Monday, May 31, 2010

He not only reads, Hyrum Writes!

Hyrum's doodles have moved from just circles to ... numbers and vaguely cursive handwriting. This he identified as 6.

And here is a 2.

Hyrum reads a few words and now he can write two numbers.

UPDATE: Today while the missionaries were over for dinner, Hyrum drew the letter A.


My inner economist laughs with delight.
My inner Christian trembles at that whisper.

Hyrum has discovered coinage.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Hear That Every Day

Ithaca has a semi-annual book sale with some amazing sale prices, so we try to go. The only problem is that it's no fun for Hyrum, and that means no fun for whichever of us is caring for him. Tonight I asked him at one point if I should sing to him. He wanted "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins. Not too surprising given this is one of his most requested songs recently. So I sang the words I knew a few times ... and a few more times ... and a few more as we wandered through the mystery/thriller section. Hyrum was happy and peaceful so long as the bard kept on singing.

When we rounded a corner, we were stopped by another shopper who wanted to tell me what a golden, beautiful voice I had. She had always liked that song and I sang it so well. It was just a pleasure to hear, she added.

Don't hear that every day. She said it so warmly I could do little but thank her and return to the song when she urged that she hadn't meant to interrupt.

Games Hyrum Plays

Hyrum is learning to play pretend. His most requested pretend game is "Sleep." He runs to his room and brings us a blanket (or 6). He calls out "Hyrum sleep" and lays down on the floor. We then cover him with a blanket and wait until he decides to wake up, bouncing up to cry "Again again!" He also likes it when Daddy makes snoring noises for Hyrum. He doesn't close his eyes because he wants to see our reaction to his cuteness. Yesterday, Daddy decided to play with him and used his multi-blanketed self as a pillow. He laughed, waited for a bit, then called out, "Daddy wake up." Lather, rinse repeat.

We've also tried Pretend Breakfast and Pretend Park, going through all the motions of each in the comfort of home. He likes them a lot.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hyrum says "Wow"

We did a lot of shopping today - Mommy clothes and Hyrum clothes mostly. Near the end of the day, I was wandering through the kids' pajamas with Hyrum and I was curious to see this one brightly colored, red-white-and-blue number. I held it out and Hyrum paid attention (!). He looked at Mater the car, decorated in red, white, and blue with fireworks and pizzazz. He said, "wow!"

We don't get that reaction much, so I put it in the cart. Then as we turned a corner, Hyrum said "Wow!" again. It was Buzz pajamas. Hyrum didn't just want to marvel at them, though. "Hold Buzz pajamas." So we went home with a pair of Buzz pajamas. Mater somehow jumped out the cart when Hyrum wasn't looking, and is hiding out with a bunch of shirts with skulls on them. The fuzz'll never find him there.

The Cathedrals of Helsinki

The (I'm guessing) Russian Orthodox cathedral rests on top of a small hill looking over downtown.

With a good view of the other cathedral across the way. The rest of the pictures in this post are from this other cathedral.

I would like to acknowledge the good weathermen of Helsinki for predicting rain the entire time I was there and instead providing me these wonderful, varying skies to shoot against.

A peek between the columns

The Resurrection. Another mural next to it depicts the crucifixion, but my shot wasn't as detailed as I'd like it.

I wish blogspot would let me arrange these pictures so they lined up. Oh well.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hyrum Top Ten Apr/May

1. Tarantara -96
2. Mickey Mouse Club March - 95
3. Bob the Builder - 73
4. Beethoven's Fifth Symphony - Movement I - 50 
5. Yours - 43
6. The Egg - 43 
7. Seventy-Six Trombones - 43
8. Praise to the Man - 37
9. Supercalafragilisticexpialidocious - 35
10. The Hallelujah Chorus - 33

All time Top 10:
1. Bob the Builder - 837
2. Handel's Hallelujah Chorus - 446
3. Tarantara - 279
4. Seventy-Six Trombones - 144
5. Little Drummer Boy - 115
6. Pomp and Circumstance -110
7. Praise to the Man -108
8. Mickey Mouse Club March - 95
9. Ten Little Indians - 85
10. Star Wars: Imperial March - 83

My brother requested a top ten by the number of hours:minutes Hyrum has spent listening to the songs. Here's that:
1. Hallelujah Chorus    29:14
2. Tarantara    21:56
3. Bob the Builder 13:43
4. Pines of Rome 13:09
5. Pomp and Circumstance 11:42
6. Little Drummer Boy 7:42
7. 76 Trombones    7:22
8. Praise the Man 6:20
9. Battle Hymn of the Republic    6:13
10. Come, Thou Fount    5:57

And after the break are a bunch of other top songs just for my records.

What God Did Not Say

 God did not say "Free-range your passions - it's organic, man." Instead, we are warned that the all-natural man is an enemy.

So there need to be limits. But God also did not say "Put your passions on a leash," which would imply giving them free reign within a certain sphere.

But He also did not say "Muzzle your passions," which would be never listening to them or unhealthy suppression.

"Bridle your passions" expresses a working relationship between spirit and body, between conscience and mind, heart, stomach, and any other bodily organ. We are to learn how to bring ourselves into submission until such time as rider and horse are one.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ear Infection

Joy says, Did this day really end? I am going to have to give an extra dose of gratitude in my prayers today for the one small miracle. I found out Hyrum has an ear ache and now he is one medicine. We hope he feels better soon. He sure is a trooper. So I can't really figure doctors out. They make you think you should wait to bring them in to get medicine, if they are sick enough and the doctor that saw Hyrum today said, well it looks like he is just about through with it. I say if you can tell he has an ear infection then you can't really be serious..... doctors. I always wish i could live without them. I am thankful for the medicine though.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chocolate milk has Iron

I am so glad that I got the sequencing cards. I let Hyrum choose the stories today and we only got to three of the 5 or 6 I had him choose.

The first story is of a boy going to bed with three different cards. The first card shows the sun in the window and the boy sitting on his mother's lap while she reads a story to him. The second card shows the mother tucking him into bed, kissing him on the head and added nice loving things she is saying. The last one shows the boy asleep in his bed with the moon in the window. I tell him the story and give him each card as I tell the story for him to look at and put on the floor in front of him.

After I told the story two times, Hyrum jumped up and ran for his bedroom saying, "Blue blanket". He came back with the blanket and laid down on the floor with the blanket over him. I figured out that he wanted the story told again and so we played the go to sleep game several times. When he had only slightly satiated on that game, I went on the to the camping story that he wanted next.

The last picture in the camping story is about sleeping, so I showed him that first. Then while he was laying under his blanket, I showed him the picture of the boy putting up his tent. Next, the boy and his daddy making food at the fire and then the boy sleeping in his tent. In an effort to play this story up. I took a star blanket that we keep in the living room and put it over the back of two chairs, saying "tent" and showing him the first picture. He was still laying down but looking at me with interest. he wasn't far from the tent, so I just tugged him a little closer so that he was under the tent. He did not like that idea and pointing to the blanket tent, said "no blanket". I took it down.

The third and last sequence story was even more successful or just as interesting to him as the first one. This story has 4 pictures. The first picture is of a clear glass and milk being poured into it. Then there is a chocolate sauce contain behind it with part of the milk chocolate and part white and a spoon is starting to stir. Next the milk is all chocolate with the spoon on in front. The last picture has an empty glass with remains of chocolate in it. I told him the story, then I realized that we had chocolate sauce and could actually make it. We did and Hyrum drank it and said again. We did it three times until he couldn't drink anymore. hehehe.

I was really happy to realize that though milk has no iron, chocolate sauce has 9%. Maybe it is a way to get iron into him besides the vitamin that I have been forgetting.

The Culture that is Finnish

Now that I've been in Finland less than 24 hours and walked around a small corner of Helsinki for two hours, I am an Expert on Finnish Culture. (Hey, I have as much experience in the country as most development missions before they pronounce how to solve poverty, right?) So what is special?

1 - In US restrooms, the icon representing women wears a knee-length skirt. In the Helsinki airport, she wears a miniskirt. At WIDER, she's reverted to the more modest knee-length again.

2 - "Every man is an architect. You plan the architecture of summer houses!" Finn Tarp opened the conference mentioning this, and he's not kidding. The facades of the buildings are amazing, and each one is remarkably different. Some are medieval stone, some have Arabic arches, some are all brick, some have Greco-Roman carved marble decorations. The colors are lovely and varied without clashing. Actually, I saw the first 5-story, Eurobau apartments that I thought might be places an American would like to live in. The restaurant I ate in for dinner had beautifully muraled ceilings Very attractive. [Oh, how I WISH they hadn't lost my luggage and CAMERA in the Manchester airport!]

3 - Barren windows. Shockingly, despite the enormous numbers of windows in all these architectural wonders, the windows are empty. I glanced at thousands of windows and in a couple hundred cars and saw: 1 printer, 1 fan, 2 potted plants in buildings, 1 dream catcher, 1 air freshener, and only three cars that had stuff in them. The cars were completely empty! Okay, I was glancing, not searching under the seats, but there was almost no individualization of windows or cars. For a course on flaneurie, I had once tried to identify which person in a store belonged to which car in the parking lot and I did pretty well - there was nothing to go on here! (aside from the owner of the East German Trabant)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Power of Temples

Hyrum likes temples. He turns to pictures of temples in any of the picture scripture books we have. He likes going to the temple and being there. We passed a church yesterday and he pointed it out to us as a "temple." Temples are pretty cool.

Hyrum also knows something of what temples are for. They're for making people feel happy.

Mommy was having a Bad Day. Hyrum wanted her to feel better. He said, "Go temple! Go temple! Mommy go temple! Daddy go temple!" When he sees a picture, he says, "Mommy Daddy go temple."

He's been an awfully sick little boy this weekend - not-quite-so-low grade fever between 100 and 102 depending on how long it's been since he took medicine, with a sour tummy that doesn't want to eat anything. "But he's being a good drinker" of milk and apple juice. The first day he had the fever, he told me he wanted to "Go temple." And in fact, Mommy drove him half way there to help him get to sleep and have a nap.

Mother on Mothers' Day: a Joy post

I've got this idea - I thought of it at church today - since Hy was sick today, I had no Mommy duties - and I realized that my stage of life Mothers' Day is Really Great to have a break. But I know there comes a time when Mothers' Day is really great if you at least get some contact with your children. I'm okay to be on this end for now.

Painting and Working Together

Part spring cleaning, part home repair and improvement, part insanity. We've been wanting to paint the house and I proposed that rather than planning a major offensive, we should play economist and ask what the next part is we wanted to improve. Hyrum's room (before shot). Definitely. Scratches on the white walls from about 4 different kids and their furniture.

I sketched out a schedule for us to get it done this week. If all went well, we'd be done yesterday. If not, we'd have Monday to fall back on before I leave Tuesday for a work conference in Finland. We'd mentally plan on Monday, get paint on Tuesday, clean on Wed-Thur, put the first coat on Friday evening and let it dry while we played with the Petersons, then put on the second coat Saturday and Hy wouldn't know the difference.

Nothing went according to plan.

It all worked perfectly. (after shot of the same wall)

We did minimal planning on Monday. Tuesday was exhausting and Hyrum was miserable, so we didn't get the paint. We put him to sleep in our room and cleaned his room instead. Wednesday we got the paint and supplies and I taught Hyrum to say "Where's Mommy" when we couldn't see her anymore in the store. Thur we did a little cleaning but were definitely not ready, then we had to cancel playing as Hyrum got a fever. No painting on Friday, but Joy did prep work while I watched Hyrum.

Then in one great gasp of effort, we got the entire room painted twice on Saturday, spent a few hours out of the house, and put Hyrum to sleep in his newly painted room!

You'll notice in the shots that there's not much difference between the old white (left wall) and the creamy off-white "Homestead Resort Sunwash" we chose (right wall and ceiling). It's a little yellow and we're glad it's not more yellow, though a little darker wouldn't have hurt anyone's feelings. Eventually we'll paint some musical notes and a song or two on the walls, add a border, some nice stuff like that. The real difference is that the walls are clean and the scratch marks are concealed (well, mostly, but if you go looking for them, you get what you deserve).

We're also very proud of how we worked together on this project. We have such different ways of working on things that we still find it difficult to work on the same project. Usually we break things into smaller pieces and I do my part and she does hers and we put it together and it works.

Joy has been amazed all over the place that when she turned the planning and responsibility over to me (a leap of faith since she is the more detailed planner), she also managed to not feel overwhelmed by the project, which cut down on any communicated stress between us. I in turn let her decide many of the details without complaint which helped her feel in control too. I'd rearrange what we were doing that day and she would help us figure out how to get it done. It was a very good use of our complementary skills.

And it's done and it's happy.

Joy says about the happy weekend we had, "We had a lot of time on Friday night, in memory of playing with Steve and Emilee, for our date night we played two games at the same time. I think it was just as confusing, but it was fun. We rediscovered Carcasonne and Starfarers of Catan (2 player version). I'm looking forward to playing them again."

Hyrum Sings Mothers' Day

Hyrum and Derrill sang to Mommy during her breakfast-in-bed. I've been practicing some of the mother songs from the children's songbook with Hyrum in the mornings. Joy was delighted with the result, in part because Hyrum was excited to point out her breakfast on the bed:

D: I often go walking in meadows of ...
H: Clover! [really, more like cwovah, but that's close enough for Boston]
D: And I gather arms full of blossoms of ...
H: Milk! Milk!
D: blue. I gather the blossoms the whole meadow ...
H: Ovah.
D: Dear Mother, all flowers
H: Fork!
D: remind me of ....
H: Plate! You!

Cuter every day....

"It was really sweet. I teared up. I didn't cry, but I was a little teared up. My little boy, he sang to me."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Joseph's Last Testimony

The Church has done a wonderful job, putting movie to Elder Holland's recent testimony of the Book of Mormon.

I know it to be true as well. How thankful I am for that companion to the Bible and my own witness of both works of holy writ. What strength and comfort they have given me, what knowledge of God and His purposes. I love the Book of Mormon. I love the prophet Joseph and my Savior Jesus.

To find out more or for your own, free copy of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ or The Holy Bible, see the appropriate link.

Ethics and Babies

Many parents and educators would endorse a view of infants and toddlers close to that of a recent Onion headline: “New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths.” ... A growing body of evidence, though, suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life. With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life. Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone.
The link is here and the hat tip is all MR's.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hyrum Sings Along With Mitch

... or with Tony Azito and the rest of the cast from Pirates of Penzance. The words Hyrum is singing are "Tarantara" and "We go." Sometimes, he even holds the note out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hyrum Meets Sousa

Hyrum really flipped out for Sousa this morning. We listened to a really long 12 days of Christmas that he has liked before. But every time it left the quick march part he would get upset. So, Derrill narrowed it down to the Sousa part of the piece and then put Sousa on the computer for much marching enjoyment. Another "True Love of the Day" is born.

Hyrum Strong

You know you're dealing with an academic when he posts a footnote to go with a comic strip. Or several. Y'know, for people unfamiliar with the connection between Wolverine and Republicans.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hyrum vs. Count von Count

I got to take care of Hyrum yesterday, so I took a bunch of videos of him and me having fun. I noticed a pattern. See if you can hear it through his activities.

How is a Hyrum like an elephant?

A rural legend claims that you can train an elephant to never run away. You tie a baby elephant down with a really big metal collar and a really big metal chain and a really monster stake. The elephant will struggle and fight, but just can't get out.

After a while, you tie him down with a rope and a stake. He'll give a little tug just to confirm that he's really tied down but seeing that he is, he won't fight it.

After a while, you tie him to nothing with a bit of string. He knows he's tied up like he always was, so he won't even try to get away. As a kid, he learned he couldn't get away and now as an adult he doesn't try.

That's the legend. I wonder if MythBusters has ever done an episode on it?

So what's that got to do with my wonderful, spirited son? He's been in a barred crib for sleeping his whole life and, even though he's been big enough and strong enough to climb out for some time, hasn't even tried. When we got him a big boy bed, we figured we'd need to put up the childproofing gate in front of his door to keep him from getting out if he woke up at 4am.

But for some reason, Hyrum doesn't get out of his bed! Okay, it's only been a couple days, I know. I've checked on him occasionally while he napped and slept, though, and he hasn't once gotten out of the Buzz bed. We say lay down, and he does. He was awake most of the two hours he was down for his nap yesterday but he stayed in that little bed the entire time.

I'm amazed.

Oh, and just now, he asked for the first time if he could please take a nap. I could really get to like this piece of string we call a Buzz bed.

.... Nevermind. It was nice for two days.

Hyrum vs. Chuck E.

Hi there. Hy here.

Last week, Mommy and Daddy took me to CT to see Uncle Steve and Aunt Emie. The best part of being with them was their house is full of Mickey! They have Mickey Dance Dance Revolution and Mickey and Minnie figures and Mickey's autograph and probably even more! While Daddy and Uncle Steve worked, Mommy and Aunt Emilee took me to parks and let me do Mickey Dance while they played boardgames like they always do.

But then they took me to Chuck E Cheese. I was really excited. I couldn't stand to wait while they ate their pizza (blech - give me applesauce). I got to ride in all kinds of cars. I'm really excited right now about the green car up top. "Green" "Green" "Green" I keep telling Daddy while he types this.

I rode with Barney and Teletubbies. Who are they?

In this yellow car, they had a button I could push that didn't do anything! How cool is that? Most of the rides, I sat there and intently enjoyed them. It's sometimes hard for other people to tell because I look pretty serious when I'm concentrating on my fun, but Mommy and Daddy knew I was loving it. How? Because I cried every time they tried to move me to another toy, that's how! It was so much fun!!!!

I got to ride three rides with TV screens that bounce and shake with what is happening on the screen. It was like I actually got to ride the rollercoasters! [Daddy notes that the Millford Chuck E. is in a sad sorry state of repair - most of those rides gave a gentle back massage, but nothing like the turbulence we got at the Vestal Chuck E a couple years ago.] Mommy and Daddy liked playing a Pirates of the Caribbean pinball game. While they did that, I played with a ping pong paddle. Oh, they also had a whack-a-mole type thing and Daddy let me swing the mallet! That was cool.

My favoritestest ride, though, was probably the Merry Go Round. I liked looking at my cute, handsome self in the mirror. I just stared and stared all the way around.

Daddy followed me around and around filming, trying to get me to look at the camera. Nope, nothin' doin'! Finally, though, I was merciful and tossed him a bone. Daddy was pretty lucky to catch me smiling. He was reall happy and I'm enjoying seeing this video again now too. "Again. Again. 'gain again again again...."

Uncle Steve was really good at some of the games and he won enough to get me something. Betchya can't guess what it is!