Tag Archives: Colin

Baby Blessings

Once all legal aspects of the adoption were complete, we were finally able to have Colin give Jake and Joey a baby blessing, something that normally happens before a baby is even 6 months old. This ordinance allows the child to be counted on the records of the church (thought not officially a member until baptized at age eight) and also gives the father or other special Priesthood holder the opportunity to bestow a blessing of counsel and guidance for the child’s life. Sort of a glimpse into God’s gifts and intentions for that particular child.

Jake and Joey were nearly 19 months by the time Colin laid his hands on their heads, one at a time. Because they were so much older, he already had insights into their personalities. The blessings he pronounced upon them were therefore quite special, as we could already see some of the things he felt impressed to say coming to pass.

Maddie, too, was older when she received her baby blessing and though I’m not necessarily advocating for waiting so long, both experiences have been special. But, then again, so was Warren’s.

I’m just grateful that Colin is a man who takes the responsibilities of holding the Priesthood seriously and uses it to bless our family. I love being able to witness this good father work with God to help our children grow spiritually, right from the beginning.

Thirteen Years

After 13 years of marriage, most of our wedding gifts have that well-worn look to them. Our lime green and cobalt blue bathroom towels are starting to fray at the edges. The duvet cover my thoughtful mother-in-law sewed for us is not as white as it used to be. The majority of the dishes we so eagerly picked out from Target are chipped and hard water-stained. But I don’t mind.

It means we’ve lived. It means we’ve packed and repacked them together as we’ve moved from city to city, starting new adventures. It means we’ve laughed while cleaning them and forgot to mind the hardness of the ceramic sink upon contact. It means we’ve allowed our children to begin learning the value of work by loading them in our lousy, ineffective dishwasher.

I looked at one of these dessert plates the other day and thought of all the chocolate chip cookies we’ve enjoyed together over the years and smiled. We could replace the dishes, I know. It’s probably time. But I love the tangible reminder that we’ve spent years together. And we have so many more to go.

Happy anniversary, Colin. It just keeps getting better, chipped dishes and all.

Two-Car Family

We tried to put it off for as long as possible but life started becoming too hectic to manage with just one car. School and work and doctor appointments and other activities, sometimes all occurring at the same time, had become a juggling act we could no longer handle with sanity. It was time to take the plunge and get a second vehicle.

Oh, it hurt thinking of the extra cash we’d be shelling out for gas, insurance, and monthly payments, but the expense would be worth the convenience. Plus this way Colin would be able to reduce his commute time by 50 minutes each day since he’d no longer have to ride his bike. Then he could go back to exercising the way he really enjoys: playing soccer twice a week. You can’t argue that kind of logic.

Colin researched and researched and decided on a couple of options. Thanks to some killer deals and some good wheeling and dealing, he drove away with this 2012 Toyota Camry and a lease that’s almost as cheap as the car payments for my very first vehicle back in 1994.

We’ve come a long way from our car-less days in Chicago, which we sometimes miss for how much money we saved. But I have to say, when Colin walks in the door 25 minutes earlier than he used to and I’m able to finish making dinner without two babies hanging on my legs screaming, I’m glad to be spending the extra money. This car has already been a tremendous help. I’m just grateful we had the means to do it. What a blessing for our family.

Snowboarding

Colin grew up skiing. Besides soccer, it’s what gets his blood pumping. However, it’s a passion he has to keep at bay living here in beach country. He misses it terribly and begrudgingly takes yearly trips to Mountain High or Bear Mountain just to satisfy his cravings.

The lack of mountains with snow makes it difficult for our children to get exposure to such downhill activities. But Colin decided to take Warren up to Bear Mountain this year and give him the opportunity to try it out for the first time. He let him choose between snowboarding and skiing. He chose snowboarding, “So I can get practice for skateboarding,” he said. What a California kid.

Colin and Warren left at 4AM on Saturday morning and drove the 3.5 hours to the resort by Big Bear Lake. Colin reports that Warren chatted the entire trip down. Nothing like an excited 6-year-old to keep you alert in the wee hours of the morning.

Wanting to give him the best chance of success, Colin enrolled him in a day class for beginning snowboarders. We weren’t sure how he’d take to the adventure, especially the chair lift, but he did surprisingly well.

He got up on the board and had some moments of downward momentum.

He also had quite a few moments of sitting around, thanks to a full class.

But despite some boredom waiting his turn, he had a really good attitude. He tried everything and had a good time, especially when Colin took him up by himself during the second half of the day.

Even though he was clearly worried about the chair lift, Colin said he grabbed on when told and made in onto the seat without requiring the operator to stop it. He held on super tight to the bar across his lap, but didn’t freak out. He even dismounted without problem. Better than I had anticipated!

He threw snowballs and tasted the snow and generally enjoyed the day. Colin called the trip a success. Considering Warren wants to go back again, I’d have to agree.

Maybe next time we can make it a family event at Whistler.

Business As Usual

Colin went back to work today after his 6 week break used to help me recover. This was the reception he received when he arrived at his desk:

195 balloons and a note that said, “Welcome Back, Colin.” I’m sure the contributors were especially appreciative of the box of doughnuts he brought in as a token of thanks for being so understanding about his time away.

I went back to work again, too, as “Full-time Mom.” My reception was slightly different:

Runny noses multiplied by 3 all day long. Plus I caught the virus that has passed through all the kids. But I can’t complain too much. I feel pretty good as far as the surgery recovery goes. No more pain, just slight discomfort and tenderness at the incision site. My doctor’s visit confirmed that all is going well. I got the “all clear” to resume my life. I can now lift to my heart’s content.

It was so great to pick up my children again. I missed holding them so much. Bed rest was alright, on a purely selfish level– I got many projects done that would otherwise have been hard to do. But really, I like my full time job. It’s good to be back.

Now to kick this crummy cold…

Colin’s Cursed Birthday

It’s official. There’s no doubt now. Colin’s birthday is officially cursed. For the past 4 years, at least one person (and oftentimes it’s been Colin) has been sick on his birthday. The range of illnesses has been wide, but some sort of plague has hit our household just in time for the celebrations.

Warren was sick all last week and his asthma kicked in, but he started recovering and we hoped for the best. Then Maddie got a fever on Friday. Luckily, we were able to get in touch with her doctor before the end of the day, plus Warren’s bout with the virus indicated that she was headed down the same path, so no need for the emergency room testing.

But by Sunday, and Colin’s birthday, she was still feverish and hacking away. We started to get worried. Jake also woke up with a runny nose and a slight fever. It was settled. We’d all stay home from church and try to recuperate from the sickness that was spreading through the family.

I felt I owed Colin something big and tasty to compensate for all he’s done over the last few weeks, plus I was hoping to take the edge off the curse, so I made him a tasty dinner of salmon, broiled green beans and cherry tomatoes, and wild rice, plus a carrot cake with citrus cream cheese frosting. That was the highlight of the day, besides the Seattle Sounders FC “3rd Jersey” I got for him (purchased in January, so not to be counted in the Spending Fast).

Just as we were winding up the evening, and all kids had been tucked in bed, we heard serious coughing from Maddie’s room. It sounded really, really bad. We went in to help her cough/puke into the bowl we’d been keeping by her bed. When we checked the contents of the recent spew, we saw blood. Colin and I looked at each other. Could we take the chance that she hadn’t progressed to pneumonia? On Birthday Curse Day, you couldn’t be too sure. So, my dear, sweet, wonderful Colin gathered up the necessaries and Maddie and drove off to the ER at 9:45PM on Sunday night. He was just trying to beat my last birthday celebration.

Long story short, Maddie’s x-ray came back clear. Instead, they diagnosed her with croup. Sad and uncomfortable, but less worrisome than having a pneumonia.

*Big sigh*

Hopefully, she’ll recover soon and Jake’s turn will come and go quickly. Is there any chance that this virus will pass Joey over? To dream…

Happy Birthday, Colin! Someday this curse will end. It just has to!

Mr. Mom

I love my husband. I know I’ve said that before, but it’s worth saying a thousand times over. He is a remarkable companion and a remarkable dad.

Colin has been home doing my job for the last 4 weeks, only it’s much harder because he’s flying solo. I can’t really do much of anything to help. He’s there, everyday, in the trenches working hard to care for the kids and for me.

As any stay-at-home parent could tell you, the job is rigorous. It’s exhausting and physically intense, especially when you have three in diapers. It’s managing schedules, and cleaning, and preparing food, and endless driving, and resisting the monotony, and thinking beyond yourself. But Colin stepped right in and took it all up like he’s not used to sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. And he did it almost without complaint. Almost.

He’s also found the joyful aspect of the job, too. The funny, creative, rough and tumble, curious, adventurous, nurturing side of the everyday tasks, as well. He’s playful with the kids and finds ways to make them laugh. He gets in there and colors with them. He let’s them climb all over him. Not that he didn’t do all these things before. It’s just now he gets to do it all day long. It’s been good for me to observe, reminding me to find balance throughout the day. Sometimes I let the aforementioned chores bog me down. I appreciate his approach.

But let’s not be fooled by the title of this post. This is a dad we’re talking about. Let’s put the manliness back in the role with some stats from the last few weeks:

  • 11 poopy diapers changed in one day
  • 1 kid out of diapers (Possibly, maybe for good? Post to follow.)
  • 9 wrestling matches of 4 on 1
  • 8 trips to Costco with all four kids
  • 15 school lunches prepared (always the worst part of my day)
  • 3 times starting the day with all children awake before 6:15AM
  • 100 times feeding twins by himself (3 meals and 2 snacks a day)

I’m going to be sad to see him go back to the office at the end of my recovery. Not just because I’ve appreciated all his hard work (which I have immensely) and will be longing for his daily help (which I definitely will), but because I will just plain miss having him around.

The Flurry of Christmas Day

Christmas was a bit hectic this year since it fell on a Sunday. And though we had plenty of time to get ready for church since it didn’t start until 1PM, it meant we actually had to get out of our jammies and stick to a schedule. Then we had to come home and prepare Christmas dinner. But it was nice to celebrate the Savior’s birth on the Sabbath and partake of the Sacrament on this special day.

The day whizzed by but we did enjoy the excitement the kids felt seeing their “Santa” gifts and digging in to all the sweets, goodies, and food that make this holiday so joyous.

Stockings are always stuffed with one small toy, sugar cereal, goldfish crackers, “cuties” oranges, chocolate of some sort, and candy canes. Maddie had consumed most of the candies before breakfast even started. The rest of us paced ourselves, especially since we needed to save room for our healthful lunch of cinnamon and orange rolls.

Even though Maddie asked for “pink” as her sole Christmas present, we went outside the box and got her something we knew she’d love: Darth Vader. It’s really a gumball machine (don’t tell!) but she just enjoys pushing the button to hear his infamous breathing sound.

Of the many things Warren wished for this year, we decided on the art kit and “how to draw” books. He set to work right away and created some awesome drawings. He even got his requested emergency candles in his stocking.

All of that sugar consumption must have gone to her stomach because after awhile we found Maddie hiding behind the couch. She said her belly hurt. She just needed a breather. She came out some time later ready for more.

Getting ready for church is always stressful. It’s even worse when there is the distraction of new toys and candy. Somehow we made it out the door, and on time even.

We had so much food. Truly, we are blessed and have all that we need and then some. We ended the day with a roast beef dinner, complete with potatoes gratin, salad, and coconut cake.

Our Christmas was indeed Merry and Bright.

Viewing the Christmas Lights

We decided to take the kids for a drive around Santa Barbara to see some Christmas lights. There is even a website that gives you a whole route to take, complete with directions of where and when to turn. (Thanks for the tip, MK!) It’s the same path that the touring trolley cars take. It sounded like a great activity for the Christmas season.

There is only one word that can be used to describe our evening of Christmas light viewing: BUST!

And it wasn’t because there was anything wrong with the route or that the traffic was out of hand. No. It was because our children either a) fell asleep or b) complained the entire trip. Specifically, the three youngest nodded off before we even made it off the freeway exit and the oldest whined about every single thing.

Maybe we set the stage wrong, I don’t know. All I know is that from the moment we turned on to State Street and the start of the route, Warren began complaining.

“What is this we’re listening to?” he grumbled from the back, even as the brightly lit store displays and decorative stars over the street lamps gleamed outside the car window. The Christmas c.d. had just switched to a comedic story we enjoy hearing once a year, “Polly Anderson’s Christmas Party.” Perhaps he was expecting “Frosty the Snowman” and was greatly disappointed to hear a Canadian accent instead.

After the fourth time whining to know when it would be over, I turned around in irritation.

“Warren, we’re here to see the lights. Your sister and brothers are asleep. That means this is all for you now. If you’re not enjoying the drive and happy to see the lights then we’re going to go home,” I told him sternly. His half-hearted okay led me to believe that his bad attitude would reappear shortly.

Unfortunately, I was right. We continued on the path and made it to the second neighborhood of many participating houses when he piped in once again.

“I’m bored!” he announced in a surly, Grinchy tone.

I took one last terrible picture of a lighted house (photographing in low lighting from a moving vehicle has too many limitations, even with a good camera) and told Colin to turn that car around. We were going home.

As soon as we stated that we were done and heading back, he let out a wail. And then he kept wailing all the way home.

“I want to go back! Let’s go back! We didn’t see enough lights! Please! Please! Let’s see more lights! We have to see more lights!” he cried in outrage.

In our 20 minute drive home I went from supreme irritation to disappointment to sympathy. In the end, I just felt bad for him. Sometimes it’s hard to be a kid. You just don’t know what you want or how to express it and when you do get what you want sometimes it’s overwhelming to handle.

Too much excitement? Too much stimulation? Too much sugar throughout the day? I don’t know what happened with Warren, but I do know that he deeply regretted his choice of attitude. Maybe next time he’ll think before he complains. At least when it comes to Christmas lights.

And maybe next year, more of our children will actually be awake for this outing.

Father Daughter Date

When Maddie learned that I was taking Warren to the library for the storyteller performance, she wanted to come with us. We explained that Warren and I were going on a Mother-Son date. Plus it was her bedtime and she needed to stay home. She was very sad.

To compensate, Colin told her that he would take her out on a date too, but on Saturday. The whole rest of the week she kept asking when her date with Dad would come. The weekend can seem forever away when you’re two.

True to his word, Colin took Maddie out, though she was developing a fever and was pretty tired. He debated not going but he couldn’t let her down.

They had big plans. An outing to Trader Joe’s (where they’d pick up some chocolate “cat” cookies) and a stop at our neighborhood park. She loved every minute of it. For days after she would talk about her trip and tell me that TJs was her date place. The girl dreams grand.

It’s too bad that later that day she got even more sick, passed out on the couch, and had her fever spike to 104 degrees necessitating a trip to the emergency room. But that’s another story. Daddy Daughter Date was a success. Many more outings to come, I hope.