Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Out of Office Reply

I will be out of the blogosphere from Thursday, Dec. 3 through Saturday, Dec. 19th due to end-of-semester projects, an internship, and basic Christmas preparations, such as baking goodies, making Elisabeth's dress, and Christmas cards.  Be looking in the mail for our annual Christmas letter or check back after the 19th for an update on our family.  Hope you have a wonderful two and 1/2 weeks!!!

Kristi

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Or it will be when we are in MN visiting our family next week.  In preparation to embracing the frost-biting cold we will encounter, I borrowed a winter coat for Ellie girl and purchased a bunny hat and mitten set from Target.  Elisabeth LOVES her winter gear.  She refused to take it off after I tried it on her the other day.



Here she is in one of her favorite places in the house, doing one of her favorite things to do.  My dentist will be thrilled that she is already committed to good dental hygiene.



And here she is after I wrestled her out of her coat because it was supposed to be 80 degrees that afternoon.  I think she cried for 15 minutes and I could only take off her bunny hat when she was asleep for her nap.  I guess this is her way of saying she can't wait to see "Gampa Mimi" and her aunts, uncles and cousins.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cleanliness

Elisabeth got herself especially dirty today between lunch and a visit to the park this morning.  This is unusual for her. She isn't obsessed with being clean but she always plays and eats pretty neatly.  While we were waiting to check out at the fabric store, she looks at me and says loudly "I need bath."

Everyone behind me in line laughed out loud because she did look a little like a street urchin and I probably should have changed her clothes before running some errands.  And she does need a bath.

Out of the mouths of babes. . .


Happy Half Birthday to You!

18 months.  Elisabeth has reached the magical age of 18 months.  For those that are LDS, this glorious age means that our baby is now old enough to enter into Junior Nursery during the 2nd and 3rd hours of church, allowing mom and pop to actually learn something of a religious nature in Sunday school instead of how to keep a toddler happy and quiet without distracting the 50 other church goers.  She did not cry one tear.  She doesn't even look back to say goodbye when Lance drops her off and when I pick her up, she doesn't want to leave.  That is our social butterfly! Our baby is NOT a baby anymore.




Elisabeth's Medical Report Card:
- Height: 75th percentile
- Weight:  95th percentile
- Head:  60th percentile




Some funny "Elisabethisms":
  • When we give her a choice between two things, she will say "Ummmm" as she ponders and then does a cute little smack of her lips once she has reached her decision.
  • She loves salad, eggplant and stuffed peppers.  When we put a 1/2 of a stuffed pepper in front of her one night she exclaimed "Oh Yeah!" with a huge grin.
  • She walks on her toes a lot just like I did when I was a little girl.
  • She already used her "big girl potty" successfully.  We aren't potty training yet but just "familiarizing" her with the concept.  She is receptive so far.
  • Affectionate is word that best describes our clever girl.  She is constantly hugging and giving sweet kisses to all of her stuffed animals and baby dolls, not to mention her parents and Sofi Dog.
  • She loves to do that hand motions to "Itsy Bitsy Spider."
  • She insists her stuffed dog do everything she does.  As a result, her dog went to church last week wearing a diaper and hair bows.  She also has her stuffed dog take her turn on the "big girl potty" every night before bedtime.
She is always on the move and is into everything.  This picture says it all:



We sure do adore our Chunka Munka!

Friday, November 13, 2009

All in the Family

Everyone who sees Elisabeth almost automatically says "Oh, she looks just like her dad."  I swear she has a little bit of my family in her as well.

You be the judge:

Lance and Elisabeth around 18 months






Kristi and Elisabeth around 18 months




So, she does have a lot of her papa in her.  She definitely got her chubs and coloring from her daddy.  However, there is no denying she is mine as well.  She has my mouth and maybe even my nose!

I think she takes after her namesake, Grandma Dorothy.




No question.  She is ours.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Our First Date: A Disagreement

I claim our first date as a couple was when Lance invited me to go watch the BYU homecoming parade in October 2001.  (Which, for the record, it was.)  Lance insists it was later in November 2001, when we went to watch a men's acapella group sing and then out to Leatherby's for hamburgers and an icecream sundae.  He likes to say that was our first date because he not only held my hand AND told me he loved me, BUT he also gave me my first kiss.  He figures he was pretty suave. Even though he is wrong about this being our first date - as it was cleary NOT - I remember that evening every time the calendar on our wall changes from October to November.  He told me he loved me 8 years ago on a freezing cold bench outside the HFAC (the performing arts building) at BYU before he had even held my hand.

Right or wrong, I am just so glad he finally stopped trying to set me up with his brother and decided I would be a good match for him.

Here's to a husband who works countless hours to support our family but still manages to spend quality time with our daughter every morning while I sleep in a bit, serve valiantly in his calling at church, take the dog for her morning walk, fold all of our laundry every week, make veggie platters for Sunday dinner at my neighbors, and do everything he can to help out at home so I can finish my graduate degree. 



Yup.  I would say I am very lucky and forever grateful for the support he has always given me. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

AH. . . BOO!




This is what Elisabeth calls Jack-O-Lanterns for some reason.  When she sees them she will shout "AH..BOO!"  She can also say her own version of "pumpkin" so I am thinking she bases this name on her Halloween dress.




We attempted to take Elisabeth to the pumpkin patch during Lance's lunch break earlier this week but she wasn't very happy and was scared of the tractors and large crowds of preschool children.  I couldn't get her to smile very much that day but at least her pumpkin get-up will make for some nice scrapbook pages.  She was pretty smiley after we stopped at Baja Fresh for a lunch.  Note to self: Feed the sweet pea BEFORE going to the pumpkin patch.  Better luck next year!




Tonight is our ward Trunk-or-Treat and tomorrow we will be carving pumpkins with some good friends before we take our little lamb to go visit some of our neighbors and friends so they can coo over how adorable she is.  She will even give you an enthusiastic "Baa" if prompted.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Because I am feeling ambitious. . .

My newest smocking project:


Originally, I was planning on doing a red dress but after I saw this pattern, I couldn't resist.  I mean, Elisabeth is still a baby, right?   Babies look better in softer colors.  And she won't be our baby for long so I figure there are many years ahead for me to make red dresses.  The dress is actually a light pink and my final product will have less puffy sleeves and probably a little different lace.  Wish me luck! (Because you all know I don't have anything else to do to fill up my free time!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

I love you always too, Mom.

Yesterday I was straightening out our bookshelf which had become disheveled in the last year in preparation for a baby shower for my dear friend Sam that will be held at my home tomorrow. I came across a book I had forgotten we even owned. The Queen of Cleans Complete Cleaning Guide was a gift to me from my mom soon after I was married. I think it was her way of welcoming me to the "club" of married life, knowing I would need help honing my housekeeping skills that she so desperately tried to instill in me when I was younger. Inside she wrote in her beautiful penmanship that they no longer teach in grade school:

To Kristi
I hope you find many things in here helpful!
Love you always
Mom


After reading this simple phrase, I hugged the book close to my chest with tears rolling down my face. I love you always too, Mom. What a practical gift yet so thoughtful. Thoughtful gifts were her specialty. I inherited my joy of gift giving from her.

I miss my mom with my whole heart every time fall rolls around and I take out my fall decorations. My mom loved each season and always decorated our home for each holiday. I am not sure why fall triggers the aching heart and longing for my mom's company. Maybe it is because I usually bake more and cook more in the fall and it was my mom who taught me how to do both of these things. Baking was our special thing we did together. Every holiday we made something together. Whether it was cupcakes with candy corns on top of decadent icing for Halloween, pies for Thanksgiving, oodles and oodles of goodies at Christmas time, or sugar cookies for Valentine's Day, we always had something we would do together while my dad and brothers were elsewhere.

I remember Christmas time most vividly - falling asleep to the sweet smells of cookies cooking as she stayed up late to finish a batch of something. Every Christmas we had sugar cookies, molasses cookies, "butter balls" (a.k.a. Russian teacakes), cornflake wreaths (my personal favorite), popcorn cake, rosettes, fudge, her famous Heavenly Hash and often a brand new recipe, such as peanut butter blossoms, snowman butter cookies,or spritz cookies. To this day I bake up a storm for every holiday. This is one way I can keep her memory alive. A tradition I can't wait to pass down to Elisabeth. And with Elisabeth's love of food, I am sure she will happily join in the baking fun.

My mom will be gone from this life for five years this coming January. Some days I miss her terribly and I long for her to call me to tell me all about her favorite soap opera, fill me in on the family news, or just to talk about her aches and pains or her newest illness. Lately, I want to talk to her about my struggle to have another baby. She would understand. She would tell me to "SLOW DOWN" and scold me for being too busy. And then, after I would start crying, being that I always have had sensitive feelings, she would tell me how much she loved me and how sorry she was that I was hurting.


 My mom and dad at my wedding reception in 2002.

I love you always too, Mom. I miss you forever and can't wait to see you again. I could use one of your squishy hugs every now and then.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

12.5

That is how many pounds I have to lose before I am at my goal weight and how many weeks I have to do it. I lost 2.5 lbs last week, so I feel like I am on my way!

My mission: Lose 12.5 lbs before Christmas and keep it off.

Mission Checklist:
- Exercise at the gym for 60 minutes, three days a week
- Keep a food journal of everything I eat
- Eat sweets very sparingly. Which means I can't keep any in the house.
- Attend Weight Watchers meetings every week. I love WW. It really works!
- Take Elisabeth and the dog for a walk every day.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Journey that Never Ends

"Life doesn't always turn out the way you plan. I just wish I'd realized at the time, he was talking about MY life."

  -Lucy (played by Sandra Bullock) in While You Were Sleeping
* * * * * * * * *

I tend not to bear my heart and soul on this blog.  Mainly, I get uncomfortable when others are extremely open with their feelings online so I figure I better keep mine in check as to not inflict the same awkwardness on others.  However, I figure I can let things out once in awhile.  This is who I am, after all. 

Trials.  We all have them.  We all struggle from time to time.  Death, sickness, unemployment, divorce. 

My biggest trial is infertility.  I thought the day I gave birth to Elisabeth that this trial was officially over.  The years of losing babies, expensive infertility treatments, tests and secretly disliking any woman who could get pregnant on their own were over.  I was happy to put those dark years behind me and be grateful for the wonderful blessing I now have running through my house, drinking out of the dog dish and saying "No" even when she means yes. 

Boy, was I ever wrong.  Little did I know after you have one child, you are now graduated to the secondary infertility club.  One miscarriage and another failed treatment proves this realization. Elisabeth wasn't the end to my problems having children. She was just a blessed peak in a reproductive life filled with valleys.  I have quite a few friends who can't or never were able to have children.  I feel so blessed to have the sweet girl I have now.  So why the frustration?

I still occasionally grieve for the sweet, naive dreams I had as a newly wed of our six (yes, I wanted six children.) equally spaced children filling our home with happiness.  With the rates of IVF and my age slowly creeping past 30, I doubt there will ever be six.  I am not even 100% sure there will be more than one.  Isn't that silly?  Grieving for a dream?  Maybe so.  Yet, it is who I am.

One thing is for sure.  God has a plan for me.  I know this with a surety.  Will Elisabeth ever have another sibling?  I am sure she will.  If treatments don't work, adoption is definitely an option.  I pray ever day that I can  BE STILL and know God is in charge of my life. Just bare with me as we continue on this infertility journey that never ends. . . Some days are hard.  Others are better.  Yet is is never easy.


Graduate school is my saving grace right now.  If I can't be the old woman who lives in a shoe, getting an education in something that I am passionate about is a wonderful alternative.  Maybe what I was meant to do all along.

Enough of making myself vunerable.  Stay tuned for cute videos and ramblings about the life of a mother/graduate student/wife/dog owner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Livin' on a Prayer

Lance likes to make me CDs with "cool" music on them. There is one he made a few months ago in my car that I listen to almost every day. These eclectic CDs include an varied mix - for example The Beach Boys, Jason Mraz, The Mormon Tabernacle choir, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Harry Conick Jr. are all on this particular CD. I often skip over songs of which I am not fond or not really in the mood to hear- such as Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

Today I skipped to the next track when I heard the first strains of Livin' on a Prayer. Elisabeth started to freak out - waving her hands and saying "no, no, no."

Me: What? Do you want to listen to the song?
Elisabeth: (nods her head "yes.")

I turned back to the Bon Jovi song and my baby girl proceeded to ROCK OUT to this song. She even sang along to the "Whoa...Whoa. . Livin' on prayer" part as she rocked back and forth in her car seat and then nodded her head in time to the song. I wish I wasn't driving and had my camera.

I decided I need to make my own CD so I can persuade her to give up this odd obsession with 80s music. One 80s music lover in the family is all I can take.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of Beagles and Babies

I love our dog. . . I love how she snores in her sleep, has a need to be in the same room with one of us at all times, plays tug of war with Elisabeth, and sighs when she is displeased with something. She is the most loving and adoring dog I have ever met.

But, there are times when I dislike our dog. I dislike how she digs after the mole in our backyard, creating her own little irrigation ditch. I dislike how she constantly is jumping up to the counter or Elisbeth's highchair to steal food. I dislike how she has a need to bury things in the back yard, dig them up a month or so later, and then hide them in any blanket she can find.

Tonight I have decided I definitely dislike her as much as I love her. I was sitting in the comfy rocking chair in my bedroom, reading Elisabeth her bedtime stories, when in runs our dog, desperate to get on our bed. After four struggling attempts to make the jump from our floor to the bed, Sofi finally makes it. She then heads straight our pillows, which I notice are stacked on top of each other as to form a tent like structure. Sofi begins to pull each layer of this tent off with her teeth until she uncovers what is obviously her treasure.

Great. She brought in some filthy, mud-laden bone from the backyard and buried it under my pillows. I was pretty sure I was going to kill her. Not wanting interrupt the bedtime routine, I make an attempt to ignore my dog nosing around for her goody. However, I noticed that the dog is not grabbing a bone and scampering away, like usual. Instead, she is going in, taking a bite of something very chewy and coming up for air. Images of the grossest thing imaginable (like some feces from the backyard that we forgot to pick up) race through my mind and I decide I have to intervene. As soon as I stand up to go see what is happening, Sofi lunges for the rest of whatever it is and bolts. There, in her mouth, is something at least a foot long. From where I stood, it looked like a huge piece of fungus or a piece of rotting wood from a fence. Of course I am not fast enough to catch the little scoundrel but after some investigation, discover my bed smells like wet yeast.

Then it dawns on me - The loaf of lingonberry bread my friends delivered yesterday was suspiciously missing from the MIDDLE of my dining room table. Yes, folks. Sometime between 4- 7:00 p.m. tonight, my dog jumped on the table, found the bread, ripped the ziplock bag off the bread and buried it under my pillows and sheets for safekeeping. Gotta love this dog.

So, after putting an exhausted baby to bed, changing my sheets, finding the dog and scolding her loud enough so my neighbors could hear, and putting off my homework to write this blog post, I decided I could give this dog away for a week. Maybe even a month.

Only her baby sister loves her too much. I can't imagine how Elisabeth would get through her days without having her pup to pet and love. And, if I dig down into my heart, I realize I feel the same.

Sofi - you are one spoiled and lucky dog.

Elisabeth giving Sofi "loves."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Move over Beethoven

video

Isn't she talented? Enthusiastic as well. I have a feeling we will be doing dance & piano lessons in a few years.

Sweet Tooth

As I was preparing to head to the pool for a swim this afternoon, it occurred to me that it was a little too quiet in our house - home to a busy toddler who often babbles and jabbers as she plays. Following my maternal instinct, I quickly ran out to the kitchen to see what Elisabeth was doing. I noticed the pantry door ajar and when I peeked around the counter, this amusing sight met my eyes:


In case you are having a hard time deciphering what it is our daughter is doing, allow me to explain. Here is our swimsuit honey, helping herself to fistfuls of powdered sugar. We actually only let her have sugar on occassion (come on - you know Chunka Munka doesn't need the extra empty calories when she eats heartily at every meal) but now I know our little girl has a sweet tooth. I scolded her half-heartedly and this is the look she gave me:

It is as though she is saying "Yummy. You should try some, Mama!"

After I took the box away and washed the sticky fingers of a sobbing little girl, I immediately called her Papa to relay the story, share some laughs and offer an ultimatum; Install childproof locks on our pantry door by noon tomorrow or no BYU football game until they are installed. Before you think I am a demading wife, let me reassure you this is not the first request. I have caught Elisabeth walking around the house on many occassions, eating from our raisin bran cereal box . My guess is it can only get worse from here. Good thing she didn't find the chocolate chips!

I feel so lucky to have this little rascal to brighten my days.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remember

"Where there is pain, there is still feeling and where there's feeling, there's hope."
- Nicholas Evans, The Horse Whisperer

*****************************************

I spent some time this morning watching the coverage of the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York. As all of the names of those lost in the attacks on 9/11/01 were being read off by family members, I couldn't help but cry myself. Though I didn't know anyone personally that was lost that day or in the war that followed, I do know what it is like to experience personal loss and heartache and my own tender heart mourns with those that mourn today.

My friend Lindsay made this post on her blog that I wanted to share. Lindsay is always better with words than I am and she penned the sentiments in my heart better than I could. Though my patriotism is not always apparent, I am so grateful to be a member of this country and to have the freedoms we have.

Let's us always remember to have hope.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ready or not

My bed is full of laundry to be folded, my sink full of dishes to wash, my living room scattered with toys, and my car in desperate need of a cleaning. My baby is in bed taking her nap and I am reluctantly opening up my new syllabi for this semester that starts today while taking a few moments to post to my blog.

Ready or not, my 4th and 2nd to last semester for the MSIDT program starts today. I have "senioritis" pretty bad. Having successfully survived the semester this summer, I keep asking myself - Is this worth it? Are the late nights of homework and weekends spent glued to my laptop while my husband and daughter spend time together really worth it? Do I really want to continue? Attending park days, smocking dresses for Elisabeth, baking cookies, planting a garden and scrapbooking sounds so much more appealing.

However, I only have two semesters left. I can do this. I can finish my masters. Besides, I made a promise to Lance to finish AND I would hate the thousands of tuition dollars and hard work over the last few years to go to waste. And despite the stress associated with being a fulltime student, mother and wife, I secretly love what I am studying and enjoy being in school at times.

So, ready or not, here I come. I guess the laundry will have to wait.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tradition!

Lance took me to see Topol in Fiddler on the Roof yesterday. Despite having to sit in our $50 nose bleed seats, the performance was absolutely amazing. I wish we had a set of opera glasses as we missed so much of the facial expressions that made the play as engaging as it was. Despite this, we laughed, cried, clapped, and sang with everyone else there. We are in the process of teaching Elisabeth some of the songs. "The Dream" is a great splashing, bathtime song. She will love show tunes before we know it!

I adore musicals and wish we could afford to attend the theater on a regular basis. After singing "Tradition" on the way to get frozen yogurt, we decided we need to make theater a part of our own family's traditions. We decided we will attend at least one musical or play every year. When Elisabeth is old enough - Maybe 8 or 9, she will start attending musicals with us.

Here is a record of what we have seen as a family so far:
  • Fiddler on the Roof - 2009
  • Wicked - 2008
  • The Pagaent of the Masters - 2008
  • Les Miserables - 2006
  • Holes - 2005
  • Walter Wonka and the Lawyer Factory - 2004 (A musical put on by the law students at the U of MN Law School).
  • A handful of musical and theater performances done at BYU in 2002. Unfortunately, neither one of us remembers what we saw but Lance got free tickets while we were undergrads so we know we saw quite a few!
We are thinking we may get tickets to see The Lion King in 2010. Do you have suggestions of what would be a good play to add to our wish list?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spontaneity

There is nothing more exhilarating than having a two week break between graduate school semesters. Breaks allow me to catch up on housework, spend more time playing with Elisabeth, watch movies I missed during the semester and break out of my routine and be spontaneous. Spontaneous. Now that is an understatement.

I feel like a giddy college freshman who has a new sense of freedom after finishing my last final. For example, when I heard about "Fiddler on the Roof" playing in town, I purchased two tickets for the last showing on a whim. Lance and I have plans to take at least three evenings to go to Disneyland while a babysitter watches Elisabeth. I took Elisabeth and Sofi to the dog park and we watched Sofi frolic with the other dogs for at least an hour.

I dread opening up my box of text books to prepare for next semester. I cross my fingers in hopes that these last two semesters are not as painful as I fear and that my next two week break will arrive quickly.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bilingual Baby

Lance: Do you want me to help you brush your teeth, Elisabeth?
Elisabeth: Apua (Finnish for "help")

Amazing how a 14 month old girl can learn another language in six short weeks. Especially since she barely knows English!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Loves Music, Loves to Dance

Elisabeth loves to sing, to listen to music and loves to dance. Notice her fancy footwork. Usually she just wiggles in time to the music but today she pulled out the steps.

Apparently she digs David Archuleta.

video

Also notice I don't know how to use the camera properly.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

From the mouths of babes


Elisabeth is slowly improving her verbal skills. She will sometimes say a word clearly one day and then never to repeat it for weeks and weeks. Every word she uses is purposeful and her vocabulary is growing more and more everyday. Thanks to our long-time Finnish visitors (who will have been at our house for a total of six weeks when they leave) she is also becoming bilingual.

Here are some of the things she says on a regular basis:
  • Mama
  • Dog
  • anna ("give me" in Finnish)
  • ei ("no" in Finnish)
  • kiitos ("thank you" in Finnish)
  • eeese (her version of "please")
  • hes (her version of "yes")
  • nana (you guessed it. . . "banana")
  • Dada
  • all done
  • gampa ("grandpa")
  • gamma ("grandma")
  • ny-ny ("good night")
  • up
  • baak ("book")
  • Nona (her babysitter)
  • woof woof (actually, her bark sounds more of a soft grunt - hmmm, hmmm)
  • choo-choo (everytime she hears the train go by our house)
  • uh oh
  • hi
She can sign "more", "please," "thank you," "eat," and "all done." As you can guess from her round cheeks, she signs "eat" quite often through the day. This one sure loves to eat!

The most recent phrase to come out of our little music lover's mouth was "do it again" after we were done singing a hymn at church today. Lance and I couldn't believe we heard her say this.

About a two months ago, Lance brought her in to our bedroom for her morning feeding (As of July 5th, she is officially weaned, however.) She started to eat and then stopped, looked up into my eyes and said as clear as clear can be "Hi Mama." She then proceeded to return to her feeding. Talk about melting my heart! I regret to say she hasn't done that since.

She also loves to "sing" along to songs she loves while we are driving in the car. This repertoire includes "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "The Wheels on the Bus," anything Disney and Starship's "We Built this City."

I cherish these simple moments with her amidst the stress and busy-ness of life in graduate school.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grad School FAQs

1.  What are you studying at school?
I am enrolled in the Masters of Instructional Design and Technology at Cal State Fullerton.  I am learning good instructional design concepts so I can design learning materials, online courses, training programs,  educational software, etc.  You name it.  I am also learning how to program educational software in Flash.   My desire is to work as a consultant some day to help schools, businesses, and non-profit organizations transfer courses to an online environment without having to work at a full-time job. 

2.  When do you graduate?  How much time do you have left?
I graduate (God willing) in May 2010.  I have three more semesters total until I graduate and I am halfway through one of those three.

3.  You are a fairly new mom with a husband who is at work more than 40 hours a week.  How do you find the time to be a student?
This is TOUGH.  Very, Very, Very Tough.  My goal is to be a loving mother and wife, first and foremost.  Then comes my role as a student.  I only do homework when Elisabeth is asleep or happily engaged with her Papa or another good friend.  This means LOTS of late nights and all-day Saturday homework fests.  I usually go to bed around 2 a.m. at least once a week.  Basically, I do homework in every free second I can.  

4.  If you are studying all the time, who takes care of the things around the house?
I still try to do as much as I can.  Whatever I can not finish, my dear, supportive husband picks up the slack.  I think he has folded more laundry, given more baths to the baby, ran more errands to the grocery store and spend more time with Elisabeth on Saturdays than he ever imagined was possible. I couldn't love him anymore than I do now.  He is gift from heaven.

5.  Why are you doing this again?
Trust me when I say this thought has crossed my mind at least once a day for the last 7 weeks. Going to graduate school as a mother is more difficult than anything I have ever done in my life.  Our family has had to make many sacrifices so I could return to school.  Is this worth it?  I am not sure. But I do know I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to start graduate school in the Fall of 2007.  I also know I need to keep the promise I made to my husband when I registered for classes in 2007.  He promised to support me through graduate school as long as I promised to see it through to the end.  

Getting a masters in education has always been a lifelong goal of mine.  I love learning and attending school more than a normal human-being should and amongst all the stress and huge projects, I actually enjoy what I am studying and can't wait to apply it to my life.   

With only one sweet and well-behaved one year old at home and dreams of giving her three more brothers or sisters, it is now or never.   Will it be worth it?  I pray every day that Heavenly Father will give me the strength and insight into this journey of faith.

Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.  D&C 88:118


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's My Party. . .

And I can cry if I want to. And did she ever.

Happy 1st Birthday Miss Elisabeth!


Elisabeth wasn't quite sure what to think of her ladybug cake and her candle.


Get that thing away from me Papa!


Homemade banana cupcakes are much tastier. Elisabeth wouldn't put it down - in fact, we we worried she wasn't able to breathe with the cupcake in front of her face. We had to pry the cupcake wrapper out of her hands.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A temporary hiatus

Homework, homework, homework in graduate school.  Family visiting.  Volunteering as the registration chair at the RESOLVE Adoption Conference this weekend.  Giving a talk on Sunday with only four days notice.  Helping to plan a fun missionary Primary activity.  A cute 1 year old who loves attention.

7 reasons why I still have not posted Easter, Elisabeth's birthday, my dad's and brother's visit and her 1 year old update.

We are doing everything we possibly can to keep you updated on our progress.  Please try again later.  
Elisabeth enjoying her first taste of sugar at her cousin's birthday party in April.

Monday, April 27, 2009

American Girl

Today I received my first ever American Girl catalog in the mail. I am assuming this company received my information because I gave birth to a baby girl about a year ago and now they are adding me to their pool of possible costumers.

Instead of doing my laundry and cleaning out our office in preparation for Grandpa Mickie and Uncle Jeremy to come, I spend my afternoon pouring over this catalog. I can't wait until the day Elisabeth decides she wants one of these dolls. Or that she wants to go the American Girl store in L.A. to take her doll to tea. I hope her first choice is this.

We have been talking seriously about not spoiling our little girl and the need to teach her frugality and the life-important lesson that sometimes it is better to not get what you want. We are doing our part to go green and live providently. However, if Elisabeth wants one of these dolls, I know I will get her one. Why? Because I want one. Only I am too old to purchase something like this in good conscience.

So, Elisabeth can wear clothes I buy at garage sales and receive gently-used Craig's List finds for her birthday. (Her birthday present she will receive next week will be a pre-owned rocking horse.) But, I will happily indulge an American Girl whim every once in awhile. At full price. And I may purchase something for my daughter as well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Numbers

What's happening in our lives?  Let me count the ways:

23 - # of hours we drove in a car to visit Lance's family in UT 

Go BYU Cougars!!

15 - # of days until Elisabeth's first birthday.  Where did the time go?

12 - # of pounds I have left to loose before I am at my goal weight...I can fit into my skinny jeans again!
11 - # of  months we have had our sweet baby girl in our lives.

Elisabeth at 11 months with her lamby

8 - # of days before I return to graduate school to finish my MS degree.

7 - # of nephews we have in our family now.  Welcome Joshua!

5 - # of days Elisabeth and I got to spend with my sweet nephews, my
 brother & sis-in law in WV this past week.  

Elisabeth with her cousins, Alex & Andrew. 
My family sure can create some adorable offspring!

4 - # of times Lance has played the Wii Fit game he got for his 29th birthday

2 - # of pounds Sofi has left to loose. Who would have known beagles can be overweight?

1 - # of packages of Peeps that Sofi stole, ate and tried to "bury" in our leather sofa.  


Monday, April 13, 2009

Purging

My house has been in the "as soon as I can get to it" state for many months now. I have boxes of stuff piled in many rooms in the house, waiting for the moment for me to go through their contents and either find a home for the items in my house, sell them on Craig's List, or give them away. As Elisabeth's 1st birthday looms in front of me along with a huge wave of visitors this summer, I figured it is now or never.

So, purge, purge away! I LOVE SPRING CLEANING!

Warning: My posts will still be few and far between. Thanks for your patience as I put my life in order. My family sorely needs this to happen for all of our sanities!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dispelling Rumors

I realize my frequency of posting has decreased significantly as of late.   Just to dispel any rumors, I thought I should let everyone know that I am *not* pregnant.  Someone emailed me to ask if the reason I wasn't posting was due to morning sickness.  Sorry!  (Though, I wish that were the case.)

I blame my lack of blogging on my new calling as the Primary secretary in our new ward (our ward boundaries were redrawn), a new smocking project for Elisabeth, my gym membership, and the beautiful spring weather.  

I have many postings in my head, however, and hope to transfer them to my blog soon.  Thanks for your patience!  Here is a video of our two girls in the meantime.


video

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Marriage Contracts

I was kinda hoping that the parents of either of these two boys would like to enter into a marriage contract with us to marry our daughter.   These boys sure are handsome and have fun dispositions.  Any takers Lindsay or Amanda?  I think either young man would make a great match.   More importantly, their parents would make spectacular in-laws!

As part of our mini-trip to UT this past weekend, (more about this later...) we were able to spend time with some good friends.  I was happy to meet up with Lindsay and Amanda again outside of the cyber world (I religiously follow their blogs), and meet their little guys.

I love how the Lord brings people into our lives.  I feel the need to publicly state that I am so grateful to have Dave and Nancy N. and their ever-growing brood (of which the handsome babies above are the newest members) be a part of our lives.  Nancy took me under her wing when I was a shy, nervous fledgling at BYU and became a surrogate aunt to me, offering a listening ear and help whenever I needed it.  Her family became my family and I will never forget her kindness!  She was the person to which I gave giddy updates about my blossoming relationship with Lance and was one of the first people to find out about my official engagement.  I admire Nancy and LOVE her, her significant other, her children and grandchildren. 

Thanks for letting us share some ice cream, goldfish, conversation, and friendship Sunday night!  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Music to our ears

I think sleep training is the hardest thing about being a parent so far. Nothing stresses me out more than getting my baby to take good naps without it being a traumatic experience for both of us. Elisabeth needs her naps to function properly.

There were a few months where she wouldn't go down for a nap without crying. I persisted in forcing naps upon her even though my anxiety levels were quite high through the whole process. No one likes hearing their baby cry in protest for 10-20 minutes before the little one finally drifts off into the land of nod.

Just a few weeks ago she started to go down for a nap without a fuss and with a big smile on her face. She has replaced her crying with something much more enjoyable - singing! Elisabeth sings herself to sleep for her naps. I started putting on some quiet kid's music and giving her a small doll to hold in her crib. Apparently the combination of these two things make her happy enough to sing away until she finally gives in to sleep.

How cute is that?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A little discretion, please

Today I stopped at a semi-fast food restaurant to pick up dinner as I had a church meeting to attend and wasn't able to make dinner. While I was waiting for them to make my kabobs, a very nice and slender woman kept smiling at me and looking at me with tenderness. I couldn't figure out what her problem was until this dredded question spilled out of her mouth:

"How far along are you?"

What?!?! How far along am I? Nevermind the fact that I am actually below my pre-pregnancy weight and can fit into the majority of my clothes again. Apparently, I must have always looked pregnant.

My reply was a terse "I am not pregnant."

Her face turned a wonderful shade of red and she looked as though she was going to throw up. Good. You should be embarrassed lady. Next time keep your small talk to yourself or use a little discretion. How depressing! Now I think I am going to open up one of our forbidden boxes of Girl Scout cookies and have a few - maybe the whole box.

Heck - If I look pregnant, I might as well stop depriving myself of the simple tasty things in life.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

On Cloud Nine

A lot can change in nine months:

Elisabeth, Papa and Puppy - 2 days old.

Elisabeth, Papa and Puppy - Exactly 9 months old

Major nine-month milestone:  Stood up on her own after her nap on her 9 month birthday.

Another milestone:  Elisabeth waves "hi" and "bye"
  • She went from being in the 95th percentile for weight to the 75th percentile.  I like this change, though she is still our Chunka Munka.
Our curious little explorer is crawling all over like a little speed demon, constantly using the "more" sign in sign-language at the dinner table (there is NOTHING this baby won't devour), saying "mama," "dada," "oh-oh," "na na" (her word for no), "Nona" (the nickname of her babysitter) as though she really knows what she is saying, and filling our home with happy giggles everyday.   She still has her non-perfect moments when have to resort to calling her by her first and middle name, but we can't help but love our little girl.  (Who will actually be 10 months this week.  I am a little behind with this post!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Old Fashioned Girl

Here is the finished product:



I have to admit I am fairly proud of this hand-made frock. I feel like I could pluck Elisabeth off of the leather couch in our living room and place her on a settee in an antique store and she would fit right in with the other vintage goods. Someone at church suggested I make these types of dresses to sell. Sorry folks. This labor of love is way too time consuming and expensive of a hobby to make it worth the price someone would pay me. For now, Miss Elisabeth and her future siblings will be the only ones to don my hand-crafted finery. I may be willing to make a smocked article of clothing for a favorite niece or nephew, though. ;-)

Note: There was a smudge on my camera lens when I took these photos so they appear a tad blurry.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dixie Lives

While browsing for a book on Greek mythology in the history section at a local Borders, my eyes were drawn to a bright green paperback with a black and white picture of a surly, odd-looking confederate soldier on the cover, bearing the obscure title; Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War. Something about this book called to me. On an impulse, I purchased the book, curious to see what stories about humanity were captured between the two covers.

The South and their role in the Civil War has always intrigued me. I had gone to visit my penpal in Lousiana over spring break my senior year. I tagged along with my friend to her classes since my friend was *not* on spring break. When one of her teachers asked where I was from, I heard some snickers throughout her classroom and a boy shout out in disgust "So you're a Yankee!?!" I was very confused. We studied the Civil War in school but that is where us "Northerners" interests in the war ended. My friend then kindly informed me that some people in the South were still upset about loosing the war. In fact, some people were still fighting the war in their hearts.

I started reading the book yesterday and haven't been able to put it down. The author decides to tour the South and write sort of an ethnography about the people and situations he encounters - from attending a Daughters of the Confederacy birthday party for Robert E. Lee to marching in an authentic reinactment of Gettysburg, Tony Horwitz opens up a world that us "Northerners" could never understand.

Here is just a small taste:

The War of Northern Agression had little to do with slavery. Rather, it was a culture war in which Yankees imposed their imperialist and capitalist will on the agrarian South, just as the English had done wo the Irish and Scots--and as America did to the Indians...
Amazing how history changes with the eyes that view it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stylin'

Thanks to Auntie J, Uncle R and cousin Nick, Elisabeth is stylin' in her new Ralph Lauren dress and belt.  I couldn't resist the striped tights.  The nice thing about this dress is she can easily crawl in it as well.  Some of our friends insist that Elisabeth is going to be a girly-girl who likes girl things and loves to wear dresses.  I can only hope she takes after me because it is sure fun to dress her up!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

When You're the Best of Friends


We love our Sofi Dog.
We love our Ellie Beth.
We love that they love each other.






Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekly Eval

Finish smocking Elisabeth's dress.  Check.
Finish sewing Elisabeth's dress.  Check minus.  (I still have to put the snaps and hook/eye on.  As soon as I officially finish the dress, I will post a picture!)

Wow.  These weekly goals really did keep me from idling my time away!

Goals for this week:
  • Pick out a pattern for Elisabeth's Easter dress.
  • Make Elisabeth's baby food.  (I hear it is cheaper and not to mention healthier.  I thought I would give it a try!  Thank you Mary M. for letting me borrow the Super Baby Food book and the baby-food-making utensils.)
  • Update my display board with a Valentinesy display.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Eight is Great



Our little girl is already eight months old.  I get sad thinking how fast these past eight months has gone and realize our little baby won't be a baby much longer.  I am keeping a journal for her where I write down monthly how much she has grown, her developmental milestones, our feelings about her and any cute things she has done that make her unique.  

Here is a sampling of her 8 month progress report:

  • Elisabeth chortles whenever she sees, tastes or does something she likes.  Our house is filled with little "Ha ha!" laughs throughout the day. 
  • Elisabeth gets really excited when her Papa comes home from work and rewards him with a squeal of delight and arms that flap up and down in elation.
  • She loves to read books.  She especially loves when we make sound effects for animals or change our voices with different characters.
  • Elisabeth is VERY particular about her likes and dislikes.  When we have story time, often she will peer over the book we are reading at the time at another book on the floor.  This is her way of indicating to us she would rather read the other book.
  • Elisabeth's play is very focused and intense, filled with curiosity.  One of her favorite pasttimes is to take the DVDs off of the bookshelf.  While doing so, she stops to scrutinize every DVD case before gently pushing it aside.  She has also figured out how to dump out her toys from their boxes - even ones that are tightly sealed.
  • Sofi the Beagle is her best friend and vice versa.  Just yesterday I came into the living room to witness Sofi piling all of her squeaky toys and balls into Elisabeth's lap.  Sofi then sat next to the baby, cocked her head like she does to us, and barked at the baby to play fetch with her.  Elisabeth rewards Sofi by patting her fur and pulling on her collar. Sofi especially loves when Elisabeth will reach down her hands from her highchair after dinner so that Sofi can help her wash the baby food off.  We should really stop this but when Elisabeth giggles uncontrollably as Sofi licks her, we can't help but smile and overlook this behavior. 
  • Elisabeth is already communicating in her own way.  She has said "Mama" once while looking directly at me (does this count for her first word?) and usually adds a few "mamas" in her cries, says "na na na" whenever she is done or doesn't want to do something (like go to bed) and likes to make a buzzing sound when she is playing.  
  • Elisabeth is officially a crawler!  Though she prefers the "army crawl", she has started to crawl normally on all fours and is always on the move.
video

Productive Free Time

Lance asked me on Sunday, after a very busy weekend, if I remembered what it was like to have free time. After laughing, I tried to find an answer for him. The truth is we do have free time, though it is a considerably smaller amount than we had before Elisabeth was born. We just feel like we don't have free time becuase we are usually so exhausted by the time our "free" time rolls around that we piddle it away by either searching the web, sending emails, or watching TV.

I decided I needed to make the most of my free time in 2009 by being more productive with the time I have. Gone are the days of watching House re-runs on TV or seeing what good deals I can get on Craigslist.com or eBay. I am going to use my free time to create and organize. Hopefully, I will just be making our lives better than they already are.

To help keep myself accountable for this goal, I plan on recording on my blog my goals for the week. Maybe you will all find it interesting to see what I am up to these days and I hope these publically stated goals will encourage me to actually complete them. Here goes!

My goal this week: Finish smocking Elisabeth's dress that I have been working on since the beginning of December. I am so close!

Next week's goal: Finish sewing the dress I smocked this week.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Belated Holidays!

I made a goal in 2009 to be more productive with my time throughout the day.  As a result, my time spent on the computer has diminished to a bare minimum and I have not accomplished my usual computer tasks, such as blogging and downloading pictures.  Though the Christmas decorations are long since packed away, I figured you all wanted to know of some 2008 holiday high and low lights of our small family:

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • We saw both my family and most of Lance's family for the holidays.
  • I lost four pounds over the holiday season and am only five pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.
  • Elisabeth loved opening presents. 
  • Elisabeth was able to meet some of her relatives she hasn't met before.
  • We had Andy's Frozen Custard THREE times in four days. 
  • Lance as able to play his new game, Puerto Rico, a few times with his brothers.
LOWLIGHTS:
  • All three of us got a stomach virus in MO and managed to pass it along to the 12+ people staying at Lance's mom's home.
  • Elisabeth and I then managed to bring this horrible sickness to both OK and MN - leaving at least nine people vomiting in 2009, thus me earning the nickname of "Typhiod Kristi" as I no longer felt sick but got everyone sick no mater where we went.
  • E.B. and I had to fly on SIX flights between Christmas day and the first week in January.  One flight took us through Chicago(which, if you didn't know, it is always a bad idea to fly through Chicago in the winter). We won't be doing that again.  Ever. 

Elisabeth hanging out with her Aunt Lea at Grandma Bev's home.  Before she got her sick.  :-)


SNOW BUNNIES!  Elisabeth with her cousins Tera and Adrianna.  The temperature stayed above zero while we were in MN, so that was a plus!

Elisabeth opening gifts on Christmas morning.  She loved to eat the wrapping 
paper.

Our Christmas Eve angel.  We were so thankful for the Christmas miracles in our lives this past Christmas.  For the sweet baby girl we have in our home, for the family we were able to see and for the chance to celebrate the birth of our Savior as a family.