Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beating the Winter Blues

Ooooh. Mid-February through March is a difficult time for me. It's always around the end of February when I become just plain tired of the cold weather. I'm tuckered out with being stuck in the house, and I've had it with the bundling (coats, hats, mittens, baby blankets) necessary just to go to the grocery store. And then March can be such a tease--with a couple sunny warm days followed by a late snow storm.

The only person more grumpy than me about the weather is T-man. He's got the stir-crazy syndrome bad! Lately, he prowls around the house looking like a WWE wrestler waiting for his chance to tackle someone. And his sisters are the prime targets.

My usual tactics to battle the winter blues include outings to the library, sending the kids to the unfinished basement for some bike riding, scheduling playdates, and the ever faithful DVD collection. However, everything has lost its luster.

Today is supposed to be a balmy 59 degrees for the high. You can bet we'll be outside as much as we can. I've already scheduled a playdate with a friend who has a trampoline. And as soon as the big girls come home from school, we'll be off to the park.

Watch out Winter - I'm coming out swinging!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Madi turns 9

Here are some photo highlights of Madi's year...
Madi on the morning of her baptism.
On the roof overlooking New York City!

County fair with the bunnies.

Madi becomes a big sister...for the fourth time.

Madi's favorite past time.

The best part about being Madi's mom is that she is so much fun to be with.
She is bright, talented, and a source of joy.
As I held her in my arms nine years ago in the hosptial, all bundled in a white blanket, I thought it couldn't get better than that moment.
I was wrong.
That was only the beginning...
And it just keeps getting better.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dirty Laundry

I know it's time to do laundry when...I know it's REALLY time to do laundry when seeing my mis-matching socks, Meya pulls up her pants and announces "Mom, we're twinners" (notice one has a ruffle, but, hey, at least they're both pink)...

And just to appease my Little Sister's spot-on scrutiny of bloggers, I did not write this post until after four loads of laundry were completed, and I'm typing to the sound of the dryer.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mid-Life Birthday

My 35th birthday brought mixed emotions. But all the received well-wishes helped me embrace the good. Here are some of my faves...

My little Sister: "Happy 29th Birthday!"
My hubby: "You've now joined me in the prime of life"
A teenager at church: "At least you look like a teenager!" (a stretch, but who's arguing?)
Madi: "You are the Birthday Queen!" (pictured above)
My Mom: "At least you're not turning 60"

This milestone birthday made me reflect on the good and not-so-good decisions in my life. And so here's my list of best choices, and biggest regrets over the last 35 years. Hopefully, by writing them down, I'll learn from both that the next 35 years will be even better.

Regrets (I'll start with the lows):
1. "Caving" at my Concert Choir audition for Mac Wilberg
2. Forgoing our honeymoon to use the money to fix the transmission on the car
3. Buying our house without seeing it first-hand
4. Complaining too much
5. Being too concerned with appearances
6. Not minoring in music at BYU
7. Not developing the talent for organization
8. Waiting so long to start writing seriously
9. Not being kind to my sisters when we were young
10. Not staying in touch with friends better

Best Choices:
1. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
2. Marrying my hubby
3. Having children
4. Choosing to be an at-home Mom
5. Pursuing English literature instead of wallowing in Pre-med
6. Applying for Grad program at Georgetown
7. Writing letter to Dean of Grad program at Georgetown for scholarship
8. Running
9. Never smoked, never drank, never experimented...not even once
10. Taking vacations, day trips, and road trips
11. Learning to play the piano (thanks Mom and Dad)
12. Writing...even if I should have started sooner
13. Singing at home, in church, in choirs, and in musical productions
14. Making friends along the way and staying in touch

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Here's just some of the things I love about my hubby:
1) He knows at least something about just about everything
2) He does dishes
3) He is a FANTASTIC dad
4) He is patient
5) He thinks I'm a good writer, a beautiful singer, and a great Mom (and he tells me)
6) He eats everything I cook with a smile and a "thank you"
7) He'd rather work in the yard with the kids than watch sports on TV (he NEVER watches sports on TV)
8) He is patriotic
9) He can be silly (it's rare, but oh is it funny)
10) He watches BBC movies with me (yes, even Jane Austen movies)

My biggest complaint: I just don't get to spend as much time with him as I'd like to.

He assures me that someday we'll have the luxury of running & biking together (instead of tag-team), enjoying leisurely romantic dinners, and even traveling to England. But until then, we'll keep stealing kisses when we can, smiling at each other across the table at dinner time, and high-fiving each other when the kids are in bed.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random Kindness

Our family went tubing last weekend for my birthday at Whitetail Ski Resort in Pennsylvania. Owen and I took turns with Baby C in the warm, cozy snack lodge. When it was my turn, Meya decided to stay with me. In the corner of the lodge next to the rows of long tables, were a handfull of arcade games. The dings and flashing lights soon enticed Meya. She wandered over and watched a Safari Hunt game. Lions, hyenas, and water buffalo jumped across the large screen.

She was mezmorized. She removed the red plastic "play" rifle and aimed at the screen. She had been watching for good fifteen minutes when a teenage boy walked over to the game. The boy, probably junior-high age, had long dark hair past his shoulders. He wore all black. I had noticed him earlier because he had been sitting at a long table by himself eating lunch. Sensing trouble, I walked quickly over to Meya to get her out of the way, so that the boy could play the game.

"I want to watch!" she said excitedly realizing that the boy with the dollar bill in his hand was about to make the game come alive.
"Okay, but stay out of his way," I cautioned, then returned to my seat to feed Baby C.

After getting situated, I glanced up. The game was on, but the boy was gone. And Meya was holding the rifle. A voice-over on the game was encouraging, "Nice shot." I raced over, totally confused.

"Where'd the boy go?" I asked as Meya was gleefully playing the game.
"He said it was for me," she answered without looking away from the screen. "He's really nice!"

I looked around trying to locate the teenage boy whom I had so quickly judged. But he was gone. I looked out the window at the sea of people with intertubes waiting for their turn on the hill. There were too many black coats. I couldn't find him.

I sat there stunned. Could this boy really have been this selfless? Did he really give up a dollar so my daughter could play? Did he disappear so his kind act could remain anonymous?

With the dings, flashing lights, and squeals of Meya in my ears, I concluded with surprise and appreciation...YES.


Setting: Yesterday, I was in the kitchen making a batch of yummy homemade granola, and the twins were eating corn dogs for lunch.

T-man to his sister: "Meya...You want to play?"
Meya: "Sure"
T-man: "Let's have a corn dog sword fight!"
Meya: "Yea!"

Needless to say, the granola was abandoned mid-stir as I rushed to intercede.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I love to kiss my kids. I steal kisses when I can. I ask for kisses before they leave for school and as I'm tucking them in bed each night. And for the most part (T-man excepted), they are more than tolerant - even quite cooperative.

I practically kiss Baby-C to death. Who can resist pink, chubby cheeks?

And here's my favorite kissing kids picture, taken two years ago at our family reunion in the Pacific Northwest.

I know it isn't pc to kiss and tell. But I'm guessing with kids, it's okay. I recently had a friend tell me that she's getting her fill of kisses and hugs before her kids no longer let her. This made me think. Isn't it the Mom's job, prerogative, joy, and blessing to be able to show affection to her children--no matter how old they are? I can't imagine not kissing my kids. So watch out Abbe clan--you're gonna get kissed by your mama your whole life!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Elise at 7

When Elise turned 3 years old, she begged for a snow white dress for her birthday, and she wanted a pink princess cake. She received the dress and wore it exclusively for days, changing only at night into her pjs. She danced and twirled and hummed to her heart's content.
Fast forward four years...Elise turned 7 this December. We postponed the friend-birthday-party till after the holidays. Here she is the night of her party. The dress up clothes have been replaced by a real dress. She brushed her own hair and accessorized with stick-on ear rings. The princess birthday theme is long gone, replaced by a "Girls' Night Out" theme. She and her friends ate at a pretend restaurant (Madilyn was the the waitress, and I was the chef), had their fingernails painted, and danced in the living room with a disco ball casting twinkling, colorful lights on the walls.

Elise at 7:
She is the first to offer help when baby Charlotte is crying. And no matter how much Charlotte wails, Elise stays calm...saying softly as she looks at her sister "Just tell me all about it."

She loves friends. She reaches out to everyone in her first grade classroom, has playdates, and gets lots of phone calls on the weekends. She volunteers to be Carter's partner (a boy with mental disabilities) when no one else will.

She likes clothes, much like her Aunt Katie. She asks me "does this match?" and loves any excuse to wear a dress. She wants to grow her hair long "so that she can wear it in a bun."

She plays music. She owns a Hannah Montana cd and borrows my Mama Mia cd, and between the two always has music playing in her bedroom. She has made great strides with the violin, and is much more self-motivated about practicing.

And though so much has changed in four years, here's what has stayed the same: her sweetness, her gentleness, her kindness, her sensitivity, and her desire to please others.

Happy Birthday, Elise.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pancake Boy!

No, it's not a Pillsbury endorsement--just Truman learning to flip pancakes. He's watched me flip pancakes for years, scooting a chair into the kitchen and standing at my elbow. He's always liked counting the bubbles that appear in the middle of the batter circles, often paying much closer attention than I do. It wasn't uncommon for Truman to single-handedly save entire batches of pancakes from burned ruin by calling to me, "It's time to flip 'em Mom!"

When it came time to turn the pancake flipping over to him--handing him the spatula--I was suddenly paying extreme attention. I was worried about him getting burned on the pan. I was worried that his clothes would get too close to the open flame (we have gas burners). I hovered. I instructed. I was close enough to come to the rescue, if rescue was needed.

But Truman turned out to be a pro! With very few casualties (half-turned pancakes), the endeavor was a success. He poured. He waited. He flipped.

I always experience a mix of emotions when I see my children do "big kid" things. I'm proud of their accomplishments. Happy to see their excitement. But I'm also a bit frightened. Letting my children step into independence means letting go...just a little. And that is hard. So while I'm ready to hand over the spatula, I'm not at all ready to leave the kitchen. :-) I'll keep standing at his elbow. I'll be there if he needs me. And I'll keep eating his creations with a generous serving of warm maple syrup.