Saturday, December 22, 2012

Meeting Santa

Slouching Jay, festive Lindsay, and elfin Kate at our ward Christmas party. 

I set Kate on Santa's lap, and I wish I had gotten a picture of this part, but she craned her neck to look up at his face for a second, then faced forward and let out an awesome, panicked cry.

Not the best first impression, Kate, but I'm pretty sure Santa will bring you presents anyway. Good thing you're so cute.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Three Things

1. Our sparkly Christmas tree

2. Kate's tooth

3. Kate's other tooth

(Yes, I still bathe her in the sink and will probably continue to do so until she's five.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twelve on 12.12.12

{All pictures taken a couple weeks ago at my parents' house.}

{Note the vestiges of stuffing around Kate's mouth--she and Grandpa bonded over food.}

1. Time is so fluid and elastic. At this point in my life, I feel like there just aren't enough hours in a day--seems like before I know it, Jay's home and it's time to sleep and I wonder what on earth I did all day. It's actually a bit unnerving.

2. As previously discussed, I'm not much of a kid person. Kids, especially in herds, make me crazy. And gross me out. (One on one, they're usually okay. And if you're my friend, I probably like your kid. And if I treated your kid in therapy, I probably liked him/her most of the time.) I'll admit there are days when Kate makes me crazy and grosses me out, but I love her desperately. And that is a huge relief to someone who had a lifelong fear that she wouldn't like her own children.
{"Mmmm... Stuffing," thinks Kate. "Mmmm... Chocolate Crinkles," thinks Lindsay, eyeing Lisa's efforts}

3. I feel like I'm a crazy emotional yo-yo recently: MUST CONTROL EVERYTHING-----let it go-----MUST CONTROL EVERYTHING---let it go-----

4. I am actually a bit sad that there won't be a "Thirteen on 13.13.13" post to write next year--I'm a numbers nerd and I love stuff like that. (Here's 10.10.10 and 11.11.11)

5. One year ago, I was very pregnant (and looked like this). It is amazing how much my life has changed in the last year. 

6. A year ago I was working full-time, we lived in Texas, we had a one-bedroom apartment, Jay was still in the middle of his residency, we had no kids. Crazy.

{Kate's first Christmas tree experience. She started scooting forward this day for the first time. She loves reaching for ornaments!}

7. I love the perks of Las Vegas, but I still miss my Texas life. A lot, some days. Turns out that, much as we love her, Kate cramps our social life. And while it may not be completely fair or accurate to lay all of the blame on Kate, it's weird not hanging out with couple friends at least two nights a week. It's hard starting over again in the friend market. I feel like I'm back in the dating pool after a break-up. 

8. I'm coming to the dawning realization that we probably won't ever have a super active social life again. I guess the next big thing is living vicariously through our children and crashing their slumber parties ("Who wants to see Kate's baby pictures??").

9. We live close to family in Las Vegas. Even though I miss friends, family is the best. And we're lucky to have family here that I would choose to be friends with even if they weren't family.

10. Kate and I went to a friend's house today. Kate rolled so her top half was out of my sight, and after a minute, I heard some indignant noises from her friend, Haddie. Turns out Kate somehow got her hands on Haddie's bottle and was chugging away. I had no idea Kate could take and hold her own bottle like that. She looked pretty pleased with herself. In other news, looks like she's (thankfully) not allergic to dairy...

11. I've been wearing my glasses the last few days because one of my eyes got infected last week. It frightens me how poor my vision is--it's impaired if anything is over a foot away from my eyes. With only the center circle of my vision in focus through my lenses and the periphery soft and blurred, I feel like an Instagram filter has been applied to my view, and not in a good way.

12. Still, though, I love to sit before the Christmas tree, eyes and vision au naturale, my flawed focusing creating beautiful bokeh: glowing, pointed orbs springing from the strings of lights and nestling among the branches.
{Kate loves Grandma}

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Labor Day at Lake Powell

My parents have a time share in a houseboat on Lake Powell. We joined most of my family and some cousins there over Labor Day weekend. The weather was perfect and the lake was beautiful. We had a blast. 

Cute Kate. She did not like her sunglasses, the sand, the sunscreen, or the cold water, so this was the only time we dressed her up and tried taking her for a swim.

We had lots of surfing/boating/jet skiing fun. Here's Steve in the water.

My cousins brought their crazy husbands. Above is Stacia up on Ricky's shoulders. 

Since that went so well, Ricky and Luke decided to try it. They didn't give up easily, but it didn't happen. I guess the surf board and physics decided 400 lbs and a wonky center of gravity was a no-go.

David (left) and Ricky (right) cliff jump. Check out Ricky's sweet suicidal swan dive.

 We had some pretty crazy weather while we were there, but for the most part, we had beautiful blue skies with puffy white clouds.

On our way to Lake Powell, there was the most beautiful double rainbow arcing across the entire sky. This rainbow occurred a couple days later; we admired it from our houseboat. 

We had a fantastic time! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood

At the risk of setting a dangerous precedent, I decided to make Kate's costume this year. I've never made anything by myself from a pattern before, but with some encouragement (thanks, Kiyomi!), I decided to give it a shot.

I used this pattern and tutorial. Since Kate is so small, I printed out the child size pattern at 70% and added two inches to the bottom of the cape to give it a little more length (in case she wants to "dress up" with it in the next year or two). I probably could have gotten away with buying 3/4 or 1 yard of fabric, but you don't know what you don't know, so I have a bunch of extra red fleece. Maybe I'll make her a Santa costume next year?

Jay made fun of me when he saw these pictures because of the pumpkins. "You're using PROPS now?" he said. 

It's possible that I have, in the past, poked fun at some photography trends (naked babies in weird crocheted cocoons, anyone?), but the pumpkins were just setting the mood. Festively. 


Besides, Kate was super entertained by them. She still can't crawl, but she a champion sit-and-reach-er. And she likes to touch everything.

She also likes to taste everything. How was it, Kate?

Not super good, huh?

 I know I'm super biased, but when I tried the unfinished cape on Kate to make sure it fit, I could hardly stand it. The words "cute," "cutest," and "adorable" may have been used. Or overused. 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Snuggling with Socks

One night, Jay and I were trying to get some cleaning done. Kate was a little higher maintenance while in her cast, but we put her on our bed with a couple toys and sneaked out (no need to worry about Kate rolling off the bed in that cast!). After a couple minutes of fussing, she started making her tired noises. We didn't go back in the bedroom for awhile because we knew as soon as she saw us, she'd start crying again. When I finally dared peek in, this is what I saw. We had put away some laundry that had been on the bed, but we must have left a few unmatched socks behind. Kate had apparently gathered the (clean) socks within her reach and piled them on top of herself, snuggled in, and gone to sleep.

Jay's comment was that she must not be my daughter because I cannot stand the feel of socks of any kind. 

Sweet little baby.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kate's Cast

Kate a little while after her fall on 9/15--there wasn't any swelling that would indicate a fracture, but you can see her little bruised knee. I snuggled with her on the bed, and as long as she was close to me and her leg was still, she was calm. What a sweet little baby.

The Cast. Called a spica cast, it covered her entire left leg, wrapped around her middle just past her ribs, and went halfway down her right leg. The bar is for convenience in lifting and manipulating her. There was a (too small) opening under that (enormous) diaper. The whole ensemble weighed about ten pounds, practically doubling Kate's weight. Because the cast went up so high, she couldn't sit up or bend at the waist, so we couldn't (safely) put her in her car seat.

So we were pretty much home bound, Kate and I. Lucky for me, Kate is a champ. She was her normal smiley, chipper, pleasant self within a couple of days.

I did get cabin fever sometimes, but we were blessed with wonderful friends and family who were incredibly helpful and supportive. I got at least one call or text a day asking if I needed anything from the store, I had people bring over lunch or dinner, lend us movies, watch Kate so Jay and I could get things done, drop by to visit, invite us to places in walking distance, even send flowers (thanks, Katie!). I was very overwhelmed and very thankful. Thanks also to my mom and sister who each came out to stay for a night so Jay and I could do the things we needed to. Thanks to Jay's Aunt Marlene who watched Kate and brought a beanbag she'd purchased on behalf of Jay's Aunt Linda so Kate didn't have to lie flat all the time.

It was a difficult time--especially that first week--and I felt incredibly blessed and cared for. Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers.

The cast was only on for a day shy of three weeks, but it felt like so much longer.When the cast did come off, it took a couple days to remember how to lift and hold my baby. She is so light and portable now. Before the cast, she was just learning to sit up and was rolling all over the place; she regained her sitting skills pretty quickly, but she's only just now (three weeks later) starting to roll like she used to. Thankfully, she's had no pain. It took a few days to get her "standing muscles" back, but now she's great.

If I were a cool mom, or maybe if Kate had the cast on longer, I would have had all her fans sign it and taken all kinds of rad-looking pictures. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I think it was just too hard for me--too sad--to try and turn it into something fun. I did force myself to take a few pictures, and I tried to make the best of the situation.

But when the day finally came to remove her cast, I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. Kate screamed and hyperventilated and shook in terror as the tech sawed through her cast, then cracked it open. I lifted my suddenly light and tiny baby out of her shell and held her to me, her legs curled against my chest. 

The tech held up the two halves of Kate's cast, luridly pink with its cottony interior and bits of moleskin still clinging to it. "Would you like to keep this?" she asked.

"Absolutely not," I said.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Grammar Geek Tutorial: Peek, Peak, Pique

Dang homophones. They sound the same, aren't always spelled the same, and always mean different things. I've seen this particular set mixed up every-which-way, when, in fact, they have completely different (not even close!) meanings.

Peek: to look at something stealthily. I took a peek in that box. Eek! There was a mouse!

Peak: the top or pinnacle of something. We hiked to the peak. Or, He was at the peak of his fitness.

Pique: (verb) to arouse interest. My curiosity was piqued.

The most common offender tends to be seeing peak when peek is meant (as in take a peak). Whenever I see this, I visualize someone offering me peaks of stiffly whipped cream or handing over the deed to a mountain. You can avoid this error by remembering if you take a peek, you might say Eek! (Get that? The "Eek" is the last three letters of "peek"? ...Okay, it's dorky, but sometimes dorky works.)

Though it is possible for your curiosity to peak (as in, reach the highest levels it ever has), it's generally more common that your curiosity is piqued (as in, something arouses your interest).

To showcase your new knowledge, you can try to slip this sentence in somewhere: 
My interest was piqued after taking a peek at that peak.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cleaning Poop out of a Spica Cast and Other Fun Things We've Been Up To

I feel the need to preface this post by saying there are many things I'm thankful for and that Kate is going to be fine, but I'm still adjusting and it's hard. Jay and I talked last night about how eventually we're going to be able to joke about this, but right now it's just too raw. I need a little writing catharsis, so here it is.

Kate broke her leg on Saturday. We were up at my parents' cabin for a family get-together/my birthday (it's always all about me), and Jay and Sara and John and I decided to go for a walk up the road. Jay carried Kate up on his shoulders, a frequent vantage point for her. We hadn't gone far when we turned down a side road. It had been washed out a bit, and the footing was uneven. I started sliding a little and almost called out to Jay, who was walking ahead of me, to tell him to take Kate down, but I hesitated, and in that split second my tall husband who never falls and is always so careful with Kate lost his footing and fell. At some point in his descent, Kate flew off his shoulders and landed a couple feet away from him. 

She started screaming and I came apart. It was like a scene from my nightmares. I know I'm a head-case, but so many times during my day with her I imagine all the horrible things that could happen if I tripped going down the stairs or if she fell off the counter or a myriad of other, unlikely, terrible things--and here one had happened. I didn't even go to her--I couldn't--and I stood there crying with my hands over my face. I am so ashamed, but I needed someone else to assess the damage first, to tell me she was okay. I couldn't face the possibility that she wasn't. 

After a moment, I took her from Jay and held her tightly to my shoulder as we walked the short distance back. Her screams stopped and she had a soft, moaning, pained cry. We went inside and took off her kitty pajamas, and other than a few small scrapes, she looked okay. John said he'd seen her fall and she hit her hip first, and she didn't appear to have any head injuries. I tried to get her comfortable and nursed her, bringing comfort to us both.

As the hours passed, it became apparent that her left leg was still paining her. She was fine if it was dangling or held perfectly still--she would even smile or giggle at my brother--but any time it moved she let out a startled cry of pain. I thought about taking her to the ER, but we called a good family friend who is an excellent pediatrician, and he said it was unlikely her bone was broken and that after we got back to my parents' house he'd come over and check her out.

Jay told me to go ahead with the rest of my family to Les Mis, and he'd go home with my dad to take care of Kate and wait for Dr. Nygaard to come over. I was torn because I didn't want to leave my baby, but Jay assured me they'd be fine, so I swallowed my maternal guilt and left. 

The play was fantastic and so fun, but about 20 minutes till the end I started feeling increasingly anxious. I almost left to call Jay but stuck it out. When it was over, I got a text from my dad saying that Marty had found a place on Kate's leg that was still tender, so they decided to get an x-ray just in case. He told Jay infants' bones are relatively flexible and that it's rare for them to break, but the x-ray revealed a greenstick fracture on Kate's femur, just above her knee.

By the time I got to the hospital, Jay was trying to put Kate to sleep and waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to put her in a cast. I picked up my sweet little baby and held her carefully, letting her leg dangle. She smiled at my mom and made happy little baby noises. I laid her on the bed in the hospital room and snuggled up next to her. Jay turned off the lights and Kate finally fell asleep for a few minutes. 

When the nurse came to bring us to the OR, he wheeled the bed with Kate and I on it through the hospital. As we waited outside the OR and talked to the nurses and anesthesiologist, Kate lay next to me, placidly looking around. The nurses kept commenting how amazed they were at how calm she was. That's my baby, I thought. The best baby in the world.

Jay and I waited for two hours while they put the cast on. It was nerve-wracking. We'd been told it would only take 30-45 minutes, but a nurse came out halfway through to say the cast hadn't formed properly the first time, so they had to cut it off and do it again. Kate was under anesthesia, which scared me to death, but I'm grateful she was because it was such a long and painful process. 

When I finally went in and saw my baby, she was so small lying on that big bed. She was crying, and her entire lower body was covered in a huge cast. I was shocked--I had no idea it would be so large. It's called a spica cast, and it goes from the bottom of her ribs down both legs, to the tips of her toes on her left leg and to her knee on her right. A wooden dowel was casted between her legs as a handle to help move her. 

It was 3:00 AM, I was exhausted, in shock, and heartbroken at the scene before me. Completely without shame, I broke down. It was too much. I couldn't take it. After a few minutes, I held Kate--still attached to tubes and wires and cords--and nursed her awkwardly. The nurses gave her a dose of Lortab after I was done feeding her, and Jay held her while they took out the IV in her tiny hand.

Whether it was from the anesthesia, exhaustion, pain, or Lortab I don't know, but Kate took that moment to vomit everything in her tiny body all over Jay. She's never done that before, and it scared me to death. I begged the nurses to monitor her for a few more minutes because she looked almost catatonic. She was okay, just exhausted.

I talked to the surgeon and got instructions from the nurses while we waited for the radiology team to come take a final x-ray (portable x-ray machines = so cool and convenient). The biggest challenge came when we tried putting her in her car seat--since the cast comes up so high, she can't bend at the waist at all. As her car seat is L-shaped, this is a problem. The nurses helped us pile blankets and pads in the seat until we could set Kate on the top. The buckles aren't long enough to restrain her, so we put a seat belt over the top of her and drove carefully to my parents' house. It was 5 AM by the time we got to bed.

I've cried a lot these past few days, but at this point I think the cast is much harder on me than it is on Kate. She has a harder time sleeping because she can't move around (she always rolls while she sleeps and usually ends up on her stomach), and sometimes she gets frustrated, but for the most part she's back to her normal, smiley self. I've looked up pictures of other spica casts online, and Kate's is huge and bulky in comparison. I'm sure there are several reasons for this, but it does make things difficult.

This wasn't what I was planning on posting about--I meant to give a brief explanation of what happened and then talk about some of the challenges of working around this crazy cast--but I feel better after getting all this out of me and onto the page. To write about it was to relive it, but I'm more at peace with things now. 

Kate is mostly pain-free now and is a little trooper. We're so grateful for Dr. Nygaard and his help--he rode to the hospital with Jay and Kate and gave them the royal treatment and stayed until Kate was all set up with the orthopedic surgeon. Thank you, thank you, Marty. Since we don't have a car seat that can accommodate her, I will be home-bound except when Jay is home to watch her. She'll be in the cast for 3-4 weeks--not so long, really. Babies' bones heal incredibly quickly, and she will heal completely. Jay and I are still dealing with guilt and heartache--Jay, especially, feels terrible. Sometimes, though, accidents just happen. We're learning new coping strategies hourly. 

I can't bring myself to take pictures of her yet--it is still too new--but I will soon. I know that she won't remember this time of pain and immobility. I know we'll learn patience through this trial. Jay said the other night that he loves her even more now despite and because of her complete dependence on us and because she has shown such sweetness and strength of spirit. It is a funny paradox. We are very blessed.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Kate is six months old. Is it really possible she's half-way to a year? I can't believe it. The picture above is my new favorite--she looks just like her dad. 

A couple nights ago, Jay wanted to go hiking and have a picnic. What with Kate's super long nap and things taking longer than we thought, we didn't get out the door until 6:30 at night. Jay keeps trying to convince me there are pretty places in Vegas, but I remain skeptical. When we neared Red Rock, a state park comprised of a lone red mountain among the brown, our conversation went like this:
Jay: "There it is! Isn't it beautiful?"
Me: Silence.
Jay, obviously disgruntled: "So it's not as pretty as St. George. Don't even say it."
Me: "I didn't say it."

But when we pulled up to the gates at 7:00, they were closed. A friendly guy at the gate said that, while they normally close at 8, the river was flooding so they blocked the entrance. We had taken a wrong turn on our way there and had unwittingly found a different branch of the park (which turned out to be FREE), so we doubled back to check it out. 

We arrived just at the end of that golden light hour photographers love, and as we trekked on a boardwalk that was built to conserve a "meadow" (meaning there were a few grasses and leafy plants and a smattering of small trees--positively lush for Las Vegas), we passed several people hauling SLR cameras. I always get excited when I see a bunch of photographers because it means I've found a good spot for future sessions. And it really was pretty.

I feel like I brag about my baby a lot on this blog. She isn't perfect, and I'm certainly not either, but she really is, for the most part, a happy, sweet, affectionate little baby. I can't get over it, so I tend to talk about it. I joke that I'm afraid to have more kids because what if they're not this good? Or maybe I'm not joking. Anyway, this open-mouth smile is classic Kate.

A month ago, Jay and I were driving to the store to get some ice cream when Jay's car died and wouldn't start again. Luckily, we were just a block from our neighborhood, so with Kate in the back seat, the two of us jumped out and started pushing. A couple good Samaritans helped us out, and one colorful guy who ended up living near us even took a look (car knowledge is so useful. Too bad we're just academics. Sigh.) and spent 30 minutes evaluating things. His girlfriend came out after awhile and saw me holding Kate. "That is the happiest baby in the world!" she said.

A few days later when we were having the car towed to the mechanic, the girl passed us on her way home and rolled down her window to make sure we were okay. She looked at Kate bouncing in my arms and said, "There's the happiest baby in the world!"

Kate loves her dad. I think I might still technically be the favorite because Kate is a smart girl and knows where her food comes from, but Dad is a close second. She lights up when he comes in a room, and she jerks her little arms around and makes funny noises to get his attention. Once he looks at her, she just grins. 

About a week after she turned five months, Kate started rolling onto her stomach during naps. I never actually saw it happen, but she would wake up mad because she couldn't turn back over. Though I don't think she's quite figured out rolling is a means of transportation, she's gotten quite good at rolling from back to front and front to back. Every once in awhile she'll forget how to roll on her back again. She's also made it several feet off her blanket on the floor, intentionally or not. She is like her mom and likes to sleep on her stomach.

Kate likes to be sitting upright or standing at all times. She's a strong little thing. After a couple days of shudders, Kate decided she really likes yams. Rice cereal is another favorite. She attacks the spoon like a little piranha and produces whiny grunts when she's not fed fast enough.

 Happy half birthday, Katester! We love you.