31 December 2013

2013 - In Review

I like to do the year in review because it gives me a chance to really reflect on the year. If you find it as boring as can be, I don't mind of you skip it.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
The majority of bread our family ate in 2013 was homemade. By me.


2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never ran an entire 5K without stopping, but I did run/walk in a couple of 5K races. I also allowed myself to stop reading books I wasn't interested in, and I feel like I was a more present parent.

I probably will make some for next year. We'll see.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I got two new nephews this year, and lots of my friends had babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Eric's great-aunt died. She was sort of a stand-in Grandma for that side of the family since her sister (Eric's grandma) died fairly young. Because of that we knew her better than any other great aunt or uncle.

5. What countries did you visit?
Not only did I not leave the country this calendar year, but I did hardly any traveling at all.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A fancy camera.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I guess December 3 since I had a near-accident on the icy highway, but truthfully I had to look up on Facebook to figure out exactly what day that incident occurred on.

8. What was your biggest personal achievement of the year?
I solved some fairly tough genealogy cases including some adoption cases that involved me having to figure out which parts of the adoption papers were accurate and which were not.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't know about this one. I certainly had several,  but none in particular stands out as the biggest.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was sick a lot this year. And there was the incident with the horse.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My KitchenAid, hands down.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I am on a new team at work, and I really like my supervisor. He is usually worth celebrating.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
John Boehner. Can't stand that man.

14. Where did most of your money go?
We had to buy two new-to-us cars this year. TWO.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
We were pretty excited when Eric got a new job.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
The Irish ballad version of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." I hadn't even heard the original until a few weeks ago.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier
b) Same.
c) Poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Reading, hiking, exercising.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Staring at my phone or at a computer screen.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?
I got a smart phone this year, and I really like it. Probably not love, though.

21. What was your favorite TV program?
We're really enjoying watching West Wing. I'm not sure what we'll do when we're out of episodes.

22. What was the best book you read?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and its sequel Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't really listen to much music. I did join my ward choir this year, though.

24. What did you want and get?
A KitchenAid mixer, right after complaining in last year's summary that it was something I wanted and didn't get.

25. What did you want and not get?
A fancy camera.

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
Lincoln, hands down. (It came out in 2012, but we didn't get around to seeing it until early 2013.)

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29, and I worked. We went out for dinner and shopping that weekend.

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having fewer arguments with a toddler.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
I wore more skinny jeans than not-skinny-jeans this year.

30. What kept you sane?
Having a grown-up-job outside of my home a couple of days a week.

27 December 2013

What Would Have Been

We didn't do a Christmas card this year, but this is the picture we would have used had we done one. Since we didn't do a Christmas card we also didn't write a Christmas letter. Actually, even in years when we've sent cards we haven't sent true letters, but we have sent little lists about our year. This year's would have said:

  • Eric changed careers and is now a special education teacher at a local elementary school. He has 12 students, and he is loving his job.
  • Sherry has been plugging away at work and at home and has not done anything particularly unusual, interesting, or otherwise noteworthy this year.
  • Ike (3) loves dinosaurs, airplanes, and cars. He can talk your ear off.
  • Felix (1) is cute and happy.
And then it would have said something about wishing you a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014.

So just pretend that we squeezed the Christmas cards and accompanying year-end summary into our budget this year, and consider yourself a recipient of said card and letter.

16 December 2013

Unfortunate Haircut

I got a haircut on Saturday. She took off about 4 inches, which is about what I wanted. It had been nearly a year since my last haircut, so I was glad to get rid of the many split ends. But at the end when she asked me if I wanted her to frame my face, I should have said "no." Or I should have specified that I wanted the shorter pieces to be not so short. What am I supposed to do with these bits of hair that are chin-length? If you see me wearing headbands a lot for the next while, this is why.

06 December 2013

Ike is Three

Or 29. Depending on how he feels when you ask him.
Ike loves dinosaurs, books (especially books about dinosaurs, dragons, bears and other animals), blocks, army guys and animals. He enjoys singing and being sung to. Favorite songs at the moment include "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "the Cougar song" (which is really the BYU fight song), "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man," (which he now thinks is associated with Christmas because of our nativity set), and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

He is a moderately good helper, depending on his mood and the chore. He loves to help with laundry - bringing it to the washer, pushing wet clothes into the dryer, sorting his own clothes - but he's not as keen about putting away his toys or helping with the dishes. He loves to choose his own clothes, and usually will opt for a shirt with a picture on it. He'll opt for stripes occasionally, but only if his shirts with pictures are all dirty. He does not like having his hair washed or combed.

He has a major sweet tooth and spends his day begging for treats. I'm only exaggerating a little bit here.

His best friend is a girl who lives across the street, but he loves playing with all children. He always has fun at his sitter's house and asks pretty much every day if he is going there. Ike also loves going to nursery each week.

Sometimes he acts shy, but for the most part he is very outgoing and loves to talk to all sorts of people.

I'm always astounded by his memory. There are so many things that he pulls out of his head, and I'm blown away that he remembers that event or that person. He also has a really good sense of direction, which also blows my mind.

We love this little guy and are glad he's our boy.

03 December 2013

Thanksgiving Break

Eric had a glorious 5 days off of school. I used one of them to let him stay home with the boys while I worked all day.

On Thanksgiving I ran (but mostly walked, let's be honest) the first annual Pilgrim 5k, where I dressed up as a Native American. I did not win the costume contest, but I would have had the only other person who dressed up as a Native American not been a little girl. Ike got to sit at a little kid table, where I'm 99% sure he consumed only M&M's, raisins and candy corn from his nut cup. Also, now that I think of it, he ate some olives. The day after Thanksgiving we decorated for Christmas, with all the glass bulbs hung sufficiently out of reach of our non-walking toddler. On Saturday we rode on a train (just TRAX, really).
 

We went to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. Hooray for holidays!

08 November 2013

A Teacher's Wife

Eric is more than halfway through his first semester of teaching. He wishes he had realized 10 years ago that this is what he wanted to do. Considering the relatively large pay cut he took to change careers, we are both really happy that he likes his work so much.

It's awesome to have more time together as a family. Eric is required to stay at school until 4, and usually he stays later than that, but he's still generally home by about 5. Contrast this with the old job in which he arrived home closer to 6, and usually later if he carpooled. (His commute went from 23 miles each way to less than 7 miles each way.) We can eat dinner earlier, which overall, has resulted in happier children. After dinner we still have plenty of time to play, go on walks or otherwise be together.

I am still working 20 hours per week. As I've said before, it's a little more than I'd like, but with Eric's new job it's become much more manageable. Eric has class on Tuesday nights (so he can become a certified teacher), so we don't usually see him until almost 9 on those nights. It makes for a long day for me since I also work on Tuesdays, but it's just one night a week. Since Eric is done with work so much earlier, he is now eligible to pick up the boys from the sitter's house. When he was not getting home until close to 6 that wasn't an option because our sitters don't generally want our boys that late. So on Wednesdays Eric picks up the boys while I work until 8 or so. Again, it makes for a long day. But usually it means that on my at-home days I can limit my working time to when my boys are napping. It's been great to have that change.

We are loving that Eric has so many school holidays and are eagerly planning future road trips and vacations. It's a little ironic that we now have more time to travel, because we most certainly have less money to do so. Still, we've always been frugal, and we are by no means destitute.

All in all we are both really happy with the career change. He's happy as a teacher, and I'm happy as a teacher's wife.

01 November 2013

The Obligatory Pictures of My Cute Halloween-Costumed Children

If you are friends with my on Facebook, sorry for the duplication.

I was gifted seven garbage bags full of boys' clothes shortly after Ike was born, and included in that generous gift was a dragon costume. I've  been eagerly waiting to use that costume ever since. Then, a few weeks ago somebody posted on Facebook that she had a dragon costume meant to fit a baby aged 3-6 months. We went and tried it on, and my teensy one-year-old can still wear clothes meant for infants. Voila, two dragon costumes for free.
  
Ike had a great time trick-or-treating with his best friend who lives across the street. He couldn't keep up with her older siblings and definitely couldn't figure out why the big rush. He also eagerly corrected anybody who mistook him for a dinosaur.

18 October 2013

Trees

If we continue at this rate of progress on our back yard, we'll be looking really good in about three years. We got trees this week.

Technically we bought our trees on Friday. It was a surprisingly good experience. We went to Cook's Nursery, and we worked with an awesome employee who really knew her stuff. It was so much better than the oodles of employees I've tried to talk to in garden departments at hardware and ginormous stores. Those employees are total nitwits. The folks at Cook's know what's what about plants. She really helped us get a good idea of what trees would work well in our soil and in our terraced back yard, and then she helped us choose the best specimens they had to offer. Most of their stock is 20% off right now since it's the fall, so that was a huge help for us since we bought seven trees.

The trees were delivered on Monday afternoon, and Eric planted them that evening. I took this picture yesterday morning, and I don't have a panoramic option, so I had to make do with using Paint (the photo editing tool of choice for people who are digital-image-inept. This explains not only the vast lighting differences, but also the uneven back fence.)

From left to right, the trees are:

  • crabapple, named Krabapple (prounounced Kruh-bahpple, like the teacher from The Simpsons)
  • choke cherry, named George
  • hornbeam, named Horatio South
  • hornbeam, named Horatio North
  • Swedish aspen, named Bj√∂rn
  • Norwegian spruce, named Thorlief
  • flowering plum, named Professor

Everyone names their trees, right?

Things I'm eagerly awaiting:

  • In a few years those hornbeams will be nice and tall, which will block that horrible setting sun that beats down into my kitchen and dining area every evening.
  • In a few more years that choke cherry will be big and beautiful and shady.
  • Each spring we will have some beautiful blossoms. I can't remember which trees will have which colors, but it's going to be wonderful.
  • Every fall that crabapple will have beautiful, bright, red berries. At first we were looking for a non-berry variant of the crabapple, but after seeing enough of the red berries on the trees at the nursery, I changed my tune, and we got a berry variety. We'll just make the children find and clean up the berries.
I'm not sure anyone has ever been quite as excited about trees.

06 October 2013

Felix - Twelve Months

He's 1! Felix's favorite things are milk (not from Mom anymore), his brother, being held by Mom, exploring on all fours, wiggling, and bread. He is figuring out how to climb down from things like stairs, but he still hasn't mastered that. He loves to empty cabinets and shelves at any chance, and this month he has learned he can also put toys and other small items into buckets or boxes. He no longer takes a morning nap, but he's a fantastic nighttime sleeper. Felix doesn't say any words, except may "dog." I'm not quite sure about it, though. When he hears the bath water running he comes crawling as fast as he can to join in the fun. Ike has really grown to be a much more involved big brother in the last few months, and I love to hear him try to involve Felix in his activities. He is happy to have Felix follow him around laughing at his antics, and I love to hear the two of them together. I love this little guy. 

(But I sure hope he stops spitting up soon. Enough's enough, amiright?)

22 September 2013

Toddler Talk

My boy's ability to speak in somewhat coherent sentences really took off in about May. I'm finally getting around to posting some funny things he's said:

After leaving him playing with a cup of water at the bathroom sink:
"Hi Mom! I brush teeth!"
"You brushed your teeth? Oh dear. How much toothpaste did you use?"
"Um... BIG PIECE!!!!!"

After handing me an inflated ball, "Mom, blow it down." (He wanted me to deflate it.)

"Mom, I stand wight here and watch you," (as he pulled a chair up to the island to watch me cook).
"Okay, sweetheart."
"Sweetheart? Heart? Heart? Heart?"

I showed him a pastry knife and asked him if he could remember its name. Then I reminded him it was a pastry knife. "A pastry knife? No, a pastry MEAN!"
(The great thing about this is I'm pretty sure he knows "nice" and "knife" are different words, so he totally created a word-joke out of it.)

"The moon! Hi moon! How are you, moon?"

"Look mom, the sun! Hi sun! Sun so nice, mom!"
I'm not sure why he's so interested in the sun and the moon, but he is.

After Eric did something nice for me, "Thank, you're a gem."
"Jim?"
"No, gem. Like a diamond or a ruby."
"Boobie????"
And then he walked away without an explanation from me. I don't know what he thinks a ruby or a boobie is now. The word "boobie" is not one we use around here.

09 September 2013

Another Weekend in Jackson Hole

On Friday I was featured in the Career Day section of Aspiring Mormon Women. Go check that out if you want to read all about my job.

Also on Friday we headed up to Jackson Hole for the weekend.

I ran (and walked, but mostly ran!) a 5k.


Felix competed in the Diaper Derby. He had a strong start, but he ultimately got sidetracked and didn't quite finish the race. He could have won had that bright yellow finish line not been so distracting. 





Later that day we hiked up to Crater Lake and checked out the benches my nephew built for his Eagle Scout project. It was a very steep hike, particularly after the 5k earlier that day. My brother's new puppy hiked pretty much the whole way. My kids mostly rode in the stroller, but Ike got to help walk LaFawnduh a a few times (but not as much as he would have liked.) And yes, the puppy walked him more than he walked her.

06 September 2013

Felix - Eleven Months

People that see my little Felix doing things that pretty much all eleven-month-old babies can do are usually blown away because they think, based on his rather small size, that he is only about six months old. He's just a tiny little guy. I'm hoping we'll blow a few more people away in Jackson Hole tomorrow when we enter Felix in the Diaper Derby (which Ike won two years ago, by the way). Felix isn't a walker yet, so he's still eligible for the competition.


A few other things about this guy:

  • He puts everything in his mouth.
  • When his mouth is empty, he babbles a ton.
  • He still spits up. A lot. 
  • He is too busy to nurse very well, and he's weaning himself.
  • He is obsessed with Ike, and sometimes they play well together.
  • He loves trees.
  • He signs "all done."
  • When he gets excited, his entire body gets involved, and it's delightful to watch.

22 August 2013

A Much-Delayed Project

While reading Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin I decided I wanted to do more to get some pictures on our walls. I am notoriously bad about leaving my walls bare because I can't decide what I want to put on them and would rather have them bare than have something I don't really care for on them. Eric would rather have something on them than have bare walls, so for the most part the things hung in my home were hung by Eric with the wave of my hand and the "Yeah, I guess," as a go-ahead.

I decided right away that I wanted a "travel wall." I went to great effort to go through our numerous digital photos from our many trips over the past eight years. I wanted to choose photos from pretty much every place we've traveled while at the same time only putting up decent photos. (One challenge with this is that Eric is a much better photographer than I am, so there are many more good pictures of me than there are of him.)

I also knew I wanted a family photo wall with pictures spanning a reasonable amount of time - not just our most recent family shoot (which happens to be when I was barely pregnant with Felix).

I wanted both walls to be pretty easy to update, either by adding more photos and frames, or by simply switching out old photos with new ones. And I wanted this to be done very cheaply.

I printed my pictures at the drug store one of the times they sent a coupon code, which they do about once a week. I bought my frames at Dollar Tree, because everything there is a dollar. With as many pictures as I'd printed, even spending $3-$5 per picture would add up way too quickly.

I bought these frames in mid-June. I filled them with pictures right away. And then they hung out on my kitchen counter for a while. And then they moved to my dresser. And finally on Saturday I got Eric to help me hang them. It's a good thing I didn't do it myself, too, because he figured out very quickly that my original plan for hanging the travel wall pictures over the stairs was not a good one. He remedied it, and the overall effect is nice. We can easily add more pictures as we add more traveling adventures (which we fully intend to do since Eric has so much vacation time now). I love to walk past and see pictures of our different trips. (It was hard to get a good angle on this. Sorry for the lousy picture.)

While Eric finished up the hanging of the pictures on the travel wall, I went ahead with the family wall. Unfortunately I didn't plan the pictures perfectly, so I need to do some tweaking with the sizes, but for now it's fine. I'm just glad to have more than one picture on this rather large wall in my entry.

09 August 2013

Scripture Study with a Toddler

When we visited family in May I was impressed with their ability to incorporate their non-readers into their family scriptures study each evening. (The kids in the family were, at that time, eight, six, four and two.) Eric's brother would read a verse a couple of words at a time, and the toddler would repeat after him. The method was the same for the four-year-old, but with more words strung together at once. The toddler wasn't really involved in the rest of the reading, but I liked that he was involved in part of it. I resolved to start doing scriptures with our little boy. But how?

We don't have older kids, so we were free to arrange this as very Ike-centered. I liked the idea of doing kid versions of scripture stories, but part of me was resistant to that idea. Initially I couldn't figure out what it was, but with time I realized that I wanted my child to be immersed in the language of the scriptures. Okay, maybe not immersed since he has the attention span of a fly, but I wanted the archaic language to become familiar to him. Illustrated scripture stories simplify the language, which is great, but it didn't fulfill that very strong requirement I had.


After much thought (and then, let's be honest, plenty of feet-dragging), I created this method. I chose a few verses, and I wrote them (or pertinent sections of them) on large index cards in different colors. Ike knows colors, so each night he can choose which color he wants to read. Usually he holds the card (and crumples it) while we have him repeat one or two words at a time.When we're done, we put the scripture back in the envelope that's taped to the back of his door.

We've had these same three for a while, so it's about time I add new ones to the mix. He can do a few words here and there without us prompting him.

This second picture is a little deceiving. In actuality, Ike can be pretty ornery about doing scriptures at night, because he wants to skip straight to the part where we tell him stories about dinosaurs, dragons, or sharks. He has never asked me to get the scripture cards out when it isn't bedtime (or even when it is bedtime, for that matter). Still, this is a method that works well for our very young family. Ike is becoming familiar with the language in the scriptures, and he understands that reading scriptures is something our family does every single day.

06 August 2013

Felix - Ten Months

My tiny little guy (15 pounds 2 ounces at the weigh-in a few days ago) is a delight. He loves to stand as often as possible, and occasionally he takes a few steps while he clings tightly to whatever he has used to pull himself up.

Felix is smiley and content. He still loves to eat and loves to be held. When I finally go around to his nine-month checkup (on Friday) he didn't cry at all when the nurse pricked his toe, and he only cried a tiny bit when he got his shot. Ike's rambunctiousness has toughened him up, I think.

In the last month he's become really good at entertaining himself, which is glorious for me. He loves toys, and he loves to crawl around finding things to put in his mouth.

Tonight the four of us played a rousing game of "Duck, Duck, Goose," and Felix was pleased as punch every time Ike selected him as the goose. Actually, I don't think he knew what was going on, but he loved that I held him as I ran around chasing Ike in the living room. He loves to be a part of things, and I'm happy he's a part of our family.

01 August 2013

Back to School

Eric's headed back to school in more ways than one. He's been offered (and has accepted) a teaching position in our school district and will be teaching special education at an elementary school nearby. He'll also be working toward certification through a two-year program through Utath State University. We are excited about this career change.

I bought him a bunch of school supplies after he was offered the position. Included: construction paper, a three-pack box of tissues, a giant box of crayons, Lysol wipes, an enormous bottle of hand sanitizer, pens, and pencils. I'm sure he'll need more, but it was fun to go school supply shopping for the first time in years.

22 July 2013

Park City 2013

Last week we attended the annual L. Family Park City Reunion. In the days leading up to the reunion I told Ike as often as possible that we were going to go to Park City and play with lots of kids. I told him who was going to be there - uncles and aunts, Grandma, Grandpa, Grandma Great, Andrew, and lots and lots of other kids. (There are 35 children in Ike's generation, not all of whom were in attendance, of course, but still a large number of little kids to play with.) The more I told him about it the more certain I was that he understood our destination as a huge place full of playgrounds. When we got there he asked where the parks were.

Even though he was a total stinker about sleeping, this kid had such a blast. He loved the pinata, and he really loved the Alpine Slide. I told him we were going to ride a big swing [a ski lift] to the top of a mountain, and then we'd ride in a little car all the way down. Once we started talking about the Alpine slide, he became more excited than I've ever seen him. He was jumping and skipping shouting, "I go BIG SIDE! And mom big side! And Dad and Felix! And Ike! On BIG SIDE!" [Spelling deliberately modified to reflect his pronunciation. Also note that we did NOT take a nine-month-old Felix on the Alpine Slide.] When it was all over he even cried because we couldn't do it again.

We all stood at the bottom of the slide waiting for Eric's Grandma to ride down. It's a tradition to cheer for her as she comes down, and some years (including this one) people who are not a member of our party join in our "Grandma! Grandma! Grandma!" chant. This year the people marveled at the elderly lady (84 years old) who had ridden the Alpine Slide, which tickled me to no end.

We ate so much good food. We went swimming. We went on walks in a nearby historic cemetery. (I love old tombstones.) We talked and talked and talked with grownups. We even managed to get in a few (and I mean a very few) games. Ike followed kids around all over the place. And Felix figured out how to climb onto the dishwasher door.

Since 2005, which was my first year to attend the reunion, I have loved it. There will probably be a time when we don't do it anymore, but for now we will love it as much as we can.

06 July 2013

Felix - Nine Months

Felix is such a delightful baby. He's getting very curious and adventurous. He loves to find things to put in his mouth, and he also loves to eat. He loves eating so much that he regularly overeats. He also gets very noisy while you are feeding him if you take to long to shove another spoonful in his mouth.

In the last month he has transitioned from army crawling and now mostly crawls on his hands and knees - until he remembers that army crawling is so much faster than regular crawling. He occasionally pulls himself up to standing, but for the most part he isn't that interested in things beyond the floor - thank heavens.

Felix is still obsessed with his older brother, and every now and then Ike expresses interest in Felix too. It has been nice to watch Ike gradually become more interested in (and very rarely, concerned about) Felix.

I'm glad this little guy is a part of our family. (In this picture he's chowing down on the remnants of an ice cream cone, after swimming at Grandma Great's house.)

01 July 2013

Bad Apples

I'm not crazy about apples. Actually, I like a really good, juicy, sweet, crispy apple. But it's hard to tell from the outside what kind of apple it's going to be. Usually I only eat an apple if Eric cuts one up and shares it with me. I just hate to bite into one and then be disappointed, you know? Apparently a certain toddler in our household feels the same way.

14 June 2013

A Few Weeks in the Infirmary

I don't want to be Queen of the Whiney Pants over here, but we can't seem to catch a break in the last few weeks when it comes to our health.

In the last few days of May, Felix got pink eye. I tried to be a hippie and cure said infection with breast milk.

On the first day in June I woke up with a really sore throat, but I figured it was just allergies. I took some Sudafed, and we were on our way for a fun Saturday. By the middle of the day I knew my sore throat was something more malicious than allergies. I had a fever off and on, and my whole body ached and throbbed. Meanwhile, Felix's pink eye was getting worse despite the frequent expression of breast milk into his eyes. I called the pediatrician's office, which is open on Saturdays until about 1, and they called in a prescription for me without making us come in. (Hallelujah for that. If I'd realized they would do that so readily I would have called two days earlier.) We missed a party that night.

Sunday came and my throat looked horrible. I was pretty sure it was Strep. I stayed home from church with Felix, and we missed another party that night.

Monday I woke up in so much pain that I couldn't sleep, and I anxiously waited to call the doctor's office to see how early I could get in. When Eric woke up he informed me that his throat was really sore too. But his did not exhibit the terrifying tonsil issues that mine was exhibiting, so we were hopeful it was a fleeting problem. He went off to work, and I hauled the kids with me to the doctor's office. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I was praying for Strep Throat - it's treatable with an antibiotic, you see. Viruses, on the other hand, are not, and you just have to wait those out.

I almost cried when the doctor told me that it wasn't Strep. He had a look in my throat (he hadn't seen it yet, because the nurse had taken the culture to test for Strep), and said it was "impressive." And then he said I needed to be tested for mono. That was negative too. (I can assure you I was not praying for a positive test that time.)

So I had this horrible virus which hurt my throat more than anything else I've ever experienced. The doctor gave me herpes medicine because I had cold sores in my throat. (I've never had a cold sore in my life, so this is totally mysterious to me.) This did, at least, explain to me why I was in such constant pain. (After careful examination of my throat numerous times I counted seven cold sores at one time.)

I took a bajillion pills, and Eric gave me a blessing, and by the end of the week I was doing mostly better. Eric's sore throat turned out to be a pretty bad cold, but he's a tough guy and he worked in the yard despite the sore throat and muscle aches he was dealing with. Also during this time Ike popped up with pink eye because that stuff is really contagious and toddlers and infants are not really great at hygiene.

Friday my brother and his brood came to visit for about a week. I went to a physical therapist that morning for my horse-bucking injury, and although I was sore I was finally feeling like my normal self. That lasted about three days.

Monday I came down with Eric's cold. It's worse than your average cold. Or, possibly, my immune system is so embarrassingly weak that it is an average cold that has beaten the snot out of me. One of the two. I plugged along but didn't go into the office a single day this week.

And then today Ike came down with the cold too. And I have pink eye.

06 June 2013

Felix - Eight Months

My little Felix is a wiggly, happy baby. He loves to be held, but not to cuddle. He loves to watch Ike play, even though Ike pays little to no attention to him. Felix doesn't like to be left alone.

He's still very tiny (which is great considering how much he likes to be held). His clothes are all sized 3-6 months, even though he "should" have outgrown those clothes two months ago. There is a baby down the street who was born in February and has already outgrown this guy. There is a baby across the street who was born in March and has also outgrown this guy. (Neither of those boys are average sized. They are both really large, so I'm comparing two extremes here.)

Despite being small, Felix loves to eat. I've started giving him finger foods, and it's amusing to watch how little of the food actually gets into his mouth.

This month he's really mastered army crawling. A month ago he was getting the basics of it, but his arms regularly got trapped beneath his body, so he had a scoot-scoot-faceplant pattern. Now he can keeps his arms out in front of himself, and he can really move. He's also figured out how to sit up on his own. As with Ike, I found him sitting up on his own several times before I actually saw him make the transition.

We've gotten used to having him in our family. We love this little guy.

30 May 2013

Rascal - An Apt Name

A few weeks ago Eric's sister and her family were in town for a short visit. Eric's sister really likes horses, so her mom arranged for Michelle to go riding on some friends' horses. I decided to tag along. I had a lot of fun. Except at the end when I got bucked off. (Since then I've been surprised to learn how many other people have been thrown off of horses. It seems like at least one third of the people I've mentioned it to have said that it's happened to them before too.) I started on a different horse, but midway through Michelle and I switched. This horse didn't want to keep up a quick pace, and he kept slowing down. I had to get off a couple of times to get my saddle and stirrup fixed. Finally I had him going at a good pace, but the saddle was still loose. Michelle shouted for me to slow down so I could get the saddle tightened. I tried, but at that point Rascal (the horse) just took off. Then I screamed for him to stop, at which point he probably thought, "Ha! She has no idea what she is doing!" (He was right.) And then he bucked me off.
It happened really quickly. I landed on my shoulder/back first and then continued my flip and banged my lower hip/back. I didn't break my neck, but I'm still having a little trouble with my back. I'm not really sure how long to let it bother me before I go see somebody. And I'm not sure who to see. A chiropractor? Maybe, but I definitely don't want the kind who will tell me that my eyeballs are in backwards and my liver has traded places with my spleen and I need to come see the chiropractor for the rest of my life to keep my body in order. Maybe a physical therapist? But do I need a referral for that? But maybe if I just give it a bit more time it will get better.

20 May 2013

Virtuous Pet Names.

My friend got a canary for Mother's Day. When I asked her what she planned to name it, she said she wanted to give it a name that would remind her son to behave. Something like, "Don't Say Potty Words." Or "Be Obedient."

If our family were to get a pet and name it some sort of quasi-virtue name, these would be on our list of possibliities:
  • Don't Run Away. (Either that, or Stay By Mom and Dad.)
  • No Shouting.
  • No Hitting. Or Kicking. Or Biting. (That's a new, really weird thing he's been doing.)
  • Take It Easy.
  • Don't Stand on Mom's Feet.
  • Eat Your Dinner.
  • Don't Throw Toys Down the Stairs.
  • Put It Back.
  • It's Okay. He's Just A Little Baby.
If you were to name a pet some with a name that serves as a reminder to your children, what would it be?

14 May 2013

Sleepovers

We love to play board games with friends. Now that we have kids it's a bit harder to get together with other couples to play board games late into the evening. For the most part we've had good luck getting Ike to sleep in a playpen in other people's homes. Now that he sleeps in a regular bed and is fully capable of climbing out of a playpen we weren't so sure he'd be such a good sleeper in strange places.

Two weeks ago we went to hang out with our most frequent board game friends. When we arrived at their house their older two kids were pretty much down for the night. We made a few suggestions for what to do with Ike like having him sleep in a room by himself and putting a child lock inside that room, but ultimately we decided to put him down on the floor with our friends' kids. But there was one caveat. The dad of the other family would be the one to put him down.

It worked like a charm. Jon (our friend) told him to lie down and told him that all the kids were going to sleep and he needed to go to sleep too. He had his monkey and his blanket, and he needed to be quiet, close his eyes, and go to sleep like the big kids. No yelling. No getting up.

I suspected it would work because he sleeps on the floor at his sitter's house, and she's only had to send him back to his napping spot once. He's very obedient for people who are not his parents.

We went to play games with another set of friends this past Saturday. This time Ike slept on the floor in a guest room, and again the dad in the family told him to go to sleep and stay on his sleeping spot. He did end up waking up before we were ready to go, but it wasn't a matter of disobedience at that point. He was just disoriented and scared, so I held him while we finished our game. Once that game was over we headed out.

On the way home from our friends' that evening Eric and I discussed how good our little boy is for other people. We're working on a plan to have other people put him to bed every night. Any takers?

10 May 2013

Where I've Been

I have felt for a while now like I'm always on the brink of having my life in order. Life is so different with two kids. More so, life is very different when one of those kids is a toddler who used to play independently for large chunks of time but now demands a lot more attention and interaction. And the other kid requires more attention than the first one did as a baby. You would think after seven months that I would be in the swing of things. In reality, after seven months I'm just learning to let go of a lot of things. One of those is this blog. I'm not quitting altogether, but it's just not a priority for me right now.

Cleaning is also not a huge priority. Earlier in the year I figured out that I am capable of working, preparing good food for our family and maintaining a clean house. But I'm not capable of doing all of these things simultaneously. So I basically called it quits on cleaning. I notified Eric, and we've just been doing the best we can to maintain some semblance of tidiness. I try not to beat myself up when it gets chaotic, and Eric has filled in a lot of gaps. (Our house is still not as clean on a day-to-day basis as I'd like, but it's something I'm learning to deal with.)

I'm learning, much to my dismay, that I don't know how to play. When I deliberately set time aside to interact with Ike I usually find myself in a pickle because I don't know what to do with him. We read a lot, but occasionally reading doesn't interest him. We sometimes watch movies or clips on YouTube, but if I'm setting aside time to be with my boy I don't want that time spent in front of a screen.

I'm getting better at playing (mostly by just mimicking the things that Eric does with him), but it gets tedious very quickly for me. I'm not a kid at heart. I'm a grownup at heart, and I think I always have been. When Ike grows up and looks back on the activities we did together they will revolve around him "being a helper" to me as I cook and clean. I'm sure those things are important, but they're probably not as fun. (Especially when the whole time we are cooking I am telling him, "Don't touch that." "Put that down." "Don't stir too much." "No, the oil doesn't go in yet." "Plug it back in." "Don't sneeze into the bowl." "Don't lick the clean dishes.")

So that's where I've been. Trying to balance the responsibilities I've chosen.

06 May 2013

Felix - Seven Months

Felix is seven months old. He can sit up (as you can see). He usually doesn't sit up for long, but he is capable of doing it. He can also crawl - sort of. If he really wants something he will stretch and squirm until he gets it. I think by next month he'll be a full-fledged crawler.

I feel like seven months is a magical age. This kid sleeps really well now (mostly). He has so much personality and is so interactive. Ike is even starting to engage with him a teensy bit more. He loves to eat, and he loves paper (to eat). Felix is incredibly squirmy, but I usually don't remember it until somebody who is not used to holding him comments on how wiggly he is. If you are holding him while you are sitting down, he will probably try to stand up. He also loves to flail his arms when he is excited. Or when he's not excited. He just likes to be moving all the time. (He gets it from me.)

Even though he's fairly short and light for his age, (third percentile for weight at his last checkup), he has pretty chubby thighs. Felix wears clothes meant for babies aged 3-6 months. Most of those clothes still have plenty of room. He's also really bald (like his brother). (In general he's looking more and more like his brother as he gets older.)

This past week he went to the sitter's with his older brother, and he seems to have adapted well to that. I sure did miss him while I was at work, though.

22 April 2013

Saturday in Zion

Eric and I went to St. George and Zion National Park for our honeymoon (almost eight years ago). We went back to Zion just for a quick day trip a few years ago. We went down there for the third time this weekend.

Eric had work training in St. George all day on Friday, so I drove down with the boys on Friday afternoon to meet him. (I think Ike interpreted my frequent statement of, "We're going to St. George," as "We're going to see George." When we got to the place where we were supposed to pick up Eric he just kept looking around and asking about George.)

On Friday night we walked around the St. George temple a little bit, and then we took Ike to a park where he played for a while. After that we headed to our motel in Hurricane. On Saturday morning we were off to Zion!

It was beautiful weather, and I'm ridiculously happy we got to go. (We really weren't sure if we were going to follow through with our trip because Ike, Felix and I still have pretty nasty colds. Ultimately I decided that I didn't care about my cold, and I desperately needed some warm weather.)

Eric Sherpa took us on a hike to the Emerald Pools. We went all the way to the top pool (of three). Eric was a champ to lug forty pounds of his progeny up the entire route. (It's not a particularly difficult hike, but it was a few miles.)

When we got to the top we decided to put on sunscreen, which we should have done prior to starting out. Ike thought it would be fun to splash in the water. It was fun, until he fell in and became drenched from the belly button downward. The water was really cold, and he was really unhappy with how wet he got. He kept saying, "I wet. A mess."

We took his pants, shoes and socks off and set them on some rocks to get a little dry while we hung out for a little while. Another family told us their boy (now about 15) did the exact same thing about 13 years ago. We were in good company.

Of course, it wasn't warm enough for Ike's clothes and shoes to dry off completely, so I created a clothesline on the hiking backpack from a strand of yarn that had been tied there previously to prevent binkies from being dropped and lost forever. Ike didn't seem to mind riding down without any shoes or pants. I was rather proud of my impromptu clothesline. Next hiking trip we'll be sure to bring safety pins so we can add the socks to the line too.


We went out via the Grotto trail, and it was really sunny and lovely. After that we rode the bus again (the highlight of the entire trip, if you ask Ike) to the Riverwalk Trail. We had a bit of a meltdown when somebody insisted that he couldn't walk and needed to be carried, but that meltdown was mysteriously overcome when said tantrum thrower discovered he could run the whole way. (I did end up carrying him toward the end when we were going back to the bus.)

I'm looking forward to the next time we can make it down there. It's truly a stunning place.

16 April 2013

Domesticity

Here are some very domestic things I've been doing lately.
  • Regularly making my own whole wheat bread. Although, I could sure use some suggestions on a good recipe that works well in Utah. The one I'm using is only so-so, and I haven't figured out how to modify it for our climate and altitude.
  • Keeping my vegetable tidbits in a gallon-size bag in the freezer, and then using it to make vegetable broth. In the most recent time I even had Eric add the boiled vegetable bits to the compost after the broth was made.
  • I washed my pillows. They took ages and ages and ages to dry. But they sure smell nice now.
  • On occasion I manage to put away my boys' laundry on the same day it gets washed. (Okay, that's pretty much a lie. I don't think that that's happened since January. We regularly have conversations like this: "Where are Felix's burp cloths?" "In his drawer." "There are none there." "Oh, check the dryer." Sometimes these conversations are repeated for about three days.
  • Sweeping. Always sweeping.
  • I made a giant container of "refried" beans to use instead of the canned kind we usually use for burritos (one of our go-to meals). We have several freezer bags of beans at the ready.
Wow, that's only six bullet points. I feel like I'm more domestic than that.

14 April 2013

An Asthmatic Weekend

Sometimes being a mom is hard, and most of the time it's hard to explain exactly why being a mom is hard. Having a sick kid can be hard, and I don't feel like there's a lot of explaining that goes into that.

On Thursday Ike had a fever, but he didn't seem to have any other symptoms. In the evening his breathing was really wheezy. It was so loud that at one point it sounded like the low, rhythmic hum of the washing machine. Except the washing machine wasn't on. I asked Eric what the sound was, and he told me it was Ike's breathing. I immediately called the pediatrician's office, and the nurse said to bring him into the after hours clinic.

He appeared to have a cold that was agitating his asthma. Thankfully, his oxygen level was very high, but the P.A. had him do a breathing treatment in the office. It was horrible. He screamed and fought the whole time. He is strong. After checking out a nebulizer and then going to pick up the vials of medicine to put into the machine we went home and he went straight to bed without a fight.

We did two more breathing treatments in the night. By the last one he was so feverish and tired that he hardly fought at all.

On Friday morning he was doing much better. His fever was finally gone. (I had been regularly treating it with ibuprofen, but it would just not relent.) He was even breathing pretty well. At about 10 I noticed his breathing was pretty loud again. It didn't seem to bother him, but I knew we needed to do a nebulizer treatment.

This time I sat him down and read him several books. He did incredibly well and didn't fight at all. Half an hour later, though, his breathing was still really loud. I called the doctor's office again, and again the nurse said I needed to bring him in right away.*

Again, his oxygen level was quite high, so it was clear that even though his asthma was acting up, it wasn't having dangerous consequences. The doctor was concerned that his breathing was so loud when we had just done a treatment about an hour before. So we did another treatment in the office. Again, Ike didn't fight at all. It was such a breeze compared to the time the night before. The doctor came in and listened again and decided to prescribe an oral steroid, mostly to prevent his asthma from getting worse.

Unfortunately, the steroid tastes pretty awful, and Ike fights it will all his might (which is a lot). Only six more doses to go!

And that's what has made parenting hard this weekend. On the up-side, nobody has been hospitalized, and we didn't have to buy a nebulizer. (The pediatrician's office loaned us one.)

*Three cheers for Felix who had to be woken from a nap to go to the doctor's office. Normally I feed him right when he wakes up, but we didn't have time. I ended up not having time to feed him until we got back home. He was a serious champ about the whole thing.


06 April 2013

Felix - Six Months

These six months have flown by. Felix is such a sweet baby. I think my sister-in-law said it best this week when she said that he just looks around him for something to be happy about. It's true. He is a happy little baby.

He's still tiny, but he's strong. He has now mastered rolling in both directions. I think he'll be crawling by next month, but I made predictions like that with Ike, and they were usually wrong. He has a bald head, blue eyes, and no teeth. People who hold him always almost comment on how wiggly he is. This boy's got places to go, I guess.

Felix is fascinated with his older brother. He's also fascinated with the ceiling fan, so it really boils down to perpetual motion.

In the last month I've had several people comment about how he's looking more and more like his brother. It's true. He is.

Felix doesn't sleep really well at night, or during naps, for that matter. Despite this, I love him heaps.

04 April 2013

My Favorite Recipes with Red Beans or Lentils

Sorry for the hiatus. I don't know what I've been busy doing, but clearly blogging has not been a top priority.

One thing I have been doing for the last few months is trying new lentil and bean recipes. As I mentioned once before, we bought 25 pounds of red beans and 25 pounds of lentils in December. I've been working on finding and trying recipes that use beans and lentils.

I'm not going to lie. I regret that we purchased red beans instead of black beans. At that time I thought this was a good idea because we had so many cans of black beans. But upon reflection, I realize that we had so many cans of black beans because that is what we like best. Nonetheless, I have a few ways to prepare red beans that I've found to be yummy:
  • Kidney Bean Curry - In actuality, I haven't made this one in a while, but by golly I ought to. (Obviously, I sub red beans for kidney.)
  • Red Beans and Rice from Our Best Bites - Jenn recommended this, and as soon as Eric tasted it he was in love. He said it was the closest to Brazilian rice and beans that he's had since living in Brazil. We've made it several times. The recipe doesn't call for soaking the beans overnight, but I do it anyway because it helps get rid of some of the toxins that cause digestive issues. (Ahem.)
  • Southwest Rice and Bean Salad from Mel's Kitchen Cafe - We've made this time and time again, and it's always a hit. It's easy to toy with the ingredients to suit your own needs.
  • Red Lentil Curry - This calls for split red lentils, but I use plain green lentils, and it works just fine.
  • Carrot Soup - So delicious. So easy. So freezable. So healthy.

There are a few other Indian lentil dishes that I like to make. Their recipes are found in The Best Ever Curry Cookbook, and it's possible that one of these days I will blog about them.

And of those recipes, I hope you'll note that only one of them does not involve cilantro. That's pretty much par for the course around this house.

16 March 2013

Pie, Ponies, Patricks, Etc.

It's been a busy week. There is work as usual, plus some other stuff:

We had a Pi Day party. I let Ike help me with our two pumpkin pies. It took about 50% longer and was at least 70% messier than if I had done it while he napped, but I'm glad we did it together. It was a good opportunity for me to work on being a more present parent. No pictures of the finished pies, nor of the pie buffet. It was fun, though!
The weather was warm enough (in the 50's) that we went on two walks to the park. Plus, today, we went to the nearby model airplane runways to watch the hobbyists fly their little planes. It was fun and chilly.

We said hello to Francis, and we said goodbye to Rusty and sold him for scrap metal.


I took Ike to see the farm animals. He rode the pony without me walking by his side. He looked exceptionally bored the whole time, but as soon as the ride was over and I went to get him down, he begged for more.

Felix started on solid foods, and he thinks that is pretty awesome. I made my own baby food today, which I think is pretty awesome.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, which is a bit of a  big deal in our house. I will prattle on all day about my Irish ancestors. Eric will pretend that he's Irish too. (Scots-Irish ancestors do not count. They were the oppressors!) We'll eat corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and Irish soda bread. Everyone will be grateful that we normally stick to more flavorful and healthful cuisine the other days of the year.

08 March 2013

Adventures in a Toddler Bed

A couple of weeks ago I went in to check on Ike and to change his diaper before I went to bed, which is something we do basically every night. I found him stark naked and curled into a ball in his crib. It was hilarious, but only because he had not made any sorts of messes in his naked state.

The next morning I was feeding Felix in my bed when I heard the pitter patter of Ike running down the hall and into a room. He entered with great triumph, arms spread wide and declared, "TA-DA!"

That afternoon we tried to put him down for a nap, and as soon as Eric left the room, Ike followed him. After that, Eric observed Ike as he climbed out of the bed. It was apparent that the crib would no longer contain him. That day the crib morphed into a toddler bed, and we placed a child-lock on the inside handle of Ike's doorknob so he couldn't get out. With great skill he got the child-lock off the doorknob and came darting out of his room again. Clearly, he was quite proud of himself. (The crazy thing about the whole crib situation is that he sleeps on the floor at his babysitter's house, and he stays on the floor in his designated spot without any reminders from his babysitter. Not only that, but even after he wakes up he stays in his spot until she comes to get him.)

That evening Eric outsmarted the toddler by taping up the childlock so Ike couldn't get it off his door. He was trapped in his room.*

Since then, he has fallen asleep on the floor for pretty much every nap and every bedtime. Each night in addition to changing his diaper, we also move him to his bed.

Twice he has fallen out of his bed. On one of those occasions when Eric went to help him he found Ike, disoriented, trying to crawl under his bed. I once came upon him on the floor, after having put him in his bed. His legs were under his bed, and his head was out in the open.

On Sunday night Eric found him sleeping in his laundry basket, with his legs hanging out. That's the best one so far. Since then he learned to use his laundry basket as a stool to enable him to reach his light switch. With the lights on he was free to play in his room endlessly. Obviously the laundry basket has been moved to Felix's room since that occasion.

I imagine that one of these days he'll choose to sleep in his bed, but I'm not counting on it being any time soon.

*Yes, we now regularly lock our child in his room. It is an effective way to get him to go to sleep. If you think this makes us monstrous parents, then you are entitled to that opinion, but I don't need to hear about it.

06 March 2013

Felix - Five Months

At five months old, Felix's five favorite things are:
  1. Mom.
  2. Mom.
  3. Mom.
  4. Mom.
  5. Dad and Ike.
That's a bit of an exaggeration, but this baby loves me, and I love him. He loves interaction from most people, but he especially loves it from me. I can get him to chuckle pretty consistently, and it's always funny.

Felix loves to be held. It's a good thing that he is such a tiny guy (only in the third percentile for weight), or else I'd get pretty exhausted holding him as much as I do. I rock him to sleep for naps and bedtime. He doesn't sleep quite like Ike did, but he's still a good sleeper all around.

He comes to work with me, and my co-workers love him. He gets passed around at meetings sometimes, and he's often on the lookout for me as he gets shifted from one person to the next.

Felix is incredibly wiggly. I love it. Sometimes when I place him on the floor on his back he'll rotate all around. He's close to rolling onto his belly, but he hasn't quite managed it yet.

He doesn't spit up as much as Ike, but he does spit up a lot. It's gross. I'm ready for that phase to be over. He's starting to act interested in food, and that's pretty cute too.

The outfit pictured on the right is sized 0-3 months. It's still big on him. Right after Easter last year, when I was still not very pregnant, I bought a gender-neutral Easter onesie figuring that my baby would be about six months old around Easter. I'm pretty certain that it will still be quite large on him six weeks from now. It's a good thing I got it on clearance.

01 March 2013

Dream Job

Janssen wrote a really interesting post, which got some really great comments, about dream jobs. It got me thinking.

I happen to really love my job. There was a time when I couldn't say that, and there are always going to be certain things about any job that you don't really like, but right now the job I have (professional genealogist) is my dream job.

For a while I thought about going to nursing school. I really thought it would be awesome to be a labor and delivery nurse, or maybe even a midwife. I still thought this would be a cool job after birthing Ike, but after Felix's delivery I realized I don't actually want to be a nurse at all. It turns out I have no interest whatsoever in dealing with gross stuff, even if a baby does come out of the mess.

As part of my job sometimes I get to do media interviews, and I really enjoy that. Sometimes my interviews are very "how-to" based. I like those, but the ones I like better are the ones where I get to share with the media person about their family history. It's so fun to present information to them that they never knew. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get to a story worth sharing. That part is challenging, but it's also fun. I think the really fun part, though, is getting to share the information and tell the story on camera.

So, maybe that's my real dream job. Getting to be a host of a genealogy show. Any producers out there who want to take me up on that?

Either that, or I want to replace Diane Rehm when she retires. This is a dream job, after all.

28 February 2013

The Fate of Rusty the Car

Yesterday as I exited the highway on my way to work my oil light kept coming on in my car. It mostly flickered off and on until right before I arrived at work, and by then it was staying on steadily. When I got out of my car I realized there was a pretty strong smell of burning oil. On the way home I bought a quart of oil and poured it in. I made it only about halfway home before the light was flickering on and off again. I don't know a lot about cars, but I could tell there was a problem.

I got home and pulled into my garage. As I walked out to my mailbox I saw a steady line of oil. So I moved the car to the street. In the evening Eric and I decided to drop the car off at the shop. I got detained by a red light on our way, so he ended up a bit ahead of me. As I approached the shop I saw our little gold car on the side of the road, just shy of the turn-off into the shop's parking lot.

I picked Eric up and was pretty gleeful. Who could be gleeful about a dead car? The person who really wants a clicker, that's who. I told Eric that our car was dead. He said we'd wait and see.

This morning he called me. He seemed to be in a good mood as he said, "The car people called." "Oh, you sound like you're in a good mood. Is our car salvageable?" I said. He said, "It needs a cylinder replaced and will cost $2,000-3,000." When he said it, at first I thought he was going to say "hundred" instead of "thousand" and I was bummed. A few hundred dollars might be worth it. A few thousand is most definitely not.


I don't think I'd ever imagined a time when I'd be excited about the demise of a car. But I am. You've been a good car, Rusty. I'm sorry you died on the side of a road.

25 February 2013

Ski Day at Sundance

We went skiing on Friday. It was our first time in seven years. I signed up for the passes through work, and we could choose any resort in Utah. I'd actually only ever skied in Jackson Hole prior to this (How pretentious does that sound?), so I didn't know which resort to choose. Eric suggested Sudance because it's the closest to Provo (and his parents live there and would be watching the boys), and it's fairly small and has easy runs. We had such a good time! I would love to go more often.

The weather on Friday started off really cold and snowy, but it warmed up and the snow cleared away about an hour into our skiing. Because I'm a pansy and totally out of shape we didn't stay very long, but ultimately that was probably for the best. Every part of my body ached on Saturday.

When we were ready to go home we realized the only way to get down to where we had parked would require taking a blue run. (Green is easiest, and blue is next.) We had spent all day going down the same two green runs, and even on those I took plenty of spills. (Anyone looking for entertainment is free to pay for me to go skiing. I will not mind if you laugh your head off as I wipe out over and over again in the most ridiculous and dramatic ways. But just to be clear, you are the one paying for the pass and renting my gear. It's a tradeoff, see?) I basically snowplowed down the whole way.

It was actually a valuable lesson for me. Part of the reason I had to snowplow the entire run was that I had twisted my knee two runs before that. It wasn't horrible, but it was bad enough that I was a little worried. On the next run I had a really hard time turning, which meant I couldn't control my speed - or anything really - very well. I figured that would be our last run, and I was very disheartened we would have to do another, and to top it off it would have to be a blue! Like I said, the blue really wasn't so bad, it's just that I was so tired worn out that I just pointed my toes together and snowplowed all the way down the run. I realized that had we done a blue earlier in the day, before I was totally exhausted, I probably would have handled it okay. Next time we'll get it right.

23 February 2013

Thanksgiving Point

Our cabin fever has not really diminished, even with our passes to the Living Planet Aquarium. In addition to those passes, we bought memberships to Thanksgiving Point, which is significantly more expensive, but also significantly closer to home and with substantially more to do. We are really glad we bought the passes.

Ike wakes up every day and says, "Di-saurs?" He loves to go to the dinosaur museum. I enjoy taking him because it's out of the house, and it's a lot of fun. At the end there is a giant sandbox where the children can dig for dinosaur bones. It's a big hit every time. Throughout the museum there are 13 hidden gnomes. A museum paleontologist showed us where one was, and I was able to find one more. Every time we go I spend the whole time looking for gnomes amid the displays and painted into the murals. (I'm sure the paleontologist was really excited when we approached him to ask a question. And then he was probably really disheartened to realize that he went to years of school to become an expert in his field only to be asked where the gnomes were.)

I also really like the Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point. Two Saturdays ago we got there just at the end of the cow milking. I was pretty thrilled to have a turn milking the cow. I am not kidding when I say that I had always wanted to milk a cow, and now I have. (I've told this fact to about four people. Two have responded with "ME TOO!" type reactions. Two have responded with "Really? Why?" reactions.) Ike is especially fond of the pony rides. It's hard to get much of a reaction from him during the ride, but when the day is done and we ask him what he did during the day, "A horse!" is usually at the top of his list.

In just a few weeks the gardens will be open. I can't wait!

11 February 2013

Language Development

I wish I had taken a class on language development in children while I was in college. I find it so interesting and amusing to watch Ike's language skills advance. Anyone have some book recommendations on the topic?

One of my favorite things about Ike at his current age is the way he talks. Sometimes it's frustrating trying to decipher what he's trying to say, but for the most part I love it. I am amazed at all the things he can say, and I love the way his tones and inflections often mimic the way that Eric and I talk to him.

I also love to work with him on his pronunciation. It usually goes a lot like this:

"Ike, say 'grandpa.'"

"Bampa."

"Say 'gr, gr, gr, grandpa.'"

"Baaaaammmmmmpa."

"Say 'grandma great.'"

"Gr-great."

"Good! Now say 'GRandpa.'"

"Bampa."

"Ike, say 'milk.'"

"Nyope!"

"Say 'mama.'"

"Mama."

"Good, say 'more.'"

"Mur."

"Say 'mouse.'"

"Mose."

"Say 'mess.'"

"Mess."

"Good. Say 'm-m-m-milk.'"

"NNNNNNNNNN-Yope."

"Say 'airplane.'"

"Bearpane."

"Say 'air.'"

"Air"

"Say 'plane.'"

"Pane."

"Say 'airplane.'"

"Bearpane."

08 February 2013

On Flu Shots

Apparently it's a bad year for influenza. In addition to that there are a few cold viruses and some stomach bugs making the rounds.

I got the flu my freshman year of college. It was awful. After getting over the flu I was hit with a sinus infection that wouldn't quit (three rounds of antibiotics before it was finally finished), I developed bronchiolitis, (just a step before pneumonia), and I had a horrible cough that lasted until spring. (This was a long time considering I got the flu in mid-November.) Let me tell you, it was rough.

Did I learn my lesson? No. I didn't get a flu shot in any subsequent years (until 2009), always taking my chances and hoping the flu wouldn't catch up to me. It did finally catch up to me in February 2008, but it wasn't nearly as bad as 2003. In flu seasons since then I've always been pregnant or been thinking about getting pregnant, so I've been sure to get the shot.

Ike gets the shot because he's got asthma, and I'm confident that if he developed the flu he it would wreak havoc on the kid, and he'd probably develop a never-ending hacking cough. (If he gets a cough that lasts weeks and weeks just from having one little cold, I don't want to think of what the flu would do to him.) Eric also gets the flu shot because I make him. Plus, we have an un-immunized baby in this house (too young for the flu shot), and I'm not about to let Eric bring the flu home to that little guy.

Sadly, Felix had a pretty nasty cold last week. He is over it now, but there were a few days when he lost his voice, and a few days when the mucous in his throat was so bad that he coughed until he vomited. It was not awesome. It wasn't really a severe cold, but it lasted longer than I would have liked.

Several weeks ago at church somebody told us that his whole family had come down with the flu that week, one by one. When I asked if they are against the flu shot, he said they weren't, but they hadn't had time to get it yet, and now they were paying for it. A friend chimed in that she doesn't bother with the flu shot. Of course, I had to prod.

She isn't one of those anti-immunization crazy nuts (Yes, that is what I think of you if you think immunizations cause autism), but she just doesn't do the flu shot. She had a few reasons - first, she has gotten the flu at least twice, despite having had the flu shot. I prodded her on this. Was she sure it was influenza and not a stomach bug that she called the flu? And yes, it was true influenza as verified by the doctor. Not only that, but at least one of the times it was the strain that she had been vaccinated against. Additionally, she and her entire family were lucky enough to get H1N1 (swine flu) a few years ago. Apparently people who got that virus have stronger immunity against the flu now. None of them have asthma or other breathing conditions, and when they last had the flu it wasn't too bad on them. So for her and her family, she would just assume get the illness if it hits them.

It's not a risk I'm willing to take. I have asthma, and so does Ike. Sure, we might still get the flu despite being vaccinated, but the odds are in our favor.

Meanwhile, I've decided to keep Felix home from church for a few weeks. Too many germs. And too many unvaccinated folks. Watching my baby cry without making a sound was one of the saddest thing I've ever seen, and I don't want to see it again.