Thursday, May 19, 2011

Makayla Grace

Makayla is eight weeks old today! She is certainly a welcome addition to our family. Unfortunately I lost the camera cord that uploads pictures, so these are all from the first month.

Getting ready to go home.

Weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces at birth, Makayla was my smallest baby by far. The others, in order of birth weight: Samuel (8 lbs 9 oz), Elisa (8 lbs 10 oz), Rachel (8 lbs 11 oz), and Benjamin (9 lbs), who never could wear newborn clothes.

Samuel does his best to take good care of her when I ask for help. He is very good at calming her down and holding her. I took Makayla into his class, and he was excited to do a little show-and-tell presentation. His teacher also enjoyed holding the baby.

Benjamin will look at her and say, "She's just so cute!" Then he either kisses her a lot, or he grabs the camera to take a picture. I think he has taken more pictures of her than anyone else.

An example of his work:

Lisy loves her baby sister, but she isn't old enough to really take care of her like she thinks she can.

She and Rachel both call her "Mataya," which is just so cute.

Here Rachel is showing me Makayla's mouth.

I love taking Makayla out in public. Since she is so little, we get a lot of sweet comments.

A strange thing I've noticed with each new baby, regardless of where we were living, is people always ask if the baby I'm holding is my first. With Sammy I was surprised that people always knew. Did I look like a first-time mom? Nah, it's just a universal question. Now I just laugh and say, "Nope, she's my fifth!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ten years ago in mid-April ...

... Dominic and I went on our first date, though not together.

Matt and I worked together. He asked me out on a double date during finals week. Matt was going to set up his best friend, Dominic, but the girl couldn't make it at the last minute. Dominic didn't want to go as the third wheel, so I offered to ask my sister Ellen to join our date. Dominic agreed, and Ellen decided to come along. Amber, our roommate, also came.

We first went to see the play "Into the Woods." I sat between Matt and Dominic. Matt fell asleep, and Dominic kept making snide remarks about the play and making me laugh. Ellen felt a bit neglected, and I guess Amber just watched the play. Afterwards we went to The Creamery for ice cream cones. Due to this part of the date, it took me ages to remember that Dominic was allergic to milk, because he loves ice cream.

Then we hiked up to the Y. I fell behind, and Dominic fell back to keep me company. I thought he was very nice and considerate, plus he was easy to talk to. It was a huge party up on the Y, with a crowd of people and lots of random music playing; it felt very festive.

On the way back down to the car, Dominic and I intentionally trailed behind the others. At this point I liked him more than Matt. He asked me out before we reached the car. (Later I realized that it was a gutsy move to ask someone out while they are on a date with another person, but I didn't mind.) I informed him that I was leaving immediately after finals to visit my parents for a month, and he said that he would wait for me. Although I had had a good time with him that night, I didn't expect him to remember me. I was wrong.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night,

and we were drifting off to sleep in our warm, dry bed. All of a sudden we heard, "Meow, meow, meow." I reluctantly got up, went downstairs, and opened the back door (directly below our bedroom) to let the cat in from the rain. He wasn't there. So I went and checked the front door. He wasn't there, either.

Back upstairs, the meowing was louder than before. Hm, he must be stuck in the house - it's happened before. So Dominic joined me in checking all the rooms and closets, upstairs and downstairs. Still no sign of that pesky feline. The kids had been playing with the window, and the cat sometimes climbs out onto the roof. I poked my head outside, but no luck.

Convinced that we had looked everywhere, we went back to bed. Just as I was almost asleep again, I heard more urgent meowing, plus scratching. Okay, so the cat was somewhere he didn't want to be and was trying to get out. We got up again and looked in everything again, plus the kitchen cupboards and drawers and any place large enough to hold a cat - even the fridge, just in case. All to no avail.

Honestly it sounded as if the cat was stuck in the wall or attic. How could he have gotten in there? Dominic checked the attic entrances, but they were all shut tight, and we don't have holes in the walls. He went outside to visually check the roof, in case the cat was stuck and couldn't get back to the window. Exhausting every conceivable possibility short of tearing down the walls, we went to bed well after 1 a.m.

By morning there was still no sign of the cat, except for the occasional meowing from the walls or attic. I served breakfast to the kids and Dominic took drastic action. He carried a ladder up to the guest bedroom. The attic access had been caulked shut. Dominic broke the seal and found the cat.

What apparently had happened: the cat had gone out through the broken screen when the kids were playing with the window and was stuck on the roof when we made the kids close the window. He had knocked off a vent cover, which had not been nailed down, and fallen into the attic. Well, he had found a dry place to stay during the rain but couldn't get himself out. For all his efforts, he earned a bath to clean the fiberglass insulation out of his fur.

The final scoreboard:
Cat: +1, for finding a dry place to stay during the rain.
Homebuilders: -2, for the unsecured vent cover and the sealed attic access.
Dominic: Winner! for rescuing the cat and fixing the homebuilders' mistakes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song for a Fifth Child

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ten years ago ...

... on each Saturday in March, the Cannon Center (BYU cafeteria) held training meetings for the student supervisors and student managers. Mine was the first shift of the day, so I opened the cafeteria and headed over to the meeting. Dominic was always early, and I was usually running late (we haven't changed). Without trying I always seemed to be aware of where he was sitting, usually near the front. Then I did my best to focus on the speaker.

After the meeting there was barely enough time to prepare for the next shift. Let's just say I had a single-minded determinedness to finish up and go home. Unfortunately Dominic tried to talk to me after a meeting. I was annoyed that he kept trying to talk when I didn't have a minute to spare. Couldn't he see me running around? He, on the other hand, couldn't understand why I didn't just let the next shift take care of it.

In the last ten years Dominic has helped me learn how to slow down, relax, and allow others to work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Christmas in March

Dominic gave me this pot rack for Christmas. Life has been a bit busy, so he just got around to installing it. I love it! It opens up cabinet space and helps divide the kitchen from the dining room. Plus, he found one that matches the dining room chandelier (you can kind of see it from this angle):

The coolest thing about being a homeowner? We can make useful little additions like this, and it's ok!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ten years ago this week ...

... a friend and I showed up at the cafeteria during Dominic's shift to put together a display table for National Nutrition Week. So this is the new guy, I thought. For some reason I felt the need to show off. I wanted to look knowledgeable and competent as we set up everything.

Dominic told me later that I actually came off as mean and bossy. Oops.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wall-E's tale, part 1

Once upon a time in a nearby town, a little kitten just old enough to leave his mother wandered onto a woman's porch as she was enjoying the sunset. This woman happened to work at Pet Haven, a cat shelter.

She took him into work, where they determined that he was healthy but too young to be adopted. They gave him all his shots. They gave him a cute name (Wall-E, like the Disney robot), which usually encouraged people to adopt the kittens sooner. When he was old enough, they had him neutered and moved him to the adoption area.

One problem surfaced while Wall-E was young: anything other than a prescription diet gave him diarrhea. The specialized cat food was very expensive.

At about this time, a PSR (psycho-social rehabilitation) worker began taking his young clients to Pet Haven to play with the cats for animal therapy. This PSR worker was amused that Wall-E looked like a miniature version of his own cat. He also watched many cats and kittens come and go. He saw several families choose Wall-E and then change their minds when they learned about his special diet. He saw Wall-E's price drop from $50 to $20 to $5.

After a year the PSR worker went from renting to owning a house and felt comfortable adopting a second cat. He showed his wife several of the cats he liked the most: older, calmer, and with fun or quirky personalities. They passed Wall-E's cage, where the wife exclaimed with surprise that he looked like a twin of their current cat.

As the date of the house signing approached, this couple discussed more earnestly which cat they wanted to take home to their guinea pig, 6-year-old cat, and 4 young children. The Pet Haven employees grew more excited to send one of their beloved cats home with someone they knew. The woman who found Wall-E confided to them that she would give him to them for free.

This husband and wife were both suckers for hard-luck cases. Their guinea pig was born with a broken leg. Their cat was born at a Home Depot to a feral cat, who gave birth on the top shelf on a pile of cement bags. One of the kittens had wandered off the shelf and fallen to his death, whereupon the Home Depot employees looked around, found the litter of kittens, and took them to a rescue home. So it is no big surprise that they decided to adopt Wall-E.

On September 29, 2010 we signed for our house in the morning. That afternoon Dominic signed the adoption papers for Wall-E. The woman cried, and we brought him home.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ten years ago this month...

... my workplace was abuzz with talk of a new student manager, Dominic. We had all been working since the start of the semester in January, so a new person was exciting. Some people knew him when he worked there before his mission (this was his first semester back), and others just always referred to him as "the new guy." Although I heard about him a lot, we never met. We worked non-overlapping schedules at the Canon Center, the cafeteria for the Helaman Halls dorms at BYU.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

not a morning person

I'm a great sleeper. Sometimes it's difficult to wake up, and it takes me awhile. For instance people say I mumble first thing in the morning and can't understand a word I say. In my defense, my mouth hasn't fully woken up yet and thus cannot speak more clearly. Another instance was the semester in college when I had to be at work at 6:00 am. I usually woke up to my roommate kicking me, yelling at me, or even throwing pillows at me after my alarm had been beeping for some time. The next semester I requested the evening shift. Lastly, my husband is often the one who brings me the baby in the middle of the night, because I sleep through the crying.

Napping with baby Lisy, 2007

Well, it turns out that my children have inherited my ability to sleep soundly. It is especially nice when they are babies and can sleep through the noise of older siblings. It's not so nice when I have to wake them up for school.

After he grew out of naps, I still found him sleeping in odd places.

Benjamin has always been my best sleeper. He is also my "mother's curse," like the expression "I hope you have a child just like you some day." He takes forever to wake up, he is always grouchy, and every morning he says that he hates school. However, I know that last statement is not actually true - he just hates waking up for school. I look forward to his days off so that he can wake up at his own pace.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This Little Piggy

Sammy, 2 years old

I have my own version of the classic nursery rhyme "This Little Piggy" when I play with baby toes. I'm not exactly sure when I came up with it; probably before starting my own family. I didn't realize that I always say it until one day I said the normal rhyme, and Dominic asked, "Hey, what happened to the rest of it?"

And here it is:
This little piggy went to market.
This little piggy staid home, because he's going tomorrow.

This little piggy had roast beef.
This little piggy had none, because he's a vegetarian and had a tofu burger instead.

And this little piggy? This little piggy? Cried wee, wee, wee all the way home!
-I like asking the question twice, because the children start giggling in anticipation of getting tickled.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Toilet paper woes

At one point in our married life, Dominic and I decided on one brand of toilet paper so we wouldn't have to choose each time we went to the store. We tried several different brands and selected our favorite, which happened to be more expensive than cheap. And we were happy.

Our children grew and were potty trained. They could never figure out how much toilet paper to use. Very often I would find piles of toilet paper strewn about the floor. Add to that a toddler who thinks it's fun to watch the paper stream off the roll.

I finally had enough. I took all the nice toilet paper and hid it in my bathroom and put a more economically priced toilet paper in the kids' bathroom. Lo and behold, the paper stayed on the roll. All the annoying things the children had been doing suddenly stopped. It was amazing, miraculous, and wonderful.

Well, over this weekend we ran out of the cheap paper, and I had to give them the nice stuff. Wouldn't you know it? Tonight I found a pile of the nice toilet paper strewn across their bathroom floor.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Beached Whale Baker

L-R: Samuel, Me, Lisy, Benjamin and Rachel at Downtown Disney on New Year's Eve.

So it has been a little while since my last post. Life has been a bit busy. To sum up life since my last post: Lisy turned 3, we went camping a couple of times, attended a wedding, bought a house and got a cat, visited family and had family visit, and spent Christmas vacation in California for Dominic's schooling. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that I'm pregnant with baby #5.

I am in my third trimester, which I affectionately call "the beached whale stage," because I feel huge and don't have the energy to do anything. However, my nesting instinct has kicked in. I want to bake. A lot.

Since coming home about 2 weeks ago, I've baked bread (3x), muffins, cookies, brownies, and more casseroles than usual. Somehow I haven't been able to keep up on the laundry or house cleaning, but we've all been well-fed.