Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last day of the year, wow.

Guess who is learning new tricks? Little Miss Katrina is starting to try to pull herself up on things. And if I set her against her toy bin, she can hold on!

Someone is quite proud of herself.
Look, Mom, one hand!
Is pulling up supposed to come before crawling? She still is making no progress there. In fact, she seems to have gone backwards. If she ends up on her stomach, she cries and flails as if she doesn't know how to roll over. Then she tries to roll and gets stuck on her flailing arms and cries more. Then she tries to lift up her knees, and I hold my breath in anticipation, and then she pushes her self backwards. Scooting backwards is legitimate progress, but she is always so sad by this point that I rescue her.

I have been feeding her finger foods for the last week and she seems to love it. Cheerios and cheese are definitely a winner. Today I gave her some canned fruit cocktail and it was not as much of a hit. Too slippery. I have to only give her a few pieces at a time because otherwise she'll stuff her mouth full and then pieces fall out...yuck. We're learning, together.

Adam is excited about a new idea of his. One of his coworkers suggested that he bike to work each day. This did not excite me as much, because it already takes us 15 minutes to get there in the car, ten if traffic is perfect. Plus I know how narrow these roads are and I don't want him cycling on them. But actually, he figured out the mileage and it might be faster to bike than drive. I remembered that there is a nice trail near us that goes most of the way to his work. The trail is 2.5 miles long and the rest of the way is about half a mile. So it's only 3 miles to his work. Not bad! I think we'll spend the next couple of months acquiring all of his cycling requirements. Maybe by springtime he can be riding his bike to work everyday and leaving the car with me!

Speaking of my wonderful husband, I'm really proud of him because he started playing trumpet again. I think he was inspired by the amazing trumpet player at the Messiah. He picked up his trumpets and gear from his parents' house and has been practicing it almost every night. At first, I will admit, it was pretty awful. Then the second night he was already playing scales, and now his blats are few and far between. Apparently he was pretty awesome at the trumpet in high school but after his mission, he had some oral surgery that changed his teeth and interfered with how he played. So I think it's been about six years since he last played. I'm really proud of him for picking it back up and working so hard. Maybe next year he'll be the amazing trumpet player in the Messiah!

Here he is playing with his muting system. He hears himself like normal in his earphones and I hear a very muted version. Katrina probably can't hear it at all in the other room. It makes me want to buy the kind of practice mute for violin that makes it super quiet.

We're moving furniture around again. We bought a tv stand off of Craigslist and I picked it up yesterday. As large as our trunk is, I couldn't fit it in entirely. I got to drive the ten or so miles back home on windy back roads with my trunk held closed with a piece of string, plus Katrina was crying the whole time in the back seat. Talk about nerves! I got it home safely and lugged it single-handedly into our apartment. We set it up last night and switched things around a little in the living room. Our next goal is to buy a dresser or two for our room, put the dresser we have there into Katrina's room, put the keyboard and music stuff into our room so we can actually use it while she's sleeping, and I think that's all. Anyway, we have big plans. The only problem will be transporting any dresser we buy on Craigslist back to our apartment.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Blog stats

(Obligatory cute picture that is unrelated to post)

As the new year approaches, I thought I would sum up our blog in the last year. Well, we only started keeping track in March and there are no stats for most of July because I changed the blog look and forgot to update Google Analytics. But here you go:

4,787 visits

1,422 absolute unique visitors

70% of the visits were returning visitors, 30% were new.

Our blog averages 16 visits/day. On August 6 we received 52 visitors (I must have made a particular witty comment on Babycenter or something).

96% of visitors are from the United States, however we have received visitors from 44 other countries. Some of the cooler/more random countries are Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Malawi, Iceland, Serbia, Israel, and I seem to have some readers in Spain and the Philippines. Hello there! Hope you like my blog! My brother speaks Tagalog!

27% of visitors are from Utah. Pennsylvania is next, and then Virginia, and then New York and California. Those all make sense because I know several people in all of those states. Well, except New York. I'm not sure who lives there. Maybe someone I only know virtually. What's cool is that I have had visits from every state!

A lot of our traffic is direct traffic or comes through Facebook and Babycenter. Much of it comes through my friends blogs. All of those make sense. However, we have over fifty visits from Adam's LinkedIn profile. Bet you didn't know that, huh, honey? Also, there's a whole bunch of visits to see my fabric barn that I made because I linked to the person's blog and she linked back to mine for her other readers to see.

You can also see some of the search terms that people used that led them to your blog. "Katrina Marie James" and variants of "James Family Blog" make sense. But "hippo pajamas" and "routan baby" brought a bunch of visits. I'm a little confused over "quivering lip violin playing," "how to make weed cupcakes," "how to stop your shih tzu from crying on a night," "pictures of inequality of men and women,""schnullerkette selber machen," and "when husbands boss their wives around and don't let them think." ??? I can kind of understand how my blog popped up on some of those searches, but how the heck did those last two searches lead people here?

I enjoy looking at these statistics, and I hope you all do too! Now go to analytics.google.com and get your own blog set up so you can keep track of things this next year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sigh, Christmas is over

Christmas is over and I feel a little let down. However, I am happy that we have one more day before going back to work for Adam and normal day-to-day life for me. We came home from New Jersey earlier this evening and have been slowly unpacking and organizing our stuff. We had so many Christmas presents and purchases that we had a hard time fitting it all in the car! The fact that we had brought our bedding to wash didn't help, and since one of our presents was a new carseat for Katrina, the old one took up lots of room in the trunk. But we managed, and it's even all brought into the apartment.

Even though I had plenty of computer access and took a bunch of pictures that I wanted to share, I waited until getting home to upload them onto our computer. Then I took some more and uploaded them too. Here's the link, because I just can't pick five to post here!

Christmas 2008

Well, we loved spending Christmas with Adam's folks. It's actually my third Christmas with them. Last year we did Christmas in Utah and then flew on Christmas Day to New Jersey. This year we held off going to Utah until Jolena's wedding in four weeks. I feel very comfortable with the James family traditions and enjoyed reading from The Tall Book of Christmas, eating Eggs Benedict for Christmas morning breakfast, and just plain enjoying the wonderful ambience of their house at Christmas time. Many of the pictures in the Picasa album are of their house and its decorations.

Aside from the carseat for Katrina, the two big winners for gifts were the artwork we received and the GPS that his family and I got for Adam. Adam and I have already used it and are excited to go driving around now without getting lost all the time. If you live out west, especially in Utah, you may not be able to fully understand how convoluted roads are out here. They are narrow, change direction constantly, and for some reason Pennsylvania hates to use street signs. Natasha gave us a five-county map when she visited in June and we've used it often. Too bad we didn't have the GPS in Washington, D.C. last week because we got a little lost on the way home from the temple!

I'm sighing in relief that all my stress is over. I'm sure I'll find something else to be anxious about soon, but I really can't think of anything big to worry about until we go to Utah in a month and have to deal with Katrina on a plane. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy playing with her and all of her new toys, and cheer her on as she tries to crawl! She was making some of her first efforts at crawling today while we were watching Prince Caspian special features. (We watched Prince Caspian on Blu-Ray yesterday--awesome movie, awesome picture and sound!) She and her cousin were the recipient of many new and exciting toys, and I love seeing her excitement to play with them.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We get a Christmas Vacation!

The bad thing about working in a small office is that it's hard to take off work around major holidays because someone has to be working, and the boss gets priority, of course. The nice thing about it is that they are all flexible and help each other out so everyone gets a little vacation. Adam and the two other traders each picked a day to have off this week. Adam got Friday, which meant we could have a long weekend down in New Jersey. Tomorrow is just a half-day. Then he came home and said that the other guys told him to take tomorrow off too! So we really get a Christmas vacation! Or Adam does, at least. But I enjoy his days off just as much as he does because it means he's home with me.

Tonight we put Katrina down early so we can get some stuff done. I need to cook dinner, Adam is off at the store buying cream of tartar and pretty plates so that we can make snickerdoodles for his home teaching families. Oh, there's the car door. He's home. We'll wake up Katrina when we're ready to go out and it will be a fun night.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas at the D.C. temple









We went to the temple in Washington, D.C. yesterday. Adam's family also was there along with members of their ward and missionaries from the Cherry Hill mission. Adam and I switched off watching the baby and going into the temple to do some work for his ancestors. It was wonderful to go to the temple for the second time since we moved here. We also went to the visitor's center and viewed the creche collection and the photography exhibit. I loved both. I really love nativity scenes and have long wanted my own collection. The photography exhibit was really unique and inspiring. The artist was Mark Mabry and I would love to own some of his work. If anyone is in the D.C. area, you should definitely check out the visitor's center at the temple and look at that exhibit!

Today was the whirlwind Sacrament Meeting Christmas program with lots of performances. Here's a rundown of how I felt things went-
-Primary song--I fudged through it and played most of the important notes. Dang song was five verses long, but other than that, pretty all right.
-Three choir numbers--just fine. Pretty songs.
-Quartet--just fine. My voice only refused to work on a couple of notes, and it was fine for the rest. Ever since losing my voice at Mohonk I've had a hard time hitting Bs, but I managed and we blended well. I like singing with talented people.
-Violin number--95% went really well and I felt like I did my best. Unfortunately two measures of the climactic phrase were awful and then I came in at the wrong part a measure later because I was so flustered. I was pretty upset, but I got over it and I got lots of compliments, so I'll call this a success. I'm my own worst critic, after all. Adam said it was noticeable but not that bad.
We headed to Jersey, which is always fun, though never quite as relaxing as we hope for since Katrina usually is super fussy. She finally slept on the way home, but then refused to go to bed when we got home. So she stayed up for awhile and I just just put her to bed. Phew.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eight months old

So these days I'm hard at work on finishing up a Christmas present. Other than that, not much is going on. I'm reading a book for bookclub, Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. So I thought I'd write a little about what's going on with Katrina lately. This is helpful for me because I lost two months of my baby journal when my computer died last month and haven't started a new one.

Katrina turned eight months old on Sunday. She is somewhere around 18-19 lbs and I assume around 26-27 inches long. She's pretty average, I think. Not a whole lot has changed in the last month, but she is developing greater independence and interacting more. Motor-skills-wise, she still can't do anything more than sit, roll, and stand with support, but she's a lot better at all of those things. In fact, I sit down on the floor and put her next to me against the couch, and she's content staying there for a really long time, as long as I give her toys to play with and fix her legs when she starts to do the splits. She doesn't really cruise yet, but she can creep a little. Today I started her out about a foot from me and twice she ended up supporting herself on my shoulder instead of the couch, so somehow she creeped over to me.

I'm adding a third meal to her diet. In the mornings she eats cereal and two fruits, and at night she has cereal and two veggies. Now I'm giving her some Yobaby yogurt in the middle of the day. Remember how I said I was weaning her off of her 11:00 meal? Well, I wasn't too comfortable with that after all, so I just have switched from nursing her and then feeding her solids to the other way around. I think she also only nurses four times during the day, now. Because of the price of produce and the issue of buying what's in season, I have been trying to puree canned fruit and veggies. It works fairly well. I just have to make sure I buy food with no added salt or sugar. She likes canned fruit just fine, but merely tolerates the canned vegetables. Oh, and she doesn't let me eat anymore in front of her unless I give share with her or feed her her meals at the same time. Grr. I have to sneak snacks in the kitchen or eat during her naps, otherwise she shrieks at me. I've tried hiding food from her and eating it, but once she sees it, she knows it's there!

At night, she has largely stopped being fed at 11:00. She still wakes sometimes, but usually falls back asleep by herself or after I go in and hold her. She now wakes up at 4 or 5. Yuck. But a couple days a week she actually sleeps through the night, so I know we're making progress. I still feel very blessed that she slept 12 hours each night starting at 2.5 months and did that until 5.5 months. I'm sure that's why I'm still sane. During the days she finally is napping only twice, one nap an hour long and the other two hours, usually.

She is much more giggly than ever before. On the other hand, she doesn't smile as easily at other people. She most definitely favors her grandparents and family over strangers and people at church. She's not really going through stranger anxiety, more like stranger concern. But I left her with a complete stranger (to her) last Saturday for four hours and she was fine. I'm anxious about how she'll react next month at my sister's wedding with all of the new family members and excitement.

And that's about all. I still try to get her to say "Mama," but that's the surest way to get her to babble "Dada" back at me! She's so cute. Oh, and her hair on top is getting longer and forming a natural mohawk. It's pretty remarkable, actually! Oh, and she still only has two teeth on the bottom.

Our plans for the weekend are to go to Washington DC tomorrow to see the lights at the temple visitor's center and do a little temple work. We're meeting Adam's family later on. After I survive Sunday's Christmas program, we're heading to Jersey. Should be lots of fun! Adam went to the doctor yesterday because his cough has worsened and they gave him some strong cough medicine and antobiotics, so we hope he gets better.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rearranging furniture again!

The table's a bit messy from me rearranging things and dumping them there.

I don't know if many of you know what the apartment looked like before, but this is it now. Our desktop doesn't access the internet very well from our wireless router, so I moved the computer over so I could connect it with a cable. The computer is where the tv was, the tv and bookshelf are where the loveseat was, and the loveseat is now where the computer and bookshelf were. It's a little crowded on that wall, but it works. We were really frustrated with not having the internet on that computer. Also, now we don't have to squeeze between the couches and coffee table whenever we want to walk through. We can now just walk around the table without banging our legs. Plus, Katrina can hang on to the side of the couch, like in the above picture, without me worrying about her cracking her head on the table.


Katrina has a thing with sticking her tongue out these days.



I slicked her hair down with gel and made it curl up in front. She has such crazy hair that I like to have fun sometimes!
Yuck, drool and snot. I have such a delicate little flower of a girl, don't I?

Nothing much

Okay, usually if I don't post I'm busy, but this time it's because I'm so not busy it's, well, boring. I actually had a fun day on Monday because I had the car, so I did lots of errands and brought Adam and his coworkers shakes. But yesterday was dull as dirt and today's looking the same. I'm working on a Christmas present on our desktop, which has spotty access to the internet, so I'm walking back and forth between the computers whenever I lose patience waiting for things to load.


Funny/not-actually-that-funny story: I wish my friend good luck on her upcoming trip to Asia and ask her if it's a service trip or a ministry trip or something. She writes back thanking me but saying sorry she has to delete my comment, in case the wrong authorities see and get the wrong idea. Yikes! I love freedom of religion in this country.


Here's a look at our photoshoot from last week. Did I mention before that Katrina absolutely refused to smile? We were happy that she at least wasn't crying, but the photographer seemed pretty bummed that she couldn't get a smiling picture.





Katrina just pushed over the trash can while rolling around on the floor, so I better go clean up. Hope you all like the pictures. This is what she'll be wearing for my sister's wedding next month, just with a black jacket.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whew

A big sigh of relief that tonight is over. It went really well and I didn't embarass myself. I even kept up with the other first violins for most of the overture. That was the one piece that was really kicking my trash. I practiced beforehand and felt like I ended up playing my best in that piece and for the whole program.

Wow, our stake really knows how to put on some good performances. About half of the soloists and many of the performers were from other churches in the area. It's nice to have such nice interfaith relations with these other churches, especially with all the Prop 8 fall-out these days. And wow, were those soloists good! You know how at most church music performances, there will be a handful of good soloists, a few amazing ones, and several who get too nervous and perform only so-so? Well, all of these were amazing. There's a piece where a male soloist sings with a trumpet soloist and the orchestra. The trumpet player was playing a soprano trumpet, which according to Adam is really difficult and indicates a very talented trumpet player. That was one of my favorite pieces. And the Hallelujah chorus is always so inspiring and invigorating to sing or play.

I'm still glad it's done. I need to practice a bit for next week, but I don't feel as much pressure. Though next week, Sacrament meeting will be kind of crazy. I am accompanying the Primary kids on a musical number, playing a violin solo, singing alto in a quartet, and singing with the choir for two or three pieces. In fact, I kind of suspect that I am a part of every musical number next week except two. It seems crazy, but I love it. I gain so much more out of church when I am actively involved. Plus, I'm going to be a part of a book club with other women at church, which really excited me because I'll have an excuse to read good books and I'll meet women other than those who are serving in the Primary with me.

The one thing I regret is that I didn't invite my neighbors in our apartment building to the Messiah tonight. I planned on it, and the missionaries even challenged us to invite someone. Adam invited his coworkers, but I had planned on making some goodies and going around to our neighbors to introduce ourselves and invite them to the Messiah. I really want to get to know our neighbors better. Right now I recognize all of them and say a cordial hello in the parking lot, but that's all. Okay, I have spoken to our upstairs neighbors three times--"Can you turn down your music?", "Can you stop banging like crazy on the piano keys?," and "Is this your dog that just tried to go into my apartment?" As you can see, there's room to grown in regards to our relations with our neighbors!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Busy, busy day

Let me describe my awfully busy day:

7:30-wake
8:00-drive to the church with Adam to drop him off at a scout shooting activity. Drive home and take shower.
9:30-Take Katrina to my visiting teacher and head to the church for the Messiah dress rehearsal
10:00-find out that the rehearsal really started at 9:00, and instead of going until noon like it was supposed to, it would probably go til 1:00. Called my vt to tell her. Spend three hours realizing I'm not nearly well-enough prepared.
1:00-Go home
1:30-Pick up Katrina, head back to the church to pick up Adam at 2:00
2:00-arrive at the church right as Adam calls to say he won't be there for an hour. Freak out.
2:10- Call parents to get them to look up the number for JCPenneys photo department. Find out that our appt was really at 3:00, not 3:30 like I thought. Change appointment to 4:00.
2:15- Adam calls back to say they'll drop him off at our apartment, so I can go home from my third trip to the church in one day.
2:45- get home, feed and dress the baby
3:45-leave for the King of Prussia mall (largest mall in America)
4:00-drive around fruitlessly looking for a parking spot, since it is one of the last big shopping days before Christmas. Adam drops me off.
4:10-get accosted by a salesperson because my hair was straightened and she wanted to sell me a better one. Had to physically struggle away from her finally.
5:30-get done with pictures, head to Verizon to try to buy a new phone to replace Adam's which went through the wash. They don't sell phones under $200 and their best advice is to "put it in a bag of rice" to try and soak up the moisture or look on eBay.
-Get home, watch Wall-E, relax. Skip ward Christmas party to avoid a fourth trip to the church.

Tomorrow I have choir practice before church, quartet practice after, and I have to be at the church at 5:00 for the Messiah at 7:00. Ahhhhhh!!!!!!! Hopefully I'll have time to feed Katrina sometime during all of that, as well as practice violin somewhere in there.

Can you tell that I'm a little overwhelmed? I just want this whole Messiah thing to be over. At the same time, it can be fun and during the Hallelujah chorus today I teared up a little while playing.

One last thing. We got a Christmas bonus! We're going to be responsible and use the majority of it for necessary, worthwhile things, but we're trying to figure out something small to splurge on. Any ideas?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I won I won I won I won!

I won a giveaway! I won this tree at Hopefully Something Rhetorical. Isn't that awesome! I can't even count how many giveaways I've entered lately. It's a fun thing to do. But this is the only one I've won. So yay! Adam is very excited too. Yay!

Why this baby is so fun



We were playing on the couch yesterday and I grabbed the camera.

The video is of one of Katrina's new tricks. She's been doing this for a while, but not really with the same sound effect. It's fun.


I'm feeling better and my voice is improving. Today I tried singing my part for the "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" quartet and I can sing it, just not perfectly clearly. But that makes me feel optimistic that I'll be able to sing in a week and a half. I also practiced violin for an hour. Katrina was pretty tired of her jumperoo by the end. She didn't exactly cry the whole time, but she whined a lot and randomly burst into huge frowny tears. I haven't practiced in weeks, I missed the most recent Messiah practice, and the dress rehearsal and performance are this weekend, so I really need to get cracking. Plus, I'm practicing with my accompanist for "O Holy Night" on Friday. We were going to practice yesterday but I was so out of it that I cancelled.

In order to use less electricity I'm sitting in the near-darkness. I turn on the lights when Katrina is awake, and then turn them off while she naps. Our apartment doesn't get much natural light and with it raining, it's pretty dismal. But our electric bills have been lower the last couple of months, so I think it's worth continuing. Hope everyone has a a great rest of the week! I'm excited because we're going shopping tonight for Katrina's Christmas gifts. For some reason we didn't think about what we would get her. I assumed I would use the quiet books as gifts, but I think we'll wait until she's a little older. Maybe birthday, or even Christmas next year. So tonight we'll have fun buying little blocks and things at Babies R Us.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No voice

I hope you all enjoyed Adam posting. Hopefully he'll post more often!

I am enduring a winter cold. The congestion isn't as bad as normal, but my throat is quite sore. I came down with it at Mohonk and it has persisted. Luckily, a couple of ibuprofen a couple times a day takes the swelling and pain down. Unfortunately, my voice is almost completely gone. I have been speaking primarily in whispers yesterday and today. This could be problematic because I am singing in a Christmas quartet in a week and a half. We'll see if I'm better by the practice on Sunday. The last time I remember losing my voice was when I first started dating Adam. I'm sure hearing my raspy voice gives him little sentimental tingles.

Last night we put Katrina to bed at 6:30. Adam had scout Roundtable at 7:30 and was reluctant to leave me in the semi-coherent state I was in. I made the decision for him by falling asleep on the couch. I woke up when he came home a few hours later and he helped me move to the bedroom. By 10:30 I was asleep again. Plus, Katrina made it all through the night without a feeding. So we all stayed in bed until almost 8:00 this morning. Why so sleepy? I have no idea. I'm not as sleepy today, but I'm moving around at a pretty slow pace. Yesterday I at least unpacked, put up Christmas lights, and did a few other things. Today I've draped a garland over our food cabinets and that's about all.

So I'm back to my favorite worthless pasttime while Katrina naps--looking for a house to buy. We are locked into this apartment for another six months, but I like to look around and make lists. Then, in six months, if we want to actually buy a house, I'll have a nice handy list of available houses. With this economy, it's not unlikely that many of these houses will still be on the market.
Too bad houses aren't like art. I just bought two large pieces of art on eBay for $.99. They are fairly pretty and will look nice once they are stretched and framed. If I could buy a house on eBay, that would be cool.

I would buy this house in King of Prussia:


It's beautiful on the inside and only about $30,000 out of our price range! I'll take that for $.99, thank you very much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wow, Adam's Posting...

Tori keeps telling me that I need to post more. So, what better reason than to give yourself congratualations and accolades? Today I passed yet another in a long list of exams for my work. I read some of Tori's posts and e-mails, and it seems that I'm always taking these things. Well, I've decided to post exactly what it is I'm taking. Below is a list of all the licesnses I have qualified for(or will within the week):

Series 4 - Registered Options Principal
Series 7 - General Securities Registered Representative
Series 9 - General Securities Sales Supervisor (Options Module)
Series 12 - NYSE Branch Office Manager
Series 24 - General Securities Principal
Series 27 - Financial and Operations Principal
Series 55 - Equity Trader
Series 63 - State Securities Agent
Series 87 - NYSE Research Analyst (Part 2)
SF - NFA Single Stock Futures

So, yeah, I guess Tori's right. I do take these a lot. Needless to say, I'm very proud of myself, since I generally do fairly well on these test, and they are not for the faint of heart. :]

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment. I love talking about my work!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Back home


Here is a slideshow of the pictures I took at Mohonk. Here is the link if you want to see them larger. Most are of our room and its views or of Katrina. I wish I gone around the inside and taken pictures, but I didn't. Oh well. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Today we stayed in Mohonk until 2:30 and then drove home. It took about three hours. Wow, were we spent. Even though Katrina slept all through the night with only one feeding at 11:30, and even though we went to bed at 10:30 and she didn't wake up until 8, we were exhausted. Unfortunately for Adam, he has another licensing exam tomorrow, so he has to study a lot tonight. Katrina's in bed, I'm blogging, and I'm betting it will be an early night. Fun weekend. I loved spending time with Adam's family. Altogether there were I think eleven adults and two kids. I got to see Adam's oldest sister for I think only the third time, and also his uncle and his wife and daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all of them.

And tomorrow it's back to the daily grind for everyone. Well, normal life for me isn't much of a grind, more of a coast from nap to feeding to nap with an occasional stop to clean something or make dinner. And since we left with a clean house, I don't have to do much! Katrina may be disappointed to be back to her normal mush that I feed her for solids. I think she enjoyed gnawing on honeydew, canteloupe, steak, green beans, etc. The funniest moment was when she didn't want to drop either of the spoons she was holding, and so she tried to just open her mouth wide and bite the honeydew off of the edge of the table. Adam and I and the Russian couple at the next table couldn't stop laughing.

P.S. Oh, and I had to come back and add--I finally went up the little winding flight of stairs next to our room and it leads up to the roof! The sounds that I heard that sounded like someone moving around were really just the windows moving around in the wind. I asked an employee to lock it so it would stop banging. The wind was so gusty last night and if the hotel hadn't been full of people and well-staffed, it would have been as scary as a murder mystery.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Good thing I like my room

We really lucked out in how spacious our room is. We spend an awful lot of time here while Katrina naps and sleeps at night. Right now she is "napping" (screeching and playing with a toy), Adam is taking a soothing hot bath in our claw-foot tub, and I am snuggled into the bed and listening to the wind howl outside. We just went iceskating and it was fun, though freezing. The rink is in a pavilion, so we were still outside. Oh man, I am so bad at skating. Here are three things conspiring against me:

1. My shoes were too big, so I was constantly gripping my ties tight
2. I have really weak ankles. I have turned my right ankle so many times that I rarely wear heels anymore
3. It's been maybe ten years since I last skated.

So I went around once, hugging the wall. I had to be convinced to try again later, so I pushed around one of those chairs (I hid my face with my scarf because I was so embarrassed) and then gripped Adam's hand for another turn around the rink. After that, I headed back to the room to find that Katrina hadn't actually fallen asleep. Good thing her Nana James was happy to babysit both children and they enjoyed playing together in the Pack-N-Play. I was sure she would sleep this time, but I still can hear her babbling and screeching. Tonight we're doing dinner in shifts, Adam at 6:00 and me at 7:00. That way it won't be the fiasco it was last night. Oh wow, that is another funny story, in a "I'm just glad I didn't go crazy" kind of way.

One thing that everyone else did today that I wish I could have done was hike up to an overlook that's less than a mile away. I stayed with Katrina and napped along with her. She woke up three times last night and the last time I laid awake for an hour, so I was pretty beat.

Well, after this I think I will go soothe my super-sore throat with some afternoon tea.

So this wind is so strong and our room is kind sticking out of the corner of the building, so I can feel the building swaying a bit. Plus, there's this little winding staircase next to our room that leads up somewhere mysterious, and every time the wind blows the door at the top opens and then slams closed. It'd be so creepy at night! I tried going up it earlier today, but I could hear someone moving around inside, so I chickened out. One time in Russia, several of us snuck up to the attic of a church we were visiting. That sounds so much more sacriligous that it actually was, I promise! It was in the middle of being renovated.

Anyway, I might go assuage my curiousity about what's behind that door.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Okay, so there is internet

I lied. There is internet and phone access here. And this place is wonderful! Google "Mohonk" and you will be amazed.

Unfortunately, Katrina decided about dinner time that she had had it for the day. Lately this is her schedule--wake up around 7:30, stay awake for 1.5-2 hrs, take a 1-2 hour nap, repeat, then stay awake for about five hours until she goes to sleep at around 8:00 at night. Well today she woke from a nap at 1:30 when we stopped for lunch, so by dinner time at 6:45--yeah, she was done. Adam and I finally started alternating courses. I just ate the two appetizers and he went down for the entree. She's asleep. We almost decided to leave her here to sleep by herself, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. The dining room is four floor and the entire length of the place away. Oh, and I've gone back and forth through these hallways enough that I don't need to worry about not getting enough exercise with all the food I'm eating!

Did I mention this place is amazing? It's the sort of place Stephen King hangs out at (I heard he was here a few weeks ago). That's ironic because Adam thinks it looks like the place from "The Shining." :] We had to dress up to go down to dinner. It's fun to get all fancy. We even put Katrina in a dress. Not that she appreciated it, but everyone who saw her oohed and ahhed, and that's what's most important, right?

We have a lakeside view. I am sitting in this little alcove window seat thing around the corner from where Katrina's portable crib is. There's an ice skating pavilion all lit up on the other side of the lake that is beautiful. They have Christmas lights up too. Every time the wind blows I feel it through the window, but that's all right. Every room that I've been in is so beautiful and unique. Ours is really large. Adam's parents' is smaller but with a gorgeous fireplace and furniture. His grandma's room has a balcony.

I'm not sure what we'll do tonight and tomorrow, especially since we have to do things in shifts. Plus, we didn't think to bring swimsuits, so we can't make use of the spa. But there is plenty to do and I'm sure it will be great fun!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Incommunicado and Bad Mommy Moment

So we're leaving tomorrow for Mohonk and will be back Monday. I'm sure I'll have pictures and stories to post when we get back. Adam says there arent any electronics or cellphone signals, so nothing important better happen while we're gone, got it?

So, I have what I call Bad Mommy Moments occasionally. For example, one day I was on the computer and Katrina was on the floor. After a few minutes of silence from her, I glanced down to see that she had rolled over to the power supply of the laptop and was playing with it. Yeah, definitely a Bad Mommy Moment. Similarly, on Sunday I put her on the floor to play the piano in Primary. I heard one of the kids say, "That baby is doing something very dangerous!" I looked to see that she was playing with the microphone cord, and even worse, it had some exposed wires showing.

Today my Bad Mommy Moment occurred when I was cooking. Katrina was quite fussy and I plopped her in her high chair and looked for something to occupy her. Bingo! A banana. I handed it to her and proceeded to fix beef-o-lay (spaghetti sauce and ground beef over chips, lettuce, and tomatoes). A few minutes later, I looked over and saw that the whole end of the banana was gone! She had bitten it off completely, even through the skin. I ran over and it wasn't on the floor or her lap, which meant she had eaten it. I stuck my finger in her mouth and fished out the end, which luckily she had not tried to swallow. Phew! I then took it away from her, but that made her upset, so I peeled it and gave it back. These pictures are from that. She kept taking bites out of it, but I'm not sure how much she actually ate. Her bib was full of little pieces of banana.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some pictures



Here's a slideshow of pictures I just uploaded onto the computer. They are from several occasions over the last week or so. I even included some pictures of me modeling my dress for my sister's wedding in January. I hope no one is offended by the naked baby pictures. :] And yes, the nightshots were taken tonight, and no, I did not wake her up! She woke up by herself and I decided to linger and take pictures.

Moving things around

I was in quite the mood last night and Adam decided to make me feel better by rearranging the bedroom furniture for me. I've been wanting to move the bed for a little while because it is right underneath the window and I freeze every morning when I nurse the baby. Instead, I try to nurse her lying down so I can be under blankets, but that's not as comfortable and it takes me longer to wake up fully. Wow, what a difference moving things around makes! I've always liked to change things up periodically, and this was definitely a good change. Suddenly there is room on the sides of the bed! I also moved my sewing area to the corner, which frees up some more space. We have a huge room--11' x 17', so it's not as if it didn't have space before. But I really like this new arrangement. Plus, last night I even turned the heat down because I was actually too warm.

Now I just need to take care of the three gigantic piles taking up all the floor room. Pile #1 looms in front of the closet and consists of all of my stuff that has been worn but can be reworn before being washed. Pile#2 is next to Adam's side of the bed and is make up of his dirty clothes, clothes to be reworn, some clean clothes, camping gear... Yeah, I think I'll let him tackle that one. Pile #3 is in front of the dresser and has all but one of the last 4-5 loads of laundry that I've done. The other load is on the floor in Katrina's room, where I have even already organized it into little piles of similar items, I just haven't put it in her hanging shelves in the closet. After all, it's so much easier to pick out clothes when they're all spread out on the floor rather than stuffed into a little shelf! :]

Now that we don't have the window right behind the bed, I think I need to find something to go above it, rather than just a huge stretch of blank wall. I could do what my parents did--they had a framed knife that my uncle got for them hanging above their bed, but then again, they had to move it eventually because they lived in California and had to worry about earthquakes.

Oh my goodness, she just woke up from her first nap and is doing her ear-piercing (and in this case, monitor-piercing) shriek that she spends half her time doing lately. I might buy earplugs, since a muzzle isn't humane.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If I had all the money in the world...

Okay, this post stems from my extreme boredom, not because I'm dissatisfied with my life or anything. I actually am quite content with life at the moment. That said, if I had all the money in the world, I would buy:

This stroller:




This bedroom set:


This car, so we could each have one:


This house:

Or even this one:


Or the one from my earlier post that looks like a castle. That one is in Utah, though.

I don't think that I'm asking for much, how about you?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Come what may, and love it

Adam called me this morning to tell me that Elder Wirthlin died. For those of you who don't know, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was 91 and has been looking older and older lately, so it was no surprise. But it made me reflect on his most recent talk, "Come what may, and love it." It is about how we react to adversity. He tells us that while we don't have to live in a perpetually sunshine-y state and ignore the realities of our challenges and hard times, our reaction to those challenges determines whether we grow from them or not. He talks about learning to laugh, seeking for the eternal, understanding what he calls the principle of compensation, and trusting in God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ. I just re-read the talk and received some new insights. I have especially enjoyed Elder Wirthlin's talks at General Conference over the last few years. Just a couple conferences ago, he gave a talk on charity. Partway through it, he started trembling violently. Apparently he had locked his knees, I heard later on. Anyway, we all had a hard time concentrating on his talk because he looked like he would keel over any minute. I could see President Eyring behind him on the verge of jumping up, but Elder Nelson, who is a physician, jumped up first. He stood behind Elder Wirthlin and supported him so he could finish the talk. It was a really precious moment.

So anyway, I am glad for these wonderful men who lead and guide our church and who are so receptive to the Spirit. I am grateful for continuous revelation and for the Restoration of the Church through the prophet Joseph Smith. I have been trying to do better lately with my personal scripture study and it has been really making a difference in my day-to-day life. I also started writing in my journal again every night and it really helps me see things in a new light. If you haven't read that talk by Elder Wirthlin, go check it out!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back to blogging


Like I've said before, if I suddenly drop out of the blogosphere, it's usually because I'm having fun or being productive (sometimes both!). So I'm back. (Thanks, Elise, for the prodding! :])

Hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving! We sure did. It felt like we went away on a vacation, even though we were only an hour away from home and Adam went to work for half the day on Friday. We stayed in New Jersey for four days and three nights and relaxed with Adam's family. Saturday we helped them put up Christmas decorations and then drove back home, where we put up our Christmas tree, stockings, and Christmas decoration. Yes, the singular is appropriate there. :] We still need to decorate outside, but there's not much we can do. We have one strand of lights and a shiny garland that we may just wrap around our table and chairs. Also, courtesy of my mother, who hates to spend money on shipping and so sends Christmas presents home with relatives anytime they visit, we even have presents under the tree (from our move at the end of May--yes, she is efficient!). Oh, and I finally found two pairs of shoes that I thought had been lost in the move. Nope, they were just in the box with the Christmas presents. I took pictures of our tree and will post them as soon as I take the time to move them from the camera.

So today I have been doing some online browsing and even shopping. Everything for Christmas is now taken care of except the --

Oops. I was so busy blogging that I missed the end of the auction for the item on eBay I was watching. Dang it. Oh well. The end price was higher than I wanted to spend anyway. I have enough of a Amazon gift certificate left that I can get it cheaper there. Still, oops.

So yeah, I just need to buy Adam's present and something for my twelve-year-old nephew. My family has several Christmas lists. All growing up my siblings and I drew names so that we didn't have to buy gifts for all six siblings, just one. Now we've increased that list to include the next generation, so Adam and Katrina and I bought gifts for one of my brothers, one niece, and one nephew. Also, my dad's side of the family has a cousin list and so we bought a gift for my sixteen-year-old cousin.

Oo, this weekend we're going to this resort in New York to celebrate my husband's grandmother's 80th birthday. We're very excited and it should be a lot of fun. Several family members are flying in, some who I haven't met, I think. So this weekend, while you are all doing your normal stuff, imagine me ice skating, curling, and horseback riding. :] Okay, that was mean. I'm sure all of you will have just as much fun as me, just not at a cool resort. :]
Katrina really blossomed while we were in New Jersey. She started babbling a lot more, not just to me and sometimes Adam. She mostly just repeats "Dada" over and over, but I keep telling her, "No, mama. Mama." She also rolls all over the place now. She doesn't really use rolling as a means of transportation, just as a way to get toys or to see people better, or just to amuse herself. For instance, today I put her on the floor while browing eBay and in the next half an hour or so she ended up over by the high chair in the dining room, back under the tree, back to me, over to the couch, back to me. It is very exciting. She also claps her feet together a lot and it sounds just like she's clapping her hands. She continues to whack at people and things and gets great amusement from it. Adam thought I was burping her the other day when she was slapping my arm repeatedly. She has always enjoyed jewelry, especially my wedding ring, but she also unfortunately has discovered my earrings too. She also doesn't smile so indiscriminately anymore. She'll give smiles to me and Adam, Adam's family, and a few people at church, but that's all. Oh, and she was playing with a little kid the other day at church who is just two weeks older than her. He is this little petite thing that crawls all over the place, and compared to him she looked like a great pudgy tortoise stuck on it's back. It was cute. I love watching her interact with other little kids. She smiles so much at them.
Anyway, I need to go deliver the rent check, and then check up on all the blogs I usually read. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yum yum yum, I am full of turkey, pumpkin cheesecake, and everything else that was so good. After Katrina wakes up next and I feed her, Adam's sister and I are going to see "Twilight!" It will be my first theater movie in at least seven months. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and it took us the entire course of dinner to go around the table saying what we were thankful for.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday with their families! We stayed here in Jersey last night and will stay one more night so I can go to the bridal shower of Adam's cousin tomorrow morning. Then we have another family dinner. Crazy! I miss my family, but I am so grateful to live near Adam's family. I have wonderful in-laws.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Season of thanks

We just got home from an interfaith service hosted at our church. I sang in the choir and Adam supervised the scouts in guiding parking and accepting the turkey donations. We wanted to cook a turkey and donate it with our free turkey coupon, but somehow we misplaced the coupon or threw it away! In the past few weeks, and especially after the service tonight, my heart is really full of gratitude for my blessings and a desire to help others. I have been looking around for some way to give this year and I think I have found it in the form of the homeless center that the donations were for tonight. The director of the center spoke a little about how the demands are so high right now and on top of that, a Neo-Nazi group has been threatening them and since a cache of weapons was recently found, the threats are likely not idle. I really wish we had the resources to take one of these poor people into our home.

It made me think a lot about service. In the Church, we serve willingly and put a lot of time, money, and effort into building the kingdom of God. But we so often just live with blinders on to the service needs outside the church. It is so much easier to cook a meal for a sister in the ward who just had a baby than to volunteer at a soup kitchen. If we want to help people, we can just up our fast offering by a few dollars to help those in our ward who are in need, or contribute money to the Church's humanitarian fund. Then we go on our way, content with what we have done. I felt really inspired tonight to go beyond that this holiday season and look for other ways to serve. Money is tight for us too, but that's really our own choice because of our desire to pay off our debts as quickly as possible. We have a secure livelihood and even with how much we are scaling down Christmas and other expenses, I think I can still find some extra to help others. And even if I can't donate much monetarily, surely there is some way that I can donate food or time or something.

So anyway, it was a good service and I hope to remember that feeling of gratitude and the desire to serve throughout this season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Katrina videos

Fun times with daddy.

Fun times with mommy.

I had a great Sunday yesterday filled with lots of violin-playing. Messiah practice went really well and also my arrangement of "O Holy Night" is sounding better and better.

The craziest part of the day was by far Sacrament meeting. I had a wiggly little shrimp in my arms who finally decided in the middle of the sacrament that enough was enough. She started shrieking and I stood up quickly to go take her out. She stopped, I sat down, and she started up again. A little flustered, I stood up again and took her out. In the nursing lounge, we had just gotten all settled when the bishop announces, "I forgot to mention that the primary children will be singing a song first before our two speakers." Katrina experienced the shock of her meal being abruptly ended and I rushed back in to the chapel to play for the kids. Then I took her back out to finish the meal, hoping that the first speaker would take awhile because I needed to be back to sing with the choir when she was done. Sadly, she had a short talk, so Katrina experienced another abrupt interruption and rush back to the chapel. Crazy! We finished off a trying afternoon with her falling asleep at 5:30 and sleeping all through the night until 7:00 am, with only one feeding at 11:00. Very weird.

Got to go save the girlie, who doesn't agree with me that it's time for a nap.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Big Sewing Mistake 1 of 3 and more booties

First, here are more booties I made from a free template off the internet. I would put the link but I'm nursing and she is kicking my arm. But if you search for "Heather Bailey," her blog has these felt shoes. I found a Martha Stewart template that I will also try because they have straps and might actually stay on. Anyway, these were easy since I already had felt.



So my sewing mistake. Yes, well, I am in bad need of nursing clothes. I make do, but I really want nursing clothes. I found some patterns for nursing tops online and decided to try out a few. This is what it was supposed to look like:
This is what it actually looked like, without hems on the sleeves and bottom and crooked. I mis-measured the length of the bottom part and it ended up too short, and why did I even think a peasant style would look good on me anyway? But the material was cheap and it provided me with a fun project tonight.
Here's the site and instructions:
These are the other two tops I plan on making: this one, and this one.
Well, I suspected this might not turn out very well, but I hoped it would. I'll save the material and elastic and reuse them for something else. The other two fabrics that I bought are very pretty knits and I hope they work well.
Well, this is turning into a sewing blog, isn't it? I go on little kicks where I get interested in one thing for a while and then it peters off. Right now I'm on a sewing kick.
Oh, and I received my dress in the mail for Jolena's reception. Here's a picture. I really like it. Now I just need fun shoes

Friday, November 21, 2008

Imagine thousands of strands of hair, wrapped around a one-inch diameter cylinder...

...and you are looking at the rotating brush on my vacuum. Ew. Especially since my hair is so long that each strand can wrap around the brush about 25 times according to my math. Yuck.

I decided that with Katrina rolling around the floor so much, I really needed to vacuum. She was too fussy to put in her jumperoo, so I got out my baby wrap for the first time in a while and tried out a new position, the hip hold. That worked pretty well and she was fascinated by the vacuum and the cord. I did a pretty thorough job everywhere the cord would reach and put her down for a nap while I tackled the couch cushions. The attachments weren't working too well, so I started examining the whole vacuum. I dumped out the main section and examined the filters. Then I turned it over to clean the rotating brush. Ugh!

Now when Katrina was a couple weeks old I was treating us for possible yeast with gentian violet, and for some reason I decided to fling the bottle across the room (or at least that's how it looked), drenching everything (Adam's right shoe, my slippers, Katrina's bassinet, her bouncer, the phone charger, the floor, the wall, etc) in purpleness that is almost impossible to remove. I asked the couple who moved into our apartment later if the stain was still there and it is, so I guess even heavy duty cleaners couldn't remove it (and Wymount only charged us $15! Crazy!). During one of the methods I used to attempt to clean the floor, I poured sparkling water and salt on the floor, and then we had the Bad Idea of vacuuming it up right away before it dried, since it looked like we were just spreading the purpleness around more.

Which is why today I spent all of Katrina's last nap chiseling purple salt deposits off of the bottom of the vacuum and attacking the hair (honestly, I think there was enough to make a Locks of Love wig) with a pair of scissors. Then I had to sweep up the mess, and while I was at it I dry- and wet-Swiffered the floor and the bathroom floors too.

Moral of the story--if Adam doesn't notice any of the work I did (which he should, if he even glances in the kitchen trashcan), then he gets mac and cheese for dinner instead of chicken and cous cous.

And I think I might cut my hair super short.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Review: Mistborn

I love reading to a fault. Even during busy times in college I found excuses to pick up lots of books from the library and read them instead of or in addition to doing my schoolwork. After Katrina was born I didn't read anything for a couple of months, which was probably the longest I'd gone without reading a novel in, I don't know, over a decade! I don't read a lot these days because our library doesn't have a whole lot of selection, but occasionally I'll pick up a stack of books and read like mad for a whole week. I can read very fast, which is a problem when I am reading something I really care about, because I tend to skip over things on accident. I consciously have to slow down sometimes. My favorite kinds of books are young adult fantasy. The reason I specify "young adult" is because adult fantasy is often X-rated and takes itself too seriously. With only a few exceptions, I don't really get into epic fantasies because (yawn) they really get way into their fantasy worlds and aren't actually that good. Anyway, I spent all of yesterday reading Mistborn: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. Here is my review.

The Hero of Ages is third in the Mistborn trilogy. The first is The Final Empire, followed by The Well of Ascension. Brandon Sanderson wrote these after thinking, what happens if the hero actually fails and the bad guy wins? That said, these books are still about a group of heroes and heroines who are fighting an evil dictator and other evil forces. But their actual enemy isn't always what they think it is. And by the third book, they find out that they can't always even trust themselves.

The main character is Vin, a teenager raised on the streets and who discovers she has some pretty amazing powers. She is scooped up by a dynamic man named Kelsier who has some daring schemes for changing the lives of the oppressed lower class.

I won't say much more about the plots of the first two books, but I really enjoyed them. I was happy after I read them to discover that the third book would be out in only a few months. I wanted to buy a copy but felt like I should save the money and wait for it at the library. The Hero of Ages made it to the NYTimes Bestseller list, which tells you how popular this series has become.

So, the third book. I have read a handful of books in my life that were so good that when I reached the end of them, my chest actually ached. When I put down the book last night at midnight, I was literally breathless. It was that good. Several times during the last 150 pages I had to put the book down in between chapters and take a rest because the action was so gripping. If Adam hadn't been asleep on the opposite couch I wouldn't have been able to remain silent at certain parts. One thing that really fascinated me about this book was the religious struggle that one of the characters goes through. That particular story line really was rather poignant. Then at the end, his story and the main story tie together for a surprising yet fulfilling conclusion.

Rating: 5/5. Definitely.

Recommendation-- if you like fantasy at all, you will most likely like these books. If you don't, you still might like them. There is no sex, very little swearing, and in the first two books, the violence is not graphic. However, in the third book it does get a bit graphic. If you're like me and you can skim-read easily while still picking up the main points, then you can skip through those parts. But I can definitely see why someone would not like the third book because of that factor. That said, I loved it even though I have a difficulty with violence and violent imagery getting stuck in my head and affecting me. I just thought I would add that caviat, in case anyone decides to read these books from my recommendation.

Favorite quote:

'The mist spirit watched him, its figure barely distinguisheable in the patterns of the flowing mists.
"What?" Elend asked. "What do you want of me?"
The mist spirit raised its arm and pointed to the northeast.
That's what it did the first time it met me. It just pointed, as if trying to get me to go somewhere. I didn't understand what it meant then either.
"Look," Elend said, suddenly feeling exhausted. "If you want to say something, why not just say it?"
The mist spirit stood quietly in the mists.
"At least write it," Elend said. "The pointing just isn't working." He knew that the creature--whatever it was--had some corporeality. After all, it had managed to stab Elend handily enough.
He expected the creature to just continue standing there. However, to Elend's surprise, it followed the command, kneeling down in the ash. It reached out with a misty hand, and began to scratch in the ash. Elend took a step forward, cocking his head to see what the thing was writing.
I will kill you, the words said. Death, death, death.
"Well . . . that's pleasant," Elend said, feeling an eerie chill.'

That made me laugh so much. Hope everyone is having a great day!

Making baby food

I just remembered that my friend Shalyse asked me some questions about making baby food and I forgot to email her back. Then I realized that it would make a good blog post if any of my other friends who are also young mothers want to make their own.

The tupperware I use is just some cheap stuff we got as a wedding present. I think we got it from Target. I found it best to put the food in several smaller containers for easy defrosting and so that it wouldn't go bad if we couldn't go through it fast enough. I freeze them until I need a new container, and then put them overnight in the fridge. Right now in the fridge I have green beans, applesauce that's almost done, and peaches and strawberries. Katrina had applesauce for breakfast everyday for a week and didn't seem to mind.

Everything except the strawberries had to be mixed with water in order for my blender to work properly. It's easy to put too much water in, but in the case of the green beans I put them in my sifter and it worked perfectly to reduce the water. Today I served Katrina peaches and strawberries mixed together, which was a hit, but it was the consistency of soup. In that case I usually just throw in some dry cereal and it thickens it up enough.

I mostly just do this to save money, so I've decided that some foods are worth it and some aren't. The green beans, for instance, cost me several dollars for the bag and only made one tupperware container. Not worth it. One yam, though, made two containers worth. One apple and one peach both went a really long way. I still am experimenting, but I would like to figure out some green vegetable to use that aren't super expensive.

Anyway, if that helps anyone, good!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Crafty me

Katrina going to town on a piece of meat we gave her the other day. I had fun dressing her completely in stripes.
Little booties I made for her from scrap material. The pattern is for 0-6 months but I wanted to try it out anyway. They still fit her feet, just barely, and it was several minutes before she kicked them off. I want to try them again sometime with the correct materials and fusible interfacing instead of just extra fabric, like I used.

Sneak peak at a Christmas present! Isn't this cute? So fun and pretty easy to make. I got the idea from the Sew Mama Sew blog I mentioned before. Here is the tutorial.


I still need to buy animals to go inside. It is 4"x 6"x 6".
I really liked how it turned out and I have plenty of extra fabric, so I can make one for Katrina when she's older.
Yesterday Adam's coworkers sent him home early, which is why I had so much time to sew the barn. This is a pretty nasty cold or flu. I haven't gotten it yet, but I'm not holding my breath. At least Katrina got a flu shot last doctors visit. Today I was a little disappointed that he felt good enough to go to work--I like it when he's home, even if he's sick! I think he was pretty bored though. He worked on his work laptop and watched HGTV a lot. Not terribly interesting!
Well, Katrina just went down for a nap, so I'm going to go devour the book I got last night from the library. It is The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson and I have been wanting to read it so badly. He's my favorite newly discovered author. Too bad I didn't know about him when I was at BYU, since he actually teaches a class there!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend catchup

When I don't blog for awhile, it usually means I'm having lots of fun. I went down to New Jersey on Friday to spend the day with Adam's family. This was kind of a big deal because I don't really like driving. I feel like a huge wimp for saying that, but it makes me nervous. I was much more confident when I drove regularly, but ever since I went to college and didn't have a car, my driving confidence has dramatically decreased. Jersey is abour an hour and three highways away, so I was nervous, but even with rainy driving conditions, I was just fine. Adam was battling his third day of a nasty virus but decided to drag himself to work anyway. He came home with his dad later in the day and we decided to spend the night, even though Katrina has historically hated the portable crib. We were very happy that she ended up sleeping in it without problem and only woke once.

After a fun weekend, we headed home by way of a certain town a few miles away from us that has affordable houses. We checked out a townhouse that looked great on the internet but were disheartened to find that the neighborhood was a little ghetto. In fact, the whole town was. It looks like we'll just stay in these apartments indefinitely because we live in a much nicer neighborhood and have all new appliances anyway.

I think our trip was too much too soon for Adam, unfortunately, because his cold/possibly flu came back really strongly last night and he was too sick to go to church this morning. He was pretty weak, so I took Katrina with me to church. She sat happily on the floor during choir practice, then got super tired and to make a long story short: the nice young couple watching her didn't really get to enjoy the Primary Program. But I was able to play for the Primary kids without worrying about her and I think I did very well. I even played octaves in the left hand for the chorus of "Called to Serve" when the congregation came in. During Primary she was sooo tired, so I ended up nursing her behind the piano to put her to sleep, and then putting her on the floor. She slept for a little while, even with me playing!

By the time I came home I was exhausted. Adam made dinner and I'm pretty sure that I am going to wake up tomorrow sick myself. I hope not.

Oh, and I made some shoes for Katrina yesterday that ended up really cute. I found them from the sewer's blog Sew Mama Sew. They have a handmade holidays thing each year and I found some really cute ideas, including the gift I'm going to make for my nephew. I'll take a picture of the shoes and post them tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pink hippopotamus pajamas

This was my project for today. (Sorry for the cell phone picture, but my camera batteries are once again uncharged). I finally finished the three-part sewing project that I began several months ago! This is exactly the same as the green cow pattern pajamas, just with little pink hippos. I cut it out last week and today spent about four-five hours sewing and pounding in snaps. Everything went smoothly and I didn't have to call my mother or mother-in-law for help! The only thing that went wrong was that I put the snaps in backwards, meaning I switched the male and female parts. But that's not a problem because they still snap properly. I also discovered that my machine likes to eat knits, but I always got it to spit the material back out. This time I actually sewed each seam twice and snipped the seams, which I didn't do before because I was so excited to get them done. I'm very happy to have another pair of pajamas since we only have two others and one of them got soiled badly this morning, grr.

Adam was still feeling super sick today, but finally decided to go to work. His boss has the flu, so we think it could be that. I didn't have enough time to feed the baby before taking him, so I scrapped my plans to go down to Jersey and am going tomorrow. In retrospect, and not in a fog of sleepiness, I could have driven him and fed Katrina afterwards. She probably wouldn't have minded waiting. Oh well. We'll see if we can get to bed before 1:00 am tonight. That will help. We're trying to get Katrina out of the habit of waking up three hours after bedtime every single night. It almost worked last night, because after only ten minutes of crying she fell back asleep, but then she woke right back up and I had to feed her after all after midnight. Luckily she fell back asleep easily every other time she woke up, but we still had a hard time getting up, even sleeping in until 8:30.

Update on the baby food I made--the oatmeal was a resounding failure. I might try it again mixed with breastmilk or with hot water (and then letting it cool down), but the way I fed it to her, it was just this congealed mass of grossness. So I bought some multi-grain stuff and she likes that infinitely better than the oatmeal or rice cereal. Green beans--success at first, but pretty much a failure now; applesauce--success; strawberries--failure. Hey, it's a fun experiment at least!

Oh, and I wanted to share the dinner I made last night, because I'm proud that I made it up myself.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Burgers
-slice two chicken breasts in half and cook in a pan
-cook four pieces of bacon
-open four hamburger buns on a cookie sheet and spread lightly with ranch dressing
-broil the buns for a few minutes
-place chicken on one side of bun, bacon on the other, and drizzle lightly with ranch dressing
-close buns and enjoy sandwich

Doesn't that sound good? Adam loved it and I plan to make it again in the future. Next time I will chop up the chicken so that it is easier to cook and so that there is less chicken on each bun. I also would like to have lettuce and tomatoes on it. Maybe bacon isn't your thing, but I used low-sodium bacon and wiped the grease off of each piece afterwards. I bet it would be easy to make with a George Foreman grill. And I managed to get rid of the hamburger buns sitting in the fridge that were half stale, half mushy. :]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dead. D-E-D. Dead.

I was talking to my parents yesterday on the phone when I opened my laptop and ran my finger over the touchpad. No response, so I pressed a few keys and then the power button. Then I realized the light on the power button was blinking. I plugged the power cord in, but no response still, just blinking. And suddenly I knew--my computer is dead. It has lasted almost four years and has a history of fan problems and frying power cables. Usually I would troubleshoot and get Adam to look at it and maybe call my dad before giving up, but for some reason I knew that it was the end for my wonderful laptop friend. *Wipes tear.*

Before the conversation ended, I told my parents what had happened and my dad gave me a few tips on recovering the data. Everything was backed up two months ago, but I have pictures and videos since then that I don't want to lose.

So I'm a little depressed. Internet Explorer had all of my blogs saved in its feed, and I can't really remember all of the blogs that I like to read. I lost my music arrangment of O Holy Night, though I did print it out. Plus, now I have to either use Adam's laptop, which has a dead battery and has to be constantly plugged in, or our PC, which has a keyboard with the Shift and Enter keys that stick. At least we have plenty of computers, thanks to the fact that Adam got to bring home his work computer when they got new ones.

Sigh. Katrina's asleep, Adam is sick with flu-like symptoms (really not good when his coworker is fighting brain cancer), and we're watching a House Hunters that we've already seen. I find myself looking forward to Katrina waking up in a couple of hours, just because she's unbearably cute and I love to play with her. Never mind that we're really frustrated that up until a month ago she was sleeping straight through the night and now wakes twice every night...

The good side to this: maybe I won't waste so much time on the computer each day. Ha! I wish.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Torturing my baby

Is it bad that I played violin for over half an hour today while Katrina cried? She didn't really scream...much. For a little while she even calmed down completely and played with her toys, but by the end she was crying again. I don't want her to cry, but I need to practice! I missed Messiah practice on Sunday because we didn't have enough gas in the car, so I especially needed to go through those pieces. I also wanted to try out the arrangement I made of "O Holy Night."

Bad news. It sounded really bad. Well, not really bad, but definitely not good. I did better at the end when my fingers were warmed up, but I'm just not as good as I used to be, so double stops and nimble fingerings are harder. I really need to work on this if I want it to be good. The music director has a version of "Silent Night" that I can play too, so I think I'll ask her to give me the music for that on Sunday. Oh well. It was fun. I would like to be able to practice it until I can do it, but how can I when every time I practice Katrina is absolutely miserable?

I cut a feeding for Katrina. Typically I nurse her and then feed her some solids, like the baby sites tell me to do, but I've decided that for her 11:00 am meal, I'm just going to feed her solids and that's all. I know that's not a big deal, but to me it feels like the first step to weaning her, which is a little sad. I like nursing, and I like her being little. It's bittersweet watching children develop and grow. I also ran out of rice cereal, so I tried grinding up oats in my blender and it worked surprisingly well. Tonight we'll try that. I might also try grinding up rice. This whole making my own baby food is surprisingly easy and gratifying.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun with music

I spent a lot of today arranging the piece I will be playing on violin for the Christmas program at church. The ward music chairman called me today and asked me to play "Silent Night." I asked her, "What about 'O Holy Night?' " She said ok, so today I've been working on the piece. "Arranging" is a generous term. I took a vocal solo version from Sally Deford's website. If you haven't heard of Sally DeFord, you really need to head over to defordmusic.com. She lived in my stake in Colorado Springs growing up and we sang in each of her Easter cantatas and Christmas sing-a-longs. She composes lots of music and offers it for free on her website. One of the songs that we sang every year was "O Holy Night" and I really loved it. So I took a look at it and had a few ideas of how to make it an interesting violin solo. I cut it down to just two verses (it's really long otherwise), with the first verse having a lot of pretty harmonies, and the second having some cool arpeggios. I still need to play through it to see how it works, but it sounds nice on my computer.

Well, I'm completely distracted by the tv, so that's all. Have a good week!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Finished product

Do you like my supply of pureed baby food? I have tons of yams and applesauce. There're also plenty of carrots, green beans, peaches, and some strawberries. She had applesauce for dinner and liked it just fine, so I have hopes that she'll like everything else. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Baby Food

Well, I survived the night without Adam. Katrina woke up twice but only once was after I had gone to bed. Adam just got home and the camping trip went better than he thought, so we're both in a good mood.

After he gets out of the shower and Katrina wakes up, I'm going to spend awhile in the kitchen. I've decided to try making my own baby food. Baby food really wasn't that expensive when she only was eating half a jar a day, but now she gets two meals and before long she'll be eating more at each meal, so I'm going to try mixing my own. We don't have a food processor, so I'm going to just use the blender. I think for the vegetable, I'll cook them first. I bought peaches, apples, strawberries, yams, carrots, and green beans. I actually already pureed the strawberries earlier today, but the blender made Katrina scream, so that's why I decided to wait for Adam to get home before continuing. She grimaced when she tasted the strawberries, so that might fail, but pureed strawberries are definitely something I can find a use for if she hates them. All the other foods she's already had and liked. Maybe I'll mix the strawberries with bananas to make them less tart.

So anyway, I'm proud of my efforts and it always feels good to make something yourself rather than just putting money in the pockets of Gerber (instead I put it in the pockets of Acme, I guess).

I'm also eating a TastyCake coffecake that Adam brought for me. He loves them, but I'm kind of grossed out. The first one was all right, but I don't think I can finish the second. There, I just gave it to Adam, though he stared me down for profaning his beloved tastycakes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Middle of the night fun

Katrina popped up with another tooth yesterday, which explains why the night before had been such a failure in trying to get her to sleep through the night like the doctor recommended. Last night, on the other hand, was a complete success. She woke several times but always fell back asleep after only a little crying. I, on the other hand, woke up at 3:00 and couldn't go back to sleep until 5. The reason? Well, after laying awake for an hour with the desire to say "Moo!" and wake up Katrina just to make her nurse, you can imagine how I felt. I finally got up and pumped a few ounces to take the edge off. Luckily there were a bunch of updated blogs to read while pumping and now I have some milk to mix with Katrina's rice cereal, which will definitely make it more palatable for her.

Tonight is another campout for Adam. I never realized that Scouts go camping so often. This has been such a stressful calling for Adam. No one else seems to understand the potential of this scouting program. The other leaders talk a lot of good talk but fail to put in the effort to implement improvements. They also seem to operate under the assumption that the boys hate scouting and would rather do other activities, refusing to understand (even though Adam explains) that Scouts, especially Venturing, doesn't have to be just camping and merit badges. The problem is augmented by the fact that our ward is too small to stand alone, so Adam's unit is combined with another ward's and their leaders regularly seem to ignore that fact. The other scoutmaster is really trying hard along with Adam, but they are both untrained and failing to get the support they need from their Young Mens presidencies to get that training. And the lack of communication! Yikes. I don't envy Adam.

Here are a few pictures of Katrina. She's rather good at the blank look, isn't she? The weird thing on her head is my attempt to make a headband out of tights. I was reading instructions on how to turn tights into baby headbands on the internet and after a little fiddling, I decided my way was easier. :]