Friday, March 28, 2008

My Little Reader

Niev has a fabulous grandma that is an adamant reader. Many of you might think you are adamant readers as well, but I have a question for you. Do you have a slight...no actually a MASSIVE panic attack because you can't find the book that you were reading. Sometimes when we visit her, Ian and I will purposely hide her book just to see her go CRAZY! It's great fun.

Anyway, as I was saying, by the time that Niev was about two months, she was the proud owner of over 50 books thanks to her Grandma Buh. She loves books and loves to "read". Since she could hold her head up she would sit on her belly and look through books. Lately she has been doing the cutest thing.
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She won't let me read to her all that often because she will grab the book and start reading it herself. The only way that I can read to her is give her about three books and then read a different book aloud to her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fun at the park????

A couple of weeks ago, we realized that Niev had never been to a park so we decided to take her to this great park near our house; it actually has a ton of ducks, geese, seagulls, etc. We thought she might actually enjoy feeding the ducks. Sometimes I think we do overestimate her abilities.
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She was a bit oblivious to the birds so we decided to take her on a slide. FUN, huh! I don't think she was that impressed.
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There was a woman there that was laughing hysterically at Niev's face coming down the slide. "I'm not sure she sees the point in that," was the stranger's comment. I think I would agree with her. (Do you like how her shoes were making her grip to the slide so I had to push her the rest of the way!)

So then we tried a twisty slide (this video is a little chaotic because a little girl tried to climb up the slide about the time that they came down...sorry.).
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You can see that she did NOT appreciate that. So next we moved onto the swings. What kid doesn't like swings?
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I guess playgrounds have their age requirements. Ian and I were so excited to go with her and then she kind of pooped all over our party. I guess we will have to wait a while longer (maybe next weekend) before she is fully ready for the playground scene.

I promise she is a fun and talented little girl.

Niev IS fun!!!

So I just shared all the disappointing moments with Niev and after some thought (and some great video), I realized just how awesome she is! She may be too young to run unabashed amidst the slides, monkey bars and swings all the while still doing her part in feeding the endangered birds. BUT she is really quite adorable and can do all sorts of great things!

She can draw beautiful pictures.
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I saw that sidewalk chalk was on sale and thought Niev would really get a kick out it. It would combine two of her favorite things: doodling and being outside. (Plus the mess is left outside--Bonus for MOM!)

She can bounce on a cement step with the best of them.
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She really enjoys Raffi's "Bumpin' Up and Down" song. It talks about bouncing in a red wagon and on the video Raffi bounces on his chair. Niev laughs and starts bouncing as soon as you set her on the step and start singing that song.

She is VERY strong.
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She loves to show off...I know, I know, it is slightly embarrassing to have a daughter with such gigantic muscles, but she is strong! Arnold, you ain' got nothin' on Niev.

See, my baby girl is really good at doing age-appropriate things!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Update on Ian's art!

As some of you know, my husband is an amazing artist. Truly, he is very talented. When we first started dating, I thought, "Oh great. He has this pipe dream of being an artist, but who really makes a living at selling ART!" Then when we decided to get married, I told him that I would fully support him, but that after two years of him focusing on an art career, if things were not progressing towards him making a career out of it, he would need to find something else to do. Even Wal-Mart. We would have to pay the bills. Ian has always been concerned about allowing his wife to stay at home, so he readily agreed with this decision.

Some of you have asked about his career and how things are going. He has galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and Boston. This keeps him VERY busy; basically, as soon as one piece in a gallery sells, the gallery wants to replenish your stock. He is constantly painting. He works a regular 40-hour week and the majority of his time is used painting. A piece was bought that he had done two months ago, and when he looked at the piece to prepare it for shipping, he was quite disturbed by how unprofessional it looks. He said, "I don't realize how much my skill is increasing until I look at something that I did a while ago and then I can hardly look at it. It is just too embarrassing

The gallery in SF is taking his work (4 pieces) to a fair in New York next week. He just finished up an art fair in London that was just a weekend extravaganza. He sold two pieces, the director of the ENTIRE fair said that he enjoyed Ian's work the most out of all the pieces (this is a GIANT compliment!) and Ian also had interest in a commission piece. This is all very exciting. Needless to say, I don't think Wal-Mart will be seeing Ian at any job interviews. I am very proud of him for his hard work and commitment to his career. Somehow, he still balances play, work and spiritual matters very well. He is a great provider and I am very proud of him. You should all look at his website because he really has done some amazing work lately (especially the little girl sitting next to all the sound equipment--I love that one!). www.ianstrawn.com

Niev and Daddy with the same haircut


Monday, March 24, 2008

The Easter Bunny's visit!

For Easter, we decided to visit my sister, Kathy, and her family in Moscow, ID! She has five adorable children ranging in ages 14 to 3. We played games, chatted, ate fabulous food and explored their new home. It was great to see them. I realized that I had not been to see them in almost two years. I guess once you get married, start having kids, and are preparing to move, you don't quite take the time to go on vacation as much as you do when you are single and uninhibited. There house is beautiful and great! We painted Easter eggs on Saturday with the kids. Ian and I had a contest for who could paint the best egg and of course I won (you could even ask Kathy's kids--mine was the best!). I didn't take any pictures though of painted eggs, dumb I know.

While Niev was taking a bath, the Easter bunny must have tip-toed in through the basement door and dropped off her Easter basket. Isn't he so clever! He happened to get all of her favorite things: bubbles, fruit snacks and tons of marshmallow Peeps. Thanks Easter bunny. She seemed so excited about all the things in her basket. She kept jabbering away the whole time she was rummaging through all her loot. She was especially stoked about her fruit snacks (you can hear her saying the same word over and over...I don't know if that was church or not, but she knew what she was saying!).
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Niev has visited our Nursery twice and done fabulously (except when they brought out the parachute and the kids went wild, I guess she started crying because all the kids were going CRAZY! The parachute and kids were beyond her tolerated limit of noise). So we decided since we were visiting, we could pass her off as an 18-month old. WRONG! Within 20 minutes, she was brought to us in Sunday School. She had puffy, red eyes from crying so I knew that she had cried for a while. Evidently she isn't the super baby I always try to convince myself that she is. Oh well, I guess I will settle with an above average baby if I have to.

We never have anyone around to take our picture, so we never get a picture with all three of us together. So we took advantage of my niece, Annica, after church. Click on the picture to see it bigger. It was raining outside so Niev was not keen on the timing of the picture-taking moment.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Now back to your regularly scheduled program

I know many of you have complained because I have been MIA in the blog world. Little did you know that I was completely reconstructing our house. BUT now I finally feel that things are under control and that I can return to my regular life. About two weeks ago, I felt like our house still had too much old lady left over from the last owners (pink or gray carpet, plain white walls, wood paneling--you name it, they had it!). I don't think anyone would come into our house thinking, "Wow, I bet an artist lives here." I was trying to think what I could do without spending a lot of money. I walked out to Ian's studio and asked, "Where are all the materials you bought to pull up the carpets?" (We had known that there were wood floors underneath all the ugly pink carpet that went down the hallway and in the bedrooms.) Ian's jaw dropped and asked me exactly what I was doing. I knew he needed to work all day because he had a deadline for a show in New York. Anyway, long story longer, I ripped up all the pink carpet, pulled out all the nail strips and nails and now we have some beautiful hardwood floors!
Before:


After:


Ian's sister and brother-in-law, Kelley and Brian, came to visit last week and we were talking about home fix-ups (they also bought a house about 9 months ago). We got onto the subject of paint color and Ian gave me "permission" to buy paint to paint the living room and all the wood paneling. Little did I know how much work and filth this would entail. First you have to prime the wood paneling, then you have to spackle the gaps, then you have to sand, then spackle, then sand, then spackle, then prime and finally after all of that you are ready to apply your two coats of paint. After the first round of sanding, our entire living room, dining room and kitchen were covered with dust. I am not talking about something that a swiffer duster can pick up...no, no, no. Heaps of dust. I had spackle dust boogers for two days if that gives you any idea of how much dust was in the air. We decided to not do a full sanding job the second time. You can see a slight hint of paneling if you are really looking for it, but overall I think it will work. I love the color we picked. It is between a forest green and a deep rich blue (like the sash on my wedding dress). Combine those two colors and you have the color of our wall. At different times in the day, it appears to be different colors, but I LOVE IT! Ian was the one that actually picked the color and he says that "the jury is still out". Above our fireplace and below the kitchen's bar was also wood paneling. That portion we painted a rich chocolate brown. Finally, I am feeling that our house is becoming more and more of our house! Not some old persons.

Before: Ignore the blue lines--they were for something else...

During:

After:



And of course during all of this, Niev was the perfect little one that she always is. We could not be happier. She just played and entertained herself during this chaotic time. She took her regular naps and was so content while Mom and Dad were busy. She is the best!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tag I'm it!

I don't normally conform to these TAG your it things, but I love my friend Crystal from Rochester so I will comply. You better feel loved, Crystal!

10 years ago...I was a senior in high school and had just found out that I was accepted to BYU, but I would have to go Summer Term instead of Fall. I was not accepted for Fall Semester (I didn't care about grades or ACT scores...I was a bratty teenager); this ruined all my plans for one last summer to whoop it up with all my non-LDS friends. Like I said I was a stubborn idiot.

5 things on my to-do list today...Clean house (mainly laundry), spend time with Ian and Niev (I love Saturdays!), go to the park and feed the ducks, pick out paint colors for our family room and have some alone time with Ian (that is none of your business what we will be doing).

Things I would do if I were suddenly a billionaire...fix up our house, buy a van/SUV, TRAVEL with Ian!!!, save some of the money so that Ian and I could to aid work to help orphaned children in India (one of my life-long dreams--we would help build and teach at these schools. Long story, but sometime you should ask me), get Ian's parents out of LA and back to "God's country"/Oregon. The rest I would put away for my kids and those inevitable rainy days.

3 of my bad habits...biting my nails, being hypocritical of others while being self-righteous, laziness. I will deny being any of these things when press though.

Places I have lived...Parma, Idaho/ Provo, Utah/ Portland, Oregon/ Rochester, New York (all over Western NY because of a mission)/ Rexgurg, Idaho/ Washington, D.C./ Kennewick, WA!!!

Jobs I have had...hoeing onions in my dad's fields, working in all sorts of ice cream soda shops, secretary, census bureau questionnaire giver person, substitute teacher, 6th grade teacher and now MOM!

Things people don't know about me...I pretend to be independent more than I actually am. I wanted to be a nurse when I was a little girl. I find it hard to make friends as an adult. I love to read, but find it hard to read to my little girl. I HATE doing dishes (this is pre-dishwasher me. Now with a dishwasher it isn't a big deal). I have the most intense dreams that someone is out to kill me or murder someone in my family. I no longer can ride rollercoasters (I think I blogged about this once, but I am still in shock over it!).

Now I am adding a few of my own questions thanks to the brilliant and breathtaking James Lipton:

What sound or noise do you love?...I love to hear my husband and daughter giggle at the same time.

What sound or noise do you hate?...Tires screeching...it makes me cringe every time. Maybe I have been in too many accidents!

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?...I would love to be a family counselor. I don't think I could do it for long, but I would like to see what that would be like. I also would like to be an adoption counselor for a while. Neither of these are forevers though.

And just because a blog is not a blog without a picture:
Niev and her bestest friend!


Taken early in the morning and it was cold; she was really letting me have it! Ooo, she was mad...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Easter is not Easter without bubbles!

I went to Target yesterday to look for a fan for my husband. (Paintings are taking 3-4 times as long to dry here as they did in Utah so by trial and error we are trying to correct the problem.) Of course I to stop and look at the baby clothes. I saw the cutest Easter dress for Niev and just had to have it (plus, she is down to only two dresses that fit her and only one barely fits her). So that got me thinking about Easter and Easter is not Easter without it being spring. And spring is not spring without bubbles! I realized Niev had never played with bubbles before. I love kids discovering bubbles for the first time. It has such magic to it that you don't see in adults. We seem to hide that excitement and pure joy of simple things behind a mask of nonchalantness.

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It was so cute to watch her belly laugh at the bubbles floating away. She was totally enamored by what was happening. I hope I remember this day forever.

When we got home, I wanted to show Ian that the dress was totally worth it so I put it on Niev. Just when I went to take some pictures she found a wrapper to a fruit snack. It was empty because she ate it earlier and I would not give her another one. She through a royal queen-bee conniption fit. Caught her in the act.


Oh yeah, it was a good one!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

No more caveman!

Niev used to walk like a caveman (according to Melissa) or like she had been riding a horse for about a months straight (according to Mom). She didn't bend her knees really so she would have to swing her legs wide in order to be able to take a step. It was hilarious, but a turtle would have beaten her and a good breeze could knock her down. Niev is a fast learner so she quickly realized that there was a better way. She is now walking like a normal toddler...well, sort of. You be the judge.
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She loves to dig through her diaper bag (scouting out for a binkie). When she found these sunglasses that we bought for her a year ago, she was as proud as punch. She would try to put them on, stab herself in the eye, walk to me, have me put them on her and just saunter around gloating about her fabulous sunglasses. Isn't she cute!

She has also found our curtains to be a good hiding spot. I was taught not to ever play in our curtains as a child, but Ian has convinced me that life will go on and that I just need to breathe sometimes. Plus, these came with the house and we are not the biggest fans. I love her squeals!

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Something old, something new, something blue

Since we found out that we were expecting with Niev, I have been so excited to get a crib set. Ian has very definite opinions on design, color, etc., but since we didn't have a crib, we couldn't very well justify buying a crib set. Now that we have a crib, I was finally able to get a crib set. I LOVE it!
I know Niev is a girl, but I am not that partial towards pink. Plus, being a teacher and all, I love the numbers/letters print (my babies will be geniuses).

Just so you know that I do dress her in pink sometimes, here are some pics from church last Sunday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

She's got moves like her mother!

I don't know if I have explained just how adorable Niev is. She loves music more than eating (which is saying quite a bit). As soon as music comes on, she is dancing. I think she belongs in the ghetto, dancin' with the little girls on the street (side note: why is it that an african-american three-year old can shake her booty and hips better than I can ever dream of doing?). Her whole body says and jives. It is pretty cute. Well, tonight we put on Raffi and she loved it. At one point, she actually tried to grab at the microphone through the TV. Hilariousness ensued.
This was taken as we were unpacking her room. I was very excited to move and one of the first things I spotted that could be easily packed were most of Niev's toys. She hadn't seen some of these toys in over two weeks...enjoy!
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We also put her crib up and she loved jumping in her new crib. She no longer sleeps in a playpen! She now has a soft, comfy mattress thanks to my brother and his wife. She loves her HUGE bed.
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She loves to swing, go fast on slides and recently we found out she likes to go sledding (I had totally forgot to blog about this when it happened with all the moving and stuff. This is a week or so before we left Utah).
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We put her on a bunny-type hill that we found with her buddy, Tyler. He was very uncertain how he felt about everything and Niev was too cold to even give a real smile. (I didn't realize that we had been out in the cold for over two hours! Time flies when you are having fun. Yes, her cheeks were very chapped. Neglectful mommy.) Too cute though.
Niev's aunt, Kelley, and grandma buh went in together and got her a rocket-bike for her birthday. It is too cute to see her waddle on it. I can't help but laugh. She has learned to get off and on by herself (sometimes with a bit of a crash) and therefore, no longer get stuck on bumping a wall. She is the cutest baby around....no contest!
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