Re: You being blog blocked

Note. When I took my blog entirely offline for a few months the notice read something to the effect of "You are not invited to read this blog." My friends read that as "you are locked out bc Nor secretly hates you and there are fun things happening that you are missing. Also she's writing mean stuff about you." Neither of these things were true and blogger needs to let me alter the "away" message. Nobody could read it.
I read too many horror stories about children and was trying to protect them from the big bad world. For now I'm just going to make sure they are infected with a highly deadly communicable disease that will only transmit to those who wish them ill or try to harm them. They are also microchipped and heavily armed. So stay away bad guys! Unclean unclean!
����unrelated last year's Christmas card.


Names. Round Five.

Well, here we are again.  Round five in the pick the perfect name game.  I would like to say it gets easier every time but it absolutely does not.  It just gets harder.  Every child's name choice weighs on me for the nine months leading up to the birth and continuing through the next 90 years of life afterward.  (Btw, this post will be interspersed with pictures from Halloween because I feel like it.)
Glittering up my sparkling daughter.

I've posted before about my naming standards, many of which I have broken for one reason or another but still are a pretty good guide for me while I name babies.  I often forget when I name a kid where I will be when I get to name another one, how my name choices will effect my future name choices.
You can see why I sweat it so much.  I love names.  I love thinking about how names were chosen and why.  I love to hear how people put them together.  I have found that I gravitate toward people who have named their children well, but maybe that has more to do with education levels, socioeconomics and common culture.
Jude wanted to be Cousin It.  I made this epic creation out of a tiki umbrella and a tomato cage.  
So I've compiled some advice based on my experiences in naming.  I've made some mistakes with some of my name choices, but overall I am proud of my naming.  I wish I had thought of a few of these things before I named my first baby (although I would have named her Miranda, nonetheless).  I might have saved her middle name for another kid because it's such a beautiful name.
I have one friend who has as many kids as I do and shares a lot of the same naming expectations.  She was marveling that this was our ninth time through the name reel together.  I also include some of the reasoning developed with my sisters in our consultations while naming 18 children.  We aren't perfect namers but we have experience and the perspective of how our naming efforts have paid off as credentials.
Naming is a big deal.  Take it seriously.

Some information for neophyte namers.

1.  The first name is a biggie.  So are all the others, but the first name sets the trend from which you can't significantly deviate.  I recommend picking a name that has some out there nicknames.  I wanted to call my firstborn Mimi but that isn't weighty enough.  Mimi is a nickname for Miriam but I wanted a Shakespeare name so named her Miranda instead.
Mimi and her buddy Lorelai in a rad astronaut costume

2.  If you're picking a genre make sure that there are a lot of other names that work with that genre.  Shakespeare has lots of names I like but not all of the characters are worth being a namesake.  I can't name a kid MacBeth.  But there are plenty in that group that I still like: Juliet, Ariel, Cassio, Orlando, Helena.  Some of the characters I absolutely love have kinda hard names: Desdemona, Mercutio, Thaisa, Hermia, Hero, Portia, Cordelia etc.  Then some names are great names and horrible characters: Tybalt, Regan, Lucretia, Cressida, Iago.
Church Trunk or Treat

3.  Expand your genre.  If you name your kid Arrow (love that name) that gives you a pretty big genre of naturey word names: Posey, Birdie, Phoenix could all be siblings.  But from Arrow you could also expand your genre to all word names and siblings could be Honor, Sunshine, Bay, Kismet.  I like that category.  But I've boxed myself out of it to some degree.  Similar with Bible names.  You name one kid Daniel he can't have a sibling named Adonai.  But he doesn't only have to have siblings Peter, Paul and Mary.  You can do other Bible associations: Eden, Lydia, Abigail, Amos, Asa, Canaan.  It might be a severe departure from Daniel but at least they'd make sense as a group.
Halloween = Treats.  BL 13 months

4. Play it safe and take a risk.  You're naming this kid at least two names so you have some wiggle room to play around.  If like me you're not brave enough to name your kid Ophelia but really love the name throw it in as a middle name.  Betty Lou's middle name is Ophelia.  If she feels like Betty or LouLou don't suit her as an adult she has a weighty name in the middle she can use.  Don't waste this opportunity with a filler name: Lee, May, Belle, Ann, Rose, James.  I've discovered that I love my risk names even better than my relatively safe names.
Silas wanted to be the Blob.  This is what we came up with.  Also mistaken for a fart cloud.

5.  Don't blow all the good names at once.  I could easily have used Mimi's middle name Giselle for a first name.  I would like Willa to be an option but I've already used William.  You generally know from the beginning of your very first pregnancy what names you could maybe use and what names are just too far out there for your kid's first name.  Willa was an option, so was Willow, now neither are usable for me.
Halloween parade, M 3rd grade.

6.  Plan ahead with starting letters by picking the name you like the very most from that letter.  Even if names are totally different naming siblings with the same first letter always sounds singsongy and repetitive, unless you're planning to call them by a nickname that doesn't start with that letter (Elizabeth called Beth could have sister Eleanor).  I won't use Bianca, Bowie, Jonah nor Milo even though I love those names.

Unicorn faction.  Baby 5 six months in utero.  At Hush's office trick or treat.
7.  Also plan ahead with overall name sounds.  Silas can't have a brother named Miles.  Jude can't have a brother named Hugh.

8.  I am on the fence about family names.  They are safe except for when the family member you named your kid after disappeared when said kid was three days old.  It was of no import to me to be named after an aunt I hardly knew.  But my sister was named after another aunt who had no daughters and lavished Ellie with fancy things.  All of my kids have family names that connect them to the other generations so I definitely use inherited names but I don't think it's absolutely necessary.  It's a tradition in my family.

Dear Halloween party hosts, please don't serve my kids messy food that will ruin their costumes the first time they wear them.
9.  Do your homework.  No baby is born into a vacuum and there is so much information out there about trends.  You have a golden opportunity when you name a baby to start them on the path toward their identity.  I can't imagine what a different person I'd be had my mom named me from the top ten names the year I was born.  Can you see me as a #1 Jennifer? #2 Jessica or #3 Amanda?  The top five girl names of 2014 were Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava and Isabella.  Boys names in 2014 were Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Lucas and Noah.  Chances are I'm offending a significant number of you but you had fair warning as most of these names have also been in the top 10 for the last five years.  On the other hand, some people don't mind having popular names.  Maybe they were one of three Jennys in their class in elementary school and enjoyed the instant name gang and want to pass that on to their kids.  I can dig that, as long as you're aware of what you're doing.

Now if you can believe it there are still some wonderful names available for baby number 5.  My favorite naming resources are www.babynamewizard.com  Please check to see how the name you're considering is rising or falling in popularity.  Nymbler also helps you avoid uber popular names. www.nymbler.com.  www.ohbabynames.com is also a great site that tells you all the associations/famous people with the name.



Baby Fashion: the Whole She-bang

 There is little more satisfying than dressing little baby girls.  Baby boys have a ton of cute clothes, but are you going to accessorize them with bows and sparkles?  No.  Dressing a girl is just better.
It took me some months into having my first baby girl to understand the whole she-bang with dressing girls and my sisters practically had to hit me over the head for me to understand the perhaps once-in-a-lifetime chance to dress up a girl.  It's not just onesie and pants.  Nay.  You gotta go the distance with tights (hopefully coordinating and outfit specific), the tutus, the sparkle shoes, the sassy vest that ties the whole thing together and you'd better not forget the hair accessories.  "She pulls them out" is not an excuse.  Train her.
Here are some of our most recent fashion offerings.

1.  Starting simple in cheetah jammies.  Hairflower STILL IN thank you very much, thanks to glue dots you buy in the craft section.
 2.  Church attire.  Flirty sleeves, matching bow attached with glue dot, sparkly shoes.  Onesie and tights for warmth.
 3.  I'm a sucker for clever onesies.  This one says "Griffindorable" from her auntie namesake Camille Betty.  Paired with a fluffy skirt, of course.
 4.  Mimi so gets it.  My favorite part of the morning is when she shows up in her own outfit creations, poses and says "Ba-BAM".  Converse, galaxy shorts, unicorn shirt, unicorn vest borrowed from my closet, necklace, and crown headband.  She has always been her own fashionista and can put together the most creative outfits that she can some how pull off.
 5.  Vests.  I love vests.  They kick a normal outfit up into the rad level.  I make the vests for me and the girls.  This one has a Pink Floyd patch.  And, of course, the tutu.
 Front view.  Sparkle headband.  Easy to make: grab a half yard of whatever sparkly stretchy trim you like and glue gun it into a headband.
6.  Pattern mixing.  Also BL is modeling our family colors and some Betsey Johnson.  My heart is black, white and pink.
7.  Animal print and leather.  And Vans.  That's the tiniest motorcycle pleather jacket I've ever seen.  It was a must have.  The Vans are Mimi's hand-me-downs and they have conversation hearts on them.  I also love Vans and Converse for learning to walk shoes because they have very flat soles that help babies balance.

 8.  This is an example of a beautiful baby in a just ok outfit.  We have so many clothes we separate them into first tier and second tier.  This would be cuter with a jacket and a bow but it was a rough day.
 9.  Date-conscious dressing.  Obviously this dress was for the summer patriotic holidays.  Holiday colors on babies make the holidays better.
 10.  Fur.  "Stop Mama, I can't handle being photographed in my pink cowboy boots, unicorn leggin's, and furry vest."  Babies in fur is everything.
11.  Tight jammies.  Babies look the cutest in tight jammies so you can see their little bodies scurrying around.  This face, btw, is Lou's KISS face.  She discovered her tongue and has been delighting us with this expression.

 12.  All the important elements, sans hairbow because we were traveling and I failed to bring hair stuff.  Of note is LouLou's fistful of dandelions.  Her number one hobby is picking dandelions.  She could do it for hours.  And she's in the storage phase so it's funny to watch her try to juggle ten dandelions in her fat little fingers.
13.  Mimi ties everything together.  She's fearless with fashion.  We both just wear whatever we feel like.  Animal print, black and pink, fabulous accessories, everything all at once.  Man, I love this kid.

 14.  Mimi in her daily fab donut leggings dressed Betty Lou this morning. 
 I think she understands the whole she-bang.
15.  Mix up the styles.  Betty Lou wears more traditional baby clothes inherited from her cousins and is just as cute.  These tights have little pandas on the ankles and panda shoes that match but they weren't her size.
16.  If you can possibly swing it: Match.  It just feels so good.  My dream life would be coordinating outfits for my whole family all day every day.  But I GUESS they have to have SOME independence.

Backstage at Vivienne Westwood #SS16 Red Label:

Vivienne Westwood SS16 Red Label


October 2015

This year the kids begged me to join Chess Club.  Nerds. All three are thrilled to stay at school an extra hour to play the most boring game in the world.  How did they learn to play?  I have no idea.  But even Silas (age 5) knows all the pieces and how they move.
Jude at chess club.
 Baby girl is 13 months and just the most charming baby in the world.  I feel very proud that all of my toddlers have had winning personalities.  They're likeable.  I chalk it up to good sleep and the fact that I never bring them around people when they are likely to melt down.  But Lou is particularly friendly and will go to just about anyone.  She has no separation anxiety.  I think it's particularly funny when she walks up to one of my friends and grins and reaches for them to be held, like she's been dying to see them and think they're her best friend.  She makes people feel really special.
LouLou 13 months, likes beans.
 The highlight of this month was JudeJude's 7th birthday party.  I have found that I much prefer to throw big fat parties at my convenience, not at the exact time of birthday.  Jude turned 7 in August but we wanted to have a friend birthday that people would actually remember and attend so we waited until October to throw a bash.

Baby Yoda
 This year Jude and I dreamed up a Jedi Training Camp birthday.  It was a hit.  He invited all the boys in his class and they came over after school for exactly one hour.
Epic Jedi Lightsaber fight
 We hit the dollar store and found $1 lightsabers that really worked.  Each kid got one when they showed up and they mostly just battled the whole time.  This is our new fancy trampoline that gets more use than any trampoline I've ever seen.  We love it.  Thanks grandpa!
Learning from the Jedi Master
 My buddy Nathan was the Jedi Master and taught them very important skills using the force.  The boys were enthralled.
 After cupcakes and pizza Darth Vader showed up and attacked all of the Jedi.  He was outnumbered but managed to kidnap Mimi.
Darth Vader showed up and battled
 Other October happenings included Mimi being a mini me, vegetable lover.
Proof she is my daughter.  Frozen Peas as a snack.
 Jude and the whole famdamnly attending every single one of his soccer games.  We were committed and he was obsessed.  Hush even willingly coached one of the games.  He said it was hard because the although the kids are good they often get distracted.  Not Jude, though.  He plays hard.
Hush sub coached Jude's soccer team
 Blue Apron, saving the day.
Mimi making a giant mess while making dinner
 Oh!  We went to the circus!  I don't know who was more excited, me or the kids.  I don't really care about the animal parts but the people parts are so incredible!  Barnum and Bailey still put on a great show.  We also got to teach the kids about animal rights protesters and their cause.
Please note the rock and roll sign she's throwing up

Hanging with these clowns.
 October brought the birth of Rebekah's long awaited and much adored baby girl Harper.
My ladies. Rebekah delivering, me 6 months pregnant, Christine mercifully not pregnant.
 She's just the sweetest little baby in the whole world.  I wish I could love her up more but I have a germy toddler on my hands most of the time.  But I get to look and enjoy her sweetness from my position blocking Betty Lou from breathing on her and scratching her eyes out.
Harper is super jealous of her unicorn headband.
 We had a stowaway kid one weekend in October.  I love William.  He's right between Jude and Silas' ages and fits in great with our crowd.
Precautions visiting baby Harper.  Extra neighbor kid staying with us that weekend.
 Mimi 8 1/2, Jude 7. William 6, Silas 5 1/2, BL 13 months.
Jude losing teeth
 We were invited to Harper's baby blessing, or the equivalent at the Presbyterian Church.  It was a rockin' good time.  There was pop music that the kids knew (Jeff Buckley Hallelujah? Sure, why not!) and a interactive dancing part.  It was fantastic.  We will definitely be back.  What they lack in extensive doctrine they make up for in great people, good messages, and fun services.
That's Mimi in the stripes, rockin' out at church
 Oh, they also had breakfast.  The kids thought they'd discovered a new world.
Silas thrilled beyond belief about church breakfast
 The weather was amazing this October so we were able to do a little climbing.  It was fun but too hard being pregnant, chasing a baby, and backing up Hush with setting up top ropes.  Still a good day.
Climbing in Big Cottonwood Canyon
 Also, picture day.  I let the kids wear whatever fancy thing they wanted for picture day, which meant a crown for Mimi and a mustache for Jude.  Silas wouldn't get on board.  I don't buy the pictures because they're overpriced and anachronistic so I let them have fun with it.  Jude will probably be the only first grader in the year book with a 'stache. Si's bowtie killed me.  But he has a awkward smiling problem when he has to smile on demand.
School Picture Day Finery.