Silas, age 4+

Well, Silas. Your four year command of the throne has ended.  And you're not letting it go without a fight.
Personality these days: snarly, sneaky-sweet, busy, larger than life.
Baby interest: high.  Silas loves to hold Bettylou and jam her pacifier in her mouth.  His favorite position in the car is next to her -- head in her car seat, fingers in her face, sticky mouth in her clean hair.  All out of love, of course.
Hiking around with Grandpa, Hush and Jude.
Si wants to be involved with everything and wants to touch everybody.  Hands not to himself.  He has lots of love to give and I make special time to hold him and coo at him and make him feel important.

"There's always room for you" is my daily phrase.  Having a baby around does not mean there isn't room or time for tiny baby Silas.  But this picture shows his problem solving technique: look innocent while you smack someone in the face (and yes, that face was teasing him.) My expression here is also very real life.  Protect baby, pay attention to Silas, scold Mimi, make sure Jude (taking picture) gets his irritated tummy looked at.  I was superwoman that day.
More of Silas showing signs of wear and tear.  He's under the backpack on the right, face first on the public chair.
But, man, he sure is cute.  We'd been watching Village People videos and Silas initially wanted to be the cop. But upon learning that we already OWNED a cop costume he switched to the army guy. We already had that costume too! So then Si described the all white costume with the funny hat, and I figured out he wanted to be a sailor. When was the last time a kid asked to be a sailor? All I had to buy was the hat. It was a costume victory!

Jude, age 6

Jude is very interested in manliness and doing man things.  Hush educated him recently about deodorant and then my soft silky skinned boy smelled just like my sweet smelling husband and I was in heaven.
Jude is sporty. This season he's been learning to throw a football and begged Hush to take him to the BYU game. Grandpa Jim came to town and the three of them went to watch that one guy break his leg and the team lose.  But Jude loved every second of it!
Kindergarten is going well for Cubby.  He makes friends easily and is very dedicated to his work. Jude is a deep thinker and has pretty good handwriting for a little boy. 
Jude loves his baby Bob.  He's very gentle with her and likes to take his turn snuggling.
Cub's a big helper. He's capable and when asked to do any chore he just does it quickly and runs off to play. 
Family hike in Lehi, enjoying the October colors.  I like Utah and it surprises me every day that I do.
Cub and his babe.

Jude started all day kindergarten at his new old school and he's doing great.  He walks to school with Mimi and Silas; they all start at the same time.  He sees all his pre-k buddies during recess and has transitioned to the new class easily.  Since the kids transfered schools mid-year I sent them with plants to butter up their teachers.  It's a lot of work integrating extra students.
Jude's costume choice was the impetus behind our Halloween group costume.  When your kid demands to be a gay icon you make it happen.  He's a motorcycle man with sweet tattoos, Mimi is a police woman, Silas is a sailor, BL is an indian, I'm a construction worker and Hush is a cowboy.


16 Reasons to be Thankful

I've a lot to be thankful for this week.

1. My four children. I have to say that over and over. Mother of four.  Responsible for 16 limbs, 80 fingernails and toes. Snuggling requires taking turns rotating into ideal position next to me.
2. The Giants!  The giants have been our family team for time immemorial.  I watch games when I'm around Pam or when they make it to the post season.  There have been a lot of sports in my home this month which I find a bit disorienting.
3. My inherited Utah family.  This week we went to the wedding of the last of his close buddies.  The guy on the left is Hush's cousin DJ and then his wife GoKart. On my right are the Jaylies.
4. I love this picture.  DJ, Hush and Jay in their baller suits solving the problems of the world as we wait outside the Salt Lake Temple for Chids to come out.  These good men are three of the reasons I married Hush.  I judge people by the company they keep.
5. Cousins and second cousins.
6. So thankful for this new little family.  It's interesting to have a blended family because I have to make special effort to spend time with just Hush and Bettylou in order to develop our bond as child and parents. The six of us feel like a normal family, totally assimilated with no separation between siblings. But this baby also deserves undivided time and love.
7.  Dancing! We haven't had much dancing time this summer but they played our song "Oh What a Night" and BL danced with her daddy for the first time.
8. These guys and how they support my husband.  Out of the four of them he was self-nominated as the least likely to have a wife and family, but here he is after a successful year of fatherhood kicking ass at it.  Interestingly, his buddy Chids married a woman with three young sons which I interpret as a nod to Hush's and my happiness in our marriage and family.  
9.  Mimi's enthusiasm for all events at school.  She's a party person and fearless in her crazy hair creation.
10. Cubby who wore this cereal box hat all day at kindergarten.  

11.  I'm thankful that Silas is hilarious.  He's pretty much a disaster.  He's messy and surly and throws his long limbs around near my baby. He is everything a displaced four year old could be when getting a new sister.
12. I'm thankful Hush is teaching Jude about sports.  BYU is Hush's team and this weekend he took Jude and Grandpa Jim to the football game.  Never was a little boy more excited.  
13. I'm thankful that my friends (especially Rebekah and Jessica) love my baby and have baby fever.

14.  I'm only kind of thankful for church. I went to the women's meeting at the huge conference center last week.  We had church all weekend this week. I'm churched out.
15. Meals! One of the major perks of church attendance is that they bring you meals when you have a baby.  Of course you inevitably end up with a surplus of food.  In order to get my kids to polish off the huge salad we received the other day I made one dinner a no forks salad eating contest.  It was messy and really funny, inspired by the mom in Christmas Story.  "How do little piggies eat?"
Hush won.

16. Mostly I'm thankful I have a healthy perfect baby who is finally gaining a little bit of weight after struggling to grow the first few weeks.  We have a hard time nursing, but she is a good sleeper and snuggler.


Assimilating BOB

Baby Betty is quickly becoming part of our lives. 
I have so many people. 16 limbs among them.
Jude and Silas are big helpers and are very interested in Betty's bodily functions.
We've been enjoying spending a lot of time with Kara's family.  This is a highly intense game of rock band.
Jude walks Si to school twice a week and begs to bring Bettylou along.
She's not quit regained her 7lbs 13oz and she doesn't poop, like, ever. We're working on it. She's a pretty good sleeper and would sleep for hours but I wake her up to eat every three-four.  I've been supplementing with formula because she gets impatient for the milk to let down.  Betty has angry fussing time every other evening for a few hours around ten.  It's frustrating.  But she also has a lot of quiet alert time and is starting to gaze at faces.  
There are few things I enjoy more than having people I love fawn over my baby.  I'm so glad Cicily lives nearby!
Hush's sister Kimberly has been around for the last few months.  She earned a lot of cuddle time with Bettylou by helping us every time I had to go into the stupid hospital.
My hair dye influence has taken hold with Hush's family. Four more unicorns to add to our pack!
Little scrawny looking chubby for a change.

Jude's special lady friend Finley and cousin.

Ashley beat all my sisters to hold baby girl.  Ash and Josh have been there for me for all four of my babies and I love them. 
Nathan and Betty at my impromptu tea party in Salt Lake.
Mimi and I got our hair done on a Saturday and I texted my girl friends (and Nathan) to meet us for tea. Nearly everybody came! It was very civilized and we wore our tutus.  My hair was incomplete though so I look a mess.
I'm so happy that Kara loves newborns as much as my own family does. I love how she demands time just holding and snuggling.
I feel good about my bow game. I'm on top of it.
Long skinny limbs just waiting to get fattened up.
Is her head growing or her hair thinning? Never can tell.
More dear friends at my tea party: Nathan, Rebekah and Jessica
Amy being instructed about the magic that is clotted cream.
Haylie, Meghan, Claire
Circe and her daughters (all of whom have baby fever) and Jo who makes amazing cookies and brought them to my hospital bed. 

Betty and I have a lot of people around who love her so missing my family is somewhat mitigated.  We've only been in Utah a year and I've met some of the most dear friends I could have hoped to find.  They're filling the role of sisters and family, but I'm still excited to show this baby to my own family.