Friday, November 30, 2007

Tree Trimming

Was it just last night that we decorated the Christmas tree? Perhaps it was the day before. In fact, I think it was. We'll say it was Wednesday that we finally decorated our tree that has been sitting looking all lonely and forlorn in our living room since a few days before Thanksgiving.

This year we used a nice seven foot tree that Andrew's parents gave to us (it's their old tree). It's easily three times the size of the tree we've used the past two years.

What I can't understand is how the ornaments fit on our little tree since there were enough to fill this great big tree.

Rachel had a blast looking at the lights and playing with all the ornaments. Andrew held her up to the tree and she started tugging on all the branches, pulling ornaments off and dropping them on the floor. She was having a grand old time. Lucky for us she isn't quite mobile enough to completely topple the tree or I'm sure she would. We'll have to watch out for her next year.

And here's a picture from today. She crawled (read: inched) her way over to some beads I left on the floor and rolled herself up in them. She then scooted her way back to her toys. She was one happy girl that she saw a target, reached the target, and returned to home base. Usually I stop her, remove the target, or she ends up scooting backwards instead of forwards.

Why is it that we even bother buying toys for babies? They much prefer to play with water bottles, beads, and boxes--at least, my baby does.

We are the same person

Rachel was watching Andrew and I slave away in the kitchen. Andrew was putting the toppings on our pizza while I was cutting up fruit for a salad. When Andrew was done with the pizza I solicited his help with the salad. I put him in charge of soaking bananas and pears in lemon juice.

At one point Andrew and I were both working at one counter top together, out of the range of vision of Rachel's bouncy chair. She started to fuss because she couldn't see what was going on.

Almost like on cue, I kid you not, we both lifted one leg behind us and waved it at the baby while we continued our tasks.

Rachel was amused. I was amused. Andrew was amused.

We do things like that all the time. We are the same person. We could communicate without communicating--it's enough to make a person sick.

Oops, there goes another rubber tree...

We found a wreath at Robert's. It was half off so it was only a couple of bucks. We bought it.

It sat on my lap on the way home so I was examining it. I noticed the tag. It said, "Canadian Pine Wreath." Obviously it wasn't a real Canadian pine wreath since it smells and looks like plastic, but I pointed out my little find to Andrew.

"Awww," I teased, "It's a Canadian pine wreath. Makes me feel homesick."

"Why?" he asked, "Do they grow fake pine trees up in Canada?"

"Yeah," I said without missing a beat, "There's a grove right next to the rubber tree forest."

Laughs all around. Thank you.

It's a good thing we find each other entertaining. I'm not sure anyone else truly understands our humor.

Anyway, we now have a beautiful, albeit fake, Canadian pine wreath hanging on our front door. This would seem welcoming, except for the fact that it completely covers up our house number; so in a way I guess it's more of a determent than a welcoming factor.

I decorated it using some snowmen from our wedding lunch. People wrote messages on the backs of them wishing us luck in our marriage. Here's a random sampler of what some of them say:

Dear Andrew and Nancy: Always remember what you heard in the temple from your sealer. You have a great life together [forever]. Love, Grandpa Frank

Have a nice life Puds! --Jacob

Come up with some traditions of your own. --Mom Myrna Layton

Much happiness is wished for you for the eternities. Love, Clark and Lynnea Anderson

Happy Anniversary. (This has no signature but it looks like David's handwriting. When we read it this year, Andrew said, "Someone was thinking ahead...")

You guys are nerds! /Emily

There are really some entertaining thoughts on these snowmen. If you ever get bored and need a good laugh or if you need some marriage advice, feel free to come and read our door!

Mother's Lounge

There are some things that I want to write that don't necessarily belong on this blog. In fact, they are more the type of thing that I would discuss at playgroup or while nursing in the mother's lounge.

I've therefore stared a new blog called The Mother's Lounge.

My idea is for it to be a collaborative approach at blogging, so if you're a mom and you have some ideas that you'd like to share, let me know and I can add you as a contributor.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Elimination Communication

We purchased Rachel a little potty. It's kind of an early Christmas present to her. Hopefully it will get here within the next few days. For now, I've been holding her over a bowl. Today didn't go so great, but we're just starting out--plus, Rachel has a little case of the runs from her shots, I think.

We only caught a little first-thing-in-the-morning pee, but she seemed happy doing it free of a diaper.

Holding her is a little awkward the way we're doing it, so I think I'm going to have to experiment with different holds. I tried holding her by her thighs this last time we tried to go (come questo), and that was a little easier for both of us, I think. Having the potty will be very nice, that's for sure. She'll be able to sit more comfortably and I'll be able to assist more comfortably. Balancing a bowl between your feet while holding up a fourteen pound infant is no trivial feat.

I know a lot of people don't agree with potty training children early, but really it's what they did before they had diapers and what they still do in countries where they don't do diapers. The one baby I held in Egypt was just a few weeks old and he was diaper free, which made me kind of nervous, but also made me wonder what exactly they did.

I'm determined to at least give it a shot. The whole idea is to start communicating with your baby about their "eliminations" from the very beginning and not just spring it on them when they're two. So, although I've had Rachel in diapers since birth, I have been trying to pay attention to the signals she gives before she goes and communicate with her about them. A lot of our communication goes like this:

Rachel: grunt, grunt, grunt
Mommy: Do you need to go potty?
Rachel: grunt, grunt, toot, toot
Mommy (as Rachel fills her diaper): Pssss, pssss, pssss, psss, pssss...

We also try to pounce on her as soon as she's finished and get the diaper off so that she doesn't get used to sitting in her dirty diapers.

It just makes sense to me to have our baby learn to use the potty while she's young. No one I know is all that fond of diapers, anyway. So I've gone and joined a support group and we'll just keep trying, I guess.

Today we had a lot more bare bum time than ever before. A lot of that was spent with Rachel sitting on the potty-bowl and laughing at me. She thought I was rather silly today. Hopefully she'll get the hang of it soon though.

Goodness knows I can't stand changing dirty diapers on children who are eating solid foods. Pee-ew! Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day...

A picture is worth a thousand words

So this is worth 100,000 words...

The Big Red Slide

Here we are playing on that big red slide--you know, the one that made me squeal. Rachel didn't play on this slide because it was much too big and steep. Also, since it was a day or two before the chinook, it was still rather chilly and Rachel spent most of her time bundled up in Grandma's arms, trying to stay warm.

Showing nothing but her nose
Deklan was hard to catch a picture of--he was much to fast for my and not quite as interested in posing as Piper was.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rachel at the Park

Lucky for us it wasn't too terribly cold when we were up north. The first night it was -18 C, but then it started to chinook and that kept the chill off for a while. I love chinooks. The wind is really fluid, thick, and warm. It just feels so much more different to me than regular old wind. My favorite part is that it warms everything up. I like anything that warms everything up.

On Saturday there was a pretty nice chinook arch in the sky (although they look better when there aren't more clouds under the arch itself). We headed to the park after Deklan's baptism, but we didn't stay long because the minute the sun started to set it got really cold again. We had fun while the warmth lasted though!

Rachel tried the slide and she absolutely loved it! She went down over and over again and would laugh and smile the whole time.

She also tried the swings, but she didn't like it quite as much as the slide. It might have something to do with the sun setting and the warm air disappearing. It started to get rather chilly and she started to cry, so we headed home.

You can see the cool little mountain in the background. Kai had a ton of fun climbing up that, although he had a little trouble getting started. And that slide is the coolest slide in the world! I'll post some pictures and videos of the bigger kids going down that later (they are on Andrew's laptop and he's at school). I tried it myself and squealed. It was that exhilarating. Obviously Rachel went down a tamer slide...

Wii! That was fun!

Finally a video game that I can play! I cannot play a regular Nintendo with controllers. I have always used the controller like a steering wheel instead of using the little buttons to move around. Now with the Wii, I can actually play (and occasionally beat other people) without looking too stupid since everyone else is moving around, too.

Let the record show that, virtually, I can totally cream Andrew while boxing. He didn't stand a chance.

I won two of three rounds making me the champion of the match. It's actually pretty taxing. We were both out of breath and, the next day, our punching arms were rather sore. (Truth be told, they are still a little sore).

We also played a few games of bowling, baseball, and tennis. I'm about as good at Wii bowling as I am in real life. I beat Andrew once. Only once.

Tennis was just a joke. Any time I actually hit the ball was mere coincidence. My seven year old niece has a wicked serve and I just couldn't ever hit it back to her. She totally skunked me.

Baseball was a bit better. I played against Abra. We tied; 0 to 0. Apparently we're both pretty bad at batting. Every time either of us hit the ball it was either foul or was caught. We didn't get any batters home. Abra at least made it to first base. I never even left home plate.

It was definitely an exhausting evening. One day when we're rich and famous, we're going to get a Wii. And Dance Dance Revolution. Both very fun (and active) games.

Monday, November 26, 2007

4 month appointment

My poor little baby's fast asleep on the floor. She had to get three more shots today and she was not very happy about it. She did a lot better than last time and stopped crying when I picked her up and cuddled her, but when the nurses pricked her she screamed louder than I had ever heard her scream. I almost cried myself.

As the doctor said, Rachel's going to be "a tall, skinny momma!" She's 26 inches tall, which is in the 90th percentile, and she's 14 lbs. 3 oz, which is between the 60th and 75th percentile somewhere. Her growth is right on track, since she's staying in about the same percentiles at each check up. She's just the picture of health.

Doctor Olsen and I also talked about my weight. I just can't seem to keep it on. He said that a lot of moms lose weight when they breastfeed and then asked if I was worried about it. So I told him how much I weigh and how much weight I've lost since Rachel's been born and he said, "Oh, yes, that is a problem." He then offered to give me a fat transplant. How considerate!

So we discussed a lot about diet and nutrition. Making milk is a lot of work. Doctor Olsen said that it burns approximately 1600 calories per day, which is equivalent to running 15 miles a day. I should be getting at least 1600 calories above and beyond what I normally get in a day. That's certainly enough to feed another person, which is basically what I'm doing. I just don't know what to do because I already eat as much as (or more than) Andrew does. I guess I'll just have to eat even more.

Ew...and the doctor said that he wants me to drink eight glasses of milk a day in addition to the eight glasses of water that I should be drinking. I wrinkled my nose and then he said I can take eight calcium tablets instead. I think that's a better option for me. Not only is milk rather disgusting, it's also rather expensive.

I'll post more about our trip later, but if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to have a hearty lunch and then have a nap. My normally active and non-sleepy baby is rather drowsy from her shots, allowing me a little leisure time.

What are you packing under there?

David was riffling through the suitcase he used trying to find something shortly after arriving at Abra's house. He unzipped one of the front pockets and reached inside only to discover a handful of little girl's underwear. Having just crossed an international border, he was wondering what would have happened had the guards decided to inspect his suitcase.

"Sir, what are these? And why do you have them?"

"They're my little sister's, honest!"

It could have been quite the scene.

He told us about it on Wednesday night when we got to my sister's house. We all had a good laugh, and then had to figure out when Josie had used the suitcase last. Since the underwear was now too small for her and there were so many pairs, we figured it had to be from her trip to India. I wonder, since all the underwear was clean, how hygienic she was on that month-long trip.

Later that night when we got to the Richards' house, the apartment was freezing cold so mom got out the blanket she had packed with her and started to unfold it to put it on her bed. Just as she flicked it open, a pair of boxer shorts flew out. She had accidentally brought along a pair of Patrick's boxers that had clung to the blanket in the laundry. Oh, the irony.

We definitely had a good laugh about that, too. I'm happy to report that Andrew and I found no extra unmentionables left over in our suitcase, although when I was packing I did find a can opener that we had purchased in Jordan. Not sure how it found its way into our suitcase--I don't even like that kind of can opener. I can rarely get them to open cans.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

She can't wait until she's eight!

Deklan's baptism sure was memorable! Kathi gave a wonderful talk on baptism. She had a piece of paper that said "Deklan now." He had to stand on that paper. Then she showed him one that said "Eternal Life" and she put it farther away than he could possibly jump. She asked him if he could get to that square without touching the carpet. He couldn't. So then she showed him some stepping stones, like repentance, faith, baptism, temple covenants, et al, and we talked about them one by one and he got closer and closer to eternal life as we went. I thought it was an excellent way to illustrate the concept.

After she was finished, Bishop Cordara got up and invited all the little children to gather around the font so that they could watch Deklan be baptized. He reminded us all that Deklan was setting an example for all the children in the room, just like Jesus got baptized to show us the way.

Well, about fifteen children rushed the font and there was the normal scooting around as each child tried to find a place from which they had clear view of the font.

Abra and Billy's friend Brad was baptizing Deklan and he had his own three children there. Little Ella, who is only three, was especially excited to be watching her father baptize someone. She was also anxious that he was so far away from her. She kept creeping up closer and closer to the font. I saw her reach out with flat palms, like she was leaning against the glass... I looked away for a moment.

Then there was a tremendous splash and, when I looked back over, all I saw was a little pair of boots go over the edge. Apparently this font didn't have glass to lean on.

Brad stood there puzzled for a moment. Both he and Deklan were ready and waiting. Then it registered that it was his baby girl who had fallen into the font and that she couldn't swim yet! He pushed Deklan aside and reached down and lifted Ella back up to Sheila, who was remarkably calm about the whole thing.

Sheila and my mom rushed Ella off to the washroom and started toweling her off with paper towels. I grabbed one of Rachel's blankets and ran after them (paper towel just doesn't seem very comforting to me). Lucky for Ella, her mother had a change of clothes in the car.

The baptism went on without us. Deklan had to go under three times. The first time, Brad forgot to say amen. The second time, Deklan's foot popped up out of the water. The third time, everything went smoothly.

"Remember, Deklan," said the bishop when everyone was warm and dry, "How I told you that you were setting an example for the other children?"

Deklan nodded fervently.

"Well, they're trying to follow it already!"

With that, Andrew got up to give a talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Ella stayed snuggly in Sheila's lap the whole time and everything went smoothly.

I shouldn't wonder if five years down the road there is a little girl named Ella who is a little nervous about being baptized, although all she said about all the commotion was, "It was warm."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A pit stop's not a pit stop

We survived twelve hours in the car with Rachel. Actually, that twelve hours turned out to be more like fifteen or sixteen hours...

With diaper changes, breastfeeding, snuggling, and kicking, pit stops really aren't pit stops anymore. They are more like a crater stop or a grand canyon stop.

Traveling without a baby is easy. You stop the car. Everyone gets out and does their business and before you know it, you're on the road again. With a baby, everyone gets out and does their business while taking turns holding the baby. Usually the baby will need another diaper change right before you leave, no matter how many were given during the stop. Quite often Rachel messed her pants five minutes onto the road. So, poor girl, we usually made her just sit there in her mess until we stopped again. Once we had to pull over to a truck stop though because she was just too miserable to continue.

The trip was actually pretty pleasant. The weather was wonderful, the roads were clear, and Rachel was a happy girl for most of the way.

Around Claresholm she started acting up, so I talked really nice to her and we had a contest to see who could guess the number of kilometers until Nanton. Rachel guessed 4 and I guessed 13. Rachel won. She was rather upset when I told her that we still had twenty minutes left and so she cried all the way to High River and out to Abra's house.

She was happy to meet her cousins but was sad when we left them--that meant she had to get in the car seat again.

We headed over to the Richards' to spend the night. Their house is huge! We are staying in their basement apartment, which is really nice and roomy.

It felt warm when we first got inside--because it was so cold outside (about -16 C, which isn't even cold yet). However, when we were getting ready for bed, we noticed how very chilly it was. I wore my fleece jacket to bed and put a hat on Rachel. We had a whole pile of blankets on us and were still freezing.

In the morning we checked the thermastat. It was set to 53 degrees Fahrenheit! We turned it up to 68 degrees and it's a lot nicer now.

So, we're here. We're safe. We're warm (at least when we're inside).

Monday, November 19, 2007


I decided to give embroidery a try. I've never actually embroidered anything, so yesterday afternoon I looked it up on the internet. I found a video eHow and watched that. The lady in the video spent five minutes describing how to thread a needle and about twenty seconds on how to embroider. Her little blurb went something like this, "So, after you get the needle threaded, just do a simple backstitch. And that's it. You're embroidering." The end.

Luckily, I know how to do a backstitch. I looked at a few patterns but in the end decided just to wing it. This is how it turned out:

It's a little bit crooked and isn't centered between the heel and the top of the sock, but I figure I can only get better. I'm going to do my stocking next so that I get plenty of practice before attempting Rachel's. That's going to be tricky. Why didn't we name her Pam or Sue? Rachel has so many letters in it.

Let's have a go

Crystal tagged me, but her blog is private, so you can't read what she said about herself. But here are seven facts about me that you might not know...

1) I need to go to grad school eventually. I want to wait for a while--like until Andrew's all done with his schooling because we don't want to be paying for two degrees at the same time; we also want to wait until our children are in school so that I can spend my days with them while they're at home still. But I really am an intellectual. I read Andrew's textbooks (not the boring ones though...just the interesting ones) and his papers and I do research sometimes just for kicks. When I was in school, I read every single one of my textbooks cover to cover, sometimes multiple times. And I kept my favorite ones--mostly just linguistics and psychology ones.

2) There are a few words that I always mispronounce so I say them very slowly so that I can say them correctly and then it sounds just as funny as if I had said them incorrectly. Like foliage. I always say that foil-age. You'd be surprised at how often I use this word. Actually, I just metathesize a lot of things. Oh, and I just learned last Saturday that 'door jamb' is spelled with a silent b. Only 36% of the web sites on Google spell it correctly, so I don't feel too bad.

3) I love music, but I'm a terrible musician. I never really excelled at piano and I am still struggling to teach myself viola. One of my goals in this life is to be to play through the hymn book on the piano, but since I can't even play the simplified hymns yet this may take a while to accomplish. I don't really understand why I can't play--I can read music, I can play each hand separately--I guess I just never was able to put my left and right hands together. I can sing though.

4) I have toe thumbs. My thumbs look like my big toes. You've heard of being "all thumbs." Try being "all toes." No wonder I can't play the piano. I struggle with strings, too, because my thumbs don't bend the way most people's do, apparently. My thumbs are awkward a lot of the time. Gloves fit me awkwardly and I can't wear a thimble on my thumb. I can't get fake nails. I struggle with little buttons. They can be great sometimes, too. They work perfectly for covering up the top of a soy sauce bottle. I always get the perfect amount on my rice.

5) The first time I ever slept alone, for more than just a few nights, was when I moved to Russia. I slept in my parents' bed until I was five. Then I slept with either of my sisters, or my brothers. And then after Josie was born, she slept in my bed until I left for Russia. I may have spent a few months having a room and bed of my own, but I never really liked it. Now we have three in our bed, which can get a little squishy at times. Isn't it funny how much room such a little baby can take up? Rachel sleeps spread eagle.

6) I'm terrified to use nail clippers on Rachel, so I just bite her nails instead. I figure that once there is more difference between her skin and her nails, then I'll use the clippers. At least I am not afraid to clip my own nails!

7) I've always wanted to run a marathon. I haven't begun to train for one, but I figure one day I will. Andrew said that he will drive behind me. The farthest I've ever run was 10 kilometers. That was when I was nine years old and I won a metal. Shoot, a marathon is only 32 kilometers more than 10. Should be a piece of cake, right? Oh, and I also need to hike Mount Timpanogos. I've lived here for seven years and I've never hiked it.

Now, I tag Abra, Amanda, and Karen. And anyone else who'd like to participate, of course.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Four Layton Generations

When my Grandpa Conrad was dying, the nurses told my grandma some of the ways she could tell when his time was coming. One of those ways was to watch for purple coloration in his legs. The legs tend to loose circulation first, so they will turn purple as circulation worsens. The nurse said that when his legs were purple up to his knees it would only be a matter of months, maybe even days, until he died.

Sure enough, that's what happened. As morbid as this sounds, when my grandma started dying a few years later, she'd watch the purple creep up her own legs and knew that death was approaching.

Soon Grandpa Layton will be leaving us, too. His legs are turning purple and he is always disoriented. We went to my grandparents' house for dinner this evening because we really aren't sure how much longer he's going to last. Well, that and we wanted to have a good time with them.

Sleeping Rachel with Great Grandma and Grandpa Layton and Grandpa Layton
The Layton Girls
Rachel with Great Grandpa
Kelli was also there with her girls. The twins were pretty sick, so Olivia slept the whole time we were there and Sabrina was fairly low-key, herself, although still quite a handful!

Sabrina kisses Rosie with Mr. Potato Lips
Kelli's fiance, David, was also there. He is really nice. They are planning on getting married in February next year. He has five kids of his own, so between the two of them, they'll have 10 kids! Further, David's oldest daughter recently had her first child so Kelli will be a grandma and I'll be a great aunt.

That's kind of weird.

But, he is so good to her and her kids. He always helps clean up from dinner and does whatever he's asked and he is so kind to her babies and watches them dutifully. They already call him "Dada." Let's see, what else do I know about him?

He's a mechanic, I think. And his last name is Haggard. He'll be even more haggard after he adopts the twins and becomes their full-time dad! Kelli has known him for about 10 years now.

We tried to get a nice family picture of them, but Sabrina was kind of goofing off. She wouldn't sit still for anyone.

The Day After Thanksgiving

Temple Square is almost ready for Christmas. They have the nativity scenes all set up and have most of the lights up, just not turned on. I was teasing Andrew about it because he's so adamant that anything to do with Christmas can only take place after Thanksgiving: music, decorations, letter writing, gift buying, you name it. I think that's funny because I grew up with Thanksgiving happening in October so we didn't really have the strict demarcation between Thanksgiving and Christmas that so many people adhere to down here.

We put the lights up before it got too cold. We put the tree up mid-December. We listened to Christmas music whenever we felt like listening to Christmas music.

But apparently we're heathens. Andrew has been trying to convert me to become a follower of "The Day After Thanksgiving" tradition. To bible bash with him, so to speak, I kept pointing out all the decorations on Temple Square. None of them were turned on, sure, but there they were, in broad daylight--and who turns Christmas lights on during the day, anyway?

To tease me back, Andrew said that when we got home we could set up the Christmas tree. We could even put the lights on, but we couldn't turn it on because they hadn't done so on Temple Square yet. They are scheduled to do that the Friday after Thanksgiving at 5:00.

When we were walking out though, I noticed that not everyone got that memo. Poor Andrew had exposure to Christmas lights before the day after Thanksgiving.

I think "The Day After Thanksgiving" should be given a real name. Like Boxing Day, only for Thanksgiving. Because in the States, it's just as big of a deal. So much happens on "The Day After Thanksgiving" that it really needs a title of its own (and something other than Black Friday--that name just makes me shudder for some reason).

It is the day we set aside for huge shopping trips and setting up for Christmas. People treat it with such reverence that it ought to be declared a religious holiday with proper appellation, not something as repulsive as Black Friday. It reminds me of something I just can't think of what at the moment. I'm open to suggestions for a new name.

Now, I thought that Andrew was kidding about the whole tree thing. But he was not.

So we currently have a bare Christmas tree sitting in our living room, waiting for Thanksgiving to pass so that we can deck it out. It's kind of funny that Andrew took my teasings so seriously. I really, really only wanted to listen to Christmas music--I will admit that it is partly because he was so adamant about not listening to it--I didn't want to completely decorate for the holiday.

I suppose he's just trying to spite me for teasing him about his pious adherence to "The Day After Thanksgiving" rituals.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cathedral Field Trip

We went to the Cathedral of the Madeline today--it was part of one of Andrew's assignments. We rode trax from Sandy into the city center, but got off at the transfer station instead of the Temple Square station so we had to walk for forever. It was such a nice day though. I was fine in my sweater, and Andrew even took his jacket off and went around in short sleeves. He had to leave his jacket on in the train because he was wearing a BYU shirt and there was a U of U game today and we didn't want to be shunned.

Before we went into the cathedral, we tried to find a place to change Rachel's diaper. There is a little cove down on one side of the cathedral and we decided to change her there in privacy...but then I noticed a pillow and blanket and other homely devices. I was a little wary to just walk into some vagrant's home and change my baby but decided that she deserved some privacy, so I stooped down and spread open her mat. That's when I smelled that lovely bathroom smell and noticed that the wall not too far from us was apparently the bathroom of the makeshift living quarters. We changed Rachel on the sidewalk. It was okay.

Inside the cathedral we felt a little out of place. First of all, everything was in English, which was a little odd because I've only ever been to cathedrals in Europe where nothing was ever in English. I was like, "Hey, I can read that!" but before I got so excited that I told anybody I realized that I was only reading English. That quickly damped my whole enthusiasm about my reading capabilities.

Secondly, confessionals are scheduled between 4 and 5 pm on Saturdays. Guess what time we were at the cathedral? There was a whole line of people standing outside the confessional. It started with two but then just grew and grew and grew until there were probably about twenty people just standing in a line.

Needless to say, that made it awkward to walk around the cathedral and take notes. It made it well nigh impossible to take any pictures, which is why we don't have any interior pictures. And it made me very self-conscious of Rachel who has recently started making dinosaur noises almost incessantly. With those beautiful vaulted ceilings, the smallest noise is magnified fifty times, so even her smallest dinosaur noise was unbearable, at least for me. She actually was in such a state of awe that she hardly made any sound at all. She kept craning her neck back to look at the ceilings, the stained glass, the organ. In fact, she was so quiet I think she was better behaved in the cathedral than she is during sacrament meeting. Of course, we were only inside for about fifteen minutes and there was a lot to look at...

After feeling uncomfortable for so long, we decided to leave the cathedral. I wish we would have taken the time to look at a schedule before we left because I really like to take my time in cathedrals. I just feel silly acting like a tourist when the majority of the people there are for serious worship. So, we headed out to Temple Square.

Rachel was so funny. She couldn't stop looking up. I'm not sure if she was looking at the sky or the buildings, but she was very focused upwards the whole time we were out.

She was very excited to see the Salt Lake Temple.

I'm going there someday?!?(she's doing her dinosaur noise in this picture)

We took a picture of Andrew and Rachel on the little pedestal they have for brides and grooms to stand on. We think it would be funny if she got married at the Salt Lake Temple--then we could recreate the picture. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out very well...I forgot to turn the flash on for most of these pictures.

And then we just did the normal things you do on Temple Square, like trying to see the newly refurbished Tabernacle (there was a concert going on so we couldn't) and touring around the Visitor's Center.

We then walked to the nearest Trax station. The train pulled up while we were still walking. We were across the street and the light was not in our favor.

"C'mon, we can make it!" said Andrew and he took off running, stroller, Rachel and all. I had no choice but to follow.

We darted across the street, clearly disobeying the crossing sign and ran to the train. I pushed the button to open the wagon door just as the conductor rang the warning bell and Andrew grabbed the stroller and tried to walk onto the train. He didn't see, however, that there was a handrail in the middle of the stairs, so he ended up awkwardly trying to haul the stroller up on one side of the handrail while standing on the opposite side after almost capsizing. I helped him and the stroller up while we were both killing ourselves with laughter.

Luckily the train was fairly empty so very few people saw Andrew jam the stroller into the handrail. Nor were there many to fume at us for holding up the train for a few more minutes. And the train didn't squash us in its doors (had this been in Russia...). And we didn't get hit by any cars while sprinting across the street.

Next time Andrew wants to take risks like that, I think he should do it without the baby.

Jump Start

Some of my siblings (David, Patrick, and Josie, to be specific) flew up to Calgary to visit my sister Abra. Grant got buddy passes for them so it was quite economical, however confusing it was.

Down here in Utah, we thought their flight was at noon, landing them in Calgary around 3 pm. My sister checked the flights though and there were no flights landing at noon. She called my family shortly after 8 in the morning and told them that their plane was supposed to leave at 9:40, not noon. I imagine it was quite the morning rush at my parents' house yesterday, but they made it to the airport on time and caught their flight.

They landed in Calgary--but their luggage did not. It somehow got left behind in Utah. They went to the luggage claim office to see if they could have their luggage delivered but because they flew with buddy passes, that option was not available. They decided to wait in the city until the next plane came in at 5:00 with their luggage.

Abra had her kids with her so instead of bumming around at the airport, they all headed to the mall, had lunch, and walked around. When they got back to the airport around 5, however, they found that the plane had been delayed. So they waited, and waited, and waited. The grown-ups tempers, I'm sure, were wearing thin and the children were probably getting pretty restless.

The plane finally landed around 7 pm. They got their luggage and headed to the van, well-ready to have their long wait over with.

Unfortunately, one of the doors wasn't quite closed so the interior lights stayed on the whole time they were in the airport...the battery was dead. Before they could make the drive to High River, they had to find someone to jump start their car for them. What a perfect way to end a frustrating day.

Oddly enough, I haven't seen or heard of anyone jump starting a car in quite a long time. We're two for two now though because Andrew had to go jump start his dad's car this morning.

I went to Super Saturday this morning so Andrew was taking the opportunity to sleep in without being nagged at or having the baby scream. Apparently his attempt was futile because the phone kept ringing. One of those rings was his dad.

His dad drove to the theater to do a class project this morning and neglected to turn off his headlights when he got out. When he came back to his car his battery was completely dead.

Andrew arrived on the scene and he and Reid proceeded to attempt to revive on the car. They popped both the hoods and looked at the batteries. Apparently our battery doesn't have the positive and negative charges marked, so they just guessed. They hooked up the first clamps without any problem. The second they put the second clamp on, however, things started sparking at Reid's end and smoking on our end. Reid jumped away from the clamps and Andrew unclamped our battery--they then reversed how they were doing things.

It's a good thing I was reviewing CPR at Super Saturday; I might actually have needed to use it, and I even had an AED handy at the time. Maybe we should start a community program to certify people on jumper cable and AED usage in one session.

Repeat after me: I'm clear, you're clear, we're all clear.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bowling Mania

Our good friend Rachel, who stayed with us for a while in Jordan when she was between apartments, recently got her mission call to Romania. She'll enter the MTC on January 16th, so with Thanksgiving just around the corner, and then the business of the end of the semester, and then finals, and then Christmas, we figured that we should get together before life got too crazy. So, last night we went bowling at BYU.

"Are you very good at bowling?" Rachel asked as we entered the alley.

I started laughing and told her about the last time Andrew and I went bowling, back in August. It was just about a month after Rachel was born and our first time out of the house together without her. I don't think you can see in the picture, but our scores are on the screen. Andrew had been taking a bowling class so he was doing alright. I had just had a baby though, and I was not doing alright. I was using the lightest ball possible and still was rolling gutter balls most of the time. On our fourth frame, I had 20 points. By the time we left I think my total score was right around 40. Andrew broke 100, by far.

"So although I have my own shoes," I finished, "I'm not very good at all."

"Good," she said, "Neither am I."

Luckily, bowling is one of those sports that you can enjoy whether you are good at it, or not, so Rachel and I decided just to have a good time while Andrew skunked us.

But that is not what happened. I bowled like a pro, and totally beat Andrew. Okay, so I only beat Andrew by 6 points, but I did break 100, which is a first for me. I was nothing like the kids bowling beside us--who had both broken 100 by their 6th frame and were striking all over the place. So, I won with 108, then Andrew with 102, and then Rachel, who scored how I usually score. I'm still not sure where that skill came from. It just sneaked right up on me!

We all had a good time though. Little Rachel had so much to look at and really enjoyed cheering everyone on. I don't think that bowling typically has cheerleaders, but Rachel did a superb job--they ought to consider bringing her in full time.

Here we are cheering for Big Rachel
Rachel also had a fun time with daddy. He held her over the air blower--she liked that a lot.

She sat with the bowling balls, and even got to try some bowling out for herself. The balls were too big for her to carry, so we just sent her down the lane. (kidding, of course).

We're excited for Rachel to go to Romania. Maybe she'll get to see Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Frank on one of their exciting trips. You never know.

Oh, and for anyone who's interested (those of you who went to Jordan with us), Allison also got her mission call. She'll be going to Japan--she enters the MTC in January as well.