News making me think

Categories: Books, Education, Folks, Food, Health, News

Some recent news stories that made me think, some more deeply than others.

Makes me want to get a ukulele – BBC | The ukulele maker and his race against Parkinson’s

Makes me glad we read to our children – NYT | Bedtime Stories for Young Brains

Makes me amazed at life and confused at those who don’t value it – SA | Study of Fetal Perception Takes Off

Makes me glad my research didn’t take 108 years to complete. And makes me want to write a message in a bottle – BBC | ‘Oldest’ message in a bottle found more than 108 years on

Makes me want to go eat some watermelon – National Geographic | The 5,000-Year Secret History of the Watermelon

Makes me want to go play some croquet with my in-laws again. And makes me want to read Harry Potter Mirror | Fans include Downton and Diddy but English summer game croquet is in danger of dying out

Makes me wonder what it is about the knitting – New Scientist | For an easier birth, stop thinking about it

Makes me want to stack some blocks – Smithsonian Magazine | Playing Tetris Could Stop Traumatic Memories from Becoming Flashbacks

Makes me feel less guilty about all the ants I’ve stepped on either purposefully or on accident. Also makes me glad I didn’t have to watch ants for my research – Quartz | Scientists say many worker ants are actually super lazy

Why yes, my baby is eating right now.

Categories: Family, Health

2014-07-06I loved nursing our daughter. Which was funny because of how it started out. I’d gone in to it knowing that breastfeeding is natural but definitely not automatic for mother or baby so I wasn’t too surprised that things were hard to start with. I honestly believe the only reason we made it through the first three months was because I was so stubborn about it. Once we got the hang of it though I loved it. I nursed her at high school football games, at plant nurseries, in national parks, at restaurants, and even walking the aisles of a home improvement store.

At church we started by timing it so we’d arrive to the meetings early and I’d take advantage of a completely empty mother’s lounge and nurse her there before being able to slide into the meeting just as it started. But then her schedule changed ever so slightly and she wanted to eat in the middle of the meetings. I remember the first time I latched her on while I sat in the meeting and Brett scooted a little closer to me to put his arm around my shoulder and supportively shield me so I wouldn’t have to leave to feed our baby.

I was very proud back then that I managed to feed our baby in so many places with most people just assuming I was cuddling her while she slept. I was perfectly fine with people knowing that she was breastfed but wanted to hide the fact that it was happening right then. I was thankful she wasn’t a loud or fussy eater so it really did look like she was just sleeping. And often she was sleeping while she ate.

2015-05-27This time around my breastfeeding adventures are a little different. I’ve got a loud eater who eats with great gusto and enjoyment by the sound of it. The other one is a very quiet eater once she gets started. And I’ve decided I don’t care if people know they are eating. If a baby was a loud bottle drinker nobody would say anything about it, so why should this be any different. I make sure the source of their food is covered so you won’t actually see them eating, but I have no problem if you hear them eat or even see that they aren’t sleeping in my arms.

So I nurse right in the middle of the meetings. At three months in to our nursing journey this time around I’ve used the mother’s lounge at church a grand total of twice for nursing. I feed two babies, often twice each, right in the middle of our church meetings every week. If I insisted on using the mother’s lounge it would mean myself and three children (because the toddler can’t sit through sacrament meeting alone while Brett plays the organ every other month) would be camped there the whole meeting.

I’m sure as time goes on I’ll make another big list of places where I’ve nursed these two, a mall parking lot, a Carter’s store, and the park are already on this list. But it’s kind of hard to get out with all three kids right now so church has been our main excursion.

I know what works for me does not work for everyone. Everyone has their own comfort levels when it comes to feeding their own children. And people have comfort levels with how other people feed their children as well, which is why we sit on the sides during meetings so I can use the wall to help shield me. But I refuse to hide out for the length of this current breastfeeding journey, which I hope will last a very long time.

It’s nice knowing I have historical precedence on my side on this one. Check out an image of two women breastfeeding in the middle of an LDS sacrament meeting and one of a woman openly nursing her child while crossing the plains.

Okay, so what we gonna do?

Categories: Education, How To, Quilting/Sewing/Knitting/Crafting

Buzzie: [to Flaps] Okay, so what we gonna do?
Flaps: I don’t know, what you wanna do?
Buzzie: Look, Flaps, first I say, “What we gonna do?” Then you say, “I don’t know, what you wanna do?” Then I say, “What we gonna do?” You say, “What you wanna do?” “What we gonna do?” “What you want…” Let’s do SOMETHING!
Flaps: Okay. What you wanna do?
Buzzie: Oh, blimey! There you go again. The same notes again!
Ziggy: I’ve got it! This time, I’ve really got it!
Buzzie: Now you’ve got it. So what we gonna do?
– The Jungle Book (1967)

I always think of those vultures whenever I’m with someone and we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do that day. Right now I’m trying to figure it out with a toddler whose sense of time means that this morning, yesterday, last week, three months ago, and tomorrow all happen at the same time.

On the 4th of July we filled the splash pool in the morning so the water could warm up a bit before we played in it after her nap. But her understanding of time meant she had a hard time understanding that she would get to go swimming, just not right at that moment. Time to put my doctoral degree in education and child development to work.

With a penny-print sale at Snapfish, a little photo editing skills, some clear contact paper, some page protectors, and my sewing machine, we now have a very visual representation of what we do during the day that Iddo can see and get a sense of before and after and that we will be making cookies but these things have to happen first. She loves it because it is photos of her. I love it because she is deepening her understanding of time and she doesn’t spend all morning asking to do what I’ve told her we’re doing in the afternoon.

Random Giggles | Okay, so what we gonna do? Making a toddler to-do list

Here’s how we did it.

1. Pull together photos of things you do during the day. We got photos of things that happen daily (meals, bedtime routine) as well as the weekly (talking with grandparents, going to church), monthly (going to the temple and library), and even less frequent things (going to the doctor). We did 33 photos at first but have since realized there are a few more we could use.

2. Use this template to turn the photos into 4×6 prints with a 4×4 image at the top and a written description of the activity at the bottom. The words mean nothing to her right now but she’ll eventually start to associate them with the activities. Save the images as JPG images.

Toddler To-Do List Template

3. Print the photos. Snapfish does penny-print sales rather frequently. They’re worth waiting for for a project like this, or any other 4×6 photos you want to print.

Check the mail Go to the Temple

4. Use clear contact paper to laminate the photos. Or laminate them in the manner you most prefer.

5. Using your sewing machine and a slightly narrow zig-zag stitch, stitch across the top of the needed number of page protectors. You can make 4 pockets from each page protector. We use at most 16 photos each day so I needed 4 page protectors. Mark the middle of the page protectors in both directions and sew a tiny zig-zag down the vertical line and cut the horizontal line. Tada! Four clear pockets that are wide enough for the photos but just a bit shorter so you can get the photos in and out easily.

6. Put the pockets up somewhere that the toddler can easily see them during the day. Change out the photos as needed for each day.

And now we know what we gonna do. And most importantly, when.

Some of my latest projects

Categories: Family, Quilting/Sewing/Knitting/Crafting

My blogging frequency has really dropped off this year. I’ve found myself busy with several other projects and thought it was time I shared a few of them.

In December I knit these two little guys. They are a fun little pattern from Mochimochi Land and were perfect for what we needed them for at Christmas.

Two little snowmen

I had a lot of fun making two swaddle babies using a pattern from BeccaMarie Designs – Swaddle Babies Tutorial. I started with an 18 inch square half-square triangle of flannel, sewed it in half with a gap and then sewed the body area, stuffed the body and sealed it, and then used a decorative stitch to seal the hole in the blanket area. I used a medium plate for the pattern for the head. And I put a button on the back and a button hole on the corner so that the swaddle could be buttoned closed. They turned out great.

Two little swaddle babies.

I did a few other knitting projects too, some hats (pink hat project and blue hat project) and booties (pink shoes and blue shoes). And I sewed some little outfits and made some flannel blankets.

For an adorable little girl. For a handsome little boy.

The adorable little turtles were crocheted by my sister.

And I had my sister cut out some stencils in some freezer paper with her fancy cutter machine so I could paint up some shirts.

Sibling shirts

And the whole time I was working on all these projects we were also painting one of the rooms in our house and I was working on one other really big project, Ooh Shemo: Officially Announcing….

Getting the room ready. Barefoot in the kitchen

We’ve got a lot more projects going on at our house now. And couldn’t be happier. More well rested, yes. But not happier.

News items that caught my eye

Categories: Learn Something, News, Science & Tech

These articles all caught my attention as something interesting in the last week or so. I think if I were to subscribe to another magazine it would be Scientific American. Three of the five come from there.

Got Water? Most Kids, Teens Don’t Drink Enough – I’d believe it. Most adults probably don’t get enough either. We leave a water bottle out for Iddo all day long so she can get a drink whenever she wants. She’s probably better at it than I am actually. She’s just barely decided that juice is good stuff but she rarely gets any. It’s either water or milk at our place.

Saturn’s Newly Discovered Ring Dwarfs the Gas Giant – Space. It’s amazing. The sizes and distances they are talking about are just incredible. And that’s only in relation to one planet. Solar systems, galaxies, universes, are all so much bigger.

Scientific American Asks Neil deGrasse Tyson Why He Has a Saturn 5 in His Office – Space again. And Neil deGrasse Tyson is cool. And that rocket is amazing. I need to go to Huntsville. And get a rocket for my office/desk.

Gravity Kills Schrödinger’s Cat – You’ve just got to love that cat. Gravity – it’s a real downer.

Infants Focus on the Familiar and the Phenomenal – I’m all for any research showing infants are smarter than we give them credit for. Because they are. I’m glad people are figuring out how to test that without the need for verbal language.

I think I’m going to go drink some more water now.

So long Squid. Hello Cumulo.

Categories: Family, Life

In 2003 I bought my first car from a family I knew for $1000. In 2005 the wheels almost fell off during a road trip to see my sister and her future in-laws at Thanksgiving and it was generally decided by everyone else that I was no longer allowed to go far from home in that car.

So during spring break in 2006 I traded that car in for $700 (meaning I spent $100 a year on that car, not bad) and went into debt for the first time and bought Squid, a 2004 Ford Taurus. Ah. What a car. We had a lot of memories together. The first road trip was a month later and was my first trip to Tucson. That was the car I drove back-and-forth from Orem to Salt Lake for my Masters degree. It was the car my mom drove behind my moving truck when I moved to Arizona. It was the car I drove back to Utah as a single woman and then one week later sat in the passenger seat as Brett drove it back to Arizona after our wedding. It was the car we installed a car seat in on a Friday afternoon and then drove to a hotel in town for a one night vacation to celebrate my Doctorate degree and then on Tuesday drove it home with our daughter snuggly secured in that car seat. Lots of good memories in that car.

On February 28th I vacuumed out Squid and took everything out of him. We all stood in front of him for one last photo. And then we traded him in.

Saying good-bye to Squid.

We came home with Cumulo as Brett and I are calling him, or New Car as Iddo refers to him. A silver (get it? silver lining, cloud, cumulo) 2012 Honda Odyssey.

Well hello there Cumulo.

There are so many buttons! I just wanted to drive around pushing them all for a week or so after we got it. Squid had a tape deck. Cumulo not only has a CD player, but I can copy 18 CDs to the car’s computer and plug in a USB drive with music on it. We both love opening the sliding doors or rolling down the windows with the remote on the key.

We’ve already made some good memories with him, the first of many more to come.

Fun in the news

Categories: Education, Family, News, Science & Tech

So the first three articles are a few months old, but I’ve been a bit busy lately. And I still think they are worth sharing.

Future space station crew dons Jedi robes for Star Wars-inspired poster – Astronauts are cool regardless, but this takes it to a whole new level.

NPR | Q&A: Blocks, Play, Screen Time And The Infant Mind – We’re not against screens for our kids, but watching how Iddo’s face completely loses any emotion and she zones out most of the time during screen time, we’re definitely keeping it to small amounts and only when we are with her. On the other hand, she laughs and jumps when building stacks or pyramids (“like Daddy’s”) with her blocks. And our (Hebrew) alphabet blocks are also fun to see how many animal sounds she knows right now too.

BBC New | Where teachers’ brains detect student confusion – This is rather cool. They did the study with volunteers pretending to be teachers. I wonder how it would compare to people who actually are teachers. Although you’d have to have them watch a student in the subject they taught to really get a feel for how their brains work. But then of course the government would probably decide to determine “highly qualified teachers” based on contrived situations during brain scans in addition to student scores. And good teaching is so much more than either of those would ever indicate.

NPR | ‘Kiss Everybody': Voice Mails Live On After Parents Are Gone – I don’t have any voice mails from people I’ve lost yet. But I do have several that I’ve saved on my phone because I enjoy listening to them and they mean a lot to me. Like my nephew singing happy birthday to me or my niece asking what my daughter’s favorite color is or our fertility doctor letting us know that the blood test came back positive, or Brett just calling to tell me he loves me. I need to figure out how to save them somewhere other than my phone. Technology has certainly made a difference in not just how we record our lives but what aspects of our lives we record as well.

BYU News Release | Extra love and support doesn’t make up for being a helicopter parent – I’ve seen some helicoptered kids at college. They don’t do well. And the parents are helicoptering because they love their child, they just don’t know how to love them into successful adults instead of entitled helpless eternal teens. I’m really hoping we don’t helicopter. Hopefully being aware of it will keep it from happening.