Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dance Party

As a part of our One Hour Till Bedtime series, I thought I'd include: Dance Party. Dance Party and it's close cousin Freeze Dance are great because I don't actually have to participate, which I can't really do anyway because by the end of the day, I'm all swollen and puffy and tired and contracting and irritable, and no one really wants me at their dance party anyway.

Apparently, no dance party is complete unless you have a food storage bin on your head.

I made the mistake of asking Lillian whether or not she wanted to take a gymnastics class or a dance class. She chose dance, and she's really excited about it, but it doesn't start until June, which doesn't translate into 3-year-old speak.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Long suffering and long toiling

Tyler is a hard worker. Having watched him go through 4 years of school, I knew this, but I haven't really seen him work so hard on one project since then, so I think I forgot a little. On Saturday, he was out in our backyard working for probably about 10 hours. I'd bet he's put in about 30 hours total: digging, shoveling, hauling, raking, more shoveling, leveling, measuring, measuring again, staking, mortaring, and the like.

I probably complained somewhere along the way that he was spending a lot of time in the backyard and not enough time waiting on me hand and foot, but it's going to be soooooo nice to have a place where the kids can go outside and spend some energy without getting incredibly dirty and/or attacked by ants.

Don't mind Lillian's crazy hair. I put it in Chun-Li buns for church which she promptly took out when we got home. Also, she dressed herself.

I think he's going to mortar in the backside just for aesthetics, finish laying the bricks (which is the easy part), and then sweep sand over all the cracks. (And then we have to actually buy patio furniture... but first things first.)

Lillian was fascinated and a little upset that a pigeon walked over daddy's sand, especially after I'd been telling her for a week not to do it. The little footprints are Nora's. In Lillian's words, she's a stinker who doesn't listen.

Tyler thought this picture looked like those vinyl decals people put on the back of their cars. Check out that belly... yeah, I still have 2.5 more months.

To finish the backyard, Tyler has to dig for and install a sprinkler system, I think he's decided to lay sod instead of seed, and do something about maybe making me a planter to have my garden that I will probably kill.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I need some sleep

For the last three days or so, I've felt really tired. Not just normal carrying-around-a-bowling-ball-in-your-uterus tired, but really tired. Like I have the flu, except I don't. I've been very good about taking my iron supplements AND my pre-natal vitamins, so I'm going to go ahead and go with African Sleeping Sickness.

Last night was kind of a low point.

On Wednesdays, Tyler has Cub Scouts until 7:30, and then (sometimes) a soccer game right after. I totally forgot about the soccer game. I put Nora to bed around 7:15 and turned on some cartoons for Lillian, thinking Tyler would be home in about a half an hour. I laid down on the couch and fell dead asleep, except for once when Lillian woke me up, insisting we switch pillows.

Two hours later, Tyler came home. Maybe because I usually don't let her watch that many cartoons that the novelty of all that TV kept her riveted.

I'm also glad that Lillian is old enough to know that running off into the night by yourself is a bad idea.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The final word on Lillian's head

As most of you long-time readers know, Lillian has a little head. Not just a little bit little. Currently, her head is the size of your average one-year old. A little head, or microcephaly, comes along for one of 3 reasons: 1. Your sutures fused prematurely. Lillian had a CT scan when she was like 9 months old to rule this out. 2. Your brain is not growing. Lillian has hit all of her milestones mostly on time and as anyone who talks to her would testify, her brain is fine. Which means that she falls into category number 3. You just have a little head.

Because the consequences of not finding categories 1 and 2 heads can be so dire, Lillian has been subjected to multiple pediatric neurologists over her short life. She had her final appointment today and again received a clean bill of health.


The doctor commented that she had less-than-average muscle tone, which could be responsible for her overall clumsiness and awkwardness in movement, the fact that she W-sits, her pickiness with food (as some foods are easier to eat with a lazy tongue), and the fact that she pronounces L and R like W.

She is really clumsy. She falls out of her chair almost ever night at dinner.

The funniest part of the visit was when Lillian and the doctor were on the floor doing puzzles and I had to remind Lillian to sit criss-cross, which she did. As she was correcting her position, she looked at the doctor who was wearing a pencil skirt and thus kneeling on the ground and in a stern voice, Lillian said, "Sit criss-cross!" The doctor was a good sport and laughed while doing her best to sit criss-cross while beskirtted.

The second funniest was when Lillian noticed that there were words printed underneath the shapes of one of the puzzles and confidently started "reading them." "This says oval," she would proclaim. She correctly read off most of the names but the jig was up when she announced it said 'diamond' when, in reality, it said, 'rhombus.' Someone once told me I was really good at making other people think I knew what I was talking about. I think Lillian may have inherited this talent.

The cure to low muscle tone and coordination? Some sort of movement class that will challenge her: dance class, tumbling, swim lessons. And, more tricycle riding.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Reminiscences slash Paper Heart

Tyler and I watched Paper Heart last night. Well, more like, I watched it while Tyler sat next to me and read a book, but I think it mostly counts.

It's a documentary about comedienne Charlene Yi and her quest to figure out what love is and/or find it, as she believes she's never been in love. Throughout the movie, she interviews people who have been or are currently in love, and somewhere along the way, she meets Michael Cera at a party and... yadda, yadda, yadda.

The movie, I felt, was generally just OK, but I thought it was pretty interesting hearing people talk about falling in love, and what that was like. A few people mentioned the "lightening bolt" aspect of falling in love. The crazy, euphoric high of being with another person.

This did not happen for me (sorry honey). So, for today's Tuesday Reminiscence (I know, you're thinking, 'does she still do that?'), I thought I'd tell a story of something that dramatically shaped my views on love.

When I was a freshman at UCSB, I knew that living in the dorms would be my own personal hell, so I asked my brother (who was attending UCSB at the time) to ask around and find me a roommate. Through an amazing stroke of magical-ness, one for which I will be forever grateful, he (or his wife) hooked me up with Vivian. I don't think she could have a better name, because living with her was so fun and lively and vibrant and exciting. Vivian comes from a family of 6 sisters (Claire, trusty friend and neighbor and also one-time roommate being among them), and grew up in a rural town outside Fresno. That year, she invited me home for Easter.

On their property, they have a little concrete patio-like area among the trees by the creek, and we were all sitting around, chatting. Vivian's older sister, Beth, was there with her husband and small children. Someone called Beth's name and asked her to do something, but she didn't hear. She was just sitting there, staring at her husband with the most contented, happy, peaceful look on her face. "Beth! What are you doing?"

"I was just... admiring my husband," came her answer. He was also just sitting there, not doing anything particularly manly, or impressive. (Although, my memory is not particularly reliable. He could have been chopping wood with his shirt off, or something... but I don't think so.)

At first, I thought this was bizarre. I didn't have much experience with love; my parents got divorced when I was 16 and I don't remember them ever staring at each other.

I soon forgot this small encounter. A few years later, I met Tyler and we started dating. As we moved toward that 'are we, aren't we' moment, I caught myself just looking at him and smiling. In a flash, I remembered Beth and Tim and the patio. And, I knew.

How does love work for you?

Friday, April 09, 2010

To feminist or not to feminist

I have an odd relationship with feminism. Do I believe that women are equal to men? Yes. Different, but equal. I think that, due to my gender, I'm better at certain things than my husband, and he, due to his gender, is better than me at other things. I want to be able to work outside the home (one day) in my choice of profession (and get paid as much as a comparable man), but at the same time, I want men to open the door for me. Is that having your cake and eating it too? I don't think so. I think it's just being polite. Also, I think a lot of the posters on Feminist Mormon Housewives are crazy.

Maybe you could consider me a lukewarm feminist. I didn't find the "stripling warrior's girlfriends" comment so offensive, but these Disney Fairy cards piss me off. Lillian got these as a gift from one of her preschool friends and played with them by herself for a long time before I took a good look at the actual pictures, and I noticed that the fairies are actually pin-up girls. Seriously? I realize that Lillian is 3 and has no idea what "alluring" means, but come on.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I remember the day well: I was pregnant with Lillian and Tyler had requested meatloaf for dinner. That's fine, I like meatloaf as well as the next person. So, I mustered up what I remembered from making meatloaf from my mother, put all the ingredients into a bowl, and went to mix the thing up with my hands. I couldn't touch it. All that raw, red meat. I called Claire, trusty neighbor and friend, and she came and mixed up my meatloaf for me. That's really the definition of friendship, right there: mixing up your pregnant friend's meatloaf. The meatloaf was OK, I guess. Maybe I just didn't remember really well how to make it.

Ever since that day, I've been on a quest to find a recipe for a meatloaf I love. I've probably made at least 10 different variations, and tonight, I think I hit the jackpot.

It's a synthesis of many different recipes, and it was really good. Even Lillian ate it.

Here's how I did it:

1. Tear up a piece of bread and soak it in a couple splashes of milk. Meanwhile, mince up half an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Sauté until soft.

2. Mix up the bread, onions, garlic, 1 lb ground beef, one egg, two big handfuls of chopped up spinach (you could probably use frozen, I just happened to have fresh on hand), a few splashes of worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp Lawry's, 1/2 tsp salt, and a couple dashes of pepper. Form into a loaf and place on top of a broiler pan.

3. Wrap loaf in several slices of bacon. Make sauce* (3/4 c ketchup, 2 T brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp mustard powder), and slather about 1/3 of it all over the loaf.

4. Bake at 350˚ for 40 minutes. Slather another round of sauce on top and bake for another 15 or 20 minutes until done.

5. Serve with left over sauce for dipping.

*The sauce I stole from Pioneer Woman. Verbatim. It's delicious.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Sleepytime from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.

Sticking it to the man

Really, I don't have many hobbies. I'm not that crafty and I'm am living proof that not all Mormon women like scrap booking. But, one of the things I do like to do is find ways to stick it to the man.

My MIL taught me how to make my own spreadable butter. She's been doing this for years and the butter industry totally copied her and they now sell this stuff for like $3.50 for a little tub. She should have patented it.

What you do is mix equal parts just-softened butter with canola oil. To fill a little tub like this, I use a cup of butter and a cup of oil. It's pretty liquidy when you mix it, but it sets up in the fridge. Soft even when cold. She uses unsalted butter and adds in her own salt. I just use salted butter and save myself the trouble.

Another way I stick it to the man is my obsession with patching and mending. When we were in school and Tyler rode his bike all over San Luis Obispo, his inseams wore out really fast. I must have sewed up each pair of pants at least 4 or 5 times and added a patch or two before he would buy new ones. His favorite pajama pants are getting to be quite comical. I tried to buy new ones, but The Perfect Pair is hard to find: somehow, the garment industry doesn't think that tall, skinny people want loungewear for their bottom halfs.

This pad got a rip in it the last time I ran it through the wash, and then with us sitting on it, it got a little frayed. Now, it's the lucky chair.

International Waffle Day

International Waffle Day was on March 25th. It's mostly a Swedish holiday, Våffeldagen, that signals the start of spring. We celebrate it because 1. I'm always trying to get in touch with our Swedish roots, and 2. Waffles = easy dinner.

I told Tyler they should start celebrating Våffeldagen at his work. They could have a waffle bar where you could put all sorts of fruit or whipped cream and chocolate chips on your waffles. And then we could just happen to show up around lunch time on that day.
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