Friday, December 9, 2011

What's The Time? Diaper Time.

We forgot we're having a baby in two months--from today,exactly.
 Black Friday sparked a little bit of interest as to the potential deals on strollers, toddler beds, crib mattresses, and the like. Literally, we hadn't bought a single thing for this baby until 11 weeks before his arrival date--with the exception of a few warm newborn clothes and a replacement Hoolie. The procrastination (which, thanks to online shopping, ie Amazon Prime) hasn't been a bad thing. The less I think about it, the less overwhelmed I get and stress about it, the less cortisol gets spiked in my unborn child's veins--though I have been stressing about a name since day one. Still nothing. Because all of this baby prep has coincided with the holidays, my Christmas present will conveniently be a double stroller (kills two birds with one credit card)--it is certainly nothing to complain about. I do hope I have enough energy for two boys. I am quite confident I will, actually, it is rather the question of being able to utilize my energy in an efficient way (several intriguing parenting books were purchased on Amazon in the last two weeks as well). Regardless, this little baby will have quite the treat coming into our family as the second baby: he doesn't come home to two loving parents alone, he gets a Beckett as well. 
And that's a pretty sweet present for both of those boys.   

 Beckett eating one of his favorite breakfast foods. He gets it from me. I have more boxes of cereal in my cupboard than Jerry Seinfeld. I eat, on average, two bowls a day (with plenty of skim milk). 
Slightly unsure of his Sunday shaving cream predicament. His leg tan line hints at once over-worn shorts that eventually became short shorts. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Holiday(s)

Because a few of us leave town for Christmas, my parents have creatively and thoughtfully decided to combine Christmas and Thanksgiving this year and last in what has been deemed a sort of "Thanksgivmas." The annual and beloved Turducken is served, presents are unwrapped, and family time is enjoyed.  

 After what seems like years and years of serving up Turducken for Thanksgiving, my dad has become a master at preparing and dissecting it artfully onto a platter so that each type of bird has its own display. He is a veterinarian so really, no surprise. Honestly, it's probably my favorite holiday tradition. Not just because it is absolutely to die for (hello, cornbread stuffing), but because when I tell people what I'm doing for Thanksgiving, "Turducken" is inevitably mentioned and jaws drop at the seemingly fabled dish.  

 My sister, Anna's, two little darlings, Ryan and Eliza. They are hysterical and full of energy.
 My parents newest cat, Tommy, (a 'she'). I say newest because they have gone through a good 15-20 cats over the years (not all of them work out). See, they're crazy (slightly creepy) cat people. I say that affectionately but also because I'm right there with them. My entire family is. I have been dying for another cat and my Dad supportively encourages me in my disappointment to keep trying and asking until Elliott budges. No dice yet.
Beckett admiring his new "Dance Baby Dance" CD from Grandma. It's essentially children's songs put to techno music. We put it on during the car ride home that night and he stayed awake the entire time bopping his head right along. Classic. That kid loves to dance to anything with a beat (don't tell him Santa is bringing him a "Let's Rock Elmo")! I do enjoy celebrating this "unique" holiday with my family. It is a fun and full day that we look forward to every year. 
Next up? Nana and Papa's in the snow for Christmas. And yes, it will just be Christmas. No other holidays will be combined to prevent even more confusion than already likely exists after reading this!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baking with The Bosch

Remember I said that Elliott got me a Bosch Mixer for my birthday? I love it, and was determined to not let it be another item of mine that I neglected simply because it was "there" and would be "there" whenever I want to use it (so why rush)? Such is the case with my guitars, and my keyboard (one day a piano will replace it!), and--well I can't think of much else right now so I don't feel as bad as I thought I would! Success. I also knew that with baby 2 coming (let's get some names brainstorming here, ok?) that my time would be severely limited and I would be in constant "damage control" mode for a few weeks/months until I developed a steady routine. I have 3 months off of school and decided that instead of traditional "nesting," which I failed at with the last pregnancy, I would just focus more on the few crucial things I knew would be hardest to develop a habit of doing once the baby comes. SO, I have been working out several times a week. I have been allowing myself a little more down time. And perhaps most astonishingly, (for me at least) I have been making food. Preparing menus, searching recipes, and planning weekly grocery shopping trips to Target and Trader Joe's have made life a little more refreshing and quite honestly, fulfilling. I think the words I used with Brianne were, "I'm practically a real grown up now." Though I do make quite a few dinner meals from scratch, I'm much more enthralled by sweets and breads. I have yet to view baking as "addicting" or "therapeutic," but more so as rewarding and a labor of love. And I'd hardly consider myself a baker per se. I need to bake a little more consistently to say, "Oh, what do I do? I bake among other things (then list those other things)."  Over the past week or so I have made: 

 Famously quick, quick french bread. 
 Cocoa Crinkle Cookies
The holy grail of breads (and four hours + two shopping trips later I GET it) the softest, butteriest crescent rolls ever

Not to mention an oatmeal, coconut, chocolate bar recipe that tasted so good as dough but baked into a bland granola bar. Sad. 

Nonetheless, it is the holiday season, so what better time to get that bake on, right? I mean, the crescent rolls are for Thanksgiving tomorrow and I made the french bread just because, but also just because if the infamously temperamental crescent rolls didn't turn out, I'd have a backup. Looking at my hodge-podge of food pictures, I thought, "Why am I rambling on and on about food besides the fact that I'm pregnant?" Then I remembered (since I'm also very forgetful whilst pregnant) that, the first bread picture is literally just that--the first bread that I have made. Ever. I really don't count the dinner rolls I randomly made one careless Sunday afternoon several years ago WITHOUT a mixer. This is all because they had too much flour and became hard as rocks as soon as they cooled. Most ended up in the garbage. But last week, I baked bread, like a real grownup. And it felt great. Probably not unlike a sewer who makes their first whatever or a knitter who knits their first whatever. Baking bread not only made me truly reach the next level of love for my Bosch, but it spurred me on to develop another productive and "healthy" (subjective) activity in my life. On Black Friday (well, beginning tomorrow night since it's a two-day process), I will attempt another famous Brennan recipe--Sweet Sweet Cinnamon Rolls (do you like that the names I'm giving these baked goods are entirely made up or heinously embellished)? Bake on pregnant ones. Not to mention bake for pregnant ones. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ham and Rolls.

 Do you like that cool cheese stick I drew? It's his favorite food. 

I used color time as an opportunity to go over colors (HELLO) and a few letters. One of Beckett's favorite shows is Blue's Clues--especially since it comes on around the time his absolute favorite show, Go Diego Go! comes on. Conveniently, Blue's Clues helped him really learn and sound out "BOO!" (blue); not unlike the way Go Diego taught him how to say "NO" (he doesn't recognize the difference between "No, a kayak doesn't help you climb the mountain," and simply, "NO. NO. NO."). Over it. Rosie Perez could learn to say "No" in a less obnoxious way though. Oh well, again, over it. Can't really get upset. I say "No," more times a day than "Click La Camara."  BACK to "Boo..." When Beckett was scribbling with the blue crayon he didn't seem to be too aware of the color he was using (understandable from a first-timer) until I drew a little blue paw print and the "BOOS BOOS BOOS!" began nonstop. It was good to have that coloring moment before the tantrums began all throughout the afternoon and evening. Beckett is a baby of balance, fortunately. Well, I can't even say that. He is a baby of positive and almost undeserving imbalance. Though he has a rough and spastic 12 hours, it comes on day 7 of Rotavirus (courtesy of Nursery during sick season). Again, it happens. Over it, baby stays home from Church for a few weeks months? Lesson learned. It was only fitting that I asked Elliott to add Beckett and me to his gym membership for a month on day 1 of Rotavirus (thinking nothing of his runs). I've been once. Without Beckett. On a Saturday (the intent being that if I took Beckett with me during the week I could fully relax and indulge on the weekends). It happens and it is fine. I am avoiding the real test of possibly joining the many women who pull their A's out of bed at 5:30am because that's what it takes. It probably wouldn't be such a bad thing anyways. Especially since I JUST went to Bed Bath and Beyond today to purchase some brand new jelly roll pans for my cinnamon rolls this week... Not to mention cooling racks as well for the cookies and crescent rolls I will also be making. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Descended, A Dusty Gravel Ridge...

There is something to be said about staying in a Ghost Town, which is precisely the state assumed by the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek before and after ski season. Venturing around the "Village," are many shops and restaurants preparing for their annual re-opening upon the return of the snow season at the end of November. We encountered a similar experience when we visited on our Honeymoon in May 2008. At one point, the hotel valet said to us, "You have the place all to yourselves, everyone left after the weekend."  As intrigued as we now are as to the stark contrast of being there during peak season, we felt a little spoiled being able to go anywhere (that was open) without a wait as well as wandering around the resort with seeing only a few other guests.  

There is also something to be said when it comes to going on the same getaway vacation after having children and feeling as if your body has aged 10 years instead of 3.5. The afternoon we arrived at Beaver Creek, I crawled into bed at 3pm and didn't get back out until 7 the next morning. I asked Elliott to order Domino's instead of taking me out. The previous two nights before leaving, I spent awake (packing and prepping) past midnight with only a few short hours of sleep in between. During the trip, I was popping fiber gummies and heading to the gym (see the second to last picture of my view from the elliptical) instead of gorging and loafing. Believe me, the after effects of such indulging (whether or not I'm on vacation) are intensified when pregnant. On our second to last day, I woke up with a migraine, nausea (sparing the details) and body aches and wound up soaking in a warm bath... at 5am. Thus, we actually didn't end up going to our "happy place"--Glenwood Springs! Slightly heartbreaking (I wanted to see Doc Holliday's grave), but on the other hand--we relaxed. In bed. Curtains open revealing the constant snowfall. All day. Now, I am certainly the last one to complain about my "hard vacation" because it was nothing short of liberating and relaxing. Just--insightful. Slightly awakening. And most of all, amusing to note the differences between 18 and no kids, and 22 with one and another on the way. It was great, and it taught me a thing or two about the vacation side of vacation--not the "doing" side of vacation. I miss it already. On a different note the hotel's premier restaurant (as in, we opted to just get dessert instead of a full meal there premier) hosts Thanksgiving dinner. I think one of these years, we will take our boys, ski a little (maybe not so much me), and vacation the holiday away. 

On a related note to that note, the dessert we got was unbelievable. It was a goat cheese brownie (have I mentioned how goat cheese is my favorite cheese? Really, it is.) drizzled in salted caramel, served a la mode. Heaven. Actually, most everywhere we ate in Colorado was heaven. What we missed out on doing activity-wise, we certainly compensated in the food area (I mean, Cap'n Crunch French Toast)?! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hallow-haunts the Sequel Pt. 2

 He looked like a baby off to a Rave. Elliott took the light bulb concept and ran with it. Beckett and Lily stuck together while the older kids went ahead. They are certainly the sweetest pair and knocked on doors (repeatedly until they opened) together. 

I absolutely loved the Lines Family's 50s costumes--I don't think I said it enough that night. Family themes are absolutely the way to go and I don't know if Elliott and I will ever be able to stop coordinating our outfits with our children... Until they reach that "certain" age maybe. But maybe by then they will realize how fun it is to match, right?! Well, at least between now and then, we will most definitely be squeezing in this costume after new baby boy joins the action: 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hallow-haunts the Sequel

 Last night was the annual ASDOH Boo Bash--our last one ever! It is a bittersweet thing but Elliott is only 7 months away from graduating dental school and nothing can be more sweet than that. 
Do you like our fantastically homemade costumes?!
Beckett is a lightbulb, Elliott is a plug and I'm an outlet. And yes, the plug and outlet were engineered to "plug in" (with the end result being a glo stick wearing light bulb of a baby).

Get the metaphor? 

Oh, and please take notice of Elliott's even more perfect teeth (I didn't think that was even possible for him) but the braces are off and I can't get enough of his smile. His teeth are pretty much what drew me in like brilliant white tractor beams when I first met him (that and the red hair, of course). 

 Beckett was quite the lucky boy yesterday, having the opportunity to frequent TWO bounce houses in a matter of hours. The first one (below) seemed a little too daunting so he hung out on the steps (after spending the most painful hour waiting for the bigger kids to go inside) but we nudged forced him into the second later that night and he seemed to enjoy rolling around and being bounced by the other kids. At least it seemed like an efficient way to help toddlers learn stability and balance!   

 At Claire and Lily's lovely Montessori, they held a fall festival and Beckett and I were able to come with Brianne. It was "crazy hair" day as well (in case your were so concerned about the extremely long and bending spooks coming from Beckett's head) Aside from the outdoor carnival, there was an awesome reptile presentation inside and Beckett was  able pet his first giant iguana and Burmese Python. Ahh yes, I remember the first time I pet a Burmese Python, no I really do! It was pre-tty cool. 

Elliott and I are busy planning for our upcoming trip to Colorado--our happy place--and will do nothing but embrace the snow and cold. And let's not forget Beckett's first time Trick-or-Treating on Monday. Perhaps the parent costumes will stay at home though...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Say Click, Take a Pic

 My good friend Jessica and I attended a free photography workshop in Gilbert on Saturday. The class focused on taking your camera from "auto" to "manual" settings, and I was beyond impressed at how thoughtfully they presented the techniques in an understandable and thorough way. Of course, I forgot a notebook to write tips and techniques down but never fear, I did have my camera to take a picture of the whiteboard. Special thanks to Jake Johnson and his crew for putting on this great and more than affordable class!
Jessica diligently practicing her photography skills. They said if we wanted to use the pictures of the model they provided, we had to ask her and get the rights etc. etc., but Jessica looks like a model and so I figured she would be just as photo-friendly--though I didn't ask her for the rights to use her picture. Whoops. We'll have to work out a contract later.  

In other news, Elliott and I  are soon to begin working on our homemade (it's evolved into tradition) costumes this year for the annual ATSU Boo Bash, not to mention Beckett's first time going Trick-or-Treating this year.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Elliott's "Welcome Home" cookie pie we made in my new Bosch. I did the "Welcome" and Elliott did the "Home Elliott." It was a team effort and a divine cookie in looks (clearly) and taste-- thanks to the best chocolate chip recipe on Earth (courtesy of Trevor and Brianne's dental school cookbook). Key ingredient: butter. 

Elliott just returned home Sunday night after being in North Dakota for 6 weeks on a dental rotation. It was less than exciting for me, despite the fun week spent up there in the middle of it. I was talking to my good friend from school today (who is also married) about the little things in marriage that make it everything it is for you. It's not the anniversaries, the gifts, the trips, the money made and spent. It's getting excited to cook and bake together. Watching our shows that have been filling up the DVR over the past 6 weeks because I refused to watch them alone. Making plans for after the rotation was over including family dinners out, upcoming date nights, and of course, park trips with Beckett. 

In my Tests and Measurements class that I took in July for my Master's Program, we discussed life activities that individuals with impaired IQ's would not be able to aptly perform (i.e. drive, hold a job, etc.).I, feeling slightly snarky and less inhibited since Brianne was taking the class with me shouted out, "BEING MARRIED." The professor laughed and said "No." To which I simply replied, "Well, I live my marriage every day!" He had to stop the class because he was still laughing and said, "No. Nono. But I've certainly never heard that one before!" I'm sure Brianne reallllly appreciated being associated with me that night. It was a fairly goofy and unplanned comment and I too, laughed at myself. While it certainly didn't fit into the category we were discussing in class (and I understand that all walks of life can be in happy and successful marriages), I have thought of that night several times and reaffirm to myself, "I really do live my marriage everyday." It is something Elliott and I work at constantly, and yes I know that we have "only" been married three and a half years. However, we listen to and are receptive of one another. We openly express our values, priorities and goals. We have tools that will prepare us for the road ahead, despite the unknown. Developing these tools took years and continue to benefit from evaluation refinement; What's working here. What's not.  

I often think of a comment my dad made when he was Bishop several years ago in reference to a BYU devotional given by Spencer W. Kimball , "Most any man and any woman can be happy and successful in a marriage together if they respect each other and apply the Gospel in their lives (President Kimball referred to it as, 'if both are willing to pay the price')." It is a loaded statement I know, and I have often speculated its validity. However, time and time again I have thought of it while observing the marriages of those I know as well as my own and it rings true in every aspect (though understandably, there are many who have different standards and religious beliefs, but have successful marriage and those should be valued and respected just as much). It's a perk that Elliott and I naturally click together so well, but that really is only half of it. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Farm (Part 2)

For my birthday, Elliott surprised me with a night at the Twin Oaks Resort on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Metigoshe (in addition to THIS)! I had never heard of it either. I really am a big fan of isolated beauty and hidden wonders (New Zealand??), and this place was no different. 

 Jonny, Krista, and Pam very thoughtfully took care of Beckett for the night then met us up at the lake the next day for fishing. Max was a lot of fun to watch as he patiently and intently held the pole. He even had a few promising and exciting bites, but time would not allow us to stay too long.  
Beckett wouldn't let Elliott or I stay too long either, and we decided to take him back to our room for a bath (or swim?) in the whirlpool. Funny thing about a lot of these Midwestern states: iron water. I had never heard of it either... too. Aside from the startling sight, it's not really gross but... kind of like the harshest of any hard water you've heard of or felt. It actually started to stain some of the boys' clothes with a rust color before the plumber came. That's when I learned about a fascinating little product called "Iron Out." 
 Beckett and Max in Nana's and Papa's unisex treehouse--complete with roof hatch. Couldn't get enough of the camo juxtaposed with the pink. It was certainly one of the coolest treehouses I've ever been in.
Max loving Nana's "magic pumpkin patch" courtesy of the Bottineau, North Dakota Wal Mart. Beckett is of that age where a pumpkin will still topple him over so you throw him a gourd and let him have at it, but Max is a fun glimpse into the world of boys as their world only becomes that much more exciting as they become more aware of what's going on. The past few days of cooler weather have made me think of nothing but The Farm--now if only Arizona could jump on board with some greenery. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Park Baby

Yesterday marked the first day (ever) of park-season for our house. Beckett is a busy body, as I'm sure most other little toddler boys are. He is carefree, and gets the giggles out of most anything; happiest when he has some music to dance to or some food in his mouth--really, he's an easy-to-please, Doug Heffernan kind of boy. Beckett has taken to "finding his true voice" lately. It is not yelling, shouting, saying "No," it is screaming so sharp and high pitched that only dogs should be able to hear. 

It's important to recognize your victories, big or small,  which, for me, primarily consist of keeping my "cool." After days of being worn down by THE screeching, the cool was lost. Calm "pleases" were turned into harsh imperatives. Relaxed hands were turned into clenched fists. Looking down at my son changed to leveling my face mere inches from his. All the while, my sweet toddler was giggling, not out of animosity or cruelty, but because he just loves to play and interact with most anyone in most anyway. In a single swoop it seemed as though he was out of the tub, a towel briskly wiped over his little frame, and he was put to bed; damp body, wet hair. I told him I loved him but that This, has got to stop and that I was at the end. As I walked out, I heard him blow me a kiss. 

The door was shut and I was too irritated my "157 Days Without A Freakout" counter had just zeroed out (yes, that's a made up number), that I didn't return his gesture. I stewed, I pouted, I remained frustrated, I justified: I'm pregnant, my husband has been gone for 6 weeks (yeah, true story), and quite frankly, I'm young and still in the "first-time" mom stage. I thought, absolutely those are valid, and absolutely I should cut myself some slack because I have been a stellar mother the past 6 weeks and take complete pride in it. I then thought, when the fallacies of human life take place, all too often do we justify and say "Do better next time," without correcting this time. It had been 20 minutes since Beckett had been down, and I refused to let his night be soured by a lesson I am still learning (though really, not much sours this boy). I opened his door to find his eyelids in that twilight period moments before slumber takes over. I picked him up, blanket and all, and quietly apologized before singing,  "My Favorite Things" to him in the rocking chair.

In true Beckett fashion, while resting his head on his teary-eyed, pregnant mother, he burped. Loudly. Then 2 minutes later he burped again. Then, as if knowing I wanted to make up for the kisses lost earlier, he kissed me smack on the mouth over and over again all the while repeating "MMMUAH! MMMUAH! MMMUAH!" I think I have been especially blessed to soon be surrounded by three boys in my house. They do and will always calm me, gently correct and teach me, level me, love me. Plus, it probably will take three males to balance out the hormones of this one female. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Farm (Part 1)

 First S'mores

 Getting some much needed help blowing out my candles on my Oatmeal Birthday Cake. Heaven. 
 The lawnmower ride wiped away Beckett's tears. I may have bumped his head with my bulky camera lifting him up to Elliott.
 A "Foodie" at heart. 

I had never been to Pam and Jay's farm in North Dakota and heard nothing but quaint and peaceful stories about it. The Brennan brothers have been "stationed" there for quite a while on a dental rotation (have I mentioned enough how exciting it is for Elliott (and Jonny) to finally be in his last year of dental school)?! Krista and I, along with our lot of children, were able to go visit our husbands. The weather and greenery were perfect. It's such a healthy place--well, despite a few unfortunate bouts of sickness. Though I may like to be the sort of person with one hand on the city and one on isolation, the seclusion of the farm was eye opening to realize that there are indeed places where your children can run through the fields without fear of cars, strangers, crowds, etc. (well, mind you there are a few wild animals out there), you can have campfires only feet from your front door, and you can see the night sky, clear Yes, the farm was a good visit. It was a good break. It was a full house. It was a wonderful birthday. And it was a good place to feel truly, undisturbed and quiet.

PS, did you watch Conference this past weekend? I actually found myself watching a little more than falling in and out of sleep. Maybe it helped that I didn't make orange rolls this time. I'll have to test this hypothesis in April by making orange rolls and seeing if I can't pay as good of attention. We couldn't believe it when President...Elder... Cook's name was called to speak next: go here to watch.