Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ellie says

"What is this thing?" 

"Guess I better put it in my mouth, just to be sure." 

"What the...that doesn't taste like milk!"

 "Mom? Is that you?"

"Mom! How did that flower get up there?! Don't you love me at all?!"

Yes, baby girl.  Yes I do.

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Monday, June 24, 2013

home sweet home

It's official!


We signed the papers and everything, so it's legit, yo.

Technically, the house was ours on Friday, but the owner wanted to stay behind for a couple of days and clean the place up a bit.  And since I don't particularly like moving in with strangers [or their children or their children's significant others], we decided to wait until this Thursday to officially move in.  Call me crazy.

We drove over yesterday after church to walk around, just the three of us.  Every other time we'd been there, there'd been quite a few other people there [you know, owners, children, children's significant others] and it'd always felt like we were intruding.  It was a strange feeling picking up carpet samples while she was still cleaning there - walking into a house that was technically ours but felt far from it.  We were eager to be there by ourselves for the first time.

Ellie enjoyed it, too, obviously.

If you look around carefully, you will see that there is a special wallpaper situation going on that we will be fixing.  I guess I've just never been that into hearts on my walls.

But hearts or no hearts, we are more than excited and so grateful for this beautiful home that we are blessed to call ours.  We kept looking at each other and saying, "This is our house!" accompanied by spontaneous smiling outbursts.

[And, of course, we really are excited about personalizing everything, too.  Paint, no heartsy wallpaper, light-fixtures...you get the idea.]

We also decided that we were going to have our very first meal over at our new place.  Was our stuff moved in yet?  No.  Was it particularly logical for us to eat over there already?  No.  Meh, logic schmogic.  Who needs logic when you've got a new house?  Which was why we brought over some paper plates and tv trays and cooked us up some baked potatoes and steak.  Mmm.  Gotta break that house in right!

After our fancy paper-plated meal, we drove over the Jeremy and Ali's to celebrate Skyler's birthday.  He just turned the big 1-3!  The little munchkin is officially a teenager.

Jeremy holding Ellie:

And Skyler blowing out his candles:

Ali is gonna have her baby in a month!  Isn't she so cute?!

We just love those guys!  Happy Birthday, Skyler!

Before we move in on Thursday, we still need to finish packing [almost done!], get new carpet in two bedrooms [the old stuff needs to go], get the rest of the carpet professionally cleaned [because Ellie will be crawling soon and because we're paranoid], and get the exterminator out [hellogoodbye, wasp nests].

Wish us luck!

p.s.  Literally every single person who notices Ellie says the exact same thing.  "She's so tiny!"

[I think it's safe to say that my daughter must be "tiny."]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

do i ever stop talking about my child? why no, thanks for asking.

Wow.  My head is absolutely spinning.  Ellie is developing and learning so quickly and my mother heart just feels so conflicted about the whole thing.  On the one hand, it is the funnest thing in the world to watch the wheels in her brain turn as she figures something out.  But on the other, it makes me a little sad because I am never going to get this time with her back.  And I am a sentimental person, so that's just how it goes.

Kind of like how packing our tiny apartment makes me feel like crying about a fourth of the time.  We brought our newborn baby home to this beloved 900 square feet, for heaven's sake.  But the other three-fourths of the time I remember how excited I am that our house closes this Friday and I stop crying.

Do you see the parallel here?  You're a smart person, I'm sure you do.  But just in case I've been unclear: I spend about a fourth of my time feeling all sentimental about Ellie's development and the other three-fourths feeling like the proudest mama in the world.  Those fractions are just a rough estimate, of course.  I don't actually spend time measuring the amount of sentimentality I feel at any given moment.  [Or do I?]

Let's talk about some of those changes.  [And if you're not as excited as we are, it's ok.  We can still be friends.]
  • On May 22nd, just before her three-month mark, she rolled over from her tummy to her back.  This made total sense to me, since she'd always hated being on her tummy.
  • Right around that same time, she started deliberately grabbing at various objects.  Especially her rings.  She loves the rings.
  • The next day, she started grabbing at objects and bringing them to her mouth.
  • She also started holding her own head up the majority of the time.

  • She started giggling a little over a week ago.  Not consistently and not all the time, but any time she does it is my favorite time.
  • During that same time period, she rolled from her back to her tummy.  And she's starting to tolerate tummy time a little more as a result but...this new skill has killed nighttime sleeping.  For all of us.  Before, she would sleep for at least one four hour stint.  And now, she is constantly rolling over to her tummy in the middle of the night and waking herself up crying.  Like every 30 minutes sometimes.  So that's been fun.
  • Speaking of sleeping, Ellie isn't much of a nap-taker and never has been.  We're working on it but this could be a long road.  Suffice it to say that for now - if she takes them at all - they're very short and only happen when being held.

  • Her eating has gotten dramatically better within the last couple of weeks.  Before, she wanted to eat every hour-and-a-half, on the dot, and when she did eat she spent about half the time crying.  Now, I made one little change, and she eats every 2-3 hours and very rarely cries.  Hallelujah.
  • She finally started taking a binky!  I tried a trick that I read about online and it was a miracle worker.  She still goes back and forth between ridiculously smiley and babbly and unexpectedly very cranky but she is much more content more of the time.
  • She doesn't like being at church very much.  I think maybe partially because we can't talk to her as much as we normally do?  Or maybe because we have to get her up earlier than normal?  I'm don't know.  But I do know that she spends almost the whole time crying which means that one of us is always either roaming the halls or walking outside.  Because...

  • She loves being outside.  Whenever she's having an especially hard time, I know that just being outside calms her down the majority of the time.
  • She loves spending time with both Tim and me.  Occasionally she'll have a preference for one or the other, but mostly she just loves both.
  • She's decided that she doesn't love her swing anymore but has a newfound love for her bouncer.  I think because it's more interactive.
  • Whenever Tim starts to play guitar, she starts "singing" with him.  Which, of course, we think is the cutest thing on the planet.

And here are a few of our favorite nicknames currently:
  • Ellie Bean
  • Ellie Bean the Drama Queen
  • Stinker Bell [I'll let you guess how this one came about.]
  • Ellie Belly
  • Princess

If you actually made it through this whole post, you can probably tell that we are more than in love with our little Ellie girl.  She is so fun and we are absolutely loving her little personality.

Or rather, her big personality.

Because that's probably more accurate.

Monday, June 10, 2013

on motherhood and how i got here

This whole motherhood thing has really taken me by surprise.

I've always known that I wanted to be a mom.  I knew it would be worth it.  And I knew I would love my kids.   But that's about as far as my confidence level went.

Truth be told?  I was terrified about the day-to-day stuff.  I was terrified that I would be bored.  I was terrified that I was going to resent not having my full-time dream job.  And I was terrified that I just wouldn't be cut out for motherhood.  [Dare I say, that I wouldn't always even like it.]

I did a lot of babysitting as a teenager.  And I loved it, I did.  I grew so attached to many of those amazing kids.  But by the end of the night, I was more than ready to hand them back over to their parents.  I was never one of those girls who wanted to spend all my free time babysitting.  And I was certainly never one of those girls who would go out of my way to hold babies.

I envied those girls.

But I wasn't one of them.

For the life of me, I couldn't imagine loving being a stay-at-home mom.

And yet...here I am.  Loving being a stay-at-home mom.

I think Heavenly Father really prepared me for this time in my life.  In a lot of really unexpected ways.

The first and most important was marrying Tim.  He is endlessly supportive of me and my dreams, whatever they may be and however they may change.  He makes me a better person and makes me feel like I can do anything.  And I always knew our kids would be the luckiest because they would have him as a dad.  Cheesy but oh so true.

Dropping out of grad school because I hated it was probably the most unexpected.  Since the age of 14, I had known - absolutely - that going into counseling was what I wanted to do with my life.  Which was why finding out I had been wrong about it came as an absolute shock.

Then came the period of unemployment.  I was stuck at home looking for jobs all day, every day.  It was an adjustment, to say the least.  I went from spending like 18 hours a day on everything grad school to spending 16 hours a day feeling like I was doing nothing with my life.  [I got a little more sleep those days.]

Then after the unexpected feelings that Heavenly Father wanted us to get pregnant [much sooner than we'd planned] and then actually finding out I was pregnant, I finally got a job!  ...A temporary, would-only-last-for-four-months job.  Which meant that once it was done, I was back to the feeling-like-I-was-doing-nothing-with-my-life stage.  Because it felt pointless to look for a job, only to take maternity leave a couple of months later, only to move to Utah just a few months after that.

But it didn't feel like that forever.  Every day, spending time as a homemaker felt a little less pointless.  And of course, growing a baby doesn't feel pointless, because it isn't.

By the time Ellie was born, I was ready.  And I was surprised just how ready for it I was.  Surprised, shocked, amazed...and happier than I'd ever been.

Does that mean that every day is easy?  Um, no.  Some days I absolutely can't wait to hand her over to Tim when he gets home, because for whatever reason, she's been crying for two hours straight and my heart is about to break into a million pieces.

Does that mean that I feel like I know what I'm doing?  Um, no.  Just when I feel like I'm starting to really figure things out, Ellie changes.  Her sleeping pattern changes and the things she wants for entertainment change and our schedules change.

Does that mean that there aren't times when I don't miss aspects of my "old life"?  Um, no.  Especially because I'm nursing her, sometimes I feel like there are so many things I can't do, places I can't go.

But does that mean that it isn't the most incredible thing I've ever done with my life?  Um, NO.  It's the best job I've ever had.  Hardest, yes.  Most time-consuming, yes.  But oh, so worth it.  It sounds cheesy, but every single day, I have moments where I tear up because I am just so happy.  Because being a mom is so amazing.  Because my daughter is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Everyone has a different story.  And there is no right or wrong story.  But this is mine.  And I'm grateful for all the unexpected [and sometimes unwanted] events that led me here.

Whenever I worried about motherhood, my dad always told me the same thing.

"It will be different with your own kids."

And he was right.

It's been better.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

the way summer should be

This new spring weather has totally changed my outlook about living in Utah.  Not to mention the fact that there are flowers everywhere and everything is totally green.

I mean, really.

If I were still living in Phoenix right now, it would be over 100 degrees every day.  And even though I still miss AZ like crazy, this beautiful weather is nothing to sneeze at.  [Well, ok.  I take that back.  Well played, Allergies, well played.]

All this beautiful weather means that we go for walks and hikes as a family all the time.  They may not be very long [hello, three-month-old baby], but they are just long enough to keep my endorphins at an ultimate high.

Let's have a look at the evidence, shall we?

The first couple pictures don't look very green, do they?  But it gets greener, I promise.  Carry on.

Don't worry, we put lots of baby sunscreen on those chubby baby legs.

Yeah my hair looks kinda weird there.  Eh, whatever.  We're all friends here, right?

And then last Monday, we spent the evening at Jeremy and Alison's in their backyard roasting marshmallows in the fire-pit, petting bunnies, cuddling with their dog, and feeding their goat.  I was in heaven.  Heaven, I say.  We also spent some time trying to convince Tim's visiting sister, Jeanie, to move up to Utah.  Though I'm not sure my recounting of the winter months did much to help.  But hopefully we were successful regardless!

This summer loveliness makes me all nostalgic for my summers in Prescott, AZ growing up.  Beautiful weather, greenery, and adventures.

Just the way summer should be.  Mosquito bites and all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

memorial weekend [part 2]

Well, so much for "tomorrow," eh?

Meh.  Ees ok.  I have a very needy daughter.  It's like she's a baby or something.  Sheesh.

In fact, let's sum up the entire trip in her words:

My mom and dad took me on a trip last weekend.  It would be fun, they said.  Let's see the world, they said.  Give me a break.  All that really meant was that I spent hours upon hours in a claustrophobic little contraption called the carseat.  And then when they finally took me out of the so-called "carseat," strangers kept trying to steal me away from my parents.  Oh, the strangers!  I kept trying to tell them that I didn't know them and just wanted my mommy, but they wouldn't listen!  And it was hot and loud and hello!  I just wanted my mommy!

Yes, she had a rough time.

The little baby.

Just kidding.  I actually felt really bad for her.  I tried approximately 2,347 things to help her feel happier, but she just wasn't having it.

Tim and I, on the other hand, loved seeing everyone.  It was so fun.  Six out of the ten kids in Tim's family were able to make it up to St. George for Ellie's blessing.  And they brought their families.  And one of my brothers was able to make it.  And of course our parents were there.

Which made for a lot of people.  It was great.

Tim's sister, Dru, was the most gracious host in all the land!  Really.  It takes an immeasurable amount of grace to let that many people invade your home, and they handled it like pros.

Tim and I kept hoping and praying that Ellie would be happy and/or sleeping during the blessing itself, but somehow I just knew that she wasn't going to like it.  I was right.  She started fussing almost immediately after we got to the church and didn't stop until well after her blessing was done.  Tim took her out into the hall to try to get her to calm down as the meeting was starting, but then as the meeting progressed and I still didn't see any signs of Tim or Ellie, I started to get nervous.  Where could he have gone?  Was he coming back in time for the blessing?  Was everything ok?  Just as they announced her blessing, Tim walked back in the chapel with a crying Ellie.  With her lacy headband covering her eyes.

I motioned frantically to Tim to re-position her headband, but it was too late.  She was already crying and the congregation was already laughing.  And I couldn't really blame them.  It was pretty funny.  Poor thing.

She cried during her entire blessing, but it didn't really matter.  She wasn't very loud and the words of the blessing were beautiful.  I frantically took notes and have some beautiful phrases to look back on in the coming years.  After the blessing, as is customary, Tim held her up for the congregation to see.  I hope that moment is forever burned in my memory.  It was so comical and sad all at the same time.  Her little tear-stained face was a bright, cherry red.  She let out a final wail before Tim brought her over to me.  I tried to calm her down, but ended up taking her out into the hallway, where she continued to cry.  Finally, I took her outside and she fell asleep almost immediately, after which I took her back inside.  We enjoyed the remainder of the meeting together in peace and quiet, other than the occasional suggestion from Tim for his sister's baby's middle name [Burton "Jabbada" Whitmer was a favorite] or the occasional message from my mom on one of those old magnetic drawing boards for kids [she can't wait for Ellie to get older].

After sacrament meeting, I made everyone go outside for pictures:

They'll thank me someday.

My poor, unhappy baby with her crooked headband.

She'll thank me someday, too.

She wore the same blessing gown I wore some 24 years ago.  I got her headband off of etsy.  As stylish as I'm sure it was for me at the time, I didn't want to also make her wear the bonnet I wore.

Oh how I love that little girl.