Friday, October 31, 2008

Freaky Day is Fun Again

Since I stopped trick-or-treating as a teen, I've never had much of an interest in Halloween. I hate scary movies, creepy decorations, and dressing up is only fun if I have a good costume. (Most of the time it's more work than its worth, in my opinion.) Now that I have Sophie to dress up and that she's starting to understand more and do more hands-on things with us, I think Halloween might become fun again.

Despite my bah-humbug feelings about Halloween, I have always liked pumpkin carving.

What was I thinking? White shirt on pumpkin carving day? Ack!

We got one of those kits that has patterns and little carving knives the first Halloween after we got married. Somehow, I've managed to save it (putting it under the silverware holder is a good idea) every year and now we're getting down to the complex ones. (We're bound to get the full $3.87 worth out of it. Ha.) I did the trick-or-treat ghosts and Steve did the skull guy. They turned out better than I thought they would. I was afraid my pumpkin was so thick that the light wouldn't shine through the little holes. Guess not...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Part Two of the Tutu Saga

Those of you who saw Sophie have a fit the first time I put a tutu on her were probably surprised to see her wearing it at the Halloween carnival tonight. I was determined to get her into it, so every couple of days since then I'd tried to put it on her for a couple minutes at a time. The third time, she didn't even pull at it and kept it on for 15 minutes. Tutus aren't scary after all.

I wasn't sure what the official name of her costume was going to be -- all I knew is that I wanted her to wear a tutu. Because she rips everything off of her head, I couldn't put a crown or flowers or anything cute in her hair except pigtails (which she miraculously kept in for a couple of hours). I probably would have crossed the line trying to make her wear wings, so I made her a "wand" and dolled up a plain black onesie this afternoon and called it good. Someone at the carnival called her the "Perry Fairy", so I guess that's what she was.

I told her to say "cheese" and this is what she did. She probably thought I was going to give her some actual cheese.

They had a little hoop set up for the kids, and Steve tried to teacher how to throw the ball in. She usually turned around and threw it in the opposite direction. Hmm. Not a lot of athletic intuition there. Probably from her mother.

Sophie and Asher have sort of a love-hate relationship. They seem to play well together, but every five minutes or so someone gets on someone's nerves. Sophie doesn't like it when Asher gets too close to her and Asher doesn't like it when Sophie sings to herself. They're funny to watch.

She's getting better about getting Asher's hugs, though. This time she actually put her head on his chest. Aww.

After the games, we took her out in the parking lot for the Trunk-or-Treat. It didn't take her too long to figure out what to do. Halfway through, she decided she'd rather start eating the candy she already had instead of getting more.

No, Steve and I didn't dress up. Steve came straight from school and I, well . . . didn't feel like it. So I went as a pregnant lady. No need for pictures. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happier Times

If you noticed my lack of response in the previous post when Sophie started to cry it's because we have meltdowns like that at least a dozen times a day. That girl is getting so sensitive lately. And clingy. I wonder if she senses that she won't have all the attention to herself for much longer.

In between the meltdowns, she's pretty happy. And so am I.

It doesn't take a lot of humidity for my hair to frizz, which is why I went most of the week in curly-mode. Sophie's in curly-mode every day. She's back to pulling pigtails out again most days. Sigh.

Steve was sitting on the kitchen floor eating a piece of bread one day (no idea why he sat on the floor), and Sophie walked over to sit next to him. She also crouches next to me when I crouch in front of the fridge and dig through the produce drawers.

I think I need to get Sophie more toys to play with outside. She loves being out there with her favorite ball, though. I just wish we had a fenced-in yard because she's getting increasingly faster at running down the sidewalk. And I'm getting increasingly slower.

Here she's brushing her hands together (like when you have dirt on them) to tell me that she sees the flower bed. And that she's going over there to throw dirt around even though I'm shaking my head and telling her "no". Speaking of "no", Sophie started saying it this week. "No, no, no," just like I tell her. She also sings songs about "no" and says, "bye, bye, no!"

Yay! A good smile!

Here's something else she loves to do. (I take out the sharp knives.) So far we haven't had any casualties.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tutu for Next Year

I've been itching to put a tutu on Sophie for months and thought Halloween was a good excuse to dress her up in one. I googled for a while until I found some instructions on how to make one -- without using my sewing machine. It was brilliant! I picked up some pink and black tulle from the fabric shop this week and put it together in under and hour.

Um, Sophie wasn't as enthusiastic as I'd hoped she'd be. (This was the first time she'd seen it and the first time I tried to put it on her.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One More Oldie

When I was looking through old pictures last week, I ran across this one:

Sort of reminds me of this little face here:

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Should Have Been a Locksmith

One more thing, Dad. Thanks for bailing me out all those times I locked my keys in my car in high school. Especially that time I was clear out at piano lessons.

I've been really good the past few years about not locking my keys in my car. Until today. And I happened to be about 20 minutes from home. Steve drives a scooter to school and doesn't take it on the freeway (although he could if he was in a pinch). Our house was locked, so I couldn't call anyone to bring me a key. I'd feel bad doing that anyway because I was so far from home. Steve and I decided that I should probably call a locksmith.

For the first time in my unlucky-with-car-keys life, I had to pay someone to open my car. I hate paying for stupid things. (like interest, shipping, whatever fees people like tacking on to things) I especially hate paying a lot of money for stupid things because I feel like I'm getting ripped off. Locksmithing has now been added to my "stupid things" list.

It seemed, from searching a phone book inside a store I was stuck at, that one locksmithing place pretty much dominated the entire area. I would have been calling forever trying to find another place that serviced the area I was in, would get here quickly, and wouldn't require my first born child as payment.

The lady on the phone told me it would be $39 just for the guy to come out to my car and depending on what kind of locks I had and what tools he had to use, it was another fee, starting around $15, to open the car. I figured my car wouldn't be much more than $15. It's a 10-year-old Accord with no alarm system and no keyless entry. It's not like he'd be cracking open the Batmobile.

The guy arrived about 15 minutes later and inspected the car for a minute. After writing up a quote on his pad of paper, he pushed it over to me for my signature. This is what he wrote:

Service fee 39
Lockout 110

My first thought was, "Oh, the 1 and the 3 are lined up, but he must have forgotten the decimal. Uh, and the other zero, because there's no way that could be $110."

Here's how our conversation went:

Me: "Is that $110?"

Locksmith Guy: "Ya."

Me: "So is that the total?"

LG: "No. They're added together."

Me: "It's $110 just to open my car?"

LG: "Yes. With the service fee it's about $150"

Me: "Are you serious?"

LG: "It's our company policy."

Me: "The lady on the phone said that the lockout fees start at $15. I don't even have a nice car."

LG: "They range from $15 to $150."

Me: "Do you have some kind of military discount or pregnant lady discount or something? Because that is RIDICULOUS."

LG: "Well, I could knock off the service fee, so it would be $110."

Since I had almost no other option at that point, I signed the paper. Wow, what a deal. How does that guy sleep at night?

What I really want to know is what kind of car do they charge $15 to open? A scooter? A rusted out car with the window knocked out? Accords are one of the most stolen cars in America. If any bozo off the street can rip off my car, then why is it so hard for Mr. Locksmith Guy to get it open with his fancy tools?

I'd have gladly given you the $110 instead, Dad.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Since today is my Dad's birthday, and I tend to be hit-and-miss with greeting cards, (Uh. . . this year was a miss, if you catch my drift.) I thought I'd do a blog post instead.

My supply of old pictures here in Cali is limited, and trying to find an older picture of my dad without me (or any of my siblings) in it is like trying to find one of Steve without Sophie in it. Children sure take over your life - and your photo albums - don't they?

Dad, thanks for spending so much time with us as kids. Some of my best memories from growing up are vacations we went on, boating days, and camping trips. (Yes, camping. Thanks to my mom we always went in the camper.) I know there was a phase I went through where I was reluctant to go, but it always meant a lot to me that you put up a fuss when I opted out. I learned that it was important to spend time together as a family.

Thanks for teaching us to take school seriously. You always emphasized the importance of working hard and doing our best. I remember one particular report card I brought home that had all A's with one A -. You pointed at the A- and said, "what happened there?". A little harsh, maybe, but I know you were just trying to prove a point. I learned to set my standards high from that.

Speaking of work, I'm glad that you (and mom) taught us how to work. All those years of mowing the lawn because "Dad has allergies" made me wonder if you were just faking it because you didn't want to mow the lawn yourself. I was sort of a punk, I know. I'm not glad you had allergies, but I'm glad you made me work. . . . at least long enough for Devin to grow tall enough to see over the lawn mower handle. I made him do it as soon as he was strong enough to push it.

Thank you for taking pictures of us as kids, although I loathed it (as you can see above). I still don't like it, but I try to be patient because I know having photos and keeping records is important. Photos of backsides, mom's morning hair, and mouths full of food are ones we'll especially treasure. Seriously.

Thank you for teaching me how to handle money, pick out a good car, and drive a stick shift. And thank you for teaching me how to pick a man, too. If you (and mom) gave me a thumbs up, I knew I really picked a good one.

Thank you also for teaching us by example to take Church responsibilities seriously, to do what's right, and blessing our home with the Priesthood. Our home was always a place of refuge from life, and I hope to make my own home that way for my family.

I love you Dad! Happy Birthday!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pickin' Punkins

Saturday we went with some friends over to Half Moon Bay and picked out some pumpkins from a huge pumpkin patch. It sure beat going to the grocery store.

First ride in a wheel barrow. I think she liked it. She didn't cry, at least.

Lots of roundness in this picture. I told Heather we should paint our stomachs like jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.

This is me and my friend, Heather. Heather and I have a lot in common. We're both from Idaho Falls, both served missions, both have a little girl, we live in the same neighborhood, and our hubbies go to the same school. We're both on the taller side (Heather's got me by three inches, though) and we're both about the same age . . . gestational age, too. Our due dates are only about a week apart. We also have the same doctor, so we book our appointments at the same time and drive together. The doctor and the nurses there think it's pretty funny.

Here's Sophie and Hallie, Heather's little girl. Hallie's almost exactly a year older than Soph. It's fun to watch the things she says and does because that will be my little girl in a year.

We picked out three big pumpkins and one small one. I decided that I'm going to cook a couple of them down and freeze it for baking. I've never used fresh pumpkin before. I've also never made a pie from scratch before. (Yes, grandma, it's true. Sorry if that's disappointing.) I think I'll whip one up, while I still have time to be ambitious. And maybe eat it all myself, while I'm still OK with looking a bit pudgy. (FYI, I can totally afford the calories. I weigh 20 lbs less than I did during month 8 of my last pregnancy. Go me.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Few of Sophie's Favorite Things

The garbage man

Every Wednesday morning the garbage man passes by the house twice -- one for each side of the street. Every other week both the garbage and the recycling gets picked up, so we get four passes. And every Wednesday morning Sophie will hear him coming and climb up on the couch to look out the window.

Those mechanical lifts are sure mesmerizing.

Feeding herself, and any kind of personal hygiene/grooming product

Sophie's working on balancing food on a spoon and insists on feeding herself most of the time. Uh, we still have a ways to go, but she uses a fork pretty well now. If she really likes something she'll just put down her utensil and start grabbing it with her hands. That doesn't work so well with soup.

As far as the hygiene/grooming products goes, anything slippery on Sophie's hands or fingers is, to her, either lotion (rubs it on hands/legs), hair mousse (rubs it in hair), or lip gloss (dabs it on lips/tongue). Sometimes she gets them mixed up and will inadvertently eat something she probably shouldn't or rub the wrong product in the wrong place. Or she'll miss the boat entirely as you can see here.

Singing/humming songs, particularly while looking at her songbook.

I have one of those pocket-sized Primary Children's Songbooks that Sophie has attached herself to. If you ask her if she wants to sing a song, she'll immediately start humming and searching for her songbook. Occasionally (and with close supervision by mom) I'll let her flip through the big one. She loves it.

She hums to herself a lot, even when she's not looking at her book. We realized recently that a frequent melody she hums is the first line from "I Feel My Savior's Love". It gets a little hazy after that, but it's really sweet. Steve and I sing a couple of songs to her before she goes to sleep or if she's particularly cranky in the car or getting her hair washed. It quiets her down instantly. I guess I must have sang that song a lot for her to pick it up so quickly. It's one of the first that comes to my head.

This clip is a little long - about four minutes. I didn't want to cut her off, and then she started jabbering about something, and I couldn't stop during that, either.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Floral Mistress

I'm so excited that one of my best friends has joined the Etsy train. She just opened up a shop showcasing her floral arrangements and I wanted to share. These aren't just ordinary arrangements, either. They're made from high quality silk flowers and gorgeous vases. (By the way, I didn't even know she did this until a couple of weeks ago. We really need to get together more often, Stace. :))

Here's the link to her shop: Floral Divine

And here are some of my fav's:

Friday, October 03, 2008

Baker's Initiation or When Dad's Not Here

Sophie likes to stand up on a chair while I'm in the kitchen and watch what I'm doing as she grabs things from the counter and makes twice the mess to clean up later. Today we made Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. (Um... if you like pumpkin and chocolate together, you have to go make these right now. Seriously.)
Steve and I are usually pretty strict about not giving Sophie a lot of sweets and junk food. Until today, I'd never given her a spatula from something I've been baking. I figure eventually I had to start. What kind of childhood would she have if she never got to lick spatulas*? This spatula happened to be covered in brownie batter. Below you can see the progression from complete bliss to total devastation when I tried to take it away from her. The third look down on the left almost made me give in and let her make a complete mess of herself. Almost.

A few tears, a clean shirt, and an extra big package of paper towels later, she forgot all about it. Easy to upset. (mostly) Easy to please.

*Yes, there were raw eggs in the batter. Honestly, I'm not worried. If there was a real danger from eating raw cookie dough and batter, I'd probably be dead by now from how much I've eaten in my life.