Monday, June 29, 2009

Joy

I have been contemplating lately how much of my life and my philosophies and outlooks have been shaped by the books I have read. It hit me how pertinent the counsel is to "seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith" (D&C 109:7).

I was trying to come up with some specific examples of I-learned-this-from-this-book and I cannot come up with anything. I have been rereading lately the two most influential authors of my youth: Cynthia Voigt and Madeleine L'Engle. I read my favorite books about the Tillerman family and the Austin family at least twice a year for years.

The reason I loved both of these authors is that reading their books made me feel smart. The first time I read them, I enjoyed the story and that was about all I got out of it. But Madeleine L'Engle, especially, fills her Young Adult books with quotations and philosophy and the great moral questions. I did not always agree with her conclusions, but the way she asked the questions inspired me to find my own answers in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets.

Maybe my favorite L'Engle book is "A Ring of Endless Light." I was excited a few years back because the Disney channel made a movie out of it (starring Mischa Barton, no less AND Jared Padelecki from Gilmore Girls) - but it was terrible. Really terrible. Not just bad-movie-adaptation (although it was that as well). The whole movie was awful.

Anyway, just finished rereading this book, and I could not help remembering all of my favorite bits. Here is my favorite quote from the book (and in googling, I find that L'Engle is actually quoting Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest, paleontologist and philosopher born in 1881):

"Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God."

How beautiful is that?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rice Pudding and memories

It is interesting to me how certain smells or acts evoke memories. I had this experience yesterday as I was making rice pudding for my treat to take to book club. When we lived in Bozeman, we were really good friends with Adrianna and Nick. We used to do everything together. We ate dinner together 3 or 4 nights a week and hung out and watched movies and played cards and went on walks and went to Institute and activities together. In fact, they were the ones who introduced us to Wizard (our favorite card game to play to this day).

Adrianna made the best rice pudding. I love rice pudding! She would not give me the recipe, though, saying it was a family secret, and her father had personally developed it. She would make it for us occasionally, which was nice, but would never give me the recipe.

When we first moved to Bozeman, all of Greg's family lived there. But over the years, people started moving away. His parents and younger siblings went to Colorado, Todd & Rachel went to Idaho Falls, and Kyle & Jonette started the exodus to Utah. My family was living all over the country. Greg had started Ultra Steam with Todd and my dad and was literally traveling the country and was gone for weeks at a time.

One birthday, I was feeling a little lonely. Greg was scheduled to get back from a trip in time to celebrate with me, but it was midday and he was not back yet. There was a knock at the door, and I opened it to find Adrianna, with a few kids in tow (including a brand-new baby), in the cold February Montanan winter, holding a hot tub of freshly made rice pudding - and a card with the recipe written on it.

This is, I think, perhaps the best birthday present I have ever received.

The fact that she remembered my birthday, and made me something that was meaningful, and bundled up her kids and walked over, meant so much to me. Now, every time I make her recipe, it is as if the rice pudding is imbued with love and gratitude.

I do not know if the recipe is that good, frankly, because I am so emotionally tied to it. But for what it is worth, I am including it here.

Rice Pudding

1 c sugar
2 T corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
2 c milk
1 beaten egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 T butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
some rice (whatever I have left over - don't really know how to judge)
raisins (optional)

Combine sugar, corn starch, and salt. Stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick and bubbly. Stir constantly for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Put egg in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in one cup of hot pudding mix. Pour back into pot, return to heat, and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn down heat and add vanilla, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add rice and raisins. Warm through.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time with Friends

I have had a lot of fun catching up with friends the last couple of days. Yesterday, I met Beth, Carrie, and Alisa for a picnic lunch. These ladies are part-timers at the U like me, and we have been teaching together for a few years. I have spent the most time with Beth, but Carrie and I shared an office last summer, and it was awesome getting to know her better. Those 3 all had babies in the last year, and it was great to see 2 of the babies - they are getting so big! I don't know what I was thinking, but I did not pull out the camera until after Carrie and Alisa left. Here are some shots of Beth and Jayston.



Beth's baby #2 is due mid-September. She is having another little boy. It was fun to chat and get caught up with the ladies. Alisa loves us forever, because we told her about the joy of TAs. Crazy Carrie is trying to finish up her PhD program with a 1 year old and a teaching load. She says she has given up sleep, and cannot wait for it to be over. These experienced moms also gave me lots of good advice!

Today I got to go Visiting Teaching with Gwen. At Nina's house, Matthew drew us lots of pictures. He kept on running in to the kitchen, drawing one, and running it back in. That kept him busy for quite a while. He also was a good sport and let me take some photos of him and his drawings. Nina and Gwen were making fun of me - that when this baby comes, I will take a gazillion pictures. They are probably right...


And now, I am waiting for a couple of my Idaho Aunts to stop by for a visit, and then I am off to hang out with more friends at Book Club tonight. Life is great!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jim Brickman concert


Last night I had the chance to go to a Jim Brickman concert with Todd, Rachel, Cassie & Jace, and Greg's parents and Tammy & her friend Shelby. It was nice! Jim Brickman is funny and entertaining, and his songs aren't half-bad, either. He told some funny stories about his first piano teacher and how mean she was to him. He also kept on referring to himself as "America's Premier New Age Romantic Pianist." Just the way he said it was amusing - very dry and dead-panned.

The highlight of the night for me was running in to Karras. She is one of my former Beehives (and not even in the original crop - she was one of my last before I got released. I was in YW for 4 years-ish in the old ward). She just graduated from high school and is off to college in the fall. I could not believe how grown up and beautiful and poised she is now. I am really glad that Karras spotted me in the crowd and came over to say hello.

I drove over with Mom and Dad, so of course we were almost 2 hours early. We did end up with excellent seats (they are first come, first serve at the SCERA Shell) and plenty of time to relax before the concert began. Mom had brought a book to read and her iPod to listen to. So, as she was listening to Twilight as an audiobook, I fired up my iPod for the kiddies to watch (I have some shows on there) and then I read Mom's book. Dad wandered around...

Todd, Rachel, Tammy, and Shelby got to go to a VIP reception before the concert and meet Jim and eat food. Tammy said he is shorter than we are!

I am glad that Todd always arranges to get tickets to shows, and that he always includes me. It is fun to go. I love sitting outside in the bowl-shaped ampitheater and getting chilly after the sun goes down. It cracks me up every time when Rachel piles on 18 blankets and still shivers. I took a pashmina, and that was plenty of insulation for me!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lunch with Tayler

Yesterday we had the awesome opportunity to meet Tayler and her family for lunch! We were going to get some food and meet in a park for a picnic, but because of the rain we went to Zupa's in Provo instead. It was amazing to see Tayler again, and to meet her brother and sister.

We ate and hung out for about 2.5 hours. It was nice - very relaxed and comfortable - and it was great to meet Matthew and Marissa. Tayler and Marissa are 390 days apart, and Marissa is a little bit taller. Linda was telling us that when they were little girls everyone always thought they were twins. They seem to have a great relationship with each other!

Both times I have met Tayler, it seems that every time she says she likes something, it is something that I really enjoy as well. One example - we brought some Jelly Bellies for Matthew and Marissa to share, and while we were waiting for Greg and Dan to come back with the food, Linda opened them up. Matthew pulled them over and had to smell them. I asked him if he had a super sniffer, and Tayler said, "Yeah - do you have a super sniffer like Gus?" They love Monk and Psych (2 of our favorite shows) and have all of the Monk seasons on DVD.

I used to think I was freakishly like my former TA Laurieann (twins separated at birth) and now I know I am freakishly like Tayler. It is awesome that we like so many of the same things and have so much in common!

Matthew is quite entertaining! There were no conversation lags, because he kept us laughing the whole time. I even whipped out my camera and shot some videos. I have embedded the best ones below.

I still don't think Tayler looks 8 months pregnant! She was telling us that she can definitely feel the difference in her body, and that she is starting to get uncomfortable (especially at night). I wish she did not have to feel uncomfortable... Adoption is an interesting transaction to me, because I get all of the benefit without any of the physical cost.

It was a great afternoon. Linda and Dan have an amazing family! I am grateful for our interactions with them. Tayler is a beautiful person, inside and out. I love soaking up everything about her. It is so great getting to know her.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

I love Girls' Camp!


I do not even know where to begin or how to tell you how much I love Girls' Camp! It is, and always has been, one of my favorite places on earth. I am not involved in the Young Womens' program at all, and yet the leaders are so kind and generous to me and let me crash the party every year. I did not go last year, and I really missed it. So, this year, I totally invited myself again - and even spent one night.

I went up after teaching on Tuesday, and Shannon had the good idea for me to stop in Heber and pick up pizza for dinner to surprise the girls. It was pouring rain when I was in Heber, and all the way up the mountain. I was starting to get worried about how deep the mud would be, and if my car would be OK on the dirt roads (it totally was). As soon as I turned in to the Lehi Stake property, the rain stopped and the sun was shining through the clouds, and I was overwhelmed with the feeling of I-am-totally-lucky-to-be-at-camp. I had to take a picture.

The girls have such a loving and giving spirit. The whole time I was there, I did not notice any bickering - just girls looking out for each other and finding ways to include each other. It was amazing! I really feel like it is because they had only been home from Trek for 2 days before turning around and going straight to Camp. They were a gelled group, you could tell.

Some highlights:
Emily commemorated her humbleness and awesomeness on her cup.

Sweet Jo looking cool, doing her Stake duties. And Shannon & I had to look extra special by getting a picture with a Stake leader!

When the girls do something nice, a leader rewards them with camp bucks. And then, every day, Shannon operates a camp store. When I was there, Laurie flipped out about the Hannah Montana wrist bands and just HAD to have them. Of course, she was channeling her inner Wonder Woman.

Enterprising Kayd started giving people "tattoos" in exchange for camp bucks. Luckily for me, she did my Evil Potato gratis. In Sharpie paint pens. (Took a loofah and 3 layers of skin trying to get it off).

Kayd and Kayli have the same shirt. Kayd had not quite woken up yet, but was a good sport and let me take her picture any way.

Even though it was raining almost constantly, Bishop and Laurie kept the fire going strong. Good thing Bro Baugh came to visit, because we were out of the wood that Bro Allen had chopped!

On breakfast duty, Kellie and Megan were cutting up cantaloupe. Kellie's fingers were cold and numb, and she didn't notice that she had cut her finger until she was bleeding. I tried to help her get it bandaged, but my skills are not really up to par. After a failed attempt, expert bandager Jennifer stepped in and created this masterpiece.

The service project this year had the girls painting wooden cars for the Humanitarian Aid Center. Kellie got paint on her jeans, so she decided to mask it by having the girls put handprints all over. Kayd (of course) volunteered to take care of Kellie's back pockets.

Jordan is the oldest in the group and a great leader. She also went on a date with nephew Brayden a few weeks ago. I got her side of the story - and now I need to get Brayds!

What beautiful girls!

These are only some of the pictures I took. I have put them all on Picasa for your viewing pleasure.

I also shot a lot of videos, and have them on YouTube.
Skit Dress Rehearsal
Trek Song by Hayley, Alesha, and Emily
4 Joshes by Hayley, Alesha, and Emily
Feet are Gross by Alesha and Emily
The Candy Bar Game
Candy Bar Game Steal Chant
Laurie Z does not know her own strength
Singing around the camp fire (nice solo, Kayd!)
Rain won't slow us down
The coolest stick figures ever
Here are the stick figures with a flash...

Thank you to all of the leaders and the girls for letting me come! I enjoyed every minute of it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nice comments from a student

There is a student named Lauren in my class this semester, and she made a comment a few weeks ago about how she is amazed by my happiness and knowledge of family economics. Nice, but I did not think on it much.

Then she sent me an email with a link, and there was a link to her blog in her signature. So, I clicked over and read some of her posts, and found this from 5.29.09:

I've been thinking a lot lately about finances and learning to be "money smart." I'm in an economics class right now, focusing on the effects of the economy and finances on the family and individual consumer. I've never been so interested in a class like this. Although its subject matter is hard sometimes, I am learning so much. My teacher is amazing- she carries herself so confidently and is very good at her job. She teaches well. Beyond that, (and I even commented on this in class) she appears so happy and lighthearted; I could only attribute this (from what little I know of her) to her wise spending and saving habits... her ability to genuinely resist to that which she doesn't need, and to gear her desires to what she can have with her own individual means.

I've always thought, "if you want something bad enough, and are willing to make the sacrifice to get it, then get it!" I suppose in a sense this is correct, but often I think I underestimate the magnitude of certain sacrifices for things that are tempting, but not really what I need, or even what I want.

That was really cool to see! I made someone's blog....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adoption & Motherhood


Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. I tell everyone I meet about Tayler and her decision to choose us to parent her baby. I don't think it can feel any more real, but it is almost as if the more people I tell, the less likely it is to change.

I am in awe of Tayler and her selfless love. Really, I am in awe of any birth mother who demonstrates selfless love in choosing to place her baby for adoption. Adoption truly is the greatest evidence of ultimate love. It is a bittersweet experience, too. There is such a swirl of emotion - complete and utter joy mixed with sadness and loss and grief - for every person involved in the adoption process.

I have a dear friend whose sister placed a baby for adoption a few years ago. This was an amazing lesson for me as I watched the process from her perspective, because I had never really considered the family members of the birth mom before. I had thought about the birth parents and the heartache that accompanies their decision, but I had not thought about the birth grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that are involved. My friend told me that she knew what her sister was doing was absolutely right, but it did not lessen the ache she felt at losing lifelong contact with her niece.

Greg and I have talked about how placing a baby for adoption is a close approximation of the Atonement. The Savior has overflowing, overwhelming, incomprehensible love for each of us, and He demonstrated that in dying for us. He gives us the potentiality of eternal life, the potentiality to continue forever. Right here, right now, Tayler is giving us the ultimate gift. She is doing something for us that we are physically incapable of doing for ourselves. Greg and I pride ourselves on being self-reliant, but bringing children into our family is something we simply cannot do.

We have an excellent life. We have been married almost 15 years and we have filled our lives with good activities and worthwhile pursuits. We try to serve others, and we build relationships with our families and friends.

And yet, I have always felt like something was missing - a piece of my soul was floating in the universe somewhere and I needed to find it to truly feel complete. I remember once I was in a class that Greg's mom was teaching, and she talked about how parenthood was the Lord's University - that moms all earn PhD's. I felt pierced to the core, and truly felt like I was missing out. When was I going to earn my PhD in Motherhood?

The world would say that my biological clock is ticking, but I know that it is a righteous desire to be a mother and to multiply and replenish the earth. I cannot do much about the multiplying and replenishing part, but through Tayler's gift I can do the mothering part!

Through the years as we went through infertility testing and drug treatments and medical procedures, and then through the years of waiting to adopt a baby, I have come to trust in the Lord and in His timing for our lives. There have been times that I have wondered if my desires to be a mother would ever be fulfilled in this life. I had to get to a point where I realized, as Elder Maxwell says, that I needed to fully submit to the Lord and to put my will on the altar.

(Here is the real quote: "The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!")

Through these years, I have found comfort in the words of leaders such as Sheri Dew and Ardeth Kapp. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard Sister Dew give her talk in 2001 called "Are We Not All Mothers?" (I was in the Conference Center for the RS General Meeting). Highlights from that talk that have stayed with me:
  • Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us.
  • When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living”—and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born.
  • Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
  • Nevertheless, the subject of motherhood is a very tender one, for it evokes some of our greatest joys and heartaches. This has been so from the beginning. Eve was “glad” after the Fall, realizing she otherwise “never should have had seed.” And yet, imagine her anguish over Cain and Abel. Some mothers experience pain because of the children they have borne; others feel pain because they do not bear children here. About this Elder John A. Widtsoe was explicit: “Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously.”
  • For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.
That last quote was the one that truly did me in and struck me to my very core. I remember thinking, if Sheri Dew, a righteous woman who has not borne children, believes this (and I truly believed that she believed it), then what does that mean for me? I knew I needed to find other ways to mother. That statement changed how I viewed my piano students, and my nieces and nephews, and my Beehives, and all of the children I came in contact with.

And now, after all of the years of waiting and wondering and hoping and longing, I feel like I am poised on the brink of the precipice called "motherhood" and I will be able to focus my attention and love on one precious, innocent, perfect soul.

I cannot wait!

I hope that Tayler and her family can know of the joy and anticipation that Greg & I feel every waking moment. I love this precious young woman. She is making all of my dreams come true. Her selflessness, her love, her choice will impact my life forever. I have a hard time thinking about Tayler without being in awe of her and overwhelmed with gratitude for her and her family. (I cannot write any more because I am too busy crying. More later.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Family is in town

Greg's brother Rod, with wife Jayme and daughter Jasmine, have been in town this week, and it has been fun getting together to see them. Rod was living in our basement when he and Jayme started dating. When Rod was a missionary in Southern California, he knew Jayme's family (her dad was a ward mission leader, I think). After his mission, he came to Utah to go to school and lived with us for a couple of years.

(Side note - I loved having Rod live with us! I was on fertility drugs at the time, and so I was a little crazy trying to deal with all of those hormones. Greg's business occupied a bedroom in our little house, so there were always people around. I was teaching 3 classes at the U and had 27 piano students. And did I mention that the fertility drugs made me completely crazy? It was awesome to have Rod around because he and Greg entertained each other, so if I needed to cry in my bedroom, I could. Many hours were spent by the boys watching ball games or playing the Sega or whatever.)

Anyway, Jayme came out to go apartment hunting and stayed with us for a couple of weeks. She and Rod started dating, and the rest is history!

When I walked into Greg's parents house on Tuesday, Greg came right up to me holding Andrew, and Andrew gave me the biggest smile! He is the cutest little squirt ever. Then I had to find Daniel. Greg's parents have been traveling a lot lately, and I have not been able to get enough Daniel time in. Then Greg's mom took me back to her room to show me the amazing present she had brought back from Montana from Jonette. Jonette managed to find 2 cute flannel prints with turtles, and made us 2 blankets and 2 burp cloths. So pretty! Mom also found the softest polka-dot fabric ever. I do not know what kind it is, but I can't wait to get my hands on the finished products.


I called Jonette to thank her, and of course Daniel had to talk to her as well.

Sometimes I pretend that I am Dan's favorite, but we all know that Jonette is his favorite! And who can blame him? She is the most amazing person I know. Last year, Daniel went to Montana to visit with (I think) Tanya, Dave, and Andrew, and then T,D,A came home, and Greg and I went up for a weekend, and then brought Danny home with us. Dan was with Jonette for a couple of weeks. On the last day, I told Dan once or twice that we were going home tomorrow, and that he would get to see Mom again - to prepare him that we had to leave soon. After dinner, all of us girls were playing Hand & Foot at the kitchen table. Danny was up in the loft, playing and singing along with the keyboard.

Suddenly, he stopped singing and called over the railing, "Hed-it, go home morning?"

I said, "Yes, Dan, we are going home in the morning."

Dan: "All right. Jonette. Come here. Now."

Jonette puts down her cards and ran upstairs. She came back down laughing and filled us in. When she got up there, Dan told her, "Jonette. Stay you. No go home morning. Don't tell Hedit."

Hilarious. Dan always cracks me up!

Before dinner on Tuesday, Greg was entertaining Andrew and was feeding him fishy crackers. Well, he was supposed to be feeding him fishy crackers. I have here photographic evidence that Greg was personally enjoying those crackers as a pre-dinner snack!

We went back to Greg's parents for dinner again on Wednesday night. Dad had spent the whole day cooking us Dutch oven ribs and potatoes and peach cobbler. Sure was yummy. After dinner, Tammy, Kent, Rod, and Greg (with Andrew "helping" him) played Settlers while Tanya, Jayme, and Mom ran out to see Tanya's new house. I had the exciting job of grading papers. I can't wait to not have to do that anymore!




Monday, June 8, 2009

A Baptism and a Baby Blessing


On Saturday we went to Paige's baptism. It is hard to believe that she is already 8! It seems like just yesterday that we went to see her when she came home from the hospital. Paige is the daughter of Greg's cousin Trinnie and her husband Brett. She is adopted, and has 5 blonde-haired/blue-eyed brothers. I also cannot believe that Trinnie & Brett now have 6 children! They are a great family. Their names are Preston, Paige, Patrick, Peyton, Phineas, and Phillip. After they had Phin, we all knew they had to have another baby with a "ph" sound in his name, so that Phin would not be all alone in the sea of "p" sounds...

The baptism was really nice. It is fun to talk with Greg's relatives - we saw Uncle Glenn and Kathy, Tash & Tim and their 3 girls (including brand-new baby Brinley), Bev & her husband, and Quentin and his son. It was nice to catch up. We carpooled up there with Tammy and Clay. Uncle Glenn said that Clay was the best looking in his family, and the smartest (after Clay said his siblings were all at home working). Always fun to hang out with gorgeous Tammy!

As we were waiting to begin, I glanced over the program and saw that there was going to be a musical number by Alex Boye. Leave it to Trinnie to get an LDS celebrity to perform at her daughter's baptism! Apparently, Alex's manager is in Trinnie's ward, so she got the number, and just called and asked if he would come - and he said yes.

It was interesting to hear him in such a small setting. In this video, I got him singing the first verse of "Because I Have Been Given Much" and he did a great job. I really need to remember that I cannot flip my camera to the side when I am shooting videos. I tend to forget, and then my videos are sideways. Sorry about that...
video
Yesterday, we went to the baby blessing of Amy and Cliff's daughter Cami. (I forgot to bring my camera, so I don't have any pictures.) We got to visit with our friend Angie for a few minutes, before she left to take her twin daughters home. Jasmine and Aspen are already 2. Where has the time gone?

We also caught up with Rob and Lorie and their kids. Rob is a basketball ref, so Greg sees him quite often, but I have not seen Lorie in a few years. It was great to hang out and talk with all of them - just like old times when we were in the 13th ward, and used to go to Amy & Cliff's house to play games. We would stay up to all hours playing Cannasta (Greg's favorite - NOT) or board games, and listening to 80s music. Rob and Lorie were the only ones who had kids then out of our group (Rob & Lorie, Cliff & Amy, and Angie & Najib). Now, R/L have 4 children (including boys 14-months apart that people mistake for twins), C/A have 4 (including twin boys), and A/N have twin girls. We used to joke that we needed to adopt a set of twins or we would get kicked out of the club.

It is interesting to watch parenting styles and interactions as people have children. We have learned so much over the years by observing the amazing parents that are all around us!

My thoughts today are with my friend Renee. She was supposed to have a C-section an hour or two ago. I hope things have gone well, and her daughter has made it safely!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shop-A-Holic

I have been in a shopping frenzy for the past couple of weeks - ever since Tayler's announcement! It is just too much fun to shop for clothes for a little baby.

I have tried to be good and not get too much stuff. People are so generous, and have already been giving us presents! Baby's first present was from my friend Darci, and she brought a couple of adorable outfits. The next present came from my friend Mary, a beautiful quilt that you can see folded on the bottom of the pile on the right on the closet shelf.



For years, I have been collecting baby clothes and paraphernalia. I just got done going through the 2 big boxes of stuff that I have accumulated. Surprisingly, a lot of it will be useful! Go me.

I think I am done shopping for clothes in the newborn size now. It's hard to gauge how many outfits she will need. Experienced moms - what should I expect? How often will I realistically want to do laundry? How many outfits will she poop through in a day?

As my brother Jon reminded me, now I just need to stock up on diapers and wipes, and then get some bottles, binkies, and formula. And, of course, we need a car seat and stroller. We have a hand-me-down crib and changing table from my sister Bobi (or we can have Jonette's old crib which is stored at Grandma's house), and we bought a dresser for the baby's room years ago.

We picked out the bedding for the nursery, and I am not taking a picture of it until we get the room painted and all of the furniture set up. We're getting there! It is so fun to be able to set up the nursery. I have dreamed about it for years, and the room has been sitting empty since we moved in this house 3.5 years ago. Well, we did put the exercise bike in there. Time to find a new home for that!

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