Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Vegetable Garden

Last night we had taco salad for dinner. Ordinarily I don't put cucumbers in taco salad, but we had cucumbers and the other day Andrew said that he likes cucumbers...except for the seeds. So I figured that I would cut out the seeds and see if he would eat them.

"You're putting that grossness in there?" Andrew asked when he spied on me making dinner.

"They're not gross. I cut out the seeds, see? Here Rachel," she likes the seeds.

At dinner Andrew took a big plateful of salad. He really likes taco salad.

"Do I have to eat all the cucumbers?" he asked after he'd already dished up.

"All the ones on your plate, yes." I answered.

"Oh, man!"

Andrew went through and picked out all the cucumbers and suffered through them first. He didn't mention the tomatoes once. He even took seconds, being sure to avoid as many cucumbers as possible, but eating the tomatoes like a big boy.

"You didn't complain about the tomatoes," I noted.

"No, that's because cucumbers are grosser...hey! Did you put in two gross vegetables in so I'd eat the less gross ones?"

Well, it seems that he's figured me out. I've noticed that if I put onions and green peppers in something he'll pick out the green peppers and eat the onions. If I put tomatoes and broccoli in something he'll pick out the broccoli and eat the tomatoes. It's been one of my proven methods of getting some vegetables into that boy.

He could really use an extra serving or two of vegetables so we've decided to start our own little vegetable garden...on our kitchen counter.

We accidentally left half an onion out over night and when we woke up in the morning it had started to grow. I put it in a container of water, so we'll see what happens there.

The potato is from a bag of potatoes that we have had forever. Truthfully we've had them for about a year. They need to be planted in a garden or thrown away. For now they are adding to our beautiful counter garden.

All we need now is a carrot top or two and I think we'll be considered self-sufficient.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

She knows her nose and nos

For some reason Rachel really likes Big Bird's Guessing Game About Shapes. I don't really. The pictures don't always seem quite finished and the dialog could be a lot better. It only cost us a dollar though so I suppose we got our money's worth.

Rachel brought it over to me and waved it in my face and then sat in my lap, put the book in front of her, and tapped it with her hands. I have come to understand that this means, "Please read this book to me, mommy," or at least, "Help me turn the pages really fast so I can look at all of the pictures but you can't read any of the words."

We got to the page about triangles where Big Bird asks if they can find a musical instrument shaped like a triangle. The first picture I pointed to was a drum.

"Is this drum a musical instrument?" I asked Rachel.

She shook her head no.

"Yes it is," I corrected her, "Is it a triangle?"

She shook her head no.

"That's right, it's not. What else do we have here? Is the pine tree a musical instrument?"

Rachel shook her head no again. She always shakes her head no.

"Noooo," I agreed with her.

She gasped, looked up at me and pointed to my nose.

This was an easy mistake for her to make. Usually when I say no it's just a flat out "NO!" because she is in danger of being electrocuted, falling down the stairs, or pulling a whole shelf of books down on top of her. When I say nose, however, it's usually because she's pointing to my nose and when she points she leaves her finger on your nose for quite some time so I usually end up saying "nooooose."

I know she knows the word no, though. I know she knows what it means, too, because yesterday when we were dropping some things off at Andrew's parents' house Rachel made a beeline for the ivy on the fireplace.

"Stop, Rachel," I told her. She pointedly ignored me.

"Rachel, don't," I told her. She got a determined look on her face and started crawling faster.

"Rachel, NO!" I snapped. With this she flung herself out on her stomach and started kicking and screaming.

At least she stopped, right? What am I going to do when she reaches the age of two?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Flip Flop Photo

I wrote a little poem about all the things Rachel has two of and we've been planning on taking pictures of her to illustrate it so that we can turn it into a book. We decided that we had better get on that project since she is teething. She's had two teeth for so long that they found their way into the poem. Soon, however, she'll have six, which is quite a lot more than two. So this afternoon we went outside to try to take some pictures.

Unfortunately, Rachel is only nine months old and therefore refused to cooperate. She wouldn't do anything we wanted her to do, even if they were things she knows how to do and will do all the time (if we don't ask her to do them).

She wouldn't grab her ears. I don't know why because she's spent half her life holding her ears, twisting them, pulling them, folding them, rubbing them. She wouldn't touch her ears for anything. She wasn't going to show us her hands or hold up her socks or anything. She did not make a very good model.

So, spur of the moment I changed the line "I have two little teeth that I use to help me eat" to "I have two little lips on my mouth to help me eat." That still sounds kind of strange to me, but we figure that in a few months Rachel may well be more cooperative. Maybe. At least there's hope that if we try to do the photo shoot on a good day (read: a non-teething day) when she knows how to play peek-a-boo we might get a few picture that will work for the book.

She was cute anyway, so we took a few pictures. Just not the pictures that we would have liked to take.

This, however, is a picture that I wanted to take. Rachel actually sat still for it.

Andrew and I love flip flops. Rachel not so much. While Andrew could live year round in his flip flops--come rain, sleet, or snow--Rachel won't even stand up wearing hers. She just bends over and tries to pull them off her feet. Every year we have to go to Old Navy and get a new pair of flip flops. Andrew's tend to wear out faster than mine do, and I am about as anti-shoe as they come so that is impressive.

This year we both chose black flip flops and Rachel just happened to have inherited a pair of shiny black flip flops from her cousins. Maybe I'm strange, but I've been wanting to take this picture from the minute I realized we all had black flip flops.

Primary Songs

Rachel got to go to primary with me today, an activity that she would do everyday if she could. She called out to all the primary children as they walked in the door, desperately vying for their attention. They all reverently ignored her, except for the children who weren't being reverent; they simply ignored her. She was devastated--she loves it when big kids pay attention to her--but not for long!

Primary started with some fun songs to get those sacrament meeting wiggles out. They sang "In the Leafy Treetops" and Rachel just about died and went to heaven. She's rather familiar with that song--it's one that we sing in the mornings when she first wakes up. As soon as the music started she got a huge grin on her face and started dancing and singing and doing a little percussion on the metal chairs. To add to her pleasure the chorister, Bro. Smith (my friend Brittni's soon-to-be father-in-law), had a puppet of a bunch of baby birds in a nest.

Rachel loves puppets and Rachel loves singing, so by extension she loves primary.

After the puppets went away and sharing time started she began acting tired. Lucky for me, the lesson was soon over and the children serenaded her with some reverent songs. She slept right until the closing song. It was wonderful.

Of course, Rachel is used to falling asleep to primary songs since we play primary CDs while she falls asleep. We just put her to bed, actually.

After scriptures and prayer she crawled onto the safety of Andrew's lap. She was mad at me because I was mad at her. She bit me. I tried to gently flick her nose, something my mom would do when we bit her, but I missed and got her cheek. I have horrible aim, but I don't think Rachel would have been any more pleased had I hit my target. It wasn't so much that the flick hurt than it was that Mommy flicked her. If she wouldn't bite me we wouldn't have a problem with each other but she doesn't seem to grasp that concept. She's just trying to teethe, which I don't mind, so long as I'm not being teethed upon.

We forgave each other long enough to finish nursing, but Rachel held onto her grudge and sought out sympathy from Daddy as soon as possible. So Andrew carried her into her room. We kissed her and told her we loved her. Then Andrew put her down in her crib, walked out of the room, and closed the door.

Meanwhile I was trying to get the CD player to work. Sometimes it takes several attempts before it will actually play. I thought it was odd that he closed the door behind him, but I'm used to him doing odd things so I didn't really think anything of it (other than noting to myself that it was odd, of course).

While I was pushing "play" for the third time, I heard Andrew call out,


I didn't answer because Rachel was trying to fall asleep and I didn't want her to realize I was still in her bedroom.

I pushed "play" again and heard Andrew walk down the hall.

"Honey, where are you?"

I pushed "play" again while Andrew walked into the bedroom and called out for me again.

"Where are you hiding?" he asked. Apparently he had already looked everywhere in the house. It isn't hard to do. Our house isn't that big.

The CD finally started playing. I tiptoed across the floor and slowly opened the door.

"Oh, there you are!" he said, "I lost you!"

"You shut me in the baby's room," I told him.

"I did?!?"

This was evidently news to him. Whatever shall I do with this husband of mine? I guess I'll just have to play along. 5...4...3...2...1...ready or not, here I come!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Celebrate Good Times

Karen hosted a joint family dinner in Andrew's honor this evening. She is so good at hosting dinners--I consider it good hostessing practice just to eat at their house! She had decorated the whole kitchen with a graduation theme, complete with confetti on the table.

Of course, there are quite a few graduations going on in the Heiss family this year--Andrew, of course, just finished his bachelors, Emily will be finishing high school in May, and Reid will be finishing his MPA in June--so the 2008 confetti pieces will be well used!

There were also little paper graduation caps hanging from the ceiling around the kitchen, which was fine until someone mentioned mistletoe. Emily got jealous of Andrew and me kissing all the time, so they all she decided to get in on the action.

Emily got slighted by Andrew

But David made up for it later (this was a stage kiss--no lips involved)

Karen made some delicious manicotti for dinner and I made a cake for dessert. In case you can't tell, the cookies are supposed to be mountains.

After dinner we let Rachel entertain us for a while. She's always willing to entertain. She was so talkative today and was very friendly. I think she learned today that if she smiles nicely while people are eating they will feed her. Throughout the day she sampled pineapple, brownies, cookies, cake, cucumbers, bananas, cheese, and other bits of goodies from everyone's plates.

Rachel with her assistants: Grandpa and Grandpa

We played a rousing game of Mexican Train after the table was cleared. Andrew was pretty confident that he was going to win, after scoring zero points on the first three rounds. On the fourth round he scored ninety-six points, putting him at about third place. Things just went downhill from there.

While we were playing, Jacob took this random picture of me. I figure since there are silly pictures of almost everyone else, it's only fair that I post one of myself. I have no idea what I'm doing in this picture. It looks like I'm fortune telling or am reciting something...a yogic phrase or poetry, perhaps.

We had a wonderful evening, even if we had to call our Mexican Train game short (if Rachel is with us our evenings end around 8 PM). Thank you to our wonderful families for all their support while Andrew's been working on his degree! We couldn't have done it without you.

He did it!

As of yesterday, Andrew is an official BYU alumnus. He did an amazing job balancing his roles as husband, father, scholar, and employee, among his church callings and other roles. We're glad that he'll be able to take a break from his studies before he starts up again in the fall! This will be the first time he's taken a break from school since coming home from his mission! He's worked straight through every spring, summer, fall, and winter semester taking a full load of credits and working 25 hours a week. It has been really busy!

At AUC, he'll only have to take 9 credits each semester and will only be able to work about 12 hours a week. That will be a change of pace!

Yesterday, Andrew's parents, Rachel and I watched Andrew do the traditional processional. It was so cold that it snowed while the graduates were making their way up to the Marriot Center! Unfortunately we didn't actually ever see Andrew, but we saw thousands of other graduates!

Elder Bednar was the keynote speaker.

Just as I was trying to remember who had spoken at my commencement excersizes, and about what, Elder Bednar said something to the effect that since no one remembers what anyone says at graduation, he'd be giving the graduates a gift: a shorter than expected speech.

He spoke about learning to love learning, among other things. Since this blog doubles as my brain, we'll at least be able to remember the topic he spoke on!

Andrew and the Egyptian Flag

Andrew and the Italian Flag

Rachel was pretty good during the ceremony, except that she desperately wanted to touch the curly, white hair of the woman sitting in front of us. Between the three of us it was quite the chore to keep Rachel's hands to herself. She spent a lot of time walking around in the halls, and a little time sleeping, but mostly she was a well behaved baby. If only the same thing could happen at church!

When we met Andrew after it was over and went outside, the snow had all disappeared and it was warm and sunny. This weather is enough to drive anyone crazy. It's impossible to dress for! Andrew's parents took us out for a very quick dinner, before I had to head to a primary meeting. While we were on our way to the restaurant, Rachel decided she needed to fill up her pants and started making the strangest faces.

This morning we had to be on campus around 7 AM. It's a dreadful hour, I know, but at least we got to get his graduation ceremonies over with and know that we won't have to come to campus that early in a long, long time (perhaps forever)!

Rachel came to campus wearing pyjamas and bunny slippers. She was devestated that we woke her up before she was ready--not that we even meant to. I tried to put her in her carseat without waking her up, but I had to move her so many times in order to buckle her seatbelt. This arm, and that arm...she woke up and screamed for a few minutes but settled down once we were in the car.

She was even better behaved through this ceremony. We filled up almost an entire row, with Andrew's parents, my mom, David, Patrick, Josie and me. Rachel got passed up and down the row the whole time and didn't fuss one bit...until we tried to give her to Andrew, that is.

Andrew's Graduating Class in MESA (L to R): Joseph Woolstenhulme, Douglas Sturm, Sami Smith, Lindsey Hulet, Don Kopp, Zach Queen, Ben Petersen, Christopher Lewis, and Andrew in front

Perhaps she tolerated being with Daddy and his scary, scary hat because he got a lei (from the Kennedy Center) for graduating magna cume laude. She had a great time smashing the flowers and picking off the petals!

We walked around for a little bit taking pictures, but it was still rather chilly. The tree that we took David's graduation pictures at hadn't even blossomed yet this year! We decided that we would take our "farewell to BYU" pictures when it was a little bit warmer. Andrew will still be on campus everyday this summer, so it isn't like we're actually leaving yet!

Authentic Acadamical Garb

Adrift in a sea of black robes and square caps, Rachel held on to whoever was carrying her, burying her face in their shoulder. She was absolutely terrified of all the people dressed up in academic regalia--even Daddy was too scary for her. She was very reluctant to go to him at all, especially when he had his hat on. She would giggle nervously and squirm to get away whenever he had her.

When Andrew's dad graduated from BYU Andrew was seven months old. Karen sewed a little set of robes and made a mortarboard hat for him to wear, which she kept packed away for 23 years.

Rachel got to wear it today. She was a very brave girl and walked with Daddy during his college convocation, even though she was afraid of him and his hat. She sat with me and our family during the program, and then I got her dressed in her robes (which scared her half to death) and my mom stood in the back with her until Andrew walked by. She was sad to leave Noni/ Grammy/ Nana/ Grandma (she hasn't quite decided on a title yet) but let Daddy carry her anyway, whimpering the whole way. Andrew was afraid she was going to break out in hysterics at any minute, but she did a good job suppressing her fears until she was back in mommy's arms. Then she buried her head in my shoulder and wouldn't look up at anybody.

It's a good thing we have 17 or 18 years to get over this fear before she, herself, will have to don such robes again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Standing up

Dear Weather,

Thank you for your prompt response. This afternoon ended beautifully.


Rachel and Nancy

Rachel is getting very good at standing up. She can stand for well over a minute--perhaps closer to five minutes--without falling over. She stood up almost the whole time we were in the shower yesterday: soaping, rinsing, shampooing. She stood through it all.

Her new thing is bending over to pick something up. She can bend right down, touch the ground, and then stand up again. She did a lot of standing up while we were outside. I considered posting a one minute clip of Rachel standing, but I decided that would be too boring for the average viewer.

Since we were outside, however, and there were so many interesting things on the ground, Rachel spent most of her time choosing the lushest blade of grass and most yellow dandelions to stick in her mouth.

Thanks for the Sunshine

Dear Weather,

I would like to inform you that your payment of spring is overdue. Due to snow storms and other spring atrocities, we are hereby billing you thirty days of continual sunshiny days with gentle breezes (small spring showers are also acceptable).


Rachel and Nancy

At least yesterday was nice. And today wasn't terrible, either, except it was too windy to walk all the way to the library. Rachel likes the wind, but after its been blowing on her face for 10 minutes she gets a little cranky. This wasn't just any wind, either. It was "knock the stroller over" wind.

But yesterday was nice. It was warm and sunny enough to go outside without sweaters on, which was a great diversion from Rachel's teething woes. Ice just gets old after a while.

Yummy ice! (Notice the tear running down her cheek. Sad baby.)

We went on a nice walk around the neighbourhood, delivering fliers for primary, and then played at the park for a little while.

Eventually we made our way over to a little "push and ride" toy, which Rachel loved, although she had a little trouble staying focused on walking and kept mucking with the wheels and stopping to pick up grass and rocks and trying to touch the steering wheel. I suppose exploration is simply what childhood is about.