Sunday, April 27, 2008

You See That Big Excavator?

That has been Adam's favorite Anna quote this week. "You see that big excavator? You see that big truck? You see that big toy?" It's really cute when Anna says it. Not so much when Adam says it.

In a few hours we'll post a video of Mariah's bath time. We tried to keep her modest for all you with naked-baby-phobia. She kicks through her entire bath. I have to use the shower curtain as a guard to keep the bathroom mostly dry. She doesn't care whether the water gets in her eyes or up her nose--she just wants to kick. Funny kid.

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We've had kind of a long week. We've been stressing about the home we want to buy as well as the home we want to sell--all the decisions sort of took a toll on us. I've been trying to keep the house clean (and we did have two showings this weekend, so that's progress), so that's been hard on me and on the girls. We've also had a hard time running errands because Mariah's nap schedule has been mixed up. Mariah's been really fussy anyway, and we think we finally figured out that it's because we switched her formula. Being inexperienced in the use of formula, we didn't know that one brand vs. another could really make that big of a difference. Adam has had a lot to do at work and been facing some confusing issues with the programs he's writing, so he's been under pressure, too, and spending a lot of time working after hours. The stress of the week peaked on Thursday night for me (church meeting I forgot to dress up for... emotional breakdown in the car... 'nuff said), so the weekend has gotten better. But in the midst of it all, there were a few highlights.

1) Anna made her first visit to the playland at the grocery store. She loved it! Not that she's ever been hard to deal with at the store, but I think she'd definitely much rather play than ride around in a cart with me. Plus, it tells me that she's growing up a bit, which is encouraging.

2) Yesterday, Adam and Anna biked over to the mall, and Mariah and I met them there. Anna loved the ride in the trailer, and once there, she loved the indoor playground. Adam showed her how to climb up and slide down, and she was thrilled. I've never let her go in because I can't help her AND hold Mariah, so it was perfect to introduce her to it while Daddy was around. Besides, Daddy is a lot more... ahem... DARING than Mommy is, and it's good for her to learn not to be scared of things. Even if it gives me a heart attack.

3) Mariah is within days (possibly minutes) of crawling. She's up on all fours constantly, she rolls around like a champ, and she can sit when she wants to. Just yesterday she started a new thing: if a toy is just out of reach in front of her, she gets up on hands and knees, pulls back, then pushes forward like a slingshot, letting her arms go out in front of her, to try and grab it. Her belly flops on the ground, and she always looks a little pained, but it was worth it if she got where she was going.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April Snow Showers Don't Bring May Flowers



Not that I'm whining, but come on -- snow in April is one of Mother Nature's cruelties. Here's a picture of our snowy morning.

It's already all melted, although we'd gotten about 1/4 inch before it stopped. It's been snowing off and on again all day, so maybe we'll get some more. Yippee Skippy.

This week was Mariah's 6-month doctor's visit. She's 27 inches long, just over 16 lbs., and she still has a tiny head (only 41 cm), so she's still perfect and healthy in every way. I can't believe it's already been six months, and yet just like with Anna, it also seems like it's been forever. It's hard for me to remember that there was ever a time before Mariah was part of our family. It's similar to my memory of other big points in my life. My life sort of goes in chunks as I look back. It's as if my life were divided into sections based on what memorable thing resulted from them (e.g. the pre-Adam years would be the entire 19 1/2 years before we started dating), but within that bigger section there are other markers (e.g. the pre-Mrs. Horsley years would be my English class experiences during junior high and early high school). Yeah, I know. You don't care. *sigh* :)

We think we've found a house to buy. It's up here in our same neighborhood/ward, so we're still concerned with how far it is from work, but we love almost everything else about it. It's a new home with a great layout -- 4 beds, 2.5 baths, and over 2100 sq.ft. and a small but acceptable backyard (at least there's grass and sunlight). We're in the price negotiation process right now, so we'll see what comes out of that, but we pretty excited for now. We've also dropped the price on our condo, so hopefully it'll sell soon. If not, we're not sure it will EVER sell. Not to be pessimistic. If it doesn't sell, then that's just the Lord's plan, and we'll choose to be happy where we are. It'll just be a matter of accepting and moving forward.

One last fun thing from this week: Anna has learned to paint. But our beautiful girl couldn't just paint with paint. Oh, no. It had to be strawberry juice. On a napkin. Using her spoon. This particular piece is called "Lion and Caterpillar." She named it that all by herself--no urging from me--and if you look carefully, I bet you'll be able to see the lion and the caterpillar, too. I'm going to start calling her Anne Gogh.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

We Are the Cyclists

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Here are some pics from this week's favorite purchase: the bike trailer.  Adam and Anna are actually out right now on a bike ride to test it out on long distances (they went to Home Depot--very exciting).  It's a trailer for two, but we decided that Mariah should go to bed tonight instead of on a ride.  Last night, since we can also use the trailer as a stroller, we took the girls on a walk to Dairy Queen.  They both loved the stroller, and Anna discovered the joys of a Dairy Queen ice cream cone (her first cone EVER), so it was a pretty good night.  The usefulness of the trailer would be complete if I could bike with them, but since we've decided not to make any more big purchases until after we've bought our house, I guess Daddy will just get to spend lots of quality time on the trails with his girls.  While Mom stays at home and reads a book.  What a shame. 

Today was gorgeous, with a high temperature of 82 degrees, so we got up first thing the morning and went to the zoo.  Mariah had a rough trip (since I got sunscreen in her eyes--*guilty face*), but Anna had fun.  I think her favorite animals were the Siamangs (some extremely LOUD monkeys).  My favorites this time were the Poison Dart Frogs, which are teensy tiny and extremely deadly.  Tells you something about me, doesn't it?  And sadly, we have no zoo pictures.  We had already pulled out of our parking lot before I remembered the camera, and it just wasn't worth going back for it.  It's usually just a miracle to get out of the house at all. 

Some fun things from the week:

1) Anna has moved all at once into a totally different style of play: she has learned to pretend!  Suddenly her Easter eggs contain full meals (made up of "bubbly juice" and blueberries), Mariah's animals are going on outings to the aquarium and touching the starfish, and her shoelaces are arguing about which one shouldn't touch the other.  Tonight, her pizza was named Pizza, her breadstick was named "Waffle," and Waffle was telling Pizza to stop eating it because that wasn't very nice.  I just love to watch her.  I try to analyze where she's coming up with this stuff, and sometimes I can figure it out, but sometimes it's coming out of nowhere.  Every day she's more amazing. 

2) Mariah is in the grabby phase now.  This week she managed to almost destroy the potted plant on our counter.  I had her in the Bumbo while I chopped vegetables, and I looked down for five seconds, looked back up, and she had an entire branch in her mouth.  I forgot to tell Adam to watch out for that, so he was doing the same thing later in the evening, and she pulled so hard that she knocked the whole thing over, spilling dirt and water everywhere, and biting off a whole half a leaf in her mouth.  And yes, I do know plants can be poisonous.  Believe me, that child will never be on that counter again.  I remember Anna getting to this grabby phase, but I forgot the everyday hassle of it--you can't eat with her in your lap because she'll pull your plate off the table; you can't hold her on your shoulders because she'll get a vise-grip on your hair and never let go; and you can't hold anything expensive in your hands (i.e. digital camera, cell phone) because she'll get it in her mouth and cover it in saliva in less than three seconds.  But there are things that it simplifies--I can finally hand her a toy and trust her to play with it for a few minutes without losing grip on it and getting frustrated. 

3) This week we had a meeting with a loan guy to talk about our moving options, and we feel like we sort of have our plans more defined.  We're going out with our realtors next week to make sure that what's available in the area right now is worth it, and if so, we'll probably drop the price on our condo and try to get it sold quickly.  Some people see a home as an investment, and it's good if it works out that way, but at this point, we see a home as just a place to live, and although we don't want to lose money on it, it's more important to us to provide our family a good place to be than it is to make money on our "investment."  At least that's how we feel today.  :) 

4) One last thing: this week I made my first homemade veggie burger.  Yea!  It tasted surprisingly good, and even Adam like the flavor, but it was seriously mushy, even after being broiled.  Anybody got any great ideas about how to make the veggies stay together in a form rather than mushing around like crusted mashed potatoes? 

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Springtime!!

  Okay, so although the calendar says it's Spring, it hasn't felt very Spring-ish around here lately.  I tried to take some pictures of the sleet/snow we had  last week, but they didn't turn out, so sorry you don't get to see it.  We've also been having cold wind, gloomy gray days, and even a driving hail storm.  Yep, it was pretty sad.  That is, until the last three days.  It's still a little cool outside (about 60 degrees), but the sun is shining.  The tulips are up, the trees have blossoms, and we can listen to the birds singing in the tree outside Anna's bedroom window.  Yesterday afternoon we took a walk, and even in the bright sunlight it was a little nippy--that's the reason for the pictures: sunhats and warm jackets. 

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It's so funny to see the bushes blooming but still feel your ears stinging with the cold wind.  Every year I forget what a strange middle ground early spring can be.  And yes, I did take a picture of the two of them sitting next to each other, but after several shots where only one is smiling, I opted for the single, smiling shots. 

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Oh, and picture this, for your own entertainment.  There's a street next to our complex that leads into a nice little neighborhood with a perfect walking circuit, so almost all our walks take us there.  Only problem?  There's a forty-foot hill between us and them.  At the end of our walk yesterday, coming back up the big hill, I wanted to step outside my body and take a picture of myself.  I was pushing Anna in the big stroller and carrying Mariah in the front-pack.  I was practically bent double trying to reach around Mariah to push the stroller, steering the stroller with one hand and clasping Mariah against me with the other to prevent her from swinging back and forth beneath me like a pendulum.  It was one of those depressing "I look as ridiculous as I feared" moments.  Lesson learned?  Buy a double stroller. 

Here's some cute-isms from the last few days:

1) Yesterday Anna and I had this conversation. 

Mommy: "Anna, are you silly?"

Anna: "Yes."

Mommy: "You're sure?"

Anna: "Yep,  I'm is."

She has used the "I'm is" construction multiple times again today, and I tried to explain the whole "I am" concept during lunch, but when I asked her if she was done eating (as she was climbing down from the table), she said, with a big smile, "I'm is, Mommy."  *sigh*

2) Mariah seems to have taken a break from her crawling efforts in order to learn to sit.  She's finally decided it's at least semi-important, and she's sitting by herself now for about 20 seconds at a time, which is staggering when you consider that about four days ago, she refused to sit for any length of time at all.  However, it seems to mean that she never wants to be on her tummy, so all my crawling predictions may be going out the window. 

3) Today at the grocery store, while I was choosing some produce, Anna was playing with some things I'd put in cart.  She started singing "Jingle Bells" to herself and was growing louder with each line.  A woman came around behind the basket to get some apples, and she smiled at Anna and asked, "Are you singing?  What a lovely song!"  And what did Anna do?  She frowned, but then with a single reassuring glance at Mommy, she gave the lady a smile and sang the last line of the song.  Why was that so impressive?  Because normally she would have shut her mouth, turned away, and practically crawled into a corner if a stranger even talked to her.  This was a big step for our darling, shy little Anna. 

And a final thought for everyone today.  Many times in your life, you will see a young mother in a public place with multiple young children.  If she is struggling, either ignore her (if there's nothing you can do) or try to help (if you really think you can).  Whatever you do, don't smile sympathetically and reassure her that things will get better in a few years or say that you know how she feels.  That doesn't make her feel better.  It will just irritate, and even worse, embarrass her.  And if you see a young mother who ISN'T struggling, either smile cheerfully at her children, or compliment them on their good behavior.  For goodness sake, whatever you do, don't smile jauntily and say, "Well, don't YOU have your hands full!"  She is pleased her children are behaving well, and she doesn't need to be reminded that she has a lot on her plate and that her fragile peace could be shattered at any moment.  Everyone just keep that in mind.  :)