Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year Resolutions

I totally missed making any New Years Resolutions this year. Actually, I think that I made them but I didn't tell anyone about them and I didn't write them down and so I didn't keep them...or even remember what they were. To make up for that I decided to make some Leap Year Resolutions in honor of this, the twenty-ninth day of February.

I have yet to decide whether I should keep them for one year or if I need to be diligent all the way until 2012. There is no Anyway, here it goes:

1) Keep up with the lessons in both Sunday School and Relief Society. I realized this month how much church I miss at times to go do primary stuff--not that primary stuff isn't church, because it's just different church. I went to Sunday School once this month. And I think I made it to Relief Society two and a half times. I definitely need to be reading the manuals so that I can keep up. It should also help give me focus in my personal scripture study.

2) Gain some weight. This might seem like an odd goal to some, but I really do need to put one a pound (or ten or more). The only way I figure this can happen is if I exercise more because muscle weighs more than fat, while eating more calories than I burn by exercising and breast feeding combined. This might be an impossible task but I really need to gain back enough weight to at least be back at my pre-pregnancy weight. I should not weigh less than I weighed in high school. That's just wrong.

3) Finish the "Jordan Book" and start working on the rest of our family history. I think I made the Jordan Book template too complex, but Andrew and I have both been learning a lot about the Adobe Creative Suite so if I can just pull that project off the back burner I don't think it should take too long to finish.

If we end up not going to Egypt I think I'll try to learn how to sew, but I'm not going to put that as an official goal because I really want to go to Egypt and I can't guarantee that I will learn to sew even if we do end up staying here.

We finally heard something from AUC, by the way. They told us that we won't hear anything until after April 1st. We can now stop racing to the mailbox...until April 1st, that is.


For those of you who don't know, both of our sets of parents live in the same stake. In fact, according to Google Maps, they live about .6 miles away from each other. This can be very convenient. For example, tonight Jacob and Josie both were in their ward roadshows. Lucky for us, we were able to attend both since they were held on the same night, in the same building, one right after the other.

Josie played the part of "Dottie" in "The Wizard of Shaw." President Shaw is the stake president and at stake conference he used a 2-by-4 to illustrate his talk, so they sang "Follow the two by four" and did a lot of silly puns about his 2 by 4--read the Book of Mormon and go to tithing settlement every year, go to the temple and fast monthly, and I frankly don't remember what the weekly and daily things are. Probably reading scriptures and praying for the daily...and church attendance and something else for the weekly ones. Anyway, it was cute.

Jacob was a "money man" in the production of The Bus Stop and sang the song Money, Money. You know how it goes, "Money, money, money. MONEY!" Emily remarked that it was type-casting. And she's right. It is very characteristic for Jacob to go around singing the same word over and over and over again. Just ask him how Pat-a-cake goes. He'll answer, "Pat a cake, pat a cake, bake me a cake. Pat a cake, pat a cake, bake me a cake! Pat a cake..." Oh, or the clean up song; he sings it like this, "Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up, clean up! Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up, clean cup! Clean up, clean up..."

He's really good at getting down one line and he delivered his beautifully.

They both did wonderfully, but we left before seeing all the other shows. Little did we know that we'd have to deal with a little more melodrama when we got home. Rachel fell asleep in the car on the way and was so tired when we got her out of her car seat, just lolling around in my arms, so we figured that she would want to go to bed. We were wrong. Instead she decided that putting her to bed was the most awful thing we could ever do to her.

She was madder than a wet hornet! We were listening to her from the living room and laughing because she wasn't even really crying. She was just yelling, with a deep, growly voice.

"MMMMAAAAA! *pause* MMMAAAAAAAAA! *pause* GRRRRRR *animal noises* GRRRRR *dinosaur noises, pause* MMMMAAAA!"

Finally I looked at Andrew,

"I don't think she's going to calm down."

He agreed so we went in there. There was no way she was going to put herself to sleep.

She had pulled herself up and was yelling at the top of her lungs and then stopping to suck on the crib bar and then yelling some more.

After rocking her for about twenty minutes she had calmed down enough to fall asleep so I put her down and she cried for a few minutes. The cry turned into a whimper and then she closed her eyes and nuzzled up to her crib bumper. She was so tired! I don't know why she didn't just go to sleep in the first place.

Pine cones and fire hydrants

It's been so nice outside lately. I think Rachel and I have gone for a walk almost everyday this week, and today was no different. This afternoon Rachel was being fussy so I got out the stroller and she clapped her hands. I like being applauded for everything that I do. It makes even the most trivial task seem a whole lot more meaningful.

We walked to the church and then I let Rachel get out and play on the grass. She had to put everything in her mouth, of course. She didn't really like the pine needles, but enjoyed the grass, leaves and pine cones a little too much. I kept having to dig little bits and pieces of things out of her mouth. She wouldn't surrender the pine cone so we brought that home with us.

After we were finished playing in the grass we ambled over to a fire hydrant. First I told Rachel about what fire hydrants are used for and then I told her about the time when we had a fire hydrant right in our front yard and Uncle David accidentally rode his bike into it and did a back flip on his bike and landed it! She didn't seem very impressed by that; she just wanted to play with the chains dangling from the hydrant.

The best part about walking is that Rachel uses up a lot of her energy and is often ready for a short nap when we get home, which means that I can get some things done without having her as my shadow!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm so (so, so) glad when daddy comes home

Today was just one of those days. Every time I turned my back something mischievous or terrible happened. I try not to leave Rachel unattended because she tends to be a little...busy. However, I think it is impossible to do everything I'm supposed to do in a day without leaving her unattended for at least a little bit. Even our crib warned us to not leave our baby unattended in it. How is that even possible? I have to sleep sometime....

Anyway, Rachel was feeling rather cooped up today so we went outside for a little walk. She kicked her little legs the whole way and had a really good time. She was not very happy when we got home though. She wanted to stay outside and she was not afraid to let me know about it. Finally she calmed down and I put her on the floor to play while I folded up the stroller, which takes all of 30 seconds.

While I was folding the stroller, however, Rachel crawled over to the TV stand and pulled herself up. Ordinarily this wouldn't have been a big deal because she successfully pulls herself up on the TV stand probably about 20 times a day. Now, I'm not sure exactly what happened because it seems it happened the same second I bent my head to fold the stroller...but she totally toppled over and smacked her head into the corner of the receiver.

She started screaming. Being the good mom that I am, I said,

"You're okay, baby," and continued to say comforting things while I stuffed the stroller into the closet.

She ignored me and kept screaming, so I went to pick her up. When I did I noticed that she had blood oozing down her face. Not okay.

I used a cold cloth to try and soak up the blood and apply some direct pressure. Things got a lot better after about three minutes--Rachel stopped screaming because she was too busy trying to suck on the cloth and the blood had stopped flowing quite so freely. What is it with head wounds and bleeding a lot?

I put a little band-aid on it with some papaya cream to keep it moist while it heals. Hopefully she won't end up with a scar--it's really a pretty deep cut.

I wasn't really worried about her having a concussion or anything because she was just as active as ever after she had quelled her emotion. We went into the bedroom to fold laundry and she had a great time playing in the warm clothes fresh from the dryer and unfolding everything I had just finished folding.

In not too long, but twice as long as it would have taken without Rachel's help, all the clothes were folded and put in their respective places, except for one little wash cloth. I put Rachel on the floor by the foot of the bed on Andrew's side to play with a pair of his shorts and I walked to the bathroom closet to put away the cloth.

By the time I got back into the bedroom Rachel had crawled over to our CD shelf and was busy making her selection, joyfully pulling all the CDs off and throwing them on the floor. I was gone for less than a minute. The girl is just too fast for her own good.

She certainly keeps me on my toes. I won't even go into details about how she found the dustpan and started using it as a chew toy while I was making dinner, or how she pulled half the books off the bottom shelf in our bedroom, or how she pulled everything off her change table during her "nap time," or how she...

We were both very happy to see daddy walk in the door.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel

Rachel has been working on quite a few skills lately. Yesterday at the zoo she started clapping her hands. Last night a dinner she was clapping her hands after every bite. Today she clapped before each meal, while playing games, in the bath tub, and just about whenever she could fit a clap in.

She's starting to be a lot more independent. She has almost overcome her fear of the wood floor, although she won't crawl normally on it yet. She still gets up on her hands and feet and tries to bear crawl across it so that she touches it as little as possible. But she doesn't mind crawling after me, following me all over the house, whether on carpeted or wood floors. While she follows me she says, "Mom, mom, ma, ma, mom, mmmmom, mommmm." I don't think she knows what she's saying but it makes me happy. Yesterday she even said a nice, big, "Da!" which made Andrew happy.

While I was putting in the laundry this morning she crawled into the kitchen and pulled herself up on one of the chairs.

"I'm ready for breakfast, mom!"
So Proud!
I suppose I ignored her a little too long while I was cleaning today. She kept calling out for me,

"Mmmaa! Mom! Maaamama! Phllllph! Ba!" (Pay attention to me, mom!)

But I kept ignoring her because she seemed to be playing so well on her own. Suddenly she got really quiet and that's always a good sign that I need to check on her, so I walked back into the living room and found her playing with a picture of Andrew and me. It was as if she decided that even if I wouldn't play with her, she could still play with me.

If you couldn't tell from those pictures, Rachel's hair was in great need of a wash when she got up this morning so this afternoon I put her in the tub. She has learned quite a lot about tub etiquette.

First she learned that you shouldn't stand up in the tub (but she loves to try, often resulting in tears) and then she learned that you shouldn't pee in the tub (but she thinks it's hilarious, especially if she's standing up while she goes).

When she wants to stand up she gets a very determined look on her face.

And then I tell her to stop and sit down and she gives me a look like this:

Non-Book of Mormon Story

Our current family scripture study typically occurs simultaneously with Rachel's last nurse of the evening. Andrew reads to me and Rachel while I try to get Rachel to simmer down and close her eyes instead of clapping her hands (a new thing that she just started to do today) or poking either of us in the eyes, or grabbing at the book. It can be a real challenge for us, which is why Andrew now does all the reading (with the scriptures angled well away from Rachel and me) and I just sit and hold Rachel.

Today he grabbed the bookmark and flipped open to where we had left off from the night before. He stared at the page for a minute and scanned down it using his finger. Satisfied, he tapped the book with his finger and said,

"Ah, yes, here we are."

He then proceeded to read from the scriptures slowly, deliberately, and with great meaning, "Aaron.... Abel.... Abinadi.... Abinadom.... Abish.... Ablom.... Abraham.... Adam.... Agosh.... Aha..."

My silly husband wouldn't stop reading. It was worse than listening to the "begats;" it was the begats without the begats. I always lose my focus while reading (or, especially, listening to someone read) the lineage listed in the scriptures so before my attention span was all but gone I tried to drown out his mindless iteration by squalling,

"I, Nephi! Having been born of goodly parents!"

We had finished the Book of Mormon and forgot to put the bookmark back at the beginning of the book. According to the bookmark we were at the pronouncing guide in the back. Apparently I'm married to an impractical realist.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

World Traveler

All our geography nerd readers will enjoy this. I've spent like an hour doing this already. I really should work on homework instead.

Although I did just get a call from the Stake YM President. He wants me to teach the Citizenship in the World merit badge at the upcoming stake merit badge pow wow.

Maybe he knew I was playing this all evening?

You'll have to allow popups on our site for this to work. It's worth it.

Fun times at the Hogle Zoo

Phew! Today was a long day! We met at Heather's house at ten to arrange carpools. As it turned out, Rachel rode with Heather and I rode with Julia to help her find the right exit. I was kind of nervous the whole way up, hoping that Rachel wasn't screaming her head off for Heather, but Heather had a mirror attached to the back of the seat and Rachel was fascinated by her reflection so was good the whole way up. She and Maggie both fell asleep and so we had to wake them up to get ready to go.

Rachel was a little bit grumpy when we first got in the zoo. There were camels right inside the gate and she was less than thrilled. Her face says it all: "You woke me up for this?" Admittedly, camels are a little ugly.

We moved onto something much more charming and Rachel's mood improved immensely. A peacock was displaying his brilliant feathers for all the ladies, and I do mean all the ladies! I have never seen so many women with strollers in all my life. There were probably like 5 guys in the whole zoo--and they seemed rather out of place.

Oooh, that's pretty, momma!
Rachel and a peacock
We ran into Aunt Katharine and cousin Kayl at the peacocks. They were at the zoo with some of their friends. We would have liked to have stayed and chatted longer, but we only had enough time to snap a few pictures before our playgroup moved on. Between the six of us we had thirteen kids in tow (I was the only one with one baby there) and it was hard to keep all of them excited about the same animal for long. Plus, since Rachel was using one of Heather's car seats we kind of needed to keep up with her or we'd have been stuck in Salt Lake forever!

Kayl and Rachel
So Rachel and I followed our troupe into the primates house. There was this cute baby orangutan in there who was just cracking me up. He reminded me of Rachel. He kept playing around and flirting with the crowd but would run off to his mother, who was sleeping in the corner, to suckle for a few seconds and then would be off playing again.

I think I know exactly how that mother orangutan felt! Nap, baby, nap! I just wish that I had the leisure to curl up under a haystack sometime to hide from my own little monkey! But I'm not sure it would help. Even though this mother is hiding, she doesn't look like she's found much respite.

Soon we were off again. Rachel was a little young for the zoo. She wasn't really interested in many of the animals because they were so far away--I tried pointing them out to her, which she thought was just a fun game of "try to grab mom's finger" and not "look at that cool animal over there." But she had fun walking around and playing with her seat belt and trying to hold hands with anyone who passed by her, whether or not we knew them. At one point Kim and I had a triple stroller going, with her twins in a double joined to Rachel's stroller by all those little baby hands.

Rachel with the elephants
Rachel and a zebra
Some of Rachel's favorite animals were the penguins because they kept running around and coming up close to the fence. She thought they were funny.

Wait, I'm confused. Don't birds fly?
She also liked the giraffes. There was a little baby giraffe, born just this past November--the zoo is booming with baby animals this year. Of course, the giraffe wasn't that little anymore considering it was bigger than me when it was born. But it was still markedly smaller than the others in the giraffe house so it was cute. Rachel liked the giraffes because they kept walking around and they were really close up.

Then, of course, there were the reptiles. You know Rachel and her reptiles. She's always pretty interested in those!

Rachel and a reticulated python
Rachel and a White American Crocodile
By the end of the day the kids were pretty tired, but not too tired they couldn't keep playing.

Heather and I were two of the last moms to leave. We slowly lost our ranks as Kim and Natalie both left and then Heather and I got separated from Julia and Annette. The last we saw them, they were leaving the small primates house and heading toward the crocodiles--we followed them to look at the crocodiles but never met up with them. After searching around for a while we decided to take off.

We got home shortly after four. That was a six hour play date--no wonder I'm exhausted. Unfortunately, that little monkey of mine is not. She spent most of the day cooped up in her stroller (while I pushed) and doesn't think she had much of a chance to get her wiggles out today, although she did plenty of wiggling in my arms and in her stroller, in my opinion.

She's currently pulling herself up on anything and everything she can, while squealing like a banshee and throwing toys all over the living room. Excuse me for sneaking off but I need to find a haystack to bury my head in.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Breaking in the new stroller

I think we've done it; we've survived another winter. Sure, winter might have a few storms left in its system, but for the most part, I think we're headed toward blue skies. I couldn't be happier.

On Friday when I took Rachel out for a walk we both had to bundle up a lot! It was snowing and sleeting and cold. It was definitely a wintry day. Today, however, was so nice that we both wore sweaters, although Rachel also took two light blankets and had tights on under her pants to keep her extra warm. In fact, it's been so spring-like recently that for Family Home Evening we went and picked out an umbrella stroller (after having a lesson about following the prophet and reading about Lehi in the illustrated Book of Mormon stories).

We chose a lime green stroller. Color is how I choose most things, which is why I will never be solely in charge of buying a car or a computer or anything else. Our choices were lime green, orange, or grey because I didn't want a pink or purple stroller. I just couldn't see putting any future boys in those colors but have no problem putting a girl in green.

It's so nice. It's light, it packs up small, and it pushes well. With our "travel system" I have to take two to four trips up and down the stairs just to get out the door. By the time I carry the stroller, the diaper bag, Rachel, the car seat, and anything else that needs to go, down the stairs, I'm already exhausted. The umbrella stroller is light enough that I can just put Rachel inside, put a few things in a bag and carry everything down the stairs at once.

Tomorrow for playgroup we are going to the Hogle Zoo. Every last Wednesday of the month from October-February is a free day. I guess they just need more traffic at the zoo during those cold winter months. We decided to make use of their generosity so will be packing up all the kids and driving up to Salt Lake.

Today Rachel and I tried out her new stroller for the first time. We went on a two mile (or so) walk and she had a blast. She loved the little visor that we could put down to block the wind and sun from hitting her in the face--it has a little window so she can see out. She was a very happy girl, right up until the end of our walk when she started to fuss and pull against the seatbelt. I told her that if she was a good girl we could go to the park on our way home. She fell asleep, which in my books is definitely being a good girl--she woke up just as we pulled up to the playground fence, so it worked out well for both of us!

I took a lot of pictures. So many, in fact, that it might feel that you were at the park with us. This is actually only about a quarter of the pictures I took. It's a very good thing we don't have to pay to get these developed!

Rachel's favorite part, by far and away, was the baby swing.

All smiles

Look, mom, one hand!

I was surprised to have the playground to ourselves--I half expected it to be overrun by children since this was the nicest day we've had in a long time. We were all alone, though, which meant Rachel didn't have to take turns.

She could hang out at the bottom of the slides and on the bouncy bridge for as long as she wanted and I didn't have to worry about her getting trampled!

She had so much fun playing and was in such a good mood that she kept kissing me every chance she got. She was squealing and laughing the whole time, except when she was serious.

How's that for a Rachel-overload?