Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

For FHE on Monday night, we carved our pumpkins that we had picked out from the pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago. We let Abby take a marker to her pumpkin and create her own masterpiece rather than carve it. She was quite interested in the whole process of cutting open the pumpkins until she saw what was inside. She seemed excited about it at first, and then changed her mind and couldn't get it far enough away from her. We got some cute videos of her first experience with pumpkin carving.

Here is Jason hard at work on his pumpkin creation.

And here's the finished product. I always love putting the lights inside because it always makes my lame pumpkin look a bit better. Abby didn't want to have anything to do with the lighted pumpkins though and was very relieved when we finally blew out the candles.

Lookin' Good!

Abby found these sunglasses in her toybox the other day and they have become one of her new favorite toys. You can tell she thinks she's pretty hot stuff as she trots around the house wearing them. She also likes to try to put them on Jason and I and she thinks she's being pretty funny when she actually succeeds. When we got home from the gym this morning, she ran straight from the car into the backyard so I grabbed the camera from inside the house and snapped a few pictures of our "little star." Sometimes I feel like the paparazzi as I snap picture after picture of Abby just being Abby. I have to admit, being a parent in the age of digital pictures is great because I can take a ton of pictures, keep the good ones and delete the rest.

This one totally reminds me of a paparazzi shot for some reason. Can't you just picture some famous movie star striking this same pose?

And this one is my favorite. She loves to say "cheese" now when her picture is being taken and it makes for some pretty cute smiles!

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Latest Project...

So I have gotten into the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer and am currently reading book #3. I had a few friends who recommended the books, and I have to admit, they are pretty entertaining. They are meant for teens, but I find that once I start one, I have a difficult time putting it down. I kind of compare it to the Harry Potter series, totally fun and entertaining reading...not a whole lot of depth, but definitely enjoyable.

I saw this little quiz online to see which character I was most similar to from the books. Here is the result...

"You're Esme Cullen - Your maternal instinct to take care of people and be kind draw people towards you. You're compassionate and loving, yet firm when you need to be. You appreciate hard work and value the beautiful results of your dedication to any project."

Try the quiz yourself here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Washington D.C.

As you can see, we have been really busy the last few weeks. Our latest adventure was a short trip to Washington D.C. last Saturday. It was a gorgeous fall day, perfect for taking in all of the sites. Abby loved seeing everything and did amazingly well in her stroller all day without a nap. She fell asleep as soon as we were back in the car driving home that night but held up extremely well outside all day. This was Abby and my second trip to D.C. and Jason's first and we had a great day visiting our nation's capitol.

We started our day by visiting the National Air & Space Museum. Here's Jason and Abby standing in front of a replica of Amelia Earhart's plane. We really enjoyed this museum, but our favorite part was probably visiting the special exhibit about "American History." The National Museum of American History is closed for renovations until next summer, but the little amount of stuff we saw inside the exhibit made us really excited to visit the actual museum when in reopens.

Here I am in front of George Washington's uniform and in front of one of the Sunstones from the Nauvoo Temple.
After visiting the museum, we headed over to the U.S. Capitol building and then made the 2-mile walk from the capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial, visiting the Washington Monument, the White House, the World War II Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial along the way.
Along our walk along the National Mall, Jason and I discussed who could be considered the most important president in U.S. History. Of course there would be many contenders, but I would vote Abraham Lincoln at the top of my list. He was an amazing man who was able to lead our country through a very turbulent time and unite a divided nation. I have a lot of respect for him.

Here's Abby and I at the top of the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument in the background. Our last site to visit was the Vietnam War Memorial. This memorial is always a difficult one for me because it is so very personal with all the names of those who died printed for all to see. My dad fought in Vietnam during the early stages of the war and still carries around some of the effects of it even today. I started to get a bit teary-eyed when we passed a big, burly man standing looking at a name on the wall with tears rolling down his cheeks and I pretty well lost it when I overheard another young man tell one of the tourist guides as he pointed to a name on the wall, "That's my dad." Wow, I'm getting teary just writing about it again. The Vietnam War is so controversial and one which many people, including myself, do not completely understand. I hope the lesson we learned from it though, is that even if we may not agree with the reasons behind a war, we must always honor and respect those men and women who stood up for freedom when their country called.

We had a wonderful day in D.C. and we look forward to going back soon. I am so proud to be a citizen of the United States and I love this country so much. God Bless the USA!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Roommate Reunion

Last week Abby and I spent the week in Ohio with three of my former roommates from BYU. I have such great memories of my college days and that is due in large part to the wonderful roommates that I had, particularly Marisa, Heidi and Rachel. The cool thing is that all of us had babies in 2006 (Marisa had her second and the rest of us had our first, with Abby being the oldest.) Rachel and Heidi flew in from Denver while Abby and I drove since it was only about a 6 hour drive from Maryland. We had a great trip but tragedy struck when we arrived and I accidentally locked Abby in the car with all of our luggage. The police came relatively quickly and later we all laughed about the fun start to our reunion.

With five kids and their various nap schedules, it prevented us from doing too much outside the house, but the thing we have always enjoyed doing the most we got to do a lot of...talking, talking, talking, and more talking. It was especially nice when all the kiddos would go to bed and we would stay up really late just gabbing about anything and everything. Our topics of conversation have definitely changed since our college days, but the ease with which we could share everything was still the same. It has been a long time since I have stayed up so late (yeah, since college!) but it was just so fun that I never wanted to go to bed. It was such a refreshing vacation and we really enjoyed our time together. It is definitely something that we want to do again soon, but we are thinking that next time, we may just leave the kids home with their dads so we can enjoy some real "girl time" together. Marisa, Heidi and Rachel....I love you girls and I'm so glad that we were able to do this.

P.S. -- I realized when I got home that I hadn't taken many pictures, so I am copying the slideshow from Marisa's Blog. I hope you don't mind!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

We have been really busy the last few weeks so we have a lot of catching up to do. A week ago we went to a really neat pumpkin patch up in Pennsylvania. At the entrance they had a sign to see how tall your child was and how much they had grown from previous years. It will be interesting to see Abby's growth next year.

Aferwards we took a hayride out to a huge patch of pumpkins and picked out a pumpkin for each one of us. Abby really enjoyed the hayride, or at least she enjoyed picking out the hay from the bundle she was sitting on.

We then went and played on all the toys and playground equipment including the huge slides. Abby especially enjoyed the animals (cows, sheep, and goats) but was disappointed that she couldn't feed them.

We all had a great time and loved the beautiful fall weather that we are enjoying. Last year we went to a similar pumkin patch in Texas, but with the temperatures in the 90's, it just didn't feel right. It is so nice to be in a place that has all four season again. I love fall!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Abby's Blood Test

Abby had her 18-month well baby visit yesterday (a month late, but with moving and all, we were just lucky to get one in.) She weighed in at 24 lbs and was 32 inches tall. It's kind of funny that she started out her life in the 95th percentile for both height and weight (9 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long), but since about 4 months, she continues to hover right around the 30-35th percentile. She's super-duper healthy and right on target or ahead on all of her developmental milestones. She also didn't need to get any vaccinations. They said her next ones will be during her two-year appointment. I was kind of relieved that they weren't going to be sticking any needles in her this time, but then they told me that we would have to get some lab work done in order to check her hemoglobin levels as well as check for lead amounts in her bloodstream. I guess this is kind of standard for many doctors now with all of the lead-infected toys that have been recalled lately.

We headed over to the lab as soon as her appointment was over and Abby did really well in the waiting room. Right before we were called back though, she fell off her chair, so she was a little upset before we even got to the room where they would be performing the test. They had four different people attempt to take her blood and had to use both arms (couldn't find a workable vein using the first arm). It was so torturuous for both Abby and I (she was screaming "Mommy" the whole time) and by the end of the ordeal we were both sobbing for the agony to stop. I kept praying that they would be able to find her vein and after what seemed like an eternity, it was a relief to see that red blood finally enter the little vial that they needed to fill. Abby recovered quickly and was fine by the time that we walked out of the lab.

Last night, as I lay thinking about the whole lab ordeal, I came to the realization that perhaps to some small degree, I can understand a bit better what our Heavenly Father must have been going through when he watched His only Begotten Son suffer both in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross at Calvary. Most of the time when I think of the Atonement, I focus my attention on the sacrifice of our Savior, but last night, maybe for the first time in my life, I received a glimpse into what our Heavenly Father must have felt as he watched his Son in agony, calling out to Him, "Daddy." I'm sure it took every ounce of strength that he had in order to not succumb to the natural parental instincts that he must have felt and help His Son during this most difficult time. I guess I gained a greater understanding of the sacrifice that our Heavenly Father made to allow the glorious and infinite atonement to come to pass.