Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tough Little Girlie Girl

Hallie is one tough little girl. She will be 16 months old next week, and she tries so hard to be a big girl. (We were actually disappointed at her last doctors appointment, a few weeks ago, to find out that she still doesn't weigh 20 pounds. My back is grateful, I'm not gonna lie, but why won't she grow???) Anyway, she helps out when we clean the bathroom, she can put her toys away, and she helps us measure the flour when we bake bread. She is a champion walker and can almost run. She's my hero when it comes to walking. What a challenge to learn how to balance yourself on those unsteady little feet. She hardly ever falls down, and when she does she never cries, she just gets up and keeps on going. I'm not kidding, nor am I just saying that because I'm her proud mom. She has only cried two or three times after falling down, and only because she truly hurt herself. In fact, one time she fell down and hurt herself, bloody skinned knee and all - but she didn't make a peep. She popped up and kept on going. I didn't find out until I was changing her diaper hours later that she had hurt herself!! Imagine how awful I felt... but so proud of her! She has goals. She's determined to reach her goals.
But she's also a complete girlie girl, and I don't have any idea where it came from. In the morning she makes me put her on the stool so she can see herself in the mirror and then we "get pretty". I comb her hair and put her bobby pin in (the only "barrette" she doesn't pull out). Then I put some chap stick on her lips. Then I use an old makeup brush and "do" her cheeks. Then she knows it's time for lotion. She grabs the bottle and I put the tiniest drop on her hands, and she rubs them together! Now. I never wear lotion, where did she learn to rub her hands together? She loves bracelets and necklaces and big fluffy dresses.
I am so proud of my beautiful, tough little girl. The only sad part is, she couldn't possibly have gotten either of those traits from me. I was a weak little tomboy when I was a kid. (And by kid I mean a few years ago. Ok, months)

Of the two of us, she's much cooler.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Phone Bill

Here I am sitting, waiting on hold with the phone company over an issue of 5 dollars and 95 cents. Really? Yes. Oh! The nice lady answered. The reason I'm calling is because it says it is a 5 dollar monthly fee on our long distance calling plan, which is fine, except that we aren't supposed to have any monthly fee, just a per minute charge of 12 cents. Which is great because we only call long distance on our cell phone, so it doesn't cost us anything, and we have the service if ever there is an emergency. Great. Then I remember that a month ago I got a call from a phone company saying that they could now offer me 9 cents a minute. Wow! Great deal! Hallie was screaming in the background, the t.v. was on, I didn't really know what she was saying to me, but I said yes to all her stuff. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. That's what led me here, sitting on the phone with this nice lady who is now telling me that if I don't want to pay (essentially) 6 dollars a month for a service I never use I'll have to call my old phone company and have them take over my service again. Oh goody.

Moral of this story: NEVER never NEVER agree to anything over the phone when someone is trying to sell you something if you can't really hear what they are saying.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Joy in the Journey

Today our lesson in Relief Society (the portion of our church service where the women separate from the men and we have our own lessons.) was on Thomas S. Monson's talk entitled "Finding Joy in the Journey." If you'd like to read it, you can here.
The teacher had women at various stages in life talk about five things that brought them joy in their lives right now. She had a young single woman, a young newly married woman, a woman with young children, a woman with young and teenage children, etc. You get the picture. Anyway, it got me to thinking: what do I find joy in right now?
1. My family. I've always been close to my family, but having them at such a distance where I don't get to see them as often brings them to my thoughts more often than when they were around all the time. Isn't it funny how that is? I think of them often, pray for them daily, and love them more than I tell them. Mimi reminded me the other day of how lucky we are to have all this technology that makes keeping in touch so much easier, and realistic. I almost cried when I thought about the fact that if we had lived so many years ago I might never get to see baby Jill, much less meet her! I am truly grateful for my family and the opportunities that allow me to feel close to them, even when so far away. Not to mention my family that is here with me: Devin and Hallie. They obviously bring joy to my life every day as well.
2. My friends. I have such amazing friends! There are so many wonderful people in my life that make me feel good about myself, that make me feel happy. I wish I was better at thinking of ways to make them feel so happy. I love that I have such "good" friends... friends that are really good people, that are such amazing examples to me that I always feel to be more like them. Thanks guys!
3. My health, security, food, warmth (or as summer approaches the blessing of not being too warm, of having a.c.). I've pretty much gotten to the point now where it's painful for me to watch the news at night. There is so much turmoil and trauma in the world -but it does make me extra appreciative of what I have, and reminds me not to take it for granted. I thank God for my many blessings every day, and can't help but feel that I am blessed far beyond what I deserve. Which is again another motivating factor in trying to be better than I am.
4. I am finding joy right now in the outdoors. Spring has finally settled here, and it is glorious. There is a little food stand (sells ice cream cones and hot dogs, you know?) that is deliciously within walking distance that just opened up a few weeks ago. I've made Devin walk over there with me twice. I figure if you're walking to get your ice cream then it's ok, right? I definitely get joy out of the trees blooming and showing off, and all the tulips that are so bright and cheerful. It's so refreshing.
5. What else am I finding joy in these days? I guess all of the little things that make life so worth living. The dinner that turned out a little better than you had expected, and you can't get enough of. Teaching Hallie where her nose is, and seeing how proud she is when she can point to it. Hearing Devin talk about his experiments at work and how good he is at what he does. Not having to wear socks because that means it's warm enough outside for sandals. How good my hair smells after a shower. How a little blue eyeshadow perks up my whole day. Talking to my sister after she had her baby and knowing everyone was healthy and beautiful. Opening a fresh jar of peanut butter and giving Hallie her first spoonful of it. Dancing around the living room with Devin. Reminiscing about good times with old friends. Making plans for the future. Counting the change in a piggy bank. Finding an unexpected piece of Easter candy.

What 5 things are you finding joy in these days?

and last but not least,

6. President Monson said in his talk, “Nothing is as constant as change.” We know that not all change in this life will be good, and it might be at times hard to find the joy in our journey. And yet, knowing as I do that Heavenly Father loves me, and that through Christ's atonement he overcame the world, I can do the same. There is so much power in that knowledge to have joy if we let ourselves. Why not? If we really believe that to be true, how can we feel to murmur? I don't know if anyone reading this is struggling with a particularly hard time right now, but if so, take a minute to think about five things that are good, and practice focusing on those when all else is seemingly hopeless. So that's the last and most that brings me joy. That I can change, grow, improve myself, and have hope always, even when things aren't springtime and roses as they are now.

"Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth."
Sarah Ban Breathnach, in John Cook, comp., The Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd ed. (2007), 342.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tower of Cans

Hallie recently discovered her ability to make towers. Here she is a few Saturdays ago helping us unload the groceries, and then creating towers out of our food storage. I was quite impressed with how tall her towers were! Notice how she adds dimension by putting that smaller can in the middle! So impressive!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hallie Cleans Up

Well, a few posts ago you saw pictures of Hallie pretending to clean the top of a wheat container. She has a little sponge that she likes to wipe things down with. Actually, she'll "clean" with any cloth or sponge like object, it's funny. We were at the doctor's office for an appointment and while waiting for the doctor to come in she took one of her diaper wipes and wiped down his stool, and the bench, and everything she could reach in his office. He seemed to appreciate it when we told him about it. Here she is helping Daddy clean the bathroom on Saturday morning.

That's the most exciting thing that's happened around here in a while. She is actually starting to be able to help out! She helps us when we bake bread or cookies. (She helps measure the flour and pour it in the bowl). She helps put away her toys sometimes... she's almost a big girl now!

But really the most exciting thing that has happened is Devin's mom came to visit. That was nice to have her here, but she has all the pictures and hasn't sent them to me yet so I'll talk about that when she does.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good vs Naughty

What we have here is the classic struggle between good and evil. (There being no evil in a baby, we'll call it good vs. naughty.) I present you with Super Hallie, and her arch nemesis
Super-Bad-Monkey-Girl. Please, if you have any suggestions for other villian names, let me know!

Can Super Hallie save the day?

Or will Super Bad Monkey Girl be successful in carrying out her devious plot to take over the world by her absolutely cunning cuteness?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Crazy Cookies

Well, really it was the frosting that was crazy. Devin's mom sent us some cookie cutters for Easter, a church, an egg, a bunny, and a duck. We thought it would be fun to make some cookies and frosting and eat them. That's what we do, right? But since it's Easter, and not just any ordinary day, we had to make them a little special. So we found a recipe for lemon butter cookies, and changed that to orange because we didn't have any lemons, just oranges. So we made orange butter cookies (delicious). And then tried to find a frosting. This part turned into a bit more of a challenge than we had been anticipating because we were almost out of vanilla, and had used the rest of the orange peel and juice to rub a steak... we couldn't help ourselves, the orange rub we invented is so fabulous. So we were looking for a delicious frosting that didn't need vanilla or orange. Hmm. We found a traditional buttercream frosting in Joy of Cooking. Joy's always there when you need her. Have you ever made a traditional buttercream frosting? Don't.

First, it's a cooked frosting. Yes that's right, I didn't even know that some frostings were cooked! Maybe you know more about this stuff than I do, but I was in for a shock. It seemed so simple when we were reading the three paragraph long instructions. All the ingredients must be at room temperature. First you boil the sugar, water, and cream of tartar until it reaches 238 degrees. That's right. 238. While that is boiling, put a skillet full of water on and get it simmering. While you're doing that you also have to crack an egg into a metal heatproof bowl and beat it for a long long time until it is bubbly and frothy. Then you go back to your boiling sugar water and hope it didn't go over 238 while you were doing those other things. You take it over to the eggs and while beating the eggs pour it slowly slowly slowly into the egg. Then you haul it over to the simmering water and put the metal bowl into the skillet and pray you didn't fill it so full of water that it overflows. Then you whisk that and wait for it to go back up to 160 degrees. Whisk whisk whisk. When it reaches this new slightly lower temperature, you take the bowl out of the skillet and go back to beating the mixture, this time until it returns to room temperature. This will take about two hours and you might have an arm or two fall off. Ok, I made that part up. But it does take forever, and your arm will ache. Ok, so you finally get desperate and pretend that it's close enough to room temperature (some rooms are hot, right?) and you start putting the butter in, one tablespoon at a time, still beating all the while. This better be some heck of a good frosting.

Then for kicks and giggles we colored the frosting orange (inspired by the orange flavored cookies) and frosted em right up. Well, you'll never have to worry about your kids snitching the frosting when you're not looking if this is what you have, because it literally tastes like butter. Butter. Just butter. But somehow, magically, on top of the cookie, it tastes really delicious, and slightly orangey. So it was worth it in the end. I'd better take pictures though, cuz I'm never doing that again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grandma Boling

As you may or may not know, I have really cool grandparents. This post will feature my dad's mom. Her name is Marcia, and she's a seasoned traveler. Half the places she goes to visit I've never heard of, and the other half I worry aren't safe for her. She always comes back with neat pictures and stories, and little gifts for us (maybe not always little gifts, but we love it when she does!) She's not afraid to experience all of the experiences either. You know, riding the camel in Egypt, etc. Here are pictures from her latest trip.
I might add that she is boldly doing something that I will never be brave enough to attempt. Ok ok, never say never. She is doing something I pray that I will never be faced with the opportunity of doing. How's that?

You Go Grandma!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Authentic Vitamin D

Well, March has really let me down. You come out of February all dreary and depressed, and hope that March will lighten your spirits because it's the month that brings in Spring, officially. Such was not the case this year. Our March was truly dismal. Maybe I'm just feeling bitter because of the way it ended: on Sunday we had 4-5 inches of snow. Yes, there were snowmen dotting yards all down the street. It took three days to fully melt (maybe four, I'm afraid to look outside today) and was just really uncalled for. February however, actually yielded some really nice days, and Hallie and I took advantage and she went outside walking around for the first time ever in her young life. Here she is, taking her inaugural steps in the cold cruel world. (Although it was warm and sunny this day in February.) Please note that she is wearing the cute little cherry shoes that Great Grandma Boling got her and sent to me about a week after she was born... she finally fits in them! Also, a discerning eye might notice that she is wearing the same outfit that she was wearing on Santa's lap from that picture back in early December. That's right. She still fits in clothes that she wore months ago. She is finally over 20 pounds though, as of last week.

So, here she is, exploring the great unknown and getting some authentic Vitamin D.