Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Fun

This year's Christmas was a lot of fun. As usual we had Christmas Eve dinner with Mom's side of the family. It was nice this year because we had more space to spread out. This house is just much more conducive to gatherings. Rhiannon and Francesca enjoyed chasing each other and playing together. Francesca loved the Christmas bear that Gma Lois got her that sang "You better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm tellin' you why..." And that bear turned out to be one of her favorite gifts so we got to hear the song over and over and over again. Un(Fortunately) she left the bear at Grandpa Marr's house, so I haven't heard it since. I'm sure we'll rescue Christmas Bear soon though.
Adam is in his highchair behind me so he was cut from the picture.


Uncle Don has convinced Jason that he should register a web domain name for the family. Jason was intrigued by the idea and has since taken it a step further. Just today he registered so that he can create a website where bike enthusiasts can share information and meet up for rides. What an idea! The website hasn't been created yet, but I'm sure that will be a fun project for Jason to work on this year. Jason has a tendency to find a hobby and then immerse himself in it full-tilt to a point that my ears grow somewhat deaf to listening about the same information over and over and over again. So it is always good when he finds a new direction for his hobbies or expands on an existing one so that I can listen to new information.

On Christmas morning Francesca got to see what Santa Claus brought her. It turned out she enjoyed what Santa brought for Adam (a truck) much more than what Santa brought for her (a princess dress). Who knew? She didn't have many presents to open because a certain 5'5'' elf was too tired to wrap presents so the elf just said "Forget it" and left them in the closet. (Francesca found her other Santa Claus gifts just yesterday.)

Here are some pictures of the kids from Dad's house.


After gift opening we headed over to Dad's house for breakfast and, of course, more gifts. Bryan and Stefanie got to join us which was very nice. I am hoping that next year Dad's house construction will be complete and the front bathroom will be usable and the guest room will be all pretty too. It is an interesting experience to use the back bathroom because football-sized Archie is back there and of course he has no sense to know that sitting down to use the restroom is NOT sitting down to play with Archie. Let's just say that when I went into the restroom I didn't have scraped knees. I'm sure Archie had a great Christmas what with everyone coming in every 20 mins or so to play with him.



The next stop was Doreen's house for Castillo gift festivities. We were joined by all the regulars (Grandpa Tom, Grandma Carol, Ryan, Jenny, Doreen, Angel, Nico, Catie) but we were also accompanied by Alex and her boyfriend Matt. And of course, there were a lot more presents. Everyone got some really nice things.

Unfortunately we didn't even think to take pictures at Doreen's. So in honor of our time there, here is a picture of Ryan we took two days before Christmas (at our house). :)


By this point I was Tired. But that's ok. That's just how Christmas is. It's a great holiday, but is it ever the perfect holiday? Is it ever possible to find that perfect balance between joy and festivities and quiet reflection and relaxation? I'm not so sure. Next year I'm sure we'll do it the same way. The ONLY thing I wish is that we were able to squeeze in church. After all, Jesus' birth IS the point of this holiday! I know that it has grown to be more than that, but the central purpose of the holiday should not be forgotten or ignored. We've got Christ the Savior here people! It's good to acknowledge that and celebrate that. So hopefully we'll be able to work that in. I don't want the kids to grow up not having church be part of their Christmas holiday.

So that was Christmas!! And here we are in 2008. Happy New Year!


New Year's Resolutions

Well 2008 is on its way, and with it comes a natural desire to reflect on one's life and goals. Now usually I don't make resolutions for the new year. There generally isn't anything on my mind that I feel really compelled to change, so I don't bother "coming up" with something to change. But this year is different. This year I have two goals, and hopefully I can stick to them.

#1. Stop cursing.
I have a tendency to curse when I'm frustrated. Since I am often sleep-deprived anyways, it means I get frustrated more easily. But with all of my cursing, I notice that Jason has started cursing more too, and he never had before. Hearing it from his mouth makes me realize how ugly my mouth can sound. So that's why I am going to stop saying bad words! I reserve the right, however, to say a bad word if I bang my knee really hard against something or nearly miss an accident from some car that has swerved in front of me.

#2 Keep my house clean
I want to have a clean house. Period. I don't want to live in a messy house anymore. Not that our home was really so bad, but enough's enough of the always struggling to keep it clean. Now that we have a nice big space and there are spots to put everything, I want to keep it looking good.

So those are my resolutions!

Babies, Babies, Babies

Just this evening I got the kind of call that really warms my heart. A dad from my class called to let me know that he and his wife had just had their baby girl. He was so excited and delighted on the phone and it just makes me so happy to hear how joyful this new father is about his new baby and his wife's birth. I just love that phone call.

I always love getting the calls of the new babies that are born, and I love getting the picture updates and just sharing their joy. It makes me happy to know that the things they learned in class they feel helped them so that they could make good decisions for themselves.

Not everyone has a natural birth, but it surprises me that many do. But even the ones that don't still feel like they learned a lot and were able to feel confident with their choices. That's what it's all about, and I feel so much joy for all my moms and dads!

I am excited about this coming month because I have been invited to attend two births. This is new for me. I have only attended my own births! One couple from class approached me and asked if I would doula for them. I explained that I'm not really a doula, but to think of me more as a very-educated-about-birth friend. I also explained that I can't be away from my baby for more than 10 hours and they understand and are ok with that. We'll see what happens with this couple. She really isn't comfortable with her doctor or birthing environment at all, and I've explained to her that I can't guarantee anything. I really can't ensure that she won't have a c-section or anything else. I just don't have that power. All I can do for her and her husband is support them and be a sounding board and encourage her as she labors. Maybe do some massage or help in any other way. But I can't make decisions for them. I'm hopeful for this couple though. They are sweet people. I just hope they aren't disappointed in me!

The other gal whose birth I'm supposed to attend will be birthing with Lori at the birth center. She didn't really invite me. I more asked her if I could come! Anyways, she said that would be fine and I'm going to take pictures for her. I talked to Lori about this because I really wanted to be present at a birth in a low-stress situation before I start embarking on these more stressful hospital births. And since I don't have experience helping at births, I was hoping to "get my feet wet" with a birth that I know will go smoothly.

Anyways, I'm excited about this, and hopeful that I can be of some help.

On other birth news: Last month I got to attend a taping of Ricki Lakes' The Business of Being Born. It was an absolutely fantastic film that says all of the things I try and explain to people, but feel so inept when I try. It also made me feel happy because it portrayed a lot of midwife-attended home births. As I saw these ladies birthing it reminded me so much of my births and it filled me with joy to see "my story" on the big screen. The one part where the midwife herself is having a baby and she titles her video "Midwife Begs for Cesarean" really had me cracking up. Because yes, it hurt so bad, but it was and continues to be such a source of joy in my life. The joy WAY outweighs the pain!

I am hopeful that 2008 brings me more opportunities to work with couples and help educate them about the birth process. I love to hear that happy phone call!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jack Whiner

I think I should rename my son Jack Whiner. Jack for the constant jumping and Whiner for, well, all the whining. This kid complain, complain, complains all of the time whenever I try to set him down. In the car...WHAAAA! WHAAAA! WHAAAA! At home....Eh! Eh! Eh! EHHHH! The only time he's really happy is when I am sitting down and he is standing on my legs jumpy jumpy jump jump jumping. Then he's my happy guy. That's when I call him Jack. The rest of the time he's Whiner.

So what does this mean for me? It means my right arm is getting really strong from carrying him around all the time. And I can do an amazing amount of things with my left hand/arm, including but not limited to, getting Frannie up onto a public restroom potty while holding Adam in one of those dinky stalls.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My little Fran

My little Fran is almost 3 and lately she is so darn cute that I want to wrap her up and keep her this way forever. This is the time that I need to pop out that video camera because one day she won't be my tiny little girl anymore and I just need to remember how she is at this age.

First of all, she is SO talkative. And expressive. She has a facial expression for almost everything she says. It is almost impossible to describe it, I need to get it on video!

Here are some commonly heard phrases in my home:
"That's kind of silly"
"Daaaddy, gotta go peeee peee" (said from behind her bedroom door)
Indignant groan and shaking of head like "Oh, what are you doing?"
Dah! D dd dah! D dd Dah! (as she dances and prances on her bed with knees high and arms in the air)
Heavenly father, thank you for the family (This is her saying grace at dinnertime.)

These days she is copying me quite a bit and she'll point her finger at me and sternly tell me to "Listen! You have to listen to Frannie!" This always makes me laugh.

The one that really had me rolling the other morning was when she came into the dining area all disheveled and proclaimed "I'm the fairest one of all!" in her wicked witch voice.

It's just always something new with her. She's so funny and surprising with what she remembers and picks up. It amazes me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Survey

I copied this from my friend Lauren's blog: It looked like fun, so here it is!! I encourage you to send me your answers too!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? A little bit of both. Gift bags are certainly easier! But I like wrapping gifts too.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real, of course.

3. When do you put up the tree? I like putting it up about 3 weeks before Christmas. My favorite place to go for the tree is Starberry Farms because it is a quaint vegetable stand-type place and they sell large Douglas Firs for $24.99

4. When do you take the tree down? The day after Christmas I undecorate the whole house.

5. Do you like egg nog? No, not really.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A cabbage patch kid that was placed in the "basket" of a basketball hoop. It was my favorite gift because I honestly thought Santa brought it. My dad had taken Bryan and I to Disneyland on Christmas Eve and when we came home, there the gift was all put together in our living room. My father was with us the whole time at Disneyland so only Santa could have come to our house early to bring our present! Wow!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No, but I want one.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My mom. She doesn't want anything, and the things she wants are always really weird (hoe, front wheelbarrel wheel). Thankfully she requested some long sleeve shirts this year. That, I can do. [Hi Mom! I know you read this blog and I'm probably going to get heck for writing this one! I know you just want what you want and you don't want a bunch of stuff that you don't need.]

9. Easiest person to buy for? My grandma Lois, actually. She is easy because she and I like similar things, so if I see something that I like, then she'll probably like it too. And I don't feel pressure buying for her. Even if she doesn't like what I buy, she hids it so well that I don't know. She is just fun to buy for.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Must be mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? T-shirt with the Coca Cola label on the front. Except it didn't say Coca Cola, it said Come Caca. Which is particularly funny since I got it from my wonderful BIL who ALWAYS picks out the best gifts for me! Hey, you can't win 'em all!

12. Favorite Christmas movie? The Bishop's Wife

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I do a little shopping all year long. But I buy the bulk of my stuff during the Christmas season.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes. Particularly if there is going to be an annonymous gift exchange party.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Sweets in general.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like both, but lately I like clear twinkly ones better.

17. Favorite Christmas song? There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays sung by Karen Carpenter
Another one I like is "Oh Lonely Night When Christ Was Born" or maybe it's something else.
My favorite Christmas song to belt out in the house is We Three Kings.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. All the family is local!

19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Red bow

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve for my mom's side of the family. Christmas morning for immediate family and then over to Dad's side for Christmas breakfast and more presents. Then over to Jason's side for Christmas dinner and more presents.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That they start marketing stuff too soon. It seems like Costco is pulling out the Christmas stuff earlier and earlier every year.

23. Favorite ornament? A little pink beaded ballerina one that my mom has in a box somewhere in her garage.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Mom's dinner of course!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Well, I already got my house.

We're Finally In

Well, we're finally in and moved! I'll post some pictures as soon as I can. I haven't written in a little while since we've been so busy and I just got internet access again a few days ago. This whole thing is such a dream come true for us. Pics forthcoming!