Monday, October 17, 2011

Warning: This is a boooooooooooring catch-up blog. If you need a nap, do continue reading!

I switched blog sites about a month ago, but I have yet to figure out how to post on my new site, so I am back on blogger until that gets sorted out. Plus, I haven't organized or named my new site, so it's pretty pathetic if you check it out right now. But I have high hopes for the future! Blogger makes me totally crazy (at least when my blog is private), so this new site should be a great relief. The site is:, and to view the posts you have to enter our password, "playground". I'll post another Blogger blog announcing when it's ready for actual viewing. (Right now we've just imported all of my blogger blogs and just put them onto the new blog, so there's nothing original or fun to see.)

Here's a quick review of fun things we have done since the last blog.

My friend, Thalia, Randall, visited us in mid August for a lovely week! She is from South Africa, and we had such a wonderful time with her. We did a two day Moab stint wherein she biked Sick Rock with Jere, and then we all swam in the pool. It was Lydia's first time in the pool! I don't have any pictures--story of my life--but Thalia bought a gorgeous new camera, and she has some. Eventually we will get those pics (plus some of us hiking to Landscape Arch in Arches National Park) and I will post them here. We also had a mini-mini mission reunion party in her honor, and it was so fun to see friends from the mission again.

Abe and I have made so many trips to Moab that by this point I've lost track of how often we've gone. We have hiked a number of different hikes in Arches, including Park Avenue, the Windows, and Landscape Arch. Next time we plan to hike in Canyonlands National Park. If you ever go to Moab, our most recommended restaurants to date are Peace Tree and Jay's Pasta. Peace Tree has a ton of vegetarian fare (since we are now officially vegetarians) including a to-die-for hummus wrap and a lovely mushroom-and-roasted-veggies bagel. Jay's Pasta has a great dish with pasta, tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms...mmmm! I am kind of drooling just thinking about it. There's a really promising Mexican place too, but it is only open certain hours in the evening, and so next time we'll schedule ourselves time to wait in line and get a spot.

We also just got back from a trip to New England. Abe's little brother, David, is getting his Ph.D. at Harvard, so we visited him and took a trip to see the leaves. It was glorious! Suzanne planned the whole trip, and every day was packed with fun and interesting things. We visited a Shaker village in New Hampshire, toured the Ben and Jerry's factory in Vermont, explored a glass blowing factory/shop (Simon Pierce?), visited and hiked around Joseph Smith's birthplace, strolled around a Fall Foliage Festival in some cute little New Hampshire town, shopped at the fun little Vermont Country Store, and ate lots of yummy food. We also spent an evening in Cambridge and took a little tour around Harvard. I broke my two month long no sugar streak and drank some hot chocolate from Burdick's. I couldn't believe how rich that stuff was! I remember downing about a cup a day when I lived in Cambridge, but after not having sugar for two months, just half a cup was almost too much to handle. Wow. Although I wish I could have seen more friends from Boston, I was deeeelighted that the last minute timing still allowed a beautiful (short!) visit with my dear friends, Sherelle and Jean. It was probably the highlight of my trip just to see those two!

On the Lydia front, all continues to be sugar, spice and everything nice. She has been turning the pages in her books for about a month now, and she is rolling all around and sitting up. At her most recent doctor's visit, she weighed 15 pounds and was 28 inches long. She says "mamamama," "bababa," and, occasionally, "mamababama." My heart leaps every so often when she says, "mama," but I'm never sure if she knows what that means. On our trip, she sat in her first high chair and delighted us all with her darling expressions as she tried new foods. Abe was appalled that she initially appeared to dislike beets, but upon several subsequent spoonfuls, she decided that they were okay. At that point, Abe declared that she was definitely his daughter.

We are leaving for Idaho today and will be there until Friday or Saturday. I am dreading trying to keep Lydia entertained for a week in one little hotel room, but we are getting used to this traveling thing. The good news is that they have a pool, so that should provide at least forty five minutes worth of entertainment per day. And then I get to see my friend Candace on Tuesday and Wednesday, so that should make the days much brighter. She is having a little girl in January, and when we get together on Wednesday we will craft in anticipation of this exciting event. I am SO excited!

Okay, since I'm a little hungry, I'll end by posting links to some great recipes I've tried lately:

A sweet and savory Macedonian strudel from Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd. It's a little rich, but very delicious.

Whole wheat walnut bread from Anna Thomas' book, Love Soup. This bread is a yeast bread but it's actually easier to make than many quick breads.

And I wanted to post a recipe to the tofu stuffed cabbage rolls from Moosewood Low Fat Favorites, but unfortunately it's not on the web. So I am instead recommending you check out that book from the library or, if you have it already and haven't tried the cabbage rolls, try the cabbage rolls! Seriously, that recipe is great. I think the miso is the key secret ingrediant. Also, just a plug for that cookbook in general: by this point, I feel like I've almost cooked through the whole book, and I've only found one dud recipe (the tamale-ish recipe, if you're wondering). It's a great book.

Okay, I should probably pack for our trip--especially since we're leaving in less than an hour!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

cry it out, diet update, and prayers

Well, we are finally settled into our new house, and so we figured it was time to get serious about Lydia's schedule. Her sleep routine was out of hand. Abe had started to joke that soon she'd require him to rub his tummy and pat his head while singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm in order for her to sleep. As it was, he had to hold her while hopping up and down on one foot and leaning at just the right angle, or else she absolutely refused to fall asleep. When I put her down, I often had to spend about an hour feeding, swaddling, changing, reswaddling, refeeding, and rechanging...and then I'd jiggle her all the way to her crib and put her down about six times before she's actually go to sleep. I was actually starting to develop back pain from the hour long process.

When we explained our routine to the pediatrician, she scared us witless by saying that she'd met three year olds who still require their parents to do similar routines and hold them until they fall asleep. She suggested we let Lydia cry it out so that Lydia could learn to self soothe.

And that is what we've been doing for the past couple days...and it's working! At first it was brutal to hear her cry for so long, but every time we put her down now, she cries less and less. Last night she cried for a total of FIVE short minutes, and then she slept so long I started to worry. When I realized she'd been sleeping for nine hours, I went into her room to make sure she was still alive. Lo and behold, not only was she still alive, but she was awake and playing by herself with her little pink monkey. I could not believe my eyes! Up to this point, Lydia has needed constant and direct adult stimulation every waking minute of her life, but there she was--happily playing away with Minkey (her monkey)! Wow, wow, WOW. Abe and I are thrilled.

Here's what I'm not thrilled about. I have been enduring painful exercise sessions five days a week for over a month and I can't remember the last time I ate anything sugary...and I still weigh the same as I did in APRIL! Can you believe it? I even checked out The Idiot's Guide to Weight Loss to see what I'm doing wrong. That book says to throw out the scale and judge yourself on how clothes fit, but as far as I can tell, I can't fit into any of my old clothes. I suppose there is a possibility some fat is turning to muscle since some people (namely, my mom and Abe) keep telling me I look like I'm losing weight, but at some point, doesn't the number on the scale have to go down?? It's so sad. I have had more than one dream about all of the desserts I've passed up, and I always wake up from those dreams hungry and grumpy.

Oh well. The real purpose of this whole program is so that I'm healthy for baby #2, and I really do feel a lot more energy and health. So that's good. When I get pregnant again, I am going to try to continue avoiding sugar and exercising five days a week, and maybe--just maybe!--I won't gain another 70 lbs. But to end on a positive note, I have really enjoyed not being alone in this post-baby weight loss journey. My friend Ashley and I have been emailing each other about our goals and praying for each other, and that has been immensely helpful. There have been days when I would not have reached my goals if it weren't for her support. One day I got up and really did not want to run at all, but I thought of her and felt like I'd be disappointed if she didn't reach her goals that day--so I didn't want to let her down, either! I spent my whole run praying for us both, and we both ran longer than we thought we could that day. God really does answer prayers.

Oh, and that reminds me! One more happy thing. I have really felt God answering my prayers when I pray to know how to mother Lydia. I'm not sure where my journal is, so even though this is normally material for my journal, I think I'll blog it before I forget that it happened. When we were in Moab at the hotel (before we started cry it out), I felt at a total loss for how to get Lydia to take her nap. I knew she was tired, but we were in a new place with a different bassinet, and I just felt extremely daunted by the prospect of putting her down. So I said a prayer that God would show me how to put her down, and right away thoughts came into my head about what to do next. I started to do things I don't normally do, but I just kept following the impressions I was getting. The whole time I kept thinking "There's no way this is going to work," but I followed the Spirit anyway--and fifteen minutes later, Lydia was sound asleep. It was a miracle. That's not the only time something like that has happened, but since it was the most recent event, I figured I should record it before I forgot.

Sorry for the epic blog post! Now I need to go and find my journal...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

a walk on the sidewalk

A confession: Because I accidentally packed most of Lydia's stuff in the moving boxes, up until yesterday, Lydia had one toy. Every time my mom came over to babysit, she would ask plaintively if Lydia had any toys, and every time I'd present her the same circle of colored teething rings that served as Lydia's solitary plaything. It was sad. Lydia idled away her life taking tours of house plants, practicing the piano (while I gently corrected her technique), reading (the same three) books, watching me eat, and enduring my crazy attempts to make her smile and laugh. Poor thing.

And then we decided to accompany Abe on some of his work trips. These have changed my perspective on toys. Try spending 12 hours in a hotel room with a five month old, and you'll decide that toys--LOTS of toys--are basic necessities. After Abe returned to the room yesterday, we high tailed it to the nearest Babies R Us and stocked up on toys. We took turns thrusting different gadgets into Lydia's hands to see which ones seemed most stimulating. Since she has been so toy deprived, our sweet baby kept trying to stuff each candidate into her mouth...she couldn't fathom that there are other things to do with toys besides eating them. I felt so bad.

So today we have tried to make up for Lydia's lack of sensory stimulation by playing up a storm. She got to the point where she just cried when I put another new toy in her hands. I think she might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

To break up our twelve hour day, I took Lydia on a walk. We are currently situated at a Marriot in the middle of a corporate desert; there's nothing around but business buildings, hotels and a couple restaurants. They do, however, have a lovely sidewalk that no one uses. It goes for miles besides the major roads running through these strips of buildings. I decided that our first stop would be the Marriot across the street. I wanted to find out why they are more expensive than the Marriot we are staying at, so Lydia and I started our leisurely walk by off-roading onto the hotel lawn and making our way to the front desk.

I explained my question to the lovely hotel receptionist, and without batting an eyelash the woman told me the difference lay in the color scheme and flow of the rooms. I must have raised an eyebrow because then she offered to show me a room. I was delighted by her invitation, but my happy spirits sank when the lady asked how old Lydia was and then told me she also had a five month old. I looked at her fat-less figure and felt immediately depressed. And then she proceeded to tell me that her son's favorite colors are yellow and red.

Favorite colors? Lydia doesn't even appear to recognize differences between colors, and she certainly doesn't have favorites. "It's her lack of stimulation," I thought, sadly. "She hasn't had enough toy-time, and she's developmentally delayed because of it. And it's all my fault!!!"

On top of that, I couldn't really tell a difference between that Marriot's rooms and ours. The colors were more blue, as I remarked to the receptionist. "Yes," she said, smilingly, "It's those little details that make a difference." Uh huh...

So we continued on our merry way. The sidewalk was really well manicured and maintained, but there was hardly any tree cover. That's a problem when it's the beginning of August and the heat is beating down, so I scanned the buildings to see if there was anywhere Lydia and I could duck in for some heat relief.

Out of nowhere appeared a store that advertised "Fine Country Furnishings." "Good enough," I thought, and veered right towards the store entrance. As soon as I stepped inside, I felt as though I'd been transported to autumn in 19th century New England. The whole store was scented with spiced candles and filled to the brim with folksy knick knacks and old fashioned furniture. It was delightful. I even found some house scents labeled "antique porch" and "log cabin." But my absolute favorite part of the store were the cutesy signs with the word "Simplify" hung right above the piles of folksy Americana kitsch. Love it!

There were some signs, though, that had heart stopping grammatical errors: "Sister's are the best" and "Friend's are the best" stopped me in my tracks. Really?? But the store was so quaint and cute and sweet that I immediately forgave the sign makers. They were probably too busy thinking sweet thoughts to pay attention to grammar.

Back in the sunshine, Lydia woke up and started screaming bloody murder. At that point, I decided it would be prudent to begin the mile long trek back to our hotel.

And now here we are. Just a couple more hours before Abe comes home for a little dinner break before heading out to work again. (Did I mention he works a lot?) But Lydia is sleeping peacefully and Blogger appears to be working again, so I am happy. I even like this room's color scheme better than the other Marriot, so right now life feels pretty great!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

picture update

Blogger has gone beserk. Sorry for the poor formatting, the underlining and also the lack of captions. This sorry looking post has taken me hours spread over the course of multiple days...I am seriously considering starting a new blog that's not a Blogger blog. Anyway, the following pictures are of the following:

1) Clark at the Miners' birthday bash. With one exception, this was the first time we'd celebrated his birthday since before middle school. He looks pretty happy. (My mom, Clark and I each got our own cake!!! It was rather amazing.)

2) Lydia found her foot!

3) Lydia and I enjoy a cuddle after our morning hike in Arches National Park. One of the perks of Abe's new job is that one of his accounts is a mine near Moab, so if Lydia and I go with him we can have fun at Arches!

4) Grams with Lydia. Lydia is in her party dress. Whenever we put it on her, she wiggles and grins in delight.

5) Abe, Lydia and I posing for a picture in front of an Arch. We didn't realize the hike was going to get slightly you can see, I am wearing a skirt and flip flops!

6) This past Saturday we celebrated Jere's birthday by driving to Cascade Springs and taking a little hike. It was so fun and pretty! David was there, but he's not in the picture because he's busy taking it. =)

Monday, July 18, 2011

rewards and a question for you moms

So I am starting a weight loss program, inspired by a friend's program she blogged about recently. I am soooooooooo tired of my mommy belly! And I want to get pregnant again. I know, I know...I spent nine months whining about how much I hated being pregnant, and I really don't enjoy pregnancy. But I do want to have other babies in my lifetime, and so I'm willing to undergo the accompanying yuck that precedes the baby. Lydia needs siblings. But the only problem is that I am still carrying way too much extra weight, and I don't think that would be a healthy starting point for pregnancy, so here I go!

1) No sugary treats. Period. (Aggghhhh!! This is SO hard for me, but I think it will be worth it...please tell me it will be worth it!!)
2) Exercise minimum five days a week. Make a weekly exercise program and follow that.
3) Eat only three meals and one snack a day.

Goals: Get down to 155 lbs by the end of September and, if I don't get pregnant before, get down to 135 lbs by December.

Abe and I came up with a google doc that tracks my points for adhering to these goalsrewards program yesterday, but I already want to revise it. I couldn't think of anything I really want besides more time with Abe, and he can't really control that factor, so I just said that I wanted an iPad if I earn 275 points (there's a max earning of 280 points according to our plan). But when I was exercising this morning, the iPad had zero motivating power. So now I am thinking of switching that to a really nice camera so that I can take pictures of Lydia. It would be nice if she could look back and feel loved. Right now my camera is missing in action, so she will probably think we forgot about her during the move to Utah.

Oh, and I want a picture of my aura taken. I think I get that after 100 points, but I'll have to check the document. Apparently, they can map your aura in colors after taking a special photo! Isn't that cool?

This will be a struggle, though. I have already eaten two meals and one snack, and it's only 4:45!! I wonder if I can revise the rules so I can have an extra fruit snack. Since I am still nursing, it feels hard to make such long stretches between meals.

From the Lydia front: she rolled from her back to her stomach for the first time today! It was so cute. Too bad my camera is missing--otherwise I could post a cute picture!

She also has been on a very weird schedule lately. Every other day she barely takes any naps (no matter how much effort is put into getting her to go down), and then the day after a no-nap day, she'll sleep almost all day. Today is a sleep-all-day day, so I have already worked out, taken her on our stroll to the grocery store, done two loads of laundry, and cooked dinner. I tremble when I think of how unproductive tomorrow (a no-nap day) will be...

I want to put her on a schedule, but I am going to wait until we are settled to do that. Right now we are still at Tom and Suzanne's, and since we're moving in a week or two, it doesn't make sense to put her on a schedule only to get that all jostled in a move. Also, I suspect putting her on a schedule involves a bit of cry it out...and it would be better if that weren't inflicted on the ears of anyone but me (and occasionally Abe). I really need to read up on this, but I don't have a library card yet. Have any of you put your babies on a schedule? How do you do it?  I would LOVE your input!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ever since Abe got home from his trip yesterday, life has been great. I didn't expect him until yesterday evening, but he got up at 4am and surprised me by showing up at 11am. It was sooooooo nice! I know this sounds morbid, but we walked to the city cemetery (just a couple blocks away) and found the spots his dad and stepmom bought a while back. They got eight spots together in this amazing part of the cemetery close to some of the prophets and really close to Porter Rockwell (Joseph Smith's body guard).

I love spending time in cemeteries, and it felt so peaceful to visit such a nice spot with Abe, Lydia, and his dad. We also got a nice laugh out of one of the graves on our way back. Some guy thinks he is Hyrum Smith reincarnated, and so he bought himself a grave near the Hyrum Smith monument. For his full story, the tombstone refers you to his website! I probably shouldn't laugh because I am sure this person feels sure that he is actually Hyrum Smith, and his paradigm deserves respect...but I wasn't good enough to suppress my laughter when I read his tombstone.

And then today we drove up to Park City to watch the movie Forks Over Knives. It was awesome. Here's a link to the trailer: Of course, I am biased because I read The China Study and came away totally convinced that we need to be eating plant based diets. The movie is basically The China Study in cinematic form, but it was still motivating.

Lydia was a star during the movie. Normally I don't let her watch any type of TV or film, but I thought that this could be an exception. She was totally taken with the movie and stared mesmerized until she got excited and started vocalizing back to the people on the screen. At that point, I took her out of the theater, but she was in a really happy mood for the whole hour and a half. I didn't need to do anything except walk around with her, and she just looked at everything around her. She is totally enthralled by life. I love my sweet baby.

Yay! Abe is home! He was out for a late night inspection, so I started blogging to pass the time. And now the time is successfully passed!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We moved!

Warning: I am tired. I just reread this blog and noticed many instances of poor syntax. I am really too tired to fix these parts, but I am too embarrassed to do nothing. So this is something. You are warned!

It is time for a blog update. We now live in Utah. Surprise! It has been a craaaazy couple weeks, but for those who do not yet know the story, here it is:

About a month or so ago, Abe and I wrote down our life dream. It included, among other things, living in Salt Lake. We didn't know how that would happen, but we thought that maybe, if we were lucky, Abe could get a job transfer in a couple of years.

Fast forward to Thursday, June 23 of this year. I was cooking in the kitchen loving my little Chicago home. In the middle of my peaceful thoughts, I got a call from Abe. He told me he'd been trying to call me all day (I am very bad about answering my phone), and that he hoped it was okay with me that he had pretty much accepted a position in Salt Lake and was flying out to NYC immediately to interview with his company CEO to make everything formal.

I asked him when we were supposed to move and found out that Abe's new position started on July 1st. We had one week to pack up, get our condo ready to sell, and move.

It was a little stressful.

Thank goodness for Abe's family! They just happened to be in town that week, so I had help. I really don't think I could have done it alone, especially with Lydia. But there were so many heroes who came to our rescue. Abe's brothers, my brother, Abe's stepmom, uncle and cousin all pitched in when they were in town. Huge thank yous to all of them! And then the day before our flight to Utah, Abe and I worked from 3am to 1pm to finish everything up.

It was hard to say goodbye to friends in Chicago/Evanston, and I don't know if we'll go back anytime soon. I grew up there, and so it felt very odd thinking that by the time I get back there, things might have really changed. But who knows? Maybe we'll visit sooner than we think. My grandma lives in Springfield, and we really want to visit her, so we'll just have to see how everything plays out.

And now we are in Utah living happily ever after. No, really, it is wonderful to have so many friends and family members everywhere. And I love having so many babysitters!! Before I told Abe we weren't ever going to do anything without Lydia because I am super scared of leaving Lydia with anyone besides family. Since we didn't really have any family in Chicago (except when Clark was in town), we never ever left Lydia. Now we can theoretically go on dates again, assuming Abe is ever home.

He travels 1500 miles a week in his new job. I don't think I'm exaggerating, but I wouldn't know because I can't actually ask Abe if I'm exaggerating since  he is on a work trip. Ugh. That is the only part of this that I don't really like. I hate being apart so much! But, thankfully, I have lovely people around to distract me. For example, today I took a beautiful walk in City Creek Canyon with my mom and Lydia. I can see my mom all the time now! It is rather heavenly.

We are currently living with his dad and stepmom until we move into a house Abe's mom is renting to us. I am grateful to his mom for being so sweet, moving out and giving us such an amazing deal on her house, but I can't lie--I love not having to be alone during Abe's trips right about now. His dad and stepmom have been so fun, and I love visiting with them and watching them interact with Lydia. I keep wanting to throw myself pity parties about how much Abe has to be away, but it is hard to do that when I get to hang out with Tom and Suzanne. Suzanne calls Tom the "baby whisperer" because Lydia adores him. When we are at our wits' end trying to calm her down, all Tom has to do is pick her up, and she's a calm happy baby again. It's amazing! I don't know what I'll do when I have to calm her down all by myself again.

Oh, and that brings me to my next subject: Lydia. She is a trooper for holding up under all this change, but lately she's had a couple very out of character meltdowns. I think it is all the change and the fact that I started supplementing with formula during all the craziness of the move. There was just no way I could keep up with pure breastfeeding. I know that formula is fine for some babies, but it isn't really good for Lydia. She gets really constipated, gassy and fussy on it, and so starting yesterday I completely stopped supplementing. So now instead of going to bed like I am dying to do, I will pump a ton first. The fun never ends! More next time...