Sunday, August 31, 2008

Big New Trick

Hyrum has been working on a big new trick. It's not quite perfected yet, but he's excited to show everyone what he can do.

As you've seen in other posts, he's been getting better at lifting his body with his two arms.

Last week he took an important "step" up in the process by getting up on to a knee as well.

He's also been working on sitting up, and sat up on his own power briefly! ... but he often falls down again very quickly:

Well, yesterday as we were getting ready for the LDSSA Opening Social, some important videos were taken:

By George, I think he's got it! Now, you missed the first crawl that Joy and I are talking about, but he gives a second, very quick crawl while we're talking about it so that he can grab the bookmark. So that's what you're watching for. It's not a very long crawl. He crawls a bit better than that, but that's what a fellow can get on camera.

Not very far, and not very fast yet, but he has much more confidence and less frustration crossing the floor than before. Today he crawled across the carpet two or three times, untieing Mom's shoe in the process.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Random Hyrum - first 3 mo.

Well, the GQ Baby strike rages on. He and Mom are pretty much healthy again, so we can hope to see production pick back up again soon. Until then, it seems a shame to have these hundreds of shots of my wonderful baby boy go unused in our files. So here are some blasts from the past:

March 11

Now this is one of the things I always wanted for my birthday. Thank you, Dearheart.

March 20

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Wordsworth - Intimations of Immortality

April 4

Nowadays we don't put anything in his mouth we want back again. He bites down hard. No teeth yet. He sucks on his own fingers, but it still doesn't satisfy much.

I hear tell someone stole "The Scream." This "might could" replace it! Courtesy Grandma Cam, April 8

Actually, he was probably yawning. Right now he's in my lap trying to learn how to sing. ... He sounds more like me than Joy.

April 11

I've been thinking of the pic of him filling this outfit (and that was still only day 41!) so much, I forgot how loose it once was.

April 19

Most of you are probably sick of the comparison by now, but I just look at that leg and compare it to how he is now! When we went to the doctor to make sure Hyrum didn't have an ear infection, he said that Hy is exactly at 50% (admittedly, clothed). What surprises Joy is that he's now larger than many of the other kids in the branch his age....

May 6

"What have I gotten myself into now?"

May 28 - our anniversary

"Wait, wait. Let me have some too."

June 5

We started collecting unhappy pictures of Hyrum a while back to do a therapeutic blog about how he really isn't always the happy baby we make him out to be. ... We haven't needed as much therapy as we thought since he started getting his RDAs.

June 6

Join me, and together we will rule the universe??? What are you talking about, Dad? The only destiny I've got is with a bottle of milk.

Stay tuned for part 2 of random Hyrums and I'll see if I can't dig up some more recent shots.

I'm only young once...

... but I can be immature forever.

The sign on the blow-up air castle fun house bouncing toy thingy at the Groton fair last week said that ALL AGES were welcome. So Joy and I took turns climbing in. My original entrance to the play area required a mighty leap to hurtle me through the small opening, but I made it. On my back way through the obstacle course (with a less subtle entrance, pictured to the left) a preteen girl looked at me there among the 7-11 year olds and cried in shock, "You're an aDULT!"

"Yes," I replied calmly, laying on my back, trying to squeeze between two balloons. "The sign says all ages."

"Really?" she asked dumbfounded.

"Yeah. Really."

She didn't know what to make of me.

Perhaps she didn't know that it is one of my life's goals to be open to interpretation:
Hyrum would certainly agree that I am open to interpretation. I don't know that people who only knew me at church or school would think that I am open to interpretation (though some of the folks recently who have seen the gleam in my eye when they say they enjoy playing games but are disappointed when everyone else just wants to talk might guess it). After all, people from my home ward admit that I was never a deacon - too serious and mature. But I'm not so worried that OTHER people think that I'm open to interpretation, as I am that I feel that I am.

Today ... I am 30.

I am very happy to be 30. I have a wife who loves me. I have the most adorable baby (though I leave other parents free to think otherwise). And I have a job. In fact, tomorrow I stop being a full-time student ... for forever. I was sitting back in church, listening to the talks on the importance of family, feeling very, very satisfied with life. This was a nice, new kind of feeling.

It's hard to get in a good birthday celebration on a Sundy-day, so we partied Friday, there being a church meeting in Owego Sat'dy.

Joy and Hy let me sleep in before having a yummy, hearty breakfast. Then we started the treasure hunt. Joy had hid my presents around the house and instead of her usual poem-based clues to help me find them, she this time sent me on a trail of documents on the laptop that would end in clue pictures. The pictures were way zoomed in - like to show the dust particles on a box! - and we played 20 Questions to help me figure out what in the world I was looking at. Then I get to search there for the gift. The most difficult ones were pictures she took of things she couldn't actually see: like the gift hidden above and behind the bathroom mirror. Let me see if I can find one for you....

Behind the mirror, outside under the stairs, and inside our luggage with Hyrum's clothes.

One of the more devious things she did was to take some of my books (fantasy, comic, and game strategy guides) with her on errands over the last two weeks and set up long winding paths throughout the books (Go to page 365 ... go to page 89 ... go to page 284 ... go to page 136 ... go directly to jail ...) with the final page of the trail telling me a computer file to resume the chase.

It took about 4 hours to find my presents. It took more than 2 weeks for her to prepare it all. I was pretty tired by the end, but eager to find out what it was I had gone searching for. Joy and my parents were very generous, and got me a wonderful variety of fun things to watch, to play and to play with, to wear, and to read.

So far, I've cracked open the second Fablehaven book, played the SimCity Societies tutorial, eaten some chocolate/pb smidgeons, worn my new Jesus tie, spent a couple hours playing Mannheim Steamroller and Jon Schmidt songs on the piano, and listened to the Princess Bride soundtrack. I have a feeling Tchaikovsky will be making an appearance tomorrow at work (and for months to come), with the Fraggles, VeggieTales: Jonah, and some Star Wars music (from Grandma) joining the party in the weeks to come. The stars say there will likely be a Wii game in my future (from the other grandma, though her card hasn't arrived yet).

Hyrum got me two cute Mickey outfits to put him in. Hyrum tends to get Mommy cartoons for him to watch.

As soon as the packages were opened, Hyrum got up from his nap and we drove down to Vestal to ... Chuck E Cheese's! I haven't celebrated my birthday there in a good 20 years. My brother or I sometimes would elect to celebrate there back when we lived in LA. This place was a bit smaller - one room instead of three or four - and I could swear I heard Mom in the back of my head saying "oooooookay" about my choice. In all honesty, I gave Joy several choices of venues, like miniature golfing.

This is how Joy tells it: You said Chuck E. Cheese's first. And then, oh, well, we could also do it here or there as afterthoughts. Why, as your dutiful wife, would I choose the second best?

*chuckle* I like her. She went online and got coupons for us. She also called around to see if there were slides for adults, and Vestal claimed to have a slide that kids of all ages could use, while Syracuse said theirs were only for kids, and Syracuse wasn't going to give us a show but Vestal would. So the Vestal franchise won. Their slide turned out to be a bit too tight of a fit for either of us, though (see crawlway above). I made a valiant attempt, reciting, "A bit of a pinch/But if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch."

Now back in my day, they had kid-sized robotic Chuckee (before he was Chuck E.) and friends' heads set up over a large crawl space with swiss-cheese style holes so kids could run around under the robots during the show. At Vestal, they had a robotic Chuck - who would've fit right in with the Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland - and eight television screens in sorry need of tuning. They blared out some happy birthday and summer time fun music to help the 7 year olds be happy and the 6 month olds cry and scream. It was the first time Hyrum evidenced stranger anxiety. The bored guy/gal/mouse in the Chuck suit was less impressive.

On the other hand, Hyrum is really learning to reach out and try to get a hand on our food. Here he is trying to get Mommy's drink and discover the ways of the straw.

We had our chicken and bacon pizza, then went in for the rides and games! My favorite was the Star Wars game that takes you through the Luke Skywalker trilogy, blasting everything in sight. I ALMOST defeated Vader - one more hit and I would've ... probably taken his place, so I don't know if I should've beaten him or not. Joy had a lot of fun riding their 3D jet ski game, "where you actually sit on a jet ski kind of thing," she enthuses, and it registers when she jumped on it and such.

The ski ball was a penny pincher.

They have a roller coaster simulator where two people can strap in and be jolted about to the video monitor as if you were on a roller coaster. Hyrum enjoyed watching Mommy on the smaller version of the toy. (That's the expression on his face watching her.) We rode together in the big kid version.

The cool thing (which I'm informed is not unique, but was new to us) was a machine you reclined on where the seats would vibrate and slightly tilt while a very large screen with large speakers in front of you showed a more exotic 3D roller coaster. We agreed that the haunted mine was probably the best - complete with Indiana Jones style boulders and a lava demon. The ice caves and toy store were also very fun. According to my photographic memory, it was called Mad Wave Motion Theater.

For about $20, we got pizza and some 4 hours of games that netted us enough tickets to get a tootsie pop and a laffy taffy. But we had a BLAST. It was a lot of fun.

Then today I got to play the organ and so I did my renditions of Kolob and Praise to the Man for pre- and postlude respectively. :D I loved it.

Happy birthday ... to me!

Oops. I can't end the birthday post without talking about my cakes. We're in search for the perfect brownie recipe again. We had thought we might have found it for a while, but we're less and less enchanted with it. Joy made me a thing of brownies with marshmallow in them last week (not bad, but not perfect), and we got a couple pre-boxed styles (shock! gasp!) to try out and compare: Girardelli chocolate and caramel vs. Betty Crocker triple chocolate. The official taste off with be later today. The triple chocolate brownies have been decorated by my lovely and gracious to resemble a diploma and we will blow out a candle or three with lasagna.

Joy has really put a lot of work into my birthday. I appreciate it. It's been very fun.

I'm discovering one of the nice things about Facebook: random people (better put - unexpected people) wish me happy birthday. The first one outside my family to do so was some guy I met at the ATHGO conference last month. I really appreciated the note from someone who said she had been looking forward to wishing me a happy birthday at church ... and then forgot. :)

Happy birthday ... to me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Photo Shoot 2 shot down

No, Dad. Forget it.I know the last photo shoot was a big hit, but I'm just not in the mood. I've got a fever of 99.6, I can't keep down any of the food you give me, I'm coughing and sneezing and just feel miserable, okay? Trust me, I can't keep up the smile today for more than a few seconds, and even then you have to really work to bring it out.
We can shoot a video of me standing with your aid for balance later in the week, okay? Besides, Mom doesn't feel good either. Let's wait until things are back to normal and hope that you don't get sick too so that there's still someone who can take care of everyone.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Photo Shoot

The other day, Hyrum rolled under the table for an awesome photo shoot with dear ol' Dad. Pretty much every shot I took was a winner! (Not that I'm biased or anything.) He doesn't crawl yet, but he can roll around and turn around on his stomach so he can actually move about on the floor. We're putting toys just outside of his reach, and he finds a way to get to them (or cry trying!).

Let's see, what cute pose should I choose first? I know, I'll pretend I'm holding a bee in my hand. Mommy always sings to me: "I'm bringing home a baby bubble bee. Won't my Mommy be so proud of me?"

Ooh, ooh, and this is me preparing for the Olympic swim team. I do the breast stroke AND look good for the camera! Gold model here I come.

Joy's caption:
Mom, are you going to do that AGAIN? You always make everything so complicated.

And he slides into home plate! The throw is in! He is .... SAFE!!! Hyrum Watson wins the game for the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth with a slide into home plate! Let's see that again in slow motion.... You could almost swear by that grin on his face that he knew he was going to make it, Bob.

Maybe I can be a movie monster when I grow up and eat the skyscrapers. ROWR!

Awww, am I too silly for words? Shucks.

Dad says if I'm good, I can have some ice cream. ... What's ice cream? If they eat it, I want it.

Derrill's caption: So you see, Senator, high oil prices hurt babies too because parents have less money for toys, they start buying the cheaper diapers, and even the price of mommy milk goes up. You don't know what it's like to sleep in a wet diaper!

(Neither does Hy.)

Joy's caption: Ohh, are you going already? I could pose for more pictures! Please come back again soon. Well, okay ... I'll go and drink some more milk.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Several short posts 4: A New Song

Getting Hyrum ready for bed, we lie to sing him a song. Mommy, who gets to sing to him all the time, sticks with I am a Child of God. While waiting for her to drive up, I started into a low-key version of He's got the whole world in His hands.

After the usual versions about you and me, baby, mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpa, ... I started coming up with some silly verses. My favorite of them was:

He's got the liberals and conservatives in His hands
He's got the Republicans and Democrats in His hands
He's got all the politicians in His hands ...
And He may be washing them soon!

Several short posts 3: Passing stones

Mile-stones, that is.

At 12:30 AM on Friday, 8/8/08, ... my dissertation was completed. At least, a rough draft was. I have three papers. They are in my hand right now. Three. 1, 2, 3. A fellow can graduate with three papers.

There's still a lot of work to do, reediting, rewriting, reworking, reevaluating, readjusting graphics for the umpteenth time so they're just perfect, and responding to my professors' comments (because of course they haven't seen the third paper yet).
But I have a third paper.

Several short posts 2: Mr. Mom

Joy is off in Utica today attending a training session on making use of the Church's new internet-based family history system. That means I got Hyrum all day today! As the time of her return draws ever happily nigher, (wow, that's an actual word!) I just want to say that I have enjoyed being Mom today. Whether Hyrum has or not is hard to tell.
After all, the great thing about Dad is that he shows up ready to play, or at least go for a long walk. I hoped Hyrum could stand me as the only face he got to look at all day. I'm ... not quite as responsive as my lovely and gracious companion, and I make him wait if I'm in the middle of something.

That, and I decided last night that my to-do list was impossibly long. Given that half the things on there couldn't be accomplished in one day anyway (like, continued editing my dissertation and get Per's book published and the like), it was a bit daunting. I talked it over with Joy in the morning, we set some priorities, ... and I got ALL my minimum goals in! Hooray!

Hyrum was much easier than usual, I recognize that. When I was putting the second load of laundry in, I set him on our bed for a minute (surrounded by things that would keep him from rolling off). I came back in for the rest of the clothes and he was cranky, so I handed him his bink. I came back when it was done, and his eyes were so droopy he didn't even react when I came in. ... Let sleeping babies lie, I says to myself. This was the first time he took his afternoon nap without a fuss!
I managed to mow, organize some of our shed, edit some more of my dissertation, write (so far) three blogs, unpack the teensiest bit of my office, do two loads of laundry, cook, help Josh move (Joy had Hyrum then), get him ready for Sunday, and I even found a little time to play. What a wonderful day! That feels so much more fulfilling than "Dear Diary: I spent eight hours writing two pages of my dissertation. What is the meaning of life?"

(PS - For those of you looking for a "Boy, I've sure come to appreciate my wife today," statement: 1) I always appreciate my darling spouse. One of the advantages of being home is hearing what she goes through and being thankful. 2) I may be able to work for 30-60 minutes while still watching over him, but I realized today that it would not be possible to get my schoolwork done and watch Hy full time. Thank you, Joy.)

Several short posts - 1: Softball

The Stormin' Mormons won the softball championship a week and a half ago. Joy and I haven't been able to be there for most of the games, but we were there for the first ones. ... the ones we lost. I really really hope there isn't a connection.

Joy got a number of hits and scored a run in the 3 games we played. I got an RBI and several hits and did some good in the outfield backing up our center fielder. Mostly, we kept the team alive because those three weeks we didn't actually have 9 people to play. We had 7 or 8, and that was AFTER ringing in one or two more who were just standing around.

Then our team captain came back to town and got the GOOD players back just as our lives got more hectic. They won the championship game 28-6. So we didn't get the glory, but we got t-shirts. Pictures of us in matching t-shirt and caps may be forthcoming. Here are the guys with the right stuff:
Here is the team: top row from left to right: Cy Brigham Young Award Winner Adam Lindsay, Jonathan Jones, Cameron Rognan, Nate and Grace Fredrick, Matt Sweeney, Mark Slavens, Josh Price with McKay
Bottom row: Mike Langenberg, Natalie Fredrick and Jeff Larrimore.
Other key players that were not there for the championship game are Darrell and Amy Sonntag, Hiram and Laura Conley, and yours truly.

Hat tip to Josh Price for photo and names of key players.

Scripture Double Take

So I'm unpacking the office/baby room and start looking through some seminary/institute materials to decide if I want to keep them or not. One item is the "New Testament Video Guide" which discusses how to incorporate the Church's videos into lessons and make good use out of them. Among the suggestions for one video is a scripture marking exercise:
Give students the following case studies. Have them write down how they would handle the situation. Next have the students read the scriptures listed and decide what they teach about handling the situation.
Case Study 2: Val and Rob have had their summer fishing trip planned for months. At 10:00PM they check their gear and review their plans. Val realizes that he hasn't purchased his fishing license. They plan to leave at 5:30 the next morning. The sporting goods store doesn't open until 7:30. The only other place that sells fishing license is Tim's Bar, and it's open until midnight.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
Now I have a good guess what the scripture says. It's probably the one about avoiding the appearance of evil. No, they wouldn't be breaking the Word of Wisdom by walking into a bar to get a fishing license, but if there were someone struggling with avoiding alcohol who saw two such stalwart members of the Cornell Branch saunter into a bar, it might weaken their friend's faith; and just putting themselves in what might be a dangerous situation isn't such a hot idea either. Got it.

I decide to look the scripture up anyway to verify if my hunch is right. So I open up my scriptures and read the following:

"21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
22. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partake of other men's sins: keep thyself pure."

Okay, that kinda goes along with what I was thinking. Keep yourself pure, don't partake, and ... uh, don't get into a bar fight? Okay. I wonder about the context, though. What's the next verse say?

"23. Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake"


I double check where in the scriptures I am. Oops, I'm in 1st Timothy 5, not 1st Thes. *LOL*

1st Thes 5:22 is indeed about "abstaining from all appearance of evil." But what a place to accidentally turn to for that particular example!

"Sure, kids, go on over there, and have a brewski while you're at it. If your weak friend is going to see you and jump to conclusions anyway, you might as well be guilty...." *chortle*
Actually, the whole thing reminds me of the recent fast and testimony meeting when one of the characters in the branch got up and said, "So there I was in a bar on Saturday night...." Apparently he had a gospel conversation with a man who got suspicious there might be Mormons around when he saw 4 guys drinking Sprite while watching the Jazz.

It goes up there with the one about sister missionaries who accidentally told a new investigator to read 3rd Nephi 3:7 instead of 1st Nephi for his first reading assignment.....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Baby says hi

Hi there. Dad is too tired to come up with anything funny for me today, so I'll just share some of my recent pictures and call it good, k?

This is me and my favorite toy. I play with all the animals on the farm in order. Right now, I'm most interested in making the chickens dizzy and in eating the pig behind the barn.

Boy, it's a good thing I'm posting these pics. If Dad looked at them closely, he'd probably start another Adventures of the Evil Overlord post....

And this is me and my favorite toy: Mommy!

I sure do like bouncing.

And this is me playing with my favorite toy: the camera! Dad and I had a top secret photo shoot the other day. He said I broke all the records for cuteness, but I can't show you the pictures yet until he's done getting rid of the red eye. But since he's so tired, he might not notice if I let just one of them slip through.... Here's a sneak preview then of a blog post to come.

Momma sure is pretty. We started trying to make something called a "schedule" this weekend. That's so Mommy can predict when I'm going to cry so she can head me off at the pass. But sometimes I trick her by only eating half a meal and then getting hungry for the other half half an hour later. For the family who are interested, the rough outline emerging looks like this:

4am - possible wake up, eat with Mom, back to sleep
6-6:30 - definitely wake up, eat
7:30 - eat some more while Daddy reads me scriptures and Mommy gets some more sleep
8:00 back to sleep in the big bed so Dad can work in my room
9:30 and 10:30 eat
11/12 another nap happens somewhere around here, also in the big bed
1:30 munch
2:30 hungry mungry
3:00 scream for 45 minutes because I don't WANT a third nap
3:45 Well, okay, I guess I need that nap after all ... zzzzzz
6:00 eat - Daddy comes home ... from my room.
7:00 eat - Daddy plays with me and Mommy. Hooray!
8:00 see if I can con one more snack out of them before bed

We'll see if Mom lets me stay on it, though. She may have other ideas. Dad says he needs the computer now for work. Bye!