m going to give him an A.

Diet?  Well, I believe that one is subject to opinion.  After all, it’s all about Eli being happy, right?

Interaction with other children?  Eh, B.  He is terrified of the two year-old that lives upstairs (as are we), but he can’t get enough of his cousins.

 9 MONTH CHECKUP OVERALL GRADE: PASS.  I get to keep the child.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All is vanity

Helloooo there.  Who is that devilishly handsome babe in the mirror?  Why, it’s that same blackguard that head-butted me in the nursing lounge on Sunday!  I was simply trying to get better acquainted and the bloke took it much too seriously.  Luckily my screams carried clear through the whole building, alerting everyone to the presence of a head-butting maniac with some bizarre mismatched outfit on.  His mother probably hadn’t counted on him pooping his pants during Sacrament meeting and then realizing that the “backup pants” were actually another pair of pooped pants from the day before.

Hold on a moment… I pat the adoring Dadslave, and he pats the Dadslave… could that be me? 

Huh, I thought I was chubbier than that.  It’s all anyone ever tells me- “Oh Eli, you’re so squishy.  Eli, you’re so soft”.  Ha.  Shameless flattery. 

Oh well, at least I have decent hair for a change- not that patchy baldness that matched  mom.  Her hair is EVERYWHERE in here, come to think of it.  How does she even have any left on her head for me to yank on?  I guess when it’s all gone there’s always her earrings.

And look! There’s a tooth!  So that’s why mom has suddenly become so dreadfully keen on weaning me.  Well, the jokes on her.  With formula and mashed sweet potatoes in my stomach I can cause ever so much more unpleasantness in the diaper region.  I’m rather proud of the expressions of horror I’ve managed to procure from her in the past few days.

There’s the mother now.  Hello darling, care for some drool?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Maglebys in their natural habitat... McCall

Our latest and greatest trip to McCall, Idaho with the Maglebys was a reality check for me:

Vacations require tons of work when you have offspring.

Zach and I have always loved road trips and exploring new places, but now instead of throwing a couple of bags in the back we bring everything but the kitchen sink.  We have the car seat, the stroller, the diaper bag, the bjorn, the pack’n’play, the white noise machine, extra diapers and wipes, a million changes of clothing, blankets, baby sunscreen and lotion and a dozen other “just in case” items. 

Instead of enjoying the opportunity to rejuvenate and sleep in away from work and school we’re up three times in the night with the screaming one.  And suddenly, despite weeks and weeks of ever-so-slowly breaking the habit of night time feeding, I find myself nursing the child at 3 AM just so he won’t wake up the cousins right outside the door (who woke up anyway).  And then BOING!  No matter how crazy the night or how few naps he had the day before Eli was AWAKE at 7 am.

Zach: I think Clarissa's grandma originally put us in the same cabin with all the other newly-weds to induce a baby envy frenzy.  Wrong move.  They instead witnessed the horrible shrieking creature our beautiful baby turns into at night, heralding the sleepocalypse.  Too bad...

When I look back to all the family reunions we had when I was little and the trips we went on I realize how much work my parents put into making sure my brothers and I had a good time.  They packed for us, they hauled us around, they brought snacks, they handled our whining, they made sure we spent time with our cousins, and they endured late nights when us kids wouldn’t stop talking and giggling. 

Now that I have my own child I realize why they went to all that trouble for a few days that surely exhausted them: good memories. I want my kids to have the same memories that I have and be able to look back and realized that they were loved.  I want them to have fun with their family, to go on adventures and to try new things. 

Even if I means we parents wind up totally worn out and broke by the end of them.

And now, the inevitable vacation photo dump:

Kayaking on the lake.  Somehow Zach and I went from being in a kayak with each other to paddling for our little cousins in separate ones.  It was quite the workout.
My "little" brother: the favorite and only single young adult there.

 Eli was not so sure about the boat, and even less excited about the life jacket.  We're pretty sure the last kid to wear it lost his breakfast all over it, so we were understanding to a point.

 He finally fell asleep, but in doing so missed his dad's spectacular crash off the tube.

 The throwing men.  Not to be messed with.

 First successful flip of the day.  Boo ya.

The traditional ice cream hang out of McCall.  We may have eaten there more than once.  Or twice.

As the only baby in the family Eli did not lack for attention.  I would feed him, hold him out, and he would be taken and surrounded by adoring fans until he was hungry again.  That's what I call a vacation.

Four generational shot

Eli was a favorite subject of many pictures.  We were lucky to be cast as extras.

I never knew family pictures were such a painful event until we took the whole group shot. One toddler would be hiding in dad's shoulder, one would be smiling too weird, and then Grandma would be trying to fix everyone all at the same time.  I'm not sure if any of those ones turned out, but we got our happy little family below.

Thanks to the Magleby clan for such a wonderful vacation!

*All awesome non-cell-phone pictures by Tina Magleby

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On sleep and sleeping

When we first brought Eli home from the hospital I never knew that I could be so tired for so long.  Constant, prolonged exhaustion.  A few months later when Eli began sleeping through the night I thought that heaven was giving me the greatest gift of all time.  A month later heaven took the gift away.  A month after that we got it back.  Now it varies by the night based off heaven’s mood.

Heaven is toying with me.

First, Eli would wake up because he was either hungry or he had unswaddled himself.
Always arms in the air.  Why? 
  Next, Eli slept on his stomach and we enjoyed blissful sleep for a while, although we were confused by some of his positions.
I used to sleep in my doorway (I wasn't allowed to leave my room) like this every night. 
 I guess some things are just genetic.

 Whatever it is, I want in on that dream.

Then, Eli learned how to prop himself up, prolonging the falling-asleep process and allowing his screams to travel farther.

Like a slug, the Eli leaves a trail of slime as evidence of where he traveled from.

Currently Eli wakes himself up by rolling over from his tummy to his back.  So now, while we don’t have to go feed him at 4 am, we do have to go in and roll him back over and pop his binky back in.

 After thorough research, we’ve been operating on the cry-it-out method, which seems to work great as long as you’re willing to trade half an hour of night time feeding for an hour of lying in bed listening to your child wail while waves of adrenaline flow through your body with the peak of every cry.  Still, aside from some disastrous vacation schedules we are making progress.   In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see Zach and I moaning as we shuffle along in the search for fresh sleep.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Get 'em while they're young

One of things that I love the most about being married into the Judkins/Haight clan is that everyone is so dang active.  They organize family Ragnar teams, everyone camps, everyone hikes, and they bring things like adult pogo sticks to family BBQs.  It’s awesome.

For Pioneer Day we indoctrinated Eli with his first 5k along the parade route in Salt Lake City.  He managed to stay awake for the entire rite of passage experience and was the most popular “runner” on the route.  Even though I was there gasping my heart out trying to keep up with Zach all I heard was, “Look at the baby!  He’s beating his mom and dad!  Go baby!”  Story of my life.

 Welcome to the club, kid.