Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Girl Stuff


Sophie was lucky to be dolled up by Aunt Hillie last week. I give up on barrettes and pigtails most days because she usually has them pulled out before lunch.

What surprised me, though, is coming home at 4PM seeing her 'do still in tact. She looked so old! And these particular pigtails, I didn't think were possible. Her hair has gotten longer than I thought.

Thanks for the pics, Hil. :)









Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All About the Boy

I liked this meme because it's not about me.


1. What is his name?
Stephen Richard
2. Who eats more? Depends. I usually eat more if Steve's not working out regularly.
3. Who said, "I love you" first? I think it was me . . . and there was a long (we're talking 5 whole minutes) excruciating pause before he said, "I love you, too." He likes to think things over before he makes decisions. Even decisions about what to drink at dinner.
4. Who is taller? Steve, by 3 inches
5. Who is smarter? Probably Steve. Except when we're in the kitchen.
6. Who is more sensitive? Sensitive? Like wear your heart on your sleeve? That would be me. Sensitivity toward other people? Probably Steve.
7. Who does the laundry? It's nice to see that a lot of hubbies help out with the folding. Around here, I do the laundry. Period.
8. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Looking at the bed, it's Steve.
9. Who pays the bills? I pay one. Steve pays the rest.
10. Who cooks more? Me
11. Who is more stubborn? Probably me.
12. Who is the first to admit they are wrong? Most of the time it's me because Steve is never wrong (see #5.) It makes me so mad sometimes. :)
13. Who has more siblings? Steve. He's the 2nd of 5. I'm the oldest of 3.
14. Who wears the pants in the relationship? Hmm. We make a lot of decisions together, and although I like to make Steve thinks he wears the pants, I think I probably do.
15. What do you like to do together? We're such geeks when left on our own. We love playing Yahtzee, we've watched 18 seasons of the Simpsons over the past 3 years, and the other night when we watched Newsies (Steve hadn't seen it before), we each had our laptops out, IMDB'ing everyone in the movie. (Did you know Christian Bale is a vegetarian?)
16. Who eats more sweets? Me. For sure.
17. Guilty Pleasures? Spending hours online reading articles about the evils of processed food, the corrupt corporate world, and ignorant people ranting about how chiropractors are quacks. I call it a guilty pleasure; he calls it "studying".
18. How did you meet? We met on a bus on the way to a baptism. In Moscow, Russia. If you're really interested, I might post the expanded version on our anniversary.
19. Who asked whom out first? The way we met was unusual and so were our dating habits. Technically our first date was a session in the Salt Lake temple two weeks before I went into the MTC. No one really "asked out" anyone.
20. Who kissed who first? Steve kissed me first. (Psh. I've never been the type of girl to jump over that hurdle on my own.) It was in my parents' kitchen on Easter Sunday. Hoppy the rabbit saw the whole thing.
21. Who proposed? Steve (another hurdle that boys should jump over :))
22. His best features and qualities? Physical features? Hmm... I love his enormous eyes, mile-long eyelashes (thanks for passing those on, sweetie), and thick, dark hair. I also love his hands and arms and how gentle he is. Not just physically gentle (he seriously wouldn't harm a fly), but all-around gentle. He's tough, but he's got a sweet, sincere, sensitive side that I wouldn't trade for anything. I also love his even temperament. It balances out my tendency to overreact.
23. Tag you’re it. Who do you tag? I don't tag.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Last Week: The Expanded Version

Because two of my piano students' mothers read my blog, I should probably explain that comment I made about me needing piano lessons. I don't want them to think that I'm teaching their kids false doctrine or anything. :) What my teacher trainer suggested makes my situation sound a lot more tragic than it really is. The things she noticed that I need to work on are things that only a devout Suzuki teacher would notice listening to Suzuki pieces. Suzuki is very particular (um. . . OCD is more like it) about tone quality, form, and technique. From day one. This might seem like a lot for little kids to master, but in reality, it's the perfect time for them. They're like sponges at that age, and if you make it fun for them, they'll pick it up even faster. And then you don't have to work on all those things in subsequent pieces -- it'll be like second nature.

Because I haven't had lessons since my second year of college (ahem... nineyearsago), I've let some technique slip. It wasn't that hard, I mean, who's going to critique you when you're playing for the ward choir? Or in Primary? I'm perfectly capable of teaching my students where they are right now, but I do need to brush up on the second book (i.e. relearn all the pieces and memorize them) before any of them get there. No worries. I'll just do it in my spare time. Or after the baby's born when I have even MORE spare time.

So, while I was in class all week, my sister Hilary was here watching Sophie for me. I had a nanny. It was pretty darn sweet. But honestly, I don't know how some women are able to work full-time and still take care of their families and their home. I let the dishes and the housework pile up more than usual do because I was so brain-tired from being in class. Plus I really missed my girl.

On Saturday we went to Half Moon Bay. For those of you who aren't locals, it's probably the closest sandy beach we have (I think) -- about an hour away. It was only about 70 degrees, so we didn't plan on swimming. Not that I ever plan on swimming if I can help it . . .

Even when I'm crouched down with my stomach squished out, I really don't think I look like I'm due any moment. Did I mention the lady who told me that was working in a baby store that I went into when she made that observation? You'd think she'd seen enough pregnant women to know the difference -- or at least have the tact to keep her mouth shut.


The water felt like glacier run-off, and a few of the waves caught us by surprise and soaked us a little. Sophie's whole skirt got soaked, and because it never dried, she spend the rest of the day in her diaper. I'm such a prepared mother.


Aw.


Here's Hillie. She's the skinny, blond version of me.

While I inherited my dad's height and my mom's curves, Hillie is the complete opposite. She's got my mom's height (5'5") and my dad's lankiness. My mom and I tease her about being a stick, but it's just because we're jealous. And look how long her legs are, they're about as longs as mine and I'm four inches taller. I think I mentioned before that she's getting married in September. Her fiance, Adam, is working in Virginia all summer, so seeing her like this -- clutching her phone and furiously texting -- was a common sight.



One of the only parts of me that stay reasonably skinny despite gaining enormous amounts of weight are my fingers. (Although I did have to take my rings off halfway through my last pregnancy.) They've always been long and slender, which is probably where Sophie gets hers. My wedding ring is a size 4.5, which I adore because I don't think I've ever worn a 4 on any other part of my body. Ever.

When Hillie got her ring, it sort of rained on my skinny finger parade. Hers is a 3.5. Of course it wouldn't fit over my knuckle. What was I thinking?


Pretty, huh?

Hillie flew back yesterday and things are back to normal around here. Sophie's back to two naps a day, and I had most of the house clean by noon, only to have my little tornado run through it after lunch. It was the thought the counted, right?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Still Here

I sort of dropped off the face of the earth because I've been in a Suzuki Piano teacher training all week. Here are a few highlights from yesterday that I might expand on later. Or maybe not because I really don't want to dwell on any of them.

1. My teacher trainer suggested that I take a few lessons because it had been a while since I'd been in lessons, and I'd picked up some bad habits over the years. That's not something you want to hear when you're trying to teach.

2. A lady in a store said to me, "Wow, are you almost due?" To which I replied, "No, not even close. I'm 20 weeks. But thanks!"

3. Will got kicked off of So You Think You Can Dance last night, which was devastating.

I'm going to the mall today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Getting Acquainted with Concrete

Sophie had her first face-plant in the sidewalk yesterday. I'm surprised there wasn't more damage done to her face with the way she landed. It just snagged her lip, which makes me wonder if she bit it. Anyhow, it looks a lot less like hamburger today and more like a cold sore.

Um, could you please move the book out of your face, sweetie?


Thank you. Wow, forget the lip. Look at those lashes. :)


While I'm at it, here's how I often find her if she's alone in the living room. She can climb up on the couch by herself now and cozy into a good book. That one happens to be in German. Did I mention how brilliant she is?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Suspicion



Last week Steve came home with a bouquet of flowers for me. Half-jokingly, I asked him, "What did you do?" Then I asked him, "What are you going to do?" When he seemed a little put off by my suspicious questions, I should have stopped. But my mouth, which has gotten me into trouble most of my life, just had to blurt out, "Oh, is this for making me drive to the school this afternoon for no reason?"

"If that's how you want to think of it, than sure," he replied.

This was the first time since we were engaged, five years ago, that he has given me flowers for no reason. Steve's not the shower-me-with-gifts-to-show-he-loves-me type. He shows it in more subtle ways like finishing up the dishes when I'm tired or taking Sophie outside so I can get some things done around the house. Or making sure the oil is changed in the car, my phone is charged, the garbage is out on the curb every week, and the ice bin is full (I can't live without ice.). I love getting flowers, but if I had to choose, I'd much rather have the little things he does.

You can't blame me for being suspicious, but still, I should have simply hugged him and thanked him with a kiss. Thanks, hon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Bunch of Stuff about Sophie

OK, here's the backlog from the past couple of weeks. And since the long-distance grandmas are anxious to see more video clips, I thought it would be in my best interest to post them sooner rather than later. You don't want to get on a grandma's bad side.

First we have our trip to the Oakland Zoo during the break. You'd assume that this was a trip for Sophie, but it wasn't. She's been to the zoo about four times already this year. This was a trip for Steve, who hadn't been before.

Sophie loved the giraffes. And the elephants. And the monkeys. She's got quite an animal fetish. If they had cats (that wouldn't eat you) at the zoo, I think we could have just left her there content for the rest of the week.

During one of our trips to Sacramento we had a BBQ over at Uncle Matt and Aunt Jen's house (Steve's sister and brother-in-law). Since they had a pool, we thought Sophie might like to take a dip. It was a very gradual process getting her used to the not-quite-bath-temperature water. Once she was in the boat, she instantly grabbed the steering wheel and "drove" around the pool. Thanks Matt & Jen for letting Sophie test out all of Nathan's toys. :)

"OK, grandpa, put your skis on."

Here's some footage of her walking around. It's over a week old and she's gotten even better since then. It's so crazy how fast this has all happened.

The first clip (I combined two clips. . . that's why it's so long) doesn't have much walking, but I took it because she finally let me put barrettes and pigtails in her hair for a couple of days. She even left them in until about 3 PM. Unfortunately it only lasted a short time. She's back to pulling everything out again.

The second clip I'm sort of embarrassed about because there are about 300 things on the floor. It was one of those mornings after we hadn't put her toys away the night before. I'm sure I'm the only one who does such things. :)
video

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's a . . .

girl! Another girl. I totally called that one.

Everything looks good. Even the picture of the alien they gave us as a souvenir.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mosaic Meme

This wasn't in the "truckload", but I thought it was cute, so I did it.


To make your own mosaic-

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

My answers to these burning questions:
1. What is your first name? Natalie
2. What is your favorite food? Cheese
3. What high school did you go to? Hillcrest
4. What is your favorite color? Red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Jim from The Office
6. Favorite drink? Ice Water
7. Dream vacation? Greece
8. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Patient (I like Lorraine's answer :))
10. What do you love most in life? My family
11. One Word to describe you. Happy
12. Your flickr name. natperry

I cheated on the last one. Nothing came up when I typed my user id, so I chose one of the photos I had on there.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm an Aunt!

So, I have a truckload of things to post on here, but I decided that cleaning my house was more important than blogging for a couple of hours, so I'm doing this in little bite-sized pieces. Unlike me, I know. But I'm glad I have a clean house now.

After Steve and I made all of our siblings aunts and uncles last year, one of his sisters returned the favor (just shy of my brother's wife, who is expecting next month!). Let me introduce you to Nathan. He's darling. And he has fantastic hair full of body and natural highlights. Lucky kiddo.


Aunt Jen (Nathan's mom), Sophie, me and Mr. Nathan


"Um, Mom? Why is that baby in my spot?"


Still a little jaundiced at 4 days old, but man . . . look at that hair.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Camping

Steve and I had a conversation after we got back from his family reunion "camp-out" about what we thought the definition of camping is. Since camping is on my list of favorite things to do right between watching Country Music Television and having a cavity drilled, my definition was quite different from his. (By the way, I've had a cavity drilled while watching CMT and let me tell you . . . between that and the dentist humming as he drilled, I couldn't bring myself to go back.)

Our conversation went a little like this . . .

Me: "That place was a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be. It made camping not so awful."

Steve: "That wasn't camping."

Me: "Yes, it was."

Steve: "There was a pool there. And showers. And we even had our own room with real beds."

Me: "So? It was still camping."

Steve: "What made it camping?"

Me: "Um . . . being out in the middle of nowhere."

Steve: "So is staying in a nice cabin considered camping if it's out in the middle of nowhere?"

Me: "No."

Steve: "Why?"

Me: "Because . . . it's nicer. And the bathrooms are right next to you."

Steve: "What about staying in a motorhome? The bathrooms are pretty close in there."

Me: "That's camping."

Steve: "Why?"

Me: "Um . . . because you're cramped. And . . . you have to bring all your food with you."

Steve: "So what about a hotel? You have a bathroom, but no food."

Me: "That's not camping because you're in a huge, nice building in the middle of civilization."

and on and on it went....

Basically it came down to this:

Nat's definition of camping: out in the middle of nowhere, distant proximity to a bathroom/shower (farther from down the hall), and having to bring all your food with you. If you're staying at a "campground", it's camping no matter where you sleep and what facilities you have, even if it has a pool. Cabins are not found at campgrounds.

Steve's definition of camping: not sure because he backed me into a corner the whole time, making me defend myself. I have a feeling it's something like, . . . no pool, sleeping in a tent, no bathrooms, middle of nowhere, hunting your own food, making fires without matches and growing a beard.

**FYI, I went to girls camp with my stake six years in a row. Five of those years was in a tent. Two or three were without sinks, showers, and flushable toilets. I've been camping. I've paid my dues. As far as I'm concerned, why on earth would you sleep on the ground in the freezing cold with all the bugs when you have a nice warm bed at home?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sophie News and a Lot of Videos

video
This little clip is from when we were in Sacramento walking around the capital building. Sophie does a good job of steering Steve off the grass.

video
Sophie is officially walking now. Before our trip, she'd only taken a handful of steps at a time, with lots of coaxing. And she'd do it maybe once a day. When we got back she decided she was going to walk everywhere. This clip is about a week old, and she's improved quite a bit since then. She walks now more than she crawls. I suppose this means my baby is a toddler now because she's . . . "toddling"? It makes me a little sad, but I love watching her walk around the house with her arms in the air like a chimp and a huge smile on her face.

video
Sophie's been getting a lot of teeth lately, poor thing. She had a runny nose the whole time we were at my parents' place, but she wasn't cranky, so I thought it might have been allergies. Then we got home, and I noticed two of her top molars were halfway in. A few days later I noticed the bottom ones beginning to poke through, too. That brings her teeth total to 8 (6 on the top and 2 on the bottom) plus two bottom molars on the way. We've been trying to teach her about plates and forks, too. Plates (with food on them) always end up being thrown. Even the ones with the suction cups on the bottom. She likes using a fork, but doesn't have the coordination yet to poke her own food, so we poke it for her and give her the fork to put in her mouth. She thinks it's pretty cool as you can see.

video
I found some organic animal crackers at Costco with a pretty low sugar content, so I bought some hoping Sophie would like them. Oh she does. A lot. She's also gotten in the habit lately of smearing food in her hair. When she does this at dinner it doesn't bother me as much because she'll be getting a bath pretty soon afterwards. She did a pretty good job with the crackers the other night.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Gratitude

Every year around the 4th of July I tend to get sentimental and especially grateful for what I have. Here are just a few of the things I've been thinking about the last few days. . .


I'm grateful to have Steve. If you didn't know, Steve proposed on the 4th of July five years ago. Not many people have a photo of the actual moment they were proposed to. We do because Steve did it in public. At the fireworks in Idaho Falls. With the help of the DJ who was at the station that tens of thousands of people were listening to at that moment because they had choreographed music to the firework show. If you think that's pretty gutsy of him, consider the fact that we hadn't even talked about getting married nor had we gone ring shopping. Steve and I just knew it was going to happen. We never even had a DTR the whole time we were dating. I couldn't have asked for a better husband. He is my perfect match. I'm grateful for the timing of events in our lives that allowed us to meet and eventually fall in love.

I'm grateful that Steve had the opportunity to serve our country, as tough as it was for the both of us. Being one of those women who sends their husband off to war made me understand, to a small degree, the sacrifices so many in our country make. Even if the reasons for the war are argued over, our soldiers are willing to do whatever is asked of them. I'm grateful for that.

I'm grateful to live in a country that lets me worship the way I choose. I'm grateful for the Gospel in my life and the freedom it gives me. I'm grateful for the Savior who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me, listens to me, and blesses me with more than I deserve.

I'm grateful to be a mother. It's something that I never fully understood until I became one (you were right, mom). I'm grateful that I don't have to work, and that I can stay home and take care of Sophie. I'm so grateful for her sweetness and innocence. She reminds me that we should forgive easily, love each other unconditionally, and gratefully take note of the beauties of the world that God has given us.

Happy 4th of July :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We're Home

We've been home since Saturday, but I couldn't bring myself to sit and blog until we got unpacked and I was able to clean my house. Then I had to do Posh Mama stuff . . . and I still have to sort through the piles of clothes in my room and put away the stuff I can't fit into and won't be able to fit into for at least a year, which is about 75% of it. Man. It still blows my mind how fast my body grows and shrinks (although it seems to grow faster than it shrinks) when I get pregnant, have a baby, then get pregnant again. My poor body deserves a break after this.

Anyway . . . I'm glad to say that everyone I gave the flu to has completely recovered. (By the way, the victim toll went up to six. My grandma got it after we left her house last week, but luckily it wasn't too severe.) What better way to say you care than to spread a nasty, vomit-inducing bug around your family?

Here are a few pics from the last couple of weeks.

I love how peaceful it is up at my parents' house. Luckily we were there during the 2 weeks it happens to be green in the back forty. This is a view from the back deck.


Sophie loved going out there and walking up and down the stairs. Speaking of her walking . . . I'll give you an update about that a little later :).


Here's a shot from the front. You can see most of Idaho Falls from here. By the way, I talked to my mom last week and there were a couple of days where they couldn't see the city because of all the smoke that blew over from the California fires. Luckily it's finally clearing up here and the skies are blue again.


If Abby (the cat outside on the deck) was around, chances are Sophie was right in her face. Abby spent a lot of time outside while we were there. :)


Grandma had to do a lot of baby-proofing now that Sophie can pretty much go where ever she wants. She replaced a lot of breakable knick-knacks with books and toys. Sophie was in heaven.


Oh yeah, there were other people there, too. Grandma, Aunt Hillie, Sophie, and me.


On the way back to the Bay Area, we stopped in Sacramento for lunch and walked around downtown.


The gardens around the capital building are really pretty.


Two days after we drove back from ID/UT, we drove back out to the Sierras to spend a couple of days at Steve's family reunion. It was the first time we'd taken Sophie camping, but according to a discussion we had after we got back, it wasn't really camping. I'll explain later.


From the left we have Steve's parents, his Grandma Perry, the three of us, and Steve's sister, Kimi. (By the way, I know I don't look that big in person. I've only gained 5 lbs so far, but my clothes were really baggy. See my ankles? Uh huh. Ok, enough apologizing for a pic that probably isn't as bad as I think it is.)