Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Half a year down

In honor of Hattie's 6-month birthday today, I'm posting pictures that her aunt Tandy took when she was 3 months old. She just finished cleaning them up and we love them!

So far in Hattie's life:
- She has been to Texas twice
- We have only purchased 3 packages of diapers...we have a very generous boss and grandparents who keeps us well stocked!
- She has a milk protein allergy, which means no dairy for Mom.
- She rolls over
- She ate her first solid food
- She has blown out her diaper countless times
- She almost sits up
- She is her mother's daughter - she has eczema too!
- She has been to a medical school interview
- She goes to the rock climbing gym weekly
- She has been left with a babysitter 3 times, and 2 times at daycare all day
- She still has the cough that she was born with...hum...

We love our little angel...we look forward to the next 6 months!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Today was one of those days. I swam 1/2 mile. I made bread. I washed the dishes. I worked in the office. I did the laundry. I actually folded the laundry instead of waiting a few days. I made dinner. I washed the dishes again. I transcribed something for a friend for 70 minutes. I read my scriptures. I took a nap. I played with Hattie outside. I still have two hours before I'm going to bed.

Why is it that some days are like this and others I can barely find time to eat breakfast?

Triathlon update: On Saturday, Lindsay and I swam 1/2 mile together, then ran 1.3 miles. Later that night Paul and I went on a 5 mile bike ride. Why aren't bicycle seats more comfortable? We just got a jogging stroller/bike trailer, making it possible for me to exercise with Hattie.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Are you serious?

I'm getting ready to do something that I'd never thought I'd do...something that never even sounded remotely fun in the past - only painful. I'm training for a triathlon! Well, a half triathlon at least. Some of the ladies at the pool were talking about one in April, down in St. George...but, knowing that I'm not in the greatest shape, I didn't give it much thought. Then my friend Lindsay mentioned one in Salem, Utah on her blog, so we've decided to start training together. It consists of an 800 meter swim (about 1/2 mile), 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. It's not until June, so we've got time to get ourselves ready. I feel okay about the swimming, since I do at least 1/2 mile every morning, but I'm pretty sure the running might kill me...especially since it's last event.

To be better prepared, Lindsay and I are getting together every Saturday to do at least two of the events together, so that we can get practice doing them in a row. I could probably do them all individually right now, but doing them all in a 2 or 3 hour period is something different altogether. We also just got a bike trailer/jogging stroller so that Hattie can join me in training.

So wish me luck as I begin something that will most definitely challenge me, and might even kill me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Playing around

I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of us just spending time around the house with Hattie. She is really getting to be a lot more fun lately...I think she'll be sitting up by the end of the month if we're lucky. She's turning into a daddy's girl. These are Paul's favorite moments.

She loves playing on our tummies, but unfortunately, her feet feel like toothpicks jabbing into me.

She loves playing super-baby.

Paul even has fun with Hattie's accessories. He dubbed this the "Bumbo Hat of All Knowledge", with which he claimed the power to foresee what videos would be at the RedBox if I went, and which ones would be there if he went (we both hate being the one to make the RedBox run since we hate being disappointed when there's nothing good). We ended up making the run together, and found nothing good -- as predicted by the Bumbo Hat.

She also LOVES taking bathes. As soon as she gets in the bathroom and hears the water, she starts going's a little taste of the pre-bath fish dance.

I just gave Hattie a bath while waiting for the video to load, and she surprised us by sticking her big toe in her mouth and sucking on it for the first time. Gotta love baby flexibility.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Quite a night

I was a very lucky person the other day.

My dad came to Utah this past weekend, on March 15th. I left Paul home with Hattie to pick up Dad from the airport. Of course, I arrived at the airport early, so I went to the Park and Wait area. Being slightly under the weather, I fell asleep, waking up 20 minutes later to realize that Dad's plane had arrived. Fearing that his plane had landed long ago, I quickly started the car...or at least tried to since I had left the headlights on and the battery was dead. Gratefully, there were a lot of people in Park and Wait that day so I had no trouble finding someone with jumper cables. I sure felt silly though.

Upon picking up Dad, we headed downtown to the Church Office Building. Dad had been invited to a dinner hosted by BYU-Idaho, and, being that Mom was going to Arizona to be with a new granddaughter, I was his date. I certainly felt a little out of place...most of the people there were my dad's age. But there were some BYU-Idaho student hosts scattered throughout the reception, so I'm sure people thought I was another student host. After an hour of mixing and mingling, we were shown upstairs, to the 26th floor. There is definitely a great view of the city from up there.

We had been told that we had assigned seating at table #1. We made our way to the table and saw our name tags: Reed Dame and Linda Dame :) I looked around at some of the other name tags: Sue Clark, President Kim Clark, President Thomas S. Monson, Francis Monson. I think my heart stopped about then. I knew that President Monson was going to be in attendance that evening, but it was quite a surprise that we'd be sharing the same table with him!

Dad and I made conversation with the other couples sitting at our table while we waited for the Monsons. After about an hour of waiting President and Sister Monson arrived. On entering, he said, "I'll tell you why we are late: the Home Teachers came!" Everyone chuckled...who doesn't chuckle when the prophet makes a joke? He sat down and immediately started telling stories. I knew he was a storyteller, but this was amazing. All throughout dinner, he was the person talking. You could tell he was enjoying himself - that he liked entertaining us. And it certainly made everyone at the table feel more comfortable and less intimidated by eating dinner with the prophet. We didn't have to worry about what to say and sounding intelligent...we could just listen and enjoy ourselves. I'll try to remember some favorite stories.

"I used to work on printing the phone directory for Salt Lake. Do you think you can tell me the #1 and #2 surnames in Utah?"
Someone said Smith. I said Jones.
"You're right! Smith has been #1 for years, and Jones was #2 until recently, when Johnson took over. Francis here was a Johnson," he said proudly. He loved knowing random facts.

He quizzed us on a couple of other things, like the names of the horses of the singing cowboys in the 50's. That, of course, was beyond me.

Someone asked if he and Sister Monson would be moving downtown to be closer to Church headquarters. He replied, "Nope...because I can't take my 3 chickens with me!"

Here is a favorite: (of course, my telling is summarized and not nearly as funny)
"I was reading through my grandfather's journal of his mission in Sweden, and he tells of teaching a family, and names all of their children. Little did I know at the time that one of those children was Francis' father. So when I was courting Francis I went to pick her up one evening and her father asked if Monson was a Swedish name. I told him it was. He then asked if I had family who had served a mission in Sweden, and I told him that my grandfather had, and I gave him his name. Immediately, Francis' father kissed me on the check! He said that he was grateful to meet the family of the man who brought his family the gospel. Then Francis' mother kissed me on the check. I thought that I was the only man who had ever received a kiss from the girl's parents before a kiss from the girl!" Of course, he laughed at his own joke. He was so fun and light-hearted all evening.

After dinner, President Monson gave a talk. He started off simply telling more stories. They weren't necessarily related, but they always had a purpose and a moral. He quoted "A Christmas Carol" like he often does, and even made fun of himself for always doing it. He told how every Christmas his kids chide him for reading it to them once again. I'm sure he has the book memorized.

After he had been storytelling for a while, he said, "I prepared some formal remarks so I guess I'd better give those before I get carried away." So he began reading. He paused at one part and said, "Now I really like this phrase - 'like a light shining to the people (or something along those lines)' - Isn't that pretty? I thought it was nice." And he kept right on going! Later, at a different phrase he paused in his formal remarks and said, "Now I had someone at the office read over this and he said, 'It sounds like you, President.' 'Of course it does - It is me!'" At another part of his remarks he said, "As chairman of the board of directors of Brigham Young University that's a new title I've been given lately. I've been given a lot of new titles lately. Probably more new titles in the last two months than in my whole life." It was fun to watch him break in and out of character...he would turn on the formal remarks and sound like the typical President Monson, and then suddenly break away and be light-hearted and jokeful. When he got to the end of his prepared comments, he said, "Okay, I'm done with those now," and went right on storytelling has he had before!

One comment in particular that he made has stuck with me: There are no small decisions in the life of a person who has the potential to become as God. I've been thinking of that a lot since Saturday. I know that there are a lot of small things I can do to improve, and I just need to decide to do them. It IS important how I spend my time at home all day, even though it seems as though all my daily tasks are meaningless. Because all those tasks add up to my life, and I had better spend them well, and most especially, with a good attitude. The evening was unforgettable, sitting only 5 seats away from the prophet for over an hour. I was selfishly glad that my mom was unable to come!

Monday, March 17, 2008

No we aren't Irish!

The Leprechauns came last night but unfortunately we were, once again, unable to catch them. And we even built our best trap ever! I just don't understand it.

A note of caution: if you are reading this with young children you may want to stop now unless you want this to become one of your family traditions.

This may seem odd to many of you so I will give a little background. When I was in Ms. Petersen's Kindergarten class we built a trap to catch the Leprechauns and their pot o' gold. I was so taken with the idea of collecting money and candy by catching little green-invested men that I went home and demanded that we build a trap ourselves. So began a fantastic family tradition of devious trap doors, treacherous falling boxes, narrow Leprechaun escapes, and lots and lots of candy. Many people think that we are Irish but we really just like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

This year we decided to chronicle our trap making. We hope you enjoy the tour. It only took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to build and then 30 minutes to play with.

Paul begins construction on the base.

Working on the ladder.

The fringes were next. Yeah...our trap plan was forming while we worked on the pub.

The pub is coming together, complete with bar and tables. Way to go Melanie!

Michael begins work on the trap.

Melanie "paints" the walls. Do Leprechauns like stripes?

In the mean time, Paul works on the roof. Nice green shingles. I think that will definitely attract them.

Michael...still working on the trap.

Almost finished with the pub.

A close inside Irish pub that would attract any true Leprechaun.

Ahh, O'Iverson's pub. Come on in for a sweet pint of Irish Honey Brown.

The best trap ever!

Our masterful pub/trap complex. Do you like our paper bushes?

As you can probably see, Melanie was chief of interior design, Paul was the bulk construction manager, and Michael was the trap specialist. At this point we were sure the Leprechauns were ours. Mind you, we didn't want to kill them, just trap them since everyone knows if a Leprechaun is not caught together with his gold, it turns to chocolate. The gold...not the Leprechaun! Chocolate Leprechauns...gross!

Now, a tour of our trap.

We thought it would work. Don't you? Yet, in spite of all of we did, here is what we discovered in the morning.

No Leprechaun but lots and lots of candy. It was everywhere! As everyone knows candy falls out of Leprechaun's pockets as they skip along. Although we didn't catch the Leprechaun, we didn't mind the candy.

Hattie was especially excited that we were able to capture his pot o' gold but without the Leprechaun, just chocolate. Hattie likes chocolate more anyway!

On their visit, the Leprechauns also changed our milk, juice, water, butter, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, and even our bread green! (That is cinnamon bread by the way...Yum)

Hattie liked the bushes. She ripped them up. She told us she wants to be a Leprechaun when she grows up.

We hope you enjoyed it; we obviously did. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'll see you in court for the remainder of the balance!!!

About a month ago I received a phone call that went something like this:

"Hi, I, uh, rented a unit from you back in 2005. (I hear the wife yell in the background, "In 2006!!") I mean 2006 and I'm calling to get my refund since we now have a bank card."

I should explain that at the storage units, there is a $15 deposit that the tenant can get back when they move out as long as they leave it swept clean and with no damages. But due to the fact that the owner is never around to write personal checks for all of these refunds, we can only give refunds via Visa or Mastercard.

"Is your card Visa or Mastercard?" I asked
"And the number?"
"Well, when will the $15 be put back on the card?" he asked.
"Well, as soon as we get off the phone, I'll process the refund."
"So the money will be in my account immediately?"
"Uh, no...usually these transactions take a couple of days for the bank to process," I replied, thinking that most people should know this.
"But if the $15 is supposed to be there, then I don't want to write a bad check and have it bounce and sue you for the bad check."
I nearly busted up laughing. "Well, it probably wouldn't be wise to write a check from that account then, until you are sure that it has been processed."
"When is the soonest it will be done?"
"I'll run the card as soon as we get off the phone," I repeated, "but it usually takes a few days for it to be processed...I would guess it would at least be 4 or 5 days, but it could be sooner."
"Okay, bye," he said abruptly.

So I ran the card like usual. Ten minutes later he called back.

"Hi, I just spoke with my bank and they wanted me to check and see that it was you who processed the refund instead of the corporate office or something."
"Uh, was me. And I just finished it about 5 minutes ago."
"So the money should be in there now?"
Can you imagine my frustration? "No, like I said before, it might be there soon, but it usually takes a few days. It all depends on how long it takes the banks to process it."
"Okay, bye," he said again.

All of that was on a Wednesday. On Friday, he called back.

"Uh, you guys never refunded me the money and now a check I wrote bounced because the money wasn't in there yet and I have a $25 bad check fee. And you said it would be in my account in 4 hours. (The wife in the background yells, "24 hours!!!")
I couldn't believe it. "I did run it two days ago, and I never said it would be in there in 24 hours." (Imagine me rolling my eyes). I'll call my bank and ask how long refunds usually take to process." Just so that I could prove him wrong.

So, of course, the bank says it takes anywhere from 3 to 30 days. I called him back.

"Sir, the bank says it takes between 3 and 30 days to process a refund."
"But you said it would be in there sooner and now I have a bad check for $40 and a bad check fee for $25. I'll see you in court for the remainder of the balance!!"
"Okay," I laughed, not really knowing what else to say.

How could he be serious??? Blaming us because he didn't have enough money in his account! Obviously, he expected this to happen from the beginning, or else he wouldn't have threatened to sue during our first conversation. It's proof that we live in a sue-happy society who can't solve problems like adults and who fight over a measly 15 bucks. And it's going to cost him more to take us to small claims court than it would to just pay the bad check fee! Also, how could he already have received notice of a bad check? Doesn't that usually take a week or so? Something is fishy, but I am still amazed. Like I said, it was about a month ago, and I haven't written about it before now because I wanted to see what he would do. So far, nothing. Paul wants him to sue us, just so that he can see how small claims works and so that he can tear this man apart!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Memory Lane

I've been tagged, so here it goes.

20 Years ago: I was 6 and going to Kindergarten at Treasure Valley Christin School, since Kindergarten wasn't quite in the public school system yet. My cousin Todd was in my class with me, but I can't remember anyone else. I remember that whenever we did art projects, I asked my teacher to open my glue bottle for me. Later, when I learned how to open my glue bottle on my own, I wondered why she didn't just teach me how to open it instead of doing it for me. It makes me wonder what kind of a teacher she was...that's my only memory of her. That was also the year that I first went snow skiing. I hated it that year, always the slowest one being left behind, but I'm grateful now for ski school and Dad's patience with me.

10 Years ago: I was 16 and a sophomore in at Ontario High School. I had my license, but Lisa usually drove everywhere since she was older, but I was fine with that. I would go home with her for lunch, or have her drop my friends and I off at Subway or Skippers. I was probably getting excited for Spring Homecoming, although I can't remember now who I went with. I also ran for Junior class Vice President, but lost.

5 Years ago: I was in the MTC, in an intermediate Spanish class getting ready to go to Vina del Mar, Chile on a mission for the Church. I had been there a month already, and was really enjoying myself. I had a great district with great teachers. Things I remember most: trying my hardest to speak only in Spanish, but failing miserably every time we went to the cafeteria; fasting with my family for my mom's surgery; walking to the temple, because it meant that we were outside of the MTC; trying to memorize 1 scripture a day; discussions on charity; hearing the bells ring on BYU campus and feeling homesick; going on walks around the MTC compound; the day that Hermana McCune had surgery, and her companion, Hermana Walker, tape-recorded her while waking up from anesthesia - I don't think I've ever laughed so hard; and my companion shaking her head and saying, "Look! It's snowing!" because of all the dandruff that came flying off. Disgusting.

3 Years ago: I had been back from Chile about 6 months and had just been hired to teach at the MTC. I had a full load of classes at BYU. Paul was in my FHE group and I was interested in him, and I got up the courage to ask him out by the end of the month.

1 Year ago: I was about 3 months pregnant and feeling great, with none of the typical first trimester woes. Despite a great pregnancy, I was pretty miserable at my job. I felt like I lived two separate lives: happy in the evening with my husband, and lousy 8 hours a day at Head Start. I counted down the days to when I quit with as much anticipation as Hattie's birth. I felt like I was in Kindergarten again, being scolded for copying onto cardstock or being 3 minutes late in returning from my lunch break...and that's only the beginning. We were also super stressed out about the medical school application process, since we were hoping for acceptances, but having to face the reality of having to apply again. It was a pretty tough year.

So far this year: Hattie has rolled over, Paul had his fourth medical school interview, we went snow skiing, I have begun to swim every day, we have resumed climbing, and I teach the 9 year olds in Primary.

Yesterday: I swam a mile in the morning after feeding Hattie, which is the farthest I've swam to date. I didn't have to work, so I went to Provo in the afternoon to meet my London study abroad friend, Rachel, for lunch. We finished lunch before Paul was done with school, so Hattie and I walked around BYU campus for about 45 campus. I realized how much I miss being a student and having classes, yet I'm SO glad to be done. I'm also glad to be married and out of the dating/flirting scene that runs rampant on campus. I also realized that I don't walk legs were tired! When Paul finished, we went to the rock climbing gym for an hour or so until Hattie started to get fussy. I've been making progress lately and climbing harder stuff, so it's been fun. We put her to bed and she fell asleep all by herself again! Paul and I played games and talked for a few hours before going to bed.

Today: When I got Hattie out of bed this morning to feed her, she was so hungry that she started sucking on my chin! That is definitely a first...she certainly had good suction! I swam my regular 1/2 mile in the morning and came home to a sleeping child, who shortly thereafter woke up. Since she only napped for 30 minutes, she was soon back asleep...I dropped Paul off at the bus stop, made a grocery list, fed Hattie, went shopping, had playtime with Rebekah and Robyn upstairs, then went to Provo to pick up Paul to go climbing again. It was another good climbing day, and Hattie did great. We'll see how she does at going to sleep by herself tonight.

Tomorrow: I'm in charge of watching the storage unit office tomorrow, so I'm home-bound all day. I plan on processing the remaining credit cards that are on auto-pay, going swimming, doing laundry, cleaning Hattie's toys, and starting a new quilting project. My friend Miranda from the mission is having a Lia Sophia jewelry party, so I'm going to head over there after Hattie's asleep, mostly just to see some mission friends.

This year: Paul will graduate from BYU at last and we'll move to Texas in July. Also in July, we'll go up to Idaho to spend the 4th my family, and from there going to Wyoming for the Iverson family backpacking trip (I'll leave Hattie with my mom). Paul is going to be working at an observatory over the summer, but since it's really out of the way, he'll be gone all week and only come home on the weekends. Because of this, I hope to spend a few weeks in Ontario, Texas, or anywhere that will take Hattie and me for a few days so I don't get so lonely! We are mostly excited to finally be on the road to a career.

I tag Jenny, Noelle, and Miranda.


We finally caught it on camera! She does it pretty consistently now. As I talk with other moms, it's been interesting to learn about the things that their kids can do. I've realized that all kids develop at a different rate...for example, Rebekah who lives upstairs is 5 weeks younger than Hattie, but she loves to reach for toys and anything she sees, whereas Hattie is still pretty content to just stare at her toys. But Rebekah is not very close to rolling over. Comparison is never very good. But our new favorite thing to say to Hattie is "Come on Hattie, Develop!!!"

Piano update: No word yet. They say that no news is good news, but in this case, I assume it means that we didn't get it :(

Here are some cute recent pictures for your entertainment!

When it's Paul's turn to hold Hattie, he often browses the Internet or plays computer games. Together, he and Hattie take over the universe.

This is one of the only pictures I have of Hattie and me together, besides the first ones at the hospital. It seems I'm always the one to think of grabbing the camera!

As a member of our ward says, "She has helium in her feet!"