Thursday, December 16, 2010

Irony

I just posted about how happy I am staying at home with my baby. And I am! BUT, the day after I posted my feelings on staying home, I got a call from my old boss saying that someone in our department was going to be on a leave and he wondered if I could come in again at all. Well, here's the thing: we used up almost all of our savings when James was out of work for a little while this fall. So, we could really use the money. Hmmm...

I talked to James right away about it. He had the best advice. He said it was up to me, but that I needed to pray about it. I prayed that if I was supposed to go to work that I would be able to find someone I can trust to watch Lily and that I would feel good about it. If I was unable to find someone, I knew I wasn't supposed to do it.

At first I hit a few roadblocks. But then I called my WONDERFUL neighbor and friend. She felt like the opportunity to make a little money and watch my cute baby was just what her family needed right now!

So, I'm going back to work! It's only part-time and temporary. I'm a little worried because I very likely could miss some of Lily's "firsts," and it breaks my heart to think of not being with her all day, but I do feel like the security of replenishing our savings is worthwhile.

Have any of you gone back to work after staying home? How did you feel?

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

She's a solid front to back roller now! Ahhh! Time to start babyproofing!

video

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Binky

Dear little pink binky,
On day 5 of Lily's life, I saw you and it was love at first sight. You could do things that I could not for my baby, like let her suck on you all night long. You conforted her when I could not. You gave her the sense of security that she craved. You let her chew on you when she started teething. You were even cute and pink.
Here's the thing, though, binky. You are also made of a super bouncy plastic that not only bounces under beds and dressers really well, but also rolls after the bounce. That's not so bad in and of itself. But now, you are also required for my baby to sleep. One little sound will wake up my child and she absolutely CANNOT go back to sleep without you. She truly love you. But it's getting to be sort of an unhealthy love. The crazed look in her eyes below says it all. She's become obsessed with you. What am I going to do with you? I pretty much don't have any choice at this point, so welcome to the family. For better or worse.

Stay at Home



The other day, my neighbor asked if I liked staying home and being a mom. I was surprised because it seems like the acceptable answer is yes, but she said she's known several women who would rather go back to work. When she said that, I really thought about it.

To be completely honest, when I first came home with Lily, I was terrified. I missed working because I knew how to work. I knew a lot about HR and employee benefit programs. I knew how to handle an angry person. I knew how to administer an FSA plan within the IRS guidelines. I liked my boss and my co-workers. I liked having some professionalism in my life. When I came from the hospital, I was thrown into a different world. At one point in my life, I had known a lot about babies and children, but then I went to college and it had been years since I'd been personally responsible for any. I wanted to just go back to work and resume what I'd done before baby Lily. Then, I felt guilty for feeling that way.

I'm extremely happy to report that the solution to that was looking at Lily as a person that I needed to get to know and not a task to complete. Being a mommy is a journey, not a project.

When my neighbor asked if I liked being a mom and staying home, I was glad that I could confidently say YES. I love spending the day being a home maker, and actually making my house a home. I love just staring at my baby's face and smiling at how she's the cutest baby in the entire world. Seeing her grow and learn something as simple as how to pull her feet up makes my whole day. Yesterday she noticed Jack near her and was so interested in the texture of his fur. I just watched in amazement. She brings me such joy.

This post would not be complete without thanking my sweet husband for going to work every day so that I can stay at home and care for our home and baby. James, I know you don't love your work, but I know you love us because you let us stay home to learn and grow. ILY!

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 Wishlist - Malea

1. External Hard Drive. My laptop is bogged down with TONS of pictures and videos and it's silly at this point to leave them to slow me down when technology exists to save them elsewhere! 2. A cordless home phone, like this one, so I can stop using all my cell minutes every month.


3. A Nicole Miller purse, like this. I LOVE the one I have, but it's getting a little beat up.




4. A gift card for amazon.com. I've become a huge fan of amazon. They sell EVERYTHING, and oh do I love free 2-day shipping!
5. My vents cleaned out professionally. I hate that dust is perpetuated by running our heating and air. I bet it's never been done in 35 years of this house collecting dust.



6. A cute winter hat, like this one:

7. A membership to a gym, like Gold's or 24 Hour Fitness.

8. The Graco Pack 'N Play with Bassinet, here.

Wishlist - Lily

These are some items "Lily" would like or needs.

1. Baby cups or bowls with lids. Here we come solids! 2. A highchair or space saving high-chair for all those foods.


3. A diaper pail or trash can with a lid. Again, new foods!

4. Six to twelve month toys, especially teething toys like these.

5. Heavier, non-swaddling soft blankets.

6. Books, books, books! Board books or picture books. She LOVES vibrant pictures. We'd also love some bible story or LDS books.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Solid" Foods!

Yesterday was Lily's 5 month birthday and we decided to get started on baby cereal. Calling this solid food is a stretch. It's 5 parts liquid to 1 part cereal to start. This is her first taste.



Thanks for the bib, Jenn! It was a mess!







Lily loves this stuff! She couldn't get enough!


She's a good eater! Maybe now she'll gain some weight and sleep through the night!

video

Carrot Cake

Due to the high demand for the recipe for the carrot cake I raved about, I thought I would post it!

Thanks, Alisa! (who doesn't read my blog...)



CARROT CAKE

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups corn oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp vanilla
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1 11/3 cups pureed cooked carrots (approx. 6 med. carrots – blender works fine)
¾ cups drained, crushed pineapple (1 20 oz. can)
1 ½ cups raisins coated in 1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2, 10-inch layer cake pans lined with wax paper.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple. Fold in raisins.

Pour batter into pans. Set on middle rack and bake 40-50 minutes or until edges have pulled away from sides and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on rack for 3 hours (or overnight). Fill cake and frost sides with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

8 oz. cream cheese at room temp.
6 tbsp butter at room temp.
3 cups powdered sugar (I sometimes need a bit more)
1 tsp vanilla
juice of ½ lemon (approx. 1 tsp.)

Cream together cream cheese and butter.
Slowly sift in powdered sugar and continue beating until fully mixed. Mixture should be free of lumps. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Marcia's Birthday!

I was in Oklahoma for my sister's birthday. For several years, she has made her own birthday cake. I think that's terrible! Part of a birthday is not having to make a cake. At the least, someone else should buy her a cake. Anyway, so I asked what kind of cake she wanted. She said she had a recipe for a carrot cake and wanted to try it out. Sounds great, right?!

Ha! Carrot cake from scratch is a very complex and involved process. Cook and puree carrots, chop walnuts, coat the raisins in flour, fold in coconut, grease the pans...then there's the cream cheese frosting! It was the most involved cake I've ever made. But, I will definitely do it again. It was AMAZING!



I love Kye's face. He's so handsome.

Hurray for 31 years of life! Happy Birthday, Marcia! Love you!

Hurray for yummy, yummy, yummy cake!

Seriously, people, I will only make this cake, like, once a year, but it makes TONS of cake and it's so good. It keeps well, too. Even better on day two!

Differences

Macie and Lily are very different. After some people read my post about them, they wanted to know how they are different.
Primarily, they are physically totally different. Lily and Macie are about the same length, but Lily is 13 pounds and Macie is 17. Macie has over 3 inches of soft hair and Lily has less than 1/8 cm. Both ladies have the rainbow eyes when they smile. Macie is soft and snuggly and Lily holds herself tight and firm all of the time. She doesn't love to be held too much, while Macie just loves it. Macie is usually hot and Lily is always cold.
Lily rations her smiles. She smiles most when she's well fed and just woke up, but they are pretty reserved. She almost always smiles at daddy. She smiles at most strangers who smile at her. But she smiles at mommy only when we're playing. Macie is the most smily baby I've ever seen. She will smile if someone is simply looking in her general direction. She's just eats up any attention and gives it right back. It's SO fun to have Macie smile at you.


Lily has a sober personality and seems to be a thinker. She looks down a lot and I'm not sure if it's the weight of her head or if she just likes the floor. Macie looks in your eyes and has very expressive eyebrows. If she's not happy, you can tell by her eyes.

Lily plays really well on her own. She can hold her binky and put it in her mouth all by herself. She loves to look at/hold my hand and a simple rattle could keep her happy for a long time. Macie has the advantage of having a little Jester of a brother who dances and plays with her. I think that's one reason she likes to have people with her more.



No matter the differences, they are both so sweet. I hope that despite their differences, they will want to be friends! I hope someday our families will live closer together, but either way I know they will see each other. They have no choice with how much their mommies love each other and their daddies family gets together!

Happy Birthday, James

Happy Birthday to my sweet, loving and handsome honey!

I love you more and more each year. You're an amazing father. You try so hard to pretend that you're a toughy, but I love how you adore our Lily. She has brought out another side of you that has made me fall even more in love with you.


Thanks, love for EVERYthing you did this past few weeks that I've been gone. You have really been a hero in serving those around you. I know you were appreciated. I really feel proud to say you're mine and I truly see your desire to be Christ-like in your actions.


Even though you seem totally anti-social and grumpy to some people, I know the real you. You have a heart of gold. You are my best friend. I love you! Happy 29th!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Video love for daddies and grandparents

For our daddies so far away!

video

video

Macie and Lily

There are some major perks to having a cousin who is so close to you in age. Lily (ok, mommy)particularly likes that she can borrow Macie's cute clothes!



This outfit is adorable, but the hat is too little and without hair she looks like she's sick or something. We also love trying out the Bumbo chair. Lily can sit up and see what's going on!


Another perk is having someone warm and your size to cuddle up with before bed.




Saturday, November 13, 2010

In Memorium

Today was the funeral of a wonderful person who will be missed on this earth, but who had fulfilled her earthly calling and moved on to a happier place. I know that sounds cheesy, but I 100% believe it's true.

Marie Jeppson was the mother of my friend Olivia and my second mother for a solid 6 years of my life. I'm broken-hearted that I'm in Oklahoma and missed formally saying goodbye, but I'm thinking of her today. She died too young, but I know that she is happy where she is now.

My favorite memories include her waking us up in the morning after sleepovers (when we had somewhere to be) by clapping. I would always die laughing about it, in retrospect. At the time, it scared me to death! I will also never forget the millions of times we went to Taco Bell or McDonald's and she paid for me out of her hard-earned money. She never complained. With all of the day-to-day kindnesses, I could go on for pages. But I'll just mention my most treasured memory of her - and that is the night I had my first kiss. I left Olivia's for a few minutes to walk a boy (that I very much liked) to his house a block away and when I came back, MARIE totally called me out on it! She said, "Oh, you've been kissed!" I'll never forget feeling so excited and chagrined that she could tell! She was so pleased to see me happy and I remember feeling like she loved me.

More recently, Marie had struggled with her health, but she was an angel at heart. She was long-suffering and happy despite all of her ills. She loved her grand-children, and most of all she loved her only daughter, Olivia.
We will miss you, Marie. Thanks for being who you were, and thanks for raising a daughter who parallels you in charity, compassion and service.

Ooooooooooooooklahoma, where the...

Lily and I are visiting the fine state of Oklahoma to hang out with my sister Marcia and her two kids, Kye and Macie.

Macie and Lily are 17 days apart and it's so fun to see the differences and similarities. These two girls have the same genetics because their moms are sisters and their dads are brothers. Yet, they couldn't look more different!



More fun pictures to come!