Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Free From Addiction

This post is extremely personal and can be a sensitive subject for me. But it is something I need and want to overcome, so I need support - not judgement.

I've always known I had a weakness for sugar, mainly chocolate. What girl doesn't? But while most girls eat chocolate and maybe feel a little bit better, it has the exact opposite reaction for me. Oh sure, I enjoy the 10 seconds that it takes to devour the sweets, but what happens after simply isn't worth that 10 seconds of pleasure anymore.

I have a confession to make:

I am an addict.

I have a severe addiction to sugar* that is beginning to have negative effects on my life. And you may scoff and think I'm probably exaggerating. But the effects that it has on me scares me enough that I have made the decision to avoid sugar as much as possible. I love sugar. My favorite things to eat are full of it. I love doughnuts, brownies, cookies, fudge, candy, cinnamon rolls, etc. These things will be extremely hard for me to no longer eat, so I need some support.

Every family event, every church event, every party seems to be centered around food and sugar. Unlike some other addictions, sugar is nearly impossible to avoid being around. Alcoholics can avoid going to bars or steer clear of friends that tend to drink often. If I tried to avoid every event or person that would put me around sugar, I would have no life. I realize that I will constantly be surrounded by temptations. I don't want to avoid going to things because I am afraid I'll give in to my temptation. But like I said, I need some support. I would appreciate if friends and family didn't pressure me to have dessert (or any type of food for that matter). It would be best if the option wasn't even offered to me, but if you feel you at least need to offer, just please don't pressure me when I say no. It's hard enough to turn down the temptation, but it becomes nearly impossible when people make it a big deal or continue to offer.

And you can't say, "Oh, but it's just one bite." Or "one cookie wont hurt you." Because you have no idea what that one single bite of chocolate could do to me. If you knew your friend was a recovering alcoholic, you wouldn't offer them a drink and tell them that a little sip wouldn't hurt. There are times, though very rare, that I can have a single cookie or single serving of dessert and not be affected. But more often than not, it sends me into a sugar binge.

And if you knew the amount of junk I can consume in one of my sugar binges, you'd be disgusted. You probably would never believe me unless you saw it for yourself, which wouldn't happen because I try to hide it. I'll sneak food and eat it where no one can see me and realize exactly how much I have eaten. There are times when my mouth hurts so bad because of the amount of sugar I have eaten, and I'll find myself downing more m & m's. Or I'll be so sick that I can barely sleep, and I"ll wake up with an upset stomach and severe pain still lingering from the day before. I'll promise myself that I'll never do that again cause I never want to hurt that much again, only to have a small bit of sugar a few hours later and start the cycle all over again.

Bobbi, have a little self control, will you? Don't you have enough self-restraint to just enjoy one cookie and stop after that? You must be pretty weak.

Believe me. I have tried. But once I have that taste of sugar*, it's like I lose control. If I give in, then I end up eating junk non-stop until I am so sick I can barely move. But if I try to resist, then my thoughts become consumed with it and it's all I can think about. We could be playing at the park, and the only thing I can think about it how soon we can get home so I can have something sweet. And if I am having this battle between by body telling me that it has to have sugar and my mind fighting the temptation, I tend to get extremely moody. It's exhausting and hard fighting against your body, and I can get really ornery and short tempered.

So I try to avoid sweets, but after binges I start going through withdrawals. The first day or two that I am trying to get back into a healthy routine are extremely difficult. I often get severe headaches or migraines. Or I'll get really light headed and can barely stand up without feeling like I am going to pass out. I can get pretty shaky and agitated as my thoughts for the entire day are consumed with my desire to eat sugar. If I can just get past those first 2-4 days, then it gets much easier. But getting past those few days can be pretty tough. Once I have conquered those days and more days pass without sugar, I have noticed that my desire to eat junk decreases. I no longer crave those foods. I have been at that point once before, just a few months ago, and I hope to get back.

I know, you are probably losing any respect you had for me. But this is something I had to talk about, get it out in the open. Because I need help and support. In the past year or two, I have learned a lot about my own body. In my quest to lose weight and get a bit healthier, I have learned a lot about how different foods affect me. And as hard as it is, I have learned that FOR ME, sugar is simply just best to avoid. I know that the all-or-nothing isn't a desirable approach, but it is the easiest thing for me. At least for now. And I know that there will be times that I give in and have a treat, and that's ok.

And for once, this has nothing to do with weight loss. In the past, I have tried to give up sugar in an attempt to lose weight, and it has worked. However, with that mindset I have had a tendency in the past to go back to old habits once I have lost a little weight. So this time, I am doing it a bit differently. I wrote this post to make it public. I want everyone to know that I am trying not to eat sugar so when we are together and I reach for that cookie you can remind me that I don't want it.

These are the reasons I have decided to no longer eat sweets*:
  • Sleep-  I have noticed that what I eat has a significant effect on my sleep habits. When I am eating healthy and avoiding sugar, I sleep much better. I am able to fall asleep within minutes of getting in bed, instead of lying there awake for hours. I get into a much deeper sleep and wake up much more refreshed and rested. The mornings after eating lots of sugar, I am super groggy, have a hard time getting out of bed, and just feel sluggish the entire day.
  • Mood- I have also noticed a correlation between the things I eat and my mood for the day. When I am eating tons of sugar, I tend to be grumpier. I have less patience with my kids and lose my temper a lot more. (Probably also related to sleeping worse.)
  • Depression -  I have been struggling with depression for a while now. Almost all of the days that I am not depressed have started with exercise first thing in the morning, and eating healthy foods throughout the day. I have noticed that my depression gets a lot worse when I am eating mostly junk.
  • Confidence - I feel so much better about myself and have more confidence when I am feeling good and eating healthy.I feel so guilty, worthless, and like I have no control over myself when I have my sugar binges. I withdraw from others because I am so ashamed and simple want to hide from everyone. On the other hand, when I am in situations where my temptations are present and I am able to withstand them and say no, I feel very empowered and great about myself. 
It's obvious that these are all related and intertwined. Lack of sleep can lead me to be less patient, which leads me to be a bad mother, which makes me feel guilty and leads to worse depression. But one of the things that begins it all is sugar. And it is something that I have control over. I may have messed up hormones, I may have mental issues that need counseling, but I know that simply avoiding my trigger can make a big difference and improve the quality of my life.

So when it comes down to it, it is really quite simple. Through careful observation, I have noticed that my mind and body reacts pretty strongly to sugar. And when I am trying hard to eat healthy and avoid junk, I sleep better, I am a better wife and mom, and I am just happier overall. Knowing this, it seems silly to give all of that up for a few seconds of enjoyment.

As a person who has always lived for dessert, this will be very difficult for me, especially with the holidays quickly approaching. But I am determined to be happy and I know that this will help me do that. Eventually I would like to slowly introduce sugar back into my life and learn how to handle having a treat every once in a while, but for now I am not interested.

Wish me luck! I'm going to need it!

*When I refer to sugar or sweets, I am referring mostly to what I would consider "junk food" like candy, chocolate, brownies, cookies, cake, doughnuts, pastries, even crackers, sugar cereal, etc. There is also a lot of sugar found in fruits; however I am not referring to those. My avoiding sugar does not mean no fruit or avoiding all processed foods, etc.

Here are a few articles about sugar addiction. I know first hand how real it is.
1- Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and causes obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease:
2- The Truth About Sugar Addiction
3 - 7 Steps to Break Free of Sugar Addiction

Friday, September 27, 2013

Part 4: Major Doubts

Throughout this whole process, I feel like I have learned  A LOT. I am by no means an expert when it comes to buying a house, but I have definitely learned many things that will not only help us in the future, but hopefully others as well.

One major lesson I learned is that just because you are pre-approved for something, doesn't necessarily mean that you can afford it. When you are approved for a loan, although they do take into consideration your income and debt, there are many things that they don't factor into the equation. Like tithing. Like food, gas, insurance, utilities, etc. While those aren't set "bills", a good chunk of our money goes into each of those categories each month. And if we were to try to buy a house for the highest amount we qualified for, we would've found ourselves lacking money for some of those other bills. Even though we had found a house $30-40k below what we qualified for, it still seemed like something we couldn't afford. And it didn't make sense.

When we first got pre-approved for our loan, we didn't even have two pay stubs yet. Our loan was based on Lance's job offer salary. When we got our first few pay stubs, things were looking pretty good. But then we adjusted our taxes and enrolled for insurance. And boy were we off when we tried to estimate how much they would withhold from each paycheck.

We had already made our decision to purchase the home in Syracuse when we got our first "real" paycheck. The check that we could expect every other week for the next year or so. And it made me extremely nervous.  We quickly made a spreadsheet of all of our bills that we had, trying to determine how much we really could afford for a house payment. (Something we probably should have done before even looking.)

We estimated things like gas, utilities, and food to the best of our ability. Once we had put in what our house payment would be, plus our monthly bills that wouldn't change, we had $2 left over. Two dollars for emergencies, entertainment, fun, extras like toilet paper, shampoo, etc. Two dollars! And when you look at past bank account activity and see that you average several hundred dollars a month in random/useless purchases, you begin to realize that there is absolutely no way that you could live with only $2 extra a month.

When we discovered this, we were pretty heartbroken. We had already invested so much time looking for a home and we were really excited about the one we found in Syracuse. We were mere weeks from our closing date and owning our very own home, then suddenly realizing that it would likely be many more years before that ever actually happened.

Yet even with those impossible numbers, I continued to debate. And I was extremely confused. Initially, I would get queasy and a bad feeling when I thought about buying a house. But then every time I went to call my Realtor and tell him we were no longer buying, I couldn't do it. Every day, Lance would come home and ask if I had canceled yet, and I couldn't tell him yes. It was an emotional roller coaster for both of us. One moment it seemed we were buying a house, then the next we weren't. It was extremely stressful and difficult.

I eventually decided to go and do something that I should have done initially. I decided to shop around a little bit and make sure I was getting the best interest rate and see if there was any way we could get a lower payment for that house. I met with a different lender and he was able to make a pretty big difference. Although the house payment stayed about the same, he was able to reduce the amount of money we would need for our down payment. Our original lender had originally told me that she would match anything I found, so I showed her what he had done. It turned into a little battle, each lender dropping fees and trying to outdo the other. In the end, we were able to get our lender to drop about $2,000 off of the amount that we would need up front, enabling us to keep some money in savings. That's a lot of money to save just for shopping around.

Even with the $2000 in savings, it still didn't help the fact that we would barely make enough money to cover our bills and would be left with nothing leftover. While that is a good chunk of change, I knew that it would disappear quickly if we had to use dip into it each month.

Though we were sure we were going to back out (even though it would mean that we would lose our $500 deposit), I still found myself unable to officially back out of the house. I had a hard time distinguishing whether I was having a hard time canceling just because I wanted it so bad, or if I simply knew that we weren't supposed to back out.

I knew it was a decision that we couldn't make on our own, so I found a babysitter for the next day and Lance and I went to the temple. We decided that it we felt good about the house then we would go for it and have faith that somehow things would just work out. But if either one of us had any doubts or any bad feelings at all, then we would call our realtor immediately and cancel.

The temple was usual. For the first time in weeks, I was able to de-stress and think clearly. And I found that the only thing I could think about was our house in Syracuse. I thought about all the things that I would eventually want to do to the house. I thought about Will and Blake growing up there and running around those streets. I could picture our lives there, and it felt really good. Lance and I both left the temple feeling like we were supposed to buy the house. It was extremely scary, but it was much less scary to push forward when we had confirmation that we were doing the right thing.

I had told my realtor the week previous that there was a really good chance that we were going to have to back out of the house and not buy it. I told him we would let him know once we knew for sure. I hadn't heard from him in over a week, which was really unusual. But about 5 minutes after we got out of the temple, he called me and asked if everything was alright and if we were good to continue forward. What great timing and such a feeling of relief to be able to give him an answer.

When we moved to our apartment in Kaysville, we didn't think that we would be trying to buy a home so quickly, so we signed a year lease instead of doing month-to-month. And our landlord was an absolute stickler about things. I was terrified to ask her if she would let us out of our lease. Then I found something in our lease agreement that said, "Tenants who move out prior to the end of their year lease agreement agree to pay $50 per month that they would have paid as month-to-month tenants, as well as forfeit the nonrefundable portion of their security deposit." I took that as meaning that if we paid $50 for every month we had lived there (which was only 3) then we would be free of our lease. I read and re-read that part of the contract several times to make sure I understood correctly and I was so sure that I didn't bother asking our landlord about it. I also waited so long to mention it to my landlord because I didn't want to tell her we needed out of our lease until I was sure.

By the time we had gone to the temple and got our confirmation, we were about 2-3 weeks from closing. I knew I needed to contact my landlord and tell her that we would be moving out within the next month. When I talked to her, she informed me that while we could get out of our lease by paying the extra $50 per month, we were required to pay rent until the unit was rented out to someone else. So if it took her 5 months to find someone to rent it, then we would be paying rent until that time.

My initial reaction was panic. With our finances already pretty strained, there was NO WAY that we could afford to pay double rent for one month, let alone the possibility of several. But then I remembered the feelings I had at the temple and knew that we were making the right choice and that things would work out. And they did. Within a week and a half of informing my landlord that we were moving, she had found someone who wanted the apartment.

We have been so blessed throughout this whole process. While there have been many stumbling blocks, for the most part things have just fallen into place. Slowly but surely, piece by piece, things just seemed to be going in our favor. I think that was part of why I was having such a hard time initially backing out of the house. There were too many strange coincidences and things pushing us forward.

Lance and I both have a hard time making decisions, especially life changing decisions. It's scary when it's a choice that will affect every aspect of your life. Would we be happy in the new area? Would we have friends? Would our kids grow up happy? Would the payment be too much and cause us to lose our home eventually? Would the house start falling apart and require all of our money to fix it? Was Lance even going to like his new job enough to stay there long term? What about Grad school? Were we jumping into it too quickly? Was there a better house if we waiting a little longer?

So many questions. So many what ifs. But there is no way to answer those questions. I don't know what the future holds, but I know that God is with me. That doesn't mean that things will be perfect. That doesn't mean that things wont break, or that we'll suddenly have all this money to buy what we want. But God will be there to help us find a way through it.

Even with so many doubts and so many unanswered questions, we moved forward. We closed on our house on August 14, 2013 and moved in the following day. We have really enjoyed our first month as home owners and I definitely think that we made the right decision.

 I am still processing the fact that we are home owners. 

*In case you missed any other posts in this series*
Part 1:  Rent Vs. Buy

Part 3: Making A Choice

After looking at almost every home within a 20 mile radius that was in our budget, we FINALLY had it narrowed down to our top two. To the average person, both of the homes would appear almost identical at a glance. But there were some big differences that made the decision extremely difficult for us.

Here is a comparison and some of the differences between the homes.

House #1:
-Located in Syracuse in cul-de-sac
-Nice neighborhood
-House was almost 2100 sq ft
-Large bedrooms
-0.33 acre yard
-No sprinklers in the front yard
-Nice big windows in front room
-No garage
-Lots of giant trees
-Odd basement layout - storage room connects to bedroom instead of hall or living room
-Updated kitchen and bathrooms
-Newer furnace, water heater, air condioning
-Solid half wall in living room instead of railing
-Going downstairs opens up into living room instead of full wall
-No sliding glass door to deck - only solid wood door
-Tile in kitchen
-Pantry in kitchen

House #2:
-Located in Clearfield near city park
-Nice neighborhood
-House was less than 2000 sq ft
-0.19 acre yard
-Rooms painted fun colors
-No garage
-Nice raised garden beds
-Updated windows
-Little to no shade in the back yard
-Nice window/cut out opening the space between living room and kitchen
-Hardwood floors in kitchen
-Nice shed
-Wood stove downstairs
-4th "bedroom" has no closet
-Downstairs bathroom in process of being remodeled - would be finished before moving in so it would be brand new and very nice
-About $10,000 cheaper than house #1

Each house had things that we liked, but each house also had 1-2 major things that we didn't like. But overall, the houses really were very similar. And Lance and I were both leaning opposite directions. I was going more for House #2 while Lance liked the one in Syracuse a lot better. Because I liked the homes almost equally, I figured we should just go with the cheaper house. Plus I felt like there was a little more room for us to make improvements and increase the value. But just when I thought I had decided, I would think of the other home and change my mind.

After thinking long and hard, we were pretty sure that we were going to go for House #2 in Clearfield. What seemed like moments after making that decision, we began talking to our neighbors who were also in the process of buying a house. We started talking to them about our little dilemma and how we couldn't decide which house to go for. Her parents were there helping them pack and jumped into the conversation. Oddly enough, House #1 was in her parents ward! So she started talking to us about how much she absolutely loved Syracuse and how they had the best ward, etc. She said that the elementary school nearby was great and was so positive about everything. She told us to make sure that the other house wasn't in Antelope Elementary boundaries. She described it more as a ghetto school and recommended if possible not to send our kids there. We looked up the boundaries for House #2, and sure enough, it was in those boundaries.

There was another neighbor that was participating in the conversation and said something to me that really just stuck with me. She could tell that I was a little worried about whether we could afford the more expensive house. She simply said, "Don't make your decision based on money. Things will work out. There may be times when you aren't sure how you will make your house payment, but the Lord will take care of you and somehow, things will just work out." I had never met that person, but I had such an overwhelming confirmation that what she was telling me was true.

It's funny how quickly you can change your mind. Just being able to talk to someone who knew a lot about the area and ward really made me reconsider the house in Syracuse. Because I really trusted my Realtor's opinion, I also asked him which house he thought would be better in terms of resale. He thought both homes were good options, but he felt like the home in Syracuse was worth the extra $10k because of the location, larger home, and size of the yard. He said that Syracuse was a more desirable city to live in and felt like we would have an easier time selling that house because of the city and because it had so much land.

We thought about it. We prayed about it. And we thought about it some more. In the end, we both just felt better about House #1 in Syracuse. We backed out of our offer on the house in Clearfield, put a $500 security deposit on the home in Syracuse,and we were on our way towards owning our first home.

Unfortunately it wasn't smooth sailing from there. Very quickly we ran into some major issues that suddenly had us questioning whether we could afford to buy a house at all.

*Up Next - Part 4: Major Doubts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Part 2: The Search

**This post is long, boring, and without pictures. I'd like to remember the process and things that affected our decisions, so this post is mainly for my benefit, though you are welcome to read.**

I was really excited to start getting out there and actually looking at homes. One thing I quickly learned was that the homes can be VERY different than what the pictures online lead you to believe. People are very good at taking pictures in a way that makes it look twice as big, or just way better than it really is. And there is so much more to a home then just the home itself.

I started browsing homes online at With Lance's job in Centerville, we really wanted to find a place somewhere between Bountiful and Kaysville. We learned very quickly that location plays a HUGE factor on the price of a house. A house that was for sale closer to Ogden for $150k would easily be $200k or more in Bountiful. For the exact same house.

We started our search a bit backwards. Instead of starting with cheaper homes, we actually began with the most expensive we could afford. Most would think this was a terrible idea because once you see the more expensive, nice homes, it tends to make the cheaper homes look that much worse.

We looked at a few homes closer to Bountiful, but they were a a bit higher then what we had wanted to spend. We figured if we found something we loved, that the higher payment might be worth the closer commute. But options were slim and even the cheapest homes in Bountiful (which were still way above our price range) would require thousands of dollars to even make them livable. So we expanded our search a little bit and lowered our budget. So even though we looked at the most expensive first, because of the effect of location on prices, most of the cheaper houses that we looked at were in much better condition than the most expensive ones we looked at. And although we wanted to live closer to Bountiful, we decided that it was worth saving $40-60k and live a little further away.

I would browse the website several times a day, waiting for new listings...price changes, anything. When ever I saw something that interested me, I would text my Realtor and let him know we wanted to see that one. Initially, we were not all. We pretty much liked almost every house we went in to. That made it difficult to try to narrow it down.

But slowly as we started seeing more and more homes, we began to realize that there were definitely things that we really wanted and things that we did not want.

Things that were important:
  1. Enough room to fit all of our stuff. We were ok with a smaller house if there was a big garage and shed to store things. But if there wasn't a garage, then the house needed to be much bigger and have a ton of storage room.
  2. We wanted something that had potential. Maybe an unfinished basement that we could eventually finish, or simply just things we could do to make it more valuable in the future.
  3. Location was probably one of the most important things to me. I wanted a good, family-friendly neighborhood. I wanted to feel safe walking around the neighborhood with my kids. I wanted to live on a quiet street (not by super busy street), and ideally be close to parks and schools.
  4. I wanted to be in the boundaries of good schools. Like it or not, all schools are not always equal and I want my kids attending the best school possible.
  5. A nice yard- With as much as Will and I enjoy being outside, I knew that a small yard just wouldn't cut it. I wanted a big enough yard that we could set up our pool in the summer, have a swingset, maybe a trampoline, etc. 
  6. And of course, we wanted all of our needs and wants met for the cheapest price possible.

We looked at A LOT of homes. I think we went inside about 20-25 different homes, and I am not exaggerating. It seemed like every house was just missing that one thing. Usually, it was the neighborhood. The house and everything was great, but the neighborhood didn't feel like I wanted it to. I wanted to see kids outside playing, swing sets and toys in people's yards, etc...basically just signs that it was family friendly.

Our Realtor was great because he knows a lot about home repair. There were a few homes I liked, but he could tell they needed a new roof, or that the furnace was no good, etc. He really helped steer us clear of homes that seemed nice cosmetically, but maybe had some bigger issues that you couldn't see right off. I really appreciated his honesty and being very upfront with us.

We also had the debate of whether we should go for the fixer-upper, dirt cheap home that would require a lot of work, or if we should go for something that was move-in ready. Initially, we were led to believe that you could get a loan for more than the house cost and use that money for upgrades/repairs. Once we learned that that wasn't an option, and that we would have to have all the upgrade costs upfront, we decided that wasn't the best option for us. Our down payment was going to drain most of our savings, and we didn't want to live in a basically unlivable house until we saved enough money to fix it.

We finally found a house that we both really loved. It was newer than many of the other ones we had seen and it was it a great neighborhood. It had 3 bedrooms, a 2 car garage, and unfinished basement. We knew immediately that we wanted to make an offer. But once we got home, we started to second guess ourselves. Even though the home was great, the bedrooms were EXTREMELY small and I was afraid that we wouldn't even be able to fit all of our things in them. When the owners rejected our offer and asked for the original price, we didn't bother countering, but just backed out.

As time was passing, we began to feel the need to push it along a little faster and hurry and make a decision. Already from the time we had began until now, interests rates had gone up and we didn't want them to go up anymore. But even more importantly, the good homes were selling quickly and we were going to miss out if we didn't decide quickly. There were several times I hesitated or couldn't decide on a house only to have it off the market the next day, making my choice for me. So we knew that if there was a house that we liked, we should probably put an offer on it. Then we could really think about it and make the final decision.

Our Realtor informed us that just because we had an offer on a home, doesn't mean that we couldn't back out. There was a little 2 week (or so) period where we could still change our mind if we decided to. So we ended up putting an offer in on two homes and after a little negotiations, both ended up accepting. So suddenly we were under contract with two homes. And even though we had two accepted offers, we still continued looking to make sure there wasn't something we liked better. Soon it became obvious that these two were our best options and that we needed to decide which one we liked better.

Up Next - Part 3: Making A Choice

Thursday, September 19, 2013

7 Months

It's no secret that I like accessorizing Blake. She is rarely seen out in public without a headband of some sort. I am excited for the days when I'll be able to do her hair. Well, those days are here. Sort of. Her hair is getting long enough that she is finally able to sport a little pony tail.

And her little mullet is getting longer. I could probably braid it if I wanted.

Her sleeping has been improving week by week. She'll go to bed sometime between 8p-9p and sometimes wont wake up until about 5-6a, eat then go back to sleep for a few more hours.  I have noticed a definite improvement since we started feeding her solid foods.

We are still mostly just feeding her rice cereal, though I have been slowly starting to introduce her to some vegetables and fruits (mixed in with the rice cereal). She is always a bit hesitant the first few bites, but then she usually warms up to it. 

She loves to eat, and we have yet to find something that she doesn't like. 

She doesn't spit up nearly as much as she used to. So now instead of expecting it and being ready all the time, she will catch  me off guard.

Blake loves to eat Ritz crackers. She makes a mess with crumbs everywhere, but she sure loves them.
She is officially sitting up. I remember telling my sister one day that I didn't think Blake was ever going to sit up and my sister just said to work with her and help her practice and get stronger. After 1-2 days of helping her sit up, Blake was sitting up by herself. I was amazed how quickly she improved. She still topples down every once in a while, but she is able to balance herself pretty well most of the time.

She loves going on walks or just sitting in the stroller outside while I mow the lawn or do yard work. Usually she will just look around at the world, jabber, and squeal a bit.

Another of her favorite places is her high chair. It's great because I can just put her in the high chair while I do dishes or clean up a little bit, and she loves it. She has this little lady bug toy that she especially loves to play with while in her high chair.

She has also mastered the ability to hold her own bottle. It makes it a lot easier as I can now let her feed herself if I'm really needed elsewhere. 

She has started filling out and is getting more chub to her.
Blake slept through the night (completely) for the first time last night. She went to sleep around 8:30 p and didn't wake up until about 8 a. It was awesome. Now if only I could get Will to do that!

She will be playing and happy until I walk out of the room. She usually cries every time she sees me walk out of the room, unless she is distracted with toys or if Will is playing with her.

She is such a happy baby and loves to smile and laugh. She is easy to please and it's rarely difficult to figure out what is bothering her. If she is crying, it is usually because she is hungry or needs a nap.

She is starting to move around the floor a little more though combination of rolling and scooting on her stomach. I wouldn't be surprised if she started army crawling in the next few weeks. 
If you blow bubbles at her, she will start blowing them right back. She gets a kick out of slobbering all over.

I love all of her little faces and think she is just a beautiful little girl.

We love you, Blake.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Six months

Weight: 17 lbs 5.5 oz - 71%
Height: 26.5 in - 72%
Head Circumference: 17.5 in - 91%
Blake is growing fast and the doctor says she looks perfect. She isn't quite as big as Will was at this age, but that's ok. She is a happy, easy going baby.
In the past few days, Blake has started blowing a lot of raspberries. She will sit there and blow bubbles and entertain herself forever.
She also likes to jabber and squeal. Her favorite time to scream high pitch is during sacrament meeting.
Her hair is growing, though she still sports the mullet.
She is getting really close to being able to sit up. She can sit without assistance for a little bit, but if she leans too far one way she will topple over. She hasn't quite figured out how to catch herself yet, though she is getting better every day.
The first day I really started trying to get her to sit up, she was doing really well. Then suddenly she fell back and hit her head on the carpet. I think it scared her more than anything. But the rest of the day, every time I would try to sit her up, she would get this terrified look on her face and start freaking out. She would grab onto my hands and hang on super tight. If I tried letting go, she would start screaming.
Blake has still be squeezing into size 1 diapers. They are way too small, but I didn't want to just let a few go to waste. I may just end up putting them aside for the next friend who has a baby, cause they sure are snug on her. At this point, she could almost skip size 2 and go straight into 3s.
Blake is so much like her brother in so many ways. There are moments where I swear I'm looking at Will. But then there are many differences. She definitely has her own smile.
When she is super happy or excited, she has her special smile. Her smile is so big and she smiles with her whole face. Her eyes go all squinty, her cheeks and nose scrunch up, etc. I absolutely love when I catch one of those smiles.

Blake is definitely a hair puller. I wear my hair in a messy bun 99% of the time. I feel bad that I never do my hair anymore, so I'll wear it down. Then when she rips half of it out, I remember why it had been so long since I wore it down in the first place. Ponytails aren't good enough cause it still gives her something to grab. It has to be up in a bun, completely out of the way. Even then, she will often manage to grab some of my small wispys.
I also have to be extremely careful with the jewelry I wear. I wore a necklace to church yesterday that she was completely fascinated with. I finally threw her blanket over the front of me to try to hide my necklace so she would stop tugging on it.

She is almost to the point of being able to hold her own bottle. If I give it to her, she can put it in her mouth, but she hasn't quite figured out the need to tip it back to get the last little bit at the bottom. She usually does pretty well; however she drops it a few times and I usually have to hand it back to her and help her with the last ounce or so.
Blake cracks me up when she goes to sleep. She has this obsession with her blanket touching her face. So when you lay her down, she will immediately turn and shove her head into the blankets.
She has been a great sleeper. Oddly enough, it is really hard to get her to fall asleep when you are holding her. She will arch her back and squirm around until I lay her down. Then she calms right down and starts to fall asleep. Sometimes I have to let her scream for a few minutes. But after a few minutes of screaming, if I just go in and give her a binky, she is asleep within minutes.
She still isn't sleeping through the night but she is getting closer. She typically only wakes up to eat once, though occasionally she will get up twice.

She enjoys being outside and loves just looking around at everything.
She has been chewing on EVERYTHING in sight and drooling constantly. I keep thinking that maybe she is getting some teeth, but I have yet to feel or see anything.

When Will isn't screaming at her to wake up, Blake thinks Will is pretty funny. It's pretty easy for him to make her smile or laugh.

She has had a little red mark on her upper arm forever and the doctor confirmed that it is just a birth mark. She also has red splotching right above her neck. Her hair covers it so I doubt anyone will ever see it when she is older.
She is changing fast and her personality gets bigger every day. She is a joy to be around and we just love having her in our family.