Saturday, December 15, 2007

Samantha Today

She's as adorable as always!! I think she's ready to go swimming, what do you think?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cute as a Bug!

Sammi has had some pretty cute days the last week, so I thought I'd showcase her cuteness! (As if anyone was in doubt of just how cute she is!)

Her pigtails get cuter every time I do them!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Tick or Treating

Alright, I'm finally getting around to talking about Halloween night! Sam had such a big day that she was actually pretty tired when it came time to go out. As I put her in the stroller I asked her if she was tired. I got a slight head nod and a looong blink! She had enough energy to show off her pumpkin that she and Brent carved on Saturday morning. Despite the tiredness, we went out, I walked quickly and we had a good time. We saw lots of friends from the neighborhood and even her/my cousin Gavin out with my aunt Jenny. We also stopped by Sister Francis' house. She watches Sam on Fridays while I teach and then Brent picks her up when he gets out of class. She loves her house, but always falls asleep. Which is "bad" for Brent because she won't take a nap when they get home, but in a way good because they actually get to play. And good for me because she is just about ready for a nap when I get home and then I can make dinner and stuff while she sleeps. (By "and stuff" I mean take my own nap, too!)

Even though I tried to tell people that we were just out to visit and that I just wanted to show Samantha off to everyone, we still ended up with a lot of candy! So far so good, though. I am averaging a piece a day. (That's zero yesterday and two today!)





Thursday, November 1, 2007

Getting Ready for Halloween

Sammi had a fun morning getting ready for Halloween. I was really worried about putting the make-up on her face because I didn't know if she would sit still for me. I figured it would be like my hair where she squirms and wiggles and I have to distract her with hair spray, spray bottles, cups, whatever works!

I looked up some images online to find out how rodeo clowns do their make-up. After I found a picture of one that I thought I could do on Sammi, I set her down in a chair next to the computer and crossed my fingers. The only mishap was that her boot started to fall off, "Oh, no!" Sammi said until I put the boot back on. Then I started with the make-up. She seemed to love it without even know what exactly it was. She leaned into my hand and the make-up stick. She closed her eyes and just looked perfectly pleased with the experience. The first side turned out great! Unfortunately, the second side was more difficult for me and she got a little restless. But, they were fairly symmetrical and I was quite pleased. When she looked in the mirror, she was all smiles:) I wish I could have taken a picture while I was applying her make-up because she was enjoying it so much. But I don't have that many hands, so we'll have to do with out.

After her make-up was on and her costume was completed by the addition of her cowboy hat. She seemed to know that she was in "special" clothes because she just glowed as she walked around the room. She almost strutted! (Now, I'm not sure if that was her attitude, or the fact that her boots were 4 sizes too big.) After all the prep, she was ready for the day.

We went to the grocery store and purchased pumpkins for my ESL program's party, then we went to story time at the Orem Public Library, then we took the pumpkins to UVSC then she fell asleep on the way home. All that performing sure wore her out! After her nap we went to UVSC to go to the Halloween party and see my students. She had fun, most of the time. She got a little overwhelmed when every one wanted to say hi and hold her and take pictures, but with the smaller groups she seemed quite pleased to be the center of their attention.

That sums up Sammi's day in preparation for the big Halloween night!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Fun!

Sam and I had the chance the other day to go to Gardner Village and meet Brent's mom and two siblings for some Halloween fun. The village was all decked out for Halloween. They have witch-themed displays all around. One of my favorites was the witches playing baseball. Another fun thing was they had face painting. I look forward to when Sammi is old enough to wait in the line for that! The faces I saw looked great, very professional work. Sam had fun trotting around the sidewalks and looking in some of the shops. She and Grandma had a very cute interaction over some Christmas tree bird ornaments! But, her favorite part of the day was chasing the ducks. Maren helped her be safe around the water. Sammi loved the ducks and wanted to get right close to them. If they came up out of the water she would hurry over to where they were and end up chasing them back into the water. I don't know if the ducks thought it was as great a game as Sammi did, but she sure enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Haircut!

Well, Sammi reached a milestone yesterday--her first haircut! First, we needed some "pre" photos which come from her bath that morning. I especially love the crazy-wild hair because you can see how long it is.


I was worried about how she'd respond to Amy touching her hair and cutting it. Sammi pulls away and shakes her head like crazy whenever I touch her hair!

But, as luck would have it, she was a perfect angel.

As you can tell from the pictures, she quite enjoyed it...and was able to catch up on her magazine reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Daylight Saving(s) Time

So, I've been very curious about when on earth we change the clocks this year. I've looked at the month of October on every calendar I own and haven't been able to locate the date. So, at long last, I had the brilliant idea today to look it up online. I came across a very cool site listing the dates and why they are different this year from the past.

To recap:
The dates for 2007 are as follows
  • March 11
  • November 4
Unless you are in the EU and then it's
  • March 25
  • October 28
The reason it's different this year is the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which, apparently, changed the dates for this year and the Department of Energy will report the impact on energy usage and then a decision will be made whether to maintain the current system (2nd Sunday in March, 1st Sunday in November) or revert to the 2005 schedule (1st Sunday in April, last Sunday in October). We'll have to see what happens next year. Although given the speed at which research is completed and reported, it'll probably be several years before we know the impact and a final decision is made!

The real reason why I found this site so interesting was the section on "Spelling and grammar" related to the custom. I have always said Daylight Savings Time and am shocked to learn it is actually Daylight Saving Time (minus the "s" on Saving). The argument for this is quite reasonable and I suggest taking a look at it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Graham Crakcer Crust

I just learned the coolest trick yesterday about graham cracker crusts. If you bake them, they don't fall apart! I was surprised that it worked so well. I tried a new recipe, too and it was delicious. So, for all you who love pies with graham cracker crusts, here goes!

11 whole graham crackers (I only used 10-a whole package)
5 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Turn graham crackers into crumbs (food processor or rolling pin.) Combine crumbs, butter, oats, brown sugar, vanilla and salt and stir until crumbs are moistened. Press mixture into evenly across 9-in pie plate. Bake in oven at 350 until crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool completely before filling. Crust may also be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen up to one month.

We had a banana cream pie and I wish I had a picture. It was a very pretty pie! It was pretty delicious, too. I really like the oats in the crust.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Motherhood (After hours)

So, I'm sure you are all wondering just what it is that I do after Sammi has gone to bed. As many of you know, Brent and I stay up quite late. So the question is just what do we spend our time doing? This last week and some it's been a puzzle. We were inspired by the puzzle Brent's family did during conference and thought we'd give it a go. We bought a puzzle depicting Philadelphia with 1000 pieces. We spent most nights this last week working on it. I'm quite pleased that we finished it so quickly.

As we started the puzzle it was so hard for me to make heads or tails of any of the pieces. We started by pulling out the edges and putting that together first. The more we looked at the picture to match up the pieces for the edge, the more familiar my eyes became with the shapes and colors of the puzzle. Then we moved to putting together the most prominent and distinct buildings and then finally moved to the smaller pieces. At the beginning I didn't think I'd ever see where the pieces fit for all the little houses and trees and boats, but by the time we got to that part of the puzzle, I was ready to see them and could easily place the pieces.

I feel like this puzzle was a great exercise in creativity for me. It opened my mind to patterns and colors that moved beyond the shapes of individual buildings. I think we may have to get our hands on some more puzzles...

Pigtails

Well, today marks a milestone in hairstyles. Sammi had her first true pigtails! From the front she doesn't appear to have any hair at all! But from the side, she's just cute as a button. Sammi is enjoying spending church in the nursery. She is playing well with the other children and learning the songs. I wish I could be there, but Brent says it's fun--more fun than trying to keep her quiet and happy in the "grown up" classes. Next week is the Primary program so Brent will have to negotiate Sam for all three hours! I hope it's not too bad. Since she loves kids and kids' voices so much, I'm hoping sacrament meeting will be much more entertaining for her.

Halloween Costume Possibilities

We've been planning Sam's costume for Halloween (not that I know where she'll where it!) but the other day it took a dramatic twist! She has discovered this adorable tutu that came from lilyannaforgirls.com (a company owned by our friend's sister) and has fallen in love with wearing it. On this particular day she was gracefully moving through the house in her tutu when she discovered the hat to her clown costume. Since she loves hats, she immediately wanted to wear it: a new costume was born!

Originally Sam was going to be a rodeo clown and I think she will still be. But this little concoction of an outfit, I think, is just adorable.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

15 Months!



Sam is 15 months old now! She has 14 teeth and a scrape on her forehead. She has entered a new phase where her solution to everything is to cry. This is quite a bit more trying on my patience. The upside of this is that when she is happy, she is so animatedly happy. She seems to have fun playing with the kids she already knows, but is having a harder time getting used to new kids. I hope that doesn't last long. There are so many nice and cute kids at the library's story time but today she wasn't that happy about any of them sitting by her or wanting the book next to her! Fortunately kids have short memories and everything is okay in the end.

In other Sammi news, she has a bazillion words and uses them all to communicate her thoughts and wants. It's fun to finally get a glimpse into what she thinks about. She loves to be outside and frequently requests it by name. She also loves the bubble (especially since outside is a part of the bubble experience) and asks for "bubble." She's starting to differentiate between mom and grandma with "mommy" and "'nma" thanks to her wonderful grandmas. She still loves to play ball--especially basketball when Brent picks her up and she gets to make a basket. She never misses!

I can't believe how much she has grown, changed and learned over the last few months and especially since she was born. I can see why these are called the formative years because they form so much of their understanding of the world and how it works! It's a joy to be a mom and to have Sam as my daughter!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sammi Says:

s sndjviuuu6oi

xzzxxxxLlk,lldls;.;.d]d
L K(P(097957./im7ttum55ter4 7,kj jdmrmrktu440000E42562XJ=’JHJ’JHJJJO6022222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222225555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555588 ,MO, ;L

This post is provided by Sammi's interest in pushing buttons on the keyboard.
Loosely translated, she loves you all and hopes today is fun for all!

Sammi's Ponytail

This is Sammi this morning. Being cute as always!
video

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

I love fall! I love the crisp morning air, the warm, breezy afternoons and the fall harvest. We had homemade pumpkin pie tonight made by Robin Luker. It was heavenly. She was lamenting the excess of pumpkin she has and the fact that she is out of ideas for what to make with it. I said I love pumpkin bread and she asked for my recipe. Since this is my favorite fall recipe, especially when made from fresh pumpkin, I thought I'd share it with all. Thanks to my mom for keeping this recipe on hand and giving to me again every year!

Pumpkin Bread
2 1/2 C flour
2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 16 oz can of pumpkin (2 C fresh, cooked, mashed pumpkin that has had the liquid drained)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Mix all ingredients together and then add 1 C mini chocolate chips
Pout into two greased and floured loaf pans
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours

Also makes great mini-loaves that are perfect for gift giving.
Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Communicating

Sam is becoming the Queen of Communication. She's moved from just naming objects to saying them in order to communicate some meaning or idea. It's so fun to see. It started with the word "hi" but she was always hit or miss in using it. But she recently discovered "bye" and she has got it figured out! We knew that she really understood the meaning just a few days ago. I don't know who experienced it first because when we talked about it, she had done with with both of us. So I'll tell it from my experience.

Sammi's going to bed routine includes a cup of milk, a few stories and a few songs and then I lay her in her crib and she goes to sleep. It's always been hard to know if she's sleepy enough to just leave her or if she needs another song or whatever. But the other night I read the stories and sang a couple songs then I told her it was time for bed. I put her in her crib and told her I'd sing one more song. Just as I finished the song she raised her hand up to he eye, waved it and said "bye." I accepted that she was telling me she was ready for bed and said good night and left. She didn't fuss at all! She did the same with Brent. If she says "bye" she doesn't fuss, but if we don't wait for her to say "bye" then she'll fuss until she gets what she needs before she can fall asleep (a diaper change, a cup of milk, another song...) I think it's brilliant that she figured out that she can tell us bye to let us know she's ready to go to sleep! It's so helpful.

Other new words include more, bubble, baby (I have no idea how she picked that one up!), something that sounds like bellybutton. She imitates almost every word I tell her. She is so verbal. I view it as making up for her not wanting to accomplish her motor skills earlier! It's so fun to hear her jabbering away as part of the soundtrack for my day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Samantha on the Move

Because of positive response to the video of Samantha walking, Brent graciously put together this video. It was originally entitled Samantha on the move, but was renamed Recent Family Fun. Hope you enjoy!
video

I think it's time we seriously consider an actual video camera. Any suggestions on good ones, or ones to avoid?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Check out this new site!

My friend, Leah, is working on a Federal healthy marriage initiative grant. She says this about it: "We get to make fun, interactive online games that teach relationship education skills. Although our funding is in place to specifically target unmarried expectant parents (40% of births in the US!!!), the skills are applicable across all relationships. We just had our games posted on a great pregnancy website called BabyFit ( www.babyfit.com)." Please visit the site and check out the games. Hope you enjoy and learn something for your family!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cows and Pigs and Goats, Oh My!

We went to the Utah State Fair yesterday. See, we bought the cutest cowgirl hat for Sam and we were just itching to show it off! We packed up everything and even remembered the camera! We got to the fair and I wanted to take a picture of Sam with this huge goose, and the batteries were dead! Bummer.

The fair was fun. Sam was brave and touched a sheep, a cow, a calf, a goat and I even think she touched a pig. There were little baby pigs that were so cute. They could walk right through the bars between their pen and their mom's pen. The pigs smelled a lot more this year than I remembered from last year. Yuck!

We enjoyed looking at all the exhibits. We always enjoy the home arts, the fine arts and the 4-H buildings. I signed up again this year for the Quilt Challenge. The theme this year is "Making Music" and Brent promised to help me come up with a cool design. For lunch we brought some rice and tilapia squished into the shape of a teddy bear. They are very cute and Sam loves to eat them. We also bought a burrito from a vendor there. It was too good to be fair food!

Reminiscent of last year we had a couple major diaper changes. Fortunately this year we were prepared with extra clothes. Sam looked so cute wandering around in her cowgirl hat. She had the most fun, though, trading hats among the three of us. She always made sure everyone had a different hat. Most of the time Brent wandered around with his baseball cap and then Sam's hat on top. We had a short-lived, frenzied search for her hat at one point till we realized it was on Brent's head!

It's so fun to watch Sam as she explores her world and discovers new things. She is really good about being brave, even if she's a little scared. She is definitely a social butterfly and followed several different children around until they got a little scared of Sam and we redirected her elsewhere. It's so fun to sit back and watch her walk around and do things on her own. She's growing up so much.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Canning Peaches

I have watched, and yes, even helped, my grandma can peaches lots of times. She does it perfectly every time. She left me with the impression that it was easy to get perfect, beautiful peaches. So, since our trees were dropping peaches like crazy, we decided it was time to try our own hand at canning peaches.
Which of these does not belong?
The first batch went off without a hitch. Brent helped me do the whole process. They were very pretty peaches. But, unfortunately, there were still peaches to can. So, I spent the next day trying to squeeze as much canning into my day as I could, around taking care of Sam, playing with Sam, teaching my classes, and so on. So, it was around ten at night, the sink was half-full of peaches that had been sitting there since sometime in the afternoon. I continued peeling and cutting them up. (I already had two or three jars filled with sliced peaches.) And it just got later and later. I needed to make the syrup and I just thought, there is no way I'm going to get this all the way finished tonight. So I decided to cut up all the peaches and get the jars filled. Then I covered them and went to bed.

The next morning I was shocked at how ugly they were! I doubted whether it was even worth finishing the project. But, following the advice of my ever-knowledgeable mother-in-law, I made the syrup and canned the peaches. Most of them turned out alright, but there were two jars of UGLY peaches. They are the most appalling sight I've seen. Fortunately some turned out nice.

Canning lesson learned: Air is bad for cut peaches (and most fruit I've found)
Life lessons learned: Don't procrastinate. It's always better to finish a job you start.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Laundry

Today I learned a lot of useful tips about doing laundry. First, I was surprised by how many people don't already know to sort laundry into color families! That was the first lesson I remember learning about laundry. Second, I was surprised by how much there is to say about doing laundry--the class lasted just over an hour and fifteen minutes!

Okay, now for useful stuff!
  • Don't overload the washer. My grandma hounded me on this but I didn't get its usefulness until today. If the washer is so full that the clothes can't be moved about freely by the agitator, then the clothes don't get clean!
  • Fabric softener can create a "waterproofing" effect on your clothes fro the buildup. Therefore, don't use it on towels!
  • It's also good to do a second rinse cycle, especially with whites, to remove all the soap and help keep laundry from turning gray and dingy.
  • Diaper wipes are good "on the go" spot removers. They get out quite a bit of stuff, including make-up (think dressing rooms!)
Like I said, the class went on for quite some time, but these were the highlights, in my opinion.
Happy Laundering!
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Monday, September 3, 2007

What I learned today!

What do oatmeal and sweeping have in common?

Today I discovered that it takes the same amount of time to A) microwave a bowl of oatmeal and B) sweep the kitchen floor! Great use of shadow time, don't you think? Apparently oatmeal is the patron saint of sweeping (as evidenced by its halo in the picture above!)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Spotlighting Cailtyn

Following our wonderful vacation my heart has been full of good feelings and joy over Caitlyn. I stumbled upon an opportunity this week to let the world know just how great I think she is. She is a finalist in a "Spotlight the Youth" contest sponsored by Anne Bradshaw. Please check out her blog where the finalists are posted and submit a comment for Caitlyn! You only have until September 13th to vote, so hurry! There are some pretty amazing youth out there, but I still think Caitlyn takes the cake (of course it's the one that's wheat, corn starch, dairy, potato starch, and chicken free! Yum, yum!)

We love you, Caitlyn!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Learning Manners

Brent and I were discussing teaching Samantha manners. Brent commented that he's been consciously using please and thank you with Sam whenever he talks to her. I thought that I had been doing that, too. but then I started noticing what I say to her. Most of the time they are just commands: No! Don't touch that! Give that to Mommy! and so on. I realized that she's not the only who will learn manners over the next few months. I will also need to remember to say "please" and "thank you." Not just to model the behavior, but because Samantha deserves the same respect I expect from her.

It's easy to get in a rut of stopping Sam from doing things that might hurt her or break something. It's hard to get far enough ahead of her to direct her toward something constructive. But when I do, it's a lot more of "Let's push this button" or "Can you knock over this tower of blocks?" instead of "Don't push that button" (on the VCR) or "Don't know over that stack of newly folded clothes" (her favorite laundry day activity!)

Samantha is growing so quickly and turning into such a little girl instead of a baby. It's fun to watch, but also a little sad. I guess that's why people have more children! So they can experience the baby months again. I want another baby for that reason. That and Sam's going to need a playmate!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We have a walker!

Sam has made the official leap from a step-taker to a full-fledged walker. It's so fun to see her toddle around the house. She loves to walk between two places over and over again. On Monday it was between the chair and the couch. She would get to one, clap, turn around and walk back to the other, clap and repeat. Then Tuesday it was between the chair and the kitchen table. Here's a video of her walking between me and Brent.
video

It's an exciting time! She gets better each day. She'll walk around just to walk around. It's so cute how pleased she is with herself. I think it's because she can tell we're so excited and pleased about it, too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vacation Part 2!

Let's wrap up this fantastically fun vacation! On Monday we hung around in the morning getting packed, finishing laundry and saying good-bye to Grandpa. Then we drove to Bremmerton to take the ferry over to Seattle. Sam seemed to love to boat ride. It was windy and chilly so we spent most of the time inside, but we did see lots of jelly fish and seagulls before we retreated inside. After the ferry ride we headed straight to Pike Street Market. We got to see the guys throwing fish around and lots of amazing artists with their stuff. My favorite part, however, was the flowers. Sam's holding a bunch of flowers we bought for Aunt Liz. After the market we headed out of downtown to find Liz's house. After a confusing drive where our map didn't match our directions, Brent's expert orienteering skills got us on the right road and we made it to Liz's right on time! We can sum up our driving for the week in one word: lost! We had fun with Liz. She's got a cute house with two dogs, several chickens and a fun garden (including sunflowers!) She also has a Wii so we got to experiment. We played it a lot Monday night and Tuesday morning. Tuesday we packed up and headed back to Seattle. We took the underground tour. It was cool to learn the history of the city and see a glimpse of what it looked like a while ago. This was an old sign we saw down there and for obvious reasons had to have a picture. After our tour, we headed out to the locks. We grabbed lunch first at Totem House. I had the best fish and chips I have ever had!! Then we headed over to the locks. We got to see the boats come in and the whole process! It was amazing! Another amazing feature of the locks is the salmon ladder. This is where the salmon come through going from salt water into the fresh water. They hang out for a while as their bodies switch from salt water fish to fresh water fish. Next to where we watched the fish jump up the ladder was this neat sculpture. Sam and Brent are just adorable!

We made it home safely and have recovered from our adventure in Washington. It was a great vacation, from what we saw and did, to the family we visited, to the fun times we shared as a family. It was great to have Caitlyn with us. I was quite sad to send her home in another car...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vacation!

I love vacation! It's the recovery from vacation that's always a bit rough. We had an awesome vacation in Washington this last week. Our vacation started at 3:45 am on Wednesday morning and ended at 1:00 Wednesday morning the next week. We took an early flight to Seattle Washington. Samantha woke up at 4:00 am and stayed awake until about 30 minutes into our flight. She didn't seem bothered by flying in the least. She fell asleep and then we put her on the floor in front of us. Isn't she cute! We rented a car and drove into Seattle. We were lost several times but eventually found the Seattle Center and made it to the Science Museum. It was fun with lots of cool exhibits. They had a special dinosaur one that I particularly liked. The stuff for kids was fun and Sam just wanted to walk everywhere! She would hold our fingers or push the stroller, but she wasn't up for letting go...yet! After the museum we drove to Shelton and stayed with Brent's grandpa.

On Thursday we went with him into Tacoma and went to lunch at a nice sandwich shop and then to the Glass Museum. They have a workshop where you can watch glass artists making cool things. It was awesome. They also had a really cool, education exhibit about glass art including technique, medium, purpose and stuff. It helped me appreciate everything we saw a bit more. Sam learned the fine art of carrying a purse! We got in trouble for taking this picture inside the museum. But they were nice since it wasn't of any of the art.

Friday was a relaxing day. We stayed at Grandpa and Ann's house enjoying the beauty of Puget Sound and all the pretty flowers that grow in Washington. We helped Grandpa water the flowers (it took us about two and a half hours) and when we finished it started raining! All that water. That afternoon Brent, Sam, Grandpa and I dug clams down on the beach. I haden ver dug clams before. Sam and I had fun picking them up, after Brent and Grandpa dug them up, and putting them in the bucket. If Brent and Grandpa didn't go fast enough Sam would take the clams out and make a pile of them and then put them back in the bucket! That night Brent and I went on a date! We went to Xinh's for seafood and then to the Shelton bowling alley for an hour of bowling. We had such a nice time. Sam had a nice time while we were gone; she decided to take her first steps! Caitlyn got her to take seven steps!

Saturday was a busy day. We went back to Tacoma and went to the zoo and aquarium. Sam loved how close she could get to the animals and the water-life. There was a fascinating exhibit on seahorses. They had some pretty fantastical looking seahorses! We also saw a herd of caribou that were all perched on the edge of their little cliff staring intently at the yak in the neighboring area. They also had sea otters, walruses, whales and polar bears. It was a fun zoo.

Well, this post is getting long so I'll finish the rest of our trip in another one. Enjoy the pictures!