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. :]


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Videos

I have a few videos that I thought I'd post. This first one was last night.

OK, so this morning I was looking at blogs and found a video of a baby only a week and half older than Katrina walking around a room pushing a little toy truck. I was astounded and kind of sad that Katrina is nowhere near that developed motor-skill-wise. So I tried to get her to stand and hold herself on a table. That failed. Then I tried this and it worked pretty well. Sorry the camera is so shaky.

This third video was just plain cute. Katrina loves to put everything in her mouth, of course, but I draw the line at my feet!

We went to the doctor today for her six-month visit, even though she's almost seven months old. The doctor was very happy with how she is doing, and said that it was eery how much we look alike. :] She also told me to try to stop feeding Katrina when she wakes up in the middle of the night. So I have a feeling we have some rough nights ahead of us. She also had to get five shots, so I wouldn't be surprised if she has a fever for a couple of days like last time. She is:

16 lbs 10 oz--50%,

26 in. long--44%, and

17.25 in. head circumference--77%.

Okay, and one last thing. For the last three days I have been hearing scratching noises from one of our walls. It made me nervous that we have a rodent in the walls. It got bad enough on Monday that I called the office, but then maintenance came to work on the apartment above us and the scratching from them above and also from the walls unnerved me enough that I left and went on a walk. I don't know if maintenance came to our apartment and even if they did, they may have assumed that I was hearing the work going on upstairs. So anyway, if there is a rodent stuck in there, it's been alive for three days. And I'm really grossed out. How would they check, anyway? We're trying to figure out what to do. I keep forgetting about it until I hear the scratch, scratch, scratch and then I get super creeped out. Maybe I should call maintenance again.

So Obama is the president-elect. Hmm. I didn't vote for him, but I don't think the U.S. is going to practically implode and become socialist like a lot of Republicans seem to think. I don't mind much that he won except for when Adam turns on CNN and they're all congratulating themselves smugly. CNN, especially Anderson Cooper, bugs the heck out of me. But anyway. Yay for freedom and voting, and that Proposition 8 passed in California!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Civic duty

I voted! And I feel good about my choice. Adam and I went on a walk last night and discussed the candidates, and by the end we both felt good about our choice rather than reluctant. We went to the fire station this morning, which was kind of thrilling because of all the fire personnel running in and out. We caused a bit of a scene between two ladies. We went up the elevator because Katrina was in her stroller, and a nice woman let us cut her in line. Another lady came up behind us on the elevator and made us get out of line and wait for our original spot, which was behind her. The woman who had let us cut had us get back in and when the other lady confronted her, they argued a little. It ended when the woman told her, "Mind your own business!" So we got through the line very quickly and Adam was even early for work. Thank goodness for bossy old women! The whole process was very quick and the line wasn't even too long. We picked a good time to go. Pennsylvania is a swing state, so we felt like our vote was especially important. Both candidates have been heavily campaigning here for the last several days.

I have the car today, and since gas is so much cheaper I have the desire to go drive somewhere just for the heck of it! We got gas in Jersey on Saturday for $2.25. Here in PA it's about 30 cents more expensive, so we always buy gas when we visit Adam's parents. I remember the good old days when my mom gave me a $20 bill to go get gas and I would bring her back the change. Sigh. :]

Just put Katrina down for her first nap. Hope everyone has a great election day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Politics

I decided that I need to be more sure of my vote. Right now I feel very apathetic and am experiencing election overload. Still, tomorrow is a very important election, so I want to feel like I am confident in my vote, not just voting for a lesser of two evils or for some other lame reason.

So, I did what I do best, and created an Excel spreadsheet. I opened up internet tabs with the websites of the three major candidates--Obama, McCain, and Bob Barr (Libertarian). I then spent Katrina's entire two and a half hour nap slogging through each candidate's stance on the issues that I care about. I made little asterisks on my spreadsheet under the columns of each candidate who I agreed with their stance or at least most of their stance.

Bob Barr says some great things, but he doesn't go into any detail at all. I like a lot of what he says, but he's rather extremist and I don't agree with his views of marriage. Obama hurt himself for me by going into too much detail; it was really easy to get depressed by how much the government would be spending under him. Since I tend to see the government as a mire of regulation, red tape, and inefficiency (just you try to get your last name changed or get your license at the DMV and not think the same thing!), I didn't like that. McCain has the opposite problem. He didn't give enough details and used vague wording, which makes me suspicious. So where am I left?

I read in depth about eight issues, and the final tally was this: Bob Barr- three, Obama- three, McCain- five. Not exactly the results I was hoping for. I still feel really pessimistic. Adam and I are discussing everything for Family Home Evening tonight. I really wish I could feel confident in the candidate I ultimately decide to vote for.

The positive side is this: if Obama wins, the United States will have elected its first black president, which is awesome. If McCain wins, the U.S. will have elected a woman into the White House, which is way cool, even if it's just as VP. See, there's always a bright side to everything! :]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend wrap-up

Well, I haven't won any giveaways yet, but I'm keeping my hopes up. At least I found a lot of cute stores with handy baby products and pretty jewelry (or both--one store sold "teething bling," or jewelry that is made for babies to be able to chew on!).

I just got back from the second Messiah rehearsal. There is a feeling of fulfillment and contentment I get from playing violin (and playing it well!) that I don't get from anything else, not even playing piano or singing. I haven't played with many orchestras in my life, but I've played with enough to tell that this one is unusually good for a church orchestra. The orchestra went from three violinists and two cellists last week to five first violins, six second violins, one viola, three cellists, and one string bass. We met together with the brass and woodwinds at the end and they were pretty sparse still, but the string section is going to be really strong. I also went from being one of the stronger players to one of the weaker first violins, but that doesn't surprise me, since I'm so rusty. However, I'm not as rusty as I originally feared, and I can tell that with practice I'll be just fine. I'm a really good sightreader, so right now I'm relying mostly on that, and as I practice I'll improve in general. I just felt really good as I left and drove home. I love music. I sang during choir practice before church and enjoyed that, and I played piano for two hours straight while the primary practiced for the primary program, and I (mostly) enjoyed that. I am really looking forward to performing with all of these groups.

On Friday we headed down to Jersey for a Halloween party with Adam's family. Their kitchen is getting a new ceiling, so we laughed a little at the makeshift pantry (a box), refrigerator (a mini-fridge), trashcan (plastic bag), and oven (crockpot). They appreciated our wontons sufficiently and everyone enjoyed dressing up, even though there weren't many kids that came trick-or-treating. Then the fun began. Katrina didn't want to go to sleep or stay asleep. She was in a small crib with us in the guest room and screamed and screamed. It's a lot harder to ignore her when you're in the same room! We were also concerned she would keep everyone else awake. Basically, she woke up screaming every two hours. We felt like limp spaghetti all day Saturday! I went to a baby shower Saturday night and impressed everyone with my diaper cake that I made. Thanks Shalyse for making me one for my baby shower! I still had all of the rubber bands and I save ribbons, so making it was easy. I planned on buying accessories for it, but then I kept finding unused pacifiers, socks, a bib, and a few samples that I haven't used. Wha-la! I didn't have to spend a cent on it!

Katrina did make up for being such a bad baby by sleeping straight through the night last night for the first time in weeks. She did crash an hour early tonight, so she's still on Daylight Savings Time. I think I am too. Maybe I'll start actually going to bed at a decent time!

Hope everyone had a fun Halloween and is enjoying Fall. I'm married to one of the world's biggest Christmas fans, and I rather like it myself, so we're already listening to Christmas music. I don't really like how the stores all are full of Christmas stuff, and I don't like it when radio stations play corny Christmas music non-stop, but I definitely am getting excited. Anyway, have a great week!