Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life lately, according to my iPhone...

A few weeks ago I made it to the Farmer's Market in Pleasanton on a Saturday morning while Paul was working on the house.  I miss the weekday afternoon farmer's markets during the summer and am looking forward to their return in just a few more months.  Clara was ecstatic about this purple cauliflower, which is sort of a genius concept because Miss Rose, who has not been at all enticed by white cauliflower, devoured the purple kind.  The herbie curd cheese and the boysenberry pies rock my world, and Clara's too apparently since she snuck all the cheese when I wasn't looking.  The yellowfin rockfish was pretty amazing too, after I rubbed it with salt and stuffed chopped basil and garlic in slits down its sides.


Speaking of the house, the remodel continues, however slowly.  Its been about 5 weeks now since Paul tore out the tile and most of the kitchen.  I wish I had more to report about and show pictures of, but right now things still look pretty rough.  Most of what has been happening has been plumbing (running gas lines and rearranging water lines since we are moving the location of the sink), electrical, framing and drywall, texturing walls, painting, and having the ceiling patched, textured and painted.  So, lots has happened but none of it is the very pretty stuff that makes for good photos.  Floors are going down this week though and next week cabinets and counters are supposed to be installed so hopefully in two weeks we'll have a functioning kitchen again, even though there will be loads of finish work before everything is "officially" done.

 
 



Clara's sense of style is so awesome.  She loves wearing leotards and dress-up skirts and jewelry.  Often the first thing out of her mouth in the mornings is a plan for what she wants to dress-up in for that day. 



We got our new fridge and set it up in the living room.  It really is a pretty sweet appliance and we are loving the space and freezer organization.  And the freezer on the bottom actually works as a fridge if we want, so when we have company and need more fridge space, we could just move things to the freezer in the garage and have way more fridge space.  Its embarrassing to love an appliance so much.


Because of the construction, we've been doing lots of picnics on paper plates.  Thankfully the weather has been A M A Z I N G.  We've also been at the park and on lots of walks, etc.



Our favorite time of day is when daddy gets home from work.  The girls rush him as soon as he gets out of his truck.  Rose lifts her arms up to him and just wants him to scoop her up so she can rest her head on his shoulder and pat his back for a few seconds while she coos contentedly.  It is the sweetest.


We wanted to do a hike on Mt. Diablo but it didn't exactly work out because we only brought the double Bob stroller and the trail was only partially paved.  But the observatory had some nice views and the girls had fun running around the inside of the lighthouse.




Clara loves it when I paint her nails for her.  We got crazy one day last week when she was dealing with a four-day long fever and I gave her a "little mermaid" manicure.  It has been her favorite ever and she has been super proud of it.


The girls have been into coloring lately.  Which is a lovely way to spend quiet time when we are stuck back in Clara's bedroom while work is going on out front.


We definitely don't Skype enough with these girls. 


Turns out when your house is torn apart and your husband is working on house projects most evenings, there is actually time to catch up on reading lists.  "The Martian", "Paper Towns" and "Wonder" have all been really interesting reads that I have plowed through recently. 
 

Our garage, guest bedroom, and master bedroom pretty much look like this.  The clutter everywhere is driving me insane.  I cannot wait to have things organized and put back together again.  On the bright side, Rose has been loving having a drawer full of spice jars to dig through and shake.


And finally, I am in love with this picture of these two girls taking a Sunday night bubble bath. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

Happy Valentine's Day from Clara & Rose!
 



Clara's preschool group did a little Valentine's Day party on Wednesday so the night before I picked up some little premade Princess valentines from the grocery store because I was super lazy and it was late and I was already there.  When she woke up the next morning and we were choosing which card to give to which class member, she saved the most coveted Ariel card for Dax, who she has a thing for.  His mom told me later that when Dax was helping get his valentines ready he told his mom that Clara got the cellophane bag that clearly had a few extra conversation hearts in it, so I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual. 

One of the reasons I was out late that Tuesday night and feeling lazy about making homemade valentines is because I was asked to be one of the presenters at our Relief Society midweek meeting.  Which I probably wouldn't bring up on here except that the topic sparked so much conversation that I came home and discussed it with Paul and then the moms in our preschool group who had been there were talking about it the next day as well.  It was on the Five Love Languages from the book by Dr. Gary Chapman, which I already knew about but had never actually read before.  Basically the book says that people understand love in different ways and to show someone that we love them we need to be doing it in the way that they will best understand (i.e., speaking their language).  Everybody took a questionnaire at the start of the meeting to identify their primary love languages and it was no surprise to me that mine are Acts of Service and Quality Time.  The other three are Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Physical Touch.  Paul hasn't taken the quiz yet but I'm positive his primary love language is physical touch. 

The names of the different languages are fairly self-explanatory, I think, but I learned so much more in the meeting and in my preparation to present.  For example, with Physical Touch it talked about implicit and explicit touch, which goes beyond the straightforward ideas of a spouse who feels love through touching.  Dr. Chapman explains that somebody whose love language is physical touch will feel loved by implicit touching like a hand placed on their shoulder when you walk through a room, or intentionally standing close enough to them to brush arms while working in the kitchen, or sitting close enough on the couch that your legs actually touch.  And obviously there is more explicit touching involved in a relationship and we talked about that too.  But what got interesting was having an open discussion with other women about this love language and hearing one of them say that sometimes it takes actual conscious effort for her to maintain a hug for more than a second and to not pull away, not because she doesn't love her husband but because touch just isn't a way that speaks love to her and she has a million other things to be doing at the time or has spent all day being touched by her kids and feels stifled.  And I was nodding along knowing exactly what she was talking about.  When I got home Paul and I talked about this phenomena and how it seems totally obvious that touching like this would express love but that while it might speak to some people on an intellectual level (i.e., because my spouse hugs me I know that I am loved) that it might not be speaking to them on an emotional level (i.e., knowing you are loved and feeling loved aren't the same thing).  This was our big ah-ha moment and takeaway of the night. 

My primary love language is Acts of Service and I got to present on it.  As I was preparing, I read a number of blog posts of people who had read the book to get some additional insight and the thing that stuck with me most was the person who said that somebody whose primary love language is Acts of Service will appreciate hearing the words "Let me do that for you" more than anything else.  And I was like, "BINGO!" It is SO true and such a revelation to me, even though I already knew that I felt loved through service.  Because I almost get weak in the knees hearing that.  And I totally get why these are called love languages because "let me do that for you" translates in my brain to "I love you".  Its strange and ironic that service is my primary love language because I have a tendency to be super independent and like to do things myself.  But one example I gave in my presentation was how Paul gave me a new computer for my birthday, which was great, of course, and I had really been needing one, but what was even more meaningful to me was when he took the time to figure out how to transfer all my music and photos from my old computer to the new one for me.  I hate that kind of maintenance stuff and it made me feel so loved that even after spending all day sitting in front of a computer at work he would take mine and figure out how to do that for me.  Another example I gave of how acts of service translates to love for me was how it seems like whenever I visit my parents my dad slips away at some point and fills my car with gas and washes the windows.  Its small and simple and might not mean as much to somebody who primarily feels love through words of affirmation or physical touch, but it gets me choked up just thinking about it because that act of service tells me how much my dad loves me. 

As for the other love languages, I really enjoyed learning more about Quality Time (my secondary love language) and thought it was interesting how it was pointed out that Quality Time creates a memory bank to draw upon in the future more than any of the others.  And speaking of quality time, Paul and I enjoyed a fun pre-Valentine's Day date night in the city eating at Epic Roasthouse where I had some excellent swordfish, Paul had a too rare ribeye, and we split a delicious spaetzle gratin (must learn how to make spaetzle).  We took a blurry selfie in front of the Bay Bridge while we were walking to the restaurant.


Valentine's Day itself was laid back.  Paul surprised us with a beautiful vase of tulips and chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite!) and balloons for Clara and Rose.  And Clara was excited to give Daddy the chocolate toffee heart and card that we had picked out for him.  Mostly though we hung out around the house and watched our friends' daughter while they went to the temple in the morning, then Paul made dinner for us that evening.


The day was so nice that when Paul was cleaning out the gutters up on the roof he started spraying the girls with water, which they thought was hilarious.  Here's a video of it:



Valentine's Day 2015 from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Relative Finder

I recently read an article about a new program developed by some BYU professors and students that takes your family history that has already been done and tells you now closely related you are to other people.  It is called Relative Finder and it is a derivative of LDS Family Search, so if you already have a lot of genealogy done for you and an LDS Family Search account, Relative Finder should be easy for you to use.  The concept is that you can be in a room full of people and not even know that you are distantly related but with enough information it is possible to find that out.  Paul and I have always sort of laughed about this idea because both of our moms come from Robertson lines (Paul's grandma was a Robertson, as was my grandma).  But we have never had the patience to trace both lines back to find the connection (since we knew it had to be distant). 
 
So when I saw that all you have to do to use the program is log in using your LDS Family Search account I immediately signed on to finally figure out the connection.  It seems like it is still in early stages and was a little tricky to figure out because I had to create a "group" and then log in separately as Paul to join the group, but once that was set up it was straightforward. 
 
Surprisingly, our closest relationship was NOT through our Scottish ancestry like we had guessed, but instead is through our Danish lines.  It is Paul's Grandma's line on his mom's side and my Grandpa's line on my mom's side that is our closest connection, making us officially 10th cousins, 1 time removed.  Hilarious and fascinating, right?  Now I want my in-laws (Deborah, Ryan H., etc.) and friends to log in and join the "group" I created so we can see whether there are any other connections!  If you do go to the website to check it out, search for the group "Paul & Amy Nash" (with the ampersand, not the word "and") and the password is "paulandamy". 
 

There are a bunch of other standard groups already created like famous americans, U.S. presidents, Mayflower members, famous writers, European royalty, etc.  Like I learned that Thomas Jefferson is my 3rd cousin, 9 times removed and George Washington is my 4th cousin, 8 times removed.  And Paul has direct connections to the Mayflower because Edward Doty AND Stephen Hopkins (both Mayflower passengers) are 11th great grandfathers of his.  Benjamin Franklin is Paul's 4th cousin, 7 times removed.  But most interesting of all (to me) is the Paul is related to Bing Crosby.  BING CROSBY, people!  Um, swoon.  They are 7th cousins, 2 times removed, so not very close, but still... we are talking Mr. White Christmas, beautiful blue eyes, most incredible voice ever himself here.  (Mr. Crosby and I are 14th cousins, for the record).

And here is an interesting tidbit I found on Wikipedia about Paul's Mayflower ancestor, Edward Doty, who was reputed to have a hot temper:

Doty's first problem with the law came just after the Pilgrims had begun constructing their settlement. The early eighteenth century notes of Thomas Prince describe an incident of June 18, 1621 when the first duel (with a sword and dagger) was fought in New England between two servants of Stephen Hopkins: Edward Doty and Edward Leister. The duel ended with one being wounded in the hand and one in the thigh. Their punishment was to be tied head and feet together for twenty-four hours without meat or drink. But soon their master Stephen Hopkins, apparently taking pity on their "great pains", made a "humble request, upon promise of a better carriage" and they were released by the governor.

So fascinating, right?  Anyway, check it out and tell me if you do!  I want to know if we are somehow related! 

 

Disney visit with Tabby

It has been too long since we have seen Tabby (Rose's birthmom) or been to Disneyland (since October 2013, which, interestingly enough, as we were walking into the park that first morning is when we first got Tabby's email to us explaining that she had seen our adoption profile and wanted to get to know us), so when she invited us down and told us that her brother who works at Disneyland had offered to get us in for free, we jumped at the chance.  Paul would have loved to have gone too but had to miss because of work (both his job and on the house).  So last Thursday I loaded up the girls and the car and we made our way south.  Rose fell asleep as soon as we got in the car and slept for almost the first two hours of the drive.  Clara was in movie-watching heaven in the minivan.  When Rose woke up we drove until we spotted an In-N-Out, then stopped for lunch.  I have the cutest little travel buddies ever.
 

The rest of the drive went pretty well too.  We rolled into LA in the afternoon just before traffic really got bad and only had to deal with a little bit of a slowdown, which is when both girls fell asleep again for about 30 minutes, until we got to the hotel.  We stayed at the Tropicana Inn & Suites right across from the main gate and got one of the suites so that there was a separate room for Rose's pack & play because she is the lightest sleeper in the world and I knew we would all be miserable dealing with naps and bedtime sleep (since Clara stays up way too late).  It worked out great.  After unpacking and letting the girls stretch their legs (they were beyond excited about being in a hotel and out of the car and were squealing and exploring both rooms of our suite) we walked over to Downtown Disney for dinner at the Naples restaurant, which has some of my very favorite pepperoni pizza.  Then it was back to our room for bedtime for Rose, a little Disney channel for Clara to wind her down, and then around 8:00 I turned off the lights thinking I would help Clara fell asleep and then call Paul but apparently I was exhausted because we both drifted right off. 

We woke up bright and early the next morning and headed over to Disneyland and picked up a bacon & egg sandwich for breakfast, which the girls devoured. 


It was so fun seeing Tabby!  And meeting her brother, who we haven't met before.  First on the agenda was getting Rose her "1st visit to Disneyland" pin and mouse ears.  Then we took a picture with Mickey Mouse right at the start of Main Street.





Rose liked looking at the characters from a distance but did NOT want to get close to them.  Like, at all. 


After that we rode Peter Pan, Dumbo, and the Teacups and just generally had fun chatting with Tabby and enjoying being at the happiest place on earth. Both girls were a little apprehensive about the darker Fantasyland rides (they are scary!) so we skipped Pinnochio and Snow White, but they loved Dumbo and the Teacups.  Its a Small World was closed (major bummer!) but we went to Toontown to tour Minnie's house and having a picture taken with Minnie by Tabby's brother, who is a Disney photographer and was working with Minnie that day. 




By the time we finished with Toontown both girls were starting to show symptoms of being overwhelmed so we took a little breather and just splashed in the fountain.  Amazing how something like slowng down and just splashing in some water works wonders for improving moods.  Then we headed over to Adventureland to see the Tiki Room and have a Dole Whip and the girls were much happier.


The only other rides we did that morning were the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Rose squealed and chattered all through the Jungle Cruise - it was probably her favorite thing we did at Disneyland - but Clara was a basketcase over the crocodiles and was convinced that one of them was going to eat her.  Both girls were pretty quiet on Pirates and it was lunchtime so once we got off we decided to head back to the hotel for naps.  On the way the girls made a lunch of crackers, fruit, squeezy pouches, and fruit snacks, and were both asleep within about 5 minutes of hitting the hotel room and each slept for a good 2 1/2 hours, which is abnormal for my girls. 



When Clara woke up from her nap I let her eat the lollipop that she had picked out for being such a good girl and walking all morning without whining about wanting to ride in the stroller (a problem we often deal with). 


We got back to the park just in time to snag a spot on a curb at the head of Main Street for the parade.  While we waited for the parade to start, Rose marched up and down the street, smiling and clapping and laughing.  She was in heaven and so completely pleased to have so much space to toddle around in and Clara happily protected our viewing spots by sitting in front of the stroller snacking on pretzels. 



The girls LOVED the parade.  It was the other highlight of the day.  Rose was into the music and drums and Clara had a look of awe and amazement on her face watching float after float of her heroes go by.  I really have to hand it to Disney and their princesses because every single one of them spotted Clara waving, made eye contact with her, and blew her a kiss.  It truly was magical and so fun to watch.  Elsa's float was first and Clara was impressed but it was really Ariel that Clara was hoping to see and she was thrilled to actually see Ariel's "beautiful turquoise mermaid tail" in person.  The only part of the parade that Clara didn't like was when Peter Pan and Captain Hook came by.  Clara is terrified of Hook and was starting to get a little hysterical and begging me to "protect her", so I told her that we just needed to shake our fingers at him and shout "You go away, you codfish!", which she did with a quavering voice until he passed us by. 



 
After the parade we did a couple more rides (Teacups again and the Alice in Wonderland ride), then had a nice dinner at Café Orleans in New Orleans Square (Tabby and I split a Monte Cristo sandwich and it was delicious), before heading back to the hotel, facetiming with Paul, and calling it another early night at 8:00 p.m.
 

The drive home on Saturday wasn't quite as easy.  There was traffic leaving LA (ugh) and both girls were fussier than on the way down (probably from being overly tired from the day before, possibly having had too many sweets, and knowing that we had just done the long day a couple days ago) but we made it through and got home around 3:00.  It was a fun, quick little trip and so nice to spend time with Tabby at the happiest place on earth.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rose Turns 1 Year Old

 

Our Little Miss Rose had her first birthday on the 17th.  It is amazing to me that it was just a year ago that we were driving to the hospital in Pomona and dropping Clara off to stay with my college roommate and best friend since childhood so we could go into the delivery room to be with Tabby during her labor and be present for Rose's birth.  Rose has filled our lives with so much joy.  She is such a goofy, sweet, playful little thing and we are forever grateful that she is ours.


At 12 months old, Rose has turned into such a little jokester.  She LOVES to tease and thinks she is hilarious.  She knows what it means to stick out her tongue and likes to blow bubbles and then cackle because she knows how uproarious we all find this.  She also likes to do naughty little things still like standing in the tub or trying to pull all the toilet paper off the roll while we are telling her "no, no" and she just giggles and persists.


 
Rose is teething again - it seems like she is always teething, poor thing - so she drools a ton and her naps have been off, but hopefully she can get through this next bout of teething soon.  In the meantime, she enjoys snacking on frozen peas and blueberries or munching on her fingers or other small objects to get some relief.  At least her nighttime sleeping is finally back on track and she goes down around 6:30 or 7:00 most nights (although it is work keeping her up that late) and wakes up around 6:30 most mornings.  Her daytime sleep is trickier - sometimes she refuses a morning nap or just takes a short one in the car while we are out and about.  It still seems way too soon for her to be going to one nap a day, but honestly that is really what she is starting to do.
 

Rose's hair has turned curly and it is darling - big soft brown curls, with one fat one right on the top of her head and lots of little ones at the back.  She still doesn't like me doing her hair and often yanks her bows out (a problem I didn't have as much with Clara) but we will keep after it because she needs it pulled back so her hair isn't falling in her eyes.  Besides, she looks so darling with ribbons in her pigtails. 


Rose started walking, really truly walking, just two days before Christmas, so about a week after she turned 11 months old.  And we are all so excited about it.  Clara loves that Rose can toddle around after her and Rose is ecstatic about the newfound mobility.  It is amazing how much her walking has improved in just a few short weeks.  I even took the girls for a "walk" around the neighborhood and Rose made it on her own for about 5 houses before she needed to be held. 



And somehow with Rose's new walking skills she has also found more of a voice.  She has started this new screeching thing and man alive is this girl loud.  Its usually just a playful, silly screech but her volume is such that sometimes Clara complains that Rose is hurting her ears.  She also toddles around the house hollering out "da? da?" all the time when Paul is at work, but especially when she first wakes up and right after dinner when she knows he is likely to come home.  She definitely loves her daddy and he is the first one she will give kisses to on request.  Her face absolutely lights up and she goes straight to him as soon as he opens the garage door when he gets home from work.





For Rose's birthday, we tried to do the traditional sneaking-into-her-bedroom-to-float-balloons-on-her-ceiling that we have done for Clara but Rose is a freakishly light sleeper and it woke up her and freaked her out, so we pulled the balloons back out and put them in the living room instead.  And oh my how she has loved those balloons.  We still have three that haven't popped that the girls have been playing with every day.


We wanted to do something special on Rose's birthday so I drove the girls to Happy Hollow.  Paul stayed behind at the house doing demo work on our kitchen while the girls were gone.   This was Rose's first time at Happy Hollow and she loved it.  And it honestly isn't so far - just about 38 minutes from our house - so I might even consider doing season passes again.




Rose loved the mini putt-putt ride with the police cars and fire engines.  There was hardly anybody there when we went so the girls rode it over and over.  They rode it together at first, but eventually I put Rose in her own car and she waved and grinned the whole time.





Rose's very favorite part were the goats though.  She cranked her volume up and was practically screeching her excitement, jabbering her baby talk and gesticulating with her hands.  She had no problem going right up to this goat and patting him.  I put a quarter in the feed dispenser and gave some to each of the girls.  Clara wanted nothing to do with letting the goat lick the food from her hand but Rose thought it was hilarious.  It was like she had a perma-grin etched on her face the entire time.  She even tried nibbling on a piece of goat pellet when I wasn't looking.



The one thing that Rose did not like at all was the carousel.  She could not get off that thing quick enough and was squirming and fussing the whole time. 


When we got home from Happy Hollow Rose got to open birthday presents.  She had no clue what that was all about but liked playing with the brightly wrapped packages anyway.


Do you see the mischievous look in her eye here?  This is SO Rose when she is being playful and teasing.


Rose got her very own mermaid doll.  She has been tormenting Clara ever since Christmas when Clara got hers.  Once we opened it to show it to her, she immediately took it gently in her arms and started kissing it and hugging it and she dragged it around with her by its yarn hair for much of the rest of the day.
 




She also got some other fun new toys, including a toy that spins when she pushes it on a stick and a ball pit that she and Clara have been having fun with.




We did birthday cake after presents.  Rose was into the candle and the singing, but when it came time to actually try the cake, she wasn't into it at all.  She tasted the frosting and made a face and then just wasn't really interested in anything more than that until I started feeding her spoonfuls of mint chip ice cream, which she loved.  So she basically had ice cream and no birthday cake, silly girl. 






And that was pretty much it for Rose's first birthday!  We are excited to see what the next year brings for our little miss!