Monday, December 2, 2013

My Birthday in Chicago

             Austin and I celebrated my birthday this year by heading down to Chicago to see a matinee showing of "Wicked" at the Oriental Theater. I saw it in LA several years ago, and this production was far superior! The theater itself takes your breath away as you walk in. There is a plethora of golden sculptures surrounding the stage. The meticulous detail in the carvings and artwork makes you feel as though you are in an art museum or ancient oriental building. It is stunning! 

            I couldn't have been more impressed with the cast for the show. Glinda the good witch had a flawless and truly memorable performance and brought a refreshing peppy twist to her character. Elphaba sounded just like the recording, only she took plenty of artistic liberties to jazz up her solos. Fiero sounded even better than the recording and was perfect for the part. I really couldn't have been more impressed with the show. It's a thought-provoking and moving story, and the music is simply fabulous! I'm so happy that I could go with Austin. Although he normally isn't a big fan of musicals, he really enjoyed this one.

           After the show, we were able to grab a bite to eat at a little bakery in downtown Chicago. It was a cozy little place, and I thoroughly enjoyed sipping my tomato basil soup (pregnancy craving), while looking out the window at the Christmas lights and people scurrying through the city. 

          Austin brought me to the giant Macys in Chicago, which has about eight or nine floors. I was able to find some comfy slippers and maternity pajamas, which I love. Many thanks to those who helped make this trip possible. It was such a wonderful birthday!

Baby Bows and Cards

When I was in Utah, my mom and I spent a couple of afternoons crafting. We had such a fun time playing around with paper, ribbons, and fabric to come up with the bows and cards below. I was pleasantly surprised at what we were able to come up with!

Trip to Utah

            Lydia and I ventured home to see my family in Utah this past month. Unfortunately, Austin was unable to join us as he had school. The prospect of traveling solo with my wriggly and demanding toddler bouncing on my growing pregnant belly absolutely terrified me. (Especially since the last time I flew alone with Lydia she choked on a cheese nip and threw up all over the place). However, the Lord answers prayers and she did surprisingly well and even slept during the entire second flight!

             After all of the stress and hours spent on blogs getting ideas on what to pack and how to entertain Lydia, I did learn a few valuable tips. Sticker books and magnet boards worked like a charm. Lydia seems to love coloring utensils and simply holding up individual crayons, saying the color, and letting her put them back in the box kept her entertained for longer than I thought possible. I even bought a portable DVD player (which I didn't even need on the trip out).

             Despite what I read online, I don't think I would recommend giving a toddler a sucker on a plane. While it is a great way to keep your child swallowing to prevent his or her ears from popping, it is such a mess - especially if your child is like mine and likes to rub the sucker in her hair and wave it around like a magic wand. Luckily, the guy sitting next to me in his nice business suit was more than supportive. I love that he kept reminding me that "it's ok, I'm a Dad!" There really is a secret support network of parents out there who understand. Still, the stress of trying to keep the sucker mess contained was not worth it. Teddy grahams work just as well and I think I'll stick with those in the future.

I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to go out and meet my sweet little nephew, Blake, who is only a couple of months old. Lydia was intrigued by the baby, although at times she didn't quite know what to make of him. When she wanted Uncle Andrew to read her a story, she was startled when little Blake, who was asleep on Andrew's lap, slumped forward and rested his tiny head against her shoulder. She gave him a few weird looks, but stayed very still to not disturb him. The more I see her around babies, the more convinced I am that she will be a great big sister.

Grandma and Grandpa Hebdon spoiled Lydia silly by bringing out all of the baby toys that they've accumulated throughout the years. The kitchen and living room were literally converted into a magical toyland. Lydia especially enjoyed playing with the Little Tikes table with the plastic dishes and fake food. Sometimes she would refuse to eat real food only to sit down to a pretend meal.

            Lydia had her first real McDonalds experience while we were in Utah. Her 'happy meal' consisted of chicken nuggets, fries, and apple juice - which she actually ate! You can imagine her delight when she discovered the toy that came with her meal. To top it off, she got to play on the jungle gym with Aunt Eliza after dinner. Nothing can beat that!

Lydia and Eliza coloring a picture together - they are officially Bff's now :)

Mom and I did our nails and watched a chick flick. There's nothing like having some good quality girl time!

My cousin Shanna's baby shower - it was so good to see everyone!

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner as a family and played Curses

Aubrey is exceptionally talented at photo bombing

             We met up with Lydia's aunties at the University Mall in Provo. It was so nice to catch up, shop, and grab some lunch at the Spaghetti Factory. Aubrey is turning in her mission papers soon, so this might have been the last time I see her before she leaves. During this outing we also learned never to leave a potato masher on the windshield - it will get stolen, even in Provo.

I'm gonna miss this little man


            The day before I headed home was very eventful. My family brought us to the Hogle Zoo. We pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. It was freezing that day, but there are some definite perks to being at the zoo when it's not busy. The animals always seem more relaxed and active when there's no crowd. Despite our frozen limbs and rosy cheeks, we had a wonderful time. Dad even treated us to a steamy cup of hot chocolate afterwards, which really hit the spot! Later that evening, the family celebrated my birthday early with a delicious ice cream cake. We also went to see "Catching Fire" in theaters, which was amazing!

Lydia loves tigers

This picture is for you Eliza!
              The trip back home was much harder than the trip out. The night before our journey Lydia and I were in the same room together, which means that every time she coughed, moved, or breathed too hard I would wake up. In other words, I did not sleep. I thought it would be hard to wake up at four to catch an early flight. As it turns out, it was hard to force myself to stay in bed and try to sleep. I finally gave up at three-thirty. Starting out a long trip with a sick toddler while being sleep deprived and pregnant is not ideal.

               Lydia refused to nap and got bored with the same books and movies. She also had a pretty bad cold, which made her ears hurt during the landings. I tried everything to keep her swallowing, but she got frantic and even refused to put the sucker in her mouth. I'm still trying to block out the memory of Lydia screaming and all of the angry and sympathetic looks. Our plane home got delayed by an hour, and when we finally got into Milwaukee, Austin was so excited to see us that he left the keys in the car while it was running, and locked us out. I just kept reminding myself that one day we'd look back and laugh. We will, right? By the time we made it home, I was ready to collapse. The rest of the day is a blur in my mind. It was good to see Austin again and catch up on some badly needed rest.

It's always nice to be home sweet home!


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Going for a Walk!

A Glorious Wisconsin Sunset

Fish Fry and Football

          We had an especially fun and eventful weekend thanks to our generous friends, Fred and Kathy. On Friday evening we went to the Lakefront Brewery for some yummy fried fish and polka dancing. It was a blast hanging out with our friends and having an opportunity to do the chicken dance together. Afterwards, we headed over to Kopps with everyone to get a scoop of their famous custard. That is the best way to top off any evening. 

           On Saturday morning we dropped off Lydia with some friends and headed to Madison on a double-decker bus with about half the ward for the big BYU-Wisconsin game. This was the longest that I've been apart from Lydia, and it was really strange yet exciting. In fact, it was quite liberating being able to socialize with adults all day and sit back and enjoy the game. What a great day - despite the BYU loss... That was kinda a downer. At least Austin called the outcome of the game a week before and he felt good about that. There really is no shame in losing to the badgers since they're such a great team. We were high up in the stadium and it was pretty chilly. I couldn't feel my legs by the end of the game. Thankfully, we were able to grab a hot chocolate from McDonalds before re-boarding the bus and heading home. I'm so glad we were able to go. It was an awesome day!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Bookcase for our Bookworm

Grandpa reading Lydia her favorite book :)
              Today I put together a bookshelf all by myself - I am superwoman! I know it's really not too impressive to be able to follow directions and mimic assembly pictures, but somehow I feel empowered for doing something that's normally out of my comfort zone. It was high time we got Lydia her own bookcase. The top shelf in the closet hasn't quite been cutting it lately. This is definitely a step up.

            Lydia already loves her new bookshelf and spent the evening swimming through a sea of books that she had scattered all over the floor. Her favorite rediscovery was "The Many Faces of Lydia Marie," which is the baby photo book I put together for her about a year ago. We read that at least ten times before bed, and then Lydia curled up with her massive teddy bear and read it to him in her nonsensical baby talk. Oh how I love my little bookworm!

Lydia's new favorite reading buddy