Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve 2013
I simply can't let this year slip away without reflection, honest and brief. A whirlwind, really. All the events that have filled these 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days that have tried and tested us and brought tears and joy are not without gratitude. Gratitude for the chance to be present in this life and to have each other to hold onto. We are humbled by our mistakes and proud of our successes and move into this next year eager to become better, and best. My tribe, they are everything. I am anchored here. Peace and love to you and yours and kisses from us on this New Year's Eve. Let the record show that I kept my eyes open until midnight and kissed and toasted my love as the babes' slumbered in their nursery.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Papa Ed's Christmas House

Papa Ed became the #1 celebrity around our house during the Holidays. Papa goes ALL OUT for Christmas and the Snow Village is only the tip of the iceberg. If Papa's name came up, Bee would grab her boots and head for the door because she wanted to get to Papa's house to play. Tom and Todd spent Christmas at mom's this year and that was another big draw, so we spent lots of days at Grandma Ginny's and Papa Ed's house. Everything from the twirling Christmas tree, the Snow Village, the snowing Christmas tree, the choo-choo trains, the movie theater and even the stuffed singing frogs were enough to blow this little girl's mind open. When we would return home I got the feeling that she was pretty underwhelmed by our regular old Christmas tree and measly decorations. It's hard to compete with Mr. Christmas himself! We had some family and friends come enjoy the Snow Village and Bee was super proud to show off her awesome Papa.

Tea party with Uncle Tom in the loft
The day after playing hard at Papa's Christmas house we were always ready for a recovery nap. This day Bee didn't quite make it to the crib.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

After Christmasing

Every year I make a conscious decision during the Holidays to scale back, do less and enjoy more, but it's proving to be an impossible challenge. There is just too much fun to be had! We didn't check every last thing off our Christmas bucket list this year, but judging by the level of exhaustion from my kids, we enjoyed more than our fair share of holiday cheer. Visiting Temple Square after Christmas was sort of awesome. Still lots of people, but less of the crazy shopping crowds. Even in the bitter cold the Temple grounds can keep that little bit of Christmas spirit alive.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Nativity

Russ and Jana put together a beautiful little Christmas Nativity program for the Duncan grand-kids this year. Is there anything cuter than this? Clearly, no. Ellie and Cody ran around the house playing Mary and Joseph for an hour afterwards. I was so proud of my little angel and Shepherd boy. Five grand babies under 4; the greatest success of the night was this picture on the stairs. A favorite new tradition has been born.

We miss her everyday, but especially at Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Julian's Blueprint: 6 Months

Is this not the sweetest baby face? Our littleman Julian has reached his half birthday already. Already?! It couldn't possibly be 6 whole months since he came into our family, but somehow the months are ticking over quicker than I can catch them. Juju is a really good-natured baby and is happy and playful for most of the day. At 6 months he can roll around and scoot about, but mostly prefers to lay on his back and play with his feet. He takes a hold of them, one in each hand, and "drives" them all over town - up and down, side to side - with such skill and tenacity! The brilliant look on his face shows that he knows he is pretty darn good at it, too. It might just be my favorite thing in the whole entire world.  
Julian has suddenly grown up over night. Now that he is sitting upright on his own, he just feels like a big kid. He's catching Bee so quickly, any day now we will be chasing both of them. But for now, I'm savoring this interactive yet immobile stage where he sits in one spot with perfect posture happily investigating the toys within his own reach and taking in the world from his newly vertical vantage point.
Juju loves to blow bubbles, suck on his bottom lip, and bounce when he's excited. But most of all he loves to laugh at Bee's antics. Throughout the day I catch him smiling at her with such uncommon admiration. He is constantly craning his neck around my shoulders to see what she's up to down below. We love witnessing their sibling bond taking hold. Daddy is still the one who can get him laughing the hardest and the two of them have the cutest father-son report. When Brad is holding him, Julian perks up and looks ready for an adventure! He shows a strong resemblance to his Uncle Tom, says everyone, and also to my Uncle Russell, says my mom. Oh boy, he is surely handsome in his own right, though!
And lastly, Julian is a momma's boy. I simply cannot get enough of his cuddles, when he softly leans into me and wants to connect. He is still waking to nurse at least once during the night and a little piece of me cherishes the quiet and still that comes during that time together. His little snuggles throughout my day absolutely sustain me. He watches me intently as I busy myself with small jobs while big sister is sleeping. He will always return a smile, he can't help it, he's just a happy guy! He gets sad when I leave the room, and I often wonder if there is anything more you could ever ask of another human being? We love you Julian.