Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Full Circle

Do you know what today is? One year ago today, I figured out that a little baby would be joining the family. There are many days I won't forget in my life, but this day surely tops the list. Last year on May 30, I was driving the work van to St. George to teach a two day class. I hadn't felt well for a few days, but ask anyone who knows me and that is pretty standard quo. "I don't feel good", and "I'm tired" are pretty much always coming out of my mouth.

As I was alone in the car w/ NPR a thought popped into my head. The more I kept trying to ignore the thought, the stronger it was. I was alone with that thought for about 5 hours, in the white mini van. The thought was a little terrifying, but the fact that I couldn't get it out of my head was even worse.

Once I arrived and unpacked a bit I decided that I couldn't deal with the thought anymore so I headed to Walgreen's to purchase a very important, life changing test to settle things once and for all. Luckily, I was alone, in a city a couple hundred miles from home, so I didn't worry too much about being seen or embarrassed. Still, I bought about $50 worth of stuff I didn't need just to be safe. I bought toothpaste, deodorant, a Glamour and US magazine and headed back to the lonely hotel room. It was just me, my purchases, and the fast food I picked up at an Arby's that was on the right side of the street.

I ate, flipped through the magazines, brushed my teeth and sat on the bed reading the test directions a million times. The package I bought had two tests and once I felt confident I knew what to do, I took the first test. I left it on the bathroom counter of my hotel room and waited patiently. It was only supposed to take 1 minute or less, but I waited 5 or so, scared to death of the result, which ever way it turned out.

The test I bought said the word for my potential condition. No blue lines or plus signs, but the actual word. After my 5 minutes were up, I walked into the bathroom, shaking a bit and completely sick to my stomach (That however, could have been the curly fries). I looked down at the test on the stark white counter top the word. I had no idea how to react. I just stood in the bathroom for what felt like hours, staring at the results. I smiled a bit, got extremely sick to my stomach (definitely wasn't the curly fries), and threw the test away, deciding that it was a false positive and I'd take the other one in the morning.

Sleep didn't come so easily and after a rather fitful night, first thing the next morning, I took the second test. Rather than leave the room, I watched it countdown to give me the results. I got that word again, in less than 30 seconds. Holy Schnikes, Batman! Now what? Not really knowing what to do, I took a picture of the test with my cell phone, for documentation purposes, in case I needed to tell Ross. Then, I went to work. I had two days of teaching to do, and no one to share my news with.

My last night in St. George, as I was eating a Chili's salad in my hotel room, and after I'd done a ton of research on babies and that word, using the Internet in my room, I told Ross that I had something exciting to show him when I got home. I knew for 3 days, in a far away city, the news that would change our lives, but I wasn't going to tell him over the phone. In fact, once I got the chance, I couldn't tell him face to face.

When I arrived home from my work trip, he was waiting for me, wondering what my news was. I couldn't say the word, but I could pull up the picture on my cell phone and let Ross figure it out. He was excited, and decided that me immediately must head to a Barnes and Noble and purchase books. We did that the next night.

I still have a hard time saying the word, but I am very happy and completely in love with the results.

That, my friends, is a good day to remember.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chia Day 19, so long good friend

chia, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

Today, the Chia Hippo passed away in his sleep. It was a good life, that the chia led but, alas, it was his time. He was getting stinky, and a little moldy, and the chia was no more.

Chia and I were good friends for his 19 days of life. We talked over lunch and I watered him every day. Though Chia never grew as beautiful as the image on the box and the commercials said he would, and he never actually grew anything on the upper half of his little chia clay body, he was agood chia.

Unfortunately, scraping the seeds off of, and pulling the sprouts out of dear chia was much more fun than watching him grow.

Chia is survived by his friends: Chia Cat, Chia Tazmanian Devil, and Chia Head.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jazz fans, now you can feel my pain....

Had enough of the cheap shot, flopping, faking, whining, and crying Spurs yet?

Thanks David Stern - this is really exciting and watchable.

Real class organization and fans - standing ovation for "big check" Bob Horry when he checked in during game one.

Isolation plays and flops and lowering the shoulder have turned basketball to crap.

Time for tighter rules and instant reply and coaches' challenges.

No wonder the NFL is leaving the NBA in the dust.


Yesterday, I did Alex and Tara's engagement photos. In two hours we took almost 200 pictures and quite a few turned out really great. Here are my favorites.





Sunday, May 27, 2007

Birthday Wishes and IKEA dreams

It was my birthday on Friday. I turned 29. No biggie. I went to a doctor's appointment for myself, took Elliott to a doctor's appointment for some skin issues, and ate Chic-fil-a for lunch with Mom and Willie. In the evening, the fam. came over to celebrate. It was nice. I love my family and they gave me very generous gifts. As I get older, I always feel very lucky that I have such a great mom, dad, brother, sister, husband, baby, and grandparents. They all take such good care of me and I am so happy to have them around.

Last night, when most of the state was glued to the tube, my little family and I ventured to the new IKEA. It wasn't as crowded as we anticipated and even with all the noise and commotion, Elliott slept. However, I'm not sure if it's all IKEA's around the world on the 4th day of being open or if it's just because Utah is an entity of stupidity, "out-of-controlednes", and the general population being under the age of, oh 5, but it was a disaster! Anything that was white on the opening day was, last night, covered in dirty footprints and anything that was put together, like, say a bed display, was tattered, torn, and seemed to have children living in it. And, just like Utah's drive like moron's on the freeway, they drive like moron's through the showroom and aisles of IKEA. FOLLOW THE ARROWS PEOPLE! They will guide you where you want to go...just like the iron rod.
I hope the Swedes let up keep our store.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Over 30 years and still kickin' it

IMGP1228, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

When my mom was in high school she went to a party. She brought a beer home from that party and put it into my grandma's fridge to see if my grandma would say anything. That was in 1972 (I think) and the beer is still in the fridge.

My grandma still hasn't said a word.

(FYI: If I ever take you to my grandma's house, I'll show you the beer. We grandkids always show people the beer. It's tradition.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

4 months old


Today, Elliott is 4 months old. It is so hard to believe that he is already such a big boy with an even bigger personality. Elliott has learned so much in the last 4 weeks that I'm not even sure where to start talking about my wonderful boy.

On Sunday, Ross and I did the scale trick and we both came up with a weight of 22 pounds for the boy. I also measured him and he measured somewhere between 25-27 inches long. Basically, if we stand him up on the ground, he is just taller than Ross' knee. At 4 months old he is wearing 12 month clothes and a lot of those outfits, especially his jammies, are just too tight.

Elliott is starting to enjoy cruising in the stroller and can make it for about 30 minutes before he needs a change of scene and modality. However, he absolutely LOVES being outside, sitting on the porch watching the kids walk home from school and having the wind blow in his face. He likes to help water flowers, too.

The boy is getting pretty good at propping himself up on his tummy and is starting to scoot. He's also almost figured out rolling over. He gets himself halfway and then seems to realize that he is about to go from his back to his tummy (not fond of the tummy) and the paranoia that sets into his face sends him back onto his back. He can't quite sit up on his own, but has neck control to challenge any adult.

A sense of humor has developed in the little monkey over the last few weeks as well. He is pretty stingy with the laughs, but once he gets going, his laughter is one of the sweetest sounds ever! He laughs boisterously and is super ticklish everywhere, but especially around his neck...if of course, you can find his neck. He is also pretty tricky and good at getting what he wants. Just last week he threw out his bottom lip and let it start quivering as if ready to burst into tears. All I did was look at him, shake my finger and tease him saying "don't you dare" and he started to laugh. We did that back and forth a few times before he got bored with me and returned to hitting his toys.

Elliott loves to eat his cereal and fruits, and is partial to pears and applesauce. Ross tried him out with peaches last week and he hated them and quit eating in protest. We've purchased sweet potatoes, but neither of us is brave enough to feed him those yet. I am sure his reaction will be unpleasant.

The little guy is also starting to turn into a pretty avid sports nut, with the help of his dad of course. They've watched all the NBA playoffs together, felt sad when the suns lost, and cheer when the Yankees loose. This scares me more than anyone can really know, but it looks like my kid is going to be a sport nerd and I've got no choice in the matter.

As if I can't say enough, good about this kid, I'll end with my most favorite...The other night (in the middle of the night) after screaming at Ross for a good 30 minutes or so, it was my turn to try and soothe him and I used what I knew would work: Elvis. Elliott and I have taken to singing Elvis songs together. Within a few lines of our first of many songs, he started to sing with me (he sounds like a hound dog with a lot of low "oh, oh, oh's". Our duets aren't too shabby, either. And, this boy's got great taste in music.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Aunt Christina, this one's for you

Aunt Christina made a quick visit from Philadelphia this weekend. Her only chance to see the monkey was on Saturday night and of course, he was sound asleep.

Yesterday, as we talked, Elliott wanted to share a smile, so we put it on video. He told me to tell you, that if he would have been awake, he would have smiled T-H-I-S B-I-G for you!

Chia Day 11: Like a good scab

like a good scab, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

So, I've discovered that picking the seeds off of the Chi pet is much more fun than watching it grow. I am a scab picker and zit popper by nature, and the chia is the best outlet for this...especially because I don't have any really people to pick at, at the moment. Besides, eleven days in to the project, I think I am a chia failure. The base of the chia seems to have sprouted marvelously. The upper half...not so much. And, as the sprouts, well, sprout, this causes seeds to fall off from other areas. What does all of this mean? Well, the chia has some major bald spots. It also smells a soggy pottery.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Yesterday, they got hitched

Gordon and Jessica got married yesterday. Ross and I weren't able to attend the ceremony because we had to work, but the reception was very nice. It was outdoors and the weather was perfect.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chia day 6: growth on foot

growth on foot, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

So, this Chia pet thing is starting to oog me out a bit. It was okay with just the seeds on it, but now that the seeds are sprouting, I can't really look at the creature. It sort of makes my skin crawl a bit.

In the sprout stage, I thought the thing looked like zits that had been popped and not cleaned up...their trail of puss being left as a reminder of what it once was. Now, with the green plant things growing on it, I just have a hard looks nasty.

We'll keep growing the thing, but it may only have one life. Ross suggested putting it somewhere that I can't see it all the time (the kitchen counter isn't really working for me), but then I will forget to water and document it's progress.

For now, chia will keep growing, but the seed and early growth phases are just making me quease.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The baby is an Einstein

Elliott is 15 weeks old today. How about that? He has his 4 month appointment and shots soon, but the kid is growing like a weed and showing us how smart he is every single day. He loves to sit up, and talks a lot, just like his dad. He likes baseball and basketball, can finally hold his head up really well on his belly, and is a drooling machine. He smiles and laughs all the time and for some reason, taking his undershirts off, and peeing all over his dad, are the things that make him laugh the most. Oh, and his Grandma Judy. She can get him to laugh, too.

Elliott has decided that the stroller is okay, and he absolutely loves being outside. I've never seen a kid so happy to have the wind blow in his face.

Great Grandma and Grandpa Howden bought him a new toy and Ross finished putting it together the other night. Elliott can't quite sit up well enough (we prop him with a blanket) just yet, but the toy is a hit. Just watch the movie and see for yourself.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Chia Pet, Day 4: Sprouts


Mother's Day and a Farewell

Yesterday was my first Mother's Day. I told Ross not to get me anything. He says that he didn't, but that Elliott did. They got me a fire pit for my patio. I can't wait to sit out there this summer and roast marshmallows in my own back yard. Elliott even picked out and signed my card.

Elliott's signature

Mother's Day was also Preston's Farewell. He heads to the Empty Sea on Wednesday to dedicate 2 years of his life to Church service in Argentina. He gave a very good talk, and we had a great brunch at Cindy's after the meeting.

Preston will do a great job.

some cousins

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gangster Lesbians love Nickel Creek

Last night, Haley and I went to an excellent concert. We've been avid followers of Nickel Creek for about 6 years or so and have seen then just as many times in concert. We first saw them at the very cool Zephyr club the night before Halloween years ago and have only missed 1, maybe 2 salt lake/park city/red butte shows since. They are the only group I have ever seen that would maybe qualify as "country", but I prefer to think of them as a sort of hip, funky, blue grass trio.

Saturday's concert was at the lovely Abravanel Hall and as Haley and I were walking towards the venue, and she actually looked at the tickets, we realized that we were on the fourth row. There are only a few other shows I've been so close to the group, but 4th row seats were great, especially because they were see, Nickel Creek is a sit down band. They rock in their own sweet way, but they draw an interesting crowd. To either side of Haley and me were old people and husbands upset at being drawn to a concert for a group their wives like instead of, oh a CCR revival show. In front of us were two couples and one of them didn't fit the Nickel Creek mold. The girl, of whom the title of this post references, was VERY EXCITED to be at Nickel Creek, even though she looked like she might be packing heat (note the rhyme). She was wearing her red NY Yankees had, backwards and sideways, a 3xl red Izod shirt, baggy saggy jeans, and her BK kicks. Nose ring, earrings, and lots of bling.

Now, Haley and I didn't really care about her outfit, nor did we care that she was holding her girlfriends hand the whole time (even though the woman in front of us did...she stared the whole time...must have been her first experience with gangsters in the SLC). What we did care about though, and found rather amusing, was that the girl seemed to think she was at, oh, a RUN DMC reunion show than the show of a nice little trio from California that plays the guitar, mandolin, and violin. She was hooting and hollering and doing her Arsenio Hall power fist in the air throughout the show, especially when they sand her favorite know, the one about the guy that jumps off a lighthouse tower and commits suicide. That one rocks.

Regardless, the concert was very good, and a great "farewell (for now)" show. The group played for nearly three hours, nearly all of their songs. They played a Radiohead tune I didn't know, and ended their encore with a raucous version of the Beatles "helter skelter". (It was a Beatles song, right Haley?)

The concert ended around 11:40 and I was starving so we hit a MacDonalds close to the freeway on the way home. It is a scary Mcy-D's, one that has padlocks on the bathroom doors. As we were in line to pay for our food at the drive through, these two crazy people came towards our car. Haley made sure the doors were locked. We thought that they were going to ask us for $$ or something...but they seemed to be speaking Russian. We don't speak Russian. Well, they weren't interested in speaking to us, they just wanted to stand in line, behind our car, you know, cause drive through's take walk ups. If that wasn't enough, she whipped out a $50 (the restaurant doesn't take bills that large, that late) and then, following their example, another guy got out of his car, and stood in line behind them.

As we drove away, I hope it all worked out for them.

The show was good, the entertainment just as good, and I hope that the group reunites soon. It's always a fun night out with my sister. And, now that she's married, I don't have to go to Kenny Chestnut with her. Good luck with that one James, it's all yours.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Chia Pet Day Two: the seed schmear

DSCN0614, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

Background: Willie gave me the chia pet for Christmas and up until just this week, Hippo has been sitting in his box.

Elliott and I decided we needed a friend in the house, so thus enters Chia Hippo. After 24 hours of soaking, we applied the seeds yesterday. They were slimey and yucky and I washed the remnants that were stuck to my fingers down the disposal. I hope we don't sprout stuff out of the sink.

We will keep you updated on his progress. He should be covered in green in 1-2 weeks.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quick Draw makes it rain

When Fred gets his diaper changed he occasionally decides to pee a bit while exposed to the open air.

Sometimes it goes straight up - sometimes it goes off to the side.

This morning he basically peed on himself - more specifically right onto his face. It was awful. I felt so bad. It was dark and pooled around his eyes. I quickly cleaned him up and after brief trauma he did not seem worse for wear.

Perhaps he does not yet realize that pee is gross. I cannot get the image of the puddles out of my mind. I will be much quicker in the future - that is for sure.

Ramblings and Clarifications

I have forgotten how to comb my hair. It is a fairly irrelevant task in the grand scheme of my everyday existence, but I can't remember how to do it. Or blow it dry for that matter. It looks like a disaster every day, except the day I get it cut and Romela does it for me. Why can't she do my hair for me every day? I wonder what she would charge for house calls?

I don't watch Dawson's Creek every morning. I only catch a glimpse to see if it is the series finale. Haven't seen the series finale before (at least not the whole thing).

I only started watching ER in the morning because there isn't anything on at 8:00 am when baby wants to play and I need help staying awake. And, Dr. Clooney was on when I started and he got me hooked again. Just last week I found the plot lines online for the entire series and I'm just waiting for the episode where a guy gets smashed by a helicopter. Then, I'm done. That particular episode, if I've calculated correctly, might happen by the end of this week. At that point, we can eliminate ER from our morning and go for a walk before it gets too hot.

No, I didn't watch The Mormons last week on PBS Frontline. Why not? Two reasons: 1) I didn't remember it was on and don't watch the televizzle in the evenings because I am working and 2) I just plain don't care. Yes, I am one of them and I hope I am a good one, but I'm just not interested in a 4 hour documentary about "my people" and those that don't like them.

I don't really drive much anymore because the Monkey and I are at home most the time. This is good because with gas being ridiculously expensive, we're saving $50 a week. This is bad, because, I am even more paranoid when driving on the freeway than I have ever been. Morons in big trucks: please stop trying to kill me and my baby in my tiny VW. Yes, we are small, but that doesn't give you the right yesterday to try and merge on top of us. Please stay in your own lane.

The baby is heavy. Too heavy to carry and the car seat is a pain to haul around. The other day, I tried his snuggli. He's too big. It cut off the circulation in his legs. Any ideas or suggestions?

I need new shirts, preferably 3/4 length sleeves either with collars that don't wrinkle easily or v-neck t-shirts that are long. Mom, if your reading this, maybe this can be my birthday present. I need new pants to, but I'm not willing to go down that route yet. Pants are too complicated.

My baby has finally decided that maybe one nap a day is okay. He made the right decision, for the both of us and I am very proud of him.

Ross, if you read this, please just ignore any typos or misspellings. I don't care, and neither should you.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A blessing

Yesterday, Ross blessed Elliott. He did a great job and Elliott was an angel the entire day, even if his outfit was a little reminiscent of an English Prince on christening day. He worked it well.

After the blessing, we had nearly 60 people in our tiny house for a lovely afternoon brunch. The weather was perfect, the kids ran around outside, and as the crowds cleared, nearly all the food was eaten. I hope that everyone got enough to eat and headed to their homes like fat cats ready for a nap in the sun.

The services yesterday (It was fast and testimony meeting) were interesting and Lauren and Natalie did an excellent job documenting the varied testimonies.

Natalie said, "The testimony meeting was really interesting. First you got the nice spiritual ones. We counted like four people that said..."My Name is sis/bro. ________, and we have been in the ward _______ months" Then we got some people confessing in front of the congregation...saying like the haven't been doing very well in their callings or haven't been coming to church. There was one girl who said that she is going away for 7 months and there won't be a church around."

Lauren commented, "On girl got up, and started talking about her brother and all the bad stuff he was doing on weekends. She said that when she saw what she was doing, she was very upset. The question is: what was her brother doing? Then this other girl got up and started asking questions like: Have you ever made someone smile? Have you ever made someones day? She then told a story of some girl in her math class. The two of them have had a really bad relationship. But one day, the testimony girl decided to compliment the other girl. She told the mean girl: "I like your shirt. It's really bright." The mean girl then smiled at the testimony girl, and testimony girl felt that they were beginning to create a strong relationship. We counted about four people who all said in their testimonies that they just moved into the ward. One of the funniest ones was this lady. She was sharing her testimony when all of a sudden she said, "my husband got me an i-pod with "To the music of my life" engraved on the back. Random!"

It was interesting.

Regardless of the meeting, yesterday was a wonderful day. Days like that remind me of just how lucky I am to have the family and life that I do. A theme that came up a lot for me yesterday was "heritage". It was so cool for me to be able to have in my home, for Elliott, 5 great-grandparents, 4 grandparents, and more aunts, uncles and cousins than I could shake a stick at. I love that I have a family that sticks together, supports each other, and brings food to parties! Thanks for all the great food. The older I get (I am pushing 29), the more important it is for me to have my family around, immediate and extended. It blows my mind to think about the possibility of not having my mom, dad, sister, and brother so near not just for me, but for Elliott. I am so happy that he loves his grandma (and she loves him back) and that she seems to be the only one to get him to laugh (I'm working on it though).

Great days are nice. I need to make sure that I have more of them.

My Family B&W

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I love...

Successful family parties and pretty tables
Pretty table
(there was food on the table, eventually)

Creative head gear
Protective Head Gear

My mom
Grandma and Baby

Chocolate birthday cake from French bakeries
Chocolate Ganache Cake

Bright Eyes
(Haley took this last one. I need to give her proper credit)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Walking away from his youth...

Buckingham palace, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

Today is Ross' birthday. He is 30 and not taking it too well. Since he thinks that he is now OLD, and life is over, I've compiled a list. A list of 30 things to help him feel better on this very sad, sad day.

  1. You are not 50, or 70, or 90 and still have all your original joints.
  2. You have traveled the world.
  3. You have a wife who loves you, even though she nags, and a baby boy that adores you, because you are his dad and you call him Buddy and give him a break from the crazy mama.
  4. You are still young enough to go to concerts, even though you don't want to.
  5. You play basketball two times a week. OLD people don't do that.
  6. Working in the yard doesn't break your back.
  7. Walking up the stairs in your house don't make you winded.
  8. This blog. You love the blog.
  9. Fantasy Baseball.
  10. Watching NBA playoffs while watching your baseball team on the computer, while watching Elliott is an enjoyable way to spend your evening.
  11. I let you burp all the time and don't get mad, as long as you say excuse me after.
  12. You haven't started to shrink yet.
  13. You are healthy.
  14. You speak Spanish.
  15. I got you nice birthday presents.
  16. There will be no black balloons at home when you finish work today.
  17. You are a good painter and a hard worker.
  18. People like you, they really do.
  19. My mom thinks you are a good dad and an angel for putting up with me.
  20. You still have all your hair!!!!
  21. You've never gotten drunk and done something you regretted later.
  22. You have an extensive vocabulary.
  23. You are good at surfing the Internet.
  24. I like to be around you and you make me, and lots of other people happy.
  25. Other people look up to you.
  26. You are a good cook.
  27. Wil Ferril movies make you cry.
  28. You are: honest, true, chaste, benevolent, and virtuous.
  29. Your intentional mispronunciation of words and em-phasis of syl-albes is amusing.
  30. You're not 40. That one is going to hurt a bit.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

First ball game

great grandma and monkey, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

Monkey has been to basketball games, but yesterday was his first softball game. He wore his ball hat for the ocassion. Meranda was playing and I was recruited to take some pictures of her in action.

We made it through most fo the game before someone (not me) got too grouchy to stay. But, at the beginning, he was good, and happy watching the action perched on his Great Grandma's lap.


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