Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Dangers of Reading

Before Eleanor was even born, my dad picked up this book to give to her called "I Already Know I Love You" by Billy Crystal (which is really a fantastic book).  So the other day we sat down to read it together.  Like many babies, Ellie is enamoured with paper.  She wants to grab it and put it in her mouth-like everything else.  So it's a delicate dance to read her a book without letting her destroy it.  This time, I lost.

I didn't notice anything until she was trying again to grab a page as I turned it and I saw a little red spot on her finger.  She'd gotten a paper cut.  She didn't cry or make any fuss about it.  We went and rinsed it off and got a bandaid from Grandpa Lewis.  She got her first owie and didn't even complain, until I was trying to hold her hand still to get the bandaid on.
It was a cool one with Sesame Street characters on it. 
Which she promptly tried to put in her mouth and chew on. 
What a girl.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Must share...

It says "Hundreds of years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that my ruins become a tourist attraction."
Now to figure out what crazy thing I'll build...

Ben's Students

I think I mentioned this before, but Ben has begun teaching full-time at a "local" high school. It's about half an hour away in Celeste TX.  What?  You've never heard of Celeste?  Yeah, me neither.  The population is about 800 and there are about 200 kids in the school.  And boy do they say the funniest things!  Here is a sampling.

Ben passes out a printed schedule of the next unit's homework assignments and quiz dates
Student:  Looks like you spent time on this!
(The previous teacher would write out tests by hand and photocopy them.  They were also in shock when Ben used the document camera.  The school is new and nearly every teacher has one, but apparently Ben was the first to use it)

Ben had noticed that his classroom set of textbooks was slowly shrinking.  Then one day one of his students came in carrying four of them.
Student:  I was cleaning out my locker.
Ben:  Thanks.
About 20 minutes pass.  He come back in with four more books!
Student:  I cleaned out my other locker.
Ben:  How many lockers do you have?
Student:  Four.

Ben was wearing a dark violet shirt
Student:  You know what your shirt reminds me of?  A grape.  Has anyone ever told you that before?
Ben:  No, I don't think so.

Student:  What is your daughter's name?
Ben:  Eleanor.
Student:  Oh cool, like "Gone in 60 Seconds."
Ben:  Um...sure.
Ben's coolness is "through the roof" because he speaks Japanese and his daughter is "named after" Gone in 60 Seconds. 

And my all-time favorite:

Student:  Do we sound funny to you?
Ben:  Why?  Do I sound funny to you?
Student: You sound like a Yankee.  No offense, but you sound like a Yankee.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ben Gets Squared

Ben loves his numbers. He always has.  Today is his squared birthday; he is now 25 (which is 5 x 5).  He's very excited.  Here is a little number tribute to my favorite mathematician!

Top Five Reasons Why Ben is Awesome (please tell me if you can think of a better title)
1.  He is a goody-two-shoes.  Meaning he does his best to always do what is right. I couldn't be prouder.
2.  He is an eternal optimist.  When Ben first asked me out and Iwas telling my then-roommate Tiffanie about it, she said, "Now, which one is he?"  And I replied, "Ben Lewis, the smiley one."  She knew exactly who I meant.  And that's who he is.
3.  He is incredibly hard working.  These past few months have been challenging, but Ben has put in every ounce of effort he has to provide for our little family, frequently working 14 hour days between teaching and tutoring.  He's amazing.
4.  He's a great father.  He is always willing to change Eleanor's diapers and plays with her every chance he gets.  He loves to get her out of her crib when she wakes up from naps and love her while I prepare to feed her.

5.  He's a fantastic husband.  He is always willing to help and serve me.  He's quick with compliments, and he thinks I'm funny.  I think he's pretty much the greatest thing that ever happened to me (after the gospel, though without it I wouldn't have him forever anyway). 

Happy Squared Birthday!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting Whites Really White

So, I love white shirts.  I don't love what happens to white shirts in the armpits though.  I've tried various remedies, but this was the first that worked and it was so easy that I feel compelled to share.

a gallon or 2 of hot hot water (our tap gets pretty hot, so I just used that, but you could boil some up I supposed)
1 cup bleach
1 cup dishwasher detergent (I used the gel kind from Walmart)

Mix it all up, through in your clothes, make sure they are all covered.  Let sit for at least an hour.  Mine soaked for 2 or 3.  Then wring them out and through them in the washer.  Dishwasher soap is specially formulated not to suds up so it's safe to put in your washer. 
Seriously, I don't have stains on shirts that I've had for years now.  It even got poop stains out of Ellie's white onsies.  YEAH!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Six Months Old

It is sometimes hard to believe that six months ago I was struggling through 20 hours of labor in order to bring Eleanor into the world.  It was completely worth it.  My only regret is that I didn't shower before leaving for the hospital (not a mistake I will make again).  She is such a wonderful baby, even when she is cranky I think she's cute. 
I was at a funeral yesterday, and had to take Ellie into the foyer because she was getting way to exhuberant during the eulogy, and there were two other mothers out there with tiny little newborns.  I sat Eleanor on the ground on her blanket and gave her my mom's old cellphone to play with and looked in wonder at how much she has grown.  As I looked at the newborns I couldn't believe that she was once that small.  But she was.  And she isn't a terribly big baby still, but she has grown so much.  She sits up on her own perfectly and rolls over lots, though gets stuck on her stomach trying to crawl and then screams about her inability to do so.  It's okay by me.  As soon as she starts crawling I know I'll have to be better about picking stuff up.

She recently discovered the joys of a cardboard box.  I poked some holes in the flap and threaded some rings through and voila!  her new favorite toy.

There is just so much to explore with a diaper box!

Plus it can double as a car.  I pushed her around the living room in it and she was thrilled.
So that's what's up a the Lewis home.  We're just the proud parents of a thrill-seeking, box-loving six month old.  We couldn't be happier.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eating Food

The older Ellie gets, the more it is clear that she is kind of an independent little creature.  For example, we started solid foods this week.  Initially she was more interested with holding and gnawing on the spoon than anything else. 

(PS, Tiffanie, do you like the bib? )

But today, she finally ate some.  See how it went.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another Cool Money Saving Tool

If you do any online shopping, then this is a great website for you.  We recently purchased a new computer online, and went through, and got 5% cash back (an actual check), which was pretty nice since computers aren't exactly cheap.  Here is how it works:  go to the ebates website and find the store you wish to make a purchase from.  Click on the link to the store through ebates and they track your purchase and give you a certain percentage cash back (every store is different).  They also have coupon codes for that store listed there.  Anyway, click on the link below to sign up as a referral from me.

Ebates Tell-a-Friend

Our Christmas Trip: Part 3

Part 3: Philip's Farewell, New Year's, and Stuff

It was wonderful to be all together as a family for Philip's "farewell."  He gave a terrific talk in church, speaking on the Atonement of Christ and  the positive influence of righteous parents/family, and leaders and teachers.  It's kind of sad that I moved away from home when he was just 10 and I missed being there for him growing up.  He's become quite the young man.  Our old bishop, Doug Maughan commented to me that the Brown boys all start out kind of rough and sometimes a little irreverant (ain't that the truth), but they grow up well and become wonderful young men.  I mean, we all know we could use some more growing up, but I do think my brothers are turning out quite nicely, despite any minor deficiencies. 
A lot of our extended family came to the house after church for lunch, and I took the opportunity to snap some photos of Ellie with her great-grandparents, since both sides were there.

Granny Great (my Grandma Sunny)

Brown Great-Grandparents

With Uncle Phil (soon to be Elder Brown in the Colorado Denver South Mission)

We also got together with all of my Konold relatives on the 30th to celebrate a multitude of birthdays (I won't even try to list them because I'll inevitably forget someone), and took pictures of all of the great-grandkids with Granny Great (aka Grandma Sunny to the older generation).  I think this is the best one I got-Alex is smiling instead of screaming and everyone else looks relatively content.

We spent New Year's Eve in a time-honored fashion, watching a little Twilight Zone (It's a cook book, for how to cook man!), celebrating with an over commercialized NYC ball drop (all I remember is flashing signs for Toshiba behind the ball), and then going to bed after Ellie's late night feeding at 10 pm.  Yea, we're hard core.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  Jonathan and Philip schooled Ben, Kim, and I in RISK (big surprise), but I did beat them all at Monopoly (only to have that title quickly wisked away the next game).  Daniel and Megan introduced us to Settlers (well, Jonathan and Kim too).  Most of all, we had fun together.  It's good to do that every once in a while.  I love my family, every bit of it.  I'm so thankful to be sealed to them for time and all eternity.  How grateful I am for this aspect of our Heavenly Father's great plan of happiness and salvation for His children!

Ellie getting her belly blown by Grandpa Brown.  Seriously, can you resist that smile!?  I venture to say no.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shameless Promotion

I was referred by a friend to and think I should pass the favor along.  Basically it's a search engine that you win points (or "swag bucks") with that you can redeem for other things.  I always skip the first few links that pop on when I search (because they are "sponsered" links), but otherwise it's great.  So if you want to try it out, click below!

Search & Win

Our Christmas Trip: Part 3

Part 3:  Christmas Day! And the stuff that happened afterwards (i.e. our 2nd Anniversary)

Of course we spent Christmas morning giving and upwrapping gifts.  My favorite was probably giving my parents a "Very Official Looking Coupon."  We knew we'd be taking a big family photo in a few days and we wanted our gift to be the actual picture.  So my talented Ben drew up a coupon Christmas morning while I nursed Ellie.  My favorite part was how he very official he got; the coupon reads
"Good for one family photo of the family of your choice.  Redeemable only at Ben and Summer stores worldwide, see store for details.  Act before Jan 1 2099 and receive one free 5x7 of the baby granddaughter of your choice." 
I think there was more, but you get the idea.  We had actually printed out a 5x7 of Eleanor, but forgot to bring it.  The saddest thing was that I forgot to bring the gifts I had made for my niece and nephews!  I was so sad, because I wanted to see their faces when they opened them.  When I gave the butterfly wings and cape to my Lewis nieces and nephews it was so fun to see their faces as they put them on (especially Sam saying something to the effect of "S for Super Sam!  I'm so excited!").  Oh well, I'll just have to mail them.  We gave Ellie some bowls and spoons because we are going to start solids!, and diapers (which, btw, were really terrible-don't by Parent's Choice in Nevada. We discovered that they were made by a different company and the tabs are terrible and she practically wiggles out of her diaper!). 
We also celebrated our second year of blissful marriage by going to the Las Vegas Temple, where we were married, while my mom babysat Ellie (who still refuses a bottle, but whatever).  Ben bought me Pirouette cookies, which was wonderful.  My cousin Mike and his wife Jess gave us Pirouettes as part of a wedding gift and we got the biggest kick out of reading the label on our Honeymoon.  It's been a big joke between us ever since.  Here's why it's so funny (best if read out loud in a serious voice like a romatic commercial):
"If you revel in refinement, if you delight in detail, if you etertain with a passion, then you will appreciate the elegance of Pirouette rolled wafers by Pepperidge Farm.  Long. Slender. Graceful. A pastry-like wafer, baked to a delicate crisp, surrounds a rich, creamy chocolate hazelnut filling.  Perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious. Dessert for eight? Coffee for two? That special moment just for you? Turn a simple serving of ice cream in to a sophisticated dessert for your guest.  Transform a quick coffee with a friend into a lingering heart-to-heart. Pirouette rolled wafers are the perfect way to make everyday exceptional."
Now you know what you can do with an English major-write superflous labels for Pepperidge Farm.  I know that was a long tangent, but I love it! 
We enjoyed celebrating two years together in a very simple way!  Perhaps next year we'll do something "cool." 
I feel as thought I ought to say more about our anniversary. We've done some crazy things already (live in the worlds's tiniest apartment, move to Texas seemingly without reason, drive across country with a baby), and we've yet to have an arguement.  But really I feel very content in the ordinariness of our marriage.  We're best friends and we've agreed that it's best to look for the best and accentuate it because that's how we can encourage each other to becoming even better.  This post is getting long, so perhaps I'll elaborate later on some of the thoughts I'm having right now.  In the meantime, here are some picture of Christmas!

We went to my Aunt Karen's house for brunch on Christmas morning and took a picture of all of the current Konold great-grandkids. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Christmas Trip: Part 2

Part 2:  Christmas Eve

My family has a tradition of acting out the Nativity on Christmas Eve, and for several years we have done it at my Brown Grandparents house in Las Vegas.  It was Ellie's first opportunity, and she slept right through it, which really was for the best.  Then we sang Christmas songs, with special performances by the the more musically inclined.  Spending Christmas Eve with family and doing the Nativity are some of my favorite parts of Christmas (especially because we get to dress up). 

Our Christmas Trip: Part 1

We spent Christmas with my family in Pahrump, and I was a little sad to leave, mostly because I don't know how soon we will see them again.  But we had a great time there for Christmas and New Year's Eve (and my dad's birthday and our second anniversary).  My brothers gave little Ellie lots of love, and Ellie couldn't get enough of her Grandma and Grandpa Brown.  My niece and nephews were too fun to hang out with and I wish I would have taken more pictures of Miriam playing with Ellie.  I wish I had taken more pictures period.  But, enough with that.  Let's get the story started.
Part 1:  The Two Day Drive to Nevada
We were very brave and took two days driving from Texas to Nevada.  Ellie...survived.  She was actually pretty good most of the time, but was exceedingly happy to finally arrive at our destination and not have to spend all day in the car seat (as were we).

Ben became a master diaper changer in the strangest of places.

Ellie had some driving lessons...

Ironically, we stopped at this exit on the way there and back to feed Ellie(good ol' Exit 103, Jolly Rd in Arizona).

Whenever we would stop and go to get Ellie out this is the cute little face that greeted us.  She was always super happy to get out of the car!