Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmassy picture and thoughts.

Since we only send real paper cards to direct family members because it's 'spensive, here is the digital version of this year's Foote Family Christmas card. Photo cred to my sister Sarah. Card designed by moi, as per usual.

Aren't we all just adorable? I think so.

Speaking of mailing things ... do you remember when we had to lick postage stamps before they could be applied to envelopes? (That statement ^^^ made me sound about 80 years old.) What's weird, though, is I'm pretty sure stickers came into existence long before the US Postal Service converted over to self-adhesive stamps. So why the delay? That's what I want to know. Those things tasted nasty. The gob'mint relishes our suffering.

Hope you have a splendid Christmas and new year! Good ol' 2014 was in a big, fat hurry to get over with, wasn't she? Wonder what 2015 has in store ...

I'll leave you with this splendid video of the Guiness World Record-breaking massive nativity scene ... including goooooorgeous music provided by The Piano Guys, David Archuleta, Peter Hollens and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bedtime blogger.

Does anyone read this thing anymore?

Hello, world! Answer me!


I guess you might care to continue reading if I cared to continue blogging. Haha.

What can I say? Life is busy. It's organized chaos, basically. To use a worn-out idiom, my plate is pretty full at the moment. It's like Thanksgiving every day of the year up in here.

To put it in simpler (yet still idiomatic) terms, I'm just trying to stay afloat right now. I used to do it all, but now I have three kids. And that alone means frequent sleepless nights, way too much car pool and never-ending laundry piles. And let's not forget I'm a choir member, a sometimes-music-teacher and a Young Women president at church. So now, if I even dare to do it all, I verge on qualifying for the psych ward.

Blogging, at the moment, is one of those things that has been removed from my plate. It's not that I don't love it -- believe me, I have a million stories to tell and countless thoughts to share on various hot topics. But yanno, kids and house and responsibilities and stuff. They tend to take precedence.

As a result, I end up sharing a lot of those thoughts and stories with Dill during our nightly pillow time. And that's actually fine by me. If my audience fizzled down to one lone reader, I wouldn't even care, as long as it's Dill.

I guess this makes me a verbal blogger now. A verbal bedtime blogger, whose unrecorded rants are driven by exhaustion and general frustration with the world and its many inhabitants.

Although sometimes, instead of ranting, I simply dream outloud. I let my imagination run wild. I yammer on about bigger spaces, new careers, hopes for my children and hopes for us, which then usually leads to me trying to figure out how I can make it all come true and SOON. Because I'm ambitious like that, and my wheels don't turn for fun.

Or maybe they do. Because see, instead of making stuff happen, I'm currently sitting here in my pajamas on a concert day, blogging to no one.

Oh, and the baby just woke up, and she's shrieking in her crib, demanding my attention.

Back to life. Back to reality.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lucky number 7.

I've thought long and hard about how to cleverly explain why I've become an absentee blogger, and it turns out ... I've got nothin'. Nothin'! I'm just lame and that's all there is to it. At least I remember to blog Clara's monthly chair pictures. That has to count for something, right?

I can't get enough of this little chickie!

Clara is seven months now. We started her on solid foods at the end of October and she's really taken to them! She sits in a high chair and enjoys her meals at the table with us now. She is still breastfeeding five to seven times a day, too, so she's growing like a weed.

She is getting around by rolling and scooting. She is also doing the pre-crawling rocky-thing on her hands and knees which is both adorable and horrifying. I am not ready for a crawling baby, not in the slightest! And my older kids aren't ready either, judging by the amount of small Legos, marbles and Barbie accessories I find scattered on the carpet in their room. That will have to change ASAP unless we want a choking victim on our hands.

Clara has also started talking a little, babbling and shrieking delightedly most of the time. She's also saying "Dada" and "Mama," intentionally addressing us, which is so cute I can barely stand it. Also, "Mmmm!" when she's eating something she likes. She is really curious and always looking around the room. She loooooves watching her crazy siblings and their antics. She enjoys people in general, it seems. A smiley extrovert in the company of others.

Clara started doing a new trick yesterday. We were sitting on the floor of my bedroom playing a game of Clue when all the sudden, I looked over and she was sitting up. All by herself. Unassisted and unprompted, sitting like a big person. None of us saw it happen, though. But we all whooped and cheered like she'd won the World Series or something. Big milestone for a bobble-headed baby.

Let's see ... what else has been going on 'round these parts? School for the big kids (they are both loving it and thriving -- Carson is even READING already!), work and Stake Sports for Dill, Young Women, teaching music lessons and singing in the Millennial Choir for me ... oh! Speaking of, we have a few Christmas concerts at the Mesa Arts Center this weekend. The theme is Heavenly Peace and I'm really excited about the repertoire, which includes the one and only Eric Whitacre. Like, my fave composer of all time. And if you don't believe 250 singers can pull off Whitacre, well come and see for yourself. Because it's going to be amazing.

Get yo' tickets here and HURRY, because they're almost gone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Me and My (peggy) Peeps

This post is sponsored by Me and My Peeps. All expressed opinions are mine.

I don't know about you, but I have a special place in my heart for handmade toys and gifts. I feel like as I hold them and use them, I can sense the love and talent that went into creating the objects. I also appreciate their uniqueness -- no two handmade items are ever the same.

That's why I was so excited when my friend Jessica, who is a brilliant artist, contacted me about reviewing some of her hand-painted peg dolls on this here blog. I've been a fan of Jessica's "peggy peeps" Facebook page for a long time. She can literally paint any character on a peg doll with the most precise attention to detail. Disney princesses, zombies, Toy Story characters, superheroes, athletes ... It's so fun to see what she'll come up with next!

I was especially anxious to get my set in the mail because I didn't know what I was getting. Imagine my excitement when I opened the package to find ...

The characters from Disney's "Frozen!" In order: Sven, Kristoff, Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Hans.

Check out this close-up the famed sisters, Princess Anna and Queen Elsa:

Let's take a minute to admire the details on these ladies! Sparkles on Elsa's dress and in her braid, a gold waistline and tiny flourishes on Anna's dress ... it's perfect.

And finally, my favorite character, Olaf! So cute.

My kids and their friends have been avidly playing with their new Frozen friends for a few weeks now. Actually, they were so excited to start using them when they first arrived, I had to convince them to let me take the pictures for this post before they ran off with their new toys. They've been involved in Audrey and Carson's adventures ever since!

If you think these peg dolls are as cute as a button (and who wouldn't?), go follow Jessica's Me and My Peeps page on Facebook. She and her friends not only make these peggy people, but jewelry, hair clips and much more! They are so talented. Their creations would make such excellent birthday and Christmas gifts, too!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Half-o-ween!

Little Clara is officially half-way through her first year of life! As I promised last month, here is my little dumpling in her hilarious Halloween costume:

Cluck-cluck, Clara!

Our "chicken nugget" is doing great these days, saying "da-da-da," rolling all over the place and even doing the hands-and-knees rocking that precedes crawling. Yeah, I'm going to have a mobile baby before too long! It's crazy. She's also tried a few solid foods (rice cereal, banana, avocado and carrot). She watches us eat with hungry eyes and eagerly grasps at the utensils as we try to feed her, but once the food arrives in her mouth she makes the most pitiful, disgusted faces. She usually manages to swallow whatever it is, but it's just funny how she can go from being infatuated with food to horrified by it in an instant.

Poor thing got her first ear infection over the weekend. After a night of her refusing to nurse and crying intermittently, I decided to take her to urgent care Sunday morning. The antibiotics kicked in quickly and we got our happy, giggly Clara back a few days later. Thank goodness!

Her Halloween costume comes with chicken feet booties that are far too huge on her, and the hat is torturous enough on its own so I opted to leave them off for this photo shoot. But seriously, A CHICKEN. It's pretty much amazing. I just wish it wasn't so warm outside. When I bought it, I anticipated cooler weather. It's not normally still in the '90's at the end of October. I feel like I'm being robbed of the gorgeous weather we usually get between now and March!

The big kids also got to don their costumes early this year for the annual Foote Family Halloween bash. Carson went as a Power Ranger (Super Megaforce variety, he'd like everyone to know):

Audrey is the biped, land-dwelling version of Ariel, red hair and all:

By the way, that red hair spray stuff is super-convenient to apply but absolute insanity to remove. It seriously looked like a murder scene in the bathtub after her shower that night. And it seemed like no matter how many times I rinsed it, there was still more red dripping from her hair! You can see I didn't even completely coat her whole head, but that didn't matter. Maybe next time I'll just hose her off in the backyard ... I'm sure she'd love that.

(Currently accepting Mom of the Year nominations.)

Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic Halloween! Post links of you and your kids all dressed up in the comments. I'd love to see them!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The big five-monther.

Yep, as of yesterday, it's been five months since this little chub-a-lub burst onto the scene. What a joyous five months it's been!

Clara's name means "light and clear," and it's beyond fitting for her bubbly, excited personality. She is always smiling, babbling and cooing at us like we're the best thing since sliced bread. She's a bright ray of sunshine!

Clara figured out how to roll over from back to tummy earlier this month, and now it's her favorite way to be. She holds her head up really well and it's so dang cute. See?

I mean, really. I could stare at this adorable face all day. I pretty much do, come to think of it! I kiss it a whole lot, too.

Clara hasn't officially started on solid foods yet. But the other night, she was teething and fussy, so I held a cold apple slice to her mouth so she could suck on it. And boy, did she go to town on that thing!  She cried when I took it away. Haha! Still no teeth, though she's been drooling, sucking and biting (yowch!) for nearly two months now. Come on teefers, pop out already!

In other news, we highly suspect Clara is allergic to cow's milk. As I said before, I went off dairy pretty much right away because it seemed to upset her stomach whenever I ate it. I started to reintroduce it to my diet in small amounts (aka bowls of ice cream -- no judging) last month and she didn't seem to mind. I still don't eat a whole lot of dairy products, but I'm not worried if I eat a bit here and there because it doesn't affect her disposition.

A few weeks ago, I went to the temple for a friend's endowment. I was gone for four hours and Clara of course had to eat some formula. She's had it a handful of times previously, so I wasn't worried at all about how she'd do. A few hours later, though, she started vomiting like crazy. It was pitiful! I had her on a towel on the floor and was just laying by her, rubbing her back and crying because tiny babies should never have to throw up. It went on for about 2 1/2 hours and then it was over. At first, I thought it must be a stomach bug, but she never had any diarrhea and the rest of us were just fine. She also has other symptoms of milk allergy, like runny stools, frequent spit-up and eczema. I'm going to have her tested for allergies soon to confirm it.

I can't believe Clara's coming up on half a year of life. Next month, her chair picture will be extra special because she'll be wearing her Halloween costume, which I am beyond excited about. You'll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lumps, car crashes, staples and more.

So, life lately. What can I say? A lot, actually. Let's go in chronological order.

In July, I found a large-ish lump on my rib cage. Lumps are kind of a big deal, so I had an ultrasound. The doctor says it's PROBABLY a lymph node but maybe not, so we're watching it for now and possibly doing a biopsy next month if it doesn't go away. It's still hanging around like it's my sidekick, so that biopsy is looking more definite with each passing day. Maybe I should give the lump a name. Trudy? Morticia? I'm open to suggestions.

In August, I accidentally crashed the front of my car into the shelving unit in the garage and it nearly pulled the whole right fender off. I promise, I'm not a total moron. It's REALLY tricky to park our crossover vehicle in a two-car garage with a very short driveway and no room to swing out due to poor planning on the developer of our community -- seriously, who puts grass and trees RIGHT behind someone's house when their garage is in the back?

Three body shop quotes later, the whole ordeal is going to cost $700. I definitely cried over that one.

Then, last Thursday, I was rocking out choral-style with MCO when all the sudden, I got a text from Dill. Dill, the man who never texts me, ever. It said, "Call me now!" So I did. And it turned out Carson had hit his head on something while rough-housing and "probably needed stitches," which turned into definitely needing staples. Bless Dill's squeamish heart, he took him to the ER that night because babies gotta eat and I have the monopoly on milk-making around these parts.

Three hours later, the two returned home, Carson with a fresh set of staples in the back of his head. Surprisingly, I'm actually not too mad about it because I honestly thought it would've happened sooner.

This is the part where you blur your eyes and scroll fast if you don't like blood and guts. Behold, staples:

THEN on Sunday, I'm sitting in church when Carson walks up to me with pink eyes and yellow goop in his eyelashes. In other words, CONJUNCTIVITIS!!! Without hesitation, I ordered Dill to take him to the nearest urgent care and get that crap taken care of because pink eye is the worst. Not because it actually hurts or anything, but because putting eye drops in a child's eye is more difficult than tying up a greased hog on a rainy day, and you have to do it not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES DAILY.

By the way, Dill didn't believe it was pink eye, but guess what? It was totally pink eye and guess what else? Dill had it, too! Oh boy. They probably picked it up from their emergency room visit. So all of us got it except baby Clara (so far). Which is why I'll be sporting glasses for the next week or so.

Any-hoo, in all that excitement, I'd nearly forgotten I was guest-posting on my friend Jen's blog, "Nothing Can Come of Nothing" for her Marriage Month series! I'm glad I remembered today. You should go check it out. I talk all mushy about how Dill and I met, discuss some less-than-fun aspects of marriage and also give a little marital advice. And Jen's blog is great, anyway. I really like her. You will, too.

Reminiscing on our cute little courtship helped me momentarily forget about all this junk I'm dealing with. So thank you, Jen, for the opportunity to remember the important things in life. I may have a lump on my ribs, a wonky right fender, a kid who looks like Frankenstein's monster and a family ridden with pink eye, but I also have the best husband and kids a gal could ask for.

In the meantime, if you have any tricks to getting a 4-year-old to cooperate for antibiotic eye drops, let me have 'em. Because really, it's getting ridiculous.