So, since I’d like to pause and assess what is going on in my life right now, I may as well do it in the form of another family update. It’s been a while! So, starting with myself, here goes!
-I’m working about 7 hours a week for EMB, give and take a few hours depending on the week. I mostly work in the evenings and during Austin’s afternoon nap (I have Sally play quietly by herself for a while and then reward her with a T.V. show or library video if she keeps nicely to herself). I feel very fortunate to have such a great work opportunity, but despite what a good situation it is, I often toss around the idea of being done (or at least taking a while off). Before long Austin will stop napping in the morning, which will take away some of my one-on-one time with Sally, making it less appealing for me to work in the afternoon. I’m sure I can figure something out.
-I’m enjoying my calling as the 1st Counselor in the RS Presidency. It isn’t a terribly busy calling, but does take some of my time and energy each week. I always feel like I should be doing more, though.
-I’m teaching piano lessons. I have four students, three of which are siblings. I was approached by the mother of the three and asked if I would teach piano lessons in exchange for her watching my kids for a few hours each week. In the case of the one, I was also approached by her mother who offered to pay me more than I was willing to accept (and more than I am accepting). I don’t particularly enjoy teaching piano lessons because I don’t feel as qualified as I would like to be. While I feel like I’m a capable and competent pianist, I never learned a whole lot of music theory, and I don’t feel like I’ve been blessed with the gift of teaching. I do okay, but I have a hard time when people just don’t get something I’m trying to teach. Since the mothers of my students know my limitations and have as their objective having their children learn to play hymns, I feel okay about teaching.
-I’m trying to read more, do more to beautify my home, exercise more, and blog more--and failing miserably at all of the above. I did read a book in October, thanks to my friend Amanda recently organizing a book club, but because of being busy with work the past month, I didn’t get the book read in November. I have a list of projects I’d like to do in my home that has gone for some time without a single check-mark. Austin is now 9 months old, and I don’t know if “9 months on, 9 months off” applies to me. I haven’t been on a scale in months, but I’m pretty sure I’m a few pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. And while I’m honestly not that worried about the number on the scale, I think I’ll have a permanent spare tire around my middle unless I can get enough motivation to really do something about it—and that does worry me. As for the blog, well, you all can see for yourselves how well I’m doing there!
-On a more positive note, I do feel like I spend a lot of quality time with my kids. I play with and read to them quite a lot, and enjoy it (most of the time). I think they can tell that I love being with them and doing activities with them—at least I hope so.
-I continue to love trying new recipes and ideas in the kitchen. I’m trying to cook simpler and more efficiently.
-I love getting together with my friends and their children. We have had a lot of fun get-togethers lately to celebrate birthdays and new babies, but usually it is just a low-key gathering over a simple lunch (sandwiches, left-overs, whatever!) with good conversation and toys for the kids.
-Neal is busy with work (but not as busy as he was last year). After 5 months in the anesthesia program, let’s say that the honeymoon is over. During the first few months in the program, it wasn’t uncommon for him to come home around 4 (after leaving the house around 5 am). These days, it is a rare day that he is home before 6 (and then he has about half an hour of prep work to do at home for the next day). So, he works long days, but is learning a lot and getting good experience. He does get weekends off, though, unless he is on call (a 24 hour shift), which happens 3-4 times a month.
-He is also busy with church. He has had a lot of scouting activities and trainings lately. He enjoys them for the most part. I think his current calling as assistant scoutmaster/Deacon’s quorum advisor is a good fit for him.
-He has had a few projects going on recently (he loves projects and is almost always in some stage of a project): staining and installing an extra cabinet in our laundry room, building and paining a fence, and cutting down two dead trees in our yard. I was less than excited about the trees—not because I didn’t think they needed to be removed, but because the idea of Neal on a ladder near power-lines with a chain saw terrified me. It all worked out in the end, but I was admittedly ticked off at him for completely ignoring my safety concerns. I already feel like a widow a lot of the time, and that is bad enough.
-Sally turned 3 years old on November 19. She knows enough about birthdays to be very excited about her own. I hope she wasn’t disappointed. We didn’t have a party with friends this year, but enjoyed celebrating with Neal’s family. She got a 2-wheeler with training wheels from us, and some other fun gifts from family and friends.
-She is a sweet and well-behaved young lady. She always has been, but lately her behavior has been top-notch. She has recently gotten over a phase where she didn’t like going to bed and would repeatedly come out of her room after she was put to bed, and now cooperates very nicely at bed-time. She says “please,” “thank-you,” “excuse-me,” and “I’m sorry” without having to be reminded most of the time. She is getting better at sharing with Austin and with her friends, and she often suggests kind acts to perform for people we know. I know that I’m strict with her, and I’m trying hard to lighten up.
-She loves to sing and dance, and most of the time makes up the songs she sings. She is also really into playing make-believe. She has a little people castle set that she loves, and she also loves playing “family” with her baby doll.
-She is a great eater (unless we are at someone else’s house and there are tempting toys around), and eats pretty much everything that I make (except for salad—she still isn’t a fan, but we’re trying). Her favorite food is still oatmeal, but she also loves pb&j, carrots and peas, blackberries, lasagna, homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese (what she requested for her birthday dinner), and, of course, sweets (cookies and ice cream in particular). She will eat sweets that most kids won’t touch (including me as a kid), such as dark chocolate and nuts.
-She is a lot of fun to have around and has an optimistic spirit. When I’m feeling badly about something, she’ll give me a hug and say something like “Don’t worry, Mommy!”, or “It will be alright.”
-Poor Austin has had so little coverage on this blog! He continues to be a great baby. He is good natured and happy most of the time. Lately he has been very attached to me, which has been a challenge, because he wants me to hold him, yet still wants to be playing and moving (so he just can’t make up his mind about what he wants).
-He is a great night-time sleeper (sleeps about 12 straight hours), but is starting to grow out of his two-nap daily routine.
-He is still mostly bald on top, but has quite a bit of hair on the sides and in the back. No one is sure about what color it is. I think it is blond, but others think it is reddish.
-He has beautiful blue eyes and sweet chubby cheeks that are so fun to kiss.
-To back up a little (okay, a lot!), here are a few of his accomplishments: he rolled over at 3.5 months and started crawling at 5 months. He started pulling himself up and standing on his own at about 6 and 7 months, respectively. He is now 9.5 months and doesn’t yet walk, but is getting close. He cruises along furniture and has attempted a few steps. He likes to walk when someone is holding his hands.
-He is VERY active and into EVERYTHING. He definitely keeps me on my toes.
-He loves books, but not me reading them to him. He mostly just pulls them off of the shelf, shakes them, turns a few pages, and occasionally puts them in his mouth. There is one book that he will let me read to him all of the way through—a board book called “Where’s Nicky?”
-He babbles quite a lot and can say “Mama” and “Dada.” And I’m pretty sure he knows exactly what he is saying when he says them. He is quite loud when he wants to be and has a deep voice, which I find quite humorous (how deep it is, NOT how loud he can be).
-He is a good eater but is starting to be very picky. He has started throwing food on the floor, much to my dismay. His favorites at this point are bananas, bread, and tomato soup (oh, and a new favorite since Thanksgiving—homemade rolls).
Finally, here are some of my favorite recent pictures of the kids (in random order and largely without captions because I'm ready to be done with the computer):
So proud of himself!
I LOVE this dress, and love that fact that I got it for $10 at a consignment sale. Similar dresses I've seen run around $50 or more.
Sally has cute curly hair!
The cake was delish but didn't turn out as cute as I'd hoped. I was rushed and didn't have time for a second coat of icing. Sally loved it, though, and I guess that is what counts.