31 July 2012

Ike and Tobias

You know how sometimes a kid gets so attached to a comfort object that he/she cannot sleep without it? Ike's comfort object is his sock monkey, Tobias.* Ike is, in fact, so attached to his sock monkey that when we took family pictures in late February I brought the sock monkey along so that we could get a few pictures of Ike with his best buddy. Tobias even got mentioned in a couple of my monthly updates about Ike - at eight months, and again at one year.

Ike is very attached to his monkey. One time Ike threw Tobias in the toilet, necessitating a good wash. Ike didn't mind when I chucked Tobias in the washer, but when he saw me throw him in the dryer, he had a melt-down. He was seriously distraught. He does not sleep without Tobias. This little sock monkey has gotten a lot of wear. When I took Ike to get his arm cast after he broke it in January (which ended up only being a removable splint), I brought Tobias along to comfort Ike. The doctor described the monkey as "well-loved." At that time he had a definite gash in his belly, but he was holding together pretty well. As time went on, we knew he wouldn't stay together forever.

We realized that due to the wound in Tobias's belly and my inability/unwillingness to bother fixing it that we'd have to buy/find/procure this kid a new sock monkey. We saw one at Target that Ike instantly loved, but it was $15, and neither one of us could bear to spend that much on a stuffed toy. I considered going back several times, and I did look for it on other occasions to see if the price had gone down, but it never did. Eric picked up a home-made sock monkey at a yard sale, but Ike never totally took to it.

When Ike and I were traveling home from Sacramento after my cousin's wedding, we were riding the shuttle to the parking lot. Several passengers commented how much my little boy loved his monkey. One lady noticed in particular that Ike was rubbing Tobias's tags together, and she said, "He doesn't love that monkey; he loves that monkey's tags." It's true. He loves rubbing those tags together.

As time went on I thought about this more and more. When Ike was in his infant car seat, he had two little dangling toys that went over the handle. He usually would play with the tags more than the toys themselves. We often joked that if we cut the tags off he'd think, "Hey, who took the toys off my tags?" I also started to remember that when Ike was very small, he'd hold onto the fabric of my shirt and rub it together while he nursed. The motion is very much the same as he does with Tobias's tags when he is trying to comfort himself. I began to believe that this was why Ike never took to the new Tobias; he was homemade, and thus had no tags.

So, we'd need to get a sock monkey with tags. And one that didn't cost $15. And we'd need to do it relatively fast. Tobias was quickly falling apart. Note in the picture that he has a giant hole in his side, and the extra string has been wrapped around his belly and tied up. the white parts of him are also not-so-very-white. No stuffing was coming out - yet.

When Eric was making a quick run to a rarely-visited grocery store last week, he saw a potential solution. There were several sock monkeys wearing hoodies with various college logos on them. They were about the size of the Original Tobias. They had tags. They were only $4. Ike just might be duped into loving this new Tobias. So Eric bought two.

The new Tobias has received a warm welcome. Ike went to sleep on Thursday night with the new Tobias, but we weren't sure that necessarily meant much since we were out incredibly late that night with friends. The kid was zonked. He'd accept anything if we just let him in his bed. Eric put the new Tobias in his bag to go to the sitter's on Friday. When I asked her how it went she said that he gave the new Tobias a funny look, but then he just accepted it and took his nap.

Friday night involved a little more coaxing. Eric showed Ike how the new Tobias has a hoody that can come on and off. Ike insisted that Eric take it off and put it back on like three times. Then Ike cuddled his new monkey and went to sleep. Old Tobias is hidden away. At this point I'm far too nostalgic to get rid of him altogether, but I don't want Ike to find him and have his budding relationship with the new one destroyed.

*While many people think that the sock monkey's name originates from our love of "Arrested Development," it actually does not. My mom gave the sock monkey to us on the condition that we name it Tobias.We liked the name well enough, and so it stuck. Several months after being gifted the sock monkey, I asked my mom why Tobias was the designated name. As it turned out, she had a sock monkey at her grandma's house, and his name was Tobias.

29 July 2012

Trip to Seattle

Last week we drove to Seattle to spend a few days with Eric's sister and her family. We went camping, hiking and canoeing in Olympic National Park, visited the Ballard Locks and Fish Ladder (and now I finally understand the concept of the locks, which Eric had tried a number of times to explain to me. I am a very visual learner.), went to the Woodland Park Zoo and went canoeing again in Lake Washington. It was fun hanging out with Matt and Michelle, and as always, entertaining to watch our kids interact. Their little boy is about a year and a half older than Ike, and he is a very cuddly and nurturing child. He very much wanted to help take care of Ike, and it was super cute.

Speaking of cute, Ike did a few cute things while we were gallivanting about. One night his cousin insisted that they sleep in the same room. This went okay until the cousin woke up in the middle of the night needing water, which then woke Ike up. He was quite distraught to find himself in an unusual place in the middle of the night, and he was crying a lot, so I brought him into my bed. (It's a long story, but Eric slept on a twin-sized air mattress and I slept on a taller queen-sized air mattress.) Ike went straight to sleep. At one point I woke up and saw him literally standing up and leaning over the bed, totally asleep. Standing. And sleeping.

When I went to get him from nursery on Sunday he was sleeping in some stranger's arms. He didn't even stir when he was passed off to my arms or when I passed him off to Eric. This was the day after our camping trip, and he was totally exhausted. Clearly.

After coming home from church on Sunday Matt was fixing a delicious Thai meal, and Ike was getting pretty hungry and impatient. He sat down at a little table, folded his arms and said, "Jesus. Amen." It was the first two-word statement he has strung together so far, and he has yet to do it again. At any rate, his first "sentence" was a prayer. My kid is super righteous.

He learned and practiced new animal sounds. He can now bark, meow, moo, roar, quack, and crinkle his nose like a bunny. Only, he can't actually crinkle his nose like a bunny; instead he just winks.

And now more pictures than you ever cared to see.

Kalaloch Beach
Hoh Rainforest

Ruby Beach
 Lake Crescent

Ballard Locks and Fish Ladder

 Woodland Park Zoo

Lake Washington

20 July 2012

Naming Babies

Naming this baby has been such a different experience than naming Ike. We had our real-life name for Ike picked out long before we even wanted kids. It was just the First Boy Name that we both liked and wanted to use. We toyed with a few different middle names before settling on one, but that wasn't a very big deal. Then, it took me a good long while to come up with a blog name for him that I liked.

This time is totally the opposite. I had a blog name ripe and ready before I even knew if I was pregnant. Eric and I have generally had a list of names we like, but as we reviewed it pretty much all the names kind of seemed "blah" to us. (We are pretty set on this kid's middle name, which was originally on our list of first names. It got booted.)

I never imagined myself as one of those people that didn't have a name already chosen for a child. When people told me they would have to see the baby to make a decision, I thought they were a little crazy. (Not completely crazy, just a little.) How could they not know? Didn't they have a list of Favorite Names for Future Children? And yet, that is totally the situation that we are finding ourselves in. (Granted, I'm only 28 weeks along, so we still have a good 12 or so weeks to come to an agreement. I don't think it's going to happen, though.)

There were several weeks where naming this baby caused me a lot of angst. The fact that Eric and I weren't really agreeing on names was distressing. The fact that people around me were using names on my list (particularly people in my ward who are having boys right before me - boys who will be in my child's Primary class) was also distressing. (Let's make it clear that they have every right to name their children whatever they want. They just happened to be having babies only a few months before me, and using names on my list, for me, means those names get moved down on the list. Significantly.) The fact that some people told me straight up they didn't like a name that I liked irritated me. (Except Eric, he is allowed to say that since this is his child too.) The fact that people kept asking me about names made me nervous. But mostly the fact of not knowing was nerve-wracking. (Remember how I like to know.)

And then, a couple of weeks ago I realized that I hadn't even pondered my baby's name in days. I just hadn't thought about it. And it was okay. I don't know how I got to this point, but I'm glad that I have. My baby doesn't have a real-life name yet. It's okay. We'll take our list to the hospital and see what fits. It will be okay. And if all else fails, maybe we can name him Felix.

18 July 2012

Review: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert

First off, I need to explain that when I download an audiobook from the library, I rarely look at the book cover, mostly because it is usually only slightly bigger than a thumbnail image. That is why I did not know that Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage was by the same author as Eat, Pray, Love. I have not read Eat, Pray, Love, and I wasn't particularly interested in reading it after reading Heidi's review. It just didn't seem like something I'd be interested in.

I downloaded and started listening to the audiobook like I do most audiobooks - the title and brief description sounded interesting, and if I ended up not liking the book, I could quit before I was too far into it. I learned pretty early in the book that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love, and I became very skeptical, but up to that point I had really liked what I'd heard, and I wanted to keep going. And I did keep going, all the way to the end, and I loved this book.

First of all, I like her writing style. I just like it. Second, it was read by her, and sometimes that totally destroys an audiobook, but other times it is a perfect match. In this case, it was a perfect match. She is a good reader, which isn't always the case. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Mushmouthed Bill Bryson. He's not a terrible reader, but I would have preferred somebody else to read his very interesting book.) Anyway, good writing read by a good reader. We're on the right track.

If you know anything about Eat, Pray, Love then you know it is Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir about recovering from her divorce by gallavanting about Italy, India and Europe for like a year (on her publisher's dime.) Apparently at some point (I don't know whether this is in the book or not) she finds a new fellow and life is glorious again. But she's very opposed to ever re-marrying. So what happens?

In short, the new beau is not an American, but the couple wants to live in America. They manage to do this successfully for some time by the beau getting a travel visa and leaving the country every three months. Only, one time he leaves and then the security folks won't let him back in. This was right after the 9/11 attacks, so security had been tightened. The couple was told, in essence, that the only way to get him back in the country, either temporarily or permanently, was to get married. Only Liz doesn't want to get married. She has given up on the institution altogether.

This book documents her own studies on marriage and her eventual ability to adjust to the fact that she is going to remarry. By no means did I agree with everything Liz wrote in her book. She draws some conclusions that definitely had me raising an eyebrow. But, I really liked her writing, and I really liked this book.

She talks about the history of marriage through western cultured (which is fairly skewed in my opinion), and marriage in other parts of the world. She talks about a lot of statistics about American marriages, and that was really interesting as well.She also talks about her grandmother and her parents. I really loved those parts. I also loved the parts about feminism and how it has affected marriage. (It reminded me of Gail Collin's book that I read a few years ago.)

16 July 2012

Baby Signs

We do baby sign language. That is, we do our own version of baby sign language. Rumor has it that boy babies are not as quick to learn to speak as girl babies. I have also seen a few people who do signing with their kids, and I figured I would give it a shot. I know a little bit of sign language, but not much. I started signing with Ike when he was about eight months old. Mostly I focused on two signs - "more" and "all done." I did my own versions of these signs because I remembered them incorrectlly (as I later learned). I did these signs very diligently when feeding Ike because I wanted him to be able to communicate with me. On Christmas day, when Ike was just over one year old, he signed "more" for the first time. So, it took four months for him to independently give me a message via a sign.

This picture is of him signing "more" to my friend, Priscilla, who was feeding him yogurt covered pretzels.

I feel like doing a few signs has been a good communication tool for us. First of all, he says about a dozen words now, and several of those I would not recognize as words if it weren't for the fact that they are accompanied by signs. For example, his word for "drink" sounds a lot like "jurrr." I think he's trying to make the "dr" sound. Anyway, if it weren't for the accompanying sign, it would have taken me a long time to figure that one out. "Ka" is his word for "milk." Definitely needed the sign to know what he was talking about with that one. (He also says "ka" for "book.")

I have also worked very hard on "please" and "thank you." He knows these words very well, and he knows that I expect him to jump through the speaking and signing hoops to get what he wants. Other adults are not as diligent in making him use his manners words, but I mean business about those. Both of those signs are now accompanied by verbal words that are actually fairly understandable. On occasion he has told me "thank you" without being reminded. I have also given the queue "ask nicely" when encouraging him to sign "please." Consequently when he is in a grumpy mood and being a stinker, when I tell him to "be nice" he sometimes signs and says "please." I find it very amusing that he associates "please" with "nice."

Somebody asked me if I think that signing has delayed his speech. He's right on target for how many words he's supposed to be saying. I suppose it's possible that signing has made him more reliant on his hands than his mouth, but I'm just not that worried about it. If signing has delayed his speech, I think the delay is marginal.And besides, it's made my life so much easier to know what the heck he wants.We still do the signs he knows, but I am not teaching him any new signs. He talks enough that I am focusing more on getting him to say new words than on singing new words.

10 July 2012

26 Weeks

Actually, this was 26 weeks and 2 days. I wore this top (with a black skirt) to church on Sunday and I had a few people comment that I was finally looking pregnant. Others were surprised to know I was pregnant at all.

I like this top because it is not a maternity top, but it I can totally keep wearing it for a long time. Plus it's one of only a few non-solid tops that I own.

In totally unrelated news to pregnancy or anything, I got stung by a wasp today. Twice. Boohoo. I had been watering the plants outside when I heard Ike scream and cry. He was around the front of the house where a known wasp nest has been unsuccessfully attacked with poison. I immediately thought he might have been stung and ran to rescue him. When I saw him on the steps I wasn't sure if he had been stung and then had fallen or perhaps had just fallen. In my swift mama bear rescue, the wasps, who were already agitated about us being outside to begin with, attacked me as I grabbed Ike and rushed into the house. I brought the child upstairs and took off his clothes which were soaking wet from him "helping" me water the plants. I didn't see any wasp stings, so I think he just fell down, which is something he does all the time. That was a boring story, so just enjoy the part where I have a slightly pregnant belly.

Also enjoy how the front of my hair is so blonde. And maybe also notice the little farmer's tan on my arm. Thanks, gardening!

07 July 2012

Fuzzy Memories

A real conversation Eric and I had this morning:

Eric: Hey, Ike is 19 months old today!
Me: Oh, is it the sixth?
Eric: No, it's the seventh. I guess it was yesterday.
Me: I'm sorry I didn't provide you with an easier date to remember. [Referring to the fact that our boy was born one day ahead of the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.] I guess I should have let my labor last a few more hours.
Eric: Yeah, like 11 more hours.
Me: What? No, only like 5.
Eric: He was born at like 1 in the afternoon.
Me: No, he wasn't. He was born at like 7 at night.
Eric: Was it really that late? I didn't think it lasted that long.

I then told him that I knew it was pretty late because by the time I was all finished up the kitchen was closed so my dinner consisted of a packed lunch rather than a hot meal. He seemed to not remember that at all. I am glad to think that the day flew by for him. It should be a good sign regarding how he feels about accompanying me through the birth of this next kid.

06 July 2012


One of the things you learn very quickly if you live in Utah is that folks here like Jello. It is frequently referred to as "salad."

I've recently been given a stack of recipe cards that belonged to Eric's maternal grandmother. She died when Eric's mom was just a baby, so whether these were her favorite, tried and true recipes, or simply a stack of cards that were given and exchanged at a women's group and then stored in a kitchen drawer indefinitely, we may never know. (Actually, this is now on my list of questions to ask as soon as I die.)

At any rate, they certainly provide a humorous glimpse at the culinary styles of Utah women in the 1950s. The stack is large and comprised primarily of casseroles (with nearly every casserole being held together with cream of something soup), desserts, and "salads."

I am not a fan of Jello. The texture is totally weird to me, and I avoid eating it when I can. (Twice since my moving to Utah in 2003 I have been served Jello directly on my plate and have been obligated to eat it. Once was on Easter at Janssen's grandparents' house, and the other time was on Thanksgiving at Eric's aunt and uncle's house. I survived both times.)

I couldn't resist perusing the Jello recipes and seeing what kind of cooky concoctions these women liked.

This one caught my eye because it is called Waldorf Salad. Only, it has Jello and bananas in it in addition to the traditional celery, apple, whipped cream and nuts. I suppose it is reasonable as a fruit salad recipe, but it certainly is not a traditional Waldorf salad.

The most classic crazy Jello recipe stories usually involve carrots. This one has shredded carrots and pineapple. This is of course not something that really appeals to me, but I suppose I can see how some might find it appealing.

This next one is a strange mixture of sweet and savory. Who wouldn't want to eat finely chopped cucumber and celery mixed with lime Jello prepared with pineapple juice?

But of course, things are getting weirder. Make lemon Jello with hot chicken soup or chicken gumbo soup. Then add diced celery, chopped nuts and flaked tuna. Yum!

If tuna isn't your protein of choice, you can always try a variation that uses lemon Jello, made with (I assume beef) broth, celery, bell pepper, onion and corned beef. I do not make this up, folks. It is for real.

Next time I'm asked to bring a salad to a pot-luck sort of function, it will be hard to know which one to choose. I can assure you that whichever one I do choose, I'll take a picture so you can pin it on Pinterest and add it to your "Looks SOOOOOO YuMmY!!!111!!!" board.

03 July 2012

When Mom is Doped Up

In my "Whirlwind Weeks" post I mentioned that something amusing had happened on a day when I wasn't feeling well. Here's the story (and photo!):

On Wednesday throughout the day I felt pretty blah. Eric came home from work and took a nap because he felt the same. Ike seemed to be a slower version of his normal self, although he didn't seem to have any particular symptoms. I spent the evening trying to distract myself from my nausea and actually getting a fair amount of work done once the boy went down to bed. As I was getting ready for bed I remembered that I have a prescription for an anti-nausea medicine. My doctor gave it to me at my very first appointment because I had such severe migraines for the first few weeks of my pregnancy. These particular migraines were often accompanied by fairly bad nausea, so my doctor gave me prescriptions for both the migraines and the nausea. I had only taken maybe two of the anti-nausea pills because after getting the prescriptions filled I rarely had migraine or nausea problems. (Hooray!) One thing I knew for sure from taking the nausea medicine was that it worked, and it totally knocked me out. Not only that, but I frequently found it hard to get over the accompanying exhaustion, long after the pill had worn off.

Still, in great need of a good night's sleep and knowing that my nausea would keep me up all night, I decided to take one of those anti-nausea pills. It worked. I was able to sleep.

Only I wasn't really able to wake up on Thursday morning. I woke up a little bit, and I was dimly cognizant of the things going on around me, but mostly I was in some sort of anti-nausea drug hangover. I know Ike slept in quite late that morning - I think close to 8, which is really a big deal in our house. I vaguely remember Eric getting Ike out of bed and bringing him to our room as he got ready for work and headed out the door.

At some point I got up and got the child some milk and tried to feed him breakfast. He wasn't interested. I also changed a diaper. I also broke my "binkies are for bedtime" rule and gave my child a binkie, primarily so he would be a little more pacified and calm about the fact that I was 100% completely ignoring him. And then I went back to sleep. I dozed off and on for the next little while. I could hear Ike rummaging through bathroom cabinets, emptying laundry bins, throwing toys down the stairs and generally being a toddler. As time wore on I heard not a lot of noise at all, except for the consistent sucking on the pacifier. It was lovely and helped me sleep better.

Then somebody from work called and asked me to take care of some work stuff that was fairly urgent. I was finally able to pull myself out of bed. And I found this on my bedroom floor:
Yes, his shirt says "Crabby." No, it does not fit his personality at all.
I snapped this picture with my super awesome flip-phone camera, and then I moved Ike to his bed.

I did the work stuff, then went back to sleep until 1, in case you were wondering. Then I got up, and Ike followed shortly thereafter. (Yes, the child napped from roughly 10-1:30. He's a gem.) I still managed to put in like three hours of work that day. And I managed to get dressed and get my child dressed before Eric got home. It was a good day.

02 July 2012

Summer Safety

Two summers ago I pulled a struggling nephew out of a pool. He had gone in without his floaties. It was a terrifying experience for me, and I'm certain it scared the daylights out of him too. It wasn't until last summer that I realized how much danger my nephew truly was in on that afternoon in Park City in August 2010. This article has been widely shared on Facebook and throughout the interwebs, and if you haven't read it yet, please do it right now. In short, drowning does not look like drowning. We are so accustomed to the dramatizations of drownings that we've seen on TV and in the movies, but those are not realistic. When a person is in true distress they can be hardly noticeable.

In this hemisphere it is summer. Be aware of the people around you in pools, especially children. Read the article. Recognize the signs. Be safe.