Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My mom tagged me to play the "fourth folder fourth picture" game that's been running around the blogs I read lately, and here's the result.

On March 5, 2006, I was sitting next to the Provo river on a quiet, warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. Sam knelt down next to me and asked me to marry him. I said yes. Much smiling, giggling, ring-gazing, and kissing ensued. Eventually we came back to my apartment and my roommate Emily took this picture. Later that evening, Sam said, "I had no idea how excited and happy you would be"-- not that he was hoping for any vastly different reaction.

Over two and a half years later, we're as happy as clams. A couple days ago, Sam and I, with Anna in the stroller, were walking and talking. It was so nice-- me and my little family. "I'm glad we have a good marriage," I told Sam. We do, and I am. On any given day, Sam comes home from work, and much smiling, giggling, Anna-gazing, and kissing ensues. It's the good life.

PS: I tag Amy, Alisa, Laska, and Allison. Open your My Pictures folder, find the fourth folder, and post the fourth picture. (Or if your pictures are hyper-organized, like mine, post the fourth picture in the fourth folder in the fourth folder, etc.)

PPS: I was going tag you, Anna, but figured since the baby's coming on Friday you probably had better things to be doing...

Monday, October 20, 2008

general wisdom

I've spent a lot of time trying to decide who I would vote for in the upcoming Presidential election. I've talked to Republican and Democrat friends about why their candidates would be the best choice. I've talked to friends whose judgment I admire and who I know are informed and thoughtful. I've visited the candidates' websites and read their positions on issues that I'm concerned about. I've watched debates and read the news. I've also had several discussions with Sam about why we choose the people we vote for. On what points do I need to agree with the candidate I choose? Is it OK to vote for the candidate we respect more, even if we disagree on some fundamental points? Are those points really fundamental, or are they just the arbitrary opposite stances the parties have come to hold? How important are the tone of the candidates' campaigns and the choice of running mate?

I'm still not sure I know the right answer to those questions, or even if there is a right answer. However, when I saw this video of Colin Powell explaining why he endorsed Barack Obama, his reasons rang true with me, and are a much better summary of why I'm going to vote for Obama than I think I could give. And so, I second your endorsement General Powell.

And I also second this endorsement from my niece Isabelle, daughter of Ben and Amy, who will mostly likely not be voting for Obama.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

anna banana

I just read a post on my sister's blog about her adorable daughter and all the cute things she's doing lately and I thought, "I need to do that!" So here's a typical day, Anna style. Beware, this will be long. This post is more for me and Anna than for you.

Anna is a superb sleeper. Most nights we put her to bed around 9 PM and she falls happily asleep (more on bedtime routine later...). About 6 weeks ago we started swaddling her with one arm bent up to her mouth so she could suck her thumb, and have progressively swaddled her less and less to the point that both arms are now out and she sleeps with them straight out to both sides like she's making up for the fourth months where they were strapped tight to her body.

Anytime between 4:30 and 6:30, Anna starts to stir and cry a bit. At that point I go in and flip her over on to her tummy (how she naps- don't tell my pediatrician) so she can suck her thumb and fall back asleep. Anna used to rub her free hand over her sheets, and sometimes I'd stick a corner of her soft blanket under it and she'd grab on to it. But just this week, she's really gotten into rubbing something soft with the hand she's not sucking. When she's nursing, she rubs her soft hair, and when she's going to sleep, she reaches for her little teddy bear or lamb. It is SO adorable to see her, eyes shut tight, sucking one thumb, and stroking a little foot of a happily smiling toy who is slowly becoming real.

Anna wakes up completely some time between 7:30 and 9:30 AM which means that I often get leisurely mornings to study the scriptures, read my email, eat breakfast, and read/post blogs. I love this time since it's quiet, the sun rises, I can think and relax and prepare for the day. I really do treasure it since I know these days are numbered :)

When Anna is really awake, she pops up, supporting herself on her elbows and alternates between talking to the toys in her crib and yelling for Mom. She rocks up onto her side a bit to look at the window and almost rolls over (more on rolling over later...). When I come in, I'm greeted with a huge smile, giggles, and, once I help her roll onto her back, kicks and waving arms of joy. Anna sure knows how to wrangle you in from the start.

After a round of good morning hugs and kisses, I feed her and change her. Anna figured out how to grab her toes a few weeks ago and it has become one of her favorite games. There is little else that pleases Anna as much as being naked and kicking her legs onto the noisy changing table and then swinging them up to catch her feet again.

Much of the rest of the day is spent in playtime. Anna's favorite things to do with Mommy are sing songs, be tickled, and play kicking games. Anna LOVES "The Wheels on the Bus" since it involves singing AND body-moving actions. When I start the song, Anna's mouth gets wide with glee and just stays open the whole time because she is SO excited to be going "up and down, up and down, UP and down." I'll admit though that while Anna loves to rock on her bum while I hold her hands during the "move on back" verse, I can't help but imagine Rosa Parks is rolling over in her grave every time I sing it.

I try to have some tummy time each day, mostly in the hopes that Anna will figure out how to roll over since her neck is already really strong. I think the main problem with Anna's rolling ability is that while on her tummy, she refuses to put weight on her arms. Instead of propping herself up on her elbows like the babies in the pictures of all my parenting books, Anna prefers to have her arms out wide, airplane style. Not only does this mean she can't push up on her arms to help her roll over, it also means all the strain of holding her head up falls to her neck and back so she gets tired and angry pretty quickly while on her tummy.

Airplane style tummy time

Getting mad and tired

Totally devolved

However, I know every baby figures things out on her own schedule, and Anna has lots of other skills. She's SO close to sitting up on her own. She can sit unassisted for a few seconds on the floor, but if she's sitting between your knees, she does really well. Her biggest obstacle is that she kicks when she gets excited and that pushes her over backward. It's really cute when she does it though :)

Sitting skills

Anna is also very good about putting weight on her feet. She likes to stand with help, and she'll lean against the couch while standing for about 15 seconds. She really loves to stand on the bathroom counter in front of the big mirror. There she can smile and laugh and talk to her cute little friend in the mirror and feel the cool granite under her feet. She also likes to pull and chew on the lucky bamboo on the counter and likes to hold the bright red and blue toothpaste tube. I know when Anna's fussy that a trip to the bathroom counter will quiet her for a long time.

Though, being quiet is not Anna's usual choice. Anna is a screamer. Even-- especially-- when she's happy Anna likes to test the limits of her vocal abilities. I had at least three or four friends turn around laughing during Sunday School when Anna screamed with delight as I helped her stand on my lap. At the grocery store however, the looks are less congenial and more often express the "what is that woman doing to her child?!" sentiment. When normal talking is not enough, Anna screams.

Anna also screams when she's not happy, which means I'm a total pushover when she wants to be picked up and cuddled after having enough time on the floor. I just can't handle growling screams of displeasure. On a particularly screamy day last week, it drove me to tears, and thankfully Sam was home to take her outside until she screamed herself to sleep so I couldn't hear it. The good news is, those days are few and far between. Anna has become a very happy baby and is usually content with playing with Mom or chatting with her toys.

Anna's current favorite toys are the little bugs and animals that hang from the arches over her play mats. She loves to hit them and make them jingle and talk to them and put them in her mouth. She also loves bubbles and wriggles with pleasure when she sees them floating by.

Anna smiles more every day. Our favorite is the "bubble smile" as Sam likes to call it since her big round cheeks look like bubbles. We also melt for her big open mouthed smiles of joy. And my special smile is the soft little grin on Anna's face when she's all ready for bed and I've nursed her one last time and we're cuddling. She makes quiet oohs and aahs recounting all the fun she had during the day and how happy she is and how much she loves me (or at least that's how I interpret those adorable sounds).

Bubble smile

Big cute happy smile with dimple

And now that I've brought up bedtime again, I suppose I'll finish this post with talking about our routine. Around 8 PM, Anna lets us know she's had enough playing and is ready to go to bed. One of us gets the bath ready while the other takes off her clothes and diaper. At this point Sam likes to help Anna stand up since he thinks it's so funny to see such a round, roly body standing like a little person. Once we're done admiring Anna's rolls, we put in the bath. Daddy bathes Anna M-W-F and I take the other days. Anna gets really excited about her wet washcloth and loves to see it drip, spin, splash, or float until she gets her hands on it and then it gets shoved in her mouth where she sucks the water out. Gross, yes, but she loves it.

Daddy doing bath tummy time

After the bath we snuggle her up in her little hooded towel and massage her with baby lotion. She loves getting her feet rubbed (who doesn't?) and hates having to get dressed in jammies again. She hates getting wrapped up in her blanket, but loves bedtime nursing. And so do I. She's super snuggly and smells like lavender and loves to rub her hand on my cheek. And that brings us to the cooing, and good night kisses, and happily drifting off to sleep.

I imagine these will be some of the easiest parenting days of our lives, and we're loving it.

grandpa's little princess

Monday, October 13, 2008

not without my handbag

Has anyone else seen that little short by the guys who make Wallace & Grommit? Long story short, a lady dies, but refuses to go to hell without her handbag. My favorite line: "My auntie is a zombie from hell."

I'm not really a purse carrier, but I'll jump on the bandwagon if I can win a designer handbag for free from Handbag Planet. Win one for yourself here. Just don't pick this one:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

won't you be my neighbor


Today, one of the many sisters who live two floors up called Anna a boy. Anna was wearing a white outfit with ruffles and flowers and a purple headband.

some days

The one rotund son of the family two floors up calls to his mother... (who is inside her apartment... with the door shut... two floors up...) while standing right outside Anna's window... while she's napping... some days.

most days

The woman upstairs vacuums her whole apartment. At 9:47 PM. most days.

every day

Every day, the one rotund little boy who lives two floors up tries to throw his soccer ball up to his apartment... two floors up.

Every day.

Every day, the ball lands in our patio, often after crashing into the door.

Every day.

Every day, the rotund little boy is shocked! With wide eyes, he stands there. With his hands over his open mouth, he doesn't know what to do.

Every day.

Every day, we go outside and throw the ball back to him. "Sorry!" he squeaks. Then he runs away.

Every day. Every day.

Won't you be... please, won't you be... please, won't you be my neighbor?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

food fight

I think a great arcade game would be to have little avocados pop up out of holes and you mash them with a mallet. It would be called "Guac-a-mole." And instead of tickets dispensing with every hit, it would dispense tortilla chips.

lil' peanut

Anna was chosen to be the lil' peanut of the week over the the lil' peanut patch! Go check out her cuteness and enter some of their giveaways while you're at it! Thanks lil' peanut patch!

Saturday, October 04, 2008


I'm sorry I've kept you waiting. It was rude.

On Wednesday, Sam came home from work to find several slips of paper folded in a cup. I told him to pull one out after mixing them up a bit with his finger. "It says 'Kirsten,'" he told me, confused.

So congratulations Kirsten Jarvis Cook! You won a free t-let! I sent you a message on facebook, so you can just reply to that with your address and I'll send it off to you.

Thank you to everyone who participated. This was really fun for me (though I hate thinking of all my friends losing) and makes me want to do it again. So I will-- sometime. In the meantime, Kirsten, I hope you enjoy your magical, simply smart and sensible, keen, sensational, satisfying, sexy-without-skin, smooth, marvelous, magnificent, modern, pretty plausible in a pre-spring wardrobe, awesome, absolutely awe-inspiring (making you an amazing all-star), adorable, killer, kick-butt t-let!

And you're right. They are great for breastfeeding.


I'd also like to take this opportunity to let you all know that I won a little blog candy of my own recently! I won this super-cute, reversible apron from Bitsy Bear on the very fun blog Mums the Wurd. They feature new products for parents and children and have lots of giveaways. Check them out!

PS-- Though the swaddle wraps on Bitsy Bear may not be as convenient as the velcro kind, they get HUGE style points in my book. Who wouldn't want to wrap their baby up in this?