Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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May '08

More Iowa Happenings

Wes and I arrived back yesterday from Iowa. So much more happened in Iowa that I had time to blog about while actually there.

Wednesday, May 21

Today my mom, Wes, and I visited a friend from our church in Dubuque whose 18-year-old son, Ty, has Down syndrome. I remember after Wes was born she wrote me an email saying what a wonderful gift Ty has been to her family. It was such a joy to visit with her and Ty and hear about the great things Ty’s doing, including being on the high school swim team, playing baseball in the summer on a junior league, and playing soccer too. He was leaving the day after I saw him to be in the Iowa Special Olympics for biking and swimming. His mom told me that his HS swim coach has said that every team needs a Ty. No matter what his time is, no matter what place he comes in at, when he touches the pool wall and finishes the race he throws his arms in the air in exuberant victory. It’s not all about winning; it’s about finishing the race.

Here’s Wes and Ty.


And here’s Ty playing soccer (sort of) with Wes.


Thursday, May 22

Today we all drove 3 1/2 hours south to Nauvoo, IL to see the LDS temple (where John and I were married in 2002) and enjoy the historical sites.

We dressed for nice weather, but it turned cold and rainy on our way there. We stopped for lunch at the Nauvoo Mill & Bakery. It’s our favorite place to eat in Nauvoo. They sell a lot of whole wheat bakery items, and their sandwiches are tasty.



Then we bundled up as best we could and walked around the temple grounds.


John and I posed for pictures on these stairs on our super-humid wedding day six years ago.


These statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith have been added since I got married.


The temple is set high on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River valley. Here’s my little bro Matt and me with the Mississippi River behind us. Matt’s a great photographer.


Friday, May 23

Today I had a party! My best friends growing up were in my girl scout troop, so we had a Troop 74 reunion that included all but one of us (we missed you, Katy!). Plus, this is the first reunion that included babies, since three of us had kids this year, and two significant others. Here we are with the Baby Girl Scouts (except only one of them’s actually a girl) and The British Fiancé.


I was also so excited that four of our moms came (five if you count my own). Here’s Cheryl with Wes.


And here’s me, Erin, and Steph.


I had so much fun seeing everyone and am glad we could all get together. I didn’t get many photos because I was having too much fun mingling. Thanks to all who came. I have the best friends on the planet.

Sunday, May 25

On our first day in Iowa we went to Walmart and I saw a whole shelf display of weather radios. I thought how odd that was, since we don’t use weather radios in Utah. I bet no one there even knows what a weather radio is. It’s a handy contraption to have when you live someplace like the Midwest where severe storms and tornadoes can form suddenly. Whenever the National Weather Service issues a watch or warning a super-loud alarm sounds, followed by the official information. Tonight, starting around six, my parents’ radio was going off about every five minutes as a storm developed and drew nearer. We were glued to the TV for about three hours, waiting to see where the storm would go. As it happens, the worst of the storm missed us, but spawned an F5 tornado in Parkersburg about 120 miles due west that did extreme damage and claimed several lives.

I took some video of our evening. Here’s Wes, completely oblivious, using his great new holding-up-his-own-bottle skill while the weather radio is blaring in the background.


Here you can hear the tornado sirens.


This shows a bit of the TV weather news. By the way he’s dressed, the meterologist looked like he just came to work as quick as he could to get on air. You can hear the thunder outside.


And this is the coolest video because it shows the lightning and–right at the end–a lightning bolt. The flash of light that you see right before the bolt is so brilliantly bright that if you pause the video on that exact moment you can see my family’s farm lit as bright as if it’s mid-day. The flash of light actually startled me enough that my finger reflexively hit the “off” button on my camera, and I missed recording the super-loud BOOM of thunder that closely followed the lightning bolt.


May '08

New skills

Wes has only been in Iowa for six days, but the Iowa corn air must be good for him because he has picked up several new skills since coming here.

1. Holding up his own bottle

John’s been working on this with him for months, but suddenly, when John’s not here to appreciate it, Wes decided to start holding up his bottle by himself. I find it extremely liberating for both of us. Now I can eat my own breakfast while he eats his.


2. Eating in high chair

We don’t have a high chair at home, but my folks have one. Yesterday was his first eating-in-a-high-chair experience.


3. Holding onto feet

A few months ago his therapist asked me if Wes was beginning to grab onto his feet yet. I told her that I thought he didn’t know where his feet were and didn’t care. Well, all at once he’s found his feet (finally) and likes to hang on to them, too. Yesterday I saw him sucking on both big toes simultaneously.


4. Playing in bath

At home Wes sits in an infant bath that is reclined and not roomy enough for toys. But my parents have an inflatable rubber ducky bath that lets Wes sit up while he bathes and has room for him to play.


He loves it. He’s not totally stable because the bottom of the bath is inflated like an air mattress, so he bounces around while he plays. But he generally manages to keep his balance.

Here are a couple videos from bath time. After the second video ended Wes reached so far forward to grab a toy that he fell face-first into the water. I pulled him up before he had a chance to inhale, but that was the end of bath time.



May '08

Brief Iowa Recap

Wesley and I are still in Iowa. Wes has been playing a lot, and smiling a lot.


Wes has been playing lots with his cousin Savannah. She’s 18 months old, ten months older than he is.


They get along very nicely.




Today he got to try out the swing with his grandpa Holt.


On Friday I went with my sister to our old high school where we thoroughly embarrassed our seventeen-year-old brother by conspicuously carrying our kids through the halls and pausing to exclaim at all the photos of the former academic and sports award winners that we used to know. He walked twenty feet in front of us, trying to pretend he didn’t know why these two girls with babes in arms were following him around and occasionally calling out, “Hey Matt, when’d they change this?” But we very sneakily stashed our camera in the diaper bag and pulled it out when no one was looking.


On Sunday my little bro graduated from high school.


Here’s Wes, watching the ceremony intently on my dad’s lap.


May '08

The beginning of the end

Yesterday Wes had his first taste of ice cream. The first little spoonful was of lemon ice cream. His expression didn’t change, but he didn’t spit it out either. It must have melted on his tongue and then dribbled down his throat. Since he didn’t seem opposed to it I gave him another taste, this time of chocolate ice cream. His reaction was the same as with the lemon. I fed him a second taste of the chocolate and held the spoon off to the side while I waited to see how he liked it. His face was as expressionless as before when, all of a sudden, he thrust himself toward the spoon with his mouth wide open so he could lick the spoon clean.

I think it’s the beginning of the end.

May '08


Wes and I are in Iowa this week to see my parents. Here are a few of our adventures so far.

My dad gave Wes a tour of the farm:




And my mom took him on a grander tour on the “Terminator”:



Yesterday we drove 3 1/2 hours south to Nauvoo, IL. The weather was beautiful when we left Dubuque, but turned cold and rainy by the time we reached Nauvoo. We ate lunch at the Nauvoo Mill & Bakery, bought a souvenir T-shirt (courtesy of Grandma Holt) for Wes, and walked around the Nauvoo Temple grounds. I had Wes in the Baby Bjorn with a couple blankets wrapped around him and a hat on his head to try to keep him warm. More pictures of our Nauvoo and Iowa adventures to come.

Me, Wesley, and my niece Savannah



May '08

Eight Months!

On Monday Wes became a hulking eight-month-old.

By “hulking,” I mean that Wes:

1. Has grown out of size 1 diapers and is into size 2.
2. Has grown out of nearly all his 0-3 month clothes and is filling out his 3-month clothes, and I think he’ll be working his way into 3-6 month clothes over the course of the early summer months.
3. Is a champion sitter-upper.


He loves sitting up. He can’t get there on his own yet, but if we set him up he can hold his balance well (although he still falls over, and frequently backwards, hence the pillows in the photo).

His therapist visited yesterday and was impressed by how well he sits up. The last time she came (three weeks ago) he was just starting to sit up with propping (his hands in front of him to hold him upright). Now he’s a sitting-up machine. The next thing we’re going to work on with him is setting toys on either side of him so he’ll rotate and reach while sitting. This will strengthen his torso muscles and get him ready to learn how to exit sitting and and lead into crawling. The average baby with Down syndrome sits up around 11 months (for regular kids the average is 6-8 months), so we feel like Wes is doing great.

I take him to lap time at the library every Monday. He may miss the finer teaching moments of baby sign language and ignore the teacher when she’s reading a book out loud, but his attention is gripped by the other babies and he looks around nonstop. He seems to enjoy having so many moving things to look at. That’s why I also sometimes take him outside to sit on our porch and watch the cars drive by.

He’s more interested in things now. Before, he’d like to look at things like his toys and mirrors and people, but now he’s reaching out to touch all those things. Like when we’re walking by a toy in his room he’ll reach out his arms and throw his whole body toward it so he can touch it and play with it. He’s surprisingly opinionated, especially when he’s tired, and when he wants to look at something you’d better have a good grip on his body so it doesn’t fly out of your arms as he reaches out to touch something.

He also has favorite rooms in the house. It surprises me that babies know and remember where things are. He knows which doorways lead to the bathrooms (where the mirrors are), and if you’re holding him while walking past one such doorway, be prepared for him to fling himself in that direction. He loves looking at himself and whoever is holding him in the mirror. He especially likes to stand in front of the mirror and have you help him walk toward his reflection. He is all smiles.

We keep checking, but no sign of chompers coming in yet.