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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Still here

I haven't blogged in awhile, and mostly it's because each time I sit down to write something, I can't think of anything to write about. But today I felt like slapping myself on the face and yelling, "What do you mean 'nothing to write about?' You have a daughter that took her first steps! Your son gave a performance at school! You took a spontaneous trip to Tulsa! I should think those count for SOMETHING."

The reality is that each time I quit a job and become a full-time stay-at-home-mom, I become chronically lazy. It is extremely difficult to kick myself into gear and do the things that need to be done. I still take care of my family, but what I used to do in an hour now gets spread over a day. A part of me thinks I need work (aside from mom work), even if it's just a few hours a week, to help me be more efficient with the rest of my time. Am I totally crazy? Does anyone else feel this way?

Well, onto the real stars of this blog. Isabelle finally started walking. Around 10 months I could tell she was close. She'd even walk across the room using Savannah's rickety toy stroller for support. But she didn't have the confidence to walk alone, and I wasn't in any hurry to speed things along. I figured at some point she'd figure it out for herself. Well, a month later she still wasn't showing any interest, so I broke down and started helping. Jeff and I sat down one night and tried to get her to walk back and forth between us. We did this each night for a few nights and then voila! She was walking.

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I absolutely love Isabelle's wobbly walk. I can't believe her birthday is less than 2 weeks away. This year of her life has flown by. I included some walking blooper photos because, let's face it, falling is just part of learning to walk.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some Valentine randomness

Happy Valentine's everyone! I am so lucky to have so many people to love today. Because we still haven't met anyone with teenagers out here, we're babysitter-less this Valentines and will be spending a quiet evening at home. I picked up some $$$ steaks last night (yet still cheaper than eating out) and a Redbox movie so I am actually pretty excited for our Valentines date.

We have lived in the Sooner State for 6 weeks now and I'm starting to feel like I know my way around a bit. Although I miss a lot of things, there are a few new things I've been introduced to that I absolutely LOVE.

On the shopping front, I've mentioned that Oklahoma is entirely Costco- and Ikea-less. I miss these stores for the things I regularly bought at them (unbaked tortillas and 99 cent scrub brushes) but am learning to get by without them. On the other hand, something OK does have is a unique European grocery chain called Aldi. It is like the Ikea of grocery stores in that has found ways to lower overhead as much as possible. Like the luggage carts at the airport, you pay a quarter to use a shopping cart, but you get the quarter back when you return the cart. No more carts in the parking lot at this store! It's amazing the extra effort people will go through for 25 cents. They only carry one brand of each item, and most of it is their own generic, but it seems to be good quality and their prices are pretty impressive, especially on produce.

Something else I miss? Normal radio stations. Since we have moved to the heart of the Bible belt, it is challenging to find anything but Christian rock on the radio. Don't get me wrong, I love Christian rock (especially when I heard Logan in the back seat saying, "God, you reign,"), but sometimes I just want to dance in my seat to some Bieber or Katy Perry and I just don't get that with Mercy Me.

The solution: Pandora. Yeah, yeah, I know it's not anything new, but I love that I can create custom stations and listen to music for hours at a time loving every single song that comes on. I made one station with my dance-while-cooking-dinner music, another with kids-songs-that-I-can-stand, and a third with LDS-artists-to-listen-to-on-a-quiet-Sunday-afternoon. I love them all.

Lastly (this is pretty random but super irritating), I do NOT like the "dirty power" we get here. I've been warned to put our electronics on surge protectors, but that doesn't bother me as much as the poor life of our light bulbs. I have changed more bulbs in the month or so that we've lived here than I usually do in a YEAR. It's crazy! I put some brand new bulbs in a few lamps in our living room that I've ALREADY had to replace. What on earth is going on? I've never really thought to budget for light bulbs before but I may need to now.

These pictures have nothing to do with any of this, I just hate posting without pictures. I'm noticing now that Isabelle has a pretty full diaper in these pictures and I just put her down for a nap like that. Looks like I'll be washing some sheets when she gets up. Whoops.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mondays at the zoo

People keep telling me this weather is not normal, but I don't know any different so I just think that Oklahoma is AWESOME. Any place that has 75 degree days in January is a-ok in my book. To top that off, the zoo is free every Monday through February. So take a sunny Monday and combine that with free zoo admission, and you have one perfect day.

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The Oklahoma City Zoo is not too shabby. To be honest, I don't love zoos. I don't mind going every once in a while, and I like watching the kids reactions to the animals, but I generally find them smelly and kind of boring. But it just so happened the zoo is full of babies right now, and seeing all the miniature versions of the various animals was really sweet.

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I loved this baby elephant (9 months old). The workers were teaching him different tricks, and he'd try so hard to do them but just couldn't quite get it. He was so adorable.

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We walked past the lions twice, but they were up on a hill so we couldn't see them. Lame. Instead we played on the lion family statue.

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We also played on the gorilla statue. The little girl in stripes is our friend/neighbor. We are so lucky to have already found such great friends here.

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This gorilla was hilarious. She just sat and stared like this the whole time we were in the exhibit.

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This is the face I get 95% of the time I ask Savannah to smile.

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If I'm lucky, eventually she'll crack one of these.

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Isabelle enjoyed the day, too.

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On Modern Family the other day, Phil referenced how great it is that kids can make friends in a matter of seconds, whereas adults require years of slow assimilation to build friendships. I totally agree. These two are best buddies after just a month of playing together.

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In other news, Isabelle spilled a glass of apple juice on my keyboard and the keys stick horribly now. So forgive me if I am less than inclined to blog until I can replace the keyboard. Just want you all to feel my pain. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Leaps and bounds

My kids are getting so big. Sometimes children grow up gradually and steadily, and you don't notice the small achievements as much. But sometimes they seem to grow up in chunks, suddenly learning how to do 10 new things overnight. This month has been one of chunky growing (that sounds kind of gross-- but you know what I mean). I love that they are becoming more independent, but hate the reminder that they will not be babies forever. Here's what I mean.

Savannah has (finally) learned to do her own carseat buckles, just in time for her to graduate to a bigger seat in a couple months when Isabelle outgrows hers. Since we have one sliding door that is automatic, Savannah can get herself into the car and buckled in completely on her own. That is heaven on earth for a mother.

Logan started piano lessons. He has wanted to learn to play for so long, I just hope his excitement lasts. His teacher is a cute high school senior that lives in our neighborhood. I thought about teaching him myself, but decided it would probably be better if someone other than "mom" was nagging him about practicing.

Logan and Savannah now share a room and I swear it makes them play better together. At least I don't hear, "Get out of my room!" like I used to. I know it isn't kosher to have brothers and sisters share a room, but until Isabelle gets a little older this works and I only wish I had started it sooner.

Savannah earned a new apron (a.k.a. a Christmas present that never got made) for going to the bathroom "all by herself." She is notorious for making other people help her do things she is perfectly capable of doing herself, but now she goes without reminders (mostly) and takes care of everything herself right down to the hand washing. This is a big accomplishment for her, and a necessary one for when she starts pre-K next year. She is also getting better and faster about getting herself dressed each morning.

Both kids are becoming expert bed-makers. I've had to resist going in and remaking their beds after they are done, but there have been days when each of them have done such a good job, I could hardly tell they had made them instead of me.

One day when I was deeply involved in a book, I was sick of the kids pestering me for lunch and told them to go make it themselves. Five minutes later, I found them eating their "creations" in the kitchen. They actually did a pretty good job, although Savannah did rip a hole in her bread with the peanut butter knife. (I can't blame her, I've tried at least a dozen different types of sandwich bread out here and they are all flimsy and suck. Oh Grandma Sycamore, how we miss you.)

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Last weekend we had some visitors. Jeff's cousin and his wife (from Arkansas) came to stay so they could go to the temple. They are our closest family now so we were glad to spend some time with them. They brought their little dog, Charley. Over the few days they were here, both Logan and Savannah became SO much more comfortable around him. Logan loved him from the get go, but was pretty skittish at first. Savannah wouldn't leave her safe zone on the couch. By the time they left, Logan was carrying Charley around the house, and Savannah even let him lick her hand.

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As for Isabelle, well, I am intentionally not teaching her to walk. If she wants to grow up, she'll just have to do that all on her own.