Monday, January 21, 2013

A Post That's Not About Sophia

I was looking at past blog posts when I used to write about our hobbies, jobs, friends, thoughts and goals.... It's interesting how a baby changes all that. Now all I want to do is post pictures of Sophia (and raising her has sort of taken over most of the "hobbies" category). I don't think that's a bad thing, but looking at those old posts reminded me that there are other things that go on in our life. We just don't really have pictures of them.

So here is an update on Russ and Adri. It doesn't have pictures. Also, check out the other blog post I wrote tonight. It's about our trip to Arizona, and it has lots of pictures and lots about Sophia.

I have great friends here in Minneapolis. To be honest, I am not a big fan of Minneapolis in general, but I do love having so many great friends who live so close and who enjoy hanging out as much as I do. Not only can we hang out and talk for hours, we also see each other at church and community activities and occasionally go shopping together. 

I've been a stay-at-home mom for 8 months. Maybe that doesn't seem like a long time, but I was sure I would be bored by now. I'm not! That is largely thanks to my aforementioned friends, but there is lots to do at home. People ask me what I do all day. I'll tell you. I wake up with Sophia. For about 1.5 or 2 hours, we play, eat breakfast, and straighten up the house. Then she takes a nap and I read my scriptures, shower, read a book, work on our budget, journal, start laundry, etc. When she wakes up, we eat lunch and usually run some type of errand (groceries, Walmart, library) or go to a friend's apartment. Normally when we get home, it's almost time for her 2nd nap. During that nap, I'll nap, start dinner, or do other things for "me time". The trickiest part of the day is right after Sophia's 2nd nap because she's usually a little cranky and clingy, and I'm usually trying to make dinner. When it was nice outside, we'd go for walks or to the park at this time. Now, we just wait for daddy to get home. Russ is generally home from school in time for dinner. There's rarely a day when there's not *something* going on in the evening - whether it's hanging out, an activity, a meeting for our callings, something for the community activity's committee I'm on, or going to an appointment with the missionaries. When we are home in the evenings, normally we do our own thing until it's time for Sophia to take a bath and go to bed. Then it's dishes, doing things like writing this blog, and watching a movie or TV show together. What a life. :)

Today I played the piano in Sacrament Meeting. I was so nervous, but it ended up going really well. Now I feel kind of pumped to start practicing the piano more often. I also work a lot on my scrapbooking and read lots of books. There are also a few small home craft projects I work on, plus my mom and sister got me a really nice sewing machine for Christmas, so I can add that to my list of talents to develop.

Cooking meals at home takes a long time. I was spoiled by the Cannon Center for over 3 years, so I didn't have to cook unless I wanted to. Now I spend hours each month looking at recipes and making grocery lists and menus. Then you have to shop for the food, and then you have to cook it. By the time you've also done dishes, it's really time-consuming! I'm still not always great at preparing balanced meals or making sure we have food not only for dinner, but also for lunch, but I really enjoy all those hours of menu-planning and cooking. I know I won't always be able to say that, but for now, yes. I (mostly) love being in the kitchen!

This semester (which doesn't start until this week because Minnesota has a wonderful MONTH of Christmas break), Russ only has classes on Monday and Wednesday. I think that's a pretty awesome schedule, and love that he is able to be home so much. He rides the bus to and from school each day, and sometimes I admire him because it must be tough to stand at a bus stop when it's SO cold. When we were in Arizona, a friend commented that Russ seems so much happier than he was at his job in Provo, and he really is. He loves talking about his program, he enjoys what he's learning, and he's having fun!

His big news - which I don't even think I've mentioned on this blog - is about his internship. All of the interviews happened last semester. He got 10 first round interviews (more than or tied for the most of anyone in his class). After those interviews, not one but two companies told him they didn't need a second interview to know that they wanted him. Talk about a confidence boost! He also got calls from a couple other companies who wanted to do second round interviews with him. In the end, he decided to consider his offers from Ford and Chevron really seriously. We went back and forth, created multiple pro-con lists, talked to lots of people, went to the temple, and prayed a lot. In the end, he chose to intern with Chevron. The internship is important because it is likely to lead to a full-time job offer at the end of this summer. In the meantime, we're moving to California this summer for Russ to do HR at Chevron's corporate offices. He's beyond excited. In the past week, a lot of Chevron Minnesota alums must have found out about his offer because he's gotten multiple e-mails EVERY. DAY. congratulating him and offering help should he need it. To make the Chevron offer an even greater memory, it came on Sophia's 1st birthday. :)

When Russ isn't doing schoolwork, he's either playing with Sophia, spending time with me, relaxing with video games, going on appointments with the missionaries, or working on his busy calling of being the assistant Elder's Quorum Secretary. The thought came to me today that I think a secretary is a really good calling for him. He may not be the most organized person in the world, but he's really good at meeting people and making phone calls - something I am NOT good at. All in all, grad. school hasn't been too hard on us as a family, but maybe that's the month-long Christmas break talking. :)

That's us for the people who read the blog, but I don't talk to as regularly as I wish I did.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Arizona Trip

We were home for one week between our trip to Virginia and our trip to Arizona. During that time, we got lots of things done because Russ didn't have school and most of our friends were still out of town.

Also during that week, Sophia got as sick as she's ever been. We learned that when she's sick, she doesn't really get cuddly like most kids do (and like I secretly hoped she would be). She's just the opposite. She'd cry really hard, but slap us away every time we tried to offer any type of comfort. So she spent a couple different times curled up in a ball crying with Russ and I hovering over her, wishing we could help. Not too surprisingly, the only thing that would take her out of her inconsolable crying fit was asking her if she wanted to watch Baby Signing Time. No joke. So, then she'd calm down and get cuddly, and we took advantage of those photo opportunities. :)

 I'm feeling too lazy to put my pictures in order, so here is a picture of a wreath I decorated at our community craft night. I love it so much, and I learned to make felt flowers because of it! Every time I see it on my door, I think, "Wow. That's a cute wreath."

  You can't really tell from this picture, but Sophia is looking very grown up with her pony tails. They can go on the back of her head now rather than on top of her head. And she likes to wear my scarves. Beyond that, though, she was not thrilled when some of her cousins tried to play dress up with her in Arizona. I guess the accessories have to be her idea.

1:30 church this year. This is how poor, sleepy Sophia felt about it.

I wish I would have taken more pictures in Arizona. As if the trip itself wasn't fun and wonderfully busy enough, we had the added bonus of feeling that we had been transported from winter to spring. It was marvelous. Here's a little run-down of our schedule:
  • visited 6 siblings and their families in their homes at least once
  • had a big family dinner on Sunday
  • did a session in the Mesa Temple
  • saw 2 movies
  • Russ went to a Suns basketball game with his dad
  • hung out with two of our friends who live in AZ
  • Sophia got loved and adored by her numerous cousins at every place we went
  • ate lots of good food
  • wore t-shirts because it was 70 degrees
  • went to their family cabin for 4 days to meet up with our friends who live in New Mexico
The Olsens!!! Brian, Avery, Bonnie, Aspen, and baby #3

Baby Signing Time does it again. Even the older girls loved watching these shows at the cabin.

One day, we bundled up the girls and went sledding.
Russ threw a snowball in this picture, and I caught it mid-air (at least on camera)

"Mom. Why are you taking another picture of me?"
She's so cute in her snow gear!

Sophia's smile was short-lived. She was NOT a fan of . Or snow. Or the cold.

Daddy bringing Sophia back to the cabin. 
Sophia holding on for dear life.

This is where I hung out during most of the short sledding trip. None of the girls seemed to like it much, and Sophia cried whenever I wasn't holding her.

Sophia enjoyed having a friend to play with/ steal toys from. Aspen is 9 months older, but they're the same size. 

About half the family gathered on Sunday for dinner. These happen often, but this one seemed more fun because we had a child who was part of the chaos. Sophia has 4 Lee cousins who are very close to her age and two of them were there. Sophia stole their cookies and got into fights over stuffed animals with them (she's not used to sharing...), but someday I hope they'll be good friends!
 Gathered around YouTube videos

Sophia's favorite thing to do these days is eat bananas. She learned the sign for "banana", and I like that it's so easy to hand it to her and let her feed herself.

My prettty girl with her pigtails.
(Right after we played outside, I went back in and took her sweater off because it was too hot!) 

Sophia was still feeling sick while we were at Grandma and Grandpa Lee's house.

Sophia is really attached to her blanket. Every time I go in to pick her up from her crib, she's standing just like that: binky in, blankey in hand. I hope it's a result of all this traveling, but this attachment might stick around a while. We'll see.

Thanks to all the animals Sophia got to interact with on our trip, she now knows the sign language for "cat", "dog" and "horse". Maybe now she won't call animals "baby" like she did when she saw deer! :P

 In summary, we had a really great visit with Grandma and Grandpa Lee in Arizona!

We're sad to be back in FREEZING COLD Minnesota. Our high temperature tomorrow is in the negatives. Bleh. At least it's too cold to add new snow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Time: Part Two

Christmas Eve. We acted out the nativity story with Sophia as Mary, Russ as Joseph, Mom narrating, Dad as the donkey (his usual role as I remember it from my childhood) and a baby doll as baby Jesus.
caught Sophia Mary mid-blink
carrying "baby Jesus" oh so reverently
Grandma has a Sophia-sized tree!
Christmas. My parents did a great job with the traps on Christmas morning. They always set traps, and this year they did a pinterest-inspired balloon avalanche on both Sophia's room and Russ and my room. Sophia slept in until 10 so after we opened gifts, we had just enough time to clean up before some old family friends came over for brunch. Later that afternoon, Russ and I took advantage of having grandparents around and went to see Les Mierables. We were really looking forward to seeing it, and it didn't disappoint!
 My favorite Christmas tradition: traps!

Sophia doesn't look very impressed with Christmas in this picture
Sophia's bracelets
she also got a purse for Christmas, which she filled with her bracelets and the nativity pieces
Washington DC. We drove into DC with mom to meet up with our good friends, the Killions (who we hadn't seen for over 3.5 years). Unfortunately, it was miserable weather, so after meeting up for lunch, we headed over to the nearby Postal Museum and hung out there for a bit. It was wonderful to see the Killions again - not only to catch up but also meet Cate! Sophia had a really good time trying to keep up with the big girls.
Like I said, Sophia had fun with the big girls :)
Mail Stagecoach
Sophia's FAVORITE part of the Postal Museum. Russ and I took her on that escalator at least half a dozen times.
After we said goodbye to the Killions, we met up with Dad after he was done with work and went to see the lights at the zoo. It was a dark, cold, wet night, and, come to think of it, we really didn't see hardly ANY animals (like, maybe 5 in the entire zoo). We still had fun, though!
Sophia missed her nap with our busy day, so sometimes she just laid down on the floor for a couple seconds. Poor girl!

Williamsburg and Yorktown. We drove down to beautiful Colonial southern Virginia to meet up with some old family friends, the Andrews, and look at some Christmas decorations and the Yorktown Victory Center. I LOVED driving around Williamsburg - it was so beautiful with everything brick and old-fashioned. 
All the girls and the kids
Candid. You can tell I love that little girl!
Sophia found a tiny chair, took all the books off of it, and made herself at home.
Grandma and Grandpa Carson
This is how Sophia would charm Grandma and Grandpa. Not sure where she picked up the cock-head-and-smile pose, but we love it!
Sophia was NOT very happy about being a cannon ball :)
Sometimes when exploring with a toddler who wants to walk but doesn't always go the way you're going, "1-2-3 JUMP" is the best way to get around!
We're sure glad we were able to visit Virginia. One of my favorite things we did on our trip was that mom and I went to a fabric store and bought everything we needed to sew two skirts I saw on Pinterest. I was mom's lovely assistant while she did most of the "heavy lifting", and I think they turned out REALLY CUTE! It was a wonderful and relaxing trip, and it was so nice to be out of the COLD COLD COLD Minnesota weather. Since being home, Sophia does (her version of) the sign for "grandpa", and gets excited when she sees Grandma and Grandpa in their Christmas card picture. We had a quiet new year's eve with a sick Sophia and plan to get lots of projects done this week while Russ is home. Next week, we head to Arizona!!