Tuesday, September 4, 2012


There have a lot of adventures and changes recently.

Over Labor Day weekend Bruce had Friday and Monday off. We had planned to go to the beach on Friday but there was a chance for rain due to Hurricane Issac, so we postponed until Monday. On Friday we
Monday we loved the beach. It was a hot, sunny day. Bruce and I bought 2 body boards to ride the waves, but the beaches near Houston have small wave (because the ocean floor does not drop off for something like 8 miles off the coast). Without significant waves we didn't do much actual body  boarding but enjoyed trying to catch the waves. It was great to have Kevin and Laurel with us. We took turns watching kids and going out on the body boards.
Hailey and Claire played in the sand, ran in and out of the water, and collected sea shells. Hailey became comfortable with the beach and did a little wandering while Bruce and I were out on the body boards. As Kevin and Laurel retold it, a man came asking if they were missing a little girl. Kevin and Laurel say no because they had accounted for all the children a few minutes before, did a double check after the questioning, and realized Hailey was gone. She didn't even know that she was four tents from home because she was "looking for Claire." McKayla also enjoyed the beach. I took the front pack (Baby Bjorn) and she rode in the front pack while I hold Hailey's hands (the waves would tip her over every time I released one hand) in the water. She also liked eating sand. Th to cool off. The water was warm and a refreshing way I applied sunscreen twice and still had a good burn the next day. The rest of the family also had some color.
The most dramatic event of the day was an animal attack: Kevin was coming in from body boarding, walking in the water a short distance from shore when he felt a pain in his heel. When he got out of the water his ankle was bleeding significantly. He was likely stung by a sting ray. He was in quite a bit of pain so we went home shortly thereafter.

Saturday the bishop called to see if he could come visit to get to know us better. He did stop by and we had a good chat. He also called me to be the Beehive Adviser, so I'll be working with the 12-13 year old girls. I'm excited. The bishop said he doesn't usually give calling until your address in in the ward (while we're living with Kevin and Laurel we're in the Katy 1st ward boundaries. When we move into our house we'll be in the Westlake Ward), but the Young Women Presidency was being reorganized and the president said that I was the person for the job. It's notable not only for the location issue, but also because the president and I had never met. It was fun to meet some of the girls Sunday and even more fun to chat with them at the activity on Wednesday.

Wednesday we made stuffed pumpkins from fabric. It inspired Laurel and I so the next day we made our own decorative stuffed fabric pumpkins.They kind of look like this. I loved them but then Bruce said he didn't love them so now I just like them.

Last week we drove by the house and the lawn had grown into a forest. We asked the home owner if we could mow the lawn and went to Home Depot to buy a lawn mower. A Toro Personal Pace lawn mower was on end of season sale and reconditioned, so further discounted. We bought our $400 mower for $200! So exciting. I just LOVE a good deal. Bruce mowed the front Monday night but we ran out of daylight so Tuesday I rode my bike to the house (4 miles) with the girls in the bike cart to mow the back. It was so long that it still looked terrible. Saturday we mowed again, edged, trimmed, pruned, and weeded. It looks pretty good.

Thursday afternoon Bruce got word that he would be traveling for work the week of Sunday, September 23- Friday, September 28. He leaves Sunday night and will return late Friday night... We were scheduled to close on the 28th. We couldn't do it as planned if Bruce is gone, so we started calling to find other options. The best option was to close the 21st so we check to see if the loan would be ready then. The loan officer said they can have the paperwork for the loan ready for Friday, September 21 so we'll be closing on our house on September 21, 2012!

It's weird. So far it's been "We're closing someday, just get comfortable and wait it out." But now it's, "We're closing in 7...6...5... days." There is so much to do. I need to get the kitchen table sanded, stained, and varnished. I need to repack some boxes. I need to... well, that might be all and it's not really that much, but it seems like it crept up on us.

Today we went to the train park. The kids enjoyed it, and I enjoyed a game or two of tag and hide-and-k. When we got home Hailey was tired and a little irritable. She and Claire were arguing so I told Hailey she could be happy downstairs or find somewhere else to cry. I was making sugared almonds, so when the crying stopped I forgot about the incident. About 15-30 min later Claire went looking for Hailey. I realized I hadn't seen or hear her recently and went looking. We couldn't find her. I checked the whole house. I checked outside, I got in the car and drove around the neighborhood. She's not known for running, but she does occasionally chase after Dad or Mom when we're leaving, or at the beach she got herself lost while looking for Claire. The biggest problem isn't the running, but the fact that she doesn't know that she's lost when she is lost. Anyway, I can't find her, I've looked every where I can think. Laurel's knocking doors asking the neighbors, another lady starts driving the neighborhood, so I go back inside to do a triple-take. And sure enough I find her....

asleep in the cupboard with the doors closed, and oblivious of her concerned mother. It was a bit of a scare, but funny since we found her.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Real Job and Break-In

Last night someone broke into our car and stole our GPS and $40 cash from the coin tray. Jerks. We thought we locked the doors, but there is no sign of a forced entry so we must have forgotten. Some of you are thinking, "Well, if you don't lock your doors, you get what you deserve." and I see your point, but it doesn't change that feel violated. The timing was too bad, we're new to Houston and are still learning how to get around. Thanks a lot punk.

Well, beside the theft we've enjoyed the last few weeks in Houston. Bruce started work last week. He had a few days of introduction to Ernst & Young and spent last week doing auditor training- I guess they think that 4 years of college just wasn't enough. The training is painfully boring- poor guy.

Last week we celebrated our 4 year anniversary. Our anniversary is the same day as our neice and house-mate, Claire Sommerfeldt's birthday, so we celebrated her birthday (complete with Barbie cake and Barbie bookcase doll house) on our anniversary and went out a few nights later. We went to dinner at a Brazilian grill. Arriving was a little stressful for me. It was back in the GPS days, you know,  before our GSP got ripped off, so I was following the GPS in downtown traffic and got forced off the freeway, was already late, etc. I picked Bruce up downtown and we went to dinner. Our tardy arrival was no issue. It was a good dinner- Tucanos style- though the atmosphere and salad bar were a little lacking.

Yesterday Bruce took the Regulation (Tax) CPA exam. Hopefully he'll have a passing score- find out in a few weeks. After his test, he and Hailey went on a daddy- daughter date for lunch and then to the gazebo by our new house to read the book from her kid's meal. She thought it was pretty rad.

We have started attending our new ward. I stayed with Hailey for most of nursery the first week and this week I didn't stay at all. She cried for a few min, but calmed down and enjoyed it overall.

This week the nursery leader called and Hailey will be doing preschool with her son and 3 other kids (5 kids total for the math-challenged). I'll teach once every 5th week. Should be really good for her. I'm excited to get to know some other mom's.

We also went to a play gathering at a splash pad with the ward. It was fun for the kids and will be a good way for me to meet some other people in the ward.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The 2nd Look

Since we won the bid on the home Laurel and I have been planning home layout and decorations. Viewing the home was a little rushed- we only saw the home once before we made and an offer- so we didn't know all the exact dimensions, current room colors, or other details. Tonight we were able to walk through again while the inspector was finishing and we're beginning some real plans. Kevin and Laurel took measurements and matched palette colors to actual wall colors while Bruce and I talked to the inspector. Most of the house is creamy color with the master, one kid bed, and the half bath are a blue-grey. Updates to come.

The inspection went pretty well and the loan paperwork is moving forward. We plan to close on September 28, 2012.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Texas House Hunt

We’re currently looking for a home to buy in Katy, Texas, a suburb West of Houston. Katy is 30-40 minutes from downtown without traffic and as much as an hour or hour and half with rush hour traffic. Bruce’s brother, Kevin lives in Katy, so we lived in Katy for a few months last year. It’s a nice community with houses in our price range. We’re looking for a 4 bedroom, 2300+ sq ft home on a lot that is 6500+ sq ft. We’ve seen a few that we like, but noting that blows us away, so we’re waiting for more homes to go on the market.
It’s hot in Houston. Yesterday we went for a walk and according to the iPhone app, the temperature was 96 degrees, 48% humidity, “feels like 103 degrees.” The kids don’t seem to notice much and I don’t usually mind- once you’re drenched in sweat it’s all the same.

Unpacking the truck went well. Bruce, Laurel, and I did most of it in about 3 hours. Some of the furniture took a beating. Both couches that I recovered have tears from the tie down straps, so I’ll have to partially strip them and recover them. Our other couch has a hold in the back from the scooter muffler rubbing it. I’ll have to try to find material if I ever want the back in the open. I was pretty ticked when I saw it, but I have the fabric for the recovered couches and hopefully it goes quickly.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3, 2012 Update

McKayla is on the brink of crawling. Early last week she started pulling on the carpet to belly-scoot to reach toys. Today she was up on her knees and stood on her feet while her arms were in crawling position. I didn't have the heart to tell her that walking on your feet is pretty much pointless until you can balance without both hands on the ground, but she'll figure it out when she's being chased by something really big or scary. Maybe by end next week she'll have crawling mastered.

She sits with moderate proficiency- meaning she still falls over when she tries to do something else at the same time, but if she's only concentrating on sitting she's got it. 

McKayla has also discovered the joy of eating- though the size of her thighs might make you think she discovered that joy long ago. She eats a few bites of vegetables before she decides she should wait to see if something better is brought out. I'm a sucker, so I usually do bring out some fruit and she gobbles that up. Hailey like to help feed her and can always make McKayla laugh when she is in her highchair. They are good friends.

When Hailey is not helping with McKayla she loves to ride her trike, play with Sparky, the dog, tote her doll around, and act like an adult. It's pretty cute when she says, "I don't like tomatoes" at the dinner table, or when she says, "O, shoot." One night we were putting her to bed when she said, "Close the door all the way so a bad guy won't come in and say 'hi'." -Cause when a bad guy goes in her room, I'm sure he'll be saying "hi."

I am working for Utah State University and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District scheduling free evaluations for residents' sprinkler systems. My job primarily consists of phone calls to schedule and confirm, but I occasionally do water checks and have a few other work tasks. One day Hailey was playing with Bruce's phone and said, "Hi, I'm with the water checks," which is similar to what I say when I call people to schedule a water check for them. Pretty cute.

When I'm not doing water check stuff, I'm taking care of the kids or making stuff to sell at the Farmers Market. We currently sell aprons and missionary plaques, but plan to broaden our sales to other kitchen related items- a recipe stand- and whatever other ideas we come up with and can produce by Saturday. Ideas welcome.

Bruce makes the missionary plaques, has been refinishing a dresser for the girls, studying about 30 hours a week for the certified public account (CPA) test, and doing sprinkler repair. It's nice to have him around, though for both being at home we don't always see much of each other. We often will switch-off who is watching the kids while the other one works/studies. The setup has worked well thus far, particularly since Lisa is often around to help with the kids.

Hailey has loved living with Grandma and Grandpa Sommerfeldt. The first thing she asks every morning is, "Where's Grandma." She eats the same breakfast as Grandma, cottage cheese, yogurt, fruit, and cereal, and often insists that Grandma make it.

Hailey love to read and have one-on-one attention. She's very independent which occasionally gets her into trouble, but generally works out well for all of us. She tests her limits, which makes me tired, and Bruce is better at reasoning with her, but overall parenting her is an enjoyable experience.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Colorado, Canada, and the Basement

I took a trip to Colorado April 12 to April 17 to visit the Waite's in Colorado. Bruce had finals exams, so he stayed home. The drive went well. Grandma Lisa wrapped a few toys and snack in wrapping paper and Hailey was able to open them during the drive. She thought it was great and got this really excited face every time she opened a new present.
It was great to see everyone, including Sarah's new baby, and to spend some time together. We drove Eric back to Provo with us. He stayed the night with us, and on Wednesday we took him to the Missionary Training Center. He will be there for 3 weeks before going to Santa Rosa, California.

As soon as we dropped Eric off, we returned to our apartment and started packing our apartment. We took one load of stuff to Mapleton, put the girls down for a nap, and ended up staying the night. We moved and cleaned the rest of the apartment on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Scott and Lisa were a great help with the moving and the cleaning. It's exciting to be moving on... even if it is just to Bruce's parents' basement.

We drove to Lethbridge, Canada to visit Grandma and Grandpa Sommerfeldt (Bruce's grandparents). The drive was less peaceful than the drive to Colorado- both girls wanted out of their seats, were bored, and whiny for a part- but they did as well as you could expect for 12 hours in the car. Hailey enjoyed watching a few movies to break-up the trip, thanks to Sarah and Ben who gave us their old car DVD player!

We've really enjoyed out vacation in Canada. This was my first trip to Canada.
I loved touring the city of Lethbridge. Grandpa and Grandma shared interesting facts and showed us some of the sights. We saw the private golf course, the new high school, some shopping complexes, and a few of the parks. I was a little more confident that I could find my way home if I got lost on a run. -For the record, I didn't need that particular skill. Every afternoon Bruce and I studied and worked, respectively,
We had a barbeque at cousin Matt and Karen's house Tuesday evening complete with slider-style burgers and an adorable playhouse for the kids. Steve and Christy joined, Grandpa and Grandma, and us. Hailey loved playing with Matt and Karen's girl, Eva, and Steve and Christy's girl, McKenzie.

Matt and Karen came with us to visit the Canadian side of Glacier National Park. There is a small tourist area with shops and such, called Waterton. The shops were not opened for the season, so we had the park to ourselves, for the most part. It was an overcast day, so we couldn't see the tops of the mountains, but enjoyed the view of the lower mountains and the water. Hailey and Eva played near the water. Hailey took off her shoes and walked in the water, which was undoubtedly chilly, but she didn't seem to mind. Grandma, however, nearly had a heart attack.We had dinner in the only place that was open, the restaurant attached to the hotel. Lunch was slow, but delicious.

We went swimming in a Canadian pool (just the same as an American pool, it turns out). It had a rope that you can swing over the water and drop in and Bruce told me if I got Hailey to ride it, he'd pay me $10. I got close but had to wait for the rope to swing back so I could grab it which was just enough time for Hailey to grasp what was actually going on, and chicken out. They had a shallow kiddy pool that Hailey loved.

We spent the evening at Steve and Christy's place. A short drama unfolded on the trip from Grandma's house to Christy's house. The story is as follows: Hailey and McKayla were sleeping, we planned to wake them and leave at 4:30 pm. So, we got ready to go, and Grandma started fretting. Grandpa had gone to the store to buy some chocolate milk and was not back. Grandma determined that it was getting late and that he should have been back, so she worried, and paced, and muttered, "Goodness," "My Heavens." In the end, Grandma left a note for Grandpa and rode with us, fretting all the way. Grandpa showed up with the chocolate milk and all was well.  Steve and Christy are running their own toy store, only their toys aren't for sale. :) Hailey loved all the toys, especially the basement with it's inflatable bounce house, the ball pit, and the play house and kitchen... and I had some fun with some of the tactile toys for Tanner, their autistic son's therapy.

We spent one morning shopping. I bought a new pair of pants for $2.50 at Old Navy. Sweet deal. And we bought some diapers. We let Hailey spend the Canadian currency change on candy. She thought that was the best moment of the trip. That night, we tried to play horseshoes, but we  went for Chinese food at New Dynasty. It was fun, and oh so tasty.

Sunday we went to church.  Hailey was a little restless in sacrament, so she and Bruce were in and out of the hallway. I went to nursery with Hailey and slipped out for the last hour. That afternoon we relaxed and packed for our drive home Monday.

Back in Utah, we spent most our free time organizing and finding the floor in our new home. Bruce has been busy studying for the CPA exam. Bruce had been trying to get a few extra hours of study this week because he missed a few hours in Canada and next week I won't be able to work from home, and Scott and Lisa will be out of the country, so Bruce won't be able to study much. His first test is scheduled for May 31st.

My work has been going well. This week I've only worked during nap time, but next week will be closer to a 40 hour week. I supervise two teams of water conservation interns, which is a glorified way of saying that I make appointments for some college kids to go look at the sprinklers. :) I've  done water checks in the past and enjoyed the work, so it's fun to try the managing and coordinating side of it. Water checks are an opportunity for us to teach others about water conservation. My work is supposed to be setting appointments for people who have requested water checks, but some days it feels more like cold calling. People don't remember that they have requested the service, don't hear who I am affiliated with when I introduce myself, had another family member request the check, or a slew of other issues that make their reception of me less than friendly. Thankfully, that is the exception, not the rule, so overall the scheduling goes fine.

Well, Bruce will say I've already written too much, so for now, and probably for many months, adieu.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Life as Usual with BONUS: McKayla Laughs

Scrapbook Paper11
McKayla is growing quickly. She’s taken a liking to her Johnny Jump-Up toy and can maneuver it quite well. She is a master roller (front to back, hasn’t mastered the other direction yet). She’s a happy baby and particularly easy-going when she gets a morning and afternoon nap. She smiles often and LOVES to be tickled. Bruce and I have been trying to get the laugh since the beginning of February and didn’t get a giggle from her until early March. It’s a pretty funny laugh, some sort of grunting, snorting noise.
Hailey love to help with McKayla, sometime by covering McKayla’s mouth when she’s crying, or trying to lift McKayla onto her lap… which aren’t helpful, after all. Hailey is also learning some of her letter pretty well. She can recognize an “H” for Hailey, a “B” for Bruce, and “R” for Rachel, an “M” for McKayla, and an “E” for Emma (her friend). All we need to do now is find someone she knows for each letter of the alphabet.
Hailey love to read book and tires us with her frequent request. She memorizes the library books about as quickly as we do, and she can recite or “read” her favorites to us. It’s pretty cute.
We’re all excited for the warm weather to come and stay. Some of our favorite activities outside are feeding the ducks at the BYU duck pond, playing at one of the parks near our house, going for walks, and Hailey enjoys riding her tricycle.
Bruce is just finishing classes- 3 more weeks- and I am staying busy watching the girls, packing boxes, recovering the couch, and scrapbooking.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Skiing and Medicine

Getting ready at the car.

At the table where we ate lunch.

Rachel on the slopes.

Bruce on the slopes.

Last Friday, February 10, 2012 Bruce and I went skiing. It was awesome! I have never been skiing- which may be surprising since I grew up in Colorado and attended college in Utah- and I had good time. Bruce has been many times so he taught me. We rode a lift to a slope with a green (easiest) and a blue (harder than green), but the green run was closed for an event so I had to ski the blue run. It went fine. I sort of fell off the lift when I should have glided off and I fell a half dozen times on the first run, but made it down and enjoyed it. Bruce was a great coach with enough advice that I improved, but not so much that I was aware of how slow I was going. We rode a different lift and did a couple greens, then did blue runs the rest of the day. By the end of the day I was confident on blue runs, sore, and satisfied. I am trying to convince Bruce to take me again... something about the price of lift tickets is holding him back.

Hailey has done some funny stuff recently. She's had some drainage in her eyes, a runny nose, etc so we've been giving her Tylenol before bed. When we were in the car one day, she said her eye hurt. I told her we'd get some medicine for her eye when we got home. When we got home Bruce gave her a medicine cup with the medicine. Hailey tilted the cup to pour the medicine into her eye. Bruce intervened before any damage was done, but had to laugh.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

McKayla Rolled Over

McKayla rolled over! On Sunday, January 15 we were at Scott and Lisa's house. I was playing Barbies with Hailey and McKayla was on the floor beside us. I put her on her stomach and when I looked over she was on her back. I figured it was an accidental roll, so I put her on her stomach again. Then, I watched her roll over. I called Bruce into the room, put her back on her stomach, and we both watched her roll! We haven't seen her do it since Sunday, but three times in a day is pretty impressive when you're less than 6 weeks old.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

October to December

Since the last blog post was in September we have quiet a bit to recap.

October & November
October and November passed in a blur with school, an occasional sprinkler job, mowing, and regular house tasks occupying the days. We enjoyed an outing up the canyon for dinner. Thankfully we pre-cooked our tinfoil dinners, so the wet wood I brought was less of a problem. Whoops.

Hailey and Bruce around our fire in Provo Canyon.

In November, we also enjoyed a trip to Temple Square as a family. Hailey enjoyed seeing the sights.
Rachel, Hailey, and Bruce at Temple Square.


December brought a cold whether, Hailey's 2nd birthday, a new baby, and Christmas.
December 5, 2011 McKayla Camille Sommerfeldt joined our family. Ryan and Jen were married two weeks later, and my mom came to help with the girls around the wedding. It was great to have Mom around while Bruce was occupied with school. After my mom left, we spent time with Bruce's extended family. Hailey loved playing with her cousins and we enjoyed the time with family.

We spent Christmas at the Sommerfeldt's home. All of Bruce's siblings and their families were there so Christmas was much like Christmas' growing up- big and noisy. Hailey missed most of the excitement of Christmas morning because she wasn't feeling well and had a swollen eye. She snuggled on my lap with both eyes shut while everyone open presents. Eventually, I gave her some allergy medicine, the swelling subsided and she resumed her normal activities, but not until most of the presents had been opened and the other kids were off playing. Good thing she's too young to know that she missed the most exciting day of the year.

Bruce started school and we resumed normal life. Bruce is taking 18 credit hours and working. He's been working on an urgent project, so he's been working more hours than usual, but thankfully the first weeks of school have not been too demanding, so we still enjoy time with him.
I have been trying to establish a routine at home that includes housework, playgroup for Hailey, trips to the library, crafts and other activities, walks, and naps. The house is never as clean as it should be, and I'm tired more than I'd like, but overall life is good.


Hailey balancing on Bruce's hands.

Hailey's vocabulary has erupted. She loves to ask "why?" and "what are you doing?" and can communicate most anything, though there are a few occasions when we can't decipher her words.
Hailey and McKayla

Hailey had an adjustment period after McKayla was born with a touch of jealousy as she adjusted to Mom's spit attention, but after a week or two she adapted. Hailey loves to help take care of McKayla. She gives her a bottle, rocks her rocker, get the diaper and wipes for Mom and Dad, and holds McKayla on the couch. Hailey also lifts the car seat from the couch to the floor when McKayla is in it, covers McKayla's mouth when she cries, and assists in less helpful, but cute ways.
Bruce and Hailey reading a book. Hailey LOVES to read.

Hailey blowing out the candles on her horse-shaped birthday cake.

Hailey loves to ride in a "big girl seat" with a seat belt, rather than in her car seat. She loves to cook food in her play kitchen, "go to work," and "go for a run." When she goes to work she puts on her backpack, gets her musical push toy, says, "I'm going to work. See you later." goes from the living room to her room and back to the living room where she announces, "I'm back." She enjoys playing with Emma. Emma and Hailey especially enjoy playing with play doh, going for walks with their dolls, and playing with "guys" (the figurines from Tangled).


McKayla has been a different parenting experience than Hailey. I remember Hailey sleeping very well, fussing only when hungry or messy, and being an easy-going baby. McKayla is in the process of learning how to sleep well, must be burped and kept upright after feeding, loves to be held, and occasionally puzzles me with her fussing.

McKayla resting.

McKayla had trouble gagging in the hospital, so when we brought her home we had her sleep in our room. That's sweet, but I'm not a co-sleeper. Babies are noisy and it seemed that I was either awake feeding, burping, and changing her, or I was awake listening to her periodic gurgle, gasp, or grunt, hoping she wasn't choking. After a being home a few days she was no longer gagging and would have been moved to her crib, but by then Grandma Waite was in town and held her at night. That was wonderful- it relieved me of the noise making, allowed McKayla to get the snuggling she wanted, and limited my night waking strictly to feedings. After Grandma left we slept at Scott and Lisa's, so McKayla joined us for part of each night.

Grandma Coleen Waite and McKayla. McKayla is wearing the blessing dress my that Grandma made for her.

She feeds about every 2 hours which is tiring for me, particularly since she had to be burped. By the time I wake up, feed, burp, and soothe her back to sleep, I'm only a hour and half away from the next feeding. When the holidays ended, we returned to our apartment and McKayla would start the night in the crib, but I would often fall asleep on the couch while feeding, or while soothing her back to sleep. These days I spend most of the night on the couch with McKayla, but she's getting older, so hopefully she'll start sleeping better.