Friday, November 25, 2011

What's going on?

I guess when your children are young, everything is soooooo busy. There is so much to do in life. There are so many things I want my children to experience, and a lot of these things they can and should only do when they are children. Really, can they go trick or treating when they are big teenage boys? Would they really be interested in starting piano lessons when they are teenagers? Maybe, but will we have money for the lessons in ten years. Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, I feel like I'm racing against the clock to make sure my kids do all they can while they can. I try to not be overly stressed about it though. There is only so much we can afford, and only so much we have time for. We took the kids out past Delta, Utah to dig for trilobites. We were quite successful but we found out that one of our children didn't like it. He wasn't too good at perservering, especially when he saw that other people were finding more than he was. I was so mad that we'd drivin so far so he could have this experience and he ended up hating it. But of course my husband talked some sense to me and reminded me that our job as parents is to expose them to things. If they like it, great. If they don't, they don't. There's nothing we can do to force them to like something. I hate shrimp! There's nothing anyone can do to make me like it. I wish my son liked hunting for trilobites, but he doesn't. Oh well. I'll live.

This particular child received a rock tumbler last Christmas. A really nice rock tumbler. He finally pulled it out and threw some dusty rocks into it. You can see them at the beginning of this post. I couldn't figure out how to move the picture down to this part. Anyway, I was really impressed with how they turned out. At least he likes to tumble rocks. Who wouldn't? They turned out so nice and smooth and pretty. I remember the yearly road trips my family and I would take from California to Utah every year. We'd have to stop for gas several times throughout the trip. In the Sierra Nevadas and in Nevada. In the gas stations and casinos, where my dad would sometimes stop to throw away his money, there would almost always be a big box of gems and geodes and things of that nature. You could fill a little leather bag full of the "treasure" and feel like you owned a bit of the Old West. I saw my kids burying their hands in piles and piles of polished rocks at the "This is the Place" monument in Salt Lake City. I understand that desire. I used to love the feel of smooth, polished rocks.

Halloween came finally. After four years out of the country, we were finally able to celebrate this holiday in the USA. My husband told me, "If you go into labor on Halloween, I'll be so mad!" I was a bit worried that I might screw it up for everyone. Fortunately, our baby stayed put and I was able to experience the stress only a mother feels, the day before Halloween. I think I should now be grateful that I've been out of the country for four years. It's saved me from having to scramble around finding costumes for my kids who become more demanding every day. I think I bought my first Halloween costume this year because I didn't want to "deal with it". I did, however, make my four year old's costume because he wanted to be R2D2 and I saw a really cool R2D2 helmet that a girl made online. I copied it and he was very pleased. They got tons of candy and I guess in the end I was happy for them. I remember the day after Halloween when I was a kid. My brothers and I would always get together and have a big trading time in front of the TV. I'm sure most American kids whose parents let them eat candy did too. Why keep a Baby Ruth if your brother wants to give you his skittles?

Our baby girl finally came on the 2nd of November. I won't bore anyone with the whole story. In short, she came on her own, she came quickly, and we have all adjusted nicely to this new addition. Her name is Helen Kleio McCollum. I know, it's not unique enough. But for us, it is. Helen of Troy is pretty unique, and Kleio is the Muse of History. Google it.

Plus, Helen of Troy and Hector of Troy were brother and sister in law (if you consider Helen and Paris husband and wife, which they weren't really) Hector, as you see above, is growing nicely. Especially in the chin area. He and his little sister will get along wonderfully we hope. Here he is reading train books with daddy. His favorite word is "Choo choo".

What a pair! Atticus and Sherman started piano lessons back in September and they are learning so much. They had their first piano recital last week and did great.

Helen made her first friend around her three week mark. What she likes about R2D2 is that he's soft, he likes to beep, and he stays in one place. Cinci is nice enough to share him with her.

Here's my nephew eating by himself at Thanksgiving. All the other kids were running around the church playing games and trying not to scream too loud. For the last four years we've celebrated Thanksgiving abroad. I think while we were in Turkey we didn't even celebrate it once. We were so poor I didn't have the energy nor means to do anything different than we normally did which was make a meal with what we already had in the little fridge. I don't even think a bird the size of a turkey would have fit in the fridge we had at the time. In Qatar the first year we celebrated famously. I remember I was pregnant with Hector, the kids wove placemats, and we bought orange plastic chalices to drink from. I made two whole chickens instead of a turkey and we drank shirley temples. It was very fun and the kids enjoyed it a lot. We actually talked about what we were grateful for before we took our first bites. Then last year in Qatar I made our family eat only the things they had to eat on the Mayflower for three days before Thanksgiving. Then we went to the meal that the church planned and had Thanksgiving dinner there. My kids didn't enjoy it as much as the previous year but I think they were grateful they could eat whatever they wanted again. This year there were so many festivities going on that I couldn't arrange to have the three days before Thanksgiving be devoted only to the Mayflower diet. We only did one day and that was enough. I made up another batch of hard tack, we ate our oatmeal made with water (yuck), and instead of frying fish fillets for everyone, most of us had fish sticks. I even splurged and let those who wanted lemon have it on their fish. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with our family. Aunt Wendy, who isn't really my aunt but my sister in law, went all out as usual. She loves to cook and try new recipes. Every obscure word involved with cooking or names of foods that are rarely eaten in the United States I learned from her. I suppose she deserves a special nickname. Perhaps "Sunset Lady" would be okay. I'll have to consult my husband for more ideas. Anyway, because of Sunset Lady, we did not have to slave away in the kitchen that day. We arrived at the church, which is where we had our meal, and everything was already there. Perfect! It was nice to be around family for a change.

Here's Great Grandma Hill with little Helen. There are 92 years in between these two ladies. Words can't express what thoughts come to mind when I look at this picture (and I'm not trying to be sappy). I guess I'll let the picture speak for itself.


Aimee said...

Oh, that last picture brings tears to my eyes! Soooo precious. And congratulations on your beautiful new baby girl. Helen is a lovely, lovely name.

Lindsay RC Wilson said...

I was just thinking about you a couple of days ago since I knew a little baby would have joined you by now. Welcome, Helen!

Love reading your update and all the fun things you are exposing your children to. Someday, I will share an update as well.

Sunny said...

I love the name Helen! She is beautiful!

Gayle said...

Hi Christine! Looking forward to seeing you soon. Don't I remember Don saying that the Uinta mountains in Utah are prime dinosaur-hunting territory?