December 30, 2008

Christmas Bliss

I remember so vividly packing up all the Christmas stuff last year and thinking that the next time I opened those boxes I would have a baby, and I kept wondering and wondering what life would be like and what she would look like and what Christmas would be like. It seemed like a surreal, hypothetical situation that would never happen, but after a long year.....it happened. And it was a blast! (Although, my dreams did not include two night feedings and a major battle to get her to sleep (but I'll take the good and the bad)).

It's amazing how kids make everything so much more meaningful. Obviously Sadie had no clue what was going on and she couldn't unwrap her presents or eat candy but it still felt more exciting to be able to share the holiday traditions with her. It's a really fun time of year to be a parent!



On Becoming Domesticated

A good friend of mine, Lori H. (not to be confused with Lori F. or Lori E.), sews these really cute bags. She gave me one for Christmas a couple years ago and then she taught me how to make them. Mine never turn out as well as hers, but I thought I would share because for me this is a huge step towards becoming motherly and domesticated and crafty.

The first one is a diaper bag that Lori and I did together. There are three pockets on the inside - they were not very fun to do but they are there because I am trying to be more persevering in my projects. I had a lot of trouble sewing through all the layers and I may need to redo the handles but I'm going to carry it around proudly until it falls apart and then I'll fix it. This second bag is one that I made for Sarah, my sister-in-law, for Christmas. The inside is brown and has a pocket. Amazingly, this bag only took me about an hour and a half to sew. I worked on the diaper bag (on and off) for weeks. I still need to find a way to secure the fringe a little better, but I thought it turned out really cute. I'm not making any promises but I think this one is well constructed and the handles shouldn't fall off any time soon.

December 13, 2008

Christmas Dance

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

December 12, 2008

I "Heart" Craigslist

So, I have to take a moment and tell you about how much I love Craigslist. For those of you who aren't familiar with Craiglist it is an online site for classified ads. People post 'wanted' ads, services available, things for sale, personal ads, lost and found, available jobs, ect. In the past couple months this is how Craigslist has blessed my life:

  • I've advertised for Sarah's photography business and she actually got a client from my post. Michael told me that they'll give me 10% of whatever Sarah makes off of any new business I can find her. So, I made a wopping $15 off the post, but it was quite rewarding to know that I helped get her business.
  • With the change of seasons and the constant growth of Sadie it was time to go shopping for new clothes. So, I thought I would check out what Craigslists had to offer. Well, I found a lot of over 200 pieces of clothing for $50. It had the cutest Ralph Lauren, Polo and Guess dresses. There were 10 different sets of pajamas, tons of play clothes, Baby Gap outfits, and the people threw in 5 different pairs of never/hardly worn shoes!
  • While looking for clothes of Sadie I stumbled across an ad for the same stroller we have. Well, Michael and Sarah were going to buy that one from Babies R Us, so I thought I would mention the ad to him. It costs $300 brand new and they got it for $140! The stroller is cleaner than ours and has barely been used. Not bad, huh?
  • Yesterday, I randomly decided to browse through the ads in Provo, Utah. My parents have been discussing buying a snowboard for Kimmy, but there aren't many snowboards for sale in Florida. So, I thought I would browse through the Athletic Equipment postings...well, don't you know I stumbled upon an ad for a beginners snowboard for someone 5''5' and size 8 boots (that happens to be Kimmy's size). The board has only been used 5 times! The price....(drum roll please)....$40! No, that is not a typo; I didn't leave off a zero. My Mom called up Troy and he drove right over to this girl's place (which happened to be in Wymount) and he bought the snowboard for us. I figured that saved my parents a couple hundred dollars.

So, I've never been one for second-hand stuff, but how can I pass up deals like this? Also, when I meet these people to make the purchases they are all really nice, respectable type 'folks'. So, if you want to save a little money and enjoy the hunt for a bargain - I would highly recommend checking out Craigslist.

December 08, 2008

Thanks for.....

Thanksgiving 2008 I was grateful that:
  • Sadie warmed up quickly to Cliffie

  • Bret (Ben's Brother), Shannon, Marissa, and Derek came to visit
  • Auntie Nancy and Uncle Richard came over for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Christy and I had a great visit together and had a fun 'game night'
  • My mom is a really good cook
  • I got to sleep until at least 7 am for 9 consecutive days!
  • The Florida Aquarium was not too crowded and was really fun
  • Tarpon Springs has AMAZING Cannoli and Baklava

  • Baby Ethan got to go home from the hospital after a 6 day stay
  • Ben hardly watched any football at all
Things to Improve Upon for Next Year:
  • Keep Kimmy under house arrest so we get to see her
  • Schedule Sadie's teething for a different week
  • Be in shape to run the Turkey Trot (no, I didn't end up doing it....I'm a failure, I know)

November 29, 2008

Baby Ethan


I'm a little late announcing it, but Mike and Sarah had their baby last week. They named him Ethan Pennington (Pennington is a family name). They had to stay in the hospital longer than desired due to his jaundice. They finally were released yesterday. Ethan is the sweetest little baby. So far he seems calm and content. It's really hard to tell who or what newborns will turn out to look like. We think he has Sarah's eyes and Mike's nose?!?! Time will tell. Mike and Sarah seem happy and content. Sarah especially has adjusted so easily to motherhood. Here are more pictures of Ethan.

November 11, 2008

False Alarm!

It turns out that Sadie DOES NOT have any interest in crawling. The small amount of progress she had been making last week was short lived. She has officially decided she wants to be carried around for the rest of her life or stand in one place and peer out at the world. In fact, (and this is true), when Ben or I even say the words 'crawl' or 'crawling' Sadie immediately starts to fuss. Her middle named should have been Patience because that is what she is determined to teach me!

November 07, 2008

To Crawl or Not to Crawl? That is the question!

Did you know that if children never crawl they have learning disorders, trouble readings, poor hand/eye coordination, and weak hand muscles, at least that's what I've been told. So, you can understand that when my 9 month old baby had no interest in crawling but wanted to stand (never sit) at all times, I became a little worried.

After much debate I decided to do a little research. I wrote my college professor who is an expert and genius in the area of child development. He said, "I don’t know of any research linking crawling and reading. Some people may be misinterpreting some things….. there is evidence that a mobile child gets to explore his/her environment more which would stimulate brain growth. However, it doesn’t matter if that is crawling, walking, or a parent that moves the child around a lot. The key is that the child gets to see new things in his environment. I guess in simple words….. don’t worry. If she wants to walk that means she is ready…. encourage her and let her do it." Also, I've generated a long list of people that never crawled and are still totally normal, intelligent, athletic, contributing members of society. So, now that I have the green light I decided I would teach Sadie how to walk. Guess who decided she wants to start crawling?!?! The one and only....



Well, she's not crawling yet but she keeps intentionally getting on her stomach and kicking, kicking, kicking. She's not going anywhere....but she's kicking. That is a major break through! We did have a play date with her adorable friend Fisher this week. I think maybe he was a positive influence on her.

So, in the end, as always, I've discovered, after much worry, that I need not worry. Sadie should survive and live a happy life, whether she crawls or not, and I have not yet done anything that will interfere with our goal of her having that happy, productive, meaningful, loving, successful, wonderful life - I hope!

November 02, 2008

Another movie for Kimmy (forgive me)

Sadie's Tricks

No Candy For Us This Year....

Lack of sleep makes you do the strangest things....

She looks happy....

One minute later.....

She got her way (as always) and I never got to go trick-or-treating.

Ben's excellent pumpkin carving skills....

October 29, 2008

Ben's Rayhawk

While watching the TB game on Monday night I made a bet with Ben, who was positive the Rays would lose, that he had to wear a 'Rayhawk' until the team lost. Well, as you probably know, the game was rain delayed, so my brave little Ben wore his new hairdo to work yesterday. It looked so funny! I wanted him to paint it blue but he said no way and I was too tired to go to the store to buy the stuff. He was so embarrassed by all the strange looks at work that he shaved if off this morning. I'm not happy about it, but at least I got one full day of him wearing his Ray Hawk. Good ole' Ben!

October 28, 2008

Cool Cousin Kody


Ben's cousin, Kody, and his wife, Jenny, and their 13 month old daughter, Ashton, came to visit this past week. Kody loves to kite surf so we went down to Ft. DeSoto at the South end by the Skyway bridge and watched him surf. The wind was a little too light for him but he was out there for an hour or two. It was very entertaining to watch. He straps himself into a harness and connects a 12 foot kite to it and off he goes. I'm always concerned the wind is going to pick him up and not put him back down but he told me it wasn't that dangerous. I'm not sure I believe him, though.

After kite surfing we went to the nicer beach and I watched while they played in the water. Ashton went running for the water and dove right in. She must have been in there for 45 minutes or more and the water was freezing!!! Kody found sand dollars and sea urchins while snorkeling, and brought them to the shore to show Sadie and me.

The next day we met Ben's Aunt Nancy and Uncle Richard for lunch and then went Kayaking in the Hillsborough River. Mike and Sarah showed us this drop off spot where the alligators are plentiful. It makes me a little nervous, but I stayed on land with Sadie anyways. Ben and Kody disappeared for an hour and when they returned Ben was soaking wet. He had gotten out of his kayak in waist deep water to lift it over a log so they could keep going down a narrow part of the river. It probably wasn't the smartest thing in the world do to but I frankly forgave him.

Here is a picture of Sadie watching from shore. She loves to be outdoors and watched in wonder at the stunts of her cool cousin Kody.

October 21, 2008

Hired x 3

Well, I knew when I quit my full time job that I would have to find some part-time work. It was important to me to stay in the educational field, because I really want to go back to work in the school system one day. My goal was to get hired through Florida Virtual School, but after months of rejection I finally decided to branch out. So, in the past month or two I have found a couple other jobs.

JOB # 1 - Tutoring elementary school students in reading and math. This is a great job and I really enjoy it. However, I was only assigned 2 students!!! Also, this job is very 'seasonal'. I'll probably only tutor the kids until February or March. So, I went back to the drawing board and found....

JOB # 2 - Online teacher for Educate Online, Inc. This job I can do from home, but I am on the phone during the teaching session so I'll only be able to do it on Saturdays and weeknights when Ben is with Sadie. With this job I had to commit to at least 10 hours a week. The pay is not great, but I feel like the potential for advancement is high. Also, the reason I've had so much trouble getting a job with FLVS is due to my lack of experience. With this job I am considered an online teacher, not just a tutor. Not bad, right? Well, the paperwork takes 4 MONTHS to process! So, I was contacted by another company saying they had a need for online tutors....

JOB # 3 - Online tutor for Tutor.com. I'm pretty excited about this job. The way it works is almost like you are instant messaging a student online with a cool 'whiteboard' area where you can draw and demonstrate principles/pictures. I've had quite a bit of training in it already and it's really impressive. Hopefully, I'll start this one in the next week or two.

I was a little discouraged that after years of education and two degrees the best job I could get was as a tutor, but you can't put a pricetag on the flexibility they provide which allows me to be at home with Sadie. And, from what I've done so far, they're pretty stress-free and suprisingly fun. When the paperwork from job # 2 goes through I may have to reevaulate what I can handle, but if it's not overwhelming I'd really like to try to stick with all three for a year or two and see if (1) I get a promotion with one of the companies or (2) the experience allows me to get hired through FLVS. Time will tell....

October 13, 2008

Melt My Heart

Sadie had, what I think is, a HUGE milestone this past weekend. She may not know what it means, but after 8 and a half months of me mumbling, "Ma-ma-ma-ma" at her she is finally saying it back. That's right, Sadie is almost, kindof, without knowing it saying my name. I never imagined I'd be this excited about it but I feel like it is a huge accomplishment (as much for me as her). She has always been a chatterbox but it has gotten even worse lately. The only time she stops talking is when she's sleeping. Ben has Sadie trained that when he pats her mouth quickly she starts 'awwing' and she moves her pitch up and down and then laughs at herself.

She is really changing a lot lately. Luckily her hair is starting to grow. I still can't really do anything with it other than the 'spike' hairdo but at least I know there's hope for the future. Sadie also got her third tooth two weeks ago. Her top ones still have not poked through and I hope they won't for a while because she is SO unhappy when she's teething. Sadie has zero interest in crawling, she won't even lay on her belly. However, she is standing really well. I usually stand her up in her crib while I fold her laundry and she holds on unassisted for a couple minutes. She loves to stand! In fact, when I go to sit her down she'll lock her legs and refuse to sit on her bum. Maybe we should just skip all the effort of getting her to crawl and try to teach her to walk. Some people say that experts say (although I've never seen it printed) that kids that never crawl have developmental problems. But several people have told me they never crawled and they're all really smart. Should I be concerned?

She has a really funny, entertaining personality and she keeps me laughing all day. It's really funny to 'rough house' with her. For instance, when she's sitting up on my bed I'll push her over and she laughs and laughs! It sounds mean, I know, but she loves to play aggressively and be pushed over. I should probably give her more independent time but she is so entertaining that I could sit and play with her all day and not get too bored. Whether she's chasing the dog, chattering like she has some juicy gossip to tell me, or eating in the bathtub she always has a mischievous grin and is quick to giggle. This age is a lot of fun!

October 10, 2008

Never Try to Get Negative Attention!

I went by Adams Middle School today where I spent two years of my life trying to trick teenagers into learning about stuff they weren't interested in. Teaching was exhausting and I complained about it a lot but I really loved it and miss it in many ways. It is so rewarding to build positive relationships with students that have never had good role models. And I loved having a creative outlet to come up with interesting hands-on activities and fun experiments. Also, some of the best people I have ever met are teachers and administrators in the school system. The people I worked with give me confidence that the educational system can't be too bad if there are people like them working hard every day.

Anyways, after I took care of the business for which I had stopped by, I went visiting around campus. My fear was that I would run into my students and not be able to remember their names. Sure enough - it happened. What was interesting was that I remembered all of the names of my 'good' students and had a total mental block remembering the names of my 'difficult' students. One student whom I had for 6th and 7th grade and was an especial terror had been completely erased from my mind. Surely I knew his name because I had written it on so many referrals but I had a total mental block. And yet, the 'perfect' students that I had spent much less time working with and worrying over I had a sharp recollection of their names, interests, comments, projects, ect. This pattern was repeated over and over again as I ran into probably 30 or 40 of my students.

This was a very simple observation but I thought it was really meaningful. First off, I think our minds have a way of holding on to positive things in life and purging itself of stressful or negative memories. I have also noticed this in regards to childbirth. Watching Sarah endure pregnancy has reminded me of all the forgotten discomforts I went through. Now, I only have a slight recollection of the pains and aches that seemed so debilitating at the time. That's really amazing to me and something I should be more grateful for! Second, I realized that although most of my students were acting out for attention and they at times received it, in the long run it had the opposite desired effect. That can be likened to life in many ways which I won't bore you with. Lastly, it reminded me of the scripture where the Lord says if we truly repent He will no longer remember our sins. That always seemed incomprehensible to me but I think maybe I understand a little more now, in a way.

In the end, it was hard to say goodbye, yet again, to so many friends. Teaching full-time is positively out of the question but it made me hope that I could find a less time consuming way of working with kids and feeling like I'm contributing. Funny, that sounds a lot like seminary. Very interesting....

October 03, 2008

Family of Four

We all say and do things that we regret. So, I may have accidentally promised my parents EIGHT YEARS AGO that if they got me a dog I would take him after I graduated college. What parents would actually enforce a promise made that long ago? I also said that I was going to be an astronaut and marry Tom Cruise - nobody is holding me to those statements. Why, for some strange reason, they thought I meant it when I told them I would take Shadow is beyond me. Nonetheless, here he sits, at my feet as I type.

Shadow is no ordinary dog; he has a mind for mischief. Last year, when we were dog sitting, Ben had made 16 cupcakes on the eve of my birthday. When we woke up the next morning there were only six left. We never found a crumb! He ate the wrappers and all!! TEN CUPCAKES!!! Once he ate half of a ham my mom made when we were about to have a general authority visit for dinner. That was stressful. On another occasion, he pulled a jar of peanut butter down off a shelf in the cupboard, somehow got the lid off, and licked the entire jar clean except for the last inch because his tongue couldn't reach. We frequently find snicker wrappers in his 'remains'. I was really mad at him when he ate the two boxes of tagalong girl scout cookies my mom bought for me. He has a desperate need to dig and does so any chance he gets. He thinks that beds were made for his comfort and that the trash can is his dog bowl. Are you starting to see the picture? I could go on....

Don't get me wrong, we love Shadow! He is part of the family. I just want to visit him instead of live with him. However, one good thing in all this is that Sadie adores him. Her little neck is always whipping back and forth in search of him. She chases him all around the house in her walker. She's getting pretty good at it too. She has figured out how to get up speed and then she rams him. Poor dog. He hides under the table now when he sees me head for the walker. The only thing he likes about her is that she drops food on the ground.

Hopefully, we will all survive our time together. And in closing, may I say that I have learned my lesson and will no longer make promises that I haven't thoroughly thought through. I hope my parents will put into practice what they have always taught me: forgive and forget! PLEASE!!!!

September 23, 2008

Top 10 Reasons Moms have Trouble Losing Weight

10. If the kids eat every 2 hours, why can't we?
9. Grocery shopping is the only kind of shopping we get to do.
8. The kitchen is always only 10 steps away.
7. We watch Food Network all day.
6. Mealtime is the one time we don't feel guilty for sitting down and resting.
5. As much as we don't want it to be, eating is a form of stress relief.
4. Giada eats pasta all day and she's a size 0.
3. It sure seems like we'll use it up before it gets stored in our thighs.
2. It's a whole lot more fun to cook than it is to clean.
1. Um...that's all I can think of. Anybody have one to add? I'm plump out of ideas (yes, there is a pun intended)!

September 21, 2008

September 16, 2008

Appreciating the Little Things in Life

This past year has brought a lot of new changes and I discovered there were a lot of things I was taking for granted, such as:

Sleeping through the night ~ being easily mobile ~ getting and staying clean all day ~ dates with Ben ~ reading a good book ~ eating any food I wanted! ~ sleeping past 5 AM ~ only having 3 loads of laundry a week ~ adult conversation ~ having Kimmy close by ~ getting, more so, staying pregnant ~ going to the beach during the Summer ~ eating out ~ A memory; "Momnesia" has really thrown me for a loop ~ wearing glasses (Sadie pulls them off my face) ~ good health ~ the patience and sacrifices of my parents ~ a stable ward ~ stress-free plane rides ~ having Ben's undivided attention during non-football season ~

To learn from this experience, I am trying to look for all the good things around me now and I'm trying to NOT take them for granted. This is what I've come up with so far:

Sadie still being so cute and little ~ not having to say bye to Ben at the end of the day, like we had to do when we were in college ~ getting up early enough to watch the sunrise ~ Sadie being immobile ~ Sadie's fun personality that keeps us laughing ALL the time ~ knowing Kimmy still comes home for Christmas and summers ~ a husband that helps with night feedings, chores, cooking, lesson preparation, and whatever else is stressing me out on a given day ~ having all of our sibilngs active in church ~ not having to drive kids to school yet ~ great friends ~ Ben's good job ~ having a mom that is a good cook ~ a nice, cute home that fits us and is safe enough to go walking in ~ how happy Sadie gets in the morning when she sees me (I'm sure it won't be like that when she's a teenager) ~ a really nice, supportive mother-in-law who is easy to talk to ~ BYU's good football season (I've definately learned NOT to take that for granted) ~ Sadie letting other people hold her ~ not working ~ having a sister-in-law who is a photographer ~ Sadie's two nice, long naps every day ~ not having a dog (hint, hint Mom) ~ our current good health ~ the family that lives close by ~ a college education ~ having my dad as a seminary teacher and him always giving me lesson ideas ~ having time in the morning to exercise ~ the Canadians being up in Canada and not making the roads extra crowded ~ being protected from every hurricane ~ feeling happy and safe when I wake up in the morning

Well, I'm sure I could keep going, but that's a pretty good list. I'm going to try really hard to be grateful this week for all of the wonderful things I have in my life. This was actually a pretty fun activity, too!

September 14, 2008

My Child Finally Eats Baby Food...

...but only in the bathtub. She LOVES her baths and I decided one day after she had made a mess in the family room that I should just try feeding her while in the tub - that way I could skip the clean-up step, too. So, just moments after she had refused to eat while in her high chair, she magically started opening her mouth and actually eating the food. It's been a week and a half since our little discovery and she's been eating dinner every night in the bathtub but refuses to eat the baby food any where else. This child is such a mystery to me, but I figure we'll just go with what works. I hope she's not going to need food therapy when she's older. Can't you just see her eating a bowl of cereal in the shower every morning?!?! I really thought that once she accepted the baby food once that it wouldn't be a problem to transition to eating in other, more normal places. But no luck yet. At least she's eating and after three and a half months of her refusing food I am just happy to make any progress.

September 04, 2008

Alicia's first and last quilt EVER!

Back in March I decided it would be a nice graduation gift to make Kimmy a quilt for her dorm room. I figured she would see it and think of us everyday and it would be a lot of fun to make. After 25 hours of cutting fabric and 15 hours of sewing I am rethinking ever taking on another such project. I recruited almost every member of the family to help me work on it. My mother-in-law helped me figure out what and how much to buy, Christy helped me cut, Sarah and my mom helped me sew, even my dad helped with the cutting of the fringe at the end! I decided in the end that it would have cost a lot less money, been better quality, and saved a lot of time if I had just bought one instead. You live and learn! Hopefully Kimmy will enjoy the quilt and treat it nicely since it will be the only one I'll ever make. By the way, the picture of my mom and I was taken at 12:30 am on the day Kimmy was flying out. That may have been a little too much procrastination...sorry mom.

August 28, 2008

Grammy's Jokes

This is some video we took of Sadie tonight. Ben is a really good joke teller as you can tell from the footage. The first joke is the one my mom told last decade and the second joke is from this decade. We have EASILY heard these jokes a thousand times or more. She literally told the first joke to anyone that would listen for at least 10 years and she cracks up laughing EVERY time she tells it. It looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Kimmy Flew the Coop

We knew it was coming but it doesn't make it any easier; little Kimmy flew the coop yesterday. When we go to the 'homestead' (aka my parents' house) it just won't be the same. Kimmy has a way of bringing excitement and humor to everyday life. She has a restless energy which means we're always going places or doing things to keep her entertained. Kimmy and I should have been twins. We think alike, act alike, sound alike, even look alike and we love being together. So, it's hard to have her so far away.

However, I am so excited for her to start college. Simple things are so fun in college like going grocery shopping for yourself the first time, staying out as late as you want, and being able to make your own decisions about what you do and when you are going to do it. And the classes and professors at BYU are so great! I always looked forward to class (except for chemistry). Oh, and then there are all the football and basketball games that are so fun! And you meet the nicest people that you just feel like you've known all your life and they make you feel like you have a family even when you are so far away from your family. And then your nicest friends introduce you to the nicest boys and then you find the one boy that makes you feel unbelievably, energetically happy yet safe and peaceful at the same time and then you decide to spend your lives together and you live happily ever after (hopefully, I'm still in this phase). Well, at least that's how it all went down for me. Now that I'm feeling melancholy after my walk down memory lane, let me just say: HAVE FUN KIMMY! IT'LL BE OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT SO ENJOY EVERY MOMENT!

August 25, 2008

Early Morning Seminary

Well, I called* to be the seminary** teacher in our ward*** yesterday. I have mixed feelings about the assignment. In some ways it's really nice because I have been trying (and failing) all summer to start a routine of getting up at 6:30 to study the scriptures and workout. So, this is forcing me to study and I have time to workout before Sadie wakes up at 7:30. Also, it's really fun to have students again and be lesson planning. However, class meets at 6 am which leaves little time for precious sleep. It's challenging because Sadie stills gets up several times each night so instead of getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep - it's more like 4 or 5! And I am a person that LOVES my sleep. Always have. But, like all things in life, I've discovered if you do what's right things have a way of working themselves out.

*A 'calling' is a service based assignment. Examples of callings include teaching youth, greeting people at the doorways, being a Bishop of a ward, leading the music, helping people with genealogy, ect.

**Seminary is an early morning class for the high school aged youth. It takes place every day that school is in session. They study each book of scripture (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants) during their 4 years of high school. This year we are studying the New Testament.

***A Ward is a congregation of members in a geographical area. We are the Hudson Ward.

August 20, 2008

Tagged, Chante's it....

Apparently, I've been tagged. I am supposed to list my 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 current obsessions/collections, and 3 random, surprising facts about myself. Here goes...

JOYS
  1. Friday night movie night - we are such homebodies, but if Ben and I could do anything we would sit at home in our PJs with a carton of ice cream and watch a movie. I LOVE it!
  2. Sadie in the mornings - she's all cute and cuddly in her PJs and happy and playful and just so fun in the mornings.
  3. Beach day - I love a nice hot, hot summer day at Ft. DeSoto with the family. I can just picture it...my Mom collecting Sand Dollars, my dad putting back into the water the sand dollars when my Mom's not watching, Joseph and Julie throwing the football ball to Ben, Kimmy and I laying on the beach, Christy off inspecting a crab, Michael with his goggle lines, Sarah taking pictures to preserve the memory, ect. Oh and I love the feeling and look of lightly toasted skin at the end of the day!

FEARS

Interestingly my fears were always that I wouldn't get married and wouldn't have children. I've conquered those obstacles, but the fears are still similar...

  1. Ben dying - morbid I know but I truly don't care what age I die at as long as Ben and I go together. Believe it or not, this is a frequent thing I pray for..."Please help Ben and I that we will die together..." I'm really weird, I know!
  2. Sadie dying - I wonder if I lack faith but the thought of not being with Sadie is enough to send me to the loony bin.
  3. Embarrassment - I hate messing up and people looking at me and being embarrassed. It's awful!

GOALS - way too many to name, but here are 3 current ones that I've have a LOT of work to do still!

  1. Learn a foreign language
  2. Run a half marathon
  3. Be really neat and tidy

OBSESSIONS/COLLECTIONS

  1. Baby names - I'm always thinking about and asking Ben about baby names even when we aren't pregnant (actually, especially when we aren't pregnant...)
  2. Houses - I love to look at houses. I go to realty websites all the time to just browse through the listings
  3. The only type of 'collection' we have is all the elephants and whatnot that Ben brought back from India and Thailand.

RANDOM/SURPRISING FACTS - I decided to do these about Ben because I can't think of any about myself

  1. He's incredibly smart - he only had one B in HS and it was in typing because he broke his arm playing football. He only got 5 B's his entire college career at BYU, while working 25 or 30 hours a week.
  2. He's rather athletic - he was the captain of his HS soccer team, played HS football, and basketball. He's a little rusty, but still loves to play sports any chance he gets.
  3. He NEVER gets mad - we've been married for 3 years next week and I still have never heard him raise his voice or say something mean about somebody. I call him my breath of fresh air in a room of second hand smoke.

August 18, 2008

Doctor's Smackdown

Sadie had her 6 month check up last week and the doctor gave us an entire list of things we need to work on with her. I felt like a failure as a parent! She even asked what day care she attended because she was shocked they had not corrected this behavior. After I told her that I was a stay home mom she just kept telling me about 'tough love'. It was embarrassing! So here is what we are working on with Sadie:
  1. Sleeping through the night. It's not uncommon for Sadie to get up 2 or 3 times a night still. It had jumped to an hourly occurrence when we were out of town. The Dr. recommended letting her 'cry it out' aka Ferber method.
  2. Taking more food at each feeding. But how do you force a child to eat when she has her mouth clamped shut and is crying? Sadie will only take 2.5 ounces since she was released from the hospital (which was 5 months ago!!!). She should be taking 5 or 6 ounces each feeding. Which leads us to the next problem....
  3. Sadie wants to eat every hour and fifteen minutes. We have to do a bi-daily washing or we would run out of bottles. So we are suppose to deny her food even when she's hungry so that she will take more at each feeding...which leads me to the next problem....
  4. Despite her appearance, Sadie is only in the 3rd percentile for weight. At her appointment (and I had just fed her) she weighed 13 lbs. 5 ounces. Surprisingly she is in the 45th percentile for height at 25 and 3/4 inches. They say that genetics has to do with part of it, but that they would like to see her put on more weight.
  5. She also needs to be more social. I'm suppose to try to leave her with family members and gradually increase the amount of time she doesn't see me. This is not as big of a problem as it was a month ago.

It's interesting to me that every major problem she has still stems from that week we spent in the hospital. It was so long ago but we are still coping with the emotional and digestive repercussions.

After her appointment she had not been feeling good and was not interested in eating. Which sounds like a bad thing, but it really helped with #s 2 and 3 above. It's not helping with #4 but I think as 2 and 3 improve that 4 will follow suit.

As for #1 we have been laying her down in her crib when she's drowsy but still awake and letting her put herself to sleep. The doctor told us to go in and comfort her every 5, 10, and 15 minutes until she falls asleep. We modified it to our needs and check her the after one minute, then 3 minutes, and then 5 minutes. She's usually asleep in less than 5 minutes. It's fantastic! Rather than it taking 45 minutes to get her asleep - it's 5. We have not yet let her 'cry it out' at night but we hope as these other areas improve that she will gradually do better.

I must admit I feel a little bad for Sadie - she has to put up with our slow learning curve but we hope we haven't messed up too much. It really has changed my perspective....I have so much more sympathy for oldest siblings.

August 06, 2008

Utah/Wyoming Pictures

Utah/Wyoming Trip

We survived! Actually it wasn't as bad as I expected. Sadie did a really great job cooperating. She even had issues with constipation, teething, and a head cold but still managed to smile and have fun. It was great to be with family and get to know a lot of the extended family better. The best part of the trip was being able to see Jadyn (Troy and Becky's baby) just hours after she had been born. We were worried we'd miss her arrival, but it all worked out and she is adorable! Grandma Cliffie now has five grandkids and four of them have been born in the past year. It'll be fun to watch this group grow up and see what personalities come out in each of them.

The trip went by way too fast, but we squeezed A LOT into 6 days. And although we feel far away and don't always get to be a part of all the festivities we were really grateful we could enjoy Logan's baby blessing, Jadyn's arrival, Lane and Bekah's rodeo experience, the family reunions, Gooch's amazing tricks, a roommate luncheon, Joe and Julie's company, and so much more. This vacation will be hard to beat!

July 30, 2008

Setting Ourselves up for Failure

We are getting ready to leave for Utah today to visit family and attend the 'Johnson Family Reunion'. Ben and I are extremely nervous about the trip. Here's a rundown of what we'll be doing:

  • Wednesday - 5 hour plane ride to Utah, drive another hour to Heber, sleep.
  • Thursday - 5 hour car ride to Idaho to attend family reunion at a girl scout camp. It's in the 90's during the day and in the 50's at night. Sadie doesn't know what 50 degrees feels like - we'll see what happens.
  • Friday - play all day, have a big fire, eat smores, enjoy family.
  • Saturday - 5 hour car ride back to Heber, go to rodeo at night.
  • Sunday - go to cousin Logan's baby blessing, celebrate after church, play with Joe and Julie in the evening.
  • Monday - meet roommates in Provo for lunch, to go Lehi to see Kurt & Desiree, have fun at Vilella cousin family reunion at night.
  • Tuesday - get up at 7 to leave for our 5 hour flight home to Florida.
So, Ben and I are concerned because Sadie isn't exactly the most cooperative child in the world. We have to say a prayer she'll behave when we do a one hour car ride to my parents. If my math is right I believe we'll be in a car or plane 28 hours in the next week! What were we thinking? I envision a lot of crying, kicking, and dirty looks. But it's worth the chaos to see the family. Hopefully, we'll be invited back next year.

July 28, 2008

Sadie's Half-Year Celebration

Sadie hit the 6 month mark this past week. It feels like more of an accomplishment for Ben and me! With each month's passing we always say, "Yeah, we survived another one". Anyways, we celebrated the day by shopping and eating ice cream (it's possible those are my favorite activities, but I think Sadie enjoyed it too).

Ben and I can hardly believe she's this old. It really seems like she was born last week (and yet, it feels like she's been a part of our lives forever). Someone told me that the days as a mom are so long but the months are so short. I think that describes things pretty accurately. I was reading through my journal about how hard those first few months were. I'm amazed at how all the memories of pain, exhaustion, emotional stress, and frustrations fade. Contrary to the vow we made at her two month mark - we probably will have more children. Thank goodness for selective memories! She just seems like a cute, fun baby now. Life is still way more complicated but it's also a lot more interesting and meaningful.

Below is some video I took of Sadie on her big day. If you ignore my high-pitched, rather annoying voice in the background the footage it quite cute.

July 23, 2008

Mommy Baby Play Group



I never imagined I'd get to the point in life where I would be part of a mommy-baby playgroup but it's happened. The ironic part is I really look forward to it each week. There are four to six moms at church that meet every Wednesday at different parks in the area to socialize and let the kids run off some energy. Now that it's summer and sweltering we've been going to the pool every week. These past few weeks Sadie has LOVED the water. I'm not sure she totally understands what's going on - she knows something is different, but isn't quite sure what. Even when she gets splashed she doesn't seem unhappy. And there's a little one year old boy that Sadie adores. She starts 'flapping her wings' (as we call it) when she sees him. I keep telling her she has to play at least a little hard to get but she's not taking my advice.

We've taken her in the ocean twice, also. I think the loud sound of the waves scared her a little but once we got in she seemed content. As long as she's being held she's happy. Although next summer will be fun (she'll actually understand what's going on) - Ben and I are loving the fact she's immobile and we don't have to chase her yet. We'll see how long that lasts for.

July 12, 2008

My New Childhood Home

My parents recently renovated the downstairs of their house - the house they bought when I was three years old. I tried to convince them to sell the house and buy a new one, but my dad says it would be horrible to sell because they would have to pay so much more in homeowners insurance every year. They decided to renovate what they have and so far it's turned out pretty good. The cabinet guy got in trouble with the government for not paying his taxes and they locked up his shop. So, pretty much the whole house is done except there are no doors or hardware in the cabinet boxes. Hopefully that problem will resolve itself soon!

Here's how it looked a month ago:


Here's how it looks now:






The 'new' house is really fun but I miss the beach condo they've been staying at for the past three months. It was FANTASTIC to take a walk on the beach after dinner or go out for a swim in the ocean while Sadie took her afternoon nap. Even though the house is only a 5 minute drive to the beach it feels so far now!

July 11, 2008

I'm officially old

Up until this time I have never cared about turning a year older. However, yesterday I turned 24. For some reason, that I can't seem to understand, 24 sounds so much older than 23! Perhaps I'm struggling because I feel like the past year has been unproductive which is really ironic because I feel like having a child is the hardest thing I've ever done and the most important thing I'll ever do. Also, I had several goals that I had wanted to accomplish by my birthday and I've failed at ALL of them. They are as follows:

  • Be 10 lbs. lighter than I currently am
  • Have obtained a part-time stay-at-home teaching job - I've had three interviews and three rejection letters. Ouch!
  • Kept the house very clean for a month straight - Why does housework suddenly become so overwhelming when you become a mom?

What I have learned from all this?

  • Eating oreos and peanut butter after every meal is NOT a good diet plan.
  • Don't set your birthday as a deadline, because it becomes something you dread!
  • When you fail - try, try again.

So, even though on my 24th Birthday I felt plump, poor, and clueless about parenthood - I figure, I have a practically perfect husband, really cute baby, supportive family, loving friends, adorable house and I just thoroughly enjoy life. I'll count the year as a success and get to work doing good things to celebrate next year.

July 03, 2008

Bored? Fun family ideas!

Thought I'd share this. Melanie Smith generated this long list (12 pages to be exact) of fun things you can do with your kids this summer. Many of them are also fun date night ideas.

Some of my favorites include:
  • Who's got the best...? Search for the best weekend breakfast in town. Make homemade survey sheets rating the pancakes, hot chocolate, and restaurant-provided amusements at every diner within driving distance. You can decide on the best ice cream or pizza. Or go with something non-edible, like the best echo in the area (under bridges or overpasses and in pedestrian tunnels), coolest playground, or fastest slide in your town.

  • Make face paint and use it one each other's face. To make the face paint, mix together 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. cold cream or Crisco, and 1/2 tsp. water. Use either a paint brush or cotton swab to put it on.

  • Have a taffy pull. Make it together and then stretch it as far as you can.

  • Have your own drive-in movie. On a clear, dry night, bring the television set outdoors and let the kids watch a movie on blankets under the stars. For added fun, invite the neighborhood kids to drive-in on their bicycles to enjoy the movie, too. Don’t forget the popcorn!

  • 5-Minute Make-Your-Own- Ice Cream. In a quart ziplock bag, put in a cup of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tbls sugar. In a gallon ziplock bag, fill the bag ¾ of the way full with ice cubes and add rock salt. Place the smaller bag inside the larger bag, and shake for 5 minutes. It works well to wrap in an old towel and roll. Open and serve!

Here's the link: http://alicia.ben.googlepages.com/home. Let me know if you have more ideas and I'll add to it. Hope you enjoy!

July 01, 2008

Happy Baby!


After many months of hoping, dreaming, and praying for a happy baby - Sadie is finally starting to cooperate. In fact, she's even starting to let family members hold her! She's always been a cute baby, but now she's pleasant, too. I was worried her hospital experience had totally ruined her social skills, but as Dr. Mike Jordan (her pediatrician) told us - the memory would slowly fade and the personality would return. We are so grateful!

Christy....Larsgard?


Who you may ask is Christy Larsgard? That is my soon to be sister. Yup, Christy and Troy got engaged last night (June 30th). He popped the question while they were taking a romantic stroll on the beach, and reading their book of the month - Treasure Island. He put a 'treasure' on her hand. They are the giddiest two love birds I've ever come across.

A little about Troy....he's 29 in one month (yes, Christy is only 20), he majored in Pyschology at BYU and he's now working on his masters degree in public administration. He grew up in Minnesota but his family has relocated to Sandy, UT. He enjoys reading, running, and connect four. Most importantly, though, he makes Christy very happy.

The happy couple will be 'sealing' the deal in a Utah temple and they are not yet sure when (either August or April, I'm told). We're hoping for April as we will be out there the beginning of August for the Johnson family reunion and it would be rather challenging to go back out two weeks later.

June 24, 2008

Typical Day


Today was another day in the crazy world of us Johnsons. How is it possible I'm more stressed as a stay-at-home Mom with one child, then I was when I was going to school and working full time? I spent the whole day pacing the house while holding our adorable, yet demanding baby. Ben relieved me for an hour and a half before he had to run out home teaching. But now finally the baby is in bed, the kitchen is clean, the feet are sore, the husband is home, and the pillow is about to be hit.