Friday, December 9, 2016

So Refreshing

Can you guess what Brynn is about to do here? 

Yeah, that's right. She's drinking the rainwater that has collected at the bottom of the slide. 

We try to head down to the little park in the complex as often as we can. Brynn likes the slide and climbing to the top by herself. She also likes eating bark chips, licking the various equipment, and, apparently, getting a little drink in this convenient reservoir. The good news is that this is Florida, and we don't have any shortage of rainwater reservoirs for little girls to play in/drink. 

Mostly I think she does it because I tell her no and she thinks it's funny. But seriously, look how happy she is. 

Don't worry, she gets nice and wet when she does it. 

Yesterday we left the park and headed for home after my many attempts to keep her from doing this seemed totally in vain. I put her down on the sidewalk and she promptly turned right around and ran back to the park.

How I love this naughty girl. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Turkey Day Recap

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we had a great time! This year I am grateful that we are able to find ways to spend time with family. No matter where we live, we always make this a priority and I'm grateful we are able to have that. 

Greg's sister Megan flew in early in the week and went to Harry Potter world with Greg. Brynn and I were supposed to go, but Brynn had a cold she couldn't kick and I ended up taking her to the pediatrician for an ear infection that day. I missed hanging out with Greg and Megan--who we love and adore--but it was okay. Brynn is doing much better now! Although apparently she is allergic to amoxicillin. 

The next day we all drove to a cabin in West Virginia to meet up with two of Greg's brothers and their families. We had a fun time doing dinner together! 

The cooks! 

The spread! 

Thanks to my sister in law Calise, we all tie dyed (sp??) t shirts together. I discovered I am not very good at it. 

Little Brynn with cousin Patrick, her new best friend. 

Stephanie and Morgan put together a Minute to Win it competition. This is Greg trying to keep his balloons up in the air. We didn't get a picture of it, but I want everyone on the world wide web to know that I was one of only two people to put an oreo on my forehead and then get it in my mouth and eat it without using my hands. I feel like it's an important skill I didn't even know I had. 

As always, we played Settlers of Catan. Can you tell how much I love this game? This is my "My In Laws Are Too Hardcore For Me But I Love Them Anyway" Face. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Bought Brynn Some Boy Shoes

And it was on purpose, I might add.

I've had the hardest time finding shoes for her lately. She has gone through a crazy growth spurt and nothing fits. We just had her 15 month appointment yesterday, so I can say with confidence that she is now 31 inches tall and 22 lbs. She is not even in the shorty percentile anymore. 

Anyway, last weekend we lost one of the last non-church shoes that fit her in Orlando. She can't wear her too-small jellies all winter, even though I really, really love her jelly shoes. 

So I've been looking and looking, but it's been hard to find tennis shoes that weren't crazy expensive and/or impossible to get on her feet. I've been coming up blank. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO BUY KIDS' SHOES?!?!?!? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS THIS WAY?!?!? 

Anyway, today I headed to Target with my little coupon I got in the mail determined to find something. I finally found a pair of brown mary janes that I thought could work, but oh yeah, we are going to West Virginia for Thanksgiving and Idaho Falls for Christmas and I think snow and mary janes don't mix so well. What do I buy for her, boots? Boots that I will never be able to get on her feet? I paced in the toddler shoe aisle for seriously what felt like hours. And then....

....I turned around. And saw the boy shoes. 

They were cheaper. They had her size. They were not mary janes. And, refreshingly, they were not obnoxious shades of silvery sparkles or hot pink glitter or My Little Pony purple. Seriously, why do we insist on dressing our little girls in such garish colors? It drives me insane. The boy shoes were a lot cuter in my opinion. People always say girls clothes are cuter, but I'm not so sure. 

I put the little navy blue shoes on her feet just to try them. She took off and ran around the store. She didn't care that they were in the boys' section. So I decided I didn't care either. And I bought them. 

I'm trying to decide if this is a manifestation of deeper things. My parents never signed me up for T ball or soccer, but I sure am going to sign her up. Go play sports! Or go be a ballerina if you want! Be a tom boy, be a girlie girl, I don't care! Just be confident and kind and things will work out. Be confident enough to wear boy shoes when you want and princess dresses the rest of the time, whatever. There are more important things to worry about. 

So...wandering around the store, I thought about all this stuff. Are these things I'm trying to teach her? Is this the best way to teach her? Should I feel bad about not dressing her in hot pink all the time? 

And then I thought, Meh. They're just practical shoes. I'm a practical girl. At least, when I'm not overanalyzing everything, then I'm practical. 

Anyway, she's so dang stinkin' cute, I think everyone would recognize my darling baby no matter what she was wearing. 

So there's all of my musings on gender roles and teaching confidence and whatever. And you thought this was just going to be a post about shoes. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

I Can't Think of Any More Titles About Books

I've got two very different selections for you today, friends. 

This was a cute memoir-type story from the country Queen. I actually don't know that much about Ree Drummond except for I like her recipe for chocolate pudding dessert. It's a quick, cute read, really sweet and funny.

The Light Between Oceans was a really powerful book. It was really hard to read for me at times. But, then again, reading about infertility and pregnancy loss can sometimes also be cathartic for me. It's about a lighthouse keeper and his wife who live alone on an island. They desperately want a baby, and one day a baby girl washes up to shore in a rowboat. The book explores love, despair, joy, making mistakes, and, most painfully, fixing mistakes. It's also sort of about trying to understand mistakes in the first place. I took a writing class at BYU, and one of the biggest things I remember my professor saying is that you have to torture your characters. What she meant is, the more complex the problems, the more complex the characters. Their decisions become more meaningful. I have never seen that technique so painfully illustrated as in this book. It is beautiful and just so sad at the same time. The ending was the only possible ending that made sense, but it was also heart-breaking. For all the beauty, this book leaves you feeling kind of empty. I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Life is like that, right? Beauty and difficulty have to coexist. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this one. Just make sure you are ready for something a little bit heavy. The book will wear on you, but it will be worth it. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Picture Post (And a Few, But Hardly Any, Politics Discussed, if Anyone's Wondering)

Happy Election Day, everyone.

Raise your hand if you are as happy as I am that it will all be over soon.

I actually started drafting a big long political post in my head a few weeks ago, but I decided not to even go there. There is far too much screaming and not enough listening this year, everyone. I'm trying to be one of the listeners. Also, last point, because even though I'm trying to be a listener I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut: We are all so concerned with being right that we have stopped being concerned with what is good. And that's NOT good. #nevertrump #potterweasley2016

So there. Mull that over and be mad at me if you want. I still want to be friends, though. I am trying to refrain from judging anyone for whatever terrible choice they felt they had to make today.

Well, anyway, now that that's over, imma post a bunch of cute pictures of my baby, mmkay?

Some of these are old. I just want to get them up here before I forget they exist. Also, it's highly likely that there will be way too many pictures on here because I'm a bad blogger and I'm really behind.

Ward dance, "Dancing through Time." Going Roaring Twenties was Greg's idea, so I threw the costumes together that day after a trip to Wal-Mart. I made Brynn's little flapper dress from the scraps I cut off of my dress. I was pretty proud.

^This is my "Hurry-up-and-take-a-picture-before-she-rips-her-headband-off" face.

Another fun things we've done lately...go to the zoo! At first, Brynn loved this goat friend...because she didn't realize it was a living animal. It was super docile. Then a goat walked past her and she figured out they were alive and she kind of freaked out. But I got pictures first! 

My parents came in town last week, and that was really fun. We went to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, where Greg found this gator and taught him a lesson or two. 

We also went to this canoe exhibit thing in St. Augustine. Brynn doesn't like canoes really. She prefers kayaks, probably. 

Beach time! 

Went to Epcot when the family was in town! Man, we love Disney. Just bought our four day passes, so I'm sure we'll add more pictures soon. This is us in Canada. Yeah, I know it's not the real Canada, but I figure the real Canada can't be that much different. Only colder. 

So Brynn loves to be in our tiny kitchen while I'm making dinner. It's hard to cook when your one year old is trying to dump out cheerios and play in the trash. So lately I've been setting her up with a chair and a bowl and a spoon and she helps me cook. She stirs and taste tests and everything. Pretty much adorable. 

She's grown pretty attached to her teddy. We came in to check in her before we went to bed and caught her sleeping in cuddle mode. Don't mind that big patch of sweat by her head. I promise I turn on the fan and stuff. She's just a really sweaty kid. 

Halloween costumes! I made them and was pretty proud. No sewing, though. Just glue-gunning. That's the way we do Halloween around here. 

We went as Monsters Inc! We just couldn't pass it up. We thought Brynn would make the perfect Boo.

We tried to teach Brynn how to say Kitty but she never really got there. "Put that thing back where it came from or so help me!" We didn't win the cutest family costumes award. The Bishop's family did. Like dressing all 9 family members like a character from the Finding Nemo franchise is really all that cool. Pff. 

I'm going to go in the spirit of this year's election and say the whole thing was rigged. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Replacement Paci

At the beginning of October, we took away Brynn's pacifier. She loved that thing. We only used it for bedtimes and naps, but trust me, she would walk around happily chomping down all day if given the opportunity.

We decided it was better to just be done with it now instead of waiting until she was older. I didn't think quitting the pacifier was going to get any easier as she became more toddler/less baby. So General Conference weekend we confiscated all the pacis. Nap time was pretty rough for two days. She really wanted that paci back and she let us know about it. I wanted to cave. I felt like a bad mom. Guilt, shame, sadness, all that jazz.

And then, just like that, she was over it. In less than 48 hours she was totally fine. It was like she had forgotten all about it, and she went back to her usual angel self.

Well, that was about a month ago. This was today:

"You think I don't remember, Mom and Dad?? WELL I REMEMBER."  

She found a spare safety outlet thing and was walking around with the two tines in her mouth. A replacement paci. A poor replacement, but a replacement all the same. 

It was both kind of sad and absolutely hilarious. Mostly hilarious. I find myself to be very impressed by her ingenuity and resourcefulness. Well played, Brynn Eliza. Well played. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Back to Books

Time to blog about books again.

The other day when I was in the library the book "41" caught my eye. I love memoirs, and it looked interesting to me. I don't know very much about George H W Bush, so I checked it out, not knowing if I ever would get around to reading it. Maybe it's because we're in such a political flurry right now, but once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I thought the memoir was thought-provoking, and I gained a new respect for people who enter politics because they really just want to do the right thing. I wish there were more people like that who could get traction in today's world. It makes me think I just need to put on my big girl panties and join the board for the public library already.

Well, after reading Bush on his father, I was sort of interested in reading the memoir of George W. Bush's years as president. I never thought I would be interested in this book, but again, once I started, I couldn't stop. I think it's good to read these things now, when we're all trying to decide what to do for this election. An enlightening read, regardless of how you might view the decisions that Bush made. Bush himself admits he made mistakes, but he is also adamant about the fact that he was trying to do what was right.

Well, after all that heavy stuff, I needed something just for fun, so I read the last two mysteries in the Charles Lenox series. He is a gentleman detective in Victorian England. I read most of the other books a couple of years ago, but wasn't even aware that two more had come out since then! They are highly forgettable but very entertaining. I feel like the characters have lost a little bit of their real-ness as the series has progressed, but they are still fun stories.

This last book I found on the Reading List shelves. It is about the Navajo Code Talkers. It wasn't necessarily very well written, but it was kind of a good, quick intro to what the Navajo did for us in WWII. It's a new perspective to hear about the motivations of minority groups who fought for the US, and it confirms my belief that preserving language and culture does matter. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Brynn Goes to a Pumpkin Patch

We've had an eventful last few days around here. Saturday was our 6 year anniversary, and yesterday was my birthday! We did lots of fun things together to celebrate, and Greg got me tickets to see the ballet. I LOVE THE BALLET. He's a keeper, that one.

But one of my favorite things we did this weekend was take Brynn to the pumpkin patch. I mean, look how adorable she is with that little baby pumpkin.

Goose neck gourds! I love these things. They're so cool. And they really look like geese. 

They had a lot of varieties of little squash, too. These winged ones were pretty cool. I had never seen any like them before. 

And these weird little acorn pumpkins were new for me, too. So I had to show one to Brynn. 

Big ol' pumpkin. 

Brynn is really not scared of much. She is scared of my friend's big black dog Juniper, and that's pretty much it. She'll just take off and go exploring, happy as can be. 

Look at that lovely church in the background. This is one of the reasons I love living in the South.

So I take it back, Brynn is scared of more than just the dog. This scarecrow made her somewhat nervous. 

Family selfie...first time at the pumpkin patch. A wonderful way to spend our anniversary!