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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