Monday, December 13, 2010

My fashionista

I let Emily have complete reign over her wardrobe today, and this is what she picked. The thing the picture doesn't quite show is that she's wearing four pairs of pants and three shirts. Love it.


And this is just because I know people want to see pictures of the little man.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cooking adventures and sibling love

It is ironic that when life is the most full of news to share, or experiences I want to write about, it is the hardest to find time to write about it. But the kids are miracously still sleeping, so I'll squeeze in what I can, unpolished as it is.

Emily and I baked for the first time this past week. I let her dump in the stuff I measured out, gave her a scraper to poke the dough with, and had her place the balls of dough on the cookie sheet. She loved it. She'd get these deep looks at concentration as she watched me and as I'd give her jobs, and she was so proud of herself when she'd do it. She also thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of her labors. Oddly enough, Emily doesn't like chocolate (is she really my child?), so we made gingersnaps, and oh boy, I've never seen her take to junk food like that. She was excited to bring one of her cookies to her dad, but then immediately took it out of his hands and stuffed it in her mouth. At least she wanted to share, right?

I think my favorite part of mothering two has been to see the way the two of them interact. Emily loves her brother, and loves to take care of him. She jabbers at him, hugs and kisses him, throws away his dirty diapers, and rubs his back when he's gassy. Yesterday she was even demonstrating prayer to him. Melts my heart. And Elliot seems to love her back. Well, he seems to be simultaneously fascinated and somewhat terrified of her. His eyes always get really wide and his breathing gets faster when she's nearby, but he just can't take his eyes off of her when she's nearby. And he's been smiling a lot at her, so I think that means he likes her.
OK, the kiddos just woke up, so I'm off!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You have a weird world, Elmo

Don’t get me wrong - I have nothing but love for the little furry red monster. If the past few days are any indication, I’m not going to survive flu season without his assistance. But am I the only one who thinks Elmo’s World is really bizarre? I say this having only watched three segments of it, but here are some of my observations:

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

Thankful

Today I'm incredibly grateful for my family.

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

Things I’d forgotten about life with a newborn



  • 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.

Halloween

Two weeks late, but here are some Halloween photos.

She didn't want to wear her hood, but here's Emily dressed like a cow.


You know your costume was a success when people see you and say, "Oh, YOU'RE Miss Conception! I keep hearing about your costume."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family Photo



We're still working on getting everyone looking at the camera at the same time, but between these two shots, you can see our family of four.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby Elliot is here

More details later, but I just wanted to announce that Elliot Robert has made his 8 pound, 11 ounce debut. Seven minutes of pushing, baby. I'm that awesome. We're all doing well, and Emily loves being a big sister. Our biggest sibling issue at the moment is that she wants to bring him things while he's sleeping, and doesn't understand why we want to let him nap. Even though I know I'm in over my head, it already feels like he belongs in our family, and it feels so good to have all of us home together.

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

39 weeks

I've never been 39 weeks pregnant before. Emily arrived about two weeks early, so this is a new experience. People ask my due date, and I can say "Tuesday." My belly has reached new levels of impressiveness. Sorry, I'm too lazy to go get the camera to take a picture. I've progressed from having friends I haven't seen for a few weeks say, "wow, you're getting BIG," to random strangers at the grocery store saying, "wow, you're going to have that baby any day now, aren't you?" Love it when people think out loud. Anyways, this time around I actually have easy dinners stocked in my freezer, my hospital bag is packed, and we won't have to make any mad dashes to Target on the way home, so he'll probably stick around until Christmas or something.

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

Pink/Blue

Don't worry - I have no intention of dressing my little guy up in frilly pink dresses. But I've realized there are plenty of baby items that I really don't care enough to spend money on replacing pink with blue. Among them:
  • 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.
So what do you think? Will he hate me when he's a teenager and sees pictures of himself wrapped in a white towel with pink bubbles?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Counting Down

In seventeen days, doctors predict the little guy will make his appearance. Little by little, we’re chipping away at making room for him in our lives. Some things are concrete – newborn diapers are stacked near the changing table, drawers of pink clothes have been replaced with blue, and broken pumping accessories have been ordered. The less concrete ones are trickier, and therefore not quite done – trying to break Emily of her rocking-to-sleep routine so the glider can be moved to his room for the late nights, getting Emily more used to mommy being busy, and persuading myself we’ll all survive these first few months.

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

The Emily Update


Emily loves suspense. Her favorite games involve waiting – counting to three and then “running races” around the kitchen; playing fetch with her ball (she waits until I tell her to go get the ball, then runs off giggling to get it); slowly moving towards her and kiss attacking her when I get there. That kind of thing. I think she’ll be the kind that likes surprises on Christmas.

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.
So that's a little of what she's been up to in recent weeks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Popcorn Popping

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

Battle Plan

I tried out a new recipe for dinner last night - a kind of Mexican casserole. Rob and I sampled it and said it was fine, but we probably wouldn't make it again because a plain old taco is every bit as good and doesn't require the additional 25 minutes of baking time at the end. Then Emily sampled it, got excited, and scarfed down a larger dinner than I did. Honestly, I'm still in denial that it could all fit in her stomach. Considering that the only other food I could get her to eat that day was grapes, I was ecstatic. Now I'm considering adding it to our menu cycle. Even though it is an extra 25 minutes that normal tacos wouldn't take, Emily won't touch tacos, and I'd rather make one meal that our whole family will eat than a meal I love and a pot of mac and cheese for the choosy toddler.

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

July


Has it really been almost a month since I've blogged? And two months since I've posted a picture of Emily? That's embarrassing. Before I go any farther, I've uploaded a picture of Emily on her new ride on toy from Grandpa. She loves that thing. She'll roam around the neighborhood with it for as long as I'm willing to brave the heat.

So, here are the updates about life the past few months. Emily finally hit the magical age where she is able to attend our congregation's nursery. I love it. It doesn't actually change anything for me because I'm playing piano, so Rob was staying with her anyways, but I love that she has somewhere to go at church that is made for her. I'm glad that she is learning that she can feel happy and safe at church, and that church is a place she can participate and learn.




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

Success

This week, my new book group discussed Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.” In my opinion, the book’s basic argument – an individual’s likelihood to succeed isn’t based on IQ alone, but also opportunity, culture, and putting in enough hours of work – isn’t groundbreaking. But we had a very interesting discussion about how success is defined. In the way Gladwell sets up his book, he defines successful individuals as people in high power positions, such as doctors, lawyers, CEOs, professors, Silicon Valley magnates, etc. He then laments the fates of intelligent individuals that aren’t achieving their potential by becoming one of these things. Now don’t get me wrong, I get as depressed as the next person knowing that people are denied opportunities because life isn’t fair and people are born in different circumstances. But I think the element that is missing in his discussion is that not all intelligent individuals want to be doctors, lawyers, CEOs, etc, and that just because they working in a “lackluster” field doesn’t mean they aren’t succeeding in living the life that they want to live. I know plenty of brilliant individuals that are working in fields that allow them more time with their families or hobbies, leaving the work force or working part time to raise children, or following some less prestigious career path that they feel passionate about. I also know plenty of successful lawyers and businesspeople that don’t particularly love their life. So our group discussed how we would define success in our own lives.

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

Hooray for Modern Medicine

I thought flu season happened in the winter. I guess not. Emily has literally spent more time sick over the past two months than healthy. Flu, strep, hives, colds, ear infections, ridiculously high fevers ... you get the picture. I'm going to be honest: it is getting really old. That's a big part of the reason I haven't been blogging much. You don't want to hear me whine about it.

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

It's a ...

... boy. Come November, we will become an extremely gender-balanced family. It was fun learning a little bit about this little guy, and I'm excited to get to know him even better as the years go by.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vicarious Nurturing

Emily is definitely starting to give off girly vibes. Recently, playing with dolls and stuffed animals are her second favorite hobby (her favorite is walking around in the yard). She doesn't play with them in the standard way, though. She''ll carry them around and pat them a little, but for everything else, she doesn't want to care for the doll - she wants mommy to take care of them. She'll carry the bear over to me, hand me a bottle/clothes/changing pad, and then make the "more" sign and look at me expectantly. When I put bottle up against its mouth, she'll giggle and smile and bring me something else, but she'll aggressively shake her head "no" when I try to hand it back to her. Basically, she thinks that the doll needs a mommy, but she doesn't want to be it. So hopefully she'll think its awesome when I'm taking care of her little sibling (whose gender we should find out on Monday).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lessons learned from a rough week

This was not an easy week. In the midst of having two canines cut through, Emily caught strep, which led to amoxicillin-induced hives, which led to a resurgence of her head-banging temper tantrums. Her variety of sicknesses has led to constant sleep deprivation for Rob and me, and pregnancy-augmented back pain from the constant lifting for me. The only silver lining is at least the Benadryl the doctor had us give her for the hives gave me two nights of consecutive good sleep before her body adapted to it. I know every parent has had weeks like this, and a hundred times worse, multiplied by each additional child or chronic condition, but it doesn’t make it feel any less discouraging to a rookie parent like me who is still building her proverbial calluses for these kinds of challenges.
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

Make me laugh #1: Heard over the pulpit

I may get motivated enough later on today to get the pictures off my camera. But right now, I'm feeling extremely lazy, and since it is Friday, I want to do something fun. So I've decided to share one of the funniest things I've heard over the podium at church, and invite you to do the same in the comments. If you have good stories to share, I might do something like this every Friday.

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

Philly

This past weekend, we met up with Cristie and her family in Philadelphia and did the tourist thing - Liberty Bell, US Mint, Independence Hall, Franklin's grave, etc. This shot is Emily climbing the stairs of Independence Hall. I thought Philadelphia was absolutely charming, and it was fun to see my grandparents' old stomping grounds.

We bought Emily her first pair of shoes the night before the trip, and she loved getting to walk around outside like a big girl. It was really fun seeing her interact with her cousins, who are so good to her.

And of course, how could you go to Philly without getting a cheesesteak? A funny moment from the drive up: Rob asked me what the history of the Liberty Bell was, and my mind went absolutely blank. Then he jokingly asked me what the history of the cheesesteak was, and I started rattling off the story of Pat and his desire for a break from selling hot dogs at his roadside stand, and inventing the cheesesteak. Can you tell what I was looking forward to on this trip?

As I finished this post, I realized none of my earlier shots actually showed something distinctly Philadelphian, so here is the Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Since there has been a dearth of pictures recently...

Looks like Emily has some competition for her playhouse...



Grandpa came into town for business, and it was wonderful having him here, even if it was a short visit. Sadly, I didn't take many good pictures, but here they are enjoying a noise machine together.


My friend Rachel from WAY back (we went to middle school together) accompanied her husband into the district on a business trip, so we met up at the botanical gardens. It was great to see her and catch up. :) It was also great to go on an outing with somebody more pregnant than I was, so I didn't feel like as much of a wimp.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The good life

Can I just say that life is good? Today I'm going to follow Cristie's lead and do a "things I'm grateful for" post.

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

A completely completely frivolous post...

... because the past week has been spent with the flu circling through our house, and no one wants to hear me write about that. So instead, I'm going to blog about assorted TV shows and books I've been watching/reading recently. You won't be missing much if you skip this post, but I just wanted to stay in the habit of writing.

Glee
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.

The Office
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.

Percy Jackson
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

Once more unto the breach, dear friends

I’m pregnant. Due November 2. Give or take a little.

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

This one's for you, mom

My mom chastised me (lovingly) tonight for my two week blogging hiatus, and reminded me that many of you would be every bit as happy with a cute Emily picture as my deep thoughts. So because my thoughtful writings haven't been turning out recently, here is a pictorial representation of recent life that also happens to feature an incredibly sweet baby.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

College Friends

This Saturday, I was happily able to take a break from unpacking to meet up with Sarah, my good friend from college, at the DC temple. It was wonderful to see her and reminisce. There's something special about college friends. Life changes, and the roles you take on change, but they knew you before you were anyone's wife or mother, and after you were primarily identified as someone's child. They shared that utterly self-defining time of growing into adulthood with you. I'm so grateful so many of them are still a part of my life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Settling In

I've been neglecting my blog because, let's face it, when I'm faced with the choice between locating my can opener and writing about trying to find my can opener, I'm just going to unpack. But I just wanted to report that we love our new place, and we're getting things more operational day by day. So before I return to the unpacking fray, here are each of our favorite things about our new place:

Emily:
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.

Rob:
Getting a lot more space without adding very much time to his commute.

Erin:
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

Resolution FAIL

My seemingly modest new years resolution was that this was going to be the year I was going to actually mail out birthday cards. Being part of the technology generation, mailing anything is a seemingly insurmountable challenge for me. Netflix is pushing it for me. If I could send out birthday emails, I'd be a champ, but because a lot of people consider it tacky, I end up not doing anything at all because the process of buying stamps, going to the store to buy a card, tracking down the address, wrestling Emily into her stroller, and hiking down the block to the mailbox just doesn't happen.

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

Some pictures of the new house



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

Home!


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

Recent Life


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

Excuse for not blogging #82058

Yeah, I've been slacking here, but I've got several posts written and ready roll out throughout women's history month on my mormon women's history blog. So if I'm not writing here, check me out over there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby it's cold outside

I've been going through another one of those periods where I'm writing often, but nothing is turning into a coherent post. So let's forget words and enjoy some goofy pictures of how we amused ourselves during the time we were snowed in.








Friday, February 5, 2010

Mom, are you sitting down?

...because you aren't going to believe this. I'm now a part of a cooking blog, and I did my first post today (I'll be posting on Fridays). I'm blogging with some amazing cooks, so be sure to check them out. We're at http://recipeswithfriends.blogspot.com/. I'm really excited to learn new tips and recipes.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Unplugged

About a month ago, our computer crashed, and we spent several days unplugged. I've been thinking about the ways I spent my time differently without the computer, and it has got me wondering if I'm using it well.
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

Emily leaves her mark


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

Omaha

Some of the highlights from our trip to Omaha:


Emily's first trip to the zoo. Turns out she wasn't terribly interested, with the exception of the orangutan that was playing with a roll of paper towel (also one of her favorite hobbies), but we now know she is roughly the same height as a gentoo penguin.



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).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas 2009

On Christmas Eve, Emily and I joined our friends Brett, Lori, & Scotty for the Holy Eucharist Service at the National Cathedral. The service was lovely. Emily garnered many comments from those she interacted with about how it helped them think about Christ as a little child. Unfortunately, she might have gone too far with the realism of his being a baby by letting out a luscious burp in the middle of the sermon. Sorry about that, fellow worshippers (note that none of those positive comments came from those sitting near us - just those we talked to after).

For Emily's first Christmas, we did our own thing Christmas morning, and then headed to the Charles' home for a fondue dinner. Rob's cousin Amy and her husband Ryan were also in town and joined us for the dinner, and it was wonderful to catch up. Rob gave me an amazing present: he wrote me a song, and he has designated a certain part of our budget for date night/babysitter funds.


We decided to practice keeping the Christmas spirit all through the year by doing another Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa in Omaha. Among her presents was Emily's first baby doll. We're a little worried about her nurturing capacity, because she thinks the best use for the baby is to chew on it. Note to self: avoid producing a little sibling for her until she's outgrown the cannabalism stage.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Together


I haven't written for a long time. First, I was too busy enjoying vacation, and then our computer crashed. I've got a lot of posts bubbling in my head, and hopefully they will come to life at some point (no promises). But for now, I want to say that it was absolutely wonderful having my whole family together in Omaha. It was the first time in four years we had all been in the same place at the same time, and the previous time was at my wedding, which isn't quite the same. It was wonderful to just sit around the dinner table together, enjoying each other's company. I loved watching each of them form their own relationship with Emily, and I've loved forming new relationships with them myself as we all move into the different stages of our lives.