I watched the video montage of Rachael's life today. I made it exactly seven minutes in before I started bawling. She was so cool! It is hard to believe that it was eight years ago that she died.

I like to think that only the good things still affect me but it's not true. Occasionally the feelings of fear outweigh the feelings of joy that come from a greater understanding. Little things like how I see a picture of a waterfall and I feel my stomach drop. I am two years older now than she was when she died. I am not nearly as awesome as she was. Sometimes people get honored in their death even though they weren't very great when they were alive because no one wants to speak ill of the dead. Rachael wasn't like that. Everyone loved her when she was alive and now everyone still misses her. Happy people just have that effect on the people around them.

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I am proud to have Rachael as a sister. She is a good one.


Documenting Declan (4 Months)

Weight: 15 pounds, 15 ounces
Length: 25 inches

Something has changed this month. Declan isn't just a newborn anymore. He is becoming a real person. He doesn't smile just because I am smiling at him. He smiles at me because he is happy. He is excited to see me. He is happy for eye contact and snuggles. His cries have also changed. He now yelps for attention or if he can't see someone. It is a really wimpy little whine and I always tell him that he needs to be more convincing. His genuine smiles are definitely convincing! It is like his smiles come from his soul. He can't contain it just to his face. His legs kick and his arms flail. He smiles with his whole body.

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He is slightly delusional. He thinks breast milk is the nectar of the gods but I've tried the stuff and it is not all he hypes it up to be.

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He learned knuckles.

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Sam saw this picture and said, "Whose kid is that?"

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Edison is always crashing the party.

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"It's bigger than my body! Challenge accepted."

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We Skyped with his birthday-sharing cousin Makenna. They are going to be great friends.

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All smiles.

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He likes being where the party is at, even if it sometimes ends with a bum on his face.

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Alex is obsessed with Declan. He gets so excited when Declan is awake and they can snuggle.

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Thanks for sharing, Edison. Declan was very interested.

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"How badly would it hurt if I took a dive off of this chair?"

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It really wasn't.

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Peaceful little baby.

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Hanging out at the park. I love these days.

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Why is the house a mess? This.

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Four months old and already flipping people off.

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His face. Amazing. He is looking at himself on the screen.

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He loves holding toys and has figured out how to move his hands to get a toy in front of him.

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He is a killer cutie.

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Helping Mommy make dinner.

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His hands look so big. They aren't long, skinny, dainty newborn hands anymore.

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He is fascinated by his hands and wants to suck his thumb but can't form suction. He ends up a gagging, slobbery mess.

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A day in the life. Play, almost wiggle out of swing, sleep.

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"One goal: How can I get that in my mouth?"

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Doomed already.

A few more things Declan does for which I do not have a matching picture:
...laughed at 3 months, 4 days old while Sam was tickling his inner thighs.
...loves his Mommy. If someone besides me (including Sam) is holding him, he will contort his body and stare at me.
...loves sleep. Sometimes as he's falling asleep, he is so pleased about it that he laughs.
 ...has not rolled over. Lazy bum.
 ...sleeps through the night. He is awake for 3 hours at a time during the day. He eats about seven or eight times a day.


SLB Open House

Sam had been preparing for this open house for months. It was a really big deal and since he is the only HR person in Williston, the success or failure of the open house would reflect on him directly. The open house is the time for employees and their spouses to come learn about the benefits available to SLB employees. I knew there would be lunch and a room for the kids so  loaded up the kids and we headed to the SLB yard. We walked in the kid room and a balloon popped. Immediate freakage from Edison. He hates balloons popping. Alex was willing to stay in the room and play with his gift bag full of toys and candy but Edison would not stop crying.

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The clowns were popping balloons every few minutes. Not to mention, those were some of the freakiest clowns I have ever seen.

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Edison, Declan, and I went around to the different booths. Then lunch arrived and they quickly ran out of food. This made me happy because the operations manager thought that the open house was going to be a total flop but there were a ton of people there!

I dropped off Edison in Sam's office so he could eat his lunch while I watched Sam's presentation. But then Declan woke up so I was wandering around helping him stay happy. What I saw of the presentation was very good though. Sam had practiced it twice the night before so I got the gist of what he was saying even though I was coming and going.

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 I wasn't allowed to enter the raffle because Sam works in HR. It was lame.

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Alex (Sam's replacement in Sugar Land) and Milae (Sam's administrator in Williston)

Eventually I remembered that I am not cut out for social situations with kids so we came home. We lasted for an hour and a half.

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Mommy and Me Swim

I have been wanting to take a swim class with Alex since we lived in Ithaca. I was so excited to learn that Williston Parks and Rec was offering Mommy and Me swim classes. By some miracle, I got in before the classes were full. I signed up in March! I knew I would have a semi-new baby by the time of the class but the class didn't start until 5:15pm so it would be perfect for Sam to meet us there straight after work. But by the time the end of June came around, it turned out to be Sam's busiest week at work ever. His boss and her boss were both in town for the HR Open House. He had meetings after work and two work dinners. It was insanity.

The boys were so excited to go swimming. Because Sam wasn't there to help with one of them, a lifeguard swam with of one of them while I swam with the other, and then we traded. Kids are a billion times cuter in swimsuits. I am not sure why, but it is a scientific fact.

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Edison would not kick and Alex wouldn't stop kicking. It was so fun to swim with them. By the end of the week, Edison's hair had a twinge of green from being in the pool. Alex was able to kick around the pool alone as long as he had a noodle under his arms.

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Declan just hung out in the stroller the whole time. The class was 30 minutes long four days in a row and he only cried once during it. Such a happy baby. Although Alex and Edison loved being in the water, class had to end. And this is Williston. It was cold and windy. The boys didn't want to get out of the water!

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BlackTail Dam

Our friends from church invited us to go to BlackTail Dam with them. There were a few families going: the LaPierres, Jordans, and Grahams. I knew it would be fun because they are outdoorsy people. I didn't prepare very well though. As I was making our tin foil dinners, I used the last of the aluminum foil so the meals were barely closed. Luckily Larissa was totally prepared for my slacking and brought enough hotdogs for our kids to eat while our dinners cooked.

The boys started with playing at the playground. For some reason they took off their shoes but left on their socks? The playground time ended when Alex threw sand into our friend's face. She was so tough as Carrie dumped water into her eye. I felt horrible. P.S. Thanks for the pictures, Carrie! Sorry Alex tried to blind your child.

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Sam took the boys down to the dock to fish while I sat with the ladies and talked. It's what I do.

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I forgot to bring my camera and Sam's and my cell phones were both dead. That never happens! I didn't think it would be a big deal. Of course, I was wrong. Alex ran up to me squealing that he caught a fish. Yep, the first fish of his life and I don't have a picture of it. It was slimy and yucky and I convinced them to throw it back.

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Although I was not prepared when it came to dinner, I did happen to bring the boys' swimsuits and crocs. By the end of the night, they had both done a costume change. Alex did the drive home in his underwear thanks to a finale of wetting his pants. But it was 10pm anyway and the sun was starting to set. It had been a beautiful night and watching the sun set over the water was incredible. I felt really truly happy that night. I can't get over some of these Williston people; they are just so awesome.

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This picture was taken a few days later. When we first got to BlackTail Dam, we took Edison out of the truck and got him all covered in bug spray while Alex waited for his turn. But a mosquito flew into the truck and bit him. Seriously! The morning after this, his eye was completely swollen shut.

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Sam's 32nd Birthday

Thirty-two is pretty old. It is crazy that we met when he was 25. He looks even better now. I want to age like Sam does. Minus the facial hair. Sam wanted to take the day off from work on his birthday. I felt like a total brat but I told him he should go to work. That was because I only had one thing planned: decorate his car at work.

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There was a crowd of people watching us and I was worried Sam would look out his window and see us. Then someone who had seen the car called Sam "Lover Boy" and Sam was confused but didn't know what was going on.

While Sam continued to work, we were at the park on an "I Spy" walk with the Williston Toddler Days group. The boys looked around for things that matched their pictures and then put a sticker on the picture. They were interested in the walk until the saw the playground.

Sam left work at lunchtime to meet us at the park and saw the car then. He got to play at the park with the boys and their friends for an hour.

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When we got home, Sam opened his presents. He mostly got candy.

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Alex and Edison went to the Althoff's to play while Sam, Declan, and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.

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After dinner, we had Sam's ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. I got a Heath bar cake because it is Sam's favorite but I don't really like Heath. At least it stopped me from eating all of the leftovers!

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It was Sam's birthday and the only thing he asked for was golf clubs for Alex. I didn't expect it to come by his birthday but when we got home from dinner, the clubs were waiting on our doorstep!

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The next day, Sam took Alex to see a movie and then they went and tried out the new clubs on a putting green.

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Sam's mom wrote him a poem for his birthday and I thought it was so sweet:
Today's the day you're THIRTY-TWO!
As always, we're so proud of you.
Bachelor's, Master's, wife and three;
You are cruisin', Samuel D!

You and Emily, what a team,
Keeping everyone on the beam.
We wish you life's continued joys
With Emily and all the boys.

Hope something fun is in the works
With Friends and FAM and all the perks.
 Though a gift from us is on the way --
Alas! It won't arrive today.

Thus ends my silly little ditty
And though I know it wasn't pretty
Still I had to give a try
For our beloved birthday guy.

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