Thursday, April 09, 2015

See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety.

Yesterday Anna spent several hours planning a date for me and Drek. When we showed up at her house, she took our kids, gave us a book, and sent us away. Inside the book was a piece of paper with lots of numbers. A treasure hunt! How exciting!

After spending several minutes trying to decode the numbers, Drek gave up and texted Anna, who sent him back the answer, which he announced without even telling me he had given up. I was still working on it! I would like to think I would have come up with the answer on my own (the code was so clever!) but sadly, that is probably not true. In any case, we figured out the next location and went off in search of another clue!

When we got there, I spotted the envelope duct taped to the clue right away. We opened it up and decoded clue number two all by ourselves, with no spoilers. This time we were to look under a bench in front of Cold Stone. Once again we were off!

At Cold Stone we looked all over, under, and around the bench. Finding nothing, we looked some more. My phone rang and even though I shouldn't have (Hello! I'm on a date with no kids! This never happens!) I answered it, thinking it might be a clue, because I am crazy. It was not a clue. It was someone with which I had the following conversation:

Them: "Happy birthday!"

Me: "Oh! Hi! Thanks!"

Them: "So, you're thirty years old now, huh?"

Me: "What? No, I'm twenty-nine today actually."

Them: "Right, ha ha, you were twenty-nine last year."

Me: "Uh, no I'm twenty-nine this year, Really."

Them: "Ha ha ha ha. You need another year to get it right, huh?"

Me: "No, I was born in '86. I'm really turning twenty-nine today."

Them:  "Uh, huh, yeah right. How long have you been twenty-nine?"

Me: "I may never speak to you again"

During that distracting conversation Drek had texted Anna, who informed him we were in the right place; the envelope with my name on it was supposed to be duct taped under the bench. Inside the sealed envelope, in addition to another clue, there was a Cold Stone gift card for free ice cream. They deduced it had been found and stolen. Anna gave him the next location and Drek lead me to the car. We reached it before I got off the phone. When I finally hung up he told me what had happened. I wanted to go back and search some more, or ask the clerk at Cold Stone if some kind soul had turned in the gift card, or some evil soul had used it, but we were already at the car, so away we went.

We found the next location and I quickly found the hidden envelope, only to discover it was empty. There was no clue. After looking all around and trying to decide if the envelope had invisible ink, we called Anna, who realized the person who stole the gift card probably followed the clue, hoping for more rewards. She gave us the last location, just a few blocks away. When we arrived, I saw the envelope, and once again it was empty. Someone had indeed stolen not only my gift card for Cold Stone ice cream, but my treasure hunt as well. They left behind the envelopes with my name written on them, but had taken the clues. What kind of person does that?

Disappointed, Drek and I headed back to get our kids, The treasure hunt had started out a lot of fun, but had quickly turned frustrating. I'm trying to focus on the fact that Anna really went out of her way to make the day special for us and not on the fact that there are people in this world who steal treasure hunts.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Let me tell you something about the human race. You put a mysterious blue box slap-bang in the middle of town, what do they do? Walk past it. Now stop your nagging. Let's go and explore.

On Wednesday our family went on a little adventure to explore some caves at a State Park. Our company included our family, including a five year old, almost two year old and a pregnant me, and another family, including a fiver year old, eight year old, and a ten year old.  It may seem like an April's fools joke that this is the group we took to go exploring caves, but, I assure you, we actually did, and it was awesome. 

We went on a hike through a slot canyon. besides having some stunning scenery, the temperature in the shade was perfect, and around every corner was a crevice to explore (it might be a cave!). We actually did find a few caves. They were small, buts till fun to explore! 



After making sure we hadn't lost anyone, we headed into the big cave. This cave was deep and dark, but not difficult. There were only a few times were you had to duck or turn your body to fit through a tight squeeze. Everyone made it to the end and climbed out, only to turn around and realize we had to climb back in: 


And this is where it got a bit more tricky. Now the kids were tired, and the way back in was steep. I tied my almost two year old to my front  in a Mei Tai, and the other adults carefully guided us back down into the cave. Once inside we made the trek back to the front of our cave and to our car. I am proud to say I carried two children the whole way! 

We should go caving more often. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Oh, You've Redecorated!

After some hard work and very long days we finished taking out the lawn from the backyard and replacing it with mulch, two new trees (orange and blood orange!) and several plants: 













We did it because it will look nicer once the rainy season ends and we our beautiful lush carpet of green turns into dry, cracked dirt. And because of the drought, our water district might even pay us! They are encouraging people take out their lawns in exchange for money. 

Grow, my baby blood orange tree, grow! grow up and help pollinate the older blood orange tree so I can harvest my own blood oranges!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"You could've made the same point without crushing the hopes of a young doctor who was actually excited to have this job."

I've been receiving WIC checks and attending WIC appointments for almost 7 months now. I am not a fan of the WIC program, and in my very opinionated way, have dreamed up all sorts of ways to make it more efficient, more streamlined, and better for everyone. But that is another subject entirely.

Part of the WIC program is education: They make you take little classes in order to keep getting your WIC checks. Last month at my WIC appointment I was told that I needed to attend the WIC breastfeeding class, which I met with incredulity, as I was told this while breastfeeding my 22 month old.

"I know how to breastfeed. I actually want to be a Lactation Consultant one day."

"Yeah, looks like you've got it down, but it is required."

"Well, ok, I do love my LLL meetings. I'm sure this will be just like them!"

"Next week then?"

"No. Next week is my actual LLL meeting. There is no way I am going to miss it. Do you have one in two weeks?"

"How about three?"

"Great!"

And so, today, I showed up at the WIC breastfeeding class required for all pregnant mothers. It started fifteen minutes late, because the teacher was late. She came in and tried to get the video to play, but it wouldn't, so after five more awkward minutes where no one said ANYTHING She finally stood up and said:

"Well! It will just be short and sweet today! Let's get started. What do you guys know about breastfeeding?"

-Dead silence-

"How many of you are expecting your first baby?"

-Everyone but me raises their hand-

She looks at me. I am actively breastfeeding Alexa at this point. My boob is out and everything. "Were you able to breastfeed?"

"Yes. She will be 2 next month and we are still breastfeeding."

"So what do you know about breastfeeding? "

"...A lot."

"Well, first off, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you breastfeed for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years."

I shoot my hand into the air. "Um, actually the AAP recommends a minimum of one year, and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years."

She is not pleased. "Well, we go by the AAP recommendations here and they say a minimum of six months."

Lady. Do not challenge me on a subject I am passionate about while I am pregnant. I am irrational, emotional, and right. You are dead wrong. There is no way the AAP recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 6 months. NO WAY. Also, you are making up that they say maximum of two years. They do not say that. They do not put ANY cap on breastfeeding. You seriously just made that up. But I do not say that. I smile and nod pleasantly and she smiles back. She goes on to explain the size of a newborns stomach and how "some women choose to breastfeed exclusively, while others chooses to use both formula and breast milk, and just let WIC know, we were here to support your choices."  She then explains how you get more WIC checks if you exclusively breastfeed until 6 months and the class is over!

It took longer to drive to WIC than for the actual speaking part of that class.

I do not believe anything helpful was said in that class, except that WIC will give you more to breastfeed exclusively. Nothing was said that helped me. Nothing was said that would have helped me breastfeed my first, What was the point of that meeting? And just to clarify, that was NOTHING like a LLL meeting, which are all group discussions where we work together to solve everyone's breastfeeding problems using the experience of other moms. LLL meetings are fun. This meeting was awkward and a waste of time.

As soon as I got home I looked up the AAP recommendations:
In the policy statement, "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk," published in the March 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. - found here

 I was so right. Minimum of one year, minimum EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for six months, and no cap.  You can't tell a room full of  soon to be moms that their goal should be to be done breastfeeding at six months! YOU CAN'T SAY THAT!!

So of course I called WIC and talked to the supervisor and then emailed her my results. The supervisor already knew the correct information, it really was that the teacher was making stuff up.

Now I really want to teach that class. I would do such a better job. I would say helpful things like newborns nurse ALL THE TIME. They nurse, then sleep for five minutes, then nurse again. They are nursing 24/7 for the first month. When your baby does that, do not be alarmed. Do not think your baby is not getting enough milk. Do not think there is something wrong. Do not think you are not producing enough milk, do not think that you have to breastfeed 24/7 for the next year. That is a normal newborn thing. The eat and sleep and poop. After a month they will calm down on the eating part.

I would say thing like: the more you educate yourself about breastfeeding before your baby is born, the more success you will have.  Read books.  Browse breastfeeding pins on Pinterest. Observe other women breastfeeding their babies. Go to LLL. Do SOMETHING to educate yourself.

I would then ask everyone to take a turn stating a concern that they have over breastfeeding, and we would address each one.

How do I volunteer to teach that class with no credentials?

Monday, March 02, 2015

We need to accept that the commandments of God aren’t just a long list of good ideas. They aren’t “life hacks” from an Internet blog or motivational quotes from a Pinterest board. They are divine counsel, based on eternal truths, given to bring “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”

This month was our ward's New Beginnings, which is an annual Young Women event where the current Young Women welcome all the incoming Young Women of the year and introduce them to the concept of Personal Progress and such. 

For our theme, the leader chose this "Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us. His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings." -Elder Uchtdorf October 2014 

So, of course, raindrops, rainbows, and umbrellas. Every single one of these ideas came from Pintrest, except the black table clothes draped over the blackboards, which was my idea. Hooray for some original creativity! But really, I could not do Young Women without Pintrest. 

$1 plastic tablecloths, some simple print-outs and frames, black tablecloths, white paper cut in the shape of raindrops and some silver balloons. Cheap, easy, effective.  


The refreshments were displayed on 3 tables covered in $1 white plastic tablecloths and striped with rainbow crete paper.  We served sugar cookies in the shape of raindrops, cupcakes with candy rainbows on top, a fruit platter, fruit smoothies in every rainbow color...









and this amazing rainbow cake made by the Young Women leader



The night went well. The program was mostly done by the girls. I didn't speak, I just assigned all the girls either a value or a class (Beehive, Laurel, Mia Mai)  to talk on for two minutes each. All the girls were well prepared and did a great job. There is only one incoming Young Women this year, so I asked everyone giving a talk to buy a small gift for her that had some relation to their talk. The girls gave fingernail polish, candy, a sketchbook, dollar store toys... and we presented the incoming Young Woman with the welcome basket filled with all the presents representing the different values and classes of  Young Women. 

Now can I relax until the camp fundraiser in a few weeks. Sigh. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

You are not a puzzle-solver, you never have been. You're a drama queen. Now, there is a man in there about to die, "the game is on," SOLVE IT!

Last July Drek created a start-up company. Since August, that company has been working on an a 3D puzzle game  for both kids and adults. Everyone in the company has been putting in long, long hours to get this app together. The release date has been pushed back several times, but it's finally all come together;


PuzzleHouse: Mystery rising is now available for download in itunes. 

We had hoped that once the game was live in the Apple Store  Drek would be able to stop working 60+ hour weeks, but he's been busy getting the social media side done (Twitter,  Facebook,  Google+,  Website/blog ) and now the company is focusing on releasing the game for Android, so there hasn't been any slowing down.

But that's life. And the game is really fun to play, both for me and for Ash.


Monday, February 23, 2015

You Just Don't Get to Put Those Images in My Mind. That's an Assault on My Imagination.

Ash came running in from playing in the backyard with an announcement: 

"So many bees! more bees than you've ever seen in your life!" 

I came out and found this: 

A swarm! How exciting! Having previously been a beekeeper for a short period of time, I knew that capturing swarms were one way Beekeepers start a new bee colony. I went inside and read a chapter from "Beekeeping for Dummies" on how to capture a swarm.

The guy writing the book says he loves to capture swarms in front of a crowd, because everyone thinks he is so brave: no gloves, short sleeves... but he says a swarm is when bees are the most docile, so really there is nothing to worry about.

Well, we still worried. We set up an empty beehive and Drek suited up. I held Sera and the camera, taking care to stand back, just in case. Mary was also watching, as was Ash.

The problem was that the bees were not swarmed on a tree branch like in the book, they were swarmed on a garbage can full of heavy chicken feed. there was no way to gently carry the whole swarm over to their new hive all at once, so Drek took the lid over first. I followed him with the camera, but Mary stayed back by the trashcan. She says that once Drek moved away, a swarm of bees flew up out of the trash can, and just like in cartoons, charged straight at her. She was stung around 24 times.

Meanwhile, Drek was successfully relocating these bees:


After a few more trips back and forth, the whole swarm was moved into their new hive:

Ash, Alexa and I, despite our proximity and short sleeves, were never stung. One bee made it through Drek's armor and stung his arm once. All in all, we thought we were quite successful, until we talked to Mary. it raised the question: Wait, the author of the book does this in front of crowds?! Sounds like they are the brave ones!


Sadly, the bees did not like their home. They stayed for a few days, then decided to move on to greener pastures. Ah well. Good luck, giant bee swarm. I hope you find a home.