Saturday, January 31, 2009


Not the worst injury I've had, but the dumbest.  (And I seem to have a lot of dumb ones.)
Coming down with a cold tonight.  Throat has that "I'm going to be sore tomorrow" itch.  Feeling a little crummy.  So I accept Rachel's offer of a heated rice sock.
Lean back into the couch with the rice sock at the back of my neck.  Ahhh.  Shoot the stuffing out of some insects in Savage Moon.  (I've realized that I've become a casual gamer.  There's too many interruptions to play games that you can't pick up and drop in bite size pieces.  Never thought it would happen to me...)
Twenty minutes later when I came out of my game zone, my neck hurt.  Not an achy hurt but a specific, localized hurt.  Rachel looked at it: I'd gotten a blister, and popped it, from too much heat while concentrating on the game.
Yes, video games really are that distracting.  Good ones, at least.


The past few weeks our happy Pumpkin has been teething. He'd do pretty well during the day, but for some reason evenings and nights are especially tough, with lots of nighttime waking and crying. Ordinarily when he wakes at night he makes cooing sounds and rustles around a bit. I feed him, change him and he settles back down to sleep fairly easily. All bets are off when teething though...

Last night his second tooth poked through and he went to sleep without fuss. When I woke up it was gray outside, and I heard his muffled crying downstairs. Jonathan awoke before I did and took Isaac downstairs with him figuring that I'd already fed him all through the night.

Except I hadn't.

Isaac slept for 7 hours straight last night! I couldn't believe it. He was one very hungry baby boy! After eating he grinned, played, and cooed. He has never slept for more than 3.5 hours at a time (at most) so I was feeling very refreshed, like whole new woman in fact. Wow! I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, not since sometime in the third trimester... I've spent up to ten hours in bed and still felt exhausted in the morning, but 6 straight hours of sleep were fantastic! It's the first time in a while that I woke up feeling really rested.

Not getting my hopes up, but I wouldn't mind at all if this became a trend. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Originally uploaded by jbellis
Matthew is showering on his own, with mostly good results. Tonight, though, Rachel noticed residual shampoo in his hair. This was the result. I was impressed -- that took some upper-body strength!

(I was otherwise occupied -- washing poop off Melissa's fingers. She's supposed to wait for her parents to wipe the poops, but only infrequently observes that rule.)
(Rachel would like the record to show that Matthew was not naked.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


While I bathed Isaac, Melissa was busy.

There was a big ball of hair in the toy wagon and scissors in her room. We went to the beauty parlor, but they aren't miracle workers. Considering what she had to work with, it's much better.

the front

and the back

That's my kid, the kind of funny looking one. I know it's just hair, but I'm a little sad about it. Sigh.

How to tell when it's no longer an employees' market

The free snack closet isn't is replenished for weeks, and then one of
these appears instead.


About a week and a half ago Jonathan noticed something sharp when Isaac gnawed on his finger. Isaac's first tooth had popped up. Looking in his mouth today I can see another tooth ready to emerge anytime. This is not surprising since he is constantly chewing on things. Now you'll have to excuse me while I hunt down another teether for our son to clamp down on, he's bored of the blue one...

Whew! So glad it was a dream....

Last summer I borrowed fine violin from a dear former teacher of mine so I could play at Grandpa's funeral. Thank goodness it did not end up like my dream!

So I borrow the expensive violin and placed it up on the top self of a bookcase. Since I intend to practice in a few minutes the violin is not in its case. Matthew's coloring books are also on the top shelf and he asks if he can color. "Sure, Matthew. Just wait a minute and I'll go get them for you." Matthew decides not to wait. He pulls a chair over to the bookcase and reaches up up on his tiptoes. I come into the room just as the violin teeters on the shelf. "Wait! Don't do anything!" "Mom! I can fix it!" he says and stretches up to push the violin back on the shelf. He misses and it falls crashing to the tile floor, splintering into pieces.

Ohhhh! How could I explain this to Mr. Jasinski? He trusted me!

Glad I woke up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Room cleaning, week 3

I had Melissa pick up her clothes Wednesday night, so Friday should have been easy.  But she tried to pull a fast one, throwing everything into her closet and declaring, "all done!"

Mommy wasn't fooled, and ordered a real pick up.  Melissa dug in her heels, all the way until bedtime.

Saturday morning after breakfast, Matthew got to play video games since he had cleaned his room, and without drama, too.  I told Melissa she was welcome to join him for some TV after she cleaned her room.  "I can't do it," she tearfully declared.  "I can't do it!"  I was firm and there was much stomping and wailing.  Then it got quiet, and 20 minutes later she came down.  "I clean my room!"  And she had.

Speaking of cleaning rooms, here's another take on the subject:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Parents' dilemma

It is quiet. The kids are asleep, even Isaac (in his mother's arms). Rachel and I can have a quiet conversation together, or even be quiet and hear ourselves think.

It's also 11:30.

This is when we start thinking, "I need to go to bed soon, or I'll be tired tomorrow." But also, "if I go to bed, it will seem like less time before the kids are up. So I'd rather stay up and enjoy the peace."

Eventually sanity always prevails. Eventually.

Matthew the monkey

Craft time

Craft time
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Matthew was painting a model boat. (The boat is the blue object.)

Here he is cleaning the paint off the floor (by which I mean, smearing it around) after he tracked it there with his socks, which is why they are next to him instead of on his feet.

His shirt was already a casualty; it's behind him.

As far as I know, he did not get any paint on his pants.

The best day ever

Matthew was looking forward to Monday. I'll let his teacher explain:

Matthew has been just a joy! In fact this morning he was on announcements for winning the CHAMP of the week. His picture will be posted in the front of the school hallway. He won out of all K, 1, and 2nd grade. Children receive blue tickets when they are caught showing good character. Their name is placed in a box and one name is drawn every Friday from the K, 1st, and 2nd box. He was the winner this week and since this is the first week we have started the system he is the first winner as well. He receive a metal this morning. You should be proud!
You, gentle reader, have it easy: before Rachel mailed his teacher (about his report card -- she volunteered the rest), we'd slowly puzzled out much of the above from fragmented kindergartener explanations. ("I got a blue ticket!" "Why?" "They caught me doing champs!" "What's champs?" "I don't know." Later, I explain to Rachel, "they caught him doing stamps." "Not stamps!" Matthew interrupted angrily. Maybe he thought I was making a joke at his expense, but I couldn't remember. "Well, something like that. What was it?" "I don't know." In another moment of lucidity he explained that it had to do with being quiet while the teacher talks and sitting with your legs crossed. So we supposed it was something good.)

The initial ticket was last week. Then, Matthew told us, they were going to draw all the blue ticket names from a hat "in front of the whole school!" And if your name comes out, you get a medal!

Matthew was sure his name was going to be drawn. I tried to prepare him for a let down: "all the other kids want their name to come out, too. It's all right if it's not yours." But he was sure, and I warned Rachel as I left to work, "he is going to be really pissed after school." Matthew does not take disappointment well.

Instead, he came home on cloud nine. His name really was drawn. God loves Matthew, I guess.

So, that is why he couldn't wait til Monday. It was a little surreal: normally little disappointments draw out the Grumpy Matthew inside. But today little pleasures drew out the Happy Matthew instead. He opened the lunch Rachel packed last night, and exclaimed, "Fruit salad! I love fruit salad! This is the best lunch ever!"

A high standard to live up to

Rachel just got off the phone with her dad. Apparently The Savage Peanut is her Grandma's home page.

I don't think I've ever been on a home page before. Wow. That's pretty cool.

Hi, Grandma!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The downside to 1:00 church

The downside to 1:00 church
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Or is it an upside? Melissa fell asleep on my lap.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Melissisms

When shown by her Daddy how to play a game that was a little too tricky for her yet, "Daddy, I just a small girl."

If asked to do something she doesn't want to do we'll hear a sad voice, "Mama, I got a belly ache. I need to go to da doctor." (It doesn't work, instead if she's "sick" she can lie down for a nap.)

At an Italian restaurant: "Can I have macaroni pizza?" (meaning pepperoni)

"Daddy! Look! Mommy made pony hair!" She twirled around to show off the pony tail. She actually likes having her hair done now and insists on it every day. I kind of wish she wanted it just brushed and in ringlets, but she wants a hair-do.

They grow up so fast. Melissa announced to me that on her next birthday she'll turn 20! Whatever happened to years 4-19?

Every day we walk to Matthew's school to pick him up in the afternoons. We pass a man with his two golden retrievers on the way each day and Melissa has to pet them. They stand as tall as Melissa and are extremely kid-tolerant. She's not a bit afraid of those two big dogs. She hugs them, chatters at them as if they can understand her (who knows? perhaps they can) and giggles if they lick her cheek.

Since the job market is rather tight right now and is likely to remain tight for princess applicants for the foreseeable future, Jon and I are trying to direct Melissa's attention to more practical/productive career paths. Her dress up box is going to contain more than frilly dresses and ridiculous jewelery. I found some adorable pink scrubs (with a working stethoscope!) for Melissa to dress up as a doctor or nurse. I can't wait to give them to her on her birthday. She informed me a few days ago that she wanted to work with computers Just Like Daddy when she grows up. We'd be in favor of that. A programmer's uniform is pretty simple though, a free t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Voila!

That's not ice cream

That's not ice cream
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Like her uncles David and Chris, Melissa likes butter. Straight.

How to drive your brother crazy

How to drive your brother crazy
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Play "Calling all Cars." Make no effort to attack other cars or catch the criminal.

Poor Matthew kept offering to show her what to do. But she was happy just driving around.

Isaac is the necessity of invention

Isaac is old enough to grow easily bored but not yet able to crawl and entertain himself that way.

Having exhausted the baby toy isle at walmart, anything not obviously dangerous is likely to be pressed into service.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Downsides to living in San Anonio

  • The churrascarias are twice the price as in Utah. Literally. (But less expensive than the one I ate at in Chicago. I was hungry, and I thought I knew the drill: who needs to see a menu?)
  • Woot updates at midnight instead of at 11 PM. I am old now and almost never still awake at midnight. The really good woots are always gone by morning.
  • Only McDonald's has play areas. And possibly Joe's Crab Shack but we tried that once and even seafood-loving Rachel was underwhelmed. Plus I can't help but think "I got the crabs at Joe's" when I see the sign.
  • Major commuting freeway stretches with only two lanes in each direction? Seriously?
  • No community orchestra (!)
  • All the good Ultimate fields are in use by high school football teams
  • There are no bike paths in the outer parts. Downtown, yes. Suburbia, no. (This one's for you, Dad.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frontier justice

Frontier justice
Originally uploaded by jbellis
This appeared on the wall of the mens' room at work.

The PTA bulletin finds its purpose

It isn't really any less useful missing a couple sheets.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The room wars, week 2

We ended up only moving Melissa's toys to the toy room.  I had her pick up her clothes each night with the result that her Friday clean only took ten minutes and no whining.

Matthew took 3 hours to clean his room.  And by clean his room I mean, complain bitterly in between being sent out to put things away -- so Rachel could throw one of his treasured scraps of paper away without him being the wiser.  (And by scraps I mean literally scraps: shreds of ripped-up paper.  Matthew is a pack rat.)  Rachel got about half the toys out, too.

And yet Matthew asked me tonight if he can do extra chores "to get dollars" so he can buy stuff: "if you buy lots of stuff at school you can choose what you get."  (Somebody needs to be deprogrammed from the fund raising brain washing.)  The obvious reply was, "you couldn't even clean your room without complaining, and you want me to pay you to do chores?"  But I was in Burned Out End of the Day Mode so my tired brain resorted to the default defense: "I'll talk it over with Mommy."

More gender-appropriate activity

Melissa doesn't ONLY do girly stuff. She just likes it a LOT.

Lord of the dance

Lord of the dance
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Matthew is at a birthday party. Unknown to him I came back to the play gym and got his sister a ticket too.

I found Matthew on the dance floor. He stayed there until they roped it off to show a movie.

Matthew is one of two or three boys among a dozen little girls.

(The action shots came out too blurry so you're stuck with this.)


"I'm going to take a quick shower," I announced. "Actually," I teased, "maybe I'll take a Mommy shower," meaning not quick.

"Okay," Rachel said. "You get in the shower, and I'll hand you Isaac."


(Isaac tolerated the shower, but there were no wiggles and grins of delight as in the bathtub.)

Melissa's world

Melissa climbed onto my lap, dressed in full princess costume. I decided I was the Dragon. "Do you know what dragons do with princesses? They eat them!" The I tickled her and gave her "blowfishes" while she squealed her approval.

Then she kissed me. "You a prince!"

"What do princes do with princesses?"

She thought about that.

"They dance!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Welcome Jedidiah!

I see your father lost his bid to name you "Iron Stallion Ellis IV." Dodged a bullet there, kiddo. 1 hour of labor, my goodness you were in a hurry to get here!!! You picked fantastic parents too, very good call little one. Your Uncle Jon and Aunt Rachel are sure excited to meet you someday soon.

Congratulations Grant and Lisa! We're so happy for you!

(Jonathan adds: I'm glad that my brother was able to name his son Jedidiah since Rachel didn't let me. Little "Jedi!")

Endocrine systems, a go!

I took Isaac to the endocrine clinic a few days ago. It's at a teaching hospital so we saw 4 doctors. The fellow (training to be a pediatric endocrinologist) did Isaac's assessment, history, and plan. She had a resident with her. The fellow was very well informed about UPD6 and even some obscure long term possibilities (way down the road) like HFE-associated hereditary hemochromatosis. I was very pleased with the research she'd put into it, and felt like we were on the same page. After she did her evaluation, the endocrinologist came in for a few minutes with an intern.

Since his diabetes is in remission right now, there isn't as much to be concerned about. In times of illness his blood glucose may spike, so we were given a script for insulin and advised to monitor him closely when he's sick. The fellow demonstrated how to dilute insulin at home so we won't have to rely on a special pharmacy on a weekend. Simple enough. It's all in a bag which I hope I won't have to open. It is reassuring to have it though, in the event...

Isaac is growing well! He's long, 75th percentile, and chunky, 90th percentile. His doctors feel that he is right where he should be as far as growth is concerned. They also did an A1c, which was 5.6. He's well within normal, non-diabetic, limits.

At the clinic, he was a terrible flirt. He charmed the nurse who measured and poked him. "Aww, what a cute little fellow you are!" He flashed gummy grins at all of the doctors, and kicked and squealed with delight when they smiled back at him. You can't help but grin at this happy, social baby.

Isaac rolling away. He rolls back to tummy and tummy to back with ease now.

A little water never hurt anyone

A little water never hurt anyone
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Rachel was taking a shower, so I didn't notice the sound of the faucet at first. When I did, it looked like it had just started overflowing, so I turned it off and put a towel under where it was dripping. Later I noticed it was _still_ dripping and opened the cupboard. It was full of water. I opened the drawers: also full of water, with the less-dense contents floating. The carpet nearby was squishy with water. I guess it had been running a little longer than I thought at first!

Wringing out towels makes your hands feel chapped and sore a lot faster than you'd guess.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas Pictures

Well, better late than never!

Matthew had many questions about Santa this year. "But how does he get to all those houses in ONE night?" We just turned the question back to him, "Well, how do you think?" He had some pretty ingenious answers to his own questions. Someday he won't believe in Santa anymore, and I will be a little sad that the world is a bit less magical for him.

When Santa asked Melissa what she wanted for Christmas this year, she responded, "A candy cane!" That worked out well, as he just so happened to have one for her. I bet Santa wished they were all so easy to please.

The kids were quite busy exploring stockings and goodies left out. This bought mom and dad a few winks Christmas morning.

Melissa loved her beads. Truthfully, she loved everything Christmas morning. Very, very exciting!

Matthew read the note from Santa all by himself. He's getting to be a pretty good reader. I often leave notes in his lunch which he also delights to read. In some ways Matthew is really easy. After getting a jump start from his parents, he pretty much taught himself how to read. We encourage him and read with him, but nothing fancy or time consuming.

One of Isaac's favorite gifts this year was his taggie blanket made by grandma. He loves fingering, batting at, and most of all chewing the satin loops of ribbon all along the edges. It's a toy and blanket all in one!

Decent People

Our family seems to have the good fortune of running into good people everywhere we go, people who really look out for others and go the extra mile.

I took the kids to the hardware store to get a curtain rod and drapes. I needed an eight foot rod to fit the windows. On the way out I was carrying Isaac, a purse, the cumbersome rod, and holding Melissa's hand. Matthew carried the shopping bag for me. Naturally we were parked far from the exit. A young guy, probably in his early 20s, noticed us limping along and offered to help. Thank you! As we walked towards towards the car he talked about how he enjoyed being an uncle. He didn't have kids of his own yet, but liked babysitting his nephew. He helped get the rod in the car and then turned around to go back into the store. What a nice guy.

A chair and the top to the armoire got damaged in the move. The moving company called in a furniture repairman to fix them. He came by took the chair and the broken piece of the armoire and return two days later with both fixed. The chair's repair is so well done that you have to look very closely to see crack where the arm broke off. Nicely done. He was a cheerful, pleasant man native to San Antonio, and in his 40s. After screwing the top in place to the armoire, I asked him how I could fix the tongue that the groove which held drawer rested upon. He took a look at that and said, "Oh I can fix that in just a few minutes." And he did.

Afterwards he said he would be willing come back and help lift the armoire to slide something under the front feet to raise it a bit so that the armoire wouldn't angle forward so much because it was front heavy and the doors would close better. He did come back when Jon was home, and together they lifted. After that, he fixed the doors so they aligned nicely, placed new catches for the doors, and stained a part that was a bit worn. We bought the armoire several years ago at a scratch and dent sale for a fraction of the original price. While a solid piece of wood furniture, it had some problems. When the furniture repairman was done, it was quite a bit better than we had bought it. He spent a good half hour fixing it, and when he was finished, he wouldn't accept any payment. We were stunned. I did give him some Almond Roca, but it seemed pretty poor compensation for his efforts.


Monday, January 12, 2009

A letter to Brian

Rachel told me her brother Brian was a little discouraged in Brazil.  This is what I wrote him.
I remember being dropped into the deep end of the foreign language pool. Actually, it wasn't a pool; you can easily get to the edge of a pool to take a break. It was a lake. Sink or swim. My trainer was Filipino and we were the only companionship in our apartment. I was the only native English speaker for miles. A lot of members spoke some English but it was easier to just talk to Elder Gamboa. I had no idea what anyone was saying; all the words ran together.

I looked forward to our weekly service projects since that (and district meeting) was the only time I got to speak to someone I understood -- there was another American in the next area over and we usually did our service projects together.

It was particularly frustrating because Elder Gamboa had been in the branch for close to forever. He was a friendly man and everyone liked him. For large parts of the day we'd have district missionaries with us, so everyone was chattering away with Elder Gamboa and each other and I had no idea what was going on.

Elder Gamboa didn't understand what the big deal was. "You speak Tagalog fine. Better than Elder MyFirstGreenie." I don't think he understood the vast difference between speaking a few words and being able to understand actual conversations, or if he had once, he had forgotten it. I coped by memorizing the first two discussions in Tagalog. At least that way I didn't have to read my discussion pamphlet, which was just adding insult to injury.

One night a couple weeks in, everyone was talking away as we walked towards a jeepney stop. I was frustrated enough that it showed in my body language and one of the district missionaries, a nice older woman (it's all relative -- I think she was 24, but I was 19) named Rose asked, "What's wrong, Elder Ellis?" I replied, in French, "j'ne comprends rien du tout et ca m'enerve!" "I don't understand," she said, puzzled. "Exactly," I said bitterly.

So I had a lot of time to go over the entries in my Tagalog notebook. Whenever I heard a word or phrase that I didn't understand I wrote it down, and when I had time I would ask Elder Gamboa what they were. Sometimes I got the word separations so wrong that we couldn't figure out what I had heard. And I got used to speaking like a two year old -- a slightly retarded two year old, at that. But whenever I had a chance to participate, I took it. If you're reluctant to look like a fool, you'll never learn a new language. Kids don't care; that's one reason they learn so quickly. And I tried to read; the Book of Mormon translation we had at the time was rendered into very archaic Tagalog, so that wasn't as much help as it might have been. But the Liahona was great.

You're right that sometimes ignorance _is_ bliss. I remember one time a tricycle driver tried to overcharge us. Mostly missionaries were immune to "the white tax," but occasionally someone would try to get a little extra out of us. Or maybe we were inadvertently stiffing him -- I don't know, but Elder Gamboa was certain that we were in the right and he was damned if he was going to pay an extra centavo. After arguing for a while the driver finally spat out something I didn't catch, wheeled around, and left. I asked Elder Gamboa what he had said, but Elder Gamboa only told me, "he was angry." You don't say.

Much later I found out that "puta ang ina mo" literally means "your mother's a whore" and is basically the idiomatic equivalent of "f*** you," and I realized, hey, that's what that driver told us!

Another one. About a year into my mission, when I spoke Tagalog better, I met a Filipino elder in my district who took a sly delight in teaching me a little about Tagalog double entendres. There was a popular song at the time titled Kama Supra (super bed), whose refrain went, "hihiga tayo at kakan...ta" -- "we'll lie down and sing." It turns out that by pausing in the middle of kakanta, they were implying that they were going to say kakantotan instead: "we'll lie down and have sex." That was an enlightening moment. I missed that guy when he was transferred.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

She's on a rampage

She's on a rampage
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Rachel was fed up with fighting the kids about cleaning their rooms.
We decided to move all the toys to "the kids' area" at the top of the
upstairs landing. While she was at it , she unboxed the rest of the
upstairs, assembled a new toy chest for Matthew and two bookcases, and
re-arranged our furniture.

Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" picture, but here is the kids'
area "after."

Melissa gives a talk

Melissa gives a talk
Originally uploaded by jbellis
I took Matthew to the Primary room to practice his talk. Melissa
tagged along. When Matthew was done, she wanted a turn. She got up and gave a talk about her family.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Melissa is an unconventional sleeper


Originally uploaded by jbellis

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Five Months Today

A little developmental update:

Isaac can now push his torso up off of the ground. He can also pivot around in a circle while on his tummy. Today I noticed Isaac pushing himself backwards with his arms. I don't think that was the desired direction, however. He was pushing himself further and further away from a toy and seemed quite upset by that.

Mealtimes with Isaac are more interesting now. Before we could just hold him on our laps and he'd be content to watch the action at the table. Now he wants to participate by grabbing utensils, napkins, and whatever else he can reach in his chubby fingers. If successful he'll either try to put it in his mouth or sweep it onto the floor. We've had a few close calls, but no plates of food dumped onto our laps- yet. We do keep some Isaac appropriate diversions on the table just for him, but he is still drawn towards the big people things.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Takin' it easy

I didn't want to tempt fate, so I stayed in pajamas until it was time to pick Matthew up from school.

Feeling much, much better today. The fever dropped dramatically several hours after starting the antibiotics. When it got down to 101 I was feeling almost lively.

Fever is gone today, but the right breast is still exquisitely painful. Why, why, why is it always the same side? I'm sorely tempted to just nurse Isaac on the left side. Never had a bit of grief on that side....

The trend is at least going in the right direction. With Matthew I had 4 bouts of mastitis before he weaned; the first when he was around a month. Melissa it was 3 times. The first was when she was 3 weeks, and I got so sick we decided to head to the ER- just in case. Had a raging fever of 104 despite being on antibiotics for over 24 hours and taking motrin. In addition, fluids weren't staying down. Turns out it was "just" mastitis. Felt rather sheepish about that. Still, they gave me an all purpose, stronger antibiotic which must have started eradicating the bacteria, because the fever dropped fairly quickly.

Isaac is 5 months, and this is the first and I'm hoping (knock on wood) last time. Please?

So why do I continue to breastfeed? When I look down at my deliciously plump, satisfied baby with milk dribbling down his chin, and then he looks up at me and grins, well, how could I not?

Don't shoot the messenger

Overheard in the car:

"Melissa, when you grow up you're going to have babies. It will hurt. A lot. And you will probably scream a little. You will get a sore bottom. And you will be glad to have your baby."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Don't show Melissa this picture

Don't show Melissa this picture
Originally uploaded by jbellis
She is very possessive of her ponies.


It's a cold, rainy day, and I have mastitis.

I'm wearing warm pjs, a bathrobe, and thick socks, yet I'm still freezing. The thermostat says it's 70, but I think it lies.

Melissa can have anything she wants today.

Update: Melissa can have almost anything she wants. She wanted me to do her hair, and I'm not really able to remain upright for ten minutes at a time. A grand mal tantrum ensued, with Isaac joining in the chorus. 45 minutes of this and she tired of it. Then she wanted me to read a story. That I can do- lying down. Jiggled Isaac to keep him somewhat pacified. Body aches!!! Convinced little Miss to go wash her ponies in the bathroom sink so I could try to get Isaac down. Works. Isaac is sleeping and Melissa is happily splashing.

Now I'm only freezing on the lower half of my body. The upper half is on fire. I always forget just how miserable this stuff is.

Drinking lots of water, but am not hungry AT ALL. Uggghhh!

Update2: Can't do it, getting sicker, called Jon.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Why is this woman eating dinner in bed?

An experienced husband knew immediately: she's hiding from the kids.


  • Melissa, giggling: "Daddy! You have a squishy tummy!" Thanks!
  • Today we dressed Isaac in pants that Matthew wore at 14 months. Remember that Matthew was around 10th percentile in size, so Isaac is not a total monster -- he's huge compared to our first two, but his cousin James (for instance) was bigger. Isaac is 85th percentile.
  • Matthew could tie his shoes if he practiced a little, but he gets frustrated when it doesn't work the first time. "I'm never going to be able to tie shoes!"
  • Church starts at 1:00 PM this year, instead of 9:00 AM. We were on time.
  • Matthew volunteered to give another talk in Primary; I guess he enjoyed it. Rachel and I were a little less enthusiastic: helping him prepare is hard work. I guess it's a good thing though if he gets a head start in Not Being Petrified Of Public Speaking.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

At the zoo

At the zoo
Originally uploaded by jbellis
By far, the kids' favorite exhibit at the zoo is "the riverbank,"
where getting sandy and wet -- especially, wet -- is encouraged.

They also have benches for timid moms and dads, so we stopped for a
good long splash.

The fun ended when Melissa persisted in throwing sand in the water.

At a restaurant by the zoo

We used to sit across from each other, gaze into each others' eyes, and talk about our plans for the future.

Now we have three kids. We don't plan; we put out fires.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


  • I kicked the new year off with a bang: I had my Cheerios in whole milk. Hell yes!
  • Monkey see, monkey do: I complimented Matthew on his balance on Mommy's wobble board -- he's really quite good. As soon as he got off, Melissa jumped on to show her stuff. (Not as impressive.)
  • We are now a two-TV family: I got a CRT SDTV at wal-mart for the kids' room. That way, the kids can watch DVDs while the adults do something downstairs. More importantly, I can play Rock Band and Guitar Hero. (Rachel does not want the instruments in her living room.)
  • It's fun watching the kids discover things for the first time. Recently they tasted sherbet and loved it. (I'm not sure why it took six years -- I don't think Rachel is a big sherbet fan.) They are also enjoying pop-tarts as part of Operation Get Melissa Some Calories. I never had pop-tarts as a kid and now I am too old. (To my aged taste, they are far too sweet, but kids would eat sugar with a spoon if you let them.)
  • Isaac looks like he's on track to sleep through the night by the time he's two, just like his brother and sister.
  • When Matthew's mouth starts moving, the rest of him stops. He and Melissa are supposed to help me with the kitchen, and usually Matthew does a lot more than his sister since he's that much more capable. But last night he would not shut up, and Melissa and I did the whole thing while he stood by the silverware drawer chatting and not putting silverware away. As I recall, his subject was how he was going to save up for an iPhone and how cool it was going to be. It's a good thing that anticipation is part of the fun, because that's all he's going to have for a long, long time.
  • Matthew has been trying to work "heck" into his vocabulary Just Like Daddy. (Sorry, Abby -- that's as strong as my language gets around the kids.) He's not very good at it: "What is heck that?" he will ask. Or this morning: "What is heck smells burning?"
  • On the phone with Dad the other day, he mentioned that he liked to get us presents he wanted when he was a kid. Me too! That's why Matthew has so many video games.

Melissa finally gets to open her beads