Sunday, September 30, 2007

0 to Infinity

Not that we're keeping track or anything, but the score is zero to infinity.

When we were engaged, Andrew's dad had him practice the phrase, "Yes, dear. You're right." It's really come in handy for him (and occasionally for me). Our score, rounded up, is pretty much zero (for Andrew), infinity (for me).

I went to my parents house today to teach my dad how to crochet. Our lesson didn't go very well. I think he's suffering from post-op. depression. I had a good time anyway...

Mom, Josie and I were getting ready to go when my dad suggested that I take home some caramel sauce that they had on the fridge as it would compliment my banana bread so well. We looked in the fridge but found no caramel sauce.

Sadly, having heard about the possibility of caramel sauce, I still really, really wanted some. So when I got home, Andrew and I decided to make some. We had the little caramel cubes that we had bought a week or so ago in order to make yummy fall treats. I love fall. Pumpkin pie...apple pie...apple anything...pumpkin anything. Cider, caramel, crunchy leaves. I love fall.

We both researched how to melt them down into a sauce online. Being the astute researcher that I am I looked at several sites, trying to find the best information. One site said to melt it down slowly on the burner. Another said to try adding water as you melt it on a double boiler. Yet another suggested adding milk.

I made caramels for Christmas once with my mom, and I'm pretty sure that we used cream, so I was going to go with the milk option.

Andrew typed the exact same thing I typed into Google. The fourth hit was titled "Melting Caramel in the Microwave" and claimed that it was the "best way to melt caramel without scorching." I suggested that we should probably add some milk...but he said that this way should work. We went ahead and microwaved the caramel on high for 1 minute.

It worked! The caramels melted. He trying drizzling it onto the bread. It didn't drizzle. It poured out of the bowl, covering the bread with a thick and impenetrable layer of caramel.

We decided to call his mom for advice. "What's your secret?" Andrew asked, "Oh, so you just add milk..." I stuck my tongue out at him, "And microwave on defrost...oh..."

So this time I made the caramel sauce while Andrew played with Rachel. After one minute on defrost the caramels were already starting to get soft, so one minute on high was obviously overdoing it. I took them out, smashed them around and stirred in some milk. I put it in for one more minute, finished stirring in the milk, drizzled some on a slice of banana bread and gave some to Andrew.

"This tastes like my mom's," he exclaimed, "You did it!"

Aren't moms amazing? (Thanks for the recipe, Karen!)

Oh, and that's 1 more point for my side--not that we're keeping track or anything.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Human Nature

Sometimes I have a real lack of trust in human nature. I've had a few examples these past few weeks that really made me wonder.

My mom and I were somewhere in the Salt Lake metropolitan area heading to a "gated" neighborhood. We pulled up to the gate and tried to follow the directions on the keypad to call our host to open the gate. It wouldn't work. We were stuck in the rain, trying to open a gate. Some kind people driving out of the neighborhood told us the code and how to open the gate then drove off, thinking that we would figure it out.

We didn't. We were frustrated, wet, and grumpy. Then a car pulled up behind us. We tried putting in the code, but still couldn't get it to work. Another car pulled up behind the car behind us.

Now we were feeling bad for tying everyone up. I ran up to the car directly behind us and asked for help opening the gate. The man in the car told me the code again and how to do it. I tried. I failed. I looked back to the cars for assistance. No one budged. We were stuck between a line of cars and locked up gate...and no one was offering any help.

Granted, it was pretty wet outside, but I was out there, wasn't I? So I just kept trying the gate and trying the gate and getting wetter and wetter and more frustrated.

And what do you think the cars behind us do? Did someone finally get out and help us? No. They drove away. Just backed up, drove to the other gate and went in without a problem.

I wonder if they were embarrassed when we showed up to the same party they did, soaking wet. It probably would have been easier and less embarrassing for everyone had they just gotten out of their car and showed us how to open the gate.

My second story happened today. Rachel and I were out walking when all of a sudden we were pelted with tootsie rolls.

It's one thing to be showered with candy during a parade moving a mile per hour where the candy throwers are stingy and toss the candy gently to people who are expecting candy. It's completely different when the candy is thrown by obnoxious teenage boys from a car moving 35 miles an hour. I can't put my finger on it, but somehow that was a little less fun than a parade. Plus, who throws candy at a baby?

Lastly, how about this woman who has purportedly been lying about her whole life for the last 6 years. I won't say much about it except that I wish that people would just live their lives they way they know they should. Oh, and not to lie about everything, too. That always helps.

I'm done complaining now. I guess I'll just end by saying that having these things happen to me (not that the woman lying about her 9-11 story actually happened to me, nor has it really had an effect on me at all) made me think about whether I'm willing to do the little things needed to make someone's life easier (like opening a gate for someone). I think I sometimes neglect doing those things. I've also wondered if there are things I do that make life for others more difficult, and if by stopping I could make someone's day easier (like, maybe I won't throw rock-hard candy at babies tomorrow, if I can help myself). Am I really being honest in everything I do or have I lied about my whole life story for the last six years?

I guess it's sometimes just good to do some self evaluation to make sure my life is in check.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fun times with my baby

Rachel has been a little social butterfly recently. Yesterday we went to playgroup and she got to hang out with 13 other children and 10 grownups, including me. Luckily we held playgroup at a house this week and not an apartment because a turnout that size wouldn't have fit in an apartment.

After coming home from playgroup, Esther and Robby came over for a play date. One day Rachel will actually play--for now she just enjoys staring at people. So, she sat and stared at Robby while Esther and I had pizza. It worked out well. I'm excited for when Rachel learns her name and responds to it, but I'm still enjoying her being little, although it can make taking pictures difficult. Perhaps if the camera were a cute baby boy Rachel would show more interest in posing for pictures.

Rachel checks out Robby instead of the camera
And just for kicks and giggles, here's Rachel enjoying Quanti Colori. She gets really quite excited about this book--this clip is reading 2.5 and three. She could read this book all day, until she decides she's hungry, that is. (Please don't mind my accent or the horribly choreographed page turns.)

video

Watch out: I'm baking again

I recently got back from a primary meeting. This meeting only lasted for two hours because our timer, Rachel, went off and we had to close. Before I started bringing this cute little timer, we would sometimes meet until close to midnight. It's crazy, I know.

Today we were planning our Stake Primary Leadership Training Meeting. I missed the last meeting because it was a spur of the moment meeting that was called on Andrew's birthday and since we already had plans, I couldn't go.

At that meeting they decided that for this leadership training meeting I should do a breakout session with all the secretaries--to give them ideas on how to be more organized.

I guess I learned my lesson: never skip a meeting. I came straight home and gathered my primary stuff that was stashed about the house and tried to organize it. I'm really going to have to work on this whole organization thing before the leadership training meeting...

Not only did I come home feeling like I needed to organize. I also felt that I had to bake.

We discussed dessert options and it made me rather hungry. Furthermore, Sister Baxter told me how she felt like she wasn't home very much today so she made five pies (to make her feel like she was "at home") with cute little cut out hearts on the top and took them visiting teaching. The lesson this month is on being of one heart and one mind.

I don't know about you, but when I'm tired and feel like I haven't been home all day I just want to relax. And when I went visiting teaching we talked about Elder D. Todd Christofferson's quote that says to become of one heart and one mind "we must begin by becoming one with ourselves" by getting our bodies and spirits in tune with each other. We then talked about how hard it is to be a mom (the sister I visit has a 2 month old baby as well) and all but cried in each other's arms over our sleepless nights.

Somehow I don't think I've mastered this motherhood thing yet. When I'm tired I want to sleep, not bake 5 pies. But hearing Sister Baxter talk about her pies, dreaming about the apple crisp we're planning on making for the leadership meeting, and seeing the overripe bananas on my counter made me decide to make banana bread.

Making banana bread is difficult for me. I hate the smell of ripe bananas. The bananas on my counter have been driving me nuts for days because I catch a whiff of them every time I walk by. To add to that banana stench, I thawed out the bananas I had waiting in my freezer--I think this made me gag almost as much as my egg incident last week (you'll be happy to know we bought fresh eggs and I had no such problem today).

Mushy bananas remind me of when we were little and would collect slugs after it rained and pile them up on a board and then dump salt on them and watch them ooze all over the place. Dead slugs have a very distinctive smell and look which is very much tied to the part of my brain that recalls the mushy banana smell and look--and that's why mashing bananas makes me gag. It's also why simply smelling overripe bananas makes me ill, I'm sure.

Banana bread smells so good though, and it tastes good, too, so I got out my big blue mixing bowl and started to make the batter. The recipe I was following didn't call for maple flavoring, cinnamon, nutmeg, or applesauce...but my banana bread heart was calling for those things, so I threw them in.

While I was cleaning up, I decided to make apple crisp topping for the bread because at the meeting we were talking about how we should perhaps forget the apple and just have crisp because the topping is, oh, so very good. Unfortunately, I used the last of my margarine in the bread batter so I had to improvise and used peanut butter instead.

I'll let you know how that turns out, but for now, just keep me out of the kitchen!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pumpkin Palooza


While Rachel and I were out walking a week or so ago, I noticed a cute little pumpkin patch and made a mental note to visit it later. I suppose it isn't technically a pumpkin patch since the field the pumpkins are grown in is out of town. But the farmer sells his wares at his house in town, so the pumpkin patch is basically his front lawn. He has some really beautiful pumpkins.

Rachel and I set off this afternoon to go pick one out. As it turned out, I picked out the pumpkin and Rachel slept.


I tried to get her to wake up for some shots, but they didn't turn out very cute because she kept making her whaddya-wake-me-up-for face.


There were so many pumpkins to choose from: white pumpkins, cinderella pumpkins, and your classic jack-o-lantern pumpkins. We might go back for some small cinderella pumpkins but we were on foot and only one pumpkin would fit in the stroller basket. We chose a big, tall jack-o-lantern pumpkin. It's got a nice carving face and sits up well on its own. I think it's heavier than Rachel--at any rate it sure made the trip home more of a workout for me!


By the time we got home, after our two hour walk, Rachel was awake and ready to play so we did a little photo shoot. I've included a few of them below, but there are a lot more here.


For more pictures, visit: http://byu.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2137603&l=055ba&id=17826614

I've come to confess

Since nobody has gotten sick, I guess I can come clean now...

The eggs I used in Andrew's birthday cake had a "sell by" date of July 11th. I was marginally worried about this so I was sure to crack each egg into a separate bowl, sniff for the tell-tale sulfur smell, and break each yoke open to look for any signs of badness--all this after doing the float test.

All eggs checked out clean.

I dumped them each into the batter and started stirring. I was busy counting to 450 (which apparently is how many hand strokes equals 3 minutes on medium speed of an electronic mixer) and wasn't really paying attention to the batter because I was also trying to hush Rachel at the same time. When I looked down at the batter, there was this brownish-reddish gooey stuff swirling around.

I was horrified. I hate eggs. For my sister's wedding we made cookies using farm eggs (that I think were courtesy of Billy's parents). Not that I don't like farm eggs--they are just the same as store eggs except a little messier and yuckier. See, store eggs are typically pre-washed and rarely have any bits of blood or feathers on/in them. The farm eggs that we used for my sister's wedding were fine farm eggs--meaning that they had plenty of blood and feathers on and in them.

My mom and I spent one whole afternoon washing blood and feathers off the eggs, gagging as we cracked them open and picked more blood out from the egg inside. I swear we found a blastocyst baby chick in one of the eggs. They were so gross!

In Russia we always bought our eggs at the market and they were pretty farm-like, too. They actually have the eggs just sitting out all day (not that it's incredibly warm) and occasionally will have eggs cracked open to prove to potential customers that they have good eggs. I've never understood the logic of that. Just because the egg they broke open was good it doesn't mean the rest of the eggs (that have been sitting out all day, everyday) are good.

I guess I'm just lucky I've never come across a truly rotten egg.

When I saw the icky brown stuff though, I got rather worried. I had already partially mixed it into the batter so if it was a bad egg then the batter was ruined. I finished mixing the batter and put the cake in the oven then ran over to the computer to find out what a bad egg looks like.

The first thing I found was a chef's website on which she describes her experience of opening a rotten egg: "I started poking my fingernails into the crack and felt the egg shell collapsing. My thumbs sunk deep into the newly created hole and vanished into a slimy blueish-brown liquid!" She then describes the stench that wafted around her kitchen.

I figured since that didn't happen with my egg, the egg was okay.

And no one got sick...so it must have been.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Generally, I shy away from inventing completely new recipes (although I never really follow them, either). My friend, Sarah Stelnicki, and I used to create some very interesting dishes at sleep overs--we were young and not very good cooks and tasting our concoctions kind of traumatized me, I think.

But today I must have felt adventurous because when I opened the cupboard to hunt down something for dinner, two things jumped out at me: kidney beans and pineapple.

First I was like, "Ewww," then I was like, "Hmmm..." and then I was like, "I wonder if pineapple would taste good in chili."

A quick Google search revealed that I wasn't the first person to think of it--so perhaps it really would be good. I also noticed that "pineapple chili" has quite a few pseudonyms, one being "Hawaiian chili."

Now, really...do Hawaiians actually put pineapple in their chili? For that matter, do they put it on their pizza? Why is it that the minute we slap some pineapple in something it becomes Hawaiian? Isn't pineapple originally from somewhere in South America anyway?

I find it interesting that people, including myself, categorize food so haphazardly; I didn't really notice it, though, until I became more internationally-minded.

When Andrew and I were on our honeymoon, we were sitting in a pizzeria in Venice trying to decide what to order. Andrew was busy debating between a margherita and a margherita while I continuously interrupted his decision making by asking him what odd things were on the pizzas I was thinking about ordering (they have this one pizza with mussels--shell and all--on it...I wanted to make sure not to order that kind).

In Italy they have such a thing as "American Pizza." It has corn on it because you and I both know Americans throw corn into everything...or not. They also have Viennese pizza--with hot dogs on it. What would a good Viennese meal be without a wiener? And then there's Hawaiian pizza, which Americans are prone to call "Canadian Bacon and Pineapple" pizza--so is it Hawaiian, or is it Canadian?

I suppose we have to call food something. I'll be calling my chili Hawaiian-American-Mexican Chili, and it was actually pretty good. What will you call it?

What I threw in the pot:

1 can chunked pineapple (for the Hawaiians)
1 can kidney beans and 1 can black beans (for the Mexicans)
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 chopped tomatoes (fresh from Uncle Ken's garden)
1 green onion, chopped
A few fistfuls of corn (for the Americans)
Ginger (because I read somewhere that it went well with pineapple)
Garlic
Chili powder
Salt
Pepper

If only I had added hot dogs. Then it could have been Viennese, too!

How many bad haircuts can I give?

Yesterday Andrew and I wore the matching BYU shirts that his parents gave him (rather, us) for his birthday. It was also the homecoming football game--which we neither went to nor watched on TV. In fact we had no clue who won until we went to the ward party and everyone kept asking us if we went to the game. Apparently it was a good game.

You will notice in this picture how ruggedly handsome Andrew is. I haven't cut his hair for a while now...at least since the beginning of July. In my humble--but amazingly accurate--opinion, Andrew looks nice with longer hair. He looks older, more sophisticated, and also kind of rugged, but that's just because he doesn't agree with me and my favorable opinion of his longer hair style, so he leaves it messy just to bug me. He enjoys his hair when it's so short that even if he sleeps on it funny it doesn't stick up anywhere because it's just too short to do anything with.

He's been asking me to cut his hair for quite some time now and I've been telling him to comb his hair for quite some time now. We were kind of at a standstill with him refusing to comb and me refusing to cut.

I caved. I'm always the one to cave in a battle of wills. I don't see it as a weakness...not exactly...it's more that I just want to make the other person happy and/or stop griping.

So I finally agreed to cut his hair--but not too short.

Famous last words, I guess, because I haven't ever quite figured out how to cut hair so that it stays longish. One day I should experiment with scissors because if I happened to mess up, I could always buzz it after, right? For now though, the only hairdressing job I'd ever get is one with the military.


For future reference, 3/4 of an inch on top is much too short, regardless of anything Andrew says. Rachel's hair is now like 10 times longer than Andrew's.


And to think, I just found his favorite comb the other day. What a waste of a find--no wonder it lost itself before! It never gets used. Instead it sits idly by, gathering dust.

At least we're mostly happy. I'm happy that it will only take Andrew's hair a month to get to be the length I should have cut it to. He's happy that I cut it too short. Rachel's just happy. It looks like the comb is the only one who could use some cheering up.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fat baby, skinny baby

Today when Emma's mom came to pick her up, Emma gave a little yelp and then ran to hide. I was thrilled--her mother was less than. I guess I'm just glad to know that Emma enjoys her time at my house. She doesn't cry when she gets dropped off anymore and she doesn't want to leave when her parents come to pick her up. It makes me feel great. I know it makes her mom sad that she can't be home with Emma all day so I try to tone down my enthusiasm for her sake.

I don't think I'm the only reason she enjoys my house more now than she did before. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Rachel is getting to be a "fat baby" so Emma can play with her.

Emma started coming over when Rachel was three weeks old. At first she simply ignored the baby. Then she started acting like a baby and wanted to be held whenever I held or nursed Rachel. Then she acknowledged that Rachel was the baby, not Emma, and would throw diapers or toys at her when she cried. Now that Rachel reacts to people and is more interactive, Emma enjoys showing her things, touching her, pulling on her, etc.

Even though Rachel was running a low-grade fever (100 degrees, poor girl) all day, she took some time out of her busy napping schedule to give Emma some winning smiles while Emma squeaked toys in her face.


Yes, Rachel is becoming a fat baby. This means that she's actually starting to be fun. Shaillé's little brother explained this to me when we went over to Shaillé's parents' house for a party. Rachel was, again, three weeks old.

"She's a skinny baby," said Austin, "I'll bet she isn't very much fun to play with."

"No," I said honestly, "She really doesn't do very much yet."

"I didn't think so," he said smugly, adding that she sure was cute, "See, Matthew used to be a skinny baby and he wasn't much fun. Now he's a fat baby and we play all the time, but not in my room. He's not allowed in there."

Matthew is Austin's nephew who, at two years old, is substantially chubbier than 3-week old Rachel was, although he isn't actually fat--just a normal, healthy two-year old.

"Matthew's so fat," he continued, "I call him Fatso. He likes that name. We have fun together. Bring your baby back when she's fatter and can play with toys and things."

Rachel has been deemed worthy enough to play with by Emma. I wonder how she'll measure up (fat-wise) to Austin's standards.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Alternative Algebra

As a surprise for Andrew's birthday, Karen brought him a little memento from their trip to Italy: some toilet paper. True to the cheap chintzy toilet paper they have over there, this toilet paper was 1-ply and the pattern was only printed on one side making one side bumpy (like sandpaper almost) and the other side smooth.

"One-sided toilet paper!" Andrew exclaimed.

We all looked at him.

"Right," teased Reid, "Make sure to pick the paper up from this side because there is no other side."

One-sided toilet paper...that's new. We added it to our toilet paper collection. I'm not sure that we have a toilet paper collection on purpose, but we kind of have one.

L to R: Jordanian, American, Russian, and Italian
You never know when you might need foreign toilet paper. Russian toilet paper can double as streamers (it comes in green and pink, too!). I'm sure there's something useful about the other kinds of toilet paper, besides their intended purpose.

In addition to learning that a 3-dimensional object can be one-sided, I've learned some other interesting things about math these past few weeks.

1) 10 - 2 = 9 --come on, Josie, you could use your fingers for that one.

2) 8 * 0 = 16...or 15 --now she's guessing.

3) Celsius is colder than Fahrenheit --didn't you know? Josie was figuring out a math problem (which she got right, by the way) and the answer was -56 degrees Fahrenheit (44-100 degrees). "Wow," she said, "Wouldn't that feel colder in Celsius?"

And one last fopah, regarding Winnie the Pooh.

My friend Kim and I exchanged clothes for a little bit. I don't have many 0-3 month onesies and Kelli just gave me a whole bunch of 12 month clothes. Kim's girls just turned one and Rachel finally outgrew the "just born" onesies, so we swapped clothes. I found a Winnie the Pooh onesie in the clothes Kim gave me and put it on Rachel.

It fit. That's the first time she's worn a onesie that fit in about 2 weeks.

Josie saw it and asked, "Is Winnie the Pooh a boy or a girl?"

I wasn't sure, but I thought Winnie was a boy. Winnie is kind of a silly name for a boy though, so I looked it up. As it turns out, Winnie used to be called Edward Bear.

"So it's a girl, then?" asked Josie.

No, no, Edward is a boy.

Our favorite story

Recently, I joined Goodreads, a book network where you can share what you're reading with your friends. You can mark your current reads, your to-reads, and your have-reads. I haven't marked any current reads because currently I'm reading the Book of Mormon and...picture books by the dozen.

I can't help it. I just love picture books. I love the pictures. I love the words. I love how the pictures and words work together to tell the story. I love cuddling up to my mom and listening to her make all the voices...but now I'm the mom so I have to make all the voices myself while Rachel cuddles up to me.

I used to read every juvenile book that came into the BYU library when I worked in the Acquisitions Department. I would read every single picture book (and skim through the novels) and still process more books than anyone in the department (not that I'm bragging or anything). I loved it. I read hundreds of picture books each semester.

Since I stopped working there, I've kind of missed reading children's books, although I have enjoyed the novels I've devoured in the last few years. I'm definitely glad to be able to walk into the public library and proudly pull picture books off the shelf and check them out. It's a nice feeling.

Our favorite book right now is Quanti Colori by Alex Sanders. It's an Italian board book that I purchased from the BYU bookstore.


At first I wasn't sure how much I liked it. It was a cute enough story, but rather simple (most board books are) and I thought the pictures were less than entertaining. But that just shows how wrong very my initial impression was.

Emma loves the book. She'll have me read it over and over, but only in Italian. If I try to read it in English to her she tells me 'no.'

Rachel also loves the book. I was reading it to her while we were waiting for her doctor's appointment yesterday and a lady commented that she actually seemed to be looking at the pictures so I started watching Rachel closely to see if she really was--and she was!

It makes sense though, because the pages inside are white and the bunny is white with a black outline (he slowly gets colorful by bouncing in grass, eating strawberries, jumping in mud puddles, etc) and babies her age enjoy stark contrast. According to our "Baby Milestones" chart by "very best baby" babies start to perceive color differences at 3 months. It's fun to see her so interested in the pictures of this book and ignore pictures in books that have what I would consider "better" artwork.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Uncircadian rhythm

Bedtime is one of Rachel's favorite times of the day. Quite often daddy comes home right around bedtime, so that's usually when she gets her daddy time in for the day. She also gets story time and song time and we read scriptures and say prayer. We put a nightie on her and then fold over the mittens so she doesn't accidentally claw her face in her sleep (sometimes this backfires).

We do a lot of things to get her ready for bed, but I think her favorite part is cluster-feeding through it all. I feel like I feed her almost constantly between 8 pm and whenever she decides to call it a night.

Some nights she'll go to bed without a fight and other nights she pushes us to our limit. (She screamed from 10 pm until 1 am last night). Rachel occasionally sleeps through the night...sometimes she wakes up only once...other times she'll wake up between 2 and 5 times a night. We hate those other times.

So, you see we don't really have a schedule, per se. But we have established a routine of sorts so I guess that's a start. Is it possible to have a routine without a schedule? I don't know.

One of the funniest things that Rachel does is sleep with one eye partially open. It's the best when she's in REM stage because her eye will be spinning around--that's when we call her Mad-Eye Moody.


I'm excited for the time when Rachel will sleep through the night on a regular basis. I often dream of a land far, far away where mommies get to sleep all night long and their babies never ever cry. Has anyone heard of a place like that?

Why babies don't like tummy time

We've been pretty lucky with Rachel--she enjoys tummy time most of the time--but I've heard that a lot of babies don't like it all that much.

Today I think I figured out why.

Rachel had her two month check-up today. She's 11 lbs. 3 oz. (just over the 50th percentile) and is a little over 23 inches tall (in the 90th percentile). She's doing fine as far as muscle tone, hearing, vision, eating, and everything else the doctor checked on...and then we started discussing immunizations.

Here in Utah, babies are due for their Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus B, Polio, Hepatitus B, Rotavirus, and Pneumococcal shots at two months of age. That's a whole lot of needles. Luckily they've combined the Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio and Hepatitis B shot all into one. And they didn't give her the Rotavirus one...so she ended up with just three shots.

Two nurses came with their needles glistening. They asked me to get her ready and set her on the table. I took off Rachel's pants so they could access her thigh and laid her on the table.

"It hurts less in the bottom," said one of the nurses, maliciously squirting fluid up the needle, "Flip her over onto her tummy."

I undid her onesie and helped Rachel roll over. No sooner had I stepped away than the nurses swooped down on her.

"On the count of three," said the other nurse, pulling Rachel's diaper down a bit so they could get to her fatty tissue, "One, two, three!"

And with that they both jabbed Rachel with needles, one on each cheek. Rachel did a big gasp. I think that just about ruined her opinion of the world--other than being hit in the head with a few rattles (Emma doesn't quite get how to play with Rachel yet) she was thinking everything was peachy keen. When the first round of needles was over, Rachel was howling but started to calm down pretty quickly. Perhaps she thought the pricks were a fluke. The third needle set her on an absolute rampage. They did it on purpose!

"Mom, they're poking my bum! Help me!"

Boy, did she ever give those nurses a piece of her mind, and she didn't stop there, either. She screamed and screamed and screamed, letting everyone know exactly how she felt about the situation. I tried to put her in the stroller so that we could go but she just screamed louder. I ended up bouncing her on my hip until she fell asleep, mid-yell.

As we walked out to the waiting room, everyone had a comment:

"Boy, does she have a set of lungs!"

"You're looking happier now."

"That wasn't so bad, was it?"

And then when we got back into the waiting room, a woman said knowingly, "Got some shots today?"

Good job, Rachel, they heard you clear out in the waiting room--through two closed doors.

With something that traumatic happening at such a tender age, no wonder babies don't like being put on their tummies.

Happy Birthday to You, too!

"Happy Birthday, honey," I said as I prodded Andrew and urged him to get out of bed.

"Happy Birthday to you, too," he said dreamily, then turned over, still in deep sleep.

He's quite the sleep talker, so his mistake is understandable (and quite laughable). But I'm not sure what his excuse is for this evening when we were coming out of Winger's and I said again, "Happy Birthday," and he replied,

"Thanks! Happy Birthday to you, too."

His tone was the same tone that you use to say, "Good. How are you? Good," without really waiting for a reply--the niceties you say, even if you don't truly want to wait for the answer.

This time, though, was funnier because he heard himself say it and started laughing when I said thank you back to him, hardly noticing that it's not my birthday at all.

Andrew had a good birthday, anyway, I think...I haven't asked him.

I just asked him. He nodded and said, "Yup," so I suppose it really was good.

Rachel and I couldn't think of what to get him. When I talked to Val about this she said, "Joel's birthday is coming up, too. I just ordered him some movies on Amazon--you can get them for way cheap."

So that's what we did. I don't know why we didn't think of it before since I've certainly used Amazon plenty. Needless to say, his present isn't here yet since we just ordered it last night (and there's no way we were paying extra for expedited shipping). Instead, we made him a nice card.

Today was really like any other day though. Andrew got up and went to school and work while Rachel and I stayed at home, played with friends, and baked a cake--only we don't typically bake cakes so it took quite a bit of convincing for Rachel to agree to help me.

I was feeling creative so I made a Lego block cake. It was harder to make than it looks...but it was kind of fun, and I guess it turned out alright. It's a regular cake on the bottom with cupcakes stuck on top. I got so much cake in the icing that I may as well have caked the ice instead of iced the cake, and it's quite a bit lopsided because all of my cakes rise really high in the middle, but not so much on the edges. I've never been able to figure out why.

The Lego cake...isn't it, uh, pretty?
In addition to baking a cake, the day was unusual because I didn't have to fret about what to make for dinner. Instead, Andrew's parents took us out to dinner at Winger's. I love that restaurant--mostly, I just love their barbecue sauce. Last week, Andrew's parents asked him to choose a restaurant to eat at for his birthday. He naturally turned to me and I said, "Oh, no, I'm not deciding. You are." But then I decided anyway...


Rachel was very well behaved until she messed her pants. After I got back from changing her diaper, she just wanted a few simple things like to be held, oh, and for whoever was holding her to be standing at all times. Lucky for me, by the time I got back from the restroom our meals were at the table and everyone was half done eating. That means that everyone else held Rachel while I scarfed down my meal. I am such a slow eater, so it's a good thing others were willing to hold her, otherwise it would have taken me twice as long to eat!

When I finally finished eating (probably twenty minutes after everyone else) we went over to our place for, as Andrew put it, "cake and everything." Really, it was just cake because that's about all we have to eat in our house right now...that and carrots and tomatoes and milk.

We ate cake and then Andrew's family left so that Emily and Reid could work on homework. Not soon after they left, my family showed up so we lit up the cake and sang to Andrew again, making his birthday twice as happy.

The singing, #2
Now both families are gone, leaving our little family all alone to do homework, feed the baby, edit Andrew's papers, feed the baby some more, blog, feed the baby, have scriptures and prayer, feed the baby, put the baby to bed, go get her and feed her again...you get the picture. Now we're hoping that this is the last feeding before she goes down for a nice, long, all-the-way-through-the-night sleep (Rachel's personal birthday gift to dad).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Playgroup

Since this was the first day of Playgroup this school year, no pictures were taken. The kids were much too rambunctious to risk any time behind a camera. We had five grown-ups: my friends Kristi, Heather, Heather, Bonnie and then me; 3 infants: Rachel (2 months), Maggie (pretty much 2 months), and Amy (almost a month); and 4 toddlers: Emma (the girl I babysit), Ian, Hannah, and another Rachel. We're going to try to get more families to join as well.

Other than Ian, who has had to get used to having Maggie in the house, all the other children are only-children, thus far, so this was the first time they have had to share in quite a while. It really went pretty well, except for a few kafuffles and eye-gougings. Emma, herself, fell victim to an eye-gouger and got pushed off a little sit-and-ride toy.

All in all, there was a lot of grabbing and screaming but the kids eventually settled into their own little corner with their individually prized toy. It was fun to get out of the house though and visit with some other moms in the neighbourhood.

Maybe next week we'll actually get the kids to play nicely together. It could happen...

The Play Date


I'm not sure how my friend, Val, does it. She works full-time at the hospital doing graveyard shifts, and she's a new mom, and she's finishing up her nursing degree. Today she got home from work at 7 am and slept until Sawyer woke up at 11:30. I would go crazy, I'm sure.

She ran into a bit of a pickle today since she typically stays home with Sawyer all day but was required to attend a seminar this afternoon. She asked if I wouldn't mind having two babies this afternoon...and of course I wouldn't. Her baby is such a happy baby!


So Sawyer and Rachel had a "play date" of sorts. Sawyer is four months older than Rachel and she's already just about his height. Of course, Andrew and I are both probably at least six inches taller than either of Sawyer's parents so it makes sense that he's a short baby.


Rachel didn't think it was very fair that Sawyer has complete command of his motions and can turn over at will. He found it odd that she still has trouble balancing on her tummy. They both got rather frustrated trying to show off for each other...Rachel was trying desperately to roll over, and Sawyer kept trying to crawl over to her, but to no avail.

Giving smiles
Being mauled
Striking back while guarding her face
That's enough fighting, guys!
I think she had a good time. That's the first time she's played with anyone so close to her age. She showed quite a bit more interest in him than she does to all the little kids in our neighborhood or her cousins.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tractors is so dumb

We had dinner at Andrew's parents' house twice this week. Once was just sheer happenstance--we came to borrow a VCR player so that we could watch Lawrence of Arabia and they happened to be eating French toast, and we all know how I feel about French cuisine. The other was relatively planned. Reid wanted Andrew to show him the ropes of Windows Vista and we opted to do that over at their place...where the food is.

Karen went to get pizza (apparently she felt like cooking about as much as I did that night) from Little Caesars.

She came back with pizza and cheesy bread. Yum.

"Every time I order cheesy bread, there's a piece missing when I get home. I don't know what it is. I just walk in the door, open the box and...there's a piece missing."

I thought for a minute and laughed. Andrew thought for a minute, and then a minute more. He didn't laugh, so Reid pressed on,

"Yeah, once I came home and two pieces were missing!"

Andrew started get a look of baffled indignation on his face. He couldn't understand why anyone else wasn't upset with the, and I quote, "punk kids working at Little Caesars who are stealing our food!"

Without completely uncovering the joke, Karen said,

"Why? Was someone in the car with you?"

"Wait," Andrew said, starting to put everything together, "You eat the missing piece in the car? No one steals it? Because I was picturing these kids stealing pizza in the back. One piece might be okay, but two?"

Yeah, Andrew...they pulled a fast one on you. Don't look now, but gullible is written on the ceiling.

We have to be very careful about what we say around Andrew. Research shows that it's more difficult than previously thought to debunk myths. In fact, if a reliable source proves a myth false, people will believe it anywhere from 12 minutes to 3 days before they somehow revert back to believing in the myth--and attribute their incorrect information to the reliable source, which makes me think that we really shouldn't use True/False questions in school.

This would explain why, for years, Andrew thought that a levee was a gas station.

We were recently married and were driving in our car listening to music when American Pie came on.

Sounding all proud of himself, Andrew quizzed me, "Do you know what a levee is?"

"Yeah," I said, "It's kind of like a dam, only it's built beside a river to keep it from overflowing...or..."

"Uh, no, it's not," Andrew interrupted me, "It's a gas station."

"No, it's like a dam. Remember New Orleans. Their levees broke...and water came...and flooded everything."

"No...it's a gas station."

"No, it's a dike. Remember the story of the boy who stuck his finger in the dike and saved the whole town because water didn't come in and flood everything? That's a levee."

"No, it's a gas station," he insisted, "My mom told me. It's because there was a gas shortage and the guy was driving his car to the gas station and gas pumps have levers and so they called them' levees' for short...and the levee was dry because there was no gas at the station."

I didn't reply to this. How could I? His counter-argument was too strong. Instead I just burst out laughing.

"She told you wha-ha-hat?" I giggled.

Andrew repeated himself.

"And you believed her?" I asked.

"Yeah, I was like...10...why would she lie to me?"

Probably so that 12 years down the road your wife would get a good laugh.

We stopped by his parents' house later that same week. Andrew had to get it all out on the table.

"Mom," Andrew asked innocently, as if she suspected something, "What's a levee?"

She told him what a levee is. An embankment used to keep water in its course...and away from vulnerable cities and towns, like New Orleans and Haarlem.

"But you told me..." he told her what she told him.

She also laughed at him.

"Why did you tell me that?" Andrew asked, honestly hurt. Poor, innocent, gullible little Andrew.

Hey, Andrew, I hear from a very reliable source that tractors have the smallest brains of all the vehicles.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Child Number Three

At church today, Andrew was holding Rachel the way Rachel likes to be held: so that she can observe everything.

Sister Lundquist remarked, "She's such a little thing--you hold her like she's a big girl. You won't do that with child number three. You'll want that baby to stay a baby, so you'll hold it like a baby."

In our defense, Rachel likes to hold up her head. She's been doing that for weeks. And she likes to be facing the world, not someone's shoulder. It's just part of who she is.

It's not that I want her to grow up fast. Not at all. On the contrary, I think she is growing up too fast. I don't want her to move up a size of clothes (she just about has to), nor do I want to take her to get her 2 month shots (because that means she'll be two months old), nor do I want her to cut teeth or eat pablum or drink juice or figure out that she has control of her hand movements.

But she's well on her way to doing all that stuff.

As happy as I am when she reaches a mile mark in her development, like blowing bubbles--she can blow bubbles!--or moving her arms and legs rhythmically, it also makes me very sad.

I think my friend, Val, can relate. When I babysat for her, Sawyer was about 4 months old. "He likes to practice standing..." she said.

"Already?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said in a sad voice with a pouty face, "he does. He's been doing it for months. He just likes to. I don't like it."

And at FHPEM (Family Home and Personal Enrichment Meeting) this past week, Sawyer got up on his hands and knees and started rocking back and forth (he's now 6 months old). Val smacked my leg,

"Look at him," she gasped, "He's never done that before!"

She encouraged him for about two seconds, fighting herself back, before she gave in and lifted him onto her lap and cuddled him.

I understand the struggle she went through. Where do you draw the line between encouraging your child and forcing your child to grow up too quickly?

Part of me wants Rachel to stay little forever. The other part is excited to see her grow up. I suppose the best solution is to treasure every minute I have with her so that I can enjoy her at every stage--when she's little, and when she's big.

And as for keeping child number three a baby...well, I'm just not sure that's even possible. You have all these little helpers giving their two bits about how the child should be raised. Patrick, for example, was fed onion rings when he was Rachel's age, and no matter how my mom pleaded the onion ring feeding continued. And then there's the fact that younger children maintain a constant effort to catch up with the older children. They walk sooner, talk sooner, and want to go to parties sooner than the oldest ever did. Josie sill compares herself to me academically, even though I've graduated from university and she's in junior high (oddly enough, I do get pre-algebra math better than she does).

Rachel does still like to be swaddled. If we lie her down and want her to sleep for any length of time, we have to make sure that her arms can't fly up and hit her in the face (they do that sometimes, right when she least expects it), so we wrap her up nice and tight. That's a small baby thing, right?

No matter how I try to stop her though, she's going to keep growing up.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The great debate

The minute Rachel was born we naturally tried to figure out who she looked like. We couldn't do it. She just looked like Rachel.

Then my mom showed up and said to me, "She must look like Andrew because she doesn't look you!"

Then Karen showed up and said to Andrew, "She must look like Nancy because she doesn't look like you!"

Now every time I see my mom she'll say, "Wow, today she just looks like Andrew," or "Maybe she does look like you after all," or "I see a little bit of Conrad in there."

Meanwhile, my sister Kelli insists that Rachel has the Duggar chin (she probably does).

Rachel's almost two months old and we haven't been able to figure out who she looks like for sure...so I took the plunge and relied on face recognition technology to tell us. The results are that Rachel just looks like Rachel, a beautiful mixture of both mom and dad.



Kind of like Andrew,



while I, on the other hand, resemble my mom.



I think it's easier to tell who the child looks like as they grow older though, so we'll have to see how Rachel looks in a few years.

Rachel goes to school

On Sunday my friend Kim said, "So, how's being a mom now that the semester's started?"

"It's a lot harder," I didn't lie, "When Andrew comes home, he's not home--he's still busy with homework and stuff."

"Tell me about it," said Kim, "Here I was thinking summer was difficult...and then reality sets in."

School is a necessary evil though. Rachel accompanied Daddy to school on Wednesday. Mommy wanted to take advantage of the progressive book sale on campus, so while Daddy attended class, Rachel and I looked at books.


It was pretty chilly outside, so Rachel and I went to the library first so that everyone could get a look at Rachel. Boy, did we strike out though. We got to school at 9:00 am, and would you believe no one we wanted to see was there! At least Special Collections was a happening place. A lot of my old co-workers came out to goggle at Rachel. It was fun to see everyone again.

After visiting down there we decided it was warm enough outside to dig though the massive piles of unsorted books.

I was so excited to find an Italian boardbook and a English/Spanish/French alphabet book for 75% off, as well as a Spanish/English book for 50% off and a Russian board book for 0% off. I also looked at Arabic books, but we have 5 at home already and all the ones at the bookstore were pretty expensive.

I'm hoping that if I read, sing, and talk to Rachel in all these languages, she'll be more willing to learn them in the future. Of course, it would be easier if we chose just one language to focus on.

Here, it would have to be Italian. It's the only language both Andrew and I speak and understand well, and even then I'm not so fluent.

If we move out to the Middle East, we'll probably focus on Arabic. I don't think that I'd be able to gain any type of fluency here, so it's kind of futile (I can hardly read board books with one word on each page...) Andrew does babble to Rachel with the foreign Arabic sounds in hopes that she'll feel comfortable babbling with them later. Right now all she can say is, "Oh, oh," and "Maaa," and "Waaa" though.

Andrew doesn't speak Russian (unless "Fsyo" and "Chitai" count as speaking. He can't even say, "I love you.") so that leaves that language out. *sigh*

My spoken French is terrible...and Andrew only knows what his mission companion taught him, but Rachel thinks it is a nice language. While we were at the library Annick, the French French cataloguer, was admiring Rachel, who started to fuss.

"Tu ne pas pleurez...Tu ne pas pleurz..." she repeated to Rachel while tickling her tummy.

It worked. Rachel started smiling and giggling at her.

Perhaps we'll all learn French together as a family. If it calms Rachel down without having to eat, I think it's worth a shot.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Psychic

David is on a date tonight. Patrick is working. Mom and Josie went to see the premier of the movie they were extras in. That left Dad all alone, so Andrew and I went to go visit him.

Just as I arrived at the front door I heard the telephone ring so I hurried to open it and answered the phone.

It was my sister Kelli. I told her Dad was sleeping and then hung up and went to wake him up (rude, I know) so we could visit with him for a few minutes.

We did so and then returned home so Andrew could start on his homework.

Just as I put the key in the doorknob, the phone rang.

I said to Andrew, "Wow, we're good at getting to places in time to answer the phone. Wouldn't that be funny if it was Kelli?"

I answered the phone and it was Kelli, and it was funny.

Anyway, Dad is doing pretty well. He does physical therapy everyday, I think, and is doing okay but they had to stop him because his blood pressure is doing strange things still. Typically when one exercises blood pressure rises to enable the body to do more. Dad's blood pressure was going down...which is strange.

But he's looking so much better, probably even better than before the whole aneurysm crisis.

Service!

Andrew, my dear and devoted super-nero, made a server for our house this summer. It's pretty cool. We have a wiki on it and we can access my computer through it from anywhere in the world if the server and my computer are both on...which is cool.

Considering the server sits right under my personal computer and Andrew's laptop spends the majority of its time 10 feet away in the living room and we certainly don't play network games together, I'm not sure I see the utility of it, but I guess it's pretty cool.

At least, it's pretty remarkable that Andrew got it working. It's not everyone who can build a server.

The other night Andrew was talking to me all excitedly about it and I was going, "Yup, cool, wow, neat-0, mm-hmmm," which means, "That's nice, dear, but I have no clue what you just said."

Then he said, "I should teach you how to get on our server so that you can..."

I really tried to listen but he was using all these big computer terms which just don't jive with my brain. I'm computer literate, don't get me wrong, but I can't build a computer--if you get my drift.

So I kind of tuned him out and was thinking about something different (sorry, Andrew) and when I tuned back in, he was saying,

"Our server is actually pretty secure. Sometimes even I can't log on...and I built it."

The look of bewildered innocence and absolute puzzlement on his face made me absolutely lose it. He's so hilarious--I know where Rachel gets all the little faces she pulls now.

He still needs to perfect the server (so that he can consistently log on, maybe) but it will have to wait. He's working really hard this semester as a TA for a design class, as a computer proctor in the multimedia lab, as a student taking 19 credit hours, and as a full-time husband and father. In short, this is going to be one crazy semester, but it will be worth it in the end, right?

Spray and Wash

Thank you, Crystal, for helping me find my new best friend.

Get this: my friend scrubs my clothes for me. All I do is rinse and spray and then wash. It's just that simple and my clothes come out looking good as new. No scrubbing involved...but I kind of feel inclined to rinse of the majority of the mess before tossing the offending item in with the rest of my laundry. Yuck!

Not that I'm not a huge fan of scrubbing poopy clothes, but I'm kinda not a huge fan.

Rachel, in two days, went through 7 onesies before I finally let her go naked (well, diapered). And that doesn't include all the blowouts that have involved my clothes, or her blankets. When she gets her poop face on, I have started to unsnap her clothes, pull them up to her arm pits and make her stand up until she is finished. Then I immediately change her diaper or risk getting smeared myself.

I don't mind scrubbing poopy clothes, really, but I can't do it all day long. I have a whole list of things to do.

My time is worth more than that to me. I can work for an hour and earn ten bucks, or I can scrub clothes for an hour and, yes, I'll have clean clothes, but I also will have chaffed hands and will have used up a lot more dish soap than is reasonable.

Or, I can spend less than 15 cents an ounce to have Spray and Wash scrub for me. I didn't use to think that an ounce was very much but truthfully an ounce is quite a bit. I don't think I even used an ounce today and I cleaned one of my shirts, 5 of Rachel's onesies, a spit up cloth, and a blanket--all in under 5 minutes.

I really don't know what is in this stuff, but it works amazingly well. One stain, two stains. Red stains, blue stains. Old stains, new stains. I feel like I could write a book, I am that passionate about it. Oh, and it also works equally well on whites and colors.

Blowouts are suddenly seeming a whole lot less depressing. (Not lazy, Crystal, ingenious!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nature vs. Nurture

Andrew and I were driving Reid's car last week. The radio was tuned to some talk radio station (kuer, maybe). Some people were on discussing how psychology used to be heavily nature-based. They said that psychologists used to say that you should rarely kiss your baby, and certainly never on the lips--in fact, limit your kisses to once a year.

If I were to attempt to average out my kisses to Rachel to equal one kiss per year, I would have to not kiss her for the next billion years. I kiss her all the time, and never just once. It's more of a "Muwah, muwah, muwah, muwah, muwah..." all over her cheeks and her nose and her fingers and toes.

It's a good thing we aren't playing by those rules anymore. In fact, they've found that babies who are shown affection have a lower infant mortality rate than those who are not picked up at all.

Which apparently they used to think was a good idea. Kids in hospitals that got picked up by nurses stayed sicker longer and died more often than those who were not picked up. I suppose the natural conclusion would be to not touch children. Then they found out about washing hands in between patients.

So, anyway, they then started explaining about Harlow's monkey experiment. If you're not familiar with it, you should be. It's one of my favorite experiments, even though it involves purposely frightening innocent baby animals, which is slightly cruel. Of course, Andrew enjoys scaring Rachel...he'll do anything for a reaction.

Well, as I was attempting to feed Rachel today she bumped the nipple shield and it flew off and landed somewhere. This was a public feeding, which using a nipple shield complicates, but Rachel won't have it any other way, so I was feeling blindly under the blanket for the shield. I could not find it any where so I gave up and put my head under the blanket to search further. There was Rachel sucking earnestly at the little piece of silicone that she believes gives her nourishment.


I was a little saddened by this until I thought of my good friend Harry Harlow...and all the bottle-fed babies in the world. The nipple just gives her food. Like every other baby in the world, she will one day give up nipples of all variety: pacifiers, bottles, mommy, and nipple shields. That is just the wire monkey momma.

When that monkey is gone, or when Rachel is scared, I'm her cuddly terrycloth momma (and if she's careful not to bonk her head into my collarbone or sternum, I really am soft). I used to take the whole nipple shield preference thing as a personal insult...Harlow may have just helped me move past that.

Thanks, Harry!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Happy Baby

Recently Rachel has been more whiny than usual. It's probably because of all the stress everyone's been under lately. She's picked up this odd little habit of waking up from her late afternoon nap absolutely wailing--not the little whimpers or non-committal cries that she usually does, but gut-wrenching screaming--and nothing is obviously wrong: she's not hungry, soiled, gassy or cold. She just screams for 1o minutes or so.

I usually don't hear that because I like to respond to her before she's very upset. Not only does she latch on better when she's calm, but I just don't think that allowing her to think she has to scream to get my attention is a good habit to get her in. I really prefer her whimpering and cooing for attention rather than her screaming. So, because I don't like to hear her cry, I "fix" her before her volume escalates. This is done by either giving her what she wants right away, be it food, a diaper change, or just to be held; or I act really silly in hopes that she'll start giggling instead.

She's a pretty happy baby most of the time, so I think that this has been working so far. She's always right by my side 24/7, so even if she wakes up whimpering at 4 am (which I hope stops soon) I can hear her and quiet her down (which, at 4 am, usually only takes about 20 minutes, thank goodness).


This week, however, has been pretty crazy. Poor Rachel has spent more time in the car than she has her whole life, being carted off to the hospital or to Grandma's house repetitively. She wasn't allowed in the ICU so very often she was left with her inedible/non-lactating daddy in the waiting room while I visited with my dad. Rachel has learned about the virtue of patience and, like me, she's not very good at it yet.

She has also learned that she prefers mommy to strangers, which I kind of appreciate. She's also learned to howl, which I don't appreciate quite so much.

Now that things have calmed down a little, I'm hoping that Rachel will forget all about the "neglect" she faced this week and forgive me.

So, my baby isn't very patient. Name one 7 week old baby that is.

I just think that she'll learn patience and trust more by me being there for her every minute now, instead of letting her scream and scream and scream only to give in later. Once she's got a grip on life I'll introduce the idea of "just a minute" to her slowly.

Right now I take the cue to give her what she wants from her whimpers and cooing (she has an "I need attention" coo), and if I miss that, it's her non-committal cry. Her non-committal cry goes something like this,

"Wa-waaa," which translates as, "Are you listening yet?" She'll then stop and try to make eye contact, while wearing no expression of discomfort on her face whatsoever.

Then she'll go, "Maaa, maaa, waaa!" meaning, "Things are really heading south..." Again she'll look around, perfectly fine, but maybe throwing in a pouty face or two for good measure.

Finally she'll hold her breath in order to let us know she's really serious, and to build up enough oxygen to let out her, "Mmmmwa *hic* waa *hic* waaaa!" or, "I'm not really upset yet, but I will be soon!"

But she'll stop and look around for a bit to see if she's caught anyone's attention.

This is when I say, "I hear you, Rachel," which is sometimes good enough and she'll calm down. Other times, though, it provokes an ever increasing angry-cry so I go to her rescue.

My favorite is when Andrew's holding her while I am doing something else and Rachel will watch me walk around, directing her short outbursts at me as if to say, "Hey, Foodsource, get back here!"

I don't know...maybe we are spoiling her...but I don't think we are. I don't believe you can spoil an infant with too much holding. And, frankly, I've seen a lot of children who were allowed to cry turn out just as impatient and demanding as the next one. I may as well try this way. If she ends up impatient and demanding, at least I didn't have to hear her screaming for the first year of her life. My hope is that she'll learn to trust me and believe that if she waits long enough mommy will come, so there's no point in putting up a fuss.

Who am I kidding though? Kids just end up how they end up regardless of how they're raised. Parenthood is full of a lot more questions than answers, I've found, and more often than not they are answerless questions. I guess we all just do the best we can and hope for the best.

Although my doctor did tell me that the secret to a happy baby is to nurse until both mom and baby fall asleep. Then, when one of you wakes up, tell each other how cute you both are until it's time to eat again. Then nurse until both mom and baby fall asleep. Then, when one of you wakes up, tell each other how cute you are until...

I suppose that's basically what we do here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm so glad when daddy comes home

Dad was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon. He had a pretty rough night; he wasn't able to get comfortable. Of course, hospital beds aren't all they're cracked up to be, either so he wasn't very comfortable in the hospital, either.

He seems to be doing pretty well though. The skinny on what happened is that it wasn't a heart attack. He had an aortic aneurysm on his main artery that, to quote Mom quoting the doctor, "ripped." It was splitting apart in the direction of the blood flow, so with every heart beat it would rip further. According to Dad it hadn't ripped when they found it. I'm not sure who is right, but it's a pretty scary thing. They usually don't cause any problems until they break...and then you typically bleed to death shortly after.

It was a sequence of miracles that they found the problem when they did. That's for sure.

Andrew and I went over to daddy-sit while Mom went to work for a while this evening. We all had a nice Relief Society dinner together. Dad finished first, since he hasn't been eating very much lately, and excused himself from the table. He stayed in the kitchen talking to us and we were all enjoying each other's company when Dad suddenly started clutching at his chest and stammering, "My heart! My heart! My heart! Where's my heart?"

I think we all went into a little bit of a panic. After all, this time last week we were all waiting to see if Dad was going to live or die.

"My heart!" Dad continued to insist, "I'm choking. I need my pill..."

Mom scurried out of the room and gently chucked a pillow at Dad. It landed near his feet. He scooped it up and commenced to cough while squeezing the pillow in a certain way that prevented his chest from splitting open and spewing his heart across the room (for which I am eternally grateful--that would have been gross and traumatizing).

It was, indeed, his heart that was missing...just a fluffier, less necessary heart than the one I was thinking of when he first was grasping at his chest. I just about had a heart attack thinking he was having another heart failure. When I realized which heart he was talking about, it was pretty funny...I guess.

Dad clutching his heart pillow
So, aside from a 10 inch wound and a bunch of broken ribs where they accessed his heart, some puncture wounds to help drain the blood, and bruises on his leg from ripping out a vein to repair his artery, Dad is really doing alright. He's not supposed to drive for eight weeks and we're not supposed to leave him alone for a couple of days, but he's really doing quite well, considering all he's been through.

He's starting to make some changes in how he lives his life and how he treats his body--he doesn't really want this to happen again.

I have taken this as an opportunity to evaluate my familial relationships. I've making an effort not to get upset over petty issues (like math homework). After all, you never know when someone's going to go and rupture their main artery on you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Extra, extra!

I haven't seen Dad yet today, but I have talked to Mom, so this information is kind of second-hand. Andrew and I are planning on going to see Dad tonight--we'll see if that happens.

The doctor tried to "discharge" Dad today but Mom didn't feel ready to have him at home yet. She's having the Elders Quorum come over today to rearrange some furniture so that Dad can be a little more comfortable. Furthermore, Dad was just moved to recovery yesterday so there was some protesting from the nurses and the social worker. Dad's only done one "lap" and he's supposed to be able to do a few before he gets sent home. I'm not entirely sure what "lapping" entails, but I'm sure it has something to do with walking around.

So, Dad should be coming home tomorrow. He'll have a good three months of basic nothingness (read: recuperation) before he can get back into the swing of things. The social worker wants him to get a job so that he can keep himself busy during the day--but not for another three months or so--to help him sleep at night. It doesn't have to pay much or be the "perfect" job, but he does need something to do during the day.

He's sounding pretty good. When I called his room to find Mom (it was time for her to pick up Josie), he answered the phone himself and sounded rather chipper-er than before. That's the first time he's answered his own phone that I know of.

I'll keep keeping y'all posted.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Talk about your classic lame-dash-o

Mom and David came to visit me after work today, which was nice because Andrew worked late tonight and sometimes it gets a little lonely with just Rachel and me, even though she's rather cute.

Mom held her, and then David took her. Rachel was naked (she had a blow-outy day and after the first two outfits I decided to just keep her in a diaper), allowing them to view her in all her slender glory.

"She's so tall and skinny," said Mom.

It's true. She's 23.5 inches tall...and is about 9.5 lbs. Of course, this is me doing the measuring using my tape measure and Karen's scale so I'm not sure how exact they are. I also have no idea what percentile she's in, but she really is tall and skinny. She doesn't fit in 0-3 month clothes yet because the neck hole is much too wide, but she hardly fits in the "just born" clothes anymore because she's so tall that when her diaper gets really full the snaps come undone.

In addition to showing off her skinny little belly, Rachel was busy showing off her herculean leg power that my ribs remember oh, so very well.

David chose to comment on this, "I don't think she'll be like you, Nancy."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, I don't think she'll be coxos*...how do you say that word in English?" He paused to take a few minutes to translate.

"Oh," he said, a little too excited, "Lame! She won't be lame!"

Some brother. Sheesh.

My mom walked over and took Rachel. "I don't think you should be able to hold Rachel if you're going to be calling her mommy lame," she chided, mockingly. I don't think she was sticking up for me, I think she just wanted the baby back.

"No," he explained, "I mean, I don't think she'll have problems crawling or walking. Her legs are so strong!"

So apparently I'm just lame, not lame-o.

Rachel really does enjoy standing up though. She has great head control for her age and loves to have goof-around time with her daddy.

Upside-down time, note her big grin
She also won't sit in her bouncy chair. She prefers to stand up--with one push of her legs she almost topples the chair. Those warnings of "never leave your child unattended" really apply to our little baby since she will roll over or stand up when you least expect it. You're only 6 weeks old, Rachel, simmer down.

Almost falling out of the chair
This one was just cute
I didn't learn how to walk until I was 16 months old (October 30, 1986), which is a miracle in and of itself. I didn't crawl until I was 9 months old (March 27, 1986). But I started talking at 6 months (Dec, 31, 1985), so I suppose these things even out.

I had something wrong with one of my legs and wouldn't put any weight on it. If I had to crawl on it I was scream in pain. If I had to stand on it I would scream. If I tried walking I would scream. That is probably why my parents were really surprised when, in the middle of the night, I stood up in my crib and bit my dad's toe, which was dangling over my crib bars (April 8, 1986).

My mom had an appointment with a specialist in Calgary so that he could look at my legs to see what was wrong. This was something my family really couldn't afford at the time, but I had something wrong with me so it had to be done. Right before the appointment (I'm not how long...a few days, or a week) I started walking like everything was normal, so we canceled the appointment and I've been fine ever since. Wonder of wonder, miracles of miracles.

I don't think our little one will have the same problem.

*David was trying to think of Matt. 11:5 in order to remember the word "lame," but he could only remember it in Portuguese: Os cegos vêem, e os coxos andam; os leprosos são purificados, e os surdos ouvem; os mortos são ressuscitados, e aos pobres é anunciado o evangelho, which is why he called me coxos.