Monday, December 27, 2010

30 by 30, #24: Listen to The Messiah in its entirety (sing along when possible)

In case you aren't familiar with the 30 by 30 Project, here is the original post, with the big fat list.

As I'm sure you are aware, I'm a music lover. I play the piano, I sing, I used to dance, (I miss the dancing. Sigh.), and I listen. And I've always loved The Messiah. It's an inspired piece of work, and I get goosebumps just thinking about the Hallelujah chorus. (I've got to move to Philadelphia. Random Act of Culture? Yes please! Though, they did it in Michigan, too. I like that they called that one a Random Act of Joy. Sure, it's not as professional, but it's still inspiring.) But I came to realize that I don't think I've ever sat down and listened to the whole thing. We have it on CD, and we listen to it at Christmas time, but I haven't ever just sat and listened. I listen to my favorite choruses, and then the other pieces are either relegated to background music or skipped over. So I decided the time had come.

Then I realized that I'm a stay at home mom of 2 little girls, and it's virtually impossible for me to have 2 solid hours of free time. So I decided to break it up into parts, as The Messiah itself is so conveniently broken into parts itself. I actually listened to Parts I and II during a single naptime, which was amazing. I kept waiting for someone to wake up, but they never did. Part III was later that evening. I followed along on the score for most of it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very inspiring. "Worthy Is the Lamb that Was Slain?" I was not very familiar with that chorus, and now it is definitely one of my favorites. I now appreciate Isaiah a bit more and his poetic words. Also makes me want to go to a sing along.

Oh wait! We did go to a sing along! A lady in our ward put one together for the day after Christmas. Except I wasn't singing. I was playing the piano or turning pages. I'm not exactly sure why we agreed to play the piano for that, Handel is hard stuff, but we did, and it turned out fine. My one wish is that I could have been singing. Maybe next year?

30 by 30, #11: Read Anna Karenina

In case you aren't familiar with the 30 by 30 Project, here is the original post, with the big fat list.

Back in high school a friend bought me a copy of Anna Karenina for my birthday (I think it was my 16th birthday, and I think it was Ann or Angela, for those who were around back then). I thought it was an awesome gift. I was all about classic novels, and I really liked the picture on the cover.

I know. The picture on the cover is, like, THE most important thing when you are choosing a book to read. And when it's an impressionist painting of a red-head with a piano? Destiny. (I love teenage girl logic.) This was also back in my ballet days, and since Anna Karenina was made into a ballet, and Ballet West performed it, and we went and saw it, I thought this book was even more awesome. So I started reading it.

And then I stopped reading it.

And then I started reading it again.

And then I stopped reading it again.

The cycle continued for years. That's right: years. This is a common problem with books I own. Library books have a due date, and thus a date to be finished by. Books I own, not so much. And so they sit on my shelf for months and years, untouched as I plow through my list of books on hold at the library (though, that can't happen anymore because the library charges $0.25 per hold, and I think that's ridiculous) (stupid library) (I didn't mean it! I still love you, library!).

I kept saying that someday I'd finish what I'd started. And by that, I mean restart the book and read the whole thing. The 30 by 30 Project was the perfect opportunity to force myself to do it.

Well, folks, yesterday was the day. Last night I completed all 800 pages of Anna Karenina.

I'm not going to lie, I was really worried about how long this book would take to read. It's 800 pages. Small print. By Tolstoy. You know, the guy who wrote War and Peace. So I was all geared up to be reading this book for months, forcing it down my throat no matter how much I didn't want it.

28 days. That's all it took. Less than a month.

Ok. So. Would you like a review? There might be some spoilers, so be forewarned.

For starters, I loved it. It was so well written, and the plot moved really well. It's a parallel plot, really, of Anna Karenina and Konstantin Levin. And there are so many little things that I loved. Like how much Levin enjoys physical labor, and that a hard days work makes him feel happier than anything else in the world. Or the sheer happiness Levin has when Kitty agrees to marry him. Or the way Levin stands up for fidelity in marriage and tells Oblonsky that he simply cannot understand how anyone can have an affair. OK, so most of the stuff I loved was Levin.

Anna's story could be called, "Why You Shouldn't Have an Affair." It's very sad and depressing. She makes a decision, and most definitely has to pay for her choice. She loses her son, her friends, her place in society, and all for her love of Vronsky. But she knew that's what would happen when she made the choice. She had to have known. And all the rationalization in the world doesn't change the fact that she broke a vow and brought it all upon herself. While I was constantly frustrated by Anna's situation, poor choices, and intense emotional displays (I wanted to yell out, "Grow up! Quit acting like a child!"), I still enjoyed reading it. (Sort of like New Moon. Bella is an idiot, but we still want to read it.)

But I think my absolute favorite part of the book is the last few chapters, when Levin discovers that life is worth living, and realizes that there is a God. I wasn't expecting it to take a religious turn, but I loved it when it did. I especially love that he isn't brought to believe that there is a God; instead he sees that he's known it all along, and it was just clouded by his intellect all these years. He didn't learn something new, it was given to him from the beginning. He heard a truth and it resonated within him. I love that. That we all know truth when we hear it. Maybe I'm not explaining it well, but trust me, it was good.

So, there you have it. Anna Karenina, DONE.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good Instructions

Since Ella has absolutely no desire to drink milk from a bottle, and yet was enthralled to see Julia drinking from a sippy cup today, I told Julia to show Ella how it's done. And then Julia came up with the running commentary.

"First, you bring it up to your mouth. Then you take a drink. Then you take a break, and you say this word: 'Ahhhh.'"

Weekly Quote 12/20/10

"From Atlantic to Pacific,
Gee the traffic is terrific!"

There's no place like home for the holidays. But this line makes no sense to me. Since when is traffic terrific? New quote up!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

For the Grandmas: 12/14/10

Yeah, this might not be a weekly event. Anyway. Here is a video of Julia being a fairy godmother. It's kind of long, but I find it entertaining.



No video of Ella, just this adorable picture:

Good grief I love these girls.

Weekly Quote 12/13/10

"Sorry I shot the island."

This was from my new favorite show, Modern Family. Wow, that show is funny. And really not offensive. There might be some occasional swearing, and there is a gay couple (which I guess offends some people, but not me), and Gloria's cleavage is always showing, but that is it. No dirty jokes. Just funny.

New quote up!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

For the Grandmas 12/3/10

So, I meant to post something on Friday, I really did. And then I hit a button and broke the internet. All day long, I was without internet. Luckily Clark worked some magic and fixed it. But then it was the weekend, and things got busy, and I never did get a video of Julia. But Ella is the one who changes so much, so I have decided to just post what I've got, hang the consequences.

So. No Julia. But you get 2 Ella videos! The first is the one I originally intended to post on Friday. Ella being Ella, on 12/3/10.



The second is a montage of Ella laughing her guts out while I was playing with her, and Ella showing off her newest skill: blowing raspberries.

30 by 30 #12: Read the Old Testament all the way through

I know that I've already talked about this one, but I'm pretty proud of this accomplishment, and decided that it needed it's own 30 by 30 post.

I set out to read the Old Testament from cover to cover in January of 2006, because that is what we were reading in Sunday School. I got through Genesis and Exodus, and felt pretty good about myself. I trudged through Leviticus and Numbers with a little less enthusiasm. Somewhere around Deuteronomy I felt like giving up. But I kept going. I didn't get around to it every day, but I kept going. I mentioned to Clark that I was slowing down and having a hard time getting excited about the Old Testament, and he suggested that we read it together. I thought this was a fabulous idea. So we started reading as a family. Well, really as a couple, because that was all our family was at the time.

We'd stop and start, read every day, read once a month. We read with Julia when she came along (who could be found saying, "Son of Man!" around the house when we were reading Ezekiel), and with Ella when she showed up. And finally, FINALLY, we finished it. On our way out to Michigan. In October 2010. It sure took us long enough, but we did it.

And I'm really glad we did. Not only do I feel a sense of accomplishment, but it's nice to have some idea of what is in the Bible, especially those books at the end. And I do feel like I learned a lot, and had testimony building experiences. I'm not rearing to start up in Genesis again, but I did enjoy it for the most part.

2 down. 28 to go.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Weekly Quote 12/6/10

"And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
Isaiah. And Handel. Good stuff. New quote up!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 by 30, #3: Hike Angels Landing

When we moved to St George 4 years ago, we were overjoyed at the spectacular hiking opportunities looming before us. Zion National Park was 45 minutes away, Snow Canyon was on the other side of town, and even other national parks like Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of Grand Canyon (it feels so wrong not to say The Grand Canyon, but I promise, it's just Grand Canyon) were only a few hours away, and could be done in a day trip. And over the course of 4 years, we got plenty of hiking in. We got a National Parks Pass every year, and it was well worth the money.

But for some reason, Angels Landing was this unattainable goal for me. It was like my Eleanor (from Gone in 60 Seconds), or Moby Dick, or something like that. Something that I've always wanted to do, but somehow never gets done. Partly, I was intimidated by the hike itself. So many people have told me that this is a tough hike, you can't be flippant about it and just go do it, you have to be in good shape. It's steep, it's strenuous, and then there are the drop-offs. The warning signs that if you are afraid of heights, this hike is not for you. The articles in the paper about another person who DIED on Angels Landing. It's all very intimidating. And aside from being afraid of the hike, there was always an excuse. I wanted to be in better shape, it was winter, I was pregnant (which is, actually, an excellent excuse if you ask me, especially with the barfing), we had a newborn, there were other hikes on our list, we had a toddler, we had 2 kids. It basically was never going to happen.

And then we learned we were going to be moving from St George. Angels Landing suddenly became a high priority. I would have been kicking myself for years if we had lived so close to this amazing hike for years, and we moved without my ever hiking it.

So on a glorious September morning (I believe it was Friday, September 24, though I'm not 100% sure [and I don't know why you needed to know that, but there it is]), we shipped Julia off to a friend's house (ah, Taiz, how we miss you!), packed Ella up, and headed out to hike the big fat scary Angels Landing.

And I must say, I have no idea what I was so afraid of.

It was a lovely hike. Got my blood flowing, worked my quads on the way down. And the view was incredible! Though, I will say, there are other hikes in Zion with equally beautiful views. But still. Zion is one of the most beautiful places in the world.


There were a couple of moments when I was pretty nervous about the fact that my husband was carrying my infant daughter up a cliff, and she could throw him off balance at any moment. Thankfully, she slept the whole way up that last 1/2 mile, and part of the way down. We got a lot of comments about the baby: "Aww, baby's first hike!" (it wasn't, it was her 2nd); "This hike is so easy, a baby can do it!" and, of course, "What a lucky baby. I wish someone would carry me!" Hiking with a baby makes you very popular, in case you didn't know.

And, while not on the 30 by 30 list, I can now add, "Nursed a baby on a cliff," to the list of things I've done. When Ella blew a gasket right after we started down from the top, we really had no other choice. It was very exciting.

So there. I did it. I conquered the "unconquerable" hike. And it felt really good to do it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekly Quote 11/29/10

I'm thankful for Gordon; for B; for Hinckley."

Straight from a testimony given by a small child in the Yale 1st ward about 12 years ago. New quote up!

For the Grandmas: 11/26/10

A bit late, but I blame the holiday weekend. Too much turkey makes a girl lazy.

Julia:
Julia had a great time with Thanksgiving, and ate a bit of almost everything. And now, she goes around saying, "Thanksgiving is over, and the next holiday is Christmas!" We put our tree up on Friday, and she's been in heaven ever since.



Ella:
This week, Ella has discovered her hands. They are fascinating. She will stare at them for a good solid 5 minutes at a time. She also discovered toys. You bring a toy to her, and she pants with excitement! It's great. She can keep herself entertained for like 1/2 hour with one toy.

Ella has also started rolling over on purpose. It doesn't happen all the time, but more often than not tummy time ends with her rolling over on her own.

And last night, she took a binky for like the second time ever.



Ella was so cute in her dress yesterday, I had to take a picture.

Look at that tongue! When we got to church and took her out of the carseat, she about had a conniption when she saw all the dots on her dress. Dots! To look at! All over!

Friday, November 26, 2010

30 by 30

Not too long ago, I finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I really enjoyed it, which might be surprising when I tell you that I didn't really enjoy her writing style, nor did I relate to her very much. But there is something bewitching about the pursuit of happiness (even Thomas Jefferson thought so!), and the thought that we can control how happy we are.

I felt that this correlated well with my desire to compile a "30 by 30" bucket list of sorts. So I've been mulling it over for a few days now, and I think I've come up with a pretty decent list. I've created 6 categories with 5 goals in each one. I felt that each of these categories were things that I already found joy in, so why not improve upon them?

I'll list the goals in order, 5 per category. The categories are: Physical, Spiritual, Things to Read, Skills to Learn, Music, and Experiences to Have.

Some of the things I chose because I've never done them before and I've always wanted to. Some I chose because it's been so long since I did them, I barely remember anything about them. Some will be hard, some will be easy. Some will take a long time, some will take 10 minutes. But I'm rather excited about each of them. And, to be fair, I've been thinking about this stuff since my birthday. Some of the things are already completed, like reading the Old Testament all the way through. But I still wanted to include them on this list. We'll just call it "retroactive" to August 8, 2010.

So, without further ado, here is my 30 by 30 list.
  1. Go to a Zumba class.
  2. Cross-country ski in the city forest.
  3. Hike Angels Landing.
  4. Play a full round of Frisbee Golf.
  5. Climb a tree.
  6. Read and study all of the conference talks from October 2010.
  7. Keep a journal for at least 30 days in a row.
  8. Read and study all of Preach My Gospel.
  9. Go to the temple at least once (this seems like a ridiculously low number, I know, but it's hard with 2 kids, one of whom can't eat without me, no family/babysitters, and a temple that is 2 hours away.)
  10. Find a family name to take to the temple.
  11. Read Anna Karenina.
  12. Read the Old Testament all the way through.
  13. Read the complete works of Jane Austen.
  14. Read all the Harry Potter books again.
  15. Read Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.
  16. Sew matching dresses/skirts for my girls.
  17. Create a new recipe.
  18. Bake a cake from scratch.
  19. Learn to milk a cow.
  20. Make a denim quilt.
  21. Learn to play all the hymns on the organ.
  22. Learn to play a new song on the guitar.
  23. Learn to play a new song on the ukulele.
  24. Listen to The Messiah in its entirety (sing along when possible).
  25. Learn to play the William Tell Overture on the piano (I might need to get a new arrangement for this one. . . any suggestions?)
  26. Visit Chicago.
  27. Host a Pie Party.
  28. See Niagra Falls.
  29. Go to a Farmers Market and buy something.
  30. Use my passport.
I swear, that list doesn't look very long on paper, but it feels long. It feels very, very long. Get excited, you are going to hear about each of these as they are completed. Here's to hoping that I can get this done by August 8, 2011!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was our first Thanksgiving without any extended family around.

I have to admit, it was kind of lonely.

The day started out poorly when I broke the popcorn popper and discovered that the movers wouldn't move vinegar across the country, so we had none (I needed it for my pie crust recipe).

But thankfully (see what I did there?), I think we can still make popcorn, it was just a handle that broke. And it turns out that Meijer is open on Thanksgiving day, and even had a sale where I scored a new winter coat for Ella for $10 - shhhh, don't tell her, it's a Christmas present!

And even though we missed all the grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins, we still had our little family. We still watched the parade, ate plenty of turkey and pie, overdosed on tryoptophan, and were thankful for the abundance we've been given. That's what this fabulous holiday is all about, right?

p.s.
In case you were wondering, we were invited to have dinner with some friends (with 2 little red headed boys, aaaahhhh, I want a read head!), so we weren't entirely alone. Thank goodness for the church, where we can meet so many new people so quickly!

Halloween!

Since it's Thanksgiving today, I thought I'd post about Halloween. We are all kinds of messed up and behind! Awesome!

So. Julia decided to be a monkey, as you know. And a very fine monkey she turned out to be:

Ella decided to be her sidekick, a banana:


(Alright, alright. Really, it was just that Jenn had a banana costume in addition to the monkey costume, so we double borrowed. We're copy cats.)

I was a little concerned about how Halloween would turn out, because a) Halloween was on a Sunday, and b) we would be in Michigan. In Utah, I was 100% positive that everyone would be trick or treating on Saturday night. I also knew about the ward trunk or treat, and various other events around town. In Michigan, I knew nothing.

Luckily, we noticed the announcement for the ward trunk or treat in the program on the Sunday we came out for our house-hunting trip. Phew! Redemption! And then, it just so happened that the night we were visiting the Calls in Kansas City was the night of their ward trunk or treat. So we got a double whammy! Which hopefully made up for the fact that we didn't carve pumpkins at all (Julia did color a couple of little ones with marker), and we spent Halloween in a hotel. But hey, candy is candy, and Julia was one happy camper at the end of the night.

A lot of people thought Ella was a pencil. Which I guess I can understand. But come on, why would my kids be a gorilla and a pencil?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stickers

Julia has been having fun with stickers lately. The generally end up all on top of one another. I thought it was rather creative to give herself "Sticker Pants" and "Sticker Shoes."

In case you didn't believe it. . .

A while ago, Clark posted about the Santinental Breakfast. The Santas offered to pose for a picture with Ella. It was enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let's Compare

While living in a hotel, we took Ella swimming for the first time. When Julia was about the same age, we happened to be staying in a hotel and took HER swimming for the first time. I knew I had to take some pictures so we could compare the two. So, what do you think?

I think they look alike, like sisters, but not like twins. In fact, I was surprised at how different they look in the photographic evidence, I thought it would be hard to tell the difference. I also think this confirms my suspicions that Julia was chubbier than Ella is.

Ella:

Julia:
In any case, they are both cute girls.

Things to do before I'm 30: Update

Remember how I had all sorts of goals to meet before I turn 30 next year? I really should find 30 things to do before I'm 30, that would be poetic wouldn't it. Anyway, I just had to mention that I
  • finished the Old Testament (THANK GOODNESS, after 5 years it was getting a little embarrassing)
  • unpacked Anna Karenina the other day (that is one thick book. . . better get started now)
  • live 2 hours from the Canadian border (!!!)
  • and will basically have to give up on learning the William Tell Overture. Our piano made the trek across the country, and is now firmly planted in our garage because the movers couldn't get it up the stairs. They mentioned maybe they'd get some piano movers to try and get it up there, but no one has called us back yet. Since we will be in this apartment until at least June, I don't think I'll be getting much practice time in.
I'm going to have to put a little more effort into creating this 30 by 30 list. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ella, 4 Months

Ah, my sweet Ella girl. Ella is a very calm baby. She just goes with the flow. Numerous people have commented that she just doesn't cry. That's not entirely true, but as long as her needs are being met, she is content to just hang out. So content, that she doesn't have a huge desire to roll over or move herself anywhere. Actually, she did roll over once a few days ago. It had less to do with a desire to move and more to do with a desire to suck her sleeves. She loves the long sleeves because it gives her more cotton to chew on. So when I had her on her stomach, she found those sleeves, and kept getting higher and higher, until BAM, she rolled over. Pretty funny, actually.

We found ourselves a new doctor here in Michigan, and took Ella in for her 4 month well visit. As an aside, I like the new doctor a lot. The entire staff was friendly and helpful, which makes a huge difference. The one "beef" I had was at the old doctor's office, they gave me a copy of her growth chart to take home, with all the precise numbers on it. Not so here in MI. This office doesn't have digitized charts, so I can see why it would be harder to give me a copy. In fact, the doctor was so impressed at the records we brought in, and kept commenting on how nice the digitized charts were. Next time I'll pay closer attention to the numbers so I can remember them. Also, they are a lot more of an estimation than an exact percentile. But that's ok. I think we'll survive.

Anyway, stats:

Weight: 14.01 lbs, 50%
Length: 25 inches, 70-75%
Head Circumference: um, 16 inches -ish? I'm not sure. Which puts her somewhere between 50 and 75%.

Yeah, real accurate there. But she is doing great, still on the tall side, but pretty average. Weight gain is good. She eats well, and sleeps pretty well, too. She usually wakes me up between 4 and 5, and half the time (maybe less) she wakes up at 2 as well. But she goes right back to sleep, so I can't complain too much (though I do, just ask Clark).

And the pooping, oh the pooping! (Get ready, I'm about to talk about poop. If you don't want to hear it, just skip on down to the next paragraph) I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Ella was not a poopy newborn. 8 dirty diapers a day? More like 1 dirty diaper a week. Which is, apparently, totally normal. But ever since we moved to Michigan, it's like the bowels have been opened. To go from 1 dirty diaper a week to 3-4 per day? It feels like I'm up to my eyeballs in poop! But, of course, then I have to remind myself that it's still half of what Julia was like as a baby. I'm trying to look at it with an attitude of gratitude that things are getting through.

Ok, enough of that topic. Ella got some shots on Friday, and had kind of a rough weekend as a result. I think her legs hurt more than anything else. She'd sit and whimper in her sleep during naptime. Very sad. But doing better today. Julia was a great big sister during the dreaded pokes. She got up next to me, put her hand on Ella's head, and sang Happy Birthday. It was really very sweet, and Ella didn't even cry for her first shot (the subsequent shots got her lungs going, though).

We all love our little Ella Bella, Ella Magoo, DroolElla. Even if she is soaking wet most of the time.

Look at that mug. Who wouldn't love that mug?

Weekly Quote 11/22/10

"Know what kind of disgusting images I'm gonna need to stare at now to get that out of my head? Gonna have to go to the wound care center. Gonna have to stare at some wounds."

Ah, Sue Sylvester. Queen of quotations. And the best part of Glee, if you ask me.

New quote up!

Friday, November 19, 2010

For the Grandmas: 11/19/10

With our big move across the country and thereby lack of seeing family on a semi-regular basis, and because we have a fairly new baby who changes dramatically very quickly, I've decided to start (or should I say restart?) a weekly video feature on the Blogburger. Since it's really for the grandmas (and grandpas), I'm calling it For the Grandmas. So here are the girls, hanging out on a fairly boring Friday morning.

Ella:



Julia:



Obviously, we've found the camera cord. I'll try to start putting up more pictures from the past month. But I'm not promising anything! And anyone waiting for a "new place" post w/pictures of the apartment might be waiting for a looong time, because we are still living in chaos. Fewer boxes, sure, but that just means we have piles of stuff scattered about.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Same

Midland, MI and Washington, UT are the same temperature right now (38°)! Of course, it's 9:30 here, and only 7:30 there. And Washington will get a high of 67 today, while Midland will only get to 41. But still! It's not so bad here! (Yet.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekly Quote 11/15/10

"To be a good soldier you must love the army. But to be a good officer you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. This is . . . a very hard thing to do. No other profession requires it. That is one reason why there are so few good officers. Although there are many good men."

That was from The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. General Lee is a favorite historical figure of mine, in no small part thanks to this book (and the movie, Gettysburg). And no, I'm not a crazy southern confederate bigot. I just like General Lee. And I actually have a lot of sympathy for the southern cause. But that is a post for another day.

New quote up!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We made it!

I should be unpacking. I most definitely should be unpacking. And yet, here I am, blogging. Avoiding the unpacking. TOO MANY BOXES! ACK!

Anyway. . . we made it to Michigan! The girls were superstars on the drive out here. I had packed all sorts of books and toys and treats (courtesy of the dollar spot in Target) to help alleviate the meltdowns, but I didn't even use half of them. Ella slept most of the time. Julia either slept of played by herself. It was astounding. Until we hit Nauvoo, and Julia exploded, but more on that in a minute.

Here is the very long travelogue. Seriously, it's long. And did you expect there to be pictures? Because there aren't any. If there is one thing you can count on, it's that I won't take pictures. (Though, I actually did take a couple of pictures, but they are still on my camera, awaiting the day that the cord surfaces.) So, if you make it to the end, you are either a saint of a friend, or really bored. And if you don't, no one is offended. You'll just fail the quiz next time I talk to you.

Kidding, of course.

We left our beloved St George on Saturday, October 23. The original plan was to clean on Saturday and then leave on Sunday, for one long day of driving to Canon City, CO. But the movers finished early on Friday, and we actually got a lot of cleaning done Friday night, thanks in part to the Hunts, our dear friends who also let us borrow blankets and pillows and a pack and play so we could sleep on our floor. Thanks, Hunts! After a night of sleeping on our floor (meaning NOT sleeping), I told Clark that we were staying in a hotel on Saturday night. And so we decided we might as well head out on Saturday and see how far we could go.

I walked through the house one last time to make sure we got everything, and I'll admit, I cried a little. A lot has happened in 2 years. Julia has lived practically her whole life in that house, and she won't remember a thing about it I'm sure. It's where Ella came home from the hospital. Thinking about our garden and our wonderful big kitchen and all the people who have visited us there, it made me sad to leave. And we were leaving St George, our home for the last 4 years! I have loved that town, and all the people in it. I remember when we moved there I was so concerned about the red dirt. There was going to be red dirt all over my house, what am I supposed to do about that red dirt? But as we were leaving, all I could think about was how much I was going to miss the red dirt. It's really grown on me. Not to mention all the friends we've made. So many people who have influenced our lives in so many ways. You will all be sorely missed.

And while we're talking about amazing people, let me just take a moment to say that Megan Haycock is my hero. Anyone who knows her will agree. Such an amazing woman, with a solid testimony. Visiting her the day we left is something I will remember for the rest of my life. She gave me such an outpouring of the spirit to take with me on this new adventure, and I will forever be grateful. Thank you, Megan.

So. We left. We drove to Green River, UT, and then decided to stop for the night. The next day (Sunday) we drove to Canon City, and got there by lunchtime. Which was great! More time to visit with the Shaefers! Carrie was gracious enough to let us eat her food and sleep in her camper. Julia and Lauren pulled out every toy in the house, and had a marvelous time doing it. Zachary got to sit and watch Ella, who spent most of her time lying on the floor, kicking and gargling. Our very own little Chewbacca.

Monday we drove through the vast wasteland that is Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, and spent the night in Salina. We ate at McDonalds for dinner. The moment we drove into the parking lot, Julia said, "Oh, we're going to get ice cream cones!" Grandpa has trained her well.

Tuesday, we drove a whopping 2 hours to Lawrence, KS, and went to lunch with my friend Angela. And after that we headed to Olathe to visit the Calls (our old roommates). Let me just say that I love old friends. Years can go by without seeing each other, and when you get together it's like no time has past. Though, I would not like there to be years between visits next time, because I love these people. The Calls were kind enough to let us invade their house and sleep on their air mattress. We also tagged along to their ward trunk or treat, which was chaos, but a very fun chaos. Julia and Tyson kept calling each other Addie and Boy. Someday that short term memory will kick in, right?

Wednesday we went to Omaha to see the houses Clark's mom grew up in, and then headed on to Nauvoo. It might seem crazy to drive 3 hours out of your way to see a bunch of old houses, but it was totally and completely worth it. We also stopped at the Winter Quarters temple, cemetery, and visitors center. Julia got to dress up like a pioneer girl and play with a few toys. At one point the sister missionary asked Julia, "Do you know what we do in the temple?" I was sure she would have no answer, and was feeling like a failure as a parent, when she busted out, "You get married." Hooray! I've taught my child some sort of gospel truth! A while later, I asked Julia who Jesus loves, fully expecting to get the answer of Everyone, because she's had that lesson in nursery. Instead she said, "Heavenly Father." Well, yes, that is true, who else? "Joseph Smith." Also, true. Who else? "President Monson." Ok, yes. You are right. In fact, Jesus loves EVERYONE! I was pretty impressed that she pulled that out, though, and I think the missionary was impressed, too.

So, we spent Wednesday night in Nauvoo, and planned to spend all day Thursday walking around town, seeing what we could see. Thursday morning we got up and went to the visitors center to plan our day. We visited a few homes, the print shop, the gun maker shop, the brickyard, and then the meltdown began. We went to John Taylor's house, and she started to get antsy. We decided to see one more house (BY's), and then go have lunch and naps. But right in the middle of that tour, she just fell apart. Tears! So many tears! So we left to get some lunch. We walk into the restaurant and she starts bawling her eyes out because she needs a drink of water. AND SHE NEEDS IT NOW! It was not pretty. We got her water and ordered her a hot dog. She ate maybe half of it, and then started crying some more. Then she started telling us her throat hurt and she needed to see a doctor. Over and over again, "I need to go to the doctor." Which worried me a bit, as you can imagine. Julia has been to the doctor 2 times, other than well visits. Once when she was 2 weeks old, and once a year ago. This is not a kid who gets sick. So we went back to the hotel, and put her down for a nap, hoping that would help. When she woke up, she seemed a bit more chipper for a minute, but then it was back to, "I'm sick, I need to go to the doctor!" And the sobbing. Oh, the sobbing. Then I noticed the rash on her arms. And legs. And stomach. I may have flipped out a little bit about finding a doctor, in Nauvoo of all places, after hours. But Clark assured me that it didn't look that bad, and we could wait until the morning. Lo and behold, by morning she really was better.

Friday we drove from Nauvoo to Midland. It was a long day.

For the last week, we've been living in a hotel, waiting for the truck to arrive with our stuff. It came on Sunday afternoon. There has been much rejoicing. Except I'm not sure where my camera cord is, and it took us 3 days to find the blessed DVD player, and the drain on the bathtub is impossible to work, and I've been unpacking every day but there are still boxes and boxes full of stuff that has no place to go.

Speaking of which, I should go attend to at least some of that. I've got to find some food so we can have dinner tonight, because you'd better believe we aren't going out again. Too much fast food and too much sitting in a car/hotel room makes a Shanny fat and ill.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Weekly Quote 10/4/10

"It rains nine months a year in Seattle."
"I know!"

Ah, Sleepless in Seattle. I guess I was a week too early on this one, because today is a rare rainy day in St George. Oh well. New quote up!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Marathon parenting

I just told Julia that dad was running in a race this morning, the longest race he's ever run before (Go Clark!).

Julia, lip quivering: "Can I go run in a race, too?"

Me: "Yes. Well, we are going to go watch him."

Julia, lip continuing to quiver: "Can I go running, too?"

Me: "What did I just say, we're going to watch him."

Julia: Meltdown.

Me, frustrated by the copious amount of meltdowns the last few days: "Yes, you can go running! Go put on your shoes."

Julia, head down, walks slowly out of the room: "I'm really disappointed."

Does anyone know how to deal with SUPERBLY sensitive children? I think she senses this move is going to be a big change, and has about 6 meltdowns before breakfast. Every single thing turns Julia into a puddle on the floor, from requesting she go potty, to telling her we are going to the park, something she likes to do. I am going CRAZY! Help?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big News!

So.

If you read Clark's blog, or are my friend on Facebook, or have talked to me in the last week or so, you know the big news. But if you don't. . .

WE ARE MOVING TO MICHIGAN!

Yes, it's going to be cold.
Yes, it's far away.
Yes, we are sad to leave our friends in St George.

But guess what? We are excited! Everyone I've talked to in the last week has been so sad for us to leave that I've been kind of bummed out about the whole thing. And then I remembered: we chose to make this move, and we chose to do it for a number of reasons. It's going to be a great adventure for our family. It's going to be a fantastic career move for Clark. And we both feel it's where we are supposed to be. And it's not 100° in Michigan! Not now, not EVER! So that is a big bonus.

Here's how I look at it:
  • It's going to be cold. Like really, really cold. But there will be snow! And we'll get to actually use all our blankets! And drink hot cocoa! And wear sweaters, scarves, mittens, jackets, and coats! I have a feeling Julia is going to like playing in the snow.
  • It's really far away from our families. But we aren't exactly close to them as it is. Sure, there will be no more weekend jaunts to Salt Lake, and that is sad, but we'll still get to visit once or twice a year. Thank goodness for Skype.
  • No mountains. But there are some big old lakes that I hear are spectacular.
  • No more hiking in national parks. But they do have an awful lot of forest areas. And Canada is only 2 hours away, so I'm thinking I'll definitely get to use my passport before I'm 30.
Basically, there are good and bad to every place you might live. The trick is to focus on the good, and not think too hard about the bad. I'm really quite excited to get out there and experience something new!

p.s.
This is why I now know where Saginaw is. We're moving to that area. The Saginaw/Bay City/Midland area. I guess some people call it the tri-cities? And they've got The Tridge, so we're all set.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekly Quote 9/27/10

"He's losing his mind. . . and I'm reaping all the benefits. . ."

Indeed, The Wedding Singer it was. Chosen because I feel like I am losing my mind lately! Lots to do! New quote up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mmmmm

I think Julia enjoyed her free batch of Domino's Cinnastix courtesy of the library, don't you?

Matchy Matchy

Matching outfits for matching girls.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Halloween Preview

Have I mentioned that Julia is obsessed with Halloween? Randomly she'll ask me:

"Do you know what I'm thinking about?"
"No, what?"
"Halloween!"

Seriously. She is so excited for this holiday. Always telling me that it's almost here! And we get to wear costumes! And go trick or treating! And eat candy! We are forever checking out Halloween books from the library, and I've heard numerous costume suggestions. But in the last couple of weeks, she wants to be a monkey. All she wants is to be a monkey. Good thing my friend Jenn had a gorilla suit for us to borrow or else we might have been in trouble. She brought it over a week ago, and it was like Christmas morning, I swear. "A monkey costume! For me! From my friend Taiz! (She's my best friend, Mom.) ( Taiz took Mr Potato Head and I hit her. With a basket. I cried.) Can I wear it?!" I seriously love my conversations with this girl.

So here is your Halloween preview:



I particularly like the part at the end where she gets all sassy and wants to see the video. Yes, your majesty. Apparently she should be a princess for Halloween instead of a monkey.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ella, 2 months

I haven't posted an Ella video for a while, so here you go. It's already like 3 weeks old, but oh well. Also, it's not terribly exciting, and I would not be at all offended if you watched about 10 seconds and then were done. But I do know there are some people out there (like Aunt Kim and Uncle Patrick) who love to see videos the kids. Of course, they've seen her in person since this video was taken, but that is irrelevant.

Here she is at not quite 2 months.



While we're talking about the 2 month mark, let's pull up her stats:

Weight: 10 lbs, 14 oz; 49%
Height: 23.62 inches; 89%
Head Circumference: 15.2 inches; 41%

I thought she looked tall. I guess I'm right.

Somehow the nurse entered her weight at 9.5 lbs in the computer, and the doctor was telling me that we needed to keep an eye on her, and while she's not failing to thrive that is a surprising amount of tapering off on her growth curve. So I was feeling really bad for starving my baby, when I looked at the number and said, "Uh, that's not what the scale said." Phew! Her weight is just fine.

She also got her first shots, which were traumatic. There is nothing so sad as the cry of a baby who has just been jabbed with a needle. I don't even think it's just the sting of pain, I think it's the fact that they trust you to take care of them, and you are holding them, keeping them safe, when BAM! they are being assaulted, and you did nothing to stop it. It's like a little loss of innocence or something. Or maybe I'm reading way too much into it. But after the actual injection, she was a champ. Got a bit of a fever, was fussy for like 10 minutes, and then she slept it off. And that was it. A far cry from our experience with Julia, who was inconsolable for hours, and then fussy for a couple of days. This confirms my belief that Julia is uber sensitive, and Ella is uber mellow. Not that Julia was a difficult baby by any means, she is just a sensitive kid. And Ella is very different. Even if they look like the same person when you compare photos side by side.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Blessing

So, I've been having a blogger block lately, because I've wanted to post about Ella's blessing, but I haven't had a clue what to say. I mean, really, what is there to say? She got blessed. It was good. The End.

There, I said it, it's over, now we can all move on.

Though, it was so great to have family in town for the happy occasion, and we enjoyed every minute we got to spend with them. We also enjoyed the Red Velvet Cake we devoured on Sunday.

And I took a couple of pictures! Hooray for recording major life events! Here is Ella with Grandpa and Grandma Blockburger:
Here she is with Aunt Whitney (Ella was less than thrilled with life at this point):

Ella with Aunt Kim and Uncle Patrick:

And Ella with Grammie and Opa:


Finally, we thought we'd get a family shot. Only to discover that it is impossible to get a good picture with 2 little girls. This is the best we got:


Julia, looking like an orphan, and kind of giving everyone a crusty look. So we took Julia out of the equation:

And then I noticed that we've got a picture of Julia as a baby on the screensaver of our computer in the background. So it's like an unintentional photoshop effort. . except it's a picture from 2 years ago. Meh, I still like it.

Blessing post: over. Other stuff to come.

The Great Bottle (Mis)Adventure

Ever since Ella was born, Julia has been begging to feed her. Every time I pull out the boppy and sit in the chair, Julia says, "How about me? How about me?" To which I must respond, "You don't have any milk." Tears ensue. So I thought that we'd give the kid a break and attempt a bottle. Which means I have to pump, which is about the second to last thing I want to do any given day (the last thing being vacuum, our carpets are kind of embarrassing). Pumping = more dishes + more work. Also, it requires 2 hands, seeing as I have a manual pump. 2 hands that are constantly needed to do other, more important things. Also, I'd rather sleep in.

Um, I hope that wasn't TMI for anyone. Sorry.

ANYWAY. I finally pulled myself together enough to pump, and we got all settled in to feed Ella that bottle, and Ella would have none of it. Lots of chewing on the nipple. Lots of spitting it out with her tongue. Not one bit of sucking action. So much for that. At least I thought to pull out my camera and snap a picture.

If I hadn't told you that it was a failure, you wouldn't be able to tell from the photo.

Maybe someday she'll take a bottle and I can leave her for longer than 2 hours. Of course, that would require having someone to leave her with. So I guess it's a moot point. Sigh.

Weekly Quote 9/22/10

"But my lips hurt real bad!"

Oh, hi, September 22! You sneaked right up on me. Last week was from the immortal Napoleon Dynamite. Good work, Melissa. New quote up!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekly Quote 9/13/10

"So long sweet summer
I stumbled upon you and gratefully basked in your rays."

Dashboard Confessional, Age Six Racer (So Long Sweet Summer). Good stuff. New quote up!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Evidence of Age

Remember how I turned 29 and now I feel old? Well, it's like someone heard and decided it was time to bring on the signs of aging
  • I mentioned that I'd like to see fireflies because I'd never seen them before, and then Sabrina reminded me that I actually had seen fireflies. But wait, you want to know the worst part? Even after she said that, I have no recollection of this event! None of this, "Oh, now that you say it, I do remember that." I've been racking my brain the last few days trying to think of when we would have seen them, and I'm coming up blank. This was only. . . 10 years ago.
  • 10 YEARS AGO?! Events in my adult life took place 10 years ago?! Ack!
  • I made Kielbasa and Cabbage last night. And I liked the cabbage. In fact, I might even say that I loved the cabbage. More than the bacon. Who likes cabbage more than bacon? Look at me, all grown up and enjoying my vegetables. (Also, I think that might have been the first time I cooked bacon all by myself. Maybe. Or maybe that is another lost memory.)
  • My favorite thing to listen to on the radio is NPR. That's not anything new. But it's evidence, nonetheless.
Ok, now that I list them, it doesn't seem so bad. Mostly I'm just bothered that my memory is failing me. Time to do more crossword puzzles. Maybe I should add "complete a Sunday New York Times Crossword" to my bucket list. HA! Yeah right! Like I could get that good in just 1 year!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Weekly Quote 9/6/10

"'Cause I'd get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance."

Owl City. Fireflies. It's addicting. Also, now I have a strong desire to see fireflies. Maybe I'll add that to my bucket list. But I don't know if we can get that done before next August, so I might have to put that on my lifetime bucket list. New quote up!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

New Website

Have you heard of the knot? It's a website devoted to helping the bride-to-be plan her wedding. They also have the nest (to help newlyweds adjust to their new lives and make a house a home) and the bump (for all pregnancy-related things). I think they should add a new one for moms, and I think they should call it the frump. Because that is what I am now: frumpy.

Then again, maybe I don't need a website telling me how to stay home in my pajamas all day, and when I do go out to be sure my shirt has either spit-up or boogers on the shoulder, and also that my old clothes just don't fit right anymore. And that my purse must now be the size of Djibouti to carry everything I might possibly need for each of my kids.

Then again, maybe I need a website telling me these things are ok because everyone goes through this. Everyone does go through this, right?

. . . right?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Weekly Quote 8/31/10

"It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw,
I've gone to look for America."

I recently learned where Saginaw is (Michigan), which is why this song was in my head (which is not a bad thing, because Simon and Garfunkel are pretty great). Is it bad that I never knew that before?

New quote up!

Dancing Queen Part 4: The Muppet

Remember The Dancing Queen? Well, she's at it again. (Uh, this is kind of a long video. And not terribly exciting for most of it. Though it does have The Beatles in the background, and who doesn't love The Beatles? The best part is "The Muppet," which is at about the 1 minute mark. Feel free to skip to that point.)



Unfortunately, I couldn't record more because I was laughing too hard. In fact, I was crying. Would you like to see?

Monday, August 30, 2010

And now, I'm old.

Oh hey, it's August. And so, I had a birthday! What fun! My parents came down for the occasion, which was delightful because it allowed Clark and I to go on a much needed date. It is embarrassing how long it had been. We didn't go out much when I was pregnant because I was too dang tired, and having a newborn is not conducive to slipping away for a few hours. I had honestly forgotten how rejuvenating it is to get out of the house with no kids. So a BIG thanks to Grammie and Opa for watching the kids while we went to the St George Art Museum.

Did you know St George had an art museum? I've read about it in the paper from time to time, but I never had a real desire to go. But I thought it would be the perfect date, seeing as we needed something relatively inexpensive, and relatively short (Ella requires food every 2 hours. On the DOT.) They had 3 exhibits, one featuring botanical drawings, one featuring photographs of the natural beauties of Southern Utah, and one featuring photographs of abandoned places. I liked the photography much better than the drawings of plants. And let me just take a moment to say that the red rock here is awe inspiring. Especially when you've got yellow leaves against it. And waterfalls. So, basically Zion in the fall is amazing. And September is nigh upon us. I'm just a little bit excited. Anyway, the museum was lovely, and I would say worth the $3 per person. Plus, then you get to feel cultured because you went to a museum on a date.

Also for my birthday we got to eat Cafe Rio, enjoy good company, and I had someone to sit with me while Clark played the organ in Stake Conference. It really was delightful. Oh, and I got some great presents, including a new hairdryer (mine broke like 6 months ago, and instead of buying a new one, I just gave up on doing my hair), The Importance of Being Earnest (a must see, really), a budget for some new clothes (as soon as I burn the rest of the baby fat [which isn't that much, we're doing good]), and this most awesome lampshade for our entryway chandelier:

I am in love with this. I've been wanting it for many months. And then I discovered that they are like $5 at IKEA, which is wonderful! But we don't have an IKEA. But my parents do! Yet another bonus of their birthday visit.

All in all, it was a great birthday. And now I've got less than year before I'm 30. Blergh. I've started a bucket list of things I want to do before that blessed event. They include: finish the Old Testament (We're in Zechariah. We'd better finish by next year.), read Anna Karenina (a book that I've been trying to read since I was 16), learn to play The William Tell Overture on the piano, make matching dresses for my girls, and actually use my passport. I'm mostly worried about that last one. Now would be the time to contribute to the "Get Shannon Out of the Country" fund.

Julia, 8/9/2010

I didn't want to make Julia jealous of Ella, so I took a video of just her the same day. So I'm posting it. Because I can.

Ella, 4 Weeks

So, we're only a little behind on this one (Ella is now 7 weeks old) (good grief), but I thought I'd post it anyway. Because I can.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Ah, there you are Pooter. Still alive, I see."

Oh, this poor blog. It's been sadly neglected. When I have a spare moment, I find that I'd rather be eating or sleeping than blogging. (Especially the eating. I love nursing.) But you are in luck! I'm finally taking some pictures (and videos) off my camera and putting them on the computer. Which means, more posts will be forthcoming! And for now, let's have a picture dump, shall we?

Ah, the sisters. Julia really does love Ella. You might not think it when all she seems to do is cover Ella's face with a blanket or burp cloth, or roll her onto her stomach and leave her there, but she does. She is especially excited for the day when they can take a bath together. "We get to splash, Ella! And play with our toys!"

This picture proves that Julia still has creative energy, still loves Hello Kitty, and still enjoys wearing her wings from last Halloween. Albeit upside down. Speaking of Halloween, lately Julia has been asking me, "Do you know about Halloween?" To which I respond yes, I do know about it.

Ella does a lot of this. During the day, and at night. We put her down around 9, and then I usually get up at 1-2ish, and then again at 4-5ish. And she usually goes right back to sleep after she eats, which is great. Except for Saturday morning, when she stayed up for an hour and a half. But let's not think about that, let's just look at the happy baby sleeping and sigh contentedly.

Julia decided she wanted in on the swaddling action. So I obliged. It was fun. My goodness, she's getting big.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekly Quote 8/10/10

Weekly quote. HA! More like Monthly Quote.

"January! February! Tuesday!"

This quote is what Julia says when she attempts to recite the months of the year. I finally decided to update it because, well, it has been a long time, and this song has been in my head the past couple of days. So, new quote up!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Ella Goes to the Doctor

Ella had her "2 week" doctor's appointment yesterday, since the doctor was out of town last week. Here are the stats:

Weight: 8 lbs, 13.5 oz, 52%
Length: 21 3/4 in, 86%
Head Circumference: 14 1/4 in, 38%

It was nice for me to dump out all my concerns (is she eating enough? is this medication safe for me to take? does she poop enough?), and basically get the, "She's fine," on all of them. I thought I was a worrywort before I was a parent, good gracious, I'm practically destined for an ulcer now. Or a nervous breakdown. Or both.

I think having a little sister has done wonders to clear up Julia's fear of the doctor's office. I told her we were going there yesterday and she brightened right up, said, "They have fish there! And toys!" and ran to get her shoes on. Hopefully this stays true next time the appointment is for her.

In other Ella news, I think she has mostly figured out that night is for sleeping longer chunks of time (4-6 hours), and day is for eating every 2 hours. Which I am quite happy about. She loves to be held, and hates the carseat (we just pray she falls asleep fast when she's in it, which she usually does). She's not been a big fan of our walks, I think because she has to be in the carseat and it's hot, which keeps her awake. Her hair is pretty blonde, though sometimes I fool myself into thinking (hoping?) there is a hint of red to it. And other than that it's pretty much eat, sleep, cry, and (occasionally) poop.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2 Weeks!

Well. Ella has been in our lives for 2 weeks now. I find myself thinking, "These 2 weeks have flown by!" and, "Has it only been 2 weeks? Really? Surely it's been longer than that!" at the same time. I kind of feel like I'm in a time warp. A postpartum time warp. Also warped? My emotions. I think things are finally starting to calm down. I haven't burst into tears over nothing for. . . 3 days now? Poor Clark. Send him your sympathies.

Anyway. I thought you would all enjoy a video of the wee one, and perhaps a few photos as well. Here is our 2 week old girl:



If you'd like to compare, here is a video of Julia at 2 weeks old. I think they look exactly alike.

And some photos! What fun!

And this has nothing to do with Ella, but who wouldn't want to see a picture of a toddler with her underpants and skirt on her head?
I know, I just made your day. You're welcome.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ella

(Me last Sunday)

Probably most everyone who reads this blog reads Clark's blog. Or at least read the live baby updating he did over there. Or follows me on facebook. But, in case you haven't heard, WE HAD A BABY!

Would you like to hear the details? Once again, if you read Clark's blog, you probably got all those details already, but in case you didn't. . .

On Monday morning we got a phone call at 5:15 am asking us if we'd like to come in and have a baby. I was very glad to receive said phone call, because I had basically spent the night worrying that they'd be too full and not call. Also, I was worried that I'd somehow go backwards and not be ready for an induction. Shannon at 2am is not exactly the most logical creature. Anyway, we got to the hospital at 6:20, where they proceeded to fill out paperwork, hook up monitors (baby monitor and heart monitor [with telemetry, meaning a cardiac nurse at the other hospital was constantly monitoring my heart]), and give me an IV. This took until just after 8. And then the Pitocin began to flow.

It took until about 10:30 before I decided that it was time for the epidural. The doctor told me I should do an early epidural anyway, and I'm a wimp. So that worked out nicely. So about an hour later (after they got some fluid in me, and the anesthesiologist did his magic), my left side was pretty numb, and my right side was numb enough to get rid of the contractions (mostly). We did some side switching throughout the day to even that out a bit, but I was kind of glad that I had some feeling in my legs. I could move them at least a little bit the entire time.

After the epidural, we just waited. And waited. And waited. I got some rest (though not sleep, just rest), and thought about all the foods that I wished I was eating, the possible names for the baby, and what on earth I was going to do with 2 kids. Things progressed bit by bit. At 3:30, the nurse announced that I was 8cm dilated. She also thought she felt a hand by the head. And then there was a gush of blood. Which maybe was normal and maybe wasn't (I was kind of vague on the details there), so she got Dr Fagnant to come check things out, just in case. He confirmed that I was at an 8, a 9 with a contraction, and the baby was facing sideways. He was a little concerned that my cervix had torn and that was what the blood was from, so he said he'd check that out after the birth. And he didn't feel a hand. So he left. The nurses rolled me to the side in an effort to get the baby turned the right way (face down). And then the nurses left. It was about 4.

About 1 minute later, it felt like the epidural had just stopped working. HUGE contraction. LOTS of pain. And the sudden, INTENSE urge to push. I never felt anything like that with Julia. I started crying and telling Clark to hit the epidural button. I think he did hit it, but they say it takes 10-15 minutes for that to kick in. And that urge to push was overwhelming. So then I continued to cry and told him to hit the nurse button. She came right in, checked me, and said, "We're there! It's time to push." Hallelujah, this had to be over soon. So she started getting everything ready: called the cardiac nurse, told her my heart rate would likely increase, because I was delivering; got the stuff for baby ready; got my feet and legs into position. And then she had to make a call and ask where everyone was, because we were ready to deliver and she was the only one there. So everyone finally got there, and the pushing began.

With Julia, I pushed for 2.5 hours, and they used a vacuum to get her out. So I was a little concerned that this could take a while. Dr F decided to let me push a little bit, see how I did on my own. 3 pushes per contraction. I'd say I did pretty well, because 3 contractions later, she was here! 4:28pm. 7lbs, 6oz. 19.5 inches.

We named her Ella Joy.

(These pictures are the same ones that Clark posted. Because they are the best ones.)

Julia is generally delighted to be a big sister. She is a great helper. And she still calls her Bing most of the time. I've decided not to make an issue out of it.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Pending Arrival of Baby Bing

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook (and really, I don't blame you), the date is set: I am on the schedule for an induction bright and early Monday morning. Like 5:30am early, provided nothing crazy happens. It's still possible that I'll go into labor on my own before that point, I was 80% effaced and almost a 3 at my appointment on Tuesday, so stay tuned.

If you want the live blogging updates, you should check Clark's blog.

Oh, that Julia

  • We have this book, Halloween with Morris and Boris. (Yes, quality children's literature, I know.) Julia picked it up a while ago and decided to read it to herself. She titled it, "Morris and Boris and Natasha go Trick or Treating." I think I like it better.
  • When watching fireworks: "Oooo, sparkles! I want to eat them!"
  • We had an incident at the grocery store the other day. I was pretty upset with Julia. We came home, calmed down, and had naps. After her nap, she didn't come out of her room like she usually does. After about half an hour, I went in there to see what was going on. She was quietly playing in her bed. She looked at me and said, "Are you mad?" Guess she didn't want to come out and face the wrath of mom.
  • The other day she laid her head down on my lap and said, "I'm so happy to see you."
  • We came home from our walk and she said,
    "We're at Taiz's house!"
    "Isn't this your house? Do you live here?"
    "Yes!"
    “So it’s your house! Does Daddy live here?”
    “Yes!”
    “So it’s Daddy’s house! Do I live here?”
    “No.”
    “I don’t? Where do I live?”
    “At the doctors.”

    So true. So so true.
  • She'll be bawling her eyes out, and if you ask her if she wants something she'll still find it in her to say, "No, thank you."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Ultimate Update

This will be the last update on the dog. I promise. Because guess what?

Our neighbors seem to have moved! Packed up a U-Haul and drove away!

Not that they were bad people, this dog thing is the only problem we've ever had with them. But now I have no anxiety about what to do when the dog is barking in the middle of the night and I'm trying to sleep because the baby is sleeping. WOO!

Instead I can focus all that anxiety on the fact that I don't really remember what to do with a newborn, and I have no idea how to handle 2 kids. Delightful!

Have I mentioned that I have less than 3 weeks until my due date? And Dr F would like to induce me by 39 weeks, earlier if possible, and certainly NOT go past my due date? Yikes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

For Inquiring Minds

Dog update:

No barking last night. Phew! I think the neighbors are home.

I think I got more sleep, but it was still a restless night. I kept dreaming that I had the baby, and then I lost her. Not that she died, like I couldn't find her. And she was suddenly 3 or 4 days old, and I'd never even fed her! Talk about a neglectful mother. And then I did find her, and she was sitting up, and I was flipping out that I'd missed her whole life. Pregnancy dreams rock!

Also, it's hot. But we're coping! (I will not complain about the heat, I will not complain about the heat. . . )