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.'"


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


"Say 'grandma great.'"


"Good! Now say 'GRandpa.'"


"Ike, say 'milk.'"


"Say 'mama.'"


"Good, say 'more.'"


"Say 'mouse.'"


"Say 'mess.'"


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


"Say 'airplane.'"


"Say 'air.'"


"Say 'plane.'"


"Say 'airplane.'"


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.

06 February 2013

Felix: Four Months

It is hard for me to write these updates without comparing Felix to Ike. I want to avoid comparing them because I don't want Felix to grow up and read my blog and say, "Gee mom, couldn't you say anything about me without talking about Ike in the same breath?" Having only had one baby before Felix, it is very easy to think about how the two are different, and oh, they are different.

Felix is such a smiley baby. He smiles readily and easily at me and at Eric. Strangers are not as lucky, and he usually furrows his brow at them. Everyone still comments that he is such a serious baby, but he's not so serious around his family.

Last week Ike and I had Felix laughing up a storm. It was so fun. I was surprised at how much giggling we got out of him this early. (Ike did not laugh like that for a few more months, and then only when he was being tickled.) We haven't gotten those giggles out of Felix since then, but I look forward to when we can do it again. Hopefully Eric will be there, and he won't have to settle for hearing the giggles over the phone.

Felix likes to have my attention. When I'm working he needs me to check in with him and acknowledge him fairly regularly. He is not particularly content to do his own thing. He is very interactive and loves to be held, sung to, talked to and generally played with.

He is a really good sleeper. I am so grateful for that. He doesn't fall asleep incredibly easily, but he does stay asleep pretty much all night most nights.

Felix's 0-3 month clothes are still large on him, but he finally managed to outgrow his newborn clothes this month. He's just a little guy, and I like him that way.

Ike has really started paying more attention to Felix this month and is especially good at showing Felix how he can jump, as well as giving Felix hugs and kisses. It's adorable, and I look forward to these boys being the best of friends when they are bigger.

04 February 2013

My Apologies

A long while ago I got rid of word verification on comments on my blog. I didn't like to do them on other people's blogs because they are annoying and have become impossible to read. (Apparently, they are also a monstrous pain if you are reading a blog on a phone.)

Alas, I have to turn the word verifications back on. I have been getting a bucket-load of spam comments, and Blogger has only been mediocre at weeding them out for me. I'm sorry if this makes you hate me or makes you less likely to comment, (though I don't blame you for either.)

To make you feel better, enjoy these horribly pixelated pictures of Felix at work (taken with my five-year-old flip-phone).

01 February 2013

No Tantrum Dinners

I don't ever want to give the impression that life around here is peaches all the time. I'm pretty sure that that is not the impression I give because I do plenty of whining.

A problem we've been having for the last few months has involved eating. For some reason our kid became quite picky. Plus, every night when Eric would get home Ike would only want to play. He had no interest in sitting down to eat dinner. It was tempting to just let him play while we had a nice dinner. Sometimes Eric would let Ike sit on his lap just to keep the peace while we ate. But I wasn't a fan of either of these options. I wanted to have a normal dinner every day, and I wanted to teach our toddler to sit at the table and eat his food with the family.

We were having tantrums (and by "we" obivously I mean "Ike") pretty much every single night. The kid just did not want to sit in his own chair. If we did get him to sit in his chair he would throw his cup and his food. I felt like we just needed to power through these tantrums. Eventually he'd get over it, right? Only, no, he wasn't getting over it. If anything, it was becoming a part of the nightly ritual.

Finally, I found something that works. At first I was a little embarrassed, but I'm not anymore. We use bribery. Initially that bribery was in the form of dessert, but then we learned how much this kid likes to make and eat popcorn. Now, if he resists going to the table we say, "Do you want some popcorn?" Of course, he always says "Yeah!" Then we tell him that first he has to sit in his chair. We continue to offer popcorn throughout the dinner, always reminding him that first he has to eat his food. It works. No more tantrums. A toddler who eats good quantities of real food and is again trying things that before he wouldn't touch.

It might be considered bribery by some. I don't care. It works.