Monday, December 15, 2008

Isaac’s first cold

Oh no, a post with no pictures! Boring boring boring. Read no further if you only come to see Ike’s smiling face.

Isaac has a cough and runny nose. Poor kid. It is so sad to hear him hack away. He got it Saturday. We went to our church Christmas party that night and it was obvious where he picked it up!

We went to the pediatricians last Thursday for Isaac’s 6 month visit. It was like Isaac remembered the trauma there because as soon as I started undressing him he started to cry. But hey, I cry when I get shots too. He also always screams when he’s weighed. Stats: 17 lbs 5 oz, 26 inches. That’s about 50th percentile for both. My little brother informed me that it is unacceptable to have an “average child”. He also informed me that Blake and I are perfect for each other because we are both “uber nerds”. What a geeky, average family we are.

And a funny story to end on.

On Thursday, Blake came up to me with a guilty look on his face and said, “Marie, I can’t find my wedding ring. I’ve looked all over the house and all over school.” I just looked back at him with my own guilty look.

You see, on Wednesday I noticed that Blake had forgotten to wear his wedding ring to school. So I decided to hide it. I thought that when he came home, I could “notice” that he didn’t have his ring on and ask him where it was. That would lead to a five minute search for his ring, during which I would interrupt him with a “Just kidding, it’s right here!”

Except I promptly forgot about it after I hid it. It reminded me of how my brother sabotaged my scholarship application, except that was infinitely worse. Sorry, Blake, to make you waste precious time looking for your ring when you should have been studying for finals! Luckily, Blake thought it was kind of funny. But now I am watching my back for his revenge.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We have been very lucky to have visitors lately! My dad, aka Pops, came to visit a month ago. He was a very generous guest and he left us feeling very spoiled. Pops is welcome any time! We went out to eat and I got the best pasta I have ever had in my life. The restaurant is Eleven Eleven, if anyone dines in St. Louis. Pricey, but amazing.

For Thanksgiving, my brother Chris and sister Anne came to visit. We played lots of games and watched Brian Regan dvds and ate lots of dessert. And drank gourmet root beer. Apparently I have the king of all suppliers of gourmet root beer right down the street at a grocer called Straubs. I never knew what I was missing, but now Chris is very jealous.

We went to some Indian Ruins--the Cahokia Mounds. Pretty cool.

Woodhenge (no really, that's what it's called)

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we took off for Independence, Missouri to see some church history sites. We planned on leaving at 8, when Isaac usually wakes up. However, Isaac didn’t sleep very well that night and woke up much earlier than usual. So I was really worried we were in for a cry fest in the car. We left at 8:30, right when Isaac was wanting to take a nap. Chris sang to him in the back seat and Isaac sucked on his pacifier and watched Chris and fell asleep with no crying! Amazing! I was floored. Throughout the whole trip, Isaac did so well. I am so proud of him!

Being entertained by Chris

We walked around the old Independence temple lot in Independence. We then drove up to Adam Ondi Ahman (also in Missouri). It was beautiful, even in the winter. Then we drove down to Far West and saw the cornerstones of the old temple there.

Truman's House in Independence

On Wednesday, we drove to Liberty and saw the jail, which is inside a visitor’s center. It is rebuilt on the original foundation. It was neat to see the place where Joseph Smith was incarcerated for so long, for no reason. Then we drove to Richmond and saw a couple graves. I didn’t get out for the last two graveyards because Isaac was falling asleep while I sang endless verses of Old MacDonald had a farm. . .

I am so grateful for our pioneer heritage. Traveling to these sites made me again realize the sacrifice that the pioneers made in standing firm in their beliefs and not giving in to mobs and temptation. They were endlessly persecuted for their beliefs but had the courage to endure and build up the kingdom of God.

On Thanksgiving, I cooked all morning—mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls, and turkey. It all turned out ok, except I still don’t make as good rolls as my sister or mom does. I was nervous about cooking a turkey but it was surprisingly easy. Chris did the hard part of carving. We went to the arch and for a walk around our neighborhood and to the medical school.

And then our visitors left the next day. That’s ok, because we fly to Utah in three weeks!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Isaac laughing

He loves this toy! Good thing, because Blake spent lots of time putting it together...
It's so fun to be at this stage, where Isaac is laughing more and more. So cute!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

About my boys

Blake was published! He spent three years as an undergraduate/graduate student in a lab at the U and the research he did contributed to a paper in Nature magazine.

Life is not fair. I also sent in my graduate research to be published, now fully two years ago. It was rejected by one of the reviewers and given ten thousand comments by the other reviewer. I spent hours fixing up my paper with the help of my advisor and now it is under review again. It has been such a pain. And Blake didn’t have to do anything and now his paper is all pretty in a journal! OK, so actually I only spent one summer on my research and a couple months writing, so Blake collectively took more time on his. And between the two of us, I’d rather he was published. I don’t need to write a resume to our kids and list my publications in the Journal of Geotechnical Engineering so that they will hire me as their mom. But Blake’s publication will help for residency, etc. So fine. But I still wish my paper was published!

Blake also did research this summer and he just displayed a poster at the medical school. Isaac and I went to see it.

Isaac fell asleep on the way home.

Halloween was fun. Isaac was a dragon. It is hard to make costumes! I don’t know how people do it--this just about did me in. I don’t even know how many hours I wasted on it. My machine kept going crazy and I kept making mistakes. So I never actually finished it—notice the unfinished sleeves. But it was fun to dress Isaac up and go to our church’s trunk or treat. Isaac fell asleep right after we got there because it started at 6 PM, just about his bedtime. I guess he didn’t want any candy...

Saturday, October 25, 2008


We love our new apartment. It was the cheapest two bedroom around. And it is way nice, especially compared to what we have been used to. But we are renting from an individual condo owner, and I don’t think the place has been really cleaned in years. I have been going at it, little by little, washing walls and cleaning blinds and washing the cabinets. I will be so happy when we finally settle down into our own house and I will not have to clean anyone’s filth but my own family’s. I always wanted to fix up a house but now I’m rooting for brand new. Anyway, I was cleaning a deep kitchen cabinet and found a receipt for 1992! Scary.

Our neighbors, for the most part, are very quiet. But last week someone buzzed us three times at 3:30 AM. Blake finally went to the door. It was some drunk girl trying to get in to our neighbors. They weren’t home so she buzzed us. That would be a logical step if it were 7 PM. Blake yelled at her that she was going to wake up our baby. (The buzzer is really loud.) She said that Blake didn’t need to be so rude and wasn’t he going to let her in? He said no and knocked on our neighbor’s door. No one was there. 5 minutes later we heard him get home and open his door to let in a whole party of people! At 3:30 AM! We didn’t care—we couldn’t hear them in the apartment, but we wish our neighbors had friends smart/sober enough to realize it’s not exactly kosher to buzz a random person in the wee hours of the morning.

Isaac got an early Christmas present from Grandma Karen and Grandpa Kent. He loves it already! The first time we put him in it, he played/looked at each toy, one by one, moving himself around the circle, until he had gone around three times. It’s amazing to me he can do that already.

Isaac also loves to see how many fingers he can fit in his mouth...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

4 Months

Isaac is the spitting image of his dad. The following picture is one of Blake that Blake’s mom sent us. Crazy. Although I think Isaac is not quite as chunky. We went to the doctor last week for the four-month visit and Isaac dropped from 90 percentile in weight to only 75th! Congrats to 15 lb 10 oz, 24.5 in. Sir Isaac. I will celebrate by eating a cookie.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Google Picasa

Wow, coolest program ever! I made the above collage from it. I know it’s not very fancy and you can do much more things with digital scrapbooking, but it doesn’t get much easier than Picasa collages. I am addicted to editing our pictures now. I look so much better airbrushed! Just think, I was going to ask for a new camera for Christmas, but now I am just as happy because my pictures look cool with all the gadgets. Favorites: sharpen, warmify, glow, retouch. OK, sharpen isn’t saving right now, but I’m sure those google engineers will get it working soon. What can you do, it’s the beta version.

Isaac is doing so much better sleeping. He is definitely outgrowing his colic or fussiness or acid reflux, whatever you want to call it. He goes to bed at 6:30ish and sleeps until at least midnight, but usually later. Once he slept until 5 AM! After that he’s eating and sleeping until 8 AM. Life is good. Last week, I was even able to start putting him down during the day for naps. It was getting really exhausting holding him all day and having him insist to be held during his naps. He doesn’t always let me put him down, but at least once or twice during the day I get a break. And then I’m really productive and do things like edit pictures or read novels like the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, which was really good.

We just got new insurance, and they are stinky about pre-existing conditions, so they won’t pay for Isaac’s reflux medicine. But we think he is outgrowing it anyway, so we are going to see how he does with tapering off the meds. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grocery Shopping

When I first moved to St. Louis, I quickly decided that I was not going grocery shopping by myself. Once, on the way home from work, I was trying to be efficient so I went to Aldi’s—a totally St. Louis place to grocery shop. It is German minimalist so it is a tiny store with only one brand of everything. It is the cheapest place to buy food (I think) so naturally, it attracts ME (student budget) and a not-so-upstanding other population of the city. Oh, and you have to release your grocery cart with a quarter, which you get back if you return your grocery cart. Awesome, I love it. Anyway, you can only pay in cash or by debit card, so I paid by cash and I forgot to zip back up my change purse because I had to pay those pennies (I am so my mom) and all of my change dropped on the floor. The cashier was really nice and jumped down to help me. The man behind me also stooped down and kept what he picked up. Thus, I decided that he could keep the 35 cents or whatever, but I was not going grocery shopping alone because it just creeped me out.

But now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I feel bad making Blake go grocery shopping with me. “Hi, Blake, I’m glad you’re home from school. I haven’t done anything productive today except to feed and hold/bounce your son.” So I went to the store by myself. This time, though, I was at Shop N Save instead of Aldi’s, which attracts a slightly nicer crowd. What a workout! I held Isaac in one arm and pushed the grocery cart with the other. It got quite heavy too, because we are trying to build up our food storage again now that we know we aren’t moving for another three years. And it was buy $50, get $10 off day. I love that! St. Louis does have pretty good grocery stores. When I got to the checkout, I started to one-handedly put all of my stuff on the conveyer thingey (is there a name for that?) and a lady pulled up behind me and started helping me! Such a small thing but it absolutely made my day. Made my week. Made my whole grocery shopping experiences in St. Louis that much better. So thanks to the nice Shop N Save patron.

I have a great husband. Whenever I complain, he does something about it. Usually. So I complained that we never go on dates anymore and this weekend he took me on one! Isaac tagged along, but he made it more fun. We picnicked in Forest Park and went to the zoo. I guess Isaac had to come along or we would have looked a little silly at the zoo by ourselves. Not that it probably looked all that better with Isaac sleeping in the front pack or chewing on the front pack with his head down, totally oblivious to all time and place.

Isaac has decided that he likes his baths! This is a huge relief to me because he has screamed through every single one since he was born. Needless to say, I only bathed him once a week (maybe once every 10 days...). But now we are bathing him every other day because he has discovered that as much fun as it is to kick the bed, it is much more fun to kick water! I took a video but you can’t see his legs because I couldn’t bear to bare all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Families are forever

When Blake and I moved to St. Louis, we quickly realized that when people say Utah drivers are bad, they have no idea what they are talking about. St. Louis drivers are terrible! They turn left from the straight lane if the left turn lane line is too long. There are exits on the left on the freeway so that is an excuse for slow drivers to sit in the left lane. They are the slowest mergers: either they expect everyone to make way for them, or the slow down if a car is approaching when everyone knows you’re supposed to accelerate when you are merging on a freeway. They don’t get in the intersection to turn left if there is a yield on green sign and if the light turns yellow, they won’t make the left. If they can cut in front of you, they will. And they coast through stop signs.

Not that that is peculiar to St. Louis, or that it has particularly bugged me before. I think we all laugh on Clueless when Dion says, “Hello, there was a stop sign back there...” and Cher answers, “What, I totally paused!” because we all do it. But last Sunday, Blake, Isaac, and I went for a walk. We were crossing the street at a stop sign and a woman approached in a car while we were already in the intersection. She coasted through and started speeding up right as she was hitting us. Blake and I both had to jump out of the way. The car touched both of us but not hard enough to bruise us. We are so lucky that we weren’t knocked down, especially since Blake was wearing Isaac in the front pack. I am glad, though, that I insisted that Blake wear the front pack because what if Blake had dropped Isaac?

Anyway, an experience like that makes you realize what is important in life. We both were just concerned about Isaac. As I cried on and off Sunday night, I thought about how grateful I am for the knowledge that families are eternal. I know that if anything happened, I would see my little boy or husband or sister or mother in heaven.

Anyway, to lighten it up, here is a stick figure dramitization.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Isaac's first Cardinals game

Our friends Logan and Sarah got tickets to the Cardinals game so they invited us. Isaac was a real struggle. Blake and I took turns taking him to the back of our section to bounce him and a lady back there was so enraptured with him that she gave him a pack of baseball cards. But then she wanted to hold him and I couldn’t exactly say, “Thanks for the cards but no touchie.” He screamed the entire metro ride home. I think he was just tired of the noise. Kudos to Logan and Sarah who listened to him. I’m sure they’re crossing their fingers that their child, whom they meet in March, is not as loud. But when we got home he was all smiles. He was happy to finally be home.

He is also starting to reach for things, which is fun to watch. We wonder if Isaac is going to be a leftie because he always reaches with his left hand.

The goal of the week is to get Isaac to sleep in his crib. Sunday night he slept 5 ½ hours! I slept horribly because I was worried he would 1) die of SIDS or 2) wake up too often or 3) I wouldn’t hear him when he did wake up and he would cry and cry with no relief.

You're supposed to be sleeping, Isaac!

Logan and Sarah at the Cardinal's game

Isaac's asleep! Not for long...

This picture is for Megan--the shoes she made are so cute!

Goodbye Larson

I'm officially unemployed today--I’ve decided not to return to work. It was a hard decision when it came down to it. I have loved my job here in St. Louis. It was a young, fun office with great people and opportunities. I’m going to miss eating lunch with all the women engineers in the office! I never knew there were so many before I worked here. Hopefully they will let me still go to Girl’s Night Out with them. Anyway, it’s a great company and they have been really generous and fair with me. For example, they paid for my insurance and Isaac’s insurance for my whole 12 week maternity leave, knowing I wasn’t coming back. So if you ever need engineering services, try them first:

Since Blake still has three years left of school, we really can’t afford to have no income. But we’ve decided we’d rather regret making less money than regret missing these early formative years in our kids’ lives. So we will take out more loans and maybe some day I will go back to work, but we’re not going to worry about that any time soon. Elder Ballard gave a great talk about staying home with your kids right before I had Isaac. It really inspired me, especially this: “It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes.” To read it, click here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cute things about Isaac

1. Even if he has just eaten, he will peck at my chest, moving around and over and up and down, as if he thinks if he just moves enough, he will eventually find that place that milk comes from.
2. If he falls asleep while eating and I put him up on my shoulder to burp him, he will wake up and look around with wide eyes like, “Who, me? Asleep?”
3. His little 50th percentile head on his 90th percentile body.
4. He’s so cuddly when he’s tired—he’ll just lean into me and fall asleep.
5. He crosses his eyes when he’s going to the bathroom.
6. He takes his (reflux) medicine so well! The nurse gave him an oral vaccine and was surprised when Isaac stopped crying when she gave it to him instead of starting to cry like most kids. He must like anything going down his throat...
7. If he’s crying in the car, the surefire way to calm him down is to play Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.
8. He looks like he’s getting dimples, making his big smile even cuter!
9. His coos.
10. If Blake talks next to Isaac’s head while he’s eating, Isaac will stop eating and his eyes will get wide and dart around, looking for Dad.
11. When we’re on a walk, Isaac will sleep through an ambulance but when we get home and I open the door, he wakes right up (dang...).
12. He always stretches after he eats. He will put his hands up in the air and stick his bum out and cross his legs Indian style. If you pick him up, mid-stretch, he will stay in this position, crossed legs and all. I call him baby Buddha.
13. He can wiggle his way into any position he desires, when I hold him and he is trying to find the perfect sleeping arrangement.

Last week, Isaac got 5 vaccines at his 2 month checkup. 4 of them were shots, so the pediatrician recommended that I give Isaac a dose of children’s Tylenol when I got home. I did so and it was awesome! He slept 5 hours straight that night. Which reminded me of going to Walmart one day with Isaac. One of the salesladies came up to me and started stroking Isaac, which made me nervous but that’s beside the point. She told me that she had a two-year old and the only way she could get him to sleep was by giving him children’s Tylenol! This is why my brother Chris and I decided you should have to take a test before you have children.

That’s ok because I could just hear the clucks of disapproval about my parenting skills this morning. Isaac and I went out for a morning walk, like we usually do. I, however, am used to Utah weather in which you can tell it’s going to rain hours before it actually does (if it really does come down at all). Anyway, we were a mile away from home when it started to rain. This was no sprinkle—it was an all out storm! Two good things: it only poured half the way home, and Isaac slept through the whole thing.

Whoops! If you can't tell, we are wet...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moving and blessing

Wow, August has been good to us! We moved, hooray, to a two bedroom luxury apartment. Well, to us it is living high-- central air, washer and dryer, dishwasher, plus extra storage in the basement. We didn't think we'd ever upgrade so fast, especially when we're not making any money to pay for it...It’s a little ‘80s with brown countertops and forest green carpet, but we love it.

Blake’s parents were nice to come out and help us move. We felt bad that they worked so hard on their vacation but we couldn’t have done it without them. We also had help from Kevin, Nick, and Elliott from church. Thanks, guys!

And Isaac was finally blessed in church on August 3. He scared me to death the night before because I woke up and he had slept 5 ½ hours all on his own in his car seat! Maybe he’ll shock me again some day. We got to church 20 minutes early so that I could feed Isaac there. That was my plan so that he would be happy during his blessing. It worked like a charm! No crying whatsoever. Blake said he even cooed during the blessing. We were happy to have so many family members here for the baby blessing: Kent, Karen, Todd, Jeanette, and Bekah. We all partied the day before at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the arch, the Soulard farmer’s market, and the Cathedral of the Basilica. Everyone left on Sunday except Bekah.

On Monday, Bekah and I had fun at the Science Museum, the St. Louis Bread Company, Union Station, and Crate and Barrel. It was fun but weird to not have her five kids around! Bekah brought me the cutest quilt ever for Isaac. It is called “Mama’s Boy” and there is a picture below. I don’t know where she ever found the time. I have the best family! I wish everyone could have come to visit.

Our new place

Bekah and Marie at the Botanical Gardens

"Mama's Boy" quilt, made by Bekah. It's so cute!

This is how good Isaac's second time in the stroller went...once we walked 3 blocks to Forest Park, he decided he wanted to be held so he could fall asleep!