Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Years Gone By

Today marks two years that have gone by since my mother passed away.

Last year on the anniversary of her death I wanted to celebrate her life and focus on the wonderful memories I have of her instead of being sad. I threw a big huge Sunday dinner, Valerie Nichols style, and invited many of her friends to come and commemorate.

This year I let myself be sad. Two years is too long to go without having my mom beside me. Last night and today I let the grief overcome me. I cried hard, in fact I outright sobbed. I felt the hurt. At times, I even allowed myself to feel anger. And then after letting myself be consumed by the despair of it all, I was left feeling empty and broken. These are not feelings I usually embrace. I try to be a happy person most of the time. I like being a happy person, but today I needed to let myself hurt for the mother that I lost, the Nana that my children will never know, the laughter, the kindness, the advice and guidance, the comfort that for the rest of my life on this earth, I will always be missing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mmmm... Chocolate!

Palmer found a stash of my chocolates the other day. He gobbled the chocolates quickly, foil and all, and made quite the mess. This incident earned him a speedy trip to the bathtub by a couple of giggling parents.

Friday, March 27, 2009

London's Temple Day

Yesterday I had the opportunity to escort my older sister London to the temple for her first time. We had a difficult time getting there, and I told her to expect that everytime she goes. For some reason, whenever we plan to go to the temple all things collide to keep us from attending. This time, Palmer broke out with a fever of 103-104 the day before. We took him to instacare that night and found out he has some nasty baby virus, and we were told there was nothing we could do and just try to watch the fevers. Thankfully, he was fine while we were in the temple. Greg had a dentist appointment that was mischeduled for a time that would have overlapped when he needed to leave, but after begging the receptionist, I was able to move it earlier in the day. Then Greg got hung up at a blood drive and didn't make it home to take Palmer when I needed to leave. London and I had to drop the baby off at the blood drive with a fellow ward member until Greg was done. We already had a late start, and then took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong freeway. We found our way back and made it through the temple door just a couple minutes after we were told to be there. It turned out there was a mistake at the office of the temple and London had been told the wrong time, and we were actually 40 minutes late. Thanks to some considerate and fast working temple workers, we still made it to the correct session.

Being in the temple with my sister was a wonderful experience! I am so proud of her choice to progress in the gospel. It was not an easy one for her since she had wanted to do so with her spouse, but she knew she was ready and knew it was her time now. I was an emotional mess and was crying all evening. I love her so much and am so happy to see her righteous choices! She had a great support system there, 25 family member and friends, who showed up to encourage her and be with her on her special day. In the temple I didn't feel nauseated at all, amazingly enough. Afterwards, the majority of the group went to the Madarin for dinner. My brother-in-law Monte and my little sister (who has not yet gone through the temple) meet us there with Palmer. I did throw up all of the dinner once I got home, but at least I wasn't sick through the important part, and for that I am very thankful!

Congratulations London! We all love you so!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Life with a Crawling Baby

Palmer has been crawling now for a couple of weeks, and let me tell you, he is one busy little fellow! I remember saying how he got into everything when he was rolling around. I honestly had no idea what was to come. And now everyone is telling me it will get much worse when he starts to walk; I can't even imagine!

This morning, during the ten minutes it took me to eat my Lucky Charms, I watched Palmer do the following in our kitchen: talk to his reflection in the stove door, pull the dish towel down off of the refrigerator handle, pick hairs off our broom and rub them in between his fingers, roll up the kitchen mat, pull on and wildly swing our sliding door blinds, tip over the garbage can, yank on the kitchen phone cord, and eat a couple cheerios off the floor leftover from his morning breakfast.

I have come to realize a few facts about crawling babies these past weeks.

  1. Babies are born with an innate attraction to the most fragile, expensive and dangerous household items (and in these frequent cases, redirection does not work).
  2. It is not possible to truly baby proof your house.
  3. I indubitably need to keep a cleaner home. (This morning after an excursion down our hallway Palmer returned with a dust bunny right a top his head.)
  4. Everything is a new adventure to explore, and is much more exciting than manufactured baby toys.
  5. I honestly do not have the energy to keep up with him. Most of the time when Palmer gets into stuff he should not, I usually just sit there and watch him. Unless it is a danger to him, I figure, what's the point? He'll find it again in a couple hours or the next day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ten Month Photo Shoot

These were taken at JCPenney to mark Palmer's tenth month. He was super happy and smiley at this photo shoot. We got so many great pictures out of it. I picked my very favorites here. Palmer was in an especially great mood because Greg had played hard with him all morning long (as I laid in sick in bed). What a good daddy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Are You Going to Finish That?

The first couple months of this pregnancy I was ravenously eating everything in sight. I was, unbeknownst to me, not only nursing but pregnant as well. This was a deadly combination to any food item not yet ready to meet its demisable fate.

Now I have officially entered the bizarre "I need to eat, but I can't eat that" phase. If I do happen to find something that looks appealing, about halfway through it I can no longer stomach it. Once in a while this happens mid-bite and in order to keep myself from throwing up I need to immediately spit out what I have been chewing. Today I have started, yet not finished the following: a bowl of cereal, a banana, a piece of pizza and a slice of chocolate pie.

Since I've done this before, I know what other stages are coming up. Next will be the throwing up just about everything stage, and after that, throwing up partial foods. As in once after eating pizza I only threw up the cheese (I swear it's true!). And then will come the my stomach is so squished and uncomfortable that I can only take in my daily calories in the form of juices and shakes.

Ah, the joys of pregnancy!

My doctor gave me anti-nausea pills nice and early with this pregnancy (I had to throw up and continue to lose weight for five months last time) but sadly, I can't start them until I am done breastfeeding. And crazily enough, after nine months of struggled nursing, Palmer has decided he now likes to be breastfed and no longer will take formula. What's a nauseated-pregnant-desperately-trying-to-wean-mom to do?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ten Things I've Realized this Week

  1. I am inept at painting my toenails.
  2. I don't know if I can handle another baby right now.
  3. We desperately need to go grocery shopping; I don't even have crackers to help with the morning sickness.
  4. I have a very sweet and thoughtful husband who saves me from constantly stressing myself out.
  5. Weaning is hard work.
  6. It's not just me that thinks my baby has a lot of energy and is very wiggly.
  7. My friends are great fun.
  8. Usual characteristics of myself disappear when I am pregnant: homemaking skills (cleaning and cooking), being social, the desire to leave the house, doing my hair, pretty much motivation of any sort.
  9. I am extremely proud of my big sister and her decision to take out her endowments.
  10. Palmer really, really, truly loves me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Surprise, Surprise!!!

It's official; we're pregnant! I had my first doctor's visit today and he confirmed that I am about two months along. The news of this little babe came as quite a shock to Greg and me. We tried for Palmer for two years and went on a couple stretches of fertility medication to bring him into the world. In fact, my doctor said there was no need to use birth control with our history, plus I was nursing, so it was very unlikely.

A few weeks ago I was feeling very tired, very hungry, and at times nauseated. I quickly dismissed all of these signs: the tired must be from the stresses of everyday life, the hungry because I needed to get my appetite under control, and the nausea because I just couldn't get over the flu I had a couple weeks ago. But after about a month I thought I should take a test just to make sure. And, as you can now guess, amazingly, it came up positive!

Initially we were a bit worried about how we would deal with two babies so close in age and all the emotional, physical, and financial stresses to come, but now we are mostly just happy and excited. It is apparent to us that this baby is meant to be in our lives at this time. It came against many physical odds, Greg just got a promotion at work, Palmer is a good baby, and hopefully this new little one will follow in suit. We are surely blessed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recipe - Berry Delight Trifle

We had a YSA activity tonight (Greg and I are the advisers for our ward). The stake held an Irish mystery dinner. Basically, the menu was comprised of Irish sayings such as: Top o' the Morning, St. Paddy's Day Parade, Pot of Gold, Shamrock Surprise, etc, and everyone ordered such items without knowing what they actually represented. I was in charge of the trifle. My mother always made English trifle on special occasions, and it had been a while since I made one. I usually make trifle with strawberries and blueberries, and sometimes bananas when the mood strikes, but the store was out of blueberries so I substituted blackberries this time. I had to triple the recipe to feed about 40; it ended up being the mother of all trifles! It was super yummy though and went very fast.

Berry Delight Trifle

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding
1 12 oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
1 10 in. angel food cake, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 quart fresh berries, plus a few set aside for garnish

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar. Add milk and pudding mix, fold in 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping. Place half the cake cubes in a 3 qt. glass bowl. Layer with half of the berries and then half the pudding mixture. Repeat the layers. Spread remaining whipped topping over top. Garnish with additional berries. Serves 12-14.

Palmer - Nine Month Photo Shoot

These are the results of last months photo shoot at JCPenney. I love how you can see the little peach fuzz springing up atop his head. We only purchased these two, but in just about every shot he had his hands somewhere on his head, over his eye, over his mouth, on top of his head, etc. As the photographer was reviewing the poses with us, she said, "He sure shows a lot of personality!" I think the photos are a good representation of the exploratory (and very wiggly) stage he is in.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Boy

This picture was taken last night at our family dinner. Palmer is sitting on his auntie Rie's lap watching his cousin Trevor play with toys and jump around. He was letting out the heartiest laughs I had ever heard! Palmer is finally done with his antibiotics and over his ear infections, and yesterday we discovered three more teeth have popped out of his gums (now he has five!). These turn of events have resulted in one very happy boy! When going through the rough sick and teething stages, I forget just how easy and contented he usually is. It is always a welcome change when he returns to his usual disposition. The last two days he has missed one of his two naps, and been toted around everywhere. Amazingly enough, he's still been one happy go lucky kid. We really are so blessed to have such a good natured little boy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Growth Spurt Madness

Monday and Tuesday night, Palmer was upset! He was screaming and crying, and nothing I did consoled him at all. Monday, I was finally able to nurse him to sleep. Tuesday the drama started even earlier in the evening. After trying everything else, I decided to see if he was hungry again. That did the trick! Only an hour after nursing and his regular dinner, he ate a second dinner and downed an extra bottle of formula. What a difference a second dinner makes! After that he was his happy, contented usual self. Last night we prepared early and made twice the amount of food for his dinner. Amazingly enough, he downed it all. Just to give you an idea of the massive amount of food he ate, I don't think I even could have eaten as much. He is chunking up a bit. It's so cute to see the rolls developing on his thighs. Greg says he's totally lost all signs of having wrists and ankles. Palmer is usually so skinny; we can't help but pinch and giggle at his baby chubs during the rare instances in which they appear.

Here are some pictures of Greg putting Palmer to sleep Tuesday night, after he finally filled up. We thought the pajamas he was wearing that night were quite appropriate: feed me or nobody sleeps!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ten Months

It is so crazy to me that my baby is now ten months old. That means I have been a momma for almost a year; unfortunately, I still have no idea what I am doing most of the time! Palmer is at a super fun stage. He really plays hard and likes to interact a lot. He finds joy in exploring the most simple aspects of his world. Life is so much more fun when seen through a little one's eyes. He has been a bit clingy and fussier than usual. I'm hoping this is just a stage, or because he had ear infections (I remember him acting in a similar way the last time he had them, even a week or so after the antibiotics were finished.) Here is the scoop on Palmer at ten months.

He has learned: to chew/gum just about anything, to finger feed himself small pieces of food, to clap, to imitate others sounds and movements, to move himself from a sitting position to the floor (without falling and smacking his head), and to hold himself up in a standing position for a short time

He likes: playing in the bathtub, other children (as long as they aren't touching him), getting out of the house, winding down at home, rolling around on the floor, trying new adult foods (his most recent favorites include: lasagna, salmon and french fries), and he is finally to the point that he really enjoys nursing (of course just before I'm planning to start weaning him)

He dislikes: getting his nose wiped, when I leave the room, seeing his dad leave for work in the morning, runny baby food, and other children touching him.

Things he does that makes us laugh: roughhouse with his dad, play in bed instead of sleeping, yell to hear himself talk, and big laughs

Monday, March 2, 2009

Good Friends and Good Food

We had a great weekend spending time with our friends. We also had dinner taken care of for us a total of four times; what a treat it was!

Work friends. Greg invited his work buddy, now his boss with his new position, and his wife over for dinner and games on Thursday night. Since we provided the dinner the last time they offered to bring pizza. They brought stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut, which was so good. I made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We played a couple board games and then Guitar Hero.

Sisterly Friend. Sariah took us out to dinner at Archibalds in Gardener Village Friday night to celebrate Greg's promotion. She is always so thoughtful and generous. This was our first dinner experience there. We tried some fried green tomatoes, which surprisingly, I loved. Our main courses were also delicious! We definitely will have to return sometime.

High School Friends. Two of my high school buddies (Jenn and Lissa) and their families, as well as my sister Sariah, came to visit with us on Saturday. It's always great catching up with them. Lissa brought lasagna and salad for all of us. We ate and chatted and then played some games and ended the night with a Rock Band tutorial and jamming session. There's nothing like reconnecting with old friends! I hope we do it again soon.

Ward Friends. Greg and I love our ward family! I spent Saturday morning with my ward girlfriends at an amazing workshop on prevented emotional burnout given by Julie de Azevedo. It was such an uplifting event, and I loved sharing it with my dear pals. Also this weekend, one of our favorite couples, the Stewarts, had us over for a delicious meal of homemade bread and manicotti. It was so good! I am so impressed with Erin's budding domestic skills; she is becoming one hardcore homemaker. We absolutely love the Stewarts; they provide our lives with so much fun!

Looks like I owe quite a few meals to all of our friends! Let me know when you want to cash in.

Recipes - German Pancakes and Pizza Pasta

I realized it has been a little while since I posted a recipe, so here you go. As an added bonus, both of these are super-duper easy. Seriously, they take about five minutes of preparation, and have very quick baking times. I've been all about easy simple meals this last week. The German pancake recipe is from my mom; it was my favorite as a child. The pizza pasta is from my friend Jenny, who always provides me with wonderfully easy, yet very tasty meals. I often half each of these recipes if it's only Greg and I dining.

German Pancakes

1 stick butter
1 dozen eggs
2 c. milk
1 c. flour

Melt butter in 9x13 casserole dish. Blend eggs, milk, and flour. Pour mixture into pan and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with syrup and/or powdered sugar.

Pizza Pasta

1 bag of egg noodles
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 small bag of pepperoni
1 jar of black olives
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
*any other pizza toppings are optional

Boil noodles until cooked through. Slice olives, and fry pepperoni (if desired). Mix together noodles, sauce, pepperoni, olives and half of the cheese in a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Microwave for five minutes or until cheese is melted.