Sunday, March 30, 2008

We're off to the chariot races!

For our date this week, Mike and I went to the chariot races. Of course I should have brought my camera so you could see for yourself. Instead I will steal a picture so you can see that they do not wear togas and helmets with brushes on the top, as much fun as that would be. They are very cowboy-ish, with hats, horses, beer, betting, and wranglers. It has been a long time (if ever?) since I've had someone besides Mike call me "hon" or " baby." So it was quite the experience.
Anyway, I was writing a story for the Standard-Examiner about it, and Mike was gracious enough to come along. We are pretty sure we saw a large bottle of vodka being passed around and some illegal betting.

We ran into Matt and Cristina, (they were not the ones with the vodka or doing the betting) who have relatives that race that were really nice to explain all about chariot racing to me. So there were two sides to chariot racing: the beer drinking, betting side, and the family side. A lot of families are involved, and it is kind of fun. All the cowboys were very gracious and it ended up being a fun date, just being with Mike.

In other exciting news, I made something cute. I rarely make cute things. I always have visions of cute things, but these visions are rarely realized. When they are I have to celebrate and take a picture, so my posterity will know that I was not completely helpless in the "cutesy" department.

I made this frame for Josh (my brother-in-law's) birthday, and it was fun. I made one for Dave too, it was almost as cute, but it was my first attempt at frame-making.
Kenzie helped me put the letters on and we had a fun time.

Kenzie and I had a good time this week, making sugar cookies (does anyone have a good recipe for these? Mine is yucky), and playing on our swing set. She said the funniest thing this week. We were on our way to the Chambers, and she said "I want to go to Grandma Vickie's." I told her we were going there tomorrow. "And guess who will be there?" I said. "Aunt Alisha and Uncle Dustin. Won't that be fun?"
"Why mommy, why? Why are they coming? Why will they be here?" I was in ignore mode at that moment and didn't answer, so she said sweetly to herself, "Because Heavenly Father loves me, and so does Aunt Alisha." My heart just melted. So we got to see Alisha and Dustin for a little bit, and that was fun.

This week Hannah is so pleased with herself. She has figured out that she can traverse from table to chairs to anything within reach. She doesn't have black eyes yet, but I am sure they are coming, since she has quite a few falls. She also figured out how to pull herself up in her crib and tonight when we laid her down she stood up and yelled at us. We went down and laughed to see her standing signing, "Eat, eat." That is her favorite sign.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why can't I find a dress as cute as these?

Seriously, little girls' dresses are soooooooo cute.
We spent Easter at my Aunt Leslie's (after church of course) with some of my mom's side of the family, and we had a delicious dinner and an Easter Egg hunt. It was really good times. Kenzie loves Jana's girls, Bria and Brandy, and wants to be big like them. ("Those are my friends, huh?) Stetson was an awesome helper, playing with Kenzie and helping her find eggs on the hunt. Today all Kenzie wanted to see was a picture of Stetson helping her with finding eggs and jumping on the tramp. Spencer was really nice to jump on the tramp with her too. In fact, my cousins all rock.

I thought of you Grandma, and wished you were here.

I deviled the eggs, and I was so excited because after 6 years of owning a tupperware called, "the egg carrier" I used it. Mike was impressed, I could tell.

10 Things we did this week

After our latest vacation Mike and I have decided the purpose of family trips is to teach us Christ-like patience and love, with each other and with our girls. Actually, there was only one moment where we had to stop speaking in strained tones and start laughing about the difficulty of traveling in a small vehicle with two little girls and lots of stuff.

We've had a long, fun week, and it all started when
1. Mike and I went skiing at Snowbasin!
Mike took me on a couple un-groomed runs. I only swore once, okay, maybe twice, when a tree got in my way and I felt the mountain was a little too steep. (But I swore quietly to myself.)
After that we spent Tuesday
2. Having a preschool Easter party, where the kids were delighted and oh, so cute.

After that we 3. packed up the car and headed to Bryce Canyon National Park for a couple days of fun. At the park we 4. Snowshoed on a trail we made up, because we could

and 5. Mud hiked for two hours on a trail I swore was a loop, but really wasn't (I confused Sunrise and Sunset points). Hannah got really really upset the last 10 minutes (that felt like an hour) of the hike, and we had to walk past a lot people who probably thought I was the meanest mom ever.

After she calmed down we 6. drove to St. George to spend the night with Mike's grandparents.
On the way there 7. we went through the Zion tunnel,
which is this amazing engineering feat. Kenzie was not impressed, wanting to only "turn the light on" so she could finish watching her movie. (If you want to watch one of the stupidest movies ever, try "Ant Bully.") Mike's grandparents were so nice and it was fun to spend some time with them in their "snowbird" house. After some catching up with them, and a good nights sleep, we 8. drove back to Zion (only 40 minutes away), to eat lunch and hike around a little bit.
The shuttles weren't running yet, so we got to drive around and try to find a parking spot. The weather was awesome (Kenzie kept talking very loudly about everyone wearing tank tops, because for some reason she loves tank tops and is totally obsessed with wearing them), but we knew we had a long drive home, so we
9. only hiked one little bitty hike up to the Weeping rock,
where Hannah had a massive diaper blowout. Some poor person saw us heading back to our car and thought they could have our parking spot, but they didn't realize they would have to wait as we used at least 20 wipes and had to change her clothes entirely. They waited patiently though and were rewarded with our parking spot after only 10 minutes of watching diapers and soiled clothes come from our car. Since Mike had homework to do we headed for home, 10. stopping in Beaver for a delicious ice cream cone and some squeaky cheese ( we highly recommend stopping if you ever go through Beaver).
We arrived home not too late that night and had a good trip. Mckenzie was extra fun to have on the trip. She rode around on Mike's back and told herself stories and looked at books while we drove. It was truly fun and not a trip through whine country. Hannah did pretty well too, considering she had a little cold and is just kind of too small to be excited about large rock formations.
Mike and I love Zion. Love it. Bryce is pretty cool too, and I have wanted to snowshoe there for a couple years now, so I got my wish and lots of exercise. Our new backpack (a Deuter kid carrier) for carrying Hannah is awesome!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

And she crawls! The crowd goes wild!

Hannah is 11 months and 9 days old. This week she finally figured out how to crawl. Of course I was convinced she was going to become a criminal and never learn to read, but apparently that's not true. This article says it's because kids spend less time on their tummies than they used to, and less and less are crawling. I feel kind of relieved, but still.
Hooray, she figured it out! (Yes we are too poor to afford any toys but packages of wipes and mismatched socks, as you can see in the video)

Another thing she does now is signing "more, more". This is always when she wants more food, which is always. She loves to eat. She is also saying, "uh-oh" and "mamamamama" and finds her sister Kenzie hilarious. She loves dogs and cats, but is also kind of afraid of them. She still buries her head in my shoulder when she is being shy and she loves her blankie. She thinks that crawling is a pain, and loves to practice walking.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Where does the time go?

Jump and Splash!
Shivery wet.
Slosh Sloshy Slosh
Puddles! Puddles! Puddles!

Today we went outside to jump in puddles. I love puddles! I love cute raincoats and little umbrellas and Thomas the Train boots. We totally need some rain boots, but I haven't found any really cute (and/or really cheap) ones yet. We looked all over for worms, but apparently none exist in our subdivision. (Although later we did see one of Kenzie's preschool friends with a worm in a bucket.) As we looked for non-existent worms today I wondered if perhaps it was a sign of how we are ruining the environment. And then I felt all depressed about cement and suburbia. Maybe we were just looking at the wrong time.

Today we also had our Joy school St. Patrick's Day Party. Mindy plans such cute parties. She had the kids go on a treasure hunt and they drank green punch, had green cookies and all got leprechaun hats! Boy was Kenzie excited.

We have been busy this last little bit. Two weekends ago we went snowshoeing with Grandma Vickie (my mom). We went up on the Upper Green Pond trail and had a great time pretending to see animals and looking at where owls live. (In knotholes in trees) Fun stuff!

Then this last weekend I covered the Xterra Winter Games for the Standard up at Snowbasin- I also scored a free ski pass to Snowbasin! Free! Hooray we can afford to go day skiing at least once this season. We're going to go on Monday and I am so excited. It has been a long long time since I have been day skiing. $62/person is a bit above our price range.

Hannah has been so funny lately. I need to do a Hannah post, but it's getting late. Mike has converted me to 11:00 p.m. bedtime (I was previously a nothing past 10:00 girl), but anything after 11:00 just makes me angry. ("How do you feel?" "An-gree")

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective

I finally understand how people forget to eat. I have never been able to fathom how someone could possibly forget the most important thing in life---eating. But now that I have two little ones that I feel like I am either constantly preparing food for, feeding food to, or cleaning food off, I see how this happens. After lunch is over and I am sitting at the computer working on stories for the Standard, I will think, "Why am I so hungry?" And then I will remember it's because I didn't eat anything besides bites of squash to see if they were too hot, and one spurned half-eaten (and disgusting) chicken nugget. (Why can I still not fit into my pre-second-pregnancy jeans?)

On another subject, the past couple of months I started to get mom-derlust. I wanted to change my life from mommy-centered to career centered. Sometimes as a mom I start to feel picked on. I think "Woe is me. Poor Stephanie, stuck in this house with crying children, not using her brain, unable to have a career, unable to exercise regularly, unable to even shower regularly." I start thinking that "If only I had a real job (instead of correspondent work for the paper), then things would be better."

Two things happened this past little bit that have helped me to change my perspective and count my blessings. One was at a correspondent meeting (we have these kind-of-monthly meetings for everyone who writes independently for the Standard), where everyone was talking about really liking how independent they were. I was thinking that day how annoying it was that my editors never gave me assignments (on the city side I find my own), and how they never responded, how I always had to hunt them down, and how. . . complain complain. I didn't think how glad I should be that I don't have bosses breathing down my neck ordering me around.

The next was when my sports editor asked me if I would consider a full-time job with the paper. I was so excited! This would be the answer to my whines (not prayers, whines), and I could be so cool, a real writer, make more money, be famous (yeah, at the Standard I'm sure fame is automatically awarded to staff writers). So I wrote this big email to him asking more questions, and telling him what I wanted to do. As I asked more questions about hours and expectations for a full time job, or even a part time job as an employee, I finally wrote, "Actually things are pretty sweet how they are now." And that was it.

Things are really sweet how they are now.
I am my own boss. I don't have to do weekend assignments, or night assignments if I don't want. I don't have to do anything except when I want to do it. I get to play with my girls and rearrange work around them. If they get sick I can stay home with them. If I need to do something that uses my brain, I can. If I want to go to the library with them instead of write a story, I can. If I want to go on a run (with my crappy double jogger) then I do. If I want to be creative and paid for it, I can. I am truly the captain of my soul.
It's all a matter of perspective. :)

Look at these charmers: Who wouldn't want to stay home all the time with them? (Okay maybe not all the time. I really do cherish my mommy-alone time.)

These are some fun pics from the Hooper park. This park is truly amazing. A moment in time. All the playground equipment is really old, serious stuff. None of the plastic "safe" stuff. All dangerous-looking metal and tires. It is my favorite! Mike and I took the girls there last week when we had some free time in the evening. It was so fun to hear them giggle on the swings.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sweet Stacie

Stacie had a birthday Feb. 26, and we got to go and visit her this weekend, down in Ephraim. Her ward hosts a family day, so Mike and I and the girls tagged along with Reid, Shirley, Scott and Laurie Sat. and went to church with Stacie's ward on Sunday. Then we had a great dinner at the church. Mmmmm brownies. Oh yeah, and soup too.

We had so much fun, and Kenzie was excited to see Stacie and to find another Stacey living in the same apartment. Kenz claimed to have two Aunt Stacie's the whole weekend. She was also pleased to find that Aunt La La had slept in the same bed (at the hotel) with her. We put her to bed early, and Laurie, the kind soul that she is agreed to sleep in the same bed. Kenzie woke up so excited, saying, "Who slept with me? Who slept with me?"

The drive was pleasant, with both girls sleeping most the way (both ways), and thank the inventors of portable dvd players. They probably don't understand the wrecks they've helped avoid. (You know, the wrecks where parents driven crazy by their whining children swerve into oncoming traffic. On purpose.)

Happy Birthday Stacie! You are the sweetest girl! Stacie always does awesome babysitting for us, and she makes everyone feel important. Stacie is always serving and we love her!

Aunt La La is another of our favorite people. She has a good sense of humor and she is always helping us out.