Saturday, March 31, 2012

Daddy's Little Nemo

How cute is this boy?

He loves the pool!  I have a feeling we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer.  Right now we spend most afternoons walking around downtown, but once it gets too hot to do that, we'll probably be in the pool.

I thought baby Levi was a natural swimmer because he kicks like a pro the minute his feet hit the water.  Turns out it's a natural reflex that all babies have, and it's not actually kicking.  Boo.

Oops, mom forgot his hat.

We want to plan a big kid's pool party for his first birthday in August.  When I was a kid we had huge neighborhood pool parties for every birthday.

Daddy is intent on making this boy a little fish!

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Mama" Is Like Cash Money

I think this baby understands a lot more than he lets on.  I was trying to get him to say "Mama," but he was more interested in reaching for the video camera.  I told him, "I'll give you the camera if you say 'Mama'" and BOOM, "Mama" it is!

Then another time, Levi was trying to get him to say "Dada," and baby's reply was to say "Mama" with a grin on his face.

What a little smart aleck.  :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quilt Carpeting -- The New Thing In Flooring

Every morning I have to perform the ritual laying-of-the-quilts to keep baby Levi safe from our hard tile floors.

And it's not only about the quilts.  It's also about strategically placing his toys, including those tent-like dohicky hanging things, to keep him interested but also to entice him to start crawling.  This time of year, the sun streams directly into our sliding glass door mega-bright in the morning, so I also pull our pictures off the wall and stand them up by the door to make some shade (the blinds are broken).

Levi calls it "The Fun Zone."  I think of it more as a training field.

I like this picture of baby Levi pulling himself up with those rings like a gymnast.  He's working on his strength training!

I can't imagine what we're going to have to do when he actually starts crawling.  Probably just let him crawl on the tile.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chomp Chomp

Baby Levi is getting his first tooth!  There's a little snaggletooth breaking through his bottom gums.  He hasn't been too fussy or distressed by it.  He sure likes biting my fingers with it, though.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cat's Eye

I recently finished reading Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.  It follows the main character Elaine, a "painter" (she refuses to call herself an artist, always a "painter") and focuses on her recollections of childhood, youth, and early adulthood in Canada.

Elaine's family consists of her older brother, her mother, and her father, who treks his family throughout Canada as some kind of research entomologist.  As a result of her nomadic/camping lifestyle, a tomboy mother, and a brother as her only sibling, Elaine finds herself perplexed by girls, unsure how to act around them or how to play with them as a young girl.

Despite this, Elaine quickly happens into a crew of elementary school girlfriends.  However, after about a year of closeness, the friendship devolves into a frightening tale of girl bullying (which will probably ring true to any girl who survived middle school).  What is both surprising and somehow understandable at the same time is when Elaine turns from bullied to bully on the queen bee of her elementary school clique when they friendship each other again in high school.

Her memories of these experiences haunt her memories and haunt her art (in a beautiful way) throughout her life. 

Elaine understands and explains well her difficulties throughout her life in understanding "girls."  But what she never confronts is her inability to connect with men, either.  While she understands men and boys better, the way they talk, act, think, she still fails to really connect with any of the men or boys in her life, either.  She has lovers and husbands, but always seems distant and detached from them.  She never falls in love.  She never shares her secrets, her inner life, with any of them.  Why?  That was the part Atwood seemed to ignore, and I couldn't seem to figure out myself.  Maybe that is what made her such a successful artist -- she shared her true self only with the canvas.  It seemed a lonely life, though, and I didn't understand why.

I really enjoyed this book.  As I said before, it rang true to me.  It's the kind of book I'd love to read with a book club, because I think there are a lot of gems of truth to be discussed, truth about friendship, femininity, art, and memory. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catholic Guilt Has Nothing on Mother Guilt

If there is one thing that surprised me about becoming a new mom, it's the worry and guilt you feel over even the smallest decisions.  It defies logic!

Case in point:

Thursday there was a free petting zoo about five minutes from our house.  Most of the meetup moms were going, and it sounded like a lot of fun.

And it was a lot of fun.  Baby Levi petted the bunnies, a giant turkey walked right up to him, he saw goats and chickens and ducks and all kinds of baby birds.

So why did I feel so guilty taking him?  Because it was right during his naptime.  So he was tired, and a little cranky, and by the time we got home he was so asleep he didn't even wake up when I got him out of the car.

Now, looking at it as a rational person, it was a fun experience and he still got his nap (just a little later).  But I still felt guilty for taking him because he was tired and should have been napping!  Crazy.

I find myself second-guessing even minor decisions, like what foods he should start eating, or whether he should be re-swaddled when he wakes up in the night.  And if things go the slightest bit awry, I feel guilty for making the choice I did.

Does anyone else do this?  Am I just crazy?  And if it's a common first-time mom thing, why do we do this?  Is it ultimately good because it ensures we're vigilant about our baby's safety and care?  Or is it just another way we beat ourselves up for not being "perfect"?

I read an article not too long ago about SIDS that featured a really interesting interview with someone from a big-city coroner's office (Detroit maybe?  Can't remember).  He said that in his career, he had never seen a true case of SIDS.  He said that every infant death had an explanation, but that a lot of times they label it SIDS to avoid laying the blame on the parents for accidents or mistakes.  I feel guilty when my baby scratches his face because his nails are too long; I can't imagine what it must feel like to blame yourself for your baby's death.  That must be an absolutely crushing weight. 

Somber way to end a blog post!  Sorry!!  Here's a totally irrelevant but cute picture to lighten the mood again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Got It

Just this morning got a decent video of baby Levi saying "Mama" (not great, but decent).  Just thought I'd share.  :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mommy and Me

Baby Levi says "Mom" and "Mama" all the time now, but it's usually unexpected so I haven't been able to catch it on video.

Of course, he doesn't know what he's saying.  He usually says it when he's sad, because before crying he does a whiny "Mmmm, mmmm...."  and then spits out a "Moommm!"

I don't actually have too many pictures of him and I, because I'm usually the one taking the pictures.  But I like these two that Levi took yesterday, even though baby is making a weird face.

Love my sweet boy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who Could Ask For Anything More?

Baby and I met Levi down in Boca Raton for a lunch picnic today.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the breeze was blowing, it was a beautiful afternoon.

And I got to spend it with my boys!  Life is beautiful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lucky Number Seven

Baby Levi is seven months old today!

He is a master at sitting up and rolling over.  He's starting to scoot himself around, too.  He's anxious to start crawling and to stand better.  This age is amazing, because he has so much more personality than he use to.  He smiles, laughs, and babbles all day long.  He wakes up with a smile (usually) and holds his arms out for you to pick him up.  He says mom and mama!

As they say, the days are long but the years (or in this case, months) are short.  It sounds cliche, but I can't believe how time has flown.

Happy birthday bubba!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hot Tub Time

Levi and I love to relax in the hot tub.
Baby Levi is pretty good at entertaining himself poolside.  Though he does look a little envious.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Am Serious. And Don't Call Me Shirley.

If you have to fly with a baby, it is 500 times better if you have an empty seat next to you.  Especially if you have a baby as long as mine.  Even sleeping, his feet were right in a stranger's side.  When he was awake, he was good, but wiggly, and grabbing that same stranger's hair, jacket, drink, etc.  It was like wrestling a piglet.  For five hours.
When we FINALLY ended up with an empty seat next to us, baby slept there the whole flight.  Bliss!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Favorite Little Leprechaun

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Baby Levi got to celebrate today at a ward potluck and talent show.  And the best thing about bringing a baby to a ward party is that you have a great excuse for leaving early!  Sort of kidding; we do love our ward and our ward parties are always fun.  Baby Levi is a social butterfly at church and gets passed from person to person all night long. 
Daddy won't let him out of his sight for too long, though.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Miracle

News flash: I made friends!  Hip hip hooray!  I met a girl (woman, lady, whatever.  I guess now that we're in our thirties we're not "girls" anymore but I can't bring myself to say "women" all the time)...

Let me try that again.  I met a mom at the library with a baby boy the same age as little Levi.  She moved to Florida a few months ago from New York City, and she's really cool.  We were chatting about this and that, and she mentioned a playgroup she took her baby to.  I asked her how she got hooked up with a playgroup, and she said has a great mom's group in the area.  She took my email address and told me she would send me the link.

Before I even got home I had an email from her (yay!), and I immediately joined the group.  There are activities every single day, everything from picnic in the park to lactation tea (kind of weird, yes) to museum outings, etc.

Baby Levi and I went on out first meetup on Wednesday, lunch at Sweet Tomatoes.  We had a great time, so today we went to St. Patrick's Day picnic in the park.  All the babies were in green (and all the moms but me, oops), and everyone brought green food.  I made lemon cupcakes with green food coloring in them.

At both meetups, there were about eight moms and babies, and the babies were all from about 4 months old to just over one year.  The moms were all really great, and we just talked and talked and talked.  I guess the kind of people who join a group like this are usually social, outgoing people who want to make friends, which is really fun.

How cute is that little girl's tutu?  The little boys all kept grabbing at it.

Hooray for finally making friends! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Since the last book I blogged about, I've actually read two.  I sadly, sadly had to read Bitter is the New Black for my book club, and really hated it.  It's a sort-of memoir about a woman who falls from a high powered corporate job to unemployment and has to learn to deal with quasi-poverty.  It's clear she isn't a writer at heart, because the story has no direction, brings up pointless anecdotes and characters that have no connection to the flow of the story, and overall just annoyed me at every turn.  Apparently some people think it's funny.

After that, I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John LeCarre.  I loved his book The Constant Gardener, and I had heard a lot of good buzz about the movie that just recently came out.  Some people said it was a really confusing movie, though, so I thought I might enjoy it more if I read the book first.

It's a great read, a spy novel that is written intelligently.  It's set when all good spy stories are, during the Cold War.  It has double agents, spies brought down by love, code names, women thrown in front of buses, all kinds of great espinoage twists.  But it doesn't ever feel cheesy, mostly because the main character is so serious.  He's spent his lifetime in this work, and has seen enough to know the weight of things.  Since we see most of the action through his eyes, his heaviness gives every situation added gravity.  It's no longer exciting for him, even when he's about to nail a Russian leader he's been after for decades.  He does it because lives are at stake, very often the lives of people he has worked with for a long time. 

I definitely recommend it.  It's got great twists, and has a satisfying yet melancholy conclusion.  It's well written with real, developed characters.  I know LeCarre has written other books with the same main character, and now I'm itching to read more.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Goodnight Comb, Goodnight Brush

Baby Levi's bedtime routine always includes a story.  For a while we were reading Goodnight Moon every night.  Then we lost the book at Grandma Sherrie's house and had to branch out to new titles.  Boo.

I just had to put all three pictures on here to show baby Levi's crazy leg positions.  He's such a goof!  He gets that right leg right up on the pages.

I always thought Goodnight Moon was a weird book until I started reading it out loud to the baby.  It has such an great rhythm when it's read out loud.  Levi's favorite part is when it says, "Goodnight nobody.  Goodnight mush." 

Baby Levi is sound asleep right now.  So goodnight noises everywhere.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Willard Mitt Danger Romney, JD MBA

So last week at the temple I happened to meet singing sensation Davie Archuleta.  No picture, since we were literally inside the temple.  I was pretty stoked to meet a Mormon celebrity.

This week, who happens to show up to our ward but Mitt Romney (plus about 7 secret service guys), Glenn Beck and wife, and Congressman Jeff Flake and family.  Cray cray!

Again, I didn't get any pictures, so I snagged some from other ward members' Facebook profiles.  I don't think anybody took any Glenn Beck pictures since the big cheese in the room!

Now, I am NOT a Glenn Beck fan (to put it politely).  And I'm not as big a Romeny supporter as some other members of my family.  But it was pretty dang exciting to have them at our sacrament meeting!  Especially in our tiny ward.  We were even teenier today since we start early and it was daylight savings (the sleeper-inners missed out).

Glenn Beck spoke, and I actually grew to like him more as a person.  About half of his talk was very sweet testimony about the Book of Mormon.  I respected that, and realized that he is a brother in the gospel.  Now, the other half was kind of odd stuff that maybe shouldn't be brought up over the pulpit (stuff about Thomas Jefferson believing the Native Americans were Egyptian Jews and weird French pamphlets that are "pure evil"), but I kind of expected kookiness out of him. 

I got to talk to Congressman Flake's wife and she was very sweet.  His whole family stayed for all three meetings, which was really cool of them.  Romney had to hightail it out of there pretty quickly after sacrament meeting (well, I don't know if he *had* to but he did). 

Very exciting day!  Yet again, blessed for being in the right place at the right time (just kidding -- I in no way believe that viewing Mitt Romeny and Glenn Beck is some kind of blessing from on high.  Just a fun coincidence.)

Oh, and if you want to watch a *really* funny Mitt Romney spoof (and find out where the title of this post came from), watch this:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sittin on Top of the World

As you may have noticed in pictures I've posted ...

Sidenote: I hate when people say "As you may or may not know...".  By saying "may" you automatically imply "may not," right?  No need to add it.  I also hate "A whole nother thing."  "Nother" is not a word.  It's a whole OTHER thing.  An other, not a nother.  Okay, I'm really getting sidetracked now.

As you may have noticed, baby Levi is sitting up on his own now!  It's great for me.  He can see and do a lot more sitting up, so he can play on his own for longer stretches without me.

The only bad thing is that we have all tile floors in our apartment, and even though he's pretty steady (he's got a big strong base to balance on) he overreaches sometimes and topples over.  I set him on a pile of quilts (yay for sisters who quilt!) and put the boppy pillow around him, but I still get a little nervous for his little head. 
It is so exciting to see his abilities progress.  Who knew I would be so excited to see my baby sit?  But it's awesome. 

Next step, crawling!  He's getting close, I swear.  And even though it's going to mean a lot of work chasing him around, I can't wait to see him acheive that next step.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shaq or Jordan?

I call little Levi baby Shaq because he's so huge.  But he's started a new trick that has made me rethink that nickname.  I'm thinking he's actually a baby Jordan!

Check out that tongue.
Looks an awful lot like this guy:

He's already learned how to dunk, too.
I think it's so cool that he's already figured out how to dunk those little basketballs through the hoop.  He's an athletic genius!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Powder Monkeys

The only good thing about winter in Utah is the SKIING!  Levi's brother Preston has a buddy who works at Park City, and Preston got free lift tickets for John and Sharie, Levi and me, and himself.  We hit the slopes on Monday for a gorgeous day on the mountain.
Levi and me

Levi and Preston

The weather was fantastic (in my opinion).  It had snowed a ton Thursday and Friday, and the snow was still there, but it was really warm.  We kept peeling off layers as the day went on.

Unfortunately, that sunshine meant we all got sunburned.  Preston was the worst.  Tuesday morning he woke up with his face swollen and blisters on his nose.  Yuck.  Levi and I were only a little pink because we smeared my SPF 15 chapstick on our faces when we realized how sunny it was going to be.  Kind of gross, but I'm serious about sun protection.

Levi and John

John and Sharie decided to try snowboarding for the first time, but that meant we split ways with them pretty early on.  John spent some time on the green runs, but Sharie stuck to the bunny hill. 

Preston, Levi, and I had some fun on Powder Monkey for a few runs.  I love this Rawr guy at the start of the hill.

We had a fun day!  Levi knows that if we ever *have* to move back to Utah, I would want to live in Park City.  Good times.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Everybody Loves Levi

We flew out to Utah last Thursday and got back last night.  It was a great trip!  We got to show off our baby to lots of friends and family members.
Grandma Sherrie

I think Levi's mom was the most excited to see baby Levi.  She has been missing him!  She got to spend a lot of grandma time with him this trip.  She watched him while we did date night on Friday (Mekong Thai with John and Sharie) and skiing on Monday (more about that in another post). 

Cousins Mylie and Brynlee

Baby's little cousin Mylie was crazy for him.  She was like a little mama, holding him, feeding him, rubbing his belly and telling him "You're a big boy!  You're a big boy!"  It was so cute.  Bryn liked him, but missed being the center of attention sometimes I think.  Seeing baby with Mylie and Brynlee made me realize how much baby Levi looks like them.  Their eyes look just the same to me.

Uncle Preston

Uncle Preston and Uncle Jonny were pros at getting baby to grin.  They'd swoop him around, toss him up and down, and get him laughing every time.  Too bad Uncle Josh couldn't make it up from Vegas.  Uncle Jonny even got baby to fall asleep in church without a single tear.  With two little girls, he's no amateur.


Baby Noah

It was so lucky that my friend Gwendolyn just happened to be visiting Salt Lake from Rexburg, ID the very same weekend!  She got to meet the baby and we got to catch up on each other's lives.  I'm so lucky to have a friend who I can stay so close to after 25+ years.

I also got to catch up with Jolee, a friend from BYU.  She has a 4-month old baby, Noah, who is just a little tiny peanut with big beautiful blue eyes.  It was fun to chat with Jolee, talk baby stuff, and look through her scrapbook of our dorm days.

Baby Levi also got to meet his Great-Grandpa Blank, Levi's grandpa, but somehow I forgot to take a picture!  Grandpappy was really happy to meet the baby.

We're so lucky and blessed to have so many great friends and family members who love our baby almost as much as we do.  It's a bummer to live so far away from everyone, but we try to make an effort to travel to see everyone as often as we can.  We love you guys!