Friday, February 27, 2009

what a wonderful girl

She giggles at tickles. She's curiously crawling. She loves to be dipped up and down with open-mouthed glee. She shakes her head and waves her arms, discovering all the great things her little body can do. She plays games with us, clapping and singing and squealing when we clap and sing right back. She loves to arch her back in her stroller just so she can look up and see Mama smiling down, and then kicks with delight. She is so much fun and my heart is bursting at her.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

she's got skill

Anna is such a skilled baby these days. Just see what she can do.

Anna's daring first manifested itself in the bathtub. I reached over to get her washcloth and when I turned around, she was standing up. Now it's all she'll do in the tub. Please excuse the dirtiness of the tub. Even with bleach we fight a losing battle with the mold here in Texas.

Then, on the Sunday after Valentine's Day (when she got to observe her master-crawler friends Brooklynn and Katelynn) I set Anna on the floor after changing her diaper, and off she went, crawling toward the humidifier that has long fascinated her. None of her crawling since then has been so fluid and she tends to keep one leg straight, lumping along and only occasionally using it to propel her farther when all her other limbs won't get her where she wants to go. It's awkward, but it works.
Notice the straight leg on her left

She hasn't yet realized that the ability to crawl means an expanded world and she still must be gently coaxed into crawling after a toy, but she's slowly understanding the perks of her new ability and every once in a while shows great bursts of energy, excitement, and speed.

Also, before any of this, Anna figured out how to sit on her bum from being on her hands and knees. For a long time she would flop into that move as soon as we'd try to get her to crawl.

Finally, just yesterday Anna figured out how to put the ball in the dinosaur to make the music and lights play. Sam captured some great progressive video. Her skirt is tucked into her bum-pants to aid in the crawling practice they did earlier.

And one of my new skills is letting Anna get into messy things. She's eaten dirt, gotten grass stained, chewed on the shredded tires that cushion the local playground, and just recently found this lovely stick to try out. I absolutely loved getting dirty as a kid and prided myself on every bruise and really muddy shoes, so I think it's important that Anna is afforded the same opportunities.
She spots it

She goes for it

The snag

Almost there

So tasty

Anna is also learning how to suffer for the sake of beauty. After a bit of a scream and a squirm, we got this cute pixie pony tail.

Last but not least, she's a jumper- and a screamer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

we love each other

February has been a fun month. It is definitely making up for January.

I got really excited for Valentine's Day this year, or rather, I got really excited for Valentine's Day, as usual. I made these cute little valentines for Anna's cousins and grandparents. We stripped Anna down to her diaper and went into the bathroom. The moment I grabbed her hand to paint it, she started screaming and balling up her hand and trying to pull away, so a few turned out pretty blurry, but by the third or fourth, Anna resigned herself to the process and sat screaming and pathetic, but limp!, throughout the rest of the process and the cards turned out really well.

I dressed Anna in pink and red all week, mostly just because I could. This is one of my favorite outfits.

On Saturday, Sam and I got a babysitter and went to lunch at Thai House. They serve the rice that comes with your meal in the shape of a heart. I got Pad Se Ewe. It was deliciously peanutty and now I want to find a recipe for it. By the way, does anyone know how Asian take-out restaraunts get their meat the way they do? Like a 50 cent-piece-sized cornflake of pork?

After lunch we walked around the Bayou and got the best ice cream I've ever had in my entire life at The Chocolate Bar. I got Snow Berry which is vanilla ice cream with their chocolate covered strawberries ground up in it, and Orange Sunrise which is dark chocolate ice cream with flakes of orange flavored chocolate in it. It was amazingly creamy but not as smoothe as gelato (which I consider a good thing in this case). I wish it were closer.

That evening, we watched the Allen's twin girls. Anna was fascinated by them and they seemed to be equally as entertained. Anna had really been trying to crawl and watched their technique carefully, though she didn't get it that night. Once Laurie and Brett came home, we took Anna home and our friend Catherine played with her, bathed her, and put her to bed for us while we went to our stake's Valentine's Day dinner and dance. We had a lovely dinner with some other members of our ward and then helped cut and serve the 24 homemade cakes that the Craigs baked and decorated for the event. Sam and I danced the first dance and then went home to relieve Catherine.

It was a wonderful day with all the people I love most. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 16, 2009

"i want that"

But this is WAY better than a model ship

Friday, February 13, 2009

it's great to be eight

Phyllis tagged me. I'm it.

8 TV Shows or Movies I Watch Regularly

1. The Office
2. Arrested Development (thank you Hulu)

If regularly counts as at least once a year, these movies are regularly watched

3. Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth)
4. Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley)
5. What's Up Doc
6. Lord of the Rings
7. You've Got Mail
8. Pilates for Dummies

8 Things that Happened Yesterday

1. I used earplugs to pretend Anna was not crying in the middle of the night and slept better than a baby
2. I poked my head outside my comfort zone a bit and made some new friends
3. Anna and I bonked our foreheads together repeatedly and giggled uproariously the whole time
4. I finished my ultra-cool Valentine's gift for Sam
5. Vaccinations had a victory
6. I made babylegs for Anna that look a little like this but cooler and sparkly
7. I cooked and ate some delicious salmon
8. I won

8 Favorite Places to Eat (in no particular order)

1. Five Guys
2. Coldstone
3. Chick-fil-A
4. The Taza Kebab House
5. Those little crepe stands on every corner of Trocadero in Paris
6. Marini's Empanada House
7. La Pupusa Loca
8. Hot Dog Heaven (On the whole menu, I only eat the cheesy fries, but it's such a lovely nostalgic feeling just to sit inside)

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To

1. Going to Ohio with Karen and Elizabeth
2. Wearing my cute new shirt on my date this Saturday
3. Knowing what the future holds (school? different work? another year in Katy?)
4. Anna crawling instead of screaming
5. The rest of the good book I'm reading
6. Taking Anna swimming this summer
7. Chatting with other moms at the park today
8. Traveling with Sam

8 Things On My Wishlist

1. To have a son someday (but not too soon)
2. To be a good parent
3. For all my family members who are looking to find good (any) jobs
4. To run under 2 hours for my half marathon-- if I'm really wishing, under 1.5 hours
5. A new, unbroken cellphone
6. To never have another cavity or problem with my teeth ever again. Nothing but cleanings from here on out.
7. To never remember commercials for or pictures of scary movies ever again
8. To be more articulate

8 People I Tag

1. You
2. ...You
3. Ummmm....You
4. You-
5. And You-
6. And You-
7. Aaaand.......You.
8. Oh, and You too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

i win!

One of my favorite sites to visit is Little Birdie Secrets. They have some great ideas for crafts and countless tutorials. Pretty much all the crafts I make I see here first, or find on other sites they link to. Today, when I went to their site to vote for my friend Laska's Valentine card as the best, I saw my name in the middle of the page- I won a giveaway! I won this 2-minute memories 10 Things I Love About You scrapbook kit.

Thank you Little Birdie Secrets! And thank you Sam for being so lovable and doing all the chores I hate most.

(Now go vote for card #1 so Laska can win too!)

Friday, February 06, 2009

january in pictures

I am ready to say enough with my self pity, but that's probably because Anna is getting better, is happier, and sleeping all night again. You may see it rear its ugly head the next time Anna gets in a snit. In the mean time, and as penance for all my whining, here are some pictures from the past month.

New Year's celebration sushi

I heard Anna crying in her room like she was hurt and came in to see what was wrong. This is what I found. Her arm was stuck in her sleeve. It's tough being a baby.

Who can resist taking a picture of that smile?!

Anna's first pixie-hair ponytail

She loves to eat the toothpaste

Our one picture of her one tooth-- and her droopy eye

I love this little shirt of Anna's, which is funny since I used to hate the color yellow, but it's growing on me.

These next few pictures are pretty exciting to me. I've tried making bread and rolls before, but every time I did, they ended up not rising and rock hard. Since these failed attempts, I've asked several people to teach me how to make good bread. The first person just went about it really quickly, the second didn't work since we kept getting caught up in conversation and crossword puzzles. Finally, just after anna was born, my Mom and I made pepperoni rolls together. Eight months later, I worked up my courage and tried it all by myself (with a little help and encouragement from my sister over the phone). I couldn't take any photos of the dough before it was ready because I was sure it would jinx it. So here are some pictures of rolling and stuffing. They were so delicious and we still have about a dozen in the freezer.

Anna is really good at feeding herself certain foods now. Her favorites are Gerber stars and cheese

A particularly messy (and fun morning)

Swinging babies

Max just hangin'

Anna with Ian, the world's happiest baby

Anna loves this game

My sister made this pea pod bunting costume for her daughter at Halloween and then she sent it to me to get some matching pictures. It is SOOO cute, and the little peas are so soft and squeezable.

Sam would love it if Anna is always so excited about basketball

Anna had already been laughing at this for a loooong time, so that's why it sounds a little like she's crying. We love making her laugh.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

hard things

Being a mom is hard-- a lot harder than I expected it to be. I knew there would be sleepless nights and heavy lifting, tedium and worrying, loneliness and high emotions, messes to clean and laundry to do, books to read and songs to sing. But I figured I could hack it since, hey, haven't I done all that stuff before?

In my life prior to becoming a mom, I knew I was awesome because I didn't shy away from hard things. Get good grades in college? No problem. I'll just sleep a little less, read a little more, and use my God-given talent to scrape by. Get off my parents' welfare? Absolutely! I did everything from manual labor to house cleaning to data entry to research in prisons in a foreign country just to have the satisfaction of paying for things myself. Run a marathon? Sure. With a little discipline and some good shoes, I made it happen. Climb a mountain or ford a river? Do you even have to ask? I love that stuff. So when people said being a mom would be hard, I responded, "Bring it."

True, I shed a few tears during pregnancy. And then I gave birth. But that wasn't so bad. I mean, I didn't even know I was in labor till my water broke, and even though I was up all night before that, I didn't wake up Sam to sit with me and comfort me because I'm not a sissy. True, I had a C-section, so I didn't do the pushing thing, but I have it on good authority that the recovery is harder, and I kicked my recovery in the butt. I was up and exercising within the week.

And then Anna came home from the hospital. And if you come here often, you know what's happened since then. What I thought would become easier with time has actually become a bumpier road. Some days I feel like I rock being a mom-- the house is clean, dinner's made, I've been creative in playing with Anna, and even managed to get out of the house and help somebody else. But most days are just mediocre and the few bad ones are really really bad.

I've wondered why that is. Bad days used to just roll off my back and picking back up was as simple as waking up the next day. Now, after a Friday night of spending nearly two hours awake with a sick, crying baby and a Saturday morning of not being able to calm or nurse or put that sick, crying baby to sleep, I found myself in tears, pleading with my Heavenly Father. When I thought of the verse, "...thine afflictions shall be but a small moment," I thought, "Is that it?! That's the comfort I get? That's not good enough. I don't want to just wait it out. I want something to come of it. There's got to be some reason why I'm going through this."

And then I understood why motherhood has been more than just another hard thing. There are no grades, no mile markers, and no raises to track my progress or my success. I won't receive any diplomas or recommendations for reading another book to Anna or showing her how to stack her blocks. The only applause I get for making all of Anna's baby food are her jerky little claps after I give her a spoonful.

Sometimes I think, "Shouldn't that be enough?" Shouldn't I be satisfied with this growing little life who thinks I'm the best and giggles when I sing to her? Shouldn't I just be happy that she's healthy and strong and a good napper?

Whatever the right answer is to those questions, right now, it's not enough. I need some results, and if motherhood can't provide them, I'll have to go elsewhere. And that is why I'm doing this. Because I can do (some) hard things.