Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Favorite

Before I begin, I'll just make sure this is clear: Forrest is crazy about his relatives. All of them. He loves all his aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas and grandpas, and I never see him more excited than when I tell him we're going to Grandma's house or Papa is coming to visit or his aunts or uncles or cousins are going to come over to play. In fact, his favorite part of our Christmas get-together yesterday was handing out presents to all his relatives, and when they were all organized, he continued handing out his own presents to everyone else because it was just too fun to say their names and find them in the crowd and give them a gift.

Now, with the disclaimer in mind that he loves all of them, there is one pretty clear front runner. And, lucky lady that she is, she also seems to be the favorite of all her nieces and nephews.

Bekah. (Or, in Gooby-speak, always in overexcited rapid machine-gun fire succession: "Dekah!Dekah!Dekah!Dekahdekahdekahdekahdekah!")

A few pieces of evidence of his great love for his aunt Dekah:

1) This picture frame is hanging in our living room:

Through the summer and fall, Forrest would, when he was upset with me, point out on the frame other people he, I'm assuming, preferred over me. I think he was actually requesting that they come over and take care of him and that I leave . . . he would point at a person, repeat "please? please?" and then cry at me when I couldn't make them magically appear. I'm sure it goes without saying that Sweet Dekah up there in the corner was always the first person requested. And on particularly angry days, he'd even try requesting the picture of the dog. Sorry buddy. Stuck with me.

2. Yesterday, we had to wake Forrest up early from his nap to make it to our family Christmas dinner on time. He woke up pretty grouchy and nothing we were doing would get him to stop whining. We offered to let him bring his new toys to Jake's house for dinner, we offered him his Christmas candy, and he was still whiny and grumpy. Finally, we started listing off family members that he was going to see when we got there. He kept whining and crying through all the names we listed until we told him he'd get to see aunt Bekah, and he right away started laughing and dancing and repeating her name until we got there, when he ran straight in to give her a hug.

3. One of my gifts to Forrest this year was a homemade coloring book filled with pictures of family members. (I posted about how I made it here.) I'll give you 3 guesses at whose page he was most thrilled to see, and requested to color first.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Annual Update Time

I received a complaint recently from a reader who will remain nameless that my most recent post, which is going on one year old and features multiple close-up shots of Forrest's impressive and resilient snot bubble, did not make for a pleasant viewing experience when visiting this blog. I was tempted to update it with only this picture:
Baby diaper butt crack > baby mega snot bubble, right?

But I decided to opt for an actual family update instead. It has been almost a year since my last post, after all, so I guess I can make this an annual thing.

We'll start with this guy:
Forrest turned a whopping 2 years old in August, and certainly acts like it. He is either completely 100% adorable or completely 100% demonic at any given time, and there is very little activity in the middle of the spectrum. He loves to give hugs and kisses (only lip-to-lip kisses, much to the delight/dismay of various extended family members who either love/hate lip kisses from sloppy toddlers who could stand to work on their technique), is still obsessed with cars (although he's added airplanes ['air-taaaay!'] and motorcycles ['dadachoo!' . . . sorry, I can't explain that pronunciation] and trains ['choo-choo!'] to the obsession list for variety), loves any sort of gadget/technology (he is a pro at touch-screen phones and iPads), enjoys books (although he is more of a speed-flipper than an actual reader), and loves riding his tricycle outside, going to the park, singing/dancing, and playing with animals. He also is very interested in helping lately, which is kind of a shame. Cute, but not conducive to getting things done in a timely fashion. New adorable tricks include kissing the top of my hand when I hold it out and say, "Good day to you, sir," (I'm really focusing on teaching him life's greatest priorities first--he can't speak English but at least he can treat a lady with respect!), and shouting "Oh noooooo!" with his hands over his mouth when something scary/bad happens in a movie, or if he knocks down toys or destroys something (I'm starting to think he destroys things on purpose so he can have a reason to say "oh nooooo!"). He has a hilarious little personality and loves to show off and make people laugh. He's super snuggly lately and his absolute favorite thing to do is cuddle on the couch with me and Jeff and watch a movie.


As adorable as all those things are, he is, unfortunately, also part hellion. Trips out in public are always disastrous, and he can throw one hell of a tantrum (how many times can I fit the word 'hell' into this paragraph?) both in public and at home. It's a little depressing to always be the 'bad mom' with the 'bad kid' in public, but I'm hoping it's just a stage he's passing through and it will get better with time. I signed him up for daycare two mornings a week so I can have a chance to run errands, grocery shop, clean, etc. without dragging around a screaming 2-year old, and I think it's the best parenting decision I've made so far. He loves to go to daycare, and for the first few weeks, would always cry and cling to the teacher's legs when I showed up to bring him home. I was worried that he wouldn't have fun, since it took a good 6 months or so of nursery at church before we could leave him there without him throwing a fit, but he took to daycare right away and has a blast. When I tell him it's time to head to Miss Jen's house, he races around in a frenzy to find his shoes and get in the car. And when I drop him off, he races in, hugs his little girl friend who is always waiting by the door for him to arrive, waves bye, and slams the door in my face. Plus, I get 6 hours of child-free sanity each week which has been amazing for me, mentally and emotionally. I actually look forward to picking him up from daycare (which we have renamed YAYcare) and seeing him again, rather than cringing when I hear him shouting for me or waking up from a nap. And I think it's been very good for him, too--not only does he just have a good time there, but he seems to be learning to talk more quickly than before, and socializing better, too. 

He's been receiving Early Intervention care for like 8 months or so to help with some speech delays. I was skeptical at first about how much it would help (to the untrained eye, it sure looks like they're just playing with him for an hour), but I do think it's helping. I just received a write-up of his development based on some testing/assessments they did last month, and was really happy to see that he is not actually very far behind the average stats for his age group. He is right on track with cognitive development, slightly behind (2-3 months') in receptive and expressive communication and fine motor skills, and is actually ahead of the game in gross motor skills, 'self-help' (meaning his independence, ability to do things alone, help get dressed, follow instructions, etc.) and social-emotional development. It's exciting to watch him learn and grow, and encouraging to see that he's not actually very far behind in his speech, and makes up for it by being a bit advanced in a few areas. It's tough to see other kids his age seeming so far ahead of him (and of course, I always interpret it as me failing him in some way), so I was really encouraged by his test results.

On to the bigger man of the house:
Jeff is doing great! He accepted a new position in June and has really enjoyed it so far. His new job involved opening a new office for an existing clinic in Salt Lake, and it's been a great learning experience for him to be basically in charge of the clinic and running it almost entirely alone. He is an independent sort of guy, so he loves being able to make decisions for the clinic and be the only doctor there. Plus, this clinic is 99% Hispanic, so he likes being able to use his Spanish skills on a daily basis and work with the Hispanic demographic.

He continues to be out of his mind in terms of fitness and is running a half marathon next weekend, despite counseling every patient in his care who mentions a love of running against doing exactly that. He has the goal of doing an Iron Man triathlon before he is 30, and I have the goal of seeking mental help for him long before that time comes. (But all kidding aside, he is a great athlete and very passionate about fitness, and has even lost 40ish pounds over the past year as a result of all this, so more power to him. I find it hard to talk myself into a 20-minute workout a few times a week, so I'm always impressed with his commitment to exercise.)

He's also been working hard on our new house that we bought in June and moved into in July. It was a short sale, which meant we got a great house for a great price in a great neighborhood, but also meant that the great price was due to serious neglect and abuse by its prior owners. It had great bones and we loved the layout, but it's been a lot of work for both of us (but mostly Jeff). He put in new wood flooring throughout most of the house, helped me paint everything, installed a new sink and countertops in the kitchen, changed light fixtures, tamed the jungle of a yard, etc. He's done a wonderful job and our house is really looking so much better.

That's all I can think of for him, so that just leaves yours truly:
 I've also been working a lot on the house (I did most of the painting, gave our kitchen cabinets a makeover, and of course have been trying to decorate it on a budget) and love seeing it improve and reflect my style. I said 'our style' the other day which Jeff seemed to feel was a stretch, so I'll be honest and just say he has not had much of a say in the design. But he put in a request this morning for a 'weapon display wall,' so I think we've made the right choice in putting me in charge of the decorating.

I continue to keep busy with my etsy shop and other blog, and really enjoy crocheting and sewing still. I keep waiting to get burned out and never want to pick up a crochet hook again, but I'm still going strong.

One flaw I see in the blog/internet world is a lack of honesty. It's so easy/tempting to make things look picture-perfect and wonderful all the time (and I totally understand why--of course we all want to put our best foot forward and not dwell/harp on the difficult or negative parts of life), but I'm not sure that does anyone any good. Besides all the work it must require to keep up the rainbows and sunshine 'all is well in Zion' facade, it tends to alienate everyone else who feels they don't measure up to that supposedly perfect life and then feels like a failure because of it. So at the risk of sounding depressed or ungrateful or pessimistic (or whatever other reasons people use to not be more honest about their lives), I'll go ahead and just tell you God's honest truth: I've been struggling lately. Being a mother is very hard for me--it has been from day one and I'm starting to really doubt that it ever gets much easier--and I very easily get discouraged and depressed with myself as a mother and as a person, with Forrest for not being the constantly perfect angel I expected/hoped for, and with the drudgery and monotony of being a stay-at-home mom. I've just felt kind of incomplete and unfulfilled recently (and, if I'm really being honest, probably since before Forrest was even born). I have a huge amount of respect for stay-at-home mothers, especially the ones who manage to fill their time with constructive activities with their children, playtime, outings, learning, etc., and still run their household, but it's increasingly difficult for me to be at home most of the time and feel like I'm never accomplishing anything meaningful or doing anything that makes me feel talented/smart/important/useful. And I'm anticipating kindhearted comments to the tune of, "Of course you're talented/smart/important/useful, what more important/useful thing could you possibly be doing, you're raising a child!" And while I agree with that and I know it's eternally important to be raising Forrest, it is so exhausting and draining to spend all my time doing just that. There has to be something to keep me going, too. For a long time, my shop helped fill that role, but I've been feeling particularly empty lately and have tossed around quite a few ideas to fill that gap, none of which have really gone anywhere yet, so I guess I'm waiting now for some inspiration to strike or doors to open, and in the meantime, am just keeping busy with Forrest's needs, working on our house, and crocheting for my shop orders.

I hope that doesn't sound ridiculous or depressing or stupid or whatever, but I think it's kind of unfortunate that, as a whole, women/mothers don't seem to feel comfortable being honest with each other about their lives and emotions and goals and the reality of our daily lives, so I'm just tossing that out there. Maybe someone will relate.

So in conclusion, we are doing pretty well. Forrest is an awesome kid, Jeff is happy with work and learning quickly, and I'm enjoying my time with Forrest and our progress on our house, and am also kind of searching for something to help me feel more me again. I suppose I'll see you in a year for our annual blog update?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boys are gross.

I have this theory about baby boys and their inherent grossness. I'm sure a mother of a young daughter would be happy to set me straight, but I can't help but imagine that a little girl couldn't possibly be gross in the way that a little boy is. Every time Forrest lets out a huge fart in the middle of dinner (then claps for himself), or licks the drippies from his runny nose (and goes back in for more), or burps and laughs uproariously like it's the funniest thing he's ever heard, I just think, "A baby girl wouldn't do this. There's no way. Only a boy." I was a little girl once. I remember a lot of tea parties, hair brushing, and twirling. I do not remember clapping for farts.

Although this is nowhere close to the grossest thing Forrest has accomplished, I can't picture a little girl walking around for 5 minutes with the world's most resilient snot bubble pulsing at the end of her little nostril:
Do you see it? Should we get closer? 
Ah, there it is, in all its snotty, boyish glory. It was an impressive sight . . . especially in profile:
No wonder these two are so close. Daddy gets it. Mommy doesn't understand.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall!

(Everything in this post has already been on facebook, so if we're friends on facebook, you may have seen all this before. I just wanted a new post in case any of our ward members stumble across this blog--nobody has mentioned it yet, but I figured they should have something besides my little "what a jerk!" rant from my last post to read if they should find me here. On the other hand, maybe if the person in question somehow finds it and recognizes himself, he'll be a better visitor in the future!)

My mom, Bekah and I took Forrest and my two nieces, Abby and Megan, to a pumpkin patch a few days before Halloween. It was a lot of fun.
The kids especially loved the little corn maze and insisted on going through it a few times. Abby was our fearless navigator.

There was also a pretty cool little antique tractor display, which made me feel a little nostalgic for Iowa. How sad that the first picture of me and Forrest with a tractor was taken in Utah, not Iowa!
It was right about at this time that I realized my camera's settings were at an ISO of 1600 and set to dim indoor lighting, despite it being an incredibly bright, cloudless day . . . whoops! This was also the moment that Forrest realized THERE WERE WHEELBARROWS IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH.
He thought that little wheelbarrow was pretty nifty, until he abandoned it for this one:
A MAN'S wheelbarrow! He was getting so angry that he couldn't push this one, so we tried giving him a ride in it, instead:
Surprisingly enough, this did not go over well . . . I think he was just mad that Bekah could get it to move when he couldn't. He got shown up by a weakling, 80-pound girl with the upper body strength of a newborn kitten. He was also not happy with Bekah when she plunked him in the middle of this row of pumpkins and he couldn't get out. I wish you could see his face better--it was priceless. PUMPKIN FURY!
I'm sorry to report that he really did not have a great time at the pumpkin patch--he had fun for the first 20 minutes or so, but one frustration after another piled up (I CAN'T LIFT THESE PUMPKINS! THE GROUND IS UNEVEN AND I KEEP FALLING! THAT D@%* WHEELBARROW IS FREAKING HEAVY!) until he had a total meltdown. Poor Goobs. But you wouldn't ever know it, because look at the cute picture we got together!
I was so happy to see that this picture turned out well--I really don't have many pictures of the two of us, and I'm glad he could bottle up his tears for a moment to pull out a smile for this shot.

I also got a cute picture with Bekah, and realized that we look, in Bekah's words, "kind of exactly the same." 
People have always told us we look alike, and we've never really seen it. But every once in a while, in a photo, I have to admit that we do look really similar. I think that's bad news for Bekah, and good news for me, since I'm okay with admitting that she is the cuter sister.

Forrest was Batman for Halloween, and Jeff was Robin. Classic! I didn't get a picture of the two of them together, so we'll need to have a re-do this week. Forrest's costume was completely last minute--I had been planning all along to do a Firefly theme (Jeff as Jayne, I'd be Kaylee, and Forrest as Mal of course), but that fell apart when I couldn't find myself a jumpsuit. It was a tragedy. Maybe next year. But since Jeff already had a Robin costume for work, we pulled together a teeny Batman costume for Forrest. He was pretty darling.
And, last but not least, a few shots of Forrest playing in the autumn leaves (which are now covered in two inches of snow--I'm playing Christmas music right now. I'll be cursing the snow in a month or two, but I do love the first one!)



(This blog sure has gotten lame lately, hasn't it? Sorry. All my blogging energies go into this one.)

In non-baby-related news:
Jeff graduated from Palmer about a month ago! A few days later, he found out he had passed all of his boards, which was a HUUUUUUUUGE relief, because you can carry around your chiropractic school diploma and feel like a fancypants and still never work as a doctor if you don't pass your boards. And those boards are hard stuff. I'm very proud of him--it was a lot of hard work, and he did such a great job and loves what he does.
I didn't fly to Iowa for graduation with him--it would have cost well over $1000 for both of us to go (do you know how many pairs of shoes I could buy with that money?!), so I'm very grateful to Janel for taking plenty of pictures for me! That picture is Jeff and his 3 best friends from school--Jane, Will, and Josh. We sure miss all of them already.

After considering a few offers in the area, he took an associateship at Peterson Chiropractic, the office he worked at during his internship, and he loves it so far. He'd love to open his own practice in the future, and working with such a successful practice now will help him learn how to do it on his own someday.

I've been very busy between Forrest's shenanigans and keeping up with orders at my etsy shop . . . I actually had to take down all my non-pattern listings for a week because it was getting so busy I didn't think I'd be able to keep up. I've briefly entertained the notion of hiring a crochet assistant, but I just don't think I could send out something made by someone else. Although Bekah has pointed out that the name is MAYBE Matilda . . . like, hey, maaaaaybe I made it, you never know. Not misleading at all! 

Even though the number of orders I was receiving was getting a little insane, I am incredibly grateful and happy that my shop has been doing so well--it really is important to me to have something purely my own to stay busy with. I hate to say that I don't think I'd be happy just playing with Forrest and doing housework all day, but, well . . . I don't think I would. I do love being home with my little guy, and I feel so lucky that circumstances so far have made it possible for me to stay home and focus on him, but I'm so glad that I have my own thing, you know? Something apart from mothering and diapers and homemaking that makes me feel fulfilled and rewarded. And it sure doesn't hurt that I'm making money off it, too. Holla!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yep, thanks for stopping by.

You know what's really friendly and welcoming? (Not this!)

Some of the members of our bishopric stopped by our house a few nights ago, because they "like to get to know and welcome new members of the ward." We've been in this ward for 4 months now . . . nice try, though. But I can forgive them for that--I'm sure they're busy, and it's a pretty new bishopric.

But then they stayed for almost an hour, which might make it sound like it was a really fun visit, and we all had a great time. False. The hour was filled with nothing but one counselor bragging about his vacations to exotic countries, his 5 big screen TVs (not exaggerating--"I don't even know what to do with so many big screens! Why should one family have 5 big screens?!" I dunno, buddy, but I"d be happy to take one off your hands, if they're really such a big problem for you), and his brand new 3000 square foot office he's having built. Whoop-de-doo for you.

And ready for the kicker? During the entire hour, neither one of them directed a single comment or question to me. I briefly entertained the idea that maybe I had gone invisible. Literally, not one word spoken to me the entire evening. They asked Jeff about his schooling, mission, job, plans, hobbies . . . and did not say a single word to me the entire hour. When I asked them questions, they responded . . . to Jeff. Ummm, hello?

Extremely welcoming. We really love this ward.

(This picture has nothing to do with this post, but I feel like a post has to have a picture. This was taken when Forrest was a sickypants a few weeks ago. Poor little fella.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simple pleasures

Can you even imagine finding this much happiness in something so ordinary? Kind of makes me rethink the way I look at things.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Good news and bad news

Good news:
I'm growing out my pixie cut! After Bekah and Jeff whining their dang pants off about how weird they find it that I look exactly like my mom now that we have the same hair, I've decided to give long hair another shot, and I hope that this time around I'll miraculously be blessed with hair-styling abilities. So I guess that's the end of this for now:
It was good while it lasted.

Bad news:
I'm growing out my pixie cut. There's a reason this is happening over the winter . . . it will not be pretty, people. Hats will be my friends. I have a pretty impressive half mullet, half rat tail thing happening right now. In fact, with a little gel and a curling iron, I think I could style it into this:

Good news:
We made friends in our new ward! Two of them!

Bad news:
They are both moving this month. That brings the friends tally back to zero.

Good news:
Jeff and his sister ran the Dirty Dash a few weekends ago.
Bad news:
Jeff and his sister ran the Dirty Dash a few weekends ago.
Next on his list: Night of the Running Dead. I don't know how he finds such weird events.


Good news: 
Forrest is walking!
Okay, I don't have a picture of him walking, but I just find the look on his face amusing in that picture. He looks kind of guilty for eating a brownie. It's okay, Forrest, chubby looks good on you.

Bad news:
He now thinks he must walk everywhere. Jeff's office had a booth at the home show this weekend, and when we dropped by to visit, Forrest felt that he needed to push the stroller through the whole place instead of riding in it. I was tempted to take a seat myself, but I didn't want any weird looks.

Good news:
I saw The Help this weekend with my old friend Audrey, who I haven't seen in 3+ years! 
 It was so good, and so much fun to hang out with Audrey.

Bad news:
The movie ended and we had to go home. 
(But only after a detour to Red Robin, where our waitress brought us checks and boxes after we had literally taken about 3 bites from our dinners. I think she wanted us to leave.)