Mystery Solved?

A few posts ago, Lexi was having a hard time staying at the new sitter's. I had taken her back after the "2 hours of crying day" to try again. My client's horse was lame and I had a feeling all was not going well at the sitter's so I ended up picking Lexi up about 1/2 hour after I left her (if a client's lesson runs short/horse is lame/etc, I'll sometimes run errands or do my own horsey chores at home before getting Lexi). She was still crying. Not hysterical, but blubbering. I could hear her saying, "Ok" through her tears as she tried to play with the other kids. Another friend of mine happened to be there and Lexi was hanging onto to her for dear life.

I told sitter mom that Lexi was obviously going through some growth and I did not blame her at all for Lexi's outbursts. Lexi has always loved Allen and has never, ever cried for me. Lately, she has been asking for me more and wanting to spend more time with me. We think it's because she knows things are changing. She may also just be getting a little more clingy. I figured this may have been a manifestation of those new desires. I did have the little mommy feeling, though, that something else might have been going on to make Lexi feel so uncomfortable.

Lexi has never been afraid of new places, timid or shy around anyone. She never had a problem with nursery or any of the other people she's stayed with. She's been with big groups, small groups, one on one and so forth. Anyhow, I was trying hard not to be over protective mommy here and give Lexi a chance to get through the tough times and eventually settle in. Things just kept getting worse and worse though. I had decided that I would wrap up with the new sitter to save her the anguish of watching a high maintenance kid and to save Lexi the trauma. As it turns out, last Thursday was the last day new-sitter mom could watch Lexi and with my client's horse being lame, I wasn't in need of a sitter anyway. So, as usual, things kind of just worked out the way they should.

Well, my client's horse is ok and I need a sitter 3 more times before my contract is over. I asked the same friend who had been at the sitter's on the fateful day last week if she'd be willing to watch Lexi. She's had her a couple of other times and all goes well. We were both a little curious to see if Lexi would be her normal self or scared. When S got here today, Lexi ran to the door and said, "You carry me?" S, being the nice mommy she is (I say, NO! you can walk) picked her up. Lexi looked back at me and said, "Bye Momma". Totally comfortable, willing, and agreeable. When I picked her up, she had been great and was happy. S told me she had worried that Lexi would be upset after seeing her at the other sitters, but was glad to see she was fine.

We talked a bit and S mentioned that the other sitter mom had seemed really overwhelmed when she was there. My thought: well, she had a blubbering 2 year old to watch, her 4 year old's preschool co-op to deal with, and two other kids under the age of 3 to manage. How could I fault her for seeming a little stressed that day? On that last day, we had visited a little while before I took Lexi home. I observed some things that kind of solved the puzzle for me. One of the girls pushed Lexi aside to get by and then slammed a door in her face. It wasn't directed at Lexi to be mean, really, but I could see how with 4 older girls around, if that happened a lot, Lexi might get intimidated. The energy is different at the house, but not in a bad way. Just different. I think she just felt out of sorts.

I still think this mom is great. I would trust her with any of my kids, anytime. After having observed, discussed, and pondered, I really just think the setting didn't jive with Lexi. I don't think that has any reflection on the quality of the family one bit. I'm glad I listened to my "mommy sense" and decided to let that one day be the last day. Even if it wasn't anything terrible or harmful, there's no reason for Lexi to be that upset or for this mom to have to try to deal with it. After seeing her reach out to my friend today, I felt relieved about my choice. I know Lexi won't always have the choice to leave a situation when she's not comfortable, but I do think I'll always listen to that voice and try to figure out the best solution.


Busy Weekend

Friday was Allen's day off from work. He asked me Thursday night if I'd like to sleep in a little on Friday. Um, yea! One of my pregnancy symptoms is a stuffy nose the entire time (see previous blog entry for proof). On the really bad nights, I take Benadryl. Thursday I was really stuffed up so I didn't wake up until 8:45 Friday morning. Was Lexi even up yet? Of course not!! Stinker. The one morning Allen puts work on hold to let me get some good sleep, he didn't even need to be around. It always works that way, doesn't it?

At the beginning of the year, we made a list of family goals. One of those is to feed the missionaries once a quarter. The mission rule here is that the elders need to eat from 5-6. Allen doesn't get home until 6 on weeknights so we feed the guys on his Friday's off. I cleaned the house (twice, see previous entry, yet again, for explanation of that one) and decided to put out my Halloween and Fall decorations. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Each year, I check the clearance items and try to add a few new things. Fall isn't my favorite season, but I do love it quite a bit. Lexi already loves the witches, skeletons and pumpkins.

It's a wind chime. Lexi makes sure to jingle it around every time we walk in or out of the front door.

Allen took a long lunch to help me a bit with some of the decor. In the kitchen, we had already put up the The Family: Proclamation to the World and The Living Christ. I found these cute iron words and made a little grouping out of them. The words had arrived and we hung those, too. After helping me for a bit, he went to get more lumber for the rest of the cement forms. He had to have them done Friday because we needed to start pouring cement first thing Saturday. He took a break for dinner with the elders and went back out to work until after dark.

Saturday, he went out at 6:30 a.m. and got all of the forms done around 9. We had a young man from the ward come over to help and he got here around 9, too. I picked up the cement and they had it all poured by 10:30 or so. Lexi and I returned the mixer and went inside while Allen and Kevin finished the mow strip. The weather was great and having an extra set of hands was really helpful. We're finally done with cement for the lawn! So far, we've poured close to 6 yards of cement to accommodate the 2,000 square feet of lawn that's coming.

Allen got done finishing the mow strip at 1 p.m. and showered quick so we could leave at 1:15 to go to a friend's volleyball game in Albuquerque. Lexi had a really good time and kept telling us, "I'm watchin' da girls!" The teams were #1 and #2 in the state so it was a good match. The daughter of our friend is a senior in high school and has a full ride scholarship to a college in the South to play volleyball. We first met her when she was going into her Freshman year of High School. It's sad to say it took us 4 years to finally make a game, but at least we got to see her play before she leaves this summer. We went to an early dinner and picked up Lexi's furniture on the way home.

We're SO glad to have all of the cement work done. We felt like we were literally running from one commitment to the next all weekend, but we had a great time with our friends and felt really good about meeting our family's goal to feed the elders.


Do Not Try This at Home

Yesterday, I dusted my whole house with Raid. And no, it didn't work.

Can you tell the difference?

Stupid lemony fresh Raid!


Cream Cheese and Hair

No, not together!

I made the famous cream cheese ball for mutual on Wednesday night. This treat is soooo good. The first time I made it, some of it came home. I kept it on the plate I served it from and Allen and I would graze throughout the day. One day, I pulled the platter out and was helping myself in front of the TV. Allen walked through the door and said, "Back at the trough, I see." Isn't he sweet!?!

Lexi has taken an interest in everything I do lately. When I'm cooking, I hear her yell, "Mom, where are youuuu?" After learning my precise location, she comes running in, "What are you doing?" I tell her what I'm doing and she says, "I wanna see". I figure a person is never too young to learn so I prop her up on the bar stool and tell her exactly what is going on. While I was making the treat, she came running in. When I finished mixing some of the ingredients, I pulled the beaters out of the mixer, and offered one to Lexi.

She loves doing hair right now, too. Most of the time, she does her baby's hair or my hair. Today, she gave Mia a new do.

I didn't think it was that bad.


Tender Mercies

Just as I wrapped up the previous blog entry, I turned around to check on Lexi. She had been watching Tarzan and munching on cereal. She was sound asleep on the couch! I snuck under the blanket down the couch from her and we both took a little nap together. She won't relax much for the rest of the day now, but she seems to be much happier. I'm still sick, but that little bit of rest has helped tons. I'm so grateful!

Come On!

So nothing really horrible has happened. Just some minor inconveniences. Our previous sitter moved to Phoenix so Lexi has been going to another ward member's home two days a week for about 2 or 3 hours. This sister is great with kids, has 3 girls herself (all under 4), is patient, kind, has a curriculum for the preschoolers, a great yard and animals. Lexi hates it! I can't understand exactly why since I have seen the kids while supervised and unsupervised and they are good, kind kids. The mom is caring and attentive. Lexi screams every time I leave and is weepy the whole time I'm gone.

Yesterday, I had a lesson first thing so I took Lexi over. As we turned the corner, she started crying. I happily got her out of the car, asking how her day would go, what toys she'd play with, books she'd read, etc. They always save Lexi a seat for breakfast, but she won't eat so we found some of her favorite toys and tried to engage while they wrapped up. I stood up, and she went hysterical. The mom stopped feeding her own baby and came over to see if she could help direct the energy. Lexi maintained some composure for about a minute or two and I snuck out.

At 10:30, I got a phone call. Lexi had been crying the entire time. The mom was more than happy to try to employ any of my tricks, but I told her I'd be right over. She totally understood and says she'd want to know if her kid had been miserable for over 2 hours, too. I appreciated the call and ran over. As I turned the corner, Lexi jumped up crying and ran to the fence to meet me. Everyone was sitting under the big tree, eating fresh popcorn and reading a book. We stayed for a few minutes. I was hoping Lexi might see that all is well and we can have fun there. She was, of course, fine while I was there.

The rest of the day she was a little fragile. She sat on my lap for almost an hour straight and watched a movie. She almost never sits down anywhere for more than a few minutes. I indulged her, we played, and had lunch. She had a really tough night (so, I'm sure this made everything seem all the worse to her thus explaining some of the outbursts) going to bed at 11:30 and waking up at 7, plus she was all puffy from crying for so long so I put her down a little early just in case she wanted to nap. She took about 2 hours but was super cranky all day. Allen got home and went outside to do forms so Lexi and I were together even longer than usual. We did go out and play and she was pretty happy, but she was not her usual self. Finally, Allen grabbed her up around 7 and we all went inside.

I had actually prepared this dinner I thought would go over well. I planned on cooking so that we could work outside until almost dark, eat around 7, give Lexi her bath at 7:30 and bed at 8. Well, Lexi was black with dirt so she got the bath at 7 and dinner wasn't done until 8:15. I asked her if she wanted to eat or wait for Mommy and Daddy. She said she wanted to wait. Since Lexi doesn't eat much, she'll tell me when she's hungry (which is almost never). She didn't seem too bad so we waited. Dinner was fine, but she was NOT going to eat. I asked her to have one bite and then we could having something else. She said "ok" in her most whiney voice and proceeded to cry for 1/2 an hour!!! By then, she was totally starving, exhausted and beyond reason. I said about 20 prayers hoping to get some mommy inspiration but nothing was coming. Never having had a 2 year old before, Allen and I weren't quite sure how far to push the whole thing. He suggested putting her to bed without dinner. My comment was this, "If you think that is right, and you want to do that, then you will be the one to follow through when she wakes up in the middle of the night starving." She did not go to bed without dinner.

The last couple of nights I've been feeling a little "off". I can't really pinpoint it, but I'm restless, achy (more than usual for pregnant people) and I can't seem to get my stomach settled. We'll I found out why. Before sun up, I was up with a bad tummy. Even though she should have been sufficiently tired and slept until normal time, Lexi was up 1 1/2 hours early too. We've been up since before dawn. I've been making regular trips to the potty while Lexi entertains herself. She wanted to lay down so I crashed with her and dozed off. She woke me up about 5 minutes later and I've had the chills ever since.

I had a lesson scheduled for today but have requested a reschedule. I have mutual tonight and since it's individual classes, I can't call in sick. Allen carpooled to work and had some big test go wonky so Lexi and I are on our own. I'm hoping if we take it sort of easy, I'll feel better by tonight and be a good leader at mutual.

Like I said, nothing too dramatic, but I'll be glad when Lexi is her normal self and I'm not sick!


Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho - Off To Work We Go

Lexi had a blast helping Allen with the tractor.

Everytime Allen would step down to do something, Lexi made her move...

She was sooo proud of herself.

Now you see it...

Now you don't.
Allen took off about 4 inches of dirt over the whole lawn area. We ordered good compost to put down and it's now ready to be tilled in. We still have to trench and put in the sprinkler lines, but lawn is just 3 weekends away!

Oh, the Romance

So, how does a couple who's been married for 6 years celebrate?

We tried to find a babysitter to watch Lexi Saturday night hoping to celebrate our anniversary. But, there were no babysitters to be had so we decided to work really hard in the backyard and go out after mid-October (that is the earliest day we have off for an evening out). Allen worked past dark last night trying to get everything done so he wouldn't have to work on Sunday. In his attempt to be super productive, he overshot the pipe with the claw and busted the water line. We, however, had no way of knowing because the part that broke was 30 feet downstream from where he was working. This morning we were trying to get ready for church only to find that we had no water pressure in the house. Allen unearthed all of the pipe in the back and found he had pushed a T-joint out of place and it needed to be completely replaced. We headed out to church and Allen has been outside working since we got home. Thankfully, we still had the tractor and Allen wasn't stuck trenching by hand. The pipe has since been repaired and all seems well.

Now, a bucket full of tools may not seem romantic to many, but for Mr. Allen Riddle, this screams I love you.

Happy Anniversary Allen!

Has it really been 6 years?

I couldn't resist throwing this one in. I love Allen's expression!

Today is our 6 year anniversary. Sometimes, it seems like so much has happened, it has to have been longer than 6 years. Other times, it seems like everything has happened so quickly that we're in some sort of time warp and there is no way it's been a whole 6 years. Either way, we've been married 6 years.
Allen and I were talking this morning about the last year of our marriage and how this year should be different. This is a summary of the last year: September 2007 - Miscarriage. October 2007 - Buy a new house. November 2007 - Buy a horse (this is not such a big deal to me; a huge deal to Allen). December 2007 - Move into new house; the following week have surgery for miscarriage. January 2008 - Traci ends up in hospital because of horse accident. February 2008 - fairly quiet, recovering from accident. March 2008 - Pregnant again. WOAH! That's a pretty busy year. For me, it felt like coming up for air while drowning only to be smacked in the face by the next obstacle and pushed right back down. I kept hoping for just a little recovery time before the next trial.

This year, if all goes sort of according to what we think may happen, should be pretty great. (Everything's great in 2008, right guys.) We're closing in on our goals for the house which will finally afford us some family time. We have a new baby on the way. Lexi is thriving. Allen and I, somehow, managed to grow closer through all of those trials and feel more united than ever. The refiners' fire is never a comfy place, but sometimes, is the only way to get where we need to be in our lives. Even though the last year was tough in lots of ways, we learned a lot about each other and when faced with our next challenge will be able to draw on those lessons to help us get through them with a little more grace (hopefully).

Now, Allen doesn't contribute to this blog so I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he still thinks he married the right person all these years later. I can say for myself that I know I married the person I was supposed to in this life. I knew that before we had even started dating. A friend asked me about my dating right before I had been re-introduced to Allen. She asked if I was going to start dating, who, when, what was I hoping for etc. My response, "You know, I'm banking on Allen Riddle." I just had a feeling. That feeling, which has become a sure knowledge, has helped me to keep on track when things start to feel like too much to bear. I know that I could probably be happy or successful or whatever with someone else. But, I would not have the same level of happiness, joy, successes, opportunities for growth, or eternal potential that I have with Allen. And with no one else on this earth, could I have the family I'm intended to have - and that is eternal. For that knowledge, I am grateful. To know that is a priceless blessing and a brings me much joy, even when life throws me a curve ball.
Here's to the last 6 years, the good and the bad, and the hope of many more years to come.


Kids say...

I picked Lexi up and said, "You're getting big!" She said, "I'm not big, I'm heavy."

Allen asked her if she wanted a cookie and she said, "No, I'm not a cookie monster."

Today, we were looking at flowers. If she asks what color an object is, I ask her right back giving her the chance to name the correct color. Today, she asked me right back. When I responded, "That's a pink flower." She said, "That's right! Good job."


There is Beauty All Around

Even though we have zero offical landscaping, we do have some beauty in our poor yard. The neighbors planted a really pretty vine that grows on the fence between our two homes. It's taken off in the last few weeks and has the prettiest blue and lavendar flowers. They close at night and open during the warm part of the day. Hopefully, they'll grow all along the fence and be a really nice touch to our yard.




We did it! Or should I say, Allen did it. He tinkered with the pump we were given to get it working and it actually pumped the septic tank out. Using a jack hammer and sledge, he knocked in the lid and the sides about 18 inches down. There was wire mesh running throughout the concrete so it was really slow and hard work. We're using the extra dirt in the yard and some of the crappy cement work that we've broken out to fill it all in. Next week, we'll have a big tractor again to level and grade the yard. Rather than fight the mesh and push it all in by hand, Allen's going to wrap up next weekend. Thankfully, this step in our efforts to put in lawn was fairly uneventful and a huge success. Yeah!!


Lexi would cover her "ears" and say "LOUD!" when Allen used the jackhammer.
She's taken to laying in the dirt lately. She tells us that she's going to lay down and then pops up and says, "I wak'd up!"

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.