Sunday, January 26, 2014


I started this post 2 weeks ago on a Sunday night when we celebrated Zelly's first birthday and her cousin Emma's 11th birthday. I uploaded the pictures and then just sat in front of the computer with writer's block. What could I say about my baby turning 1? I ended up shutting the computer, unable to write about the conflicting emotions of the day. 

So here I am 2 weeks later, still struggling with how to express my feelings as a mother, whose last baby is emerging from babyhood. There's a lot to celebrate with my baby turning one--I made it through that sometimes very difficult, sleep-deprived first year. Plus, the future is full of the possibility of car trips without a crying baby, of nights without wailing coming through the monitor, of family vacations where we can all do the same things, of sitting through church being able to listen, of days without being tied to nap schedules or feedings. 

But tonight I'm mourning the end of babies, of a little one falling asleep snuggled next to me, of a little head on my shoulder, of that new baby smell and the soft little new baby skin, of the excitement that comes with the positive pregnancy test, the talk of names, and the anticipation of meeting the little one kicking inside me. As a Mormon woman, a great portion of my life has involved the looking forward to having babies. It's strange--and sad--to be at the end of that phase.

I found this poem I wrote over 6 years ago when Sweetie was turning 2 that seems fitting now:

"To Sweetie, on Making Your Birthday Cake"

The preparation is important
Cake-making takes time and a delicate touch.
Icing drips from the knife--
I smooth it over the surface,
a thin layer to keep the crumbs in,
some of which escape.
Icing lines my wrist
my fingers stained pink
with the effort.
Cake-making is a messy process.

I hope you do not mind that
it is not perfect.
Some day you will notice
my smoothed-over mistakes.
I am not always good
at Cake-making.

This year, petals with two icing layers
candy details, licorice swirls,
sweet butterflies and bees to hover
over my creation.

Perhaps I should not take such care,
spend time on finishing touches.
It’s just a birthday cake,
Soon to be poked, pried, patted
licked and loved
by two-year-old fingers.

It will be gone before I know it.
So I must savor every mouthful
every delicious bite.

Well, back to the party details. We had an Uno party for the Uno girl. 

She tore into her cake, which surprised me, because she's a pretty chill baby and not very aggressive.

She had a lot of help with her presents!
We played beenie baby toss. J was the victor.

A little about Zelly at age 1:  she hates whole milk, chocolate milk, strawberry milk, and water. She's just barely tolerating juice. She'll drink the whole milk when mixed half and half with formula. Because, you know, formula tastes so much better than chocolate milk. Silly girl. Formula is for babies! She loves bananas, yogurt, fruit loops, graham crackers, and soup. She takes 2 short naps (30 min) a day. Half of the time one of the naps is an hour and a half and we all cheer and say prayers of gratitude. She loves books read to her. She hates her hair bows and loves her shoes (and everyone else's). She falls apart around 6pm and is asleep by 7 at the latest. Her favorite thing to do is climb into anything she can climb into, as evidenced by these pics:

  She gives the best "loves" in the world!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year's Wishes

I borrowed this graphic from Kellie's post on Segullah because I love it so much. I have never had problems setting New Year's Resolutions. I thrive on goal-setting. (Doesn't mean I don't set the same goals year after year :), those goals that I keep struggling with realizing.) What I like about this quote, though, is the emphasis on relaxing and creating and on the importance of embracing surprise along with my goals. Happy 2014!

Annual P Family Christmas Card and Letter

We have officially dubbed 2013 “The Year of Change.”  We started 2013 as a family of 5, welcoming in the year by riding bikes, barbequing, and lighting fireworks on a warm winter New Year’s Eve in Arizona. We’re now ending it as a family of 6, huddled in front of our fireplace in Utah, buried in blankets, downing the hot chocolate, and fighting over who gets to put the heating pad on their bed.

J also spent New Year’s Eve 2012 in true accountant-style, praying for me to go into labor so we could reap the tax rewards and dodge the insurance hit of paying for a January baby. But, true to her calm, easy-going demeanor, Zelly decided to hold off until January 10 to make her debut. Zelly loves to dance, eat paper, and be held by her mom, a habit that was initially necessary for her survival, given the exuberant and constant embraces of her older brother.

H (4) lives to kiss, smother, and bug his little sister.  Thankfully, she gets a little break from him 3 mornings a week when he goes to preschool, where he tries his best not to get a red card so he can pick out of the treasure chest at the end of the day.  We love H’s excitement for the small things in life and his big dreams—he is sure that the gravel/sand pit will one day be a big volleyball court and that the store being built will one day be a dungeon.

Sweetie (8) has navigated the year’s changes by immersing herself in soccer, tumbling, piano, basketball, and the 3rd grade Advanced Learning Program. She loves living closer to her cousins so they have plenty of time to invent new foods (the latest: “caed,” a cross between cake and bread), adopt pet water balloons, try out various oatmeal/honey facial combinations, and rock out at the Selena Gomez concert.

Mister (10) is glad that he found plenty of boys in our new neighborhood who have been willing to join him in basketball, flag football, video gaming, and roaming the mountainside.  When the high temperature this week didn’t make it out of the 20s, we finally insisted he trade his Arizona basketball shorts for the pile of pants sitting untouched in his dresser drawer.

With the move to Utah, J kept his job as a senior vice president of finance for Bank of America but transitioned to working from home full-time. He has thoroughly enjoyed our proximity to BYU sports, but has lately fallen into a deep despair as he’s watched his beloved golf courses disappear beneath the snow.

As the person responsible for initiating our change in location, I have spent most of the year helping everyone else navigate the ensuing changes in their lives, while also trying to find a new “normal” in my own life, as a mother of 4 and a resident of Utah. I’m hoping this move will give me the opportunity to teach at BYU in a tenure track position one day, and I’m glad that it’s already giving me the opportunity to see my family more and to live by the mountains that I love.

Even though the changes of the year have been good, they haven’t been easy.  We miss our friends and family in Arizona. (H still insists that we move back “when this house gets dirty.”) Making new, meaningful connections is a long and sometimes scary process, but we’re plugging along, grateful to be together.  We’re also grateful, especially at this time of year, for the one thing that remains unchanging in our lives—our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the peace and love that He gives us. 

Merry Christmas!

Wow, am I behind in posting or what. I uploaded these pictures last week but never wrote anything to accompany them. I think because by the time the kids are finally in bed, the floors are swept (maybe), and the dishwasher is humming, I am comatose on the couch.

As I look back on these pictures, I just feel so lucky and so blessed. We clearly had a great Christmas--we were together as a little family, we celebrated the birth of our Savior, we ate delicious food, we got plenty of toys and gifts, we spent time with grandparents and cousins, and we snowmobiled into my parents' cabin, where we had fun together and got to enjoy the beauty of the mountains around us. What a great end to a great year.

Zelly had the best morning of her life, crawling in and out of boxes everywhere.
Santa brought all the kids an electronic ride-on. And we wished we still lived in Arizona when they went out to try them out.
Lookin' good in his new shades.

A little pre-gift jeopardy game


An afternoon at the Children's museum

Snowmobiling and sledding at the cabin