Wednesday, May 22, 2013

9 months in, 9 months out!

Little J is 9 months old today! Clearly I am not on the ball in sharing details of my little people as they develop, but I thought I'd throw out a token blog post to appease the guilt within me.

First of all. This kid is cute. Enough said.

Mommy (more than anyone else)
Daddy (loves playing when he comes home from work)
Big brother L (giggles and gives excited kicks more for L than for anyone else)
Baths with L
Being outside
Gnawing on my chin (less pleasant now that he has four teeth)
Gnawing on anything else that isn't a toy
Most food he can hold in his hand and feed himself - no pincher grasp yet
Drinking water from a grown-up's glass
Smoothies - the only food he'll take on a spoon
Watching life happen from his perch on my hip
Playing chasing games with Mommy and L
Playful kisses under his chin
Hanging upside down
Scooting around on his tummy
Licking water off his high chair tray

Baby food (won't eat pureed peaches, but will gnaw on a broccoli floret)
Actually, he dislikes being served anything that the big people aren't eating. He loves to share!
Diaper and changes
Being held by anyone else when Mommy enters the room
Being set down on the floor
Being squirted in the face by his playful bathtime buddy
Coming inside
Sleeping through the night - he hasn't tried it yet, but he's pretty sure he'll hate it!

J is a sweet, sweet baby! No one else cares, but for my own records, he got his first tooth (a top one!) on April 23rd, followed by the second top on May 5th, a bottom one on the 8th, and the second bottom one on the 12th. L is impervious to pain, and I never knew he was teething until a tooth appeared. Not so for J! He's a sad, sad kid when he's working on a tooth!

He had his first ear infection on April 30th - the very day we had plane tickets for a nighttime flight to the west coast! I was nervous, but he (and L) were amazing on the plane. Easily the best behaved children on the flight - which is obviously not always the case, so I was definitely counting my blessings!

At that doctors appointment, he weighed 19 lbs. 9 oz. so he's holding steady right around 20 lbs. But, I swear he's gained a pound or two in the last couple of weeks because my arm just kills some days! :)

He is SO CLOSE to crawling. He began doing a tiny bit of tummy scooting about three weeks ago, and he's now able to move several feet pretty quickly. He's now lifting himself up to hands and knees and rocking back and forth. Won't be long! He surprised me in the bathtub tonight and pulled himself up to his knees on the side of the tub, and then to his feet while holding my fingers. Then he refused to sit, and the rest of the bath was a little hazardous!

Happy 9 months, J! We love you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cherry Blossoms

Now that we've done it twice, it's officially our tradition to go see the cherry blossoms in a beautiful neighborhood in Maryland. When the children are older, we'll venture downtown to the memorials once again, but for now, it's nice not to have to worry about parking and traffic and the crowds! We met up with a sweet little cousin, and made a day of it - playing at the playground, eating our hodgepodge picnic, walking through the cherry blossom lined streets, and splashing in the stream. This year, we also hit Georgetown Cupcakes on the way home, which I think will definitely become part of the tradition!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

General Conference - April 2013

L did NOT announce (as he has other times), "I HATE General Conference!" So we'll call this one a success!

Spring has FINALLY sprung (I hope it's here to stay!!!). We had outside time before conference in the mornings, and in between sessions, which helped break things up for L. It has been so nice to just get out and get some sunshine! Yay for Vitamin D!

For the first time ever, I actually got my act together and had a couple of conference activities for L to do. For Family Home Evening last week, we made these charts - the pictures of the prophet and apostles with a space next to their names. L enjoyed finding the one who was currently speaking and listening for a word to write down. He's just starting to show some interest in writing. I love all the little backwards letters. 

In case you're curious, L's list reads, "Temple, Sacrament, Light, Jesus, God, Good"

Snacks are important. I "planned" - I use that word very loosely - a fun snack for each session. Here L's trying to sneak something ;)

The picture below has nothing to do with Conference, but we are growing some awesome wheat grass! 

And here's little J who napped through most of each session! He was awesome!

And here's L in his uniform his friend's Spiderman costume. I'm totally going to have to order one, so I can return this one!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hair, there and everywhere

Hair, hair, how I have been neglecting you. I've been cutting my own hair, for better or for worse, for almost two years now. That sounds like a long time, but it really means three or four haircuts. I do it so infrequently that each time, it feels like the first time all over again, and I make some horrific mistake that dictates how short I must cut the rest! It's been awesome. But I have saved myself some serious money!

Recently, I watched all the Dressing Your Truth videos (the free ones - I'm so cheap!), and it confirmed what I had been feeling lately - my hair wasn't working for me! I needed something more structured, less all over the place. My hair used to be REALLY curly. I look back at pictures from my mission or our engagement pictures, and WOW - it was super spirally all over. After L was born, it relaxed a lot, and I think it may have even relaxed more after J, and I was left with waves. I've been styling them curly ever since we moved to the humid East Coast. Didn't seem worth it to bother with straightening. Plus, what mom doesn't want a hairstyle she can scrunch gel into and then forget about? That part was great. But it was time to move on.

I've had short hair before so I knew basically what I wanted, but let's be honest, I was spurred on by Snow White/Mary Margaret/Ginnifer Goodwin. That's some seriously awesome hair.

I asked around to friends, and ALL of them use the same person, so I figured if I went with her, I'd be in good hands. And I was.

I LOVE IT! The night before, I was having second thoughts, but all my fears melted away as I browsed photos of short cuts and pixie cuts online. My sister Kelly came along "for moral support", but I think she was more nervous than I was! Well, I don't know about that, but I wasn't nervous at all! Just excited!

When I came home, L gave me lots of hugs and kisses, which I think means he likes it. I brought home a little bag from the salon. It had a few little freebies inside. L brought it to me the next morning and hesitantly asked, "Mom, is this where they put the hair they cut off?" That cracked me up! Of course! What else would be in that bag?!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Millions of wonderful details of life + one very forgetful me = some desire (however inconsistent) to keep blogging. So here I am.

Yesterday we were driving in the car. This is where lots of L's thinking happens. I can't remember what we were talking about counting, but L said, "Mom, if you don't feel like counting all the numbers you can count by two's."
I didn't remember talking to him about this, so I quizzed him, "Oh yeah? How do you do that?"
"Like this: 2... 4... 6... 8... 10!"
"Wow, L!" I said, "That's awesome!"
"If you don't feel like counting by two's," he continued, "you can count by three's."
"Yes, I guess you could!" I replied, thinking that I never count by three's because three's are tricky.
Of his own volition, L begins, "3... 6... 9... 12..."
At this point, I was freaking out about L's awesomeness! I couldn't believe what he was doing. I'm sure it was because I gave him a great reaction, but he kept going to 48. Two or three times, he was one off, and I gave him a little higher or lower clue, but STILL! This kid is destined to be a mathematician or an engineer. It's amazing to see how his brain works!

Monday, January 14, 2013

My cup of tea

The sniffles began with J. I soon began sneezing, and not long later, L's sleeves had long wet streaks where he'd wiped his nose on them. And so here I am, nursing colds and babies.

Little J. Such a sweetheart. He seems to be in a better mood than he was the first day or two of his cold. Quick to smile and giggle and give slobbery kisses. Suddenly grabbing at toys and water glasses. Gnawing relentlessly on any fingers that are within reach - most often his own, but sometimes mine or L's. Thanks to Daddy being around on the weekend to play Legos with L, J and I have had several long nursing naps - 2 or more hours of just lounging and resting; J so content to be near me.

Sweet L. He is darling. He has so much energy. And these long days inside are hard on him. His heart is so pure. Tonight, during Family Home Evening, we listened to a song called "Scripture Power" and tried to learn all the words to it. He was rolling the exercise ball around, bouncing on it, and running all around it. I thought there was no way he was absorbing anything from our efforts at memorizing this song. But lo and behold, he knew the song at the end of the few minutes we spent and he answered a few questions as we talked about the meaning of the song. We talked about the power that comes from reading the Word of God every day, and when I asked if he'd rather read before bedtime with Daddy or in the morning with Mommy, he shouted, "Both!"

He doesn't really like to pray, but when we do convince him to take a turn, he always thanks Heavenly Father for "all the things, even the houses" and "all the people, except for the bad guys." The other night, he and I were laying in his bed, and he was not the least bit tired. Somehow we got to talking about spiritual things, and after a while, he snuggled up close and whispered in my ear, "Does Heavenly Father love the bad guys?" I had to chuckle. It's all about the police and the bad guys around here! I gave him my answer that Heavenly Father even loves bad guys because they're His children too, and it makes Him sad when they choose to do bad things. L fell silent, and after a moment I asked, "Do you have any other questions?" He answered, "Sure I do!" And then he proceeded to ask me what would happen if there were 149 ice cream cones on a cowboy riding backwards on an elephant. Actually, I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was something that random and out there. And I know that it involved a large number of ice cream cones. I love that boy.

Tonight, I snuggled him to sleep, and then slipped out once he was out to come relax and drink my lemon and honey tea, to soothe my throat. As soon as I sat down with it, I heard him calling for me. He asked where I had gone, and I told him about my tea. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he said, "You forgot my peppermint tea, Mommy! I needed some peppermint tea earlier, and you forgot!" I told him I could go make him some, and he protested, "But I already brushed my teeth!" I told him we'd figure that out, and said I'd be right back with the tea. Just as I suspected, he was asleep when I returned.

I bent down and gave him a kiss on his soft, cool cheek and I was overcome with love for him. Does he know that I feel that way about him? I'm sure he doesn't realize the extent of it. But I hope that he at least has some idea - even in those moments when I can't drop everything to play Legos for the millionth time today!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


These boys are cute and they really love each other. J is really starting to light up when he sees L, and L loves making him giggle!

Hmm.... I was just thinking that L hadn't licked J in a long time..... here's photographic proof that the licking is alive and well!

J is SO HUGE! At his 4 month check up on 12-31, he weighed 19 lbs. 15 oz. which is more than a pound above the 98th percentile line on the growth charts. L weighed 11 lbs. 1 oz. at four months (probably 10th percentile), so this little chunky monkey is really throwing me for a loop! The sleepers you see in him in these pictures are size 12 months. The legs are a little long, but other than that, they fit perfectly. J is about half L's weight right now.

J is a full-fledged thumb-sucker now. The first picture above is an action shot - he's making the "Get in my mouth!" face, and his hand is moving at lightning speed. Second shot is the aftermath. Woohoo! I think it's adorable and I don't mind it one little bit when he awakens from a nap, finds his thumb and is back to sleep before I can get to his room to pick him up. Love that. L sucked his middle and ring fingers, and he stopped as soon as his teeth came in, so who knows what J will do. Even if he continues for a while, I don't mind. He'll break the habit eventually!

I don't know why, I just thought the picture above was adorable. Same eyes - they're their Daddy's alright!

I love the way J stares at L. It's so adorable!

J already takes his fair share of big brother abuse. L loves to lay on J's tummy and let J grab his hair, and J doesn't seem to mind. Also adorable. Love these two!

And baby smiles. You're welcome!

And we bought a house...

We've been casually looking for a house off and on for the last couple of years. We've looked at houses that are full of mold (and I mean FULL). We've looked at houses that were really tiny. We've looked at houses that needed a total renovation, just to make them livable. And then we looked at a few houses that were nice, but out of our price range. It seemed like it would be a miracle to find something we liked in our price range. We took a break when J was born. Then, I ran into our realtor in the grocery store one day and I hopped online later that day to check out what was on the market. Cue: our miracle.

There wasn't much on the market, in fact, there was only one house I thought was even remotely interesting. I sent our realtor an email to ask her to set up a showing, and my email included this line: "Wonder what's wrong with it!"

Turns out the answer is, Nothing we couldn't handle. And so, five weeks later, after what had to have been the most painless house-buying process ever, we signed some papers and walked away with the keys to our new house.

It was just one week before Christmas, but thanks to the ward Christmas party, I had some decorations all set for the house! I felt so festive, at least I did before I set foot inside! Inside, it was utter chaos. We closed on the 17th, moved in on the 20th, continued moving in on the 21st and 22nd, and then escaped to my parents' house on the 23rd to celebrate Christmas.

Here's the one picture of the inside that I have. It's crazy in here! I am at the point where I don't want to unpack any more boxes, because I don't know where to put anything! It's not that there's not enough space - there's PLENTY of space! 1000 square feet more than our condo! It's just a different configuration, and it will take me a little while to figure it out.

Since I don't have any pictures of my own, I'll share a few of the listing pictures.

Here it is in daylight. I am currently eating crow about hating split entry houses. It's not so bad! :)

The kitchen's on our list of someday changes to make, but it's great for now. I love how bright and sunny it is. I need my sunshine, and I definitely get more of it here. The seller put in new appliances, counters, and sink/faucet, so that's nice.  There's a weird gap between those two upper cabinets above the dishwasher, where they had hung some strange metal mail holder tray. Very inconvenient location for mail, so I think they just hung something that fit in that strange space. And there are places where there obviously used to be cabinets, but who knows what happened to them. I could use a little more room though, so I might add some open shelving in those spots, or maybe get a freestanding pantry.

The bathroom is the best possible version of original, in my opinion. No pepto-bismol pink here, just black and white. I can handle that.

Downstairs there's a nice big family room. If you want to know what it looks like right now, just picture half of the floor covered in Legos, and the other half, in boxes. I'm not exaggerating. A coat of paint will brighten this up considerably. Don't ask me how I'm going to paint at this stage of my life. I'm currently praying about that one.

Back upstairs, there's the living and dining room. That wall you see on the right side of the first picture in this set is the wall of the kitchen. As I drive down the street at night and creepily stare in my new neighbors' windows, I see that this wall has been removed in some of their houses. This makes me very happy. One of these days, we'll knock it down, and open the whole thing up.

Oh, hi, Wall! We were just talking about you. Don't be offended that we want to knock you down. It's not you, it's me!

Here's the LR/DR view from the other direction. The front door is out of view on the left of this picture, and the windows look out on the backyard. So the kitchen is at the front of the house. I'd never seen a split entry laid out like this, but I really like it. The doorway you see on the left is the hallway back to the bedrooms and bathroom.

And thus concludes our out-of-order picture tour of the new house. Not pictured: the bedrooms - all decent sized with white walls and hardwood floors, except for the basement bedroom which has wood paneling and the original orange berber carpet; storage area - some houses like this have a one car garage, but ours has storage instead - future Man Cave; laundry room - cinder block walls and a laundry chute, which conveniently shoots laundry over the laundry basket and behind the water heater; and another bathroom.

The house is in excellent shape. It's been really well maintained, so hopefully we won't mess that up! We left closing feeling a little bit like we did when we left the hospital with newborn L - that feeling of disbelief that they're actually going to let you leave and learn by trial and error what the heck you're doing!

The house's main quirk is that the lot backs right up to a high school, so during the fall, we'll be serenaded by the marching band. But they went to Nationals this year, so at least it's a GOOD marching band! Let's hope it stays that way for many years to come. So far, proximity to the school hasn't been an issue at all. The middle school is also close - about a block away - so if we still live here when our kids reach that age (and we plan to) I will be so happy not to have to shuttle them around for all their activities. They'll be able to run home for a snack before practice or meet me out back when they forget their homework. The schools are excellent - the best in our area - so that's fortunate. And the church is super close too. We timed it last Sunday. From our driveway to "our spot" in the front row at church - 3 minutes and 30 seconds. It's about a one minute drive, and then two and a half minutes of corralling L into the building ;)

Wow - are you still here?! Apparently I have a lot to say on this topic. Don't worry, I'm wrapping up. I just want to record how blessed we feel. Everything just worked out so perfectly, there's no doubt that Heavenly Father had a hand in it. Even in all the chaos, with boxes piled up in corners, and toys strewn about because they don't really have a place yet, and shopping bags of food on the floor because my pots and pans and bowls filled up the cupboards already, even when I look around and feel overwhelmed by all the work ahead, I see the sunshine streaming through the windows, and know that our little family is in the right place. Our place.