Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jul '07


Well, we bit the bullet and got our two-year-old cat Kyra a friend this weekend. After extensively considering Kyra’s current situation where she’s alone most of the time, and when she’s not alone she’s shadowing me as if I’m her only friend in the world (scary notion), we concluded that another kitty friend would help.

We read up about introducing established cats to new pets and found that resident cats will take better to kittens than to older cats. So on Saturday we hit Petsmart and adopted a four-month-old male kitten we named Grayson. He’s gray with white paws and a white chest and blaze. He purrs non-stop and is constantly kneading everything his front paws touch, even the linoleum. If you know Kyra, this kitten is nothing like her in personality. It probably helps that he’s been in a shelter and has been handled before, whereas Kyra was a bit of a wild one when we got her and not even weaned from her mom.

Next to Kyra, Grayson is so tiny. I forgot how small Kyra used to be. We introduced him right away to a “safe room” (the downstairs bathroom) where we set up a little towel bed, food, and kitty litter box. That was to help him get adjusted to his new environment. The book we’ve been using as a guide said to give him a couple of toys and once you hear him playing with the toys, it’s a sign that he’s getting settled. Well, about fifteen minutes after we put him in the safe room the bells in his toy ball were tinkling. We’ve let him out a few times (when Kyra’s not around) to roam and get used to his new surroundings. He scampers everywhere and sometimes his rear end gets ahead of his front end, like he hasn’t quite mastered running yet, and it’s pretty cute to watch. He sort of reminds me of Ducky from The Land Before Time the way he scrambles around.

Kyra doesn’t like him yet, but that’s normal. We’re following the book’s advice to introduce him gradually to her and let her get used to him. Hopefully before long she’ll be looking after him like one of her own. Or at least stop hissing at him long enough for us to feel safe putting them in the same room together unattended.

Here’s a picture of him. We took about fifty pictures of him, not because we’re obsessive like that but because he was such a bundle of motion that nearly every shot was blurry. This picture is one of about two that turned out in near-focus.


Jul '07

Birkenstock Heaven

Last year when I was in Madison for work I found the greatest blue Dansko Lolita sandals–but they were all sold out of my size because their mega end-of-season sale had been the week before. I was totally bummed, and this year I was determined not to miss any more end-of-season shoe sales. I’ve been thinking of getting some new Birkenstocks, since my wonderful blue suede ones from my high school days have definitely seen better days. (Although I still love them and forever will.)

So a few weeks ago I contacted a local comfort shoe store and found out when their end-of-season sale would be and put the dates on my calendar. I didn’t know the details of their sale, but I knew it started today at 9 a.m. and was called their Three-day Door Busters Sale.

I took an hour off work to go. I got there about ten past nine and already it was a madhouse. The store is small, and it was cramped with tables piled high with boxes and narrow aisles and women, women everywhere, their purses dangling off their elbows, carrying three shoe boxes at a time and precariously balancing on one foot to try on a fourth pair. Crazy as it was, I felt kinship with them. These were my people–people with an eye for good, comfortable shoes at a good price.

I beelined for the Birkenstock table, which was a good thing because they were featured in today’s Door Buster sale and the boxes were being eaten away quickly. I followed the example of the women carrying three boxes at a time: If I found something I liked I picked it up and held onto it, even if I wasn’t sure I would buy it. As kinsfolky as I was feeling, it’s still every woman for herself at a shoe sale.

I finally decided on two pairs: One Cozumel Navy Blue Silky Suede

Blue Birks

and one Orlando Golden Brown Birko-Flor.

Golden Brown Birks

The Cozumel was $60, marked down from $110, and the Orlando was $40, down from $80. So I saved about 50% overall.

I haven’t told John yet, but I know he’ll read this blog post and hopefully he’ll take note of how much money I saved in the long run and possibly remember that it’s my birthday next week.

Jul '07

News from the Jacuzzi: 28 weeks

Just returned from a routine doctor’s appointment. It was routine right down to the annoying hour-plus wait. The good news is that everything seems normal and healthy. The bad news (and, okay, I know deep down it’s actually good news) is that currently the baby is one-third as big as he’ll be when he’s born in twelve more weeks. That means that he’ll triple in size by then! And that means that I . . . well, I’ll be getting a bit bigger, too.

The funnest part of the visit came when I asked the doctor how my baby was positioned. I asked because I usually feel the baby kicking me hardest in the upper left side of my stomach, and less hard in the lower right side. But sometimes I feel him what seems like everywhere. And today in the waiting room I suddenly felt a hard bulge in the upper right side of my stomach and wondered what that was.

The doctor had me lie back and in about two seconds he could tell where the baby was positioned and show me. The head is really low in the middle of the pelvic area. The legs are in the upper left side (no surprise there), and the rump is in the upper right side.

So the bulge I suddenly felt in the waiting room was more or less the baby sticking his tush out into the world. The little movements in the lower right side are probably little punches and elbow pokes. And the hard ones in the upper left side are good ol’ fashioned kicks.

It’s hard to believe there are fewer than twelve weeks to go. It seems more real all the time. You’d think this would motivate us to actually clean out the room where the baby will sleep, or start stocking up on baby supplies, or something. But we’re still chillin’. Just enjoying it.

Baby Feet

Jul '07

That Darn Cat

Last week we bought our 2-year-old cat Kyra a bag of kitty treats, which we’ve never done before. But we’ve been wanting to introduce her to some new things, like a kitty harness so we can take her safely outside, and we wanted treats to entice (okay, okay–bribe) her with.

Yesterday we fitted her in her little red harness, and it only took us two tries to get it right. We let her walk around in it for a while to get used to it before we attached the leash. The leash really surprised her; it was like an extra tail, and she couldn’t understand why it kept following her.

We fed her treats when we put the harness on, and fed her treats when we took it off again. Initially, I wasn’t sure if she’d like the treats, but she seemed to gobble them up happily enough.

Tonight we learned exactly how much she likes them.

Kitty Treats 1

Kitty Treats 2

Our bad, I guess, for leaving them out for her to lust after. I thought she was being awfully quiet, and when I went to find her, there she was, having a kitty treat feast on the basement landing.

Oh, and incidentally, yesterday her first outing outdoors lasted approximately one minute. We had to practically force her onto the front porch, where she hunched defensively and prowled around the edge of the porch, then escaped right back inside the house. I guess we’ll have to work on that with her. But maybe with fewer bribes, since she ate about half of them tonight.

Jul '07

Hike to Stewart Falls

Who knew Stewart Falls had so much history to it? I don’t mean the history of the falls. I mean relationship history.

Stewart Falls

We hiked up there this morning with my brother Josh and his wife Hannah and their boy Logan. Turns out that Josh and Hannah’s first date was hiking Stewart Falls. And another lady I met there today had her first kiss (pre-current husband) at Stewart Falls.

John and I have our own history with Stewart Falls, which is:

In August 2001 I had only known John a short time. He was my home teacher and we had some mutual friends in our BYU ward we would watch movies with. The more I talked with him the more he reminded me of my old roommate Melissa, who was one of my all-time favorite roommates. It so happened that my brother’s roommate Clint knew Melissa, too. As Clint and I talked about John and Melissa we contrived that it’d be awesome to set the two of them up. But we weren’t sure if John already had a girlfriend. So we asked a close friend of John’s, Carrie Grant, and she said she thought he was single.

And thus our first hike to Stewart Falls was born.

We arranged a group to go up there one evening later that week. It was a large group, but I know it included me, my brother Josh, his roommate Clint, Carrie, and, of course, Melissa and John.

I’d never been to Stewart Falls and thought it was beautiful. Josh had a lot of fun jumping underneath the waterfall so I could take his picture. I really enjoyed getting caught up with Melissa, since I hadn’t seen her in a while. We had a blast walking and talking together.

The hike was great. But the contrived set-up between John and Melissa?

Well . . . let’s just say I remember hiking with Melissa at my side and John being just behind us. Melissa and I talked loads. John and Melissa, not so much.

The plan failed.

But, on the bright side, within a week John and I were dating each other and four months later we were engaged.

So even though the plan didn’t work, it kind of worked better than expected. Brillantly, in fact.

Today when John and I hiked it again my brother Josh asked us if we had already started to like each other during our first hike six years ago. My answer: “Nope.” John’s: “A little.”

The rest is history.

Us at Stewart Falls 7-14-07

Jul '07


This past weekend marked a monumental event in my life: The day on which I first set foot in the state of Idaho.

Really. I’ve never been there, even though about half the population of Utah was born there or has family there. But I’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite, which was filmed in Idaho. From the movie I remembered lots of fields and small towns, and that’s what we saw a lot of. Some parts reminded me of my home state, Iowa. Only browner.

We drove up with my in-laws and stopped off in Twin Falls. The city is built right next to a beautiful natural canyon with the Snake River running through it, and a beautiful non-natural golf course built into it.

Twin Falls canyonJohn and Shannon

Then we drove over to see the Shoshone Falls. As the sign we passed on the way there said, “The Snake River falls in thunder 210 feet over a rocky ledge higher than famous Niagara.”

I’ve been to Niagara Falls (twice), and Niagara’s definitely more impressive. But these were still nice.

Shosone Falls July 2007

On our way out of Twin Falls we passed a number of wildfires. The temperature has been so hot and the land so dry, and the lightning storms we saw and the wind we felt didn’t help. Here’s a picture of the smoke near Twin Falls. Notice the American flag near the Days Inn. It’s sticking straight out; that’s how strong the wind was.

Smoke near Twin Falls

Later that night my sister-in-law’s family got stuck near Twin Falls on their way to Boise because they shut down the freeway due to the fire jumping the interstate.

In Boise that night we met up with John’s oldest brother’s family and had dinner at Goodwood and hit the (very cold) hotel pool where I got to break in my new maternity swimsuit.

On Saturday morning John and I had breakfast together at our hotel (which I’m proud to say was a nice three-star place that we booked via Priceline for $45/night when it retailed for $90), then we spent the day together with John’s family at the Boise Discovery Museum. I wish I had taken my camera. John and I walked through a nice downtown park and discovered the campus of Boise State University along the Boise River. We also saw many, many geese and trod carefully over their droppings, which were underfoot everywhere. That afternoon we saw the movie Ratatouille and that night we opened John’s birthday gifts back at our hotel.

Family gathering
Everyone listening intently to John’s brother Robby’s wisdom.

Kids playing
Alec, Tiana, and Jared playing while the adults chat.

Kids watching TV
Abby and Aidan camping out by the TV while the adults talk.

Overall it was a good trip. I set foot in Idaho, our baby is 27 weeks along, and John turned _ _!

One last photo of us in Idaho:

Us at Twin Falls