Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meek Family Christmas Card

Merry Christmas from the Meeks 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
We hope this letter or e-mail ( or blog post) finds you well and in good spirits for the holidays. This year we tried to “simplify” our Christmas in an effort to enjoy this special season more fully. In some things we have succeeded, in having a Mom and Me Bake Sale to help the kids earn money to buy Christmas presents I signed myself up for a LOT of extra work. One of the things we cut was Christmas cards. Most of you will receive our letter via e-mail and only a favorite few (grandparents) or those without e-mail will receive a letter. We love you all dearly and hope that your will forgive us. If you so desire, print our letter and attached picture out and add us to the collection on your fridge or mantle.

This year, 2008, brought many wonderful changes to the Meek household. Leah joined our family in June and is such a delight. She is smart and beautiful and has 4 teeth with 2 on the way. Her arrival spurred many other changes as well. Donalee became a true soccer mom with the purchase of our “new to us” minivan. Kris worked all summer to finish a new room in the basement for Abi, all pink, purple and ballerinas, so that Leah could have Abi’s room. Donalee quit her job at the hospital to become a full time stay at home mom and most days loves it. Abi and Tal are becoming even better helpers and more loving big sister and brother.

Talmage is 5 and started Kindergarten this year. He has enjoyed making new friends and his teacher. Tal played soccer this spring and was on the Aquatic Center Jr Swim Team this summer. He loves to play outside with his friends, is learning to read, is a Lego maniac, and 110% boy. Mom spends most of her day trying to keep up with him. Tal is also learning to play the piano and shows a sharp mind and a real love for music. He loves to entertain Leah and make her laugh and smile.

Abiela is 7 and in the 2nd grade. She adores her teacher and is becoming a little bookworm. We can usually find her curled up on the couch with a book and has the highest Accelerated Reading point total in her class. Abi also played soccer this spring and swam on the Jr Swim Team this summer. She was quite the little scrapper in soccer and can swim a full 25 yards now. Abi’s first love is ballet and she still dances twice a week. This December she danced in the Nutcracker as a Toy Soldier and a Licorice princess. Abi is also learning to play the piano and it is so fun to hear her practice. She is a wonderful helper, especially as “chef”, and her chatty nature is always good company.

Kris is excelling in his legal profession at Hopkins Roden. He is the prosecuting attorney for 2 surrounding communities, serves as Secretary for the Idaho Falls Inns of Court, is President Elect of his Civitan group, and also serves as the Elder’s Quorum President in our ward. In his spare time he is a wonderful husband and father, loving to play games and do special things with mom and the kids. Kris has the magic touch with Leah to put her to sleep. In his spare time, Ha Ha, he loves a round of golf or playing a little basketball. Kris also co-authors a legal blog called The Idaho Law Bulletin at

Donalee is busy just trying to keep everyone fed, clothed and relatively clean (No small task). I also serve on the PTO Board at Abi’s and Tal’s school and on the Enrichment Board in our ward. I steal minutes away once in a while to blog, scrapbook, exercise, and sleep. I do love to blog about my family and you can read more about us at

We wish you all the merriest Christmas and joy in the New Year.
Love, Kris, Donalee, Abi, Tal and Leah

Friday, December 12, 2008

Motherhood ( and the accompanying crushing guilt)

I must apologize.
My last post was never meant to imply that I am a super mom ( which I am sooooooo NOT) or to make anyother mom feel badly about themselves. My blog is my sorry excuse for a journal, because I am TERRIBLE about keeping a journal. I only wanted to record for myself what life is like right now with Leah at 6 months. These moments are so fleeting and I just want to remember.
And so please accept my profound apology. If you look closely at my little schedule, everything is "ish". Because mom's know that everything must be flexible. If you can't get yourself out of bed, you feed your kids cold cereal and send them with money for lunch ( and then the crushing guilt of not making a hot breakfast and being frugal with cold lunches.) More often than not that morning nap doesn't work out just right so you skip the excercise and you plop your baby in front of the TV to watch Baby Einstein while you take a shower ( more crushing guilt). If you visit my house, I hope I have enough toys and shoes picked up that you don't trip and break your leg, but please don't let your baby crawl around my table or she will find tasty leftover snacks. (Don't even glance at my baseboards or windows - more crushing guilt.) You try to be good about your diet to lose those baby pounds because you gained more than the recommended 25-35 pounds this time and your husband commented more than once, but you just love cookies in the afternoon. And then when you do lose a few pounds, of course it comes off the one place you were happy to gain a little cup size and then your husband comments again. ( More crushing guilt.) You feel like you run around all day shopping, cleaning, cooking, washing, doing this and that when you should play with, read with, love your children more ( more crushing guilt.) Sometimes your family eats microwave burritos or sandwiches or pancakes for dinner ( more crushing guilt) but they really like it and you don't hear the complaints about the vegetables you strive to help them eat ( more crushing guilt). There is never enough time for all of the things you want to do, and most days everyone is lucky to be fed, clothed, and relatively clean. Then you fall into bed at night too tired to love your husband as often or as well as he needs ( more crushing guilt.)
Did I get it just about right? Not to mention I'm blogging while I should be ironing the 12+ shirts lined up across the canopy rod of our bed. ( More crushing guilt.) But somehow we muddle through, learning and growing and getting a little bit better day by day. With each new child and challenge we rise up to meet it, we lengthen the cords of our tents, we open our hearts, we modify our schedules and hopefully our expectations, we learn and glean from other mothers and friends, and we just keep "pressing forward with that perfect brightness of hope " (2 Ne 31:20) trusting that in the end our efforts will be magnified and that we will be found adequate to mee the task.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Life as we know it .....

It's so hard to believe that our little Leah, or Lulu, is 6 months old. Time has just flown by since she was born. (Or that may just be my perception due to chronic lack of sleep.) She is such a joy and a delight in our family. Leah is becoming a very happy and well loved baby. We have a nice little schedule down during the day and once in a while, mom even gets a little house cleaned.
7:00 ish - We wake up. Leah is normally in bed snuggling with me at this point, so when I get up, so does she. She hangs out in her Bumbo while I make breakfast, pack lunches and get Abi and Tal off to school and Kris off to work.
8:00 ish - Leah has her breakfast of cereal, usually oatmeal. She has to have her own spoon to hold or those fast little hands grab at everything. Then she gets cleaned up and either has a bath or just gets dressed. I carry her about as we pick up the house for a minute.
9:00 ish - Mom nurses Leah and then she takes her morning nap. It's normally only 45 min - 1 hour so I have to move fast to possibly excercise and get my shower in.
10:00 ish - We do our chores. Whether its cleaning, shopping, baking or bills, Leah is right there with mom ( normally being carried about) but she will sit in her Bumbo for a little while at a time. Mom better pay attention to Leah though or she throws a fit.
11:30 Tal comes home from Kindergarten and we have lunch. Leah gets an arrowroot biscuit while Mom and Tal eat. Then Leah has her fruit: bananas, pears, peaches or applesauce. Yummy!!! Did I mention it ends up all over her face?
1:00 We read books with Tal. I should say - Tal reads, Mom reads, Leah likes to chew the corners of her book. Then we have a little tummy time and practice stand ups and sitting by herself. By now she's tired so she will nurse again and then go down for a little nap. (She's a little snacker when it comes to nursing throughout the day as well.) Mom tries to grab 20 minutes of sleep quite often as well while Tal gets to watch a show. Then we do more chores, play with Tal, computer time or one of the myriad of things that need doing.
3:00 Abi comes home from school - snacks all around. Then its pushing through homework and piano practicing. Tal likes to play outside with his friends who all have afternoon Kindergarten so he misses them. Mon and Wed, Abi has ballet from 4:30- 6:00.
5:00ish- Leah needs another nap. This one is quick, maybe 30 minutes while mom makes dinner.
6:00 Dad gets home and we can eat. Leah gets another arrowroot biscuit and then a vegetable - hopefully mom remembered to cook some, otherwise she gets another fruit.
8:00 Bedtime for Abi and Tal. Leah gets rice cereal, Yummy Yummy. We read stories and sing them songs. Then comes Leah's favorite part of the day - I lay her out on a blanket on the couch and strip her down to her onesie ( with a diaper under her) to kick and play. I lotion her down and massage her arms, legs and belly, then give her raspberries on the tummy. She laughs and squeals and loves to chew on her toes. Then I zip her into her little sleep sack and we rock and nurse before bedtime about 9:00.
I wish I could say she slept through the night. Once or twice she slept until 5:00 and I woke up in a panic. But she's cutting her top 2 teeth now and we have had a week plus of waking 4-5 + times a night. ( See I really need the nap too.) I'd be happy if we could get back to our previous usual of waking 2 times a night. But those little teeth should be through soon and sleep will improve. Even still, nothing can compare to snuggling my little Lulu and getting sweet open mouthed kisses on the cheek.

Our big, little girl, Abi, is becoming quite the ballerina. This past weekend she danced in the Nutcracker with Idaho Ballet Theatre. She was a soldier this year and a licorice princess. She is graceful and beautiful and almost has her splits to the floor. But on stage, she still looks so little to me. She'll always be my little girl.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

I have to admit. I am a Christmas nut. I would be at home in Whooville. I LOVE Christmas. But the past few years I have started dreading all of the work and mess and stuff that goes along with Christmas. I've found myself bogged down by "having to do" this and that, scrambling to finish homemade presents the night before, feeling pressured to make all the traditional treats and then on Christmas Day feeling let down because I never got to enjoy my Christmas. So this year I changed my mindset. SIMPLIFY. Here is your fair warning : I am not doing cards this year. We will be sending an e-mail. A favorite few (grandparents etc.) will be getting a family picture. I made neighbor gifts in August. I have only 1 homemade present this year. Most of our presents are already bought. I play Christmas music and try to read Christmas stories with my kids. And we made this fun little advent calendar. I got the idea from Jenni - see the side bar. We placed little slips of paper in the pockets that have little things we want to do this Christmas. A few ideas are : hot chocolate and candy canes, video tape us singing a Christmas song, take a treat to a neighbor, cut out paper snowflakes.

Also to get us into the spirit we love to decorate for Christmas. We put up all of our decorations on Friday after Thanksgiving. Then on Saturday we went to Civitan park in downtown to help the Civitans string lights on their trees. Elementary schools then make decorations for them.

A special visitor stopped by. Abi and Tal got to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas and chatted with him for a minute.

Santa held Leah for me while Kris and I decorated another tree. I thought she would be scared as she is developing some stranger anxiety, even with members of our extended family. But she was fascinated with his beard and cuddled right in.

So Priceless.