Tuesday, April 29, 2014


It's here!!!!

And we are addicted to it.
Madeleine will cry by the front door if she can't go outside, and I'm grumpy if we have to stay inside all day. Matt even started walking up to work so that he can enjoy it too. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Recap of last night

Sunday, 10:28 PM - We hear the door open. A very flushed face baby head pokes out behind the door. We are supposed to be going to sleep in two minutes but instead Matt walks to the fridge to grab a bottle while I pick up our hot crying baby.

Sunday, 11:08 PM- I tell Matt he has to go to bed if he is going to get up at 6:30 tomorrow morning. He kisses us goodnight and gets ready for bed.

Sunday, 11:16 AM - Madeleine has a coughing attack and coughs up a lot of gross stuff while her face turns from flushed to fever to all red. I shout for Matt and he comes out to help me. We take her temp and it's just over 102.

Monday, 12:06 AM- Madeleine gets out of her 3rd bath for the night. After getting a diaper on her, we try to get her to drink. Her fever has broken.

Monday, 12:17 AM- Matt is really tired and starts setting up camp to sleep in Madeleine's room. Meanwhile, I'm syringing water into Madeleine's mouth. For some reason, she thinks anything out of a syringe is the best thing ever. I syring a sippy cup worth of water into Madeleine's mouth.  Even though I think it's ridiculous, I'm really grateful that we at least found someway to get her to take liquids.

Monday, 12:25 AM - I tuck her into her bed with Matt sleeping next to her. I start getting ready for bed.

Monday, 12:32  AM- Check on them...they are both asleep.

Monday, 12:47 AM- I climb in bed and turn off the lights.

Monday, 12:49 AM - Madeleine is standing next to my bed talking.

Monday, 1:03 AM- I'm in the kitchen feeding Madeleine falafel.

Monday, 1:49 AM - I put her next to sleeping Matt. She curls up and goes to sleep. I then finally go to sleep in my own bed.

Monday, 4:22 AM- I feel tapping on my face. Madeleine is standing next to me on the bed. I pull her down next to me. Her fever is back, but she curls up next to me asleep.

Monday, 6:30 AM- Alarm goes off...I'm awake, but I don't want to wake up the sleeping baby next to me. Every time I move at all she starts whining in her sleep. So I stay put enjoying the baby cuddles.

Monday 7:10 AM- I get sick of playing pillow. I move and she wakes up screaming in protest. Matt wakes up. He gets her a sippy cup and they curl up back to sleep in her bed.

Monday 8:30 AM- I bug Matt to get up. He says he'll wake up when Madeleine wakes up.

Monday, 9:23 AM- Matt gets up. Madeleine although still sick seems much better. Matt and I are exhausted while she runs around the house like a crazy baby.

That was our night last night. It's kind of funny, because after being parents for a year, this isn't even something to complain about. It's nothing compared to when she was a newborn, and after being parents for over a year, we can pretty easily adjust our schedules to compensate for sleeping in or being sleep deprived. Two years ago missing this much sleep would have been more than a minor blip, and the idea of syringing water to get a baby to drink would have been a horror story that we would have laughed at and been grateful that it wasn't us.

But those horror stories don't feel like that awful when we go through them for the most part. They are part of life. We shrug and then move on, and only when we look back we realize just how ridiculous the whole thing was.

Hence why I bothered to document this.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

a simple Sunday

Madeleine woke up last night with a high fever that continued all day today. She's acting normal so we're pretty sure it's teething, but we kept her home from church just to be careful. She spent her day cuddling with us and drinking chocolate milkshakes. Matt and I hate seeing her sick, but cuddle sessions are becoming so rare that we spent the day fighting over who gets to take care of her.

Sophie got plenty of cuddles too.

Other than taking care of her, Matt worked on the space ship models that he has been making for her room. They look great and I've been learning so much about the history of flight. Matt loves talking about each ship, and we have had a blast of talking and learning together about everything to do with space. I love small projects like this. It seems like we usually have something new to learn about in our home and I really hope that never stops.

We ended our night making falafels. I love them and last time we tried making them...it was disastrous. This time we tried this recipe. Oh they were beyond perfect. Matt gave them a 10/10. They were crispy and full of so much flavor. With both of us making them, it didn't take to long and I'm fairly certain this will be a new staple in our diet, especially now that we try to eat vegetarian at least 3 days a week.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter Egg Hunts

I have so not been up to date with our blog, and I feel slightly guilty about it, but...
Spring is here!!! And we are outside everyday for most of the day. It's been beautiful. I have never had a "real" spring. Just a few months ago everything was dead, but now everywhere we look there are flowers and blossoms. Staying inside and blogging has little appeal when we can be outside.

We had an awesome Easter, even though we didn't do much to celebrate. Easter is a bit tricky for us. I feel like we should celebrate it more than we do, but neither Matt or I have any ideas how to celebrate it. We need to work on that, but for this year we just made it as stressless as possible.

On Saturday, we went to a church Easter party. We did things relating to the last week of Christ's life and then there was an Easter egg hunt. Madeleine was too young for most of the activities but she did write a thank you card to some soldier in her own scribble language. Then it was time for the Easter egg hunt. We weren't sure if she would understand Easter egg hunting, since Christmas went way over her head, but we brought her out with her age group.

It took Matt a few times showing her the eggs and putting them in  her basket, but once she figured it out...she was hooked.

After she gathered a few eggs, one of them broke open. She saw the chocolate and knew what it was immediately. After that a new quest was downloaded into her brain, collect as much chocolate as possible.

After she had carefully gathered her dozen eggs, we started herding her towards the car. She sobbed when we took away her basket, so we could buckle her in. We figured it wouldn't hurt for her to hold the basket while we drove home. It was only ten minutes away.

When we pulled up to the Chemistry lab to drop Matt off, he looked in the back set to kiss her. "Uh...Michele, there is something in her mouth." That something turned out to be a big ball of tinfoil. She sucked all the chocolate out the wrappers and just held the wrappers in her cheeks. I guess we should have learned better after Halloween.

The rest of the day Madeleine and her basket were inseparable. She even had to sleep with it.  

On Easter day, we did yet another Easter egg hunt with our community. Madeleine was prepared this time. She went out there with a determined little walk. Not even the swings could sway her from her hunting down the eggs.

There were 5 little kids there hunting for eggs, and Madeleine found 14 out of 40 eggs. The other two kids about her age only found 3-4 each, and Madeleine had a really difficult time not taking their eggs out of their baskets.

When we got home, we made dinner for the sister missionaries in our church and had a beautiful evening outside. We felt close to God and very loved. It was a great ending for Easter weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Candids of DC

WWII exhibit
Her favorite animal at the zoo was the naked mole rat

She loved this dino. She looked at it for 20 minutes.
Vader is watching you
WWII monument
Drinking with style
Playing with Great-grandpa

Monday, April 14, 2014

DC's Cherry Blossoms Festival

One of my favorite things right now about being a stay-at-home-mom is the freedom in my schedule.
Right now, I'm the director of the calendar, so if I want to sweep a few days free to go on a trip I can, and if I decide last minute to leave 4 days early than I was planning...well I can do that too.

And that's exactly what I did last Monday.
At 5am Monday morning, I talked to Matt about going early, and by 3PM we were pulling into Matt's grandparent's home in DC.

After relaxing Monday night, Madeleine and I got up bright and early for a jammed pack day on the National Mall. 

We first went and saw the cherry blossoms around the Jefferson Memorial. There was almost no one there at 8am. It was so peaceful and beautiful...minus the fact there were no fences! 

The stroller is a toy that you only take naps in...not to ride in.

I was on edge the whole time that Madeleine was going to fall into the water, or she was screaming in the stroller. So we left for a bit. We visited some museums before heading back to look at the blossoms again.

I found a small patch between two incredibly busy streets that was fenced in. There were a lot of little kids in it, since it was safer and the branches were low enough for them to touch. Madeleine was tickled pink over the flowers. She would point at them squeal and then point at them again. She was so happy that a few people stopped on the sidewalk to watch her. One couple told me that they weren't trying to be creepy, just that you don't see joy like that every day.

I'll blog soon about the rest of the trip. We did a lot. But this was the whole reason we drove down...and it was so worth it. It was so peaceful and beautiful. The weather was perfect and Madeleine and I both loved it. We sipped chocolate milk together under the canopy of flowers and ate a cupcake, and let me tell you it doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thought Bubble Thursday - Blue Steel

Due to the overwhelming turnout, it's taken us some time to select a winner, but we've finally decided to give the first Thought Bubble Thursday to Jacob Ross who noticed Madeleine's striking resemblance to Derek Zoolander.



Madeleine has struggled to come to terms with being really really really ridiculously good-looking, and she's certainly tried to assassinate Michele a number of times, but I'd say that Madeleine has more in common with Hansel -- "Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot."

For this week's Thought Bubble, we've chosen to feature Madeleine's darker side. Believe it or not, she can have quite a temper. Lately, when we don't let her get her way, she's resorted to swearing at us in baby talk (which consists of rapidly and angrily babbling "mum mum mum" mixed in with other syllables.) In this snapshot, she looks like she just found out I gambled away her college fund. (Joke's on her -- she doesn't have one.)

Seriously, why is she so mad? Please help us assuage her discontent by leaving a comment with your best guess as to what she is thinking. Our favorite response will be featured in the next Thought Bubble Thursday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Graduate School Family Series: Our budget

So today we are talking about our budget. We love it. It is good for us. As I mentioned in "Choosing a Grad School", we drew up a budget before we even chose which school we were going to. 

But before you have a budget...you need a source of money.

Now...if you are getting a masters, dental school, law school, or medical school, most of the time you are going to have to take out loans or have a company that you work for pay for it. There are scholarships too depending on what your field is, so don't forget to apply for those. After you have done that, figure out how much you qualify for and set a reasonable budget.

**Hint..if you are still in undergraduate and you don't need loans, get the subsidized loans if you can. The interest rate is 0% which is way lower than the graduate school loans. Also you still won't have to pay interest until you are done with your education.**

If you are getting a Phd, the school is probably giving you funding. I don't know of any Phd programs will not give you money to live. It might not be much, but at least it's something. Some schools give you plenty to live on. Some like Princeton give you enough to scrape by, and others you might be eating ramen every day of your life. Another thing to check is if your funding is for the full year or not. At Princeton, Matt's is full year, but for our friends in humanities, theirs are just for 9 months. It doesn't have to be a big deal, but it's something you should know.

And that's it for getting money.

And now for our budget! Tada!!

From Matt's stipend, we get $2,400 a month (after church tithes).

Rent is $984, which leaves us with $1416.

We decided to split the $1416 in half.
Matt and I each "get" $708. We each have our own responsibilities with our portions.
Matt's responsibilities are to cover utilities, health insurance, renters insurance, car insurance, life insurance, and long term debt. Whatever is left over goes to long term savings. 

My portion is the more traditional budget. I have to cover food, clothing, gas, activities, and other small bills and purchases. If there is any remaining, it goes in short term savings account.

Long term saving is money that we hope we don't need to touch. If we ever have a catastrophic event (like major car repair, major hospital bills, or large increase in living cost), then we will dip into our long term savings. Otherwise, this money is off limits, and we keep it in CDs just to make sure we really don't touch it. 

Short term savings always has $1,000 in it, in case of any medium expenses, like a computer or new tires. Anything over that is fair game for any large non-essential purchases or vacations. For example, our piano came from short term savings.

So breakdown in numbers...

Matt                                                                           Me
Utilities: $150                                                        Photoshop: $23
Health insurance: $85                                                  Amazon Prime: $6
Life insurance: $22                                                    Food ~ $200 a month
Car insurance: $102                                                    Gas ~ $80
Renter insurance: $24                                                  Baby supplies ~ $50
Student loans: $120                                                    Clothes ~ $60
Car: $0!!! (paid it off!)                                              Activities ~ $180
                                                           Misc - whatever is left over usually
Total: $503                                                                   $708

So usually we can put $200 in long term savings and on good months about $40 into short term savings.

Miscellaneous really kills any chance of saving large amounts into short term. This month we needed a new cutting board since our other one split, a new dust pan, drop off dry cleaning, and our knives needed to get sharpened. Oh and I kind of drove to DC. :)

This budget has worked really well for us. We very rarely fight over money, and while our budget may seem tight, it actually gives us quite a bit of freedom. We do to have to make choices, since we can't have everything, but in many ways these limitations have been a blessing. It's kind of weird to think that I actually mean that, but I really do. 

By having limited money, each major purchase or change to our budget is carefully examined by both Matt and me. We look at our long term goals. We look at our short term goals. We talk about what we can and cannot live without. We look at different possibilities and then very carefully make our decision. 

This process has drastically changed our goals and has enriched our marriage. Our communication is better. We are more creative. We have the opportunity to frequently discuss each other goals and dreams. It has made us more grateful and less stressed.

I'm going to be breaking down my portion of the budget in the next few post in this series.
Let me know if you have any question. :) I really love talking about this stuff.

The Grad School Family Series
Our budget
Buying furniture and clothes
Menu planning and food management
Shopping for food
Affording a baby
Making friends
Family Time

Monday, April 7, 2014

Etsy Finds

One of our goals is simplifying our life right now.

Matt and I donated and threw out lots of things during spring cleaning this year.
Most of them we didn't need, but a few of the items were things that legitimately needed to be replaced. I have been trying to stop shopping at Walmart,Target, and Amazon for things that are going to stay in our home for long periods of time. Instead I've been looking on etsy!

We had three kitchen items that I desperately needed to replace.
The first thing we need was a dustpan...which I did buy from Walmart. (But darn, the ones on etsy are awesome! I didn't even think of it!!)

After realizing that we didn't want our clean dishes near any of the dishtowels in the kitchen, we threw them out and I ordered these instead from an Etsy shop called Gingiber.

I'm thrilled with them! They are beautiful. My favorite hands down is the sheep, but the pig is really growing on me. Honestly, this is one of my favorite etsy shops. I love all of her prints.

The other thing I need was a new cutting board. The cutting boards we got from my bridal shower cracked and split, so I started looking into buying one or two new ones. After reading a lot of different cooking websites, I was sad to find out that the best kind of cutting board are end grain cutting boards, but the cheapest I could find was $60. Completely not in our budget. Again I went to etsy, where I found Albert's Woodcrafts. I found this end grain cutting board for just $14 ($18 with shipping)!

I love it and it smells so good. Del (that's what the guy calls himself) mailed it off within a few hours of me buying it and it showed up the next day! Take that amazon!

One of the things I love about shopping on etsy is knowing a bit about the sellers. Gingiber is run by a fellow grad school wife named Stacy, and Albert's woodcraft is a retired man named Del that lives in New York. I kind of think of them as neighbors. Is that weird?

So, those are my recent etsy purchases. So I'm curious, how often do you buy stuff off etsy? If you don't, why not? And if you do, what are your favorite shops?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why I like the Ordain Women group

Women and the Priesthood question was one everyone's mind yesterday I think when a few hundred women from all over the world came together and protested Priesthood session. Elder Oaks' gave a wonderful talk during Priesthood session, which I really enjoyed listening too. It answered the few questions I had about the issue.

Now just to be clear, I never wanted to hold the Priesthood.  The biggest reason is that I strongly believe that if there is an afterlife, that I will receive the Priesthood then. I think it's just an Earthly rule and that it will be different in heaven. 

 I also understand that logistically, women having the Priesthood would have a major impact on our church. For example, our church is run purely on volunteers that fulfill callings. Many of these are based on gender, one way or another. Some call for the person to have the Priesthood, which automatically disqualifies women for some callings. On the flip-side, many callings that involve children are not allowed to be filled by men, along with any callings in the women's organizations.  As a married women, I'm grateful for this division and the carefully thought out way the church is organized (even if it's not perfect). It protects my marriage. I know that in the church that Matt will never be asked to work closely with another woman that isn't me. Even though there is no jealously in our marriage, I do appreciate this, and for me, this is one of the blessing of not having the Priesthood. Another random blessing is that it forces me to work with women. For most of my teen years, I always hung out with boys, but through church, I have learned to appreciate woman-to-woman relationships.

After listening to Elder Oak's talk last night, I went online to the Ordained Women facebook group. First, I was pleasantly surprised how civil it was, even after many were disappointed by the outcome of yesterday.  (I looked on in today and sadly it isn't civil now.) There were several comments that really caught my attention. One was "There are sisters in our ward that are hurting by this rule, and as a sister, I went to Temple Square to support them, not to rally for ordination." The other one was "I don't understand. There is a sister in my ward that actually feels strongly that God wants her to do this." I thought about those comments last night, the second comment especially.

I strongly believe that God is telling those sisters to not let the subject drop. It a topic that is hurting their testimonies and hearts, and our Savior I'm sure does not want them to feel this way. When I was 14, I heard a talk that changed my life. A wonderful leader gave a talk about how our church is for the doubter. That Christ promised to heal and answer our doubts so that we can come closer to Him, but it is up to use to bring those doubts to Him.

That's what Ordain Women group has done. They have brought their concerns and hurt to Christ. They started a movement has brought awareness to a small group of women's pain and have brought up conversations that were not being openly discussed before. They have tried hard to keep it civil and respectful.

There has been a mixed responses to it. Some people have become too caught up in the technical issues at hand, but some sweet sisters (like the lady in the first comment) recognized it as an opportunity to help and strengthen each other. I think these sweet sisters are part of Christ way of healing those sisters' hearts are hurt and trying to calm their doubts. These members who are reaching out with love and not judging I think are acting as Christ would want us too. He is using them as His hands.

While I don't think Ordain Women is going to change how our church is run, I do think it is changing the culture of how we handle people hurting as a whole. I think it's beginning to create a platform for doubts and questions to be addressed without judgement. I think the discussion about gay members is causing similar conversations and changes.  I'm hoping through these conversations that there will be a place for gay families in our congregation and community. I hoping there will be place for more head strong feminist, and many other people who are traditionally not apart of the LDS culture.

I just want to end with a few quote from Pres. Monson's talk today. He addressed how we should be acting perfectly.

“Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging.”
"We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence through careless words of action."
and finally “All important will be our ability to recognize someone’s need and then to respond.”

I hope conference was wonderful for you. We enjoyed it here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Trendy Tot: Inspired by Kate Spade

Twice a year there is a conference of the LDS leaders and they speak to the LDS church for a total of 10 hours over two days.  Matt and I both look forward to these weekends, but neither of us are the best at listening or staying awake the whole time without some type of plan to keep us busy.

For the first two hours, Matt painted a plane model he worked on, while I made Goobie a dress.
We have a Kate Spade shop right across the street from our favorite milkshake place and our wonderful library. A few weeks ago we were walk by the store on a very cold and windy day. I was "a bit" bitter about the cold weather. When I turned the corner, the window display was bursting with lemon yellow and it completely turned around my mood, and since then I've desperately craved some type of lemon clothing in my life.

from lifeunsweetened.com/
Yesterday when I went to Joann's, I found some lemon print and immediately knew I needed to make Madeleine a dress out of it.

I love how it turned out. I used this free pattern. It was easy and simple to make.
Now we have our own little sunshine wandering around our home as we listen together as a family.