Monday, December 29, 2008

Ketchup, or is it Catsup...

However you spell it, I'm playing catchup. So much has wanted that I've wanted to note, but I just haven't. I think I'll try to do a few of these in the next couple days, so bear with me. December is a busy time. Here's what the beginning of ours was like.

At the very beginning of December, we made a pretty sweet gingerbread house and tree. It was SO fun. Sally was completely in love with the activity. The day we did it, she kept saying, "I can't wait, I can't wait!" A couple years ago, Bill and I decorated one. I have to say, that one was prettier, but this was more fun. Sally loved everything about doing this. We'll have to do it every year.

Here's a video of the project

The finished product

The next day, Sally Rose was talking about the gingerbread house first thing in the morning. Over the next few days, I caught her gnawing off little bits. Very funny.

I already did a birthday post for Bill, but it wasn't complete. I planned a little surprise party for him. I was originally going to do it the night of his birthday, but people had conflicts, so we did it the following Friday. On his actual birthday, he knew something was up. He told me he was coming home early and asked several times if that was okay. I confessed that I had tried to do a party, but no one could come, so it was nixed. He came home there was a treasure hunt set up. We ate pizza (his request) and had happy cake as pictured below.

He didn't say this till the next day, but he was a little bummed that I couldn't get people to come to a party for him. It all played into the surprise beautifully. On Friday, the Griggs were able to keep Bill occupied for a while after work. When he came home, we had friends, decorations, and food. We ate a beef tenderloin roast with a mushroom sauce, roasted vegetables (which made an awesome soup the next day), blue cheese mashed yams, and a salad. I also made peppermint ice cream for dessert. After dinner we just hung out and played a little Bill trivia, which was fun. He truly was surprised and I think he enjoyed it.
I failed miserably at taking pictures at the party. Not one. This picture, however, was taking while preparations were being made. The poor darling fell asleep in there. What a sweetie.
The next major event, and the last for this post, was our anniversary celebration. We have been married for FIVE years! I am so happy to be married to this wonderful man. Five years and two kids later, and we still love each other tons. We've had some great times and I look forward to years and years to come. To celebrate, we went to medieval times and saw some rad jousting. It was a great time. We decided to take Sally and Alice (it was the beginning of our family) and I'm glad we did because Sally LOVED it. They really put on a good show.
I'll now end this long post with a picture of sweet Alice from the beginning of the month. I know it's only been a few weeks, but she's changed so much it seems. She's such a sweet, good baby. If you made it this far, thanks, and Bye!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Time

Christmas is upon us. It is such a fantastic time of year. People are generally nicer. Last year, Sally got pretty sick in the Christmas season. She had to be hospitalized and it wasn't a terribly fun experience. When she was coming home, I needed to pick up a prescription for her. I didn't realize how expensive it was-I was more than a little blown away. I decided to just buy half of what was prescribed, and get the rest later. I went on my way throughout the store shopping. When I was leaving, the pharmacist ran out to stop me. The gentleman who was behind me in the pharmacy line had paid for the medicine for us. He was gone, and I couldn't thank him, but I was definitely thankful. It was one of these experiences that only happen in a movie, but it was real. I love how people are more giving during the holidays. Christ is more on our minds, it makes us nicer, I think.

Since becoming a mother, Christmas has taken on new meaning. Having experienced birth, the story is more amazing. I can't imagine riding on a donkey in that state. I can't imagine being turned away from anything when I'm about to have a baby. I can't imagine going through the process with animals about me. I can't imagine having to put my sweet baby in a manger, where animals eat. I feel tremendous responsibility in raising up two of god's children. I can't imagine the feeling of raising up God's only begotten, the Savior. I can't imagine sending one of my babies to earth, knowing full well what that journey would entail. The Christmas story is full of unimaginable happenings. What's more amazing, is that it's not just a story- it really happened. Through that miraculous story, a savior really was born into this world. He literally saved us. Saved us in a way only he could, from our spiritual death- made it so we could be with our maker once more. I know I comprehend so little of the magnitude of these events, but the little that I do understand blows my mind- and I am grateful. Eternally grateful. This year, I hope to keep these feelings with me more consistently. With Christ on my mind, perhaps I'll be a little nicer, a little better all year round.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Bill!!!

Daddy Bill is thirty-five today! To honor such a momentous day, I will give you thirty-five Bill factoids. (Mixed in with pictures of him and the girls)

1. Bill's favorite candy is Neccos. I actually only recently learned this. I know few people who like these, but he loves them.

2. Bill does an awesome goat impression.
3. If Bill was a fighter, he'd want his nick name to be Bill the Bookworm (intimidating, right?)

4. Bill's triceps are amazing
5. Bill used to hip hop dance with a group called Trans Fusion Hype
6. Bill makes a mean crepe.
7. Bill is quite picky about clothes. It pays off because he always looks good
8. Bill collects old editions of classic literature.
9. Bill's favorite author is Joseph Conrad.
10. Bill loves poetry.
11. Bill loves Mexican food.
12. Bill would love to visit Croatia. That's where the name Nicolich hails from. I think that's what we should do for our 10th anniversary- we're half-way there!
13. Bill loves the Hudson River school art.
14. Bill likes lots of music, but likes techno a lot. He will listen to certain DJ's, like BT just to enjoy.
15. Bill was apparently a perfect child. Neither parent can give me any dirt on him as a little boy. He was so good and still is.
16. Bill majored in economics and minored in English. He got his associates degree from Dixie College and his bachelors from the University of Utah
17. Bill started programming as a boy- he made games he could play.
18. Bill likes role playing games like Fable and Oblivion.
19. Bill likes the names Boris, Craven and Dartanyan. He also ultimately chose Alice Marie, so he does have some good taste in names.
20. Bill is a cuddler. he likes to cuddle with both girls and even me. (Yay!!)
21. Bill has read quite a bit about human nature and why we act the way we do.
22. Bill has beautifully brilliant blue eyes.
23. Bill's speaking voice is to die for.
24. Bill slept with a ride on toy named Opie as a child.
25. Bill chose all black tuxes, shirts, and ties for the men in our wedding party. They looked so handsome- especially the groom.
26. Bill has a little goth in him.
27. Bill has a specific kiss that would melt any woman. Luckily, it only melts me now.
28. Bill is tender hearted. Here's an example. We had a mouse problem and Bill REALLY wanted to take him in as a pet. Silly, but so sweet.
29. Bill is a FANTASTIC daddy. He plays with the girls tons and is willing to be silly with them. Sally ADORES him. He sings lots of fun songs with them and lets Sally ride him like a horse. He's always willing to play with them.
30. Bill has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
31. Bill puts up with me, which is really saying something.
32. Bill honors his priesthood.
33. Bill tells me he loves me every day.
34. Bill makes me a better person.
35. Bill is an excellent husband, father, and overall man. I am SO lucky he chose me to be his wife. I love him ridiculous amounts and hope he knows that. He is a great friend and I can't wait to see what new things I learn about him..
I love you Bill!! Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Intended Mischief

Yesterday I was vacuuming with Sally when I realized she was no longer there. I didn't think much of it till I saw Alice's door was closed. I went in and Sally jumped down from the side of Alice's crib with a guilty look. When I looked into the crib, this is what I saw.

Alice had Desitin all over her face, courtesy of big sis. She doesn't look too broken up about it though, does she. At least it didn't get in her eyes, but it looks dangerously close to her mouth. (There is actually a little bit on her lips, as well as the underside of her nose.) I actually thought it was funny, and Sally was immediately repentant. She actually agreed that a time out was in order. I suppose it is our time to start the phase of mischief that is actually intended to be mischief. At least Alice won't get diaper rash on her face.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hospital and More

Yes, that's a (phone) picture of our little Alice wearing a hospital gown. The poor thing had to spend two days in the hospital with RSV. Bill, Sally and I had all gotten sick- it was hard for Alice not to have the same fate. Thankfully, she seemed to not get it too bad, but it's always scary when you're that little.

In the middle of the night the Saturday she started smiling, she started acting sick. The next morning, I noticed she was feeling a bit warm. i took her temperature, and it was 100.5. That might not sound horrible, but it's not good for a baby as young as Alice. It was Sunday, so I couldn't take her to the doctor. I called the nurse hotline and spoke to a very nice nurse. Over the phone, she listened to Alice breathe. Then, she stopped my breath with her next line. She asked how far away the hospital was, when I told her half an hour, she highly recommended getting an ambulance to take us there. Until that point, I wasn't thinking it was terribly serious, but an ambulance?!?! We called 911 and paramedics were sent to our house. When they came, they checked her out and didn't seem nearly as troubled by her symptoms, but did recommend us going to the hospital to get her checked out. So, we did.

They checked her out and took blood, urine, and mucous samples to test. They were supposed to do a spinal tap also, (because she was young and running a fever) but didn't. (Later, after she was no longer running a fever and had a diagnosis, one doctor wanted to do it then. After wrestling with the decision, we opted not to. She seemed to be getting better and I was confident the RSV was the cause of the fever- it turns out, we were right.) The RSV test came back positive and so they wanted her to stay.

It was just to be cautious. She received a couple doses of Tylenol, and then no longer needed it. They came in every so often and checked her oxygen levels, blood pressure, and temperature. That's all she needed. All in all, a very extravagant precaution. I'm glad we did it, though- it's much better to be safe with a baby so small. It also allowed me some one on one time with Alice. It really was nice just cuddling and spending time with her with nothing to pull me away. She smiled throughout her hospital stay.

Here some pictures of the little Nicolich girls.

We her are the girls on our cool sit and stroller. I was super excited to have gotten in for cheap on craigslist. I was only worried Sally wouldn't be able to rest while we strolled....

She found a way. She fell fully asleep like this.

Aren't they so pretty?

Sometimes Sally will take care of her baby while I do. We sound this mini glider at a garage sale, and she uses a neck pillow as her boppy. We both "nurse" our babies.

This is pretty major- Sally used the potty for the first time!!! She was SO proud, and didn't want to get off. She called Daddy to tell him the good news. Since then, she's done it once more. Hopefully, it will become a daily experience.

Sally LOVES her cottage cheese.

Sally will no longer look at me for pictures. I have to be tricky. She is beautiful, though.

Cuties together

I will often talk of Alice "surviving" Sally. She looks pretty happy about it here.

The following is a series of smiley Alice pictures. I LOVE that she is smiling more and more!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Joshua Bell

Alice (and her mommy) got quite a treat for her one month birthday. We got to see and meet Joshua Bell! If you don't know who he is, you would do yourself a favor by learning. He is an amazing violinist. He was playing the Barber Violin Concerto (one of my absolute favorites) with the Atlanta Symphony two Fridays ago. I knew he would be coming before Alice was born, but figured I was out of luck- the timing was less than ideal. Then, Alice was born with a soundtrack of Joshua Bell playing the second movement of the Barber. (We had it on repeat through the end of the labor- it really helped me to hear such powerful music. I was even talking of its beauty while in the crazy pain.) With the piece of music meaning SO much more to me than it already did, I realized I must find a way to go. I originally was planning on Bill coming and watching Alice for the first half and then switching places. He ended up getting sick, (and Sally was too- Alice got sick as well, which is a big story of its own. I will document it here shortly) I was determined, though, and lucky to have such great friends. I asked my friend Stacy if she might be interested in coming with her son (Layne, one of my violin students). The plan was to have Layne and me watch the first half, and then Stacy would switch out with me. As it turns out, Layne was a little over it at intermission, so we went home. I felt bad Stacy didn't get to see any of the show, but was also SO grateful for her help. Joshua Bell played beautifully. It was totally inspiring- I wanted to run home and practice. It was moving and exciting and everything it should be. I cried (of course) and my heart pounded nearly out of my chest. He played with so much passion, it made you experience some of that passion as well. At intermission, he was signing CDs. We waited in the LONG line to meet him, but I was so glad we did. At first, I thought he looked disenchanted with the whole experience (maybe it was in my head). When we got up there, I was so excited to tell him about the role he played in Alice's birth. He perked right up when he saw her and I think he thought the story was awesome. He looked at Alice and talked to her a little bit in a baby voice. He told me he has a fourteen month old at home. He seemed pretty enthusiastic about the whole baby thing. It was AWESOME!! Here are a few pictures of our fantastic night. (Thanks Stacy for these too- I forgot a camera)

Sorry my hand is in the way of cute Alice's face. I was actually trying to hold open the sling so you could see her better- it backfired. Other than that, how awesome is this?

Me, Layne and Alice before the show. Alice loves to be held in this position.

Joshua Bell and the future Joshua Bell. The one on the right was a bit amused when the one on the left came up and put his arm around him. It was great.

Here's a picture of the signed CD- with a personalized message. I wish now that I would have had him sign the book. I would have framed it and put it in Alice's room. I guess I still could, but then we wouldn't be able to listen to it. I could always buy another one, I suppose. Oh, one more thing, Sally loves listening to classical music. the other day, she wanted to listen to music. I turned on one of our favorite children's CDs, but she was in the mood for something different. She said, "No! Violin music, mama." I turned on the signed CD and Sally was totally satisfied. I can't tell you how happy that made me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Smile Time

For the past few days, we've been questioning whether some of Alice's expressions were "real" smiles. This evening, however, questioning became a thing of the past. She was full of undeniable smiles! It wasn't even just one, she was smiley for quite a while- and some of the smiles lasted for quite some time. I was even able to capture one of her beautiful toothless grins on camera. Take a look- it will surely put a smile on your face as well.

You're smiling now, aren't you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elections and Cuties

So, I was going to write something vaguely political, but instead, I think I'll just brag about how great my kids are. Well, I should say something about the historic events of the week. Then, I'll get to the good stuff.
I've never been very political. This election season, however, I've actually tried to become a little bit educated on the candidates and issues. I've also tried to "find myself" politically. What have I decided? Well, I suppose I should say I'm an independent. I've taken a ton of quizzes online (I know, not all reliable, but fun all the same, and no, that's not all the research I've done, just the most fun). Some said I'm more right, some said more left. I took one quiz on the day before the election that said I agreed with McCain 69%, and Obama 69%. Up until Tuesday morning, I was still an undecided voter. I'd gone back and forth in my head quite a few times. Last night when Obama was announced as the president elect, I had lots of emotions. I am so proud to live in a country and time when a black man can be elected president. It's crazy to think that 50 years ago, segregation was normal and open racism common. It is amazing that we, as a nation, have become so much more accepting in such a relatively short amount of time. I felt other things as well. I stayed awake last night to see Obama's acceptance speech (not the smartest thing- I ended up going to bed close to 1:00, only to have Alice to wake up at 1:45, and STAY AWAKE for two hours.) I was very moved by the speech, it even brought tears to my eyes. (not a terribly difficult feat, but still) I don't agree with all of his policies, but I am very eager to see what lies next for this great nation. I really do love this country and am proud to have an "I Voted" sticker. (If you're wondering, I ended up voting McCain. The important thing is that I voted- we almost missed the registration deadline, but took our forms to the post office 10 minutes before they closed on the deadline day.)
Okay, now, onto the cuteness that is my life.
Sally loves being buried in laundry. When she says "laundry", it sounds like "monchee".

Little sleeping beauty

My girls playing- I LOVE saying "my girls"!!

Sally really wanted Alice to wear her antennae- we found a way to make it work.

Sally being a cutie

Sally loving on the baby. Alice is pretty easy going, which is good, because with such a loving sister, she needs to roll with the punches. I wish that was figurative.

Seriously. This is amazing. She has held her head like this a few times- for long periods of time! Sometimes, even without the boppy. I am uber impressed by my little one's strength! She is such a good and sweet baby. She's been with us for only four weeks, but I can't imagine life without her. It just feels so right that she's here. She is a very loved little moonlet.

I just thought Sally's outfit was adorable. You can also see Alice in the background.

Okay. This is a picture of a face. Look closely. There are eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears on the sides and hair up on top. I did the head, but Sally drew in all the features. She has done the head, but only once, on a magnadoodle at the doc's office. I was SO impressed with her- it was totally unsolicited. Since then, I've been trying to get her to do it again with no luck. now, though, she'll do the face if I do the head. This was a happy face. She also does sad faces, and baby Alice sometimes. Oh, and, of course, self portraits.

I just thought this was so sweet. Alice LOVES to be held all the time. She is a very snugly, cuddly baby, which is great for us.

Below is Sally singing some ABC's. She was a little distracted (by daddy's new video game Fable II- it really is pretty sweet- I actually can't wait to play it myself), but you get the gist. She's started singing quite a bit on her own, which is SO cute to hear. she sings Hushabye quite a bit as well as other good ditties. There are two videos, the first is her finishing once and then starting again. In the second, I help her to stay on track- if you combine the two, you can tell she really does know it. I'm so impressed with her and love her so much it's ridiculous.