Saturday, December 19, 2009

together again

After a long weekend of moving, and a long week of moving in, we are ready for a vacation (luckily we fly to my parents in two days).

We packed up the truck Friday evening and Saturday morning. My husband's cousin and aunt were miraculously passing through town, and helped us out. How amazing is that? There help was so needed, and so welcome.

We drove out Saturday, and unpacked the truck Saturday afternoon. On Sunday we met with our new branch (more on that another day), then drove back to our old house. On Monday we cleaned, with a short break for an ultrasound ("there is an 80% chance it's a girl") and lunch with a friend. Then we drove back. Tell me we know how to celebrate a birthday around this place. (It was Kiddo's 2nd.)

Tuesday on we've been unpacking boxes, Husband has been working, and we're all surviving.

Things I am grateful for:
*After a week, we are now the proud owners of a fridge, which keeps food cool for long periods of time. Tell me this is not a wonderful invention.
*We eat as a family every night. Okay, so it's usually a picnic on the floor (where is the table? oh yeah, covered with boxes), but we're together. My husband comes home in the evening, and stays. Jobs are amazing.
*Jobs also come with salaries. Even more exciting.
*Despite a fatigue that seems insurmountable, my kitchen is almost in working order. We have a toaster, and multiples knives and cutting boards, our wok, our popcorn popper, and a myriad of other things that I somehow lived without, but no longer have to.

And the list goes on. Here's another one. I accidentally threw my wallet away with some trash at one restaurant we ate at. Through a conversation at dinner that was completely atypical (we were going to use my plastic, not my husband's), to pay, we figured out it was missing, and through the Spirit were prompted as to where to look. Because let's be honest, this restaurant is no where near where we used to live, or where we live now, and it's just good we found it then. The blessings just keep coming.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a low moment in parenting

My room, which has a hardwood floor, has a healthy layer of dust around the edges. It seemed to appear overnight a few days ago, and I haven't been able to convince myself to clean it up before the big clean for the move. This morning, I wished I would have made a different decision.

I was getting dressed, and Kiddo was in the room with me. She headed to a pile of dust, I thought to pick up a piece of paper that was mixed in. I wasn't thrilled about that, but at least it kept her busy while I changed. A moment or so later I saw her pulling her hand out of her mouth. What?! Was she really eating dust? How gross was that?

As I reviewed my options, realizing that dirt could not easily be extracted, she said "Tandy. Mo pease." And I'm not sure which is worse. That she found a piece of candy (a nerd) in the dirt and was eating that, or eating the dirt. Note to self: clean more often in the new place.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


We have a place! We can move this weekend. We can all be together again.

And, well, this still feels dreamlike, but once we're all there, then my husband and I can actually spend evenings together, because neither one of us has to write a dissertation. I know, it blows your mind. Mine too.

Monday, December 7, 2009

what we're up to

Kiddo likes her personal space, so she creates her own when needed:
I thought she was playing in her room after lunch, but it was actually the bathroom. She found this screw driver in the back of a drawer. She knew exactly what to do with it: change the batteries on her boat. (She was not happy when I took it away.)
We had snow on Saturday. Kiddo went out with her dad that day. On Sunday she convinced us to use some of our lazy morning to go out with her again. This morning she and I went out again; it wasn't until we were outside that I realized it was sub-freezing temperatures. The good thing about that? She wanted her hats and mittens on.
And, our apartment hunt seems to almost be over. Thank goodness. Thank you, my dear husband, for doing the bulk of the work on this one.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

we've been had

Kiddo is having trouble going to sleep tonight. The first attempt seemed to take, until she woke up two hours later. The second attempt was accompanied by crying "DADA!" "MAMA!" at intervals, hoping to get us to come back. We were being strong, and trying to let her get herself back to sleep, which usually works. Then she pulled out her trump card. "Poopy diaper. Poopy diaper."

What could I do? I went in to change her diaper. We do this routine quite often at naptime, so I was hoping I could change the diaper and move on. Except her diaper wasn't poopy. And I certainly wasn't able to quickly move on. Was she saying it to get me in the room? I think so.

Attempt three is still underway by daddy. This time she got us in the room by yelling about how she bumped her head. Again, I must ask, are these things really happening, or does she just know that we respond to these calls?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

heard around the house

Mama: Move away from the screen.
Kiddo: No, no, no
(she likes an up-close media experience, for tv or computer it seems)

Kiddo: Aright, letz dance. Sance. Sance. Sance...

Mama: What should we have for breakfast?
Kiddo: Bed [bread]. Jam. Bed. Jam.

Kiddo: Pants off
Mama: I'm not helping you. If you want them off, take them off.
OR Daddy: No.
Kiddo: Shirt off.
Parent: No.

Kiddo: Read book. (applies to all books, with or without pictures)

Kiddo: Sing.

Mama: What should we do today?
Kiddo: Puter [computer].

Kiddo (after being picked up or wanting to be carried): Carry you, Mama.

All of the above are the soundtrack to my life. The next one is much more rare.

Kiddo (after being picked up): I yuv you mama. Soft. Mama soft. Mama soft yike doggie.

Thanks kiddo. I yuv you too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

two against one

Given my husband's work schedule finishing his dissertation, I am used to him not being around. The time it really gets lonely is when I head off to bed and realize there is no one to leave the light on for. And this absence has been harder for other reasons.

On the first night my husband was gone, Kiddo woke up crying about 4. I evaluated my options, and decided around 4:15 to go change her diaper, put her back to bed (which involves a little singing, a little rocking, putting her in her crib, and lying next to her on the floor until she falls asleep), and hopefully get back to sleep. This worked, I was almost asleep when she started crying again. At this point I gave up, and brought her into bed with me. A bad idea, I know. This is why we're still in our old house, cause she doesn't sleep well with others. It took her a long time to settle, including a milk run, and countless times of her draping herself over my head and neck. (Why does she think she can fall asleep that way? Why do I think she can fall asleep that way?) Around six we both fell asleep for another hour and a half. I was not in a good mood for a while.

I promised myself we would not do this the next night.

And we didn't. Last night, she woke up crying at 10 pm. But she had had a runny nose all day, and her cry sounded like she was about to lose her voice. So I pulled her into my bed at 10. It only took her about 30 minutes to settle this time, with the usual kicks and cuddles that accompany this process. But I was also worried about her ability to stay in the bed, and kept considering my options to keeping her safe. When I finally quieted my head down, my second baby started a rollicking party of his/her own inside of me. I was a little overwhelmed by the kicks from outside and in. Another long while later they were both calm, and I finally got to sleep.

Until 4, when I woke suddenly, looked for Kiddo to find her not in bed, called out her name, and heard her little feet running back to me. Thirty minutes of settling, then finally sleep. I thought maybe she wanted to be in her own bed. No.

Oh I miss my husband, but these last two nights, I've really missed my second parent. (And, I know he's wanted to be here too. Soon.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

using the phone

Since it's just me and Kiddo, I sometimes feel the need to talk to adults. I'd like to call you up and do so, but Kiddo says no. When I talk on the phone, she instructs me to "say goo-bye..." and tries to hang up the phone. When I pulled out the phone to call someone today, she looked upset and said "no, no, no."

So don't feel bad if I don't call, Kiddo wants none of it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

the last two weeks

I am slightly behind. On Tuesday, November 17th, my husband became an academic doctor. On Wednesday, we drove east to his new job, and where we will soon live. We stayed there three days, spent an evening with a cousin, her husband, and her parents (my aunt and uncle) then dropped hubby off at the airport to attend a professional conference. Kiddo and I headed back to the house for three days of sleeping in our own beds, and not eating out.

The next Tuesday, we picked Daddy up at the airport, and headed south for the extended family Thanksgiving extravaganza. What am I not thankful for this year? It was great.

We cut out early to spend two or three days in our old home before Husband goes back to work tomorrow, and Kiddo and I stay here. We made this decision because we don't yet have a place to live there. (Soon. I'm sure.) The one thing we are absolutely positive of is that my kid does not sleep well out of her bed. So she and I will stay here.

Last weekend when I drove into town I thought: I love this place, do I really want to leave? This weekend I thought: It's time to go. Now I just need a place to set up my kid's crib.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

little kicker

When Kiddo was in utero, she only ever kicked or jabbed that I could feel. There was never a "gentle flutter" or any feeling of her sloshing around, just kicks and jabs. Near the end there was also prolonged pushing, so I'd push back.

Her sibling seems to be on the same course. I first felt movement about two weeks ago. The first was a kick. A moment or so later I felt a non-kicking movement, he/she shifted, I thought I would be sick to my stomach. He/she did that again the next day. Given those two experiences, I'm grateful for Kiddo's thoughtful treatment.

Since then, we've been limited to kicks and jabs. But, at this point, it doesn't hurt, so I'm trying to enjoy it while this kid is still small. And be grateful for evidence that all is well.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

thoughts for breakfast time

The last two mornings we've had breakfast at the hotel while my husband started his job (much paper work) and we looked for housing (don't ask - we've found a few places we like, now we'll just see if and when we can move in...). The hotel did an adequate breakfast.

Each morning my husband had two hard-boiled eggs. As soon as he sat at the table, both mornings, Kiddo announced "Dada. Eggs." And then she recited (over and over) some lines from our "farm song" CD that we listen to constantly in the car (a book and CD set by StudioMouse). "Crack, crack, crack. Out pops a ball of feathers." He did a double take of his eggs, and ate them anyway.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the doctor is in (again)

Today my husband successfully defended his dissertation. We can call him Dr. I'm afraid his only useful skill is the ability to do large amounts of mathematics, specifically relating to fluid dynamics (oh, and some computer programming). Add this to my ability to read, judge, and write tests, and well, there's something to be said for years and years of education.

I'm extremely proud of him. The circumstances surrounding his dissertation and defense are some of the hardest I've encountered, and he succeeded. That's my man.

After dropping him off at work this morning, Kiddo and I drove away, with her announcing "Dada. Work. Dada. Work." I told her that he had a big day today, and I hope that she never has to go through this herself. I guess time (lots of it) will tell.

Yay Daddy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

about four hours east... the Atlantic Ocean. If you stop just short of the ocean, you'll find our new home.

In a whirlwind opportunity, about eight weeks ago my husband interviewed for a post-doc. Then about six weeks ago they called to offer it to him. While the paper work took longer than we expected, we are now on the fast track to moving.

This offer is why my husband had to finish his dissertation in six weeks instead of three months. This is why we still have no chairs or a couch in our living room. This is why I constantly think about how much I will miss my daughter's nursery at church. But in most instances, we're pretty excited.

We start moving next Wednesday, when my husband reports for work, and Kiddo and I start looking for apartments (house hunting solo, 17 weeks pregnant with a 23-month old will be good times, I'm sure). We'll then bounce back and forth between our old and new places while my husband attends an academic conference, we visit family for Thanksgiving, gather our stuff (words cannot express how excited I am to see my kitchen stuff and new books to read Kiddo), and check out of our old place. Whew.

There is no doubt in our minds that Heavenly Father has led us to this place in our lives, and opened up doors, and will continue to do so. It is for that reason especially that we are anxious to see how we will continue to be blessed, and how we can bless others as we move on from the wonderful place we've lived for the last while.

There is anxiousness, and excitement, but really, the change can be summed up in this phrase: where we're going is not like where we're leaving. So here comes our new life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Kiddo loves books. She loves them to be read to her, and she loves to read them herself. She is now sufficiently verbal that it is clear from her reading that she knows all the story lines, and many of the words. (Not surprising given the number of times we've read the 30 of so books not in storage, which were kept out specifically because they were already her favorites.)

What this really means though, is that it's impossible to shorten the books when she wants to read more than I do. If I should (covertly) skip a page she exclaims with concern, "paje!" and helps turn back to the missing page. At least I can still skip some lines within the page.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

song, YAY!

Yes, my daughter woke up at 5 am this morning, with no intention of going back to sleep. But that led to an interesting discovery on my part.

About 10, I decided that she was very tired, and thought I'd try to get her to take a nap, albeit three hours early. (A particularly good option, as we would be in church during her usual nap time.) We read a few books, then I told her we were going to sing songs, as we do when it's sleep time. I started singing "There is sunshine in my soul today" and found my sweet daughter singing along with me. As I moved from song to song (of my usual repertoire) I found that she could sing all of them. (She also liked the praise I gave her, and repeated "good job" after each song too.)

She sings like she talks, leaving out a lot of the less important words. But, she knows them, loves to sing them, and it was so exciting to hear her participate like this. It's beautiful, and I am anxious to sing with her again.

Given her love of singing, we stayed for a baptism after church today. Every time the prelude started (just like in church), she yelled with great enthusiasm "song, YAY!" She also yells this at the end of the song too.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

our compromise

As winter approaches, and we are definitely into late fall, I feel like Kiddo should wear long sleeves and long pants. I knew this would be a hard battle, because in the summer, I could barely get her dressed. She has determined that I am not giving in on this, so wears the clothes, but she has not gone down without a fight.

She pushes ALL her sleeves up. For shirts, pajamas, even jackets, for everything. When we want to have some fun with her, we pull her pajama sleeves down, and watch how quickly they go back up. She does not like her coat, the only reason I can think of is that those sleeves will not push up. Today she pushed her pants legs up too. On this issue, she is just as determined as I am.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

an uncomfortable moment at Panera

We were innocently standing in line at a restaurant that is not particularly convenient to get to in a car with a 22-month old. She looks up at me, and says with no pronounciation issues: "Pick nose." And you better believe she has the actions to go with the words.

In a somewhat resigned tone (as she makes this announcement frequently) I reply, "No. We don't pick our noses. It's yucky."

Completely ignoring my comment, she then asks, finger aloft, "whazzat?"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

just like aunt M

As does every child, Kiddo likes to wear others shoes (and can finally keep her balance, sort of, in them). Here she is with Aunt M's shoes, in her last morning of fun from the visit from Grandma and A-nissa (as Kiddo has taken to calling her).

They came for the weekend, to see my daughter, and help me while my husband is working so hard on his dissertation (two weeks left!). It was non-stop fun for everyone (except hubby, who heard more than once: good-bye, go back to work).

They made the sleeping bag into a boat, where Kiddo sings "row row boat gent stream" before someone else helps her with the rest of the song.

Kiddo took multiple "ride tamel" on Grandma's back (for her sake, I am not posting the picture).

They read books, and sang songs, and fed her, and provided good advice for her illness. (She got sick and threw up their first real night here.) A-nissa stayed home from church with her so Kiddo wouldn't make all the other kids sick.

They cooked me many meals for the weekend and the future, and for that I am super appreciative. I was able to not do much, and thus pretend that I feel all better. Not quite.

Come again soon?

Monday, November 2, 2009

mad gab anyone?

Mad Gab is a great game where you read out loud what looks like gibberish to you, but to those who are listening sounds like an actual word or phrase, just pronounced really weird. It is a fun game with much laughter.

My life with my almost 2 year old is a constant game of mad gab, which means some of the fun has worn off. Although Kiddo's vocabulary is large, and covers a wide range of topics, very few of the words sound like they are supposed to yet (e.g., ma-mine for mama). This was not a big deal when she only talked about things we were actually doing at the time, but now she can talk about things she remembers, or wants, or is thinking about, so my context clues are gone.

Today in the car she said "no-the one takka." I got 'another one' and knew she wanted something, but what? I started guessing, and she kept repeating herself, insistent I understand. Then it hit me, she wanted a cracker. Of course. Once you know what the mad gabs is supposed to say, it's always obvious.

tandy, peas

We dressed Kiddo up as a chicken for Halloween, and although she was sick, took her out for trick-or-treating. She was okay with the outfit as long as she didn't have to wear the "chi-ken hat" (the hood). She wasn't sure about going outside, until we told her that she would get some candy.

Although my husband carried her the whole way (it was almost bedtime and she was sick after all), she looked right at each person who opened the door, and upon prompting, would ask "Tandy, peas" (candy, please) and say "sank yoo" (thank you) when it was put in her pa-pack. What an amazing night, where people pass out candy. Kiddo, who has a sweet tooth (just like her parents) really enjoyed herself.

(Note 'damma' (grandma) in the background. She and Aunt M enjoyed themselves too!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

sick, but happy, girl

Yesterday I noticed that Kiddo was vaguely more cuddly than usual. And, she woke up four or more times during the night. I determined that she was fighting off some germ, and would be just fine (power of positive thinking, right?)

Today she was very wired, all day long. Did that have something to do with the visit of her grandma and aunt? I'm sure. She is usually not that entertained.

In the middle of dinner, her aunt (who is also a nurse) looked at her and said, she's about to throw up, which Kiddo proceeded to do. It's been a while since this happened. It upset her, of course.

I picked her up when it was over, and she cried on my shoulder while her dad went to prepare a bath. As we sat in the bathroom waiting for her bath, she reported to me: "I sad. I sad." I replied that of course she was, no one likes to be sick or throw up. Then she asked, "happy?". I told her that if she wanted to be happy, all she had to do was smile. So she gave me one of her fake toddler smiles. I told her if she smiled again she would be more happy. She smiled again, and then amazingly enough, it worked.

She was now happy. She slid off my lap, and went to help her dad fill the tub, just like always. And got ready for bed, just like always. I don't know what will happen tomorrow (or tonight for that matter), but I love her resilience, and her desire to be happy. What a good girl.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I eat Cheerios

Cheerios have been my go-to snack for my whole life. My mom started feeding them to me as soon as I was old enough, and I've never stopped. My sister is the same way. Which meant that today, I thought nothing of the fact that I ate Cheerios all through Institute.

The other ladies at Institute did think something of it. They wondered if I was pregnant. I am. Baby #2 comes in April. Thank goodness we'll have an income, a home, and most likely some sort of insurance by then. It's my relaxing thought as I practice for the upcoming labor.

ramblings on my home

I love my home. I'm vaguely disappointed that it will be mine for short a time, but I deal with that okay because I knew it was short-term. What I don't love about my home is that 1) it has almost no place to sit (our fault, we threw out the couch) 2) the dishwasher leaves a filmy residue on everything, so we handwash, 3) the capacity of the washing machine is literally 1/3 of our machine (in storage), and 4) the house is on the market, so it must always be clean, and every three or four days it must really be clean. Tomorrow is one of those days. And also we can't find our every day kitchen boxes in the storage unit (they are somewhere along the back wall, I know it) so our kitchen is very poorly equipped.

During the power outage, we realized that instead of doing the dishes before a showing, we could just put them in the dishwasher. But then it becomes out-of-sight-out-of-mind, and it is a long time before those dishes get done. Tonight is the night though, I'm getting them all done. (I hate doing two "loads" of dishes a day.) And I'm vacuuming. I don't like the pressure of cleaning my house on someone else's schedule. I do like having an incentive to make sure it is done often though. I can't imagine what it would look like otherwise. (Obviously not too bad though, because have I mentioned? most of my stuff is in storage.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


While in Texas we made a detour to Seattle (as it's so convenient to Texas). As always, Kiddo was an amazing traveller (made all the easier because my mom was there to help entertain her). We had found her a backpack before the trip, and she travelled the whole way with her "pa-pack." She was especially enthralled with the fruit snacks that kept showing up in them.

Now, a month later, she can ask for them by name, "sharks" but then she just insisted "I need dat!" "Open." until I got the message.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

lucky girl

Today we met my husband for lunch downtown. He shared a brownie with my little girl after lunch. I told her she was a "lucky girl" and in her typical fashion, she parroted that phrase to me for the next five or ten minutes.

Much later in the afternoon, after naps, and a walk, and other events, we headed off to the grocery store. We had the windows open, which let Kiddo feel the "wind!" Once I identified what she was saying, I said, "can you feel the wind? That's nice." And then she informed me that she was "lucky girl."
This luck was further evidenced by the fact that when we went on our walk, we timed it just right to see both school buses that come to our neighborhood.
And this picture was taken by the ever talented Wendolin when we were in Texas (pre-bangs obviously). I thought about cropping it to just her face, then realized that you would then miss those adorable fat ankles. Enjoy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

changing expectations

I have done pretty well in getting things accomplished today, which is not so often the case right now. My husband just called to say he was coming home, and all of my initiative fell away. I found myself saying things in my head like: in 15 minutes, he'll be home, and he can .... (fill in the blank with chore still waiting to be done) and saying things to my daughter like: I can't draw a frog. Daddy will when he gets home.

Then as I sat, looking forward to my parenting reprieve, I remembered. My husband has already been working for 13 hours today, and has a few more before today is over. I guess my parenting/homemaking reprieve won't be until Kiddo goes to bed. I'm not glad that's the case, but I am glad I remembered before he came home, and I had false expectations of him.

He's finishing his dissertation in the next two weeks. I'm sure we'll have plenty more days like this before he's done (like, about 12 of them, thank goodness for Sundays.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

sometimes, we receive

Our family is in a stage of life where we receive service much more than we give. The last two days were just one more opportunity to take.

After writing my last post, I went to bed, and my husband worked on his dissertation. Sometime later in the night, he came to bed, bringing with him one small child. Why? Because her room, and ours, were about to get really cold. As my husband was shutting down the computer after finishing his work (for that night) at 2 am, everything went dark. We lost our power, just like our neighbors across the street. About two hours later it came on for about 45 minutes, then it was gone again... seemingly never to return.

So, as my husband went to work that morning, Kiddo and I ran errands. We returned for a nap in our house which had now cooled to mid-60s. After the naps we went to a friends for the afternoon. We got dinner, and returned to a house now in the high-50s, and dark (and you know all our flashlights are, yes, packed).

While I was pretty useless, my good husband called some people we know, and our good home teacher invited us to stay the night at his house, so at least we slept warm last night. Today my husband is back at school, and we ran more errands. And at 2 pm, we came by the house, and the power was back on! About an hour later the heaters finally started producing heat. Each degree we gain is a personal victory for me. Why are we staying in our still cold (but getting warmer) house? Because I'm tired of being gone. This is my home (for four more weeks) and I'm enjoying it.

My brother and sister-in-law were out of power for a week last year. I can't imagine how they survived. I guess it helped that the temperatures weren't freezing and it wasn't snowing the entire time. Still, that's a long time to live in the dark...

Two blessings I am never grateful enough for: 1- water that comes straight into my house, and still runs when the power is out, and 2- the amazing science behind the flipping of a switch, and the light that comes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This morning it was raining. I was debating whether or not to drag myself and Kiddo to a store when I figured I'd check the temperature. Mid-30's. Hmm. We'd be staying in today.

Then, throughout the morning I watched the rain thicken to that rain/snow stuff (wintry mix anyone?), and then all of a sudden it was snowing. Apparently this is the earliest snow on record for our little corner of the world. I summoned all my energy and good mom vibes, and took Kiddo out of a few minutes of photodocumentation before it was all over.

Here she is with "baby-doll," her favorite scarecrow. (Each time we get out the car she has to go say hi and spend a moment with baby-doll. Trying to skip this step leads to tears, frustration, and a literal digging in of heels on her part.)
Much to my surprise, the snow just got thicker and heavier throughout the day. After her nap and a snack we went out again:

Kiddo loved every minute of it. She loved watching it out the windows, loved being in it, didn't mind the hat, coat and boots required for participating in, she loved it. And she calls it "nose." I guess so long as all the consonants and vowels are there, that's what counts, right?
And the blessing of it all (besides my child's utter enjoyment)? Since the trees still have leaves, the snow is wreaking small amounts of havoc. Across the street (and in much of the area) there is no power, but clearly, we're okay. We had dinner and our heat is still on, so my child can sleep in her own bed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This picture is of the house we stayed at for six weeks this summer. Here is Kiddo with the dog, Allie. Today we stopped by the house to pick something up. I was hoping to leave Kiddo in the car while I ran in, but as soon as we pulled into the driveway she started saying "puppy. aah-eee. puppy. aah-ee." So she got to come in too, and remember that she has a healthy respect for Allie (in other words, she wouldn't touch her). This is in contrast to our visiting teaching appointment this afternoon, where Kiddo kept getting right close and personal with my friend's dog, who would have preferred that she didn't (the dog cared). Kiddo also got almost all of the dog toys out. I sigh as I say that she's inquisitive, and shows little restraint.

But her vocabulary keeps growing, and helps us help her. Last night, I asked Kiddo to throw out her wet diaper. I ask her to do this after most of her diaper changes, and she's very willing and able to do so. I like to think she's taking some responsibility for herself. Last night though, instead of her usual "trash" chant, I heard "tilit." It only took me one moment to yell out her name, and chase her down to fish her diaper out of the toilet, which I suppose she thought would be more interesting than the trash.

Her new favorite song is "animal crackers in my soup" which we play for her on the computer. She'll walk up to one of us (usually me as my husband in mostly gone writing a dissertation) and say "soup." No matter what excuse I give her for not listening right now, she looks at me earnestly and replies "tay. [okay]" and walks straight to the computer to listen. Most of the time I give in, because then she entertains herself for a while.

Her response to many things is "tay." Often she will come up to me with a book, or a toy, or a request for a song, and then when I interpret her need she'll reply "tay." It always seems incongruous to me. It was her idea after all.

When she wants to sing, she comes up to me and starts repeating "about, about, about..." Because whenever she requests "song" I reply "about what" so now she skips the song request, and moves straight on to the about instruction. She has yet to learn how to communicate which song she's thinking of though. Maybe it's because most of the time she doesn't care.

And this is old (probably a whole month by now), but classic, and should always be remembered: We had recently taught her about taking turns, specifically with food. My husband walked out of store, got in the car and pulled out a lollipop (he somehow thought she wouldn't notice if he enjoyed in the front seat). Before too long I hear an insistent voice: tun. tun. tun. I looked at my husband and said, she'd like a turn with the lollipop too, it seems only right to share. So they did.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

my daughter's conference experience

This last weekend was my church's General Conference, where the prophet (think Moses, only for today) and twelve apostles (think Peter, James, and John, again for today) speak specifically to the membership of my chuch, but with words for everyone. It is a two-day spiritual feast, held every six months.

At almost 22 months, Kiddo misses a lot of the finer points of conference, there are a lot of speakers. While watching conference with my almost 22 month old, I miss a lot of the finer points as well. But, she loved the singing. She would sit on my lap, and announce "song" every three or four words of the song. When there are shots of the organ, she would announce "play" because I told her that someone was playing the organ. And the conductor was often mistaken for singing "rain is falling" because of his hand motions. Each song concluded with a rousing cheer of "YAY, song!" from the little girl.

My cousin blogged about watching conference without the music. What a fabulous idea. We can only watch the music, which will keep Kiddo occupied for at least 30 minutes.

ps- she seemed to figure out colors overnight. So she can tell me the dresses are "blue" which adds a whole new distraction to our listening.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"I p[r]ay"

Today Kiddo followed me into my room, and proceded to kneel down and fold her arms. She looked at me and announced "I pay" (she still can't get the 'r' sound).

Then she said something that I could imagine sounded like "Heavenly Father" then clearly announced "dada work" and then kept going, but none of the rest was in my language. About 30 seconds later she looked at me again, told me she was done and got up and went on with her life. I love that she prayed for her dad.

In my attempts to be better at saying morning prayers, Kiddo sees me at it much more often. She comes in and pokes at me and wants my attention and I either ignore her or pause long enough to say "I'm praying, wait a minute." Apparently my example is sinking in.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I felt like Kiddo needed a snack this morning. So, in a total leave of my senses, I left her with the box of goldfish crackers while I started a load of laundry. It wasn't long after that I heard the now familiar sound of the contents of the box being dumped joyfully on the floor. As I started to feel angry I reminded myself that I had no right. I have never left Kiddo with a box or bag of crackers where she has not dumped them out, so I could not be surprised. I quickly retrieved the box from her (mostly empty) and finished putting on the laundry while she spread the crackers around as much of the floor as she could.

I then pulled out the broom to clean it up. "Helping!" she merrily yelled, trying to grab the broom. I instructed her that if she wanted to help, she needed to get her own broom, which she obediently found. How did I miss the fact that if a broom can be used to gather dirt and crackers, it can also be used to spread them out again?

So I bribed her with the opportunity to watch my e-card from my aunt and grandmother. It has a kitten, flowers, and music. Kiddo happily obliged, and the goldfish are no longer all over the floor (plus, my husband doesn't have to sweep tonight, so that's a bonus for him).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

welcome home

We have a yard. With flowers. My husband taught Kiddo that she could put them behind her ears. Now she wants to do this each time we go out. The small issue is that they are mums, which happen to be the one kind of flower I know I am allergic to. Oh well.

It is absolutely fabulous to have our own space again. I am so much less stressed. Because it is a house, not an apartment, I am always surprised by the idea that no one can hear Kiddo as she runs from one end to the other and back again. Because we have limited furniture, we have tons of space. Kids love coming to visit because there is space to run, inside and out. I am trying to enjoy the time, because it is pretty sure that our next place will not be so open, oh well.

The best part of this house is that Kiddo already feels at home. She knows where all the rooms are, is excited about her few toys and few books, and is happier than she's been for a while. This is good for this mom's heart. (And we may have finally convinced her to sleep in her own bed again, which is a great blessing as well!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

telling stories

Kiddo gets more expressive by the day. Not only does she add one to three words a day, but she's starting to tell stories. Right now she has three. She only repeats two words, and I fill in the details, but here they are.

"Ants. Feet." This tells us about the time she stood in an ant pile. After standing there (I didn't know!), she miraculously came the second time I asked her too (she does not come easily). As I put her in her car seat, she announced to me that "annss. feet." I miraculously understood her on the first statement, looked at her feet, and sure enough, there were at least 20 fire ants climbing on her feet. I quickly took of her sandals and brushed them clean. She only had 4 bites, which stopped bothering her by the time we left the parking lot. But it left quite an impression. Every day for the last three or four days, at least once she tells me "Annss. Feet."

"Booke. Dass." This tells us about last night, when she grabbed for my glass of water (mostly empty) and dropped it on the floor, shattering the glass in a lot of pieces. I had to run to get her out of the glass before she started touching it. It took my mom quite a bit of time to clean it up (thanks) because of the size of the mess. But Kiddo is clear: "I booke. Dass."

"Airpane. Mo-ow." Kiddo is an airplane expert. Most loud noises have been attributed to airplanes, and she can spot them from the car, on the sidewalk..., she loves to see and identify airplanes. I told her that we were going to visit great-grandma in seattle tomorrow, and we would take an airplane. And thus began her next story: "Airpane. Mo-ow."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

the hair dilemma (and solution)

So this picture is sideways, but I just don't know how to fix it; tilt your head please. This is my adorable daughter. See how her hair is so close to her eyes and mouth and nose? Well, about two weeks ago she determined that she had no need of the ponytails we had been giving her. So she pulls them out within 20 minutes of me putting them in (usually immediately, but sometimes she could be briefly distracted from her cause). But most of the time, her hair was loose, and it did not stay to the side of her face like in this picture. Both she and I spent quite a bit of time trying to push it out of the way, until it would fall down again.
So then she often looked more like this:
It couldn't be ignored. I took a deep breath, and had my mom cut her bangs. They are cute. I am still unsure whether we'll let them grow out or not, but for two days, she hasn't had hair in her face, and that's a good thing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

for grandma

By popular demand, two delightful pictures of Kiddo at the temple. They illustrate some key features about her.

She likes to lie down anywhere, and she loves water.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

me and the Rackely's

Two weeks ago, we met the lady who would potentially rent her on-the-market house to us for three months. A short term lease is an all-out miracle in this town/area. We had been looking and looking, calling and calling, and the answer was the same for company and private apartments alike: we only do 12 month leases. We were praying for a miracle. Specifically, I prayed that someone would learn our story, or meet us, and think: I need to help this family.

Prayers are answered. After meeting the woman and viewing her house, we fell in love, and she grudgingly told us that we could rent it if we wanted it. We discussed it that night, and decided to keep our family intact throughout this last semester of school. As we viewed the house, and met the woman, I learned that her family was a big name on campus. I kept thinking: "Rackley, Rackley, where is that building? why is it so familiar?"

As we drove off, it hit me. Two years of my life were spent working from that building. Numerous classes were taken there. It is a part of my academic career. And now I was probably staying in the house belonging to the man for whom the building was named. Weird.

Last Wednesday we signed the lease. As we were going through the process, I told our landlady about the connection. She was impressed. It became more important later in the process when she told us her story. Her parents-in-law (the people who the building is named after) sold her the house a few years ago as a gift. As she was debating whether to rent to us, or to another person (who was willing to sign a 12-month lease), she had a dream where her mother-in-law reminded her that the house was a gift. Our landlady took that as an indication that she needed to rent the house to us, and help our little family.

Prayers are answered, and the Rackley's are a part of my school experience.

ps- as exciting as signing the lease was, my husband is even more excited to end our two months as squatters, and sleep in his own place on Sunday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

do you hear what I hear?

Kiddo is a talker. She has lots of words that actually sound like what they are supposed to, and even more that I can understand. She also has some short sentences and phrases. Because I currently am a blogging slacker, this entry is everything I can think of right now.

She finishes all prayers with a very enthusiastic "A-Man!" and can even pray by herself. She will fold her arms, bow her head, and babble until she is done (and not a moment sooner) and finish with an "A-Man!" She finds this very fulfilling, and will often request "mo-one" (more) afterwards, and start again.

She does a similar trick with a cell phone, she picks it up, babbles for a while, then says "bye," and shuts the phone. Then she opens it again and starts over.

The weekend of graduation she learned a handy phrase: "I NEE!" "What do you need?" is often my follow-up phrase. Mostly, she points, or I infer. She needs books, toys, television, my glass of water, fruit snacks, or anything she can see and desire. Recently she has helpfully added "I NEE DA" (I need that...) so although she has added an object to the sentence, I still don't always know what she wants. It should be clear that often, the answer to her request is "you don't need [whatever]."

The exception to her undefined needs is in the car, where she likes to listen to her "on the farm" CD (thanks mom, it was a lovely gift). She will sit in her car seat, and repeat "I NEE song" until we press play. But she has recently mastered climbing into her car seat by herself, so that is a great help to the getting in the car process. "song" is one of her newest words, and she likes to say it, and hear them.

There is a shed in the backyard of the house we're currently in. We walk into the backyard, and she yells "barn!" with contentment and goes to investigate.

She can say "fun" and "friend" and "funny" and "book" and "bath" and "duck" and "nest" and "cat," among others. She recently learned "baby" and says it whenever she sees anyone (in a book or real life) cradling something. When I pick her up that way she says "baby" and snuggles in for .5 seconds before she wiggles into a more toddler-esque position.

Often when she wakes from her naps or in the morning, she calls out for us "" until one of us (in the morning, that's usually my husband) gets her. Then she joyfully cheers when she sees the other one of us. She is most capable of using "da-da" in sentences, such as "mo-one, da-da" (whether she's talking to him or me) and "where's dada?" She is big on having us both present and accounted for currently.

And she knows "wet." After spitting her water out, or spilling it all over herself, she announces with a little consternation "wet." We agree with her, and let her suffer the consequences.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

august 15th

So it really happened. This is me and my advisor. We walked the stage, shook some hands, received a degree. And that's great.

But as I walked in, I saw this little face leaning against the bars in the stands, and thought: that is really my greatest achievement, this degree is just extra.

Monday, August 24, 2009

in transition

We watched the movie "last chance harvey" last Saturday. It was an okay movie. An american goes to London to see his daughter get married, meets a wonderful woman, and decides to quit his (bad) job and just embrace this relationship. As the end credits start to roll, he is asked where he lives. He answers "I'm in transition."

I looked at my husband and said "when he says it, it seems romantic and hopeful," wishing that my transition could be equally so.

Update: We're looking for a place to rent to us for four months, while my husband finished. This would allow us to get out from underfoot of the angelic couple that is letting us overstay our welcome. We may actually have a lead. It would be great to be able to settle for at least a few months.

Friday, August 21, 2009

rays of light

I took Kiddo to the park that is behind our old home today. As we pulled into the parking lot she started exclaiming "yay! yay! yay!" from the back seat. She likes it there. As it had been raining for the most of the morning, it didn't take her long to find a puddle with lots of good mud, which she proceeded to splash all over herself (shirt, pants, hair, eyelids, etc.). I noticed what was going on a little too late, so just let her have fun. (So after we picked up dad, she went to Target without any pants, ahh, to be 20 months old. And called a lot of attention to herself as she dragged the basket around by herself. No help needed or wanted or allowed from the parents. Luckily we didn't need much.)

Later, she was going down the slide with the little boy that was our neighbor. As she would get to the bottom of the slide (it's about a six footer) she announced "fun. fun. more-one" as she walked around to the steps again.

She is no longer afraid of the dog or its barking, and is in fact getting just plain bossy to the dog. She calls out with me "aah-ee," when I call out "Allie" and tells her to "siit. siit. siit." all the time.

There are lots of things that are surprising, confusing, and just plain difficult in our life right now. Kiddo is our relief from all of that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

what to say?

We finally heard back from both jobs for which my husband was on the short list, and there is no job for him yet. I'm sure this is a blessing, because it allows him to finish up his degree this semester without having to also start a job, which would be complicated. Or maybe its not a blessing directly, but will become one as we turn our hearts and wills over to our Heavenly Father. At any rate, it will turn out fine. There are serious hurdles to be crossed with this news, namely where to live and how to pay for it, but hey, what's life without a little adventure? Plus I'm sure this will both increase my empathy for others, and decrease my likelihood of saying trite things to others who are experiencing significant trials. So you see, we're being blessed already.

In a book by Patricia Holland, she shares an experience of when she was pleading to the Lord to bless one of her sons in a particular way, and then she was prompted that the son was being blessed, just in the Lord's way, not the mother's way. I remember that frequently right now, remembering that I, and my family, are being blessed, even if it's in different ways than I expected.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

two syllables

Kiddo has started saying two syllable words, like "open" and "airplane." I'm pretty excited for her.

We found our camera. Now it's just a matter of me finding the time and energy to 1) take pictures, 2) upload pictures, and 3) write about them.

Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

wouldn't it be nice...

...if I could find my camera and actually take some of the pictures I'd like to?

Like my daughter sprawled out on the floor watching Robin Hood, and enjoying all this space?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

and here we are

Last week was a flurry of moving activities. On Thursday we packed all day, Thursday night 17 men showed up to help us pack our truck, then our storage unit. Friday we cleaned (and sorted and made much trash). And now we live in our friend's basement. They left on vacation today, and will be gone for most of the next three weeks. We care for their dog, water their plants, and eat from their garden in exchange. The long strange transition from our first to second home has begun. We stopped back briefly to check the mail, and I remembered how great it felt to move in, and be excited about all the space. I loved our little duplex. I miss it.

Kiddo has been a trooper throughout all the changes, as usual. She is not fond of the dog barking. It makes her cry a lot (of course, right now, so does putting on her clothes). In fact, crying a lot is a lot more popular in her life than it has ever been. I chalk it up to changes, and expect that it will settle out soon. She does like the large backyard and trampoline (I gently bounce her while she sits and requests more and more). It's good to have a place to sleep, and a roof over our head.

Kiddo's current favorite word is "mo-youn" which is her way of pronouncing "more one" or "one more." She says it all the time, to convince us that she requires more of whatever we're having or doing. It's fun to watch her vocabulary grow each day.

And, my computer hiatus is over (for a while) so that's good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

what do we say?

I'm trying to teach Kiddo to say "up" when she wants me to pick her up. While the non-verbal signals are pretty clear (what with her throwing herself at my legs, hanging on them, and looking pitifully at me, with occasional whining), I think it would be great for her to use a word. So, when she does her non-verbal cues, I say "can you say 'up'?" To which she responds "up" and I pick her up.

Today we were at the post office (we now have a post office box and a storage unit, we're officially nomads) waiting in line. My husband tried to keep her otherwise occupied, but she wanted me. As she threw herself at my legs, I asked "what do you say?" and her little voice said triumphantly "ma-ma!"

Yeah, not what I was looking for, but perhaps more effective at getting what she wants.

23 hours until our stuff moves out (and us along with it).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

jealousy, fatigue, and boxes

There are three duplexes on my street that have LDS people in them. A married couple lives two doors down, and two single sisters live four doors up. We are all friends. All adults are, or were recently, PhD students. Three of the six of us, one for each house, have been awarded the title of Dr. in the last six weeks. (I was first!) The other three will be awarded the title before the end of the year. This is to tell you that while we are all at different stages of our social lives, we are at exactly the same place in our academic/graduation lives.

Today a moving truck pulled up in front of the married couple's door. Six hours later, they seem to be packed up and moving on their way. I am jealous that they are done, that they have movers, and that they have a place to move to. I chided myself early for feeling this way, then realized, it's okay to feel sad, it's an emotion, and a valid one given my circumstances. What I can't do is wallow in self pity. Afterall, there is still work to be done.

My neighbors up the street also have places to move to and jobs to go to. (Although, like us, they will be packing themselves. Except not like us they are single and just moved in last year, so their amount of stuff is still managable).

I have been packing seriously for two weeks now, but because of a cute little 19 month old, am not finished yet. (And we opened the attic on Saturday, and seemingly doubled our stuff in the period of an hour.) Once the packing is finished, we will be moving no where for an indeterminate amount of time. I can only seem to relate this to being a child, and having your parents tell you to "get in the car, we're going somewhere," and letting the somewhere be a surprise. Except my Heavenly Parent (who assures me He has a plan) also expects me to pack up my life first, and live in someone's basement for a while on my way to "somewhere." And I'm not coming back to this home. But I am holding onto this somewhat flawed metaphor because I sincerely want to feel the enthusiam of taking a great adventure that will surely bring blessings, lessons, and the opportunity to see the Lord's hand revealed.

It will also allow other people to do great acts of service for us, which is good for us and them. I have friends coming to help watch Kiddo while I pack, and to help us move stuff out of our house and into our (ridiculously small) storage unit. Someone is letting us stay in their house. Someone else has offered another house. Boxes have come empty, so we can fill them up. We are not alone.

But I am tired. There are boxes to fill.

Friday, July 24, 2009


One more non-noun: hot. She knows food can be hot as in 'don't touch, instead blow on it' or that it can be spicy. And she knows that her car seat is sometimes hot.

So I put her in, knowing that while the seat is warm, it certainly will not burn her, or really even make her that uncomfortable, and then we drive along with her announcing "hot. hot. hot." the whole time, making me feel tremendously guilty for my poor mothering. I'm sure that more words will be even more fun.


Kiddo has one word that is not a noun: "no." Except she puts a quick "g" in front of it, so it sound more like "gNo." She uses this word all the time, for all situations. "gNo" means no. Silence means maybe. This has opened up all sorts of avenues for her to express her opinions and vote on our activities.

Now that she knows she has agency though, if no won't deter us, she is likely to start crying pitifully. We often come home from the park in tears. Yesterday when I insisted we come in from the rain (not because it was wet, just because we'd been out in for 40 minutes, her hands were white and lips blue...), she was almost inconsolable. We took a bath though, and she cheered up nicely. It's sometimes to sad to be little. (And let's be honest, it's sometimes sad to be big.)

humilitation imminent

My daughter is starting to pick up and use a lot of new words, although she is still limited to nouns, and the labeling of things. She will NOT repeat a word for your enjoyment, but if she volunteers to say it, then there are quite a few things she says.

Her newest is "poo." And she's very clear on it's meaning. Since she first used it three days ago, if it is in her diaper, she tells me as I get ready to change it. Today she even announced it's coming.

Doesn't that mean she's ready to be poddy-trained? Oh wait, we're about to move at least twice in the next few months, possibly two or three times. I guess that would be the major life changes that you're supposed to avoid for this occasion.

She has never had to leave nursery for a diaper change. I'm pretty sure, just because of her new word, that will happen on Sunday, so she can let all the nursery leaders know just how clever she is.

(Even though I could have lived without this word for a while, with her little sweet toddler girl voice, it's super adorable all the same.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

long time coming

It's done. All the fees have been paid, all the forms have been turned in, all the revisions have been made. My Ph.D. is officially completed.

In less than a month I walk across the stage, and attend my first graduation exercises since high school. Finally.

Monday, July 20, 2009

kitchen puddles

I had two goals last Tuesday: do the laundry, do the dishes. Neither had been attended to for way too long, so I was sure it would take me most of the day, which meant that Kiddo had to entertain herself.

After her nap (if feels so indulgent to do chores during nap time), I gave her a drink and she enjoyed it, especially after she figured out that if she pulled on the straw, the lid would come off. For reasons I don't fully understand, I put more water in the cup after this revelation. And, no surprise, she took the lid off and dumped the water on the floor.

My first instinct was to say "Stupid me!" and clean up the mess. But I followed my second instinct that said: let her play. She stomped joyfully in the puddle for 20 minutes, which allowed me to make more headway into the dishes than I would have expected. The socks were already on, but I left them on so she wouldn't slip on our floor. From her face you can tell that I made a good choice.

sitting still

The nursery leader in my ward is also my good friend and visiting teaching companion. I saw her yesterday sometime after church. "When you need your daughter to sit, what do you do?" Without a pause I replied "Strap her in."

Apparently during nursery there are two or three times when the children (ages 18 mos to 3 1/2 years) should be sitting. Apparently Kiddo does not.

But she will. I'm sure eventually she will. But she's pretty ... confident ... in her opinions, so I can be sure that if she doesn't want to sit, they know about it. Hopefully, for my friend's sake, she'll get this lesson soon.

(And even if not, within the next few months there will be lots more really young kids who don't know how to sit still, so at least she won't be the only one.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

stifled sigh of relief

I went to turn in my final copy of my dissertation today with the accompanying paperwork and money. As she looked up my file, I was told that there was a problem with my signature page, and that it needed to be fixed. Argh.

So the projected euphoria has not settled in, but instead I now have to fret about when the administrative assistant will get a hold of someone else, and when she will sign the paper, and when I can upload my document, and this is just harder than I wanted it to be... again. Maybe Monday.

And why isn't my child napping? She was certainly up early enough. And what are we going to do this afternoon? It's raining, so probably we're not going to the park...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

filling the corners

Our home is full of the stuff one gathers over life, but specifically the last 5 years of holding still, and adding a baby to our life. We long ago filled every corner in our duplex with furniture (let's be honest: mostly bookshelves). We are now filling the non-existent blank spaces with boxes, boxes, and more boxes. Every day I fill some, then my husband comes home and fills some more. This is to let you know that we're making progress. We may be ready to leave at the end of this month after all.

bedtime duet

My husband's role in the bedtime routine is vast. He changes the last diaper, puts Kiddo into her pajamas, applies whatever ointments are needed depending on her skin condition, and reads the story. I brush her teeth and sit around while he does the work. We take turns either choosing a song or saying family prayer. Kiddo's job is to be as squirmy as possible, be particular about what book is read, and then wander aimlessly while we pray.

Then we turn off the lights, I give her a final hug and kiss, and turn her over to Husband who rocks her for a bit before putting her in her crib. She has, of late, started joining in the evening singing. Not the whole family version, she just sings along with her dad as he tries to put her down. It is adorable, made even more so by the fact she has no pitch or rhythm.

(Although it is slightly disheartening for my husband as he realizes she is not so close to being asleep after all, but I encourage him to look at the cute side of it.)

Monday, July 13, 2009


My husband loves jokes. As a child, he would get joke books from the library, and read as many to his mom as he possibly could. (I can't remember the rule, but it was something like only 10 minutes a day.)

Kiddo has a joke book that she has recently decided she loves. This morning after I changed her diaper she picked it up, and since I wouldn't read it to her (I needed to get her morning drink) she took it back to Dad. So now he reads jokes to her everyday, whether he wants to or not.

(Luckily, one joke makes him chuckle each time he reads the book - so it's not all bad. Q: What holds up trains? A: bad men.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

flying blind

A few days ago I reserved a storage unit for our belongings, and bought the first of what I'm sure will be many boxes to pack our belongings. I looked at my cousin's picture of boxes stacked up as she prepared to move, and was envious of the wall space she had for these boxes (I have no idea what we will do with our packed boxes, which may partially explain why they remain unpacked.) Today my husband reserved a moving truck, and I visited with the couple we are moving in with for a while. We've talked to the elder's quorum about moving. So, apparently we're really going to leave our home.

It would be so nice to know where.

games with grandma

While in Utah, Kiddo had lots of fun with grandma. They went on walks, they played in the sandbox, the played in the sprinklers, and even spent most of Tuesday together, just the two of them. (Thank you, mom needed it.)

But I didn't get any pictures of that. I instead got the next in the series: "Grandma reading to my daughter." I seem to take this picture everytime they get together. Probably because my daughter loves being read to more than anything else. And grandma loves to read to her. So, it's not such a bad series of pictures to have.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

new toy for a hot day

A close look at this picture will indicate that this is no normal hold of a baby. Note the hand firmly in the armpit on the far side, restricting the movement of said arm (sort of). While my attention was focused on trying to order her a snow cone (another disaster), Kiddo found some gum on the ground. Hot ground, chewed gum, blue no less, it was a toddler's dream for serious investigation.
I managed to clean her up from this, then watched as she made a total mess of the snow cone. Consolation: so did all the other cousins. (Question: If you have four children, and four snow cones, how many will be dropped on their laps? Answer: Three, because only one child was heavily supervised the entire time. Even a second is too long to leave a small child with a snow cone. It was not my child.)

favorite aunt

Kiddo has many aunts who are great, and they all love her very much, as only family can do. But the aunt in this picture, my husband's sister, isn't encumbered by children, thus can give all her attention to my little one, who eats it up. I had this same relation with my first niece when she was little, I had no kids, and lived near by. What a blessing for my kid.

This shot is taken at the end of a long Sunday (for all of us; nursery in a new place was ... challenging). Kiddo has watched her favorite video on the computer (a number of times), and determined that it is just to tiring to sit up, so she folded herself in half. They're sitting in Grandpa's chair.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

girls in green (and other cousins)

This is Kiddo and her cousin who is two months older than her. Although we've lived in neighboring states for two years, Utah is the first time these two met. As would be expected of an 18- and 20-month old, they completely ignored each other the entire day.

This photo was taken at the end of the day, after multiple messy diaper changes for both, which would probably explain why neither of them are wearing pants. But, they are both SO adorable, and I have great intentions for their future friendship.

Then we added their cousin who is a year younger than them. These girls represent the younger set of the girl cousins (other girl cousins are 8 and 9, not in the state for these pictures).

Then we added the boys (that we had on hand). This is the best picture I have of all five of them. Taking pictures of five kids aged four and under (at the end of the day, but probably at all times) is complicated.

Now if we could just get a picture with the other eight (almost nine) then my mom would be content.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

hair styling by amateurs

Kiddo's bangs are seriously long. (but what is the real story behind this picture you say? well, I took off her shirt because I didn't want to change it again. And she insisted on having her feet near the table, and would cry a lot when she couldn't get her feet out. I sighed, and said, fine, but only because we're not at home. she only pushed the chair over backwards once.)

Her aunt simply pulled her hair up in a side ponytail, and it is adorable (see balloon pictures), and it's easy enough to do each morning. For special occassions I give her two ponytails. But, apparently it is not so simple, as can be seen by attempts to reproduce the hairstyle by her Grandma (who voluntarily fired herself from hair duty after this effort):

and her son (the girl's dad, who takes after his mom in many ways):

At least she cheeses for the camera, one of her many features that make these pictures adorable.

My favorite thing about Kiddo's hair are the curls, partly because, as I know from my own hair, when its curly, there is no need for precision. Her part is always lopsided, I miss some hair, and it still looks fine. Yay for the merciful nature of curly hair.

favorite part of the day

I went to the Bookstore today to pick up my robes for graduation. Yes, I'm getting a PhD. As we were walking through the store to the pick-up desk, an employee called to us. She told us she noticed my little girl, and had to prepare this:

Yes, a balloon of her very own. Kiddo was ecstatic. She is fascinated by balloons in stories, and now she had one. By the way, mom, don't touch. She held tight to it all through the store, and the walk to dad's work, and back to the car - except when she saw the exotic fish tank or the puddle. So it was mostly a high point of the day.
As I uploaded the pictures for this post though, I noticed other pictures, so perhaps she had two high points. She was pretty thrilled when her dad pulled out my old school phone for his interview. Here she is talking to no one in particular, but thoroughly enjoying her little talk.

searching for employment

To add to the excitement of me finishing my degree this year, we expect that my husband will too. Which means that he is looking for a job, to support us once our savings dry up. There is a government job he interviewed for, and we would like, and most of the other job hunting has been on hold with the idea: we'll have more information in July.

It is now July, and this is what we know: We'll have more information in August.

There are two pieces of information that are allowing me not scream from the insanity. One: my husband had a phone interview today with a school, so at least there is some progress. And more importantly:

I am sure that Heavenly Father is monitoring this, and has and will continue to guide us as decisions must be made. Sure, I have no idea what the plan is. But I am confident that there is a plan, and that it is still working. There are still a number of paths in front of us, but I am sure that whichever we ultimately take will work for our good. So I have yet to scream or cry from the uncertainty, which is not to say I haven't wanted to. But hope continues to prevail.

Monday, July 6, 2009

not just a pretty face

Kiddo and I just returned from Utah, and visiting much family. (Which was great, and which I intend to chronicle soon.) While there she decided that she is a talker, in the 18-month old fashion, meaning that she follows all rules for talking except you don't know what she's saying. She makes eye contact, has cadence and rhythm, sentences and exclamations, except she's using nonsense syllables. (Or is it me that is using the nonsense syllables, and she is thinking "I wish I knew what mom was saying"?)

At any rate. As is my routine, we were one of the last people to get on the plane. There was a flight attendent behind us, who saw Kiddo and exclaimed at how adorable she is (true story). Kiddo smiled at her, and let forth a big sentence of her words, which seemed clearly a response to the attendent's comment to her. The lady in front of us laughed, and said "She wants you to like her for her brains, not just her good looks."

Good thought.

Friday, June 19, 2009

long and lean

We took Kiddo to the doctor yesterday for her 18 month check-up. She is not fond of the doctor. It was fine while he sat in his chair, and she sat in my lap. But when he came closer, the crying started... Okay, honestly the crying started when she had to be measured on the table. And it didn't really stop until the nurse left. And, to retake up the story, as soon as the doctor came close she started sobbing again. I'm not sure he was able to hear her breathing, because she was making so much noise.

But, for the first time in a while, there were no ominous warnings at this visit. No benign heart murmurs, no low weights, no concern over her language development, just a well-baby. Who is, as he phrased it, long and lean (34 inches, 22 1/2 lbs).

The positive side to the crying, which we had calmed down after the doctor left, and started up when the nurse came back in, was that she was so upset by the whole experience that she missed the shot. Oh, they gave it to her, she just didn't notice. And a few moments later, when we were out of the doctor's office, all was well again.

As for her language development, she is now (sort of) saying "sit" and "kiss." Clearly we tell her to "sit" often because when we say it now she starts to parrot: "sih. sih. sih." And when she kisses her stuffed animals, or dolls, or books, or characters on TV, or the unsuspecting child at the park, she often labels: "tisss."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

honkin' big nap

The last two days Kiddo has gone down for her nap about 2 hours after she wakes up, which is totally normal. Then she just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. Yesterday it was over three hours. Today we are approaching 2 1/2, and I have yet to hear a peep from her.

Is this a strange blessing so I can finish my revisions? Is she super tired? Are we transitioning to one nap? I don't know, but I do appreciate the time to work.

And if this continues once the dissertation is in... what a crazy fun block of time that will be to fill with what I want to do?!

Monday, June 15, 2009

photo documentation

I'm sure that after reading the last two posts you thought: shouldn't there be pictures? Yes, there should be.

This is Michael making her laugh. She pulls his face towards her belly or neck to be tickled by him. Clearly she loves it.

A funny face she makes.

Joy unbounded for the squeaky sheep. She picked this book out herself at the used book sale, and loves it.

Finally, me the day I defended. That's my first picture as a doctor.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

3/2 years old

Today Kiddo is 18 months old. Which means she went to nursery at church. While it is odd for me to have 2 hours of her life unaccounted for, it was exciting to listen to the lessons, and actually think about what was being taught. According to my friends who help in nursery, she was a smooth transition. They're not sure she knew or cared that I was gone, she was too busy having fun. (There was the water incident though. The sippy cups were not there, so the cups had no lids. Our daughter knows just what to do with a cup of water - dump it on her lap.)

Of course this means reflection, and there are things I do not want to forget about her at this age. Some that I will share:
1) When she wants to read a book, she walks backward towards you, so that it is easier to sit down. Sometimes she walk backwards for many feet to get to the appropriate lap.
2) If she is not willing to eat the food that is being presented to her, we bring out her pink rubber duck. First she feeds duck, then she will almost always feed herself. As duck eats she announces: "num-num." Duck almost always needs a drink as well. Kiddo make appropriate slurping noises.
3) She can say about six words, when she feels like it. Mama and Dada are two. There is also num-num (if that counts as a word). The rest are "b" words: "ba" (ball), "babee" (baby), and "bow" as in "take a bow." We see where her priorities are.
4) She can recognize the number 4, and when she sees it, she would like to sing a song by Leslie Feist "One, Two, Three, Four."
5) She loves all her animals and dolls. She gives them frequent kisses, plus cradles them in her arms, and pats their backs. Occasionally, she will also kiss mom and dad.
6) She loves going outside. She will stand at the door and push on it until we finally let her go. She knows exactly how to get to the park.

I have always loved her. But recently I have been surprised by the depth of this love. Like a testimony, some days you find suddenly that it is deeper and richer. I recently realized this about my love for her. It is so much fun to help her grow up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

the doctor is in

I have my PhD! After sitting with my committee for two hours with me presenting my findings, and them questioning my findings (in other words, the usual drill), they agreed that I had fulfilled the requirements.

Although I was pretty stressed yesterday, I was calm today. What will be will be, I thought. And what is is a doctorate of philosophy!

They told me my analyses were well-done, my interpretations were good, the writing was excellent, and by the way, could they have a copy of my presentation so they could give it to other students as an example of what a presentation should be?

In other words, this was no pity pass, this was the real thing. Yay for me!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

say "please"

Kiddo has now mastered her third sign: "please." She actually learned it very quickly. My husband taught it to her once, then when I brought up the concept a few days later she quickly rubbed her chest (which is the baby equivalent of the sign). So now we request that she says please when we give her things. We are hoping that this will soon replace the insistent "eh, eh, eh" that she does currently.

Yesterday she wanted part of my granola bar, and was pointing and exclaiming her desire. I asked "what do we say?" then quickly realized that while she can sign please, she still doesn't understand when to apply it. So I started explaining to her, "when we want something we don't scream, we say..." At this point Kiddo smiled with understanding and said "AAAHHH!" (her fake scream).

She's so smart. She knew I was looking for a specific action from her, so when she heard scream she knew just what to do.

Laughing, I said, "no, we say please" and then she also quickly rubbed her chest, and I handed over the granola piece. So, she doesn't understand everything I say, but apparently she understands a lot.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

monkey on her back

This is Kiddo imitating her mom. Instead of a cute stuffed animal though, I have a dissertation. I get to take mine off soon. (What will I do without it though? I've been carrying it a long time.) She chose to wear hers, finding this monkey and insisting that we put it on. We've only worn it once before (it had a long tail that makes it a baby leash, I bought it for our trip to Texas, but just couldn't use it, maybe for our Utah trip...), but apparently she remembered it, and loves her monkey pal.

Note her intense curls. They are aided by the current humidity. Where are these curls from? Those who know me would suggest me, but I had straight hair as a child (much to my grandma's chagrin as she would try to curl it), and my husband's never had anything but. Is her hair like her maternal uncles (many of who have curly, albeit short, hair)? That should also imply it will be a lovely brown. Time will tell.

just like dad

As we headed out for a walk on Saturday, Kiddo made it clear that we needed to wear this hat. It's her dad's. This is his gardening hat. He has it to a) protect his fair skin, but more importantly b) because it's just like his dad's.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

nursery dry run

Since Kiddo turns 18 months next Sunday, we tried out nursery at church today. She's at least five or six months younger than the other eight or so kids, so she's not as mature as them, but she still enjoyed herself. It was obvious that she did not know the rules, and some of the kids indicated that with their stares, but she was merrily oblivious, and did her best to join in the fun. There was puzzle time, marching time, a walk outside, snack time, play time, book time, and singing time. I'll let you guess which part she loved the most.

In fact, she really appreciated all the songs, and clapped enthusiastically after each one. Next week I may even try to leave her there without me. It might work out, and I might be able to listen to church again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

a not uncommon view

Okay, so the picture is sideways, but I'm afraid I don't care enough to fix it.

Kiddo is more than happy to give you whatever she is done with. When out on walks, she will give you her flower so she can get a new one. She holds it out, not looking, waiting for you to see, and respond.

When eating, she passes the food she doesn't want. We're trying to teach her to just leave it on her plate, but that has some interesting side effects. Sometimes, she'll then drop it on the floor. But other times, she turns to another person and offers the food to them (for example, I'm more likely to take the food, my husband more likely to insist she leave it be). Last night, she handed her unwanted broccoli to me, and I placed it back on her plate with an assurance it would be fine. A few moments later I saw her pushing her broccoli towards the missionary eating at our house. "Oh no, I'm sure the Elder doesn't want your broccoli!" and so then I took it.

The evening got more exciting just as they were about to leave. Kiddo slipped and hit her mouth hard on the edge of the table. She started screaming (as she should) and I tried to comfort her and check her mouth for any damage. Once we convinced the missionaries that it was a good time to leave (quickly now) so we could care for the kid, she was lucky enough to get some baby motrin, a popsicle, and extra time with the Little Bear DVD (which she would watch non-stop if I let her). All things seemed to help. No permanent, or temporary, damage.

this morning

This morning I woke up to feet banging on the wall, little covered feet because we live in the northeast, and when it's only been in the mid-50s all day, warmer pjs are required for my little one at night. Bang, bang, bang.

My first thought was that we'd somehow missed our alarms, what time was it? 5:55. We had not missed our alarms at all. I decided to ignore the banging until she got cranky. After all, banging on the wall is not a way to communicate with us, it's just something she does to have fun. (She is truly fond of her crib, especially now with her animal sheets. She points to her animal of choice, and then we sing a song [Yes, that's a giraffe, which reminds you of a horse, "I want to take my horse and buggy...] Sometimes she doesn't want to get out, but she does want company.)

The noise faded as I fell back asleep, and when the alarm went off 5 minutes later, it was gone, and 2 1/2 hours later she's still asleep, which means I got to rethink my wake up time, and sleep in an extra hour, plus take a shower, read my scriptures and pray, and may even get a little work done, all before her day (really) starts. Excellent.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

living a miracle - part 2

This picture is just because she's so dang cute.

A lady from church called us up this evening and asked if we would like to stay at her house for the month of August. Her family goes on a long vacation, and they need someone to a) live there, b) hang out with the dog, c) tend the garden. "Would you be interested?" she asked. I replied sincerely and humbly, "It is an answer to prayer - to many prayers. Yes, we're interested."

You see, our lease ends on July 31st, and my husband won't be done with school yet. We had no place to go, and now we do. As added blessings, a) she mentioned we could stay even after they got back, because they have plenty of space, b) they have a dog which will be a thrill for Kiddo, and c) my husband has lamented more than once that we have no garden, and now we will.

Wow. Prayers offered, answers came.

Friday, May 29, 2009

182 pages - check

I finished the writing today, for real. I sent my dissertation out to my committee for review. I plan to clean the house this weekend, and take a nap with my daughter on Monday.

On Tuesday I will start preparing my presentation for the grand finale of my PhD, but for the next few days, I am trying out the no school routine. I expect to enjoy myself, or at least be better rested.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

living a miracle

I walked home from school today feeling great. I was amazed at the work that I had accomplished so far that day, and for the first time this week felt that I could actually get this dissertation off by Friday. In all seriousness, although it's the plan, it would be a miracle. And I thought: "I'm living a miracle, right this moment. This week is a miracle."

That euphoria was tempered by various hurdles that popped up tonight, making that goal seem distant at best. But I can't help think: "if it was true this afternoon, it must be true tonight."

There is nothing that promises that blessings, or even miracles, will go smoothly. They just happen, and turn out right in the end. And I still know I'm living a miracle, right now.

meeting the girls

My mom has a friend who has chickens. They started out as a child's science project, but became so much a part of the family that they stayed. We brought Kiddo to meet them, and maybe touch them. She wanted to, but was pretty nervous about the face. Eventually when we turned the chickens she was able to pet its side. From this picture, it appears that I was nervous too.

Chickens are really soft. Who knew?