Tuesday, July 31, 2012

month eight recap

Dear Ellie-girl,

You turned nine months old on Sunday.  I cannot believe it.  You (finally) have two sharp little teeth, which came in just one day apart a couple weeks ago.  You are so so close to crawling, and you've mastered the sitting-to-hands and knees maneuver.  You pulled yourself up to standing next to the couch yesterday.  

And even while I wonder where my tiny baby girl has gone to, I love to watch you grow.  I love how you take deep, panting breaths as you hold a new object, turning it over, switching hands, twisting your wrist to see it from all different angles, and of course, always bringing the object to your mouth in the end.

You learned how to dance this month, one of my favorite baby tricks.   And sing.  Just yesterday I turned on a youtube clip of Mindy Gledhill's newest song, and the moment the music started you started bouncing, shaking your upper body up and down.  And when she started singing, you felt compelled to join along in your sweet little baby voice "aahhh."   You always sing along when Daddy sings to you, joining in as he croons "da da da."  

You turned eight months old while we were in California at Grammer and Papa's house.  Once again you showed us what an excellent traveler you are at this age.  You slept through the long car rides, you ate everything I put in front of you (except the oyster crackers--they were way too dry and you brushed them off your tongue with a look of disgust on your face), you smiled and charmed everyone the entire vacation.  

"Helping" Daddy set up your crib in the new house. And eating a crust of bread left over from your dinner.
When we got back from California we sleep trained.  And girl, you were a champ.  It only took me waiting it out for two sessions of five minutes each on the first night, and then you slept straight through to 5 am every night after that.  There's been a few little wakings here and there, but that's a given. For the most part, you are now sleeping from 8 pm to 5 am and then after a quick feed you are back asleep until around 7.

And you, unlike your brother, have set a schedule for yourself.  It had nothing to do with me.  You just knew that you would be happiest if you nap at 9, 12, and sometime around 2 or 3.  And as I think back to Nicholas and his nap schedules, I'm remembering that 3 naps a day is my favorite stage.  So Ellie, let's just keep it up, okay?

You continue to adore your brother.  The best sound I have ever heard started happening this month.  The sound of you two, in another room together, laughing.  When I hear that, I think, now this is why people have lots of kids.  And Nicholas always makes sure I watch whatever it is that he's doing to make you laugh.   On the flipside, this month is the first time that you've been mobile enough to start causing problems for Nicholas. I'm starting to hear the famous complaints of "Mom, she took my toy!" and "Mom, Ew-ie's legs are touching me!"  Thankfully, at least for now, these problems are one-sided, as you, Sweet Ellie, are oblivious to the ideas of "mine" and "yours."

Speaking of being mobile, Ellie, you are a mover!  So tantalizingly close to crawling.  You propel yourself forward from sitting to hands-and-knees, and you reach, turning and squirming and thrusting with those chubby legs, reaching for anything you might be able to pull yourself up to standing with.  Usually, that something is Mommy's leg, shirt, or hair.

At Church today we were sitting on the bench and Daddy leaned around me to talk to you.  You gave him that open-mouthed smile of yours and then turned your face and smushed it up against my arm, hiding from him with a grin on your face the whole time.  I love how you do that.  When I'm holding you and someone talks to you or smiles at you, you smile back and then press your head against my chest in this darling, bashful way.  It's so sweet and girly.

Your growl, however, is a bit less than girly.  Me and Daddy went with Grandpa, Josh, and Sarah to see Batman, and we've started calling your growl your "Batman voice" because it sounds just like the Dark Knight's raspy voice.  Sometimes, when you've been growling for a long time, you stop and cough a little, clear your throat with a sweet little girl sigh, and then go right back into growling.
Your growl startled your cousin Carlee

In three months you are going to be a one-year old.  Walking and toddlerhood are just around the corner.  For now, though, I'll cradle you close, let you chew on my shoulder, bury your bashful smile into my chest, try to tug out my earrings, and use me as leverage to pull yourself to standing.  And I'm just going to keep pretending that you will stay my sweet baby girl forever.

Love and growls,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

if all else fails, put them in a box

 It was one of those days.
You know how children have that uncanny ability to sense when you are trying to be extra productive and they respond by being as needy as their little bodies can manage (which is a LOT of neediness)?

It was one of those days.

And in my "AAAAH! I am never going to get this finished!" frenzy I did the last thing I could think of.
I picked up my whining girl and plopped her inside the box I was trying to unpack.

And I then won the "funniest thing Mom has ever done" award.
 Nicholas made sure his "Eh-wie" had lots of toys in there.

 It finally got to a point where it was just a bit overwhelming.
 So then, it was time for "the bruder's!" turn.
Still didn't get the unpacking finished, but at least we had some fun.

Friday, July 20, 2012

naptime rambles

The kids are both napping.
That means that Nicholas will be waking us up around 5:30 or 6 tomorrow morning.  I probably should wake him up...naps aren't such a welcome thing from him lately.
BUT, the house is so quiet,
I think I'm going to let him sleep.
And I'll reread this when I wake up tomorrow morning and let you know if I still feel like this was a good plan.

Ellie is sleeping through the night now.  Hooray!  She sleep-trained super easily.  I don't know why I get so lucky (the girl who seriously did not sleep through the night until I was six years old. YEARS.) But I'm grateful.  And wishing we could have done it earlier.  But she slept in our room (on the floor) her entire life until we moved into this house.  And then I didn't want to train her and mess it up when we went on vacation to California.
But we got back, and we did it,
and now I've been sleeping.

Well, up until the past few nights when Nicholas has been waking up around 2 am with nightmares about Daddy eating his birthday cake or drinking his milk.  ??  Not sure what that is about.   
We finally get Ellie sleep, just in time for Nicholas to go through another no-sleep phase.  Sigh.
But really, I'm okay with it.
You see moms?  We just don't sleep.  I've totally resigned myself to that fact and I'm a much happier woman now that I've stopped trying to sleep.

Ellie is also weaning herself.  She's pretty much just decided that she has better things to do than to nurse.  I tried forcing it for a while, but she just refuses to settle down and eat.  I even tried nursing her in the complete dark of our basement stairwell, but she still would sit up and reach around to find something to play with.

I decided to follow her lead.  She eats mounds of solid food; a normal breakfast for her could be an entire waffle, a whole carton of yogurt, half a banana, and a few slices of cantaloupe.  And she nurses about four times a day is all now.  If she ever seems to need a milk feeding aside from those four,
we have much more success with giving her a bottle to hold on her own.  
It's good,
but I'm just a wee bit sad and startled that my baby is growing up so fast.  What happened here?

Aaaand, she's awake.  Good. I'm ready to go spend some time playing with my squishy baby and pretending like she's just going to be a baby forever.

five things (and photos from Sunday evening)

1.  Last night I went outside after the kids were in bed to sweep up some weeds I'd left on the sidewalk.

My neighbor from across the street was outside,
she came over,
and we talked. 
We saw a gorgeous rainbow in the sunset-pink sky.  We talked all about our trip to California, and about her and her husband's trip to Palmyra.  We talked about sewing, about deals on home decor, about family history work, about the ward, everything.

She told me that she was concerned when we were in California 
because a white van came to our house and got into our garage.  She wanted to be sure I knew about it.  She said she was about to come over and find out what they were doing but then they left and she watched but they never came back.

It was my family. They stopped by to bring us groceries so we'd have food to eat when we got back from our trip.

I just love living in a place where people look out for each other.  
2. Also? We love living in a place where we can be outside during the summer without wanting to melt.  Our evenings usually end with playing "catch" (soccer) in the backyard, or a walk around the block.  
3.  I'm beginning to feel that I'm raising polar opposites of children. We went out to lunch yesterday with Kent and Teresa (she stopped by for a short stay in between visiting Kent's grandpa and seeing Denver and Bree graduate in Idaho).  
We went to Pantrucas, a Chilean restaurant.  

Ellie ate steak, tomatoes, avocadoes, part of a beef empanada, applesauce, and some of an authentic Chilean corn and olives and raisin casserole.

Nicholas ate french fries.

And that's how it usually goes.  Ellie eats everything (though she did turn down my tuna sandwich today), and Nicholas eats practically nothing.  Baby-led weaning is the way to go. I'm never going back to pureed babyfood.  
4. Nicholas is hilarious.  He's invented a superhero.  
Baserman.  He spends a good portion of the day telling us all about the things that baserman can do.  He draws pictures of Baserman (at least that's what he says the squiggles are), he wraps blankets around his head and says he's dressed like Baserman, he runs across the room and jumps and says it's what Baserman does. 
I love having a boy.  
We spend a lot of time driving cars on the lines in my living room rug, playing catch and soccer, racing around the driveway, and just plain running.  And he laughs like there is no joy more pure than just running around the backyard.
5. The house.  I only have one box (inside) left to unpack.  I still have endless organizing and cute-ifying to do, but things are coming together. Our to-do list, however, feels, well, like to-do lists do.  Infinitely long and overwhelming.  
My sister is coming to stay with us next week. We are going to pay her to work for us for a week, and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm making big big plans to get some things done around here while I have a live-in babysitter.  
And of course, Kent and I are going to be going on as many dates as possible.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

the glories of ksl

 When we told our friends in Texas that we were moving to Utah one of them told us
"Oh now you get to use ksl! You're going to love it!"

I didn't really know what ksl was,
but now, I see how right she was.

Imagine Craigslist, bumped up about a gazillion notches in quality.  It's way more organized, the stuff is SO much better, and usually cheaper too.  It's fantastic.  You can find anything on there--music teachers, jobs, trees, furniture, baby stuff, rentals (it's actually how we found the townhouse we rented), cars, anything!

On Saturday I had a little ksl shopping spree. Saturday morning I found this side table that a lady had refinished to sell.  It's in gorgeous condition, solid wood, and it was only $65!  That's right.  

Saturday night after our neighborhood picnic,
I found this sweet little yellow chair on ksl.  $20.  Also recently refinished.  I put the kids to bed and then jumped in the car to go and pick it up.  

My original idea was to paint it a different color and add it to my dining set. (In the end I want to have a bunch of mismatched chairs all painted the same color. Like such.)  But now that it's here, 
I'm falling in love with this darling yellow chair,
and maybe I won't change it after all.

I keep finding myself just admiring my new furniture.  I think I'm so excited about it mostly
 because it was so cheap, and so cute!  

And so last night, I was browsing ksl again (a favorite pastime lately) and I found 25 foot maple trees-$139.  Going to consult our HOA today and maybe we'll be getting ourselves a nice shade tree for our backyard!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

fun at Grammer and Papa's

My daughter excels at peek-a-boo.  
It's one of the many tricks she showed off while we were at Grammer and Papa's house.  
Also, she growls.  A deep, throaty, unearthly growl.  Quite impressive for such a little person.  And not very girly.  But we'll keep her and her darling growl.

She was a champion traveler again, sleeping in the car, smiling at everyone, laughing at her cousins, eating every food I put in front of her (except oyster crackers--the only food she's disliked so far), and being all around adorable.

 Grammer pulled out some extra fun toys for Nicholas.  He played Candyland for the first time while we were there.  And the marshmallow shooter was a BIG hit.  He barely has enough breath to propel the marshmallow through the gun, and they simply plopped out into the bowl, 
but oh man did he love it!
 Nicholas spent lots of time outside, helping with the garden, riding the "motorcycle" tricycles, and playing with water.
This is his "I just got Mommy soaked" face.  Oh yeah.
 My girl and her legs.  She likes practicing walking.

She does not like getting splashed in the face.  She didn't spend any time in the pool, because she's only sort of okay with the cold water,
and as soon as a drop hits her face, she is D-O-N-E.  

Heidi and the kids came up to play a few days while we were there. Nicholas loved playing with Carlee and Preston, 
and as soon as they'd arrive he'd cheer "the cousins!" and run down to start playing.  They had all sorts of fun playing in the toyroom, making their own little parades, doing sparklers, going to the treehouse, and always being sure to avoid the "sakes" (a rattlesnake was sighted up by the big rocks and we must have made an impression with our warnings to avoid that area).

Good thing we have plans to see Grammer again soon--we miss everyone already!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


 We found out while we were on vacation that our friends Dallin and Cindy from Texas were going to be in California at the same time!
Dallin also went to Google I/O, and Cindy and the kids came along for a vacation.  

His parents live just over half an hour away from Kent's parents (although that drive time is calculated sans potty-training toddler potty stops.)  In fact, that's how we first met Dallin and Cindy.  We met Dallin's parents at a Church function when we were with Kent's parents way back before Kent's internship.  They told us we should look up Dallin and Cindy when we got to Texas.

And boy am I glad we did.  They have been the best kind of friends.  Always willing to help with anything, kids the same age as ours, and always willing to get together for ice cream and games on a Sunday night. 

So we invited them to come up to the house last Monday.  We figured it was probably the closest we were going to be to them...maybe ever.  

Asher, their baby, was born in December, so we got to meet him for the first time.  He's darling-such a sweet little guy!  He and Ellie would be good friends, I'm sure.
 And speaking of friends,
Nicholas totally remembered Jayden.
As soon as he saw Jayden standing in the doorway when they arrived, Nicholas shrieked "YES!!"
They played so well.  Making up crazy little songs, riding the tricycles, having so much fun.
We are very very glad we got to see them...made us all a bit sorry that we can't just get together all the time like we used to.  
Maybe next time we're in California together!

Monday, July 9, 2012

red trucks

 Nicholas was kind of a stinker when it came to taking his picture on our vacation.  He'd turn away completely and refuse to even pretend to smile,
and no, bribes of candy, ice cream, and the like didn't work.

BUT, put this kid in one of Papa's "red trucks" and the smiles just went on and on.
 Every day we were there we'd take him out for a drive, really slow, around the yard.  Poor Grammer had an allergy fit after the first time she took him-guess all that dried grass and dust weren't kind to her.  So the rest of the vacation, it was me and Kent that got the honor of driving Nicholas around in the red trucks.

I didn't mind, though.  I sure love my little boy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

the fourth

Ellie and her cousin Carlee
 We're in California.  
Kent came because his work paid for him to go to Google I/O (aka Android Developers' Heaven, or so I'm told).  And we stayed for the holiday (and Kent's birthday) with his family.

Here's our trip in a nutshell:

  • Kent LOVED Google I/O and came back with a slew of new gadgets
  • Ellie has perfected her growling
  • Nicholas loves Grammer and Papa. And Preston and Carlee and Audrey and Heidi. He says Uncle Mason is nice to him.  He's a bit unsure about Uncle Sam. Sam teases, you know.
  • I'm still a bit freaked out by the lizard we found (but then couldn't manage to catch) in the room Nicholas has been sleeping in
  • We've eaten tons
  • Nicholas loves "the red trucks" (the ATV's) and he asks us to take him out to see them or ride in them all day long
  • Kent has eaten at taco truck five or six times since we got here
  • My son refuses to smile for a camera. Or even put his face in front of a camera for that matter.

 Unless he has his "blue wight gun."  Then we get his shooting-you face.  
Oh, and he'll also smile if he's in the "red truck." I mean, who wouldn't?

Last night we finished up our 4th of July celebrations by going down to the town where Kent grew up and watching the fireworks.  Ellie loved the show and surprised us by staying up (happily!) to nearly 11 pm and regarding the loud fireworks with wide-eyed fascination.

Nicholas fell asleep on the way to the fireworks, and wasn't too happy when we got there.
The fireworks frightened him 
and for the first 10 minutes of the show he clung to my neck and said in my ear "take me to the car" over and over again.  I wrapped a blanket around him and he snuggled close and closed his eyes and then every time there was a pause between fireworks he'd say
"it's over now," or "okay turn the lights back on."

He didn't watch a single firework.

As I listened to him whine in my ear, snuggled close to me, and watched the fireworks while listening to "God Bless America," 
honestly, I realized that I love being a mom.
This is what I wanted.  It's not as fancy-free or maybe as constantly fun as being single or childless was,
but I was giving comfort to my dear little boy, with my family all around me, feeling happy and at peace and watching a fireworks show
and yes, 
this is the life I have always wanted.

As soon as the show was over and they turned on the lights in the field and we started picking things up and walking away
Nicholas's head popped up and he said,
"Oh, fireworks are fun!"

He's awesome.

For the rest of the night he was chipper and excited and giving us great and detailed descriptions of the fireworks, saying something about 
dinosaurs pumping the ground and making it shake and popping things and the lights.
We went back to Kent's parents' house there and did sparklers and a few more little fireworks and Nicholas 
loved every minute of it.