Monday, January 22, 2018

Memphis Zoo

One awesome thing about the Memphis Zoo is that they have free afternoons every Tuesday!
When the boys were out of school for Christmas break, I thought we'd take advantage of the opportunity and we headed to the zoo for an afternoon...the coldest afternoon Memphis had seen in...oh...maybe 90 years?

It. was. FREEZING.

I have been plenty cold before and have experienced low temperatures,
but this was something else entirely!
The zoo was essentially a ghost town.
There was almost no one there. I kept worrying that we were going in areas that were closed because we literally saw only about 15 other guests the entire time we were there (most in the reptile house, where it was WARM!).
The animals were almost all put away, safe and warm and away from our curious eyes.
The waterfalls had frozen solid.
The boys and I ran from one indoor exhibit to the next, looking for anything away from the cold.

But in the end they all had a great time!
We loved watching the monkey creatures (baboons?) swing around. One seemed to think we were as interesting as we thought he was and he came right up to the window and peered out at us.
The panda eating bamboo was completely adorable,
and the alligator was perfectly creepy.

We didn't last long, but it was a fun outing in the midst of our very, very cold Christmas break!

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Yes, five.
FIVE boys!
I'm about 28 weeks along with #5 and we are so thrilled.

It's definitely been my toughest pregnancy so far, but I'll spare you all the details and just say that we feel very grateful.
And for those wondering, YES we are happy he is a boy!
I occasionally feel little twinges of longing for a girl when I see girls and their moms doing things together or think about the relationship I have with my own mom, but they are very fleeting. Overall I just love being a boy-mom, and I certainly get to have a lot of conversations with strangers about our line-up.
I want this baby to always know that he was loved from the beginning and that his parents didn't "wish he was a girl."

With all of the upheaval with a job change and a cross-country move, the pregnancy has kind of taken a seat on the back burner to simmer. Thankfully everything seems to be well with the baby...there is a slight abnormality with the placenta that puts me at a higher risk for a low-birth weight baby, so maybe that means this one won't be 11 pounds?
(Talmage was 7 lbs, 7 oz, Wesley was 8 lbs, 9 oz, Lincoln was 9 lbs, 3 oz, and Maxwell was 10 lbs, 2 oz!)

The ultrasound tech said he was the wiggliest baby but also the most cooperative baby of the month.
That seems right in keeping with our other boys.
Very busy, but pretty nice!

Tonight the boys were talking about how excited they are to be able to lay on the couch and cuddle him, and it brought a smile to my face to see their enthusiasm. I'm glad the excitement hasn't worn off yet, with so many of them.

I've definitely been "surviving" more than "thriving" over the last 6 months.
My due date is April 16, so less than 3 months left to go!
Bring on the basketball team!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Snow Day 2018

Today it snowed here in the mid-South.
And in this area, a light dusting of snow shuts down all schools,
so the boys have had a delightful snow day.

As snow was expected, their friends filled them in on the "snow magic" that is used to make the snow happen here in Tennessee.
And so last night our home was filled with anticipation as the boys
-wore pajamas inside out
-slept with spoons under their pillows
-put white crayons in the freezer
-flushed ice cubes down the toilet
-and looked out the bedroom window, made a wish for snow, did a crazy dance, and then hopped into bed.

I guess that "snow magic" worked, because despite the fact that it was 66 degrees last night,
this morning we woke up to an incredibly icy winter wonderland.
We had hot chocolate and pancakes and the boys bounced in and out for several hours,
the cold too frigid to keep them in the snow for long.

All in all, we got about an inch of snow.
Not bad, Memphis, not bad.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Christmas 2017

We had a lovely, quiet Christmas together here as a family in Tennessee.
Our church congregation was very kind and extended us invitations to many activities,
so we were with friends for Christmas Eve dinner and on Christmas evening.
After coming home on Christmas Eve, we got the boys ready for bed and then by the light of the Christmas tree we snuggled together as a family and read the Christmas story in the Bible and the Book of Mormon with songs interspersed throughout. It was a perfectly peaceful end to the evening.

Then the boys went to bed and Santa went to work.
The next morning the boys awoke to new soccer goals and a large set of these amazing magnets to add to their collection (HIGHLY recommended, as our boys have loved playing with these for years!).
Their stockings were filled with a few very simple gifts including new hot chocolate mugs.
"JARS!!! We got JARS!!!" Lincoln exclaimed with tremendous excitement when he pulled his out.
And their new socks in the stockings were honestly a highlight of the day!
Sometimes the simple things are the best.

After soaking in Santa's magic for a while, we enjoyed our traditional sticky buns and orange juice for breakfast before diving into present opening, much of the time on video calls with loving, generous family members who gave the boys such nice gifts.

We decided last year to start having the boys rotate giving to each other rather than having them each give to every sibling, and I think it was my favorite part of Christmas this year.
They were SO EXCITED to give each other their presents--and it so happened that each boy (at least the older 3) was getting the one thing he really wanted for Christmas from their brother. So it was incredibly fun to see their anticipation and excitement about giving this year.
Wesley's reaction was too perfect! (See the amazing sequence below!)

Other highlights of the season:
-Cedar Hills Christmas tree farm
-Driving through the lights at Christmas City near Munford, TN
-Being 12 Days of Christmas elves while simultaneously being on the receiving end
-Christmas Storybook advent countdown
-School music programs and class parties/gift exchanges
-Delivering treats and meeting new neighbors
-Making homemade chocolates with friends
-Ward Christmas party
-Spontaneous Christmas party at the neighbors' house
-These adorable vintage cartoons (we especially loved "Christmas Comes But Once a Year")
-Cousins gift exchange and Pie Face on FaceTime
-Christmas sing-a-long with family
-lots of cuddling and storybook reading under the quilt my grandma made me beneath the magical glow of the Christmas tree... (she has since passed away; this was one of our favorite parts of the season)

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