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Friday, February 27, 2009

Flashback Friday

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This was taken around 1999 in Ventura, CA, where Neil served a mission for our
church.
Still cracks me up every time I see it.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ryan laughs

Go ahead and keep a straight face. I dare ya!

video

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, brother Brad!

Brad, we love you and wish you the happiest of birthdays!

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Yay for 24!
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recent happenings

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote a real update. Here are some of the things we've been up to.
Be warned, this post is lengthy.

RYAN is now 3 1/2 months! He was taken off oxygen at his follow up appointment a couple weeks ago, and has been back to his old self for over a week now. I'm guessing he's close to 13 pounds. He does all the normal 3 month old things: smiles, coos, and chews his hands (or anything else he can wrap his little fingers around). He hates being on his stomach, so I try not to force it on him too much. He can roll from his back to side. He scoots some, especially in his crib. I'll often find him, after his nap or in the night, fussing as his head is smashing up against the bumper. He loves face to face interaction of any kind, and gets surprisingly uptight when he's feeling neglected. Sometimes when he's fussing for no reason and I've tried everything, I lay him in his bouncer and turn on a Baby Einstein dvd. It immediately captures his attention and will entertain him for short periods of time. It's great for me because in addition to his naps, which are still scattered and generally short, it allows me to get things done that I'd otherwise be doing one handed.

Ryan laughed for the first time last Friday, and has done it a couple times since. I've attempted to capture it on video, but each time he's immediately become distracted by the camera and stopped. One of these days I'll be successful.

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Our little flirt

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Look what I can do!

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More smiles!

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Must have been dreaming something sweet!

CHLOE is either a princess or a "vallerina", depending on the day and her mood. She loves anything "pretty". The more glittery, fruffy, obnoxious and bright, the better! While she's mostly "girl", however, she does hold a special place in her heart for Spiderman. When choosing Valentines a couple weeks ago, she was all about Princess ones until she spotted Spiderman! I couldn't believe it! Eventually she decided Winnie the Pooh was the best option, but this was very much out of her character. She also enjoys rough housing with her dad. While I don't encourage it, I have to admit it's pretty entertaining to watch. She knows how to give a body slam, an elbow drop and a tackle! I am just waiting for the day she tries some of these tricks on her brother. Hopefully it's a while down the road when Ryan can hold his own.

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Getting ready to cook up a treat in her kitchen

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Potty training her baby

Chloe likes things done a very specific way, and in her own manner and time frame. This truly makes life glorious for us all, let me tell you! Example: choosing a fork for lunch. If I even dare OPEN the utensil drawer to, heaven forbid, help her, she about loses it. In the rare case that I do this, she immediately slams the drawer shut, re-opens it, chooses her fork (usually a 30 second if not longer process), closes the drawer, and then looks me right in the eye and says, "Don't do that again, Mommy!" This applies to just about everything: choosing her socks, pushing "play" on the remote, turning on the faucet, the process of being buckled into her car seat, and even applying toothpaste to her toothbrush. Here's what's funny. The second she senses my hands are full or that I'm preoccupied with something else, her independence shatters and she's suddenly helpless, vulnerable and absolutely incapable of doing anything by herself! Like I said, glorious...

One of her latest obsessions is dressing herself. And not just the process of choosing an outfit and putting it on, but changing it numerous times throughout the day. She always has a valid excuse, of course. Like the fact that she got a single drop of water on her shirt and therefore needs to change her entire outfit because there isn't another shirt in existence that will match the black pants she's wearing. After lunch it's pretty much guaranteed she's going to try to get away with it. After all, who can function with a stain on their sleeve? Then there's the "I don't have an excuse, but am needing a change from my already gaudy and mis-matching attire". Whenever possible, she prefers wearing a skirt or dress because it makes her feel pretty. And I can't remember the last time she stayed in her jammies all night (or in her bedroom). Here's how I found her the other night (in Ryan's room). Could this possibly be comfortable?

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The panties are just the icing on the cake!

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And this was her outfit of choice for date night with Daddy

She never EVER stops talking. Just listening to her wears me out sometimes! Here are some of the funny things she's been coming up with:

Chloe: "What's that, Mommy?" (while driving past UCCS)
Me: "That's a University! A school!"
Chloe: "Where Ashley goes?" (her friend)
Neil: "No, it's a school for grown ups!"
Me: "Yeah, a school for adults, Chloe!"
Chloe: "It's for adults, Daddy! Not grown ups!"

Neil: "Am I amazing?"
Chloe: "Yeah."
Neil: "Are you amazing?"
Chloe: "Yeah."
Neil: "Did you get your amazingness from me?"
Chloe: "No, you got your amazing from me!"

Chloe: "Mommy, is your bum big?" (taking a slight pause to examine my lower half) "Oh yeah! It IS big!" (Seriously?)

Chloe: "Mommy, you're a carrot; daddy's a sweet potato; I'm a doggy, and Ryan's a horse!"

(At the dinner table after a particularly frustrating evening with Chloe)
Chloe: "I don't like carrots cooked. Only cold!"
Neil: Want me to tell you all the things I don't like?"
Chloe: "Yeah."
Neil: "Are you gonna be on the list?"
Chloe: "No, but Santa is!" (obviously she associates "list" with "Santa")

"Is it a different one?" is her most commonly asked question. Example:
Chloe: "Mommy, where are we going?
Me: "We're going to Target."
Chloe: "Is a different one?"
Me: "A different one from what?"
Chloe: "Is it a different one?" (now annoyed that I don't understand her question)
Me: "It's the same Target we always go to, Chloe."
Chloe: "But is it a different one?"
In this instance, I've learned that a simple "yes" or "no" usually suffices.

Anything plural has a "ez" added to the end (example: shoesez)

Anything that happened in the past happened "last night"

Most recent comebacks: "Don't tell me what to do!", "Leave me alone!" and "Don't talk to me!"

And one of her favorite things to say, "I'm a mommy, so I can tell you what to do!"

Chloe asks a million questions, and while it usually drives me crazy, I have to appreciate her curiosity and hunger for learning. She is starting preschool a week from tomorrow, and she couldn't be more ready! Her latest favorites include Tom and Jerry, Lipton noodle soup and dancing around the living room to classical music. Generally while doing this, she's wearing a skirt and will hold onto it with one hand while prancing and spinning around on her tippy toes. Such a dainty and feminine little thing she is. I seriously need to get her in dance classes!

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I took these last weekend after giving her a MUCH NEEDED haircut.

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This girl is NOT camera shy!

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Valentine's Day church activity

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Thanks for the apron and chef's hat, Grandma Susie!

NEIL, aside from helping me keep my sanity with the kids, has spent most of his free time in the basement. He's finished painting (thank goodness for a paint sprayer), tiled the bathroom and wet bar area, installed the toilet (which Chloe now demands to use half the time because it's just so cool), hung baseboards and trim, and almost finished caulking. Here's how it's looking.

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Recreation room

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Wet bar area (in theater)

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Theater

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Bathroom

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And per Chloe's request: the toilet

Despite our lack of flooring (and furniture for that matter), Neil was determined to watch the BCS Bowl last month on the big screen. And so, he got the projector mounted to the ceiling, screen on the wall, and speakers wired. As you can also see, the guys carried the couch downstairs so they'd have something to sit on. What do you think of the foot rests?

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James, Neil, Chloe and Matt

All that's left of the basement is window sills, hanging doors, tiling the shower area, counter tops for the bathroom and wet bar (which have been ordered), finishing the custom shelving unit in the rec. room, touch-up paint, and finally, carpet! We are SO CLOSE to being finished. And can I just say how thrilled I will be when that day comes?

I am doing the same old things. Changing diapers, nursing (still more frequently than I ever did with Chloe - my boy likes to eat), working out when I get the chance (and anticipating warm weather so I can get outside), attempting to maintain a happy healthy home, and trying to convince myself that it's okay if I can't do it all. Ryan's naps and feedings are still pretty sporadic, which can sometimes make planning difficult, but I'm accepting that that's okay too. I've been experimenting lots in the kitchen, both with cooking and baking. I made a killer stir fry the other night that I'll have to share. I'm learning, with regard to cooking, that I've adopted a lot of my mom's techniques with just making stuff up from what I have. I love that. And, after a few attempts, I think I've finally figured out how to bake a decent loaf of sourdough bread!

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My mom is coming out a week from Monday and I am looking forward to that. I'm hoping to set aside a day while she's here (and I don't have to deal with the kids), to dive into the world of digital scrapbooking. While I prefer a traditional scrapbook page, I have finally come to terms with the fact that I will never complete Chloe's scrapbook, let alone begin Ryan's at the rate I'm going. I do so much on the computer as it is (and really enjoy it), so why not give digital a try? My cousin shared some helpful tips and websites to get me started. If anyone else has ideas or recommendations, I'm all ears!

I'm also anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Christmas present, which has been on back order now for two months! I've considered getting a nicer camera for a couple years now, and I finally decided to just go it. Photography has always been a love of mine, and I would really like to make something of it if I can. I have LOTS to learn, and am anxious to get started... if the dumb thing will ever get here.

That's about it with us! Hope everyone's well and had a Happy Valentine's.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Flashback Friday

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Yep, that's me. December '98. Age 17.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Best chocolate cake ever

I discovered this recipe several months ago on a friend's blog. The picture alone sold me, and I don't even think 4 hours passed before I was in my kitchen baking away. It didn't help that I was pregnant at the time, and especially vulnerable to baked goods. I've never been much of a chocoholic, but this cake just may have been my first step to conversion! I don't even try to come up with excuses to make it anymore. Luckily, no one else seems to have a problem with that. :)

You can find a descriptive, witty and quite entertaining step by step version of the recipe here (in addition to lots of pretty, and mouth-watering pictures). Or just follow the instructions below. I have been meaning to post this since September, but just never got around to it until tonight. I do hope you'll forgive my withholding of such blessed information.

By the way, if you don't like this cake, I am disowning you as my friend.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake

Combine in a mixing bowl: 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

In a saucepan, melt 2 sticks butter.
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa. Stir together. Add 1 cup boiling water. Allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make icing:
Chop 1/2 cup pecans finely (if desired - I have always done it without). Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan. Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat.


Add: 6 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 lb minus 1/2 cup powdered sugar (if I remember right it's about 4 cups, but just use your own judgement - you'll know when you have the right consistency). Stir together. Add pecans (if desired), stir together, and pour over warm cake.

And finally, in the words of the Pioneer Woman herself:

"Cut into squares, eat, and totally wig out over the fact that you’ve just made the best chocolate sheet cake. Ever."







Couldn't have said it better myself!

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Flashback Friday

Today's Flashback Friday honors two special people and two special occasions.

First, my Grandpa Butterfield, who would have celebrated his 95th birthday today. He entered this world and left it on Friday, the 13th, and my mom is convinced that was no coincidence! She's probably right considering he was quite the jokester and loved the number 13.

The second special occasion, which would have been celebrated Monday, the 9th (also a special day for Neil and me, as noted in my previous post), was my grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary! Amazing. Don't they make a beautiful couple?

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I have heard so many stories about these two; what strong, loving, and enduring individuals they were, and how their spirits touched the lives of so many. I'm sad I didn't have a chance know them better, but I do have a handful of very fond memories which I'll hold dear to my heart forever.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Seven years together

Neil once made a promise to himself that he'd never date a co-worker. And as far back as I can remember, I vowed to never date a guy who drove a Ford. If we were both that willing to break our own rules, we must have been meant for each other!

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{February 2002 - Chevy's in Provo, UT}

Happy seven years, babe! Too bad we aren't in Provo to relive our first date.
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Flashback Friday

My cousin, Wendy emailed me this picture last night. I'm assuming she took it. What's funny is I didn't even know it existed! She told me she was reminded of it when she saw the picture below it, which I included in my recent post about our Salt Lake trip. This is actually very timely considering Monday is the seventh anniversary of our first date, and when our journey together began.

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{March or April(?) 2002} Are those highlights in your hair, Neil?

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December 2008

Pretty amazing how similar these are, eh? Good eye, Wendy. Good eye.
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I love my children

Especially when they sleep...

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By the way, picture 2 was taken yesterday BEFORE Dr. Burke gave orders to take Ryan off oxygen! Happy day!
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Monday, February 2, 2009

Hallelujah!

We're home, thank goodness! Ryan is still requiring oxygen while he sleeps and while we're in the car (due to poor air circulation, I'm assuming - not that I'm planning to take him anywhere anytime soon), but otherwise he's handling room air pretty well. I kept him on oxygen this evening, I guess more out of paranoia than anything. It's scary to not have a monitor beeping every time his levels decrease (or the tube comes out of his nose). He's also still coughing pretty bad, which was the main reason I justified it. He'll be in our room the next few nights, and has a follow-up appointment Thursday to evaluate his levels and overall state. I gave him a nice long bath tonight and he was in heaven. The poor guy's had it so rough this last week, he definitely deserved some pampering. He smiled and attempted to coo (his voice is still pretty hoarse) the entire time and probably would have been content lounging in that warm water all night!

I'm nervous about tonight seeing that he's still on oxygen. He's become quite the sneak, getting the tube out of his nose whenever possible. I can't blame the kid, but it's still frustrating when I'm constantly having to stick it back in. Hopefully by Thursday we can do away with the oxygen all together. As you can see in the picture above, he's once again succeeded in batting the tube out of his nose. And isn't he proud of himself?
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

A few more pictures...





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Feeling optimistic

Well, we are still here at Penrose. We had hoped Ryan would be well enough to go home today, but the pediatrician wants to keep him another night. He slept a good chunk of yesterday and last night, which is a huge improvement from last week's sleeping pattern. He also ate for a good 30 minutes today - also a step in the right direction.

Ryan's cough sounded worse than ever last night and this morning, but according to the pediatrician this is a good sign that the virus is finally making its way out of his system. After listening to his lungs this morning, she told me the wheezing had moved from the lungs up closer to his throat (another sign it's working its way out). They removed the IV and turned his o2 levels down to 50. He's doing great. A couple times during his feeding the oxygen tube came out of his nose but his levels remained above 90. So we are definitely seeing significant improvements.

One nurse told me that since Ryan was admitted Friday, three other babies (all about 3 months old) have been admitted for RSV. 'Tis the season, right?

I am bored and ready to be home! Aside from doing what I can to make Ryan's life easier, I've kept myself occupied with 'New Moon' (the second of the Twilight books), which I got about 180 pages into last July but never finished. I've also had a few friends stop by, which has been the highlight of our time here (other than Ryan getting better, of course). Hmmm... what else. Oh yes. Lots and LOTS of pumping! It's amazing how a week of poor feedings can decrease your milk supply so incredibly! The freezer here is accumulating quite the collection of Valeri's milk. :)

I miss my Chloebug. The poor thing has been tossed around so much these last few days. Neil took her to church today and said she hardly let him put her down. The excitement and stress of the last few days has definitely caught up with her. I think he is planning to bring her by later, which I'm excited about. I miss my girl. Hopefully when we are all home again, she and I can sneak away for a little date and leave the boys at home.

All in all, we're doing well. We are just hangin' out in our room, getting ready to watch the Superbowl. We appreciate all the visits, phone calls, meals, and most of all your prayers. They have certainly been heard! Let's keep our fingers crossed that we can get our little guy home tomorrow!
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