Feliz Natal

(I know, it's been forever, but that's beside the point.)

We're headed out tomorrow for the traditional holiday trek to Utah (even with a Winter Storm Warning in effect, because that's the way we roll), but I just wanted to take a minute and say ...



There Was a Little Girl...*

*WARNING: This post is extreme Mommy Blogging. Meant mostly for grandparents and Doubting Thomases of the familial sort. You know who you are.

My daughter, who shall remain named, Ruby, has two moods and two moods only. She is either the best thing around or the ... well, I don't want to actually say, "the worst," so let's just say ... the opposite of the best.

Unfortunately, whenever we leave the comforts of home she tends to clam up, whine a lot, and cling to me, therefore greatly reducing her ability to showcase her warm and cuddly side.

I present this video as proof to my family members who believe Ruby to be a cross, whiney, near-mute.

p.s. If you stick it out to the end, you'll be rewarded with a semi-nude chubby baby.


And So It Begins...

It snowed today. My kids wanted to go out and play in it. Contrary to my sometimes cranky and lazy parenting style, I got them ready and let them loose.

They loved it.

While watching them play, I felt sad for the time thinking of Henry going to all-day Kindergarten next year. We won't have days like this. Ruby won't have anyone crazy enough
(and old enough, Abram still won't count yet this time next year) to go out and play in the soggy snow with. It made me sad. And made my heart hurt a little to think this boy will spending so much time away from us next year ...

But he took serious advantage of it.

Do you think he's somehow aware of his limited stay-home-and-play-in-the-snow days?

As for this girl, once she managed to pull her attention away from her graham cracker (this girl is OBSESSED with food!) ...

... she got into it a little more ...

... and then sweet release!!!


If this doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what will...

(I think I love this so much because it seems like something my brothers would do.)


What A Difference Being the Third Child Makes

When Henry was six weeks old, we kicked him out of our room. We (mostly Scott) were afraid that he'd get too accustomed to sleeping in our room.

When he was four months, his doctor told me I could let him cry through the night.
(That's right, I'm one of those people.) So four months on the day, I steeled myself for a night of hell. It sort of was, truth be told. As usual, he started crying about three hours after going to bed. I went in to comfort him briefly after 5 minutes (without actually touching him, doctor's orders), then waited another 10 minutes, then 20, then 40, etc. And all the while, I sat outside his door "reading" a book, like a sentinel, trying to brave it out with him, every step of the way. I was dedicated. I stuck to it. And every pathetic whine broke my heart.

At 6 months on the nose I started him on cereal, waited two weeks, and slowly began introducing green veggies, then orange ones, and finally fruit (Heaven forbid the boy taste bananas before sweet potatoes), after consulting with my doctor and talking to all friends and sisters to get their input on the best way to introduce food.

For his first year I was pretty "by the book." It was for the best after all.


Fast forward four years. At six
months old, I started considering moving Abram out of our room. He's my baby, could be my last (according to my husband, bah humbug), so I'm hanging on to this one. After regressing in the sleep department I finally decided he might need to go it alone at night. The first night I tried I'm pretty sure he was the tiniest bit congested. Oh well. I'd rather bring him into my bed anyway.

But then I got serious after another week of bad sleep. He was healthy. He was getting chubbier every day ... all systems go, little man. He woke up at 2 so I walked upstairs, consoled him a little (don't tell my old doctor I actually touched him) and left the room. I turned on the bathroom fan to muffle his sad crying (more whining than actual crying), came downstairs, and thought, "Poor little guy. I know I'll just lay here straining to hear every noise he ........ zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

People, I lasted like 5 seconds. I'm not kidding. We didn't hear another thing from Abe until 9 in the morning.

And then there's the food. I haven't even started it.


What a Difference a Day Makes

5 years ago today God gave me the greatest gift: motherhood.

I became a mother on September 15th, 2004 at 6:57 in the morning. I still remember suddenly realizing I was alone in my room only 30 minutes after Henry was born. He had inhaled meconium during his delivery and was rushed to the NICU right after. Naturally, I sent Scott to follow him.

The sun had come up and spread a beautiful light over my room and I became overwhelmed. I felt like God had hand-delivered a gift to me that day. And then, at last, I cried.

I didn't get to really see him for a few hours and when I did, I cried again. I couldn't believe he was mine. I had this
overwhelming desire to take him out of his NICU bassinet and run (or waddle) away. I believed that all he needed was me but I KNEW that all I truly needed was him.

1 Year Old

2 Years Old

3 Years Old

4 Years Old

5 Years Old

I love you Henry Murdock!


And the Winner Is ......!

Comment #3 -- CLAIRE!


To all of you who didn't win ... I'm feeling kind of generous tonight so I put the numbers in again and got a second winner ...

Comment #21 --

Congrats to you too!

And now to the rest of you who didn't win, I'm still feeling generous (it's probably only because my kids are in bed and I'm feeling relaxed) and have decided to give you all a 10% discount on any of my hats in my Etsy shop!

So go to janehenry.etsy.com, place an order, in the "message to seller" box tell me the size and color you want and mention the Giveaway Loser Discount (lol!), and then I'll refund you the difference after the order goes through. Also, shipping is free right now in my shop so you're not going to get a much better deal than that!

I really wish I could just give you all one but a girl's gotta make a little money to live in a town this expensive!
But thank you all for playing my little game -- I had so much fun!!!

Please come visit my Etsy shop and get yourself something cute!

Claire and Mandy, email me at celia_christensen@hotmail.com and tell me which hat you would like, what color and size, and where to send it!

Thanks again ladies!

(Just so you know, I went to Random.org to get the winning numbers. I tried to "print screen" to show you the actual result but my keyboard has never been able to do that -- so you'll just have to trust me.)


Oh, the Humanity!

Today as I was pulling out of my parking spot while running errands, an elderly man patiently waited in his car for my not-so-petite minivan to get out of his way. He smiled as he waited and then smiled and waved again as I drove past him. I just drove away thinking, "What a cute old man!"

This afternoon I found out the ski shop in Idaho Falls where I used to work has decided to take a chance on me and ordered quite a few of my hats for their store this winter.

And so, I feel like I need to pass along the good karma I've received from other human beings today, to you, all three of my readers.

Finally, the Giveaway!

I will be giving away one of my hats to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is leave me a comment. I'm not going to make you do anything because I hate those giveaways where you have to add someone's button to your blog, or tell them something funny, or jump through any type of hoop.

Just leave me a comment. That's it. The winner, who will be chosen at random, gets to choose any of my hats which can be found in my Etsy shop: janehenry.etsy.com.

p.s. Only two comments per person, please. Don't be greedy.

Now, get commenting and win yourself a cute hat! Maybe this one:

Or this, for all you ski bunnies out there!
p.p.s. I will "close" the comments on Monday evening at 9 p.m. (MST). So get 'er done before then!


Resting from our Labors

Last weekend we went to the cabin for some serious fun and relaxation. The weather was absolutely perfect, the fattening sweets were abundant, and the company was first rate. Plus, we packed in the activities.

For starters, we were able to pull out our riding boots, strap on our spurs and become a little more familiar with the equine species. Henry was in hog, or
horse, heaven.

Abram was all, "Pants? You wusses insist on putting on pants to ride horses? I go pant-less, not to mention, I don't even wear shoes."

The horses were such a huge hit, even Grouchy Girl got on one. Doesn't she look thrilled?

We celebrated Henry's birthday a week early with the grandparents. That kid is so freaking spoiled!

One of his presents was a batting tee. After a little coaching from softball pro, Aunt Kate, both the kids were hitting like all-stars ... at least Henry was, Ruby ... not so much.

This one's outta here!!!

Ruby's problem was keeping her eyes open. Who knew it was difficult to hit the ball with closed eyes?

Ruby did have a sweet pair of binoculars though. Maybe she should have used those while hitting.

Poor Abram. There's nothing more degrading than being put in a baby doll stroller.

On Monday we went for what was supposed to be a leisurely hike in Yellowstone Park along the Bechler River. However, only 2 1/2 minutes into the hike, while carrying a sleepy, whiny Ruby, I pulled a pretty classic move and totally tripped! People, I fell on my face. HARD! All I can say is, our little faceplant did little to improve Ruby's whining.

At least the rest of the hike was beautiful.

His father's son, a natural hiker.

After getting over the fall, I'm pretty sure Ruby didn't even notice the beautiful scenery. She was mostly there for the licorice.


and a p.p.s.

Sorry for the delay but the huge, fantastical, awesome, unbelievable Giveaway has been postponed until next week.

Not to kill the suspense but maybe to garner a little more interest, here's a sneak peek of what it could entail ...

or a little something like this ...

(The hat, not the boy. Sorry. He is awfully cute.)


Killing Me Softly

Disclaimer: I stole this post title from my sister whose pop culture reference is quite obvious.

Another post about Ruby. I can't help it. The girl is seriously killing me. It's true what people say, "Cuteness has saved a lot of kids." And boy it couldn't be any more true than it is with Ruby. She's a few months shy of turning three but the Terrible Twos are in FULL FORCE.

It's like awful foreshadowing of what her teenage years are going to be like. I simply can't do anything right by her. She wants to do everything for herself, freaks out when she can't, and then freaks out when I help her. And heaven forbid I try and do anything with her hair.
(Mark my words, one day she will look at old photos and say, "How could you let me go out looking like a homeless ragamuffin? Seriously, could you at least have tried to do something with my hair?" When she asks this, I will stare at her long and hard and then walk away. It's probably best that way.)

One day when I did manage to get pigs in her hair, she cried for over an hour, and walked around almost the whole day with her shoulders hunched like this:

She is a drama queen. Even worse, she's a paranoid drama queen. The other day while making dinner and holding Abram, I told Ruby she couldn't have another snack and she absolutely lost it. All of the sudden she yells, "IT'S! NOT! FUNNY! ABRAM!" I look down to see him just smiling and kicking his chubby little legs at her. Poor little lamb, so misunderstood.

When we were in Utah a few weeks ago we went to Lagoon with all of my siblings and their spouses (with the exception of my brother Spencer). Our group was HUGE! Of course we had to get the token pic of all the cousins together and you know how most kids have no concept of personal space? It's like they can't get close enough to each other? Well, which one of these kids is not like the other?

(Ava, Ellie, Abram, Henry, Max, Paige, Olivia, Brooke, Gabi, Ian, Christian, Ezra, Taylor, Cameron,
Kate, and ... oh wait, could that last little girl be Ruby? That's odd.)

Ruby has this thing about getting too close to other people ... obviously.

Ruby does NOT try new things. Henry was never a dare devil, per se, but Ruby is ridiculous. Seriously? You won't go on the little boat ride at Lagoon? We should have known this was never going to work...

She's a packrat. One day she was walking around with a nail file, my empty glasses case, her doll, and a toothbrush travel case. I asked her what she was doing and she matter-of-factly responded with, "I'm just carrying this stuff around." Well okay, as long as I know what the game plan is ...

She's still the queen of random accessories. The other day with a perfectly adorable dress she was wearing one cowboy boot on the wrong foot and a Disney princess snow hat. Then today I came outside to find her wearing ...

... Henry's bike helmet ... backwards.

If nothing else, this girl is full of surprises.


and a P.S.

Pssst!! Stay tuned for a giveaway sometime later this week.

(Yes, I do realize my blog isn't a big enough deal to be entitled to do "giveaways" but I'm doing it anyway. That's the way I roll.)

The Greatest Great Grandma

Our kids have one great grandma, Scott's Grandma Mary. She is perhaps the funniest, spunkiest, most sarcastic one of them all. Have I talked about Grandma Mary before? All you need to know is: she's funny and Scott's family ADORES her. But seriously, how could they not? Just to give you an example of her wit and humor, here's what she said one day as we were getting off the phone:

Me: Okay, tell Grandpa Hal we said hello and we love him.
Gma Mary: If I'm still speaking to him. Good-bye dear.

On one of our many trips to Utah this summer my kids and I drove down to Beaver to spend the day with Grandma Mary and Grandpa Hal. It was a surprise visit so it was really fun to just pull up and see the confused looks on their faces. Of course, Mary was thrilled to finally meet her newest great grandson who is particularly special to her because he was named after her father, Abram (Abe) Murdock, the great Democratic Senator from Beaver, Utah. He was so great, in fact, he had a post office named after him.

Proud Great Grandma Mary and Baby Abe with his very own Beaver, Utah t-shirt.

Great Grandpa Hal was also a big fan of the little guy.

With the lovely Grandma Sharon

Mary couldn't get over Henry either. He handled the repeated hugs, kisses, and cheek pinching very well.

Could this be any sweeter?

And where was Ruby during all the hugs and kisses? Hiding on her Aunt Becca's lap. When I finally made her get close to someone other than Becca or Sharon, this is how she reacted:

(Good thing they love her just the same!)

Of course we couldn't take Baby Abe to Beaver without taking him to his very own post office. How many kids have their own post offices?

I love this last picture. You can see how proud both Mary and Hal are of their family members who came before and the ones carrying the torch on. Mary takes such pride in her father's name and his heritage as well as her own children and their families. She got emotional quite a few times saying, "I can't believe you named him Abe." I'm so thankful to know Mary and that she loves my children.

Isn't it nice when other people love your children too?



We went camping last weekend. Abram's a whopping four months and not sleeping through the night, so why not?

The good news: Scott made dinner, the kids slept well, the scenery was beautiful, the kids had fun, and Ruby invented the word "campouting."

The bad news: my pictures turned out dark (could somebody teach me how to use my camera already?!? or at least make me put in the effort to correct them in Photoshop?!?!), Scott and I slept like shiz, we were exhausted when we got home, and Ruby got a mosquito bite on her bottom eyelid (which is notable enough to make it on the "bad news" list only because her crazy allergies caused her eye to swell almost completely shut. We got some crazy looks at church on Sunday so I'm pretty sure DCFS is going to come knocking any day now. Anyone willing to be our character witness?).

Getting back into the game - camping with a four month old:

Good thing this kid can't roll yet:

Chef Christensen and his tiny sous chef:

Abram thought sleeping in a tent was the coolest:

Hen even got some bouldering in:

Could there be anything cuter than a chubby four month old?

The Tobacco Root Mountains are gorgeous, full of wild flowers, even in the middle of July. Reason #1,073 that we love Montana:


Remember When ...

... I told you Scott does funny tricks with the baby?

Exhibit Q: