Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So long, farewell to 2010

Well, this year is coming to an end. It has certainly been my worst year yet for blogging, which has brought me a great deal of guilt.
I have decided that 2011 is my year for a few things, one of which will be WRITING. I love it, and I want to pursue it more. I will be dedicating daily time to it next year. But I'm still just not sure about this little blog. I feel like it needs a fresh start, or a purpose of some sort. It's not my journal, as I write that elsewhere. It's not my scrapbook, as I do that other ways. So what is it? Why do I want to keep writing here, and what should I write about?
I don't know. But I'm going to figure it out, hopefully within the next 2 days.
I'll let you know.
2010 was, by and large, the worst year of my life in many ways. I understand now how people can say, "It's just been a hard year." The move was hard, my birth and recovery were hard. But I don't want to remember the hard times, at least not foremost in my mind. Although this year brought more challenges than any other, it was also good in countless ways.
I am happy.
And I'm looking forward to putting a new calendar on my wall and starting all over again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My own firemen episode

I am sick. Not like lay-in-bed kind of sick, but talk-like-a-smoker-cow-frog kind of sick. My voice is GONE.
So this afternoon, after avoiding phone calls all day, Andrew calls to tell me he got a message on his phone from a member of our stake presidency that he was trying to get a hold of me. I told Andrew to call him back for me to see what he needed, because I couldn't talk on the phone. Andrew called back a few minutes later and said, "Pres. Waite is calling the house phone in a few minutes. Make sure you answer." So, reluctantly, I answered. And got called to the stake choir! My wish came true. But anway, that's not the point. So I had to make a phone call to the choir director to talk about details. Since the kids were being a little noisy, I stepped into the garage to talk on the phone. I could hear the kids all crying and tried to get off quickly. Eva was sobbing, "Where's Mommy, Bubba?" I felt bad and cracked open the garage door to let her know where I was. I shut it to finish my conversation. She stood by the door crying. And then...she locked it.
So I got off the phone, hearing Dean's crying escalate quickly, and tried to croak to Eva to unlock the door. But her mental powers seemed to disintigrate as I spoke, and she could NOT unlock it. After a few minutes, I started to lose it. I dug through the garage - every shelf, every tool box, the car - trying to find something to pick the lock with. Nothing. I started to cry and panic. Eva started to panic even more. She pulled up a chair to reach the lock (like she had shrunk since locking it) and deadbolted the door, now making it absolutely impossible for me to get in through that door. I knew she wouldn't be able to undo that one no matter what I said. Dean still screamed away, so hard that I thought he would pass out. I tried not to let my ideas of the terrible possiblities that could happen (and surely would! knives! the stove! the oven! broken glass!) creep in, but alas. In complete hysteria, I called 911.

In retrospect, it's probably a good thing I called when it wasn't a true life-and-death emergency. Just so I know when I'm actually about to die that I will have to answer questions and be redirected to people. WHAT? I hope that if I were bleeding to death the situation would have been handled differently. As it was, the operator was very rude. "You got locked out of your house? How? Like on accident?" No, sir. On purpose. I'm doing all this to get attention. OF COURSE IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! WOULD I BE CALLING 911 IF I HAD PLANNED TO GET LOCKED OUT? Anyway. I was redirected to the fireman. I told him my address (or rather, squeaked out my address, hoping he could understand me. Andrew said listening to me talk today is like having someone push the mute button every couple of words.). They came quickly - less than 5 minutes.

When I say "they," I mean a swarm of at least 8 handsome, tall, strong, friendly, uniform-clad firemen. I couldn't help but think of that Modern Family episode with the firemen. If I'd have known they were coming, I might have put on a nice shirt, you know? (But remember, this was an ACCIDENT, which, by definition, means I did not plan for it to happen. Operator.) They swooped in on their big powerful truck and saved us. By going around to the back door and having Eva unlock that and open it up.

Umm, hello? Why did I not think of that? Talk about feeling stupid. In my hysteria, I didn't even think about the fact that the kids know how to unlock that door. Not to mention they would be able to see me talking them through it in case their brains pooped out, like what happened at the garage.

I called Andrew (after leaving him a tearful, impossible-to-understand message earlier) and said, "I got back in the house. I called 911 and the firemen came. It was totally stupid." He called back and first thing he asked when I answered was, "Did you at least put on a nice shirt?" He gets it. (And let it be known: even after seeing all those firemen, I'd still pick Andrew.)

And our next FHE lesson WILL be on how to unlock doors, and will include hiding a key outside, in case of a repeat episode. Although I wouldn't mind those firemen coming back. Kidding, honey, I'm kidding. But maybe I should hide a cute shirt out there with the key. Just in case.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Still alive and punching

Our computer is broken. I don't have access to all the files I need; hence, the slacking on preschool posting. We have still been having preschool, which is the most important part, but I apologize if there happened to be anyone waiting for my next preschool post. It will eventually come. :)

We are seriously having a "broken" streak right now. First my Bosch blender, then my hand mixer, then our TV, then our computer, and today our new replacement blender broke. (We have BAD luck with blenders. Any reccommendations on a good blender for smoothie-making?) We hit the 60,000 mile mark on the van and took that in for a tune-up. I joined a way expensive, totally awesome, boxing gym. Life is generally expensive right now. Perfect timing, with Christmas coming up, right? Oh well - we've been really lucky since we got married not to have lots of repairs to make, and I guess our good streak is over.

So my boxing gym. HELLO, awesome. I went on Saturday, knowing full-well that I would fall in love and it would be pricey. And that's exactly it. Since we moved here I have been in serious boxing withdrawals. I knew I loved it, but I didn't know how much until I didn't have it. And now, it's back in my life. With a vengeance. I had the most killer workout of my life today. I have been on my lose-the-baby-weight-plus-some journey for a few weeks now, and I feel great. Progress isn't lightning fast, but the important thing is establishing good habits, I think. I've been using to track my food and have been totally shocked at how many calories I consume every day. Just writing it down, without making any drastic changes, has already made a difference. Good-bye to my days of eating ice cream straight from the carton and accidentally eating a quarter of it.

So no pictures or anything fabulous to write about, but I just missed my little blog and thought I'd drop in for a quick note. Later.

P.S. Our house is totally ready for Christmas. Tree, lights, and all. I LOVE this time of year. The only thing missing is a beautiful Washington Christmas tree cut down by my dear husband. Costco artificial fit the bill this year.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

From Rosie the Riveter, the Witch, the Fire Fighter, the Pea Pod, and the Soccer Player (behind the camera).

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Family Pictures 2010

Marissa Redder, my old college roommate and Kara's sister-in-law, came to Vegas recently and agreed to take our family pictures. I was so excited - I love her pictures. She did an awesome job and I can't wait to get them all printed out! Thank you, Marissa!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letter C

{The kids loved helping make the crepes. I let them each crack an egg for their first time and it was a success. No shells in the batter!}
Monday: We read The Carrot Seed (BFIAR book) and The Whole Green World. We read both books twice. We tore up little pieces of orange construction paper and glued them to a big letter C. As usual, our art activity ends in Eva drawing all sorts of things. This time she wanted to draw the library storytime lady, Miss Shelly. She drew a picture of her with a head and legs. I said, "How about some legs? Does she need legs?" And Eva answered, "Um, no. She can just walk." Then she drew a squiggly line around and through all her pictures and letters saying, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" Like the line was interrupting the other things on the paper. What a crack-up. We did our Kumon cutting workbook and Leighton cut all the way through the paper for the first time. Then Eva did tangrams to make the letter C. We sang a song about the seed cycle (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell) and did the actions of planting and harvesting seeds.

Tuesday: We read Carrot Soup, and re-read our books from yesterday. Eva did her C pages in her workbook, along with a few extras working on size sorting. We went outside to play catch and draw with chalk. I traced the kids outlines on the patio and drew in the details of their faces and clothes. I found a Mr. Rogers video on how they make crayons, which was cool because Eva had asked me while coloring what crayons were made of. We made cookies after dinner (leftover dough from last week's M&M cookies. They were better after sitting in the fridge for a few days!) and I let the kids have 2 each. I had...a few more than 2.

Wednesday: We read Clumsy Crab and drew pictures based on C is for Crab. We clipped clothespins to a can (great motor skill activity for Leighton - his first time to get the clothespin open by himself) and a page in our Kumon Sticker and Paste. Although the stickers were supposed to go on a girl's apron, Leighton insisted she needed some stickers on her shoes, too. Then I let Leighton draw with markers while Eva did some alphabet workbook pages; he figured out how to draw balloons and literally sat without hardly lifting his head for over an hour straight. His paper is completely covered with little circles he drew and meticulously colored in and lines going straight up the page. A masterpiece - I'm saving that forever as his first intentional drawing. Ever since that day he has had this amazing focus while drawing and stays at it for LONG periods of time. We went in the backyard and did the crab walk later that evening. I intended to have a race, but I didn't take into account my out-of-shapeness or the kids' lack of competitive drive in things like that. So we crab-walked for about 2 minutes until I couldn't do it any more and the kids resorted to tackling me instead. Oh well. :) Also, we had cold cereal for dinner. (Not because of the letter C but because of the word LAZY.)

Thursday: We started the day by making delicious crepes for breakfast. I read them Crepes by Suzette and used the recipe in the back to make the crepes. Yum! My first time making them - definitely not my last. (How sad that someone who lived in France for 3 years has never made crepes, right?) After breakfast we read The Mixed-Up Chameleon. We drew chameleons (Andrew and I even got in on the art action and made it family drawing time - it was so fun!) and did some math workbook. Eva wanted to show Daddy her mad workbook skills, so we pulled out a bunch and let her do what she wanted for a while.

Friday: I had no books this day as my theme was caterpillars and my library book didn't come in time. Oh, and our copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is torn in half after a few years of love and hundreds of readings. (Whoever thought board books were sturdy should come take a look at our bookshelves - R.I.P. Goodnight Moon.) So after circle time we went straight into crafts - making caterpillars out of pompoms and popsicle sticks. (I can't remember where on the internet I found this idea - sorry.) The kids LOVED the caterpillars - I even got out the googly eyes for them. And that was pretty much all we did that day for preschool.

Saturday: I finally got all the books I was waiting for - I need to request them earlier, I guess. So we just did reading today. The Monkey and the Crocodile, If I Ran the Circus (didn't make it all the way through that one), Coco the Carrot, and the Crunching, Munching Caterpillar.

Next week: Letter A

Monday, October 11, 2010

My new constant companion

{Photography brought to you by: Eva Webb. Big cheeks brought to you by: Genetics and too much ice cream.}
Here is a little riddle for you:

I am small and black and hang around your neck. My wires will hang down the middle of your chest and make weird bumps under your shirt. I beep if you leave the house without my other half. I am...

a heart monitor.

And I am the lucky wearer. Along with the Holy Ghost, this little baby is my constant companion. For 3 whole weeks. For better or for worse.

I try not to be annoyed by it. When I get irritated by the electrodes and the stickiness they leave on my skin, or want to scream when I turn over in the night and it wraps around my neck the wrong way, I try to tell myself that it's for a good cause. It will read my heart patterns and detect whether or not I have something wrong.

After an appointment with my cardiologist (if that sentence doesn't make me feel 85 years old, I don't know what will), I was relieved to hear that he would do lots of tests to get to the bottom of my weird problem, if there is a bottom. And if there is a problem.

Last week I went in for an echocardiogram (which, I learned, after sounding really foolish to the nurse, is different than an EKG) - an ultrasound on my heart. It was kind of strange going into a room with an ultrasound monitor and seeing something on the screen other than a fetus. In fact, that may be the last ultrasound I ever have, come to think of it. Normally when I have an ultrasound, I am thinking about the miracle of life in terms of my baby. This time, I was struck at the miracle of life in my OWN body. I watched my own heart beating (regularly, thank heavens) and the valves opening and shutting. It made me grateful to be alive.

So I guess if the worst thing I have to deal with is walking through the grocery store beeping like a senior citizen with a bad hearing aide, then life isn't so bad.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Letter M

Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
We started out reading our BFIAR book, Caps for Sale. The kids really enjoyed it, so we read it twice. We went outside in the backyard and walked around balancing plates on our head, pretending they were caps. We did Kumon Cut #4 - we worked on opening and closing scissors without taking our fingers out of the proper position. Eva was great, and Leighton is getting better every time we practice. He insists on holding them upside down, which makes it harder. Eva, after doing her "assignment" of cutting on the gray lines, cuts her scraps into miniscule squares, like confetti. We sang 5 Little Monkeys swinging in a tree. We did Kumon Uppercase Letters #7-8 and traced our alphabet tracing cards with dry erase makers. (Leighton now thinks everything he colors can be wiped off. A few days later, after coloring with a pen on paper, he yelled, "Wipe it, Mommy!" and couldn't understand why I couldn't wipe it off. :) ) Leighton drew straight lines all the way down his card for the first time, and Eva kept writing Ms and turning them into pants (flipping it upside down and drawing a line on the top). That morning we also took Andrew's parents to the Thunderbird museum on-base. The most educational thing that happened there (for the kids, anyway) was learning that Mom can ask them to stop jumping off benches and tell them to be quiet an infinite number of times. How's that for a math lesson?

We read Monkey and Me (Emily Gravett) and then Caps for Sale again - my other monkey library books were late coming in. We made a monkey mask - the kids colored it and then I put some string around their heads and cut eye holes. (Not in that order, though!) They thought they were pretty fancy wearing masks. They traced letter M on the cards again. (Well, Eva did. Leighton loves the letter H and insists on using that card.) Mammy and Pappy were with us that day, so we cut preschool a little short to spend time with them.

Marshmallow day! We read Marshmallow (Claire Turley Newberry) and The Marshmallow Incident (Judi Barrett), both of which were way too wordy and over the kids' heads. Marshmallow Kisses (Linda Crotta Brennan) was much better for them. We went outside and carried marshmallows on spoons in our mouths (like an egg race) and then came in to sort piles of big and little marshmallows. We glued mini-marshmallows on the letter M (Leighton picked them off and ate them, dried glue and all!) We did Kumon Sticker & Paste workbook - they are loving just putting stickers wherever they want - and then Eva did the M pages in one of her Costco workbooks. They ate WAY too many marshmallows that day, but it was all in the name of education. :) That afternoon we went to the aquarium at Mandalay Bay, which, coincidentally, also starts with letter M. Didn't plan it that way, but it worked out. Andrew refused my requests to buy a book on manatees from the gift shop. (Maybe I'm taking this letter of the week a little far...)

This was another great preschool day - actually, this whole week was terrific. Several months ago I bought a treasury of Laura Numeroff books that came with a CD. Though we have read the book a hundred times, we had never used the CD. I saw it when I opened the book and decided to give it a try. The kids LOVED it. I had the CD read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Take a Mouse to School to them, and we danced to the songs that went with the books. It was adorable, and now I'm going to find more books on CD for them, just to change it up a bit. We also read Mouse Paint (Ellen Stoll Walsh) and One Monkey too Many (Jackie French Koller) (one day too late!), which were both awesome books that I want to buy and add to our library. After reading, we did the M is for Mouse craft, which involved me gluing down capital Ms and the kids coloring all over them. I was too lazy to dig out the pipe cleaners and googly eyes, so we'll chalk it up to more art practice. Eva just ended up writing "mouse" a dozen or more times, and all of our names. We did M&M color sorting, which I thought was our best math manipulative ever. Counting AND eating chocolate. Can it get any better? I submit that it cannot! I was even surprised at how little M&Ms were consumed in the the kids, that is. That night, we used those M&Ms to make cookies. I let them stand on chairs next to me by the mixer (which normally drives me crazy, so this was a big step for me) and dump things in. Despite the constant pleas to lick the spatula (which Eva calls "the dough") and the mess, it was fun.

We used the CD from the Mouse Cookie book once again to listen to a reading of If You Give a Moose a Muffin. We danced to the songs and acted out making muffins. We also read Moosetache (Margie Palatini). We did some alphabet workbook, too.

This was probably the best week yet - I feel like it keeps getting better. Maybe we're getting into a groove, or maybe my planning got better over time, but this is awesome. I don't know what we did all day before we did preschool. It has saved my sanity! And it's not a bad gig for the kids, either.

Coming up next: Letter C!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Letter H

Can't believe it's been another week already! I keep meaning to blog in between my preschool posts but haven't done it yet. This week went by too fast, but we had fun.
Scripture: Mosiah 2:17

Reading: Our BFIAR book was If Jesus Came to My House. It went along with our memory scripture and has a great message. Unfortunately I think it went a little over the kids' heads. They were so confused about Jesus being a little boy in the pictures and I don't think they understood the end, where the little boy narrator explains that he had imagined Jesus that way and instead of really spending the day with Jesus, he could treat everyone he sees with kindness. Leighton kept pointing to the pictures and saying, "That's Jesus?" So it may have been a little too abstract. But still a great book. I hope as we keep reading it and talking about it they will understand it a little better.

Letters: Kumon Uppercase #5-6

Fine Motor Skills: they poked holes in a letter H on paper with thumbtacks. This was great activity for both of them.

Play/LMS: Hula hoop! Walmart charges $8 per hula hoop, which Andrew thought was highway robbery, but I think it was worth it. The kids loved it and have been playing with them every time they go outside. I tried to show them how it worked but couldn't successfully get it to stay up longer than about 1.3 seconds. But they have improved at the general idea over the week.

We didn't do preschool that day; instead, we went to the Children's Museum for some hands-on learning, if you will. We went with the Culvers and the Alleys, and Andrew even had the day off and got to go with us.

Another bad preschool day. We did circle time and then I read a few books before I rushed out to a dentist appt. We read The Napping House (Audrey Wood), A House is a House for Me (Mary Ann Hoberman) and The Little House (Virginia Lee Burton). The House is a House for Me one was great, even though I think I liked it better than the kids. The illustrations were engaging. This was our second attempt with The Little House, and for some reason my kids just don't like this book. They won't sit through it, which is extremely rare for them. Maybe it's because there's no interesting characters - I don't know. I think it's a good book, but we'll have to wait a while before checking that one out again.

Reading: Are You a Horse? (Andy Rash) - this was a cute idea for a story, but I didn't like the writing. Would have been better if it was more predictable, so the kids could follow it better. The Wild Little Horse (Rita Gray) - I liked the pictures in this book but really wasn't crazy about the writing/story.

Art: H is for House, h is for horse - we didn't do the whole foam thing because I wanted Eva to be more involved in the process. I cut the letters out of paper on my Cricut, glued them on sheets of white cardstock, and Eva drew on all the parts with markers. Her favorite thing is writing words and she is always asking how to spell things; she loved writing the words "horse" and "house" on the page.

Math/FMS: workbook p. 15-19, then hammered golf tees into blocks of styrofoam. Another awesome activity, esp. for Leighton. He was occupied for the better part of an hour with NO throwing!! We did our cutting and sticker workbooks, and Eva kept asking to do "more preschool." I couldn't say no, so we just kept going and doing workbooks - our new Kumon Maze and Number Games ones are great and we did the first 2 pages in each. We went for almost 2 hours straight.

Music: Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, Peter Hammers, All the Pretty Little Horses, If You're Happy and You Know It

Reading: The Hiccuping Hippo (Keith Faulkner); Hidden Hippo (Joan Gannij); Hippo Goes Bananas (Marjorie Dennis Murray)

Math: Hippo Size Sort and Hippo Color Word Match - these were both awesome for Leighton. I was surprised how easily he matched the colors. The size was a bit more of a challenge (better for Eva) but he still tried and got a few in the right order. I think the hippo is adorable and I'm glad to have these laminated and around for multiple uses in the future.

Letters: We did workbooks and she breezed through them. I sometimes feel we do too much "workbook" stuff and I want her to have freedom, but she loves them so much I can't take them away. So I'll just have to deal with my feelings of being too "schoolish."
Next week: the letter M

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1 month

My sweet baby Dean is a month old today.
I have that strange feeling where it seems like just yesterday that I lay on that operating table, and yet it seems like we've had Dean around forever.
I'm holding him right now, listening to the beautiful sound of his breathing while typing with one hand. His face is fuller and older-looking already. Time is already speeding past, and I'm not ready yet. But I can't slow it down. All I can do is kiss his squishy cheeks, smell his hair, and try to burn his littleness in my memory.
Here's to hoping the next month goes a little slower.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Letter L

I forgot to write last week what we do for circle time at the beginning of every preschool day. We don't sit in a circle, but I suppose I can still call it that. :) We start with a prayer, then say the Pledge of Allegiance, then the memory scripture of the week. Then I have a bunch of Wee Sing songs that we do - Good Morning, What Are You Wearing, My Name and Address, Right Hand Left Hand, ABC song, Ten Little Fingers, and Days of the Week. (After 2 full weeks we are still struggling a little with right hand left hand but they know everything else. Even our full address!)

Scripture: 1 Nephi 3:7 - this one was a little too long for them to memorize, so I mostly focused on the chorus from the primary children's song about it. This is the longest scripture I have planned so I wasn't expecting it to go as well as last week. Eva still did pretty well, considering.

Reading: Leaf Man (Lois Ehlert); Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (Lois Ehlert); Leaves (David Ezra Stein); Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (Julia Rawlinson)

Art: made beautiful fall leaves from crayons and wax paper, tutorial here
Math/FMS: Kumon cut #2
Letters: Trace letter L card; walked around the house finding things that started with L (lid, ladle, lime, lego, lacing card)

Music: It's Autumntime (Primary Children's Songbook)


Art: Eva drew a llama and a shopping cart and wrote Leighton's name; I drew a lime and wrote all the words we found around the house; Leighton drew circles and threw things around the room.

Math/FMS: Kumon Sticker Paste #3-4

Reading: Ladybug Girl (Jacky Davis); The Grouchy Ladybug (Eric Carle); Are You a Ladybug? (Judy Allen)

Letters: Kumon Uppercase #3-4

Math/FMS: Ladybug Numbers Practice; Ladybug pattern sort; Unifix cube patterns - Eva really seemed to get the hang of patterns today. I wasn't sure how to teach it and was feeling frustrated, but it seemed to click and she just took off with the cubes. Well worth the money for that math manipulative; I'm sure we'll use those in many ways for years to come.

Art: Ladybug cut and paste - Eva cut out the wings by herself and then glued all the pieces together. She wrote "ladybug" at the top of the page (I tell her the letters and she writes them herself) and was quite pleased with herself. We hung it on the clothesline art display in the play room.

Reading: Library Lion (Michelle Knudsen); The Happy Lion and The Happy Lion Roars (Louise Fatio) (those two were a little too wordy/advanced for the kids - they didn't like them as well and I should have found more age-appropriate ones); If I Were a Lion (Sarah Weeks) although I don't know if we should count that one. Someone tore the last several pages out of the library book, so we didn't get to finish it.

Art: Glued down a yellow letter L (cut with my Cricut) and drew with markers to make something that looked like this. Just a little easier to execute with a preschooler. :) Eva also wrote the word "lion" at the top of her page.

Math/SMS: Kumon workbook (I got 3 more from Costco so we have those in case we run out of planned stuff. I really love those workbooks and so does Eva! If you have a Costco, run grab the 3-pack, it was a great deal.). We did lots of extra workbook because she was enjoying it so much.

Letters: Big Alphabet Workbook

Play/LMS: Lion hunt in the backyard! The previous owner of our home left this hideous plastic lion in the bushes - the equivalent of a tacky lawn gnome, but a big green lion. Andrew hid the lion in different spots and the kids ran around finding him. I knew that ugly thing would come in handy someday. I guess we'll keep him around for more lion hunts - as long as he stays hidden in the bushes.

Reading: we were kind of out of books by today. I'm still working out the kinks in my planning - like how I planned to spend a whole day on ABC Bunny. NOT happening. So we just reread a few of their favorites. Library Lion, though lengthy, was one they liked a lot.

Art: played playdough

Math: workbook p. 11-14
Next up: the letter H

Sunday, September 19, 2010


{My last pregnancy picture - 36 weeks. Can you believe I got bigger than that? I can't.}
Two posts in one night - how do you like that?
Tonight Eva said our family prayer. "Thankful that baby Dean came out of Mommy's tummy."
Amen, sister. Amen.

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This afternoon Leighton pulled the drawers out of one of my plastic organizer things. They were empty, so I didn't care. In one drawer, he found a live spider. He called Eva over and she said, "Don't kill it, Mom. I want to look at it." So they sat there close (but not too close) to the spider and watched it, squealing occasionally when it crawled around.

The day went on and I still didn't kill the spider. The drawer sat here next to the computer and I checked several times to make sure it was still there, but didn't bother it. (I don't know why. Maybe extreme laziness.)

Just now, I got the baby to sleep and came to eat Wheat Thins and look at baby pictures of all 3 kids. (Andrew is gone.) I saw that the spider had started weaving a web in the bin, and I said, "No way. No webs in my house." Even though we are the Webbs. Only room for one kind around here.

I didn't want to smoosh him, and I didn't want to open the front door to set him free. Besides, he might make it back in my house before Andrew gets around to spraying for bugs. Spidercide. The next idea that popped into my head was to dump the offending spider down the kitchen sink. I carried the bin there and saw that the sink was full of dishes. This spider's death sentence was getting complicated. I filled up the corner he was in with water and tipped it a little to keep him submerged. I stood there for a bit watching him swim, wondering if spiders have lungs and if I could drown him. I realized that I was watching a spider suffer to its death and felt really bizarre and kind of sick. I could have just smashed him, but instead I was torturing him. I walked to the bathroom so he could go the way of all the earth the same way we've sent 4 goldfish, and suddenly the song "All Creatures of Our God and King" popped in my head. Talk about weird guilt. It took two attempts to get him to get out of the bin, but finally he fell in the toilet and I flushed him.

As I walked back to the computer to write down this odd story, I made a decision: spiders are not included in that hymn. All feelings of guilt: gone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Letter B

{Our first day of school picture, taken Aug. 23rd.}
Although Dean's unexpectedly early arrival threw off my preschool plans a bit, this past week I felt ready to get back into it. I had spent countless hours preparing and planning, and both older kids seemed ready for more structure after 2 weeks of none at all. Eventually I will get around to making a blog just for our preschool/homeschool stuff, but for now I'll just put it here. I can't even keep up with one blog right now, so starting another one is just asking for more pressure on myself.

I divided our "curriculum" into one focus letter per week. I did NOT go in alphabetical order. Also for each week I have a BFIAR book that we are semi-delving into, depending on my/the kids' interest. We have a meory scripture for each week, and I have to say I am shocked at how quickly Eva memorized it. By Thursday, she knew the whole thing perfectly, and her Dad is still struggling in a few spots. :) Our "subjects" are reading, arts/crafts, math/fine motor skills, letters, play/large motor skills, and music. Since this week we were still adjusting and I'm still trying to figure out how to have older kid time worked in around Dean's feedings, I'm hoping it will get even better. But for our first week of school, it was pretty good.

Scripture: Joshua 1:9

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner (the kids liked this one)
Buzz Buzz Buzz by Byron Barton
Birds by Kevin Henkes (I LOVED this book - it was my favorite of the week. Kevin Henkes is one of our top 5 favorite authors around here.)
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard (these were the kids' favorites, they are adorable books)
Boats by Byron Barton
Row Row Row Your Boat by Penny Dann

-Cotton ball bunny (glued cotton balls on a print-out bunny)
-Colored a big letter B blue and glued blue buttons on it (Our crafts were a little lacking this week due to my lack of motivation. We had planned to do this and this adorable B crafts for our alphabet book we'll be making, but we'll have to save those for a rainy day. If it ever rains here.)

-Kumon Cutting workbook - Eva's scissor skills were far more advanced than I thought. She did what I told her to (6 little straight lines on the dog's whiskers) and then cut out the full dog, curved ears and all. Leighton, on the other hand, ended up cutting lots of snips NOT on the lines and then just started tearing. :)
-Kumon Sticker and Paste workbook - they were so excited about stickers; I think this will be one of their favorite activities of the week.
-Math workbook - p. 7-10
-Butterfly clip cards - Confessions of a Homeschooler is an incredible resource for preschool printables. She even has a whole ABC curriculum for download for free! Amazing. I printed off and laminated the number cards and the kids clipped clothespins onto them. Leighton had a hard time with the clothespins, but Eva did really well. She knew her numbers better than she did 2 months ago, so I was glad to see her recognizing them all.
-Playing with beads - this is Leighton's favorite activity. He pours the beads from cup to cup and digs his hands in them...and eventually threw them all over the place when I was distracted. But Eva is good at helping him clean up, and I think it's worth the mess.

-Big Alphabet workbook - we got this from Costco just for fun a long time ago, along with another one we have, but she did the Letter B pages in there. She really loves and does well with workbooks. We need to get Leighton one because he keeps asking to do his workbook when she does hers.
-Letter practice - I made some big alphabet "flashcards" where Eva can trace the dotted letters for practice. I saw some Kumon cards for $10 and decided I could make my own much cheaper. I printed them on cardstock, 2 letters to a page, and laminated them with my new Scotch laminator. If you want the file, just leave a comment with your email and I'll be happy to send it.
-Butterfly writing practice - this was really easy for Eva but I think it will be a good challenge for Leighton soon. If he can stop throwing markers long enough to focus on something.

Music: (I found 4 Wee Sing CDs on clearance at Borders a while back and have really enjoyed them. Good selection of basic songs.)
-Little Bunny Foo Foo - they fell in love with this song and we listened to it at least 30 times in a row. This was a song I had fond childhood memories with as well, so it was fun to see them hopping around and acting it out.
-The Bear Went Over the Mountain - again, we listened to this several times before they got tired of it. They got their teddy bears and pretended to climb mountains - the stairs and the toy chest.
-Baby Bumblebee
-Two Little Blackbirds

Things I planned to do but didn't (just for the record): Make paper birds; cut out and glue shapes to make a boat, beanbag toss, backwards obstacle course, and play sailboat with a laundry basket

Fun extras: made banana ice cream (actually Andrew made it) - YUM! Especially with Nutella and strawberries; found a bumblebee costume at a consignment sale and watched the kids buzz around.

Eva mastered writing both uppercase and lowercase B, and I think it's starting to sink in that words start with letters and it's not just a guessing game. Both kids love preschool and are already begging to read next week's books. Coming up: the letter L.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Story of Baby Dean

Monday started out as a normal day. I was excited because it was our first official day of preschool. After spending hours planning out things for the kids, Monday was THE day. I woke up early to get ready, and we spent the morning in productive learning activities - reading, coloring, and writing. In the afternoon I put Leighton down for a nap and played playdough with Eva. At 3pm I decided I didn't want him to sleep too long - it always throws off his bedtime - so I went upstairs to get him up. I opened his door and found his eyes open. I went to lay by him and cuddle him to wake up slowly.
As soon as I laid down on the bed, I felt my heart start pounding in this really strange way. Not like I was out of breath from walking up the stairs, but a strange, irregular beat. It was beating so hard that it felt like the baby was kicking my shoulder or something - really odd. I laid there for a minute more but really felt like something was wrong. Eva came up, and I left the kids to go lay on the couch. Resting did nothing to slow my heart down, and I got the feeling that something wasn't right. Thinking it was my blood pressure, I decided to call the dr. and make sure it was normal. The nurse seemed really confused and was asking me if I had eaten anything or drank anything, etc. Lots of weird, unrelated questions. I tried to keep calm and explain that although I was resting, my heart was still pounding. She called the dr. and the dr. said to have me come into L&D at the hospital. I was a little scared but figured they would see that they baby was fine and send me home. I dropped the kids off around the corner with Stacey and didn't even say good-bye to them. Didn't even pack them a bag or anything, I was in such a frenzy to get to the hospital and get it figured out. I kept trying to call Andrew and couldn't get ahold of him. Finally on my way to the hospital, after calling my mom to inform her of the situation, Andrew called. He was just about to leave work, which is about an hour drive, so he said he would meet me at the hospital.

I got up to L&D at 4pm and was put in a triage room. The nurse assumed, as did I, that this was a routine thing and didn't even put me in a hospital gown. I was hooked up to the monitors and found, thankfully, that all was well with the baby. She put the little thing on my finger to get my pulse and that's when the circus began.

Over the next couple hours there were over a dozen people in and out, feeling my pulse with confused faces, staring at me, poking me, drawing blood, injecting me with terrible medicine that made me feel like I would die. I was a medical mystery. Andrew got there around 5pm. The cardiologist, the anesthesiologist, the OB, the nurse - everyone was puzzled by me. They debated back and forth whether it was atrial fibrillation or not and what to do to treat me. My heart was plugging along at 220 bpm , but I wasn't symptomatic - I felt fine other than that the pounding was giving me a headache. They determined that I would need to be put on a drip of heart medicine overnight, but the Air Force hospital ICU couldn't accomodate me. They decided to put me on an ambulance and transfer me to a local civilian hospital. (Even though Andrew requested that I be flown in a helicopter, they thought ground transportation would be more appropriate. :) ) At that point we didn't know what would happen with the baby, but they were sure that I would not be able to have a VBAC (as I had planned) since my heart would probably not be able to handle the stress of labor. A C-section it would be, but nobody knew when.

Andrew went home to get the kids settled - the bishop's wife graciously offered to stay with the kids overnight so Andrew could be with me - and I was taken to another hospital. On the ambulance ride (which wasn't nearly as cool as it looks on the movies) I started having pretty regular contractions. Which for me is a huge deal, as I've never had contractions without pitocin. I was worried that all the stress might cause me to really go into labor and then we'd really be in a bind. I was on heart medicine the whole way over there, but my heart was still racing at 180-190 bpm. The medicine was having no effect whatsoever.

They wheeled me into the ER where I met the most disgusting human being I've ever seen. He was an insane homeless man they had picked up in a gutter, and he was in a stretcher right across from me. He said the most crude, repulsive things to me as I sat there waiting for a bed. I will never be able to repeat his words, but I'm sure I'll never forget them either. That's when my love for Las Vegas was taken even a notch lower - I couldn't believe I was hearing this as I was in such a medical emergency.

There was a big confusion about where I should go and nobody knew quite what to do with me, but eventually I ended up in OB, hooked up to more monitors. No improvement on my heart, and now I was having regular contractions about 1-2 minutes apart. The nurse was freaking out, everyone was in and out asking me a million questions, and I started to freak out a little too. The cardiologist came in and said they were probably going to have to shock me with the paddles to kind of restart my heart, but he was worried about the effect that would have on the baby. The anesthesiologist came in (he was a total jerk) and said he wouldn't touch me until my heart was better under control. Andrew finally got to come in around 9:30pm. They had to cut my shirt off as they couldn't move around all the heart monitors. (That was fun. One less maternity shirt in my wardrobe.) From listening to the drs. talk, I eventually realized that they were planning a C-section for that night. (It really is appaling how little they told me as the patient. I just had to eavesdrop to figure out what was going on.) Andrew hadn't even brought the camera or any baby clothes or ANYTHING. We were completely unprepared for a baby that night, but it looked like he was coming anyway.

They gave me a medicine called Varapamil to slow my heart enough that they could do surgery. It seemed they were feeling more and more urgent to get the baby out so they could fix me, and I started to get really scared. The medicine seemed like it was working and they got my heart rate down in the 120s where the anesthesiologist felt comfortable enough to give me an epidural. The epidural was another one of the memorably painful experiences of the night - nothing like my other 2. It was awful, he was brushing up against all kinds of nerves and had me screaming like a baby. The cardiologist left, thinking I was under control, and said he would come back in the morning to do a scope of my heart and try to find out what was wrong.

They wheeled me into the OR, and again the chaos broke loose. My heartrate started climbing again, and it got back into the 180s. The drs. were all yelling at each other, everyone was running around, and I began to seriously feel that I might die. The epidural was couteracting with the heart medicine and having a terible affect on my body. It was all I could do to keep breathing and my chest felt so terribly heavy. They screamed to get Andrew out of there, and they put the paddles on me in case my heart stopped. (Which to me at that point it looked like it would. I have never been so certain that I might die.) The OB began surgery, and unfortunately I could feel everything. They couldn't give me more epidural because my blood pressure was so low, so they just put an oxygen mask on me and told me to focus on breathing and it would be over soon. I can't tell you how long those 15 minutes seemed. I felt everything. I thought a few times about just giving up and not trying to breathe anymore, because it was so incredibly hard. Finally I heard the baby cry. I heard someone say he was breech and he was 8 pounds. The pain was making everything hazy, and I just remember kicking my legs repeatedly. They kept telling me to hold still, but I couldn't. Andrew came back in at some point to hold my hand. The pain was so intense, I kept saying I couldn't do it anymore.

After a while, the nurse brought Dean over to me. She put his little cheek against mine, and for a few seconds everything disappeared but me and that little baby. I couldn't feel anything but the softness of his skin, and I just wanted to float away with him. Then they whisked him away and the pain came crashing back on me. Because of my heart, they couldn't give me much for the pain - a little morphine to "take the edge off." It must have been a big edge, because it didn't help at all. I don't remember how long it took for me to calm down. They took me to another room where they wrapped my stomach up and gave me clean sheets, and then took me to the cardio ICU for the night. My heart rate eventually slowed, and Andrew left when I was drifting off to sleep with the help of medication.

The next 3 days were living hell. I only got to see my baby twice for a total of maybe 2 hours. They kept me in the ICU and wouldn't allow the baby there because of the risk of infection. They wouldn't allow me to the nursery either, so I suffered all the physical pain with the added emotional pain of being separated from my baby. I can't even describe how difficult it was - any of you who have kids can imagine. Though my heart rate showed that I was fully recovered and fine, the dr. insisted that I stay on monitoring. I hated that dr. with my whole being, but there was nothing I could do. They determined that it may have been just the stress of pregnancy that caused it, but there could be an underlying condition. Oddly enough, they never did any testing to be sure. So I just sat there, useless and helpless, with Andrew occasionally going to spend time with Dean.

On Thursday morning I determined that I was going to walk to the nursery and nobody could stop me. I didn't care if it took me 3 hours and I bled to death on the way there - I was going to see my baby. Andrew stood in front of the door and wouldn't let me leave, and I just collapsed crying in his arms. I figured if they kept us separated any longer, the anxiety would send me into cardiac arrest, and then they would have to let me up there.

Finally finally, on Thursday afternoon, we got discharged to go home. They wheeled me the long walk to the nursery and I got to see him. It was terrible putting Dean in a carseat when my arms were just aching to hold him, but nobody really cares about mother-baby bonds, apparently. Except the mother and the baby, of course. I sat in the back seat with him and held his tiny hand the whole way home. I've hardly set him down since.

Now it's Sunday, and he's 6 days old. The knowledge that this is more than likely our last child has made me look at baby Dean in a whole new light. I have never felt a love so permeating, so complete, in my entire life. Of course, I loved my other babies, tremendously. But the appreciation I feel to have Dean after all we went through makes him seem extra miraculous. I feel almost a desperation to keep him tiny and new, and I simply cannot get enough of him. Even in the middle of the night. :) The last couple days have been like a dream. Of course I have had 2 or 3 meltdowns from the pain, but today I feel as good as new - or as new as you can feel with staples across your stomach - and full of gratitude. We came out of that experience stronger and better, and I am so so so happy to have him in my arms.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dean Perry Webb

Dean arrived at 10:50pm and weighed in at 8lbs even and is 19.5" long. Baby is very healthy and Mommy is doing considerably very well. I will let Stephanie tell the crazy story once she is well and up to it. It may be a while so don't hold your breath.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A break from the heat

Last week I declared I couldn't handle the heat any more. Not one minute more of sweating, not one more time of stepping out in the suffocating heat and feeling like my lungs would catch on fire, not one more load-up in a car in a burning-up parking lot. So we took a drive up to the mountains in search of cooler temperatures.
I am happy to report that we found them. My jaw dropped along with the temperature recorded on the van's thermometer thing - when we reached a low of 75 degrees I almost cried from joy. The slight breeze made me want to sit in the shade and never go back home. That idea seemed especially grand when we pulled back in the driveway and saw 108 as our new climate. But breathing mountain air was good for my soul and gave me a little boost. At least for an hour or so, until the heat got to me again. I have never been so thankful for air conditioning, or for a husband who lets me keep it at 74 degrees at night. (My little oven won't let me sleep if it's any warmer than that.) He doesn't even complain when the electric bill comes in at a whopping $300. Good thing this pregnancy is almost over - I can soon go back to being the one who is always cold. I hope.
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

A few things about this Sabbath day

Andrew made hashbrowns for breakfast. He is in love with our food processor. He uses it for everything. Grating cheese and potatoes are his current favorites. His hashbrowns were way good - his best yet. He has been cooking a lot lately and it makes me so happy. I can't really reach the faucet at the kitchen sink without awkwardly leaning over, and I'm just generally tired and not in the mood to make food. Thanks to him, we are still eating well. (Although I still can't explain the 2 lb.-per-week weight gain the last couple weeks.)

This morning in sacrament meeting, we were singing "Oh Ye Mountains High." I leaned over to Andrew and said, "This song is about Washington." Where the pure breezes blow and the clear streamlets flow, How I've longed to your bosom to flee! Oh, how I miss that beautiful place. I like Vegas, but I LOVE Washington. Oh, and then, since it was Fast Sunday, I got to listen to a bunch of people stand and say that they wanted to bury their testimonies. I had to keep snickering. Is there one big testimony pit, or does everyone kind of find their own little spot? How deep does one need to dig to sufficiently bury it?

Then, in Sunday School, I was skimming through the chapters as the teacher talked about certain stories. And I found this disgusting verse: "So we boiled my son, and did eat him." (2 Kings 6:29). Umm, I'm sorry. What? That is the sickest thing in all of scripture, I'm positive. But then, on the next page, I found a smiley face. It's in 2 Kings 7:13. It's cute. If you use the KJV of the Bible, go look it up. That didn't make up for the cannibalism in the previous chapter, but it cheered me up a little.

And that's all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Remember me that way

Today I went into the depths of depression. As I loaded the new pictures from my camera onto the computer, I thought, "Wow, my face looks fat." Not just like I've put on a few pounds from pregnancy, but swollen and gross. Have I really changed that much? Do I really look like that? So I went back and looked at old pictures. BIG MISTAKE.

Look how cute I used to be! No swollen nose with fat rolls for nostrils, no giant ankles or sausage feet. That is my real face, the one I have forgotten. I knew I used to be able to open my eyes wider. And there's proof.

I really hate the last 10 weeks of being pregnant. I know I should think about the miracle of life and all, and that's all fine and good for some people. Good for them. But the only miracle I can think of right now is that I'm still able to put lotion on my legs without passing out. September can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nervous habits

I love this girl. I love (almost) everything about her. She is adorable and fun to be around and hilarious. But the last few weeks, she has developed a few nervous habits. Not a big deal, I thought, until yesterday. Her "habits" (clearing her throat) increased to once every five seconds at the longest interval. She was grunting ALL DAY LONG.
I was at a loss. I tried scolding. I tried distracting. I tried telling her to twiddle her fingers when she felt like clearing her throat. I tried giving her drinks. Nothing worked. I kept picturing her around other kids and having them make fun of her for being weird. I prayed last night that she would stop.

So today, the throat-clearing grunt is significantly better. But now she's doing this weird whisper of sounds thing. Like "rk-tch-ka" over and over. While I'm reading to her, while she plays with dolls, while she eats...I don't know what to do. It is a little less annoying than the throat thing, but still. Not very socially acceptable.

I am positive she got this from my side of the family - we Andersens are known for our strange nervous habits. So I feel partly responsible, at least genetically. But now, I'm not quite sure what to do. What would be the best way to get her to stop this?? HELP!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our first visitors

Last Thursday night, my sisters Cami and Kim (with baby Sam in tow) pulled up to our house. I was so excited to have people come stay at our house for the first time. (One of the perks of living here will be seeing family more often, I hope.) The first thing they said when I walked out the door was, "Man, it is HOT!" It was 11pm. I said, "Wait until the sun comes up!"

Aside from them hating the heat as much as I do, we had a great time together. We took the kids to see Toy Story 3 and went shopping at the outlets on Friday, and on Saturday we ate at a buffet and saw the strip. (What a disgusting place.) Saturday night I got a babysitter for our first time here and we went to a Minute to Win It party at some friends' house. Kim and Cami stayed for church on Sunday and left in the afternoon. I was sad to see them go and hope that they'll come back soon. Although I wouldn't blame them if they waited until winter.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pet owners once again

Last year my Mom came to visit us in Washington. It was the beautiful fall time, while Andrew was still deployed, and we went to the pumpkin patch to get some pretty gourds and yummy hot donuts. But a different day, we had to stop at Office Max for something, and while I ran in the store, my Mom took the kids next door to Petsmart.

Little did I know what a brilliant move that was. We have since gone several times - it's a great way to look at animals without going to a zoo, and the kids hardly know the difference. When Andrew came home, he started going with us. Even now, if the kids are good in a store, we sometimes reward them by going to the petstore afterward.

The thing is, this practice seemed to awaken in Andrew a desire to have a fish tank. He always wandered off to stare at the tanks and price them out. We both wanted a huge one (like the kind that take up a whole wall) but that was just a dream, obviously.

We went again to Pesmart at the very beginning of the month, and Andrew seemed more in love with the fish than ever. After so many times of looking at the fish, Andrew decided to, as he put it, "just bite the bullet" and get a fish tank. I was just happy he was finally communicating something he wanted to buy for himself, as that is a rare occurence in our marriage. We got a Biorb, which is pretty dang cool. Because of the ammonia levels in the water (or something) we could only get 3 fish at first and we can add one every 28 days up to 8 fish. We named our little trio Milton, Enid, and Molly. (Eva chose Molly - she's the black one.) They all look very distinct from each other so it's easy to tell them apart.

Andrew has diligently fed and cared for the fish morning and night, and I frequently find him sitting on the couch watching them swim. (Even when we are watching a movie, he watches the fish.) The kids think it's fun to feed them with Dad's help, and I'm just glad have a pet that I don't have much to do with. They are low-maintenance and relaxing to watch, so I'm one happy pet-owner.
Andrew jokes that we should just get more fish and have no more kids. Some days I'm inclined to agree. See? I'm not an animal-hater. I officially like owning fish.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A few messages, and St. George

This is a little message to the weird person who leaves Asian-character comments on my blog every day: PLEASE STOP. Thank you.
This is a little message to Blogger: You are so annoying how you haven't let me post pictures in my old, normal way for at least the last year. That is why I only put one picture per post. Sometimes I hate you and you make me not want to go to the trouble of blogging. Please go back to your old self. Thank you.

This is a little message to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: I love all your documentaries. You are awesome, and you make me want to do geneology. Thank you.

Anyway, here's a report on our fun trip to St. George. It was at Leighton's birthday party las Friday; we were all (us, the Culvers, and the Noyes') sitting outside eating cake and puddles of ice cream in the cool 105 degree evening, when Clay said, "Let's go to St. George." After all our initial reactions of laughing and joking about doing it, we all said, "Why not? Let's do it for real." So we gave ourselves an hour to pack and bathe the kids and be on the road. We got to Clay's parents' vacation house at about 11pm and went to bed.

Andrew and Clay got up early the next morning to go golfing; the rest of us slept in until 9am or so. After Clay was soundly defeated by my Tiger Woods of a husband, we all went to a late breakfast at Village Inn. The early afternoon was spent swimming at the local pool, which was awesome and so refreshing. During nap time, us girls took off to do some shopping and left the men home with the children. Kara, Stacey, and I hit up Tai Pan (where I spent the most money and got some awesome stuff for the house including a beautiful giant basket that has no specific purpose yet), stopped for refreshment at Arctic Circle, then finished off at the outlet mall where I bought nothing and Stacey bought a way cute black dress. (Maternity shopping is no fun, especially at non-maternity stores. I much prefer to watch skinny people buy clothes for themselves and dream of the day when I, too, will fit into normal sizes.)

Finding all to be well at home with the kids, we were glad we had gone and not shopped a bit for our kids. We went to dinner at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, where I decided that the fries are far better than In'n'Out's and the burger was awesome too. We finished off the day with Nelson's Frozen Custard and headed back home to Vegas.

Oh, but I can't forget how we drove home at the very peril of our lives. That's in bold because I am so serious, we could have died. Some freaky guy followed us for about 35 miles, flashing his brights and changing lanes right behind us. Clay finally called 911 as a precaution, we pulled off a well-lit exit, and the freak sped on by. 35 miles is a long time to not take a proper breath, I tell you what - I was a little winded from all that paranoia. I was so scared, but thankfully all was well.

This is a little message to St. George: You are beautiful. I want to live in you someday. (That's a weird sentence if ever I have typed one.) Save me a spot, preferably near the golf course.

Thank you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back pain

I don't know if I pinched a nerve in my lower back or if my belly just suddenly grew bigger and threw a huge curve in my spine, but I am dying.

It all started Saturday night just before we left to come home from our spontaneous 24-hour trip to St. George with the Noyes and Culver families. I got out of the car after the 1.5 hour drive and was in a lot of pain.

Yesterday it wasn't better. I woke up sore, bore it through church (even stupidly wearing heels because I had to give a talk in sac. meeting), and after church didn't do much but lay on the couch. Except for playing games with the Noyes family, where I just sat in a chair. Andrew gave me a good back rub (more like back push - I needed some serious spine digging) before I fell asleep last night and I thought today I would be fine.

But no. I woke up even worse this morning. I did a prenatal yoga video thinking it would work out whatever kink is in there, but as the day goes on I am steadily getting worse. I feel the same way I felt after my C-section, like I can't stand up straight. The more I try to act normal, the stiffer I become.

Does anyone have any back pain remedies for pregnancy? I don't think I can handle 8 more weeks of this without self-prescribing bedrest.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy birthday, Leighton!

Have you seen Brian Regan? There's a really funny part where he's talking about shopping for a greeting card in the store and making fun of the card section called "New Baby." He says, "Is there such thing as old baby?" And then pretends to be a dumb guy who says, "My friends had a baby...and I let time get away from me...and he's 12." It's hilarious. But that's how I feel. I let time get away from me. All my good intentions of frequent blogging last week were all for naught.
But I came to report that my baby turned two. You know, this baby.
All of the sudden he's looking like this
and causing all sorts of trouble. I don't get it.
But we celebrated his day with friends, hot dogs (his favorite food) and a basketball cake and ice cream. He got a basketball hoop, some blocks, and the Incredibles movie for his gifts and was thrilled with all three. It was a special treat to have Daddy home for most of the day. If you remember from last year, Daddy was in Kuwait; he's never been around for a Leighton birthday. He was especially glad to be there.
So happy birthday to my Bubba. I'm so thankful to have you. Even on days when you are violent and insane, I couldn't have asked for a better boy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blessed beyond measure

{For your viewing pleasure: possibly the least successful family picture we've ever taken. At least Andrew is smiling}
I feel blessed. There are so many things I have in life that I didn't earn, nor do I deserve. But there are a few blessings that, lately, I have been able to measure.

-12,000 lbs. of household goods. That is a mere 1,000 lbs. under our limit, so we scraped by. I blame it on Andrew's motorcycle, but he blames it on my craft supplies. (He's probably right.)

-2 months and 2 days of living in Las Vegas without a home. This is not so much a blessing as a trial, but they say that trials are a blessing. So what do I know? Maybe in a year, when I've forgotten how depressed I was, I will look at it as a blessing. It has been so nice getting used to living in a house, although very strange not to just throw clothes back in a suitcase. I didn't realize how foreign hangers could become in such a short time.

-30 pounds of weight gain in this pregnancy so far. (Holy stinking cow, Steph, what did you do? Eat out for two months? Yep. And it shows.) 30 pounds of healthy baby and really healthy me. I allotted myself 40 pounds total to gain during this pregnancy, so I have a mere 10 pounds left in the next 9 weeks. I hope I can stay within that range. If not, oh well. Jillian Michaels is waiting for me at the end of postpartum recovery, and she'll make it all go away. Pound by slow pound.

-4,107 miles. That's how far I traveled in June to visit both sides of the family and temporarily escape homelessness. It was so fun to be at my parents' for 2 weeks and then in Colorado for Webb Sisters' Week for 36 hours.

-5 profile pictures hanging on our wall. Andrew hung baby Dean's ultrasound picture in the lineup, and it makes it feel more real that we will very soon be a family of 5. Whoa.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's official.

We are homeowners.
We finally finally finally closed on our house today.
It was a long, horrible process, and I'm so relieved it's over. I'm going to pretend it never happened and continue unpacking our never-ending boxes. And cooking meals in my awesome kitchen.
Hotel Webb is now open to visitors. Come on over.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Going home

I never got around to blogging while here in Houston. We had a grand time, especially for the days when everyone (except Andrew, as usual) was together for our Andersen family reunion.
But our flight is this evening and we're going home. Yes, home, because we got a house! Finally! We should (knock on wood) close tomorrow and have the movers come Thursday, if everything works out. I'm not planning on it, but I'm hopeful. Andrew has been living in our house for about a week and a half and we'll just pay rent to the owner until it's officially ours. No furniture, but it's home.

Now if I can just get through the airport and flying business unscathed. (On the way out here I turned around in the airport bathroom to find Leighton holding a used tampon applicator. Makes me throw up in my mouth to think of it. That definitely counts as scathed, in my opinion. If we can avoid that again, we'll survive.) Wish me luck.

Next time I post it will be from my new home!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Let's blow this popsicle stand.

We have been in Las Vegas one month and 7 days.
We are no closer to getting a house than when we arrived.
I'm getting the heck out of here and going to my parents' house in Houston for 2 weeks.
Peace out, Sin City.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday #4

Today marks 4 weeks since we arrived in Las Vegas. Our 4th week living out of suitcases and carting everything from place to place. We are staying at the Culvers' house again while they are out of town. We are grateful for generous friends who shelter our homeless selves and save us lots of money on hotels. As we pulled our suitcases in yet again last night, both Andrew and I remarked how utterly tired we are of this. We are really hoping to close this week. Otherwise I'm running away to stay with family somewhere and not coming back until I have a home. :) I'm not trying to be a complainer, but it will be so nice to have a home to call our own.

We had to take Eva to the doctor on Saturday and found out that she has a UTI. I was so relieved just to get a diagnosis and some antibiotics to help the poor thing feel better. Her medicine tastes disgusting and she has to take it twice a day, but she has been so brave and good about it. Medicine is a REAL struggle with her, so this is truly a miracle that she's taking it well.

Yesterday Andrew and I watched the PBS documentary "Faces of America." I highly recommend it - it was awesome. It made us both want to learn more about our family history. Also, that we had enough money to have our DNA examined.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Maybe the third time WILL be the charm.

I am starting to prepare mentally for giving birth to and having another newborn. As you know, I have always been verbal about how much I hate the baby phase. Yesterday I came upon a blog called SortaCrunchy - she did a series of posts on Babywise that made me step back and think...a LOT. I thought about WHY I don't like having a newborn. Obviously, it's not the newborn's fault. But for some reason, I went into parenthood with the mentality that the baby was the adversary and it was a battle from the beginning. I couldn't give an inch or I would lose the war. (Where did this come from? I don't know. My mother CERTAINLY doesn't feel that way. She adores babies.) Schedule them, put them to sleep in their own bed, cry it out, don't give in when they wake up at night, show them who is boss and how things work from day one. Those were my goals. Um, hello? No wonder! What an incredibly stressful way to enter parenting. Now that I have done it twice, I'm ready to try something new. And I'm really hoping that the third time will be the charm.
I'm going to try breastfeeding again. But this time I'm not going to pump - I've done that enough for a lifetime. I have put many heartfelt prayers up, asking for my body to know what to do and how to produce enough milk to feed this child without supplementing formula. Not because I'm against formula (obviously), but because I want to try something new.
I'm going to try wearing this baby in a sling. I know it's a controversial topic right now what with the media craze on 2 types of slings being recalled. But I feel I have educated myself enough that I feel good doing it. We'll see how it goes.
I'm not going to push sleeping through the night at 8 weeks with this baby. I will still retain a somewhat scheduled approach if I can, simply because that is my nature and personality. But I won't hold any iron-fisted standard over where we SHOULD be with sleeping. I'm going to try to relax in that area and be a better nighttime parent. (Read this post, please. It really got to me. That is one of my main struggles as a mother.)
I'm going to look at this baby as a gift from the Lord and try to savor the precious newborn moments by rocking and cuddling rather than stressing out about schedules and feeding times.
So there is my admission that I did it all wrong the first two times (thank heavens they still turned out fine, so far) and I'm ready to go at it again. With fresh perspective.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My bi-monthly update

~I haven't taken a single picture in a LONG time. Not even on Andrew's birthday or Mother's Day. Terrible.
~Yesterday two old roommates from my first semester of college, Samye and Marissa, came to swim at our hotel. Kara came too, and it was like a twilight zone moment. I just kept thinking, how strange. I never would have imagined 7 years ago that one day we would all be sitting together at a swimming pool in Las Vegas. Life is strange.
~I'm getting an awesome tan. And I found a cute maternity swimsuit - at least as cute something so large can be. I am SO much bigger than my other pregnancies at 24 weeks, it's not even funny. I cringe to think how huge I'll be at this point with #4. I don't know if it's physically possible to stretch any bigger any faster.
~We got in trouble from the hotel for the kids coloring with chalk on the sidewalk. The guy came today with a huge, LOUD machine to rudely spray it all off. Part of me wants to be spiteful and just give them the chalk again and tell them to go to town. The immature side of me.
~Today as I made peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, I broke down bawling. I miss Washington. I have never cried from missing a place in my life, other than Nauvoo. But I do miss WA. This time of year is the BEST there. I miss my friends there, and I miss SO much having a house of our own. I am trying every day not to spiral into uncontrollable depression from being homeless, but it's really really hard. Probably one of the biggest trials on my patience I've ever experienced. Unfortunately, I think I'm failing at this trial. I JUST WANT MY HOUSE. It's almost all I think about, try as I might to distract myself.
~Andrew started training. He has an hour and a half commute each way from our hotel, so it makes for some long days. For all of us. But I'm glad that he's keeping busy and is back in study mode. It reminds me of when we were first married and he came home with all his big pilot binders. This is the 4th "pilot training" we've experienced in our marriage. And hopefully the last.
~I got to take a Target trip by myself the other day. I bought an adorable turquoise hat with a big brim for all our days at the pool, some bright pink nail polish to compliment the beautiful tan feet I'm getting, and a bag of gummy bears. And a ring, and some more sunglasses (I can't seem to keep track of them for very long). It was so nice to go by myself and be able to look around at what I wanted!