Eva reached some big milestones this month. She first tried cereal on Nov. 10th. Of course the first few times I doubt if more than a trickle made it into her tummy, but a lot sure covered her face. Now she loves her cereal every night. She practically dives out of her Bumbo for each spoonful. Of course then she also blows several of those spoonfuls all over mommy. Eva moved out of mommy and daddy's room and into her crib in Leah's room. Well, I should say that Eva would start out the night in her crib in her room but between 1 and 2 am would wake up and be taken back into mommy's bed to nurse and snuggle the night away. Until...
Eva also slept through the night for the first time this month on Nov 30th, from 11 pm-7:30 am. Mom kept waking up during the night to go check on her. The night after she slept straight until 6:00 am. Unfortunately the third night she was back to her old schedule of 1:30 am. Mommy didn't mind too much, I missed my little snuggler. Eva has been rolling from her tummy to her back since she was about 4 months old. Well, she will roll herself over when she wakes up at least. But try as I might, I cannot get her to roll over while awake. I coax her with toys and smiles, but nothing. Eva is also really close to sitting up by herself. She will bobble for a few seconds then inevitably reach for something and topple.
Eva learned how to blow raspberries. It is literally the cutest thing ever. Enjoy!!!
Our leaves were just starting to fall one October afternoon when Princess Leah, Eva and I ventured outside to play. I raked a good pile for Leah to run and jump in.
But Leah's favorite activity was piling leaves on Eva.
At October's pack meeting Talmage earned his Wolf Bade in Pack Meeting. I think he was a little excited. Tal really enjoys going to Cub Scouts and all of the fun activities he does there and at home.
My little kids are the cutest Trick or Treaters. Tal repeated as Captain Rex from Star Wars. Leah was Princess Leah of course. ( I didn't even have to buy a costume, just add a little make-up and sparkles.) Eva is a sweet little bunny. And Abi is the goddess Aphrodite. Mom is quite remarkable with a sheet and safety pins.
Tal and Abi carved their own pumpkins this year. Didn't they do an awesome job. Mom helped Leah out with hers. She offered creative instruction.
Our little sweetie muffin is growing and growing. At her 4 month appointment she was 27 inches long and 14 lb 7.5 oz. Eva was in the 60th percentile for her weight but her height is in the 99th percentile. She is so long that I had to put her 3-6 month clothes away and pull out the 6-9 month box. Eva is getting stronger and stronger and sits in her Bumbo seat well now. While mommy gets ready in the mornings I set her Bumbo on the bathroom counter and let her talk to the baby in the mirror. She waves her arms and coos at the baby in the mirror as well as all other babies.
Eva loves taking baths. And I love lotioning her up and giving her kisses. Her little legs are getting so chubby and she is soft and sweet. She continues to love her nightly rub downs. She will start giggling as soon as I start taking off her clothes. Kris can nuzzle her in the belly and really get her laughing. With mom she loves to grab my hair and be tickled in the face.
Kris pulled out the saucer for Eva to try and she loved it. She's tall enough to stand in it and she likes to play with the toys. Tal and Leah love to help her. Eva also loves to put everything in her mouth for a taste and nibble. Her favorite toys are the monkey and elephant that hang from her car seat handle. She can pull down on the monkey to start it buzzing and she swats at the elephant to make it swing and it's bells to jingle. So smart.
Eva was a sweet little bunny for Halloween. She slept through the ward Trunk or Treat though so she will have to get her candy second hand. Eva continues to be a happy, sweet baby and we all love and spoil her so very much.
It is hard to remember our family without little Eva. Her precious smile brings so much joy into our lives. She is a very friendly baby and smiles quickly for family and strangers. Everyone in our family coaxes her to "Give me some Smileys" to which she readily complies. She has also just learned to laugh and will giggle along with mom or when tickled under her chin. Evangeline continues to be a snuggly baby and loves to be held, nursed, carried and rocked. At night she sleeps in the crook of mom's arm, switching from side to side as she nurses. Mom doesn't mind as she loves snuggling with her little "Sweetie Muffin" as well. During the day Eva takes 3 pretty consistent naps: a 20-30 minute morning nap in the swing while mom grabs a quick shower, an early afternoon nap usually in the front pack, and a longer later afternoon nap on mommy's bed. Eva LOVES her bath now. She wiggles and splashes her way off the tub cub so that mom keeps having to scoot her back up. After her bath when she is all lotioned and smelling sweet, I love to give her kisses. Another of Eva's favorite activities is her nightly rub down. She kicks her legs, smiles, coos and talks to me while I massage her arms, legs and belly. Eva is growing stronger and stronger and now can sit in her Bumbo chair for 20 minutes or so. She is still a little wobbly so that by the end of that 20 minutes she is really starting to schlump in the chair. Eva still loves to be carried in the front pack but now she likes to turn facing out when she is awake so that she can see everything. But when she is sleepy she is content to turn around and snuggle into mom while being carried around. Her hair is starting to fill in and now she has a little fuzzy blonde head. Her eyes are still the brightest blue while her eye lashes are growing long but continue to be blonde as well.
Abi and Tal started school the end of August. Both kids were so excited to have new teachers and make new friends. Mom was super excited to get back into a routine. However it was soooooo hard to give up sleeping in mornings. Abi is turning into a little fashionista. She and I had so much fun shopping for school clothes together. At each store we would find more and more things we liked. Finally we just had to say, "Stop! We have enough." She even worked hard and saved up enough money to buy these chic suede boots. Tal decided that he wanted to sport a fauxhawk like one of his friends. As9 Tal is all boy, his wardrobe consists solely of Lego T-shirts, jeans, and a few shorts tiding over from the summer.
Leah took a little spill one Sunday afternoon while climbing up the vanity in the bathroom and split her chin open. Kris had just left for Home Teaching so he quickly dropped off brownies and took Leah to the Redicare. Leah was so brave, she didn't even cry when she got her 5 stitches!!! She just said, "That tickles." She wore a Dora bandaid over the stitches for 5 days and then she was good to go.
On Labor Day we took a little family outing up to Mesa Falls. The kids really enjoyed the Visitor's Center in the Inn where we could touch skins and antlers from many different animals. We did a little geocaching along the way and learned the valuable lesson of "If the trail disappears, there is probably an easier way."
One weekend my creative kids decided to make a volcano. With very little instruction or assistance they made this paper mache' volcano and painted it.
The next day they set it off in the back yard. With a little red food coloring, baking soda and vinegar, the volcano was a booming success.
Our little Leah is finally potty trained. Once the older kids got back in school we just decided to pull out the panties and go for it. She and I made a Princess Potty Chart that she decorated with Disney Princess stickers each time she was successful. I washed a lot of clothes at first but after a week and a half she had filled up her chart and earned her Rapunzel dress-up dress. Congratulations on being a big girl, Leah!!!
This past August we gathered the whole Fife clan together in Island Park, ID for a weekend of food, family and fun. My parents rented this awesome cabin called "The Mangy Moose." It had tons of space for us to spread out in and even a family of moose that would wander by each evening. We took turns preparing meals and and heading up activities. The kids especially loved going on 4 wheeler rides. This game is "See how many kids you can ride at once." Good thing Kris and Brian were great sports. We also tried out geocaching for the first time. Geocaching is treasure hunting with a GPS.
The kids were super excited to find the cache of toys and such in the wheel hub of this rusted out old car. Geocaching also helped introduce us to the local law enforcement. Kris and Brian each had a 4 wheeler full of kids while Dad, Jared, Mallory, Kalene with Bella on lap, me with Eva on lap piled into the Explorer with Leah and Sage in the back. As we followed the compass around on the iPhone we bajaed down through the church parking lot and onto a main road where we passed a friendly deputy. He quickly flipped a U-turn and came after us lights blazing. We in the Explorer panicked over out unbelted little ones and loudly encouraged Leah and Sage to lay down in the back. The officer passed us by and pulled up behind the 4 wheelers. At that time we in the Explorer took a quick left off the road into Mack's Inn and left the 4 wheelers to fend for themselves. "Stinkers" Brian texted us. Luckily they got off with just a warning. I could not stop laughing and giggled the whole way home and most of the night.
The cousins put on a fantastic talent show for us. Abi and Gabby are lip synching to "Hot and Cold." Tal and Sterling had some blackmail worth crazy dancing that we caught on video for future generations. We also had a blast playing some "Minute To Win It" games like a pencil catch, ice fishing marbles with your toes and everybody's favorite "Bottoms Up." It was a riot watching each of us try to knock plastic cups off of the table using a yo-yo tied on behind. Jared especially had a "smashing" good time and proved that "Bottom's Up" is a contact sport and proper "support" should be required.
Our cabin was just off of Henry's Fork above Mack's Inn. We loaded up the canoe and inner tubes for a little float down the river. Somehow the canoeists always ended up towing the tube floaters. The little floaters had such a great time they wanted to float again and again. Being close to Mack's Inn brought back many memories of when I was a kid and my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins would crowd into a cabin at Mack's Inn. We would stay up late playing cards, running wild, catching minnows, and having a wonderful time. During the weekend my sister Kalene asked me if now that it was our turn to be the moms at the reunion if we were Aunt Patsi and my mom, Donetta.
One of our
favorite childhood memories of those reunions was feeding the fish up at Big Springs and visiting the John Sack cabin. A school of huge trout lived under the bridge and would swim out into the open water to gobble the chunks of bread or left over pancake that we would throw over the side. But now there were only a few medium sized trout and they were not at all interested in out bread chunks. A hungry little muskrat came swimming out and gathering the little chunks though to take back to his family. This year we bypasses the cabin tour as the little ones found it "BORING!!!" on a previous trip.
Our family reunion was celebrated over my birthday. Happy 34!!! Leah was nice enough to share her Birthday Princess crown with me while my family sang "Happy Birthday" replete with Cha Cha Cha's. My wonderful mom made my favorite, raspberry cheesecake. One night we watched a movie, "Rio" on the big screen that Brian brought
up. Another night we roasted marshmallows and made smores. We played
bean bags and cards, stuffed ourselves silly, and created lasting loving family memories.
Of course its all about Eva. For the past 2 months she has dictated my sleep, my mood, our schedule and our outings. She's such a precious addition to our family that we haven't minded too much. But now at 2 months we are starting to get a semblance of a life back and so I'm trying to steal a minute to catch up. Remember, this is my journal so if the stories bore you I won't feel badly if you just peruse the pictures.
Eva was only 2 weeks old on the 4th of July so we celebrated pretty tamely. We skipped out on the parade and fireworks but mom did dress her up cute to attend a couple of BBQ's.
As Eva turned 1month that inevitable blessing rash appeared. It was enhanced with a little heat rash from having her nestled against me for nursing and sleeping in the hot July weather. Eva loves to be cuddled, held and carried. In fact that is the only way that she will sleep now, someone must be holding her. Otherwise after a few minutes she starts rustling. She starts with a little wiggle which then her arms moving like a prize fighter. Then she starts grunting and fussing making a sound like she's clearing her throat. It is so funny. She spends a great portion of her day snuggled in the front of mom's cool Moby wrap. After a brief stint in her cradle, Evangeline spends the majority of the night snuggled up with mom in bed. It makes nursing so much more convenient and then I don't fall asleep in the chair with a crinked neck. Eva started smiling just after she turned one month. Her first smile was on July 20th, 2011. They are sooo sweet and she generously smiles at all of our family, but the most for mom. Eva loves her lotion rub downs at night and is beginning to like baths, but just for a minute or two.
We blessed Evangeline on Sunday August 7th, 2011. It was a joyous celebration with our family and friends. Eva was so adorable in her blessing dress. It is the same dress that both Abi and Leah wore as well. Eva was blessed by her father, Kristopher with many family and friends standing in her circle. Our friend Derrick Thompson mentioned that just before Kris started, Eva looked up toward heaven as if opening the conduit. We celebrated with a lovely luncheon at our home afterward.
We quickly rounded us all up for a quick picture of our family.
At 2 months of age Evangeline is still the star of our family. She is growing so big and fast, she even has little chubby rolls on her thighs. At her 2 month check up she was 24 1/4 inches long and 11 lb 14 oz. She is 97% for her height and 80% for weight. She continues to be a fantastic nurser with NO colic, hallelujah. We are starting to settle into a semblance of a routine which I'm sure will get better as the older kids go back to school. She normally takes a 20 minute nap in the swing around 10ish which gives mom just enough time to run through the shower. She has another couple of naps throughout the day, usually while being carried around by mom in the Moby wrap or held by either mom, Abi or Tal and occasionally in the swing. She loves her lotion rub down about 8:30 or 9:00 where she will smile and coo, kick her legs and swing her arms. Then we dress her in her nightgown and nurse for the night. Eva insists on being rocked to sleep and her bedtime seems internally set at about 11:00pm. We're working on moving that up. She sleeps in her cradle at the foot of our bed until about 2:00 am when she wakes up to nurse and gets to snuggle in bed with mommy. She wakes again about 5:00 to nurse and then we sleep until about 8:00 am when her bright blue eyes bing open for the day.
Eva loves to go outside. She smiles and coos as long as I keep her in the shade. In the sun she squeezes her eyes shut and wrestles about trying to get out of the glare. But in the shade she is just as sweet as can be. This day she cooperated and let me capture on of those sweet smiles.
Evangeline Meek, our littlest angel, debuted on Friday June 17th, 2011 at 9:11 am. She weighed 7 lb 7 oz and was 20.5 inches long. Her arrival was long anticipated by our family and we are so grateful to have her finally here. Mom, Donalee, had been experiencing false labor off and on for about 2 weeks. Finally true labor kicked in early Friday morning about 2:00 am. By 5:00 am we had alerted Nana Fife who rushed over so we could head to the hospital. Labor progressed very quickly from 5 cm to 8 cm and mom was very glad to get an epidural. Thankfully things slowed down a little and mom could get a rest before pushing. Having an epidural let Eva labor down the birth canal more controlled and it only took 3-4 sets of contractions of pushing before our little one was born. She was a little bruised and beat up but the most beautiful baby in the world to us. Kris and I had been debating names for months and months. We had a list but our two favorites were Evangeline, after one of his great-grandmothers I found doing family history, and Eliza, he also has a grandmother named Elizabeth. He was very gracious and let me make the final decision. It still took about an hour but I felt like she looked more like an Evangeline than an Eliza. Evangeline, or Eva, is truly a little angel. She took to nursing right away and eats like a champ. She has the sweetest disposition and rarely cries or fusses. A week old now she has surpassed her birth weight and weighs 7 lb 9.5 oz. She has had a touch of jaundice which necessitated every other day trips to the doctor for bilirubin checks but no light therapy. She has become an excellent sleeper. At 4 days of age she scared me when I woke up at 3 am feeling very full with a still peacefully sleeping baby. She has kept up the 3-4 hour stretches of sleep at night since then. (I'm still crossing my fingers.) She loves to be held and look around but she is also content to sit in her bouncy chair while awake as long as she is in the middle of the action. She is starting to enjoy her nightly lotion rub downs. Every member of our family is sooooo in love with her and loves to hold and cuddle her. Right now Kris is asleep in the rocker with a sleeping Eva on his chest. Leah loves to look at and tickle her feet as well as give her sweet kisses on the forehead. Both Abi and Talmage are great holders which allows mom to get a shower, nap or do a few dishes. We are so grateful to have Evangeline safely here and love our newest addition so much.
Leah loves everything princess, so of course we had to have a princess themed birthday party. She loved her Princess Birthday cake so much that she carried the "Barbie" from the cake around and to bed for several days. Leah requested a "pink" cake and "pink" ice cream for her birthday, but I also made chocolate cupcakes for the rest of us. It was a gorgeous day so we played games out on the lawn. Abi made this adorable castle bean bag game. All of the cousins enjoyed pulling the ribbon on the princess crown pinata. Leah was so excited about it that she kept it in her room for a few days after. Mommy and Daddy bought her a princess scooter. I picked it up about a week before her birthday thinking that she would forget but she kept begging me and everyone to get out her "Princess Scooter" so that she could ride. That scooter was quickly forgotten however when she opened this tent from Uncle Eric. We could not get her out. She loves to set it up outside or in and "hide". She pulls all of her babies and pillows inside and plays. Abi bought her sidewalk chalk, bubbles and princess wands. Tal bought her bubbles and an outside ball. Other family members spoiled her with princess dress-up, princess books and a whole bag of clothes from Nana Meek. Leah really enjoyed her dinner out at Arctic Circle with Nana and Papa Fife. I'm sure the slide was her favorite. But she couldn't find any dress-up shoes because as she told Nana Fife, they were "too dangerous." Even though she is 3 now and getting so big, she is still my little baby. At least for a week or too. This little picture definitely reminds me of that. And now:
Ten Things I Love About Leah
Leah is soooo expressive. Some of her favorite expressions are "That was so Wicked" or "Yahoo!!!" Her eyebrows furl when angry and her nose crinkles up. She sobs and wails when upset. She tilts her head when inquisitive. But mostly she smiles a broad happy smile.
She has such an imagination. She wears her princess clothes nearly every day - to the store, to church, and around the house. The Sunday after her birthday she went to Nursery adorned with crown and wand. She loves to play pretend and copy story lines from movies. Currently, she is Simba and I am Nala from "The Lion King."
She is fiercely independent. She has to put her shirt on. She has to pick which bathroom to wash her hands in. She has to climb in and out of the van by herself. She refuses to take naps any more. Instead she takes "rests" on the couch with a movie where she falls asleep about every other day. She has to say all of the prayers in our family "by herself."
She is "thankful for Sponge Bob." She prays it at every prayer. But she is also thankful for food and our family. Leah loves Netflix. The little toot can use the remote to pick her favorite shows and go to the next episode. She gets into ruts where she will want all Sponge Bob, or Pink Panther or Backyardigans.
Leah loves her babies. She is always carrying an assortment of little dolls, or Barbies, play spoons, princess wands or any other little thing that catches her fancy. These little treasures go everywhere with us as well. I have a purse full of treasures that she drops and I rescue for the inevitable. The inevitable being that she takes a pile of treasures to bed with her an heaven help you if you can't find the one fairy or Strawberry Shortcake that she is enamored with right then.
Leah loves books. Currently she has several that she likes to read over and over. We read 2 every night but she also pulls them out and tries to get people to read to her at other times. Several of her books she has memorized and likes to "read" to me. A few of these are "Dust Bunnies", "There's a Wocket in My Pocket" and "Fox on a Box." She also has her own "little scriptures" a small hymnal of mine that she reads during scripture reading. She loves when it is her turn to repeat/ read a scripture.
Leah loves to be outside. She loves walks around the block or greenbelt, jumping on the trampoline, playing in her sand box and picking my flowers for me. She helped me plant my garden and always wants to be out weeding, watering and tromping around with me.
Leah loves Nursery. Not sacrament meeting so much but it is a rare day that we have to go out in the hall now. But she loves nursery. She loves to play with the other kids, snacks, bubbles, and especially her teacher. Heaven bless those Nursery Leaders.
She loves to sing. Every night daddy or I sing her 2 or 3 or 4 songs. She always wants one more. She loves to sing at family home evening. And she loves to sing any other time she can coax me into Wise Man or Popcorn Popping. She also loves I Am A Child of God, I'm so Glad When Daddy Comes Home, and Do as I'm Doing. Leah sings little snippets from her princess movies like Ariel's Ah Ah Ah scale. We can tell if she's not very tired because she will lie in her bed and sing and sing at night.
Leah loves her family. She is delighted that Abi and Tal are now home for the summer. She adores Abi and follows her everywhere getting into all of her things. She loves to wrestle and jump on the trampoline with Talmage. She shouts "Daddy, Daddy" when Kris comes home at night. She likes to hug the baby in my belly and says "Ooh she is pushing hard." Leah gives the sweetest squeezer hugs and little kisses.
Memorial Day Weekend we barbequed, worked outside and visited graves while the weather was sunny and warm. Then when Memorial Day dawned wet, cold and rainy, we hopped in the van and took a road trip to Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, ID. I had been there once when I was an early teen with my family but neither Kris nor my kids had ever been. As we got on the road I remarked about how since moving back home 5 years ago we have really gotten out of the rhythm of road trips. But with lunch, snacks and the DVD player we all weathered the trip really well. With record water flow this year, Shoshone Falls did not disappoint. We had to wait in line about 30 minutes to get into the park, but once inside it is a short little walk to the different look outs. It was sunny at the falls but we headed back to the van for our jackets because there is so much spray coming off of the falls that you get soaked at the look outs. You can't even see the bottom for all of the spray because they are running so heavy. But Shoshone Falls is even taller than Niagara Falls.
One of Kris's former mission companions, Elder Thatcher, lives in Twin Falls with his family so we stopped by for a short visit. That was a really fun reunion. If I had thought about it I should have gotten a picture to see what a difference 12 years makes :)
How does this happen? It seems like one minute you are feeding, diapering, and snuggling this sweet little Bunkins and the next she is growing up into a beautiful young woman. Abi recently celebrated her 10th birthday and I felt like I had to pinch myself. Sure, I know this smart, funny girl but it seems like the little chubby cheeked baby is not so far away either.
Once again we celebrated Abi's birthday over a string of days. Her birthday was also the day of her GATE ( Gifted and Talented Education) play, The Jungle Book. She was running from school to school and had a night performance so we kept it pretty low key. She opened her presents that morning and the whole family came to watch her performance that night. ( More later.) Abi had requested The Sims for the wii but it was rated T for teen. Kris spied Dance, Dance Revolution and knew that this was the game for Abi. She LOVED it.
Friday night Abi had her sleepover with favorite cousin Gabby. She requested fried chicken and potato salad for dinner. Then she and Gabs had a blast challenging each other on DDR. The next day I took the girls skating. No, I did not skate but Leah did. I held her hands and walked around and around the rink helping her. She was delighted. Then on Saturday night we had Abi's family party with cake and ice cream. Abi requested a coconut and strawberry shortcake, not a shaped cake. She is getting sooooo grown up. It was a very moist cake and shlumping right before the picture so we turned it around and sang "Happy Birthday" really quickly. I punked her with re-lighting candles. They were sparking like sparklers and really surprised her. Abi received several wonderful presents including cute clothes, a new purse, a latch hook set, jewelry, bubble bath set, and money. She is scheming and planning about what to do with it.
Abi had a great time performing in The Jungle Book. All of her teachers kept saying how expressive and dramatic she was. She played one of Kaa's coils, a monkey, a wolf cub, and part of the jungle. It was a great musical and so fun to see her stretch her talents. So, in honor of 10 great years, here are:
10 Things I love about Abi
1. Her laugh. She has a giggle like a burst of sunshine. It makes the rest of of laugh as well. 2. She is growing into a beautiful young woman. Pink is no longer her only fashion choice but she loves flower clips in her hair, wearing skirts, purses and pedicures. 3. She is a perfectionist. Mostly a good trait - her Idaho History pages are works of art. She sets her goals high and works hard to achieve them. 4. She is soooooo curious. I thought we got past "Why?" about age 3 but Abi is always questioning what something is, how it works or what words mean. 5. She loves music and makes good choices in what she listens to. She loves listening to her iPod or her radio while she cleans her room or colors. She loves to put music on the computer and dance about while we all do the dishes together after dinner. 6. She is becoming a talented pianist. Her songs are beginning to sound like music, you can tell which ones she really likes because she practices them over and over. 7. She is a great big sister. Leah absolutely adores her. Abi is patient, sharing and playful with her. Abi helps Leah play games and shares treats and toys with her. 8. She loves books. Over the past year Abi and I have read several of the same Young Adult series like the Percy Jackson series and Fablehaven. It is fun to discuss them together and have that common love with her. 9. Abi is a beautiful ballerina. She is so graceful and LOVES to dance. When we had to talk about cutting down to one activity for next year, she unhesitatingly chose ballet. 10. Abi has a very sweet, spiritual and compassionate nature. She loves and understands the gospel well and tries hard to live it. She can be the peacemaker in our home. She is very good at showing love and kindness to those around her.
Kris and Donalee met and fell in love in High School. After Kris's LDS mission and Donalee went to Nursing School we married 16 years ago. While Donalee supported Kris through 7 LONG years of undergrad and Law School, Abi and Talmage joined our family. Donalee retired from Nursing to be a SAHM when Leah was born 7 years ago. We were thrilled to add Evangeline to our family in 2011.