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January 29, 2011

Pictures for the Weekend: Family pics 2010

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 9:46 pm

I met this great photographer, Angie, last summer — although I didn’t know she was a photographer at the time (but I’m glad I do now because how adorable are these pics of her kids?!  Trust me, you want to click on the link — they even elicited an enthusiastic “cute” from Neal).  We did a barter of sorts and the upshot was that she took some family photos for us, even following us to multiple, sometimes strange locations (I’ll explain more about that later).  The photos were a big deal for us because neither of us grew up in photo-taking families but we want to make it at least an annual tradition.  But it’s tough when you’re pathologically frugal and high-quality pictures are so expensive!

The fact that it’s taking me three months to post the photos is no reflection on how we feel about them.  In fact, we spent a couple of hours debating the merits of each, selecting the perfect photo for different family members, and it was hard because we loved so many!  So without further ado, here’s your first installment with a focus on the babe:

I’m certain that not everyone will appreciate this picture as much as some of the later ones, but it is one of my favorites.  That look, the pursed lips, the reaching hand (most likely trying to pick up something miniscule) . . . it’s all so Addison.

I also love this one because you always need a photo commemorating such amazing thunder thighs and cankles.

Ultimately this one doesn’t highlight her cuteness in the way some others do, but check out those fine motor skills — she’s got skills to pay the bills!  We’ll never need to vacuum again (not that we ever did before) with her propensity for picking up every tiny piece of lint and fuzz.

Are you sensing a trend here?  “Don’t bother me, I’m picking up pebbles and leaves.  Only 70 billion left . . .”

But never fear, we’ve got some shots of her adorable smile too:

Patting daddy’s shoulder — one of her most endearing gestures.

And last, but certainly not least:

We were especially excited to give this one to Addison’s great grandparents because they taught her to patty-cake practically from day one.  And that’s exactly how she looks when she patty-cakes with them. *heart officially melted*


January 26, 2011

Poor Eddie Cibrian . . .

Filed under: Personal — llcall @ 7:47 pm

Whoever he is.  Seriously, anyone know who he is?

Still, I found this article, “Eddie Cibrian’s sick of his ‘philandering sleaze’ image,” that came up on the Yahoo! news feed quite comical.  I mean, it’s terribly sad on multiple levels, but how funny is it to pay an image consultant major cash to tell you to 1) drive a Prius and 2) spend time with your kids?!  ‘Cause clearly no true ‘philandering sleaze’ would ever drive a Prius.

January 21, 2011

Pictures for the Weekend: Post or die!

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 6:35 pm

I’ve let the Pictures for the Weekend slide for awhile — a combination of “the project” and my computer crash (it was a total goner by the way :() a few months back, which inevitably complicated my photo-downloading process.  I have received many nudges (okay, they’ve been threats) that I need to bring back the photos . . . or else.  Although I still don’t have pictures downloaded from the last several months, I’ll do what I can to whet your appetite for more, using pictures others have taken of our cute girl.

First up, the fabulous Kara Shurtliff took photos at our Ward Christmas Party — the only proof that we didn’t entirely ignore Addison’s first Christmas.  Except for Neal, he did.

Many of the kiddos started crying immediately upon Santa-impact.  But Addison managed to stare perplexedly for a good 2 minutes before she started crying.

The next pic is actually an oldie, taken in August by Neal’s aunt Karen.  She’s not such a chubby baby anymore . . . now she’s a little-less-chubby almost-toddler, which is much harder to use as a nickname.  *tear*

Finally, for a real blast from the past, Neal found some old pictures (sometime in June, maybe?) he took with the video camera and never downloaded.

Warning: your heart might explode from all the little baby cuteness:

And a couple from the future . . . where everything is sanitized with bright, white lights (okay, so I don’t speak sci-fi, whatever):

SO, was it worth the wait?

January 19, 2011

Git ‘er done 2011: “The project”

Filed under: Family, Personal — llcall @ 7:01 pm

Yes, indeed, the first big accomplishment of 2011 — the year o’ accomplishments — is officially done.  It’s funny because if I had a nickel for every time I said or wrote “the project” over the last three months, we wouldn’t have needed to do “the project” because we’d be freakin’ RICH!!!

Because the curriculum we developed is proprietary, we can’t really show anyone the completed product.  But let me just say, that it looks awesome and the company we contracted with was very pleased.  Neal really knows his business — even if it was sort of an accidental expertise to develop.

We owe a ginormous thank you to a lot of people, but I think I must leave that for another post because I’ve got a class to be at in four hours and a ridiculous mound of laundry to work on before I can be presentable for said class.  Let the next “project” begin . . .

January 18, 2011

Ode to Neal, Part II

Filed under: Family, Personal — llcall @ 1:34 pm

I know, I know . . . if this becomes a habit, this will seem like a Neal vanity blog, but if you cleaned up as much vomit in one weekend as he did, you would have a dedicatory post coming too.  It turns out that no one escaped the stomach bug around here, so Neal had to take care of his poor, sick wifey and recovered-and-ready-to-roll baby while trying (unsuccessfully) to keep little bits of food and drink down.

He really does have the heart of a champion.

January 16, 2011

Becoming strong

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 8:30 am

In case you were wondering, we were absolutely, positively going to finish the project on Saturday.  The baby seemed to be better and despite being quite sleep-deprived, I was driven to get it done once and for all.  And then about mid-day, things once again veered unexpectedly.  I won’t share any details because it involves other people and their personal, private experiences, but suffice it to say that I spent the afternoon crying.  My timeline could be a bit off, but by about 6:00 as I tried to hunker down and get back to work, I began to feel that the terrible headache I was nursing was going to make it difficult to keep going.  By 7:30 I could tell that I was in the middle of the most intense migraine of my life, and the only thing to do was to lay flat on my back in the dark.  By 8:30 I was puking my guts out (seriously, I thought at least one vital organ was going to make an untimely exit).

I spent the next three hours unable to sleep, move, eat, talk.  But I did something I don’t always do so persistently — I prayed.  And I did another thing that I do altogether too much — I reflected.  I decided a few things: first, this has actually been one of the worst weeks of my life.  I don’t say that lightly and I’m not being overly dramatic.  Some things I thought I knew and could depend on were broken, lost, shattered.  And it hurt like all get-out.  And it will continue to hurt for a long time.

But around 11:30, a new thought began to take shape.  A vision, really.  I could see that years down the road, this week will remain an important one.  A turning point.  All these metaphors began to flood my mind.

  • A favorite scene from Apollo 13 — when Ed Harris famously says, “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour” rather than concede that a disaster is about to happen.
  • The phoenix that rises up from the ashes to new life.
  • An Ernest Hemingway quote: “Life breaks us all, and many are strong at the broken places.”

And I learned again, as I’ve learned many times before, that our finest hours necessarily spring from our lowest lows.  It’s hard to rise above those ashes, but it’s the only way to be born again (when will I stop marveling that we all have to be born again and again and again?).  So today I’m more than a little bit broken; I was faced with some hard realities about things in my life that need to change.  But I also decided, I will be stronger at these broken places.

January 14, 2011

I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but . . .

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 8:18 pm

I’m pretty sure the universe is conspiring against us finishing our project.  We are so so close, but every day seems to bring some new obstacle.  Over the last few weeks there has been illness for me, illness for Addison, intense baby constipation (if that doesn’t sound that bad, let me tell you, it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen), sleep deprivation, severe weather.

But it was only yesterday that I started to think there really must be some conspiracy.  See, we were going to finish the project yesterday . . . we were that close.  Until about 11 a.m. when I was walking down the hall and heard a small waterfall going on in our bathroom.  Apparently, a pipe backed up and before we even knew what was happening, our bathroom was flooded with a combination of water and black crud.  Thankfully, it was nothing like the great sewage flood of 2008 (which necessitated that our apartment be demo-ed right down to the studs and completely rebuilt) but instead of finishing the project, we spent much of the day cleaning, washing, and trying to  contain the water damage.

But still, I was undaunted . . . we would just finish the project TODAY.  No exceptions.  But Addison (or the UNIVERSE) had other plans.  Something seemed a little strange when she wouldn’t nurse in the morning.  And then she spit up a little, which has been such a rare occurrence that Neal and I both just sat there staring at her with no idea what to do.  We thought we ought to hydrate her somehow — it had been 12 hours since her last drink — so we had her suck on a wet washcloth, which she usually loves.  Well, not so much today as a couple minutes later she was full-on vomiting on my bed, on her clothes, Neal’s clothes.  Come to find out, she actually started the vomiting last night in her crib, but was somehow clever enough to vomit on everything but herself and stay asleep in the process, so we had no idea!

So yeah, we had to cancel the babysitting for today . . . and replace work with washing vomit off practically every surface of the house while comforting a sad, sick, screaming baby.

Universe, I’ll get you for this!

January 6, 2011

Lindsay recommends: Thought of you

Filed under: Music, Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 5:53 pm

Not much time.  Final deadline this Saturday.  Extended from last Saturday.  Must get this project done or it might kill me.

But oh, what a lovely break this video provided:

If you like contemporary dance and/or The Weepies and/or beautiful things, you’ll love it.

Then this morning, I caught the behind the scenes here and was fascinated to watch a 35-week-pregnant choreographer dancing and planning the piece.  I’m not going to remind you what I was doing at 35 weeks pregnant, but it wasn’t that.

January 5, 2011

Forty-three down, seven to go . . .

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , — llcall @ 4:00 pm

States, that is.  In the git ‘er done spirit of 2011, I thought I should look again at my states list and think about how I’m going to knock down those last seven. 2009 was quite fruitful in the travel department between establishing much better memories of Oregon (before that my Oregon memories had primarily involved a hospital stay on the 4th of July after getting rammed by a limo traveling at 50 miles per hour — oy!), knocking off Washington and Alaska (some of my long-forgotten post drafts are about our adventures in those states — it’s okay to take two years to blog about your most amazing vacation ever, right?!), and making last-minute trips to Michigan and Texas.  But not surprisingly, 2010 didn’t include much travel outside of visits to my parents’ house for some much-needed baby care. I’ve been secretly plotting how to visit some more states in 2011, but not surprisingly, Neal hasn’t been too keen on my ideas to drive cross-country with a toddler in tow.  Where’s his sense of adventure?  But I’m undeterred . . . I’ve got seven states left and darn it, I’m going to figure out how to get to them.  Some of my possible scenarios:

  1. Before we leave Utah permanently, which will likely be this summer (but then again I said that once before when I graduated from BYU, and Provo seems to have some inexplicable pull that I can never permanently escape), we could drive north to Montana (what are must-see spots in Montana? Anyone, anyone?); head east to North Dakota (same question, even more earnest :)); come back through South Dakota and show Neal the amazing Badlands; with a final stop to see dear Elizabeth in Littleton, CO (they say our room is always ready!).
  2. Fly to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see Todd, Rach, and the little ones; rent a car and drop in on Brandon in Chicago; drive north to Wisconsin (again, what should we hit in Wisconsin?).
  3. Fly to Boston (cause I can’t get within a thousand miles and not get me some Fenway Park and Dawnielle time); drive to New Hampshire; Maine; back down through Vermont; and to Albany to see Vickie.
  4. Fly to North Carolina to see Kaila; drive to D.C. to see my D.C. peeps and be reunited (at least temporarily) with the piece of my heart that permanently resides there.
  5. Fly to Alabama to visit Neal’s parents; drive to Memphis; and down into Mississippi and Louisiana.
  6. Then there’s always the mother of all road-trips: CO-TX-LA-MS-AL-GA-SC-NC-VA-DC-MD-DE-PA-NJ-NY-CT-MA-NH-ME-VT-NY(again)-PA (again)-OH-MI-IN-IL-WI-MN-ND-MT-SD-WY-UT.  (Don’t think I wouldn’t try it — I’ve done crazier things than that, like a road trip to Boston with 3 guys I’d never met before).

So what’s your vote?  Try to knock off all seven in one year?  Take the more measured, regional approach?  Or wait and save up all our travel funds for a blockbuster trip to see Tara in China in 2012 (which Neal has already informed me he will not be accompanying me on — thank goodness I don’t mind taking separate vacations . . . after all, they’re cheaper!)?

January 4, 2011

Ode to Neal

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , — llcall @ 4:00 pm

He’s got the heart of a champion.*  Seriously.

When I first started trying to convince him that we should cloth diaper, he said, “You can, but I’m not going to.”  But I was undaunted . . . and eventually, he said, “Okay, I’ll change a cloth diaper, but I won’t swish poop in the toilet.”  So I got the diaper sprayer, and he said, “Okay, I’ll change the diapers and spray them, but I won’t do the laundry.”  And I said fine and we started cloth diapering.

And that was our understanding for months.  Until one night I was very sick, and I begged him, pleaded with him to wash the cloth diapers, just that one time.  He did, of course, and over the next few weeks, he occasionally did the diaper laundry without me asking.  And then one day I noticed that he was washing the diapers every night, and I never was.  And so it’s remained for a few months now.  He sprays virtually ever poopy diaper, and he does the laundry in the evenings.

Of course, one of the things that’s really phenomenal about it is that he’s never once said to me, “I always wash the diapers now!”  or “You never do the diaper laundry.”  In fact, he’s never even mentioned it.  And I never have either because, I mean, who would want to mess with a good thing.

* Anybody else remember this episode of Homestar Runner?  Anybody else remember Homestar  We still quote this like it’s never going out of style!

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