Monday, December 12, 2011

My Baby

This is a post about Asher. My regularly ignored, underappreciated little guy. But before we talk about him, we are going to shove him into the corner one more time and talk about a big moment for my first baby.

I thought this moment would never happen.

My four year old not only shed not a single tear around Santa Claus but also sat on his lap and put in her Christmas request. It was amazing.

I prepped her for the moment while walking into the store the day before.

"Scarlet, remember that party we go to at the church that Santa Claus comes to?"

"Yeah..." she definitely seemed wary.

"Well that party is tomorrow. Do you think you are going to want to see Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas?"

"Oh yeah mom!" in full confidence. "Four year olds are not afraid of Santa. Kids are only afraid of Santa when they are 1 and 2 and 3. I am four mom."

Rhode was the wary one of the bunch this year but we still got him to talk to the guy in red. That kid will do anything for a candy cane.

My first picture of all my kids on Santa's lap since Scarlet was 9 months old. A good moment.

Okay, back to Asher. He is somehow already four months old. I know most mom's have this dilemma but it is always a little trippy when it feels equally like they were just born and they have been in your life forever.

Three months old was a rough age for this kid. He has some pretty strong food sensitivities that I was figuring out all month. While we sorted through the good and bad foods, he rewarded my efforts with 20-30 minute naps and not much longer stretches at night.

Thankfully four month old Asher is a dream baby.

Not such a dream that he would smile on command for my impromptu photo shoot this evening but pretty dreamy nonetheless. He is now a fantastic nap taker, a decent night sleeper and Mr. Happy and Content the rest of the time. Now I just have to not eat milk, chocolate, and eggs for the next long while and I get to keep this happy little dude.

Some babies are kind enough to only have a distaste for lactose, which gives moms a few more dairy options. Asher is not so kind. I am off all forms of dairy including butter and anything that even has milk on its ingredient list. I eat cereal with rice milk. If that isn't love I don't know what is.

He looks a lot like Scarlet as a baby... only more like Scarlet on Weight Watchers.

Asher at four months.

Scarlet at four months

And for comparison's sake, Rhode at four months.

Notice the lack of the Nielsen baby signature chub? At last check (last week) Asher is only a hair under 16 lbs. 50th percentile. Seriously. I have a baby who is of average weight. Thankfully he is 26" and in the 90th percentile for height... he is definitely ours.

He is still about as kind as a baby can be to his older siblings. They are loving in the most violent of ways and he just puts up with them.
I love that picture. His brother and sister get tons of smiles and giggles from this guy. He thinks they are hilarious. Even when they are on the verge of suffocating him. What a trooper.

He even has a few tricks. He loves opening and closing his hand and if you do the same action to him, he will do it right back at you. Nothing is more fun than saying, "Look my baby can wave!" and then pulling out this little number. It truly is about the little joys in life.

And as of tonight, he is also a boy aloft.

He can hold this for a good five minutes or so before getting bored and tumbling down. Maybe his slimmer size makes for easier balance. At least for a few minutes or so.

This guy is definitely a keeper.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Love Shampoo

Our favorite people in the entire city of Las Vegas are moving. It sucks. Big time.

I have made it very clear to my good friend that if she does not give me sufficient warning to their timely departure, consider her off my Christmas card list. She took my threat very seriously and has been breaking the news to me slowly for about six months now.

Sometime in October, we had the following conversation:

"Did your husband tell you that they are planning a weekend vacation for all of us to go on?"

"They are? Nope, haven't heard a word."

"Just talked to my husband, he said it was all your husband's idea and he knows nothing about it."

"Really? Mine says they were already deciding which weekend would work the best and talking about San Diego."

"Huh... so... should we make this happen?"


And that is how, as a final hurrah, we decided to take a Nielsen and Stout family weekend trip to San Diego.

I did a lot of research before this trip to score the best prices and to fit in as much fun as possible. Thanks to a fantastic condo hook up from my dad, we had a great place to stay and four days to do with as we pleased.

We took off Thursday morning, the Stouts got out the door a few hours ahead of us. We headed straight to meet them at the Mormon Battalion museum. And, soon after we finally parked the car, we had one of the scariest moments of my mom life.

We were still a little lost and started heading down the sidewalk in the direction we thought was right. The kids were two bundles of energy, having just been released from a long car ride. The street running next to us was just two lanes of cruising cars with cars parked bumper to bumper on both sides.

Jon was walking ahead of me with the kids and I was on the phone with the Stouts when I realized we were headed the wrong way. I turned around to head in the correct direction. At that moment, I guess Rhode decided to come join me. Thinking I had him, Jon took Scarlet across the street to look at a map. Rhode did not make it all the way to me and instead decided to follow dad across the street.

In a moment that could have only been directed by a spiritual prompting, Jon happened to glance behind him only to see Rhode walk straight out between two parked cars with a car barreling straight towards him.

His yell was thankfully loud enough that the car driver slammed on her brakes and Jon was able to pull Rhode straight into the air and out of danger with inches to spare.

It was a combination of sounds that make your stomach drop straight to the ground. We pulled ourselves together and finished our way to the museum.

As we sat in the darkened room, watching the presentation, I was so grateful for a moment to let my heart stop racing and let my mind turn to my Heavenly Father and thank Him for saving my son.

Now onto much more pleasant moments. Shockingly, the Mormon Battalion museum is way more interesting that you would think. They have this interactive presentation, they let the kids try on all the batallion gear, and at the end they let the kids pan for gold and pump well water. Seriously, would totally suggest it to any families in the area. They even took our picture!

The sister missionary who took the picture laughed for like five minutes over Rhode's face. Rhode had a rough weekend. He doesn't do well without naps (yeah the kid still takes like 2-3 hour naps every day, it's awesome) and he got one all weekend. He was at a varying degree of cranky all weekend. But hey, I was just grateful he didn't spend the weekend in the hospital!

Our condo was awesome, we settled in immediately and my kids found the tv remote shortly after.

My kids have been exposed to so little live television in their life (they only watch movies at home and DVR at grammy's house) that they get very frustrated with commercials and not being able to choose which shows are on. Jon and I, on the other hand, totally enjoyed our few days of television. There are some very interesting reality shows on these days...

Friday was our first day of adventure and we planned on spending the whole day at LegoLand. But according to the weatherman, it was going to be a very rainy day. We decided to keep our plans but go prepared. We had ponchos, umbrellas, and towels to dry off wet seats. We pulled up to the parking lot with two cars full of very excited kids... only to find out they shut down all rides on rain days. The sky would have to be totally clear for them to start the rides again.

Total bummer.

So, what other thing to do in San Diego on a rainy day but head for the beach!

Yes, that is a whole bunch of sea lions right on the beach. It was really cool. And it was pouring.
I can't even believe how cold and wet we were. Asher was dry and warm though!

At this point in our friendship, after spending a ton of time together, our kids are thick as thieves.

Rhode and Charlie especially treat each other just like brother and sister. Although they also inform us frequently that they will be married someday. We are totally cool with this arrangement.

Charlie (2), Rhode (3), Blaze (4), Scarlet (4), Bennett (6)

The kids jumped into the hotel's hot tub as soon as we got back to thaw and we spent the rest of our rainy evening indoors.

Saturday was Sea World day and it was a beautiful day to be at a park.

We debated back and forth about Sea World. Some people really enjoyed it, others weren't as impressed. But we ended up getting a good deal so we went for it.

Had we gone to Lego Land the day before, our kids might not have been as impressed but since it was our trip highlight, they had a great time. We were there from the minute they opened to the minute they closed, saw everything there was to see and walked away tired but not exhausted. It was overall a big winner of a trip.

Favorite parts:

1 - Pretty much every time the kids started to get whiny, it was time to get our seats for the next show. So we got to sit, rest their legs and pull out the backpack of snacks and refreshments and they were ready to go.

2 - Rhode loved the whales and spent the entire day raving about his new favorite whale "Shampoo" (trumping his old favorite, baby Beluga)

All day he kept saying, "Mom, I just really want to give Shampoo a hug and a kiss. It would be fun to kiss Shampoo."

We spent every show in the splash zone on Jon's request. He sat us as close to the whale platform as he could get. I insisted we sit one row back from the one he requested, hoping it would save us from getting absolutely drenched.

Jon then trained Scarlet and Rhode to stand up every time Shamu jumped on the platform and turn to face the camera. Rhode was on the higher degree of his cranky scale, but Scarlet was a willing participant.

Sadly, the couple that sat in Jon's preferred row had the same idea and blocked our picture every time. I got his best "I told you so" look more than once.

But it didn't stop him from trying to get his perfect whale with kid shot.

As the show went on, we were all done being thrown in front of the camera during every whale stunt, especially this guy.

He didn't love the camera stunts but he was totally enamored with the shows. I wonder what a sea life show looks like from a baby perspective.

Somehow after a full day in the splash zone we avoided any full drenchings. And believe me, some poor people walked away looking like they had gone for a swim. There was only one water casualty of the day.

His mood improved considerably when he found out the wettest kid of the show gets to pick out a treat from mom's candy stash.

The kids love the interactive exhibits
those poor sea stars...

and we really had just a great day.

Sunday, we crashed a Sacrament meeting and then spent another rainy day checking out tide pools. It turned into more of a water hike than a big tide pool adventure. But still a day that was totally enjoyed and we headed out Monday morning.

What will our world be like without the Stouts? I don't know but I am not looking forward to finding out.