Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunday morning Ellie looked so cute in her outfit that I wanted to take a bunch of pictures.  Remember when I used to have a baby that would smile on command, and loved to see the flash of the camera?  Clearly, that has worn off.
On Monday, Greg took Ellie down to see our nephew Parker for his 8th birthday.  G said that E played in the grass and seemed to like it.
Last night the Relief Society sponsored a "Blossoming Talents" night and I was so impressed by all of the performers!  Traci did a fantastic hula, and Nina sang "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" (who knew she had such an amazing voice?), and Sarah sang, and Whitney played the flute, and Emily & Sidney played the piano.  It was an impressive night.  Ellie was so good, and was entertained by Davis all night.  She kept on trying to climb over my shoulder to get to him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life

I am sitting here, overly emotional, thinking about Tayler and birth moms everywhere.  I just read My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright, and I cried all the way through it.  It's not that the book was exceptionally well-written or well-edited (Jane Austen was spelled Jane Austin), but the author powerfully depicted the struggle of a young woman deciding what course to take in regards to her unborn child.

I have done research on birth moms and their choices, and I have read books, and I have attended classes, but for some reason this book resonated with me tonight, in a way that I have not experienced before.

Birth moms are amazing and unselfish and far-sighted.  Their hard choices bless so many lives.

After I finished the book, I had to go and watch Ellie sleep.  She is so perfect and so beautiful, and I had to leave her room before my crying woke her up.  Adoption still seems like an unequal transaction to me.

Greg and I got everything - we got Ellie.

I love the lyrics from a song (Special to Me) on Baby Signing Time (Vol 2).  I sing this to Ellie all of the time.

Today will soon be over
Tomorrow will arrive
Right now I'm going to hold you
Until you close your eyes
Words can't always sum up
The feelings that I feel
So peaceful when you're sleeping
I know you'll hear me still

Singing, you are very special to me
And I am very special to you
I know this is where I am meant to be
I'm glad that my baby is you

Exactly what I wanted
Exactly who you are
I know we'll work together
And we will reach the stars
Families stick together
And family lasts forever
Forever, that's how long
I'll love you

Singing, you are very special to me
And I am very special to you
I know this is where I am meant to be
I'm glad that my baby is you

Outliers

I just finished Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  Mary picked it for our neighborhood book club 2 months ago, and via a series of unlucky events, I managed to not get the book read on time.  Mary lent me her copy, and I just got around to it last night.

I was instantly hooked.  I read passages outloud to Greg.  I stayed up until 1 a.m. before I made myself put it down (which felt awesome when E woke up at 5:45).  Before going to sleep, Mr. Gladwell had me convinced that we cannot possibly send Ellie to kindergarten when she is 5 (since she has an August birthday), and should keep her back for a year, since the youngest children in their grade score 12 percentage points behind the oldest children, and are underrepresented in college by 11.6%.

Mr. Gladwell has some interesting suppositions about the reasons why people are "lucky" and successful.  Every conclusion he made is one I have heard before, but not collected together into his own theory of success.  I especially loved how he recognizes that cultural heritage plays a large role in success.  My favorite example is an explanation of why Asians typically out-perform English-speakers in Math.  It comes down to language.  English has a weird way of counting (e.g. eleven, twelve, thirteen); Asians say ten-one, ten-two, ten-three.  When English-speaking children learn to add, they have to translate thirty-seven plus twelve into numbers and then add, while Asian children add three-tens-seven plus ten-two.  Fractions are expressed in Chinese as "from five parts take three" where English-speakers say three-fifths.  So math skills may be related in part to grasping the concepts early on as a result of the language.  Interesting concept, eh?

The take-home message of the book for me is that uber-successful people have a combination of talent, preparation, hard work, AND come of age at the right time for their skill sets.  Gladwell places a lot of emphasis on being the right age at the right time.

An interesting read.  Great pick, Mary!  (Now I just have to remember to get your book back to you.)

Miss Independent

Ellie is getting really mobile, and it is fun to watch!  She army crawls all over.  Last night she made it on to the wood floor and loved how quickly she could slide.  She has also figured out how to get from her tummy to her hands and knees to a sitting position (and vice versa) so we knew it was time to lower her crib.  I actually have to use the bar-thingie to lower the side now, and when I pull it back up it clicks, which will take E a little bit of time to get used to.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

(I can't think of a cute title)

On Tuesday at group lesson we played with food coloring and marshmallows, "painting" the letters of the music alphabet on marshmallows and then building triads and chords.  Zack figured out how to imprint the food coloring on his tongue when we were done, and then suddenly they were all licking the food coloring off and running to look at their tongues in the mirror.  Fun!
We have been waiting for the new car and warmer weather to put Ellie in her "big girl" car seat.  We got it installed, and it only took 30 minutes to figure it out and get it tight.
I put wrist rattles on Ellie the other day, and she was not quite sure what to make of them...
Yesterday my cool friend Elizabeth invited us to come over and play in her backyard.  Kati brought over a jump-n-play, and the neighbors gradually drifted out to hang out.  It was so fun to see everyone and watch all of the kids play.
After playing, Ellie and I went home and got ready for her first trip to the swimming pool.  Paul and his boys were going and they invited us to meet them.  Ellie wasn't to sure about the water and the noise and the people at first.  She just looked around at everything and took it all in.  After a couple of minutes, she decided it was her new favorite thing and she had a great time.  It is really loud by the kiddie pool, and E started screaming with delight, and getting louder and louder and louder (to hear herself over all of the noise?).  It was super cute!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Car Ad

Our ad on KSL is finally showing up and it is here.  Anyone out there want to buy our beautiful car?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MDX

We picked up our car a few hours ago, and it is really cool!  Greg picked out this model a couple of years ago, and the time is finally right to get one for ourselves.  I love that it seats 7.
To view the outside of the car, check out my picture of the day.

Anyone want to buy our car?

We have finally done it.  We have finally gotten a new (to us) car, and we get to pick it up in 3 short hours.  So, we need to sell our beautiful LHS that has served us well for 10 years.  It's a great car, and still has life left in it.  Nice and roomy for those tall people out there.

Anyone want it?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eating Update

Well, we are making progress on the eating front.  For three days in a row, Ellie has eaten applesauce and seemed excited for 5 or 6 bites - even opening her mouth in anticipation for the next bite!  I also got some rice gnawing things, and on the 3rd day of trying those, Ellie actually ate 2 entire things.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Homecoming and Easter

Yesterday morning, I gave Ellie one of her Easter presents early - a fabulously cute turtle watering can that the Book Club ladies found for me.  (On Friday night, Kelly, Ilene, Steph, and I went to dinner and shopping).  Ellie loves it.  I think it is the handle she likes the best; she can grip that thing and swing it around like crazy.
After a wonderful day spent watching General Conference, Greg picked up Kyle, Jonette, Kylene, Kiera, Kaysen, and Tammy from the airport (home from their vacation in Mexico).  The boys quickly changed and headed off to the Priesthood session, and us girls ate and hung out.  It was so fun to hear about their trip!  Everyone looked rested and tanned and happy.  I asked Kaysen to take some pictures of everyone, and here are the best photos he took:
Love this pic from Kylene - check out everyone's tans!
 This morning we awoke to a bright, sunny, snowy Easter day!  
 
It is so cute that lately Ellie loves to crawl all over my legs.

Ellie is 8 months old today! I love that she celebrates this momentous occasion on Easter. I am so grateful for the Savior and for the Resurrection, and that we can celebrate that He truly lives.

After General Conference was over, we headed to my mom's house for Easter dinner.  It was fun to see everyone, and Adam is the ultimate winner in the air hockey-billiards tournament!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tender Mercies

I print my blogs into books, and last night took the ones from 2009 to the Library Board meeting so that Amy could see them (and decide if she wants to print her blog).  After coming home and getting Ellie to bed, I spent some time reading the book from Tayler's blog.  I was overwhelmed with feelings of love and gratitude for her and her decision to give us Ellie.  I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading and thinking and feeling.  Today while Ellie has napped I read the book from this blog, and am struck anew with a sense of awe and wonder at how much my life has changed in the last year.  Ellie is an amazing gift, and I am daily grateful for her and for Tayler.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading The Undaunted by Gerald Lund.  It was a great book about the Mormon pioneers who blazed a trail and built wagon roads through southern Utah to the Four Corners area.  The take-home message from the book, to me, was a quote attributed to Jens Nielsen, to the effect that you have to go through, even if you cannot.

I was inspired by that thought, since sometimes lately I find myself throwing a personal pity party.  Life is only as hard as I make it!

The most amazing thing about this story is that the pioneers didn't just work incredibly hard and take 6 months to build roads for only a couple hundred miles through untamed wilderness - those roads were used for another year.  And Brother Lund says that many of the pioneer journals talk a lot about building the road through the Hole in the Rock (with a 50% grade), and the experience going through it for the first time, but almost no journals talk about building a road and going through The Chute, although it was just as difficult.  To me, it's almost as if by conquering the obstacle of the Hole in the Rock, these pioneers knew they could do anything.

So these concepts are kind of intertwining in my mind.  The idea that you have to go through, even if you cannot, and the feelings of love and gratitude for knowing Ellie and having her be a part of our family.  I am so grateful for the tender mercies of perspective-granting reminders, and for the miracles of adoption.

I am reminded of the words of Elder Bednar:
When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20).

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