Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thing that made me cry recently

In no particular order:

  • Any athletic event on television that had a dramatic or inspiring outcome particularly American Ninja Warrior and the summer Olympics (including events in swimming, weight lifting, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, track and field, and volleyball)
  • Varied events throughout the Harry Potter series as I re-listened to the audio books including Harry playing in and winning his first quidditch cup, recalling in advance while in the shower what happens to Dobby, actually listening about what happens to Dobby, the Battle of Hogwarts
  • Being surprised by a harmless snake
  • Watching this music video:
  • Finding a broken string on my harp and realizing I need to buy and replace all the strings and remembering it's expensive and can't I just put it off? Except they haven't been replaced in like 10 years and they should have been replaced after 3 years. And why have a harp if I'm not going to take care of it. Why do I play the harp again?
  • Inspiring commercials from Olympic sponsors
  • Thinking about how much I love my husband
  • Feeling really sick and being annoyed about it and just wanting to feel fine
  • Watching Dance Academy
  • Wanting to snuggle with my husband when I crawled in bed but didn't because we can't sleep if we're touching and he needs the sleep before waking up super early to go to work to support our family
  • Finding my daughter's bunny and returning it to her so she could nap. She'd been sobbing for 15 minutes because it was missing and when I handed it over (after finding it tucked under her little potty chair in the bathroom) she choked back tears, smiled, and said "Mommy I'm happy! I'm happy!" and cried a little more for joy.

The baby will arrive by Valentine's Day.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

One-Two Punch

I've been putting off converting my daughter's crib into the toddler bed. She's never tried to climb out yet which was the milestone I intended to wait for, but yesterday I had a thought that I should just go ahead and do it so today I made the change.

She thinks it's pretty great and enjoys climbing in and out by herself. I was worried she'd try to climb out prematurely when she was supposed to nap but nope. She crawled in and conked out quickly as usual and when she woke up she waited for me to come in before she climbed back out. I don't think she remembered she wasn't confined. Bedtime was just as great.

I pray this transition stays easy! We'll see what happens in the morning, if she stays put or tries to come find me when she wakes. I don't actually know when she wakes because she usually lies quietly for a while before kicking the bars or singing to let me know she's awake.

One reason now felt like a good time to make this change is she's sleeping well again. She recently cut her first two year old molar and teething always disrupts her sleep. Then I've been thinking about camping this summer and how it would be really nice to not cram a portable crib into the tent. If she's used to sleeping unconfined by then life will be much easier. Lastly, I anticipate trying to potty train in earnest within the next year and that's only a reasonable goal if she can get herself to the bathroom unassisted.

Today's other milestone is my baby girl got her first haircut! I did it myself since I have a good pair of hair scissors and I didn't think she'd respond favorably to a stranger touching her head that much. She's used to me playing with her hair so she didn't react at all or even know what was going on. I let her watch Pooh's Heffalump Movie so she was riveted and stayed very still. I was the one traumatized by it all! Made me so sad to cut off her precious little newborn locks. I made little pigtails that I cut off first to stick in her baby book.

We showed her the pigtails after but I don't think she realizes they used to be attached to her head. 

I was a little worried she'd protest to the hair cut since she's never had one, but afterward I realized she probably didn't protest because she's never had one and thus didn't know or care what was going on back there.

I took off quite a bit of length. The hair at the back has grown uninhibited almost since birth and was down to her shoulder blades. She's always been a side and tummy sleeper so her front hair has always rubbed off giving her a pronounced mullet for a long time. I was worried if I trimmed the back sooner she'd look like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber since her bangs were so short. Only recently has her hair thickened enough in the front that it looks long enough to shape into a convincing bob.

I wasn't sure how the curl would change with the long bits gone. It's still very wavy and fine as you can see and the locks over her ears flip out just like her dad's when he needs a haircut. I expect it to go straighter as she gets older since Reece and I both had straight hair till puberty.

Today, beds and haircuts. Tomorrow, college.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mom the Builder

Last Christmas my daughter got mostly furniture for her gifts. That might sound lame, but she needed a few things since we moved and she now has her own bedroom. We purchased a set of child-size table and chairs from IKEA, and then I made a little play teepee and a learning tower. I'm very proud of my work too!

Last fall we started collecting power tools to make projects around the house easier to accomplish. To save money, we decided to collect items in the Black and Decker Matrix line. Basically you buy a power drill which motor functions as the base. The nose of the drill can pop off and another tool attached. By Christmas we the drill and a circle saw attachment so I made use of both for my Christmas projects.

I followed this tutorial to construct the teepee. I used an old fitted sheet so it took a little extra time to take it apart and make it work but it turned out so cute and matches the colors of her bedroom. I felt like a real woman wielding my circle saw to cut up the PVC! (Fun fact: I made the rope too. I twisted it at the Family Living Center in Nauvoo over ten years ago. Nice to finally have a use for it!)

Hiding in the teepee with her baby doll

The learning tower was a lot more work. A learning tower is basically a stool with a railing that small children can use to safely reach counter-height, usually in a kitchen. Pepper was at the stage where she'd get frustrated if I spent a lot of time in the kitchen doing stuff she couldn't see, but commercially manufactured learning towers are very expensive ($100-$300). I found this tutorial which was within my power and budget to complete so with the help of my husband, I bought the lumber and the right stool from IKEA to complete my hack.

I like to do things just right, so I spent forever measuring and marking exactly where I needed to cut and where to place screws. The stool that the tutorial used seems to be an older model than what IKEA sells now because my dimensions didn't match. I wasted lots of time marking the wood to match the tutorial and then changing everything after I measured my own stool and realized it was a slightly different size. Be advised of that if you try the hack for yourself.

Reece showed me how to use the tools but then left me to mostly do it myself. It probably took a week of snatching time here and there to finish construction, then a few more days to putty the screw holes, sand, and paint. I used paint left over from painting our master bathroom last fall.

Pepper loves her tower. Reece calls it her Rameumptum.

Fully constructed and holes all puttied with wood filler
Finished product!

I let her have it early so I could do my Christmas baking in peace.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Memory Lane

Facebook has this thing now where it will tell you your Facebook activity from that day in past years. I signed up to be notified daily of my past activity and it has been so fun to look back on what I was doing during different life stages.

Eight years ago I embarked on my study abroad to Israel which was actually the impetus to begin this blog to keep my friends informed about what I was doing without spamming them with mass emails. Since I posted most of my photos to Facebook I've been seeing lots of Israel semester photos popping up every day. I love reviewing those friends and adventures and that time of my life. It was a really special experience I'm still grateful for.

I'm not exactly homesick for Jerusalem; it was a very busy and kind of hard semester. I thoroughly enjoyed it but I was exhausted by the end and ready to go home and rest. But I look back nostalgically once in a while with a little bit of longing to hang out for a bit with those people in that place. To paraphrase one of my professors near the end of that semester:
'You can always come back to these places, but you can never come back to this space in time with these people.' 
I'm aware it is the people I was there with that made the experience so memorable, and it's the people I get homesick for. I'm been so blessed to make many friends from many places and backgrounds.

Six years ago this January was my last semester of college. Oh the shenanigans and social doings! Friends were so diverse and fun and accessible. I do not miss the papers and reading and deadlines, but I miss my extracurricular hobbies. I am inspired to make efforts to redevelop hobbies that made me feel happy and well rounded. After getting married and working long hours and having a baby and moving, my husband and I are both kind of at a loss at what our hobbies are. What do we do for fun? Rest, mostly. Stop moving for a little while and read or sleep. That is not a bad use of time for parents of young children, but now that my daughter is a little bigger and more autonomous I have time again to revisit hobbies and develop new ones.

I'll add blogging to the list and keep you posted on progress.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Fall Highlights

I realized yesterday that we have lived in our home for six months already! We still love it and it has been fun to plan and execute little home projects to make the space feel like something we created for ourselves.

In September our little Pepper turned old enough to enter the nursery class at church! This means we can actually attend all of and pay attention to our second and third hour meetings on Sunday now while she plays and learns with other toddlers. Entering nursery is seen as a bit of an anxious milestone because for many kids, it comes right at the stage where they get separation anxiety. They don't appreciate being left with a bunch of unknown teachers and children for two hours. Not our kid. She took to it like a duck to water. No fit, no crying, no noticing that we were there in the first place let alone gone again. She's always been fine to leave with babysitters, known or unknown to her, so it was no surprise. She was born ready for nursery. Sometimes I wished she missed me a little bit though, just to make me feel indispensable.

Living in rural America these days means things like corn mazes and pumpkin patches are just down the road from us. In October we had fun going to well known corn maze which also included a few carnival-type activities like pig racing. We also picked out our own pumpkins from a patch at a nearby farm. I did our carving because Husband doesn't care to and Daughter didn't like the feel of the pumpkin guts. I'm particularly proud of the results.

Left to right: The Stig, a cat, the Black Pearl
We dressed in family themed Halloween costumes as characters from Peter Pan. I assembled outfits from thrift store finds and our own closets and they turned out great! Early in the week before Halloween I dressed the little one up for story time at the library and they let all the little kids trick or treat through the library offices. Later that week we attended a church Halloween party and Trunk-or-Treat. Tinkerbell wasn't quite sure about what was going on but loved her wings and eventually got the hang of holding out her bucket to ask for treats.

November was busy. My sister-in-law returned home from her LDS mission to Texas early in the month and the most of my husband's family was going to converge in Kansas City for family time and the BYU vs Missou game. They had an extra ticket so I girded my loins and made the drive to KC by myself with the little one in tow. Pepper played with little cousins and met two of her aunts for the first time. The football game itself was a disappointing performance, but overall the trip and the company were great and I'm glad we did it.

A friend was flabbergasted that I would go voluntarily hang out with my in-laws for several days by myself, but they're great and I really do enjoy hanging out with them whether or not my husband is around which is a good thing because this wasn't the end of our reunion-ing! We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home this year. It was so nice to have family came to us for a major holiday and have the space to accommodate them. My husband's parents, three younger siblings, and a sister-in-law all arrived just before a big snowstorm moved in and stayed a few days. Reece's aunt and uncle and their married daughter and her husband joined us for Thanksgiving dinner as well.

In December I worked on Christmas projects and helped plan the church Christmas dinner decorations. Baby Girl needed some furniture now that she has a room so her Christmas presents were all furniture which is, of course, every toddler's dream. We purchased a set of toddler-size table and chairs and I constructed/assembled a DIY learning tower (tutorial here), and a little play tent (tutorial here). I'm happy to report she uses and enjoys all of them. We were all spoiled by our families and each other but we are so grateful for what we have, a house to put it in, and wonderful family and friends to share it all with.
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