Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy birthday, Fatticus Gordo!

That's his new nickname.

I completely forgot these pictures existed. They were on our low-quality waterproof camera and we just started using it again as a video camera because our Flip mysteriously disappeared.

And here's a snippet of late summer/birthday fun:

Birthday party at Aunt Linda's


Digging in

With Grammy and Poppy before they left

Texas Roadhouse for his birthday (the last time we went out to eat...)

Sweet potatoes and chicken
IKEA train set courtesy of Grammy/Poppy

Birthday soccer game! (I was so skinny, I didn't realize how much weight I've put on everywhere recently)

Tired guy


Recent studies have shown that the greatest indication of a child's success and love for reading stems from a reading father. Well, if anyone knows how much Tim reads (he is pretty much reading 90% of his waking hours, whether it be on his Kindle as they walk around outside or listening to books on tape as he cleans) we should assume that our kids too will share the love of reading. I didn't anticipate my two-year-old would develop the obsession so early in life. Not only does he love being read to, he's started to embark on reading on his own. So far, the only word he can sound out and recognize is "ball" (with the occasional "mom" and "dad"), and now he thinks that every word is "ball", but he is getting so impressive at sounding out letters. Thank you, Super Why! and Elmo's ABCs app. And lots of patient reading with us really awesome parents.

Here are some recent videos:

He thinks the "U" I wrote is a "V", I didn't realize that until Tim pointed it out to me today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Part of me feels really guilty for not documenting this pregnancy here like I did with Theodore, but then I feel even guiltier because I forget a lot of times that I am actually pregnant. Especially during the day when I am going about my merry way, I feel pretty dang good and it's easy to not think about. At night with all her crazy ninja moves, I definitely remember then. She moves like crazy, way more than Theodore did in the womb. She is rolling and twisting and dancing for hours on end. I love it. Tim says he forgets I'm pregnant too, but I don't know how with all my "oh my aching back/hips/head" complaints when I wake up in the morning. Besides the tiniest box of baby girl clothes I got at a free clothing exchange and the bright orange car seat in the basement, there is little physical indication (you know, besides the large belly) that another baby is on the way. I do think I have already been nesting more than usual because my energy levels are way up, and I find myself wanting to clean up in preparation, and then remember everything is going to get very dirty again in the three months remaining. I'm officially in my third trimester. I think. I'm like 26-29 weeks now, depending on if you ask my midwife or or the Sprout pregnancy app on our iPad. We had another ultrasound last week to check out her brain because they couldn't get a good look at 20 weeks, and we verified she is very much a girl.

Speaking of prenatal appointments, I'm on an every 6-7 week schedule. Since everything is going dandy, I always have had healthy blood pressures, urine samples, and tons of fetal movement, I don't see the need to go monthly. Plus, it is quite the challenge to find a time to drive up to American Fork, and I prefer just popping in after work every so often for a little pee sample and blood pressure. I usually just see the midwife for about 5 minutes, even though I know I can spend as long as I want, but there isn't much to discuss when you are a very prepared birther and having a healthy pregnancy. I still have frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions [ahem, pressure sensations] but I was checked a few weeks back and am not dilated at all, so hopefully things will continue to be so. I started using my Hypnobabies tracks to work on relaxation and hypnosis for birthing. They are a little hokey, but I like her voice and they ARE relaxing. We'll see if I like her voice when I'm actually laboring...

Not much else to say about Clementine other than she is a stellar fetus and I hope she has red hair. But if not, we'll still love her. Heaven knows we are crazy about that Theo kid.

[oh: we don't know if her name will really be Clementine, everyone has been asking me that... we have a list but have not decided either which way]

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Pictures: Lights at Temple Square

We decided to brave the freeway on the 23rd of December. Bad plan. Theodore loved the lights... but probably loved riding the Trax even more.

Christmas in Pictures: Gingerbread House

In my first few posts in a long time, we'll look at some pictures from Christmas. First we will look at our construction of a gingerbread house. We bought a pre-baked one from Target, because we weren't up for baking our own gingerbread. Maybe we will when Theo will appreciate it more.

Theo loved putting on the candy pieces.

But mostly he just liked eating them.

Learning from the master decorator.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Britney Spears

Why, on EARTH, have grocery stores been playing so many Britney Spears songs lately?! I thought she was long gone and dead and over...

In other news, I think I've composed about 20 blog posts in my head over the past month and every time I find the time to sit down and blog I can't think of what any of them are. But I do have some thoughts on Christmas I would like to share:

Tim has convinced me that Santa Claus does not exist in our home. I am utterly flabbergasted as to what implications this will have in our future. I can totally see the reasoning, but at the same time, I definitely have very fond memories of Santa Claus and don't think I was emotionally harmed. He is a tad creepy though, and I hate the bribery and manipulation of "you have to be good or Santa won't come" and the fact that Santa obviously likes rich kids better than poor kids. I'm tempted by the babushka tradition instead. Still magical, but she comes to houses where she hears children laughing, not necessarily behaving and following their parents' commands. I read it in our Christmas book about different cultures. Don't know if it's actually practiced in Russia, but I still like the story, and how it relates to the Savior.

Also, he doesn't think we should give our kids presents. One, because he's worked at Target one too many holiday seasons and he hates nothing more than when parents come in and HAVE TO HAVE A CERTAIN COMMERCIALIZED TOY and it's ALL HIS FAULT Target does not have it. And all of a sudden their Christmas, along with their child's, is completely ruined because they didn't get that one dumb toy that would probably only be played with for a month and then thrown into the back of the closet and given to DI by the next Christmas. I completely agree with this. And have you seen the hot new toys of the year!? When Tim came home and told me people were looking for a game called "Doggie Doo" I thought he was surely joking. One way I've considered avoiding this is not allowing TV in our house. It's from commercials that kids think they want these things, right? Tim thinks they will still want them because other kids will want them, but then I reminded him our children's friends will be elitist hippies who also don't watch TV and play with wooden block sets and homemade finger paints.

Secondly, I love my mom. I really love my mom you guys. But she has this thing about buying so many unnecessary presents. And then I get all these things I didn't want in the first place, and then I have to deal with the guilt of returning everything and she just goes on this "you are SO ungrateful" tirade, and then I feel all bad about making her feel bad and then Christmas is forever tainted. This has actually vastly improved in years past, probably due to some combination of my maturing and not being so angsty and her getting better at not buying me a bazillion things I don't need. And this Christmas, it seems we may have reached our acceptedness in the non-presents department. We'll see how it pans out...

Next: spending Christmas at home with just our family. When I told my mom this yesterday, she said it made her sad for me. I don't know why she would be sad about it, when quite frankly, I am very excited to have our first Christmas as just our family. Rather than shopping and present-buying and gift-opening, we've been making batch after batch of delicious Christmas cookies, listening to delightful music, and reading lots of Christmas books. Honestly, the kid is not going to care either way if he gets to open presents on Christmas morning but he will love making a gingerbread house. Plus, I hate wrapping presents. I hate excess stuff. He doesn't even play with the toys he has (exceptions: his train set, play kitchen, and football). He'd rather draw on an empty car seat box with markers all afternoon or read library books. No need for fancy contraptions to keep this child occupied. Even though when we do go to Target, he does love to go down the aisle and press the buttons on all the electronic toys to create quite the cacophony and fake music and voices "A is for APPLE! B is for BALL!"

So, am I scrooge and ruining Christmas for everyone yet? Well, I do have a few good traditions I want to implement, not just shunning the old ones. I really like the idea of three gifts per person: something to read, something to wear, something to play with. And I'd like to buy all three locally/handmade. If not local, there are always a million darling handmade items on Etsy that I covet. If I'm going to spend money, I'd rather support a small business or individual rather than Wal-mart and Mattel. I'd rather spend the same amount of money on three really awesome quality items than 10 cheaply manufactured toys. It seems quantity is what most people shoot for, so their kids can have 20 presents to open on Christmas morning.Which is really fun, to be perfectly honest, but is it necessary?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This week

Wow, what a week: finals, stomach virus, baby born, lactation class due, applications due, Christmas parties, etc. It's Friday and I'm still reeling for the events of this week. On Monday night we had Valerie Hudson's farewell/Christmas party. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us, to see the lives that she has changed here and to know the amazing things she will do in the future. We had a great time, and Tim and I WON. CHRONOLOGY. That is a really, really big deal.

Hello, Theodore! (this is the few of us that were left, there were A LOT of people there)

Then on Tuesday we received a phone call from Casey and Melissa that they were throwing up all night. Knowing that Theodore spent the morning with them while I was at work, I was incredibly nervous that night. Lo and behold, around 10 pm, I started throwing up. And throwing up. And throwing up. Bleh, bleh,  bleh. I didn't sleep all night and it was miserable. Stomach virus + pregnancy = MISERY. Finally, around 8 am I could not stand up because I was so weak, dehydrated, and tired so we headed over to UVRMC for some fluids and Zofran. It took the nurse multiple attempts to get an IV in because I was so dehydrated, when I usually have awesome veins and it's really easy. Four hours later, we were home and sleeping. The next day I was still so sore and miserable, but SO much better.

Back up to early Tuesday morning, circa 4 am. I was lying awake miserable when I heard a faint scream-like sound. I jumped up to investigate and grab my phone, because we have a scary alleyway next to our house and I thought someone was being abducted or mugged or something. I go to find my phone and look outside to find ambulances, fire truck, and multiple police cars (?!). I go on the front porch and realize a hoard of burly firefighters/paramedics are coming to my house... for a moment I'm confused and then DUH, it hits me. Baby being born, in the basement. Sure enough, I go back inside and hear additional screaming and about 15 minutes later, Jennifer is wheeled out on a stretcher with her new little girl. It was pretty nuts.

Fast forward to Thursday night: first, we had a Christmas party for PEIP, Theodore's speech therapy program. It was well-organized but there were a million people there. We mostly just let him play and do crafts, and stayed for about an hour before we headed to the Nielson home for dinner and Tim's oral final/discussion for is Political Science class. Theodore and I wandered the house and played with Rob, the Nielsons' adolescent son (who was so cool, and Theodore LOVED... he has grown up so much since he was the crazy 9-yr-old running around at ward activities four years ago...). He had some pretty intense Lego creations which were pretty awesome to a 2-yr-old boy.

Coloring at dinner at the PEIP party

Not excited to meet Santa

Sensory room

Theodore loves Rob

Browning men + Nielson men

Now, Tim is working. And I'm finishing my lactation course. Learning about NG tubes and kernicterus. Thinking about going to the Beehive Bazaar. Not sure if I want to take the kid to it though...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Being a mother, in my own way

You know those times in Sunday School where you just need to say something but then the moment passes and you don't say it so you have to come home and blog about it?

Maybe not, but I do.

Tim and I have been attending the "Marriage and Parenting" class at Church. Mistake numero uno. The only reason I went today is because the nursery is really close to it, and Theodore has been having a hard time the past few weeks when we leave, so I was nervous he would freak out, and we can hear the kids crying from our room so I would know and be able to go get him (I'm not really into letting him cry for silly reasons...) Anywho. If last week's lesson on fatherhood was frustrating ("how do we support our husbands as fathers?" "make sure the house is clean and SMELLS GOOD when they get home... even if you had a bad day, touch up your make-up and greet him with a smile, make him want to come home because he's been working SO HARD ALL DAY"), this week's lesson on motherhood was slightly upsetting. I love the teacher. She is actually a beautiful person, my best visiting teacher ever, and just as sweet and friendly as can be. And I actually agreed with a lot, partially. Mothers are irreplaceable and awesome and love their children unconditionally. But then came to the part about working.

Here's how it went: Some mothers have to work to support their families, and we feel awful for them and they do the best we can. But some moms also work so their families can live in big houses and drive fancy cars... and they really need to sort out their priorities and make sacrifices to stay at home with their children.

Uhhhh... what about the moms that love their jobs and work because they want to? Heaven forbid we should want to work outside the home, though, right? I certainly don't have to work, and I certainly don't work to have a big house and fancy car. I'm choosing to work because I genuinely enjoy it. I enjoy my kid too, but in a different way. I like my job a lot. And I feel a strong pull to go back to school and have prayed about it and it feels like the thing I'm really supposed to do. So, why not address that aspect?

Valerie Hudson gave her final lecture last Wednesday. She said something that really hit me. I've heard it before from her, but it never struck me in such a way. She told of how there were many nights when she fell to her knees and cried to God that she was done, she wanted to be home with her children (she had eight!) and not be a professor anymore. And each time, she received the same confirmation that God needed her in our classrooms at BYU. I know she has had so much influence for good at BYU, and her legacy and teachings will extend through the generations. She taught me what it was like to be a strong, independent woman and to speak my mind. That it's ok to be really smart. That women and mothers matter more than I realized (and that childbirth could be natural and breastfeeding a 2-yr-old is not as weird as our society makes it out to be...) She has influenced my ideas and helped me become the woman, wife, and mother I want to be. How grateful am I that she listened to God during those hard times when she was exhausted and over-stretched.... how grateful am I that her husband is supportive of her career and a wonderful father and husband. Her kids were not neglected in any way, they always had a loving and involved parent around. Just like my children will have. And maybe at some points it will be their dad, and maybe at some points it will be their mom. And they'll be ok.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life. Mostly, breastfeeding.

Time is flying as we are right smack-dab in the midst of school and work for Tim, work for me, applications for me, and oh yeah, that Lactation class I signed up for in September thinking I'd have time to do it. And oh yeah, it's due in like a week and a half. Good thing I'm mostly done, and I have lots of time at work when I'm in American Fork because no one needs help with breastfeeding in North Utah County. I'm learning so much though... if I thought I knew about breastfeeding before, wow, do I know a lot now. It's the class you take to become an IBCLC, so it's really thorough, and some of the assignments and tests are fairly challenging. The lectures are phenomenal. The professor is hilarious, and having worked in the field for decades, has so many great breastfeeding stories. I'm in the section on jaundice right now, and holy cow, do we get SO much misinformation on jaundice in the hospital from the doctors and nurses! Geez. I have moms come in ALL the time in tears because they are having trouble getting their babies to nurse because of getting bottles in the hospital because of "jaundice" and needing to supplement. Or wait, also there are like a bazillion reasons doctors and mother-baby nurses push supplementing in the hospital... and most of them are completely bogus. But, you probably don't care, so moving on to the next item of business.

Theodore: holy cow, he is growing up like crazy these days. He is starting to talk up a storm, though we are still worried about his hearing because he pronounces things crazy and most everything sounds the same, though we know what he means. His favorite words are: iPad, Pooh, Elmo (mel-mo), off/on, dad, apple, banana (nan-a), snow, owl, and of course, ball. He can identify every letter in the alphabet, and knows the sounds for well over half. He's even starting to sound out words when he watches Super Why, which is pretty impressive in my book. I think he may be reading before he talks in sentences. He is sleeping really well at night as long as one of us is with him, which we don't mind. And he still nurses 1-2 times a day, which I'm contributing to the fact that he has not had a single cold yet to date this season! Such an improvement over last year....

As for me, my applications are almost completely done and submitted. I've applied to five schools, and am wondering if should apply to more to be on the safe side, but I'm so burned out and running out of time that I don't know if I'll end up doing any more. Thusfar, Yale, Michigan, Wisconsin and Rutgers are done and submitted, and Urbana-Champaign is still in the works. I'm ready for it to be over with, all the application fees to be paid so I don't have to worry about it anymore, and at least one acceptance to be in the mail :) But.... only time shall tell. Hopefully the admissions committees don't hate mothers and babies because I wrote about having a kid in my personal statement. I was told it could either hurt or help the application, depending on who reads it. But, do I really want to go to a school that discriminates against mothers?

Doing a puzzle over Thanksgiving with Tim's dad and sister

Helping mom clean while wearing dad's hat and glove

Day after Thanksgiving was spent at the Dinosaur Park in Ogden

Nearly 27-months update

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today was kind of awesome*. We accidentally left our bag of chicken at Target when we were shopping, and I was really bummed about having to drive all the way back to get it. On the way home, however, I decided to drop in to that overpriced baby box store known as Babies 'r Us. I have never bought anything at this place, I just wanted to see if they had the Britax infant seat so I could see just how big it really was and if it would fit in the back of our Civic. Well, they didn't have it, so I was leaving, when I spotted a lone Combi Coccoro box sitting in the aisle. Sweet, I wanted to check these out for a long time and no other store has them, I thought. I asked if they carried it, and they said no, it was just an online return. I asked her to price check... not that I would buy it at overpriced baby box store when I figured it would be a lot less on Amazon. To my amazement, it was $75!! I could not believe it. Apparently they were just wanting to get rid of it since they don't carry it in the store. Same car seat online at same store is $199.99.

Thus ends the epic car seat showdown. No infant seat after all, just a beautiful, carrot-colored Coccoro.

And you know what? I don't care if I am obsessed with car seats. In less than a year I'll be at a top 10 university (hopefully) getting a PhD. So, I get to obsess over trivial matters for the time being.

And then to top it off, I used two coupons and bought some new cloth diapers and a changing pad and wet bag for a really good deal. Happy birthday to me!

*another great thing about today: I got my GRE scores in the mail today and scored 97th percentile on verbal and 84th on math and 96th on analytical writing... woohoo!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Single motherhood

No, Tim didn't leave me. But he did start working this week at Target, and has been gone pretty much all afternoon, evening, and night. I'm working mornings, then he leaves as soon as I get home and doesn't get back until we are fast asleep. It's weird being the one holding down the fort solely, and I thought it'd be a lot harder than it has been. Mind you,  my child is fairly easy-going and still takes long afternoon naps (though goes to bed fairly late... 10 or 11). I thought I wouldn't be able to handle doing the nightly routine alone after being so spoiled by our arrangement the past year, but really, it has not been difficult, and I'm feeling more and more confident in my ability to be a mother to two. Theodore and I have been watching a documentary on dinosaurs by the BBC the past few nights for half an hour each night, and we just lay in bed, cuddle, and have a midnight snack of cereal and yogurt. Knowing that I have to do everything has actually helped me get everything done.... the dishes get done, the teeth get brushed, the child gets to bed without a fuss. Our evenings used to get kind of chaotic as we negotiated who does what, and sometimes things got neglected.

I know I still have it pretty dang easy. One child, husband who is home in the mornings with him, two great jobs that we both enjoy, lovely house to live in, and knowing this arrangement will only be for a few months. But having my life be a little harder than before has been kind of nice, and now I feel like I can relate a little to my friends whose husbands are working nights or long hours. I used to think "how can they do that?!" but now I see how. With a lot of coloring books, play-doh (and by play-doh, I mean bread dough....), late night walks, and dinosaur documentaries.... that's how we're thriving around these parts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My baby wish list

We didn't really buy a lot of "stuff" for Theodore. Besides being financially insecure (which we still are.... sigh), I kind of wanted to shun the "you have a baby, you need ALL THIS JUNK!" mentality. We went through a few things to test them out (a crib, a swing, a travel system) but mostly I just bought them for really cheap on KSL and then sold them for more (actually, working on selling the crib still, anyone interested? It's super cute). We would keep it, but will probably be moving in Clementine's first few months, and definitely before she's ready for the crib (read: I'm ready to not cuddle my precious newborn all night long). Co-sleeping had it's upsides and downsides, but overall, I'm ready and more than willing to do it again. Theodore is a happy, well-adjusted, securely-attached and incredibly outgoing and confident child. Not sure where the co-sleeping fits into the causes, but if it did at all, it was worth it. However, we WILL be buying a king-sized mattress for our next "bed." I have the feeling there will be some nights where all four of us will end up together...

On to my wish list though. There are not many things, but after getting all experienced with the first kid, I have a really good idea of what I will definitely be purchasing once we settle down:

1) Changing table: one thing I considered completely unnecessary with my first baby. Who actually uses a changing table?! But with cloth-diapering and then a squirmy toddler, I realized how much I yearned for one. You see, with cloth-diapering, there is so much stuff to keep up with. Pre-folds, inserts, covers, spray, wipes, creams, pins, Snappis.... etc. For a while, we had a basket and then a drawer dedicated to all the materials, but it would have  been nice to have it all in one accessible location and go there to change every time. I love the pockets on this one from Ikea. But let's be honest, unless I could find it used, I'm sure I'll end up with an old, cheaper wooden one. Which would be grand by me.
Photo: Ikea

2) Didymos Wrap: ok, I like wearing my baby. That has been established. However, once Theodore hit about 18 pounds, it became pretty unbearable for my back. The Sleepy Wrap and Moby Wraps were just too bouncy and not supportive enough (LOVED them for the newborn stage though). I never have liked the buckles and everything on an Ergo and Boba. These are SO gorgeous and SO expensive. Sigh.... (ps: did just find one on KSL for $75 in this color below.... tempting....)

Photo: Amazon

3) Car Seat: So, kind of a generic want, but also an essential one. I really, really love the Combi Coccoro still, and they are re-doing it with those freaking awesome Britax-like LATCH connectors which seriously rock my car seat installing world. I would totally opt for another Britax Roundabout, but those things are so ginormous, there is no way I could a) fit two side-by-side, or b) rear-face it by the door. By the way, we turned Theodore around last week. He is now a veritable forward-facing toddler. I was really sad, but he was getting very uncomfortable and his head was inching closer to the top of the shell. I'm all for extended rear-facing, but I don't get how some of these car seat advocates have their four-year-olds rear-facing! Maybe it's our car...?

Back to car seat needs: Love the Combi. Will probably get it in the future. I didn't really see the need for an infant seat with Theodore and he was in a convertible after a few months (because I hated, hated, hated our cheap Graco infant seat that I could never get installed correctly, bounced all over the place and just sucked in general). BUT, that being said... I'm kind of wanting to invest in a nice infant seat, especially since I know I have small babies and we could use it for one year plus some. I never keep my baby in the infant seat outside of the car, but I remember a few times when it was ridiculously cold, it was super nice to have him all bundled up underneath that car seat cover-up thing before we head out to the car. And seeing as how one of the places we may live next year includes Wisconsin (or Connecticut or New Jersey), we may be in for a very, very cold winter. So, do I want to spend the extra money (well, technically my parents are buying us a car seat for Christmas, but if I buy the infant seat, I'll have to replace it in 18 months or so...) and get the infant seat even if I could only use it for a  year because maybe I'll be living somewhere very cold? Oh, the car seat dilemmas in my life. Why, oh why, do I worry so much about them? Anyways.... that being said.... if I did buy an infant seat, I'd probably go with the Chicco KeyFit or Britax Chaperone. In fact, it would either be the Britax Chaperone in Cowmooflage or the Chicco KeyFit in Limonata because of this study here on toxicity of car seats (darn you, Maren, for giving me another thing to obsess over!) Now, not only do I have to consider the safety of the car seat and the quality, I have to figure out which COLOR is less toxic (even though I was pleasantly surprised the Cowmooflage was least toxic... everyone knows I love a cow-print car seat).

So yeah, three things we'll be buying for this little girl (or probably not buying, but wanting to have). Luckily, we already have a full six-month wardrobe courtesy of my good instincts and an on-campus clothing exchange with tons of baby girl stuff. So, we won't need to be buying any clothes, though I did pick out a few adorable BabyGap outfits for a dollar each at DI the other day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


We went trick-or-treating. Theodore was crazy about it. He was really awesome at first, saying thank you and please and taking one piece of candy when prompted. We knew it was time to quit when he shoved his hand in, grabbed a handful, turned around and ran.

(I know this is upside down...)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My impeccable maternal sex-determining instincts

 Clementine is indeed a Clementine.

Um, how freakishly cute is that little Tigger?

We went camping last weekend in AF Canyon. It was cold... very, very cold but also very enjoyable. That is Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Food times

Have I mentioned I love fall? I think I have. One of my favorite factors about fall is the cooking. Cooking in the summer is pretty lame. Especially if you lack air conditioning. Who wants to slave over a hot stove and create a hot meal when it's hot outside? I, for one, do not. But, as soon as the weather cools (and the pregnancy nausea subsides, in our case this year), it's back to the kitchen for me. I'm not terribly domestic and HATE most housework with a passion, but I love to cook. And I like to think I'm quite good at it.

One of the greatest foods of fall is the butternut squash. I don't think I ever ate butternut squash until I was married. Maybe when I was single and in college, but why did my mother never utilize this versatile and wonderfully delicious vegetable?! Mmmm... butternut squash soup, butternut squash ravioli, and last night was Maren's recipe for butternut squash mac and cheese. Served alongside pumpkin chocolate muffins.... and grilled chicken and peas.

I also have to share my mom's Brunswick Stew recipe. Guys, seriously, make this. It is absolutely to die for. Maybe I just think so because it's my mom's recipe. I don't know. To me, it is heaven in a bowl.

Step 1: Boil chicken breasts (1-2, depending on how much chicken you like) in chicken broth and some water until cooked, tender, and falling apart. I actually used leftover crockpot rotisserie chicken from the days before and boiled the carcass for a few hours to make broth. It worked well. My mom thinks cooking whole chickens is gross. So yeah, proportions for chicken broth to water I don't know exactly, but maybe 2 cups of broth to 1 cup of water?

Step 2: Next, add -
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can condensed tomato soup
About 2 medium potatoes, diced into good-sized chunks
About 3 carrots, cut into chunks

Step 3: Cook for.... 20 minutes? 30 minutes? Just simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender-like. Then add about 1/2-3/4 bag of frozen baby lima beans and a good bit of frozen corn (2 cups). Cook for 10-ish more minutes.

Step 4: Add one whole stick of real butter (if you are watching your figure, 1/2 stick would probably do, but don't skip it entirely!). Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy with a large hunk of homemade bread. This is crucial.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

REI Garage Sale

We love REI around here. Yes, it's pricey, but if you use coupons you can get killer deals, and if you buy full-price and are a member, you get a rebate at the end of the year of about 10%. Not to mention, nothing can beat their return policy! You can return anything, anytime, for any reason. You buy a pair of boots, wear them for five years, and decide they didn't last long enough? You can return it. Buy a tent, use it a season and the poles break (like ours did this year... unfortunately it was from Target)? Return it. You are paying slightly higher prices, but for such an amazing warranty it is worth it in our opinion.

Which brings us to: the REI Garage Sale. I went yesterday with my friend Austin sans husband and child, and we got some pretty amazing stuff for insane prices.

Exhibit A:

REI Siesta 35 Double Sleeping Bag

$66. It had been used ONCE. And whoever bought it decided it wasn't warm enough and returned it. We even went on a spontaneous camping trip with our new-ish Hobitat 4 tent last night. The sleeping bag was very, very warm. Not quite big enough for the three of us, so I ended up sleeping on my own in our single sleeping bag. The tent was huge, so much bigger than we were expecting, but really comfortable compared to our old Coleman tent. We paid about $130 for it a few months ago during a sale. With four of us who will be camping next year, we not needed a new tent out of necessity since our old one broke, but also for more space. It's harder to put up and requires two people, but there are few larger tents that are easy to put up.

Exhibit B:

Sorel Winter Boots

$6. No joke, they were that much. They are used, the bottoms are a little worn out, but still have a ton of life left.

Exhibit C, D, and E:

Five Fingers

All of these were in great condition, mine had been worn once! I paid about $20-25 for each pair. I thought they would be $50, so I originally only bought Tim one pair. But because we had been there so long (Austin and I were there for three hours), they had dropped all of the shoes by 50%. So, they were half-price. Awesome. I'm only bummed that I didn't buy the Dansko clogs I had grabbed earlier. I didn't want to spend $50 on them, but would have gladly paid $25. Oh well. Tim wears his Vibrams pretty much exclusively now for running, which he does every day. I'm going to wear mine for hiking and aerobics and just walking around outside with Theodore. I usually wear Tom's or my Simple shoes for walking and playing outside, but they are getting worn out really fast, so I'll save those for fancier occasions like work and church.

Exhibit F:

Deuter Kid Comfort II

We have been looking for a more comfortable pack for hiking with. Theodore loves being in Casey's backpack when we borrow it because it is a lot more comfortable than our Kelty one, and we wanted something that wouldn't hurt Tim's back. It holds a lot, is lightweight, incredibly adjustable, and we paid about $100 for it. Not bad...

I also bought Tim some warm long underwear for camping and running but I didn't feel the need to put those on here (they were only $4, ps). Austin got some pretty amazing stuff too, like a gorgeous down sleeping bag, more Five Fingers, a wet suit (for surfing in Seattle), and a sleeping pad. She also tried out her new gear with us last night (except the wet suit). She was extremely happy about her purchases as well. I really was looking for a nice warm coat for the winter (they didn't have much in terms of coats), but with the purchases at the garage sale we received a $20 coupon to REI, so I'll use that at the outlet to get a good price on a nice soft shell or down jacket. I was hesitant to go the Garage Sale because the last one was way overcrowded and we didn't find much, but was so happy I went to this one. We used the money from the sales of our bed and couch to fund our purchases. I would say it was a good decision :) Especially now that Tim has a new job... more on that later...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disturbing Parenting

At the library the other day, there was a dad who had brought his daughter to story time (we also brought Theo and took some good pictures which will go up on his blog). The girl did not want to go to story time and just wanted to play on the toy computers there for the kids instead. The dad, who apparently thought it was vital that his daughter go to story time, threatened her with really horrific acts of violence if she didn't go back. No joke, no sarcasm. It was super disturbing. I wont quote him, but it was graphic and bloody. Listening to it made me and everyone else around uncomfortable, although it didn't seem to phase the girl.

What do you do in those situations? Cait wanted to go to a librarian, but by the time she found an  opportunity, the guy was gone. I wanted to confront him, but I'm always hesitant with confrontation and I wasn't sure it would do any good, probably just make him madder. Has anyone been in a similar situation and what did/would you do?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yes, yes, we still exist

Life continues to be oh-so-blissful.... most of the time. Except when I have minor breakdowns of swearing in the morning when it's 7 am, I'm leaving for work, and I spill a large container of mashed turnips and peas on the kitchen floor. That sucked.

But.... I love fall. Love it. The anticipation. The holidays. The crunchy leaves, the cooling weather, the gorgeous hiking. It's been a good fall. I love busting out the large pot and cooking up batch after batch of veggie soup, bean soup, chicken noodle soup, lentil soup, creamy soups, while a fresh loaf of bread is rising in the oven. Mmmmm. I love the sweet potatoes and the turnips and the butternut squash and the apples.

I love knowing that each passing season brings us just a little closer to our next lifetime love. The more Theodore grows and learns and becomes independent, the more my maternal longing for a snuggly and sweet-smelling newborn increases.

Speaking of a fetus, this one is feisty. I'm convinced it is a girl, so until proven otherwise, she is a she. And she is awesome. She definitely has made her presence known for a while now. I felt movement at 15 weeks.... which is like two whole months earlier than with Theodore. I wasn't convinced at first because it just seemed way too soon, but alas. Move she has. Tim even felt a few good jabs this morning during a documentary on Islam that we watched in Theodore's bed while waiting for him to wake up in ours (we still are playing musical beds around here, you never know where you will end up! make life exciting). I'm kind of ashamed that I have not documented this little fetus like I did with the last, but I figure it is the sad, true story of subsequent children. There is just little time.  In fact, just as I typed that, Theodore came up to me wanting help on his iPad game I thought would entertain for the ten minutes I needed to write this post. Ahhhh, distraction.

As for my own personal exciting life, I took the GRE on Wednesday, did incredibly well, and am now looking forward to finishing up my personal statements and submitting my applications. All that's left as letters of recommendation, which I have already asked my three dear professors for, and my work there is done. Deadlines are in December, and I should know by March-ish where we'll be heading next year. And I'm so ready for moving on to our next great adventure.

Future climber

At the park

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dear Atticus,

You are becoming so quirky and ridiculous it would be a shame to not document. Every day, you crack us up with your shenanigans, and while you may not be the most well-behaved child, you are certainly one of the most endearing.

At two years old, your favorite meal is stroganoff. You devour the mushrooms and beef chunks. The first time I fed it to you I was floored.

Your favorite foods are probably peaches or scrambled eggs. You also devour those.

You love letters, especially signing them. You've got a good handle on signing R and A, and you can identify M, R, O, P, T, S, A, B, C, Z... and maybe some others. You are really good at making the sounds for M, R, O, and S whenever you see them. You may not say many words yet and the pediatrician may think you're autistic, but we're ok with that because we know how secretly brilliant you are. You get super excited whenever Rachel from Signing Time comes on and signs letters. We play it over and over again and you sign right along.

You also love playing with other kids--your best friends are Alice and Annabelle--and you are (and have always been) crazy about going to nursery. We think you are very securely attached, and we like that. You love being watched by other people, and while we know you (kind of) miss us, you rarely show it. It makes for easy date nights for mom and dad (though we rarely take them). You still get upset though when mom or dad goes to work or school.... you like having the whole family together.

You still can be a rotten sleeper, and don't fall asleep on your own. Most nights we don't mind reading and cuddling with you until you fall asleep on your mattress on the floor. But other nights... we wish you would just lay down and not take an hour to fall asleep when we are tired. We have found that if you are well-fed than you tend to sleep at least 8 hours straight, which is pretty awesome in our book.

You hate getting dressed or taking off your clothes. Sometimes you love baths, sometimes you think if you get in you might DIEEEEEEEE. You love climbing, especially rock-climbing in the canyon. I wonder how small they make rock-climbing harnesses and helmets...

You think babies are perhaps the most awesome invention ever. You are fascinated by them and always go crazy signing "baby, baby, baby" whenever we see them at the park or church. Hopefully this will continue in the near future.

You are still nursing a few times a week. We've cut down quite a bit now that mom is achy and pregnant, but you like it so much you ask for it every so often and I oblige you. I think the end is near though, which breaks mom's heart.

We think you're great, in more ways than one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I cancelled my Kindle Fire order

I was super excited for the Kindle Fire. I love my Kindle, probably too much, and I also love our Ipad, though not as much. The combination of the two seemed like a great idea. Here's what changed my mind:

No way to link a keyboard. I like to be able to treat our ipad like a laptop sometimes by connecting the wireless keyboard and doing some good typing. It doesn't seem like there will be any way to do this on the Kindle Fire.

No microphone, so I couldn't use it to record things instead of typing them. It also doesn't replace a digital recorder for classes like I hoped it would.

Hand in hand with that: No camera, so no way to skype while I am in DC (more on that in another post).

I know that these features are all taken out to get the price to $199. But I realized that without these features, I wouldn't use my Kindle Fire for hardly anything. The screen is a little too small to make it a good replacement for home mobile browsing and no 3g doesn't make it a great mobile solution either. My regular kindle has a very slow but functional wifi web browser that I can use in emergencies. I wouldn't read books on it, because the e-ink kindle is so much nicer than a screen to read on when I am on the go. I have an ipod for music and audiobooks. So really, the only thing I would use the fire for would be occasional web browsing and watching movies and tv shows that I go to the trouble of transferring or streaming, and again, I would rather do that on the bigger Ipad screen. Watching movies on the go isn't something I really want to do anyway, it seems too plugged in if you know what I mean.


This post from mnmlist pretty much sums it up. I don't need it, so why buy it. The Kindle has simplified and enhanced my life in a meaningful way, I just don't see the Fire doing the same. Sometime, I need to write a post about our meager attempts at Minimalism and how much more I'd like to do of less.

And finally, Financial:

We are poor college students. We don't have $199 to toss around. We did buy a nice mac and an Ipad, but that was after a lot of thought and looking at other options. This just didn't make the cut as useful enough for the cost.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Theo pictures

Up on the other blog. It's very early, but Theo wants to be up. So I will blog.

Summer endings

Some recent photos of Atticus as we try to get caught up.

Theo cloth diapers

Classic life

Theo used his new ipad app to surround himself with friends

And to put a banana, an upside-down yellow hat and Curious George on his face

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Recent Pictures

I haven't blogger here nor there for a while, but here are some recent pictures: they might do with some explanation, but just consider these catchups and maybe I'll do better next time.

A more meaningful fast

In the LDS church, we are asked to fast once a month, meaning we abstain from food and water for 2 meals and give the money that we saved on not eating to the church to then give to the needy. Read more about this here. I just wanted to share something that has made my fast more meaningful. I don't at all advocate this as necessary or even beneficial to all, but just to suggest it as something that has been meaningful to me. I also don't want to suggest that I've moved past "regular" fasting. I still struggle with regular fasting, a lot. But here is something that has helped me to add meaning my fast and focus on the real reasons for it.

The last four or five times I've fasted I've tried to fast from more general consumption. I'm not consuming food or water, so I thought I'd avoid other forms of consumption too, and try to have it as a day where I focus on creating. What that has meant in practice is mainly avoiding consuming media, although I also have avoided shopping or other forms of entertainment while I'm fasting. I'm a big media guy. I don't watch too many movies, but I do read a lot of books, news and listen to music and audiobooks frequently. Giving those up, while it should easy, has proven very difficult, but rewarding.

I think the main benefits are that I have a quiet space in my life and my mind to contemplate where I am at and what I am fasting for. I think creation is such an important part of life that I often miss out on by consuming too much. Creation, for me, takes a wide variety of forms. Writing this blogpost is creation, while reading other blogposts would be consumption. Cleaning the house on Saturday night (or sometimes on Sunday, when there is a need) creates a more peaceful and mindful atmosphere in the home. Spending time with my family creates bonds that will last. All these things and others are what I like to focus on while I'm fasting from consuming.

Some caveats: I do read scriptures and other church materials while I'm fasting, but I try to focus on what I am supposed to become from reading, rather than just the stimulating and enjoyable act of consumption reading that I do otherwise.

So, what do our readers do to enhance their fasts (if you fast) or how have you found room in your life for creation? Leave a comment, if you please.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A breastfeeding rant, beware

I understand sometimes breastfeeding doesn't work. Sometimes babies have a hard time, for whatever reason: given a bottle at the hospital and lack of general support, in the NICU for prematurity, underweight and not able to transfer enough, cleft palate, moms going back to work full-time.... I see it all and I get it. Something that blows my mind and I just can't comprehend is these stay-at-home moms who are "too busy" with other obligations to breastfeed. Like I had one mom with something like three other kids, and argued with me forever about how she only was going to breastfeed the first month and then switch to formula because she wouldn't have help after that, and breastfeeding complicated her life too much. If you get past the first month (usually the hardest one) and breastfeeding is going well, why on earth would you consider formula EASIER?! It seems like it adds a ton of work to your load... buying the formula, preparing the bottles, feeding the baby, washing the bottles, etc. Especially if you have already got the breastfeeding thing down where it's just whip it out and feed the baby, carry on with daily life. Not to mention if you have older toddlers/preschoolers running around with their snotty noses, bringing home all sorts of who-knows-what into the house for the baby to catch, seems like you'd want that extra immunity protection.

Can someone help me understand why a stay-at-home mom would choose not to breastfeed due to time constraints even if things start out well in the beginning?!

Also... if you are too busy to nurture and cuddle your baby, why even have one? If you have too many other kids that you leave your babe in a carseat all day and prop up the bottle every few hours, why bother? (and what is with the carrying your baby in a carseat thing?! I will never understand. Those things are heavy, cumbersome, bad for babies' heads and development... why can you not just carry your baby in from the car if they aren't sleeping? And who doesn't want to hold their new baby ALL THE TIME? I know I did. I would fight with Tim in the beginning to hold him during Church, but most moms I see at Church just leave their baby in a carseat the whole meeting and occasionally look down and make a face or hand them a pacifier. Don't get it, at all).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So there were three parties for Theo. Actually two of them were pool parties, one thrown by Ash Mae and Carl to celebrate the next stage of their life and one by David Clark to celebrate friendship. But they were very close to Theo's birthday. We got pictures of neither, but be assured that they were great fun. We did get a few pictures (although not as many as we would have liked). Here are some:

Memories of last birthday
Surprise! The new baby came. Not really, this is our friend Jon and Tallia's baby


Yes, that is bike grease and ice cream with frosting. We are awesome parents.
Thanks to everyone who came: Ethan, the Bryners, the Ricks, Becca Ricks (no relation), David, Andy, Austin, Austin's friend and anyone else who I am forgetting.