Sunday, September 30, 2007

Travel distraction

My company's current and so far only contract has a major deadline in January. Even though I know better (in software development, you only get busier post-release) I have been thinking about how it would be nice to do some traveling.

Rachel and I have talked about living abroad for a year or so in the relatively near future. There are lots of places we would like to live but probably the top three are Ireland, Tahiti, and the Philippines. The main line of reasoning here is
  1. If you're going to go abroad for a year it's a bit silly to live somewhere that's not very different from the USA, which tends to rule out Australia which is after all rather like Canada, only warmer
  2. On the other hand it does suck to not be able to understand anyone. We should be fine with English in Ireland and the Philippines; we think we could probably dust the rust off our French quickly enough to make Tahiti viable. (Thanks to my father's influence, my French was once good enough to be able to watch the news and occasionally trick a Frenchman into thinking I was Quebequois. Although I never managed the opposite; my accent was not French enough.)
  3. You could apply (1) and (2) to France itself as well, but neither of us is really excited about that idea for various reasons
  4. Ditto Northern Africa, although it's quite possible I should look at the options there more closely
Of course, before moving somewhere for a year it only makes sense to make some shorter trips first to see if we actually like it first. That is what I have in mind for January.

Of those, I'd prefer not to make our first visit to Ireland be in the winter. From what I have read, the weather there is similar to Rachel's native Washington in the sense that it rains a lot most of the year; the main difference is that Ireland is colder.

My dad wants to come out and say hi if we go to Tahiti; since he's a college teacher, that means waiting for summer makes sense for Tahiti too. (And if you are thinking "sharing a vacation with your parents doesn't sound like much fun," you clearly do not have kids yet. Free baby sitting. Plus my parents think Rachel walks on water which doesn't hurt either.)

So, that is the long explanation for why Rachel often catches me reading about the Philippines online. At first glance there's a lot of information available about living just about anywhere but if you look closer most of it is geared towards either singles or retired couples. Or retired singles. Younger couples with kids... not so much.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not out of the woods yet...

Last night Jonathan and acted like newlyweds, we stayed up late games.

In retrospect that wasn't such a good idea.

About 1:30 in the morning Melissa woke up yelling for Daddy. Daddy was out for the count so I went in her room. As I knelt by her bed I abruptly realized something was very wrong. I picked her up and and started yelling for Jonathan. Melissa had thrown up and was covered head to toe. I bathed Melissa while Jonathan took care of the bedding, floor, and wall.

Freshly bathed and attired, I rocked her in her room. She threw up again and got me and the rocking chair, not to mention herself too. We showered

(Well wasn't that interesting. As I wrote this Melissa was sick again while on my lap. I wasn't quite fast enough and she got the couch too. Poor thing.)

So anyways it was about every 10 minutes she'd have another episode in the night. It went on until around 5:30. I'm not sure what time she got up this morning, Jonathan took her then and I slept till 9.

So then Matthew started complaining about being sick. I thought he was just vying for all the attention that his sister was getting. Unfortunately I was wrong. So now both kids are taking turns upchucking. We are in constant threat of running out of fresh towels and Melissa clothes. The washer and dryer and running full time. Poor kids, poor parents.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


*Warning the following contains bodily functions and interior decorating. It is not a pretty combination.

Sunday Jonathan put Melissa down for a nap. He could hear her goofing off and then it got erily quiet. Daddy patted himself on his back for successfully putting her down for a nap. A half hour later he hears "Dadda Poop! Dadda! Dadda!" Upon entering the room he is overwhelmed with the poop fumes. Melissa is in the room diperless and the contents of her discarded diaper artfully decorating the floor, blankets, and her. He picks her up, gives her a shower, and cleans the floor.

Fast forward to that evening. I'm taking a shower and Melissa barges on in the bathroom. I tell her firmly that "No, you had a shower today, now it is Mama's turn." Jonathan extracts her from the bathroom and locks the door for me. I finish up and head upstairs. Melissa is in her room naked and covered in poop. Her floor is covered in poop, her bedding likewise adorned. She looks up and Jonathan and me and says, "Daddy Poop! I shower?" Gahhh!

She got a cold wipe down in the tub instead. Daddy and Mommy were not amused.

Call Me Old-Fashioned

Since moving to Utah a decade ago, I've noticed a trend. Most adults here are addressed by their first names by children. In fact if I introduce someone to my children as Mrs. So and so, they will interject, "oh you can call me Jane." I thought it was a regional quirk, but after browsing through an online parenting discussion forum, 97% of the posters go by their first name with children. In fact more than a few of them thought it is degrading to children to have to use Mr. or Mrs./Ms.!! That using a title is an inappropriate form of respect and real respect comes from actions not words.

Well, in my ever humble opinion, words do convey respect or disrespect, and there is nothing wrong (and quite a bit right!) with using a title to express that. Kids are wonderful, delightful people, but they are not adults in miniature. Believe me, I live with two of them! I have yet to see an adult throw himself onto the ground kicking and screaming because he can't have the gumball he wants! Or decorate the walls, floors, and her body with markers. I think that with age comes responsibility, experience, and (hopefully) wisdom, right? Adults teach and protect children and as such are not on the same level. On television, could you imagine calling Mr. Roger, Fred? As in "Fred's Neighborhood?" I just don't see myself as the peer of a three-year-old! Likewise, those whom I grew up addressing as Mr./Mrs. or Brother/Sister, are still addressed in that manner, unless they prefer to be addressed otherwise now that I'm an adult.

However, my viewpoint is not popular. It's hard to teach Matthew and Melissa to address adults with a title when their peers don't or the adults prefer to be addressed by their first name. Even very casual acquaintances will ask to be known as Bob or Amy. Often I can compromise with "Ms. Amy." Really close friends and cousins have the honorific "Aunt or Uncle." I want to respect what other adults what to be called, at the same time I want to teach Matthew and Melissa good manners. It's tough to balance.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


  • It sucks when your kids get over their cold faster than you do. They're bouncing off the walls while you're groaning on the couch wishing the world would stop being so loud. At least Melissa slept in til 8:30 two days in a row while she was recuperating.
  • Matthew's favorite song is the Star Wars Imperial March, aka "the Darth Vader theme." He has several variants that he hums to himself. I'm not sure if the variations have more significance than a 4-year-old not quite remembering how it goes.
  • Matthew's class was assigned to say what they are thankful for during the ward Primary program. Matthew was thankful for his birthday, and Christmas. Recently he added Halloween. One of his classmates is thankful she doesn't have nightmares anymore.
  • Melissa has been spending more time in her room lately as she learns that telling Daddy "No" when told to Come or Climb Down is not acceptable. This morning, for instance, I came back in the room to find her on top of the counter, stuffing her face with Mommy's gummi worms. She was not pleased to see me.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A trip with Matthew

I took Matthew with me on a business trip to NJ in mid-August. Matthew was a good traveler for the most part; if he hadn't done well on our trip for David's wedding I wouldn't have done it. 5 hours is a long flight, plus more waiting in the airport, is a long time to sit around when you're 4.

Continental overbooked the first leg of our flight (to DC, where we were going to take a Delta flight to Utah). The good news was they put us on a direct flight to SLC instead. The bad news is we still got in to Utah almost three hours later, past 10 PM. Matthew did pretty well until he fell asleep half an hour before we landed -- when he woke up he was in bad shape. Everything resulted in a flood of tears and howls.

But I guess it was worth it; Mom was glad to have Matthew for a couple days, and Matthew was glad to see Grandma and Uncle Grant again. Rachel was glad to only have one kid by herself while I was gone. And for all their squabbles, Melissa missed Matthew -- Rachel said every morning she would ask, "Where Dachew?"