Friday, January 30, 2009

Summing up the week

I got a message the other day asking, "Where'd that Becky who waxes philosophical about things go?"  Well, she's been a little wrapped up in the amour she feels for her new baby and juggling the other two kids and getting back into a regular routine.  But I promise I'll be back to that routine soon (all kinds of things rolling around my head that I'd like to get on paper.  Well, actually, I've already got them on paper--need to condense them and get them on screen).  In the meantime, a few highlights from this week:
Taking a moment after her bath to appreciate how well-insulated Kylie is.  Oh, I do so love my chubby babies (Doug made up a "chubby baby" song for Keilana when she was a few months old and now she sings it to Kylie.  They do grow up so fast. . . .)

Keilana begged for curlers two nights in a row, so here we see what's left of the ringlets after a very long day at school.

I'm not generally one to blog about food (well, not food I cook anyway), but this was just such a yummy dinner the other night.  I've made all these things before, but for some reason never all in the same meal and was delightfully surprised at what a yummy como they were (and its a super easy meal to make).  If you're interested:  salmon fillet topped with cut small sweet peppers and chopped parsley drizzled with olive oil and cooked at 425* for 15 minutes.  Fresh brocolli, steamed.  Spinach stuffed mushrooms:  remove stems, chop, set aside.  Chop fresh spinach.  Saute mushroom caps in olive oil.  Set aside.  Saute mushroom stems and spinach in olive oil, then stuff into caps.  Yum.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Colors. . .

As you may have noticed, I have blog schizophrenia--the colors/layout change a bit every few weeks or months.  Doug saw the last one and said he didn't like it, that it was hard to read.  So I'm trying this new color scheme.  Thoughts?

San Francisco Trip

This weekend Doug and I went up and spent a night in San Francisco.  Rapunzel, the structural engineer that did all the math and logisitics behind Doug's fantabulous concept design on their giant sequoia tree at McDermont--and, yes, that is her real name--asked Doug if he'd like to do some judging at the Future Cities competition.  More on that in a minute.  So Friday morning we dropped the older two kids with auntie Amanda (they stayed with Grandma that night) and headed up the road.  Since we seem to take longcuts to everywhere, we drove up and around the bay so that we could come down into San Francisco across the Golden Gate bridge. 

It was raining of course, but it was cool to drive across, and it wasn't so foggy we couldn't see the ocean.  Plus, since we had Kylie in the car with us, technically we could count ourselves as a carpool and didn't have to pay the toll coming into town:)  The drive up around the upper bay was fun, because there just isn't a whole lot up there--should you ever have the time and inclination, I suggest giving it a try (if you like to wander as much as we do, anyway).  We drove through quite a bit of marsh land, and it was foggy while we were going through, so I remarked to Doug that it would make an excellent location for the Dead Marshes in the LOTR.

We found our hotel pretty easily considering it was a new city on a rainy night.  We had one brief detour due to what we thought was an unexpected one way street (after circling we realized we could've turned down it after all).  We stayed at the Hotel Abri, which was a decent little place.  It was just a block or two north of Market street, so we were right down town.  So we spent Friday evening just exploring that area.  We made a few stops, including the Ferrari store (how could we not, really?) and a Ritz Camera, where Doug once again tried to get me to buy a digital SLR that I would love but cannot afford:)  When we got back we were all tuckered out and Kylie enjoyed the big, soft king-sized bed:
The last time I really spent much time in cities, it was LA and NYC, which are both pretty flat, so it took a while to absorb just how hill-y SF is.  It was fun.
Ok, so Saturday morning we went to the Future Cities competition.  Apparently every year the national engineer's association (or some similar acronym) sponsors a competition for 7th and 8th graders where the design and model a city for the future.  They can have an engineer mentor help them.  It was really cool--I was very impressed with what some of them came up.  These guys were my favorite.  Their city may not have been the prettiest or most impressive model, but one of their city's features was a huge city greenhouse, and directly next door, a city juice plant--how cool is that?

After Doug was done judging, we headed off to explore again.  We drove down Lombard street, which is very impressive--switchbacks for your car, in case it gets tired of all those flat straightaways.  We drove up to the viewing area for Golden Gate Bridge.  We actually took a short trail along the sea cliffs so that we could walk under the bridge.  That's a little disconcerting, actually--standing underneath the bridge listening to all the noise from the cars whizzing by above your head.  

All along the cliffs there are these very cool old embattlements that are "hidden" in the hills facing the ocean.  As you can see, they're kind of rotting out.  I think we ought to get them fixed--I bet they'll come in handy again before too long!

The Golden Gate Bridge was the big thing for me--I find large bridges fascinating and impressive.  Forget computers and satellites;  it still amazes me that bridges stay up and planes fly!  The Brooklyn Bridge was one of my favorite thing about our trip to NY.  Because of weather and time complaints I didn't get to walk across that one either, but I'd like to walk across them both.
After some peripatetic exploration in that area, we got back in the car and did some exploration via automobile.  I like to just drive around randomly in cities I've never been to before, so I can see a slightly larger snapshot of the place.  San Francisco is a very attractive city:  between the beautiful, old buildings, the windy streets and great hills, its a photographer's dream.  It made me wish I had a better camera, a few more lenses and a week to just wander and photograph (well, and some better photography skills would be helpful, so long as I'm dreaming).  Gorgeous place.

We made one last stop at Ghirardelli Square.  We had some sundaes, and Kylie REALLY enjoyed her first little taste of real whipped cream.  The Square itself was pretty cool and the store/soda fountain was awesome.  I'd been to the one in Monterey, but this being the original it was much bigger and more chocolate-drenched (as if we need any more chocolate!)

Those are giant vats of chocolate behind me--how cool is that?!

We made it home very late Saturday night and picked up the kids yesterday, who both look much better than they did when we left, having received haircuts while we were gone.  Dylan slept in his shoes last night and has refused to take them off today--not sure what that's all about.  Keilana missed her sister--she's been holding her most of the morning:).

Chunky Monkey

My mom has frequently remarked that (as evidenced by the multitude of very healthy breastfed babies) our family comes from good "milk stock" or that we "produce a lot of cream".  (What can I say?  She was raised by ranchers.)  In that spirit I share with you a bit of evidence of Kylie's abundant good health--behold the leg rolls!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cradle

Ok so here's the thing:  almost 5 years ago, the summer Keilana and Clayton were born, Chris (Doug's dad) sent Amanda a baby cradle that he had made her.  The next summer when Jen had her first little boy, Ryan, he sent her one as well.  By the time Keith and Dylan arrived the next year, Chris' circumstances changed and there were no more cradles.  

Well, his circumstances have changed again, and this arrived in the mail yesterday.  Its very pretty and he did a great job--very decent workmanship.  We have yet to buy a mattress for/set up our crib (I find we all sleep easier when I just let my babies sleep in our bed--it works for us, and, truth be told,  both Doug and I love having our little ones there), so it is actually quite nice to have.  So here's a picture of Kylie taking a rest in her new cradle from Grandpa Clark, all wrapped up in her beautiful pink blanket that Papa Winter crocheted for her (yes, you read that right, her grandpa crochets--and he's darned good at it!):

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

They're both cute. . .

So I'm sitting here editing my blog when I hear Keilana shout, "No, I'm cute!" (whenever there is shouting, she inevitably starts it).  Then I hear Dylan shout back, "No! Not cute! I cute!"  Then I hear Keilana yell, "I'm beautiful Cinderella, Dylan!"  After a moment, Dylan yells back--in quite an authoritative tone--"I Iron Man!  I fly!"  Then, after a few more seconds, "I cute!!" 

If there's one thing my children seem to not lack, its self-confidence. . . . . .


The key to instilling good values in children is to start young:

Side note: this outfit (from my lovely Sisterbella) says its a 3-6 month. . .I'm thinking they run a little small.  I mean, she is pretty big, but sheesh!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Non-phone pics

The last several pictures I've posted have been with taken with my phone, so I thought I'd get some with a real camera!  Its much easier to take pictures with.
My trio of strawberry haired monsters.  They're both shouting, "Moooommmmmyyy!"
He likes his baby sister. Most of the time.
Believe it or not, I do fix Keilana's hair everyday.  And everyday, as soon as she gets home she pulls it all out and unbraids it!

I suspect that she's going to look the most like me of any of them so far. . .we shall see. . . .

Some kids have a teddy bear or blanky. . .

Mine has Burger King toys.  Last summer, Amanda and I took the kids to Burger King one day while we were out shopping or something, and Dylan got a little Iron Man, about 3 inches tall.  He rediscovered the toy a few months ago and since he's obsessed with flying has been flying him around.  Then he watched the movie for the first time a month or so ago, and has since carried Iron Man around constantly.  Well, Iron Man got left in the nursery on Sunday.  Now he's been telling me since Monday that he wants to go to church, and at the moment he's walking around the house yelling sadly, "Iron Man, where are you?!  Where are you, Iron Man?!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life's Twists and Turns

Every now and then, I think to myself that I would like the Lord to just give me a five-minute glimpse of His list that has all the major decisions I'll have to make in life and which way I'm supposed to decide (this is assuming, of course, that He makes such lists).   Eventually I always realize that this probably wouldn't work out well for me.  Think about it.  If the Lord had given Nephi the whole picture from the start ("Go back to Jerusalem, and I'll make sure that big, ol' drunk Laban falls at your feet.  Then you can cut off his head, put on his armor and pretend to be him, go to his house and order his servant to get you the brass plates.  Ok? Easy-peasy"), rather than just leading him along one step at a time, he probably never would've went back to Jerusalem in the first place.  Ok, well, maybe Nephi would've, but I sure as heck wouldn't have.  And then where would we be?

As some of you know--and many of you don't--for months Doug and I have been very seriously considering moving to Montana sometime later this year.  Quite a while ago, when the completion of McDermont truly started to be in the headlights for the first time, we started having a What Next? conversation.  Neither of us has felt like Lindsay is "it" for us, in the long term.  We both love it here, so close to the mountains and with a great ward (its hard to imagine finding someone else like Kindon and Angie and Scot and Carolyn anywhere else, God bless them).  But we've both felt like this isn't the end of the line for us, much as we'd like to be permanently settled.  

So anyway, we were talking about the different options for the future.  As Doug has gotten further and further away from planning, the less desire he has to ever go back to it.   Something he has always, always wanted to do, but for most of his life lacked the confidence, is architecture.  He does a lot of design work now (McDermont, the Wellness Center, the sports complex at the HS, etc), and that is the part that he loves.  That's the part he can't put aside, and will spend til 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning working on.  We started talking about how cool it would be to embrace that passion and go into architecture so he could focus on it full time.  It began as a conversation that about what could maybe be possible years down the line, because we didn't know how we could ever afford to do such a thing.  Then it suddenly occurred to us that one of the programs he could do is at MSU--this would allow us to save lots of money because the kids and I could live in my parents' basement, and I would have the necessary family support to raise 3 or 4 kids while my husband is in a master's program and working.

We both felt really good about it, and things seemed to keep falling in to place to make it work.  So we started moving in that direction.  We bounced the idea off family, some being more enthusiastic than others (Mom and Katy were wonderfully supportive).  Doug took the GRE's.  I was looking into costs for some basic cost-of-living stuff (rent in Bozeman, car insurance, internet service, etc.).  Doug registered for classes at COS to bolster his long-neglected math skills (he's taking trig).  And then. . . . .

The longer we've prayed about it (and the clarity I'm finally getting after being muddled my whole pregnancy--I'm finally able to better distinguish inspiration from wild, hormonal emotions), the more we have felt like its not the way to go.  At least not yet.

I thought I'd be more disappointed.  A week or two before I had the baby, Doug said he was starting to feel like maybe it wasn't going to happen, and I wanted to slap him.  We were both worried about the economic side of things, and were a bit apprehensive about the stress that would undoubtedly come with such an arrangement.  But those things aren't that big of a deal, in the long run.  We tend to handle that type of stress pretty well (I know you're probably all thinking of Doug and going, "Handle stress well?" but its truer than you think).  I was angry at him for even suggesting that it might not happen.

For the first time in six years, I felt like going home was actually a feasible possibility and I was excited.  I want to raise my kids where they know the first and last name and half the family history of everyone in their class. I wanted to give them white Christmases and that closeness that all their cousins have.  I wanted the comfort, familiarity and convenience of being surrounded by my wonderful sisters.  I wanted lots of wide, open, safe space to explore--I wanted my children to grow up the way I did, where the line between backyard and wilderness is a little hazy.  My mind had started to latch onto the idea of the glorious, gorgeous Missions as a backdrop to everyday life again; to the thought of cutting my own Christmas tree every year; to having Yaya right there to visit whenever we wanted--to maybe have a chance of my children having the kind of relationship with my mother that I had with her mother; to have my children know and love my beautiful Montana the way I do.

And I am disappointed that if I ever do get those things, it won't be this year.  We are continuing to take those steps so that if it ends up that at some point we do need to make that jump, we are ready. But it won't be right now.  I'm amazed at how OK I feel about that.  I feel like we have followed the Lord's promptings--I don't think beginning to move in that direction was the incorrect decision to make.  For whatever reason, the Lord still wants us here right now to take care of a few other things first.  I seem to have finally learned to trust that when I follow a prompting, even if it doesn't turn out the way I think I want it to, I will be happy.  Every time I have moved in the direction the Lord has guided, even if I didn't think it was what I'd prefer, I have been enormously happy.  

It was funny that I'd started to come to this conclusion and right at the same time, Doug and I happened to catch, "Bruce Almighty" on TV.  There's a scene where he's talking to God after he created a mess by answering "Yes" to everyone's prayers.  He says, "I just gave them all what the wanted."  To which God responds, "But since when does anyone have a clue about what they want?"  We think we know what will make us happy.  The Lord really does.  Slowly but surely, I am learning to say with a more enthusiastic heart, "I'll go where you want me to go. . .I'll say what you want me to say. . . I'll be what you want me to be."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One Month Old!

She seems to have my wide-set eyes. . . . . 

Her adorable sad face

Fell asleep on the counter. . .again:(  I'll be glad when he passes this phase of sleep (or lack thereof, usually)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lovin' on her sister

Keilana is a pretty big fan of our little Kylie Bear.  The image below is one I see several times a day around the house.  She actually a really big help with the baby.  Just a little mommy already.  A few weeks ago when she was snapping pictures around the house, I asked her if she wanted to be a photographer and take pictures when she grows up, to which she responded, "No! I wanta be a mommy!"

Kylie's got her uniqueness to be sure, but these two look A LOT alike.  Their personalities couldn't be more different. . . .
Dylan loves both his sisters, but probably doesn't like either of them as much as he likes having his picture taken.
Sometimes I think, "They're just seeing it because of his personality.  He doesn't look THAT much like Doug."  Then I see a picture like this and think, "Then again. . . . ."

Growing So Fast. . . .

Kylie went to the doctor this morning.  [So did Dylan and Keilana, but since there weren't appointments for either of them, the spent the whole time "riding" the various ginormous stuffed animals at the office.  Keilana likes the giraffe best, but for some reason Dylan loves trying to ride the kangaroo.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: that kid is weird!]  She was once again very calm and content through the exam.  I love our pediatrician.  He really likes kids, of course, but  he loves babies.  He is about my parents' age and thinks his daughter is being really stubborn because she keeps telling him to forget it when he asks for a grandbaby for Christmas every year.

Anyway, she currently measures 22 1/4 inches long and weighs 11 pounds even.  I totally called it.  Last night I told Doug I thought she was right around 11 pounds:)  She's starting to smile a bit now (on purpose) and is just such an easy baby.  I know I keep saying that, but I just can't quite get over it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kylie's First Bath

Yes, you read that right. My baby's almost a month old and is just getting her first bath.  Her umbilical cord stump didn't fall off until yesterday.  She'll be four weeks old on Friday, so I think that's a bit ridiculous.  Anyway, I love bathing babies, so I was glad it finally came off. I love that soft, clean baby feeling.  She handled her first excursion into the water the same way she handles just about everything:  peaceful contentment.  When I poured water over her head, it surprised her a little, but didn't really bug her.  She's so mellow!  

Before the water over the head. . .poor thing has the 3-week acne.  Hope it doesn't last long!
Looking delightfully porky with her double elbows and little arm rolls--I love baby chub.
She was a little upset about the cold once she was out of the tub, but a pacifier and a little interaction from her sister (who she's actually staring at in this picture) was enough to solve the problem.
All cleaned up in her fresh, clean clothes.  This is a 0-3 month sleeper and she's not quite a month old yet.  I hope we don't have to go clothes shopping too soon. I still need to buy more pants for Keilana!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Passive Aggressive Dog Kicking

Want to know something horrible about me?   When I'm upset at myself about something--I mean really, really upset--I have a tendency to find the first person I can to criticize about the same subject so I don't feel so lousy.

The trouble with this is not only is it mean, I also way overdo it.  I blow things out of proportion, jump to conclusions, and descend to levels of viciousness I rarely know.  So I, of course, always only feel lousier in the end.

A lot of people do this--"kicking the dog".  I'm mad and you're the one in front of me, so I'm going to yell at you, whether you had anything to do with it or not.  But here's the thing:  I don't yell.  I almost always do it very quietly or in writing.  Without volume on my side, I have to employ a whole lot more meanness in my word choice or subject choice for the same effect.  So when I do it, its usually much worse than anything I've ever had yelled at me.

I usually realize as soon as its done what I've done, but then its too late.  I've said what I've said and there's no taking it back.  I can apologize til I'm blue in the face, but why should anyone believe me?  When you're yelling, you can say, "Look I was upset.  Didn't mean anything by it."  But when you don't look upset, and really aren't that upset at them (as I noted, I almost always do it because I'm upset at myself), but then say something really terrible, it seems the only logical conclusion is that you sincerely meant it.  Even if you don't.  Why should they believe any thing else?  I wouldn't, if the situation were reversed.  And unfortunately, I'm also particularly good (bad?) at this.  I have an awful ability to stab exactly where it hurts the most.  Not so much pouring salt in an open wound as usually tearing apart ones that have just started to close.

Its not entirely conscious.  This, in my better moments, is a tremendous gift.  I am often able to instinctually know where someone's weakest points are, and consequently am able to provide the most effective help and comfort.  But when I'm upset, it makes my lashing out that much meaner, without me even realizing it until I've done it.

It wouldn't even be so bad if I did it to people I was actually mad at, when I was mad at them (the malice in THOSE moments is, I'm afraid, off the charts--cool and calculated).  But most of the time I do it to people I love who I am not angry at just because they were the first person in my path when I was pissed at myself.  I guess subconsciously I probably do it to them because I trust that they'll forgive me.

But trust isn't something we should abuse.  Maybe if I got a dog I'd stop kicking people so much.