Thursday, May 24, 2012


I will be the first to admit I am a bit of a paranoid mother. It's obviously a character trait passed down from my dear mother, who is known to constantly disclose the risks of any given activity (my sister's college roommates had an ongoing joke about everything they did mimicking my mom's "somebody has DIED doing that you know...") I was quite a carefree and reckless adolescent/college student, but now that I'm a mother I worry A LOT about my kids: drowning, suffocating, being electrocuted/kidnapped/murdered, falling off a cliff, getting bit by a rattlesnake, etc. And considering our outdoors lifestyle, there is a certain degree of risk you must accept. I think the word that comes out of my mouth most often when I'm playing with Theo is "CAREFUL!" And I often tell Tim the same thing... be careful, be careful, be careful even when I know he IS. Tim, however, is a lot more laidback. He doesn't worry about our kids falling in the Provo River, or launching themselves off a cliff. He is smart about it, but he lets Theo explore within certain boundaries and doesn't constantly hold his hand and monitor him. I think this will be good in the long-run, if they make it out of childhood unscathed (relatively). I want my children to be free to explore and be "free-range" kids, but I also am still pretty scared about their safety (I think this is a big reason why most kids are kept inside or only get to play at parks outside, there is so much that could happen, and sometimes does). I noticed the other day one of my child-free friends posted something on Facebook about the benefits of letting your children roam and explore and how she would do that when she had kids, and I wanted to say "just you wait! it's hard to let them do that without worrying!" and then I realized I HATED it when experienced mothers told me to "just wait" when I shared how I thought I would one day parent (and you know what, I loved my natural birth, I'm still breastfeeding my toddler, AND we co-sleep very happily, thankyouverymuch).

I also had a realization the other day when I was watching "Finding Nemo" that I needed to relax, a bit. I need to loosen the reins so my kids can experience life without their mother's constant worry. I had another realization when we moved in to my house and saw that all my little brother does is play video games in his room all morning and afternoon (he does work at night, I'll give him some credit). He was allergic to fire ants as a child, so my risk-averse mom didn't let him leave the house most months out of the year. And now he's the biggest couch potato I know.... still a great kid, very helpful and smart, but a royal couch potato. Theodore is a small, kind of wimpy kid who loves computer games and the iPad more than anything, so I think we will have to make a consistent effort to keep him outside and active.

PS: my dad said yesterday when I told him to be careful with the baby: "your mother and I haven't killed a baby yet! chill out!" and then he said "oh wait, I guess that's not entirely true!" (I had a little brother who died as a newborn, though not due to any fault of my parents'...) It was so funny, probably not something to laugh about, but I'm sure Ryan has a sense of humor.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Road Trip

Our road trip went so ridiculously smoothly I could hardly believe it. Our car functioned beautifully, gas prices were moderate everywhere, the kids were so perfect in the car it was like a commercial with good kids. We found our campgrounds with no trouble, there was always space and most of them were very  nice. We met some lovely Israelis and some [interesting] Arkansans. No one got hurt or sick or sad and there were minimal arguments (none I can think of). Both kids slept like rocks in the tent all nights. We camped a total of five nights, stayed one night in a hotel due to a veritable monsoon in Texas/Oklahoma, and stayed two nights at a lovely quaint bed and breakfast. By the end, we were dirty and craving real food, but I was impressed by my ability to plan a road trip that long with two babies and how well it was executed, with minimal iPad help.

Here are some pictures (from one camera, at least):

All of our possessions in one car -- farewell, dear Provo!

Random petting zoo at rest stop in southern Utah... starring alpacas, zebras, and a couple of ostriches

Iron Gate Inn

She liked the tent much better than this picture suggests

Shuttling around Zion

Tim really liked this squirrel, and it liked him back

Hiking to the Emerald Pools

Breakfast all around

Trusty, cheap Coleman tent

Her favorite spot


Atticus's speech has exploded in recent months. He now knows about every word out there plus has a few favorite sentences that he says on a regular basis. He can sing many songs, including anything from Wonder Pets, Little Einsteins, Super Why plus some nursery favorites like "Follow the Prophet" and "Jesus Wants Me for a SunBEAM". He knows the ABCs backwards and forwards (not really, but close) and can sign them as well. He is picking up signing a lot more now because he is loving Signing Time! recently. He is always requesting Alex and Leah.

Some of his funnier sayings include:

"Why?" (not exactly funny in itself, but he always says it when he trips/gets hurt/something falls over, and the look on his face is SO hilarious)

"I vuv you... I vuv you toooooo" (he will say "I love you" and if someone doesn't respond, he will automatically respond for you... especially funny when he's being a brat and doesn't want you around so he says "BYE... I LOVE you" then responds "I love you toooo" to himself... doesn't seem funny on paper, but it is, trust us)

"We have to HELP HER" (said when Lula crys)

"I'm a boy, boy, boy proud to be me" (song from Signing Time! that Atticus is always singing about himself. He also likes to point out the sex of others as well, which can be awkward when he gets it wrong...)

"Want some mom milk... PWEEEESE" (said with an enticing little face that almost makes me give in... ok, so I give in sometimes, then when he's done after about 2 seconds, he says "Lula's turn")

"No finks!" (This is "no thanks" and he says it ALL. THE. TIME.)

"I vuv you, Mommy/Lula/Daddy"

He is always talking to my parents' dog, Bear. He'll tell him to go outside or to sit or to go catch the ball. Sometimes we leave him in my parents' fenced in backyard for hours while they entertain each other. It's AWESOME.

I can't believe what a calm, collected, pleasant child he continues to become. He can entertain himself, he sits at the table and eats dinner with us (most of the time), he plays outside with the dog all the time, he is so nice to hang out with. Today we went to the zoo and he just walked around and held my hand and looked at the animals. No melt-downs or anything, even when he was so dead tired he could hardly stand. I think he is finally adjusting after the long road trip, and for that, we are grateful.

Deluge of pictures

She really is a pleasant person:

Early morning post-camping (eye goop!)

Tummy time at the Iron Gate Inn

She was sleeping so peacefully until I grabbed the camera and then she woke herself up

Who needs a bouncy seat!? Tallulah chills in camping chairs

She is a PRO camper

Pretend like this is rotated.... I'm too tired

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Month Two

Tallulah started smiling this month, my favorite baby milestone. Her smile is heart-melting, she has this precious little dimple and her eyes light up every time. She knows I'm her mom and it is the greatest feeling in the world. She is still nursing frequently, waking up 1-2 times at night, and now that she has a swing at my parents' house, she is sleeping [like a baby] during the day. We thought she was going to chunk up a lot more than big brother, but she's still in the 10-11 lb range, I'm guessing. No health insurance until September = no well-baby visits. But I'm guessing she is healthy by her appearance, and I think I'll go to a WIC clinic and weigh her sometime. She is just barely fitting into 0-3 month clothing, and by the looks of her, I don't think she'll fit in the 9 months fall clothes my mom bought her until we are well into winter. But... she will be one of the best-dressed babies... she has tons of new and adorable clothes (plus some hand-me-downs from the ever-fashionable Alice).

She loves:

- Her swing
- Sleeping in a tent (better than in a house, in fact)
- Atticus telling her that he loves her
- Long car rides (she was a CHAMP in the car.... nary a peep from the Lu!)
- Being sleepy-wrapped with Aunt Allison

She does not love:

- Bottles (yikes! not boding well for the fall...)
- Pacifiers
- Ticks (she got one on her head while camping... she hated me so much for pulling it out)
- Long car rides when she is hungry

One day, we'll post picture. We take a lot. Just haven't really gotten around to uploading them...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Home again, home again jiggidy jig

We made it to South Carolina last evening. After nine days "on the road," we were pretty much ready to be here and showered. We settled right in, though we still have mounds of laundry and a particularly smelly car to take care of (think rotten carrots + projectile baby vomit). It is more humid than I remember, and the heat is already oppressive in May. I have a feeling we will be spending many, many days by the pool...

The driving itself wasn't terrible, the kids were fabulous in the car for the most part. Tim may disagree with me on the driving not being terrible though, because he was the one who did 90% of it. We mostly camped (two nights in Zion, two nights in New Mexico, one night in Arkansas, and one night in Mississippi) though we had to get a hotel room in Oklahoma City due to torrential downpours. We are covered in mosquito bites, and I've already extracted two ticks from our bodies (one from Lu's head and one from my leg). Sleeping in a tent with two babies for that long is hard, but it was completely manageable (Tim was so over putting up the tent and taking it down after the first few nights though...)

But, we are here, my mom has graciously provided us with toys, clothing for the kids, and anything we could ever need. The showers have great water pressure and the kitchen is huge. Life can now calm down... until August.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cross-Country Tour

Saturday afternoon we embarked for our cross-country tour through the southern United States. Our first few nights were spent at a quaint bed-and-breakfast in Cedar City, Utah (for free!), where we have enjoyed a king-sized bed, a shower with not one, not two, but three shower heads (our dream come true, as we love family showers), and lovely jaunts around the neighborhood. Last night we ate delicious Mexican food at a local place in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. All in all, it's been a pleasant beginning to our road trip, as I anticipate many sleepless nights ahead (camping with two children guarantees that, but I think the family bonding experience and teaching our children about the importance of nature in our lives outweighs the rough sleeping arrangements).

So far, we have driven about three hours, and the kids slept great through it. About an hour outside of Cedar City, there was a rest stop where we had to stop because our belongings were flying off our car (scary, annoying but not that bad in the end, though I thought Tim was going to die when he had to run back and retrieve our blanket from the middle of a highway where cars were whizzing past at 90 mph). We ended up just putting everything in our car as our improvised bungee-cord-tarp set-up failed us, which makes for a tight fit and impossibility of seeing out the rear.

We are using our new GPS, and it tells us the eco-friendliness of our driving, which is a fun feature (it rates you based on speed, if you're on the highway, starting and stopping, fast acceleration). According to or something like that, fuel economy drastically decreases above 60 mph, so we're aiming for that speed all the way across the country, so it probably will even take us longer than the ordinary traveler.

I'm so excited for some of these campgrounds we are staying at, especially when we get in the southeast and they are on lakes in beautiful forests and we can go swimming.

Next few stops: Zion National Forest, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Grand Canyon.