Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas with the Grants

This weekend we made the trip to Iowa to see Derek's parents. As usual, nothing with us is uneventful:)  Thursday evening I was running some errands with Annabel in order to leave reeeally early Friday morning. At the bank drive-thru, my window wouldn't roll down but I figured it was just frozen. We continued on to take back library books and gas up the car, then on to McDonalds for a quick drive-thru dinner. I had forgot my window wouldn't come down...whoops. As I was trying to "unstick" it, it gives a loud "chunk" and falls down into the car door. So the day before we are to make an 8-hour trip to Iowa, after 5:00 on a Friday, we have no car to drive. Luckily, the camp recently had a Honda Civic donated to them, and they were kind enough to let us borrow it. It is a really nice car! It was roomier than our VW and got better gas mileage too. I kept joking that we can buy it from the camp and donate the Jetta. 

We had a really good time in Iowa. It was nice to spend time with family, and as always, I love getting the girls together. Annabel was so funny with Morganne. She kept giving her hugs and kisses, but also sitting and playing with her. 

Annabel is growing up so fast. She is starting to follow simple directions, such as "get your shoes," or "put that back." She also knows her nose, eyes, mouth and ears. Oh, and belly, hair, and shoes (Not belly hair!). She kept us all entertained with her goofiness. At one point she had lost all her pacifiers and I turned the house upside down looking for them. Finally I asked her, "Annabel, where's your paci?" She led me into the laundry room and pointed into the tall hamper. Sure enough, all her paci's were mixed in with the dirty clothes!:) Haha. 

Today we had awful weather coming home. The 8-hour trip turned into a 13 1/2-hour one with all the snow and sleet. There were so many vehicles in the median that were on their side or completely over, and semis jack-knifed across the highway that I kept joking that the rapture happened and we were left behind. :) Kind of eerie, though. 

I'm too tired to post any pics tonight. I'll probably wait awhile and post all pictures at once, since we're leaving tomorrow for my family's. I hope everyone has a lovely and safe Christmas holiday:)

By the way, check out my sister-in-law Holly's last blog post (on my sidebar). They had tiger cubs in their veterinary clinic and they are really cute! 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Days

Annabel and I have had a nice week! Last week, while Derek and I had the flu, I called my mom to come help us out. So she came and stayed through the weekend, watching Annabel and keeping my house clean (Thanks, mom!), but then she got it too! So then we nursed her back to health, but I'm sure she would have rather been at her own house- I think everyone likes to puke in their own toilet! Haha.
One thing we did while she was here was make Christmas candy. That is something we used to do every year when my grandma was alive. We would make really special stuff like mashed potato cookies, sand dollars, Mexican wedding cakes, rock candy, caramels, fudge, hershey bud cookies and so much more. So my mom and I try to keep the tradition alive, but its never quite the same. For one, we I don't think we have near the stamina that my grandma did! She was tireless in her baking efforts. This year, mom and I made caramels with black sea salt (my idea!:), turtles, and peanut butter and chocolate fudge. I gave plates to my work supervisor and all my professors for putting up with me this semester:) I turned in lots of things late!
The rest of the week we've  just been hanging out at home and I've been finishing up last-minute Christmas crafting (gifts). I can't say what I've been up to, since they are for people who might read this, but I'll post some pictures after Christmas! I've been having fun making stuff for people. 

It is so much fun getting Christmas stuff for a toddler! I may have gone a little overboard, which I swore I wouldn't do, but let's face it - this is the age when they really enjoy it! I have to admit though, I think she's seen all her gifts. I haven't made any effort to hide/wrap them, so she's been poking at them and playing with some of them already:) She especially likes her cousin Morganne's presents, for some reason! 

Derek has been busy with Christmas dinners at the camp, and making and selling cheesecakes. It is a nice little extra income at this time of year. Especially with our job situation! Maybe I haven't posted about that on here yet; the camp has been really struggling financially for the last several months - attendance and giving have been way down- and they finally this month laid off four employees. Including their cook. Sooo....that leaves us in quite a predicament since I'm not working either. I'm trying not to get too worked up about it. I know God will provide for us - He always has. He is faithful and He brought us here for a reason  - not to let us starve!:) But if you who are believers would like to pray for our situation, I would appreciate it. I am praying for a job where Derek is challenged and that he will be able to gain more experience in his field and that he enjoys. 

I'm going to get back to some crafting, but I'll leave you with some pictures! 
 Dressed up for church Sunday - so pretty!

 Daddy's little chef!

I just thought this was cute...peeking into the fridge!
 A healthy snack of raisins, apples and peanut butter
There is acute story behind this... she LOVES this little dog. It is probably the last stuffed animal I would have picked for her to become attached to (got it free at a yard sale this summer, probably got it for Bailey:) but she sleeps with it, carries it around, etc. It has a squeaker in the ear - which I think is funny because my favorite stuffed animal as a child was a snoopy dog with a squeaker in the ear!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Hate Him, I Really Hate Him

Today because it was so cold, we decided to leave Bailey inside rather than let him brave the freezing rain and wind! We contained him in the kitchen with baby gates and off we went. Well, when I came home that night, this is what I found:

He had knocked over the gate and got into the kitchen trash, which we had put in the dining room. There was trash EVERYWHERE. Mushed up bananas, coffee grounds, tea bags, dirty diapers, soup cans, whatever you can imagine is in your kitchen trash right now! To top that off, Derek had cleaned out the refrigerator the night before, so he had eaten (most of) the moldy, old food, including about 1/2 lb of spoiled lunch meat. Ok, not only that, but he got into a bag of groceries that I hadn't got around to putting away yet. He ate a bag of chocolate chips, a bag of pecans, a pound of brown sugar, a box of saltines and got into a 5 lb bag of sugar. There was sugar everywhere. THEN, he got up on the table and pulled down a plate of Christmas candy I had made, breaking one of my dinner plates. 

I hope his stomach reeeeally hurts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eat Your Vegetables!

Recently I have found myself becoming frustrated with Annabel's eating habits. Some days she loves cereal in milk, some days she throws it at me like she can't believe I would give her something so disgusting. Some days she gobbles up her applesauce like its going out of style, and other days she starts screaming when she sees the jar. She is a toddler, after all! And then I get frustrated with myself, because I find myself finding quick fixes for her, such as toast (usually whole-wheat at least), pre-packaged snack crackers or cookies, or spaghetti-O's, just because I don't really know what to give her and I don't want to put a lot of effort into something that she's not going to like. It is frustrating, because I put so much care into her babyfood, choosing the freshest, tastiest vegetables and fruits to make into puree for her. But now, I guess I thought it would be easier because she can eat what we eat, but now I realize that it takes just as much planning and care to feed an older baby as it did before. It gets kind of stressful trying to find a good balance of proteins, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, etc. I found this really cool website - www.wholesometoddlerfood.com. It gives dietary recommendations, meal ideas, sample menus and recipes. Score! 
So anyway, I'm going to use this time over the next few weeks while things are slowed down to work on a more structured diet for her (and us!). Its something that is really important to me but I've neglected for too long! Wish me luck! 

Monday, December 8, 2008


What a week. Everything started out well enough...I took Monday and Tuesday off to work on my finals and end-of-semester projects, but unfortunately I didn't get enough done on those two days. Wednesday I had a job interview for next semester's internship, and I started feeling really crummy. I was hoping it was just butterflies, but I had a feeling it wasn't since Annabel has had the flu. I made it through the interview, went to lunch for our final supervision of the semester, and couldn't eat a thing. So anyway, I was counting on yesterday afternoon to finish everything up, but ended up sleeping from about 2:00 on. Derek was such a hero, feeding Annabel and playing upstairs with her until bedtime, but by about 11:00, he was feeling it too. So....we spent the night basically taking turns in the bathroom and this morning was kind of brutal as well. Derek was supposed to drive the bus this morning, and couldn't find a replacement (a sub for the sub??) but ended up throwing up in the parking lot of the school and they let him go home! Haha. So I took Annabel to daycare, because I knew we were in no shape to chase her around, and we've been laying on the couch all day. I feel so bad about that- I felt like I was abandoning her for the day! But, I have to tell myself, if we were feeling well today, we would both be at work and she would be in daycare anyway, so I guess it evens out. Anyway, I still haven't finished my finals (due yesterday) but I'm hoping my professor understands. 

Oh yeah - And we had a great time in Vegas! The weather was so wonderful (high 60's all week), and Derek's grandma was so surprised to see us! Derek enjoyed playing penny slots with her, and I think she had a good time too. Especially since she kept winning;) As for us....I think we came out about even. Derek came home with cash in his pocket, and I came home with lots of shopping bags! Woohoo!  Anyway, here are the only pics I took while we were there: 

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving Was Had By All

On Thursday we packed up Fred's Suburban and headed down to Bowling Green for Thanksgiving with the family. We didn't officially celebrate until Friday, when Justin and Holly got there. It was pretty rough, having to choose between prime rib or tenderloin (filet). And then the sides....oh, the sides. Grandma's sweet potato casserole, Becky's corn pudding, Justin's pecan pie. And of course, Kristin's marvelous margaritas. Oh, my my. 

Friday afternoon Holly and I got to go out riding (horses) with Derek's aunt Sandy. It was so fun! We got to herd cows and exercise the work dogs. 

After dinner, we finished the perfect day with euchre. You really can't beat that. 

Saturday, we dressed up the girls and headed to Sears for a family portrait. I can't believe it, but neither Holly or I got any pictures of the girls in their fancy dresses! They were so beautiful. I wasn't super impressed with the quality of the photos, but I guess it's what you get for department store prices. I'll scan the actual pictures when they come and put them on here. The girls weren't too cooperative, and it didn't help that the studio was about 90 degrees. We ended up being at Sears for almost 3 hours. Ugh. 

That night Fred made some venison and Derek made his famous gratin potatoes, and we ate the rest of the leftovers. We sat around in front of the fireplace, chatted and just hung out. All in all it was a really fun week. I wish we could get down there more often. It was really fun seeing the girls together as well. They need more time to get to know each other as cousins. 

So tomorrow we head to Las Vegas. I feel like I'm going crazy with all the unpacking, laundry, packing, etc. I know we're going to have an awesome time, but it feels like I'm running around with my head cut off! 

 Annabel meets the dogs on the farm

Grandpa's girls

 I forgot to mention that Saturday morning we went to an antique shop that was on a farm - it had the cutest little petting zoo!

 Getting clean for the pictures. Aren't they cute!
 I know I look a little crazy in this picture....but Annabel is so cute!
 Awww....Morganne so cute in her Thanksgiving pj's!

I Think I Hate Christmas

I have such a bad attitude this year. I just get so sick of everything Christmas related, starting around Halloween. I get sick of everyone talking about the "magic of Christmas" or "Christmas miracles" Come on. Are we so depressed the rest of the year that we have to look towards a bloated, over-commercialized holiday to bring us out of the funk? I personally think that sitting at the pool on the hottest day of the year is pretty magical, but you don't hear me going on about it. 

Let me just say that I hate the word 'holiday.' Take your generic holiday and shove it. We all know that Christmas is December 25, and its the light at the end of this (long, holiday) tunnel. Quit dancing around it in efforts to be PC- we're not doing the Jews any favors by referring to it as "the holidays." (By the way, Hanukah goes on until Dec. 29 this year, but I bet you won't hear boo about it after the 25th). 

But what I hate the most about this crazy Christmas frenzy is the pressure to fill my calendar with social events, shopping outings and long trips. I'm done! I'm going to enjoy my month off school as just that - a month off. I'm not going to stress about going to parties, white elephant gifts, toys, trees or decorations. We'll do the two things we've already committed to - a weekend in Des Moines, and skiing in Wisconsin (who could say no to that?), but other than that, don't expect me to get out of my p.j.'s! 

Okay, I'll say a word about the meaning of Christmas. On the 24th, I'll be as spirited as anyone, reading the story of Jesus' birth and singing soft hymns at a candlelight Christmas eve service. I love Jesus. I am humbled by the fact that he came to earth and died in my place. I think about that all year long, not just starting at Halloween and ending Dec. 25. I don't need tinsel and mistletoe to remind me that I am a sinner saved by the death of my King. 

Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pictures from the Week....

No energy to write.

 Annabel looked so cute in her little Carharts!
 A budding reader....

 The next day, Annabel discovered some goodies... yeah, probably not the best place for it these days... 
 Tom Collins, anyone??

 Enjoying a snack of apples and grapes on the couch with mommy...yum!

 Annabel's not a huge fan of brushing her teeth, so I thought maybe if I demonstrated she would be a little more interested! Look how intently she watching me! (P.S. Do you love the door that Derek stripped and put back up without sanding and painting??)

We went down to my parents this weekend so Derek and Marcus could hunt. They didn't have any luck, but we did have fun! Sunday was such a beautiful day, I couldn't resist getting Annabel bundled up to play outside. 
 We went to 'Once Upon a Child' while we were there. Annabel needed some new jeans because someone (I won't mention names) left her only pair of jeans wadded up and wet in his Jeep and they are moldy and ruined. So, I found two super cute pairs - and I couldn't resist this little grey two-piece outfit. Even though she doesn't need clothes, I'm a sucker for coordinating outfits (makes getting dressed in the mornings so much easier!). You can't see it too well in the pictures below, but its like a little tunic/dress with leggings. 
 Again with the books! I love it!

Last night as I was working on this post, Annabel woke up for the third time between 8:30-12:30. She is sick again! She just got over the last cold, and now she is snotty, feverish and cranky all over again. Annabel slept with us (me)  and we were up a lot last night! Boo!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Ain't Never Gonna Talk Good

Earlier this week our friend Isaac came over to hang out and watch the baseball game ( I'm not really sure which one?).  Somehow we got to talking about how people's bad grammar is really annoying. Derek gets irritated when people say "irregardless" (its a double-negative; the word is just 'regardless') or "doin' good" instead of "I'm doing well" when asked how they are. I was saying how in my line of work, I often talk to people who are, shall we say, educationally-challenged (though I hope that I show a little more compassion than my sarcastic husband!) Anyway, I told them how two of my biggest grammar pet peeves are when someone says "flustrated" instead of "frustrated" and "ideals" instead of "ideas." So the next day I get a text from Ike that says, "I have some flustrating ideals I need to talk to you about." That made my yucky day so much better!!

A Picky, Sicky, Silly Little Monster

Annabel and I have been hanging out inside all weekend, because it's COLD out! This morning there is a layer of snow on the ground - boo. Its going to be a long next 6 months:(
Derek was hoping to make it out for the first day of deer season, but he had to work all weekend. I know he was disappointed, but he and Marcus are planning to go down to my parents next weekend to go. Oh, who are we kidding - I'll probably go, too. 
Yesterday Annabel and I layered up and headed out to church. However, halfway through the service I was called out because Annabel had not stopped crying since I dropped her off and she felt warm. Sure enough, her temp was 103.5 and she was not a happy kid. With Motrin, she fluctuated from 101 to 104 all day, but today she's down to 99.5 and she's happy as could be. Right now she's looking out the window at the birds and clapping at them! So cute! She loves to look outside.
Earlier this week we had a nursing student from my school come over and do a Denver Developmental scale on her for class. Its basically the same thing they do at her appointments, just gauging her development based on her age. She was slightly ahead of her age group, having already mastered saying 6 words, walking backwards, stacking one block, and taking off an article of clothing. I think these tasks were average for 15-mo olds, whereas she is 14 months. She failed at stacking more than one block, feeding a baby, recognizing a picture and feeding herself with a utensil (These were also 15-mo old tasks). 
My favorite thing about Annabel right now is that she is silly. She does funny things like put a diaper on her head and walk into the wall (then laughs!), or steals something from your hand and runs away with it, laughing. And she is such a ham for the camera. What a goofball! One of the things that made Derek laugh this week was that he finally caught her picking her nose. I had been telling him for weeks that she's been doing it, but he didn't actually see her till now. 
The best part about right now is that I only have one week of classes left. After this week, its Thanksgiving Break, then Derek and I are going on vacation the next week (missing classes) and then its finals! Woohoo! It's almost over! Although I'll still be seeing my clients, I'll have a whole month off before the next semester starts. Praise the Lord. 
This morning Derek had to get up early to drive the school bus, so I got up too to enjoy a few hours before Annabel woke up. (Me, get up before dawn? I know, right!?) I really should do that more often! I had my shower, coffee and breakfast, and payed all our bills before she even woke up! It was really nice, because then I had way more time to spend with her, because I wasn't busy getting up and about myself. Its just hard to get up early when you don't have to, you know?
So anyway, even though I don't want to brave the blustery weather, we've got some errands to run so I don't think we've got any choice. I've also got some homework I need to catch up on, boo. Better go - more posts to come soon! Maybe I'll get better at taking pictures during the week!
We got to enjoy bathtime this morning:
 First we throw all our toys in the tub...
 Then we get in. Don't like it too much....then....seconds later....
 Love it!!
 All done!!
 Ready for the day.

She's been chasing this silly ladybug around all morning! Oh, the entertainment...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nothing too eventful this week, no pictures, even. Sorry! Derek worked all day Saturday and 1/2 day Sunday, so we've been kind of bored at home. Saturday I even made up errands to run just to get out of the house! It's been so cold and chilly here, I don't really like getting out, but when you're going crazy, sometimes thats all you can do! 
Wow! I know this is probably old news to most of you- but gas prices are way cheaper! It just really hit me today when I filled up for $22!!! Isn't that crazy. I think it is $1.91 here, and I have a card that our grocery store does for so many cents off per gallon, and I think I was up to $0.15 off, thus $1.76/gal - whoa! I nice relief since it has been costing like $50 to fill up!
Yesterday I rented a "Rug Doctor" from Lowe's and cleaned all our carpets. Ugh - way more work than I wanted to do. Our carpets desperately needed it, especially since we don't bathe Bailey as much since Annabel came along! This was my first time to ever clean the carpets! I have no experience with carpet care, since we never had it growing up and this is our first house with it. Bleh - never again will I have carpet in a house. I just think it is really gross - weird, I know. 
Since Derek worked all weekend he stayed with us today. He vacuumed and bagged leaves, and put in storm windows - exciting! For one my classes, we are learning how to administer psychological tests, so I gave Derek an IQ test today! I don't know if any of you have ever taken a real IQ test (not the Reader's Digest version!) but it is quite an ordeal! It took us about two hours (annabel was napping). I'm sure none of you are surprised, but I married a pretty smart guy! I won't tell you his composite score, but I will say overall he is one standard deviation above the mean (70th %), with his "processing speed" being two standard deviations (87th %)!  It was a fun experience for me as well. 
Tonight Derek took me out for Mexican and now we are settling in to watch 'Chuck' and call it a night! I'll leave you with the only pictures I've taken of Annabel all week:


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Diapers!

Yay! I got two new diapers in the mail today! So cute! For those of you who are interested in cloth diapering, the Swaddlebees outlet store (<--link) has their discontinued prints on sale for $11. Thats a great price for good quality diapers!! Also, their located in Knoxville, so you Ktown mamas (Laura? Betsy?) could probably negotiate a pick-up and bypass shipping fees!
By the way - I'm sure you noticed I changed up the layout of my blog. If anyone has trouble with it (i.e. not being able to see the print, or taking too long to load) let me know and I'll change it back to boring black. I don't mind! I just thought I would do something a little different.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Annabel's pictures

Hey everyone - check out Jen's blog for a sneak preview of Annabel's pictures! They are soooo cute! (I'm not biased at all:)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thursday night we went to Bloomington to visit with old friends. We hung out downtown and ate at a funky Thai restaurant... Annabel didn't like it!
Last Friday our daycare had a walk-a-thon to raise money for a new 6-seat stroller. We walked 10 laps, or 2.5 miles - tiring. I even walked a whole lap backwards with some of the kids! We talked about doing a lap hopping on one foot, but I'm glad that didn't happen! Here are some pics from that morning.
It was a little chilly that morning, but it quickly warmed up!
it actually turned out to be a really pretty day! Annabel slept most of the laps! :)
This little girl is Allie, Annabel's "best friend" at daycare. They're always hugging, and playing with each other. They're so cute together!

That night we did a little trick-or-treating at the neighbors then headed to our church for a Halloween festival - free hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, nachos, candy, etc! Annabel was so cute in her little bumblebee costume!
 Getting ready for the big night...

 "Mommy, I'm not sure I like this..."