Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There and Back Again—A Holiday Tale of Online Shopping

Oh, the joys of online purchasing for gift giving. I ordered an item of clothing. It came in the mail in the wrong size. I checked the order form, and it was their mistake—not mine. I called, and they were very accommodating. They put the correct size in the mail that day, and I mailed them back the wrong size. They refunded my money for my return shipping and didn't charge me for the second shipping. The item of clothing was here a week before Christmas. Happy story!

Today I came home to a package on my doorstep. They mailed me the correct size again. A second time. I called, and the person in charge of making decisions wasn't there, so they are going to call me back. I wonder if they'll just say enough is enough, and I'll end up with two, or if they want me to mail it back and then refund the shipping again. Haha. Oh joy. Another trip to the post office.

I'm just glad I didn't procrastinate, so that the gift was here before Christmas despite the fumbles along the way!

Anyone else have any tales of holiday shopping or shipping they'd like to share?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010—Wisconsin

Hallie & Jill show their enthusiasm
for their cold weather-gear.
For Christmas this year, my family was blessed to travel to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, to celebrate the holiday with some of my extended family. The vacation had been planned for over a year, and we had originally hoped that all of my siblings and their families would make it.

Well, as you may have read in my parents' family letter below, 2010 was a year of many surprises, so it did not work out for my two brothers and their families to join us. That was disappointing, but to use up some of the space we already had reserved at the resort (and because we love them!) we were able to invite my grandma Boling and grandpa Homer to join us.

I had never been to Wisconsin Dells before, but it was beautiful, and it snowed every single day we were there. I do not know if I have ever before tried to walk in snow that deep. (I don't know specifically how deep it was, but it was up to my knees.)

An unexpected perk to Jill not being potty trained is that she never said "I have to go potty" after being bundled into all of her cold weather layers.

Jeff, Jill, and I were able to be there for the full week, and it was chock full of activities. We enjoyed finger painting, crafts, bubble baths in the jacuzzi, a horse drawn wagon ride, and the kiddie pool.

Jeff also got to try skiing for the first time. My dad had been trying to think of a way to get Jeff on skis, but neither Jeff nor I thought he could possibly be successful. In the end though, my dad proved to be very tricky. He scheduled a ski lesson for Jeff and allowed Jeff to believe that it had already been paid for. Never one to waste money, Jeff tried it out and enjoyed it. It is not going to turn into anything to rival his passion for golf or basketball, but he had fun and even carried Jill in his arms for half of the bunny slope, so you could say Jill has had a taste of skiing now as well.

Devin, Amy, and Dad also skiied. Dad takes the cake for never falling once. Amy may or may not have done a bit of crying, and Devin gave Hallie her first taste of skiing by putting Hallie's little feet on his skis and also going down half of the bunny slope.

Last week, I was thirty-three weeks pregnant, and it seemed smart for me to not ski. I would have loved to though. I haven't done so in three or four years.

We decided not to tube, since none of the toddlers/babies met the height requirement, but Hallie and Jill did have some fun playing in the snow. Watch a video of Hallie sledding or Jill going down a snow slide by clicking either of those links.

Here is one activity a pregnant woman can still do!
Although I was very grateful to have the help of my mother when it was time to get all of us out and dry.
Since her marriage, my sister and her husband have had annual gingerbread house parties. I have never been able to participate in one, and I guess I technically still haven't. (They were out of ginger, molasses, and brown sugar, so Devin improvised and made cocoa bread houses. He's so fancy.) Almost all of us participated and made some pretty tasty looking homes.

Jill did manage to stick some candies onto the house, but admittedly she got the most enjoyment out of eating the architectural details. I may have sneaked a few as well. ;)

One of the fun surprises Christmas morning was homemade tutus for all of the girls made by their amazing Aunt Rachel. If you can't view the video where you're reading this post, then click this link.

One highlight of the trip was attending the Christmas Eve service at a local United Methodist Church.  We were able to sing many of my favorite hymns and hear lots of the Christmas scriptures. I really enjoyed singing "Silent Night" while the lights were dimmed, and we all held lit candles. (The candles were not as much fun prior to being lit, when Jill and Hanna really wanted to hold/eat them.)

We made it home safely yesterday evening and were able to enjoy dinner with Jeff's family. His brother Jason and Jason's wife Amy are in town for the rest of the week. (They live in Utah.) His brother Ryan's girlfriend Cyanne (from California) is also here for the next two weeks, so we really have everyone here. We feel pretty blessed to be able to see so much family this winter.

The cousins in the cute outfits Gigi gave them for Christmas.
Sadly, the first day back has not been quite as wonderful as the first evening back. I have managed to knock over an entire glass of chocolate milk and dump a seven-pound container of laundry detergent powder on my carpet. Jill has pooped through two outfits already, and we are both sick. (Thank goodness Jeff isn't, too!)

A not-so-nice welcome home was the discovery that our disposal is somehow draining into our dishwasher.

I also have brilliantly gone through four cycles in the washer, even though I only had three loads of laundry to do. (Yes, I forgot to put the clothes in. Yay for wasting water.) :(

I wonder what other "disasters" await me today when I get up from this computer.

That said, I am entirely unpacked from last week, so that's not too bad for a forgetful, clumsy pregnant woman, right? I also tackled 83 e-mails and 9 voice messages after a week of no internet or cell phone coverage. (I am sure I would have had coverage in the city. Our villa was just up in the mountains.)

Here are some more pictures of last week's fun.

Grandpa Homer (Jill's Poppy), Hanna, Hallie, Grandma Boling (Jill's Gigi), and Jill
Hanna LOVED her uncle Jeff.
I'm not sure what Hallie is doing to Hanna, but it is funny.
I wonder how long it will be before Jill stops saying "Hallie?" and "Hanna?" and looking around for her cousins. I wonder when Jill will get to spend time with her other cousins, so she can know them well, too.

This vacation was made possible by my wonderful parents. Thank you!!
My mom and dad, or Jill's Pappy and GranB
Oh yes, and worth mentioning was that I got to be the activities and meal planner this vacation. I was really excited to take on such a big challenge, and I feel like I was, for the most part, successful. I am still in shock at how large the grocery bill was, but it was definitely way less expensive than eating out every meal would have been. And it was a lot of fun to cook together in the small kitchen. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Letter

Unfortunately, I do not have the money or memory to mail our Christmas letter to everyone who should receive it, so here it is for all to see. For anyone who knows my family as well, I've included my parents' letter, too.

If you're viewing this post on my blog, you should be able to click on the image to view a larger size. If you are not on my blog, haha, go there now! :) This is the link.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season filled with good will, charity, peace, and time with loved ones.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Poll Closed and Pregnancy Comparisons

The poll is officially closed, and the results are in. I will post them here, because I am going to delete the poll from my sidebar.

Which is more disgusting: to eat almonds that your toddler has chewed or to wipe the partially eaten almonds in the armpit of your daughter's sweater?

  • 8 votes: They're both gross.
  • 8 votes: Definitely to eat it!
  • 5 votes: Definitely to wipe it!
  • 2 votes: Neither is gross.

Which reaction was whose?

  • 11 votes: Mimi ate, and Jeff wiped.
  • 7 votes: Jeff ate, and Mimi wiped.

Well, well. I wish I could see who voted what, because I have a feeling that mothers, fathers, and nonparents might view this situation differently.

I ate the chewed almonds, and Jeff wiped it on her clothes. I must mention something here for the 16 people who think my reaction was gross: The almonds were not partially digested or thrown up; they were simply spit out. We had nowhere to put them (no wipes, no tissues, no paper, etc.), and we could not leave where we were, so I ate them. I eat a lot of things she doesn't eat. Hehe In my mind, that's just what moms do. Wouldn't want to waste food. :)

Jeff obviously disagrees with the eating and thinks that's gross. He wiped it on her clothes and thought it was a very good option. And since I do the laundry, I did not think that was a good option, nor did I relish the thought of possibly having others get the almonds on them when they picked Jill up later that day.

Really though, we both think it is a funny demonstration in our differences. Thank you for adding to our enjoyment by voting and sharing your opinions.

And now for the pregnancy comparison. In a previous post, I included a picture of how the pregnancy of Daniel Wells is progressing. A friend on facebook asked if I had one comparing this pregnancy with Jill's. So, I made one comparing just the seventh month of both.

I hadn't compared them visually before, but I had compared them mentally, and that has made me a little . . . sad? anxious? apprehensive?

I was weighed in at the doctor's office this week, and my weight was 161 pounds. I was reading my journal later this week and read that my weight when Jill was born was 162 pounds. ONLY ONE POUND DIFFERENT. This concerns me. I still have nine weeks left to this pregnancy! I tried to think of various reasons.

1. I could just be fatter this time round.
However, if you'll remember my difficult summer of the first trimester and the flu, you will remember that I lost about twenty pounds, so I definitely started this pregnancy skinnier than I began Jill's pregnancy. Also, I did not work out at all during Jill's pregnancy. The extent of my exercise was walking to and from work a few times a week, which was . . . I don't know how far, but it never raised my heart rate or anything. This pregnancy though I have been working out daily (with the exception of being sick this week and Thanksgiving weekend) since the middle of October. Lots of working out. One mile on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 40 to 50 minutes of Zumba on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So, I'm exercising way more, so I shouldn't be fatter. I have no idea whether I am eating less healthily, but I don't really eat very poorly in general, so I would be surprised if I were.

2. Daniel Wells could already be a bigger baby than Jill Halley was.
That somewhat terrifies me. Jill's delivery was not ideal. Forceps were used, and I tore quite a bit. She was only 6 pounds 11 ounces. I don't really want to think about delivering a baby larger than her. I don't think I have room! I have heard that since it is the second time, my body might be better at making room for a baby, so I pray that will be the case with me. I have had many friends survive Cesarean sections; Maybe I'll end up with one of those if Daniel Wells keeps growing. My mom had three, so I can't really complain if I end up having a C-section. Some of my friends even prefer them (the scheduled kind—not the emergency kind).

Part of me wonders if Daniel Wells just grew faster earlier, and I won't gain much weight in these last two months, but from what I've read the baby usually grows the most during these months. Some even gain a pound a week near the very end.

So, I'm not really a fan of either reason why this pregnancy weighs in two months ahead of my previous pregnancy. I am, however, incredibly grateful to be pregnant. I can't help but think about my miscarriage earlier this year and how I would already be holding a baby in my arms if that baby had stayed inside of me.

I am also very grateful to live in this country and time where mortality rates for mothers and babies are so incredibly low. After dealing with severe pre-eclampsia with Jill's delivery, I am very, very grateful for the access we had to doctors and nurses who knew what to do, as well as equipment and medicine that kept Jill and I doing well.

What a blessing to be pregnant. What a blessing to have insurance. What a blessing to have medical care.

(One a side note: Does anyone else think that mortality should stand for the number of lives rather than the number of deaths? I always feel like I am using that word incorrectly, but I just looked it up, and I am not.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yeah, more pictures

So . . . I know. I have posted a lot recently, but there are lots of cute pictures to share!!

To show you that Jill does like Christmas and her Christmas dress, here is proof of a smiling, happy Jill. Apparently it is just Santa that she is a bit afraid of. We'll have to practice for next year. Although that will be a little difficult, because we don't know many men with long snowy white beards.

She loves the Christmas tree. She has broken two Christmas ornaments so far. One was a beautiful angel made of salt crystals formed from the Great Salt Lake. I was a little sad to see that one break, but she didn't do it on purpose. She was trying to get it off the tree, but it was too high for her to really remove, so she was just tugging on it. (I had meant for it to be too high for her to reach period. Sigh.) So, she's a strong tugger, and it snapped at the waist.

The second ornament was at her grandma Collett's house. She dropped an ornament on the kitchen floor, and it shattered. 

We had quite a display of Christmas ornament breaking this evening. Fifteen month old Santiago crushed one IN HIS HANDS. Impressive, yes? I am glad he did not cut himself.

The cats have been really good about the tree. However, Cosmo did almost strangle himself in the lights once, but they have never tried to climb it still and they mostly leave it alone.

Here is a picture with all of us. I love the faces Jill makes these days!! Jeff is holding her, but I think in the picture it almost looks like she is sitting on my belly and propping herself up with her arm on my shoulder. That would have been painful, so I am glad that is not what is really happening.

We are getting a lot of votes on our poll—thank you! I will reveal in a few days which reaction was whose.

Let's see . . . I only have six Christmas presents left. One of Jeff's brothers is proving difficult. I am almost done making Emily's, and I need to make Rachel's, Mindee's, Poppa's, and Gigi's presents still. It feels really good to be so close to done! Now I just need to make sure to make them. :)

I am getting excited for our Wisconsin trip. I wish more of my family could have made it, but I hope to see the rest this summer perhaps if Pete and Mindee can make it to Michigan. We'll see.

My mom said I could plan the menu for Wisconsin, and I don't have official permission for being activities director, but I'm assuming no one will fight me for that position, so I am having a lot of fun thinking of things for us to do. Well, fun for my family. :) They may not be fun for yours!! 

Wow, I don't know how my blog looks on your screen, but on mine the three funs I typed above are all stacked on top of each other. My text design teacher would have docked me for that!

What else . . . Oh yes. Laurie made a Christmas booklet for all of her boys back in 2003 that has a scripture, Christmas song, and Christmas story for every day in December. I've been reading that every evening before I go to bed and am really enjoying it. This truly is a wonderful time of year when people do such nice things for each other.

Okay, I'll end this post with a picture, well three pictures, of Daniel Wells making my belly look bigger!

The Difference of a Year

Oh, the joys of Christmas.

She loved reading about Santa and seeing our Santa ornaments. The love seemed to end when he reached down to pick her up. I'm even pretty positive that it is the same Santa both years, because we had the mall Santa at our church party last year.

I love Santa's face in this one. "Oh. Sigh. Another crying baby. Why?" :) Poor Santa. He was really nice.

Sorry for torturing you Jill, but I think you will find this funny in the future. I hope. Because it isn't cute! All it has going for it is funny. Isn't her dress lovely though? Thanks, Laurie!

And please know that Laurie bought the CD copy of the picture, so I am not breaking any rules by posting a picture a photographer took. :) I respect photographers' rights to their work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snowy Weekend

We had a nice, snowy weekend. We stayed home a lot more than we had planned :( but that was probably wise, because when we did venture out, the other drivers were not being very smart. Example: We're driving home from Jeff's parents' house, sitting at a stoplight waiting for a green arrow. Jeff is looking at something, so he doesn't notice our light turn green. I'm about to tell him it is green when a car drives (slides?) right in front of us through its completely red light. If Jeff hadn't been looking at something else, we would have been completely sideswiped by that car, and it was not going terribly slow. Wow. And about five minutes before that stoplight incident, we saw another car in a ditch next to the road we were on.  We had another occasion of where we were driving down a street and a smaller connecting road had someone approach the stop sign way too quickly, and they almost weren't able to stop in time before sliding into our bigger road that did not have a stop sign. Sigh. Scary. I'm glad Jeff was driving.

Snow can be fun, too, though!

Jill enjoyed eating the snow as well. Fresh fallen snow—yum!

We also had the privilege of attending the wedding of our friends Amelia and Fernando on Friday evening. It has been quite a fall for weddings! This was my fifth!

Jeff and I have a poll going right now. If you are viewing this post on my blog, then you can see it in the top right column. If you are not viewing this on my blog (for example, if are you viewing it in your e-mail, Google Reader, or facebook), then please click this link if you would like to go to my blog and vote. Jeff and I would really like you to vote. :) We both think our reactions are pretty funny.

Friday, December 3, 2010

An Inspiring Story & A Worthy Cause

If you don't mind crying, or having your heart touched, and would like to hear/see an inspiring story of a community coming together to give a little boy one last Christmas, then click on this link to watch the home videos, hear the beautiful song Matthew West wrote about the experience, and learn how you can donate money to St. Jude's hospital in honor of their cause.

Click this link.

And make sure to hug your loved ones whenever you can. This life is such a fragile gift. We never know when it will end.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jill & Amish Quotations

Jill has been saying something for the past few weeks that I think is really cute but slightly ambiguous.

Jeff always asks, "Jill, do you love me?" And she always replies, "no." (Very disappointing after all of his sacrifices. Haha.)

So, I have started saying this to her every time I buckle her into her car seat:

"Mama loves Jill. Jill loves Mama. Daddy loves Jill, and Jill loves Daddy."

My plan is that if I tell her enough times that she loves us, she'll start thinking she loves us. Ha.

However, for the past two or three weeks, I haven't been able to get through my whole discourse. Because now when I say "Mama loves Jill." She quickly says, "And Daddy."

So . . . is she saying Mama loves Jill and Daddy? (That is what she is technically, grammatically saying if she is finishing my sentence.) Or is she saying that she knows Daddy loves her, too? I don't know. I have asked her which she meant, but she's mum on the subject. One year olds . . .

Or is she just tired of my routine, so she is trying to hurry me through it? Ha.

Her newest word is "milk." It's not 100% clear, but the "k" is very well enunciated at the finish.

Oh! And this morning we had a new development that I loved! Instead of hearing crying in the baby monitor when she awoke, I heard "Mommy, Mommy." Awww melt my heart!!

And now something interesting. (Well, to me the Jill stuff was interesting, but you know what I mean. Interesting and not family related.)

One of my friends just read Amish Proverbs by Suzanne Fisher and shared what some of her favorite proverbs from the book were. Here are some of those.

Anger makes your mouth work faster than your mind.
Oh my word. That describes pretty much 75% of all the things I wish I hadn't ever said. Sigh. Although, my mouth often seems to work faster than my mind, regardless of whether I'm angry or not.

A man is happier to be sometimes cheated than to never trust.
I don't really have a whole lot of life experience with that, but I completely agree with it personally. I hope I never have reason to lose my trust in mankind as a whole.

Nothing is quite so annoying as to have someone go right on talking when you are interrupting.
This one I just had to laugh at. I have a horrible habit of interrupting people, and I have had way too many of the awkward you-thought-someone-was-done-so-you-started-talking moments. Sigh. So, I know that interrupting is terribly rude, but I still get ahead of myself and do it sometimes, so this one made me laugh.

And then here is a saying my dad shared with us over Thanksgiving weekend (I'm assuming it is not Amish), "No husband was ever shot while doing the dishes." ;)

Have you heard any good proverbs/quotes recently that you'd like to share? They don't have to be Amish. Anything goes!