Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Christmas!

From the Austins!

So the other night at our Young Women's activity we went through the symbols of Christmas, it was really neat to be reminded of why all of these things are representative of Christmas and Christ.  I thought I'd list them here...
  • Color Red: The color red symbolizes the Savior's sacrifice for us. It is for the blood He spilt for us.
  • Color Green: The color green symbolizes eternal life--life everlasting.
  • Color White: The color white symbolizes the purity of Christ.
  • Color Gold: The color gold symbolizes the royalty of Christ.
  • The Star: the star is representative of the star that shone at the birth of Christ, fulfilling prophecy. The star marked the place where Christ lay, and is the shining hope of all mankind.
  • The Evergreen Tree: Also known as the fir tree...your Christmas tree! This tree represents everlasting life. It is green all year round. Evergreen needles also point up to Heaven. This tree can also symbolize the Jesse Tree; Jesse was the father of King David. Christ is from that lineage.
  • The Bell: Shepherds ring bells to guide lost sheep back to the fold. Remember the parable of the lost sheep; the Shepherd searches for one lost even when he has his ninety-and nine (99). The bell symbolizes that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord. Bells are also rung in celebration for the birth of Christ.
  • The Candle: The candle is a smaller representation for star light. This reflects our gratitude for the star of Bethlehem.
  • The Lights: The lights represent that Jesus is the light of the world.
  • The Gift Bow: The gift bow represents that we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill.
  • The Candy Cane: The candy cane represents the shape of a shepherd's crook. This crook is used to bring lost lambs back to the fold. The colors (red and white) are used purposefully (see color symbols above). If you turn the candy cane upside down, it makes a J, for Jesus.
  • The Wreath: The wreath has a couple of meanings. One thing to note is that it is round--circular. It is a symbol of the never ending...never ending love, as well as the never ending Lord. He is the beginning and the end.
  • The Holly: One interpretation for Holly represents the crown of thorns. Holly was introduced as a Christmas item in order to eclipse the use of mistletoe.
  • The Angel: This is quite obvious, but the angel represents the angels who proclaimed the birth of the Savior.
  • The Poinsettia: The poinsettia is representative of the Star of Bethlehem.

 I hope you all have an amazing and safe holiday filled with love and family!!

[photo credit to my sister, Brittain]

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oakley Berlin- 6 months

The time has flown by and our baby is already 6 months old (she actually turned 6 months on the 4th, but I'm way behind)!
-is 27" tall and weighs 18 lbs
-wears size 6-12mo clothes
-wears size 3 diapers
-just started eating rice cereal and is very good at keeping it in her mouth
-also started eating baby biscuits and gnawing on apple slices and loves those as well
-is still nursing every 3-4 hours except one meal is rice cereal
-can sit up by herself for several minutes, but is still pretty wobbly and can fall over easily
-can stand holding our hands
-smiles easily and can get laughing pretty hard at games where we come at her or nibble her ribs
-loves snuggles and being held
-hates being away from the action.  When she is eating and can hear Liv and dad playing, she has to turn and watch
-is obsessed with Olivia.  She gets so excited when Liv pays attention to her or plays with her
-loves her binky and can put it in her own mouth, sometimes finding the clip on her shirt and then reeling her binky in on the ribbon like a fish
-loves to hold hands.  When she is sad, all she needs is a hand to hold and she will stop crying most of the time
-still will NOT take a bottle
-is not a big fan of the car seat or her swing
-tolerates her bouncer seat or bumbo for short periods of time
-loves to play with toys and immediately reaches for things she has dropped
-loves to give "kisses".  She'll grab the skin on our necks with her sharp little nails (yowza!) and pull us onto her open mouth.  It's sweet and painful.
-likes to taste everything
-takes a 2 hour nap in the morning, a 1.5 hour nap after lunch, and a 45 minute nap late afternoon.  She goes to bed at 7:30 and just started sleeping in her nursery this week, which she loves and has done so well since I'm not waking her up when I go in to bed.
-is still so sweet and calm.  I can take her anywhere and not worry about her being a problem or distraction

We got Olivia's old jumper out of the closet the other day and Berlin is sooo funny in it!  As soon as I put her in it, she is all business.  Jumping determinedly like she is training for the olympics and cannot be distracted.  Her face is so serious while she jumps.

Berlin can't sit by Olivia without trying to maul her.  She looks like a bloodthirsty little vampire because as soon as Liv sits by us (to read a book, watch a show, whatever), Berlin grabs her shirt and goes in, open-mouthed to latch onto whatever body part she can get ahold of with her gums.  Liv is super patient with her, but usually ends up sitting on the arm of the couch, out of reach

She is super patient with Olivia's rough play, but will usually look for mom when she sees big sis coming, to make sure there is a referee close by

Olivia Kimber- 2.5 years

Olivia is now two-and-a-half!  I'm so bad at writing down the cute or hilarious things she does every day, I really need to do better.  Luckily I'm able to use this blog as a journal to keep track of all of her milestones and stages.  She is at such a fun age.  She is so observant and has opinions about everything.  She is doing much better at minding and even has her own chores that she is always willing to do.

She is 34 pounds, 40.5 inches, and wears a 4t in clothes and an 8 in shoes.

Olivia hates to sit in grocery carts or strollers and demands to walk everywhere.  We always tell her that she may walk in crowded places as long as she will hold one of our hands or the cart.  She does pretty well at this.

She still loves to run, jump, climb on anything and everything.  I'm really amazed at how agile and coordinated she is, she rarely has an accident or gets hurt!  The one clumsy thing she can't she does is, in crowded areas she doesn't look where she is going.  She looks at the ground and often runs into people.  When this happens she says "Saw-yeee!" and goes on her way

She hates time-out because it means she has to sit still on a chair, and she will do anything to avoid it.  It has become quite the effective punishment because of how much she dislikes it.  We rarely have to use it though, she will usually mind after counting to three, and she hardly ever hurts someone on purpose and is quick to say "saw-yee"

She loves her baby sister and is so great with her.  When Berlin cries, Olivia is right there with a toy or binky to help her feel better.  Olivia calls her "Bay" and always says "Hi Bay!" or "It's otay Bay."  Liv gets so excited when Berlin learns something new (like grabbing a toy or sitting up).

The other day Berlin started saying "Dadadada" in the car, and Olivia said "Dada!  Bay say Dada!" It was the cutest thing how excited she got.  Now whenever Berlin babbles dadada, Liv gets excited.

Liv has a crazy bad temper when she can't get something right or when something won't do what she wants it to.  Especially when she is tired.  Sometimes she gets so worked up crying and screaming that she can't calm down.  When she gets to this point I ask if she wants to 'tick tock' and she climbs into my lap and puts her arms around my neck.  We rock from side to side and I say "tick...tock...tick...tock."  The slow rhythm and repetition helps calm her down, and when she starts saying it with me I know she has gotten over her tantrum.  When she has gone completely quiet she climbs out of my lap and goes about her business. It's so sweet and works every time.

Olivia loves sweets just like her mom.  I limit how much sugar she can have, and Jack makes sure to ask me how much she has had before he gives her something so that we are on the same page.  She LOVES the sugar cookies at Slurp and calls them "Peent tooties" (pink cookies).  The other day we were out running errands and Jack dropped me off to run inside a store by myself real quick.  As soon as I left, Olivia said "Dad, peent tootie?"  and Jack said, "we'd better ask Mama."  At this point Olivia said slyly "No Mama...Daddy and Wivi (Livi) peent tooties."  She wanted him to sneak away and they two of them get cookies without me knowing!  Little minx :) Jack was laughing so hard

She calls candy or treats "peedow"  and fish "Seebee"

When we say "I love you" she will say it back, and lately says it about other things she loves.  The other day I said "do you like peedow?" and she said "No Mama.  I luh peedow"

If someone has something she wants she'll say "Where's my toy/peedow/tootie?  Where's Wivi's?"

A few weeks ago Olivia watched Lady and the Tramp.  The other night I made spaghetti for dinner and while she was eating she called me over.  She then grabbed my arm to pull me in close, put one end of a noodle in my mouth and the other in hers, then worked her way in for a kiss :-*

Jack bought her playdough for the first time the other day and she LOVED it.  I helped her build things for a while and then was keeping a pretty close eye on her while I did the dishes to make sure she didn't grind it into the carpet or try to eat it or anything, but after a while with no incident I grew too lax in my observance.  She started crying and I went to investigate the situation.  She had stuck some up her nose!  I tried to clear it out with my finger and had her blow, which produced a small piece and I thought that was the end of it.  She told me it still hurt so I put a finger over her other nostril and told her to blow hard like she was blowing her nose (luckily she had had a mild runny nose that week and so had plenty of practice).  A huge glob shot right out (lubed by the runny-nosedness) and she was all clear.  It was the first time she had tried to put anything up there, and I'm pretty sure it will be the last thanks to how much the salty dough stung her nasal cavity.  We got very lucky!

She loves her cousins, they are her best friends.  If we are trying to get her in the car to meet up with family, all we have to do is tell her that Jaden, Natalie, or Banner will be there and she runs out and gets in her car seat.

Olivia can count to ten (one, two fee, fo, five, sits, nine, ten, eight, seben!), knows all of her colors,  shapes, and can identify any animal and make it's sound. She can complete patterns most of the time, and has also written the first half of her name a few times but will not do it on command.  She is crazy good at the puzzle app on her ipad, and is getting better and better at the letter-writing one.  She can also sort by category and build fantastic Lego buildings and towers.

Her favorite animal is an elephant

Here are her favorite songs:
Row, row, row your Boat
I am a Child of God
Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam
Twinkle Twinkle
Under the Sea
Shalala (Kiss the Girl)

Here are her favorite foods:
frozen blueberries
toast with butter and jam
basically any fruit
whipped cream
peanut butter and honey sandwiches

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Club

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Rating: 10 out of 10

This book is incredible.  And the most incredible thing about it isn't even the story (though it is fantastic); it's the writing.  The story is that of a young girl in World War II Germany who lives with foster parents and sometimes steals books.  It was so interesting to read from the point of view of those in a German town under rule of Hitler and his Nazis.  People don't always realize that not all Germans were bad during this era.  Most were just victims themselves.  Overall, The Book Thief is about the resilience of people and the power of words.  What makes it so beautiful though, is Zusak's descriptive writing.  I have never read scenes so vivid as the ones he paints through his writing.  He uses similes to connect and illustrate in a way I have never seen.  The happy incidents are elating.  The sad ones, devastating.  A scene in which he describes a group of Jews walking through the streets on their way to a camp is so real that I can confidently say I have never read a page that made me feel so much like I was there.  In a book about the power of words, Zusak uses them extraordinarily well.  I was completely blown away.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

27 years old

I was scared of 26 because it was the downhill after 25 that put me closer to 30 :) I didn't mind turning 27 at all though.  I'm loving where I am in life, and 27 seems to suit my status.  It's comfortable.  "I'm twenty-seven."  I don't mind saying it at all.  My life is on course and I'm happy.  Each year gets more and more beautiful and I am doing exactly what I want to be doing and just enjoying the blessings God has (for some reason) seen fit to shower me with.  I love 27.  I already know it will be my best year yet.

I slept in while Jack manned the littles.  I ate breakfast and then opened my gifts.  He spoiled me so much.  He got me a guitar.  I'm so excited about it and also scared of it.  Scared of it because: first, I want so badly to play well.  If I could have one wish for new talent, it would be to play the guitar well. The second reason is because while I was tuning it for the first time, a string snapped!  It was terrifying!  It was so loud and could have, like, taken out my eye!  I replaced it and then put the instrument away for a day until I could build up my courage enough to try tuning it again.  Eyes narrowed to slits this time.  I looked up the basic chords online, it felt so unnatural placing my fingers!  I took piano lessons for about 5 years and I'm not sure yet if that will help me (knowing the names of the notes and such) or hinder me (they are in a different order! And you have to play a chord instead of just one note! I think...)

I took a long hot bath and read my new book (Gone Girl, another birthday gift).  During the girls' naps we ate takeout (5 Guys) and watched New Girl.  In the afternoon I did some shopping while Jack watched the girls, then I relaxed and drank soda in bed while playing with my new Ipad mini (another birthday gift), and that evening we all got dressed up for my little sister, Brittain, to come take a family picture.  Olivia actually stood by us for the picture and didn't cry!  I guess that was her gift to me :)  Brittain watched the girls while Jack and I had a nice dinner at Market Street Grill and then saw Catching Fire.  Top the night off with a back rub and chocolate birthday cake, and there it was.  A perfect day.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Teeth Brushing

I hate brushing Olivia's teeth.  Let me paint a picture of our typical nightly teeth-brushing experience (we won't even talk about the after-breakfast brushing):

I go get her toothbrush from the bathroom and put toothpaste on it.
As soon as she sees me come in her room with it she screams and runs to her bed, lays face down, stuffs her mouth with blanket, and holds both hands over it to prevent intrusion.
I tell her she can choose to open her own mouth or I can do it for her.
She always chooses not to do it willingly.
I hold her hands down while trying to pry her mouth open.
Her electric princess toothbrush sounds like a scary dentist's drill.
I shove it back and forth in her mouth a few times while she tries to bite down to prevent movement.
I start to feel like I'm torturing her and start to sing a fun, lighthearted teeth brushing song to avoid feeling like a complete war criminal.
We both come out of it breathing hard and sweating.
She smiles cause it's over and climbs under the covers to await a story.
I congratulate myself on another night of forced dental care and only allow her to drink water after brushings (and for the rest of the night) to prevent the possibility of a cavity.  Not for her sake, but for the sake of the unfortunate dentist who would have to fill that cavity with a real drill and actually put his fingers in her mouth.

Friday, November 29, 2013


We had a fantastic Thanksgiving Day yesterday, had delicious meals at both of our mom's houses and just spent quality time with family.  I love this holiday.  What could be better than eating large quantities of food and relaxing with loved ones, talking about our many blessings?  This year has again brought us an abundance of things to be thankful for.
-First and foremost was another healthy baby girl.  We are so grateful for our little Oakley Berlin
-Our wonderful families who are nothing but supportive and amazing
-Our company, which brings Jack so much fulfillment, allows us to be financially comfortable, and allows Jack to be at home with me every day.
-A comfortable house that meets all of our needs.  It won't be our permanent home, but we are more than content right now and it has space for everything we need.
-Our health.  This one is so important to me and I give thanks multiple times a day that my husband, girls, and I are in healthy, working bodies
-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  God and the Gospel give meaning to my life and all other blessings.

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


1. Mindy Gledhill's new album: Pocketful of Poetry.  It is light and breezy and has some way cute lyrics. I love putting it on as background in the mornings while Olivia and I eat breakfast and play with her toys.  It's a happy start to our day.

2. This chocolate-mint cookie recipe. I even used peanut butter chips instead of mint chips the other day and that turned out fantastic as well.  The chocolate dough is dark, dense, and rich. I just love it.

3. The lemonade at Mrs Field's in the mall.  Not too sweet, and super refreshing.

4. This cool-mist humidifier.  It doesn't collect bacteria (because it is cool instead warm mist) and doesn't use a filter so you don't need to change anything!  It can put up to 2.3 gallons of water into the air in a day.  It has been wonderful for out little Berlin who gets stuffed up so easily.  I just turn it on in our room every night and it helps her breathe easier.  A great buy for this cold and flu season.

5. Blackfish.  It's a documentary about the workings of SeaWorld, and the killer whale, Tilikum, who is responsible for the death of three different people.  It's totally absorbing and a pretty sad, on behalf of the whales as well as the trainers who lost their lives.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Save a Sister

A couple of weekends ago we went down to St George for my 5k!  This is what I had been training for for the last 3 or so months.  I know for all of you avid runners a 5k wouldn't merit 3 months of training, but for someone who dislikes running and therefore is not very good at it, it was quite an accomplishment for me :)  (also, I started running when Berlin was 8 weeks old so I had to start out with 20 extra pounds on me). It was also for an important cause.  The proceeds wend to breast cancer research.  One of my best friends, Tasha, lost her mom, Sheila, to the disease about 5 years ago.  It was so neat to be able to run the race for her and I know it was especially meaningful to Tasha to be able to do something like that in memory of her and support of the cure.  We pinned Sheila's picture to the backs of our shirts.  The race went by quickly and I felt like I did pretty well!  It was actually really fun running with my friends.

I'm not sure yet if I will keep running; on the one hand I would hate to have worked up to running 3 miles and then get out of shape again.  On the other, it has been a little bit of a sacrifice to find the time every other day to go running for 35 minutes while Jack watches the girls.  Either way it was a great experience.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Club

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Rating: 10 out of 10

I just realized that I had never written the review for this book!  I finished it several weeks ago.

I Loved it.  Capital L.  Once I picked it up I didn't want to put it down until I was finished (and at the same time, not read it too quickly because I didn't want to be done with it as you saw from my post while I was reading it).  It's about a girl, Hazel Grace, who has cancer.  She falls in love with a boy who also has cancer, Augustus Waters.  It's an easy read and is funny and sarcastic and real and heartbreaking.  I recommend it to anybody and everybody.  I love a book that makes me think of things differently and The Fault in Our Stars definitely did that for me.  It makes a very sad subject light and humorous, but still gives the story the gravity it deserves.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Club

Title: Never Let Me Go
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Rating: 7 out of 10

I can't give too much of a synopsis because I don't want to give too much away (even though I pretty much figured it out within the first 20 pages heh heh..)  But the book is about a group of students at a school and there is a lot of mystery surrounding their situation.  To them though it is more naivete than mystery.  It delves into their relationships with one another and is really mostly about the power of the way we are taught and raised (I considered it to be more than a little political).  And how we only see or believe what we want to.

It is a bit of a slow read because most of the book is written through memories of the lead character, Kathy, but is beautifully written and incredibly thought-provoking.  Ishiguro does an amazing thing with the perspective from which he writes  (via Kathy) in that he makes a deeply sad story seem so ordinary and every-day.  For me, what really happened in the book and how it all came together didn't really settle in until after I had finished and let it settle for a bit and then thought about it from my perspective.  I would recommend it to anyone who loves a deep book.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I just love Halloween.  I don't know what to say about it that I haven't already said, but just know that to me it is the most magical day of the year.  This year lived up to expectations.  In the morning I drew a bunch of Halloween pictures with sharpie and we colored together.  We made pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies using this recipe (it's my favorite for thick, fluffy sugar cookies), and after Olivia's nap we put on the girls' costumes went down to visit both grandmas in Provo.  That evening before we went trick-or-treating we painted pumpkins and ate our frosted cookies while watching Hotel Transylvania.  We had one of my favorite experiences ever trick-or-treating.  Last year we didn't go because Liv was too young, and we got several trick-or-treaters at our door; but this year when we trooped out into the driveway, Berlin in stroller, Olivia with bucket in hand, the street was teeming with families!  Crowds of little kids ran from door to door and adults stood on the sidewalks talking.  We quickly fell into step with some friends.  On the first three houses, Olivia tried to go in.  She didn't understand why we would knock on a door, take a piece of candy, and then just leave (it does sound pretty impolite).  Before long she got the hang of it though, and sounded so cute saying "Trick Treeeee!"  She liked doing it with the other kids too, and would patiently wait her turn to pick out a candy.  We had read the Little Critter Halloween book several times, where they say "Happy Halloween" a lot, and a few times at doors I could hear Olivia mumble "Happy Howeee" upon leaving. :)

The day before, we had pumpkin bars and a sundae before going to Cornbelly's

 A couple of months ago I pulled up a bunch of photos of princess costumes, a Jessie the cowgirl costume, and a Buzz Lightyear costume and asked Olivia to pick one to dress up in.  She picked Buzz. I wasn't surprised, he is her favorite Disney character.  It was funny the day though to see how many people thought she was a boy!  When we went to see Jack's mom at work, some of her co-workers asked if she was her grandson haha.  Berlin was a mouse.  It looked like the most comfortable costume ever, all soft and warm.

 Partway through the night Liv stopped to rest and sample some of her candy
 Baby was content to sit in the stroller and observe the festivities
 She was pretty happy with her haul (this doesn't look like much because she probably ate half of it in-transit between houses).  We put her to bed and put the rest away to distribute in the coming weeks

Friday, November 1, 2013

Another Milestone

Olivia is sleeping in a toddler bed for the first time tonight.  She started climbing out of bed this week and so we converted her crib today, stripped her room of all things entertaining (books, toys, and accessories went into the closet), and secured all things dangerous (shelves and dresser anchored to the wall, drawers and closet secured shut), explained the situation to her, walked out and closed the door.  She didn't nap today (spent most of naptime in her rocking chair and exploring the vent and I spent the two hours with my eyes glued to the monitor, praying she wouldn't get hurt and that she would still take naps after this transition), but tonight after her regular routine and a long lay-by, she is asleep.  In her toddler bed.  Whew!  Hopefully over the next few days she will learn to take naps there too.

When I was a teenager and thinking of what it would be like to be a mom, I never thought about these sort of things.  The hard things.  Sleep training, coerced healthy meals, potty training, transitioning to a bigger bed, etc.  I thought about holding a tiny baby, dressing them up in super cute clothes, reading books together, baking cookies together.  Lots of kisses, laughter, butterflies, rainbows :)  Not the hard stuff.  The hard stuff makes it better though I think.  Every time I cross one of these milestones and succeed, I feel like I make a difference.  Today I helped my daughter fall asleep in a big bed.  It's a big deal.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm so sick of cleaning up poop.

I knew that title would draw you in.  I'm sure you thought "Score!  I love reading about other people's kid's poop!"...right?

this morning we were all four in the car and I smelled poop.

Me: "Livi did you poop?"
Liv: "No Mama, no poop."
Me: "Are you sure?"
Liv: "No poop!"

a minute later Jack smelled it.

Jack: "Livi are you sure you didn't poop?"
Liv: "No! No poop!"
Jack: "Are you telling the truth?" (we've been learning about truth lately)
Me: "Sweetie, you can tell us if you pooped, Mama and Daddy will never get mad about you for poop or peepee."

She stared blankly at me.  After I ran into the store and got back in the car Jack said "I got her to admit she pooped.  I just kept asking her and she finally said yes."

We drove home.

Jack got Olivia out of her car seat.  "There's no poop!" he said.

I looked down at Berlin from where I was standing in her doorway.  She smiled.  I took off her blanket.  Poop everywhere.  Blown out on all sides.  It was my sweet, tiny baby making that smell!

I felt so bad.  We were like overzealous cops who had squeezed a wrongful confession out of an innocent person.

I gave Berlin a bath and put Liv down for a nap.

Two hours later, I went to wake Olivia up.


I cleaned her up.

And washed her sheets.

 For the third time this week.

I'm sick of it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

American Fork Canyon

We took a drive up the canyon the other day and the weather and scenery were GORGEOUS.  I cannot express how much I love fall.  Especially because it contains my favorite holiday, HALLOWEEN!!

 I love living in Utah, I can't imagine us ever moving out of the state.
 Berlin looks like a little Ewok here :D

 I love this following photo because Jack is hidden in the picture. I zoomed in on it and Berlin had focused right on her daddy.  He is reflected in her eyes:

 Jack had to search a ways downstream to find a place where he could cross and get to this rock.  He loved it.  He told me that if we ever got in a fight and I couldn't find him, to go look on his "thinking rock."  I told him that if we were ever in a fight and he left for that long that he'd better take one of the girls with him and off my hands, otherwise I'd be so mad that I wouldn't want to look for him.

 Here's a story about our sweet little Liv:  While Jack was still across the stream (where his rock was) he said he was going to go find his way back across.  As he was walking down, he yelled "Help Livi!  I'm stuck over here!  I'll jump and you catch me!" Just teasing her.  He laughed and started to walk away, but she took him too seriously and thought he really needed her help and so, when he started walking away, she yelled for him and ran out into the water to try to "save" him.  She soaked her pants and shoes and her daddy ended up saving her by carrying her back up to the car.  I love what a tender little heart she has.  She is always wanting to help people and always concerned with our well-being.  I also love her tiny little bum crack in this photo, hehe (and the fact that she is wearing one of Berlin's leg-warmers on her arm). :)

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