Tuesday, December 22, 2009

merry merry

If I was the Christmas Card sending type of mom (maybe one day?) I think I most definitely would have used one of these pictures:


How grateful I am to celebrate the birth of our Savior, think of His life, and feel such profound gratitude for the infinite atonement. Truly, that is the magic of Christmas: that because the Christchild was born, we are saved. The peace of this season fills my heart. Merry Christmas!

december 09 festivities

I have a folder on my computer that has been collecting the pictures of all of the fun & festive things we have done this month to celebrate Christmas. I figured it would be easier to post them all at once rather than a separate post for each, so here I give you a month's worth of holiday fun :).

We have so enjoyed the holiday feeling this year. I feel so grateful for the cozy, easy way this month has seemed to pass. We have soaked a lot of Christmas spirit in, watching plenty of Christmas movies, baking almost constantly, and crafting and creating festive projects. 

Most of our Christmas fun has happened within the walls of our home, but we did venture out to The Festival of Trees at the beginning of the month to kick off the holidays. 

Little G was not so sure about being engulfed by a giant bubble, but after it popped on him he was all smiles.
We brought my little sisters along (and brothers and grandma, too, actually), and they had fun helping G do some of the little Christmas projects in the kids' area.

The next thing to check off our list was getting our tree picked out and brought home. G was pretty excited about having a big tree tied to the top of our car, and of course, thought he was an indispensable help to his daddy in getting the tree all situated in the stand. Notice his little step-stool in the picture-- he totes that around with him all over the house to "help" with whatever project is going on.

Here is the tree all lit up and decorated. G has not let me forget that our tree does not have "colors" on it this year, only "whites," and that next year he would like a tree with colors please.

I have seen a bunch of ornament wreath tutorials floating around on the internet. I went with the one that used a hanger, not a straw wreath, and I LOVED making it and I LOVED the final product. In fact, I loved it all so much that I made two of them. This was one of those projects that is so fun and satisfying to make. (Quite unlike the gumdrop wreath that I also started to make this year, but is not pictured here because I tediously made it about half way around the wreath with the gumdrops and got so sick of doing it that I haven't gone back to finish it since. I have half of a gumdrop wreath and about 3 pounds of gumdrops sitting in my room staring at me, but every time I have a free moment to sit down and get working on it, I think of something else I'd much rather be doing.)

I had never made a real gingerbread house before. I have decorated one using the kits you can buy, and have made a few out of graham crackers, but had never actually made and baked the gingerbread and then assembled and decorated the house. So this year G and I set out to learn how. First we made the gingerbread dough.

Then we rolled the dough out and used cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. (After this picture I realized that it would be a much better idea to roll out the dough onto parchment paper so I didn't have to lift it up and transfer it to a cookie sheet to bake. This made a huge difference in having smooth, even edges of the house to fit together.)

After a horrible realization that I had used the roof pieces for the sides of the house, and a construction intervention that salvaged the project thanks to my husband, I had so much fun decorating the house. My favorite part is the mini Charleston Chews I used to create the bricks on the front of the house.

G loved helping with the house. By helping I mean eating the candy as we went. One afternoon I found him in the kitchen on the table breaking the bottom halves of the roof cookies off and eating them. It was too classic to be mad at him (in fact, I had to leave the room to giggle about it), but he immediately felt bad (he definitely knew better) and started crying and apologizing over and over. The broken cookies give the house character, right?

I am not a fabulous chef by any means, but I do know how to follow recipes and cook, and usually stuff turns out okay. I got all excited to make caramel & chocolate dipped pretzels to give away, but holy cow, making the caramel for dipping almost made me crazy. I made three different batches, thinking it was turning out, but as it dried, the texture went all grainy and yucky-- not at all the soft, chewy caramel I was going for. It was so frustrating and I wanted to just throw them all away, but I couldn't quite stand the thought of just wasting it all. I did throw away a bunch of them, but the ones that weren't quite as bad I dipped in chocolate and decorated anyway. They taste just fine (my mom and J both loved them), but I don't want to give them away. So I shoved them all into a giant Ziploc bag on my counter and that is where they still sit. I don't know what to do with them.

My handy little helper and I have also made dozens of cookies, brownies, and other baked goods for various parties and activities. My favorite ones were the caramel filled chocolate nut cookies. I made this recipe last year for the first time, and it is so perfect for the holidays because you can make up a few batches of dough, shape them into balls, freeze them, and then when you are short on time but need a yummy homemade treat to take to a party or give away, you just pull some out and bake them. If anyone wants the recipe let me know and I can post it. It is too far away for me to get right now :).
G licking the beaters-- the baking skill he does best.
I took a picture of the process so you could get an idea of what you do. The most time consuming part is unwrapping all the Rolos. Then you just shape the dough around them, dip in a nut/sugar mixture, and
put in a Ziploc and freeze. Once they bake you drizzle them with melted white chocolate and they really do make such a yummy, pretty holiday treat.
After the baking, this is where G inevitably ends up. I am loving the modesty cup in this picture, and not loving how incredibly TALL this little boy of mine looks.

For the last three Christmases this has been our little family. I can't believe we've had that many Christmases with our little boy of joy, and oh how excited I am to celebrate Christmas with him this year-- I get butterflies thinking of Christmas morning and running out to the tree with him. I'm sure I'll take plenty of pictures and give you all a play by play at some point next week :).

Monday, December 14, 2009

he and me


I think I've mentioned before that I was not at all nervous to have a baby. I had zero apprehension about becoming a mom and caring for a newborn. I knew I could handle it and I was just SO excited that there wasn't room for any anxiety about it. 

Baby number 2, however? 

Not so much.

It's not that I'm panicky-worried, or that I'm not excited, or that I think I can't handle it. I am SO excited to have a fresh, tiny babe to hold, and I know I can handle it. And though I am a little nervous about the kinks it will throw in our schedule at first, I know that will work itself out in time. But the real bitter in the bittersweet feelings I'm having? 

Knowing that my time with just little G is coming to an end. Oh how I have delighted in each moment of having my best buddy and favorite friend be my little boy. I have so loved taking him with me wherever I go. Truly, he has never felt like a burden and I have spent almost all of his awake hours with him-- with the exception of one night away a couple of months ago, I think I could count the number of hours that he has spent away from me in his 29 months on two hands. While there is excitement and happiness in knowing that my family is growing (which is all I've ever wanted-- to have a happy, big family), there is also the twinge of sadness that it will never again just be daddy, mommy, and baby. I have so loved being our cozy family of three. I can't help but wonder if I will be as close to my little G as I am now once I add another baby to the mix. 

I know logically that my love will only be multiplied and my heart expanded for each child that I am blessed with. I know that as we add children to our family I will feel as though my soul becomes a little more complete with each one. I know that. It makes sense to me, and I am so looking forward to those thoughts and feelings. But I also know that I will always look back on these blissful days of just my boy and me with nostalgia and reverence and gratitude for the love and beauty that just he and I got to share together. I get a lump in my throat just thinking of it all.

Friday, December 04, 2009

mostly just tell me what to do with my hair

We partook in at least three Thanksgiving feasts. I was so busy eating that I didn't really take many pictures of the festivities except for these few of our early Thanksgiving in Idaho.

Best turkey I've ever had, Grandpa. Seriously. You wish your grandpa could cook like mine, I promise.

G licked the whipped cream off the beaters.

I love how no one is looking at each other in this picture. We were clearly all way too busy staring at our plates and stuffing our faces to engage in social interaction around the table.

And then, of course, some football was watched. The best part of this picture? J holding G's frankenstein spatula. That spatula seriously goes with us everywhere. G sleeps with it every night. Perhaps the best purchase my mom has ever made for G.

On the actual day of Thanksgiving we hopped in the car and headed south to eat with some of J's family in St. George. The food was delicious, the company was fantastic, the weather was divine, but I took exactly zero photos of it all. J snapped this one of some of the little kids out in the backyard playing in the waterfall. G was in heaven with his stick pretending to be fishing. He was soaking wet by the time we had to leave, and I'm positive that was the highlight of his entire Thanksgiving.
We left St. George and continued south to Las Vegas for one of my little sister's soccer tournaments. We had so much fun playing, watching Hannah's team win the whole tournament, and enjoying the warm temperatures, but again, I failed to even take my camera out with us once. I did get this really awesome picture of G in the hotel though, which makes up for all the other pictures I didn't take.

Did you notice that I am in exactly zero of those pictures? That has a little to do with the fact that I really didn't care about taking pictures in general over the weekend (obviously), but more to do with the fact that I could not stand my hair and I felt entirely unattractive most of the time. It was at that really awkward length of not short or long and I was tempted to chop it all off myself. Instead I waited and let my fabulous stylist (and cousin) get to work on it when I got home. It's short. Really short. I can't decide for sure how I feel, but it is definitely better than it was. I am kind of starting to miss long hair, but I can't figure out how I'll ever get it long again because that would require me to suffer through that awkward stage. Have any of you done that? Here is a picture of the current length. Short, huh? Yay or nay? Should I try to grow it out, or am I destined to have short hair forever more? Very important, not-at-all-superficial questions, I know :).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

weekly roundup II

This is actually more like week-and-a-half-roundup, but who's counting? Little G and I thoroughly enjoyed the warm spell we had before this latest (and likely constant for the next 4 months or so) cold hit. We went to parks and played in leaves and took walks collecting ants. I brought my camera along on one of the trips to Murray Park and took some pictures of my boy that I love because he is so full of expression in them. I narrowed these way down, but I had to include quite a few so you could see the variety of faces he was making. Oh how I love this little boy.
Surprised, maybe? I'm not sure what this look is, but he does it all the time.

A combination of happy and surprised I suppose.

Love how the hat accentuates his round, full cheeks.

Fishing off the bridge with a weed, of course.
This blank stare is the look I get about 97% of the time when I ask him to look at me for a picture. You'll notice it in many pictures.


And there it is again, though his mouth is a little different in this one.

Oh a smile! A real smile! That doesn't happen very often in pictures of him.

This look was because I was dropping leaves on his face from above to get him to look at me. He was both nervous and happy about it.

And this is when he is sick of me saying, "Look at Mama! Look at me just one more time!" so he covers his eyes which he thinks is hilarious.

And, once again, the blank stare. At least he has big blue eyes to compensate for the lack of expression otherwise.

Then it got cold. G is LOVING the snow and keeps saying things like, "I cannot believe this snow!" in the most excited little squeaky voice. He desperately wants to make a snowman, and has been known to beg for pajamas with snowmen on them at the store on at least 3 separate occasions. He finally got some today. Before church last week I let Baby G eat the caramel apple he got for Halloween outside in the snow. I'm not sure why I did that (dirty, wet, and freezing before church? I must be crazy), but I got a couple of cute pictures out of it.

One of the most distinct memories of G at this age will surely be the deep, monotone, repetative voice that he calls out from his bed to us with. At night he requests more songs, new water, a car to sleep with etc. In the morning it is always, "Moooooooom. I waaakeeedd uuuppp. Mooooom, Iiii'm awaaaaake." When I go in to get him this is what he looks like, and oh how I love it:

Last week also found my dear husband taking the GRE. As he left that morning I giggled that he was wearing his Tony the Tiger t-shirt from high school. When I said something about it he said, "I need a flannel shirt, too." That made me laugh even harder. You better believe that I thought it was pretty cute that he wanted to wear "lucky" clothes to take his test in, and I made him pose for a picture which he was not thrilled about. The picture is bad, but the memory it holds is great. His lucky clothes worked, grad school here we come.

For the weekend we took off to Idaho to visit Kim & Ken's family, watch Josh play in his state final football game, and have an early Thanksgiving dinner. I left G home with my brothers one afternoon to run to the grocery store and gave them very strict orders about not letting him leave their sight because he was going to need to go poop (Mom's know these things about their babies' bowel schedules) and he wouldn't just come tell them. Of course they let him leave and of course he had an accident. Of course they also left it up to my dear 8 year old cousin Emma to clean him up (boys are worthless with these things until they become fathers, I guess). When we got home everyone/thing was spic and span thanks to Emma, and we were very proud of her cleaning up abilities. Then we noticed the pile of SOS and Brillo pads in the sink. And then the line up of cleaning supplies on the counter. We had a very long laugh thinking about Emma scrubbing down my baby's most sensitive spots with Comet (with bleach, of course), glass cleaner, vinegar, and steel wool pads. I think it's safe to say that his bum has never been so clean :).
The cleaning supply lineup.

We loved being there for Josh's last football game of the season and to see them WIN state. So glad we got to be there in person. Here is Grandpa bundling up for the game. His old ski coat doesn't fit so well anymore, I guess.

G's coat does fit.

I loved looking down at the sidelines and immediately always being able to pick out my handsome Joshie. That copper hair is a dead giveaway. 

Best long snap in the history of the world, made possible by Gilliam (AKA Josh) himself. This was the play that got them the win!

Josh's arms up, declaring victory!

The next day was full of Thanksgiving festivities, but I'll post those pictures along with the Thanksgiving pictures I take tomorrow in another post. I love being married and having multiple Thanksgivings with both families. So much food, and you better believe this pregnant girl doesn't turn down any of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

go on ahead, give it a rub

My six-months-along belly. And the same finger prints on the mirror that were there last time. I did go ahead and clean the mirror after I took this today, though :).

I mentioned before that this pregnancy feels different to me than my last one. I wrote a while ago that this pregnancy I am doing away with any excess “stuff.” Last time was all about the novelty, excitement, and need-to-know-everything-so-I-read-everything frenzy of a first-time mama. I thought about the fact that I was pregnant constantly, and I wanted anyone and everyone’s opinion about pregnancy/childbirth/parenting. I craved information and wanted to be prepared.

This time I haven’t read a single “what to expect this week” update (last time I read them religiously), in fact I haven’t read anything about pregnancy at all. I don’t think about being pregnant constantly. I don’t crave information. I don’t want details. This time isn’t about information from the outside. I didn’t necessarily plan to be this new way of being pregnant, it has just kind of become me. (And perhaps this is fairly common with second pregnancies? I read similar thoughts on cjane’s blog last week, so maybe these feelings are somewhat typical?) Without all the outside stuff, I am feeling this pregnancy more from the inside. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to know the gender of this baby—no distractions of who this baby will be to keep me from savoring the purity of simply carrying a baby within my body. Last time I knew I was having a boy and my thoughts were constantly about what that little boy would be like when he came, rather than what he was like right then, while I was pregnant. This time I have been able to focus more on the fact that there is a tiny, beautiful body growing within my own, and I am loving the simplicity of just knowing that alone, and nothing else.

One thing that’s the same this time?

I still don’t mind people touching my swelling belly (love it, actually). Something about someone (even a complete stranger) being as happy for this most precious blessing of being pregnant as I am. I love it when people want to share it with me.

Friday, November 06, 2009

faces of two


Two-year olds are still so little. Two is not very old, and even though my two-year old
seems so big to me, the reality of his littleness makes me happy. I love that I still have so,
so many years left of him home with me. Here are some recent happenings with our little boy,
along with some pictures I took of him making faces the other morning when the light coming in
through my kitchen window was so lovely I couldn't ignore it.


One day last week I was cleaning out his ears. G was not loving it, so I stopped to explain
what I was doing. I said, "We have to clean out our ears because stuff gets in them. Do you
know what is in your ear?" After a moment of reflection he declared, "A wac." I was
stumped for a second, and then quickly burst into a fit of laughter when I realized what
he meant. A "wac" clearly is the singular form of "wacs." Otherwise known as "wax." Get it?
He's obviously heard me say I was cleaning out "some wax" before, and I think it is just
about the funniest thing ever that he would realize a "wac" was the right way to make "wax"
singular. The way kids just learn and pick up on stuff absolutely amazes me.


G has a really endearing habit of turning words into sweet, diminutive versions of themselves.
He has always called my mom "NeNe" (like "neigh neigh"), and has now started referring to her as
"NeNe-tootski," just because it's funny and playful, I presume. He also used to add "-o"
to the ends of many words (as in, "drink-o" or "Mommy-o"), and now he has changed to
"-io." Getting him out of bed to the phrase, "I just woke up-io!" is one of my favorite things.
I also love getting him "some food-io" and looking forward to when "Daddy-o" comes
"home-io." Tonight we are going to the movie theater to watch a "show-io" with our
"popcorn-io." Love this little talker.


Potty "training" came and went, but I hesitate to even call it "training," because it really
just kind of happened. He started wearing underwear and I took him potty every hour or so,
and that was it. In the first week or so we had a couple of accidents, but he mostly used the
toilet every time. Since then, we haven't looked back. As soon as he started wearing
underwear all day he also started waking up with a totally dry diaper. So we started wearing
underwear at night too, and have had only one accident in almost a month. Anyway, of
course there will still be occasional accidents I'm sure, but it is nice to be at this point. So
the other night I put G to bed, and about 20 minutes later I heard him calling for me. I
went in his room and he asked me to get him his "tiny black pillow." I couldn't find it (he
said he threw it), so I turned on the light. Out of the corner of my eye I just happened to notice
that the pajama bottoms and underwear I had put him to bed in were now on the floor off
to the side of his bed. I had to go look at him just to make sure I wasn't crazy, and yep,
sure enough, there he was laying in his bed completely naked from the waist down. If I
wouldn't have turned on his light to look for his pillow I probably wouldn't have noticed
and he would've slept in the nude. But I can't really blame him-- sometimes (especially
when I am pregnant and waistbands drive me crazy) I would like to sleep naked, too. This
whole getting naked by himself stuff is uncharted territory for us though (he never once
even tried to take off his diaper), so hopefully this doesn't become a habit that ever leaves
the privacy of our home. I can just see him stripping down in nursery.

Speaking of sleeping (sort of), can I just say how nice it is to have a baby that enjoys getting
his sleep? He seems to know that sleep is a good thing, and even though he will sometimes
protest starting in on bed/nap time, once he's asleep, he wants to sleep. If he wakes up
from his nap early and still tired I go in his room and ask him if he wants to get out or if he 
wants to lay down and go back to sleep while I sing him a song. He always wants to go back 
to sleep.


Now that I've made him sound practically perfect, let me share with you the roughest 90 minutes
we've ever had. It happened this week (Wednesday, to be specific), in between the hours of 4:30 
and 6:00 PM. We were at the grocery store. G was sort of restless, but I needed a few more
things, so I handed him a bottle of chicken bullion to look at. Very entertaining, I know, and
apparently he thought so too. Within a minute he threw it across the store and the bottle
shattered into a million tiny pieces and bullion cubes were everywhere. I was a little shocked,
but quickly got him out of the cart and made him pick up the bullion cubes with me. Then
he had to go put back his fruit leather that he had picked out as a treat. A little traumatic, 
but we got through it. We had been home no more than 4 minutes when he took a new bag
of tortilla chips out of the pantry and started stepping on them, smashing them to tiny bits.
A little time-out, and a stern-talking-to later, he was back in the living room while I was
cooking dinner. Within seriously like 2-3 minutes I went in to check on him and he had totally
broken one of my pumpkin decorations. Bless the fact that at this point his daddy walked in
the door. More stern-talking-tos, disappointed looks and sadness, and then into the bath.
Dad's job (thank heavens) because I was cooking dinner. Pretty soon I hear, "Oh no! That's
not what we do..." etc. coming from the bathroom, only to find out Baby G had decided
to throw his clothes into the filled tub. On the way out of the tub he threw his towel in.
Seriously. This all happened in the span of an hour and a half. Bedtime couldn't come soon
enough. I've been exceedingly grateful that the two days since Wednesday have been relatively
easy and free of any chaos of that kind, but I'm also realizing that there will likely be more
days like Wednesday ahead. He's two. That's part of his charm at this age, I guess, and if
living through days like Wednesday means I get days like today where he grabs my face in
his hands, kisses my lips, and proclaims, "You're my best friend, Mommy-o!" then I will take