Thursday, December 27, 2012

A birthday post for Levi

Levi Alton is 24.

He's in his mid-twenties now.  My little brother is in his mid-twenties.

Crazy times.

It's not difficult to figure out why he's my favorite brother, even if he is my only brother.  He's a good brother.  He's the guy who helps you move.  He knows how to fix things.  He can reach stuff on the high shelf for me.

He's a super great uncle.

I don't know much about sons, but he seems like he's good at that too.  I know Mom and Dad like him a lot.

He's switched jobs this year and now he's a helpful hardware person at Ace.  You know, the helpful hardware place.  He's done plenty of wrap work this year.

And there's the car.

When reviewing Year 23, I would be remiss if I left out The Car.

I love that Levi's the type of person who goes and does stuff like buy a '67 Cuda because he really wants one and knows how to work on it.  That's just cool.  Just like him.

Happy birthday, Levi! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We had a merry Christmas

Here are the pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  I'm just lazily throwing them out there.

Christmas Eve:

She really likes her ark.  Promise.

Her favorite activity.

My sad attempt at cookie-decorating.

Christmas morning!

I put a ten-pack of hairclips in her stocking. She wanted to wear them all.

Now we're snowed in.  All is still calm and bright.  We only lost power for a little while during the night.  I missed a lot of picture-taking because Evelyn's fussy and clingy (teeth, a cold, over-stimulation, separation anxiety, toddlerness, etc.), but we had fun everywhere we went doing whatever it is that we do.  Today, though, has been the best day we've had as a family in forever.  We're doing great and hope you are, too. 

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A birthday post for Chad

The world didn't end, it doesn't even look any darker over here, and Chad is another year older.

This is how most pictures of him look.

So happy birthday!

I hope it's a great one.

I haven't finished your present yet.  But I'll have it ready when we celebrate everyone's birthdays next week! I'm glad we're partying together and I'm glad you're my brother-in-law.

[no pictures of Chad and me together exist, so here's one with Evelyn.  Close enough.]

Note to self: most photograph Chad at Christmas and record his aging process.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How we look over here

Abstract: Evelyn, yarn things, Evelyn. (See also: every post ever published on this blog.)

Here's a cute picture of Evelyn Mom took last week.  
She really likes wearing shoes, especially since she can put them on herself.

I checked my email Friday night and found this little bunny jumping on a hotel room bed.

Here's my sickly girl yesterday.
Mom actually sent me this to let me know she was feeling a little bit better.
Teeth and a runny nose are getting my girl down a bit.
She gets lots of TV, extra cuddles, and thawed breastmilk 
(we didn't realize how much we had in the freezer)
because it's not as bad for her nose.

I made Evelyn some EZ baby bootees.  
They're toddler-sized because I used big yarn and a bigger needle.
I'm hoping she'll be able to put them on herself.
They're a Christmas gift, so don't say anything to her.

Santa is at our house.
I think he'll be staying past Christmas.


 More crafting.

And even more crafting.

 The happiest corner of my desk.
It was high time to replace that picture of six-month-old Evelyn.  
The change is pretty surprising.
Look at this cheerful big girl!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Robert graduated!

Hooray!  Robert, who is my favorite brother-in-law who is a nurse, graduated from nursing school this weekend!  We're very proud!  There were lots of hugs!  Laine took pictures with my camera!  Mom's going to steal them from this post!

Ours is an email-challenged family.  Just ask Laine, who got 8 emails of the same pictures from me this morning because of some difficulties.

Anyway, here is Robert graduating!

And here's Kevin!  He's Robert's best friend.  I know this because Laine bought them toboggans that say "Best Friends" and sometimes they were them out in public together.

Evelyn was entertained with stickers, books, and staring at people behind us.  My dad put this sticker on her nose.

These are some very proud, very happy, and very tired kids.  They've both worked incredibly hard for the past couple of years.  I couldn't be happier for them.

I left in this blurry picture because you can see Mr. Guy (Robert's dad) smiling in the background.  Everybody was happy.

Here's Robert's cousin, Annie.  She lives with Laine and Robert, and she and Evelyn are now great friends.  Evelyn wanted me to come get here once she remembered I existed, but I took a picture first.  Her eyes were originally red, and this is how Microsoft fixed it.  Much better, Microsoft.  Thank you.  Heckuva job.

Not pictured: everybody eating hushpuppies and little kids running around and taxidermied animals heads and several proud siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, and an aunt.  It was a really great day.

Evelyn and I made it home (she'd come up with my parents) with a minimum of drama, and this is how I kept her happy on the last leg of the journey:

She was so sleepy that night, her face looked so much more babyish than it normally does.  I got her out of the car when we came home and she smiled like she did when she was 8 or 9 months old.  I love her faces.

She slept for half of the drive, ate for some more of it, and then we pulled over in some gas station less than an hour from home to read some books, play a little, and drink some water.  She really enjoyed this sports bottle, so I let her ride with it.  I could hear her drinking as I drove, and figured all was well.  It was, in the sense that water isn't sticky or difficult to clean up.  Removing the car seat cover and letting it dry overnight was a bit trickier, but at least I wasn't the one to reassemble the car seat.  That made a good weekend even better!  Just an awesome, awesome time.

Congratulations to Robert again!  Proud of you, buddy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

30, Flirty, and Thriving

I'm 30!

I'm oddly excited about my birthday this year.  My twenties seemed to take a while.  I liked them, for the most part.  But I'm ready for this.  I've always thought I was the kind of person who might seem a little less ludicrous when I hit my thirties.

I'm a little disappointed in myself that I've never demanded to speak with a manager.

But I made it through the decade with a degree, a husband, a baby, a car that's paid off, 4 pairs of glasses, a root canal, a car accident (did I ever tell you I had a minor fender bender when I was 6 months' pregnant?  I did), storm damage, 5 or so jobs, and two cameras.

A friend joked on my Facebook wall that 30 was the new 20 and I immediately thought, "No."  I'm not doing 20.  Never, ever again.

Thirty-year-old Me is much happier than twenty-year-old Me.  I have a better sleep schedule, better health, more confidence, and fewer maintenance medications.  I don't think I'll ever be able to express how excited I am to be done with allergy shots, but it's a pretty high level of excitement.

I'm looking forward to my thirties.  They seem like they'll be a better fit.  I'm already the kind of person who has opinions on cloth diapers and breast pumps and voter registration laws.  I've been quoting news outlets since I was 9, and I've noticed that people have stopped snorting with amused surprise less and less.  And I like that.  I'm turning into the kind of person who has favorite diaper bags and knitting needles.  I've never been a big follower of clothing trends, but now people don't even seem to expect me to know about those weird high heel booties things.

I'm happy.  We're not having a big party until we have a family party later this month, and that's fine.  I don't feel like I have the energy to party for myself.  But I already enjoyed spending some birthday money from my parents last week.  I feel silly getting birthday money at this age, but I'm unpleasant to shop for and I really enjoyed using most of it to buy yarn for gifts and to buy Evelyn's Christmas presents.  I'd really been looking forward to buying her presents, and now they're here.  Mom told me to spend at least some of it on myself, and so I bought some nice hand cream because I've always had terrible old lady hands.

Cody gave me The Principles of Knitting this morning, which is the granddaddy of all knitting books and I can't wait to dig through it tonight.  He and Evelyn are going to write nice cards to me (I demand them), and we're having Chinese food tonight.  I haven't had any in a while, and I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's leftovers.  Also, there may be cake.  I'm looking forward to that, too.

I've gotten some very nice emails and texts, and I'm looking forward to the rest of my day.  I'm looking forward to a lot of things.  It feels great.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Friday!

Oh my goodness, I thought Friday would never get here.  I went from waking up terrified on Tuesday that it was just around the corner, to just about begging clocks to get a move on.

Yes, today is payday. Why do you ask?

I haven't seen Evelyn since midnight on very early Thursday morning, when she woke up crying.  She laughed a little in satisfaction when I opened her bedroom door and we sat in the recliner for a while.  She hasn't felt well for the past couple of weeks.  Those two weeks of various ailments have coincided perfectly with me working full-time again.  She typically likes to be at her clingiest when I'm at my most tired and stressed.  We've both kind of been turds about it, me probably more than her.

Which is why I kind of felt bad about having so much fun Wednesday evening when Cody took her to her Gram's house to play.  I put on pajama pants and sat on the couch for some knitting and Julie & Julia.  Naturally, I got bored and lonely after an hour so and had to entertain myself a little while longer because they were having such a fabulous time without me and I knew I was going to miss her on Thursday and Friday.


Of course there's a but.  But I'm tired.  I've been getting up early, and sometimes staying up late, to spend time on my second job or holiday knitting or just cleaning up our destroyed kitchen.  I just need to come home sometimes and veg out on the couch.  To feel like I'm at home, and not smack in the middle of Evelyn's Play Room That Provides Constant Instruction and Entertainment.  I can do a truly impressive amount of stuff with thirty minutes of babyfree time.  And as much as I try to remind myself "Your child is not a hindrance to doing things.  Just fit in other stuff while you take care of her" (it's my mantra. I have one of those.  Did you know that?  Surprisingly, it's not "Oh, screw that!"), I get tired.  I want to do other stuff.  I'm not sick enough to use an inhaler or take a lot of medicine, but I haven't felt well.  And it kills me to see Cody go to the bathroom any time he wants, or to move freely around the kitchen, or to even sit on the couch and read a few pages of a book without her screeching for attention.

So I absolutely loved my two hours of cleaning and dishwasher unloading and baby clothes-packing and knitting.  They were quiet and peaceful and at my own rate and I was totally in a happy place so that I could be a book-reading fiend when my happy little creature came home.

I feel like I should follow up every "I'm tired" statement with a whole paragraph about how Evelyn's great.  I'm a mom and I realize it's a special bond and Evelyn is the best and screechiest part of my life and blah blah blah.  It's my blog, okay?  I don't have to qualify my feelings.  If you've ever read anything I've ever written in the past couple of years, you know that I enjoy that little girl to the fullest.  But I am tired.  And I am happy that she is having an amazing time with my parents, just like I'm happy I had an amazing time last night with Cody.  We took an impromptu trip to Michaels and Target, we ate food on the couch, and we went to bed when we felt like it.  We didn't quite wake up when we felt like it, but we didn't have to creep quietly around the apartment this morning either--which was too bad, because Cody left the bedroom door open and turned on a bunch of lights before I was anywhere near ready to wake up but whatever.

As happy as I'm going to be to see her Saturday, I'm also looking forward to tonight.  I'm going to do a lot of Christmas shopping without worrying about getting home in time to have enough baby interaction before it's time for bed.  I'm going to knit and eat leftovers on the couch, maybe even while watching television without worrying about violence or the corrupting influence of commercials.

As for the Christmas shopping we did last night, and the stuff I plan to be knitting tonight?  Stuff for Evelyn.  Go figure.

It's finally Friday and tomorrow I get to watch my brother-in-law graduate from nursing school, and I get to entertain my baby through the ceremony.  I kind of can't wait.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Evelyn June is a fun girl

My mom sent me this picture of Evelyn today:

She's smiling because she's watching a Sesame Street tape as she wears shoes (that she probably put on herself) with her beloved princess pajamas.

She's a funny thing.  She carries a purse to run errands, likes to sit in her little chair with a blanket on the back, and puts shoes on herself all the time.  She tried to wear rain boots to bed the other night.

I absolutely love this stage of life.  The past month or so has been fantastically hilarious.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The weekend!

Our weekend was a little busier than usual, but calmer than the weekend before.  The holidays are upon us!

Evelyn met Santa and Mrs. Claus.  She wasn't that enthused about them, but they don't see each other very often. So no big deal.  She ran around in circles and tired herself out at the restaurant for the first time in a couple of weeks.  She was in heaven.
Visiting is fine.

Touching is not fine.  I feel you, kiddo.  I thought the separate seat made your feelings clear.

After a too-short nap and a nice visit from her grandparents, we kept her up too late at Brook's Christmas party.  Evelyn doesn't own any ugly sweaters because all of her clothes are beautiful, but I dressed her up festively and took her.  Here she is last year
She and Auntie B were concerned that maybe their headwear wasn't festive enough.

and here she is this year!  She was all smiles and high-fives and snacking.

Same sweater!

I think one of the reasons she had such a great time is because no one tried to pick her up.  Her friends held out their hands, but didn't act like their feelings were hurt if she ran away.  With no pressure, she was feeling friendly and happy.  Plus, she loved everyone's outfits.  If you want small children to love you, wear flashy clothing with blinking lights, pom poms, or sequins.  She totally ran up to a woman and lifted her hands to be held so they could talk about jewelry.

On Sunday, we took her to the country because the weather was relatively warm.  She's able to quite literally run free in my parents' yard and she loved all the animals, toys, television, and dress up.

The girl loves being a superhero who watches football games.  She's just well-rounded like that.

She saw lots of Christmas decorations and dogs, and we had donuts for breakfast one morning.  It was a great weekend!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mom's Birthday Post in 2012

It's Mom's birthday!

That's an old picture, but I like it.  Evelyn looks tiny and adorable and Mom looks pretty and happy.  So there we are.  Mom's had a big year, and I always write that because I don't know what else to say.  It would be pitiful, and untruthful, if I said "Oh you know Mom.  She just sort of drifts through life.  Year X wasn't much different."

But Mom generally does stuff, which I like about her, and she did some great stuff this year.  Because I'm tired, and fairly selfish, and this is my blog, I'm mostly only remembering the parts where she played with Evelyn.  I remember there being other things, like something to do with Christmas (I don't really remember Christmas.  Evelyn ate it.), and she washed all of our old handmade baby clothes so that Evelyn could have a glorious Easter dress, and she went to see friends, and she had Evelyn over to spend the night, and she did a ladies' Bible class before she had to be the almost-full-time Evelyn-watcher.  So now she takes Evelyn to Baby Time, which they both love, and she gave Evelyn a sandbox that we used as a swimming pool this summer that is now a nest.  And sometimes she emails me pictures like this:

to ease my mind about whether or not Evelyn can survive if I leave the room for more than 5 minutes (she can).  Being a good grandma winds up making her a good mom because then Evelyn and I are both happy and calm about how things are going with my mom in charge. There's lots of singing and dress-up and book-reading with her around, and Evelyn loves every minute of it.  Which means so do I.

In short, my mom is awesome. I hope she really enjoys the giant batch of cookies made her (yes, that was what she told him she wanted for her birthday present) and her fancy date tonight with Dad and I hope she has a really, very, lovely happy birthday today!

Happy birthday, Mom!  I love you!