Thursday, August 25, 2011

Four Month Update - 8.25.2011

Four months. In many ways I can't believe that four months have already passed since Scott and I first welcomed little Elle into our lives, but in other ways it feels like so much longer than four months. In a good way. Not in the way that I can't remember my life without her--though it has been a year since I've had a full night's sleep, I do remember. But in the way that I can't imagine my life without her.

This fourth month has been one of great adjustment. I'm back at work full-time which sadly has been less of an adjustment for me than I think it has been for Elle. She has turned into somewhat of a non-napper and often comes home exhausted. We've moved up her bedtime and try to start getting her to bed around 7:30. It still sometimes takes a bit of a fight for her to go down, but some days she's getting better at it. We're desperately trying to get her to nod off on her own rather than rocking her to sleep but some days this works out better than others.

Unfortunately, her lack of day time sleep, or perhaps overstimulation, or maybe even the amount she drinks during the day has taken a toll on the night sleep. Instead of the seven hour stretches we were getting last month, we've gone back to five hour stretches--sometimes shorter but rarely longer.

Also because we're putting her down a little earlier, she's waking a little earlier in the middle of the night than she was. This has been really difficult and there have been a few times where I've had to shake Scott and plead "please can you give her a bottle?" Thankfully most times when I get up with her she goes right back down and is only a 15 minute process--though I'm hesitant to say that because it seems every time I vocalize a good pattern it gets broken!

But what parent doesn't battle with sleep issues some time or another? Other than Elle getting a bit fussy during the day when she doesn't have a good nap and the going to bed fight I consider ourselves pretty lucky. Though Scott and I did get a kick out of the Go the F*ck to Sleep book read to Samuel L. Jackson and I'm sure that I'll be thinking of that story many times over the next several years. Ha!

Elle seems to be a very active baby--much like her daddy with a short attention span. She's pretty content to play on her playmat or sit in her bouncy chair for about five minutes and then she's ready to move on to something new. Good news is we have lots of activities centers thanks to shower gifts and lenders from our sisters. Elle also loves being held and just being able to look around at everything that is going on.

She has gotten quite good at grabbing onto objects including her toys, her clothes, her feet, and my hair. She loves sucking on her hands and I think is trying to see if she can fit her entire fist into her mouth. Sometimes I think she succeeds. I'm not sure whether to encourage or discourage the hand sucking but I can't seem to get her to stop. She'll take a pacifier but doesn't need one and when she doesn't want it...projectile paci!

Elle is also more vocal--cooing a lot, laughing, squealing, screeching, screaming, and the like. I always find it funny that when she really gets to talking she puts her fists in her mouth. Within the past week Elle has also taken to laughing when being tickled. Previously she would just look at me like "you've got to be kidding lady, that is not funny." But now she laughs. But no one can make her laugh like Scott can. It is so adorable to see him be so goofy with her and to see how she reacts to him. She certainly has him wrapped rather tightly around his finger!

There's really not much else. Still has crazy hair, which sometimes looks a little redder in the pictures than in reality. Her roots are blonde, so it's only a matter of growing out the dark before she's light. She's incredibly strong and loves to sit upright (though not unsupported). She fights the carseat so the Moby Wrap has been a great tool when running errands. She's absolutely content the whole time in the wrap!

I'm still nursing but I think this week might be my last full-time week. We've all been sick and it's taken its toll on my supply. And honestly, pumping is the pits. I can't believe I've been doing it for six weeks but every week I think it'll be my last. I'll be sad to stop nursing but am also hopeful that maybe this will also help her start sleeping better and relieve some of my stress. And it will be nice to eat whatever I want again (or not have to worry about eating enough) and have my lunch hour back.

I look forward to seeing what this next month will bring. We're thinking of starting her in cereal, depending on what the doctor says at her four month check up in a few days. I also think it's only a matter of time before she starts rolling over. Sometimes when I get her in the middle of the night she's kicked herself a full 180 degrees from where I initially laid her down. Heaven help us when she starts becoming mobile!

And now, what you all really care about...the pictures. Sadly I haven't been taking as many pictures now that I'm back at work, but there's still plenty...

One Month Update

Two Month Update

Three Month Update

Much Love,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer

Title: Into the Wild
Author: Jon Krakauer
Audio Narrator: Philip Franklin
Audio Duriation: 7 hours, 6 minutes
Published: 1996; Pages: 224
Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography
Rating: 4.5/5

Why I read it: I'd seen Into the Wild several times on the list of downloadable audiobooks at the library, but it never screamed out to me. But when my brother was assigned the book for his high school summer reading, I jumped on the opportunity to listen alongside him. I wrote about our experience briefly in my Sunday Salon post, but in short it was a great experience.

In Short: Into the Wild tells the story of Chris McCandless, a 24 year old who in 1992 trekked into the Alaskan wilderness to live off the land for a few months but tragically perished. McCandless seems to be an incredibly misunderstood individual with many theories about his Alaskan experience, but Krakauer attempts to shed light on McCandless's unique personality and the circumstances of his great misfortune.

Thoughts in General: OK, enough of the blah blah blah formalities. I loved this book. At first I simply could not understand what would drive someone to head to Alaska, in so many ways ill-prepared, to try to become one with nature and to live off the land. But as the story unravelled and Krakauer really delved into the mindset of McCandless as well as his background and upbringing I found myself completely fascinated by his story.

Chris McCandless was such a complicated young man--he didn't get along with his parents at all and seemed to abhor their life decisions. In many instances he appeared to be combative towards them--at least in an emotional sense--but on the other hand he touched the lives of so many that he met along his journey. I can't pretend to understand what it was exactly that drove McCandless to live the life of a vagabond and Krakauer does show Chris's arrogance and naivte throughout the book, but in many ways I also admire him for following a life that he so deeply and passionately believed in.

I won't go on and on because a lot of the charm of this book is the peeling back of layers to get to the heart of Chris McCandless's epic journey, but this book really spoke to me. It is no secret that Chris dies in Alaska--I think his story is a fairly famous one--but I couldn't help but be devasated by the end of the book. For all the idiodic things that he did and for all the criticism that he has received, you can't help but feel for him.

Bottom Line: I'd definitely recommend this book, especially as an audiobook experience. I thought the narration was wonderful and really pulled me into the story. I think criticism for this book might come in not understanding or agreeing with Chris McCandless's decisions, but there is a lot in the book about human nature that I found to be particularly interesting. I did watch the movie and found it a little boring but it was a good companion to the book.

Nick gave me Into Thin Air for my birthday and I'm going to make it a point to read it sooner rather than later. I'm looking forward to it!

Have you read Into the Wild? What did you think?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Salon 48: Reading with Nick

About two months back I sought your book suggestions for a fifteen year old reluctant reader. You guys gave me such fantastic feedback and I was thrilled when my brother Nick was assigned Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer for his high school summer reading. I quickly got onto my library website and placed a hold on the audiobook version and began listening around the same time that Nick began reading.

At first he didn't think it was fair that I was listening and he was reading, but I think he soon forgot that fact when we started texting back and forth about the contents of the book. I became quickly absorbed in the book--perhaps even borderline obsessed with the story--and I asked Nick to watch the movie with me when we both finished the book. The movie was pretty lame, but the reading experience with my brother?

Well, here's a blip of our text conversation:

Melts my heart. 15 year old text-speak and all.

Since he finished Into the Wild, we (mom, sister, and I) have been trying to get Nick to pick up The Hunger Games. Not much luck yet and with him starting school on tomorrow I think the "pleasure reading" window has closed for now. But. It was awesome reading Into the Wild with Nick and I'm certain that my listening along made for a more positive experience for him. So much so that he thought to give me Into Thin Air by Krakauer for my birthday!

Do you have a story of encouraging someone to read? I'd love if you shared in the comments!

Looking Back to Last Week
***I became a Thirty-Something! Thanks for the birthday wishes--I'm encouraged that many of you find the years get better as you get older.
***I finally posted about our trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle 2010. Lots of pictures.

Looking Forward to Next Week
I now have 15 drafts in my blogger folder. Some are just lists, some are uploaded pictures with no writing, and I even have some half written reviews. I'd love to get some of these posts published, but seems every time I set out to blog I get deterred. Elle turns 4 months on Thursday so I hope to at least get that post completed. Maybe even thoughts on Into the Wild, which I seriously loved.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

And Look! A new REAL signature!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sturgis Bike Week 2010

Yes, the title is correct...2010.

If you are a motorcycle enthusiast or know one or live in South Dakota or anywhere in the central midwest or just keep track of random events, you might know that last week (August 8-13) was the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

I didn't make it out this year (obvio). Scott and my in-laws attempted to head out there but turned around at 3 am after encountering mechanical problems with the truck hauling the toy trailer. Since I failed to blog about our trip to Sturgis last year (found out a week after we arrived home that I was pregnant), I thought I'd finally blog about it now. Fitting, eh?

So, last year was our second year to go to Sturgis. The first year Scott and I headed the rally on our way to Yellowstone (Sturgis was my bait to get Scott camping) and last year Scott's brothers and mom decided to join us on the roadtrip.

We loaded up two trucks to haul the four bikes and caravaned up north. Since it's quite the trek to South Dakota, we left Dallas around 10 at night and drove straight through. The picture below was taken somewhere in Nebraska though now I don't remember where--maybe somewhere outside Grand Island?  One day I'd love to take a roadtrip through middle America where I can stop every time I want to take pictures. I love the heartland so much--something about windmills and silos and rows and rows of corn really get me. But I digress...

After driving through Nebraska all day long (I'm sad to say the western part of the state isn't quite as pretty as the eastern part), we finally entered South Dakota and headed toward the Black Hills.  We saw a few prairie dogs and antelope, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and a whole lot of bikes before finding our cabin in the hills. We stayed about 15 minutes outside of Hill City in the cabin below. The cabin was pretty isolated but the scenery was just breathtaking.

The next morning we woke bright and early to head back to Hill City and do some riding through the hills. See my shirt below? I was made to buy a rally shirt so as to not look so preppy during the rally. Ha!

The Black Hills are amazing. It's too bad South Dakota is so difficult to get to and in the stinkin' middle of nowhere (sorry Lisa if you're reading this). You can see in some of the pictures how the scenery is more hilly than mountainous, but these soaring rock structures really are stunning.

And everything is so fresh and green. Still warm during the day but without the humidity and thickness of the days in Dallas.

After riding through the hills, we rode up to Deadwood to grab some lunch. Deadwood is a charming town (not sure charming is the right word, but you know) and we always enjoy our stop there. As you can see below, I also happened upon some more appropriate rally attire. :)

Below - Deadwood, South Dakota

More riding through the Black Hills. Scott and I took a picture at this rock formation our first year and wanted to go back again. I believe this is right after the entrance to Custer State Park--maybe Sylvan Lake? A great place for camping!

So many bikes that sometimes we had to wait in line to go through single vehicle openings in the hills. No matter how many pictures I took I could never get a good one that could portray just how many bikes are on the road. It truly is a sight to behold.  Not sure who let the car on the road! ;)

Lots of these single vehicle openings in the hills...

Our first year Scott and I ran out of time to ride all of the loops in Custer State Park that we wanted to. This year I made sure that we had time to ride The Iron Mountain (probably pictured above) as well as the Wildlife Loop. As soon as we entered the Wildlife Loop we saw a herd of buffalo.  They were probably only about 20 feet from the road. Totally unfazed by the bikes. They were the only buffalo that we saw on the ride but we did see some burros--in the middle of the road!

If you look closely below you can see Mount Rushmore! Taken from Iron Mountain Road.

I didn't include any pictures of our trip to Mount Rushmore in the post since they're basically the same as the ones we took the first year, but I thought this side view of the monument was neat.

We spent most of our time in Hill City--partly because it was so close to our cabin but also because we both really enjoy the little town. Sturgis is loud and hot and dirty and so many t-shirts and scantily clad women that we usually only spend about two hours there before we're done, but Hill City is much more relaxed. We just pulled up some chairs at a bar and watched all the bikes drive by. We may have indulged in some Dairy Queen as well...

And of course I met up with Lisa of Books.Lists.Life and her family again--this time in Keystone. I'm sad we were too early to meet the princess, but as you can see she had yet to arrive. :) And no, we didn't plan our matching pink outfits. And seeing that picture of me is so making me want to chop all my hair off now!

I SO want this Pink Warrior bike!

Overall it was a great trip. Staying in the cabin was relaxing and peaceful and the riding was perfect. We couldn't have asked for better weather. While Sturgis itself is a bit overrated, we absolutely love the rest of the hubbub of the rally. There is so much camaraderie and I love that so many people get together during this week for the love of riding. The Black Hills is such a gorgeous venue and I could see ourselves heading out again and again. Maybe not for a few years as our family is now starting to expand, but I know there will be much more riding in our future.

Happy Riding,

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I guess I have to change my About Me blip that says I'm a twenty-something. Thirty-something. Huh.

I wish I had something profound to say about turning thirty or even something snarky about entering my fourth decade of life, but I don't. In all honesty, I'm ready to move into my thirties and look forward to what this decade will have in store. I have a feeling it'll be pretty dang awesome.

Don't get me wrong--I loved my twenties, especially the latter years. The earlier years I was still searching for myself as I was still fairly uncertain who I was. As the years passed I had a better handle on life and things began to settle down to a nice rhythm. I'm not even sure how much of the same person I am as the twenty-year-old Trish, but isn't that the beauty of life? The constant evolution.

Now entering my thirties I am a much more confident woman. I still struggle with insecurities and social anxieties but I'm better at faking my way through until the confidence becomes a reality. I still second guess myself and still have a terrible time making definitive decisions, but there are certain truths that I do know about myself and I feel assured by those truths.

While I see my twenties as a period of self-discovery, I see my thirties as being a time of development--to actually shape those self-discoveries (that are still continuing to surface and probably will forever) into a life that I can continue to find peace in. To recognize my interests and strengths and make good. To let go a little bit of the worries that I constantly hang on to and to just really enjoy.
I'm excited about entering this decade of my life and everything it will bring.
So Thirty? Bring it on! Though I'm glad I still have a year to work myself up to thirty-one.
What's been your favorite decade/year of life?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Caribousmom's "Sew You Wanna Quilt" Series

I couldn't resist reblogging this...

I'm sure many of you know Wendy from Caribousmom. Over the past year or so she has been diving into quilting, much to my excitement. A book blogger quilting? Score!!

She has decided to begin a series on her blog entitled "Sew You Wanna Quilt" and I can't wait to see what she has in store. Many of you have commented here (just as she notes on her blog that people have told her) that you wish that you could quilt. YOU CAN. And she'll show you how!

I really hope that you'll check out Wendy's introduction post and keep your eye open for her new series.  I was seriously excited to see her post--Hurrah!!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Texas Storms

[Taken in June in Weatherford, Texas. Dallas will break its record for consecutive days over 100 (42 days) this Saturday; we've had barely more than a sprinkle since the end of May]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just a Blogger - A Disclaimer

I feel like I'm going through a mini identity crisis. Of course, I've been going through major life changes lately--from an individual who only had to answer to herself and a wife who helped keep a household to a mother responsible for a tiny little being. I haven't been very good about carving out time in the day for me and so when those rare moments of quiet do come I find myself wandering around the house aimlessly. Do I read? Do I scrapbook? Do I quilt? Do I exercise? Do I blog? Do I just lie on the couch and decompress?  Usually I just stand around with a blank stare until it's time for me to do mom things again.

The bottom line is that I need to start focusing on allowing myself ME time. Time to get back to the things that I enjoy doing--even if just for a few minutes here and there. That includes writing...or more accurately blogging.

The struggle that I have with blogging is the same guilt I've been wracked with for the past year plus--too much personal blogging for an audience who is made up mostly of book bloggers. And I know--this guilt is totally self-inflicted, but after the past couple of posts I've written I've lost followers here and there and it's hard for me to ignore that (even though I'm sure they weren't followers that mattered).

So, a little disclaimer: I am officially declaring myself Just a Blogger.

Glad to have that off my chest. And many of you have expressed here or elsewhere that you exclusively read book blogs and trust me, I understand. I won't take offense if my blogging is no longer of interest. Truly, it's ok--the last thing I would want is for you to comment because you feel guilty not doing so. But I also have to be honest and realize that my interest in blogs has also changed--I still LOVE reading about books that I want to read or that I have read but the rest? Sadly book blogging as a whole seems to have evolved into something that I don't care about--the marketing of new books on the Internet.

So what does that mean for this blog? Trust me when I say I do NOT want to become a mommy blogger. On the other hand, I'm going through so many things right now that it would be nice to have an outlet--maybe a weekly or biweekly (or at the rate I'm going--monthly) post on motherhood or baby things. But there's also so many other things in life--trying to tap into the creative side with quilting, scrapping, and pictures; cooking and other household things; travel past and future; life as a whole; and when I do actually read a book I would love to write a post on my thoughts. I've always loved blogging about books, it just appears that lately I've forgotten how to do that.

And Sunday Salon. I LOVE Sunday Salon posts and really want to continue with those posts. Unfortunately my brain is too fried of late to think up any good topics, though. Could I get you guys to give me some topics?? Have thought about putting up a Google Docs form for ideas but fear all I'd receive would be chirping crickets (and I don't know how to do a google doc form).

But mostly, I just want to return to blogging. On both ends. I do skim Google Reader on occasion but rarely actually make it to the computer to leave any comments.  The total number of unread posts usually looms at 1000+. Once I am done pumping at work and get my lunch break back (using that hour throughout the day to pump), it'll open up much more free time to be interactive, but until then I have to recognize my limitations.

Oh who knows guys. I guess all I really should be saying is Thank You. I know the unwritten rule about commenting when said person hasn't returned comments and I hate being that person...I think you all KNOW that about me, though. Thank you for continuing to take an interest when the bookish stuff disappeared. Thank you for your continual support and wonderful comments. I wish I could hide the follower numbers (referring to Blogger followers) because that number doesn't matter at all. I've been blessed with an active audience to my ramblings. I do realize that and I certainly don't want to take it for granted. And now I feel like a big whiner. Blerg.

Another note so that you don't find me hypocritical...if I have the time I do plan on participating in BBAW and if I'm in town I do plan on readathoning. Because even if I'm now labeling myself Just a Blogger, I'll always be a little book blogger at heart.

Alright--only took two weeks to complete this post. Guess it's time to hit publish...

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