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.