Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dress

Wow, Tori, what a beautiful dress!
Thank you, it's wonderful, I know.
Wait, how did that get there?
Oh look, a beautiful little girl and her wonderful seamstress mother!
Eww, she's already drooled.

Can you tell I'm proud of this dress? I held myself back from telling everyone at church that I made it, except the sister who commented on how pretty it was. But I really wanted to tell everyone. :] We brought a big, absorbent bib that kept the drool from drenching her entire dress, but she still soaked through that eventually. Gross. I feel her gums regularly to check for teeth, but there aren't any yet. She just likes to drool!

Katrina fell asleep on the way home from church and just woke up a half an hour ago. I used her three-hour nap to catch an hour-long nap myself, and Adam caught a few minutes of sleep too. I love family afternoon naps! Now I just need to drag myself to the kitchen to cook. Dinner really won't take long to make, but I keep putting it off and eating sugar-free lifesavers instead.

Tomorrow is Labor Day! We have a ward party but I'm not sure we'll go. If we didn't have to bring a main dish for ourselves and a salad to share, I would probably go, but heck, I don't want to spend my holiday cooking! We'll see.

A girl that I grew up with just got married yesterday and my mom made me envious by listing off all the people there from Colorado that she knew. I miss the West a lot sometimes. PA is great and absolutely beautiful. Our ward is so welcoming and I love being primary pianist. But I really miss Colorado and Utah. And my family. There's a small chance we can go out west for Christmas, but it's just a small possibility at the moment, so don't get your hopes up! If not, then our next time out there will be for the family reunion in June. Or a family wedding, if a certain of my siblings gets engaged like I'm hoping. ;]

I should go to bed...

It's midnight but I don't really feel like going to bed yet. Maybe Katrina will sleep in tomorrow until almost nine like she did today. Or maybe she'll wake up at 6:30 like yesterday. Either way, I should be in bed, but I'm not.

So, my visiting teacher invited us to go to the temple and said she could watch the baby while we went inside. How cool is that? But then she didn't call me back yesterday and I didn't call her and we stayed up really late while I was sewing Katrina's dress... Anyway, we didn't go to the temple today and I felt really guilty since I haven't been there since March. It's 2.5 hours away, which is far less convenient than when we lived in Provo. I was a temple worker for almost a year and really miss it. Now I can't do it again until all my children are 18 or older. Stinks, huh? So, I was feeling guilty, but then my visiting teacher called and left a message asking if it would work out for us to go to the temple still. Huh? I finally realized she meant next Saturday, which is Stake Temple Day, not today! If we had talked yesterday, I'm sure I would have shown up at her house at 6:30 am this morning! So we're going next week. I hope she can watch Katrina.

I was madly sewing all yesterday and today so that I could finish Katrina's dress for tomorrow. Good news is that it's done! and beautiful! Bad news is that I finished it after she went to bed so I can't try it on her until tomorrow. So I took pictures, but I want to take some of her wearing it. I definitely had some issues with it. Seeing that I barely know how to sew, each of these little baby clothes projects are pretty tough. My mom taught me the basics and I made some skirts and simple things (and a pioneer bonnet for a handcart trek, weird), but that was years ago! Mostly I just use my sewing machine to hem pants. So today I sewed my first buttons and button holes. It went great, except when my machine ate the fabric and I had to dissemble half the bobbin part. Luckily that was a test button hole and not on the dress. Gathering the skirt was the hugest pain because the fabric is eyehole fabric and would stick. This time I didn't have to call my mom for directions! Adam's mom explained to me the tricky parts beforehand.

Well, I'm singing in choir at church for Stake Conference in a couple of weeks, so that means I have to be at church early tomorrow. Better head to bed.

Real quick, Katrina now is mobile! She rolls in only one direction, so I just keep moving her back to far edge of the blanket every few minutes. I love watching her look around for toys and then actively try to move over to those toys. Of course, she usually ends up flat on her back on top of the toy and then I have to give it to her anyway, but it's still way cute watching her think.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Baby giggles

Okay, so Katrina rolled over today for me from her back to her belly. It was all quite exciting and I spent the next while trying to get her to repeat it for the camera. No luck, just lots of footage of her almost rolling over. Instead, I took a video of her laughing. Pretty cute, huh?

We figured out the high chair we're going to buy. It's so ugly. I know, that sounds awful, but I hate how it looks. However, it has great reviews and when we stuck Katrina in it at the store, she loved the toy it comes with. I still have my reservations though. Hmm. We'll see. It'll take awhile to get our gift card that is going to pay for it, so we may change our minds.

On a completely unrelated note, check out this link. According to a study, childhood ear infections are linked to later obesity. Apparently the infections mess up taste receptors and make sweet and fatty foods more appealing. I had tons of ear infections as a child, so now whenever I have a craving for McDonalds as we drive by or an aching for ice cream and sweets, I blame it on my childhood ear infections! On Sunday I decided that my weight had to go down and it needs to go down now. I have been holding onto the same five pounds of pregnancy weight for three months and I know I can lose it with just a few lifestyle changes. I know I eat really well except for my sweet tooth and the occasional fatty fast food meal. Exercising isn't happening any time soon, unfortunately, but that's a different goal for a different time. For now, I'm going to work on those "except for" things. Meaning, I'm cutting out all sugary stuff from my diet and evening splurges. No ice cream, Rita's water ice, occasional sodas, or even Adam's yummy cake he made. Or yummy cheesecake. In order to preserve my sanity, I'm allowed an exception once a week, which allows me to not insult my hosts if I go to eat dinner at someone else's house! I bought some sugar-free fruit bars at the store to help with my after-dinner cravings. So far, I have lost 2 lbs! Could be my scale, but it still is enough incentive to continue. I really do eat well the rest of the time, so it's not a huge dietary change. Now that it's getting cooler in the evenings, I may be able to start taking Katrina on walks, which would be excellent for both of us. After I get those five pounds off I can work on the next weight loss--getting down to wedding day weight! And after that, maintenance, maintenance, maintenance, and avoiding the particular birth control and fast food that helped me gain that weight!

(I understand that weight loss will not be as easy as I made it sound and that I will have to exercise more to ever be happy with my body, but right now I'm just flying high on the initial success of my self-discipline. :] )

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Maybe I'll vote Libertarian

I hate politics. I've realized in the last year or so that I'm not strictly conservative or liberal. I agree more with the Republicans than the Democrats but I can't throw myself behind either candidate without reservation. McCain's rabid love of war scares me, especially with Russia acting up and their president stating that they're "not afraid of another Cold War." Obama's support of partial-birth abortion sickens me. Even though I agree with him more, McCain represents everything I dislike about Washington D.C. and the current administration (and most of his "plans" aren't any better than Obama's). I sometimes get caught up in Obama's charisma and then read his stances on issues and remember how much I disagree with him. I could go on and on about my indecision, especially since I'm not even sure what I think on some things like immigration. I watched Bob Barr tonight on tv and I think I might vote for him!

At least I'm trying to be more informed than in previous elections. I'm also trying to not be too swayed by either the media or the fact that I grew up in a very conservative family and community. Adam and I have far differing viewpoints on some things, yet his economic knowledge has really helped me be more informed. We think the same on more things than we think differently. I'd like to think that because we don't agree on everything, we make each other think about the issues and not just vote conservative as a default.

But because politics and the state of our nation really depresses me, I'm not going to linger over it here. I remarked to Adam that it's a lot harder to watch America fall into disarray than I ever thought it would be when I was a kid and read about the Latter Days in the scriptures. Interestingly enough, all the Mormons back in Utah tend toward the Republican Party, while the tendency here is often towards Democrat, and both sides are sometimes in doubt that one could be a "good Mormon" and be a part of the opposite party!

So here is the funny picture to lighten the mood:
We're dorks, aren't we?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Table

Katrina has a new trick. Whenever I go in to get her after a nap, she has pulled her crocheted yellow blanket up over her head with both hands. When I pull it off, she is grinning and sometimes giggling. It's way cute. Today though, when I put her down for a nap, she started crying harder after a few minutes instead of quieting down. I went in to find her holding the blanket over her face, and when I pulled it off, her face was all red and sweaty and she seemed pretty distressed. I think that she couldn't really figure out how to get it off, even though she was the one holding it in place. I checked on her a few minutes ago and she had it pulled over her face again. Even though she was giggling about it, I took it away from her. So now I will be putting her blanket on her after she falls asleep. I don't mind her doing that when she wakes up, but not when she might fall asleep with it there! It's crocheted, so she can breathe, but not very well.
Today, the freight company came with our dining room set! The man then informed me that I had not paid for an inside delivery, so he wouldn't bring it down the steps into our apartment. Gee thanks. He wheeled the box over to a parking spot and left. I hate delivery guys sometimes. They refuse to lift a finger more than obligated to. I assumed that the shipping that I paid for would cover something as basic as the delivery between the truck and the apartment, but guess not! He told me to call Target if I thought I had paid for inside delivery. Instead, I just called Adam. He came home quickly and we opened the box right there in the handicapped parking spot. The entire box was about 160 lbs, but it was easy enough to carry everything in once it was opened.
So, I had fun putting the set together today with the baby looking on from her swing. One of the chairs is a little messed up so that some of the screws don't go in all the way and it rocks. I'm not sure what we'll do about that. Other than that though, it looks really nice! We're looking forward to accessorizing it. We're also going to add to the dining room with a high chair for the baby. Tonight we went to BabiesRUs and looked around. I didn't really like any of them, actually. They all look horrible. Some of them looked better, but didn't look as convenient or sturdy. I don't know. I considered a chair that attaches to a normal kitchen chair, but we nixed those for a variety of reasons. Anyway, it's just more baby gear to fill our apartment. At least this is the last major thing we need to get, I think.
So here's the table, minus the chair that we're still trying to put together. Also, here is Katrina trying to see her dad. Too cute not to share!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pajamas!

I have gone a few days without a post for a good reason: I have been spending my free time doing something other than being bored and writing posts! I have finished the first of three planned outfits for Katrina.

I turned the dining room into a sewing nook and finally took my sewing machine out of its box. Tomorrow we are getting a new table and chairs, so I will have to move my sewing station to the bedroom, but I really enjoyed working there with the sun shining in on me during the day and Adam in the other room at night. I also enjoyed pinning patterns on during the Olympics.

So here is the finished product!

They ended up very cute, in my opinion! Adam's mom walked me through the pinning and cutting out because it's been awhile since I used a pattern. I ended up figuring out most of the sewing instructions myself, but I also called my mom a few times (Mom, the sleeves don't fit! What, switch them? I already did tha--oh. That fixed it...Hi Mom! What is understitching?...Hi again. Do I cut all the seams or just this one?). Luckily she was able to explain things to me over the phone and when Adam's mom came today I had finished everything except some of the snaps. I did have to pull out all of the bias tape and redo all of that under her guidance, but we both agreed that the pattern was to blame for being confusing! I finished it up later today. Unfortunately, two of the snaps ended up with the prongs being in the wrong spot so they won't snap, but oh well. Stupid snaps.

Here it is on Katrina:

I made a size Small, but it's still pretty big on her. I would have had to make to the Newborn size for it to fit her. Grr. She needs pajamas now! I guess I could make the pink fabric a Newborn size. I don't know. Anyway, I'm super proud of myself. I want to start on the dress next, but I don't have enough bobbins for all the necessary thread, so I might make the other set of pjs first which use the same pink thread.

Here is a picture to show why I get frustrated these days.


Can you understand my frustration? Look how close she is to rolling over from her back to her stomach! And yet she refuses to do it again. I have still not seen it. She almost rolled today but then I gasped and that distracted her.

Finally, this is what happens when Mom gets tired of putting socks back on the baby's feet.

Good solution, right? I don't know why I didn't think of it before!

Tonight I went with Adam to Scouts since I thought there would be a pretty good chance that no one would go and he would come home early. The deacons in the other ward had a combined activity and the one deacon from our ward didn't show. Two priests did (priests are young men ages 16-18 and deacons are 12-13, for those who aren't familiar with those terms. Teachers are 14-15). So we waited for an hour with them at church before the Young Mens President arrived after getting stuck on his commute home. It was kind of fun being around energetic young people. I ended up having to nurse Katrina in the car but it worked out because of the handy nursing cover a woman at church gave to me! It's Bebe Au Lait or something. Very convenient because of wire in the seam that lets you look at the baby but no one else can. Anyway, this whole story was to say that Adam asked them if he was still needed to accompany the priests on their camping trip later this week and they said no! So he has Friday off and won't be gone for two days and two nights! Well, I don't know if he'll still take Friday off, but at least I won't be alone. Monday is off for Labor Day, so at least we have a three-day weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gender Equality

Does it frustrate anyone else that women are almost never as good as men at Olympic events? Sure, individual women are as good as individual men, but the difference in general is rather frustrating sometimes. For instance, I watched womens 10M platform diving finals last night and am watching mens currently. The women hardly ever got more than 90 points, whereas the men frequently do because of the increased difficulty of their dives. Plus, it seems like the men tend to better at splashing less. We watched the pole vault and the men were jumping a full 3 feet higher than the women! Men are faster, can do more flips and spins and whatever talent better than women. Or at least that's how it seems.

I told Adam my opinions and he agreed that it's a shame. He thought that maybe mens and womens shooting and archery could be comparable. I said "the mens' targets will be farther away." Sure enough, he looked, and the distances are different. By then, both of us were annoyed at the inequality of it all and Adam went through a bunch of events trying to find something where men and women were the same. Turns out that in equestrian, there aren't separate events for men and women, they compete together.

(Edit: Okay, actually Adam was looking to see if their were any events without separate competitions by gender, where I thought he was looking at something else. So the above paragraph is a little inaccurate.)

I don't know why I'm annoyed by this, since I'm awful at sports and I know that men's and women's bodies are just different. But wouldn't it be nice to be on equal footing with men in sports in more than just one event?



On a more domestic note, I pinned pattern pieces onto fabric tonight for the pajamas and dress that I'm making for Katrina. Tomorrow we're going to Adam's parents and his mom is going to help me sew them. We also have a whole slew of errands to do: library, pharmacy, scout office, post office, and possibly furniture store. Hopefully we can get everything done. Oh yeah, and we want to have our anniversary dinner too. Hopefully we can fit it all in!



Obligatory cute pictures:


Oh no, she already likes my computer. Looks like I'm raising a computer addict just like myself.

This would be much cuter if the flash didn't make her blink. I'm trying to get her accustomed to her spoons.


Man, she looks chubby in this picture, doesn't she? It's true--the camera really does add ten pounds. :] I just had to get a picture of that hat!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm so bored

I'm mostly posting because I am so bored, not because I have a cute picture or story. I don't feel like cleaning, it's too early to start cooking dinner, Katrina is napping but on the verge of waking up, and I can't concentrate on my book. For someone who loves reading as much as I always have, it's frustrating that I have lost my ability to concentrate on a book. Well, not always. If it's a really, really good book, I can concentrate just fine! But this is one that I've read before and is kind of a huge tome (Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan, if you're wondering).

Today's better than yesterday. We're back to fighting each other about naps. She yawns all day, which makes it hard to know whether or not she's tired enough to sleep. I think the problem is she's waking up before she's done sleeping and I need to try to get her back to sleep instead of assuming she's done. Luckily she hasn't screamed much today, which means I still feel sane. Adam called me a few minutes ago saying his boss is paying for him to buy a new suit. That's crazy! How many bosses do that? We're lucky Adam works for a great company.

Since I compulsively make lists and spreadsheets (I've been tracking feeding times for the past two months and now am tracking nap times too--it helps because I can't ever remember when the last time she ate was), I started a list of all of the food dishes I can make. Hopefully this will help me make menus and figure out ideas for dinner every night. I also have a list of all of the authors I like so I can remember what books I want to read, a list of gift ideas for Adam and a separate list for Christmas gifts for everyone, a list of when all of our automatic bill payments are due or are taken out of our bank account, and a budget spreadsheet that Adam and I worked on together which includes all sorts of formulas that make plugging numbers in easy. Sometimes I think I might have minor OCD! But if I do, it's not debilitating, so I won't worry about it.

Okay, I think I will go read now or maybe empty out the dishwasher. Sorry for the borderline stream-of-consciousness post!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Real people food

I've come to grips with the fact that I just have a fussy baby. She gets upset easily and cries a lot and makes up for it by sleeping through the night and being cute. Still, it's been a tough week and today was the worst. I had the Relief Society president and one of her counselors come to visit. I was so relieved to have visitors but Katrina has turned into such an ornery child that she cries whenever strangers or even familiar people hold her or try to play with her. It's not just a cry. It's this eardrum-piercing wail that she uses now in place of all of her previous cries that I was just getting used to. Whereas I used to know whether she was hungry or tired or bored, now I have no clue. So I had to give her to one of them to hold, which made her cry even worse, if possible, while I fixed up a bottle of formula because nursing wasn't enough for her. I think that my milk production may be down because I'm stressed, or something. Every night for the last several nights I've had to feed her a bottle after nursing her because she isn't satisfied after nursing. Plus during the day she only eats on about five minutes each side. Since I stay up watching Olympics I pump a couple of ounces every night to use the next evening.

Anyway, I decided to try solids. I've read a lot about the pros and cons of introducing solids this early and since her next doctor appointment isn't for another month, I can't ask her pediatrician. I decided to try a little rice cereal. I figure, if she's not ready, I'll figure out pretty quickly. But I won't know until I try, right? Katrina is advanced in so many areas that I thought she might be ready. Here's the video of our attempt.

Looks like she's not quite ready, but it was certainly entertaining for us!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary to us!

Warning! Long, slightly mushy post ahead!

Today is our second anniversary! We are so excited to be able to celebrate two whole years of being married. Last night Adam and I walked around our apartment and pondered on how things have changed since getting married. Of course, the biggest change and biggest blessing is our daughter Katrina. She's also our loudest. :] Anyway, I thought that I would tell the story of how Adam and I met, dated, etc. It's fun to reminisce!

Adam and I were in the same ward at church during my sophomore year. It was his first semester back at school since getting home from his mission several months earlier. About half the semester passed before we met. We were at church and were going to the teacher improvement class during Sunday School because I was a gospel doctrine teacher and he was an Elders Quorum instructor. Just that week Adam had found out that he was medically DQ'd from the Air Force ROTC because of his eye condition. Most of his friends were in ROTC and he decided he needed to try to make other friends. So he talked to me, we went to class together, and that was that. He thought I was cute, I noticed that he thought I was cute, but I was at the time interested in another guy.


Just after Thanksgiving, Adam had a formal dinner and dance for ROTC that required a date. I was quite happy to be invited, though I got close to backing out at the last moment because I was so incredibly sick. I had coughing fits all evening and had a really hoarse voice, but we both had tons of fun. We went on a couple more dates together, hung out every night, and shared a first kiss the night before he left for winter break. From then on, it was pretty obvious to everyone that we would end up married. But I was planning on going on a study abroad to St. Petersburg and didn't want to worry about marriage. Still, things changed, and on April 1, 2006, he proposed to me and we started planning on an August wedding, even though we would have to get married two weeks after I returned from Russia and we'd have to plan a wedding long distance. Why didn't we wait until December? Well, we were sick of roommates, our apartment management, and BYU housing! So we figured, why wait? Four months of dating and four months of engagement isn't too uncommon at BYU, so we had plenty of help planning a wedding quickly. In fact, most of the big stuff was taken care of before I left in May for Russia. We even were able to do a lot of stuff cheap ($200 dress on eBay! And still gorgeous) and spend most of the money on a reception center and honeymoon in Orlando.

And so we were separated for three months, which was one of the longest, hardest summers ever. And yet, it was wonderful because I thoroughly enjoyed the study abroad and made lots of friends. Plus, phone cards were cheaper than you would think, so we talked several times a week. I returned a week early because classes ended and I didn't have the money to tour Europe with the others. The day before I came home, Adam took his Series 7 licensing exam. That's a big, hard test to qulalify him to sell securities, for those of you who don't know what it is. He called me to tell me he passed, told me his stomach had been really hurting all day, and then after that ended up in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy! I was still glad I got the chance to go home early and meet his parents, but for most of the visit Adam was laying around recovering. We headed to Utah and were married August 19, 2006 in the Salt Lake Temple!


We moved into BYU married housing at Wymount Terrace. It was a tiny apartment, as was our second one in the same complex with a second bedroom. Both of us had two years left, he in Economics and me in Humanities with a Music Emphasis. We really enjoyed our time at BYU together and even were able to be temple workers at the Provo temple for a year. About a year after we got married, the week of our first anniversary, in fact, we found out that we were going to have a baby! We apparently had it planned out just right, because my due date was during finals week of our last semester! That was more perfect than it seems because BYU insurance ended as soon as we graduated. Then the baby ended up coming a week early and I was able to rest for a week before taking finals. Still, it was stressful. We had no idea what we would do for a job since Adam's job in New Jersey wouldn't be able to support us, but we were planning on moving to NJ anyway. Two weeks later, Adam got a call asking him if he was interested in interviewing for the same company that his dad works for. They had helped him get licensed and decided he would be a good fit for their job opening. Two weeks later we moved! We moved to Pennsylvania instead of the original destination, but everything fell into place.

So now we have a beautiful four-month-old baby! Adam has a job he really likes in the industry that he wants to be in and I have fun blogging and doing small projects as well as watching Katrina. (Oh, and I'm having a serious dilemma trying to decided whether to go back to school for an online degree of either Museum Studies or Library Science, since now would be the best time while we only have one child. But that could fill a post of its own!) We're so happy to be celebrating our two-year anniversary and here are a few pictures of us for everyone to enjoy. I just want everyone to know how much I love and appreciate my husband. He's always so supportive of me and is my rock through various physical and mental trials that I have. I am so grateful that he is the father of my baby because he is such a great one. He loves the Lord and is a constant example to me of honoring his priesthood and serving the Lord. I am so happy to know that we are sealed not only for time but for all eternity as well!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rita's Water Ice

Around here there is a lovely store called Rita's. It sells Italian water ice and gelatis, which are water ice swirled with custard. Most of the stores close at the end of the summer, so Adam and I are getting our fill. As in, we go every Monday night for Family Home Evening dessert, most Fridays, and occasional Saturdays. The guy who is usually working there sees us drive up and waves excitedly at us. It makes me a little embarassed that he recognizes us so easily! Maybe we should curb our habit. Nahhh. It tastes too good. My current favorite is the wild black cherry Misto (custard and water ice mixed together), though I love root beer and key lime flavors as well.

Okay, so I cannot handle this baby. She has developed this new screetch/wail/yell that is so unbearable to listen to. Plus, she's having a lot more trouble taking naps these days again. This whole weekend was awful. Today I got her to sleep, she woke up about 45 minutes later, I fed her, and she fell back asleep on me. Every time I tried to move she started to wake up, so I was stuck with her on me for an hour and a half until I could move her safely. Then she slept another hour. This evening was the first night in ages that when we put her to bed, she wouldn't go. She yelled and yelled until we got her out and fed her some pumped milk. Then we put her back, she cried more, and is finally settled down. Of course, she's still awake, just not crying. Ahhh. Tomorrow, at least, Adam's mom is going to help me start a sewing project. I'm going to make Katrina a new dress and some new pajamas. Hopefully having someone else around will help me maintain my sanity. One good thing about today was that I got to read one of the books I got the other day at the library. It was kind of a mixture between fantasy and Jane Austen. I actually really enjoyed it, and it was quite clean, which is especially amazing for adult fantasy. I usually prefer young adult novels because they are bit cleaner. The book is called "The Magicians and Mrs. Quent," and the only bad thing about it is that it's the author's only book. I added the author's name, Galen Beckett, to my spreadsheet of authors and books that I like.
Yesterday in her prettiest Sunday dress, which is getting too short.
Trying to calm her yesterday during a tantrum.

Sweet, exhausted baby yesterday after only having like half an hour of naps all day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Anniversary Presents

So when I was growing up, we used to play this weird game called "The Farming Game." I'm pretty sure my grandparents got it for us because the unique thing about the game is that it is based on central Washington, Yakima to be exact. My grandparents are from northeastern Washington. The Farming Game was a family favorite, though it somehow often ended prematurely because it would turn into a big family argument. But still, I remember it with so many fond memories. I told Adam we should get it because he served his mission in central Washington and would know the locations well.

So, we opened our anniversary gifts a few days early last night. I gave Adam a nice Casio watch that would be much better if we could figure out how to take out the extra links. He gave me the Farming Game! We had a rousing three-hour game (this is not a fast game) while watching the Olympics (Michael Phelps--isn't he amazing!). It's actually a bit different than I remember. When we played as a family, I think we simplified some of the rules. Anyway, we enjoyed it a lot, and we both technically won--we got over $250,000 and were able to quit our part-time jobs to be farmers year-round--but Adam is still trying to figure out how I beat him by $100,000! Haha. We're going to play again tonight. It's fun to find a board game that can be played by only two people if we want.

We're going to go today and get library cards. I'm excited to be able to read new books. Unfortunately, it's a small library and doesn't have many of the books that I really want to read, but I can request them from other libraries.
Also, this is completely random, but we're watching the tv miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon." It is twelve one-hour segments on the United States' space program from the very beginnings. I absolutely love it. Each is filmed sligthly differently, some from the viewpoint of a particular astronaut, some from the families, or from the guys who created the LM. I liked the one today that we watched about Apollo 12 from the viewpoint of one of the astronauts. That one was a really funny one. It's a really inspiring miniseries, directed by Tom Hanks. I recommend it to anyone.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby Babbles

Today I was trying to put Katrina's right sock back on, like usual, when I said to her, "hey!" She was kicking and making it hard to put it on. To my surprised, she said right back to me, "hey." I looked in surprise at her and she was yawning casually. Weird.

This isn't the first time this has happened. The other day I was saying "Hi Katrina, hi girl, hi honey." Back at me came: "Hiiiiiiiiiiyyyyyyyyaaaayiiii." Another time I was playing with her pink lion and telling her, "Say lion, Katrina. Liioon. Lion." She responded, "Lllllllllllllllllaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiyayyayayayaaaaaaaaeeeeek." Clearly, "lion" in Katrina-speak. I tried again. "Say lion. Liiiiiioooon."

"Llllllllllaaaayeyehheyeeeeeeggaaaah."

"Good girl! Now say it again. Lion. Liiiooon."

Blank stare. Try it again. Another blank stare and some rolling. I tried to convince Adam when he came home that Katrina could say "hi" and "lion," but he seemed to think those didn't count as her first words. :] Sometimes she distinctly says "ow." With her hand stuffed in her mouth she often says "mamamama." And one day we were driving past Wawa, the ubiquitous convenience store, and we both heard her very clearly say, "Wawa."

So anyway, I had the opportunity to go visit Katrina's great-great-great aunt today. I really wanted to go, but I was talking to Adam's mom and finally decided not to go. Apparently it's going to be a really long trip since she lives a couple hours away, and there are a bunch of Adam's relatives going too, and I'd have to worry about nursing Katrina and her not getting regular naps... Finally I decided that the stress would make the trip not nearly as enjoyable for me as for everyone else. It's kind of a shame, since I really need to get out of the house and see people more often. Without a car and with it being so hot and humid, I'm house-bound, which is why some days I go half-crazy. Lately Adam has been able to come home for lunch a couple of times, and I told him that I have to talk to him on the phone at least once a day to keep myself sane. It helps, a little. But we're always so awkward over the phone. You'd think we hadn't been married two years and spent three months of our courtship eight time zones apart! Luckily my mom is free for hour-long conversations several times a week.

Okay, back to entertaining this baby who won't take a nap. I messed up her schedule by putting her back to bed this morning so I could take a shower. Also, we experimented with putting her to bed last night at 7 instead of 8, so everything's a little thrown off. At least Adam is coming home in about half an hour and can help me deal with the fussiness.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Baby

We're starting early on Katrina's Olympic training. Goal #1: roll over.

In the past week she has started to really like standing. In fact, she largely prefers it to sitting up. If I sit her on my lap, she'll arch her back and straighten her body until I set her up on her feet.

I've been really annoyed the last several days because my feed aggregator said no one had updated their blogs. I know it's wrong sometime, so I clicked on a few blogs at random to see if they really had updated and my computer just wasn't telling me. But no, there weren't any new posts. And then today I restarted my computer for updates and when I checked, almost every single blog that I read (which is a bunch) had several new entries that I had missed. Weird. I can understand the aggregator not working, but the actual blog sites?

I'm looking forward to a little relaxation tonight. We've been helping Adam's dad with a project that has completely sapped all of my mental energy lately. He's treating us to dinner next week for our anniversary as thanks. Unfortunately for Adam, he has another licensing exam next Friday to study for plus a website to develop from scratch as a side job for his boss. No rest for him. Plus taking care of a fussy baby and a neurotic wife. He's wonderful!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rolling rolling rolling...

I was so proud of Katrina when she began rolling over from belly to back at two months old. But since she usually hates being on her belly, I figured that was why she learned so quickly. I figured it would be awhile before she rolled from back to belly. I noticed a few days ago that she was arching her back a lot on the ground and sometimes rolling all the way over to her side. I started "training" her to roll over by sitting behind her head and when she arched her back and looked up at me, I would roll her over so she could see what that felt like. I figured that it was only a matter of a couple weeks or so before she finally did it by herself. If only she could make it past that darn arm!

Well, Katrina is four months old now, and she decided that tonight was a good time to roll over--without me present! After all my hard work with her, she rolled over for her daddy and not me. :[ Now I know what it feels like for him to be gone at work when she learns new skills. We spent a while trying to get her to roll over again, and she got so close! But she didn't do it again. I even recorded ten whole minutes on our flip camera with several almost rolls and a lot of humorous footage of her dad rolling over in order to prompt her. I'll have to keep trying.

It's a little sad that soon she won't be confined to the blanket that I put her on. I'll have to keep the area vacuumed better. And before I know it, she'll be scooting and crawling all over the place! We have a baby-proofing store right by us and I think we'll have to head over there soon. Crazy. Today I put her down for a nap and she stayed in there for like half an hour, wide awake, before she got upset and I went to go get her. I took a double take because her head was on the right and I was pretty sure I had put her head down on the left. Makes me wonder if she ever does 360's at night and I don't realize it? :]

Sigh. I have a wonderful daughter. I love going places with her because she gets so many compliments and that understandably makes me feel good. I went to the car dealership yesterday and they were fawning over her and couldn't believe she was the one screaming over the phone while I was scheduling our oil change. Until she got tired of her car seat and let out her trademark angry wail. "That noise came out of her?" they asked incredulously. Yep. It did. But that's all right, because she quiets down quickly and really is such a joy. We're also working on her laugh. It sometimes comes out, "huh-huh-huh." Sometimes she squeals, but not really laughs. I can't wait for her to really develop a genuine laugh.

Well, back to the Olympics. My cousin suggested that we train Katrina up to be an Olympic swimmer. I like that idea. But I'm kind of afraid that since she hates baths so much that she's inherited her mother's "wimp" gene. :] I spent swimming lessons clinging to the swimming instructor's neck. But one thing is for sure: she'll definitely make her opinion known. I can already tell that she's a stubborn one. She definitely inherited that gene from me!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A few photos

Me imitating her. My makeup really isn't that dark.
I think this is cute, even though I'm in super-grunge mode.
Playing "Drums." I mostly just tried to keep her from hitting herself in the forehead.
Hmm, feet.
Yay, feet! I modestly covered her up so that she won't be embarassed, like I was, when my mom put naked baby pictures of me in my album. I made her cover up my girl parts with a sticker. :] You would think from this picture that Katrina enjoys baths now, but actually, she hates them just as much as always! I manage to hold off the tears for the most part by putting her in the tub without water and pouring water over her with a cup.
Well, she is currently trying to roll off the couch, so I better stop. I try to give her as much tummy time as she'll allow these days, but if she gets in a rolling mood it's hard to keep her there. I'm trying to "teach" her to roll the other way by flipping her whenever she arches her back and tries to look at what's behind her head. We'll see if my training works. :]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympics

First of all, our car broke down yesterday. We were headed out when it started shaking uncontrollably. We drove around a little and it was shaking the whole time, though it was the worst when we were stopped. It even stalled out once. So we headed home and tried to figure out how we could go to church today. Luckily, the family that Adam took to the airport last week told us we could use their minivan while they're gone. Still, it's really inconvenient to have to take our car to the dealership. The only clue we had as to why the car was having problems was that Adam had put some oil and wiper fluid in the car earlier that day. I asked him if he switched them. :]

So this morning Adam had a clue as to what the problem was. Apparently, he couldn't remember whether he had put the cap back on the oil! He hadn't. The real miracle was that the cap was in the same place he put it inside the car, even with all of the shaking. We got back in the car this morning to either drive it to church or to this other family's house, and sure enough, replacing the cap had done the trick. Weird, huh?

Okay, so I love the Olympics. This is how much I love them:

-When I was a kid I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, swimmer, or ice skater. I hate heights, am afraid of water, and have bad balance, but somehow I knew I could do it!

-My idol when I was a kid was Kristi Yamaguchi. Michelle Kwan was just never as cool! I was so happy at the Salt Lake games when Kristi skated in the Opening Ceremonies and also when she won Dancing With the Stars.

-My parents like it too and on two different occasions, the Olympics caused us to buy a new television (that didn't blink for hours before finally turning on. We had to turn it on in the morning to be able to watch it that night) and then later on a new antenna

-I regularly spout off to Adam about the different athletes and things that happened at previous Olympics

-I don't watch tv on Sundays, but when the Olympics happen, gymnastics and ice skating are exceptions to that rule

-I've informed Adam that sometime in my life he needs to take me to the Olympics, and the London ones in four years would be a great time to do so

-Basically just any mention of the Olympics makes me happy, and whenever they come around every two years, I love life

Luckily Adam enjoys the Olympics too and my enthusiasm is contagious. He really likes the Olympic theme and if he's at his computer and I mute the commercials, he turns on the theme almost every time and we sing along. We plan which sports we should enroll Katrina in to ensure that she's a future Olympian. Maybe fencing. USA swept the medals for women's sabre. She's destined to be short, so gymnastics could be her thing. But it's so tough on the body! I guess she could do the luge or something. Well, we have a couple of years to decide still. :]

That said, I'm about to go figure out something to eat and then turn on gymnastics!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chicken Pot Cupcakes


I made a delicious meal last night and what makes me the proudest is that I made up the recipe! I had an idea of making chicken pot pie in muffin dishes and looked at a few pot pie recipes to get ideas, and then I made it. My mom gave me ideas on cooking temperature and times. Here is what I did:

Make a crust with 2 cups flour, 3/4 c butter/shortening (half and half for a lighter crust!), 1 tsp salt, and 6 Tbsp cold water. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for a few hours. Next time I will double this recipe so that I don't have such a hard time coming up with enough crust.

Cook some chicken, potatoes, and carrots all in the same pot with a cube of chicken boullion. I have no idea if the boullion did anything to the flavor, but someone suggested it, so I tried it. In another pot, mix together one can cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom. Add celery, pepper, salt, and thyme. Chop up the chicken, carrots, and potatoes very small and add to the mixture. Next time I will add some salt since I used low-salt cream soups and it needed a little salt. I also will chop up the potatoes before I cook them and possibly peel them. I added a little milk to increase the liquid, but not too much so that it's still a very thick mixture.

Take half of the crust and roll it out very thin. Cut into circles and press into the muffin tins, ungreased. Scoop the mixture into each muffin spot. Roll out the rest of the crust very thin and cover each one. Pinch the edges together to avoid too much spillage. If it's pinched together well you can have a lot of the mixture inside. Make a few slits in the top of each with a sharp knife.

Cook for 25 minutes at 325.

The result? Delicious individual-sized chicken pot pies, or chicken pot cupcakes, as I call them! Just a couple each filled us up and left some over. Next time I will make more crust because I had too much mixture. With the crust I had, I was able to make ten little pot pies, but I could have made several more with the amount of mixture I had. Oh, and I was going to put onion in but the baby doesn't like it. Also, I only used cream of mushroom because I bought it on accident and we hate mushroom. This was a good way of masking it. I also didn't defrost enough chicken, but it still tasted good.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thursday Night Trauma

I think I am still traumatized from last night. Katrina is recovered, but I'm not!

We headed over to the in-laws to watch the final results show of So You Think You Can Dance. They recently got a new dog, a cute little Shih Tzu with one eye. Apparently she barks at everyone who comes through the door, but Katrina, who has never heard a dog before, let out a wail so loud the dog didn't bark the rest of the night! Of course we picked her up and tried to calm her down, but nothing worked and she just got more and more frantic. I think that all the people and unfamiliar surroundings just made her panic. You know when you cry really hard and your breathing starts getting all messed up so that you can't stop crying and can't breathe correctly? That's what started to happen to her. It was so scary for us to watch. I tried feeding her but she couldn't even settle enough for that, so we just walked and walked around trying to soothe her. I was about to start sobbing myself but I knew that would only increase her panic, so I held back. Finally, I got her to latch on and she ate frantically. It was so sad to feel her whole body jolt as her breathing got back to normal, which took about 15-20 minutes. Adam and I sang to her and talked soothingly and by the end, she was better. So we went out to eat dinner and within a few minutes she was crying again unless someone held her, and then she started crying again even in someone's arms. I'm pretty sure by then she was exhausted and crying because of that. We took her for a drive and almost just drove back to PA, but she finally fell asleep. We headed back, put her in a portable crib, and were able to watch SYTYCD with the family. She woke up and cried for a little while before falling asleep, and that was really hard to not go to her. Usually at night she doesn't cry, she just talks to herself in her crib until she falls asleep. We decided to wait out the crying because it was getting shorter and farther apart, but I felt like the worst mom. Luckily, this morning she woke up just as happy as ever and I'm about to go get her from her morning nap. She seems unaffected by the whole thing, but I'm not! We've seen her cry, we've seen her cry for awhile for seemingly no reason at all, but never as bad or for as long as last night.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dinner with the boss

Last night Adam and I were invited over to have dinner with his boss. I was a little nervous ("but I have nothing to wear!") but Adam has told me how nice his boss is and of course I've seen how generous he's been to us, so I wasn't too worried (and what I wore got drenched in spit-up and drool shortly after arriving, so to heck with impressing people!). In retrospect, I guess it would have been more appropriate to leave the baby with a babysitter, since their kids didn't eat with us, but I don't know anyone I'd be willing to leave the baby with, other than my visiting teacher, who already has four kids and is out of town anyway. They were happy enough to have her, but unfortunately, Katrina was super tired and we were perpetually in a state of trying to keep her from crying. She was mostly good, but I ended up feeding her a bottle of formula at dinner while eating with my other hand, and Adam finally put her to sleep in his arms during dessert. The dinner was absolutely delicious and our hosts were so nice. They have two daughters, ages six and fifteen, and they are lovely. I can't wait to see what Katrina is like when she's older.

I felt like I could hold my own when conversation turned to their office details. They sold 3.5 million shares yesterday, which for their size firm is a really, really good day. Since I've been helping Adam's dad code questions for his exam prep manuals this past week, I've become even more savvy with securities lingo. His boss told us how he started the firm, and what made him decided to ask Adam's dad, who had been his instructor for various licensing exams, to join him.

They showed us their garden and their wine cellar. Even though we don't drink, we thought it was really cool. Their house is so nice and it's hard to believe that when they moved it, the floors were falling in and the walls were sagging from moisture from leaking pipes. It's a super nice area.

It was a genuinely enjoyable evening. They were definitely classy people. That's one way I would describe a lot of people I've met around here--classy. We had dinner with my visiting teacher and her family, and they are quite well-off too, but so down-to-earth. It's nice to see how people can be wealthy and humble at the same time. Who knows if Adam and I will ever be very wealthy, since I don't even really like working and have few marketable skills, but I sure hope that if we are, we can be as genuine and nice as the people we've met here.

Also, Adam and I have discussed a lot lately, and it even came up last night with our hosts, the differences between having your children young and having them when older and more established. His boss and his wife can definitely provide a much different childhood for their children than Adam and I will be able to provide for Katrina and her siblings. And yet, we're young. We'll probably be done having children by age thirty or soon after. I go to the website babycenter.com a lot because I enjoy the advice I can get from fellow moms, but a prevailing attitude among older moms is that I'm crazy to think that I can know who I am and what I want at this age, let alone get married and have children. I guess I could use the opportunity to say, well, this is how I know who I am and what I want so well: mormon.org. Check it out! Anyway, I'm glad I'm young while raising my kids. Theoretically that means I have more energy. And a huge plus is that when I'm fifty, my kids will probably all be out of the house, leaving Adam and I with the option of going on a mission together at a younger age, hopefully. Also, I've read a lot of negative comments on that website lately about husbands who don't do anything and expect so much from their wives while giving nothing in return. Maybe it's a generation thing, but I don't have that problem. Sure, we have to work on communicating just like everyone else, but Adam always has been a full and enthusiastic participant in raising Katrina along with me. I could just have an unusual husband, but I've got to think there are many wonderful husbands and dads out there and that I'm just hearing rants from tired women needing an outlet. I can understand that, definitely.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Violin woes

Well, feeling the need to cultivate some of my talents, I pulled out my violin today and decided to play a little. I figured I would be rusty and have problems with intonation, but I wanted to see how my fingers could handle it. Well, some of you may remember that the last time I tried to play violin a month or so ago, Katrina lasted through only one warm-up exercise before she flipped out. I couldn't get her to calm down for a long time. It was as bad as the swimming pool. So I was understandably nervous, but I felt better equipped these days to handle her freak-out moments. Sure enough, I got through a warm-up and noticed her eyes getting big and her lip quivering. I handled it the same way as I do when she hears a large noise and gets startled:

"Katrina, do you hear mom playing the violin? Is that scary? Look, honey, it's not scary, it's just a violin. See? Listen to this, isn't it nice? How about I play a song you know. Let's play 'Give, Said the Little Stream.' "

Keeping up a running dialogue, smiling a lot, and saying "yay!" repeatedly, I was able to hold her off every time she started to get into a really good tizzy. I felt a little mean as I continued playing because she looked so traumatized and had big tears welling up in each eye. But I really needed this. So I played for maybe 20 minutes or so. I mostly played primary songs that she would recognize from us singing them to her with made-up lyrics. But I also pulled out some old pieces and played them a little bit. She cried a little but would always calm down when I looked at her and talked to her. Oh, and she hated when I tuned, which was unfortunate, because my violin kept going out of tune slightly.

I might even try it again soon. I thought this would be the best time because she had just woken up from a nap and eaten, but she's been yawning ever since she woke up, so I guess she's still tired.

Thanks for all of the comments on my last post. I actually got ahold of the doctors office today (something had been wrong with their phone system and it always was busy when I called) and talked to a different nurse who actually was helpful. I've called before and no one has called me back. This one called back within minutes and said one of the doctors would accept us as patients and I could come in next week. On top of everything I'm having really bad back problems so it's nice to finally have a doctor.

I took this picture of her today. She looks so big with this outfit!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Request for help

Has anyone had any experience with post-partum depression and could give any advice? Does it ever go away without medication? I'm talking mild but persistant PPD that didn't show up until about two months post-partum. Also, once on medication, is a person stuck that way?

Thanks. We have no doctor indefinitely and I'm humbling myself to ask advice.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Property Tour

We vacuumed tonight and I decided it was a good excuse to take a video of the apartment, since we had to pick up everything anyway. It's not perfect but it's pretty clean. I'm proud of our new wall shelves and our new food cabinets because we finally have a place to put our little trinkets and it breaks up the huge wall in our living room. There's always lots more decorating we could do, but it already feels much more homey.

Today was much more stressful than a Saturday should be. Fussy baby and all that. But she's finally in bed and we can relax. Also, for dinner I made a recipe for Philly Cheese Steaks that I found online. Anyone who has had a cheese steak from Philadelphia can attest to how good they are. The ones I made weren't nearly as good, but they were still rather tasty. Adam gave them two thumbs up, so I'm happy. The secret was the garlic mayo on the bread. We had to use hot dog buns instead of hoagie buns, but they were perfect when toasted. I know I've been married almost two years and on my own for over four, but making a good dinner is always an accomplishment for me. I don't like cooking very much and have never been good at worrying about dinner for two rather than just me. Now that Adam works in an office and not at home, we don't share cooking equally and I have to think a lot harder about cooking. Part of me enjoys the planning, but it's still a chore. I thought that I would have more time to cook nicer meals when I graduated, but working around the baby means I still have to make really easy, fast meals. Sometimes Adam comes home to grilled cheese sandwiches or even nothing, but I'm getting better at coordinating meals and baby. I'd like to think that I still manage to buy pretty healthy food, even with food prices being so high and us being on a budget. The nice thing about tomorrow is that we've been invited over to dinner at another ward member's house. His son and I were in the same class at BYU, so I know them a little. It should be fun.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Reflecting

Katrina had a really long morning nap, but she started yawning like crazy not even an hour after waking up, so I finally gave in and put her back in her crib. As I was preparing my lunch and carrying the monitor around I heard the weirdest noises. This video shows you what I was hearing.

Unfortunately, after I left again, she started crying and instead of going to sleep, cried harder and harder until I got her. Usually after a failed nap attempt, only nursing makes her feel better, but I happened to be watching and labeling old videos of her at the time and so I tried to continue. Amazingly, she instantly quieted down and for the next while just stared at the videos of herself. She's now playing happily on the floor and making more funny squeals. I'm going to save the next nap attempt until she's yawning a lot again.

We have now been living in PA for two months. A lot has changed. I saw the state of our apartment in the older videos and it is definitely a lot cleaner and homey since then. Katrina is about twice the weight she was the week after she was born, when she lost too much weight because of jaundice. She's also grown about five inches since birth. She can roll over, voice all sorts of sounds and squeals, has more than one cry (yippee), and is so cute (that hasn't changed). She has a regular bedtime and accompanying routine, sleeps in a crib, sleeps through the night, and is even developing a daytime routine. She is much, much more aware of things and can interact with us more. She smiles all the time and I'm hoping for a laugh soon.

I have not really dropped any weight (still five pounds to go until pre-birth and a bunch after that), but my clothes all fit much better because I have lost "inches." This may be TMI, but I finally bought a nice nursing bra yesterday and have decreased in size significantly from the last time I went bra-shopping. Hooray! I also can drive around on these narrow streets without stressing over it, and I know my way around pretty well.

We are getting our finances in order, which has been the longest process. Today we finally, after ordering them three times, received our checks in the mail for our new account. That means that we can settle our insurance and car stuff, as well as move our money into a bank that actually has a branch nearby. Adam and I both are active in our new callings at church and enjoying them. Well, I am, at least. I get to give away the baby and not worry about her for two hours on Sunday, which is so rejuvenating. Plus, I get to play the piano, which I love doing. Adam, who was the ultimate Scout growing up, has to work with a Scouting program that is pretty underdeveloped. But I think he enjoys working with the young men.

So I guess it really is feeling like home. We have no plans to move anytime soon. We even painted the nursery. Life finally feels settled in. I guess the East Coast isn't that bad after all!