Saturday, December 27, 2008


We helped Ty and Leah make their very first gingerbread house the other night...and quickly learned that gingerbread pavement would be much easier. We can build the house on the pavement next year. They loved frosting {and eating} the graham crackers, frosting and sweet treats. What a sight!

Monday, December 22, 2008

THE nutcracker of all nutcrackers

For my birthday, Ryan got me tickets to see the San Francisco Ballet Company's production of The Nutcracker...and the day was finally here last Friday!! A. Ma. Zing. It was fantastic. Dancing was great, music was great, everything was great. I lived my childhood dreams through the party girls and buffoons.

We almost didn't make it in time...ate dinner in the car (mmm...pulled pork sandwiches).Sat down at 7:05...phew!...and enjoyed the show.
Then Ryan surprised me with a night in the city (hotel accommodations at the Hyatt). We bummed around the city drinking hot chocolate, watching people ice skate at union square (I forgot my socks) and enjoying the lights and decorations (isn't Ryan a cute ornament?).
Thanks to jeff and sarah again for being champion babysitters.

straight hair???

Yes, that's right folks. I straightened Leah's hair last week. Full on blew it dry and used my flat iron. It didn't look amazing because I forgot we cut it especially for her curls, so the shape isn't great. I mostly wanted to see how long it was. WOW!

dear santa,

Dear Santa,

I've been a pretty good girl this year. Some would agree with you, others would let me explain.

First, I'm really cute! You can't disagree with that. I think my charm brings smiles to faces of those I love as well as strangers. That's got to be worth something, right?

Second, I make really funny animal noises. Yah, some kids know moo, bah and quack...big deal... what other not-even-two-year-old knows animal sounds like hyena, crow and hippo?

My mom doesn't like it when I put small things from the carpet into my mouth. Really, I'm just trying to help her vacuum. Maybe you could let her know? And either way, if there's stuff on the carpet, she should vacuum more (maybe SHE should be on the naughty list???). I also like to unfold mommy's newly cleaned laundry and empty daddy's sock drawer. Sometimes she doesn't mind, but other times she does. Could you just let her know I don't like the way she folds it and puts it away? She needs to think outside of the box...

I know I should be walking right now. Everyone agrees with that: parents, pediatricians, therapists, orthopedic surgeons...I've seen 'em all...and they all say something's wrong, but they can't figure out WHAT. Since I'm not telling why I'm not walking yet, I think everyone should just enjoy the fact that I'm staying little. Parents say kids grow up too fast and this is my gift to mommy and daddy to stay little for just a bit longer. If you count "not walking" on the good girl list this year, I promise next year I'll walk. I PROMISE. You can let my mommy know that too.

Plus, I've come so far this year. Remember? In June I couldn't even go from lying down to sitting up on my own...I learned to do that, scoot, crawl, climb, cruise and walk just holding onto mommy's and daddy's pinky fingers in under 7 months! That's hard work!!

I'm quite a vocal child. I don't know many words yet (all those doctors say that has a lot to do with my walking...or lack thereof), so I have to express myself in other ways. I usually decide to express my emotions via screaming. Most people say this would include me in the "naughty girl" list, but I'm just trying to spice up life a little. I'm warming those vocal chords so when I learn to talk, no one will ever know what to do with all the real words that suddenly emerge.

I'm a great sleeper. I sleep for 12 hours every single night and usually take an incredible nap. I can sleep at anyone's house so my mommy and daddy can still have a social life. Mommy and daddy get so many compliments on this like it's something they did. Really, I'm just being a good little girl.

I have great hair. The curl makes for great pig tails, and looks wonderful without my mom doing basically anything to it. I know this isn't something that should be attributed to me, but hear me out. I'm not even two years old yet and I sit still (well, mostly still) for my mommy to pull and tug and create something she likes to call "french braids." Let me tell ya, these braids don't feel all that swell...and I'm not even French (well, I am a little bit)...and yet, I know it's something my mommy really wants, so I do it. Good girl. (Oh, and the bang issue my mommy has probably told you about...I promise to let them grow out this year rather than pull on my hair when I'm upset...I promise.)

One of my new favorite things to do is reach up onto mommy's nightstand and get into her vaseline. She REALLY doesn't like this, but I have an excuse. It's a good one. Remember how daddy's hands get really dry and then they crack open and bleed? I fear (since I'm basically a clone of daddy...and I got his fair, dry skin) my hands have that same fate. I'm simply trying to prevent my sweet little hands from disaster.

I'm so great in, okay, that's a lie. But, I sat through the first hour and 15 minutes for the last two weeks without daddy needing to take me out. Plus, I'm a champ in nursery. I'm pretty sure I'm the ONLY one who hasn't needed my mommy or daddy EVER. That alone should keep me on the good list.

Things I'm working on: not throwing my food, not hitting or pinching or biting, screaming less and speaking more, walking and cuddling. These things might take another year or so, so if you could let them slide, I'd be very appreciative.

So, as you see, I really should be included on the "good girl" list this year. I'm not too picky about gifts I would like to receive. I mean, I'm happy with a cardboard box and mardi gras beads...but something new would be nice.

I think that's all. If there's anything else, feel free to contact me, I'm sure I have an explanation.

Yours Truly,


p.s. Don't be offended with how I reacted to you last weekend. I've just never seen anyone with a beard quite like yours before.

merry christmas to all

Our Christmas card budget was semi-limited this year. So, if you didn't get a physical card, know that you are still loved and missed...or not missed as we didn't send them to anyone we live nearby :)...but still loved. And here's a virtual copy of card and letter for any who are interested...

Here's a quick look at the Layton's lives this year.
They've been full of excitement, hard work, travel and cheer.

January was spent enjoying California's warm, sunny rays.
We DID miss the snow, but for no shoveling, we praise!

February was full of CELEBRATION...little Leah turned ONE!
Her first year sped by so fast - we sure had a lot of fun!

In March, Maren's mom celebrated ONE year cancer free.
We are so grateful for her and our entire family.

April brought us to Utah for Maren to run a race.
We saw lots of friends and family - we sure love that place!

In May Leah started therapy to help her move along.
With no crawling, cruising or walking, she needed help to get strong.

June and July were hot hot hot HOT!
We went camping and biking and had smoothies a lot.

August took Ryan and Maren to CHINA on the adventure of a lifetime.
First Hong Kong, then Olympics in Beijing...and the Great Wall we did climb.

Leah was shipped to Utah while we were gone.
Many, many thanks to our wonderful moms.

September was spent settling back into all that real life brings.
Work, piano, paying the bills and all those lovely things.

In October, Leah perfected her mad CRAWLING skills.
Seeing her hard work pay off gives her parents such thrills.

In November, Maren went to New York to run her 2nd marathon.
Ryan stayed home with Leah and played a fantastic Mr. Mom.

We're excited for December to teach Leah the reason...
...we celebrate Jesus Christ during this sacred holiday season.

We're grateful for so many family members and friends.
We miss you and hope you feel of the love that we send.

Love, r m and l

Friday, December 19, 2008

recital number three

I had my third recital last night. So. Much. Fun. Well, most of it was. We got there early to set up and move the piano (thanks, boys!). About 15 minutes before it was supposed to start, Leah didn't smell very fresh, so Ryan went to change her. Only in my rush to get everything ready, I neglected to get another diaper in my bag. Plenty of wipes, though. :) He drove all the way home, got a diaper, drove back and made it about 10 minutes into the recital. Too late. Leah freshness had spread to her tights, darling skirt, and onesie. The only thing it didn't touch was her she wore her jacket and a diaper for the rest of the night. So much for trying to dress her all cute! Ironically, there were extra diapers in the bathroom at the church. Oops!

My students sometimes give me gifts at Christmas...but they're mostly for Leah. One student gave her the cutest scratch and sniff book. I showed her how to do it and she was immediately a pro...she toted that book around al night. 
All in all, a success! All the students did great...and all songs were recognizable this time!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

consider this your Christmas warning...

Okay you men out there. Consider this your Christmas gift-giving warning (click on the link below). I think Ryan learned through his dad...lint rollers and other "practical" gifts are not what we want. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a rough day...

So, Leah is a coat and shoe girl. Yes, at younger than two years old, she loves to wear shoes and jackets ALL DAY LONG. She constantly asks to put them on when she wakes up and wears them throughout the entire day. Sometimes they match, sometimes they don't (like in this video). And when we have to take them off...well, you'll see...


A few randoms the past few weeks:

Today it was chilly enough to actually wear jackets to the park. Imagine that. I couldn't resist the urge to put a hat and gloves on Leah. She actually kept them on for the entire walk over. But, I have a sad, sad confession to make. That's actually my hat she's wearing. No, she doesn't have an abnormally large head. I have an unusually small one. I got the hat on clearance in the baby section at Old Navy a few years ago - it's a size 2T. Even more sad is that I just got her a hat for Christmas - size 18-24 months - and it fits me. I think I have a complex. Leah has been spending a lot of time here lately...the time out chair.

Every Wednesday morning, you can find Leah and Jack here. They're watching the garbage man, affectionately referred to as "man! man!" Really, they get so excited.

And here is Leah's hair in two full french braids. Yay!

christmas creche

Our stake co-hosts an event each year at Christmastime called the Christmas Creche. They basically transform a chapel into a museum of creches from all around the world. It is amazing. Each year, they have hundreds of submissions and they decide how to organize the entire thing. They change the lighting and decorations to fit the theme. There are creches as small as a pin head all the way to life size; nativities made out wood, stone, plastic, fabric, glass, metal, tin foil, you name it (there was even a giant lego creation of joseph, mary and jesus this year); creches from south america, asia, africa, europe, america, etc. It's really fun to see them from around the world, because the people look so different and the animals they choose are animals from that area of the world (like lions and giraffes in africa or whales next to an eskimo baby Jesus). It's an amazing production. I hosted for it on Saturday and was assigned to the children's room - the only room where you can touch the creches (lego nativity, fabric nativity, puzzles and blocks). They had a coloring station and a stamping station. They put on a marionette show that was wonderful and even had an area where kids could dress up as anyone from the nativity - animals included. I couldn't resist dressing up Leah as a sheep. She was so gentle with the baby Jesus.
If you want more information or want to visit next year, click here.

bad hair day...

Ryan got this crazy idea a few nights ago to buzz his head. Yes, that same hair cut little boys get the day after school lets out for the summer when they are SIX YEARS OLD. He already knows how I feel about it...but it's his hair and he can do what he wants. :) Lets hear what you have to say.

Maybe this was just his way of telling me that he didn't like the way I cut his hair. He got his hair cut at a barbershop the day before we got married and then I've been cutting it ever since. When we were looking at wedding photos one day, he said, "That was the last good hair cut I had." Hmmmm...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thank You

Ryan and I just wanted to thank everyone who fasted for, prayed for or thought of Leah yesterday. The response we got was amazing. She is one loved little girl, that is for sure.

As for an update: no overnight miracles. :) But, we know she will be richly blessed with so many people thinking of her.

Thank you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

mobility according to leah

Most of you know that we have had a bit of a struggle getting Leah to walk. By 15 months, she wasn't scooting, going from lying down to sitting, or crawling. We put her in therapy and she learned to sit up, but that's about it. Through the summer she mastered her one-leg army scoot and spun in a circle like a champ...but friends even 6 months younger were running circles around her. In September, we had a mini-family fast and the next week she learned to crawl. Just like that. One day she wasn't, the next day she was a pro. Two weeks ago, we had another mini-family fast for her to continue that progression. That week, she learned to go up and down stairs really well, pull up to standing (what a surprise in her crib that morning!!), and walk with her walker that she has hated for nearly a year.

We found that most toys that are used to encourage babies to pull up to standing and walk were too small for her. At 21 months, she's much taller than your average 10 month old! So, we found other toys that worked. She loved the bar on the back of her high chair and LOVED pushing her new umbrella stroller. Her feet still turned in funny and sometimes she walked on the side of her food (ouch!). Another problem is that her knees hyperextend, so instead of using her muscles to balance like most of us do, her knees go beyond where they should and lock into position without using her muscles.

But...with the help of cousin Jack's walking toy that she has a new-found love for (thanks Jeff and Sarah) and "squeaker sneakers" as recommended by my fantastic OT cousin (thanks Bratny), she is getting better and better every day.

We are going to have another fast this coming Sunday for her to continue with this great progression if anyone wants to participate. It's been a frustrating process because no one can find anything "wrong" with her, but everyone agrees she is far behind even the late outliers of walkers. But she's making progress and that's what counts. :)

Here is a video of her walking progression during the last three weeks or so. Yay, Leah!