Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lake Mead "Vacation"

Our family left around 12:30 am to drive about 8 hours into Arizona, through Kingman and arrive at Temple Bar on Friday morning. Like most things that involve our dogs, it was pretty much a nightmare. I'll spare you the details, but lets just say that a busted trailer tire (not ours), two Red Bulls (Tim's) and about 6 hours of our dogs' heavy panting, whining, stepping on Madeleine and more- oh yeah, and finally tying them to the truck bed with the SeaDoo inside and stopping when Tim realized Roscoe was free, standing on the seat of our SeaDoo, which was tied into our truckbed barreling down the freeway at 70 mph...sigh, we arrived. The days were fine, of course, it was hot, but that was to be expected. We set up our cots, canopy and established our camp, hoping Madeleine was tired enough to sleep (for we certainly were).
The first day is always the longest, we are very tired from driving and our bodies are adjusting to the sun, and heat. By the time the sun goes down, the lake is still, dinner is being made and we are rejoicing in the cool shadows of the desert. On most trips...but, on this trip...we had a little visit from the wind. As we prepare dinner (chicken Caesar salad) we were scurrying about to tear down canopies, and cover the food, for the wind was blowing. It blew our chairs over, whisked the food off our plates and made for a generally uncomfortable evening. The wind blew all night, and in a good way, it did keep the heat factor down and create some ambient noise for Madeleine to sleep. I didn't mind the wind once we were finally laying down on our cots (or the full moon shining full down) because I was so exhausted, I could have slept through anything.
Our camp in disarray from the wind:
my parent's dog Rainie didn't mind the wind- as long as she had a toy to chase:
All you can do is batten down the hatches and try and make the best of the evening:
MJ brushes her teeth for bed in the windy evening:
The next day, Mads did even better. She struggled to nap in the midday heat, so we found that if she was cool in the water, she would sleep. I held her about an hour in the water and she dozed off. Tim made sure we had an umbrella and chair when we needed it, and he made sure me and Peanut were keeping lots of water and food on board. It's funny to think that Madeleine is using her sister as a pillow to sleep.
When she was awake, Madeleine LOVED playing in the water. She, like most of us, wanted to be in it all day. Here she is helping Dada drink a refreshing beverage.
She is really loving cause and effect/reaction lately. She delights in watching us react to her cute, silly games and sweet personality. This is exemplified in so many little ways throughout the day. It could be the delight of splashing water on her Mama, who acts surprised, or by feeding Tim some of her lunch as she munches, happy to share with him. She thought it was hilarious to make Dada drink some sparkling water.

On the second night, we again had to secure all the canopies and forgo dinner for a while in order to survive another windy night. Again, our taco salad was pretty much stuffed down our faces because it is really hard to eat in the open wind! That night, the moon bothered my sleep a little, mostly because it was full and there was no cloud cover to hide it. Madeleine slept fine, but she was up at 6 with the sun. So, today our family decided to go to the marina and enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich in the air conditioning and use the restaurant floor so Mads could get some scooting in. (It's also hard to scoot on rocky sand) The boat ride over was somewhat hellish in that Madeleine was not happy to be in her life jacket. It was hard to enjoy our boat when our daughter was screaming to be released. Of course, this got better over the next few days, and on the final day, I think she was getting used to being in it. Our grilled cheese were wonderful. Tim and I both remarked how amazing it is that you can be anywhere, on a road trip, and order a grilled cheese and it is always the same, no matter where you are. There's just something about white sourdough grilled to a buttery brown finish, melted plasticy double cheese, a side of fries and a dill pickle slice that just slightly taints the soft sides of the bread. What is it about American road food that is so unchanging and so powerful to creates pleasure for a child, pleasure so strong that as an adult, he will still choose grilled cheese over other options? We lounged in the diner as Madeleine had a chance to cruise around, much to the delight of the staff. When we arrived back at camp, we managed a map under our EZ-up, which I am very glad we brought, for it blocked much more light/heat than the other canopies. We swam some more and in the evenings, we prepared for wind. However, tonight we actually enjoyed a reprieve. The cloud cover came over, and we could actually keep the canopies up. We enjoyed Buffalo Chicken salad in relative calm. We even enjoyed watching Rainie and Sima play. However, my dad decided to turn Rainie's energy toward a retrieving toy. She loved "springing" into the water to nab the dummy. Tim took advantage of the show and got some pictures of her. With the windless evening, he also captured some gorgeous sunset pictures.
Sima & Rainie play:
Rainie dives for her dummy:
Our campsite swimming hole:

Without the wind to blow the clouds out, it was hot. The clouds acted like a thermal blanket to trap all the heat towards the Earth, and we were sweating. Our whole family cooled our core temps in the water before attempting to sleep, but Madeleine woke up from the smoldering heat. I found it difficult to breath being 25 weeks pregnant and having all that blood in my body. I started to get frustrating as I attempted to stretch my lungs to full tidal volume and as the opressing heat constricted each breath. We lay MJ on my cot and I slept in a reclining chair. After about two hours, my butt and arms were asleep. It was a very poor night's sleep. I got back in the water and Tim slept in the chair. Mads was still sleeping uneasily while we waited for the temperature to break 100 degrees. It finally cooled to around 97 around 1:30am. Tim and I were ready to go home. The mental scales of work versus reward for this vacation were heavily unbalanced. We decided to not spend another night, and tried to enjoy the day, knowing we were leaving that afternoon. Unfortunately, the wind blew during the day...
We packed up and left around 1:00. Thankfully, the Bauers and my parents decided to do the same. I've been camping like this for all my life, and of course not all trips, or even most trips, are like this. But when you do have a trip like this, you start to consider why in the world anyone would want to do it! All I can say, is, "wind some, lose some".

It just makes the houseboat on Lake Powell look so much the better =)
Love, Lauren

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peanut Update #2

Not much to report on the Peanut front. She is a strong, strong kicker and probably isn't getting enough food. I tend to forget to eat this time around (which wasn't a problem with the first pregnancy, or actually at any other time in my life!), so every time I actually do get some sugar in my bloodstream, she goes nuts and starts getting really active. I can imagine her saying "Oh, thank you Lord, you reminded Mama to eat again". At this point in the pregnancy with Madeleine I was about 4 lbs heavier, but I am still being careful to keep weight in check, with Mads, I gained 15 lbs between weeks 24 and 34 =) Maybe I'm being more intentional because I just feel like I look so much bigger with peanut. I might want to give myself some more time for my uterus to contract before starting baby #3..or, maybe we won't. The Lord knows. I have tried researching how to strengthen your uterus, but with limited results. If you know any good uterus contracting moves, let me know. One friend told me that in Europe, upon delivering, they wrap you really tight in something akin to Ace bandages...she said it helps shrink things down tighter while you are still pliable. I might try it with this baby, mostly for the muscular support in the belly area. Plus, I've been threatening myself with signing up for the Rock 'N Roll Marathon, it happens 6 months after delivery and I've wanted to do it for a while now. It just takes a lot of motivation and effort to train for a marathon (who has time to run 18 miles a day with two kids under 2?) so...we'll see. Tim even said he should to the Temecula Turkey Trot this year as his 5K, since I already ran one in May. Then we could do the Carlsbad 10K in January and work our way up to the 1/2 or full marathon in June. Of course, running with somene (especially Tim) is a dream. I still hold out that I will force one of my children to run with me. Even if I have to drag them or push them in a wheelbarrow, one child will be my running companion =)
12 weeks and already showing!
15 weeks, just after a run and asking Tim to take my pic because "...we don't have any early pics and I'm afraid I'll forget what it looks like at this stage ."
16 weeks- my mom usually takes my pics- we were trying for every 4 weeks, but we will have to take them more frequently as the baby is now growing in earnest.
20 weeks at home with Tim & Mads
20 weeks, my mom taking one for her documentation.
We have a first name, and probably a middle name; you'll only have to wait another 16-18 weeks to know. I'd love to hear guesses!!!!! I always love hearing what other people would choose- for us or for themselves. Holy cow!!! 16-18 weeks?!?!? Oh dear Lord! I think it's in the moments when Mads is down for her naps and I'm sitting on the couch with my feet up, resting (actually, trying to not kill any annoying animals due to excessive neediness, shedding, meowing, barfing, scratching, panting, licking of the crotch or barking) that I think, "In four months time I will have another baby who will need nursing and tending to, and when she's asleep, Madeleine will need feeding and playing with, teaching and tending to...Good thing I find my strength in God Omnipotent. It made my heart glad when Tim reaffirmed his desire and attempt to take a month off when Peanut comes.

It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. Ps 18.32

The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless his people with peace. Ps 29.11

In quietness and confidence shall be my strength. Is 30.15

I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Eph 6.10

I have put on the complete armour of God. Eph 6.11

God gives power to the weak. And to those who have no might, He increases strength. Is 40.29

I shall renew my strength. I shall receive God's strength as I wait upon Him. I shall mount up with wings like eagles. I shall run and not be weary. I shall walk and not faint. All this shall happen to me because I wait on the LORD. Is 40.31

God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Ps 46.1

The Lord is my strength and my song, And He is become my salvation. Ex 15.2 Ps 118.19 Is 12.2

Like Moses, my eyesight shall not be dim nor shall my natural vigor be abated. Deut 34.7

God has commanded me. I am strong and very courageous in Christ; I am not afraid, nor dismayed, for the LORD my God is with me wherever I go. Josh 1.9

I strengthen myself in the LORD my God. 1Sam 30.6

God has armed me with strength for battle; He has subdued under me those who rose against me. 2Sam 22.40

The joy of the Lord is my strength. Neh 8.10

I will love You, O Lord, my Strength. Ps 18.1

The LORD is my strength and my shield, and my saving refuge. Ps 28.7 28.8

The LORD will give strength to his people. Ps 29.11

God is my defense. Ps 59.9

The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Ps 68.35

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Ps 73.26

A wise man is strong. Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength. God gives abundant wisdom to me without finding fault. Pr 24.5

The Lord gives strength to those who turn the battle at the gate. Is 28.6

I keep every commandment which God commands me today, that I may be strong and possess the promises of God. Deut 11.8

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Php 4.13"


Love, Lauren

30 Before 30: # 15 Find a "Good" mascara- Round 1

This one is going to take a while, so I figured I would do this post in installments. I have a few things that God has blessed me with (skin, legs) but eyelashes is NOT one of those. I have the piddliest, shortest, thinnest lashes. I look dead without mascara. So, finding a volume building mascara is a constant pursuit. Thankfully, all the companies are constantly coming out with the next "big" thing for us mascara fiends. Here are some I tried before I started "the search".

Recently, I tried Maybelline XXL Pro, a double-wanded applicator with lash builder on one side and lash tint on the other. Crap. The builder makes your lashes clumpy. The tint doesn't really cover the builder well, and if you wait longer than 2 seconds, the builder dries, making for a rough tint application.
A few years ago, I used the standard Maybelline Great Lash, but I noticed that it did only a ho-hum job of building that voluminous "fanned-out" action on my lashes. I looked more Twiggy than Sophia Loren, if you know what I mean. You can even see how that would happened based on the wand brush. Lots of space between brush extensions.
Loreal Collagen Enhanced Volumizer is the mascara I was using right before I started my "search". It does a pretty good job at building volume, but it too was clumpy. I liked the brush, but it seemed to get clogged with mascara easily. I was told that I can take a clean one-time mascara applicator and rake out the clumps from the brush, but I had already decided to get a new one at the time. So, I might actually re-visit this one.
I went to Sephora, thinking my problem was that the mascaras I was purchasing were "cheap" ($5-8). I actually worked up the gall to buy this "cult-following" volumizer by Dior. It's called Dior Show. The brush is super thick, and the formula was smooth, but not any fabulous, "wow- I-gotta-have-this" reaction occurred. Plus, I was really having buyer's remorse at coughing up $24 to have a one ounce tube of black gunk. I returned it. Of course, Tim, being the sweetest guy, bought it for me for Christmas- he went to Sephora and asked for a good volume mascara, and this is what he got me. So sweet, but he was also relieved when I returned it (If $24 was a lot to me, you can understand what it takes for him to buy this =) It was after the Dior splurge that I decided a few things: 1. I have never once gone through a whole tube of mascara, so why spend more than I have to? 2. Most mascaras work well for the first two or three weeks, after that, the brushes seem to clump up and the formulas start oxidizing, so why spend more than I have to? 3. I should replace my mascara more often anyway (especially since I wear contacts, and have since learned I have sensitive eyes), so...why spend more than I have to?
I really wanted to like Cover Girl's Lash Blast (they kinda kicked off the anything but black mascara tube trend) but their "breakthrough" nylon brush just did not apply the way I wanted it to, and again, I did not notice any significant increase in length or volume. Yet, I saw a girl at Costco with amazing lashes, and asked her what mascara she used...this was it:
I have also used Loreal's Voluminous, and to be honest, I think the formula was a little thick leading to sticky lashes that would clump into three large lashes, but it was so long ago, that I feel this one deserves another try at some point. I do like the brush on this one though.
My first mascara was Lancome Definicils; my mom wore it, and I would always get great results. But, about 5 years ago, they changed the formula and it isn't the same. I even discussed this with the girl at the Stila counter in the mall, and she agreed. So, Definicils from 1997, I love you...but now you stink.
Okay, now on to the contenders: I went to Walmart and spent about $26 on three new mascaras. I also checked their policy on make-up returns. Of course, being who I am, I feel guilty knowing that I can't just return these and know they will be used. It is utterly wasteful to return opened mascaras...but I'm getting desperate, AND (and this is a huge issue) when you go to "try" out mascara at Sephora or the mall, they use a universal applicator!! How in the world are you supposed to know how the mascara goes on if you are really only testing the formula, I mean, doesn't the applicator make up like 85% of the mascara's ability to actually lengthen and volumize? If it wasn't so, they would just sell universal applicators with your specific formula. Ugh, so frustrating!
So, I bought Cover Girl Lash Blast Luxe. I was persuaded, even though I did not like CG Lash Blast (orange). A few reasons for the try: it has shimmer in it! so fun! and it is supposed to be a volumizer (as opposed to their Lash Blast Lengths [yellow]-which I also tried, but forgot to post about). It was that darn nylon brush again, I just don't like the way it applies the mascara. I also can't get a hold on the applicator, the thing is so big in my hand, I would rather have more control of the brush. So, bye-bye CG Lash Blast Luxe.
The next contestant was Maybelline's Lash Stilleto. Delaney suggested it, and I had seen it, but believed it was a lengthening mascara. Well, the one below is, but there is a red tubed one that is length and volume, so that's actually the one I tried. Crap. I had to work SO hard to get the lashes to take the mascara, and it took about 4 coats to get them just "normal". I tried this one once, then it was gone. Sorry.The last one was Maybelline Colossal Volume Express. It worked pretty good. But again, I had to work pretty hard to get the mascara on all my lashes. Just not for me.

So, I have a few more options out there that will go into round 2 of "the search".
I just bought Maybelline's Define-A-Lash lengthening and volumizer, and I'm fairly impressed so far. Plus, it comes in a lovely green tube!
I found Maybelline Great BIG Lash while searching for pictures, so I'll have to give that a try. It's the great lash formula, with a volumizing brush.
I might just try some cheaper options, like NYC or Wet 'N Wild (are they even around?) or I might just find a nice, modest pair of false lashes...

Love, Lauren

Monday, July 5, 2010

To the Zoo with you!

Even though he had to work for 72 hours before we went, Tim made it a priority for our family to get to the zoo. So, we loaded up after lunch and headed down to Balboa Park. I have no idea how this book got in our car, but Madeleine looks so cute reading it. I love that she picked it up off the seat and sat to look over it while we packed the car. I happened upon her "reading" and snapped up a cutie-pie pic. This girl is awesome!
It was overcast in San Diego, but it was nice because all the animals were out and not hiding from the sun.
Madeleine is working on saying "gorilla"; it sounds more like "Rilla?" because everything ends with a question mark when she speaks ("ball?") it's pretty cute. This guy was a good friend until Dada put her on eye level with him, then he got really scary. Tim told her it was alright and she seemed to be okay with him.
We didn't realize it (because you know how fast you have to move to get kids in action) but we should have posed Mads as the butterfly! Ha ha, oh well...Tim has now a butterfly and a lamb body to chose from for his Facebook profile pic!
You can kinda see her smiling while Dada helps to feed the goats.
We check out the "new" Elephant Encounter. Very cool! I hadn't been to the zoo since I was in middle school or younger.
Mama, Mads and Peanut with a Mammoth.
Madeleine did tire of being pushed around in the BOB, so we let her scoot around in an open area, much to her delight.
Tim also sang her the "Baby in a hood" song (which has many versions- my favorite being "Baby in a towel") and she just laughed as she tugged on her hood. It was cool enough to keep her in a sweatshirt all day.
She did conk out towards the end of our day, and looked like a little doll, asleep in her stroller.
We had a great time at the zoo. We saw lions, elephants, lots of birds, deer, and more. It seemed like there were quite a few animals out in the cool weather. We were also able to get passes for a discounted rate, and I am looking forward to going to the Wild Animal Park with my family. It works great because Mads and I can go down for a few hours, then stop by to see Tim while he is working. Of course, I think Tim and I will return on our own to explore the park more thoroughly on a date night.

Love, Lauren

Friday, July 2, 2010

June Happenings

During the month of June, we have been very busy growing, organizing, painting, planting and enjoying some water fun. I don't really want to blog about every single event, but would like to highlight a few. Father's day, we enjoyed a party in the park organized by Tim's sister Lori. There was a bounce house for the kids (of which there were many!) and a BBQ. Lori invited her neighbors and we hung out and enjoyed tossing the football around too. I made Tim a Father's Day Ribbon which he sportingly wore to the park (but I didn't make him wear it to church =) Before Mads was born, we bought her this toddler monkey chair, and now she is actually able to use it! Time goes too fast...Tim was working a 48 when I decided to visit our friends the Thomas Family down in Carlsbad. We met at Tamarack Beach and they shared some sand toys with Madeleine. It was her first tim in the ocean and she really liked it. Ewan is a pro and he would have run all the way in had his parents not been so confining and demanding. He's a grown-up for crying out loud, let him live his life (of course, those who watch The Office will appreciate).

Mama and babies. Yup, closing out the fifth month pretty soon, and still feeling fine =)
On the way home, we grabbed In-N-Out for Dada and visited for a while. God blessed us by giving us some uninterrupted time, Tim didn't have any calls until we were getting ready to leave. Dada and baby snuggle time.
So cute!
The next day, Tim was forced to stay at work and ended up pulling a 72. I was exhausted, for my parents had gone to Lake Mead and usually I rely on my mom for a few hours when Tim is gone for so long. So, we broke out the fish pool. Because of Tim's inconsistent working schedule, it is hard to keep up on the lawns and the pool and still relax and have a family; therefore, I have taken on our in-ground pool as a project and I was not willing to put Madeleine in the in-ground pool yet since I had been trying to stabilize the chemicals and get it sparkly clean. Of course, all this cleanliness means chemicals in the pool. So, we blew up the fish and filled him with water. It made it easier on me to watch her in the fish as opposed to having to swim and hold her in our pool.

I can't wait to share about hanging two lamps and painting our bathroom, but I will reserve those for another post.
Love, Lauren