Thursday, January 27, 2011

You better fix this!

I was pregnant, I went to the hospital, and then I had a baby. I couldn't really remember any of the specifics about the labor and delivery, but I was so tired taking care of this new infant, I didn't really care.

Then months went by. I started asking Tyler questions like, "how long did I push with this one?" and "did they end up giving me Pitocin? I don't remember."

He would always change the subject or bat the question away. I began to be suspicious when I realized I didn't really remember being pregnant; all I could remember was being big, I didn't remember any of the discomfort, pregnancy insomnia, sickness, or fatigue. Did I really go to the hospital? How did I have this full-term baby when Ethan is only 6 months old?

I looked into it further and did some detective work. Turned out, Tyler had a mistress who got pregnant and then died in childbirth. Tyler knew he would be responsible for this child, but was afraid to tell me about the other woman, so he had my memory altered to make me think it was mine.

When I put all the pieces together, I confronted Tyler. I explained how I figured everything out and how it was no use lying to me anymore. I finished my tirade by saying, "Now, you say your sorry to me, then call the bishop RIGHT NOW and FIX THIS so we can make this baby part of our FAMILY!"

Apparently, in my subconscious, fathering a child with another woman and not only lying to me about it, but having my memory altered is still not a deal breaker. Tyler is now wondering what he could have been getting away with this whole time.

The little ones

As I was procrastinating writing/reading any number of school things, I was looking through old blog posts of Lillian when she was a baby. I posted a lot of pictures of her doing cute things. Eating. Sleeping. Laughing.

Why don't I do that with my other kids?

I should start.

Nora was sad about something. Lillian stole a toy? Got in trouble for trying to climb the bookshelf? Wanted ice cream for lunch? Who knows? To fix it, I told her we'd take her picture. You can see the glistening tear remnants under her eyes.

Ethan sits now. I know, it snuck up on me too. A few days ago, I realized that, as he is sitting now, I should stop waiting for him to chunk up. Sitting is just weeks away from crawling, which means crawling up the stairs and pulling up and burning calories, and it is just a few months away from walking. This is the stage that Lillian and Nora started thinning out.

While I'm sad that he never chunked out, I'll still keep him.

Because he's so cute, sometimes you just want to squeeze him and laugh maniacally.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fun, More Fun, and Most Fun

As far as activities we have available for the kids, some are more fun then others. Take for example the sandbox:

Max capacity: probably like 10 kids
Possible injuries: Sand in the face, maybe a sliver
Fun Rating: 6.0

Then we have the bakers rack:

Max Capacity: 1.5 children
Possible Injuries: Kicks to the face, smashed fingers, bonked heads
Fun Rating: 7.2

Finally we have the wagon:

Wagon Ride from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.

Max Capacity: 3 (although we almost had 4)
Possible injuries: minor smushing, faceplant on the driveway, flattened by passing car
Fun Rating: 9.8

Note: No child was injured in the making of this post.

P is for Projects

We're big into letters around here, but that's not what this post is about. On rare occasions, I (Tyler) have time to be handy and make stuff. Here's a couple of the recent ones that I wanted to show off:

First we have the train set. Lillian came home from preschool one time with a train set she made out of toilet paper rolls (the cardboard on the inside) and milk carton lids for wheels, all held together with brads, string, and a little glue. Sadly, the train didn't last through the night. After many tears, I told Lillian I'd make her a new train, a BETTER train.

Second, we have the shelves. You many not know this about our brand new house, but we only have one (1) closet that is not in one of the bedrooms: the Harry Potter closet under the stairs. And although large, it was deep and impossible to get to anything in the back. In with the shelves and now we have an extended pantry/food storage/place for the games/camping stuff and we still have room to walk in and out.

Finally we have the spice rack. Amanda apparently had no problem finding spices when she had them scattered willy nilly about the cupboard. It drove me crazy trying to find anything so I built this double decker rack. It may not be perfectly flat, but I think if you check out the video you'll see that it gets the job done quite nicely.

spice rack from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Day in the Life

I gave Lillian the camera. She took about 400 pictures, these are the greatest hits. We did laundry.

And changed the sheets. I wish I could remember what she said that made me laugh so hard.

Ethan woke up and I changed his diaper.

Nora woke up from her nap.

More laundry.

Messing around in the kitchen.

Has Lillian talked your ear off about Toy Story 3 yet? No? Just wait.

The turquoise horse is Bullseye because I'm such a mean mom, I won't buy her a real one.

Oh, hey Ethan.

Skype with Anne. She was at her nerd conference.

I like baby feet.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Thus ends my separation of Church and school.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Run and tell that

While we were in Fresno, we went to church with my sister-in-law. The man that was teaching Sunday school was... old? He kept saying those odd Mormon lore-type things that have no doctrinal basis, like that the reasons babies can't talk is because they would tell us all about the pre-mortal life. He didn't say that, but it seems like he could have. He did keep saying that there are no coincidences. I don't remember what he was trying to connect, but it was a long rambling string of events. "And I just knew it wasn't a coincidence. There ARE NO coincidences. Believe that." I couldn't help but add a mental "homeboy," it sounded so ridiculous.

I am unaware of any doctrine on coincidences, but I do know about Tender Mercies.

Quick note. I don't usually talk about the serious side of my religion because it makes me really uncomfortable to do so outside of church or my home. It reminds me of what I heard a (gay) comedian say once. He was talking about how some people say things like, 'you know what? I don't care what you do at home, I just don't want to see you being gay in public.' He said he often wants to answer, 'Well, I don't want to see you being straight in public.' This is how I feel about people showing off their religion. I don't care what you do at home, but I don't want you to try and convert me as much as you don't want me to try and convert you. Even though being Mormon is awesome. But, this blog is as much a record for me as it is entertaining for you, and I feel like I want to write this down.

In the tender mercies talk, Elder Bednar comments about the first time he had to speak in General Conference as an Apostle. He was understandably very nervous. Right before he was to speak, there was an intermediate hymn, Redeemer of Israel. He says if he could have picked one hymn out of all the hundreds of hymns, he would have picked that one. He knew that the music selection was made months in advance and he only found out he was speaking 3 days previous but, because this hymn had such special significance for him, he knew that it was meant for him. That it was God's way of letting Elder Bednar know that He was mindful of him at this stressful and huge point in his life.

I had a hard day two days ago, I wrote about it, and then I felt better, a little. Literally seconds after I hit 'Publish Post,' I got an IM from my friend Elizabeth. She lives in Flagstaff, and usually attends the Snowflake Temple.

Her IM said, "Jacqueline and I are going to the Mesa temple on Saturday. If you and Tyler want to do a session, I'd be happy to watch your kids. I know it's short notice but we just decided this morning."

This is huge. This is my equivalent of Redeemer of Israel. Tyler and I haven't been to the temple to do a session since I was pregnant. With Nora. The problem is that the temple is 2.5 hours away, and it takes about that long to do a session, plus the drive back makes it an 8-hour deal. I've had little babies for a long time, and I can't be away from them for 8 hours as Ethan doesn't take a bottle and my body has caught on to the fact that the breast pump is a fake. The only other way to work it is to have someone watch your kids at the temple, but we don't know anyone who lives close to Mesa and/or who doesn't have kids of their own. Elizabeth is doing us a huge favor. There's no way she could have known that I was having a mommy meltdown. She didn't know that this Saturday is our 6th anniversary. She didn't know how badly I need this. I really feel like Heavenly Father knew, and this is His way of telling me that He knows about me and my problems, and that it's all going to work out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Go upstairs and come back with a different attitude

I woke up a little off today. Usually, I'm really patient with the kids until about 4 or 5 (which is good because Tyler comes home at 5 or 5:30), but Lillian started right up I'm coooooooooooold!! I'm huuuuuuuunnnnngry. I don't waaaaaaant oatmeal. Nora hiiiiiiiiit me. and I couldn't handle it. I was snapping at her left and right and threatening to spank her bottom if she didn't quit whining. Usually the I'm-going-to-spank-your-bottom threat doesn't come out unless things get really bad.

I took a step back and said to myself in my best mom voice, "you need to go upstairs and come back down with a better attitude." So, I did. I shut myself in the bathroom (while Nora very helpfully slid some magazines and small toys under the door, in case I got bored), sat on the edge of the tub, said a little prayer, and thought for a minute.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm stuck in the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles as the Steve Martin character, and my kids are collectively the John Candy character. In the movie, Steve Martin is trying to get home for Thanksgiving, but things keep happening, some natural (there's a blizzard and his plane is re-routed) and some (most) are caused by the John Candy character: he spills beer on the bed, he gets them into a car accident, he lights the car on fire, etc. This is my life.

I was trying to make dinner yesterday while talking to my friend Myriah, and during our short conversation (I called her because Tyler was running late and I was starting to go crazy), there were like 10 different disasters: Nora and Lillian were fighting over the slinky and then stretched it out, which caused a separate melt down all it's own, Nora had to go to the bathroom 3 or 4 times, then she needed her jacket off RIGHT THEN, then it was WHY, OH WHY DID YOU TAKE MY JACKET OFF, I HATE YOU, then Ethan was crying and Lillian was saying, "MOM THE BABY IS CRYING" over and over again, plus there was the "Mom, mom, mom, I'm hungry. Mom, I don't want to eat that. Mom, I'm huuuuuuungry. Mom, I haaaaaate broccoli soup."

At the end of the movie, Steve Martin and John Candy are good friends and can laugh about it all, which is how I felt last night watching Nora do her little dance to the "L says llllll, L says llllll" song that the alphabet toy plays. It was so cute, my heart about exploded.

But the underlying frustration is still there. I'm frustrated that I can't get anything done. And by anything, I don't mean like... I can't volunteer for Doctors Without Borders or Literacy Volunteers of Tucson, both things I really want to do, but realized a long time ago it wasn't my season of life. I'm talking about the fact that I tried for 3 hours yesterday to mop my floor, something that should only take 45 minutes at the most, and it still didn't get done. Plus, Lillian dumped two pocket's full of sand out right after I had finished sweeping.

I know, I know. It will get easier, but for today, it is hard. And, I need a better attitude.

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 Book Round-Up

When Tyler and I were in the car together for 10 million hours a few weeks ago, we discussed a lot of things, including, but not limited to, our favorite memories/accomplishments of the last year. I thought back and couldn't really come up with anything. "What the heck did I do last year?"

I was pregnancy sick for the first 3 months, then in labor for the next 3 months, then I went back to school and had an infant for the next 6 months. So... the answer is, I didn't do a whole lot besides vomit, sleep, breastfeed, and write papers. I did manage to read a bit, and so I present my 2nd Annual Book Round-Up.

Noah’s Compass, Anne Tyler (Book Club). I want the 10 or so hours of my life back that it took to read this book.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Laurie R. King. Recommended by Kylie. The funny thing is, I don't know Kylie; she's a friend of my friend Myriah. But, I think we'd be friends in real life if we ever lived by each other. We don't, so I blog stalk her, and read the books she likes on Goodreads. This book is fun and interesting and stressful, but not too stressful. A good book to read during my mom job.

When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead. Recommended by Miss Nemesis. I liked this book a lot, and I can't wait until Lillian is a little older, then I can read it to her and talk about time travel and the theory of relativity.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen. Recommended by Big Mama. Big Mama really loved this book and I thought it was boring and lame. This was just a small example of why Big Mama and I have gone our separate ways this last year.

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout. I read this for my old people book club, and I'm not quite sure why it won the Pulitzer.

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman. Recommended by Adrianne and Shannon. If you asked me out of the blue if I liked fantasy novels, I would say no way. Ever. I'm firmly against fairies and dragons and men with long hair and too many consonants in their name (with the notable exception of Ioan Gruffudd). But, I liked this book a lot.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett. I resisted this book for a long time because I thought it would be like one of those email forwards from your grandma with the kittens wearing sweaters. Not that either of my grandmas send me those kinds of forwards, but the type of grandmas who would seemed like the type that liked this book. It wasn't that type of book. It was a sort of To Kill a Mockingbird sort of book, but only about 75% as good.

True Confections, Katharine Weber. Goodreads recommendation. Just OK.

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell. Like Bridget said, "it's like Pride & Prejudice, but with a social conscience." I liked it, but I thought it suffered from the soap-opera-like quality that serial stories get, as if they start making up random plot shifts and enter long dialogues on things like 19th century union problems in Northern England just to make the story last longer. I liked the movie much, much more.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. I read this last year, and then again this year for book club. Still good the second time around.

La’s Orchestra Saves the World, Alexander McCall Smith. This was a quick read that I read literally in one sitting while I was being held hostage at the hospital as the doctors were trying to decide whether or not to stop my "labor" (I was only 5 month's pregnant). They didn't stop it, and I went right on being in "labor" for the next 4 months.

The Eight, Katherine Neville. Again for book club. I'll never forgive this book for the scene at the end when the male protagonist has a major head wound and instead of taking care of that, he instead chooses to be intimate with the female protagonist on the deck of their boat. Then she's got his blood all over her and it was gross. Head wounds bleed a lot, he could have died. Plus they were on a boat, didn't all that salt spray sting?

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley. Another Flavia deLuce mystery. I don't think I liked it as much as the first, but it was a good time, nonetheless.

The Underneath, Kathi Appelt. I read this book more towards the beginning of the year, and I've mostly forgotten what it was about. I think it has a dog and a cat in it. Two cats? Oh yeah, and their owner is really mean...? I think I liked it at the time but felt it was a little slow.

Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn. Recommended by Miranda. Another quick read.


The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs. I laugh every time I think of the most polite stoning in the world.

Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner, Jill M. Lekovic, M.D. I don't know if this book helped or not because it seemed like it pretty much advocated doing the same things that I did with Lillian (who, as you may recall, was not fully out of diapers until she was 3.5), and Nora was diaper-free before 2. I think it's because I have all tile and I was more willing to just let her go.

The Kindness of Strangers, Don George (Editor). Vivian sent me this book in a chain-mail-type book exchange. It took me a long time to read because I lost it (it was behind the couch). It's a collection of short stories about the kindness of strangers to people who are traveling. It reaffirmed my faith in humanity a little bit.

How to Sew a Button, Erin Bried. Or, "how to do things that you should have listened to you mom when she said, 'one day, you're going to want to know how to do this.'"

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, Julie Powell. Skip the book, the movie is much better. The real Julie has a potty mouth and tells her friends to cheat on their husbands.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Mary Roach. A long time ago, I was in high school and working part time at the ice cream shop. I spent this income mostly on food and books. (Ah, to be so young and carefree again!) I was browsing Borders and I came across a book that caught my eye. It was called Stiff and it was about cadavers. I bought it and loved it. I've read pretty much everything by Mary Roach ever since. I've actually read this one before, but I've been looking for this fact about wood sprites that I read once and have been trying to relocate for quite some time. It wasn't in this book.

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Recommended by Amy. I was really surprised that I liked this book so much, especially because I pretty much thought A Midwife's Tale was the most boring book I've ever read in my life.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Mary Roach. I like Mary Roach, OK?

Eureka Man: The Life and Legacy of Archimedes, Alan W. Hirshfeld. Archimedes was one smart man.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void*, Mary Roach. This one isn't quite finished. We got it as an audio book to listen to on our trip. Until right this second, I thought they had Mary Roach herself reading it, and I was going to say that her voice got kind of annoying after a while, so I could only listen to it for so long. But, I looked on YouTube for a video of her talking to prove my point, but she actually has a very normal voice, so I'm not sure why they chose the voice talent that they did. Interesting, but not my favorite book of hers.

NPR Books

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee. Before I switched to nursing, I studied psychology at UCSB. I decided to swtich because the kinds of things I wanted to do required a lot of schooling. I picked nursing because it combines some of my favorite aspects of psychology (science, physiology, biology) with interpersonal interactions and it (theoretically) only took 3 years to finish. Eight years of school later, I may as well have just stuck with psychology. Then I'd be doing fascinating work like Randy O. Frost and have super interesting stories to tell at parties.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot. I was thinking of this book the whole time they were drawing up the cord blood after I had Ethan. They didn't ask if they could have it and they never told me what they were planning on doing with it. The thing is, they don't need to: if you go to the hospital to have something removed be it tumor, limb, or placenta, they have to ask your permission to take it out, but after it leaves your body, it NO LONGER BELONGS TO YOU. They could be using my cord blood to make two-headed babies for all I know.

The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall. Recommended by Slate Magazine. This was such a beast of a book, I'm very surprised that I liked it so much.

Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions, Susan R. Barry. Another psychology book. Susan R. Barry was born with a lazy eye which was fixed cosmetically with surgery, but because her eyes weren't exactly lined up, she only saw in 2 dimensions. This book is about how she taught herself how to see in 3D.


Sunset Western Garden Book. I even took a whole class on gardening, and I still killed my garden.

Professional Nursing: Challenges & Concepts, Chitty & Black

Health Promotion in Nursing, Maville & Huerta

Evidence-Based Practice for Nurses, Nola Schmidt

Technical Communication, Mike Markel. This was the first class I took that Tyler actually helped me a lot. Turns out, I wasn't very good at writing technical documents.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. I feel like I read this thing front to back, and yet I still made APA errors on my term paper.

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