Saturday, October 27, 2012

beer-battered fish

One time quite recently we made beer-battered fried fish. I sent Tim to the liquor store to buy some beer for the project. This is the golden year in which he gets to buy alcohol for the first time, even though he's been legal for a while. When we drive by the liquor store he usually points it out and says something like "I bought alcohol there."

We don't drink; I think that fact is probably highly manifest at this point. But I have also purchased spirits from the state liquor store. I think I used white whine for a sauce I was cooking when we lived in Provo. I wonder how many people liquor store employees see coming in to buy stuff for cooking and know nothing about alcohol. When I went in, I basically said, "Help! I am totally ignorant and I need a good wine for a white sauce I'm making for my chicken! Just pick a bottle, and I'll pay for it."

Friday, October 26, 2012

bodies bodies everywhere!

I did most of Tim's custodial duties at the funeral home today. Normally I stay mostly in the apartment and don't have much contact with the mortuary proper, but I have noticed it's been oddly busy lately. I mentioned this to my friend and co-worker Heather earlier, and she suggested it could be in response to the cold weather. Like some sort of fatal seasonal affective disorder. I think that makes sense, because I had noticed that increase in activity at the funeral home seemed to correlate with the decrease in temperatures outside. . .

Basically it's like a party round the clock here. I think I saw about 10 bodies today. It's a little unnerving to open a door and not know if there's a body behind it. (The answer is yes.) I know I saw at least 5 bodies in various states. I even got a look at the preservation room! I asked to see it, out of curiosity. There were 3 bodies in there at the time. 4 actually. The funeral directors showed me the machine that replaces the blood and told me a bit about the preservation process. Neato.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

6 months

Shepherd is 6 months old now (has been for two whole days now) and I feel strongly convinced that he is on the cusp of transitioning into that grand phase of babydom that involves a tiny body moving rapidly and unassisted (hopefully not unobserved) to one part of the house where he quickly commits some senseless act of violence and destruction on a nearby innocent piece of furniture or organized kitchen cupboard or neatly folded pile of laundry only then to more quickly relocate to another part of the house to perpetrate similar destructive acts before his mother and I can discover to our horror the havoc he has caused in the absolute cutest way possible. He is not to this point yet, thankfully. But he is very close and while I (half) joke about being terrified by the prospect of baby mobility, I am very excited to see him grow and develop.

When we brought Shep home for the first time six months ago, I felt like he was so amazing and cute and fragile. I looked forward to when he and I could play and wrestle around. Finally, Shep is entering the realm of roughhousing! He really loves being thrown up in the air and he loves being dropped . . . from short heights . . . and on soft surfaces like the bed, of course. And hanging upside down makes him smile profusely. And, as evidence of his impending mobility, the other morning he rolled over from his back to his stomach and then back on to his back. Then he did it again, just to prove that he meant to do it the first time. Furniture and piles of folded laundry, beware!

An other somewhat unrelated but quite interesting development: Whenever I play guitar, I have Shep's complete attention. He just stares, totally absorbed. He also likes it when I beat box and singing has always made him smile and often soothed him when he is upset. Maybe we are seeing the inchoate signs of a master musician?

Amanda adds a few more things about Shep right now:
  • He started babbling and makes d/t sounds a lot now. He also whispers, especially in the morning when he first wakes up, and it's terrifically adorable.
  • He can sit up on his own for small periods of time. 
  • He loves, loves, loves water bottles! Anytime we are drinking out of a water bottle with him nearby, he tries to grab it for himself.
  • He has had water a few times and just barely started showing an interest in eating real food. We fed him a little bran muffin pureed with rice milk and fruit smoothie and it was quite amusing. 
  • He still nurses to sleep most often and doesn't seem to know how to settle down and fall asleep without it. Also he wakes up about as often as he always did, 3-4 times a night, but hardly stays awake for long during the night.
  • He loves splashing in the bath but only if he's being held at the same time.
  • He generally hates being alone. He recently started moving his head and whole body to see us when we walk out of his range of vision.
  • He is starting to enjoy being surprised and a little scared, whereas before it just scared him and made him cry. 
  • He still hates his car seat most of the time. We rarely venture out with him unless someone's in the back to entertain him.
  • He plays with his feet, mostly when he's diaper-free. And though he plays with them, he doesn't usually suck on his feet.
  • He loves to ham it up when he gets a lot of attention from other people. As long as he's not screaming, he will smile so much for people who talk to him. You should come talk to him sometime.

Friday, October 12, 2012


We moved. Into a mortuary. Don't be too jealous.

It's actually been a couple of weeks since we moved, and yes, we have dealt with some dead bodies, if you were wondering. Now that we're settling in and getting used to making a living off others dying, let me tell you about it.

This might require some background information, though, because, dear blog, I don't think you know about our lives recently. Here's a run-down, in outline form:

  • Tim got a bunch of rejection letters from PhD programs that he applied for. :(
  • Baby Shepherd made his appearance as a living human outside my womb. (You knew about that one, I think.)
  • Tim graduated with his master's degree. :)
  • We were given a move-out date (late-September) for our student apartment. Apparently you can't live in student housing if you're not a student. Sounds like discrimination to me.
  • My 12-week maternity leave ended and I resumed full-time work at the beginning of July. (I am totally remote, though, so I get to stay home with the baby. And we can live wherever.)
  • On the 4th of July I was afflicted with some sort of gastrointestinal infection and stayed most of the night in the ER because other healthcare facilities were closed. Some Independence Day.
  • Tim started looking for a job.
  • Tim wasn't getting anywhere in his job search.
  • Our dear bishop's wife helped Tim find a job teaching at our local community college. He's not teaching English, as he would hope (that is what his BA and MA are in). But he's teaching! It's a great start because teaching factors heavily into his career goals.
  • Tim decided to take a class as a non-student at the U. He wishes they would've offered this class when he was a student because it fits in so nicely with his research interests (it's about border spaces, if you wanted to know, but let's not get too erudite here . . .), and it's awesome.
  • We found out a funeral home near Tim's job lets apartments to poor, young married couples. We called about it and "interviewed."
  • Close to our move-out date, we were offered the apartment and job.
  • We moved to a funeral home.
  • We didn't have internet so I took some forced vacation time.
  • Tim started working at the funeral home in order to earn our keep. Custodial/maintenance-type things, mainly. He washes their cars a lot, and thus he sometimes drives a hearse.
  • Also we sometimes answer the phones when the office is closed. People sometimes call when other people die.
  • Tim sometimes goes and picks up the bodies of the dead.
  • I watched an eye bank employee "recover" the eyes from a recently deceased man who was being stored in a freezer. A freezer for dead bodies.
We weren't really sure what to think at first. At first, we were thinking about death a lot, and we weren't sure about it. Were we cursing ourselves by willingly inviting the grim reaper to be our roommate? But we think we are gonna like it here. We sure love cheap rent!

Friday, October 5, 2012

now that I can sit without help (temporarily) . . .

I need to work on getting there without help.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

yo, Tim, happy birthday

He held the baby while I made a dinner for him. Which we ate with Bryan and Alex.
I put the cake in the freezer where some corned beef fell on it and destroyed it. I thought it looked more impressive before the destruction.
The cake wasn't as good as I had hoped, and neither was the rest of the meal, but it was still good and hopefully enjoyed by all.
Tim says he's not going to eat chocolate again until he turns 29. (That's next year.) ONE-YEAR CHOCOLATE FAST? Did you know he's addicted to chocolate? What a year this is going to be . . .

Sunday, August 26, 2012

what he thinks of tummy time

Look closely for the drool.

Monday, August 20, 2012

my man knows me well

For my birthday on Saturday, Tim presented me with a nice breakfast with frugally sourced items. He almost bought a flower at the grocery store, but figured I wouldn't appreciate that as much as one picked from the side of the road. Also we don't have trays or vases around here (apparently), so he borrowed those from his mom. Also free. Excellent work, Husband!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I just love this picture because it looks like Shepherd is rooting for you. GO YOU!

Also I think I will have a new series of blog posts titled You Know You're the Parent of a Baby When . . .

First installment:

Tim: Amanda, are you in your car seat?

He meant to ask me if I was buckled in, but I understood.

Friday, July 13, 2012

3 months

Shepherd is 13 weeks/3 months old today. And what a 3 months it has been! We are enjoying watching him grow.

He's happy-awake more and more, cooing and smiling, especially in the mornings. He also drools like a madman. He is starting experience a little bit of stranger danger. (Is that normal for his age?) Simultaneously, he is getting less and less fussy. He's still not a champ sleeper, perhaps because he is incredibly wiggly all night long, even when swaddled, but is doing better in that regard, too: he wakes up more like 3 times a night on average instead of 4, and he's better at napping during the day. (This probably at least partially explains the decrease in fussiness.) He loves when his dad sings to him and loves it when we talk to him in general. He's so expressive; it's so fun to watch his face.

Cheers, Baby! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Except for that whole baby thing, we are thoroughly unobligated at the moment. Tim is school-less and job-less indefinitely, and I am work-less until July 2. (I'm a little nervous about returning to work after maternity leave.) Since I'm using all my accrued vacation time to get some income during my leave, we figured we might as well take advantage.

Shepherd's baby blessing in church was June 3 and we had several visitors from out of town for the occasion, including Tim's dad and stepmom from Florida, his sister Julie and family from WA state, and my brother Jon from Austin. (Shep has been lucky to also meet his aunt April and family and his uncle Ryan, who both visited other weekends before the blessing.)
Shep's outfit for the blessing before we removed it due to heat
Tim and Bro. Jon

Family . . . isn't it about time?

Julie + family invited us to tag along to Yellowstone, where they were headed for a vacation the day after the blessing. It seemed like a bad idea until my brother asked for a ride to Logan. So off we went!

The first day in the park we went to Old Faithful together and watched it explode from the cafeteria inside Old Faithful Lodge. Then we all jumped in the minivan, leaving our car at Old Faithful, and drove around the Grand Loop. I didn't know the loop was so grand. We were driving a long time. Also, the loop does not begin at Old Faithful. Once we got back between the start of the loop and Old Faithful, it was getting late and the kids (and adults) were a bit tired. So Julie and I hopped out with all the minors while Tim and Rance when back to get our car. Problem: I didn't have a jacket. There was an extra blanket in the van, though, which I wrapped myself and Shep in as we walked down a one-way road that looped off the main highway. It was cold and hailing for a bit, but it was a relief to get out of the car. By the time we got to the end of the road where it meets back with the highway, Tim and Rance had not arrived back, so we walked alongside the highway in that direction to meet them. We looked a rag-tag crew marching down the side of the road; several people stopped to ask if we needed help. Then we saw a lone bison on the other side of the street hanging out and started to get a bit worried. We kept walking and passed him, but several minutes later, a passing car alerted us that a bison was following us in close proximity. Bad news. A car that I'm fairly sure had already stopped to solicit help returned to ask if we were going to be okay when the bison was within yards. We were about to hop in their car to wait him out but Tim and Rance arrived at that moment to pick us up. Whew! Crisis averted.

The next day Tim and I ventured out on our own and checked out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We hiked to "Uncle Tom's Point," which is basically a massive staircase that has a cool overlook of the waterfall, and then hiked along the north rim of the canyon a bit. Good times.

Bison sighting

Random nose-picking child tourist

The "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone"

Lugging baby (and my residual baby weight, mind you) down to Uncle Tom's Point (I also carried him back up! I was proud of myself.)

"In the waterfall's shadow"
We drove back through the Grand Tetons, which was nice. 

Yellowstone is interesting because of how developed (in a touristy National Park sort of way) it is. Thank you, Stephen Mather. But it's cool that it's super accessible. You could go there and see a whole bunch of cool stuff even if you were in a wheelchair.

Father's Day Weekend, we headed to Sacramento to camp with Darren and Ryann. The baby did not do amazing in the car on this trip overall. Poor baby. He slept a total of about twenty minutes for the ten hours on the way there. He did sleep a while when we made a pit stop at some outlet stores in Reno (for the express purpose of getting him to sleep). While there, he pooped in my hand in the bathroom and some passers-by asked me if he was a real baby while we were walking around. Maybe because I was carrying him like this:

This may not be a very informative graphic, but he was riding face down in the crook of my arm. Does that make me a bad parent? He wasn't crying, so he seemed to like it . . .

We drove out to San Francisco one day and Tim showed me around a bit because he went to school there his freshman year. We mostly drove around a lot because Shepherd was fussy and big cities + newborn babies equals madness. But we went to the beach, the Legion museum grounds and Presidio, got some fish and chips on Fisherman's Wharf, drove down Lombard Street, around the Haight-Ashbury, etc. 

Then we went camping with Darren and Ryann near Tahoe. Which was nice. They are experienced campers and we aren't, so it was cool to tag along and rely on them a bit. We saw a bear on our drive into the campsite. I'd hoped to see one in Yellowstone but hadn't, so I felt like my wildlife sightings were complete after that. (We came to expect when there was traffic in Yellowstone that there would be a wildlife photo op or bison were blocking the road.)

We took about 5 pictures total of our trip to California, and I'm not sure why. I guess because we'd taken so many in Yellowstone? Sad.
Darren and baby

Tim's bouldering wound

This point is insanely long. If you didn't read it, I don't blame you. I just wanted to document the "two vacations in two weeks" novelty of our June. Here's to a boring rest of the summer!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shep at 10 weeks

Things to remember about the little mister right now (he does not prove the following generalizations to be true in all instances):
  • Is occasionally okay with being set down and left to his own devices and is starting to like being carried facing outward
  • Doesn't fall asleep or stay asleep during the day well most of the time (only seems to sleep well during the day if we are carrying him while walking or hiking)
  • Sleeps fairly well at night when we are lying down with him in the bed

    (Ha! Tim has a pillow on his face!)
  • Smiles and coos! (He used to smile socially only in the morning but is smiling more and more often throughout the day now.)

  • Fusses often but inconsistently (We hope we're getting through this colicky phase soon. Having a screaming baby in public can be a little mortifying.)
  • Kicks his legs like crazy when he's mad and, with help balancing, can support his weight (He also does a funny fist pump and jittery arm thing when upset.)

  • Is growing out of his newborn clothes, which were huge on him at first (!!!)

    April 16, 2012 (Not excited to be leaving the hospital, oddly enough.)

    June 21, 2012 (Matchy crying face! He hates having hats put on his head generally.)
  • Has been in six states including Utah since he was born (we took him on two road trips through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, and California) and has survived the long car trips.

    Hey, Shep, do you remember that one time you saw the ocean in San Francisco?
  • Occasionally opens his right eye wider than his left, which looks pretty buggy

  • Widens his eyes really big every time we go under an overpass, in a tunnel, parking garage, etc.(It seems to be the only thing we can count on with this guy!)
  • Has regrown the hair on top of his head that he was born with and then lost (His baldness pattern resembled Grandpa Rowan's)
  • Nurses pretty much everywhere we take him (Yellowstone, San Francisco, camping, restaurants, church, etc.) . . . I hope I am not offending anyone (wearing a cover). This results in odd trip photos.
  • Started taking a bottle in the car and a binky a few weeks ago; rode in his stroller once when we took him on Trax (we felt like we were playing house pushing him around in the stroller)

  • Seems to respond to being called Shepherd, though we call him "baby," "little man," and other various epithets perhaps more often

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anniversary #3

Our anniversary this year (which was on Monday) was kind of pathetic. I guess that's what happens when you've had a baby ten days earlier. I was thinking I would put my wedding ring back on to commemorate the day since my fingers stopped being so swollen after I gave birth, but I keep forgetting to do that. The baby cries every time I think to, or something.

We took the little man to the doctor to get circumcised on our anniversary (sad day), and while we were in the waiting room, I looked over and said "Happy anniversary!" to Tim, who responded by being miffed that I beat him to the chase. He said he thought about it when we were putting the kid in the car seat but then forgot to say something out loud. The baby must have started crying right then, or something. That was the extent of our celebration. Party up in here!

Having a kid together makes me feel like we've really bonded, though. I love my not-as-little man (as well as my little man) and am excited to see Tim grow as a father. He's been great so far.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Samuel Shepherd Rowan was born 6:23 am on Friday Apr 13th. (We are not sure yet whether we will call him Sam or Shep and we could be influenced by your vote.) He weighed 6 lbs 1 oz, measured 19 inches, and was very aware of his surroundings! He has really big eyes that are always looking out and around, sucking in everything, except when he is sleeping (which he could do more of) and nursing (which he wants to do all the time).

We finally got home from the hospital on Monday afternoon after a rough extra day and night spent there. Amanda was being treated for infection and Sam/Shep was a bit jaundiced so he spent a somewhat tortured night unwrapped and away from his mum under a special blue light. But Monday morning he was just fine and normal and Amanda was sufficiently afebrile. We are all very happy to be home and, after a bit of nursing, we celebrated by taking an uninterrupted two-hour-long nap—literally the longest nap of Sam/Shep's life!

Amanda is good, if a bit sleep deprived, and very happy to be home. On Thursday morning we went in for our regular appointment with the midwife and she was a bit concerned about Amanda's dangerously high blood pressure and had us go up to the hospital. After a long day of testing and deliberating with another midwife, we decided to induce her at about 5 p.m. with this vaginal pill called Cytotec. After four hours of that, Amanda was well effaced but not any more dilated or having much in the way of contractions. So at about 10 p.m., they gave her Pitocin. About an hour later she has having some pretty intense and consistent contractions but she wanted to try to labor naturally, which was part of her original birth plan. She did really well even as the contractions got more and more intense. Finally at about 3 a.m., she was dilated to 5 cm and decided to get an epidural. After that she was able to relax though she never fell asleep. Things went really fast after that! By 4:30 she was completely open and started pushing and by a little after 6 a.m. she had a baby in her arms. Amanda was a little disappointed that things did not go as she had planned (she wanted to go into labor naturally and labor at home for a while before coming to the hospital), but she was able to avoid a C-section and the baby is very healthy.

And now for some pictures, in chronological order:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

penciled in

Apparently I'm supposed to be giving birth in a few minutes. Tim put it on the GCalendar, see? Apparently it's on his "school" calendar too, so it's something akin to going to class. It's too bad it doesn't really work that way. I'm not sure how it works.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I went to the hospital Monday for an ECV. It wasn't the most fun thing ever, but the good news is that baby turned. The doctors warned there's a good chance he'll go back to breech, so we're hoping he stays put until he comes out. We're also hoping he comes out soon, which is probable (I have a bit less than 3 weeks until my due date at this point!).

Here's Tim hanging upside down on the inversion table. I did this, too, but usually not at quite this angle.

And here are some before and after shots of my belly. I'm not sure how apparent it is, but the baby is definitely positioned quite differently in there after the procedure and it feels totally different. Which is kinda crazy. I'm told by a select few that it looks different too. It sure feels lower.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Process of Molding Breech Baby into Head-Down Baby

image from here
We've resorted to some interesting measures recently in order to try to get Breech Baby (that's what we're going to name him) to turn head-down like a normal fetus. Gee whiz, what's his deal? The midwives told us about using moxibustion. So basically my pinky toes have been smoking weed (well, mugwort herb, more precisely) recently. And the apartment and our clothes testify to it. That stuff is pungent. I might have to go outside next time. In full view of the neighbors, preferably, so they can really start wondering/complaining about us.

Other methods we've been using:

  • Swimming pool acrobatics
  • Playing music to my pelvis
  • Applying frozen veggies to the top of my uterus
  • Hanging on an inversion table 
My friend from work (who just birthed her own baby yesterday!!! ack, exciting) lent us the inversion table:
At first I was hesitant about the idea. I wasn't sure what an inversion table was, and I read that it can be dangerous for pregnant women, especially those with high blood pressure. Also, it's not like we have a ton of extra space in our apartment. (Our front room looks like a wannabe fitness center with the inversion table and birth ball and exercise mat.) Tim and I have both enjoyed hanging out upside down on this thing. Also it seems like it should be really effective for the remedying of Breech Baby because I can flip back upright quickly without abdominal effort.

Although these would be effective remedies to boredom if we were bored, which I sometimes am, they've proved thus far ineffective as methods to get Breech Baby with the whole preparing-for-birth program. I'm going to be adding the following method to my list of techniques on Monday:
  • ECV (external cephalic version)
If you want to watch a weird (mostly in the sense of the musical accompaniment) video showing what this is, please enjoy the following:

The silver lining to this is that I might otherwise be getting pretty anxious at this point to go into labor because pregnancy sucks, but since laboring with Breech Baby could very likely lead to a C-section, I'd like to get him turned first.

Also, I hear the ECV procedure can be pretty painful so that could prepare me well for the pain of contractions? Give me a good opportunity to practice hypnobirthing?

Yeah, we so excited!