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! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thoughts on Hurricane Matthew

This morning Brynn and I walked to the playground before her morning nap. But the playground is now home to a tired tree that broke during Hurricane Matthew and hasn't been cleared yet. We still got in some good playtime, though.

The complex pool didn't look very good, either. The water was literally black. 

Besides Snowmageddon in Philadelphia last year--which cancelled church but didn't turn out to be too terrible--Hurricane Matthew is the first natural disaster that Greg or I have been in. On Wednesday we started hearing reports that the storm would be pretty big, although no one was sure if it would make landfall in Jacksonville or whether it would be a Category 3 or 4 when it got to us. All activities at the church were cancelled that night, and Greg was told not to come to work Thursday or Friday. Thursday we mostly sat inside while it rained, tracking the storm in the Caribbean. 

The brunt of the hurricane hit Jacksonville through Friday afternoon. The wind was loud, and the storm came in bands. It would be incredibly windy and then it would die down, only to pick back up. Greg mentioned that he had seen winds like that in Idaho during blizzards, but nothing as sustained as this storm was. We lost power for about 24 hours, which was inconvenient, but not really a big problem. We know people who only got power back last night, and we didn't have to evacuate like our friends out at the beach or in St. Johns County. 

Although damage was not very bad where we lived, there was definitely damage in Jacksonville. A huge tree fell on a building in my friends' complex just down the road. There are still intersections without power, and there are trees and fences down everywhere. Little ditches are now full-fledged retention ponds. The beach eroded, and the A1A literally washed out to sea. 

We have fond memories of driving down this road in the sunshine to St. Augustine. It's sad that we can't do that anymore. 

But the biggest takeaway I got from Hurricane Matthew is how blessed we can be when we are obedient and prepare. In my first ward council meeting in June, my bishop discussed how he wanted our ward to work on preparedness, both temporal and spiritual. The temporal thing seemed kind of weird to me because the church hasn't pushed that as heavily as they did before the 2008 crash. But our ward listened. We've had all kinds of activities and all sorts of things since then. For the first time in our lives, Greg and I got together actually functioning 72 hour kits for everyone in our family. We started trying to make our food storage and other supplies more complete. 

So when the hurricane came, we didn't worry. It didn't matter if we had to evacuate. We felt safe. I am so grateful for discerning leaders of my church who give us counsel that is pertinent to us and our situations. And I'm grateful that we were able to see real blessings because of our obedience. 

On Sunday, we had a short sacrament meeting, and then we headed out to do cleanup with the supplies that the LDS church shipped into town. You guys, I have a Mormon Helping Hands shirt and everything. It was so awesome to see everyone pull together to help others. Tonight Greg is headed down to St. Augustine with the scouts to see what else they can do. 

Haiti is in my heart right now, because of the people they lost and the damage they sustained. Being in a storm that killed so many people has made me much more empathetic, and I'm looking for opportunities to see what we can do. 

So even though the storm could have been a lot worse, it changed my perspective on a lot of things, and isn't that what storms are supposed to do?