August 31, 2012

happy in a quiet house...

Right now my mom and I are reading, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I'm only on chapter one but I am loving it! I'm so excited to try out all of her advice and decide what really makes me happy.  One thing I've discovered lately is that I'm happier when I'm productive.  When I get up early, start laundry, clean the kitchen, make breakfast for Jeremy, etc. I am happy. That's been one of my goals lately.  And it has made a big difference!

One of my favorite things these days is a quiet house.  When I've had a productive morning, the house is clean and I can enjoy an hour (hopefully) of time just to myself while Madeline takes her afternoon nap.  I eat my lunch, I can read, I can write, I can sew, I can do whatever I want.  I just love the quiet.  I hate to sound selfish or anti-social, but sometimes I feel so refreshed after spending an hour to myself.  And although it's not perfectly quiet seeing as we live on a busy street in inner-city Baltimore, I still enjoy it.

August 27, 2012


I'm going to confess that right now I am really missing Provo.  Especially today. Classes start at BYU today and I can't help wishing I was there.  I feel a little gipped and yet at the same time I know we're supposed to be here and I'm happy to be supporting Jeremy.  I wish I'd appreciated the wonderful spirit that's at BYU a little more while we were there.  I wish I'd gone to a few more football games and campus activities.  I kind of REALLY wish we were there while my brother Christian is there this semester to have him over for Sunday dinner.  I'm just feeling nostalgic today.  I love where we are right now and I'm so proud of us and all we're doing, but I'm missing my beloved Provo today.  

August 25, 2012

a little pincher

We're just coming out of a phase that I thought would never end. pinching. Yes that's right.  Our sweet, adorable, tender-loving, thoughtful baby girl was for the longest time (a month and a half) a pincher.  She'd pinch all the time.  And not in a mean or spiteful way, sometimes I don't think she even knew she was doing it.  But her pinches HURT! Like the kind when you grab the smallest piece of skin and twist it between your fingernails.  Painful pinches I tell you. Here's what usually happened. 

Madeline: pinches my neck 
Me: Ouch!
Madeline: smile
Me: Gentling holding the fingers she pinched me with, "No Madeline. We don't pinch."
Madeline: bigger smile
Me: Head turned the other way so she can't see me laughing.  "No Madeline"
Madeline: Looks at daddy and smiles
Daddy: Turns head and laughs really hard but barely gets out, "No pinching Madeline"
Madeline: starts laughing because everybody else is!

Not good.  But how do you scold an adorable eight month old? I don't know how she's managed to outgrow this habit with all our negative reinforcement, but she doesn't pinch nearly as much anymore.  Phew. 
But even if she kept pinching forever we'd always love her, because she's so dang cute!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 23, 2012

moms and dads are different

I remember learning about a study in a Human Development class at BYU that involved six month olds and their reaction when each parent approached them.  In both scenarios, the baby responded happily as all of these babies were from loving and nurturing homes.  However, the baby's reaction to each respective parent proved to be somewhat different.  When the mother advanced toward her baby the baby was relaxed and many of them would reach up their arms to be held.  It's what happened when the father approached that made the study interesting, but probably not surprising.  As soon as the baby saw daddy move towards her baby got very excited and frantically looked for a place of safety.  With a big smile and probably some giggles, the baby, knowing dad, prepared herself to be tickled, tossed in the air, spun around, kissed to death or all of the above.

It's funny that although I remember this study quite clearly from a few years ago, it's still sometimes hard for me to remember that it's ok for me to be the one she snuggles with and it's ok that he's the one she wrestles around with.

Just tonight Jeremy was crawling after Madeline, chasing her around the living room.  She, of course, ended up face planting.  Now my reaction, as her mommy, would be to hug her tightly, tell her its ok, and rub her back until she calms down again.  But daddy, daddy stood her up and just looked at her for a minute.  She continued to cry and cry and when he realized that wasn't working he laid her on a blanket and started pulling her around the room for more rough-housing.  It was all I could do not to jump in and "save her".  I didn't think it would work.  Sure enough, however, after two or three attempts she stopped crying.  She even started giggling. Moms and Dads are different.

"The Family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity" (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).  

There is a reason Heavenly Father organized families to be made up of a FATHER and a MOTHER.  We live in a time of chaos.  The world says it's ok to have two moms or two dads.  Extreme feminist women are starting a family by themselves because they don't feel they need a husband.  I find it hard to imagine how that could even be slightly successful because children need a mom and a dad.  And more importantly, a woman needs a husband.  And a man needs a wife.  

A few weeks ago we were stayed with my Aunt Adrienne and her family on the way to Maryland. Somehow in our talking and catching up I remember her remarking on the importance of choosing the right person for a spouse.  Then she said, "Because really, it's just going to be the two of you one day." And she's right.  Families are forever, but eventually everyone is getting married.  When your children are all grown up and married it'll just be you and him.  

I've been working really hard at strengthening our marriage lately.  Not because it's horrible and we're at eachothers necks all the time but because why not? Why not use preventative measures to make my marriage greater than great?  Why not go the extra mile to show my husband I love him and learn to better meet his needs?

I'm so grateful to him and all he does for our family.  Sure he can't plan a spontaneous date to save his life, and sure he doesn't bring home flowers except for Valentines day if I remind him the day of.  Sure he usually doesn't know the exact thing I want him to say because I've had a bad day.  But he is not that guy.  He's the guy who assembles all your furniture the day you move in with out being asked.  He's the guy who always offers to take a fussy baby out during Sacrament meeting.  He's the guy who's just about the best dad you could ever ask to be the father of your children.  He does things in his own way and I am so eternally nagging grateful.  

Moms and dads are different.  They always have been and they always will be.  And that's how it's supposed to be.

August 22, 2012

nine months old

Dear Madeline,

Yesterday you officially became nine months old.  For the past week your daddy has been calling you a nine-month-old and every time I corrected him saying we still have a few more days with our eight-month-old baby.  Time is going by too quickly! 

You are just the sweetest baby.  You rarely get fussy, even when you're tired.  You're always willing to share a smile to brighten my day.  Some of your favorite toys are a pasta utensil, the keys, books, a pair of mittens and/or socks and your tooth brush.  Which I find to be very fitting seeing as you are the daughter of a dental student. Not only do you love to play with books but you love reading them too.  You and I love to get all snuggled up and read.  You listen to stories pretty well, too.  

Your curiosity inspires me. Whenever you have an object in each hand you hit them together because you love finding out what sound they will make together.  You are observant and smart.  You already know several 'ASL' signs that you do frequently such as "more" and "all gone/done".  You're starting to understand the word "no" but it's hit or miss whether you'll listen.  You can clap and do clap every time you hear someone else clapping, even if it's on the tv or radio.  You wave "hi" and "bye" but not often to strangers.  You can also point to your mouth when we ask you where your teeth are.  You have had four teeth for several months now and your fifth one popped in just yesterday.  You now have three on top and two on bottom.  

You pull to a stand on everything, open cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and you love looking at your reflection in the shine-y oven door.  We have to keep a close eye on you these days.  Lately you've been thinking about walking.  You can stand unsupported for a little bit and you walk like a champion if we hold your hands.  We've decided we're ok with you not beating my record (the day before nine months).  It slows you down quite a bit and you already crawl so fast!

Daddy and I feel so blessed to have you as our little girl. Every day you do more than one thing to make us laugh because you are just so cute!  Sometimes I wish you could stay at this age forever. But I've felt that way about every day of your life and every day gets better and better.  Thank you for bringing so much light into our home.  I often wonder what great things the Lord has in store for you and who you'll become as you grow older.  I love you so much. 

Love forever and always,

P.S. There are a lot of pictures.  But you are my first child eating spaghetti for the first time and this is my blog so lots of pictures it is!

This meal was made possible by our AMAZING new high chair
sorry for you the price just went up twenty bucks... 
But we love it and we'd highly recommend it!

August 20, 2012

a strange morning

Sometimes you have one of those mornings that try as you might to imagine how it will go, it doesn’t go like that. My morning wasn’t so much a morning, rather it was the first ten – fifteen minutes right after waking up. 

Jeremy usually leaves around 7:30 for school and sometimes I’ll get up with him around 7:00, make him breakfast, make him a lunch, you get the picture.  But when a little miss Madeline is up a lot during the night, I usually don’t make it to the door to kiss him goodbye.  So he comes in, wakes me up just enough that I vaguely remember him leaving, kisses me softly, tells me he loves me and that’s all I ever remember. 

You can imagine my surprise when an unknown amount of time passes (we haven’t found our alarm clock yet so I’m pretty on the dark with what time it is, no pun intended) and I am awakened by a deep man’s voice with a Russian accent saying, “Hello.  Hello.  Hello.  Miss…. Eh…  Hello. ………..HELLO?” 

Maybe I should back up just a little.  Our new apartment isn’t finished yet.  We wanted to have two bedrooms but the process of turning the used-to-be garage into a second bedroom is taking a little longer than we expected.  The maintenance man for the building is quite talented, doing all the dry wall, painting, floor installation, etc.  Only problem.  He’s Russian and doesn’t speak much English.  Obviously he knows how to say, “hello”.  He’s been over almost every day since we moved in but we don’t talk very much because we can’t understand each other.  He’s never asked me for anything.

Back to my story… It took me a while to realize I wasn’t actually dreaming of a handsome Russian offering to take me for a bicycle ride, but once I did come to my senses, I hopped over to the door and attempted to ask him what he needed.  That didn’t go so well. Finally he stated loud and clear, “TICKET”.  “Ticket?!?” I said kind of frantically. 

My hope and wish for each of you is that if life ever finds you in such a situation, you chose to wore more than just your underwear to bed.

By this time Madeline was awake (no second bedroom yet, remember.  She’s still in our room….).  But I decided to get dressed first.  I rushed over to the closet, didn’t think to turn on the light though, and the first thing I saw was my silk robe.  Thank goodness for common sense even when you’re groggy.  I opted for some polka dot pajama pants and a zip up jacket.  I grabbed Madeline and we rushed into the living room.  Nobody was in the house any more.  So I hurried outside.  When I got to the street I still didn’t see anyone.  Then Eugene stepped out of no where and started motioning to me.  schwoop right over my head.  I have no idea what he’s talking about.  He’s pointing at cars and saying “ticket” but I’m clueless. Finally he says, “You come me.”  So I follow him a couple houses down and he points to a sign that says, “NO PARKING MONDAY 8am – 11am”.  I hadn’t even noticed it before! The guy was trying to save us from getting a ticket.  As I looked around I realized we were the only car parked on that area of the street.  Thank You Eugene!

One of the funny things we’ve noticed about Baltimore is that there are a lot of crazy street signs.  “No Parking Tuesdays 2:30-6:30pm”  “No left turn M,W,F 4-5” just the most bizarre things. 

One of the other things we’ve noticed about Baltimore, there’s a lot of really nice people who are looking out for us.  Sorry we’ve been absent from the world of internet for so long.  We’ve missed it too.  There’s very limited options for internet providers but we ended up going with Verizon.  They’ve come out like ten times trying to get our phone and internet working and nothing.  Then just this morning a guy came and bam! We’re back! I’ve missed you all and being caught up on your lives. We’re still alive! And now I’m gonna spend the day getting caught up with all of your blogs and my email.  Life is good!

August 2, 2012

eight months

You might be the mother of an eight month old if you find cheerios in strange places. 
 Sometimes when your baby isn't even around...
You might be the mother of an eight month old if, upon catching a whiff of something bad, 
you check under your arms before checking your baby's diaper because showers
 don't always make it to the top of the to-do list.
You might be the mother of an eight month old if you can't believe
she's already crawling, standing and walking herself around furniture.
You might be the mother of an eight month old if you're learning very
 quickly that baby locks are not for decoration.

 You might be the mother of an eight month old if you spend your days
 singing songs and reading books to little ears that love to learn.
You might be the mother of an eight month old if you are learning to look 
at the world with wonder and excitement, just like she does.
 You might be the mother of an eight month old if you can't imagine life much better than it is now.  
...if you wonder how life ever seemed complete without her.
 and you just might be the mother of an eight month old if you thank God every day 
for the best eight months that He has ever given you.