and a Happy New Year

I was hoping to send out Christmas cards this year.  It would have been our first time.  But after some procrastination and a disastrous home-photo shoot, it just didn't happen.

Looking over these, I'm having a hard time deciding which one is most representative of our family right now. They're all pretty good -- too good not to share, that is.  Merry Christmas, Internets!

Let's start with an action shot:
singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to get him to smile

and the "how can I get out of here?" shot:

Moving on to the "how do we take pictures with a two-week old?" shot:

"... especially when she wants to eat?" shot:

And ending with the "WE ARE DONE WITH THIS" shot:

I'm thinking the last one takes the cake.

(Next year maybe Kiana should use a tripod?)

(Also, don't you love the Arnold Palmer ornament prominently displayed on our tree?)


From our house to yours - may the next year be better than the last.  May you grow in wisdom and love.  May your days be merry and bright ... and filled with less crying than mine are.


Photoblogging: because I don't even have to leave the couch

I am really loving my Android phone now that I am up in the night (and down all day) needing things to entertain me  - that don't require the use of both hands.
See: Facebook, Great Expectations, Words With Friends, Tetris, Netflix

And, as most of you discovered years ago, it's nice to have a camera on my person at all times so I can record the little moments that make up my life.   Behold:

                           Cutco for Christmas!          

(the best thing is finding pictures that I didn't take)

We had a lovely December, not least because Slice had more than half of the month off work.  My bones stayed intact, my baby is beautiful, and I haven't gone into sugar shock yet. (No small miracle!)  In fact, I'm almost back in my pre-pregnancy pants.


Small-town living: healthcare edition

I was already thinking about how nice my hospital stay was when I heard the hullabaloo about the baby switching.

Now, it's a rare thing to live in a town as small (/insert-your-own-word-here) as Roosevelt is, and to have health care like Roosevelt does.  Our Medical Center is the pride and joy of this community - and for good reason. It's a nice combination of good quality and low pressure.

I was especially grateful for this during this labor/delivery/recovery.  As I've mentioned before, I know my Dr. on a personal level, and I've called him at his house with any questions I had.  When I arrived at the hospital at 4:00 a.m. in advanced labor, he got there pretty quick-style (although he wasn't on call).  He was very supportive of my birth decisions, as were the nurses, most of whom I also knew.  I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted.

Switching babies? Hardly possible.  If there were any other babies born during my 48-hour stay there, I didn't know about it.

I don't know how other hospitals are, but I didn't have to change rooms or wear a gown or shower in nasty bathrooms or ask the nurses to let me keep my baby for the first hour(s) after birth.  I could have come home after 36 hours, but chose to stay an extra night.
We also came home with a pack of diapers, two pacifiers, two baby shirts, mittens, a crocheted baby hat, formula, pillows and egg-crate foam pads, among other things provided by the hospital.

BUT next time around I am definitely taking my own towels.


Emma Grace

It's been a week and the shock hasn't quite worn off.
The shock of being a mother to two, yes, but also the shock of having just gone through a birthing experience beyond my wildest, most optimistic dreams.
This birth story won't be as long as the last one - but no one's forcing you to read it anyway, right?

This time around my birth plan went something like this:

1. Spend as much time at home as possible

And ... that's about it.  Seriously.

Of course, I was hoping for as little intervention as possible.  (Who wants pitocin? An episiotomy?)
I've been there, done that and after last time, I just wanted something better.  The Hypnobabies preparation gave me confidence that I could handle anything.

So last Wednesday the real "pressure waves" (HB speak) began.  It was 3:00 a.m. and they were intense enough that I couldn't sleep through them.  (Unlike my faithful contraction-friends, that plague me from month five onward.)
I woke Slice.
They were coming 7-8 minutes apart; Slice decided to take the day off work.  He left for a quick meeting, I put on a hypnosis track and eventually fell asleep.  By the time he got back, they had slowed to 10-15 minutes apart.  I spent the rest of the day laboring that way.

Thursday morning just after midnight, the waves woke me again.  I got up and started timing, changing positions between each one, relaxing as well as I could.  (Also eating and drinking.  See, I learn!)
At 3:00 again, I woke Slice and told him we needed to go.  My mom came over, I packed and showered and dressed and labored, still feeling pleased with how well I was managing the pressure waves.

I didn't start to doubt myself until we were en route to the hospital.  What if it was too soon?  What if I was still in early labor, and didn't progress?  Could I do it without anesthesia?  If I was on pitocin?  WHAT IF SHE WAS POSTERIOR??

We checked in around 4:00 and the nurse checked me.  "Six or seven," she said.  I about died.
But she couldn't tell the baby's position, and neither could the Doctor when he came in shortly.  He broke my water, declared I was at an 8, and told me not to push until they were ready to catch her.  Ha!

A few more hard waves and I was clinging to my husband for support through them.  That blasted back labor.  The nurse came in to check me - but I was ready to push.  They scrambled, I lost any relaxation/concentration I was still employing, and two more birthing waves later, my baby girl was born.

She weighed a perfect 7 lb. 4 oz. with a head of thick, dark hair.  Born at 5:32 a.m. the day before her due date, she came earlier, quicker and easier than I even dared hope.  The little darling.



It's 10:00 on Sunday night and Slice has been in bed, asleep, for nearly two hours now.

Tell you what: our marriage would have been a completely different animal if Slice had been working this job (i.e. this schedule) from the start.  I used to be the one begging to go to bed every night, unbelieving when Slice insisted he wasn't tired, bitter about him leaving me to play XBox or repair pumps until the wee morning hours.  So what if I was already asleep?

Now I'm the other one.  This pregnant body doesn't sleep before midnight, and doesn't sleep well before about 4:00 a.m., so it's hard to put myself to bed at any hour, regardless of exhaustion level.
(Which is high.  Ever and always.)

But wait - there's something else I wanted to talk about here.  I've been thinking about it for a week now and tonight's Christmas Devotional reminded me.  Let's see if I can put it together coherently, shall we?

Last Friday Slice and I were in the Salt Lake Valley with hours of time to kill.
Black Friday! Unbelievable sales! Targets and Kohl's everywhere we looked!  Money in our bank accounts for the first time, like, ever!
And the strangest thing happened - neither of us wanted to buy anything.
I stopped in 6 or 7 stores just for fun, came away with a 3-piece outfit for Liam that included a winter coat and jeans, $20.  Done.

You guys.  It was so LIBERATING.

Because I spent months looking and wishing and planning and buying, for my house and my babies.  I spent months feeling the weight of (unemployed) poverty, envying people who could spend money on home decor, pampering, trendy clothes, expensive baby things, organizational supplies (!).  I got irritated by all the "I Want This"  Pinboards and "Amazing Deals!" websites that really just encourage more spending.  I bought a patio set for my backyard because I thought I needed one .... and then we never used it.  Simply put, consumerism was consuming me.

I'm better now.
I finally realized, last weekend, that the only difference in the whole business is my attitude.  I can spend my life coveting and wanting and shopping and spending, or I can let things be things and choose to be grateful for what I have.  It's much easier to see looking back, of course - but I can't believe I wasted all that time and energy making myself unhappy.
I do know, now, that I won't let that happen again.
I can't afford it.


Realistically Speaking

Since joining the wonderful world of Pinterest, I have been pondering on some vital life questions.
Like How can I possibly live in a house that has so many, non-coordinating colors??
Does anyone actually spend that much time & energy wrapping a present?  
What is the deal with all the labels/hot chocolate mix-ins/decorative pillows/maps/wreaths/monograms?
and, incidentally,
Are people really gullible, or are they just lazy?
(I've checked out several pins before pinning them to find that they are nonexistent.  No longer manufactured, never actually been built (i.e. underwater hotel in Dubai - you CANNOT 'go there someday' unless someone builds it first), not a DIY tutorial but a link to a retail site.)

But you know me - practical to a fault.  Which is why I'm having such a hard time deciding on a crib for this baby to sleep in.
(Ha! Of course this post is about nesting!)

We have a crib that was given to us, and it works, but it IS quite rickety and has drop-sides, and I would really rather not use it anymore.
I've basically decided on a mini-crib, for a variety of reasons.  It's the only thing that will fit in our bedroom for the first weeks/months, I've read a million reviews and MOST say their child slept in it fine for eighteen months to two years, they are less expensive than full-size cribs, the "nursery" is already cramped, I like the idea of a snug sleeping space for my baby ....

But what COLOR?!

Is it worth spending an extra $40 to buy a particular color of the exact same crib?  When I don't have a definite color scheme anyway?  I'd love it if all the furniture in the room was white, and I was planning to make it that way (hence the white spray-painting of the glider), but now with the toddler bed and dark dresser it would take a lot of work to get there.
Also, I am running out of nesting steam.
Questions?  Comments?  Suggestions?

In other "realistically speaking" news, I am not spending the 1-2 hours a day on Hypnobabies that I should be.  I should be doing more exercises and visualizing and affirming and directing anesthesia than I am.  I'm doing almost as much as I can, though, and am still optimistic about it.  So, yeah.


Like a Love Song

The other morning while breakfast was cooking we turned on some Vevo.

I had never seen him make any of these faces before....


... and then he came home with a gun.

Yesterday we canned applesauce.  Sort of on a whim, but sort of not, seeing as I've had a box of apples sitting on my counter for a month.  (Not Fuji apples; therefore, not the kind that Slice will eat.)

I had borrowed a strainer, jars, and steam canner from my mother ahead of time.  I even started boiling the apples.  But when we pulled out the strainer, there was a very important piece missing.
I sent Slice up to my parents' empty house to search through the storeroom for the missing part.  Or the other strainer that my mom has.  He found neither.
I called my sister, my aunt, my neighbor - nobody had a strainer.  By then I'd been chopping and boiling apples for almost three hours.  Slice left again, this time to the store to buy one.

An hour later I called him, wondering where he was.
(But not really wondering because 1 - he had just gotten a fat paycheck and 2 - every time he goes to the store he spends time at the gun counter.)
Which brings me to the real point of this post.  A question, really.

Do any of you live with a person who gets fixated on certain things?  And if so, how do you deal with it?
I like to think of them as phases: the remote-control airplane phase, the iPod touch phase, the dog phase, the new phone phase, the Modern Warfare 3 phase (AHEM).  But this gun one has lasted so long that I'm afraid it isn't just a phase.

I finally got so sick of hearing Slice talk about this gun or that one, watching (and making me watch) YouTube videos of shooting ranges and explosives, checking Basin Sports/Stewart's every time we were in the vicinity - that I told him he BETTER buy a gun after this paycheck OR ELSE.
Right or wrong, that's what I said, and that's what he did.
And then we made applesauce.


Raising Funds

Several weeks ago a couple girls from our neighborhood (i.e. ward) (i.e. Primary) came to the door with a fundraiser that I've never heard of outside the Uintah Basin.  They offer a "free sitting" for family portraits and "free 11x14" with a certain donation to their organization.

Now, the last time we took family photos was over a year ago at Lu's wedding, just for fun. So I'd been wanting new ones forever.  Mainly from the ever-fabulous Linnea Anne, who by the way, was one of my very best friends in middle school.  (And my grandparents now live in her parents' neighborhood.)
But as family photos - and pregnant bellies - go, we hadn't gotten around to it.  So we signed up for the fundraiser.

Two weeks ago I went to pick them up.  Not really wanting an 11x14, but unaware that they would present me with other outrageously-priced sheets (all I wanted was a couple 8x10s!), I ended up buying the whole package including copyrights and the digital image.  Because it was cheaper than the two sheets.
Darn fundraiser.

Anyway, here's our latest family photo, which will be outdated in a month:

My hair went flat during the HOUR we had to wait for portraits.  Also: good times standing there while the photographer tries to figure out how to hide my belly. Ha!


Holly Fair FAIL

As you know, I spent the last three weeks or so crocheting with the free yarn I'm now storing in my guest room.

I planned to put all my finished projects in a booth (or two) at the Holly Fair, a local annual tradition that - until this year - I had never even witnessed.  I had no idea what to expect or what kinds of things would sell.  Naturally, this made it hard to decide what to make.

I did decide, however, that in addition to my crocheted hats & headbands I would attempt these balls:

because I've been wanting to make them anyway, for my own decorating purposes.  (Again, thanks Pinterest!) Surely someone else would like them too.

Only, this is what happened:
(see: my kitchen table for two weeks)

the balloons shriveled up before the glue dried.  Fail #1.

I also attempted some monster hats like this one.  I don't generally follow crochet patterns because they never work out for me.  This one was no exception.  The first time I tried (and every time thereafter until I figured out just how to modify it), it turned into an adult-size hat.  Fail #2.

(Unless you know an adult who wants a royal blue beanie?)

Finally made a SMALL one with two eyes and put it on my kid, and behold, it was darling.  So I made a couple more and this one is now my favorite:

Cute little alien.

ANYWAY, I had made tentative arrangements with some people who actually planned ahead for their Holly Fair booths.  But plans changed, I didn't have stuff ready until the second day of the fair.  And this was my big mistake - by the time I was ready to sell it, most of the buying was over.
Not a single thing sold.

Major fail: #3.

I guess I had something to keep me busy for three weeks?


Nursery (unfinished)

This is the (unfinished) nursery.

This is the toddler bed that I found on KSL classifieds for $30 in Vernal
in the (unfinished) nursery.
Yes, pink pillowcase.  Because it's flannel and he loves it.
Also he's keeping in touch with his feminine side.
This is the 17-month-old boy who slept PERFECTLY
in the toddler bed I found on KSL classifieds for $30 in Vernal
in the (unfinished) nursery.
He put them on by himself, and he is the gosh darn cutest thing you've ever seen.

This is the night that the 17-month-old boy decided, after a week, that he didn't want
to sleep PERFECTLY
in the toddler bed I found on KSL classifieds for $30 in Vernal
in the (unfinished) nursery.

In fact, he decided to cry on the one night that his dad never came back from work,
 so his mom wasn't sleeping well either,
 and got much less sleep than she really needed,
especially since he woke up long before his usual (punctual!) 8:30 a.m.

And they were STILL late for church.



OK, I'm not really back yet - too much going on right now.  I'll give you a little taste of things to come though
(when I get around to blogging about it):

newly textured & painted bedrooms
more crocheting stuff
Holly Fair
TODDLER BED that my baby has been sleeping in for almost a week
family pictures/dance fundraiser
five weeks (ish) to go until we have a new family member

and, in the meantime, let's talk about my appointment yesterday.

I hauled my 17-month-old to the appointment with me.  (First time I've had to do that without Slice.)

He wanted to play in the toilet.  He freaked out when I layed down on the table so the Dr could find a heartbeat. He wandered around through halls and behind desks while I waited for an ultrasound - TV remote in hand - until I chased him down.
He cried again when the ultrasound tech started doing her stuff.
Ah, my boy.

Anyway, here's the deal:  Baby girl is small.  Much smaller than Liam was at this point.  After a thorough investigation, the tech estimated just over 5 pounds, which is quite a difference from my 8+ lb. firstborn.  But she looks completely fine.

So basically I'm feeling good (/justified) about my early decisions to 1) eat fatty food to my heart's content, and 2) to be lazy.  The only thing I've done differently this pregnancy was take thyroid medication, and if I had been exercising and eating only healthy foods, who knows what might have happened?

(Just agree with me here.)


Where I've been

Liam is LOVING the smartphones and eating cereal (in milk) by himself!
In other news, he knows his body parts, some shapes, and several songs.  Smart little bugger.
He talks a lot and wants to draw all day long.  Which means I have to watch him all day long, unless I want to paint every room in the house.

Per Angie's recommendation, I am preparing myself for childbirth via Hypnobabies.  So far so good.
It still reminds me (eerily) of Inception every time though.


Center Stage, here we come!

Of course, here:

and here:

But MOST OF ALL, here:

Ten days ago I scored a few GARBAGE BAGS FULL of skeins of yarn.  All kinds!
 A lady was giving them away at a yard sale, and I happened to stop by .....
and now I am eating, sleeping, and drinking the crochet.  

This is why I don't crochet.
(I can't stop.)


Reaching New Heights

in Technology:
pics coming to you from this phone
For the first time ever, Slice bought himself a cell phone.  He has previously used only hand-me-down phones; I have used only the free-after-rebate kind.  (He picked the Google phone for me and I.LOVE.IT.)
Phones with picture messaging and Facebook?
We are moving up in the world.

in Domesticity:
fantastic cantaloupe bread/muffins I made for Slice to take to work
sewing machine I bought after using my mom's for 20 (or so) years
See also: previous post.

and in Disgruntledness: 
You can't really see the tractor parked back there in this picture.
Um, who told these people they could park their construction equipment ON OUR BACK LOT??  Because we sure didn't.
And they are leaking some kind of fluid.....
as if the noise and inconvenience weren't enough.


Isn't it funny how "age" and "experience" are all relative?  Your (and my) concept of age is based mainly on cultural, familial, and occasionally personal expectations - rarely on physical limits or historical traditions.  But the stereotypes tell such a different story.

I grew up hearing that Brigham Young University was simply a marriage factory.  (From non-family members, of course.  We are the "friend from high school"- marrying type.)  When I decided to pursue my degree there, people teased me about getting my Mrs. degree at the B.Y.Woo, etc. etc.  You won't last a year there!  I'm sure you've heard it all before.  It's an old stereotype that, in my experience, could not be less true.

My fellow BYU students have married later than my friends at every other university in the state.  Out of the twenty roommates I had over 11 semesters - all older than me! - I was the one who got married first.  Two months shy of 21 years, with a semester in Europe and almost-a-BA-degree behind me.
(I have my theories about this phenomenon.)

Still, I felt slightly cheated.  My oldest sister served a mission before getting married; my next-oldest sister at least had a mission call before her plans changed.

Then I moved back to the Basin, where a different culture prevails.  I realized that fellow high school classmates had married and had one, even two children in the time that I spent at school.  They were in a different stage of life.  It made me think twice about my previous expectations, and perhaps learn to judge a little bit less.

Now my college friends are getting married and pregnant for the first time.  As the youngest of the bunch, I get to play the part of the old, wise friend with years of experience.
Not a part I ever asked for ... but a pretty fun one, in any case!

(And I am SO EXCITED for you three!)


Guest guess

I am needing your advice.

Since my brother moved out of our basement a week ago (YAY!), we now have an empty bedroom.  Slice thinks we should put Liam down there when the baby comes but there is NO WAY I am doing that, so ....  guest bedroom it is.

Major problem: we cannot fit a queen-size box spring down the staircase.  (Old house, remember.)

SO.  If you are going to stay at someone's house, which of the following would you prefer?
A) a full-size mattress with a good box spring
B) a hide-a-bed mattress (technically "queen" size but we all know it's smaller)
C) a double chamber queen-size air mattress on the floor
D) something else that I will tell you in the comments

I would love to put a futon or frame like this down there eventually, but it's not at the top of the list, seeing as we still need to buy a crib for our unborn child.  Among other things.



obligatory pictures

We took Liam to the zoo on Monday.  We've been wanting to forever, and I thought we better do it before it gets cold and we have another baby and I never want to leave the house again, etc.  Slice and I were definitely more excited about it than Liam was.
I think the favorites were the monkeys and elephants ... lots of construction and NO BUTTERFLY HOUSE??  LAME.

Anyway, good times all around.  I just think I have the cutest kid in the world.

As we rural dwellers do, we made the most of the trip.  Siegfried's for lunch, RCWilley for a kitchen table, Provo Canyon for a photo shoot, Sprint kiosk in the mall for a new phone plan.  It's exhausting, but we've got to do it.

In other news, Slice has switched his schedule so he won't have to work Thanksgiving or Christmas.  For the first time ever, we can make plans for Thanksgiving!  (With no guarantees though - I'm due two weeks later.)  Hopefully we'll get to see some family this year.


Other fruits

You'd probably have to be from here to understand, but when we moved to the Basin, music was NOT cool.
The high school band was really small - but growing! - the orchestra was downright pitiful.  And the choir? Well, I wouldn't have been caught dead in the high school choir.  Me.

You recall that I was part of a show choir of sorts during high school.  Yes I was; it was sponsored by the college, directed (in part) by my mother, and was one of the best experiences of my school career.  Stagelight has a long history of service, entertainment, music education, and, of course, relationship drama in this community.  One time we tried to count up all the marriages born ....
Still, we were not "cool" by any means, and we had to do quite a bit of convincing to get our peers to even come watch our shows.

Imagine the time we had getting boys to actually join!  Like pulling teeth!  Year after year, we begged and pleaded and bribed.  It was a fantastic success when we had twelve boys and twelve girls to make up a group.

Fast forward seven, eight years.

Things is changin' around here, Laurey!  Maybe not with the high school choir (I wouldn't know), but I'll tell you, a grassroots movement has begun.  And I'd like to take the credit.

Mom, Lana and I are directing Center Stage again, and in four rehearsals we have had EIGHTEEN BOYS sign up to be in the group.  Eighteen. male. high school juniors and seniors.  What are we going to do with them all??
For the first time in history we have more boys than girls.
(And many more boys and girls than we expected.)

The best part is, they can actually sing.  Some are beginners, to be sure, but many others are capable of reading and holding a part.  They're learning the music so quickly we might need to add more.
We are literally shaking our heads, wondering what to do with this group.  We've got to decide soon, because our show is scheduled for December 2nd.

Want to come?


Fruits of our Labors

Despite the sleepless nights and compulsive Pinteresting, I've decided that the nesting instinct is a real blessing.  For a few consecutive months I am motivated to do any and all projects that have been cluttering my brain/house for weeks, months ... even years.
('Cause after the baby comes, you better believe I am doing nothing for half a year. Or longer.)

Case in point: this chair. 

Slice and I bought this chair maybe two years ago at a freight-damaged place in town - still one of the few pieces of furniture we have actually bought.  While we loved the look (and the chair has gotten us more compliments than anything else in the house!), it just didn't match anything we own.  So I've been planning to re-cover it ever since we brought it home.  

Last week I finally did.

My trusty handyman helped with the dismantling: 

Slice helped with some of the stapling and reassembling.  The job did take a little ingenuity - but don't be like Slice and get all surprised at my sewing and problem-solving skills.  Just because I keep them well hidden doesn't mean they aren't there!
The fabric is quite boring compared to the original (I know), but it's also neutral, which is what I wanted for now.  I still have another chair waiting in the garage, and some other ideas up my sleeve.

Not a bad piece of furniture for about $50 total.

Who am I kidding? We LOVE this chair!

Item #2: Right side-view mirror that has been broken since the elk ran into us almost a year ago.
Slice replaced it all by himself.

Item #3: Two bushels of peaches, canned and put away in my cute little pantry.
I have many many fond memories of canning (especially peaches), and this time was no exception.  It is just so fun!  Also, Slice and I doubled our yield from last year so we don't have to ration them quite as carefully.