Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


 Carly has been rocking a new accessory. A "purse" (my old toiletries bag) filled with: a tampon, a "bracelet" (plastic ring from a scarf I bought), a travel-sized sewing kit, and two towels.
You just can't get by without the essentials.
She has entered this phase where I feel like she could just care less what I say.
Like, oh, thats nice, mommy, but I'm going to do whatever I please.

She is also falling all over the place, resulting in scratches on her arms, hands, and . . . forehead.

And she is obsessed with the p-a-r-k.
I have to spell it out to Chris because if she hears the word she immediately runs to the door and says "swing! swing!" Never mind that its 30 degrees outside.

I'm trying to teach her to pick up after she makes a mess. Today I sat on the floor for 15 minutes trying to get her to pick up the cotton balls she had found and spread all over the place. I had nothing but time, but she was dying to go downstairs. Finally she came and pointed at the cotton balls and looked at me and said "pease." Ha! I explained that I didn't throw them all over the floor, so I was not responsible for picking them up. It took a long time, but she finally got them all back into the bag. I applauded her and said yay! and cheered. I think she thought she just scored a goal.

Poor Chris is busy.
Very busy.
And I'm lame because he has these long hard days and I'm like "I'm going to the gym this night, and girls night out this night, and I've got this on this night." He is the most selfless person I know. I'm working on being more like him in that way.

Actually my life goal today is to stop being the messiest person in the world.
That means actually doing dishes and folding laundry during naptime instead of watching Marie Antoinette and The Young Victoria and reading the Pens website.

[and they call it monkey love.]

I found Carly the cutest Easter dress ever at the Maxx. I was in love with this one from Gap, but only crazy people spend $50 on a baby dress (sorry if thats you . . .) so I kept searching, convinced I'd never find one I liked as much. I don't know, I'm a bit obsessed with the idea of Easter dresses. Maybe because I always got one in my Easter basket and I seem to remember feeling extra dressy on Easter, because Easter was an extra special day. Anywho, I found one I actually like more at the Maxx for a whopping $12.99. I realized its kind of the same color as last year's but a bit darker pink. Oh, well. It's fab. Aren't you excited to see it?

I've got to go.
I'm supposed to be being not-messy.


Monday, March 28, 2011

'hawk and awe.

We had a beyond delightful weekend in Chicago.
I was genuinely sad when it was over.
I hate when things you are looking forward to come and go.

We headed up to Chris's grandma's house on Friday afternoon.
It took Carly all of 10 minutes to learn how to say her dog's name,
though Georgia came out "joo-jah".
And all of 11 minutes to start bossing Georgia around.
"No no, Joo-jah!"
Poor pup didn't know what this tiny tyrant's deal was.

Carly also learned Baga, the name for grandma that Chris, being the first grandchild, made up when he was about Carly's age. Unfortunately it often came out "Bag".
"Bye bye, Bag!"

[get a load of that child's hair]

Carly was outrageously spoiled with attention.
She especially liked hanging out with Papa, a.k.a. "Pa-pack", (a special combo of papa and backpack from Dora). They read the Trib together, went to medical school where Carly learned to listen to everyone's heart through a toy stethoscope (including poor Georgia), and raked leaves . . . a task that Carly was very willing and helpful with.

Saturday night, Carly stayed home with Aunt Becky (thank you, Becky!) and jammed out to Mary Poppins, while Chris and I and his parents headed to the United Center to cheer on the Blackhawks.

I was so excited, I had to pee like 15 times.
I think I was driving Chris insane.
But, hello, it was my first NHL game!
We fully intend to trek the 5 hours to Pittsburgh one of these days and see a live Pittsburgh game, and let me tell you, I probably won't sleep the night before and I'll probably pee like 30 times beforehand.

I was really excited.

Chris's wonderful amazing uncle hooked us up with fabulous tickets and fabulous parking.
Here we are next to our parking spot, right in front of the United Center.
It was about 10 degrees.

We got there way early, to make sure and get lots of pictures next to empty ice and eat United Center polish sausages and hamburgers.

I was so excited for the players to come out, I had to go to the bathroom again.
And guess what?
They came out while I was gone!
Sad day.
But Chris and I were both excited to see they were wearing their super cool Winter Classic Jersey's.
I went down a few steps to get some closer pictures.
This guy looked right at my camera, then waved after I took a picture.
We're pretty much bff's now.
Too bad I can't see his number, because I have no idea who he is.

I don't know if you know, but the Blackhawks are actually the defending Stanley Cup Champions. There was a very old, very well-dressed man right behind us. People kept walking by and shaking his hand and patting him on the shoulder. He was wearing the largest, most diamondiest ring I've ever seen in real life: a Stanley Cup Championship ring from last year. The name on the ring was Fitzgerald (yes, the ring was large enough to fit "Fitzgerald"). We googled him, but couldn't figure out who he was. But it was cool to see the ring in person.

I don't know why we didn't get a picture of all four of us.
But we had lots of fun and a big thanks to Chris's parents for everything!

I was really in awe of these elite players, and it was so much fun to see them up close and see how fast the game is, how smart and talented they are. I was in heaven.
And the massive cup of rocky road in my hands didn't hurt either.

[don't mind us, we're both blind, but too poor for contacts]

With 4 minutes left, the game was tied 1-1, and I was seriously hoping for overtime and a shootout.
Unfortunately, the Ducks scored again, and the Hawks lost.
Kind of a bummer, but it was still a grand old time.

We came back to find Aunt Becky had maneuvered dinner and bedtime flawlessly.
We came home on Sunday, and I was wishing for a rewind button.

Back to reality.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

a little calm.

"Do you think my life is one big vacation?"

This is the question I posed to Chris last night. He paused, wondering what answer I wanted. Then carefully responded "No." Ha! But he meant "no". I know he did. He knows what it takes to take care of Carly. He knows that it is a 24/7 job. He loves and respects me for the effort I put into her. I know this.

But I've been thinking lately, things are just really good right now. I'm in a positive groove, and life is just downright lovely.

This weekend we are headed to Chicago to visit Chris's grandma and attend a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game with his parents. I'm sooo excited. Chris has a hectic time at school right now, and he has had to make up a lot of time in order to leave this weekend. He is good to me. It was me who was dying to go to a game.

[pants-less picnic]

This week I bought a plane ticket for me and Carly to fly back west in April. We'll be out there for 10 days, and be able to to attend the sealing of little Miss Shayla to her parents. My brother was married the same week I had Carly, and we lived in Tennessee at the time, so it was, of course, impossible to make it. I was so sad to miss it. I'm so happy I don't have to miss this.

And in June we are going to the Oregon Coast with my whole family (minus the missionary brother; don't tell him we're going). We used to go when we were all little kids, so it will be so fun to go back and take Carly. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it.


Carly is so wonderful. She learns so much every day. I interact with her. I teach her new things. She expresses herself to a certain degree. She tells me what she wants. She shows wonder. Today at the mall there was a bird at the fountain (welcome to lansing) and she was following it around. Every time she would get close, it would fly to the other side of the fountain. She would put her arms up and scrunch up her little face like Where did the bird go? Why is it flying away? It was just about the cutest funniest thing ever. She does somethig new and hilarious every day. We have so much fun. We go to playgroup, hang with friends, go to the park, go to the library, go shopping. She is pretty much my bff. She eats decent and she naps on schedule. There are times when she pushes my buttons or stresses me out, but usually when she stresses me out, it is because I just can't keep up with her zest for life. I charish every minute with her.

My husband is wonderful. He works so hard all day, and comes home and gives 110% as a daddy and husband. I often go to the gym, and he spends an hour and a half chasing our wild thing and wrestling with her, throwing her up in the air, and spinning her around. The other night, late at night, Carly said "Da Da!" in her sleep. We both heard her through the monitor. I'm positive she was dreaming of being thrown up and spun around. We love him a lot.


I get to go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. I recently had to stop running because of my knees, but I'm doing bike, elliptical, and stair-stepping in hopes my knees will recover a bit enough for me to run again. But I've been lifting again, and trying to add in plyometrics. It feels so good to stretch my body, push it beyond what it thinks it can to. I feel better, I feel like I look better (even if I really don't), and I'm happy.

We got a tax return that means we will be able to survive a summer of significantly reduced income. As long as we are in school (and for a while afterwards, honestly) we will never have a lot. We will never have beyond what we need to meet our basic needs. But for now we are meeting our basic needs without worry. And without loans. Tomorrow something could change, but today money isn't hanging over my head. A true tithing miracle.

[wanting her penny back after making a wish.]

I feel like this moment in time, this small window, however long it might last, is my respite from the storm (knock on wood). I feel like right this minute is the recovery phase. I remember after Carly was born I just felt like life was impossible. That I would never find it normal again. That I would always be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That it would always be too hard. We pray that someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, there will be a second wild thing in the C Family. And when that occurs, things will feel impossible all over again. Things will feel too hard again. It will be wonderful. But it will be hard. Money will surely run out again, school will feel all-encompassing, Carly will hit the terrible twos, homesickness will be a daily battle. Life has so many twists and turns, ups and downs.

So for now I'm just grateful for today. For this little calm in the midst of crazy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

mommy's little Pens fan.

it looks like i'm doing a good job raising Carly.
whenever hockey is on the tv, she says "GOOOAAALLLL!"
and last night the Penguins came on and I told her to say Go Pens.
And what does she say?

that was one proud mommy moment.

but perhaps the most fun is when the Pens score a goal.
the fun thing about hockey is you can't see the goal coming, and then all the sudden GOAL! i have a tendency to jump up and celebrate when the Pens score, and last night Carly thought it was a great deal of fun. luckily the Pens scored 4 goals before Carly's bedtime, so there was a lot of celebrating.

and when its time to stop celebrating and continue watching the game? well, that doesn't happen for Carly. we would stop jumping and cheering, and she would motion to us and say "Pease." Please keep jumping and cheering with me. There was a lot of celebrating last night.

the girl cheers for the Pens with all her might, regardless of the health risks involved:

now that is team spirit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

we went ice skating.

on Friday night we went ice skating.
Chris's program had a little skating get-together at the Munn Ice Arena, where MSU's hockey team plays. I got a really coolio pic of Chris and one of his buddies under the championship banners, but it got ruined and I'm mad so I don't want to talk about it.
Anyway . . . skating.

We had a lot of fun. I can't believe how difficult ice skating is! I expected it to be akin to roller blading, but it was much more difficult. It gave me an even greater respect for what hockey players to on the ice. Granted, most of them have been skating since they were toddlers.

[ain't we cute?]

Speaking of skating toddlers . . . they didn't rent skates small enough for Carly, so she had to walk around on the ice and get pushed on her shoes by daddy. She had no want for attention, though, with lots of people willing to be her ice buddy.

[ice princess]

[skating with daddy]

It was a grand old time.
They hold open skates at the arena, so we'll have to do it more often.
Especially when Carly can fit in skates.


Oh, and because she looked so cute for church yesterday:


Friday, March 18, 2011

in which carly locks me out of the house.

you should probably know that i have a habit of locking the door the second i close it. carly sees me lock the door several times a day. she has been messing with the door knob and deadbolt lately. i didn't think she had the leverage to turn the deadbolt fully.

you should probably know i never take the garbage out when carly is awake. i usually send chris out with it in the evening. or i take it out when she is napping. the dumpster is about 10 seconds outside our door. today we had friends coming over, so i thought i'd take our stinky garbage out before they arrived. i left the door open so carly could watch me as i went.

around the time i reached the dumpster, i heard carly slam the door shut. not uncommon. i speed-walked back to our front door, and attempted to open the door. locked. i tried again. locked. had she really locked me out? was she capable of locking me out? i heard her on the other side of the door: "pease. pease." Please open the door, she was saying. I calmly explain I can't. "Mommy is stuck," I say. She starts crying. I start panicking.

you should probably know that this was one of those times in motherhood where i felt totally lame and helpless. no keys. no phone. i repeatedly tried to get carly to unlock the door. of course, she didn't understand. i kept talking to her. i wanted to keep her at the door. i had visions of her doing all sorts of things to hurt herself, and i couldn't see her . . . couldn't stop her . . . couldn't help her. i got freaked.

but remember how I mentioned our friends were on the way? Camilla and Kennedy showed up just in time to save the day. i swear they always witness how dysfunctional we are. Camilla stood at the door and talked to Carly, while I took her car to the front office (we have a big complex. it would have taken 15 minutes to walk there and back. i wasn't leaving Carly alone for 15 minutes). i got the spare key. i opened the door to fine a confused carly, who immediately turned into an excited carly when she saw "baby!".

we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging and having a nice time.

but i can't believe how scared i was for those few minutes.

oh, how i love that girl.

teach me to ever take the trash out again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

i {heart} st patricks day.

you probably didn't know i really really love st patrick's day.
and that would be ok, because not a lot of people really really love it.
but 15 years from now, 16-year-old Carly is going to open the fridge and roll her eyes when she sees a gallon of green milk.
it's just the perfect day to go over-the-top on a holiday that is otherwise insignificant.
The sun came.
It was warm-esque today.
I'm a little shocked.
We made it through the meat of our first Michigan winter.
And it wasn't that bad.
Pretty much the same as an Idaho winter.
Go, us.
So we started off our green day with a trip to the park with friends.
Carly is slightly obsessed with the park.
Slides in particular, though she does enjoy the swing.
In fact, yesterday she learned "schving!".

[greened out. including the green dishtowel]


The park we went to had a little kids play thingy (what are those things called?), and a play thingy for bigger kids. It took Carly about 10 minutes on the little kids one to decide it was lame-o and head over to the big one. The big one had these slides what were so steep, I was kind of afraid to go down them. ha! But Carly went down no fear. She started to say "weeee!" but it was so steep it kind of took her breath away. Hilarious. She went over and over again. Thrill-seeker.

But man, slides these days. They were this softish plastic and had grooves at the end to slow you down. Remember when we were kids and would go cruising down hot metal slides, fly off the bottom, and hit the back of our heads on the bottom? Today's slides are definitely an upgrade.

Holy cow that was a lot of talking about slides.

[the tip top of mount crumpet]

[girl LOVES the park.]

[chilling with tennyson.]

[lizzie pushing carly round and round.]

Yay for St Patrick's Day!

After lunch and nap, we headed back into the sunshine.
We walked to our small nearby park, where there was more sliding and swinging.

[this time hippo got to come to the park.]

For dinner we had corned beef and cabbage.
I had it on St Patrick's Day growing up.
Its been a while, though.

Two years ago, I pulled an all nighter on St Patrick's day to finish my class to graduate on time. The next day we saw Carly and found out she was a girl.
Maybe that's one reason St Patrick's Day holds a special place in my heart.

Last year Chris just shot down corned beef and cabbage all together.
But this year I revived it.
Its a good once-a-year meal.
And boy was it de-lish.
[enjoying a st patrick's day sugar cookie.
i will be finding shamrock-shaped sprinkles on the carpet for days.]

We ended our day with GF chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and green sprinkles.
And a BYU March Madness win.

hope your st patricks day was sunny.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

the ol' switcheroo.

on sunday i left carly looking like this, so i could go make lunch . . .

and came back to find her like this.

she pulled the ol' switcheroo.
And Red Baron even got to keep his dishtowel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

rainy days and mondays always get me down.

Thanks, mom. Now I have that song in my head.

It wasn't rainy, but yesterday was seriously lame.
just blah all around.
Post-spring-break-blues, perhaps?
Or maybe it was the chaotic grocery shopping trip where
carly managed to topple a whole tower of candy bars.

And here I was going to share the rest of
 yesterday's Alexander-esque day with you,
but how does that help any of us?

Instead, look at her:

Don't worry.
If you feel the urge to eat her, its totally normal.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

the children's museum of indianapolis.

We spent the past few days down in Indiana,
visiting Chris's family and getting away from our everyday life.
It was nice.

On Thursday we took Carly to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis.
It is the world's largest children's museum.
I heard about it when Carly was a few months old and have been waiting patiently until she was old enough to appreciate it. To be honest, 19 months old was probably still a little young, but we still had a really wonderful time.
What really convinced us we had to go?
They are running a special Dora exhibit.
It was a sign.

Our experience started in on the dinosaur level.
Carly had no interest in that whatsoever, except pointing to one and calling it a doggy.
So we moved on.

[Prepare yourself for approx 28 pictures]

Next we saw the "choo choo".

[Carly pointing out the choo choo.]

Next were the "Fireworks of Glass."
These were really pretty and, even better, not breakable.

[Carly and daddy looking at the fireworks of glass ceiling.]

This crazy colorful glass tower ran all the way up the middle of the building.
It was coolio.

Next was a quick stop in Egypt.
Carly loved the pretend airplane ride to get there.
Why doesn't she act that good on an actual airplane?

[Enjoying an Egyptian lunch.]

[carly was a serious fan of Egyptian Sesame Street. had to drag her away.]

[just riding a Nile croc.]

I think I might admit my favorite part was the Barbie exhibit.
My sociological education has given me mixed feelings on Barbies, and I have yet to decided whether Carly will ever get any (personal thoughts, not pronouncing Barbies evil or anything) but this exhibit was so wonderfully girly. The little girls could dress up in girl-sized Barbie clothes. They could dress giant Barbies. Lots of different dress-up, doll stuff that would be so fun if you had a 5 year old. Carly danced to the music for a bit and was ready to move on.
Next time.

[carly did want to get her hands on all these classic Barbies behind glass]

Another cool part of the Barbie exhibit were these homemade Barbie clothes. A mom in the 60's used to make these beautiful really amazing clothes for her daughters' Barbie instead of buying them. They were really awesome; like Jackie Kennedy stuff. And there was a gorgeous wedding dress that I would have actually worn at my wedding if it was human-size. I wish I would have taken a picture. Anyway, the daughters donated the pieces to the museum, but they kept a lot more. What a cool thing to have from your mom.

Then, the main event:

Dora and Diego

[counting coins]

[where is Dora's mouth?]

Chris and I have a running joke that I have a crush on Diego. The Diego that is on Dora has a very pleasant voice in my opinion (the one in Go Diego Go is annoying). I made the mistake of telling Chris that and now I get a lot of grief for enjoying his voice. So of course I need a picture with my man (boy? ew). Oh, and that's my red carpet face. Looks like I'm going to puke. I'll have to work on that.

[heading in to Diego's jungle]

[probably could have gone back and forth through the tunnel all day]

[clueless on the rock wall]

Carly's physiologist daddy was very excited about her muscle strength and muscle endurance after her fine display on the monkey bars. I'm not sure who enjoyed the experience more.


[catching estrellas]

No, wait. She could have gone down this slide all day long. It had very kid friendly stairs and she would come down and instantly circle around, climb back up, and slide down again. She probably went about 25 times.

The top floor was for older kids. It had exhibits on Ruby Bridges (first African American girl to attend a white school), Anne Frank (I hope you already know who that is), and Ryan White (child AIDS patient who fought for equal rights). They were all very interesting exhibits, but I was nearly in tears.

[heading into Ruby's school]

[Carly hitched a ride, as the big-kid floor wasn't super exciting.]

I was just about crying while looking at this jacket from an actual concentration camp that a survivor saved and donated to the museum. It was still filthy, and there was something on the collar that looked like blood, though it could have been mud, considering how old it is. But it was really touching and it was a nice experience in the middle of all the fun and games. 

After the big kids floor, we headed down to the "5 and under" play exhibit. A breeding ground of germs, to be sure. There was a sand section, but Carly has a fear of getting dirty. There was also a water section where you could to "fishing", but I didn't want to deal with a soaking wet baby. Next time I'll bring an extra shirt for her, now that I know. So we stuck with the dry, clean parts.

[Crossing the river on a log. Another favorite activity.]

We ended our adventure in the food court eating our sack lunch.
Carly was so cute the whole time, pointing at things, identifying things, playing.
She is so old.
A genuine little girl.
We had a blast.
I'm so glad we took her.

And before we even got out of the parking garage . . .