News of the week (or so)

Categories: Books, Education, Learn Something, News, Science & Tech

More headlines and news stories that caught my interest and will probably be brought up in some fashion during small talk some time in the future.

Scientific American | Creative People Are… – Love this list. Now to figure out how to help our children develop these qualities. Because it can’t all be nature. A lot of it is nurture as well.

National Geographic | Your Baby’s Brain Holds the Key to Solving Society’s Problems – This is an interview with the author of the book Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain. Talking with kids and babies, not just at them, is so important. Shimri and I regularly have conversations, most of them she wins. That girl’s got whit. And Shimei love to tell us all about the humorous side of life. And Iddo is constantly surprising us with her take on the world.

Scientific American | Sunset on Pluto [Slide Show] – Pluto – proving that even dwarf planets are worth exploring.

BBC | Can eating more than six bananas at once kill you? – It won’t kill you, but I know from second-hand experience that it can make you very sick. Some guys I knew tried it one night. It wasn’t pretty the next day.

BBC | Mapping Australia’s dinosaur landscape – Okay. That’s interesting about the tracks. But now I’m wondering where are all the fossilized remains? What happened to the physical dinosaurs? Did they all just walk away and die elsewhere? Why didn’t the article mention any answers to those questions? Do scientists not know those answers yet? Is someone at least trying to figure out the answers?

BBC | The most common song you can’t sing in public – I didn’t not know that “Happy Birthday” was a copyrighted song. Now I want to go sing it in public.

BBC | Army mothers pose for photo – while breastfeeding babies – Go Fort Bliss! (I used to live in that area.) The thing that gets me about these breastfeeding photos is that they got all the kids to eat at the same time. Scheduling that is amazing.

BBC | Google launches Kenya’s Samburu Park on Street View – The next time all the kids are napping at the same time I’m going to go on safari!

Scientific American | People Are More Likely to Cheat at the End – Interesting. And the ending of things does have a strange effect on us. I didn’t know that about the rats nearing the end of the maze having a dopamime effect on the brain, but I’d say it’s probably similar to the feeling the last few miles of a marathon as you near the end – if you have enough physically left you really just want to lay it all out there and finish big. You get to sit down at the end after all.

BBC | Tai Chi ‘could be prescribed’ for illnesses – I’ve been interested in taking up Tai Chi for a while now. Maybe I should look into it a little more seriously.

BBC | Homer’s Iliad performed in 15-hour London epic – How cool is that! I love that they did it. I find it interesting they made it a moving (literally) performance. They broadcast it live. I wonder if it’s still available online to watch. I wonder how many small segments I’d have to watch it in during nap times to finish it.

There were a couple of articles about the Ig Nobel awards (BBC | ‘Universal urination duration’ wins Ig Nobel prize, NPR | The 2015 Ig Nobels: Studies That Make You Go ‘Huh?’, and NPR | Harvard Honors Scientific Researchers With Ig Nobels among others I’m sure). These always make me glad my research did not involve urine or being stung by bees. This is also one of the few awards ceremonies I’d like to attend some day.

BBC | The man who bought Stonehenge – and then gave it away – Bet you didn’t know this either.

NPR | Planets Transit The Desert In 7-Mile Scale Model Of The Solar System – We look at drawings in books or small mobiles and think we understand the solar system. But it’s super hard to model the scale of it. It’s HUGE. And even then it’s only a teeny tiny portion of the galaxy, which is a speck of dust in the universe.

A dark day

Categories: Life

Last night I wondered how we’re going to teach our children what the significance of this date is. Today’s high schoole students were alive 14 years ago but they most likely have no memory of what happened in 2001. But I can tell you exactly where I was, what I was doing, who I was with. Everyone older than me and everyone at least ten years younger than me can do the same. That day changed the world our kids came in to. It’s a date similar to my grandparents’ generation with Pearl Harbor, a day that changed the world their kids lived in.

But as soon as I thought about how to teach my kids about terror and horror I immediately wondered what date on the calendar will mark their lives with their own terror and horror. What will be the date in their lives that they kneel down with the entire nation, with the entire world, and pray for peace, peace in their own hearts and peace in the world? And they way the world it going, it’s most likely going to be what date marks the start of the nuclear war that will forever change the world my grandchildren live in.

I will teach my children about terror and horror because those will be a reality in their world. But I think I’m going to spend more time teaching them about love, peace, faith, and hope because those will be what get them through this world.

News I found interesting in the last week

Categories: Education, Exercise, Family, Learn Something, News, Science & Tech

I like to peruse the headlines of several different online news sites and read whatever catches my attention. Here’s what caught my attention this past week or so. I know Brett just skims these when I do them, but Brett – you’re mentioned in relation to one, so skim a little closer.

Scientific American Mind & Brain | How a New Father’s Brain Changes – I found the differences in how our threat reaction area of the brain changes for moms and dads particularly interesting. I also thought the correlation between the amount of change and the degree of depression interesting too.

Scientific American | Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep? – I loved the irony of reading this one late at night. But since reading it I’ve been trying to be better at making sure checking my screens is not the last thing I do before bed. And, surprise, I’m getting some projects done because I’m sewing or knitting before bed instead.

NPR | Ancient Tomb In Spain Destroyed And Replaced With A Picnic Table – Not entirely funny because of all the ancient sites ISIS is destroying right now in the name of religion while also using the sale of ancient artifacts to fund their jihad (if you’re going to do a holy war, don’t be a hypocrite about it). But still, oops.

NPR | Can You Use That In A Sentence? Dictionary Adds New Words – Ah the joy of a living language. I’ll agree that some of these have earned the right to be in the dictionary, but I must not be hip enough because I can’t get on board with all of them.

Scientific American | How Cities Can Beat the Heat – It seems education isn’t the only field where people jump on idea band-wagons before they figure out if their solution contributes to the problem or not. Let’s hope they can figure out what we’ve already known about reducing heat before they do too much damage trying to make their own bad ideas work.

Scientific American | The Race to Save the Bonneville Salt Flats from a Slushy Demise – The thing I like best about this is that the mining company is taking a very active, and voluntary, role in preserving nature rather than just bleeding it dry. Go them!

Scientific American | Marble Race–in Liquid! – Iddo, Shimri, Shimei, and I will have a lot of fun with this when I can trust all three of them to not eat the marbles.

Scientific American | Is “Baby Brain” a Myth? – YES! It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and a myth. Anyone that tired and that distracted will be forgetful and slow. Our brains are amazing but they can only handle so much before they need a break.

Scientific American | Neil deGrasse Tyson, Scientific American Fan – I just really like this guy. He’s classy. He’s fun. He’s smart. He’s a lot like Brett (I like Brett better). I think if someone asked me to name someone living I’d like to have dinner with I’d pick Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Brett.

BBC | How does Usain Bolt run so fast? – When they say he’s practically flying, they’re right. When I run it’s not nearly the flying that he does, but it’s the closest I’ll get on my own, so I love it.

BBC | Nottinghamshire baby filmed from conception to birth – Our kids aren’t quite as filmed, but we do have their 3-day, 8-cell photos and with Shimri and Shimei I had almost weekly ultrasounds so we could at least put together a pretty good slide show for them.

BBC | Tackling the deadliest day for Japanese teenagers – This is one of the things nobody mentions in the US when they say we need to model our education system after those in other countries. My heart goes out to those students.

New York Times | Backpack Makers Rethink a Student Staple – This one caught my attention because I just bought my first backpack since my undergraduate years and I spent several nights looking at different types on-line and figuring out what kind of pockets I needed and who had what I wanted. I’ll be using this new backpack as my Mom bag, the bag I take with me when I’ve got kids with me and need to keep track of their drinks, snacks, toys, diapers, etc. I love that they interviewed both extreme mountain climbers and the homeless as part of their research. College often feels like a combination of the two. So does motherhood depending on the day, especially the extreme mountain climbing bit.

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.