4, 7, and 9!

The winning eggs were numbers 4, 7, and 9! Take a look!

Eggs 4, 5, and 6 (left to right)

Eggs 7, 8, and 9 (left to right)

And Guess Who made all three? That’s right. ME.

This gives "Triple Crown" a whole new meaning...

Ahh, sweet victory. Churchill would be so proud.

On a side note, we had Hula Girl’s first real tantrum today. Wowza, was it a doozie. I get where she was coming from. I mean, I very rudely interrupted her game of “Put the plastic fishie on the rocking chair and take it off again and look at Mama for a smile!” I scooped her up, put her on my lap, and started snipping away at the only weapon she has available- an effective weapon at that. She.screamed.bloody.murder.for.ten.straight.minutes. I just kept on clipping. I got three nails done. Then I put her down in front of the glass door so she could calm down, and once she did, I had her watch me clip her thumbnail. She seemed fine, but then burst out screaming again. Of course, the only nail she’s calm for is the one I cut too short. I HATE that feeling, so I get her screams. Ay, yi, yi. Neosporin to the rescue. Then naptime came (a short 10 minutes later) and she cried all the way through her diaper change, song, and story. Finally when I put her in her crib, she stuck her (other) thumb in her mouth, closed her eyes, and stayed silent. Weird. I feel proud of myself for living through it.

And…we’re back!

Yes, we’re back. We had a great trip!

Today, however, I am going to focus on one aspect of our trip. Yes, the COMPETITION. I have quite a few pictures to share. So, without further ado, allow me to lead you through a visual Easter Egg Competition, from (almost) start to finish:

First, you have to know that we had 4 dozen eggs to work with. That was 1 dozen per person. Then, we chose our best 2 out of 12 and entered those in the competition in a randomly selected order. Then, my father-in-law judged the eggs. I put in an extra egg to see if his judging was biased.

The prizes: Easter Crowns. Third place-Daisy Head. Second Place- Butterfly. First Place- Easter Bunny.

The supplies: Silk scarves and ties; twist ties and cotton squares; regular egg-dying kit. Plus 48 eggs.

Here are my eggs all tied up to go in the pot:

Here are my eggs in the pot:

Here are my eggs out of the pot:

Here we are pouring vinegar to mix up the traditional dyes:

Here are our dye cups:

Here are my sister-in-law’s eggs:

Here are Jonathan’s eggs:

Here are my mother-in-law/aunt-in-law’s eggs:

Here are the eggs in the competition :

Eggs 1, 2, and 3 (left to right)

Eggs 4, 5, and 6 (left to right)

Eggs 7, 8, and 9 (left to right)

I’ll announce the winner(s) tomorrow. Which do you think won?

Absurd Black Holes

Absurd. I was clicking through the main stories on one of my frequently used search engines this afternoon and I realized that the things they post are generally absurd. For instance, why should anyone care that Justin Bieber got angry with paparazzi in Israel? Why should anyone care that a tennis star got injured at a wedding? Why should anyone care that a BYU basketball player was asked to complete his coursework online?And who cares that Kirstie Alley’s shoe came off?

All these ridiculous articles are intermingled with extremely politically-driven stories about all the bad stuff going on in the world, like Japan’s nuclear plant Level 7 status and the craziness in Libya.

And then you get the filler stuff, like, “How to date after a Divorce” and “Haunted Mansions.”

And as I was clicking through the thumbnails linked to these articles, I realized just how much time I was wasting when I have plenty of other things to do today. I still have to pack, I still have to shop for in-air snacks and toys to keep Hula Girl busy on our flight, I still have to write out our itinerary and mail it to the appropriate people. I still have to show the neighbors how we’d like our lawn and garden watered while we’re away.

Yet, there I was. Clicking through politically-inspired, brain-desensitizing drivel instead of doing the things that must be done. I feel like I’m back in college.

It makes me wonder if Americans would be “on top” again if we all stopped using technology. At home, it’s a productivity-black-hole. At a desk job, I can see how it would dull your skills and proficiency to the point where the boss would have to hire someone extra just to pick up the slack. What if we all just stopped using technology, or were only allotted a certain number of minutes of technology per day? Say, 60 minutes. Here’s how I’d divide that 60 minutes (I would use all my technology time for internet use):

Minutes 1-14: Check emails, respond, and write a few of my own.

Minutes 15-27: Check blog for comments, respond, and write a new post.

Minutes 28-46: Check online board I help moderate, respond, and write any new topic posts I needed to write, and if I have spare time, check blogs I follow occasionally.

Minutes 47-53: Facebook. (The word “Facebook” is a verb. So that is, in fact, a complete sentence.)

Minutes 54-55: Check out tomorrow’s weather forecast.

Minutes 56-60: Read 2 blogs I follow religiously.

That would be a much better use of my technology time than just sitting there, mindlessly clicking to find interesting articles. I mean, sure, they’re all interesting. That’s the way they’re written. Kudos to the journalists’ professors in college; they taught their students how to catch and hold the interest of the general public. But, seriously, what a waste! Those stories not only waste my time; they waste a lot of other peoples’ time as well- for starters, they waste the time of those sorry masses who troop daily into their cubicles and spend hours “working” and producing very little. Keep going back and back and back, and you realize these stories are a waste of a good solid college education.

We don’t need Superman (Waiting for Superman). We need chalkboards. Or at least that’s how I feel about it today.



I’m Late, but these Flowers are Early!

Ok, go ahead. Just call me a liar. Extenuating circumstances. I have not yet signed on to my computer today, with one exception. But that exception shall remain secret- I have my reasons. Therefore I was late in posting today. I apologize again.

I am going to just go ahead and post a few early spring photos. These are not technically a part of our “garden” as we did not plant them, but they are on the property around our house, so I claim them as mine.

First Lilac Blossoms

Now, the lilac bush is something Jonathan and I tended in the fall. We noticed it was overrun with dead seed pods and that it had a lot of watersprouts and really thick old dead branches. We took a risk and trimmed it up, with fabulous results this spring! We have about a million buds just waiting to open. Unfortunately, they’ll probably burst out just as we leave for California. (These four little flowers already have that famous and wonderful lilac scent. Ahhhh.)

Beautiful flower that grows on this vine-like plant. What is it?

As the caption intimates, we have no idea what this flower is. But it sure is pretty. It is about the size of a silver dollar, maybe a smidge bigger. I had torn out a lot of this plant earlier this spring in order to get spiders and awful creepy crawlies away from the house outside of  Hula Girl’s room. Apparently I did not damage the plant at all- it is fully grown back in where I raked it out. Hardy, beautiful, and lush. I like this plant. Anyone know what it is?

Look for another post tomorrow. Perhaps more informative!

What is your favorite spring flower?


I apologize to those of you who were, like me, unaware I was going to be MIA for the weekend. I blame my mom. (Don’t we all?)

Hula Girl and I took a short weekend trip to my parents’ house just to do a sort of trial run for our vacation coming up on Thursday. We worked through a few kinks in the packing/scheduling. I am really glad we went, because I learned three things about Hula Girl’s sleep that were quite surprising:

  1. She can sleep in her new car seat!
  2. She sleeps when it’s time for her naps, no problem. Perfect naps.
  3. She has a hard time falling asleep at night when she’s not in her crib at home.

OK- the car seat sleeping and perfect napping are a total relief. The difficulty falling asleep at night was really hard to handle for me, since she always falls asleep with no difficulty whatsoever here at home. It really threw me for a loop. However, now I know what to expect on our trip. No problem.

My mom and I had a great time playing with Hula Girl. My mom spoils her rotten. She got so many new toys and new (new to her- yay consignment!) clothes. We even drove to Babies ‘R’ Us just so we could pick up a rubber travel placemat with a food catcher for messy baby hands.  That trip also afforded Hula Girl some cute shoes and slippers for next winter. They had a great BOGO sale for all clearance footwear! We are definitely bargain hunters.

Anyway, Hula Girl turned 10 months old yesterday. She is official 5/6 of the way done nursing. I am super happy about that. But I am also growing slightly nostalgic. Maybe I don’t want her to be done that soon? We’ll see how things go. I just really enjoy our snuggle time together four times a day. It’s really precious time for me. She has such a beautiful soft blond head, and her eyelashes are so dark against her cherub cheeks. She usually has some kind of goobers coming out of her eyes or nose, but those are easily wiped away. Oh, my precious girl. She’s growing up too fast.

That is enough for now. I will be posting again tomorrow at the regularly scheduled time.

Did you miss me?

Shirley Temple’s in my Head!

I have that Shirley Temple song- “Cuppy Cake” something or other- stuck in my head.

And now, so do you. You’re very welcome.

In other news, Hula Girl is officially able to stand all by herself. *Clarification: she can pull herself up to standing, and then let go. She can’t actually manage the feat of standing up.* Along with being able to stand, she is attempting to take some steps- she hasn’t actually managed to go anywhere. She falls every single time. But she’s trying! Until she actually stays up for a few steps, I’m not counting it as “walking.” So there.

I am feeling rather snarky today, can you tell?

Tomorrow Hula Girl and I will be traveling to my parents’ house so we can escape our lonely house while Jonathan has extra training at work. I am torn between hoping she walks this weekend or not. I think it would be fun to have her walk for the first time at Grammy and Grampy’s house, but it would be lame for Jonathan to miss it.

Anyway, we’ve got to take another run to WalMart this afternoon to get some fruit and snacks for Hula Girl for our weekend. We’re also going to pick up some drain cleaner because our bathtub is not draining. After my shower today, I was standing in ankle-deep water. I thought that was a bit ridiculous. This is after our land lady has paid a terrible plumber to come out- twice.

It’s raining now. I feel snarky and gloomy now. I need ice cream.

How you do cheer up when you’re feeling blue?

Mardi Gras or Easter- it still Applies!

Ok, I’ll admit it- I am kind of starting to freak out… a bit… about our upcoming trip. My poor mother-in-law has had to answer a lot of dumb questions and listen to me musing over time change, luggage, and car seat napping all day. Thanks for your support, Momma C!

I am not concerned about Hula Girl’s schedule when we’re actually there. However, it’s going to be a long journey to reach our final destination. We’re flying out of a city that is 2.5 hours away from our house, so traveling there will be our first obstacle. Our current plan is for my mom to drive Hula Girl and me up there on Thursday so we can stop by my old school and visit my former coworkers. I am making sure to arrive there about 30 minutes after school is dismissed in hopes of missing the afternoon traffic rush and avoiding the germy germy children who will inevitably get their schoolchild sick germs all over my HEALTHY child. After this visit, my mom and I will take Hula Girl to dinner somewhere. Then we’ll go to our friends’ house for the night. Jonathan will arrive much later in the evening, as he will have to work that day. I expect he’ll also be in charge of dropping off our cat, Riley, with my grandma on his way.

Friday morning we will be with our friends, and Hula Girl will likely get a full nap in before we have to leave for the airport. I think I will be bringing a bottle and feeding her that way when we arrive at the airport. I can’t imagine trying to find a quiet, secluded place to nurse her before we get through security. This airport has, like, no place like that at all. So, a bottle we will bring! I scheduled our flight to be right during Hula Girl’s second nap time of the day. It is my intention to help her sleep on the flight, but my gut tells me it won’t happen. I plan to nurse her 15 minutes early to help her ears adjust as we’re descending.

When we arrive in San Diego on Friday afternoon, we’ll take the hotel shuttle from the airport. It will be quite a short trip, thank goodness. Our next adventure will be trying to find a way to get some food to eat (Mommy, Daddy, and Baby food). There are plenty of restaurants and grocery stores in the area, but they are just out of a short walk’s distance from the hotel. Never mind, we’ll figure it out.

Saturday is the day of my friend’s wedding. Hula Girl’s dress is absolutely cute on her. My one concern is that I have yet to purchase a little sweater to go along with the dress. It will happen. Sometime. Maybe I’ll even leave the tag on it just in case we don’t have to use it.

Saturday night will be amazing, thanks to my gorgeous, wonderful, amazing sister-in-law (who is still going to lose our Easter Egg Competition, no matter how attractive, fantastic, or great she is). She has kindly accepted our request that she come and babysit Hula Girl while we enjoy the wedding reception. I am looking forward to spending time with some of my favorite girls from college, and embarrassing myself on the dance floor. I have never danced at a wedding (mine was the exception-but it was expected!) and I haven’t really ever danced at a prom/party either. Let’s just say… there is a very good reason I avoid dancing in public. Or at all. I feel like a spaz, I look like a klutz, and I am really, really terrible at it. Nevertheless, I made Jonathan promise to dance with me. Who knows? Maybe his skills will rub off on me.

Sunday we will be staying at the hotel until Hula Girl’s first nap ends, and then we’ll be taking the final leg of our journey up to Ama and Papa’s house, which will be about a 2.5-3 hour drive. Again, I am attempting to schedule Hula Girl’s nap during travel time, but we’ll see how things go. All I can do is plan it the best I can and then pray it goes well and shrug it off if it goes differently than I expected!

Monday-Sunday we’ll be with my in-laws and we’ll be having a blast. Monopoly championship tournament Easter 2011, Easter Egg Competition 2011, and lots of laughter over the cute little girl we call Hula. Laissez les bons temps roulez! (I realize that phrase is typically applied to Mardi Gras, but it seems fitting here, too.)

Finally, the Monday after Easter, our little family will travel back home on another flight followed by a long car ride to our house. Let’s just hope the following week will provide relaxation and structure as we settle back in to our little life here.

Do you have any tips for traveling with a baby or thoughts on how to get through security fast?

Cold Tub Tub

Today’s post is a short one.

Hula Girl threw up for the first time in her life. I know, many of you are thinking, “Wait. The kid has reflux. How can you say this is the first time she’s thrown up?” Well, there is a difference between reflux spit-up and just plain ol’ sick vomit. And this girl’s got the latter.

Poor baby. She’s been happy all day long, smiling, laughing, cuddling, and snuggling like normal. However, her appetite for solids has been markedly less than normal. She ate about half her oatmeal at breakfast, turned up her nose at her peaches, and then ate about 2 bites at lunch. Right after lunch, she started coughing and all she’d eaten came right back up-many times. It even came through her nose. That part made her cry. Then she was sneezing over and over to get her nose all cleared out. Yuck.

She had a bath, and cried the entire time. Very unusual. I think I was so concerned about overheating her body that I might have made the bath a little too cool. She had no fever, but she did have some other symptoms. She’s redeveloping her rash-like eczema, her nose has been stuffy, and she was tugging slightly at her right ear a few times today. But overall, she hasn’t acted different, and nothing has been so concerning to me that I thought anything was wrong. I guess I’ll just have to learn to watch for the really subtle symptoms from here on out. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, Hula Girl is not one to handle feeling poorly well. I will do well to keep that in mind when assessing her health in the future!

Come to think of it, I am still feeling a bit under the weather myself. I fell asleep last night at 9:00, slept until 7, and I’m still tired. I even took a nap yesterday afternoon. Perhaps it’s a bug of some sort. Yay. I really really hope we’re well for our trip to California.

What’s the grossest thing that has ever come out your nose?

Chilis and Smiles

I keep telling people all around me that this is my favorite baby age. Hula Girl will be 10 months old on Saturday, and she just couldn’t get any cuter. Her language and communication skills are taking off, her personality is shining through, her physical capabilities are increasing, and her ability to make us laugh is endless.

She is so smart. About two weeks ago, while she was sick, she wanted to chew on her hairbrush. She ended up throwing it down behind her changing table, and being sick and tired ourselves, Jonathan and I did not retrieve it at the time. Last night Jonathan decided (rightly so) that her hair really needed to be brushed. So, he moved her changing table and got it (he also recovered a purple sock and two teething toys- score). I used it to brush out her hair, but she kept trying to grab it. Finally I gave it to her when I was done, and the first thing she did was bring it up to brush her own hair! We were amazed! Then we said, “Hula Girl, brush your hair!” and she did it over and over. We got it on film.

Another example of her intelligence/language skills happened today. She was standing in our bedroom with her hands on the wall. She was whacking the wall with the lid from a Ziploc container. I put my hand on the wall and touched it lightly, and said, “Feel the wall, Hula Girl. It’s bumpy.” She dropped the lid, put out her fingers, stroked the wall, and said “Bmmbmm.” Then she smiled and laughed. Smartie pants.

Some of her more entertaining things lately are saying “I love you (wa wuh woo),” making dog/cat/cow sounds (“Woo/muuuuh/mmmoooo”), using sign language to tell us she wants more and is all done at meals, and doing whatever we tell her to do with her hands, like putting a lid on top of her head. She can understand so much of what we’re saying.

She’s also gotten really tall lately. She was in the 75-90th percentile for height at our last doctor’s appointment, and she has grown at least 2 inches since then. She can reach things she never reached before, like anything on the computer desk. Today she showed us that she can look out the window in Mommy and Daddy’s room, whereas she couldn’t do that last week.

I think if she weren’t so tall and so top-heavy (her head is in the 90th percentile), she’d be well on her way to standing alone and walking right now. As it stands (pun intended), she can balance alone for about 5-10 seconds before plopping down on her bottom. Yesterday she even took a step or two from the standing position. But she definitely did not get far. I expect she’ll be standing and walking fairly soon. My mom walked at 9 months; I walked at 10 months. Hula Girl seems like the type who’ll keep up.

Mommy Plug- She is a charmer. Everyone who sees her comments on how cute she is and what beautiful blue eyes and long eyelashes she has. I do think she got the best of both worlds from me and Jonathan. Lucky girl has giraffe eyelashes like her Daddy! But she definitely lucked out when she got Momma’s eye color. (I’m not being proud here- I am quite partial to blue eyes in general.) Her personality is so sweet and outgoing, we can take her anywhere and no one complains about her being there at all. Case in point- we took her out to dinner last night for the first time in months. The last time we went out to dinner with her, she wasn’t even old enough to eat solid foods yet. Anyway, we took her out, had her sit in the high chair at the table, and gave her some Cheerios to occupy her until the “real food” arrived. We ordered a side of steamed vegetables for her. She loved the shredded carrots (must keep this in mind when preparing carrots at home)! She wasn’t a super big fan of the broccoli last night. I had also brought a pear for her, which she ate in its entirety. The whole time we were there, she ate happily, made cute baby noises (no screeching or shrieking), and smiled a lot at the people all around our table.

What was/is your favorite baby age?

My Best Friends’ Weddings

The kitchen is scrubbed, top to bottom. The laundry is *almost* done, including all the diapers. The carpets are vacuumed. The meals are planned, the grocery list is made, and we’re headed to the grocery store during Hula Girl’s next awake time.

It has been a productive day so far.

I have begun the process of looking for a place to rent in the new town, just in case Jonathan gets the job and it offers a decent salary. We are going through some major issues with our current place of residence, and we really want to move out. It is really frustrating to be dealing with everything we are dealing with, since we really are great tenants- we’re clean, quiet, respectful. I don’t think our land lady really understands how much we’re doing and how she should be treating us. Sigh.

I’m going to try out some new recipes this week. I’ve decided that since I’m going to be doing this whole “Mommy” thing for quite some time, I may as well learn to cook something other than our normal rotation. So this week, we’re going to have some new dishes, and we’ll be evaluating the likelihood of repeats. Here’s the menu for the week (dinners):

  • Monday: Fettuccine with Zucchini Sauce and Meatballs; Salad on the Side
  • Tuesday: Drunken Chicken over Rice with Broccoli
  • Wednesday: Herb-Roasted Chicken with Shallots; New Potatoes and Corn on the Side
  • Thursday: Turkey Burgers  and Savory Brussels Sprouts

Jonathan is cooking on Thursday. I don’t grill. I should clarify that turkey burgers are not a new dish for us. They’re just less frequent. Also, we don’t eat much red meat; the meatballs mentioned on Monday will be turkey meatballs.

I am really looking forward to the end of this summer when we can start harvesting yummy vegetables from our garden. We’re really going to enjoy the bounty! Today, I came across a lot of really tasty-sounding recipes utilizing the veggies we’re going to grow. I can’t wait to use the recipes and share them with our neighbors and friends! I sure hope we can actually grow some stuff…

Next weekend, Hula Girl and I will be taking a short trip to my parent’s house, just an hour and a half away. Jonathan has a mandatory work training on Friday and Saturday, so we will be missing him. However, it will be a lot of fun to see Grammy and Grampy, and to play with Hula Girl’s new toys! My mom purchased a little walking/riding toy for Hula Girl recently, and we’re so excited for her to try it out. She’s good at walking while she pushes the laundry basket around the living room. She’ll be walking all on her own very soon. It will be a good opportunity for her to practice her balancing skills!

The next weekend is when we leave for our trip to California, to attend my good friend’s wedding and to see the other grandparents, Ama and Papa. We’ll also get to see Jonathan’s sister (who is going to LOSE in the Easter Egg Competition), his aunt (who made the delightful quilt I mentioned in this post), and some other fun folks. I really hope we get to the beach one day, even though it is somewhat far from where we’re staying.  At least Ama and Papa’s house is a lot closer than ours is to the beach!

We will be spending 10 days in California, so two weekends. Then I will be spending the next weekend with my best friend and all of her closest friends as we celebrate her upcoming marriage by throwing her a bridal shower! I am really looking forward to treating my friend a bit, as she just really really deserves it. We got to have coffee together last night, and I really enjoyed our time together. We’ve never had one of those best friend relationships where every little detail is important. I don’t really care what kind of music she listens to. But we do know each other well, and we can discuss the bigger picture. I also noticed that our friendship has not suffered from lack of time spent together- in fact, our friendship is enhanced even more because it is well-seasoned with prayers and words exchanged in hard times and in glad times. I am grateful that God has placed my best friend in my life, even if I’m not the only friend “of honor.” 🙂

What is your favorite memory with your closest friend?

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