Friday, January 30, 2009

Bad News

I shrunk my red dress from Jolena's wedding.

I only wanted to put it in the dryer long enough to get off some of the gross fuzz that had transferred from the crocheted hot pads also in the same load. You can guess the rest.

Good news--the dress is now a good length. Before it was kind of long, in an awkward way.

Bad news--the whole bodice shrunk in length, making it almost impossible to stretch over my chest and even harder to remove. Maybe when I stop nursing it'll fit? I'm already the same size as I was before, but I hear nursing has a shrinking effect.

So I'm really bummed right now. Adam is at a campout (in 20 degree weather) and I sat down in front of the tv and watched three hours of What Not To Wear. Without doing anything else simultaneously (Adam won't believe me; I never just can sit and watch tv without at least having my laptop too). I felt great and empowered and then I surveyed my closet. And tried on a few dresses. And thought about how badly they fit my body style. And then I finally did what I had been putting off and tried on the shrunken red dress. What made it worse was that it was the only dress that actually looked good! Even shrunken it looked better than the other dresses.

Add to that the fact that my online food journal is showing some grim facts, and it makes for a Very Sad Tori. In fact, I'm kind of hoping Katrina will wake up so I can go see my uber-cute baby who will smile and flail her arms happily when she sees me. Maybe I'll go poke her.

We're planning on going down to D.C. tomorrow to go to the temple. I hope it actually happens. This is the only free Saturday for awhile, but like I mentioned, Adam is at a campout. And it's 2.5-3 hrs to D.C. And we have to alternate who does a session.

And I just realized after staring at the tv all evening that it is crooked. Yep, I just went and got the level and checked. The floor is probably crooked. It's really bad in the kitchen.

Well, it's late, so I'm going to go read some Harry Potter, Book 1, which should cheer me up, and go to sleep. Have a good weekend, everyone.


Katrina is getting so good at cruising on the couch that she just went around my knees in order to get to the computer on the other side of me. She loves banging on the keyboard and pulling at the cord. Bad baby! :]

However, she also refused to fall asleep during her morning nap, she just chattered away for an hour before I got her.

Here she comes to the computer again:
vvxc nn nvh nnssq
Okay, that's enough for now. I moved her three feet away and only have second before she comes again. I guess this blog entry is over!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Newest Katrina pics

Well, I had an interesting day yesterday. The power went off at about 11, and after about half an hour I started to get concerned. We had woken up with a blanket of snow everywhere (2-3 inches, whoo-hoo!) and the temperature in the apartment was falling fast. When Katrina woke up from her nap, I dressed her in warm clothes with thick tights on underneath, and I bundled up too. I closed all of the blinds and doors, and retreated to our master bedroom, which has the best natural light. Katrina and I played it there. Even though Adam's work is only 3 miles away, he still had power. Their lights had only flickered. I called him and told him was was up, and he was planning on coming over and picking me up so I could spend the afternoon in their back office and be warm. Well, I told him to come after Katrina's nap and then took a nap myself. When I woke up, the lights were on and the temperature was back up to normal. It only ever got to about 64 (while I was awake, at least), but if it had been night, yikes! I feel bad for all the people in the South who are out of power for days because of the same storm. We only were out for 2 hours.
I took off Katrina's outer layer and had to take pictures, since she was so cute. Also, I am including pictures from last week.
Reading Personal Penguin, with her penguin toy. Adam pre-haircut.
Every baby has to play in a box. We also put her in the box, and closed the lid. Hehe.
Look at those serious faces. Surely the next contestants for Dancing With the Stars. Adam post-haircut.
Future dancer? She'll have to learn to stop chewing on her toes first. As her daddy would say, "Katrina, boys won't date you if you do that."

I swear I have pictures of me with this exact expression on my face. I still don't really know what it means, but it looks cute and coy. She was doing a lot of other funny expressions too, but whenever I pointed the camera at her she paused and smiled. I think she understands smiling for cameras!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Closet Cleaning

Well, Katrina was doing so well. She has slept through the night I think every night for the past week. Until tonight, when she woke up a few minutes ago and wouldn't fall back asleep, so I had to nurse her. Now she is laying in bed babbling. I told her that if she makes it through the rest of the night all right it won't mess up her stats. After all it's only ten o'clock. But I'm still pretty sure that we've made it back into the sleeping-through-the-night zone. We saw a back tooth poking through earlier tonight, so I bet that's bothering her. It's either a canine or a molar. Weird that it's coming in before her front teeth.

So my big plans for today...fizzled. I didn't even get a shower. Our water heater was replaced and afterwards, I had to wait an hour or so for it to warm up, and by then Katrina was awake. And during the afternoon nap I was too into my book. I didn't even get dinner made. And I think I forgot to eat lunch, other than a slice of cheese. So I was feeling pretty down when Adam went to Scouts at 7:00. Katrina was in bed at 6:00. I didn't want to watch tv. So I addressed the issue of our hallways closet, which we had partially emptied out for the maintenance man.

When Adam called me to say he was on his way home, I sheepishly told him to be prepared to find more things out of the closet than when he had left. Before reorganizing the mess, I decided to go through some boxes of mine both from high school and from right before the move this last summer. I slogged through binders, notebooks, sheafs of notes, decorations, and all manner of stuff. I halved the number of boxes. A lot went into the trash, but there are a bunch of books that need to somehow squish onto our bookshelves, and I kept out some of the decorations. Adam was creeped out by my porcelain doll collection, so all of those went back into the box. :]

Finally, while we were watching Scrubs, I used the commercial breaks to stack everything else back in, all consolidated and with bags inside of suitcases inside of more suitcases. I'm proud to say that as a Jones, I have inherited some rather impressive packing skills. I put everything that we need easy access to right next to the door. Everything else is still within easy reach. Adam has several boxes that I've asked him to go through sometime soon, and I think that he'll be able to consolidate those like I did.

It may still look chaotic, but we weren't even able to close the door before, let alone see carpet.

And this is our ever-growing pile of boxes and trash to go out to the dumpster. I guess I keep hoping it will magically disappear or Adam will take it all out sometime and surprise me.

Now all we have left is a sizeable pile of office stuff from another box I went through, and the aforementioned stack of books. And I have a sore back. No matter how much I use proper lifting techniques, I spend a lot of time these days half-crouched over, helping Katrina walk around. My back hurts a lot. Sigh.

Oh, and we just booked our tickets to Utah this June for our family reunion. Yay!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Work is fun

I'm still basking in my success for the day. I was very productive all day and because of that, our home is much cleaner and we were both well fed for dinner!

Last night I fell asleep while Adam was at stake priesthood meeting, and so when we went to bed, I laid awake until after 1:00. During that time I fantasized about getting all of the cleaning done today. What a thrilling fantasy, right? Well, even though I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, I woke up with a desire to accomplish as much as possible. So even before I went to the computer for my daily email/blog/bank account check, I plopped Katrina on the bed and got working. I cleaned up the floor in the master bedroom, which still had two half-full suitcases from our Utah trip and several other piles of clothing. I did three loads of laundry and folded a fourth. I ironed Adam's dress shirts (I have never done that, and he has only ironed them a couple of times himself, so he will be overwhelmed this week with the choice he'll suddenly have!), fed Katrina breakfast, played a few minutes, put her down for a nap, cleaned the living room, checked the internet, read my book, got Katrina up and fed her, headed to KMart with her in the stroller to pick up some new makeup and storage drawers for my sewing nook, played with her and fed her lunch, put her down for another nap, started going through the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival, got a call from Adam about dinner and threw it into the crockpot, got Katrina up, and played until Adam got home. Then we went to the post office, dropped off my library books, went to the store to try to find Adam's wallet, came home and ate, organized my sewing stuff into the drawers, put Katrina to bed, had family home evening, watched the newest House, cleaned out the closet so the maintenance men can get to the water heater tomorrow, and then did more bloggy giveaway stalking. And now I'm blogging. Whew. I am very satisfied with my day. I also have figured out that if I want to get any cleaning done, I need to do it very first thing after feeding Katrina in the morning and before getting on the computer. That way she'll be at her happiest and it will help my productivity for the rest of the day. Tomorrow I want to clean the bathrooms and vaccuum. Actually I don't. Those are my least favorite chores of all. But maybe if I plan it now it will get done.

So days like this are few and far between for me, but they help me feel better about myself, which I struggle with these days.

So this is what I made for dinner: Applesauce Slow-cooker Pork

-Pour a layer of applesauce in the bottom of the crockpot
-Mix together rosemary, thyme, marjoram, salt, pepper, and mint (next time I'll skip the mint).
-Layer the pork loins on top of the applesauce. Sprinkle the mixed herbs over each pork loin.
-Slice apples and onions. Layer them on top of the pork.
-Dollop more applesauce on top. Later on I mixed it up with the apples and onions. I also sprinkled the rest of the herbs on top.

I cooked it on high for two hours and then on low for another hour. It was delicious, if a little odd. Adam liked it, but I think I liked it more. Katrina sure loved it! It may not become a staple, but it was novel and fun and I enjoyed making it up. I got the ideas for which herbs to put in mostly from a recipe, but I made up the rest.

Me, me, me. I'm wonderful! Sorry if it sounds like that. But like I said before: I struggle mightily with self-esteem these days, so when I feel good I make sure to enjoy the moment!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A husband who cooks

I love it when Adam cooks. Let's see, Wednesday was our first day back this week. We hadn't gone shopping, so I made grilled cheese sandwiches. Thursday Adam cooked and made chicken breasts with tarragon sauce and veggies, yum. Tonight he made ranch chicken and veggies. So I guess tomorrow is my turn. Any ideas? Stir fry or enchiladas are my staples.

I'm trying to eat healthier. I started a food journal online to count calories. It's hard to estimate how much I should be eating because of nursing, which I read requires 500 extra calories a day. And if you want to lose a pound a week, they recommend eating 500 calories fewer. I'm only nursing Katrina four times a day and sometimes once at night, so who knows how much extra I really need. I've only been keeping the journal two days and I can already tell that my weakness is sugar. But I already knew that. I've also discovered that I eat more than I thought, but it's not actually too hard to stay under my goal amount of calories if I stay away from sweets. Of course, we made homemade ice cream tonight from a Ben and Jerry's recipe--Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Butterfingers. Yum. At least I also ate plenty of fruits and vegetables too.

We've also decided that with our extra money from taxes (long story, but it turns out we saved more than we needed to save) to buy Adam the bike he wants. There should be some left over, so I'm hoping to get something for myself. I dislike exercising, but I dislike less than other things doing pilates and elliptical machines. I found a mini-elliptical machine on Amazon with fairly good reviews and in a decent price range and I think I'm going to get it. It is small and portable. I definitely need something to get my heart rate up if I really want to lose weight.

We were planning on going to the temple in D.C. tomorrow, but we have delayed it until next week because Adam has a court of honor tomorrow night. It will certainly be nice to have a relaxing Saturday with nothing else to do but clean out the closet so that maintenance can replace our water heater next week (nothing wrong, just regular maintenance). I think everyone needs a day off without obligations or plans on a regular basis.

Oh, and lastly, I am trying to figure out a hairstyle. I need a haircut because my hair is so long and tangly and annoying to maintain (even though I typically just let it dry by itself and that's all). I definitely want it thinned. I also am considering bangs for the first time in fifteen years. The question is, do I pay less than $20 and get it done tomorrow at a discount hair place, or do I save to pay $70 to get it cut down the street? There's no real guarantee that I will like the more expensive haircut better. And I am so sick of my hair and I kind of want to chop it. But I like it long and it looks better long than any other way. I also can't figure out the shape of my face. None of the online things are all that helpful. It's either oval, heart shaped, rectangular, or possibly round (I think it's kind of fat, at least). I'm assuming a stylist at a higher end place could help me better, but I've seen some pretty awful expensive haircuts. Anyway, that's my current dilemma. My last haircut was three days before Katrina was born, so I'm definitely due for one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Riding Lion and more videos

I just spent the last 20 or 30 minutes pushing Katrina around the apartment on this. I think she would have loved to continue, but my knees were getting tired, so I gave her some cheese and am uploading the video. I wish I could have gotten some footage of her pushing it while standing or even of me pushing her around, but those both required my two hands. She can't push it completely by herself while standing, but if I stabilize the lion so that it doesn't go too fast, she can walk around. It's lots of fun! And I can tell she loves the new angle of riding it.

And while I'm uploading videos, here are two more that I like. The first is a couple weeks ago, and the second shows her dress at Jolena's wedding.

Home again

The plane ride home wasn't as nice as on the way over, but I think Katrina did as well as possible for a very tired baby. Actually, she slept during the entire first flight from Salt Lake to Denver. Take-off, flight, and landing. The flight from Denver to Philadelphia was only 3 hours and 15 minutes, but for some reason it felt like five hours. Katrina finally fell asleep at the end, but she was fussy and wiggly and refused to eat or nurse, so we had trouble keeping her occupied. She really wanted to be up and playing. I walked her to the back of the plane once and she was so excited that she kept giggling and smiling at the flight attendants.

Phew. I'm very glad to be home. We were in bed by midnight last night. Katrina cried for awhile when we tried to put her to sleep, until we gave her back her blanket (I had wanted to wash it). After that, she went straight to sleep. We recently figured out just how much she loves that blanket, which I have used in her crib every night just because it was so soft and comfy. I'm glad we brought it to Utah. It helped calm her on the plane. She likes to suck on her thumb through the blanket. It's the only time she sucks her thumb anymore.

We had a wonderful morning yesterday with my parents going to the Draper Temple Open House. I've never been to one of those before and it was really nice. It's fun being able to see all of the different rooms in a temple before it is in use. The wood and windows everywhere were gorgeous. I loved the sealings rooms especially, and the celestial room was absolutely wonderful. It is narrow and tall so that your gaze just can't help but raise upwards towards heaven. Katrina loved the pretty chandeliers. She was very well-behaved. Then we headed out to lunch with my parents and they left us off at the airport.

Here are a few pictures that I snagged from Jolena's sister-in-law's facebook account. She was a gorgeous bride, huh? In the third are my three brothers who were at the wedding. They are on the left, along with Adam.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Utah trip

This trip is so fun. I love seeing my family! Katrina is holding up fairly well for a baby. I am excited that we still have another day and a half here. Here's the rundown on our trip so far:

Day One-flight

Katrina's first flight went great! She had had a fever on Wednesday of 101 and so I was nervous Thursday morning when she woke up with another fever. A little tylenol did the trick and it was gone by the time we were on the plane. She did great on the plane, even on the takeoff and landing. I gave her lots of baby food and water to keep her swallowing. We had a four-hour layover in Denver, but other than that, the whole experience was great. I hope for a similar flight on the way home. She had her own seat, and we were really happy we paid the extra expense because she was able to nap a little and sometimes I just lowered the sun shade and she played quietly, which gave me a break.

We landed and went straight to the church to set up for the reception. We found out that a singles activity was planned for that night and a basketball tournament the next morning. Oh well! Jolena wasn't too stressed. I could tell she made a conscious decision to not be bothered by things and it made her into a very non-stressed bride.

Day 2-Wedding and reception

We left for the temple ten minutes late because I could not find my wallet with my temple recommend ("Look Adam, I used to put my wallet in this obscure pocket in my backpack when I was in Russia, that way people couldn't steal it."). Luckily Adam remembered and located in in my backpack and we were off. We still made it just fine, even with the necessary baby feeding and switchoff to relatives before the sealing. It was a beautiful wedding. I have only been to one other, my own, so it was fun being the one watching. I should have taken the kleenex that I was offered because I got rather emotional at the end. I'm just so happy to see my sister so happy! Bill is amazing and his family is wonderful. After marrying into a really great set of in-laws, I really think it's important to like your spouse's family. I want that for my sister too, and it looks like it's happened.

Pictures were cold, especially with a short-sleeved dress, but I was happy and excited and ignored the cold. Katrina was dressed in a pretty red dress and bundled in a furry white coat. Adam really took the brunt of her fussiness this trip. He has had to deal with a sad baby multiple times while I've been off with family. He's great!

The reception came together wonderfully thanks to Bill's sister and all of her friends from her singles ward who showed up. There were a few glitches--the lights blew a fuse, no one remembered the sherbet for the punch, and the expensive flowers for the centerpieces and cake froze in the refrigerator. Blegh. It all worked out. The reception was a nice size and a nice length, and did I mention that my sister was an absolutely stunning bride? She really was. The photographer told me that Jolena and Bill were just so easy to work with. She barely had to give them instructions at all, she just had to click the shutter. Plus her husband was doing the videography. They have a pretty sweet deal and do great work, so if you're getting married in Utah and need a photographer, Jolena is eager to refer them.

Day 3-Sunday

We went to church at our old ward at Wymount and that was fun. We really wanted to see the bishop and the few people that are left that we know. All the babies are so big now! It was interesting to see the similarities and difference between Katrina and the other three babies that were born the same weekend as her. One baby walked at Christmas (yikes!), and another is about the same as Katrina, so that was a relief that she's not the only one her age that can't crawl yet!

We headed to yet another family gathering, which was crowded, loud, and lots of fun. Katrina was the center of attention with her cousins, and she took it fairly well. Better than me. Adam had to save me a couple of times when I got too claustrophobic. The funniest part was when my two nephews got her to laugh. She was giggling, then laughing, then all out belly laughing. It was hilarious. I've never seen her laugh that hard!

Tomorrow I'm hopefully having lunch with an old roommate, and spending more time with family. We're thinking about going to the Draper temple open house the next day. Then home! Oh, that's the craziest thing. Utah doesn't feel like home anymore. It's so weird. I guess Pennsylvania really is my home now!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


With Katrina refusing to crawl, I've been trying to encourage her standing and walking activities. That's a little hard because our coffee table has a really hard edge that she almost smacks her face on every time she stands next to it, and our couches have a really soft edge that is good for leaning but not necessarily holding. Anyway, today I put Katrina next to the coffee table and let her hold on and play with some toys. I had one hand in front of her and one behind in case she wobbled too far either direction. She was waving a pen in her left hand and holding on with her right. Then to my surprise, she tried to let go with her right hand in order to grab another toy. I was all ready to catch her, but instead, she balanced in place for 1-2-3-4 seconds and then she grabbed the table again. Wow! Standing with no help! She's done it a few times since, but never for as long (and I was even counting slowly). I'm amazed. She can't pull herself up on anything (except me), can't crawl, can't really scoot (though she can rotate while in a sitting position), and most definitely can't walk or stand. And her cruising is not that good, mostly because she can't grip the couch very well.

I called Adam and he was happy with me. We had already decided to buy her a new toy, a Fisher Price Stride to Ride, but now we're extra excited to buy it. Here's the picture.

She can push it or ride it. I think it will be a lot of fun. Yesterday while we were waiting for our inspection and emissions test for our car, she was cruising around the coffee table and my knees and the stroller. She was fascinated with how it moved, though because of the hard tile floor I kept a firm hold of her. We'll see how the toy is.

Well, Katrina just woke up from her nap absolutely miserable, so I put her back and she's happily asleep again. I'm probablt going to start packing for our Utah trip because I'm so excited. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today's project

So I hesitate to share this because I'm afraid you'll all dislike it, but at the same time I'm going to share it anyway because it made me really happy to make this.

I had a complicated thought process the other day that led to me buying some paint and brushes from JoAnn fabrics and some metal platters from eBay in order to make some art for above our bed. I have had a desire for something there that could tie together the blue and gold pillows and go along with the other art I have on the wall. Then I decided to make something myself!

My taste in art definitely broadened and improved while studying Humanities at BYU. Well, I think my taste improved, but some people might say that it got worse! :] I am pretty sure that many will look at these and think, "Okay, umm, that's nice." That was Adam's first impression (after the confusion of trying to figure out what they were). Even though I don't think it's really his thing, he gave me lots of kudos for being creative and will probably be used to them in no time at all. I'm still not sure how happy I am with the result, but then again, I'm pretty satisfied when I remember the fact that I'm not an artist.
This was my work station.
Here is the finished product. In my head my theme for my bedroom has been "Fire and Water," so I worked with that. I am least happy with the gold platter, but I already washed it off and restarted once, and I'm running out of gold, so I'm leaving it for now. That's the nice thing about acrylics on metal--if I really decide to nix these, I can always wash them off and use them for something else. They're really quite nice platters. Or I can always go back and add more layers of paint. Acrylics dry super fast, which is helpful or annoying!
Here they are with the fabric I bought for a long pillow (blue) and pillow covers (yellow). The color of the paint looks weird here. Oh, and I'm happy that the blue couch pillow that I stick between my knees to help my back when I sleep will finally be a part of the decorating scheme!

And this shows part of the large space above our bed and one of the pieces of eBay art I bought. I also plan on buying some over-the-door moulding from Home Depot and painting it black, then hanging it above the bed. It will look kind of like a mantel and it will stick out far enough that I can probably just rest the platters on it and not have to worry about how to hang them.

Why metal platters? I don't know really, but I didn't want to have to buy more stretchers for canvas and these appealed to my aforementioned odd style taste since graduating. I used both normal and metallic paint that has a nice sheen, especially against the reflective metal of the platter. I think they look better in person than in pictures, but I'm also prejudiced because I made them. :]

And finally, I took pictures of Katrina while she was staring at herself in a mirror the other day. She couldn't get enough of it. Cute, huh? :]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back home and lazy

I don't think I did much of anything today. I read Xenocide and was unpleasantly surprised to find that there was a fourth book in the series that I didn't know about! Other than that, it was a good book. I just hate when I think a series is over and it's not. Anyway, I also swept the kitchen. And I made lasagna for dinner. Good for me! I need to give myself lots of positive reinforcement when I'm a productive human being.

We just watched Hancock and enjoyed it. Well, that's not quite true. It had lots of profanity and I disliked that. And somehow we ended up getting the the unrated version from Netflix, so I think there were some added things that I really could have done without. But by the end I liked it. So I recommend it, kind of. Sometime I'd like to get editing software.

Mostly, I'm just eager for the key lime pielets (key lime pie in cupcakes) to finish setting in the refrigerator so we can enjoy some dessert. Hope everyone else had a great night!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Better mood

I just hate having really negative posts, so I'm posting again. Yes, the dogs can be annoying, but it was better once the kids came home today and could fend them off whenever they cornered me. It happened every time I sat down on the couch or next to the couch with Katrina. The daughter thinks it really is because they are jealous of the attention Katrina is getting, and then they feed off each other's anxiousness and start barking and growling. She gave Chester a time out and he behaved better after that. Yikes. What's it going to be like next month when we are here for ten days? I'm sure I'll be more used to it. And during the day I really can retreat to the basement.

Adam came home way earlier than he thought and we had a nice quiet evening, well, except for Katrina's ear-piercing shrieks. I hope she wakes up tomorrow with a tooth, because then it will feel like she had a real reason for how obnoxious she acted. Oh, and the kids liked my stir fry, which made me happy. Next month I might make up a menu beforehand.

Church is early tomorrow, so I'm off to bed. Good night!

Housesitting, Day 2

This post has some venting, so bear with me. For the most part, housesitting is going well. I served pizza last night that took about ten minutes total to make. That was nice. We spent much of the night playing Wii with the kids. My day went well overall and I finished Speaker of the Dead, so today I'm going to start Xenocide. Both of those are by Orson Scott Card. I figured out that if I go down to the basement, the dogs won't follow, so I was able to play with Katrina in peace, and during her nap I was able to read without a dog crawling on me and shoving her face into mine.

Okay, so here's the venting part: I am sick of these dogs. For the most part, they are fine. Belle is super needy and follows me everywhere. Chester spends most of the day outside. It's annoying that I can't sit on any couch without Belle joining me and shoving her snotty, drippy nose into my face, as well as draping her body all over mine. But I can handle that. What I am sick of is when the two dogs go from all friendly to all of the sudden growling and barking at me (or the baby), bowling me over when I'm sitting on the floor with Katrina, overwhelming me with one dog behind me and one dog in front of me while Katrina is hanging on for dear life to the coffee table and the dogs are shoving her too. Then when I go to give them dog treats to try to get them to leave me alone, every time Belle jumps up and snaps at Katrina's arm because she gets so excited and Katrina's arm looks like a dog biscuit. Then a few minutes later it starts up again, this time with Chester pawing at me incessantly (wait, isn't Belle the needy one, what's going on) until I retreat upstairs, at which point the kids tell me "Oh, he wants you to scratch his paw." !!!!!! Mostly I'm just frazzled, but I am also a little annoyed that I wasn't given more instruction on how to handle the dogs. I think people who have dogs assume that everyone is used to them, but the fact is, dealing with large and energetic dogs is not always easy. The kids take it for granted that they can just shove the dogs away when they're too annoying, but when I have a dog crawling into my lap and sniffing Katrina's face and sticking her drippy nose into my eye, and then I try to shove her away, the dog won't move! And then she growls at Katrina.

So this may seem like I'm overreacting if you are someone who loves animals and is used to dealing with them, but keep in mind that even though I love them too, I have never owned a dog, and when both dogs are cornering me against the couch and barking and growling menacingly at me, my childhood fears come back to the surface. Plus, the fact the one dog is obviously overneedy and jealous of the attention that I give the baby makes me uncertain how seriously to take her growls. I know that you're supposed to look at their tails to see if their wagging or something, but in the situation it's a little difficult to remember that.

At least Katrina thinks these dogs are the best thing ever. She giggles when they play-fight, watches them intently when they are anywhere near her, and smacks their faces (a true sign of love) when they sniff her. When Belle sniffs her face too much, Katrina even shoves it aside like we do, which is funny. And I'm not getting upset about the dog hair that's all over me and Katrina. I just try to unstick it from her face and hands and go on with life.

Anyway, Katrina's asleep now, so I have an hour to myself. I will probably go down to the basement and use the treadmill, now that I know that it's unplugged and that's why I couldn't get it to work yesterday!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Housesitting, Day 1

My back is so sore. I have been hauling a Graco Pack N Play all over a two story house and my back is really feeling it.

So we got here last night. The kids had dinner ready, and I was really feeling superfluous. But then I had to run anyway because I had book club at 7:00. Except it was really at 8:00. So yay for being super early! Bleh. At least I really like that sister and she and I talked a lot. Book club was lots of fun. It was a really long book and with the holidays, no one except the host and me had read it all the way through. Oh well. Next month is The Prize-winner of Defiance, Ohio, I think. I've heard plenty of good things about that.

Katrina slept great in the closet. It's a walk-in closet, so it's fairly large, but Adam hated closing the doors and "shutting her up in a closet." I thought that was funny. He left this morning and I walked around holding Katrina thinking, Now what? The dogs were hyper and anxious and I couldn't put Katrina down anywhere. I finally did what I've been doing an increasing amount these days: put her in her high chair and gave her a handful of cheerios while I ate and did other things. Then I tried to play with her on the couch. Belle, the dog that her owners describe as "way too emotionally needy for a dog" tried to join us. Katrina loved it, but I prefer not to share a loveseat with a dog when I'm playing with a baby. Oh, so we do this thing with Katrina where we bring our faces close to hers and then nudge her nose and say "Be-boop." She loves it and if we stop before touching noses, she'll bring her nose forward. Way fun and cute. So Belle starts sniffing Katrina and she grins and bumps her nose into the dog's nose. I laughed a lot over that one.

The dogs love to steal Katrina's toys, which they think is fun, Katrina thinks is fun, and I hate. I was at my wits end today, and so I dragged the Pack N' Play downstairs so the baby could play and I could read. That worked out great for half an hour, and then it was naptime! Grr. I tried to haul the thing into a room down there, but it wouldn't fit through doorways and I didn't want the dogs barking to wake her. I tried to get her to sleep on the master bedroom floor on the pack n play mattress, but that was a failure. So I hauled the playpen back upstairs and she's finally asleep. I'm going to go read more and maybe walk on the treadmill, even though all I have to wear are sweaters and that might not be fun.

So I keep telling myself that today is the hard day, but then I remember that even though the kids will be here tomorrow, Adam is at Scoutmaster training all day. Like from 8 to 7. Sick. I'm so tired already! However, this really isn't that bad. Especially now that the dogs are sleeping in their respective places and not jumping all over us.

No time to proofread, I'm off to make use of this nap. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday evening

Today turned out much like yesterday, where Katrina spent most of her waking time in the car. So this evening, before Adam went to Scouts, we played a lot with her to make up for it. The reason that she is wearing only a diaper is because her clothes were wet with drool and I figured since we were about to put her in pajamas, why not just take all of her clothes off? The first video is of her "speaking." Sometimes she says "dada" but without actually making noise. I had to get a video of it. Sorry that Adam's phone conversation is so loud.

The second video is of Katrina's arm-flailing thing that she does. I don't know why, but it sure is funny!

I don't know how I managed to snap this photo, but it's great!

Here I draw your attention to her ankles which are crossed in a very lady-like fashion. She often crosses them while sitting up these days.

Posing for the camera. I think she's starting to understand about smiling for cameras. Here she was standing up and down and moving all around without our help. She thinks she's mobile and crawls and climbs all over us. It's really cute. She'll stand and try to walk, but only if she's leaning against me or holding my hands.

Oh, and sometimes she leans down to touch the floor and refuses to either stand all the way or sit down all the way. Maybe she will never crawl, she will just walk around like Mowgli.

Adam in his new Scout hat. Looks nice, huh? :]

Monday, January 5, 2009


We did it! We pulled off the dinner. It turns out one of the missionaries is getting transferred after all, so hopefully he enjoyed his farewell dinner. The messy(understatement!) kitchen and my stuffed tummy are the only remnants. Adam made some delicious steaks with tarragon sauce. My key lime pie ended up very tasty and the asparagus soup managed to pull off a decent imitation of my mother-in-law's masterpiece. I used chicken broth instead of stock and the recipe was cut in thirds, so I had to improvise a little (and add a good amount of water and cream to make it less salty), but I liked the result. The meal only required one last minute trip to the grocery store and one last-minute menu change from mashed potatoes to biscuits. The elders were double-booked and couldn't stay long, and Adam went with them to visit the family of one of his deacons. That's nice, but it did mean that we ate pretty fast. That's why I'm so stuffed. This will probably undo the amazing scale results this morning that resulted from Fast Sunday yesterday (I don't fast while nursing, but a bowl of cheerios and nothing else until 3:00 feels basically the same).

Katrina's in bed, which is a relief after how screamy she was the whole time we were cooking and eating. Whew. The night is over. And now I can sit back and read my book for Book Club, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. It took awhile to grab me but now I find it fairly interesting. Also, I am going to try to search the internet for some way to use up the entire bowl of tarragon/mustard/butter sauce that we have.

Busy Monday

Today's pretty busy. I already have been to JoAnn fabrics, Trader Joe's (for the first time), Acme, plus I took Adam to work this morning. Katrina has had virtually no play time, which always makes me feel a little bad. Still, I'm hoping she stays asleep for a LONG time so that I can do the things I need to for tonight. Tomorrow is transfers for the missionaries, and since we really like the current set of missionaries and it's likely one or both will be transferred, Adam wanted to make them a nice dinner tonight. I'm making key lime pie, asparagus soup, and biscuits. Adam is making the main dish, New York Steak with Tarragon Sauce, plus I think he wants to make mashed potatoes too. Quite the meal, huh? Blame Adam--he loves to cook and gets a little excited when he has a good reason.

I bought some fabric for pillows at JoAnns. I decided on a nice blue fabric for the long pillow and a buttery gold fabric for the two pillow covers. They have the same pattern. I'm not sure what kind of fabric they are--I'm so bad at that sort of thing--but I think they might be some sort of brocade? I got to shop in the home decor fabric section, which was fun.

Oh, and I'm not sure I've mentioned that Adam and I agreed to watch the bishop's kids next month for a week and a half while they go on their anniversary trip. We also are watching them later this week for several days. "Watching" pretty much means just being an adult presence and making them dinner. They're 14 and 18. It also means a longer commute for Adam. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing, especially because I hate having to cook multiple days in a row for several people. And we have no idea where Katrina will sleep. But it definitely will shake things up a bit, and we all need that occasionally, right? At least the kids are really great, except for their tendency to constantly be texting on their phones. Constantly. Oh well, I'll just ask that they not text during dinner and ignore it otherwise.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


This is Post #200 on the James Family Blog. I had hoped to do something fun, or maybe at least write something particularly witty, but I'd rather post a picture of the Christmas tree I won in a blog giveaway. It's the one on the right. I've decided to start a tradition of collecting a new tree every Christmas. I bought the one on the left with jingle bells this year and the middle one at Mohonk.

Isn't it pretty? While I had the camera out I took a picture of our new tv stand. You can see all the boxes of Christmas decorations and the nutcracker we just bought too.

And finally, I have some Katrina pictures. She does this thing recently where she turns her head sideways to look at things from a different angle. If she's sitting, she also leans forward so her head is at her feet. I tried to capture it. I also got a picture of her with her Barnyard Dance book that we love. She grins and hyperventilates and waves her hands up and down wildly when we read it--a sure sign she likes it. If I lift up the page slightly, she turns it for me. At first she would turn it right away, but now she's learning to wait for us to read the page, then she turns it. I cannot adequately communicate how absolutely cute she is when she does that.

Blurry pictures all, but she moves in such jerky, unexpected ways that I can never quite get a clear shot unless she's staring blankly, and I already have plenty of pictures with that same expression!

Have a great weekend! Katrina is lying on on me, babbling, waving her arm, and trying to squirm and bend backwards to see the computer screen upside down. And she was trying to eat her elbow. I'd better provide her with some better entertainment.

Friday, January 2, 2009


This is a continuation of the last post. Here's our comforter, and below is the art I got. I've been trying to come up with decorating ideas based on these. It's a bit awkward though, and I'm thinking that one or the either might just have to go. Also, I think it kind of looks like a bachelor's pad. Seeing that I dislike most of the frilly, fru-fru master bedrooms out there that only incorporate the wife's personality, I don't really mind, much.
So if any of you are interior designers at heart, do you have any ideas of how to incorporate these two things? Do any of my ideas sound particularly good or do you have a better one?

Decorating project

Happy New Year! We spent the holiday with Adam's family and reluctantly headed home and to work today. At least tomorrow is the weekend. I picked up Adam's cold, which stinks, but at least I know that for him, the worst was over in a few days. I'm hoping I feel better tomorrow. Yesterday I took some Benadryl and Sudafed and practically passed out during Katrina's nap. Unfortunately, the Sudafed alone isn't nearly as effective, but I don't want that experience again. Plus, I try to not take medicine if I can get away with it because I'm still nursing. Katrina woke up to eat at 4:30 this morning and afterwards I was so stuffed up that I couldn't fall back asleep. I wrestled over taking more Sudafed or not, and finally went to the computer to see if it was safe while nursing. I ended up taking some more but not going back to bed. I'm doing surprisingly well for only four hours or less of sleep.

I've been working on my new interest to keep me occupied for the next few days/weeks/months. (I seem to have a short attention span for hobbies, so who knows how long this will last.) I really want to decorate our bedroom. We decorated Katrina's months ago, but neither of us really cared to do anything to ours. However, now that Adam is discussing buying a bicycle and riding to work each day, I'm starting to really settle into the idea that we will be in this apartment indefinitely. Up until now, I've moved every year since going to college. And though we'd love to buy a house, we're not going to for awhile so we can save for a down payment. So I've started thinking about our room. I've broken it into four sections--bed, windows, floor, and walls.

Bed-- Our comforter is patterned with big black and gray squares. It's getting a little worn and we've discussed getting new bedding, but it goes so well with our shiny black sheets that we got for our wedding! :] I think we'll keep it. Now the other issue is what other colors we want in our room. The artwork that is now hanging up on either side of our window is predominately orange. And the amber souvenir art from Russia that I have is also orange. That's not really our favorite color, but I think it might work as an accent color. We also like blue, which is a color in the amber pictures, so I think we'll incorporate that. We each have two pillows, one matching the bed and the other in a white pillowcase. I think I'd like to make some pillowcases for those, maybe in a black and amber fabric. Something lush. Also, I think I'd like to get a long round pillow to go across the back. I might make one out of some black and blue fabric.

Windows--We really like the style of curtains in Adam's old bedroom in New Jersey. I figured that I can make similar ones (Tab-topped, with two dark panels on the outside and two light ones between them) for our two windows with one king-sized flat sheet. I'd like to find something gray with a black pattern. I'd be fine foregoing the light-colored panels, but Adam wants them, so we'll see. I also like the look of window scarves that drape across the curtain rod and down the sides, but that might not fit the look. Either way, the king-size sheet will have enough for that if I decided to do it.

Floor- We have a nice open space that would look really nice with a rug. I like this one from Wal-mart. It uses the same colors while breaking up the starkness of the geometric designs of the rest of the room. This would also be a good place to include the blue color if I found something I liked.

Walls- I saw a room that was painted with wide vertical stripes of alternating colors, white and very pale lilac. They were close enough colors that the effect was really subtle and nice. We have a taupe color on our walls already which I suppose we could use, but I was thinking a light grey and light blue might look nice. Or we could just skip painting, since it's really not my favorite thing to do. Now, wall accessories are another issue. We're keeping one wall open for when we someday buy a dresser with a mirror. Another wall is open but it's smaller. Then there's the large expanse above our bed. We decided not to put the eBay art there but to instead put it on either side of the window. That leaves the area above our bed. We have a hard time thinking of ideas that we both like. I would like an upholstered headboard, I think. I'm not sure. I've suggested buying some cheap rugs from IKEA and hanging them like wall art, which Adam tentatively likes. We saw a picture of one room with a salvaged mantle above the bed, which was way cool, if you know where to find one. You can achieve a similar effect with crown molding, which we've discussed and appeals to us both. So that's still an issue.

So this is what I've been working on. I almost drove Adam to work today so that I could go to Wal-mart and the fabric store, but I knew I would end up buying something impulsively, so I stayed home. I have a trusty spreadsheet made up and am searching all over the internet for products and ideas.

So here's hoping that my cold goes away quickly and that this decorating project goes well too!