Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet Tooth

I have a serious sweet tooth. No really. It's a problem. Last month I decided I would go off all sweets until my birthday. It wasn't too bad. I had lots of strong urges to cave in to my cravings, but I was able to hold off for a whole month. Then, once my birthday hit, it was all fair game. So I indulged. And indulged. And indulged some more. wasn't that bad. But still, I definitely found no desire to restrain myself after a month "without." I wondered if it did me any good to go off of sweets for a month. It wasn't until I started eating them again that I have since decided that it did make a difference. I feel worse (kind of blah-like) and I think I'm gaining weight being back on sweets. So I've decided I apparently need another hiatus from the sweet tooth. Miles has agreed to participate this month, and we have also added no eating out to our list of things from which we are abstaining. We are going to break our fast with a FEAST of Thanksgiving goodness. So here's to getting in control of this serious, sweet, addiction...let the fast begin!

Happy Halloween!

From our little pumpkin

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

Miles and I weren't able to attend our ward's Halloween party. This made me sad because I wanted to dress Owen up for Halloween. So my friend, Haley, said we could come over the Saturday before Halloween to carve pumpkins and we could dress our kids up. Miles was in charge of buying the pumpkin. He bought a HUGE one. He said, "If it's over 30 lbs. they just charge you for 30." So I guess he thought he was getting a deal.

After Miles cleaned out the inside of the pumpkin, we decided to take advantage of it's large size and put Owen in it for some pictures.
Owen discovered the plastic bag inside protecting him...
And of course decided he should eat it:

Back to carving...

Braden carved Antoine Dodson, "The Bedroom Intruder" guy:

Owen in his cow outfit showing off his cute little tail:

We had a lot of fun spending time and carving pumpkins with Braden, Haley and Sophia. We also enjoyed some delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and homemade hot chocolate (both made by Haley). It was a great Halloween/Fall activity!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Impromptu Trip to California

I wrote this a while ago, but I was waiting for some photos from my sister. Since I still haven't gotten them, I might as well post it.

Owen and I recently went out to California for a few days. My Mom called me at the beginning of the month and asked if I wanted to come out to sing with her for a musical number in church. I thought it was a fairly odd request. She then said, "I've already bought Kerry's ticket!" So I thought, "Sure...why not?" But really, we all know that the musical number was just a guise for getting her daughters out to California and seeing her youngest grandchild. I'm not complaining though. I'll take it! :) She told us to keep it a surprise from our Dad though. It was fun to see his flabbergasted reaction to our arrival.

While we were there, Owen got a LOT of love from everyone...


Grandpa: (This is what we came home to after going out to practice our song for the evening. Owen was supposed to be asleep, but he woke up and Grandpa couldn't get him back to sleep. So Owen sat and watched the Giants' game with him. Little stinker).

Auntie Kerry:

But especially from his cousin, Austin:

I think that Austin hugged and kissed "poppy baby" no less than 200 times in the five days we were there. If he ever heard Owen fussing or crying he said, "Oh, um...he's sad. I need to give him a hug." He spent time playing with him on the floor and said, "I'm keeping an eye on him." He "read" to him from magazines and books and showed him pictures. It was very adorable.

Austin is a very funny little boy. One day while we were there, we were all sitting around talking at the table. Austin said, "I'm a bee. Kerry, you're a spider. And Kendra, we're being're a cockroach!" Of course we all busted up laughing. As his Mama says, he's such a goofy child. :)

Here's Owen playing with a toy Grammy had for him while we were there. He got a little frustrated when he tried to roll over and got stuck on the side:

It was a nice trip and we're glad we went out. Owen actually slept really well (minus the first night which was awful) while we were there and he was a stellar traveler as well. We had a really good time and it was great for everyone to see Owen again before he gets too big. My Dad said numerous times how adorable he thinks Owen is and kept referring to him as the "Gerber baby." I think he was smitten. :) We're happy to come any time Mom wants to fly us out!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

I recently had to fly on an airplane with Owen, all by myself. I was coming home from a trip to California. On my way out, my sister, Kerry, flew with me, so I had a lot of help with all the little (or big) holding Owen so I could go to the bathroom; entertaining Owen when he's fussy; changing a diaper in my lap since there was no room in the tiny airplane stall; sitting close to me while I tried to discreetly breastfeed on the plane; making his bottle up for me while I was feeding Owen; holding my drink on her tray since I had Owen in my lap (which incidentally I ended up knocking over onto Kerry's coat :( ....oops); helping me get my luggage; helping me get Owen in and out of the Baby Bijorn while juggling the diaper bag, suitcase and car seat; among many other things. Needless to say, she was a big help. So I was a little bit (ok, that's an understatement) nervous about flying back by myself.

The day came. My Dad parked the car so he could help me in with my luggage. This was greatly appreciated. My first obstacle alone, came when I had to use the bathroom with a baby attached to the front of my body. Luckily, with some agile moves I was able to accomplish this goal. I then followed that up by completing many of the tasks Kerry had originally helped me with. I found a seat at the front of the plane, fed Owen (who fell asleep in my arms during his feeding), consumed my drink and snacks while he was asleep, mixed his bottle up with one hand, and somehow juggled getting him back in the Bijorn in my isle while people walked by jostling me and my diaper bag.

But my great accomplishments at learning to travel sans two extra hands is not the point of this. The point is that by traveling alone, I was able to recognize so much of the kindness of strangers all around me. It was so great hearing constantly from fellow travelers and flight attendants what an amazing traveler Owen was. And let's be honest, he was STELLAR...but it's really nice when other people recognize and acknowledge that. (It also didn't hurt that they repeatedly told me how adorable he is) :D What was really great, however, was all of the help I received. These are some of the highlights:

  • The lady across from me on the plane offering to put my diaper bag on the seat next to her as I was struggling to make space in the overhead compartment (even though it wasn't allowed and had to be stowed overhead, the gesture was nice).
  • The man who got my diaper bag out of the overhead compartment for me.
  • The woman who helped me while I was changing Owen's diaper in the bathroom. At first she accidentally knocked her bathroom stall door into me while I was standing there. Then the door wouldn't stay shut unless someone was in there so it kept opening and banging into me. She tried relentlessly to get the door to stay shut and finally figured out a way by shoving toilet paper in between the door and the door frame.
  • The man who saw I was struggling to get the plastic wrap off the stroller while holding Owen and my bag. He came over and kindly got it free for me and then while gesturing to the other "odd-sized items" said, "Is anything else yours?" I told him the car seat was so he proceeded to help me with that. And then he asked if I needed help with anything else (which I didn't) and went on his way after I gave him a big thank you.
Those are just a few of the people and moments I can think of. It's nothing monumental, but it felt big to me. I really appreciate that people took time to help a struggling mother in need, and often went out of their way to do so. Although traveling alone was somewhat difficult at times, I'm glad I did it because it really opened my eyes to the kindness and generosity of those around me. I hope that I can show similar kindnesses to others in need.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Grad School Reunions

Recently I've been able to enjoy reuniting with some wonderful women from my MSW graduate school days. The first reunion was set up by Haley. She invited some of the graduates who are still in the area. There were only a few of us that showed up, but it was really great to catch up on everyone's lives. While we were in grad school our small class of 40 students became really close. We spent so much time together both in class and outside of class. We shared or lives with one another and experienced so much together (marriages, divorces, births of babies, deaths of loved ones, etc). It was really hard for me to leave these wonderful people and experiences behind when graduation came. They helped me to become the therapist and person I am today.

Left to right: Haley Molyneux, Jenny Infanger, Katie Johnson, me, Adrienne Blackwell

Shortly after our MSW reunion, Jessica Salmon came into town. She was sad she missed getting together with the other grads. I was SUPER excited to see her. Jess is one of my best friends and she moved back to Canada literally hours after Owen was born. I was SO sad that she left. I met Jess in grad school and after my divorce, we moved in together. After we graduated, we also had the chance to work together in the Crisis Department at Wasatch Mental Health (WMH). She was an amazing roommate and coworker, but an even better friend. We too, have been through a lot. I really don't have words to describe how wonderful she is. She is such an example of strength, beauty and courage. I love her carefree spirit and the love she has for nature and mankind. Jess is pure of heart and spirit. She always sees the good in others and seeks to bring out their inner beauty. She has always been an inspiration to me and I have felt that I have been a better person for knowing her. She brought (and continues to bring) peace to my heart. I love his girl and miss her to pieces!

Also while she was here, Jess did an amazing Gratitude Retreat with her friend Teri Thompson. It was night of women, friendship, yoga, energy healing, strength, and peace. I can't even describe how rejuvenating it was to my soul. I'm grateful to her for blessing us all with her talents and love.

Haley and I became friends in grad school, but I think working together in Youth Outpatient at WMH really solidified our relationship. During that time we supported each other through difficult clients and frustrating work environments. We could always find solace in taking a break in our emotionally draining days with each other. But more importantly, we bonded over our desire to have children and struggles with infertility. We rejoiced with one another in pregnancy. I was always impressed with Haley's confidence and unwavering knowledge of who she is. She is such a good example to me of a person who strives to do what is right. She is a wonderful mother and I love that I can go to her for support and help and that she never questions my lack of confidence in my abilities. Haley is so self-assured and is my rock. I know that she is constant in mind, heart, and spirit. I am so glad that she lives close by and that we get to experience the journey of motherhood together!

And while I'm at it, let's add another reunion to the list. In August, Stacey Shaw stopped by to see me before she headed out to her Doctorate program in New York City. I was so glad she came by. Stacey and I actually met in our undergraduate BSW program. We were acquaintances at the time, but didn't really bond until grad school. I think the fact that we knew each other from our undergrad helped to build our friendship later on. Stacey and I both went through divorces within a couple years of each other. She was such a big support to me during mine and helped me get through days at school when I didn't want to keep going. She also helped me to build back my self-confidence and demand more for myself in who I dated. In our second year we got an internship together in the WATCH (homeless) program at WMH. Stacey has always impressed me with her ability to balance work and play. She has always been so dedicated to the jobs she has and in doing research that means something. But she also knows how to play and make time for herself. She is a world traveler and cares for people everywhere. She gives of herself and never questions why or complains. I have always wished I could be more like her. I'm hopeful that I will get to see her again during holiday visits. Hers is a friendship I would never want to lose.

After writing about these women, I realized that I have been so blessed. I have gotten to know so many strong and beautiful women. I am lucky that they are willing to call me FRIEND.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hair Today...

Gone Tomorrow...

I don't love it as much as I was hoping. It's still growing on me. But that's the beauty of grows. On the plus side, I did donate two pony tails to Locks of Love. One was 7 inches, the other was 12 inches. It's crazy how much hair was chopped off!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Karly Was Here!

Our good friend, Karly Barksdale, came into town to visit and have a baby shower. We know Karly from our "single days." We quickly became friends and she has been in our hearts ever since. She lives in Arizona right now, so we don't get to see her that often. We were super excited when she said she would be in town. And deep down, we're hoping she and JJ make their way back to Utah. are some photos of our short time together. Unfortunately I don't have any from her baby shower the next day.

Miles was showing Owen the ropes of how to handle a gun in a shooting arcade game:

JJ and Karly. They are expecting their first child (a baby girl) Jan 11, 2011.

Abby and Noah Wright (no relation that we are aware of...however, Abby and I are birthday and last name twinners who both had baby boys within two months of each other) with me and Owen. It was our first time meeting each other's little ones.

Laura, Eric and Maggie Horne:

Amos and Audrey Horne. It was also our first time meeting baby Audrey. She is just two weeks old!

Josh Blade with Amos:

And some random shots:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kiana's blessing

After having dinner with our friends in Lehi, we drove on to Tooele to spend the night and Grandma and Grandpa Wright's home for a baby blessing the next day. Miles and I stayed up for a few hours chatting with Grandma and Grandpa and drooling over the cinnamon rolls Grandma had made. Grandma is hilarious because whenever you go to her house, she will list all of the contents of her fridge and cupboards and let you know you are welcome to any of it. However, as we drooled over the fresh, baked goods, she told us they were stricktly OFF LIMITS until the next day when we went to Jon and Becca's house for the brunch before the blessing. I told Grandma I wanted the center of the coffee cake/"sunburst."
(This was kind of a joke due to my previous encounter with the treat a couple weeks earlier during conference weekend. Miles's parents were in town and all of us were at Grandma and Grandpa's. I stole part of the center and Miles's Mom demanded to know who had done such a thing. Apparently the rule is that you can't eat the center until all the side pieces are gone. Little did I know that I was violating such a sacred tradition. Luckily I was let off the hook due to ignorance.)
However, let me tell you how amazing Grandma is. The next day, while all the food was layed out, she snuck over and cut out the center piece so it would be ready for me to snag right away. She's a doll! And boy was it worth the sneaking and devious planning! Mmm mmm good!

Grandma with the goods:

Becca with here baby Kiana:

Cousin Cambry with Owen:

Uncle Mike with Owen. Uncle Mike and Aunt Colleen always immediately reach for Owen when we see them. They are so great with him and he adores spending time with them.

Grandma and Miles:

After the baby blessing we went back over to Grandma and Grandpa's to pack up and spend a little bit of time with them before leaving. Again, it was great to have that quality time with them. You never know how long you will have your grandparents around. This is especially apparent to me, as both sets of my grandparents are gone. I feel so blessed to have married into Miles's family and enjoy the benefit of two sets of grandparents again. I feel so close to them, as though they were my own. I love them so much and we cherish the time we have with them. We were discussing some of this and mentioned that we really need to take advantage of our time together and hear stories from their lives and record them for our posterity. Both Grandma and Grandpa took some time to share some personal, funny, and touching stories from their lives. We recorded Grandpa telling one story and told them we will return to do this some more. It was a great way to end our weekend together.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Emmett's and Ethel's

We don't get to see our friends, Chuck and Desiree' Syme very often since they live up north, so we recently made plans to "meet in the middle" which happened to be Lehi. We met up at Emmett's and Ethel's for dinner.

They have some cute decor in the restaurant:

Miles and me chowing on our ginormous chocolatey good shake:

Chuck went all out with a Rodeo burger AND a pastrami dog:

Des with her Turkey burger:

Des and Owen:

The whole gang:

And one of just me and Des for good measure:

It's always great to see them and spend time together. Miles and I have known Desiree' since our single days living at Old Mill. We adore her and are so glad we're friends!