Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Mason didn't like Santa Claus.
At ALL.  Not even when Daddy was on his lap too.  And Santa was Grandpa Blake!  I kept telling him, but I guess he didn't believe me.  Oh well, at least we got a picture.
We went to my in-laws ward Christmas party, as well as our own.  It was fun, and Mason was adorable, as usual.
Below is a picture of our Christmas tree the night before we opened our presents with JUST Mason's presents "under" it.  We ended up opening presents on Christmas Eve, since we were going to church at 9 am on Christmas morning and since I am pregnant and always tired without getting up at 6 am to open presents.  Also, we were planning on spending most of Christmas Day at my in-laws, and we wanted to give Mason a chance to play with his new toys. 

He was very confused about why we were all getting up so early and why there were no lights on.
But then he got books!
And cars. Lots and lots of cars.
That evening we went to my Grandma's house.
She gave me a bunch of food for my food storage which she made in the shape of a little girl.
And she made us personalized gingerbread men.  Or at least mine was personalized.  Mason enjoyed the gingerbread men, he ate his whole cookie and part of mine.

Merry Christmas!

My husband is an evil genius

My husband came home from work a couple of days before Christmas carrying an Amazon package, my present.  He didn't bother to open it, just wrapped the box in wrapping paper and stuck it with the multitude's of presents for our toddler.  When I opened the present Christmas morning (or rather Christmas Eve morning, since Christmas was crazy busy) this is what I saw.

For a little bit of background I will tell you that while I love the Lego games (I have played almost all the Lego games, and I have Batman, Harry Potter the first four years, and I bought Mike the Star Wars one for Christmas) I do NOT like Twilight.  I wouldn't say I hate it, that's a bit strong, but I am definitely not a fan.  And my husband HATES it.  Anything to do with Twilight sets him off.  In fact, I freaked him out once by telling him I had bought the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess game, because all he heard was Twilight.  So my first thought was that he had made a mistake and ordered the wrong game by accident, or Amazon had screwed up the order.  So I figured he'd either have to send it back to Amazon, or we could exchange it at Wal-Mart or something.  I didn't even think anything of the fact that there wasn't a receipt in the box.

Then ten minutes later, while I was helping Mason open some of his toys, Mike brought me this:

This was the game I had assumed he meant to buy anyway, because he knew I wanted it.  I was so confused!  I couldn't figure out how he had done it!  Turns out he MADE the cover himself, bought the game at Wal-Mart, replaced the cover with his version, and got a local used video game store to shrink wrap it for him.  Then he found an Amazon box (of which there were plenty, since I ordered all the gifts this year online) found a shipping label that wasn't damaged and transferred it to the unopened side of the box, put the game inside with some bubble wrap, and then taped it up.  He later said there were so many ways it could have gone wrong (I could have realized that there wasn't a Lego Twilight game and probably never will be, I could have noticed the taped up box, etc.)  and he was thrilled that I fell for it.

Here is a better view of the cover he made.  You should really read the warning labels and the game description.  If I had bothered to look at it, I would have figured it out, but since I would NEVER EVER play such a game. I didn't bother.
And here is a video of my reaction when he showed me the right cover for the game.

 Like I said, my husband is an evil genius.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Second pregnancy

I found out about a month ago that I am pregnant with our second child!  We are so excited!  The timing makes me laugh, the baby is due a week before Mason turns two.  I wasn’t really looking forward to another summertime baby, it was the hottest of my life!  But you can’t control everything.

Since Mike has only just finished school and doesn’t have a full time job yet, we don’t have maternity coverage, and I had to apply for Medicaid for the medical care.  We do have private insurance, but it is virtually impossible to get maternity coverage on a private plan. 

Anyway, as part of my application for Medicaid, I had to go get a pregnancy test from a doctor or somewhere to turn in to prove that I am pregnant.  Most places I looked into charged for the test, not a whole lot of money, but 20- 40 dollars more than I wanted to pay, so I decided to go with the free option.  It was one of those aggressively Christian places, and I had an interesting experience.

They had me pee in a cup, then pulled me in a room to ask me a list of questions about my pregnancy, and intentions regarding the baby.  It is one of those places which is largely intended to help people with unplanned, unwanted pregnancies make choices about it, so they had a long list of questions that were mandatory, even though I had explained my reason for being there was to get a pregnancy test to turn in.

Anyway, one of the questions was about what I thought of the Savior and what my relationship was with him.  I think the lady asking the questions had decided I wasn’t Christian, and that I didn’t understand Christ at all.  She seemed to feel sorry for me, especially after I made it clear that I was perfectly happy with my religion, and where it is taking me.  They had me watch a movie, which I felt was very manipulative, talking about how we are all lying, stealing, adulterous murderers.  I almost wished I had just gone ahead and paid for a test somewhere else.  But these services do serve a good purpose, and they do have other resources to help provide necessities that I might take advantage of if I need to.

Anyway, I got the Medicaid approved, and had my first appointment with my midwife on Monday.  She was concerned about the accuracy of the due date they had given me, because apparently my cycles aren’t as regular as they could be, so she decided to have me go get a sonogram to check the due date based on the baby’s development.  I was fine with that, it’s always cool getting to see an ultrasound!  So, I got to see the baby, it was upside down, and I could sort of see arms and legs.  I can’t find the pictures, or I would post them here, I brought home three of them, but I haven’t seen them since I got home.

Anyway, things are going well here.  One adorable baby boy walking, talking, playing, and cuddling, and one adorable one inch baby growing and soon kicking, flipping, and punching!

Mason's cuteness

So here is an update on how my little bug-man is growing up!  He is almost 17 months old, now, and is starting to talk.  He has about a dozen words he uses regularly.  We noticed the other day that he says his own version of “thank you” when you give him things.   Today we played a fun game where he gave me his cars and then took them back and each time, we said thank you.  He is so cute!

I have weaned him off the middle of the night feedings, and he is sleeping better these days, which means I am too.  He wakes up once in the middle of the night, but calms down quickly, then he wakes up around 7 or so, and either sleeps in bed with Mommy or with Daddy on the couch. 

This morning, I was reading on the couch while he was playing, and he decided he was done and climbed up on me on the couch playing with my face.  He reminded me of some cats I’ve had in the past who liked to get in the way of my book.

He’s had all eight of his front teeth for about 6 months now, and he has started getting his molars.  He has two that are mostly out on the bottom, and I felt one starting to come through on top this morning.  He is remarkably even-tempered while he is teething, the worst so far have been the two lower molars, I had to give him some baby Tylenol every night to help him sleep, but he is doing much better now.

He’s such a happy little boy!  I love him more every day!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Wonderland! Sorta

So something different happened this morning.  Daddy took Mason out while Mommy was running errands.  Mason got all bundled up for the cold and was met with a surprise!

There was a bunch of wet white stuff on the ground that Daddy called snow! There wasn't alot, but it was enough to notice.  Mason doesn't remember snow. 
He was so surprised to see the snow!

He was very timid at first, but then started exploring.

  Then he started to wonder where his foot prints came from, and 
why they kept appearing wherever he stepped!
Then Daddy and Mason went for a short walk, Mason following after his daddy's footsteps.
Then Daddy started to doodle on the sidewalk with a stick! Mason enjoyed stepping all over them.

Finally it was time to head home. With stick in hand Mason led the way back into the warmth and away from this strange wet stuff.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Six months at home

So I've been a stay at home mom for a little over six months now, and we have settled into our routine.  Mason is almost 16 months old, and very happy.  He's had a cold the last few days, which has mainly been affecting his (and my) sleep and his appetite.  But our lives have gotten better in many ways.

It has been a bit of a stress financially to have me home, but I have been able to make a little money babysitting, enough to pay for a couple months worth of groceries, and we still have a decent amount of savings.  So things are going well there.

I really have no regrets about quitting my job.  Mason has responded so well to having me home, and I have enjoyed being home with him all the time, and being able to play with him and be there for him.  I love him so much more than I could have ever imagined.

It's been good for me too, in a lot of ways. I didn't realize just how stressed I was until I quit and the stress was alleviated.  I have high standards for how my house should be kept, and I wasn't anywhere near to keeping up with those standards while I was working, but now it's much easier. 

There are some interesting aspects though.  I have absolutely no sense of time anymore, as far as when things happened.  I remember trying to figure out when my niece was born and being totally off.  I never know what the date is without my calendar I rarely know what day of the week is unless it's the weekend, and I've started forgetting plans unless I check the calendar, which never used to be a problem.

There are some downsides to being home all the time.  I am trying to work on the social life aspect of things, I don't have a lot of friends outside of family, and they are all busy.  It makes it tough that I don't have a car the majority of the time, I usually have to drive Mike to work on the days I need to go shopping unless my sister-in-law has time to go with me.  A friend of mine from work asks me to meet her for lunch occasionally, which is nice, but once again, it has to be when I have a car, and it doesn't happen very often.  So I need to make some friends.  There is a lady who lives down the street who is always home with her two little girls, but I don't want to impose on her too much, and it seems like half the time when I do want to go over, Mason is sick, or I'm babysitting.

Overall, life has improved in the last six months, and I am very happy with the change, with no plans to go back to work until all my kids are grown up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mike's show

Saturday, Mike had his senior show for his degree.  Well, actually it has been up since Monday, but Saturday was the family day.  Anyway, Mike, Mason, and I drove out to his school Saturday morning, and I spent the time chasing Mason around the gallery and front area, while occasionally meeting one of his teachers and classmates.  Mike's parents and a couple of his siblings showed up near the end, and then we all went out to lunch.

Here are a couple of pictures of the show:

 After lunch, Mike drove by a house he thinks is amazing.  It's very cool looking, but I couldn't imagine the heating bills, not to mention all the work that is needed.

 April rode home with us, and she and Mason took a nice long nap in the back.
So cute!

Let's go back to riding horses

Friday morning I ended up driving my husband to work because a friend of mine wanted to have lunch with me that day, and I needed the car.  I had grabbed some things in preparation for running errands, figuring it would be easiest if I didn't go home before lunch so my little boy would stay awake, and not get bored, since he usually takes a nap around the time I planned to be at dinner.  On the way to his work, I noticed that our car was seriously overdue for an oil change, and figured I'd take the car to Jiffy Lube as part of my errands, since I knew it would be hard to find another time to get the car in.

But I had forgotten one important thing.  It was Veteran's Day.  So Jiffy Lube was PACKED.

They told me it would be a forty minute wait, which I figured would be fine.  I grabbed one of the library books I was planning to return for some reading material, and a couple of cars for Mason to play with, and we went in.  Unfortunately, the car in front of mine, had some issues, and my car didn't get in for an hour.

Then they told me that I had a leak in my transmission.

My last car died because of a leaky transmission, so I wasn't happy to hear this.  They said it could be fixed by dropping the pan, whatever that meant and gave me a quote.  I decided not to do it then for two reasons: first, I figured I could get it done cheaper at our regular car place, and second, I didn't have time, since my lunch was supposed to be about an hour later at that point.  So I had them change the oil and left.  An hour and a half gone.

On my way to the library, I called our regular car place to ask what it would cost for what I needed and was surprised to find out it would cost as much as or maybe even more than Jiffy Lube for what I needed.  Apparently one of the main costs is the transmission fluid.  Plus, I wouldn't be able to get the car in that day, and I wanted to get it repaired quickly, since my husband drives the car almost 2 hours Monday through Thursday.  In fact, I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it done in the next month.  So I decided to take the car back to Jiffy Lube after lunch and Mason's nap.

I went to the library and dropped off the library books, then got Mason back in the car to go to Wal-Mart. I needed lightbulbs to replace the front blinkers.  But the the car freaked out on me.

Back when I was pregnant with Mason about a year and a half ago, our car started acting up (as I wrote about here.)  We never managed to get it fixed, because whenever we took it to the shop, it was working fine, and they couldn't figure out what the issue was.  Mike figured out that the best way to handle it is to disconnect and reconnect the battery while trying to start the car.  It works, but it takes more than one try usually.

Basically what happens is the car is stuck in park.  This happens periodically and seems to be more frequent recently, but it usually happens when Mike is driving; this is the first time it has happened when I was alone.  So I spent 45 minutes messing with the battery before it finally got fixed.  I had to let Mason out of his car seat about 15 minutes into it, because he HATES being in his car seat if we aren't moving.  And the worst part is, that I called a friend to come help me (it's much easier with two people, and she had room in her car for us if we couldn't get it going) and the first time I tried it when she got there it worked.  Stupid car.

I was late picking up my friend for lunch, but thankfully she was working overtime, so it didn't matter how long of a lunch she took.  Then I took Mason home and he took a nice long nap.  When he woke up, I got smart and called Jiffy Lube to see if they were still busy.  The manager remembered me, and told me that yeah, they were busy, but to try back at four.  When I called back, they were mostly caught up, so I headed on over.

They got to my car quickly, but it took over an hour for the repair.  I had them flush the transmission as well, because it needed to be done anyway and only cost an extra 20 bucks.  They gave me a discount too.  But it was another hour and a half.  I spent 3 hours at Jiffy Lube.

I guess I shouldn't really complain, because if I hadn't taken the car for the oil change, and hadn't caught the transmission leak, we may have killed the car, especially since Mike drives it so much.  I just hate car problems, and I don't like having to pay lots of money on my car when we are poor.  Sometimes I think cars are more trouble than they are worth, and wish we could just go back to riding horses.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


 Halloween pics!  Here are some cute pics of him with his dolls that fit with his costume which was Winnie the Pooh.

Sorry it took me so long to get these up finally.

So Mason went to two different Trunk or Treats, one with our ward, one with Grandma Blake/ Auntie Lizzie's ward.

Here is a random picture of me that Mike took at our ward's activity.
(UPDATE: Mike insists this picture is not random.  It's when we went fishing.  I couldn't get Mason to hold the stick because he was so clingy.)

Mason was Mister Clingy at the parties, not letting anyone hold him but me.  It was bad when Mike tried to take him in the costume parade.  See him screaming? You can see Grandma next to them in this pic.

Here is Auntie Tiffany and her friends in their Harry Potter themed costumes.
He's so cute!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whatever Happened to Dr. Blythe?

Does anyone else love to read L.M. Montgomery?  My all-time favorite is The Blue Castle, but I also like to read Anne of Green Gables and the sequels.  The other day, I was reading one of the later books, Rainbow Valley, I think, and I was struck by Anne's husband, Dr. Blythe.  If you remember, he was a very highly respected doctor, he had a successful practice, everyone loved him, and he was always going out.  And he didn't work at a hospital or office, he made house calls.

Whatever happened to that?  Whatever happened to doctors being on call all the time and knowing his patients and their families?  Whatever happened to doctors being affordable?  Dr. Blythe made a good living, but he also took care of everyone, and people managed to pay him without taking loans out on their souls.  Of course, Dr. Blythe lived in a small town, but surely there would be enough patients in a small part of town to support family doctors in a similar practice.  And hey, whatever happened to women routinely giving birth at home?

But really, I guess it's almost obvious what happened.  The culture changes, laws changed, and things got to expensive.  So many doctors have hundreds of thousands in student loans by the time they finish school, so they have to charge a lot of money.  Also, malpractice insurance is out the wazoo.  A roommate of mine once talked about how her dad, who was an OB/GYN, had to take out tons of malpractice insurance to protect himself, because people sue the doctor if there is anything wrong with the baby, even if it wasn't the doctors fault.  That probably also explains why doctors work from hospitals, for the sterile environment.  And I'm sure the need for malpractice insurance isn't limited to doctors who deliver babies.  We are much to prone to sue people for things that go wrong.  Sometimes, yes, the doctor was at fault, and should be held accountable.  But sometimes, things happen and no one is to blame, but people want to blame someone. 

Anyway, I guess this is a "good old days" post, wishing for what won't be again.  Either way, I am glad my husband isn't studying to be a doctor.  They may make good money, but it takes years to become a doctor (and I am tired of him being in school), and, whether they are Dr. Blythe or a hospital doctor from our time, they are way to busy for my liking.

The Culture of Unhappiness

I was sitting on my couch nursing my baby and getting him ready for bed, and thinking.  That's a nice thing about nursing, it gives you lots of time to think about things.  And it's funny how your mind wanders sometimes.

Anyway, I was thinking about writing, and writing somehow lead me to the character of Elizabeth Bennet in the LDS version of Pride and Prejudice, and that made me think of the pink bible, or whatever it was called in that movie, the book that was all about dating.  And that made me think about other things, which I decided to write about tonight.

What is it about our culture that pushes people towards unhappiness?  So many people seem to be waiting for happiness to happen to them.  And there is always something keeping them from happiness.  In the LDS culture, it is often (for a woman) a man.  On that note, what is up with the freaky books about how to get a guy?  That pink bible book in the movie was made up, but I have seen real versions, and some of them were scary.  I read one of them back when I was in college.

After a particularly hard rejection by a guy, back when I was 19, a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Rules, to help me learn how to get the guys I'm interested in.  I read it very quickly, and was very disturbed.  Something I remember from it specifically, it basically said that a woman's only way to get the right man, is to be what he wants in a woman.  Which I guess in a way makes sense, but rather than saying you should find a guy who is like you, it basically said that you should change the kind of person you are for the man.  And I was appalled by the idea.

I gave the book back to my friend, saying that wasn't the kind of help I wanted.  She tried to argue with me, but I told her I believed that I should, and could, find a guy who liked me for me, and I couldn't imagine going through life trying to repress who I really was just to keep a guy happy.

But why does something like this sell at all? Basically it's because of the false belief that you have to have a guy to be happy.  I have never believed that was healthy.  I remember a friend telling me when I was in my early twenties, when I was trying to help her get through a hard time, "When I get married, then I'll be happy." Which is just sad.  We need to be happy regardless of the situation we are in.

I hope no one will say anything like, "That's easy for you to say, you are married and have a kid."  Well, that's true, but I didn't get married til I was 28. Heck I never even kissed a guy until I was 28.  And I was a happy person before I got married.  Not to say I was deliriously happy, I had my times of feeling down, and unloved, but I was generally happy and productive. I had friends, I had plans for my future, and I think I could have lived my life well if I never had married.  But being a happy person is what will help my marriage last, and helps me deal with the rough spots.  Although I won't deny that my beautiful baby boy also has a way of making me feel even happier.

And marriage isn't the only thing people look forward to for happiness.  Some people need to get the right job, or make enough money, or move to the right place, but either way it is flawed.  The problem with having the idea that you will be happy when _________ happens, is it's not true.  You may be happy for awhile at first, from the euphoria of finally having achieved what you wanted, but euphoria wears off, and if you aren't happy on your own, you won't be happy when the euphoria wears off.  I think that is why some marriages end in less than a year, because people think marriage will make them happy, and when the honeymoon stage wears off, and the spouse isn't perfect, people decide that they married the wrong person, and that is why they aren't happy.

If we could all learn to be happy where we are, with what we have, and with who we are, our lives would be so much less complicated.

P.S.  I would like to add a caveat, that there is nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself, trying to be a better person.  My issue is the idea that people should change who they essentially are just for a  man.  But trying to become a better wife/person/husband/man/woman for your own edification and to be nicer to others around you etc, is a good thing.

Monday, October 17, 2011


We went to Spooktacular this weekend. Spooktacular is a thing at a local garden, where actors do little skits based on popular stories (like Disney movies). My mother-in-law and two of my sisters-in-law were in the skits, so were able to get free tickets for family members, so we went. "We" included Mason, Mike, me, April and Jeffrey.

The kids dress up, and since it was a bit chilly, Mason wore a sweater and sweat pants under his costume.

He was Winnie the Pooh!

Our tour started after 8, so it was dark, and Mason was carried by someone most of the time. He found the skits interesting, but he didn't entirely understand what was going on. He laughed a couple of times at things, but actually laughed more in line, because we were being silly with him.

He got a glowstick for the Harry Potterish skit, and thought it was pretty cool.

He walked part of the way, and near the end he fell and faceplanted. His upper lip and chin got all scraped up, and he got a bit of a bloody nose, though not enough to leak. You can see the redness a bit on his face. It was much worse the next day, and is better now.

At the end of the tour we took a hayride back to the main building where we had parked.

We got to see his Grandma and Aunties after the skits. I don't have a picture of Auntie Missa unfortunately, and the one of Grandma was very blurry.

It was fun! I promise I'll get some better pictures of his costume closer to Halloween.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mason's first haircut

Mike has been bugging me to give Mason a haircut, and I haven't really wanted to , but it's been getting more and more messy and all over the place. The other day, a bug got caught in his hair and couldn't get out because it is so long, yet thin. So I had a bit of spare time today and decided the haircut was needed.


It's not easy to see here, but when his hair got messy, it got really frizzy and all over the place.


Here is the hair I cut:
Not terrible for the first try, I suppose.