Tuesday, April 23

1 Year....or something like that

Dinobaby is a year old!!!

Fine Motor: Leopleuradon continues to be a fine motor genius. He can remove wooden puzzle pieces, drop tiny baby spoons into the mouth of a water bottle, and hit the keys on his piano-thing one at a time. He removes tiny nails from a peg board, and can stack these weird block things we got for Christmas. He also spin things between his fingers.

Gross Motor: Dinobaby is sometimes so coordinated that I can't really believe that he is a product of my athletically challenged body. Like he can climb out of his high chair and stand on the seat (which btw incited sheer terror). He cruises around the house holding on to things with one hand.

He can totally walk by himself, he's taken up to a dozen independent steps. However, he still pretends that he needs to hold my hand. Sometimes he compromises with himself and crawls on two hands, a knee, and a foot. This is hilarious.

I'm sure this would make a great meme.

His latest development is moving while hoarding. Like he likes to hold on to his tiny toy cars, so he'll army crawl around the living room on his elbows. Also hilarious. He can also hold things over his head without falling over (I bet you never thought about how difficult that is until just now). And can throw things on purpose.

He has a hard time coordinating with himself still, which is perfectly normal. So putting legos together with two hands is much harder for him than stacking one on top of a lego on the floor. And he really wants to use utensils but.... this happens.

Language: "Uh Leee-oh" this is how dinobaby says his name.  He consistently signs more, all done, and bird unprompted (there are a lot of birds around our yard). He responds to his name, plays peek-a-boo when you say the word peek-a-boo, and waves when you say goodbye. Most adorably, he waves at his books when the characters  say goodbye. "Bye, bye dragons." He also waved back from his carseat at a truck driver at a stoplight.

He can blow raspberries and click his tongue in response to raspberries and tongue clicking. And he'll mimic other normal sounds.

Social: He loves playing next to other children and babies. Usually he pats their hair,  which is a foreign concept to dinobaby. He also steals paci's to investigate them for a second and then he'll pop them back in (like I said, super coordinated). He'll point things out to me that are interesting to him. And he's forever telling me about the birds (or squirrels that he calls birds, or even just the fact that a bird is singing somewhere).

Little dude, also really loves music. He even waves his arms in time. I don't even think that's possible, yet I've seen it, so I guess it is. Innate rhythm. Sometimes he does a happy squeal too. Usually at church where there's the greatest number of people to impress with his singing abilities, and it's nice and quiet so they can hear him.

I'm sorry I missed last month. It's been exciting around here, and I just kept forgetting to post anything. I'm 15,000 words in on the crappiest SF/Fantasy book ever (p.s. if you write novels in secret/or in the open, I want a writing group--comment below if you're interested).

I also started writing a blog with my sister.  More of my random thoughts will go on the joint blog, so if you liked those sorts of posts, you should subscribe there.

And if you're wondering what "these weird block things" are:

Sunday, March 17

My Unique Kid

In celebration of my baby living one crazy and crazy awesome year, I thought I'd list some of my favorite quirks.
  • He tugs on his ear when he's trying to get comfortable
  • He really is fantastically happy to see you after you've been away for any stretch of time. This is like all out bliss for daddy, but this also extends to open-my-mouth-as-wide-as-I-can happy when he sees me out of the car window when I go to unstrap him from his carseat after a five minute ride home from the library. 
  • He loves high objects. The clock on the wall, the fan pull-cord, tapping on the monkey bars,  picture frames, whatever he can convince you into lifting him up to. 
  • Really, really likes to eat--especially marshmallows and donuts (which probably says something about my parenting... fyi, he doesn't eat these things often)
  • Loves to bounce
  • Curiosity often beats out fear--for instance he is terrified of the vacuum cleaner, but will pull his head out of daddy's shoulder in bursts to investigate it at the same time.
  • He loves old ladies. And old ladies love him. "Well hello pretty baby" (apparently maturity leads all women to refer to dinobaby as "pretty" which is endearing) to which he responds by babbling happily.
  • When he gets worried after exploring independently for awhile he'll sit up and look around the room for me. When he finds me, he stretches his hand towards me and says something like "adooo." I repeat this back to him as I point at him. He smiles, and then he repeats the process a few times. After a few pointing exchanges he's ready to take on the world again. 
  • He likes to sit in doorways and open and close the door, just for the challenge of it
  • He loves to be swung, wrestled, tossed, rolled, tickled, etc
  • He plays peek-a-boo with the baby gate or his crib by holding onto the top rail and alternating between crouching and standing
These are all of his quirks, but they'll suffice for now. I'll get a new month update soon-ish, but I need to take some more pictures first. 

Sunday, February 17

NPR and Mormonism

I really love NPR. Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, A Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, The Diane Reams Show, Science Friday, Radio Lab.  And I love the local flavor of each station. In Utah, the local voice is Doug Fabrizio. Oh, Doug. (I'm on first-name terms with Doug in my head...as I am with all NPR personalities). Doug doesn't like Mormons. Not like Westboro Baptist hate, just a consistent sort of "ugh, why are you the way you are?"

I understand it. Utah has its own culture and quirks, most of which are informed (sometimes poorly) by Mormon doctrine. I think it's legitimately difficult to live in Utah and not identify yourself with the Mormon church. So when I was getting my NPR fix and Doug got a little heavy-handed with his obvious negative feelings about Latter-Day Saints I would just shake my head and say "Oh, Doug" fondly to my radio.  So ingrained is this response that I find myself thinking "Oh, Doug" whenever I read or hear comments about the irrational faith, frustrating "blind obedience," or backward intolerance of Mormons (or religious people generally when combative atheists have the audacity to lump all "Theists" together.)

Recently I've found myself stumbling across all kinds of "Oh, Doug" worthy posts especially written by  people that were raised Mormon and have since sought their spiritual fulfillment somewhere else. Again, I understand.  A crisis of faith is a pretty earth-shattering experience for everyone, but I think its particularly hard for Mormons because our religious life saturates every other aspect of our lives. Knowing how important my church was to my family and my upbringing, if I ever hypothetically left "the church" I would probably feel the need to cry out for support for my decision. I don't want to demean that very real pain and anguish that those people are facing, or antagonize them by commenting on these posts. And from my own experience wrestling with God, I know that a comment wouldn't really help. No one else can give you really satisfying answers because in the end, spirituality is our most personal journey on this Earth.

However, I do think the LDS church is worth defending.

First of all, it is really alright to have doubts. Yeah, it makes your mom nervous, but your mom, however saintly, is not God. It is okay to have doubts. Not everything we believe in ties up neatly in a little box. For instance, the problem of human suffering in light of an omnipotent God, is one of the oldest paradoxes in history.

Secondly, I really loathe the insinuation that the only reason I still have faith in this church is because I haven't thought about it. I am an intelligent individual and I am a Mormon. I love my religion and I love learning about my religion. I have no fears learning about and from other religions and pursuing whatever knowledge there is to be found. If there is anything true, a faithful Mormon should embrace it. I strongly believe that we should be smart about our religion. Ignorance is not pleasing to God. Religion really isn't simple nor is it easy to sum up. We aren't children anymore. It is no longer sufficient to say the golden rule to ourselves and be done. There are meaty, inspiring, troubling, glorious, weighty things to study and decide your own opinion about.

God also doesn't need us to lie for him. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can stand up to scrutiny.  And believing in God isn't easy. There are moral dilemmas inherent in faith. The bible isn't strictly filled with stories that give you warm fuzzies. But, there is beauty in complexity. And, Mormons have a messy history. We believe some pretty controversial and fantastic things. But, there is no dirty secret to Mormonism. I'm not saying I know every detail of every LDS leader back to Joseph Smith. But, I am saying that I am not willfully ignorant. And, I also think that there are completely faithful, believing Mormons that have studied in rigorous detail almost any topic or fact that could bother you. There is an entire floor of Mormon scholars, editors, and researchers that are publishing every scrap of paper that could possibly be attributed to Joseph Smith. There is nothing to be unearthed that is so damning that only an idiot would continue to believe. Conversely, perhaps the central tennent to our faith, other than the divinity of Jesus Christ, is that humanity has the unalienable--even by God, Himself--right to choose. So, I'm really completely alright that the evidence for the validity of the LDS church isn't overwhelming. I believe that this is a church run, ultimately by God, and if that's the case, He can't make it as apparent as the sun rising in the East. He has to preserve our right to choose for ourselves, to parse out the evidence individually.

So I guess this is me saying to Mormons mid-crisis, hold on. Hold on through the unanswered prayers. Hold on through frustrating search for answers. Hold on through the late-night conversations. Hold on. Because when the storm finally calms, you will have a better, richer, more fulfilling spiritual life.

I believe.

If you would like to deepen how you look at Mormonism and enrich your faith in a less "officially sanctioned" way, I heartily suggest Mormon Midrashim, and of course an excellent interview from NPR from none other than Doug Fabrizio himself with Terry Givens (where Doug was actually fantastically non-antagonizing).

If you want to know more about the fascinating doctrines of Mormons, like our belief that all of us can inherit heaven or that our souls have always existed--please feel free to message me. Or you could always check out our official website, or have an online chat with a real Mormon :)

Thursday, February 14

The Farm Dream

I have a lot of dreams, but my most realistic, realizable dream is to be a farmer. I really love plants and being outside. I love the idea of being able to hangout at home with my kids. I love the concept that all of the meat I eat came from an animal that was treated well while it was living. And, I especially love that I will have all of the super delicious, awesome food I want. It's a little bit about self-sufficiency, and a lot about resource stewardship and appreciating the miraculous, life-giving food we eat.

Tunis Sheep were raised by all of the cool Founding Fathers .
They have  oatmeal colored wool, but their heads (and babies) are red.

Like bread. It's $2.00. Two dollars, and it represents that wheat was sown, weeded, watered, harvested, cut, threshed, cleaned, and ground. It was mixed, leavened, punched down, risen, baked, sliced, and delivered to a place where you could pick it up with your other groceries. Crazy. That being said, I have no desire to grow wheat. Civilization evolved because all of the processes that grain takes to be tasty is really labor intensive. No thanks. But, that's my point. While I think it is entirely unnecessary to admire every slice of toast, I do think that occasionally you should think "Man, I am so blessed. Look at the bounty all around me, that is really ridiculously cheap when you think about all of the labor I've been saved." And I think growing food reminds you that tomatoes, and shredded cheese in a bag don't just spring into existence, ex nihilo. While many of our foods are factory farmed all of it eventually comes down to the vicissitudes of rainfall and sunshine. In the post-apocalyptic future where dust obscures the sun, we could still make three bajillion microchips, but we would sooner rather than later starve to death. 

I also think that we should thank our meat. I know most people don't like to think about the fact that something died in order for them to eat their Chicken Alfredo, but it did. And ignoring that fact doesn't make it disappear. A little gratitude and perspective is in order. Perhaps my body doesn't need to eat a former living thing every day. Thank you chicken for nourishing my body and for being so delicious while doing it.

And growing your own food means that you can select for taste and not shelf life. Which explains why until I was 15 I thought I hated raw tomatoes. Turns out I just hate the watery, tasteless, mealy, nasty tomatoes they sell at grocery stores and on fast food sandwiches. Also explains why anyone grows Red Delicious apples, because it is certainly not because they are actually delicious.

*Even if you don't care about animal living conditions, factory farms are bad for humans. The U.S. Department of Labor surveyed 51 poultry processing plants and found 100% had violated labor laws by not paying employees for all hours worked. Also, one-third took impermissible deductions from workers’ pay. ...and yeah, there's Food, Inc.  But unfortunately, the options for non-factory foods are often ridiculously overpriced. Sorry Whole Foods, but even small organic orchards don't need $12.00 for a quart of applesauce.  I don't need my groceries to show how intelligent, hip, and environmentally aware I am, so I don't really want to pay for all of that self-congratulation. So, I'll grow my own. 

My Future Farm Animals (maybe):

Man, bees are so cool  and fascinating. Like for instance
every cell in a male bee's body is haploid. They
are like highly mobile, multi-cellular gametes.

Angora Rabbits...it's seriously amazing that
 evolution and artificial selection can produce
a creature that looks like it was invented by
5 year old or maybe Lisa Frank.  

Cayuga Ducks--Gorgeous color, huh?
Bourbon Red is apparently the tastiest Turkey
breed according to blind taste tests. Also heritage
turkeys dance as part of their mating ritual. Cool. 
Nubian baby doe--- oh my heck, the ears.
Nubian milk is especially good for cheese making
because it's super high in fat

Amerucana Chicken eggs--Unlike brown eggs,
blue eggs are blue throughout. Meaning
when you crack them open, the inner shell is also blue

Angora Goats--for whatever reason they remind me of Hobbits

Tuesday, February 12

11 Months--You've Got to be Kidding

Dinobaby loves the splashing
p.s. what an awesome--little mid-air water spheres
Dinobaby is 11 months... which really just means now I can tell people how old he is using normal people units. Weird. Almost a year. Dinobaby has grown so much this month.

I want it so bad

Language: Sometimes (infrequently) he says Mama. He is also pseudo signing More and all done, but mostly he says Whaa! and gestures with his hand towards what he wants. For the more linguistically inclined among you, Dinobaby can make the following phonemes: Ba, Da, Ma, Na, Guh, Ff, Ng, Thu, Vvvvvvv, a very gutteral Kah, Aaa, Ooo, uh, eh, and wah.

He very obviously comprehends more words than he can say/gesture, i.e. his name, Daddy, and look.

Yeah nesting rings!
Also, not sure where else to put this so I guess I'll put it here. Leopleuradon can also sing. It is really, really cute. Like he'll wake up in the middle of the night and sing to himself for a few minutes before falling asleep. They are only two-note phrases, but still awesome. For the music geeks, usually they're major third jumps back and forth, or every once in a while perfect fifth slides. He usually does this loudly at church during hymns ("oh, yeah, singing! I can do that! OooooooOooo!") or he'll do it quietly along with me when I sing to him at naptime. Oh man. Cuteness.

Gross Motor: Hand-eye coordination is here with a vengeance. Or at least a desire to be coordinated anyway. Dinobaby loves to put things in and out of bigger things. Egg and cup, nesting rings, socks out of the laundry basket, legos in their tray, and you know, a pot lid in a skillet.... He also loves to clap.

He's also getting much better on his feet. He can stand independently for almost a minute if he's concentrating. He also walks much faster holding our hands than he did before, and every once in a while he'll venture a step when he's only holding on with one hand. He pulls up and walks on his tip-toes to explore the edge of the desk.

Fine Motor: Dinobaby has been on a big book reading, page turning kick. He's getting really good at separating the pages and lifting flaps--using the inferior pincer grasp (side of index finger instead of the pad). He points with his index finger at different things in the book and grunts  random syllables so he is starting to isolation movement in each finger. At naptime he often plays with his hands, flapping his fingers shut over his palm. And, he can sort of roll a toy car across the floor, showing wrist control. So pretty fabulous fine motor skills

He looks so old here--plus look, visible hair!
Sleep: Oh my lucky stars! Dinobaby is almost sleeping through the night. He now goes to sleep around 6:30-7pm and only wakes up once, no dreamfeed or nothing, sometime between 4:30 to 6:30, and wakes up really at 7-7:30. It's awesome! I've also stopped fighting the naps, and now I just take Dinobaby's morning nap with him (sacrifices must be made *wink*) and lie down with him in the afternoon and write letters or work on writing projects from the bed.

Hello, I'm adorable.
Miscellany: Dinobaby really loves marshmallows-which essentially ruins him for real food for the rest of the day. He's not going to see another marshmallow for a long time. It is impressive how willful he became over them. He's going to be one awesomely driven toddler. P.S. anyone know how to start teaching social graces like please and thank you and not completely freaking out while waiting for dinner to get cut up? Right now the fake-cry whining is kinda cute, but I have no idea how to prevent it from becoming super obnoxious toddler crocodile tears I also don't want to be unrealistic though, he is a pre-verbal baby.