Reincarnated As A Mother

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello Handsome

You'll have to forgive me for posting so many photos of Kean.
But I just couldn't pick only one.
My mom got him this tie for Christmas
and he looked so darn cute.....

Enough already.  How much cuteness can a boy be expected to ooze?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Day Highlights

Christmas morn found the plate of cookies and carrots
left for Santa and his reindeer clearly gobbled up. 
And bonus:  a note from the big guy telling them to be good!
 Last year, we had our good friends, Mike and Shannon Angus
join us for the early  morning mayhem.  We must not have
scarred them too badly, because they came back for more.
 Santa came through again.  Phew!  Holland got her much
requested camera.  And Greer and Reese hit the Barbie doll bonanza with this wooden mansion.
Look closely on the right, it actually has an elevator.  Tiny Reese needs a stool to see the top floor!
 As for Kean, he got into unwrapping about 1/2 of one present and then he was bored.
But he did like his new race car set and the shape sorter Aunt Rachel and Uncle Marc got him.
 And then there was Byron.  He got sent on a scavenger hunt that led him to Grammy and Grandpa Leavitt's garage.  Hiding inside? A new snow mobile sled-- yiiippppeeee!
Hope everyone had as merry a Christmas as we did.

Christmas Eve

As requested, here's a picture of the ol' girl on her two feet again.  She looks great at a distance.

 And I couldn't resist showing a picture of what the girls helped me make.  The critics say they were as yummy as they were cute.
 On Christmas Eve, we had our traditional gathering with in place of dinner-- all appetizers and desserts-- one of my favorite meals of the year.  We also attempted (and it always turns out really irreverent) our version of the Christmas Story.  Aunt Dana read from the Bible, while Holland-- acting as a donkey carried in Reese/Mary, with Morgan/Joseph at her side.  That's Ken and Nedra (Dana's parents) on the couch.
 Baby Kean was a somewhat cooperative Baby Jesus.
 Greer and Katie were our Angels again.  With Derek our lone Shepherd and Lindsey as the single Wise Lady.
 The Moomey's served as part one of the audience.
 With the Bodily's acting as part 2.
 When the stage production was over, the kids opened up their traditional Christmas Eve pajamas from Grammy (my mom).  This year she brought them all shirts from Guatemala and made them pants.  Pretty cute, eh?  The pajamas and the kids.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

 When I went to the funeral for my cousin, something had to give and that something was getting Christmas cards out this year. 
So the best I can do is drag out an "oldie but a goldie" from 3 years ago.
Have a wonderful day with your family or loved ones.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Creativity gone amok

After the great Christmas Tree Crash of 2010, we are back on track with our holidays.  We picked up on our yearly tradition of decorating a gingerbread house (while trying to leave enough candy uneaten to actually put on the house)!

 Kean supervised from the floor.  He has taken to rolling and rolling and rolling.. well you get the idea.  (His therapist thinks he'll be crawling within a few weeks, so stay tuned).
 Voila!  The finished piece of art with some very sticky hands to show for the hard work!
 And finally, a little more art for you to stare at.  The girls showed off their handiwork with this hairstyle on Kean.  He actually had two more pony tails in the back.  Nice........

Friday, December 17, 2010

Party Central

Today was the last day of school for the girls until 2011.  And I don't think there was much learning going on.  Greer came home and said her day was "AWESOME"...  between hot cocoa, a party, watching a movie and on and on... I'd have said the same thing.
Elly picked Reese up this afternoon.  On her birthday back in July, she had promised she'd take Reese out for a movie-- and finally, one came out that was just perfect for her.  They went to see Tangled, the new Disney flick about Rapunzel.  Reese loved it!  And I got lots of presents wrapped-- so I loved it too!

 I attempted to get a picture of Kean's front tooth making its debut.  Sorry it's so bad.  Greer says it looks like I'm picking his nose.  I'm not.
 And finally, we'd like to introduce you to our newest family members-- Greer and Reese named this one Comet-- because it's Christmas time.
And Holland named this lil' boy Skid Steer, Skid  for short.  I, personally, was hoping they'd go for Sir Loin and Sir Ribeye.
So if you are counting, let's see, that brings us to a mom and a dad, three girls, one boy, one dog, one rabbit, two cows and 20 thousand bees.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Love Our Boy!

Maureen, one of Kean's therapists brought a new toy this week-- a bin full of fake snow.  It was the coolest stuff, cold but not freezing and soft.  I guess she ordered it off the Internet and just had to add water.  I think the pictures will show you how much Kean liked this new type of therapy.

Clearly, he had a grand time.  After sensory playtime, it was work time.  We are getting closer and closer to getting him into a sitting position on his own.  And he's also getting closer to crawling.  We just keep practicing both over and over again, knowing one of these days it will all click.
I took him to the Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat doc.  Looks like Kean has an earache in both ears.  Crazy, I'd never had known.  He doesn't complain.  He's still our happy boy most of the time!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Real Christmas

I pulled Holland and Greer out of school today for a few hours and took them downtown for a Christmas Party at Agency for New Americans.
For the past six years, we've "adopted" some refugee families for Christmas.  This year, for the first time, the agency I help with, threw its first ever Holiday Party... complete with the big guy in Red or Baba Noelle (as one of the refugees called him).
 Most of the refugees I talked with came from Nepal, Congo, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Somalia-- I think.  The language barrier with some of them made it hard for me to understand.  But everyone was so nice and so grateful for the gift baskets that many of my friends helped pull together.  Holland, Greer and their friend, Maddie had a grand time being Santa's little helpers.

 We started doing this several years ago-- because we wanted our children to realize Christmas is really about giving not getting.  It's a wonderful tradition filled with amazing, kind, humble and interesting people.  We love it.  But now I'm off to collapse (or at least drool in the corner)!

Help! I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up!

Now is not a good time to come visit.  Our Christmas Tree is just plain ugerly.  It wasn't always that way.  We spent an entire evening carefully stringing the lights, covering each limb with strategically placed ornaments and then guess what.....

 Somehow Reese pulled it over with a huge crash (and lots of screaming).   Many, many of our ornaments are casualties of the the great fall.
We lost about 20 ornaments and water from the tree's base soaked a few presents.  It took Byron quite a while to get the ol' girl back on her feet, standing straight and secure.  It took me forever to get the whole mess cleaned up.  Poor Reese felt horrible.  She was crying.  Holland was crying-- several of the ornaments she made over the years in school are now just a memory.  And frankly, I can't find the energy to re-string the lights and "spruce" up the ol' spruce again.  So, if you come over, just lie and say the tree looks lovely, okay?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Seventh

I know I'm about a week late on this but the out of state funeral threw me off.  I just wanted to mark December 7th-- what most of us always think of as Pearl Harbor Day.  The date has several layers of meaning for me.  First off, this year marks the 19th anniversary from when 3 of my friends and co-workers were killed in a helicopter crash back when I worked at WTVD-TV in North Carolina.  I wrote about it last year.

It makes me miss all these exceptional men-- and the great "family" of people I worked with back in those days.

December 7th also marks the day when the Japanese-- after bombing Pearl Harbor, attacked Wake Island in their quest to take over the strategic atoll between the U.S. and Asia.  I've written about it before, my Great Grandfather was a civilian worker (a carpenter for Morris Knudsen) when the island was attacked.  The mostly construction workers fought the Japanese and held them off until Christmas Eve.  98 of them were summarily executed on the beach by the Japanese.  The others were taken prisoners of war.  My Great Grandfather was held for nearly 5 years. 
Last week, on December 7th, my mom and I took Kean and Reese downtown to a luncheon in honor of these former P.O.W.'s.  There were only 4 of them in attendance-- but these are men I've gotten to know over the years and do I ever admire them.  Part of me wanted to stand up, put my hand over my heart and tell them what an honor it is to be in the same room with them, what an honor it is to meet real live heroes!  My mom said (as we drove home) that I should have done it, and now do I ever wish I would have! 
One of the guys, J.O. Young (he knew my Great Grandfather) stood up and told us about the days following the Japanese surrender and the P.O.W.'s release.  He said they were all put on a ship bound for Guam and then San Francisco (if my memory serves me).  He said there were 1000 P.O.W.'s on that ship and they gobbled their way through the rations of 4000 men in just a few days-- rations that were supposed to last the 4000 men at least a month! They had all been starved to death while prisoners.  But the sad part to this story is he said all of them-- from eating too much food, too fast--  were so sick they nearly died.  He said no one had warned them to take it slow and easy.  So he remembers his first few days of freedom, thinking they would be his last days on this earth.  It was Christmas time.  Pretty amazing stuff.  
We have it so easy.  It's a privilege to be reminded of that every once in a while by these guys.  Especially at this time of year. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

16 Months Old

By the way, Kean was a dream on the trip.  And I swear he was quite the little celebrity-- the most popular person in our little group.  I think everyone wanted to meet the little guy who fought so hard to make it into this world. 
And today, he is sixteen months old!  Wow. 
He's growing (finally) and are you ready for his/mine/ours big news?
He has two teeth starting to poke through.  His first two!
We are thrilled and he sure likes playing with the little nubs with his tongue.
In case you want the gory details-- the first tooth is his top, front, right tooth.
The second tooth is also on the upper right side, about three from the front.  And yikes, it is sharp and pointy!
I'll try and snap a picture of our little vampire!
P.S.  Surreal moment of the trip:  a guy I was talking with at the funeral lives in Arizona.  When he found out my maiden name was Leavitt, he asked me if I had ever met or knew a woman who used to be a TV news woman in Phoenix.  Ahem.  That would be me.

Home Sweet Home

I am so happy to be home with my family.  Kean and I, accompanied my parents and my older brother Doug (we picked up my little brother Marc at the airport) and went to Salt Lake for a few days to attend my cousin's funeral. 
What a sad situation.  The funeral speakers had us laughing one minute and crying the next.  My cousin Lance went for a hike on Thanksgiving day.  He never came home.  After 10 days of searching, his body was found about 15 minutes away, half covered with snow.  Apparently, he had slipped and fallen down a canyon.  He had broken his neck and they figure-- and we hope-- he had died instantly.
His wife, Casey spoke at the funeral.  What a woman of grace and poise.  I don't know that I could do that.  She wanted each of us to get to know Lance better with stories never before told.  Much of her remarks were directed towards her three children.  Honestly, I don't think the kids realized what was going on.  They just seemed to be in heaven seeing all of their cousins.  I'm sure this next week when life has to begin the "new normal" phase, will be painful.
There was sure a huge outpouring of support at the viewing and the funeral.  I saw cousins I haven't seen in 10 years.  Many of them got together last year for a week's vacation on Lake Powell.  Greer and Holland were there-- but I was in the hospital.  So it was good to see everyone again.  I just love my relatives.  Events like this, sure make you realize how much you care and cherish each other. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Funeral Plans

I'll be taking Kean and heading to Salt Lake with my parents and my brother and his wife.  My cousin, Lance's viewing will be Wednesday evening, with the funeral on Thursday.  Byron with the help of some dear friends will be holding down the fort and keeping the girls fed and clothed. 
The Search and Rescue crew told Lance's family that with all the snow and rocky terrain, it is a miracle his body was spotted.  We had all prayed and fasted as a family the day before he was found.  We had hoped there would be some closure and it sure seems our prayers were answered.  The investigators said it looks like he slipped and fell.
Sad stuff.  He leaves behind three children-- a boy, age 7 and then two little girls.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Bit Of Christmas Cheer

Every year all of the babies who "graduated" from St. Luke's NICU are invited to a Christmas party.  Some of the nurses, doctors and the people who so lovingly take care of these sick little babies are there to see their little proteges.  It's great.  And my older girls think it's fabulous.  They have all kinds of crafts for the kids. 

 And of course, the big guy makes an appearance.  This time he came with two elves in tow. 
 Kean is my first child to not cry in Santa's lap.  I think he's just so used to all the people who love him and want to hold him.  Santa's just another lap-- albeit, a very padded one.
Reese pointedly would not sit on his lap... but was happy to sit next to him.  A huge improvement from last year.

 And poor Holland.  For some reason, when it was her turn, Santa didn't want to know what she wanted for Christmas, he wanted to test her on her multiplication tables. 
The girls were so funny on the way home.  They agreed he had to be one of Santa's helpers because they saw some of his real hair peaking out.  Little investigative reporters in training, I tell ya!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Some Closure

My parents just called.  A search and rescue team took a helicopter up in the mountains above Salt Lake a short while ago.  The body of my cousin, Lance has been spotted.  They are starting the recovery process now.  It's terribly sad news but we are also relieved that the agony of not knowing has come to an end.
I think we all knew in our hearts he was gone.  It's been over a week and it was my Aunt Pat's (his mom's) birthday yesterday.  If he could have, he would have called.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010


We still have no word about my missing cousin, Lance.  Today the family held a special day of fasting and prayer to petition the Lord for comfort and direction for Lance's wife and for his mother and sisters.
Today marks one week that he has been missing-- a pretty grim anniversary.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Way Too Deep

 Perhaps I shouldn't have labeled my last post... Bring On The Snow.  It started snowing hard last night on our way home from dinner at Smashburger (yum!).  And it has snowed on and off all day.  Just look at the proof in our yard.  That's the playhouse way up there yonder-- half buried in snow.  And this bench outside our door shows how much snow we had when we woke up this morning.
 At dark thirty this morning, the phone shattered our sleep with an automated call telling us all the schools were closed for a snow day.  The girls needless to say were thrilled.  We forced Byron to drag out the ol' snowmobile this afternoon. 
 Since the fire over the summer, our back pasture is brush free and the perfect arena for zooming around.
 And of course, the girls built a massive snowman (with some help).  It won't win any awards but boy does it bring back memories.
When I was about Greer's age... my mom snapped a photo of my brothers and I standing in front of a snowman we had built in Las Vegas!  It was in the 70's and if I remember correctly, we got about 6 inches of snow.  Of course, it completely shut down the city-- a city that never sees snow.  I gotta have my mom dig up this picture.  I'm wearing a sweatshirt and jeans and have wonder bread bags covering both my tennis shoes and the socks on my hands.  Pure genius on my mom's part-- we had dry feet and hands-- cold, but dry.