Thursday, December 23, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 23

December 23 will always be a day dedicated to remembering our Stitchy.  I don't know that I can say that he got his fashion sense from the Ying side of the family, because I can tell you this cat knew what was UP when it came to dressing to the nines.  He was, he still is, one of the best friends I could have asked for.  It was unbearably hard to lose him at Christmas, but I know that he would always want us to remember him with a smile, and so today we'll toast his amazing life and give thanks for the time he spent with us and the lessons he taught us.  We miss you, Stitch, and we love you - so so much.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 22

And now comes the day you've all been waiting for.  Introducing A!  Check out that hair, man.  Totally sweet dude.  Luckily he has stuck around much longer than his hair has.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 21

Oh, the two lovebirds that started it all.  Check out Santa and his Mrs. Claus.  What a lovely faux fur neckband on that outfit, Mrs. Claus must really hve some fashion sense.  We also must pause to appreciate Santa's strange black leather gloves.

Dear Baby

Last night there was a kind of Christmas miracle.  You have to forgive your old Mom here, because we both know that science is not my strong suit, but it was the first time in 450 plus years that the Winter Solstice has been on the same day as a Lunar eclipse.  I, of course, found out about it on facebook and some quick googling proved how rare this phenomenon was.  I immediately told your Dad - we have to see it!  We have to set our alarms, wake up and see it!  Crazy pregnancy hormones aside, he is used to these kinds of bizarre requests so he nodded that sure, we could get up and see it.

There was some rhetoric on the interwebs not only about the rarity of this event, but about the sacred meaning of the solstice combining with the energy of a lunar eclipse.  You know that I am even less of a religious scholar than a scientist, so I didn't understand a lot of what was said except that the combination of these two events would be a time of reflection and personal transformation.  As my body even now starts to swell in preparation for your growth, this seemed to me to be appropriate, and I suddenly couldn't wait to stand with you in the moonlight.

When the alarm rang at 2:30am, it was not quite as romantic as I'd hoped.  We stumbled out of bed and tried to find some sweatshirts in the dark.  We woke up our entire zoo of furry animals and they began to stretch and weave under our feet.  We tripped and swore.  We made it down the stairs and out the back door.  At first, I couldn't even find the moon.  And, man, it was COLD!  We stood on the deck and gazed at the moon.  It really was beautiful - all red and spooky-looking.  I waited to feel something magical.  I hugged your Dad and asked him if he was saying a little prayer.  He nodded, either because he was, or because he was already falling back to sleep.  I tried to think of the perfect thing to say.  I mumbled something about you being healthy, about us being happy.  I tried to feel blessed but all I felt was cold.  It was time to go back to bed.

We got back upstairs and Compass had found our abandoned bed.  We couldn't bear to kick him out so we curled up around him, snug and warm.  I laid on my back and put my hand on my belly and wondered if we had been blessed by the light, if it would bring us luck.  I thought of what I wanted for you, if we would miss it because I hadn't been able to articulate my hopes and dreams in those few moments under the moon.  It came to me then, simply: I hope you are extraordinary.  That was it.  That was all.  I thought for a moment about trudging back downstairs, back outside, back under the light to clarify what I was asking, what I was hoping for.  But I knew the moon was still shining on us, and that we would always be like this - we will show you amazing things.  We will stand with  you under the moonlight.  We will do our best to make sure you are blessed.  We won't always know what to say, but we will always, always love you.  And as long as we are there, together, that will be enough.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 19

Ah yes, here is the great sweater switcheroo in which M is now wearing MY sweater and H is wearing HER sweater.  Wish I knew who gave me theirs though, because I know you can't really see it but that sweater was AWESOME.  Also, nice pants, M.  W is sure lucky to be getting a girl with such fashion sense.

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 20

Man did we Yings love those pictures on the stairs.  PS We still do this every year.  You should see all five of us, A included, fit on those steps.  My mom is going to need to invest in a wide angle lens soon...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 18

This year, J goes from being a total stude to being a total stud WITH GLASSES.  Also, M grows like two feet while I stay the same size.  Seriously compare this photo to December 17.  Yikes!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 17

Man do the Ying men have a sense of style.  From the green shirt and red tie to the sweater vest.   J really is on the cutting edge, how many people could pull off plaid pants WITH a coordinating plaid vest.  Wow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 16

More Yings in matching sweaters!  Truly this is what the Christmas season is all about!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 15

Oh yes!  Aunt S makes a special appearance in today's countdown!  Think of it as an early christmas present from me to her!  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 14

Yet another christmas morning finds the Yings in their pjs.  This year WITH ROBES.  Yeah!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 13

Oh plaid pants.  Really mom?  Why did you hate us?

Dear Baby

On December 11th, we told your Daddy that you were on your way.  We are both lucky that he is so clueless!  I wanted to tell him in a special way, and nothing is more special to him (except for you, I guess!)than Christmas.  So you and I teamed up (I guess if you're going to be hanging out with me for the next nine months then that's how I'm going to think of us) to give him a surprise. 

It was our second year taking Compass to march with his greyhound friends in the Hammonton Christmas Parade.  He is, of couse, decked out in his Santa suit and the kids just love meeting "Compass Claus".  It is one of my very favorite parts of the holiday!  Your Dad had been out of town the whole week, so you and I got a couple of quiet days to get to know each other, and then, on Friday, we slipped up a little and the second person to know about you wasn't actually your Daddy but a friend of Mommy's who caught her red-handed chugging grape juice instead of wine.  We're not so suave yet at some of these things!  But it was perfect, really, she was just the right amount of excited and terrified, and helped Mom talk about some of her feelings while sharing the disbelief and exhiliaration of the moment.  We are so thankful that she was there.

At any rate, she helped us design a little onesie for Dad that said "I love Daddy Cat" (with a picture of a cat, of course) and a little card with all FIVE of his babies on it.  We wrapped it up in a special wrapping and stashed it away.  She would become a very important part of our master plan working behind the scenes!  We were both so excited when your Dad finally got home, luckily we were so so busy finishing our sewing projects that we didn't even have time to spill the beans!  Finally we were getting ready to leave for the parade and suddenly your Dad became such a POO!  He wasn't feeling good, he had a headache, he didn't want to go!  He was such a grouch!  I almost threw the whole plan in the trash but I knew that he would be so disappointed so I dragged him out the door and we drove to New Jersey for the parade.

It seemed like the parade route went on forever and ever!  I thought it would never end, I was so ready to share the news with your Dad.  Finally we got to the end of the parade, but it wasn't what we expected - instead of being inside where you could see Santa everything was outside and Santa was nowhere to be found!  We found a fireman and asked him where we could find Santa and if he could help us with a little project.  This is where your Dad's cluelessness comes in especially handy, because as we were setting all of this up, he was just standing like a Crab in the middle of the crowd being cranky.  My special little elf scampered off to complete her mission and I finally told your Dad I wanted to go and get a picture with Santa.

I hope that when you are older and we tell you this story you will always know that of all the things I love about your father, this is one of the things I love the most.  I can call it his cluelessness, but it is also that he is trusting and kind and willing to enthusiastically go along with whatever crazy schemes I dream up.  A picture with Santa?  Well, of course!  Why not?  So in we went, and filled out a little card with our address on it and stepped right up.  Luckily Santa caught on right away and asked your Dad if his name was Art.  When he said it was, he told him that he had a special present just for him.  Your Dad was, of course, not at all surprised by this, saying later "Well, I HAVE been a good boy this year..." and opened the gift to find the onesie and the card we'd made.  He looked a little confused, and then a little shocked, and then when I finally said, "Do you know what this means?" his face finally broke into a smile.

Of course, being your mom and all, I teared up and we hugged and took our picture with Santa.  Your Dad just kept saying he couldn't believe it and his hands were shaking with excitement.  We thanked Santa for the present and went back outside to hug everyone who had worked behind the scenes and took some photos for posterity.  Your Dad smiled so long and so big I thought his face would burst, finally understanding "So THIS is why you wanted to come to the parade so bad!"

Afterwards we celebrated with friends and food and (no wine) Diet Coke.  I thought about next year's parade and how you would be here with us, in a tiny snowsuit.  I thought about pushing you in a stroller next to your brother and introducing you to Santa.  I thought of how blessed we were, and prayed that next year we would be in the same place, plus you, as happy as we could be.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 12

I almost cropped myself out of this one because the real story of this photo is that M and J bought each other the same presents this year at the Holiday Shop.  But I left myself in there just for you.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 11

Well don't we look happy to be taking a sleigh ride in Giant Eagle's parking lot?  Well, at least one of us seems to be enjoying herself.  Yeah, Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 10

Tell me those headbands aren't totally early nineties?  We are rocking them, that's for sure.  Notice there is room for H on Santa's lap, but perhaps she didn't make the "nice" list this year.  Hard to imagine?  Don't kid yourself.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 9

Well look at that Jolly Old Ef with a baby on his knee!  Nevermind her back arching scrams, what a lovely Christmas photo!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Baby

Well, today was the day. 

Mostly, it was a regular day.  Your Dad is out of town at a sales meeting so I ran around like a crazy person this morning taking care of your big (furry) brothers.  I was in the car early to get to work early for a meeting.  Work was pretty uneventful - just a regular day.

I wasn't sure whether today was the day to test.  I knew that it should have been the first day of my period but honestly, and I guess this is probably TMI for a tiny babe such as yourself, I've never been that regular so who really even knows?  I thought about waiting for your Dad.  But I was driving home and thought, you know, I'll just stop in, grab a test, see what happens.

I was talking to my Mom as I left Rite Aid.  I had to pee so bad but didn't want to take the test while I was on the phone with her, and didn't want to pee without taking the test.  I finally got her off the phone and went to the upstairs bathroom and peed in a little dixie cup, dipped the little stick and put the cap on and waited.  Actually, I watched it for a few minutes while reading the directions to see what would be what.  It looked like I was waiting for two lines, but having some experience with these tests I knew that there was often an "evaporation line that would appear.  Honestly, I thought that was what it was.  The directions said wait three minutes so I went to put my pjs on.

When I came back to the bathroom there it was.  Two pink lines.  One was faint.  I scoured the directions to see what that meant.  Doesn't matter if it's faint or not.  And so just like that, I knew that you were on your way.  I took a picture.  Of course.  Of the test, and one with your brother, Elliott, who looked at it curiously and I wondered if he knew what it meant.  You see, he's been asking for a baby sister for as long as we can remember.  And now, we know you're coming.

It sounds funny to say that I don't feel much different.  Not quite as manically happy or desperately afraid as I had expected.  I feel a lot of peace about it, about you.  In some ways, "knowing" doesn't change anything - you are as you have been, as you will be.  I have been waiting for you my whole life, and while we're reaching a different part in the journey, it still feels the same for me.  I'm so excited to meet you.

I felt a little guilty, for a few moments, for not waiting for your Dad, and I suppose that it sounds selfish but I wanted a few days to have you all to myself.  It's going to be an adventure for us, Baby, and I wanted some private time with you, just you and me, just for a few days.  I know that I'll have enough time to share you with the whole wide world.  I know that you will change my life in every way, and I wanted a few days alone with you to get my brain around the wonder that you will bring.

In a few days when your Dad gets home we'll give him the news together.   I had thought of a few ways to tell him and I know that we'll make it special.  He will be so excited to know that you're on your way.  A few days ago I asked him what he was looking forward to about being a Dad and he said to teach them things.  I knew years ago what a wonderful father he will be, and this seems to me just one step closer to seeing him do what he was born to do.

I wonder if you'll even want to know this, to know the start of your story one day, but I guess it will be here for you whether you want it or not.  You might wonder what I did after the test, after I had gotten the news.  Honestly, it was a lot like any other night.  I sewed some new pillows and talked on the phone and watched television in bed with your brothers.  I thought about you, but not more than I've been thinking about you for weeks already.  I looked at the test a dozen times, making sure that it did qualify as a "faint line".  I even googled "false positive pregnancy test" (which pretty much never happens, it turns out).  I started to write this note to you, to tell you how I feel on this important day.  Mostly, to tell you that I love you already.

Goodnight, Baby.  Sweet dreams.  I'll see you soon.


Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 8

Once again we find the Yings in the flurry of gift un-wrapping on Christmas morning.  But WAIT - who is that mostly naked babe in the middle of the festivities?   Poor Papa Ying looks like he hasn't slept much since our last christmas photo and sadly that's the truth.  Also of note is that this is the year that I got glasses.  And not just ANY glasses.  Red frames suit me, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 7

Oh man.  Where to start with this one?  The good news is that the bangs are pretty much gone, the bad news is that Papa Ying looks like he hasn't slept since, oh, well about May 23, which is pretty much right on the money thanks to that sweet little innocent girl he's gripping.  Don't let that sweet white collar fool you.  Clearly Mama Ying wasn't doing much better since she's the one who assembled J's outfit - I mean, I guess the suspenders partially hide that awesome sweater that's tucked into his pants, but...  wow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 6

A year later, a year older and wiser - yet we're still rocking the long underwear.  At least we had the sense to start growing those bangs out.  Also make sure to notice J's baby doll who just barely makes the christmas morning picture.  He was such a sensitive soul, even back then (J, not the baby.  The baby was kind of a hussy.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 5

Talk about working those long underwear...  what a pose.  Also of note is Papa Ying wearing tennis shoes with his pajamas.  What a happy christmas morning...

Joe Flacco is a muppet.

That is all.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 4

Well check out THAT fashion sense - ruffles on the butt, santa slippers and you can't really tell but that bear was wearing real pearls.  Even back then, M wanted to be just like me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 3

Well, look at that handsome addition to the Ying clan!  And no, I don't mean Santa!  Although he does compete in the "round belly like a bowl full of jelly" category...

PS- Mom, if those tights were in style back then I don't know why you give me so much grief about wearing them now!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 2

Well now - look at those smiley little girls.  Of note is that even at 7 months old, M was already AS TALL as me.  Whether this means she is going to be tall or I am going to be short, well, you'll have to stay tuned to see how this plays out...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Countdown to Christmas with the Yings: December 1

So in 2008, I posted a very popular on feature on facebook called "Countdown to Christmas with the Yings."  Although I attempted it last year, it was a giant FAIL.  But we are back this year, and not only will I be posting this lovely advent event on facebook, but I'll also be throwing it out here on the old (new) blog.  Think of it as my christmas gift to you.  Enjoy!

In the beginning, before there was a Ying six-pack, there was only one small girl in strange woolen tights sitting on the Big Guy's lap.  And so our story begins...