Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Year Without A Santa Clause

Did you know that we don't do Santa Clause around here? It's something I kind of decided that first Christmas with Katie 2 years ago. Brad probably thinks i'm crazy. Most people think i'm crazy.
But why?
Why is Santa Clause so important?
Some say it's because he IS the spirit of Christmas and that he teaches our children about giving.
Doesn't Christ do the SAME thing? And Christ is actually REAL! He is the true reason for the season and I chose to make Him the focus of our Christmas celebrations each year.
I don't knock anyone else for doing Santa Clause, of course. Different strokes for different folks. :)
In light of the Christmas season, i've truly been making an effort to be more giving and Christlike. To put him at the center. I've just returned from Salt Lake City, where I dropped off an enormous bag of donations to a needy family. The father is out of work, the mother is sick, one of their children has down syndrome, and they speak very little English. I decided last month to sponsor this family for Christmas. My original plan was to have people at Brad's work pitch in, but none of them seemed really interested, sadly. So it was me. Alone. I went black friday shopping a few weeks ago, not for myself or my own family, but to buy blankets, pillows, towels, and pajamas for this sweet family. I gathered up toiletries from my couponing stockpile, and I drove it all up to Salt Lake this afternoon. I will tell you right now, nothing feels better than serving others. THIS is what Christmas should feel like. Not stressed about travel and decorations and getting the right gifts and watching your bank account deplete.
So what if our children won't be getting all the latest toys and gizmos? There is a family out there who will be a little warmer this Christmas. Who can feel a little less worried about their family.
Later today, a woman is stopping by my house to pick up more donations from me. I LOVE that I have been able to coupon and build up a supply of extra things. There is a sweet family here in West Jordan who's home burned down and they were left with nothing. While it's a little harder for me to donate clothes or furniture, this family will have their weight in shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products, toothpaste and soap this Christmas!

I don't want this post to be braggy. I don't feel prideful. I just feel happy. And I want YOU to feel happy. PLEASE, find one family or person that YOU can help this Christmas. The economy is though. I know. But you have a roof over your head. Food on your table. You might even already have presents under the tree. Not everyone is so lucky.

If you aren't sure how you can help, here are some simple ideas.
- Gather up gently used clothes that you never wear anymore. Drive to your local church, or ANY church for that matter. Tell them you have some clothes that you would like to go to a family in need. I guarantee they will know someone who can use them.
- Find an old coat that you never wear, or buy one from goodwill. Hand it to someone who is homeless.
- You can even grab that extra box of crackers in your pantry and hand it to someone holding a sign on the side of the road.
- Search Facebook! I am part of a group called "West Jordan Angels." People can nominate needy families in their area and other people can donate to that family.
- Buy a few cans of corn at the grocery store. Immediately drop them off in the Food Bank bins.
- Next time you hear a story on the news about a family who is experiencing a tragedy, and that they have a fund set up at a local bank or grocery store, actually donate to that fund!
- Drop your extra change in the little box at McDonald's for the Ronald McDonald House.
- Smile at those less fortunate. Wish them a Merry Christmas. Include them in your prayers. 

Unlike the stories, Santa Clause does not visit every house. He does not give toys to every child, rich or poor. WE can fill in the gaps.

Now go out there and do some good this Holiday season!

Friday, November 30, 2012

12 weeks

(I want to share some pictures on here so badly but it's telling me that i've used up all my free photo space! What the heck?)

My baby boy is just about 12 weeks old and i'm in disbelief! He is growing up SO fast! I wanted to take some time to post a little bit about this sweet boy of mine and how amazing he is!

Nolan is over 15 lbs now. He has already outgrown all 0-3 month size clothing and much of his 3-6 months clothes! Big boy!
He is such a happy little baby and loves to share his smiles with you.
He loves to sit and look out of our big front window.
He LOVESSSS when you sing to him. Smiles and giggles the whole time.
Nolan is also very ticklish. It's hilarious! We love his laughs and squeals.
He sleeps SO GREAT. 7, 8, or even 9 hours at a time! After Katie, I didn't really believe that any baby ever slept longer than 3 or 4 hours, but then Nolan came along! Boy loves his sleep.
He definitely loves his momma. Sorry everyone. He is mommy's little boy!
He has such a sweet disposition and personality. Everyone can't help but comment on what a good baby he is. Katie was a good baby too, so. . . nature vs. nurture, you decide. :p
He loves to stand up or sit up, and to be facing outward so he can see everything.
So far, he doesn't really like the bouncy seat but the bumbo is a winner.

Katie LOVES him, although she gets a little bugged when he "hits" or "kicks" her. We try to explain that he can't help it but she still gets annoyed. For the most part though, she is absolutely in love with her little brother. I always have to tell people this, so sorry if you've heard it, but it's such a sweet story! Sometimes, Nolan will be upstairs napping or with Brad and Katie and I will be downstairs. We'll hear Nolan start to cry and Katie will drop whatever she is doing and run to the stairs calling "I coming Nolan! I coming!" It melts my heart how much she wants him to be comfortable and happy and have everything he needs.

My heart is just full of love for my little family and the amazing blessing that they are to me. Though they can't fully understand yet, I tell both Katie and Nolan everyday how thankful I am for them and for Heavenly Father allowing me to raise them. I tell them how much I love them and how much their Father in heaven and Jesus Christ love them and that I am so lucky that I get to be their momma. I really am so lucky.

For pictures, check Facebook because I can't figure out how to get pictures on here! :(

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nolan James Odasso

The birth story. It's a little long. Sorry!    

     I believe it started on Wednesday, the 5th. I was one week "overdue" (I use quotes around the word overdue because babies are not phone bills or car insurance payments. They come when they are good and ready). I had had my membranes stripped the day before and now I started having a few contractions! While mommy brain has already erased some details, I do know that there were a few, though not really consistent. Thursday, they were coming often enough for me to write them down. Every ten minutes for a few hours. Then every FIVE minutes for a few hours. Then I went to sleep and poof! Gone. Friday, on and off. Saturday, on and off. I was able to convince Brad to take me to the state fair, where they started coming every 5 minutes again. Woo! They slowed down after leaving the fair, which left me feeling pretty discouraged, but as the night wore on, they continued, even if still half an hour apart. At some point, I fell asleep and I remember waking up at least twice to breathe my way through a contraction. Again, not very close together. But then, something crazy happened. Right around 3:30, I SHOT out of bed with a painful contraction! Exactly 5 minutes later, another painful one. I stood next to the bed, leaning over onto it to breathe my way through it. I think I might have gone to the bathroom after that and the next contraction hit only 4 minutes after the previous. Another one that wasn't too bad yet. But the next one was only 3 minutes away. They were moving fast! The next was another 3 minutes and this time I dropped to my knees in pain. Now they were every 3 minutes and I couldn't even stand during them. Breathing was getting difficult. I had Brad call the student midwife, who said she would call us back. I'm not sure she grasped that this was it! I knew it was progressing WAY fast and we needed to get moving! I texted my sister-in-law, Jenna, to let her know it was time. She had asked if she could be there for the birth and I was happy to say yes! (although she might be forever traumatized now. Lol!). At that point it was just about 4:30 in the morning on Sunday. Brad woke up my parents so that they could get ready. My mom was coming with us and my dad was going to stay here with Katie until after the baby was born. And then, we waited. And waited. It felt like forever waiting for the midwife to call back, although it'd only been about 15 minutes. I decided that we couldn't wait any longer and that we needed to get moving. My contractions had been getting worse and worse and were now 2 minutes apart. The drive to the birth center takes half an hour, though at 4:50 in the morning, I think we got there in 20-25. The car ride was AWFUL. Contractions every 1-2 minutes and sitting was so painful. I found myself on my knees on the floor in front of my seat, with my upper body laying across the dashboard, just in so much pain. As we were driving, I went ahead and called the student midwife again and told her that my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and very painful. She apologized for not getting back to me yet because another baby had just been born at the center. She went to check with the midwife on call to make sure I could come in (too bad, i'm already on my way!) and then she said that I could. Anyway, we arrived and the next hour was just pure pain, basically. All I wanted to do was get in that big, warm bathtub, but the midwives had me in a hands and knees position to help my cervix dilate more.
I wish I could describe the pain, but you probably wouldn't want to even hear it. Mostly, it just feels like the worst way to die. A few times I got off the bed and squatted on the floor instead because that was MUCH more comfortable. One of those times my water broke, which was actually pretty awesome. I didn't see that when I had Katie, so it was exciting to see that my body was doing what it needed to and that the time was pretty close! Finally, the midwives consented to letting me get in the tub!
 It was a little annoying when they asked "do you want a water birth?" because I was pretty sure I had mentioned that a few times before! Anyway, after reading online about water births, I was honestly expecting a little more pain relief than I got. It did feel nice, but not much was going to ease my pain! The one wonderful thing about it, however, was that I could move so easily! I was able to get into different positions so much easier with the water supporting my weight. It was awesome. At this point, it was probably around 6 in the morning and I had a number of contractions before I decided that I was going to just start pushing. I'm not sure I felt like my body was telling me to push yet, but I was going to push anyway. This needed to end! I told the midwives that I was going to start pushing and then it started. The screaming. Holy moly, the screaming. I swear, Brad, my mom, Jenna, the midwives, and the poor new mother in the other room are probably all traumatized now. The main midwife was very helpful though in telling me to keep that energy in (by energy, she meant the screaming, haha!) and to focus it all on pushing. While it was very hard to keep myself from screaming anymore, being quiet and just focusing really, really helped. At one point I asked, "is that the head?!" because I could just feel his head in there. It was so incredible to be able to actually feel what was going on, to feel that I was actually moving this baby out with each push. I knew what my body was doing and what I needed to do to help it. After 14 minutes, I felt his little head pop out and one more push brought out the shoulders and the rest of this tiny baby. I grabbed his little body under the water and pulled him up to me and it was just incredible. Here he was! 6:37 a.m. 3 hours of labor. I did this! (Did I mention that during labor, I must have said the words "I can't do this" about a hundred times?)
     I held him close while they rubbed him down a bit. After a while, I pushed out the placenta, which was so neat. I didn't get to see it, or even the umbilical cord, after Katie was born. Once the cord stopped pulsing (pumping the remainder of his blood from the placenta back into his body), they clamped it off and Brad cut it. And then we just cuddled in the tub for a while, mommy and baby.
 I nursed him for a little bit and eventually we got out of the tub to go lay in bed. Lots more cuddling and one big nursing session. My dad showed up with Katie, though being woken up at 6:30 in the morning, she wasn't very interested in him.
 Brad brought me some juice and some cereal and the grandparents bonded with little Nolan for a bit. The midwives came to stitch me up at some point and help me to the bathroom. Then they weighed him, 8 lbs, 10 oz, and took all his other measurements- length, head circumference and all the other baby body circumferences. They checked out all his little body parts and made sure everything was ok. The student told me that he was very symmetrical. I think it was around 9 o'clock at this point, Jenna had left earlier and my parents and Katie had left, and the midwives did the most wonderful thing. They also left. Haha! Not that they weren't great, but they told Brad and I to take a nap. So with little Nolan between us, we all took a nice 2 1/2 hour nap. No hospital beeps. No nurses coming in to poke and prod me and Nolan. No doctors and people randomly walking in to do things. Just peace and quiet on a Sunday morning.
     When everything is healthy and looking great, you don't stay at the birth center very long. Our check-out time was 1:15 that same afternoon, which was just fine with me. I absolutely hated being held at the hospital for so long with Katie. I'd had her at 5:30 in the morning on a Friday and they kept me there until noon the next day! All I wanted was to be home and start enjoying my new family. To take a shower in my own bathroom and eat my own food and just relax in my own bed. Anyway, we woke up around noon and one of the helpers at the birth center brought us some lunch. I think it was around 12:45 when we decided we were ready to leave, so we did. We just packed up our things, brought our dishes down to the kitchen, and came home. It was awesome.

     Since then, things have been great. Nolan is so wonderful and I can't stop staring at his sweet little face. Breastfeeding has been a little bit of a challenge, but nothing I can't push through. I just make WAY more milk than he can handle right now, and he also burps and spits up which honestly is something we didn't really experience with Katie. He does love to eat though and has gained almost 4 ounces in less than a week! Katie loves him and I found myself in tears yesterday watching her hold his hand and give him kisses. It is rough going from 1 to 2, especially when it comes to getting them in and out of the car by myself, but oh goodness, I love my little family. I love my husband Brad for all of his loving support and for being so strong for me while I was in labor. I know it was a scary and heartbreaking experience for him to see me so vulnerable and in so much pain. For being patient with me as the "baby blues" hit really strongly and I found myself crying all day about being overwhelmed and my "failures" as a mother. For reassuring me and changing diapers in the middle of the night. I love my children, for the amazing spirits they have and for allowing me to love them so much. I'm so grateful that Katie loves her little brother and is so willing to help me in any way she can. I'm thankful that i've been blessed with little Nolan and his sweet smiles and silly faces and soft, squishy body that I just love to cuddle all day long. I am just a woman in love with my little family. I can't get enough of them! Despite the struggles and pains and sleepiness, I want to thank my Heavenly Father for this family that I have been blessed with, and for my ability to love them so much. My heart is full. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cleaning Queen

I just wanted to talk about my big little helper for just a bit here.
Mostly, I just want to make sure I have a written record of a time when she actually liked to clean and help me out with chores. :)

Sorry there are no pictures. :(

Let me say that Katie LOVES to clean. I really do not know where she gets it from. I am not a clean person. I really am not. I don't know how many people actually know this fact, but I truly am a slob. Brad is a clean person, but he does not enjoy cleaning. He doesn't go out of his way TO clean. He just doesn't really do much to warrant cleaning. Can't make much of a mess going to work and then playing computer games all night. ;)

If Katie sees me cleaning anything, she immediately runs over, says "keen!" (clean) and searches for some way to help. Here is my list of what my 2 year old absolutely loves helping with:

Although she can't put away most of the dishes in the dishwasher, she really enjoys helping with what she can. She is allowed to put away the silverware (though I have to reorganize the drawer afterwards), the cooking utensils (nothing sharp of course), pots, pans, and lids. She stands next to the dishwasher and dutifully waits for me to hand her the next item to be put away.

Setting the Table
This is probably her second favorite chore ever! And it's probably my first favorite one that she does. I love that I can finish cooking dinner while Katie puts everything we need on the table! She runs into the kitchen and I hand her items one at a time to be put on the table- plates, utensils, salt and pepper shakers, cups, napkins,  juice (if it's not too heavy), and various food items that are not too heavy and ready to go, like a bowl of salad or a plate of sliced fruit or something. Brad often helps her out in putting things in the right places, like putting her plastics plate/cup by her high chair and putting mommy's and daddy's plates by our respective chairs. I also want to mention that sometimes she acts like a puppy while she is setting the table. It's pretty hilarious.

Katie is very good about picking up her dirty clothes and putting them in her hamper. She is also great at handing me things from her hamper to put in the wash, and them later putting them in the dryer. I've started hang-drying almost all of our clothes now, and Katie loves to help hang things up. We're still working on the folding part. She is much more of a destroy-that-pile-of-clothes-mommy-just-folded kind of person.

Oh my, this girl loves to cook! If i'm in the kitchen and doing anything that looks even remotely interesting, she yells "cooking!" and pulls a dining room chair up to the counter so she can help. Adding ingredients to a bowl is her favorite part. I let her dump in the flour/sugar/eggs/vanilla/whatever else is needed for a recipe. The only downside is that every once in a while, she discovers that one of the ingredients tastes good all by itself. She was helping to make chocolate chip cookies a while ago and when I asked her to pour in the chocolate chips, she instead ate a few, grabbed the bag, and walked into the living room to eat them. Haha! She also likes to help stir, though she gets tired of it pretty quickly. Even the simplest tasks she enjoys though, like setting something in the microwave or rinsing fruits in the sink.

I have a little swiffer duster that is specifically for Katie. She takes it and dusts random things for me. She never really accomplishes much, but she enjoys pretending. She also likes to try and "seep" (sweep) with the broom. It's a pretty long broom, so she has a rough time with it. Instead, I usually try to give her one of those small broom and dustpan combos. I hold down the dustpan while she sweeps big crumbs into it.

Actual Cleaning
There is no cleaning task Katie loves more than having a spray bottle in her hand, spraying something, and then wiping it down with a paper towel. With heavy supervision, she is sometimes allowed to wield an actual cleaner and spray things like the toilet or the sliding glass door, but usually I fill up a small spray bottle with water or give her my little spray bottle that is filled with vinegar that I use for cleaning most things. She does tend to over-spray however, getting a little too trigger happy with those spray bottles. After the item is thoroughly soaked, she grabs her paper towel and wipes it down. For little messes, I hand her baby wipes to use instead.

- Whenever we get home, I remind her to take off her shoes and after doing so, she immediately puts them on the shoe rack by the door, without being asked. Katie is much better at this than Brad. :)
- For some crazy reason, she enjoys throwing things away in the trash can. When I hand her a piece of trash and ask her to throw it away, she actually takes it and says "thanks!"
- Though this doesn't happen all the time, Katie is pretty good about picking up her toys without being asked to do so. Many times, she will finish playing with something and just put all the pieces away where they belong. It's pretty awesome when this happens. When she forgets, a couple of gentle reminders will prompt her to pick up her toys before she gets anything else out.
-She also enjoys putting away the groceries, putting the cats outside, trying to clean the litter box (I say trying because I do NOT let her do this, but she tries very hard to be sneaky and scoop that poop. Time-outs are more often than not related to Katie attempting to clean the litter box), closing doors, flushing toilets, turning lights on and off, and picking couch pillows up off the floor.

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without saying the most common thing she does around the house. Or really, the most common thing any 2 year old does around the house, and that is to make as big a mess as possible each and every day. :D

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Independance Day

I never did post about our 4th of July, did I?
Well, better late than never!
I'll be brief and post some pictures. :)

We were able to go up to my parent's house in Idaho Falls (they retired last year, sold their house in Cali, and are renting in Idaho for now). We've spent the last 3 July 4th's with them, so it was nice that they live much closer now.

What's more all-American than an orange push-pop?
Yum! While we were there, we also got to see my old neighbors from growing up, the DeJongs! They had come up for vacation and their son and his wife live in Rexburg.
So, Katie has worn this onesie for the last THREE Independance days! Crazy, right? Her first she was just 3 weeks old and my sisters' girls were decorating shirts. Katie's cousin Peyton was getting a onesie decorated and it was a size 18 months. My sister Marci used one of the extra 18 month size onesies to make one for Katie. It was pretty large on her little 3 week old body! Then last year, it fit her almost perfectly, though it was still a little big. She was still in a 12 month size. This year, she was too big for it, but I used a onesie extender to snap onto the bottom so she could still wear it. I'm thinking next year i'll have to somehow cut it up and make it into a shirt or something. :)
After burgers and hot dogs at the house, we headed out to wait for the Fireworks show. The Meleleuca Fireworks Show in Idaho Falls is AMAZING. If you ever get the chance to see it, you should go! My parents had parked the RV much earlier in the day to secure a spot for us to watch.

 Katie was waiting very patiently for the fireworks for a while, but then she got bored and just wanted to run around in the fields.
She noticed daddy sitting on top of the RV and wanted to join him. I know, not so safe. Daddy's are just crazy sometimes. I kept telling Brad to get farther away from the edge.

We stayed up there for a couple of extra days, hanging out with my family. We went by the river to feed the geese and ducks twice.
 Katie loved them!

Yes, that is Cap'n Crunch. Haha! I guess My little sister's husband has bought the generic kind and didn't like it at all, so we thought the geese might. They didn't really. Lol!
Overall a fun trip. It always makes me miss Idaho even more when we go up to visit. It was even harder to leave this time though, because it was the last time i'll see my brother, and his new wife, for a LONG time i'm sure. They moved up to Alaska just a week later. Sad day.

Anyway, good thing Idaho Falls is only 3 1/2 hours away!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

7 Weeks!

So, I have approximately 7 weeks left until baby boy arrives. And while that doesn't seem like a long time, it sure does to me!!!
Summer is not a fun time to be pregnant! Our electric bill was double this month what it normally is, thanks to my absolute need to keep the AC at 72. I would make it even lower if I wasn't worried about freezing poor Brad and Katie. I am just so dang sweaty ALL THE TIME!
Ok, anyway.
So 7 weeks left.
And I also happen to be in that "nesting" stage. You know when pregnant women suddenly have to have absolutely everything clean and ready to go for when baby arrives?
So i've decided, in order to distract myself, I will thoroughly and completely deep-clean one room a week until baby is here! There are about 7 main areas in the apartment and 7 weeks left, so it works perfect! There is the living room (i'm lumping the dining room in with this one), kitchen, master bedroom, master bathroom, Katie's room, the guest bedroom, and the guest bathroom.

Today, I did the guest bathroom!
I know it doesn't seem like a guest bathroom would need much deep-cleaning, but our cat and her three kittens have been occupying that bathroom for the last month. It is also Katie's bathroom, meaning scumy bath toys and a ring around the tub. Yuck!
I did everything from the baseboards, wiping down the walls and door, taking a toothbrush to all the cracks and crevices, washing the shower curtain and liner and even scrubbing the plunger!

Here's the rest of the schedule:

(I'm going to list these by the week in my pregnancy)
Week 33- Guest Bathroom -DONE

Week 34- Master Bathroom

Week 35- Kitchen

Week 36- Katie's Bedroom (this includes getting baby things ready!)

Week 37- Living Room/Dining Room

Week 38- Guest Bedroom (definitely needs to be done by this time. My mom will be coming to stay)

Week 39- Master Bedroom

Week 40- BABY! hopefully. . .

As you can see I saved the easiest rooms for the end as I know it's going to get more and more difficult to do too much at a time. Week 40 will just be last minute things, making sure everything is vaccumed, laundry and dishes are done, the freezer is stocked with meals ready to go for after baby's arrival, putting the car seat in the car and setting up the bassinet and all that other fun stuff.

I can't believe it is getting so close to the end! Even though it feels like I still have forever to go, I also feel like much of my pregnancy went by so fast! I guess being distracted by Katie helped. When I was pregnant with her, I spent most of my pregnancy laying in bed watching Netflix. :)
Not that I don't wish I could be doing that this time around because chasing a toddler is TOUGH.
Oh boy. A toddler and a newborn. What have I gotten myself into?
I'm so excited for this new little guy though. Like, REALLY excited. Can you believe I will be a mother of two? Am I really that grown-up?
Sorry. I'm starting to ramble. I think I need to take a nap. That's all for now!

OH! Let me add a few Katie pictures so you don't think that reading this post was a complete waste of time. :D

 Oh, that little stool. She loves it! Speaking of, does anyone know how to get chocolate pudding off of a footstool? Hehe.
 Getting all pretty.
She loves to try and let the kittens play with her toys. It's hilarious! She doesn't understand why they don't think balls and horses and bath toys are as awesome as she thinks they are.

Feeding geese in Idaho Falls, though she refused to call them geese and would only call them ducks.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Expanding my mind

So, I've been feeling pretty down for a few years now.
Because I didn't finish school. In fact, if you didn't know, I flunked out of school. Pretty pathetic, right?
I think i've finally gotten to a point where I can take full responsibility for how completely lazy and unmotivated I was in school. My low GPA that put me on Academic Suspension was entirely my own fault. I had stopped going to classes and stopped caring and it is one of the biggest regrets of my life.
As someone who had always been a good student (top 5% of my HS class, thank you very much), I have been so disappointed in myself.
Not to be a braggy-braggerton or anything, but I was accepted into all 3 BYU's. All three!!!! That's not that easy! And yet I blew it.
Ok. Enough self-pity.
Anyway, i've decided that I REALLY need to rectify this problem. I literally feel like i'm getting dumber and dumber all the time and going back to school is the only answer! I had intended on starting at Salt Lake Community College in May, and had my enrollment done and everything, but that was before I knew I was going to be in my third trimester of pregnancy. Yeah, not happening.
On top of that, car payments, baby/pregnancy bills, and hoping to buy a house in the next year? Where are we going to get the money for school?! Not to mention the fact that Brad thinks my want for a degree is pretty unnecessary :(
Ok, I'll get to the point.
Free courses! BYU has an independent study program, where you can pretty much take as many courses as you like, whenever you want, which is just perfect for me! But at around $120 a credit, it's not so affordable right now. AND most places won't give you a student loan or financial aid for courses like this. My plan is to save enough money to take just one course at a time, until I can save up for the next course. (Taking online surveys, selling my stuff, leftover money from the monthly grocery budget, etc. . .)
Until then, they offer some courses for free. They don't give you any college credit, but I think they may help fill the academic hole in my heart right now.
I just feel like i'm at such a stand-still and I have this deep NEED to keep learning.
My degree may take quite a while to finish going this route, but at least it's something.

Call me lame, but i've just signed up for my first two free courses:
Basic Arithmetic: Part 1 (there are 4 parts. I know math, but I think it'll be good to sharpen my skills)
Study Skills (I OBVIOUSLY need this course anyway!)

If anyone wants to take a free course with me, let me know! How fun would it be to go over stuff together? Here's the site to see what they offer.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Katie Turned Two!

I'm 4 days late, but I still want to post about how Katie turned TWO YEARS OLD!
It feels so strange to have a two year old. She's not a baby anymore. She is a toddler. And I am an adult. And it's all so weird! I feel like time went by SO quickly and yet, at the same time, I feel like she's always been a part of my life.
Here are some recent pictures of my big girl, as well as some little facts about her. :)

She is obsessed with TV. I know, this is awful. You don't know how many times i've considered stashing the TV away in some closet and only bringing it out for special occasions. The problem is, I LOVE hearing her interact with her favorite shows. Haha! She tries to sing along to theme songs, she answers when Dora or Team Umizoomi ask her questions, and honestly, I feel like she's learned a lot because of it. I think the biggest problem is that she knows how to turn the TV on all by herself and gets upset when I tell her no.
We love to just hang out and go places, one if which is the Children's Discovery Museum. Our membership ends at the end of this month, so i've been trying to go more often. We went after my last pre-natal appointment and will go back, probably for the last time, on Monday.
I'm not sure why she does this, but when we ask her to say cheese for a picture, she scrunches her eyes closed. Lol!
Katie LOVES horses (well, all animals really) and loves to say "heeeeeeeeey" when we ask her what a horse says. Maybe someday she get the "n" sound in neigh?
Katie and swimming have a love/hate relationship. I think she got WAY too spoiled while swimming at the pool in Palm Springs because the water was always nice and warm. The water in our apartment pool is always really cold and she hates it. :(

However, we can usually get her to swim for a little while before she starts saying "cold" over and over again and starts quivering her lips.
I wish the water in the pool was warmer. Then maybe Katie would let us go swimming more often. The water feels HEAVENLY on my ever-growing-already-huge belly (although, in these pictures, the water is disguising my girth rather well).
 I think she was a little angry at us for making her endure the cold water. Hahaha!
Little Katie has had some bowel movement issues (poor girl!) for the past few months. It started right around the time I stopped nursing, which probably didn't coincide well with her new-found food pickiness. A couple of weeks ago, it got so bad that she hadn't had a real good poo in a week and a half. Prune juice, nothing but fruits, veggies and water, metamucil, an enema and a suppository weren't working. She ended up getting a fever one night that was around 103 and it didn't go away for a couple of days. We made an appt with the doctor for the following morning and of course, she let it all loose that night and woke up with her fever gone. Figures. Anyway, she was pretty miserable and spent most of her time cuddled up on the couch with a sad look on her face.
 She fights bedtime every night and sometimes, we just let her go until she passes out.
She is so curious about the world around her and I love it. She can count to ten and loves to count the stairs as we go up and down, or to count the products on the shelves at the grocery store, or just to count anything in general.
She knows all the basic colors (red, blue, white, black, green, pink, purple, brown, orange) but generally refuses to say "yellow." We're not sure why she doesn't seem to like that color. Haha! I think orange is her favorite because she LOVES to point out things that are orange, although she pronounces it "on-ee."
She can identity about 1/3 of the alphabet, but letters just aren't as fun as counting things and finding different colors!
We've been working on shapes for a little bit, and she knows circle, square, and "trungle" as she likes to call a triangle.
She also loves pointing out different animals and making all the corresponding sounds. Her favorites are horses, as I said before, and frogs. She will say "i'm fog!" and get on her hands and knees, pretend to bounce and say "ribbit. ribbit." It's quite adorable.
Opposites are her latest thing, working on hot/cold, big/little, heavy/light (although she gets confused on that one because the word 'light' is usually referred to when we turn the lights on and off), yum/yuck, clean/dirty, loud/quiet etc. . .

Here she is earlier in the day on her birthday, opening a present from "gramma" and "pa" (grandma and grandpa) Evenson.

The day before her birthday, which was on Monday by the way, we welcomed some new kitties to our little family! Our cat Ash had three little kittens and Katie is just smitten with them! They are currently housed in our guest/Katie's bathroom and Katie tries to sneak in whenever she can. She is always trying to share her bath toys with them.
 I'll try and get some better pictures of the kittens later.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find my camera charger and my camera died after only taking one single picture at her birthday party! Sad day! Jenna took some pictures and video for me though, so when I get them, i'll share them with you all. Thanks Jenna!

Other things about Katie. . .

She can throw a pretty good tantrum. Someday I will make cookies for all the neighbors and apologize for her insanely loud cries and screams.
Besides that, she's still the happy girl she's always been! I still remember her smiling at everyone when she was only days old. That girl just enjoys life to it's fullest and is such a great example at finding the happiness in any situation.
Oh! She says the word "gross" and it's just about the cutest thing ever! She enunciates it so well that it's just hilarious. She generally says it in reference to her dirty diapers.
Speaking of which, potty training has been placed on the back burner for now. After her constipation issues, she is just not ready. My dream of never having two kids in diapers seems to be fading from view as my due dates draws ever closer.
Katie's favorite things:
Pacifiers (although I should mention we cut them up on her birthday. Poor girl still cries about how they are "broke")
Trains and Cars
Stuffed Bears
Mommom (that's me)
Candy (which she incessantly begs for ALL DAY LONG. Don't you wish toddlers could understand cavities?)

I'm not sure what else to say about this little girl. We just love her so much! She is changing every day and it is SO FUN watching her learn new things and figure stuff out. With the birth of our kittens, I think she understands a little better that Ash's belly was big and then the baby kitties came out, and mommom's belly is also big and soon a baby will come out of it as well. I can't wait to see her interact with her baby brother, giving him kisses and hugs and trying to teach him new things. The next few months are going to bring so much more excitement as our family becomes four.
Hopefully she won't be too jealous. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Odasso Family Travels. :D

So we've been home a week and i'm just now blogging. Are you surprised? Haha! I've been such a slacker at blogging. Oh well. Anyway, here's a rundown of our vacation, complete with pictures! (Though I don't have pictures of every awesome thing, sadly)

On Thursday night, the 10th, we headed down to Ephraim, UT, where we stayed the night at Willow Creek Inn. We enjoyed free breakfast in the morning at the hotel before heading down to Manti for Brad's little sister's wedding! Alyce and Nathan were getting sealed in the Manti temple, and we were so blessed to be able to attend. The sealing and sealer himself were AWESOME and great reminders about the importance of marriage, families, and our purpose here on Earth. I'd like to think it wasn't just pregnancy hormones that had me crying a little bit. :) Alyce looked beautiful and we are so happy for her and Nathan. I didn't take any pictures at the sealing, but she has plenty of great ones on Facebook.

After the sealing, Brad, Katie and I continued on down to Cedar City, UT, where we unloaded at the KOA. A KOA is basically a campground (mostly RVs) but this one had these cute little cabins and a buy one night, get one free sale going on. You know how I am about finding great deals. :D
Katie enjoyed playing on the bunkbed. (No worries, we didn't let her sleep up there)
 Brad loved the free WiFi, even if it was a tad slow.
It was such a nice place to stay. The cabin had heating and air, a bunkbed as well as a queen size bed, a little desk and chairs, and a few shelves. The porch had an adorable swing and then we had a picnic table and firepit. Plus, the bathrooms at this particular KOA are AMAZING! Nicer than the bathrooms in our apartment. Haha!
We didn't do much for the rest of Friday. We took Katie to the little playground at the campground, walked around for a bit, checked out the KOA store, and then roasted hot dogs and smores over a fire for dinner.
Saturday, we lazed around for a bit before heading 45 minutes down the road to La Verkin, UT. Alyce and Nathan had 2 receptions, one in Orem on Friday and one in La Verkin on Saturday. We skipped out on the Orem reception because it made more sense for us to keep driving south, rather than back and forth. Since the La Verkin reception wasn't until 6, we just hung out for most of Saturday. We met up with Alyce, Nathan, Brad's dad, his wife Rachel, and Brad's sister Adrienne and her husband James for lunch at this little bistro-type place in Hurricane, UT. It was supposed to be this yummy Mexican place called Durangos, but had apparently closed and been replaced by this cafe. We ate there anyway and the sandwich I ordered was pricey, but ended up tasting SO GOOD. MMMMMM! Anyway, after that we chilled at Nathan's parent's house until the reception.
 Thanks for letting us be a part of your special day, you two!
Saturday night, we headed back to the KOA for the night. Sunday morning we checked out and headed to the local ward for church. It was Mother's Day and a really nice meeting. They had a variety of gifts and sweets to hand out to all the women at the end and we got to choose what we wanted (there were plants, books, and sweets). I picked out a bag of three chocolate covered pretzels and Katie got into the bag and pulled one out before I could even blink. I let her have at it to keep her busy while we started the drive down to Las Vegas. Things got a little messy, but cleaning up messes is just part of being a mommy! And they are only little and willing to be covered in chocolate for so long.
In Vegas, we stayed at the Fiesta Henderson. It was in Henderson, about 15 minutes from the strip, but actually not too bad. The room was only $20, so I expected the place to be a dump, but it was actually really nice. Brad's dad, sister, and their spouses were in Vegas as well, so we hung out with them for a few hours before they left for the airport. After that, we stopped at Cabela's to see the fish and just wander around, and then we had Johnny Rocket's for dinner.
And then I attempted some belly pictures. Haha!
Bright and early Monday morning, we headed off for California! We generally take some backroads from Vegas to Palm Springs, but took the interstate this time in order to meet up with some friends in Rancho Cucamonga. I got to see my bf Daryn for the first time in SO long! (Ok, it's only been since September, but still.) Daryn and her husband Mat actually live up in Northern California, but were down visiting some family and friends, so we were able to see them for a couple of hours. It was awesome.
We spent the rest of Monday checking into our hotel and hitting up the pool.:)
Tuesday, we ventured off to The Living Desert. Katie enjoyed the petting zoo most of all.
She also loved looking at the snakes and saying "nakes! sssssssssss!"
After a couple of hours, Brad couldn't stand the heat anymore (it was only 90 degrees. Haha!) so we headed back to the timeshare for more swimming.
Katie LOOOOOVES the pool and we went swimming almost everyday we were there. We spent most of the time in the shallow 1 and 2 foot areas of the pool where Katie enjoyed walking around by herself. Unfortunately, she also loved dunking herself underwater a little too much. A little scary the first few times for Brad and I, but we got over it. The girl just loved to stick her head in the water! We tried to teach her to keep her mouth closed, but she couldn't resist opening her mouth into a huge smile every time she went under.
We had dinner by the pool one night. Nachos for me and Katie, hot wings for Brad. We also fed a little scavenger bird right next to us who enjoyed the nachos as well.
Wednesday, we drove out to Cabazon to see the dinosaurs. I hadn't been since they built this huge robotic dino exhibit and outdoor museum thing, so that was kind of cool to check out.
Katie and Brad inside the T-Rex. Sadly, the long neck (I don't remember it's real name. Lol!) was closed so we couldn't go inside. :(
Thursday we spent some time with my sister Katrina! We mostly just hung out at her house with her fiance, Myke. We also went to check out their wedding venue and play with the million ducks that were following us around. Thursday night, we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and then walked around The River in Rancho Mirage for a bit.
Friday we went up the tram! I've been up about 5 times before, but never had the chance to actually walk around or hike or anything. 4 of those times was for winter formal and the first time was 5th grade, which I don't really remember very well.
It was right around Katie's naptime though, so we mostly just wandered a bit and didn't do any hiking.
I don't care if you don't want to see us kissing. This is MY blog afterall. :D

Friday night we stayed in a slightly scary, kinda gross apartment in Desert Hot Springs. Lol! My friend Jeni's mom had a rental apartment that she let us stay in for free. The carpet was brand new that day, but didn't say much for the rest of the place. (dead cockroach on the floor in the kitchen?) but hey, it was free. And kind of an adventure. Almost made me feel like the Boy Meets World episode after Cory and Topanga get married and move into that awful, nasty apartment. :D

Saturday was the big day! One of my best friends, Nicole, got married to her best friend Nathan! I am so grateful I was able to be there to witness their happy day.
I have to include the story about this moon. Friday, we were driving out to my sister's place in La Quinta. We were on the freeway when I said to Brad, "Hey look! The moon!" we were getting off the exit though and he didn't see what I was talking about. A few minutes later, we were stopped at a stop light when a truck stopped right in front of and next to us. It was hauling the moon I saw on the freeway and told Brad that was what I was talking about. We looked at it for a while, wondering what it was for and what it was made of and where in the world it was going. Anyway, we're at the wedding reception, and what do you know? The moon was there!! Part of the decorations! What a coincidence, right?!
Anyway, we had to leave the reception early, so I only have this quick, not so flattering snapshot of me with the bride and groom, but don't they look so happy?
The wedding and reception were from 4:30-9:45, but we left around. . . 7 I think it was? We had to drive through the night to make it back up to Utah. Anyway, overall it was a great trip! Not quite what I was hoping (my original plans included Sea World and a trip to the beach), but still so nice to be back in my home area for a while. I forget sometimes how much I miss that heat and the feel of the sun. Man, i'm a desert rat through and through.