Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Could I ever get enough of this?


Or this?

Or how about the cran-apple pie from T-day?

But really, we wouldn't want to be overburdened with too much happiness. There must be balance in all things. So, we take to torturing the kids and ourselves:

(Jackson 2 years ago)

(Allie 2 weeks ago)


(my version of broccoli ramen noodle salad)

Technically, the salad was only torture for our jaw bones and the 2 year old.

Still, balance in most things.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Take a Picture!

I crafted twice in the last month.

Exhibit A

and B

I'm not a professional, but I had fun. And both were more or less free to make. Yes. My kind of craft.

On other picture worthy fronts, I put a bow in Allie's hair for longer than 5 min. (But less than 20).


And we actually did tummy time. What what!

Now about that other child... most of his pictures seem to be like this one--a bit on the blury end.

(And yes, that's a cameo of Bodie the piano jammer, and little Poppy who you might remember as Jackson's first love. Ya, she's still not super interested in Jackson ;D).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Frequent Phrases

There are some phrases I could hear all the time. Like Jackson's form of appreciation: "Thanksmuch mom!" Or Allie's giglge. Oh mommy rewards.

There are others that make me laugh. "Jackson, do you want to go to the park?" "I did mom! I did!" [AKA, "I do"]. Or the little baby toot that Allie couples with this funny face:

Of course there are many phrases that make me cringe, and send me into the land of chaos as I try to prioritize dinner, phone calls, and which child's cries are more important at the moment. "Mommy" "SHAUNELMOM!" "NO! That's MINE"  or "I DON WANT TAH!" or "I do it MYSELF!!!"  Allie's cries are generally subdued with being held, fed, beded, or protected from the over-attentive 2 year old in the house. Jackson's usually demand... being held, fed, beded and distracted from the cute baby in the house.

These more negative phrases and conditions feel much less burdensome as I interact with other 2 1/2 year olds, who seem to be a part of the same phrase club. Their bossy, excited, demanding selves come out just as frequently in public as Jackson's, and make me feel like I'm part of a wonderful parent club full of chaos ridden, tired parents who keep at it for love and all the mommy rewards.

Mommy rewards like this: a gentle Jackson zipping up Allie "all by [him]self."

"I do it mom, I zip Allie up!"

Friday, November 16, 2012

Giving Thanks

Thankful to finally have a good photo of both kids who I adore so much.

Thankful for the terrible twos and the preparation it's giving us for teenage-hood.

Thankful Allie has shown signs of starting to sleep more at night.

Thankful for federal holidays, and all the time we get to see Mark.

Thankful for the abundance of dishes we get to wash, and the hot water that flows easily from the faucet.

Thankful for a small house to clean and working radiator heaters.

Thankful to have so many family members and friends we want to spend Thanksgiving with.

Thankful someone thought of creating a substitute for butter, and that I've never had to use it before this week.

Thankful for antibiotics, stickers and health.

And on to finding excellent fruit pie recipes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Allie Love

Time for some Allie love. Recently, this girl is full of sweet coos and gurgles. She even will coo at Jackson when he remembers to say "Hiii AAAlllliie!" with a reasonable amount of space between his nose and hers. When they talk to each other, my heart melts. Two happy kids is more than I ask for most days.

Allie is especially chatty at night. Likely because it's the time when I stop and focus on her. She seems to like to talk to someone (not just at the air--go figure). I caught this video last night, after talking to her for a good 5-10 min. Maneuvering the camera was a bit tricky, since she won't talk unless there's eye contact. So, I rigged the camera from above, but you'll have to forgive the lack of focus.

I'm in love with the little coos, the giggle, and those smiles. My favorite it how she slowly works up to her spit up that comes at the end. So telling of her calm personality.

Ever since I went off dairy, she has changed from an often pained, high-pitched screaming child who couldn't keep much down, to this little angel who slowly works up to her state of fussiness or discomfort. She certainly still has her special days, but majority of the time she is happy to be around the action, and happy to go to sleep when she's tired. The slow transitions are so different from Jackson who is still a 0-60 type of kid. Happy to Armageddon in 2 seconds flat. Giving up cheese and my plain yogurt during these warm and cozy months has been quite limiting on my cooking cuisine, but it is SO worth it to have this cheery little gal around to brighten our dark little house.

Her hair is also starting to brighten... be on the lookout for a lighter-haired Allie in a few months. (Baby hair is so bizarre!)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Fun!

Apparently the 5th pumpkin in  "5 Little Pumpkins" says, "I'm ready for some fun," not "It's Halloween Fun." And I thought I was such a good mom for teaching him holiday appropriate rhymes! He picked up "Halloween Fun" as quickly as he did trick or treating, and has been saying all month, "Halloween Fun?" Poor kid is going to be terribly confused in preschool next October.

We have had lots of that Halloween fun this year. Beside making all our decorations (various kinds of paper Jack o Lanterns with eyes in interesting spots), we got to go to our church's Halloween party all dressed up.

This year, we were all facets of our personality. Can you figure out what everyone is and why?

Mark the cowboy [his ranching past]; Jackson the "Track Star" [who will never stop running]; Allie the cute little Pumpkin; and I am opera singer [bonus points if you know the character's name]

Mark was a bit sick for pumpkin carving night, so Jackson and I took it on with enthusiasm. 

Jackson drew his own face right on the pumpkin, and Brunhilde made a second appearance this Halloween.

For sure the highlight of the month, was watching two 2 year olds trick or treat. It was pretty much straight "Halloween Fun."

Little Lilia the Lion, joined Jackson the Track Star in pounding on doors in our neighborhood [every door received multiple enthusiastic knocks from both kids]. They both would have been satisfied with the first candy they got, but the parents enjoyed watching their total innocent faces figure this thing out. Should have video taped it. Jackson now requests to go "trick or treating" everyday. Who could blame him?

Our cute little pumpkin was not as excited about the holiday, but she thankfully fell asleep for the door to door excursion which made everyone's life easier. 

Most of the candy has been consumed by the resident cowboy, but even without the candy, everyone but the pumpkin can't wait until next year's Halloween FUN! [As I wrote this Jackson continued to say that line, and ask if he and Lilia were going trick or treating tonight.]

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin "Patch"

Jackson, Allie and I went out to Cox Farms this past week. Jackson and I are participating in a joy school-like cooperative pre-school we're calling Pee Wees. [My friend Kari has a nice summation of what we're doing on her blog]. I was in charge of teaching the past 2 weeks, so of course we used the book "Pumpkin Pumpkin," and took a field trip to the pumpkin patch to connect to real life. Cox farms is definitely the closest farm to get pumpkins at (40 min away), but I went in totally ignorant of pumpkin patching on the East Coast. It's nothing like the pumpkin patch of my youth. It's more of a fall festival out in the country and you get a token mini pumpkin on your way out. I missed the actual going out into the field to pick pumpkins, but there is definitely some merit to grabbing a pumpkin on the way out. Too bad the 9$ admission only bought the 1$ pumpkin '(such smart business people).

The place was packed, despite a rainy morning and a drizzly afternoon. Mud and gray skies were no deterrent for Jackson. He was in heaven, except the 8 times he turfed it in the mud, and when he was attacked by goats.

(Here is Jackson being rescued from the goats after he sat down thinking their play structure was a slide. Woops! It's not, and apparently the goats love to nibble and lick humans who are sitting down in their territory. Jackson recounts the experience by saying "Da Goats ate me!)

There were tons of hill slides everywhere. I can not believe how confident Jackson was on each one. I went down the first one with him,

 and he was ready!

This slide was my favorite. See the line in the back? Does Jackson understand lines? Of course not. He wanted to go down the slide, so he innocently made his way up to the front, and weaseled his way into a position to go down. His little toddler body meandering through the line was adorable and terribly embarrassing for Allie and I waiting at the bottom. He was quite anxious to go do that one again, but I dutifully redirected his attention, since I didn't want to wait in the 15 min. line either. 

 When it started raining, and most of the slides closed down. Jackson had no problem finding something to do: throw rocks in the puddles of course!

We came home muddied and tired but full of plenty of fun pumpkin memories or err... slide memories. And little miss Allie? Ya, she was awake for 80% of the day. Who would want to miss out on all that fun?!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Feeling Blessed

Mark blessed Allie this weekend. It's hard to describe how it feels to hear my husband pronounce a blessing on our child. Pride is the wrong word. The feeling is closer to peaceful gratitude as I listened to beautiful words full of emotion, vision and spirit.

We were blessed to have a ton of family come to the ordinance. We have started to accumulate a number of cousins in the area, and they were all awesome and came to support Allie and us. My parents were also able to fly in for a short visit to be here for the day. Our next door neighbors even made it to the service! Jackson, was pretty convinced everyone was there to see him, since he had non-stop attention from the g'parents, friends, and my adorable younger cousins for the entire day. Thankfully, he slept in Sunday morning, so he was able to last the day without a nap.

With all his blessed attention, he really struggled to stay still long enough to take a family picture. Still working on that! But at least we're all smiling :)

Allie was a super trooper and didn't mind getting passed around to adoring hands. She even managed to keep her dress (the same dress I was blessed in!) clean the entire time. Woah!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Household Maturing

Today, I went to the dentist. The dental assistant made a comment that caused me to reflect on the maturing state of our household. After having met me, and then looking at my papers, she said "wow! you're so young!" I didn't really know how to react to that, because I had no idea what prompted her to say it. Did she look at my birthday and think I just looked a lot older than my 27 years? Did she think I was young to have just had a baby? Or was she surprised by how recently 1985 seemed? [I must admit it's weird I have a few good friends who were born in the 90's.] I did the only logical thing I could think of, and said "thank you," not really knowing what was the appropriate thing to say.

Age is so relative, it's hard to ever feel consistently "old" or "young" if you interact with a wide variety of people. When I was younger, I loved having older friends and being mistaken as their same age. I think I felt some pride in my ability to fool others. I realize this will likely change at some point, at least in the opposite direction. Luckily for the dental assistant, I haven't hit that point. Despite my gray hairs, I still enjoy feeling older than I am. It is likely still due to the fact I have a lot of good friends in their 30s and 40s, and there are times I feel like such a baby when we start talking about culture specifics from childhood.

Watching my kids mature, has been similar but different. I have a hard time relating to so many of my friends who lament their children getting older. So far, I just get excited to learn more about their hidden little personalities, and thrilled they're growing and developing and becoming less dependent on me and my arms. I'm guessing this will change, but boy I love watching these kiddos grow.

Allie definitely wins on the rate of maturing in our house. At a mere 7 weeks she looks like a 3 month old to me. I love that she's holding up her head more, smiling more and sleeping through the night more. I'm not thrilled that her daily weight gain keeps making it harder to bounce her to sleep when she's really over tired.

Jackson proved his maturity by surviving a weekend of LDS General Conference. Essentially, instead of church, we watch a broadcasted conference from Salt Lake, on Saturday and Sunday. In the past, we've been able to time watching it around his naps. This year he was awake for 7 1/2 hours of the 8 hours we watched. WHEW! Quite the trooper.We were stunned by how much he actually enjoyed it. At the end of the first 2 sessions he cried when we turned it off! During 80% of the speaking time, he played nicely by himself, and during the choir numbers he took this attentive pose:

Perhaps he has an unusual attraction to music, or perhaps he just is terribly screen deprived and will take it in any form it comes.

So what about Mark? Since we've been married, he's given up corn dogs, sugared cereal and oreos. I would say this is maturity, though arguments could be made for a "maturing" metabolism. Whatever the reason, it's nice to know our whole house will keep getting older, grayer, and hopefully wiser, all together.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


There is little that brings greater joy than seeing your 5 1/2 week old recognize you, and give 3 gigantic smiles while sitting on someone else's lap. Oh elation.

Allie started smiling consistently last week, and we're in heaven everytime she flashes one. 


Jackson's also [thankfully] started the pose-for-the-camera phase that most 2 year olds seem to go through. We're grateful because it means we can take pictures of him without trying to hide the camera--we just lose the candid smile.

At our house, we celebrate smiles any way they come.

Friday, September 28, 2012

MINE! Yours and Ours

Two weeks ago, Jackson started the 2 year old phase of "DAT'S MINE!" Of course, everything in the house became his--all of Allie's cute new pink blankets, my nursing pillow, the remote control, kitchen chairs, and of course all of his toys whenever a friend comes to play.  To combat this, I started requiring those words to be replaced with a pleasantly toned, "That's ours! Can I use it right now?"
Shockingly, great repetition taught him quickly, and he's pretty quick at fixing his "mines" to "ours" these days.

Unfortunately this was just in time for him to get a nice runny nose. I have gone from insisting everything is "ours" and that we share, to this is "your" water bottle, and handkerchief (a burp cloth), cup, chair, etc. Oh boy, I've become a paranoid mama trying to keep his stuff separate--dreading the thought of nasal spraying my 1 month old in the middle of the night.

 Sure enough, what was his, has become ours. With Jackson's "hot lipped" nature, we've all gotten a slight case of the sniffles. Thankfully it's been limited to cute little boogers for Allie. So, no late-night nose sucking yet. It does make we want to purchase this little Japanese beauty. Every mom's dream.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Energy Channels

Jackson's energy seemed to be sedated after Allie came home from the hospital. There were still plenty of dramatic moments--good and bad--during the day, but he didn't seem to be doing laps around the house every few minutes. I figure this might be why he experimented with no naps during Allie's second week of life. His energy output was not requiring a 2 hour rest.

I'm happy to report he has shifted back to his extreme energy filled 2 year-old self, complete with 2 hour naps.

What comes out of his mouth is by far the most entertaining part of this energy. The following are some of his choice parroting phrases that channel that energy:

"Oh my gosh Mom!"

"Oh MY!"


"Shoot!" (pronounced shyute)


And of course we hear the normal 2 year old fare:

"Watch this mom!"

"Look at this mom!"

"I go FAST"

"I stop FAST!"

"Tickle tickle tickle! He he he he he he! SO silly!"

On Monday, his feet seemed to have a rough transition back to their full energy abilities. By 7:30 pm, Jackson looked a bit scuffed up from all of his injuries from the day. Let's review:

  • Run in with sidewalk = double knee scrape, + elbow scrape (one re-scraped)
 [much blood, and band aid refusals]
  • Merry-go-round and barkdust =nice purple forehead goose egg
  • Cement steps and gravity = scraped forehead
  • Head first off couch during jump-a-thon=no visuals, but very scared Mommy
  • Bonus pre-existing rash from summer = no one wants to play at our house ;)

Luckily this little lady is still injury free (knock-on-wood!), and as gorgeous as ever. (And yes, she is timidly looking out for her brother's kisses/raspberries/tickles).

And, her head is either starting to grow, or she's beginning the signs of the receding hair line like her brother... luckily we can put bows on her!

Friday, September 14, 2012


I thought my kids looked so much alike. Apparently they are complete individuals who just share the same parents.  Can you tell the difference as easily as I can?

I suppose they have many similar mannerisms. But I have a feeling that has more to do with being a newborn than being from the same womb.

Looking back on Jackson's baby pics, I can't believe how thin his hair was! We thought he had so much.

Everyone comments quickly on Allie's hair, and I realize there's a great reason. Oh my luciousness. 

So many times I just want to nibble on her for a snack. Oh she's SO yummy looking. (This may or may not have anything to do with her nibbling on me all day long).

We've started to figure out some of her individuality beyond her physical traits:
-She's very startled by loud noises
-Hiccups are guaranteed if she's not burped or held up right for 30 min after her feed
-She strongly dislikes going to sleep (this is especially annoying at 2 am)
-She has the cutest cry with a full on protruding bottom lip (though it gets less and less cute the more it happens during the day)
-She's great at pulling away from Jackson's incessant kisses (a good sign she can defend herself)

Jackson is also showing new areas of individualism. He has started to add to our meal and bedtime prayers. I’ve decided this peek into his mind is wholly worth any extra effort it takes to say a prayer.

The boy could pray for a solid 15 min if we let him. Some day we might, but generally we get tired of translating (which he insists on) and we're hungry for dinner! Since Allie came home from the hospital, he’s been very good about praying for Allie and for baby sister. In addition, his friends rotate through the prayer list (as well as all family members he can think of). But the best is when he runs through that list, and moves to sorting through what’s important to him. He starts with a drawn out “ummm.. aaannd…” and then proceeds to list off what’s on his mind or in his sight. Trains, Daddy riding the big trains, the zoo, zebra, balls, the park, swings, music, roller bowler (a wrestling game played with Dad), water, drinks, Allie sleeping, Allie awake, farms, pictures, daddy’s pictures (the iPhone), clocks, dinosaurs, etc… It’s quite humbling, hilarious and such a unique opportunity to see into his mind. 

We're thoroughly enjoying these little peeks into the minds of our offspring. What individuals!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Day You Were Born

Birth Story Time.

One thing I've noticed about this two kid thing is: plenty of one-handed "me" time in the middle of the night during feeding, no two-handed "me" time at all. Probably only a healthy thing. But as such it takes 2+ weeks and having Jackson at a friend's house before a long blog post happens.

Wed July 18th: Dr. informs me I have started dilating (36 weeks). Dr. says, baby will likely not be induced (since Jackson was early, and we were dilating already). Mark is in Samoa, I tell baby girl to stay in there at least until Dad gets home, we tell Grandma to keep her early flight.

Wed August 8th: Dilated to 2 cm, plenty of contractions, a few false alarms, Mom is coming on Sunday.

Mon August 13th: 3 cm, Dr. strips my membranes, and says most babies will come within 24-48 hours after the procedure.

Tuesday Aug 14th: Start following everyone's advice on how to induce labor including the best Egg Plant Parmesan I've ever tasted.

Wednesday Aug 15th: Due Date.

Friday Aug 17th: Gave up, figured out she just wasn't coming. So really started enjoying my time with Mom.

Tuesday August 21st:
9:30-- Dr. is shocked we haven't had the baby yet, I'm dilated to 4 cm. She says "I guess we should have scheduled that induction for tomorrow" (the 22nd). She checks my amniotic fluid and gets really worried. Normal level is a 9, mine is at a 5, and my water hasn't broken. Forget the induction tomorrow, I get to go to the hospital pronto.Why would my fluid be low? Apparently it's a result of an old placenta. I think it was tired of working so hard when it expected baby girl to be gone!

(Saying Goodbye to Jackson)

12:00--Mark and I drive to the hospital, I feel great--way better than I did during week 39 of pregnancy. We leave Grandma and Jackson to go to the park.

Hospital is packed with women. The Nurses apologize profusely and have us start in triage, because of a lack of rooms, not because I needed to be checked.

We eventually made it to a room. Apparently it was the isolation room--used for people with communicable diseases--it had it's own ventilation system just for us! They called it the first overflow room, and they ended up opening the "outback" (2nd overflows) by the end of the night. Popular day to be born!

2:15 pm--Dr. starts me on 2/30 ml/hr of pitocin. "Just to get your body going." Mark and I commence reading his text book for his national budgeting class that would start the following week. I start having lovely contractions I can talk through with no difficulty. We enjoy watching these on screen, but they remind me of nothing I experienced during labor.  We also enjoyed watching everyone else's labor on our floor. Funny how we had access to all of them. :)

Couple hours later, still having a lovely time discussing our nation's budgeting woes and the accompanying politics, the nurse ups the pitocin to 4 ml/hr. Hour later 6 ml/hr. 5 pm, still having a lovely time and they up it to 12 ml/hr.

6:15 pm--First contraction that really hurts. And then they didn't stop.

I knew I wanted an epidural this time. Jackson was natural because I felt strongly when I prayed that I was supposed to do it without medicine (his birth story here). Imagine my relief when I felt inspired to get an epidural this time! [Crazy enough that was back in month 4--love how God knows what's going on].

The nurses kept asking me when I wanted the epidural, and I told them--when it started hurting. As soon as that painful contraction came I requested the epidural. Too bad 4 babies were born right then, so it took an hour before everything was ready for the anesthesiologist. The contractions at this point were a straight bout of pain that felt similar to where I was at 9 1/2 cm with Jackson. When the Dr checked me, we were all surprised to find I was not even a 6 yet. I was so excited to get pain medication.

7:15--Anesthesiologist goes through quite a process of convincing me to get an epidural (despite my complete enthusiasm while dealing with a non-stop contraction). I wasn't quite sure how me sitting still was going to work with my current pain, but magically the contractions slowed down during the epidural.

[I later learned that the nurse turned the pitocin down to 6 ml/hr, and then finally turned it off. I kept having contractions, so FINALLY my body was getting rid of the baby.]

7:45--Epidural sets in, and it is AMAZING! I can totally feel everything, but it doesn't hurt. Mark thought this was incredible and so much more fun than Jackson's where his stress level and massaging fingers were maxed. This status of amazement was most poignant when we learned I was 8 cm!

8:45--9 cm

10:00--Convinced I have to poop, the Dr. checks me and Allie's head is already way down the canal.

10:25--6 contractions, and Allie slides out.

I had a mirror to watch the progress, and I must say I loved it! Yes, it was absolutely disgusting, but I could see my progress. Which gave me so much motivation to push harder and get that little lady out!

Like her brother, Allie pooped in the womb and was whisked away after coming out. But not to worry, after getting the slime off, she came back and latched right on and hasn't stopped eating since.

We loved our Dr and labor nurse. We found out at after the birth that Dr. Abiyomi (left) is having a baby in December! Wow. Not sure I could have handled all that grossness preggo.

 New little family--minus the 2 year old who won't ever sit for pictures anyway!

Here's the proof:

The rest are all photo dumps from the hospital. Loved having a real camera!!!

 Love our little Allie girl, and thrilled she even slept 5 hours straight last night. Woo Hoo!