Monday, September 29, 2008

flowers and a lightning storm: a month in review

"It's the end of the summer When you send your children to the moon"

I love that Dar Williams song. It felt more immediate when I was in school, but it is the end of the summer and I always get excited when fall rolls around. I still feel like things should begin in the fall. As Dar says, "It's just that time of year When we push ourselves ahead." Between the fresh-start feeling of fall and Elder Uchtdorf's inspiring talk at the General Relief Society meeting, I'm feeling antsy to start something. I'm not sure exactly what, but something. In the mean time, while I decide what that something is, I decided to chronicle what's already been done.

September has been a crazy month. Not really very eventful, but full. On Labor Day, Sam and I had planned to go to the zoo, but apparently, they were so busy last year, that they changed all their free days to obscure holidays like Columbus Day. Anna was crazy that day and refused to calm down, so we used our one trick and took her swimming.

It worked.

For dinner we all got dressed in our college football team gear and went to Chick-fil-A where we each (including Anna since she was dressed up too) got 3 free chicken strips. We added a fry and lemonade to share and had a great dinner for less than $4. Katrina came by afterward and watched Anna while Sam and I went to see Indiana Jones at the dollar theater. We really enjoyed the time away together and Anna was just starting to freak out when we came home.

Three days later was Anna's 4 month check-up. She was 16.5 lbs (95th percentile), 25.5 in (87th percentile), and I don't remember her head measurement, but it was 22nd percentile. Strange, huh? She also got more immunizations. The nurses at my pediatrician are great, and Anna gets all four shots and her bandaids on in about 27 seconds. It's not funny in the moment when my heart is breaking for my little girl, but looking back, I can laugh at how during all the shots she has that silent, horrified open mouth that you know is going to erupt in a huge scream at any moment, but it's not until the last bandaid is on and the nurse lets me pick her up that the scream finally comes. Despite its awfulness, it still amazes me.

Anyway, Anna reacted to this round of shots just like the last one-- she slept and cuddled a lot. I can't complain too much about that. However, on the same day, I was feeling awful and got squeezed in at the doctor. So, about an hour after Anna's appointment, I had to wake her up from her deep sleep, drag her to the doctor's office, hold her with one hand while filling out paperwork with the other because she needed to be cuddled and comforted, and then feed her in the magazine section of the grocery store while I waited for my prescription to be filled. We finally came home and took long naps. Needless to say, it was not the best day for the Cosby women.

The next day, we went up to the temple in Klein. I did a session there while Sam watched Anna. Then we watched our niece, Isabelle, while Ben and Amy went to the temple with Amy's sister. And the next day, we went up again, so Sam could go to the temple, and I went to Amy's sister's bridal shower. After three days of being away from home, getting shots, and having erratic nap schedules and locations, Anna was exhausted, and so were we.

Even so, everyone loved seeing Anna, and she willingly smiled and gurgled and got passed around. And when the time came that Anna could finally get all the sleep she wanted, she happily succombed rather that putting up a fight. At some point in there, we fed Anna her first "solids" if you can classify soupy rice cereal as that. We stripped her down and went for it. She didn't know what to do at first, but has since had some great success with a spoon. Her fool-proof method though is to dive at the spoon and get as much cereal in her mouth as she can. Then, she shoves her thumb in and sucks it so she can actually swallow the cereal rather than watching fall down onto her belly. It's not so graceful, but it works, and she loves it. These are pictures from our first attempt, but she's gotten progressively less messy.

The very first taste

Our next big event was my birthday. Sam came home early and took Anna for about an hour. I read a book. It was lovely. When he came home, he had beautiful red roses and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake with a flower on top. He told me I would have to wait until the weekend for my other present. We ate a yummy dinner at Olive Garden. Sam told them it was my birthday and the waitress told him, "Well then, have we got a surprise for her!" At the end of my meal, at least eight waiters gathered and sang an incomprehensible version of some birthday song and had me blow out a candle on my dessert: a dinner roll plate with nine Andes mints on it. Good thing we had ice cream cake waiting at home...

That week, we prepped for Ike, and you all know how that turned out. We actually had a great time that weekend. Sam came home early on Thurday and work was closed Friday. Despite the very stressful not knowing when or what exactly was coming, once the storm had passed, we just ate food, watched sports, made treats and took them to neighbors and friends, bought really expensive milk, and enjoyed the cool weather. We ate dinner with the Hatfields and the Mercers two fun and yummy nights in a row. Sam's work was closed Monday and Tuesday, so he went and helped clear debris. Though many were not nearly so lucky, we just had a general good time.

Dancing with Daddy to Michael Buble

A walk in the calm before the storm

storm damage

playing with friends during Hurricane Holiday

waking up Daddy on one of his few lazy mornings

Tuesday night, Sam and I went grocery shopping, and one of the librarians from our local library saw Anna and told us we should come to story time. I recognized the librarian from Marci's blog, but didn't want to weird her out, so I just mentioned that my friends went all the time. She screamed in the store when I mentioned Addie and Ella and has recognized me every time I come in. I have since embraced this beloved institution. I really enjoy going because it gives me a chance to interact with Anna outside the home, which is something I don't really do if we're out at the store or exercising. It's also nice for Anna to watch the other babies, and it's nice for me to talk to the other moms. Anna wore this outfit our first time, and all the babies loved her big red bow.

That week Sam also brought my birthday present which had been postponed due to Ike. He brought me a dieffenbachia which I named Henry (like Indianda Jones-he's a courageous and good looking plant). He also promised to go to a nursery with me to pick out any other plants I wanted. So now, I'm waiting till I have my fall/winter vegetable gardening class at HFP Enrichment Super Saturday in a couple weeks.

Sam had that Friday off work again, so after cleaning our apartment, we went to Five Guys for dinner. Sam first went during his internship in DC, but since then, they've franchised, so we drove 45 minutes to Richmond so I could try the most delicious burgers and fries I've ever had. Totally photo worthy. Sam's sad they're so far away, but I think that bodes well for our cardiovascular health.

I also baked some cookies that weekend using the NYTimes tips for chocolate chip cookies. They were really good (two days later) probably because Anna helped.

Since last week was a little quieter, I spent some time cooking. We had two other families over to enjoy this mock Cafe Rio salad. We still have a ton of the dressing. It's so good- and not so good for our cardiovascular health. I also made a yummy minestrone / Italian wedding soup, homemade meatballs from Susan's mom's recipe, and some homemade pizzas.

And now here we are, one day from the end of the month. This morning, Anna and I got up when Sam did and went to serve breakfast to some Ike evacuuees at Grace Baptist Church behind our old apartments. It was a fun morning and everyone loved little Anna (of course!) who barely slept at all yesterday and is making up for it today- which is why I've had time to write this really long post!

In another day or so, I should have this month's photos and videos up at my picasa page, but in the mean time, here are a few to whet your palates.

showing off her favorite shoes

how I found Anna one morning: escaped from the swaddle

a new favorite outfit

Halloween material?

Monday, September 22, 2008

the stars at night are big and bright...

...deep in the heart of Texas!

Anna would make such a cute little cowgirl. And it would give me a chance to try my hand at making a hobby horse. Two reasons why I would love to win this one from Grosgrain.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

getti's accessories

I like clothes. A lot. So it's always disappointing to me when I go shopping, itching to buy something, and come back empty-handed. For a long time, I didn't buy things that I liked for two reasons. First, it was either too low-cut or too wide-cut, which led to the second: if I wanted to wear it, I'd have to wear another shirt under it, and Houston is just too hot for me to do that.

Enter the solution to my two greatest fashion conundrums:
the t-let.

What is a t-let, you say? A t-let is like a tank top only it ends just below the bust instead of at the waist. That means that no shirt is ever too low or too wide cut, and I'm never too hot since I don't have all that extra fabric hanging around my middle. Can you imagine the comfort? Where were these when I was pregnant?!

I know, I know. You don't have to tell me. It's your dream come true, too. And now you want to know where to get them.

Well, I'll tell you. There are two great sources for t-lets. The first, is Getti's Accessories which is started by two brilliant women who had this amazing idea and brought it to life. This is where I buy my t-lets. They have great prices and very personal service. I ordered three (the more you buy, the more you save, and even if you don't wear them every day like I do, 3 for $30 is a steal) and they came in just a few days. When I had a question about their website, they contacted me personally in response.

The second place you can get a t-let is from me. I have a white, straight-neck style t-let in a medium, that I am going to give away to one of the seven people who read my blog regularly.

Wait, did you catch that? I'm doing my very first giveaway! I'm a real blogger!

Here's what you need to do to win. First, check out the Getti's Accessories website. Second, come back here and leave a comment telling me which style of t-let you like the most. Third, describe this Hot new product using an adjective that begins with the same first letter of your first name. I'll pick a winner on September 30.

In the mean time, if you'd like to get some more t-lets in other styles and colors, be sure to enter my name (Heather Cosby) in the spot where it asks who referred you. If you do that, I win free merchandise, which I might just feel inclined to pass right back along to you in future giveaways! Especially if it's a headband-- they look funky on my head, but I'm sure they'd look fabulous on you.

So check it out, get your creative adjective juices flowing, and discover the Hoopla-worthy* t-let!

*yes- that was a stretch

5 hours later....

I really went brain-dead on H adjectives, but Sam and I did a little stormin' session and came up with

Helluva good
Hybrid ("That means 'good' now" -Sam)
Hip- how did I not think of that one?!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ike news

Well, the storm is over and passed, and we did just fine. At our apartment complex there were a few trees and rain gutters down, and a few cars damaged, but nothing of ours was damaged. Sam's sister came to stay with us last night, and we're glad she did. Her apartment is without electricity or water, and she said the city of Houston is trashed with roofs ripped off, windows broken, and a steamy, dreary weird feeling. The TV news says that about 2 million people are without power and it may take weeks before its restored.

We went to watch the BYU-UCLA football game (59-0, BYU! Go Cougs!) at the office of a dentist in our ward. They had power restored to their outlets, but not to the AC, and we found out from the other people there that most of Cinco Ranch doesn't have power, so we're feeling very blessed and lucky. We've offered everyone we can a place to get cold drinks, hot showers, laundry, AC, or internet access, and if you're reading this and need any of those things, feel free to send us a text message and come on over. (Our number in the ward directory is my cell phone).

Anyway, we're fine and feeling very blessed. We're SO glad to have power, especially with little Anna. We don't have church tomorrow and Sam may not have work on Monday, so Sam is feeling pretty antsy. He'd love to go into Houston and help with the clean up. I'll write some updates as they're relevant. In the meantime, thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

i like ike?

Sam and I are trying to decide whether or not we should evacuate. A few of my friends in the ward have already left and all fall into the "very small child" category of reasons why they're skipping town. We're not in the mandatory or even voluntary evacuation zones and heard a plea on the radio not to evacuate so the roads don't get bad for those who have to leave. But we're still undecided. I can tell that Sam's leaning toward staying, but as the one who cares for Anna all day, I think I may possibly, but am not entirely sure I am leaning towards leaving. In an effort to "study it out in [my] mind," and taking inspiration from Rory Gilmore, I wrote up this list, and Sam told me I should put it on my blog.

If we were to evacuate, these are the:

  • No time without power, water, AC
  • Get to see our family
  • Don't have to drive in a hurricane if the power is out too long
  • Safe from potential damage-- downed power lines, glass breaking
  • Flushable toilets
  • Not hot
  • Anna would be comfortable-ish
  • Not stuck in our tiny apartment
  • Time off from Anna with a host of babysitters
  • Have to prep the apt. for damage-- get everything off the floor, keep water out of doors
  • Food in fridge goes bad/uneaten
  • Anna in the car for hours, then in a strange house for day(s)
  • Traffic out of the city
  • Traffic back into the city
  • Can't prevent damage to our belongings as the storm happens
  • Possible good story/ego boost for surviving a hurricane is lost
  • Branded cowards and wusses for the rest of our days
  • Have to share Sam with his siblings/ the Wii instead of having him to ourselves
  • Have to figure out logistics of getting Sam back to work on Monday even if power is out
So what's your take? Do we stay or go? Vote in our poll to the right and leave a comment why you think so.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

a woman's work

There has been lots of talk in the mom-blogosphere about Sarah Palin. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion about her, but I'm most fascinated by the strange contradiction her candidacy has brought up. While most social conservatives agree with her values-- pro-life and marriage for her pregnant teen daughter-- they also balk at the fact that she is ready to take on one of the most high-profile, time-consuming jobs in the country with a young family that includes a new baby with Down's syndrome and a pregnant teen. At the same time, many of those who are cheering her on as the next champion of equality of the sexes are squeemish about her evangelical Christian, gun-toting, pro-life background. The question is, should you vote Palin into office, just to advance a woman, even if you don't agree with her politics, or should you vote against her to declare that she's making the wrong choice? Your thoughts? (I'd say no to the second question since she's clearly not going to drop out of high-profile politics any time soon, no matter how this election plays out.)

Personally, I find myself somewhere in the middle (as usual). I'm certainly against abortion, and I agree that children should have a married mom and dad. Clearly, I feel it's important for a mother to be at home raising and teaching her children, and thankfully, I have a husband who feels the same way and is willing to be the sole financial provider for our family. However, I agree that whether a mother works is a decision to be made within each family, and there is no one right solution. Hopefully, the Palin family made the decision to have Sarah run as VP together, and with prayer. As women's rights go, I'm in the parity camp. Men and women have equal value and worth, but generally have different strengths and responsibilities. See the latest NY Times articles (here and here) on differences between the sexes.

The debate about these issues is not a new one and it seems, as Michelle Lamar, a blogger, said in this NPR piece about the Palin dilemma, "There is no good answer" to whether or not a mom should work. However, I feel I have a clearer understanding of the issue because of my faith. In 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley read a new statement entitled "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" at the General Relief Society Meeting, the annual meeting of the world's oldest and largest women's organization. It outlined the centrality of the family to God's plan for His children, the role of mothers and fathers, and how to have a unified and successful family. This is not a suggestion from a wise man, but rather Heavenly Father's message to His children delivered through His chosen Prophet.

It explains that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

This helps explain our Church's stance against same-sex marriage. According to the statement, "The Divine Institution of Marriage," "The Church does not object to rights... regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights..." for same-sex couples. The Church also holds the same standards of morality for any person, gay or straight, which is no sexual relations outside lawful marriage. So their purpose in opposing same-sex marriage is not to discriminate, but rather to uphold an eternal standard for all people. My sister Karen and friend Jocelyn both have excellent blog posts on this subject.

But I digress...back to mothers and their role in the family.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World states "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.... Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live....

"...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. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."

This is the model that Sam and I are trying to emulate in our own family. I know several families where either both parents work, or the mother is the sole financial provider where parents are clearly fulfilling these "sacred responsibilities." So while Sarah Palin is making a different choice than I would, I think it's possible for her to still have a successful family if it is established on the principles outlined above.

I want to finish by saying that I know God's plan for His children is to live eternally with Him with our families. I can't explain why there are so many who find abuse and neglect in their families, or why some people are attracted to members of the same sex, or why some women can't have children. But I do know that God loves His Children. He loves you. He cares for you. He knows you and is aware of your concerns, your struggles, and your joys. He loves me. He is aware of me and my family. And He has blessed us so greatly. My daily prayers are not enough to thank Him for the abundance of spiritual and physical blessings I have been given. So many times while I am laughing with Sam or rocking Anna to sleep, I feel His love and know that He is pleased with our family.

I hope you feel that too, in your own life.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

shower time

I went to a great bridal shower today. It was black and white themed like the wedding will be. The hostess had delicious food and put white roses in black alligator skin pointy-toe heels. She also made Barbie doll wedding dresses as party favors! Oh the things you can do without small children!

Anyway, while checking out one of my new favorite sites Little Birdie Secrets I discovered this post about baby showers. I loved my baby shower for Anna, thrown by Amber and Leighanna and Vicki and have been to several more. At one we played a variation of the candy bar game she mentions here and it was great fun. Way better than lots of other cheesy games I've played at baby showers. I have to admit, I really liked the candy bar linked to conception... Too funny!