Friday, April 15, 2016

Bathrooms and Easter and Dentist

Things have been happening around here.  These things are closely related.

Thing 1:

When we moved in we had Big Plans to redo our kitchen and add grand wings and expand the basement by 1000 square feet or so (okay, maybe not those last two), but then I lost my job and we had a baby and were distracted and trying to put our money toward other things, so we decided instead to do a few smaller projects along the way and work up to doing the kitchen, maybe piecemeal.  So we've painted a couple bedrooms and artfully arranged some new and old art on the walls, but the latest, just in time for spring, was a freshening up of our main floor bathroom.
Going prematurely green.
It wasn't a full renovation, just a fresh coat of paint and some new cabinet hardware and wall decor, but it was just the thing.  The Wife had just the shade of green in mind (she has a way with color), and even though we were kind of anxious when we had put on the first coat, another time over and a good dry and pulling off the paint and we loved it.  You can read more of the details here.
We worried it was a bit too green but when it was all over we thought it was just perfect
Then when we were finished, because why let a half gallon of Cottage Grove green paint and an afternoon of napping babies go to waste, we decided to do the downstairs one too!  It's only a half bath so it didn't take long, and it sort of took care of the water damage from the Minor Flood of '14, so that's good too.  Lesson learned though: Just tape off the baseboards next time.
(It looks greener in the pictures than it actually is.)
It was fun and quick and pretty inexpensive, which is just how I like my mini-renos.

Thing 2:

Easters!  Hot on the tail of our fresh new springtime bathroom, springtime itself was on its way, which included a really nice Easter Sunday, which fun and candy and baskets and Easter egg hunt practice so that little people might enjoy it more than they did last year.  Nothing could go wrong on a day like this.
Don't they all taste the same??  Apparently they have new "flavors", which sound gross.
The morning was all flowers and sausages, the perfect start to a special day.  I don't understand why the Easter Bunny is kind of like Santa Claus for some people these days, but our little poopsies were thrilled with their jelly beans and chocolate and plastic eggs.  (Baby's featured mostly squeezy pouches of baby food, which she enjoyed very much.)  (Also the new Easter basket grass is just the best thing ever.)
What ho, Easter Bunny!
We went to church and had a very nice time, adorable new clothes and a fun Easterish Singing Time in Primary, and then we plated up our asparagus and headed to my sister's house for the fun and festivities (and to "see cousins"), where there was an amazing dinner and lots of playing in the fun basement and thence to The Hunt!
Me and my little people
The Boy was much more into it just like we hoped, and the practice seemed to pay off, even for adorable adorable Baby, who was very glad to gnaw on the two or three eggs she found (and the Prince Charming she had brought from inside).
C: O, here, Baby.  A: *om nom nom*
I mean, really?!?  (Also, note:  Prince Charming.)
Which leads me to...

Thing 3:

... which I will list separately so as to keep the memories of Easter fun and only dampened by a slightly overcast afternoon.

So as the egg hunting was winding down we decided to go look at the horses on the other side of the backyard fence, and as we were approaching (and it actually occurred to me that he shouldn't get too close in case the horses nipped him or something) The Boy fell teeth-first onto the iron bar of the fence.  Tears, blood, restrained panic, taking him inside, thinking one was broken and the other was gone, not finding any on the ground, calling the emergency number to see if he needed to visit the ER, being asked ridiculous questions (is he complaining about pain??  Didn't I just say he was crying and covered in blood??), texting a picture to the on-call pediatric dentist, calming down, worrying about potential lifetime trauma, hugging and kissing and trying to examine teeth, choking up when a tiny voice says "my teeth are gone...", all aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents being very supportive and helpful and nice (and feeling guilty -- stop it), and eventually...

Putting on pajamas, borrowing toys from aunt and uncle, and heading home, but not before chasing down the kitty to tell it that he bonked.


The dentist said not to panic and if he wasn't in pain or bleeding he should be fine and to bring him in in the morning.

So we did!
Here we go...
We hadn't really planned on his first visit to the dentist being under these circumstances, but it could have gone worse...
Show us your teeth.  And don't be afraid of the impending x-ray chair.
He liked the exciting and interesting ocean-themed office and the movies on the ceiling, but when it came time to sit in any chair he was pretty distressed.  But they were quick and professional and gentle and nice, and told us that [AMAZINGLY] baby teeth sometimes just get pushed right back up where they came from and gradually grow back down just like they're coming in for the first time.  He had a few chips, but nothing close to the root and no nerve exposure, and overall we're just so grateful.  I mean, can you even imagine if that happened to an adult?  I think my teeth would just break clean off and I would pass out from the pain.  I tell you, kids are just designed to withstand bumps and bruises and bounce back.  In the end they gave him a token for the toy machines, from which he picked a grow-in-the-water dinosaur (that hardly grew at all), and as we drove away he proclaimed, "That's not so bad!"  It was still a little heartbreaking whenever he realized that things were different, and when -- the ultimate betrayal! -- his binky took some adjusting before he could take comfort in its companionship, but after a long night and some helpful medicine, the long day came to a close.

After that we were worried that he would have some painful association with horses or Easter or cousins or whatever, but it seemed like the lingering feeling of trauma had faded pretty quickly when he wanted to say hello to the horses down the street and visit the cousins shortly thereafter.  We almost had an episode trying to wear his Easter shirt again a couple weeks later (after the blood actually came off pretty easily), but that was more of a sleeves/sleepiness issue.  Phew.

We had a followup appointment this week (which was much less traumatic, though he still didn't care for the x-ray part of the process) and it looks like they're coming in already, which even we could see as the days have gone by, and, especially after the swelling and tenderness wore off, we're used to our boy's new temporary smile.  He's cute enough that he can pull it off.  He even told the doc that "My teeth are coming back!"

(I also learned that you can't just add your kid to your dental insurance for the first time any old day.  Good to know for future.)

(And I realize now that my post is a bit redundant if you've read The Wife's Easter/teeth report, but that's okay.)

What an eventful weekend.  So many things!  But they are all turning out all right, and even if some of them involved some trauma and tenderness and tears, everyone is fine and we are really enjoying spending time out in sunshine.  And really, what a way to be reminded of the true meaning of the holiday.  We felt a lot of love and comfort through the fear and pain, and it's always good to be reminded to have gratitude.

My teeth hurt while I was writing this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One / Thirty-...Five?

A few weeks ago our Smoochface reached that big first birthday.  At her checkup this week she was looking great, measuring leaner and taller than average as per usual, but (to us at least) in the highest possible percentile for adorableness.  She didn't much care for her shot at the moment, but a few snuggles from Mommy and she was her usual happy self again.  She's overall such a pleasant and sweet girl, so cuddly these days and usually pretty sweet to new people.  She is absolutely walking and starting to talk just a bit and make animal sounds, which we can hardly stand how cute it is.  She has her way when it comes to meal time, hungry for what she's eating but only in just the moment she wants to eat it, and her naps are kind of hit-and-miss but her nighttime sleeping is great.  We love her ombre hair and her close-to-double-digits teeth and her scrunchy smile and her bright blue eyes.  She definitely has a nice loud wail that she uses to great effect when she feels it necessary, but overall she is a delight to one and all.

The Wife's great twelve-month update is just here, but here are some of my pictures:
Helping herself to one of Mommy's Valentine's Day gifts
Throwback to visiting the Puppy Barn
At the Provo City Center Temple open house.  She at least was very well-behaved there.
Enjoying a tea party hosted by Big Brother.
Helping with some home improvements
New favorite game!
The weather was finally getting nice enough to go out.
I love being home on the weekends and able to fetch this face after naps!
On her actual day of we just opened some presents (BB was happy to help her out with the wrapping paper/playing) and she tentatively tried out the strawberry shortcake provided by Mommy, and a few days later we had her birthday party playdate at the park, which was fun and with lots of cousins, and Mommy's amazing butterbeer cupcakes.  Kind of the opposite of The Boy's first birthday party, it was beautiful all morning long and then turned windy and cold by afternoon party time rolled around, but we bundled her up and she enjoyed her treat and some cozy snuggles while the kids played on the fun playground (and big bro took a tumble into the dry creek bed... watch your step there, Boy... more to come on that later).
Every little girl's birthday dream come true:  Costco.
Oh all right, and the mall.
Hee hee, Baby Yoda!
New book!
Ummmmm yes.
3 Cs: Cute, cold, cupcake. 

As usual, it's hard to forget our tiny baby but it's also hard to imagine her any other way than she is right now!  She has the sweetest disposition and I am always so so glad to see her clutching to the baby gate at the top of the stairs waiting to see me when I come home.  It's all I can do to not smother her with kisses at every moment.

Oh!  And then I had a birthday too.  Is it so weird that it's just hard to remember exactly how old you are when you get to a certain age?  I say it is so weird.  But I never mind a birthday (even if I am about halfway through the decade to 40...), and The Wife always makes it such a special occasion.  I went in to work a little late so I could enjoy my special birthday cereal with my three favorite people, and then was treated to lunch by my coworkers, and then had a special delicious dinner of my childhood pick spaghetti followed by presents, and THEN we had friends and family come over to enjoy another of The Wife's confectionary masterpieces.  She always does, but she really outdid herself this time.  It was great to have so many fun people come over, but we admit that we were sorry not to have leftovers...  Next time we'll make a bonus and hide it away.
Yes, Boy, you can have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Aww, thanks, work.
The best pants ever.  I have worn them every day since then.
So much for good luck -- St. Patrick was not with me when I somehow or other shattered my poor iPod screen.  At least it still plays just fine.  Back in the day I would have done a whole blogpost about this, but eh.
Happy birthdays to us!  We both had good ones.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Decade of Hmoob

Ten years ago...

... I entered this place (and didn't leave for almost three months) and met this guy (and became BFFs) and took a good long look at the Hmong language and thought, well, I'll never be able to understand any of this. Xav tsis thoob.
Saying goodbye to hearth and home.
L-R: Wiest, Lo, Cox, Vang, S. Wilson, kuv, A. Wilson, Johns
Tsob ntoo Hmoob, our beloved Hmong Tree
Hmoob hwjchim.  Sure, it's not the most Hmong pose, but what did I know?
The first of many Elder Potter photo shoots (with a sad sorry makeshift wand).
Sometimes you get kind of kooky after all those weeks inside a fence and need to do something rebellious... like pose for a picture in this security golf cart.
There comes a time when you feel like you just need to make a break for it.
Best surprise possible when my parents and sister showed up after being invited to a devotional!  Just the thing to give me that boost before heading out to the field.
I thought I knew a lot (and sure, why not, I did), but I definitely had a lot to learn, and even though I was in my mid-20s and a good half-decade-plus older than most of the other missionaries around me, I still had a lot of growing up to do, and a lot of good friends and great experiences on the way.
Finally WI bound.  I tell you, the bus ride to the airport and the flight were like going to Disneyland.
SO much has happened in the last decade it's crazy to look back and think about it all.  But then I also remember that at this time I had already interacted with my beloved, and then she took it upon herself to continue to write to me via the old school method once I entered the MTC, and I'm ever so glad she did.  (And I confess it was nice to finally see a picture of her.)

A lot of things have changed, but some things never will.  Faith, family, friends, Hmoob, and that rad picture of me in a golf cart...  It was a long stay in a small area, but it led to a whole lot of good.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Double-one / Valentines 2016

Well, our girl is just one month shy of hitting the big birthday, but before that here's her 11-month update, with some delicious Valentine's Day sprinkled over the top.  (Wife's blogpost is here.)

This girl is on the mooooove.  She crawls all over the place and at the time of her monthiversary was this close to taking those first few steps.  She isn't a very picky eater, though she does like variety and will often protest unless we break up the monotony by giving her bites of different things.  Her naps are hit-and-miss, but she sleeps quite well during the night.  As I said in the ten-month post, there have been a few times lately when she has been very vocal about bedtime and not wanting to put herself to sleep, and even resisting being put to sleep, but we calm her down and I've been really glad to take chances to put her down myself, not even bothering to rush because I realized with work and everything we don't get all that much daddy-daughter time, and those lovely and (eventually) quiet times come into my mind and linger there often for days after.  Oh, the soft and snoozy snuggles.  She and Big Brother are becoming really good friends and just sit there and laugh at each other, which never ceases to amuse Mom and Dad, and she is usually quite resilient whenever she happens to receive (on purpose or not) a bonk or a bop or a push or a kick).  She's starting to get into books, turning pages, admiring the interactive elements, even responding and making animal sounds (lion so far, and it is adorable).
There are few things these two love better than the car carts at Maceys.
I love whenever we get a chance to put these li'l Hmong hats on my babies!
Entranced by waking up to snow.
Just waiting for Mommy to get up from her well-deserved weekend sleep-in...
And then we had Valentine's Day!  There was a surprise snowstorm and we stayed home most all the day long and just enjoyed each other's loving company.  The kids were very excited to give Mommy her sundries (and some had to be a little late in coming, what with certain treats being hard to find every year for some reasons none of which being that I procrastinated and actually might have forgotten this year), and as per our usual tradition The Wife and I watched a Disney movie (Lady and the Tramp this year),
It was very important to him that Kitty had her socks on.
All my Valentines!  Not counting the balloon "cat" from Pizza Pie Cafe the night before.
Love is in the air and our smoochface only increases it so!  Is it so weird that it's already almost March??

Friday, February 5, 2016

Blogkeeping -- Spring 2015

No big deal, I've only been putting this off for like six months...

Movies watched from December 2014 (bottom) to July 2015 (top).  Verdict:  Catching up with DreamWorks animation like I do for some reason, and LOTS of Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock!

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast *** 1/2 • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return *** • Oz the Great and Powerful [r] *** 1/2 • My Best Friend's Wedding [r] *** 1/2 • My Big Fat Greek Wedding [r] *** 1/2 • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz *** • Return To Oz [r] **** • Dorothy In the Land of Oz [r] ** 1/2 • The Wiz [r] *** 1/2 • Journey Back to Oz [r?] *** • The Wizard of Oz [r] ***** • A Deadly Adoption * 1/2 • Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) ***** • The Prestige [r] ***** • Inside Out ***** • Jurassic World ***** • 30 Rock (Season 7) *** • Sherlock (Season 3) ***** • 30 Rock (Season 6) *** 1/2 • Live Free Or Die Hard ** 1/2 • 30 Rock (Season 5) *** 1/2 • The Professional ** 1/2 • Daredevil (Season1) *** 1/2 • Unbroken *** 1/2 • Big Eyes **** • Tomorrowland *** 1/2 • Survivor: Worlds Apart (Season 30) *** 1/2 • Grimm (Season 4) *** • The Amazing Race (Season 26) **** • The Big Year **** • Gotham (Season 1) *** • Bates Motel (Season 3) *** 1/2 • 30 Rock (Season 4) *** 1/2 • Veronica Mars [r] **** • Argo *** 1/2 • Song of the Sea **** • 30 Rock (Season 3) *** 1/2 • Middlemarch ** 1/2 • Zero Dark Thirty *** 1/2 • Broadchurch (Series 2) ** 1/2 • Romy and Michele's High School Reunion *** • 30 Rock (Season 2) *** 1/2 • Into the Woods (Regent's Park) **** • Never Let Me Go *** 1/2 • 30 Rock (Season 1) *** • Into the Woods [r] **** 1/2 • Parks and Recreation (Season 7) ***** • Parks and Recreation (Season 6) **** 1/2 • Parks and Recreation (Season 5) **** • Parks and Recreation (Season 4) **** • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 [r] **** • Parks and Recreation (Season 3) **** 1/2 • Parks and Recreation (Season 2) **** • Parks and Recreation (Season 1) *** 1/2 • The Book of Life ** 1/1 • The BoxTrolls *** 1/2 • X-Men: Days of Future Past [r] **** • Big Hero 6 [r] **** • Mr. Peabody and Sherman *** 1/2 • Turbo ** 1/2 • The Croods *** • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ** 1/2 • Puss In Boots *** • Shrek: The Musical *** 1/2 • Agent Carter (Season 1) *** • Tangled [r] **** 1/2 • Looper *** • Project Runway: All Stars (Season 4) *** • Luther (Season 3) **** • The Last Five Years (x2) **** 1/2 • Luther (Season 2) **** • Luther (Season 1) **** • The Amazing Race (Season 16) ** • Magic In the Moonlight ** 1/2 • No Good Deed *** 1/2 • Galavant (Season 1) *** • Resurrection (Season 2) *** 1/2 • Shakespeare Retold **** 1/2 • The Hobbit (Funny Puzzle edit) **** • The Amazing Race (Season 15) *** • Romeo & Juliet (2013) ** 1/2 • Little Dorrit [r] **** • The Amazing Race (Season 14) **** • Oliver! [r] *** 1/2 • Oliver Twist (2007) *** • What's Eating Gilbert Grape? [r] *** • Oliver Twist (1998) **** • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ** • The Guardians of the Galaxy [r] *** • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [r] ***** • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [r] ***** • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [r] ***** • Prometheus ** 1/2 • Click [r] **** • It Could Happen To You [r] *** 1/2 • If I Stay ** 1/2 • Frozen [r] *** 1/2 • Into the Woods (1990) **** 1/2 • The Cabin In the Woods ** 1/2 • Into the Woods **** 1/2

And these 50 books were read from February to July 2015.  Welcome to the list, Stroud.

The Housekeeper's Dog (Jerry Smath) **** • But No Elephants (Jerry Smath) **** • Under Construction (Paula Hannigan) **** • Otis Loves To Play (Loren Long) *** • Otis (Loren Long) **** • Bill Peet: An Autobiography (Bill Peet) ***** • Piggies (Don and Audrey Wood) ** 1/2 • But Not the Hippopotamus (Sandra Boynton) ***** • Dinosaur's Binkit (Sandra Boynton) **** • Son of a Witch (Gregory Maguire) ** • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Gregory Maguire) *** • Ozma of Oz (L. Frank Baum) **** • The Marvelous Land of Oz (L. Frank Baum) *** 1/2 • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum) **** 1/2 • How Do Dinosaurs Go Up and Down? (Jane Yolen and Mark Teague) *** • Kittens (Laura Ellen Anderson) **** • Sector 7 (David Wiesner) *** 1/2 • Art & Max (David Wiesner) **** • The Ring of Solomon (Jonathan Stroud) *** 1/2 • Beatrice & Virgil (Yann Martel) *** 1/2 • Belly Button Book! (Sandra Boynton) **** • Happy Birthday, Little Pookie (Sandra Boynton) *** 1/2 • Little Pookie (Sandra Boynton) ***** • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach To Punctuation (Lynne Truss) ***** • Hippopposites (Janik Coat) ** 1/2 • BooBoo (Olivier Dunrea) ** • Crocodaddy (Kim Norman) **** • You Are My Cupcake (Joyce Wan) **** • How Do Dinosaurs Count To Ten? (Jane Yolen & Mark Teague) **** • The Romance of the Forest (Ann Radcliffe) *** • The Royal Road to Romance (Richard Halliburton) **** • The Farmer and the Clown (Marla Frazee) ***** • The Book With No Pictures (B.J. Novak) *** 1/2 • Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Kate DiCamillo) **** • It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Charles G. Shaw) *** 1/2 • The Borrowers (Mary Norton) *** • A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) ***** • The Devil In the White City (Erik Larson) **** • Guess How Much I Love You (Sam McBratney) ***** • The House In the Night (Susan Marie Swanson) *** • How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors? (Jane Yolen & Mark Teague) *** • The Great Greene Heist (Varian Johnson) *** 1/2 • Ptolemy's Gate (Jonathan Stroud) ***** • The Golem's Eye (Jonathan Stroud) **** • The Amulet of Samarkand (Jonathan Stroud) **** 1/2 • BabyLit: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Jennifer Adams, ill. by Allison Oliver) *** • BabyLit: Frankenstein (Jennifer Adams, ill. by Allison Oliver) **** • Mr. Wuffles! (David Wiesner) **** 1/2 • Flotsam (David Wiesner) ***** • How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? (Jane Yolen and Mark Teague) ****

(Also, why haven't I been using the • all this time?  It reads so much clearer than all those /s floating around.)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Tenth

Our girl is in the double digits.  On the one hand I can't believe she's already almost a year old but on the other hand I can't believe she was born only last year.  She's just such a part of our family now it's hard to imagine it without her (luckily, since she's not going anywhere).

She had a really fun first Christmas and seemed to quite enjoy everything about it (especially the bottom third of the tree), though she's still getting used to the idea of snow, of which we had a blessed abundance this year.  As predicted, she was pretty interested in wrapping paper, though she also really enjoyed her new toys and books.  She has a hearty appetite these days, when it's something she's interested in, though she sometimes prefers to be held while eating.  She's super active and loves to follow people around and discover them when they've gone to another part of the room or behind a door.  She seems to like it when I sing to her (more than I remember her brother liking it), and she can often be heard giggling heartily or sighing wistfully, which are both completely charming in their own way.  The other day we left her with Mom and Dad while we went to Star Wars and dinner and she was perfectly fine the whole time.  Yay!  It's just nice to know she's okay with being left places for a few hours (though we were quite glad to squish her again when we came back) (thanks as always, by the way, Mom and Dad).

As ever, The Wife's update is here, but here are a few Insta/phonepictures:
Sometimes I just want to stare at them and remember every single little thing.
Fun li'l Santa pile.
Yes, maybe these presents were more for our amusement, but they liked them too.
Just being happy with her new octopus
New fleecy hoodie from Grandma!  I think she likes it.
Baby, what are you doing to me?!?
I guess she wasn't really interested in sitting up any more.
She's such a smooch I can hardly stand it, and even though she's been having an issue or two with sleeping (most of the brunt of which falls on The Wife since it's mostly to do with naps... sorry, Wife), and she is starting to act a little more independent and willful (the dramatic dodges at mealtimes), she is usually pretty easygoing and sweet and funny, and she and The Boy love to talk and play and giggle together.  Sometimes I'm blown away by how beautiful and clever and sweet this girl of ours is.

As a preview for month 11, just last night she kept me up to the wee-ish hours, when she was mostly happy in her second wind but not really interested in sleep, and making it known whenever I tried to put her down, but I was eventually able to sort of trick her into nodding off and then crawled ever so slowly and quietly out of the room before she could protest, but really (though I was tired and a little frustrated at the time) I think she might have been saying "Da!" in that sweet little voice of hers, and she was quite snuggly, and I don't always get these opportunities since most of the time she prefers Mommy, so I guess I better step back and be grateful for it all.  All too soon she'll be where her brother is and we'll be wondering where our baby girl went.

P.S. Again I feel like The Wife needs some props.  It's hard these frigid days to be inside for most of the time, and the cabin fever can start to affect all parties involved, so I'm amazed as always at what she can do, even when it's challenging. :*