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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!



This morning Little Alice had a bath.

She was really loving it, kicking around and splashing water all over the floor and all over myself.

After I finished soaping down her soft little body, drying her off with her pink polka dot hooded towel, and getting her dressed I took care to brush out that one lock of dark long hair she has on the top of her head. I brushed away the little snarls, there were like 3 of them, and combed that little lock neatly to the side so she head a perfect little baby comb-over.

A couple minutes later, after the wispy strands had dried, this is what my neat comb job had turned into:



Check out that rooster tail!
And this was just how it naturally dried, it wasn't bed hair,
and it wasn't kinked from lying on the floor playing.
It just wanted to be wild naturally.


It was just so funny, and so cute, I had to document it.


I know the amount of pictures is a little excessive,
but I feel like you have to see it from
every angle to get the full effect.


Dang! It just sticks straight up.



And while we're on the topic of bad hair days, the other day she woke up and looked like this.
Talk about Madame Mim hair!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Las Vegas - The Venetian

Way back a few months ago I mentioned that we went to Las Vegas (Alice and I tagged along with Max on a business trip). I'm finally getting some pictures up from the trip, which was a really fun getaway.

I didn't get any pictures of our first night there, which we spent with some friends, Joel and Claire Wagstaff. They were living in their grandparents' home in Henderson which happened to be in the same neighborhood as Celine Dion's house!! A very very nice neighborhood, all of the homes were so grand and beautiful. It was fun to spend some time in such a gorgeous house. There was a beautiful pool in the backyard but unfortunately it had just been chemically treated so we couldn't swim in it. The house was right on a golf course though so we walked around the course a little bit and saw some more really nice homes (including a small glimpse of Celine's :) ).

The next day we checked in at The Venetian - another extremely elegant place. I'd heard that it was beautiful and that they'd tried to make it feel like you were in Italy while inside. The rumors didn't lie. This was the grand entryway.



I wanted to take pictures of every single thing and every single angle of every single thing because it was all so beautiful! They really did an incredible job in the design and building of it. The funny thing is that after walking just a few steps down the hall from this grand entryway you're in a smoky, flashy, trashy casino. Despite its beauties, Vegas is still Vegas.

There was a lot of festive Independence Day decor throughout the hotel, fresh red, white and blue floral bouquets, and banners like the ones in this picture.


A few of the things Alice and I did to keep busy while Dad was away working:


1. Hang out by one of the lovely pools.
I had her all dolled up in the cutest little flag bathing suit and sunhat.


As much as I wanted to lounge in the hot, hot sun I just couldn't
let her delicate skin stay out in the heat waves
for too long.
So our pool adventures were pretty short, but still fun.


Like everything else, The Venetian's pools were beautiful.

2. Hang out in our awesome hotel room.

It was so nice! The furniture was beautiful, the bed was oh soooo comfortable, and the bathroom was my favorite part. Mirrors, mirrors everywhere, and lots of glass. Plus even a cute little vanity for me to sit at and do my makeup.

I felt so special staying in such a nice place!
So did Alice:)

3. Walked around and explored, especially the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Alice was a trooper in her little stroller.


She was mostly really happy and content, except for a few hours when she would not stop screaming!! Actually it was quite traumatic for both baby and mom. It was our last day there and I had already checked out of our room so I was just meandering, killing time while waiting for Max's conference to end so we could go home. Alice started screaming and wouldn't take a bottle and wouldn't nurse and I had no where to go and no one to help me. I ended up going into a bathroom hoping that I could calm her down and not expose everyone to her screaming, but I wasn't able to calm her until a very very nice Venetian custodial worker woman came in and tapped on my stall and asked if I needed some help. Thank goodness for her, she had Alice calmed down and eating in no time. What a blessing it was for me, I was becoming a little panicked.


Other than that little scare, we had a great time exploring the beautiful mall.
The amazing replica of Italy continued in these lovely little shops. With the canal and gondolas flowing to the side and the blue, clouded sky overhead, it was easy to forget that we were actually inside.


It's pretty amazing what they've built inside that hotel.
There were lots of fun shops, most were waaaay out of my price range but still fun to look at.


These are some more 4th of July decorations I found in the hotel, very beautiful displays.






Alice in her cute little makeshift bed.
We don't have a pack 'n play, and she was just barely small enough to fit inside this little luggage case.
She loved it!


More outdoor Vegas adventures to come. . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Water

Two days ago the water heater in our apartment broke. I first noticed the lack of hot water when I was trying to get some dishes done soon after waking up in the morning. The water just didn't ever get nice and hot. I hate washing dishes without hot water, so that attempted productivity didn't last very long. After drying my hands off I ran upstairs to ask my landlord if he knew what was wrong, and sure enough, the water heater was broken. So, my punishment for waking up so late and taking so long to get ready was not having any warm water for my shower. Being a *fairly* new Mom, I of course didn't wake up until ten and didn't shower until noon. (I know, I'm a little disgusted with myself too) Nothing makes you appreciate the miracle of plumbing and hot water straight from the tap like a Cold, cold shower. Although afterwards i felt very refreshed, while washing under that cold water it was pretty uncomfortable. When the first stream hit my skin I gasped and realized how lucky I was. Some people do this every day! I thought to myself. But for those of us who don't, it's one of those things where you just have to bite your tongue and force yourself to get it over with.

The repairs weren't finished with the water heater until late after noon the next day. The whole water heater had to be replaced, and in order to do so the water had to be turned off completely. I take it back, nothing makes you appreciate plumbing and running water like not having it at all. Although I was given fair warning, I didn't think to make necessary preparations for having the water turned off for the afternoon, simple preparations like filling our pitcher in the fridge with water so I could have something to drink. Several times that afternoon I instinctively walked to the kitchen for a swig of water only to realize that my plumbing was off and I couldn't. All of a sudden getting a drink of water wasn't so easy. That afternoon I got pretty thirsty and my lips chapped up.

It made me think about how much I take my running water and plumbing for granted. I've never noticed the convenience of having it there, ready and available to me with no more effort than just a few steps and a flick of the wrist. How blessed I am to live in such luxury. There are plenty of people living in the world who have to trek their water in every day and only have limited amounts. And here I am, taking 30 minute long Hot showers because I can, and because it feels oh so good (usually they're like 15, 30 minutes is only sooometimes...) or a steamy bath with the tub filled up all the way. I can wash my dishes whenever I want, using hot water that I don't have to prepare beforehand. I can cook with water whenever I want, mop the floors, flush the toilet,- so many things. Being without water let me peek into the lives of some less lucky than I. It was only for a few hours, but it was annoying enough that it helped me realize what a blessing it is to have

Water.


Ode to Falafel

I found this unfinished draft in my blog posts and decided to finish it up and publish it. From February, 2011:





It was Saturday, no food in the house, at least none I cared to eat, so I went to go buy myself lunch.

My mind was set on PitaPit - nice and fresh, no greasy burger patties or overly salted french fries. It sounded light and tasty, and filling. Just what I needed.

I ordered my falafel, making sure to pay the extra dollar for hummus (how they can call it a falafel without including hummus is a mystery to me. The two go hand in hand, hardly existing without the other!) I watched her put the falafel balls on the grill, a little dismayed that she smashed them for me (understanding it would make it easier to eat and handle, but feeling that she just destroyed part of the magic and wonderfulness that is falafel). As it grilled, I looked at all the tasty condiments - lettuce, spinach, peppers, pickles, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, shredded cheese, mayonnaise and mustard, and others. But I knew that as delicious as they looked, I could never use them all on my falafel. There are precious few ingredients that go into the falafel. One of those things where Less really is More. Tomatoes, Cucumbers (theirs were sliced, I'd have prefered them cubed), Hummus, of course. And since they had it, and it was Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, Feta cheese. All those other veggies looked so delicious -- I would have immediately put them on any other pita or sandwich. But not the falafel.

I told her I wanted it to go and carried the wrapped bundle to my car, wishing I could just eat it right there, but knowing I'd enjoy it much better if I was sitting outside somewhere, on a nice lawn. It was 50 degrees outside! (It felt so warm compared to the freezing winter weather Provo was just exiting), the sun was shining, a slight breeze, just enough to tickle your hair but not bring goosebumps to your arms and legs. I went and found a park, sat on the grass and enjoyed the gorgeous February day. Maybe spring really was on its way. I unwrapped the thin decorated paper, peeling it back so a corner of the pita showed, and I took a bite.

Immediately as I chewed I was transported back, (has it really been three years?) to Jerusalem. The Old City had the best falafels! And only five shekels each! The smell, the texture of the soft pita bread and the mushy falafel balls, the slight crunch of the cucumber, the taste of the spices, and the creaminess of the hummus. What a wonderful combination, like a symphony in my mouth. Oh it was amazing.

Every few minutes I'd look up and be surprised that I was really in a big park in the middle of Provo. I half expected to look up from my falafel and find myself in a narrow alleyway, with tall, polished-creamy-white stone buildings surrounding me on all sides and stands of fruits and vegetables with purple cauliflower and Pomegranates as big as your head, bright scarves and jewelry, shoes, towers of powdered spices, gummy candies and so much more lining the streets.

The memory one bite can bring back. Falafel = Jerusalem. Though Pitapit is nowhere near the deliciousness of the tried and true Jaffa Gate stand, it was the perfect reminder of the beauty of what's in the past.

Delicious!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Big Al

I know she's what you all really want to see anyway, so here are a few pictures of her to last you until I can get some more posts up.


This one I took one morning while I was making my breakfast. I looked down at her and was shocked by how Cute she was even in just a plain white onesie. So adorable!!




George Washington hair.

She's so cute!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing



Or maybe this would be a better image. . .



Has it really been that long since I've written a post?


I've recently been feeling like I need to write more. As a means of expression as well as a way to maintain what little writing skill I developed over the 18 years of schooling that just recently came to a close.

I also just finished reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, and what with Aibileen writing her prayers out every day to maintain her writing skills and Miss Skeeter completing and publishing her book I've felt small nudgings that I, too, should write and continue writing despite not being a student anymore. Although I can't really claim many school writing assignments as works that I'm proud of (most were frantically written out at the last minute) I still feel that I learned to write fairly well. And an epiphany I came to the other day made me realize that I don't need to feel quite so bad about all those rushed writing assignments.

The epiphany is this: During my University years, and I assume it's the same for all students, I was very very Very busy. While a lot of my assignments seemed preceded by plenty of procrastination, the majority of the time I simply had other, higher priorities (like assignments with a sooner deadline). I remember my professors often talking about how they wanted to push us students to do our very best work, and that they required perfection. But all along they knew very well that no student would ever give them perfect work.

But maybe although I never felt like I lived up to my professor's expectations of perfection because so often assignments were done so close to their deadlines, maybe I did meet their expectations of me. They knew as well as I did that I had a million other things to do besides what work they gave me. So by pushing and stressing and demanding such quality maybe they got exactly what they were looking for. I think I really was pushed to do my best work. If I hadn't known that standard of perfection existed, I would have performed much poorer. Maybe all those moments when I felt doomed because I wasn't good enough weren't necessary. Because knowing that they weren't good enough was the point, sort of. The teachers required the perfection because they knew it would push us to work harder, to stress over our imperfections and worry and stay up into the night to finish and proofread. So really, even though I felt like I presented some sorry stuff, it wasn't all that bad. I tried my best. And that was all they were asking for.

So, out of all that mess of thought, what was my epiphany?? I guess sometimes I felt like I wasn't responding or reacting to the pushing and urging of the professors to do my best work. But I think now I realize that I was. Their pushing made me stress over my work and worry about it so that I knew I couldn't slap any old nonsense together and turn it in. I came up with decent, coherent arguments, although far from perfect, and used that pressure as motivation to try my hardest. Even though sometimes I didn't feel that my work was worthy of a University student, I realize now that it was. It was my best.

So I'm going to try and write more regularly, so that all that pushing, nagging, worrying and stressing between my professors and I wasn't all for nothing.