Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday DAVID HYRUM!

HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY David Hyrum! Last night we celebrated this cute little boy (my big baby as I like to call him) with a family dinner, presents, and cake. In the picture he is opening Aunt Amber's gift of a dump truck and front loader- they were a big hit. The"eccavator" (excavator) cake was made by yours truly and both David and Gabe kept telling me how 'cool' it was. "cool mommy, cool". If any of you remember last year's birthday, I made a dump truck for him. Not a lot has changed in the past
year as far as his interests go, he can just verbalize them better now.

Some things I love about DH:

-He plays really well by himself or with other children, including Gabe.
- He is gentle with the baby and loves to give Mac hugs and kisses
- He still likes me to carry him around
- David loves to be active: jumping on the bed, hopping like a frog, running outside, playing on the playground etc.
-He has a growing sense of right and wrong. If other children are doing something he knows is wrong he'll let them know it. "No do dat Gabey"
-He refers to his older brother as "Gabey"
-He is a good little 'cleaner-upper'
-Even when he is mad at something I did, like take a toy away, he still lets me be the one to comfort and hug him.
- For the past 4 weeks when we have picked him up from nursery, his leaders have sung his praises for being so good.

Thanks for being such a great little boy and being part of our family David Hyrum

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 Update

Dear Friends and Family:

We’re outnumbered. As of November 6, 2009 there are three of them and only two of us; they out-poop, out-run, out-yell, and out-learn us. About the only two activities in which Alana and I still retain an advantage are writing and eating. The former is largely due to the fact that none of them know how to write yet (we think), but a win is a win. You can read the fruits of our labors at (Zach) and (Alana)—at least until the typing monkeys take over. As to the latter, we are somewhat less than thrilled with this “victory,” since all three children seem to take a perverse sort of pleasure in frustrating our attempts to provide them with adequate nutrition. Without his shirt on Gabe looks like a white version of the starving children portrayed in advertisements for African food-aid programs; David is convinced that the new food guide pyramid is composed of the food groups “cereal” and “candy”; and Old Faithful has nothing on little Kenneth MacLeod, who regularly regurgitates whatever milk he may have swallowed at the least opportune moment. Just out of the bath and into clean clothes? Braawp. Snuggled tight against Daddy’s best suit? Braawp. Mealtimes are like a three-ring circus around here: very entertaining for anyone who’s watching, but less than leisurely for two ringmasters trying to make sure that the wild animals stay fed. Here’s a sneak peek:

Zach: (With a fork in David’s face) David, eat your broccoli.

David: (Scrunched-up nose scowl) No bwokli, seerul.

Zach: No, David you had cereal for breakfast.

Gabe: (Looking depressed) May I be excused?

Alana: (Exasperated) No! Thank you for being polite, but your plate is still full. Take a bite.

Gabe: But I already had two bites . . .

Zach: Right, so your next bite will be number three. Good counting. David, open your mouth.

David: No bite. Seerul!

Gabe: If he gets cereal, then I want some too.

Alana: No cereal. Open your mouth.

Mac: Waaah! Waaah! Waaah!

Zach: Do you want to get him, or should I?

Gabe: Why do I have to take a bite? You and Daddy haven’t taken any bites.

Alana: You get him. Gabe, that’s because Daddy and I are trying to feed you and David. Take a bite.

David: (Triumphantly) Seerul!

      Zach: (Holding a fork in front of David’s mouth with one hand, bouncing Mac with the other, looking mournfully at his untouched plate) You know, I think Gabe and David make good points. Cereal for everyone.

If less healthful eating happens than we might wish at mealtimes, there is, at least, a lot of healthy dialogue. I would give you more, but Alana continues to insist that I fit the entire year onto a single page. So without further ado . . .

MAC: He eats. He spits up. He poops. He sleeps (during the day). You want more? Get back to me in a year when I can be sure that those cute little smiles are more than just gas.

DAVID: He doesn’t eat, but his smiles are everpresent. His budding vocabulary includes sophisticated construction terminology that leads me to believe he’s a future general contractor, but his design skills and physical coordination haven’t quite caught up yet. Most of his towers look like inverted pyramids, and he tends to knock them over in less-than-reassuring ways: tripping over his own feet, ramming his head into them, etc. Through it all, he smiles; David’s good cheer is infectious.

GABE: Our oldest son is the ideal big brother: he fetches diapers, soothes crying with a well placed pacifier, and always lets David choose what they will play with/at. He started preschool this past year and continues to amaze us with the pace and extent of his learning. Much to our surprise, he noted that the clock on the wall was a hexagon (it is); that two and too are homonyms (they are); and that Moby-Dick mimics the narrative structure of the Bible (hadn’t you noticed?). OK, I made the last one up, but his ability to read polysyllabic words and small books on his own leads me to believe that he will be reading both Melville and the scriptures on his own in the near future. Gabe is courteous and insightful; his wisdom is deep.

ALANA: During 2009 Alana and I celebrated our fifth anniversary with two trips to Toby’s dinner theater in Washington D.C. to see Aida and Beauty and the Beast. She continues to contributes the lion’s share of our offspring’s superior genetic material and set a record for “pregnancy with fewest complaints” last year. She teaches piano and weight loss classes, inspires 10- and 11-year-old Activity Day girls, does her share of the housework (and mine), serves gourmet cuisine on a nightly basis, and, if she keeps doing her P90X workout routines at 6 AM every morning, will soon be able to kick my booty. Not that this is an altogether unappealing prospect, but her ability to do all of this while nurturing three small children leads me to believe that she will soon be seeking a raise. Alana is selfless and serviceable; her example is inspiring.

ZACH: In the last year I’ve spent time in Atlanta, D.C., Jerusalem, and Philadelphia trying to persuade academics that I belong. But most of the year was spent in front of my computer, where I pumped out a 400-page dissertation on images of Eden in the literature of 17th and 18th century New England, which leads me to believe that I’ll finally graduate in May. I’m grateful to be done, but mostly I’m grateful for a family who rescued me every day at 4 PM from my keyboard. I am looking for work; my resume is circulating.

With any luck, I’ll get a job near YOU soon,

and we’ll be able to give our LOVE to you in person next year.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When the Cat's away the mice will play

No, Gabe did not just finish his first round of chemotherapy. When I came home Wednesday night from Activity day girls I found him and new hair cut calmly watching an episode of diggers and dumpers. Apparently he had been fooling around on a chair next to the fireplace, and hit his head on the bricks. It opened up a pretty bloody wound so Zach decided to go ahead and shave it so he could dress it properly. Gabe is feeling much better, although he misses his hair- so do I.

(In the picture he is holding the valentine he made for his preschool teacher- Ms. Jan. By request, he wanted to put a princess crown on it. She's the best)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow

(Thanks for the t-shirt mom and dad)

This past Friday night I held an all adult dinner for Zach in honor of him completing his dissertation. It was supposed to be a surprise and I've never been able to keep surprises, up until this one. He's been super diligent in finishing this 400 page masterpiece on Eden in America in just under a year. We both know the Lord has had a hand in it since Zach will be the first one ever to graduate UNC's English PhD program in 2 years. In all fairness, the other graduate students usually are not in any big hurry since they are single and enjoy being in school. He has squeezed this writing in between his other church, family and job responsibilities so this weekend we celebrated. It was quite at treat not to have children at the dinning room table and have actual uninterrupted adult conversation. For desert I made blueberry pie and brought a piece out with a candle on it while we all sang "for he's a jolly good fellow." In all seriousness, diligence hard work, and
the pursuit of knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge, is who Zach is at the chore. Without those traits he wouldn't be Zach. Here's to you hun! I ran across this quote and thought of him.

"For a disciple of Jesus Christ, academic scholarship is a form of worship...another dimension of consecration. Hence one who seeks to be a disciple-scholar will take both scholarship and discipleship seriously...
No wonder a true community of scholars would qualify to be part of a larger community of saints...
Consecrated scholarship thus converges both the life of the mind and the spirit!...
Genius without meekness is not enough to qualify for discipleship [because] meekness facilitates working on what is lacking...
Though I have spoken of the disciple-scholar, in the end all the hyphenated words come off. We are finally disciples-men and women of Christ...
The greater the submission, the greater the expansion!

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, former member of the quorum of the twelve apostles