Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ander's Fifth Month (sorta kinda just a tad late)

We're trying out a bit of proactive blogging this month and rather than sitting down the day Andy says farewell to his fifth month of life to write out his update, we're gonna talk about stuff as it happens! Or at least that's what we're doing for today. No promises the rest of the month.
My phone calendar is a literal circus cacophony of dots and colors and reminders and I'm not even working! It's just our social/family/church events and choir concerts exploding for the holidays. So I'm betting the 25th is going to be a full day without adding the little voice in the back of my head that whispers, "bloooog, blogblogblog, blug, BLOG, plz." Not to mention we're hosting thanksgiving for my husband's-mom's side. There will be some furniture tetris happenin' up in hurr.

The following Christmas Tree Adventure could be it's own blog post easily, and I apologize for how long this will be and how many pictures this will contain. But I suppose that is why you're here, so #sorrynotsorry
Other than nearly forgetting to fill our EMPTY gas tank before leaving town to get our Christmas tree (thank goodness for spiritual promptings and checking the gas gauge right before the 87 loses all chance of turning around), our trip started without a hitch and continued as such for the whole thing! We made it to the family cabin in Strawberry and got the lights on, the cute little porch light welcoming us warmly.

We unpacked and got the "little" ones adjusted after the long car ride.

There were some tunes.

And then we got the fire going and all was well.

This little stove was the only source of heat we used in the little house (besides a space heater we brought to place near Andy's pack 'n play). It moaned and hissed in a ghostly manner with the roaring wind outside and we felt like we'd stepped into a storybook.
We couldn't figure out the electric range, so we just left it be and placed our kettle on the wood burning stove, warming our mugs on the stones, and it was the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life.

We snuggled under blankets, warming tiny toesies and fingers, and Mark glanced through the video cassettes throwing out a title or two, when he suddenly mentioned Balto! Way back when we were dating we used to talk about that movie and how we wished we had a copy to watch. I honestly don't remember the last time I saw it, although I associate it with fond memories, and I demanded that he immediately put it in for us to watch. We laughed and groaned at the quality of the visuals after being so spoiled with this new age of hi-def and blu-rays.
Andy went down to sleep like an angel, all wrapped up five different ways to ward off the freezing temperatures, and Mark and I laid out blankets in front of the fire to stay up talking. It was a perfect evening, marred only by the terribly creepy and slightly frightening banging of the screen doors from the gales blowing outside.

We were all up and moving by seven, we took the dogs out for a bathroom break, and they went berserk. Luckily none of the neighbors were around because they were zipping through yards and inspecting porches, being general hooligans.

Yet somehow I managed to get this shot. Bless 'sport' mode.

His nose was adorably red.

Mine less adorably. I ran around like an obnoxious dork, taking photos of every colored leaf I could find. A little after eight we figured we'd better pack up the car and get headed out in search of our Christmas tree! Andy fell asleep the second I put him down in the pack 'n play, poor bubba was getting so tuckered out from all the fun.
Funnily enough, we ended up in the exact same spot where we got one of our other Christmas trees in years past. The familiar terrain was a boon though, as we knew where we had been lucky before and where to avoid because of the less than ideal species that were rampant. It always amazes me how perfect and symmetrical the trees can seem from the road but when you get out of the car, hiking about, they suddenly are all lopsided, sparse twigs or actually an amalgamation of three separate trees that happen to come together to form the perfect Christmas tree shape.

We all had a great time walking about though, so no harm, no foul. Although my hiking shoes no longer accommodate my post-childbearing feet, so there was some slight harm there. After we had come to a decision on a particular tree, I took Ander back to the van for a bottle and some rest. Mor'du and Odin had a joyful time bothering some campers to the south, but they were excellent sports and complimented us on our "beautiful dogs". We're so glad to have dogs that are friendly and just immediately adore other humans.

I have literally a zillion photos of this kids face because I just can't get enough of him. Excuse me for being obsessed. I can't help it.

And, of course, as close as we could come to a functioning family photo. Everyone is in the frame, so it counts. We made it home and the tree is up! Now I'm dragging all our decorations out of dusty corners and blaring Christmas Pandora and everything feels wonderful. My house already smells of pine and cheer (the latter probably courtesy of the cinnamon sugar candle I have lit).

Since we started Ander on the zantac for his reflux, his daytime naps have fallen back into line and his schedule is much more defined. Which certainly eases the stress of figuring out how my life can be flexed around his. When he was sick with a teensy cold the other day, I certainly planned on just shmoozing him with love and never leaving his side but he was sleeping so soundly on his own, I instead got to vacuum, wash AND fold AND put away three loads of laundry, deep clean both our bathrooms, bake banana "nut" muffins (no walnuts in the house, so I used walnut extract, lol), and a myriad of other small chores along with making some phone calls.
Putting Andy down at night is about the easiest thing in the world. And often his naps are the same way. We try to bathe him at least every other day, and with the puree's he's "eating" it's a definite necessity, and give him a nice big bottle. He hasn't used a pacifier for more than three seconds the last few weeks, so I believe we've moved on from those. He prefers the ring and middle fingers of his left hand to suck on, making that adorable "I love you" sign (although word on the street is that isn't an official ASL sign, but /shrug, I'll take the love and affirmation where I can get it!) (Let me live.)
I bought a crib accessory at DI a few days ago and he immediately became obsessed with it. It's a little jungle scene with a fishy, monkey, and a bird, a waterfall, and nature sounds. Or a setting for the nature sounds and some kind of creepy amazon-ified renditions of lullabies. Think Rock-a-Bye Tarzan. But less Phil Collins and more campy. ("Trashin' the Camp"? Does that count as a pun?) If he's even remotely upset we can turn that thing on and for the next fifteen minutes, sweet bliss. And hopefully in that fifteen minutes he falls asleep or we have to go back in and rub his tummy and turn it back on again, wash-rinse-repeat.
Speaking of puree's! He was unsure at first. We tried long ago by scraping a spoon along a banana to get a mushy bit and he seemed more perturbed by the texture than anything. If I had him sitting in my lap while I ate anything, anywhere, he would, without fail, stare at the spoon as it came to my face, and as I brought it back to the plate. We tried every now and again, not pushing it too hard, and then one night he downed an entire gerber's container. And by "downed" I mean it went down his mouth, and down his front, and down his pants, and also up his nose. But he loved it. The next night we tried a sweet potato and corn mix and he got very excited by the flavor.

Lately, Andy has been doing this adorable thing where he sucks in his bottom lip and then smacks his lips over and over. He loves it when we do it back to him. It's very close to the sound we began making long ago to call our dogs over, so I wouldn't be surprised if he got it from that. 
Him and Mor'du are getting closer and closer to being real buds. We've already started coaching Andy on being soft with their ears and facial bits, and by coaching I just mean repeating the word "soft" over and over and prying off his death grip. Mor'du likes to "groom" Andy and while his face is near, Andy will just run his hands over the fur and try to grab onto the pup's snout to bring it to his mouth. Like everything else. 
I know I JUST said in one of the paragraphs above that I thought we were moving on from pacifiers but the last couple days he's taken a feverish liking to it again. However, I'm of the opinion that his reflux is just flaring up again and he simply needs that old familiar comfort. 

"I just love his/her little language," was always a cute sentiment. But as I held onto my sweet boy tonight after giving him his nighttime bottle, resting my cheek against his soft (and tickly) head, breathing in that sweet bath smell, and listening to his soft sighs of contentment, it really hit me how deeply I consider the unintelligible noises he makes as real, actual conversation. The "words" he says, the things he has to say, are so important to me. I hope that he will retain that comfort of blabbing to his momma, that we will never run short of words to speak to one another; rather unlike myself in this moment, trying to find the words to describe the fullness of my heart.

**EDITED 12/2**

I knew I was forgetting something! My brain is the first thing to suffer these busy days of the holiday season. Someone will have to interview this kid later in life to find out what it's like to have such a doofus for a mom #thestruggleisreal
Mostly kidding.
Now here are his five month pictures wearing his five month onesie. Which you can see is already turning into quite the low neckline, we'll see how his six month pictures go.
Sneak Peek...

Okay, okay, for reals now.

And, of course, our other more mopey child.

"Odin, smile!"

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nursery Reveal!

It pleases me that blogger is making it's way back up the ranks of my "most visited" tabs. We're making a comeback!
That I've now jinxed. Huzzah.

I'm finally gonna show off my baby's adorable nursery and probably blab a lot about where the things came from and how we came to own them and all that boring stuff. If pictures are more your jam, there'll be plenty of those, so feel free to skim over the words. I won't be offended. Probably.

My lovely baby being lovely as momma figures out the settings on our new Nikon. Our first DSLR! (See, I told you I was going to be blabbing.) We've been subsisting on old point-and-shoots or our camera phones and they just weren't quite cutting it anymore with our wiggle-worm. On a quick note, that lamb up in the corner is one that I remember having as a tiny child. It plays "Mary Had a Little Lamb" a BILLION times when pulled, but being so old, it quickly peters out to just tinkling a note every few minutes. So, in essence, completely creepy. 
The bumper we (I) bought on a whim from Goodwill before we even had an actual crib to put it in. Bell before the bicycle, right?

Speaking of creepy, this lil' gal is another toy that comes from my childhood. Her head is made of porcelain and yet she's made it through countless moves and remains whole and undamaged, which is nothing short of a miracle. She plays "Memory" from Cats and her head slowly moves in a circle. Not demonically around like an owl, that would be horrific, but rather led with the chin, as one would in an exercise warm-up...if that makes any sense. I love her to bits, though. Plus she kind of poses as the Mary to the little lamb from above, so it works.

Grandma Miriam gifted us that baby sign, and she painted it that perfect shade of blue herself! I love that it just happened to match the color scheme that really materialized out of nowhere. I didn't do it on purpose, considering most everything came from what we already owned or purchased from Goodwill.

This is the "fun" corner. Or, rather, it will be when Ander is old enough to really enjoy it. He's already showing interest in that piano book (and Mark has enjoyed playing around with it as well, so double win!) and he loves to lay on the floor, arch his back, and just stare at all the colorful books. The entire Series of Unfortunate Events was gathered over many years at various Goodwills all over the valley. I just recently, as of a couple weeks ago, finally found the last two I'd been searching for, just in time for this photo shoot!
As I mentioned in previous blogs, those letter blocks were made by my parents back when I was a baby and I am just overjoyed to have them for my own child.

I just had to include a closeup of this cute photo-set. Obviously, Ander is in the middle, with Mark on the left and myself on the right. It's my absolute, hands down, favorite shot of baby Mark. While I was pregnant I would hold this photo and just pray that our little guy came out looking exactly like Mark. And boy did I get my wish. I'm just there for good measure, really. In my jammies, holding a tiny kitten. As one does.
And of course, a photo of Andy from the hospital for comparison. In fact, I should probably switch out his photo in the middle since it's from his blessing back in the beginning of September and thus considered outdated. Like watching weeds grow!

And here we have the "where everything happens" station. Sleeping, diaper changes, laundry basket, blankets, the essentials. When Andy was tiny (who am I kidding, he was never tiny), we actually had the rocker in this corner and he would stare up at the large painting and grin like he was the happiest baby in the world. They were some of the first smiles he ever had. I like to think it's "haunted" by a friendly ghost.
Andy's crib was an adventure to come by. We craigslisted for weeks and had an unfortunate run-in with a jerk of a seller, but then it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because right after we lost that crib, this one came up, for cheaper, and it is such a beautiful color and quality make, we much prefer it over the one we were initially going to get anyway!

Best seat in the house. We got these matching blue recliners at Goodwill for $14. Total. They swivel, and rock, and recline, and they're so comfy. I lived in this chair when Andy was born. Slept in it, ate in it (cried in it), it made my life a lot easier. And I actually just bought that cute lamp yesterday at Deseret Industries. I'm seriously an addict, friends. Reference my thrifting post for further evidence.

That quote, "My whole heart for my whole life" got me through many a late night/early morning feeding and/or crying session with some semblance of my sanity. And however sweet the nursery always was, a little bit of added sugar never hurt anyone. /wink
Adorable hedgehog candle courtesy of the best gifter of all time; Allora. It's seriously stressful being her friend cuz you know she's gonna think of the most amazing thing to give you come the holidays and birthdays and you're just sitting here like, "everyone likes rocks, right?" #inadequatefriendisinadequate

So that's where we spend a lot of our time! It's a far cry from the crowded office/storage/baby room we had back in the apartment, and I'm so grateful that we now own this cute home and I've been able to decorate it however I wish. And now I get to do the holidays! We're so excited for Andy's first Thanksgiving and Christmas. He's going ga-ga for real food, so I'm anticipating lots of grabbing at the mashed taters (sweet or otherwise), peas, and giving me the begging eyes for some ham. We'll mash up whatever we can to see how he likes it, but poor guy will hafta forego the meats this year. And we may have a comatose baby come Christmas with all the noisy, crackly wrapping paper he'll inevitably be buried in. He'll be in absolute heaven.
As will mama and daddy. Naturally.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Oxymoron of a Frugal Splurge

This post has been made possible by Ander's new, magical medication for his reflux. Not as in I'm being paid by them, but that he's having a good enough day that I can actually take a second and blog! 'Tis a Thanksgiving miracle! Thusly, I give thanks.

Today, I'll be touching a tad on thrifting! Because I love it and it's been awhile since I've bragged talked about a haul.
Usually, my go-to place is Goodwill for half-off Saturday. But today we took a little detour through the good ole Deseret Industries. Thank goodness we did, for there were some mighty fine gems we would have otherwise missed!

It was basically (another) miracle that I found a compilation of three Mary Higgens novels that I didn't already own. I have 21 of her books already in my library, so I was mightily pleased to get this "three for the size of one" deal. I exhausted the library in middle school and junior high of her stories, devouring every word, so it's fun to collect them now as an adult.
Thomas Paine is a gift for a certain someone come Christmas.
I splurged a little at $3 apiece for the Sherlock Holmes volumes. It's "annotated" which basically just means there are historical factoids and pictures included.

I've been on the prowl for A Thousand Splendid Suns ever since The Kiterunner destroyed my life. It was on one of the last shelves I perused, thank goodness for persistence!
Huggermugger is one of the few board games that I actually have a decent chance at winning. I don't have the rational thought process or multitasking ability to excel at the strategic type, but conversely, no one ever wants to play boring old granny games when we're all together. So now I can coerce Mark into playing with me whenever I want.
Andy obviously can't use it now but the clock book will come in handy when he's old enough to start learning. The gears are functional and it's a fun little rhyme book as well. Not to mention it's a board book so he can't easily destroy it! #bonus
The ball is just for his little learning hands now that he's wanting to pick everything up and put it directly in his mouth, and the other toy is for his carseat now that he's got so much more awake time and does so well with car rides.

He's all about noise and lights, so the animal wheel and little learning laptop will be perfect! The middle toy is actually a crib accessory and has a soft blue light behind the waterfall, with cricket and water sounds.
The most expensive things were those Holmes books at $3, everything else was $2 and under and very gently used. Woot woot!

My advice has always been, as mentioned previously, persistence. This isn't a guaranteed experience. Sometimes I go and only find two books barely worth getting since they're missing their jacket sleeves, or they're perfect for a gift so that's why I buy them, not necessarily for my own personal library.
And I wouldn't really recommend Goodwill as a hotspot for children's toys. It's a crapton of stuffed animals, heavy on the "crap". I have ONE stuffed toy purchased from Goodwill, and it was basically only because I found it with the tags still attached, so I knew it was probably less germ-infested and still in decent condition.
Consistency is another pro-tip. I try to find time to go every half-off saturday, so essentially twice a month. Keeping up on the rotating inventory helps to not feel like I need to dig into every nook and cranny. That way I'm not overwhelmed. No to mention having a regular location. It can be daunting to walk into a tidal wave of other peoples' junk, hoping to find the one perfect item. For Halloween we tried finding a simple white dress shirt that we could really rip up and soak with fake blood and were unsuccessful.
One of the only reasons today's trip was even came remotely close to being the success that it was, came in the form of my best friend Allie. Literally every toy you see above came from her holding it up saying, "isn't this cute?! What about this?" It helped to have someone familiar with my tastes and needs rifling through the messy piles with me. Plus it's just fun to have a shopping buddy, and her daughter is hilarity incarnate, so that's a plus.

And that is the machinations of an addict. I hope it can be somewhat helpful to you if you're in the business of thrifting.

Stay thrifty, my friends.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


I've probably been an exceedingly confusing social media friend in regards to our living situation but our house finally closed this week and I finally feel comfortable talking about it.

A general outline of this crap-fest:
-Sold Rialto in the beginning of April
-Moved into Apartment while searching for new place
-Bid on Dobson in June (and had a baby, nbd)
-Lost Dobson to some dude making a business deal
-Dude turns Dobson back over to the market immediately
-Bid again on Dobson and go under contract, closing July 30
-Dude has a massive IRS tax lien filed against him
-Extend closing to September 30
-Closing comes and goes
-Appraisal expires
-Reappraise, resign all our title papers, expect closing beginning of November.
-ANOTHER TAX LIEN. Lose all faith in humanity.
-Close November 3rd anyway and shout praises to the heavens.

It was a hot mess, guys. We nearly bailed probably five or so times. The insane part was finding out about the tax liens the SAME DAY both times we had gone in to sign the title papers, essentially meaning we should get the house.
The silver lining in all of this is that we were able to live in it for the duration of the crap-fest, not to mention the a/c unit went out (whilst I had a tiny newborn in July/August, mind you) and since we were renting that fell upon the seller to fix. We agreed to pay half of a new unit in escrow so as to not get swindled. So now our new place has a shiny new a/c! Just in time for winter! Heh.

But enough of the drama! It is ours, we own it, we love it, let's talk about how cute and lovely it is. I took some before shots waaaay back in June, while I was still pregnant! We had the carpets professionally cleaned, but other than that nothing really needed a lot of work. Also, forgive the warping, I had to use the panoramic setting on my phone to get even somewhat comprehensive shots of the rooms.
Firstly, the front living room. The "front" door is on the left of the picture, however it opens up directly onto Dobson, with maybe 15 feet to the sidewalk, so we mostly use the south door where we actually park the cars.

The previous owners had closed in both the porch area and the carport. This next photo is what we now use as the "movie room" and was the porch. It's on the north side of the house so it stays nice and cool and relatively dim. One downside to these remodels is that they were pretty sub-par quality work. The foundation of this room in particular is off so when it got to monsoon season, we ended up with some minor flooding in that first corner you see. This was also the cockroach room. /shudder

The hall bath. Miniscule and the bathtub is on a bizarrely steep incline. Like, we can't put shampoo bottles on the edge because they'll topple over it's that lopsided.

The master bedroom. All it had to do was fit the bedframe Mark made for us and it duly sufficeth!
There is also a bathroom attached but I didn't get any photos of that at the time.

The second bedroom, now the nursery, is about what you could expect of a spare bedroom.

And the den/office with the only door out to the backyard, where the obvious daylight is pouring in.

Here's a view out that back door/window into the yard. We have many plans for this yard-space, as it is about as bare minimum as it gets at the moment. 

And with a screaming babe, that's all we have time for today. Tune in next time, folks, for the After shots! (aka my excuse for barraging you with pictures of Andy's adorable nursery.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Andy's Fourth Month

I will never understand how it can both feel like my baby was born last year as well as last week. I think back over 2015 and cannot fathom that far gone era of pregnancy. But, like....it was just in June. I was still pregnant in June. What?
Thankfully, it seems as though his digestive system has evened out and things are mostly good. He has intermittent constipation that royally sucks, but we get through it with lots of pain/sympathy tears. Granted, we essentially switched it out for reflux. His blankets and nursery smells perpetually of spitup, and I don't remember the last time I myself didn't reek as well. We have his four-month appointment this coming Thursday and I'm hoping to get a perscription for an antacid of some sort. Poor little heartburn baby.
He's a rockstar night sleeper, daytime naps have kind of fallen by the wayside for the time being. He gets tired and I put him down successfully, yet without fail, within 30 minutes to an hour he's back up again and screaming. I think we didn't even have a full two hours of napping through all of yesterday. I try to stick to a routine, we go on walks around the same time nearly every day and that's about the most consistent nap we ever get. He sleeps better/longer in his carseat, presumably because of the inclined position.
Mark and I have a bet going on regarding his current weight. I'm assuming he's bound to slow down sometime and have bet that he's going to be around 17 pounds, but Mark is convinced he's gotta be over 18. Guess we'll just have to see.

This last month, we've spent a lot of time at the Grandparents'. They're too good to always hold and cuddle and snuggle him whenever he's even remotely fussy. Pretty soon he may even start to recognize the house when we go.

We enjoyed a rejuvenating, uplifting weekend of General Conference culminating in a glorious setting sun just outside our front door.

Andy has blossomed into quite the wiggle worm. He swings around in circles, inches across the floor using just his feet and neck, jigs and dances, and all around grooves. He's so curious about so many things, I'm afraid we've got a rude awakening coming with how un-baby-proofed our place is. Oh boy.

The week of the 16th my mom and I packed up and headed to Utah for my childhood best friend's wedding. My uncle and his family were kind enough to let us crash at their place for the night and that morning we meandered around their beautiful farm and took some photos.

Diaper change on the roadside! Andy had a rough time with all the car travel, but I blame it partly on his transitioning nap schedule. He didn't sleep nearly as much as I expected him to, nor I imagine as much as he needed to. He was enamored with the soft, luscious grass however. Can't say I blame the kid.

He got his first haircut! Momma was sick of looking at his gross, mullety rattail and took a few swipes with Daddy's buzzer and voila! It turned out pretty slick. We saved a tiny lock in a ziploc baggy.

I'll be uploading another post fully about Halloween but I just had to include a quick shot of the costume I [mostly] made for Andy. The onesie came from Hobby Lobby, but I created the stencils and painted the front, as well as sewing the cape on the back. We used velcro so that it's removable. We went to a rockin' vintage themed party this past weekend and on the day of Halloween our ward is throwing their annual block party and it's supposed to be pretty legit. I'm very excited to dress up again and get to know more people.

Due to his bounding energy, it has become quite difficult to take good photos of Andy that don't turn out absurdly blurry. We plan on purchasing a more professional camera so that I'm not left to fumble with my camera phone, so hopefully the quality of these monthly photoshoots will begin rising.

This little nutjob is the craziest roller coaster I've yet to ride. He fulfills me, he destroys me, he makes me laugh and cry and everything in between. I'm still figuring out this new person that is my mom self, but I feel far more capable and ready to take on each new day than I did even just a week ago. Sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking, "crap, he's old enough now that I should have everything down and be a pro, I have no excuses," and I try to force myself to slog through all my chores and responsibilities. I often forget that it's okay for me to prioritize napping over laundry and dishes. Speaking of which, Andy is asleep for the moment so I'm gonna run and jump in bed like the floor is made of lava!