Monday, November 30, 2009


Although things looked dire for us leading up to our departure, we had a pretty awesome holiday with part of our beloved extended family.

I finally did some real research on the matter and discovered we were totally taking the wrong roads out of town, and I was very pleased that we made the trip in just under six hours on the busiest traveling day of the year, and that's with a stop. Awesome!

But I'm still trying to figure out how we made the return trip in 4.5 hours if just without stopping and with no traffic...

We had a pretty great time, Debbie is a fantastic hostess and her help really can't be beat.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy!

And the table was set so beautifully, too.

Turns out, these guys are very into pies. I brought a pecan and they made an apple (check out that lattice Brittany did!), a triple berry and a lemon meringue. Natalie noticed that we had an open, a closed, a lattice and a covered pie--they were all unique and all delicious. But we realized we literally had about half a pie per person...the kids were eating pie for breakfast and lunch all weekend long. Nutrition!

After stuffing our faces and giving thanks, we enjoyed a pretty chilled-out weekend together. Lots of movies, late-night chats and the like.

We all had fun, though. :)

And though she did spend some time crying through the nights, Kendra still managed to charm the pants off of everyone in the house.

You put pretty much anything on a baby's head and it's just the most adorable thing in the world, isn't it?

She had a pretty good time, I'd say.

For those of you who don't know our family, Grant and his oldest and youngest brother are all three very much alike in looks, personality and mannerisms. When I talk to Debbie or Kristina about their respective husbands, sometimes I think that we're all married to copies the same man. No, really! And in fact, this past summer at the family reunion, Seth's own son mistook Heber for his Dad! So I wasn't really surprised to see how affectionate Kendra was toward her uncle.

Not quite her daddy, but pretty darn cool.

There are more pictures that need to be uploaded from another camera and a couple of more stories to tell, but that's the gist of our Thanksgiving. As you can see, we have quite a bit to be thankful for...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keeping perspective and giving thanks

We told you last summer when Grant witnessed someone break the driver's side window of a car parked in front of our old apartment and steal the owner's GPS. Well, alas, this morning it was our car he found with a window bashed in and the GPS stolen.


It's been a real pain of day taking care of it, especially since that GPS would be really handy tomorrow when we head out of town for the holiday (and super-duper especially because I'm picking Grant up at a commuter train station outside the city that I've never been to before). When he first told me, I almost started crying because I was afraid that it would be super expensive and that we wouldn't be able to go see any of our family for Thanksgiving, again.

This is one case (there are countless many) where my flair for the dramatic totally made more of the situation than was there. Don't get me wrong, it was still a pain--but as I've never had this problem I had no idea that there are auto glass shops all over the place who do nothing but replace windows and windshields all day long. I found a place a mile and a half away, I was in and out in less than 40 minutes, they vacuumed out all the glass from our car and the whole thing cost me less than $65, which is a fraction of what I thought it'd be. And replacing the GPS didn't exactly break the bank, either--we even decided to use the opportunity to upgrade to the slightly-more-expensive brand that gets better reviews (so have fun with our GPS that literally takes 5 minutes to boot up every time, sucker).

I'm frustrated with the person who broke into our car for several reasons--the angst it caused, the morning it killed, the cash it cost. The criminal also damaged the window frame, which irritates me because, dude, if you've committed yourself to do the crime, just smash the glass and do it, don't try to be some stealth ninja about it. And, the item he/she took wasn't really worth that much, so I really feel this was completely unnecessary. The same model was $89 at Wal-Mart and come on--$89 is not hard to come by. I know that some people really think it is, but I would almost bet my first-born that if this person didn't eat out, smoke, drink soda or drink alcohol for a month he/she would have way more than an extra $89 and would also be healthier, skinnier and smell better. And since he/she didn't have to steal my GPS to get one, he/she would also have a better self-esteem and moral standing.

But I've also felt very foolish for my reactions when I think about this situation and I'm trying so hard to keep perspective. Okay. Taking care of the whole thing--cleaning the glass, (a brave if not-very-successful attempt at) putting up plastic in the window space, making calls to get quotes, traveling to the shop and waiting for the service--was finished before noon. It took less than another hour to go to Wal-Mart and get a new GPS.

I also feel foolish when I consider how very blessed we are, even when we're hit with something unfortunate like this. First, we found out about it first thing in the morning on a day I wasn't even going to use the car and did have enough notice to take care of it before we left town so it didn't throw a wrench into any plans I had except cut into my extra-curricular reading and Facebook time. Second, because we're fortunate enough for me to stay at home, nobody had to call into work or wait until a day off to take care of it, I ate breakfast, got the baby ready and left. Third, the expenses are totally covered in our monthly Misc budget (which almost always ends up mostly being unexpected car and medical bills), we're not even going to have to make our money stretch to cover it, or wait for the next payday, or dip into savings to take care of it. And finally, even after blogging about the whole thing, I still have plenty of time to get my workout in AND prepare our contributions to the Thanksgiving feast in St. Louis, which is all I really wanted to get done today, anyway.

I'm not at a level where I can be grateful that this person hit our car instead of someone else's--but if something like this was going to happen, I genuinely am grateful that it was something that we could handle so easily. This same trial would have been much more difficult for any number of other families. It also could have been a lot worse for us. What if I had flaked out and left my purse in the car? What if the car itself had been stolen? I could go on.

I'm also grateful for the good long look it's made me take at our lives this morning, which even in the face of pretty mild adversity (more like inconvenient nuisance, really) is awesome. We have SO much--our incredibly happy marriage, our happy, beautiful, almost-100%-healthy little girl, we have so many people looking forward to seeing us this weekend, we're healthy, we're stable, all of our needs are met and is good.

So even though it's been a very harried morning (I even broke down and bought a Snicker's bar--I will never squelch my emotional eating reflex!) it's nice to be at the end of it and see how very much for which I have to be thankful.

Awesome. (Seriously.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Look Who's Talking

We're sure she has no idea what she's saying, but we're pretty proud parents that she's saying it.

Walk in the Park

We enjoyed some nice and uncharacteristically warm weather a couple of weeks ago and decided to take advantage of it.

It was our first trip out in our new, big-girl umbrella stroller. Kendra loves looking around at the world, so she really enjoyed the view from this seat.

We took a walk in the park and circled the duck pond there. A bunch of people were feeding them, so Kendra got an up-close look at them.

She thought they were pretty cool, indeed.

And she was a great sport with all the picture-taking even when the sun was in her face.

As we got back to the building we ran into one of our neighbors, Amanda and her dog, Goose. Kendra's met him a couple of times and she really loves him. It's pretty cute.

Such a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon! So relaxing...and so FREE! You just can't beat it. Times like this Grant and I have to admit, we're totally living the dream.

Life with a nine-month-old


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Force is strong with this one

I have been waiting over six months to get this shirt out...

Thanks, Grandpa Pollock!

Mmmm, yes, most adorable she is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So glad when Daddy is home

Grant has waited his whole life to be a family man. Turns out, it suits him very, very well.

Kendra adores him. Just this morning, she woke up uncharacteristically early while Grant was getting ready for work and when I got her out of bed she eagerly searched every room until she found him. It was pretty cute when I figured out what she was doing.

He always takes time to interact and play with her. The most fun seems to be when he gets on her level.

Yep, she loves this guy.

He played on the floor with her for quite some time that night, including a trip around her favorite part of the dining room...

As you can see, it's fun for all. A total win-win.

Every Saturday morning, I ask Grant to be the one to keep an eye on her for an hour so I can get a workout in, which he very happily obliges. Though this Saturday I did have to pause my workout for a few moments to get a shot of this:

Yeah, they both look like they're having a ball, don't they?

It's pretty cute stuff.

And you can't quite tell, Jackie, but that's totally The Hunger Games he's reading!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our little punk rocker

Kendra crawled up to the tub, stood up and greeted me when I hopped out of my shower on Saturday. So I decided to style her hair with my wet, wet hands for funsies.

I couldn't decide which picture I liked the best, so instead of putting one shot on a post of other stuff, I decided to just make a whole separate one just for this.

It's really getting long, isn't it? Perfect for mohawks. :)

Did we mention she cut her 2nd tooth a couple of days after the first one? Check it out...

This last one is just for Daddy, it was his favorite in this series.

Yes, we have some laughs at her expense but we trust that some day she'll understand. And we hope that she'll forgive us and realize that it's all in good fun. :) Actually, we kind of get blown away to have produced such a beautiful little person, even with a mohawk!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Well, I'm up into the wee hours of the night...Kendra's actually been down for a while, and Grant passed out long before her (he didn't get the couple of scant catnaps I did today)...but I'm somewhat paranoid that she's just going to wake up crying at any moment (last night was worse than ANY night when she was a newborn, she literally only slept in 45 minute stretches and cried for hours inbetween...Grant almost didn't make it to work). So I decided to multitask while watching a movie on YouTube from my childhood and upload some things myself.

This first one is a real crack-up. We just pulled out the camera at the end of the weekend a while back.

I love the way she pushes our fingers away when we poke her. As if to prove she's not as drowsy as she seems...

In my last barrage of videos, I introduced you to the Grunting Face. We mentioned that nowadays, she's dropped the grunt and just makes the Face while she breathes really hard. We also had given up hope that we'd ever catch it on camera because she hasn't done it in quite a while. But, we got a lucky break.

A very lucky break, actually. That this was the best cut, that is. There was another with the Beastmaster playing in the background.

This one doesn't do the situation justice because she got distracted by the camera and stopped being quite so hilarious. But here's Kendra playing with her very best friend...

Yeah, she totally licked the mirror. I just add Windexing it down to my list of cleaning chores I do every Monday.

This last one actually demonstrates several things, here goes it.

She's totally starting to let go of things and stand on her own!! She is not our tiny baby anymore!

Also, she's starting to communicate. Here, she states, "I didn't want THAT!" when she starts crying when I put her back to attempt it again. She also reached up for me. At first, she only did it when we held our arms out to her, but not she crawls up to us and holds up her arms to let us know she wants "up". We're still working on saying "milk" in sign language, though. Baby steps.

Yup. We totally have fun raising this baby girl. Even after impossibly long nights up all night long...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smiling through it

Well, for those of you who haven't caught the saga on Facebook, Kendra and I (Ashley) both have been hit hard with some nasty strain of cold/flu. It started with Kendra over the weekend until by Sunday night she was screaming and completely inconsolable and also completely congested looking at me like, "Why aren't you making me better?!" And then again on Monday night. And a little less last night...we've got a humidifier going in her room but other than that, there's not much we can do. Awesome. She's still quite stuffy and is totally uninterested in any food or drink whatsoever (I hate when that happens, it completely freaks me out!) but she hasn't had a fever since Sunday and she's still pretty cheerful until it's time to sleep.

I started feeling poorly on Sunday night, too. Then I noticed a sore throat on Monday and by last night I completely hit a wall and was barely able to function at all. Luckily for us, though, Daddy is still going strong. He is so tender and caring to his little girls, especially when they're not feeling well.

I had to get a quick shot of Kendra before church on Sunday. Since she's started crawling and pulling herself up, we've been putting shoes on her when we head out. I pulled these out a few weeks ago and feel bad because they barely fit! But they really are the perfect finishing touch. :)

She smiled as soon as I put the camera up. She's not feeling well (and has a runny nose in this picture to prove it) but she still knows how to cheese it!

Can you see tooth #2? It's totally there!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Photographic Evidence

We try real hard to catch important moments in Kendra's life in pictures and videos. Finally we got her to open up enough to get photographic evidence of what we've been so excited about for so long!

Didn't catch that? Here's a close up.

And while we are at it, here's a picture of what she looks like after sneaking a bite of Daddy's ice cream sandwich (and then being a little surprised when he retaliated with a bright flash)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another red letter day!

We've been hitting it pretty hard with the catch-up blogging lately, but we have a recent development that needs to be reported!

We are no longer the parents of the Great Toothless Wonder! As I was feeding Kendra a few minutes ago, I noticed some white on her gums (we'd felt tooth buds starting to come up but had no idea how long it was going to take) and I stuck my finger in there and she totally cut a tooth!

We have a hard time seeing it, much less getting a picture of it, but it's totally there! Grant's pretty sure it's gained a measurable growth in the half hour since we first touched it.

And I'm totally relieved! I was feeling like such a bad mother for getting frustrated with my baby's unusual crankiness the past few days...

Makin' friends

Someone in our new ward asked us if we wanted to set up some babysitting exchanging (taking turns babysitting for each other instead of having to find someone to pay to do it). Our answer was a very enthusiastic "YES!!" So we took our turn sitting for them earlier this week, and their two boys Matheu (2) and Darien (1) are two of the sweetest children I've ever met!

We don't have many pictures of Matheu, because as fate would have it, he likes taking pictures more than posing for are a couple of examples of his work.

And our time with them totally confirmed that Kendra is totally ready for siblings. She had an absolute ball with these guys!

And they thought she was pretty cool, too.

I started the afternoon with them by myself, but Grant came over when he got off work and kept the entertainment going for these guys.

So much fun!

They have a lovesac (which is totally dressed up for Halloween! CUTE!) and we all had fun taking turns chillaxin to the max in it.

And Kendra got so cozy she was finally able to settle down enough to catch a few Zzz's... This picture makes it look like she's about to fall out, but I promise, she was not budging!

We all had so much fun doing this, it was hard to believe that it was "work"! And it's a big relief for all the parents to have a little system set up. Naaaice.

Shedd Aquarium

Well, our frequent trips to the library finally scored us the free pass to the Shedd Aquarium! SWEET! General admission only (so no dolphin show or other extras for us this time, maybe another visit we'll actually fork over the cash), but when you're going with an 8-month-old on your back...turns out you're not up for being there ALLLLLL day long, anyway. :)

We decided to take the El and stopped for a family picture in the park.

I love how the two adults are looking at the flip screen and the infant is the only one looking at the lens for a proper picture.

Of course, there were lots of interesting things to see at the aquarium. We definitely let Kendra out plenty to get up close and see for herself!

Which sometimes she did slightly more enthusiastically than others...

We all loved the seahorses!

And the river otter. This little clip is just a taste of what we saw...I loved how it looked like it really loves to swim. It just looked like it was having a ball!

Remember all of Kendra's "toys" we showed you earlier? It's based on the concept that you spend a small fortune on toys for a child, but the favorite playthings are always the pots and pans and tupperware. Well, we had a similar experience at the aquarium. Take a child to the aquarium and her favorite attraction is a big plastic rock in a fake campground.

We're pretty sure we're going to have to find one of these for our home now... This video actually also captures something we've been meaning to blog but haven't quite caught on camera for an extended period of time: the hand slapping. We first saw it Labor Day weekend with Dad and Michelle and we think it's hilarious.

We had a very fun afternoon at the aquarium...but someone was a little more tired than everyone else.


I hope you were thinking to yourself, "Y'know, it's been a while since I've seen a new video of that baby girl..."


I feel like this video answers the question, "So what do you do all day with a baby?" Though it's dated, hence the wounded soldier crawl. This was taken a couple of weeks before she started crawling on all fours.

Ready for another one?


Not long after we took the Grunting video, Kendra took it up a notch and added a face to go with the grunting. Not long after that, she dropped the grunting, kept the face and just breathed really hard in a very hilarious manner that we still haven't managed to capture on video. We'll have to suffice it with this.

Did you think I was finished? If so, you thought wrong!


I set this one up hoping that Kendra would cruise once she couldn't reach any more Cheerios. It didn't quite play out in reality the way it did in my head, but she sure looks cute doing it. In my humble opinion, that is.

That should tide you all over for a while. :)