Friday, February 25, 2011

one mystery solved

"Uh-my!" means "help me."  Duh. (or err-der as the Andersens say)  When I finally figured it out today, Nicholas looked at me like And how long have I been saying this?  
Yeah, he has been saying "uh-my" for probably three months.  Not kidding. 

Mysteries still unsolved:  Why is my boy sick again?  Yesterday he woke up from his nap wheezing, after five days of no problems at all... boo.  Now he's back on breathing treatments (two different types), one oral steroid, and still finishing his antibiotics from last time.  
I hate having a sick kid.  I hate listening to his breath rattle.
But, as my Mom reminded me, at least we're not pioneers who didn't have any medicine. Then I'd have to watch him struggle to breathe and have nothing I could do to help him. That would be torture.

So, I'm sure we'll get through this, and all will be well again.

One final mystery:  
Why do toddlers always-and I mean always-stick out the wrong foot first when you're trying to put their shoes on?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

five-hundred and fifty-seven days: my boy in numbers

Five-hundred and fifty-seven days ago, my son was born.
As of yesterday, he knows 97 words.
2 of those words are as of yet unidentified:  "Uh-my!" and "Ba-keg"
The 5 words he uses the most are:  more, up, all right, okay, and back--as in "put it back" or "go back over there."
He can label 6 of his body parts (7 if you count "diaper").
He sleeps 11 1/4 hours at night, from 8:00 pm to 7:15 am.
1 nap, between 1 and 3 hours long.
We read A Very Hungry Caterpillar 6 times every day.  
We sing The Wheels on the Bus 4 times each afternoon.
He watches 3-ish episodes of kids shows--Dora, Backyardigans, Shaun the Sheep, or Wonderpets.
His number 1 favorite movie is Cinderella (to Kent's chagrin).
He gives Mommy and Daddy 10+ kisses and hugs each day.

pointing to mommy's nose

Within 8 minutes of being at the store, he is out of the cart and "helping" me push it.
He has invented 1 secret family handshake--we have to stack our three middle fingers and touch them to his.
He has an infinite number of friends; he is a crowd favorite at the grocery store.
 6 words I think are the cutest:  banana "manna," "dizzy," oops "boots," drink "uck," outside "ous," and  "Toodles!"
He cries every single time we leave a restaurant.
His 3 favorite animals at the zoo:  komodo dragon, little monkeys, and the gazelle. (gazelle?!)
8 of his favorite foods:  pasta, smoothies, sweet potato fries, pears, chips--always dipped in something, yogurt, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches.
Five-hundred and fifty-seven days.  
All three of us can't wait to see what comes next.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

when you're helping you're happy

Nicholas loves to help me around the house.
When he's grumpy/throwing a tantrum/has bonked his head on the dining table (again),
I know I can always get him to stop crying by asking him if he wants to help me.
He gulps down the tears and says a quick "okay!"

He loves to "fold" laundry (pick up what I've folded, shake it a few times, and toss it across the room), sweep the floor, wipe the cabinets, put away his toys, and help with dinner-especially cracking eggs and mixing them,
but his favorite task is putting soap in the dishwasher.

He knows exactly where the box is, and he gets it himself, brings it to me, and tells me he wants to help.
Giving it a good shake.

He likes to mix it around a bit with his fingers.

Great job, Buddy. Thanks for the help.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

this week: two things

Number One:  On Tuesday, Nicholas came down the post-nursery sniffles.  (It's rather inevitable that they get sick from nursery, I mean, I've seen how those kids "share" toys. BUT, why oh why don't people keep their kids home when they are sick?  Seriously. It is just plain rude in my opinion.)  

Thursday afternoon, I noticed he seemed to be wheezing a bit.  By the time Kent got home from work, Nicholas was panting and wheezing, but he was still running and playing almost as much as normal.  But when I noticed how I could see the space between his ribs with each breath, I knew he was working too hard to breathe, so we headed in to the pediatrician.
Thank heavens our pediatrician's office is open late hours for sick children.  Otherwise we'd have had to go to the ER.

And with the trauma that Nicholas endured just at the doctor's, I'm certain he would have not been able to handle a visit to the hospital.

They tested his blood, swabbed his nose, got an oxygen reading, and we did a breathing treatment.  He was more unhappy and angry than I've ever seen him.  And then, when it was determined that he did not have RSV, the flu, croup, or pneumonia, the doctor thought it might be some sort of bacterial infection in his lungs.

Add to the list of previous torture:  a great big antibiotic shot.

We were sent home with the nebulizer and instructed to give him treatments throughout the night and to take him to the ER if he got any worse at all.
Our home teacher came over and helped Kent give Nicholas a blessing.

Nicholas slept okay.  Kent slept pretty well.  

I didn't sleep. At all.

Standing by the crib, listening to each labored breath, asking myself if he seemed any better or any worse, all throughout the dark night...I reached an entirely new level of mother-fear.

Friday morning dawned and Nicholas was up and asking for breakfast.  And he was breathing.  Without struggling.
I took him in-the doctor wanted to check on him.  She listened to his lungs, and pronounced him clearly on the mend.
We've been giving him treatments, but only once or twice a day now,  he's on antibiotics, and really, he's completely back to his normal self (minus the steroid-induced mood swings, which are awesome).

I am all the more grateful now to have a healthy, happy little boy.  He is everything to us.

Number Two:  I have gained three pounds already just in chocolate chip cookies.  
I'm not making them very quickly, because I don't think it would be fair for me to taste-test someone's recipe when I'm feeling completely sick of chocolate chip cookies.
So far, I've tried four recipes.  Two were very good, and two were knock-our-socks-off-gotta-have-another-awesome. (Hence the three pounds. I have no self-control.)
It's going to be a close competition.

So today, Nicholas and I are home from Church, and I think we'll bake some cookies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

do you remember

(late Valentine's Day post...we were out enjoying the 70-degree weather last night so I didn't get this posted)


Do you remember

the first text message I ever sent you after our first date---actually the first text I ever sent anyone,
and how it took me nearly three hours to reply, not because I didn't like you but because I didn't know how to do it?
Feb or Mar 2007--murder mystery group date

admitting your most bizzare talents the night we first met?  (i.e. tongue typing skills)

the picnic we had in Yosemite?  Lunchables, apple slices, and green juice.

July 2007-BYU-Idaho Guitar's Unplugged
the couch-pillow fort we made in my apartment one night?  and our pet rock...what was his name?

how you left the apple pie in your car after our first kiss?

when you asked me if you could date me "on a more regular basis" while walking back from a devotional at the Hart?

do you remember these sandwiches?  

and while we're talking about food:  the meal I made you in LA--cornflake ranch chicken, oven fries, green beans, and Italian soda? And how we took so long eating it that we were late to the Pirate's movie?

how about puka dogs?

trying to find hair gel in Paris since your luggage was lost?

thinking up ridiculous questions for our biology class with Brother Wall?

how long it took us to get our painting from France in its frame, and how worried I was that it meant we would never be able to work together?

chopping ice with a hammer so that we could back out of our parking space in Rexburg?

May 2007-restaurant in LA
eating pancakes on the beach when you came to visit me in LA?

the little red rental car that would not ever?
December 2008-Anniversary trip
being brave and jumping into the river on our kayaking trip...hands and knees first--and the river ended up only being a few feet deep?  I was laughing with you.  Don't you remember?

unpacking in our first apartment?

December 2007-Honeymoon
the French man who nearly fell asleep in your lap while we ate dinner on Christmas day?

swimming at night at your parent's house--and me doing an "interpretive swim" representing evolution (from fish to lizard to monkey, etc.)?

Aug 3, 2007-moments after proposing
proposing halfway through dinner instead of waiting until dessert? It was pretty obvious the question was coming, and a little hard to focus on our food.

playing Monopoly and eating super bowl treats?  I promise I wasn't cheating intentionally.

Thursday night movie night every week while we were engaged?

Jan 2007-Dairy Queen in Rexburg--just a few weeks after we met
the first time we held hands--watching Night at the Museum? and how our arms fell asleep because we were both too shy to move them?

having to call my dad the morning after we were married because you left your wallet in Logan?

Kent, do you remember the first time we said "I love you?"

walking into our very own home for the first time?

hearing Nicholas's first cries?

I do.

December 2007-Honeymoon

Happy Valentine's Day, my Love!

Friday, February 11, 2011

i did it

I took a picture every single day (or nearly) for an entire year.
I put all of those pictures into a blurb book.
I'm still not 100% sold on this as the cover do you choose a single picture to represent your entire year?

Here is the little explanation I wrote on the back of the book:

To take a picture every single day of the year.  That seemed easy enough.  
And some days, it was.  Other days I found myself scraping for something photo-worthy.  But the result is brilliant. 
I have pictures of real life--adorable Nicholas, family outings, dirty dishes, daily meals, toy-strewn living room, rainstorms, puzzles, projects. 

Someday I think I'll look back on these times and wonder what life looked like when we had one child, a new house, and we were getting used to living in a new place far from home.  
I hope that these pictures will do their part in helping me remember that these
times were not always easy, but
they were always good.

If you want to take a look, I have the whole book preview right here: 2010 POTD Blurb
There's a button in the bottom right corner for viewing it full screen.

On the inside cover page I have this quote:
"The small and simple things you choose to do today will be magnified into great and glorious blessings tomorrow." 
-Ann M. Dibb (General Conference, Oct. 2009)
I had that quote hanging on my magnet board all year, and I liked to think of it as my little motivation each day to make the small and simple moments count.

Now I'm off to bake some cookies! I'm having a girl's night at my house tonight, and I'm glad to have some friends to share these cookies with.
Seriously, guys, thanks for all the recipes.  We are in chocolate chip cookie heaven at our house right now.  Kent took some to work last week, and gave one to a coworker.  As the guy was walking back to his cubicle, he took one bite of the cookie, stopped in his tracks and said,
"Mmm.  Oh yeah, that'll do."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

bad luck with cookies

Do you like how I sneak in a picture of my darling pajama-wearing boy when the post is actually supposed to be about the cookies?
I've been making cookies since I was in middle school. And helping my mom make cookies since even before then.
I thought I was pretty good at it.
But the last five times I've made them, 
something has gone terribly awry.  

Sure, they taste okay,
but they're spongey, crumbly, fall-apart little round messes.
It happened to my gingersnaps, to my oatmeal scotchies, and to my chocolate chip cookies.

I would blame it on my oven, or my ingredients,
but then Kent finds a recipe online (which he never bookmarks or saves) and his cookies turn out perfect.
Every time.

What's the deal?

So, I need your help.
I need a good recipe for chocolate chip cookies-
the recipe you make over and over and over again.
The one that works for you.

First, though, I must tell you.
I like my chocolate chip cookies to be thick, substantial, chewy, soft.

Not like this:
Rather, like this:
So, if you have a recipe that you think I should try, either leave it in the comments, or you can send it to my email:
rebecca.w.andersen at

I will try every recipe that I am sent,
and the person who sends the recipe that I like best (or perhaps the one that I don't ruin somehow)
will be the winner of their very own copy of 

This book
(referenced in my last post-seriously one of my favorite books ever-inspiring, encouraging; every time I read it I find more reasons to love motherhood, even on the days where I feel like I'm "in the trenches.")
well...a little bonus surprise.

You have until Wednesday Tuesday at noon to get me your recipe.
I don't know how long it will take me to test the recipes, but I promise I will try every last one.  I'm really getting tired of these sponge cookies.
Here's to hoping my cookie-making skills can be rescued!

Post script:  Wow! I had no idea I would get so much feedback. I've gotten numerous emails, facebook messages, and comments.  It's great!  At this rate, though, I'm going to be making chocolate chip cookies until June.  Which isn't really a bad thing...  So, keep them coming until tomorrow, and then I'll start the baking!

Friday, February 4, 2011

being there

A quote that's bringing me inspiration today:

"I know that I'm fortunate enough to be in a profession and marriage that allows me to spend most of each day near my children.  

"But Being There isn't about money or even about staying home full-time.  It's about an emotional and spiritual shift, of succumbing to Being Where You Are When You Are, and Being There as much as possible.  

"It's about crouching on the floor and getting delirious over the praying mantis your son just caught instead of perusing a fax [or filling the dishwasher] while he is yelling for your attention and distractedly saying over your shoulder: 'Oh, honey, isn't that a pretty bug.'  

"Being There is about being attuned enough to notice when your kid's eyes shine so you can make your eyes shine back."

-Iris Krasnow (qtd. A Mother's Book of Secrets, p. 5--this book is something I find myself needing to re-read every couple of months.)

While we enjoy our weekend (Texas snow day!) I will be trying my best to truly Be There, both for Nicholas and for Kent-the two people who mean the very most to me in this world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sunshine and cupcakes

We've had a week. I feel like so much of what I write on this blog is the "sunshine and cupcakes" mentioned in this post on that everyone was reading and talking about two weeks ago.

And you know, my life has a lot of sunshine, and we eat a lot of proverbial cupcakes.  I often catch myself wondering what in the heck I ever did to deserve to be as blessed as I am. Life is good, we are very very happy, and so much of our joy comes from knowing what we know about who we are, our Heavenly Father, the precious gift of the Atonement, and the eternal nature of families. 

On Monday last week, Kent's employer announced what their bonus would be this year. It was a good year for the company, and thus a good year for a bonus. 
We went to get pizza take-out to celebrate.  On the way home, right before we turned down our street, a quick little deer ran straight into the side of our car.  It scared us (mostly just me), but we didn't have to pull over or anything, just continued home.
Our car was dented-the driver's door now only opens about 10 inches, but it seemed like everything else was okay. And hey, we're fairly small people, we can squeeze through.

Two nights later, when Kent was on his way to the Cub Scout pack meeting, the car's headlights both went out.
We simply didn't drive after dark for the next two days. 

On Friday we took the car to the auto parts store to get the headlights replaced.  In the process, something happened with the fuses (maybe?) and now the car won't accelerate. 

Okay, so we squeeze in, then drive slowly.  We've had worse in our lives (gold 1985 toyota wonder wagon, anyone?).  Kent took the car in on Saturday morning to get it fixed.  What we thought would be a little problem with a belt or something ended up being 5 broken motor mounts (at $300 a piece this was no longer an easy quick fix). 

The car is in the shop all day Saturday, so we're stuck home, without all the supplies we need to get started on the tile in our bathroom.  But we made the best of it, really.

On Sunday, Nicholas and I stayed home from Church because he has a cold that I don't want to share with anyone. Kent got pulled over on his way home after Church.  Our new registration cards and insurance cards haven't arrived yet.  Expired registration, incorrect address on driver's license, and no insurance.  $700-ish ticket.  (We hope they'll drop it when he goes to court with proof that we did have current registration and insurance at the time.)

Kent stayed home on Monday and got all the tile layed. It is really looking good, by the way.  He's wonderful to do all of that work.

Tuesday was probably the 2nd hardest day I've ever had with Nicholas.  And really, it was probably my fault.
He only wants to eat crackers and treats.  So yesterday I put all the treats away and if he didn't eat what I was offering him (foods that he normally loves-toast, strawberries, yogurt, etc.), that was all he got. But not getting his crackers and fruit snacks was something he just couldn't understand.

And he's gotten much smarter all of the sudden, which means that life is suddenly much more frustrating for him. He doesn't want me making all of his choices for him, so I do my best to give him other options: 
"Instead of playing with the scissors, why don't you play with this, or that, or that?"  but of course he knows better and what he really wants is to play with every single thing in this house that he simply cannot for safety reasons.   (I've stopped saying no for mess reasons-I'd rather clean up a puddle of water after he's done making "soup" than listen to him cry about it.)
And it was too cold for our usual escape-walking to the park.  We were stuck in the house together and we weren't happy about it.

But me, I wasn't a good mom yesterday.  I lost my temper.  More than once or twice.  I ran out of patience.  
I tried tickling, dancing, wrestling, and singing with him to cheer myself up, and that worked for a while, but soon he was crying again, and soon,
I was crying too.

I wasn't the mother that Nicholas needs me to be.  For the first time (probably of many to come) I felt like I had failed motherhood that day.  It wasn't a happy feeling.

the sunshine and cupcakes.
I know who I am, and I know that I have a loving Father in Heaven.
So, I prayed.  I prayed and cried and prayed some more.  And I read the scriptures.

And this morning, I woke up.
I am the same person I was yesterday.

Today, though, Nicholas and I are working together instead of against each other.

Today, though, the power is out and we are dancing with flashlights.

Today, though, I feel strength beyond my own.  It isn't in a singing choir or a burst of light or a car that is fixed or even in a toddler who eats his breakfast.

It is quiet, deep, and constant.  And it is enough.
That is where the sunshine and cupcakes come from.