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.

Intimacy and Infertility

Categories: Infertility

There are things in our lives that are automatically on public display. And with technology and social media going the way they are these days the number of those things seems to be increasing at a tremendous rate. Yet there are some things everyone (with a few weird exceptions) still keep private, still keep intimate.

Intimate: adj. very private; closely personal.

Intimacy: n. 1. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship.
2. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding.
3. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like.
4. the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar.
5. privacy.

Marital intimacy. It’s right there in the term. Intimacy. The relationship between husband and wife is private and personal. It’s part of a loving relationship. There is no deeper understanding you can have of a person, no greater way of being comfortable and familiar with your husband or wife. It’s not a normal topic of open discussion.

So when it doesn’t work, when intimacy doesn’t lead to pregnancy, one in eight couples feels alone. One in eight. Over twelve percent. That number right there means they aren’t alone though.

But even knowing you aren’t alone. Knowing you aren’t the only couple experiencing infertility, doesn’t make it feel less alone. Because you want to keep the intimacy. You want to keep the privacy of your intimate life. So you don’t talk about it. Making a child is one of the most intimate things a couple can do. Opening up about it is one of the last things you want to do.

I am eternally grateful for all of those, more than twelve percent of my friends, who shared their infertility struggles with us. Who shared intimate parts of their lives with us.

I will always be infertile. That diagnosis does not change with the fact that we have children. Medically I will always be infertile. It will always require help for me to get pregnant. Always require a team of specialists to do what I’d always thought would be the result of an intimate act between my husband and me. Yet even with that team of specialists, we found ways to keep certain things intimate. And while I will share our story for the rest of my life so that others will know they are not alone, paying it forward for those who shared their stories with me, I will still keep parts of that story close. I will ponder them in my heart and in the heart of my husband only.

Intimacy and infertility. There are times when they feel at complete odds with each other. Infertility does not have to, and should not, completely rob the intimacy of a marriage, of pregnancy, of children. Yet being more open about infertility can mean others feel empowered to get the help they need. Being more open can help others find the strength to continue.

#NIAW You Are Not Alone

Cheerios and Repentance

Categories: Gospel

We’ve been working with Iddo on finding other ways to express her anger than throwing things, especially food. When she throws in anger she has to pick up whatever she’s thrown, and we’ll make her sit there staring at it till she does. And sometimes we’re sitting there for over 20 minutes. As soon as she picks it up though we give her a very enthusiastic “thank you!” and a hug.

About a month ago on a Saturday morning she got upset that we weren’t giving her any more banana or Lucky Charms for breakfast since she’d already eaten what we gave her and she was just going to have to finish the bowl of (dry) Cheerios she still had on her tray instead. And the whole bowl went flying. Cheerios everywhere.

Brett got her out of her chair and sat down with her in the middle of the Cheerio mess. He turned her bowl right-side-up and calmly told her to please pick up the Cheerios. And then they both just sat there. For several minutes. Him staring at her. And her staring defiantly at the Cheerios, actively not looking at her dad.

At one point Brett said that when she started showing a real effort to pick them up he’d step in and help and I agreed that would be a good idea.

Eventually she decided that she really wasn’t going to get away with not picking them up and started putting them back in the bowl (or eating them, we aren’t picky about what she does with the food she throws as long as it’s picked up off the floor). As she started and then kept going Brett sat there right next to her encouraging her the whole time. And in no time at all she’d picked up all the Cheerios. Brett gave her a huge hug and a very enthusiastic thank you. And she happily went on her way.

Two days later it was lunch and she threw a bowl of black beans and rice. So I sat there next to her on the floor with her bowl and a wet wash cloth so I could clean up her hands and the residue on the floor after she picked up all the big pieces. And I gave her a huge hug and an enthusiastic thank you when she finished.

We want her to learn not to throw her food because it is not acceptable in public and we’d like her to be a good person by finding other ways in which to express her anger.

As Brett sat there with her Cheerios though we thought about how what we were doing was an object lesson for repentance. We all do things that we shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s just a fork we throw. Other times it’s an entire messy bowl of beans and rice. And we have to pick it up. But we are never left to do it alone. Our loving God is sitting there right next to us, eager to encourage us when we get started making it right, ready with a wet wash cloth to help wipe up the mess when we’re done, and always with a huge hug after we finish.

We are asked to repent of our sins not because He couldn’t fix them and make them right on His own. But because teaching us to do so teaches us not to do them again and helps us grow spiritually into successful eternal beings.

No one is more anxious to help you flee from sin than your Heavenly Father. Go to Him. Acknowledge your sin, confess your shame and your guilt, and then plead with Him for help. He has the power to help you triumph.
– President Ezra Taft Benson, “The Law of Chastity,” New Era, Jan. 1988

I remember a Mormonad from back in high school that showed a young man having painted himself into a corner of a room with red paint. As I think about that image and then the image of Brett sitting in the corner with Iddo surrounded by a mess of Cheerios, I can’t help but think that the picture of the young man was missing something. He is not sitting in that corner by himself. Because all of us have divine help in getting out of those corners we find ourselves in. Always.

Random Giggles | Cheerios & Repentance

Bored?

Categories: Life

Way back in high school, or a little earlier, a long time ago anyway, I made a spherical pillow and put the continents on it. It’s a bit over a foot in diameter and it’s a fun little globe. Iddo loves to throw it and sit on it.

A kid 11 going on 12 was at our home recently and saw it. He wanted to know what the big stripy thing on the top was and I told him it was Asia. Then he asked if I always made things when I was bored.

He seemed real confused when I told him no because I’m never bored. I can always find something to do.

Pickles - You want to know what I do when I'm bored?

At what age do we finally figure that out? I can’t remember when I stopped being bored but I know it’s been a long time. Okay, maybe I’ve been bored standing in line at a store a time or two, but who doesn’t get bored there?