Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Revisited

January was an interesting month.  Typically busy season is gearing up, if not completely in full swing and we get accustomed (or do we?) to seeing very little of each other.  But with the shake-up in Spencer's employment, we got to spend lots of time together.  It was refreshing for all of us to have some time to just be home together.  Not to travel, not to do any huge projects, just to be home and enjoy each other.  I know it was especially nice for Spencer to have some time off without any deadlines or outstanding projects hanging over his head.  We slept in, went on walks, watched movies, ran errands together, ate out.  It was really lovely.  Spencer took Clara on her first train ride (no photos) and she loved it.  They have such a good time together; she definitely appreciates having daddy around.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

13 Months

Today Clara is 13 months old!  Her sweet little personality is shining through more each day.  At her one year checkup our doctor asked if we'd dealt with any tantrums yet.  I shook my head no and told him how she was such a good baby.  Well, I'm pretty sure that was her cue to start being a little more picky, defiant and grouchy.  Anyone who knows Clara at all is probably laughing or shaking their head and thinking, "Sarah has no idea" and I completely agree.  She is still a SUPER good baby, but this past month she's thrown a few face slaps in with her snuggles, leg-kicking wrestling matches in with her "sure I'll lay her quietly while you change my diaper" moments, and increased crying and fussing to make me appreciate her near-constant smiles and darling chatter just a little more.  Here's what else she's up to at 13 months:

-Her favorite toys are her cell phone and a ladybug puppet - both can keep her entertained for very long periods of time

-Independent playtime has resumed!  We went for a dry spell of screaming whenever mom left the room, but we've worked our way back up to it and Clara loves it.  She'll happily play in by herself for 30-60 minutes or so and I think it puts her in a better mood for the rest of the day.  I love that she's learning to entertain herself and build her imagination by using only what she has during this time each day.  This will probably be an invaluable skill when and if a new baby joins the family.  (not an announcement) It helps my sanity too! Especially considering the next point...

-We're down to one nap a day.  I fought this for a while, but she was ready.  We're still figuring out when the ideal time is, but most days it's right after an early lunch.

-Clara loves to "give loves" - to her parents, her toys, and even the cat.  She gently lays her head on you to give you a love.  It's super sweet.

-Nighttime sleep is at an all-time high right now (probably why we're down to one nap) but we've kind of just been following her lead on this one.  These days Clara's ready for bed between 6:30 and 7:00 and sleeps until 8:00+ in the morning.  I'm pretty sure she enjoys some quiet playtime on both ends of her sleep, but she is definitely eager to get to bed each night and doesn't make any noise for me to come get her for 13 or 14 hours.  Insane, I know.

-She loves to sit and look at books.  It's hard to really read her a story, but she loves to look at the pictures and turn the pages herself.  Her favorite books are MOO and In My Tree.

-She's continuing to learn animal sounds and we're starting to work on body parts.  She's an eager talker, even if the words don't make a lot of sense (to me).

-She's made a seamless transition to all of the foods that are now permitted: whole milk, peanut butter sandwiches, strawberries, and oranges are all favorites.

-When she's finished eating, she'll sign all done.  But if I'm a little slow to get her out of her seat she'll start to casually and subtly drop any remaining food off the side of her tray.

-She doesn't seem to have any serious issues with stranger anxiety.  She might take a minute to warm up, but most of the time will happily let anyone hold her.

-Clara has the sweetest little giggle and such a soft and sweet little voice.  I can't wait for her to start saying more words just to hear that little voice.

-She's a speedy little crawler and although she walked across the room a few times by herself at the beginning of the month, she's regressed back to mostly crawling and cruising (while running) along furniture.  No worries, I'm sure she'll be off and running before we know it.

-Clara loves loves loves the kitty.  We're pretty sure the cat doesn't share a mutual appreciation for Clara.

-She has such a little belly!  It's no wonder - her daily breakfast consists of an entire banana, a cup of cheerios and about a cup of whole milk.  She can really eat and after a meal her tummy is especially round and pronounced.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The past week has been a crazy one!  The bad news is the accounting firm that Spencer has worked for during the past five years dissolved last week.  It happened without warning and was a bit unexpected to say the least.  The good news is, within a week Spencer had two interviews, two offers and has accepted a new position with KPMG here in Salt Lake.  We feel very fortunate that he was able to find something so quickly.  I'm proud of him for landing in such a great spot!  The best part might be the fact that he doesn't start his new job for a week and a half.  When all is said and done we'll have enjoyed nearly a full month of him being home a lot more than usual, during what is typically the busiest time of the year.  Hooray for extra husband/daddy time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

on batteries

I'm starting to see the humor in the new parents out there who make decisive statements about all of their children's toys being organic or natural or battery-less.
 Don't get me wrong, I love toys like that too.  They are pretty and appealing and their aesthetic fits much better with most grown-up design tastes than say, anything plastic that blinks or flashes.
 But truth be told, the most appealing toys are YOUR toys.  Your smartphone, the remote, your camera or laptop. 
 So unless you want to deprive yourself of anything with batteries, I'd suggest either finding yourself a pretty wooden cell phone or giving up the idea from the start.
Because this little girl's "iPhone" makes her pretty darn happy.  And the fact that it keeps her from grabbing mine for a few minutes is priceless.

Monday, January 09, 2012

It's official

As of last night, I think we can safely say we've been christened as parents.  In other words, we've both been vomited on.  My initiation came several months ago (I'll spare you the photo of me drenched in mushed bananas that I sent to Spencer while he was at work that day) and Spencer's came last night.  Twice.  We felt so bad for little Clara, but the experience didn't seem to phase her.  We gave her a bath (her second that day) and some extra snuggles before bed, but this morning she's back to her dancing, singing, squealing little self.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

CTR Towels

This week my project was a bit rushed and last minute, but I still did it.  My only regret is that I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.

In October I was released from teaching the CTR 7 class in Primary.  I loved teaching primary and especially this age.  It's a big year for the kids - they are turning 8 and preparing to get baptized.  So for a birthday/baptism gift, I made each of the kids a baptism towel.  I bought a fat quarter (or found a piece of fabric from my stash) in their favorite color(s) and cut out the CTR shield, appliqueing it to the towel.  They turned out super cute and were an easy and fairly quick (roughly an hour per towel) gift to make for them to have on their special day.

Even though I got released a few months ago, I had supplies to make the last few towels (and I really wanted to).  So this week, my project was to make my last towel for the youngest girl in my class (she turned 8 on December 30th and got baptized today).  Early in the year I asked what her favorite color was and she thought for a long time and finally said, "ruby."  When I clarified that she meant a dark, deep red color she said, "no, more like a dark pink."  So dark pink it was.

Friday, January 06, 2012

2011 Remembered

2011 was a good year!  Here's a quick recap of some of the highlights that come to mind:

-My life pretty much revolved around Clara and getting my footing as a new mom.  It's a big change, but one that also felt completely natural for me.  It came with challenges, frustration and some seriously scary moments, but it has also been so rewarding to be a mother.  It has been a joy-filled experience!
-It has been so fun to watch Spencer grow into his role as a father this year.  He and Clara have a very special bond and they just love to be together.  Nothing makes Clara light up like Daddy coming home.
-We feel blessed to be living near the hub of family activity and got to see every one of our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews in 2011.

-Spencer's responsibilities at work increased and he went from super busy to crazy busy.  Most days he's gone for 12-14 hours.

-My etsy shop business has increased more than 150% over 2010 and been a great little thing to keep me busy outside of caring for Clara.  I really appreciate my clients and also my husband who supports me in my work.

-I've only kept up with one marketing design client from my Park City days.  She comes out to my house on an as-needed basis to work on brochures, web design, e-blasts and ads.  We get together every couple of weeks during nap time and I enjoy our time together.  I don't miss my other Park City work...

-I got released from Primary and called into Young Womens.  It is an exciting calling, but can be a bit intimidating and is a huge time commitment.  I really love spending time with the girls and getting to know them bettter.  I'm also blessed to serve with other great leaders and love getting to work so closely with some great women in my ward.  I'm still a bit scared that I'll eventually have to teach with a member of the YW General Presidency in the room (the second counselor is in my ward and attends our YW regularly; the president is in my stake!) but thankfully it hasn't happened yet.

-Spencer was called as the Elders Quorum President in our ward.  We had a great meeting with the whole Stake Presidency when he was called.  He has wonderful counselors and a great secretary and they are all excited and willing to work.

-As soon as busy season was over we took a road trip to St. George - just Spencer, Clara and me.

-We spent a long weekend with my entire family at a cabin/house in Bear Lake.  The weather was perfect and my uncle was so nice to come along (with his boat).  Spencer and I both got up on water skis and Clara enjoyed splashing a bit in the shallow water.

-At the end of July we flew to California for a long weekend and stayed with Spencer's sister Heather.  They treated us to five star accommodations at Chez Richardson and we went to three different beaches.  Clara met the Pacific Ocean and traveled really well.  I also got to see my dear friend Jo while we were there.

-Spencer's whole family all met up in Orlando for a Disney cruise to the Bahamas.  We visited Nassau and Castaway Cay.  We had a wonderful time and enjoyed spectacular weather.  It was a really great trip.

-In June I started running again.  This time with some of my neighbor friends.  We run several mornings a week at 5:45 and Amy and I trained for a half marathon!  We ran the SOJO half marathon in October and had a great time.

52 Projects

I have a goal this year to do one project every week.  As a wife and mother, life gets very cyclical and the same things need to be done over and over again: doing laundry, making dinner, grocery shopping, cleaning, changing diapers, etc.  You get the idea.  It seems that most things I do get undone or need to be done repeatedly.  I do think it's really important to find joy in our responsibilities, even the everyday and mundane.  But I also think it's important to do things that help you feel accomplished, like you're using and building talents, and making yourself, your home, family, and community better in a [more] tangible way.

So.  The plan is to do one thing each week that is a little more permanent - something I can finish or something with a result that will make me smile.  They can be big or small.  Painting a piece of furniture, a sewing project, organizing or beautifying a space, canning... anything! I'm excited.  I think it will be really good for me and my family, and it will be a great motivator to get a lot of things done instead of just adding to the list.

And it might sound a little OCD of me, but I really love that with January 1 being on a Sunday this year, each week is already defined in a perfect pod that ends on a Saturday.  Love it!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Christmas 2011

This year was Clara's second Christmas.  Remember last year?  We had an awesome Christmas in the hospital with our sweet new little baby girl who still didn't have a name.
This year Clara was a bit more animated and actually got some gifts.  Christmas was on a Sunday, which I thought was fantastic.  It was a little more difficult to coordinate beween families, but I was so pleased to be able to go to church, see friends, sing beautiful Christmas hymns with a large congregation and hear uplifting messages about the peace that we can find through the Savior.  We came home, had a snack and Clara settled in for a nap.  We didn't actually get to "Christmas morning" (ie opening gifts) until almost 3:00 in the afternoon.  Sometimes the magic of Christmas ends in a pile of wrapping paper and an afternoon of post-holiday blues.  But the slower pace of our Christmas meant the whole day felt special and sweet.

When Spencer asked me on December 23rd what I wanted for Christmas, I was a bit worried.  But he came through and insisted that my gift be one of the first to be opened.  Smart guy, because with my sweet new lens, I was able to capture some of the magic of Christmas in just the way I had hoped - with  a fast 1.8 aperture.
Finger puppets!  She learned three new animal sounds that very morning.
Daddy showing Clara "The Little Book of Clara" that Santa left in his stocking.  Clara clings to her favorite new outfit.
Taking a break from presents for a hug.
Clara got some blocks for Christmas.
Spencer got a new toy that will be fun for he and Clara.  If it ever snows, we may have to take Clara on her first snowshoeing adventure this year.
Spencer trying on Clara's birthday hat for size.  Not sure if she's amused...
Testing out her new swing for one of our big trees outside!
After opening gifts, we headed up to my parents house where we met up with Spencers parents and Carol Diane for a nice Christmas dinner.  We exchanged gifts and enjoyed a merry evening together.  What a wonderful day we had reflecting on the birth of the Savior.  It made it all the more lovely to share the festivities with people we love.

Monday, January 02, 2012

12 Months

At 12 months, Clara:

-weighs 17.5 lbs (3rd percentile)

-is 28.25 inches tall (20th percentile)

-loves to eat, feeds herself, and is no longer spoon fed anything.  Even a bowl of oatmeal (offered with a spoon) will eagerly be attacked by both hands.

-sleeps 12+ hours at night

-seems to be phasing out her second nap

-loves to crawl, cruise and practice walking

-can take 3-4 steps unassisted

-loves to push around her laundry basket or walker/cart by herself

-waves hello (like a princess - all in the wrist) and bye bye (with folded fingers - sometimes facing herself)

-makes "blinky eyes" upon request

-hardly fusses or cries, but a verse of the wheels on the bus will cheer her up if she gets upset (the wipers going swish swish swish are her favorite)

-can do the "itsy bitsy spider" with her hands

-rawrs like a lion, moos like a cow, neighs like a horse, hoots like an owl, woofs like a dog

-loves to watch the "I Am A Child of God" video from mormon messages
-will stand and swing her hips to dance, and bob her head to music

-cries when mom or dad leave, but will also happily go to anyone who looks friendly

-is more snuggly than ever

-mostly wears 9 month size clothing (with a few 6 month and 12 month in there as well)

-likes to pat her kitty cat

-knows when she's doing something she shouldn't (like reaching for a lamp cord or heading for an off-limits corner) but kind of enjoys getting caught

-loves having her teeth brushed before bed

-claps her hands whenever someone says "yay"

-giggles and squeals in delight when she's chased around furniture

-nods her head yes and shakes her head no

-say "night night", "num num" and "nummy"

-loves to play peek-a-boo 

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