Monday, April 28, 2008

Survival of the mommy

I survived my first week without mom's help with Hyrum. I am happy to say that I made it. I did the laundry and it is put away :). I also did two grocery shopping tours with Hyrum in his stroller (amazing what can fit in the stroller and my sweet husband got back to the dishes. Out of these things the most challenging was the laundry. All of my baby carriers needed to be washed, so I was without and just carrying him in my arms. Before I even made the attempt I almost had an emotional brake down, telling Derrill that there was no way that I was going to be able to do it. I am so glad that I was wrong.

Really the hardest thing is nights. even though our little Hyrum is good at sleeping for long periods of time, we are not able to control or choose when those times are. Getting to bed after 1 am is for me is becoming quite regular. I will often get him to bed before that time only to have him wake up and me need to start all over again. So, though he is sleeping well, we are not in sleeping heaven just yet.

I love my little Hyrum. He is so cute. He is really starting to experiment with the sounds that he can make. He has some grunting and growling sounds, but the one that really catches my attention is a quick intake of break that is a little like a weez. It sounds like he is going to choke or has stopped breathing or something. I will kind of panick a little and then look at him as he does it voluntarily again. Strangely enough he does this sound mostly when he is happy and content (he practices it as far as I can tell on purpose). It can be really unnerving when I forget he does it on purpose. Derrill hasn't noticed him doing it yet, but when ever I imitate it to let Derrill know what he does, it is unnerving to him too. I do miss his bird call that he used to do. It sounded like a hawk going in for the kill, but that was a sound he made when he was upset and about to start really crying.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daddy Playing with Hyrum

Single, baby, male seeks companionship and future play dates. Favorite activities include bouncing, horseback riding, dancing, long walks in the park, and staring at walls. If interested, contact Mommy.

Actually, Joy's first reaction on seeing my dad handle Hyrum was one of surprise. "You aren't very rowdy with him," she commented. Pop was confused. Joy then explained that Derrill likes to play with his son. Derrill, in fact, has always wanted a son to bounce around and spin around and play with. Here are just some of the laughs that Hyrum enjoys.

"But if Derrill wasn't that way with his son, we wouldn't know how daring he likes to be."

Now that he's learning to keep his head up, I'm training him to be an airplane, or Superman. Videos and pictures likely forthcoming. I taught Hyrum to dance his very first day on earth. The video Joy tried to take then didn't come out, but thankfully these did.

I will confess, that the bouncing is getting rowdier as he learns to take care of his head. He NEVER left my hands in his first month.

The horseback riding we started today. He grabbed on to my hair good and tight and could actually hold his weight fairly well. He seemed to enjoy it a lot, though you can't see his face in the video. Enjoy.

Family, isn't it about ... Time?

"About time you kids went and got us some grandkids!" Actually, even though being a grandma has been my mother's dream since she was 12, she honestly didn't pressure us. I can only remember once when she did hint that she'd like to be a grandma before the second coming, if possible - and that was before I met Joy. But the family has been thrilled and delighted. Here are family pictures of Hyrum with just a few of the family members who love him so.

Pre-script: All family members hereby disavow any knowledge of the people in these photographs. They absolutely do not look a thing like them. They are all still young, vibrant, stunningly good looking, and have perfect smiles in every picture.

Post-pre script: Don't worry, family. No one is looking at you anyway. Everyone is here to see the baby. Including you.

Hyrum in his blessing suit that Jenny made for him.

Hyrum does not in fact sleep quite as well as previously advertised. We've been taking turns watching over him at night. I caught the two of them on the couch one morning, blissfully aslumbered.

This is really close to how Dad looked the first time he saw Hyrum. That time he was saying "awww!" This time, it was a comforting kiss on the cheek of a baby who didn't necessarily like hibachi.

About one of the other pictures taken last weekend, Grammy said:
"Why, that poor woman looks like she's 82."
... How old is she really?
"82," she deadpanned.

Hyrum doesn't seem to notice. or mind.

Aunt Virginia (Grammy's youngest sister) thinks it very odd that while Grammy is now a Great-Grandmother, she has to be a Great-Great Aunt. How come she has to have two when her sister only gets one?

This morning, getting ready for church. Joy likes to call this one, "With all the feeling of a tender parent."

When I moved him into his car seat, we discovered ... I WON! I got to be the first Watson on whose Sunday clothes he burped up. Woohoo!

This last is my entry into the
Egad! Bad Dad! Contest
I call it:
Look, Hyrum's on TV.

(We keep our TV covered with an afghan most of the time. And, no, he doesn't roll over yet, and yes, I was right there the entire time, and no, he did not fall. Joy says, "You looked away once, though! I saw it!")

On another note, I'd like to point out that, even though everyone is impressed with how much hair he has, he also has a very high forehead at the moment, as you can see in this picture. His new hair is as yet too faint to see unless you are close up (as in the blessing outfit picture).

Post-script proper: No egos were hurt in the taking of these pictures.

4-6 weeks old

Do we really need an intro? Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's HYRUM! (current up to last week and maybe a touch of this week)

Ohhhhhhhhhh, man.
That's the last time I try Gerber's First Foods Picante Style recipe. Hoooooweeee!

(Daddycam always gets the interesting expressions)

Hyrum, excited to go on his very first outing in the stroller. The only problem is ... he's staring at the closet. You won't get very far through that door, Hyrum.

Hyrum's favorite part of a stroll is the bumps in the road. To some of you he may look serious. He's really interested though.

Burritocam strikes again!

This is Hy, practicing to be Superbaby. This is his last time in one of Mommy's favorite outfits on him.

Compare and contrast: Day 1 and 41.

Can't tell me that boy hasn't grown.

I had a discussion with Hyrum about politics, and you can see how excited he was by how far he leans to the right (his right, not yours).

He also slept like this the entire 3 hours of church today.

Coming soon to a blog near you: the baby blessing and his new outfits.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Long time no Blog

I have been missing in action. It has been tough to get both of my hands free since our baby was born. I wanted to write a thank you to my family for visiting and helping during the first month of Hyrum's little life. Derrill's family who are as dear to me as my own, helped and came out for Hyrum's baby blessing. Mom (Grandma Jules) was here for 6 weeks helping with Hyrum. She was so kind to do laundry and dishes including letting us sleep every night. Her help was indispensable and I will always be grateful for her helping me see early on that I could at least get the mother part of life even though the rest might be hard to balance later.

Dad came out twice. Once to spend time with Hyrum and his wife, then he also came out for the blessing and to take his wife home to California. He traveled with his mother so that she would not be worried about making the trip out here traveling through Chicago (not a pleasant thought). We were so grateful that he came, for his great love for Hyrum and for helping Grammy get here.

Grammy is the one on the left in the back. She lives by Las Angelos. It was so wonderful to get a chance to have her in our home and to introduce her to Hyrum, her first grandchild.

The lady on the far right in the back is Aunt Virginia. She was a surprise and I am afraid I was not very reverent when I saw her for the first time in the chapel at Hyrum's blessing because I was so excited to see her. We had no idea that she was coming. I thuroughly felt loved and visited in our little island far away from any of our family and I want them all to know how much it meant to us to have them here. I know that they all love us very much and am so thrilled to be a part of their family!

I also want my family to know that I love them and understand how busy they all are, I am sure that they were there in spirit.

It has meant a lot to me for people to visit, at the hospital and at home, since having the baby. I really hadn't done much social outcropping on my own just yet. Some of our wonderful visitors were:

Elisa and Rhoda,

---------------------------Jenny S.,

Melissa C., and Jenny T., and Amy S., and Christy C.,

and many visits from Shari P.,

and Claudia,

Marcy, and Ashley, and Mindi and Lindsay cause they brought the dinners. Each visit was cherished, and I appreciate all your friendships.
Oh, Ben and Lexi came. He was so little compared to Ben!

Thankful for everyone's encouragement and well-wishes. And a special thanks to Jenny L. for making his blessing outfit.

[Derrill notes that Jon P. and Ben were the only men to come to visit my son. ... It's not part of the errand of male angels I guess.]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Travelogue 3 - A Random Walk

, traveMonday I set out primarily to find the Thorvaldsen Church, but made a rather large loop of it to see the rest of downtown Copenhagen and whatever interesting sites were marked on my hotel map. All in all, it took 2.5 hours to wander through the streets following my highly non-linear path. Here are a few of the more interesting pictures I took at semi-random intervals, along with my best guess as to what they are. If you've got a better, or more entertaining, guess, please comment. (Note: Even though I did take pictures of things that are actual "sites," this appears to be a highly flaneuristic view of Copenhagen, with very few pictures from the city tour proper. My Flaneury teacher might be proud.)

I like buildings with interesting roofs. This was one of the more chaotic of the green roofs (why isn't that word spelled rooves?) along my route. This particular one was seen from across the canal, just south of the impressive Danske Bank, turn right at the green statue of Niels Juel. I know it's not the town hall, because I identified that building much later on and it was one of the ugliest buildings in Copenhagen. (Please, Derrill, don't equivocate. Tell us what you really think of it.) My whimsy tells me that this is a factory for producing flying monkeys.

In the same location, this building with the fascinating script caught my eye. It had other unique carvings and statues along the gateways. My first thought was a Jewish Synagogue, but the rest of it doesn't really look much like a place of worship. The detailed doorways and archways are all around the wonderful old buildings in this section of the city. There are plenty of more modern (circa World War I) multistory buildings, but unlike in East Germany, they have been well-maintained. There's a wonderful mix of vibrancy and history in Copenhagen that I haven't really found anywhere else.

There are a LOT of statues of random men on horseback. This one is cool primarily because he's a Viking. Our host at dinner told us that he was once invited to a friend's Sunday dinner while he was a student in France. He walked up to the elegant Matron of the family, and greeted her with his name and title: "I'm a real Viking." Apparently the dinner was a solemn, silent affair and made him feel incredibly out of place. While driving home, though, the family members he was with burst out laughing. Apparently they had been treated every Sunday for over 20 years to a rehashing of the family history, climaxing in that all-important moment when the Vikings came and plundered the family estates. They were silent throughout the luncheon because they knew if they said one word they would never be able to stop laughing.

Across the street from the Thorvaldsen church is an obelisk depicting the Danish Reformation. The moss has pretty well filled in most of the carved letters on the ground, but I've made out the primary names of some of the reformers and am looking forward to looking them to find out about them. According to this side of the obelisk, their message was not always well received.

Across the other street from the TC is part of the University, complete with busted heads along both sides of the street. I got their names down too. This building is currently used for law and economics students. There's an eagle on the main door (which was locked) over a Latin inscription, which I believe reads, "I ascend to the heavenly light." Wish MY economics building had an eagle ascending to the heavenly lights! Ours is probably a more appropriate monument to the dismal science, though....

A lovely park stretches through several streets, with well manicured dirt paths lined with statuary. After an hour and a half in the cliched concrete jungle, a bit of natural green is a nice thing. Though I haven't spent much time in either, I'll take this park over Central Park for its more peaceful atmosphere. The paths meander and stroll rather than speed you to the other side.

Strolling along Hans Christen Andersen Boulevard, we come to a wide plaza with a majestic hotel ... bestrewn with advertisements. If you look closer at the picture, you'll see Mickey-Dees on the hotel itself and Burger King and KFC in the bottom left. 7-11 and Burger King were also the first businesses to welcome me to the Copenhagen airport. Across the street from here a building had a giant thermometer on one corner, as well as some of the largest beer ads (written in English) I ever hope to see.

How could a Flaneur not notice the big pink building down the intersection? It's certainly built to stand out. My concerned guess is that it's a gambling place. No one else tends to be that gaudy.

Along the same street are a goodly number of statues, including Hans from a couple posts back, and these two soldiers. I couldn't make out what war they commemorate, but the two make a heroic pair: the one carrying his wounded comrade through the mud (wars are always fought in the mud, right?) while the other, though wounded, sounds the victory blasts on his horn. Go team.

This was easily the most picturesque spot along the canals that I found. The rest I saw looked like sewer control more than romantic canal. This spot, though, flows by a large palace, complete with the compulsory man on horseback statue. I ate the Donerkebap from the Turkish shop I found along the way in the left tower. Boy, I miss those things! (Hooray for the Turks!)

If you crane your neck a bit while looking at the picture of the Royal Theater from Travelogue 1, you'll see a skinny little passageway on the left that leads to my hotel and our next picture: This is part of the grand archway in that teeny passage, with many similar scenes depicted on it. This is mostly for contrast to show that not everything old and artistic is green.

This is an average building across the street from the hotel. An average apartment building with an above average door. It's just one of those moments of "why don't WE have cool carved doors in our downtown areas?" envy.

Any preferences for future Travelogues? The food was good and noteworthy. More scenes of Cobenhavn? Did I actually do any work there? Or should I stick to what I do best: brag on my son?

Quick Hyrum Update

Hyrum has learned how to eat. He continued to grow and is happy and sleepy as ever.

Hyrum was blessed this last Sunday, and it was a very special occasion for us. We enjoyed having some of my family out to visit (my Dad's Mom, Dad, Mom, and Aunt Virginia who is now a great-great-Aunt). More details will likely be forthcoming, but we realized we hadn't told anyone about his progress, and wanted to.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Travelogue 2 - Thorvaldsen

This post moved here.

Travelogue 1 - D is for Denmark

A couple months ago, Per (aka my glorious adviser, may his goatee never fall out) invited me to join a long-standing project to produce a new textbook on agricultural policy to be used internationally to train students and policy makers. It's some interesting, exciting stuff. Well, this week most of the collaborators, including yours truly, are meeting in Copenhagen to discuss progress to date and plan some new stuff.

So I'm writing this from the Hotel Opera directly next door to the Royal Theater of Copenhagen. I got here just in time to miss Hamlet. HAMLET! In DENMARK! Duuude! I may catch a ballet Wednesday night after work though, and there won't be a language problem then.
The Royal Theater

There practically isn't a language problem at all anyway. Danes are taught English as a second language from the second grade, and so far today I've been able to talk to any random person I met on the streets in a more fluent English than many people in New York, California, or Utah speak. Many of the signs are in Danish and English, and even if they weren't, Danish is sufficiently close to either English or German that I can muddle my way through most of the street signs and advertisements quite handily. I can alllllmost make out the occasional conversation I overhear - that is, I can catch 2-3 key words in a sentence, and that's just enough to make me strain to overhear and figure out the rest, but I don't know enough of the little words to be able to catch them when natives are speaking normal native speed. Oh well.

I ask people occasionally how to say certain important phrases, so I can now greet people in Danish by saying hej (pronounced: Hi) or, if I want to be formal, god dag (pronounced: Good Day). (honest!) manga tak (which I don't know how to spell) means thank you, just as it does in Norwegian, and the difficult one to say is excuse me: undskyld (neither of the vowel sounds are really used in English, but it's got a silent D at the end. How cool is that?)

I got in about 7am without any sleep on the plane (too hot), but chipper. After breakfast and a nap, I went out for a walk downtown for 2.5 hours to look and take pictures of anything interesting. Now the fun part will be to go back through the pictures and try to figure out what they are!
Hans Christian Andersen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hyrum has an announcement

Most of this was already posted, but it has come to Hyrum's attention that some of you only tune in to see pictures of him, so he has asked that I, Brother Watson, include the following announcements with some of his pictures to make sure you hear about them too.

Hyrum will not be leaving Ithaca for another two years. "I'd rather sleep in."

Hyrum's dad got a postdoc with his majestic advisor, who rises in everyone's estimation every year.

At last report, Hyrum will be staying in the branch. "Sorry, Ant'ny, but Daddy will be a thorn in your side for years to come."

Hyrum is one month old, so Grandma Jule took him out for ice cream ... only he didn't get any.

Hyrum will be moving to a mobile home his parents are buying from someone in the ward next month.

"No, not the McFaddens. The Cornabys."

"Daddy seems really excited about the postdoc, doesn't he? He says it'll be an 'expected utility maximizing solution,' whatever that means. Just so long as he keeps the clean diapers coming, I'm good."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sleepers, (do not) Awake

This just in from the BH Stables (that's Baby-Hyrum for those who don't speak acronym): Grandma reports that Hyrum slept through the entire night for the first time last night! For the last week or so, he'd manage to do two 5-6 hour naps at night, so there was one middle of the night feeding for her and Joy to do. The repayment on that is that he gets to be awake during the morning, of course.

Back of the envelope calculations indicate he should be at almost 8 pounds. We got us a sleeper!
(Source: Associated Grandma)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ah, Vinny...

When I was born (during 42 hours of labor), Mom and Dad watched the Dodger game. As they left the hospital, we listened to the Dodger game on the way home. When we got home, the first thing baby Derrill did was finish the Dodger game.

I don't really get the Dodger games out here, though. I decided for a while (while I was single) that I could root for the Mets, since half of their team consisted of aging former Dodger-Rookie-of-the-Years, and I've enjoyed rooting for the Red Sox as the other team whose games I could watch regularly.

Joy and I don't watch television, though, and therefore don't have cable. Most Dodger games are late enough at night that I can't just tune in online and enjoy them in the moment. But tonight we were waiting for Dad to come to town to pick up his wife, who has graciously been visiting us to take the night shift so we can sleep better. And since we are up late, we're watching the second Dodger game of the year.

As long as I can remember, I have loved listening to the game (Dodger Baseball is always The Game) broadcast by Vin Scully. He's been with the Dodgers since they were in Brooklyn, is the longest consecutive broadcaster with any professional sports team ever, and has numerous awards for his true broadcasting excellence. It warms my heart to hear his golden voice. Hyrum is sleeping through his first game - currently tied 2-2 in the 9th, and I'm pre-nostalgic for the fact that Hyrum won't know him as I do.

Now, hopefully someday we'll be back in the west and able to listen to the game regularly. Not that Joy and I will because we do other things, but we could much more often - it could be in the background maybe. And if so he'll be able to get to know someone else's voice, though Rick Monday and sidekick of the year just haven't done for me what Vinny does. But Vin Scully is something special, one of the last broadcasters capable of carrying a show singlehandedly, and doing so while just talking about the game, rather than (as Mom put it) the broadcast being two guys who happen to be at the game, talking about their beer and their work and, oh, by the way, the score changed.

Vinny is a treasure, a treasure that I don't know Hyrum will have the opportunity to prize. And that's sad.

And that's ... Wat's on my mind tonight.

PS - I informed Joy just now that we won. She commented, "I didn't realize you were so close to winning," making clear very delicately how humorous she finds my possessive use of 'we' when speaking of da Bums.