Sunday, March 29, 2009

On the Treatment of Cabin Fever....

Anyone out there familiar with Muppet Treasure Island? It is one of my favorites. For those of you who don't know, there're a part in the movie when they're on the boat and the wind stops blowing. They begin to go stir crazy until one sailor declares he has the madness - cabin fever- then they all do and are bursting into song about how crazy they are since they're not going anywhere. So as I noticed the madness was setting in and winter was not about to let go of us in Spokane (it's snowing again today), the girls and I busted out of our apartment and went for a lovely hike about 5 miles away from our house. I was so excited to see some flowers! Thank goodness this was all on the West side of a hill or it would have been a slushy mess. Pele was so good on our first jaunt I decided to try her off the leash like at the dog park. That was smart of me. Well, she took off and it was VERY steep hill the trail was running horizontally across and I was not about to chase after her with Kate strapped to me. Don't know if I would have even without Kate. So I just kept calling to her as I started walking since I couldn't even see her anymore and eventually she came running back up the hill. She was so tired by the time she got close to me I was worried she'd hurt herself she was moving so slow. But, alas, she survived.

I don't think she'll be off the leash there again any time soon. But she's sure happy to go out with us on these little jaunts anyway. This picture of the trail is not what the hill looked like, but I thought it was a pretty.
Beyond our random hiking, the other things we've been doing to keep the cabin fever at bay are a little silly. For anyone who doesn't know, I worked at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2001 in Orlando Florida teaching kids about bugs. I also got to help with parade crowd control every day. Well, I'm not a huge parade fan, but the music to this is FABULOUS and I still have a CD of it. So every now and then we pop in Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade and have a little dance party - complete with parade dance moves - and sing along. What can I say? Disney makes me happy. If I knew how to put that song on the blog so people could enjoy it to or just laugh at my silliness, I would. I try to spare Jeremy the overkill, and right now Katie Lou enjoys it. Pele just looks at us and waits for the baby to puke.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Would You, Could You......

What a week we've had. Beside figuring out all of our bank account stuff, trying to find a mortgage company in New Hampshire, and making sure that nothing else has happened with our identity, someone broke into our garage Friday night, got into our car, and stole my phone charger and our IPod. Could have been worse. We went to the temple Saturday afternoon and it was nice to sit there with Jeremy and realize how blessed we are. I read in Matt 10:28, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body..." As I thought about this, sitting with Jeremy, I realized that we will always have our family, and no matter what happens, nothing can take that away from us. The things we should be worried about are the things that would destroy our family (selfishness, pride, coveting, etc). So we can handle this identity theft stuff now that we have a better perspective. It's not eternally damaging to our family and we will be just fine.

She's so dirty, we figure she needs a good washing!
She keeps trying to grab the water now that she can sit up in the tub.

Baby Mozart! Not really, but Kate and I do have a lot of fun banging on the piano. Sometimes she even lets me play a real song and sing, then she looks up at me and squeals.

Here's our little moo-cow. (OK, we're way proud parents.)

Would you, could you in a house? Would you, could you with a mouse? Happy St. Patrick's Day! We had to celebrate with green eggs and ham.

OK, green eggs and bacon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Winter and Banana Bread

I know a lot of people don't say this, but I love the winter. Don't get me wrong - I'm also crawling with cabin fever for warmer weather and the chance to play in the sun without 5 layers of clothes on - but there is something about the snow falling that is so quiet, magical, and forlorn (I don't know if that's the word I mean, but something along the lines of a peaceful sadness?). So it snowed here again (not too much) and has been well below freezing for the last few days, even with the sun shining all day. Maybe I get the chance to enjoy the snow a little more because Pele LOVES it!
This is a picture of her making friends at the dog park. When there's snow on the ground this dog thinks it's heaven! She can't wait to be outside and once she is, all she wants to do is run! She is so happy and full of energy that it helps me to love the snow. But the snow also reminds me of a song a friend introduced me to a few years ago. It's called "Winter," by Tori Amos. The song is so hauntingly beautiful, talking about a little girl and her father and how he wants her to learn to love herself enough that when he can no longer be there she will still be happy and brave. So I always think about that when I see the sun sparkling off of new snow. It makes me think of my relationship with Heavenly Father and that part of developing faith in this life is learning how to love and be happy, even when it feels like he's not right beside us or we hit a spell of winter in our lives or things are just hard.
Which leads me into the next theme of this entry. Jeremy and I have had a rough last couple of weeks. So he's on nights right now, meaning he works from 5:30pm till 7:00am and gets home about 7:30. Now, that's not too bad, except the fact that someone has found a way to get into our bank accounts. You have to fix problems like that during business hours, when he needs to sleep. And I can't do all of it on my own because he has to be there to open the bank account as well and we've been doing some tag-teaming to talk to all the other people we had to. We thought we got it all cleared up by closing our account, opening a new one, and re-doing any of our on-line billing accounts. Someone got into the new account. Each time it was a different online financial group that made 2 miniscule deposits, then began withdrawing once the deposits cleared. CREEPY! So we're a little concerned now about identity theft and I have never been put on hold so much in my life as I've called everyone from the bank, to the police, the county attorney, the FBI, the different credit agencies that run the credit reports, our internet provider, our router provider, the online companies that had the account info (Allied Wallet and OnBank - sketchy!), and, once again, any company we'd set up online bill pay with. So we have to open a new account again tomorrow, which is semi-silly since we'll do it again in four months once we get to New Hampshire. And we're trying to apply for a home loan amidst all of this. Ha, ha. In between being put on hold, I noticed our bananas were a little brown so I made banana bread today. Or tried to.
I swear I greased the pan. But for whatever reason, it decided to come out in pieces. However, before I cried in frustration, I tasted it and laughed. It tasted great. So it looks like the dog chewed on it first - so what? It still tastes good. So this had me thinking about everything that's going on and realize a few things. So nothing is perfect with all of our efforts to be in good financial shape so we can buy a home. But there are some very good things. 1-The fraud was only caught because Jeremy is so meticulous with our finances. He's so good at making sure everything's in order he caught these people before things went too south for us. Bless his sleepy head. 2-As crazy as all of this is, life is still good for us. Jeremy has a reliable job, I'm able to stay home, Kate's been healthy all winter long, we have food, hot water, and a warm house - things really are very good if we remember what matter's most. 3-The very good thing about all of this is it helps you realize how little control you have in life sometimes and it drives you to your knees to help you remember how much you depend on God for your very existence. We need His help so much, sometimes you forget and begin to think it's all your hard work if you don't get a wrench thrown in the works now and again. It's a blessing to be taught to be humble.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fun Thoughts

So my cousin, Michele tagged me with this which I think means I'm supposed to fill it out too. I might have to think about some of these:

8 Favorite TV shows: (I'll have to change it to movies and books because I don't like the TV anymore)
1. Mulan (go figure)
2. Mary Poppins (just got it from the Disney movie club, it makes me laugh)
3. Chronicles of Narnia series (I read them to Kate while I'm feeding her)
4. Twilight (I don't want to admit how many times I've read the series, but it gets a little boring just sitting still 6 times a day while I'm feeding her with Jeremy gone.)
5. Alvin and the Chipmunks Great Adventure (it's with a hot air balloon around the world, I love it!)
6. Outdoor Leadership (a book from a class my freshman year of college, also a good read while I feed Kate).
7. Muppet Treasure Island (LOVE IT).
8. Marely and Me (both the movie and the book were AWESOME)

8 Things I did Yesterday (I'm going to include Friday also):
1. Jeremy and I practiced our Salsa at home (dressed up and everything) since our babysitter forgot about us and we missed our class.
2. Jeremy and I took Kate and Pele to the dog park (we didn't let Kate off her leash - just kidding, we held her the whole time).
3. Made a beef round roast in the crock pot. First time for me to mess with a big chunk of meat.
4. Worked out.
5. Boiled carrots and yams to make baby food (sounds so simple, takes me forever).
6. Prepared a lesson for church today.
7. Read books and sang to Kate.
8. Looked at more houses in NH (online).

8 Things I look Forward to:
1. Jeremy being home at night.
2. Fresh salads for dinner.
3. Weather warm enough to not have to wrap Kate in a cocoon to go for a walk with Pele in the morning.
4. Autumn.
5. Phone calls and emails from friends and family.
6. Being able to take hikes and go camping with Jeremy and Kate.
7. Being done buying houses and moving (so...maybe in 10 years?)
8. Exercise

8 Favorite Restaurants: (This is tricky since I don't like to eat out much)
1. The Blue Plate Diner (in Sugar House in Salt Lake)
2. P.F. Chang's
3. My mom's food.
4. Mine and Jeremy's food.
5. My friend Jessica Rigby's food.
6. Great Harvest Bread
I don't know if there's really other food out there, oh wait...
7. Ben and Jerry's (the factory's only 1 hour away from Dartmouth!)
8. Coldstone Creamery

8 Things on Wish List:
1. To go to Burn Camp again.
2. Go to Alaska.
3. Save Driggs and Tetonia, Idaho from a hostile takeover of condos and other over-priced facilities.
4. Climb the Grand Teton.
5. See all 50 states (only Alaska, Georgia, North, and South Carolina left!)
6. Write enough songs on the guitar to make a CD.
7. Somehow live all over the country and stay super close to family.
8. Save the World.

I would like to add to this list -
8 Things that make me Happy:
1. My loving Honey (that's my husband).
2. Katie Lou learning and growing and smiling and laughing.
3. Good, long talks with friends and family.
4. Working at the Burn Unit and Shriners (well, not anymore, but I miss it).
5. Singing with people.
6. Dancing - even if it's by myself to the radio or in the car.
7. Fresh fruit and veggies with good cheese (how could you NOT love these?)
8. Stars, rivers, mountains, trees, and the sky.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do to "tag" people with this, but it's fun to do.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Pictures

Dinner brings out deep thoughts in all of us.

Katie Bug and I getting ready for the ward chili cook-off.

We have graduated from the sink to the tub and we have to fight to keep her from drinking the tub water and attacking the drain.

This is baby sign language at its' best. Since Jeremy and I pick her up by her clothes all the time, this has become her way of asking us to pick her up now. Any time she wants to be held she holds her shirt out to us and squaks.

Peas seem to be the least capable of staying in her mouth. She tends to smear them everywhere and before we're done they're in her eyebrows, eyes, ears, and hair, and she's sneezing them out before the night's over.

So I cut my hair this week. This is the before picture.

This is after. I couldn't get the wind-blown, airbrushed touches added, but I think my smile is bigger.

Rocking out with the girls. She loves Shakira, Indigo Girls, and the Dixie Chicks. I'm still trying to sell her on John Denver. Pele doesn't care, as long as she can catch any runnaway throw-up.

This is where I stick the Bug if I need a few minutes to get ready for the day and Pele wants to be off duty.

I'm trying to break her in early. With Dr. Dad and Nurse Mom, she's kind of a little guinea pig for us. Really, we just like listening to her because it's fun.
Look! She's starting to sit up on her own!

This is one of our favorite things - she's laughing and smiling!

The girl's a little book-worm. She loves to hold books and look at them. We have fun reading to her.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

There's Always a Choice

I read something this last week that said anger is always a choice. No one "makes you angry," and "losing your temper" is also a deceiving phrase because it suggests there is no element of control when it comes to a temper. You can just "lose it." The mini lesson ended by challenging you to make the commitment "I will never get angry again." It was a lesson in a church manual for strengthening marriages and families and it caught me up short as I realized how impatient I can be and how quick I can get upset. Example A: Katie bug loves to wake up sometime at or before 6:00 am for her first feeding. So I try to feed her, eat breakfast, and walk the dog before Jeremy has to leave so I don't have to walk Katie in her stroller over the ice and snow still on the road and sidewalks. Sounds easy enough. I like to read my scriptures with breakfast so I get it done first thing in mornings. Well, sometimes Kate starts fussing, then crying, if I'm not holding her while I'm trying to eat and read (which is really fun when she starts to assist me with my cereal and scripture page turning), and then Pele starts howling at me and pawing me because she's ready to go on her walk. It's actually nice to have two souls so clamouring for your attention, nice to know you're so loved and needed, but some mornings it makes me crazy and I'm snapping at both of them because I couldn't even finish three verses. That's a little counter-productive when part of the scripture reading purpose is to help you feel a spirit of peace. And if I get upset that quickly first thing in the morning, you can imagine how the rest of the day goes. So back to this anger is a choice bit (my parents used to say that to me all the time, come to think of it). I have really been working on that this last week, choosing not to get angry, or even just being so impatient about the little things. President Monson's talk about joy in the journey plays into some of this when he talks about how you'll miss the piles of laundry and toys scattered everywhere. These moments do not last, and I think too often I wish them away by not appreciating what's going on. I can focus too much on tasks and checklists instead of life. Not being angry or frustrated, enjoying who and what I have around me, being happy, it's all a choice.
I also read a talk by Elder Scott from last April's conference and he mentions the choice of having a child-like faith in the Savior. That also made me think. Why not choose to believe? I'm so much happier when I do. Everything in this world tries to take you away from eternal truths by giving you temporary half-truths that cloud your vision of what eternally matters. It's easy to believe in a vague form of a supernal being, but to have faith in a Father in Heaven who sent us a personal Savior to pay the price for all of our mistakes, wrongdoings, even our heartaches sets you on a whole different course in life. It takes a child-like faith to continually follow and believe that. Not following blindly, but in loving faith that by following the counsels of God, He will bring you peace and joy in this life and the next. It's almost too simple to swallow in our intellectual, pain filled world. But that doesn't mean it's not true. So it comes down to a choice. Do I choose to have faith in a Savior? Do I choose to live as I believe? Do I choose to be angry, impatient, or frustrated? Or do I choose to be forgiving, patient, and look for the blessings around me? Then the real question, which choice would make me a happier person? To suddenly realize how many little choices I make daily that shape who I am and if I am happy or not is somewhat liberating. It's no longer circumstance or experience that determine my level of happiness. It's my response to those.