Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just like Dad

This morning Andrew was helping Rachel on the potty while he brushed his teeth. Rachel loves brushing her teeth and is pretty fascinated when mom and dad purposely put things in our mouth, mostly because we often don't (put things in our mouth...not brush our teeth. We do the latter often). She decided that she should give Andrew a little help and then kind of took over the whole operation, involving her own little mouth in the process.

When Andrew decided that this method of teeth cleaning was too cumbersome he handed Rachel her own toothbrush.

She was so proud--to be brushing her teeth all by herself while daddy was brushing his teeth was a new thing. Usually she brushes her teeth at night several hours before we do and doesn't often brush her teeth in the morning until after daddy leaves for school, so this was a real treat. So often she's just stuck brushing with boring old mom (whom she happens to love and adore and be really, really attached to right now).

Perhaps we have a little dental hygienist on our hands. Or a dentist. Or an orthodontist. Or an orthopedic surgeon. Or maybe even a world-famous tooth brush designer. At any rate, the girl loves brushing her teeth.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Playing with Maggie

Rachel has been blessed with many, many friends, which is a very good thing because she's a social baby. Today she played with 10 different friends. She's a very lucky girl because there are so many little babies in the ward right around her age. Today we had Maggie and Ian over to play. Maggie is about a week younger than Rachel and they had quite a bit of fun together. Most of my time was spent insuring that no eyeballs got skewered on curious fingers and that no one accidentally got eaten.

Ian spent most of his time exploring all the new toys. He didn't want to go home because there were still toys unseen when Heather came to collect them. He especially liked our car puzzle and all the toy food.

There was lots of touching done by Rachel...

...And a little done by Maggie.

There was also quite a bit of holding hands. Rachel was quite affectionate with everyone today, really. She gave Maggie a kiss on the cheek and on the forehead and also kissed both Isabelle and Eliza during playgroup.

We need to make more play dates, I think. Rachel loves watching kids play and trying to interact with them--it makes her behave better for the rest of the day. She took both of her naps without a fight today and was such a happy girl all day long. Who knows, maybe if she makes really good friends with some kids in our ward she won't mind it if Andrew and I leave her to be babysat every once in a could happen, right? She won't want to keep me in her sight forever, will she?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Whatever shall I do?

I washed the sheets yesterday and the load wasn't very full so I threw in the rest of the whites with them. I even got them put in the dryer, which was remarkable because shots make Rachel run a fever which makes her an official Mommy's Girl.

Usually she's just a "mommy's girl," and will entertain herself for a few minutes at a time, which means I have half a hope of getting something done. When she doesn't feel good though she turns into Mommy's Girl (with a capital MG!) and becomes a somewhat permanent growth on my hip.

So I didn't get the laundry out of the dryer to fold it. Before we could go to bed last night we had to make our bed. I took the sheets out and handed them to Andrew, then I took his Sunday shirt out and hung it up so that it wouldn't get wrinkly. It was late so I decided that the rest of the clothes could wait until the next day. Who cares if a few pairs of socks or undergarments are a little wrinkly? Certainly not me.

Andrew began making the bed and I finished getting ready for bed. While I was brushing my teeth he walked into our laundry room, which happens to be connected to our bathroom, with an article of clothing. He opened the closet door that hides the washing machine, opened the dryer, tossed the vesture in there, then shut the doors and grabbed his toothbrush.

"What did you do that for?" I asked.

"Well, there was a piece of clothes in the sheets that I found while I was making the bed, so I threw it on the floor...but then I realized that if I left it on the floor I would put it in the dirty clothes since it's clean I had to do something else with it. I figured that putting it in the dryer with the rest of the clothes was the best thing to do."

"Really?" I asked amazed at his thought process, "You couldn't have just folded it and put it away?"

Andrew looked a little sheepish. He honestly hadn't thought of that as a solution. Guys are just different than girls, I guess.

Monday, January 28, 2008

That little tongue thing

When Rachel can stand to be separated from mommy, one of her favorite perches is Andrew. She'll sit up on his shoulders with a big grin on her face, pounding his head, twisting his ears, gouging his eyes and pulling his hair. They both enjoy it a lot.

Rachel has also started this little "tongue thing" and she does it more and more frequently everyday, especially when she's enjoying herself. I think one of her secret goals in life is to get everything as wet as possible. She is really into tongues. She loves when people stick their tongues out at her--sometimes she'll mimic them and other times she'll try to grab at them. The majority of her time is spent chewing or spitting on objects.

One goal that I know she has on her list is to climb into the bottom of her exersaucer. She's been trying to do it for quite some time now and has been progressing nicely. I have a feeling that I'll walk into the living room in the next couple of days and she'll be sitting up right in the middle of her exersaucer.

It is difficult for me to get anything done with Rachel being such a mommy's girl. She rarely wants me out of her line of vision and if she had her way we'd be holding each other all day. That's almost impossible though, so she tries to keep me within arm's reach. It's her way of compromising, I guess. I don't have to hold her...she just has to be able to reach out and touch me whenever she feels the need.

Kitchen work, as you might imagine, became a difficult task. Sometimes I can get her to sit on the floor and watch me but if she decides to throw a tantrum then she'll fall over and hit her head. Or if she decides she wants me she'll end up pulling on my leg until I give in and pick her up.

The other day I decided to just to add her to my kitchen appliances. I unplugged the toaster, pushed the knives out of reach, and sat her up on the counter. I did the dishes with my hip in the corner of the counter, making it rather difficult to reach the sink, but I did it. Rachel was happy.

She helped herself to a few toys...

...and was a very good girl. That is, until she got bored. Then she knocked over the whole jar of utensils and pulled the dish towel out from under the drying dishes. Needless to say her life as a major kitchen appliance was short lived. What am I going to do with her? I'll never get anything done.

I'm just glad that Andrew has patience with us and when he gets home and it looks like nothing got done while he was slaving away at school or work he understands that it is because nothing got done. He knows Rachel is a handful--she's excited about everything and demands vigil attention, be it for her own entertainment or for personal safety. Busy, busy, busy baby!

6 month visit

The last two nights have been fabulous. Rachel went to bed around 10:00 without fussing both nights. On Sunday she still wasn't awake after 10 in the morning, so I had to wake her up to get her ready for church. This morning she also slept in a bit, so we slept in a bit and it was a big rush to get us to the doctor's office in time. It was nice to sleep a little late and nice that Andrew drove us there and nice that our appointment was one of the first ones of the day--we hardly had to wait at all!

Rachel was her little busybody self at the doctors office, snatching at all the instruments and twisting around so that the nurses and doctors couldn't get proper readings. I had to hold her head so that Dr. Olson could measure the circumference of her head. She kept whipping it around and trying to eat the measuring tape.

"She does the same thing when I try to do her hair," I said as I put her shoulders in a death grip between my elbows and steadied her head with my hands.

Have you ever tried to tie a bow on a moving target? It's no easy task.

Rachel's doing well though--I suppose that's why they call them "well baby" visits. She certainly is getting to be a big girl. She measured in at over 27.5 inches (95th percentile) and was 16 lbs. 8 oz. (around the 68th percentile). Her head is in the 65th percentile but I don't know how big it is in inches.

No one has ever told me how big her head was. I don't even know if they measured it when she was born, I assume that they did...but I don't know how big it was. I know how big it felt, but that's about all.

Rachel has become such a mommy's girl recently. She only ever wants me, which can be tough on a lot of people. She even screams when she's left alone with Andrew. This new trait of hers did not bode well for the doctor.

Every time he touched her, she screamed at him and reached out for me. He would put his hands out to her and she'd start crying, then he'd put his hands down and she'd stop. She wouldn't sit on the table by herself. She had to hold my hand--what, like having a stethoscope on your chest is scary?

"I'm glad I have nurses to give her shots. She's a loud one," the doctor remarked casually as he left the room.

And, with good reason, Rachel was also wary of the nurses. I laid her on the table on her tummy, she kept a good grip on my arm but kept twisting around to look from one nurse to the next. She did not want them near her at all.

"A, ba, ba, ma, ma!" she implored, her eyes begging me to pick her up and take her away from these strange people.

"It's okay, baby," I lied.

"No, it's not, Mom," said the nurse in a mock baby voice. And then poked her with a needle. And again. And again.

Rachel, of course, started caterwauling and thrashing about wildly, successfully bending one of the needles completely perpendicular. She only cried for a few seconds though. As soon as I picked her up she stopped crying and gave me a big hug and kiss. All better!

So it's kind of nice to have a mommy's girl, I long as you're the mommy!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Let us not be weary in well doing

There are times in my life when I feel that there is simply too much good to do, and there probably is. I suppose I need to hang on to the best things and drop some good things off my schedule. At any rate, there are days when I feel overwhelmed.

This happened in the beginning of January when we were asked to finish our visiting teaching by the fifteenth of each month. That's all fine and dandy because I like being a visiting teacher...except that I'm not sure that some of my assigned sisters like being visiting teachees.

I was frustrated so I started to complain to Andrew, which opened up plenty of other complaints. I just felt that I had too much to do with home teaching and visiting teaching and music and the primary and then Andrew was constantly being taken away from me to do fast offerings and taking the sacrament to bed-ridden members in addition to fulfilling his other callings and on and on and on. With school and work and parenthood and...I just kept listing complaints. Lesson learned: don't complain--once you start, you can't stop.

The next morning we heard some noise at our door. Andrew went to see what it was: a visiting teaching assignment. I had been assigned yet another sister.

It was about enough to throw me over the edge. Another thing to do!

Then I read my scriptures. 1 Nephi 3:5, "I have not required it of [you,] but it is a commandment of the Lord."

That's right, I thought, the Lord is asking me to do it, not people.

Verse 6, "...thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured."

Oh, great, I thought, there go my blessings...

Verse 7, "...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

That's when I realized that if I tried, and depended on the Lord, I would get into the homes of the sisters that didn't want to see me...somehow. I just didn't know how. Truthfully I still don't know how and it kind of hurts that my phone calls go unanswered and unreturned and that one of the sisters said she doesn't even want to meet me. My thoughts were rambling through my head...

Good thing I never served a mission...I never would have gotten in a door. I would be the cursed companion that was passed around the mission from one unfortunate companion to the next.

And I wasn't really paying attention to what was on the page until I came to verses 15 and 16, " As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father...until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us....Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord."

I can't tell you the end of this story because I still wasn't able to do 100% of my visiting teaching this month. No miraculous miracle occurred, other than that I was spurred on to try a little harder. Perhaps that's why these scriptures stood out so profoundly to me when I read them.

I think that one of the best examples of someone doing this (this=being faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord and not being weary in well doing) is President Gordon B. Hinckley.

He served his whole life long. Always giving, always leading, always fulfilling any capacity that was his duty with a cheerful spirit. I don't doubt that being the prophet isn't always a fun role to fill. He probably worked harder in his old age than any other person, completely sacrificing his life for the gospel. He definitely had less time off than I have had.

I hope that someday I can be as willing to bend my will to the Lord's. I'm grateful for what I've learned from President Hinckley. I know that the words he spoke were the words of the Lord. President Hinckley was a great man and a wonderful example. I will miss seeing him and hearing him speak at General Conference but I am happy that he and his wife have been reunited. I imagine they were both rather lonely for each other. I know that President Monson will make a wonderful prophet and am looking forward to being able to sustain him.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How I eat my lunch

With Rachel around I can hardly get a bite in edgewise. She is either too interested in what I'm eating and tries to grab it or knock it off the table, or she isn't interested in what I'm eating at all and instead wants to nurse or play. Both include a lot of whining and crying.

Today I got a little smarter. I put her in her high chair next to me and gave her some Cheerios. She was still interested in my sandwich and especially wanted my piece of cheese, but the Cheerios placated her and I was able to eat my lunch in peace. At least almost in peace.

Rachel has been working at grabbing the Cheerios with her thumb and finger; she's improved immensely--she used to just poke it with either her thumb or pointer finger. However, she often gets the Cheerio stuck in her fist. She knows it's in there and tries desperately to put it in her mouth but just can't seem to open her hand and get that Cheerio in her mouth. If I take the Cheerio away in order to give her a chance to try again or put it in her mouth, she gets upset. If I let her just keep trying, she gets upset. Lose, lose.

I think Rachel ended up getting about 3 Cheerios in her mouth, 5 or so between her mouth and the floor (on her tummy, on her high chair, etc), and only 8 or 9 on the floor. Not too shabby, really. I fed her a lot more Cheerios than she fed herself, but she likes to try and I don't mind that at all. It keeps her from clamoring away at me while I'm trying to eat.

The only thing I do mind is how she bites on the table. She pushes back against the table with her arms (or legs) and balances her chair on the back two legs. That makes me so nervous! I didn't think I'd have to reprimand Rachel about tilting her chair backwards until she was at least in grade one!

Late Night Wanderings

Both Rachel and I have had a hard time sleeping this week--between nightmares and waking up screaming for no apparent reason we haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep. We've been taking plenty of naps during the day though and, truthfully, we could pass out just about anywhere. We're that tired.

Rachel asleep right before dinner last night, in the middle of the floor
See, here is how I found Rachel in her crib after her morning nap. That is not how I put her down, I promise. She looks like she fell asleep mid-crawl or something. I wonder where she was going.

Anyway, not last night but the night before Rachel woke up at 2 AM making an absolute racket. She was inconsolable and spitting mad. She was screaming so loudly that she woke Andrew up. Anyone who has had to try to wake Andrew up knows that this is an amazing feat--she must have been louder than I thought (Dear neighbours, Sorry). I was rocking her and singing her soft lullabies to no avail.

Meanwhile Andrew looked over at my side of the bed. He saw a lump in the bed and thought it was me sleeping soundly through Rachel's tantrum so he got up to rescue her himself (for the first time in her life, ever, because he usually sleeps through any noise that she makes). He stumbled down the hall, the whole two feet of it, to her bedroom and then stopped dead in his tracks.

There was already someone in there holding his baby. Impossible, he thought, because his wife was still asleep in bed. He quickly went to our bedroom to double check that I was in bed.

Sure enough, there was that wife-like lump.

He looked back into the baby's bedroom and noticed that the stranger's moonlit silhouette looked a lot like my own moonlit silhouette so he went back to bed and found, where he thought I was, a pillow. Convinced that I was the one comforting the baby and not some stranger, Andrew went back to sleep while I battled Rachel--not knowing that he had gotten up to take care of her. Sheesh, had I know he wanted to deal with it, I would have gone back to bed myself!

Turns out Rachel had woken up and wet her diaper and was not about to go back to sleep wet, no sir. As soon as I put a fresh diaper on her, she was fine and fell back to sleep in a manner of minutes.

She woke up last night, too, and screamed loudly enough to rouse Andrew (Dear neighbours, Sorry...again). I tried rocking her again but she would have none of it so I put her back in her crib, after checking her diaper of course, and pushed the button on her little fish bowl music box. That was exactly what she wanted--she stopped crying and fell asleep in less than ten minutes. Now that's all well and fine but, she knows how to turn the music on so why didn't she just do it herself instead of screaming to get me to do it? It will forever be a mystery, I guess.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Six Month Pictures

Still finding it difficult to believe that Rachel is six months old, we took some official "six month" pictures. We think they turned out pretty well. We're actually really happy that any turned out at all. She wouldn't sit still, she kept pulling on the backdrop, and it was very difficult to get her to smile. Just too interested in everything else, I guess--mostly just interested in eating everything (the backdrop, the props, the camera, her hands, etc.) making her much to busy to do something as trivial as smile.

These are just a few of our favorite ones, but you can find more here.

I always knew she had big, round cheeks, but I don't think I ever realized quite how big and round they were until today! Such a pretty princess!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

For the love of dinosaurs

As we discovered around Christmas time, Rachel gladly chooses to play with dinosaurs and dragons when she could easily choose ponies and baby dolls. It was funny that she makes the growling noises just splendidly as she chewed on a dinosaur's head or foot. I thought that she just thought they made better chew toys, until today.

Rachel loves dinosaur-ish animals, we found out today at the Bean Museum. We went for our playgroup. Heather has it all nicely organized so that we go to someone's house every other week and do a fun activity on the off weeks. We go to the library for story time one of the weeks and since this was an off week, we headed to the Bean Museum. It's free and entertains children for hours!

Soon after we arrived there was a reptile show. Rachel was drooling--partly because that's just what she does, and partly because she thought the reptiles were rather amazing.

Rachel giving a nice "Ooh!" for the reptiles
She didn't think the turtle was too cool when that was brought around but she almost scared the iguana to death. Perhaps not, but at any rate, I think she gave it a pretty good scare. The animal handler reminded us to touch the animals on the back and to leave their faces alone. I didn't really want Rachel to touch the reptiles since she tends to go straight from touching something to sucking on her hands, so I tried to sit as far back as I could.

The animal handler, seeing that we were a little far back, brought the iguana right up to Rachel and she almost fell out of my lap, squealing with pleasure as she grabbed the iguana's face. Eyes tend to be her target these days, be it human or reptile.

Oddly enough she wasn't too interested in the snake, which the animal handler brought to us way in back in the room where I was trying to keep Rachel from sticking her hands in her mouth until we could find a restroom.

"Bet this little one wants to touch it," he said hopefully, having just passed over a bunch of little girls who shrieked and shrunk away.

Rachel and I didn't shrink away but Rachel didn't get quite as excited about the snake as she had for the iguana.

After the reptile show we wandered around for a bit more. Rachel liked quite a few animals, giving them more of her attention than others.

Rachel stares at a, uh, monkey...of sorts (very technical term, I know)
Nothing caught her attention quite like the crocodile we found upstairs--a Nile croc, this one. She was fascinated. She plastered herself up against the glass barrier and started talking to the gater and would occasionally turn around and smile at me. When I tried to take her away from it she would whine until I put her back in front. We stayed there for probably five minutes--which is a pretty long time in "baby hours."

She obviously liked it a lot. Andrew is very excited by this find because he thinks it means she'll want to play with boyish toys. That would be fine with me. I often played dinosaurs, cars, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with my brothers. I don't see why Rachel couldn't do the same with her brothers (or just with dad since she hasn't got any brothers at the moment).

To conclude our visit, we went to see the liger because what would a trip to the Bean Museum be without a visit to Shasta the Liger?

When we had taken a gander at every available animal, Rachel and I headed down to the library to visit Grammy at work. Rachel liked looking at all the books and papers almost as much as she enjoyed looking at the animals. She enjoyed all the attention she got from mom's coworkers and students even more. Rachel would probably have more fun as an exhibit in a zoo than as a spectator at this point. She does love attention.

All too soon we had to bundle back up and meet Daddy after his Italian class. Rachel wasn't too fond of the idea but we got her all zipped up and tucked in and headed back outside. Andrew's class was in the JKB. It looks so nice now that it's been remodeled--I hardly recognized it. It's still rather maze-like but is a lot less dungeon-esque.

Rachel was excited to see Daddy so early in the day. It was just for a little while but she was so happy. And I was happy, too, because she fell asleep in the car seat on the way home so after Daddy dropped us off at home, Mommy got to have a little nap (I was pretty tired from pushing Rachel around campus and carrying her around the museum all day long).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Something families do

Rachel and I just got back from a nice evening walk. Nice, but rather chilly. Sometimes I don't mind the snow. Today it was kind of fun. It wasn't too cold and the snow was still relatively fresh and pristine. I would guess there's about eight inches of snow--that completely covers our stroller wheels so I was very grateful to everyone who shoveled their walks. We had to go to a primary meeting and didn't have the car seat base so we walked. Next time I get a car seat I'm getting one that you can strap in without a base, just in case. We have a lot of "just in cases."

Anyway, it snowed a whole lot yesterday.

When we were coming home from my family's house on Sunday, Andrew said,

"We don't have to go anywhere tomorrow so," and this is where I heard wrong because I heard him say, "It can snow all at once."

I giggled and then said, "Yeah, we'll hear a whoom on the roof and we'll look outside and everything will be covered in a thick blanket of snow..."

"What are you talking about?" he asked me.

"You just said, 'It can snow all at once,'"

"No," he shook his head, "I said, 'It can snow all it wants.'"

That makes a lot more sense. And really, it did snow all it wanted. It snowed virtually the whole day. And we didn't go anywhere...until today and the snow was still there.

Usually we're pretty good at communicating but sometimes we just fail. Isn't that what Verne says on Over the Hedge? "Yeah, well, that's bad communication. Also something families do."

We definitely communicate poorly sometimes....often.

A few days ago I woke up to hear Rachel noising around in her crib. I hadn't slept very well and really didn't want to get out of bed to go get her so I prodded Andrew,

"Will you go check on her? See if she's awake, and if she is, bring her to me...pleeeease..."

"Yeahhhhmmmmppphhhhaahhh," he mumbled something in response and stumbled out of the room.

A few seconds later I hear Rachel greet him and then start screaming.

Andrew, meanwhile, stumbled back into our room.

"Yeah, she's fine. She's shtill shleeping," he said before he collapsed back into bed.

So I had to get up anyway to go get Rachel, who was rather offended that her father left her in her crib--she was obviously awake so I had to go get her myself anyway.

Sometimes she isn't so obviously awake though and pulls, what we like to call, "an Andrew." She did this last night. On our way to bed, Andrew and I went into her room to check on her--she had already been in bed for two hours and we hadn't heard a peep. We peered over her crib and since she was fast asleep, I reached down to cover her up a little better. No sooner had I done this than her eyes flew wide open! She stared right at us...

We tip-toed as fast and quiet as we could out of her bedroom and finished getting ready for bed as silent as church mice. When our teeth were brushed, our faces washed, and we were all but ready for bed, I sneaked back into Rachel's room as quietly as possible...she had kicked her covers right off. I reached my hand, stealth-like, over her crib bars. I grabbed the blanket and started pulling it up toward her chin. Again she stared at me, and this time she smiled--but she looked a little out of it.

I just smiled back and finished tucking her in. I didn't hear from her until 5 AM, so I'm quite certain that she wasn't awake those other times she looked at me. If she had been, I'm sure she would have kicked up a fuss. I guess Andrew's sleepiness can be a good trait...

Play with me!

We dumped out the blocks yesterday and I think Rachel chewed on every single one before she finally decided she was finished playing with them. It's kind of strange to hear her chew on things now that she has teeth because I can hear them grating on everything. She had a great time throwing the blocks and knocking over every tower I tried to build. For some odd reason the blocks that I was playing with were much more interesting than any block she had her hands on.

Today she was really into playing as well. She was over by the couch and I built a tower of blocks and she crawled right over to it to knock it over. She's getting so fast--even though she is still belly-flopping her way along. She knows how to get her legs to move one at a time but keeps so much of her weight on her arms that when she tries to lift up one of them she falls over. Soon she'll be able to go wherever she wants in the house (lucky for me she's still afraid of the wood floors from her face planting days and hasn't ventured off the carpet much).

We got a nice long nap in this morning but Rachel was too energetic to have a nap this afternoon. She fell asleep in my arms so I put her in her crib and started doing some things around the house. I thought she was asleep because she was being so quiet but then I heard her music playing and went to check on her. She had unwrapped herself and crawled over to her teddy bears, just talking quietly to herself and hitting the button on her little fish bowl. I don't think she slept more than 5 minutes--but I'm certainly glad she chose to entertain herself instead of crying out for me!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cheap and Boring, or What not to call your wife

As I've mentioned a few times already, Andrew got me a cake decorating set for Christmas. I've always been interested in cake decorating--not that I've had a whole lot of experience with it, but I've had some. A few of my neighbors, Nancy Green (oops, Garner) and Trina Olsen, were amateur cake decorators and I loved their work. Nancy, our neighbor in British Columbia, would let me come over and peek at the cakes in her fridge. Trina, our neighbor in High River, would let me and Tacy decorate cakes occasionally and we loved watching her make cakes. Especially wedding cakes. She put so much work into those. Weeks, probably.

And we recently uncovered this:

It's a picture I drew for my grandpa that my grandma saved for years and years. It is of a very ornate cake, if you couldn't tell.

Let's just say that cake decorating has always been an interest of mine that I've never really gotten to play out until recently when Andrew gave me a cake decorating set.

I've made two cakes since Christmas. One on New Year's Eve and one yesterday. I need to make a lot more before I'm any good. I've somehow developed a dream of making a wedding cake but I'm not near well enough experienced to do that yet.

As we were driving to my parents' house yesterday I had the cake set on my lap and I was noticing the sad, sad state of my flowers. They looked like chrysanthemums but they were supposed to look more like roses.

"I'm going to have to practice a lot more if I'm ever going to make a wedding cake," I remarked to Andrew.

"Who are you going to make a wedding cake for?" he snickered at me.

"I don't know. Lots of people could get married. David..."

Andrew interrupted my list, "Why would he ask you to make a wedding cake? It would be cheap and boring?"

Now, I knew that Andrew didn't mean to say what he said, but I thought I'd give him a little scare so I slowly turned my head to give him my best glare, which isn't very intimidating at all.

"What do you mean?" I asked, "That I'm cheap and boring?"

"Uh, no..." he stammered, "I mean you're the opposite of that..."

"Which is," I prompted.

"Expensive and exciting," he said, the intonation rising to a question, asking for my approval.

I just laughed. I'm not sure that expensive and exciting sounds much better than cheap and boring.

A few of her favorite things

Here are some pictures of Rachel living wild and free, doing some of her most favorite things:

1) Smiling
2) Going pantless
3) Having her hair loose and crazy
4) Standing
5) Crawling
6) Mauling mommy
7) Being mauled by daddy
8) Playing with her toys
9) Sitting
10) Chewing/sucking on things

And that is just a partial list of her hobbies. We're so lucky to have such a happy baby!

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

Today Rachel is 6 months old. She's old enough to have a half-birthday--how crazy is that! And we've survived parenthood for 6 months.

I don't know what is more remarkable, that Rachel has survived us for 6 months or that we've survived Rachel for that long. It's probably a toss up, but I think we're all pretty happy together.

To celebrate, I made a cake. A double layer pineapple-cranberry filled cake. I decorated it using Andrew's Christmas present to me. I had to hurry finishing it because we told my brothers that we'd come and play Quelf with them.

We get out of church at 4:00 and then we went home teaching and then we ran home and I finished up the cake and we hopped in the car, making it to my family's house by 5:45, on the dot--right when we told them we'd be coming.

Dinner was all ready, which was fabulous. I got to eat my fill and not worry about Rachel. And then after I fed her and we called Rosie to wish her a happy birthday (she's 11 today--Rachel was born on her half birthday. How fun!), I handed Rachel off to my parents, and we sat down to play Quelf. (We is Patrick, David, Garrion, Andrew, and me. Garrion is not my brother. He is Patrick's best friend and has been for going on eight years now so he's kind of like a brother, really...)

(I don't know why Andrew likes to take pictures of me when I feed Rachel--because I can't run away, I guess...)

Quelf is probably the most hilarious game I have ever played. It is like Curses, Cranium, and a few other fun games all mixed into one. My favorite part is the commentary on all of the cards--like on "What foods are poisonous to a parrot?" the answer was "Chocolate and Avocados," which was options B and D or something like that. Under the answer it read, "Go figure."

Funny, funny.

At one point I was cursed with having to put the box of the game up my shirt. So I stuck it up my shirt.

Patrick, however, was cursed with having to keep both of his thumbs in his mouth when it was not his turn--and had to touch both of his shoulders whenever he talked.

"Need a hint," the card prompted, "Cross your arms."

He looked something like this:

So while Patrick is sitting there looking like a moron, my mom walks into the room. Completely ignoring him she looked at me quizzically and asked,

"Why do you have a box up your shirt?"

"It's a curse," I sighed.

Satisfied with my answer she walked off.

Patrick mumbled through his thumbs, "Could be worse."

Ah, that it could. But apparently that is the kind of behavior my mom expects to see from Patrick...

I'll have to post some videos of the game tomorrow. I'm too tired to do that tonight. It's a hilarious game though. We were all in hysterics.

After the game was over and Rachel ate (again) we sang her "A Very Merry Un-Birthday" and each had a piece of cake (excluding Rachel). Dad even offered to break a candle and put half of it in the cake but since Rachel wanted to grab the cake anyway we decided that fire was a bad idea.

I can't believe that my little baby is that old. You realize that this means she'll be in nursery in a year! Yikes!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

This was a monumental occasion and deserved a blog post all its own.

We had dinner at my parents' house this evening and my mother noticed that I was wasting away--quite literally. Together Rachel and I weigh 118 lbs. I won't divide the weight out for you. It would be too embarrassing.

So although Rachel was desperate to nurse (it had been four hours), my mom insisted that I eat before I fed Rachel. I got some yummy tacos ready for myself and my mom got some baby cereal ready for Rachel.

Rachel wasn't very happy about eating cereal when she wanted milk. That didn't mean that she didn't eat--she ate. She just wasn't very happy about eating. Instead of spitting her food out in joy she begrudgingly swallowed it in between her screams.

Finally someone else finished eating some my mom scooped up Rachel and gave her to that someone else so that she could eat, herself. That someone else happened to be Uncle Patrick.

Mom grabbed the baby and headed straight for him while he backed himself into a corner. Then she just plopped Rachel right into his arms, facing him.

Rachel's always been fond of Uncle Patrick, even though he refused to hold her for the first six months of her life and didn't even touch her until she was a few weeks old. Her first reaction was to grab at his face and try to snuggle his neck--but he flinched and moved away from her. This set her screaming.

"What do I do with It? It's so loud!"

"Hold her out," said Andrew.

So Patrick extended his arms in front of him, holding Rachel like she was a poisonous snake.

"Not like that! Just turn her to face out!"

And there you have it. Patrick held Rachel. Neither one of them was very happy and it didn't last very long, but it happened.

I know that Patrick loves Rachel, even if he won't hold her and refers to her as "It" because he'll keep her entertained when we change her diaper and will get down on the floor and throw toys to her. He'll even grab her little fingers once in a while.

He's just a little afraid of babies. At first it was because he was afraid to break her...but she's six months old. You have to admit she's pretty durable at this point. It was about time he held her and I think he was even a little bit proud of it because when Garrion came over and I said,

"Guess what Patrick did today?"

Patrick interjected, "I held It," before I could even tell Garrion what he did.

Garrion was flabbergasted, as we all were.