Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trader Joe's and the park

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages.
The big thing is we made it to Utah!

Madeleine was a dream on the plane. She sat on my lap the whole time and didn't cry. I was amazed that she did so well. This is her running around the airport while I hunted down our luggage. For some reason, it ended up in Chicago.

Of course the first thing we did was hit up Trader Joe's for some food.
Tiny had a blast pushing around her little cart with Sophie in it. While our store in Princeton is awesome, it doesn't have tiny carts for tiny people.

She's so much bigger than the first time we went this store.
Then she was the one in the cart.

Then today we played in the sun.
It's one of the main reasons we came out. New Jersey and Utah weather are actually very similar right now, but New Jersey has more snow to melt through before we can go out and play.

 Up and down and slide she went.

What a happy baby. We really missed the sun.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Family Date

Princeton's Graduate School people? (honestly I don't know really what their position is) put together events every week for graduate students and their families. We try to go to one a month, because they are always an adventure (We actually went to two just this week.) and we like socializing with other grad students. They study the most interesting things.

This month we went to an event put together for grad students that have kids. We went to My Gym and played for a few hours. Matt was so excited. He usually doesn't take time off in the middle of the day, but there was a picture of a baby in a ball pit on the advertisement. He insisted that he'd come so that I could "just take pictures"...which is basically what happened. 

When we got there Matt grabbed Madeleine and threw her into the ball pit.

At first she didn't do much. She just sat there chilling out, but as more kids started showing up, the more excited she became about the balls. When the bigger kids started accidently knocking the balls out, Madeleine took it upon herself to pick them all up and put them back in.

But then she discovered the bigger balls...and the smaller balls were quickly forgotten.

Other than just letting the kids run around and climb on stuff, the workers put together small activities for the kids. The funniest by far was the puppet show they put on at the beginning. It was about 3 little ducklings that get kidnapped by an alligator. Madeleine was in tears. Matt and I were shocked that she was so emotionally tied to this story, and we couldn't help laughing as we tried to comfort her. After all three ducklings were kidnapped, the mother duck asked for her babies back. The alligator gave her the three ducklings back...along with a lot of other puppets. When the last baby duck was saved, Madeleine stood up and starting clapping and went up to pet them. :)

They also made a fort, bubble time, and made a zipline.

Madeleine thought the zipline was awesome.

After that to end our family date, we got ice cream and Matt went back up to work.
I love this activity. Honestly, I'm kind of regretting not getting a pass during the winter. It's pretty hard to keep Madeleine happy in our house when it's so cold outside. I'm so excited to go to Utah next week and take her to the park. We are getting a bit impatient for spring around here. :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Trendy Tot

Today we explored campus a bit before going to a Chinese New Year's celebration in our complex.
Madeleine kept running off to the laundry room for some reason.

We found this awesome little Peru purse in the goodwill pile today.
I picked it up and shortened the strap so Tiny could carry it around.
I love the fact there is a llama on it.

She held my keys in it most of the day.
She would just randomly start shaking it to hear them jingle.

And this photo basically says it all.
So much sass, so "grown up." She glared at our visitors at our house today, only to run after people on campus saying "HI! HI! HI!" until they turned around and said "hi" back to her. Crazy baby.

PS. If you have a really cute outfit of your kid that you want to show off, let me know. I'd love to have other baby fashion up. I don't really think there is enough baby fashion in the world.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ostrich Days

Yesterday was a grumpy no good day in our home.
Matt only came home for dinner before going back up the lab until 1.
I was stuck with a frustrated, teething baby who found that she could hit.
She broke things. She ripped things. She screamed and threw several tantrums. I was exhausted by the noon.When Matt came home, he kept reassuring me that we don't need to have another one if this one is going to kill me. When he went back to work, I sat reading through different parenting tactics for a one year old. They didn't make me feel better. All of them were pretty discouraging. So I ate cookies and watched some really awesome movies instead.

This morning I woke up and it was raining outside. I mentally geared up for another awful day, but to my surprise, it went so much better. Madeleine was a cute sweet baby today. She even helped me organize the closets (she rocks at pulling stuff out) that were on my to-do list. She put herself down for her morning nap and despite skipping her 2nd nap, stayed happy all the way until dinner time. She even figured out how to stand on the kitchen stool and slurp noodles at dinner.

I'm finding that this mothering thing is weird. Some days are really awesome, and others makes me want to be an ostrich and stick my head in the ground. I starting to find that there is a balance in mothering. For every ostrich day, there is a moment that makes me glad that I chose to stay home and see it.

Here is one of today's moments that made up for yesterday.

She was playing with Baby Sophie in her room and was laughing like crazy. I grabbed my camera off the fridge to see what was going on. Madeleine would run and then fall on her bed laughing, with poor Baby Sophie flying through the air as Madeleine's grip would loosen. When I got in there she sat against the wall and made a few faces before going back to her game.

This little game lasted long enough for me to fix dinner. Amazing? You bet ya.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


After the Tiny goes to bed,
I usually have some hours alone (sometimes up to 7) before Matt gets home.
I'm sure a more productive woman would use this time to clean, exercise, or at the very least put away dinner, but I use this time to watch movies while eating cookies.

I've already gone through all the Audrey Hepburn movies. My favorite was Funny Face. I love the opening fifteenish minutes of the movie. Also Two for the Road was sad when you think about their marriage, but it had me cracking up. There is this one part where they both got really bad sunburns and try to kiss. I was laughing so hard. I had Matt watch it the second he got home.

Currently, I'm making my way through Barbra Streisand movies.
Tonight's movie is On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

I've been making these while watching so I feel slightly productive.

Madeleine has been trying to eat our magnets, so I'm sewing the magnets in things.
I'm really hoping that solves the problem.

And these are my snacks.

I'm just about done with Barbra movies, so I'm looking for more movie recommendations that are free on Amazon Prime.

PS. My blind date was AMAZING. Loved every minute of it, for those who were asking.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Minimizing for Dreams

The other night I asked Matt what dreams he had for his life.
He said play piano more, but then pointed out that he didn't have time to play much because there are always other things that need to be done in our house.

And he's right.
Without having a washer and dryer or a dishwasher, clothes and dishes are always needing to be washed in our home. There is usually garbage that Madeleine has picked out of the trash can,
and toys thrown around the house.

I felt bad that Matt's dream wasn't looking that achievable to him. There is no reason that he can't play piano for an hour a day, especially now that we have one in the house. So last night, I went through a put away most of our dishes. I didn't get rid of them, just hid them in cupboards that we don't use. I know Madeleine will break some of our dishes at one point or another, so this way we have replacements on hand instead of buying more.

This is our dish cupboard now.
We have 4 bowls of each size, and 4 plates of each size.
We also have 4 mugs and 4 cups.
That's it!

I'm hoping that will cut down on how long dishes take.
It's a common minimalist knowledge that when you clear away clutter, you make room for your dreams.

We aren't close to being minimalist, but I really love that thought.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Blind Date

Valentine's Day was pretty low key in our home.

Our Valentine's Day cards.

Matt got loads of chocolate for me.
And Tiny and I took the bus over to the lab, so that we could walk around Princeton as a family.
We stopped at Starbuck's and House of Cupckaes for hot chocolate and cupcakes,
before hitting up our other favorite local spots like the toy store and the library.

I love our library.
I usually have a love/hate relationship with them, since they require that I hand back books by a certain date, but this library and I just hit it off.
I love it, and it's good to me.
For example, there is a playroom designed for toddlers and their exhausted parents.
Matt spent a good thirty minutes while I went and found a copy of Les Mis.
The copy on the third floor was missing, so I grabbed Matt and Gooby and we went down together.
In the adult fiction section, there were all these books wrapped in shiny paper and bows.
I was looking at them, when I librarian said, "Those are our blind date books. We wrapped up some of our favorite books. You just pick one and take it home with you."

I immediately had to have one.
It took me forever trying to choose. The beautiful wrapping paper was a big distraction. It's like going on a blind date with a hot guy...only to find out he's boring. I had to find one that I liked enough to bring home. So finally I decided on this one.

"A fascinating work of historical fiction based on the story of the last woman ever executed in Iceland."

I spent the rest of the night with my actual date,
(though to be fair Matt probably wouldn't be too surprised if I ditched him for a book for the night.)

This morning I took it out.
It took our curious toddler a few minutes to find it.
She had fun unwrapping it and chewing on the bow.

"Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. 

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?"

I'm excited. :)

I think if I had to choose a book for people to read it would be The Hocky Family for kids, Tricker's Choice for teens, and The History of Love for adults. I would love to wrap those books up and send them off on blind dates.

Any book that you would love to set up?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trendy Tot

Rise and Shout the Goober is out!!
(That's all I know from the BYU fight song.)

 Matt and I aren't big into sports.
It became pretty apparent when I couldn't quite decide if this was a cougar hat or not.
( it?)

My sweet visiting teacher gave it to me, and it's what Madeleine pulled out to wear today.
I figured why not, and paired it with her BYU onsie and ruffle sparkle pants.
I really really love those pants.

Hat: Gift/ Onsie: BYU? (gift)/ Pants: Old Navy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why we work as a couple

Usually I just do my own thing and don't do other blogger's challenges,
but this one has me really excited.
Bonnie from Life of Bon challenged her readers for Valentine's Day to write a blog post about why your relationship works.
I love talking about my husband and our relationship, so tada! A blog post.

We work because it's 12:23am and Matt has Madeleine cracking up in the kitchen doing who knows what. He understands that I can only keep sane watching her for 14 hours a day and is more than happy to make up the rest of the time. We know there are limits to what each of us can do. For Matt, that can be turning off an alarm clock or poking him awake, and for me, it's dealing with a crabby baby.

(He was explaining to her his chemistry project while doing dishes with her.)

I hate doing laundry. He's scared of letting other people do his laundry, so he does it all. Perfect match or what?

We work because despite the fact grad school is generally really hard on relationships, we both put our marriage as a top priority. I email him photos of Tiny and articles I find interesting, and he explains to me his Chemistry projects on our white board. He makes a point to include me and I, him. Some days it means putting Madeleine in the car just to drive around the block once while he eats lunch. Other days it means I wait up until 2:30am for him to get home, or him rushing home in time to put Madeleine in bed. It's the little things you know?

We work because we love books. One of our first dates was a trip to the Salt Lake City Library where we read to each other our favorite children's books before hunting for the books that his mother wrote. When we have the time, we read books together so that I have someone to discuss the interesting parts with. Even when we don't have time to read a whole book, we still read and share - usually discussing interesting blog or wikipedia posts. We are fabulous at just doing boring things together, because there is always something new we read that we have to share.


We work because we don't judge each other. We seriously tell each other everything, and it doesn't bother either of us. There is no resentment.

We work because we have a budget. It has reduced so much stress in our marriage and now it is rarely an issue. Matt was a bit too much on the thrifty side when we got married, and I was a bit too much on the spending side, but we have found a balance.  Matt not only knows that sometimes buying stuff is good, but he has becoming an awesome shopper (My birthday gift anyone?). He understands spending money on quality and knows that "if it's not half off, it's not on sale". He versed in all my favorite designers and can tell you all about any of the brands in our home. I, on the other hand, have learned to curve my spending a bit (I really wasn't a huge shopper before, though I do claim window shopping as one of my many talents.) Not only that, I've learned to waste less. I've learned to be more efficient with food and clothing, cutting down cost in a way that I desperately needed when I was single.

We work because on bad days, he brings me a book and chocolates. And on days that he has a big deadline, I bring him pizza and chips (even though I don't approve of the chips).

We are really stubborn, but we hate fighting. When we got married, I told him that I'll be married to him for today and tomorrow. (n+1= infinity) I make it a point to figure out most problems within two days that way we can still sleep it off if the fight gets too heated.

His borderline OCD balances out my ADHD. He is so overly practical, and I'm all over the place with ideas. (Last week I was trying to convince him to let me move to France while he's in grad school). I start projects. He then goes through all my half finished projects, organizes them, finds the missing pieces, and then finishes them. I help him be more spontaneous and excited about life. I remind him that life is for fun and not every "i" has to be dotted on each form. It's weird but wonderful dynamic that works in our marriage in so many ways. It's amazing, especially considering how rough it is to be married to someone with ADHD. 

We work because despite the fact we share just about everything, we respect each others goals and dreams. Matt has few expectations for what I want to do with my life. Number of kids? Stay-at-home v. working? Traveling Europe? Eating at 50 different cupcake places? He doesn't really care. (I asked  him once how many kids he wanted, he said somewhere between 1 and 100. He said he didn't think he could keep 100 names straight.) I love that once I make up my mind, he'll help me make it happen. I helped him get into graduate school and I have a plan ready to help him be prepared for job interviews. His dreams are very different than mine, but two people working on one dream at a time gets a lot more done.

But what it really comes down to is that our marriage works, because we choose to work really hard every single day (even at weird hours of the night. 2 words - teething baby),
and it's hard.
But it has been paying off in perches.
 (A perch is two units bigger than a bushel.)
Marriage has been sweet to us so far, and I hope that doesn't change anytime soon.

(That's the link up if you want more sappy list.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cloth diapers in our home

A few weeks ago I announced on facebook that we were trying out cloth diapers. A few people asked why and I figure a follow up post is need.

The original plan for us was to introduce cloth diapers at 1 year. We wanted to introduce the potty and because cloth diapers are more uncomfortable (an incentive for Tiny to learn to use the potty), we figured we might as well make the switch. My sweet neighbor let me borrow some of her extensive stash so that I didn't have to buy them.

So what have we found over this last month...

They do make Madeleine uncomfortable.
If we leave her in a cloth diaper all night, she does get a rash.
They are a lot of work.
Cloth diapers are actually more expensive for us.

So the big thing is that they are helping us toilet train Madeleine. This alone is enough to get me to keep up with them until my neighbor ask for hers back. The fact that we aren't killing the environment actually makes me feel better too. (Matt gave me a really depressing talk about what happens to veggies we throw in the trash one night for pillow talk. It made me feel bad and made me want to ban Wall-E forever.)

When we first got the diapers, we found out that Madeleine was very allergic to my friend's laundry detergent. She had a wicked rash, but it cleared up quickly once we rewashed everything. Then we noticed though that her little bum was still pink at night. We figured it was because we probably should change her halfway in the night, so we figured it worth using one disposable diaper at night and letting her sleep through the night. 

Cloth diapers are so much work.
We don't have a washer or dryer in our apartment, so we have to walk to our community laundry mat. Now imagine balancing a laundry basket, detergent and a squirmy one year old, and now add a few feet of snow. It's absolutely miserable, especially when there is too much snow for the stroller. Then it's multiple trips while holding Madeleine.

This is probably the biggest road block for us - not having our own washer and dryer.

Because as I said, it's also makes cloth diapers more expensive than disposables.
What? No way right?
Well, for each cloth diaper it cost us between 12.5-15 cents to wash each diaper.
(This is not including buying diapers...because well, I didn't buy them.)
I usually get each disposable diaper around 11 cents per diaper. For one and half months this year, I even got diapers for 5 cents each.

So that's the run down so far.
Next year we should be living in a place with a washer and dryer. If we have another offspring, there's a chance that I'll actually invest in my own cloth diapers. It really just depends on how the next 4 months go.

So there you go.
I'm open for any advice. :)

Random Madeleine photo because I don't have many of her in diapers

PS. The lack of washer and dryer was the reason we didn't cloth diaper when she was born. It was 16 cents per diaper then!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sleep Training Paid Off

I woke up sick today.
All my joints are hurting and my throat felt like it was on fire.
Matt asked if I would be okay.
The truth is it doesn't really matter if I was or not,
we both know that Monday is one of his long days.
Going to work really isn't optional.

Madeleine's little head peaked over the side of my bed.
She figured out  a while back that she can climb on the bed frame and look up onto the bed.
She gave me a big smile before trying to throw her bottle on the bed.
She was hungry.
I knew it. She knew it. It's part of our routine.
8:00 is breakfast.

I just had to get through two hours.
Madeleine played in her room while I got myself meds and breakfast.

Then at 10:15, she curled up asleep on her bed.
It was nap time.
She didn't need me to put her down.
She did it herself.

I laid in my bed looking at her from my room.
I'm so grateful that she's my baby and that she is learning to be independent.
I took a picture before shutting the door and taking a nap myself.
Two hours later I heard a few maraca shakes.
She was up but that was okay, I was ready for her.

It's hard to believe that all those awful sleepless nights and days, paid off.
Honestly, I thought this day would never happen.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Warhol Birthday (and our living room)

Remember a month ago when I got bored of the living room and moved all the photos to the kitchen
and left the living room looking like this? looks better now.
The pictures had to go down for very sweet and thoughtful birthday gifts Matt gave me.
It took us a month to get them framed and up.
So tada! Here's our living room now. :)

See those beautiful posters above the couch?
They were my gift.
I was lucky enough to marry a guy who gives me art and books as gifts.

For those who don't know, you are looking at three of the famed pop artist Andy Warhol's Chanel No. 5 prints that he made in the '80s and were eventually used by Chanel in a advertising campaign.

You might be wondering why he chose these. One of my final classes at BYU was an art history class that was actually taught by a notoriously difficult professor.
For whatever reason, I actually did really well in this class 
(despite being 38 weeks pregnant by the final).

In my last paper, I wrote about how this Warhol piece was responsible for reviving the Chanel perfume image after the feminist movements of the '70s.
Matt liked my arguments so much that he said that with a bit more length, it could have been a masters dissertation. 
(For those of you who don't know,
 the biggest fights that Matt and I have ever had began while we were editing each other's papers.
So the fact that Matt was complimenting me was a miracle.)

(PS. We are fighting about this blog post right now. haha)

At one point, I looked up some of these prints and wanted to buy them.
They were a bit over our budget, so Matt talked me out of it and I lost all hope of owning them.
To my surprise, a year later three mailing tubes showed up at our door.
I was confused.
I didn't order anything.
But I was thrilled to find out that they were my birthday present!
I couldn't believe he remembered...and what it made it even sweeter was the fact he had saved a copy of my paper to make sure he got exactly the right one.

But it didn't end there.
Keeping up with the Warhol theme he also got me the soup cans that Campbell released for the 50th anniversary of Warhol's debut.


It was so sweet and I was really touched.

Then I got these two pillows.
I really love them. :)

So do you like it?
And what art would you want for your birthday?