Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shaker town

Yesterday we visited Shaker town which was the home of a group of shakers almost a hundred years ago. They have preserved and restored many of the buildings. We did not actually buy tickets to see into the buildings, but instead just enjoyed the walking trails, the animals, and the craft store. Abigail was in heaven with the goats (chivos) and didn't need anything else.She tried to feed them anything green that she could find.

Abigail found this cart near the entrance and went and climbed in. She couldn't be coaxed out. We hope that they were free to use, because we used it. It turned out to be extremely useful and Abigail enjoyed it. She even spent fifteen minutes entertaining herself while pushing it around.

This cat was peacefully sleeping in the store window. So funny. I had to laugh, and then I got out my camera.

We also fed bread to the geese and she only got bit once, although lots of geese kept hissing at us.

Although I make great efforts to do her hair at least twice a week, this one was a fail. She started pulling it out on the car ride over and ended up pulling out a handful of hair. Silly girl. Every time she gets bored in the backseat, she goes straight for the hair. You think that it would hurt to pull out fistfuls at a time, but it doesn't seem to phase her.

Anyway, I'd like to be able to say that we learned a lot about the Shakers and their religion. That my view of the world is slightly changed and that I was inspired to be a better person. . .but really we just enjoyed the beautiful day. Although we did learn that the church's practice of celibacy somewhat hindered its ability to grow and flourish with the last few members passing away early in the 1900s.

It was fun to spend time together in this serene setting where civilization seemed miles away and where time seemed to move slower. Life was calmer. We weren't in a rush to see anything or do anything, we just let the little one take the lead. We took time to enjoy watching her as she processed information, tried to interact with the animals, and to express her opinions about what she wanted to do. It was a great family outing. We didn't spend more than five dollars at the gift shop and we all enjoyed it. Maybe we could be cut out for country life.

Temporary Kentucky Home

We are staying in a small, one-bedroom apartment. We are staying here in an effort to save money while we continue to sell our home in Iowa. We loved our home in Iowa and we had so many wonderful memories there. It makes us so sad to think that nobody wants to buy it and that nobody thinks it is worth what we think it is worth. This whole house selling process has been eye opening for us and I think that we are both a little jaded and very discouraged. That being said, we have decided against renting it out and we are leaving it on the market. That's where the basement apartment comes in. We got a very good deal on this apartment and it is livable, if small. It doesn't smell horrible and is bigger than we expected. ;-) It also has access to a washer/dryer and free Internet access. The owners are very kind and have already shared their toys (dolls, strollers, etc.) and their garden fresh tomatoes with us.

Ben took some quick pictures of the place. Obviously we didn't clean up. Please overlook the clutter. :)
Here is the front of our place. It has a nice patio area. The windows let in some light, although the deck keeps out most of the sun.

Abigail loves to play out back. She stands at the door and begs to go 'fuewa' (afuera/outside). She jumps in the puddles, plays with the soccer balls, climbs up the staircase, plays with the stroller in the driveway, runs over to the neighbors to play on their toys, etc.

This is the kitchen. There is also a working refrigerator opposite of the stove. Ben was easily able to fit everything that he had brought and he has lots of space left over. I still don't know where he put everything and I find myself opening every drawer to find what I want.

This is the bedroom. Notice how the pack'n'play is conveniently tucked into the corner. It is interesting sharing a room with Abigail, especially since you have to pass through that room to access the bathroom.
I feel obligated to share with my blog audience that the clothes all over the floor are CLEAN. I washed them and folded them myself. Ben just hasn't put his away yet. He chose to take the pictures with the messy floor, so he must take the blame for the mess. The air mattress is our bed. It will have to do until I decide to move us and our stuff to KY to join him.

This is the bathroom. Abs likes the horse decor. It's nice that the apartment has a full bath.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish...

Today I bid a fond farewell to the state of Iowa. Ironically enough, we are leaving one day after the 4th anniversary of the day that we arrived here. I have LOVED living in eastern Iowa for these last four years. This is a wonderful place to live and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a nice place to live and raise a family.

I've enjoyed all the fun trips we've been able to take and the fun things we've seen here in the Midwest. We've been all over eastern Iowa. We've been to Minneapolis, Chicago, Des Moines, and St. Louis. We visited the Lincoln historical sights in Springfield, IL. We visited the Truman museum and church historical sites in Independence, MO. We've gone camping and hiked trails and gone for a four-day drive along the Great River Road by the Mississippi River.

I love the beautiful green landscape with the rolling hills, fields of corn, silos, and smokestacks.

I've appreciated the priority that Iowa gives to public education - both K-12 as well as their university system - and the resources that are committed to help it be successful.

I had a blast in the summer and fall of 2007 during the Iowa caucus campaign season. It was fun to have been here to help elect President Obama (his biggest base of support in his Iowa Caucus win was Johnson County).

Even though I haven't much enjoyed the humidity, it's been nice not to have to water the lawn a single time since we moved here. And I get more than enough oxygen when I go running outside.

I enjoy the sense of community among the people here in Iowa City. The city government here provides numerous services and resources to help families and children: the amazing library, the public walking trails, and the plethora of public parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools.

I've also appreciated how responsive the city government here is and the priority they place on citizen services like recycling, culture, and art. I also have never seen a more impressive County Auditor's website. ;-)

I've enjoyed living in a place where most of the people I vote for actually get elected!

It's been nice to live so close to several church historical sites. I've learned a lot about early church history through the many visits to Nauvoo and Carthage. It was a good experience to be able to work as an ordinance worker for a year in the Nauvoo temple.

It was here at the state genealogical library in Des Moines that I was able to find the information of my great-great-great-grandparents and their family - we've been looking for them for more than 18 years!

It's nice to live in a place with so many well-educated neighbors. It's fun to meet other parents playing with their kids at the park who can talk intelligently about interesting subjects.

This is where Katie and I had our first baby, earned our graduate degrees, explored the Midwest, and served in the Church in lots of new ways. We'll certainly miss all of our friends we've made here as well.

I feel like I fit in right at home here in Iowa City. I'm excited for my new job and our new home in central Kentucky... but I'll certainly miss the time we've been able to spend here in Iowa. But life goes on! Wish us luck.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Potty Mouth

I've started introducing Abigail to the bathroom, in the hopes that when I choose to potty train, she will train easy. Experienced mothers are probably laughing at my naïveté, starting to 'train' at 19 months and expecting it to be easy. I'm sure every mother starts thinking about training as early as possbile. Diapers are beyond expensive and changing them is an acrobatic feat once your child learns to roll or crawl or walk away.

Anyways, she's started learning the terms (luckily they are in Spanish, so most people won't understand her when she says the v-word). We've spent time practicing sitting on the potty and every once in a while she has relieved herself while there. Of course I praise her enthusiastically ("Good girl, Abby!!!") and I reward her with M&M's for either sitting on the potty or using it. She usually sits on it about once a day. Sometime's she gets excited about sitting there and congratulates herself by saying "I did it!"

This morning while she was eating her breakfast, I came out of the restroom after using it and Abby loudly congratulated me:

"Good girl, mommy!!!!!"

Ben and I had a good laugh.

Then while she was eating lunch Benjamin ended up using the restroom as well. After he exited, she loudly praised him while clapping and said:

"Good girl, daddy!!!!!!"

At least we know she's listening and paying attention.

Now we just have to wait until she's says something really embarrassing while we're out in public.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Abby was featured on my friend's blog, you should go check it out here. She looks so cute. I am amazed that she and Dora were able to get Abigail to sit still long enough. That never works for me.

Thanks to my friends for watching Abigail yesterday so that Ben and I could go to the Nauvoo temple and to the Nauvoo pageant. The music was beautiful.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thanks Jenny

If you want to READ about our trip to Utah, please scroll through all the pictures and read the wonderful summary posted by my amazing husband yesterday. If however, you want dessert first, then feel free to look at the pictures before reading about our intersting, fun, gross, harrowing, wonderful, and nice trip to visit family out West.

Most of the pictures in the next few posts were taking by Jenny. I enjoyed my trip so much that I almost never pulled out my camera.

Here she is with her grandpa. She loves him and took to him so easily.

Christian became an immediate favorite. He walked in the door and Abigail ran up to him (bypassing Jenny, sorry Jenny) and gave him a hug. This was completely unprompted and we were all surprised since she hadn't seen him since January. Abigail is a girl at heart and tends to favor the boys.
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Utah Trip

Here is my sister Kimberly with her boys at the park. We decided that it was a nice warm day and that it would be fun to go to the park. By the time we got there storm clouds had gathered and we had to duck for cover to protect ourselves from the rain and the lightning. The kids had fun at the park though.

Isn't she beautiful. She's a good big sister and I love her. It was so fun to get to spend so much time with her this trip. Dear Kimberly, I sincerely apologize that you and your family got the stomach flu from us. Please forgive me.

Grandma was so good to all of us while were there (read Ben's post below). Abigail loved her, her house, her toys, her TV, and, of course, her computer. By the end of the trip Abigail started demanding that she "watch Elmo, okay" every time she saw Grandma.
Here she is with the goats near Grandma's house. She would feed them long pieces of grass.

Pics From Our Trip to Utah

Aunt Jenny was vigilant as our camerawoman and caught some great pictures of our little diva.
Her favorite thing to do was to visit the goats "chivos" with Aunt Jenny. After returning from her first visit, she decided that she wanted to go again. She proceeded to position herself behind Jenny and then continued by pushing Jenny towards the door while saying "chivos" in her innocent little voice. Needless to say, she was taken on many "chivo" outings.

Denali loved to play at the park with my nephews.

Despite her allergies, Abigail could not be made to leave the animals alone. She followed Brittany around while petting her softly, talking to her, and wrapping her in her blankie.
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More Pictures

She's a little poser.

More Aunt Karolyn, so pretty.

Both of us in a shot at the same time. Wow. Thanks dad.

Let the boggle battles begin!
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Trip to UT

Family Photo

We love Aunt Karolyn

Nana and Poppa
Can't forget the rubber chicken.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Update for July

Sorry, it's been a little while since we've given an update. It's been a busy summer! So here's a quick recap, and Katie may eventually post some pictures in the near future.

My little sister Denali stayed with us until the end of June when we drove to Utah and visited family for a week and a half. The drive to Utah was notable in that it was the first time we'd made the 1200+ mile trek with Abigail in the car. She was a trooper, despite having somewhat of a fever.

We stayed the night in Denver with Taylor and Stephanie Dix and saw their new place. Stephanie made us meatball sub sandwiches which were amazing. Taylor and I debated the pros and cons of the estate tax. We had a good visit.

Then we made it the rest of the way to Utah. We spent a full day with Katie's immediate family up American Fork canyon. It was a lot of fun to see everyone - and it was the first time we'd seen Kim and Rob's new baby Carter.

We then went up to Logan and spent the next several days up there. We stayed with my parents and my mom did a very good job taking care of us while we were there. We split our time visiting siblings and other family members, as well as some old friends from Cache Valley.

This "vacation" will be remembered as the trip where Abigail threw up every night we were there - often several times. That fever that I noted earlier morphed into a stomach flu of some kind. She was also kind enough to share her illness with just about everyone else we came into contact with... my mother, Katie, myself, Denali, my sister and brother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her four kids, my mother-in-law, and one of my cousins (have I left anyone out???). Apparently we were highly contagious! Thus, several of our plans were put on hold and we all took turns being confined to bed for several days at a time with all sorts of maladies...

Anyways, we all eventually got feeling better and we drove back to Iowa last week. Katie was amazing and was able to drive all the way through the night (midnight to 6:00 a.m.) through Nebraska. We were originally going to stay the night in Sidney, NE, but Katie opted to take advantage of the time while Abby was asleep. She doesn't much care for her car seat after so many hours.

We appreciate all the work that everyone did to take care of us while we were in Utah. We had a good trip and it was nice to see everyone.

Since then we've been working on making preparations for our upcoming move which will occur at some indefinite point in the future. I've been working on my fall classes at Centre College and I'll be moving down there around the end of July to start work.

Fortunately, everyone's been doing a lot better, health-wise. Abigail benefited from visiting so many people - she came back talking up a storm and picks up new words in English and Spanish all the time. She's started to make simple sentences and phrases: "Abigail's book", "funny Daddy", "se cayó libro", stuff like that. She's brilliant and her daddy is extremely proud of her.

We're enjoying our last few weeks here in Iowa City. We went to the Friday night concert series downtown last night and we had a good time. Abby liked listening to the music and playing in the park and at the library.

So that's the update for now! Again, sorry for no pictures. I'm off to another project...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!!

Here's my 4th of July trivia quiz that we gave to people who came to our 4th of July party last year in Iowa City. (If memory serves, one of the Welches was the big winner. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.) Since we're in Utah visiting family, I'm reproducing it here in case you're interested in putting your patriotic wits to the test. Post the number you got right on the comments section (no partial credit, closed-book examination). Enjoy!

Instructions: Answer each question to the best of your ability. Circle the BEST answer. This is a closed-book examination (i.e. no cross-referencing to Google or Wikipedia!). Working with a partner is permitted. Partial credit will not be awarded.

1. What major event is commemorated by the 4th of July holiday?
a. The day the Revolutionary War began
b. The day the Revolutionary War ended
c. The day the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence
d. The day that George Washington was inaugurated as the country’s first president

2. Who was the original author of the Declaration of Independence?
a. Benjamin Franklin
b. John Adams
c. Roger Sherman
d. Thomas Jefferson

3. When was the signing of the Declaration of Independence completed?
a. May 15, 1776
b. July 2, 1776
c. July 4, 1776
d. August 2, 1776

4. Which dollar bill depicts the signing of the Declaration of Independence (as shown above)?
a. The $2 bill
b. The $10 bill
c. The $20 bill
d. The $50 bill

5. The text of the Declaration of Independence begins with which word?
a. “We”
b. “The”
c. “Four”
d. “When”

6. Which American president celebrated his birthday on the 4th of July?
a. John Adams
b. James Monroe
c. Calvin Coolidge
d. Lyndon Johnson

7. Which two American presidents died on July 4, 1826?

8. Who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence?

9. Who is the only individual to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution?

10. Which two signers of the Declaration of Independence later served as U.S. presidents?

11. What is written on the back of the Declaration of Independence?
a. Nothing
b. The signatures of the delegates
c. “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th of July 1776”
d. A map to the Knights Templar treasure, as discovered by Benjamin Gates in 2004

12. In what city was the Declaration of Independence written?
a. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
b. New York, New York
c. Richmond, Virginia
d. London, England

13. Who originally wrote that one of the primary functions of a government is to secure life, liberty, and other important rights?
a. John Adams
b. Thomas Jefferson
c. John Locke
d. Alexander Hamilton

14. Who originally wrote that a people are justified in throwing off their government and forming a new one not for “every little mismanagement of public affairs,” but only if the current government is guilty of perpetuating a “long train of abuses”?
a. John Adams
b. Thomas Jefferson
c. John Locke
d. Baron de Montesquieu

15. How many specific charges does the Declaration lay against King George III? (These charges include “imposing taxes on us without our consent” and “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury”.)
a. 6
b. 11
c. 22
d. 27

BONUS – Fill in the blanks (1/4 point each blank): We hold these truths to be self-evident, that _______________ are _______________________, that they are endowed by their ________________ with certain _________________________, that among these are _________, ___________ and the __________________________. That to secure these ___________, ________________ are instituted among men, deriving their just _______________ from the ____________________ of the ___________________________.

ANSWERS: 1) C; 2) D; 3) D; 4) A; 5) D; 6) C... and interestingly enough, so does Malia Obama; 7) Thomas Jefferson and John Adams; 8) John Hancock - he was president of the Continental Congress; 9) Benjamin Franklin - he was the oldest signer both times as well (ages 70 and 88, respectively) ; 10) Thomas Jefferson and John Adams; 11) C... and maybe D; 12) A; 13) C - and not the one from Lost...; 14) C again - see the Second Treatise on Government, a fascinating read; 15) D; 16) We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.