Monday, February 28, 2011

a giant dog.

We had a good weekend.
Chris's parents arrived Friday evening.
They told us they were bringing something for Carly,
and joked they had to rent a trailer to get it here.
Oh dear.
You should have heard Carly's squeal when Grandma brought this through the door: 
A giant dog.
Which is adorable and already a very loved part of the family
(aka: covered in Carly's snot and slobbery kisses).
But it is seriously big.
He insists on sleeping in our bed and doesn't leave much wiggle room.

After the giant dog unveil, we promptly headed out to Texas Roadhouse, only to find the wait at almost an hour, so we headed to our trusty nearby Mexican place. We have now lived in the Mitten for 6 months and I will not tell you the number of times I have been to Los Tres Amigos.
But their cheese enchiladas are a little bit divine.

 [no more photographs, please]

Saturday morning I got up and ran 3.5 miles and then Chris and I headed over to clean the church while Carly stayed with grandma and papa, who were sorely disappointed they had to watch her instead of help clean the church. Turns out it was Pinewood Derby day. And turns out the Pinewood Derby is a big stinkin' dealio here because there were probably 300 people overflowing forth from the church building. Chris heard that some people even flew family in from Arkansas for the event. Wowzah.

We cleaned around them, which was an interesting task.
Not long after we would vacuum we'd find Doritos all over the floor.
But we prevailed.
Between the classrooms and the chapel I probably spent 2 hours vacuuming with one of those heavy industrial vacuums. I had an impressive amount of painful knots in my back the next day.

Saturday afternoon involved naps and watching the Jimmer show beat SDSU.
Then Chris and I headed out on a "date" that involved picking up a prescription for Carly and getting ice cream, doughnuts, and hot chocolate at a nearby Tim Horton's/Coldstone combo.
But any time alone with him is good for my soul.
It was nice.
And we made it back in time to enjoy a Penguins shootout victory.

On Sunday we sent Carly home after sacrament meeting with the grandparents.
She's been sporting a nice little cough and cold, so we decided to spare the other nursery kids this time around. Once again, Grandma and Papa were a little upset about missing Sunday School to watch Carly. She isn't very fun, and she isn't very cute. Such is life as a grandparent.

My lesson went well.
There was kind of a lot of crying on my part and the part of others.
Not typically something that happens when I teach.
We have a great RS.

[most beautiful child ever]
{off the subject but I have to share. the above picture is now our computer wallpaper and Carly saw it. I said "who is that?" and she pointed to the towel and said "towel!". crazy towel-hugger.}

Grandma and papa left and some friends came over for
corn chowder, salad, apple cobbler, and Oscar fashion analysis.

It was a nice weekend.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I went to get Carly out of her crib this morning
and she was playing peek-a-boo with Monkey.
I almost died from cuteness.

Chris's parents are visiting this weekend.
This means Carly gets spoiled and we get a date night.
We also have get to take our turn cleaning the church.
And I have to teach on Sunday.
Wish me luck.
Then we have friends from Chris's program coming for dinner Sunday night.

I've been cleaning all week in preparation for visitors.
But the place is a mess.
What's with that?
Maybe it's Carly's tendency to spread band-aids and tampons all over the place.
And that I like to read during naptime instead of pick up.

Carly just had an entire can of frank and beans for lunch.
And 5 huge strawberries.
She cheered "beans! beans! beans!" the whole time.
Whatever floats her boat.

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

simple pleasures.

sometimes all you need is a daddy and a box.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

kicking the bottle.

Our little bottle addict hasn't had a bottle since Sunday's naptime.
Sunday night was her first time going to sleep without bottle assistance.

I was so worried.
Carly has been on a bottle for not quite a year.
It is obviously was calms her down at night.
What soothes her and makes her tired.
What tells her "its time for sleep now".

Would she be ok without it?

I've been wanting to break the bottle habit for a few months now.
But I have been way too chicken.
I like my sleep.
I like that I can give her a bottle and put her down and she sleeps all night.
I didn't want to give that up for who knew how long to remove the bottle.

At her 18 month appointment the doctor encouraged me to try to get rid of it in the coming months. She also mentioned something called "milk bottle decay", where the milk before bed was not good for her teeth (anyone ever heard of this? I thought it sounded kind of made up). Anyway, I knew it was time.

But how?
My first move was to replace the milk in her bottles with water.
I gave her a sippy cup of milk before her bath.
Then we did bath and bedtime routine.
Then I gave her a bottle of water.
She would drank an ounce or so, then pushed it away and reached for her crib.
A few more times with the water bottle.
Then I replaced the water bottle with a water sippy.

At night she still reaches toward her door and whines "ba ba! ba ba!" and its so heartbreaking to take away something she loves. But I keep telling myself: there is no going back, there is no going back.
As soon as I put her down and tuck her blanket around her, she forgets all about it.

Now the last few sleeptimes, we've done stories, she'll take a drink of water, then I put her down in her crib. She waves and says "BYE!".
I leave the sippy on the edge of the crib in case she wants it.
Then I'm out.

Guess what?
I have not lost one minute of sleep over this.

I don't know why I was worried.
This is Carly we're talking about.
She handles transitions like a champ.
And she likes her sleep as much as her mama does.

Crossing my fingers potty training and big girl bed will go as well when the time comes.

And because I like pictureless posts as much as chocolateless cookies:

Carly and daddy in September.
Hurry, sunshine. Hurry.

Monday, February 21, 2011

inside day.

[little kitten lying in last week's sunshine]

We had such a beautiful glimpse of spring last week.
Yesterday, almost exactly when we got out of church, it started snowing.
All the snow had melted.
I mean, it was completely gone.
Now we have around 6 or 7 fresh inches outside.
Our man has been down with the flu since Friday.
Made for a lazy weekend.
And a sick day from school today
(no, they didn't get President's Day off. lame).
I feel bad for the sickie.
Its an inside day
Carly is wearing a crazy outfit.
I may or may not be wearing a Superman t-shirt.
And Chris is finally sitting up.

Happy Monday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

we went to the zoo today.

we've lucked out the past few days and have been getting some weather that actually permits you to leave the house. not a common thing in michigan februarys, i hear.
so since Chris has especially long fridays, i decided to go to the zoo with Carly today, as the zoo is free during the winter. our friends Jessica, Sam, and Will joined us.
turned out it was a little colder than expected, and really windy, but we had a few hours in the sunshine that did us some good. and saw some animals, of course.

[L-R: Monkey, Carly, Sam (under the blanket), Will]

let me just say, you might watch too much Dora if you go to the zoo and say
"Look, Carly, its Swiper!" and "Look, can you see Isa?"
Oh, dear.

[Carly introduced Monkey to his cousins]

one of Carly's greatest virtues is her love for animals.
she is sweet.

we taught her to roar like a lion and tiger,
and she was roaring her little heart out in the feline house.

and she saw a red panda and said "kitty!"
it was cute.

[saying "hiiii" to the goats]

Then we found some sunshine and enjoyed a little picnic,
 which didn't last too long because everyone was ready for a nap.
[please disregard my two coats and crazy au naturel hairs]
It was so wonderful to get outside before winter returns.
I sure can't wait for spring.

We have a weekend ahead with exactly no plans.
And we like it that way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

eighteen months young.

We went to Carly's 18 month check-up today.
After the royal disaster that was her 15 month appointment,
I was more than apprehensive.
I decided to
a) be outrageously happy the whole time to keep Carly un-scared.
b) bring toys from home so she had something familiar.
c) bring a few Reece's Cups in my purse for back-up.

Luckily the Reese's Cups were unnecessary and Carly held up well,
only whimpering slightly when the nurse took her temp
and whining subtly when the doctor checked her hips.
I celebrated with GF mac and cheese.

As for Carly?
Well of course the doctor found she is medically
exceptional in every way and actually a genius.
We should expect to make a lot of money off her.
And she weights 24 lbs 8 oz
(she stood on the big kid scale. tear.)
and is somewhere between 32 and 33 inches tall
(you try getting her to hold still to measure exactly).

Carly has actually been eating occasionally.
She seems to like actual food.
We've been giving her like tomato pieces, crackers, bits of cheese, fruit, you know like beginners table food, since she started on real food.
I think she is so over that.
For lunch she just had broccoli alfredo penne.

[she also enjoys a chocolate-frosted cupcake]
We've also found she loves clementines.
As do I.
Our house smells like an orange grove a great deal of the time.
But one day we let her eat 5 clementines.
We had serious diaper repercussions.
So I've been limiting her intake.

Her vocabulary is ever-expanding.
I wish I knew every word she says, but a few new ones:
JoJo (her puppy)
Rex (her other puppy)
Red (her bear)

Oh dear, does she know "stop".
The first time she said it was a crack-up.
I was trying to make dinner and she does this thing where she comes in between me and the counter and pushes me away from the counter. She wants me to stop cooking and pay attention to her. But the family gots to eat, right? So I was saying "just a minute, Carly" as she was pushing me and she looked up at me with her most serious face and said "Stop! Stop! Stop!". I about died laughing; it was the cutest thing. She won that round. I stopped dinner and played with her instead. How could I not?

[Miss Carly exactly one year ago today]
Towel is her current favorite word, of course.
She will hold up her dishtowel and with all the pleasure a little girl can muster say "TOWEL!".
She also says "uh oh, towel!" when she drops it.
And one day she had a towel in each had.
I said "you have two towels!"
She proceeded to march around chanting
I'm afraid the dishtowels aren't going anywhere.

She is connecting ideas.
Once I turned the car on before we got in to warm it up.
She saw and smelled the exhaust, and said "stinky".
(She is now terrified of the exhaust pipe).
But we were driving and and she can see out her window.
A truck in front of us to the side had exhaust coming out
and she pointed to it and said "stinky".
Its amazing to watch her understand things.

[checking out the puddles from the recent thaw]
Carly is all routine.
I mean, she lives by routine, and if I mess it up, she lets me know.

One of the things she really loves and keeps Chris and I honest on is scriptures and prayer before bed. After her bath and brushing her hair and teeth, she goes into our room saying "scripts. scripts." We read scriptures. She and daddy sit on the floor and "follow along" (aka, flip the pages all over) while I read. If I am too slow to start reading, she will come over and point to the open page like "get reading, mom". After scriptures we kneel and Carly stands. She folds her arms and one of us starts praying. As soon as Chris and I have our eyes closed she promptly comes over to us and peeks under our bowed head and gives kisses. After the prayer, she says "Ay-man!". Then she folds her arms and bows her head again and says her own prayer:
Then she looks up at us and we say "Amen!".
This is repeated a few times.
Then its bedtime.

Carly made it through all of nursery on Sunday, and came out with a little hand-out that she had colored a few scribbles on.
Her very first church hand-out.
I almost cried.

[see. told you she is a diva.]
She is delightful times a million.

Monday, February 14, 2011

just another man-eating monday.

[i had a friend in high school who genuinely thought that's how the song went]

Last week, Car and I sat in her tiny chairs to make her doting grandparents a few valentines.
She is rather good with stickers.
In fact, when we use them, I end up finding them in random places for days.
[sticker skills . . . p.s. her puppy shirt is to die for]

[in her festive outfit and bling after lasting all of nursery on just her second try. star.]

This Valentine's Day was dangerously close to being just another manic Monday.
This weekend was one of ominous foreshadowing.
Friday night, Chris got home around 8.
We did movie night, both totally exhausted.
Saturday he was at school until 2.
Then we fed the missionaries.
Sunday night was a fireside the stake was stressing the importance of.
It was in the evening so I went solo.
See how the weekend was shaping up?
Not that romantic.
{boo hoo, right?}

[the Valentine's Cupid brought Carly a red Ford Mustang.]

Mondays Chris is at school until 8.
So I decided to salvage our V-Day by taking Carly on a lunch date.
Then I thought some friends might want to join us.
We had 5 adults
4 kids
2 babies
and a partridge in a pear tree.
(for the record, I put Carly in the kid category. yep.)

Poor Applebees didn't know what hit them.
And we left all sorts of wreckage in our wake.

[mommy-daughter date]

Carly and Camilla.
Camilla's month-old Kennedy slept through the whole thing.
Rude, right?

[Jessica, Vance, Elaine]

[me and my little valentine]

[Nichelle and Tennyson. he is seriously the sweetest thing]

[buddies: Tennyson and Carly]

It was a grand old time.
But I forgot how insane it is to take Carly to a restaurant.
She is wild.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and watching Toy Story 2.
We made dinner.
We made daddy a Valentine.
Then there he was.
Our Valentine.
Home a bit early, carrying a chocolate milkshake.
I love that man.

We'll be sending our Love Day out with cupcakes and a movie.
Chris finally, finally, agreed to watch "The Way We Were".
One of my all-time romantic favs.
It is Valentine's Day, after all.

Hope your Love Day was lovely.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

a year plus a half.

Dear Carly,

I can't imagine a time when you weren't around. Surely there was a time in my life when it didn't take half an hour to get out the door. There was probably a time when I didn't dread mealtimes, or count down the minutes until naptime. I vaguely remember not having to pick up a million toys before relaxing each night, and I seem to think at one point I never found Trix under the ottoman.

But that means there was also a time when I didn't wake up to your sweet voice saying "hiii" through the monitor. When I wasn't constantly smoothing down your long crazy curls.  A time without tiny Eskimo kisses, Library Thursdays, stuffed animals wrapped in dishtowels, juicy kisses while grocery shopping, snuggling on the couch watching Dora. No chasing and squealing and tickling and laughing.

I'm so happy its not that time anymore.
This world was not as bright without you in it.

Happy year and a half.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

number two.

Well, now that Carly is [almost] 18 months old,
my little announcement shouldn't surprise too many of you.




starting a new blog!

Chris and I love this blog.
Its our family journal and we cherish it.
Someday when we can afford it we hope to print it into books.
But I thought it would be fun to have a "just for fun" blog.
I'll write about whatever I want to . . . 
that doesn't have to do with my wonderful little family.
So its mostly for my own personal kicks and giggles,
(meaning lots of hockey talk, yay!)
but you should check it out anyway.

Yesterday, I wrapped Carly's little puppy Rex in a dishtowel and called him "Baby Rex".
Carly pretty much thought it was the coolest thing ever and carried Baby Rex around swaddled all morning and every time he broke out of his swaddle she brought him to me to re-wrap him.
She is sweet.

[don't judge her pants, she grows way to fast]

She'll make a good big sister . . . some day.

But for now, enjoy blog number two.

Monday, February 7, 2011

in which carly goes to nursery and we all cry.

I was very much emotionally prepared to send Carly off to nursery at Church.
next week.
But the nursery leader came to me at the beginning of Sunday School and said,
"Oh, we can just take her today."
Carly's Sunday School toy and snack spread was already all set up, but I sent her out the door with the nursery leader, who has 9 children of her own and is therefore rather good with kids.
I came back to my seat.
I looked at her toys.
I packed away her snacks.
Then I saw her dishtowel lying there.
And that's when the tears came.
Later I saw Chris in the hall and shared my concerns over the fact that Carly did not have her comfort dishtowel. more tears on my part.
Chris confessed that while in the Clerk's Office he could hear her in the nursery room, and that he got a bit choked up himself.
Where did our baby go?
[peek-a-boo, baby]
Chris particularly enjoyed that I've been raving about Carly going to nursery, then had a hard time when she did. In my defense, she went a week early.
I would have been perfectly fine next week.
[pitiful attempt at getting a pic on her 1st day of nursery]
So we get to about 20 minutes left in Relief Society.
The nursery leader comes to the RS door with a sobbing Carly.
Her guess was that the other kids were coming in and out with their moms due to potty training and diaper changing, and Carly was probably wondering where her mommy was.
And I honestly believe she would have done a bit better if she had had a dishtowel.
But it broke my heart to see her scared.
The nursery leader handed her to me and sobbing Carly waved to her and said "BYE BYE!".
(Read: Get out of here!)
She spent the next 5 minutes on my lap in RS sniffling and eating Goldfish while clinging to her dishtowel.
Then she promptly returned to her usual 3rd-hour distraction destruction.
And I returned to thinking, I can't wait 'til she goes to nursery.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

the day i became old.

Well, it officially happened last night. I became old and lame.

You see, it was movie night. We put Carly to bed, picked up, did the dishes,  moved the couch right in front of the TV. All the while, there were young people screaming outside. Ok, its Friday night. Its about 9 o'clock. We live in a complex. What can you do? Then it calmed down, and around 10 we were ready to start the movie. And about 10:15 is when the insane banging started next door. Whatever was going on outside must have moved inside.

You see our neighbor on that side is a divorced dad with 2 teenage girls that live with him part-time. I see them coming home from school occasionally and they seem like nice-enough girls. But they are teenagers. And I think last night they were having some sort of sleep over. And they must have been playing Wii or Kinect or Dance Dance Revolution or decided to reenact the D-Day invasion, because they were banging and shaking the building so loud.

You see, I actually have a pretty high tolerance in terms of neighbor noise. In our Kville home we could hear the people below us expressing their marital affection from time-to-time. But when we would chase a crawling Carly around in the morning or afternoon (not at night), someone would bang on their ceiling/our floor to tell us to hush up. And we found it totally annoying. Also, our neighbors here on the other side of us, they seem to be a family of overweight people who bring fast-food home for dinner 5 times a week and also love a good game of DDR. Because there is constant banging from that side as well. But its not too loud, and though it can be annoying, it never goes on too late or too consistently or for too long. So we just deal. Because that's what you do in a complex, right? (Oh, how we wanted a house when we moved to Michigan. Stupid money.)

So last night, the banging and shaking coming from the teenagers starts a bit after ten. We watch our movie, and I'm feeling a little tense and a lot annoyed because its SO loud and there is no hint of it stopping. And sorry, just the way it turned out, but that side is the side Carly's room is on. And if they woke her up not only would I be seriously furious, but they would have to listen to her scream through the walls until she fell back asleep. Though, with all the partying they probably wouldn't have heard.

So, the movie is nearing its end. Its after midnight. And the banging is just as loud, if not louder. And holding steady.

For the record: I let this go on for two hours even though I had a sleeping baby.
For the record: It was after midnight.

I got up from the couch, walked to the shared wall and . . .

pounded on it. Three steady not-too-loud-not-too-quiet pounds.

See. I'm officially old and lame.

I think Chris was shocked and kind of embarrassed.

But the banging stopped within a few seconds.

Ok, I feel totally guilty.

I mean I don't want to be that annoying neighbor pounding on the wall. And we have a good relationship with that neighbor. We've always been friendly with one another. Though one time when we first moved in I was hanging our picture wall at 8:50 with every intention of stopping before 9 and he came over around 8:57 to ask if I wouldn't mind stopping. Whoops. But that was so not midnight.

I shouldn't feel bad, right? I mean, I pounded very nicely. Just to get the point across. And we put up with it for a long time.

I'm going to be totally embarrassed next time I see that neighbor. Tomorrow. We always say hi as we head out to our respective churches.

[oldies but goodies]

This morning Chris was doing his hair before heading to school. He told me how he is preferring this old generic "90's gel" as he put it, because the Axe Hair Glue makes his hands all greasy when he touches his hair. "Oh, man, I'm getting old," he says.

"I know what you mean," I reply.

Friday, February 4, 2011

alligator love.

Carly pretty much loves the giant alligator at the library.
I mean, they scream and run to each other every week when they are reunited.
Ok, she is the one screaming and running.
But I'm sure he is happy to see her too.
Who wouldn't be?
Did you notice its not January anymore?
I kind of got sidetracked by blizzard hype and didn't even think about it
And now we're 4 days into February.
I pretty much love Valentines Day when it comes to decorations.
I think it can be a lot of fun, and hope to make it fun for our kids some day.
Remember last year?
I've got to get some creative juices pumping.
Have any easy V-day craft/decor ideas that don't cost money?
Do share.
Oh, and I'm totally doing this some time when I have kids old enough.
How cute is that?
Pens play the Caps on Sunday afternoon.
And isn't there a football game on that night?

Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

we {heart} snow days.

we enjoyed MSU's first snow day in 35 years.
it was full of

banana pancakes
a Pens victory
And we even went outside.
Carly seemed interested for about 5 minutes.
Then she was mostly scared and cold.

[13 ish inches outside our door; only about 8 from today though]

"Do I have to wear my coat?"
 Not sure about the snow.
 we {heart} snow days!
well, two of us do.


we sure loved having a bonus day with our man.
can we have another one, please?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

t is for tuesday.

I got Carly these alphabet flashcards.
Probably a little advanced for her.
But she can say "ABC".
She just has no idea what it means.
Its been a good Tuesday.
I got up and went to the gym today since Chris can go in a bit later on Tuesdays.
Between prepping my lesson, going to the temple, and Chris being a little extra busy, I haven't been in a full week.
Why in the world does it feel like its been a year when its only been a week?
Its like starting all over.
My body felt so tight and my lungs all burny.
That's lame.
That will teach me to take a week off again.
Then Carly and I headed over to visit Camilla and Kennedy.
We're really good visitors.
Carly promptly ate all their food, spread their dishtowels around, and followed Camilla around screaming for her to pick her up.
Then Camilla made us lunch and Carly dumped salt all over the table.
See what good friends we are?
But while Carly caused havoc, I got to snuggle with this little lovely:
Isn't she de-lish?
Its easy to forget how sweet and peaceful they are when you have a toddler running around.
Carly is sweet with her, pointing to her nose and waving and saying "bebe!".
She even put the binkie in her mouth.
Car seemed like she wanted to hold K, but as soon as I put her on Carly's lap, Carly pushed her off.
For about 10 seconds I held both Carly and Kennedy, and it took about that long for me to realize I will never ever be capable of having two children.
I'll have to get my newborn fixes from baby K.
The mitten is prepping for the storm of the century.
Reports guess 12-18 inches of snow.
Chris's school even got canceled, which is a genuine miracle.
We needed a few basics, so Carly and I headed to the grocery store this evening.
We were there with 1,000 of our closest friends.
Luckily it didn't take us too long to make our way through.
But I'm kind of excited to see if this actually plays out.
Two years of Tennessee snow panic has turned me cynical.
There, people rush to the grocery store when 1/4 inch is expected.
So I'm hoping for a good foot or so.

We'll be spending the next few days in our princess chairs,
with JoJo, Toby, Monkey, and two dishtowels,
watching Dora.
[yes, they all have to be right next to her, but not in the chair with her]
Stay warm.