Wednesday, August 31, 2011

potty power struggle

we've had some colorful moments at our house this week. a highlight has been a potty power struggle between me and miss ribbons. for starters, in no way am i trying to potty train her. that would just be mean to expect something like that of her. she can't use her hands to get her clothes off or hop on the toilet and she can't control her body much. so...yah. 

but, we are trying to time train her so she can wait short periods of time, knowing we will take her to the bathroom at regular intervals. we've had good days and bad, but we were in a good phase. until she decided that it would be a great idea to sit on the potty for a half hour, then tell me very purposefully that she was done, get a new diaper and then go #2 in said diaper within 30 seconds. 
now, i'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but the girl has done this probably seven times in the last week. to me, that is not a coincidence. that is an amazing amount of control for someone with such severe apraxia.
i think i'm humble enough to realize that miss ribbons doesn't have much control over most things in her life. so, she figures out she's got this one thing and she's probably going to put her heart and soul into controlling it.


but i'm not so humble to not put up a good fight. hence the super happy pictures. she sat on that toilet for a looooooooooooooooooong time. {and it's not like the bathroom floor is comfortable for me either.}
can't she just control it in a constructive way? like in the toilet rather than a brand new pull-up!? those things don't grow on trees, you know.

in the end, i threw my hands in the air and put her back in diapers. no more expensive pull-ups if she's going to perform these kind of antics. we'll wait until she's good and ready. 

miss ribbons: 1
mommy: a big fat 0

love my new mop!

we have the sweetest neighbors. love them. their dad goes to tuck with ryan. their mom is basically my twin separated at birth. and the two boys are daaaaaaaaaaaaarling. so handsome. 

one day last week, i was at their house and their oldest son - we'll call him stud muffin - pointed out how clean their kitchen floor was. apparently, he had begged and begged his mom to let him mop it. so, obviously, she obliged. she's no dummy. i jokingly told him i'd love it if he would mop my floor too. 

unbeknownst to me, after i left, he begged his mom to mop my floor! so, they showed up at our doorstep, mop and pine-sol in hand. and stud muffin mopped my floor. 


he's basically a pro. he even remembered to take his shoes off.

i could get used to this cute, new mop.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

tropical storm irene

we've been in new hampshire for a mere three and a half weeks and we've already had an earthquake, a hurricane and massive flood warnings. it's been interesting to say the least. 

saturday night we hunkered down for what was expected to be a major rain and wind storm. we made sure we had alternate sources of light and heat on hand and even purchased some extra water just in case. sunday morning came and so did the rain. we went to church around midday and expected it to be full blown by the time we got out three hours later. instead, the storm was gone. i was quite surprised and, i have to admit, a bit disappointed. 

i feel kind of strange saying that, but it's the truth. i was expecting much worse and instead it came and went like any old heavy rainstorm. 

or so i thought. 

i watched the news that night and there were flood warnings all around our area. in the map they showed we were about a mile or less outside the dangerous zones. monday the sun shone bright and it was a warm, beautiful day. i drove to the grocery store per my usual routine to pick up food for the week. as i drove 5 miles south to the store, i began to notice lots of construction vehicles, a few traffic lights not working and vacant parking lots. 

instead of cars, the parking lots were filled with dust. dust that was, a short 12 hours before, mud washing its way through the streets and stores. 
i began to see that just 5 miles south, the aftermath of irene was much different. the vermont side of the river didn't fare so well. streets and bridges were washed away, stranding many families. homes and belongings were swept down the river leaving destruction in their wake. 
needless to say, we feel very blessed to be where we are and to have had no damage to our home, car or family. i'm not feeling so disappointed anymore.

*photos courtesy of brittani curtis. my iphone just didn't do the scenes justice. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

lake pinneo

contrary to popular belief, the weather in the upper valley isn't actually gloom and doom all year long. just most of the year. but while the sun is still shining, we plan on enjoying it. we headed to lake pinneo in vermont for a day of splashing and sunning. we uprooted california girls could use a bit of vitamin d!
ryan was a trooper and came along knowing he might possibly be the only male over the age of four. he was for a few hours until mike showed up. he was also the designated grill master, providing the women and children with some tasty franks. thanks ry!
it was a great afternoon in the sun and water. i think i was one of two girls who submerged themselves and the water was much warmer than i initially anticipated. 
miss ribbons had a great time both wading and floating, but not so much of a great time holding still for a photo op. this is as good as it gets, folks. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

maple snob

i'm not a picky eater. really there are few things i won't eat. but fake syrup is one of them. i would rather gag on a spoon than have to eat mrs. butterworths or something of the like. my mom used to make her own syrup and i have continued the tradition. and now i'm giddy to be so close to vermont with the good stuff at my fingertips. 
we spent a day wandering through some new towns and happened upon the new england maple museum and i convinced ryan to head on in. we took a self guided tour learning all about maple - how it's sapped and tapped and eventually turned into all things maple. we even watched a slideshow of the entire process from start to finish.
{vintage sap spouts}
we learned that maple has fewer calories than honey, sugar or corn syrup. it's digestible, eliminating the quick rises in blood sugar common with sugar intake. it contains potassium, calcium {the same amount as an equal serving of milk!}, magnesium, phosporous and iron. and this stuff - the real stuff - has no additives or preservatives. 
we taste tested the four varieties {grade a light, medium and dark amber, and grade b}. we were both fans of grade a medium with its mild maple flavor and not-too-thick consistency and purchased our own little jug. 

and yes, we did have buttermilk pankcakes and syrup on sunday morning. how'd you guess? for anyone contemplating a visit to our new stomping grounds, i will make you your very own pancakes dressed in real vermont maple syrup. now if that doesn't get us some visitors, i don't know what will.

Friday, August 19, 2011

rain, rain...

...i'd say go away, but we actually love it! the rain here is crazy! it could be a beautifully sunny day and a storm will come out of nowhere and just pound. then it will leave as quickly as it came.
ryan has always been a fan of rain and has fond memories of sitting on the porch with his mom, bundled up in a blanket, watching the rain and lightning and listening to the thunder. he has definitely carried on this tradition with leah. and this has been a common sight during the rainstorms in the past weeks.

p.s. two years later and the rain boots finally fit.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

applesauce galore

less than a week after we got here, a woman in our church congregation mentioned she had two apple trees that were overflowing. the apples were ready to be picked and would go bad too soon for her to use them all. so i, along with three lovely ladies, volunteered to help her pick and use her bounty. we spent a fabulous morning on her beautiful property picking tart lodi apples with our kids. 

okay, so the mom's picked...
while the kids ate.
two days later, we gathered in my little kitchen to make and can 16 pints, 10 quarts - and then some - of fresh, warm, delicious applesauce. if you had asked me a week before what i thought i might be doing a week after i moved in, the answer probably would not have been canning.

it was my second time making applesauce and i have to say, this little beauty saved the day. i considered buying one until i chatted with my mom on the phone that night. she just happened to be getting rid of hers. it's now in the mail on its way to my house. i know. she's the best. 
we gave a few jars away, but have been enjoying most of the goodness on our own. i can't wait to open one in the middle of march when snow is on the ground and nothing fresh is to be found. yum.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

roughing it in vermont

the weekend after we arrived, we had the opportunity to go camping in south royalton/sharon, vermont with our church. ryan and i jumped at the chance to flee from boxes and piles and unorganization and head into the beautiful wilderness. the evening weather was perfect and it was wonderful to meet lots of new people. leah made a few frienemies. the kids seem to like her, but are unsure of her unique way of saying hello. i guess they don't like their faces being smacked or their hair caught up in nimble fingers? who knew. luckily children have forgiving hearts and most have forgotten the pain. 
after dinner we put leah to bed in our tent and we chatted the night away with some wonderful new people. all three of us slept like professionals all bundled in a row.
we woke in the morning to a misty wonderland. it was so quiet and serene - a beautiful sight. {thanks to brittani for the pictures! my point and shoot just wasn't doing the scene justice.} we will definitely be going back again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

we're heeeeeere...

we made it to new hampshire! live free or die, my friends. at least that's what they say. after 3,204 miles {give or take}, at least 53 hours of driving, a layover in utah, lots of $$ on gas, 13 states, 4 spots at which we stopped to sight see, 3 hotels, 2 lovely homes, and one {mostly} happy leah, we finally arrived. we've met some wonderful people and feel nearly at home. i have lots to share, but no pictures uploaded at the moment and a very scrambled brain, so you get....

eleven thoughts on the eleventh...

01. i finally know what it feels like to sweat all. day. long. i know what it smells like too. and what this darn humidity does to my not-quite-straight-but-not-quite-curly hair. the next two years could be interesting. 

02. we were able to pick up our new-to-us couch today. this is the third time we've moved to a new place without a couch in tow. not sure why i never learn that a couch is the FIRST thing you should put in a new place. i seriously needed someplace to sit and those piles of boxes just weren't cutting it. 

03. i cannot wait to see this part of the country in the fall. i can already tell it will be breathtaking. driving along old country roads with nothing in sight except leaves and church steeples.

04. speaking of fall, we got a jump start today and picked some lodi apples from the tree of a new friend. she had more than enough for her and was anxious to share. we have bags full. i made a mouth watering apple crisp tonight and plan to make a big batch of applesauce this weekend. yu-um. 

05. groceries, overall, are less expensive here than they were in california. not like the prices are cut in half or anything, but it was a noticeable difference. that's a good thing on a student budget. 

06. leah has been welcomed here with open arms. sometimes i wonder why i worry about other kids treating her well. maybe those fears should start in a few years?? because the handful of kids we've met so far have been fantastic. they are already asking for play dates, learning how to ask the right questions and read her eye gaze {"leah, which color crayon should we color with, red or blue? red or blue?"}, and feeding her like pros. it's hilarious. and heart warming.
07. i got a hair cut just before i left {thanks linds!} and four weeks later i'm still using way too much shampoo. 

08. i don't think i will ever tire of having a washer and dryer inside my very own four walls. and now {drumroll please} they are right next to each other. actually, one is on top of the other. i didn't think it could get better than just having a washer and dryer period, and it can. it did. {super big thanks to ryan and jesse for lugging both down one flight of stairs and up another. my heroes.}
09. not working out for three weeks is, actually, detrimental to your figure. or maybe just mine. the pants i'm wearing today should not be tight, but they are. ugh. i did run a half marathon in utah, but i guess one race doesn't count as exercise for an entire month? apparently lugging boxes up and down my stairs a gazillion times doesn't either. i'll be hitting the pavement first thing monday morning. 

10. i kind of wish today were the 10th because i can't think of eleven things. oh wait, we're going camping tomorrow with our ward {church congregation}. can't wait to see what vermont woods have to offer. 

11. i actually heard the words, "okay ryan, let's go to walmart" come out of my mouth today. sigh. it's happened. it brings me no joy, but i have no other options. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

3,200 mile drive: upstate new york to home sweet new hampshire

as we drove away from our friends' house after nothing less than a delicious homemade whole wheat pancake breakfast and homemade bread in our arms, we felt tinges of anxiety, relief, excitement and exhaustion. after a short three hour drive {our shortest driving day in 6 days!}, we crossed the river from vermont to new hampshire - our new home. 
 {quechee gorge - about 15 minutes away}
we spent the hot, muggy day exploring our new town and townhome {3 rooms! 2 bathrooms! built within the last decade! are you kidding me!?}.

we had heard rumors of our new stomping grounds being quite rural. no target. no trader joes. no costco. while i will concur with those rumors, there are plenty of stores to get us what we need. restaurants, movie theaters, department and grocery stores, and more. there is even a bj's - the east coast version of costco - just a few miles away. as for target and trader joe's, those will have to wait for a bi-monthly roadtrip to boston. and i'll probably end up saving money or something crazy like that.

we survived without our belongings for two whole nights. the first night we slept on the ground {leah had an air mattress, no worries}. sunday at church someone heard we slept on the ground and lugged their futon mattress to our front door not an hour after we got home. so the second night was most definitely more comfortable. 
monday morning, we waited with baited breath while the kind abf employee expertly unloaded our two pods into the parking lot. i had fears of the wrong pods being dropped off...or all of our belongs broken and damaged inside. but, other than a bit of settling, everything was in working order! everything except for my file box which did open up in transit and spill all over one pod. not one thing is in the right folder. that's gonna take some time. 
i think our most important item was leah's brand new big girl bed. i love it. ryan loves it. and leah loves it. seriously loves it. and she's only fallen off twice. ouch.
we're pretty much settled and almost everything is hung. ryan and i have polar opposite feelings about what things should we should hang on the walls. i'm all for family pictures, clocks, etc. being displayed. ryan would rather live in a barren-wall wilderness. so i'd rather not talk about it. but so far, i'm winning the debate...and he may or may not come home from school one day with the remainder of our items nicely hung. i even promise to use a level.

after 3,200 miles, it's nice to be home sweet home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

3,200 mile drive: niagara falls to palmyra and beyond

friday was a busy day. we woke and ate our not-so-great continental breakfast {while dreaming of what might have been...} and crossed the border to canada. earlier that morning i decided i was tired of putting my hair in a ponytail - the hairstyle of choice by the end of the day for the previous four days. so i decided to take some time and curl it. i failed to realize that the canadian side of niagara falls isn't very dry. 

we. were. soaked. so much for nice hair. 
at least i thought to put my camera and phone in a waterproof bag. phew. 
the view from canada is magnificent, though. and it was great to see the falls at nighttime and in the daylight. 
we even found ourselves a mounty.
 after we were thoroughly soaked through, we piled in the car and headed a few hours east to palmyra, new york where our first stop was hill cumorah. we cooled off in the air conditioned visitor's center while the missionaries swooned over leah. then we hiked up the hill to the monument and got an incredible view of the landscape.
 our second stop was the latter-day saint temple. we walked around the grounds looking completely homeless {we were sweating profusely, my wet hair was now dry, but matted in a used-to-be-curled-but-not-anymore mess}, leah's headband was not staying on and i ended up breaking one of her elastics and couldn't find a spare without completely unloading the car...}. but the grounds and temple were beautiful. 
we then drove a bit down the road to the smith family farm where we toured the smith's log and frame homes and their barn before heading to the sacred grove.
leah had hit her being-in-the-car limit sometime around thursday evening, so friday was a treat. every time we came back to the car after sight seeing or eating, we got blood curdling screams. i'm impressed she waited four days to lose it. those tears made me ever so sad.
but i have to admit, i kind of liked the pout.
we finished the day driving a few more hours east to the most darling town where some friends from college now live with their delicious three little boys. a, the oldest, was the only one willing to pose for a picture with miss leah, but rest assured they are all just as charming. 
we had a delicious homemade pizza and fresh blueberry pie for dinner and a nice, long chat with old friends. it was a great end to a great day...and to top it all off, we knew we were almost home!