Thursday, December 31, 2009

Playing Catch-up

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Sally is sleeping, Neal is at work (it would be too much to hope that he’d have Thanksgiving, Christmas, AND New Year’s Eve/Day off during his intern year), and I’m finally dusting the cobwebs off of my blog.

I’ve fallen WAY behind at blogging about what’s been going on lately, so although I’ve just created several posts (one each on Sally’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and post-Christmas), none of them is quite what I’d like it to be. At this point I’m just trying to play catch-up and get a few things out there. Hopefully they will be worth your read and your comments.

Just for the heck of it (and because I still have 1 hour and 7 minutes before I ring in the new year by myself), here are a few other updates:


-Is learning to sleep in her twin bed, but often tells me that she is a baby (“I’m Sally baby”) and wants to sleep in her crib. Tonight I about spanked her after she got out of her bed 4 times asking for various things.

-Is getting better and better at talking all of the time. A few of my favorite things she has said lately (or at least the ones that I’ve written down):

After putting a knit Christmas bag on her head like a hat: “Cute my is!” (she now can use better grammar, this was a month ago).

Speaking about what she will do when her baby brother is born: “Share my toys with him and share my sippy with him and wash him in my sink and cook him in my microwave.”

After having a taste of eggnog: “More egg juice!”

After I told her that she is my little dear: “Mommy, Bambi is a dear!”

After waking up in the morning and noticing a few toys that didn’t get put away: “Mommy, my room is a mess. I’m worried about it!”

While driving with my Dad when he missed a freeway exit: “Silly Grandpa, went the wrong way!”

-Loves to wear hats (hence the putting a knit Christmas bag on her head).

-Is in a weird phase where she sometimes doesn’t like Neal and sometimes loves him. She has been really great around him the last few days, so I’m hopeful that she is coming out of it.

-Is very observant and remembers everything.

-Likes to invent words (her favorite is bubber) and people. She often tells me about a boy in Nursery named Hunter that does not exist. I don’t know where she even heard that name.

-Loves to be told stories. She’ll run up to me and say: “Mommy, I want a story about a daddy and a mommy and a brother and a sister and a baby and a daddy and a sister.”


-Is getting tired of being pregnant, especially because of the increasing “episodes” (an increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and dizziness).

-Is sad that the Mormon Chorale practices start up again right about the time that the baby will be born.

-Is excited about getting new carpet (a Christmas gift from Neal), but discouraged that Sally is having an attitude about potty training (it would be so nice to have the potty training out of the way before the new carpet comes in).

-Is getting excited for her son to be born, yet is nervous at the same time.


-Enjoyed skiing in Utah and having time off to enjoy sports.

-Is now working nights for the next two weeks.

-Has a decent head of hair once more (see the Thanksgiving post below).

-Will have a lot busier schedule for the next 6 months than he did for the previous 6 months.

I think I've had enough blogging for the night. Enjoy the posts below, and have a wonderful new year!

Home Again

We are all home now, and glad to be here. Neal got back to Kansas City the night after Christmas and was welcomed by 12 inches of snow (the most snow that has ever been on the ground at one time since I've lived here). He spent 2 hours the next day shoveling our extra-long driveway.

Sally and I arrived home the night of the 29th. Thankfully there were no airport incidents to report. Neal had a bouquet of flowers waiting for us, as well as a clean and orderly house (he really surpassed my expectations!).

The morning after we were all together again, we opened the presents that we didn't take with us and enjoyed a low-key day at home, and Neal took Sally out to enjoy the snow. The poor child doesn't own sufficient snow gear, but we got her bundled up quite well and she had a great time.

A few pictures of the day:

Neal's KU blanket from his mom.

Sally and her gifts. I promise she smiles a lot, I just don't know how to capture it on the camera.

Sally trying her hand at shoveling snow.

Snowmen--a daddy and a baby.

Two good-looking guys.

Teaching Sally the art of making snow angels.

Letting her give it a shot.

Christmas Time

I really enjoyed the Christmas season this year (probably more that I have in years past, and I always enjoy it). Here's a taste of Christmas 2009 for the Petersons:

One of my favorite parts about Christmas this year was participating in the Mormon Chorale and singing many beautiful songs about the Savior. I enjoyed playing the piano for two of the songs, as well. We had three concerts and did the same program every time (aside for the soloists—for the first concert Kenneth Cope was our soloist), and I loved every minute of performing (except during the last concert when I had to keep sitting down because I was dizzy and on the verge of fainting). During the second concert I had an especially wonderful experience. We were singing for a ward in my stake at their ward Christmas gathering, and somehow there was some scheduling confusion and we only had a very small audience. At first I was disappointed, but as we started the concert a very special feeling came over me, and I knew that there were people in the audience that needed the message of the music that we were singing. During “Redeemer of Israel” (I never would have thought until then that it was a Christmas song), the words of the song sunk in like they never had before, and I felt a great love for the Savior and an overwhelming desire to share the message of His life and mission with others. I couldn’t keep the tears out of my eyes (and anyone that knows me knows that it take a LOT to get me to cry), and that feeling stayed with me for the rest of the concert. I’m having a hard time capturing my feelings of that night into words, so I’ll just say that my testimony was strengthened and I felt a great deal of joy.

Other highlights of Christmas time: decorating the house with Sally, baking with Sally and delivering our baked goods, teaching Sally about the nativity story, FHEs around the Christmas tree telling stories about Jesus and service, playing Christmas songs on the piano for Sally to dance and sing to (and for my nieces on Christmas evening), spending time in Utah with my family, taking Sally to Temple Square, getting Neal a gift that I’ve wanted to give him for along time and having him like it, enjoying a quiet and relaxing Christmas morning with Neal, Sally, my parents, and Grandma B. (Sally slept in until 9:00!), spending time at Al’s house (playing the Wii with Al and Neal, watching the BYU bowl game with the family), seeing Neal enjoy playing basketball with the brother-in-laws, and seeing Sally interact with her cousins and have a great time and very few sharing conficts.

There were just a few low points: on the way to Utah (Sally and I were alone, Neal joined us later), Sally threw up about 6 times in the bathroom in Denver (only the last 3 were in the toilet), again in the airplane lavatory, and once more all over me during the final descent into SLC. Also, Sally started to get homesick during our long stay at Grandma’s house. On Christmas Eve on the way back from the family party, she said “Mommy, where’s my brown car?” (we drive a brown Nissan), and before she started crying, started singing “Oh where, oh where my brown car go? Oh where, oh where cab it be?” (I’m sure you know the tune). Over the next few days she asked me several times to take her to “my own home, my own bed!” It was hard to explain to her about the distance between our house and Grandma’s house.

Some pictures from the Utah trip:

Neal and Sally at Temple Square. I knew that Sally would like Temple Square, but when she fell asleep in the car as we were looking for a parking spot, I almost told Neal to just drive back to my parents' house instead. I'm glad that I didn't, because, much to my surprise, Sally enjoyed every minute and didn't complain a bit about being awakened from her sleep and removed from the warm car and carried out into the frosty night. She loved seeing the nativity scenes, the temple, and, of course, the lights.

Me and Sally enjoying our outing.

The cast of the yearly Christmas Eve pageant at my Grandma Dickson's house. Neal was a good sport and agreed to be a wise man. After the pageant we had a sing-along, and Sally made herself the center of attention by dancing around the room while everyone sang.

My attempt at getting Sally to smile for a picture.

Neal's somewhat more successful attempt at getting Sally to smile for a picture.

Sally discovering her choo-choo train from Santa.

Sally and Neal.

Our family on Christmas morning.

Playing dress-up with our gifts.

I hope everyone had as nice of a Christmas as I did. I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful family to share the holidays wit. I'm also so thankful that Neal didn't have to work the week of Christmas--I never expected that he'd get assigned that week for vacation out of all of the other weeks in the year!

Thanksgiving 2009

Here's a quick synopsis of Thanksgiving this year:

As they did the past two years, Angie and Hyrum drove down from Chicago to join us. I am so glad that they came and hope that they had a good time. I still feel badly about their sleeping arrangments--they forgot the air bed that they had planned to bring with them, and although we offered many times to go and buy one, Angie ended up sleeping on Sally's new twin mattess, and Hyrum on the couch (except when he slept on the couch cushions on the floor).

The feast was a lot of work, but I had fun. I brined a turkey (which unfortunately wasn't as tender and juicy as the last two brined turkeys that I made), made cranberry-pear stuffing (and made the bread for the stuffing), and whipped up my Grandma Dickson's sweet potato casserole, some rolls, and two pies (apple and pumpkin with pecan topping). Most of these things were done in advance, so things in my little kitchen weren't too crazy on Thanksgiving Day itself. Neal stepped up and made our mashed potatoes, Hyrum made the gravy and some cranberry sauce and green beans (in addition to making two pies at home and bringing them along), and Angie made a delicious salad. It was truly a group effort. Too bad I don't have any good pictures of the spread.

As has been the tradition for Neal and me since our first Thanksgiving together, we ran the Sprint 5K in the morning. Unfortunately we didn't have the greatest experience, so this year may have been our last. The problem was the weather (it was FREEZING!) and the fact that we decided to bring Sally along (who let us all know that she didn't like the weather). Neal recruited his family to join us for the race, so we had a big group. Neal and Christian (little brother) ran together, Cookie and Randy (big sister and dad) stuck together while pushing Megan and Allyson (Cookie's daughters) in a double stoller, Hyrum ran with Christina (Cookie's oldest daugher) and Merilee (Neal's younger sister), and I walked with Sheralyn (Neal's mom) while pushing Sally in our jogging stroller. Midway between miles 2 and 3 Sally decided that she had had enough of sitting in the stoller, so I ended up carrying her until Neal showed up to help just before we finished the race. Thankfully I had a lot of energy that morning and didn't have too hard of a time. I was glad when we all got home and got warm.

Here are some highlights of the day and the day after:

Angie and Hyrum.

Sally and Aunt Ang.

Angie serving her spinach, apple, and walnut salad.

Neal carving my not-so-perfect turkey. Somehow I chose a tough old bird this year (not that it was really tough, just not as tender as I'd hoped).

Hyrum's lovely and yummy cranberry sauce.

Neal enjoying some sports before I recruited him to peel potatoes. You can thank me for the great haircut. Just FYI: dull clippers + chosing the wrong guard = one bad haircut. Neal is a great sport, though.

Sally enjoying a nap with her Auntie and Unc. Not that she slept...but what else is new?

Pie, guys! I told Sally to gather up the nappers so we could have pie, and she excitedly ran around yelling "pie, guys!" She did the same thing for days after any time pie was mentioned.

The day after Thanksgiving we all went to Union Station to see the exhibit on chocolate. Neal was a good sport (or just a cheapskate!) and forewent paying $9.50 to see the exhibit to hang out with Sally instead. They enjoyed looking at all of the Christmas trees up for auction and the model train exhibits. He didn't realize that his money savings would be cut by more than half when he promised Sally that she could ride the big train if she was a good girl until Mommy came back. Who knew that a 2 minute ride would cost $5? Sally's excitement was worth it, though. (Sorry, Neal, for questioning your motives--it was very sweet of you to spend time with Sally so my knowledge of my favorite food could increase).

Sally and Mommy after the ride.

I suppose that synopsis wasn't very quick. I guess I'll just have to stay up until midnight to say all I want to say. It's a good thing it is New Year's Eve!

Sally Turns Two!

I can't believe that my little Sally is two years old. Before she was born, everyone told me how time would fly, but I didn't really get it. I'm starting to understand how true it is, and wanting more and more to make the most of every part of Sally's childhood.

I wanted Sally to have fun on her birthday while keeping things as low-key as possible. Sally enjoys simple things and didn't need anything spectacular to have a special day. Here are a few highlights:

Swinging at the park--Sally's absolute favorite activity. I had fun playing at the park with her and singing lots of songs.

Sally enjoyed being sung to, and enjoyed helping me to make these cupcakes (but not as much as she enjoyed eating them). She loved blowing out her candles and was very proud of herself.

We only handed out a few gifts, which was wise--after she opened this doctor kit, she didn't care about anything else. Earlier in the day I gave her a set of toy food to go with the toy kitchen that Grandma Peterson gave her a few months earlier. She also got a Little People castle set from Grandma Dickson.

She got right to work giving Daddy a check-up.

The day after her birthday we had a few friends over. Here's the cake that I made for it--an almond poppyseed icecream cake. It didn't turn out as cute as I had hoped. I should have gotten fondant to make the dots and bow, but I went the easy route and used fruit by the foot and some yogurt bites that Neal had gotten on one of his rare shopping sprees.

The cake after everyone had firsts. It looked much different after everyone had seconds.

The free-for-all in Sally's room after cake was served. A good time was had by all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Evening Post

I’m not really in the mood to write anything, but Neal is working all night (just like last Sunday!), Sally is soundly sleeping, it is 9:10 PM on a Sunday evening, and there isn’t a ton to do. I’m aiming to go to bed early tonight, and I’m afraid that I’ll start writing and not want to stop (which sometimes happens), and ruin my chances for extra sleep.

I just read a bunch of random thoughts from my sister, so I’ll think I’ll jot down some random thoughts of my own:

-Sally is so sweet and I’m so grateful to be a mom. She talks about her baby brother frequently and the things that she’ll do for him (give him blankies and binkies; share her sippy with him—I really hope not; hug him; share toys with him). The other day she kissed my stomach repeatedly, saying that she was kissing baby brother.

-Sally isn’t screaming much at bedtime anymore (thank goodness!), and has had a few naps lately. It’s been nice. I don’t expect that she’ll go back to napping every day for 2 hours like she was doing 6 weeks ago, but I think I can expect at least one good nap a week out of her.

-My friend Rosemary and I have started a babysitting swap. When it was her turn to watch Sally this week I had planned on getting some work done but ended up going shopping and buying some new picture frames—something I’ve been wanting for a long time. It was so nice to shop alone!

-Neal and I have done a lot with his family lately, which has been fun. We spent the last two Saturdays, at least in part, with his siblings that are still at home, and on Tuesday we all went ice skating as a family at Crown Center (I opted out: clumsy person + big belly + ice = a disaster waiting to happen). I had fun on the sidelines with Sally. Neal was the only member of the family who stayed on his feet the entire time.

-My pregnancy is going well for the most part, but I’ve had some unpleasant pregnancy symptoms lately, including heartburn, blurry vision, and heart palpitations accompanied by dizziness (the most common symptom, and becoming more and more common all of the time). All of these things happened when I was expecting Sally, but not until the very end of the pregnancy. The blurry vision especially scared me when it happened with Sally, but I looked it up in a pregnancy book, and apparently it is a common symptom. I’m sleeping well except that I don’t get enough. 99% of the time that is my own fault. Neal and I have a hard time getting to bed at a decent time. We are too fond of our “normal people” time to cut it short by an early bed time—no hospitals, no patients, no singing of silly songs, no one to pull our hands off of the computer, etc. At some point, though, we’ll have to balance the scales, since sleep can’t lose out forever.

-Sally is starting to say lots of funny things. One example: a few days ago she was pretending that she was a kitty. Neal joined in the game and said that he was a doggy. When he asked Sally what Mommy was, she said “Mommy piggy!” Neal and I couldn’t contain our laughter. A few days later she pointed at me and said “Mommy piggy!” and laughed and laughed at herself.

-I love being a stay at home mom, despite the hard days. I’m learning that I can make hard days fewer and farther between by how I respond to situations and how I plan my day. In most cases when Sally is upset or cranky, I can look back and see things that I could have done differently. I’m trying to find a good balance between doing the things that I want to do and doing the things that Sally wants to do. Of course I don’t want to put my priorities aside and let Sally run the show, but I also don’t want to be so set on getting the things done that I care about that I overlook Sally’s feelings and desires. I’m finding the joy in spending an afternoon (or even 20 minutes) in an unmade bed reading story after story with sweet, curious, bright, little Sally while the laundry sits unfolded, the dinner waits to be made, and voicemail answers the phone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I messed this up

This is Neal, and I am responsible for messing up this blog and posting the videos. That is all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's Autumn Time: Halloween

I don’t really get into Halloween, but I do end up dressing up every year. Neal is usually the mastermind behind our costumes, but I put myself in charge this year when I spied a toddler sized cow costume hanging in the window of the local Goodwill store. For a mere $2.50, Sally was a cow, and Neal and I were dairy farmers. Minimal effort, satisfactory results. I hadn’t planned on having Sally being a cow, but she liked the costume (which resembled jammies) and got excited to put it on. I couldn’t have been more excited myself.

We had a fun afternoon and evening trunk-or-treating at the church and having dinner and treats with the Petersons. A few photos:

High ho the dairy-oh! The farmers take the cow...

Me and little Sally Moo. My costume really was quite pathetic.

Sleeping on the way to Grandma's house (she really does still need to nap!)

Sally and her beloved Uncle Canute (about to leave on his mission). Sally will miss him (I guess Neal and I will, too :) ).

It's Autumn Time: The Louisberg Cider Mill

Since I’ve lived in Kansas City I’ve heard about what a fun place the Louisberg Cider Mill is. We decided to give it a try. If Neal and I had just gone by ourselves, I probably would have been disappointed. But since Sally makes everything more fun, we had a good time. Sally loved the bales of hay, the pumpkins, and the other kids. I enjoyed the cider and donuts, but I wouldn’t have made the drive just for them. Of course the actual mill itself is one of the main attractions of the place, but unfortunately it was not operating when we were there, so we missed out in that respect. Overall we had a good time and got some cute pictures of the Sal gal.

"I want this one, Mommy!"

Sally's new friend. She had a great time throwing hay with him.

Neal and Sally. Thanks to Neal many families were saved from having Sally enter into their family photos. She was trying to run after more children when he caught her.

Me and Sally (with crazy eyes in this picture).

The mill and the Petersons.

It's Autumn Time: Deanna Rose Farmstead

The city of Overland Park owns an awesome child-friendly farm/park that is free of admission and lots of fun. It's called the Deanna Rose Farmstead, and I'd recommend it to anyone, old or young. Sally and I first went with my parents in May when they were visiting for Neal's graduation, and I've since been back several times. A few weeks ago I went with my friend Rosemary and her cute twins, Lanny and Spencer.

Lanny, Spencer, and Sally enjoying a quick rest.

Sally trying out the rocking chick at the playground. Unfortunately the white unicorn with the purple horn was monopolized by a 3 year old who would not give it up for anything, even after 30 minutes! Sally got over it.

The Longmores. What would Sally and I do without them?

The kids enjoying one of the many tractors open for exploration.

Happy Sally on the tractor.

A fun day with fun friends. A great Fall outing.

On a Jet Plane

In October Sally and I took yet another trip to Utah so I could attend my friend Anna’s wedding. Here are a few highlights of the trip:

Sally and I at Temple Square (with my dad, who took the picture). Sally loved the "big Jesus statue", and I enjoyed my first ever tour of the roof of the Conference Center.

Sally and I at Wheeler Farm. We went with my dad and the Squire girls, Ada and Kate. My dad is enjoying his retirement and is a good sport about taking his granddaughters on outings.

Grandpa and the girls (Kate was with me). It was a beautiful Fall day.

Anna, Kim, Cailey, and myself following Anna's bridal shower.

It was nice to see my friends and my family, but Sally and I missed Neal and I’m getting sick of traveling and being apart. In the past 20 months I’ve been on more airplanes than I hope I am on in any 20 month period in the future:

February 2008: Sally and I flew to Utah for my friend Cailey’s wedding.

June 2008: Sally and I flew to Utah to spend time with my family while Neal was doing a rotation in New Mexico.

September 2008: Sally and I flew to Utah for a visit while Neal was doing a rotation in San Antonio.

October 2008: we took a quick trip to Chicago so Neal could take a test/we could visit Angie and Hyrum. Neal, Sally, and I all traveled together (for the first time).

February 2009: Sally and I flew to Las Vegas to meet up with Neal, who was doing a rotation for school there.

March 2009: Sally and I flew to California to help the Cherry family (Neal’s cousin Caryn and her husband Brett and their four little boys, the youngest of which was hospitalized for leukemia)

June 2009: The three of us flew out to Utah so my parents could watch Sally while Neal and I went hiking in the Grand Canyon.

July 2009: Sally and I flew to Utah for Abby and Scott’s wedding.

October 2009: A trip to Utah for Anna’s wedding, just me and little Sal.

Nine different trips by plane, seven of which have been without Neal. And there are more upcoming: a flight this month to St. Louis (1-way for me, so I can qualify for a free flight from Southwest Rapids Reward; Sally may or may not be with me), and another flight to Utah in December for the Christmas holiday (just me and Sally will travel together—Neal has separate travel arrangements because of his work schedule).

I’m not thrilled about either of these upcoming trips. I’m sick of airports and airplanes and traveling without Neal. Although Sally has always behaved well when we have traveled together, the whole process is exhausting. I do feel lucky that I’ve been able to do so many things and go to so many different places, though. We’ve been on a lot of airplanes, yet we’ve also done a ton of driving, and I’ll take the plane over the car when it’s to a destination more than 200 miles away.

Since Sally is about to turn two (which means she’ll need her own ticket) and I’m about to have two children to travel with, our air travel will decrease significantly. Not a bad thing.