Sunday, January 31, 2010

After the Rain

I love the rain. I love any weather as long as it doesn't go on forever. Of course, living in Southern California we have almost a complete lack in weather. I know I shouldn't complain about constant sunny skies and warm weather but I really do miss seasons, snow days, storms, and dark clouds. A couple weeks ago we got some actual real rain storms here! It was wonderful to hear the pounding of raindrops on the roof, to see the gathering of water into various puddles and to smell the freshness in the air whenever there was a break in the storm.
During one of these breaks Jared took Abs outside for some much needed run around time (she gets a bit antsy if cooped up too long). My friend Candace got her a cute little knit hat for Christmas so we talked her into wearing it since it was cold out. She refuses to wear any kind of "hat" but if we call it a helmet then she's fine. So here are some pictures of Abs in her "rain helmet" just after a pretty good storm.



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Love Potion

It's February! Well, almost. It's close enough that Baskin Robbins is selling their best ice cream ever--Love Potion #31! If you like white chocolate and raspberry ice creams swirled with a raspberry ribbon and loaded with raspberry-filled chocolate hearts and chocolate chips then you have to try it. My love affair with Love Potion began over 10 years ago while I
was still living in Flagstaff. I don't remember how I was
introduced but I look forward to it every year.
This year Abs had some for the first time. She was excited just to be going out for ice cream and had no idea that she was about to try the best ice cream ever. I gave her a small amount of just the ice cream part in a kid's cup with a sample spoon. She loved it of course and
stayed surprisingly clean. The only thing she didn't seem to like was whichever spoon she was using at any given moment because she kept wanting to switch with me.
It's amazing to see her grow and be able to share things I enjoy.
Jared doesn't care much for Love Potion #31 (we all have our faults) so unless Jenni or Kristin happen to be out this way in February I'm usually left enjoying it alone. Some might criticize my decision to introduce her to something like this at so early an age. "She'll never want regular ice cream again!" they cry. To that I say: She's 2. She'll eat anything with sugar. The only downfall I found in taking Abs was the sugar crash a couple hours later that produced a whine so powerful it's still lingering in the air an hour after she's gone to bed.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Candace


My amazing friend Candace made these blankets for the girls. Abs uses hers as a security blanket--especially when we travel. Skipper is too little still to have a preference but she sleeps on it at night and it's super soft and comfy.
Just looking at this picture of the blankets I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to have Candace in my life. I don't get to see her nearly often enough, but I felt that way even when we lived in the same town. She has taught me time and again that life is worth taking a chance and people are worth giving a chance.
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?" Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NLT)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Creative Weekend

I have a tendency to get very excited about a project, then get very excited about another project, and another and I work on each of them as I feel in the mood. I do finish them (for the most part) but sometimes it takes years because I get distracted by the next project. I do the same thing with books. It's fairly common for me to be "currently" reading 3 or more books.
What usually happens (and this was no exception) is that I end up with so many projects that I run out of room to put them then I go on a mission to complete one or two. So a couple weekends ago I decided to finish one of the smaller sewing projects I'd gotten excited about. Being me, I then got very excited and started a new project almost immediately after finishing this one.
The project I finished is a gum drop pillow for Abs. The pattern is from Amy Butler http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/products/patterns_display.php?id=31 It was much easier to make than I expected and I was able to start and finish it in about a day--not including shopping for the perfect fabric. For the stuffing I went "green" by using some old pillows.

I made the pillow for Abs to sit at a toddler table or to sit and watch tv on. She does both of these but I'm glad I used some thicker material because she also loves to use it for jumping on (and off of), rolling around, bouncing (different than jumping), and flying over (as seen below).

The project I started almost immediately after finishing the gumdrop pillow is a set of quilted notecards. I got the idea from Denyse Schmidt in her book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. The cards take about 5-10 minutes each which is wonderful because I can start and finish one even with both girls awake. I went "green" again by using scraps of fabrics from other projects and a set of blank (on the inside) notecards that I already owned but never used because they had an ugly picture on the front.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scare?






















I thought I'd start with a picture of my wonderful family. I have been blessed with two beautiful, happy girls and an incredible husband. Of course having two perfect little girls brings up the question, "Are you going to have any more?" or "Are you going to try for a boy?" I found myself in more than one conversation about it already this week (today is Tuesday). I have been struggling back and forth on the issue for a number of reasons. And then something happened--yesterday I got tired and nauseous.
I'll just say right away that I took a test and I'm not pregnant. But before I took the test I found myself dealing with some thoughts and emotions that have made the issue a bit more clear for me. I began to remember what it was like to be pregnant (not hard, it was only a few months ago). Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not a fan of pregnancy. But it wasn't the physical discomfort that most scared me, it was the depression. I began to remember what my relationship with Jared was like when I was pregnant, what kind of mom I was to Abs, and the many things that I missed out on because I had no energy, no motivation, and no joy.
Jared, thankfully, was very understanding and patient with me and our marriage recovered quickly once I had the baby (each time). Abs, however, doesn't have the reasoning ability to recognize why I would react certain ways so she just stopped wanting to be around me. I had no patience with her and no energy for play or discipline. What took days to recover between me and Jared has taken months for me and Abs.
I missed out on almost a whole year of Abs' life in a way. That's huge considering she's only been around for two years. Now, since she's only two it's pretty easy for her to forget and move on. But what if this happened again when she's a bit older? Would our relationship recover? And would having two kids to take care of while pregnant make things worse?
This is what I was thinking about when I decided to take a test and see. I love my life right now. Not just the aspects of my life, but me, my attitude and who I am. I don't want to lose any more of it to depression if I can help it. I have an amazing husband and two wonderful girls and I want to enjoy every minute of life with them.
But here's the flip of that coin... I only have these beautiful girls because I was pregnant in the first place. I would totally go through it again for each of them if I had to make the choice over again. The issue of having another baby would be a no-brainer if I only considered the hardship involved but the question that plagues me is: In a couple of years will there be someone else to whom I would say, "I'd do it all over again for you"?

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Zoo Visit

I love the zoo. Not just any zoo, the San Diego Zoo (in my opinion the only real zoo). Back in August? (my memory of 2009 is a bit fuzzy) we bought year passes and went with my in-laws, but haven't been back since (something about late-pregnancy and a new baby...) Last week we finally went again and it was an enormous success. For those of you who have tried outings with a toddler and an infant you understand that a trip to the zoo can be more like an expedition. So here's how the trip went (if you're not interested in the details, the pictures are below all this nonsense so feel free to skip to them).
We decided the night before that we would get everyone up at 7am and be on our way around 7:30 which means that we actually left the house around 10am. My mom had given Abs a dvd player for the car and this was the first time we used it. It turned out to be quite a patience saver because we got ridiculously lost once we got to San Diego (thank you google maps for making the simplest of trips an adventure).
We finally got to the zoo around 12:30 (the time we had decided the night before to leave the zoo and head home). We found out that the San Diego Zoo is very kid-friendly--something we never cared about or even noticed before but now find that it can make or break a trip. They have a whole section of the zoo specifically for young children, stroller-parking, and even a quiet, private place to nurse.
We took our time and most of the day we let/made Abs walk. We saw otters, monkeys, gorillas, bears, birds, reptiles and a lion but Abs' favorite part of the zoo was the railings which she discovered were perfect for hanging (aka: scaring mom half to death).
We left just in time for traffic but still made it back in time for homegroup--a good thing since it meets at our house. All in all it was an awesome family date-day and I think they'll get even better as the kids get older.


We actually got to see bears wrestling!

Skipper spent most of the day in the stroller but still seemed to have a good time--as good times go for infants.

When I was taking a picture of Jared and Abs in front of the gorillas there was another lady in front of the glass looking at some gorillas in the distance. While she was standing there a young gorilla came and pounded on the glass right where she was. It was hilarious, she jumped so high!

There was another gorilla statue carrying a branch and she tried so hard to help him carry it. She finally gave up saying it was "Haaaveee"

The playground was wonderful. Abs got a lot of energy out both when we first got there and right before we left.

Abs loved the otters. They kept coming up to the glass and swimming circles.

Ok, this was a little freaky. This big bird came right up to the stroller as soon as we waked into the Aviary. It looked scary enough with its red eyes, but then it started to follow us. I tried not to freak out and scare Abs but I was a bit nervous to say the least.




Abs hanging from the railing--one of many, many times.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Playing with Pictures

Some silly pictures of the girls that I decided to mess around with:







Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Garden






We've been trying really hard to make our little patch of cement feel more garden-like and this year we managed to successfully grow tomatoes, basil, strawberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes and oranges. On New Year's Day we let Abs pick and eat one of the oranges. She had been pointing them out and asking for them just about every day since they started to turn orange.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tantrum







I managed to catch one of her more tame tantrums with my camera.  How can I love her so much even when she's being completely ridiculous?  She's always been pretty independent but over the past few months it has taken the predictable turn to defiance, tantrums, and just plain old fashioned wreaking havoc.  Most of this is done in the name of curiosity and excess energy (doesn't mean she's off the hook).  At times it can be difficult to know how to respond (sometimes it's just difficult to respond instead of react).  Decisions about consequences, trying to figure out how to prevent things, knowing when it's ok to let things go and let her figure it out--these things keep me up at night, cause me anxiety like you wouldn't believe, and leave me constantly second-guessing myself.  And then just when I'm ready to throw in the towel she does something super sweet or runs around like a rabid animal saying "hoooaaah, hoooahhh" and I can't help but laugh.  Little stinker, I swear she knows exactly what she's doing.