Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oral baby

Paul loves having something in his mouth. Usually this something is a pacifier, though he's getting better at manipulating things and putting them in his mouth. He's also definitely more observant, especially of me, which translates into Paul diving for anything that I stick in my mouth. Today he's gone for my breakfast cereal, an orange, juice at Trader Joe's (which subsequently spilled all over the floor. grr), and my toothbrush. I don't think he really wants to eat--I've given him little tastes of my food and he doesn't seem impressed--but he really wants to put stuff in his mouth.

Just now he grabbed his dad's fingers to suck on. The same fingers, incidentally, that had just cleaned and seeded half a dozen roasted green chilies. Sometimes it's just not a mystery why Paul isn't warming much to his dad.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


This morning we were discussing farts and stinkiness (topics of great interest to three-year-olds everywhere) and Derrick listed off people who were stinky, including grandpa and her brother, but leaving himself out rather conspicuously. I told Sylvia to say, "My dad's stinky."

She said, "Your dad's stinky."

Yep, she's figuring out how pronouns work.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

roly poly

I admire people who actually keep records. This blog is, at the moment, the closest thing I have to a journal (which is why it occasionally includes posts that border on or enter into TMI territory, and why I sometimes put down thoughts on people, politics, and religion). I am lately especially impressed by people who keep baby books. Sylvia keeps dragging out her baby book, which I filled out all of one page completely. Lately I've tried filling in some of the gaps--mostly things I can look up on teh interwebs or things I actually recorded on this blog.

Since someday I may do the same for Paul, he's recently passed another milestone: he's rolling over. Derrick's dad got him to roll over from his front to his back on Sunday and I've gotten him to roll over several times over the last couple of days.

AGU was last week, so Derrick's parents came out to watch the kiddos while Derrick and I acted like adults for the week. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, mostly because I got to see friends I haven't seen in a while and hear about cool science. Oh, and eat out at the wonderful restaurants in SF. There's one Thai restaurant (The Old Siam) we went to three times during out six day visit.

The best thing, though, was remembering that I do like science a lot, and that there are still a lot of cool, useful questions to be asked.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I took a bunch of pictures today of a very cute baby. It was a fun day (and it took ALL day), but at the end of it I am exhausted. It's amazing how much energy creativity--even creativity as rudimentary as mine--requires. Anyway, even though it's hard to narrow it down, here are a few of my favorite pictures:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Evacuation day!

Sadly, on this most important holiday, in which we celebrate the final victory of the American insurgents over their British oppressors more than 200 years ago, I am out of both dental floss and cat food and must venture out to the stores.

A black, black Friday indeed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sylvia and Paul

People often ask if Sylvia likes her little brother. She does.

Frequently to decorate.

Sometimes she'd still like to sell him.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wet shirt

This morning I found Sylvia taking her shirt off in the living room. I asked why she was taking her shirt off. She said it was wet.

"How did your shirt get wet?"

"I was playing in the toilet."

She got a bath after that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Sylvia doesn't know she's a girl, or at least doesn't realise her gender isn't set by her clothing. At bedtime she gets very excited about putting on her "big boy" pull-up, believing her pull-up makes her a big boy. From the time she puts her "big boy" pants on until the time we deprive her of them in favour of "big girl" panties, she goes around claiming to be a big boy.

The confusion doesn't end with gender either. The other day she was trying to climb the pantry to get to her Halloween candy. I told her to get down. In response, she said, "No, I monkey!"

Apparently Paul's big sister is actually a big boy monkey.

Friday, November 4, 2011

If you want something done right...

I told Sylvia we'd make cookies tonight after dinner. Of course, Paul decided he wanted dinner about three bites into my dinner, so I was still nursing when Sylvia and Derrick finished eating. Rather than delay the cookie-making, I instructed Derrick to help Sylvia with the first few ingredients while I finished up with Paul.

I used this recipe, omitting the orange zest and substituting raisins for the chocolate chips. The cookies weren't great. They were too salty and just not very sweet. I added chocolate chips to the last batch, figuring chocolate works better in salty dough and that perhaps this just wasn't a good oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. While adding the chocolate chips, Derrick and I discussed the inadequacy of the cookies. He said they weren't very sweet. I agreed, saying it was surprising given there was almost two cups of sugar in the dough.

"How much sugar?"

"Almost two cups. Three-quarters of white and a cup of brown."


"Oh? How much sugar did you add?"

"Three quarters of a cup of white and a quarter cup of brown."


If these weren't cookies I know Derrick likes I'd suspect he was attempting to fail into never having to help again. Too bad for him this is one of those things I think needs more practice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Is just kind of a cool number and cool date.

Only one more this century, I believe (12022021).

Most notable thing about today in my life: I made green chili cheese tamales. Mmm, yummy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Paul is very smiley lately. He's two and a half months old, so it's not at all surprising that he's smiling and cooing--indeed, it would be surprising (and worrisome) if he weren't. What I find surprising is that I don't remember staring at Sylvia's smiles the way I do with Paul. I'm sure I did; what parent can resist the beautiful smile of a small baby? I just don't remember it. I don't remember very well how Sylvia cooed, though I know she did, and at the time we described some of her noises as pterodactyl-esque. I didn't remember the lint that collected between the fingers and toes, or how wonderfully squishy and bendable they are at the beginning. I am amazed at how much I've forgotten, though I suppose in a way that is a gift since I get to fall completely in love with this new child without too many comparisons.

And he is a beautiful child, and I do love him dearly.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lesson learned

Three year olds are tough. Repeating the same things over and over, never sure if the message is getting through is frustrating to say the least. I don't know how many times I've told Sylvia not to touch her brother while he's sleeping, or keep her feet off the table, or hold my hand while we walk across the street or through a parking lot.

The other day at least one of the constantly repeated lessons bore fruit. Derrick bought Sylvia a canister of nice cookies and, being the generous kid she is (something I take absolutely no credit for--she figured sharing out on her own) she pulled one out and held it up for me. And then, quite reasonably, said, "say please."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

skinny kid

Paul had his two-month check up today. He's 10 lb 13 oz and 23.5 inches long with a head that's 38.5 cm around. He's slightly above average length, below average weight (especially for his length) and has a slightly below average head. So, he's a little on the scrawny side, but very healthy and, once the shots were over, happy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

onion pizza

What I had for and with dinner:

We're all so proud.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good mom, bad mom

I know every mother has bad days. I feel like I have one or two (or three) a week--at least. You know, the days when at the end of it all I can really say is I didn't kill anyone today. The days when, try as you might, you just can't hold your temper with your child and you yell, yell, yell, even though you know that isn't going to be any more effective at getting your child to comply in the short run and in the long run it'll damage your child's perception of appropriate behaviour.

The days you feel like a failure.

But then, there's also that moment at the end of the day when, despite your frustration and your ire, your child looks at you and tells you, "I love you too" and you remember why you love this child.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soup weather

The seasons here in San Diego are nowhere near as dramatic as they are in other parts of the country. There are no leaves changing colours (or very few anyway), no cornstalks drying in the fields, no flocks of geese flying south. Even so, it's definitely fall: soup weather is here.

I've tried a couple of new soups recently. The first, 44-clove garlic soup, will probably not make it into the rotation often. It's delicious, and a soup that Derrick's been raving about since I made it (and eating and eating--I only got about half a bowl). Unfortunately, it makes Derrick smell like garlic. I felt like I was kissing a loaf of garlic bread this morning, and that's an improvement over the stench the day he finished the soup--two days ago! The morning after he finished the soup he trailed a cloud of garlic stench through every room of the house. I had to leave the windows and doors open for half an hour after he left to let the smell dissipate.

Tonight I made Hasa al hummus, a Moroccan soup that I probably will make again, though probably with some alterations. I didn't quite follow the recipe tonight--I pretty much halved everything except the paprika (and substituted the ground red pepper we have around here--molido, I think?), substituted chicken stock for the water and omitted the salt, and used lime instead of lemon. Oh, and I tossed in a carrot. The verdict? I liked it, though Derrick would have been happier with chicken instead of chickpeas. To be fair, he pretty much never likes chickpeas unless they're ground. Anyway, here's the recipe as I did it (for future reference).

5 c water
1 c cooked chickpeas
1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 tomato, diced (didn't bother peeling)
2 carrots, chopped in 1 cm circles
2-ish T chopped cilantro
2-ish T chopped parsley
4 tsp chicken bullion
1 tsp chili molido or paprika (or some ground sweet red pepper)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Juice of 1 lime
Black pepper

1--Boil chickpeas in water in a large pot. Add tomatoes, carrots, bullion, paprika, and turmeric.

2--heat oil in frying pan and fry onions until browned. Add garlic and saute for a few seconds. Add onions, cilantro, and parsley to soup.

3--Boil for 20 minutes or so, or until carrots and chickpeas are soft (if they aren't already). Add lime juice and serve with black pepper.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The other day (Wednesday, to be exact) a friend called me up and told me JCPenney's had a good sale on baby clothes (like $3 an outfit/piece kind of good sale). So, I dragged my unwashed self to the mall, bedecked in maternity pants and an orange button-down shirt that could probably best be described as vaguely feminine. I managed to park at the opposite end of the mall from JCP's (and pay $2 for the privilege--grr) which gave me ample opportunity to people watch as I walked through the open-air mall. The vast majority of the women I walked past were dressed very stylishly, which is to say, in tight, form-fitting, often expensive clothing. They were young and sexy.

As I walked toward JCP's, I admit, I looked down on those attractive women, just a bit. At least, I rolled my eyes at the effort and the resources they spent on looking so attractive, apparently mostly for the benefit of the other women roving the stores and the few slobby guys slouching around in gawky, awkward packs. Sure, I could appreciate the beauty of the women around me, but it all seemed so superficial, so silly to waste so much time and energy, especially as a woman with a small, rather time-consuming baby. I admit, I felt a little smug in my functional unattractiveness; felt celebratory about my misshapen midsection that, after all, had housed an entire baby not two months ago.

Then, I spent an hour shopping. In JCPenney's.

JCP's isn't exactly the hippest store. I associate it with relatively inexpensive, relatively conservative clothing preferred by women older than me. That's not a great characterization any more--they'd hardly be in business if they didn't have some cool clothes--but they are a place that still carries stretch-waisted jeans. After pouring through the women's and junior's clothing sections I realised the only pants that fit me would be the stretch-waist jeans.

Walking back to my car I looked at the beautiful women around me with envy. I wanted to be sexy like them, not thick in the middle with a baby-ravaged body. I don't think that's a great thing. I am quite understandably out of shape right now and I shouldn't feel bad about the way I look, yet even a little exposure to the images and messages about how I should look left me, 33-year-old, mother of two, smart, accomplished, and generally quite happy with my body, feeling inadequate. Because, less than two months after having a baby, I don't look young and fit and sexy. I can't imagine being a teen today. I know, we old people are always saying the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but the sexualization of media images, and of women and children is a documented trend. But oh, man, I worry about my children and how to teach them to look at themselves and the people around them when I can't do it myself. Sure, there are strategies to fight back, but they all sound so inadequate, especially since I, apparently, haven't really absorbed the message myself.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

red tide

Last night we went out for Mexican food (yeah! finally got my fix!!!) and then went to the beach and watched blue, glowing waves rolling into shore. Sylvia had a blast singing the five little speckled frogs song and dancing around while Derrick attempted to take pictures. Sadly, we have no pictures to share. Those of you close enough to the beach should head down to see arguably one of the neatest aspects of a red tide

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Derrick was trying to find a song about monkeys this morning and, in his search, came across Monkey by George Michael. Being the wonderfully sharing person that he is, he invited me to watch with him. You know, I used to really like that song. Now, whenever I see it I will picture George Michael dancing.


(yes, I realise I was a sheltered, innocent child when that song was popular, and didn't have MTV at the time. But wow, how could anyone miss it?)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

six weeks

Okay, so my six week appointment was actually Monday, and Paul turned six weeks old yesterday. While I wouldn't say I'm feeling overwhelmed (most of the time, at least) I am obviously not as on top of updating this blog as I used to be (as if I was consistent before :P ). Since I don't really want to brag (but I do kind of want to brag) and I definitely want to record this (you know, for comparison purposes if I ever, say, have another kid) I'm only two pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Yeah! I love breastfeeding! Now, at the same time, I have a definite muffin-top that wasn't there before this pregnancy and I really don't fit into many of my normal clothes. So either that 2 lb is all fat right around my waist (doubtful, given the current size of my boobs) or I lost a lot of muscle and maybe bone density during this pregnancy.

Paul is coming out of the "fourth trimester," too. His sleep schedule is regularising and he's becoming more social in that he'll actually look at me, or at a mirror with some regard, instead of just staring in the general direction of stuff. This morning he quite happily played by himself on my bed (and by played I mean flailed his arms and legs around and cooed happily at me). He still has crazy strong abs and loves to hold his legs up an inch or two above the surface of the bed, though not for quite as long as he used to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


People expend a lot of mental energy trying to figure out which parent (or other relative) children are most like. I admit, I also engage in this past time, especially with Sylvia. I'd say she has Derrick's energy, and somewhat favours me in looks (though Derrick is definitely there in certain facial expressions), but really she is her own, unique person.

Who, like her mother, doesn't mind unusual beds.

Moving up in the world

Sylvia moved into the older kid's class today. I'm a little anxious about the transition, mostly because potty training hasn't been going so smoothly lately, but it's probably time. Her teachers say she's intellectually ready. Truthfully, they're worried she'll regress if she isn't moved up.

I never thought I'd be apprehensive about the traditional milestones, but I guess I am. Of course, Sylvia had a good day and is very excited to be in the 'big kid' class. I picked her up a little late and while I was talking to Sylvia's teacher and the director of the school Sylvia was 'helping' one of her new classmates go down for a nap by taking off the other little girl's shoes and spreading her blanket on top of her. If only she'd go down herself!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Monday was cool and rainy and we hung out as a family doing not much. Tuesday it rained so I dressed Sylvia in a jacket and then sent her out into the unexpectedly hot, humid morning. That day was ridiculously hot--so hot Paul slept for six hours straight and I turned the hose on Sylvia and I to cool off.

Wednesday some ladies from the ward threw a shower for Paul. One of the women (who I met for the first time on Sunday) brought a package of diapers and something pink and ruffly as a gift. Apparently using Sylvia's baby blankets confuses people as to Paul's gender. Given how often Sylvia was mistaken for a boy, I somewhat enjoy the symmetry of Paul being mistaken for a girl. Sylvia's been having a blast using the size 1 diapers on her baby, explaining they "fit so well."

Thursday was another hot day, so after some quiet time (Sylvia pretty much refused to nap when it was so hot) we packed up and headed to the beach with some friends. Shortly after we arrived Junior (the dad--and yes, he is large of stature just to add a little more irony to the name) mentioned the power was out to our neighbourhood. Soon after I overheard someone's emergency radio talking about a power outage affecting much of San Diego. As it turned out, basically everything from Yuma, AZ west was without power down into Baja and up into Orange county. Fun, fun. Fortunately for us, the power went out around 4 and Sylvia, Paul and I stayed at the beach until 6-ish so by the time we were driving home most of the bad traffic (which Derrick biked through since he couldn't really do much at school any more) had cleared. Sylvia fell asleep on the way home and slept pretty much all night, except for the few minutes we woke her to clean her up a bit and put on pull-ups for bed. The only thing we really needed (besides dinner, grr) was the emergency flashlight-radio combo Derrick picked up this summer after the tornadoes in Alabama. Glad we were that prepared!

That night was amazingly quiet. I hadn't realised how noisy the local air traffic was. The loudest noises that night came from children playing--outdoors--late into the evening.

Derrick stayed home Friday and we went to the zoo. Derrick managed to get a picture of me looking old and wrinkly. Sylvia, as always, had a lot of fun.

For some reason I was sure Saturday was the 11th. Derrick worked on the kitchen he's building for Sylvia while I stayed inside with the kids. Fun, fun. Great way to avoid all the hubub surrounding the 11th, except that it was really the 10th.

Sunday I found out a friend, who would make a great mother, had the adoption she's been hoping for fall through. I hope she finds comfort and wish I knew how to help her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Republicans make me mad

Okay, not all republicans. Really, more the libertarians who for some reason seem to think we live in a world where the individual is the end all, be all, highest, most important, most sacred thing to worry about. Like, say, people who think FEMA is a bad idea and states should suck it up and plan for disasters better (and thank you, Diane Rehm for having such a wonderfully easy to hate guest on. Dan Mitchell is a pompous, uncaring ass whose only redeeming virtue is showing how heartless and distasteful the philosophy currently guiding republican policy truly is). Or people who apply the analogy of a family to the federal government, but only when it's convenient, not when actually talking about caring or sacrifice, or silly things like that.

Okay, I should probably explain a bit since I'm sure this is cryptic and probably nobody's going to listen to the Diane Rehm show to see what I'm talking about. Republicans think money to pay for the many disasters that have hit this summer should be paid for by cutting someplace else, because when a family experiences some disaster they have to find money from some other part of their budget to pay for whatever expense--the new roof or new car, or whatnot. Except, of course, I've never heard anyone talk about that particular aspect of budgeting in the middle of a crisis. Instead, people I know try to figure out what needs to be done and what they'll need to get through things, assuming they'll figure out the financing, or the insurance, later. You know, like they're worried about people more than money. In the midst of people loosing life and livelihoods the discussion of what to cut from the rest of the budget to finance FEMA feels cold and calculated not to help people, but rather to use the misfortune of others to further cut into government programs which, oh, by the way, mostly benefit the non-rich people. They completely ignore the fact that state Governors asked for FEMA to be created, ask for FEMA to assist them, and ignore the great good that is done by FEMA, insisting instead that states should I guess pull themselves up by their boostraps and take care of themselves. There really are times when collective action is a far better approach; it's frustrating to watch republicans do everything they can to destroy even the apparatus for a collective action approach to dealing with disasters, or really any part of our civilization outside the military. It's like they don't want to see how average people are helped, and help each other more effectively because the government is there to organize; it's like the suffering of those who, through sheer bad luck, need some assistance from the rest of us, is simply another tool they can use to dismantle the government they despise (and yet claim patriotism toward).

These republicans are a cynical, heartless bunch.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A week ago

At 3:51 in the morning I had my son. I've learned a bit about him since then. He sleeps a lot (very normal for a baby his age) but he tolerates gas less than his sister did. He loves his pacifier, preferring it to me when he isn't hungry, which is very unlike his sister. Also unlike her, he likes to be swaddled, sometimes seeming quite distressed when his arms and legs are allowed their freedom. After a couple of rough nights, though, he's proven to be a champion sleeper, letting me get plenty of rest (oh so wonderful, and oh so necessary for recuperating).

I've also learned that, impossible as it seems, I love him every bit as much as I love his sister.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All around the world

When Derrick closed the door to the car, he said to the newly named Paul Stefan, "now we can introduce you to some real music." The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, "All around the world" blared as we drove to the 163; then it was Jimmy Eats World, "The middle." Somewhere along the way I realised I just wanted to cry and chalked it up to the hormones.

Monday I showed up at my OB's a couple of hours early, having looked at last week's appointment card. After a quick check (2 cm, 60-70% effaced), Dr. Melin asked if I'd like to be induced. I said I would, so she set up an appointment for me for 2 that afternoon. I was a ball of nerves the rest of the afternoon, barely able to pack, or even think about what to take. Fortunately, a friend

Derrick took me to the hospital at about 2:30 pm. We got checked in and settled in and I was hooked up to an IV and monitors, and then I just sat around for about an hour being monitored. I was having a few contractions, and the baby was responding to them, but I could barely feel the tightening. Finally, around 4:30 they started me on pitocin, on the lowest setting. For the next six hours or so they increased my pitocin in excruciatingly small increments until I was finally having regular (2-3 minute apart) contractions that were mildly uncomfortable (and by mildly uncomfortable I mean I've had worse gas discomfort). Derrick slept and I read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" until about 11:30, at which point Dr. Melin showed up and broke my waters.

Once my amniotic sack was broken, the contractions became pretty painful (as expected). Dr. Melin and the nurse (Sharna) both suggested before that I might want to dial back the pitocin or get some pain relief, i.e.--get an epidural. Being stubborn and still too freaked out by the thought of a needle going into my spine to consider an epidural, I sucked it up and just dealt with the pain. This time I tried a bunch of different positions--squatting, kneeling, standing (really, marching during contractions. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but Derrick was smart enough to not even crack a smile in front of me) and, of course, the exercise ball). I didn't use Derrick as much this time around, which I'm sure his hands appreciated! He did give me a few back rubs, which felt really quite good, at least for a few minutes. I think because I'd been through labour before I had more confidence in my ability to deal with the pain, so this time I tried more positions and did more self-comforting (which is what I'm going to claim my "vocalising" and yelling at myself, "this isn't that painful!" really was). Having Sharna as my nurse was wonderful. She was supportive, telling me I was doing well and that the pain was normal and natural, and I don't think she ever offered me an epidural.

At around 2:45 I started feeling the need to bear down (not just to poop) and was pretty sure I was close. We were also having a hard time keeping the monitor over the baby's heart at that point. I don't remember having to move the monitor as much with Sylvia, but this time there was a definite progression of the position of the heartbeat from the middle of my belly to the top of my pelvis. Eventually the monitor was just about useless for monitoring the heartbeat because it would not stay in place for more than a couple of seconds unless I was holding it, and even then I was moving it around to find the heartbeat. Anyway, by that point I was pretty sure I was close, so I told Derrick to get the nurse and have her check me. Sharna came in and waited through a contraction and then checked me and said I was fully effaced but only dilated to about 5 cm, and said it could be anywhere from another hour to another four hours. At that point my heart just sank. I was so sure I was at the very least further along and the thought of another four hours of potential labour made me question whether or not I could get through the rest of the labour, at least without pain medication.

I got up and moved between positions again and, during a couple of contractions on the birthing ball, again felt the urge to bear down. This time when I got off the ball there was blood on the towel, so Sharna checked me again at about 3:20. She seemed quite surprised to find that I was fully dilated; I was very relieved. She turned off the pitocin and called Dr. Melin and then had me get into position...and then wait for the doctor to arrive.

Waiting through contractions, trying *not* to push is definitely not my favourite activity. I did a lot of heavy breathing and a lot of yelling, "don't push, don't push, don't push!" as if I could control what my body was doing (hah! I did manage to only push a little). I think crossing my legs would have been about as useful. I did have everyone in the room in stitches a couple of times at my very exaggerated sighs of relief at the end of contractions. Oh, was I relieved when Dr. Melin walked into the room. I pushed on the next contraction (which came pretty quickly) and screamed and swore as I pushed out the baby's head. Once his head was out, I pushed out the shoulders, then Dr. Melin told me to pull out my baby. So I did. I pulled his slippery body out of mine (let me tell you, that's a weird sensation) and plopped him down on my belly. and said, "hello there." Paul just squinted and squirmed in response, and cried his little mewing cries.

It was 3:51 in the morning.

They left Paul on me for several minutes while cleaning me up a little and letting the cord finish pulsing. Dr. Melin asked Derrick if he'd like to cut the cord. He said no, then did it anyway. His duties over, he went off to rest. Dr. Melin commented that he didn't look at all overdue, which makes me think the later, ultrasound based due date (8 August) was the more accurate one. After I pushed out the placenta, Dr. Melin stitched me up, mildly chastising Sharna for not turning down the pitocin and reminding her to pull out local anesthetic for the stitches. Apparently it's very unusual for women to give birth with no anesthesia at all around here--maybe so unusual even my very supportive nurse midwife forgot to pull out a local for me (though it's not like it really matters. There aren't many nerve endings in the vagina, so it's not like a local is truly necessary). I have to say, as bad as the labour pain was (and Derrick is probably right that the pain was worse this time than last time) my fatigue was worse. If I hadn't given birth as quickly as I did, it's much more likely I would have opted for an epidural, just so I could rest. So, I'm glad we didn't turn down the pitocin.

After I was cleaned up and peed, I was taken to a recovery room, offered some solid foods (if yoghurt can be considered solid food), and left alone with my baby and my husband. Nobody woke me for meals or for checks of my vitals; all of that was taken care of when I woke naturally. Sleep makes such a difference in recovery. Dr. Melin told me this would be an easier delivery and an easier recovery, and she wasn't kidding. I'm sure that experience played a part in that I knew what to expect and how to minimise some of the unpleasantness, but hospital policies (especially letting me sleep!) were also helpful. I loved my nurses--helpful and friendly and caring, and just so good with my baby and with me. I doubt I'll ever be as good at swaddling as the first nurse, Rosie.

Derrick's parents brought Sylvia in to meet her brother, which was a little exciting. She really wanted to hold him, and really wanted to nurse like he was nursing. It's more than a little nerve-wracking to have the older child near the younger one, especially one who is so interested in her sibling. It's also interesting how different Sylvia feels now that I have Paul for comparison. Her body is so much bigger, so much sturdier, and, skinny as she is, has so much more heft and so much more fat under her skin. I was tired out by the visit pretty quickly, so Derrick's parents took Sylvia out, and Derrick went with them to rest some place more comfortable. My mom showed up just a few minutes after they all cleared out. Apparently she was awake when Paul was born because Wayne's day started at about the same time I was having Paul. I let her hold Paul for a while, then kicked her out so I could sleep.

I spent most of the day sleeping or feeding Paul, and really, I felt pretty good by the end of the day. I didn't sleep too much that night, though I got more sleep than I did the first night with Sylvia. The night nurse told me Paul was jaundiced enough he'd probably have to be checked in 12 hours (or at about 4 pm) before he could be released. A few hours later he was released though, as was I. We spent the bulk of the morning going through the paperwork to be released (which was annoying, but far less annoying and shorter than Indiana's). The major hold-up was actually naming him. We got down to two names--Paul Stefan and Paul Frederick Lewis. Both Derrick and I liked the two names about equally, so we flipped a coin and named him Paul Stefan.

Welcome home, kid.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Three years ago I was getting acquainted with a little girl whose name we still hadn't quite decided on. I remember the nurse who came on duty shortly after we were cleaned up cooing effusively over my daughter's pale, alien-like body, telling me she was so beautiful we should have a dozen. I remember her helping me into the bathroom and the wheelchair because, in spite of going without an epidural I still couldn't walk. I remember holding my bundled baby as the nurse wheeled me into the small recovery room.

I remember spending much of the day trying to sleep between feedings and all of the lovely testing--the blood pressure readings and blood draws and temperature checks--that are done the day after giving birth. I remember eating one complete meal--breakfast--and then failing to finish two others, largely because there was just so much food. I remember sending Derrick home to sleep because he was as tired as I was, and the squeaky green recliner in the corner very simply wasn't going to cut it. I remember sharing onion rings from the South Street BBQ place that evening, and then dutifully returning to the unremarkable, but certainly nutritious meal provided by the hospital.

I remember spending that night, after all the business of that day, foggily holding my newborn, nursing her until she fell asleep (and usually me as well), then carefully setting her in the clear tub hospitals use as bassinets, only to have her wake up every time. Finally, at probably 5 or 6 in the morning, I allowed myself to sleep with her on my chest. Those precious couple of hours were the only sleep I got that night. My doctor woke me as the sun rose. I remember how his hushed tones spoke of the sacredness with which he saw his work as he explained to me that, "everything is different now."

And so it is. Wonderfully, beautifully different.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Diminished ambitions

Although Sylvia's birthday isn't until Sunday, we're starting the celebrations today. I made cupcakes for Sylvia's class, though this year I was decidedly less ambitious than I've been in previous years. Basically, I made cupcakes from a box, frosted them with frosting from a can, and decorated them with plastic animals from the store and some old colored frosting I had on hand.

It's not just that I'm pregnant and could go into labour at any point (hah!); it's also that the in-laws show up today and I have a messy house (which I really should be cleaning rather than blogging about).

Speaking of Sylvia, I just learned that there's an asteroid named Sylvia and she has two moons: Romulus and Remus. Perhaps I'll make my Sylvia some moon pillows for Christmas this year...

Ambitions for projects far into the future are so much more appealing right now.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yep, still pregnant

Sylvia was two weeks overdue and had to be shown the door before she'd make her entrance to the world. Thus, it's not all that surprising to me that I'm still pregnant the day before my official due date (and a week before the early ultrasound-based due date, which is the one I consider more accurate).

Apparently I'm about the only one, though. Even though I'm still small enough people are surprised to hear I'm just about due (and I'm definitely bigger than I was with Sylvia) a number of people expressed surprise to see I'm still pregnant--like the due date is some deadline and I should have given birth before it or something.

Unless I'm needed in primary, I think I'm going to skip next week. I could go around educating everyone I talk to about how only about 40% of women go into labor naturally before their due date, and only something like 67% before a week after the due date, but really, I get tired of the glassy-eyed stares and the quick exits to more mundane conversation. I know people are just making conversation and there's no actual meaning to their supposed astonishment at the continuation of my gravid state, but I'm a weirdo and I have this awkward tendency to take small talk too seriously.

Who knows, perhaps tomorrow I'll have my baby boy. I see the doctor again tomorrow, and perhaps stimulating my cervix will actually do something this time. I saw her last Thursday, at which point she stimulated my cervix. Later that evening, while walking through the SD zoo with Sylvia, Derrick, and a friend and her kids I had one good contraction that reminded me that yep, labor's painful. It was a really long contraction, too--we'd just gone into the Panda exhibit and the contraction lasted pretty much the whole time I was walking through. Admittedly, it's a pretty short exhibit, but I did take it slowly because I was in pain. Other than that I've had some contractions, but they've all been pretty weak and I'm guessing aren't doing all that much for me.

Ah well. One of these tomorrows I'll meet my little boy. In the mean time, I'm doing my best to enjoy the last few days (or weeks) of our family having only three people in it. Sylvia's excited about her brother, or at least about his arrival (she keeps telling people her brother will come out and then it'll be her birthday). This week we did spend a few good, quality evenings together as a family. Monday night I picked up Derrick and we got good Mexican food for dinner, then ate it at a beach in La Jolla. Sylvia wouldn't go into the water on her own (which was probably a very good thing at that beach. I don't think I've ever seen a beach as steep as the one we were on, and the waves were correspondingly powerful--probably too much for a small child) but she loved holding on to one of us as we dunked her into the oncoming waves. I was grateful my bikini still fit (though I look like a bloated, pasty whale), but I got cold pretty quickly, so Derrick did most of the dunking. Sylvia would yell, "no, no, no!" as the waves would come in and try to climb as far up Derrick as she could, and then, after each wave passed she'd just grin.

Thursday we went to the zoo (as I mentioned earlier). I took a rather long nap that afternoon and didn't even wake up until 5:10, and then Sylvia had to be fed before we could leave to pick up Derrick (who had sore tendons in his knee from starting biking back up). We stopped at In n' out for dinner for the adults (which was subsequently shared with the kiddo anyway) and finally showed up at the zoo around 7:30. That only gave us about an hour and a half at the zoo, but the cool thing about being there that late is that a lot of the animals are relatively active about then. Other than the koalas that are phase-shifted specifically to let people see them move, I've never seen one active. Several were quite animatedly chewing on eucalyptus leaves when we went past there. The wombats were also moving around, which again, I've only seen sleep before. Sadly, being a diurnal primate myself, the light faded quickly past the point when I could effectively see much. Still, walking around with my family and with my friend and her family was very enjoyable. Sylvia was particularly excited, and spent much of the time shrieking like a happy little monkey. I think she would gladly have stayed at the zoo all night long.

Last night Derrick finally got to see what my belly does when the little boy decides to be REALLY active. He said it reminded him of the scene in Spaceballs where the alien jumps out of the guy's belly (which is ripped from the movie Alien, but whatever). Apparently Derrick did that before he was born, at one point causing his father to laugh so hard he fell out of bed. Since baby boy is currently up to the same antics, I'm going to go find a more comfortable spot to spend the rest of my evening!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

still here

I'm still pregnant (not a surprise) and although my body's actually doing something (I am effacing and my cervix is softening, though I'm only barely a centimeter dilated) it's still probably going to be a while before I actually go into labor. Still, I'm feeling pretty good, so it's not a huge deal to me that I'm still in a holding pattern, and I have hope that I'll actually go into labor on my own this time. Yeah!

Somewhere along the way I (or someone) introduced Sylvia to the Queen song, "We will rock you." All week Sylvia's been randomly humming the tune, or breaking into the song, or, proving she's very much related to my dad, changing the lyrics to accommodate whatever activity she's currently engaged in. Sadly, I can't think of any specifically at the moment. Definitely one of those things I should write down when it happens so I don't have to write blog posts with lame non-endings.\

This weekend was pretty busy. Derrick gave a talk at Caltech yesterday, and today we had a friend over for dinner. Derrick wanted me to go up to 'tech with him yesterday, promising it'd be fun. Given how much "fun" I've had in the last couple of months travelling with my kid (and her refusal to take naps and increasing crankiness and energy as the afternoon wears on combined with my decreasing energy and increasing crankiness) I was all for *not* going. At the last minute I emailed some friends who have a daughter just a few months younger than Sylvia who are post-docs at Caltech (though not for long, as I found out--They're moving to England at the end of the month!) and asked if they'd be able to watch Sylvia for about an hour so I could at least go to Derrick's talk and, since they agreed, I figured I'd go.

Derrick suggested Sylvia and I go to the Page museum while we waited and I had every intention of going. Somehow, between walking campus (Sylvia loved hanging around Throop and enjoyed running through the (currently waterless) Millikan library pool) and visiting with a few friends who are still around (Athena at the Y and Tim and Theresa and their daughter) we never made it. We did go to Trader Joe's for lunch, where Sylvia played on their weird non-playground equipment while I talked to a beautiful Iranian woman who works at the Macy's next door. I didn't actually make it to Derrick's talk--since Tim and Theresa are moving to England and it's rather unlikely I'll see them again any time in the near future, I hung out with them instead. They had to get back to packing or I probably would have asked them to dinner. Instead, I called Sarina and we went for a light dinner of sushi since she had plans with other friends.

Being around 'tech as a non-student is finally nice. Somewhere along the line I seem to have gotten over feeling insecure and inadequate simply by being on campus. I hope that's a permanent part of my personal maturation and not just a by-product of pregnancy.

Today we had a friend, who happens to be Indian, over for dinner. Probably having someone over for a relatively intricate meal the day after a big travel day wasn't the most brilliant idea (especially since I'm easily tired at the moment) but dinner went okay. Derrick dragged Anand out to the garage, where they worked on making a wooden bowl (and a very rustic one, as my mother in law would say). I fixed lentils, zucchini pancakes (which are essentially my zucchini koftas only made pancake/latke-style and served with the traditional tomato sauce), fancy rice (basmati with spices, onions, and raisins), and then made Derrick cook chicken tikka on the grill, which was easy enough. I froze a bunch of uncooked chicken tikka so all we'd have to do was pull it out and cook it after the baby (assuming it makes it 'till then). Next time we definitely need to thread the chicken pieces on skewers, though--the ones I found at the store seemed too long, so I didn't get them. The individual pieces are far too small to cook easily on the grill. Probably the most difficult (if one can call it difficult) part of preparing the meal was making chapatis. They're a must with Sylvia, though--she loves to eat Indian food with chapatis. Then again, so do I. There's just something enjoyably elemental about eating with my hands!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Both sides of the story

When I was young, before I realized I would be far to short and unattractive to ever seriously contend for a beauty pageant, I dreamed of being Miss USA. I'm pretty sure almost all girls dream of being that glamorous, that talented, that poised; of being so beautiful you light up the stage, and the television cameras can't help but follow you around.

Not that I've watched a beauty pageant in a while, but I don't think I realized how dumb most of the girls sound when they open their mouths.

So, if you were to ask me the question, "should evolution be taught in school?" my answer would be something along the lines of, "YES! Evolution is a basic scientific principle that helps us understand much about the world around us and so it should absolutely be taught in schools."

According to many of this year's Miss America contestants evolution should be taught in schools only as a contrast to creationism, you know, so kids can decide for themselves what to believe.

Seriously? What schools did these girls go to where creationism was taught? Did they not pay attention in science class, or were their teachers that terrible or misinformed themselves that only a handful of them (almost exclusively from the coasts, you may note) even seemed to recognize evolution as science? And what is it with "both sides should be taught?" There are no "both sides" to evolution. There's a well-tested theory with an awful lot of evidence backing it up on one side and on the other...religious dogma.

While these young women may be exceptionally poorly educated, I have my doubts they're very different from most of their generation. I find it intriguing they seem to think the information presented in school is something one chooses to believe or disbelieve. Sure, there are interpretations one can choose to accept or not accept (though it really takes more education than you get in high school to be able to discern between interpretations), but the vast majority of what you're taught in school (including evolution!) isn't so much stuff you choose to believe or not; more like that's the stuff we're all expected to know and understand in order to be educated, reasonably thoughtful citizens of our nation. Having that knowledge may open up more choices, particularly educational, social, and (hopefully) employment opportunities, but believing what your taught in a secular school or not isn't really the choice you have before you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Go work like daddy

This morning when Derrick was headed out the door, Sylvia insisted she also needed to "go to work." Since Derrick was biking, she also insisted on riding her skuut, just like her dad. Unfortunately I didn't grab a camera to capture the two of them "biking" together, but let's just say it was very cute.

Sylvia's getting proficient with her skuut, too. This evening we went on a short walk to a friend's house around the corner. She's not quite gliding yet, but her feet aren't in contact with the ground 100% of the time anymore and she goes faster than I can walk. And when she falls she just gets back up and keeps going, just like a big girl.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Seven years, no itch

Today Derrick and I have been married for seven years. Happily, we've even spent more than half of that time living in the same place!

To celebrate, the three of us went out for Mexican food. We spent less than $20 on dinner and then went home and put Sylvia to bed before crashing ourselves. What can I say--romance isn't really a big deal for either of us. Then again, being rather hugely pregnant, I'm not currently feeling all that adventurous. Sure, we could have gone out to a nice, fancy restaurant, but we'd have Sylvia with us and I'd still have to be very careful about portion size to prevent that lovely third-trimester heartburn (which is strangely not connected to spicy food, but is triggered by fatty food and chocolate--grr).

I definitely lucked out in the marriage department, though. Derrick is a wonderful guy who I get along with well, he's a great dad, and we have a lot of fun together. He makes my life better, he makes me a better person, and I think he reciprocates those feelings. Here's to the next seven times ten years and more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Product of two primes

I am 3X11 today.

Not the most fabulous birthday of all time, but far from bad. Sylvia had a fever, at points really very high (and a little scary since she'd sort of lapse into gibberish) but she was at least a good-natured sick kid. We spent the day around the house, mostly doing low-energy activities like reading and watching TV. Her fever was gone by the evening, so we all went out for a tasty dinner of Thai food.

Really, not a bad way to celebrate the passage of another orbit around the sun.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Number 2

Last week and much of the week before we took care of the dog of one of Derrick's co-workers. It was really pretty enjoyable--Jasper's a great dog, well-behaved, and we definitely enjoyed having him around. Sylvia, I think, was especially excited to have a dog around. She was a little rougher with him than I wanted her to be (pulling hair and poking and sitting on him and such) but she was also very loving toward him.

Unfortunately, she seems to have picked up a bad habit.

Jasper, like all dogs, potties outside. Sylvia now also wants to potty outside. Saturday she pooped outside, which was gross, and made even more gross when Jasper oh-so-helpfully licked up the poop we couldn't easily pick up. We talked to her about it and since then she's been good about going where she's supposed to.

So, this afternoon Derrick and I were running the errands we've neglected for the last while (Sylvia's been home since last Tuesday afternoon because the scrape on her chin refused to heal. Miraculously, a few days away from the wipes and band-aides her teachers were using to treat the scrape--and Sylvia is, incidentally, allergic to--and the scrape was mostly healed. Unfortunately, the doctor called it impetigo, so I had to keep her home anyway. Grr). As our conversation meandered 'round, we talked about Sylvia's pooping incident and speculated on how we would react if Sylvia pooped outside at school. Both of us agreed, while it would be embarrassing, we'd each have a hard time not laughing.

And indeed, when I got to school and Sylvia's teacher informed me she'd pooped outside once and peed twice, in spite of my doubtless very red face, I had a hard time not laughing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Going off script

In primary I'm teaching the sharing time lessons for the month of May (with the exception of last week because I was sick). The third week of May I went of script and talked about stories in the Book of Mormon (go figure--in a lesson on the BOM I actually talked about stories in the BOM). That lesson didn't go all that well. In hind sight I should have picked the exciting, well-known stories; instead I talked about the Liahona, compared King Noah and King Benjamin, and then talked about the people of 4th Nephi. Really, it was a bit over the heads of the kids.

Last week the kids got the BOM lesson as scripted, which was a little too bad--I was hoping the other teacher would take care of the priesthood restoration lesson and let me do a lesson on the Relief Society (the lesson manual only provides four lessons for the five weeks of May). Because I really wanted to talk about Relief Society (and because we get tons of lessons on the Priesthood) I decided to talk about both.

I wasn't quite sure what to do, but decided to come up with a list of facts about the Relief Society (things like the motto, descriptions of notable service efforts--work shirts for those building the Nauvoo temple, saving grain, sending quilts and other supplies to war-ravaged Japan and Europe, etc.) and then what Priesthood holders do (bless and pass the sacrament, baptism and confirmation, temple sealing, etc.) and then had the kids guess whether something was done by the RS or by the Priesthood. At first I was just going to have the kids keep score, but then I thought we could play it as a board game where if the kids got it right they moved and if they got it wrong they had to try again. The board included a bunch of songs to sing, and then I sort of rigged it by making the spaces between move forward or back to the songs. So, we got some singing practice in and the kids really liked it.

I love going out on a high note.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day at the beach

Yesterday I took Sylvia to the Birch aquarium, where she had a blast looking at all the animals living in their tide pool. Since that was so much fun, we decided to go see the real ones today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Skuut away

We tried to get this for Sylvia's birthday. Unfortunately, patience is in short supply 'round here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Love me some antibiotics

This past week I've been a little under the weather. By under the weather I really mean I've felt fine except that I've had swollen lymph nodes and an associated sore throat. The worst part of the illness (other than the constant pain and inability to swallow easily) was that I couldn't sleep very well, so all week the longest single stretch of sleep I've had was maybe 2 hours. That's not all that conducive to getting well, which is perhaps part of the reason why I wasn't getting better in spite of staying down all week long.

This morning, after another night of just a couple of hours of sleep, when my throat was at least as swollen as it had been for days and I was on the verge of tears, I decided it was time to go to see a doctor. Apparently being 30 weeks pregnant means they take illnesses very seriously. After a rather brief look at my throat (since opening my mouth was painful enough I flinched and squirmed like a recalcitrant child) the doctor decided I had an abscess in my throat and prescribed a shot of antibiotics and a 10-day course of antibiotics, and gave me a prescription for Tylenol-3. Yeah.

The shot wasn't so bad, though the stuff was pretty viscous so it sort of sat there all day. Tylenol 3 is wonderful stuff (I've never taken it before) though I don't think I'll be taking any more of it while pregnant. The doctor said it was safe during pregnancy. Reading through the label it's more like take this only if the pain is so bad you seriously can't function. The best thing about all of it--the antibiotic and the super-duper strength Tylenol: I feel better. Not perfect, but oh so much better. I've been avoiding talking for days because it hurt so much. This evening the three of us went to a friend's house (not really intentionally--we went on a walk with the dog we're sitting for another friend and Sylvia ran up the steps and had an invitation before we really could say no) and I admit, I jabbered on much more than usual, simply because I was so excited to feel better and not be in pain.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sugar and spice

This evening, while I was cleaning up after dinner, Sylvia discovered a huge cache of slugs living under one of our potted plants. As she loves to share her discoveries with her parents, she ran inside and insisted I come out and see the slugs. Twice, since apparently my first examination of them was too short.

At least she didn't insist I hold any of them. When it rains she goes around the yard collecting snails, most of which I have to hold while we walk to school.

It brings to mind the nursery rhyme,

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and things that are nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of?
Sticks and snails and puppy-dog tails,
That's what little boys are made of.

Except in the case of my daughter, it's probably slugs and snails and puppy-dog tails.

Is it coincidence I caved to my daughters wishes for lip gloss this evening?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cambrian explosion

Derrick bought some woodworking books online recently and this morning Sylvia discovered the one on toys that included a bunch of train car plans. She spent a good 10 minutes looking through the book, talking about the different kinds of train cars, all while Derrick and I slowly, luxuriously woke up.

Derrick used her excitement as another reason he should just get the router table he wants. Having a router table would open up so many woodworking options it would, as he said, be like the Cambrian explosion of woodworking.

I love being married to a nerdy scientist.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

So when they called it the Wild Animal Park...

...they really meant it.

In case you're wondering, that's a duckling being eaten by a kingfisher. Both zoo animals. Yep, wild.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random walk

Derrick's got funding for the next couple of years. YEAH!!!

So now, in addition to thermal geophysics and electromagnetism, he'll be working on mineral physics.

I think my husband's career is shaping up to be rather diverse.

How did I miss this?

Okay, so I don't read the Washington post all that often, but seriously, the sheer number of responses to Michael Otterson's post on equality in Mormonism should have brought it to my attention before today.

Especially given how timely that post (or at least the responses were. Thursday I went to a stake Relief Society activity where the San Diego temple President and his wife spoke. She was given the opportunity to speak first and she chose to speak on how wonderful women are, and then proceeded to quote a bunch of men speaking on how wonderful women are. The only woman she actually referenced in her talk was Abish, one of the (I believe) two women named in the Book of Mormon. Yeah. I believe I'm wonderful. Especially because men tell me I am. Kinda reminded me of this post on gender, authority, and strange loops.

Is it that hard to find quotes by women? Or stories about women's strength that don't actually make them sound childish and weak, like the stupid story Elaine S. Dalton told about girls "doing hard things" by walking 22 miles (all while apparently insufficiently prepared, given the references to injuries along the walk. On flat ground. Through an urban area). Really, can we do no better than that, especially given the remarkable history Mormon women have, the valuable contributions those women I'm rather proud to have as fore-mothers made toward building a society in a desert wasteland? Can we not find more women making laudable, impressive contributions today? What about any of these women?

The only part of the TP's talk that really stuck with me was an anecdote he shared regarding Pres. Hinkley and his wife. The TP and his wife had the Hinkley's over for dinner at some point and Sis. Hinkley was offered seconds by the TP's wife. Pres. Hinkley, used to protecting his wife (the TP's words, not mine) answered no on her behalf. Sis. Hinkley, however, spoke up and said that actually she would like seconds.

I realize we're all products of the society in which we live, and our culture has changed an awful lot in the last 80 years, but really, why would Pres. Hinkley ever need to speak on his wife's behalf, especially on such a trivial matter? Why would that be seen as protecting anyway, and not controlling?

We women are incredible, and we do hard things, but the way it's talked about so often leaves me feeling the opposite--like what I and other women do really isn't important, is really quite trivial, and certainly very unvalued.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter, right.

So, Easter kinda sneaked up on us this year. We were shopping for Easter candy Friday night (when the shelves at Target looked like the aftermath of a natural disaster) and Saturday was pretty well consumed between the primary/ward activity and Sylvia being under the weather (she had a fever).

The first couple of pictures are actually from Utah. My mom and Sylvia colored eggs with onion skins. They come out looking seriously cool:

Getting back to the more recent past, as I mentioned, we had a primary activity (Easter egg hunt and other miscellaneous activities) and ward activity (car wash, gardening class, and BBQ) Saturday morning. Friday night, in preparation, I made about 4 dozen cupcakes and twice as much frosting as I actually needed, and hard-boiled and dyed somewhere around 4 dozen eggs, all while catching up on The Daily Show and Glee. The activity went well and I had about twice as many cupcakes as needed and more than twice as many eggs, but the kids had lots of fun decorating cupcakes and throwing hard-boiled eggs around. It was a really pretty successful activity. I was sad Sylvia was sick--she would have really enjoyed running around with the other kids and getting a sugar high from all the sweets.

Sunday morning we had an Easter egg hunt, which Sylvia eventually got into:

As all kids should on Easter, she had candy at every meal and was totally on a sugar high all day long.

I intended to make a dress for Sylvia for Easter this year but didn't. Instead, she wore a dress my grandma Mimi made for her many months ago. The last time I put it on her she pulled the ribbons out. This time she just kept untying the bow.

Some friends had us over for another egg hunt in their yard, which Sylvia enjoyed. We took over her unopened Easter eggs from the morning (which was the vast majority of the eggs) and hid them while she played with the other kids and watched Alice in Wonderland. When the white rabbit showed up we took the kids out and let them find the eggs. It was a relatively quick hunt, not only because we kept the eggs in a pretty limited area, but also because it was cold! We hung out with our friends and their kids for a couple more hours, then went home for dinner and to fall into bed, exhausted from the busy weekend.

I know some people put way more into Easter than we do (full fancy meal, fancy clothes, and way more church). I'm rather glad we left this as low-key as we did.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The "why" stage is upon us.

This morning I yelled in consternation when Sylvia dumped water on the kitchen floor and complained, "now I have to clean it up."

To which she replied, "why?"

"Because it's a mess."



Later, dragging her away from the neighbor's gravel parking strip (her favorite play place) I told her we had to leave, NOW!


"Because we're late."


"Because I made a time-intensive breakfast of potatoes this morning."


"Because that's all we had on-hand."


"Because we need to go grocery shopping."


Apparently that one doesn't need a why.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do you have your bunker set up?

'Cause at 8:11 pm tonight skynet will become aware and begin attacking humans. Have your 72-hour kits at the ready, and know where your local nuclear fallout shelter is--it's going to be bumpy ;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The rest of the trip

Driving to Utah was a bit more of a bear than we bargained for. Sylvia and I packed up the car on Thursday afternoon, which was an adventure in its own right, involving two poopy diapers, a bloody nose, a flooded bathroom, and Sylvia puking cat treats. We finally picked up Derrick around 4:30, which meant we had the joy of driving through rush-hour traffic to get out of town. Yeah.

We had dinner at the Mad Greek in Baker, CA, then drove a couple more hours until both of us were too tired to go on. We pulled out the tent and set it up in the blustery, freezing wind, and then discovered Derrick neglected to pack the sleeping pads. So, we slept on bumpy caliche, which didn't seem to bother Sylvia much, but didn't really agree with my back. Between that and the noise from the wind I didn't sleep well.

We were up and driving by about 6:30 the next morning and hit snow somewhere between St. George and Cedar City. This being April, the snow was wet and sticky, turning to slush as soon as it hit the road. Since the weather was bad Derrick didn't want to stop for real breakfast, so we picked up donut holes and some of those lovely wax chocolate covered donettes for breakfast. A couple of hours later we stopped for "lunch"--this time of cheetos and bean burritos (for me).

In spite of the snow we actually made pretty good time. It helped that about the time we hit Kanosh the snow turned to rain and eventually just overcast skies. We got into Lehi, where my cousin Elisa lives, at about 12:30 or 1 and stopped, happy to get out of the car. Elisa fed and entertained us, and then offered to take Sylvia for a few hours so she wouldn't have to get back into the care and so Derrick and I could go to MacBeath Hardwood without worrying about a small, easily squished human.

We finished shopping and got to my Dad's at about 4:30. At about 5 minutes to 5, Elisa called and let me know Sylvia had puked and asked if I could come down and pick her up because Elisa had plans with a neighbor she'd forgotten when she offered to take Sylvia.

Yeah. 5 pm on Friday. Driving anywhere near Point of the mountain. sounds fun.

Elisa said Sylvia was doing okay otherwise, and didn't seem to feel sick or have a fever. After talking to her a bit (and stressing over either driving to Utah County on a busy Friday evening or leaving my potentially sick child to play with other kids) we finally decided her puking was probably just a response to eating so poorly earlier in the day (I don't think I mentioned the earlier cat treat puking incident) and that I'd just make sure to be available to drive down and pick her up if she started looking sick again. Shortly after coming to that conclusion, my phone died.

Fortunately, Derrick's phone still had some juice, so we went to dinner at Rumbi's with my dad and then the two of them went out to the garage to work on a carving vise. Sylvia was apparently just fine and came home a few hours later wearing a pair of striped pajamas that was pretty much her favorite outfit for the rest of the weekend.

The next day (Saturday) we met my mom for breakfast at Village Inn and then my mom took Sylvia to a "What Women Want" showcase thing at the Salt Palace. Derrick and I went to Marshall's, a hardware store that has two locations--one in San Diego and one in Salt Lake. While we were there I tried to call my dad to ask him about a tool Derrick was planning to buy and whether he needed to buy one of the accessories for it. My dad didn't answer his phone so we went ahead and purchased the accessory, rationalizing that Derrick could then just keep the extra piece if my dad didn't need it.

When we got back to my Dad's there was nobody there, so we just unloaded Derrick's new toys and hung out a bit. My dad got home a few minutes later and told us he was just at Marshall's trying to buy the same tool I'd called to ask him about. Marshall's apparently only had one on hand (which they sold to us). The guys there told my dad, "We don't sell one of these a year and today we've had two people ask for one." They then went on to describe the purchasers as a guy from San Diego and his pregnant wife (reassuring in its own way that I now look pregnant rather than just fat). My dad didn't tell them immediately that we were his son in law and daughter.

Shortly after I got ready and left for the wedding. The weather was pretty bad--cold and snowy--so I wandered around the temple grounds for just a few minutes taking pictures before finding the waiting room where the rest of my family was waiting. When Andrew and Melinda came out, we took pictures--quickly--and then rushed back into the waiting room to warm back up. The funniest thing about the pictures was that the woman helping the real photographer kept calling Melinda "Melissa."

Lunch was at an Asian (Chinese) place called Sampan, where we had sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, lo-mein with chicken, and some beef dish. At the end of the meal, my fortune cookie told me I would soon receive many gold coins.

After lunch I just drove to the chapel where the reception was going to be and waited for the people with the keys to show up. The weather was finally starting to clear, but it was still cold and gray. When Mindy and Drew showed up with the keys, I went in and started taking pictures of things like the decorations, the cake, and the rings.

My mom brought Sylvia to the reception and dropped her off, which was really nice. Sylvia apparently enjoyed herself at the What Women Want show, arriving decked out in a frilly purple dress, complete with feathers, and a pair of metallic pink squeaky shoes. My cousin Lara eventually showed me how to de-squeak the shoes, but Sylvia was unhappy with their lack of noise-making, so I put the squeakers back in and she squeaked the rest of the night.

The last couple of days in San Diego I put in a lot of time making kimonos for Sylvia and her cousin Liesel (Lara's daughter), but by that point in the day I was so tired I didn't even try to make her put it on. Oh well. Liesel cried when her kimono was inflicted on her, so it's not like we would have gotten the nice pictures I was hoping for anyway.

The reception ended at about 7 and we stuck around 'till about 7:30, mostly to take a few more pictures of the happy couple in the sunshine that finally appeared at the end of the day, and then we drove (carefully, since we'd neglected to get Sylvia's car seat back from my mom) to the Red Iguana. We had a delicious dinner there and then went home and crashed.

Sunday Sylvia and I hung out in my Dad's house while Derrick and my dad continued to work in the garage. At about 2, Sylvia and I drove up to my Grandma's house in Fruit Heights for my Aunt Lynette's birthday celebration. I showed off the pictures I took to my grandma (which wasn't so much showing off as sifting through again to see if, by some miracle, the pictures had improved--that was a hard wedding to photograph from a technical perspective and I'm really not happy with the job I did. Oh well), did a little work (since my advisor emailed and apparently was in town at the same time), and then had a delicious dinner of salmon burgers, asparagus, and stuffed mushrooms. It was a wonderful dinner, and an especially wonderful dinner to have left Derrick at my dad's house. I apparently inherited my mom's bone-finding gene because the piece of salmon I got had as many bones in it as everyone else combined.

Lynette's two older daughters both made cakes--one a flour-less chocolate torte, one a simple yogurt cake assembled as a strawberry shortcake--and there was cheesecake to boot. I ate way to much, then packed up Sylvia and our stuff and drove back to my dad's.

Monday Derrick decided he needed to do actual work, so I gave him the car and Lara picked up Sylvia and me to drive down to Elisa's again. Mostly we just hung out and talked, which was unbelievably nice. Other than Derrick and maybe two people from church, I just don't get a chance to talk to many people in person for any length of time anymore. Visiting with all of my family was the best part of the whole weekend. Anyway, we went to Target, picked up a dinner of corn dogs and french fries, then Elisa picked up her son, who, unlike her other two kids, was not on spring break. Sylvia and I probably should have left about then, but Elisa promised me a haircut, so we stuck around for a little while longer.

While Elisa was cutting my hair (and discovering I have white hairs growing), Sylvia and Ira (the son who was in school) got into the mud Elisa's oldest child had created earlier in the day by flooding his and the neighbor's back yards. Within the relatively short period of time it took Elisa to cut my hair, Sylvia and Ira were both covered in mud, as was the front porch and front door. Sylvia and Ira got a shower together, and while Elisa was taking care of the kids I tried to do some damage control on the mud caked on the front door and scattered from the front door to the bathroom. The kids were clean before the door was, so all three cousins (Sylvia, Ira, and Liesel, who just wanted a shower) ran around naked for a while. This was apparently too much for one of the kids in the neighborhood who was visiting Elisa's daughter because she made several snide comments about the inappropriateness of letting children run around naked. Elisa, Lara, and I all found the suggestion we were allowing our children to behave inappropriately highly amusing.

When Lara dropped me off at my dad's house, I found out we'd missed the dinner my dad's wife, Christine, had planned for us all. Of course, so had Derrick and my dad. So, we warmed up the left-overs and ate, and then Derrick went back to working and I went back to packing for the return trip--a feat made more complicated by the dozens of articles of maternity clothing I've borrowed from cousins.

We left the next morning by about 8, stopped for burgers at In 'n Out in St. George, stopped again for gyros and shakes at the Mad Greek in Baker, and were home by about 7:30.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cold, cold wedding

Today was beautiful. All day long I was cursing the wonderful weather, the beautiful dramatic clouds and sparkling blue skies for coming today rather than yesterday. Even with the less than pleasant weather yesterday, we still managed to enjoy the beautiful wedding of my cousin, Mindy. Here are a few pictures from yesterday: