Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Our Lil' Pumpkin

We took Gabe to the local pumpkin patch on Saturday. He was cute with the pumpkins - he really seemed to like them. We ended up picking one out, but didn't end up having time to carve it as a family. I guess Gramma and Gabe will have to work on that while we're gone (We're leaving on a cruise and Gramma Rhien is coming to play with Gabe).

Hope everyone has a GREAT Halloween!

Our big boy

This picture makes me laugh. We have been teaching Gabe some songs with actions. This is one he's caught on to really well....or at least his version of really well....This is, "I looked out the window and what did I see?" (he's looking out the window). He knows about 1/2 of the actions to this song - my favorite is when he smells the popcorn ball so sweet - it's hilarious!

"Yeah, the chicks dig me in these jeans - they say I look HOT".

We cut his hair shorter this time - so it can spike. It's great until he starts combing it himself....then it looks silly. (and yes, he is trying to grab the camera)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And he's off!

So no more of this: Gabe's a BIG BOY, and we're on to this:
Gabe walked more tonight and made me so happy. I was really sick of people asking how old he is now, and then following that with the question, "So - is he walking yet?" When I would say no they'd be like "Ohhhh...." Kind of like, 'Hmmm...wonder what his problem is....'

I know that for the rest of his life I can't be comparing him to how other kids are doing things, or when they excel at certain developmental things. But I am pretty grateful that he caught on to the walking gig so when people say, "Is he walking yet?" I can answer with a strong - "You betcha!"

The coolest day!!!

So when you woke up this morning, did you have any idea that today would be by far one of the coolest days EVER!?!?!? I certainly didn't - but it's shaping up to be pretty awesome.

So let's play a little game - Why do you think today has been such a great day so far?
  1. When I went to Great Harvest to pick up some Honey Whole Wheat bread they also had our favorite Apple Crumble bread - had some for lunch, and looking forward to more with dinner!
  2. This is the 200th post I've made on this blog.

Well it's actually all of the above. But, really it's all because - the most exciting thing (ever) - that Gabe took his first official steps!!!

I was on the phone with my mom, and Cory was in the living room with our friend Cameron. I hear Cory yell, "Gabe just took 8 steps!" He walked between Cameron and Cory and I missed it - so I hung up with my mom quickly (sorry mom). Cory tried having Gabe walk towards me and he did it!!! No help, not holding on to Cory - he just walked!!!

Then after Cory left for work I tried feeding Gabe some lunch. He hardly ate anything because he was so excited to get down and try walking again. And he kept doing it! He'd pull himself up on things and toddle around. Sometimes taking 2-3 steps, othertimes going as many as 10!!! If he falls down he can't seem to figure out standing up unless he uses something to pull himself up on, but that's ok. I can't believe how proud I am of him!

He's pretty proud of himself too. When he falls down he'll look for me and then clap. I'm not sure if he gets that I have been clapping for his walking - rather than the falling - but either way, he's pretty proud, and the grinning from ear to ear was totally contagious as he showed his excitement!

There was a moment when he started just trying to walk everywhere, and he was walking away from me. His little light up tennis shoes were flashing, his cowlick sticking up on the back of his hair, and hands steading himself for balance...he toddled off and instantly my eyes filled with tears. He's not a baby anymore!!!! Such a milestone for us, but also a bittersweet one. I just can't believe that it was just a year ago that he'd curl up with his head on my shoulder and fall he's walking, toddling about. I have a toddler.

I'm so proud of you little guy - I love you more than I ever even imagined possible!

(I'll post pictures hopefully soon when I get some taken. Before his nap I was just too excited, and worried I'd miss some important steps if I went to find the camera)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Baby it's cold outside!

You'll never guess what I woke up to this morning?!?! (actually, you'll probably look at the pictures before reading - so you know exactly what I woke up to....)


When my alarm went off to go to the gym I looked at the window and thought, "It's glowing outside - kind of like it does when it's snowed a bunch the night before". I pulled up the blinds - and sure enough - SNOW!

It's super wet snow, and has already started melting (there was more at 6:00 am), but it's our first snow of the year. I can't wait for Gabe to get up and want to go play in it. We'll hopefully have more pictures of that.

Have a great day. And if by chance it's snowing where you are - do a snow angel for me!

(Edited - Gabe did play outside with his babysitter this morning, but I didn't get any pictures. It is still snowing though, and we're in for quite a storm!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

More pictures from day 2

(here's the pictures from the last post....)

More from day 2

Here are some more pictures from day 2.

The pictures of the animals are kind of funny. There is one silly picture of me trying to kiss an ostrich that we saw when we stopped at an ostrich farm. I was actually pretty scared of them after watching them attack Heidi and her husband Ryan - literally they were pecking them and it left marks on their arms!

Heidi was also attacked by a baboon when we stopped at Cape Point. They had signs all over saying not to feed the baboons - and I guess it's a major problem. Heidi had a sandwhich she was taking back to the bus, but the baboon wasn't going to let her on the bus with that sandwhich - it wanted lunch! It grabbed onto her until she threw her sandwhich for it to enjoy. The funniest part of the attack was that when she did get back on the bus the first thing she said to her husband was, "Did you get a picture of it!?!?" He laughed and said, "No, I was using the camera to beat up the baboon so I could save my wife!"

We also went and saw some awesome penguins. They were so sweet! I loved this picture that one of the girls captured of the 2 penguins together - they are monogomous, and it's just sweet to see them together!

We also ate at an amazing restaurant that afternoon - The Black Marlin....(I think that's what it was called). The meal was tasty - I tried langenstein (I think that's how you spell it....) - they seemed like a cross between a prawn, and a very small lobster - as far as the taste goes. It was delicious! I ordered just one (and the waiter thought I was nuts) - so I could try it and see how I liked it. When I ate it I was wishing I had ordered more! We also tried their creme brulee.....which was made with rosewater. In case you are wondering how that tastes - you can take a bottle of liquid hand soap, pump it into your mouth 2 or 3 times - and you'll have a pretty good idea. It was nasty! But we enjoyed our time at lunch.

And speaking of eating - that night we went to one of the coolest restaurants I've ever been to! It was called Moyo - and it was a neat African experience. They sat us up basically in a treehouse to eat our dinner - it was gorgeous! They had performers, amazing food to try - (all different kinds of authentic African foods - including Ox Tail which I tried. They consider it a delicacy....I'm not convinced). They had a buffet where you could try all different kinds of food - it was really interesting. They also have someone come around and paint your faces with this neat white paint. The whole experience was really neat!

Then that night Jessica and I got back to the hotel and we stayed up until 4:15 am....I don't remember doing that since my days at Ricks College before I got married! The problem was that we had to get up at 5:30 am the next morning! So we slept a total of an hour and 15 was worth it though - I loved getting to gab with Jess - she's such a great friend!

South Africa - day 2

These pictures are from our 2nd day of touring. We started the day by taking a tour up to Table Mountain. WOW! We took a gondola up to the top of this beautiful mountain for some of the most amazing views. I wished we had about 5 more hours to hike around and see stuff - but the time we did have was pretty spectacular! The mountain literally looks like a table from down below - it is really tall, and really flat. Totally cool!

After the tour of Table Mountain our tour guide took us to Cape Point. It was amazing to think we were at the southern most tip of Africa. SO pretty! Here we could walk around a bit (but we didn't have a ton of time) - and see the beautiful scenery. You had mountains, the ocean, gorgeous rocks - it was breath taking! (I had to laugh at the picture of Jessica and I sitting on the rocks - it looks like an engagement picture.)

During that day's tour we learned a lot about the country and area from our tour guide - she did a great job. She was patient with us when we stopped, and showed us lots of different things! (more in the next post....)

The world's BEST husband!

I just have to brag about my husband for a second. He's the best you know! This weekend he took me away for the most indulgent and wonderful weekend. He ws so sweet to prepare all of this.

We dropped Gabe off with Cory's mom (we met her in Layton) on Friday night. Then we headed to The Grand America hotel in Salt Lake City. It is a divine hotel - staying there really has ruined me for wanting to stay anywhere else. We dressed up and had an amazing dinner at their restaurant. It was so delicious!

In the morning we got up and drove up to Park City for some shopping. The weather was crisp and fall-like, and was invigorating. I love the outlet stores up there and we got some fall/winter clothes. We also had a delicious lunch before driving back to Salt Lake.

Late in the afternoon we had in-room massages - which were heavenly. The massage therapists did a wonderful job. (And for those of you who know about my massage 'experience' in South Africa - this therapist did not use any of the same 'techniques' that my therapist in South Africa did.....this massage was actually relaxing). After the massages we headed down to the spa/salon and had pedicures - also very relaxing. Pedicures were followed with the hot tub and pool, and time in the steam rooms. AHHHHHH.....relaxing.......

For dinner we went to The Gateway shopping plaza down-town. Cory took me to one of my favorite restaurants - Thaifoon. Cory hates most Thai food - so the fact that he was anxious to take me there was just more evidence of how sweet he was this weekend. The food was delicious, and I am so lucky that he took me there!

Then back at the hotel we watched a movie in our room with some tasty dessert.

The next morning we had breakfast in bed. AMAZING! It was the most indulgent breakfast I have had in a long time. Everything was perfect and we were stuffed when we finished. Then it was back to meet Cory's family with Gabe. We were glad to see him, and he was so funny! He made so much noise over the next few hours (talking/singing/yelling) - that we wondered what switch Grandma Tammy turned on :). It was good to have him back.

We stopped for a bit at Grandma and Grandpa Whisler's house (sorry to those who we didn't get to stop and see - there are never enough hours in the day when we come up that direction...). It was great for Gabe to see these grandparents. He remembered right where the toys were kept and headed right over to the corner behind the couch (a spot that kept us entertained as children as well). And then we headed home.

So this blow-by-blow description wasn't what I meant to share. What I really wanted to share was just how awesome Cory is. Not because he was so indulgent, and spared no expense - but because he paid attention to detail, and went the extra step in taking care of me. I told him that the things that meant the most to me were the little things he did - like letting us eat at the Thai restaurant (and not even complaining - actually enjoying it!), or getting me a glass of ice to go with my diet dr pepper. He just is a great guy. I am so lucky to be married to him, and can't wait for the next 8 years. (Our 8 year anniversary is in a couple of weeks - so I kind of look at this weekend away as celebration of that).

I hope all of you are blessed enough to have a spouse or family member as special as Cory is to me. I am indeed grateful that he's mine!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Future Scrapper?

Well this was a very proud moment for this scrapbooking mommy. Gabe showed MAJOR interest in playing with stickers earlier this week. He was so excited with himself as he placed each sticker. And it was so funny to watch when the stickers would get stuck to his fingers. He was determined to get those stickers off his fingers - and it was just funny to watch. He's been pretty proud of his picture and looks at it each time we pass the fridge. I even explained to him that all of the great pictures get displayed on the fridge for everyone to enjoy.

I had given him some crayons several times before - even recently, and he'd shown no interest in coloring. So I thought our art days were some ways away. But after he showed so much interest (and talent, if I do say so myself.....) with the sticker collage, I think we'll be doing more art projects soon! It's only a matter of time till I pull out the pictures and cardstock and we get scrapbooking!

Going to Grandma's house

Well Gabe is off for his first weekend at Grandma Tammy's house (without mom and dad). I'm sure that this will become something he gets to do more often, and looks forward to. (I know mom and dad are looking forward to a weekend together....)

Anyway, this afternoon I took his bag into his room to start packing his stuff. He crawled right in the bag and was ready to go. It was so cute! So Grandma - here he comes!


This relates to yesterday's post.

This morning when my alarm went off (5:45 is so early.....) I was woken from a DEAD sleep and deep dream. It was one of those dreams that you don't want to wake up from. Not because it is a fabulous dream - quite the opposite - because it's such a stressful dream that you want to make sure everything is resolved before you wake up. So much for that....

Anyway, without typing out everything that happened in the dream, I'll touch on 3 parts (which interestingly enough were totally related in the dream.....)

In the dream I was at a convention - a huge convention (not sure what for...). At one of the booths that was selling jewelry they had out some glasses of what I thought was sparkling cider. But it was alcohol and after I took one sip I freaked out because I thought that one sip was going to make me drunk. I was so afraid of being drunk in a public place and totally out of control that I ran around the convention (totally lost) trying to find an elevator to take me up to my hotel room.

I finally found an elevator and got in it with several other people. This elevator was different though - it didn't just go up and down, it started to go around the building - with glass looking out over things. Then all of a sudden the glass opens up and the elevator cart (is that what you'd call it....?) turns into a big cage/rollercoaster. Somehow everyone else in the cart ended up in seatbelts, but I was frantically trying to put mine on before I flew around the cage/rollercoaster car. I couldn't control where I was going, or what was going on around me....(are we seeing a theme here?)

Then after a bunch of other things happened we got to the end of the dream. I was standing outside of this convention center with a bunch of animals. It was like a petting zoo with lots of big wild African animals (like the ones we saw on our safari on my trip). They weren't in cages or anything though - they were all just out and about. They asked for some help in bringing the animals back into the convention center and I offered to help (apparently the sip of alcohol I had didn't make me drunk.....). We got all of the animals inside and I went out to check to make sure there wasn't anything left outside. I look to my right and one of the zoo keepers is screaming and running for his life. He yells at me to run inside, but the door is locked and I can't get in. I look behind him and he's being chased by this HUGE, ravenous lion. The lion gets to us as we're trying to get inside and starts clawing at us, biting us - attacking us. We get the door open and when we go in the whole room is full of ravenous lions that are going to eat us.....

And that's when I was so rudely woken up by that darn alarm.

So - how does that relate to my last post? Well I was trying to think why I would be so anxious and exhausted by a dream, and I realized that the dream was telling me something (something I already kind of knew)....I feel out of control. Sure, I'm not on a roller coaster, getting lost in a convenion center, having to worry about getting drunk (which by the way - I might not know a lot about drinking, but I do know that one sip wouldn't get me drunk), or worrying about being chased by wild animals - but I do feel like I'm running, and I'm not keeping up.

Interesting how our dreams can really talk to us - isn't it?

Well I'm off to be productive, and try really hard not to get caught by any large, hungry lions. Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Frustrated with pictures

I don't know what the problem has been....but I haven't been able to get the pictures loaded for my last post. This will be the last time I try....hopefully it will work.

I hope to update more on my trip soon. Life has been crazy. I feel like I'm falling behind in everything, and to top that off we have decided to go away for the weekend. Gabe's going to grandma's and I am still not sure where we're going. I think to Idaho to go play on the ATV with friends.

Going away always stresses me out - especially since we have had Gabe. It's amazing how much more planning goes into getting a baby ready for the weekend....booster chair, foods he'll eat, enough clothes, pack n' play, the right toys to keep him entertained, diapers, etc. I am just a stress case. Lately every little thing stresses me out. I look at what I have on my plate compared to other friends, and I'm blown away at how simple my life really should be. I only have one little boy, any work I do is at home and fairly flexible....but for some reason I am constantly feeling like I'm running around with my head cut off like a chicken. I don't know how people do it all when they have more kids, or work out of the home. I admire them - really I do. But I know that right now I'm at my limit of what I can handle.

Last night when we were going to bed I complained to Cory that there were not enough hours in the day. He said, "There are plenty of hours in the day". I replied with, "Ok - there might be enough hours in the day, but there are too darn many things to do in those hours."

So I'm asking for some advice - how do you all deal with everything, and stay calm and collected? I know I've probably posted a million other posts on my blog like this - feeling overwhelmed and like I can't do everything. Sorry...

Anyway, stay tuned on the blog for pictures of Gabe creating his first art masterpiece. It was enough to make a mother VERY proud :) But that will have to come later - I MUST get some projects done while Gabe's napping.

(**Edited to add: YAY! The pictures worked! There are pictures of the children in the school, the townships we drove past, the medicine man, the driver of our tour, my friend Jessica with an adoreable little boy who just fell in love with her, shopping in the streets, and the sweetest little boy that was in the room where the women were selling their crafts. He was precious! Click on the picture to see them larger)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

1st Day in South Africa

I keep saying that I am going to post stuff from my trip to South Africa. I just downloaded a bunch of the pictures onto my computer today, so now I can share what we got to do! I'm going to break it down into days - becuase then I can hopefully share more details.

After traveling for over 2 days (it was 52 hours I think from the time I left my house in Utah until we got to our hotel in Cape Town!) we were excited to do some sight seeing. We woke up and got to go on a township tour. This was the highlight of the trip for me I think. I got to step into a totally different world, a world that changed me the instant I stepped foot into it. This is where the poor people of South Africa live. Poor doesn't even seem like the right word to use...they are beyond poor - they have virtually nothing. We started the tour by driving past the many groups of townships in the area - and we were blown away at how there were just settlements upon settlements - for as far as the eye could see. Then we stopped and got out at a kreche - or a nursery school.

Oh my goodness - what a way to start the tour! We walked in and saw these beautiful children - gorgeous children. They were so excited to see us, and all waved, wanted to shake your hand, hug you - just touch you. They were so sweet and precious. Almost the minute we walked into the school my eyes filled with tears and I cried and cried. To see that children are so sweet, precious, and innocent across the world just really touched me. It made me ache to think of the piles of toys and clothes that we have for Gabe, when these children have nothing. I cried because I wanted to love these children, spend time with them, hug them, and get to spend more time listening to them sing. They sang a song for us that went, "I am special, and so are you - so are you! Very, very special. Very, very special - so are you!" And they'd do these sweet hand actions. I wanted to hug each of those kids when we left - or take them home with me!

After spending time at the school (and bawling my eyes out) we went to a little craft area where ladies were selling the beautiful things they made. There were beaded projects, art, paintings, carvings, pottery, key chains, jewelry - it was all so beautiful. I really wanted to buy something from each of these women - I hated to buy from one and not another. I left with several treasures - a vase, some jewelry, a banana leaf painting. But one thing that I really treasure the most was a very simple bracelet I bought. It was made of telephone wire. When I was in 6th grade I made bracelets out of the same kind of telephone wire. I felt like a connection was made when I saw this little bracelet - like the woman who made it and I actually had more in common than I had previously thought. I look at the bracelet now that I'm home, and I still feel that connection - like there's a piece of me in South Africa.

When we were there shopping I talked to one of the ladies. She was beading a bracelet. I asked her how long something like that would take her to make, and she said, "About a day and 1/2". I looked at the price of the bracelet - and she was charging 50 Rand - which is the equivilant of about 7 dollars American money. I was shocked that she would work for around 5 dollars a day. I was shocked and humbled. I felt very blessed for my life, and for my circumstances.

We went on to tour around several areas of different townships. Our guide was awesome! At the beginning of our tour I was nervous about our safety. But I asked him how safe we were and he reassured us that we were perfectly safe. And I felt that way - I felt safer than most places in the states. Our guide was great at answering questions, teaching us, and making us feel educated. He took us to a bed and breakfast (you can actually stay there - it's in a shack - a woman's home), a medicine man (who reminded me of a witch doctor - that's the picture of me and Jessica with him), we went to a pool hall where my friend Annette beat a poor teenage guy at pool, we shopped at the street vendors, we saw their versions of "McDonalds", or fast food - which was stacks of raw meat sitting out on the side of the road with flies, or crates of chickens they killed and cooked right on the was rather stomach churning, we saw homes, schools, stores, and most of all we saw people, and we saw poverty. By looking at these homes, and these wonderful people my spirit was touched. We are all children of our Heavenly Father, and more than once I could think of the words to the song, "I am a Child of God", and realized that we are all brothers and sisters! I was reminded how blessed I am - how amazingly blessed I am. I had a few moments where I just felt overwhelmed. Here I was on vacation on the other side of the world - experiencing something that will change who I am, and how grateful I am for life.

The end of our tour was at a museum about a place called Section Six. This area of Cape Town was literally wiped out overnight - because the government was trying to segregate all of the races. The history of apartheid, and segregation hit home there, and I was really floored by people's ignorance, and hate. It was heartbreaking to know the things they experienced (and sadly, are still experiencing) because of the color of people's skin. It made me never want to judge someone by their color, or their background - it is deadly.

I don't think I'm adequately expressing how I felt on this day....I don't really know how to. Without experiencing it I wouldn't believe it myself. I am so incredibly grateful we got to experience this, and really hope I can think of the experience through my life, and that it will cause me to be grateful for every blessing I have - both obvious, and not so obvious. What a blessing. If we had gone home right then - the 52 hours of traveling would have been more than worth it.

I'll post more later about our other experiences.....

(GRRRRR.....the pictures aren't working. I'll work on it and try again later.)