Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where are you from?

this is a question I have been asked my whole life, yet I still have no good answer. I get all flustered and try to pick something based on the day I'm having. The reason is that for me, there are many possible responses to this question depending on the meaning:

Where I was born... Maryland
Where I graduated from High School... Japan
Where my parents grew up... Utah
Where we just moved from... South Dakota
Where we live now... North Dakota
Where I lived the longest... England
Where I want to live...Washington or Colorado
Where I met my husband... Japan
Where I went to college... Utah & SD
My favorite place... Japan
My earliest memories... Germany
My state of residence until I turned 18... New Jersey

do you see why I'm confused????

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Year in recap

According to facebook, I spend more time on there than my blog, so I decided to combine the two. Here are my favorite posts of 2010: (*disclaimer, they are all about Ally so if you aren't as in love with her as I am you might have Ally overload!)

-Ally is playing with the Fisher Price Nativity set, giving baby Jesus kisses, I love it!   (8:44pm December 7th, 2009)

-Quote of the day: "Ally, the plunger doesn't go in the toilet! oh...maybe it does..."   (2:11pm January 22nd, 2010)

-When Ally replies "NO" to everything, I get her to say funny things =)   (11:22am January 26th, 2010)

-wrote a reminder on my hand in blue ink; Ally keep saying "ouch" and kissing it =)   (2:54pm February 3rd, 2010)

-Ally keeps eating her purple crayon...not the other colors, just purple!   (12:42pm February 17th, 2010)

-returned to the kitchen this morning to find Ally happily smearing oatmeal on the bottom of her feet =)   (1:41pm February 26th, 2010)

-Ally is putting a tissue to Toby (the dog)'s nose and saying "sneeze"   (9:47am March 12th, 2010)

-my daughter said her first sentence today: "Ally oatmeal too!"   (9:08am April 2nd, 2010)

-my 18-month old decided to potty train herself: took off her pants, sat on the potty and filled it!   (8:38pm April 26th, 2010)

-my daughter's first words this morning: Mommy, I love you =) That's starting off the day right!   (11:12am May 6th, 2010)

-been around so many relatives lately, Ally called a random woman with gray hair "grandma" today =)   (8:05pm May 12th, 2010)

-laughed so hard today at my loaf of french bread with 2 tiny bites taken out of the end ... and my toddler with a guilty face in the grocery store line =)   (12:10pm June 24th, 2010)

-Ally's joke of the day (singing) "Five little tractors jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head"   (3:29pm July 30th, 2010)

-while playing dominoes today, Ally noticed the double zero. She became very concerned, carrying it around, looking for the dots that "fell off!"   (9:34pm August 8th, 2010)

-note to self...don't let Ally put flour in the mixer while it's going...she dropped the measuring cup which spun, flinging flour EVERYWHERE!   (7:09pm August 16th, 2010)

-in the middle of potty training, Ally decided to remove her pants and take the potty outside to sit on it! My neighbor was very amused...   (12:53pm August 17th, 2010)

-I told Ally her room looked like a tornado hit it. She looked around and said "Yes, a tomato!"   (8:16pm August 29th, 2010)

-Ally wanted me to do the "popsicle course" on Wii Fit this morning =)   

-words of wisdom from my almost-2-year-old: "boogers and poop are gross!"   (9:32am September 13th, 2010)

-raked up a big pile of leaves...and taught Ally to jump in it!   (2:11pm September 27th, 2010)

-my daughter swatted a fly with her hand today! (thanks for the hand sanitizer Chelsea...)   (9:54pm September 29th, 2010)

-Ally says "I love you Mommy...can I have a raspberry please?" with big eyes. How can I say no to that?   (4:10pm October 6th, 2010)

-A shot in each leg, blood drawn from her arm, and Ally said "thank you Doctor" when we were done!   (2:07pm October 12th, 2010)

-Ok I'm calling it...Ally is officially potty trained!   (10:10pm October 23rd, 2010)

-how I know I have been landlocked for too long: Ally saw a large puddle today and said "the ocean! I see the waves!" my poor child is deprived =(   (2:19pm November 5th, 2010)

-Ally's revelation: "Lia (the black lab) doesn't have eyebrows!"   (7:09pm November 15th, 2010)

-took Ally bowling tonight, she kept saying we were going to "the bowling"...it took me a while to realise she thought we taking her to "the bowling, Ally" (the bowling alley) =)   (10:19pm November 20th, 2010)

-pulled out the nativity set. Ally found Joseph and decided he wanted to " be a ghost for Halloween" so she pulled his cape over his head. Then she found Mary, paired her with a sheep and started singing "Mary had a little lamb..."   (8:37am November 23rd, 2010)

-I told Ally we were going shopping and she looked confused, "we already have bananas Mommy..."   (7:53pm November 26th, 2010)

-explained to Ally that the books with stickers on the front belong to the library...so she started pulling off the stickers!   (9:32am December 7th, 2010)

-The gate guard today said "Hello ma'am" Ally pipes in from the backseat: "Mommy's not a man!"   (3:30pm December 9th, 2010)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

recent projects

I helped a friend make a doll bed for her daughteran oak bookshelf for another friend's son
and a changing table for an unborn girl

I found a beat-up little table and painted it with chalkboard paint!

Another FREE dresser, too bad it was blue and red...

now look how cute it is!
Every project I intend to be my last, since I would really like to park in my garage! I just couldn't resist these last two for Ally, since we will be stuck inside to play for the majority of the next few months.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can't Argue with FREE!

Yesterday was Bulk Trash Pickup Day. Almost half the families on base are being relocated by the end of the year, and it's too cold for yard sales. So, a friend and I cruised around base looking at the opportunities. We literally had to return home to get the truck! Now, you can call me cheap, but I got everything pictured above (plus more) absolutely FREE! I also got a dresser for Ally which I am currently refinishing with girl colors and a bunch of scrap wood for my projects. Plus a pocket knife (still in the box) that J informed me is worth about $80. Not bad for a night's "shopping".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

deployments are good for my marriage

Because we are being audited by the IRS (EEK!) Josh printed out his deployment information from his career so far in the military. He has been gone a total of 873 days! I get so many comments from people about how they would not survive if their husband was gone as much as mine (or at all), so I have compiled a list of reasons that separation is good for a relationship:

appreciation of spouse - I really notice all the things he had been doing around the house once he is gone, and all the things I no longer have to do when he comes back. I find myself saying "thank you" when he takes out the trash or changes a diaper. On the flip side, it is also very nice to be appreciated for all the things I do on a daily basis.

development of personal skills - hobbies to pass the time; I have coached sports, taken up sewing, canning, etc.

independence - knowing that I CAN do everything around the house that needs to be done. I can also set a routine and do things at my own pace.

friendships - the opportunity to spend time with other people and develop those relationships that are nice to have but are not a priority when he is around.

correspondence/communication higher priority - phone calls become very important and exciting to receive, so do emails and video chat. I find myself scheduling time to talk to him, or dropping what I'm doing when he calls; putting my marriage as a top priority, where it should be.

lack of controversy - it's difficult to argue with someone over something mundane when conversations are short and far apart. The time between conversations usually puts things in perspective.

timeframe for goals/resolutions - homecoming is a great end goal to work for. I lost all my baby weight during one separation period by setting a goal and working towards it.

career support - I show that I support my husband's career when I can build a life wherever he is stationed.

asking for help - on occasion, I have had to break down and ask for help. This is a very humbling experience, but it gives other people that chance to serve.

absence makes the heart grow fonder - while separations are difficult, there is no greater feeling than being reunited with the one you love!

Now I'm not saying I like having my husband gone. I definitely love having him around (most days!) but I don't fall to pieces being alone. I had a lot of practice being apart while we were friends, engaged, and since being married.

Monday, October 4, 2010

singing child

Just in case anyone missed this on facebook:

We live on a military base, which has a flag display by the gate. I explained to Ally about the United States of America and how each one has its own flag. I then started singing (because that's what I do in the car). I sang the national anthem and also the Pledge, which I learned working in a Preschool. Ally calls it the "flag song" and started requesting me to sing it every time we passed the flags. After a few times, she started singing it herself.

Along that patriotic note, the National Anthem is played daily through speakers all across the base. At 5PM if we are outside she will stand with her little hand over her heart until the music stops. I love it!

Ally turns 2!

My wonderful sweet girl turned 2 today! I am so blessed to be her mother.

Some of her favorite things:

reading books (like Elephant and Piggie)
going to the playground, especially the swings
fruit! She could eat fruit all day, raspberries in particular
snuggling with Mommy at bedtime
cooking (we make messes together)


count to 13
sing the Pledge of Allegiance (and many other songs)
spell her name
identify about half of the letters in the alphabet
identify all the colors
a great memory for names
using the potty (95% of the time)

My favorite things about her:

how she speaks in full sentences
when she says "I love you Mommy!"
singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider every time she sees a drainpipe
how she shares with other children
when she tries to say certain words, the "s" comes out her nose (h-nuggle for snuggle)
how much she loves her Daddy
that she has enough hair to put in pigtails
she changes word in songs to be funny (Twinkle twinkle...applesauce!)

I love my little girl!

Friday, September 17, 2010

potty training!

As you can see, Ally has been working on potty training recently. We are definitely not 100%, but the end is in sight! I am very excited not to buy diapers anymore =)

Especially with my husband gone right now, I have had my hands full. Let's just say that bedtime is my favorite time of day, since she is at least a consistent sleeper.

I honestly believe that I will not be one of those people that can have many children and be mentally stable. As wonderful as my daughter is, and as much as I LOVE being a mom, I have days that I just wonder how other people do it. I am beginning to feel that there are more members of my family that have not arrived yet (at least one) but I am looking forward to a large gap in age between Ally and the next one. I really feel that it has taken me two full years to recover, emotionally and physically, from being pregnant the first time. I am finally back to my normal self and my normal activities. While I am not "baby hungry" yet, I am definitely getting closer to the idea of having another one.

I grew up in a large family and always thought that I would have one too. I love children and have been involved with groups of them in every aspect of my life. From babysitting to coaching to my degree in Elementary Education, I really enjoy working with children. In church I have always a leader of the younger generation. While my public involvement has not changed, I do like to have my private home life under control. I don't think that I have a "difficult child" but I do think that my personality requires a certain lack of chaos for me to function correctly.

Despite my limitations, I am determined to be the best mom I can be for my child.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

bountiful harvest

have I mentioned how much I love fresh vegetables?

it's thrilling to plant seeds and watch them grow into recognizable produce

(I never knew onions grew on the surface like this)

With all our wonderful fresh ingredients, Ally and I have been doing a lot of cooking. She loves to help measure, mix and of course eat!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vegas Vacation!

at Excalibur for the Tournament of Kings
fountain show at the Bellagio

ready for a comedy show (Josh got called up on stage but I couldn't take pictures!)

Josh gambling (or trying...)

our suite at the Riviera
We planned a vacation with another couple, who couldn't come due to a deployment, so Josh and I ended up spending 4 nights in Las Vegas by ourselves. My parents came to visit and stayed with Ally while we were gone. Leaving her for the first time was one of the harder things I have done in my life (and remember, I completed a triathlon the day before).
We ended up having a great time, seeing lots of shows and basically being tourists for the week. With temps always above 100 and some days closer to 115, we were literally baking out on the strip during the day, but it was an experience to remember.
During one show, Josh was the audience "volunteer" on stage, and I wish I could have gotten it on camera! He was picked on quite a bit, since we ended up in the front row at most of the shows we attended. Luckily he is not fazed by crowds of people and was very gracious about being the brunt of jokes. Of course, I was laughing hysterically with my husband on stage holding a flower in his teeth.
Our time in Vegas was a lot of fun but also exhausting. We were both ready to come home and relax after our vacation, and see our darling daughter =)
We came home to a well-stocked kitchen, a clean house and a happy daughter, so no complaints about my houseguests/babysitters!

Triathlon 2010

Due to peer pressure, I began training for a Triathlon about 3 months ago. I like to keep in good shape but I haven't trained for anything since the 5K in high school. I began by moving my workouts from the gym to outside. Luckily, the weather here in ND is perfect for morning exercise; a little humidity and not much heat.

here is my little trainer

and me coming in for the final run!

Since I did most of my training either pushing a stroller or pulling a trailer, I did fairly well when it came to the final event, which consisted of a 400 meter swim, 12 mile bike and 5 kilometer run. I accomplished my goal which was to complete it without stopping.

The group of ladies at the top are all moms in my ward. We encouraged each other and talked up the race so much that others wanted to join too!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

One year ago today

In the past year I have learned to love and appreciate so many things about living in North Dakota. I have to admit, I was not thrilled to move here. But, being the positive person that I am, I made a list of possible good things. Here is my new list:

Awesome thunderstorms

enough rain my garden grows without watering it

so many mosquitos I always carry bug spray

appreciating small things like IHOP

all the great people in my ward

all the programs for small children

the fact that I can leave my car running in a parking lot and not worry about it being stolen

the wonderful athletic facility that has rekindled my relationship with personal fitness

no traffic, ever!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Ally and I took a trip to Utah for my sister's wedding. While we were there we did some other fun things too.
Here is my cute sister, all ready to get married!

What someone did to their car...

Outside the temple, after being sealed for time and all eternity.

At the dinosaur museum. Ally enjoyed seeing all the exhibits, especially the big bones (she calls them di-so-saurs).
Ally with her cousin Leona. She acted like an older sister, showing Ally around.

Checking out the horses at grandparents house.

Of course we spent a day at the zoo. It was a little windy, but we appreciate any weather above 50 degrees so it was great. Here is a mother elephant with her baby in the background. Ally's favorite animals at the zoo were the tigers. Actually, her favorite was the random goose that flew in, but tigers were her favorite caged animal.
Now that we live twice as far away from family and make less trips, we have to cram in as many activities as possible while we are there.

miracles of life

A robin built it's nest along the fence in our backyard. Thankfully the dogs haven't bothered it so Ally and I were able to watch as four little birds emerged from the eggs. We check on them every morning as the mama bird chirps angrily at us from further down the fence line.

Here is my little munchkin who has discovered the fun part about Mom cooking.

Don't be jealous! This is just how cute she is =)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My motivation

First of all, I am the kind of person who loves projects. If it is something I can do that takes effort, I am ready. I love hard work and seeing results. I also believe that I can do anything.
In the past I have built furniture, tilled yards, erected fences, painted houses, installed sprinkler systems, and mucked horse stables. I love learning new skills and feeling the sense of accomplishment associated with work.
So when a friend asked if I was interested in helping with her garden, I was very excited and immediately agreed. Along with the garden, she has decided to raise chickens (I might have encouraged that a little bit...). With her husband gone for the next two months she really needed some assistance.
My wonderful husband already has a lot on his plate. He has a very stressful and intense job which occupies a lot of his time (and includes being on call 24/7). He is happy with his life and family but really has no interest in additional duties. He did a lot of work on a ranch growing up so he is very handy but not especially willing. Unfortunately for him, he is stuck with me...

So basically I signed us both up for some very hard work. In the past few weeks we have transformed a shanty into a chicken coop (painted red like a barn) and a weed-choked lot into a garden. I am revelling in my work while J is looking forward to the end. Being the wondeful man I married he has stuck by me but recently pleaded "Amy, please don't make any more friends with big projects!"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Am I a pushover?

I was recently part of a group in charge of making centerpieces for an activity. Somehow I ended up purchasing the supplies, growing the grass (which took 2 weeks), helping make the "eggs", tying ribbons and finishing off the baskets. Ugh!
I think I just can't say NO when someone needs help (plus it's one of my callings). The frustrating part is that my group is made up of a lot more people than the 3 who have been doing all the work.

I started with wheat, soaked overnight then planted:

It grew nicely with constant attention:

I trimmed the growth a few times

Here is the finished product:
The eggs were made by wrapping starch-soaked string around small balloons and letting it dry before popping the balloons.

The funny part about this story (in retrospect) happened when I brought the string "eggs" home to assemble the baskets.
North Dakota has an almost constant wind blowing. I usually don't even notice it anymore. I got out of the car and pulled out 3 grocery bags full of eggs, which weigh next to nothing since they are hollow.
The wind caught one bag and eggs started falling out. I picked those up and more fell from the other bags. I would pick up one and drop two more. When the wind caught them they started moving, fast. Basically they were like little tiny tumbleweeds rolling down the sidewalk, street, and neighbors lawns.
Luckily, my wonderful husband was home and rushed down the sidewalk (in bare feet) catching the runaway eggs. I must have dropped at least 30 which would have decimated the batch we had created.
At the time I was practically hyperventilating, but now I can laugh at the scene =)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

the saga of the couch, continued

After much deliberation, we decided that the couch we originally purchased was just not meant to live in our basement, so we returned it to the store (it's nice to own a truck). We then began looking for a new couch. Now, I am HUGE about comparison shopping, I love to know I'm getting a good deal. I had done my research and picked the best couch originally. So, we had to start all over, this time looking for something that could come apart, as well as fit our criteria for comfort. Unfortunately, this portability results in a more expensive couch. This is what we ended up with:

It is basically 2 recliners stuck together with a shared armrest. We can now enjoy our home theater surround-sound system in complete comfort.

The view from the couch

(cord covers coming soon)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A day in the life of Allison

I like to smear my breakfast in my hair,

then I wear lots of layers because it's COLD here!

I play at the gym while my mom uses the machines. I like to go down the slide.

I do crafts at the library...

and sit on my own carpet for story time. Then we take home lots of books!

Some days we go to the Escape Zone. There are lots of toys and friends to play with.

At home I like to have my mom blow bubbles,

I play with my dog,

and do puzzles,

and color (usually on the paper)

Then I smear food all over myself...

and get a bath.

By this time, I am exhausted,

so I go to sleep.