dad

Blessed


blessing

Nathan blessed Dominic in church today and little man was very reverent. This time, I remembered to take pictures (unlike Christmas, but I suppose I blame that on being really sleepy after a very rough night). Mom and Dad Elkins are up here for the week for the holidays and to spend time with their new grandson. We love having plenty of family time and have been lucky enough to get that on both sides of our family this holiday. I am sure that I take for granted how fabulous my family and in-laws are. I am one lucky girl, but mostly I feel happy that Dominic will grow up with such amazing aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Hopefully we trick him into thinking that his parents are pretty amazing, too.

blessing2

A few thoughts on the day for my future reference:

I was worried this morning that I wouldn’t be able to “schedule” things correctly. Dominic nursed at 9:30 so that would mean he’d be hungry around 12:30 and the meeting started at 12:50. It’s funny, I suppose, the things that you worry about as a first-time mom. Maren came over a little after 11:00 so that I could jump in the shower while Dom took a nap, then he woke up around noon just as Mom and Dad Elkins arrived with Aunt Janeen. I nursed him while Mom helped get things together for me and then get Dom dressed in his little white outfit after he finished. By the time we got to church, he was a content little boy, which was superb because he’s been quite fussy this last week regardless of how well fed he is or diapers changed or well slept.

I was a little sad that some of my family wasn’t able to be there (because of sickness and being out of town), but the small circle of priesthood holders that stood next to Nathan were plenty and men that we love. Not every little boy gets to have both of his grandpa’s holding him for his blessing so that made me happy. After his blessing, Laura came up and sat next to me on the bench and held him, wrapped tightly, sleeping. Like I said, Dominic is blessed to come to an amazing family and because of a recent phone conversation, having my cousin Laura come and sit next to me for part of the meeting was quite appreciated.

After the blessing, for the sacrament meeting, we had several youth speakers and a “missionary farewell”, but they finished quite early so Brian, the first counselor, asked me to share my testimony. As I walked up to the podium, I was pretty nervous. I definitely rambled while I stood up there, but hopefully I shared a little bit of what I was thinking about this Christmas with becoming a mother. I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary. I have such a new perspective of her now. We often focus so much on the baby Jesus at Christmas, which, of course, is the right thing to do as He is the Savior. But, I know now, really, so much more about the incredible role that Mary played and how difficult her calling was. Raising a child–raising your first child– is not easy. At least, it’s not for me. It hurts. It’s exhausting. It’s emotional. I am so thankful that I don’t do this alone. And now, I have so much more awe for Mary and her sacrifice to bear the Savior and raise him in righteousness–with Joseph’s help.

After the meeting, Mick and Tracy hosted for food. Great Grumma Campbell gave the opening prayer and we are all very happy to have her there after time spent in the hospital just after Thanksgiving this year. Really, it’s been a bit of a tough Thanksgiving-Christmas for family members with hospital trips, car accidents and a beloved aunt with a cancer diagnosis. It reminds me that we live in a very imperfect world and sometimes I wonder why we said yes to how difficult this would be. But then I can remember all of the positives that we have in this life as well. As difficult as it has been to be pregnant, bear a child, figure out how to nurse, rarely sleep, cry and feel frustrated or worried, it really is amazing just to look at Dominic and think, “wow, he’s mine.” I know that I’m the mom, but I think he’s mighty handsome. If we didn’t have the darkness, we wouldn’t realize how bright it is when in the light.

 

My First Elkins Christmas


Last year, Nathan and I shared our first Christmas, but we were a few days short of being married so I slept at my parents, then drove over to our condo to exchange gifts. It was so nice this year to wake up next to him for our first married Christmas.

I could go on and on about everything that we did to celebrate, include all sorts of details and go off on tangents, but then this blog would be too long for Nathan to read 🙂

Instead, here’s the summarized list of a beautiful Christmas:

  • Having a real pine tree in the house smelled festive.
  • Dinner on Christmas Eve with Ryan, Laura and Bears was tasty, relaxing, and fun to open gifts from them and Mom & Dad.
  • I’m really blessed to have such wonderful in-laws (besides giving great gifts, they’re also just great people that I love spending time with).
  • Christmas morning, Nathan and I opened gifts from each other and everything was just what we needed.
  • My favorite part of Christmas was going to church–Nathan spoke in our ward and brought the spirit to the meeting, then I had the chance to accompany my Mom who was a special guest playing an arrangement of Silent Night on the violin. Mom, Dad, Grumma, Pete, Genny, and Cat all came to our ward with us so we shared the meeting with family as well as ward family.
  • After church, we went home to wrap gifts and call Mom and Dad Elkins to wish them Merry Christmas in Texas!
  • Sunday afternoon was the traditional lunch at Grumma’s where she served lil’ smokies on an orange because we all told her it wouldn’t be Christmas without them! The great grandkids had a blast with a white elephant and then the grandkids (which includes me and Nathan) received a special book this year that Grumma made for us. I love it.
  • Christmas evening was with my parents and the entire family where we spent a long time opening presents because of the number of people exchanging gifts we got for each other. Good thing we draw names so we’re not opening even more gifts. Grumma would just love that.
  • At times, the get togethers would get really loud with so many people in one room and so many excited children, but it reminded me of something Nathan told me he’d been thinking about in preparation for his talk: that when Jesus was born, we sing about it being a Silent Night, however, it probably wasn’t silent at all up in heaven. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that I at least tried out for the choir of angels who sang at his birth 🙂

Thanksgiving Confession: I Ate Sugar


You knew, didn’t you? You knew that I couldn’t quit sugar during the holidays. But you didn’t say anything. You just waited… knowing.

I ate sugar on Thanksgiving. So kill me. And do you know that it tasted delicious? Deeeeee.lish.us.

It is NOT physically possible to turn down Grumma’s pumpkin pie.

And Maren made pear pie. That’s just fun to say. Try it. Pear pie. Great. Now, EAT IT. Yum!

This year, we celebrated at my parents’ home, even though Mom was dealing with some major jaw/tooth pain and swelling. We had no idea until we showed up at the house, though.

Nathan and I walked in, bearing food, the house smelled like a feast, we waltzed into the kitchen and surprise, Mom’s face is swollen.

And yet, the turkey’s nearly done, the table’s set, and the buffet of goodness is spread in bowls along the kitchen counters. This is where you look around, holding your measly one appetizer and one bowl of mashed potatoes and say, “oh, we could have helped if we’d known.” Thankfully Grumma helped them.

Here are a few pics of the tasty event:

Prosciutto-wrapped crudités as an appetizer. And it’s my fault the olive oil isn’t nicely drizzled, but looks like it leaked out of random stalks of broccoli.

Mern and Dustin eating very small amounts (don’t you think?) at their first of two Thanksgiving dinners.

Check out the purple plates—more appropriately they should be called platters. The larger the more food you can pile on. And so many pretty colors, Margie King would be proud!

Yay family! Me, Nathan, Grumma (hiding), Mom (hiding her swollen jaw), James, Grandma, Dustin and Mern. Dad took the pic and look, his plate’s already been licked clean, he was THAT hungry.

Larrie’s DEEP Thoughts On Phones


I just read an article summarizing some info on a published report from a bunch of scientists regarding their findings on cell-phone radiation risk. (Wow, that sentence was chalk full of prepositional phrases.)

This is the article, for any inquiring minds: Details emerge on possible cell-phone radiation risk.

Basically, they say that there is a link between cell-phone use and brain tumors, but not sufficient study to really prove it. Or something like, “it might kill you, it might not.” Well done, scientists. GROUNDBREAKING report.

After reading it, I started thinking about phones in general. I realize that I have a lot of phone memories. Ah, the good ol’ days.

It all started, as far as I can remember, when I was in preschool. I had a handful of phone numbers memorized: Grandma Campbell, Grandma DeeDee, Aunt Jane and Dad’s work number. I remember one time climbing up on to the kitchen counter so that I could call one of those people for a chat. Apparently, I liked chatting on the phone at a young age.

We moved into a bigger house when I was in kindergarten and one of my favorite new features there were the BUZZERS. There were these tiny buttons by all of the phone jacks in the house and when you pressed it, it buzzed. For however LONG you pressed it. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I can’t imagine why my parents had those removed. Why wouldn’t you want buzzers all over the house when you have six children and all of their friends coming and going? I vaguely remember that before we had them removed, we were assigned a number so you could tell somebody that the phone was for them. If you answered and it was one of Pete’s friends, you buzzed 5 times. Then nobody picked up because Pete was in the middle of conquering The Legend of Zelda.

One day, we had a new feature on our phones and the world opened up to more prank call options. We could make three-way calls. What a beautiful thing. We would call up a friend’s house, their older sister would answer and we’d bumble through an intro, “Hi, how are you? I was calling for… oh wait… sorry… the other line is beeping… one second.” Then, we’d call up another friend’s house, wait for them to answer—“Hello?”—and then connect them to the first friend’s house. “Hello?” “Hello?” “Can I help you?” “What? You called me.” “No I didn’t.” “Yes, huh.” “Nuh, uh.” “Yes WAY.” “No WAY.”

We were so funny.

And then they invented caller ID. Game over.

On to college, my freshman year we had to set up our phone in the kitchen so the voicemail had all 6 of our names on it. Each week we would record a new voicemail message, trying to be funnier than the previous one. Apparently though, none of them were memorable because, well, I don’t remember any of them. I do remember our “Kissing Wall” though. It was rather blank.

Maren and I both got our first cell phones for Christmas in 2000. Mine was blue, hers was red and they were the awesome, bulky Nokia 5100 phones. They came with a game, too… I was SO good at snake after an incredibly boring Astronomy class at SLCC. But I used the phone too much. When I’d call my friends, we’d chat for an hour or more and then make plans and then call more friends to add to those plans. One month, I went WAY over. I didn’t have a clue, though, because I didn’t see previous phone bills and never knew how much I was talking.

So I painted the basement and the laundry room to “pay back” my Dad for the phone bill. I think it took me an entire month. The basement family room alone is practically the size of mine and Nathan’s condo. And there were some precarious balancing acts to get the walls above the stairwell leading up to the laundry room.

Okay, I’ll stop there. Well, maybe I’ll add just one more. Eventually, I had this phone that would talk to me. Meaning: it would announce who was calling or texting. “Me-ssage frooom Kas-ey Chi-ild.” My favorite was when it would say either a call or a text from “Nathan.” I really should have used that phone to make those texts or calls even better like, “Me-ssage frooom hot-t-t boy-friend,” and “Call frooom hott-ie mc-hott-ie feee-ahn-say.”

Episode 79: 15 Seconds To Save A Tree


There are six garbage cans in our office. Two for each of us (which means, for all you people out there that struggle with math, there are three of us sharing our office): one black one for garbage and one blue one for recycling. The recycling cans have stickers on them to tell us what can be recycled: yes to plastic bottles, but no to the lids. It’s one of the ways that our company tries to be “green.”

I recently heard from a reliable source about a company that had the recycling cans for their employees as well. At the end of the day, though, it all went into the same can.

I haven’t followed the cleaning crew to see where OUR recycling ends up.

When I was in elementary school, I had a debate teacher that was going to teach us all how to save the world. I went home and told my Dad he needed to recycle. I even suggested that he should pray about it. I was very serious.

Today, I have zero recycling cans in my home. I know. I’m terrible. But we only have a big dumpster in the parking lot for garbage, no recycling dumpster. So if I tried to recycle, I’d have to take it to my parents or to work. I get too much junk mail to drag that with me to work each week.

We received a company-wide email the other week. It was pleading with all employees that go to the bathroom at work. It begged folks to use the hand dryers instead of paper towels. “It only takes 15 seconds to save a tree.” You mean to tell me that when I use one of those scratchy paper towels, I kill a tree? We are not very efficient with our trees then.

Also, have you actually used those high-speed dryers? They’re so loud that I lose my hearing for a good 26 seconds after using them and then have to deal with a ringing in my ears for the next several hours. They need to give us noise-reducing headphones in order to use those safely.

Saving trees is dangerous stuff.

Simply an Account of the Weekend


I need to make new headers for these entries. It’s not so much Larrie’s World anymore as it is The World O’ The Elkins, or something. Turns out, I am selfish with my blog headers. Honestly.

Having a sick husband is no fun. It’s no fun because, when it’s the flu, there’s really little I can do to help him feel better. Feeling helpless, I tell you, is not my favorite feeling.

When I’m sick, it’s all I can do to get out of bed. I have a high pain tolerance for things like sprained ankles or dislocations, but feeling sick really puts me down in the dumps. I would have had a hard time feeling well enough to still go out to the movies if I had the flu. But my husband is a trooper.

Quick update for you of our sick-with-the-flu weekend:

  • I’m a mean wife so I made Nathan go to the clinic to see the doc. The verdict: the flu. The treatment: rest, fluids, ibuprofen, time.
  • We watched The Social Network at home on Friday night—pretty good movie where somehow, you end up feeling bad at the end of it for one of the youngest billionaires.
  • Saturday: slept in. Ah.
  • That afternoon, I went to a bridal shower for a girlfriend and as she opened gifts, I kept thinking, “oh good luck figuring out what store they bought that from to try and return it.” Makes it sound like we returned tons of gifts, but really only a few. Those few just happened to be from unknown stores or, perhaps, something they’d kept in storage for perhaps a decade just waiting for a wedding to take it to. Maybe 🙂
  • Made a list of things to do on the little whiteboard on the fridge, but didn’t get around to it. Things to do in the evenings this week instead now.
  • Fell asleep watching the documentary, Kicking It. Did YOU know that there is a homeless world cup? I just kept thinking, how stinky would those players be after their games? Oh dear.
  • Met up with Maren, Dustin, Mom and Dad for a “high class” date that started with food court dinner, then watching the movie, Rango (my review: random, really random), followed by sharing McDonald’s fries back in the food court before going home to bed.
  • Sunday, sat in really uncomfortable chairs for Stake Conference, but Elder Keetch told some really interesting stories for his message. I stayed awake the entire time. It’s tough to do when the chairs get uncomfortable sometimes.
  • Made some Belgian waffles for lunch and did not like the batter recipe. Maybe it was foggy out and that messed up whatever I did to mix it all together. We ate them anyway and Nathan was an extra kind husband and cleaned up the dishes.
  • Sunday afternoon nap. Ah.
  • Birthday dinner for Emma! Mick and Tracy provided delicious barbacoa pork salads for dinner and we finished that off with homemade tollhouse pie, also delicious, and Maren’s creation.

Wow, we still did so much despite Nathan feeling so sick. See how nice he is? Still doing all of these things we have on our schedule because he wants to make his wife happy? I’m a lucky duck.

Happy Birthday Hubby!


We celebrated Nathan’s birthday on Friday. He started his day by getting up at the butt-crack-of-dawn (can somebody tell me the origin of that phrase?) to get ready for another fabulous day of teaching and I am pretty sure that I made him a lunch (it’s hard to remember anything before 7:00 am).

I spent much of his birthday at home with my laptop sending emails and doing other work-y things in order to earn my paycheck. For my lunch break, I went to the store to buy dinner.

Tangent here (surprise): it’s a bit of a daunting task cooking Nathan a birthday dinner. I couldn’t let him cook his own, though, and for some reason, I just didn’t think it would be as intimate if we went out to eat somewhere. I consider myself an able cook, but I know that my husband easily surpasses me in that skill. From what I can currently tell, though, I am still competitive with him in the baking category. Phew.

Tangent done.

Back to birthday celebrations.

After work ended for the both of us, we were at home while I finished up the cooking and, after being pressed, let Nathan help out some.

Then Jennie brought her fabulous little crazies over to wish Uncle Nate happy birthday and they brought drawings for him. Beautiful little creations. The drawings and the children. And my husband.

Shortly after they left we ate the birthday dinner. The menu consisted of grilled NY steaks, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower and green beans with pancetta. Mmm, pancetta. I cannot for the life of me recall what we had to drink. Pink Powerade? It’s possible.

I made a total mess in the kitchen, between all of the cake making, garlic chopping, pancetta dicing, cooking, frying and waltzing.

I had all sorts of good intentions to clean it all up before the cake and ice cream party, but I didn’t quite get around to it. Instead, we just ignored the full sink as family showed up: Dad, Mick, Tracy, Emma, Abe, Jane, Kate, Ryan, Locke, Maren and Dustin. It was a good sized gathering for our little condo.

Pogi hid most of the time.

Scaredy cat.

The cake turned out nice and moist (everyone’s favorite word) although according to Abe, it was “really rich.” Some of the kids washed down their cake and ice cream with popsicles.

Eventually, Kate went and found Pogi who surprisingly was happy to play with her and the feathered stick she waved about for him.

Little Locke made the most noise. He must have realized that it would take a lot of effort to be heard over the older children. You have to really fight for attention when there are Campbells around.

Eventually we said goodbye to family only to meet up with many of them again on Sunday night for dinner at Mom and Dad’s and more birthday cake. The family sang a rousing happy birthday (as always), we enjoyed red velvet cake, and then everybody took turns telling Nathan all of his amazing qualities.

At first, I thought it was a strange family tradition which we started only in the last few years. We go around the room and each person says something nice about the birthday person. Seemed like forced compliments, right? Turned out, though, everyone was actually sincere (with only a few random jokes tossed in for the sake of balancing out the cheesiness), and we’ve kept up the tradition since then.

I wonder if it surprises my parents ever that their kids actually like each other. Thinking back on all of the fights, punching, kicking sand in faces, broken bones, stitches, and banisters yanked out of the wall, it might seem a bit surprising.

Anyway, I loved hearing what everybody had to say about the birthday boy. Sometimes, my family really is quite nice.

Happy Birthday, Nathan! Lucky me to be married to such a young hottie.