Sunday, June 2

Our Christmas Miracle

(Found this li'l gem in the unpublished "drafts." I tried adding to it, but kept crashing the server any time I added another photo.  For this and other reasons, I have decided to leave the and would like to announce the construction of...a new blog.  New look, new thoughts, new photos even! Suggestions for a new title will also be considered (just leave them in the comments section).  Please enjoy this last blog entry that ironically couldn't have been tied to more chaos than the frenzy which started it all.  And check back some time soon for the link to my next collection of glimpses into the absolutely riveting life of the Ashley family!)

While getting to Utah was nothing short of a nightmare, we made it - a true Christmas miracle. Truly. Once there, what fun - what joy - what bliss.  And that was just when we ate!  It's too too fun to go back "home" and be with the whole fam damily.  Maybe subconsciously that's why I don't want to ever move back.  Then it wouldn't be such a fun, celebrated event?  Who knows.  All I know is that there was much laughter and merrymaking - NO caroling, per request of Abigail - but good times had all around.  Here are some of our memories:

- We enjoyed 4 star accommodations during our stay with Natalie and Nate (and Avery)

Darn cutest pregnant - girl ever.

       \  Patrick and Grandpa playing elf

- Uncle Michael was definitely a fan favorite, whether getting into "The Wheels On the Bus" with the nieces or doing his due dilligence as the taquito tester

Only because our smiles wouldn't have been so big, (okay - really we just couldn't wait for the Prime Rib which was deeelicious) we took our Christmas Eve photo post-dinner. 

Christmas morning!

And with much food, family and fun, Christmas ended with visions of fluffy purple clover blossoms dancing through Abby's head.


Abby, as we drove by a forested area: "Whoa! I just saw like 18 - I mean, a whole colony of reindeer!"  Ellie: "What's a colony?"  Abby: "It's a big group - and I saw a whole colony of reindeer!"  Ellie: "Oh - wow!  So, that means I have a colony in my class at school!  And our family is a colony!"

Ellie, in response to one of Adam's jokes: "Go out of town!"

Abby, guessing what "M" country Uncle Nick got called to on a mission: "Manhattan?"

Abby: "Mom, something's wrong with my throat and I can't really talk right and I need you to be easy on me when you talk..." Ellie, interjecting in the background: "Whatever."  Abby, continuing: "Because I have the hiccups and if you say something really funny I might, well, I might hiccup - so don't say something too funny, just a little bit funny - because if I hiccup, I might interrupt something important that someone is saying."

Ellie, after helping Patrick into the house: "Mom, the baby was productly happy after I helped him."

Abby: "Ellie, did you know that Obama-" Ellie: "-is going to win?" Abby: "well, he already won. And now that he's President again, he is going to make a law to go to school on Saturdays instead of Fridays." Me: "Oh, really?" Abby: "Yeah, my friends at school said that and he told them."

Abby: "I just got my words mixed up and forgot what I was saying - 'cause I was born in New Jersey and lived in so many different states."

Abby: "Mom, did any of your siblings EVER make eggs all by themselves without help from an adult???"

Abby: "Mom, I have a special talent that Heavenly Father gave only to me.  I can make myself go blind. I have two visions - two ways of sight.  I can see blurry with my eyes and clear.  When people talk meanly to me - like you, sometimes - I just look at them with blurry eyes."

Ellie, while the girls watched Barishnikov's The Nutcracker: "He's only wearing tights, Mom. That's so inappropriate."  Me: "That's what men wear when doing ballet.  If they're dancing it's not inappropriate.  That way you can see their legs bend and kick and do the dance steps." Abby: "So, just if they're dancing it's not inappropriate. If they walk around, not doing their part, that's inappropriate."  Me: "Well, they can't very well roll around the stage, now can they? Girls. Wearing tights to perform a ballet is not inappropriate."  Abby: "They could roll around if they wanted to. I'm just saying."

Sunday, January 6

Winter Wonderland

Heavenly bliss.  That's how I feel about snow.  Utah snow.  Snow that falls in either giant fluffy puffs or delicate, glittery single flakes. Snow that is then followed - usually within 3 days, and sometimes immediately - by glorious sunshine.  Snow that you want to be in.

So, we decided to take full advantage of all that wintery western goodness and played during our trip.  Hard.  Sledding, snow shoeing, and ice skating (which we drove to do...through the snow).  We had hoped to ski, but didn't want to have too perfect a trip.  It was hard enough convincing the girls - and myself - to get back on that plane to leave Utah snow for...Buffalo snow.  (I did return with a renewed desire to make the most of our Buffalo ice crystals that lay in not-usually-inviting sheets of whitish-gray in the backyard...we shall see.)  Also, for the record - a shout out to a most enjoyable snow sport that does not get its fair share of recognition: snowshoeing!! After almost 34 years - 32 of which were lived in places where I could have experienced the sport but didn't - I finally tried it.  I found myself wondering the entire time why on earth I had waited this long.  Anyway, Here's a glimpse of our wintry fun:


Abby: "Mom hasn't washed her feet in days and days and that's why they're pitch dark."  Ellie: "Yeah - just pinch of black."

Abby: "Mom, at my birthday party, we're going to have a water balloon toss where we stand on the concreek, ok?"

Me, to Abby as we worked on painting our new "birthday plate": "Did you know that when I was growing up, my family had a red plate that we used on special occasions?"  Abby: "Wow.  Was red the traditional color of your family?"

Abby, as we walked out of the 7th store on our second day of searching for just the right craft items for her "arts and crafts" birthday party: "Mom, can I have my eighth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese?"

Ellie, singing to her stuffed animals: "Hush little baby, don't say a word.  Mommy's gonna buy you a rocking bird."

Abby, upon coming in to see Patrick sitting in the box I suggested was his new car: "Come on Ellie!  Let's be backseat drivers!"

Ellie, while rubbing two sticks together: "Dad, is this how you make fire?"  Adam: "Yeah, but you won't be able to because I can't even do it."  Ellie: "Yeah, only a strong man can do it."  Adam: "I'm strong!"  Ellie: "Well, a stronger man."

Ellie: "When can we get plane tickets to go to Utah?"  Me: "Well, we need to save our money so we can have enough to buy tickets."  Ellie: "Mom, why don't you just get cash back?"

Me, during our FHE lesson: "So, girls, why do you think it's important to be compassionate?"  Ellie:  "Because you need to be constertionate."

Ellie, singing (quite loudly): "I love money! You love money! Money money money, I wish it were mine! Money, money, oh how I love money! Money money money I wish you were mine!"

Abby, while organizing my spices: "All the McMormons are going on the top row, ok?"

Friday, December 14

Boy Oh Boy


No. This is not an announcement. Although I have been asked of late by more than two complete strangers "when are you due?" and "does he (Patrick) know what you're having yet?" - to which I replied "no, nor do I" and then thought "although I could go for a nice big double cheeseburger to burry my face in right now." People who know me just kind of do that sometimes-not-so-discreet eye sweep that goes from my face down to my mid-section, while quickly assessing the likelihood of my belly bulge being filled with a baby. I suppose they conclude that I've just been neglecting my crunches (obviously not the candy bars - the abdominal kind) but either way they just keep quiet. ANYWAY,  I just thought about what could possibly be subject matter for attempt #2 at returning to my blog, since it's growing more and more obvious that I pretty much lost a year of documenting our every crisis and conundrum here at the Ashley Manor.  Answer:  a "quick" synopsis of what life with a curious toddling little guy has been filled with since the last entry.  And so, I give you Patrick David - or, "boy" as he is summoned by his Southerner father.

It all ended so sweetly - a laid-back summer filled with days that...frankly I can't even really remember anymore...but it seems they were a good few weeks while Patrick tried out being a full-fledged one year-old.  I should have guessed that he'd feel the need to make up for the loss of chaos when his sisters headed off to school.  He may look in the video like he sits sweetly by the front door all day, waiting to be reunited with those goofy girls.  Don't be fooled.

--Just checking out what all this hype over lipstick is about

Cheddar and watermelon...
 fridge samples for lunch! --

-- Helping change the trash liners

Helping himself to  leftovers that
were on the table until he got
impatient waiting for the lunch
Mom was making --
 -- Turns out this guy shares 
Abby's affinity for tomatoes - 
Any time. Anywhere.

And then he gets to take a bath --

-- One of his favorite climbing spots

To this day, I cannot figure out--
how he managed to get here. 
Luckily it scared him enough
that it hasn't happened again. 

 Sometimes after all that climbing
a li'l guy needs his rest --

-- When his sisters went off 
to school, Patrick found a new
friend - whom he adores 
very much

-- A most menacing pirate

Just rearranging Abby's
nail polish collection --

What? The sequined --
bumblebee antennae 
looked yummy!

-- One of Patrick's favorite
spots is atop the kitchen
table - especially when there
are loaves of bread to deconstruct

 Sometimes, this guy gets plum (or pear in this case) worn out and just can't keep those eyes open.
I started to take a picture of him snuggled in my arms and happened to catch him during a really good part of his dream. 

He may have been dreaming of angels, 
but I wonder if he wasn't hatching his next plots to wear Mom out.

There may be hope, though. At least this guy is learning how 
to clean up after himself!  (He could teach those sisters of his a thing or two)

QFTD (catch-up, again)

Ellie: "You know which rule I don't like?  Watching TV half a day and doing computer 1/2  a day.  I just hate it."  Me: "Why is that?"  Ellie: "I just want to watch TV  all day long."

Abby, while coloring:  "See this picture?  It reminds me of pointillism -where the dots trick your eye so the secondary colors turn into the primary colors."

Abby:  "I am SO courst obvious."

Ellie: "Mom, why does only dad shave?"  Me: "I do too."  Ellie: "Oh, you mean you just used to shave your legs when you were a teenager?"

Abby, after tasting her "new" smoothy recipe (yogurt, various berries, milk):  "This tastes familiar.  Yeah - I know this taste."

Abby, while playing "I'm thinking of someone from the scriptures:"  "I'm thinking of a person."  Adam:  "Is it a man?"  Abby: "I think so."  Me: "Was he a prophet?"  Abby:  "Um, maybe- I think."  Adam:  "Was he in the Bible?"  Abby:  "I don't know."  Me:  "Was he a good guy?"  Abby:  "I think - I'm not sure."  Adam:  "Was he a bad guy?" Abby: "Maybe." Adam: "Do you know where you are right now?"

Me, updating the girls as to the count-down to the end of Adam's CFA exam: "3 minutes until Daddy's done with his test!"  Ellie: "Did he win?"

Me, responding to the radiologist pre-CT scan who asked when Abby gets her headaches: "Usually at the end of the day after she's been active."  Abby: "Yeah - I'm REALLY active!"

Abby, while we sat at a red light: "Mom, I just KNOW you're pregnant." (I'm not.)  Me: "Oh yeah?  How do you know?"  Abby: "Your big stomach."

Ellie, while eating frozen yogurt with me on a date at the mall and noticing Victoria's Secret across the way: "Look at those swimming girls. I like them - they're SO pretty." 

Abby: "Daddy! I folded the blankets and put them on Bubba's rocking chair in an old-fashioned way - a stack!"

Abby, after we spotted a hawk:  "Did you know, Ellie - a hawk is a kind of mammal bird."  Me: "Well, a hawk is a bird because it lay eggs and..." Abby, interrupting: "Oh, and mammals get their babies out like you got Patrick out - like whales."  Me: "Yeeeeep."  Ellie: "But sometimes humans lay eggs.  They're kind of circle things and they push them out of their bum."

Abby, after coming home to a week's worth of mail and looking though every add and mailer: "We, the Ashleys, are SO lucky to get all of these "free" and "off" coupons!"

Abby, walking up to me after coming in from the car where she had fallen asleep and hugging my legs:  "I just changed my mind.  You are a good mom."

Ellie:  "I wish I had Kate's mom for my mom."

Ellie, in attempts to stall bedtime: "My stomach hurts when I'm in bed but it feels better only when I'm downstairs watching a movie."

Me: "Ellie, I want you to try and think of one new thing to pray about during our family prayers."  Ellie: "...please bless Mommy's brain to get better so it won't be so crazy and she won't keep forgetting stuff."

Ellie, while playing "house":  "Who wants some chemicals??  They'll make it smell good!"

Me: "Where is Ellie?"  Abby: "Going potty."  Me: "Ellie, you go potty more than anyone I know!"  Ellie: "NO! Daddy does!"

Me, while working in the garden: "Look, Ellie - a bumblebee doing his pollination."  Ellie: "Ooh.  Pollination means he's on a vacation!  He's taking around the pollen to all the flowers - 'cause that's his job!"

Ellie, carrying a plastic toy golf bag: "Mom, you know why I need this? It's 'cause I hurt my foot and I need this to lean on to hold me up."  Me: "Oh dear.  How did you hurt your foot?"  Ellie: "Well, I was showing Abby how I do cannon balls like I do in water, but there wasn't any water - I don't know why I did it without water - and I landed on my foot when I jumped off the stool."

Abby: "At swimming, I cut my toe and Mr. Brian put the goggles on my toe."  Me: "Goggles on your toe?"  Abby: "I mean gauzzles - you know, the stuff they put on cuts?" 

Ellie to Abby, while pretending to control the TV with xbox controllers: "Abby! I'm sending it backwards!  Put on your jet propulsion!  Jet propulsion GO!"

Abby to Ellie, while playing house: "Ok! We're ready to go.  Go check on-line for a hotel.  I have the pups in the back seat."  Ellie: "Great.  I'll go get my computer and look on-line...Good.  We're here in Mexican South Mexico."

Abby, with much excitement at having found Adam's long-lost ipod: "Mom! Did you ALWAYS want me to listen to Amazing Grace? Because it's on here.  I'm listening to Amazing Grace."

Abby to Ellie, as they counted the money in their piggy banks:  "We need to count thirty dollars."  Ellie: "Abby, what are dollars?"  Abby: "Dollars are like pieces of paper."  Ellie: "Abby, if I only have change can I have some of your money for dollars?"  Abby: "No.  You can make dollars with change."  Ellie: "Oh.  I can make dollars?  With markers?"

Ellie, as I ironed a shirt for Adam one morning:  "Mom, why do mommies have to iron all the shirts for the daddies?"  Abby:  "Well it's because the daddies are always running late and so their wives - I mean wife - has to do it for them."