Monday, November 29, 2010

black-eyed pea takes the hoosier state.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
We headed to Indiana.
We enjoyed a de-lish Thanksgiving dinner during Carly's naptime
(the girl doesn't eat anyway, right?).
We spent a whole hour and a half at Target on Black Friday, where I managed to get a scarf and a sweater and a necklace and a shirt for Carly and boots that I actually had to take back today because they were torn on the inside (boooo).
We went to Harry Potter.
(Can I just say I want Hermione's wardrobe for Christmas?).
We had a date night at Outback Steakhouse where they had a fabulous GF "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under" (or whatever it was called).
We talked a lot.
We laughed a lot.
We just like breaks from real life.
And we really really like family.
(B-I-G thanks to P & L for making all of the above possible)
I took one total picture the entire weekend.
And you can be sure any picture my MIL takes will be of Carly.
She had quite the weekend, with aunts and grandparents and toys and chairs and pianos and (gasp!) a doggy.
She did not want for attention.
Not that she ever does.
{the girl sure loved the piano}

 {with Aunt Jenny}
 {black-eyed sweet pea}
 Wait, I have to tell you this story.
The Children's Place had a sale on their mittens and hats, and Carly needed mittens so we were looking and I was trying to figure out what she would actually keep on her hands. Then I saw a bunch that had animal faces on them. Bingo. The panda even ears and a bow on its head that matched her coat. I'm sad I didn't get the matching panda hat. Might have to find one in Lansing and go see if its around.
But, I chose well, because she loves her panda mittens.
She even gives the pandas kisses:
 {with grandpa}
 {roaming the wild with Sam}
This poor pup endured a lot of Carly love,
including Carly trying to pick her up on several occasions.
 {beauty and the pandas}
 {so lovely}
Last but not least, while hanging with grandpa when we were at Harry Potter, Carly found a new fun hobby: pushing the little yellow chair all over the house. The scraping of the plastic on the tile became the anthem of our weekend.

Hope you all had a fab Thanksgiving.
And ate way too much.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a little perspective.

{Carly's hand gratitude turkey: dada, mom, Elmo, and nums (yummy food)}
Last night Chris and I were talking in bed before we fell asleep. We found that we had been having very similar thoughts and feelings over the previous 24 hours, it was just our first chance to slow down enough to share. We spoke of our experience with Carly's little accident and our visit to the ER. We spoke of how scary it was to us, as first time parents. How, even though it wasn't a very bad injury, even though we knew she was fine, it shook us. It hurt so bad to see our little girl in pain. Watching her scream, watching her feel so scared, not understanding what the people were doing to her. Watching her in pain and misery. It hurt our hearts in a way only a parent can understand. And I know her little accident was nothing to what others experience, and for that I am grateful.

But as we talked, we found we had had another similar thought. One of a Father watching from Heaven as his Son sacrificed himself on the cross. It hurt me so bad just to watch Carly get her little gash cleaned and glued. Can you imagine the pain our Father in Heaven felt watching his Son go through more pain than any person will ever experience? Watching him suffer every sin, every sickness, every pain. Watching from heaven with the power to comfort him, but knowing that He must not. On our behalf and with infinite love, He watched His Son suffer and die.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland spoke beautifully (doesn't he always?) on this in April '09 Conference:

"With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was “finished.” Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair. With faith in the God He knew was there, He could say in triumph, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

As silly as it sounds, our small experience with Carly has made me all that more grateful for this defining event in the history of mankind. All that more grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who gave His Son. All the more grateful for a Savior who made it possible for me to be with my husband and with my perfect baby girl for all eternity. But isn't that what parenthood is about? What life is about? We experience things that bring us closer to Heavenly Father. We learn things that make us understand Him better. And through this infinite sacrifice, we can return to live with him again. 
What a blessing.
A blessing I know I will never fully comprehend.
But tonight my heart is full.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

they call her 'miss alfredo'.

It was pizza night in the C House last night.
I was excited.
Our pizzas were waiting for us and Carly had just "eaten".
Meaning she had just thrown her pizza on the floor and eaten a few strawberries.
Surprise, surprise, she was still hungry and wanted a Rice Krispy Treat.
She knows right where we keep them.
Up in the top cabinet, behind a bunch of other stuff so she can't see them.
But she knows they are there.
So she stood at the foot of the cabinet, looking up, pointing up.
I came up behind her and reached up into the back of the cabinet to grab a Treat.
The side of my arm bumped a jar of alfredo sauce.
And it made the long fall.
Right onto the eager child's pretty little face.
I picked her up right away and held her tight.
Then I looked at her face.
Where I found all sorts of red marks and an impressive gash.
Now I'm the kind of person to avoid doctors at all cost.
But when I saw that gash, I knew she would need to get it checked.
There goes pizza night.
Chris and I respond to tense situations in different ways.
I get down to business and become very logical.
And I all the sudden find everything hilarious and laugh a lot when I shouldn't.
Its a defense mechanism.
Chris gets a little frustrated and really really worried.
Especially when it comes to his little princess.
So he instantly became worried sick.
And I couldn't stop laughing and googled directions to the local hospitals.
Of course it was after office hours, so we made our way to the ER.
There are two major hospitals in the area, and one of them is on the verge of a nursing strike, so we opted for the other one.
So did everyone else.
Those around us said the average wait was about 3 1/2 hours.
We were lucky.
Ours was about 2 1/2.
Carly is strong.
She doesn't let anything get her down.
When she is sick she hardly cries or fusses.
And when she had a Frankenstein gash on her face she spent her two hour wait walking around to other waiting room patients saying "Hiiiiiii!".
Many of them made comments about how she was the best behaved in the waiting room.
She definitely handled the situation better than I did.
 We finally got called back to a room.
Can I just say I don't want to be an ER frequenter?
Its a sad place.
But we waited another hour there, in our room.
And I was seriously wishing our TV would show Elmo's World.
The nurse and resident came and checked her out.
They decided to numb the area up so they could clean it out and determine if stitches were required or if they could just use the medical glue they got going on these days.
I was praying for the glue.
Carly is so wiggly and strong, they would have had to knock her out to give her stitches.
It was hard enough getting the numbing stuff on her.
We had to swaddle her tight in a sheet for a half an hour to prevent her from taking it off.
Pure torture for a girl as full of life as she is.
{saddest girl ever.}
 {11 pm at the ER: Carly is tired, Mommy is looking glam}
 The compression from the numbing stuff seemed to work wonders on the gash.
It was an interesting wound.
The jar didn't split her cheek, per se.
You know when a golfer misses the ball and creates a divot and a tuft of grass?
That's what happened to her face.
The jar was the golf club that created the divot-gash and left a tuft of skin at the bottom.
The compression from the numbing stuff seemed to bring the wound together.
And (hallelujah!) they decided the glue would work.
This was perhaps the worst part.
The gash had to be cleaned out with saline before the glue could be applied.
This meant Carly had to be held still.
Not an easy task.
It took me, Chris, the nurse, and the resident to hold her down while the doctor did her thing.
Carly was screaming and sweating and bright red and trying with all her might to escape while the doctor squirted the wound repeatedly and then applied the glue.
This is when Chris had to close his eyes.
This is when the tears streamed down my own cheeks.
The nurse asked if I wanted to leave.
But I wasn't about to leave my baby.
A few short, heartbreaking moments, and Carly was up.
Glued back together.
She was drenched in sweat and saline solution.
But she was free.
She smiled and said in a quiet voice: "hiiiiii."
{all better!}
After the trauma, the sweet nurse called Carly "Miss Alfredo" and the doctor joked that mommy needs to learn to make alfredo sauce from scratch.
They informed us that since things came together so well, in a year's time you probably won't even be able to see a scar, totally crushing my dreams of Carly someday becoming a famous singer known as "RightEye".
We took our girl home.
Gave her a warm bobby and put her to bed.
Then we ate pizza at 1 am.
Yay for pizza night.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

these boots are made for walking.

So that's just what she'll do.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

quarterly review.

We have officially been in Michigan for 3 months today.
Our report?
We love it.

Chris is doing well in his program.
It is hard.
It is busy.
But it is a good fit.
The right place.
We love our ward.
It is filled with such wonderful people.
And we have already made so many friends.
Sometimes it feels like we don't have the time to see them all as much as we would like!
The have embraced us.
And I hope they feel our love for them.
Its obvious the area is in economic decline.
More obvious here than I've ever seen in person.
But its a beautiful place.
Carly and I find lots of ways to stay entertained.
From parks and zoo's when it was warm,
to libraries and pet stores these days.
We have found some things to keep us busy.
All, of course, for free.
We have also managed to garner some real Spartan pride, already attending more sporting events (mostly thanks to the charity of others) here than we did our entire time at UT.
We are particularly fans of the hockey games.
Though, they are a bit more fun without Carly, to be honest.
But its all good.
Especially when friends help entertain her.

I've been homesick lately.
Missing my family a lot.
It feels like its been so long since I've seen them.
But this morning I was thinking, I'm not homesick, I'm familysick.
Because we live in Michigan.
We are Michiganders.
This is our home.
Lets see.
4 quarters per year, times 4 years.
That's 16.
1 down, 15 to go :)
I think I won't worry about it.
I think I'll just enjoy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

items of unimportance.

Did y'all see my prince got engaged?
I was at Carly's crazy doctor's appointment when I got the text from my mom telling me the news.
I had an unusual amount of happiness going on, considering I don't technically know him.
But he was my prince for so long.
And I just felt that if love and happiness could prevail for dear William, then, by golly, I could survive this well-baby check-up from hell.
And love did prevail.
And I did survive.
It was beautiful.
But, honestly, how cute are they?

Kind of really excited for a royal wedding.
I'm a sucker for royals.
And a sucker for weddings.
I remember watching William's uncle Prince Edward get married when I was like 12 maybe?
And that wasn't even a big, grand royal wedding.
You better believe we will be having a royal par-tay that night.
But the wedding is in London, so it will be like 3 am here.
And if you come, you have to be quiet because I don't want to miss anything.
Carly wore her first whole ponytail the other day.
Tres cute.
It also got cold enough to necessitate her heavy winter coat.
Like her mother, she is not a fan.
I hate how bulky really warm winter coats are.
Then you go inside and you are so hot because the building is heated.
Such a hard thing, I know.
We had a stand-off, as she refused to put the coat on and I refused to let her go outside without it.
Guess who won?
Carly-37 , Mommy-1
{yes, the bib does have to hang outside the coat}
We have a little tradition of going to the library every Thursday.
They have giant stuffed animals at one of the libraries we go to,
and Carly really really loves them.
She particularly loves the monkey, who is significantly larger than she is.
She screeches and runs up to him and tackles him like he is an old friend.
Then she says "ah ah ah ah", because that is what a monkey says.
Then she carries him around.
Then she rips all the books off the shelves while mommy looks,
leaving several large piles for the librarians to put in the correct order.
I'm sure they love Thursdays.
I know I do.

We also have a little tradition of Carly watching Elmo's World every morning at 10:35 while mommy tries to look presentable to the general public.
A while ago, just before it started (its part of Sesame Street), they showed this.
Elmo and Ricky Gervais.
Maybe I've seen way too much Elmo in these last few months,
but I about died laughing.
Thats it.
One week from today I will be lying on the couch with a LARGE amount of sweet potatoes in my tummy while my in-laws entertain Carly.
Can I get a "yay!"?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


{I hope y'all didn't mind my beautiful advertisement post yesterday. I got 50 free Christmas cards out of it. If you click on the link at the bottom, and write a beautiful post of your own, you can too. I've been wondering how we would afford Christmas cards, and that was a delightful answer.}
Miss Carly reached 15 months last week.
She had her 15-month check-up today.
First time with the new doctor.
Lets just say she had a totally psycho freak-out episode.
I've really never seen her like that.
She doesn't like being messed with.
And she has a lot of fire in her.
There was screaming and thrashing and hitting the doctor's hands away from her.
A lot of it.
The second we walked out the door she was perfectly fine.
I'm really hoping this doesn't become a trend.
But, the good news is she is healthy as can be.
She has a persistent cough, but her lungs are fine (which she proved quite well) so we'll just ride it out.
She weighed in at a petite 21 lbs 8 oz.
And about 31 inches tall.
{Though the thrashing made that one tricky.}
{beauty and her boots.}
Carly has become officially attached to/obsessed with dishtowels. All the recent pictures of her have one in them (like all those zoo pictures). Its pretty funny, though I'm sure the average person in Target probably wonders why she is carrying around a dishtowel. She often carries them around draped over her forearm with her elbow bent, like a butler. Hilarious. She still does the bib thing, but not as intense, except a few days there during the "transition". One laundry day she had 5 bibs on and was carrying a dishtowel on each arm. She tried to make her way up the stairs and I about died laughing.
She recognizes a lot of words, but isn't much of a talker. But she is very good at saying "hi", almost to a fault. She is rather distracting in Relief Society as she makes her way through the room saying "hi!". She recently started saying "Ooohhhhh!" when she drops something or makes a mess.
She is really smart.
She brings me the tv remote when she wants to watch Elmo (I DVR Elmo's World).
I can say things like "bring me your shoes" and she really will.
Except when I say "no" or "eat" she refuses to obey.
She loves her daddy.
They have fun running around and wrestling and screeching every night when he gets home.
In fact the word "da da" now pretty much stands for any person she loves.
Including me.
And pictures of Jesus.
When she eats, she will eat about anything.
Except she doesn't like potatoes.
You have Idaho blood in you, and you don't like potatoes?
Her favs continue to be fruit and cheese.
She is classy like that.
{ravioli + toddler + dishtowel = big big mess}
Oh, she is a bottle addict.
Well, she has to have one to go to sleep.
So she has two a day, one before nap, one before bed.
I've cut all the others out.
Any suggestions for cutting out the final two?
She is super social with adults, but struggles with other kids.
At play group she kind of just stands and stares.
She spends all her time with adults, so its like other little people surprise her.
But she is getting better.
She is better now than when we first got here.
And nursery is three short months away (yay!).
But we do enjoy having friends play, nevertheless.
{Carly sharing her box with her buddy, P.}
She has a lot of personality.
A lot of life.
Brigham Young said,
‎"[Children] are so full of life that they cannot contain themselves . . . They have so much vitality in them that their bones fairly ache with strength".
Whenever I think Carly is too much, too crazy, too wild, too energetic, I think of this quote.
And I think of how I would never choose to have her any other way.
Love you, Shmar.

Monday, November 15, 2010

'tis the season.

I can't believe how fast Christmas is approaching. I'm a staunch "wait until after Thanksgiving to do anything Christmasy" person, but the stores disagree. The day after Halloween I went to find some see if they had any cute Thanksgiving things in Target's beautiful $1 section, but they had skipped right up to Christmas. Cheaters.

Anywho, one thing that is necessary to think of ahead of time is Christmas cards. Do you know I love Christmas cards. They are so fun to get. I love seeing the ones my parents get and thinking, oh, I remember when we played together when we were little kids and seeing how everyone "turned out." Some of the cards come from people I've never even met, but they are friends of my parents so we get a card every year, and you feel like you know them anyway. You remember their kids and remember their stories. I think its a sweet way to build simple relationships, even if its only once a year.

That being said, I've never actually sent out Christmas cards. I've always wanted to. But when it was just Chris and I, I always figured we were too boring, and our parents sent out cards that covered it. Last year, upon having Carly, I really wanted to, but the year got away from me before I managed to pull it off. So this year, this year is the year.

I'm excited because we are going to use Shutterfly this year. They have the cutest announcements, holiday cards, and all sorts of other photo products.

I am loving this design (click here). It just might make the cut as our very first family Christmas card. But this one (click here) just might be a close runner-up.

Check out their cute holiday cards,
their cute calendars for possible Christmas gifts, and their super cute invitations

Make sure to check them out!

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

you make my heart sing.

I've been trying to come up with some good ideas for Carly for Christmas.
Both sets of grandparents have requested suggestions, and I'm a bit stumped.
Carly and I went walking the toy isles in Target (the one section in Target I don't frequent).
I went up the doll isle.
She wasn't interested.
The "play kitchen" isle.
Oh, my, they have the cutest play kitchen I already have my eye on for her 2nd birthday.
She didn't show a ton of interest in any of it.
(Though, I'm holding out hope she will grow into that girly stuff.)
But what gets her excited?
The animal isle.
She points all over and screeches and laughs and says "deeeeee"
("doggy", which has morphed into any animal at all).
The girl has a serious love for animals.
And its something we just love about her.
So when I heard the zoo here in Lansing was free in the winter starting November 1st, and when I took into account the Indian summer we have been enjoying (67 degrees, anyone?), I knew we had to go.
So, despite Chris's 4-5 hours of sleep each of the 5 nights before,
and Carly screaming at the top of her lungs while I put her pants and shoes on,
I drug them both to the zoo.
And we all loved it.
{Chris's favorite, the donkey's}
{Carly wasn't sure about being that close to a mid-meal tiger.}
{But she loved seeing Leo up close.} 
 {she made sure we didn't miss any of the animals.}
{more pointing.}
{taking a rest.}
The zoo had a big park attached and we enjoyed the leaves and warm sun.
It was a bit chillier than the rest of the week had been, but it was still beautiful.
And Carly is a pro at "crunching the leaves" under her feet.
(She will even do it when there aren't any leaves.)
{trying to escape mommy, as usual.}
 {beautiful day in michigan.}
Carly was in heaven.
So were we.
Oh, that Wild Thing.
She makes our hearts sing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a place for carly {part deux}.

When we found out Shay was on her way, I decided to make her and Carly matching cousin blankets.
Remember, I'm not much of a sew-er, but one of my personal favorite types of baby blanket is two pieces of flannel sewn together (easy!). Warm and heavy, but thin and flat. Perfect for snuggling as well as tummy time. Someone gave me one at my baby shower. My imitations are crude, but they are still the kind of blankets Carly sleeps with. Anywho, Shay and Carly are both getting use out of their cousin blankets (I can't even believe how tiny little Shay is. Her blanket is half the size of Carly's!):
I know you have all been anxiously awaiting pictures of Carly's new room.
I love decorating her room.
Its a low-budget room, of course, but its still a special place.
Remember her nursery?
We could feel the Spirit so strong there.
Like it was a holy place.
That Spirit still resides.
Only its got more of a wild thing twist on it.
I decided to make her a "little girl" room instead of a baby room.
Using brighter colors and "kid" objects rather than "baby" ones.
Something she could grow into.
All the pictures were taken at night, so the color is lame.
But we painted her accent wall a bright sky blue.
Its quite cute.
I wanted something bright that would bring summer into Michigan's dreary winters.
I also wanted something that could be flexible should a little brother show up.
We were going to paint the whole room.
But everything we paint we have to prime back when we move out.
So we went with the accent wall.
I re-painted her shelf and name letters, covering the pale teal with bright purple.
It was kind of an emotional experience, leaving the baby behind and embracing the little girl.
I also packed away her crib bedding for later use.
But a fabulous crib sheet can make an impact too, I'd say.
I painted the sign above her bookshelf and do not like it at all.
Its one of my favorite quotes, from Coco Chanel.
I wish her name could have fit on it, because I think that makes it better.
Luckily, the canvas came on sale in a two-pack, so we'll give it another go eventually.
{I would like to formally thank Target, TJ Maxx, Goodwill,
and my parents for making this room possible.}
Carly likes it too.
Every day she points at the table and chairs and grunts her demanding grunt.
My chair is the yellow one.
Hers is the white one.
Yesterday we sat at the table and drew a 'welcome home' sign for daddy.
Most of the time the floor is covered with books
and stuffed animal friends
and toys
and clothes
and blankets
and bibs
and dishtowels.
Just as it should be.