Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Browns

It's no surprise to anyone that I'm basically the worst blogger in the world, but Christmas cards and the end of the year are good motivators to do a little catching up with updates on how we're all doing. This will be super long I'm guessing, so if you want the short version here it is: we're all great, healthy, and happy!

So, we'll start backwards.....with our sweet little chunk Myles.

He's adorable, and he's huge. He's almost 18 pounds, and not even 4 months yet. We're all completely addicted to kissing those chubby cheeks (my favorite is the neck). This was him in his blessing outfit, with the blanket my grandma made behind him (she's made one for each of the kids so far). Ellis wore the same outfit, and Myles BARELY fit into it. The buttons on the bottom kept unsnapping and I even had to rig a neck extension (aka a rubber band looped around the button through the button hole, because it literally would not button without cutting off air and disappearing into the chub).

Thanksgiving he was barely 3 months, this is a 9 month outfit. Oh, we love our big boy.

This is the work of Norah. Not much use for her baby dolls since she has her own live one, so she passed this one onto Myles.

He's Mommy's #1 fan. He's getting to the point where he will be happy with other people for awhile, but mostly he just wants to hang with me. But do I mind? Not really--he's my little love.

See that sad little face? Hard to believe from all of these smiling pictures, but our little guy was not a happy guy for the first 2 months. Colic? I don't know, what does that mean, really? I guess so. Did he cry a lot? Yes, a ton. Did he need to be held all the time? Yes. Would he scream from gas pains? Yes. Was it so sad? Yes. Luckily Norah and Ellis were champs and played together SO nicely so I could try to help poor Myles. There were a ton of foods that irritated him, and avoiding those helped a little, but mostly he just wasn't feeling good for the first couple months. Definitely our hardest baby yet, and none of them have been "easy." What happened to the, "oh, the third kid is always the easiest" that people kept telling us? Oh well. On a good day there would be 1 hour that I wasn't holding him. Otherwise, the second he was set down there were instantaneous panicky-terrified-hurting screaming, even if he had been sound asleep. So sad, poor little guy. So how did we survive? The wrap.

Oh, the wrap. Not sure my $40 has even been spent so well. I definitely owe my sanity, the happiness of the other kids, the sleep that Myles got during the day, and my functioning back to this lovely, wonderful piece of fabric. With a baby who will never be put down, this thing is an absolute necessity and a lifesaver. If you live near us or have seen us since Myles was born, you know that he pretty much lived in this thing exclusively up until about a month ago. A girl at church told me that a few weeks ago when I was holding him her husband looked over and said, "Oh, so that's what he looks like, I've never seen him out of that thing." You're not joking buddy. I love it for so so many reasons. When Myles was 4 weeks old (and I had been using a bunch of other carriers that I had and that friends would bring over) I couldn't move my neck from holding him all the time, so my wonderful friend Rebecca brought me her wrap (actually the one in this picture) and life was changed. No back pain! Free hands! Snuggly sleeping baby! Not the most fashionable thing in the world, and people often give me funny looks and then end up saying, "Oh, there's a baby in there, I thought you were just carrying really high." Really? Yeah, it looks like I'm strangely pregnant with a 17 pound baby (well, that's pretty true, except that I could take him out to feed and change), but oh well, he's happy, my back is happy, so we're happy. Do you see his little hand? So cute. That's the best thing about the wrap, you're basically just snuggling with your baby all day. (By the way, this is a Sleepy Wrap, much better than the Moby in my opinion.)

Even wrapped in the corn bath. What's a corn bath? Think a big pool sized sand box filled with corn. Come see us next fall and we'll show you. We're huge fans. Having him in the wrap all the time you learn all kind of tricks--like have the "older" kids stand on a chair while you're getting them dressed so you don't have to lean over and wake up the baby. And when he's out for 10 minutes you do the things that are hardest to do while holding him first--like changing the laundry.

If you're holding Myles get ready for lots of love and company, and invasion into your personal bubble (if you still have one in tact that is). Norah is frequently reminded to give him a little space (you know, to breath...) and be soft when she hugs him, to which she replies, "But I just Love. Him. So. Much!" in the squeaky baby talk voice. We have a strict no touching the baby while he's eating policy, otherwise this would happen all day long.

Norah's devotion to her little guy has not wavered. When we hear him waking up--because he will now let me lay him down once I get him to sleep for awhile (usually about a half hour), miracle!--she wants to be the first to "go get him." She's actually a huge help and can keep him entertained and happy for awhile.

Myles loves his big brother and big sister, and his Bumbo. He'll often chill out in the Bumbo and watch them run around or play together. Norah and Ellis always get huge smiles from him. Overall, I'd say the transition to 3 really hasn't been that bad. Having a high need baby made things a bit crazy for awhile, and if I didn't respond to your email or call you back or post any pictures on the blog :) it's because I was constantly bouncing a baby for awhile. But all in all I feel like going from 3 to 2 was easier in some ways than 1 to 2, because now they have a buddy and can entertain each other while Mommy does baby stuff. Except for sacrament meeting at church. Whew. That's just plain crazy. Especially without Daddy sitting by us to help. Our kids were already the wildest of the ward--they just have tons of energy, and then add on that we don't have Daddy by us and 1 more kid that needs to be bounced in the aisle. Let's just say that it's always a blur, and that Jason vacuums our row every Sunday.


Jason's a busy guy these days, but doing a good job balancing it all: kids, school, work, and church. School is going great, he'll graduate with his MBA in June (the picture above is from an Easter egg hunt they did for the kids, his building is behind them). He's busy networking and interviewing for what he'll do after graduation. He got a great internship over the summer that's actually with a company here in Davis, and he's working there part time during school. A good option for after graduation too. Only downside is that he's in a cubicle all day with little to no interaction, and if you know Jason, that's close to torture. But, these days we're grateful for such a good option.

A busy guy, but still manages to be a great Daddy. We were going to a pumpkin patch with the kids--he got dressed, and I got Ellis dressed, and they totally matched. Ellis said, "Look Dad, us little buddies!" So cute, he kept calling them "little buddies" all night.

Norah girl:

I love this picture, it is so Norah. This is our girl: happy, enthusiastic, knows what she wants, and a great combo of girly-girl and tomboy.

Norah's 4 and she's been loving preschool again this year, and it's amazing to think that next year will be kindergarten! The year started out not so hot with some girl drama (really!? At 4?!) but we switched things up a bit and now she's back to loving school. This day she came home as a "puppy," and unlike all the other days she comes home as a puppy, this time she looked like one too.

She's our artist. She colors for hours most days. Grandma Brown got her this coloring book when we were in Tahoe this year and for the rest of the time we were there she sat up at the counter doing just this. And when we got home, it was all she did for about a week.

See, even straight out of the shower.

It's been quite the year of bugs thanks to Norah. When it's not too cold or rainy, this is what she's doing--going outside to find bugs and then requesting homes for them. I really don't care to know how many rolly-pollies and lady bugs and worms have died in her box sitting on the counter. Or in zip-lock baggies in my purse. She's gotten better about letting them go before they premanently "go" but we still have a few casualties every once in awhile. Last week she wanted to bring her bug box that was filled with mud and 2 worms she had found to the store with her and Daddy. Jason said when she was getting out she said, "Dad, I think I'm gonna leave these in the car, because if I bring them in they'll say, 'Eww, gross,' ...but not really."

Ellis boy:

Ellis is two and a half, full of energy and ALL Boy. When he isn't throwing things or running through the house he is eating. Constantly eating. When we asked him what he wanted for Christmas, his request perfectly sums up his personality, "Me want some-fing me can hold and me can touch ceiling wiff."

This is his wake-up look. Hilarious--every time. He's quite the sleeping champ, and still takes great naps. This gives me hope for my little Myles, because Ellis as a baby was a horrible napper.

When our neighbors replaced their driveway Ellis spent every day for a week sitting in the driveway and watching them work. He was so in awe. When one of the workers to waved at him it was like a celebrity had just said "Hi". He spent the next week telling us how the worker man had waved to him: "Hey Mommy, member, member dat man waved at me?!" He's very into the "I'm a boy" phase. Awhile ago we had some friends over--guys were watching football in the family room and the girls were in the kitchen. Ellis marched into the family room, jumped up on the couch, and then announced, "I'm a BOY."

Do you see the twinkle in his eye as he bites into this marshmallow? His life in many ways revolves around food, and he is especially obsessed with sweets. Just like his dad. He's super picky--urg. Such a great, fun, easy-going kid....until you get him to the table. Nothing in life makes him happier, or more distraught, then giving or taking food from him.

Case in point: while working on our gingerbread Easter house we told him he couldn't eat anymore jellybeans. He took it pretty hard. You can see I'm pretty immune to his reaction. Just this morning we ran out to give the garbage man some Christmas cookies to thank him for all the waves and honks. Ellis was thrilled, until it came time to hand over the cookies, which resulted in a total breakdown of, "But I want some cookies!"


For my update, see above. Spent the year taking care of all these hilarious, wild, cute, crazy, snuggly, darling people. Here are some of the things we've been up to....

Park days: Davis has great parks throughout town--this one we walk to and it has an old merry-go round type thing that the kids love. It reminds me of the really fun old parks that are apparently way too dangerous for this generation of kids since they stopped making them. But they love it.

Cooking: Always have lots of little helpers in the kitchen. Norah's pretty good and LOVES to help. learning. Yesterday he was "cooking" which was really crushing the chocolate chips into little bits with two spoons.

Getting Messy: Boots/flip-flops are basically the only shoes they want to wear.

Field trips: Every Friday (sometimes we switch days) we go on a field trip with friends. My amazing friend Bethany organizes most of them, which means all we need to do is show up--so fun. This time it was picking strawberries. And yes, Norah is pushing herself ahead, because, yes, she always has to be in front. Here are some other field trip days:

Davis airport--don't you love the look? :)

Iris farm in Loomis. Beautiful, plenty of room for kids to run, free, and old tractors to climb on. Prefect ingredients for a field trip.

We are a BIG dress-up house. They're favorite activity. And although it's super messy and I do more wardrobe changes in a day than Brittany Spears's backstage helpers, it never stops being hilarious to see the outfits they come up with.

This day was the inspiration behind getting Ellis some more boy-ish options. Hilarious.

Trips: Went on a few fun trips this year. This was in Lake Tahoe with Jason's parents. We went to visit my grandparents in St. Louis, took a quick trip to Monterey and Big Sur (AMAZING!) and then down to Southern California to see some family. It's always fun to get away for a little bit. We especially love doing quick little day trips.

Pool: Went to the pool almost everyday of the summer. It's right around the corner from our house and the kids are fish so it was a great thing to hop over to. Norah leaned how to really swim this year. Is there anything funnier than kids wearing goggles? Really.

Oh, and taking the kids to the pool when you're super pregnant in the summer is amazing. Best thing ever. Don't have to chase them, or pick up toys off the ground, or be hot. It was great.

They had fun swimming in the backyard too. We got out this pool for them and asked Norah if she liked it as much as the big pool we always swim at. In a very "duh" tone she said, "No." Pause. "This one is WAY better!" Oh, that's why kids are so funny. Seriously?

Gardening: Kids had tons of fun "helping" in the garden. Helping really just means getting completely muddy and wet and dirty everyday while Daddy tilled and Mommy planted. Let's just say their nails were not clean all summer.

Norah was great at picking and would often just deliver the ripe stuff to me. Such a cutie.

Bikes: Our house has this great concrete path that wraps around the house, so everyday they played on their bikes. I would say they're favorite toy of the year, hands down. It never got old. This is us walking/biking to the market (it was Myles 1st outing!).

Uncle Eric: Eric lived with us up until June and provided tons of fun entertainment. He never got grouchy about them barging into his room, or at least not obviously so. :) One of their favorite activities: coming in and having him show them animal or monster truck you-tube videos. He showed Ellis a monster truck video when he was just barely 2, and Ellis reacted like a true boy: "Wow. Dats awesome!"

Pumpkin patches: We have TONS of great pumpkin patches around us so we went too many times to count this fall. This one is 2 minutes away from our house and has a barn full of animals plus all kinds of different baby animals you can hold and pet. It's amazing. So fun.

Sweet bunny, sweet boy.

Norah developed quite the relationship with Candy the horse.

Well, that's about it folks, if you're still with us. :) Hope you have a very VERY Merry Christmas!!

Ellis's face in this hilarious. And Norah's stroking the baby's head, the little Mommy.


Sarah Jayne said...

Seriously? Your kids are the most gorgeous little models. If you ever need a little supplemental income and you don't mind selling your kids' happiness (j/k) you could easily make a living on their looks. That picture of Ellis kills me.

Thanks for the info on the wrap, you've got me convinced. I might attempt making one (not hard right? no sewing involved--as long as I can find the right fabric).

Love you guys. You didn't disappoint.

Dianna said...

LOVE the update Chrissie with all of the darling pictures. I read it and am now typing with one hand while my other arm is holding our own little darling who hates to be put down. I ordered me a sleepy wrap a few days and can't wait for it to arrive! Have a great Christmas!

The Amoah-Boadi Family said...

you seriously have the cutest family! I miss you guys! I just love all the pictures! whoever took them did an amazing job! they are so clear and crisp! Glad to see you guys are doing so good! Sorry to hear little myles had some ouchies :(
We would love to see you guys soon!

Our Family said...

Love those cute kids (and their mom and dad!) What you described with Myles is just the way Jacob acted as a baby--and they called it 'colic' back then. He has always been more sensitive to things like haircuts, sock seams, shirt tags, shoes and the way clothes fit and still has some mild sensitivity to dairy products. It took him until he could move a lot on his own at 9 months to be less attached to me. To give you some hope, though, he is our most easy-going, amiable child. Some children you pay for up front! Thanks for the great family update!!

Rebecca said...

OH MY GOSH Chrissie! I am so in love with your Sweet Family! Beautiful Blog, Beautiful Photos, Beautiful Family! I'm blown away, love the story about Ellis handing over the cookies to Mr. Sanitation Worker. Haha! You guys are so adorable. Love You.

Darla said...

Oh that last pic! So great! You are so adorable, and your kids are SOO adorable and Jason is even adorable (just had to say it). SO glad to read an updated post, Chrissie! I'm sorry things were so hard the first few months. Dayne was my colicky (sp?) baby. It was quite the pain in the rear. I couldn't eat ANY chocolate with her or it was hell to pay. Literally. Weird that your third was the hardest. Three usually IS the easiest, I swear! I hope all is well now (sounds like it) and life is just becoming blissful again.
I also couldn't get enough of Nora coloring. That's our Dayne. All day long she's drawing pics and writing our names about each person. Cute girl. Gotta enjoy her more cuz she's also quite the whiner. Hope to see you SOMETIME??

Harmony said...

loved the update! you're amazing! I will always wish we could be neighbors. :(