Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jul '08

New tricks and games

Lately I’ve been trying to help Wes learn how to go from all fours to sitting. I think he’s starting to get it. (See video below.)

Wesley pushing back up to sitting.

Wes is also getting to where I can play games with him, which is really fun. Yesterday we played one where I draped a cloth over the side of his crib, and he’d roll over and grab it and pull it down. We did that over and over, and he really liked it.

He thinks it’s so fun when I put a toy on my head and tip my head forward so it falls off, and then I do the same thing to him. When he feels me set the toy on his head his face lights up with this look of delight, and he likes it when the toy slides off. We can do this game over and over again, too.

When he’s tired, especially, it’s easy to make him giggle. He’s ticklish and just loves it when we “get him.”

And, like all babies, he’s fascinated by paper. Any variety: church programs, daily comics, bills… Maybe it tastes good?

Jul '08


A few random things.


I left Wes with a neighbor yesterday and saw Mama Mia with a friend. It was totally fun and carefree to go see a movie. (Ah, the pleasures of my pre-mom life…) Anyway. The movie: Mama Mia was playing in London when I lived there six years ago and I had a roommate who saw it three times (which is not cheap, even at student prices). I never understood why, until now. Now I wish I’d gone to see it with her because I’m sure I would’ve loved it. Mama Mia is a fun musical. It has all the right elements for me–upbeat music, decent storyline, a dash of romance, a bit of humor, and, of course, cheesiness (what’s a musical without the background characters spontaneously bursting into chorus or the entire cast suddenly organizing themselves into dance lines with jazz hands?).

Meryl Streep is 59 years old but hardly shows her age. She is gorgeous, spunky, lithe (she even does the splits in one scene while jumping on the bed), and–surprise!–she can sing. She’s got a nice voice.

I loved Amanda Seyfried, who plays her daughter, but I found I had strong feelings against her in-movie fiance. I felt kind of bad for him because I’m not sure if he was supposed to be unlikeable or if that’s just how his character turned out.

Mr. Darcy (oops, I mean Colin Firth) plays one of Meryl Streep’s former lovers, and even though I love him simply for being Mr. Darcy I thought he did a great job. Even singing. Apparently when they offered him the job he told them he rarely sings outside the shower, but they convinced him he’d do all right. And he did.

Pierce Bronson (a.k.a. James Bond) on the other hand… I think he’s got a great voice, but he sounds better when backed up by at least a dozen chorus members. He did okay, all considering. And he’s not bad to look at if you’re a woman over 35. I mean, the guy’s a walking cologne ad.

The very funniest bit of the film is when the fiance is about to leave the beach for his bachelor party and the chorus (all men) suddenly emerges from the ocean behind him wearing snorkel gear and spontaneously starts dancing on the pier in colored flippers. It’s probably one of those “you have to see it to get it” things. But trust me, it’s totally funny.

The music was fun. The movie was fun. The disco suits they wore during the closing credits were super fun. It’s a girl movie, no question. It was a good one to see without John.


Today I bought Wes some clothes–two sleepers and one packet of onesies. I don’t buy him many clothes (he has a lot of hand-me-downs from family). But sometimes it’s nice to dress him in something and think to myself, “I gave him this.” Plus, I’m a total sucker for those sleepers that have feet in the shape of animals. One of the sleepers I got him today has feet shaped like puppies and the other like little bears. It’s strange how my taste in fashion has evolved to include the finer points of baby jammies.


I was up in American Fork and went to the Best. Bakery. Ever. Flour Girls & Dough Boys is an artisan bakery (meaning EVERYTHING is from scratch), plus it’s a cafe. You can order breakfast, lunch, dessert–anything. The atmosphere is classy and comfortable. Think vintage chandeliers, turquoise walls, checkered floor, orange-framed menus. I noticed a shelf full of kids’ books (I read somewhere that they have story time for preschoolers), which I thought was a great addition to a cozy cafe.

After salivating over displays of cheesecakes, gourmet cupcakes, chocolate croissants, shortbread cookies, etc., I brought home a loaf of asiago cheese bread. It was $5.49, which I thought was a lot, but it really does taste the best of any asiago cheese bread I’ve had. Most bakeries bake white bread and sprinkle the cheese on top. Here, the cheese makes up 20% of the dough, too, so the overall flavor is nice and cheesy-salty.

I saw on the menu that they also scoop Spotted Dog Creamery ice cream, which is made locally in Salt Lake City. Some of their sundaes sound pretty delish, so maybe next time I’ll get a loaf to go and a sundae to stay.

Jul '08

Swing Time and Speech Therapy

Last week we had playgroup at the park and I remembered my camera. This is the first time Wes didn’t try to eat the swing, and he was game for letting me push him in it, but he wasn’t especially, shall we say, excited.

In other news, today Wes had his first visit from a speech therapist. Apparently a lot of normal-type baby skills are good indicators of how they’ll do speech-wise. The lady, Donna, evaluated him using a system called PLS-4 (Preschool Learning something something to age 4?). She checked things like how he handles toys, what sounds he makes, interaction level with other people, etc.

She said Wes has great eye contact and is very aware of things around him. She also said his tongue control is pretty good. (It helps a lot that Wes hasn’t been as congested as many DS kids are; when you can’t breathe through your nose you tend to hang your mouth open to breathe.) Apparently the palate is soft and forms around your tongue, so the more the tongue stays in the mouth where it belongs, the better your speech will be later on. Hopefully Wes won’t be too bad off in that area.

I think her primary concern is that he doesn’t make a sufficient variety of noises yet. He rated really low in that area (“expressive”), but better in the “auditory” area. Overall, he scored in the 32nd percentile (9-month equivalent) for “auditory” and 1% (4-month equivalent) for “expressive,” which averaged out (and don’t ask me how the math works here) to the 4th percentile (6-month equivalent).

Which made me want to ask for a re-take.

During her evaluation she asked how many vowel sounds he makes and I said that I wasn’t sure, but the one I hear the most is “Uuungh,” which he makes when he’s mad. So she put him down for one and I guess that weighted his score badly because he should be making multiple vowel sounds by now.

But anyway. Setting aside my parental bitterness, the gist is that he’s doing really well in some areas and needs improvement in others. Some of her suggestions are:

1. Practice turn-taking with Wes. I do something, then let him respond either by mimicking me or reacting (like laughing). Wes isn’t a great mimicker yet (but he’s great at staring), so this will be something to work on. The lady said she can’t stress enough how important learning turn-taking is, so I hope we get good at it.

2. Help Wes become more aware of his mouth region. She said to man-handle him a lot. Touch his mouth, massage his cheeks, anything that will help him become more aware of his mouth area. She suggested patting his mouth when he’s making noise (like an Indian call), get him used to that, and then try patting his mouth when he’s not making noise. Eventually he should learn to make the Indian call spontaneously.

Who knew parenting would involve so many things to learn? Wes is so capable, sometimes I worry I hold him back because I don’t know how to push him well enough, or just don’t push him enough. Thankfully, he manages to progress anyway.

Jul '08

Amish Friendship Bread

Today I made a couple loaves of Amish Friendship Bread. You make it from a sourdough starter that sits in a Ziploc bag for ten days before you can make bread (the fact that it sits out, unrefrigerated, for ten days really grosses John out; but I didn’t hear him complaining when he was eating a warm slice of the bread today).

When I was adding the final ingredients I realized I didn’t have enough sugar, and I didn’t feel like trotting next door to borrow some. I substituted brown sugar for what I was missing, and I had to completely forgo the cinnamon-sugar coating on the loaf pan.

While the bread baked I bemoaned my sugar problem to John, but all he did was look at me funny.

“What?” I said.

“Hon, we’re not out of sugar.”

I thought about it. And, sure enough, he’s right. We’re totally not out of sugar. There are about fifty pounds of sugar in big tin cans in our basement that I not only helped can but also lugged downstairs to our basement single-handedly. Surely I should have remembered that.

It’s OK. The Friendship Bread turned out tasty anyway. And if anyone who lives in my area wants a Friendship Bread starter, let me know. I have four in my freezer, waiting to be given away.

Jul '08

Bag Sales and Thriftiness

My friend Alicia shared on her blog some of her amazing finds at garage sales (and they were pretty darn amazing). I haven’t been to many garage sales since I moved to Utah, but I gotta admit–I am a sucker for a good deal.

When I was a teenager my grandma would take me to bag sales on Saturdays. Bag sales are like yard/garage sales, but they’re usually held in church basements. And if you’re wondering how that works since churches don’t have basements, you’ve lived in Utah way too long. My hometown is heavily Catholic and the churches held bag sales to raise funds. You take a paper grocery bag with you, stuff it full of whatever you fancy, and the entire bag of treasures costs just $1.

My grandma was a seriously thrifty person and I think we, though two generations apart, were made from the same cloth. Every time I descended into a pale, musty basement lined with folding tables piled with used clothes, books, and knickknacks, I felt like I was walking straight into heaven.

Since the stuff for sale was donated by church members, and many of the active donors were rather ripe in age, sometimes shopping a bag sale was like browsing a vintage shop. I think I was the only teenager in my ward (and maybe in the whole world) who wore nylons to church with a seam running down the back of the leg. Apparently that was considered stylish about fifty years ago. But I figured, nylons without holes in them, and practically for nothing! I wore those bag-sale nylons for a year until I wore them through.

I love getting a good deal so much that if people comment on something I got a deal on I can’t help but blurt out how much I got it for. One time in college my brother complimented my button-up yellow shirt and my reflex response was, “Thanks! I got it at DI.” Because I was really proud that I had found such a great shirt at the thrift store. But my brother gave me a weird look and said, “Maybe you should consider keeping details like that to yourself.” Apparently he wasn’t impressed. I’ve tried to quell the impulse, but it still spills out. The other day my sister complimented my new shirt and without thinking I said, “Thanks! I got it on clearance at Wal-Mart.”

I’m sure I probably come across as completely classless. But I can handle that if it means I have more money in the pocket in the long run and still end up with some pretty decent stuff. Besides, half the fun of buying is the thrill of the hunt.


Another 5K

Last Saturday was the fundraising 5K for Best Buddies. My friend Alicia, who is a much finer runner than myself, ran it with me. She’s training for a marathon, so for her this was an “easy run.” For me, this was my Super Big Mega Run. I had planned to go with Wes in the stroller, but the night before our stroller sprung a leak and John got to hang out with Wes instead on the sidelines.

I actually enjoyed this one more than my first 5K, probably because this time I had someone to talk to during the race. I ran it faster by almost a minute, clocking in around 28:40. In any case, considering I just started running in March I’m happy that I can keep my legs going for more than three miles without keeling over and dying.

Wesley’s favorite part of the race was probably sitting in the lawn afterwards playing with some toys we brought. He’s ten months old now (!). And still smilin’.