Sunday, January 29, 2012

Clara gets the giggles

Lately Paul and I have had great success in getting Clara into uncontrollable fits of hysterical laughter.  It is probably just a development phase that she is going through, but we like to think it is because we are such awesome and hilarious parents.  Sometimes the giggles come on when her diaper is getting changed and she gets away from us with a bare bum and we chase her around the room trying to tackle her before she pees on the carpet.  (She has only ever peed once while I was changing her until this past week and suddenly it has happened almost once a day - is that normal?) 

Last night the fits of laughter came on by me singing the theme song from the original "Batman" TV show while staging a mock fight by myself complete with "Zock!" and "Pow!" sound-effects and round-house kicks, jabs and uppercuts against an invisible opponent.  Seriously, I got a great workout in while kickboxing in front of Clara and Paul for five minutes while Clara threw her head back and howled with delight at the hilarity of mom acting ridiculous while Dad was trying to rock her to sleep. 

She doesn't laugh half as hard in this video as she did the other night with the Batman action, but she thought that Girard the Giraffe and her dad were enormously entertaining.  Plus, she had already been laughing pretty hard for a few minutes while I was doing dishes and Paul was playing with her, so I only got the tail end when her fits were dying down. 

Untitled from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

Astonishment at the Supermarket

This weekend I was doing the traditional it's-Saturday-night-and-we-need-milk/bread/eggs/vegetables/meat/etc.-for-Sunday run while Paul was at home with a napping Clara and I came across this pizza & cookie dough combo in the freezer aisle.  I confess I was  flabbergasted.  Who buys this kind of stuff?!  And who are the geniuses who think up this kind of product that is everything wrong with America?  (Note: I love my country, but seriously, has our laziness come to this?!)

I texted Paul and Jessica this photo while I was still at the supermarket so that they could enjoy the moment of astonished indignance that I had just experienced.

"Yikes that is a dangerous combo...I want it!!" Jessica replied within minutes. 

"Awesome!! Get it!" Paul texted back.

I am so disappointed in the both of them.  Shameful.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Park Day and New Clothes

The forecast for the weekend said that it would rain the whole time.  But when there was a break in the clouds on Saturday, we decided to take Clara over to the Los Gatos Creek Trail and go for a nice walk.  The day turned out to be beautiful and Clara loved stopping at the dog park to see the dogs (we always get a smile from her when we say "dog? woof! woof!"), the fly-fishing practice ponds, and then the geese.  We even saw a swan and I helped Clara sneak up on it before it decided to swim away.

We had brought along an orange to share, but Clara decided to eat Paul's half. 

I made a little video of our outing.

I had some Gymboree bucks that I used to buy this cute little outfit for Clara on a great discount.  I also picked up some larger sizes for next fall/winter that were on clearance too.  I love getting a good deal on cute new clothes.  Paul told me that if I make him pull out the tripod after church every Sunday when our outfits are coordinated so that we can do a photo shoot, he is going to stop matching us.  What a funny guy.

Paul thinks that Clara's corkscrew curl barettes are pretty awesome and told me that I should get these for her in all sorts of different color combinations.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Clara Jane at 8 months old

At eight months old, the two biggest happenings in Clara's life right now involve standing and teething. Paul noticed Clara's tooth coming in on Saturday, Jan. 14th (for the record) while I was at work. Clarabelle gets angry when we try sticking our fingers in her mouth to look at it (let alone take a photo of it) but it is a darling little white nub on the bottom front left side of her mouth that should break through her gums any day now. So far she seems to be handling it well - no fever or fussiness over it. The only thing that seems different is she has been a little more clingy than normal and lately has taken to laying her head down on my shoulder so I can stroke her hair. She woke up at 5:30 a.m. the other day, still sleepy but unable to sleep, I think because her tooth was bothering her, and started laughing and calling out from her crib. We tried just bringing her into bed with us to see if she would fall asleep again but she just wanted to climb all over Paul to prove she is capable of that feat, so I took her back to her room and rocked her for half an hour. She laid her head against my chest and patted my shoulder with her tiny hand, sighing contentedly, while I twisted tendrils of her hair between my fingers for half an hour until I finally put her back in her crib, soothed, at 6:00 a.m. and she fell asleep for one more hour. 

Not letting me see her tooth.
All Clara wants to do anymore is stand up - at the couch, at her musical table, on the bed between mom and dad, in the bathtub (I can't get her to stop doing this so I am constantly seating her back on her bum in the water while I try to get her clean these days), by the sliding glass door, behind mom using fistfuls of my jammies to keep her balance while I am getting ready in the morning, behind dad using fistfuls of his jeans for balance while he is washing bottles, etc. It is kind of awesome and kind of scary. She falls sometimes and has bonked her head pretty hard a couple of times, which is so sad but bound to happen. Paul's theory is that if he claps when she falls, she will think it is a good thing and not cry. So far, the theory has held pretty true and she just rolls over, beams at us, then stands up again. She is also transitioning between the objects she uses for standing - from the sliding glass door to the table or the table to the couch, etc.
No words yet, so far, although Clara does repeat "da-da-da-da-da-da" and so Paul might always claim that she said "dada" first. But I don't think that she grasps it as a word yet. She talks to us a lot though and she talks to herself in her carseat or crib sometimes.
Clara cannot lay still for a diaper change anymore. She rolls away and then crawls as fast and she can to escape. And if I try to lock her into position with my knees or one-hand, she fiercely arches her back in defiance.
She still takes two 1 1/2 hour naps each day, sometimes with a third shorter nap for good measure, and she consistently goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 and sleeps until 6:30 the next morning. We cover her with a little blanket at night and she giggles when I tuck it in around her sides. 

Clara eats three solid meals a day and drinks 5 six ounce bottles each day.
Clara can actually do the clapping and "throw it in the air" portions of patty-cake now without our help, although she won't do it for an audience yet. So I am now going to start working on some baby sign language with her - probably "bottle" or "milk", "all done", and "bath" - just the basics.

Zombies and such

To come clean, I kind of sort of think there is an impending zombie apocalypse coming. Okay, not really. Zombies are fictional. But possibly ...?

Anyhoo, I have seen a few zombie movies here and there when nobody was around to laugh at me and last year I totally got into the way horrible series "The Walking Dead" on AMC. We don't watch it any more because 1. It was pretty bad, 2. We got rid of all our extra cable channels, 3. Paul doesn't think zombies are as interesting as I do, and 4. I couldn't watch the show at night because it freaked me out too much. But I just started a new audiobook, not knowing what it was about, and it turns out it is about zombies - the "unconsecrated" as the book calls them. My skin crawled as I realized what kind of book I had just started on my way to work and I may or may not imagine zombies lurking in the trees off the freeway waiting for a traffic jam so they can mob the unsuspecting commuters. And I definitely find myself thinking how I can best protect Clara in case a zombie invasion overwhelms us. When you are a parent me, you think about that possibility no matter how insipid and unreal it seems. I admit to having stockpiled enough baby formula and baby food to get us through a while, not because the prophet said to or because an earthquake could happen, but because you never know when some mutant flu could turn your neighbors into flesh-eating brainless monsters. So there.

Incidentally, Paul thinks I am nuts, but we will just have to wait and see about that one, won't we...

I know I haven't had a whole lot to say on here lately, but I have just been too exhausted to blog at night and that is pretty much the only time I have these days. The past two nights my mom has called me to Skype and show me the cute outfits she has picked up for Clara at Gymboree and every time I see myself in the corner of the computer screen I have looked like haggard Death itself. Work has been brutal (I spent almost eight hours in the office last Saturday while Paul got to stay home and play with Clara), but things look like they might settle down here for a little bit. I keep a little sheet of paper on my desk with a calendar I made because sometimes it helps me to check days off as they pass. I put a big red star on Clara's birthday (in case anyone wonders about the importance of the red star) and I keep the calendar next to my bulletin board, which I have covered with photos of Clara, Paul, and me.
Paul has been my hero and has been pretty much picking up all my slack with laundry and dishes and didn't even complain when I made him eat stuffed shells for dinner the other night (which I know he hates but it was one of those frozen Bertolli's dinners and it sounded so yummy to me). He stayed up really late with me on Thursday night because I was too tired to get ready for bed and just wanted to veg out in front of the TV catching up on The Office.

We are watching "The Bachelor" again this season, even though I previously said that I would refuse to watch it again since it really is awful television. But it does give me new ideas for how to do my hair and encourages me to be braver about accessorizing. Today I tried out the low side-bun thing that one of the girls was sporting at the rose ceremony on Monday - she wore it better but I still liked how it turned out - and I wore a scarf to work that looked cute with the earrings my mom gave me for Christmas.
My resolutions about exercise have pretty much gone out the window, but I am still doing good on scripture study and I have been making much better choices about the foods I eat. I have been able to majorly curbing my mindless snacking at work and dessert has been a once or maybe twice a week thing so far this year. While that may not sound like the best progress, it is huge compared to our pretty much daily dessert habit last year, and I already am feeilng physically better for it.

Other than that, there is just not a whole lot happening around these parts and I don't have any new stories or deep thoughts to share.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In which I fret over possibly accidentally ingesting marijuana...

I know I've mentioned before on the blog that Paul and I have a favorite ice cream place in Santa Cruz called Marianne's.  The texture and flavor of their ice creams are amazing and they have lots of options to choose from.  I pretty much always try a couple of random samples like "Lavender" or "Heath Bar" or "Lychee" and then ask for a kid's double on a cake cone with a scoop of raspberry swirl and fudge brownie.  I've noticed before that the fudge brownie is officially named "Alice B. Toklas Fudge Brownie (with walnuts)" but I have always ignored the Ms. Toklas part and waived her off as Marianne's granny or biddy aunt or something. 

Except today I looked her up on my iPhone while we were driving home and it turns out that according to Wikipedia, Alice Babette Toklas was the San Francisco-born lover of the novelist Gertrude Stein and is famous in her own right for publishing a cookbook with a recipe for "hashish fudge" and her name was later attributed to a number of "cannabis concoctions" including marijuana brownies. 


I debated whether to continue eating my Alice B. Toklas Fudge Brownie ice cream and conferred with Paul whether Marianne's could actually get away with selling a chocolate ice cream with marijuana-laced brownie chunks.  I"ve had it multiple times before and have never noticed any strange effects.  On the one hand, there is no warning on the menu and kids order that flavor so surely it can't have drugs in it, right?  On the other hand, Marianne's is in Santa Cruz after all. 

In the end, I continued eating the ice cream and cone, but I felt guilty about it.  Next time I may have to switch to Rocky Road or Butter Pecan.  Or stick to my New Year's Resolution about laying off the sweets.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Resolutions Post

Most years, I would already have thought out my New Year's Resolutions and typed them up in a blog post and written them on a piece of paper to stick on the fridge--probaby by December 14th--and here we are, more than a week into the new year, and I am just getting around to setting these goals.  Really, I have already been thinking through my resolutions for a while now but it took seeing my sister's blog post about her resolutions that gave me the boost I needed to get these in writing.

In 2010, I had one big goal--to get us ready to buy a house--that was somehow accomplished even though it seemed impossible when Paul's job fell through and house prices in the Bay Area seemed completely out of our reach.

In 2011, our big goal was to prepare ourselves to become parents--again, it seemed almost impossible that it would happen that year but lo and behold, Clara came into our lives.

Since these big goals have been miraculously achieved, I think that my major goal for 2012 should be about looking like a supermodel improving my health. Who knows, maybe another miracle will occur and I will end up weighing in the mid 130's (where I was when Paul and I got married and again when we got home from our bar trip around the world in 2009) by the end of the year?  Maybe I will run another marathon?  Besides, I had a physical exam on Friday for our adoption paperwork and the doctor got on my case again about my pre-diabetic status and told me no rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, or sugar. I seriously wonder how she listed off all of those things as needing to be banned from my diet while keeping a straight face.

For now, I am not making goals about dropping X lbs. this week or month or anything like that. Because going back to my desk job and commuting and having pretty much zero desire to figure out what to make for dinner all tell me that if I try making a goal about losing a specific amount of weight that it won't happen, and frankly, I don't even know when I would get around to weighing myself in the first place. Instead, I plan to: 1. Stop eating cookies every day. Some people are addicted to diet Coke. I am addicted to cookies. 2. Ease up on the snacking at work. No more trips to the vending machines. Bring fruit or veggies or maybe nuts from home to snack on and drink water or chew a stick of gum instead. So far, so good. 3. Back off foods heavy in cheese and ease up on some of the carb consumption. Not all carb consumption like the doctor suggested, but some at least. 4. No more eating late at night. I am cutting myself off at 9:00 p.m. I would say 8:00 but sometimes with work and Clara I just can't get to dinner until after 8:00 once our little lady is asleep. 5. Go for more walks with Paul and Clara in the evenings, something we used to do all the time (hopefully this will be easier as the days start to get a little longer). Try going for a run at least twice a week, even if it is just to do a mile or two on Saturdays and an evening run one other day of the week after Clara is in bed.

Here are some other resolutions I intend to work on this year:
1. Do FaNcy-ScHMaNcY blogposts with fun colors and fonts and stuff.
2. Memorize poetry and recite it at Orchard Valley Coffee, the local coffee shop that has live music and that kind of thing.
3. Start a fashion/style/design blog.
4. Travel to at least three new countries.

Yeah right - I'm totally kidding. I won't be doing any of that stuff this year because I don't have the time and I'm not that cool. Instead, here are the hum-drum resolutions that I know will actually make me a happier, healthier, and better person.

1. Daily prayer and scripture study. I don't know when and how I got out of this habit, but it happened and it is time to get back to it. I am always happier and better able to handle stress when I make this a priority.

2. Work on my temper. Be kind. Think of others. Talk to people.

3. Plan meals ahead of time, budget household expenses, and start saying "no" to every little thing I feel like I "must" have including treats, clothes, toys, etc. Not always, but right now I say "yes" to myself too often to be good for me.

4. Take photos. Live adventurously. Blog. I love to get out and experience the world around me but it is so easy to get so busy with the day-to-day that it feels like there is no time to be spontaneous and adventurous and awesome. And dadgummit, I have an indominatable nature and a insuppressable NEED to be awesome.  It is not that I care that others think I am awesome, I want to truly BE awesome.

5. Show my family how much I love them rather than just tell them that all the time. This entails reading books to Clara, dancing with her outside in the sunshine and under the stars, footrubs for Paul, going on dates, etc.

6. Read. Audiobooks are amazing and I love them, but I also want to do better about physically picking up a book and perusing its pages. Go to the library. Even though I tend to prefer just purchasing my own books rather than checking out used copies, I think the library is healthy for the human soul and modern civilization.  It is also healthy for our bank account when I borrow books rather than buy them.

7. Get approved to start our next adoption. Not freak out when waiting for birthmom contacts after our adoption profile is approved. I don't want to get so caught up in what might happen that I miss out on what is happening.

8. Do two personal progress goals each month. In the one month that  I have been in my new calling as the Young Womens' 2nd Counselor in my ward, I have realized that I somehow don't seem to interact as well with the Beehives as I thougth I would. Basically, it feels like they kind of ignore me.  I want to them to come up to me in the grocery store just because they think I am so fun to be around instead of darting down the dog food or kleenex aisle. Maybe doing personal progress with them will help me relate? How do I make 12-13 year olds understand how great and fun and hip I am?! Although, that age bracket was convinced of my nerdiness when I was in it, so I don't know why that would have changed as I have aged out of my teen years.

9. Travel to at least three new countries. Okay, I'm kidding again. But I really, REALLY would love it if we could. My little sister is doing an internship in Belize this summer after all and I would love to go visit her while she is there...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Last Christmas/New Year's Post, then on to 2012

I have a number of random photos on my iPhone, so I thought I would post them on here before I lose them.  One of the really fun things about this December was receiving parcels on our doorstep on an almost daily basis, either things we had ordered or gifts from family. 

One of the packages contained cute ornaments that Kayli's youngest brother made for Clara.  Before they went on the tree, Clara wanted to put them in her mouth.

Clara was completely wild at the airport on the night we flew to Salt Lake.  It was WAY past her bedtime and she was super tired, but there was just too much going on for her to fall asleep.  The only way I could get her focused enough to take her bottle was to lay her on my lap and let her drink almost upside down.

My grandpa sets  up this train around their Christmas tree every year and they really wanted the little girls (Clara, Emma and Lily) to come by and enjoy it.  I have fond memories of watching the Christmas train go around and around with its flashing lights and dancing figurines.  Clara enjoyed it too.

The day after our sealing, I ended up having a number of things come up with work that basically stressed me out like crazy and I turned into an angry bear.  For my own sake, as well as for the sake of Paul's family who surely didn't want me around when I was being such a mental case, I banished myself to the storage room in the basement and spent the majority of the day down there working on my laptop and hiding from my 7-year old niece who was demanding that I paint my nails with her or watch her Barbie movies (those shows are horrible - seriously, the worst).  I made an angry face to prove how I felt about working over Christmas break.  Why doesn't the whole world just shut down that week?  Would that be so hard?

We flew Southwest on the way to Utah, but on the return trip we flew Jet Blue.  I am a big Jet Blue fan.  The seats are more spacious, the snacks are better, and everybody gets their own t.v. to watch.  The only problem was that we had a stop in Long Beach where we had to get off the plane, wait long enough for me to hose down Clara in the bathroom after she had one of her messiest diapers ever (I just threw away the onesie she was wearing underneath her clothes it was so bad), and then we got right back on the same plane we had previously been on.  I love airports where you get to deboard outside by walking down stairs rather than going straight into the terminal.  It makes me feel like a foreign dignitary or something.

Now that Clara can crawl in a dead sprint and wants to stand almost all the time, flying with  her isn't nearly as easy as it was when we went to Hawaii in October or Utah in August.  Back then, she would just doze off in my arms.  But now she flings herself bodily back and forth between me and Paul, occasionally laying across both of our laps and munching on yogurt puffs to keep her entertained in such a small space.  At one point, she grabbed for my ginger ale and knocked it over, spilling it off the little tray and into my shoe.  Yuck.  She never cried, but she was kind of loud a few times.  Good thing we don't have any more trips planned for a little while I guess.

Paul and I fight over who gets to push Clara in her stroller when we go on walks.  A new family game is for me to run in front of Clara while Paul chases me with the stroller.  I zig and zag to get away from them and Clara thinks it is hilarious while I burn a few extra calories.

When we go for late night walks after Clara's bath, this extra-thick and warm jumper that my mom gave Clara for Christmas keeps her nice and cozy in her stroller.  This is Clara's table that she got for Christmas.  We were a little sad when we realized that LeapFrog changed out the banjo that is on the older model of the table that Jennie has for a not as cool guitar on the newer model.  Clara still obsesses over this toy though and it is perfect for helping her practice her standing.

Jessica celebrated her 23rd birthday on December 30th.  Clara helped her to unwrap presents.

Jessica found darling sweatshirts for the girls with the saying "Auntie Rocks" on the front, so we dressed everybody up and took a photo of Jessica with all three of her nieces.

I enjoyed holding Lily.  She is such a hefty, darling little bundle and just the smiliest, sweetest thing.  Clara and I spent time playing with Lily on the floor in the family room.  I am so happy that Clara will have girl cousins so close to her in age.  Clara and Lily will probably be in the same grade growing up and I am hoping that they can be close friends.

The purple and pink polka dot and leopard print dress is my new favorite outfit of Clara's.  My mom and I found it at Naartje when my family was visiting us over Thanksgiving.  It looks like it was made for her, and the matching tights are beyond perfect.

On the day that Kayli had to fly back to Texas, we wanted to take some photos with her and Clara.  It was so wonderful having her spend so much of Christmas with us and we miss her a lot already.  We had a great time going to lunch with Kayli and another adoptive couple who we have become friends with through our blogs (and who, incidentally, are approved to adopt again and are in the waiting phase right now - please look at their website and pass their info along!) and their son's birthmom, taking Kayli to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Bombay House, for chicken tikka masala, and just spending time together chatting about life and plans and how awesome adoption is.  Paul and I have been so unbelievably blessed by having Kayli come into our lives and we love her so much.

Okay, that is it for Christmas and New Year's photos.  I finally feel like I am finally pretty much caught up with the blog as far as photos go now.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Casebolt Family Photos

On New Year's Day, my family was all dressed up for church so we took a few quick family photos in the living room at home.  It was a little tricky getting everybody to look at the camera or to keep their eyes open or to keep Sally (our dog) out of the picture, but I think that at least a few of the shots turned out pretty nice.  And now Paul and I have updated family photos of both his family and my family for our next adoption profile (since in our last family photos there was only one grandchild on each side and now there are FIVE! on Paul's side and THREE! on my side!). 

When I was younger, my parents usually wouldn't get in family photos with us.  They wanted it to be of just the kids.  In fact, I don't have a whole lot of photos of my parents from when I was growing up and that is sad for me.  So I try to make sure to get photos of them whenever I can now.  And it has taught me the valuable lesson that I need to make sure to hand off the camera to others while Clara (and our future children) are growing up and get in pictures with them because someday, I am betting that they, like me, will want to know what Mom looked like on Halloween or Christmas morning or at the beach or on their birthdays.  Besides, my parents are two of the best looking grandparents I know. 

The next two photos are basically the same except in one of them Jennie and Emma are not looking at the camera and I can't quite tell if my mom's eyes are closed or not, and in the other photo my brother Ryan is trying to lurk out of the picture, Lily is looking away and Sally has snuck into the frame.  I haven't decided which is better and I thought I would put both on here pretty much for Jennie so that she could decide which one she prefers. 

And of course we had to take some pictures of Grandma Cici and her granddaughters.  These little girls adore their grandma.  My mom purchased the Christmas dresses for the three girls so that they would coordinate without being matchy-matchy and I think that they all look so darling.  My mom has great taste.

We finally coaxed a smile out of Clara who was being unusually somber for the photos.

Clara and Lily were so cute sitting in the chair together.  They are only three months apart in age, and two pounds apart in weight.  I still think that Lily looks a lot like I look in my baby photos.  I was short and fat - seriously fat - and Lils is pretty much one of the chunkiest babies ever.