29 June 2010

Not Another One

Blake loves his beat-up raggedy "nie-night" more than life itself. He asks for it immediately when he gets hurt. He cries when I insist on washing it. It lays over the back of his chair while he is eating. He drags the falling apart mess to every corner of the house. He cannot even think about falling asleep without it. Although the nie-night never leaves the house (I'm so happy that I put a ban on that from the get go), it can always be found next to him at every moment while we are at home.

Just look at the adoration he has for the thing!

The nie-night used to be a full bumper pad. Blake got attached to holding onto the strings while sucking his thumb to fall asleep when he was a baby. It became a little outrageous to cart an entire bumper pad around when we traveled or went to Grandma's house, so the thing went under the knife and became a mini-bumper pad.

I thought that he might outgrow it, but you can see that he has held strong to his unusual lovey.

Consequently, the nie-night has gone through a lot of wear and tear in the last two and a half years. I cringe when company comes over and Blake drags the dingy, hole-filled, makeshift blanket around. Some of the strings have fallen off and the material is getting so thin that the batting is becoming exposed. I can't even imagine how another year is going to affect the thing.


Though I love the idea of a lovey, a familiar item that comforts little children, I was hoping that Nash might latch onto something a little more normal. However, look at what I found him holding onto the other night?
Like brother, like brother.


27 June 2010

Look Who's Home


We are all pleased as punch that Troy is finally home! It has been a long five weeks.

We spent our first day back together on the boat. I forgot Blake's sippy cup, which made for a lot of laughs while Troy attempted to let Blake drink from a water bottle.

Blake told Troy the last few times on the phone; "Dada, come over!" As if he didn't even live with us anymore, but was more like a playmate. He has been thrilled that Dada "came over" and stayed and played with us for the whole weekend. Our town even put on a fireworks display that we viewed from our front yard to welcome him home. It might have also been in accordance with our town's summer celebration, but still, what a welcome! We are loving being able to soak him up.


25 June 2010

Texture

A Scene From Last Weekend
Jorden (my brother): Enters family room, curiously eyes the wall.
Lindsey: With excitement. Look what I made a few days ago! Doesn't it add so much texture to the room?
Jorden: Uh, I guess. What is it?
Lindsey: It's a wreath made out of book pages!
Jorden: Examines the project more closely. What book did you tear up?
Lindsey: Emotional Intelligence. It was just in a box in the basement. I didn't think we would miss it too much.
Jorden: Interesting.

The Next Morning
Jorden: Wakes up from sleeping on the couch, joins us for breakfast. With sarcasm. I woke up this morning and something was different. I just felt happier. Then I realized that my state of mind was due to the texture in the room!
Lindsey: Rolls eyes. Ha ha, very funny Jo.
Jorden: Continues to make wise cracks about the addition of texture throughout the weekend.

Though I may be made fun of, I am certainly enjoying the addition of texture in the room.

I also wanted to add a little pop to my plain white lamp shades.

They looked like this for the last year or so (this was the only picture I could find). The ribbons were fun and added some color, but I got sick of the "cutesy" look and wanted something a little more sophisticated.

So, I took the ribbons off and lined the shades with burlap. Here is a close up of, you guessed it, more texture.


I used the lighted burlap I could find and added bias tape around the edges to create a straight line.


I think that everyone could use a little texture in their lives.


24 June 2010

Revamping the Laundry Room

Last summer, I started on a series of projects to revamp or spruce up some rooms in our house. I transformed Blake's Room, The Guest Room, which later also turned into Nash's Nook, The Workspace, The Master Bedroom, and The Makeshift Playroom. Looking back, I noticed that many of these rooms have gone through additional fixing up and don't even look like they did when I captured them. I have come to the conclusion that I am a permanent Nester. Nesting isn't something that just kicks in during the third trimester of pregnancy for me, rather, it is a constant state of mind. I am always looking for ways to update our 90's looking home, although I still haven't been able to get rid of all of the gold knobs, stark white walls, and honey colored woodwork. However, I love to incorporate changes where I can. After two years, the kitchen windows are already on their third set of handmade window treatments. Once one project or room is finished for the time being, my mind is already overflowing with ideas for another room. I think that Troy dreads coming home from work and hearing the words, "Look what I made today!"

One room that I have wanted to revamp for a long time is the laundry room. Whenever my mom comes into town, we go into serious project mode together. She helps me with all of the sewing aspects of my projects. We have talked about painting the laundry room the last 3 or 4 times she has visited, but other things have always seemed to get in the way. So this time around, I buckled down and bought the paint before my parents arrived to ensure that we'd tackle it. When I told Troy about our project, he wondered why in the world I would need to revamp a room I hardly spend any time in (to which I replied, "I spend a lot more time in there than you do!"). I know that my female friends "get it" that even a laundry room is deserving of some sprucing up. Here is what we came up with (for now).

I always forget to take a before picture, but just imagine a lot of stark white.

I received this vinyl saying for Christmas but I waited to put it up because I knew that I wanted to paint first. The laundry detergent is kept in a glass jar with a scoop. The window treatment was also made several months ago, just waiting for some green walls to match it.

The three little baskets on top of the cupboard are what started the whole transformation. Green actually isn't my favorite color (it's blue), but it is found in almost every room in our house. I don't think that bright blue cookie monster walls would have really worked.

I couldn't resist putting these hangers on the bulkhead. They're vinyl, not real (in case you were confused).


23 June 2010

Close to Cousins

Summertime means wedding season and there are a record number of weddings in the Tanner family this summer. It isn't too surprising considering Troy has 78 first cousins, but the wedding celebrations are up to 6 and counting! That's basically two or more weekends a month devoted to weddings including the showers, dinners the night before, ceremonies, luncheons, and receptions. The great part about all these weddings (besides the nuptials) is all of the family members that are coming into town for the events.

Over the weekend I watched two of Troy's California cousins' girls who also happen to be 2½ while their parents attended a luncheon for one of the weddings. That makes them Blake's second cousins or first cousins once removed or something like that. Regardless, they are the closest thing to cousins he has ever seen! He was delighted to find them in our house when he woke up from his nap. They taught him how to play hide-and-seek, which he still talks about every day. He spent most of the time in awe of these energetic little girls who ran around and jumped off stairs and played new games. I wish they lived closer because Blake loves the new friends he made.

Becca, Isabel, and Blake.

I was amused by how different little girls are than little boys. They toted their babies around everywhere, putting them in the swing and even under their dresses on their bellies. I have gotten so used to trucks and balls that I thought their actions were hilarious!

You have to love getting two year olds to cooperate for pictures, especially when the sun is right in their eyes.


20 June 2010

This One's For Troy

To the Father of my Children/Daddy,

Since you have been away from us for so long, we thought we would remind you how much we love you via video montage. Happy Father's Day!

Love,
The Homefront

P.S. Not that you would be surprised by this in any way coming from yours truly, but these are some great lyrics.



18 June 2010

Feels Like Summer

I just love summer days where we work hard and play hard. Working hard makes the playing so much sweeter. Today felt like the perfect summer day. It was so warm and sunny outside and so many projects that have been on my to-do list forever were finally accomplished. I didn't change out of my grubbies the whole day because they were being covered with different colors of paint, dirt, and soap suds. It was wonderful.

It was so great to have my parents around this week. I was reminded of what adult interaction was like and I was only able to accomplish so much because of their help with the boys. My dad voluntarily washed our car after returning from his convention and enlisted the help of a certain little boy.


What a great Grandpa, having the patience to let Blake spray off all the soap! That's the best part, right?


Blake thought he was really helping out by holding onto the hose for dear life and making sure it didn't fall off the stairs. If you'll notice that freshly painted railing behind him, that was one of the many projects I finally tackled. This railing and two others were previously covered in an exorbitant amount of rust and dirt and desperately needed some attention. I alternated coats of primer and paint between the railings and the laundry room all day. It feels fantastic to have this one checked off my list!


My sweet All-American baby enjoyed observing all of these outdoor activities as well.

Nothing feels more like summer than topping off the day with a backyard barbecue. It was the perfect reward for lots of hard work. Bring on summer and more days like this!


13 June 2010

eDad

I have been so grateful to be able to use Skype with Troy while he has been away. I don't want the boys to forget him because five weeks is a long time in their lives. We did the math and figured out that by the end of this trip and including Troy's other recent business trips, he will have missed 1/3 of Nash's life so far! So, we use Skype before the boys go to bed some nights so that Troy can still be a part of all the mayhem.

Hopefully having an eDad is a good enough substitution for the real thing. Although I don't think Blake will be forgetting Troy any time soon with his amazing ability to recall details. Certain things trigger Blake's memory with his dad. For example, when he spotted the vegetable oil in the pantry, he exclaimed, "Oh that! Make waffles with Dada!" Or when we went to get his hair cut, he remembered that he had gotten an orange sucker with his dad the last time they went on a haircut date together. Every time he plays with his kitchen mixer, he points to the compartment where Dada refilled the batteries. And what pulls on my heartstrings the most is every night when I put him to bed, he asks for Dada to "sing a song and kiss a lip," and then quickly adds, "no, Dada's at work in York."

We have three weeks down and two weeks to go. I am so happy that my parents are coming into town for a convention this week because single parenthood is starting to wear on me.


12 June 2010

Playdough

When I woke up this morning to face a cold rainy Saturday with the little ones alone again, I knew I had to think of something creative to do or we would all go crazy. Yesterday was not the high point with either of the boys and having no husband around was starting to get old. With another daunting day ahead of me, I remembered this recipe for playdough that I used all the time for my class when I was student teaching. The magic ingredient is Kool-Aid; it gives the playdough color and makes it smell good. We made snowmen and pizza and snakes with the playdough. We even made baby snakes, to which Blake commented, "Mama, feed the baby snake," as he pointed to my chest. I guess he really grasps the concept of nursing. Needless to say, Blake enjoyed our activity. Now if I could only solve the nap boycotting problem that I have encountered with him the last couple of days.






Here is the easy recipe I used:

• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup water
• ½ cup salt
• 2 to 3 tsp cream of tartar
• 1 package Kool-Aid mix
• 1 Tbsp cooking oil

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Slowly add the water mixed with oil and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens to dough. Let cool a few minutes and then knead until smooth.


11 June 2010

Girls Camp

For the last year or so I have had the responsibility of teaching the young women at our church. The girls ages 12-18 and a few other leaders meet for an hour every Sunday to be instructed and uplifted. The topics that I teach vary from topics such as sacrifice, communication, family history, prayer, scripture study, physical health, developing talents, and missionary work.

I was terrified when I first received the assignment to teach these young women. I was used to teaching five year olds who thought I was hilarious. I didn't really know how to present information to teenagers without using visual aids, songs, and drawing names of participants out of a jar. I'm not like my husband either when it comes to preparing lessons. He can read about a topic in 15 minutes, think of some good thought provoking and discussion building questions, and present an amazing inspired lesson. I, on the other hand, pour over the lessons for hours, and still feel inadequate to present the material. I also am always trying to add an extra touch. I get so worried that my lessons won't be interesting, so I like to add attention grabbers, handouts, activities, opportunities for everyone to participate, and multimedia clips. This takes time to plan of course, but I remember that when I was in the young women's shoes, I really appreciated the extra "spark" that the teachers put into their lessons.

The first month that I taught the young women, the lessons just hung over my head and I felt a pit in my stomach all morning on Sundays until the lessons were finally over. Happily, I really enjoy teaching now and I don't get so nervous. The lessons still hang over my head a little bit as I struggle to find adequate time to prepare them each week, but I really love teaching these amazing young women! I look forward to our Sunday discussions instead of dreading that hour where I stand in front of them. They are so strong and courageous and have taught me so much more than I have taught them. These sparkly girls like to have fun and are such great examples to their siblings and their friends. They have become my friends and my babysitters. Since Troy has his own responsibilities while I'm teaching the lessons, the girls are so sweet to pass Nash around and allow me to focus without a baby in my arms. I am so glad that I can trust my children with these wonderful girls (with the added perk of them being my neighbors).

I am so glad for callings that stretch me out of my comfort zone. I am happy that I live and serve within a context that causes me to use attributes that I wouldn't otherwise. I am glad to serve, rather than to be served. As I study the lesson material, I am reminded of good habits that I want to employ. As I develop teaching attributes, they become a more powerful part of me and spill over into other areas of my life.

I couldn't attend all of the young women's girls camp this week due to the logistics of putting babies in tents, but I am so glad that I got to join them on their final night. They had so much fun spending undivided, non-electronic time together and strengthening their testimonies. They each shared how they had grown, the goals they had for the future, and the love they had for each other and for the gospel. Now are those some stellar young ladies or what? If Blake and Nash were a few years older, I would definitely turn into a matchmaker. I am so proud of these girls and I'm so glad that we get to learn together each week.


07 June 2010

Night Views

We discovered on my last night in New York City that our apartment building had an accessible roof with amazing views. We stayed on the lower tip of Manhattan in the Financial District which was really nice because it was so much quieter than the rest of the city. It also provided these incredible night time views.

We overlooked the Hudson River and Jersey City.

We saw the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island.

From the other side of the roof we saw Ground Zero and the construction of the new World Trade Center.

And finally, we saw a gorgeous glimpse of the Manhattan skyline.


04 June 2010

The Big Apple With the Little One

New York City was one of my favorite all-time ever trips.

It wasn't necessarily because of all the sights we saw or the lavish places we dined in. We didn't go on tours or to museums or visit all of the typical New York tourist attractions, although we did see a lot in a week.

It wasn't because of my flights to and fro. I had the most interesting flight to JFK. When I arrived at my gate in Salt Lake, I noticed a huge group of missionaries sitting in the waiting area. I immediately figured that it would be my luck to be seated next to one of the missionaries and get to experience the joy of breastfeeding my baby right next to a red faced greenie.

I figured right, of course, because my seat ended up being sandwiched in between not only one, but two missionaries. What made it even better was that one of the missionaries was headed to the Missionary Training Center in London, so it was literally his first day on the mission. And the real kicker was that not only was it his first day as a missionary, but he had never been on an airplane before. I had to show him how to use the seatbelt. He fervently studied the emergency exit and safety trifold. He spent a hour writing a letter to his girlfriend back home and then asked me which side of the envelope the stamp went on. Sitting next to a breastfeeding mom just had to just be the icing on the cake for him. What was I going to do though? The baby had to eat! I apologized in advance and then hid under my nursing cover as we went about our business. I bet he didn't imagine getting to experience that on his first day in the field. My return flight wasn't much better in that the baby threw up all over my shirt and hair while we were walking through security. That resulted in an unwanted purchase of a t-shirt for me from the airport gift shop.

Our trip wasn't wonderful because Nash turned into a perfect baby void of crying. In fact, I don't think he has ever screamed harder than those 30 overtired subway minutes on the way back from Times Square. Even when you're having the time of your life the nitty gritty details don't disappear.

New York City just has that special magical feel about it that makes you happy. I really enjoyed all of the walking and walking and walking over the holiday weekend because it contained so much time that I got to spend in conversation with Troy. It was nice to mix our daily mundane up a little bit with a new atmosphere and a different schedule. We actually did a lot of lounging in our apartment because I learned that if Nash didn't take at least one of his naps in a crib instead of a moving stroller, we'd pay for it later. Some days we didn't get out until the afternoon. We took naps and watched movies. I didn't really expect this trip to be defined by relaxation with the excitement and fast pace of the city, but it was actually perfect and what we both needed to rejuvenate. When we went out, we played hard. We covered so much ground in Manhattan, and I loved discovering different parts of the city.

My ultimate favorite part of this trip was that it was an opportunity for just Nash and me. Don't get me wrong, I missed Blake a lot and Troy and I found ourselves frequently quoting funny little Blake anecdotes. I love it when our family is all together. But this was something special just for baby Nash. Not that he will remember it, but I just soaked up the time I spent cuddling and cooing with my sweet little baby all over Manhattan. It is a memory that I will always have of being able to give my undivided attention to my second child, and I love that.


This was Nash's view for most of the trip. He got pretty sick of riding around in his stroller by the end. Can I just vent a little bit on how un-stroller friendly New York City is? Even after carefully plotting subway routes that only consisted of handicap elevator access, I would arrive at the stations to find out that the elevator was broken or that it wasn't marked correctly. Carrying a heavy stroller up and down stairs in 90 degree humidity is not the most fun thing. Also, I was surprised at how inconsiderate people were when I was trying to maneuver an infant onto the subway or across a busy street. Like I was inconveniencing them. Whatever. One aspect of New York that was different than back home was that the people who were considerate of us seriously doted over Nash. They were so enthralled by his size, smiles, and general cuteness. Let me tell you, that does not happen back in Salt Lake City. It is not a big deal to have a baby there. So that part made up for the horrible transportation situation and frequent rudeness.

I enjoyed a cupcake from Crumbs filled with sweet chocolately goodness.

We ate at Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown. The dumplings were to die for.

Pink Berry is my new favorite dessert. It's the most delicious frozen yogurt with fresh fruit. We went there twice it was so good, and both times walked at least 15 blocks out of our way to obtain it.


Oh man, the food was all so good! I think this restaurant was really my favorite though. It's called Max Brenner located near Union Square and has everything chocolate. Drinks, fondue, desserts, you name it. My meal was delicious too. Nash fell asleep in my arms while we were waiting for a table. I love it when he does that.

Just admiring.

It was kind of fun to walk and take the subway to church. It probably wouldn't be fun every week though. Not to mention carrying the stroller up stairs to be able to take the elevator to the chapel on the fourth floor.


We sat down on a park bench in Union Square on the way back home from church. It was a happenin' place.


This is my "Oh my word, I'm in Times Square" face.


Sweet little Nash got incredibly overwhelmed at Times Square. After a serious meltdown, he finally crashed in my arms. I certainly didn't mind walking home with him cuddled against me like so.

He also took naps in other unconventional places like the bench next to me at Lombardi's. I felt bad to let him nap in so many different inconsistent places, but we were only in New York for one week and I felt like we needed to live it up a little bit. So, I threw out the rigid schedule. Hopefully one chaotic week during his first year won't be too detrimental.


Troy with our pizza at Lombardi's. My side would be the plain side.


You know when you meet someone and you just instantly feel that click? You just kind of get them and it feels like they get you too? Well, that's how I feel about my New York buddy, Kim. We spent a lot of time together while our husbands were at work. We carted our babies all over Manhattan. We were successful in getting so wrapped up in conversation that we got lost every single day. I was actually really sad to leave because it would have been so much fun to keep exploring every day! It was like being in college again, except for the addition of our children. We were in the same building so we just hopped on over to each other's apartments. I'm so happy that Kim and her family will be back out in Salt Lake at the end of the summer. One of the coolest things we did together was walk the Brooklyn Bridge and look at the view of Manhattan.


It was seriously so gorgeous!

And wow, what a view!

We ate at the old Grimaldi's Pizzeria once in we got into Brooklyn.

We also went to Rockefeller Center.

We had to go to FAO Schwartz too, of course. Blake would have loved it there.


We walked along the shore by our building to a beautiful children's playground surrounded by high rises. That would be the Statue of Liberty in the background.


We thought it was funny when we realized that both of our husbands on separate occasions quoted figures to us on how much they thought these yachts cost. Such financial analysts. The building that Troy works in is the rounded building in the back middle. It was just completed this year and is the most environmentally friendly building in New York. It's a good thing it is so nice to be in since Troy has stayed in the office until 11pm or much later on several occasions.


Finally, to top off this incredible trip, Troy and I celebrated our 4th anniversary on my last day in the city. Kim and her husband were nice enough to watch Nash so that we could go out to dinner and to a Broadway show. We saw "In the Heights." The music and dancing were so wonderful. I absolutely loved it. It seemed so romantic to be in Times Square on our anniversary. It was the perfect ending to an amazing week!