Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Super Mummy

Alright, so three more days bought me enough time to create what my Halloween costume was supposed to be all along:

I was a mummy. Get it? A pregnant mummy? (insert groan or courtesy laugh here). Somebody actually asked me if I stuffed my shirt to look more pregnant than I really am. No, I didn't. That's me at 29 weeks. My mummy wrappings look fairly tight, but in reality, I wrapped the pants and the shirt separately and quite loosely so that I could get in and out, and was tugging my pants up all day, incredibly overheated, and constantly unravelling.

Project stats: $15 of sheets at DI (and I didn't need half of them), $5 for makeup and nail polish, 50 safety pins, a pair of sweats that were falling apart anyway, baby powder in my hair. It sounds fairly simple but took several hours to assemble.

Today I made a few observations about Halloween:


1. A lot of preparation and expense goes into a costume which no one wants to wear for longer than it takes to get a good picture. I think I'd rather be comfortable with whatever I've spent so much time creating.

2. A lot of money is spent on candy--We contributed $10 worth of candy and came home with $10 worth of different kinds of candy and probably some tooth decay and fatter thighs. What a silly reason to have a holiday!

3. I'm a sucker for candy. I just love it. All of it. This is why I usually just don't buy any. Also, the Reese's peanut butter cups are the first to disappear.

4. The funnest costumes are the ones that are original or themed. The winner of our ward's costume contest tonight was a family that all dressed up as characters from Peter Pan. The mom and the dad were Wendy and Captain Hook, the 4 year old girl was Tinkerbell and the 2 year old boy was Peter Pan.

5. Next year I'm planning ahead. Next year I'm going to be pretty and not intentionally as ugly as possible. Next year we're going to coordinate--all four of us!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trying to understand

I'm trying to understand my toddler who doesn't seem to understand negative consequences. Please impart your wisdom in my behalf and tell me what I'm missing!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Costumed

Leah made her debut Saturday night as a cute little fairy bug thing. The costume turned out to be quite a masterpiece. I'm quite proud of my work aside from the dismay I feel at having used lining fabric and not actual satin, meaning it is practically as delicate as tissue paper and will likely snag or tear with just the wrong move or any contact with the Velcro closure at the back. By the time she wears it twice this Halloween it will probably have gotten destroyed. Figures.

Saturday was super busy with grocery shopping and costuming, and of course Chris and I were piecing together our own costumes with items from DI at the very last minute possible. The fairy wings were particularly frustrating because I didn't have the right kind of wire to make them stand up properly. They are quite droopy. (It took me three hours of attempting in vain to make them work before I decided to just accept droopy fairy wings.) The shoes are this past summer's too-small sandals covered with ribbon and a white pom-pom. The pattern called for a hood like the one on last year's monkey costume, but I ran out of time and just covered a headband with pipe cleaners and free-handed some stars I attached with a glue-gun. It seems to have worked just fine!

Total Cost: $20-30
Total Project Time: 10 hours on jumpsuit, 5 hours on accessories
Emergency trips to the craft store: 1
Number of lifeline calls: 0
Total satisfaction: 85%

Back to the costuming of the adoring parents: Chris decided he wanted to be an Emo Punk-Rocker Vampire. Don't ask me what that means because I never really could figure out what he was envisioning. He was outfitted with a tight black t-shirt, a spiked skull bracelet and skull necklace, a fake tattoo we stenciled on his bicep with a Sharpie, a ninja sword, black fingernails and eyeliner (yes, he wore eyeliner), and vampire fangs we didn't have time to put in last night. (We'll try the fangs again on Wednesday.) Here's a picture of the outrageous get-up:















Then there was my costume. I returned from errands at 4:00 only to have to finish constructing fairy wings and antennae, paint Chris's fingernails, and create a mummy costume for myself with sheets from DI that Chris willingly tore into strips. The party was at 6:00. Of course, as luck would have it, 2 hours was not enough time to do all this and make a mummy out of me, especially since this mummy has to be able to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes. At 5:30 when I could tell the mummy was not going to come together in 20 minutes time, I resorted to the bag stashed away in the back of my closet with an "S" t-shirt, tights, and a red cape. You guessed it, I was supergirl yet again for the sixth Halloween. (May I also remind that the supergirl costume was designed for a non-pregnant me and tights on a pregnant belly is very uncomfortable) Here's super-pregnant-girl:




















The party was a lot of fun and was a delicious break from the crazy Saturday we experienced. I have until Wednesday to try again with the mummy. I guess settling for a mediocre repeat costume yesterday is the price I pay for having spent so much time making sure everyone else had a fantastic costume. I should be more self-interested next time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Evidence

Am I really SuperMom? Here is some evidence for and against my case. I'll let you be the judge.

Evidence for: I'm playing peek-a-boo with my toddler--a game that never seems to get old.
Evidence against: I'm playing peek-a-boo over the screen of the laptop as I attempt to ignore my child to write a blog post.

For: I attempt daring maneuvers such as "lidding" a sippy cup with one hand while looking another direction.
Against: I left the dishwasher and kitchen cabinets open while attempting such a ridiculous maneuver.
Against: I underestimated the splatter potential of a sippy cup full of grape juice.

For: My child repeats really cute phrases that we say.
Against: I said the wrong word when I lost control of the sippy cup.

For: I once cleaned an entire apartment using mainly Pine-sol and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.
Against: That was 11 months ago.

For: I intuitively put my child to bed wearing fleece pj's for the first time this season mere hours before our furnace stopped working.
Against: I went to the outlet mall anyway to buy fleece pj's.

For: I'm making my child a Halloween costume for the second year in a row.
Against: I don't have time to make my child a Halloween costume and have been grumbling about the commitment the entire time.
Against: I don't have a Holloween costume for myself!

For: Given detailed instructions, I can assemble cabinets and furniture by myself.
Against: Things I assemble by myself usually tend to fall apart by themselves.

Let the judging begin....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An explanation for baldness

At the zoo the other day, we encountered a very good explanation for baldness among monkeys, I mean Golden Lion Tamarins (who knows the difference anyway?) This is what the sign says:

Our male Golden Lion Tamarin's baldness is a sign that he is a good father. His hair loss is from transporting babies and being groomed by his family. The veterinary staff has performed a full exam on him and he is in good health. Most of his hair will grow back when he is no longer carrying around babies, but he will always be a little bald due to the grooming by the rest of the group.
We just thought this was great! Good father = baldness. I'd also like to set the record straight by clarifying that although Chris is bald, he is in excellent health. So should we anticipate that Chris's hair will grow back when all our babies are grown? I doubt it. If he had hair at all, I'm sure by then it would have turned grey from dealing with teenagers.

The Lap of Luxury

This week and last, Chris was lucky enough to have two conferences to attend for work. The first was in Layton on Thursday and Friday, and the second in Park City the following Tuesday and Wednesday. Since his office would be reimbursing us for the costs of travel and lodging and since the room costs the same amount with one person in it as with three, I took the liberty of joining him for both conferences, and we made a mini-vacation out of it, staying in northern Utah for the weekend also. We've had a lot of fun staying in nice, cushy hotels and visiting with friends. Of course, I've had to find exciting ways to entertain myself and Leah while Chris is conferencing and once hotel checkout occurs and I have hours to kill before Chris is done. But that's another story.

Our first hotel was the Hilton Garden Inn in Layton. We were pleased to find a mini-fridge and microwave, two of the softest queen beds I've ever laid my head on, wireless internet, and lots of open space in our room, not to mention the indoor pool and incredibly tempting hot-tub down the hall. Much to my dismay, the"continental breakfast" was $10--if I'd known, I would have gotten groceries the night before--but then again, we didn't have any silverware, either. It was a very nice experience, and I didn't mind living there for two days.

Now our hotel is the Sundial Lodge at the Canyons Resort in Park City. We decided to come to Park City a night early so that Leah and I wouldn't be in limbo all day Tuesday waiting for 5pm check-in, only to check out again 18 hours later. We'll have to pay for the extra night, but we decided it was a do-able cost for an entire week of vacationing in comfort. (Plus, if I had been homeless all day, I would have gone to the outlet mall and would have likely spent far more than the cost of an extra night in the hotel!) Here breakfast is $15 and wireless internet is $5 a night, but oh, is it luxurious! We again have a microwave and mini-fridge (now stocked with groceries, of course), and even dishes and silverware. But the real luxury is that we have a washer and dryer that we share with only one other room, a balcony, a double-headed shower, a jetted tub, and even heated bathroom tiles. If it were ski season, we could hop on a lift from the parking lot. What we got gypped on with the cost of slow wireless internet, we've made up for by consuming an insane amount of hot water!

But the true luxury was spending the weekend with friends John and Connie Lewis and their effervescent caboose, Mary-Celeste, who proves that it pays off to sing in the shower and that there is never a dull moment in a house with a seventeen year old girl. There we were delighted by fine dining, spacious facilities, abounding entertainment, pleasant company, and engaging conversation. We are truly grateful for their excellent hospitality at such a fantastic rate!

Alas, tomorrow afternoon we head home, where once again we will have to cook for ourselves (does EasyMac count?), clean up after ourselves, and return to the routine of productive days. Chris will once again have to do homework and attend class, I will have to answer the phone when it rings, and we can finish all those projects that were started once upon a time. Perhaps being away for a week helps us to better appreciate the prosaics of being at home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What was I thinking?

I've been pretty busy lately. I've been trying to get my house in order, take care of myself, take care of my Leah, take care of my Chris, do my calling, revive my business, the list goes on. I was showing someone the cute pattern I used to make Leah's monkey costume last Halloween, and I remarked, "This little fairy is cute, I should just make it for her," instead of putting together a makeshift costume with items from the dollar store.

Well, thinking that is no problem. But actually buying fabric out of guilt that my child didn't have a custom-made Halloween costume was a problem. It's not that I don't know how to sew. I think I'm a fairly competent seamstress. The problem is that I don't have time to make it! The next problem is that this costume is made with satin and organza, both of which are very delicate and difficult to work with, not to mention extremely unforgiving when it comes to making mistakes. And when I said I'm a fairly competent seamstress, what I meant was that I take two steps forward and one step backward the entire time, but its because I know how to fix mistakes and I want to do it right. I should just throw in some seersucker to make it more interesting, right?

Anyway, so I've been super busy trying to get things done and also to prepare for a mini vacation we started yesterday, which means that I had three days before our vacation to start, and will have one week afterward to finish, working mainly during mid-afternoon naptime and after Leah has gone to bed. I knew if I didn't start before we left, I wouldn't have time to do it all afterward. I've gotten the main body put together, with the next step being gathering the cap sleeves...the organza sleeves. Did I mention that I hate sewing with organza? So far, about every hour when I look at the fraying satin or ahead at the pattern and dread easing organza sleeves, and then attaching sequin trim to home-made fairy wings, I think to myself, "What was I possibly thinking when I impulsively decided to start this project? What have I gotten myself into?"

The whole point is that I know I'll do it (even if it takes all night the night before we go to a costume party), and by nature, I know that I have to do it right or I will never be satisfied with my work. The trick is to just take it one step at a time and not get overwhelmed with what lies ahead. What was I thinking?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chris, the Jump King

Here's Chris pretending to be Spider-Man. He said it was just awesome, but was constantly worried about seeing his navajo taco again.
video

Saturday, October 13, 2007

There's always a first for everything...

My mother despises everything about shopping: fighting mall traffic, walking around on tired feet searching, wasting an entire afternoon, and then ultimately handing over the Visa card. I like shopping, something I must not have inherited from her. I like browsing. I like trying things on (granted I'm not shopping with a two-year old). I like being impulsive. I like that I usually only go shopping when I know what I'm looking for and know how much I can afford to spend on it.

With that said, it is usually a frustrating experience for me to find pants that fit me right, particularly jeans. I'm tall (and prefer not to be high-water) and don't like super tight stretchy denim that shrinks around the leg or doesn't keep me covered at the waist. I know, picky, picky me. I've usually had good luck finding jeans at Old Navy. But then I had Leah and never found the right size of anything for the year and a half that my maternity clothes were stashed away in storage. Usually, I don't have a problem shopping for anything else.

(Side note: I just discovered buying kid's clothes at Shopko--they have really cute coordinating tops and bottoms at good prices and they always ring up sale!)

I had a very strange experience this past week. I went shopping (sans toddler, mind you) with a definite vision: shoes for myself and Leah and comfortable non-work maternity pants (since last time I was pregnant I was working and had to look nice every day). I determinedly walked into the mall and straight into Payless. I found Leah's shoes right away. I spent a total of 10 minutes and $40 in Motherhood Maternity and came out with a pair of jeans and a pair of black yoga pants, both of which I needed only try on once before knowing they were the perfect fit. It was so nice to try on pants that were actually comfortable! (The jeans even have pockets!--a rarity for maternity pants, don't ask me why...) Never before have I purchased the first pair of jeans I tried on--this was just too easy!

So now I'm back at Payless to find comfortable shoes that match my new pants. Never before that moment had I stood and stared at a wall of shoes and felt completely at a loss. I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but I knew exactly what I didn't want. I didn't want any of the shoes I was looking at. Sure, there were some pretty nice shoes. Stuff that's really in style nowadays just isn't my style (does that mean my style is out of date?). I don't want the kind with a flower on the toe, I don't want heels, I don't want those goofy-looking Airwalk clog shoes people wear interchangeably with and without socks, and I don't want tennis shoes with someone's signature on the side, either. I just want comfortable shoes I can wear with black pants or jeans on days when I don't want to wear flip-flops or Doc Martens. I have no idea what I want. Is it allowed to wear white tennis shoes with black pants? I don't even know! Anyway, I came out empty handed (empty footed? I mean, I was wearing the shoes I came in with...). What a disappointment! This has never happened to me before! Is this why my mom hates shopping?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Scratching Scrabble

One of the exciting wedding presents we got (nearly 5 years ago, too) is the game Scrabble. Throughout three years of pre-parenthood, we played a lot of board games, including Monopoly (we even invented Extreme Monopoly), Settlers, endless rounds of Uno, etc. But for some reason, we could never get into Scrabble.

Every time we'd sit down to play, we'd take 5-minute turns trying to make words from our seven tiles, sounding out ways to pronounce invented words and making up their definitions, only to ultimately place on the board three and four letter words. Of course, this made it even harder to keep playing with so many limited options for placement of new words. We'd usually play for about 9 or 10 turns, (totalling 15-20 minutes) and then decide to put the game away and do something else.

Well, we dusted off the old scrabble box this past week to give it another try, thinking that maybe with a couple more years' experience under our belts, we would now be seven-letter champions. Um....Not quite. We're still just as awful at Scrabble, if not worse. We had a movie playing in the background to dispel the boredom we knew would occur during endless turn-waiting. Then commenced the three and four letter vocabulary (with occasional five-letter words). Jut. Gait. Widow. One of us was actually trying to extend words long enough to actually reach the bonus squares, but for the most part, our words scored in the mere single-digits.

We had the laptop handy to look up definitions for letter combinations we would try to pass as words. "Look up gweab. Is that a word?" "If I can make up a definition for floisty, can I put that one down?" We started swapping letters with each other. "You have a D? I'll give you a U?" Then we each revealed our trays and attempted to combine our 14 cumulative letters to make words that fit into the minimal spaces available on the board. Then the inevitable question "You wanna just do something else?" We lasted maybe 45 minutes max.

It was a real, concerted effort to play Scrabble, and once again it failed.

I think Scrabble is just not for us.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

In defense of Sister Beck

As a blogger, and one who reads other blogs, I've come across a lot of strong resentment (here and here) toward Sister Beck's General Conference address in the Sunday morning session. Listen to the talk here. Many found it discouraging, guilt-inducing, and some found it downright offensive. They criticize her choice of words and discredit her address based on her being the freshman Relief Society President. I'm writing in defense of Sister Beck--I think she was grossly misunderstood by those critics. I'm always one who strives to sustain the leaders of the church, and I've taken a concerned and heartfelt approach to listen and ponder her address to the women of the world from her perspective as the General Relief Society President.

Sister Beck spoke about the need to be women--mothers--who know, meaning women who know to keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before him. She identified that the challenges children will wrestle against in this world are "principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places." Mothers who know who they are, who God is, and have made covenants with him are armed with the knowledge, power, and influence to bring up a righteous generation of children.

Mothers who know (1)honor sacred covenants, (2)are nurturers, (meaning they cultivate, care for, and make grow) by creating a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes, (3)are leaders in equal partnership with their husbands, (4)are selective in their activities and involvement to conserve limited strength to spend more time with their children, (5) are always teachers, and (6) permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally.

Sister Beck encouraged the practices of teaching the gospel in the home to point children toward righteous eternal goals such as temple marriage, and working together with children in homemaking tasks to teach and model emulable qualities. She didn't say to sweep and groom and wash and keep a perfect house. She didn't say we had to be perfect at housekeeping, but that growth happens best in a house of order (See Elder Oak's talk about good, better and best!) She didn't say our homes have to be as clean as the temple, but that we can pattern our homes after the Lord's house by applying the principles of organization, patience, love, and work.

Ultimately her message was not to discourage, but to encourage mothers in their role as the most powerful and influential in the lives of their children, and that by nature of knowing who we are and what our role is, LDS women would be the best in the world at homemaking (meaning nurturing children). "LDS women should excel in upholding, nourishing, and protecting families. Let us come to be known as mothers who knew." Prophets have taught on the role and value of motherhood, and have called upon us to teach our children in the ways of truth. This is nothing new. What is the problem?

I'm not offended by her address at all--in fact I'm relieved to hear this said. And I think her wording was careful and inspired. It is so true that the challenges facing our children are greater and uglier than ever before, and women need to know the expectation the Lord has for them. It is not a guilt-trip because your house isn't clean enough or you don't spend enough time and energy with your children. The encouragement to know the gospel and create a conducive home for gospel-teaching is equivalent to anyone else's address encouraging us to be better at bearing one anothers burdens or attending the temple or paying tithing or having more faith.

What is wrong with the counsel to be selective in our activities and involvment so that we have more energy to spend time nurturing children? It compels (not guilt-induces) me to spend less time on self-interested, energy-sapping things (perhaps I spend too much time on the computer...) and more time nurturing my daughter (not to indicate that that isn't energy-sapping in and of itself...) What is wrong with the counsel not to succumb to social pressure and worldly models of parenting (which I conclude means modeling behaviors not consistent with gospel teaching)? What is wrong with the counsel to permit less of those things that do not bear good fruit eternally?

I find it ultimately encouraging that "LDS women who love the Lord and bear testimony of Him and are strong and immovable will prepare a righteous generation of sons and daughters." This doesn't bother me because I think I'm one of those women who knows. Motherhood is powerful and influential--shouldn't that empower us as those who already understand the value of children and motherhood? She may not have directly said it in her talk, but we are already armed with the tools to bring up children in righteousness; we are already on the right track; we are already doing a good job because we are mothers who know!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

True Confessions

1. Although I am 24 years old, I continue to eat macaroni and cheese several times a week.

2. On a semi-annual basis, I take approximately 20 minutes to satisfy my need to fill in on Hollywood gossip. I know, S.A.D.

3. I just finished using a 40 oz. container of shampoo. It took me two years. (And I even rinse and repeat...)

4. It doesn't take much for me to cry: A Baby Story, a sappy movie ending, an AT&T commercial, you name it, I'm sniffly within seconds.

5. I eat food off the floor. (You remember the 10 second rule?)

6. My floors really aren't that clean.

7. I secretly hope to be the next American Idol.

8. I really don't enjoy being pregnant (...not to minimize the miracle that it is), but I'm taking several years off after this one.

9. On a regular basis, I don't change out of my pajamas until afternoon.

10. I still occasionally have (PG-rated) dreams about a guy I had a crush on throughout high school.

11. I'm really quite insecure and require validation for everything I do.

12. I'm really not Supermom. (It's a pathetic attempt to appear to do more than I am actually capable of)