Friday, December 10, 2010

seventeen months

Some of my favorite photos of L during her seventeenth month:
Her big sister took this one; it shows the way she likes to hold onto an object.

She was making dolls "drink" from this bottle all day. This camo jacket I tried on her is from our Build-a-Bear! Ha ha ha.

A few days after her monthday (since I'd been in St. Louis):

I love how babies and toddlers have such short arms.

She has started folding her arms when we say we're going to have a prayer (but this was not prayer time).

This was her response to, "where's your nose?" She was better with people other than herself.

This was "where's your belly button?" and she's just a little to the side of it.

It was probably during this month that she started to love having a piggy-back ride to get down the stairs. I sit on the top step and ask, "Do you want a piggy-back ride?" She says something in baby talk and gets onto my back.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the second race I ran

Below are photos from my 6-kilometer race back in October; I wrote a little about it here. I felt great running and listening to music, the landscaping was pretty, the weather wasn't too warm, we got free food and other things afterward . . . it was such a fun experience. My friends Katie and Anne (and others from their book club) participated, too. Among the large crowd, my sweet husband and kids didn't see me cross the finish line, but I loved that they were there to support me. It was nice to not have to push a stroller, which I did during my 10k (just before conceiving L) and my 5k (I walked; I was 7.5 months pregnant with L). 

For the 6k, my time put me in the top 10% for my age group and in the top 7% overall. I averaged a bit under 9:45 per mile. (Katie hadn't done much running before but was only about 3 minutes behind me -- good job! And you too, Anne!) I'm ready for another race . . . as soon as I choose one and register.

Me with Katie -- taken by my husband. I didn't get any of him or our older daughter (or any of Anne or her family).

My baby and Katie's, born 8 days apart. They had both starting walking a few weeks earlier.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

thankful month: days 29 and 30

It's the last day of November already?! During the last couple of days I have been most grateful for:
  • The amazing human body and all that it does (see HERE). I am very thankful that I have a body. I am thankful for my senses, especially for the ability to feel a hug, smell good smells, and hear the voices of my loved ones. I am thankful I can feel refreshed after sleeping at night.
  • The fact that I enjoy domestic responsibilities such as cleaning my house and creating meals. (My first lasagna {recipe HERE} turned out great. Why did I wait this long?)
  • People forgiving each other and not dwelling on the other's little faults.
  • People!including those who inspire me to live differently, and nice strangers I interact with in places like the grocery store.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

thankful month: days 26-28

 I am thankful for:
  • Personal e-mails from friends.
  • Strength and motivation to make the best choice, though often it's not the easiest option. (I'm not really thinking of any specific decision.)
  • My husband's driving skills. Driving the car in the snow (instead of me driving) is one way he takes care of me. I'm not a bad driver, but he's really good at getting up hills that have not yet been plowed.

thankful month: day 25

(I'm doing this late, with the excuse that we had three Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday and one on Friday . . . and uh, I don't know where the time went today . . .)

I am thankful for vacations.  

My husband and I were able to go to St. Louis, Missouri last weekend. Our girls were with grandparents, so it truly was more of a vacation than a trip. Why Missouri? It was another Army Yellow Ribbon event (our third together), with the flight, hotel, and five meals at no cost to us.  We had a late flight on Friday the 19th, so we went right to sleep. Saturday after the classes and dinner, we took four friends with us in our rental car and went to a museum we had heard about called City Museum. All I knew was it had a big slide. Well, it was so worth the money -- the way my husband described it was that it was the most fun he had had in years! It is hands-on fun, with a lot of exploring and crawling to do if you want to, and if you're brave enough.

After City Museum a couple of the guys asked if we could go to the casino, so we did for just a little while. My husband and I talked, drank a non-alcoholic drink, people-watched, and didn't gamble. Then back to the hotel because we had class at 8:30 a.m. again.

Our last instructor, Sunday before lunch time, was my favorite. He had a fun personality and lots of hilarious photos to go along with his advice. We had enough time to go to the FREE zoo with other friends (more who were in St. Louis for the event), find the LDS temple, get dinner, and hang out with people in the airport a little before boarding our plane. We got more good pictures than what I'm sharing here, but flickr was having trouble so I'll try again tomorrow.

The famous arch (we didn't go inside it, which costs extra).

You may think it's faster than the elevator, if you don't realize there are 11 flights of stairs!

Baby black bear sucking on its toes like a baby human does? :)

P.S. At the Hyatt a toothbrush and bag of Chex Mix will cost you almost $10.00, which the cashier will tell you right before you pay. However, I did enjoy them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thankful month: day 24

  • I am thankful for stories, particularly true, well-written stories. I am grateful for uplifting stories people have told me, those I have heard on the radio, and stories I have read in books or on the Internet.
  • Also, I am thankful for days when I can be home all day with my children; those kind of days are nice every once in a while.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thankful month: day 23

I am thankful today for online recipes. I can get what I am looking for very quickly, while often I have no idea whether any of my cookbooks even have a recipe containing the ingredient(s) I want to use.

Monday, November 22, 2010

thankful month: days 20-22

I am thankful for:
  • My children's grandparents. That's six people. Among other things, I'm glad they did their best to raise us and that they love to spend time with the kids we are raising. I love that they all want to see us on the holidays, and we're able to make that work.
  • Our parents, siblings, and some other relatives live close by -- most within 45 minutes of us.
  • Shboogoo's pronunciation of certain words (makes me smile).

Friday, November 19, 2010

thankful month: day 19

I am grateful for our Army friends -- amazing people who I probably wouldn't know if my husband hadn't joined the United States Army Reserve. I definitely would not have spent a Friday night hanging out in L.A. with about seven other women otherwise. (When we were indecisive, it was fun for me to be able to convince them to try the Brazilian restaurant. Our soldiers finally arrived about midnight . . .) We're not super close to the people/families in his unit -- well, I'm not -- but I appreciate these connections. I'm glad we can share things on an online social network. I know my husband misses spending a lot of time with these friends. Some day I want to meet the man he lived with for most of his time in Iraq. They were pretty different in some ways, but learned that a Latter-day Saint and a Catholic could be best buddies. I have enjoyed traveling to meet with soldiers and their family members from all over the country, and I look forward to doing it again!

I never did post this photo on my blog. It was Veterans Day 2009, during our husbands' second deployment. (It was like the first time for these girls, because they didn't meet their husbands until after their first deployment.) Chili's gave us a discount on our lunch. We went shopping for baby clothes afterward -- for our three babies born within about five months of each other.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

thankful month: day 18

Two things I am grateful for today:
1. The Care Bear Halloween costumes I made this year. I love seeing what others have been able to create for themselves or their children, too! The three-year-old's idea originally was for us to be Goldilocks and the three bears. When searching for ideas on making bear costumes, she really liked the pictures of Care Bears, so the plan changed. L was the pink Secret Bear and Shboogoo was the purple Best Friend Bear.  I hadn't tried sewing pieces together like this before (I used both fabric and ribbons) and it was fun. I bought the clothing and had everything else already. I made the tummy symbols and ears removable so they can wear the clothes as regular clothes. The only part I didn't finish until after Halloween was the ears.  (By the way, I just dressed up as a Utes fan for our trunk-or-treat on the 29th of October, didn't wear a costume either of the next two nights, and my husband didn't want to wear a costume at all.) 

2. I am very thankful for warmth. This includes the sun, my home (I can't imagine being homeless!), the company that heats it, the money to pay that company, lots of blankets, a fireplace, and my husband's feet! (They tend to get hot, and mine get cold.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

thankful month: day 17

I am grateful that transportation can be so fast and easy, and that my husband and I own two working vehicles.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

thankful month: days 15 and 16

November 15: I am thankful for times when I feel like I am being understood accurately, and that the other person doesn't seem to think I'm stupid. I strive to understand others. If it's hard for me to understand what a person is saying, I hope that at least I show that I wish I could understand. Sometimes Emma Lou Thayne's words -- inseparable from the tune I know -- come into my mind, and they are comforting: "Who, who can understand? He, only One."

November 16: I am thankful for prayer and the intangible blessings I receive because I pray.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

thankful month: days 13 and 14

November 13: I'm grateful for fruits and vegetables. I like to make sure we have fresh ones in our house. If we don't have a plan for dinner, often we (typically he does, while I do dishes) saute bell peppers, onions, etc. for our main dish. I have fallen in love with butternut squash, canary melon, and kale (but not all three together, ha ha). We also usually have at least three different bags of frozen vegetables, sometimes frozen berries, and canned tomatoes, canned fruit, raisins and dried apricots. They're delicious and nutritious. Check this out -- kale "almost makes broccoli look like Doritos." I want to learn more about specific foods, like their nutrients and how to store them best.

November 14: Music. I could say soooooooo much about this, but I won't. I share my church calling with another sister, and today it was my turn to lead the hymns in Relief Society. Before last Sunday I also looked at the list of lessons and chose the hymns for the month (Sara will choose December's hymns.) I absolutely loved singing at ward choir practice this afternoon,  after a long absence from ward choirs. (And thanks to my husband I could leave the kids at home.) Oh, and last night my husband, 3-year-old, brother, mom, and I had fun attending the musical at the high school near our house.

Friday, November 12, 2010

thankful month: days 10-12

November 10: I am grateful for the many opportunities to serve people. I stayed with our kids while my husband helped our friends' dad, a widower, clean his house.

November 11: This day is always Veterans Day. I'm thankful for my babe and other people who are willing to give everything for their country. Do you have veterans in your family or neighborhood? The word "veteran" can be hard to define, but an unknown author said:

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life." 

Please read What is a Veteran? (It's long enough that I'm just linking to it, but it's really good.)


November 12: I'm thankful for my mom and I'm glad I live pretty close to her. She is so smart, compassionate, and easy for people to talk to. I know that I can call her any time, and I appreciate the compliments she gives me about my own mothering and other things that I do. I love her!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

thankful month: days 8 and 9

November 8: Today I'm extra grateful for water. When I think about it, which is probably not often enough, I appreciate that I have such easy access to clean water. I don't have to walk to a well and carry a bucket home. And my showers can be hot. I explained to my older daughter why we need water and all the things we use it for.

November 9: I am thankful for my husband's patience as he handles that daughter's tantrums. He must get as frustrated as I do, but has control over the way way he speaks; he doesn't yell. (This one was about her not wanting to take her pajama pants from the car into the house and put them in her room.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thankful month: day 7

I am thankful for:
  • Our 1-year-old was happier than usual during our church meetings because with Daylight Savings Time ending, she got more sleep before we had to leave. We didn't have to take her out (or to the back) of the classroom or the chapel even once.
  • I managed to shower, wash my face, put makeup on, do my hair and the girls' hair, brush my teeth, AND we got to church early!
  • Really cool people that live in our neighborhood. (One example: a family who moved in recently let me borrow their van when my husband locked his keys in the car. They said I can borrow it any time, since car seats can't go in the back of our truck. Also, if I had preferred, they would have watched the girls so I could go alone in the truck, even though they have three kids age three and under, one of whom is a newborn.)
  • All of the ways in which Heavenly Father lets me know that He knows and loves me personally.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

thankful month: day 6

I am grateful for each season. I complain that winter is long, but I really do like every season. Over the last week or so I have noticed that the colors of the leaves in our backyard change slightly just from one day to the next. I especially love seeing a group of deciduous trees that are each a different color: one with mostly green leaves, one yellow, one orange-red, one brown. Our almost-four-year has started saying when she prays, "we're thankful for the trees and the sunshine." Here's a quote I stole from my friend's blog:
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
-Albert Camus

Friday, November 5, 2010

thankful month: day 5

Today I'm thankful that we can afford to have my husband working only part-time while he's finishing his degree (one year left). He usually works 13-18 hours a week. This is possible only because he's in the Army Reserve: the GI Bill is the biggest source of income for us. He also gets drill pay, and we have some savings we built up during his deployments. I know some wives and mommies who have had to say goodbye to their husbands early in the morning, and don't get to say hello again until after dinnertime some days. I admire those hardworking men, and my man works hard, too. I'm glad he can spend more than an hour or two with me every Monday through Friday. For his sake and mine, I'm happy he doesn't have to work full-time and be in school full-time (or work full-time and be a part-time student, making his education take even longer). 

This photo shows him doing some of the work of parenting, as we walked to church a few months ago:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

thankful month: days 3 and 4

November 3: I'm grateful for the benefits of exercise: endorphins, improving my pace, looking and feeling fit and strong, etc. It definitely is work, but with many rewards. I felt so good as I ran a 6k in October, particularly as I sped up to cross the finish line. It was the second time I've run in a race, but the first time a couple of my friends participated, too. It was also the first time my husband could be there to support me. (You can see my first race here. After that, when I was 7.5 months pregnant, I walked a 5k.) I like yoga and strength-training exercises also.

November 4: I'm grateful for the times when I can cheer up L. Tonight I could tell she really wanted to be the focus of my attention, and she wanted to get ready for bed. She happily sat on the couch with me and I read her about six books. She sat between my legs with her legs bent in the same way as mine, and leaned back against me. I love her!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

thankful month: days 1 and 2

As I was reading a blog a few minutes ago, I decided to do this. The blogger wrote about how much she loves Thanksgiving. I love it, too. Each day of this beautiful month of November, I'm going to think of something I am grateful for. I know that coming back to read these posts is one way I can be filled with gratitude.

{1} Breaks from my kids. My husband left with them around 5 p.m. today and went to his dad's to watch the election coverage on TV. I had a Relief Society dinner and meeting that I enjoyed from 6:30 to 8:00. Before and after that, I used the computer and cut out coupons while listening to Father of the Bride, one of my favorite movies. I was able to take a quick (since I was without children) trip to a grocery store, and returned to quiet, since they were still not back.

{2} People who have thanked me for writing them a thank you card. While living in our condo, I got a thank you card from the woman I had written a thank you card to. She lived in the condos too, but I think she mailed it to me. Earlier this year I dropped off a thank you card at a neighbor's house and she called me to thank me for it. She said it had made her day, which of course made me even happier!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

sixteen months

I love it when I get pictures of L that aren't blurry. She doesn't hold still very often. She has gotten a lot faster at walking in the last month. She likes to pick up a shoe, usually hers, so that she can walk around holding it in her hand, or one in each hand. One day she and daddy played fetch with a bottle. It was adorable; she brought him the bottle, he tossed it again, and she went to fetch it. In our front yard, she likes to head for the street as quickly as possible. I'm teaching her that it's not okay to be in the street! 

She enjoys playing -- not very delicately -- the piano when she's on my lap and I'm playing it. She sometimes does the same thing to the keyboard on the laptop, of course, because she sees us typing on it.

L has 12 teeth now that some molars came in; six teeth on top and six on bottom. She loves to eat fresh fruit (and she still likes any food we give her). One day during her 16th month she got very upset because I took away the apple core that she wanted to eat. She isn't a huge fan of cow's milk. She'll drink a little of that or soy milk, and recently we discovered that she and her sister really like rice milk. (I don't know if I had ever tasted it, either, but I think it's yummy.)
Earlier on her monthday we had Mongolian food with Bryan and his little sister and Gordon and Josh M and their wives and kids.

I love that L likes it when we lay her down in her crib. The thumb-sucking could be a hard habit to break, but she only does it right before going to sleep. She usually still has two naps a day, an hour or more each, but sometimes just one longer one. She goes to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 and sleeps until at least 8:00 a.m. (sometimes as late as 9:30).

I haven't mentioned here that L growls. It's funny. We realized that she got it from me, except I only do it when I'm frustrated, and she seems to do it randomly. I think in the last two or three weeks I have not heard her growl, though. L's main word is Mama. She's clearly said Daddy once or twice, instead of the usual "da" that sounds like "dad" but without the d at the end. For a little while she has mimicked the "moo" sound after one of us does it; her "moo" kind of starts with a b. More recently she started to try saying ball and bye-bye, after I ask her to say it. If I call out her big sister's name she calls out her version of it. L won't say "hi" or "more" or "I love you." She shows excitement when she recognizes someone in a picture by pointing and saying in high pitches, "ah-ah!" In fact, most of her communication is vowel sounds.

I came across a book at the library that I'm considering using because it may help her communicate more. It's called Toddler Sing and Sign. I know our pediatrician says children really start speaking around 18 months or later, so I'm not worried. Sometimes I just don't know why L is upset. Any advice from those who have taught their child(ren) some sign language?