Sunday, March 31, 2013

Of bicycles and birthdays

Margaret turned 5 yesterday! That's an exciting birthday around here.

On Thursday, we went downtown to get her signed up for a bus pass. Once you're 5, you have to start paying for the bus. Luckily, it's at a discounted amounted. Here she is getting her picture taken. The bus pass will arrive in 2-3 weeks.

Also on Thursday, this guy showed up with a big box!

Look what's inside!

The kids love the box and the bike. Also, we've named the bike Epona. I have so many plans for this bike!

The box is now in our side yard for the kids to play in. The kids colored on it and played in it for hours.

Thursday evening tried out the bike. And look: everyone fits! And like Linda's and my previous ride, she stayed quiet during the ride and fussed if we stopped for too long. I took the bike around the block to get a feel for it. First rule to avoid tipping everyone is no sharp turns while walking the bike.

Friday we took our first big ride down busy streets and rode to Pixar. Margaret got to have a birthday lunch there and then we rode on a busier street to the library.

Birthday lunch:

Because when you turn 5, you not only get a bus pass, but also a library card!

Now that she has two cards to take care of, I made her a wallet/purse. She chose the colors: pink in front, blue in back, purple for the flap, black for the strap. This is now the home for her library card and bus pass (when it arrives).

So in all, a great couple of days!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Linda's blessing

Last weekend was Linda's blessing. We had a large turnout. I don't think we've ever filled up 2 whole long pews before. This time we did and were still squished.

My parents and youngest brother were there, McKay's parents and his youngest sister and brother where there, McKay's paternal grandparents, an uncle and his family, Monique and her family, and my neighbor and her daughter.

Here are many of them (everyone minus paternal grandparents and uncle + crew):

And here's us with my family. With Margaret's face, this probably deserves to go on Awkward Family Photos. But seriously, this was the best of the two pictures. And I about died laughing when I saw this:

I'm considering doing a write up on The Exponent about the blessing, so I'm not going to elaborate here, but it was good. Also, I make cute babies.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When do you "get things done?" poll

A couple of weeks ago, I outed myself as an underachiever when it comes to housework. My current rule is that I don't do any housework (except making meals/snacks and emergency clean ups from spills) after noon. I have things to do and housework is not one of them. I'm totally fine with this, except when my mom comes in town. Then I clean.

The person I mentioned this to replied, "Really?!" I responded, "Yeah. I've got things to do!" We then talked about when people around us get things done. It seems that "after the kids are in bed" is a popular option- some people stay up until 2am doing things! Personally, I need that time for winding down and sleeping so I can go running in the mornings before McKay goes to work. I have high sleep requirements.

Yesterday was a "do things throughout the day" kind of day. After breakfast I watched a lecture for my organic chemistry class. Then I read a book I promised to the kids. Then I watched another lecture. Then I started the laundry and nursed the baby to sleep. Then I worked on 5 or so homework problems. Then I nursed the waking baby again. Then I worked on a couple more homework problems. Then I had to feed the kids lunch. Then I did half a homework problem before remembering to check the laundry. Then I nursed a baby to sleep again. Then I finished the previous homework problem. Oh, and I was also keeping up with email, ordering museum tickets,  diapering, etc. Nothing gets done all at once, but it happened.

We recently hired a mother's helper to come once a week for a whole day to do things like hold the baby so I can pee or fix lunch. Last week, the two older kids spent most of the day with a friend, so it was just us and Linda. She mopped our dining room hands-and-knees style! Score! This week I plan on using her to wrangle kids on the bus while I go downtown to register Linda's SSN and sign Margaret up for a bus pass. And maybe for kid watching while I get some knitting design work done.

So tell me, parents: when do you get things done? "Things" can include, but are not limited to, working at home, household chores, errands, dates, social events, hobbies: anything you can't do with small kids. Don't forget to elaborate in the comments.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In which I become a diet freak and I'm really sorry about that

By "diet" I mean food-I-eat. I don't mean not eating.

Linda is my fussiest baby to date. I've always wondered of cutting out dairy would help with my babies' fussiness, but it wasn't until this time that I actually did it. I probably should have with Margaret- she had regular projectile vomiting. But she was gaining weight and was fine generally. You know, when she wasn't fussy.

I figured a two week trial wouldn't hurt. I didn't expect it to do anything. After all, my babies grew out of most of their fussiness by 12 weeks. Would I really be able to tell if she improved because of my diet or if she improved simply because she got older? I'm not sure. And I'm still not sure.

What I do know, however, is how I felt. While I was off dairy, I had energy. I could multitask. I could juggle multiple projects in the same day! And I didn't crash after church.

Once Sunday I asked McKay, "Why am I feeling like crap?" and he respond, "You always feel like that Sunday nights." How perceptive. I didn't even notice, but for months now (years?), every Sunday evening I crash. Even if church was fabulous and I had a great time, I crash and I hate the world all evening. It's extremely predictable.  But off of dairy, not only did I enjoy church but I came home and was still happy and loved life and didn't hate the world! It's magic!

Later that week was the Relief Society birthday dinner and I tried dairy. Ice cream, cream, butter, cake. It was yummy!

The next day? CRASH. I did a little work: laundry. But then I spent the rest of the day on the Internet and I just couldn't get myself to do anything.

This was not what I was expecting when I went off dairy. I'm rather sad that I probably can't have ice cream unless I want to hate the world again. But I really liked being happy and doing all the things. So I'm off dairy again. I think it's a good move for me, and if I can get the kids off dairy, it'll probably clear up Margaret's congestion. Also, rumor has it that going off dairy relieves acne. I won't get acne until my cycles start up again, so it's too soon to tell if that'll happen.

Now I want to be clear that I'm not saying, "Get off milk! It'll cure your depression!" I know everyone's bodies and lives are different and no one thing is going to be the solution for everyone. On the other hand I really do want to shout, "Look at me! I'm happy and productive and all I had to do was quit eating dairy! It's a miracle!"

And that's how diet freaks are made.

When I first went off dairy I told a friend at church who is dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. I was hoping she'd join me in my lack-of-ice-cream lament. But she didn't. Her reaction was, "Don't you feel great!?" At the time I was caught off guard. Now I want to pick her brain for recipes and maybe I'll even try gluten-free in the future. She's right! I do feel great!

So yes. Go off dairy! It'll change your life! But also, if you don't, I understand. Ice cream is great stuff. And chocolate. And cheese. And butter and cream.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crazy Train

Isaac is the most helpful child ever. So helpful, in fact, that it's almost unhelpful how insistent he is about helping. If I make pizza dough without involving him in the stirring process? Meltdown. Do laundry without him? Meltdown.

Our landlords upstairs have a washer and dryer, so we have to go out the back door, up the stairs outside, and into their utility room at the back of the house. It's a bit of an ordeal, especially if it's raining. Isaac likes to follow me up there, but asks me to carry him down the stairs.

One day, as we were headed back down the stairs, Isaac again asked to be carried. But I was bringing the dried load downstairs to be folded and couldn't carry the laundry and him at the same time. I told him, "You can go down the stairs."

He started down a few steps and then started screaming bloody murder and ran back up the stairs. He was yelling something I couldn't quite make out. But it sounded like he was terrified.

"What is it?"




"Train?" We live close to a railroad, so I thought maybe he heard the train whistle. But why would that scare him? We hear it all the time!

"Train!" He confirmed.

"I don't hear a train, Isaac. What is the matter?!"

I decided I'd take the laundry down and then go back up to get him, but he didn't like that. He needed me with him. So I picked him up and decided to go with the balancing act of hobbling down the stairs with a 2 year old and a load of laundry.

And then. I saw it. On a table outside, at the bottom of the stairs was... the train.

If I were 2, I would be screaming, too.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Baby's first bike ride

Last night I went on my first postpartum bike ride and I brought Linda along. It was late and dark, so I didn't get any pictures of the set up, but I did get some blurry pictures of Linda getting buckled in. This was before we put the cover on the trailer.

I know that carseats aren't made for trailers, but you've got to do what you've got to do. I stay on less-trafficked streets and stop for lights and signs and use lights at night. Yesterday, I bought separate lights for the trailer, so that both it and my bike were visible.

I have something of a fearlessness when it comes to biking. I biked everywhere as a kid, so how hard can it possibly be? So when I had the opportunity to bike to do my visiting teaching, I thought, "Great! I can get back on the bike now!"

My destination was in an area that google maps describes as "Upper Rockridge." "Upper" is code for "in the hills." What my brain forgot was how high those hills are.

You see, I had been riding to College Avenue and back, up until 2 days before Linda was born, on a 1-speed with a 4 year old and 2.5 year old in a trailer behind me. So when I looked at the map, saw that it was just a couple of miles further, and with a newly-tuned 24-speed bike and only a 7 week old in a trailer, I figured I could even trust the google maps estimate of time, which told me I'd get there in 33 minutes.

So at 6:30-ish, I left to get there at 7. Being a few minutes late wouldn't be that bad. With setting up the trailer and hooking it up to the bike and getting Linda in, it was probably a little after 6:30 when we left.

Well, I got 2 blocks and realized I forgot my helmet, so I turned around, got my helmet, and then left again.

It was about 6:40-6:45.

I hit most of the lights well, but I was being cautious in my riding because it was hard to see. I wanted to avoid bumps and potholes for Linda's sake. This was pretty much impossible on Chabot Road. Oakland needs to fix that street.

As I got closer to my destination, the hills got steeper. But that's ok- I had gears! Unfortunately, the hills beat me and the last half mile or so was spent altering between riding and walking the bike. I had climbed 250 feet in elevation in the first 3 miles of the ride. I had to climb another 250 feet in the last half mile. During one of the walking stretches, I checked my time and saw that it was 7:14 and in the act of getting my phone out and putting it back in my pocket, I lost the paper with my directions on them. In the end, I passed and overshot my destination and had to retrace my route. It was probably 7:30 when I finally arrived.

On this bike ride, I realized for the first time, that biking can be hard. I'm not saying all the biking I did last year was easy, but I've never been so worn out that I needed to walk. It probably didn't help that I had already gone running that morning and my body was in dire need of dinner.

Linda's opinion of biking is favorable. She was quiet and content for most of the trip. If it had really been only 33 minutes and I didn't need to walk, she'd have been happy. But once I started walking, she started screaming. And at that point, there was not much to do except keep on walking until I could ride again, which calmed her down. I don't think she napped during the trip, so when we got there, she was tired along with being mad at me for walking the bike. Also, it was evening and I bet her regular colicky self had a part in the upset.

During my visit, it started raining, and my hostess insisted that I not bike home in the rain. Because said it wouldn't rain until 10pm, I hadn't prepared for that possibility. I took her up on her offer though it felt like cheating. She told me to never bike up those hills to her house again and to get a ride next time.

Solid advice, but I'm not sure if I'm going to follow that counsel. I rode my bike last night just to see if I could do it. Once we have an e-assist on a bike, I'm going to have to try it again, simply out of curiosity. Can I do those hills with a Bionx? Time will tell!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

More women's issues

Yesterday, Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune published an article on the Mormon lactivism issue that has recently been brought to the forefront of the discussion again. I'm in it! And I love Jenne's last word. And as always, good journalism needs a catchy headline.

Kirby weighed in on the topic as well.

Also, I've been watching the 3-part PBS documentary series Makers: Women Who Make America. It's good stuff. If you've got 3 hours to spend knitting or jogging or whatever, watch it. I've even shown some of it to Margaret and talked about some of the issues- like how ridiculous it would be to think women would grow moustaches if they ran marathons!

Seriously, watch it. I think it would be great for high schoolers studying US history and current events.