Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Surprise Work and a Workout

I flooded the laundry room at work on Friday. I didn’t realize one of the washing machines was shooting its rinse water into a clogged drain until water began lapping at my toes, five feet from the drain. I hurtled the vacuum I was cleaning and started swiping the drain with a brush to clear away the debris. Meanwhile, the dust cloth rinse water continued pouring forth in a murky stream. I pushed every button on the washing machine twice before successfully stopping the rinse cycle.

I called my boss as I mopped the laundry room pond into a bucket. She said she might come take a look after the presidential debate, or she might just come in on Saturday. I couldn’t help but calculate the approximate time this mishap would add to the hours I would be spending there on a Friday night. Luckily I miscalculated. I went home just minutes after that call.

When I dumped the bucket of water outside the door closed behind me. I could see my purse, my keys and my phone, through the window. I said a quick prayer, hoping God would enlighten my mind as to how I could pick the lock. Instead I realized I was wearing running shoes. Two miles later I knocked on our next door neighbor’s door and asked to use their phone. Ryan came home and took me to the presidential debate party that one of his classmates was throwing. They didn’t mind my red face or the odor that accompanied me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Look Mom! No Wheels!

Craig's List, need I say more?

Actually, I was going to wow our audience with the video of Bella eating her first meal with a spoon, but have encountered some problems. If I figure them out, I'll put it up later. Otherwise, you'll just have to imagine lots of runny, regurgitated rice cereal.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Richmond, VA

Forgive me for the lack of postings over the last month. I have been quite busy with the start of school and my trip to Richmond, VA. The best part of my Richmond trip was becoming friends with Frank Di Gong and visiting the state capitol building. Frank is a Chinese MPA student who is in some of my classes. I haven’t really had a chance to talk to him much until this trip. It was fun to get to know him and his culture. I spent more time with him than anyone else on the trip.

Also, the state capitol building was amazing. As far as architecture and beauty, the Utah state capitol building far exceeded the Virginia one, but when it comes to history I don’t think that there is a state capitol building in the country that can outdo this one. It was humbling to stand in the same rooms where many of the founding fathers spent a lot of their time. I couldn’t help but think that many of those men were sent by God to help establish a free country in preparation for the restoration of the gospel.

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –
Cecilia – Total: 24.5 pounds
Ryan – Total: 23.0 pounds
Cecilia has overtaken me on the race to 35. I had better pick up the pace because if I don’t lose 12 more pounds by Nov. 28th, then I can’t go to the first KU basketball game.

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –
We have been doing pretty well, although we took a week off while I was vacationing.

Exercise –
Cecilia – She started exercising again. She did 5 out of 6 days this week.
Ryan – Ran 20 miles this week. I ran 3.0 miles in 19:59 on the treadmill.

Missionary Work –
Frank came to church with Joey (another LDS MPA student) and me on Sunday in Richmond. On Monday night we spent 3 or 4 hours talking about the gospel. He had some great questions and observations and seems very prepared to receive the gospel!

Temple –

There is no place like the temple anywhere on earth. We have made it all nine months so far this year!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Father of Invention

This week I haven’t done mini posts because I was semi-obsessed with a new decorating scheme. I always blamed our lack of a decorating budget to excuse our shabby furniture and style. Last week I had a decorating rebirth in Wal-Mart at 10:00 PM. Ryan was sleeping off a headache. Bella was in bed for the night, and I had a few moments to myself, and a car.

I’m not an avid shopper by any stretch, but everything else was closed. Since the Wal-Mart food section was really boring, I advanced to the home d├ęcor section, pretending I was going to redecorate. I browsed the curtains for ideas before heading to hardware paint for color schemes. I filled my blank walls and windows with imaginary frames and swags. That was when I decided to act.

One of the worst culprits in slopifying the apartment, is our almost antique, plywood furniture ensemble. Online I found a cheap decorating tip that changed my life: Paint your mix’n’match wood furniture and put on matching knobs. Within a matter of two days I acquired two wooden dining room chairs, a wooden table, a wooden dresser and a wooden computer desk for free (freecycle.org). As you can see, there was a little bit of cleaning/ fixing up involved in the preparatory stages. I am still not sure what was stuck to the table, but it pretty much came off with a spatula.

Decorating with almost no money has been a catalyst for my creative juices. It might have been boring if I had disposable income and could fulfill my needs at Pier 1 and Macy’s.

Having a surplus of furniture in a one bedroom apartment absorbs any wiggle room that might have existed. Yesterday I hauled the stuff outside and began the process of painting them all. I decided to try my hand at a faux-crackle finish. I now think that might have been a bit ambitious as this is my first try at painting anything, besides a neon pink and purple birdhouse that I made a decade and a half ago.

I wanted surprise Ryan with all new, painted furniture when he gets home from ICMA on Wednesday night, but was too excited to keep it a secret. I need to do six coats (two coats of primer, base color, crackle medium, two coats of top color, plus lacquer) on each piece, and some of them are large with a lot of detail, before I go to work on Wednesday. Watching paint dry is less exciting than washing dishes.

I hope it works! I still have nightmares about that neon birdhouse.

If you have any almost-free decorating ideas let me know.

Woes and Wasps

I have a new personal record for cell phone possession time. I’ve had the same cell phone since I got home from my mission more than two years ago (I did trade phones with Ryan about five months ago, but I didn’t buy a new one). Before I think the longest I went was almost nine months. Ask Brianna. My discarded cell phones formed the hearty foundation of her cell phone collection.

This week my phone called it quits. The outside screen was already broken, due to a mishap involving a food tray last year, but I furthered the damage when I used my purse to flatten a wasp that was meandering across the keyhole of our trunk when I came out of Wal-Mart. The purse’s “thunk” sounded a little heavier than I though it should, but didn’t think anything of it until Ryan called me a minute later. Shards of spider-webbed glass fell into my hand as I pressed the phone to my ear. Ryan taped the remaining glass in place as a safety precaution. A day later the inside screen quit, and after a final drop on our uncarpeted floor, not even the on/off button works.

It just so happens that all of this is happening simultaneously with Ryan’s phone grief. His keypad works in random intervals averaging one in seven days. While Ryan is out of town, I have no way to contact anyone besides e-mail. T-Mobile would only ship my upgrade to the Harvey home in Syracuse, so I’m sure I have a long wait ahead of me. The good news is, since neither Ryan nor I have phones we aren’t likely to go over our minutes this month.

Cleaning Lady's Top Ten

I really like my job. I’ve liked all of my jobs except Convergys and Weber State Credit Union. Since I was a little girl I enjoyed cleaning. Some have questioned my sanity, but there’s a feeling of accomplishment after folding three batches of tide-fresh cloths and towels, or vacuuming the carpet in neat rows without leaving a foot print. Here’s my list of top ten favorites of my part time work:

  1. Singing primary and Disney songs to Bella, while mixing and refilling cleaning chemicals.
  2. Carrying Bella in the Snugli on my back. It’s like a papoose, and leaves my hands free.
  3. Telling Bella princess stories in Spanish as I de-lint the dust cloths.
  4. Finding her tummy-time blanket empty, and spying the office manager bouncing Bella on her knee as she makes phone calls. She informs everyone she talks to that she has the cutest, tiniest five month old baby on her lap.
  5. Balancing Bella on my hip as I vacuum and scan inventory.
  6. Folding cloths one handed, while holding Bella and keeping her fingers away from the little hairs on the back of my neck with the other.
  7. Folding laundry twice as fast when Bella is sleeping, or otherwise occupied.
  8. Watching the office manager’s husband play with Bella on the floor while I change vacuum bags.
  9. Letting Bella play on carpet while I clean the dusters and change the laundry.
  10. Seeing Bella smile and curl up with excitement when I peek at her from the backroom door.

My least favorite chore is cleaning the vacuum beater bars. It is doing wonders to cure my aversion to detached hair though. I haven’t gagged for two days now.

I definitely need to get a Pack’N’Play for Bella though. She just started getting up on her hands and knees. I’m afraid she’ll be crawling before long, and access to bottles of Formula 900 and Mean Green might be a small problem.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Take Me Out to the Primary

Saturday morning Brother Felmley, the first councilor in the bishopric, called us as we lumbered out the door. Our arms overflowed with the car seat, diaper bag, temple bags, jackets, and a twelve hour supply of food. He asked if he could come over to our apartment, but settled for offering me a calling over the phone.

In the celestial room I had a unique experience, where I learned how much God loves the little children. I was impressed that I need to have that love towards the kids in my class, and to magnify my calling. It's a good thing I had that experience before I talked to Sister Moody, the primary president. She called me on the way home from the temple at 9:00 that night.

“Your class is….great,” she began but urged me to make my rules and expectations known to the class immediately, and stick to them. She also assured me that each of the kids in my class has wonderful parents that will back me up, and that tips for classroom discipline are on the church website.

Yesterday only three of the five children were there, one of them being Brother Felmley's son. I think I'll review those tips on the church website before next week. Otherwise, I am super excited to teach about the Book of Mormon again. I jumped in at just the right time, when Christ is visiting the Americas after his resurrection.

Chick-Flicks and Fingernail Polish

On Friday Meagan Spaulding, Rachel Anderson and I had a girl’s night. We braved the pouring remains of hurricane Ike and multiple tornado warnings, to watch a chick-flick and paint our nails. Rachel is 38 weeks pregnant. I tried to counter Meagan’s horror story of her 24 hour labor with Asher, by telling Rachel about the ten minute pushing it took to get Bella out.

When I was pregnant, after conversations with various mothers, I went home with wide eyes, imagining botched episiotomies and tampon-happy interns. I vowed to try not to scare new mothers with my own anecdotes.

Ryan didn’t mind missing girl’s night. He and Bella hung out in the Laundromat, washing and folding clothes/ watching the KU game on ESPN2. He didn’t mind, that is, until the game was over. He did mind the remaining hour before I went to pick him up

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Unglunking Bella's Gunk

Today I read some Dr. Seuss with Bella on our bed. After the Glunk got unthunk, I glanced at her to see if she thought it was as fun as I had. Her legs were pumping a hundred miles an hour, which is normal, but her eyes gaped with terror and her face was red. She wasn’t making any noises and she couldn’t breathe. I snatched her off the bed and whisked her into the front room.

“Ryan she’s choking!” Patting her back didn’t clear her airway and impressive amounts of spit bubbles escaped her lips. Ryan took her and tried patting her back too, but she just kept kicking and bubbling.

“Find the booger-sucker!” He said holding her up. I came back with the thing and sucked out some stuff in her throat and nose. She breathed again after that, and whimpered as I continued clearing who-knows-what out of her mouth. She didn’t have any foreign objects lurking in there.

Now I’m afraid when she isn’t making noises that she’s choking. Am I freaking out about nothing? Or is this abnormal? I’ve never heard of this happening to other babies, and this is the second time.

On the upside, Bella is almost sitting up by herself. She can do it for a little bit, but usually plunks backward after thirty seconds.

Early Insubordination

Thursday, September 11, 2008

KU sports

I have never really been interested in college football until now. The past two weeks we have gone to the football games and I have been in heaven. I can’t wait for basketball season to start. If I become too big of a fan then we might have to live in Kansas forever so that I can go to all of their games every year!

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –
Cecilia – This Week: 2.5 pounds Total: 21.0 pounds
Ryan – This Week: 0 pounds Total: 22.0 pounds

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –
Morning Prayer – 7 out of 7
Evening prayer and S.S. – 7 out of 7
We did it! Hopefully we can keep it up

Exercise –
Cecilia – She was sick so she took the week off.
Ryan – Ran 8 miles this week.

Stay-at-home-mom –
Cecilia – Now that she finished her dad’s stories, she has turned her attention to her mom.

Missionary Work –
Jimmy Dean came to church again this week. On Thursday he is going to come over with the missionaries for dinner.

Homework –
I started my new goal of doing 2 hours of homework per day last Thursday and I am 100% so far.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Right Side of the Bed

Bella always gives big smiles when she wakes up. I thought I'd share some of the sunshine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kersaint Cobb Makes Me Eat Crow

So far seven scammers have responded to my work queries on Craig’s List. Kersaint Cobb is my favorite con artist thus far, but Mayowa Wilson is a close second. They sent identical emails (poor grammar word for word, except the names) asking me to tutor a son who would be visiting from Germany. Kersaint wins because he responded a day sooner. For my convenience, they would be willing to pay me 40$ an hour via Western Union, plus they would send me extra so I could pay the “nanny” that would bring his son to lessons. I told Kersaint that I only accept cash and that he needs to pay the nanny himself, and so far he hasn’t responded.

Crow tastes alright, if eating it means we will be able to leave Lawrence with no student loans. I’ll be using my Bachelor’s degree in English—with an emphasis in creative writing—to clean offices. I get to choose my hours, and I can bring Bella. What more could I ask? I start Thursday at 3:00.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Soggy and Starving

Last night we went to another KU game. This time we wore appropriate KU apparel, but nobody would have seen if we were both wearing pink. We kept our jackets zipped up tight the whole game. We shivered through Gustav’s leftovers for four hours.
Ryan didn’t notice the soggy jeans as he cheered from the General Admissions seats, away from the students’ lack of vocabulary. I did see something that I haven’t seen since last April, my breath. I’ve also glimpsed the depth of Ryan’s devotion to football.

Last night was also the first time we have been out without Bella, except once when we were back in Utah. Assuming Bella had mastered the bottle and drinking formula, we didn’t worry about her starving while we left her with the Spauldings for five hours. I didn’t miss changing her diapers, or trying to feed her in public without getting cited for indecent exposure.
It turns out Bella hasn’t mastered taking formula from anybody besides us.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Toupee Party and a Mini-Me

On Thursday we watched a toupee and suit coat pep rally. The Republican National Convention brought memories of pom-poms and a packed high school gymnasium chanting morale-boosting rhetoric. John McCain officially accepted the republican presidential nominee among similar behavior. I haven’t decided which of the two presidential hopefuls to vote for. By the time Romney dropped out of the primaries I was all politicked out and haven’t recovered since. I finally looked up the plans that McCain and Obama propose, but they are so long that I haven’t slogged through much of them yet. Obama has some good ideas on how things should be (with health care, foreign policy and education anyway), but as far as I have seen, has no suggestions on how to pay for it. I like McCain’s running mate better than I do McCain, mostly because of her dedication to family values.

Last night we did a kid swap with the Spauldings. If we have a little boy, I would be pleased if he was just like Asher. He likes to hold Bella’s hand and stroke her hair. When Bella isn’t available, he wanders from the computer to the outlets and then fans, changing my email preferences, pulling cords, and almost chopping his fingers off.

After I met Asher, I couldn’t figure out who he reminded me of until two days later. He looks like the pictures I saw of Ryan when he was little. Harvey’s, you’ll have to decide if I’m delusional, but I think Ryan has a mini-me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

School Work

There is a point in most people’s life when they hit the wall and can’t do anymore school. For some that time comes in jr. high or high school. Perhaps that is why they do not go on to college. For others that time doesn’t ever come. That is how we get professors. For the rest that time comes somewhere in between. I hit that wall to some degree during my last semester at Weber State, but here at KU during the summer I was excited and did well in my classes. I know it’s sad, but it’s 2 weeks into the semester and I have officially hit that wall. In order to combat the urge that I have to just not do my homework I have done what I always do in these situations: set a goal! My new goal is that I cannot go to or watch football on the Saturdays unless I have done 2 hours of homework every day that week. I know that this is the only way that I can salvage my grades for the next two semesters.

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –

Cecilia – This Week: 3.5 pounds Total: 18.5 pounds

Ryan – This Week: 2.0 pounds Total: 22.0 pounds

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –

Morning Prayer – 6 out of 7

Evening prayer and S.S. – 7 out of 7

Tennis –

We hit the ball 47 consecutive times! Slowly but surely we are getting better, or just more lucky.

Exercise –

Cecilia – She did ABA 3 days and kick-butt home cardio the other 3 days. She is looking GOOD!

Ryan – Ran 27 miles this week. Ran 3.1 miles in 22:00.

Stay-at-home-mom –

Cecilia – She turned in both stories about her dad to her first competition. We might be getting some extra money!

Missionary Work –

I got to visit Jimmy Dean with the missionaries again this week. He is ready for baptism, he just has to decide whether to marry Peggy (his girlfriend) or move out.

TV/Reading –

We still have not touched our book since before the Olympics. My schoolwork has me very busy.

Sunburned Scammer Recruit

Bella passed her four month check up. Her stats are promising.

Weight: 9 lbs 13 oz (1st percentile)

Height: 23 inches (9th percentile)

Her height percentile is up from the 4th but her weight stayed in the 1st. Conclusion: She is a little girl. Blowing raspberries is her discovery of the week. It’s even cuter than the little growl she does with it.

The doctor told me that if Bella acts hungry after I feed her to supplement her diet with some formula. Nothing makes Isabella angrier than being tricked into sipping a little bit of formula. The front of her shirt, and mine, absorbed more of it than she did. We did triumph after a couple days. Mixing breast milk with a little bit of formula did the trick for the first couple days. Now she is able to drink Formula, breast milk free! Since we are confident that Bella won’t starve to death if I am not there to feed her, Ryan and I might even be able to go on a date without bringing a third party!

On Wednesday we went to the local beach. We didn’t commute to Louisiana. Instead we settled for the beach at Clinton Lake. Bella still doesn’t fit into the swimming diapers. They were made for 16 pound babies and she is barely pushing ten. She swished her legs in the water and got a jump start on solid foods. She skipped the rice cereal and went straight for the sand.

Ryan finally accomplished his goal. He’s been trying to dislodge me from the apartment since we got here. I’ve gone to a few activities, but it’s been pretty hard with Bella. She always chose to have bad days when I had something planned, plus I had to find a ride. This week I finally got out, and Ryan might soon regret it. Between trips to the doctor, the lake, play group, walks with Megan, visiting teaching and service visits, the bed wasn’t even made yet by the time Ryan got home from school.

The unfolded laundry lied in piles alternating between the bed and the couch all week until we did laundry again. I won’t do that again. Three hours of ironing isn’t good for my health.

The highlight of my week was falling prey to a scam artist. Ryan and I thought we were reconciled to taking out a school loan, but we both realized we can’t quite swallow the debt that easily. I hoped to ease our financial burden by finding a source of income that I could do at home. I responded to an ad on Craig’s list soliciting a home-based typist. I then paid 12 dollars for my “training supplies.”

The next morning I was shocked to find a word document in my inbox labeled “Training Materials,” which gave me detailed instructions on how to post convincing advertisements for working from home jobs, and then charge the schmucks that respond 12 dollars before sending them their “Training Materials.”

A few hours later I responded to the scammer that swindled us our 12 dollars. I told her she was breaking the law, title18 part 1, and that the punishment is up to 20 years in prison plus a fine, and that I would appreciate my money back unless she wanted me to report her to the Federal Trade Commission. She returned my money. I am still searching for a way to earn some extra income without sending Bella to daycare. If anyone has any ideas…(our apartment is way too small to consider babysitting).

The second most exciting thing that happened this week was that I got my first sunburn of the summer. Yes, I know it was the last week of August, but until the day before I was a hermit. I double slathered Bella from head to toe with SPF 50, but I forgot to put some on myself.

We went to the opening KU football game. They played Florida International University. Starting the season, KU ranked 16 and FIU 120 (just below Utah State), of 120 teams. In the first half FIU ran -3 rushing yards. I didn’t get the memo about acceptable apparel. Bella and I were the only ones in pink. The rest of the stadium, including infants and toddlers, was decked out in red and blue.

The only upset at that game was in our stomachs. We got discount season tickets, which relegates us to the student section. Although alcohol isn’t allowed inside the stadium, there are plenty of sources of liquor in the parking lots surrounding the stadium. Inebriation has an unfortunate effect on the collegiate vocabulary, reducing it to four letter words. Their favorite kickoff chant included the “F” word, which is still reverberating in the recesses of my mind. I don’t think I can take another four hours of that, much less six whole games.

Ryan tried to do All-Body-Attack with me. He decided it was too complicated half way through, but I have to give him credit for trying. After I finished my workout we went to play tennis. We left a casualty on the side of the road. The squirrel darted into our path and changed his mind just in time for me to feel him hit under my feet. He reminded me of bull frogs after rain storms in Puerto Rico.

Labor Day was more enjoyable than the 4th of July. We found some Utah/ Idaho transplants that don’t have family to celebrate with either. We did a weenie roast at the Spaulding’s. Ryan and I supplied the guacamole and juice, the Hinckley’s brought the pasta salad and the Spaulding’s provided the hot dogs, desert, and their apartment.