Wednesday, January 26

Snails and Whales and Puppy Dog Tails

Or something like that.  Is that really what boys are made of?  I guess we'll see!

The days and hours and minutes up until last Tuesday evening (6:30 appt. time) were spent in great anticipation and, yes, angst, on the part of a few whose life would be totally altered by hearing either "Boy" or "Girl."  I had my suspicions from the beginning.  A very different pregnancy this time around.

Adam returned home from work with minutes to spare before take-off, so we scrambled for shoes and coats and headed out the door.  I have never seen an OBGYN office as packed as it was that evening and immediately reevaluated my appointment time choice - especially given that feeding the girls dinner had slipped my mind and bedtime was fast approaching.  After waiting a half hour with antsy children, I asked for a projected "start time" and was told about 45 more minutes.  Luckily, Mcdonalds was directly across the street and I assured Adam everyone in the entire office would be happier if he and the girls went and got something to eat (at Macdonalds) - I would call him when my turn came

2o minutes later, things had picked up and I was taken directly to the sonogram room.  I called Adam, whose stunned voice (mixed with panic, mixed with disappointment) informed me he had just ordered food at Bill Grey's - a sit-down hamburger joint FOUR MILES (and many stop lights) AWAY.  Seriously?  So, the doctor attended to at least one other patient in the time it took for him to get back, leaving us to then wait some more.

To say Adam was anxious would be a severe understatement.  Any little fidget the girls made while we continued to wait post-hamburger run sent him nearly into a tailspin and I finally asked "Che c'รจ?" (Italian for "what is bothering you?")  His answer:  "I just really don't know if I could handle another female in our house."  Just then in came Dr. Bagnarello to either compound his angst or ease it once and for all.

While all organs were checked out to look sound, baby Ashley wasn't cooperative at first as far as revealing his/her gender.  After some jiggling and wiggling, it was determined (at 99.9% assurance - Adam had to be put completely at ease) that we are getting a BROTHER!  Adam wiped the sweat from his brow and has been floating in the clouds ever since - dreaming of  tee-ball and man caves.  Ellie sulked and informed Dr. B that she was "not excited for a brother" but is coming around. I think for Abby the fact it will be a boy was outweighed by her realization that there will be another subject for her to command.  And, though I suspected it all along, the reality of having a BOY has been sinking in ever since.  What do you do with a boy???

Adam picked out the hunting onesie.
It has been returned.

Ellie and I had a little bit o' fun the morning after our news.  Hey, a boy needs clothes!


Ellie: "Mom, what are you reading about?"  Me: "Why children misbehave. Do you misbehave?"  Ellie: "Yes. And the baby misbehaves. She'll be bad sometimes."

Ellie, after asking about Nana's dad, Pop: "But why did he die?"  Me: "he got sick and old."  Ellie: "Oh. But, Nana isn't sick or old.  Just her skin is a little bit old."

Adam was checking on the status of his school loans via an automated voice prompt. Voice: "If you would like to pay off the balance of your loan today, the amount to pay is XXXXXXXX." Adam: "Owwwwwwwch!"  Voice: "I'm sorry. I did not understand your response."

Adam: "Ellie, you need to come and put your plate in the sink."  Ellie: "Well, I have one cwonsequence."  Adam: "Eleanore."  Ellie:  "And you're gonna get five cwonsequences, Dad."

Abby: "Daddy, did you meet Mommy in college?  And you were her friend and then you really really really liked her and now you're married?"

Abby's family prayer: "...bless that I can be a good person and a great character, and that I can give experience to my family and be responsible in all the things I do..."

Adam, yelping as he slipped down a couple of stairs: "OOOOhhhhhh!!!". Ellie, matter-of-factly: "You need to turn the light on to see where you're going, Daddy."

I sat down to watch a movie with the girls.  Ellie: "You can't watch the scary parts, Mom.  Just we can.  You have to cover your eyes."

Abby:  "Did you know that Huntin' Season (Wilson Farms, a convenience store renamed by the girls) has the goodest goodest yummiest yummiest famous famous hot chocolate?  Dad told me."

Adam worked through the night on a project coming due at work.  When Ellie found out the next morning that he hadn't come home, her concerned response was:  "But Daddy didn't eat dinner!"

Ellie, while bounding through the house: "Hopping and skipping takes a lot of allergy!"

Abby, upon walking in the door from school:  "Mom, I'm going to have a dance party today and play my cd player and this is the surface area where the kids will dance.  But Ellie's not invited because the kids are big and might hurt her."

Nana asked Ellie over the phone what movie she was watching.  Ellie: "Lizzard the Boz." Abby: "Not Lizzard - Wizard the Boz."  Later Abby asked: "Mom, did you know some people don't have a brain?"  Me: "Really? What kind of people don't have brains?"  Abby: "Well, you don't have a brain." 

Ellie: "Mom, I think I'm really a boy."  Me, ever-so-slightly concerned: "Why do you think you're a boy?"  Ellie: "Because I have curly hair.  And I hate curly hair."  

Abby:  "My fever's comin' back to life!  It's getting warm again."

Adam texted the night his work project was supposed to be done (which followed a 42-hour work DAY) to say there were problems and he'd let me know when he could leave.  Being as the girls and I were sitting down to what was supposed to have been a celebratory "Daddy's done!" dinner, Abby offered to say the blessing on the food.  She added onto the end of her prayer: "And bless that Mommy can get her control back..."

Abby: "Mom, can we go to Japan this summer?  Or maybe next week?"

Friday, January 21

The New Year

I wouldn't say we're off and running.  In fact, it kind of feels like the new year took off running and ran us over, leaving us for dead.  (Work, sickness, malaise and the tornado that whipped through the house leaving destruction in its wake as a result.) Now we're peeling ourselves off the pavement and once we get our wits about us, we'll fight to catch up.  We'll get there..........

The last days of 2010 were spent having fun with Nana and Grandad, who came to visit.  A jaunt to Strong (and Dinosaur BBQ, naturally), playing games and dolls and dress-ups, the UB-BYU basketball game, the bounce house, mani-pedis for the girls and one wild New Year's party (Mary Poppins ringing in 2011 for Nana and Mommy - the only two semi-alive at midnight) were just some fun things we did together.

Post-New Year, we've each taken our turns with a nasty flu bug and beyond that, just tried to keep afloat.  

Ellie finished preschool at Clearfield and now enjoys two extra days at home with Mom. 

The girls continue their adventures at ballet and have started learning the dances for their recital in May.

I figured since we live in Buffalo, the girls should at least have one day spent playing in the snow. Yeah... Abby doesn't even have snow pants and Ellie lasted 10 minutes.  Oh well.  We tried. 

So, there's a peek into the start of our new year.  Much more excitement (in a good way) to come.  We hope.


Ellie: "Before we do po nail polish, do you want some hamitizer?" (hand sanitizer)

We had some lunchmeat to go on crackers for lunch.  Abby: "Mom, can I please have some fake turkey?"

Adam: "Ellie, if someone has a hard time being nice to you, then that means you get to try extra hard to be nice to them."  Ellie, brow furrowed and finger pointed at Adam: "Yeah, but sometimes you argue." 

Abby: "Ellie, do you know what 3+3 is? 6."  Ellie: "Wow.  You sure know a lot about numbers."

Abby and Ellie were at each other, bickering about who knows what.  Me: "Girls, stop.  We do not talk like that in this house."  Abby: "Well, Ellie's being arguish."  Ellie: "No, Abby's being arguish." A: "No! Ellie..."  E: "No! Abby..."

Ellie, singing at the top of her lungs:  "I am on top of the museeeeuuum!  Oh yeah!  Oh yeah!  OH yeah! OH Yeah!  Ohh YEAH!!!"

Abby:  "Mom, I need you to pick this up immadetally.  No chit chat.  No arguing." 

At dinner I attempted to explain that milk can sometimes stain clothes.  Abby: "Tell us how!"  Me: "Well, I don't exactly know how it does - I just know it does."  Abby: "I know! Let's call Grammy and ask her!  She knows how all things work.  She's an expert on everything."

While on the way home from the grocery store, Ellie informed me she was hungry for lunch.  Ellie: "Donuts sound good for lunch.  I think I need donuts."

Attempting to help Abby realize that feeling good inside (from being nice to her sister) is better than feeling yucky, I asked her what the opposite of love is.  Abby: "Inkindful."

Abby: "Mom, can we go to Dunkin Donuts tomorrow for breakfast?"  Me: "No, silly.  You have school in the morning."  Abby:  "But Daddy goes there on school days for breakfast."  Me: "He does?"  Abby: "Yeah.  And then he goes to his cafeteria at work and buys ice cream."

Me, addressing Ellie's outburst toward Abby: "Ellie, Heavenly Father did not make our hands for hitting people."  Ellie: "Well, sometimes when our parents aren't there, people can spin around with a locker chain in their hands." (?)

I asked Ellie for some help.  Ellie:  "Can I hear something like "Eleanore, please"?"  Me: "Eleanore, por favor."  Ellie: "No.  Not "Eleanore pork and por!""

Ellie began a melt-down after I asked her to pick up her Barbies. Me: "Ellie, if you make a mess at school your teachers don't clean it up for you.  You have to clean up your mess."  Ellie: "I don't like how you're talking to me."

Abby: "Mom, do you want to be a violin teacher when you grow up?"

I was slicing pineapple for lunch and Ellie asked if she could try a bite (we think there may have been a connection to pineapple the last time she broke out in hives).  Me: "Okay, but just a bite.  If you don't break out you can have some more later."  Ellie: "Remember last time when I broke out?  That was just a dream."

I asked Ellie if she just wanted a half of a sandwich for lunch.  Ellie:  "No - I want a whole sandwich with two loaves of bread and 8 pickles."

While strumming my guitar, Abby sang (in e minor, as I sat at the computer and typed her lyrics):  "Once there was a cowgirl and her husband.  They didn't have a fridge they were so poor.  All they had was a horse and the farmer would not give them food.  Down in the village they had no things.  One day they came to a house that was called the Ashley family.  There was a mother named Alison and her husband was named Adam Ashley.  There were two girls - Abby who was 5 and Ellie who was 3.  The family gave them stuff and they left with stuff to eat and drink on their journey.  Then the farmer told them they could have all his food if they gave him all the stuff they got at the Ashley home.  But it was a trick.  He just wanted all the stuff from the Ashley home for his village.  Then he went and stole all the food and drink from the Ashleys, whose mom is having a baby tomorrow.  Then they went and had no more food and went to their village named Va-jinya.  Where there was an old lady named Nana.  Who used to have a husband named Granddad but he died.  She had some children, but her favorite ones were her grandchildren in Buffalo.  But they had another grandmother named Grammy...  The end of the story song."

Wednesday, January 5

Days of December

Before our Christmas is forgotten, I figure I best catch up...

In an effort to make something memorable (in a good way) of this Christmas season, I took an idea from a friend and devised a list of activities that we called our "Days of December" and each day looked forward to a holiday craft or celebration of some sort.  The first few days got off to a fairly good start - we made Christmas cards for Uncles Michael and Matt serving missions in Brazil, drank homemade peppermint hot cocoa while watching the First Presidency Christmas devotional, read Christmas stories, made stained-glass cookies, painted ornaments etc etc.

Then, of course, I threw in "Christmas in Germany" and "Christmas in Mexico" (and seven other countries) in behalf of my little xenophile Abby who has a fascination with all things foreign - and to come up with other holiday activity ideas.  Let's just say that after cooking Rhot Kohl and Brats and German pasta salad and Stollen from scratch all day in my effort to really get in the German Christmas spirit of things (since that spirit is first and foremost found in food, right?) and all of it being left largely untouched on the plates of my sweet "engel," the other countries' celebrations didn't end up being much to shout about.  

Christmas in India was celebrated with frozen Chicken Tikka Masala tv dinners while we made paper lanterns, for Mexico night we made gift bows out of magazines (?) without even chips and salsa, I plain skipped Christmas in Ireland & Ukraine and still get asked when the girls get to dress up like Santa Lucia from Sweden. Italy night was even reduced to pre-packaged gnocchi with pre-made pesto, though I did make sure to have a pandoro.   Better attempts next year.

And, while my dreams of a pleasant Christmas Eve complete with a glorious feast didn't quite end up as envisioned, we were just excited to finally have Daddy home to celebrate with us on Christmas.  Our first (and last) Christmas day spent together as the Adam Ashley family foursome was filled with dressing up, playing games, listening to karaoke concerts by both Abby and Ellie (well, Ellie when Abby didn't sneakily unplug Ellie's microphone), talking to Uncles Matt and Michael in Brazil and just good relaxation.  

Good times...

We look forward to what 2011 has in store!


Abby acquired a small ceramic jewelry box while at church in VA last Christmas that has the figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus on top.  It is her most prized possession on and off during the year, but especially now at Christmas. After singing a song about baby Jesus to me (while holding her box), she said: "Mom, Jesus is our Savior.  He is the bestestest ever."  Later she made a hilly cave structure with her quilt.  "This is Jesus' tune where He was died."

Abby: "Ellie, do you know what subpar means?  It means 'ridiculous' and I think you are subpar."

Ellie: "Credit cards are not suckers."

Ellie, play talking to herself:  "I am so lucky to eat breakfast."

I'd had a particularly hard day and then had a very Abby-action-packed afternoon "date."  Later, Abby said the blessing on the food at dinner: "...bless that we can be a family forever (she leans over and rubs my shoulder) and that we can be happy -(interjected) 'I love you Mom' - please bless the food..."

I tried a scripture recap of our reading from the night before.  "Last night we talked about King B..." Abby: "Benjamin!"  "Good.  And where did he speak to all of his people before he died?"  A: "Venice!"

Me: "Should we have soup for dinner?"  Abby: "I think mac n' cheese, rather."

Adam asked Ellie to join us for family prayer.  Ellie: "That's a very good question.  I do not rescind." 

Abby twirled her scarf in a creative fashion, singing: "Thiiiis is what Americans know how to dooooo."

I called Abby to dinner.  Abby, whining: "Awwwww Mom!  But I just started reading the fifteenth page of my second magazine!"

While in the middle of putting together a 100 piece puzzle, Abby said to me: "We just have to keep keeping on.  That's what my other mother used to say.  Before she died.  A long long time ago."