Tuesday, July 29

Rainy Days Are Sushi Days

What a glorious day in Provo. If it were like this 50% more often, I might even start to like Utah a little. It was rainy and humid and thunderstormy out today...my favorite kind of weather. Well, actually my hair and skin's favorite weather. They always look better in this climate. It's like in the 60s and it feels so nice to wear "warmer" clothes (I'm wearing capris and a sweater--eek! I love sweaters!). I even had to switch my wedding band to my middle finger (it's slightly bigger than my engagement band) because it was so "cold." Yay! By the looks of it, I may be putting on a rain jacket when we go out for a late lunch in the next hour or so.

Speaking of lunch, I am craving sushi today (well, when am I not craving seafood really...) so we are headed to the Happy Sumo for the first time today for some California rolls and whatnot. Dalin is not a big sushi fan so we may be getting mainly vegetarian rolls but regardless, that stuff is delicious and I have been thinking about it for the last hour. Dalin's at a meeting so Ten and I are waiting for him to get back.

In the meantime I am should be working on my research paper. I am so close to finishing, I need just a little more. I wish I could skip class this evening but there are only four days left so I'd better not. Sigh. But hey, four more classes (for each of my three classes)! That's two and a half weeks and I'm done!

Well, I've procrastinated working on my paper long enough. I guess it's time to get moving.

Hope you are enjoying the rain (or whatever weather) wherever you are (that was a tongue-twister;)!
P.S. Here's a pic of Ten and I enjoying the rain on the back porch. Tenley refused to smile for more than a few seconds so this was the best I could do. 

Monday, July 28

My Favorite Part of the Day

Tonight I have some mushiness for you. I'm just feeling particularly thankful for my AMAZING little family. I just love being with them every single day. Dalin and I had a wonderful marriage before Tenley, but I honestly feel that it is even better and so much more joyful with that little girl in our lives.

Every day, I spend somewhere around 70-100% of the day with my almost one-year old (15 days until her birthday!). We usually play, read books, nap, eat snacks, sip milk (or better yet, Silk) out of sippy cups, and watch a Disney movie or listen to Disney music. Some days, I unfortunately have a lot of homework or housework and so the time I get to spend with Tenley is lessened significantly. I dislike the (comparative) neglect toward on those days, especially when Tenley becomes cranky as a result. But one thing I have found about her, like most small children, she always is so quick to forgive.

Here are a few (okay many, many) things I simply adore that girl for:

I love how every silly game we play is hilarious to her and, as far as she's concerned, the most fun thing she's ever done.
I love how easily she laughs at her mum and dad and how she tries to copy everything we do.
I love how half the time I am not even sure why she is laughing at me, but that makes her spontaneous laughter even funnier.
I love how she dances as intensely as she does as soon as any music comes on.
I love how she even dances when we chant "Ten's a cutie, Ten's a cutie..." or something similar over and over.
I love that she loves to eat everything we eat and how she nods or shakes her head when we ask her a question even if she doesn't understand it.
I love how in the mornings she stands at the edge of her bed waiting for me to come get her and how her face gets so relieved when I pick her up and give her a million kisses.
I love how she sleeps completely sprawled out on her belly and how, when I check on her during the night, she's always in a completely different position (but always a crazy one).
I love how she asks for "ma ma" when she's sad or crying even though that sad voice breaks my heart.
I love how when I tell her to go get dad, she yells, "Dad?" with perfect English and tone (and how she does this repeatedly until he responds:).
I love how she bounces back from getting hurt or being sad so quickly. I wish I had that same turnaround time.
I love how she does naughty things that mum is always telling her not to do and how she thinks I'm just being funny and does it anyway.
I love how she is so curious about everything and when she points at things as though she's asking us to explain them.
I love how she points to our pictures of Jesus when I ask her where He is.
I love how when we're in a place without a picture of Jesus and I ask her this, she starts to point upward then smiles at me realizing I was tricking her.
I love how she brushes her own teeth and how she fights me when I try to help her.
I love how after I change her diaper, she just lays on the floor for a few minutes until she's ready to get up.
I love how she is obsessed with books and likes to take them down one by one off the shelf and look at them on her own.
I love how she reacts to new foods--making a sour face the very first bite, then wanting more every single time.
I love how grown-up she thinks she is already. She isn't even a year quite yet, and I cannot even understand how it's possible that she has learned to do so much in that time. It feels like she has been with us forever.
I love how she takes a nap with daddy in the rocking chair almost every day.
I love how she squints her eyes and scrunches her nose at us on occasion even though I have no idea what it means or where she even learned that.
I love how she gives really good kisses almost immediately upon asking.
I love how she sits by me when I'm sick or sad like she can tell and doesn't leave my side.
I love her sad face and sad, sad lips even though it's so perfectly sad that I feel tears come every time she does it and have to laugh to prevent them from falling.
I love how when she's in another room and I call her name and I see her little shadow hobbling toward the doorway as she peeks around to see what I want.
I love how she wants to do everything I am doing, from reading to painting, to eating, to laying down--she always tries to be involved.
I love how as soon as I open a door where she isn't allowed to go (the bathroom, the front door), she comes running to get in (or out) as fast as she can.
I love how she has to give dad a kiss goodnight or she does not sleep as well (every single Monday when Dalin works grave she struggles staying asleep).
I love how at bedtime, she puts her head down on my shoulder while I sing a primary song and say a prayer with her to prepare her for bed.
I love how when I lay her down in bed after song and prayer, she immediately rolls on her belly and goes to sleep.
I love a lot of other things about that one tiny girl but I couldn't possibly name them all in a reasonable period of time. It's hard to believe that I will ever be able to feel the same kind of love for our other children someday. I don't see how my love could multiply any further but somehow it will. In the meantime, I am very grateful for Tenley ReNae Gunnell. She is one of the three best things in my life.

Every single day, her hundreds of smiles and giggles bring me more happiness than I ever thought I could understand before becoming a parent. But my absolute favorite part of the day is every time I look up and catch her little glances at me. These moments are so special and make my heart swell with love for this Christ-like little person. Sometimes I'm doing dishes or on my laptop and when I glance over at Tenley to check on her, she is always looking at me. Her blue eyes light up and she gives me a wide smile or makes a silly face at me. Her one-year old self is so full of joy and brightness that it makes me--and everyone around her--happy.
As a side note, I was speaking today with my cousin Whitney about how a person is supposed to be the average of the five people they spend the most time with. I was explaining to her that I literally am around Dalin and Tenley something like 90% of the time, and then a vast variety of other friends, acquaintances, or classmates the other 10%. As I was thinking about this, I realized I hope that I am the average of Dalin and Tenley. I couldn't pick two better people to be like. If I were to become the average of those two, I think I'd be in pretty good shape, what with Dalin being the most wonderful husband and best friend a person could wish for, and Tenley being the happiest person I know. (I would also be in good shape if this were true, considering that Tenley is still completely innocent and perfect in her young life.) I need to better follow both of their Christ-like examples of love, loyalty, faith, and joy. And patience. Especially patience. I'm so thankful for my family and I cannot wait for what the future has in store.

Saturday, July 26

My Long List of Things to Do

I have a million things to do today. Unfortunately most of them do not make the fun list.

I'm doing three giant loads of laundry (and darn it, there are two dirty hand towels next to me that are supposed to be in there...), which is the worst thing of my life because it's a hundred degrees basically and our laundry building is two buildings away from us. Plus I have a baby who can't quite walk alone yet. The situation is lame.

I have a ton of dishes to wash. I hate dishes so much. My hatred for doing dishes by hand (which I actually used to enjoy doing before it became necessary) is only conquered by my love for cooking. If I could cook in paper pots and paper skillets I would. Alas, that technology has not yet reached America. Or any country that I am aware of.

In addition to the laundry I'm already doing, I have a pile of old clean laundry at the foot of our bed that just kind of got abandoned in favor of more interesting/important things. Like my baby. And homework. So there's that.

I need to reorganize our clothing drawers and closets (while I'm already doing a ton of folding today, why not add more?) and get rid of a bunch of shirts that I haven't worn in three years and I'm betting will not be worn in the next three years. I think it's time to give in and just get rid of them. Maybe I can sell some of them, but I'll probably just end up donating most of it.

De-cluttering. Tenley's books and toys always end up completely off the shelves and our kitchen table is more of a dump table right now. I'm surrounded by messes. I could take before and after pictures, but probably no one wants to see how bad it is right now. And who would blame them!

I need to work on (and finish!) my research paper for the Senior course, or English 495. It's not due until next Monday, but we have a family reunion next weekend so that's not going to work. I need like 5 more pages. I already have 10 or so. It's a long one. But more interesting than most research papers I've been required to write at least.

And perhaps most importantly (besides playing with/feeding/spending time with Tenley), I need to prepare my second (ever) Relief Society lesson for tomorrow. I'm so excited that I get to teach the General Conference talks. My last lesson went so well so I'm much less nervous about this one. We will see how it goes though. Our Relief Society room is really hot.

So that's kind of it for now. I wanted to show off the necklace I painted and put together for Tenley's birthday/for our plane ride to New Hampshire. It's pretty cute. But I'll do that another time.

For now, I've got to figure out which item on my list to do first before Tenley wakes up from her nap!!!!

Have a nice Saturday, everyone.

Saturday, July 19

Phrases I've learned while living in the west.

If you don't know me personally but were aware that I'm from New England, you might have suspected that I possess somewhat of a New England accent. But if you do know me, you should know that this is not the case at all. My grandparents and a few select family members are another story...I never even really noticed/cared about the Boston accent until I moved west and now listening to it irritates me just a little bit (Why can't you just pronounce your R's?!?!).

I personally feel that I have exceptionally good English (but only because I'm an English major) and the only thing that some people find odd about my speech out here in the west is how I say "aunt" the way it is meant to be said, "aunt" (I didn't change the spelling because the spelling tells you how to pronounce it) rather than "ant" which, as far as I've known since I was a child, refers to a tiny insect that lives in a colony in a sandhill that is known for raiding picnics. Apart from that little clash in pronunciation, there are a lot of phrases I've noticed that are used out in the west that I had never really heard used in the same context in the east.

Out west they say a car was in a "wreck" or "wrecked" instead of in a "crash" as we say in the east. We rarely seem to use "wreck."
In the west, something is "clear up the hill" or "clear out of here" instead of "way up the hill" or "wicked far away" as an easterner might say. It's a strange use of clear, but I've found myself using this phrase once in a while because, especially at BYU-Idaho everyone from around there says it.

In the west it's "pop," in the east it's "soda." (Haha, click on the word to see the google image results of each word.) I could never get the hang of calling it pop. I tried it once and I didn't even know what I was talking about.

Out here, everyone refers to the cardinal directions when giving directions (like everyone in Provo knows the mountains are in the east and Salt Lake is north of here). If you did that in the east, no one would know how to get anywhere because there are so many trees you can't hardly see any distinguishing markers. We have to use landmarks and road names, like "It's just past the gas station on the left, and you'll see a big red church before you turn."
I feel like there should be a person standing in the middle of this scratching his head about which direction to go.
Easterners called driving in circles in the snow "donuts" and out here in the west they call them "cookies" (which I don't understand because donuts is a much more accurate depiction of what they look like in my opinion--I'm mostly teasing Dalin and his friends with this one). Also, if you google search, "spinning cookies" instead of "spinning donuts" nothing relevant comes up. Maybe it's just a western Idaho thing, but it's still weird to me. (Dalin claims that it isn't his fault he spins them so tight that it's more like a cookie than a donut, but I know that's an exaggeration;)
It looks like a donut to me.
So, sadly, that's all I came up with in the last two days, but I know there are more out there. Help me out, friends!

What are the weird things westerners say that I have not already mentioned?
What about the east coast? (I know we have our weird things, too, like using "wicked" and whatnot...)

Hope your day is going better than mine--I'm stuck at home car-less (which almost means food-less) with a little terror of a toddler (she's only a terror because of how destructive she is to our house in a matter of minutes) and working on (well, trying to) a 15-page research paper draft that is due Monday. Eek!!! Plus, Dalin works literally all day today and tomorrow so I'm completely on my own here! Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 17

Pool Day and Summer Musings

We went to the pool today as a family. The Scera pool in Orem. We paid $6 for Dalin and I each, and then paid for a swim diaper and plastic cover for Tenley (under one-year olds are free!) It was a blast. We left our house in shambles (but for real, it's pretty horrible right now) and just spent part of the afternoon at the pool before our evening classes. Tenley was awesome! She crawled around in the shallow water of the kid's area and even went into deeper water on her own. She stood up by herself several times (though the waves of all the crazy kids around her would knock her over) and even walked to us a few times! She still hasn't taken more than three steps on her own, but in just the last two days, she's gotten very brave. I'm so proud of her!!!! It's so exciting to see her joy at being able to walk (and impress mom and dad--clearly--from our reactions). If I wasn't in school, I would have wanted a season pass to the pool but at this point, our schedule for the rest of the summer is so full there is no way.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few photos taken from today!

Besides school (which ends with finals on August 14th--less than a month!), we have a Gunnell-Hill family reunion coming up the first week of August, plus my birthday the 9th, Tenley's birthday the 12th (and hopefully a little combined party for her and her friend, Audrey on the 8th), my best friend's older brother's wedding on the 8th, leaving for New Hampshire for two weeks on the 18th, our third anniversary the 19th, and then fall semester will start for Dalin and I'll be so grateful to welcome the cooler weather and--one of my favorite things in Provo--the Farmer's Market which will return on Thursdays! Can't wait to purchase myself some delicious homemade kettle corn...

Anyway, August is crazy--it always has been for my family with four birthdays in our immediate family, and several extended family member birthdays. We get kind of sick of cake. But speaking of birthdays, I'm thinking I want to stick with a rule for our kids (especially because I want to have so many;). I think the four gift rule (as seen on Pinterest) is a wonderful idea. My parents were wonderful and really spoiled us and I've always been grateful for their thoughtfulness and for making our birthdays and Christmas so special, but they also had only three kids. And I want more than twice that. And realistically, we're probably going to be lucky if we can even afford to have that many (which is Dalin's main concern so we'll see where we end up;).

In case you haven't heard of the four gift rule, there's a little rhyme for it that goes like this:
Something you want,
Something you need
Something you wear
Something you read. 

There are dozens of reasons why I like this idea, but mainly I want my kids to be grateful for what they have and to realize that material things are less important than time spent with family. So far, I have no clue what we're getting Tenley (the hard part about the something you wear one is how can anyone choose just one perfect outfit??) but I am excited to look and hopefully find something really good that she will love. As for cake, I'm sure we'll at least get her a cupcake or something (I call getting an ice cream cake for my birthday;) and maybe a real cake for her party that my close friend Hillary and I will hopefully have time to throw! 

Well, I'm very excited about August arriving so quickly here, and I hope I manage to make the most of July (particularly as far as schoolwork and housework are concerned) and that you are having a wonderful July as well! 

Do you have any plans for August or the end of this month? 
What is your family's busiest month? 
Doesn't it always seem like the most "fun" months are the briefest? August is always that way for me. 

Until tomorrow (or later, we'll see how busy I am;), 

Wednesday, July 16

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag (Just 3 Ingredients!)

Today we made ice cream in a bag. And what the heck, it's flipping easy! I could make it every night if we had enough ice and heavy whipping cream!

Probably a lot of you have used this method before, maybe in like first grade or for Family Home Evening or with your roommates at BYU-I (that's where I did it the first time), but it's probably even easier than you remember it. Seriously, I did it as a completely last minute thing and it came out AMAZING so I guess my poor planning didn't influence the ice cream quality;)

Anyway, if you want to make some tomorrow, or this weekend, or heck--tonight--here's what you need:

Mix 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream in a resealable sandwich bag. (If you buy a half pint container of it--it's the tiny purple one at Wal-Mart--that equals 1 cup, so you can make two bags).

Add 1 tsp. of vanilla extract (or peppermint might be good if you have that!) to the bag.

Then mix in 2 1/2 tsp. sugar (I used regular granulated) and slosh the bag around to get the sugar and extract mixed in well.

Then you put your little bag with the ice cream mixture (sealed nice and tight!) in a sealable one-gallon bag filled about 1/2 of the way with ice cubes and 6 Tbsp. coarse salt. I do not know if regular salt is good enough. But since the risk you're taking involves ice cream, I'd probably play it safe. Or have a back-up plan.

Then, you seal the little bag in the big bag and shake them for about 5 minutes! I shook mine for 6 just to play on the safe side and my ice cream was pretty hard when I checked it! I had to use an old t-shirt in our car (we made our ice cream on the ten-minute drive home from Dalin's workplace) to hold the bag in my hand because it was FREEZING with the ice, plus the salt which makes it colder.

After the first two minutes of shaking the bag in the air I was thinking, Man, I don't think I can last three more minutes, so I bounced the bag up and down against my seat instead repeatedly. And like I said, when I checked on it (P.S. your hands get really salty when you touch the outside of the small bag), the ice cream was hard! I was going to scoop it out into a bowl but after having one bite, I knew I was never going to make it.

So the one sad part of this story is that I didn't get any pictures because the ice cream was so delicious that it was gone in a flash, but I did find plenty of images on Google to borrow.
See? It looks like just an off-white liquid when you add it to the bag of ice and salt, but then...
It looks more like this by the time it's finished. It doesn't look that solid (ours didn't) but Dalin's bag felt like a rock and I admit, I was more focused on shaking mine than his so I am not sure how that happened. But once you take them out of the ice, they start to melt so it was the perfect texture when we ate it.
Anyhow, it kind of looks like this inside or when you scoop it out:
And it seriously seems to taste better because you made it yourself.

I highly suggest you try this activity with your family, friends, roommates, ward members, and so on. It's so easy that a high-energy four-year old could do it.

This ice cream was just what I needed to raise my spirits which have been down due to the stinking heat that I blogged about yesterday. I would love to hear if you have done this or plan on trying it! Also, if you have any improvements or variations, I wanna know for next time (which may be tomorrow;).

Have a lovely evening,

Tuesday, July 15

Summer Heat, Fall Wishing, Family Loving

It has been a pretty great day. Exhausting, but I'm always exhausted these days. The heat around here has been crazy. I hate the dry heat like nobody's business. My skin gets horribly dry, no matter how much lotion I lather on--my legs, elbows, face, hands, my heels (ugh!), and my lips--which is probably the worst. I seriously wear so much chapstick but then I wake up in the middle of the night with my lip splitting from the dryness of the air. Oh man, and walking to campus in the hot, HOT sunshine? Uphill. With a big hunk of a stroller. When it's 97-degrees (like it was today). Forget it. I thought I was going to die of heat stroke but after sitting with my head down in the BYU Bookstore for like fifteen minutes and drinking some sips of water I finally felt better. But I was kind of scared I was going to have to have Dalin come get me and Ten.

Perhaps this is why my Pinterest has been engulfed by autumny-Halloweenish stuff the last week or so. I just can't wait until the weather cools off a bit! And fall is just wonderful, anyway, of course. Especially when I won't be attending school (I'll just have some online classes left and they're mostly fun:). Summer used to be my favorite, but when the nearest ocean is like ten hours away--driving--it starts to seem less fun. Maybe it's also because I'm in school, too, when I'd rather just stay home with my Tenley. But I love fall, and kind of wish we could be visiting New Hampshire in October (too--I'm not about to trade my August flight--) so I can show Dalin the ridiculous foliage there when it changes color. (I mean, it's bound to be ridiculous though since the whole state is basically trees). Anyway, it's wicked pretty (I haven't used "wicked" in a while I just realized!) and I know the first time Dalin sees the leaves he's going to be completely taken by the beauty. Tenley, too. I want her to stay little, but I also can't wait until she's big enough to appreciate it!

Speaking of that 11-month, 3-day old girl, she took two whole steps today! It may not sound like much, but Tenley has been practicing her balance for the last month or so (balancing without holding onto anything), and just today she tried on three separate occasions to take a step (and succeeded the third time!). We were so proud of her and kind of yelled in excitement which changed her little smiley face into "Hey, what are you guys going crazy about?" but then when I swooped her up and hugged her, she smiled again and we kept breaking into applause for her. It's an exciting time! I can't believe she may be walking like a little human by the time we go to New Hampshire in about a month! It's going to be so fun! She's such a smart girl, too. She understands way more than she lets on. When I was reading to her this evening, I kept asking her to point at the animals and she did it almost every single time without any help from me.

Anyway, for those of you tired of hearing me brag about my baby, thanks for putting up with me, and I'm sorry I'm such a whiner about the heat. I feel like I have justifiable reasons, but then, maybe I'm just not used to this crazy weather we've been having every day.

Well, Dalin and I are sitting outside on our back porch right now, soaking in the (coolish;) 81-degree weather we're having (honestly it feels more like 70 which I am totally happy with). And pretty soon we'll probably head to bed and talk until we fall asleep. Being married is the best. I mean, being single was okay but I do not miss it really at all. I am so thankful for my husband and my daughter. I'm thankful that they--my family--are my best friends.

It's a lot of fun.

Also, I let Dalin throw water balloons at me (and Tenley kind of...she was nearby) when he got home from work day after working a 24-hour shift. I did not anticipate his aim being that great from our second story porch down to the lawn, but my jeans got pretty soaked. Anyway, Tenley was a little confused why she got splashed a few times, but she didn't even mind haha. Probably because I used warm water to make the balloons. Anyway, happy day tomorrow!
Oh, and one more p.s.--we watched the Bachelorette tonight while eating Outback takeout and I was ticked that Andi sent Chris home but we're hoping he's the next Bachelor so it's okay. And Nick is not our favorite. In fact, he's kind of gross. So go Josh! 

Monday, July 7

My (Almost) Eleven-Month Old and Our Day-to-Day

Some days, I just feel like I need to blog.

Today I mostly felt like I haven't blogged in so long that I might forget to do it ever again if I didn't use my short span of free time to write something. Basically, I went to class this morning--my Senior course and was so grateful we got out an hour and a half early because I just missed my baby. As soon as I got in the door (after taking a moment to recover from the ridiculous 95-degree weather we are having here--blah) I asked Dalin, "Where's Tenley?" and then snuck into her room to watch her sleeping and tickle her little bare back (it's hot in her room, even with a fan directly on her). She is just an angel and some days, like today, I just have the urge to pick her up out of bed and snuggle her. Of course, I resist 98% of the time because I usually regret waking a sleeping baby but it's hard when you just want to hold that little person you've made.

So anyway, she woke up like ten minutes later much to my mutual dismay and delight, then when I collected her out of bed and gave her a giant hug and kiss, she pointed right at the picture of Jesus on the wall by her bed. I said, "That's Jesus, Tenley," which she knows because I've told her before. Then I held her against my shoulder while she looked at the picture for a moment, then I asked her, "Where is Jesus?" and Tenley, in her infinite eleven-month old wisdom, pointed directly at the picture and made her mum so happy. I am so thankful for this little person in our lives who helps us become better people. She makes me want to be better and really try to be the best mom that I can be for her.

In five days, Tenley will officially be eleven months old (although she was due on the 5th so she is pretty much there). She crawls very fast and walks along furniture like a pro. Her balance (standing without the support of anything) is ever-increasing and it so exciting to watch her gain confidence in herself.

She eats like a bear, and seriously is always ravenous. It is not often that she is not interested in eating. She loves putting everything in her mouth. Especially if it is not food or if it is disgusting. I obviously prevent this as often as possible, but those little toddlers are fast. Especially if they see you coming to stop them, they'll shove stuff in their mouths even faster.

Tenley loves talking. She babbles all day long and is happy to yell to let us know when we are not giving her food fast enough. She is starting to point out things she notices and it is really cute. We don't know where she learned it because we never taught her to point that we recall. Her "wave" goodbye is the cutest thing ever. She opens and closes her hand and sometimes rocks it forward and back. She does it whenever we tell her to wave goodbye. She also claps her hands when we tell her to and gives us high or low fives, which she thinks is funny. Before bed, when I started singing "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam!" and bounced her on "beam" she used to giggle every time, thinking it was pretty hilarious.

A typical day with Tenley (minus school and other interruptions that happen throughout our week) goes something like this:

5:30AM-6:30AM  Tenley wakes up and cries for Mama. Mama eventually wakes up enough to get her and bring her into bed with us to nurse her and snuggle her. She sleeps (somewhat restlessly unfortunately for Mom and Dad) in our bed for the next couple of hours until she is starving.

7:30-8AM  Mom puts Tenley on the floor to hopefully distract herself while Mom continues to try sleeping. Tenley gets into everything in the meantime, including (if one of us made the fatal mistake of not shutting the bathroom door all the way) getting into the bathroom to touch everything.

8:30AM  Finally, Mom gets tired of hearing Tenley tear everything off the shelves and ruining books, and gets up.

8:30AM-9:30AM  Mom gets dressed and ready while feeding Tenley various snacks and spoonfuls of rice cereal and sharing Mom's breakfast with her. No food is mine alone anymore.

9:30-NOON  Mom tries to relax and rest while Tenley plays and takes the house apart again.

NOON  Mom cleans up the house and within an hour a bomb goes off and the house is dirty again. (This is why we avoid eating or doing anything with anything because everything gets destroyed when we do stuff).

1-3PM  Mom tries to put Tenley down for a nap. Lasts an hour if I'm lucky, and meanwhile Mom, who fully intended to clean while Tenley was sleeping is too exhausted to do anything except lay on the couch and do some homework, or check my email, or watch TLC.

3-5PM  Tenley wakes up and Mom realizes nothing got done in the last three hours. She tries to make a dinner that is somewhat healthy and requires two utensils or less to minimize damage to the kitchen. She eats, but every other bite (or more often) she is interrupted by Tenley who wants me to give her another bite or a sip of juice.

5-7PM  Mom attempts to do more homework or reading while avoiding a cranky, needy baby who knows that bedtime is around the corner. Finally, Mom gives up and gets herself some ice cream and milk to share with Tenley while they rock in Daddy's chair and watch TV. She also reads to Tenley and then organizes Tenley's toys while playing a game of her own invention (toss all the small plastic animals in the bin from two feet away). Tenley gets interested in what Mommy's doing and immediately pulls all of the animals back out of the bin.

8-9PM  Tenley and Mom wind down for bedtime and read a nighttime book, brush teeth, say a prayer, sing a primary song, and then Tenley is put in her bed with the fan on because it's hot in there in the summer.

9-11PM  Mom celebrates having the house to herself for a few minutes and then cleans up the front rooms the best she can. Before long, she starts missing Tenley but knows better than to wake her up. Mom checks on Tenley two or three times to make sure she is breathing because Mom is a worrier and she misses her baby. Mom gets ready for bed, Dad finally gets home from work, and they read and watch TV before bed.

Do it all again the next day. It's a pretty great life. And Tenley is really my little best friend and I'm so thankful I get to spend almost all day every day with her.

Well, I have to go to my other class now. I'll be back to play with my girl in 2.5 hours.

I can't wait until I can stay home all the time with her!

Have a great Monday, people!