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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Over the weekend...


Easter was nice this year; very low-key but we still covered all the important basics. I talked with Aspen about Christ's resurrection and what an egg hunt symbolizes. Then she got to do a two-minute search for eggs Sunday morning before church... in the living room. It was pretty much all I had energy for, but she obviously thought it was amazing even if I felt like it was lackluster.


Growing up, I remember getting a few key essentials on Easter, like a chocolate bunny. I never got a lot of toys or books or clothes. And I'm okay with that. Thankfully, Kev is also okay with not going all out and not treating Easter like Christmas. I think I spent about $12 on Easter stuff for both Kev and Aspen. Chocolate bunny? Check. Jelly beans? Check. Piggy bank money? Check. A couple of small toys? Check and check! Everyone kept asking her if the Easter bunny came to her house, and every time she replied, "NO MY MOM HID EGGS WHILE I WAS SLEEPING!!" So, uh, sorry if my kid tells your kid there's no such thing as the Easter bunny.


When we were outside BBQing with Seth later that evening, our neighbor Michelle came to our shared fence and told Aspen she had a surprise for her. She had hidden a few eggs in our front yard (filled with coins!) for Aspen to find. So we all went and watched Aspen hunt around for eggs again and it was so much adorable.



We live in such a great neighborhood that takes such good care of us. Just these little things make me feel so loved and so happy here.


And I can't forget one of the highlights of the day- Aspen's old infant swing (the kind that straps the kid in) finally broke after a couple of years of surviving the elements, so we pulled the big-kid swing out of storage and Seth hung it up for Aspen. She kept falling off and screaming about it, so Seth joked that she should put on her helmet.


So of course she did it. She put on a helmet TO SWING. It was so hilarious. I was finishing up dinner inside and I asked Kev to pretty please get the camera and capture this aspect of our daughter's personality. You might not think it of Aspen unless you know her well, but she's so timid! She knows how to speak her mind and pitch a fit, but she's a scaredy cat when there's the possibility of even the slightest threat to her person.

She continued to wear the helmet while going down her slide, riding in her police car and zooming her trike around the backyard. Safety first, I guess. She's such a cute little weirdo.

It was such a nice weekend, and I'm so grateful that although Kev worked straight through the night on Friday (he didn't get home till 530 Saturday morning!) he was able to spend the rest of the weekend with us without any work calls to interrupt the festivities (meaning: yard work and painting, ha!).

I'm looking forward to many more warm, sunny days ahead!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Something new at the zoo

I've had a Hogle Zoo pass for a really long time now, and have used it regularly. However... I've never taken Aspen inside the reptile/bat/tiny kitty exhibit. Y'know the one- it's humid and stinky and there are lots of annoying doors to be pushed open while navigating a stroller.

But when we went to the zoo and met up with Nikki, we braved the stink and heat and checked out the creatures inside.

I've never actually seen the tortoises do anything before, so I'm really glad we went in this time. Not only did each tortoise move, but one was drinking! And swallowing! And then they all lined up together like a cute little family! It was darling. I sent this picture to Kev and he asked which in the turtle family was him. Hint: NOT THE FAT ONE, THAT'S FOR SURE.

We also saw the new meerkats and these cute, teeny tiny little sand cats. I don't know if they're still kittens or what but, man. So cute. Aspen could not tear herself away from them. She kept saying everyone was being too loud and she couldn't enjoy the kitties.

I have loved having a pass to the zoo because it doesn't matter how long we stay each visit. I feel like we got our money's worth after the first month because we went so often. Now we can just go for a couple of hours, browse whatever we want and go home without feeling we wasted our time or money. I love outings like that.

And it's always fun to get together with old friends. I'm so glad Nikki and I were able to coordinate our schedules and meet up last week.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Rainy Day Birchbox


My third and final Birchbox arrived this week and it's a good one! I'm probably not going to renew right now, but this has been a fun experience.

The April box is all about having some fun on a rainy day so, in addition to some products to try, there is also a little "Bright Idea" card (5) with a suggestion for what to do when the weather is bad. Mine says I should get a mani/pedi, which isn't a bad idea considering it's extremely uncomfortable right now to reach toward my toes.


The products in this month's box:
1. theBalm cosmetics: How 'Bout Them Apples cheek and lip cream
2. nyakio: Kenyan coffee face polish, body scrub and hydrating face oil
3. Klorane: dry shampoo
4. Cynthia Rowley Beauty: black eyeliner
6. KIND Snacks: healthy grains bar

Obviously, the first thing I did was eat the granola bar. Aspen and I were heading out to the Zoo after I checked the mail and I added the bar to the snacks I had already prepared. And on the drive to the Zoo I ate it... I couldn't wait any longer! I could taste the maple in it and that was goooood. The sea salt was a bit much, though. I mean, I love sea salt but I don't love huge chunks of it in my granola bar. Still, it was overall a delicious combo of salty and sweet.

I was going to try the eyeliner and lip cream yesterday but after putting on my BB cream and sunscreen I kind of stopped with the whole putting-on-make-up thing. Aspen and I lounged around the house and yard all day and I actually let myself go make-up free for an entire day! That almost never happens unless I'm sick on my deathbed so... I'll keep you posted on those products.

I've heard a lot of good things about Ipsy, which is a similar subscription service, so in the future I might sign up for that. For now, I had a fun run with three months of Birchbox!


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

8 Months Pregnant/My Body is a Mega Jerk

It seems I've developed an aversion to drinking water. As if things haven't been weird enough this pregnancy... I dunno, I guess I'm just doing everything wrong!

I usually drink water every day, all day. In the mornings I like a nice tall glass of OJ, but then I'm all about my Nalgeen full of H20. The last few days, however, I find myself feeling sick to my stomach after drinking water. And I'm not talking huge gulps; I'm talking even just a little sip upsets my stomach.

It's the strangest thing ever. Especially since I forget and take my water bottle with me to work and drink it throughout my shift. Then I find myself wondering why I feel like throwing up. Or I'll be at home and take a nice, cold drink of water from the fridge and feel like throwing up. Or I'll grab a sip at a drinking fountain while out and about and, you guessed it, feel like throwing up.

Other drinks are fine... I can stomach juices and Sprite and the almond milk I use on my cereal. But water = barfy.

The baby doesn't really need any water for the next two months, right? Maybe I'll just start sucking on crushed ice to see if that makes a difference.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It is your birthday.

Well. I turned 30. And I felt so depressed about it!

It was just an off week, I guess. I didn't feel like doing anything (meaning, cooking/cleaning/child rearing/dog walking/etc...) and Kev was working extremely late nights the whole week. We hardly saw each other and I was feeling worn out from a stretch of solo-parenting. Aspen was having one of those weeks when she basically refused to play by herself for even ten seconds, so it made for long days of entertaining her for ALL THE HOURS.

I did buy myself Bringing up Bébé, which is a book I read when Aspen was a few months old (and I wish I had read before she was born). It has some philosophies that resonated with me the first time I read it, and I wanted to have my own copy to reference for the second time around. Thankfully, the book arrived on my birthday so I actually had something to open. And I exercised enough restraint to save the card my mom sent earlier in the week so I had that to open as well.

Delicious, lactose-free cupcake!
Aspen and I went to our regularly-scheduled park play date on my birthday, too, and all the ladies were so sweet- Kim and Maren even brought me some treats and we enjoyed chatting and eating popsicles in the beautiful weather. It was a nice break from being Aspen's sole playmate 24/7. For some reason she doesn't understand that I'm old and lazy now and don't have the energy to play like a three-year old who gets 11 hours of sleep every night.


Even though Kev was working ridiculously late, he still stopped at the store on his way home the night of my birthday and left some flowers and The Hunger Games DVDs on the counter for me to find the next morning. He even wrapped the movies, which I know is the last thing I'd want to do at midnight after a 16-hour workday. But it was a fun surprise and made up for the fact that on my birthday I had to help Aspen make me a birthday card since he couldn't be home to do it with her. It was only annoying because she demanded my involvement, but I wasn't allowed to look at it while she cut out shapes, wrote words and glued things together. She obviously over-estimates my artistic abilities. I can't help do those things very well with my eyes closed! Bless her heart, though, the cards turned out well anyway.


I don't know why I always get so depressed on my birthday; it's really very silly. Especially since my brother offered me free babysitting, date-night money AND a two-pound bag of Twizzlers as a present. And since Kev had to work so late, his supervisor said the company would send us out to dinner to make it up to me. That, combined with all the phone calls, texts and FB well-wishes should have made for a great day. I guess it's just one of those things... I want to celebrate and have fun but something always comes up to prevent that from happening and I'm a big baby about it. At least there's another birthday next year so I can try again!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Deck the walls


My mom was in town a couple of weeks ago and I meant to hang this painting in the guest room before her arrival buuuut... I didn't. I managed to get it up for the following weekend though, when my sister came up again from BYU and stayed for part of General Conference.

Now that I've finally painted the second coat on the entryway (which I started in July last year HA!) I can start the process of creating a gallery wall in that space. I've slowly been pulling our art out and hanging what I'd like in various parts of the house before concentrating on the entry. I also have at least half a dozen pieces to print and frame before I can start mapping out the gallery arrangement.

Since so much of our art has been packed the last two years, I feel like tossing some of it and starting over. If I haven't missed it since it's been gone, then isn't it time to find something more inspiring? Thankfully everyone and their dog offers free printables online these days and there's a lot of small stuff to supplement what I think I will keep. I'm just so tired of bare walls! Aspen's room is so darling and I told her I was jealous she has painted walls with pictures hanging up and that it's so cute. She told me my room's cute, too, but I think she was just being nice.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

New things for a new baby


Amanda offered to sew some stuff up for me so the new baby would have some new things. I'm all about the hand-me-downs (the majority of Aspen's things were already well-loved), but I think it's also nice to have a handful of items that are special and new. She took a part my old car seat cover and used it as a pattern to create this new minky/polka dot one. I had a lot of fun picking out fabrics with her, even though, as someone who doesn't sew, it was a little overwhelming to browse a fabric store.


She also made a canopy for my car seat, which is not something I had for Aspen. I like the idea of one to keep people's hands out of my baby's face, though. And it will be helpful when I'm dragging a sleepy baby around who needs less distractions in order to nod off.


What I really really really love are the little blankets Amanda made. I couldn't decide which fabric to buy so I just kind of bought them all. They were like, a million percent off at Joann's, so why not? And it'll be nice to have some blankets that aren't pink, since I was basically planning to use Aspen's old blankets for her brother. He won't know the difference! But yeah... like I said, it's nice to have a few things that were custom-made/purchased with my little barf buddy in mind and not his sister.

I'm really looking forward to having all the upstairs remodeling done so I can finally put away everything in the baby's room. I have all these great pieces but have yet to see them all together and I'm getting anxious!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Watercolors by Ashmae

I recently won a giveaway from xo, lauren and jane and I was so excited when the prize arrived. Three winners were chosen, and we each chose a book from those written and illustrated by Ashley Hoiland (aka Ashmae). I knew of Ashmae when she had a shop hosted on Etsy, so I was excited to see that xo was offering her books, chock-full of her beautiful watercolors, to three readers.


I chose Animal Parade because I loved the variety the book offers. The illustrations didn't disappoint.


The text is still a little beyond Aspen's interest, but she still enjoyed sitting with me and going through the book a few times.


My favorite watercolor is probably a toss-up between the peacock and the giraffe. I don't know what it is, but lately I'm all about peacocks and giraffes. Perhaps all those visits to the zoo in the last year...?

I love having original, beautiful books in Aspen's collection. It's so much fun to have variety that includes real works of art like this. I wish I could purchase a copy of every book we borrow from the library that catches my eye like this. But then we'd be living in a house made of books because that's the only way we'd have room for all of them.

But that doesn't sound like too bad of a set up.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Another day at the farm


How about this amazing week?! I have loved it, especially since at the beginning of the week Aspen had a cold and we needed an outlet for her cabin fever without spreading too many germs. We were able to hit up the farm for the millionth time this Spring and I'll tell ya what, I can relate to the piggy.


We may have spent a little too long at the farm, though, because near the three hour mark Aspen was whining incessantly. I wouldn't mind carrying her around if she didn't insist on constantly being put down and then picked up again. That's what makes my back protest... and she doesn't understand. With that in mind, I'll probably wear her brother when he's born and still drag the stroller to places for Aspen to use.


I'm so thankful for the sunny, warm days we've been having. It's even better this time around in the new house because the guest room is finished and serves as a cool retreat when it's too hot upstairs. I foresee many an afternoon spent lounging on the bed down there, reading books to beat the heat.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Knick Knacks

About a year ago, I pinned these cute little rocking birds from West Elm. When Kev and I were at City Creek last month we went into West Elm and I went gaga over the tiny salt and pepper shaker versions of these statues. Kev smiled and asked if I'd like to buy them. But then I looked at the $24 price tag and laughed. That is an absurd amount of money for me to spend on S&P shakers, especially when I could buy a bigger, non-S&P version for much less.

Image via West Elm
They are wicked cute, though, aren't they? We ended up getting some cloth napkins and a pendant light instead of blowing all our spending money of S&P shakers.

Last weekend while Kev hung out with Aspen at home, I did my grocery shopping and stopped by Target for a few "essentials." I'm so glad I'm not the only person who goes to Target for frozen, diced, chicken breasts and somehow ends up leaving with a new bed pillow, and shower caddy and THESE:


Best part? They were only $2.99 for the set. Thanks, Target, for being approximately a million percent less expensive than West Elm but just as cute.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A quote for the week


My neighborhood book club picked a good one this month. I found myself laughing and crying while reading Beth Hoffman's Looking for Me.

This line is one of many that stood out to me as I read the book (ok, more like, DEVOURED the book). I know I have a lot to let go of before having a new baby, and it's something I'm consciously aware of every day. I need to let go of the memories of how hard it was and how painful and unsettling and overwhelming and... and... and... the list goes on. If I constantly use my experiences as a first-time mom to prepare me for being a second-time mom, I'm going to be miserable. So I want to keep working on letting it go. Instead I can focus on the fact that here I am, almost four years later, and I obviously survived. Not just that, but Aspen is a pretty amazing kid despite any of my short-comings. I have proof that those hard times are mostly just phases and it gets easier every day. Heck, it can get easier in a matter of minutes.

I enjoyed this reminder that moving on can be better than holding on. Whether related to a way of thinking, or to a way of doing things, or to people in our lives... it doesn't matter. Sometimes we have to let it go.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Pregnancy update


So... I'm pretty pregnant these days. This photo was taken at 30 weeks (last week), and I'm reaaaaally happy about that. I told Kev that although I have been so sick and in so much pain and so blah most of this pregnancy, it seems the weeks are flying by. He was incredulous. He feels like it's dragging... and I suppose if you're the one listening to me huff and puff, moan and groan and barf for all this time it probably does feel like a lot longer than just 30 weeks. Sorry babe. At least you don't have to push this baby out of your body and then try to breastfeed it. So there's an upside!

I've been having contractions since about 16 weeks, and while they've tapered off the last month or so, the stabby jabbing of my little barf buddy has taken its place. It usually takes me by surprise when some part of his body tries to make a break for it through my abdomen. And as of a few weeks ago, I'm unable to sleep on my left side or I get a burning ache in my ribcage and my left foot goes numb. When I mentioned that to Kev he got this horrified look on his face and asked me if I was going to survive ten more weeks of pregnancy. I sure hope so.

But y'know, it's almost over. And while most days I'm still pretty terrified of having a newborn again, it's probably going to be better than the trials of this pregnancy. Or maybe it'll just be nice to have different trials. My sweet doctor, bless his heart, has been telling me at my last few appointments that this is the babymoon stage and I should be so happy to be out of the nausea stage and not quite into the I'm-too-fat-to-move-stage. That makes me want to punch him in the face juuuuuuust a little bit. If that's what he thinks of the seventh month of pregnancy, then he can start leaning over the tub with a gigantic belly and an aching back and give Aspen her baths.

I just remind myself how happy I am that I'm not throwing up every day anymore. That really is a triumph and while I'm still cautious about eating and drinking, it's light-years better than it used to be. Plus, ten weeks really isn't that long.

Right?

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Friday, April 04, 2014

Birthday Hoot-Loot


When my mom was in town she said she'd like to take me maternity clothes/birthday shopping, so we wandered through Ross and Old Navy and had some success in both departments. I previously had two pairs of real maternity jeans that fit, one pair of slacks for work, plus a pair of leggings that I would wear when I felt desperate. It was nice to pick out another two pairs of bottoms, plus a skirt and some tops to round out the wardrobe a bit.

Gail said Marc also wanted in on the birthday action, so before leaving Ross I looked at some of the décor items. I found this little green owl and decided he'd fit the bill. Aspen named him "HOOOO." So when you come over, be sure to say hello to HOOOO.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Babymoon

Before Aspen was born, Kev and I took a quick trip to downtown SLC and enjoyed a little getaway. I often get the itch around Spring to do something like that, so we call it my birthday present and I justify spending the money to get away for a mere 24 hours.

This year it was no different. And when my mom mentioned that she was coming into town again, I decided to use her for babysitting Aspen and go ahead with an overnight for just me and my Kev. I found a nice deal on Expedia and booked us a night at The Little America. I tried to talk Kev into going to Midway again because I'm obsessed with The Homestead, but he wanted to finally see City Creek so we settled on SLC. I know, I know. City Creek has been open for two years and he never went until last weekend. INSANE.


Anyway.

Kev came home a little early on Friday afternoon and we headed to Little America. I spent way too much time deciding where we'd eat dinner, and then we drove to City Creek beforehand. I rarely go without Aspen in tow, so I really enjoyed strolling through the mall without anything stopping me. And I got to go into stores that have some invisible force field that usually trigger Aspen's scream reflex! It was amazing! Who knew you could walk through Anthropologie without wanting to pull your ears off?!


For dinner I had crowd-sourced some ideas via Facebook, but ultimately I kept going back to wanting Greek food. Weird, because the last time I had Greek was when our friend Ken brought us dinner in Aspen's newborn days. I think he brought us gyros or something quite "normal" when it comes to Mediterranean fare, but for some reason the memory of it kept coming back to me. Kev had recently eaten at Aristo's with some friends, so we made reservations right before going.

BEST DECISION OF THE ENTIRE WEEKEND, RIGHT THERE.

I went all out and got some lamb ribs served on fries and if I hadn't been too self-conscious about being one of those people who photograph their food, I would have photographed that plate. It was another kind of delicious that totally hit the spot and it was presented beautifully. Aristo's recently underwent some renos and the space was so bright and quiet while we dined. I loved it. And that lamb was so good that before 10 the next morning I was eating the cold leftovers in our hotel room. Or, more accurately, on the sidewalk outside our room because Kev couldn't stand the smell of garlic that early. Haters gonna hate, yo.

After (my) second-breakfasts, we packed up and went back to City Creek to spend the rest of our day. I liked seeing everything with someone who's never been before; it's like how I felt all those times I took people back to Maine with me for the first time. Everything is shinier!

We had our lunch at City Creek and headed home so I could get ready for the baby shower later that night. Although we were actually gone less than 24 hours, it was a much-needed break for me. I did not once text or call home to check on Aspen (nor did I receive any communication from my mom about her the entire time we were away). It was so nice to be just ME and not MOM for a little while.

And even though it was pretty hard to talk myself into putting on a swimsuit at 29 weeks pregnant, I'm glad I did that, too.

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