Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oh, the Irony

Yesterday I wrote about what a beautiful morning. It turned out to be quite an ironic day. Here's why.

We dropped off Joseph to Grandma's house so she could watch him. Then, we headed to the temple. I was certain that my cold was gone by this point, but I was wrong! I started coughing almost uncontrollably after 10 minutes in the session. It's a good thing I had a cough drop, or I wouldn't have made it through. Also, the lady was nice enough to let me get a drink of water. My cough drop ran out right near the end, so I was okay. I just felt bad for anyone sitting near me. I tried really hard to not cough all over them!

As we exited, the clear, sunny day had turned into a downpour of cold rain. Yuck. We quickly ran to our car, only to discover a flat tire! I just about laughed at this point. It was like something out of a movie. We put the spare tire on, drove to the tire place, and got the tire repaired. Luckily, it was free. Our prayer that the rain would stop worked! The rain slowed down quite a bit, so I told James we should just get out in the rain and get started on changing the tire. (It's like the story of the children of Israel stepping into the Jordan before it parted, you know?) Not 5 minutes later, the rain went away and the sun came out.

I thought the day would be normal at this part, but no. I was going to take dinner to a girl I know, but she wasn't home when I went to take it the first time. We also got a phone call telling us that the wedding reception we were going to go to got cancelled--the poor bride got sick. Luckily, the girl I was taking dinner to called me back and she got her dinner. If we had gone to the reception, I likely would've missed that call.

To make a long story short...we decided to go use up these tokens we'd gotten for free at the arcade in the Craze. It was a ton of fun, and we redeemed our tickets to get some candy. The day turned out absolutely nothing like we'd expected, but it was still very good. I think that the Lord was really looking out for us.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

I woke up this morning feeling the cool breeze blow across my face. We keep the windows open at night since there's no AC. My idea of perfect weather is a day that starts out like this morning: light breeze, 65 degrees, and sunny.

It was even 8:30. For any day of the week, that's considered sleeping in. Somehow, I woke up on my own and not to Joseph's crying...or even to James's alarm clock, which had gone off an hour before.

Despite the fact that I was coughing in the middle of the night, I feel great! I cleaned the house yesterday, so that puts me in an even better mood. Of course it's also Saturday, which means I'll see James for more than just a few hours.

Yesterday was a great day too. We finally got rid of this annoying, broken futon that we got from D.I. when we were first married. (We took it back to D.I., but don't buy it!) That freed up a ton of space in the second bedroom, which, by the way, is not simply full of junk. It's the library/office/Joseph's room. Even though the bookcase is homemade, I think it works as well as anything. I love having all of our books in one place--finally!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thoughts on Riches

Mission: fit fist into mouth!

In the Book of Mormon, Jacob speaks about riches.

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good--to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry..." Jacob 2:18-19

This passage of scripture has always made me wonder: What exactly defines riches? Is it having a lot of money? I don't really think so. There are many miserable people with lots of money. There are even more people who make lots of money yet waste it all on pointless things. They don't even think of themselves as "rich". They still complain that they don't have enough for their supposed needs.

At a school I taught at, I met many students of different backgrounds. Not a single child in that school had a lot of money. However, some of those students were perfectly content. Others--not so much. I came to realize that there's a difference between not having lots of money and "being poor". It's all about perspective.

Jacob says to seek for the kingdom of God first. I'd like to think that I have done that. I'm not perfect, but I try to keep the commandments. I try to make myself better. Every day, I am reminded how far I still have to go.

What a happy little guy!
So what does it mean to seek for riches? James and I certainly haven't done that, at least, not in the temporal sense. I graduated as a teacher, and he will do the same in 2 years. We already have a baby to take care of. Despite all that, I can't help but think that we really are rich. By seeking the kingdom of God, we have been blessed in many ways. We have a nice place to live. We have food, and it's not PB&J every day. We're getting educations at a decent price and in a good environment. We have a healthy baby and reasonably good health ourselves. I would definitely call those things riches. Why?

Jacob said that, once we've acquired riches, to use them to serve others. We have enough of these things to serve others, so that means we must have been blessed with riches in the first place!

In a way, riches are blessings that we don't really deserve. Since we have never been perfect in living the Gospel, it almost seems to good to be true that we've received so many "perfect" blessings.

The Lord loves us more than we can imagine. We are still like babies: completely dependent on him, yet He will still give us everything we need without repayment. There is no way that a baby can "repay" the service that was given to him/her by a parent. The only way we can repay our parents is to please them the best we can...and give them grandkids. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Other 5%

Being a mother is a wonderful, amazing experience...95% of the time. Today, I had one of those "other 5%" moments. I say "moment" because there's never a truly bad day. It's the times when we sit down, rant, and have a bad 5 minutes. Joseph fought taking a nap for hours. Really, he just wanted to play, and he doesn't have a real nap schedule yet. I thought I was about to go nuts though, because he kept drifting off to sleep while eating, and then, when I'd put him down, he'd immediately wake up and start wailing. Argh! It's just one of those moments where everything works against me. I've been sick the last few days with a mild sinus infection, but it's never fun to start the day off with a headache and raspy voice. There's nothing that will make a headache worse than having a wailing baby.

But to end on a positive note...

I love that little guy. He has starting laughing recently, and it is the most adorable thing I've ever heard! I think it's like music to my ear. Baby laughs are SO cute. You can't help but be happy when you have such an adorable, happy baby.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why I Love Joseph

He is so fun to play with!

He makes lots of cute faces. This is his scared face.

He sleeps great at night, most of the time. When he doesn't, he takes long naps. This particular nap was 2 hours long.

I love that little boy. He is such a joy to have around. There is a certain degree of sacrifice required to be a mother, but having such an adorable baby makes it worth every minute. I am so grateful that he came to join our little family so soon. I can hardly remember life without him, even though he's only  2 1/2 months old.

Biscuits & Gravy

We had some friends over for dinner on Sunday, so this is what I made. I guess I never really use a recipe for it, but I thought I'd write it down since it's so good!

1 lb. ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean mild.)
6 T. stick of butter or margarine
1/2 c. of flour
milk (about 4 cups)
salt and pepper

Brown the sausage over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. (A regular one will work fine, but it won't be quite the same!) Remove the sausage from the pan, but leave the grease.Turn heat down the medium. Melt the butter or margarine. Stir in flour until a roux (paste) is formed. Add milk 1/2 cup at a time, and stir in thoroughly. (I like to use a whisk for this part, because it eliminates lumps.) Add sausage back in. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I use lots of pepper!) Heat through. Serve on top on biscuits.

As for the biscuit recipe...any old recipe will work. It really doesn't matter if they drop biscuits or rolled out--or even from a can--because they will all taste good.

Friday, August 20, 2010

James Gets a Haircut & the Fair

James's new haircut! I even did it myself. Not bad for my first one ever, right?
Here's all the proof that James actually got a haircut.

Baby burrito! (Before we left for the fair.)


Little Joseph loves to be in the stroller!

Just chillin' in the stroller. He was an angel.
What the? Sheep in shirts?
My brother-in-law enjoyed lots of rides.
This was my favorite at this age.
Doesn't he look angelic?

As you can tell, the Madison Co. fair is a little small! Despite the fact that you can see everything in less than an hour, here are a few things I really liked about it.
1. Free chocolate milk. I don't know what it is about the United Dairymen of Idaho (or whoever they are), but they give away milk when they've got the opportunity. It's okay, dairymen, I've been sold on chocolate milk for years.
2. It's impossible to get lost.
3. It's easy to see everything. I also ran into a bunch of people I know. That hardly happens anymore since I graduated.
4. It's cheap. There isn't much to buy, so you won't spend a lot of money!
5. The weather is nice (or at least it was last night). No heat, no bugs, no nothin'.
6. Almost-free Jamba Juice! It was the end of the night, so we got them 2 for a dollar. I <3 Jamba.



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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"What I do all day"

I guess it's not always clear what a mother does with her extra time. As a mother of one child (so far), I guess I do get a little bit of that. This is what I currently do, beyond taking care of Joseph's basic needs and keeping the house in order (laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.).

I love to cook and bake. I try out new recipes fairly often. James especially loves baked goods. Most recently, I made some zucchini bread and strawberry-banana muffins (out of strawberry jam). He is trying to gain weight, and I'm trying to lose it, so most of this gets eaten by him. Sometimes I just can't resist, though...

James felt inspired to write his life history (about 40 pages written). I am working on typing that up so future generations will be able to read it. So far, I've done about 15 pages, because I'm not a very fast typist. When I finish his, I'm going to work on mine. I'm skipping straight to the typing, though. :)

I read. Of course that includes scriptures. I'm currently in 2 Nephi with Joseph. I read a chapter out loud to him every day. (It's not hard to do while he's eating.) I usually have a book that I'm reading for fun. Also, I read the Ensign. I never used to, but it's actually quite good. (Some articles can be a little weird, though, like ones about being single or a full-time missionary).

I do genealogy sometimes. I really have to be in the mood. Since I've done genealogy for about 10 years now, there just isn't as much for me to find as there used to be. That's why I'll be writing my personal history.

James also brings me crosswords from work. Yes, I know that only old people do those, but I quite enjoy them. Well, I guess I do genealogy too, so that doubly classifies me as "old". Oh well. I guess I won't have to make a lot of lifestyle changes when I actually am old!

When the weather is nice, I go walking with a group of ladies from my ward. They all have kids, so we look like a parade of strollers. We go to the park, and they let their kids play. Since Joseph is not quite old enough for that, I take a book or just sit and talk. I'm not a huge fan of exercise, but walking a mile is not too strenuous!

I guess that about covers it. It's elevensies for the little man, and he doesn't like to wait.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zucchini Pancakes

Yes, I know that sounds rather strange. However, the recipe I found was quite tasty. It's a great way to use up extra zucchini. (Heck, we even have it in Idaho, where hardly anything grows except for potatoes).

Zucchini Pancakes (slightly modified by me)

1 medium zucchini (about 2 c. grated)
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup flour
salt
pepper
oil


Grate zucchini. Combine all ingredients until moistened. Heat oil in a pan and drop spoonfuls to fry. Turn when they've browned. Drain on paper towels.

Source: cooks.com (Search "zucchini patties")

Pain and Love

Having experienced some degree of pain, I think I can say I'd rather feel it myself than to see someone else suffering. Then, at least, I know I will make it through and don't have to worry about the other person. (Unless, of course, I worry about that person worrying about me, but that's a different story altogether!)

Joseph got his 2-month shots today. He seemed to be fine after a few minutes, but he's been downright cranky the rest of the day. Poor little guy. The cute, colorful Band-aids don't make up for how he feels right now. At least he has gone to sleep! Unfortunately, he cried quite a bit before that. I don't mind hearing him cry when he's hungry or tired...or bored because I've left the room. His little cry of pain is the absolute worst.

On the bright side, he wasn't crying for four hours like when we went to the ER. Also...he's not going to remember any of this! Too bad his mommy will...for a while, at least.

It makes me wonder how our Father in Heaven feels when we experience pain. I doubt our pain is any source of  pleasure to Him, whether self-inflicted or not. Sometimes we are like babies who need shots. It hurts at the time, but it's for our own good.

Still though...OUCH.

Home Again, Home Again, and off to Grandma's

The week after vacation is always a little crazy. We came home to quite a long to-do list and no food in the house. Joseph had his two-month appointment. He is now 23 inches long and almost 12 pounds! That's basically average, according to the charts.

We visited James's grandparents, who live about an hour away. It's always fun to go there. I especially love the cookie jar. :) James and I left Joseph with James's family and went to Green Canyon. It was my first time going to hot springs. It may be old and ghetto but the water was actually warm. I was quite excited about that. The lakes and rivers are so darn cold around here, too cold to swim in, if you ask me. Green Canyon is in the middle of nowhere, but it was really crowded. For anyone that lives around here, I totally recommend it. It's not terribly expensive. We got in for free with passes we got from the library summer reading program, but I would totally pay a little bit to go there. There's a hot tub too. I just can't believe that it's all natural heat from the earth. (Otherwise, it would be dang expensive to keep it open all year!) I think I'm going to hit up that hot tub again in the winter, as long as the road there isn't too treacherous. It's been known to happen.

North Carolina and New Hampshire Vacation

We visited NC and NH at the beginning of August. Joseph certainly gave us a scare. He traveled great and hardly cried at all. In fact, people on the airplane remarked that they didn't know we had a baby with us! (That's one of those moments that makes me proud, even though having a well-behaved baby has nothing to do with my parenting.) However, once we got to NC, he started acting cranky and running a fever. We ended up taking him to the ER. It was a sad, sad experience that I do not wish to relate, but they diagnosed him with a UTI after about 4 hours. 10 days of antibiotics were all he needed to get better. The antibiotic was very expensive, and we missed Sunday dinner, but of course that doesn't really matter when it comes to the baby's health! Going to the ER with a baby is probably one of the worst experiences I've ever had.

The rest of the vacation was great! We went to the temple with Christian, ate at Chick-fil-a once (their new spicy sandwiches are pretty good), and showed Joseph off to Mom's adoring friends. We went swimming at the pool and ate dinner with Brinson since we'd missed him on Sunday.

Then we headed up to NH. The drive was probably the best it's ever been: only 14ish hours, not many stops, and a well-behaved baby once again. The only part I don't like about traveling with him, honestly, is changing his diaper in public places. Some of them only have counters...I had to shoo away a couple of women putting on makeup! Plus, public bathrooms are known for being kind of yucky.

NH was, for once, NOT boiling hot! We always seem to visit during the hottest week of the year! It actually felt like the summer in Idaho, which is generally nice and cools off a lot at night. We saw basically all the family, except the married cousins who don't live there anymore. We took a nice 5-generation picture. I still can't believe that Great Gram is 99! Joseph was a little charmer for the family. He smiled and cooed for almost everyone.

July

A month after Joseph was born, the days just started turning into a blur. I've learned that babies really do grow like weeds and change really fast. Around the middle of the month, Joseph starting to really smile. What a wonderful milestone to reach! It's really the first time that I knew that my baby knew me and appreciated what I was doing for him. It still makes me so happy to see him smile. :) At 6 weeks old, he finally started outgrowing "newborn" sized clothing. That was another wonderful moment. He's actually growing!

I taught my first Relief Society lesson in July. It went pretty well, even though I wasn't quite as prepared as I wanted to be. I kind of ran out of time during the week...Oops.

Joseph got some adorable pics done by a girl in the ward. Wow. They were seriously amazing. They are on my FB page. (I'm sure everyone has seen them by now, since I put them up a while ago). Or, go right to her page cindybaldwinphotography.blogspot.com.

Christian, my brother, finished his first semester during the last week of July. He stayed with us for a few days, and, in his words, it was "mad chill". That boy can sure sleep when he's got the time! He leaves for his mission in Sept., which is sooner than I'd like. We already miss him since he went back to North Carolina. He is definitely prepared for a mission though, and a wonderful example to his big sister.

The weather finally turned into summer. Without AC, it just feels like it's boiling. Yuck. But I shall say no more about that. Nobody wants to hear about the heat in Idaho, since it's really not that bad!

Our Anniversary

On July 3rd, we celebrated one whole year of marriage. I can honestly say that it's been the best year of my life. James would say so too, if he were here. (He is at work, that wonderful man, doing manual labor.) We dropped off Joseph and went to the breakfast buffet at JB's, which is the first place we ate as a married couple. We even got the same chocolate satin pie, which is to die for, by the way. It also happened to be the day for celebrating the 4th (since the 4th fell on a Sunday) so there were all kinds of booths and things in the park, including free otter pops. :)

Later on, we went to James's aunt's house for a cookout and fireworks. Needless to say, it was an awesome day that just flew by. Joseph did great with his grandma. I sure missed him, though. Five hours is the longest I'd ever been away from him (and that's probably still true at this point).

Family Reunion

Joseph was about a month old by the time the family reunion happened. He started cooing and almost smiling by this point!

The family reunion was about an hour away from where we live in some nice cabins. I'll tell you what, Idaho sure is beautiful in the summer. It's too bad that the rest of the year it has to be covered in snow. Well, maybe not quite that bad...but almost. Anyway, the family reunion was a blast. I met a few new members of James's extended family (dad's side) which is absolutely huge. There were about 55 people there and 25 more who weren't! What a great family he has, though. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of it. Joseph is lucky too, because he has 3 sets of living great-grandparents. He was really popular at the reunion and got passed around and adored almost all day long. (It sure made me proud to have such a cute baby!) Basically, the reunion was a combination of wonderful company, food, and weather.

Mesa Falls (Joseph's First Trip) and Father's Day

At two weeks, I took Joseph on his first "trip". (He may have gone to the grocery store once by then. I don't remember). Mesa Falls is the most gorgeous part of Idaho I've ever seen, not that I'm the authority on the whole state, but still. I think anyone would agree that forested mountains in the summertime with rushing waterfalls are quite beautiful. I went to the falls with James's family. It's too bad he couldn't come, but he was working.

By this point, Joseph was settled into a more consistent eating schedule, though, mind you, it still isn't entirely predictable. I am extremely grateful that he knew the different between night and day from the very beginning! What a wonderful baby he is. He had his first doctor's appointment, which was fairly uneventful. Also, James gave him his first bath! I put him in charge of that, since I have to do all the feeding and a lot of the diaper changes (but when James is home...beware!)

At three weeks, Joseph finally started accumulating some rolls. Chubby babies are the best, I think. This was the first week that James and I went to the temple. It was refreshing to go after about a month of not going. We left Joseph with his grandma. By that week, I was also fully recovered from having Joseph, except for a stubborn 5 lbs that is still hanging around.

James's mom sure loves baby-sitting Joseph. I sure wish my mom were around so she could see him more. Something tells me that she really loves babies.

We celebrated Father's Day by taking Joseph to church with both his dad AND grandpa. (It's nice to have in-laws that live so close). James's dad gave a talk. I made James some steak and potatoes for lunch, while I had chicken. I mean, one whole pound of steak was the perfect amount for him! For presents, I got him a new long-sleeved shirt for church, some basketball shorts, and some candy. He asked for all those things, but hey, it's nice to get exactly what you ask for sometimes.

Joseph's Birth

Since I haven't been too faithful about writing in my journal this summer...I've chosen Joseph's birth as the starting point for the blog! So please forgive me if you've already been informed about all these events from May 30th until now. I just don't want to keep the current paper journal I have. It's one of those without lines where my writing is all crooked and weird-looking. Plus, only about 10 pages are occupied, so I really don't want to have a random 10 pages hanging out somewhere in my already-huge pile of journals.

I was quite impatient for Joseph to be born. As the end of May approached, I thought I would go crazy. I was terribly uncomfortable (although not too big) and just tired of being pregnant. I was a little nervous, but I felt the assurance that everything would be okay. It's hard to know what to expect from all that anyway, since pregnancy is so different for everyone. I think the final week was the hardest, because the doctor told me I'd probably go overdue. It was not what I wanted to hear, since Mom was coming into town. I also did not want to be induced and have a higher risk of a C-section. Needless to say, it was a frustrating few days.

Mom arrived Friday night (the 28th of May) and I woke up the next morning around 3 in labor. (I'd been worried that I wouldn't know what it felt like, but I sure knew that this was the real thing!) We went to the hospital a few hours later. Joseph wasn't born until the next morning at 6:29, but somehow I made it through. The memory of the pain fades so quickly, I could hardly remember it once I left the hospital. Well, it's not something I would want to remember anyway! Before having a baby, I had never been a patient in a hospital. The most serious thing that happened to me was getting my wisdom teeth removed, and that wasn't even painful or difficult. (I ate regular food that same day.)

Joseph was 7 lbs. 3 oz. and 19.5 in. long. Right from the start, he was very alert. He was wide awake when I first held him, and I just couldn't believe that he was MY baby! (I still think that sometimes). At birth, he had very dark blue eyes, blond hair, and very skinny limbs. He has a very calm temperament (unless very hungry!)

Mom stayed for a week total to help out. Surprisingly, everything was easier than I thought it would be. I felt great and got a lot done while the baby slept, which was a lot. Getting up at night wasn't (and isn't) too bad most of the time either. It was funny to hear Mom accidentally call herself "Mommy" and then correct it to "Grandma". I guess I don't really think of her as a grandma because she isn't old enough! Well, she doesn't LOOK old enough.


James adjusted well to being a dad. From the start, he loved holding Joseph and just talking to him. Everyone says Joseph looks like me, but he definitely has his daddy's cleft chin. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why I Bothered Making a Blog...

Well, I think as most people nowadays, I am not much for writing things down! It's just a pain to get a piece of paper and pencil (or pen). Being left-handed, no matter what I write with, it gets smudged all over my hand. Without lines, I tend to write a little crooked. Needless to say, I think I'd rather type and print it out later. All you bloggers out there probably agree...

Basically, I intend on using this blog to record the most exciting events in my life. I really love cooking, so I might include some favorite recipes (since recipes are best shared, right?) and I love to read (hence the background) so I might review whatever book I'm reading at the moment. And since I'm a mom, I will likely upload more pics of my adorable little boy. Who knows? I might think of some other exciting things to write about. As for now, it's  dinner time. :)