Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I like to learn





from Khan Academy

And if you're not interested in the Kreb's Cycle, there are a slew of other 10-minute videos on a plethora of topics on the Khan Academy. And they are all so informative. These videos keep my brain working while I'm working.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

15 months, week 3

Just a little bit of an update... these weeks and months seem to be flying by and Atticus isn't getting any younger! I can't believe Christmas is on Saturday - where did this year go??

At 15 months, 3 weeks, the guy loves:

- Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Sink baths
- Playing in the snow!
- Playing at the Lees' apartment
- Practicing his walking skills (though he has yet to really walk)
- Doing the dishes with Dad - perhaps his favorite thing ever... he is blessed with such a patient father
- Reading books (we have finally advanced to non-board-books and it's awesome)
- Cuddling up next to Dad during the night, probably for warmth in our chilly basement

He doesn't like:

- Getting dressed
- Wearing clothes in general, especially diapers
- Mom leaving for work, though he's getting MUCH better at being babysat by various aunts/friends and it's been awesome for us

A Midwinter's Daydream

Today is Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. It makes me want to go for a walk in the snow that fell on our beautiful surroundings last night and drink peppermint hot cocoa.

Winter Solstice seems to me a time to reflect upon our blessings and pour out our gratitude to the magnificence of the world around us. Simply waking up to the clean and white wonderland that nature has created for us stirs my soul. There is something so wondrous about snow-capped mountains peering over you as you walk outside.

Next year, I think we'll skip work and celebrate with family sun salutations, homemade bread, and creativity.

Mmmmmm.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ode to Dreher

I honestly just received this email from my high school and at first thought it was a joke... then I realized they were serious. And then I just felt sad.

For one, they started out with a guilt trip: "With so many successful alumni, one would imagine Dreher’s Foundation would be well endowed. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. During your years at Dreher, the faculty and staff worked diligently to provide you with the education and guidance necessary to help you succeed in life." Did they?? I don't remember too many teachers dedicated to my success... maybe my calculus teacher because she had a record number of 5s on the AP exam so she had to keep up her reputation. Honestly don't think she cared too much about me as an individual. Maybe Mrs. Brown, my AP Economics teacher, but I think she just liked me because David and I were awesome at economics so we could help her out during the lessons (I cut her some slack though, it was her first year teaching AP Economics and it was thrown on her at the last minute). Hmmm... and honestly I can't think of too many other teachers from high school. Dr. Kaminski hated me and failed my papers because I was Lauren's sister. Oh, and remember the fat and terribly depressed Ms. Ryan?? Anyone else out there had her as a teacher? Wait, what about Mrs. Carll-Williamson?! I'm pretty sure she was an alcoholic. Oh, and then that time Mrs. Lee failed my final dance project for "stealing" choreography even though she didn't tell me until after the performance and she saw us dancing every day for a whole semester. OH MY GOSH and don't get me started on that time I had in-school suspension (thanks Mrs. Stricklin!) for going home during lunch to get dance clothes (we had a very strictly CLOSED campus, it even had a metal fence around it... which was rumored to have cost a couple million dollars).

Oh, and my all-time favorite moment from a beloved Dreher chemistry teacher: Mr. Nance, who once told a Muslim girl to take off her "doo-rag" because it was not allowed in school (which at the time did not affect me as it does now, but I cringe every time I think about standing next to her when he tried to make her remove her veil....)

But I digress. I continued on with the email after that pathetic attempt to make me feel all warm and squishy about my high school days on to the ways the Dreher Foundation has truly served the high school and its students in such important ways. For example, they have used donations by:

1. Purchasing the electronic marquee on Millwood Avenue (I've never seen this, but I don't imagine it's that important to the educational success of Dreher students)
2. Hosting a reception for alumni artists celebrating their donation of 14 pieces to the permanent collection
3. Hosting an All Class Reunion inviting former students to reconnect with their past (I'm still in therapy to forget my past, I have no desire to reconnect)

Ok, and this is where the e-mail got so pathetically pathetic. Ways your oh-so-needed donation will be used:

1. To purchase a presentation podium for the auditorium
2. To reestablish the Wall of Past Presidents

and my personal favorite...
3. To repair the broken arm on the dolphin fountain

How could you not donate to fix the broken arm on the dolphin fountain!?



Alas... no Dreher, I don't particularly want to donate to your foundation. Remember how that time you let the state championship basketball team sit on the plush armchairs on the front of the stage but the state champion Academic Decathlon team was relegated to the hard metal chairs in the back where no one could even see us? Remember the time I did not make cheerleading captain because someone's mother was on the board of something? Oh, and don't get me started on that time Kristin won the Miss Blue Devil pageant because her mom worked for the district. Oh, and remember how our school principal herself even disliked me for dating her favorite male student? Dreher High School. I'm not too fond of you. You and your formerly-infested-with-asbestos self.

I do love a few things about Dreher: Coach DuBard. Ms. Boone (is she even still alive? I loved that woman. She got me out of being late soooooo many times). Our drama department rocked something awesome too. I wish I had skipped the cheerleading and stuck with the school plays with crazy Ms. Arvay and the Abbott sisters. Some of the best times of my high school experience were during my drama phase.


This is the first picture that comes up for Dreher High School in Google images:



I know this picture is a little grotesque... but another aspect I hated about high school included the friendly pro-life Christian groups that harassed us girls as we walked into school a few mornings a week. I completely forgot about this until now.

Why I go to the bathroom upstairs

I think my co-workers are going to think I'm some sort of freak because I always go upstairs instead of peeing in our restroom like everyone else does.

But I do it for the exercise. I like climbing stairs a few times a day to keep in shape. Ok. And there are fewer women upstairs** so you get to pee in privacy. And it smells better because they have delicious cinnamon-smelling air fresheners. And I like it clean, and upstairs, only a few stalls get used during the day and there almost always is a freshly-cleaned, toilet-seat-up stall ready for my use. Call me crazy.






** actually, I'm pretty sure there is only one woman that works on the 2nd floor, but she's like 8 months pregnant so it seems like every time I go up there she is always in the restroom and part of me feels like I'm encroaching on her pregnant-peeing territory.

Gisele, her baby, and a bathtub

I've always loved Gisele Bundchen. Weird for a feminist to have a slight obsession with a Victoria's Secret model, but I confess. My friend Anne and I used to rip pictures of her out of magazines and keep them on our walls for "inspiration," usually to look at when we were feeling lazy about track or cheerleading practice (not like both of us weren't two of the skinniest teenagers ever).

Now, I think beauty magazines are destructive and young girls who look at them will all have unhealthy body images and probably eating disorders (though looking back, Anne and I both dealt with all of the above in high school, so perhaps my assumptions are not entirely misplaced). And when I become all WomanStatsy and radical-revolutionary, I suppressed my love of Gisele, even though whenever I ran across an article about her or a picture of her I was slightly intrigued (and maybe this is even outing my lesbian tendencies, but that's a WHOLE OTHER blog post).

Until..... GISELE HAD A HOME BIRTH! In her bathtub! She is officially my idol once again. I don't care if she's ridiculously vain and poses in her underwear. I love her.



Oh, and did you know Gisele was "discovered" in a Brazilian McDonald's? Ironic.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No More Rack $10 credit

So, I love getting these credits to online stores and then scoring free stuff. Gilt had it a month or so ago and we got some awesome Melissa and Doug toys for Theodore. NoMoreRack.com is offering up a $10 credit when you sign up here. Plus, if you sign up 35 friends, you can win at iPod shuffle! And your friends don't have to buy anything, just have to sign up. My goal is 400 friends, and then I get an iPad. I don't even think I HAVE 400 friends, let alone enough that will sign up, but it's worth a try, right? So, sign up for me. And I promise then I will blog real blog posts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't ask, just DO IT

I have a new favorite blog. I love feminist Mormon blogs and I love birthing blogs, and this blog combines the best of both worlds! Today she posted something that resonated with me - a theory I've thought about before but never really put into words.

When you're in labor, don't ask! Just do it! Do what feels good, do what your body tells you to do. Honestly, if you unhook your monitors to go to the bathroom or get up and walk around, what's the worse that can happen? The nurses will berate you? I thought about this a lot when I was in the hospital in DC. There I was strapped to a bed, put on a monitor, and told to lay still and be quiet. And I did it, for the most part because I was content to lay there since I wasn't really in labor. But... I did unhook myself quite a few times to go to the bathroom or get a snack or something. And then I did make the nurses slightly irritated. And one time... I took the monitor off because I was sick of it. Oops.

And eating and drinking? For one, the recommendation is obsolete and quite frankly: stupid. And if you're hungry/thirsty... just eat or drink for goodness sakes! I was talking to a mom yesterday who went into preterm labor and was in the hospital for three days before she actually had the baby, and because she was in active labor the whole time, they would not let her eat! FOR THREE DAYS! That's crazy!! What is wrong with these doctors?

I was especially fortunate to have a midwife attend my birth who was flexible and let me do my thing. Heck, she even actively went against "hospital policy" by bringing me food and drink, letting me labor in the tub after my water broke, etc. The other midwife in her practice just told me to eat and drink, but don't tell her because she's not supposed to let me (which I was still cool with, since you could tell she was being subversive against a ridiculous rule). And I was never hooked up to a monitor once I was in labor, I never was forced into any position... in fact, I labored and pushed in about every position possible and my midwife encouraged and suggested different, upright positions to help the baby descend. I know if I did not have her around and was laying flat on my back, he never would have come and I probably would have ended up with a c-section or assisted delivery. It was hard enough getting him out when I was kneeling and squatting (and a lot of OBs would not be patient enough to let a woman push for over two hours with little progress after laboring for ten in the hospital, but Jessica never rushed me or acted like we really needed to hurry things).

When I was attending Charlie's birth as a doula, there was this awesome moment where Kaity really wanted to be in the tub because she was fully-dilated and was NOT interested in moving which the nurse was trying to make her do, and she screamed something to the effect of "LEAVE ME ALONE". And then her midwife knelt down and said bring everything over, we're having this baby in the tub! And I know the nurse was just doing her job, she was really great and I liked her a lot, she was just trying to follow the policy of not birthing in the tubs. (and Kaity did end up moving to the bed in between contractions after a few minutes since the bathroom WAS really small and not designed for birthing in and Charlie's heart rate was low-ish... but I loved that she was assertive and knew what she needed at THAT moment and would not be persuaded otherwise).

So, the moral is: we should probably listen to doctors and nurses on the big, important-ish medical-type things, but when it comes to silly, non-evidence-based practices like being continuously monitored, food/drink restrictions, and birthing positions, women need to stop pleasing their care providers and start a birthing revolution.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hm.

What moms eat in pregnancy=what kids like later.

I did eat a ton of fruit when I was pregnant because it was all I could keep down (even though I really don't like it that much not-so-pregnant) and now Theodore loves the stuff. I always thought there might be some truth to this.

He may also have a slight obsession with Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip. The quintessential second-trimester food.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Being a doula

I can't pinpoint the reason it has taken me two months to write about my first birth as a "real" doula. Because to put it quite frankly, it was awesome and had to be one of the most defining moments of my life (next to giving birth myself, and maybe meeting Tim). Because in that moment, when Kaitlyn gave birth to Charlie as I looked on in utter amazement, I knew what I would devote my life to.

Birth.

Helping women achieve a birth experience that will leave them amazed at their bodies. That will leave them speechless at their abilities.

I think for a while I was hesitant because it was not really MY story to tell. Although it was a defining moment for me, it was her story all along, and I didn't want to spill any sweet details until she had the opportunity to voice her experience from her own memory and not from that of onlookers. Another part of my unconscious self is nervous because I feel incredibly new and naive at this. All the reading and studying in the world will not give someone experience in this field. It's real-life at its core.

I know I want to be a doula, but I'm still so inexperienced and not even sure where to begin. Birth is such a sacred and sometimes private experience that many women are hesitant to invite yet another outsider (in addition to doctor, midwife, nurse, random hospital staff, etc) into their realm. A few of my midwife-aspiring friends have trained to be doulas as well, only to find that many women are reluctant to the idea of a doula, even if she is offering her services for free. Doula is such a foreign term and concept - because isn't the doctor there to support the laboring woman? I have so many friends and acquaintances that for the their first birth were under the impression the OB would be with them during the process... only to see them for four minutes and then for pushing. At a friend's birth, the OB was sleeping and they told her not to push until they went and woke him up and got him in the room! It was ridiculous. Your OB will not be with you while you are laboring, do not be fooled (midwives, on the other hand... almost always will be... Jessica, my midwife in the hospital was with me a good deal of the time for 12 hours... she left to be with another woman who was laboring but hung out in our room quite a bit. Why every low-risk birthing woman does not have a midwife still puzzles me, it is a world of difference, even if you plan on an epidural).

And that's where the doula comes in: she's there for you, Hypnobirth/epidural/c-section, etc. Her role is not to make decisions for you, but support you in those decisions. She is not there to judge, to criticize, to provide medical advice. She can help to inform you, to help you make decisions on your own, and to teach you to question the cookie-cutter model of maternity care (induction/pitocin/break water/epidural/push flat on back in stirrups/episiotomy) that is so pervasive in hospitals across the United States. I think every woman needs a doula, no matter how awesome the midwife/OB/husband/partner is. Tim rocked at birth support, Jessica was there for us and an almost constant presence, my nurse Heather was quiet but very supportive, and I still loved having Analiesa there to rub my back and tell me how awesome I was. I can't imagine a woman not having a doula with no partner support, a nurse who was overworked with too many patients, and a practically absent doctor. I think doulas should be standard practice in hospitals everywhere.

If you want to read more about doulas and myths surrounding them, here is this article. And if you would like a free (or very cheap) doula at your birth, I am available as well as a few of my really lovely friends. I can even provide [one] reference[s] :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Video overload

Dear Lauren,

Here are your requested videos:




(I think it's funny Tim is making him watch a lady spraying her yard to get him to pee... I don't know if it was intentional or not)


(The morning after our first camping experience)


(They love each other)


(Best toy ever)


(This is obviously a little old, as outside is now a giant popsicle)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wow

I just spent 40 minutes teaching a woman how to "Google". Are there really people out there who still can't do that?? This might not be as awesome as the time I spent an hour on the "copy-pasting" lesson.

In other news, our storm of the century (!!!) was barely a flurry. I wasn't looking forward to snow, so I was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events.

In two hours, I'll be off for four days. Hallelujah.

I am sick of working. Seriously. I'm developing a hatred for all things internet.

I've been going to a chiropractor and I love it. Apparently my lower back pain is caused by seriously out of whack hips. I could even tell just by looking at the x-ray. They are all twisted funky.

I've slept for probably a total of 9 hours the last two nights. I'm barely functioning today. Sick babies are the WORRRRSSSSSTTT. You would think with all this breastfeeding he would have a more solid immune system.

I despise voice mail messages where the person says... "Hello? Hello?!" UGHHHHHHHH. Grow up.

I had to ride my bike to campus this morning at 7 am to catch the bus since I missed the 830 that runs by our house. Oh. my. gosh. I thought my lungs were going to freeze and then burst. It was SO COLD. And uphill. Killer. I kept repeating to myself "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger..." I did make it though, and arrived at work 20 minutes early, instead of 30 minutes late which was the norm last week.

Life is good. Even with sick babies and missed buses and immature customers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Amazon: $5 off

Do you ever buy stuff from Amazon?

Mamapedia has a deal today (you have to go to Houston for the deal**) for a $10 giftcard to Amazon.com for only $5! We buy SO much from Amazon... and you all know how much we love them.

Anyways, sign up through my link



... and out.




** You don't actually have to GO to Houston, just type it in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Car-free

We've been car-free for a few weeks now, and I personally am enjoying myself. I forgot how much I love riding a bike, since I haven't had one since Theodore was born. Even going to the grocery store is a breeze as long as I take a backpack along to put my food in for the ride home. The weather is getting frigid, but nothing gloves and a hat can't solve (though I probably need a warmer coat, I don't really have a thick one). And saving money! I love saving money! We got a refund of $220 for canceling our car insurance and we are saving in gas/oil changes for now and then registration come the new year. And we got two nice road bikes for $200, a trailer for $77, and three helmets for about $60. I wanted to get a nice Chariot, but I couldn't find one used and I don't want to fork out ten times as much for a bike trailer. We'll start out with this and go from there. One day though... I really, REALLY want a Chariot (but y'all have probably figured that out by now).

So far, so good. I don't mind riding the bus home from work and we don't really go anywhere else that we can't walk to already, so bikes will make it even more convenient. I can't wait to tote Theodore around in the trailer... I think he is going to love it.

My conclusions thusfar: cars=overrated, dangerous, and expensive. It's liberating to not have to worry about maintenance, gas, or getting in a wreck. Going car-free has definitely simplified things.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Free at last

Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest by the military junta in Burma! Listen to her interview with BBC. What a woman!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obsession

I have been getting the best deals on groceries. Mostly by couponing, but also following blogs that show you the best deals and how to combine coupons, etc. Yesterday I spent $18 and got $60 worth of groceries (two boxes of Barbara's cereal, one thing of Wholly Guacamole, a CPK pizza, two jars of Muir Glen spaghetti sauce, Reach dental floss, 2 lbs of Kraft shredded cheese, etc etc because I can't remember the rest). After the $4/off for the Wholly Guacamole (it was $2.99 so I got a dollar overage!), the BOGO Barbara's ("Like" Barbara's Bakery on Facebook, click on coupons and then go to the website to print it out!) and coupons for the rest, I got some pretty sweet deals. Hint: if you press the back button on your browser, you can print most coupons twice!

I've also been chasing down the Annie's Mac and Cheese at Smith's. It's on special for 49 cents a box but they've been running out, so every time a new shipment has come in I've tried to go and get some. Of course, they keep telling me they'll have a new shipment almost every day and I go and then they're like... no, tomorrow, we'll have a shipment! Very frustrating, but probably worth it considering it's usually $2.49 a box.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is attachment parenting a prison?

According to writer Erica Jong, yes. Wall Street Journal published this controversial article wherein Jong equates attachment parenting to a prison for women (and men, in some respects but she notes that women do the majority of the self-sacrificing). It's the antithesis of feminism, ties down women to their own bodies and their own struggles for perfection.

I disagree wholeheartedly! For me, natural birth/breastfeeding/co-sleeping is my culmination of feminism! It's an ultimate expression of both femininity combined with choice. And also, at least to me, attachment parenting is easier in some respects. It fits into our lifestyle. Breastfeeding = wayyyyy easier than bottle-feeding. I personally hate washing bottles, worrying about if the milk has been sitting out too long, etc. during the few times Theodore gets a bottle during the day. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding lends itself to a much simpler approach to feeding baby. And making your own baby food? We didn't really, but we fed him from whatever we were eating. Again, simple. Easy. Even easier than opening a jar of baby food and carefully spooning it into his mouth. We handed him a chuck of cooked vegetables or pasta and let him go crazy. He's now an excellent eater (and no allergies), not due to our diligence of carefully introducing vegetables before fruit or testing each food for three days and watching for reactions (I'm not saying these things are bad, I'm just saying I'm lazy). And as far as co-sleeping, it has been the path of least resistance! Sure we get less sleep on some nights, but isn't that the way with most babies?

Is parenting a prison? A deep dungeon of servitude?

Nah. It's not so bad. Even for us hippie, granolie-type parents.




And I do not think most women breastfeed out of eco-guilt. To suggest this seems utterly ridiculous! Helping the environment is a nice perk, but it's the bonding and the healthiness and the naturalness that appeals to me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Healthy does not equal skinny

I think about my weight a lot, especially since coming back from Egypt. Both Cait and I lost a lot of weight there, and while she looks great, I am grotesquely skinny. I would like to say I only worry about being skinny because of the health issues, but that's not true, because I do care about what people think of how I look. But my identity problems aren't at the core of this post. This is:

Here's a CNN report about a Kansas State professor who lost 27 pounds on Twinkie and Swiss Role based diet, which is funny because that almost mirrors my experience in Egypt (where Twinkies cost 5 cents and are on every corner). The conclusion the article draws is that to lose weight, calorie input vs output is pretty much the only factor, which is true as far as I can tell. My conclusion is different: Losing weight does not make you healthy. It might make you healthier, if obesity related health problems are serious for you. They're not for me. Like the article says (or should say) healthy varies from person to person. I just like this article because it confirms my belief (which is always nice) that the common description of healthy foods as low-fat and low-calorie is not a universal description of healthy and that overall, skinny does not equal healthy.

Breastfeeding... it's what your knockers are for?





Glad we're getting awareness out there - but this seems demeaning to me. Any thoughts?

Sleep/walking

But not sleep-walking.

We've recently rededicated ourselves to co-sleeping. After trying to settle Atticus into a routine and have him sleep at night in his crib, I've simply both given up and decided I actually LIKE co-sleeping and don't know why I was so set on the idea of getting him out of our bed. We are sleeping pretty well at night, he does 2-4 hour stretches and the nursing part is nice after a day away from him at work. I'm not as exhausted as I thought I would be if I went back to work and still woke up with him at night. And one day, he'll sleep on through the night and that'll be great, but for now, I'm happy with the way things are. We did move his crib mattress to the floor next to ours for a little more room. And I'm contemplating adding a twin bed to our full bed because I'm feeling a little claustrophobic at night. Or maybe I could win this organic cotton mattress and sleep on it myself :)

Atticus took his first independent steps today! We tried to capture it on video, but it didn't work too well because then he just wanted to crawl towards the camera instead of focusing on walking. It was adorable though. He was laughing hysterically the whole time he was so proud of himself. It was the perfect start to my day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Elder Perry sighting

Tonight, I saw Elder Perry take a cart of Powerade from a BYU basketball team manager and push it down the hall while being chased by his entourage and by the person who was trying to get the Powerade to the players. More power to him.

Transportation Symposium

Last night, we headed up to campus for a little meeting on transportation options in the Greater Provo area. The talks about bikes and the UTA Ed-Pass that is being discontinued at BYU were informative, but the real awesome stuff for me was about the Church's efforts to "green" their buildings and reduce the impact we as a Church have on the environment. In a nutshell, you can read about everything he talked about in this news article and accompanying video. The keynote speaker was the man mentioned in the article, Jared Doxey. He was so passionate about the environment and the Church's responsibility to reduce impact that my testimony was strengthened more from this meeting than from General Conference. I was so impressed with the effort's being made and the renewed focus on being responsible and conscious stewards of the earth. I think as the Church sets the example, more individual members will follow the lead. Here in the US especially, it is appalling and pretty embarrassing how wasteful we are. We have the highest car ownership per capita in the world, highest carbon emissions per capita, we have more "stuff" than even the most wealthy European nations. Yet, among the richer nations of the world, we have some of the poorest health outcomes with the obesity epidemic, intervention-obsessed maternity care, and ridiculously expensive health care system overall.

I left the meeting with a renewed sense of community and eco-responsibility. We are currently finding bikes to buy, but for now we are walking everywhere. I love it, especially this time of year with the beautiful fall weather and the leaves changing. I also had a renewed commitment to cloth diapering, but that ball is in Tim's court now that he is primary caretaker. I'm also going to improve on taking shorter showers and turning off the water when I wash my hands. Speaking of showers, I can't think of the last time I had one. Hmmm, I think that's a sign of my eco-friendliness... and my lack of personal-hygiene-observance.

Living-off-the-government non-guilt

Last month, we were approved for food stamps. Even with my full-time job and Tim's part-time job, our income is under the poverty level and we qualify (even though in my opinion, the poverty line for a family of three should be a bit higher). We have few big expenses except rent and health insurance (even through my company, for just me and Tim it's $200 a month, if we have Anakin on it'd be around $800), but we want to remain debt-free. We are trying to recover from the expensive summer study abroad and pay off credit cards, so money is a little tight but not too much so. We are officially giving away our car so we will no longer have to pay insurance, gas, or registration; I try to only buy things used (Roxie, for example was a steal from someone on KSL but since we didn't have a camera at all I thought it was warranted). We've been selling our belongings left and right to simplify and reduce as well as make a little extra money. I'm also starting to take a few online classes to complete pre-reqs, which can really add up since I can't get grants or loans for them.

Overall, I would say we are living pretty frugally (though we have splurged recently on Tim's Kindle and my Roxie though both were much wanted, thought about, researched and are being much used). We cook all of our meals at home and I only eat leftovers for lunch at the office. But. I still feel a little guilty with the extra help from the government. In the short run, it's really going to alleviate the pressure that I was feeling all summer and since about not. spending. money. on. anything. In the long run, I hope it helps us pay off the student loans we've taken out and save a little bit for the future, since who knows where that will lead us? Additional school is a big possibility, and since neither of our degrees are particularly marketable, we probably will not be finding jobs that match our skills for a while. I like having a little cushion as well so we can give to charity as we see fit (this is actually one of the most gratifying things for me working, that I have a little extra money to donate to others).

I don't know the point of this post. I feel like I had to get it out there that we were officially using food stamps like it's some dirty little secret in our life or something. And then justify it to myself so I don't feel quite so awkward about it. The first time I went to the store to buy things, I really felt like I was doing something wrong, that the checkout workers at Sunflower would not possibly let me leave with that many groceries. But on the other hand, grocery shopping for basics but being able to throw in a few exciting treats (frozen berries! Annie's whole-wheat bunny crackers! red peppers! salad dressing!) was kind of like Christmas for me. But none of you probably even care or do not see it as a big deal at all. I think being raised with a "those lazy people mooching off the government" mentality (and having friends/family that really oppose us using Medicaid/food stamps/etc.) has something to do with it.

On a very positive note though, having $200/month to spend on food has been AWESOME. I usually keep my budget to $100 and we eat beans, rice, cheese, more beans, lentils, and vegetables (healthy, but a little boring). I mostly still buy unprocessed whole foods, but I love being able to splurge on healthy snacks for Anakin like delicious organic whole-milk yogurt and Dr. Praeger's frozen pancakes. Mmmmmm. He also has a new passion for Lara Bars. He was eating one the other day when we went to vote, it looked like a chocolate candy bar and I got a lot of second glances as he devoured it :) Tim is starting to look healthier every day as well with the now abundance of quick snacks for him to eat for extra calories. Our pantry is now full of granola bars and our fridge is full of cheese and yogurt and tofu and whole-milk chocolate milk. It bodes well for his weight gain attempts and his marathon-training schedule.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 4

So far this month, my attempt at winning a fourth National Novel Writing Month is going well (winning means you finish). So far I've been consistently writing more than I need to every day, and the Nanowrimo websited says I am on schedule to finish three days early. I'm hoping to bump that up a little and be done by Thanksgiving, like I was last year. Like last year, I am including everything I write (including this blog post) in my word count. For me, this month's goal is to create 50,000 words that are uniquely mine, even if they have nothing to do with the story that I'm writing. Last year, I made lame attempts to include papers and other writings into the story, this year, I am not even trying. They just get copied and pasted to the front of the novel to for tracking convenience.

My actual story is doing fairly well. I'm not sure what kind of plot it has, but I do have some general themes I'd like to explore, like governance and decency, the idea of a utopia, and the conflict of different moral obligations, such as family vs. community. The tentative idea I have is that a King's daughter is slated to take over the throne, but doesn't want it or think she will do a good job, so she goes on a quest to find the best person in the kingdom to rule and then fights to get that person instated. The trick is that the person the King's daughter finds has no desire for the throne, because no good ruler desires power. Can she convince him and can she convince everyone else to follow him? This story appeals to me because I can drag out that search part for a long time and introduce a bunch of new characters. I also think I will try telling the story from both of the main characters points of view and see if that helps. Also, some people will fall in love. That helps.

Any ideas or suggestions, let me know and I will almost certainly include them. Now I might go and actually write in my book. Or I might clean our house a little. Or work on my test for tomorrow. The possibilities are nearly endless.

At Home

This is my second stay-at-home dad post, because I feel like we just had a great day today. I was pretty busy during the first of the week and so I took a semi-day off from school work and just enjoyed time with the guy. We watched a movie together, well most of a movie, which movie would be "7 pounds." It's good enough that I might want to rewatch it with Cait before I finish it.

So yeah, a lot of time playing on the floor, a lot of time out in the leaves and some time doing the dishes together. Doing the dishes is Anakin's new favorite thing. Unfortunately, no pictures of doing the dishes are available yet. What are available are some playing the leaves pictures:


 (still working with the camera)

Overall, we're having a great time. I'm also doing pretty well in school. I got my first ever 100% on a legit test. Well, technically, it was a 94% but the highest score becomes a 100%. That was nice. Cait thinks I'm a better student being a stay-at-home dad. I think this is just a more distraction-free home now that she's gone (she can never keep her hands off of me). We've got another year to go before anything changes too, so hopefully it stays this good.

Anything else to say? No, I guess that's it. Goodbye.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet Roxie



I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship (a well-documented one too).

Beautiful boy



I just love those baby blues...

Becoming car-free

My parents offered to buy us a new car if we gave Allison our little Civic. I was very excited at this proposition because I've been wanting the AWD and space of a Subaru Outback for some time now. Plus they give you hippie street cred.

But.... we were on the verge of purchasing a 2001 Outback when we decided we do not actually really NEED a car. It's nice to have, but we made the conscious decision to go without, at least for a trial period. I want to see if we can actually do it, I mean I know we can but I'm eager to see how much it changes our lives. It'll be tricky with the impending snow season, but with the bus running right by our house and bikes, we have transportation options. Plus, I can get a ride to work most days, and will just have to take the bus home two days a week. Not that big of a deal. We'll save money on gas, insurance, and registration... cars (even free ones) are expensive to keep up!

In addition to our decision this week, we also were invited to a Transportation Symposium, all about mass transit/biking in the greater Provo area! We will for sure be attending.

We'll keep you updated on our car-free situation. It's something we have been contemplating for a while now, and I'm happy to say we are finally making the plunge to attempt to live car-free.

Happy Halloween!

Yes, we were Star Wars characters.

Yes, we totally rocked it.

Yes, someone at my work thought we called our child "Anakin" instead of his real name, and for a second, our nerdiness was magnified.

Yes, no one at our ward party could identify my character.

But any true Star Wars fan would TOTALLY know who Mara Jade Skywalker is. She's very important.

Yes, we are nerdy, nerdy people, Tim and I. We read Star Wars novels, and we are quite proud of the fact.







We ran into Darth Vader on the way home.

Sports

The Giants won the world series last night and that has me thinking about sports and the place it has in my life. We moved to California when I was around 9 and were there for a year and half. It was in this time that my love of sport, especially baseball, really bloomed. We were in the heart of Giants country, living just a ways outside of San Francisco. I only went to one game but I followed a ton of games on the radio or on our tiny TV. It was a great time. I was pretty obsessed with sports for a few years after that, watching a lot of Jazz games and BYU sports. Since than, my interest in sports has waned. It probably started when I realized I wasn't great at sports and the only sport I was any good at, running, was never on TV, except during the Olympics (which I still love to watch). My life also has become progressively busier since high school, although there were a few months Senior Year which might just have been as busy as any.

So now, I'm left with the question of what to do with sport. I still enjoy them, but I feel that unless I'm really following a sport and paying attention to the behind the scenes stuff, watching an individual game is not worth the time. The one exception is BYU basketball and football. I've been working on the event staff since last year's football season and have been able to get paid to read books and watch all the home games. Occupationally, to break up homework I'll read up about the teams and so I feel involved enough to make it the games a worthwhile experience, whether I was getting paid or not.

Cait has never been a fan of sports and doesn't really understand my interest in them. She has said a few times that "I didn't know I was marrying someone who likes sports." Actually, when we got married, I was on a one year no sports vow, to see if I could just cut them out of my life for good. I did so succesfully, but working on the event staff (the only job I could get at the time) renewed my interest.

So, what do you think about sports? Waste of time or good entertainment? How much is too much? Are there sports more worth watching than others?

PS I'm in favor of participating in sports, although the over-competition sometimes gets to me. That might be another post though.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who I voted for and why

To get everyone excited for election day tomorrow and to pad my Day 1 NaNoWriMo count (I'm doing great, thanks for asking and yes, this counts, because it's my novel and I say so) I am going to write a quick post about how I voted this election and why. Last election (2008), by no intentional design, I voted exactly 50/50 Republican Democrat (excluding when a Republican ran unopposed) with one Libertarian. This election I voted for only one Republican (excluding when a Republican ran unopposed and mainly just to avoid voting for only one party) and Libertarian and all the rest Democrat. Some of this, I'm sure, is due to the fact that I am becoming more liberal in my old age. No need to go into why here. But part of the reason is because Republican's in Utah have shifted too far to the right. I like to think that more than a Republican or a Democrat I am a realist and a conservative (old sense of the word again). Meaning, I want to elect officials who in a meaningful way will try to represent their constituency by building on existing laws in a meaningful and productive way. This generally excludes any member of the Tea Party.

And so, my explanation on almost all my votes goes like this: The Republican candidate was much too "conservative" by which they meant radically anti-government. Many vague claims about "restoring the constitution" and "a Christian nation" were backed up by little real policy. Okay, talk about Obamacare all you want. It might end up being expensive, but certainly will never be a major factor in the overall budget. Are you going to privatize social security? Will you make major cuts in education funding? Eliminate Medicare? Those are the real big ticket items. An honest libertarian will make a stand against them, like Rand Paul. The majority of tea-party republicans running are willing to make no such concessions, because, people love social security and education and Medicare. The democrats running know they don't have money to spend and won't spend it willy-nilly because there is no faster way to lose their job. And, get this: they offer solutions. The true conservative choice in this election is democrat all the way.

Exceptions: I considered Herbert for Governor. He has established enough conservative creds that he doesn't have to bow to the Tea Party. He's done some good things, some things I don't like. But I loved Carroon's campaign. He had a Republican running mate, which was the deal-sealer for me. If Bishop had been running in my district I would have thought about voting for him. Chaffetz, not so much. He was just an early leader in the tea-party movement. This doesn't really count, but I really wish I had been in district 63 so I could vote for Don Jarvis. He's the man.

I do, however, realize that no one but the lone Republican I voted for will win. That's okay. I still had to cast my vote for common-sense, not empty idealism.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Good fortune

Tim and I have been having incredibly good financial fortune lately. I'm not sure what we're doing right, but I feel so blessed recently.

One is for: someone sold us a gently used BOB stroller for ONE hundred dollars (versus the price of $350 new). And they drove down from Lehi to bring it to us. Probably the best KSL transaction ever. I wish I could leave a review.

Two is for: Amazon replacing our broken Kindle in TWO days.

Three is for: After THREE weeks of waiting for our white noise machine to be replaced, I finally called and emailed the customer service to learn that it was never received. Even though I didn't have any insurance or verification that I sent it, Homedics is sending us a new one for free just because I sent an email.

Four is for: I just won FOUR boxes of toaster strudels in an instant win game.

Five is for: Allison's car broke down, so my parents are buying US a new one. We are finally getting my long-wanted Subaru Outback... our budget is FIVE thousand dollars.

Six is for: Even though we neglected to pay an overdue and forgotten credit card balance for SIX weeks while we were in Egypt, USAA forgave us of the $15 fee.

Seven is for: The SEVEN pounds of winter clothing that my cousin Shay sent us from Washington. Plus the wood train set, Yoda Halloween costume, and awesome ball pit that takes up our entire living room (and Theodore LOVES it).

(and let's not forget the constant stream of hand-me-downs we've been receiving from my sister Lauren)



I really do have a firm belief that managing your finances and being deliberate with your spending will lead to a more balanced life. Working with individuals who are in serious debt has made me realize I never, ever want to get into debt that we can't get out of. It stresses me out just to talk to them. The LDS church teaches frequently about provident living: staying out of debt, maintaining an adequate food storage for emergencies, gardening, frugal living. I plan to always strive to live by these principles. We may be wearing hand-me-downs/clothes that don't fit our skinny bodies and not have a TV, we may not have been out to eat or to a movie in forever, we may live in a tiny basement apartment without a bathtub or dishwasher... but we certainly are living providently. And this has lead to incredibly great fortune.

I know this was cheesy. But I felt like being creative today. Ok.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spontaneous road trip weekend

Friday morning when we woke up, Tim spontaneously asked if we could go to Logan when I got off work. Always up for an adventure, of course I consented. We headed out of Provo at around 4 pm, and arrived in Logan just in time for Trace's surprise birthday party. You see, Trace is Tim's childhood and high school friend, but we never get to see him and his wife and daughter very often because Logan to Provo is a little far. We decided to make a sleepover of it, and spent the night in their beautiful home. I forget people our age are allowed to buy beautiful homes and decorate them perfectly. I couldn't believe Michelle's decorating skills - the house was out of a catalog! Not to mention her organization. Wow. At first I thought the house was clean and neat because of the party and having company over, but then I opened the hall closet to put up some games and everything was stacked neatly in tupperware containers and well-labeled. I was jealous of the spaciousness and the bathtubs and the perfect new appliances. One day, our time will come. Until then, we'll appreciate our cozy little basement.

We had such a fun time, didn't go to bed until midnight (Theodore didn't fall asleep until 11... he was a party animal!) and ate German pancakes for breakfast. After breakfast, we headed to the Farmer's Market, but before we got there we stopped by my friend Brittany's to visit her and her new twin girls. They were so tiny and adorable. We only were able to stay about 15 minutes because Theodore had a break-down from exhaustion so we got him into the car. He didn't actually asleep, which was fine by us because I'd rather him sleep through a drive than sleep through the Farmer's Market. He played around in the grass, we ate navajo tacos and pumpkin cheesecake (which were to DIE for), and drank some Winder milk (if only we could afford Winder milk, it'd be awesome). I bought some homemade laundry detergent for $5 and sampled just about everything under the sun (Tim and I joked about we go to the Farmer's Market and usually eat more in samples than we buy... which is very true). And lovely enough, Trace and Michelle decided to join us and so we got to hang out with them a little longer. Tim also ran into a friend from high school, which was weird. I forget that can happen anywhere in Utah for him. Not so much for me. Anyways, the weather was gorgeous, the food delightful, the atmosphere was awesomely granolie and laid-back. I love the Farmer's Market crowd. There were so many Subaru Outbacks and Chariot trailers. Just our kind of people.

After the Farmer's Market, we packed our sleeping baby into the carseat and headed to find a hike. We took a turn for a scenic drive down to Huntsville, Utah on Highway 165. Biggest. mistake. ever. Ok, maybe a gross exaggeration, but wrong move nonetheless. Because about 10 miles of this semi-major road (that is on our road map I might add) was UNPAVED and incredibly rocky. So, for about an hour we crawled down this road, in hope of seeing civilization in front of us. We finally came to Liberty, Utah and returned to the wonder of paved road. Note to self: check the map key to figure out what a dotted line indicates. Even if something is called a "highway" does not mean it is driveable in a Honda Civic.

We made it to Huntsville after saving a lost puppy from certain death (the owners were thrilled) and almost witnessing a SUV turnover while turning a sharp corner (it had barely flipped when we drove past, the emergency vehicles hadn't even arrived), and decided to visit the Trappist monks. It was a little disappointing compared to the sweet* monasteries in Egypt where you could hang out with the monks and touch their relics and such. This monastery was a small church and a gift shop. The honey is delicious though so we bought a large container of it (they keep the bees there at the monastery so it's as local as you can get). I loved that even though the check-out line was long and there were lots of people waiting, the monk who was ringing everyone up took time to talk to each individual. He was remarkably observant and sharp considering how old he looked. It was refreshing to see someone with no concept of rushing. And it was even more refreshing to notice that nobody in line was getting annoyed.

After the monastery, we grabbed lunch at Subway and headed for a hike in the mountains (I can't remember the name). We forgot the baby backpack, but did have our "off-road" stroller so we decided to try it out. Well, the path was entirely too rocky and fairly steep, so we failed. We let Theodore play in the rocks for a while, avoiding the mountain bikers racing down the path. He was getting sleepy and so were we, so we decided to go hiking another weekend and head home for now. We spent the night at Tim's parent's and headed down to Provo the next day, only stopping in Salt Lake for a short time to test-drive a few cars (did I mentioned we're buying a new car? More on that, later).

All in all - pleasant road trip. Besides the rocky road mishap, it could have been perfect.





* I realized after I wrote this: "dessert" monasteries. Har dee har har.

Ode to Amazon

Oh Amazon.com, how we love thee!!

What, with your plethora of products, your super-saver shipping,

and your 30% off disposable diapers (moms and dads, sign up for Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save and get 30% off every time you buy diapers and wipes!)

and especially your replacing our broken Kindle for free and with very few questions asked...

Amazon, we love that even though we broke our Kindle the first week we owned it and it was completely our fault (Theodore fell on it while a hard object was also sitting on top of it), you still are sending us a brand-new one in the mail AND with one-day shipping.

Amazon..... you are the best. You have our business from now until the end of technology.


Side note: Amazon literally means "without breasts." The term Amazon woman came from the fact that warrior women would cut off their breast so they could use a bow and arrow better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Double majoring

I am halfway through my first semester as a double major and am having a great time. Arabic was great but extremely taxing. First, I was never that great at it. Second, the program was extremly rigorous. That was, however, exactly what I was looking for in my college education: studying something I wouldn`t have otherwise studied otherwise. The degree also included plent of other subjects such as history, politics and religion. But now, with comparative literature, it`s nice to be doing something I am good at. I am no genius, but I am a lot better at talking abiut books than talking in Arabic.

I am hoping that I have left behind the period of my life where I am guided by "what would be hardest" and onto an easier, simpler path.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yum

I have been making delicious food lately.

One, yogurt apple pancakes. Best breakfast I've had in a long time (we did love the blue pancakes at the Homecoming parade, but these are a lot healthier I imagine). I grated the apples instead of dicing them because it was easier, and I used whole-wheat flour which meant about 1/2 cup more milk. We were inspired to make them because I bought 6 large containers of Stonyfield Farm organic whole-milk yogurt (it was $1.40 at Smith's!) and it expires soon so I'm trying to eat it as fast as possible. I used french vanilla in the pancakes and they were awesome. Eat them plain with no syrup good. Theodore devoured them and I felt ok about it because they don't have sugar in them.

Two, peanut stew. I'm not sure where the idea of peanut stew came from (I think one of my vegetarian cookbooks)... but hello, it is so delicious. And fattening! We love fattening soup (still trying to fit into my skinny clothes and not gaining any weight back from Egypt. A blessing, yes. Not really complaining but I have no clothes that fit!). My recipe for it is rather fluid, but mostly I throw sweet potato chunks and a can of garbanzo beans in the crock pot, cover it with equal parts water and broth, add garlic and ginger (fresh or powder, depending on what we have), red pepper, a little cumin and a can of diced tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes yesterday, since we have an abundance). Yesterday I also threw in some butternut-type squash, again, abundance from the garden. Cook on high for 3-ish hours or low for 5-ish. When it's done, stir in some okra/green beans and about 1/2 cup of peanut butter (we use chunky). Serve over rice. I have it for lunch at work today and I can't wait to eat it. Mmmmmm.

Three, for breakfast this morning we had green pepper/tomato/avocado omelets. Heck YES.

Four, homemade salsa with fresh garden tomatoes, cilantro and onions. Though I didn't have any at the time and therefore did not test this myself, a friend recommended throwing a can of tomato paste into homemade salsa to make it less runny. For now, we're eating the runny stuff but it's ok because I like to drink it sometimes it's so flavorful.

Five, tofu! I forgot how much I LOVE tofu. Why did I have a period of my life where I stopped buying it?? I think Egypt made me forget about my love affair with tofu. At a friend's suggestion, I fed plain tofu from the fridge to Theodore, and he loved it. I think he liked it better plain and cold than cooked with BBQ sauce. Which, I have decided, is the best way to eat tofu. Dry extra-firm tofu well between two paper towels or, in our case, kitchen towels because we don't buy paper towels. Cut it into biggish diced pieces. Throw it in a pan with a little (very little) olive oil, turn it after a few minutes when browned on the one side, brown on the other. Add BBQ sauce and eat. SO, SO tasty. I served it with sauteed garden zucchini and smashed red potatoes (from Tim's parent's garden... they are delicious).

I love feeding my family delicious and healthy food. And I'm going to miss all of this garden produce in a few months when we eat the last of the squash :( I wish I had taken an initiative and learned how to can all of those tomatoes. I froze some stuff but we'll probably eat it before too long. Oh well. It will be back to frozen/canned stuff for a while. I don't think I could eat a fresh tomato in December anymore.

Tests of faith

Last week was the semiannual General Conference for our church. Twice a year, our leaders come together for a worldwide meeting to teach the lessons they believe we as a church need to hear. Conference usually leaves me feeling fulfilled and uplifted. The doctrines of our church are so beautiful, and when articulated by intelligent and spiritual men and women, they seem more divine. However, last week I was left with a crisis of faith, like many of my fellow saints, after President Boyd K. Packer's talk on homosexuality. I have been left wondering and pondering and hoping that Heavenly Father would not think the things that President Packer declared. And I felt guilty about it. About doubting someone who I regularly sustain as the "mouthpiece of God." I felt guilty when a friend at church yesterday bore her testimony about doubting people and how the CHURCH. IS. TRUE. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

Oh. my.

But this morning, I read the news that the Church is changing the wording of President Packer's talk in the official version. It is... relieving. To some degree.





And if one more person in Sunday School makes the analogy between tendencies toward alcoholism and homosexuality.... I might scream.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stay at home dad

It's actually been really nice. I say actually because I was really dreading it. I thought it would be super hard. It hasn't been. I've just been a little more diligent in the school work, a little more flexible with time, a little more focus on happiness. I have to say this might be the ideal life for me if I didn't have so much schoolwork. Or maybe it is the ideal life for me just as it is, but a little more appreciated and a little more refined. So far, Ted and I have spent most of our time outdoors, playing while I read school books. Also included is trying to distract him with enough to let me do some homework on the computer, but since he is so obsessed with the allure of the technology embedded in a computer, I often have to put off computer work 'til Cait comes home.

I know there's plenty of people who have something against stay at home fathers, but I wonder if anyone can articulate opposition more coherent than, "It's the way it is supposed to be" or "Men aren't caring enough to be parents full-time" or "It's just weird." Get over it. I'm easily as caring as most women and about even with Cait, if I do say so myself. It might be how we do things for extended periods of time and I'm just fine with that.

I really enjoy being a father. I especially enjoy being a father to Ted. Thanks for being great. I'll try to get my geology homework done now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Working

Working is SO MUCH easier than being at home full-time. I love working. I love the cubicle and the lunch breaks and the sitting in a cushy office chair all day answering phone calls. Maybe my job is particularly easy, but I really forgot how enjoyable this is compared to chasing around an incredibly energetic toddler all day and doing damage control. I miss the guy when I'm at work, but 32 hours a week is not that bad. It'd be a lot easier if Tim was not up to his elbows in schoolwork while balancing the stay-at-home daddyness, but he's doing a great job and I appreciate his letting me work. Because seriously, I forgot how easy and rewarding it is. And I haven't even gotten my first paycheck yet. Mmmmm, financial security. How I missed thee!

I know I should feel guilty for not being a stay-at-home mom anymore, but I don't. The only guilt I feel is that now Tim has extra pressure and work with doing schoolwork and not having me around full-time to take care of the guy and cook him lunch and such. But probably worth it for financial independence and health insurance.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I can't make mom friends

Pathetic, but true.

The Mompetition.

Here's the first video for a little sneak peak:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Drug tests and pizza crusts

I can't catch a break this week.

Yesterday I started feeling a little sick, and this afternoon it turned into a full out fever/chills/sore throat deal. My immune system is incredibly compromised at the moment, what with the screaming baby all night long and the previous illness still ravaging my intestines (I don't know how people who are chronically-ill/have chronically-ill children handle it). Way to hit me while I'm down, virus. I know it sucks you don't have DNA, but do you really have to attack mine (is that even how it works? I don't know, I'm only in chapter 3 of my microbiology course).

I had to take a drug test today for work. Are these not the most demeaning things ever? I feel horrible for all the drug tests I had to administer at the women's shelter. But actually, some of them WERE on drugs, and I bet it didn't even phase them. Not only did I have to do a drug test though and felt all awkward, I brought my child with me (HEAVEN FORBID you ever take your child with you anywhere). My first clue as to my mistake came when I read the sign: "Please do not bring children to this office." Oops. Oh, and apparently you can't take your baby into the bathroom with you during said drug test, because you might squeeze the pee out of their diaper or something? I guess if I was really awesome and did EC then I could make him pee on demand, but I doubt this very rude, over-exercised man knows ANYTHING about EC. They told me to put him on the floor, give him something to play with, and MAKE IT QUICK. Said all in very rude tones. Of course that made me all nervous and then as soon as I shut the door I was afraid he was going to cry and all these male employees would just sit there staring at him all sad and I almost couldn't pee even though I had been drinking tons of water for my throat. Fortunately, he played happily with my wallet for the moment it took me to pee, because sometimes he is awesome like that.

But also I had to go to Target and buy baby Advil because you know, our baby is practically drinking the stuff like milk as his normal body temperature has been hovering around 102 for what seems like weeks. And he spilled a whole brand-new bottle of it this morning all over our rug. And he absolutely refuses to sit still in the shopping cart. Why are ALL the other babies sitting contently as their mothers leisurely peruse the aisles?

I decided to make pizza for dinner because it was sounding delicious. I looked up a recipe for a pizza crust, then realized I had no yeast so I found a yeastless pizza crust. Apparently it's supposed to be thin crust. Mine turned out more like... muffins? It's pretty disgusting. Tim thinks it's good though, so I'll let him finish this one off himself. I'll have some tomato soup, ye ole favorite of sick me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lame anniversary

Hopefully, this will always be remembered as the lamest of the lame anniversaries. No gift, no fancy restaurant, no time alone even. What's nice to know though, is that even at this moment, which I have to admit is a close to as a low point as we've had in 2 years (although there were some worse ones in Egypt probably) we are still having a great time together.

I want to make this anniversary like a new years. I have resolutions, I have new habits to establish. I want to be a better person. Any ideas?

Cait, I love you. Now I go to bed.

2 years

Once upon a time...

this day happened.









The marriage stats: Two years later, we've lived in two different countries, one state and one district, and five different apartments. And because I can, we've had sex in six states, one district, and four countries. Between the two of us, we've held ten different jobs. We've had one baby and twelve arguments.

Here's to two more years of married... life.




I almost wrote bliss, then realized bliss was more of a word to be used on a first anniversary basis.

I give up

Do you ever want to just walk away from life? Just walk out your front door and come back in, oh, 5 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days? Ok. Maybe it's just me.

This evening I'm especially feeling that.

The past few weeks have brought with them a nasty cold for Theodore, stomach viruses for the three of us, a constant fever, molars breaking through, and now herpes simplex for the guy. Have you ever seen a baby with herpes? It's got to be one of the worst and saddest things ever. He has been constantly crying, won't sleep longer than 10 minutes, and nurses when he's not crying or sleeping (which is scary, because I risk getting "very painful" lesions). We started an antiviral tonight (thank you, Medicaid lady on the phone, for handling our case for us. you were my godsend today when I feared we had no insurance to take our sick child to the pediatrician). Now, we're in survival mode until this thing passes. Meaning, no fancy anniversary dinner around these parts. We had tuna fish sandwiches on old hamburger buns. Yum.

I'm exhausted.

I need a break.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Forgive me

I have to take a minute to rant about church comments today.

1. Directed to a friend and her baby: "I just want to thank you for dressing your son like a missionary. I think it's so important to raise up children so they know the gospel." or something to that effect. Reasons this bothers me: a) it was said right after I exasperatedly left the room to go nurse Theodore, who happened to be wearing a dirty t-shirt and some unmatching knit pants. Usually, he's actually clean for church, but this morning I worked at the women's shelter and so Tim had to get himself and the guy to church and so he ended up wearing the same thing I threw on him when he woke up. Not to mention, I was wearing pants. You see, when I went to work we were expecting to be driving to Ogden when I got off to see Tim's father who was rushed to the ER this morning. And since I didn't get off until the middle of church, I didn't want to miss more than I had to by going all the way home to change. So, I just wore what I already had on. And let's not talk about how sick we've all been this week, what with the vomiting and the fevers and the teething and the utter exhaustion. So forget you lady. Especially if you were aiming that comment at me and my poorly-dressed child. Hopefully he'll still make it on that mission everyone will be shoving down his throat his entire life.

2. In a church talk on mothering: "You see, I've been doing a lot of research on homosexuality lately and if they should adopt children. I just don't think kids need/want two mothers or two fathers and it's detrimental to society. Here's some statistics about homosexuals raising children that I got from some Christian action website: 63% of delinquents come from fatherless homes, 91% of people in jail come from fatherless homes, 45% of abusers come from fatherless homes...." Uhhhh. I don't think those statistics have ANYTHING to do with homosexuality and adopting children. Brother So-and-so, your logic is terribly unsound. And discriminatory.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Soon

Soon our bank account will not look so pathetic.

Soon I will no longer be a stay-at-home mommy.

Soon Theodore will need to start sleeping on his own at night.

Soon we are going to need childcare (that has yet to be arranged, but we have next week to do so).

Soon we will have health insurance.

Soon I will work full-time with my fellow working mom Jessica.

Job hunt=officially over for now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our one-year-old kid

Well, Atticus turned one. His birthday has come and gone. In fact, he's one year, one week, and two days old now. How's that for an old age?

He has a few favorite things these days, which include (but are not limited to):

- playing the piano (he played the first four notes of Fur Elise the other day, no joke)
- his baseball card collection



- Lay's BBQ potato chips



- corn on the cob (like his daddy)





- his outdoor tub
- runs with dad in the jogger (how we missed thee, jogger stroller!)
- watching Baby Einstein
- playing with Eliza
- little white puppy dogs




- his abacus
- birthday cake



- ice cream





- Aunt Allison




I thought we'd end this one on a positive note. He's a great little guy we get to have. So entertaining, so spontaneous, so inquisitive.



He's come a long way since those itty-bitty baby days.

More travel blogging

Near the end of our interminable trips through the Middle East, I stopped providing a day-by-day blog. One, because we did not get great internet. That's not entirely true because our last hotel had great internet and I could have blogged then. Two, and mostly, I was sick of travel blogging. It's not very satisfying, waiting for pictures to upload and trying to remember what you did when everything is running together. So, here's a few highlights, and maybe one day I'll go back and do a day-by-day.

On Day 12, at the (fake) baptismal site, we encountered this hilarious rendition:



Here's the Amir sitting in the cart while we cross the Jordanian border (don't show this to the authorities, it's an illegal picture):



A family photo somewhere in Jordan - I vaguely remember this large barren land has something to do with Abraham:



There was also a dungeon in a Crusader castle, where we condemned Tim and Amir to fifty years isolation:



And Amir climbed some stairs:






And alas, I've discovered the real reason I failed to blog that last week: we hardly have any pictures of it! I think we must've gotten sick of lugging our DSLR around, and with the point-and-shoot broken, there is only video of some of the bigger sites like Petra. Oh well.

Farewell, travelogue.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No creepos please

This post contains the Atticus naked and no further explanation. (this is a regular occurrence, not a photo shoot)

Monday, September 13, 2010

New baby stuff, finally

Amir, our son, has his birthday post up at here. If you wish to be added to this private blog and haven't yet, just leave your email in the comments.

Atticus's Birthday Numero Uno

We finally figured out the camera, so here are the pictures of the big 0001.


Our first big stop was IKEA, looking for toys and some fun


Atticus is a fan of HD, especially if it's "Nightmare Before Christmas"


Atticus meets his future: Ancient math


Atticus travels to the party in style


This is Eliza, Atticus's birthday twin, Atticus wants her toys


Action shot, except for Eliza, who is too cool for action


And then the cake. Act 1: Approach


Act 2: Contemplation


Act 3: The Plate


Act 4: Patriotic destruction


A good birthday always ends the same, no more cake