Monday, January 2, 2012

New Resolutions

So, we (Chris and Isabelle, really) have decided that we should update and post frequently on our blog. This may appear to be a "New Year's Resolution" but I prefer to think of it as a change for the better. As many of us, I don't tend to do well with resolutions set at the beginning of a new calendar year, but rather the beginning of a school year or just when there is a schedule change in general - it's easy to add in something new. This blog thing, however just happens to coincide with the new year. So now that I've rambled on about that, here's an update on our life:

Isabelle turned 11 in September and has begun the countdown to entering the Young Women's program at church. She is frequently noting her lasts: "this is my last year in Primary," "this is my last time performing in the Primary Program," "this is my last Stake Achievement Day Activity." Entering the Young Women's Program means she'll have a whole new set of goals to work on (Personal Progress), she'll get to hang out with all the youth on a regular basis (ages 12-18) and within just a few months she'll be able to enter the Temple and do baptisms for the dead. You may or may not know, but we are anticipating the building of the Philadelphia Temple and Isabelle has calculated that she will already be 12 or 13 years old by the time it is dedicated.

In school, Isabelle is in 5th grade. This is her third year playing cello and she just recently began private lessons. She has a good ear and enjoys piano, cello and singing. She was even going to sing with us in our local performance of Handel's Messiah, but she had such a bad cough that just would not go away despite the rest she got and the many gallons of water she drank that she had to bow out gracefully. She was sad when she missed the dress rehearsal and I reminded her that we are Tabers; Her dad and I have been attending and singing in performances of the Messiah since long before she was born and we will likely be singing the Messiah every year for the rest of our lives, so not to fret as she will have plenty of opportunity in the future to participate.

Now that Izzy is in 5th grade she was eligible to try out for the school play. She did and she was given the part of Ethel in The Music Man (she's the character that starts out the Pickalittle, Talkalittle song). She is so excited she can hardly stand it. She was also one of 150 children chosen in the entire school district to be a member of the District Chorus. So it seems, her career in musical dance theater and performance has begun...

Chase is 8 1/2 years old and ever the daredevil. His latest endeavor is mastering his skills as a skater. The neighbor kid across the street is a couple of years older than Chase and happy to show him the ropes. He has a grinding rail and several ramps and has been teaching Chase how to make all the necessary adjustments to his board to help him increase his skills (bow hunting skills, nun-chuck skills...).

In school, Chase has taken up violin and seems to really be enjoying it. I am enjoying the relationship it is nurturing between Isabelle and Chase. She will often help him tune his instrument and sometimes they practice together. I love strings and what a treat for me to hear my children play them in my own home (I know, I know, it probably sounds like their swinging cats, but they both try really hard to follow their teachers' instructions and play properly). So for Christmas we stole Izzy's iPod and put a Yo Yo Ma album on it and wrapped it up and gave it to her. And Chase found a CD of Itzhak Perlman in his stocking that we'd had in our collection.

Both Isabelle and Chase are avid readers and have already read all of Rick Riordan's books, the Harry Potter Series and the Hunger Games. Chase is nearly finished with the Chronicles of Narnia, Izzy loves books by Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George, and both children have read The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is hard to get them to turn lights out and go to sleep at night or even to keep enough books around for them to have something to read!

Chase is becoming a brick artist (Lego builder). He is always coming up with new and interesting things and has made a goal for himself to tell several scripture stories through Legos. See youtube link below:

He is also enjoying Cub Scouts. Over Christmas break his pack went caroling to a nursing home, which he really enjoyed.

Heather. What can I say about Heather. She is ever with a smile, even when she's being naughty. She is now 3 and learning to write her name (well, the letter H, anyway). She is still great friends with Dora but has branched out and now loves to play board games with anyone that will give her the time of day. She is the most social of the three children in that she is not interested in playing with toys unless there is someone there to play with her. In which case, she plays kitchen, babies, Barbies, Build-a-bear or make-up (which really means going into Isabelle's room and trying to get away with going through Izzy's things). She eats all day long, and her first choice is string cheese, but usually we can get her to eat other heathy snacks too, so I guess it's not so bad. She is affectionate and keeps us laughing. She is as fearless a risk-taker as is Chase, but she hasn't figured out she has limits yet, so it will be interesting to see who, between Heather and Chase, will hold the record for World Parkour Champion first.

Chris is teaching seminary this year and loving it. It has been a bit of an adjustment for a night owl to get up early every morning, but the seminary kids seem to like him and we are seeing many blessing in our family as a result.

Chris is especially happy that he is still married to his trophy wife. In fact, they just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in August. How can that be! She doesn't look a day over 30! (Neither does he...)

I am ward organist and 2nd Counselor in Young Women, which means I work most directly with the 14-15 year-olds. We have a great youth group in our area and I feel really lucky to get to work with them. I kind of thought I might be called into YW once Izzy's turned 12, but I guess the Lord had other plans (or needed to prep me a little more).

I have developed several health issues over the last couple of years, but I have a great team of doctors and really supportive family so I am working out the kinks of managing RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), Type 1 Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, and Bunions (no more pretty heels...). But that's a whole other blog in itself so suffice it to say that while I am taking a myriad of meds and learning to balance my "let's do everything big" mentality with my lesser amount of energy, my health issues are not my identity. I am still a little coo coo, love to embarrass my children, go on day trips and road trips, date my husband, sing in my car like I'm a rock star and I'm trying to figure out how to get famous so I can be on Dancing with the Stars.

We've had a fun and adventurous Christmas break, watching movies, playing Wii, playing with friends and taking trips to Harrisburg and Hershey. We just finished reading the Book of Mormon as a family and we are grateful for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and for our knowledge and relationship with Him. It is because of Him that families can be together forever. And it is because of Him that we can find joy in this life as well as the next.

Happy New Year and may you find ways to love and serve and recognize the many blessings in your life throughout 2012.

With love from the Tabers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Springtime for Hulk and Germany...

This afternoon the sun was shining such that's it's invitation to come outside could not be turned down. So we broke out all the bikes, strapped on the helmets and went on a bike ride. Heather was a little more tolerant of her helmet this time, though would holler at us whenever we stopped, as if to say, "If you're gonna make me wear this stinkin' thing, the least you could do is keep moving so I'm entertained!" The nickname Hulk seems to suit her more and more each day. Fortunately, she is hilarious and sweet and loving enough to make us all forget when she is Hulkish.

Family Member Updates

Chris has left Burlington Coat Factory to start a new position at a pharma company called Ikaria. He starts tomorrow. He is serving in our ward as Young Men's President, so he is often with the youth, camping with them, calling them, checking up on them on Facebook, coming up with crazy schemes for weekly activities. He is training for a 1/2 marathon in Queens on April 3rd. Go El Tabitur!

Anne (that's me) is serving in our ward as the 2nd Counselor in the Relief Society. So I also come up with crazy schemes, but for grown women. Last week we celebrated the Relief Society's birthday and held a service auction. I am looking forward to Spring Break. We hope to see some cherry blossoms in DC this year since we missed them every year for the 7 years we lived in NJ!

Isabelle (9 yrs) is in 3rd grade. She plays the cello in school and is taking piano lessons once a week. She just played When You Wish Upon a Star in her first school Variety Show. We thought we lost her music, but it turned she had practiced it so well it was memorized! We purchased a complete set of the Harry Potter books for Christmas and she is already on the 7th.

Chase (7 yrs) is in 1st grade. He is taking karate and is about to earn his yellow belt. He has his first tournament coming up. We hope we wins one of those awesome 5 foot trophies. He is also taking piano lessons and also participated in the school Variety Show. He is on the 4th Harry Potter book.

Heather is now 18 months, which means she is now allowed to attend Nursery at church. This may seem like a small thing to some of you, but if you've ever battled a toddler through 3 hours of church then you'll be cheering with us. She only says about 5 words, and not very well. But she signs a few (please, thank you, more) and hollers a lot. Don't let her fool you, she understands every word you say to her! (Cheeky) She tries to do everything the bigger kids do, including carrying a backpack when we leave the house - despite the fact that it is as big as she is. She does a little karate, she loves dogs, and isn't even afraid of the ones that are twice her size, but screams in terror when we turn on the vacuum cleaner. She eats like Scooby and Shaggy. She sings and she dances. And we all can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

Spring 2009

Spring 2010

We are trying (again) to sell our house in Texas, so if you could include us in your prayers or send any potential buyers our way, that would be great. We are praying for the people of Haiti and the people of Chile and for expediency of the building of the Philadelphia Temple.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joyeux Noel!

True to Taber Tradition we are moving again. We loved our time in London and wish it could have been longer, but it is time to move on to our next adventure. Fortunately, Chris had earned enough hotel & Eurostar points that we decided spend Christmas in Paris before crossing over the pond (again).
We only have free internet access in the lobby of the hotel, so this will be a short entry but we wanted to make sure you knew we were thinking of you and are grateful during this season for a loving Heavenly Father who sent his son as a newborn babe to be our Saviour. May we keep Christmas all year long in our hearts through our actions and efforts, striving always to follow His perfect example.
With love from from Chris, Anne, Isabelle, Chase & Heather

Lights on the Champs Elysees
Taken from the top of the North Tower at Notre Dame Cathedral just outside the bell tower
(255 steps up a narrow spiral staircase after which, we climbed another 120 steps up an even narrower spiral staircase to the very top)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Like My Birthdays

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future...

Sorry (again) for the lengthy spaces of time between blog entries. I guess better late than never; As of a week ago (11 Oct) Heather is 1 month old. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. She is becoming much more alert and stays awake for longer periods of time, esp when the other children are getting out of school. She occasionally thinks about smiling, but still only offers a real smile when she is sleeping and dreaming with her eyes open (creepy...). Her eyes are still blue but they seem to look a little darker everyday, so I'm secretly hoping they turn brown.

Isabelle turned 8 years old a couple of weeks ago (25 Sept). I made Funfetti cupcakes from an American mix and took them into her class at the end of the school day. Her teacher Mr. Underhill led the class in a chorus of Happy Birthday and four "Hip Hip Hoorays" which made Isabelle grin and blush. Isabelle requested a family dinner at China Buffet (all you can eat for £5.99), so we had planned to celebrate. She had gone there with a friend for her birthday a few months ago, loved the food and has been talking it up ever since. Unfortunately, when we got there there were signs in the window indicating that they were closed for renovations, "Sorry for any inconvenience." Evidently Chase was looking forward to it as much or more than Isabelle because he burst into tears. I don't think he understood exactly what "renovation" means because he thought the restaurant had closed for good and therefore lost his opportunity to eat there. He got over it though, as soon as I explained it to him. So, then we opted to go to our favorite restaurant on the high street, Creperie Parisienne. However, when we got there (opposite end of Chiswick) it had already closed for the day. So we finally ended up at Pizza Express. Isabelle was disappointed despite her hunger and two strikes against her, but she enjoyed her birthday dinner anyway, and the promise of presents to open at home lifted her spirits.

All of her gifts were a hit; perfume & lip gloss from Chase, books and movies from Grandma, a Barbie CD rom, and a new bike from Mommy & Daddy and DeeDee & Grandpa.
"Want some lipgloss? It's Turkish Delight Flavoured."
A couple of days later was Heather's "Welcome to the World" gathering at Carluccio's hosted by friends Laurel and Trina. It was a beautiful autumn day and Heather and I enjoyed a "girls' day out" for a few hours.

The following is a bit of randomness, but hopefully it will bring a smile or a laugh.

Isabelle loaned Heather her Webkinz bunny.
When I first told the children we were having a girl, we took a trip to Baby Gap.
Chase picked out the track suit trousers for his baby sista:

Happy Halloween (thanks for the dental work, Becky!)

Even though I haven't called her "Baby Girl Hulk" in a long time,
Heather has her moments. I found a costume for her at the store, but unfortunately it doesn't come in her size:

But this one does...

Here's the photo we used for Heather's passport (Only 4 weeks old. Isabelle was at least 8 weeks old when we got hers!):

This photo makes me laugh.
DeeDee bought (sight unseen) this little sweater and blanket for Heather.
This is what she looks like when we leave for school in the mornings:

The many faces of Heather:

I'm sure you can tell we are enjoying Heather. Our family just wouldn't be complete without her. Can't wait for you to meet her...

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Few Days of Heather...

When the world was created, the hillsides were bare, and it was decided that a plant was needed to beautify the slopes

The giant Oak, strongest of all trees, was asked but he declined saying that the soil was too shallow for him to take root and flourish

Then the yellow-flowered Honeysuckle was asked if she would spread her beauty and fragrance throughout the hills. She, too, refused because there was nothing in the inhospitable terrain against which she could grow.

The Rose, sweetest of all the flowers, was the next choice. However, she explained that she would not be able to survive the hillside’s bitter winds and driving rain.

Then a small low lying green shrub with tiny petals, some purple, some white, some pink, was chanced upon.

It was Heather! Heather flowers

The Heather was asked, "Will you grow up on the hillside to make them more beautiful?"

The Heather reflected on the poor soil and harsh climate and was not sure whether she could do the job; but to the delight of all, she replied that if they wanted her to try, she would do her very best.

They were all so pleased with the Heather that they decided to bestow three gifts upon her.

  • The strength of the Oak – the bark of the Heather is stronger than that of any other tree or shrub

  • The fragrance of the Honeysuckle – the Heather’s gentle fragrance is used to
    perfume soaps, potpourris, and cosmetics.

  • The sweetness of the Rose – the sweetness of the Heather makes her one of the bee’s favorite flowers

And to this day Heather is renowned for these three gifts as she fulfills her task.

I have been wanting to post more photos and descriptions of things as they have happened since the labor, delivery and birth of Heather, but we've had a few hiccups along the way. Now that it's Monday, things are a little calmer, so here are some new photos and videos of Heather, Chase & Isabelle...

A few hours after Heather's birth Chris picked up the children from friend Trina's house and brought them to the hospital to meet their new sister.

When babies are born to diabetic mothers there is risk of low blood sugars, which was the case with Heather. After breastfeeding her, waiting awhile to see if her sugars would go up and determining that they weren't going to, the midwives tried to give her a "top-up"* of formula from a bottle. She was not having it. After trying several times to get her to drink the formula, the pediatrician said it would be necessary to use a feeding tube. She didn't much like that either and fought (with Hulk-like strength) against their attempts to get the tube in. After two tries, two different midwives, Mommy lying in bed trying to pretend it wasn't happening, Daddy closely supervising the midwives, and big brother and big sister patiently (and calmly) standing out of the way, they finally managed to get the tube in.
It really wasn't so bad -it's a tiny tube, and it did get her blood sugars up. And by the middle of the night the tube was out (I swear I didn't pull it out on purspose - really, it was an accident) and she was maintaining her blood sugars on Mommy's milk alone. This is one of the first times I saw her with her eyes open and looking around.

While Mommy took a shower and tried to make herself look like a real person again, Daddy gave Heather her first bath and styled her hair, "Oooh, that's feels goooood."

"Whew! My spa day was really exhausting!"

Isabelle and Chase missed school on Thursday so they could meet their new sis, but Friday Daddy took them to school and picked them up again (of all the school uniforms in the world, wouldn't you choose these colors first? Gryffindor of Hogwarts it is not!)

When it was Chase's turn to hold Heather he began singing Hush Little Baby and Chris managed to capture it on video. He told me later that on Thursday before coming to see the baby for the first time, Chase and Isabelle went home and listened to the song on Isabelle's iPod until they had every word memorized (including the additional verse of humming at the end). Chase has now been enlisted as the official soothe-by-singing technician when Mommy needs a minute or two before she can nurse the baby.

The Girls waiting for the cab to pick us up from the hospital to go home.

Daddy and Heather watching football.

Warning: the video is probably only cute to watch if you are the mom, the dad, or one of the grandparents. Otherwise you may get slightly bored. It is filmed in real time and has not been slowed down.

Mommy's little baby.

Baby number 1 (Isabelle) only cared about eating every 4-6 hours and even then we had to strip her down to get her out of her warm comfy-cozy zone before she would wake up to eat. (DeeDee prayed she would outgrow that habit by Prom. I think we're out of the woods on that one). Baby number 2 (Chase) ate about every 4 hours, though did not need quite as much coaxing. This one thinks she needs to eat every 2 hours, but then she falls asleep two minutes into it and then gets mad if mom "closes the kitchen." So, Sunday afternoon, we decided to try giving her a pacifier to see if we could hold her off long enough to build up a better appetite so that feeding her was more productive.

Hmmm, I think she likes it!

Don't you just love those little fingers?

Bath time!

Daddy quote, "Oh! That's not cute at all!"

DeeDee, notice the soft cushy knitted blanket Heather likes to sleep on in the push chair.* Grandma, notice the redwork on the cloth.

*Noun 1. top-up - an amount needed to restore something to its former level

*Noun, British, Push chair - a small folding chair on wheels in which a small child can be wheeled around: escalators are difficult with pushchairs

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Heather Londyn Taber

Please join us in welcoming Heather Londyn Taber to our family.

Heather Londyn Taber

I'll let Anne post the rest of the details tomorrow or Saturday, but for now, here are the basics along with a few photos.

Name: Heather Londyn Taber - We had originally been leaning towards Londyn Heather, but everyone, from Chris down to Chase said when they held her that she just seemed more like a "Heather Londyn" than a "Londyn Heather"

Born: 3:50 am on 11 September 2008. After a 24 hour delay due to no beds available at the hospital (first 12 hours of delay), then not enough doctors available if Anne's labor progressed quickly (ha! not this time! - second 12 hours of delay), Anne got started at 7:30 am and labored until almost 1:00am. Thankfully, she got an epidural at about 6:00pm and had a much better time of it after that. I'll leave the rest of the details for one of Anne's posts

Weight: 4.514 kg, or 9 lbs 15 ozs. For those keeping score at home, this is slightly larger than Isabelle (9 lbs 6 ozs) and much more than Chase (6 lbs 15 ozs).

Length: 22 inches. This is an unofficial measurement, since they don't measure length for babies born in the UK - they measure the circumference of the head - which I suspect most Moms would find a more useful measurement than length, but what do I know? (Of course, I forgot to write down the circumference measurement, so I'll leave that to Anne to share)

Hair: Yes. Lots of dark brown hair, similar to Isabelle when she was born. In fact, see if you can tell which is which from the photos below...

Eyes: Dark brown, though Chase and Isabelle are convinced they are dark blue. I will say that the light in the room where we were when the children came to visit was not the greatest, so this "stat" should also be considered unofficial.

Now a few FAQs from some of the emails and Facebook responses I've been getting from people over the past few hours, so I don't lose track of who asked which question when:

  1. How is Anne doing? She's doing well - exhausted, but well. I took the children over to visit from 10:30 or so this morning until about 4:00, and then left for the day so that Anne could get some much-needed rest. I then fell asleep on the bus several times and Isabelle and Chase had to keep waking me up to ask if we had missed our stop - we hadn't. I'll go back in the morning after taking the children to school (they didn't go today) and hopefully they'll be able to come home then.

  2. What was it like giving birth in the UK vs. the US? I'll let Anne give more details if she likes, but overall I think Anne had a fairly positive experience, though being far from family and not having any of them here this week meant that we had to rely on our extended ward family to help us out with taking Isabelle & Chase to school, letting them stay overnight, etc. - even laundering their school uniforms when we they had to stay a night longer than expected. They were absolute lifesavers!

  3. What's the standard of care like in the NHS? Again, Anne can share her opinions, but one thing we were really grateful for was to be able to deliver in the newer Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea hospital rather than the older Hammersmith hospital which adjoins it(and we're talking WWII-era and looks like it hasn't been updated or cleaned since then). Probably one of the biggest adjustments was adjusting to the different names and terminology used. Anne's diabetes management had to switch meter readings from mg/deciliter to mmol/liter, two totally different scales where the adjustment factor between the two is to multiply the latter by about 18 to get the former, so lots of mental math involved. Diapers are nappies. Finger sticks (to check blood sugar levels) are referred to as BMs...took me awhile to figure out why they kept asking about that once an hour or so. Not all "doctors" are referred to as "Dr." So-and-so, but some are "Mr." or "Mrs.", while others are "Dr."... The doctors refer to the midwives as Sister So-and-so, even though this was not a Catholic hospital.

  4. How do British and American hospitals differ in their philosophies on childbirth. Agin, my male-oriented observations only at this point, but it seemed to me that this time around, Anne was really encouraged to take things as slowly as possible, whereas in the States, sometimes it seemed like "OK, we need you to move along now, so we're just gonna do this with your medications, etc."

  5. Will the baby have dual US-UK citizenship? Most likely not. Everything I've read seems to indicate that since 1983, the UK does not automatically grant citizenship (or the right to dual citizenship) to babies born here. In order to claim dual citizenship, we'd have to either show that the baby's grandparents were British Citizens or that we had a reasonable expectation to remain in the UK indefinitely, neither of which are true (though my father's mother was born and raised here)

I think that covers the most frequent questions we've been getting, so if I missed one, leave a comment and I'll try to respond.