Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ellie and Relatives

On Tuesday night, Ellie and I went to Jon & Teri's house to see Gwen again, and to see Jon's other kids who were visiting for Christmas.  It was fun to see all of them.  Amber, Travis, and Sarah are getting so big!

Amy is in town from Shanghai, and today we hung out with her and Mom.  She played with Ellie quite a bit, and it must have tuckered her out, because Amy fell asleep right in the middle of playing, and snoozed for quite awhile on the floor!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I saw it!

About 20 minutes ago, Ellie rolled over again and I saw it.  Yeah!  Greg is sooooo jealous...

Ellie Rolled Over

Tonight, Ellie rolled from her back to her front, unassisted, for the very first time.  I am so proud of her!  She actually did it 3 times.  The first time, I had laid her down while I made her a bottle, and when I got back, she was on her tummy.  I have been videotaping for over a week trying to catch the moment, because I knew she was close - and I did not even witness it, let alone tape it.

The second time happened after she ate and took a nap, and it was play time again.   I laid her down and went to plug in the camera battery.  In the time it took to stand up, get the camera out of the diaper bag, and put the battery in the charger, Ellie was already on her tummy again.  I missed it for the second time!  I quickly put the camera back together and took a couple of pictures.  Then I put Ellie on her back and waited, camera in hand, to see if she wanted to do it again.  After about a minute, I hopped up to get my phone to text Greg and tell him what he had missed.  I literally had my back to Ellie for about 4 seconds - and, you guessed it - she was already on her tummy.  I missed it AGAIN!

After that, I sat down and talked with her for over 15 minutes, but Ellie had no interest in rolling over again.  Hopefully I will actually catch her in the act next time...

Today at our Primary Presidency Meeting, since the kids are out of school, we had more people than usual fascinated with Ellie.  I put Ellie in her car seat because we were getting ready to go, and Lexi, Matther=w, Brooklyn, and Cache wanted to help me, and then wanted to entertain Ellie.  These children are adorable and so sweet!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas break with the best family ever (title by Tammy)

This has been a great vacation!  Here are the highlights:

1.  Learning some interesting sayings from Tammy, like "Open a can of kick butt" and "Flip a witch" and "This is a woofy of a game"
2.  Tammy playing Mary in a live nativity, under duress, but then enjoying herself

3.  Ky's bottom hitting the floor as she sat on the air mattress with a hole in it
4.  Playing hand & foot 24/7

5.  Ky and Heather channeling our inner opera singers as Kiera played the piano
6.  Chasing Macy around the house

7.  Mugging on Ellie

8.  Kyle slapping whipped cream up Tammy's nose

9.  Kyle and Tammy and the endless pinches - Tammy claims she won the war!
10. Tammy kicking the door and spraining her toe because the Broncos were losing
11.  Tammy poking me with a bobby pin in the arm at church to try and keep herself awake
12.  Laughing at silly stories at 1 in the morning (me having a Heather moment. We were talking about how we broke the bed frame when we were moving, and I meant we broke it when we were packing and moving the furniture to a new house, but it was completely taken out of context!)
13.  Kaysen trying to scare Tammy in the middle of the night, and instead waking Macy up so she was barking at 2 a.m., which woke up the whole house

14.  Watching "The Proposal" and having Kiera say the actor had nice abs when he took his shirt off

15.  Jonette coloring Tammy's hair, and having the peanut gallery offer many suggestions as to how it could turn out better

16.  Jonette doing Ellie's laundry
17.  Watching the kids sled while Kyle pulled them on the 4 wheeler

18.  Realizing that some skills never go away, but they can be rusty. Ky asked me to french braid her hair into 2 braids, and it was a little rough. She tried to sleep on it, and it promptly fell out. I redid it the next day, and then it stayed and looked pretty stinking cute.

19.  Arguing over what movie to watch, and then watching the stupidest movie ever - Night at the Museum 2

20.  Watching Ellie be fascinated by Macy. Macy kept trying to get all of Ellie's toys, but she also protected Ellie. Macy always wanted to be where Ellie was.

21.  Shopping at Costco and Target

22.  Kyle wearing his Mr. Incredible outfit
23.  Kaysen overhearing girl talk and learning new information that he probably did not want to learn
24.  Kylene getting a newer version of my camera and teaching me how to use it (I've had mine since March). I never knew that I could take pictures in black & white and sepia.

25.  Kiera wanting us to smell her armpits to see if she stinks

26.  Kylene telling her dad not to make diarrhea soup. (He made a really yummy steak soup, but Ky thought it looked nasty.)

27.  Sub-zero temperatures
28.  Drinking lots of pop
29.  Having kidlets to run errands for me (Kays, will you get me a pop?; Kiera, will you get me a binkie?)
30.  Realizing that Kyle is a big old softie - just a little rough around the edges.  His parents gave their children wonderful photo albums and keepsakes (from their childhoods) for Christmas, and Kyle cried when he opened the present, and again when he told the story in his talk in Sacrament Meeting.

31.  Learning I am a liar and a cheater...especially when we play cards.  Kyle is a bad influence on me!

32.  Kaysen telling us "Yo Mama" jokes and cracking himself up
33.  Dressing Ellie in her new Christmas dress

34.  Ellie falling asleep on her activity mat in the middle of all of the action
35.  Hanging out and being together, and eating lots of yummy food

36.  Nicknaming Ellie "Fred."  We were talking about whether or not Ellie knew her name, and Jonette said that when Macy was in puppy obedience school, they would call her by a different name to train her to only respond to her own name.  So, Jonette decided to test this out on Ellie, and called to her in a sing-song voice.  "Fred" turned instantly.

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Thoughts

For Mother/Daughter Book Club last month, we read Hope In Our Hearts by Russell M. Nelson.  One chapter, Christ the Savior Is Born, talked about Christ's birth so many years ago.  I enjoyed Elder Nelson's thoughts on this sacred event, and it brings detail to this familiar story.

Elder Nelson starts the chapter by summarizing the angel's visits to Mary and Joseph, and then says, "Mary and Joseph did not need to be taught the deep significance of the name Jesus.  The Hebrew root from which it was derived, Jehoshua, means 'Jehovah is salvation.'  So the mission of Jehovah, soon to be named Jesus, was salvation, and His supreme destiny to become the Savior of the world" (page 91).

Later, Elder Nelson quotes from Luke 2:7. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." And then he goes on to say this, "Let's pause to ponder this verse.  We need to be aware of the culture of that time and region, and we need to learn one word from the original Greek text.  In the Greek New Testament, the root from which 'inn' was translated is kataluma.  We don't have an equivalent word in the English language.  The Greek prefix kata (or cata) means 'a bringing down.'  We see it in English words such as catabolism, catastrophe, and cataclysm.  When the prefix kata was joined with suffix luma, it meant literally 'a breaking down of a journey.'  A kataluma was a guest chamber in a lodging place.

"In those days, an inn was not like a Holiday Inn or a 'Bethlehem Marriott.'  A lodging place in that part of Asia had to provide accommodations for traveling caravans, including the people and their animals.  Caravans stayed at what was then know (and is still known) as a carvansary, or a khan.  Each is defined as a rest house in some Asian countries.

"Such a facility is typically rectangular in shape.  It is composed of a central courtyard for the animals, surrounded by walled cubicles where the people rest.  These quarters, with open doorways so that owners could watch over their animals, allowed guests to be elevated slightly above their animals.

"The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 2:7 indicates that there was no room for them in the 'inns,' suggesting that all of the katalumas, or cubicles of the caravansary, were occupied.  In the Greek New Testament, the word kataluma appears in only two other passages (Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11), translated in each instance not as 'inn' but as 'guest chamber, which fits the concept discussed here.

"As a youngster, whenever I heard the words 'no room in the inn,' I assumed that 'no vacancy' signs were posted at local motels or that the innkeepers were inhospitable or even hostile.  Such an assumption is probably way off the mark.  People of that part of the world were no doubt then, as they are now, most hospitable.  Particulary this would have been true at a season where the normal population of Jerusalem and neighboring Bethlehem would be swollen with large numbers of relatives.

"At a caravansary, animals were secured for the night in the center courtyard.  In that courtyard, there would have been donkeys and dogs, sheep, possibly camels and oxen, along with all of the animals' discharges and odors.  Because the guest chambers surrounding the courtyard were filled, Joseph possibly made the decision to care for Mary's delivery in the center courtyard of a carvansary--among the animals.  There, in that lowly circumstance, the Lamb of God was born.

"Why was reference made twice in Luke 2 to His being wrapped in swaddling clothes? (Luke 2:7, 12).  What is the meaning of those five words: 'wrapped him in swaddling clothes'?  I sense a significance beyond the use of an ordinary diaper and receiving blanket.  Instead of those five words in the English text, only one word is needed in the Greek New Testament.  That word is sparganoo, which means to envelop a newborn child with special cloth, strips of which were passed from side to side.  The cloth would probably bear unique family identification.  That procedure was especially applicable to the birth of a firstborn son" (pages 92-94).

As I contemplate the birth of the Savior of the world, I am so grateful that He choose to come to earth and to redeem us from our sins.  I love celebrating Christmas and the reminder it brings to think of Jesus and His mission.

Christmas In Helena

Greg, Ellie, and I have come to Helena to spend Christmas with Kyle, Jonette, Kylene, Kiera, Kaysen, Grandpa John, Macy, and Tammy.  It was snowing yesterday morning when we left, but the roads were pretty good overall, and we made it in about 9 hours.  We got up at 5 and got ready, and then woke Ellie up at about 6, fed her, put her in her car seat, and headed out.  She slept all the way until Idaho Falls (which took over 4 hours), and then we stopped and got some breakfast.  She looked so cute in her panda sleeper!

We had fun yesterday hanging out and reconnecting.  It took Ellie a little while to decide that everyone was her friend.  (She did a lot better today.)  The funniest part of the day came last night when we were all in the loft hanging out and watching some shows.  K&J had set up an air mattress (one of the tall, double ones) for Kiera to sleep on (since we took over her room), and the kids were wrestling and having a good time.  Greg even got in on the act, and helped Kaysen do boys against girls.  Somewhere in all of the chaos, they discovered that the air mattress had sprung a leak and tried to pump it up again - but not very successfully.  When Jonette, Kylene, and Kiera were laying on it later, their bums were hitting the floor.

Even later, Ky told us about a funny video she wanted to show us, so she ran down and got the laptop, and ran back upstairs and plopped right down on the air mattress, and hit the floor with a loud bang!  The air mattress, with no one on it, looked deceptively full and supportive.  Oops...

Today we have had fun eating, and playing game,s and listening to Kiera play the piano & Kylene sing, and enjoying each other's company.  It is amazing to me that we are celebrating Ellie's first Christmas!

I love rereading the Christmas story, and I look forward to doing this every Christmas Eve.  Jonette had the great idea to "act out" the nativity story using the puppets that Shannon gave them.  It was wonderful to take turns reading the story, and getting to sing songs.  I think this should be an annual tradition!

After we finished talking about Savior and his humble birth, we had family prayer, and then opened one present each.  I tried to talk them in to opening all of the presents, but no one else seemed to like that idea.  I guess I will have to wait til tomorrow like everyone else!  (Good thing I have already opened the presents from Mom and Amy and Greg's parents - I am mostly satiated!)

Now Ellie is napping as I type, and the rest of the family are outside in the 2 degree weather acting out a live nativity.  I am sure they are enjoying themselves.  I am sure enjoying the wonderful marvel of central heating.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A concert, Amy, and new outfits

On Saturday night, Greg and I attended the Jon Schmidt Christmas concert, which is an annual tradition.  Well, it is an annual tradition for me - and this year Greg was able to make it as well!  We attended with Amy and Joshie; Ann, McKinzie, and Syreese; and Mom & Amy (fresh off of the plane from Shanghai - they left at intermission...).  It was a fabulous show, like always, and we enjoyed ourselves knowing that Ellie was in excellent hands.  She got to play with Hailey at her house (and Julie helped a little...).

On Sunday, we went to visit our newest niece, Gwynneth Fey.  She is teeny tiny!  Gwen is smaller than Ellie was (still less than 6 pounds), and in comparison to the 14 pounder I am used to, she seemed even smaller.  Teri and Jon are amazing parents and were just glowing, and we are all grateful that Gwen is home from the hospital now and doing well.  I snapped a bunch of pics (because J & T have not gone digital yet), and here are my favorites of this beautiful little girl.

Ellie slept through the whole visit.  She will hopefully be awake and ready for more pictures with Gwynneth tomorrow night!

After visiting Gwen, we went and picked up Grandma and headed to Mom's house for dinner and hanging out with Amy.  Amy was super cute with Ellie, and spent quite a bit of time playing with her on the floor.  And, of course, I had to take a gazillion pictures.

Today, I dressed Ellie in this cute outfit that Tayler gave her last week at our visit.  She is so precious!


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