we're glad you were born

Happy birthday to this guy:

From the two girls who love you more than anyone else in the world:

We hope you know—especially today—how grateful we are to share this life with you.

something geeky and gorgeous about traditions

(photo by the lovely J. Lanae)
I make pizza on the same days I bake bread because it's easy that way.

After punching down the dough and dividing it into loaves, I roll the extra flat and bake it on a pizza stone. When I did that yesterday, my little 21-month helper stood on a kitchen chair and insisted on assisting with the cheese (by putting it on the pizza, and then off the pizza and into her mouth).

Watching her, I wondered if some day, when Claire and her future siblings come inside from playing and smell bread baking, they'll know it's pizza night.

Maybe this new rhythm—that I'm creating out of ease—will feel comfortable and reliable to them by then. Maybe it will become tradition. Maybe not.

But traditions. Get me thinking about a word and I'll head to the geekiest dictionary I can find. Definition number one...

tradition: act of delivering into the hands of another

Yes, traditions include a fair amount of repetition and festivity (definition #6). But I love the idea that tradition might first be about giving something, delivering a sort of gift—a gift that passes on a recurring message: "This is what life means. This is how much you mean to me. This is what to rely on when things feel shaky." I hope she gets the message that I mean to send.

a brief guide to unemployment

  • Don't panic.

If you find yourself jobless on an unexpected Monday afternoon, it's a good idea not to worry about a thing.

The wound is so fresh and startling that you probably don't even need this advice. You'll feel confident that a job will be had by early next week. If it isn't, don't panic then, either.

Remember: there is no way that you can stay unemployed forever, as long as you're looking. A few weeks, months, or even a year are not forever—no matter how they may feel like it.

  • Do what needs doing.

You might want to say things. No. Your wife may want to say certain things: to your former employer, to (dangerously) the internet. If you married someone with common sense (or an anxiety complex about self-disclosure), she will hold her tongue in the face of frustration... Although she may write some strongly worded letters she will never send.

It's okay—wise, even—to step back, to let some things slide. You don't need to feel guilty for neglecting the blog. You don't need to tell everyone every sad setback. Choose where and when you tell those stories.

But never stop talking to each other.

If you take care of your little girl during the day so your wife's part-time hours can cover some of the bills, "Daddy" will soon be the first word out of that girl's mouth every morning when she wakes up. She may also ask for bubbles. Or doggie. Which means you are very important indeed.

  • Ok, panic. But take turns.

The down days will come. The credit card bills will arrive. It will be at least 3 months before your old boss tells you he made a mistake and wishes he hadn't let you go—if he tells you at all. Some days, you'll feel bummed, frustrated, rejected.

How nice if there are two of you. You'll ride different waves at different times. When you're up, say kind words that are true. When you're down, listen to the words that come your way.

You will end up living what you already trusted about each other—that you're in this together, come what may.

If the job search goes on longer than you thought possible, figure out a way to make potatoes taste delicious. They're cheap.

  • Trust that things will show up.

Stop trying to wrap your mind around the way everything will work out. There are too many variables to juggle, and you're not in control of nearly as many as you think.

Your neighbors will invite you to dinner (thanks, Kenworthys). You might letter-press for an afternoon (thanks, Leland). Your wife might become an audition pianist for a day, a job she was grateful for, but in hindsight, also terribly underqualified for (thanks Tara and Bethany). Someone may order handmade crafts (thanks, Adrienne). The arrival of those checks will be more timely than their senders know.

And then some nameless do-gooder will leave a box of food at your doorstep just when you're wondering if potatoes and rice could possibly go together for dinner. It's okay that you don't know who should get a thank-you note. Things will show up for them, too.

Don't try to figure out how you made it this long. Just be grateful for everything that got you through.

And then take a deep breath, even more grateful for what comes next.

Today is Monday, and you're on your way to work at a new job.

This baby needs your (Halloween) advice

We need your vote.

Last year's Halloween was fun. We finished our costumes in advance. Our cutie girl was a little airbender. And her parents...well, we were really big nerds.

But this year, we're not so sure. Do we go lazy? Or do we go cute? Or are they not mutually exclusive?

See, my awesome neighbor gave me this random pink bunny suit (that a friend randomly gave her). If pink, plus bunny, plus suit makes you think of this, you're right on the money:

Hilarious, right?

But I had kind of hoped to dress her up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Why?
  • Claire's first word was doggie (and as Dorothy, she'd get to carry a cute little stuffed one around in a basket). 
  • Us two grown-ups would have plenty of costume options (witches, munchkins, flying monkeys) to choose from in case we want to make this an ensemble Halloween production.
  • AND I almost don't want to pass up an excuse to buy glittery red toddler shoes (partly because I know she'll love them as much as I do—that girl loves her shoes).
Her Dorothy costume would be amazing. But it would also take some time, creativity, work, cash. And here's the thing: I already have a pink bunny suit. Not something I've ever been able to say before.

But are we starting an odd tradition by dressing her up as a boy two years in a row?

Are we giving her future issues by dressing her up as a boy who will clearly have future issues because his parents dressed him up in a pink bunny suit?

Or is she just too cute like this for me to waste my time on anything else?

letting go of my 30 before 30 list

I copied the internet. I made a 30 before 30 list.

And, boy, did I cross things off that list. I did 30 for-real push-ups in a row, bound a photo book for my baby, wrote a love song for my husband, and was well on my way to planning a scuba-diving trip and learning a nerdy amount of Latin verbs.

But last month—I threw out the list.

I'll tell you why. I read an article that I've thought about probably every day for a month now. I let myself imagine: What would life look like if I nixed my list and went with just ONE goal? What would that goal be?

Easy. Number One on my 30 before 30 list.

It's always been at the top of the list. But #7 seemed easier to measure and #15 was more fun. And all the rest were awesome projects and plans, but they took enough time that Number One was not gonna get done.

So the list is gone. I tore it out of the front of my planner where I've checked in pretty consistently over the last several months. And I replaced it with a note to myself:
And I'm not saying here what it is until it's finished. But you can guess...
Everything beyond Goal #1 is fluid. That doesn't mean I'm being lazy. I'm actually accomplishing more than I was before—and feeling more peace when I pursue something that's not on my  list.

Because there is no list.

I'm not saying everyone should get rid of their bucket list. Or goals. I'm not saying this is the best idea for everyone, all the time. After all, some of the 30 before 30 lists I've seen out there seriously kick butt. And my friends' lists impress and delight me.

I'm just saying that I'm happier. And feeling a little more free these days.

I'm also saying that this article is worth a read. If you don't read the whole list, make sure you read numbers 1 and 3. Life-changers. No, seriously—stop procrastinating and go read them.

Chocolate: A Self-Help Guide

Starting week three of being unemployed.

I didn't know what to do with myself today.  I've applied for dozens of jobs, and I'm sure a fitting position will open for me soon.  But it was weird.  I couldn't relax, or do things that I wanted to do, because I felt like I needed to get a job.  But a job isn't something you can just reach out and grab.  You have to wait for it.  I have a hard time waiting.

I felt like a waste of space.

Then I read this Thomas Jefferson quote (I keep a Jefferson quote blog):

"I have sometimes asked myself whether my country is the better for my having lived at all?  I do not know that it is.  I have been the instrument of doing the following things; but they would have been done by others; some of them, perhaps a little better."
He then goes on to list his accomplishments.
"The Declaration of Independence."
"I proposed the demolition of the church establishment, and the freedom of religion."
"The act prohibiting the importation of slaves."
If it's ok for Jefferson to feel like a waste of space, then it's ok for me to have blah days as well

A wise man told me that depression is a healthy, normal, and necessary time for reflection.

And I'd add to that: chocolate.  Depression is a time for chocolate.  The cause, and cure, of my current predicament.

Shoes and Mommy

I found my shoe.  In the garbage.  Thanks Claire.

Claire loves shoes now.  She'll walk around in our shoes.  She has learned how to say it and sign it.

She's also been saying and signing "daddy" for a few months now.  Kathy thought she heard Claire say "mommy" today.

"You hear that," Kathy said, "I think she she said mommy!"

Claire said it again, gesturing toward a magnet on the fridge.  A magnet of Ron Paul.

It kind of sounded like mommy.

some things are hard to photograph

This is the only picture from our tiny roadtrip last weekend, and it wasn't technically taken until we got home:

We needed a break—even from taking pictures, I guess.

As some of you already know, Christopher lost his job last week. The chocolate factory was his dream job of sorts, which made the lay-off that much more disappointing.  

So we drove to southern Utah and walked around in the hills.

We came back without a single picture from our change of scenery. No photo of our baby girl toddling up the trail, holding her daddy's hand high above her head. No footage of her screaming in delight at the riverbank, with sand between her fingers. No photo of the seriously kick-A food and generous hosts at my sister-in-law's house.

I lamented my lack of documentation, but I think it was enough just to be there together for a minute.

We up and moved here for this job. We settled into some ideas and dreams for this job. We even had a monthly chocolate budget because of this job. It was like, wait a minute, this isn't the plan—we haven't taken any pictures yet.

I don't think a picture would do anything justice anyway. There's something inspiring (and impossible to photograph) about watching your best friend be gracious and tactful and brave—especially when you feel like you wouldn't be if it were you. I don't know how to take a picture of that.

I'm appreciating being in this space together for a minute, this unplanned moment when the world's wide open and we're not sure yet how the scenery will change.

Vote for Peace

I usually save politics for my other blog.  But this one was too good not to share:

It hit home with me, because I voted for Obama in 2008. I thought he would bring the troops home, shut down Guantanamo, and stop wire-tapping us.

Toilet Water

When Claire drank from the toilet, it made me wonder: when was the last time I cleaned the toilet?  Also, whose kid is that?

free art and writing workshops. you're invited...

I know this girl who just does things.

What things? Like, anything you can think of. And when I hear about her newest project, I look around and think, Can you do that?

You can, apparently. Although I usually don't. Here's what she cooked up recently: The Billboard Poetry Project.

She was sick of billboards for laser surgery and boob jobs cluttering up the freeway. So she held a contest and the winning poem is going up on a series of billboards here in Provo.  

The whole idea is very cool, so you should check it out—especially the free workshops. I'm not sure how I fell in with such brilliant people, but they're gold, every one of 'em.

And, lest you suspect this is a personal plug, I want you to know that you shouldn't necessarily sign up for my workshop (although you'd be most welcome—we'll explore the outdoors, read some things, probably eat some food and you'll leave with a finished little piece of prose).

If you're not sure which class to sign up for, holler and I'll give you my two cents for free.

Everyone's welcome—to the workshops, to the reception and the art show. Just come create and celebrate.

A Corny Love Song

Yesterday was our 4th anniversary.  We ate at Pizzeria 712 (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). The food tasted like exactly what I wanted to eat, and left me feeling like I'd eaten the equivalent of a salad made of rainbows, because I felt so healthy afterwards.  And they treated us like guests, honored guests.  When we got home, Kathy sang me a corny love song she wrote on the guitar.

Today Kathy woke at 5:30am, got ready, and left.  I told her it felt like the middle of the night.  She's spending the weekend at a work conference.

We don't spend nights apart often.  The last time I recall was a few years ago, when she went to Chicago to write.

Today I stayed home and took care of the baby.  When Kathy called in the afternoon, I hadn't yet showered, and I told her that I felt like I hadn't gotten anything done.  When she called this evening, I had showered, but still had not gotten anything done.  I hadn't wasted my day, but I had spent the majority of it watching baby girl.

Kathy has a wonderful way of telling me I'm not worthless.  And the way she says it, I believe it.

Kathy had a boyfriend in high school.  I think we've now been married longer than they dated.  And Kathy wasn't my first girlfriend.

But she feels like my first love.  And I'm sure she'd feel the same.  We had feelings when we dated our firsts, and heartache.  But it wasn't as real as what we have now.  It feels like a corny line from The Princess Bride.  But what could this be called if not true love?

Before any of you start swooning and envying the wonderful thing Kathy and I have going, I'll give you a little bit of perspective.

I didn't date anyone until after my mission (mostly because I was awkward, but I told myself I was following the prophet).  That's the equivalent of binding someone's feet to their butt for the first two decades of their life, and then untying them just in time to run the Boston marathon.

My college girlfriends could tell you stories that you would think they had made up.

I'll tell you one now.

My first girlfriend left for a study abroad.  We had dated for a semester, and she would be gone for a semester.  We emailed each other.  I tended to notice how often she mentioned other boys.  I was insecure enough back then that I let it get to me.  So I broke up with her.  You know.  Over email.

Email is wonderful, but it is inadequate at clearly expressing the whole range of human emotions.  And I guess it's a really jerky way to dump someone.

So a few phone calls, and many tears later (mostly mine), I found myself on the phone with my mom.  Now, I don't know how she talked me into letting her do what she did.

My mom thinks I'm wonderful.  I think I'm pretty wonderful too.  She couldn't believe that someone would be so rude to me.  Getting email dumped aside, you'd have to be an idiot to let me go.  There are many fish in the sea.  But I'm a like a magic narwhal, not a stinky fish.  So when my mom asked if she could call my ex.  I gave her the number.

I can only imagine how that conversation went down.  My ex called me about twenty minutes later.  By the tone of her voice, I got the impression that she thought I was mentally disturbed.

"You had your mom call me?  Your mom?"
"More let than had."

So that was awkward.

Did you know BYU offers free therapy to students?  Yeah.  I'm really glad I discovered that before I met Kathy.  Turns out I had a few crinkles to smooth out before I was perfect.  Regardless of what my mother thinks.

you can't make this stuff up

You need to know something before I tell this story:

Our little girl loves dogs. LOVES dogs. Doggy was her first word. And almost her first ASL sign. When we're outside, she'll spot a dog from a mile away and wave her arms and shout.

Story time:

We go on a walk pretty much every day. Baby girl rides in the stroller on the way out. And she's not much of a baby anymore because she walks and pushes the stroller on the way back.

On one particular return trip this week, she was exploring every interesting little thing on the sidewalk—when she saw an ant.

She dropped to her knees and tried to touch it, but he was pretty speedy. She kept following the ant with her finger, trying to touch it. She looked up at me. She looked back at the ant. And she whispered, "Doggy."

It sounds like such a simple mix-up. And it is. She has neither the experience nor the language to name the ant correctly. But it was more than that. When she said doggy, she sounded so reverent, or in love. I just don't look at ants the same anymore.

I also don't look at strawberries the same. They make the perfect party hats...

The Future Is Now

Kathy said I needed to blog more, in response to something I said after seeing Claire do this:
She's been walking a lot, and pushing her little cart around.  I said, "She's preparing for her future career of pushing a shopping cart along the side of the road."

Speaking of future careers, I've been working at a chocolate factory.  Whenever I tell people I work at a chocolate factory, I can't help but say it "CHOCOLATE FACTORY!!!" with several exclamation points.

Then they ask me how I like it, and what I do.  I explain it's a small company, so I do a little bit of everything.  Shipping, QA, janitorial, customer service, marketing, and production all in one.

But how do I like it?

It's work.  I'd rather EAT chocolate, while sitting on my couch, reading a book, and snuggling with my girls.

It's a great job. I like it, but I like being home with my family most.

A plug for my company:
Amano is awesome.  We pay our farmers two, three, even four times Fair Trade.  That way, we get the best beans, and our farmers are able to stay in business and keep producing the best beans.
We have won awards nationally and internationally.  We make the best chocolate the U.S. has ever made.
Our bars taste like lemons, blackberries, nuts, marshmallows, grapefruit, and bergamot; but we add no flavors.  The cocoa beans flavor our bars.  We preserve those flavors by using single-origin beans. 

why i heart provo: an update

People generally have strong feelings about Provo.

I've never seen anyone shrug and say, "Provo. Meh. Whatevs." Unless, of course, it's too small a town for them to have heard of before.

There are people who grew up here with some pretty amazing Provo pride. Others moved here for college and have opinions connected to their grades or how many dates they got. Others have never lived here, but know the stereotypes and roll their eyes. And more—some love, some hate.

I can see where they're all coming from. I hated Provo the first time I lived here. And I was a little nervous to move back.

But put me down as one who loves Provo. Loves it.

  • Our house? Old, kind of quirky—and absolutely made for us. We store our bikes in a cute entryway. The baby's room is the coziest, prettiest little space. And she sleeps better here than any of the 3 places we've lived since she was born.
  • Neighborhood? Just seems so neighborly and adorable. And we live close to everything, but on a quiet street. So I can go anywhere with my bike and the baby trailer without getting nervous. Also, the first time I went riding, I actually thought, "Wow! The trees are greener here!" Then I realized I was wearing sunglasses that make trees look greener.
  • Food? Awesome. We cruised over to Bombay House with just a stroller and our feet a few weeks back. When we finally go to Communal, we'll just walk down the street. And have you ever eaten honey bran muffins from the Provo Bakery? Well, don't. Because they're always sold out by the time I get over there.
  • Job? Awesome. I mean, Christopher works in a chocolate factory. Also, I got a writing gig that I do from home that I absolutely love. Our commutes rock.
  • Not being students? Provo's a different place now that we don't have homework hanging over our heads. It's easy to find fun stuff to do—on the cheap. One particular outing included welcoming the first non-stop commercial flight from Denver landing at the Provo Airport, with all its accompanying small-town fanfare. 
  • People? I saved the best for last. I've heard all about Provo being a hot spot for self-righteousness and poor driving. But some of the loveliest people live here. I would tell you all their names, but you don't have time to read a blog post quite that long.
Say what you will. And then come visit us.
I love this town.

christopher is a dad

And he's a good one.

The other day, I was putting baby girl in her car seat so we could go to Christopher's work. She complained and arched her back and made sure I knew she didn't like it.

I said, "You need to sit in your seat so we can go see your daddy."

She relaxed, turned to me, smiled, and said one of the four words she says: "Daddy." She only says words for things that she's totally in love with: doggy, chocolate (caw-coe), agua, baby—and daddy.

Our baby says out loud who's her favorite parent every day: "Daddy."

I can see why she loves him. He tickles her, he swings her around, he got her her own computer keyboard that she can pound on, rather than just telling her no when she tries to get her hands on ours. She knows, without doubt, that she's his favorite kid. At least so far.

I think he's pretty great myself. He switches off parent duty with me every other night, just in case our sweet girl gets up at 2 in the morning. He'll change the poopiest of diapers. He's protective of her in ways that I know will be important later in her life. And he makes life just plain fun when the three of us are hanging out together.

The other day, he said something about it being weird that we're just living our lives, doing our thing while this other tiny person is supposed to be getting a childhood. She's got Christopher as a dad, so I think her childhood is going to turn out just great.

a thank you note. you know who you are (i hope).

I made the baby write her own birthday thank-you notes.
I kind of suck at writing thank-you-notes. Not because I'm not thankful—just the opposite.

I always feel super grateful for and almost surprised by people's generosity. And, even though I love to write, I never feel like I convey exactly how appreciative I am. Maybe I should just do what my coolest sister-in-law did for me once and slip in some cash.

I would, but we just paid first and last month's rent on a new place to live. We're out of here this weekend. It happened much faster (read: 6 months faster) than I thought it would.

I'm grateful that Christopher found his dream job, that we get to live closer to it, and that we always find a place to live that's better than the last in some way (in this case, it's bigger).

But I've cried a few times this week. And I need to say thanks:

1. To the people who gave us wedding presents. Seriously.

While packing, I found a list of unfinished wedding thank-you's (which I thought my husband had conveniently "lost"). There are people on it who don't know how grateful I am on a daily basis, when we use our dinner plates, or our salad tongs, or our towels.

Thank you—almost 4 years late. I'm going to stop feeling guilty now that you never got a note.

2. To the people around here. I take a minute to feel comfortable in a new place. And the minute here took a lot less time than it usually does. I don't think it was really anything I did.

Like I said, I often fail at conveying the extent of my appreciation. Please know that's especially true this time for every single person I've met here since we moved in last November. You made this feel like home in one second.

Thanks. For every little thing. It matters. We're going down the road a ways, but I will always consider you friends.

3. To the people around there. I sure hope you're as cool as the people around here.
I'm going to say thanks in advance and just assume you are.

Kathy is a mom

Kathy put together a lovely brunch for our moms this year.  She gave each mom a bouquet of chocolate-dipped strawberries (she's amazing).  I told everyone that today Kathy cleaned the house and slaved in the kitchen, so it was just like any other day.  I almost got booed out of the room.

She rocks my world.  She keeps our house standing.  She teaches Claire Portuguese and ASL and sometimes English.  Claire can say "here" in Portuguese (aqui), "more" in ASL, and "doggie" in baby-English.
She's signing that we're "losers" because we haven't given her a nap.
It's just amazing that Kathy trusted me enough to take half of my DNA and make a little copy of the two of us.  I'm glad we chose each other.

Did you know that a woman can carry a child for nine months, suffer an excruciating labor for hours on end, deliver a perfectly healthy baby, and still feel like she hasn't done anything worthwhile?  Women are so weird.  But I love them, especially my two girls.

We need to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives, because they don't get paid for doing their jobs.  They don't get medals or honors for wiping snotty faces, potty-training, cleaning, and teaching.  They just get tired.
I feel like that guy who stands at the pulpit on fast Sunday, and tells his wife that he loves her.  What a lame-o.  Tell her, not the congregation.

I'll have Neal A. Maxwell finish this up:
"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this."


Claire started walking (with some assistance).  SWEET

I'm leaving my job, and the friends I've made there. BITTER

I found a golden ticket (got a job at a chocolate factory). SWEET

We're looking for places to rent in Provo. BITTERSWEET

it was a good friday

All Fridays are good, in my opinion. But Christopher got off work early yesterday and we went downtown for a capital-Good Friday choral meditation at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

We arrived early enough to watch the choir walk in before they disappeared behind the screen up front. I had missed the memo that it was a children's choir. Like small children.

Also missed the memo that they would sound perfect and other-worldly. Third graders are not supposed to sound like that. In third grade, I learned to play "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder.

Our own little one wanted to join them. As soon as the singing began, she started her own little croon. And the acoustics in there are just as amazing for the congregation as they are for the choir. Her goos weren't particularly loud, but I knew that as soon as she realized the echo going on in there, she would let loose.

Also, I worried about her noise when I didn't hear a single peep from any other kid in there (besides the angels up front). Do Catholics know a secret for keeping their kids quiet that Mormons don't?

She didn't make it through the whole thing and we had to leave early. But we didn't mind. There was just something Good about walking around downtown on a spring afternoon with a one-year-old who wasn't embarrassed or nervous for one second about reaching her arms up to a vaulted cathedral ceiling and singing, "Oooh, oooooooh."

we're all growing up: an update

I swear baby girl grew up during her nap today—like she was a baby when I tucked her in and two hours later, she was taller, older: a little girl.

I'm not nostalgic (she's not THAT grown up: she doesn't walk yet and hasn't yet mastered the physics of spoons). I'm just realizing that every day is a serious gift.

We're trying to take advantage of those gifts in our own ways. A quick update:

Our not-so-baby girl recently conquered an ear infection and her fear of strangers while expanding her sign language vocabulary and capacity for at-home destruction.

Her dad sold his Xbox and used his freed-up time to start two new blogs, study for the GRE, and take up Arabic classes again.

Her mom wrote drafts of two new stories, read six books this month, and had a tickle-fest this afternoon with a certain baby who grew up so much during her nap that she can now put on her own sunglasses, thank you very much.

We're excited she's growing. We just hope she doesn't grow up so fast that she's a teenager by tomorrow morning.

sometimes i'm a lazy copycat

Between ear infections (baby girl's) and laziness (mine), our little blog has been neglected. Lots of things are going on, but I'm not sure how much or how little you want to hear, as I'm now one of those people who thinks too often about the regularity and consistency of someone else's poop.
While I think on that and figure out what I'm doing, I'll leave you with this great idea I copy-catted from my cousin: a 52-photo book. 

It's easy to take lots of baby pictures, but mom and dad sometimes don't make it into the frame. So, for the last year, I've made sure we take at least one picture of our baby girl with her mom or dad—ideally, some photos of both—every single week. I printed out my favorites (ended up as 200, not 52) and put them in a book that documents her first year with all three of us together. And now I'm in the habit of taking pictures of the family, not just her. Instead of posting all 200 here, I'll opt for two favorites:

Yeah, I'll probably just keep blogging about that girl. Even her poop is the cutest.

beware the ides of march

You might just die from a whole year's worth of cuteness:

 Happy March 15th, everyone. And to you, sweetie baby, happy birthday.

a mom hangover

Baby girl and I got sick last week (simultaneously gross and wonderful: baby girl barfed everywhere and then just wanted to snuggle in my lap while I watched tv).

The stomach flu messed with our sleep schedule. Baby girl's back to waking up every two hours—just like a newborn. How on Earth did we function back then? I get up in the morning with a thrumming head and burning eyes. And everything that Christopher does while he's getting ready for work is SO LOUD. He says I have a mom hangover.

Which is fine. I so expected lack of sleep to be part of parenthood that I even wrote an essay about insomnia and mothers while I was pregnant (during which I discovered an incurable form of insomnia that's only made worse by sleeping pills, for real).

A lot of other things have happened around here—I had a birthday, we went snowshoeing for Valentine's Day, Christopher downloaded every free book he's ever wanted onto his new Kindle—and maybe I'll blog about them. But right now, I'll leave you with a picture of the cutest girl I've ever met and then I'm going to bed early. It's the best plan on a day you go to get your hair cut and fall asleep while your hair is being shampooed.

dinosaur burritos and parenthood


This might look like another braggy felting post. I'll own it—it kind of is. A three-year-old we know was having a dinosaur birthday party and how could I NOT make him a little brontosaurus with purple dots on the bum?

 But I've been thinking about more than just bragging: After I finished making the dinosaurs and their lake and berry bushes, I rolled them up in their felty home like a burrito and wrapped the whole thing in tissue paper.  

A few days later, I heard that instead of giving the dinosaurs drinks from the lake, or making them fight each other, or any other thing I imagined he might do with them, this adorable kid kept rolling up the dinosaurs and unrolling them—like, what else would you do with them, really? I think that's adorable. And it's one more tiny image I can tuck away in my brain to remind myself of something I keep needing to learn. . .

I don't feel like I adjusted to motherhood very gracefully (and if you ask my husband about our conversation on Sunday, you might get him to admit that I still haven't). I love it, but I keep forgetting that kids put a spin on life that you wouldn't have thought up on your own.

Which is awesome sometimes. Like last night, I made my baby girl laugh so hard she snorted and fell over just because I turned my face every time she touched my cheek. I'm not funny, so it was weird to make someone laugh so hard by doing basically nothing.

Other times, it's not so awesome. Life is a bit confusing for people whose teeth are just coming in, or just falling out, who haven't yet figured out how to walk or read or use the toilet. Babies want to suck on batteries when they have a pile of toys (how on EARTH did she find one when all the batteries are locked away?). Or kids do things mine isn't even old enough to think of yet—like draw with rocks on cars, or microwave their barbies.    

I'm not so good at rolling with punches, but turns out, neither are they! They fall down and do dumb things and don't know how to fix them. Parenthood involves witnessing and assisting in that learning curve—and hopefully doing both with kindness and a semblance of composure. Maybe this won't sound helpful or even make sense to you, but I the next time I feel baffled and all my plans thwarted by the littlest person in my life, I'll try to remind myself to think of things a little differently—to just roll me up some dinosaurs.

One of those days

The used book section of the Sugar House DI is amazing. But wait a week or two for the books to be replenished, because we bought everything.

While we were there, a lady in a pink cowboy hat threw into the garbage half of the writings of every great western thinker since Socrates, because one book in the beautiful series had a little water damage. She said she was afraid that black mold had spread to the other books. I told her that black mold is black, and visible, and cannot be conjured into existence by someone in a pink hat who is scared of books [paraphrased]. She stopped at Milton.

I thought that this is what it must have felt like to watch the first monkey fly into space—look at that primate, with the collective effort and intelligence of all ages combined under her fingertips—who gave her access to that?
When we got home today I had to decide if I should drink out of the blender or a baby bottle. We have a hard time justifying doing dishes on the weekend. Perhaps an outside observer would consider my habits too, to be a bit primitive.

Stand up in SLC

Left Field Stand Up Comedy has some shows in SLC next weekend. It's my buddy Bryson's team of comics. I've heard some of them in the past, and they're worth your bucks if you like to laugh at stuff.

Among them is the guy who did the Old Spice spoof for BYU:

The show costs $15. See here for more.

Their website has a promo code for half off.

Good people are for reals

You guys heard of the hobo with a golden voice? Kathy and I watched these videos, and cried happy tears.

Businesses discovered him on the internet and gave him a job right away.

I loves you, teh internets.

ringing it in with a brand new tooth

  We rang in the new year with a teething, feverish baby. Instead of partying, we took her home, put her to bed, and looked at pictures on the internet of Nic Cage as Everyone (go here!) and watched Spy Kids, which had randomly turned up in our netflix queue (it was a lot better than I thought it would be).

Later, long after our new year's bedtime, I got up to rock her while she bawled in her sleep.

And the day after that, we tried watching a movie with Christopher's sisters before they left town. But baby girl didn't want to, so she screamed nonstop for half an hour until we just gave up and went home.

Conclusion: Teething is a terrible idea.

I know lots of you have great advice (which you're welcome to leave in the comments). In return, I'll pass on the best advice I've ever received, which my sister-in-law's boyfriend said teasingly, and which helped me not take myself so seriously: "You know that every time a baby cries, it reflects poor parenting. You should take her screaming very personally."

Oh, I had. I had even worried we had ruined her somehow. I asked Christopher, "Is she normal? What did we do to make her scream like this all day long?"

We didn't do anything. Her tooth did—at least for a few days. And now that it's popped through the top gum, she's back to her adorable self. She even woke up from a nap happy yesterday instead of screaming—a thing she had not done for at least a week.

A happy new year, indeed.