31 May 2010

Phillip Moves his Groove





Phillip really proved me wrong soon after the post about his 9th month. The day or so after (Friday) I noticed his right bottom tooth came through. I felt it while he was nursing, little squirrel tried to bite me! Within the matter of an hour today he suddenly learned how to scoot forwards. Amelia put a can of chips about five feet away. He army crawled over, opened the can, and helped himself to a chip...or four. His little bum is so cute all squished up into the air as he gears up to move forwards. I am so proud of my little buddy. He loves refried beans and rice, Popsicles, sippy cups, and now playing on his tummy. PHILLIP IS MOBILE! Watch out! Amelia is already worried about her stuff. He invaded a personal tea party between Amelia and her girls (aka her princess dolls) much to her chagrin. Phillip nearly swallowed a tiny tea cup.

My little garden is exploding with the warmer weather. Friday evening we enjoyed our first green salad made with seven different types of green leaves. Justin manned the grill almost every night this past week for steak kabobs, grilled chicken, zucchini, etc. We are in summer food heaven. Wednesday evening we planted the remainder of my seeds and starts into Sister Meuller's half empty garden plot. Phillip got his first taste of dirt, he really liked it. Thursday we went on a family bike ride down Sidney Draw Road, a little used country road. The bike trailer ended up with a flat, unfortunately, my pump was not working and we both were out of CO2 cartridges. Justin rode ahead to get the pump and come back to help me in the car. We were a block away by the time the cavalry came to assist us. The wind was pretty stiff, which was the main deterrent in my book. Amelia complained most of the time, saying that Dadddy was too far ahead or behind, she was thirsty, that she barfed, that she was hot, that she was cold, etc. Next time I am bringing my iPod.

Amelia is in the very annoying stage of repeating everything about 100 times no matter what my response is. Broken record is a very soft description. 

Saturday morning I photographed a fun family of blond tow heads. Alison found a spot in town that looks like the middle of a tree lined meadow. The morning light was glorious with the spot of shade provided by the trees. I love Ann, she is so funny! Ann was born and raised in Denmark. All of her kids are stunning. The afternoon we spent with the Titus family helping out with a branding.

Titus Branding Party
















We had an amazing time on Saturday with the Titus family and many other families from our ward. Brother Titus is a real bonafide cowboy! The guy who owns the land had about a 100 calves to brand, Greg volunteered to help him out. He called for some help and about half the ward showed up. We showed up around 4 pm just in time to see the cowboys saddle up to help round up the cows and calves. It took them 45 minutes to get the herd down to the penned area. The herd was very skittish and reluctant to come down with so many spectators. After we moved back the cows finally came down into the corral. There were about four cowboys working the herd while everyone else helped pin down, vaccinate, neuter the bulls, and brand the little calves. We were all amazed at the talent those guys exhibited while maneuvering their horses and lassos. Due to a ward boundary change we won a couple of awesome families last month. One family has two tough cowgirl teenagers, they could beat the snot out of any guy who gets too near. Those two girls were pulling calf tails, yanking legs, and wrassling those calves with tremendous skill. Anyone who wanted a turn to help out shadowed one of the girls or their mom before taking a turn. Mostly, I manned my camera and herded kiddos while the other adults worked. Justin gave me a short turn to immunize and another turn to wrassle my own calf. I took the end half, tucking a hoof under my armpit and bracing its other leg with my boot. Justin spent most of the time in the corral helping as needed. I think we felt like city slickers coming to terms with country life. Amelia is not a lover of animals larger than she, I was a little worried about her. She was a little skittish around the Titus's dog, King, a huge mongrel who comes up to my chest. Other than that she watched the whole process imitating the cows. I loved watching her climb the corral fence! Phillip spent most of the time in the backpack carrier. We had some vittles around 8:30 pm just as a storm rolled in from the west, entertaining us with spectacular lightening.

My proverbial hat is bowed for the Titus family and any other hard working rancher. I wish we had more chances to teach our kids how to respect animals, how to work the earth, and govern animal life. I am reading in Genesis this week so was particularly touched at how closely farmers and ranchers live the commandments that Adam was given. There is a powerful truth to earning your bread by the sweat of your brow and the stewardship for naming and knowing the life given you to tend. The wafting smoke of burning hair is still a breath away. What an amazing experience! Of course there are some fun pictures you can view at my picasa web album, just click here.

27 May 2010

Sewing for Summer





I've been chipping away at my LARGE pile of projects, now looming large since summer is nearly here. I completed three orders, one for 6 hair clips, an infant onesie/hat set, and a toddler shirt/hat set. I have about 5 shirts and short sets nearly completed too for the kiddos. I couldn't help but make another pair of cute pants for Phillip with a matching onesie. The fabric came from a high end man's polo shirt, you know I can't resist green! You can click on the collages to make them extra large if you need details. Alison helped me finish the watermelon shirt by suggesting I use some seed shaped embellishments and fabric glue. The dress is about the cutest ever. I used a tutorial from Make it and Love it with modifications. I added straps instead of sewing the dress to a shirt. No shirts to spare over here. I am having SEW much fun.

26 May 2010

Nine Months Old

Geesh! Time is running away from me. Phillip is now 9 months old, as of yesterday. I have not done his 9 month pictures because the ones of him in the cute car were WAY too cute and will suffice. Oh, little Phillip. He is the sweetest little guy ever. He is ever so happy and jolly. Phillip LOVES me, the smiles I get from him, the hand waving, and total body language is nearly enough to bowl me over. He tracks Amelia with his eyes quite earnestly now as if he is learning all he can from her. I often hear bursts of laughter between the two as some antic entertains them.

Not many milestones to report this month. Phillip is spending more time on his tummy. He spins in tummy circles and can push himself backwards. In the last week or so he learned how to get out of a sitting position onto his tummy. I often find him half sitting half laying on the floor. His favorite toys are stuffed animals, Amelia, Mommy, and a DK touch book about Farm Animals. Oh yeah, he also LOVES to play with the treat bag I have for piano students. All the individually wrapped candies put him in seventh heaven. Sometimes if he sucks hard enough on the cellophane he will get a whiff of sugar. He is very adept at gumming food. He eats goldfish crackers, puffs, cheese, bread, cereal, plus any pureed baby food. No sign of any teeth yet. Some days I can see a very faint outline of bottom teeth, maybe one day. I gave up the 10:30 pm nursing session when we became so sick (about the time the picture was taken). He was not nursing due to a runny nose, so I took the opportunity to wean that session. It took him about 2 weeks to really start sleeping from 8:30 pm to 7 am after the feeding change. His is not so keen on nursing now. If any distraction pops up he is done nursing. I am a bit worried my milk supply will dwindle. A good friend traded me her breast pump to help keep my supply up just in case he regains interest. He waves bye-bye, plays "so big", peek-a-boo, and bounces a lot. Phillip can also say "oh boy," bye, mum-mum, and other little words. This little kiddo is pretty smart. He will watch me do something, like pump soap onto my hands, then mimic my actions and try to push down the soap pump. He seems very tuned to cause and effect "toys". He also LOVES to bang things, especially his hammer bench and pots. This kiddo is about the cutest little man ever. I could eat him up, some days I try but have to refrain because he is too delicious.

24 May 2010

Perfect Day










Saturday was glorious! It was a day all about family, good weather, and memories. I left at 7:55 am to peruse a couple garage sales, nothing too awesome this week. I mostly found men's shirts to repurpose into knit pants for Phillip, a pair of shoes, some jewelry, a fun basket, and a pasta maker. Right after my alone time I went home and picked up Amelia to go to the church. Our canning order arrived from Cheyenne so we had a ward food storage morning. Within 45 minutes and lots of help we packaged 50 lbs of macaroni, 50 lbs of spaghetti, 100 lbs of white flour, 50 lbs of pinto beans, and 70 lbs of fruit juice mix. I also ordered 200 lbs of sugar and an extra bag of white flour! The items barely fit in my trunk. I sure appreciate all the help. Justin arrived just as we finished up with Phillip. After lunch we filled up Amelia's little pool with a full 3 gallons of hot boiling water to warm up the water and hose water. She had a blast sliding into the water and splashing around. Phillip wore the cutest overalls and new bucket hat (found at a garage sale). Course, I had to take lots of pictures. Justin worked on filling the sprinkler hole and tinkering around. We love our new yard. It is heaven to have a gorgeous tree, green grass, a swing to sit on, and a small patio.

Once the kids were all tuckered out I convinced Justin to go to a fun little garden center a couple miles away from town. The folks there have several green houses each specializing in different types of plants, like sun annuals, shade annuals/perennials, shrubs, etc. I picked out pretty flowers for 4 planter arrangements around the porch area. I also found vegetable plants to replace those that I started from seed but died when transplanted. All around the property is an amazing landscaped garden. Amelia loved running up and down the paths finding little nooks and crannies filled with flowers and animal life. Her favorite discovery were two frogs. We made a Walmart run right after to get potting soil. Ahhhh, my hands were blessedly covered in dirt potting my new beautiful plants.

Justin BBQ'd chicken using a Paula Dean recipe for dinner. It was really, really tasty! The day ended with a trip for ice cream. Although the heat of the day went from 90 down to 50 in the matter of an hour or so.

My companion and I visited one of our ladies last night for visiting teaching. I think we finally struck a deeper friendship with her. She opened up to us about some of her concerns much to our relief. Now I hope we can help resolve her concerns and deepen her testimony in the gospel. She feels very isolated in Primary, which I readily agree with. Serving in Primary is like going to church on the dark side of the moon. Don't misunderstand me, I love my calling and serving in the Primary, but we rarely get the announcements, clip board, etc until the moment has passed. I miss being around all the awesome ladies in Relief Society on a weekly basis.

Today we had record winds of near 70 MPH as a front or two raced around us. I was soooo worried about my little plants. It appears most survived. We stayed inside until the wind died down after supper.

21 May 2010

Picking Dandelions





Ella came over to play today...because Amelia decided to wear pannies. This morning she woke up at 6:30 and went to the doughnut shop with me. On our drive over she asked if Ella could come play today. My response was that only big girls who wear their pannies and use the potty can have friends over to play. She nearly took off her pull up right then and there. Consequently, we had no accidents today because she DECIDED to use the potty. Tomorrow I promised her that if she is a big girl we will go to the theater and watch a movie on a Mommy-Mia date. She is ever so excited. Our next incentive is that only big girls play at the park and go swimming (if it ever warms up) at the pool. We had a fun day playing out in the sunshine! I had the girls pick as many dandelions as possible from the yard next to ours. Their weeds are showing up now in our North yard. Grrrr. We made crowns, necklaces, and bracelets then had a throwing contest with the flowers.

Piano Recital




This evening my students performed in their first recital! I decided on a low-key family affair in my home where the students were comfortable playing the piano. I am soooooo proud of all my students. Each child performed two pieces except my oldest student who performed one song. At the beginning of the year we made an agreement that if they practiced at least 50 minutes per week they would earn a doughnut point. The maximum amount of doughnuts earned was four. Four out of five students earned four doughnuts and one student earned three. Most of their pieces were accompanied by me. I love how the Alfred system generally has the teacher play along. It helps the student learn to count and keep tempo tremendously well. After the recital my students received their plate of doughnuts. Then we ALL partook of delicious doughnuts and chocolate milk! The concert lasted about 10 minutes but we all chatted and visited for another 30 minutes or more. Short, sweet, and delicious. Excellent work guys....

20 May 2010

Diapers, again


Checking out a potato bug
Tasty Rocks
The rocks get a perfect 10 in tastiness

Princess Ella...NOT Aroura, Ella!

We've had a rough week so far. Monday Amelia decided that going potty was not her thing. She would only go when someone was here visiting. Half the time she would look me in the eye then deliberately pee in her pannies. By Wednesday I had about a dozen pee spots in my carpet around the house. I started to give her cold showers for peeing her pannies, she just laughed. My mom suggested we put diapers back on her this evening. While on the phone with mom Amelia peed and pooped (again). She is back in diapers. I am looking forward to a summer with no swimming, movies, and big girl activities. I hope Amelia will change her mind and decide to be a big girl instead of a baby in Phillip diapers. She is trying to exert her will on Justin and I in the form of bossiness and selective obedience. Maybe some reverse psychology will work! Earlier in the week I signed up for some parenting classes online with one of my former BYU professors, Dr Scoresby. He has an awesome website, My Family Track, that offers short parenting courses to improve your skills and get parents on the same page. I absolutely loved this professor back in the day so know that his knowledge is totally workable. Wish us luck!

The weather has kept us mostly inside this week. Justin spent most of the week fixing a broken section of the sprinkler system. He finally isolated the part yesterday after tearing out dirt and the sprinkler box. He did an awesome job! Now the system is set and ready to sprinkle on an early morning schedule! Ella and Brayden came over to play Tuesday evening while Alison and Matt went to an awards dinner. All the kids are out of school as of yesterday. I am enjoying the absence of cars in the morning and afternoon picking up kids from school. Most of my piano students decided to continue lessons on throughout the summer. Natalie traded her breast pump for June piano lessons with me. I cannot even describe how excited I am to finally have a breast pump of my own. Phillip is increasingly nursing less and less. He is just not interested or not thirsty. He hates bottles and most of the time only nurses sporadically. This means I need to pump in order to have some milk when he does decide to nurse. We may end up giving it up if he continues. Justin watched the kiddos two nights this week while I took family pictures for two different groups. I am nearly able to purchase my new camera and 50mm lens. My current lens is having trouble focusing, drives me absolutely nuts. Monday I started getting up early again to exercise. I love the schedule because then Amelia watches less TV during the day. When I exercise during the day she watches a movie for that hour, not so great. We are down to less than an hour per day of TV time! Maybe that is why she is so controversial!

To end on a bright note, my garden is thriving. Most of the seeds are up and growing strong. My seeds started indoors mostly died once hardened and transplanted. I must have a seed curse! Today I weeded my neighbor's garden plot and planted some of my larger vegetables like cucumbers, squash, and bell peppers.  I have not asked her yet. Our neighbor is a single lady getting married next month. Consequently, she is NEVER home. About a month ago I asked her about harvesting her rhubarb and she told me to feel free to make use of her backyard while she is renting. So I am! I left her a note this morning. Becky gave me about 100 garlic seedlings to plant. I planted about half today. Alison will take the rest.

Sister Webb let me come out and use her awesome Bernina sewing machine on Thursday. I am sewing a really cute dress but my machine needles kept breaking due to fabric thickness. I finished the dress in less than five minutes! Amelia loved playing with the toys. Sister Webb let us look at some of their animals. Amelia is not so fond of dogs or any moving thing remotely larger than her knees. Sister Webb was kind enough to carry Amelia around the barn yard showing her the turkeys, baby pigs, baby chicks, and even the llama. We even got to see some fish in their pond! Amelia screamed very loud when Sister Webb opened the door to find the llama there staring at us with it's big soft eyes. I nearly died laughing! Phillip was greatly amused by all the animals.


15 May 2010

I Know HOW to Make Justin SMILE


Little TURKEY! Justin gave me the most genuine smile, in front of my camera, for the first time since we wed 5 years ago. It took a long morning of hunting, two turkeys shot, and a promise of having the picture featured in a Cabela's publication. He once again left home around 3:30 am to get to the hunting spot before the turkeys left their roost. He went alone again, and circumnavigated the curvy dirt road with no problems. After sitting for 2 hours or more he decided to leave since there were no turkeys moving. As he hiked out two turkeys, a tom and his mate, appeared near a ridge. Justin was so excited. He tracked the dag-gum varmits for two hours before he got a decent shot. He took the shot after spotting the turkeys yards from him through a bush. Justin is certain these turkeys were either blind and dumb or just dumb because they did not spot him. He shouldered his gun and took the shot. With one shot he bagged two turkeys. Don't tell, he only had a permit for one. The funniest part to me was when he gutted the birds. I can just see him gagging from the smell and disgusting entrails. Domesticated turkeys smell pretty bad so I can only imagine wild turkeys. When we took the birds out of his trunk a cloud of dust filled the air from thier filthy feathers. Amelia watched in rapt attention as he carved the breasts off the birds. The breasts are usually the only edible part of wild turkeys. I will give a report tomorrow after Justin smokes the breasts and takes the first bite(s). I am so proud of my gun-totin', turkey huntin', smokin' of a man. I honestly prayed he would bag a turkey just to help him lessen the obession to kill something. LOL. Guess I should've prayed weeks ago. Next time we have a family photograph I will have to bring his latest kill to get that smile.