Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jul '11

Big Girl

Carissa wore her first pair of shoes last week to church. I spent most of Sacrament Meeting putting them back on her feet and trying to convince her that it’s a good idea to leave them on.

She is 11.5 months old now and can stand on her own, and sometimes she takes a few unsteady steps by herself.

She is getting more personality and playfulness. She’ll pull herself to standing on the couch, and then plop herself back down and laugh, and do it over and over again. Sometimes she’ll make a noise, and I’ll make it back, and she’ll make it back to me, and we’ll go on like this for a while.

She has her two front upper and lower teeth, and is getting two more teeth on top.

Since she gets kind of upset when I try to feed her baby cereal or food, and since I won’t let her feed herself because I’m not willing to give her a bath after every meal, I’ve been giving her more baby crackers lately. She can feed them to herself, which she likes, and they’re not too messy, which I like. Wesley will have to adjust, since I give them to her in what has previously been known as his “pretzel cup.”

Today for church I dressed her like this, in a froo-froo skirt, flower for her hair, and a bracelet on her wrist.

You can see she’s already taking off the bracelet, and the flower came off next. She ended up just in a dress, but at least she had that.

She turns one in a couple of weeks. I look at her and can’t even believe that just a year ago I was still pregnant with her. Here she is, practically a lady already.

Jul '11

Messy and Wet and Teething Times Two

The other day I gave up trying to feed Carissa her morning rice cereal and let her do it herself. Unlike Wes, Carissa has no qualms about getting her hands messy.

Since she got her top teeth (grand total of four teeth now), she likes to bite things between her chompers. Like this toothbrush holder.

Speaking of teething, I just discovered tonight that Wes is getting a new tooth! Considering he didn’t get his first tooth until he was 19 months old, I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked that they’re still coming in when he’s about a month shy of turning four. He’s getting his lower left canine (the one next to the front row of four teeth). I’d often wondered why he had a gap on either side of that front row of teeth, but after a while I kind of forgot that he had teeth missing. He still chews on his fingers, a lot, and maybe this helps explain that.

Last week we let Wes play in this mini-water park where water shoots up from the plaza. He didn’t want to go when it was time.

And Carissa looked on.


The End of Swim School

Wes finished up two weeks of swim lessons today. It will take many years, I think, before the kid learns to swim for real. But he had fun!

Every time his turn with the teacher was over he’d stand on the pool steps, face his “audience” (the parents) and clap and cheer for himself, saying “Yeah!”. The other parents called themselves his fan section and clapped and cheered with him.

Here’s his GQ shot.

At the end of each class the kids can go down the water slide and jump off the “high” dive. The first couple of days he wasn’t scared and jumped right off. But after that he got more timid and had to be pushed/dragged in. But he always liked it once he was in the pool.

Here he is standing in line.

And preparing to jump.

Here he is jumping in, before he lost his nerve.

Today after class I took him (and Carissa, who was asleep) to the drugstore downtown for an ice cream cone. I’m not sure he’s ever had his very own ice cream cone before. After he threw it on the counter face down I showed him how to lick it, and then to crunch the cone, and after that he was fine and ate nearly the whole thing, occasionally pausing to say, “Num! Good!”

Jul '11

Swim School

This week and next Wes is in “swim school,” which is what we call his swim lessons. Before his first day I really wasn’t sure if he would like being in the pool or not. The last time he was in a pool (in California, in April) he didn’t seem comfortable.

Well, I shouldn’t have worried. Wes LOVES swim school. I take him to a house not too far from our own that has a swimming pool in their backyard. The owner’s adult kids offer the lessons. Wes shares his 45-minute lesson with another child. When the teacher is taking the other kid across the pool, Wes sits on the steps and waits his turn.

Supposed to wait his turn, anyway. The time he spends sitting on the steps is time I spend reminding him to stop throwing things into the pool, to stay on the steps, to stop splashing the other kids, etc. It’s a little tiresome sometimes.

Today, actually, while he was “sitting” on the steps he decided to jump into the water by himself. Of course there was no one to catch him because his teacher was on the other end of the pool with the other kid. Now, if I had thought and not just reacted, I could have snagged another swim teacher (whose back was to Wesley) and asked her to pull my son from the bottom of the pool. But since moms don’t think, they just react, I walked into the pool myself and pulled him back to the side.

Here he is considering throwing something in. He loves those rings. His teacher lets him throw the ring in, and then they go fetch it together.

On his first lesson on Monday, the teacher dipped Wesley’s face under just up to the nose. But by the second day Wes went all the way under. He takes it well.

Here he is on the boogie board, practicing kicking (“splash your feet!”).

Wesley’s least favorite activity is floating on his back. I think the teacher spends most of that time getting whapped in the face by Wesley’s hands as he flails around wildly.

But Wesley’s favorite thing is when his teacher throws him in the air and catches him. Like so.

And, of course, Carissa is here too. I keep her in her carseat for as long as I can, but usually by the end she wants out.

At the end of class the kids get to do fun things, like go down the water slide or jump off the high dive (it’s not so high; you can see it in the picture behind Carissa).

Today the other kid in class started half-way up the water slide (her dad set her up there) and slid down, but she wasn’t happy about it. The teacher caught her in his arm (his other arm was holding Wes). But she was crying, and that got Wes crying. But both kids got over it and Wes went down the slide a little, too.

Then they went to the side of the pool. The girl jumped in first, the teacher catching her. When I asked Wes if he wanted to jump in, he said, “No.” But I nudged him to the edge anyway and he jumped in just fine.

Then the girl went to the high dive. She was sacred to jump off, but the teacher said he would hold her hand (from the water below, where he was waiting to catch her). She jumped in, and then it was Wesley’s turn.

I asked Wes if he wanted to jump off the high dive, and of course he said, “No.” But we went over anyway, and without hesitation he jumped off–BIG jump–before his teacher even had time to grab onto Wesley’s hand to help him jump.

Both kids did it one more time apiece. After his second time, Wes emerged from the water saying, “Yeah!” and gave a high-five to a bystander on the edge of the pool.

Swim School is good.

Jul '11


We’ve been eating spoons.

And playing by doors.

And exploring water.

And sorting markers.

We’ve had a very important birthday.

After the celebration we tried to snag a photo of me and John. Alone.

But that didn’t last long.

Jul '11

Weekend Away

Thanks to John’s sweet mom and step-dad, who were visiting from out-of-state, and who for some reason agreed to stay with our kids overnight without bribery, John and I were able to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary without kids in Salt Lake City.

Let me just tell you what it means to have a night away without kids:

1. You can eat your dinner peacefully without having to feed other mouths. You can also carry on conversation without being interrupted.

2. You can do things that you can’t do with kids, like get a massage.

3. You can hold hands with your sweetheart because your hands aren’t occupied by your toddler’s or holding a baby.

4. You can sleep in.

5. You can sleep in.

6. Did I mention, you can sleep in?

At one point while walking the streets of Salt Lake City I turned to John and said that it feels like it did when we were first married–wonderfully carefree. No one to worry about except ourselves and each other.

Kids are priceless; breaks from parenthood are, too.

We took time to get a massage. Wonderful.

And–bonus–the massage place was right next to this treasure that I never knew was in Salt Lake:

The London Market.

I practically broke John’s arm, dragging him inside.

Oh, the wonder! Hobnobs! McVities! Cadbury chocolate! Clotted cream!

Things I haven’t seen since I lived in England on study abroad nine years ago. John graciously let me browse and come away with a package of McVities digestive biscuits and a mint Aero bar.

Then we walked outside and lo, and behold, right next door is this:

Elizabeth’s Bakery and Tea Shop

I mean, how could you not love this place? Just look at this:

And this:

Real English biscuits (cookies) and scones (biscuits)! Pasty’s and shepherd’s pie!

I was in heaven.

But we didn’t eat anything here, because next on our agenda was The Melting Pot.

Since we had never eaten there before we opted for their Big Night Out feast, which is basically a sampler of everything they offer.

First course: Cheese fondue.

John let me pick the type of cheese, so I went with the Wisconsin variety. We ate it with apples, veggies, and bread.

Second course: Salad.

Very tasty, but I didn’t bother snapping a picture. We both thought the cheese fondue and salad together would be meal enough. But there was more.

Third course: Meat entree.

They brought us a platter of uncooked meat, some veggies, and a pot of hot vegetable broth. We speared the meat and let each piece cook in the pot for about 2 minutes. There were seven dipping sauces to choose from. Overall, it was tasty. My favorite was the ravioli.

Last, and best, was the fourth course: Chocolate fondue.

We selected the classic fondue, milk chocolate and chunky peanut butter. We rated each dipping item. Our #1 pick was the cheesecake, followed by the pound cake, brownie, and marshmallows. Easily the best part of the meal. But don’t even think about how many calories it might have been.

After our food settled we went back to our hotel and swam in the pool. We asked for a room on a high floor looking south. When 10 o’clock came we could see fireworks all over southern Salt Lake valley. We sat in the dark and watched.

Morning came and I didn’t have to get up for anyone else. I opened my eyes, decided to go back to sleep, and I could. I won’t get to do that again for a long, long time.

Happy nine years to us!