Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joy to the World

Much can happen in just a few weeks, so here are the highlights.

IMG_3076

Although Anna started feeling much better the weekend after Thanksgiving, the rest of us spent the next week sick. Mariah was sick off and on all week (and teething, which just adds to the joy), and Adam and I both got sick, although my illness was more pronounced. Plus, I’m better at letting everyone know I’m miserable than Adam is. So, we pretty much didn’t go anywhere or do anything until Friday night, when we went to the ward Christmas party. We were very proud because Anna, despite a bit of trepidation, visited with Santa, sat on his lap, and told him what she wanted for Christmas (a piano and a drum, btw). Last year, she wouldn’t get closer to Santa than across the entire cultural hall, so we were very pleased.

We’ve enjoyed a few Christmas-related FHE’s in the last few weeks. One week we watched Joy to the World (the church movie), which Anna loved so much that she now asks to watch it almost every day. And my favorite thing is that no matter how many times we watch it, she asks the same questions in the same places every time—“Why wasn’t there any room?” or “Why did Mary ride a donkey?” or “Why did the bad men want to hurt them [the Nephite believers]?” It definitely gets repetitive, but there are some answers that make my voice crack every time—“Because some people don’t believe in Jesus and they don’t want other people to believe in Him either.”

One FHE activity was a gingerbread house. It started out a little sad, and ended up a little crazy, but we had a good time making it, so that was the point.

IMG_3062

If you look closely, you can see the parade of gummy bears headed into the house, where Adam declared they would be eaten by the wicked witch (which did NOT impress my gentle Anna). Instead, if you look closely again, you can see that the bears enter the house to be turned into Gumdrop Tree ornaments. Except for the smart bears who remained outside the house to play a soccer game. Yes, I did let Adam control much of the decorating. But the colored licorice roof was all mine.

IMG_3064

We’ve also made a momentous switch this week: Princess Anna…

IMG_3048

was banished in favor of Tooth Fairy Anna. Although eventually, Tooth Fairy Anna decided Tooth Fairies should wear princess dresses. We also discovered a funny hiccup in our explanation of the Tooth Fairy’s duties. Anna somehow thought that when the Tooth Fairy comes to take your tooth after it falls out, she brings you a new one. You can see that in this video.

video

In a momentous evening last weekend, Adam and I attended our first adults-only party since Anna was born. No, seriously. We are eternally grateful to our friends for their invitation because we had a great time. They provided good food, good company, and some truly wacky White Elephant gifts. Plus, I was so flush with the spirit of freedom that I actually played Lips (Xbox karaoke, for the uninitiated). Those of you who know me will already be aware of the fact that this is only the second time in my entire life that I’ve sung karaoke. And I had so much fun, I might even do it again sometime. In about 10 years. And the frosting on the cake? Our girls had a great time being babysat at Kayleigh’s house, even Mariah, and barely even missed us. Does it get better than that? I got my Christmas wish.

Besides all this, we’ve done some Christmas shopping and tried to get ready for our trip. We’re leaving soon, we’ll be back in a while, and all I can say is, this trip had better be good for all the preparing/worrying it has required. I have researched and purchased tire chains, which are not at all in my line, I have purchased many of my gifts online so they can be shipped straight to Grandma’s house, and I have bought and delivered most of my important presents to people up here. Luckily all that’s left to do before we leave is laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, bathroom scrubbing, vacuuming, fridge cleaning (no nasty surprises when we get home), clothes packing, gift unearthing (I tend to hide gifts and not be able to find them again), snack planning, and a few other things I’m sure I’ll remember once it’s too late. It’s a good thing Thursdays come with a full 24 hours. Oi. And I, Her Majesty the Princess of Procrastination, have just discovered why I was overwhelmed with the need to blog tonight. :)

In a final thought, I’ll share tonight’s pre-bedtime activity. For days, because of her fascination with the Nativity story, Anna has been trying to get us to all act out the Nativity together. Adam’s been working so much and I’ve been so busy just holding things together that this is the first night we were all playing together and able to do it. Now, picture this in your minds. Mary (me) and Joseph (Adam) left Nazareth (our bedroom) to come to Bethlehem (the living room) with Mary riding on her donkey (the popper push-toy) being led by Joseph (a string tied to the popper’s handle). We entered Bethlehem, and the first innkeeper we came to (Anna), despite all urgings, insisted that we occupy her most comfortable stable (the cozy pop-up tent), complete with manger filled with hay (large laundry basket and fuzzy blanket). Mary and Joseph entered the stable (folded themselves into knots trying to fit in the tent with a gigantic laundry basket). Then Baby Jesus (baby doll—Mariah lost her rights to the role earlier today when she refused to lie quietly in the laundry basket) was born, and one angel (Anna) sang while another angel (Mariah) joined us in the tent and tried to climb in the manger. Then the angel announced to the shepherds (Adam) that the baby had been born (“Gory to God in the Highest” – no, I didn’t misspell that), so they came to visit with their sheep (Mariah saying “Baaaaa Baaaaa”). And finally, the wisemen (Adam), led by the angel, came bearing gold (a toy wheelbarrow), frankincense and myrrh (pretend) while the other angel sat in Mary’s lap in the tent (to read a book) and Baby Jesus slept peacefully.

And somehow through all the ballyhoo, that might have been the sweetest Christmas moment I have had all season. I found myself, as I sat crunched in the corner of that tiny tent, thinking very personally about how Mary must have felt lying on the pokey hay, smelling the barnyard aromas, wishing there were curtains to pull across the windows as this brand new baby, who by his mere existence was already fifty times heavier than any baby should be, lay curled in her arms. She must have felt inadequate and frustrated, knowing whom she held yet seeing the lowliness of the place where she’d introduced him. But maybe, despite all that, she felt nothing but the peace I know many mothers feel as their child lay in their arms for the first time. Or maybe the Spirit spoke peace to her heart, assuring her that her son would know of her love for him and that she would be helped to give him all he needed. I can’t really imagine what it was like, but just for a moment tonight I felt closer to knowing her. And to knowing Him. And tonight, I say a prayer of thanks for my beautiful little Anna who dearly loves this story and the one it’s about.

So, Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sick of Being Sick

Here, once again, is our only picture from this week.  Mariah and I were going on a walk during a particularly cold, sunny morning, so I had her all decked out for the weather.  She was less than thrilled, but she looked terribly cute. 

IMG_3044 

This has been a sick week at our house.  Since this week was Thanksgiving, instead of complaining, I’ll describe our week by counting the many blessings we’ve received. 

Blessing #1: Anna threw up in Michael’s, the craft store, and while it was an unpleasant surprise and totally gross, clothes are easy to clean up, she was inside the cart so it didn’t get on any merchandise, and after I cleaned up the goop on her, the worker lady sent me on my way and cleaned up the little puddle in the aisle underneath the cart.  All in all, it was very tidy, considering.  She threw up several more times that night, but since there was pretty much nothing left in her stomach, it wasn’t too messy. 

Blessing #2: Despite feeling yucky, Anna managed to remain fairly cheerful through the week.  She was feeling better, so we got to go to the home of a nice family from our ward for Thanksgiving dinner, and both girls were feeling great and had a wonderful time.  They both ate a dinner almost entirely made up of mashed potatoes and Jell-o, so who could complain about that? 

Blessing #3: On Friday morning, since everyone was feeling good, we went Black Friday shopping.  We got about five feet into our first store when Anna started feeling bad, but she held herself together while I picked out, tried on, and purchased four shirts, two pairs of pants, and a jacket for myself (Black Friday is the day we shop for ourselves, not for other people – duh!).  She was looking worse, so when I’d finished, we headed out, but Adam wanted to run in to Best Buy on the way home.  I stayed in the car with Anna, and before he’d been gone for five minutes, she’d thrown up again.  So where are the blessings? She didn’t throw up in the middle of shopping, I was sitting next to her in the car, so I caught the goop in a blanket and the only part of the actual car that got dirty was her seatbelt.  Plus, although Adam was planning to buy something and wait in the hideously long line, he ended up not finding what he wanted, so he came out rather quickly and we were able to head home. 

Blessing #4: She hasn’t thrown-up since then. 

Blessing #5: Mariah has thrown-up twice in the last hour, but at least I don’t have two girls really sick at the same time.  Plus, both times have been almost entirely in her bed, so we just whip the sheets off, get her some new blankets, and pop her back in the bed.  We may have a long night ahead of us, but we also sort of know what to expect with this little illness, so we’re not worrying about whether it’s something more serious and we’re more prepared for what kind of night it might be. 

Blessing #6: Neither of us has gotten sick yet.  Hopefully we won’t at all, especially considering how much work Adam has to do (he can’t afford to take time off for himself or to cover for me).  But so far my prayer that we won’t have more than one person sick at a time has been answered, so I’m going to have faith that it will continue to be answered. 

Blessing #7: A washing machine.  And a dryer. 

Happy December!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Bumps and Bruises

Here you can see the only picture I’ve taken in the last two weeks.

IMG_3040

So, yes, Mariah has another big boo-boo, and there’s another one on her cheek, although in the picture it just looks like a shadow.  Both were received within 24 hours, and both were received on a wall/door jamb.  See, this little girl likes to run, and when she’s very excited, she runs VERY FAST.  Unfortunately she reminds me of one of the kids from the movie The Mighty Ducks 2 (doesn’t that reference date me? :)).  He was the fastest skater that anyone on the team had ever seen, but he didn’t know how to stop.  They finally had him setting up a wall of empty pop cans as a barrier to stop in front of, and every time he knocked them over, he had to set them all back up and try again.  Well, Miss Mariah has a similar problem—she can’t stop.  So she goes running to get something, trips over a toy, rug, sock, or speck of dust, and crashes headlong into the nearest large object.  I think the cashier at Babies ‘R Us last night was concerned we were abusive, but most parents who’ve experienced the joy of a one-year-old can understand readily. 

Today is the first weekend in the last month that we haven’t had company for dinner, and while it’s nice to rest for a bit, it’s kind of silly that we pick the one Sunday that we get out of church at noon instead of 2:00 PM to be by ourselves.  We’ve gotten to catch up with a lot of friends, and Anna has had a wonderful time playing with other kids.  She hasn’t even minded sharing her toys, which I think is a great sign that she’s getting ready for some kind of preschool in the fall.  She’s dealing better with other kids at home and at nursery.  Last night we went to the play area at the mall, which was absolutely teeming with children, and she was perfectly happy.  She didn’t let anyone scare her, and if another kid got in her way, she waited her turn and got on with life instead of giving up and running to mommy.  She also jumped off the tallest toy all by herself, and we were almost as thrilled as she was. 

The only other recent event worth mentioning was Monday’s doctor’s appointment.  We discovered that our little Anna, who has always been so tiny, is now in the 75th and 85th percentile for weight and height, respectively.  We never thought she’d catch up, but apparently she has.  I’d stopped even noticed how big she was compared to the other kids, but I realize now that she is one of the biggest.  That was the good part of the visit.  The bad part was Flu Shot #2.  Mariah handled it normally – a scream of blood-curdling fury, a few minutes of sorrow, then a return to cheerfulness.  Anna, however, was traumatized.  The nurse didn’t do a very good job of distracting her, so she happened to look at her arm right as the needle went in.  She cried, and was solaced by a Tootsie Pop, but Mariah got her shot second and Anna kept trying to look.  When Mariah screamed, Anna started sobbing uncontrollably and is still fairly traumatized.  She wouldn’t even let me take the bandage off her arm for days.  We were going to get her a pretend doctor’s kit for Christmas, but now I’m not so sure.  I don’t want to remind her about shots.  In the old days you could tell a kid they wouldn’t have shots for years, but there will be another flu shot next year, so I can’t make any promises.  It’s so sad, and yet, pretty typical I suppose.  Poor kid. 

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Black Friday!  Stuff yourselves with turkey and spend some money – help the economy!!!  :) 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Happy Birthday!

And now, only a month after Mariah’s birthday, we have some pics from Anna’s birthday.  She had a wonderful day, and she is very proud now to hold up her three fingers and tell people she is “Free.”  She got quite a few presents (despite our attempts to keep things more under control and not spoil her… yeah, right), so she was all set.  Her favorite present is her box full of dress-up costumes (yipee for a post-Halloween birthday – yipee for Clearance sales!), and she has spent a significant amount of time in the last few days as Glenda the Good Witch…

IMG_3031

or a Cowgirl.  She loved her chocolate cake with strawberry frosting and strawberries on top.   And she’s already been enjoying her new sets of paints from Grandma. 

 IMG_2996 IMG_3032

I am very proud to now be the mother of a 3-year-old and 1-year-old, and I think we’re all excited to see what year #4 of parenthood is going to bring.

Year #2 of Mariah has already brought it’s first significant accident.  I refuse to reveal details (because it was just too close to being MUCH more horrible than it really was), but it happened yesterday morning and here is the result. 

IMG_3037

As you can see, it hasn’t left too big of an emotional scar, but I feel scarred.  I’ve always known that Mariah’s determination could combine with her lightening-strike temper to make trouble, but it’s so much more real now.  Oi.  We’re in for a ride.  Here’s a classic look at her earlier in the day, too.  The people in the restaurant last night were quite interested in the band-aids, especially older kids, so that’s why I took them off. 

IMG_3035

Other than this event, we’ve had a great few weeks.  Hope you all have, too. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Hallow’s Eve… and Other Stories

Two weeks  with no posting have given us lots to discuss, so prepare yourselves. 

Here are some pictures of us in all our Halloween related activities.  First, a couple of weeks ago, we made Halloween cookies.  I bet you can guess which ones Anna decorated. 

IMG_2966

For FHE last Monday, we carved a pumpkin.  Anna had a glorious time with all the goo inside, and she loved that we got to put a candle inside. 

IMG_2971

Funnily enough, we only remembered to light the candle once.  :) 

IMG_2987

Here are the awesome Halloween costumes.  Anna is holding her “magic wand” and her “flowers.”  She was also boing-ing around the house yelling, “Princess princess boing boing boing!”  Yes, she liked being a princess.  And luckily, she’s young enough not to mind that almost every single other little girl out Trick-or-Treating was a princess.  She just thought everyone else looked so pretty, too. 

IMG_2989

We got to Trick-or-Treat at Adam’s work, and after going around one half-floor of one building, we had more than enough candy.  We came for dinner, then went to the Halloween party at the church.  It was fun to see everyone in all their costumes, even if the evening ended a little too late for at least one princess and one ghost.  And although we gave out our candy in handfuls, we still have plenty for Mommy, Daddy, and Mariah to all eat at least as much as Anna.  *sigh*  Anyway, we all had fun, and Anna is just sure she wants to be a princess again next year.

The few days after our last posting were filled by having our water leak repaired.  It ended up being right under the driveway, so I was absolutely dreading getting it dealt with, but luckily it was done very efficiently, and our landlords were great about everything.  All in all, it was done with relatively small inconvenience to us, excepting the 36 hours we spent without much running water.  It was easier than I had expected because, luckily, I had done laundry the day before.  The most frustrating part was having to go out to the street and turn the water on at the meter every time we needed it.  That’s why we just filled a jug and some pots and only turned the water on to shower, to wash the dishes in the sink, and to get ready for bed.  We just didn’t use the bathroom.  :)  It was rather exciting, though, after the pipe was hooked up, to turn my kitchen faucet on.  I was almost cheerful about doing the dishes that day. 

We had a great family experience two Mondays ago.  Sunday morning, we had let Mariah carry around Adam’s work badge (because she loves it so much).  Sunday evening, as Adam got his stuff ready for the next morning, he couldn’t find the badge.  We still couldn’t find it the next morning, so he paid for the bus and got a temporary work pass, but since we didn’t find it during the day (after cleaning almost the entire house), he was getting really frustrated.  Finally, I decided that it was a good time for us to have a Faith experience, so I taught our FHE lesson about how Heavenly Father gives us answers to prayer, and I told a story about EFY a few years ago when He helped a friend of mine find her room key.  It was a scary lesson for me to teach because although it’s easy to believe in the theory of answered prayers, it’s unnerving to put my faith on the line and test it for my vulnerable children.  Anyway, at the end of the lesson, I suggested that we all say a prayer together and then look for the badge again.  Anna was very excited, and for a few minutes after the prayer we all searched diligently.  And we found…. nothing.  Still absolutely no sign of it.  We decided to have our treat and get ready for bed, and while the girls were eating at the table, Adam kept looking.  After a couple of minutes, he thought to look under the oven and saw nothing.  But for whatever reason, he grabbed a flashlight and shined it underneath.  Sure enough, there was that badge, against the back wall under the oven.  Now everyone, as you sit in your chairs and read this, must realize that under-the-oven is not a place we often think to look for lost things.  We were all thrilled to have found it, and I was hugely relieved.  It’s not that I didn’t believe He could help us.  I just worry that for His own reasons, He won’t help how we think He should.  But I should have trusted more, and hopefully next time I will. 

Have a great week, everyone, and welcome to November! 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mo!

This week has been… eventful. Ahem. Adam is still depressed about the BYU game, so for my sake, don’t ask him about it. But that sorrow has been tempered slightly by our successful second canning experience of the season: applesauce! Adam worked hard to talk me into this one, but he finally managed, and at 11:30 PM on Tuesday night, we had almost 40 bottles of applesauce. In some ways it was easier than the peaches (the actual process was faster), but we were cleaning up until nearly 1:00 AM, so it’s a good thing we didn’t spread this one over two nights. Ah, the joys of mopping a kitchen floor at 12:30 at night. *sigh* And no, we didn’t take a picture this time. Just go back to the entry about peaches weeks ago and imagine the bottles are whitish yellow instead of orange. :)

Mariah’s birthday was also this week, and here’s a video and a few pictures of the event.

video

IMG_2950

Mariah loved her cupcake, and especially loved the gummy bears.

IMG_2957

She received a lot of books, some shirts, a spinning top (from Anna), her very own backpack (from Grandma Sherri), and…

IMG_2960

her favorite present of all, the vacuum cleaner. She runs around the house with it, banging into walls with joyful abandon. Anna likes it, too, and is really struggling with the idea that something in our house is NOT HERS. We all get opportunities to grow up.

Anna went to her first play this week. Molbak’s nursery in Woodinville puts on an annual harvest play, and this year it was Hansel and Gretel. We went to the first showing, and it was packed, but Anna still had fun. She loves when I tell her stories, but seeing people act one out is ten times better. I thought the actors did a really good job, especially considering a distinct lack of props, and they even managed to entertain parents with some adult cleverness (for instance, Stepmother put a magic spell on Daddy Woodsman that went something like “Omino ducani urbanus condominate,” which convinced Dad that he wanted to move to the city, get a job with CarrierPigeon.com, buy a Vespa, and purchase a one bedroom condo downtown for an outrageous price). We met Kayleigh’s family there, but we also got to see a lot of old friends from previous wards, and it was great to catch up for a bit. My favorite moment was when Rachel, a friend from Redmond two years ago, said, “Wow, you guys have two kids now. You’re, like, all grown up!” And while it’s true that we’re entering into the more “average American family” phase, sometimes I still feel like we are very young (I stick my tongue out anyone who just said, “Of course you’re still young!”—I don’t want to hear it).

But life certainly does conspire to bring experience. Yesterday afternoon Adam opened our water bill and almost set the tree above him on fire with the smoke coming out his ears. We spent the evening discussing ways to reduce water consumption, but after more investigations in the after the girls went to bed (since, as you may know, sometimes bills are hard to really understand), we realized that we couldn’t possibly have used as much water as the meter said, and we all know what that means – a leak. We followed the water company’s instructions and discovered that there’s a water pipe leak somewhere between the meter at the curb and the house, which our landlord confirmed this morning. After a day of investigations, Adam thinks it’s under the driveway, which is going to be SUPER FUN to have fixed, but I keep being grateful that at least we don’t have to pay the plumbing bill this time. Water leaks seem to be our destiny (see blog entries from last fall). So, we’ll see how that goes.

Sometimes life throws curveballs, as was illustrated by some dizziness and nausea from me this evening (shut up—I’m not pregnant) that led to us cancelling a dinner with Jason, Jen, & Co., but I was thinking tonight about how grateful I am for how generally good our lives are. Adam made dinner, for which I am ever grateful. I was munching on one of his rolls (he gets better every week), watching Anna sucking the “broccoli juice” (the water the broccoli cooked in) out of each piece with relish, and laughing at Mariah’s enraptured, passionate expression at the sight of a bag of fruit snacks coming toward her, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with how beautiful life can be in its simplicity. My cynical side immediately revolts against my contentment, assuring me that something will soon go disastrously wrong, but I’m trying to ignore it and just enjoy a sense that life is wondrous. I hope we can all find something to be joyful about today. Like a new pink headband.

IMG_2963

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finger-painting

The last two weeks have been mostly very… normal. Not to say boring, but there was nothing momentous, so here’s a few pictures of various activities that have filled our time.

Anna’s dress is finally almost done (minus a few sequins), so we started working on a crown. We’ve been to every store in a 20-mile radius, and nothing I’ve found there has been good enough for either of us. Everything Anna likes is either topped by The Little Mermaid or doesn’t fit, and everything I like is given a thumbs down before it can come off the display. So we finally compromised on a pipe cleaner crown, and this is a photo of one of our practice crowns. I haven’t made the real one yet, mostly because I know it will be destroyed within the first 24 hours of its life, but Anna sure loved this one.

IMG_2923

Another of our activities was saved for Mariah’s naptime for obvious reasons. I’ve painted Anna’s toenails before, but that day we had a little pedicure session and did both of us. Anna wouldn’t wear socks for a week afterward because she loved her red toes.

IMG_2928

And here’s a movie of my most adventurous activity in a long time: finger painting. It was a gloomy, rainy day, we’d been inside all afternoon, and Mariah had decided not to take an afternoon nap, so I was desperate to fill the time. It took up about an hour, which sounds impressive to you mommies out there, but it’s less impressive when I explain that it took 15 minutes to set up, ten minutes to paint, and 35 minutes to take a bath afterward. :) But those ten minutes of fun were golden. Here are also a few other shots of them that were just too cute not to post.

video

IMG_2938 IMG_2939

A few more cute stories from the week:

Last night was mine and Adam’s first real date night in months. We haven’t had Mariah babysat very often because she has never been very friendly about it, but we finally got up our nerve and had Josh, Melissa, and Kayleigh watch the girls while we went to dinner. It all went very well, and Mariah even had a good time, for which I give all the credit to J,M, and K for making her comfortable and keeping her busy. Anna, as usual, had a wonderful time. Adam and I also enjoyed our freedom, although our less-than-stellar meal took the wind out of the evening. We ate at Buca di Beppo, which I’ve heard good things about, but we were disappointed. It’s got a fun atmosphere, and the menu was comfortable, so that was nice. Unfortunately, we were consigned to the smallest room (eight tables) in which six tables were holding a wedding party. The people were loud and high-priority, which meant they took up more than their fair share of space and attention. When we finally got our food, it was okay, but I think it contained a month’s supply of garlic. Even the broccoli was drenched in a garlic sauce with garlic chunks the size of peas. I like garlic, but really. Yes, I know – it’s all a matter of taste. Anyway, then we ran over to Toys ‘R US for Mariah’s birthday present. And so that you all know, toy shopping is a really good marriage workshop--lots of opportunities for learning to discuss different points of view, compromise WITHOUT guilt, practice forgiveness, etc. *wink*

Another recent development is that Adam is learning how to make bread. And yes, that partly means yummy dinner breads (Conference Sunday yielded a very tasty ciabatta), but it mostly means a practical, dependable, and pleasant sandwich bread, which is sometimes even harder to create. He’s already good enough that we’ve stopped buying bread at the store, but different experimental batches produce varying degrees of dryness/moistness, stickiness/crumbliness, and sweetness/blandness. I’m very proud of his efforts and his success, but I’m proud even more for another reason. I am not ashamed to say that despite wanting to be a “good Mormon wife,” I choose not to care about making bread. I don’t care, and I’m not currently feeling any pressure to make myself. But homemade bread is important to Adam, and instead of being annoyed at me for not making it, he’s stepping up and making it himself. So now he’s learning a new skill that he’s finding very rewarding, and his family is enjoying the fruits of his labor. It works out for everybody.

That’s about all I’ve got. Mariah’s birthday is this week, so we are gearing up for celebrating. It’ll probably just be the four of us, since like most one-year-olds, she’d probably rather spend her birthday eating cake and playing with her new toys than having too many people in her house after Mommy has spent all day cleaning. But we did buy some snazzy birthday hats to wear, which I’m sure you’ll all see pictures of next week.

Here’s one more cute picture of the girls from last week. Anna is holding Maggie (her beloved kitty) and Tess (Mariah’s beloved bunny/dog/creature). Yes, Mariah has an animal named Tess. She also has an elephant named Joe. Anyone who realizes why that’s cute and clever gets a gold star. :) Adios!

IMG_2932

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let’s Be Grateful for Washable Slippers

Here are the only two cute pictures I took this week.  This is the first time in months that Anna has asked me to do her hair, so I captured the moment.  Plus, this hairdo lasted longer than any of her others have – at least four hours – before she got annoyed with it and pulled it out.  I can always hope that Mariah will like having pretty hair, but since she won’t even keep a hat on for more than five seconds, I may just be kidding myself. 

IMG_2913

We’ve all been a little under-the-weather this week, although I have been the worst.  My cold got out of control, and the couple of you I talked to this week can testify that my voice was pretty much gone from Sunday through Wednesday.  I finally started feeling better on Thursday, but Anna woke up that day with a runny nose, so I knew it was only the beginning.  She’s all stuffed up now and a little emotionally unstable (even more than normal two-year-old stuff).  We decided not to send her to nursery today just so she didn’t get any worse or get anyone else sick.  Then last night, Mariah started getting crabby and walking with a wobble, so we figured she might be getting sick, too. 

IMG_2915

This morning, her nose turned into a faucet, her eyes got all watery, she can barely walk without toppling over, and she let me hold her in my lap and rock her for fifteen minutes.  She hasn’t wanted me to hold her like that since she was about three months old.  We decided to keep her home from church because she was so miserable, and it turned out to be a good thing.  I got her ready for her morning nap, gave her a bottle, and held for a few minutes, and just as I went to lay her down, I heard the pre-throw-up burp-of-doom.  Sure enough, up came everything she’s eaten this morning.  Let’s all be thankful for my washable slippers.  She has a fever now on top of everything else, and of course, my Mommy Worry Mode has kicked in, but we’ll just hope it’ll all blow over by tomorrow.  Cross your fingers for us. 

IMG_2919

The other main part of my week has been working on Anna’s Halloween costume.  This is a picture of my progress, and I’d say the results are impressive considering my lack of recent experience.  I haven’t really used a sewing machine since I was fifteen or sixteen, and although we bought my current machine in February, I had to put it away almost immediately because we were staging our house for selling (no one would be impressed with a sewing table in the master bedroom instead of a nightstand).  Then we had all the unpacking and some nighttime adjustments, so I’m finally in a place now where I have some time and interest again.  And by the way, for all you ladies at my mom’s work who reportedly laughed at me for making my first project a satin and chiffon princess dress, I thumb my nose at you.  With all the love in the world, of course.  :)  I wouldn’t say it has been easy, and I wouldn’t want anyone to examine it too minutely, but I figure I may as well start with the hardest first.  After this, ANYTHING will be easier.   And besides, it’s only a Halloween costume.  *wink*

Adam’s main news from the week is that he’ll be biking to and from work even more often now.  This week was the first of a change in the bus route, which he has known about for weeks, but the ridiculousness of it didn’t become fully apparent until the first day of the actual change.  One of the main reasons we moved to this area was that there was a bus running straight to work in only 30 or 35 minutes.  Now, because of the change, the trip takes almost an hour.  That’s worse than where we lived before.  So, since he can still bike in less than 45 minutes, that will probably become his best way home.  Usually he doesn’t mind, but very few people love to bike in a downpour.  All I can say is that he’s a good man. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Singing Time

IMG_2903

Here’s a picture of one of this week’s fun activities: Play-Doh with Kayleigh. These are two adorably silly girls. You can also see on the table my version of our two families. Yes, I love to play Play-Doh, too. Kayleigh came to play with us twice this week, and Anna loved it.

In other news, Mariah is walking in a serious way. It’s amazing how quickly it happens—we’ve watched her go from a few tentative steps (not that she does “tentative”—my nickname for her is The Bulldozer) to walking all the way across the room carrying Daddy’s scripture case. Or a couch pillow. Or a box full of play-dishes. She loves to carry things. Here’s a video of her in action.

And in case anyone wonders, yes, I was talking with my mouth full, and yes, we did have to Spot Shot the carpet. Nothing stains quite like licorice rope.

Here’s another movie that I’m uploading just because I thought it was funny. It’s nice to have some lazy moments every now and then.

Mariah moment: On Tuesday night at bedtime, Mariah was very wound up. I had fed her and read to her, so I turned off her lights and held her for a few minutes. She seemed like she needed to burp, so I was patting her on the back while she rested her head on my shoulder. Then, out of nowhere, she reached her hand around to my back and started patting my shoulder. I thought she was just trying to keep herself awake, so I laughed and stopped burping her. She stopped patting me. Then I started patting her again. She patted me again. When I stopped she stopped, when I started she started, and by the last few times, she was patting me in the same rhythm I patted her. I got the giggles because it was just so cute, which completely wound her up again, but it’s still one of my favorite moments of the week. If you pat my back, I’ll pat yours. :)

Anna moment: On Wednesday, I went to playgroup, and one of the mom’s was telling me that she conducts singing time for the nursery kids. She said that she loves to sing with Anna because she’s so enthusiastic. Well, during nursery today, I watched Anna during singing time. I know she loves to sing at home, but now she sings in public, too, and BOY does she sing. She was the loudest and the most excited and the happiest of all the kids. She knew every word to every song, as well as all the actions, and she was even annoyed at the other kids for not singing (isn’t she just her mother’s daughter??). And that brings me to my…

Adam moment: which is actually a memory from when we first started our pre-dating hanging out. This may surprise some of you, so be prepared to learn something new about Adam. The first time I really knew I could date Adam was the night we played pool at his house, just the two of us, while we waited for another friend to come over for a movie night. I’m no longer sure how it started, but we ended up spending an hour or more in a conversation made up almost entirely of snippets of songs that led to other songs and other songs. We sang everything from Disney (“Let’s get down to business… to defeat… the Huns!”) to Third Eye Blind (“And there’s a demon in my brain that starts to overwhelm…”) and loved every minute of it. And even now, at least half of the conversations held in our home dissolve into lyrics of one sort or another. We also enjoy making up our own lyrics to beloved songs – one of Anna’s favorite’s is the Mommy version of the Ben Folds song “The Luckiest.” The real lyrics say, “That I am… I am… I am… the luckiest.” Our version goes “’Cuz Anna is… Anna is… Anna is…” and is completed with an appropriate phrase such as “the naked-est” (for bathtime), “the messiest” (for mealtime), or *blush* “the poopiest” (for diaper changing time). Don’t let that ruin the song for anyone – it’s one of our favorites, and we even put it on our wedding video. Anyway, I like to think that Anna’s musical interest is somewhat owing to us, although that may just be part of her personality.

Sarah moment: This morning I got called to the nursery at church. I’ve known it was coming for a while, I think, although I tried to pretend I might get called to something else. There’s a hundred reasons while this is a good calling for me to have right now, and I had fun with the kids today, but I have already made my first sacrifice for my calling. I sacrificed my fingers today by spending 45 MINUTES winding up a travel-size version of the magnetic fish catching game where the fish rotate around and open and close their mouths. It was the tiniest winding mechanism I’ve ever seen, and I gave myself blisters on two fingers from turning it so often. It was worth it because I got to know a lot of the kids, but my fingers are killing me, and next time SOMEONE ELSE can play the fishy game. They said they try to keep nursery workers in for about six months, but I’m going to do my best not to keep a mental count-down calendar. I’m just gonna have fun.

To end today, I’m posting another comparison: Mariah at 11 months and Anna at 11 months. I think the difference is pretty obvious, but maybe I’m wrong. And yes, they ARE wearing the same shirt. So sue me.

IMG_1829 IMG_2894

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thomas the Tank Engine rolling along... duh duh duh duh... duh duh duh duh...

IMG_2900

These are some late-blooming roses on the side of our house this afternoon. They were just so gorgeous, I had to take a picture. Who'd have thought pink would look so nice against a bright blue house? Maybe I'll suggest to the owners that they should repaint the dark blue trim on the house pink. Mmmhmm. And no, we don't live in a forest (for anyone who is confused) -- those towering pines you see in the background are in our backyard. About 10 feet from the house. No, really. Living in Utah, I loved pine trees because they reminded me of mountains. But here, they are EVERYWHERE, and I'm SICK TO DEATH of them. I'd give anything to see an aspen. Or a maple. Or a...

Here's a mishmash of interesting things from the last few weeks.

IMG_2877

This is our homemade version of Thomas the Tank Engine from earlier this week. Anna loved him so much that she really wanted us to go buy blue paint and paint him. Luckily, I talked her into just pretending to paint. On Tuesday night, she wanted all four of us to eat dinner inside him, but I put the lid on that idea pretty quickly.

IMG_2889

I was feeling adventurous this week, so here's a picture of Mariah's first blueberry experience: blueberry pancakes. Needless to say, she's a big fan. Oh, and next time she's eating them naked. *sigh* She also had her first experiences this week with chocolate, strawberries, and ice cream, and she's handled them all quite happily. I figure that she's eleven months old, which rounds up to a year, so she's ready. I'm spending the next week or so switching her over to cow's milk, and two days ago, I officially finished nursing. *hum the Hallelujah Chorus to yourself*

The girls and I went to the zoo this week with Anna's friend Kayleigh and her mommy, and since my hands were so full, I didn't take any pictures, but here's a movie from our zoo trip a few weeks ago, just so this story doesn't feel left out.

video

The girls had a lovely time -- Anna loves doing anything with Kayleigh. The best picture, had I taken it, would have been one of Anna and Kayleigh walking down the path ahead of the strollers and running from exhibit to exhibit holding hands and giggling. They were so cute and silly--they could have been two 12-year-olds whispering about boys.

IMG_2896

This is our darling little garden. We planted the herbs on the left-hand side in the mid-summer, but a few weeks ago, it got cool enough to plant the autumn things. In this tiny, 5x3 ft. section of the flower beds, we've planted cilantro, oregano, parsley, swiss chard, mesclun (spring mix lettuces), broccoli, leeks, romaine lettuce, and butterleaf lettuce. As you can tell, we don't have very much of anything, but since this is sort of a gardening practice run, we figured we'd try a variety of things and see how they do. Most things are doing really well, and we're very proud.

This week's Anna moment: brownies. She asked me on Thursday afternoon whether she could help me make something, and when I asked her what she wanted to make, she said, "Brownies!" We made a pan of fudge brownies with chocolate chips on top, and she helped me stir the chocolate in the pan, add all the ingredients, and even crack the eggs. We had the brownies after dinner, and she took about two bites before she lost interest (she's not a big dessert lover), but now every time I'm in the kitchen, she asks whether she can help me. It is both a delight and a burden. :)

This week's Mariah moment: the backpack. Anna has an Elmo backpack that she uses to haul things around the house, and Mariah has fallen desperately in love with it. She pushes it to me, sort of half-crawling, half-walking, and wants me to put the straps on her. Then she walks around the house hanging onto my hands (since having it on her back completely overbalances her) and beaming like she's winning an Olympic medal. When she gets tired of walking, she tries to sit down, but since the bag is almost as big as she is, she can't straighten up. She gets so angry, and she rips the straps off her shoulders, but twenty seconds later, she wants them back on again. We go through this cycle several times a day, with her growing more and more frustrated each time, so yesterday morning, I put the thing up on a shelf where she can't reach it and can't see it. I feel bad because it makes her so happy, but I'm not willing to deal with the post-thrill frustration.

This week's Adam moment: BYU football. Every year I dread fall. It happens for many reasons, but one is because I have to share my husband with the BYU football team. I knew going to the game last week would set him off, but you people really have no idea what it's like. Soon I'm going to take his phone away because I'm tired of walking into a room where I think he's playing with the girls or reading or sleeping to instead find him reading ESPN articles where they once again unfairly favor the PAC-10 over the MWC. Okay, so it's not QUITE as bad as I claim, but really. Does anyone else know my pain?

This week's Sarah moment: wakeboarding. Or the lack thereof. Friday evening, we went boating with Jason and Jen again, which was great, but they convinced me to try wakeboarding. Needless to say, I was a dismal failure, but the worst part was that I didn't even get to enjoy any pizza because my stomach was so full of lake water that I wasn't hungry. Yeah -- my second attempt was especially disastrous. So, it may take me some time to regain the courage to try again, and until then, I'll just enjoy the wind blowing my hair back and the spray coming up as the boat speeds over the waves.

Sorry if this post is a little long -- I never know how much I have to say until I get going. But then, most of you who are reading this know that about me already. :) Have a great week!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Out on the Lake

We had a couple of fun things happen this week.  On Tuesday night, our friends Jason, Jen, Dallin, and Thatcher invited us to go boating on Lake Sammamish.  It was the first time on a small boat for both our girls, and they loved it.  I wish I'd gotten a picture of Mariah's face with her peach-fuzz blowing in the wind and her mouth hanging wide open with delight.  Anna was more sedate, but she loved watching Daddy out on the wakeboard.  I actually think her favorite part was riding in the prow with Daddy and Dallin on the way back to shore.  She had more confidence in the boat by then, and she loved being in front while it was going so fast. 

IMG_2868

Mariah loved crawling around the boat (even while it was moving, which was a little scary). 

IMG_2876

Here are Anna and Mommy.  Isn't one of us so cute?  I'm sure you can tell which one I mean.

IMG_2872

This one's a little fuzzy, but it's our best proof that Adam was a totally awesome wakeboarder.  He had a great time, as he does with most outdoor sports.  I didn't get in the water because it was freezing, but had I gotten out there, I would have been excellent also.  *wink wink*

Also this week, Adam got to go to the BYU football game in Seattle.  It was a close game, and a little painful, but you can tell what a good time he had when you listen to him speak--his voice is still scratchy today.  Too much screaming.  :)  It's been over five years since he's been to a BYU football game, so we were very excited to have them come to and WIN in Seattle.

Big events this week for Anna and Mariah were slim.  We went to the park on Thursday because it was so gorgeous (the weather here lately has been anything BUT gorgeous), and we discovered a farmer's market near our house.  The girls were happy about that because they sell those dried fruit logs rolled in coconut, and both girls adore them.  We've been on walks.  We've gone to the grocery store,  to the library twice, and to an Elders Quorum activity (at the park).  We've made 150 pretend pizzas, dozens of pretend hot dogs, had several pretend picnics in various rooms of the house, and watched our current favorite Barney movie once every day.  It's been a mostly quiet and mostly serene week. 

My favorite moment of the week, however, was this.  On Tuesday afternoon, as I was pulling together all our gear to go boating, I got distracted and realized that I hadn't seen Anna for a few minutes.  When I stopped to listen for her, I heard clinking in the kitchen and water running, which is definitely a danger sign.  I hurried in, and I couldn't help but grin when I saw that she had filled the sink (with cold water), poured in way too much dish soap, and then put all the dirty lunch dishes in the sink.  She was scrubbing away at them and singing.   When she saw me, she got a big grin and said, "Mommy!  I'm doing the dishes for you!"  It was so cute, and she was so proud.  I let her finish then quietly put them all into the dishwasher while she went to get her shoes--her scrubbing was slightly unskilled.  Anyway, it was the sweetest thing.  I was very proud of her independence. 

In celebration of Sunday, here's one more cute picture from last Sunday afternoon.  I hope everyone else's Sunday was so peaceful.  :)

 IMG_2865

Sunday, August 31, 2008

You Canned Peaches? Seriously?

Two weekends ago, we canned peaches. Yes, indeed. People nowadays DO still know how to can. Adam was pretty excited about it, and I was resigned, but two evenings later, we had over 50 bottles of peaches. That means we have one per week for a year. We're very proud of ourselves, and even though it was hard work, they taste great, and it's totally worth doing again.

IMG_2791

Last weekend, we went to the zoo. We figured it might be the last warm weekend of the summer (whoopee for living in Washington--sigh), and we had a wonderful time. Mariah is just old enough to start noticing the animals, and Anna loves watching them. You can just see the bald eagle on the upper right-hand side of this picture. It's a cool exhibit because you're actually in his enclosure and he can fly over your heads if he wants to. But, thankfully, he didn't.

IMG_2858

IMG_2848

Mariah thought the flamingos were pretty cool. The big moment of the trip, though, was that it's the first time Mariah has EVER fallen asleep in the stroller. I never thought I'd see the day.

IMG_2859

Our Family Home Evening last Monday night was pretty awesome, so here's a movie of our activity.

video

In other news, Mariah started walking this week. It was just one or two steps a few nights ago, and now she's up to three or four at a time before she crashes face-first to the ground. And no, we don't have a movie of it yet. She does it at very unpredictable times. Like during the prayer at the end of Sacrament meeting today. You'd have all been so proud as we're both watching her delightedly with one eye half-open during the prayer, not even paying attention. Since of course, none of you have EVER had your eyes open during a prayer.

Adam and I gave talks in Sacrament Meeting today. We spoke on being "Born Again," based on Elder Christofferson's talk from last Conference. And things went pretty well. We were both nervous, Adam a little more so than I was, but the Spirit was there, and I think people were paying attention. We got a lot of compliments, and both the Sunday School teacher and the Bishop (during the combined RS/Priesthood meeting) commented about what we'd said, so that should be a sign of success, right? Right. And now, it's over, and we shouldn't have to speak until our next new ward. Following current pattern, that should be about two years from now. And that works for me. :)

And on one final note, let me just tell everyone how SUPER FUN it is to play Pretend for 24 hours a day, for 5 days in a row. In the last few days, I've spent way more time being Anna, Daddy, Barney the Dinosaur, a sheep, a teacher, a chef, and several other things than I have spent being Mommy. I never knew how grateful I should be to just be myself. I'll try to show gratitude for that more often.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cute Moments Collection

Here's some of our memorable moments of the last few days. I've interspersed some cute pictures from the last few weeks, many of which were taken by my very talented friend, Stacey.

We got home from Utah on Saturday night around 7:00, so the girls had about an hour to calm down from the trip and get used to being here before it was time to go to bed. We were trying to unpack the cooler and food bags when Anna ran into the kitchen with Maggie (her kitty doll) in the doll stroller. She said, "I'm goin' on a trip!" Daddy asked, "Where are you going?" "To visit grandmas and grandpas!" Then she ran back out with the stroller. You'd have thought 14 hours in the car would have killed the spark, but not for this girl -- she loves those grandparents! She told us that next we should drive to visit Grandma Tammy (the only grandparent we didn't get to see), and she was unperturbed when we told her we would have to drive a very, very, very, very long way (she lives in Maine).



Yesterday, before bed, Anna decided to read her own bedtime book instead of waiting for Daddy. She pulled out the book, opened the first page, looked, then shut the book and said, "I need my glasses!" She jumped up, grabbed her sunglasses off the dresser, then came back, opened the book, put them on, and muttered, "I just can't read without my glasses." So there you go, Grandma Sherri -- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

We've embarked on the potty training adventure this week, and although I wouldn't say things are going along swimmingly, I thought it was a good sign this afternoon when Anna was putting her dollhouse dolls on their potty and making them "make pee." Even the Mariah doll got to use the potty. If only that were the case in real life. One of the biggest challenges of the last couple of days has been figuring out how to get Anna on the potty while keeping Mariah away from it. We've had more things end up in the potty in the last two months of Mariah's life than we did in Anna's whole life. Love it. Heh.



The weekend before our Utah trip, we went blueberry-picking at a blueberry farm in Bellevue. The price combines with the freshness, the organic-ness, and the experience to make it well worth our time. Mariah didn't have the best time, but the rest of us enjoyed it immensely.


We also attended the Pioneer Day Picnic with our new ward. We made some friends, ate some great Dutch Oven chicken, and had an all-around good time. We even dragged Uncle Jakob along with us, and he was a very good sport. Anna, Adam, and Jakob did the tug-of-war, and Anna and Adam DOMINATED at the three-legged race. Okay, so they actually came in almost last, but it was still adorable. You'd think that carrying your partner would make you faster, wouldn't you?...



Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Whole New World

Well, for those of you who've been waiting with baited breath to find out where we've moved, here's the big moment.  Duh duh duh DUH...  Bothell.  Wait, you say, that's where you lived before, isn't it?  Yes, indeed.  But instead of being Bothell-Almost-Mill-Creek, now we're in Bothell-Almost-Kirkland, which is a 30-minute difference to Adam's commute, and that, after all, was the point.  He can now bike home in 35 minutes.  It's a beautiful thing.  Here's a picture of our new house. 

IMG_2741

Yep, it's pretty darn ugly.  We call it The Blue House.  It's blue on the outside, and the first time we came to see it, it was also blue on the inside: wall-to-wall blue carpet.  Luckily, no one was willing to rent it like that, so they installed some neutral grayish-beige stuff that's much more livable.  It's not too pretty, but it's got a big kitchen with new appliances, a big living room, a big dining room (the playroom), a big bonus room downstairs (the home for Anna's train set), a big office/hobby room, and 3 other good-sized bedrooms.  The backyard is overrun with towering pine trees, but our landlord gave us permission to rearrange the landscaping and do some pruning, so we have a little garden with some herbs, and we'll soon start some autumn vegetables.    Our new ward seems nice, and there's a good amount of kids Anna's age, which surprised me in an area this old (the local community is called Juanita).  There are some fun parks around, we're back in the King County Library System (we LOVE the library), and we can walk to the grocery store, so all considering, it's a good place.  We haven't decided whether we'll be here for a year or for two, but it's a comfy place to be for however long we're here.

Now let me take a moment here to pay homage to my parents.  We are ever grateful to them.  They came up the week before we moved and stayed until two days after we moved in.  They helped us pack, helped keep the girls happy, helped us move, helped us clean, and helped us start unpacking.  They could have come a few weeks earlier and just enjoyed a vacation, but instead they came to help.  I suppose we could have done it alone, but not without much more trauma and frustration, so thank you, Mom and Dad, for everything. 

IMG_2699

The reason it's taken so long for me to post a new entry is because after we moved in during the second week of July, we didn't have Internet for 2 1/2 weeks.  We also didn't have TV (still don't, by the way), and we didn't know anyone in the ward or neighborhood.  It was a very long, very disconnected few weeks, and my friends at our old ward's playgroup saved my sanity.  But it did give us time to do some nesting and some encouragement to get out and discover what's in our area.  We finally got our Internet, and one week later, we left for a 10-day trip to Utah.  Now, ten days may sound like a long time, but cut two days off for driving, one Sunday, and that leaves seven days to do all of the following: take the girls swimming, ride the Frontrunner train to Temple Square, attend a full day of wedding festivities, go out to eat five times, drive to Lindon, attend a Wildtree tasting (www.wildtree.com -- Adam's stepsister is a rep.), drive to Payson for dinner, drive to Lehi for dinner, go to the Kangaroo Zoo (a bouncy house), go to the park, go to the mall, go to the Hostess/Wonder Outlet (yeah, don't ask), and take 1 or 2 naps every day.  This is the busiest Utah trip we've ever had, and it was great to do so much, but it felt like some of the "vacation" got left out of this vacation.  We've all come home exhausted and beat up.  Here's a few pictures from the trip, mostly taken at the last minute when we realized we once again hadn't taken any pictures.

IMG_2747  

IMG_2761

IMG_2768

IMG_2783

IMG_2788