Friday, March 4, 2011

January- March 2011

The other post outlines all the excitement of our first day in TX, so I'll only indicate that we went downtown, had a picnic, visited the E&Y office building, saw the underground tunnels, and went to the zoo.
Bruce went to work the on the next day, I stayed home with Hailey, and so it has continued since.

Bruce enjoys his work. He has worked on two clients, Swift Energy and BP Wind. He generally enjoys his work, and his hours have been fairly good. He works 45-50 hours on a normal week and commutes about 45 min each way. He says that sometimes the traffic is really bad, and I believe him believe him because every time I ride in the car with him I feel like I am going to die of a heart attack and he assures me that "traffic is light."


We love having the boys around on the weekends, but recently they have been busy laying tile in the master bathroom.

Quiet Book
Laurel and I have had some of our own projects. We made a list of projects and have not finished, or even started all of them, but have made good progress on many of them. We finished a Quiet Book that I started a few months ago. Laurel sewed the cover for me, that's why it's so cute! You can see each quiet book page on the March 4, 2011 blog entry (Quiet Book Link).

Recover Loveseat
We began recovering the loveseat. Laurel recovered he couch a year or two ago and intended to do the loveseat, but never got to it. I helped remove all the previous fabric and learned a little about furniture construction. She sewed all the new covers and had been stapling the fabric to the frame. It's been a good learning experience, but it's too much work (or too important and too detailed of work) for me to try to do it by myself.

Paint Table
We painted the tabletop. She refinished the table and it seems to be an endless battle to keep the paint from chipping. Turns out table tops are used and abused. We slapped another couple layers of oil based paint to try and cover the chips in the old paint and to prevent further chipping. So far, it's faired better than water-based paint, but still occasionally chips. (We have the same problem with our table in Provo. I welcome any suggestions).

Paint Game Room
We painted the game room (an open room, usually located upstairs, common to homes in this area which is a sort of 2nd family room and is often used as a toy room) tan.

Alter Tee-Shirts
Laurel taught me how to alter tee-shirts to make them cute shirts, so I altered 2 shirts that she had started.




Other Happenings
Playgroup, Story Time, Preschool
Laurel and I have gone to a few playgroups with people from their ward. It's fun to get out and meet people, and especially fun to do it in 70 degree weather! We've also gone to the library a few times for "Toddler Time." They are not as animated as the Provo storytellers, but I've also heard that the Provo storytellers are fairly renowned. We started doing preschool with Claire (Laurel's 3 year-old), but haven't done it recently. Hailey would join in but usually just distracted Claire. Whoops. :)

Hailey spends hours outside, walking around the neighborhood, collecting nuts from the sidewalk, and pushing the doll stroller or the lawn mower.


Claire and Hailey Riding the Bike together.


It's the perfect age to spend winter in Houston! The weather has been mild, and occasionally chilly, but always warm enough to go outside with a light jacket. We go for walks in the morning, wander in the afternoon, and make it to a park once or twice a week. Today we even washed the car!

Ears Pierced

Rachel Ear Piercing3
Laurel talked me into getting my ears pierced, so I now have a pair of blue titanium studs in my ears. I wanted something a little more subtle, but this was the cheapest, so I'm looking forward to the 6 week mark when I can put in something that's not blue. When I was looking for somewhere to pierce my ears I was worried about sanitation. I did my research (I am an exercise scientist, after all) and didn't want to contract HIV, Hep A, B, C, D, E or any other strain they might find. Piercing guns can't be properly cleaned to eliminate the spread of infections, so I called and called looking for a doctor office to do it. There was one pediatrician, but they would only pierce their patients ears'. Anyway, I ended up going to the mall, filling out the papers at one place, asking if they use a gun (I had already called and they said they did not), she said they do (why did they tell me that they didn't on phone- I do not know), so I wouldn't let her pierce them. She was annoyed, but it's a matter of personal safety here folks. I asked at Claire's, she said they don't use a piercing gun, so I called Sarah, asked the tech again (you need to be certain about these things), and decided to do it. Laurel brought the kids in, and 2 min later it was done. It didn't even hurt, just a little pinch, and they haven't gotten infected yet, and they are almost healed.

The weather has been great for winter training. I haven't always been motivated to put on the mileage that I could (good weather, only one kid, and no time restraints means I could, and maybe should work out for hours. But I want to be in shape, not an Olympic athlete, and there are other challenges in Texas to overcome before you can run all day, like NO SIDEWALKS and 40 mph traffic!). Laurel and I do a walk/jog combo three times a week. I try to run by myself 2-3 days a week, and Bruce and I work out together on Saturday. We usually run or do a run/bike combo in preparation for our Sprint Triathlon in April. (Did I mention that Scott and Lisa are doing it and Lisa is particularly excited, so be sure to talk to her about it.) Because there are no sidewalks on major roads, I have found some very creative routes through neighborhoods, discovered a partial trail around a lake (or drainage pond, it's hard to know which), and run while Hailey is asleep if I want to run along high-traffic, no sidewalk areas.


Jaron Homecoming & Nana's Death
In January Hailey and I flew back to Colorado to see Jaron home from his mission. It was great to see family again, and especially good to see Jaron after 2 years. While in Colorado, Nana's health took a turn for the worse and she was moved to Hospice. It was wonderful to be able to help around the house and to stay the night with Nana a few nights so my Mom could get some rest. I flew home as planned, and Nana passed away two days later.

December 2010 Recap

December 2010
Hailey and I had a few adventures I thought I would include.

Hailey turned one year old on December 2! She enjoyed opening presents, but was easily distracted by the toy inside the gift, so we helped her along by hiding the toy after she opened the gift. I made her a caterpillar birthday cake.


Hailey opening presents.


Hailey and her cake. Yum!


Caterpillar Cake

Bake a chocolate cake in a Bundt pan. Cool cake, then cut in half. Use the half for the main body, and cut the second half into half again. Use one for the head and one for the tail. Frost and decorate.



She can take her necklaces on and off all by herself.


Christmas Prep


Hailey and I took a trip to Maceys (grocery store) to take a picture with Santa. Hailey was relaxed and excited to see other kids while in line, but as soon as I turned to hand her to Santa she got the most frightened look on her face and screamed. I have never seen such an expression before, or since. Santa was very understanding, so we took a picture with Hailey on my lap and me on Santa’s lap.

As Bruce finished the semester of school, I prepared the house for our extended absence by deep cleaning. When he finished finals, we prepared the house, pack most of our clothes and any personal belongings we would need over the next 4 months and drove to Colorado. We spent a few weeks in Colorado. We visited my family for Christmas and saw Ben & Michelle's family for a few days. The trip was relaxing, productive, and enjoyable.

Christmas in Colorado
Bruce and I did some work in the downstairs bathroom: ceiling patch, texture the walls, and painted. I recovered the kitchen chairs with cute fabric and plastic for easy clean up. I was teased about the plastic until someone tried to wipe their hands of the chair, and found plastic preventing and effective wipe. Turns out you need plastic to protect fabric even when the children are all teenagers. :) We repainted the kitchen to match the chairs and made plans to decorate it with a saying written in vinyl. Laurel (my sister-in-law who we live with while we are in TX) helped me write and cut out the saying.
We enjoyed a trip to the newly renovated Chilson Recreation Center. When I was growing up my parents would wake all the kids up and take them to the pool at 6 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so it was fun to see the brand new layout and additions. Hailey enjoyed being in the water and especially having cousins around!
Christmas morning was as crazy and overwhelming, as usual, and it was great to celebrate with so much family! I'm most excited to use the card table fort that Grandma Waite made, and to use my Cricut to do some serious scrapbooking.
A day or two after Christmas we went to Denver to see Ben and Michelle. Scott and Lisa were also visiting, so we were able to send Scott & Lisa with some of our presents, enjoy more time with more family, and go roller skating, .
Back to Loveland to visit my family. It's been too long now, so I don't remember what we did for the days we stayed, but I'm sure we enjoyed it. :)
Then back to Ben & Michelle's for church the morning we drove to TX. The drive went very well. Hailey slept for long stretches of time, and was cheerful when she was awake. We stopped somewhere in TX for the night, and drove the next day to get to Katy, TX, a suburb of Houston.

Quiet Book



The polka dots were hand quilted with felt as the batting. There are 2 handles (the green fabric to the right of the book) The letters were cut with a Cricut machine and appliqu├ęd on. 



The Barn

Finger puppets were made using felt bodies (sew the ears before you sew the body), a button nose, and seed bead eyes. Left to right the animals are a sheep, a cow, a duck, and a pig.





The face is all sewn to the page. The hair is secured at the top of the head, but free-flowing down the face. It can be braided, or fixed with bows, etc.




The numbers were embroidered on the face of the clock, and the foam hand were added (secured with a brad) before the face was sewn to the page. Hailey just ripped the hand off, so I’m looking for something studier than craft foam. Any suggestions?




I reinforced the mailbox by sewing two pieces of felt together. The flag is felt, and secured with a brad. The mailbox is a pocket, so you can place “mail” in it. The lid can open and close (secured with velcro).




I sewed an old pair of overalls to the page. Perfect for practicing buckling. I’d like to add a belt around the waist to practice another kind of buckling.



Cell Phone

The numbers are attached to the phone by snaps. Numbers were hand embroidered, and felt is two layers thick for stability. The “screen” is clear vinyl which allows you to put a photo of the child in the slot.



Velcro Shapes

Small shape is sewn to the page. Velcro is on top the smaller shape and allows the larger shape to be secured to the smaller shape for practice with shapes and matching.



Flower Buttons

Each colored button coordinates with a colored flower. The button is fastened to the page, and the flower is completely detachable. Child can match the button and flower color, or just practice buttoning.



Potato Head

Mrs. Potato head clothes include a purse, hat, pink heels, and red lips. Mr. Potato head had a hat, natural mouth, and yellow shoes. All potato accessories can be stored in pouch on the lover half of the potato.



Mom’s Purse.

A flower button secures the flap. A treat, or activity can be stored in the purse.