Thursday, April 19, 2012

five months

Ellie is five (and a half) months old.
This is what I like to call her "meerkat" look.  
She is focused, observant, and aware. She likes to take in everything around her.  
When we go somewhere new,
she reminds me of a meerkat on watch patrol, twisting her head all around to look at every single thing.
She notices people, when they come and when they go and when they are happy.
She's even started social laughing, giggling just because the adults are, even though she's 
way too little to understand what we're laughing at.
She's happy. Oh so happy.  Her arms flap up and down and she breathes really fast when she gets excited.
And her feet are constantly twisting around, toes curling and uncurling.

She's loud.  For Ellie there is no (and never has been) a medium.  She's either quiet and content,
or she's MAD and needs food/sleep/our attention right this instant! 
No buildup.  Just happy, then NOT HAPPY.
And she has this crazy noise she does, it's both a happy and a sad noise,
kind of a cross between a growl and the noise you might think a dinosaur might have made.  I need to get it on video. 
 I feel like just the past couple of weeks she has become more of a little person,
I feel connected to her; like we have a real relationship now.  She responds to me, we play together, 
we kinda really adore each other.

This is my favorite stage of baby-hood.  The head-over-heels I-love-my-happy-squishy-baby-so-much-I-think-I-could-eat-them stage.
 Ellie is strong and determined.
She knows exactly what she wants, and she will do everything in her little power to get it.
I have to keep a firm hold on her, because she can and will thrust herself out of my lap if something seems attractive just out of her reach.

When we were at my parents' last week, we went next door to visit my grandma.  
Ellie loves my grandma; gives her the biggest smiles everytime she sees her.
And there's something simply beautiful about Ellie's perfect soft baby skin next to my grandma's time-weathered wrinkles.  I love it.
Anyway, while we were there, Ellie decided she needed to play with the tubing for my grandma's oxygen.  
No matter how much we did to hide it from her, Ellie remembered it was there and continued to reach for it and look for it the entire time we were there.  
For a five-month-old, that's a pretty impressive attention span. 

I'm kind of scared I'm going to have my hands full with her. I predict she's going to get into things and into trouble way more than Nicholas ever did.
 She's still not sleeping.  
She wakes up between three and four times a night.
Sometimes she'll go back to sleep with just her pacifier, sometimes she's so hungry she latches on to my arm and starts sucking while I'm trying to get myself situated to feed her.

But surprisingly, 
I'm okay with it.
I don't feel nearly as desperate or sleep-deprived or discouraged by it as I did when Nicholas was her age.

I guess I've just come to accept the fact that 
moms don't sleep.  And it's all right.

And actually, I believe that Ellie sleeping through the night for the first three months of her life was
Heavenly Father's way of blessing me with the energy I needed
to get me through all the moves and changes.
Now that we're moved and settled, I guess I just don't need that blessing as much anymore.

Ellie loves her brother.  Nicholas is her favorite person, no question.
When he's in the room, she watches him nonstop, smiling the whole time.
And if he happens to come close and talk to her, she squeals and laughs with delight.
He has a "happy dance" that he often does. She loves it, and laughs and laughs.
She also loves his tickles, even the not-so-gentle ones that I worry might hurt her. 
Being a second child seems to come with a large dose of survival-necessitated toughness.

cars in a "lion"

Overall, Nicholas has been back to his happy self for the past few weeks.
And we are so grateful.
He's finally settled down after all the moving and changes.

But, he's still a two-year-old.
One day a few weeks ago, he was throwing a tantrum and hitting me.  In a sudden flash of 
"hey maybe that will work,"
I stuck him in Ellie's crib
in an attempt to keep him contained (and out of arms reach from me) until he calmed down.
He was super angry for just a minute,
and then he decided that Ellie's bed was the perfect place to play,
and an excellent place to do one of his favorite things,
lining his cars up "in a lion."

I love toddler language.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

*sigh* nevermind

I waited an entire week and a half after we put our offer in on that lot to tell people about it.
I was tired of announcing "this is it!" and then having it fall through.

Oh the irony.
Only half an hour after my last post,
Kent called me.
The realtor had called him...

Some legal issues...there's a hold on the lot.
It could be lifted,
but it might take a few months,
and it might not ever happen.

So, there goes dream lot #5.

I'm starting to think maybe, just maybe this is just not what we are supposed to do?

okay, I think it's actually final this time

This is where we are going to live.
It's in the same small town we're living in right now,
which surprises me.
I thought we'd live closer to Salt Lake, closer to shopping and restaurants and things like that.

But when it comes down to it,
We feel like this is a better place to raise our children.
And that is what matters most.

And maybe I'll spend less money if I have to drive farther to get to the shopping.

 It's a big lot,
almost half an acre.

It backs up to a little canal, and there's a farm driveway next to it, which will give us some privacy.
We'll be putting a fence up first thing, though, to keep my little babies from finding their way into the canal.  Water scares me.

It's a beautiful area.  I drove down there on Sunday morning to visit the ward,
and the sun was coming up over the mountains
with sun rays shining through the clouds.   Breathtaking.

The ward is quite old, mostly retired doctors and people like that,
but there are a lot of empty lots still and I'm sure that families will be moving in.
And there are lots of kids in the neighborhood, just out of our ward boundaries,
so I'm sure we'll meet lots of people and kids in the area.
Tonight Kent and I are going to "the design center" for our builder.
It's open on Wednesdays for you to walk through on your own,
which is a very good thing.
When we have our actual appointment, we only have
"a generous two-hour time slot" to make every decision for our home.

We're the kind of people who spend hours and hours in Lowe's just trying to pick a tile color.
Two hours? Every single decision for our home? Ha.

Tonight we'll be taking our list of things we want and we'll get to figure out what we can and can't afford and we'll see what some of their options are.
I'm pretty excited!

Monday, April 16, 2012

little mercies

I got hand, foot, and mouth too.
Today I have had chills, aches, fever, sore throat.

But there are a few little things I am so grateful for.
 It was a beautiful Spring day,
Nicholas played in our backyard all by himself for a couple of hours, happy and without needing me.

Tylenol.  Seriously, where can I find the person who invented this?  I want to send them a big thank-you gift basket.

The contagious period of hand foot and mouth lasts 7-10 days.  Today is exactly 10 days away from when I leave for California for the Spring Event.  So glad I won't have to miss it!

Ellie has learned to sit up.
This is my favorite stage of all.  When they can sit and just be happy, chewing on a lid or crinkling a paper endlessly.
It's the best.

The kids were happy and cooperative all day long.  It's rare to have a whole day where they are happy like this.

Kent came home from work early to help out.

Both kids took a three-hour nap, at the same time!
That is unheard of,
and such a mercy. I slept almost the whole time.
And these blossoms.
They smell heavenly.  Right outside our front door.
Maybe life is hard,
but it's good too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

hand foot mouth everywhere

He did not want his picture taken.
 Kent went to Vegas two weeks ago on a "man trip."  (See pictures here.)  
While he was gone, my mom came down to pick us up and take us to her house for the week.
And my children came down with Hand Foot and Mouth.
It's been kind of a busy two weeks.

Nicholas got it first.  He came down with the fever the night before Easter, and the blisters started the very next morning.

So apparently the "hand foot and mouth" idea is more of a guideline than the rule,
because Nicholas had blisters everywhere except on his stomach.
 Ears, face, arms, back, legs, hands, feet, and his diaper area.
His poor little bottom had the worst of it...peeling skin, raw sores, red angry blisters.
No good.

My mom and I were up all night with him a few nights in a row, just trying trying trying to help him, he cried for hours on end. Poor thing. I just felt so bad for him.

The only way I could get him to calm down was to take him for a drive in the car (at 1:00 am).  We drove and drove and I sang softly and I thought he was finally asleep when 
he pops his head up in the backseat and says,
"look Mom-there's the moon!"
But when we got him he was in a much improved mood and he scampered back into bed and went right to sleep.

The only picture I could get of the blisters--he moves fast and isn't a big fan of pictures anymore.
During the day, though, other than some scratching he seemed completely normal. 
And I was so glad that we were there at my mom's house where he could play with people (my siblings and our cousins had all be exposed to it already) and things to do.
It was definitely a blessing.
I can't imagine how the week would have been if I were here alone with him trapped in our tiny townhome and unable to go outside and play with his friends.

My little Ellie-girl got a fever just a few nights ago.  The poor girl just cried and cried.
And grunted/growled.  
It's a funny (in a sad way) thing she does when she's upset. She sounds like an elk or something.

So far she only has two blisters, one on each hand, and a faint bumpy rash. 
But I think she must have a sore throat too because she flat out refuses to eat unless she's very sleepy or has a full dose of tylenol in her.

Thank goodness for whoever invented tylenol.

We're home now, though, and Nicholas is just coming out of the contagious stage and he's feeling much much better.  Ellie seemed happier today too, and all is well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April first

 We've been doing a lot of driving lately.  
Looking at lots, neighborhoods, cities.

A few weeks ago, I was feeling a bit sorry that I couldn't see the wildflowers in Texas this spring,
but then Utah Spring exploded.  There are blossoms everywhere. Every street, every corner, every yard.  The picture is just a glimpse.  I wish I could take you all in the car with us as we drive around so you could see how incredible the blossoms are.

Although if you came with us in the car you'd also witness the chaos.
Ellie, you see, has decided that she does NOT like the car.
And Nicholas does NOT like to hear Ellie cry.
Oh, and google maps does NOT like Utah addresses.  The whole grid system is just more than our GPS can handle.

But we have discovered a few tricks.  A Jamba Juice for Nicholas, Baby Einstein for Ellie, and deep breathing for Mommy and Daddy and peace is restored.  

 We've been loving the weather here.  The past few days we've been outside for five or six hours every day.  Nicholas has his "friends" that he tags along with, riding his bike and playing on the playground just behind our house.  And while Ellie naps we sit in our little backyard and draw with chalk, read books, and watch ants.

Ellie loves paper.
Yesterday she actually propelled herself off of my lap and onto her stomach on the couch so she could reach a paper.  
I was stunned.  
We have one very determined little soul here.
I wanted to make peanut butter treats on Friday.  Like these.  I placed all the ingredients in the bowl, left Nicholas to mix them while I went upstairs to lay Ellie down for her nap.
I also gave Nicholas instructions to eat his scrambled eggs and drink his milk before we could eat the treats.

I guess he thought he'd kill two birds with one stone.
When he heard me coming back downstairs he started to say,
"It's okay, Mommy. It's okay, Mommy!" (Not what you want to hear as a mother...)
I came into the kitchen and discovered that he had so cleverly placed his scrambled eggs and his milk into the bowl with the peanut butter treats.