Thursday, September 30, 2010

Treasure

She is a joy!

Here she is playing and dancing in the trees outside of dad's work.



At the doctor's office. Flu shot. :(


Playing in the crib with her friends.



Going for a "walk" and trying to sit on the footrest on the stroller.


In my attempts to unpack and organize, yesterday I went through my memories box. So many fun things in there: journals from elementary school, art projects, diplomas, etc. I also found cards, notes, and letters from old friends and current friends. So fun. I hardly threw anything out. I try not to hoard, but i just can't let go. It brought such a smile to my face to look at these things to think of all the nice things that people have done for me in the past.


My favorite finds were things that I made while I was dating Ben. He and I dated over the phone for several months while I was teaching in Houston and he was working in Logan. We had to get to know each other from a distance after only knowing each other for one week. My little sister set us up while I was home on Christmas vacation. After knowing each other a week we had committed to dating seriously. However, that meant that we had to date over the phone. We could not watch movies together, hold hands, etc.; we had to talk. He suggested that we each write five questions before our next phone call and that that would give us something to talk about. I started writing and ended up with 88 questions. We spent weeks going through them all. I just found the original questions with his answers written down my paper. Fun memories. Benjamin and I read through them last night and it was funny to see how he hasn't changed at all. His opinions about pets, marriage, friends, family, religion, peanut butter, etc. are still the same. The only thing that really changed is his favorite ice cream flavor. He now likes cake batter ice cream, which didn't exist back then. To those of you not yet married, I recommend that you do a similar activity before you ever marry someone, because five years later they will likely not be too much different than when you dated them and they probably won't have changed their opinions about pets, etc. No pets for us. :(


I also found a pro/con list that I had made. The con list was pretty nonexistent, but the pro list was long. I wonder why it still was so hard for me to commit to marriage. I am glad that I did though.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So That I Do Not Forget

Today we went to a wildlife refuge a few miles from our current home. We forgot the camera, so sorry, no pictures. We talked her into going by saying that we were going to the park. Abigail fell asleep on the drive (probably because she didn't take a nap today) and was a little disoriented by the time we got there. We were walking through the beautiful woods and Abigail looked up at us, brought her arms up to her sides and shrugged her shoulders and asked: "Donde esta el parque?" or Where is the park? So cute. She said the entire sentence. She didn't think that the wildlife refuge counted as a park because it didn't have swings or a slide.

Tonight after we had put her in the crib, her daddy was stroking her head and she whispered to him: "bye bye daddy, te quiero mucho" (I love you a lot). This was totally unprompted and melted his heart. He came into the office and told me that she could have whatever she wanted; she wants a pony, she gets it. She's got him wrapped around her little finger.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rest Stop Fun

After our house sold (kind of- it's a rent-to-own deal), I picked up A. from my amazing friend Kellie's house and I headed out. I shed several tears as I drove way from Iowa. We had really enjoyed our time there and the amazing people that we met. I miss you!
The drive went well and I stopped at a rest stop after an hour or so to eat the yummy meal that Janell had made for us. This time I made sure to keep my keys close by so as not to repeat this experience.
This one had a park but it was fenced off and condemned. No worries, Abigail chose to look at the bright side of life and kept herself entertained with the stumps for over an hour. She loved them. She danced on them and then proceeded to make them into drums. She and I drummed away for a long time. She was so happy. It was precious time that I got to spend with her and I really enjoyed it.




Overwhelmed, Humbled, Embarrassed, Needy, Helpless, Weepy, and Tired

That’s how I felt during the six weeks that I spent alone in Iowa. In retrospect, now that I am living my happily ever after with Ben in our new house with a healthy baby, it doesn’t seem like it should’ve been that hard. But it was for me. In those six weeks I learned that I was not strong enough. I could not handle packing the house by myself, taking care of the baby, trying to make important decisions about whether to sell the house as a rent-to-own, and taking all the cooking, shopping and cleaning upon myself. I came to appreciate Benjamin so much more. He is amazing and does so much for me. It wasn’t just his help that I missed; there is something about having his presence in the home that just makes everything better. Even Abby noticed. She was so much happier once we were all back together. She really was a different baby.

I felt OVERWHELMED by everything that had to be done and by the loneliness. I wanted to call people and ask for company or help, but I didn’t for this reason or that. Sometimes I was just too embarrassed or I was worried that people were probably busy. Other times I was selfish and thought that people should call me and see how I was doing and that they should automatically know that I was struggling. Other times I didn’t want to be mooch and figured that I should just cowboy up and deal with it. I let myself struggle alone for several weeks. At that point I broke down and on the spur of the moment I jumped in the car and drove straight through to KY to visit Ben. That was a fun trip. However, I soon had to return to the daily grind of Iowa and the uncertainty of when I would be able to see Ben again.

I felt EMBARRASSED that I was not strong enough to handle it without breaking into tears almost daily. I know so many people whose husbands serve in the military or who have jobs where they travel. They are separated from their spouses for much longer periods of time. How do they handle it? I am so amazed by their strength. I am embarrassed that I couldn’t handle it. I did okay most days and most minutes, but I lost it quite often. It was such a trial.

I felt HUMBLED when we had a fabulous Relief Society lesson in church about Emma Smith and her trials. Her husband was often away for months at a time and she did not know if he would return alive. She raised the children, cared for the sick, and strengthened everyone around her. She was a great example. I felt humbled that I wasn’t of more service to those around me during this period of struggle. Although I did take the opportunity to help a few people around me, I was mostly focused on me and my inability to take care of everything that needed to be done without breaking down.

Sometimes I felt HELPLESS. My emotions were like a roller coaster. One minute I would be on top of the world, proud of myself for all that I was able to do and the next I would feel extreme frustration with how things were turning out and with how difficult things seemed to be. I couldn’t seem to control myself enough to keep my emotions at bay all the time.

I was extremely WEEPY. It was always the worst when someone asked how I was doing. I was fine until they asked and then those sneaky little tears would work their way out into the open. So if I ever look weepy, please DO NOT ASK me how I’m doing. That just makes me cry because I feel embarrassed that I am crying, which then makes me cry more.

I felt HUMBLED by the outpouring of love that I received during this time. Seriously, I was OVERWHLEMED by the generosity of my friends and family. First, I am grateful for my husband because he prayed for me and Skyped with me every night. He was a great strength to me, I felt bad that he had to worry about me.

I also felt so blessed for the close relationship that I have with my Father in Heaven. I could always pray to Him and ask for strength and guidance. He always answered me and gave me the strength necessary to endure.

My testimony of prayer was strengthened. I prayed for my husband with the difficulties he was experiencing and I prayed for Abby and me. I asked Him to help us and I selfishly asked for Him to send people to help me. He did, and amazingly so. He sent people to help Benjamin and he sent people to help me. The day after I returned from my short trip to KY, I had five different people call me within an hour and offer to help. FIVE. I was so impressed. The rest of that week I continued to receive phone calls and emails and I even had some people at church say that they had been thinking about me. I got invited to dinner at several different homes. I had people come to my house and watch Abigail or take her to theirs. I had people bring me lunches, people come to visit, and people that just called to chat.

I was so GRATEFUL. Grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who heard my prayers and grateful to good people who were worthy enough to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit and who were good enough to listen to them and act. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to everyone who thought of me and who prayed for me. Your prayers were answered. Thank you to those of you who made me yummy food and who offered to. Thanks for the babysitting! Thanks for coming to visit me! Thanks for chatting with me during my lonely evenings. Thanks for even just remembering that I existed. One couple had me over for dinner several times, offered to watch Abby, and met us at the park to play several times. We will miss all the good friends that we made in Iowa. Here I go getting all weepy again.

Thanks to my amazing visiting teacher who always went above and beyond what she needed to do. Not only did she visit me monthly, during this past year she has: helped me pack (and she hates packing), helped me move boxes, watched Abigail at least fifteen different times, scrubbed the insides and outsides of my kitchen cupboards, helped me move boxes again, and taken Abigail to the park. Abby started asking for her every time the doorbell rang; she wanted to go to the park with Lara.

A special thanks to Kellie. I can’t even begin to explain how much of a lifesaver she was to me. Thank you so much! She wins the prize for being the most willing. Their family always seems willing to help us out. I don’t know that we’ve ever really reciprocated, but they still seem to offer to help. Thank you! She watched Abby for me several times while I was packing up the house and then she watched A. from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. on the day of closing. She did this with a smile and even asked if she could do anything else to help. The day before that I ended up on her doorstep at 7 a.m. bawling my eyes out because Abigail was sick (of course she gets sick the day before closing and moving, erg) and I wanted a Priesthood Blessing for her. I was also stressed because Abigail hadn’t slept all night and she was supposed to go to babysitters that morning so that I could work on the house. I didn’t dare take her to my friend’s house because I didn’t want her to get them sick. Instead I risked getting Kellie’s family sick and she willingly let me in. Thank you Kellie! Not only did they let me in on Labor Day at 7 am, they fed me a warm pancake breakfast and gave both us girls priesthood blessings. Then Kellie hopped in her car with her baby and followed me home. She proceeded to help clean and pack my garage and kitchen while I mowed the lawn. Amazing, I know. Then she had to watch Abigail ALL DAY the next day. Even though Abby was sick with a runny nose and cough, she still agreed to risk her kids getting sick. Then she surprised us with a fun present full of fun things to enjoy on the ride. All I gave her was some leftover things from the house that I didn’t want to move and some frozen dinners and pizzas out of my freezer.

I feel stronger because of this experience. I learned to rely on the Lord, on my family, and on others. I learned to pray more fervently and to take responsibility for my feelings and actions. I learned that I could take care of the house and everything else if I allowed others to help me. I was proud of how clean I left that house, of how I managed to pack up most of it by myself, and how I didn’t lose anything in the move. I never could have done it without all of the AMAZING help that I received. For that I am grateful.

Everything seems so perfect now: we’re in a nice house, Ben is by my side, we have a healthy baby, and I do not having to worry about keeping the house clean while it was for sale (I did that for seven long months, so this one might not be clean for seven more). I feel so content and so blessed. It’s almost as if the Iowa experience never happened. But it did and maybe that is why I am enjoying my current life so much. It is fabulous by comparison. It’s not easy and we are busy, stressed, and tired. However, we are together and we know that we can make it.

Thank you to everyone! I really appreciate all of your help.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A is for Abigail

Although we miss our friends and places to visit in Iowa, we have found lots of fun things to do here in KY. Our public library was recently renovated and is beautiful. The children's room is large, creative, full of books and toys, and age appropriate. We even enjoyed story time. They have a large scale model of the word READ and Abigail fits perfectly under the A.

We have spent a lot of time walking since we live close to most things. We walk to the library, the store, the doctors office, daddy's office, etc. The only bad thing about is that the mosquitoes seem to get us at least once every time. Abby has started complaining about the mosquitoes and tells us to put them in the garbage (basura). Sometimes I let her walk at her own pace. This turns a two block walk into a forty minute adventure. She stops at every sewer/water cover and jumps and dances on it. She smells the flowers, picks up rocks of the sidewalk, and climbs as many stairs as she can find. She also points out the things that she sees as we walk.



I knew this day was coming, although I hoped it never would. Abigail can now climb onto the kitchen table. I know that she is a late bloomer in this regard. Some babies are up on the table by nine months and my 21 month old is just figuring it out. She loves my candle centerpiece and will play with it as long as I will allow her.


She can also be seen 'cleaning' every once and a while.


She really copies what Ben and I do and has started playing bye bye. She will but her bag on her shoulder, come give me a kiss and a hug and then say "bye bye mommy." Then she walks out of the room. She does this five to ten times a day. You can tell that she watches daddy as he is leaving every day.
Here she saw that I was wearing an apron and grabbed me by the hand and led me to the closet where she proceeded to say "abejas" (bees) and point to the aprons. She wanted to wear an apron just like mommy. Luckily her aunt Jenny had made one just for her. She loves it.


The other day she was put in time out (30 sec. each time) for not cleaning up. Eventualy I put her in her crib because she refused to put anything away. I asked her why she was in time out and she said "clean up." She knew what she was supposed to do but she DID NOT want to do it. While mommy was patiently trying to explain why A. was in the crib, she said "mommy time out." Apparently she already thinks that I need to chill out and take a time out. Now that I think about it, I would love to be sent to my room for the entire day. Anyone want to watch little A. so that I can serve my time out? She's really good, except when you ask her to clean up and she doesn't want to.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Geography lessons...

I promise she does know where Iowa is. She usually points right to it...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unpacking

While mom has been busy dealing with this...



A. has been doing this:


P.S. This only works for about twenty minutes before she loses interest in the DVD player.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Think Inside the Box

I made Abigail a house out of boxes. I originally got the idea from my friend Kellie who made an awesome house for her little girl, and I was reminded of it today when I read this post from Mallory who found some amazingly creative ways to use cardboard boxes.

So I took some of the MANY empty moving boxes lying around and put together this beauty.


Sure it's upside down, lopsided, and stuck together with masking and duct tape, but it's a house and Abby likes it. It even has a sun roof.

She dragged Benjamin into it and turned it into a prison. She wouldn't let him out for about twenty minutes. I pushed some toy food in through the mail slot so that he wouldn't get hungry. She sure loves her daddy. She never lets him out of her sight, I think she's worried that he'll disappear again.

My next plan is to add some embellishments (i.e. bird's nest, curtains, the sky is the limit) and to let Abigail paint and decorate. Home sweet home.

New home


We are currently renting this beautiful home and we LOVE it. More pictures to come when it no longer can be classified as a disaster area.
I love the hardwood floors, the multiple windows that let in lots of light and that there are FOUR bedrooms on the top floor. That almost compensates for the house's main downside: that the laundry room is in the basement. I was so hoping to get a house that was only one floor. Maybe I am meant to live with three floors and without a laundry chute. I suppose it's good for me. I've definitely been getting a workout as I unpack and move stuff from floor to floor.

Emma

On one of our trips to back from Kentucky, Abigail and I stopped in Indianapolis to visit my best friend from college. I hadn't seen her since she came out for my wedding five years ago. It was so good to see her. I am so glad that we will be close (within three hours) to each other. She has a beautiful, smart, funny, and pleasant little girl. I enjoyed getting to meet her and seeing her and Abigail interact. We went for a walk, played at the park, ate lunch, went swimming, and got cookies from the apartment offices. It was so much fun. If I hadn't been in a hurry to get back to Iowa, I would've loved to stay longer.

Last week when I made the drive again to Kentucky, I again stopped to visit. This reminded me that I had never managed to blog about the first visit. So here are some pictures. Isn't Emma beautiful?

The girls were very interested in each other's shoes.



I think that Abby wanted the lamb and therefore looks pouty.

I didn't take any pictures of the second visit because Abby had a cold. I spent the entire time cloroxing every toy after she touched it. I hope that nobody there got sick. We'll have to come visit again soon.

Busy

We signed the papers on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Then I hopped in the car and started driving. After a visit to some family and friends, we arrived safely, although tired and cranky, to our new home in Kentucky. Now we are unpacking and trying to settle in.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dear Daddy


I miss you! Te quiero mucho. I hope you're enjoying Kentucky and I'm excited to see you again soon. Mom's great and all, but I need my dad.

I've been a 'big' help to mommy while she's been packing. For example, I conveniently marked this box so that the movers will know 'exactly' where to put it.





Did you know that I love dinosaurs. Mommy checked out a book from the library and I read it all the time. I also sleep and play with my (the library's) stuffed dinosaur all day. Aunt Jenny sent me a package with fruit snacks and my own dinosaur coloring book. Thanks Jenny. Mommy was on the phone with a friend, but she still managed to get some video of me opening the package.




Daddy, I'm learning a lot of new things. I love to sing. In this video that mommy took I am singing the monkey song. I really like this one.



Take care of yourself daddy. I am excited to see you soon. Mommy said that you are never allowed to leave us ever ever ever EVER again.



Travel safe, I'm glad that you enjoyed your conference.


Love,


Abigail