Sunday, November 17, 2013

I have such a wonderful husband!

Who is this hottie? Dang, call me... :)

I know TJ really doesn't like these kinds of public displays of mushy love stuff, but I just can't help myself today. Plus, since I've privatized the blog, I don't have very many readers and all those who do read my blog know and love TJ as it is. :) I don't think he'll mind as much. He never really reads my blog anyway, unless I mention I updated it. I mean, he doesn't have to - he lives it, right? :)

TJ is just the best. And I'm not saying that in a "he's sooo much better than your husband" kind of way - not at all. It's just a simple fact that TJ is the absolute best person in the world for me to have married. He's already so fantastic, funny, and kind - I have yet to meet someone who doesn't instantly like him. On top of all that, he's such a perfect match for me in so many ways. I am so glad the Lord brought us together, because He knew what He was doing. Here are the main reasons I love TJ and think the world of him:

1. TJ is humble, and by humble I mean truly humble. He never brags about himself - either blatantly or subtly. He lets you figure out how awesome he is just by talking to him. I remember back in my single years dating a lot of guys who felt the need to drop big hints at how great they were. For example, they would say things like, "I mean, I got a full ride scholarship to UVU, but since I was president of my high school class and captain of the football team, I got high recommendations to go to BYU from my many friends and female admirers, plus my parents agreed to pay for my tuition because of my 4.0 GPA." Or, better yet, "You know, people just don't understand how generous I am. I mean, I donate to charity, like, all the time, and no one ever realizes!" Hey guys, you're not subtle when you do that - just FYI. :)
Not TJ, though. I remember finding him so approachable and unassuming at first, I was disarmed when I learned (second-hand, by the way) that he was a really fantastic student with a ton of discipline. I learned things as our friendship went along that continually impressed me, and he never blatantly said anything. I discovered these things as time went by from friends or just from my own probing questions. It really knocked me off my feet.

2. TJ is a very, very hard worker. He doesn't do things half-baked; TJ will make sure the job is done 100% to his standard of excellence. He sets the bar very high for himself and doesn't take shortcuts - something I often do that gets me into trouble later. This was another appealing quality to me. He works very hard and would do anything to sustain us as a family. What a wonderful provider he is to us. :) I have learned so much from his example and have noticed his great traits of hard work rubbing off on me. He loves to get a full day of efficient work in and likes to feel productive. Again, I've learned a lot from this and have tried to adopt this attitude into my day - though I still am pretty darn comfortable spending an entire day doing nothing but reading and eating. :)

3. TJ is so funny. We're four years into our eternal companionship and he still makes me genuinely laugh every single day. I always knew I would be married to someone who makes me laugh because I love to laugh myself! I wouldn't say I am a funny person, but I do have a sense of humor and love to joke about the lighter side of life. TJ just has a way about him that makes me smile. He makes everyone laugh, truth be told. He has a real gift for humor and can make anyone lighten up in an instant. It's a gift I hope our children get! How fun to have a whole houseful of TJs making me laugh every day.

4. TJ is compassionate and kind. No matter what kind of day I have had, TJ can make it all better just by giving me a hug and a few words of reassurance. He is good for me in that he helps me see the brighter side of things and keeps me positive when things are hard. When I am sad or discouraged, it ruins his day because he truly shares my burdens and feels my pain right along with me. This is why he spends so much time trying to make me laugh and smile! It makes him happy, too. He just wants everyone to be happy. 

5. TJ's spirit just shines. I remember having a meeting with my old bishop at Belmont when I was RS President in my singles ward there. This occurred well before TJ and I ever began dating. He was discussing with me the effect the light of Christ has on those who have an abundance of the spirit. He mentioned only two or three people in the ward whose eyes shone with that light - and TJ was one of them. It is so true. TJ's eyes just shine with love, kindness, and humor. He has a pure heart and only wants the best for people. He is so willing to let someone else take center stage and applaud their successes without any trace of resentment. This is such a gift and an example to me. 

6. TJ is a wonderful father. The highlight of his day is seeing Calvin race to the door to greet him after coming home from work. He will often call me on his way home and beg me to keep Calvin up a little bit longer so he can see him before he goes to bed. TJ is more than willing to wake up early with Calvin so I can sleep in, and I usually hear them giggling and playing through our bedroom door. It makes me smile! I also love watching TJ go get Calvin from my baby monitor because he does it in the most fun, cute way imaginable. He'll sometimes sneak in and crawl up to his crib, or he'll sometimes burst in and say, "Hiiiiii buddy!!!" Calvin jumps up and down in his crib with excitement when dad comes to play. TJ can make Calvin laugh just by looking at him funny. It's adorable. No matter how stressful, horrible, and tiring TJ's day has been, he comes home just as happy as any other day and I love him for that.

There are many more things I could say, and perhaps this post will need a part two, but I just couldn't resist writing a few of these things down today. My heart is so full and I am so grateful to have my cutie. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Calvin at 13 Months and Random Photos

Calvin has learned and grown so much in the last month, I can hardly believe it! He is the cutest thing. We love playing with him and watching him grow every day. He is learning to walk and can take about 7 steps before falling down. He is finally getting some teeth in, although for now I can only feel bumps where the teeth are pushing through. I read that some babies have more collagen in their gums and it just takes more time for the teeth to push through. He is transitioning to one nap each day, although right now we do switch from two naps to one nap every other day. He is waking up early now that daylight savings has left us, so that's fun... or not. But I know that he will slowly adjust to it as time goes on. :) 

He is starting to show signs of being a picky eater, something I am not excited about. He won't touch vegetables unless I mask them with something else. TJ and I usually just leave him in his high chair until all the veggies are gone, and this helps him get the picture. :) I want to take steps now to avoid pickiness later. If you hide the veggies in yogurt (ew!), mashed potatoes, or bread, he will eat them fine. He is more hesitant when they are presented in their raw form. Still, we make sure he eats most of them before mealtime is over. He and I are also practicing sitting still. Each day, we spend about 10 minutes just sitting - he sits on my lap. He can play with a quiet toy or book and we just sit! He will always fuss, but I hold him in my lap until the time is over. I am trying to get him used to sitting in my lap for long periods of time because I am getting really tired of what happens at church. He will fuss and want to move around or play, and one of us has to take him out. If we do take him out, though, I'm trying to not make it a reward and let him crawl everywhere. TJ or I will just hold him in our laps until he calms down. This is a new thing for us right now, and we are all still getting used to it. It's not easy, but hopefully in the end it will result in a child who can sit still! Calvin is my guinea pig. :) Who knows if this will work? We shall see. I just need him to be able to obey me and sit for periods of time because we don't have a lot of people nearby to babysit on a regular basis if I need to go to the doctor or something. I really don't want to have to always chase him around everywhere we go, so I am trying to take steps now to prevent that. I probably sound super crazy... I know! But I am a psychologist at heart and am going to see if behavioral conditioning really works. :) 

He is a happy, sweet baby though. He can clap and point and wave now, and if you say "hi" he will smile and wave at you. If you say "yay!" he will clap. He knows how to unlock our iPhones and iPad, little smartie pants. He can put the shaped blocks in the right holes in the container if I help him. Every day, after his independent playtime is over, we sing the cleanup song and he helps me put all his toys back. He's getting pretty good at it! He is good at picking up the toy and putting it back in the bag. I try to make it fun and give him lots and lots of praise when he does it. I have found that he responds very well to positive praise. It's so sweet to see his face light up when we celebrate his achievements. I think I read somewhere that you should give 10 positives for every correction, and I try to do that with him. I fail sometimes, but I have it in my mind to praise often. He knows the word "no" but is constantly testing his limits. I think pretty soon I need to establish a "time out" chair or box or something... but that's a little farther down the road. 

He loves anything to do with appliances, wheels, tubes, doors, cords, etc. He is bored with his toys and wants to touch anything else. He loves to just crawl around and explore; it's his favorite thing to do. He will crawl around the living room and kitchen and just make his rounds. :) He is happiest when he is free to roam. He isn't showing signs of being attached to any particular toy, but he seems to be fond of his "standing station" play area and walker. He loves to bonk his head against your face - what it means is he wants kisses. :) He'll keep bonking his forehead against your mouth until he's gotten enough kisses to satisfy him. It's really adorable. He will giggle every time we do this. He loves to be spun around in circles and laughs every time. He is very ticklish and will always laugh when you pinch his thighs or tummy or ribs. I love hearing his little laugh! He likes to read with you and turn the pages as you go. He loves Blue's Clues and we watch it together sometimes while he sits in my lap. But what he loves even MORE than Blue's Clues is America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country! He will sit with me quietly the whole time it's on and watch it very intently. A future chef in the making!! :) I know the guidelines for babies are to not have any screen time before 2 years old, so it is rare that we watch shows. If we do, it's one 22 minute show for the whole day and that's it. Still, now that I'm pregnant, I have really bad days of sickness and need a distraction for Calvin while I lie down and try to recover. The TV can be a nice distraction sometimes! Don't judge me :)

See? He loves appliances. He could watch the clothes go all day.

Storytime at the library!

We did storytime at the library a couple weeks back and he did well! He ditched all the toys, as you can see, and went straight for the metal grate in the floor. Haha! He couldn't care less about toys. He'll pick an appliance, keyhole, gear, or knob every single time.

He's always so happy to see me after independent playtime. :)

We made our annual trip to Cornbelly's in October. I just love that place! It's so fun and is a great tradition for our family. Calvin really seemed to enjoy himself. :)

16 weeks in! Blah. It's been rough. This baby doesn't seem to want me to eat. And I've been getting migraines again and can't take anything for them... which means pure misery until it's over. I am going to ask my doctor for something to help with the migraines. I can't afford to be out of commission when I have a baby to take care of! When I get a bad one, it makes me very nauseated and I throw up most of the day. One particular day last week, I woke up at 3 am with a bad migraine and threw up twice before 6 am. I sobbed when TJ left for work because I felt so awful, and I didn't eat anything the entire day because I was even throwing up the water I was drinking. It was horrible!! It didn't go away until late that night. I was able to cram some food in me before the end of the day, luckily, because I was really light-headed and dizzy after that awful headache. Anyway, not to moan and groan about it all - I hate to be a big fat complainer. It was just a really rough day. I hope the doctor has something that will help!

Hooray for Halloween! Here are our pumpkins. Pretty impressive, huh?? TJ and I get competitive with each other. I think his Justin Bieber pumpkin wins. :)

I did a haunted house. Hopefully, that is apparent. :)

Cute little monkey! Calvin kept crying in his dragon costume, so we switched last minute to this one. I got it at Kid to Kid for $5... not bad!

Sleepy little man on our walk the other day. When we try to do one nap during the day, he gets drowsy on our morning walk. I woke him up shortly after this... mean mommy! I just knew it'd ruin his nap if I didn't. :)

Calvin playing with his church buddy Gavin. We teach the 5-year-olds in primary and it's so fun. Calvin can just crawl around and make friends with everyone. The kids really love him.

Who's that chunky cutie after bath time?? :) 

Now that Calvin is a little older, it's so much more fun to interact and play with him. He's so cute! We can play chase, we can practice things, we can go exploring and run errands - he seems to enjoy it all. He just wants to see the world and figure it all out! We love this little man of ours!

Log Haven

TJ and I recently had the opportunity to go on a nice date - and I'm not talking about the kind of "nice date" TJ would probably consider an evening at Chili's or Applebee's. :) I've been earning some decent money with my side business, Premier Web Content. For those that may be interested, I help people write articles or content for their sites and provide relevant images/logos. I also help with setting up the site, adding pages, menus, etc (only the basics though). Anyway, since this is money that is not factored into the budget and is just "fun money" (for eating out, holidays, trips, clothing, etc), I got to pick the restaurant. Yay! Our dear friend, Rachel, babysat for us while TJ and I enjoyed a night out on the town.

The restaurant we chose was Log Haven. I had been there before and had remembered it as somewhere I had enjoyed. It is really beautiful and super classy, and it has a spectacular view of twinkling lights and a waterfall if you get a good spot. It's way up Millcreek Canyon, so it's also tucked away to give it a romantic feeling. When we walked in, they greeted us graciously and said we could "warm ourselves by the fire while our table was being prepared". Fun! We sat in some comfy couches next to a blazing fire and soaked in the cozy atmosphere. We were seated at a table that looked out over a waterfall in the canyon and it was really lovely. Candles lit the tables and twinkling lights were strung all around the beams and logs that adorned the interior of the restaurant. We ordered some really delicious drinks and appetizers - Shirley Temples and house-made chips with fontina, white truffles, pork belly, and chantrelle mushrooms. Mmmmm! So so so good. I am a sucker for truffles. TJ got an avocado, arugula, and puffed quinoa salad with lemon vinaigrette which was fresh and really delicious. For our entrees, TJ got the T-bone steak with pomme frites and balsamic glazed brussels sprouts. I got the crispy-skinned trout with miso butter and fried sesame soba noodles and it was truly spectacular. Both our meals were delicious! For dessert, we got the chilled coconut souffle with candied macadamia nuts and pineapple caramel. Oh my heavens... so good. I hadn't eaten this well in a long time, and it was truly a treat. We never, EVER eat out like this, so when we do, we go all out! It was so fun. I had a blast.

Unfortunately, it was such a classy place, I felt awkward pulling out my phone and taking pictures. :( Therefore, I don't have any to post here. Sorry! I tried to make my descriptions accurate enough to give you a good picture in your mind. :) After dinner, TJ and I went to see the Sarotov Approach, which was really good and very moving. We both loved it and couldn't believe how faithful the missionaries had been during that horrible ordeal! Go see it if you haven't!

All in all, it was so nice to get away for a night and enjoy an especially elegant date. I had so much fun. Sometimes, as a mom, you forget what it feels like to be a woman. It was nice to go all-out getting ready and feel pretty for my cute husband. I'm so glad Rachel gave us this opportunity. I love you, Rach! And I'm so grateful we had the means to go out and not break the bank. It's fun doing little side projects to earn money to do these kinds of things and not feel like it's hitting our budget. Yay for fun money! :)

Calvin's First Steps

I made a little montage of Calvin's first steps using an app on my iPhone. It is supposed to look 8mm and grainy :) So don't adjust your monitor. I am so happy he is walking! It is SUCH a fun stage and one that I have been looking forward to for quite some time.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Calvin's First Birthday

Calvin celebrated his first birthday a few weeks ago on September 21. I cannot believe he is already one! We had a really fun birthday celebration. Melissa and Anna drove all the way down from Bear Lake to join us on Calvin's special day! They spoiled him with presents and were as sweet as can be. Calvin sure loves his Aunt Melissa and cousin Anna! Calvin is NOT a cuddly baby - at least not with me. But when Melissa holds him, watch out. This boy is cuddling up a storm. I am jealous! She must have the magic touch. :)

In the morning, we made peaches and cream waffles with the AMAZING peaches Melissa brought us from Brigham City on her way down to see us. They were the juiciest, sweetest peaches I've ever eaten in my life. The entire box was gone in less than 4 days! 

Calvin LOVED his special birthday breakfast. Although his expression is stony. You'll just have to believe me. :)

I did a Calvin and Hobbes theme for Calvin's birthday (naturally) and made dark chocolate ganache cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream. So good, if I don't say so myself. :) I printed off little pictures of Calvin and Hobbes and had fun coloring each one I put on the cupcakes. 

Calvin got his own special cake to eat on his special day. He didn't quite know what to do with it! He ate off all the raspberries first and then dug into the chocolate cake after a little coaxing. He loves fresh fruit, so I understand. :) 

Happy birthday to my sweet, adorable, handsome, cute, kissable little man! I love him more than words can say. He is so special and such a joy in my life. 

As far as Calvin's milesetones go, he is still VERY close to walking but is not quite there yet. He can roll the ball to me and can now point and clap and sign "more" and "food" (kind of). TJ taught him how to rub his finger against his lips and go "bu bu bu bu bu" and Calvin will do that if you ask him. He eats very well, though he's shown signs of not liking certain foods and it makes me worried he's going to become a picky eater. I need to prevent this! I think I need to vary his diet a little more - we tend to have the same things on hand each day, which means he eats a pretty simple diet (oranges, raspberries, wheat bread, string cheese, yogurt, grapes, avocado, turkey, etc). Boring! I need to spice it up. He understands the word "no" and listens to me about 1/2 the time when I say it. I think that's pretty good for 1 year. :) He LOVES his baths and taking showers with either me or TJ. He sleeps great and still is rocking two naps a day most days. His bedtime is still at 6:30pm and he wakes up between 6-6:30am each day. He hates hates HATES getting his diaper changed or getting his pajamas put on. He hates corn and tomatoes. He still has no teeth, though I think I feel two little bumps on his lower gums where the first teeth will be coming in soon. He doesn't like to sit in the grocery cart seat at the store and will scream until I hold him. I think he gets scared in the store. Calvin has very little interest in his toys right now and would much rather crawl around the house and explore. He needs a lot of new stimulation and gets tired of his old toys very easily. We still do independent playtime every day in his pack 'n play and he will play in there for about 45-50 minutes every morning. I think it is helping him learn to play on his own and to learn patience. He loves to read with you and will turn the pages when you ask him. We read scriptures every morning while he has his cup of almond milk. He is completely weaned from the bottle and drinks only out of a straw sippy cup with Elmo on it. The doctor says he is right on track with all his milestones. :)

In other news...
TJ and I are expecting another baby! It's sooo crazy to think I'm going to go through this whole adventure of pregnancy all over again. Yikes... I'm not sure how I feel about it just yet. The morning sickness is finally subsiding and was pretty brutal this go-around. It made it hard to get excited. Now that I'm feeling a little better, I'm able to embrace this new baby and gear up for what is coming! It really hit me for the first time when I saw the ultrasound. You can clearly see the baby's profile and it's completely surreal that an actual baby is in there. I am 13 weeks pregnant and so far, everything with the baby looks fantastic. I have an amazing new doctor who is compassionate, kind, and ready to "go with the flow" - something I am going to be better about doing this time around. I have a good chance of having a VBAC, which is something I really want. While a c-section wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, I would rather not go through it again if I can help it. I know better than to make such a detailed birth plan this time around. If a c-section ends up happening because the baby is in distress again, I'll do it. Calvin wouldn't be here if I didn't have a c-section (read his story here in case you forgot). I am grateful for medical technology and the lives it saves. 

Bumpin' it up already! Here we go... 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Calvin at 11 months and Family Photos!

I can't believe Calvin is almost a year old... The past 11 months have gone by both quickly and slowly. I'm always looking forward to Calvin's milestones and am constantly on the lookout for the next one. He is just too cute though, isn't he?? We had our professional family photos done this summer and I couldn't be happier with the results. We used the same photographer we had for our wedding and I knew she would do just as good of a job the second time around. She was in Utah for a week and carved out a half hour to take our pictures in Alpine. 

Calvin is doing great! Here are a few updates about his growth and development.

- I still don't know his measurements, but I'll include them in his one year post after our doctor's checkup. He is still a pretty small kid, though. He fits in 6-9 month clothing and some 12 month clothing. He is a short little guy, but he works it! 

- He is getting closer to walking but isn't quite there yet. He walks with a rolling walker and cruises everywhere. Sometimes he will hold on to something with just one hand and he balances great. I practice walking with him by holding just one of his hands and encouraging him forward. He gets a big kick out of each little step he takes. He's getting more and more mobile every day and can get into any cupboard, drawer, toilet, and garbage can in our house. 

- He loves to explore. He will ignore his toys and just crawls everywhere and anywhere. He especially loves playing with our blinds, looking out the window, or sifting through our refrigerator. If the refrigerator is open at all, and he sees it, he will drop whatever he is doing and race toward it as fast as his chubby little hands and knees can carry him. It's really cute. Lately, we have been playing with a little tennis ball and have practiced rolling it back and forth to each other. He's not super coordinated with it yet, but he has fun trying. :) Most of the time, he gets it rolling back to me - he's just very creative about how he gets it there. 

- You can't hide anything from him. He will find it. He's learning more and more object permanence every day and seems to have a better memory all the time.

- He's become more clingy with me lately, and to be honest I really like it. For so long, he showed no separation anxiety, and this made me nervous that he didn't really like me! Now, he is constantly crawling up to me and grabbing my pants, indicating he wants to be carried. Sometimes he just wants to check in with me for a second before going off to play again. At the grocery store, he doesn't want to be in the front baby seat and instead will whine and grab at my shirt until I carry him. I would be annoyed if I didn't find it so endearing. 

- He knows when daddy is coming home and crawls at light speed to greet him! This is TJ's favorite part of the day. It's soooo cute! If TJ isn't home and I say, "Calvin, daddy's coming!" he will look around the room toward the garage door where TJ usually enters. He knows his daddy and he LOVES him. Who doesn't? :) He says "mamamama" when he is upset, and I think he knows it means he wants me. He says "babababa" when he wants his bottle or food.

- He is a human vacuum cleaner. This kid will find any scrap of food (or non-food) and eat it so fast I can barely catch him! He loves to eat normal foods. He eats three meals a day with three bottles. I've been working on weening the bottle from him and it's been a little rough. We have a couple sippys that he seems to like, but he will only take 1/5 of what he usually does with the bottle. Surprisingly, he seems to do best with just a cup and a straw! He is always seeing me drink out of my St. Mark's water bottle (best bottle ever!) and he would copy me and drink out of it when I wasn't looking. He became adept at drinking from a straw this way. He drank 3 oz of milk straight from a cup and straw today, way more than he's ever taken from a sippy cup. He doesn't like the sippy cups with a built in straw, though. I know - I don't get it either. I guess I'll just go with whatever works! His meals usually include the following foods: blueberries, string cheese, yogurt, raspberries, strawberries, peas, cherry tomatoes (though he doesn't seem crazy about them yet), avocados, shredded chicken, Cheerios, torn pieces of wheat bread, and a small portion of whatever meal I've made that day for dinner. He will pretty much eat anything you put in front of him! He wants to eat whatever TJ and I eat. If I give him something sweet or a little bit of junk food, he will scream until he gets another bite. One taste of ice cream led to a big tantrum later! I want him to have treats, because they were a fun part of my growing up, but I also don't want to deal with the tantrums. :)

- He is a more introverted child I think. I don't want to label him early, but my suspicion is he may be a little more on the shy side. I was a very painfully shy child (and teen... and adult :)), so I am not surprised at this. Maybe he will come out of his shell later, who knows! But for now, he seems to clam up a little around strangers or in different surroundings. He doesn't smile as much, he doesn't act as involved or active, and he mostly sits in my lap and observes what is going on. With just me and TJ, it's a whole different story - he's active, smiley, giggly, and more fussy at times. He's just more open in general.  I love watching his little personality unfold more and more each day. He is and always has been such an alert and observant baby. From birth! This kid doesn't like to miss anything. He still loves people and isn't scared of being held by others, but he just seems quieter and more stone-faced when others are around. 

- Our routine is still kind of shifting, and maybe once a week he will take just one nap, but he still mostly takes two naps a day. His nighttime sleep is really funny. If he goes to bed after 7 or 7:30, he will usually wake up around 5 am or 5:30. If he goes to bed between 6 and 6:30, he will sleep until 6:30 or 7 am. People often ask me why I put him to bed so early, and this is why. :) I want to squeeze as much sleep out of him as I can! His naps can be varied, though usually they are around 9am and 1:30 pm, but his nighttime sleep needs to be pretty set in stone. I'm not a fan of waking up earlier than I have to! Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was probably the most helpful book I read when I was pregnant. I refer friends to it all the time. It has so much science behind its principles, and that helps the left brain in me.  

We are doing great as a little family. I love my boys so much! Some days are hard, and sometimes I want to give up, but that's the thing with being a mom - you can't give up so you just do it! And each time I push through a hard moment, I get stronger. Most days, though, it's great and so fun. We have a lot of little adventures together, me and my little man! I can't wait to see him grow into a toddler.