Friday, January 01, 2016

2015: Moving to Provo and learning to cope with toddler life

January - Lots of house planning meetings. I made a delicious Bolognase sauce. I played DDR pretty regularly to stave off cabin fever. Piper rolled down the stairs but Adam caught her!

February - We practiced using our pizza steel. I went on a hike with Joshua, and Koko got bitten by another dog on the way back. More house building stuff. I hurt my ulnar nerve doing some improper weight lifting. My sister released Our Personal Space and I helped with the publicity for it. For Valentine's Day Adam and I stayed at a room in the Hines mansion, but we brought Piper along so it wasn't especially relaxing, but it was exciting. We started watching the Great British Bake-Off.

March - Piper got lots of teeth and learned to crawl.. I was tired a lot. We started a videogame project with some family/friends that we're calling Midnight Blues. We moved from Spanish Fork to Provo: "There was SO MUCH STUFF hiding in the cupboards. I knew it was all there but I didn't think it would take so long to pack!"We had so much help from friends, family, and neighbors. It felt like a miracle that everything got moved, especially since we had to go back for another load (how do people know how big of a truck they'll need?). Lots of unpacking and getting to know our new neighbors and ward.

April - My parents visited for Easter. "I can't say I enjoyed conference much this year because it seems I was taking care of Piper for most of it. Then I had trouble concentrating because I was so tired." I felt stressed out about things I couldn't control. We were still getting settled into our new house (we bought a new media cabinet with doors and food for the pantry, things like that).

May - Adam made me breakfast and lunch for Mother's day, and he cleaned up afterwards. I was a snob about church stuff but I tried not to be a jerk about it. I went for walks with people in the ward. I wrote a bunch of background lore for Midnight Blues. Oh, and we got blinds on all our windows and sold our Spanish Fork home.

June - "I thought brains were important but for the task of mothering it's more important to have dogged persistence and optimism." We ate beef bulgogi, which is delicious. I started going for bike rides with Piper. We had an open house party to motivate us to get the house together, and also to show it off. We went to my cousin's wedding, Joshua moved in for a week and we got to meet his girlfriend. Adam and I went to La Caille for our anniversary, which was really fun (if a little cheesy in a fancy way).

July - We had a family reunion with my dad's family here in Provo. We missed most of the stuff in the mornings, but we got to visit in the afternoons and evenings. I didn't play as many games as I would have liked but I did get to visit with family (in our book discussion group Grandma said: "If it's a clean romance what's the point?"). We got Google fiber and had a LAN party to celebrate. I tuned our piano, sort of. We engaged in mortal combat with weeds. We did an escape room and I walked the temple to temple 5k with Piper.

August - Went on lots of walks and bike rides with Piper. I went on a stake RS retreat and it was nice to be able to hike around, go boating on the lake, and get to know the other ladies in my ward a little better. We helped Joshua

September - More walks, and I managed to bike to Bridal Veil Falls with Piper. I made a fancy layer cake for the first time for a party we had. I made an animal crossing tumblr for my animal crossing designs and interior decorating. "I meal-planned and grocery-shopped like a boss. A housewife boss."

October - Hiked Timp with Joshua and Katrina! It was so beautiful, and also cloudy, and for the last few hours, rainy. Definitely a memorable, if tiring, experience. We met my sister in LA and went to Indiecade. We also met some of my friends from college while we were there. We had a day for the beach that was really fun too. The only bad part was Piper waking up every day at 5am XD. My parents visited us for Halloween. and stayed a few days afterwards--we walked on the river trail and bought cute clothes for Piper at Target.

November - We had a British Bake-Off party that was pretty fun. Adam went on a work trip and I survived with lots of TV and some friend interaction. We visited my sister's family in Albuquerque for Thanksgiving--everyone was there except for Joshua. Some of us did an escape room while we were there, which was fun, and we played lots of games like Apples to Apples. Descent 2, and 7 Wonders. I felt happy that Piper got to know her cousins a little better.

December - I applied for an accepted a position at the BYU library that I start soon. We went to Esperanto club and tried to play the LoTR card game in Esperanto with Cav and Roz. I made an epic modular Poinsette for my friend's ornament exchange and reread some Harry Potter books to help get me excited for a Yule ball party we went to with friends in our ward. We did a big Christmas puzzle that had so many santas in it we thought some of them had to be aliens (no, it doesn't make sense). We got a giant Christmas tree and I baked tons of cookies. We had Christmas with Adam's family and we got to go sledding and eat delicious food together.

The whole year I kept up a monthly movie afternoon with some of my friends that I really enjoyed and I hope I will continue. I also hosted a few game nights with neighborhood friends and I want to either keep those up or start a floating lady pub in our neighborhood.

Looking back on last year, I think I did alright on my goals. We moved without any lasting trauma and I kept up the Monday-morning-breakfast tradition, although our Monday-night-game-night tradition could use some revitalizing. I did work on more pixel art, although it was mostly within my Animal Crossing games. I never got around to making a terrarium... but I do have a houseplant that is still alive. I didn't write down any spiritual goals, but I learned to appreciate that not every spiritual experience has to have a scripture or churchy thing attached to it.

This year, I want to help Adam and his family/friends get Midnight Blues into a playable state (almost there!), and maybe even a beautiful state. I want to good a good job in my new job and I hope that having some time away from Piper will help me enjoy her more (some studies show that working moms play with their children more). I hope I can keep making meal plans, and if I have to hire someone to clean my bathrooms once a month I am okay with that. I want to stay positive about cold weather (it's getting harder) and also try to be more positive about parenting, because I complained about it a lot in my journal.

Games I played (I only beat 6 of them): Atelier Escha & Logy, TheatRhythm Curtain Call, Gyakuten Kanji 2, Gravity Ghost, Heroine's Quest, Ibb and Obb, Pokemon Trozei, Pokemon X, Dungeons of Dredmore, Cave Cave Deus Videt, Child of Light, Danganronpa 2, Dragon Age 2, Riviera, Middens, The Novelist, Secret Files: Tunguska, Antichamber, The Last Window, The Dreaming (Ren'Py game), Choice of Robots, Fantasy Life, The Talos Principle, Don't Starve Together, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Final Fantasy 9, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Attack the Light, Amnesia: Memories, Undertale, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, Steins; Gate, Aglimpse, Neko Atsume,

Monday, December 07, 2015

Things we were thankful for this November

Here's what I was thankful for this year:

snow boots
snow
good music
babysitters
netflix
infant tylenol (Piper and I both got colds at the same time)
a landscaped yard
a warm house
comfy bed
bread
river trail
eBooks and library eBooks
hot chocolate
skype (Adam went on a work trip and we skyped every night)
handy neighbors (we didn't realize that we had to turn the water off for our sprinklers and our neighbor helped us)
frozen meals

Adam's:

working from home
this blanket (the jeans quilt I and his mom made for him)
you making dinner
in-home humidifier

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Clouds and food

Family photos over on the family photo blog! Here are some non-baby pictures for you too:

some kind of caterpillar we found on the river trail
mushroom tree
bridal veil falls
horses!


I like the texture of this brick
Happy Halloween
Hiking Timp




yeah, it rained
radiatus!
In the fall you can go wading in leaves
mushroom



cap cloud on Timp
cute little panni clouds




I had a party for the British Bake-off finale! I made this Pan L'Accienne. Koko ate one of my loaves >_<
Adam and I made minestrone
Our cousin brought macarons and this photo doesn't do it justice. Grapefruit ganache!
My neighbor brought eclairs and they were delicious. Then I got too busy hosting and didn't take any more photos.
One night in November we had the most awesome sunset.


view from our room in Albuquerque

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chobani yogurt

So, ever since high school I've been getting free stuff for helping with Buzz agent marketing campaign things. They should probably pay me money, but hey, free stuff with no legal commitment. For this campaign I got to try some Chobani yogurt from our local Smith's.
woo free yogurt
Here's my rundown of the four yogurt products:
  • Chobani flip: It looks like some kind of indulgent dessert and costs $1. Cheaper than a donut and probably healthier. It is awful. The chocolate pieces tasted kind of bitter to me, even though I double-checked that I didn't get the coffee flavor. The pretzel pieces were an interesting idea, but seemed cheap. There's no flipping involved so I'm not sure why it's called a flip. I'm not a fan of sour and chocolate. 0/5
  • Chobani kids: I thought they tasted weird, but they couldn't put any fruit clumps in them. It's a yogurt snack-thing that needs to be refrigerated, which means it has active cultures (I'm not so sure about the shelf-stable stuff). My daughter, Piper, is a big yogurt fan and liked these. I thought the Spiderman tie-in was tacky (what do spiders have to do with yogurt?). Also, my daughter could use the extra fat, what's with all the low-fat yogurt? 3/5
  • Fruit on bottom yogurt: Tastes like any kind of lowfat yogurt... full of artificial stuff to make the yogurt have a creamy mouth-feel without the fat. There's only so much you can do with lowfat yogurt... 3/5
  • 100 calorie yogurt - I'm afraid to try it. :-(
Well, we've established that I'm a complete yogurt snob. I recommend any kind of plain full-fat yogurt. If you're in Utah, Moutain High is super delicious. Best mix-ins: Lemon curd, nuts and honey, and fruit. If you're desperate jam will do in a pinch. Piper loves this yogurt mixed with any flavor of baby food.
we love this yogurt

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Walking on the Provo River Trail + cake

The past month or two I've been walking a lot on the Provo River trail with Piper. Almost every time we see something new and exciting. If you just want to see baby pictures they're on my photo blog.
some shelf fungus appeared on a tree after it rained

a dead Monarch butterfly! At least I think it's a Monarch.
I meant to identify this flower after our walk... I never did X(.
the views are amazing
ladybug!
morning clouds in our neighborhood 
there's a part where the river trail goes under a road that has openings of different shapes. The diamond opening was by far the favorite of spiders! You can't see it very well but there were 12+ spiders in this one opening. Test of courage!
There's a spot where 30-40 ducks regularly congregate and sleep near one of the parking lots. We call it "duck city."
Leopard slug
UFO cloud!
we get tons of these bugs around our house... are they mayflies?
There is a house along the trail with a very duck-friendly yard and regular morning feedings (usually between 8-9). This must have been before the feeding and I counted at least 60 ducks gathered here. I call it "ducktopia" because I keep wondering if they're going to harvest any of those delicious-looking ducks. 
Another yard near the trail houses two horses and a donkey. Koko and Piper were pretty interested in meeting it.
look carefully--there's a moth in this photo!
I looked up the tree that is everywhere on the river trail and it's a Fremont Cottonwood tree. Duh! I feel like I should know this stuff by now. Is there a remedial plant identification course I could take?

I started taking Piper to the library and I read a few issues of Otomen, which they have there. Here were two parts I thought were pretty funny (in the first two, the friend is thinking up an excuse to leave so his friend can have a good date or something). In the second two, the traditional swimsuit fan service is completely undermined, to humorous effect.





Okay, now for the last few photos I wanted to share:
sometimes I have really high-calorie snacks? This is goat cheese, cashews, and honey.
I made caramel for a cake I baked
This was the cake before I frosted it. It looked better after the frosting, but I forgot to take a photo.
I baked a cake! It was this salted caramel cake from the Cook's Illustrated magazine. It was actually one of my "little goals" I mentioned in the previous post. The part I messed up on the most was cutting the two layers in half and getting them to line up. Otherwise it was just a matter of following directions, although I was glad I started in the morning, because with all the cooling times of the cake, caramel, and frosting it took almost all day! I have a lot more appreciation for the work that goes into making a cake now.