Friday, August 21, 2009

Funny Story

So a couple weeks ago we had some potatoes in our pantry that started to smell. I opened the pantry and Amy was sitting at the table when the odor came out. I don't know if she just forgot the word "stinky" or what, but she informed me, "Mom, there's a poopies in my nose!"

Cute Kiddos!

Right before we left Arizona, Chris Allen offered to take some pictures of the kids for me. Thanks so much Chris! Thanks to Mandi too becausw without the marshmallows we never would have gotten a good shot of Amy... after the third shot she announced "I'm done!" Here are my favorites:

(she's not really angry here - this is her "Mike face" that we have to do every time we get her pictures done!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Amy is quite content to play near kids, not necessarily with kids. Some kids, like Keaton and Lilee and Benjamin and Brooklyn, she does play with. But it takes her some time to warm up enough to play with new kids. Not that she's really shy, but she just doesn't seem to get the concept of going to play with kids. She loves nursery and never bats an eye when we leave her there, even her first week in the new ward, but she doesn't really need anybody, just some toys or puzzles or snacks.
So a couple weeks ago we had some friends over to barbeque. We brought out both of Amy's table. There were five kids... and four could sit at a table... and the other kids all knew each other. So Amy sat by herself. She pulled a typical Amy and chowed down while the other kids got distracted by the playset and wandered off. She's so funny. I had to take a picture of my anti-social daughter.

Matthew's Curl

I want to document this before he loses it or he gets a million of them so you can't tell which one it is anyways. Matthew has, almost from birth, had the cutest little curl on the side of his head that sticks straight out (can a curl stick straight?). No matter what you do, it sticks out. I'm afraid, son, that you will be inheriting your father's fro head. Blame Daddy.

New Calling!

Things not to do when you move into a new ward:

1. Become friends with members of auxillary presidencies.
2. Tell the bishop you are eager to serve.
3. Go to activities where you are one of a few, and the others all have substantial callings.
4. Show up to the 24th of July celebration with your kids dressed up like pioneers and pulling your husband's covered wagon.

Why should you not do these things? Because the Bishop thinks you are strong, active people who can be put in leadership positions and asked to take on difficult tasks. My new calling?

Ward Activity Chairman (not co-chair... just chairman)

While I have looked on with envy in previous wards at this calling (party planning committee, anyone?), I am very nervous about this calling. Here's why:

1. I don't know the ward at all. I don't know what they like, what they don't like, how many people show up to these activities, what talents people have that I can use, etc.
2. The biggest challenge with this calling is going to be getting people to show up, which is never easy.
3. I always want to "go big or go home." I want to go the whole nine yard. I don't know how not to buy too much food. I don't know how to pick the most elaborate activity.
4. I am a really lousy delegator. I am always so afraid of inconveniencing someone that I just do it myself.

This will be a fun calling, and I will definitely learn some things from it. So here's where I need your help: Tell me about your FAVORITE ward activity of all time (the more details, the better!). Here's hoping I don't blow it!

To Be A Pioneer

Pioneer Day is always a fun holiday at the Laudie home. Mike's family had a lot of fun traditions, including pushing the "handcart" (a wagon) down the hill to the cemetary where they ate cornbread and talked about those who made the trek. While our closest cemetary was too far to make this a tradition here, Mike was definitely excited that our stake celebrated the 24th of July, since our stake in Arizona typically didn't. There was a stake potluck on Friday and a ward breakfast on Saturday. There was going to be a children's parade at both, so I decided Amy needed some pioneer garb. I pulled out the handy sewing machine, found a simple bonnet pattern, and set to work. I just faked the skirt (didn't use a pattern) because it didn't need to be as complicated as the patterns I had made it. But I was super pleased that I was able to figure out the pattern and get the bonnet to turn out so well! Amy was so cute!

We got this cute little red wagon (you'll see why later), so Matthew just lounged at the stake potluck.

Amy appreciated that they had hotdogs. Did the pioneers eat hotdogs?
And this is why we had a great need for a wagon. We'd wanted to get one anyways, and when I found this one on craigslist, Mike fell in love. He wanted to make a covered wagon out of it for the ward breakfast children's parade. So, after the stake potluck and we got the kiddos to bed, Mike set to work converting the wagon to a pioneer covered wagon.

Amy woke up the next morning and you would have sworn it was Christmas. "My Wagon!"
It was a big hit with all the kids at the breakfast the next morning. Who says you can't buy your child friends?
Our happy pioneer family. I don't fit into my old trek dress, and I didn't have time to make myself a new one (kids take priority when it comes to costumes because you can stand back and say "isn't she cute? Yeah, she's mine."), but Mike found the clothes he wore to our stake's trek last year.

Daily Life

Here are some fun things we've been doing lately:

Inspired by my older sister, when blueberries went on a really good deal, Amy and I decided to buy a bunch and make blueberry muffins and blueberry freezer jam. Amy loved to help me smash the blueberries. It turned out pretty well too!

Amy has been spending a lot of time "stomping in the rain." She thinks it's great fun to go outside with her pink umbrella and just walk around the deck. Sometimes she puts the umbrella down and lays in the water. Does anyone else have a kid who has the horrible habit of licking water off the floor, or am I just lucky?

My mom had bought some fruit loops while she was here, intending to let the kids make fruit loop necklaces, but alas we never got around to it. So I sat down with Amy after our visitors had left to "teach" her how to do it. I say "teach" because basically I showed her one and she was off. It amazes me the little things she learns so quickly, like threading. I guess she's getting old. She had a blast making it, but even more fun eating it!

This is Mike and Amy stomping in the rain together.
So, funny story. We have this fantastic slide in the backyard, but it's actually quite steep and fast. Amy works hard to slow herself down as she goes down. Well, it was raining pretty hard one day and Mike gets the brilliant idea to let Amy go down the "water slide." Amy agreed to do it, so up she went, and by the time Mike blinked she had come down SUPER fast and slid right past him onto the ground. Needless to say, she didn't go on the slide for a few days after that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Are A Happy Family!

My mom and Amy flew in the next week. Thank you so much, Mom, for braving the airs with Amy, especially with the unexpected layover. We were so excited to see Amy (especially Mike who hadn't seen her in about a month). She was pretty wired by the time she got here too.

We spent the next day relaxing with Amy and my mom. Mike was super-excited to have Amy there, so he came home from work during lunch time and took her to lunch with him, and when he came home he took her out to feed the geese. There were these huge geese that wandered the apartment complex, and often wandered into the road and made you stop and wait while they slowly crossed (except for that one unfortunate dead one on the side of the road who clearly didn't move fast enough for some driver).

We spent the night waiting to hear from our soon-to-be visitors. "Visitors?" you ask. Yes, visitors. My sister Lisa and her husband TJ drove out to Ohio (he's starting law school at Ohio State) and had laidover at my sister Calli's house in Kansas for about a week. They were going to crash at our place Friday night before going the last hour to Columbus the next day (and to see my mom). Calli decided that since Mom was going to be within a day's drive of her, decided she would bring her three kids up to see us and Mom too!

Lisa and TJ rolled in around 11 pm after what Lisa refers to the worst day ever. Calli and Brendan and the kiddos rolled in at about 4 am. We were so excited to see all of them! It was nice to have family here - I think it made the transition easier. While the new move was exciting, it felt more natural to have family around to help out. Brendan was there for a couple days, then flew back to Kansas for classes the next week, then flew back at the end of the week to drive back with Calli and the kids. What a good husband! Mike was glad to get to have a friend for those couple days too.

My Mom was amazing that week we were still in the apartment before we were able to get into the house. I felt a little guilty because she kept taking the kids off their hands. In the mornings she would take the kids for a walk to look for "treasures," i.e. rocks, sticks, and leaves. Then she would sit downstairs on the patio with them and let them color them with crayons until lunch. She's pretty much the best grandma ever. This was especially appreciated because Amy and Keaton decided life was too quiet if they weren't fighting. Amy would grab Keaton around the neck and Keaton would scratch her across the face. Sometimes it would be quiet in the room and Amy would look around, see Keaton, and push him just to make life more interesting. Wow... I'm glad I only have one 2 year old. I'm sure they will be much better friends later.

Mike had saved his fireworks from the 4th of July and we went out that first weekend (while Brendan was in town to be his accomplice) and we shot them off at the park. Calli, Mom, and I were a little skittish about this since they're really loud and we were the only people shooting them off since it wasn't exactly the 4th. The kids loved the sparklers, although the loud fountains and aerials made Amy nervous.
At the end of the week, we finally moved into our new house. Here are some of the things I love about the house: - 4 bedrooms (which means the kids each get their own room, plus we still get an office / craft room)
- 2 full-size baths upstairs (so I don't have to share a bathroom with Amy), plus a half bath on the main floor and a half-bath in the basement.
- A fireplace, because we all know I intend to sit by the fireplace with my hot chocolate all winter long while it's FREEZING outside. - A very open floor plan, so that the living room and kitchen are separate but joined. - A separate "piano room," or living room. It's nice to have one room that is always clean for visitors. - A pretty green backyard with a built-in playset. Amy would look at the pictures online before we moved out here and say "my swings!" I like that the backyards are open (most backyards in Ohio don't have fences at all), but I'm glad that we have a short white picket fence around ours so we still feel part of the neighborhood but Amy doesn't wander out when I send her in the backyard. - A basement! I never appreciated basements until we moved here and I haven't had to look at Amy's toys! She keeps a dozen books and half a dozen stuffed animals in her room and the rest I throw down the stairs if she brings them up. It's fantastic! After living on top of them in Arizona (we only had a "great room", so she always had her toys in the front room), it's great not to see them EVER!
- The Deck: So nice! It's nice to have an open area for our table and barbeque. Come on Owens... you know you want to sit on the deck and make tritip!

- Nice neighbors. We came over to see the house the night before we moved in and our neighbors immediately came over to say hi. They have 5 kids (all a little older than Amy, but she likes to watch them play) and are so nice. They're the kind of neighbors you could borrow a cup of sugar from. I like that! We didn't have that on our immediate street in Arizona, so we went around the corner to the Owens, Beckers, or Hardings. Our new neighbors aren't as great as you guys, but they are a suitable substitution for now!
- Beautiful neighborhood. This is the kind of neighborhood that people go on walks in the evenings and sit outside and have community garage sales and the kids ride their bikes all day long. I love that! We had a street like this growing up, and it's been sad in recent years to live in areas where there is NOBODY outside EVER. Granted, the beautiful weather definitely helps.

Of course we had to come up with at least one project while my mom was in town. So, we decided to recover my kitchen chairs. This became essential in the past couple weeks because Amy decided to smear chocolate pudding all over two of them. This, coupled with the kool-aid stains, made for some ugly formerly-white chairs. Don't worry, we definitely covered two of them with the new material, and then a layer of plastic covering over that. Amy has already proven this essential, so I'm glad we did that! Here's the before and after:

Ultimately, I think that we will be happy here. My mom and sister got to stay for a few more days once we got into the house, which was much nicer to have more room for the kids to run around at. But, then it was time to say goodbye. Calli and her family headed out Sunday morning. Thanks so much for coming guys. I hope you didn't hate the drive too much, because we'd love you to come back again! We'll definitely make it down next year at least for Brendan's graduation.
Matthew and Brody (19 days apart)

All of my parent's grandchildren: Taylor (5), Amy (2), Keaton (2), Matthew (2 months), Brody (2 1/2 months)

And so we had to say goodbye to my Mom again. Thanks for everything Mom! We couldn't have made it here without you (not with our sanity intact, at least).

So here we are in Ohio. We're all moved in (except the office, which is still a disaster area), we're getting to know the area really well, and we're enjoying our new ward (although we definitely miss the Sarival Ward! Best ward ever!).

Hello Ohio!

First impressions of Ohio:
- it rains every week
- the sun is only out for a couple hours each day
- it's not as humid as I had expected
- it's very green - it looks like a giant golfcourse
- I will be okay here.

Matthew and I flew into Ohio on Tuesday, June 30th. He was PERFECT on the flight! He slept the entire time until the last 10 minutes, at which point he woke up and stared around at everyone. I couldn't have asked for a better flight with him. Ironically, we watched "New In Town," the new Renee Zellwegger movie. While I am not a fan of Renee AT ALL, it was kind of funny because she moves to Minnesota in the winter, and some of her experiences with her first winter make me think of how I will be this winter in Ohio.

Mike met us at the airport with roses (what a good husband!), although he had some trouble finding us. I was holding Matthew and had already pulled our luggage off the carousel, so I couldn't go after him, so Matthew and I watched Mike wander back and forth among all the other carousels for about 20 minutes. It was pretty funny. I tried yelling at him, but he didn't get close enough to hear us.

We didn't get to see much of Ohio because it was starting to get dark, but what we did see on the drive was very pretty. Mike drove us the hour from Cincinnati (that's where we flew into) and arrived at our corporate housing apartment. It was a super nice furnished apartment with two rooms, and the complex had a pool, a really nice fitness room, and a tanning bed! It also had a really nice movie room with a big screen and couches that you could use, but we never got around to taking advantage of it. We were quite comfortable there.

That first weekend was the 4th of July, so we headed over to Centerville (the next town over) to check out their parade and festival. It's fun to have all these little towns that still have town parades where the fire department drives through and they have the mayor and town council waving at people who really don't know or care who they are. They had a big crafty fair with local vendors and homemade crafts and stuff like that. It was really a nice day. Matthew was a good sport too.

I spent the rest of the first week completely lost. I never really appreciated the way that Arizona streets are straight and only run in one direction and only change names between cities (and only some of the small streets). In Ohio, streets completely curve so when you think you're going south you end up going west. They also change the names of the street at every other intersection (okay, that's an exaggeration, but it sure felt like that!). So that was my first week in Ohio!