Friday, January 30, 2009

Tummy Time 'Woes'

Just thought ya'll might enjoy these pics...
Gwen enjoys tummy time for about 3 minutes.

Then the mournful whining begins, like we abandoned her to some pitiful fate. That whining escalates into exasperated crying pretty quickly until you scoop her up and let her stand.

"poor thing" don't we all feel so sorry for her? :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reasons for Respect

Normally my posts are all about our family and our isms. But the past couple of days, what with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and then the Presidential Inauguration, I have been rather pensive and contemplative. I feel that a 'serious' post is in order.

Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example of peaceful objection, protest without violence. Disagreement without disrespect. When others thought his methods would never work and pressed for more aggressive action, his humble but persistent stance of non-violent protest eventually wore down the resolve of his opposition and broke the walls preventing equality for blacks in our country. Why do I respect him? Because of his love for his people, yes. Because of his leadership, yes. Because of his courage, yes. Because of his rhetoric and persuasive power, yes. But really, I respect him most for the respect he gave others even while respect was denied to him. That is powerful. Respect for humanity regardless of differences.

Many people criticize and blame George W. Bush for the troubles of our nation. They cast blame, point fingers, mock, and are angry to the point of forgetting themselves. Forgetting the respect deserved by the Presidential mantle. Forgetting the respect deserved for serving our country to the best of one's ability. ...Forgetting the respect deserved by every individual as a child of God.

Well today (or yesterday, actually) we usher in a new President. A President wildly popular and with so much enthusiasm backing his new era that it is hard to imagine anyone criticizing him to the extent that Bush was criticized. I respect President Obama for many reasons: his charisma, his persuasive power, his compassion, his realism, his vision, his experiences so different from mine, his willingness to listen to reason, his ability to inspire, his ability to soothe and make people feel comfortable, and his touchableness--the way people feel like they can relate to him. And yet, I did not vote for him. We disagree on too many policy issues.

But, does disagreement EVER give one the right to defame or belittle? Does disagreement give me the right to make nasty videos, compose angry songs, or - heaven forbid- throw my shoe at the man? Absolutely NOT. Neither will I ever cast my opposition to policy or decisions as opposition to President Obama himself. He is a man. Capable of great good and capable of great harm. Human and imperfect, so deserving of tolerance, patience, and forgiveness. Son of God, so deserving of mercy, respect, and love. If the time comes, I pledge to disagree without disrespect.

I treasure our country. I am so proud to be an American. I am proud of the progress that our nation has made. I feel humbled and grateful to live in the great nation that we do. I have hope for the future.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ever Had to Go Off Dairy?

When Gwen hit 2 weeks she also became extremely fussy... EXTREMELY. When we talked with her pediatrician, it was suggested we try going off dairy. I was feeling pretty deprived because, as we all know, holidays are filled with delicious foods that ALL contain dairy! I tried to be positive though. Perhaps this will be the only holiday season in which I DON'T gain 10 lbs from all the cheeseball, cookies, egg nog, etc. Well, Gwen's 'collick' got much better right around week 7-8 and by the time we were home from our Christmas vacation, she was doing so well... I thought, 'hey, why not see if she can tolerate a lil dairy now?' Just a lil dairy in a dessert, not even straight milk or cheese, and the next day I was regretting it because she bawled all day. Okay, so looks like I'll be off dairy for a lil while longer.

Do you know how many things contain dairy? Besides the obvious butter, cheese and icecream, so many delicious foods have dairy. Consider: pizza and lasagna are out, most latin-American cuisine is out because of cheese, the dairy in cheese and/or cream of 'whatever' soups pretty much makes most casserole dishes out of the question, since whipped cream is a no-no you can't have fruit salads, cheesecake is off limits, creamy salad dressings are out, many salads you would buy eating out have cheese on them, most cookies and sweet breads have dairy, no pudding, no chocolate, etc... plus many foods you WOULDN'T expect to have dairy do. For example: many breads, cereals, soups, even potato chips (can anyone explain why salt and vinegar chips need dairy?!?!) have a silent and unexpected dairy ingredient.

Well, I'm here to share with you some of my favorite 'non-dairy' alternatives. For any of you who ever have to do this, these things really help me to feel less deprived... and some are actually pretty tasty!

Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream. seriously, tastes just as good as the real thing! I eat the cream cheese every morning with a bagel and the sour cream has tasted delicious in stroganoff, on baked potatoes, and on fajitas. I love it!

Silk soy milk is good, but really any soy milk will do for cooking in general. It works in recipes same as milk. But I really like this VANILLA soy milk that Silk makes. I know some people have said it is too sweet, but I think it tastes great and love it on cereal. It is the only kind of soy milk I enjoy drinking straight.

Kashi Strawberry Fields cereal is the best dried strawberry/raspberry cereal I've ever had. Of course, you pay for it (definitely more expensive than Honey Bunches of Oats varieties, but those have dairy in them.). It is all organic, that is why it is so pricey, I guess.

Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream... WOW!!! This stuff is AMAZING!!! I would eat it any day, except it is so much pricier than regular icecream. but it has lots of flavors and is so rich, you don't feel cheated at all!

Kraft vinaigrette salad dressings/marinades are so delicious! Definitely the way to go if you are going to avoid the creamy dressings. I love the variety of flavors. My favorites are: Asian Toasted Sesame, Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, and Tangy Tomato Bacon. The BEST part about these dressings, besides the flavor, is how healthy they are! Only 5-6 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons which is less than the 8-9 grams of fat per serving in most other vinaigrettes! I would choose these dressings to be healthy any day! DELICIOUS!!!!

Well, there you have it. My non-dairy favorites. Maybe this will help one of you someday, but I hope you don't ever have to go there. Any body else have favorite foods for certain diet/allergy restrictions?

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Angel is 2 Months!

Gwen is 2 months old. Absolutely blows my mind. Here she is with Henry, an heirloom toy from her Daddy's baby days, looking so cute! Time flew so quickly and it seems just yesterday she was placed in my arms at the hospital. Yet when I think about it, I can't really remember what life was like without her because it is like she's always been a part of our family.

Significant Progress:
  • she's pretty much all done with being collicky. hooray! the toughest week was while we were in Idaho, so it wasn't even so bad. was it going off dairy that helped or did she just outgrow it? I don't know. I guess we'll find out...
  • every now and then she'll sleep 7 hours straight... that's practically sleeping through the night! Won't it be great when she does that every night? :)
  • she learned to really grin while we were on vacation (for a really cute blog entry about this, see Mama Allan's page. the link is on the side.) and loves to interact with people
  • she's pretty much holding her head up on her own (it still gets wobbly after a while, though)
  • she doesn't protest as much about tummy time, just tries to eat the blanket and gives us her 'whiney' cry
  • she likes to stand up (with help), locks her knees, and looks around
  • she's starting to discover her hands: we catch her examining them every now and then
Cuteness that I love:
  • she gets really excited and sucks in air so it sounds like she was just holding her breath underwater or something and had to come up for air
  • her smiles and grins are what I live for!
  • the way she desperately roots at the bottle and sucks hard like she hasn't eaten in DAYS even when it was just 2 1/2 hours ago
  • the way she rubs her eyes/face when she is getting tired
  • she'll put her arms around my neck and nuzzle against me (as long as she's not upset, that is) :)
  • the self-satisfied look on her face after she has a big poo
  • her 'I'm so full' face with raised eyebrows and closed eyes after she's eaten a ton! Sometimes she is so full she just groans and rubs her face into me.
  • the way she grins and kicks and ALMOST giggles when you tickle her tummy and sides
  • the way she'll fall asleep when I rock her and her mouth falls open
  • the way her arms are 'spring-loaded' after a nap... as soon as you open up the blanket and undo her 'double burrito straight jacket', they spring up over her head into a big stretch!
  • her stretches outdo any other baby stretches I've ever witnessed... that gal LOVES to stretch!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Baby's Room Projects

Way back in the day I promised Jennie I'd post pics of the nursery... well, I'm finally getting around to it. And it finally is shaping into a nursery, minus the clutter of gifts, crafts, not-yet-assembled projects, and air mattress (this is where all of our helpers slept). Still waiting on a rocking chair and don't look too closely at the desk area because I haven't tackled "my" side of the room yet! You'll notice the furniture is mostly brown/cream and I tried to have items such as crib sheets and changing pad cover in a nice neutral green so we don't give any future sons a complex! :) All pictures taken during nap time, fyi... :)
Changing station and dresser... we refinished this dresser that we got on Craigslist for $20. I think it is so cute now! Especially with the contrasting green of the changing table pad! I still have to hang up the organizer, but for now it just sits on top of the diaper pail. (we're going to be using cloth diapers, that's why we got the pail. But we haven't started cuz Gwen is still a bit too small for them, so don't need to use it yet and it works great as a 'shelf' right now.)
Bookshelf/Toyshelf... you'll recall the fun project of refinishing the bookshelf? $3 garage sale purchase transformed into a lil gal's toyshelf. Green baskets bought on sale at Michael's. Hopefully I'll be able to keep things curtailed a bit so that lil plastic keys and chew rings don't end up EVERYWHERE in the house! But we'll see... :)
Crib... This $200 Craigslist purchase was definitely worth the money! I love the colors, the fact that it is solid wood, and the drop down sides. The "skirt" was actually originally going to be a bumper. I bought the material to sew the 'slip cover', was given an old bumper pad from a friend (Thanks Robyn!), had borrowed a friend's sewing machine (Thanks Jenni!) and was all set to sew... when Eric and I decided that the risk of SIDS, however small, wasn't worth the bumper. But I was crushed because I really wanted to sew this matching valance and bumper... now what would make her room cute? I improvised and turned the bumper into a 'skirt' that just goes around the outside of the crib. I think the valance and skirt project turned out pretty great considering I didn't have a pattern. Just measured and went for it! It definitely helped to have friends that are good seamstresses so I could ask how to do certain things like a ruffle. Thanks quilting/sewing group!
"GWEN" Frames... I got these unfinished wood frames at a garage sale for 25 cents each and used some leftover material from the valance/crib skirt project to cover them. Then I had this pattern book for soft baby blocks that I was borrowing from a friend (thanks Michelle!) from which I got the sewing pattern for the elephant and the bee. the other patterns in the book I didn't enjoy as much, so I made up my own for the dragonfly and the frog (which is why they aren't nearly as cute, I'll be the first to admit!). I sewed them on before modgepodging things down. A lil bit of cute string attached with thumb tacks to the back, some 99 cent block letters from Michaels, and "wuahlah"! You've got cute wall decorations!
Well, there you have it. Nursery. Baby. Both cute. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Vacation Adventures and Pics of Gwen

we're back!

First we went to Idaho where Gwen got to meet Grandpa Allan, Uncle E, Aunt J, Uncle C, Uncle B, Aunt E, and cousin E.

Then we had a marvelous Christmas Eve where Gwen got to be the newborn 'child' wrapped in a swaddling 'lady bug blanket' lying in a 'bouncy chair'. Christmas morning she looked adorable too!

During this time her collic also peaked and we were grateful to have so many helping hands eager to hold the crying baby.
We then went down and spent several days in Utah visiting family. Gwen got to meet her Grandpa Hart and Uncle S, Aunt A, and Uncle J at her beautiful baby blessing in Mapleton in her Great Grandpa's ward. Then Monday Eric and the guys had a record pheasant hunt (70 birds. I'm not exaggerating.) while Gwen and I spent the day chilling at my lil sis's apartment with grandma and grandpa... some great pics forthcoming if I can get my mom to email them to me! We were sad to return to Idaho on Tuesday, but excited to embark on the cabin adventure for New Years. And it WAS an adventure... getting the snowmobiles caught in a blizzard during the drive in was definitely a once in a life time adventurous way to spend New Year's Eve! There aren't any pictures because all cameras were safely tucked away from the elements, but
for full details on the adventure, visit Mama Allan's website here:

I'll add that Gwen and I were safe and warm inside the Rhino, but her bottles were chilly and she wouldn't take them... so we spent the last 3 hours with a very hungry, tired, and unhappy baby bawling in my ears. I was also worried about Eric since he had been gone for hours and there was no way I'd ever know if he and Papa Allan had encountered any difficulties. I had visions of snowmobile accidents, injuries, and all of us stranded on a mountain hillside in blizzard conditions without food... I'm honestly surprised that I was able to look at the entire experience without any anxiety. I was trying to think positively and it worked!

the cabin was WONDERFUL, just my kind of vacation! I could live there, seriously. During our stay there Gwen really started to open up with her grins and gives them out freely now!

well, we're home now. I'll try to find time to post some pics this week so ya'll can see how much Gwen has grown! (ALL of these were swiped off Mama Allan's blog... isn't she a great photographer?)