Wednesday, September 25, 2013

and this is how my morning went

Thank you, thank you for your insights about my last post.

You guys are amazing.  Seriously.  I am in awe of how many good mamas there are out there.  And you've given me so many good ideas to try.  I think the best realization for me is that different things work for different kids, so I might need to try a variety of those ideas before I find something that works for us.

But as much as I am grateful for all of those ideas, I also just really needed that encouragement and support, so thank you!

Let me tell you about my morning.

It was a bit comical, actually.

I woke up and checked the weather, like I always do, to see what the temperatures would be like for our walk.  I noticed that it wasn't supposed to rain until 3pm, so I just bundled both of us up in warm clothing and hoped for the best.

I strapped Ellie in her stroller and walked outside.  Immediately I noticed the wind chill and worried that Ellie wouldn't be warm enough, so we walked back inside.  I knew she was getting impatient, but I unstrapped her, wrapped her in another jacket, and hoped that this time she would be protected against the chilly breezes.  I re-strapped [a now-crying] Ellie in her stroller and ventured back outside.

Where it immediately started raining on us.

I smiled and shook my head.

And back inside we went.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

hey mamas out there

Ok, this one's a question for the mamas out there.  Or the aunties.  Or the big sisters.  Or the nannies.  Or heck, let's not be gender exclusive.  If you're a guy with some great insight, have at it.

My little girl has gotten approximately 110% happier since those fussy newborn days.  It's great.  She smiles, giggles, babbles excitedly, and just enjoys life.

At least...she enjoys long as she gets her naps.

Sounds like most of us, doesn't it?  I mean, I know I can be cantankerous when I don't get enough sleep.

But what do you do when your little one will only fall asleep in your arms...and has to stay in your arms for her entire nap?

We've had days where I try to put her little grumpy self down in her crib for naps all day long.  We have a routine, but I don't think it makes one iota of difference.  On the one hand, if I try to set her down after she goes to sleep, she almost always wakes up, but only during the day.  She'll usually let me put her down at night.  But on the other hand, if I try to just set her in her crib to fall asleep on her own, she practically has a panic attack.  Ellie is not the "cry it out" kind of girl.  She just cries, cries harder, and then cries so hard that she's practically hyperventilating.  And my mother-heart can only stand that for so long.  Usually I just let her sleep in my arms because it's easiest for both of us.  We're both happier that way [even though it feels like I never get anything done].

And you guys.  Her nighttime sleeping?  Spotty at best.  Sometimes she'll sleep for 2-3 hours at a time, and sometimes it's only 30 minutes to an hour.  And she's almost seven months old!  She slept for 4-5 hours at a time for about two weeks when she was about two months old, but it's been all downhill ever since.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing her a disservice by not letting her cry it out.  But I feel guilty when I do, and I feel guilty when I don't.  Motherhood is funny that way.

Have any of you had/known kiddos like this?  What did you do?

Monday, September 23, 2013

that time we took profesh family photos

On August 3rd, just two days before our two year anniversary, we got our family pictures taken by Ashtyn Nicole Photography.  Ashtyn took our engagement and our wedding photos, and I just love all of her work.  She normally lives down in Arizona [AZ friends take note!], but when I saw that she'd be in Utah for the summer, I knew I had to take the opportunity.

We met up in Ogden that lovely afternoon, Ashtyn jumped in our car, and we all drove up Ogden Canyon.  None of us had ever been there before, but we figured that since all the canyons in Utah are gorgeous, it wouldn't be too hard to find somewhere perfect.  And we were right.  In fact, we found two perfect somewheres.

Just like before, Ashtyn was so good at putting us at ease and taking all the awkwardness out of feeling like we were briefly famous enough to be followed around by the paparazzi for an hour.  And Ellie - our little stranger-shy child - actually really liked Ashtyn and was fascinated by the clicks of her camera.

Ashtyn sent us a cd with almost 200 gorgeous pictures.  I wish I could show you all of them.  But let me give you a sampling.

See those adorable shoes?  They were mine when I was a wee babe, and I thought they would be the perfect addition to the shoot.  But they kept falling off.  So if you see them in some of the pictures and not others...just use your imagination.

What I love most about these pictures is how happy we look.

Because we really are that happy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

six month pictures

I know I'm a little late, as usual, but here are Ellie's six month pictures.  You'll have to excuse the color of the walls...that will be changing [hopefully] this weekend!  And then I will finally be able to finish decorating her nursery!

Our favorite of her facial expressions...the close-mouthed smile!  It's even cuter in person. 

She is getting increasingly difficult to take pictures of because she is becoming quite the little mover!  She can sit now [but not always well] and she inchworms her way across the floor.  Or the bed.  Or wherever she happens to be at any given time.  Standing with support is also a new favorite pastime.

Her new favorite game involves me looking away from her for a few seconds, and then unexpectedly looking back at her.  She giggles and giggles and I feel like the best mom in the world.  She is so much happier and just more content in general than her fussy newborn days.

Except for last week when I took her to the doctor.  She was not a happy camper then.  She loves to observe people, but as soon as they try to get in her face or touch her, her bottom lip juts out into the cutest little pout you ever did see.  Which made the trip to the doctor difficult, as you can imagine.  But she is as healthy as can be, and I think she will just be small for awhile.  Or maybe forever.  Also possible.  She was in the 25th percentile for height but was only 12 pounds, 10 ounces, which the doctor told me "isn't even really a percentile," but assured me that "the world needs small people, too."  I told him I'd be sure to relay that information to Tim.

Lately Ellie has loved every flavor of baby food we've given her.  Except for squash.  Squash always makes her gag.  But everything else makes her so excited that she rocks back and forth, cooing expectantly.  And then she always tries to steal the spoon from us, but that always just ends with food everywhere [you know, except for her mouth], so I try to keep the spoon in my possession at all times.

I know it's cliché, but seriously, she really does get more fun every day.  And we love her more every day.

 And life is just better with her in it.

p.s.  In totally unrelated news, I made Tim watch the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice [hello, Colin Firth!] with me over the past few days, and...wait for it...he actually liked it.  Shhh.  Don't tell.  Can't have him losing his man card over me and my girly movies.

p.p.s.  But if he does, he'll be in good company.  My dad's loved Jane Austen for years.

p^3.s.  I love men who appreciate the finer things in life.

p^4.s.  And British-talking movies.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

if at first you don't succeed...

...give up and go home.

That's our motto.

Or at least it was this last weekend.

Our new hometown has an annual event called "Peach Days."  It brings in approximately 50,000 spectators, which for a town of 18,000 is kind of a big deal.  There are parades and booths and even carnival rides.  Tim and I decided to give it a try, so we loaded Ellie up in the car and drove all of two minutes to park downtown.

Our first and greatest issue the entire time was Tim's cell phone, which is also his work phone.  Let me preface this by saying that I am so grateful that Tim has a job, let alone one that he loves so much.  But sometimes I just want to throw his phone out the window!  There are so many projects and events that he is in charge of, which means that he is constantly on call.  Which means that his phone is constantly ringing.  Which means that sometimes I can barely control my phone-throwing reflexes.

Like this weekend, for example.

The entire time we were walking downtown, Tim was such a champ, on the phone helping fix all kinds of problems.  And Ellie and I people-watched and silently wished the problems would just fix themselves.

But in the midst of my impatience with his phone, we had some good times, too.  Like that time we ate at the Dutch Oven Shoppe.  Because all good times revolve around food, right?

My dad would have laughed till he was blue in the face if he'd been there.  He thinks dutch oven cooking is the most ridiculous thing in the world.  "Why cook it in a dutch oven when you can just cook it in normal ways?"  But if he had eaten their food, he wouldn't have been laughing.  Hot dang, that was some good food!

We actually ended up taking the food home and eating it there, because between Tim's phone and the sweat dripping down our backs and the dog back at home, we decided to just call it a day.  But not before we walked past this:

And I got more excited than Ellie probably ever will be that I get to take her there someday and ride all the rides with her.  And then I decided that riding a ferris wheel with Tim is definitely on my bucket list.  Because it just seems romantic.

Next year maybe Tim's phone will inexplicably get "lost."

But at least this year we got some dang good ribs and potatoes!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

it's not him, it's us

I never thought I would be one of those people.

You know, one of those people who got rid of a dog.

In fact, I always secretly judged those people.  I've been a dog-lover my whole life, and I couldn't imagine ever wanting to get rid of one.  Ever.  Ever ever ever.  No matter what.

And now some of you dog-lovers out there are probably judging me.  And that's okay.  It's only fair.  I've been doing it my whole life.

But we are getting rid of Rhodie.

It hurts my heart to say it.  I've grown quite attached to the sweet little guy in the last week that we've had him.  And the reason we are taking him back is totally my fault.

I could tell you it's because he gets severe separation anxiety and destroys doors and their molding whenever we go anywhere, however short a time.

I could tell you it's because he growls at every single stranger we meet, with the hair on his neck and back sticking straight up, and he's only six months old.

I could tell you it's because in his eagerness to show his love to our daughter, he bowls her over and we can't ever leave her on the ground anymore.

But the truth of the matter is that with time and patience, those things could be overcome.  They really could.  And maybe even the fact that I had my first-ever panic attack the other night and severe anxiety ever since could be overcome, too.  Time and maybe a little medicine could be my cures.

But that panic attack made me realize something.  If you read this post about our second year anniversary, you might remember that I listed all of the things that have changed in my life within the past two years.  And as someone who isn't normally good with change, I was secretly astonished every time one of those things happened and I didn't have a meltdown.  But I think this was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.  Just one more change.  One more change that my body and my emotions apparently couldn't handle any longer.

Like I said, that could probably be overcome, too.  But then I noticed that my ever-smiling, ever-happy husband was starting to show the strain, too.  And we finally had a heart-to-heart about the whole thing and realized that maybe we don't want to overcome all of those things right now.  We had a really good thing going before.  A really, really good thing.  And maybe all we want right now is to focus on each other and on our sweet little girl.

Maybe someday we'll get another dog.  Maybe once we're past the babies stage we'll think about it again.  Maybe we'll think about a different breed, one that isn't so prone to separation anxiety and doesn't have such a velcro personality.  Maybe I'll do more in-depth research and find the dog that is right for us, and at the right time.  Maybe.  Maybe...

But the truth of the matter is that even though it makes us sad, we feel a little relieved to be taking him back to the breeder tonight.  I feel like I can finally breathe again.  And so, in the name of making ourselves feel better, we've decided to look back on this experience as that-time-we-dogsat-Rhodie-for-a-week.  Because he really is a good dog and we really did have some good times with him.

Like that time we went day-camping with him.  [There are more pictures from our hike on Tim's phone, but I don't have that with me right now.  Oh well!  Maybe later.]

And lastly, a picture of Ellie.

Because it just feels right.

Friday, September 6, 2013

i need a vacation from my vacation

I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation.

Which, for Tim, wasn't really a vacation at all, so he needs a vacation to begin with, and then another vacation from his vacation.  And I'll tag along, of course, because I'm just a good wife like that.

Let me give you the play-by-play.

First we flew from Salt Lake City to Phoenix.  I was a little nervous about flying with Ellie, but she was a champ.  I should have known.  The girl loves people-watching and airports and airplanes are the place for it.  I fed her during the takeoff and the landing and we spent the rest of the time reading books, people-watching, and looking out the window.

I would never have attempted something like that by myself, but having Tim around makes me feel like we can do anything.

We spent the night in Surprise, and the next day Tim headed to work whilst Ellie and I hung out with Tim's sister, Brigette, and her cute family.  We went to lunch at Chili's and shopping at Target and just had an all-around good time.  And Ellie enjoyed being smothered with love by her sweet cousins.  Some of the time, anyway. :)

That night we drove up to Prescott to see my parents and brothers.  It was the first time I'd been able to bring Ellie to my hometown, and it felt very significant to me.  On the car ride, I told her all about how much I loved it and about all of my adventures there, and she was totally enthralled.  Or maybe she cried through most of it.  It's hard to remember for sure.

On Friday, we all went for a hike with my dad and brother.  Tim didn't have to work that day [woot woot] and we wanted to make the most of it.  We weren't sure how long Ellie would last [as her attention span is often somewhat small], but once again, she handled it like a champ.

Prescott has gotten a substantial amount of rain this summer, so everything is so GREEN.  These pictures don't do it justice at all.  I wanted to stay and build a fort and live in the woods.

We ate out at Macayo's, went thrift-store shopping, and ventured out for some scenic drives.  Unfortunately, Ellie got her first cold while we were there, but between our Circle K soda runs and old-movie watching and incessant talking, we still had an amazing time.  And I didn't want to leave.

We spent one more night in Surprise with Brigette's family.  Ellie finally started to warm up to Brigette and then we stole her away the next morning.  Sorry Brig!

Tim and I got Ellie's cold [but Tim got it WAY worse than me...and he had to work!], which made for an interesting trip to the airport.  I'm sure anyone looking through our car windows must have thought we were extras off the set of Warm Bodies.  It was not a pretty picture.  But we made it, just in the nick of time, and even though Ellie and I had to sit in a different row than Tim [boo], we sat next to a sweet girl who had fairly recently completed her masters degree in London and a spunky old lady who kept assuring me that Ellie trying to scratch her arms was "just fine" because she was "a grandma, for goodness sakes"!

We arrived at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, got our rental car, and drove straight over to my grandma's, where Tim immediately passed out on the couch.  Poor guy.  Sick and overworked.  He sent some emails from her house that afternoon, but thankfully he rested most of the afternoon.  Ellie and I took a short nap, too, but the rest of the time we hung out with my grandma and her 130+ pound lab, Cody.  Ellie got the biggest kick out of Cody.  She would start giggling whenever she saw him.

My grandma had just gotten her thyroid out not even a week before that, and she was such a trooper!  She has had so many health issues throughout the years, and she is always so positive.  She wasn't really supposed to lift anything, but after about a day of not being able to hold Ellie, she just couldn't help herself anymore!

And I think my Aunt Ginny is rather fond of her as well... :)

We spent almost every night going out to dinner, and I was pretty much in heaven.  In fact, I am still fantasizing about that artichoke chicken from Marie Calendar's...mMmm.  And my Uncle Paul came most of the time, and he just cracks me up every time.

I got to hang out with my grandma during the days, which I loved and wished she lived closer so we could do it more often.  Like, every day.  And then I got to go shopping with Ginny, which is pretty much a necessary ritual at this point in our relationship.  Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works, New York & Company - the works.  She spoiled me and she spoiled Ellie, but I have a feeling that in the coming years, the scales will tip in Ellie's favor as far as spoiling is concerned.  And I am totally ok with that.

We got home this last Saturday night, slept-in and went to church on Sunday, and on Monday we got ready to leave to drive two hours to get...

...our new dog.


We'd loved the look of weimaraners, but in reading about the personality, I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle the very high-energy breed.  Then I found an ad on the KSL Classifieds [which is sort of like Craigslist] a few weeks ago for a calm, five-month old weimaraner with some obedience training.  And then I saw this picture and was immediately in love.

I sent the link in an email to Tim with the words, "Be still my heart."  We went to see him just a couple of days later, "just to see," and ended up putting a deposit down on him that day, with the intention of picking him up right after our trip.  We didn't want to get him and then leave on a plane just a few days later, so we decided to be patient.

Picking him up was very reminiscent of getting my dog, Casey.  He slept on my lap pretty much the whole way home and has just been an absolute sweetheart.  True to the classifieds ad, he is very calm, knows basic commands, and is very smart.  He was potty-trained within 24 hours!  And he just loves attention.  He follows me around all day and just sleeps on my feet.  He goes on walks with Ellie and me and stays right by the stroller.

We decided to call him Rhodie.  Hard to explain the origin, other than that it was vaguely inspired by James Roday from Psych.  Of course, right?

I have loved seeing him interact with Tim and Ellie.  I can just see how much Tim is loving having him around, and it makes my heart melt.  And he is so sweet with Ellie and would lick her face all day if we let him.  [We don't.]

We are loving this new addition to our family!

And now we just want to get back into a routine after all these adventures.

And then we'll probably be ready for more adventures.

Give us a week or two.