Sunday, May 31, 2009

sew much to do

One of the big goals I had for my parents' visit was to get a lot of sewing done that's been hanging around. I'm getting more ambitious with my sewing, but my machine was broken, so not only was I waiting for Mom's help in the sewing, but also Dad's help in getting the machine working again. He did, but it's broken at least twice since fixed it. Thankfully, he passed his secrets on to me, so I've been able to soldier on with the sewing since Dad left. I've decided I have the Edsel of sewing machines...

Back to the point. While Mom was here, we finished a t-shirt quilt top (and I finished the bottom this week) together, and Mom mended two skirts, two shirts, a pair of pants, and a pair of shorts for me, a pair of pants and water socks for Anna, and sewed three new skirts for Anna. They are ADORABLE! I've started cloth-diapering Anna (ish-long story...) and the skirts covered up some of the bulk on her bum.

Here is a new outfit with the brown skirt, and a new favorite of mine. Anna is getting to be so much fun. She is intensely curious and wants to touch and move everything. She loves climbing up and sliding down stairs. She likes figuring out how things work and seeing if they can do more than is immediately obvious to her. And she loves to walk with her little push-walker or while pushing the stroller. Anyway, this is her spinning bike tires, eating dirt, and climbing stairs. I had just wanted a picture of the outfit, but since she's always on the go now, you get some action shots. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

hill country

My parents came for a nice long visit this month. They arrived on a Thursday and the next morning, we packed up a borrowed truck and headed off to Texas hill country!

San Antonio is is just 2 1/2 hours away, a straight shot on I-10, so we stopped there first. We loved the shady, cool river walk on the 100 degree day and had a HUGE lunch at Rio Rio. Sam and I ordered fajitas for two and they delivered us this pile of meat and melty cheese.

Our next stop was, of course, the Alamo. It was much less crowded than the last time we were there, so we were able to let Anna just look and crawl around. She stayed very happy, especially once I changed her diaper and let her crawl in the grass, chew on sticks, and look at the fish.

After stopping for gas and milkshakes, we headed up to McKinney Falls State Park to camp for the night. Anna had a wonderful time crawling around in the grass and dirt, playing in the truck, and singing Kumbayah around the campfire with her daddy. Like any good scout, she found herself a stick and used it for all sorts of things: digging in the dirt, chewing on, drumming on a frisbee. It was one-year-old heaven. She struggled a little to go to sleep, but she slept really well all night in her pack and play in the tent.

The rest of us ate tinfoil dinners and smores. Mom and Dad went on a night hike and Sam and I talked and held hands by the fire under a big full moon. It was just what camping should be.

The next morning, we hiked to the upper and lower falls, swam a bit, built dams, and dug through rocks. Anna loved it all and fell asleep in the stroller on the way back. It was nice and overcast, so the weather was perfect. After we ate a much needed lunch, we broke camp and packed up the truck, and started for home.

After almost 2 hours of driving, we wandered onto some country roads so we could see three of the painted churches of Texas, beautiful little country churches built by German and Czech immigrants at the turn of the last century. They look simple and plain from the outside, but are intricately decorated on the inside. I loved seeing the different styles of paintings, from elaborate flowers in subdued colors to bright, geometric shapes. At one church we took a rest under a tree and had some yogurt for a snack while Dad serenaded us on a grass whistle.

Sam finished the drive home and we all unpacked our tired selves and all our camping gear. I'm so glad we went on the trip and saw more of this big beautiful state of Texas.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

happy birthday anna!

Anna's first birthday was May 3 and we had a few friends over to celebrate and eat cupcakes. Here are the proceedings. Enjoy!

Thank you for the fun toy Grandma Ruth! She loves it.

Anna, we are so happy to be your parents. You are beautiful, happy, silly, smart, fun, and very loving. It has been amazing to watch you grow over the last year and we can't wait to see your little personality develop even more. We are very lucky to have you in our family. We love you!

Mommy and Daddy

bed head

Monday, May 04, 2009


I wrote a poem while playing with Anna one day. I posted it at oliofolio.

how I'm happy

I was having trouble falling asleep last night and got to thinking about something that's been coming back to me often lately. Over the last several months, the roller coaster of life has seemed to be a little more acute. I've felt great joy and peace, but also had many hard, low days. Most days, though, have both little bumps and dips, times when I feel good and productive, and times of set back. As yesterday was one such day, I got to thinking about it.

"How," I wondered, "do we keep rising above it? How is it that through all the highs and lows, we can, in the long run, have a generally upward trajectory?" And as I pondered, I knew that for me the answer was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because I know where I'm headed and I know how to get there, I can take the bumps and bruises and hand them over to Christ and keep stepping forward and upward.

Of course, I'm not saying it's as easy as that. Last month I seemed to stagnate for weeks, always ending the day in frustration and silence. But once I finally committed to get back to what I knew was right-- prayer, study, service, forgiveness-- life took a turn upward. Had yesterday happened in those hard weeks, I might have ended the day in tears, but since it happened on a day of prayer, fasting, and forgiveness, I ended the day at peace.

I am so grateful to have this faith. Because I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have structure and purpose in my life. I have short-term and long-term goals. I have a vision for my life and family. When I feel lost or unsure, I know where to turn to find answers and direction. I have friends who have the same goals and vision for their families, and we learn from each other and find strength in our friendship. My husband and I have made strong, eternal commitments to one another and we know the goal and end of our relationship.

I don't know how I would proceed through this life without something so stable to fall back on. My life is best described by Helaman, in chapter 5, verse 12:

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

This is how I'm happy. I build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

running in hill country

A while back, I decided to run a half marathon. On April 4th, I did.

Sam drove us all to Austin and we played in Barton Springs for a while until we got dinner and headed to Sam's Grandpa Frank's house to eat it. He loved meeting little Anna and liked to make faces at her and let her chase his cane. I always love hearing his funny stories. He always leaves us with a smile.

We stayed at a motel for the night, Anna in her pack and play in the bathroom with the fan on. We woke EARLY and headed down to the airport to catch the shuttle to the race. There was a huge line of cars, but I still got there in plenty of time. The race started at Hyatt Lost Pines near Balstrop. We drove through a winding, hilly, tree-lined road to get to the start, and it proved to be indicative of what I'd see for the next 13.1 miles.

I had decided to try to stay with the 9-minute mile pacers for the first 5 miles, and then go faster if I felt good, or back off if I didn't. With my shoes tied just right, my special socks on, and my new watch on my wrist, I was ready. However, I was tired and it was, as I said, EARLY, and my body wasn't used to it. By mile 3, I felt terrible. I was behind the pacer and was feeling a cramp. Finally, I decided that I'd just have to give up on my goal of finishing under 2 hours and just have fun and finish.

Not feeling so hot
(I obviously stole these pictures from the website of the photo company)

Of course, once I decided this, I was able to relax and had had 4 miles to warm up, so I started feeling good. I hit mile five at exactly 45 minutes (9-minute pace) and then had a long (3/4 mile) down hill. I just let go and by the turn around at 6.5 miles, I was two minutes ahead of my time. I tried to keep it up, even though I had to back up that loooong hill. By mile 11, I was feeling really tired, and the constant hills were wearing on me. There was literally never a flat stretch, it was either up or down the whole time (I guess that's why they call it the hill country...) and since Houston is nothing BUT flat, I was less than prepared for that. But since I knew I didn't have much left, I just let my body go with it's flow, and I finished in 1:56, four minutes under my goal!
Much better

I was 102nd place out of 1200 runners, so that was encouraging. I was also 8th in my age group which was surprising. Sam and Anna met me after the race since there was no place for spectators along the course. I got my free massage which was much too short, a free cupcake, a delicious breakfast burrito, and lots of runners high endorphins.

Once we changed Anna and enjoyed the sunshine a bit, we got back on the bus and headed to the airport parking. Anna LOVED the bus ride, but was exhausted. She fell asleep in the time between Sam putting her in her car seat and him driving to the curb next to the restrooms to pick me up.

We ate at the yummy Ironworks Barbeque for lunch, and though it was delicous, I could feel my body begging for lean protein and complex carbohydrates to rebuild after working so hard. Sorry body.

Sam was kind enough to drive all the way home and Anna was as patient as an 11 month old with a nasty diaper rash can be during a 3 hour car ride. Needless to say, we were all happy to be home.

I'm also glad to say that I've been good about continuing to exercise and haven't given it up completely like I did after my first marathon. I think the half was a much better distance for me.

march make up 4

After Grandma's funeral, all her descendants gathered for lunch and family time. It was wonderful to spend some time with cousins, aunts, and uncles I don't get to see nearly often enough. They are funny, kind, wonderful people with great little children.

Mom had made these cute green and pink dresses with matching, hand-knitted sweaters for her three granddaughters. She had never imagined that we'd have all three together while the dresses still fit, so we took lots of pictures.

Anna and Elizabeth inspecting Baby Maggie

In every picture, Anna is either reaching for Maggie's pacifier, or...

...waving it triumphantly in the air. Poor Maggie!

Three lucky little girls with their mommies and super-talented Grandma