Thursday, December 19, 2013

My job is swell.

1.  Once again, my office is mysteriously the only one around here to get on the Obama family Christmas card list.  This year it's a pop-up card!

2.  In other work-related bragging news,  I got an office with a window.  It only took 10 years.

3.  More importantly, this has been a great year for successful work in preventing infant mortality. It is exciting to have the opportunity to work in a job where we make a difference.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Uncle/Nephew Resemblance?

So, my kids all agreed that these two retro Christmas ornaments of my brother were actually pictures of my oldest son. 

Here is another ornament that actually has my son in it. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This past May, my oldest daughter was baptized.

Her dad baptized and confirmed her.

And her mom (that's me) planned the program and gave a talk about the baptismal covenant.  I was glad I had the opportunity to assign myself to speak.  I love teaching the concepts of mourning with those that mourn, comforting those that stand in need of comfort, bearing one another's burdens and standing as a witness of God.

And as a member of my daughter's Primary presidency,  I also made her a memento on the same topic.

Her aunt and grandma came from Arizona for the event.

Both participated in the program, with her aunt giving a prayer and grandma reading passages from a book about the Holy Ghost that she gave her as a gift (with a cover illustration that looks a lot like my daughter.)

My side of the family participated, too.  My dad gave the closing prayer and my mom and I sang,  Can a Little Child Like Me?  (My mom and my sister are also responsible for the adorable french braids.)

I asked my niece, the most recently baptized member of our family, to give a talk.  She did a wonderful job.  

The little brothers did not have any jobs on the program, but the oldest said a lot anyway, like, "My cousin is going to talk?   What is she going to say?"

I asked my daughter what songs she would like to sing, and she chose The Second Article of Faith, an odd choice for a baptism, but it was her special day and I wasn't about to veto her request.  We also sang When I am Baptized (a more traditional choice).

And we watched a couple short videos:

After her baptism, I went to help her get changed and found her in the dressing room, crying while grinning from ear to ear.  I am so glad it was a moving experience for her.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kid Ethics

My 3-year-old came to me with a 5 dollar bill.  "I have money!" He exclaimed.

"Is that your sister's money?" I asked.

"It's my money," he chirped happily.

"It can't be your money," I explained.  "You don't have any way of getting money.  You don't have a job."

"I can get money," he rebutted. "I sneak into Sister's room and I take it."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cloth Diapering

I am grateful to the friend who explained cloth diapering to me before I had my first baby, thus saving me lots of money and helping me reduce guilt about my contributions to the landfill.  I am paying it forward here and sharing what I have learned about cloth diapering for anyone else who needs the info.

They sell all-in-one diapers, with absorbent material on the inside and plastic/vinyl/whatever on the outside and I have used them but they are more expensive. Unless you are committed to drip-drying, I find that they wear out faster, too.  I especially dislike them for new babies because new babies go through so many daily diapers.  A much less expensive but effective option is to buy old-fashioned square diaper liners and diaper covers.  

I got my square diaper liners from this local company: They work wonderfully and are extremely durable. They lasted for all four of my babies! Do not buy those thin,  horrible "Gerber diaper burp cloths" that they sell at big box stores.  They look too thin and cute to be absorbent because they are NOT absorbent. 

I may be old-fashioned in my preference for square diaper liners, but I have no desire to use old-fashioned pins.  I love Snappi fasteners. No poke risk.

To fold them, fold the front part in thirds.  Let the back part stay wide.

If you want even more padding, such as to avoid changing the diaper at night, you can even add one of these 1/3 size liners in the middle but usually it is not necessary.

Add the Snappi.  It has tiny comb ends that catch the fabric.  Hold it at one side, pull and stretch it to the other side, and then pull the middle comb down.

Then add the diaper cover to keep all that wetness away from you.  I have found that the kind that are shaped like disposables work better than plastic pants.  They come with snaps or velcro.  Snaps stay nice longer but I use these velcro ones by Dappi that I got from Baby Best Buy because they are the least expensive diaper covers in the world.  You can get them here: They aren't as cute as the bright-colored diapers you can get elsewhere but bright colors are impractical for me because I machine wash on the "heavy duty" cycle with bleach.  I machine dry, too. You will find lots of rules online about diaper care that teach how to make diapers last longer through gentle cleaning and drip drying.  I ignore these and stay sane.  Hey, most of the liners lasted through four kids in spite of my non-gentle cleaning ways and I only rarely had to replace the covers, which I could afford to do because I bought such a cheap brand.

Cloth diapers do not go in a diaper genie.  Again, you will find lots of "helpful," complicated tips online about storing dirty cloth diapers.  For me, the easiest, cheapest, non-stinky way to store them is in a bucket with a gamma seal lid, lined with a trash bag.  I got mine here:

If you use the non-gentle cleaning cycle I use, you will rarely need to rinse a diaper.  A diaper with a moderate amount of sticky gunk in it will clean in the heavy duty cycle. But there are occasions when the diaper is extra crazy full and too sticky to shake out into the toilet.  When I was living in my previous residence, we bought an OsoCozy diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet for this purpose: In my current residence, we have a pull-out spray faucet in the bathroom sink, that I can just point at a diaper as I hold it over the toilet and spray.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Super Short Videos of Really Normal Everyday Stuff

Daddy/Uncle Entertains Kids on the Trampoline

Baby Loves Grandma's Necklaces (This one was a Mother's Day gift from my kids.  My son loves orange.  My daughter picked it out.)

Toddler Entertains Baby (Isn't his laugh adorable?)

More Baby Entertainment

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Random Photos of Really Normal Everyday Stuff

My Kids
My Kids Perform "Three Billy Goats Gruff"
Hubby bought this tie to support me on a special day.
We have Thanksgiving Point passes this year.

Someone borrowed my phone without asking.  I have evidence.
A unique sense of style

The kids' dentist office

(Extended) Family Home Evening

Story Time at the Local Library

Thanksgiving Point again
Make a wish.

Toes.  Yum.
Doesn't he look quiet and calm?  The wonders of still photography.

Baby's first smile

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Play Ball

My first experience with team sports was playing on my ward Young Women softball team at age twelve. I was hopelessly clumsy.  Whenever I hit the ball, which was certainly never a given, I would run with track star speed for that first base, but since I almost always hit a slow grounder directly toward the first basewoman, my efforts were futile.  If the coach played me at all, she would send me to right field, the place the ball was least likely to go.  Sometimes I considered quitting, but my teammates begged me to come so they wouldn’t forfeit. Community obligation and peer pressure kept me coming; I prevented my team from forfeiting but I made them lose.

My dad, who is quite the baseball player and who had already garnered a few years of coaching experience with my younger brother’s little league teams, tried to catch me up with the other girls, but it was too late. Eventually I became fairly accurate at throwing, but unfortunately, baseball requires other skills, too, like batting and catching, and I just couldn’t figure those out.
I hope that my own daughter will not find team sports to be such a trial for her as they were for me.  Luckily, she does not appear to have inherited my natural clumsiness. But just in case, my game plan is to start her in sports young, when all kids are clumsy, so she won’t be as behind as I was when I started Young Women’s and middle school sports.
That was my line of thinking when I signed her up for co-ed, coach-pitch baseball at the local rec center last year, at age 7.  When my husband learned what I had done, he seemed kind of frantic, muttering things like, “I need to teach her to hit.  She’ll need a nice mitt.”  I wondered if my theory about team sports being lower pressure if you began young was actually correct.
I became more nervous when I arrived at the park on the first day of practice and saw scores of parents leading little boys to the field. When we found her team, a boy shouted, “We have a girl on our team?”  Sure enough, she was the only girl.
“She’s probably the best one,” replied the coach.  I appreciated the coach’s support but I worried.  Would my daughter have to be the best to get respect from her all-male teammates?
After the first practice, we waited for my son’s T-ball game to begin.  Another boy from my daughter’s team was also hanging around and invited her to hit some balls with him.  I was encouraged as I watched the two of them play.
On picture day, a few of the boys told my daughter to get out of the photo because baseball is for boys.  The coach did not put up with this behavior at all; whatever he said to my daughter’s teammates adequately shamed them into profuse apologies and ideal behavior for the rest of the season.  Still, my daughter was devastated by the incident.
This year, I found her a girls-only softball league.  I liked the idea of having her learn to compete with boys at a young age, before the boys got bigger and stronger than her, but I think she would have been more comfortable on a truly co-ed team, not one in which she was the only girl.  So far, so good.  She is enjoying herself and is already well beyond the skill level of twelve-year-old me. (Of course, that is not a very tough milestone to surpass.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Christmas Decor Emergency

I volunteered to host a Christmas Relief Society progressive dinner at my house this past December.  It was a great motivator to finally take care of some of the final remodeling details we never finished before, like the moose-shaped patch where the electrical was updated:

Or the frames around the windows:

Or that wall that used to have a window, before we  added the master bedroom on to the other side:

So I set to work painting and my hubby built a wall unit to hide the blocked window:

I was feeling okay about our progress, until two days before the dinner, when a member of the Relief Society presidency, in an attempt to lower the intimidation factor and get a few more volunteer hosts, gave a little speech about how you didn't need to have a big, nice house to be a host.  We just wanted to enjoy your Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations?

I hadn't realized that Christmas decor was the key component to hosting this event.  I have lovely Christmas decorations--my mom gifted them to me a few seasons back--but I hadn't decorated yet because we were doing all that paint and carpentry work.  Now, not only did I have to finish the construction, but I also needed  to deck the halls.  This don't-be-intimidated speech really intimidated me. 

All is well that ends well.  We ended up finishing most construction (minus some detail work on the new wall unit) a few hours before the dinner and my kids helped me complete the fastest decorating spree of all time. My parents came over a half hour before the dinner started and we just finished minutes before guests arrived. Phew.