Monday, November 30, 2009

Texas Take Two

We drove down to Texas for the second time this year. Xander and Elodie should get blue ribbons for Excellence in Traveling by Automobile. Seriously, they're champs!

For some reason, Aaron associates Thanksgiving with hunting, so he got this notion a few months ago that we should go down to Texas for Thanksgiving break so he could hunt wild boars with his nephew (AKA brother) Ryan. They did hunt for hogs, they did find some hogs, but lucky for the hogs, no harvesting (as Aaron so humanely likes to call it) took place.

Xander and Elodie had a GREAT time at playing and relaxing at Ryan and Keira's house. They bonded with their cousins Jaxon and Logan a bit, but it's Skippy and Peanut that Elodie tells me she misses. I'm not too worried about the kids begging for our own dog, though; when anyone asks Xander if he's going to get a dog someday, he says, "no, because my mom is allergic."

(And I hope you enjoy Elodie's post-braids fro as much as we did.)

There are too many kids in this tub.
There are too many elbows to scrub.
I just washed a behind, that I'm sure wasn't mine.
There are too many kids in this tub.
Aah, good ol' Shel Silverstein! And why is Xander such a blur of motion, even in the tub?

A huge group of relatives gathered at Aunt Tina's house for Thanksgiving dinner. We were mostly able to just chat with family and enjoy ourselves while cousins and uncles entertained our kiddos. Uncle Ron was a great horse for the kids' one horse open sleigh. It was fun to see the soft "Grandpa" side of Aaron's oldest, tough-guy brother!

We are so THANKFUL for our wonderful extended family!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

His Father's Son

Dad, what if I saw your blood cells and your heart? That would be interesting!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


On a Sunday afternoon in September, we piled in the Excursion with Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Melayna and Uncle Milan and Aunt Rachael to go visit Dexter's grave. Aaron and I were the only ones who had been since the headstone was placed. Isn't it beautiful? I think it's just the perfect memorial to little Dexter Joseph. I don't want to let anyone's right hand know what someone else's left hand may have been up to, so I'll just say that we are so very grateful for and humbled by the generosity of dear family who encouraged us to select just what we wanted and provided the means to make it happen. Thank you!

The past couple days I have been working on turning the blog entries that I wrote during Dexter's life into a physical book, and it has given me a great chance to reflect and remember what I learned. In some ways those memories seem so surreal and so long ago. Yet we've talked about and thought about Dexter every day since he passed, and it just seems normal for him to be part of our family. Just today, Elodie was throwing a fit about something and I sent her to her room to calm down until she was ready to talk about it. When she came back downstairs, she declared, "I was just sad because Dexter's not with us." To which Xander replied, "I thought you were sad because you had to go to your room." That's a perfect illustration of how the current physical absence of Dexter is an accepted, normal part of our day-to-day life. I sometimes wonder if it's too commonplace; my kids don't realize that losing your little brother isn't as common an occurence as getting a new little brother. Yet, how it could be otherwise for little children without avoiding the issue and causing them to forget? And I wouldn't want it to be otherwise; in fact, the way they accept death as simply as they accept birth is profound. With innocent children, you can't call their attitude about death irreverent, can you? I was thinking of including this picture as the last page of the book, but I can't decide if it's almost irreverent or if it's just cute and classic kid. What do you think?
I mean, come on, Xander. What's up with that goofy face? How about a serene, angelic smile? Or at least a little respect? And yes, Elodie is climbing on the stone barefoot because, well, she's 2 and gets in anti-shoe moods. I dunno. Maybe I'll go for one of the options where one or both of them aren't looking towards the camera. This one might not fit the tone of the book. Or does it?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cousin Buddies

Xander and Elodie had so much fun when cousins visited for a whole week! Xander especially loved the nights that they slept over at our house. He was quite the gentleman and let Kendall sleep in his bed while he slept on his floor in a sleeping bag. (Although the fact that he slept on his floor for the five nights after Kendall left seems to indicate that personal interest was a factor in making the noble offer). Elodie bonded especially well with Berkeley, so she asked Berk if she'd sleep in her room on the floor. Berk is such a sweetie; she was happy to comply. Being East Coasters, Kendall and Berkeley woke up rather early in the morning, and my kids were happy to wake up with them and chat and giggle in their beds until the sun came up. They were having so much fun playing all morning that when it was time to go to "preschool" at his friend's house down the street, Xander protested with, "But I don't want to leave my cousins!"
Then more cousins appeared on the scene and Xander was excited to have a boy cousin to be crazy with, especially a cool 8-yr-old who got baptized while they were here. Xander followed Tyler around and they wrestled and jumped off furniture and played goofy games. And Elodie had Eden, who is only 4 months older than her, to play with. I thought of how I got to be great friends with my long-distance cousins through periodic visits and family reunions over the years. We got so close that I roomed with my cousin Rachel during our Freshman and Sophomore years at BYU. (And then we served missions at about the same time, got married within a year of each other, and have had all three of our kids within months of each other. Now that's close!) That could be Elodie and Eden someday! I'm so glad my kids had the chance to bond with their cousins and build the foundations of eternal friendships!

One of the sweetest moments of the visit was watching Xander, Kendall, Berkeley, and Tessa sing "Baptism" together at Tyler's baptism. Elodie didn't want to be left out, so she stood up there with them just looking cute. It was wonderful to feel the Spirit together as a family. Thanks for making the trip, Meredith and Marliese!