Monday, January 19, 2009

Jocelyn's Dress

Most the time lately, I feel like I haven't done anything productive with may day, I haven't accomplished anything, and I certainly haven't done anything for anyone else. Well recently I was reminded that I haven't been a total slacker.

All the high school seniors in the area are required to complete a senior project, requiring at least 20 hours work and an adult mentor, before they can graduate. One of my young women, Jocelyn, is graduating early and asked me to be her mentor on her project. She wanted to design and construct a Civil War era dress. We've been working on it since October, custom fitting a historical pattern and then building the dress. It's finally finished! The pictures don't really do it justice. She did a great job.

We were down to the wire on it and she really wanted to make a matching hat, but we were pretty much out of time to work on it together. She made the cutest hat, all on her own! I was so proud. She gave her final presentation on it last week, and of course passed with flying colors.

It was a lot of time and effort to get this done, but I am so glad Jocelyn asked me to be her mentor. She is an amazing young woman and I had such a good time working with her and getting to know her better. I really will miss her as she heads off to the D.C. area and then to BYU (hopefully).

How to eat like Addie

Addie is currently at least a 2 bath a day kid. She is uncannily able to make the smallest, neatest snack into a giant mess. Case in point, after her nap yesterday, while I was still waking up from mine (What, I'm pregnant. It's hard for me.), I gave her a string cheese. I got up later to find chewed up bits of cheese stuck all over my clothes, and mashed into the couch. Hours later, I found more cheese on my body. Delightful.
On our Christmas trip to Utah, I foolishly gave her an Oreo. In the split second it took me to realize what a stupid thing I'd done, she had completely dissolved the whole thing in her mouth. I turned around backward in my seat to try to clean up the mess to find not only was there black goo dripping from her mouth, but both of her hands and one of her feet were also covered in it. As soon as I would get one surface clean, while dodging the 2 or 3 other waving weapons, she would redirty it. I nearly had Bracken pull over to help me because it seemed like an almost impossible task to get one mouth, 2 hands and a foot clean in a moving car all by myself. And there was definitely no way to get a picture, memorable as it would have been.
But here is some documentation of some recent meals.
How To Eat Soup
First, insist on doing it all by yourself. You must hold the spoon, and the bowl, and refuse any help from a parent. Then, after your dad drains all the liquid off the soup, attempt to drink anything that remains.
Next, dump what's left in the bowl all over your tray and down your front.

Finally, put the bowl on your head like a hat, find something else on your tray to eat, and refuse to touch the remains of your soup. After all, it's been on your head and your clothes--gross.

What To Do With Ketchup

When your mom gives you a plate with dinosaur chicken nuggets, carrots and ketchup on it, immediately dip the carrots into the ketchup and lick it off. If you have french fries, dip one in, lick it off and repeat with the same fry until you have a soggy nasty mess. Then drop it over the side. Next eat the chicken nuggets, throw the carrots, and lick all remaining ketchup off the plate. Then stash your plate inside your seat so your tray looks suspiciously clean. Give your parents this look.
If they still look at you like you're trouble, try this look.

Apply more ketchup from your stashed plate and try this look. Attempt to hide your wet sleeves which are wet because right before your mom put you in your high chair, you grabbed an orange out of the bowl on the table, ate right through the peel, then smashed what remained all over the table and rubbed it in.
And when all else fails, try this grin. Works every time.

Chloe, who was eating neatly, didn't want to be left out. After all, she may be a neat eater now, who uses utensils for more than just gesturing with, but one of my favorite pictures of her as a baby was an eating picture. She had been working on a teething biscuit, got bored, rubbed it through her hair and then stuck it to the top of her head. And left it there while she ate a pear. I just have to have faith that all of Addie's mess is part of her learning, and when she's Chloe's age, she too will get up from the table and clean her hands and face without being asked. But we've got a long road ahead.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This and That

It's been a pretty dull couple of weeks around the Mannion house. I'll try to recap as best I can, but the pregnancy brain and the busy, busy 17 month old kind of destroy my ability to recall anything.

  • Bracken and I are still sick with the colds we came down with just before leaving for Utah for Christmas. Bracken has felt sick the entire time, whereas I had a little break and thought I was just dealing with increased asthma from the after effects of the first cold. Unfortunately it turned into a full blown second cold. And the girls continue to have snotty noses. Yesterday morning I had just had enough, and could have been nicer as Bracken detailed his continuing symptoms to me. He left the room, then came back and said, "I just need some empathy." I made his favorite soup for dinner, which helped improve my empathy standings.
  • Fortunately, no one but Addie caught the stomach flu that erupted the day after Christmas. My first thought when she threw up had been, Great, now Chloe will definitely be throwing up on New Years. See, we had a tradition. For the last two years, Chloe had thrown up on New Year's Eve. I was positive it would happen again, and now I thought I knew how. How glad I was to be proven wrong. I was also grateful that my fear of impending vomit kept us from making any plans for the night. We were all asleep by 9 and it was a wonderful way to ring in the New Year.
  • We finally have a working exhaust fan in our master bathroom! It was all Bracken really wanted for Christmas, so on New Year's Day, I climbed up in the attic and replaced the old fan and cleaned up the funky ductwork. The previous owner had used a corrugated plastic plumbing Y in part of the ductwork, and the weight of it had pulled everything apart. It was about the dirtiest and uncomfortable job I've done (The attic is filled with loose insulation, angled joists, and I had to do most of the work flat on my stomach), but I sure enjoyed stepping out of the shower afterward and seeing a fog free mirror. Good sense of accomplishment on that one.
  • We heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. I'd had fears about it being a molar pregnancy, or having more than one in there (you know, just my usual pregnancy paranoia), but it looks like there is one little fetus in there. Now I'm just worried about the fact that I have a baby in there. We're going to have 3 kids. What are we in for?
  • We have a piano now! My in-laws gave us theirs and Bracken and a couple of friends went and picked it up this week. It looks really nice on our wall, and I'm excited to work on the goal of being able to play some hymns. I've also been relieved that my worst fears have not been realized. Chloe has been very enamored of the piano, and loves to play it, but does not pound it. She plays and sings her own little songs. I love it.
  • Chloe is making the adjustment to Sunbeams. The first week was a little rough for her, but she certainly wasn't alone. The second week went better, but she came out of it with a scripture assignment, which she really doesn't want to do. She gets really nervous about getting up in front of people. Any ideas?
  • Addie is adjusting to nursery. Bracken has been taking her in and staying with her, and she just loves it. It's nice to have a place to take her since we are just exhausted after a Sacrament meeting which consists mainly of doing anything we can to keep her quiet. She does usually get a laugh, though, when she screams, "Wadoo!" as the water is going around.
  • Chloe is definitely missing her cousins and her Grandma and Nana Geilman. Yep, the entire time we were in Utah, she referred to my dad as "Grandma Geilman." Both names, all the time. She is also missing Heather, my step sister. I'd never previously had much of a chance to get to know Heather well, but we were all staying at my parent's house, and we had such a nice visit. Heather was wonderful with Chloe and we were not joking when we offered to have her come live with us.
  • Addie is climbing on everything since we've come home. She spent the whole time in Utah doing the stairs, and now she is up on everything. I had to stop typing and rescue her from the chair she just tumbled off of. She's on the table, the counter, the top step of the bunk bed ladder, and my favorite: she pushes the rickety step stool to the middle of our tiled kitchen floor, climbs up and rocks. Yeah, it's safe.

And I think that's about it for us right now. Hopefully we'll start having some more fun as our colds finally clear up. They have to clear up eventually, right?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Like most of the Mormon free world, we traveled to Utah for Christmas this year. (Seriously, how is it possible that we didn't run into anyone else we knew from out of town?) We had a great trip, clear weather for driving, and lots of fun time with family while we were there.

Addie's first sledding run, in a swimming pool with cousin Emerson, pulled by Uncle Matt.

"Honestly, what is this stuff?"

Owen attempting the run in a car. He needed more extreme run options after his dad banned him from sledding down the steps. Packer didn't get the memo, and a few minutes later bloodied his lip on the stairs.

Whole herd of sledders.

Bracken and Addie heading down.

Chloe making the snow angel she'd been dreaming of.

Joseph joining her for number 2.

Duck, duck goose in the kitchen after sledding.
Addie on the stairs. She spent most of the day there. She would climb the stairs, do a circuit around all the other people, the return to the stairs. Up and down, all day long.

Christmas morning, opening stockings.

Chloe seriously was thrilled to get an apple and orange. She ate her apple before anything else that day. And then ate Addie's apple, which was okay with Addie because Addie was busy lapping out of the dogs' bowl.
Santa brought Chloe a dollhouse for Christmas, which was a huge hit with everyone, especially Addie.

Elizabeth also enjoyed it, which made her mom happy since Elizabeth has two older brothers and usually just plays with boys toys.

Can you say impish?

Seriously focused on eating her Christmas "chicken."

Our exhausted, but happy, family Christmas afternoon. Thanks to Lindsay for taking all the pictures I didn't, and with a better camera, too.

Bracken Mannion, M.B.A.

After 5 long years, 2 kids, a mortgage, and a commercial real estate appraisal license, on 19 December 2008, Bracken finally graduated from Sacramento State University with an MBA in finance! When we moved here in 2004, we never imagined it would take so long, and there were many times along the journey when we both thought about him quitting, but overall, it's been a great journey. It won't change anything in the immediate future, but it's nice to know we have a safety net.

His graduation was held at Arco Arena where fortunately, the concession stand was open. That giant bag of popcorn certainly helped keep the girls occupied. They managed to keep it together pretty well for the first part of the ceremony. Fortunately, Bracken was on the front row of MBA candidates, so I was able to hear his name called and see him walk. I was amazed at how choked up I got. It was much more emotional than I expected it to be. I'm just so pround of him. After that, though, the girls were done. We spent the rest of the ceremony doing laps around the top level of the arena.

I did get one picture of the giant screen where you can kind of see Bracken. He is the second head from the left.
Here's the proud graduate after the ceremony. Doesn't he look smart and handsome?

Bracken and his parents.

Our special family. Why do the kids have to look so special in important pictures?

Daddy and his girls. And to think, he wanted to wait until he graduated to start our family. Good thing he changed his mind on that one.
We also took the opportunity of his graduation to make a little announcement to his family via his cap. I guess I should ammend the original sentence of this post. It took 2 1/3 kids to get him to graduation. Yup, we're cooking up number three.