Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Week in the Life {9/24-9/30}

This is one of those weeks where I just don't have much to say. Tonight our ward is splitting and I'm very sad about it. I've been preoccupied about it actually for much of the week. Our ward is incredible. I have been in numerous wards and stakes and I can say with absolute certainty that this is the best ward I've ever been it. Total cream of the crop.

Adam and I have both served in the primary. Adam has also been in the Young Men presidency and is currently in the Sunday School presidency. Additionally, he is also an Elders Quorum teacher and the Scout Master. I have also served in Relief Society as the co canning specialist and as the Scout Secretary, as well as my special assignment that I talked about a few weeks ago, helping and encouraging people register to vote.

For me, being in this ward has aligned with the happiest times of my life. Buying our first house, having two daughters...but also developing true friendships. For the first time in my life I've joined a book club, a recipe group, a play group, a preschool, a dinner group, bunco, all of which I participated in because of the Painted Mountain ward. I've met astounding people that wouldn't otherwise have crossed my path, and while my association with many will continue inside or out ward boundaries, it's just not the same. Our ward is essentially made from three different communities: Huntington (where we live), Rhodes Ranch, and Independence (which is a smaller community) the bulk of which is made up between Huntington and Rhodes. It is highly speculated from reliable sources that Huntington and Rhodes will be divided. I'll update this post later tonight at 6:00PM when we know what is going on.

In other goings on...Hannah, Paige and I have had colds....more so Paige and I. Hannah just has a cough aggravated by her asthma. It's just not fun/convenient to be sick when you are a mama.

I chopped 6 inches off my hair this week and boy does it feel good. I like it a lot better now.

We had book club (which will hopefully continue with the ward split).

I didn't run at all because of my cold (boo)

I spent a lot of time on Ebay because of my rediscovered love for American Girl dolls. I'm trying to find a Felicity doll but they are going for between 160 and 300 dollars because she is retired. I may have a lead on a doll which might not cost me more than $75 which is more in my budget.

The girls are darling. Hannah's best quote this week was:

Hannah: Daddy, where am I going to preschool tomorrow?
Adam: You are going to Emily's house
Hannah: Is Emily's daddy going to be at work?
Adam: Yeah, I think so.
Hannah: What animal is he?
Adam: I don't know what you mean...
Hannah: Yes you do. What animal is Emily's Daddy?
Adam: Ummm, What animal am I?
Hannah: You are a Falcon!

(Adam works at an Elementary school who's mascot is the Falcon)

Adam: Not all daddies are animals.

So. Cute.

Also, this morning we were watching the general relief society meeting (I wanted to show her the primary song medley) and watching the choir sing. She asked me:

"Mommy, are those the angels that moved the stone when Jesus was resurrected?"

I thought they looked a lot like angels too Han.

*Update and pictures

The ward did split down the middle. Huntington and Rhodes/Independence are separated and now we are in the Coronado ward. I'm glad I'm still with all of my Huntington friends but I will miss our ward family a ton. Here's hoping it will be a great change and we'll just be added upon by great new people.

 I don't know what this is? She is wearing another pair of underwear. She just wanted a hat and gloves.
 We have to really watch Paige. She loves purses and bags but always hangs them around her neck. 

 Again with the purses

 This is what Paige and Adam did on Sunday

 This is what Hannah and I did on Sunday...Banana Bread :) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

American Girls Dolls

It was 1994. The year of Tonya Harding attacked Nancy Kerrigan, OJ Simpson fled from police in his white Ford Bronco, and Clinton was president. I didn't care about any of these things. I was 8 years old.

Sometime around the summer of 1994 I learned about American Girls dolls. My mom seems to think that I saw a catalog at Caitlin's house and fell absolutely in love. I spent HOUR pouring over every page of the catalog and dreaming of one day, owning a doll of my own. I got my hands on the books and read all about each girl. I contemplated which one I would buy.

I remember attending what was (I think) a baby shower for my aunt Chris and finding out somehow that her nieces had the dolls. They were teenagers at the time and my mom asked if we could see them. Even though I'd memorized each catalog (even now I can smell the pages and feel their slickness under my that crazy?), I hadn't held one in person and that was the first time. The nieces got their dolls out of the boxes (I only remember Samantha) and I was so intensely desperate for one of my own that I actually ached. There was nothing I wanted more.

I BEGGED my parents to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me have Samantha for my birthday. These dolls were not cheap. I remember they were 84 dollars for the basic doll 110 dollars with shipping and handling--I remember my dad explaining what shipping and handling was in a very long and detailed explanation (complete with analogies and props/hand gestures in true Tim Marsden fashion). It was a LOT of money and I realized what I was asking but I also knew how wonderful it would feel to have Samantha.

I remember the Pleasant Company box coming in the mail a few weeks before my birthday. My parents kept it shelved in their closet and I'd go in there to sneak peaks. My dad teased that it was a giant box filled with bubble gum. As I type this, I can actually FEEL my parents bedspread and hear my dad's voice tease as I INSISTED it was the exact shape of an American Girl box. My dad would check inside the box, not letting me see and confirm that it was in fact, a box of bubble gum. Finally, on October 10th, 1994 I went into my parents room and opened the box to find MY SAMANTHA doll. She was perfect, just as I'd imagined her. I didn't want to go to school, I didn't want to go to dance, all I wanted was to stay home and play with my perfect doll. The only perfect way to describe her is from the Pleasant Company catalog circa 1994:

Your Samantha doll has sparkling brown eyes that twinkle as they open and close. Brush her long curly hair and tie it up with a big, beautiful bow like Victorian girls wore. Hug her soft body and mover her arms, legs, and head. She can site, stand, and hold all the treasures that come in her collection.
Samantha’s checked taffeta dress has a fashionable pleated front and a dropped waist circled in burgundy satin. Her matching bow holds back her thick brown ringlets. She wears long black stockings and black shoes with ankle straps. Samantha’s hat is big and fancy, like everything else in Victorian times. It is made of burgundy plush and trimmed in ribbons of rose, dove gray, and gold.
Pin a golden brooch on Samantha’s dress. The heart-shaped locket that hangs from it opens and closes. Inside is a place for her pictures of her mother and father. You can cut them out and paste them in yourself.
Samantha carries a rose velvet purse with a gold chain to slip over her wrist. Tucked inside is a beautiful handkerchiefand a shiny Indianhead penny. It’s a real coin used during Samantha’s time and is worth 78 cents today!

Oh, how I loved that doll. I read with her, I slept with her. I did everything with her. If I think about it now, I can smell her hair, feel her taffeta dress and velvet purse, and feel her weight in my hands. I.loved.that.doll. Of course I was a 9 year old who couldn't be satisfied with just ONE doll, so I asked Santa Clause for a Kirsten doll. 

Your Kirsten doll has bright blue eyes that open and close, and beautiful blonde hair that you can brush, braid, and tie withribbons. She has a huggable soft body with head, arms, and legs that you can pose. She can sit, stand, and hold the accessories in her collection.
Kirsten comes in a blue calico dress—her first real American dress. It has a “grow stripe” at the bottom that her mother let out as she grew taller. She wears the red and white apron she brought from Sweden with a pocket to hold her treasures. Her brown-striped stockings are covered by fancy pantalettes. Girls took pride in keeping pantalettes snowy white—a hard thing to do in muddy fields and cabins on the prairie. Soft brown lace up boots complete her outfit. Tuck her embroidered hankie in her apron pocket and tie her spoon bag around her waist. It comes complete with a wooden spoon. Swedish farmers had just enough knives, spoons, and forks for their own families. When they went to feasts or celebrations, they took their own eating utensils with them in a spoon bag. Tie Kirsten’s red-checked sunbonnet on her head and hang the amber-colored heart around her neck. It’s Kirsten’s keepsake given to her by her grandmother before she left for America.

Not only did I get my Kirsten doll, but my best friend Megan got a Molly doll. We did everything together, and now we did everything together with our dolls. 

The dolls weren't my only purchase from Pleasant Company. I also bough a theater kit, Samantha's cook book, several paper doll sets, Samantha's needle point project (*Actions Speak Louder Than Words), and many many books. Back in THOSE days you couldn't hop on the internet willy nilly and order. In each catalog there was an order form or you could order by phone as well. 

I remember aunt Lesley had her own Samantha doll. I loved to go to her house and see what outfit Samantha was in. She was always displayed in her front room. The first thing aunt Lesley would say when we'd come to visit was "Come see Samantha's new dress!" I always thought she was so lucky to be an adult and buy whatever she wanted. 

American Girls taught me to save my money and earn things. I even had a savings chart provided by Pleasant Company. You could say what your goal was (to buy this certain item) and it taught you how to calculate exactly how and when you'd be able to buy the thing based on your allowance. 

My next addition was GT...or Girl of Today. Pleasant Company decided to switch gears a little from the historical dolls and broaden the market so they designed a bunch of dolls that girls could buy that looked JUST LIKE THEM. I chose a blond haired, brown eyed doll and named her Caroline. Megan got one of her own as well. 

My final addition was a little bit of a spontaneous choice. I got Josephina, who was a brand new addition to the collection. Looking back, I really should have gone for Felicity. My Josephina doll was a BEAUTIFUL doll, but I didn't feel the same connection to her as I did to my other dolls. That, and the fact that I was now 12 years old and me and my friends had for the most part grown out of playing with dolls. I displayed my dolls in my room for many years, and even after I put them in my closet they were displayed in shelves. 

They were one of the only things I took with me from my childhood when I got married and moved away from home. It was strange laying them in a box and packing them away. For the last six years, they've remained in their box. 

In 2009 we went to the American Girl store in New York City. It. was. amazing. If I'd been their by myself I would have spent a couple hours there, instead, Adam was just flabbergasted at the cost. I for one, can not put a price on the memories I made. I know that is intensely cheesy, but these were my whole childhood. They were my friends! They were my most precious possession. When we moved they were both my tie to Megan and a way to connect to new friends. Adam put the dolls up in the attic earlier this year and I kind of wigged out on him. I told him they needed to be in a good temperature so they could stay in good condition. 

Yesterday I got them out to show Hannah. I was once again filled with the intense love and adoration for these beautiful dolls.Hannah thought they were incredibly awesome (even though I didn't let her touch Kirsten and Samantha). I've had the dolls for 18 years, played with them, loved them, and they look brand new. They are selling for hundreds of dollars on Ebay (Samantha and Kirsten are now "retired" along with Felicity). Speaking of Ebay, I've spent at least an hour browsing the many many auctions of people selling their dolls and accessories. I've debated selling Josephina and my GT doll (I would use them to purchase a Felicity doll). 

 Special shout out to my mom for the wardrobe. I was teasing her about how horrible I look in most of my outfits and she said "they were in style" Oh yeah? I'm pretty sure it has ALWAYS been a fashion DON'T to wear this delightful number. I was always dressed like Megan. Yes, you heard it right. I was dressed like my toddler sister. :) This is me dreaming of my Samantha doll. 
 Me trying to recreate the cover of a catalog 
 Christmas 1994

Christmas 1996

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Week in the Life {9/17-9/23}

Nana came to visit!

It's so fantastic when grandparents come to visit and this one was a great visit. Kris came in on Sunday afternoon. Hannah was really excited to share her room with Nana.

We did a lot of fun things with her. We went shopping at Town Center and finished out trip with a visit to the park. We also went to McDonalds after preschool on Tuesday and Daddy surprised us there (he had a meeting all day on Tuesday so was out of the classroom). We went to the library. Kris has joined us previously but needed to stay home and secure her Barbara Streisand tickets (lucky her!) Hannah especially had a lot of fun with her (Paige was a little wary of her--she even said "Paige is a hard baby to get a smile out of--but Paigey is known around here for being smiley so it was kind of funny). Hannah loved making Banana Bread and playing toys with Kris. She even babysat while Adam and I enjoyed a nice night out at Outback Steakhouse!

I got our energy bill on Wednesday which led me to believe that something was still wrong with our A/C (it was like 80 dollars more than it should have been) so I called the A/C people and they came out right away. At this point we'd only paid $75 dollars to the company so when they told me it would be nearly a thousand to fix I about died. I hung up the phone and sobbed. Bye bye 1,000 dollars.

Friday night we went camping with the ward. We had a lot of fun, even though it took Paige about two hours to fall asleep sobbing (we forgot her special blanket) and Hannah was up for at least an hour coughing. Hannah had so much fun with her friends, and we did too.

Hannah seems to have the croup (SAD) and was up pretty much all night (Saturday) coughing and crying and needing us. Paige slept through it all thankfully.

I got up on Sunday and went running for my long run. I ran over 7.5 miles! I'm getting really excited/anxious for the half marathon in November (!) and I feel like it is creeping up pretty soon! I'm over halfway there.

Adam stayed home with the girls while I went to church. It was so nice to not have to worry about anyone and I was able to really enjoy the meetings!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Week in the Life {9/10-9/16}

Wow, last week was a tough act to follow. You know when you have a really fun and exciting week, and then the next is pretty average? Well I'm having a hard time recalling our week.

Monday we did a one year old and three year old check up. Hannah had to get a flu shot and so did Paige, but Paige also had to have a flu shot on top of three immunizations and had to get a poke to check her hemoglobin levels (?) so five pokes for Paige. Hannah was super brave, considering I didn't tell her what a shot was and she didn't remember. She was just laying on the table and POKE! She was not pleasantly surprised, but she was very brave and only cried for a second. Paige on the other hand gave me a face that I'll never forget. She was so upset. Paige is in the 75th percentile for height and weight and Hannah is in the 30th for height and 45th for weight. The pediatrician was impressed with Hannah and said she was very intelligent doing things that they don't expect until 5 years old (such as sounding out things phonetically and naming things that start with certain letters--it's a game we in "name everything you can think of that starts with the letter F") but she has the emotional intelligence of a three year old. Because of this, she doesn't have much control over her little spirit but she is smart enough to press my buttons. If you try reverse psychology on her she looks at you like "do you seriously think I'm an idiot?" Hannah and I are still figuring each other out. I love her though. I also mailed Meggies birthday package, went grocery shopping, cleaned the house top to bottom, and did laundry. It was quite the full day.

I guess the biggest thing was that this week was our week at preschool on Tuesday and Thursday. It was pretty fun. I had a kid cry each time he came over and then refuse to leave each time he left. It was funny. Hannah is super smart as I mentioned previously and she helped me out a lot. I am impressed with all the kids actually. They each bring something special to the group and I can tell it is going to be a fun year all around.

Thursday there was a deal with Adam's school that 10% of every meal purchased by students and teachers at Chili's was donated to the school. We decided to go. Dang you Chilis for having pictures on your kids menu! Hannah chose a personal pizza (I knew she would) and then I said "You can have pineapple, apples, broccoli  or carrots..." "Um no, I want those french fries." It's a wonder she's only in the 45th percentile in weight. We had a lot of fun though.

Friday, since we had a pretty busy week of getting things done that we had to, I decided to take both girls out for some frozen yogurt. Hannah and I each picked out a flavor and the three of us shared. After fro yo we went to the park and played for a while. It's so fun to just play with my daughters. They each amaze me in different ways. Paige is picking up on so much. Sometimes I call her my little parrot because she tries to repeat everything I say. If I talk about her shoes she points to her feet. She'll blow kisses to everyone. If she hears the garage she gets excited and says "Dada!" She gives kisses to closed books and hugs to open books (as if they are opening their arms to hug her back). She's been saying "Thank you" (sort of...a couple days ago I noticed that every time something is handed to her she'll say "geegee") and Hannah a lot. She likes to "sing" along to music. I love her. Hannah on the other hand is so much fun. She comes up with the best things. She is such a logical thinker (when she is not being emotional) and totally figures things out. We were driving the other day and she said "Mommy, I'm not going to be shy of Nana anymore. She is Daddy's Mommy and that means that she is my grandma. You don't be scared of grandmas. You be brave of them. So I'm brave of Nana." We've never told her that Kris is her grandmother, or that my mom is her grandmother or even really what a grandmother is. When I'm talking on the phone she also likes to make every connection. "Are you talking to Meggie? Meggie is your sister. Meggie is my aunt. Margie is Meggies mommy too? I love her ever thinking mind, always working out some problem.

Saturday we had a birthday party which was awesome. Hannah was very strategic working out the gift she wanted to pick out for her friend "Mommy, this one has a picture of a boy on it. Do you think Ian would like it? Mommy, those are bad guys, we can't get that for him..." It was the cutest birthday ever. My friend Debbi is so creative. Then I went to a shower for my friend Haley. It was a surprise shower and so much fun!

Sunday, I walked around for three hours with Paige at church. I've been assigned to help get people registered to vote in our ward and so we had to go early (aka Paige didn't get a nap) and she was screaming or wriggling pretty much all three hours of church. Of course as soon as she hit her car seat she was snoring. Nana came for a visit and Hannah showed us all how she can ride her bike up and down the street.

 She found this get up in her closet and though it would be fun to play in. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Week in the Life {9/3-9/9}

This week has been a busy one!

Monday was spent cleaning and laundering as always, but in addition to the regular housework (which Adam helped with on his day off) I went through EACH AND EVERY clothing item ages newborn to 4T that we have. We basically had two wardrobes for girls that age. I was sincerely overwhelmed with how extraordinarily blessed we've been. We had someone give us a whole years worth of adorable infant clothing of a baby that had been born the summer before Hannah. Same season and everything. We also have a good friend who has passed on her daughter's adorable wardrobe age 18 months to 4T (also born the summer before Hannah). Not to mention, our girls have been extremely spoiled by their grandma's who just couldn't help themselves :) I have not had the need to buy a single item for either of my girls (although, sometimes I just can't help myself either) in three years and I won't have to until Hannah is in Kindergarten! As I went through the clothes, keeping the clothes that were still in perfect condition, donating the ones that either were out of style (because lets face it, when I have another baby in a couple of years, if it is a girl, these clothes will be 6 or 7 years old), too worn, or I just couldn't face it through one more child after two already. I still have basically a whole wardrobe for another girl but Adam estimates we got rid of about 1,000 dollars worth of clothing.  

Tuesday was a big day, Hannah's first day of preschool! She was so excited and she had a TON of fun. I can finally appreciate when my mom would ask me about school and I didn't really say anything because she was not very forthcoming with information. She loved all of her little classmates. I am doing a preschool co-op with three other moms, Brandee, Jessica, and Stacey. There are six kids total (Brandee has triplets!) I'm lucky to be with such a fantastic and reliable group of ladies and their cute kids. Next week, it's my turn with the bunch and I'm actually pretty excited to teach! We are using Mother Goose Time which is a great program, providing all sorts of materials and lesson plans for us. They are focusing on Friends and Feelings. The shape they are learning is the circle, the letter F, the color blue, and so on. Hannah made some REALLY cute crafts. She also learned a little rhyme which apparently I'm doing all wrong. It was insane to see her all dressed up and off to preschool. I can't believe in two years she will be in KINDERGARTEN! After preschool we went to the park and had a little picnic. Is it weird that she seems more grown up to me already? It is my hope that we can really prepare these kids for kindergarten. When I asked Paige if we should go pick Hannah up she got a smirk on her face and shook her head no. She is such a goof.

Wednesday is a tough day for Adam but I think I love him all the more for it. He currently has three callings (four if you count home teaching) and one of them is scoutmaster. That means he gets home from work, has about an hour and a half to be home, then is off to scouts for the rest of the evening. It makes for a long day but he loves being with the scouts. We also called Austin, who turned 29 and had a more than two hour birthday call. He's doing really great. We also noticed that our account was overdrawn because a tithing check which was older than 90 days had been cashed. We had assumed about two months ago, that it had been lost in the mail so we wrote a new check. Apparently it had just been misplaced because we ended up double paying on that particular tithing check. Oh boy.

Thursday was another day of preschool. Paige wasn't feeling well, and Hannah seemed to be catching something, or at least her asthma was getting worked up. Adam's giant 3D tv came. Let me tell you a story about this TV....Adam has been BEGGING for a new TV for over two years (PS we've had our current TV for only 4 years....what the heck Adam, be satisfied already) and he wanted a top of the line, 3D TV. I told him last year that we could get one for Christmas so a few weeks ago I said, start looking for some deals. Well folks, as soon as I said that, he bought a TV, although, I have to admit, he got a REALLY good deal (more than half off a top of the line TV) so I was very happy about THAT. It was kind of funny because we paid off our car a couple weeks ago and we were out of debt for 5 days before Adam bought a TV. Luckily, since we were planning on buying it, we'll have it paid off next month so it's not a big deal, it was just funny that we were out of debt for less than a week before Adam made a major purchase. It will end up being our birthday and Christmas gifts to each other this year. Even though I didn't really want is still kind of cool. When Hannah saw the TV she got really upset. I told her Daddy bought a new TV. "Why did he do that?" She questioned. "I don't know. He wanted a bigger nicer one." "But I wanted to have our TV forever! I don't want a new TV." Turns out she didn't know she could also watch her favorite TV shows on the new TV.

I had a fun moment with my girls on Thursday. They were just in the bath and I was watching them but not really interacting with them. It was awesome to watch them cooperate together and play games. Paige is also really understanding instructions. She's trying to be more verbal and talks a lot to us without really saying anything.

Almost done! You can see I have 5 giant tubs still full of clothes (and another one twice the size already packed and put away, plus one in Paige's room) and lots of clothes started in bags. It's a little heartbreaking to pack away tiny clothes and I die a little inside each time. 
About half the bags we packed up to donate to friends
We couldn't resist putting Paige in this little snow suit. She got a BIG kick out of it. 
 Left to right: Tayden and Nathan, Emily and Hannah, Luke and Dane
 Taden, Luke, Dane, Nathan, Emily, Hannah 

 It is kind of embarrassing how giant our TV is...

Friday we had exciting news. Sean and Lindsey got ENGAGED! It is pretty much the most romantic engagement story ever...I didn't know my brother had it in him...My mom posted all the details on her blog here so please please click over to read it. I would seriously put it in my top 5 engagement stories.

Saturday was busy but fun. We went canning with the ward, shopping, and then Stacey and Scott watched the rascals so we could go out to dinner with some friends. It was a blast and you cannot go wrong with fried ice cream and good company!

We are staying home from church today (the girls and I) because Hannah has had some asthma issues and Paige has had a runny nose. Paige is getting her shots tomorrow and I'm weird about my kids getting sick and getting shots because I've heard it can be dangerous so I'm avoiding that...