Wednesday, November 28, 2012

so. . . now that I can, I might just keep posting videos of my baby.  ok? ok.  
no one's forcing you to stick around. 

this one is really old, but kind of hilarious. 
and yes, her hat is fantastic. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

mealtime blues

Upon discovering graham crackers, Camryn kind of decided that she doesn't want to eat anything that's not graham crackers ever ever ever again.  And it might be causing me something of a breakdown at the moment.  Because I'm pretty sure that only feeding your kid one food is a bad parenting technique and is how you end up on a "my 2 year old is obese" episode of Maury or Dr. Phil, but how important are vegetables, really?  Important enough to spend an hour each mealtime battling her various methods of objection to everything I try to feed her?  and by various methods I mean 1) blowing spit bubbles every time she spies an approaching spoon 2) throwing all non-graham cracker finger foods on the floor, 3) repetitions of what I like to call her "slump and thrust" move and generally just acting like her high chair is a prison to be escaped 4) screaming.  which is really quite rude, unnecessary, uncalled for, and unladylike if you ask me.  

oh, and scowling at me

We are not on very good terms right now, she and I.  

For a while now, I've been getting her to eat foods she doesn't like by trading off bites between vegetable and graham cracker.  But she's on to me.  And it seems that the days are past when she's content with a 50/50 chance that what's going into her mouth will taste good.  Also, toy diversions are long past effective.  I am one stumped and out of patience momma. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spinning in circles

I  bring you:  the first video. 
Because who knew that you have to upload it as a photo and not as a video to get it to work??
I love you blogger. (not)

In all of it's glory and 5 different disclaimers:

It's 5 minutes long and probably entertaining for 5 entire minutes only if you share my blood. And even then, I'm not making any promises.
Yes, I do realize that what she's doing isn't that funny.  Mom's and grandma's sometimes think their posterity is more adorable than strangers do. 
Yes, my mother does have an awesome laugh.  Thank you for noticing. 
Someday I will learn to shut up while I take home videos.  I apologize in advance.  
Ok, now you can watch it if you still want to. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Staples had FORTY THREE people over.  Add I repeatedly reminded myself to never volunteer to make thanksgiving dinner for 43 people. 

Emily's new baby Reese

After dinner there were about 8 women scavenging for leftovers.  Zip lock bags galore. 

And then we made it to the Bramhall celebration . . . 

Happy Thanksgiving all

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adjusting to baby-raising

I'm linking up with Merrick's blog today to answer the question what is your greatest accomplishment of 2012? I thought about it really hard and obviously I could say birthing a human but let's be honest that's something my body was going to do whether I liked it or not so I asked myself, what have I done this year that I feel really accomplished about? And I decided it's that I've figured out how to be happy in my new role--I feel like I have finally reached a good level of contentment in doing my job as a full time baby-raiser.  (I just realized I really hate the term stay at home mom.  Is it because stay seems like such a passive almost non-verb?  Is it because it makes it sound like you are a hermit whose responsibilities lie solely within 4 walls that you don't ever actually leave?  Is it because when people claim it they often put a self-degrading "just" in front of it?  I'm "just" a stay at home mom.  I "just" stay home with the kids.  As if we're ashamed that we don't do something more important with our time and wished we could claim some nobler title.  I really admire this lady and the way she stated "I'm a Mom" when asked what she does for a living.  Just is just one word but it makes such a difference, no?
We should do away with the term SAHM altogether (and certainly the acronym) and replace it with baby-raising.  or full time nurturer?  Mother of one? professional caregiver? (no, that one sounds like I work in a nursing home)  I'm done now.  Making this the longest parenthesis I've used to date.)

It took some time to get used to though.  It's not a job that comes with an automatic daily sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.  It took a lot of work, effort, and thought on my part to figure out how to feel fulfilled everyday.  So in case you new or someday-to-be moms who will stay at home with your babies don't feel like you've received enough advice, here is some from me :)  But first I want to point out these things are what I've discovered so far to be helpful.  Everyone is different and I think it's really important to figure out what exactly it is that you need to be happy in your role.

1)  Get ready every day.  This is important.  When the biggest item on your to-do list for the whole day is "return some library books"  or "grocery shop"  it's really easy to feel like it's pointless to ever get dressed, fix your hair, or put on any makeup.  But let me tell you, sweats and no makeup every day gets depressing really fast.  Yes, there will definitely be occasional days when it's fine to not get ready (especially that first little newborn while) but for the most part, do it.  Even if the only people you will see that day are your baby, your husband, and maybe the bank teller.  Even if it's just mascara, jeans and t-shirt.  You'll feel so much better about yourself.  I took that advice from this little blog here and it really made a difference.

2) Make exercising a priority.  This one as always been an easy one for me, but I know for a lot of people it's not--but I believe in endorphins!! They're real.  There are so many excuses not to, but instead of using those, find excuses to do it.  Go to classes at the gym.  If you can't afford a gym pass, ride your bike.  If you don't have a bike, go running.  If you don't have a jogging stroller, get a babysitter for 30 minutes and go by yourself.   Or buy a video.  None of your excuses are good ones!

3) Don't forget the grass isn't always greener on the other side.  It's really easy to think "if I just had this one other little thing I'm missing, I would be totally happy."  It's easy to miss the intellectual stimulation and challenge we felt in school, or the fulfillment your work gave you, whether it was just adult conversation, recognition for your efforts, or the feeling of contributing to society and bringing home income.  Staying at home with your baby has it's amazingly gratifying aspects, but it's not always the funnest thing in the world.  When it's not, just remember that sometimes studying was miserable and sometimes work was boring.

4)  Form a network.  Knowing a lot of other new moms has made me feel a looot less isolated.  Like, a looooooot.  Hanging out with people in my same situation and blogging have kind of saved me.

5) Find something stimulating, challenging, and significant to do with some of your time.  This is probably the biggest one for me.  After everything else, I just have a lot more down time than I've had, oh, ever.  I didn't know what to do with myself all day or when Camryn was sleeping and I couldn't go anywhere, and small hobbies like reading and knitting just weren't cutting it for me.  I'd end up feeling really unproductive and useless.  Learning bookbinding has given me something to do that is challenging, stimulating, really fulfilling and takes a lot of time.  Now, when Camryn takes a nap, I have something meaningful to me to go do instead of just "well, I guess I'll fold some laundry, make some muffins, and read some blogs."  In addition to the bookbinding, I have a big writing project in the works and on my mind.  Those two things are huge in helping me have goals that I'm working towards and progressing instead of just feeling like I do the same thing every day.

6)  Go outside.

Feel free to comment if you have any amens or thoughts to add to the list!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

some odds and ends

I am really really loving bookbinding.  I've been slowly collecting supplies (why am I so attracted to the most expensive of hobbies?) and have finally started producing completed notebooks and they are beeeautiful if I do say so myself.  Or maybe it's just my notebook loving self that thinks so.  Who doesn't love new fresh notebooks though?  And the decorative papers, oh the beautiful papers--I went to Reules in Salt Lake (an art supply store) this week to buy paper and I could have spent a million dollars.  For those of you who are still foreign to the whole bookbinding thing, I'll probably go snap happy/picture posting crazy once my new camera charger arrives (I finally gave up on finding the lost one) and you can see what I've been talking about.  I'll be taking another class at the end of the month if I can round up $30.  We're running a little poor these days. . .

The other day my husband came home to cookies and upon seeing them, he exclaimed "and you didn't even burn the second batch!"  If that tells you anything about my cookie baking skills.  They're awesome I tell you.

Camryn pooped in the tub agaaaaain.  oh gosh, again.  And I lifted her out and set her on a towel while I cleaned it up, and when I turned around to get her, she'd laid another big fat one on the towel.  Why?  Why???

Today I gave her graham crackers and she's working on the self-feeding thing.  It's really quite adorable how she sticks her entire fist in her mouth in order to eat the little piece of graham cracker lodged in the middle of the fist.  Really adorable in a graham cracker slime covering every inch of her skin kind of way.  The whole session started out like the cookie monster and descended into a reenactment of the scene in Matilda where Miss Trunchbull makes Bruce (Bruce, right?) eat that entire ginormous chocolate cake.

Am I the only mother out there who washes their hands so many times a day that they are dry, cracked, and near bleeding no matter how much lotion I use?  Between feeding myself, feeding Camryn, using the bathroom, changing Camryn's diaper, washing the dishes, washing the tub (waaaaay too often) etc. I swear I wash them 50 times a day.  Solutions anyone?

oh, also, I am going to start an etsy shop to sell my books online since I really want to continue bookbinding but don't really have a way to fund the hobby/classes/materials unless I sell them.  And I hate naming things so I need some help--if you were opening a shop full of hand-bound one of a kind notebooks what would you call it??  suggestions, pretty please.

And now i'm off to reading The Lacuna.  I just started it and I think it's going to be a good one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A good samaritan

Do you ever have an opportunity to help someone and you don't because:
  • it could be awkward
  • maybe they just want to be left alone
  • you don't think you have what they need
  • you don't know what to say
  • you think you know what to say, but maybe that's not what they want to hear?
  • you're too scared
  • you tell yourself you're too busy
  • the person in need is a stranger and you don't want to freak them out
  • in the past, you've felt like such efforts on your part were wasted, pointless, or unappreciated
  • maybe they will shoot you down and reject your help
  • you think maybe you will actually make things worse by bringing attention to the fact that they are failing at something and do, in fact, need help
  • you just don't.  for no reason.

The other day as I arrived at our regular park pushing Camryn in the stroller, there was a teenaged girl sitting on a bench who looked a little distressed.  Right as I lifted Camryn out of her stroller and walked her over to the baby swings, the girl got up and sat in a swing a few yards away from us.  While I was trying to decide if she was crying or not (she was), a girl who had been sitting over on the grass studying came up to her and asked if everything was ok.

Good for her, right?

Well, the girl was embarrassed and waved her off with a "ya.  ya, I'm ok."

The good samaritan (hereafter referred to as TGS) persisted asking "Are you sure?" Obviously something was wrong and was there anything she could do to help?

The girl (yes, I was eavesdropping, they were 2 yards away) said "ya, I'm fine.  Sometimes everything in life all comes down on you at once, ya know?  I just need to relax."

TGS asked her a couple more questions but try as she might, she wasn't getting anywhere.  So she said "ok, well if you want to talk or anything, I'll just be sitting right over there."

I was really quite impressed.  It takes guts to approach a stranger like that and even more to persist through awkwardness like that.  I thought, good for her, but too bad she couldn't actually do anything to help.  Too bad there is someone here that obviously needs a little love and comfort, and someone else who is quite willing and able to give it, but they're just not matching up, the dots just aren't connecting.  Too bad.

And I stood there pushing Camryn and chatting with another mom next to me, and after a little while, the girl got up from the swing and walked over to TGS and sat down to talk to her.

I have no idea at all what was wrong in her life, how big of a deal it was, what they talked about, or if it even helped at all, but the whole situation impressed me and reminded me of a couple of things.  One is that it's really important for us to accept and even ask for help from those around us.  It's not good for us to suffer alone, and that's not the way God intended us to live.  Especially as women, I think that we often think we have to do everything ourselves and don't want to burden anyone else, but sometimes when we have that attitude we are rejecting a support system God has provided for us, and depriving someone else of the opportunity to give service.

A woman I know gave a lesson in relief society and shared an experience about this with us.  She said that she'd recently had a miscarriage that had been devastating to her.  She was a private person and it was typically in her nature to suffer alone and not share her problems with other people.  But she felt strongly that instead to dealing with it that way, she should contact a couple of women in the relief society and tell them what had happened.  She said the comfort she received from them was amazing and not only that, but they put her in contact with some other women in the ward who had gone through the same thing and she was able to talk to them and receive and offer support.  Before telling those women, she said she had no idea how common miscarriages were.  She felt alone and like no one else could understand what she was going through.  Because of her willingness to share her burden, she and many other women were lifted and served each other and grew closer.

So the next time your visiting teachers or a friend or someones asks if you need anything, think about it.  And maybe you really don't need anything.  Or maybe you're really lonely and don't know what to do about it, or you're a new wife and haven't the first clue how to cook anything and it's upsetting you, or you feel terrible about your body and you really want a good exercise buddy support system, or your new baby isn't letting you get any sleep and you would kill for someone to watch him while you take a nap one day.  Or something, right?  I think a lot of us need help and a lot of us have help to give and we don't connect the dots often enough, and sometimes that's not the good samaritans fault.  Sometimes they don't know what we need unless we tell them and accept their service.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Anticipatory Dread

3:30 is the new 8 a.m., haven't you heard?  Or maybe (probably) that's just Camryn's take on things.  She still wakes up in the middle of the night, but she's usually wanting to be fed or have her binky back.  Last night it was because she was ready to go.  The neighbors behind us have a back porch light that shines right into our window (and holy cow is brighter than the sun), which has always bothered us, but last night it was reflecting off of all the snow (snow!) and it honestly might have been the middle of the day.  So I think Camryn thought it was.  I really need to cover her window with something black and light hiding like I've been intending to.

Well enough with those directionless ramblings and. . . on to other directionless ramblings.

I'm going to just right now go ahead and begin the choruses that we'll hear marveling at the snow today (snow!) Because that's just what we human beings do, right?  We talk about the weather.  And the snow is unbelievable!

For some reason, I've been dreading winter, and all of a sudden in a day it is here in all it's 30 degree, frozen everything, snow covered glory.  Do you ever dread something and you keep thinking about the bad parts and forget the good parts and the negativity keeps circling around in your head until all you can see is the worst case senario playing through in your mind convincing you that you will be beyond miserable through the entire thing?  In this case, the picture being me all winter as a lonely, bored out of my mind, stir crazy hermit-mom locked in the apartment that becomes my cage as the world freezes over, chasing an into-everything toddler all day long every day forgetting what it's like to talk to adults, to breathe fresh air, etc. etc. you get the picture.  And I'm not manic depressive (I promise) but I've probably invested far too much negative energy in this little vision of mine as I soaked up the fall season as if I would never be happy ever again once it was over.

But then it happened-- winter hit.  Temperature plummeted, it snowed like crazy all day long and. . . I didn't crumple into a heap of seasonal blues.  I enjoyed a lovely indoor day of knitting, bookbinding, cooking and standing at the window with Camryn watching the snow.  And when we did venture out to go to the grocery store, I remembered, oh yeah, I LOVE being outside in the snow and bundling up in boots and coats and getting my hair filled with snowflakes and looking straight up until I get dizzy or hit in the eye with one.  It's kind of absolutely fabulous.

And I can't WAIT to ski!!! And since I didn't get to ski for an entire season last year I'm bursting with 2 years worth of excitement.  I can almost smell the fresh I'm-on-top-of-the-world air now.  And Thanksgiving is coming and Christmas is coming and I can't wait to spend a lot of time with all of my siblings which doesn't happen much anymore (especially Alison and Zach who are flying in this year!) And there is Camryn's birthday (my 1st child's 1st birthday, oh man I'm getting all excited and sentimental over here), Tanner's birthday, my birthday, Valentines Day all of which I absolutely love (and all 3 of which are celebrations that got majorly shafted last year due to my 8 months pregnant through 1 month post partum self).  I'll get my husband back for the whole Christmas break when he only has to work instead of work and school.  And guys, my husband is really fun to hang out with.  And I can take camryn sledding!  How fun!  And take her to see Christmas lights and buy her her first christmas presents and knit her a couple more ridiculous but adorable hats (I'm getting better guys)  and chasing her around the apartment actually sounds like a blast (insert all the veteran mothers laughing at me here).  And it's not exactly a rule that we can't go outside, we'll just have to bundle up.  (And I'm yes, I'm going to start every sentence in this entire paragraph with the word and.  deal with it) And I have lots of friends to rough the really freezing boring days with me.  And you know, there's indoor activities, the aquarium, the library, Target (let's not even talk about how many moms have told me that Target is their long winter day escape) and. . .

winter is not going to be the worst thing that ever happened to me.  And it doesn't ever actually get to feeling that way until about March, and we'll just take March when it comes.  So, Dana, calm yourself and enjoy it.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

in which i try to keep it short

Since I've been writing marathon posts lately, I thought I'd keep things short today.

Happy election day!  My husband was so stressed out all day as if the entire election and the future of America depended solely on his vote (and he was still undecided as of this morning).  It was cute.

It's normal, right, for your dad to harass you and all of your siblings with multiple phone calls and emails with links to government websites to make sure you are registered to vote on time, know where to vote, and for heavens sake are actually going to vote.  right?  that's normal?

Today we met up with our friends (after voting, of course) Mac and Kelsey for a beautiful walk up the canyon by bridal veil falls.  We are soaking in this beautiful week as if we'll never see the sun again.  (We will, right?)  Sometimes I just can't believe I'm lucky enough to live in such a beautiful place.   The mountains, leaves, and sunshine are blowing me away right now.  

Camryn had a check up yesterday.  16 lbs 12 oz.  22nd percentile (back up to where she should be from a pretty dramatic drop a while back) Why do I feel every time my baby is weighed as if I'm waiting to get results back from a test I studied hard for?  I don't know if it's because she's small and keeping her on track for weight gain is constant hard work, or if it's because I'm breastfeeding and it's like I directly nurtured all 16 lbs, 12 oz of her into existence or what, but let me tell you--those numbers are a point of pride.  

She also has a little purple and blue snoopy bandaid on her big toe (that is about 3 times the size of said toe) from when they took some blood for an iron sample, and guys, that little bandaided foot is adorable.  I don't have a picture so you'll just have to do your best to imagine.  

I promised to keep this short so I guess I'm done.  

have fun watching 5 hours of political news coverage and analysis tonight!  (or is that just what we're doing at my house?. . )

edit:  Hahahah no lie, the second I posted this, my dad called.  "Dana, have you voted?!?"   

Friday, November 2, 2012

mice be gone

ok.  let's talk about the mice.  The mice in my home that (hopefully) are no longer in my home.  

First off, I really was going to do something far more productive with my night but I really really am just in the mood to settle in for a good long write over a nice big square (or 5) of rice crispy treat and some Mango Tango odwalla juice (courtesy of mother-in-law Staples who, bless her heart, has taken to bringing me varying quantities of ridiculously priced yet unspeakably delicious said juice every time she pays a visit).  Also, I just have a really good story to tell, and what kind of blogger/writer can just sit on a good story without putting it to paper/screen?  Not me.

So, let's talk about the mice.

There have been approximately 6 mouse sightings in our apartment over the past month or so.  One out of the corner of my eye in the kitchen.  One by my little sister in our living room.  Three (gross gross gross gross) on the stovetop that we heard before we saw because of the crinkle, crinkle, crinkle of the foil under the burners.  All leading up to one big epic sighting which occurred in the middle of a night when Tanner was up all night studying (which he never does, but I swear every time he does, something epically bad happens).  The mouse came right out into the middle of the living room floor and was spotted and then ruthlessly and recklessly chased by Tanner, who corned it 3 different times, caught it in a cereal box once but then lost it, and generally freaked out and caused a ruckus.  I walked into the living room after my 6 a.m. feeding of the baby to discover our couch and the entire contents of our home up-ended with Tanner ignominiously cowering in the corner yielding our potato masher as a weapon (our couch is huge. all in all there are 3 sections, 11 cushions and 8 pillows, so that alone caused quite the scene).

The exterminator was sent for the next day (Halloween).  (p.s. I don't think I could take myself seriously with a job title like "the exterminator" it would always just make me think of Arnold Schwartzenegger as the Terminator and make me feel ridiculous)  He discovered a) that there was a giant 2 ft by 1 ft hole behind our stove which was their "point of entry",  b) our couch was full of mouse droppings (which Tanner had already, of course, discovered) and c) there was an "over-abundance" of mouse droppings under the couch (which somehow we had missed).  Gross gross groooooosss.  But thankfully times one million they weren't nesting inside our couch.  Which he checked for.  While I looked on in disbelieving prayerful horror.

So, he made a phone call to his office to call our office to tell them we needed a) the hole patched up b) our carpet steam cleaned c) our entire couch steam cleaned TODAY as the current state of our apartment posed a health risk to the tenants and their new baby and the tenants were becoming quite alarmed.  (me: in the kitchen, quite alarmed)

(side note:  the exterminator --Joey--was one of those talkers who offers up a little bit too much information to strangers.  Apparently he has 2 engineering degrees but can't get a job and also, was raised by a druggie mother who is a high priestess in a cult.  as in she believes in and practices witchcraft.  what??)

Shortly after his departure, I made a phone call to our apartment manager to politely inquire as to when this was going to get taken care of.  He said they'd send someone tomorrow.  And asserted repeatedly that they didn't have any technicians available today and I could just vacuum it up and we'd be fine until then.


ha ha.

um no.  actually you'll send someone today.

that poor stupid apartment manager thought we were going to be ok with waiting 24 hours?  There is far too much Staples, Pederson, Bramhall, and Stadelbauer blood running through the veins in this household to take an answer like that.  Between both our parents and grandparents, our family has drawn tears from/nearly gotten fired/gotten what we've wanted from high school administrators, airline employees, call center workers, doctors, lawyers, and check-out attendants alike.   Call it agressive or assertive, complaining, demanding, obnoxious or whatever you like.  We are that.  My mother taught me "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".  So we squeaked and squeaked and squeaked and 2 hours later were graced with the presence of the exterminator, the "technician" (also known as mr. bang freaking bang), the couch guys, and the carpet guys all at once.

At which point I didn't know what to do with Camryn, who was due for a nap which obviously wasn't going to happen, and also couldn't be on the rodent pathogen infested floors, so *brilliant idea* i put her a bath.  But then she pooped in the bath.  So, in the middle of all the crazy I had to get her out of there, clean the tub, clean all the toys in the tub, and then replace her naked self back into the tub.

And then she pooped again.  Way way worse.  Which is statistically improbable if you consider that these were the 2nd and 3rd poop-in-the-tub instances of her entire life.  (oh the joys of motherhood) So I repeated all of the above cleaning measures, put the punk back in her tub, and got her out as fast as my hands could wash her.

And then we spent the rest of the evening carving pumpkins and sitting on a towel on our floor (which was wet) not on the couch (which was gone.  they took it away to clean it) eating donuts and snickers and watching old episodes of The Office on hulu.  Plus ten minutes where we put Camryn in an adorable silk pumpkin costume (that has gone through who knows how many Bramhall babies) for no reason other than to see her cute self in that costume (we couldn't even take pictures.  still missing that dang camera charger).

Happy Freaking Halloween!!

p.s.:  one of the reasons I like blogging--sometimes it's nice to know you're not the only one.  Thanks, lauren for sharing your own mouse saga.

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