Dear Reader,

I love maternity clothes. I thought I didn't. But I do. What I am trying to say is, I'm pregnant. Which, we were so ready for, and then we moved, and I just felt so overwhelmed by life, that it kind of took the joy out of it for a while. And then my clothes stopped fitting. And we all know I don't really like clothes anyway. And we're on temporary insurance, which means I have to self-pay at the doctor, so I haven't gone. So, we don't actually know if it's a baby in there. It could be a turtle. So I was waiting to post this exciting news until someone with a degree said, "Yep, it's a baby."

But here's what happened. I got out my box of maternity clothes on a whim. 'Cause my pants are a bit binding. And my shirts ride up a little. You know. And I tried them on. And guess what! I have good taste. I like those clothes. They feel great! Why do I not ALWAYS wear elastic pants!?

And here's the other magical thing that maternity clothes did. I no longer look awkward in the mid-section.

I glow.

Yep, right there, from the belly-button out. And fifteen minutes of wearing maternity clothes before bed made me more excited about being pregnant than I have been in weeks.

(As a side note: I cannot wait until this sweet baby joins our family, and have felt that way since long before we got pregnant. But, our life has just been so tumultuous, I did not know if I could successfully parent two. Because parenting has felt like a failure as of late. It has been a rough transition.)

So, as of tomorrow, I will officially don maternity clothes. And because this step will enable complete strangers to know about this totally intimate process that is happening to me right now, I wanted to make sure that all of the dear ones to my heart find out first.

This baby will be a springtime baby. My guess is early March. If you want another guess, I think it will be a boy, and that we will name him Max. But if I am wrong, you can laugh at me later. Because I would love a Charlotte (because we would call her Charlie). And if we have a turtle, we are gonna have to move. Because that guy will need a back yard.

My heart and prayers go out to both of my Kates. I love you both like crazy.

Weekend update.

I have always wanted to use one of these shopping carts... but Ella always seemed too little. The moment was finally right last weekend. And let me tell you, she loved it. Although she did throw Laurel (who was driving the cart) some dirty looks when her steering wasn't up to Ella's standard.

Ella officially walks, even with shoes on. Still lots of falling involved, but it's getting to be less and less. My cousin Davis wanted to make sure I posted this monumental milestone on the blog. It's been such a work in progress (walking) that I'm not really sure when mostly crawling transitioned into mostly walking. She's just getting so big. She has about ten words that she is using regularly. So that's fun. And basically , she's just a really fun baby.

Happy birthday to Paul today! He's 28. But I like to round up to 30. He is doing great in his MBA program, and he didn't lose that dedication to studying that used to drive me crazy. Now, I'm just glad he works hard. I can take sixteen months of anything. And honestly, it's been really doable. Paul leaves for class at about 8 am. He comes home sometime during the day to eat supper/dinner. And then he typically is back on campus until 10pm or so. It's a lot of work, but the couple of hours during the day really makes a difference, we can just have family time and be together. And then we have some alone time when he gets home. Sometimes he studies here in the evenings, but it's harder for him to get as much done. So, we just kind of take it as it comes. It's not a ton of time together, but it helps that we had a really cohesive summer and spent lots of time with each other. And it helps that I knew what I was getting into when we started this program. They were very clear about their expectations. So, we'll be graduating in just over a year and that makes it really exciting.


Potatoes are a girl's best friend.

While patiently waiting for me to cook dinner, Ella discovered our bag of potatoes. I suppose it was bound to happen sometime, one can only be content with the contents of my cupboards for so long. She is now amusing herself by lovingly carrying this brown beauty around the house. I think I even saw her using it as a phone. That's when you know the potato has reached its full potential, when a girl can hold it up to her ear and have a pretend conversation on it. Thanks, Dinner, for making this moment possible.


Wear and tear on the toothbrush.

For the first time ever, Ella has stopped fighting me when I brush her teeth! Her reward is playing with the toothbrush to her heart's content. Yes, that includes letting her brush my teeth whenever she wants.


My daughter is obsessed with shoes. Which I find funny, since I do my best not to wear shoes if at all possible. So Ella crawls around the house doing her best to fit whatever shoe she can find on her foot. All we have laying around is sandals, and I have to say, that she is a trooper for trying. But it's hard to really figure out where your feet are supposed to go without the huge hole in the middle. I think, come winter, she will have more success.


Another attempt at blogging from my phone.

So, Ella really wanted to try and use silverware tonight. She was reaching for it the whole meal. She made a valiant effort initially. Peas are notoriously hard to keep on a spoon. This was the method she finally adopted. Put the spoon in the pan. Use the other hand to actually get the food. Sweet success.

I find myself surprisingly not busy!

We have officially moved into our new home in College Station. (And by moved in I mean that all of our possessions are inside the house... no guarantees on which box it might be in.) Paul started school on Tuesday. He has two weeks of orientation, which I like to call Summer Camp for Graduate Students. I think he's had a pretty good time. I must admit that the heat has come as a bit of a shock to him. He wrote an email to his parents that described it in this way:
"Boy is it hot. I'm in air conditioning all day so it's not too bad; but when I walk out the air feels like a wall. A very hot wall that wants to suffocate me until I die."
I myself feel relieved to finally be oppressed by the heat again. All that wishy-washy warmth in Idaho... it was hard to tell if it was really summer. Ella and I have gone to the pool every day, I think. And honestly, when you're not wearing clothes, the weather is great! Mostly we stay inside, and try to park in the shade. I do have to go to the grocery store at least once a day, because it is really hard to build up the basic things in one's fridge. And you just don't think about it until you need it.
Ella is almost walking. I'm not really sure what is holding her back, actually. There are moments where she just does it successfully, and then the next minute she's back to the drunken sailor moves. We're not being very pushy this time. I figure she sees us walk all the time, so I can just lead by example. She does love to hold my hand and follow me around the house, or lead me around the house, depending on what's going on. Talking is also a work in progress. She said "more", maybe six times at breakfast two days ago, and now refuses to try it again. Back to the point and squeal method. She kind of marches to her own drummer. If she's in the mood she'll try words, even hard words like strawberry and banana, but if not, she is a pretty effective communicator, so she reverts back to the old standby.
Actually my favorite part of Ella's development right now is that she frequently wants to sit on my lap and read books. And on a regular basis, she lets me read the whole book to her. (For most of Ella's life, I have had to finish the book on my own, just to see what happens.) We have been trying to read books with her since she was tiny, but mostly she would stare off into the distance, or squirm, or outright cry. And you would think to yourself, have the baby book authors ever tried reading a book to a baby? Or do they just wish they had in retrospect? Well, she has arrived. And it is so fun. We probably read ten books a day, maybe even fifteen. (I mean, often it's the same book ten times, but I think that's normal.) It is great. I love reading with her. And the funny thing is, her favorite book right now is about Texas. It might be the dorkiest book I have ever read, but I am growing fond of it. It features oil wells and mariachi musicians, prairie dogs and rattlesnakes. Oh yeah, she is embracing her Texan heritage.
As for me, I am fine. I'm excited to get a calling and start meeting people at church. There is a playgroup in our ward but it's suspended until school starts. We had the missionaries over for dinner this week. It was successful and slug-free. I have already visited the farmer's market twice. Life is good.