Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Naming

I'm having trouble coming up for a name for this baby we're cooking.

Problem number one is the Baby Name Wizard. A year ago, Bridget got me hooked on Laura Wattenburg's blog. My sister Anne thinks I'm silly for reading it, and frankly, before I started reading it, I thought Bridget was a little kooky for reading it as well. But, it's fascinating. As this will be the first baby I've gestated (and named) since becoming a fan, I can't help being influenced by Ms. Wattenburg. Not necessarily by the things she says, but by the trends she points out and the predictions she makes. For example, I like the name Alice a lot (and I have an ancestor named Alice Brooks who was in the Martin Handcart Company), but she predicts that it's going to take off in popularity due to Twilight and Alice in Wonderland. I can't bring myself to give the kid a trendy name.

Problem number two is I like naming my kids with family names. Lillian is named after my grandmothers and Nora's middle name is Allison, which is my sister's name.

To illustrate why this is a problem, here is a list of male names from our family tree going back to the great-grandparents:

Saul (unavailable: Saul Ball? Who would do that to a kid?)
Tracy (unavailable: too many Tracys - Tyler's uncle and brother also named Tracy)
Angus (do I really want to embrace our Scottish heritage that badly? Probably not)
James (unavailable: I have no problem with my mother's brother Jim (James), but due to some business deals that went south (I'm probably going to receive a phone call about this), let's just say that he and my father don't exactly get along. And never will. Ever.)
Ellis (I don't really like names that end in 's' because when you say them too fast it spills onto our last name: Elli Spall. It's going to confuse all the customer service reps in India and he'll have to spell and re-spell his name 10 times per call)
Ashal (unavailable: too many Ashals running around as it is - my dad, my brother, my nephew)
Eldon (unavailable: my grandmother's first husband, and, although I've never gotten the full story, I think there were some very good reasons they got divorced)
Jesse (also unavailable: my dad told me that he abandoned his wife (my dad's grandma) and small children)
Paul (see Saul, above)
Ferdinand (can't do it. Ferdinand is the name of the duck on Babe)
Albert (The one semi-famous man in the mix, he was a supreme court justice on the Supreme Court of Utah. I read his auto-biography and I think he was a funny guy. But... Albert Ball has too many Bs. Plus... Albert.)
Hayden (Not to disparage my sister-in-law who has a son named Aiden, but I can't get in on the The Age of Aidens)

I'm also contemplating something that I haven't consulted my husband about, but predict he won't like, and I don't think I have the guts to do it: Name the kid Calder Ball. Ms. Wattenburg has written about this as well. My maiden name is Calder, so that would be a nice nod to his maternal family but I can't get over the pitfall mentioned in the article of people thinking that they just didn't hear his first name. Like he'd say, "hello, my name is Calder Ball." And the other person would say, "and, what's your first name, Mr. Calder-Ball?" Maybe we'll use it for a middle name.

So that leaves three or four candidates out of a field of 17. I can't even think about girl names. I've already named two girls and I'm completely spent.

Also gumming up the works is my pesky husband, who, for some reason, is actually being picky about the names I come up with. With the first two, he would just nod and say, "yeah, that sounds nice."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The wreath

My Aunt J is probably the craftiest person I'm related to. Not crafty like she's up to something, but crafty as in she made this wreath for an owl-themed baby shower she threw. I find a few things unusual about this. 1. Who makes a new wreath to fit the baby shower theme? And 2. Who throws themed baby showers? Even though she informs me through her website that "owls are sooo in right now," I would say that every baby shower I've ever attended had the theme of "baby shower." You know... pink or blue balloons, corresponding napkins and paper plates...? That's not how my aunt rolls. She's crafty.

My aunt's looks like this and is cuter because it's bigger, and she possesses actual talent for this sort of thing. And, you know, there's an owl. She lives in a place that has actual stores that have actual selections of things. She has no idea about us out here in the sticks, roughing it with only two wreath forms to choose from.

Some of you have inquired about our week of solitude. Today is day three of Tyler being out of town. It's been going pretty well.

Monday: I had a minor breakdown and got a little panicky that Tyler was going to get into a car accident in Denver and I wasn't going to be able to get there in time to remind him that he wasn't allowed to die.

And, Emily came over and I made my wreath.

Tuesday: Lillian started missing Tyler terribly and started asking me every hour, or every five minutes when he was coming back. Now? How about now? What... about... now?

I lost my patience with Lillian and asked her why she was such a spaz: I was standing with Nora, dripping wet after washing her hands and Lillian absconded with the dish towel. When I asked her to bring it back, she came back sans towel. When I told her to go get it, she went into the other room and started playing with her Ariel horse. Spaz.

We went to the drive-thru car wash, which, contrary to my memory, is terrifying for small children.

Wednesday morning, 4 AM: Nora woke up with croup. Twenty minutes in a steamy bathroom, and two hours of kicking me in the stomach later and she's fine, if maybe a little cranky. But, that could be because she's getting four molars. Or, because she had to stay awake to do all that kicking.

Two more sleeps.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Obedience School

If you were wondering how obedience school went, think back to that Simpson's episode where Santa's Little Helper goes to obedience school. Things that were different: mine was taught by an older gentleman with no trace of a British accent, I was not afraid of correcting Daisy, and there was no beef wellington. The same: Daisy's complete unwillingness to learn anything. All the dogs were able to learn how to not pull on the leash and walk nicely next to their owners while Daisy was completely unaware that she was supposed to be doing anything besides trying desperately to smell everything in a 10-foot radius.

My homework for this week: make Daisy lay down 50 times a day, practice making her wait behind me when we go through doors, make her sit before I pet her, and try to drain her of energy every day. That last one will be a special trick because I've never seen her get tired, ever. Even after running 3 miles (while I was riding a bike), she was all set to go another 3.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Devil Dog

Each day that passes, I hate our dog a little more. She is intelligent but intractable, stubborn, mischievous, recalcitrant, chewy, barky, whiny, and naughty. And, she pees in the car every morning when I take her to the dog park (or, in the case of this morning, pees and vomits).

I was complaining to my sister about the dog, and she (who has no children) patiently compared dogs to children and chided me for wanting my dog to "be perfect in a day" as I would never expect that of a child. This analogy holds no water for me. Daisy is the worst aspects of a 3-year old, and maybe a teenager rolled into one, which combination, by nature, does not exist in children.

1. I can't put Daisy in time out. I can put her outside, make her submit, put her in her kennel, but I can't say, "I'm making you lay on the ground because you got in the trash and that is naughty and we don't do that in our house." Well, I could, and I have, but it makes zero percent difference as, as soon as I let her up, she sneaks around the corner and gets in the trash again.

2. Daisy makes no sincere effort to try better. Even if sometimes Lillian's efforts are lame and token in nature, she usually does try. This morning, I was out with my lemon-water spray bottle. It went like this: BARK BARK BARK. *spray* "No barking!" _pause_ BARK BARK BARK *spray* "No Barking" _pause_ BARK BARK BARK *spray spray spray spray* "NO BARKING" and so on for about 10 minutes until I had to go inside to keep myself from delivering a swift kick to her midsection.

3. Lillian has not the size, strength, or speed of Daisy. I can easily chase Lillian down, hold her down, pick her up, or sit next to her nicely. With Daisy, I can do none of these things. I rotate watching kids with a group of ladies so that we can go to the gym. While the other ladies actually use this time to maintain their physical fitness, I take Daisy to the dog park because I've never made quite the spectacle of myself as I did when I tried to take my kids and the dog. One day, I was 15 minutes late to pick up because I couldn't catch Daisy. Even without the children, I tend to make myself look ridiculous: running around after the dog with my pregnant belly, frantically calling her, trying and failing to corner her. The dog park is probably about 2/3rd's of a football field, so it is no small amount of running. That day, there was no one else there. On normal days, Skittle's owner usually helps me out.

4. I have no natural affection for Daisy. Children do have a way of driving you to extremes and before I had children I never ever ever thought I would understand parents who put pillows over their kids faces. Now, I get it. I've been so physically and mentally ground down that I've had to put my screaming baby in her crib and take a bath with ear plugs to calm down because I wanted to shake them until they just stopped crying. But I didn't because nature builds in this natural love for your offspring. I do not have this towards Daisy. Before I figured this out, I was amazed at how quickly I would lose my temper with the dog when I hardly ever lose it with my kids.

I don't want Daisy to be perfect; I want her to listen. And, before you try to be helpful, yes, I have watched many episodes of The Dog Whisperer, skimmed Cesar Milan's book, read his website (and many others), and tried all the techniques for turning myself into the pack leader. We start obedience school this week... mostly because I signed a contract stating that I couldn't give her back to the shelter unless we completed a course.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When perspective slaps you in the face

Tyler is going to be gone for what amounts to almost 5 days at the end of the month. He's going to work all day Monday, fly to Denver Monday night, be there until Friday morning when he'll fly home, then work all day Friday. Denver is where the people who are in charge of his project physically work, so he occasionally goes up there for some face-to-face time, just to make sure everyone is actually on the same page, and it doesn't just look that way, you know, on paper, or email, as it were.

I briefly considered my options as to what to do with my time. Option 1: drive to see my sisters and parents in Southern California. Pro: Sisters and parents. Con: both sisters and parents have full time gigs that would prevent most all socializing during the day. Also, 9 hours one way. Option 2: drive to see my other sister in Draper. Con: 12 hours in the car. No way.

Being that I was drawing my possible driving circumference at about 1 hour, I realized I wasn't going to go see anybody, except maybe my friend Emily, who lives about 2 miles away, i.e. I am going to stay at home. By myself. During Rodeo Week when there is no preschool. All day. Me and the kids. All. Day.

I started feeling sorry for myself, maybe, a little bit.

Then yesterday, I was transcribing some genealogical-type papers I got from my mom. They were typed up legal sized, and I wanted them letter sized so I could print it out easier. One was called "Sketch of Eliza Collins Hunsaker, Daughter of Allen Collins, a Welshman, and Mary Broady, Scotch." If you're Mormon, you are probably related to Eliza Hunsaker, or, more specifically, to her husband, Abraham Hunsaker who in the end, had 5 wives and over 50 children.

Eliza was Abraham's first wife and they got married in 1833, when she was 15 and he was 20. They joined the church in Illinois after harboring a number of members who had been driven from their homes by mobs. Soon, they too were driven from their home. They loaded up their wagon and headed for Council Bluffs (near Omaha), in preparation for striking out across the wide prairie to who knows where. (It ended up being Utah, if you don't know the story.) While at Council Bluffs, the call came for 500 men who were needed to volunteer to fight in the Mexican War. Abraham signed up and left his wife and six small children with aught but a covered wagon for shelter for OVER A YEAR. Eliza had a brother who lived in Council Bluffs who offered to house her and her children on the condition that she renounce her husband and her religion. Spurning his offer, she lived in that wagon (and later, a crude log cabin) until her husband had walked clear to San Diego and back. He was gone from July 1846 to the fall of 1847.

Yeah, so. Maybe five days isn't so long.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Richard, What's Happening?

Ok, we've made you wait long enough. Here's the song Lillian was singing:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Lillian's Dance

Lillian's Dance from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.

Fifty points to whoever can guess what song she's singing.
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