Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Pants that Stole Christmas

Pathetic. Not truly converted. Stupid. Misguided. Silly. Selfish. Dumb. Dramatic. Lesbian. Man hater. Bored wife. Apostate. Ugly. Naive. Wolf in sheep’s clothing. Rediculous [sic].

Get a life. Get some self-confidence.  Find something better to do with your time. You just don’t understand. Humble yourself. Have some respect for the Lord. This is a non-issue. If you don’t like the church, just leave. You’re just trying to get attention. You don’t get it at all. May God forgive you. You are NOT my sister. I feel so bad for you.

You choose to be offended. Don’t let others dictate how you feel. If you interpret my statements as rude, that is your fault. You brought it upon yourself.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.


"Is this it?" the woman behind the counter asked. "Is this what you bought?"

I stared at the box with black and white pictures of a small toy wagon, some stacking blocks, and other toys.

"Um, I don't know. I think so."

Everyone working behind the counter of the Walmart site-to-store counter laughed at me. "You don't know if this is what you bought? No more shopping for you!" they said.

I smiled, embarrassed, and hoisted the large box into my cart. The toy didn't seem at all familiar, but it had my name on the box and that was enough for me.

"You know," I said to Nathaniel as we drove away, "I think I got a really good deal on that. It looks like a ton of toys!"

"So how much was it?" Nathaniel asked.

"Ten, maybe fifteen dollars? I'm not sure."

"And how much was it regularly?"

"A lot, I'm guessing. I don't know exactly. I read on some blog that Walmart was having a really good sale on this toy so I bought it."

Nathaniel gave me a funny look and started laughing. "Sold!" he said, "To me! For whatever price is the lowest! And please send it to some random Walmart that is thirty minutes away from where I live!"

I laughed as we got back on the freeway and headed home. This kind of thing happened a lot this month. Nathaniel did all the tree trimming. The ingredients for the ginger cookies and the olive oil crackers I usually make at Christmas are still unused in the cupboards. I never got around to wrapping some presents, and none were labeled. The neighbors got nothing from us.

I blame PANTS. Well, more accurately, I suppose I should blame my reaction to PANTS. I guess I just wasn't prepared. I thought the whole affair was just going to be a funny inside joke among Mormon Feminists, but it turned into the War in Heaven part II--and apparently I was on Satan's side! Of course, the temporary despondency I felt was no one's fault but my own. Lesson learned!

So Christmas is over (and a very lovely Christmas it was, by the way, my neglect notwithstanding). Hopefully I'll make a better effort next year. However, Valentine's Day is coming up! And I am DETERMINED, War in Heaven part III or no, to have one amazing Valentine's Day. Summer will have some amazingly cute, hopefully homemade, Valentine's to share with her preschool classmates. Heart-shaped sugar cookies will be decorated. Paper hearts will be displayed on the window and hung from the ceiling. Nathaniel and I might even go out on a date, with no kids (probably not though). And even if I somehow wind up on the wrong side of another holy war, I'll just remind myself that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. And I'll go back to my royal icing.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Card

Dear Family and Friends,

Season’s greetings! One of the best things about the holiday season is the chance it gives us to connect with our family and friends. We are so glad that despite the miles and the passing years we can still bond through Christmas letters.

Nathaniel graduated from law school and started working as a law clerk, but his proudest achievement of 2012 is learning how to sleep without his iPhone. It took a while, but on November 18, 2012, the electronic device and sometimes best friend remained on the nightstand the entire night. We are all so proud of him. He still enjoys figuring out obscure functions on Word and Excel and does P90X once every few months!

Dorothy continues her adventure as a stay-at-home mom, and is particularly good at the staying-at-home-and-wearing-no-makeup part. Did you know that she went to law school? She has that conversation starter so she doesn’t feel compelled to start other hobbies, though Pinterest has inspired her to step foot in a craft store for the first time in her life.  Anticipate a low-quality Instagram/Facebook picture of a yet-to-be determined craft in the near future.

Summer started preschool and can already write her name: Summɘϕ. When asked what her favorite part of last year was, she will be very upset if you suggest something besides “the Provo house.” Therefore, we have decided to tell her that instead of moving to DC next year, we are going back to Provo. Please play along. For those who wondered, she remains sweet as ever. 

Henry probably has the best accomplishment this year: being born. Since then, he has stolen the heart of everyone to meet him. He is still trying to figure out how to get everything in sight into his mouth, and at his rate we suspect he will reach his goal in the next few weeks. 

What a wonderful year it has been for the Ward family! We hope you and your family are enjoying the Merriest of Christmases! Best wishes for 2013. 


Friday, December 7, 2012


I'm sick. My throat really hurts, so eating and drinking are seriously no fun. And I'm nursing. And I learned when I went to the hospital yesterday that that's a really bad combination, because you can get low blood sugar and dehydration. And did you know that both of those things can impair cognitive function? Ask me what 6+7 is. I DON'T KNOW!

Also, did you know that one symptom of dehydration is an elevated heart rate, because you have less blood to pump because blood is primarily water? So I downloaded a heart rate app (free!) and whenever it gets to 100 I do my best to pump myself full of apple juice. I feel so proud of myself for getting such good use out of my iPhone.

So basically I'm going around right now with a high heart rate and sub-par cognitive function. And for some reason this gives me the giggles. I have no idea whether or not this is a good blog post, (but if I had to guess I'd guess no) but it all seems so funny to me I can't help myself.

I've been sick for a few days, and luckily Nathaniel is caught-up at work and has been able to stay home and take care of me. And his mom was kind enough to take Summer for the past few days. What a bummer that I'm sick, because otherwise it would have been a giant party with just the two of us and a low-key baby. But we did watch a movie last night! MIB III. Yeah, we're intellectual high-brows over here. My favorite line: "Mommy, the president is drinking my chocolate milk." We need more movies with Will Smith, I say.

Another downside of being sick is that laying in bed and chatting over Facebook seems like such a better option than doing all the stuff you should be doing, like wrapping your kids' Christmas presents. Summer is coming home today and her presents are sitting unwrapped under the tree (which has lights on the bottom third of it). Hopefully I can muster the energy to hide them before she gets home.

Oh Christmas. What a lovely time of year. Whenever I start listening to Christmas music I wonder why I don't listen to it more often. Thank goodness for Pandora and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yellow Split Peas

Okay, I'll just tell you right here and right now that this is going to be a whiny blog post. You are as free as ever to not read it, but I would love it if everyone read it and sympathized with me in the comments. Yes? Thanks.

A few days ago, I mentioned to Nathaniel that one of my mission presidents said that I was an emotional roller coaster. No, he didn't use those exact words, but he did make a roller coaster motion with his hands. I did not appreciate this assessment of my personality.

I was horrified when Nathaniel agreed with my mission president. Worse, Nathaniel's roller coaster hand motions were far more exaggerated than those of my mission president. I was a little offended. After all, anyone who spends the majority of her time with a three and a half year old and an infant is per se entitled to emotional highs and lows. 

But, nothing motivates me like unsavory assessments of my character, so I determined that, for the rest of my life, I would  forsake my roller coaster ways. Nothing but even emotions from me, you can count on it.

So despite Summer's antics and Henry's demands and my rush to get a lot done, yesterday morning I didn't let anything get to me. I did a little work, chatted a little on Facebook, planned some meals, read a few pages of a book, and bathed and clothed three human beings, all before I took Summer to preschool, on time, at 11:30. 

The plan was to drop Summer off and head to Winco to get groceries for the dinners I had planned. But the yellow split peas were the most important. Why? Because of this soup. The reviews are great and the only ingredient I had every ingredient except the split peas.

For the past three weeks, I have been searching grocery stores high and low for yellow split peas. Ordinarily it's no fun to go to several stores to find one ingredient, but when you have to tow bring along two kids it's the epitome of frustration. For me anyway. 

I sort of gave up the search until I tried out a new pre-packaged soup: Campbell's Golden Lentil with Madras Curry. Maybe I was just really hungry when I ate it but, seriously, it tasted like rainbows. Cilantro and coconut milk and madras curry and golden lentils and pure deliciousness. I licked my bowl, which made my face really dirty, and I don't exactly recommend, but I couldn't let any of this soup get washed down the drain. 

So then I realized that the soup I had just consumed was basically a pre-packaged, overpriced version of the soup I had been wanting to make for the last few weeks. That was it. I was on a mission from God. There was one store I hadn't checked yet: Winco. It's a bit of a trek to get there, but I would have this soup.

So off to Winco I went. And you guys? They had them! For 62 cents a pound! And then I remembered Winco only takes cash or debit! 

I searched my wallet for change or a debit card or something, but no. I honestly have no idea where my debt card is. And we hardly ever have cash on hand. Scrooge McDuck's strategy of keeping all his capital in coin form was starting to make a lot more sense. What I wouldn't have given for a bag of change at that moment. 

But, I did find a gift card that my dad had given me for Christmas last year (thanks again, Dad). It's one of those universal gift cards. You use it like cash. Saved!!! Lentil soup would be mine!

Note the word "debit" there.

So after waiting in line, I handed my single item--a bag of yellow split peas--to the cashier. Seeing my gift card, she asked, "Is that a credit card?"

"Nope," I replied. "It's debit."

By the way, the bag of yellow split peas cost fifty cents.  

I swiped the gift card. The machine asked me for a pin number. A pin number? Uh...

"This card doesn't have a pin number," I said.

"Well, that means it works like credit, and we don't take credit. It won't work without a pin number." 

I tried entering four numbers I saw on the card. No dice. 

"Sorry," the cashier said, setting the bag aside and moving on to the next customer. 

No, I thought, there must be a way! I called the 800 number on my card which informed me that I had a balance of $3.42 and, unhelpfully, that there is no pin number associated with the card and I didn't need a pin to use it. Desperate, I went to customer service and stood in line again to inquire about the card. "Sorry, you need a pin number. Otherwise it's a completely different system."

But my soup!

Now, ordinarily, I would have spilled tears as I walked out of the store empty-handed. But I would not be a roller coaster. Though bitterly disappointed, I mustered a mighty effort and no tears were shed over the yellow split peas. 

When I got to the car, I searched all nooks and crannies for fifty measly cents. A dime and a nickel was all I could find.

In the car, I tried to be zen about the whole thing. After all, it's just soup. I can make other soups. There will be other opportunities to go to Winco, coin bag in hand. Ever little thing is going to be all right. Detach, detach, detach.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought stuff for my other dinners (and yes, I checked to see if they had suddenly started selling yellow split peas, and no, they hadn't). But that feeling, that heavy-heart feeling, just would not go away. Why was fate keeping me away from the yellow split peas? Why couldn't someone have noticed I was only fifty cents away from bliss and given me some change? Why did Summer have to remove every stray coin from the car and hide them in her closet? Could I patronize a store that had thus insulted me? (Answer: yes.) Were I to make the soup, could I even enjoy it after all this?

As I pondered these questions, I found myself in the ice cream aisle. And then, I saw it. 

How did they know?!?

I bought it. And ate it. And yes, it works. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ode to Pinterest (in prose form)

I love Pinterest. In my mind there is no better time-wasting site on all the interwebs. Never mind the fact that I will never attempt those lattice-style pie crust cookies. I am well aware that that picture of the DIY burlap lamp shade is just electronic hoarding. And the clothes? Not gonna happen.

But I love it all the same. And no, it's not because I take the Pinterest high road and fill my boards with political activism pins. Mine are full of recipes, clothes, crafts, and cleaning tips; they're no different from the much-maligned prototypical Mormon housewife boards.

Yes they are just fantasy. But is that really so bad? Have you ever dreamed of going to Paris? Maybe imagined seeing the stunning rose window of the Notre Dame cathedral or tasting a Nutella crepe as you stroll along the Seine, the Eiffel Tower in the background? No one says that only those who are going to someday go to Paris should dream of going there. Studies have suggested that people get as much pleasure out of planning and reminiscing about a trip as they do out of acting on those plans. I think that even if you don't go, you still get a benefit from the thought exercise.

It's only a problem if you ignore your kids pleas for food because you're too busy fantasizing about the Lourve, or if you conclude that you're a failure because you won't be strolling down the Champs-Elysees anytime soon. It's bad if you end your yearly donation to your favorite charity so you can get on that plane, or if you dream about your neighbor's untimely demise because she got to go to Paris last year. It's not a good idea to forgo your plans to volunteer at the local women's shelter because you're too busy deciding which Parisian hotel you want to stay in.

So I say go ahead and indulge in a little Pinterest-style fantasy, if that's what you want to do. Just keep it in perspective. Don't let it take over your life. Don't get disappointed that your real life will never resemble your Pinterest life.

So, if you'll allow me, I'd to fantasize about my life, Pinterestified.

I'm thinking of sitting down at a table that I refinished myself with an ebony stain, my hair done in a french braid that wraps around my head. I'm thinking of making perfect little paper flowers to adorn the boxes of homemade strawberry jam I've already wrapped for Christmas gifts. I'm thinking of admiring my work as I take a sip of hot chocolate garnished with marshmallows I made and shaped like hearts. I catch a glimpse of my nails adorned with a teal and black houndstooth pattern manicure, and sigh in contentment.

Ah, I feel better. And now back to reality.


Thursday, October 4, 2012


It was cold last night. Nathaniel put an extra blanket on me as he left this morning. Breakfast was hot chocolate and toast. Henry is napping. Summer has spent the day coloring with markers and begging me to play doctor, a request I granted. It's 2:40 in the afternoon and the only one here not wearing pajamas is the baby. I made a big pot of tomato soup that we'll eat tonight along with brie grilled cheese sandwiches.

I'm being mindful. I'm not thinking of the chill of past winters or how we'll get through another one. I'm thinking of pretty leaves in reds and yellows, pumpkins, and indoor preschooler entertainment. And soup. Definitely soup.


Monday, October 1, 2012

A Name and a Blessing (updated)

Henry was blessed yesterday. He received a beautiful, heartfelt blessing, pronounced by his father and the love of my life, surrounded by good men who hold the priesthood. We did it at my brother-in-law’s house so it was very comfortable, I prepared most of the food and it tasted good, and my mom and most of Nathaniel’s family was able to come. So by most standards it was a lovely Mormon ritual.

But for me it was just awful. I fought back tears much of the time, and they wouldn’t have been tears of joy.

Once I was watching an episode of a TV show that centered on a baby’s christening. I admit I am pretty ignorant of the practices of other religions, so when the mother held the baby as the baby was sprinkled with water, I was intrigued. I loved the image of the mother and father standing together with their baby.

I admit, I wanted to have that experience. If I couldn’t bless Henry, I wanted to hold him while he was being blessed. I wanted to be more than an afterthought in special ritual. I wanted a bigger part in communing with God and showering blessings upon this special new being.

Because Henry and I – we have a connection. Many of my feelings about this are too personal to share here, but suffice it to say that he is a little miracle. Yes, this is true for all babies, but that doesn’t make it any less profound. He transformed me. He somehow changed everything for the better.

And I know him. I know that after I bathe him the little hair that he has gets fuzzy like a peach. I know about that one eyelash he has that is twice as long as the others. I know when he just needs to be held. I know he loves me and my touch. Of course I know him, because he is my child. I wake up at all hours to nurse him. I deal with his spit-up and his diapers. I comfort him when he is upset. Like all mothers do.

And once, my church was a church that encouraged women to bless their children. It encouraged women to give other women blessings in preparation for childbirth. It recognized “the privilege of a mother to have faith and to administer to her child.”

So Nathaniel asked the bishop if I could just hold Henry while he was being blessed.

No, he said. I couldn’t. Melchizedek priesthood holders only.

So I sat to the side. This bishop who had never seen Henry before, and who said I could not hold my baby while he was blessed, was among the men who stood in the circle. I fought back tears the entire time.

I wish I could write a happy blog post about Henry’s baby blessing, one with lots of happy pictures and stories of happy people. But I can’t. I’m sorry, I just can’t.

I wanted to hold my son while he was being blessed and I couldn't. And it breaks my heart.

UPDATE: I put this in the comments, but I think I should also put it here: The bishop in question, although I don't know him, is by all accounts a very good man. He is well-liked and with good reason. However, the church handbook of instructions does not specifically forbid a mother holding her child while the child receives a baby blessing. I wish the instruction was given a broad interpretation of inclusion rather than a narrow interpretation of exclusion.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Right Now I'm Eating a Salad

I recently went to a doctor's appointment. This doctor does everything by computer and when he leaves, the computer screen stays on so you can see what sort of dirt they have on you: notes about the visit, blood pressure, prescriptions, etc. I glanced at the screen as I was leaving.

The word "overweight" in all caps and bold jumped out at me.

Ugh. You know what, BMI Index? I hate you. But fine, I'll lose a few.

I'm actually trying to do the Intuitive Eating thing and not care about my weight, but most of my clothes were made for someone twenty pounds lighter and I figure weight is a normal concern three months after you've given birth, right?

Anyway, the point of this post is not to complain about my weight but to rejoice in salad! I love salad. Yum yum yum. I'm actually glad that the BMI index is sort of shaming me into being more conscious about what I'm eating because otherwise I wouldn't be eating salad. Which is a shame because I make a very delicious salad.

Here's what I do. I take a bowl. I throw in something acidic, usually fresh lemon juice, but today it was rice vinegar. I add a little salt, a little pepper, I might chop up come garlic and throw it in there, I always add a little sugar to cut the acid (less sugar than a chocolate chip cookie, I figure), and herbs. And here is the special part: the last time I went to the store I found these amazing jars of freeze dried spices. It was a really exciting moment. I bought the parsley and the diced red onion, and they are perfect salad-dressing sizes. So I added those. Then I whisked in some olive oil that Berkeley brought home from Greece. Lots of it.

I put lots of spring mix and baby kale on my plate, added some leftover chicken, sliced up a cucumber over it, then salted the whole thing (I've heard that every element should be individually salted, so there's that). I sprinkled the dressing over the salad and I'll dumped on some more  olive oil because Nathaniel is reading this book about how we should all be eating more fat. Awesome, right?

I ate it all, trying to savor every bite but usually just shoveling it in. It was really good.

Anyway, I realize a picture would make this a lot better but I don't have a camera and let's face it, only people who love me read this blog and if you stop because of one (okay, two) lousy posts then, well, I guess I can live with that.

Do you want an update on our lives generally? It's like this: wake up, go to the gym, go home, take Nathaniel to the train station by 7:15, survive until 6:15 when I pick him up to the trains station, eat dinner, go to bed, repeat. So salad is a bright spot in my sorta tiring day.


Sunday, September 2, 2012


We went to the Brigham City Temple Open House. I planned to get a great picture of our little fam in our Sunday best with the temple in the background, but forgot. But hey, here we are on a bus. Note Henry's head in the Baby Bjorn:

Also, we are a two-swing family:

Yep, that's it. 


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Size Matters

I graduated from BYU's law school in 2009. I have a fancy diploma to prove it. Well, it's not as fancy as it could be. Since I graduated, BYU has upped the fanciness factor of their diplomas. Mine is 8 1/2 x 11 inches, the same size as my undergraduate diploma, or a typical sheet of computer paper for that matter. Nathaniel, who graduated three years later, bears a diploma that is a whopping 11 x 14 inches. Apparently someone decided that BYU Law grads who graduated after 2009 deserve diplomas just as big and stately as law graduates at pretty much every other university.

This is good for Nathaniel, I guess, who doesn't have to resort to bigger matting to look like he actually graduated from law school. But it's a little lame for me. I'm not sure where our degrees will find a home, but if it's in the same room it won't look like we have an equivalent education. I imagine that we will have a house someday with an office where our diplomas are framed, and an acquaintance asks for a tour. And I'll say, "This is the office, and here are our diplomas." And all eyes will immediately go to the biggest one, and they will admire all of Nathaniel's accomplishments. And if I point out that we have identical degrees from identical universities, I will look like the poor insecure kid who doesn't get enough attention and lives her life pointing out her good qualities to anyone who will listen.

This imaginary scenario worried me until last week when Nathaniel got a piece of mail from BYU, with the words "MINI DIPLOMA ENCLOSED" stamped in red. Sure enough, enclosed was a diploma the size of a credit card. So now I know what is going on the wall of our imaginary office:

By the way, congrats Nathaniel. I am very proud of you.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Henry's Birth Story

Okay, I have been a bad blogger. But you know what? There are worse things in life. I could be a bad neighbor. Or a bad diaper changer. Or a bad deodorant putter-on-er. Aren't you glad I'm just a bad blogger?

I wrote this less than a week after Henry was born, so the sentiments are kind of old. Why didn't I post it before? I don't know. I blame, um, life. Well, and honestly, I've become a bit more introverted. I now wonder why anyone would be interested in reading my birth story - really, it's not that interesting. But I loved reading others when I was pregnant, so here you go. Enjoy. Or not.

Having a baby has got to be the point in life with the highest highs and the lowest lows, and not just because a mother’s hormones are a bit out of whack. I’m elated and frustrated and excited and overwhelmed all at once. Birth is the best of times and the worst of times in so many ways. Anyway, here is Henry’s birth story. I’m on a good dose of Percocet so please have low expectations.

First, for those who don’t remember, Summer was born by c-section at 38 weeks. I was having major back pain, so I went to the hospital and learned that she was blocking the path from my kidney to my bladder so I had major hydronephrosis (enlarged kidney). I never even got close to going into labor.

So with Henry, I really wanted a VBAC. I really wanted to go into real labor, to feel a real contraction, to have that exciting moment when you rush around getting everything ready for the hospital, saying goodbye to your kid and letting her know that she’d be a big sister soon. I really wanted someone to tell me I was dilating. I really wanted to push and have everyone tell me that they believed in me and that I was doing a great job. I wanted to be one of the first things the baby saw and felt, maybe even have the chance to look into his eyes within minutes of being born and welcome him into the world.

But I have Crohn’s disease, and from what we can tell, labor and Crohn’s don’t mix.

Two days before my due date, I went to the hospital with a few labor symptoms, but mostly symptoms of a terrible Crohn’s flair. My stomach felt like it did that one time I had a Crohn’s flare and almost died. So. Much. Pain. And then I was having contractions, but at the hospital they checked me and learned that the contractions weren’t actually making me dilate and seemed to be exacerbating the Crohn’s symptoms. The nurse told me I wasn’t dilated at all. “Well, Dr. Watabe said that I was a fingertip dilated at the six week appointment.”

“Gee, that was nice of him,” she replied. She was funny.

After a while, I felt a little better, so we thought we might just go home. But then I felt worse, so they sent us to the ER. No one really knew what to do with me. They decided to perform a CT scan on me to check for a bowl perforation. I felt okay with this – I mean, they do it all the time on women who are 9 months pregnant. And then I didn’t feel okay with a CT scan at all – all that radiation on my little baby?!? I called my dad, who is also my favorite obstetrician and fellow Crohn’s disease sufferer. Although he is very pro-VBAC, he said that he would do a c-section on me and then see how my Crohn’s symptoms felt after that. So Nathaniel and I thought about it and asked the ER doctor if that would be okay. It was sad to abandon my unmedicated VBAC dreams, but I didn’t want the flare to get worse and the contractions weren’t going away. The ER called the obstetrician on call, and a cesarean was okay with her. She even came down to the ER at 2 in the morning to chat with us and see about doing a c-section with my regular OB the next morning.

Everything gets pretty fuzzy after that. I remember that Nathaniel was very happy to have a bed to sleep on there. I remember feeling a lot calmer the next morning when I saw Dr. Watabe, my OB, who was very happy that I had decided to have a c-section instead of waiting to see how things played out with the Crohn’s. I remember getting in serious trouble when I had Nathaniel sneak me a mint before we went to the OR. I remember the blue sheet going up and wondering, under the glare of all the lights and white sterility, if this was all a mistake – if my dream birth would have been possible if we had just waited another day.

I have already forgotten a lot about this little guy’s birth, but one image I hope I’ll never forget is the look on Nathaniel’s face after the baby cried for the first time. At that point nothing mattered. We had a son and everything was perfect. I was in heaven.

When Summer was born, I just saw her for a brief moment before Nathaniel carried her away. This time, Nathaniel brought her to me and I got to feel him and nuzzle him and just be with him. We weren’t rushed. We were just together. That little bit of touch made all the pain I felt, all the pain I was going to feel, all the morning sickness and the fatigue and everything so worth it.

After Nathaniel and Henry went to the nursery, the surgeon checked out my intestines and I’m happy to report that they looked great! Then I went into recovery, which is basically just where I sat with Annette, my mother-in-law, while we waited for a convenient time for them to take me downstairs to my baby. I was not pleased with this part of the experience. An hour of separation was really unnecessary.

Henry wasn’t too pleased either, because apparently he had just been crying and fussing in the nursery the whole time we waited. Finally we got to be together and he seemed a lot happier. I immediately took off the blanket and the stuff they had him in and nursed him. You guys, why didn’t anyone tell me breastfeeding was so much easier the second time around? He did amazing! The bummer was that he was awake-ish after birth for over an hour, but then he nursed and decided he was ready for a nap, totally thwarting my plan to stare dreamily into his eyes forever. “He is content now that he’s with you,” Nathaniel said. Okay, no dreamy eye stares, but that was nice.

So for a while, we just sat there, the three of us, in awe at the newness of it all. I didn’t think it could get any better but a few hours later Summer joined us. The first thing she did was ask if she could kiss him, and since them has showered this guy with little bits of love. She always wants to look at his tiny little feet and touch his tiny little head. She is an amazing big sister.

I wouldn’t recommend a c-section. I am very disappointed I didn’t get to experience the birth I’d been visualizing and hoping for. I wish those first few hours with Henry weren’t mostly lost to a drug-induced haze.  I wish I had the opportunity to deal with the pain of childbirth before the baby came, instead of having to cope with it along with a newborn. I wish I could know what normal labor feels like, rather than having another “I went to the hospital with excruciating abnormal pain and got a c-section” experience.

But mostly, I was hoping an unmedicated birth, or even just a VBAC, would help restore my faith in my body. Having Crohn’s disease makes me feel a bit like my body is broken. Well, my immune system attacks my digestive system on occasion so I guess my body really is broken. Without modern medicine I would certainly be dead. I thought that maybe birth would be the chance to witness what amazing things my body could do on its own. But once again, my body couldn’t do it and medical intervention was necessary (probably). It’s so discouraging to know that, for the second time, I was laughably far away from an unmedicated birth.

When I was almost out of the hospital, a nurse re-checked the incision. “It looks great!” she said merrily. “You know, when you came in here everyone thought you were going to hemorrhage because of your red hair.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah. Red-heads always bleed more. So good job!”

I know this is just a silly anecdotal observation but I take heart in it. My body might be defective in some ways, but in other ways it rocks. Not only have both c-section incisions stayed closed, but I had the nurses remove my catheter the same day I had the c-section. (For those who are unaware, getting up to go to the bathroom after a major abdominal surgery is excruciating, so most prefer to keep the catheter in longer. I am the valedvictorian of catheter removal!!) After three major abdominal surgeries (one bowl resection and two c-sections) I might have a really scarred stomach but I am a champion healer. Plus, you know, I can get pregnant. So I am very grateful.

And overall, the birth experience was great. The doctors and nurses were wonderful, like the anesthesiologist  who held my arm and told me what was happening when the surgeon was checking out my innards. I got to see my daughter become a big sister, giving him little kisses and always asking me how he is doing. Nathaniel has been an exemplary husband, taking care of literally everything except breastfeeding so I can recuperate as quickly as possible. And we got a baby, who is really amazing to cuddle and, knock on wood, easy so far. Maybe it was just the spinal, but the birth itself was so amazing that immediately after Henry was born I thought to myself that I wanted to have that experience again and again and again.

Anyway, recovery is no fun but we are all so happy Henry is here.  


Friday, June 15, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard

Behold, our new kid:

Welcome John Henry Ward, born on June 7th, 2012 at 7:55 AM weighing 6 lbs 9 oz.

Birth story to come. Don't you love internet oversharing?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Muscles in My Toes!

We try to teach Summer that her good qualities are usually the result of something she has worked for and can control.  For example, she's not just good (as in born good) at making things with play dough, she's good because she practices and works hard at making things with play dough.  But I'm not sure how this video fits in.  Is she telling us that she was born good at jumping off chairs because she was born with strong muscles (all over the place), or does she really mean that she's good because she's strong and she's only strong because she practices?  As I'm writing this I am realizing that I'm trying way too hard to think of a clever intro to this video--I don't even care what she's saying, it's just a fun video.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Day without Summer

On Thursday, I went a bit crazy. This isn't too unusual for me. It typically happens when, for whatever reason (like maybe being 7 months pregnant?), I get really tired, and Summer doesn't take a nap. So Friday morning, my wonderful mother-in-law took Summer away and Nathaniel and I got an entire day child-free! It was glorious, I tell you. I took a shower, without interruption. I took a nap. I read a book. I wrote some stuff. Seriously, it was the best day in a long time.

Then, the day got better. Nathaniel and I went out on a date. I can't remember the last time we did that. We went to Pizzeria 712. Here is a picture commemorating the event:

Actually, we were just spying on the couple behind us. Do you think that is her mom? His mom?

I really like Pizzeria 712. I have been going there since it opened, back when I was still in law school, and the waiters were crazy foodies obsessed with explaining the difference between speck and sopressata. I went there often enough to be recognized by the staff and I loved talking to them about food.

And then, we had a kid. It took us about a year to get back there. "Do you have a reservation?" the unfamiliar dude at the door asked. "Uh, no. I thought you guys didn't take reservations." This guy laughed at me (!) and said that they had been taking reservations "for a long time." Apparently a long time in Pizzeria 712 land is a year. He sent us away.

I still like the food, but it hasn't tasted as good to me since then.

Anyway, after we ate lots of pizza, we got a Redbox movie:

Surely this counts as fair it in French.
It was called "Take Shelter." I didn't want to watch it at first since it touches on mental illness, which is a subject a little too close to home for me sometimes. And then when we watched it we were too creeped out and we had to read the plot on Wikipedia to manage the tension. But I'm so glad I watched it. I know it sounds cheesy, but it had a really good message at the (almost) end. I keep thinking about it and coming up with slightly different interpretations. And Michael Shannon such a good actor.

So we went to bed and woke up on our own, without Summer coming into our room and singing, "Wake Up Mommy!" at the top of her lungs, which was nice. But I missed her. So bad. So I'm really glad to have her back, because she is a sweetie pie and even though she drives me crazy sometimes I usually can't get enough of her.


Monday, February 27, 2012


Have you read this article from the New York Times? It's about how Target can know, based on the information the store collects and buys, that a woman is pregnant, long before she announces the pregnancy. What Target has learned is that 45% of an individual's activities during a given day are dictated by habit. Target wants to change your shopping habits and has invested millions of dollars into figuring out how to get you to do that (apparently the birth of a child is a time when many people actually change their habits).

Lots of things are remarkable about this article, but the most interesting thing to me is that Target has an army of employees figuring out how to change my habits. Me, not so much. Sometimes I think about changing my bad habits, and sometimes I actually try to do something about them. But for the most part, I feel too tired, too lazy, too unmotivated to do anything about them. I suppose I let advertisers do that for me.

I wasn't always this way. In my late teens and early twenties, all I could think about (besides boys, school, food, clothes, and politics) was how to improve myself. I needed to work hard to get to the "acceptable" range on some invisible human worth scale. I eventually realized that this was an unhealthy motivator, so I figured other ways to change my habits and improve.

Now? All I want to do is take a nap. So what if I only brush my teeth for thirty seconds on nights when I'm really tired? I know I'm still a good person if I waste time reading instead of emptying the dishwasher. And I will not be guilted into thinking that I'll make my child in utero fat by helping myself to that extra lemon bar. I love myself just the way I am, and I see no reason to change.

Except, that's not totally true. I don't want to always be like I am now. When I picture what my life is like at sixty, I live in a beautiful (although small, if you're looking for details) home, where sparkling clean is the norm. I still have a full set of teeth and I am not, in fact, obese. I pick up on literary allusions in the books I read and since the kids have been out of the house for a while, I am enjoying a great career. I'm kinder than I am now. I'm more at peace than I am now. I'm wiser than I am now.

Yikes. If only I had the energy, drive, and focus that those Target employees have to change my habits. I guess I better figure something out soon. After my nap. 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Summer Day at the Beach

We're in Hawaii.  Today Summer and I spent a lot of time at the beach.  I'll post more pictures later, but this one is probably my favorite so far.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nathaniel Trivia

Here are a few things you might not know about my super duper awesome husband:

1. He had a beard. It was our last Christmas break with Nathaniel in school (and therefore our last real Christmas break). Yes, technically the honor code forbids men to go even a day without shaving, Christmas break included. But I liked it, and I miss it. And then there is this quote from Hugh Nibley:

"The worst sinners, according to Jesus, are not the harlots and publicans, but the religious leaders with their insistence on proper dress and grooming, their careful observance of all the rules, their precious concern for status symbols, their strict legality, their pious patriotism... the haircut becomes the test of virtue in a world where Satan deceives and rules by appearances."

2. He will throw your stuff away if you're not looking. Sometimes living with Nathaniel reminds me of living with one of my nannies. I totally had to watch my stuff, and if anything went missing, there was a good chance it was in the trash. Nathaniel isn't that bad, but he really loves throwing stuff away. If I can't make a good case for keeping it, it's gone. Good thing I'm not a pack rat.

3. He has a moral opposition to excessive sweets. Nathaniel is not a sweet hater. He likes specific, high-quality sweets with long intervals in between. Popcorn balls do not make the cut (madness, I know). He highly disapproves of eating cookie dough as well. Good chocolates do make the cut, but as evidenced by the fact that his Christmas chocolates are sitting in a closet untouched, he keeps sugar comsumption at bay until he really wants it. I am simetaneously in awe and totally annoyed at this fact.

4. He bought an Eminem album and listens to it regularly. We heard an interview on NPR and he's been a fan ever since.

5. He loves Mormon Stories podcasts. His favorites are Richard Bushman and Terryl Givens.

6. He was made to be a dad. Seriously, he is amazing. He is always thinking of little tricks and games to keep Summer entertained, and she loves him for it so much. He is also more than willing to change bums, clean up her room, teach her to do chores for herself, etc. It's just the best.

7. He hates it when people don't listen. If you want to get on Nathaniel's good side, listen to what he says. He usually doesn't make people listen to things he doesn't think they'd want to listen to, but of course family is an exception. Lucky for me I really do want to know his thoughts on everything, including his thoughts on running races, law school scheduling, and dreams, becuase really he has some awesome thoughts.

8. He loves minimalist, modern decor. I didn't think he cared, but I was tickled when he liked the couch I picked out that wouldn't look out of place on the set of Mad Men and the (arguably not the greatest) Tulip table knock-off we have. I like lots of different styles, but I would have been sorta sad if he was all about ugly stuff.

9. He is sort of obsessed with technology. I'm hesitant to use the word "obsessed" to describe Nathaniel, because he does an exceptional job compartmentalizing his life, never letting one area go neglected. HOWEVER, if Nathaniel is wasting time on the internet, there is a good chance he's looking for information about iPhone 5 rumors.

10. He does not like too much attention. There are a thousand reasons I am crazy in love with him, but he would never let me blog about them. I admit, this makes sense. But this is my way of getting around it. Ba ha ha.