Let me tell you, holidays are infinitely more special and fun with a kid.
Carly and I have made some friends in the neighborhood.
We ran into them in January while we were on a walk wearing about 17 layers.
Turns out Carly and the little girl, KP, are just 5 days apart.
We've run into each other a few more times over the months.
At our last run-in, I was telling KP's mom that I wanted to take Carly on an Easter Egg hunt, but didn't know what to do because I knew Carly wouldn't fare well in a busy one with older kids. She gets easily intimidated. So KP's mom, Tam (ha! these are code names, obviously), suggested we do a little one for just the two little girls at our neighborhood park.
So thats what we did.
I really like seeing Carly interact with KP. She tends to be shy around other kids, but she has loosened up a little around KP. They always scream when they are forced to separate.
On to the Easter Egg hunt:
Carly was slow and methodical.
KP was speedy. Pretty sure she got twice as many eggs as Carly did.
We sat and divided them afterwards.
It was a fun morning, and a mini Easter Egg hunt fit both girls just right.
Afterwards, we went on a walk. The girls just love pushing their little strollers together.
They are hilarious.
And KP taught Carly what a doorbell is.
Thanks a lot, KP.
After our Easter Egg hunt, we settled in and waited for daddy to get home.
I watched the Pens lose embarrassingly 8-2, and Carly enjoyed Dora clips.
I know, mom of the year award, right?
Daddy got home from school and we tore the house apart, went to the park, watched Toy Story 3 ("toys!") and ate BBQ chicken pizza for dinner. It was a nice Easter Eve.
This morning, Carly found that the Easter bunny did indeed come.
He brought a basket with books sent from Grandma L, the cutest Cubs pillowcase dress from her penpal Eliza in Kville, and Dora sandals from Grandma K. Oh, and a blue hotwheels mustang from mom and dad. There were also eggs filled with candy, which the Easter bunny should have thought about before giving to Carly first thing in the morning.
We pulled ourselves together and headed to church.
I have to say, Carly's dress just killed me.
It was outrageously cute.
I'm a sucker for ruffles, its true.
I put it on her and she said, "Ooooooooo."
She also had sparkly white shoes on. They are new, and turns out they are still a little big. The nursery leader said they were a big hit with all the little girls in nursery. Carly's shoes would slip off, and the other girls would try to take them! The nursery leader said it was like she was Cinderella :).
For Easter we enjoyed an Easter feast of bacon-wrapped sirloin, twice baked potatoes, deviled eggs, and GF German chocolate cake.
I do love Easter.
Tonight before bed, we watched some of Finding Faith in Christ with Carly. We would point and say "Do you see Jesus?" and "Who's that?". She is good at finding Jesus.
At the end, it shows Mary Magdalene weeping at the empty tomb. "Go night-night," Carly said. No, we explained. She is sad because she can't find Jesus. Where did Jesus go?
Then the Savior walks into the scene.
You can just see the bottom of his white clothes.
They showed his face, and Carly said, "Ici!" (there He is!).
And then a word that warmed my heart:
Easter Egg hunts are fun.
Food is great.
Chocolate cake is even better.
But at the end of the day, Easter is so beautiful because its a day we remember Christ a little extra. We celebrate His life and miracles. We feel gratitude for His incredible selfless sacrifice. And we rejoice in His resurrection from the tomb and His power over death.
I remember when we bought Carly her bigger carseat, it totally cracked me up that it had cupholders.
Cupholders? Wow, high class.
Turns out I was wrong.
Those aren't cupholders at all.
They're bear holders.
[man, did Carly get a kick out of this.]
We've had a lull in the action around here. It got cold again, forcing me to retrieve our heavy coats from the basement, where I thought I could safely store them as we approach the end of April. Alas, we are not in Kansas (errrr . . . I mean Tennessee) anymore. The return to cold weather also means an excess of our new fav Bubble Guppies, and too many trips to walk around stores aimlessly while Carly murmurs "swing . . . slide . . . Carly swing . . . . hi slide . . . ". Poor girl.
Chris has had an especially busy week as well, and Carly often points to the door and says "dada home?". We cannot wait for this semester to end. We leave for Idaho on Tuesday, and when we get back, it will be over. I do not envy the things he has to accomplish while we're gone.
[a girl and her bear . . . and her dishtowel]
I'm around. I've been feeling a little blah, with spring refusing to stay very long and Chris being so busy. Just been feeling a little . . . blah. Really the only word for it. So so excited to head back west. I do continue to go to the gym, and my knee has recently let me return to running. A perk to living with an exercise physiologist in training is the free tips. Turns out if I gradually warm up on a bike before running, my knee will last longer on a treadmill. Whatever it takes. I really have grown to love it.
As I rant about the weather, today is actually a beautiful day. We went to the park on our way home from the library. It was just about naptime, but Carly just loves the park, so we stopped by. This is what happens when you go to the park just before naptime:
"Should we go, Carly?"
*shakes her head no*
"Are you tired?"
*shakes her head no*
Not tired? Are you kidding me? Look at those eyes. I promised we would see the park many more times in the near future.
On a cold yesterday, we went to Meijer to do something other than be in our house, and they had tanks of fish in the pet section. Chris said she liked them when he took her a while back, but wow, did the girl screech and squeal when we saw the fishies. And she would tap on the glass and they would all scatter really quickly. Easy entertainment.
We've been watching an incredible amount of playoff hockey. The Chicago/Vancouver series has been a lot of fun to watch. Two really exciting teams. And my Pens won in the second overtime last night to go up 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. There is nothing quite like sudden-death overtime playoff hockey.
[girl travels heavy: purse full of puzzle pieces, monkey wearing a diaper cover, towel]
Thats about as exciting as we get, I'm afraid.
Looking forward to a quiet Easter weekend.
One of my favorite things these days is the process of dropping off and picking up Carly from nursery.
After sacrament meeting, Carly gives daddy hugs and kisses, then she and I head down the hall to nursery. She gives me a kiss outside the door, then I put her down. She walks in to nursery excitedly, swinging her towel, and announces her arrival with a big happy "HI!".
Every time I marvel how easily she adjusted to it. It is literally the only time during a normal week that she is not with either me or Chris. I just love that she has grown to love this little part of her life that is all her own. I always walk away feeling simultaneously empty and full. Empty because I am missing my little sidekick; full because I am in awe over the smart, strong, independent little person she is becoming.
[on her weekly post-church/pre-nap jog around the house]
Sunday School and Relief Society pass, and I am grateful that I am now able to sit and listen and learn and feel of the spirit. You don't realize how much you miss it until its gone from your life for 18 months. But, when RS ends, I'm in a hurry to go get my baby.
When I reach the door to the nursery, I peek in and I don't know which one of us is more excited to see the other. "Mama!" Carly says, and she runs to me. I scoop her up and give her kisses. The nursery leader hands her her paper, and Carly bids farewell with a "BYE!" and a queen-esque wave. "Did you have fun in nursery?" I always ask. "Yeah," she says, and buries her head in my shoulder in exhaustion. I melt a little.
She is starting to do a million things that I don't want to forget.
So this is long.
Carly is currently in a phase where she likes to identify everything. When we go outside it goes something like this: "rock! tree! sun! car! hi car! *blow kisses* bye car! rock! rock! rock! tree! towel! mama! carly! carly towel! mama! dog! *blow kisses* park! swing! slide! carly slide!". Its completely exhausting. She does the same thing with books. With many of her books, she can open it and identify most things on the page.
[a true sports fan]
Whether she is really looking for something or she is playing a game, she puts her little hands up palms-up and gets her questioning look on her face and says "where towel?", "where dada?", "where book?". When she is playing, she'll often look for herself: "where carly?". Then she points to herself and says, "Oh, ici!". Now, if you're a francophone, you'll know "ici" means "here". I didn't teach her "ici". I have no idea why she says it. But she says "ici!" whenever she finds whatever she is looking for. Born genius, I suppose.
She is obsessed with saying "hi" and "bye" and giving/blowing kisses. Every morning we come down the stairs and she sees my car keys hanging and she says "Oh, hi keys!" and leans over in my arms and gives them kisses. She blows kisses to cars and puppies and slides and the mailbox. She hugs trees (literally). She is a loving girl.
[changing baby's diaper]
I've said this before, but words are pouring out of her mouth faster than I can keep track. The other day, we were reading a book and the first word on the next page was "quick". I was turning the page and she said "Quick!". She calls hair "hairs", which I l-o-v-e. She picks things up so quick. When she falls, I say "are you ok, Carly?". Her bear fell out of her stroller today and she said "k, bear?".
She can also identify all her stuffed animals. She takes them out of her bin one at a time: "David. Bear. AhAh [monkey]. Hip [hippo]. Ribt [frog]." I said "David" out of the blue, after we had not played with him in quite a while. I was surprised. I suppose she knew his name in her head, and now has the ability to say it out loud.
[its exhausting being her]
She loves books. She recently decided to change bedtime a bit. She now sits in the glider, while I sit in front of her on the floor, facing her. I read a book, while she looks at another book. Sometimes in the middle of the book, she will switch with me, and a little later she will switch back. It keeps my brain active, and hers too, I suppose. We have also gone from reading two books at bedtime to about five. Even then she is usually requesting more. She also likes to bring books to bed with her, and she is particular about which book she wants each night. I usually have to show her 3 or 4 before she is happy with the one (or two) that she sleeps with. Every morning her crib is littered with towels and books.
[we heart the library]
When she says "shirt", she leaves the 'r' out. I try to be mature and not giggle.
We are just starting to be able to have mini conversations with her. And she is expressing her opinion more. The other day she insisted on wearing her star pants (nevermind that she had a polka dot shirt on, yikes). And yesterday morning she wanted more pancakes ("pa-cake! pa-cake!") but we were fresh out, so I made her a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. I sometimes make her little pizzas on bread, so she must have gotten confused. I put the pb bread on her tray and she cried "No pizza! No pizza!". Oh, I laughed so hard.
[carly and backpack headed in to the library]
Kisses heal all wounds for Carly. When she gets hurt, I kiss her owie, so now she holds whatever part is injured out to me. She will cry, and the second I kiss it, she smiles and squeals and its all better. I hope this works long-term.
One of the funniest but most frustrating things she is doing right now is how she wants to take everything with us when we go somewhere. I open the door and say Let's go!. She starts handing me things: "towel! book! bear! backpack! ball!". I've got my arms full of stuff, then she reaches her arms up for me to pick her up and says "Carly!". I've been trying to casually put one thing down while she picks up another, but she will notice: "oh, no. ball!". Finally, I put her outside, drop everything in the living room (except towel, of course) and make a run for it. I often make it out, but sometimes backpack, bear, and/or ball make the trip too.
[diva chillin' in the shopping cart]
I've been mentioning it, but the girl says "mama" consistently now! Its so fun. She said "mama" for the first time a month ago, and then went back to not saying it. I was a secondary "dada" or she just didn't call me anything. We would point to Chris and she would say "dada", then we would point to me and she would just smile and put her head down or something. I wanted to say, Come on, girl, show me some love! But about a week or so ago, she started calling me mama. I love it. When I put her down at night, she looks up at me and waves and whispers "bye, mama." Melts my heart.
Oh, and bonus for you. I caught the big 'N-O' on camera. Five seconds before this, Carly was identifying everything in a book, so I wanted to get it on camera. But she only does things when she wants to:
I especially enjoy the look of pure defiance on her face when she screams 'no'. Except when its in the grocery store.
So I get a call on Tuesday from our apartment manager. "We have a small problem," she tells me. That's what you like to hear from your apartment manager. Turns out our neighbors have bedbugs, and the bug guy had to come check our mattresses to see if we had them too. Oh, my gosh, I almost died. I didn't really know bedbugs were a real thing. But I guess they are brown little bugs that get into your mattress and bite you when you're asleep (hence the expression, Don't let the bedbugs bite. who knew?). The bug guy came and checked us out and said we looked good, but they would have to treat our apartment when they treat our neighbors because bedbugs have a tendency to flee. When he said the word flee, he wiggled his fingers like little bugs scattering. I shuddered. Carly and I will have to leave for 5-6 hours. Where the heck are we going to go for 5-6 hours? Blah. And my other question is, why haven't I heard when they are doing this? Shouldn't this be a pretty immediate concern? All I can think about is fleeing bedbugs.
A few hours after that phone call, I was feeding Carly lunch and saw something outside our back door. A giant disgusting possum. I don't know how many of you have seen a live possum, but they are just about the sickest creature on earth. I screamed when I saw it and Carly said nervously "Mama? Mama?". Haha. Poor girl. But I was creeped out all day. What kind of place do we live in, with bedbugs and possums running rampant?
[what happens when daddy is in charge of getting Carly ready in the morning]
We went to the park with friends yesterday, and Camilla gave Carly an underdog in the baby swing. Carly thought it was the greatest, and was laughing wildly. I was telling Chris about it and he said "Camilla did what?" An underdog. "What's that?". For reals, my husband did not know what an underdog was. I had to explain it to him, complete with re-enactments.
Carly has early-onset terrible twos I'm pretty sure. She is on this streak where she enjoys high-pitch screaming "no! no! no! no!" anytime I ask her to do something or try to touch her against her will or try to get her to do anything ever that she does not initiate. If you've been to my local Target lately, chances are you've seen me dragging her screaming and thrashing little self out to the car, and then pinning her down in order to buckle her in. The only time either of us find true peace is at the p-a-r-k. The child is in her element outside. Now we just need it to get over 40 degrees and/or stop raining.
[ready to ship her off to Idaho]
To be fair, Carly has also been doing a million billion cute things lately. She is so smart and growing so fast. I'll tell you all about it soon.
In light of my frazzled state, my wonderful husband called on his way home on Wednesday and said "I think you should go to The King's Speech tonight." I went. It was me, my guilty-pleasure pop, a bag of Snickers, and two couples in their 60's. It may sound lame, but there are few things more relaxing than going to a movie all by yourself. On a weeknight. I highly recommend it.
But she just has a special place in her heart for dishtowels.
We don't get it.
But we do love it.
Towels have ascended beyond the position of comfort objects onto the honor of real friend. I am frequently required to give towel kisses. Towel comes to the park and Carly giggles as she sends it down the slide. If she leaves towel in another room, she will go looking for it: "Towel!? Towel!? Oh! Hi, towel!". And the more the better. There are few more heart-melting scenes then watching Carly settle in her crib, draping herself in dishtowels.
We call her quirky.
We call her unique.
We call her fabulous.
And yes, I have to push towel on the swing too.
She screams in delight: "Shwing, towel!".
I'm sure we are quite the sight.
We had a wonderful General Conference weekend.
We spent time with friends.
We ate cake.
We conducted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
We heard the words of the Lord.
A few favorite thoughts:
(Obviously, the talks aren't out yet, so none of these quotes are word-for-word. All from memory.)
One of my favorite quotes was from Elder Holland that said something very close to: "the purpose of General Conference is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable." Ha! How right is that? You always come away from Conference spiritually on fire, but you also have a list of things you want to do better. He also said that during Conference, the Lord will send you "personal little prophetic epistles" pertaining to what you need to hear the most. Without fail, it happens every time, as long as you're listening.
One member of the 70 (oh, dear, I don't know. You try taking notes while corralling Carly and trying to listen) talked about how doing is being. He said something like "so many people make to-do lists, but hardly anyone makes a to-be list." I am going to make a to-be list.
I also enjoyed the talk yesterday about the Sabbath. It made me want to improve my Sabbath days. I don't have Chris Sunday mornings, and I'm not a morning person, so our pre-church routine is hectic and unorganized. We often go running out the door with Carly's breakfast packed in my purse (for reals). I want to do better. I have memories of church songs playing in my home growing up. My mom up with curlers in her hair and eating breakfast. The spirit was always strong before we even left the door. It was Sunday. I want to work on after church too. Making one game or another less of a priority, and doing things that will draw us as a family closer to God. I want Carly to know that the Sabbath is different. It is special.
Oh, and don't get me started on the Temple! Ha! The story President Monson told about the father of the family of 10 who left for 4 years to work and save up to take his family to the temple? Oh, he must have heard me comment that its "hard to make it an hour to Detroit, especially with Carly". Ha! Put that on my "to-be" list: a Temple goer.
But my "personal little prophetic epistle" this time around was Elder Oaks. His talk on desire was truly incredible. What are my greatest desires? Do I match my priorities to my desires? Before anything in this world, I want Carly and her siblings to be good. To make right choices, marry in the temple, live long faithful lives. I want to live with my family forever. Do I make my priorities match that? At night when I read the Pens website for 20 minutes, then later think its too late to read scriptures, where are my priorities? Or when I forget to pray before lunch with Carly? Or when we skip Family Home Evening? These are little things, but it is the little things that make all the difference in the choices we make. And I want nothing more than to teach Carly exactly what she needs to know to make it. Because its only going to get harder.
Isn't Conference wonderfully exhausting?
What an incredible thing it is.
I am really amazed by it. Chris was telling a friend at school about it and his reaction was "10 hours?!". Oh, doesn't it sound insane like that? But it goes by so fast. We're sad when its over. And then we go back and read it all again!
My husband has many virtues. There are countless things I love about him. But one of the most endearing things about him is his love for baseball and the Chicago Cubs. He really gets as giddy as a little kid when baseball season starts up. I was making dinner tonight while he started the Cubs game on the DVR (it was not easy for him not to check the score while at school), and I kept hearing him say things like "This is so cool", "I'm so nervous", "I'm so excited", "I love baseball", "This is such a great game", "There is nothing like this".
There is nothing like this.
Baseball's Opening Day has become
a sort of holiday in the C House.
Today we all wore our baseball love on our sleeves.
In a shocking turn of events, I found that Carly doesn't have a Cubs shirt that is her size. So I had her wear my pre-baby-will-never-fit-again Cubs shirt. Chris and I decided tonight that we'll have her wear it every Opening Day as she grows up. Oh, my heck, so cute.