Big and little devils

I've noticed a universal trend: All parents force their kids to eat vegetables.

I should say "try" to force. Kids are notoriously resistant to force, and will sneak, fight, or throw a fit to avoid it, like the cake story from hyperbole and a half.

I have seen this disturbing trend (even among awesome parents that Kathy and I admire and try to emulate) often enough to realize something was wonky. Then Elder Bednar spoke at stake conference a couple weeks ago, and his wife told a story about, you guessed it, forcing her kids to eat vegetables (It goes all the way to the top!). The prophet had come to eat at their house, and, it turned out, he didn't eat his vegetables either.
if you can name the game this picture came from, we can be friends
This reminded me of an article I read in college by Melinda Sothern, Ph.D. Here's her ten steps to getting your children to eat healthy. My favorite are:

1. Don't restrict food.
3. Don't label foods "good" and "bad."
5. Don't nag.
6. Don't use food as a reward or punishment.
7. Eat family dinner.
9. Give your kids some control.

We may think our kids are little devils for disobeying us. But when we use force to compel people, even children, to do as we want, then we use Satan's tactics. And really, his tactics suck. So when your kids disobey your sucky tactics, they're really acting like little angels, or, more appropriately, warrior-angels who wield the sword of whining and throwing-fits to fight their demon-possessed parents.

Next time at dinner, when you feel like you're fighting a battle with your children, you are, and it began in heaven.

If you want to win the battle, use God's tactics. Allow your children to choose, have healthy foods available, and your children will develop a healthy relationship towards food.

would you like one, too?

When I learned how to needle felt last year, I made a little Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus for Christmas. I set the nativity up on a shelf and made Christopher admire it with me over the span of several days.

I almost posted a picture of that first attempt here, but got kind of embarrassed, both about how it looked and how much it impressed me last year. I've learned a lot since then. Here's one of this year's nativities:

Remember this contest a while back? Jenny won. And this nativity is hers.

But you can have one, too, if you'd like. I've been told by enough people, "You should sell those," that I am.

I'm late in the game and you may have already done your decorating and planned your Christmas purchases. But just in case you're late, too, I want to say that you're welcome to order one. They're $40 and I need about 5 days' notice.*

And if you're all done with your Christmas shopping, I envy you. I also wish you a very Merry Christmas.

*If you know my real life email or phone number, you can contact me there to order. If you don't, you can still order by emailing me (here: kpetey [at] gmail [dot] com) to work out all the details.

Angry shoes

I got so angry today that I bought a pair of shoes.

the year i lived on fort street

Before baby girl was born, we painted her room yellow and hung birds from the ceiling. We arranged blankets and books and planned for her to settle in there for a couple of years. She didn't get to stay as long as we planned, but she was happy while it lasted.

We went back there yesterday to clear out the last few things and paint the walls back to their original (boring) beige. But I'll remember her room this way (even though baby girl won't remember it at all):

I kind of loved bringing her home to this space. I love even more that our new place is already feeling like home.

a change of scenery

We have news:
  • A new place. Boxes are still piled in our bedroom. We can't find floss, or our phone charger, or the can opener. And the path to the coat closet is an obstacle course of unpacked books. But we already love our new apartment. It's roomier and cheaper than our last place AND somebody else shoveled the walk and washed the outside of our windows yesterday.
  • A new blog. I started it a few weeks ago as an encouraging self reminder. Any of you creative (or not-so-creative) souls can visit it here.
  • A new season—and I don't mean just the crazy amounts of snow that showed up two weeks after the sunny picture above was taken. But also, it's a new season for our little eight-month-old. She's discovered forward movement and she's taken to scooting around like an inchworm: up on her hands and feet, butt in the air, and then straightening out and pushing off. This certainly changes the landscape of parenthood around here.

Help us out part deux

We found a place!

In Murray, close to my work, and cheaper.

If you know someone looking for a place, there's a lovely little two-bedroom in Draper with reasonable rent, a great view, and respectful landlords. Available December 1st.

the geekiest halloween


If you've talked to us recently, you've probably rolled your eyes as we've tried to convince you that there's a Nickelodeon cartoon you really should watch—Avatar: The Last Airbender. NOT the blue-people Avatar (although the color of our costumes might mislead you). And NOT the Shyamalan movie (I'll never get those 2 hours of my life back). The cartoon is just a fabulous story about interesting characters, even if you think its medium is suspect.

And if you haven't talked to us recently, roll your eyes right now because I'm about to tell you to watch it.

(Any of you netflixers can watch it on instant play. And if you don't have netflix, come to my house and I'll watch it with you. Seriously. I've made rice krispie treats for friends who have taken me up on this.)

Anyway, we joked that we should dress up baby girl as the show's main character for Halloween. And then her still-bald head and my sister's power of suggestion convinced us that the idea was no joke:

She turned out to be the cutest little Aang. The only thing missing from her costume: teeth.

Christopher dressed up as what you might think is a giant, cheesy, anime monster. But when you watch the show, you'll be so invested in the characters that this will be awesome. Plus, it will probably remind you of us.

I wasn't sure at first about wearing a Halloween costume that a larper might use on any normal weekday. But when I realized I could be the moon princess, I pulled out my blue shoes. 

We had fun this Halloween. And we're well on our way to geekifying our daughter. Please go watch our favorite cartoon, or we might just let her unleash some wicked airbending moves on you.

little help?

We need to move. We thought we would stay put for a few years. But every year, we seem to contract amnesia about how much we hate packing up all our books. This time, we're looking for somewhere cheaper and closer to Christopher's work—we're gonna get these student loans paid off.

But finding an apartment is harder than I thought, especially since we're trying to do it on the cheap. Yesterday, I went to look at a promising option—tiled bathroom, lovely neighborhood. But I didn't feel good the baby being on the floor there. And it had this awkward-looking fireplace. One of the stones just below the mantel was cut in the shape of a wolf, howling at the moon.

I know you get what you pay for and this apartment was seriously cheap. But I just feel like I shouldn't live in a place where somebody thought a howling-coyote fireplace was a good idea.

So do any of you Utahn readers know of a good place to rent?

We're looking for a 1-bedroom (or 2) apartment or basement with a washer/dryer (or at least access to one), as well as a place to store our two bikes. Somewhere north of Draper and south of Salt Lake. Maybe Murray?

I love our place now and I'm dreading the process of gathering all our things and leaving. Kind of nice to know that this little girl will be happy wherever we end up.

      oh, dear. am i turning into one of those people?

      You know the kind. They only blog about their kids and how adorable and perfect they are? 

      Sure, our baby girl spits up when we're going somewhere, and she screams when we wipe her snotty nose, and her poop is gross. But I can see how I might forget all that when I'm blogging. I forget it in real life all the time because she's so cute that I almost can't stand it:

      we love our farmer. you should too.

      When I went to our veggie pickup today, I passed on basil and peppers, since we've already had so many all summer. So Jill asked me if I wanted broccoli instead. I said yes, she left for a second, walked back to the garden, and cut some for me. It's not even my favorite vegetable, but I'm excited to cook up the freshest broccoli I've ever eaten.

      Our CSA is another casualty of summer's end. We only have one more pickup. I'm excited enough for it to start again that we've already ordered our farm share for next year.

      If you do the same before October 15th, you can get next year's veggies for 20% off. I highly recommend it: getting all those veggies cut our food budget in half this summer (which is weird, right? I didn't think we ate that many vegetables), we tried things we never would have bought on our own, and when we weren't sure how to prepare something, we just checked the Bells' blog for a recipe using that week's pickings.

      Click here for an explanation of the discount. Click here to place an order. And click here to see a picture of one of the Bells' adorable kids who entertained my baby while I waited for my broccoli.

      5 things (we have a winner)

      Sometimes, the only way to make disparate things go together is a numbered list.  Today's number is 5: 

      1. Today's the 18th. But I really DID draw a name out of the internet's hat with that random number generator three days ago. The 5th commenter is Jenny! She's one smart lady with some adorable kids and a vegan diet. Jenny, I'll email you soon so we can figure out what you prefer to receive. 

      2. I just found out that this was my husband's music collection when he was a kid: Genesis (Phil Collins' old band), a Weird Al tape, and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Awesome.

      3. I'm not a big fan of early-morning church, but I'm excited to go tomorrow because the 5-year-olds I teach are becoming more talkative with me. They say things like, "We're so hungry that we can't pay attention to your lesson anymore,"or, "You should have another baby soon. Then you can hold one and your husband can hold one. It would be so EASY!" I'll let you know if tomorrow yields any highlights. 

      4. Someone we know is in the 13th percentile for weight, but 88th percentile for head circumference. Like an orange on a toothpick.

      5. And here—just because she's so cute—is baby girl, acting like she's not paying attention to me taking yet another picture of her in yet another onesie that I've spiffed up with some fabric and a button.

      we're sad to see the summer end

      The geese who have a loud, wild layover party in the cornfield behind our house every morning are saying that summer's ending. I usually enjoy the change in season, but this year, I want to say no, no, no!

      I've spent a decent part of the summer on the bicycle of my dreams. With my baby sweetie in tow, I've gone everywhere on it: to the park, to the library, to visit friends. This afternoon, I'll hook up the baby trailer again and we'll ride up the street to our farmer's house to pick up fresh vegetables. It's nearly as idyllic as it sounds.

      This summer's been good, not just for biking, but for a bit of self-discovery and delight that baby girl giggles and wonders at the world: my growing wistfulness for summer is just a regular case of wishing a happy moment won't end. I have a feeling that things will just keep getting better as this cute kid grows. But knowing me, I'll still be out there pedaling long after the snow flies.

      (Speaking of time passing: tomorrow's the last day to comment on my previous post for a chance to win a custom handmade gift.)

      this calls for a celebration...

      ...but of what, I'm not entirely sure—our ability to talk about ourselves? This is our blog's 200th post. Big, round numbers seem to ask for recognition.

      What have we done between posts 1 and 200? We've lived in 3 different apartments, finished 2 degrees (one apiece), had 1 baby, and succeeded in paying zero dollars for every TV we've owned.

      These days, I'm in a making mood. I baked bread once a week in August. I've typed away on a novel. I've felted (coasters for a contest) and sewed (a baby-sized Halloween costume and some silk-tie onesies for a friend).

      Here's where you come in, faithful readers (and lurkers, too):

      Leave a comment on this post, wishing us a happy 200 (or saying whatever else you'd like) and I'll throw your name in the ring* for a handmade present from me. I can't promise that it will be big or amazing, but it WILL be 100% custom-made just for you. Thanks for reading. Celebrate away.

      *(I'll draw a random name out of a hat—or something like unto it—on September 15th. Baby girl turns 6 months old that day. One more reason to celebrate.)

      some kids don't like to eat their veggies

      But this girl does.

      remember ducktales? he'll talk about that, too.

      I voted Obama in '08. But I would feel better about myself now if I had voted for Ron Paul—even if he still hadn't won. But I didn't know then.

      My husband's going say some interesting things about that at a presentation he's giving/discussion he's leading tomorrow (Thurs, Aug 26th) at the library in Murray at 6pm. If you're interested, you should definitely come. You can even sit on the front row if you want—that's where I'll be.

      i'm not sure we've cleaned out our car in three years

      After the baby came and I started feeling overwhelmed with my unrealistic expectations of myself, we made an Everything List—a list of everything that needs to happen (daily, weekly, monthly) to keep our lives in order—and split things up.

      We had already gravitated to certain tasks. I like taking care of the laundry. He takes out the garbage because I never, ever remember. He's good at making sure bills are paid. I'm good at calling the insurance company.

      We divided up the ignored duties and devised a plan to jointly tackle cleaning the bathroom, a dreaded chore for each of us.

      Then we got to the last unclaimed item: clean the car.

      I looked at him. He looked at me. And because we knew neither of us would do it, we just crossed it off the list.

      I'm delighted for a few reasons. First, it's like we're real grown-ups; we'll decide, not when, but IF we'll clean our car. And second, I knew (again) in that moment that I'd married the right guy. Sure, we disagree at times, but not about fundamentals—like who's going to waste their Saturday afternoon vacuuming floor mats.

      Three years ago yesterday, we drove away from a big party in this car, that we may or may not have cleaned since then, and that we don't plan to anytime soon.

      (Thanks for marrying me, love.)

      meanwhile, back at the ranch...

      My last post sounded a bit glum. And although I'm a fan of embracing sadness (we all need a good cry sometimes), I can't stay too gloomy with a giggly four-month-(almost-five!)-old in the house.

      Baby girl certainly has some reasons to be happy this summer:

      #1. Her reflux is gone! Mostly, anyway. For a while, she wouldn't nap in any position but upright. And she cried while she was a awake with a why-does-being-alive-hurt-so-much-and-can't-you-do-something-about-it-for-me-Mom sort of cry. But these days, she eats like a champ and doesn't spit up so much that we have to use a receiving blanket to catch all of it.

      #2. Summer=outdoors. This girl would spend every minute outside if she could. While we wrangled reflux, she only calmed down when we took her out on the porch to look at trees. So, we've taken her on bike rides and hikes and walks. And when we've actually had to get something done around the house, we've just opened the door and set her in front of it.

      #3. Trees are her favorite things to look at. Books are her second. (And—I feel like a horrible parent—I think the TV might come in third. She stares and stares when we turn it on. I think her favorite show might be Glee.)

      #4. Being a baby is just plain fun (aside from the spitting up, lack of motor control, and crapping yourself a few times a day). I've told her a hundred times that she's fun to play with, that she has a cute face and a tasty thumb. But she just needed a summer to figure those things out for herself.

      april is supposed to be the cruelest month

      But this year, I think it may be July.

      I know a bunch of people who've had it rough the last few weeks—emotionally, financially, et ceterally. I don't know how many of those people read this blog, but for the ones who do: know that we're thinking of and rooting for you. And if we could make an uh-oh face for you as cute as this girl's, we would.

      A new month arrived just days ago. Here's hoping it's a lovely one.

      Bicycle/Handcart to Kolob

      I rode my bike over 140 miles this week. If I keep this up, I'll be in Nauvoo by October. That is, if I weren't riding in circles.

      I've just been riding to and from work. If I were riding across the country it might be newsworthy. So it is with many of our actions. What we do may garner no attention from thronging sweaty teenage fans, but it matters.

      Especially with our children. My wife works 8 hours a day for our kid, then I come home, and she works another 8 hours for me and the kid. I make sure to talk to her during commercial breaks.
      Seriously, though, that's a lot of work. And it may appear to be no more than a freezer full of pumped milk and a garbage can full of poopy diapers, but it will result in a child equipped with all that is necessary to inherit the throne of God and to reign for the rest of eternity over worlds without end. Pretty damn important.


      I've been having this discussion with a friend recently:

      Though our conversation wasn't nearly as cool.

      happy 4th, ya'll


      (many, many thanks, nick.)
      (catch you next time, singapore.)

      oh, singapore

      Here I am, looking very excited that my camera battery charger has finally arrived from the other side of the world:

      And here are all the pictures I've been able to take because of how well the charger replenishes the battery:

      Not too pleased with the results, I emailed Singapore to tell them I'm returning the charger and expect a refund. I figured I'd just suck it up and pay the extra money for a charger that actually works.

      I didn't expect the email they sent back. After addressing me as "dear friend" and making some seriously profuse apologies (I feel so sorry, so sorry for the item .), they said this:

      can I give you my opinion for this matter?
      in my opinion,I want to resend you a new one.and we will test one for a long time and resend it to you,then you don't have to buy another one.
      and also I just don't want you feel dissappointed with us,
      so can you give us the second chance?

      please contact with us,if you have any good idea.
      good day!

      Normally, I would be seriously bugged (still kind of am: I've been without a camera now for a few weeks and my baby is growing!). But I can't help but smile about this effusive email's grammar. Almost makes me want to give them "the second chance."

      And now for a picture taken by laptop: