Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bonafide

It's official. I'm now a university graduate. I know it. BYU knows it. And now the rest of the world can now it, too.

Before I had only pretended to graduate. I finished all of my coursework in August 2005 and I walked in the big ceremony and had my name read and shook hands and had my picture taken.

I had even applied to a few grad schools. Even though I was never "declined," my application was never accepted, either. At the University of Western Ontario, I couldn't pay my application fee because they only take money order, cash (in Canadian), or a check (in Canadian funds). For some reason I could not get any of those and every bank I went to down here turned me down...apparently American banks don't keep a stash foreign currencies. Who knew?

My situation at Clarion University is even stranger. I completed my application and sent it in. They sent it back completely unopened explaining that their program was full and how I was welcome to apply to get on the list for their upcoming year. I followed their instructions. Again, my application was returned unopened. I called the number they sent in my denial letter and asked about what happened. The lady I talked to said to write a letter explaining that I had talked to her, to send in my application again, and that I should be put on "the list."

Alas, my application came back to me again. Untouched. I was a little miffed because I did graduate magna cum laude, after all. Shouldn't they at least be a little interested in me? Apparently not.

So, I decided to stick around here and wait for Andrew to come home. I took Italian and a few other classes just for fun, as well as completed an internship that I loathed... When he came home we hit it off, and ended up married.

I guess all the struggles I had trying to get into grad school were to convince me to stay here and wait around.

And so, after I was married I continued taking a class every semester, delaying graduation over and over again.

This confused BYU to no end. I applied for graduation finally and officially for this April using my married name. Somehow I ended up in the program three times: twice with my maiden name and once with my married name.

I thought that for sure they would put my married name on my diploma since I applied for April 2007 under the name "Nancy Heiss."

Well, my diploma came in the mail the other day. It says "Nancy Layton." I'm still waiting to see if I get 2 more diplomas for the other Nancy Layton and Nancy Heiss that graduated along with me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Work, work, work

Today I was thinking about a song by the BeeGees: Lonely Days.

Lonely days, lonely nights! Where would I be without my [husband]?
Repeat
Repeat
Repeat
Repeat


And that is pretty much the whole song. Seriously...except instead of husband it says woman.

Here is my poor husband at work in the InfoCommons in the HBLL. While it is true that he has been trying to work more in order for us to save up for the upcoming baby, at times I think he adds a few too many shifts. He's just too nice.


This week alone, for example, he worked 45 hours, including working until midnight on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday...and then all day Saturday. He's also working all day Monday, so there goes our long weekend. In order to compensate for the many shifts he's picked up, we spent yesterday morning together (at IKEA) and he doesn't have to work next Saturday...so that will be nice.

We also went shopping last night at midnight because we weren't sure we would have time to today since we still haven't gone to the temple yet this month! And we still have another million things that we need to do today.

I don't really mind him working...it's just that sometimes things get rather lonely. I was really excited that my mom phoned yesterday to invite me to hang out with her last night. I'm not sure that I could have handled another night being alone until midnight. Talk about solitary confinement.

It's really not that bad. It's just been pretty crazy at his job recently. There are quite a few sick people this week, one kid is stranded in Texas (I'm not sure what the story is there), and a few others just decided to take off for the long weekend. Basically, we were the only ones silly enough to stick around, so...we are just going to work like beavers (I'll be working today and Monday as well).

Andrew has worked as a Multimedia Lab Assistant and Computer proctor since he's been back from his mission. Before his mission though, he was trained as a GenRef/InfoCommons assistant so since they are having personnel crunches this summer, he's back working at GenRef/InfoCommons as well.

At times this causes him to have identity crises. See, GenRef wears a green vest, Computer Proctors wear the blue vest, and the Multimediea Lab Assistants wear the maroon vests. Often Andrew's shift will work something like this: 2 hours in the Multimedia lab, 2 hours at the Information Desk, 2 hours at the Computer Support desk...but he doesn't have any breaks in between so he forgets where he's supposed to be working when and which vest he should have on.

Andrew wearing all three vests at once. He's so cool!
One day, he was in the blue vest (that means he was playing the role of a Computer Proctor). He was sitting at his desk wondering where the GenRef person was when another blue vest dude showed up.

"What are you doing here?" he asked Andrew, who had been working at that shift for the past 20 minutes (the other guy was 20 minutes late), "I'm working here today."

"No," Andrew said, "I'm on the schedule until midnight tonight. I'm pretty sure I'm working here today."

"That's really weird because I'm on the schedule to work today."

"Well, that's really weird because I'm on the schedule to work today."

That went on for a while until Andrew said, "Well, if you're working here, who's working GenRef...?"

It was Andrew. He was supposed to be in a green vest at the green vest spot, not at the blue vest spot in a blue vest. He was kind of embarrassed, but really, who can blame him for getting confused since he works all three positions virtually everyday.

Did I mention that Andrew is also taking classes so that he can graduate on time? This term he's taking Geology (with Patrick) and Advanced Writing. Next term he'll be taking a religion class, American Heritage, and bowling, in addition to working and being a first-time dad. But I'm sure he'll do a great job and come out on top of all of his classes. He always manages to do that, even under the most extreme stress.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Even the best plans...

Even though we could have slept in today, we decided last night that we would get up at a decent hour and be very productive.

First, for breakfast we were going to make pancakes and bacon or something because we were out of milk. Then we were going to do laundry because Andrew was plum out of socks. We probably would have thrown in a shower. And then we were going to try to get my tape player to work so I could transcribe some tapes. We were planning on working on our Jordan book and trying to get some tricky CSS stuff to work on a website Andrew is making for work.

Well, I woke up before the alarm...which I think was set for 8:30 or something (still a little sleep-in, but not terrible). Apparently it was so nice and sunny out that even Andrew woke up before the alarm. I kind of rolled over, squinted at the clock, and tried to read the time. I failed.

Mark my words! One day my eyes will work first thing in the morning before I add anything to them (like contacts or glasses).

Anyway, I plopped my head back on the pillow and asked Andrew what time it was.

"It's almost 8:30," he said.

I then asked him what time the alarm was set for.

Just after I said that, there was a tremendous BOOM! I jumped. Andrew looked at the clock to tell me what time the alarm was set for, but the power had gone out so he said,

"I would, but the power is out."

It was a good thing he told me because I couldn't see the numbers on the clock at all so I wouldn't have known...until the fan stopped moving, that is. Or I got out of bed and tried to turn on a light. Or tried to do pretty much anything (we are so dependent on electricity).

So, our morning was pretty much ruined. Breakfast was impossible. First of all, we had no milk, so that means no cereal. And even if we had milk, we wanted to limit our access to the fridge. The last time a transformer blew up we didn't have power for quite a few hours...and we were assuming, by the loudness of the explosion, that a transformer blew up again. We couldn't cook breakfast either because our stove is electric.

We couldn't shower because there was no light in our bathroom, and our water heater is electric.

We couldn't do laundry because that, too is electric...which means that we had to come up with socks for Andrew by the time he had to be at work.

We couldn't fiddle with the tape deck because it also had no power.

And we couldn't use the computer because...you guessed it. No power.

So, we did the only sane thing imaginable and went to IKEA. It had to be done. Andrew has been trying to get me there for days (and it only opened on Wednesday).

I conceded that we may as well go because we had decided we would try curtains to lower our utilities...and they sell 99 cent breakfast. We needed curtains, we needed breakfast. It was a win-win situation.

We got ready to go (foregoing the shower) and left for IKEA. Just as we pulled out of our PUD, we saw the electricity dudes already hard at work. Whether they caused the explosion or are just really quick responders is left unknown.


The ride to IKEA was fairly smooth...now that we have 4 tires again. It was remarkably smooth, actually. I had to keep reminding Andrew to slow it down.

IKEA was wonderful. It's kind of like sneaking into Europe a little bit...only different because it is still American. We had to laugh at all the oddities we encountered.

For example, as we turned down the road for IKEA (which is right off the freeway), there was a big flashing sign saying, "Event traffic only!"

The road was all sectioned off and it was crawling with police.

And then we were directed into parking stalls by workers wearing orange vests.


It was pretty funny. I couldn't help but wonder if now all Americans think that they experienced a little taste of socialism at IKEA. That isn't what socialism is, but I could see an American thinking it was...like that.

Well, IKEA is a pretty cool store. We got there before they opened and headed up to the cafe to get our breakfast. It was yummy. Andrew wasn't fond of the potatoes because they had red peppers in them and I wasn't fond of the eggs because they were airplane eggs--but it was cheap, and it was breakfast.

When the store officially opened we went off and explored the displays. IKEA's displays were neat. They sell cool stuff--some of which is expensive, some of which is within our budget. We found some curtains and looked at a lot of other things.

My favorite were the quilt covers. I am so in love with quilt covers. One day we're going to get one. They are just so cool because then you don't have all that fuss about sheets...and your quilt doesn't get all nasty from never being washed (quilts are a pain to wash). We'll definitely go back in an IKEA some day and get some.

I snapped this picture over my shoulder...I think it was a lucky shot

When we got home, we immediately started putting up curtains, even though we had electricity and should have been doing other things. Actually, I mostly did laundry while Andrew mostly did the curtains...but I helped him a little, too. We only got them up in the living room, but I really think it made a difference in how hot our house got today.

Things at IKEA are cheaper than you might find at other places because they are do-it-yourself projects.

We had to measure, cut, and "hem" them ourselves. Hemming only involved ironing this cool "easy hem" stuff onto the curtain so that it wouldn't fray...it was pretty easy.




























We're excited to get curtains up in the rest of the windows. Oddly enough, the rods in our bedroom and the living room match: there is only one rod. We had been looking at getting a white "back" curtain and a colorful "front" curtain, but decided that the ones we got were overall cheaper. Except, we really wanted something brighter for the baby's room...so we got a white "back" curtain and a yellow "front" curtain (you'll understand when you see it).

Oddly enough, the baby's room's curtain rod is different: it has 2 rods for 2 different rows of curtains to hang. We decided we're simply inspired. Once we get them up, we'll show some pictures so that it makes more sense. According to this website, a double curtain rod is used to "achieve a layered look" so hopefully that's what we end up achieving.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Andrew's Toilet Fetish

By the time Rachel comes along, I'm hoping to have Andrew potty trained. I'm not sure that will happen so my "plan B" is to have him trained by the time she starts getting interested in toilets herself.

See, Andrew has this odd habit of putting things in the toilet; as much fun as that might be, I'm not sure that I want my daughter to pick up this habit.

This morning, Andrew decided that one of the shampoo bottles was empty enough, and it probably was. I tend to keep shampoo bottles until absolutely nothing comes out of them. He was considerate and threw the bottle away, but instead of being a normal person and opening the shower curtain to toss the bottle into the garbage can, he blindly (and haphazardly) threw the shampoo bottle over the curtain in the general direction of the garbage can.


As you can see from the picture, it also happens to be the general direction of the toilet. And, of course, the bottle would end up there instead of the garbage can.

Andrew also has this habit of clipping his toenails over the toilet. I happen to think this is a little gross because at my house growing up we clipped our nails anywhere but over the toilet and then threw the nails away. He balances on the toilet and clips directly into it. I try not to mind an extreme amount but I have a deep and unquenchable feeling of utter nastiness when it comes to toilets...so it is difficult at times.

Well, one day Andrew was clipping his nails and I hear a "plunk" and not even seconds later an, "Oh, man!" Yes, the nail clippers ended up in the toilet--I made him fish them out.

I suppose I am just hoping that my daughter can learn proper toilet etiquette and not follow the example of her father and drop random things into the toilet, because I'm pretty sure that she'd then try flushing and that could be detrimental.

Like my nephew, Deklan, who would flush his underwear every time he wet his pants so that he wouldn't get in trouble. Covering up his first mistake was probably a bigger mistake and most likely caused more trouble for him than if he had just dealt with his first mistake in the first place, but that's a life lesson that takes some time to learn.

I, on the other hand, learned pretty young that toilets are not fun to play around, and I wasn't even playing. I was innocently using the potty when I inadvertently fell in. My underwear was soaked and so I had to wear my baby sitter's son's underwear. It had Spiderman on it. I was mortified to have to wear boy's underwear and vowed never to fall in the toilet ever again.

Not too many years after that I was playing at my friend Sarah's house and had to use the restroom. I flushed the toilet and it flooded. Aside from scaring me to death, I was, yet again, completely mortified.

With those two incidents combined, I am pretty sure that I suffered from toilet phobia for many years. In fact, I remember being afraid of toilets (and bathrooms) for quite a few years.

Who would have guessed that as a complete toilet-phobe I would marry a toilet-phile?

He asked me out on our first date using a toilet, filled with Almond Joys and a note saying, "I would be overflowing with joy if you'd go to homecoming with me." In return I wrote the most beautiful poem (and returned the toilet...actually, Andrew came to retrieve the toilet) containing the most dreadful potty language, such as, "I would be hapPEE to go with you!"

I suppose I should have taken that little gesture of his as a hint. We even decorated a toilet at our wedding, so of course I should have known that Andrew likes toilets. I walked into this with my eyes wide open.

Hopefully, though, his little fixation will not pass on to our daughter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Pot-Bellied Penguin

Counting a pregnancy can be hard to do. Traditionally it was counted in months. Now it is counted in weeks, but every four weeks is counted as a month, so there are really 10 months since there are about 40 weeks in a pregnancy.

So, here we are, eight months down and two to go. That means that I'm in my 32nd week. That means that we have 2 months left until our due date. But if you're still in the 9-month gestation club, I'm really only 7 months, I guess. I don't know. It's all so confusing. Any way you look at it though, this baby is just around the corner and I am continually morphing to accommodate for her growth.

First I was just a pot-bellied pig.

Alas, I have added another animal trait: a waddle. So now I am a pot-bellied penguin.

"What's a pot-bellied penguin?" you might ask. It's pretty much my favorite animal, bred for its skills and magic!

That's right. My hips have begun to soften up and separate a bit in preparation for the big day, resulting in a bit of a waddle and a shocked husband.

The other day, Andrew came to me from behind and put his hands around my "waist." He slid them down to my hips and said, "Whoa! I think your hips are getting bigger!"

Apparently it's a pretty marked difference to him. Considering I had a pretty good "twenties" frame before (you know, no figure at all--no hips, no butt, nothing), I suppose I could consider it a blessing that I now have hips (I'm sure I will consider it a blessing that they've loosened up when I'm in labor). However, the waddle kind of puts a damper on the whole situation.

The end of free massages

For a while now, our car has been really bumpy. Extremely bumpy, actually.

A few months ago, I drove up to one of the mosques in Salt Lake with a group from my MESA class. It was a fairly bumpy ride, but nothing I was too worried about. The whole drive back home, cars behind us would flash their brights or honk or wave their arms at me. I couldn't figure it out--I wasn't doing anything stupid that would cause road rage. Finally a big suburban pulled up next to me (at 75 mph) and yelled to me to check my back left tire. We pulled over, but it wasn't low, so I just thought he was crazy. We made it home just fine.

Last week, Nancy and I had to go up to SL. Once we got on I-15 and hit 57 mph, the car started shaking like crazy--our seats, the dashboard, everything in the glove compartment, even the gas and speed needles. It felt kind of massage-like, but the relaxation factor of the massage was offset by the panic factor of wondering if the car would blow up. We made it up there and back, but had to drive really slow.

My dad told me that it was simply out of alignment and that it would be easily fixed at any tire store. Wanting to stop the free massages and be able to drive faster, I went to Les Schwab yesterday.

Little side story about Les Schwab. Years ago, my family went on a vacation up to Seattle. Les Schwab at that time had not penetrated the Utah market yet, but was all over the place in Washington. Because of the proximity to Canada, I figured it was really a French store, since "Les" matched other French words I knew, like Les Miserables, Les Choristes, etc. Man, I was cultured. Every time we drove by a Les Schwab, I told myself that Les Schwab meant "The Tires" in French.

I kept my French tires theory silent until I had proof (my 15 year old mind was amazing...). The evidence I needed came at a Seattle Mariner's game that we went to. We sat behind a row of Québécois, who talked incessantly during the game. One of them saw an advertisement for Les Schwab and said "Oooh la la...Les Schwab" (pronounced "lay schwab"). My theory was proven.

As we drove home after the game, I proudly announced my findings to my family as soon as we passed the first French tire store. But, instead of being applauded as the great deductive linguistic scholar that I was, they all laughed! Apparently the guy's name is Les.

However, to this day, every time I see a Les Schwab store, I secretly say it with a ridiculous French accent. I'll be proven right someday!

Anyway, back to fixing our shaking car. The technician checked the alignment and declared that it was perfect already. He went back to run a few more tests. While he was out there, I sat in the lobby with 4 other people, all awaiting the verdict for their cars. I immediately noticed a movie theater popcorn machine. Mmm... I was hungry. All 5 of us in the lobby eyed it longingly, but because it was off in a corner, we couldn't tell if it was for employee use only.

After 5 minutes or so, a new customer came in and before he sat down, he immediately went and got popcorn. After he came and sat down, I and everyone else in the lobby stood up in unison to get popcorn. It was legal! I guess I should have looked at all the popcorn kernels smashed in the lobby carpet and got the clue.

The technician returned and announced that the problem was that the back left tire (that people were yelling at me previously about) was actually falling apart. Pieces of the rubber were flapping off and metal was showing. The damage was bad enough that it could have blown up at any time with summer heat and fast speeds and stuff. Scary stuff!

So, after waiting in the cool lobby, eating free popcorn, watching schoolbus races on the Auto Channel, and avoiding a summer sales dude that wanted to small talk with me, our dead tire got replaced and I drove away, on the smoothest ride ever!

Thank you French tires!

Monday, May 21, 2007

P-U-D

I was sitting at work today when the phone rang. It was Rachel, one of the receptionists at the front desk.

"I have an important message I'm supposed to give you. I have no idea what it means, but apparently you do."

"Okay," I said, wondering what the important message could be.

"I was just setting up a meeting with Matt Heiss and he said to tell you that you married a...I have no idea what this is, but...P-U-D?"

I burst out laughing and said, "Oh, a pud." And I started laughing a little more.

"What's a pud?" asked Rachel.

"I'm not really sure but it's a family insult. It doesn't really mean anything...really. Matt is my husband's uncle, by the way."

"Oh," said Rachel, "Well...sorry if I insulted your husband or anything..."

"Oh, no," I reassured her, "It's fine..."

The best part is that Rachel is in Andrew's English class so she asked him to further clarify the meaning of 'pud' a little later in the day.

Truthfully, I'm not sure anyone in the family knows the meaning or origin of pud. Andrew says it is like "loser" or "punk" but not as "severe." It's a "joking insult."

Well, being the nerd that I am, I did a google search to find the true meaning of pud.

You might be interested to know that we currently live in a PUD (planned urban development). That makes us, by definition, PUDs...or as we prefer to be called Pudites.

Pud can also mean "shameful thing." I won't quote my sources there in order to protect the innocent...

PUD is also associated with bladder cancer (Peri-Urethral Diathermy), which I'm not sure that pregnancy causes, but I'm prone to think that it might with the rate that I have to empty mine.

It is also short for "pudding" in a British dialect, as in, "Would you like some pud'?" or "Oh, boy, this pud' is delish!"

In short, I'm just glad that my husband is a pud and not me. Oh, and Becky probably has a similar taste in men (no offense, Matt...oh, wait...yes, yes, you're a pud).

Empty Nester's Home Evening

This is only going to be half a post because as we were getting ready to head out the door I made a mental note of things to include in this post. Apparently I forgot that I'm pregnant and should not make mental lists anymore. My lists need to be very, very tangible. They need to be on the white board by our front door or on my Google calendar so that I can't lose them (like I can paper lists).

So, my mental note which I am quite sure included 3 or 4 things has since dwindled to 1--and I only remembered that thing because I was wearing it.

Andrew and I entered the world of "empty nesters" today for a while. We went and gave an FHE lesson about the Middle East to some of the more elderly sisters in the ward. In fact, we almost thought about counting it as home teaching since all three of the sisters we home teach were there (we made appointments instead though).

We talked about Islam and their basic beliefs and the similarities there are between Islam and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We talked about certain cultural interpretations of the Qur'an and why they do some of the things they do. One of the hottest topics of course, was women's issues.

I went dressed in my hijab. I was pretty excited to have an excuse to put it on again, but when I pulled it out there were horrible chalk stains all over it. I thought back and remembered that I had lent it to Josie to use for an activity and she had returned it all chalky. I had forgotten to wash it. With only 15 minutes before we had to be there, I tried everything I could to get the chalk out.

First I tried brushing it off, but that didn't work very well. Next I broke out the vacuum to see if any of it was still flaky enough to suck off--a little bit came off, but not much.

I sat there dismally trying to think of anything to do. I had already tried a cloth and that didn't really work well, either.

Then I remembered one day my mom and I had gone shopping for a dress for me to wear on my first date with Andrew (sigh). I found a dress that I really liked, but there was some makeup on the collar. We took it to the counter explaining that there was only one dress that color in that size, but it had makeup on it. The girl at the counter whipped out some baby wipes, dabbed at the collar and, presto! The dress came out perfectly clean.

If only we had baby wipes, I thought. And then I remembered that our closet is full of diapers and baby wipes.

They worked wonderfully and my dress was clean by the time we left for FHE.

The ladies thought that my dress was embroidered beautifully but they were appalled that I was so covered. They got over that though when we quoted some scriptures from the Qur'an about modesty (for both males and females) and explained some reasons why they cover up the way they do. I also was able to honestly tell them that it's not that hot under there.

Sure, there are women who feel forced to dress that way, but I could name quite a few young ladies (and even some older ones) in our church who feel "oppressed" by the standard of modesty that we hold.

Anyway, our discussion went smoothly and the ladies were pretty open to what we had to say.

I must say things got kind of awkward at the end though.

The lady who asked us to speak specifically asked us to steer clear of the Iraq war and other such related issues, so we did. At the very end though when we were fielding our last few questions she asked, "So, with all this in mind, how do you feel about the war in Iraq?"

That's a pretty hot topic for a lot of people and you could feel the room tense up with passion. People started shooting off their opinions left and right, forgetting everything we'd just told them and normal, middle-of-the-road Arabs.

"Well, that's another topic for another day..." said Andrew loudly. And with that, we ate a nice slice of raspberry pie.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Why I love the hiccups

I worry about our baby a lot...still. I know I just need to relax and enjoy this pregnancy, but I still seem to just be a little uptight.

I've been feeling her move around for quite some time now, at least since I was 18 weeks pregnant. Now that she's bigger and stronger and her movements are more coordinated, she is a very good kicker. I don't feel little whirls and swishes. Instead we both feel feet and knees and elbows and all sorts of little body parts poking around in there. Sometimes she'll push up so hard with her fist that Andrew swears he can count her knuckles.

Although I complain about baby keeping me awake at night because she wakes up to kick around every few hours, I really do love it. I love it because it is great reassurance that she is, indeed, still there.

Sometimes, though, I think she kicks so much that she wears herself out. She won't kick for what seems like a long, long time...and I start to get rather emotional. Andrew tries to reassure me by reminding me that "just yesterday" she was acting like she was about to burst through my belly button...but it rarely helps to make me feel better because I'm worried about the baby right at that moment...not yesterday.

Earlier this week I was having a few of these troublesome days all in a row. I was contemplating calling the doctor because I really wasn't feeling her move around very much at all.

"She's just squished," Andrew would say, "She doesn't have enough room to move around like she used to."

When I would dismiss that idea, Andrew would say, "She's just tired...sleeping...babies do that."

Not good enough. I don't think I will rest about this baby until she's in my arms healthy and breathing.

I thought for sure, after yoga, she would be really active. She always had been before.

Andrew asked me about her when I got home from yoga. The report was that she had shifted around a few times but that she really didn't get very excited at all. Just little movements.

I was terribly, terribly worried...and then my baby got the hiccups. That's always reassuring because only live babies can have the hiccups. She had the hiccups for hours and hours and hours....She was probably the most uncomfortable baby in the world, but I was probably the happiest mother in the world.

For the last few days she has been kicking non-stop once again. Kicking so hard it hurts--but I love it...most of the time.

And, thinking back on the week, I suppose I was being a little paranoid. It really was only about a day and a half that I didn't feel her move much before she was back to her regular energy-ridden self.

Who am I to complain, really? My mom only remembers feeling me move a couple of times. She thought she was going to give birth to a heart...no baby, just a heart, because that's all the doctor could ever reassure her about. "Don't worry. There's a nice, healthy heartbeat." I suppose if my mom could not worry about me when I didn't move for the entire pregnancy, I can not worry if my baby doesn't move for a few hours.

If she's not moving though, I really do prefer her to have the hiccups.

Bump in the night

I will admit that I am a little jumpy when it comes to being home alone. I suppose it could even be said that I am more than a little jumpy when it comes to being home alone since I am quite jumpy even when my big, strong husband is home to protect me.

Andrew has been picking up extra shifts at work as much as possible so we can save up more money for the future. So, he was gone for quite a while this weekend.

Friday afternoon I was home alone doing laundry and otherwise being productive. We had forgotten to turn the A/C on, so our house was a nice 85 degrees. In an attempt to cool down the house, I opened all the windows and even opened the front door to try to get a cross-breeze going--something that is almost impossible to do when all the windows are on one side of the house.

Being the front door, our front door is located near the front of the house. Our laundry area is in the back of the house though, so in order to continue doing the laundry I had to leave the door unlocked, opened, and unattended for a few minutes. While I was in the back of the house, I heard the screen door slam. I ran to the front door only to find that one of our little neighbours had just come out of their house and their screen door slam. So, I was still safe, but just a little jumpier than before so I gave up on the cross-breeze idea and shut the door and locked it up tight.

I couldn't shake the idea that perhaps someone was lurking in our house just waiting for us to go to bed...

So, later that evening I was still jumpy and contemplating all of the non-hiding spots in our home. There really aren't any. Under our bed is completely covered in food storage, our closets are packed tight...there really just aren't that many good hiding places.

Andrew was home now though, so I knew I was going to be ok.

Sometime after 10 o'clock, we heard a big boom that, in my opinion sounded like something falling in one of the bedrooms. We checked around and, surprisingly, didn't find anyone hiding in any of the closets, nor did we find anything out of place.

We walked back into the living room and I noticed that a little cap-thing had fallen off one of the legs of our chairs.

"What's this?" I asked.

Wanting to put my mind at ease, Andrew said, "Maybe that's what that big noise was..." So, maybe he was teasing me instead of trying to put my mind at ease. Either way I knew he was wrong. The cap was small and the noise shook the windows...it simply was impossible.

The next morning, Andrew noticed something a little out of place while on his way to work.













Someone had hit a light pole just outside of our apartment complex. They hit it with enough force to shatter the glass at the top of the pole, tip the pole, ruin the fence, and leave their bumper...so it does explain why we would have heard a big bang.

And after thinking back on that night we did hear some sirens, although we didn't think anything of it since we often hear sirens (we live right by State Street).

We just wonder what the people who live in those apartment buildings heard!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Family Planning

I suppose it's a little early to start thinking about "the next one" since we don't even have "the first one" yet, but Andrew and I have been thinking a little about how far apart we would (ideally) like to space our children. It's a tough thing to try to figure out.

Plus, we're (probably) having a girl first, and girls are a little more picky than boys are when it comes to "the next one," especially the older they get. Trust me. I was three--almost four--when my little brother was born and I was not impressed. Not at all.

I had been praying for a little sister for some time so when my parents brought home a little brother from the hospital, I was quite appalled. Not only was the baby born 8 days before my birthday...the baby was a boy. Of all the nerve!

I'm quite sure that I wished horrible things upon him, and I probably asked if he could be exchanged for a better, more-girl baby...but I grew to like him. And I did enjoy playing with him. He really wasn't bad, as far as little brothers go.

Of course, I'm not entirely convinced that he was terribly fond of me when he was little. Like most children, it took Patrick a little while to figure out the whole gender thing.

One day he said to my mom, "Mom, I'm a boy."

And she said, "Yes, you are."

"And dad's a boy," he continued.

"That's right," said mom.

"And David's a boy...and you're a boy!" he finished triumphantly.

"No," my mom said, much to his dismay, "I'm a girl."

"No," he stated, matter-of-factly, "You're a boy."

"I'm a girl."

"You're a boy!"

"Patrick," said my mother, "I really am a girl."

"Fine!" Patrick fumed, "Be a girl!"

I'm not sure what kind of light that casts on my sisters and me. He didn't list us among the boys in the family and he sure did make being a girl seem somewhat insulting.

Be that as it may, when Josie was born he took to her like super glue. He carried her around with him everywhere; she was his regular little sidekick. He really didn't care that she was a girl since she was his little sister.

So basically, if the next baby is a boy, he had better be born before Rachel figures out gender...or we'll have a lot of coaxing to do in order to convince Rachel that a boy is an okay thing. Or, we could, in my four-year-old opinion, simplify things and just have another girl because girls are so much better than boys, anyway.

Of course, my opinion has changed a little bit since I was four and I now think that boys are pretty neat. I wouldn't mind having one of my own, perhaps more than one.

We'll see what happens, but until then we'll just enjoy this baby!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Charming

Andrew is very eloquent on paper. He uses big words, expresses his thoughts clearly and usually gets good grades.

...Unless he's trying to woo a girl. He just gets all awkward and says things like, "You're so compact!"; "Do you have a scripture marking system?"; or, my favorite, "You're a brave little toaster."

The latter expression comes out every now and then when he thinks I'm being very, very brave, indeed.

Last night we were talking about how fast our due date is approaching while feeling the baby squirm around inside of me. It really is coming up really fast...and I'm a little worried about how little Andrew knows about the whole process. We really need to get into a birthing class of some sorts.

"How long do you have to push, anyway?" he asked, "Like twenty minutes or something?"

"Probably longer," I answered.

"Really?" he gasped, genuinely shocked.

"Really." I said, affirming all of his worst nightmares. He does not do well with blood/pain.

In fact I just found out that he has a strange psychological thing that happens when he dwells on pain for too long. His feet start to hurt. It is so strange for me, but apparently normal (as far as normal goes) since it happens to his dad, too.

He had never complained about it before, until one day his mom and I were talking about getting blood drawn and things like that. All of a sudden, Andrew starts mumbling, "Ow, ow, ow..."

"What?" I asked.

"My feet hurt," he said.

"Your feet hurt?" I asked, credulously gazing at his feet which were perfectly untouched and looked pain-free to the naked eye.

He said that it hadn't happened for a few years and he isn't sure why it is happening now. I mean, he's a lot braver than his dad when it comes to such things. He can watch medical shows. He can clip his own toe nails. He can watch the baby move. His dad can't do any of those things without experiencing some foot pain. In fact, we can hardly talk about baby things at all without his dad losing it.

I personally think Andrew's feet are hurting because he is thinking about the impending labor and delivery, which is only 66 days away.

Well, last night I could tell Andrew was having a hard time. I'm sure his feet were already aching, although I didn't ask him.

"How long will you have to push?" he asked, a little timidly.

"Oh, I don't know. A few hours at least," I said.

"Like how long?" he asked.

"I don't know. The average time to be in labor with your first baby is 12 hours or something like that." I said.

"Twelve hours?" he asked.

"Yes. Sometimes more somtimes less." I said.

"Do you have to push all that time?"

"No."

"Well, do the other parts of labor hurt?"

"Yes."

"A lot?"

"I don't know, but I've heard that it hurts."

"And you have to push for a few hours?" he asked.

"Yes, I probably will." I said, "Sometimes it happens faster, but usually it takes a few hours."

"So it's not like two pushes and you're done?" he asked.

"No," I said, "Remember when I told you that I probably wouldn't feel like doing much of anything for a while after the baby was born...so you'd have to take on more housework and stuff while I recuperate?"

"Yes," he said.

"That's why," I said, "Because I will be very, very tired and very, very sore after the baby is born..."

"Oh," he said and then got very quiet before adding, "You're a brave little toaster."

Thanks, honey! I think it will be kind of entertaining to watch him while I'm in labor. In fact, I'm almost looking forward to it. Almost.

Monday, May 14, 2007

You're crazy

Children have a great way of canceling out anything their parents say. They can just look at them like they are crazy...at which point the parents should catch on that what they said did not register and the child should not be held accountable for their actions based on whatever it was the parent said. Sometimes parents just say crazy things.

Last week Andrew and I taught Sunbeams. It was great. The kids were all cute, even Charity. Charity is easy to pick out. In sacrament meeting, she's the one climbing all over the benches and running in the aisles even though her mother and sister are desperately trying to keep her under control. The primary sang this Sunday for Mother's Day, and who do you think was the one bouncing from side to side while everyone else was singing? Charity.

Well, when I went to "retrieve" Charity from her mother last Sunday, Charity jumped from the stand onto me.

"Charity," scolded her mother in a stunning British accent, "You have to be gentle. There's a baby in her tummy. No kicking or punching today."

With that her mom then turned to me and said, "She won't actually hurt you, she sometimes just gets a little carried away. You kind of have to keep your hand on her at all times. Your eye simply won't do."

Those two statements were perfectly applicable to the situation. Charity understood and was a very good girl...for about 2 seconds. And then she was back to her normal self. And then she would remember there was a baby in my stomach and would pat it and kiss it, which was a little awkward since I had just met Charity that day.

The funny thing about Charity is that she would forget things in the order she was told them.

"Charity, sit down and fold your arms, please."

Charity would sit down and fold her arms for about 3 seconds. Then she would stand up and kind of sway back and forth for 3 more seconds and then she would unfold her arms and be off again.

So, Sunbeams was an adventure last week.

This week, I didn't have to teach, but Charity came into the Relief Society room to find her mom so we did have some contact with each other. I'm not really sure what happened because suddenly Charity was jumping from chair to chair and then getting down and running around, then jumping up on the chairs again. Meanwhile, her exhausted sister and mother were frantically trying to convince her that her behavior is quite inappropriate for the Sabbath.

Well, then Charity bumped into me.

"Charity," her mother scolded in her nice crisp accent (sometimes I just wish I were British), "Now, you can't go running around. You must be careful. She's got a baby in her tummy."

Charity looked at me. She shot her mom the "you're crazy" look, and then double checked my stomach just to make sure she was right. Then she took off running as if to prove her mother wrong. She didn't even try to behave. Why? Because running around the church obviously isn't going to hurt my baby while jumping on it just might.

Sometimes I'm amazed at how well children out-think their parents.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's just an ordinary day

It was a hot and muggy day, just like any other day in May... or perhaps it isn't hot and muggy at all and just feels that way because I feel like a balloon. Either way, there was nothing abnormal about today.

Andrew was at work and I was desperately trying to unlock the door to the Stake Offices. I had some newsletters I needed to photocopy. The Primary Presidency wants the newsletters distributed tomorrow at church. I didn't get any articles until late yesterday afternoon. That gives me a little more than 24 hours to get a whole newsletter finished. Luckily I designed the template long ago so, as Andrew would say, it was really just "plug and play." The copy fitting is horrendous--mostly because I didn't do any copy fitting, but it doesn't look too shabby for not really having anytime to work on it. I finished it around 2:00 this afternoon and headed over to the stake center to make copies.

So, there I am at the Stake Center wearing a bright yellow t-shirt, trying to unlock the door. I'm pretty sure I was there for about 10 minutes, turning the key this way and that, trying to remember if there was some trick about opening the door. I said a quick prayer and continued my door-unlocking attempts.

Just when I was thinking, "Gee, I'm glad that this door is kind of out of sight, around the corner, behind a wall and some trees so that no one can see how hard this is for me..." two motorcyclists zipped around the corner.

They waved at me. I waved back, then turned around and pretended that perhaps I had just taken the keys out of my purse and was in the process of inserting the key into the lock for the very first time. I thought I pulled off that act pretty well, but still can't open the door, so I'm fumbling around with the lock again when I hear the motorcycles coming around the corner again, only this time they are super-duper loud.

I turned back around to see close to 50 bikers driving past the church. This is odd, because they are in the parking lot of the stake center and they all look kind of like Hulk Hogan. It's not really something you see everyday.

And then there's me. I'm standing by the door, looking like an idiot, I'm sure. A seven-month-pregnant idiot who can't open doors.

Zip, zip, wave, go the bikers, and I timidly wave back, glad that none of them seem to want to stop and chat or ask for directions.

I continue to stand there like an idiot trying to think of how better to not look like an idiot. Really, what was I going to do?

I can't go into the church because I can't open the door. I can't really walk away because if I tried that I probably would be run over by a couple dozen motorbikes. So I just stand there, stare, and wave at however many Hulks wave at me.

It was kind of like a parade, only a lot more awkward.

Finally, their "finale" car drove around the corner, and the roar of the engines faded off into the distance.

"Hmmm," I hmmmed to myself, musing that the driver of the car also looked like Hulk, while I decided to give the door one more try.

Presto! The door opened without a problem. Why couldn't it have done that 15 minutes ago? I asked myself. I went into the office and made my copies, back to my ordinary day in May.

As I was pondering the complete unordinariness of the last five minutes, I remembered my prayer. If that was an answer to prayer though, it was the strangest answer I've ever gotten. I was personally hoping that the missionaries or Stake President would happen to stop by and offer to open the door for me. But if a motorcycle gang will do the trick, why not?

The only thing I can figure is that they distracted me enough to give me time to calm down. Anyone who knows me knows I can't do anything right if I'm flustered, and I was certainly getting that way about the door.

I didn't know we had a motorcycle gang in Utah though...maybe they were just passing through.

Spring Dance Concert

In December, Jacob and Sarah had a multi-school concert that they wanted us to attend. This would have been alright, but if we're going to pay $10 to see them dance, we would rather watch them dance over and over again, rather than only once or twice. We told them that we wouldn't attend the multi-school concert, but would attend the Winter Showcase, in which only their team danced.

Jacob was a little put-out that we wouldn't buy tickets from him. Understandable since they have to sell a certain number to keep their grade up. He insisted that there was not a Winter Showcase and that it was the multi-school concert or nothing.

No Winter Showcase? we wondered. There had always been a Winter Showcase--probably since the beginning of time (which in this case happens to be 1997), but at least when we were on team or taking classes there was always a Winter Showcase.

We opted for nothing anyway, saving our $10 for the Spring Concert, which we were certain still existed.

We found out ex post facto that there was indeed a Winter Showcase. We missed it. Neither Jacob, nor Sarah told us about it. We were majorly bummed out.

But here we are 5 months later, and, true to our word, we bought tickets to attend the Spring Concert.

Jacob was in half the dances. He wrote a list of them for Grandma Pat, so we all knew exactly what dances he was in. Sarah was a little bit more of a surprise...but she was in a lot of dances, too. Jacob and Sarah even danced with each other in a few of the dances. How cute!

We took our new camera so we could see how it functioned in a real-life situation. The verdict: absolutely terrible. Don't worry. We already sent Fuji a "nastygram" and if they don't do anything to make us happier with their product, we are certainly planning on returning our camera to Amazon.

Zoom in on that picture if you dare. It's grainy and gross...and a whole lot worse quality than our other camera. I am certainly not impressed. In short, none of the pictures we took are even worth posting on this blog, since the one that we took in good lighting, close up, without our subjects moving turned out this awful... I will leave it to your imagination to see how horrible the pictures are when our subjects were far removed, in a dark room, while twirling around.

At least the videos worked out well.

Here is their opening number. I thought it was cool because they are dancing to live music! The jazz band pitched in and learned a song just for the dance team.



Jacob is usually somewhere on the left hand side of the screen. I totally missed Sarah's part--but that's because it took me so long to recognize her. All those girls look alike with their hair pulled back.

Oh, we found out that the baby really likes swing music. And all music, for that matter. She would bounce around while the kids were dancing and stop in between numbers. During one song in particular she was just going to town: Go, Johnny, Go! At first I thought she had the hiccups, but really they were too strong and kick-like to be hiccups. Plus, they matched the drum beat. Whenever the drums stopped, so did her bouncing. And then the song ended and she settled back down, waiting for the next song. It was pretty funny. Andrew didn't believe me until I made him feel my tummy...and then it was fairly obvious that she was enjoying herself.

This is a waltz that Sarah did to "our song.". Really, we don't have a song so this is our song by default. During our honeymoon we heard this song over and over and over again. It was playing on the plane when we boarded, and played multiple times through various flights. It would play randomly on the radio (and we were in Italy, so that was kind of odd), and when we were at Ellen's house, we watched Elf after coming home from Verona soaking wet and freezing cold. And this song is on that movie. So, we have a lot of fond memories revolving around this song. We played with the zoom function on our camera and it seems to work well--with videos.



They also did a Ukrainian dance. They started this a year or two after Andrew and I gained alumni status (that's a graceful way of saying we're old now). It looks like a lot of fun, and also a lot of work. Both Jacob and Sarah are in this...good luck spotting them!



This last video is of Jacob's "masquerade" number. We had a little trouble finding him at first because they are all wearing masks, but when they are dancing in three lines, we're pretty sure that Jacob is the second one in the middle line. We zoomed up on that person and followed them around stage, so if that wasn't Jacob we're going to feel rather silly.

(coming soon)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dinner Woes

Our house was really hot when we got home today. One of these days I may start turning on the air conditioning...but really, do we need it? I don't know. It sure is a nice luxury though. Unfortunately, I shudder to think of how it's going to raise our utilities...so I always am trying to turn it off. Today we just left our windows open and the fans going. Sure, our thermostat read over 80°F (nearly 27°C), but there was little we could do after we got home so we just suffered through it.

That meant, however, that we didn't really feel like cooking or eating. So, I had the marvelous idea of having fruit salad. The only fresh fruit we have right now are apples. We ended up opening a can of oranges, a can of pears, and a can of fruit cocktail and halving all three. It wasn't a bad dinner and really kind of hit the spot.

We left the house to go to our various activities: Andrew had to go back to work and I had to go to one of my marathon primary meetings--it lasted until around 9:00.

I beat Andrew home and we chatted for a bit over Google Talk and decided that we were both starving. Fruit salad is a good component of a dinner, and if you ever go to a pot luck at one of my family gatherings, you will be sure to find 3 or 4 different varieties. Unfortunately, it isn't a very good meal.

Luckily, I'm home and he's not, so I was having some left-over pasta salad while trying to decide what else to eat.

Andrew suggested rice. I started making some rice...and then thought that we should have something more vegetabley. We have a head of dark, lush romaine lettuce in our fridge. I commenced to make a salad. I broke off some leaves and started rinsing them off in the sink. All was fine and dandy...

...That is, until I broke off one last leaf. Hiding deep in the lettuce near the stem was a spider!

I quickly turned the water on full blast and held the lettuce under the current. I'm hoping that the spider was sucked down the drain somehow...if not he somehow crawled deeper into the lettuce.

Oh, what was it that Grandma used to do? Did she soak it in salt water to kill all of the bugs? I think so. I'll have to try that. I am morally opposed to having spiders in my salad.

It's not even that I have anything against spiders themselves. I like that they eat mosquitoes...and they can make pretty webs. And I used to make good money off of them.

My sister, Abra, used to pay me to remove spiders from her bedroom. No problemo. I'd get a cup and a piece of paper and trap the spider and release it outside...because squishing things is gross (I just hate that crushing, oozing sound). In return I would get between $1-5, depending on what change my sister had available. It was a pretty steady business.

Now that I'm married though and have someone to rely on, I have become a bit more squirmish. I'm tempted to blame that on pregnancy, but I really think that it's marriage.

Just the other day there was a spider lurking in the bathroom. It was just a little guy, but I called out for Andrew to come and rescue me. Do I really have that big of a need to be rescued from something the size of an ant? Probably not. Maybe I'm just seeking more attention.

Either way, the head of lettuce is still sitting in my sink, and I'm still wondering what to do about it. If the spider is still lurking in the lettuce, do I really want to refrigerate it? Should I soak my lettuce in salt water to rid it of any other extra protein sources?

Luckily Andrew just walked in the door to come to my rescue. My hero!

Over packaging

Recently our camera started to exhibit a phenomenon known as the "white screen of death." The first known occurrence happened at my brother's final dance concert and I was quite mortified to discover this new trait our camera was exhibiting. Since that first discovery, the camera has been displaying the "white screen of death" at more and more frequent intervals and has been becoming more and more difficult to fix each time.

We are unsure what caused this. Was it from hiking Wadi Mujib? Was it from getting banged around in our backpack? Was it just because the camera was old?

Whatever caused the "white screen of death," we decided that it was time to look for a new camera.

We decided that now would be a good time to do so since we probably wouldn't feel like spending $150 on a camera after the baby is born...

So, we Froogled it first (you can't make a verb out of "Google Product Search") and then we checked out Amazon.com. We found a great deal on Amazon.com...a "Fujifilm FinePix V10 5.1 mega pixels" camera for 50% off the original price, brand new. It has optical zoom, macros, etc., etc., etc. Truthfully, it's probably a pretty cheap camera but it is way supped up compared to our old camera.

Andrew purchased our old camera on his mission for
199 and got a 152 MB memory card for 90! Our camera was around $130, and we got a 1 GB memory card for $20! That is way awesome.

The camera got here in like 3 days, so we've been playing with it (and the 16 MB card that comes with the camera) for a few days now. Finally, our 1 GB card came today...

...in a box 14,144 times its size!














Yes, 14,144 of those little memory cards could have fit in the box they shipped it in. The memory card is only as big as the tip of my thumb...the box, well, it's just much, much bigger. Oh, and I really like how they were sure and stuffed the package under the box flaps so that it wouldn't move around in the box too much. Essentially they shipped an empty box. One of those cardboard envelopes probably would have done the trick just fine.

In short, we're really quite happy to have a new camera. That way, we can give Andrew the new camera to take pictures with because his pictures always turn out nice...and I can continue to take pictures on our old camera, because my pictures usually turn out not-so-nice. I always end up shaking the camera and then the pictures come out all blurry. Andrew has a much steadier hand.

And while I'm into happy mail news, we also got CS3 in the mail today--for free! We bought CS2 at the student price simply because you could upgrade to CS3 for free... That's an $1800 deal. Of course, we got the student priced one, so it cost us around $200, so we really only saved $400 because the CS3 student priced version is $599. Either way you look at it, it was a good deal.

Now we're done buying anything until well after the baby is born, I'm sure.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fire Safety

This morning, we decided to have pancakes for breakfast. We learned from Andrew's multiple failed attempts at making pancakes in a pan, that he should only make them on a griddle. So, I'm officially the pan-pancake maker and Andrew is officially the griddle-pancake maker.

He might lose that title soon, however.

I was in the bedroom finishing up some laundry while Andrew was in the kitchen working his magic on the griddle.

We were out of syrup, so Andrew began to make some more. That is where things started going wrong. Multi-tasking is difficult enough. Multi-tasking first thing in the morning is very difficult, apparently.

From the bedroom I hear normal cooking sounds and then suddenly I hear...

Bang! Bang! Bang!

"Umm...honey?"

"What?" I responded while running into the kitchen. In our family we've learned that if anyone says something from the kitchen you should always run...and not walk to see what the problem is. Someone could be unconscious in there, you never know.

"Is sugar flammable?" he answered before I had even got to the kitchen...and it's not a long run.

"Yes...what happened...?"

"Well, I think that some of the alcohol from the maple flavoring caught on fire...but it was just a little bit, so I thought it would just die down...but while I was flipping the pancakes, the fire got a lot bigger. But it's okay because I put the lid on it and it's out now. So, sugar's flammable. Hmmm... that explains a lot."

Yeah, it does. Apparently he spilled quite a bit of syrup on the burner and into the little tray beneath the burner and the whole thing was up in flames. He quickly removed the pot from the burner and used the lid to suffocate the flames.

Luckily, like all good little scouts, my husband was a total pyromaniac with the rest of the troop and gained some excellent fire-putting-outer skills.

A few of the pancakes were browner than others. He forgot about flipping them in his fire fighting frenzy. But breakfast was good, we still have a kitchen, and it's not even very dirty...although Andrew did have fun experimenting with both vinegar and baking soda to get the tray clean. What is that little tray called anyway?

I suppose it is a good thing that we've had our small house fire. We learned in the little fire safety clinic we went to that each household experiences a small house fire every 10 years or so. It looks like we're good for the next 10 years.



As a side note, Andrew and I were just barely in the kitchen putting some groceries (from my mom's food storage) away. Apparently they aren't eating it fast enough anymore. Anyway, the little tray from the stove was sitting on the counter with dry baking soda sitting in it. I sighed, and thinking my husband a little crazy, moved the tray, and wiped off the counter. Andrew picked up the little tray and said, "Yeah, how is this supposed to help?"

"It's not." I said, shaking my head sympathetically.

"Oh," he said, looking confused, shocked and relieved all at the same time, "Everyone always says that baking soda helps."

"It does," I said, "But you have to get it wet and scrub it."

"Ohhhhh," he said, "I thought there was some magical property that it had that made stuff come off, but nothing was happening."

Alas, so much in life requires effort on our part. My lovely husband is now in the kitchen scrubbing.



I have yet another side note. Man, do I ever love my husband. He's just so...funny. I just finished adding the previous side note and walked into the kitchen to continue putting away the groceries. I looked at my husband diligently scrubbing away. Next to him sat the baking powder with a spoon in it.

"Oh, honey," I said, "Not this stuff. The baking soda."

"Really?" he asked, "I've been using this stuff all day."

"Yeah," I said, "Baking powder is a lot more expensive than baking soda..."

"Oh," he said, "And it doesn't seem to work well for cleaning because this isn't doing anything."

Well, that's because one is more powdery than the other. It's the little grain thingies in the baking soda that help get tough things off... It's also a lot more versatile than baking powder, which is typically just used for cooking (and the occasional science project, although powder works better because it's a purer substance).

He's now scrubbing with baking powder. I just asked him if it's working better. He has confirmed that it is. I hope that he isn't getting sprayed with dirty chunks of baking soda. He's wearing his Sunday shirt...sigh...



Emily also had a little adventure with fire today, although hers was less dangerous.

For lunch, I went out with Andrew's family to Winger's for Sarah's birthday lunch. Andrew had to work, so he wasn't there.

Everyone got something to do with sticky chicken fingers, except Karen who got a plate of fish and chips.

Reid and I got the sticky chicken finger quesadillas. Sarah and Jacob got plain sticky chicken fingers. Emily ordered sticky chicken fingers with fire sauce.

She recently won a lemon-eating contest so she fancies herself somewhat of an invincible eater. She did remarkably well with the fire sauce... Is she brave enough to have a broccoli-eating contest with me? Probably not, so how invincible is she, really?

Anyway, she was quite comical to watch trying to eat her chicken fingers drenched in fire sauce. She was crying, and the waitress was continually refilling Emily's water cup. Emily drained 5 cups of water. Once she drank so much water so fast that it started coming out of her nose. It was quite disgusting, really...but oh, so very funny!

She didn't end up finishing her chicken fingers and brought some home. Karen wrote on her doggie-bag (which is actually a box), "Emily: hot stuff." Emily is determined that she is going to finish eating those chicken fingers. I think she has 4 of 6 left over, so we'll have to see...

Identity Crisis, part II

I thought the weather was rather ironic yesterday. It was cold. It was stormy. It hailed. It rained. And in some places, it snowed. The weather was really quite...yucky. I had two friends get married yesterday.

One had planned to have her reception outside...it was quickly moved inside.

You would think that my wedding would have been the one to have the bad weather, considering I was married in December (who gets married in December?!?) but the weather at my wedding was actually very beautiful, indeed. It was rather warm, relatively sunny...I didn't even need a jacket, which was a good thing because that would have looked awful in the pictures.

I was invited to two more receptions today, although I will only be able to make it to one.

Yes, the semester is definitely over and summer break has begun. All the weddings are ample evidence of that.

As I walked into Shallee's reception with my mom and Josie, Sister Stanley greeted us.

"Hello, Nancy," she said to my mom.

"Hello, Josie," she said to my sister.

"And..." she paused when she got to me, "Hello."

I was rather pleased that she called my mother by my name and that by the time she got to me realized that I was not my mother, so didn't call me anything at all. You could tell she was rather confused and was really grasping for a name before she simply gave up.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Almost...but not quite

First, I almost met Elder Holland today...but not quite. He was being interviewed in the classroom of Special Collections. I walked by like 3 or 4 times while I was at work (on my way to use the restroom), but I didn't ever meet him.

My second "almost" today also happened at work. I almost burst out laughing at a girl when she walked in today...but not quite. She wasn't really doing anything humorous except that she was wearing one of those kimono shirts that are coming into style:

There is nothing wrong with these shirts. Don't get me wrong. They are even kind of cute, I suppose.

However, they most definitely are sold in the lingerie section of the shops in Jordan. It's true. My friend Arielle bought one while we were there...I remember how embarrassed I was that Arielle wanted to buy lingerie while I was with her. Totally not my thing to do.

Oddly enough, we weren't given a second look at the cash register. That was my first time out in Amman by myself (meaning without my husband).

Later I learned that we didn't really have anything to be ashamed of. Amman is completely awash with lingerie--and not like in America where it's kind of in the backs of the stores. No, in Amman it's all up front, more like Europe. In fact, they even have street vendors that just lay it out in the streets, and not all of it is as modest as the kimono thing.

One of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life was a group of fully veiled women in hijabs holding lingerie up to each other in the street. It was just a little...oxymoronic.

So anyway, every time I saw this girl, I had to hold in my giggles and suppress my memories of lingerie stores in Amman. It's not everyday you get to see someone walking around BYU campus wearing lingerie...of course it wasn't really lingerie, but still...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Money Management

Andrew has what Bridget might call an interesting "style of money management." Although, it does sound like she may be pretty familiar with Andrew's style.

Andrew has what he likes to call "free money." This is a wide variety of things including many things that I don't consider free money at all.

For example, when we went golfing with his family, we paid, but his parents paid us back. In Andrew's mind we somehow made $30. In my mind nothing happened. We still have the exact same amount of money we had before.

Or, my brother was using my cell phone for awhile. It's a family plan so it's $20 per cell phone. We were paying for the bill, and then my brother was paying us back. Every time he gave us $20, Andrew would remark, "Sweet! Free money!" I don't think that was free money. Again, we just broke even...

Tax refunds are also free money. To me, this is a refund. Something I already paid coming back to me. It still belonged to me... To Andrew, this is free.

There are some things that Andrew and I both agree on as free money: scholarships, grants, gift cards, and points accumulated on our credit cards. Those are all free. Things we weren't expecting, things that didn't initially come out of our own pocket, things that people gave to us out of the goodness of their own hearts. That's free.

It has taken me awhile to get Andrew to see my point of view. I think that I am understanding his...but it's still hard for me to consider something free when clearly we a) break even or b) have something returned to us. So, Andrew has added some new terminology when he speaks about money with me.

We now have what he calls "real free money," which he used the other day to reference a gift card his grandparents gave him for his birthday. And then he has plain old "free money," like the refund that we finally got today from our Jordan trip last year--which in my mind isn't really free, see, because we already paid that money, they are just giving a little of it back because we didn't spend it all.

At least this way I know that he knows the difference between free and not free.

Sugar High

I can imagine the conversation that went on between the two doctors who thought of the glucose tolerance test. I don't think they were really thinking of their patient's health when they did so.

Dr. #1: Hey, I have an idea of how we can test for diabetes!
Dr. #2: What's that?
Dr. #1: We can have them not eat any sugar all day and then give them a drink with more sugar than anyone could possibly take in one sitting...
Dr. #2: Oh, and then we can poke them with needles and drain their blood!
Dr. #1: Yeah, yeah! And then we can watch as they get sick!

What kind of sick doctors were those?

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I had to get the 1-hour glucose screen done to see if I'm at risk for gestational diabetes. They forgot to have me do it last month, so they asked me to do it ASAP...so we did, the day after our 28 week check up.

The instructions were to avoid all forms of sugar all day: fruit, juice, jam, etc. I then had a choice of one of two meals: eggs and toast for breakfast or meat and vegetables for lunch.

I had lunch. Two hours later I found myself at the hospital, trying to communicate with some very gossipy nurses (who were all much more interested in gossiping than in helping me out).

They gave me an orange drink that tasted like Fanta, only super sweet--like pop isn't super sweet already. I had five minutes to drink it. No problemo, I thought. But then I noticed that it was carbonated so that meant I had to battle the hiccups while trying to drink in a very limited time frame.

I read the bottle between sips:
Take only under the direction of a physician.
May cause vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or fainting.

Man, those doctors sure were sick. Who gives someone enough sugar in one sitting that it can only be safely taken under the direction of a physician? And why would anyone want to drink so much sugar that they have any of the symptoms listed?

The first nurse had told me to come up to the desk after I had finished drinking it and they would have someone draw my "initial" blood. Apparently her shift ended while I was drinking because there was a new lady at the desk when I went up there and she told me that I didn't need any initial blood work done.

So I sat in my chair for an hour. Andrew read "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" while I, at Andrew's insistence, began the third Harry Potter novel (I haven't even read the first one yet...)

Then a nurse came out and called my name. I looked all around for the nurse. It took me about two minutes until I spotted a short male nurse jumping up and down and waving his arms.

He was nice enough, but I think he was fairly new at his job.

I'm actually not sure if the reason it hurt so bad was because the nurse did a terrible job of sticking me, or if it is simply because I have 50% more blood coursing through my body. Either way, when we left, I was holding my arm and almost crying.

"Why are you holding your arm?" Andrew, who again didn't accompany me into the lab because he is terrified of needles, asked, "You didn't do that last time."

"Because it hurts." I answered shortly. I wasn't feeling too well.

By the time we got home I was ready for a nap. I felt like I had just eaten all of my Halloween candy in one sitting. In my family, Halloween candy usually lasts all year, so I don't even know how that would feel, but I think I have a pretty good idea now.

I took a nap and woke up feeling even worse. Eeww...I never wanted to see sugar ever again. I went out into the living room and lay down on the floor in the fetal position.

"Are you alright?" Andrew asked.

"Yes," I lied.

"Are you sure?" he probed.

"No," I said.

Andrew made me a quesadilla and then left for work. I ate and then got ready to go to yoga. Maybe that would make me feel better.

I then experienced some of the symptoms that I read on the bottle. I won't go into details, but we'll just say that I felt much better a few minutes later.

I left for yoga. It was canceled. No one had told me, so when I got there, no one was there. That was fine with me because I didn't feel too great anyway. I went home and did the same thing I had done just a few minutes before.

Instead of yoga, I attempted to clean the kitchen but my arm was pounding and it hurt to straighten it or lift anything with it.

So, instead of cleaning the kitchen, I phoned Andrew and asked when he could come home and take care of me.

I had killed enough time doing who knows what that he was already on his way home, hurray!

Andrew came home and made me dinner and rubbed my back and played with my hair. I'm so spoiled, I know.

While he was doing the dishes (see the part about my being spoiled), I decided to take off my bandage. I assure you that, although it doesn't look that bad in the picture, it looked pretty gruesome last night.


No wonder my arm hurt. It was all swollen and purple and had three little needle entrances in it.

Let's just say that Andrew and I both are hoping that I passed this test so that we don't have to go in and take the more intensive glucose screen. I really don't know if I'm up to having my blood drawn three times in one day. After all, I only have two arms.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A little FHE fun

For FHE, Andrew's family invited us to go miniature golfing with them. We had just been talking about doing that the week before, so we were eager to accept the invitation. It was a good day to go mini-golfing since they were doing an Operation Smile drive which meant that we got food (we hadn't eaten dinner, really)...it also meant that the price was a lot higher and we had to pay in cash. Andrew happened to have enough cash in his wallet, so we paid, which was okay because his parents paid us back (which in Andrew's mind is like free money).


It was a really fun evening. I have no skill when it comes to miniature golfing, really...and I don't think I will ever try for real turf. I did get a hole in one, although I ended up getting last place over all. Andrew didn't get a hole in one, but he ended up getting second place overall. I guess I really need to hone in on my mini-golfing skills.

Jacob offered me some advice, but I had to pass it up. His technique is a little too...spicy...for my taste.




We had to divide up into two teams because we had too many people to all play one round. Our team went first: me and the boys. We were a little bit slow and always had the girl's team licking our heels. I suppose you could say it was because we had an extra person on our team. If you want to know what I truthfully think, it's because we had me and Jacob on our team. If Jacob and I were to have been on our own team, we would have been mini-golfing all night. Let's just say we got quite a few courtesy scores...and still lost.

I was very, very good at almost getting the ball in a lot of the time, but I missed the hole the majority of the time. Perhaps I should have paid more attention during trigonometry.



Perhaps if I had played better, Jacob wouldn't have kept giving me his perspicacious recommendations:



Karen came in first place (of course), Andrew was second, Reid third, Sarah fourth, Jacob fifth, Emily sixth, and we all know where I come in here. We all ended up happy though, even those of us who came sulking and spent the majority of our time on our cell phone (I won't name any names...but she might be featured in only 1 picture, just a hint). It's amazing what a little sunshine, fresh air, and a golf club can do to change your mood!