Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fun with Dad

I When Leah was born Nate was able to take the whole week off.  I don't know who was more excited: Noah and Luke or me.  Having the help I needed to adequately love and manage our family was awesome, but, even more, I loved that there was plenty of time dedicated to the boys.  We had talked at length in the weeks leading up to Leah's arrival that we wanted to give all of our energy possible to making sure no one felt displaced with a new baby in the family.  I think the amount of time Nate was able to spend with the boys in that first week really made a difference for Noah and Luke to understand that there was still plenty of time for them.

It had been a year since Nate and the boys visited the train museum. 

They had added a few engines since then, including an example of what that horribly expensive California bullet train will look like.
When the weather was good, they all went on bike rides.  This one was just a Noah and Nate ride when they rode over by the high school and went in the dirt.  Riding on dirt trails is a very big deal to Noah.
Grandpa was heading up to the cabin for the day to take care of some things and invited Nate and the boys to join him.  These happy 'snow men' were so excited to get up there to play.
 We aren't at the cabin much during the winter months, but this was the most snow we've seen in a couple of years up there.
Nate and the boys also managed to squeeze in a trip to the movie theater to see The Good Dinosaur.  In addition to the bigger outings, there was lots of book reading, Lego building and wrestling with Dad that went on.  It all contributed to such a strong feeling of love in our home. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ONE month

 Leah is ONE month old!
If that isn't the cutest slouchy, serious faced baby, then I don't know what is!

Oh, Leah what a wonderful month it has been.  

We are over the moon happy to have you in our family, especially this big brother.
You are starting to recognize voices, especially Luke's and mine.  You turn toward the sound and usually start to make noises as well to join the 'conversation.'  In the last week you've starting to make cooing sounds, which we adore.
Luke loves to say sweet things to you and be silly.  He has called you everything from Uncle Scrooge to Baby Love and continues to come up with new names for his darling sister.

Most of the beginning of the month was spent sleeping, eating, and going through diapers in lightning speed.
You are a champ at all three.

As the weeks passed you woke up more and more. 
 Sometimes wicked hiccups wake you up, which is not so fun for any of us, especially you.

It's obvious that your vision is improving too, because you like to spend time on your activity mat and, like every other baby, you are mesmerized by the ceiling fan.
I'm so grateful that we made it through the holidays, and you stayed healthy.  There was a lot of time with family and lots of little ones with runny noses and grumpy tummies, but so far so good.  All that time with family meant we were away from home and I got to hold you a LOT, which was pretty much the best thing ever.  I really can't get enough time with you.  

You didn't have much of an opinion about your first bath.  It was kind of an indifferent experience, which was better than screaming through it, right?

We've seen you give a handful of smiles in the past few days, besides the ones that regularly happen in your sleep.
 Sweet Leah, we love you and can't wait to see what another month together will bring!

Two week stats:
Weight: 8 pounds 7 ounces (60%)
Height: 20.5 inches (66%)
Head: 37 centimeters (94%)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Leah's Blessing

Sunday morning as I drove to church I found myself in tears -- for the very best reasons.  It was Leah's blessing day and as I came up the hill, with the temple in view, I just felt overcome with gratitude for each of these people.  Life with Nate and Noah and Luke and Leah really is a dream come true.

This little girl.  

All I can say is that our family has changed for the better since she arrived.  None of us had any idea that she's exactly what we were missing, and the love in our home seems to have magically increased tenfold.

Little Leah was blessed in the same dress I wore almost 37 years ago for my blessing.  It was in perfect condition and looked like the most perfect dress for the occasion.  I didn't want to take her out of it!
 (Hello scowling, but oh, so adorable face!)

Nate gave her a truly beautiful blessing, one that could only be sent from Heaven just for her.  The phrase I'll remember most is that she's been blessed with "a heart full of love."  Oh, how I feel that already from her.  

Having babies near the holidays does have its perks.  One of those is that all of the family has been in town for each of our kids' blessings. 
This was the first one for our little family where my dad and Grandpa Pebley weren't there.  I was particularly mindful of them on Sunday and so very grateful for the knowledge we have of eternal families.  

After the blessing my mom generously invited all of the family over for brunch.  She had quite a spread, which from her, I would expect nothing less. :-)  She knows how to feed a crowd well, that's for sure.  I was so thankful that we could all be together and for her efforts to make it happen.
My grandma didn't want to miss the blessing of our little girl.  I am so thankful that she and Leah had some time to get acquainted and that we snapped an updated four generations picture.

And I love that Leah has that sweet Kate to play with as the two of them grow up.  Kristina and I are both so lucky to have these little girls to love.

Cousin time is fun time with all of these cute kids.  There is so much personality and energy that fills the house when these cousins are together.
Leah's arrival is helping the girls to 'win,' with a score of 5 to 4, but we'll see how long that lasts.

 Sunday was such a blessed day!  When you're surrounded by that much family who freely give so much love it's hard to call it anything but perfect.
 We are the luckiest.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas, briefly

Turns out I did a sub par job photographing Christmas this year.  It's just such a fun (and busy) day that it's hard to pick up the camera amid all of the joyous distraction. Regardless, we do have a few pictures from the holly, jolly day. 

I was in the kitchen when Noah emerged from his room.  His first words, without even looking to his left into the family room were, "Oh, man! Santa didn't even come!  Where are the presents?"  All it took was a pointing finger to show him that Mr. Claus had indeed stopped by, and his excitement was through the roof.  He woke up Luke and the present opening commenced.

Santa obviously read the boys' letters because he delivered the exact Paw Patrol trucks they had asked for.   

Santa also set up a Blu Track for the boys.  They've had fun racing cars and making loops with this very long track.
 Leah will one day love her doll, I'm sure.  
 For now, it's about the same size as her.
 After breakfast with Gram and Nana we headed off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the rest of the day.  The boys were beyond excited for the superhero capes Grandma made. 

She bought corresponding shirts for Captain America (Noah), Superman (Luke) and Batman (Brennan).  I think Noah and Luke have put on those capes almost daily since Christmas to 'save the day' as they're playing.

I think one of my most favorite things was getting to meet baby Charlie, our newest nephew. 
Becky and Terry had arrived the day before, and oh, were we antsy to see this little guy!  He's just ten days older than Leah, and I just loved seeing another cousin in the same stage as my little one. 
Sparsely photographed, but still a wonderful day!  I'm so thankful that the holidays bring our families together to make memories. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Keeping With Tradition

Despite having a new baby and feeling extra busy and extra tired, I also found myself being extra motivated to make sure we continued some of our established holiday traditions.  And I'm so glad we did.  These boys look forward to it all, and each activity we did made this wonderful season that much more memorable. 

We ventured out on a chilly night with the Nartker family to look at Christmas lights at Dovewood Court. 
 Santa and his team of fire trucks and police cars came down our street.  We gave him some toys and food for needy families, and he presented each kid with a candy cane.  A good deal all the way around!

 We also had a couple of other opportunities to spend some time with Santa.  Our awesome neighbor Heidi is a nurse at UC Davis.  She stopped by to see me after Leah was there and ended up taking the boys up to the pediatrics floor to say hello to Santa.  Thanks to good fortune, they had already ridden the elevator with him after arriving at the hospital so a second visit in one day was a true bonus.

Both boys jumped right into Santa's lap at the ward party and let him know what they really wanted, a remote control helicopter and Paw Patrol toys.

Leah went to church for the first time on Sunday. 

Sometimes even if it's not the cutest picture of anyone, you just have to remember the moment, right?

The boys helped perform the nativity at the Pebley family Christmas party. 

 They also couldn't get enough of those cousins who had arrived from out of town as we were partying with the family.

Grandma Shauna invited all of the grandkids over to decorate gingerbread houses.  The boys LOVE this tradition and really look forward to it every year. 
 Luke especially does a great job balancing his decorating with generous amounts of candy consumption.

Noah's Joy School class did a cute performance for their parents.  
 And just tonight, on Christmas Eve, we decorated sugar cookies at Nana's house.  There were some for Santa and plenty for us!