Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing—Benjamin Franklin


"I need to take a little broke"

As Little would say. He's decided that taking a break is the a good way to get out of doing what you don't want to. Only instead of taking a break, he takes a "broke." Too bad taking a "little broke" isn't exactly an option for me at the moment, no matter how much I want to avoid doing all the things on my list. It seems like everything is happening all at once around here. The holidays, Bryce's finals, moving, potty training, etc. All very exciting, but all very time consuming.
Little has been back and forth on the subject of potty training for a long time now. He'll be interested for a bit and then decides it isn't worth his time for a while. About a week ago, completely out of the blue he announced that he wanted to "peep." So, off he went to the potty.
Of course he decided to get excited about potty training right before we have to move, so amid all the boxes and craziness sits a little potty chair ready to be used at the drop of the hat. Now my life is completely absorbed. If we aren't sitting on the potty, we are talking about sitting on the potty. I finally got tired of watching the clock so closely and started setting an alarm to ask every 15 minutes or so if a potty break is necessary. I was a little afraid it was going to have a Pavlov's Dog effect, but so far so good.
Little is actually doing amazingly well. Don't get me wrong, we've had plenty of accidents in plenty of interesting places, but overall he is getting the hang of it quickly. Despite that, I have decided that this is officially the grossest part of parenting to date. Man alive! That is all I can say.
In other news, we're moving next week. We applied for a bigger apartment over the summer not thinking there was any way we'd get in, but as fate would have it we got a letter saying it was all a go. The only problem is that it happened to be right in the middle of Bryce's finals. They let us postpone until the day after he takes his last final, but still... Kind of crazy around these parts. We never have much luck moving. I'm pretty sure it has rained/snowed/hailed every single time, last time we even had a crazy heat wave and the air conditioning broke. Seriously, no luck. So, when we found out that we were moving on the 21st of December--the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar--we laughed pretty hard. Not exactly what I planned to do with the day the world is over, but hey, what are you going to do?

Manipulation at its finest

Little's latest strategy for avoiding getting in trouble for what he knows is not going to be mommy-approved: "Let me show you a game!" He'll use it to try to stand up in the tub, to draw on something he shouldn't, to jump off the table, etc. Strangely enough, I don't find his "games" quite as fun as he does.
The other tactic he uses is, "Do me a big favor?" which is usually followed by a request to get out of the current thing I'm forcing on him. Ex: "Mommy, do me a big favor? I can play with toys," or "Mommy, do me a big favor? I don't eat carrots." He hasn't quite caught on that it has yet to work for him.

However, on a good note, he has started sharing all of his food with the baby; which basically means that he shoves food at my belly all day long, but I it is still sweet of him. 

Let the holidays begin

We had an extra fun end of November because not only did we have Thanksgiving at my sisters house, but we also had Fakesgiving here with friends. Mostly both days were filled with lots of good food, family, and friends.

 We were a little afraid of being all turkeyed out after such a fantastic Fakesgiving not a week before actual turkey day, but we had turkey sandwiches for days afterward and still loved it, so all is well.
At my sisters house we played plenty of rounds of Nertz as well as some fantastic Great Dalmuti (if you haven't played/heard of the game you should go get it right away), hats included of course. There weren't enough hats for every for a bit, so we had to get creative, please note the giraffe that my sister is sporting.
All-in-all, it was a great Thanksgiving and we are so grateful to have good friends and family to share it.

Bob the Camel

It all started when Little wanted a bedtime song about a camel and I didn't know even a line of a song that mentioned a camel, so I made one up. This, as you might imagine, led to one of the silliest and most nonsensical songs of all time wherein a camel named Bob was born. I kick myself nightly that Bob was the first name that came to mind.

Now, Little demands a Bob the Camel song almost every night and I am forced to make up a silly little ditty about Bob the Camel going to school, or Bob the Camel playing with friends, or any number of Bob the Camel escapades (Little chooses what Bob does in the song, so it can get a bit interesting) usually ending in "We love Bob the camel." 
However, one night the creativity was just not flowing so I told Little that we'd have to wait until the next night to sing our Bob the Camel song. Little apparently was not ok with that, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. What resulted was arguably the most adorable thing he has ever done because he made up his own version of a Bob the Camel song. What I wouldn't give to have that recorded for posterity.
Anyway... He still wants me to sing about Bob the Camel most nights, but after I am finished with my ditty, he starts naming off other animals we can make songs about and proceeds to sing whatever comes to mind about said animal. Mostly his songs are used to sing himself to sleep, but every now and again he comes up with some rather inventive songs about zebras and giraffes during the day. My personal favorite is a zebra named "Bubbu."

Remember how I'm a super hero?

First of all, for your viewing pleasure our little GIRL! We found out today and we couldn't be more happy. Hooray! For dresses and headbands. And double hooray for being psychic.

I keep joking with Bryce that the reason I am having such a hard time with this pregnancy is because I'm secretly a super hero and so is the baby. Growing another super hero is hard work. Bryce just thinks that means the baby is my Kryptonite, but here's hoping that isn't the case.
Let me explain why I'm a super hero. Not only am I already Bionic Woman--which turns out is a really lame ability--but I am psychic. Which is awesome.
I had an experience about seven or eight months ago that made us a little nervous because we thought for a bit that it meant we might have twins in our future, but all I really knew was that we needed to be prepared for two. Thankfully--I can't express just how thankfully--a bit after we found that we were expecting, we also found out that my sister is expecting. Her original due date? March 24th. The day before ours. Awesome. So, even though the two babies are not both ours, we definitely have to prepare for two because with my sister's due date being so close to mine there is no way on earth my mom will be able to be there for both. I'm confident that it will all go smoothly, but it will definitely take some more preparation.
Item number two on the list of why-I-am-psychic: I knew we were having a girl. Not confident enough to announce it or anything, but I was pretty sure. When it was first pronounced I was having a girl I was even more sure. And now it's official.
As much as I joke about this meaning I'm psychic, I am more than sure it really means that I have a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me. He knows that I am a planner and in order to feel under control in the slightest, I need to have more than nine months of warning about some things. I can't say how grateful that makes me.

A bit belated...

...and I know I've been posting a lot lately, but I have to update the blog before the holiday adventures start.

We did our best to start the season right a while back by going to a farm for their fall festivities. Pumpkins, farm animals, a corn maze, a big slide. It doesn't get much more fun than that, especially with a toddler.  I am fairly certain that I've never seen Little more excited to see animals. In fact, he spent almost the entire day like this:
Or running back and forth between the horse and the chickens yelling, "Look!" There was a brief moment where we managed to pry him away from the animals to go wander the corn maze. That was definitely a hit. Who knew running around through a bunch of corn stalks could be so fun?
We also enjoyed a fun hay ride. And by "we" I mean me and Bryce because Little--as a result of all of the ear trouble he has been having lately--was forced to wear a hat in order to cover his ears. He was less than pleased. He still manages to be the most adorable little man on the planet even when he's grumpy though, so I'm going to call it a win. 

I am ashamed.

I hung Christmas lights the other day. I'm trying to convince myself that I just wanted to add a little ambiance to the room or blame it on the fact that Little loves them. That is false. I just wanted Christmas lights. I fully hang my head in shame, all the while wearing a silly little smile and sighing to myself because I'm enjoying them so much.

I am usually a strictly wait-until-the-day-after-Thanksgiving-to-even-hear-a-Christmas-song kind of girl, but for the last few years it has grown increasingly difficult. I don't know whether it is having Little or just an inevitable spillover because I love the Christmas season so much, but seriously... this is ridiculous. 

Little and the cuteness thereof

I feel as though Little is growing up so fast I can hardly keep track of all the fun stuff he does. Our favorite lately is that he loves to sing. His favorite song at the moment is "the blackbirdy song" a.k.a. Blackbird by the Beatles and he's actually surprisingly good. We have yet to get him singing it as he somehow knows exactly when the camera is on and refuses to sing for the most part. However, we did manage to get the pirate song. (Please ignore the messy house in the background. I blame it on a fantastically awesome sanity saving package coming from Grandma Lowder and Little not wanting to put any of it away. Ever. Not even the packaging.)

video
He also does a rather exciting rendition of Little Bunny Foo Foo (complete with bopping on the head), but sadly that has yet to be captured on video in its full glory.
My other favorite thing that he does is when I ask him to do anything lately he responds, "I'd love to!" He's just such a cheerful and loving soul. The only plus side to Its Highness's antics (other than getting to hold a sweet baby at the end of nine months) is that I get all the snuggles and love a person could ask for from my little man.

Now that we're feeling a bit better, we've also resumed our yoga and I forgot just how fun/complicated it gets doing it with Little. He gets pretty creative with some of the poses. (For the record, the headband is always his idea).


And since this is just going to be a post about how cute Little is, I had to add one more video. We have discovered that when he is refusing to eat, if we turn it into a game of "how would (fill-in-the-blank) animal eat?" we can almost always get him to start eating again. Hooray! for knowing every sound under the sun.
video





Its highness gets an inspection

Bryce and I went on our first real date in what seems like a year yesterday. We just headed downtown, stopped at an ice cream place, and then walked around and talked. Fantastic date. Made even more fantastic by a wonderful Tibetan woman (we're not positive she was actually Tibetan, but from what we could deduce, it seems more than likely) who was selling scarves/hats/trinkets outside of the mall. She asked if I was pregnant and when I told her I was and how far along she said, "Come to me." So I went inside her little booth and she started to feel all around my belly, then turned me around so that she could feel my hips and bottom, turned me around again and pronounced, "This baby girl." So fun.
Bryce and I decided that we definitely have to go back and buy a scarf from her if the ultrasound confirms it.

Outer Banks fun and other disasters

We took a leap of faith and headed to the Outer Banks this past week to have a fun vacation with some of our fellow law school families. We decided that sick or not, we were going to have fun. And we did. Mostly.
Our trip began with the usual festivities: get almost out of town before Little gets car sick, forcing us to head right back home to unload, clean, and reload the car before we can recommence our journey. This time we had the added bonus of me being preggo sick, making it almost impossible for me to help with the clean up. I'm married to a saint.
However, despite our bad beginning we had hope. We did fantastically well for the rest of the drive down with only a few minor mishaps and some seriously awesome sleep positions.

The first day was beautiful, although a little cold, so we all went down to put our feet in the water. Bryce was the only one crazy enough to jump all the way in, but Little loved it. He is still talking about the ocean and Daddy jumping in.
Each night we came together for meals and after the kids went to bed there were usually games until all hours of the night, which was definitely one of most fun parts of the trip.
Enter... colds. We all came down with a bit of a cold, but didn't think anything of it because it was in and out in a day. Little was a little worse for wear as he has a very sensitive gag reflex and therefore lost his stomach to more than one cough, but other than one interrupted night, we were on our way to keeping our goal of a fun vacation.

It was stormy for the next few days so we went to try to find some of the famed wild horses that apparently roam the area down there. We never did see any, but Little was quite excited about the horse statues all over town. We also walked around the town and visited the Wright Brothers Monument at Kill Devil Hill, which was a blast. Kill Devil Hill is appropriately named, it turns out, since that's where the real trouble began.

Little started complaining about his ear hurting, but we figured it was because the wind so we whisked him home. He woke up on and off all night with a fever, but it wasn't until early early in the morning that we finally started searching for the local Urgent Care because Little looked at us and said, "Ouchy ear" in the most pitiful voice imaginable. As fate would have it, the Urgent Care wasn't open until 7:30 so we got to see what seemed like the whole of the Outer Banks area in the dark of night as we drove around to help Everett sleep.
There were an unfathomable number foxes on that drive, not to mention insects. We thought it was raining at first, but it turns out it was just all the poor innocent creatures we were annihilating. Oh dear.
Then we crossed the Oregon Inlet Bridge, where I had a full-blown, need-a-paper-bag panic attack. I blame low visibility for making the bridge seem ridiculous, the fetus for my emotional state being ridiculous, and no sleep for making it a million times more ridiculous. I normally have a slight fear of bridges, but only so much that it makes me want to remove my vehicle from them as swiftly as possible, so this took that fear to a whole nuva level. We laughed about it after it was over, but at the time it was not fun for either of us.

On the Little front, once we got him into the doctor and some good medication in his system, he and I spent almost the entire day sleeping off the ordeal. Earlier, we had joked with some of the families who were with us on the trip that we were planning on staying the entire week barring any other disasters happening. It didn't turn out to be a joke.
We spent a low key day and managed to see one of the local lighthouses, which was very fun. Other than that we decided just to take it easy. And then... Little's ear drum burst. Not fun. He didn't sleep. Bryce didn't sleep. I didn't sleep, but that was because Its Highness decided that we should get all-night party going on in the bathroom. Needless to say, that did it. As soon as it was light enough, we packed up our things and headed out.
We picked up some more medicine for Little and since it had been over 30 hours since I had managed to hold anything down, we finally had to give in and pick up some anti-nausea medication for me as well. I'm not happy about it, but I'm also very grateful for modern medicine.

We finally made it home and slept for the rest of the weekend until Sunday when I started having contractions in the middle of nursery. Seriously. Contractions. But after a few panicked calls to my sisters and the doctor, we affirmed that it is probably dehydration from our OBX ordeal, so all in all we should be intact after things finally calm down.

So it was a bit of an interesting trip, but we did manage to have fun and we've decided that we definitely need to go back some day.
I have also determined that next time we decide to have a baby I am going into hibernation for nine months.

I am a super hero.

And not the cool kind.
I've been absent for a while, mostly because I've been so occupied with our dear Blueberry's antics that I haven't had much time for anything else. I keep thinking I will be turning a corner soon. Hasn't happened yet, but it has lightened up a bit so maybe said corner will come into view sooner than later.
However, being this sick has turned out to be one of the more entertaining--albeit ridiculous--things of my life. I keep telling Bryce that this may not be the best period of life, but it is certainly the one with the most stories so far. For example, I have never in my life known that sounds could make you sick. Turns out Blueberry has a problem with all sorts of them: the shower, sippy cups, and the funniest of them all, the sound of a soda can popping. Seriously, Bryce has to leave the house if he wants to drink soda. Maybe I'm the Bionic Woman or something, or I guess maybe I'm giving birth to the Bionic Woman, but either way it makes life a little unpredictable.
Bryce has taken to calling the baby "Its Highness" because it doesn't seem to want anything until it really really really wants it and then all bets are off until it gets it. I never thought I'd be one of those, "Honey! I need pickles and strawberries NOW!" pregnant women, but it turns out that sometimes there are simply no other options. I used to try to tough the cravings out, but Bryce being the amazing man that he is doesn't let me do that anymore and flies out the door at my every whim just because it is so rare for me to actually want to eat something. I cannot shout his praises enough.  
Little has been a trooper through all of this too. He is very conscious of my needs and in his mind it is a cardinal sin even on my good days not to have a "gooka bucket"--as he calls any of my many emergency buckets I keep throughout the house--near me at all times. He's also taken to comforting me when I am in the throes of baby sickness, only I use the term "comforting" very loosely. Basically, I end up over a bucket and he ends up crawling up my back and holding on like a monkey (choking optional) or riding the "mommy horsey" until I am done with the "gookas." A bit uncomfortable, but it makes me want to laugh more than cry, so I'm counting it as a win.
Little prays for the baby every night (he can almost say a prayer all by himself now, which we are so so proud of him for) and rubs my tummy with a "Hi, baby!" and the occasional kiss thrown in. I'm excited to see him when the baby actually comes. He's going to be a great big brother. We had a conversation the other day about the baby being safe in my tummy (he was afraid the baby was going to fall out) and he has decided--no matter how many times I tell him different--that the baby must be in a carseat inside of my tummy.
I've started feeling little flutterings down there, but the first time I felt the baby it was a bigger movement and it about scared me to death. I forgot what it feels like and I was leaning over when it happened so it made me yelp. I'm pretty sure Bryce thought I was crazy for a moment, but we laughed about it later.
So the point of all this is to say that we are still alive and kicking (for the most part).

Ahem...

...We have an announcement. 
If I didn't already believe in my Heavenly Father's guiding hand, these past few months would have confirmed to me without a doubt that He is watchful of me and has a plan for me, my life, and my family. 
We are welcoming into this world a new little one--hence forth to be known as "Blueberry"*--and we are so excited. Not only is it going to be an adventure, but it is a miracle. And not just your average miracle of childbirth stuff. I am talking no-way-on-earth-this-baby-could've-come-to-our-family-without-divine-mandate.
Between internships, finals that last for two months or longer, insurance issues, and all the other fun things, it has been well-nigh impossible for us to have a baby during law school. And not just improbable, I mean impossible. Add to those fun facts that this summer has been one full of every physical ailment short of scurvy (at one point I told Bryce that we had to stop joking about what kind of illnesses Little and I could add to our already rapidly accumulating pile of germs, because apparently thinking about it is enough for us to contract it) and Bryce being MIA for his internship, and you certainly do not have a recipe for a baby. And yet, miracle of miracles, a little plus sign showed up on a test a couple of months ago.
It has already been a much rougher pregnancy than the first, mostly because I have been sick beyond belief, but Bryce and Little have been heroes and kept the house functioning and me laughing while I've been down-and-out.
One day I walked into the kitchen to thank Bryce for doing the dishes for the millionth time. The conversation went something like this: 
   Me: "Thanks so much for doing all the work around here!"
   Bryce: "Is this what you normally do everyday?"
   Me: "Eh, more or less."
   Bryce: "Your life sucks!"
I had a good laugh about that one. When he's being serious he makes sure I know that he would gladly do the house work rather than trade me places at the moment. 
Little has also been a champ at making me feel better. Sometimes he will go fetch Bryce if he thinks I need some extra snuggles, but most of the time Bryce isn't allowed near me because Little has decided it is his job and his alone to help me when I'm sick. I seriously could not ask for a sweeter child. 

I'll say this much: It is certainly going to be an adventure. A crazy, all-new adventure. Welcome, welcome Blueberry! We're excited to meet you. 



*We're calling it "Blueberry" because when it was blueberry-sized and wreaking havoc on my system, I asked Bryce what a blueberry said and he responded with "Blargh!" Since that is what our dear little fetus has continued to say without ceasing, the nickname is sticking.

Beware the sentimentality

But it is my anniversary, so I can't help it. 
This was us 4 years ago. Can you believe it? I guess more accurately, this portrays the importance/joyful feeling inside on the day. This is how we actually looked most of the day:

Man Alive! That was an exhausting day! Some days it seems like it was yesterday and others it feels like it was a lifetime ago. Every day I find new reasons to thank my Heavenly Father for practically throwing this wonderful man into my life and for loving me enough to bless me with nothing I was looking for and everything I needed and wanted. 
Life with Bryce so far has one big adventure--sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse--and I wouldn't trade it for anything. What we can't laugh through, we cry through and brush ourselves off to come out better on the other side. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing man to balance me and love me through all of it. 

We were on a drive a bit ago and started planning our mid-life crisis; traveling, school teaching, beach sitting, etc. And yes, I acknowledge that one may or may not happen and the planning thereof would make it null and void as a crisis, but it made me realize a few things.
First of all, let's be honest... if one or the other of us does indeed have a legitimate crisis, it is more than likely going to be me and Bryce will be along for the ride. However, the important part of that is that he will indeed come along with me. I will never truly have a crisis in my life because I am married to a perfect-for-me man who takes whatever my latest obsession/fiasco is and doesn't try to change it or fix it (most of the time =), but knows me well enough to roll with it until I am ready to fix it and then steps in to help with whatever I need. It is a standing joke between us that even before we got married, he knew what I needed before I had an inkling of it, but waited to say so until I did. Ex: the L-word conversation. 
   ME: "I... ummm... well... I love you."
   BRYCE: "I know."
I kid you not. That is exactly how it went. Bryce had said it months previous, but made sure to mention it casually enough and move on with the conversation quickly enough that there was no pressure on me to say it back, or say anything about it. I--not realizing that I was already in love with him--didn't have to talk about it or face the facts until much later when I had thought it out, pondered all the ins and outs, and come to the very evident conclusion that I did indeed love him too. Then when it came to actually saying the words, I stressed and stressed about telling him and about my terrible timing, only to have him say, "I know." 
He does that all the time. Seriously, all the time. I come to some grand conclusion about a thing that has been constantly on my mind for who knows how long, only to find that he already knew what conclusion I would come to and has been allowing me to puzzle it out knowing that is the only way I will truly be satisfied with the answer. It would be annoying, but due to the fact that he is always right (yes, Honey, you are allowed to revel in that) and I can honestly say it has never been a bad move, I've come to appreciate it more than I can say. 

Not only does he know how my crazy mind works, but he is willing to go with it. I say, "Hey, Wonderful... I think I want to be an astronaut." and he says, "I'll check online for cheap space suits." He'd probably take a minute to consider and talk some sense into me or come up with alternatives, but if I was really sold on the idea he would do his best to figure out the most logical way to go about doing it and point out all the holes in my plan until we had a working one.

On top of that, he does it with whatever level of excitement it requires. This is a pretty common conversation in our house...
   ME: "Look at the shirt I made."
   BRYCE: "Cool."
   ME: "No, no. You're supposed to be way more excited than that."
   BRYCE: "Oh, I mean, WOW! That is the most amazingly awesome shirt I have ever seen!" (There is usually some jumping around at this point to emphasize the excitement).
And yes, it usually starts jokingly, but in the end if I am super excited about something, he is too. If it is a big deal to me, it is a big deal to him. That goes for the positive as well as the negative. Granted, the negative comes with significantly more let's-talk-this-through-before-we-make-it-a-big-deal, but in the end it's the same principle. He not only makes me feel important, he genuinely makes me important. 

In essence, whatever life has in store for us from this point forward is just fine with me because I have the bestest-man-in-the-wide-world by my side through it. Mid-life-non-crisis with Bryce is looking pretty good from here; and if we/I ever do have an actual mid-life crisis, Bryce will be right there crisising with me (or keeping it from being a crisis). He will be with me through all the crazy twists and turns our life takes to ground me and help me through and be the amazing man that he is. 

PS: I have to apologize for all the strange highlighting lately. I'll have to figure out why it is doing that. 

California fun

We headed out to California this past weekend to surprise my Grandma and Grandpa with a visit from all of us sisters. It was a blast! Not to mention the first time we'd all been together in 4 years. Crazy. We all decided that 4 years is way too long not to see all your sisters. Grandma and Grandpa were more surprised than I've ever seen them when we all showed up. They knew my dad was coming for a visit and that there was some surprise, but all eight of us on their doorstep was something I'm guessing they never imagined. We flew/drove in from all over so that we could all be there for the big moment, and even though we were only able to be there for a few days all together, it was definitely worth the trip and something we'll never forget.

We did all sorts of great things, not the least of which was eating at our favorite restaurant. I am pretty sure with the exception of the hanging parrots that used to cover the ceiling, it has barely changed at all since we lived there when I was a kid.
We had our annual (for those of us who can be there) Daddy/daughter shopping day a bit early this year and dragged Grandma along with us, which of course made it so much better. We swam (at one point there was a synchronized swimming routine), we picnicked on Grandma and Grandpa's lawn, we played, we laughed, and just generally had tons of fun. This sums the trip up pretty well:
video


So much fun! And I have to thank all of our husbands who helped us make it happen. They were fantastic about watching kids and holding down our various forts, so that we could go party all together for the weekend. 

The story of how Little got a big boy bed:

It all started one morning when I woke up to Little screeching at the top of his lungs. I of course jumped out of bed to see if he was indeed dying and found him yet again stuck inside his bed. He for some reason enjoys sleeping with his legs squeezed in between the slats of his bed and no matter how much I try to discourage it, he always does it. And he always gets stuck. This time however, was a whole different category of stuck. I pulled out all the tricks in my arsenal: butter, oil, vasoline.... to no avail. He had twisted it around so much that his knee was swollen and bruised and there was no way it was coming out. Meanwhile, my child is still screaming non-stop like the world is ending and I shudder to think what the neighbors thought was going on. Finally, I got out the screwdriver to loosen the railing enough to pry him out, at least that is what I thought. In reality, I ended up having to spend the morning taking apart the entire bed just to get his poor little leg out. 
After we were done and his leg was fully extricated, I looked at the demolished bed and thought, "Might as well finish the job." And thus our Little is now out of a crib and into a toddler bed, whether he/I was ready for it or not. 
In all honesty, it took a few days for it to be official because the instructions on the thing were so complicated that I had to wait for Bryce to put it together properly, but after having it fall on top of me a couple of times so that my bruises rivaled Little's, I was done. Little slept with me for a few nights until Bryce made it home to fix it. I think my message to him that afternoon when something like this: 
  "Ummm...  Honey, I may or may not have killed Little's bed... but at 
  least he isn't inside of it anymore."

Little did his best to help, and this time he really was helpful. He held tools and kept track of all the screws. (Please to be noting the "entreprenuer" shirt of Bryce's that we remade into pjs for Little. I was dying laughing that he just so happened to be wearing those while helping me with the impossible bed.) I'm not sure that he will be staying in a big boy bed as getting a knock on my door at 11:30 pm, or 5:30 am is not always my favorite thing, but we'll see. 

Good times in nursery

I found a little sticky note sitting in my scriptures and I laughed out loud remembering. I was called to work in nursery a while back and one day during coloring time, the kids started having a conversation about Heavenly Father and what good things He wanted them to do. There were plenty of little nuggets of wisdom shared, but the best were easily these two:
"Heavenly Father said we should color when we camp."
and
"Heavenly Father said we should not eat other people."
Try responding to that with a straight face. Seriously. 


In other nursery news... Little refers to most kids his age as "baby friends," so it is fairly common for us to bribe him to church with promises of getting to play with his "baby friends." However, the other Sunday, he woke up asking to see his "mommy friend." It took us a bit to figure out who exactly that was, but when the dots were all connected we found out that he was talking about his nursery teacher.
I am so glad that he loves nursery so much, and church things in general. He loves scripture time, he is usually the one to remind me to pray before we eat meals, and he is so so good about prayers in general.

Our nighttime prayers have become quite an event lately because everyone must be included. Pirates, animals, monsters, you name it... Everything in sight is gathered around. After Little gathers them together, he is very meticulous about their positions and makes sure that everyone is sitting up and facing forward--which is sometimes problematic for the tiny stuffed animals who don't sit up well, but he solves that by putting them either in my lap or his own--and once everyone is situated properly (this can take up to 10 minutes), he tells them all "fold arms everyone!" and then I know we're good to start saying prayers. 

The best part of praying with Little though is that he will sometimes say the prayers along with me. You can barely hear him, but as I am saying the words, he whisper-mumbles along with me in his sing-song voice. I am almost positive that there is nothing more adorable in this world.

Monkey business

Living with a two-year-old is perhaps the most entertaining thing in life, not to mention the most enlightening. It helps that I am pretty certain that I have the cutest child in the world too. 
videoWith Bryce gone for the summer, we've started Skyping with him on a pretty regular basis (Little refers to it as "The Daddy show") and we have a special phone ring for him so that whenever Daddy calls, Little knows and instantly runs to the phone. Because of this (and a recent trip to visit with my family) Little now wants to call people all day long. So either we spend all day on the phone chatting, or with him trying to convince me to call someone or other. 
Another thing I love is that Little has started making up songs. He's always been big on music, but now I get serenaded with ballads of Daddy or Giraffey's escapades. I love it.  
Between getting more and more curious about the world and being able to communicate more about it, Little has also started to feel the need to label everything. It's not just a toe, it is a "big toe." It's not just a cracker, it is a "happy cracker." Sometimes they seem arbitrary, but for the most part his labels actually make quite a bit of sense. The best has been with fingers. Little finds his pinky and thumb fascinating and so decided to take it upon himself to label all the other fingers. The first one (the pointer finger) is the "mommy finger"--my sisters and I were laughing and decided it's because that is the finger I use to scold him--and I'll give you one guess as to which one is the "daddy finger".... Yup. The middle one. We had a good laugh about that. (I have to put a disclaimer that Little has never seen Bryce use said finger, but it is still pretty funny.)

We've also gotten into the stage of egregious mispronunciations. Let's just say that every remotely harsh consonant somehow turns into an loud-as-humanly-possible "t" sound and plenty of the other consonants turn into the "sh" sound, making all too many things sound very much like a certain unmentionable word. I feel like I have to walk through the grocery store announcing to the world that he doesn't mean it and we don't actually use that word in our house. Some of his mispronunciations are just plain funny though. Our favorite to date has been the way he says my sister's name. I'm fairly certain that she is going to be "Auntie Monkey" from now on in our house.
On top of all of that, I don't think Little could be any sweeter. If one of us gets hurt or sad, he is always the first one there asking, "You ok?" and making sure everyone is taken care of. Granted he often bustles himself off before you even have a chance to answer, but the fact that he cares at all makes me happy. We were visiting my sister's house the other day and there was a loud movie on downstairs. It was scaring him so I kept trying to take him upstairs, but he wouldn't budge. I figured it was because he didn't want to leave all of his cousins, but he was so agitated that I finally had to drag him kicking and screaming up the stairs, only to have him turn right around and bang on the door saying, "NO! Baby safe! Baby safe!" Little has a cousin about his age who he refers to as "Baby," and was still downstairs. I was more than a bit proud that my little man was willing to brave the scary movie to make sure his cousin was safe too. 
Life with Little just couldn't more fun. He is so happy and has such a great little personality sometimes I can't even believe it.

I am the craftiest-of-all-crafty women

...and I think I need a tool belt. 
I'm kidding about the craftiness thing (and only half kidding about the tool belt), but my latest project makes me feel more than slightly triumphant. 
As I mentioned before--probably too many times to count--we live in a shoebox-sized apartment and thus have been forced to find all sorts of creative storage solutions. By the end of this stay, I am going to be the world's most organized and efficient human... and then we're going to have to leave this shoebox behind and start all over again in another one. Lame. But in the meantime, I think this one is my best solution yet. Our kitchen shelves hold maybe two boxes of cereal and a plate, so most of our food is in the hall closet (causing problems as we have a bug infestation of epic proportion at the moment. Blech.) and we needed to do some serious rearranging. I pulled a few ideas from the internet for pot racks--pallets, bicycle wheels, and some seriously awesome ladders--combined a few, and added a few ideas of my own to create this little beauty: 

I use the term "beauty" loosely. Granted, it was formed from salvaged parts, so all things considered I think it looks much better than anticipated. Either way, it works fantastically and cost next to nothing. We had to buy the chain and screw hooks and what not, but other than that it is basically just a couple pallets on top of each other (I had to reconfigured one of them), some wire strung between nails (next time I will use chicken wire because it would have been 10 times easier), a bunch of S hooks to hang the pots on, and a little bit of leftover paint. And there you go: one impoverished, and yet very working pot rack. 
And my pride needs me to note that I managed to figure it out and build it all on my own (which doesn't look like a feat, but trust me... in my mental state, it was). Bryce helped me hang it, but that was mostly because he was home when the shelf supports came, otherwise this baby would've been all me. 


Next up... The Closets: How to Turn a Closet into a Storage Room Without Making it Look Like a Storage Room.... I'll get back to you on that as I currently have not the foggiest clue.  

Scripture power

I have been taking my IPod to church with me A: for a Little distracting devise when he can't stay quiet in the meeting for one minute longer, and B: so that I don't have to lug around my big scripture case.
I have used it here and there for personal scripture study, but I haven't really done the whole electronic scriptures thing much. However, I just discovered how awesome it is and I am never going back.
I have always been a hardbound book, millions of bookshelves, love the smell of paper kind of gal, but between the Kindle and the IPod... I'm feeling sort of like a traitor. 
There is still nothing like flipping through the pages of your favorite book, but there is also something to be said for having all your favorite books with you EVERYWHERE YOU GO. Fantastic. Lets just say they are slowly winning me over to the dark (albeit paper saving) side.
I decided for my scripture study I am going to transfer all my notes that are worthwhile into the electronic scriptures on LDS.org and I am loving it. Not only do I get to study all my notes all over again, but I am finding that by doing it electronically, life is so much simpler. I can write a novel in the sidebar if I want to and it doesn't take up any space. I can link to everything I ever dreamed of linking too. It has all the colors my little highlight-happy heart could ask for. I can access not only the standard works, but General Conference, study helps, and every manual under the sun and link them all together. Plus, it is all quick and easy to find. Not to mention the fact that I can carry all this around in my back pocket.
In short, the Gospel is true, I love the scriptures, and I'm pretty sure making all this available at the touch of a button was divinely inspired just so I could get the spark back in my scripture study.

Best idea we've ever had?

Taking a toddler who is already animal obsessed to a safari park.

We had Bryce for an extra long weekend this week and we took full advantage. We discovered an awesome little beach right near our house and spent the day there on Saturday. Between playing in his alligator floaty and pushing Daddy in the water, Little didn't ever want to leave the water. As a result, he has determined that every body of water we pass is inviting us for a swim. 


Then we headed out to a big safari park/zoo on Monday and let me tell you... SO MUCH FUN! I can't tell you who was more excited, Bryce who got to sit in the back and feed animals with Little, me who got to listen to all the squealing and pet them without being directly mauled by most of them, Little Man who was seeing all these things face to face for the first time, or the animals who were stealing our buckets of food half the time. 
The whole drive up Little was talking about the various animals we might see and by the time we got to the gates he was pretty much just shouting "GIRAFFEY! GIRAFFEY!" repeatedly. When we started driving through with our little buckets of food, the animals essentially swarmed us--for the bigger ones it was more like an attack--and Little wasn't sure if he should be terrified or giddy, but Bryce helped steer the reaction toward the latter and by the end Little was wanting to offer them some of his french fries rather than hiding his face in his french fry container. So, despite a few bad moments with a bull and a rather feisty elk, we made it through with a mostly positive reaction and with some new animals added to our vocabulary (so many in fact that he talked about them all the way home rather than taking a nap).
When we were done with the drive through part, we headed to the zoo portion and walked around visiting/feeding all sorts of animals. Little was of course enamored of the giraffes and was quite put out that they wouldn't respond to his calls and come visit. At one point I was being ordered to get them to come over, but he gave up waving his handful of food eventually and just enjoyed watching. I have decided that we need a pygmy goat. And Bryce will probably smell of animal feed for the rest of his life because we made him carry it around all day. 
video

Not surprisingly, my favorite part was easily the birds. Little wasn't quite sure how he felt about them so we could never get him to actually hold the feeding stick, but he definitely enjoyed being around them. When he finally did get a bit more comfortable, he attempted to off-road it a couple of times and head into a roped off area to retrieve a few of them, so we had to keep him pretty close.


In short, it was a more than fantastic weekend and we all had a blast. 

A typical conversation in our house

"Mommy?"
"Yes?"
"Mommio?"
"What's up?"
"Moooooommmmy?"
"What can I do for you?"
"Mommy?"
"Yes, sir?"
"MOM?!"
"What is it you need?"
...Continue this for about 15 minutes...
"What's this, Mommy?"
"A horse."
"What's this, Mommy?"
"A horse."
...repeat this pattern at least twelve times if not more...
"Mommy, is the horsey silly?"
"Yup."
...repeat this another twelve plus times... 
"Oh. Daddy at work?"
"Yes, he is."
...Repeat this at least five times before...
"Mommy?"
"Yes?"
"Moooooomy?"
...You get the idea. Little is so fun to talk to and the most adorable human on the planet, but some days I think I'm changing my name.

Fun fact

I have just learned today that nothing makes you feel like a better mother than when your child locks himself in the bathroom and you have to call the emergency services to get him out. False. 

It was a first for us though, normally I am fairly careful about keeping the door shut because I live in fear of him doing just that. Turns out I was right to live in fear. After doing everything in my power to coax Little into pushing the lock button again, trying to pick the lock with any number of objects, and fiddling with it to the point of exhaustion, we ended up calling the big guns. When the doorknob has no screws and the hinges are on the inside, you are out of luck. 
Little handled it pretty well despite one fall into the bathtub, up until the end when the strange man barged through the door. That didn't go over so well. I, however, almost hugged said strange man for rescuing Little Man and I have already ordered a doorknob.

The circle of life

Little has been asking for the "giraffey song" of late and it took me a while to figure it out, but it turns out it is "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King (or as he calls it the "lion-giraffey-horsey show"). I guess the giraffe really made an impression because apparently he is the only animal singing in Little's mind. Either way, I have an urgent need to learn the words to the whole song because singing the only two lines of the chorus I know is getting terribly repetitive.
With the amount that he loves The Lion King and animals in general, Little has expanded his vocabulary quite a bit. However with every animal we've been noticing a few vocabulary quirks. Mostly that he tacs "-ey" onto the end of everything (a thing that I rarely if ever did until he started doing it), and if it isn't "-ey" it is "-io" (ex: Daddio,  horseio, even cerealio a few times). I don't think I'll ever be able to say the word giraffe normally again.



Also... I know lately this blog is turning into look-what-I-did-today, but I couldn't resist. Here is the latest project:
Don't look too close or you'll see all my oopses, but I love it. Between Craigslist.org and Lowes, I'm swiftly becoming a furniture recovering addict (how's that for a confusing sentence?)  

Guilty as charged

The guilt pot has been a joke for a long time in my life. I just re-purposed the poor thing and laughed all over again at my little pot. 

It started in high school when I took a pottery class. I think it is safe to say that I am the worst potter ever. No really... EVER. I couldn't make a pot or even a bowl to save my soul. I spent the first half of the semester making terrible deformed little blobs that in no way resembled anything usable, or even artistic for that matter. It was either laugh or cry, so me and some of the other students in the class ended up laughing for the most part at all of my terrible creations (I can see now why the teacher may have thought I was doing this on purpose, but even he tried to help me several times to no avail). Seeing that I was a hopeless case and not wanting the torture to continue for either me or my teacher, I applied to get out of the class halfway through the semester and take something different. Of course to do that, I had to have said teacher's* signature and that is where the major trouble started. Upon asking him to sign the form, he announced that he was going to give me a few days to reconsider and think about my actions. I told him that I had fully pondered and was ready then, but he insisted. If you are going to do something so life changing as drop a high school pottery class, it must be fully digested before proceeding. I gave it a few days and came back with the same plea, so he (under much duress) finally signed the thing announcing that he was teaching life and by failing at pottery I was "failing at life" (insert dramatic sigh of regret at the failure that was to be my life). I had a week or so left before my half semester was up, so every day when I entered the class he would heave the same sigh and watch me solemnly take my seat before announcing to the class that one of our number was to be--against his will and the laws of humanity--leaving the class. He never mentioned a name, but as the only other person leaving besides myself was one of his favorite students, there wasn't much mystery as he lectured on the merits of ceramics and the life choices connected with the art as to who this poor sad soul was. 
The day before I left he paused in the middle of class to present a special token to a certain student, a reminder of the eternal consequences of her actions... in short... a guilt pot. And thus the poor pot was named. It had stuck with me through apartments and marriage and all sorts of adventures. It has been used as a rubberband holder, a decoration, a temporary fish habitat... At one point my roommates and I would write whatever we felt guilty about (eating too much ice cream, not finishing a paper in time, etc.) on a little piece of paper and submit it to the guilt pot so that we could burn them later. That is probably as close as the pot has made it to fulfilling it's intended purpose. Right now it is housing quarters for laundry. I suppose the fact that the poor pot still makes me giggle would support my teacher's hypothesis that I am indeed a hopeless case, but ten years later, though I still wish I could make a pot, I don't see the terrible repercussions of my actions. Hmmm... Maybe in another ten years?


*Note that the teacher was really quite good and took an interest in the lives of his students, which makes him a fantastic teacher in my estimation, so despite the fact that I laugh at my experience with him, I still think he was great.


Something important... wait, no... just more projects

I know I've been posting a lot lately, but I had to post just one more. Mostly because I finally got around to starting my teeny tiny little minuscule herb garden. I've always wanted a garden, despite the fact that I have no gardening skills and could probably manage to kill any potted plant in a 2 miles radius by wanting it to grow badly enough. However, it is one of the goals on my never ending list, so I figure, you have to start somewhere. I had planned to do a full blown garden this year (but figuring out how to get a plot from the housing people turned out to be way more complicated than it was worth), and then it turned into a hanging/half-hearted garden (but I couldn't find an old screen door/window/anything workable to do this:  http://c497280.r80.cf2.rackcdn.com/2012/03/screen-door-plant-rack-cg.jpg), and then I thought it might be better to start small, so it turned into a simple herb garden which in my dreams will look like this: 

but actually looks like this at the moment:
Here's hoping. 
Needless to say, any gardening tips would be most helpful. 


Also... As a result of living in an apartment the size of a shoe box (not to mention our non-existent budget) we've been forced to find some rather creative storage solutions. The latest creation is this lovely hanging book storage system. Next time I think I'll hang them a little differently, but other than that, I'm please as punch. It also made me feel more than slightly triumphant that out of a some scrap pieces of fabric and a few dowel rods I created the perfect book solution and simultaneous solved the disaster that is Little's room. 

New additions to the family



Meet, Mr. Dorsy (as in dorsal fin). His full name of course being Finswilliam Dorsy, but Mr. Dorsy until we get on a first name basis. Due to our (read: my) naming obsession, he has changed names a few times from Erroll Fynn to Gil Scarlet and I wanted to name him Phineas or Gilderoy again, but we decided to do something we haven't before. The final decision on a name was made when Bryce came up with the perfect fish/frog duo. We haven't added a frog yet, but it is inevitable because they are so fun to watch. When we do, the frog will be Wickham. I'm so pleased. 
Little loves him. I put a stool up so that he can come say "hello" any time and I am constantly grilled on the current fish status, "Fishy eating?" "Fishy sleeping? Shhh!" "Fishy swimming?" We watch his every move. Poor fish. 


Our second addition is a bit larger, but not lacking in personality thanks to a little paint and wood glue. This was it from beginning...








...to end.
I'm quite pleased. It was outside of our dumpster and Bryce has never liked our desk, so I thought... Why not? It probably shouldn't have been worth it, but with a few days of loving it back to health, I am a big fan. You can't tell as much in the picture, but it is indeed red, and I have ALWAYS wanted a red desk so of course I love it. (And no, though it goes against tradition in our family, we are not planning on naming the desk... Though I was sorely tempted)

The happenings of late

We have had fantastic weather and man alive! I was definitely ready for it. It has inspired all sorts of spring cleaning and projects, making our house a semi-disaster until I can get it all put back together, but my men are great and they put up with all my messes without complaint. 

Little and I left Bryce to study and headed up to visit my sisters this week. We had a blast. Lots of hugs, laughs, the zoo, the beach, and an Easter egg hunt which has made Little man haul around a basket with him and collect everything in the house until it is full, and then disperse them again. The words "It's hiding Mommy!" strike fear into my heart. Little spent the whole time there asking, "Where's Daddio?" and the last few days at home asking, "Where's the baby?" (meaning his cousin that is only a few months younger than himself). All-in-all it was so fun to be there and see my sisters and their families and just have a break from life for a while. 
Easter was a casual affair for us this time around. Pizza bunnies and deviled eggs replacing anything fancy. However, Bryce picked up the slack and surprised us with an Easter basket and flowers. This from a man who hates holiday shenanigans, but he knew I wouldn't have time and so he made sure we had all the necessaries. That is love. We got to spend the day relaxing and just being grateful for life and for family and for the Savior who makes all this happiness possible.

He's climbin' in yo changing table, snatchin' yo diapers up

Little has a terrifying new habit. He climbs everything, and I mean everything. Bookshelves, tables, chairs, stools, his bed... you name it, he has been on top of it. I am torn between being proud of him for not being afraid to even look down the slide let alone go down it and wanting him to go back to the nervous little boy he was so that I don't have to panic every two seconds about what he's about to jump off of next. 
Just today, he got suspiciously silent so I poked my head into his room and found him grinning mischievously from atop the changing table with a diaper and schnoozle (our name for those weird nose sucker things) in his hand. Our changing table isn't the strongest in the world, so naturally I was terrified and scolded him soundly. I thought it had done the job until I again heard silence and came in to find him perched on the top of his bookshelf reading a book. He looked up and saw me and immediately yelled, "Down! Everett!" Life officially just got a bit more terrifying.

M-a-lem-a-nem-a-lems

Little has found a new love for M&Ms. And when I say "love," I mean will do anything in the world for them short of taking a nap. My problem is that he says M&M so cute when he asks for them, I can hardly refuse.

video

Little's improving communication skills (AKA: the constant battle of wills)

Little is getting more and more talkative by the day. I am overjoyed. It means that we are a lot more productive and we laugh a whole lot more at what goes on inside the little man's head, but it also means I get ordered around... a lot. 
    He insists on choosing his own shoes and cannot be convinced that other shoes would be better no matter what. So much so, that I have taken to asking him about his shoes and then choosing his outfit to match. 
    The other day I apparently took too much time getting him cleaned up from dinner because when I finally released him into the wild he said, and I quote: "Hooray! I'm free!" and bounded off to play with his toys. 
    Instead of asking for help, he roams around the house saying, "Hmmmm... Hmmmm..." as if he is puzzling out the mysteries of the universe, until you ask him what he needs and then he leads you right to whatever he wants. 
    He'll use the potty, but only if it is on his own terms. He in fact drags his potty out of the bathroom so that it is in the proper place, and then maybe only once a week. I'm undecided whether to actually pursue legitimate potty training yet or not.
    He is still as obedient as ever, but now everything is a game and boy does he like to test the limits. If I tell him not to do something, he'll find his way around it faster than I can blink so I have to be very specific as to my instructions, which is definite proof that he is indeed his father's child. 
    He is a prankster constantly. He sneaks up and steals something necessary to whatever I'm currently doing (I'm not sure how he always knows the best things to take, but he does), takes it across the room, and then starts taunting: "Mommmy!" and waving said object at me until I chase him down to get it. If I don't come get it in time/care if he has it, he brings it back and I am usually scolded as he hands it right back.
    That said, he's also very helpful. He's become my little errand boy. He can find anything, take anything to the trash (which sometimes backfires), fetch anything you need, and he has a selectively fantastic memory.  
    In short, he is a funny funny little man and he gets cuter (and more opinionated) every day.

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