Saturday, June 28, 2008

Der Hyrum lacht

Hyrum has been studying new levels of cuteness. Unfortunately, he has also been studying comedic timing. He manages to guffaw JUST as I stop the camera. It's amazing! Three times in a row today! But mother and I were able to trick him on the fourth attempt into giving us a rip roaring laugh while Joy played with him (and I tickled) for everyone to enjoy. So here is Hyrum "helping" with the laundry:

Other new tricks include helping us feed him by grabbing our fingers and moving the bottle in or out of his mouth.

"Dad, this one needs to be refilled. Please and thank you."

Mmm, what a polite boy I'm imagining tonight.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Best Parts of being a Dad 1

Thank you, Dearheart.

A link

Here is the official anniversary blogpost.

Time after time

I am so thankful for time with family. I am a firm believer that nothing can substitute for one on one time to get to know someone. And that time must be had over and over because people change and there is still more to get to know even with and especially with our family members. I have been grateful for time with Derrill, and he could testify that I did not stress over anything that needed to be done at home until we were on our way home from our anniversary trip. I am learning that holding worries aside until later is part of not only having a romantic time with my spouse, but also enjoying any time with someone. So the time we spend with others is important but can also be made more enjoyable by the attitude we have while we spend time with them.

This is important for me as I spend time with my sweet baby, whether it be normal feeding and diaper changes or some other outing that is different for the day. I am especially grateful for time with family right now, since Derrill's family has started getting together again on Sunday evenings to chat online. When we get together even through the internet, it feels like we are not so far away from each other and that we really do have a support system that is interested in our lives beyond just those in our home. I also appreciate those who make comments on our blogs. It so nice to have other friends out there that we know care how things are going and want to keep in touch.

I guess each moment of being in contact with loved ones and friends has become more pronounced to me, since I spend more time at home than I used to. It is so wonderful to know all of you, I love you all very much and hope that you have a terrific week and summer.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hyrum, I AM your Father...

... And I know what it's like trying to stall so you don't have to go to bed. (I'm doing it right now!) Don't you give me that adorable smile you know I can't resist. Awww....

I know what your game is. You think if you can convince me you're still awake and want to play with Daddy, he'll let you stay up. It's not going to work, mister.

... But he's so cuuuuuute, Mommy. Can't I play with him just a little longer? ... Okay. Goodnight, son. Sleep well. I'll see you for your 2am feeding.

This is what I have to put up with every night. I am such a lucky daddy!

Freshman for President by Ally Condie (DW)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was hooked on a book I'd been asked to review, and it's high time I went and did it:

Freshman for President
by Ally Condie is a great book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I read it in about two large gulps on back-to-back nights (plus some snatches while cooking dinner, going to the bathroom, or anywhere else I could get away with). Even when I did put it down to get some work done, I found myself wondering about her intriguing characters throughout the day. It's been a long time since I was that hooked on a book. ... Thank you.

I'll admit, I was nervous when I started. I was worried I was about to enter some strange land where we'd forgotten about the Constitution, or that it was a great crusade of teenagers to show grown-ups that they could fix everything wrong with the world. (The Eragon movie left a bad taste in my mouth because of that). This is neither, and Ally was very nice to put my mind at ease early on in the book.

The male lead, Milo Wright, decides it's high time to get out of the shadow of his very talented, popular friends and do something memorable so that the other kids at school will know his name. When the school cancels student elections [don't worry, this is the first 10 pages, I'm not spoiling anything], he decides to run for President of the United States as a write in candidate in order to "say something," with the help of his friends: running mate and best friend Eden, security guy and lawn mowing business partner Jack, and fourth-wheel Paige. His college-age sister is also a major character.

Condie touches on a lot of issues in a sensitive, thoughtful way. There are tragedies and hardships that she manages to deftly demonstrate in their horror or sadness without overwhelming the generally upbeat tone of the book. There's romance [come on, 2 pairs of teenagers introduced at the very beginning, whaddya expect?] that is clean, intriguing, engaging, and decidedly low on schmaltz. It's very natural, not contrived. I really liked the romance, which I don't always do. The political sides are presented in a reasonably realistic manner without using the book as a platform to preach any particular political doctrine. She also manages to portray her teens as teens (unlike Stephanie Meyer, IMHO, which is my chief gripe about her books), who are both serious and want to be taken seriously, but still blindly immature or naive in other areas. The relationships between different characters go through believable ups and downs, portraying several sides of human nature that don't often get much attention. It's very well done.

Its only two, minor, drawbacks to my mind are that she sometimes foreshadows events that don't happen, which leaves one waiting for the other shoe to drop; and the claim Milo makes throughout the book and on the cover is that he "has something to say." He doesn't. He has no political agenda of his own and polls around to get his platform together. Joy asks me if that isn't just what other politicians do too? Yeah, I gotta give in on some of that, but most of the serious candidates I've studied, and especially the third- and fourth-tier candidates who haven't a chance (like Milo), have a defining policy that they really push for and believe in. The one or two times early on when he's really honest with himself, he admits it's mostly about him. On the other hand ... that sounds like believable character writing too. Milo is also honest and humble enough to give credit where it is due.

Just because of the subject matter and a couple of the difficult themes, I would recommend it largely for pre-teen and up. Freshman for President, published by Shadow Mountain, has its own fun website (, and can be purchased through Amazon. I really enjoyed reading it, and look forward to introducing it to Hyrum someday.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Anniversary According to Hyrum

My parents are trying to find time to finish their blog post about their third anniversary. It'll probably show up as the post before this one, so watch out for it. While you're waiting, though, let me clue you in on what really happened on Day 1111 of their marriage:

11 hours of DRIVING, that's what happened. And there's me in the back seat with nothing to do. Of course I slept nearly the whole trip! It's that or listen to Dad turn on yet another CD of romantic music while they reminisce about mushy stuff and kiss at each red light. C'mon guys, get a partition! It's at least nice they'd stop every 2 hours to feed me. (Mom tells me that if we hadn't had to stop to feed me, it would have taken much less time. Stupid seat belt laws.)

So finally we get to some place called Viagara Falls, ... or something like that. I don't know what the big deal was, but Mom loved it. We went on a boat that goes right up to the falls. I drew an arrow on the picture to show you.

Of course, Dad had to get a picture of me sleeping through one of the world's natural wonders. Give a baby a break! I mean, the falls were, like, the best white noise machine ever. How was a guy supposed to stay awake?

So then Dad gets lost in rush hour traffic and heads the wrong way down the wrong freeway, and I'm starving. Meanwhile Mr. We'll-be-there-in-15-minutes-tops doesn't want to pull over to feed me in case he forgets which wrong way he turned and can't figure out which way is north with the sun setting in the west. It's not that hard, Dad.

Finally we get to the Toronto Temple. Mom and Dad take turns watching over me while the other one gets to have fun in the temple. At least, I think it must be fun in there. Dad came out looking much more alert and calm, and Mom was smiling and happy to see me again. (Note to self: she's happier when I coo than when I cry. Maybe it's me.)

Here's me at the temple. In my car seat, of course, as if I hadn't spent enough time in there. Dad did take me out for a moment and let me touch the temple, though. He says it's the House of the Lord and he hopes that someday it'll touch me too. He's corny that way. He talked to me a bit about why it's such a special place, and he hopes someday I'll be able to go inside too. That might be cool. It must be important if they drove all the way out here just for that. They've been looking forward to going for months.

Dad took me on a tour of the temple grounds while Mom was inside. There were fountains and flowers and shrubs all over the place. Here are a couple pictures of me enjoying the grounds and being with my dad.

Oh yeah, the tour also included the foyer bathroom. (Greeeat time for a picture, Dad. Sheesh. The man is incorrigible.) On the plus side, I'm one of the few people my age who can say the temple has already changed him.

We ended the evening at the Mandarin Restaurant, some fancy schmancy Chinese buffet where Dad took Mom on their first date. Now that was cool. Every one of the waiters and cooks (and they've got something like 3 dozen!) wandered in to see the cute baby, or asked Mom and Dad to open up the baby sling and show them my gorgeous 3-mo. old self. The patrons at the other tables thought I was cute too, and some of the other kids under 1 came over to play with me. Everyone thought I was adorably cute and were amazed to learn I was 3 months old today. One of the teeny little waitresses commented that she has a 2-mo. old baby girl who's 12 pounds. Then another said her 2-mo old was 15 pounds. FIFTEEN? Maybe I am still tiny....

Every room has a different theme. This is Dad trying to make me look interested in the fish. The other aquarium was better: they had a live scuba diver in there scrubbing the place during dinner. They had a bird room and a bamboo room too. I think Mom and Dad will post some pics of it.

We didn't get there until it was almost their closing time, and the buffet disappeared before Mom was all the way done. Bummer. But I think everyone had enough. Then they put me back in my car seat for the 5 hour drive home. I decided to sleep through that too. We got home about 3:30 am. Dad fed me, Mom pumped, and then we went to bed while Dad went to take a friend over to the airport at 4:30.

Well, Mom thinks it's time for me to go to bed. She says I'm sounding just a little bit cranky in this post. I'm glad they enjoyed themselves, but I'm just thankful to be home and able to wiggle and squirm all day. Hey, Dad, where's my midnight feeding, yo?!

Where Did We Go on our First Date?

Oh, Canada.

(warning Watsons unplugged after midnight read at your own risk- length subject to station identification)

Today [June 11] we had a wonderful day, date and walk down memory lane.

Part III of the Watson Family Anniversary

J: I started this day same as most getting up at 7 to pump and feed Hyrum.

D: I did not start this day as most: I woke up before 10.

J: I was a little concerned that Hyrum woke up before I started pumping, because we were hoping to leave the house by 10 am, and that required me pumping, before feeding Hyrum. However, I knew this day would be an unusually good one when I went to check on Hyrum and he was smiling and talking to me very first thing. It is usually screams of “where is my milk” first.

D: I usually sleep through that.

J: In all fairness Derrill usually takes the late feeding, so I get really good sleep before I get up with Hyrum and that is due to my wonderful husband.

D: To make a very long post shorter, we did actually get on the road by 10:10 in part because I woke up an hour before I planned on.

J: Yeah, every mothers dream that she will get more help than expected. That was beginning of a day to spoil the mother.

D: That was the goal. The spoilage began in earnest in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

J: I told Derrill that I had reeeeeally wanted to ride the boat up to the falls, so we did. Our entourage was Hyrum on a boat called the Maid of the Mist. It was really cute, they gave us each a blue plastic hoody to wear, so even Hyrum had one.

D: And he slept through it, water spraying in his face. And he slept through it!

J: I love the rocks at the bottom of the first falls, but the U shaped falls at the end are just indescribable.

D: Wet describes them pretty well. And tall.

J: It was glorious. I love the continuous motion of the falls.

D: One of the things that impressed me was the color. You had white water cascading, blue water underneath us, and green water at the tipping point of the falls and it was all the same water. You are the Waterfall Queen.

J: One of the things that Derrill and I both really like about being in upstate NY is the water and waterfalls. I also liked standing at the edge of the boat with all of the spray in my face.

D: Then we went down memory lane.

J: Our next treat was going to the Toronto temple.

D: In Brampton.

J: This trip to the temple was in commemoration of our first weekend dating. I say weekend because Derrill came to visit me, stayed at one of my friend’s homes and spent the weekend with me.

D: And being the slow, careful, shy man that I am and not wanting to give Joy any ideas, I took her to the temple. Actually she drove me, but that’s cause she had a car that was built in this century.

J: Nostalgia was really interesting remembering who I was then and now, I am so glad things turned out the way they did.

D: That first weekend I also took her bowling, to eat Chinese, and for a romantic walk through knee deep snow when we held hands for the first time. Anyway back to the story.

J: We both did some initiatory work for the dead, taking turns watching Hyrum. It was so peaceful and wonderful to be back at the temple since we have had a four month hiatus.

D: While I was walking Hyrum around the temple grounds, I really enjoyed explaining to him why the temple is important and I took him out of his car seat to let him touch the temple.

J: When I got back to the car Derrill had left a surprise on my seat.

D: So did Hyrum but I didn’t want to tell her about that one. (just kidding)

J: It was a book that I have been dieing to read and I've been making a pilgrimage to in the book store for a while. I even had been walking in the store and reading a few pages from it while I was exercising one day.

D: She didn’t tell me about her visits to Mecca. I just knew she really wanted it.

J: It is called My Dearest Friend, a compilation of letters written by Abigail and John Adams to each other.

D: It seemed a very appropriate anniversary gift.

D: So as Hyrum told you all, we then drove to the restaurant where we went on our first date: The Mandarin. A temple worker had recommended it last time we were there, and we were not disappointed.

J: It has GREAT atmosphere and some really neat rooms. And the all you can eat buffet is really cool. Buffets, I should say.

D: There are two buffets of regular Chinese entrees, one for salad, one for bread and soup, another for a grill with more US affair, and a ... 12345 ... 6th buffet with desserts PLUS the ubiquitous ice cream cart.

J: But you gotta be careful to get there before 9:30. I'm talking about before 9.

D: They're reasonable people. They'd like to go home too. They have to clean up. At 9:30, the food disappears. GONE. And they will not call it back again.

J: Derrill and I took turns taking care of Hyrum and getting food.

D: Otherwise we both might have had our fill. Joy was still looking forward to some items she hadn't had enough of, though I was happily stuffed.

J: Our waitress was really nice, and everyone paid homage to the boy. She took a picture of us and give it to us in a little frame. My favorite is the waterfall mountain as you come in the front doors.

D: They have two adjoining rooms in an aquarium theme, two more separated rooms with a bird theme (complete with both live and stuffed birds), and another large room with bamboo displays and a running waterfall that's a good 12-15 feet high.

J: And everyone converges on the same food.

D: I particularly enjoyed their fried fish. It was some Really good fish.

J: I really liked the grilled chicken and the clam chowder soup.

D: "Hyrum" wasn't exaggerating when he said there were 3 dozen servers. There were 4 for our small room alone, plus another guy watching them to make sure everyone had enough water.

J: We kept having people stop at our table who weren't our server, and she was plenty attentive.

D: We took some time after dinner to tour the restaurant, and nearly every server, busboy, cleaning lady, Tom, Dick, and Kim asked to see the baby in our papoose. They were astounded a baby could be so easily carried, at how small he was, ... and how cute!

D: The only other remarkable thing for me was on the drive home. We very nearly ran out of gas before we found an open station on the Canadian side of the border. I did realize that the listed price was in liters, not gallons, but because it was midnight I didn't bother calculating what the gallon price actually was. I prepaid the amount I would normally have spent, and only afterwards realized that the tank was far from full. I refilled again on the NY side, thankful that the Democrats and Greens haven't upped our gas taxes another $1 yet, as they have in "Canadia."

J: It was just a great day. I was really thankful that, as at other times, the Lord has helped our baby to have a nice peaceful day so Derrill and I could spend some time together.

D: It was a very nice day with my sweetheart.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Commencement Awe

[warning: it's another long ramble that's more of a journal entry than a communication]

I debated for a while whether I was going to walk at commencement this May. I eventually decided that, if my committee were around during the summer so that I could actually graduate before September, I would feel close enough to done that it would be fine. But given that my committee won't be back in town until late Sept/early Oct for my defense, it just didn't feel close enough, and if I'm going to be here two more years anyway, I might as well walk next time.

It's not for the speeches that I want to go. I am a big fan of Dave Barry's and Garrison Keillor's takes on commencement addresses: full of cliches and pipe dreams, signifying nothing. But there are now two commencement addresses I've found that I think are immensely powerful. I got one of them, and I just finished reading the other.

I loved BYU's commencement. I loved the thrill of the march to Pomp and Circumstance. It felt like I had really accomplished something deeply significant - and I had. Our first speaker was Pres. Bush's secretary of education. I only remember one thing he said. He opened his address by walking with us down nostalgia lane (another commencement staple), as we remembered our fond times meeting new people at the Cougareat (Cougar Eat), studying late at night at the Harold B. Lee library, or visiting with friends after class at some other campus landmark with a proper name. Some of the folk around me were impressed that he "really knew our campus!" Clearly, these folks were insufficiently trained in either public speaking, political science, or cynicism. I thought, "It would be more impressive if he could recite those place names without pausing slightly to look down at his notes." I have no idea of anything else he said.

I remember our other speaker very well. Then-Elder Henry B. Eyring's talk changed my life. The one rub about graduating was that I was graduating alone. Like everyone else, I had been certain of finding Sister Watson there at BYU. Leaving not only without her, but without even ever having a girlfriend was intensely disappointing. Elder Eyring told us, however, (in his *snicker* pink gown) that in life we do our best and leave the residual in God's hands.

Now from economics I know what a residual is. You have a bunch of control variables. You own those. You can manipulate those. But then you have all the stuff you can't control ... the residual. I had done everything in my power. I had given marriage a very high priority in my time, planning, ambitions, and work, and done everything in my power to find her (including being only one or two classes short of minors in three departments that were different from the two that gave me my major and minor!). And here was an apostle of God, telling me that it was enough. I did everything I could, and I could safely leave the rest in God's capable hands. It was such a sweet comfort to me then. It has still been a touchstone of hope and reality in the last difficult six years through one scholastic failure or disappointment after another.

May I now be privileged to introduce to you the other excellent commencement address? It was given this month to the graduating class of Harvard by J. K. Rowling - you know, that gal who wants to "destroy the moral fiber of society" by writing amazing Christian metaphors they don't teach anymore, also known as the Harry Potter books. Of all the things that would best sum up my time here, she hit a number of them dead on in discussing "The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination." You can find the full address easily enough, but I'll briefly highlight my favorite parts for you.
I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates ... . However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. ... Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person's idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one... . I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

For those who don't know, Cornell has been an incredible drain on my psyche. In the first two years -- when I still had good grades to bolster me -- the dating life I had built at BYU disintegrated here, bringing on depression and 40 pounds in one year of 3am ice cream binges. When my idea for my dissertation went down in flames at the end of my third year (and about to be married to Joy), I began a manic scramble to find a committee and topic to "justify my existence" while undergoing some major, heartrending repentance in other areas of my life. Even with my committee and a topic in hand by the middle of my 4th year [I hear tell in the rest of the school we're supposed to have our committees together by the 3rd SEMESTER, and some departments won't let you into the school without an adviser], everything seemed to drag and to slow, and writing this dissertation has been one of the most miserable experiences of my life. (I can write all this primarily because in the last couple months I've been making more progress on it daily than I did sometimes in months, and I'm sitting on the cusp of banging out a major draft of the end of it, so I'm actually feeling pretty good about it.) This is the real reason I can't wait to get out of Ithaca, in case you ever hear me making disparaging comments.

Rowling points out a number of good things here: I am far from spectacular failure, no matter how disappointed I was by my own too-high standards. It's not only inevitable, it really has been good for me.

There are times when I'm too inclined to see all the bumps in the road over the last six years, instead of seeing how God redirected my path through them. Each of them provided major direction adjustments that have finally landed me doing work that I am deeply passionate about; that is important; with an adviser I admire and respect and who has had nothing but encouragement for me; in a real job that will be ideal for the next steps of my journey.

Rowling talks about the friends she gained in college who stood by her through that hard time, friends so good they didn't even sue her when she used their names for Death Eaters. My struggles have taught me so much about the depth of my parents' and wife's love. I knew my parents were proud of me before, and I had the grades to "deserve" it. But they have still been proud of me as 4 years became 5 and then 6 and now 6.05-6.25. A few weeks ago as I tucked Joy into bed as I prepared to pull yet another all-nighter trying to get the second chapter of my dissertation done, I said to her that hopefully when she woke up, I'd have a paper written. She beamed at me, "Now there's the man I married!" We've counseled together a lot about my "newfound" lack of confidence, so that was so wonderful to hear. Without knowing what I'm writing right now, she just said, "I'm so proud of my economist" as she kindly offers to make me breakfast after another all-night session.

But it's about time for me to wrap up this therapy session and finish getting ready for the day. On imagination, Rowling is fairly surprising:

Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

She then describes working for Amnesty International, which she admits had a profound influence on her work, and the letters and work she did there for people who were oppressed brutally for daring to disagree with their government. That weighs heavily on a fellow who's writing a dissertation on political will and a chapter on good governance. She then says

But how much more are you, Harvard [Cornell] graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people's lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world's only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better.

And that's the other half of the why question. Why go through all this? Why all this work? The first half is so I can provide for my family in a manner that I would find personally fulfilling so that Joy doesn't have to. But back at the Y, the reason I chose economics over German as my major was to help the poor of the world, an inspiration that came while reading the Doctrine and Covenants. And in Per I've found how to do that, and that came through failure.

I think I'll adopt this as my second commencement address, just in case the speakers here in 09 decide to reminisce with me about lunches at ... um ... The Two Naked Guys Cafe.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I was doing some cooking about 1am Sat/Sun. Why 1am? That's another post. But one answer is that at 1am it's cool enough that I won't swelter with the oven on, so a little food preparation in the middle of the night is a good thing.

Just as I was about to play with the raw meat, I remembered something: this move has been tough on my fingers. I sliced up my thumb in about 6 places while installing a new AC unit; I got a cut on an index finger from something else; the other index finger had a bloody hangnail (literally, I'm not swearing in British); and a few other open sores I'm having difficulty keeping bandaged. The meat was going to be cooked at high temperature for a long time, so I wasn't worried about anything I might do to it. I was worried about me. Should I really be handling raw meat with open sores on my fingers? Something could get in. The wounds might get infected. That would hurt.

Then I thought ... I wonder if any of these pigs had an STD?
It's tough to prepare food using chopsticks.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Medela: a pump by any other name would not pump so well.

Any mother wants what is best for their baby and if you have followed our posts in the past you will know that feeding our baby has been somewhat of a struggle. That struggle has been very personal for me and I have not wanted to share things until I have overcome them at times or at lest until I have overcome some of it. Derrill has been sensitive to my feelings as he has written his blogs and I appreciate it.

So, I know that some of my feeding issues come from when I was a kid and we ran of food on a monthly basis. I made promises to myself back then that only a child thinks that they can keep (ones that do not admit to being imperfect and human). I promised myself that my children would never go hungry and I should have made the adendem and now do of they will never go hungry if I can help it (which consists of prior knowledge).

I have been pretty obsessed with this feeding stuff for Hyrum and along with the move last week, I have had a hard time getting to anything else including this post that I have wanted to write for a couple of weeks. I have decided that having children not only reminds you that you are human, but it also helps you to learn to accept that humanness as you learn how to survive and hopefully enjoy their wonderful presence in life.

Derrill mentioned that we have the feeding things taken care of and that Hyrum is doing well. He is doing well and we have no more reason to panic, but from my stand point (and believe me my husband empathizes) feeding is not optimal yet.

Back when Hyrum was still under 3% weight the doctor asked me to start feeding him every 2 hours again. Nursing at that time was going just fine only he was down to 5 feedings a day and was not waking up at night for a feeding. I figured he would wake up if he needed food and was before that visit feeling good for the first time about the feeding process. After that doctor visit I started waking him and expecting him to eat every two hours. Well, he began refusing to feed again. By this time he was 2 months old and I was still in panic mode or in it again and he had just reverted back to screaming and/or falling asleep at feeding time. My heart just couldn’t take it knowing that after 2 full months he was not getting what he needed and now nothing at all. So I made the decision to quit breastfeeding. It was a tough decision, but when I was in church the next Sunday I felt the spirit very strong that this was the way things were meant to be and I know that I have tried my hardest.

I decided that day that I was going to pump and feed him completely by bottle. I am grateful that so far he has not needed to have formula, but I did have a little glitch in the last month. I was using a pump from Learning Curves called First Years. This pump was not made for a mother pumping all the time for a long time. It lost momemtum and then stopped pumping by half what I was pumping before. I really freaked. I am now back to a rented hospital grade pump from Medela and my milk production is going up again for which I am very grateful, but it takes a few days and I will feel much better once I start making more than he is eating.

One of Hyrum‘s little quirks is that he falls asleep when he is impatient. He will sometimes cry for only a few minutes when he is hungry and then go back to sleep. This made it difficult for me to tell when he was hungry. I have finally figured out that part and if I can’t get right to him I will wake him up to feed him.

I am so grateful that I understand him better now and that he is happy after eating again. I am also grateful that I am able to feed my sweet Hyrum. I don’t know how long I will be able to feed him breast milk in this way, but I will as long as I can. He gained 19 oz in the first week and then 18 oz in the next weeks. The doctor said that his weight gain will even out when he is done catching up. Thank you for all of you prayers and so many here that have helped with our move and since with Hyrum so that I could do unpacking. Pumping and taking care of him sure take a lot of time (sometimes I pump every 45 min for 5 min, and other time every 2 hours for 15), but it is all worth it when he laughs and smiles. He is such a sweet little boy and I am so glad that we have him in our home.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Our New Home

We are the proud of owners of a mobile home!
(Whether we're proud of the fact or not, we still own it, so we might as well be proud.)

We celebrated our 3rd anniversary - part 2 - by spending the night away from boxes in our little island paradise that Joy decorated. (Part 1 was a couple wonderful meals I prepared for her special and some surprises. The real celebration is part 3, which we postponed until later next week.)

Her wonderful decorating job was the best thing that had happened in a very stressful day. It really was beautiful.

Sadly, the towels Joy got for our sandy floor ... shed. She washed her face the next morning and got little blue pieces of fuzz all over her.

It's pretty exciting to be home owners. Something we always wanted. Joy is particularly glad that we are starting on a small scale.

Our spacious bathroom

The hall before

If you like, I'll give you a quick tour of the place before the boxes get here. In the first video, I stand in the direct center of the living room/kitchen and turn in a circle. In the second, I start in one end of the house (the office/baby room) and walk to the other end (our bedroom).

And then last Friday ... the movers came! We are SO THANKFUL for everyone's help. Joy described it as an army of ants that came whizzing by her, whisking away boxes [some of them bigger than Tim Tran!] so fast she couldn't keep track of what had left and was left. We were packed and unpacked in record time! Thank you so very much, everyone, for your wonderful assistance. We are immensely grateful.

The hall after -->

Last Saturday we spent all day cleaning our old apartment until midnight. We were thoroughly exhausted for church the next day when church moved from 11am to 9am ... AND OUR ALARM DIDN'T GO OFF! "So this new Mom and Dad woke up at 8:20 for 9am church and live a little farther away than they used to," and with nothing unpacked yet to boot! I was impressed that we made it on time. We may have to try that more often. ... Joy's face tells me, Maybe not. "Mommy insisted we be ready for Sunday when we moved." I married a prophetess.

Now if I could only remember where we put Hyrum....
"Just look up at the first picture, honey."
Oh right, there he is.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Adventures of an Evil Overlord

When we last left our hero, he had fallen into the clutches of the fiendish Dr. Infanto. Awaking from his milk-induced coma, our hero finds Dr. Infanto gloating over him.

Infanto: Hahaha. You thought that if you could gain access to my new secret hideout that my family moved to last week, you could find some way to stop me. Well, you're wrong.

Hero: I still don't understand. How do you expect to destroy the world when you're only a 10 pound baby???

Infanto: 10 pound, 7 ounce, thank you very much. I may be small now, but I am growing at a rate of 1.6% per day. Maintaining that rate of growth, I will weigh over 3000 pounds before my first birthday! And then I will unleash a spit-up that will Drown the World!!! Bwahahahaa.

Hero: You're mad! ... not to mention more than a little disgusting.

Infanto: And now that I have you in my clutches, father, there is no one who can stop me!

Hero: That's where you're wrong, Dr. Infanto. ... There is another.

Infanto: You mean....?

Hero: Yes. The Scarlet Mompernel.
*sounds of a crashing door*

Infanto: Uhoh.

Mompernel: Unhand my husband, you adorably cute villain!

*sounds of a scuffle*

Infanto: Waaaaaaaaa! Waaaaaaa!

Mompernel: We'll have to teach him right from wrong, to make sure this never happens again.

Hero: You're absolutely right, dear. Let's start singing Primary songs to brainwash him!

Together: I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree. ...

*a short while later*

Hero: Do you think it worked, dear?

Mompernel: Let's find out if he's decided to be a happy baby again.

Hero: I've got it. I'll turn on the video camera, set it on my shoulder, and secretly record an
interview with him. He'll be so busy examining my face, he'll never realize he's being recorded!

And so the world was saved once again, thanks to the Perpetual Newlyweds. Tune in next week to hear Hyrum say, "bbbbbllllllllaaaaoooo!"

Monday, June 2, 2008

a very unimportant post

We've had so much going on, and so many thing to share, but the only thing I have time enough to do justice to right now is the least important. It's not even worth capitalizing the title.

I take occasional playbreaks while working to sort things out in my mind, and the game of the last few months has been Mahjong: The Endless Journey. The endless journey has been trying to finally get an "A" during one of their "adventure" modes. You play six rounds of increasing difficulty and the total of your score from those six rounds is then summed up to figure out your final "grade."

I even used econometric analysis to determine the optimal strategy! I was getting just a little bit obsessive compulsive ... given that it's something I only do once or twice a day anyway.
Last week, just before we moved, I finished my last game and saw this screen. I was so happy. 55377 points for my first A.
Clear signs of overachieverhood, yes. Clear signs of going through withdrawal from being considered an overachiever back in my undergrad days, yes. But when you struggle with whether you can do something so grand as write a dissertation and raise a family, continually getting at best mediocre scores on a stupid video game is also demoralizing (which is why I haven't played Civilization IV in a few months).

I got my A. Somehow, everything else will sort itself out too.

I am so weird.