Wednesday, April 30, 2008


We have a mama duck who built her nest in the bush right by our front door. The neighbor kids found the nest after they hit a ball into the bushes and excitedly told us. I'd wondered why I kept seeing a mallard duck in our front yard...

Mama duck was frightened off by the ball, but she came back and isn't bothered by the in and out of the front door or even when I lifted the bushes to show Matthew.

I've read that duck eggs need to incubate for 28 days. Maybe in a month I'll be able to post some duckling pictures.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

3 out of 4

Melissa is now sick too. Matthew seems to have recovered though so we've only had one sick person at a time. Poor little thing woke up with the fever/chills/cough thing. I think that may have been why she's been a grumpy little miss the last two days, her body was gearing up to fight an infection.

Lucky Jonathan was on duty when she threw up.

You can tell when our kids are sick when all they want to do is lie down quietly. Definitely abnormal.

Spring is officially here

My Macbook Pro is the same temperature as always, but now it's distractingly hot on my knees instead of pleasantly warm.

Alternately, one could note that Rachel turned on the AC.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I think I'm in love

...or at least infatuation- seeing as love takes place over time.

I put my new cast iron pan on its maiden voyage today. It's a pre-seasoned cast iron pan made by Lodge and I tested scrambled some eggs on it. It passed with flying colors. With a little Pam sprayed on the pan the eggs came off easily. I put the hot pan under water and cleaning was a cinch.

No more teflon pans that get all scratched up and gouged after a few years! But love/like? is not blind. There are some advantages and disadvantages to iron cookware.


wears like iron! can last a lifetime*
distributes heat nicely so food cooks evenly
retains heat well
supposed to grill steaks beautifully (haven't tested this out yet)
no worries about nonstick chemicals flaking off into the food

* if the pan gets mistreated and rusts, it can be sanded down and reseasoned


requires more TLC than teflon
must be cleaned when hot or food really sticks
not as nonstick as teflon
kind of plain looking- not aesthetically pleasing

Overall I think it's a good workhorse pan, and I'm looking forward to many years together.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pissed-off princess

Melissa is grumpy. It started when I took her out of the bathtub for shrieking. And then I toweled her off, if you can believe it. Now she's yelling so angrily that I can't understand her. I can only make out the vowels: AYHE IH AH! Take it off? Make it stop? Lay in stock?

I'm staying home from church with Matthew, who is feeling pretty good but still has a nasty-sounding cough. So I wish Mommy luck with our little angel.

Matthew is the Ibuprofen poster boy: give him a dose and he forgets that he's sick. Which is good, because when he remembers he's sick, he's the moaniest little boy you ever saw. Nobody ever felt sorrier for himself. But when he forgets he's sick he wants to play and do his usual high-octane activities instead of resting, so it's a bit of a mixed bag. (We'll definitely take forgetting he's sick, thanks.)

Update: more yelling. MOMMY [UNINTELLIGIBLE]! I HATE YOU! NO!

I might get two kids at home if she keeps this up.

Allergic to Greek

My boss hosted a lunch yesterday with catered Greek food to wrap up a morning interviewing Richard from California. I ate at 2; at 4:30 I noticed I felt itchy all over, and by 5:00 I couldn't take it any more and tore my clothes off to scratch. (It didn't help.)

Rachel suggested I take a shower. I did, and the itching subsided, for a couple hours. It started again about 7, so I chugged some childrens' benadryl, and that took care of it for good.

I've never felt itching like that before. And I've eaten Greek food, without problems. This was just grilled chicken, flatbread, and yellow rice.

Rather unsettling.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not so Fast

Matthew is sick. How do I know for sure? Besides the fact he is not a stoic about illness or injury, he informed me in a sad tone that "Maybe I can't play with friends today." (If there is one thing Matthew never tires of it is going outside to play with the neighbor kids)


"I'm really tired."

"Being sick is not fun."

His teeth are chattering and his fever is back with a vengeance. Poor kid. This virus completely wiped out his Daddy for several days.

Feeling better

Rachel is doing better, just in time for her dress rehearsal (Thursday) and concert (last night). In the meantime I got as sick as I've been in recent memory Tuesday and Wednesday. It may have been something different, or just a different form of Rachel's virus.

Tuesday night I felt cold and my body ached. ("Huh," I thought. "This feels like how my body ached last time I was sick.") When I went to bed at 11 for a nap my teeth were chattering. Rachel came to bed and pointed out that I had a fever. I decided not to get up after twenty minutes and slept through til 10 AM. Then I slept from 2 PM to 8 PM. Then another night's sleep at 10:30. In between I watched the kids so Rachel could rest.

Wednesday the fever was gone but my eyeballs still ached. I spent the day recovering.

Last night Matthew woke up at 3:30 with a headache. We gave him some ibuprofen and a forehead patch. Twenty minutes later he informed us he didn't need the patch anymore because his head was better. Thank heaven for drugs. We were afraid he was the next victim of the Ellis virus but he is doing fine this morning. (After getting up at 7:30, naturally.)

Friday, April 25, 2008


A Comcast guy came by today wanting to know if we wanted to upgrade our internet service with a cable TV package.

"No thanks, we don't watch TV."*

His eyes bugged out in genuine surprise. "No TV!? You don't use an antenna or anything?"

"Nope, and we're not really interested."

"How about your phone line? We've got a great deal for internet/phone service. Or do you just use cell phones?"

"We just use cell phones, thanks."

"Uhhhh. Well let us know if you change your minds. Have a great day."

When Jon and I got married we decided that television wouldn't be an important part of our lives. We've never had cable or an antenna hooked up. Sure we have plenty of other vices, but wasting time watching mindless shows isn't one of them. In my experience, it's just too easy to get sucked in.

My resolve has only strengthened after our last trip. We had cable in our hotel room. Matthew loved watching the cartoons and the advertisements that go with them. "Dad, Dad! Can we get that? It makes you jump high! Dad! LOOK! That's sooo cool let's get that!" Trying to explain that the ads are there to convince you to buy things you don't need completely went over his head. "But Mom, Dad! It's cool!"

So do I miss TV? Nope. No regrets.

*We do watch movies, and occasionally order televisions shows on DVD after reading reviews. We also play lots of console games... (that would be one of our vices).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sleep deprivation

The kids, that is, not me.

Matthew and Melissa were both up until midnight last night. I'm not sure what put a nickel in them. Rachel and I both lost count how many times we turned off their lights, only to have them snap back on a minute later.

They were both cranky today. (They never sleep in, no matter how late they were up.) By the time I got home, Melissa was crying at the drop of a hat; Matthew had mostly gotten his second wind. So I snuggled Melissa to sleep at 7:30 before our friends came over with their kids. Matthew got to play until 9 and was pretty cheerful.

Staying in Utah, for now

I turned down Rackspace's offer. It was a good offer, so I'm a little bit sad? wistful?, but on the whole I think my opportunities with Feature50 are even greater.

But, my boss's wife is really excited to go to Taiwan for a month with her family. Maybe Rachel and I will get a chance to go too. The only obstacle is my boss, who is far from thrilled with the idea.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

That's it; I'm old

I ate half a bag of Doritos this afternoon and a few hours later felt like total crap. Now I'm doing okay again.

Mike Bayer warned me at PyCon: "Pretty soon, your body won't put up with that stuff anymore." He was right.

Fortunately hamburgers are still on my body's Good list. At least, they were on Friday.

Still sick

Rachel was feeling good enough to come to William's birthday party with us yesterday for a couple hours. Apparently that was overdoing things, because she's feeling worse again today.

Normally I am vigilant against Rachel overexerting herself when she is recuperating, because she has a history of doing that, but even I thought that the birthday party would be okay. This pregnancy has not been an easy one.

Attention, please

Matthew surprised me today. He was paying attention to the speaker in sacrament meeting.

I couldn't tell he was listening; he was coloring away in his notebook. But when the speaker rhetorically asked, "How can we help our wives and mothers?" Mathew piped up: "I can do dishes to help Mommy."

I have mixed feelings about that, actually. I like doing the dishes. It's a very well-defined task, unlike some others ("clean the kitchen").

Maybe we can teach Matthew to clean the kitchen.


Ten thousand ten. That's the biggest number Matthew can conceive of. He's enormously impressed by it. A kid went by on a skateboard. "I think he practiced ten thousand ten times!" Running down the hill: "I was ten thousand ten fast!" Eating his favorite beef and noodles: "I like this a lot!" How much do you like it? "I like it ten thousand ten!"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rachel is feeling better

How do I know? Because when she woke up from her four hour nap she cleaned up the kitchen.

When Rachel is sick I feed the kids, I do the dishes, I run the kids around outside our house or at parks, and I keep the floor clear enough to not pose too much of a tripping hazard. But "Rachel clean" is a different level.

How can you tell Rachel is sick? When she starts to think maybe "Jonathan clean" is good enough.

Matthew is reading on the toilet

Rachel is a little annoyed but that is because it's 9:30 and she wishes he were sleeping instead.

Welcome to the porcelain throne book club, kid.

Nolan blogs

I found out today that my brother in law Nolan has been blogging for more than a year. How about that -- pictures and everything. I'm impressed. Nolan isn't the most technical guy in the world so I guess blogging really is mainstream. He seems to average about 1.5 posts a month which is a little minimal but hey, cut the guy some slack, he's in med school. And that's still more than some relatives I could name.

I didn't know Nolan was such a hardcore sports fan. He writes a lot about Cleveland's teams. I suspect a strong set of major league teams was a big factor in his decision about where to go to school.

I also didn't know that he took fifth in his age group in a triathon. Way to make me feel even more out of shape than I already did, Nolan.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

San Antonio, days 4 and 5

Day four (Tuesday) was interview day. Not much to say about that -- Rachel was sick, so I took the kids in the morning, went to my interview, came back. We did try the Mi Tierra cafe that Abby recommended in the evening. The food was pretty good, the service was quick, and they have live guitar players going around taking requests. They also had their own parking lot which is unusual for downtown San Antonio. (But in general we had an easier time finding decent parking than we've had in SLC.)

One fun story from Tuesday morning: I took the kids for a drive to scout out my interview location, mostly to figure out where to park so I didn't have to spend an unknown amount of time looking for a spot later. Turns out the office building Rackspace was in had its own parking garage. Problem solved. I turned the corner and pulled over to get out of the way while I asked our GPS to take us to a burger king to feed the kids.

While I was fiddling with the GPS, two bicycle policemen came up. One knocked on the window. "Would you care to explain why you're going the wrong way down the street?" I sheepishly explained what I was doing and that I hadn't noticed the street was one way. Fortunately the cop was in a good mood, and supressing a laugh, he and his partner stopped traffic briefly for me to make a U in the right direction.

Somehow I have to say that cops in spandex wearing dork helmets are less intimidating than usual. But I'm still glad these were in a good mood.

As for the interviews, I think they went well. They called this morning [Thursday] and said that if I want to stay in Utah and commute in for one week out of four until after the baby is born in August, they will go for that. I get the impression that is an unusual concession for them. No formal offer still, though.

Wednesday we took the kids to the big park downtown to stretch their legs. Unfortunately it was more of an adult park -- fountains, art, landscaping, but only a smallish play area which was saturated with at least three classes of schoolkids when we got there. The kids played for a while but when two more classes arrived the kids could literally not stretch their arms without hitting another kid on each side. Matthew was overwhelmed and just stood there sulking. We left.

We saw the Alamo before leaving. Everyone who says it's a bit underwhelming is right. They don't really have anything left from the actual "remember the Alamo" period except the church and one of the barracks, neither of which is in much the same condition it was in 1836. And it turns out nobody really knows much about the final battle, except Santa Anna won and killed the survivors. Pretty slim history to build a legend on.

Still, how could you go to San Antonio and not see the Alamo?

We were not looking forward to the flight back since it was going to be about an hour longer thanks to a stop in Dallas. It got off to a bad start when the Dollar car rental shuttle dropped us off on the wrong end of the airport, so we couldn't do curbside checkin. Grr! Fortunately someone had left a luggage cart right there, so we didn't have to lug everything down to the other end of the terminal where baggage check was. (Rachel's suitcase is only wheeled in the technical sense; the wheels are little useless vestigal things and in practice you just have to carry it.) Then the American Airlines agent told me I was in the wrong line and to go stand over there instead. This made me grumpy.

San Antonio is not a busy airport though, and at 2 PM on a weekday security did not take long. Our boarding passes were marked FIRST in the boarding section. We figured that meant that they thought Melissa was younger than she was, and we should board early. Shrug. Turns out that no, Rackspace really did book us first class on the return leg, maybe as an appology for not getting us a direct flight. Cheapskate that I am, this was my first time flying first class. Rachel, too. The food was actually edible -- Rachel liked her salad better than Ibizio's the other night, although I would have to give the edge to Ibizio for their excellent and plentiful blue cheese dressing.

The first class seats actually have one drawback: you can't raise the much larger and plusher armrests. When you are traveling with a two and five year old, raising the armrest gives you that much more space. But to be honest, you don't really need the extra lateral space in first class, and the extra legroom and leaning-back space makes a big difference.

The kids were good on the flight, and I think Melissa brightened a whole lot of peoples' day just a little by deciding to grace everyone disembarking at Dallas with an impish, dimpled grin and a chirpy "Bye!" There were few passengers grumpy enough to resist cracking a smile at the curly-haired two year old.

Agreeable kids combined with actually being physically comfortable made air travel actually pleasant rather than something to be merely endured. Amazing.

Then we got home. It was in the 80s in San Antonio. It is still cold in Utah.

The Parade

This morning Matthew decided that we needed a good parade, and he was just the boy to provide one. For a good half hour he rehearsed in his room with the music cranked up. I knocked midway through to check on him and he let me know that he didn't want interruptions or peeking, because "it's a surprise!"

He wanted to wait until this evening to put on his show since Daddy would be home then.

Tonight he plugged the CD player in the living room and got ready to strut his stuff. Prior to the show he assured us that "it's ok to laugh because it is a silly dance."

Then Matthew went to town with a crazy dance involving jumping, break dance moves, choreographed arm movements, and singing. Melissa couldn't restrain herself and joined in on the fun. It was more of a show than a parade, and now I know why Matthew was so sweaty after rehearsal this morning. You could really tell that he'd practiced what he wanted to do too. We captured a few minutes on the camcorder for posterity's sake.

Monday, April 14, 2008

San Antonio halftime report

San Antonio is, as I told Grant on the phone, "not as green as Washington, but almost as green as New Jersey." The older neighborhoods are full of 100 year old oaks and very pleasant and shady. Our realtor said that most builders now don't want to deal with that and just rip everything down. Another reason to avoid modern cookie-cutter style developments.

Our realtor didn't give us demographic information (I forgot to ask), but I suspect that the nice older neighborhoods we were in today are full of mostly older people, and the people our age are all in the McBland developments far away from downtown. If we can find a rental with four bedrooms, that might be our best bet to live near people our age and reasonably close to Rackspace.

The roads here are mostly East coast style, which is to say narrow. But traffic has mostly been fine, even today at 6 PM. People stay closer to the speed limit than in Utah. This bugs me a little. I'm such a type A driver that while following our real estate agent I purely out of habit started changing to an empty lane coming up to a light so I could gun it and blow past the slowpoke in the PT Cruiser. Then I realized what I was doing and stayed behind our agent. Rachel noticed, correctly interpreted what had happened, and laughed at me.

San Antonio has at least one Mennonite church, which we know because we drove past it. ("In an area called the Westside that is 98% Hispanic and known as low income," and about a mile from our hotel. Sounds about right.)

San Antonio, day 3

Rachel was feeling pretty good by the end of the day yesterday but this morning her cold was back with a vengeance. It was 11 before she was feeling human again.

We took the kids swimming in the hotel pool. They were extremely excited by this prospect. (Everything is a novelty when you're five, or three.) It was 3 to 5 feet deep which was still too deep for the kids to stand on the bottom. But they got a real kick out of "swimming" with our help. They would have stayed all day if we had "water wings." Even as it was, Melissa threw the mother of all tantrums when she found out that I didn't intend to take her back down to the pool after coming in for a potty break.

When I was a kid, I was so skinny I couldn't do a dead man's float. The closest I could come was an almost-motionless back float with just my mouth out of the water. If I stopped moving completely I would inevitably sink. ("It completely refutes Archimedes," as Frank Gilbreth said.) Our kids are the same way: rail-skinny, without an ounce of fat. This despite our best efforts to feed them! The problem is they would rather ingest the bare minimum calories required to fuel playing some more.

So, I started teaching our kids to swim the way my dad did me, which was another weird damn-I'm-getting-old moment or three. I took Melissa out and supporter her back while she kicked and paddled. I encouraged her to get used to putting her head in the water. Rachel did the same with Matthew. Then I showed Matthew how to control your breath in the water which pretty much any non-back-stroke requires. He seemed as terrified of the water as I remember being, so I backed off. We had a pool growing up and I dreaded pool days because they meant another swimming lesson. I had a bit of a phobia, and although Dad's lessons ultimately got me over it, I wonder if it could have been done with a little less trauma.

After swimming we had lunch at Burger King, where our plans to let the kids burn some more energy were slightly foiled by one of those fool-and-his-money machines with shiny things and a claw to almost reach them. Matthew spent the whole time fascinated by that thing. I've tried to explain before that wasting quarters on those is futile, and even let him waste a couple of his own, but he didn't learn the lesson and I'm not about to let him waste mine too.

Naptime went well today; kids in separate beds, Mommy and Daddy next to them to keep the peace, and the whole family got a good nap.

We called the real estate agent recommended by the second counselor yesterday -- Kim Beckstead, who is googleable if you ever need a San Antonio realtor. He referred us to another agent named Terry since he recently broke his collarbone and couldn't drive. Terry listened to me explain that we were interested in properties south of 1604, then gave us a list of 20 properties, 14 of which were north of 1604. We asked her to show us the other six. She made appointments for four, of which we ended up seeing two -- the third was in a gated community and nobody could be reached for the gate code, and the fourth's owners cancelled the showing.

Then it was time for dinnertime roulette. I was in the mood for barbeque but it was not my lucky night. We tried three barbeque restaurants that our GPS claimed to know about. One was only open for lunch. The other two looked like they had been closed for months. After the third, we gave up and went back to the hotel and ordered "room service," which, since the hotel didn't have its own restaurant, was outsourced to some Italian place nearby. The fettucine alfredo was meh, but the calzone was actually pretty good.

Rachel's cold has added a case of eye boogers to serious congestion, which greatly displeases her, particularly since she doesn't know where her glasses are, and she figures her contacts will keep the infection alive as long as she wears them.

San Antonio, day 2

Rachel's incubating cold from Saturday metastasized overnight. She felt pretty lousy in the morning, so I took the kids to church by myself.

I'd done some research into San Antonio real estate, and most people seem to agree that there are two areas that stand out as nicer than the rest of the city: the Alamo Heights / Olmos Park Terrell Hills region, and Stone Oak. Stone Oak is too far away from Rackspace for my commuting tolerance (barely under an hour if traffic is light) so I went to the "Olmos Heights" ward.

Good thing I checked it out before buying a house there. The ward skews old. And that's fine, but having lived in an older ward in our Provo house, we'd rather live near people our own age. It makes a big difference when you're home with the kids all day like Rachel is. At this ward, Melissa was the only kid in nursery ("Sometimes we have other kids show up," they reassured me). Quite a change from Draper where we'd have a third nursery if we had the space for it. Her teacher was in the primary presidency so Melissa joined the rest of the primary -- all 12 or so of them -- for sharing time. She sat by Matthew and when I stopped in to take her to the bathroom, she seemed to be enjoying herself, albeit a little bemused by the "Hello, Hello" introduction.

The second counselor gave me some advice on finding a younger area. Most of the yuppie mormons live in Stone Oak because that's where the temple is. But he suggested Castle Hills, Windcres, Deerfield, and Northwood as reasonably nice areas where Melissa would not be the only kid in nursery.

Low-prep stuff from the grocery store for lunch. We put the kids in separate beds for nap and it did not go as well as I hoped. Melissa kept chattering and getting up and chattering and getting up and finally I had to get in bed with her and pin her down, like I used to have to do with Matthew when he was six months or so. Melissa fought but I was bigger, and once still she fell asleep quickly. With Melissa out, Matthew and Rachel and I followed.

We went to the river walk in the afternoon to use our boat tour tickets. The tour was mostly a recital of the history of the various hotels that line the walk, but at least it was shady and green. Rachel kept remarking about how this flower or that was already blooming and "mine won't until June."

Rachel's favorite thing about San Antonio so far is how polite everyone is. I haven't noticed in particular, but I'm (a) male and (b) a little oblivious anyway. Rachel says all the men excusesthemselves and defer to her when they cross paths. "Even the huge tattooed guy at the grocery store said Pardon me, Ma'am."

We had the worst $60 meal I've ever had at one of the river walk tourist trap restaurants, Ibiza. It was in the ground floor of one of the Hilton's. Bleh. Overpriced and terrible service.

We took the "trolley" (really just a run of the mill bus, but the kids liked it) downtown this time. This meant we didn't have to worry about parking, but it also turned a 10 minute drive back into a 30 minute ride from hell during which I really had to go. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I suspect pretty much all downtowns suck in that respect. The driving/public transportation respect, that is, not the really having to go one.

Then we tried to get the kids to sleep again and oh man what an ordeal. Melissa is not cut out for hotels yet. I ended up turning the light on partway so I could catch her faster when she got out of bed to harass Matthew or play with the phone or whatever. Matthew finally fell asleep around 11 and Melissa a bit later. Then she woke up at 2:30 and kept bopping again until past 3:30, when I got in bed with her. Not sure how long it took her to fall asleep after that. Twenty minutes? Good thing I am doing polyphasic sleep or I would have been pissed. As it was I mostly kept her under control while Rachel sort of got to sleep.

Then Matthew got up at 8:30 and I fought a losing battle to keep Melissa from waking up while he bonked around.

On paper I got a decent amount of sleep yesterday but I am feeling ready for a nap already. Fighting kids to sleep sucks.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mexican Coke

I saw some at the supermarket last night so I picked up a bottle. I guess I'm not much of a Coke connoisseur because I didn't think it was a big deal. There was a difference, but it was subtle. Maybe if I drank more than one coke every few weeks I would care more.

San Antonio, day 1

We're in San Antonio for a job interview with Rackspace. Rackspace paid for the whole family to come down for five so Rachel and I can look at some houses while we're here. We may also go to Sea World, although Rachel got a bit of sticker shock at the price (about $175 for the family).

The flight itself was surprisingly pleasant. Melissa amused herself almost the entire time with her Go Paint set. Matthew had one too, and started playing it when Melissa got hers out. He lasted a few minutes, then went back to his "game boy." The Coleco system is great for trips because it has a ton of games that he can't lose. Sorry, it's not in production anymore, but maybe you can find one on ebay. Which reminds me, I need to get one of these too while I still can.

We got the Go Paints at Toys R Us with a gift card Rachel's grandparents sent the kids. I let them browse the whole store and that is what they wanted. Normally I wouldn't get such expensive craft materials -- watercolors cost what, a dollar? -- so I told them we would save it for our next flight. I'd completely forgotten about them, but when we were packing Matthew dragged me over to the closet where I'd stashed it -- out of sight, I thought -- and reminded me that those were for the flight. I'm glad he did! I told Rachel, Wow, the kids are so good I'll need to pack some toys for us next trip! I'm thinking the two-player Settlers card game.

Of course, by then we'll probably have number three. So never mind.

Matthew did spend the last fifteen minutes of the flight moaning and shrieking that his ears hurt and he hated planes. No doubt his ears did hurt but man I hate his hysterias. Like when he bashed his toe and there was blood all over but he acted like he'd severed his whole leg until he got a lollipop and then everything was fine. This time Rachel gave him gum and water and nothing helped... until she gave him a lollipop. Magic. I'm glad she was sitting next to him instead of me.

When we got to the hotel, Rachel was hungry but in the mood for some non-fast food that was not Mexican. That was harder to find than we thought. (San Antonio is majority Hispanic, which probably has something to do with the popularity of Mexican food here.) After a few brushes with the crack San Antonio Traffic Obstruction Team, aka construction workers, and realizing that a lot of roads were one-way but not indicated as such on our crappy hotel map, we ended up going to the downtown mall because we figured they'd probably have some generic chain restaurant that fit the bill and we were tired of looking around. (It turns out that there's a trolley that goes downtown from near the hotel, so if we go there again that is probably the way to go.)

We got tickets to the riverwalk boat tour but postponed our actual tour until tomorrow since everyone was hungry and tired. So after lunch at Chili's -- our waitress was so awesome that I had to flag down another one and ask her to run my card because ours had disappeared again -- we went back to the hotel for naps. The kids kicked each other for the better part of an hour before going to sleep. I had a splitting headache, so Rachel heroically rode shotgun while I put my earplugs in and pulled a hat over my eyes and slept. (Rachel did get a nap too after the kids finally fell asleep.)

After naps we set out for a grocery store to get some fruit and oatmeal so we weren't subsisting entirely on restaurants. (Also it turned out that "baby" wanted popcorn and ice cream. Who knew. ;) Unfortunately Google woefully mislead us -- there is a HEB grocery store in the area, but it is about a mile from where Google said it was, and not on Main Ave at all. We did get the GPS option on our rental car so we asked its opinion, and it took us cross-town to a decidedly non-upscale grocery store. But it had fruit and oatmeal and popcorn and ice cream so all was forgiven.

When we got back again, we watched the first half of Spirited Away and then went to bed. It looks like the ward in whose boundaries we'd be most likely to find a home meets at 9:00, dammit. I hate feeling rushed in the morning, especially on a "vacation."

(So are we moving? With the baby due in August and Rachel really wanting to have it with her Utah midwife there is a pretty high bar to clear for this to get the thumbs up. But it could happen.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

There's a Party Going On!

I'm lying here on my side, and as I type I can feel kicks under my ribs, on one side of my hips then the other, and then some breakdancing on my bladder. Guess this baby is going to be as active as his or her predecessors!

I'm off to visit the ladies room...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Seven Years

Yesterday was our anniversary. Seven years ago on a very windy, cloudy day we married. We had a simple luncheon afterwards for friends and family, and then we went home to put our little rented house in order. It wasn't an elaborate or expensive affair, but it was sweet. What a happy day! I couldn't imagine being happier, or more in love...

A lot has happened in those years.

I think now of all the times he has held me in his arms as I've cried or ranted and offered me comfort.

I see him in the middle of night tucking a little one into bed, once again.

I hear him coming home and the kids shouting "Daddy! Daddy!" And even though he's bone tired he plays with them. He tosses them high in the air, chases them through the house, and admires all the projects they have done that day. The highlight of the day is when Daddy comes home.

I feel his chest rise and fall as I rest my head on it, and we talk both of things of great importance and completely inconsequential.

I watch him take off at odd hours in the evening to the store to retrieve a craving that I absolutely must have. I feel his hands as he holds back my hair when I throw up with morning (all day) sickness.

I hear him singing a happy song about his wife and his kids.

I feel his hands on my head offering a blessing to me.

I listen to him read the scriptures to us each morning.

I hear his praise for my meals, even the ones that didn't turn out right. Never once has he complained about my cooking or housekeeping.

I doze through small happy sounds as he watches the kids each morning so I can rest a little longer.

I watch as he trudges through the snow to shovel the walks of a neighbor or the church. He does this cheerfully even.

I wave goodbye to him and the kids one evening a week so that I can play in an orchestra. (Matthew and Melissa love Daddy night.)

I am happily surprised when he shows up with a bouquet of flowers, some decadent chocolate, or a new game he thought I'd enjoy. This for no reason at all other than he loves me. I smile when I remember others warning me that he wouldn't do that anymore after we married.

I think of when he took care of me, the kids, work, and the house when I was so sick. He had a deadline at work and stayed up late in the evening to make up for time.

I see him tenderly rocking his new baby and singing softly.

I hear him talking to Matthew about how to show respect for his mother and warning him that "...she is MY Wife and Sweetheart!"

I remember the thousands of small kindnesses in action and word.

And I am more in love than ever.

Thank you Jonathan, it's been great. I look forward to many more years together!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I took the kids to Wal-Mart last night to get Uncle Brian an air mattress. Matthew took a quarter with him, with designs on a vending machine gumball. (Rachel won't let him buy a pack of gum, but a single gumball is allowed. And honestly, there is something magical about gumball machines.)

He put his quarter in and turned the handled 360 degrees. The machine made a grinding noise but no gumball was forthcoming. I gave him another quarter to use on the peanut M&M machine next to it. He got 6 M&Ms. He was thrilled.

Melissa doesn't get an allowance yet, so I gave her a quarter too so she wouldn't be left out. She got seven M&Ms.


Matthew complained, practically in tears, that it was not fair that Melissa got seven. I tried to explain that Melissa's good fortune did not in any way diminish his six. He had six before Melissa put her quarter in, and he had six now, so why should his happiness be diminished?

I didn't make much of an impression. I think this is another thing that five year old brains just can't put in perspective. I sure couldn't at that age either.

Postscript: he kept complaining until after he had eaten one, and Melissa had eaten three, so that he had five and she had four. Then Matthew was happy again.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Matthew Graduates!

Today was Matthew's last day of speech therapy. His therapist seemed very pleased with the progress he's made. He's age appropriate (or ahead) for all of his sounds, grammar, sentence lengths, and intelligibility. In his latest speech sample, there was only one word that was unintelligible out of 237. When he started speech therapy only 60% of his words were understandable, now over 99% are.

He's also figuring out sounds with his phonics progress. He knows that letters make certain sounds and is more conscientious about how they fit together when he speaks. Yeesss!!!

Today he worked on " ing " and " 's " sounds. When he thinks about them, he gets them, so they are emerging sounds.

His therapist considers him a "graduate" now. To celebrate, he got to pick whatever he wanted for lunch. We had blueberry pancakes and cream.

Here's a speech sample from March 27th

E: Examiner

C#: Matthew

Speech Sample

E: What do you wear in the rain?

C1: I don ha rain clothes.
Intended: I don't have rain clothes.

C2: Where the other rain boot?
Intended: Where's the other rain boot?

C3: Oh, here it is.

E: You found the boot. That boy looks ready to play in the rain. Do you like to play in the rain?

C4: No.
C5: It is funny (laughing).

C6: That funny right?
Intended: That's funny right?

E: That is funny. Tell me about your Easter.

C7: I forgot everything.

E: Everything?

C8: Just not one thing.

C9: The Easter bunny was late!

E: The Easter bunny came to your house after Easter?

C10: Put the eggs on the ground and I found a lot more than my sister.

E: What were the eggs like?

C11: Candy.

E: Candy? Candy was in you Easter eggs? But you say they didn't come on Easter Sunday?

C12: On Easter Sunday I got toys in my bucket.

E: That sounds like fun. Tell me about the toys.

C13: I forgot.

E: Try to remember.

C14: (Um) a sinky
Intended: (Um) a slinky.

E: A slinky?

C15: And a toy airplane with a (X?)

E: What does the airplane have?

C16: (A X) (uses hand actions to demonstrate a launch)
Intended: (A launch)

C17: Put the string in and.... (motor noises)

E: What a fun Easter basket. Anything else?

C18: Candy and.....

C19: I think that's it.

E: Did you have to find your Easter basket? Was it in a hiding place?

C20: I don remember.
Intended: I don't remember.

C21: My sister got a pez candy.

E: Oh, those are a toy and a candy.

C22: Tigger.

E: It sounds like you had a great Easter. Your mom is going to have a baby. That is very exciting.

C23: After the Fourth of July.

C24: It's goin to be a long time.
Intended: It's going to be a long time.

E: Do you think it will be a boy or a girl?

C25: I think it's a boy.

E: A little brother will be a lot of fun.

C26: My sister cause a lot of trouble.

E: She is still learning. Like you.

C27: She's two and a half.

C28: When she turns three I will be almost six.

E: I think you are a good big brother. What names do you like for the baby?

C29: I think if it's a boy....

C30: I will name it Ethan or Mason.

E: I know Mason. And Ethan must be another friend of yours. What names do you like if the baby is a girl?

C31: If it's a girl I will name it Elizbe or Uncle Ellis.

C32: I mean Michael or....

C33: Emma.

E: Those are great names! Do you think a girl would like to be called Uncle Ellis or Michael?

C34: (laughing) No. Michael is in my class and so is Elizbe.
Intended: No. Michael is in my class and so is Elizabeth.

E: Elizabeth?

C: (E-liz-a-beth)

E: I think you will be a great help to your mom.

C35: When it cries I will put on some music or I will carry it.

C36: My sister was bigger than me when she was a baby, but now I bigger than her.

C37: I want to tell you somefing.
Intended: I want to tell you something.

E: Please do.

C38: I broke my toenail.

E: How did that happen?

C39: I as openin the door and (sound effect) I broke it.
Intended: I was opening the door and I broke it.

E: Ouch! That sounds like it hurt.

C40: I was jumpin.
Intended: I was jumping.

C41: Can we put the ice togeder? (Don't Break the Ice Game)
Intended: Can we put the ice together?

E: Absolutely.

E: Will you say 'jumping' again for me?

C: (Jumpin).

C42: I like jumpin and singin.
Intended: I like jumping and singing.

E: Will you sing a song for me?

(Matthew sings the alphabet song)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Walking Wounded

I know you are all dying to hear an ankle update:

My ankle started to feel better (well, less painful) on last Monday and by Tuesday evening I ditched the split in favor of an ankle brace. Still had to ice and elevate it to keep swelling down. On Friday I started walking on it some, more than I should have as it turns out.

Here's some pictures from Friday (6 days after incident).

Lovely aren't they? The bruises have turned from black to a lighter purple and from dark green to light green.

At six days post-accident it looks much better than it did, however, at 10 days it still looks about the same.

So Friday and Saturday I overdid it (a little), and paid for it Sunday. Recovery is still very slow. My foot feels like a hunk of clay attached to my leg except when it is bent or flexed much and then it hurts! It's still very wobbly feeling too, like it's going to give out on me, so I keep it in a brace and use crutches periodically.

I planned on being up and trotting by now, the couch is getting a little monotonous and the kids have watched way too many cartoons.

To top it off, I still need to make up a good story to go with the injury. Kick boxing accident, anyone?

"I sprained my ankle running up the stairs." Lame.