Sunday, May 25, 2008

Big Boy Bed

Benjamin is sitting by himself right now, happily reading a book on his brand new big boy bed. That's right, he's made the transition....sort of. My reasoning was that he'd do much better with a new baby in October if he was already well situated in his own big boy bed this summer.

We found a great deal on Craig's List for a toddler bed, so we jumped on it, even though his birthday isn't for another two weeks. As soon as we put it in the extra bedroom (that has been filled with boxes and junk for months), he immediately wanted all of his stuffed animals and blankets in there, his books, his rugs, and all the other necessary furniture from his old bedroom. And he wanted all of the boxes out. So we set to work helping him create his new bedroom, just before his naptime. Then of course he didn't get the concept of staying in his bed when I left the room, so we just put him in his crib. He wasn't too happy about this, but he was really tired, so he went right to sleep. He wanted to try the big boy bed again at bedtime, so we decided to bring everything back into his old room including the toddler bed, and put it next to his crib. This way, we wouldn't be hauling things back and forth. Paul had more patience than I did at this point, so he sat there with Benjamin until he was drowsy enough to stay put. And he slept through the entire night in his big boy bed!

So it's been kind of off and on so far. He'll eventually get used to staying in his new bed. It's hard for him to go to sleep with no bars to restrain him. I'm really in no hurry to move him, though. Whenever he's ready, or preferably by mid-September. That way there should be enough time before the baby comes for him to feel like the little one isn't taking over his life.

There are still a few things I want to do in his new room before I move him in there. I still want to paint it and find a large carpet remnant for an area rug. I've also been working on some artwork that will go on his walls. I still haven't finished the large, colorful Alphabet painting or the "Drummer Hoff," but those will go in there once they're finished. I've recently started a painting of the cow jumping over the moon, from the one in "Good Night, Moon." I also took Benjamin to the fabric store the other day to pick something out for his new quilt. I'm almost done with it, although I think I'll wait to give it to him on his birthday. It's been fun. I never did much with his "nursery" in Wymount or here, so I'm anxious to be able to make a little space that's special for him. I'll also paint the room he's in now, after we find out the baby's gender (on June 5th!).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Before and After

We've been working hard out in our yard to build a lawn from scratch. We've searched the world wide web for tips, listened to tribal knowledge from the folks down at OK Hatchery and Feed, and office chatter at the water cooler. We still have no idea what we're doing, but our yard is looking pretty good for one season's growth. Here are a couple of before and after shots. The after shots were taken soon after a short mow (don't know if we mentioned that before, but we're now the proud owners and users of a beautiful Toro 3-in-1 mower. Thrilling I know.)

You might notice a lane of dirt on the side left side of the after picture; that's where we planted our sweet corn. It was painful to dig up anything green, but we're excited about the prospect of munching some delicious corn in about 65 days.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

American Idol Obsession

So I was greatly relieved after last night's results on American Idol! It may have seemed like a given that the Davids were going head to head, but this season has been full of surprises....including Syesha even making it into the top 5. I don't know why she grates on me so much, but I hate watching her perform or even talk. I think her being an overly confident actress has something to do with it. So on Tuesday night, Paul and I voted for the Davids, just to do our part. Then last night, we were brainwashed by the American Idol "Man" to download all of our favorite songs from the season. We capped it off around 13 songs since you have to pay for them. We got mostly David Cook, then Brooke White, then Jason Castro and one from David Archuleta, Carly Smithson and Michael Johns. I have to say, there was a lot of diverse talent this season! As for next week, I'm kind of hoping David A. wins (even though I don't like his songs as much) because I can't stand the idea of American Idol owning David C.'s talent. I think he'd do much better with an independant record company, but who knows. It's going to be a really close race. Alright, alright. I am admittedly obsessed.
So this morning, a UPS truck pulled up, so I had Benjamin watch out the window to see the man bring the box to our door. He was really excited to open it, and even more excited when he saw a new pair of green Crocs inside. He quickly put them on and started racing all over the house because a green light means "GO! GO!" It was an easy transition, and the old shoes will not be missed since they're too little and not nearly as comfortable. Plus, they don't help him go fast like these do. THANK YOU online shopping! No toddler throwing fits in the store, no hard decisions for him to make, a truck that makes the arrival of new shoes that much cooler, and mail for Benjamin (he's obsessed with mail these days).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Family and Friend Tag

Rules of this Tag:
1. Answer the questions about the list of friends and/or family on your blog.
2. If you don’t have 18 names answer the question about the next name that you have not had a question for on your list.
3. Tag 5 people.

When did you first meet the first person on your list?
I met my sister-in-law, Abby shortly after I moved back to Utah for Fall semester 2004. Paul had told me how awesome she was and how much we'd get along, and it was true. I love her!

What do you like about the third person on your list's blog?
I like Bill and Kristin's blog because it always has a funny or uplifting story. Plus, it's just nice to stay in touch since we aren't neighbors anymore!

What do you like best about the fifth and sixth people on your list?
I like the "Cannon Family" because I'm part of them. They welcomed me in with open arms from the time I first met them, and are some of the most wonderful, funny, down-to-earth people I know.
Something I like about Laura is her contagious joy. I knew Laura from Wymount, and she always seemed to have a bright, genuine smile for whoever she saw. She always seemed to cheer me up!

How long have you known the ninth person on your list?
I have known Andi since my freshman year of college (so Fall 2002), but she had already known my cousin Wendy from her ward growing up. So it was an instant connection and bond between us.

What impresses you about the eleventh and twelfth people on your list?
Jay and Susie are some of the happiest people I know. I was especially impressed with Susie as she willingly and cheerfully (though I knew her to be somewhat daunted) accepted her calling as the Relief Society President in our ward in Wymount. She was amazing!
Jon and Sarah are wonderful. I was especially impressed by their faith when they left Utah upon graduation without any tangible job offers or plans, to move to California because they knew they should. Jon did get a perfect job, they found a great duplex, and are expecting their second baby any minute. Totally deserving people!

What is a memory you have with the sixteenth person on your list?
Karey and I are cousins, so I've know her my whole life. Her family lived in Pennsylvania and were the nearest relatives we had by far. I bought her contract to live in Monticello, and was warmly received into that ward because I was her cousin. I do have a funny memory though at Grandma Lowe's house just a year and a half ago or so. Karey was modeling her wedding dress for us. She wasn't engaged...yet. But that was the dress she planned to wear with Matt or whoever else ended up being the groom. Luckily, Matt did end up proposing shortly after. They're a great couple!

Say something nice about the eighteenth person on your list.
Melanie is also my cousin. She grew up in Utah though, so we only saw each other during Lowe reunions. Besides being a lot of fun, she is one of the most ambitious people I know! She is also down-to-earth and just tells it how it is. She makes a wonderful wife and mother!

So I wasn't officially tagged. Thank you, Sarah Farrell for your nice comments in yours. I am tagging anyone who hasn't done a tag in a while. I'm usually not too wild about doing them, but this one was fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Fury

I've had a wonderful Mother's Day, and I wanted to express my gratitude for both Paul's and my amazing mothers. I couldn't ask to have been born into a more loving, strong family, and I think that can largely be attributed to my mother. She was amazing! She raised eight kids, served in many callings, taught piano lessons, and constantly found opportunities to serve anyone and everyone. She is so creative, resourceful, nurturing and always seems to be cheerful. I am still learning a lot from her! I am also so grateful for Paul's mother, who raised seven wonderful kids, the youngest of whom has downs syndrome and autism. She is one of the most patient, generous, practical and wise people I have ever met! I really do have wonderful role models in my life.
So I guess I haven't mentioned this in any earlier posts, but I am currently teaching two brothers art lessons on Thursdays. Anyways, as they were approaching the front door the other day, they noticed a small burrow with several baby bunnies inside. At first, I was kind of concerned, because it was in the middle of our lawn, and I never saw any bunnies there tending to them. I googled orphaned rabbits, and was satisfied to learn that mother rabbits only nurse their babies five minutes a day, and go to them once in the early morning and once in the late evening. They don't ever sit on them to keep them warm. We've enjoyed going out there and admiring our little bunnies each day, and Benjamin has been really good about not touching them or getting too close. Well this morning (and Mother's Day of all days!), we came out to find their little hole flooded from the rains last night, and the little bunnies were huddled two by two all around it, some looked like they were already dead. They were wet and cold. I think the temperature didn't rise much above 50 degrees today, plus it was really windy. I went to church pretty sad about it. Once the hole had dried out, I put on my gardening gloves, and went out to see if I could possibly revive any of them. Each of them moved when I touched them and some of them even opened their eyes, so I carefully put them all back in the hole, then recovered it with dry grass and leaves from a bag in the garage. I hope at least some of them survive! I hope their mother didn't leave them for dead this morning and that she comes back to feed them. I guess it wouldn't surprise me if she didn't. Bunnies reproduce at such a young age, it's kind of like expecting a 10 year old to do what's best for her child.
I guess Mother Nature doesn't exemplify the kind of Mother we as humans aspire to become. This just reminded me that love, one of the greatest qualities a mother can possess, really is a divine attribute. I guess animals have some capacity to love, but I don't think it's the same.
I really do love being a mother!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Butterflies and Trucks

Can I just gush about Benjamin for a minute? I have to say, I am in love with this kid, and especially this age. He is so fun these days. His vocabulary continues to grow every day, and now he's entirely beyond the stage where anything and everything was "DA!" He uses words to tell me about his memories, his feelings, and of course what he wants. The other day, he looked at me while we were eating lunch, and said, "Daddy. Work. Miss." Then this morning, as he was waking up around 7, we heard from his room, "Weekend!" (which apparently means a trip to Home Depot with Daddy.
So it was admittedly kind of a rough day for him. A few days ago, he came running to me, and said, "Ow! Feet." I took his shoes off and checked for prickles or sticks, and couldn't find any, so I asked if his shoes were too small. He said, "Yes." I asked if he needed some new bigger shoes. Again, he said, "Yes." He wears the same pair of navy blue Croc shoes every day, preferably with bright blue pants and his truck shirt if they're clean. Well, I assumed he wanted a new pair of shoes (or at least needed some) and so today we took him to the store to find some big boy shoes. The Croc stand at the mall didn't have his size in the right color, so we decided to check out Payless on our way to the Home Depot. Well, he heard Home Depot, and threw a fit when we parked in front of a shoe store. We dragged him in anyway, and had him look at a few different Croc knock-offs. He wouldn't even try them on. He kept putting his old shoes back on and saying, "Depot!" So we went home, and told him we couldn't go to the Home Depot if he was acting like this. During his nap, I ordered a pair online. He is funny about change (at least when it comes to his wardrobe). I guess I shouldn't be surprised, considering his dad, who pretty much wears the same stuff he did in high school.
It is usually a delight to take Benjamin anywhere. He likes to talk about what we're doing, who we're going to go see, dandelion puffs, hoops, bikes and diggers he spots along the road, and sometimes he'll sing little songs to himself. We went to the Butterfly House with our Ward Play Group earlier this week. On the way, he was saying, "Dai (Saida). Megan. Fly (Butterfly House). TICKLE!" (accompanied by a scrunched smile and his hands brushing his cheeks) Translated, he was talking about the friends he would see at the Butterfly House, and about the butterflies that "tickle" when they touch you. Benjamin was really excited to go, but once we got there, he was clutching onto my hand with a firm grip. That is until he spotted a cherry-picker truck that was hanging out along the trail. That was probably the highlight. He was actually kind of afraid of the butterflies. But he was excited to see his friends from nursery, and played with them on the playground outside afterwards.

On Thursday evening, we braved the chilly weather (it had been raining all day, and finally let up) and took Benjamin to the Vehicle Fair that the Kirkwood Parents as Teachers put on every year. It was sure to be a hit, as Benjamin spots diggers, cranes, ambulances, garbage trucks, etc. everywhere he goes. He loves trucks. As we got there, he started shaking. I thought it might be because it was cold, but he was actually terrified of all the honking. We decided to stay for a few minutes anyway, and stood in line to "ride" the backhoe loader. We explained to him that the kids were just being silly and honking the horns on the big trucks. He became a little less tense, and started imitating the kids honking horns. Then he got his moment in the backhoe. It was pure joy.

Here he is in the beloved Garbage Truck! He loves watching the "Man" come and take our "Garb" (garbage) and see as the truck "Guish" (squishes) it into the main compartment. It's a real show, the few times we see it each week!
We got to see this helicopter land. Benjamin could hardly find enough words to describe to us how exciting this was. "Sky. (pointing to the sky) Hoc. (Helicopter) Land. (it landed on the ground)..." I know he said more, but I don't think we could translate it all. He was so excited to touch it and look inside. It was equally exciting to watch it go back up into the sky!
I think he calls any truck with lights on top "Ambi" (as in ambulance, though it could be a police car, a fire engine, or even a van with a small cone light) so that's what he's sitting on here. He especially likes to pretend the house is burning, and that a fire engine needs to come and put it out.
The mini excavator, or "Dig" as he calls them, was pretty exciting to see up close. I think he came home with a new appreciation for all of his toy diggers, and wanted to examine them all up close as well.
And last, but certainly not least, was the school bus, which he needed to "ride" twice. You can kind of see the reflection of the cherry picker that took a man way up in the sky for all of the kids to see. We had a great time! It was a late night for him though, so I think we're paying for it today!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

No Pictures, No Posts

It's a bad habit of mine. Lately, I've been especially forgetful about taking the camera with me or taking pictures, but I won't let that excuse stop me today.
This past weekend, we joined Paul on a quick business trip up to Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. He was doing some job recruiting at a Statistics Conference there. We got a rental car and free gas, a hotel that was paid for, and free meals. It was like a free mini-vacation! It was about a six hour drive, and it took us right through Independence, MO on the way. We went through the Visitor's Center there which has been recently renovated (just on the inside) and really enjoyed the tour. Also of course, right next door is the massive, scary Community of Christ Temple and world headquarters. Benjamin did as well as he could on the drive, but after six hours in the car, we decided we're definitely NOT driving 20 hours to go to Utah this Summer. We'll fly.
Oh, so during the car ride, Benjamin was quiet for a moment, then bursted out, "weekend!" He loves weekends because Paul's home, so we thought it was cute that he learned how to say it clearly on his own about the trip we were all taking together.
Anyways, we got to our hotel on Sunday evening. It was especially convenient because all of Paul's meetings were in that hotel, so we got to see him throughout the day on Monday. We enjoyed hanging out in the big atrium where there was a warm pool, a hot tub, a little miniature golf course, fountains and bridges, pool tables, video arcade games and candy machines. We also ventured out to the nearby park before settling down for a nap. We stayed through Tuesday morning, then headed home. It was fun to take a little vacation together instead of separating for a couple of days.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Just Life

Here's our garden now. The beans and peas have been going crazy, so today, Paul built some mini trellises for them. The lettuce is also taking off, and the tomatoes, broccoli, peppers and pumpkins are also starting to sprout.
Benjamin loves going outside with Paul as soon as he gets home from work each day to help him tend the little garden. Paul built this cage to protect it from the bunnies and squirrels that run rampant here. And here's the awkward almost-15-week shot, where I just look fat, but not quite pregnant. Don't worry, the spandex will only be reserved for progression shots. Sadly I haven't fit any of my pants since around the time I found out I was pregnant. So the stretchy/prego pants came out early this time!