Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I know that it is supposed to be a room that Elmo drew from his imagination and all, but seriously, do you have to show him taking a crayon to the curtains in the theme song? Really? Parents freaked out until they made Cookie Monster extol the virtues of radishes because they thought his original diet was a bad example, but no one seems to care Elmo is coloring on furniture.
I think the point of Mr. Noodle is so Elmo can gloat about his superiority. Elmo asks him questions (that he already knows the answers to) that are clearly beyond Mr. Noodle’s intellectual capabilities, and then the disembodied children’s voices laugh at his attempts to answer them. How cruel is that? And while we’re on the subject of Mr. Noodle, am I the only one that thinks it is creepy that a grown man is constantly standing outside Elmo’s window?
I don’t think Elmo is very bright. Episode after episode, he insists on asking a baby to answer a question, and it just stares blankly at the camera. The baby NEVER answers the question, but Elmo keeps asking week after week, and then laughing when the baby doesn’t reply. Maybe it is part of the same superiority complex that he has with Mr. Noodle.
I'm fine with the Elmo of standard Sesame Street fare, but I’m not sure I can handle Elmo’s World.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I'm grateful for a husband who watches the kiddos so I can socialize with friends at our thanksgiving get-together, and who, when my daughter eats popcorn and drinks juice to the point of vomiting for the second time this month, plops her in the bathtub and starts cleaning the couch cushions without complaining or even being asked.
I'm grateful for a daughter that, despite having a rough time with all the changes of recent weeks, loves giving her brother kisses and hugs.
I'm grateful for a son that is a champion sleeper. He even gives me seven hours some nights! He is a good natured little guy, and I'm so grateful he's here.
I'm grateful for parents and parents-in-law that have come out to help. My bathrooms are immaculate, my daughter magically puts herself to sleep now, and I had a blast spending time with these wonderful people. How wonderful is it to have such good relationships with both your parents and your in-laws?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
- How many diapers you can go through in the process of a diaper change
- Therefore, how quickly you can go through an 84 pack of diapers
- Something will always be soaking in oxyclean
- That you need have everything you need within reach before you start nursing
- The adorable noises newborns make
- The different kind of love you have for a newborn. You haven’t had much time for building a relationship, so in a lot of ways, it is based on their absolute dependency on and trust in you. Not a bad love, but different than you experience with anyone else.
- Everything else that I’m too tired to remember because I’ve been taking care of a newborn.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
P.S. Just a reminder to not put our last name in any comments. I want to keep my blog public, but if my personal info comes out in the comments, I'm going to make the change to private. Thanks!
Friday, October 29, 2010
A fun perk is that unless I go into labor in the next 24 hours, I'm going do Halloween uberpregnant (it seems to be a weekend-long holiday around here). I was so sure the little guy would already be here that I didn't really make plans, but I think this could be awesome. I'm currently planning to steal Sarah's costume from several years back and dress like a beauty queen with a sash that says "Miss Conception." The only difference is I won't have to stuff a pillow in my dress to look knocked up like she did. I'm also trying to figure out how I could dress up like an oven (for bun in the oven) and have Rob dress as a baker. I might be able to do something with a cardboard box, but that does involve craftiness, which isn't my strong suit. I'm definitely not planning to paint my belly like some women do. Yuck. My stretch marks are way too terrifying for that, even if the true meaning of Halloween is fear.
An even bigger perk is that my parents are arriving tomorrow! My dad will only be here for a week, so here's hoping the little guy makes his appearance before he leaves. But between relatives, I'm going to have about three weeks of help around, and I am incredibly grateful for that.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
- Burp cloths. I wear them, not him.
- Diaper pail. OK, it is mostly white, but it has a pink handle, and I am just fine with keeping that in his room.
- Towels. He's wrapped in them for all of 30 seconds before we put a new diaper on him. Tough. Adults put pink towels in their bathrooms all the time, and men still dry their hands on them.
- Boppy cover. The pillow wears it, not him. And the other one is blue and green striped.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Truth be told, I’m downright terrified about the change to two children. I’d never really planned on having kids this close together, and there are so many things I thought Emily would be able to do by the time her little sibling came - not cook her own lasagna or anything, but I thought at least she would go to bed at a predictable time. While with only a newborn in the house, there were only small windows I needed to be fully functional (which was hard enough), Emily won’t stop needing me while the baby naps. And creating structure is probably my biggest parenting weakness, and it will be harder to function without it when there are two little people to manage. People ask me if I’m anxious to be done with this pregnancy, and my honest response is that I’m in no hurry because this little guy is a lot easier to take care of inside of me than out.
I’m working hard at mentally preparing myself. And the thing I have come to realize is there is so much to look forward to. I’m excited to get to meet this little person and see how he tries to make sense of the world. I’m excited to watch Emily become a big sister, and watch her and the little guy build their own relationship over the years. And once the little guy is old enough to do more than eat and poop, the idea of a ready-made playmate for Emily sounds glorious. But overall, it has been good to look back at how much fun I’ve had with Emily, how much I’ve learned from raising her, and how much I love her, and recognize I’m about to have all that goodness times two.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Emily loves frozen peas. And when I say frozen peas, I don’t mean reheated frozen peas – I mean straight from the freezer. I have to give them in small doses because once they have thawed, she hands them back to me because she doesn’t want them. Pretty much every time I get something out of the freezer, she sobs until I give her some. I know I shouldn’t be teaching her that she gets her way when she cries, but really, how am I supposed to turn down a child that is distraught because I won’t give her vegetables? It’s OK as long as I’m consistent about ignoring her tantrums in other areas, right?
Emily’s hair is constantly crazy (the nice hair in this picture is courtesy of Keli, who loves doing hair and doesn’t care that it just gets undone). I can’t keep any hair item in her hair for more than an hour, if that. She pulls off hair ties and wears them around her wrist. She pulls off headbands and breaks them. Hairclips wind up in her mouth within two minutes. I know I should give in and just give her bangs, but it is so close to being long enough to stay behind her ears that I keep holding off. Good thing the other kids her age don’t care that she looks unkempt, right? She still has plenty of little boy admirers.
She still loves being outside. It has been hard for me to admit that I’ve got too much pregnancy burnout to spend hours outside with her like I used to, but she still thinks going on walks is the best thing in the world.
Dogs are her current obsession. She doesn’t want them touching her (lesson learned from taking her through the “adopt a dog” fair going on in front of PetSmart), but she loves watching them, and proudly announcing “dog” and “arf.” Truth be told, if I need a break, I put on some of those “how to train your dog” videos you can find on hulu. She loves it.
Her vocabulary is growing. She can now say: yes, no, dog, ball, cat, bird, head, eye, nose, wall (I have no idea where that came from), ready, bottle, uh oh, whoa, popcorn (well, “pa,” but we know what she means), mama, dada, and book. While she pretty much only uses words as descriptors, I am excited that the day is coming soon that I can understand what she’s thinking.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
My friend Elizabeth and I had the same due date last go around. So I found it really funny when I checked out her blog the other day and saw that she'd posted a video of her little guy doing popcorn popping, because I'd been planning to post a video of Emily doing the same thing. Ignore the crazy hair and mismatched clothes.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I've been surprised by the large number of small adjustments I find myself making as part of life with a toddler. I'm realizing more and more the value of picking my battles. It is all well and good to say that your kid will eat what the family is eating or go hungry, and then you find yourself dragging your whale-like pregnant body out of bed at 2am because your toddler is starving and needs a bottle to make it until morning, and you suddenly stop caring about the one family/one meal policy. Maybe I'll suffer in the long term, and my child will become a self-centered brat or something, but at least I'm getting a good night's sleep right now, which means I have the energy I need to get my sloth-like pregnant body off the couch and be an engaging parent during the day, which I value more. Life with a toddler, even an incredibly good natured one like Emily, is full of small battles, and it's been interesting to learn about which battles I'm willing to lose so I have the energy to fight the ones that matter most.
Monday, August 2, 2010
My dad was in town on business, and we had a wonderful, relaxing time eating good food, hitting the playgrounds, and just catching up.
We also said a very bittersweet goodbye to our relatives and good friends, the Charles. They've left the mid-Atlantic for a fantastic job out west, and we couldn't be happier for them, although we are going to miss them terribly.
So that's been recent life.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. For me, I think living a successful life means that my basic needs are adequately provided for, and that I have enough leisure time to pursue activities that make me feel fulfilled. For me, my career is not the area that my worth comes from, or where I find the greatest fulfillment. It is something I enjoy doing that allows me to live the kind of life I want to live. I find the greatest fulfillment from spending time with my family and developing my mind (learning, improving my talents, etc). Success means living a fulfilling life, and no profession would be able to completely fill that need for me. I feel extremely lucky that at this stage in my life, I feel completely successful, not because I’m the world’s best stay at home mom (yeah, I still feel incompetent most of the time), but because I feel like a complete person. I have time for my family and time for myself, and I feel like I’m growing and developing as a person.
So how do you define success? Do you feel that you are on the path to achieving success in your life?
Friday, July 2, 2010
But I've been thinking a lot about how grateful I am for modern medicine. Because despite all the craziness, I've never once during these two months worried that my daughter wouldn't survive it. As I've read about colonial or frontier life, the best you could do in some of the circumstances Emily was in was give her fluids and hope the fever breaks. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't. The doctor might suggest letting some blood or something. I know it is still this way in many parts of the world. Instead, with all these illnesses I've had antibiotics, pain killers, prompt care facilities, throat cultures, air conditioning, and antihistamines available. What is a big annoyance/robber-of-sleep for Rob and me would have been much more serious 200 years ago.
I think about the strength of character it took for parents back in the day to love their children when child mortality was so high. I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to have my heart broken, and builds up big walls to prevent myself from having that happen. I wonder if I'd have the strength to love Emily the way I do if the odds of her surviving were so poor. I could easily see myself keeping my distance to keep myself from getting crushed. I know a lot of women did. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but recently I've been very grateful for the emotional freedom that having access to medical care gives me. I find more fulfillment in family life. I can allow myself to dream about my children's future. My attitude about pregnancy is completely different. I recognize what a blessing it is.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Sometimes I get discouraged because I feel the problems aren’t going away any time soon, or that my behavioral victories will only last until the next virus hits our home. I look at the bruises she’s given herself and wonder if I’m going to have to train her to stop banging her head against the baby gate every single time she gets sick. I watch her scream like a banshee while I try to figure out if she’s thirsty or bored or dying of croup, and wonder how long it is going to take until she can do more than cry to tell me what is wrong.
But I have to remind myself that these frustrations won’t last forever, and there is a downside to their going away.
For all my annoyance with my daughter’s head-banging temper tantrums every time I leave the room, I know the day will come that she’ll want her privacy and won’t want me around.
For all my frustration with her dismantling my freshly folded drawers of laundry, creating piles of her own like she saw me do, I know the day will come that she'll stop trying to do what I do, and look to someone else for that example.
For all my inability to understand what she’s trying to communicate with her tears, I know the time will come that she won’t come to me with her problems at all.
For all my backaches with her constant demands to be held, I know the day will come that holding her in my arms won’t be enough to give her the comfort she needs.
So when I feel so frustrated that I want to start banging my head against the wall too, I just try to remember that while I may not miss the 3am wake up calls, I am going to miss being the one she turns to make her world right again.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I was a sophomore at BYU, and I was attending our stake conference (biannual regional meeting of about a dozen congregations). When you attend a singles congregation in Provo, you go into a meeting like this expecting at least one of the speakers to talk about how you should be dating and getting married, so I wasn't surprised when this adorable little old man hobbled up to the podium and announced he's going to talk about dating. What I didn't expect was the analogy he used to open his remarks. Completely oblivious to the slang connotation of the phrase, he announced, "Dating is like baseball: if you don't go up to bat, you're never going to get on base!" Because I was in the choir, I was up on the stand, so I was really only able to let my eyes bug out. But I really almost lost my grip when I saw the EQ president in our ward with a dead serious look on his face, jotting it down in his notes. Priceless. Anyways, I guess our speaker was right about the fact that unless you're dating, you're not going to get any action, but I really don't think that was what he was trying to encourage us to go home that day and do.
So what is the funniest thing you've heard over the podium (intentional or accidental)?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
1 - This part is vicarious, but I've had two sets of really good friends that have been in the job market for a very, very long time, and I've found out today that both sets have been offered jobs! Not only offered jobs, but offered really good jobs they are excited about it, and in locations where they were hoping to find work (one of them here in the DC metro!). They are awesome people that deserve awesome jobs, and I'm so excited for them, you'd think it was me being offered the job or something.
2 - I'm loving watching Emily toddle about. She's starting to get the hang of this walking thing, and I love watching her determination and enthusiasm for it.
3 - I'm grateful Emily is taking a nap right now. She's a much happier kid when she naps.
4 - I'm grateful for my new calling at church (mormons serve in different capacities at church, at the invitation of the bishop after his prayerful consideration): primary pianist. Can I just say "dream calling"? I'm contributing in a meaningful way to kids' spiritual growth, but in a Sunday-only capacity. No weeknight activities to plan. No organizational meetings to attend. No scheduling time off of work to go to camps. No maintaining order in the classroom. No feeling that the needs of the people I'm working with are so big, I could spend every waking hour helping them, and it wouldn't be enough. I simply practice a concrete list of songs, show up on Sunday, play them, and don't worry about it again until the next week. Don't get me wrong, I've loved other capacities I've served in, I've grown a lot in them, I'd do them again in a heartbeat, etc, but right now, this sounds completely refreshing.
5 - I'm grateful that people are so friendly in my new neighborhood and congregation. I was a little worried about being further in the suburbs without a car during the day, but people are frequently calling to offer me rides to assorted activities, and I didn't expect that to happen so quickly. And I'm grateful I live close enough to my friends in my old congregation that I can still see them at book group every month.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Anybody else think this last episode was the directors showing off the fact their cast is so darn good that they can take some of the most painfully bad music out there and make a great episode? Seriously, how does Lea Michelle take a song like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and perform it so well that I rewind it and watch it two more times in a row? OK, and Jonathan Groff's angry ballet thing also really worked for me for some inexplicable reason. But anyways, I was ecstatic to see Emma finally give Will what's coming to him. Twice. Loved it.
I haven't watched this since before I moved, and I haven't missed it. I feel like the show has gotten so caught up in the relationship stuff that it is forgetting what makes it great - the fact you can watch it and laugh at your own crazy workplace. I relate to stuff like getting jazzed about pretzel day, sucking at the game that everyone in your office plays incessantly, and rivalries between different departments. Pregnancy contracts? Um, not so much. Someone tell me if it gets good again.
My cousin Sammy got me reading these, and I'm really enjoying them. Yeah, in a lot of ways, it seems like a Harry Potter knock off, but a lot of the similarities go with the adventure genre, and Riordan makes this world his own. I also think it is fun to learn about the Titans. I'd never really heard anything about them before, and now I find myself wanting to learn more.
OK, Emily is still refusing her nap, so I'm going to save her from her crib. Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to write about soon.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I am ecstatic to report that pregnancy has been much easier this time around. Last go around, early pregnant life consisted of collapsing on the couch after work and trying to keep down a tiny bowl of mashed potatoes while watching “So You Think You Can Dance.” This time around, I am morning sickness free. The only physical signs of my pregnancy are the fact I get tired easily, and the fact that everything from breast cancer commercials to Orianthi’s guitar riffs move me to tears. I wish I was exaggerating about the guitar riffs, but there it is.
I have to admit I’m very nervous. Some days I feel like I don’t know how to take care of one child, let alone two. Maybe they’ll take care of each other? But I’m very excited that Emily will have a playmate, and I’m enjoying learning about this new little person that I’ll be hanging out with over the years. Wish me luck!
P.S. Awesome points go to whoever can identify where the quote in my title came from.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The stairs. Oh, how she loves the stairs. Our little apartment didn't have any, and I think she would spend her entire day climbing them if we let her. Once I've located our camera, I'll upload a video of her giggling her way up them.
Getting a lot more space without adding very much time to his commute.
The kitchen. Life is magical now that we have a dishwasher that actually washes dishes (so this is how people actually stay on top of their dishes). I have so much counter space that I haven't been slowed down at all by the packing boxes on top of them, and so much cabinet space that some of them are currently empty. Yum.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I thought I had a good system in place. I diligently marked every birthday and anniversary in my planner, and put "mail ____'s birthday card" on the to-do checklist 4 business days before the big day. I bought an obscene quantity of stamps so I'd never run out. I put most of my addresses in a centralized spreadsheet. I thought I was doing awesome.
Three months in, and my success rate is zero. I haven't mailed a single card. I do have some good excuses. Several of these birthdays hit during the blizzard, so I couldn't make it to the store to buy cards, and moving has me in survival mode. But everyone has a crazy busy life, and plenty of those people still manage to send off cards.
I know many of you are good birthday card mailers. Please tell me your secrets. What is your system? Do you buy your cards far in advance? Put them on your grocery list? What works for you?
Monday, March 15, 2010
I've had several people ask to see more pictures of the house we bought. The problem with including pictures is that the home was beautifully staged, so its furniture is much nicer than what we'll be able to afford, and we'll probably lay some things out differently anyways. But here are two pictures that show some universal features: how our dining area looks out over our back yard, and the nice tiling along our bathtub.
Monday, March 8, 2010
We put in a contract for a beautiful townhome this weekend, and it was accepted! By the end of the month, we will own this beautiful kitchen. Yum. It is my dream kitchen.
For privacy reasons, I'm not posting where it is, but I will say that we have moved outside of our current ward boundaries, so we'll be attending a new congregation. There are a lot of people I'm going to miss seeing regularly (but I'll still be at book group, and I'm really not that much further away), but it feels like the right thing to do. So I probably won't be posting much because we are planning to close by the end of the month (yikes!), but we are busy doing exciting things. Wish us luck!
Friday, March 5, 2010
I’ve realized it has been a month since I’ve talked about our lives, so here’s the rundown of what we’ve been up to.
The biggest news is that we are house hunting. It is really intimidating, as it is the biggest purchase I’ve ever made, and there are so many things to consider, but it is also really exciting. We’re going to be picking the place Emily will start elementary school, the playgrounds where she’ll make her friends, and the rooms where our future kids will play. It has been a long, long time since I’ve lived somewhere so permanently. OK, it is a starter home, but still, I haven’t lived somewhere for two years straight since high school.
I got together with my friend Rachel, who I hadn’t seen since 9th grade, and who is now living in Baltimore. It was really fun to see what had changed and what had stayed the same about us, and I’m excited to see more of her.
Emily and I are engaged in an epic battle to get her to drink fluids. I’m losing. Badly. I’ll spare you the details of what my defeats look like, but if you ever need advice on infant constipation products, I’m quite knowledgeable. Wish me luck in my next battle strategy: playing “tea party.”
Emily is learning more and more each day. She can now successfully identify her tongue and ears with regularity, and is getting pretty good at her head. She likes hanging out in boxes and under tables, and using a folding chair like a makeshift “walker.” She loves book, hugs, patting her dolls (before chewing on them), and dancing.
And then there’s the day to day: flu bugs and games with friends; date night and book group. So that’s us.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Without my computer, I went on a domestic rampage. My bathrooms were immaculate. My dishes were always done. I tried making homemade teething biscuits (anyone have a good recipe? The one I tried never got hard). I bought 10 pounds of chicken thighs, trimmed their fat, and made freezer meals out of them. It made me realize just how much I can get done with the time I spend on the computer.
That said, I wasn't necessarily more efficient. It made me realize how dependent I am on computers to organize my life. Doing a grocery list was too complicated because I normally use a printout based on store layout to select my items. I didn't have access to the database to see which requirements my cub scouts needed to work on, and I didn't even have access to the bear handbook because I don't have a hard copy. I didn't have google calendar to prompt me to send out my book group reminder email. Family history: didn't even attempt it. How did people keep everything straight before computers?
The thing I missed most was the introspective time I get with writing/blogging. And yes, I know people were writing before the printing press, but I rarely write in linear form, and I frequently cut, paste, and reword. Writing is my way of taking a step away from the constant motion of life to find the meaning in what I'm doing, but it was a little freaky to realize that the computer shaped how I did that.
So how does your computer shape your life? What would you miss most in a life without computers?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
In honor of Emily’s first birthday:
Emily leaves her mark on my calendar. My tightly structured schedules have devolved into bits of frenzied activity between meals, between naps, or while I’m carrying her over my shoulder. I’ve been amazed at the things I can accomplish while holding a wiggly 18 pounds in my arms.
Emily leaves her mark on my apartment. The office where I’d type research papers has transformed into the room where she eats and sleeps. Tupperware is strewn across my kitchen, and I find myself trying to locate my rice cooker because everything has shifted in the attempt to keep chemicals and sharp objects out of her constantly curious hands.
Emily leaves her mark on my body. The bite marks will fade and the hair will grow back, but the stretch marks will stay. And I like that. They are a physical reminder of where she came from and her connection to me.
Emily leaves her mark on my eating and cooking habits. I stir pureed fruit into pancake batter, and drop foods from my diet will set off gas pain when they get to her body.
Emily leaves her mark on my soul. I’ve learned to celebrate the small victories and blessings, ask for help when needed, strengthen my relationship with God, and give when I think I have nothing left to give. I’ve learned to love without qualifications, and it has changed me fundamentally.
It has been a wild and wonderful year, and I'm so grateful for all I've learned.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Going on a trip to visit my grandma (who Emily hadn't met yet), and seeing that the nursing home she just moved to is really nice and has a lot of activities going on.
Just being together, and watching Emily be with her extended family. I especially enjoyed getting to see my brothers be uncles.
Other than that, my Christmas present to my mom was doing some of her family history and taking a trip to the temple together, and it was great being there with her for that (thanks, dad, for babysitting).