Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Ravenna!

Eating her cake...sorta

When I asked Andrew, "What can we say about Ravenna?" he replied, "She lights up our life." As corny as that sounds, it is very true. She is such a happy little girl and there is nothing that she loves more than making us laugh. I remember holding her after she was born and thinking "How on earth am I going to do this?" I feel so blessed now that Heavenly Father has magnified my abilities so that being Ravenna's mom has been the best experience of my life. Andrew and I can't imagine our life without her in it. We love you, baby girl!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Things that make me HAPPY!

Who doesn't love baby toes?

I have been feeling really icky lately; like mind/body/soul icky and I just could not shake it, so Sunday evening I visited with an amazing woman that I will simply call a "healer" because I have no idea if what she does even has a name. In Eastern medicine healing is very much focused on the channeling of the energy that is within our bodies. This woman has the ability to sense that energy and help people heal by balancing it.

You may very well be thinking "Carrie has gone off the crunchy deep-end" but I do believe that there is truth in this. During my energy massage/reading (it was really quite relaxing) the healer noticed that my energy was dominantly angry and deeply sad. Ahhh poo! She found me out. The fact that she found the anger really surprised me, but the sadness did not. Despite her best efforts, for some reason I would not let go of this negative energy. The healer said that in order to get rid of the negatives, I have to crowd it out with positives and in my experience there is no better way to do that than by sharing some things that make me happy:

  • BBC Costume dramas: Today I watched my favorite, North and South, which, is NOT about the US Civil War.
  • Growing things: Inspired by Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I picked up a ton of books on organic gardening, even with winter still going strong here in Gillette. I won't be able to use any of the information for a while, but I devour the pictures and daydream.
  • Ravenna's giggles: She is such a happy baby! I love playing with her and making her laugh.
  • Andrew's sometimes blundering thoughtfulness: He tries; he really does. Today he succeeded; I mentioned how much I liked the music in North and South so secretly he downloaded it for me.
  • Other people's happy news: I got a double dose of happy news today with a fellow crunchy mama who is expecting twin boys after having three girls, and Andrew's cousin Lisa got engaged!
Please share some of your happy thoughts with me! Funny stories, good news, things that make you smile...anything you want. Help me get rid of the negative energy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

For to make Nettie Jealous

This is Sister Peris from Lancaster, PA playing with Nettie's grandbaby not even one week ago! Jealous, Nettie? You can see Dave holding precious little Madeline in the background.

Aquarium Fun

We recently met up with Peter, Lauren and Carter in Utah and all of us decided to go to the Living Planet Aquarium. We had lots of fun! Thanks Laur-Laur, Pee-Pee, and Cart!

Babywearing in my new Mei-Tai from Etsy.
Feels kinda like sho-sho's?

To read is a lovely thing, part 1

Andrew and Ravenna love to read, too!

In February I wrote a post about how I was in love with David McCullough and vowed that I would read a number of his books this year; alas, I have been a wayward lover and haven't so much as touched one of his books! Lest you worry that I have not been reading at all, here is what I have been reading since January. And to make things more interesting I will rate the books on a graduated scale of ampersands because I like the way they look.

  • Graceline O'Malley, Ann Moore: A thoroughly enjoyable and descriptive depiction of life during the Irish Potato famine. &&&&/5
  • The Matter at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries), Carrie Bebris. For a fluff-fiction, this was a fun read. I picked this one off the end of a library shelf, which is sometimes a risky undertaking, but for all the Austen sequels I have read this one was probably the best and most creatively written. &&&&/5
  • Bride most Begrudging, Deeanne Gist. I don't like LDS fiction, but general Christian historical fiction doesn't bother me too much. Set in the wilds of 17th century early colonial Virginia, it is clean and heartwarming and yet, like most fluff-fiction, very predictable and not life-changing. The historical inaccuracies really grated on me in this one. This is a good, "I just want to relax and not think" book. &&&/5
  • Deep in the Heart of Trouble, Deeanne Gist. Another Gist, historical fluff-fiction, this time set in Texas in the first decade of the 20th century. Not bad, but I definitely liked her aforementioned book better. &&/5
  • Fire of the Covenant, Gerald Lund: This is LDS historical fiction about the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. I read this one for our wards' Relief Society book club. Because I really don't like LDS fiction, this one was painful to read at times. I dislike reading fictional testimonies and would have preferred it, as he sometimes did, that Lund use more of the actual descriptions of events from the journals etc. he used while researching the book. While he does a good job at referencing his source material at the end of every chapter, Lund is very liberal about pulling material from other pioneer journals, unrelated to these companies, in order to make his book more "exciting." Though at times stirring, I found these stories just made the book unnecessarily long. &&/5
  • The Virgin Blue, Tracy Chevalier: To help assuage her loneliness in France, an American woman delves into seeking out her French ancestors. The novel also tells the parallel story of one of her ancestors from the point of view of a 16th century French Huguenot. Chevalier does an amazing job with research in this one! It is a well-crafted and interesting read. &&&&/5
  • Rapunzel's Revenge, Shannon Hale: This is Hale's first graphic novel and though it was cute, and super easy to read, I definitely prefer her other books better. &&&/5
  • Daniel Deronda, George Eliot: For a Victorian novel, this book gets its "hands dirty" with its realistic depictions of the difficulties in the lives of women and Jews in 19th century England. Little gets romanticized by Eliot as she seeks to show the reader the contradictions inherent in stereotypes. Like most Victorian literature, this is very long and occasionally difficult to read, however, it is a very useful tool to discovering aspects of English society in the Victorian era that are often disregarded by other Victorian authors. I would give this 5/5 but due to the difficulty of reading it gets &&&&/5.
  • Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time, Greg Mortenson. This is an excellent book showing the humanity of the Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is something that has often been forgotten by many Americans since 9/11. Mortenson's mission is to educate the poor children, especially girls, of Pakistan and what he discovered was the power that a liberal education had to enrich the lives of not only the children, but the entire villages where schools were established. &&&&&/5
What is next on my book list? Well in the near future I will be reading Animal, Vegetable Miracle and In Defense of Food, I also have three self-help books that one of the women I visit teach raved about but that I have been putting off reading for the lighter stuff. Oh, and I also intend to read My Side of the Mountain. What has everyone else been reading recently? Any favorites?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A tribute to Andrew

I should probably save a post like this for Father's Day, but I like these pictures of Andrew and Ravenna. Andrew is such a great dad and he loves Ravenna SO much. I am grateful that he works so hard so that I can stay home with Ravenna and even though he is tired, he always makes time to play with and take care of his daughter. Ravenna and I are such lucky girls!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Going Green: Sewing Edition

My parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas and have been trying to put it to good use. My first project was to put new laundry tabs on Ravenna's cloth diapers, but with that done I decided to get greener and more creative. I also needed to learn how to use my machine!
These are 21 cloth wipes I made for Ravenna's little bottom. If using cloth wipes isn't green enough for you, I made them from fabric remnants I discovered in a forsaken bin at Walmart! I had some problems with zig-zagging the sides, mostly because I am impatient and did not take the time to iron the fabric or measure correctly. Consequently all of the wipes are different sizes. By the way, what do you sewing officianados do/use to cut your fabric straight? The total project cost, including thread, is under $5 for all of them, plus I still have fabric left over for my next project: a rag rug!
I know, I know, "Christmas is not for 9 months." I have heard it enough! My friend Mommy Bee inspired me to make these fabric gift bags, and they have proved be a project for learning different sewing techniques, like mitering corners. I used this site for basic instructions and then just went for it. So far I have finished three with two in the process, and more to come in all shapes and sizes. These ended up being much more time consuming than I imagined, so I kind of left off after I ran out of ribbon. My goal is to finish them by November, so I have plenty of time!

Another question for the sewing experts out there: how do you maintain your machines? How often do you oil/clean them? How do you know when you need to?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ravenna's first visit to the Beach!

Ravenna's first trip to the beach was a fun little adventure. I can't say that she loved the water that much, but hey, the Pacific Ocean is cold! Doesn't the weather look amazing though?

A little video for the far-away family

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Aaron's Wedding and "The Dress"

Ravenna and I are back from California after a lovely two weeks in sunshine and warmth. While we were gone Wyoming got a huge blizzard that left schools closed for 3 days! It took us two days to get home because of flight cancellations due to weather, but I digress.

The wedding of my brother Aaron was the main reason that we went to California. Here is my family (and my sister's boyfriend, Terry) all dressed up before the wedding. I would like to point out the red dress which I am wearing is the result of the advice of many friends based on this post. Special thanks are due to Hannah S. and J. Walker for their wonderful advice on the selection of this dress.
The wedding was in the area of Fresno, California at this lovely reception center. Despite warnings to the contrary, the weather was nice for the Christian ceremony and the reception following.
Here is the happy couple, Aaron and Pami Hettinger, nearing the end of their special day. I was not able to attend the Buddhist ceremony earlier in the day, but be sure to click here for some pictures from it and the events later in the day.

The REAL Wyoming culture

I often get down on living in Wyoming but there are some cool things about living here, like the many Native American tribes that live in the state. This picture is from a cultural festival held at the high school where Andrew teaches German. The cultural festival was actually a fun event and on an unusually beautiful day earlier in the month. We are looking forward to warm weather when there will be more fun things like this to do here... but according to the other natives, Gillette townies, we shouldn't hold our breath: "Spring" in Gillette doesn't start until the end of May/early June.