Call for Help, Part 2

Okay. Here's another question. Does anyone out there have a baby gate that they're done using? I thought that there would be an abundance of used baby gates, but I've tried looking at Kid to Kid in Provo, DI, Craigslist, and KSL and I'm not coming up with anything. Weird, right? Anyway, we could go the Walmart route or the Babies R Us route, but I'd rather not spend $40 on a baby gate right now.

We don't want one that installs on the wall. For us, the type that would work the best is a pressure gate that you can squeeze a button near the handle to release it.

Gulliver LOVES climbing stairs, as of about a week ago, so please! Help us out if you can! (And are local!) (We're willing to pay about $15 for a used one.)


We went to Azùcar's to pick up hers and installed it, and it's perfect for keeping Gulliver off the stairs.

And then, last night, Murray walked downstairs in an half-asleep daze and fell over it, jacking up our wall and jacking up the gate. And jacking up his leg. It's like I'm sacrificing one baby's safety for the other's...

Call for Help?

Hello, readers. I have a question for you. In fact, I know that I have a couple of questions, but the other is another biggy and will have to wait for another day, because you'll all get so distracted by it that you won't answer my CURRENT question, which is:

I think that I can be a lot more profitable if I learn web design. Currently I know enough HTML to tweak blogger templates pretty well. But I would like to take an actual class on web design so that I can learn to build basic sites from scratch, and so that I can learn to make wordpress blogs because right now I have no idea.

I am not really open to learning on my own through web tutorials or what-not, so don't suggest any of those. I want an actual, local, paying-for class that I can take. (I'm too busy to learn on my own because something else will always come up that's "more important" but if I have a commitment and a schedule, I'll adhere to it.)

So what classes are there, and through what schools, in the area? I was thinking about the CHUM class at BYU that covers web stuff, but I don't know if I'll learn what I need/want to in that class. Any feedback? I'm happy to take a class at any of the local schools as long as it fits my needs. And the cost I'll be able to justify for the amount of work it will open me up to in the future, so suggest anything!

My baby! My precious baby!

Last night, Murray and I left Gulliver in the care of my parents (staying at my brother's house) in SLC so that Murray and I could have a work day today. (I'm taking a SUPER QUICK break to document this!) When we left, my mom had gone down for an evening nap. I kept waiting for her to call so that I could give her my instructions for caring for my firstborn, but she never called.

Finally at about 10:30 I called my dad to ask how things were going. My mom never woke up, so her nap essentially turned into a really early bedtime.

Anyway, Gulliver was awake when I called. He was being cared for by my dad and my brother Richie, visiting from Canada. This is a faithful transcription of all that was said:

Dad: Where is the diaper bag?

Me: The diapers are at the changing station in Bean's room. Same with the wipes.

Dad: Well that's a problem. [because Bean was asleep]

Me: Well, is he dirty? I usually don't change him in the middle of the night because he's asleep. I don't wake him up to change him. Is he awake?

Dad: Yep. He's awake. He's right here with me and Richie.

Me: I don't hear him.

Dad: He's right here.

Me: Is he stinky?

Dad: I think he stinks. How do I know?

Me: You smell his butt.

Dad: Well, I can't tell.

Me: He's probably not dirty then.

Dad: Well how do I know?

Me: Peek in his diaper.

Dad: He's wearing a onesie. I can't peek in.

Me: Take off his pants, pull the diaper away from his butt at the leg hole.

Dad: I don't see anything in there.

Me: Then he doesn't need changing. He's good to go.

Dad: Where are his pajamas? [He fell asleep early, too, so he was still wearing his regular clothes.]

Me: I put them in a stack on your dresser. Find his footed pajamas.

Dad: There's a pair of blue pants here. Is that it?

Me: No. You're looking for footed pajamas. They'll have feet on them. It's at the bottom of the pile.

Dad: Okay. Now how do I do this?

Me: Keep his long-sleeved onesie on. Then put his feet in the pajamas, put his arms in the pajamas, and zip it up.

Murray, to me: He's not going to like it.

Me: He may not like it.

Dad: Okay. That's done.

Me: I still haven't heard a peep from him.

Dad: Well, he's just being very quiet. Now what?

Me: Well, you'll have to put him down to sleep again. At this time of night, he'll probably cry about 30 seconds. But he'll cry. You can't be in the room or he'll keep crying. So he should either be in Richie's bedroom, and Richie can sleep on the couch, or bring the crib out into the main area outside your room and Richie can sleep in the bedroom. But then his crying might wake up the kids upstairs.

Dad: How long will he be crying that we need to be concerned?

Me: If it's more than 30 minutes. But it will more than likely be about 30 seconds.

So we wrapped up the conversation, and I was never fully convinced that my baby was even there since I didn't hear him at all. But as soon as I was done the conversation, I saw that my dad had sent me these photos. So I knew my baby was all cared for.

Welcome to Hamelot!

Last week I bought a 10-lb spiral cut ham, because I assumed that all spiral cut hams were supposed to be delicious goodness. Turns out, you're supposed to pay big bucks to get the good ones. Oh well. What this meant was that after one dinner of mediocre ham, I knew I'd have to make some navy bean soup. I've heretofore been a split pea soup person, but Murray has converted me to the navy bean soup camp. And I have converted him to the carrots-in-your-navy-bean-soup camp, since 1) the recipe I found calls for them and 2) I feel it my duty as a mother and wife to sneak vegetables into our meals. The first time I tried the recipe I put a package of carrot strips into the soup, which I enjoyed even though I'm not a huge carrot fan. But Murray felt it spoiled it. So tonight I begged him to give me one more chance, and this time I chopped up the carrots really finely in my nut chopper. And he approves. Phew! Deliciousness and nutritiousness for all!

But the point is that my whole HOUSE smells like ham, and I don't know when it will stop smelling like ham! I put the ham on the stove first thing this morning and just let it boil all morning. Then I cut it all up before church. I washed every dish and put the cut-up ham and broth into a sealed bowl in the fridge. (We have enough ham for at least three batches of this soup.) But it still smells like ham here...

Oh well. We had Murray's parents over for dinner. Usually we go over there on Sundays, but since our house accommodates four nicely (Steve and Cici are in Texas for the holidays) and since I was the chef of the night, dinner was here! It was really nice to have company!

So any tips on getting rid of food smells?

Not Bought

I didn't buy this jacket for $20 tonight at Target.

I did however buy a magenta coat. (Not pictured.)

After 8 good years I'm finally ready to get rid of my beloved purple coat. And I still love it but maybe the fact that it is a medium and I am not plays into it too. I'd rather give it to someone who wants it than give it to the DI. Any takers?

(it will make you happier than I am in this photo)

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Gulliver Loves

I feel like it's time for a good Gulliver post. He seems to change so quickly that I figure it's probably a good idea to start a regular post called "Gulliver Loves" so that I'm capturing the stuff he's loving and doing on a regular basis. Here's the list for what he loves lately:

Gulliver loves giving kisses. And it's even more adorable because he sucks his cheeks all the way in to do it.

Gulliver loves copycat. He'll copy us doing a monkey noise, saying mamma or dada (especially dada), clucking his tongue, and making kisses. The other day, we were at a store and I was holding him and I said "Oooooooooo" about something. Immediately Gulliver said "Oooooo." And then I started laughing. And then Gulliver started laughing. Sometimes we get him to try new things. Like if I snort like a pig, he'll clear his throat or cough. If he's really stumped and can't make the new noise, he'll just go back to clucking his tongue.

Gulliver loves the kitchen. This is where he is right now. I can hear him spreading all of my ziploc bags all over the kitchen floor. He also loves to shoot his toys under appliances and under doors. So I'll open my pantry to see a collection of blocks and toys. Or I'll open my laundry room to see the same. Or I'll lie down on the kitchen floor to fish toys out from under appliances with a hanger. What kills me, though, is when I catch HIM stomach-down on the floor, head to the ground, eying just exactly what it is that he's shot out of reach.

Gulliver loves the details. When I hold him, he'll find the freckles on my arms and poke them one by one. Or if he's sitting at a table and I need to entertain him, all it takes is one drop of anything out of place and he'll poke it and smear it till it's gone.

Gulliver loves bathtime. I'm having a couple of bathtime struggles, though, because lately, Gulliver loves to drink the water. Do other people go through this?? I KNOW there's urine in there. If the tub is filling with water, Gulliver will get his face right up to the faucet and take a drink of the fresh water, which I don't mind AS much.

Gulliver loves the open fridge and open dishwasher. If you crack these open, watch out, because Gulliver starts crawling towards you at top speed!

Gulliver loves climbing through things or into things. So open boxes are great fun. We've also found him in drawers and baskets. He has great fun climbing through the legs of chairs and tables.

Gulliver loves tucking his hands in. If you hold him, he'll often tuck his hands between his body and yours. This is especially adorable if you're rocking him to sleep, and it's a sign that he's getting very comfortable and ready to go down.

So I think that's a decent list right now of things he loves. And if you're looking for a Christmas tree update, here it is. It's been going well, but my beaded garland was barely within reach, so I documented this awesome moment from the other day. So now, pretty much the whole bottom HALF of my tree is undecorated. But the TOP half looks GREAT!

Almost Euphoric

Tonight I am completing the online course that I've been working on forever. No, I don't mean the online course I'm TAKING. I mean, the online course I'm CREATING, which is a whole lot more work than I ever anticipated. And I've been doing it in conjunction with writing a textbook. And now suddenly I have a new respect for all those high school teachers who wrote Independent Study courses back in my days as a student editor, when we'd all sit around and make fun of the instructors, and we'd hang up printouts of the most ridiculous quotes by these teachers. But I take it back! I take it all back! And I beg forgiveness of any teacher that I ever complained about or berated or mocked mercilessly! Because you know what? Sometimes you really are just writing or saying crap and it's because your brain has gone to mush and you can't even remember basic words anymore. I now understand the state of mind that the instructor must have been in when she stated that for her distance-learning swimming course, a bathing suit was optional! And I am willing to bet that 95 percent of these instructors were just like me. They probably had months and months to get the work done, but never did because they thought they had all the time in the world, and then they ended up doing the whole thing in a mad rush and lost their sanity. Because I know I have! Lost it! Just ask Murray about me losing it today about all the excess crap we have in our house and don't need. Which necessitated a trip to the DI to unload all the excess crap we've been carting around in our cars for I SWEAR almost a year. We have loads of stuff we don't need, and we've been too busy to take care of it! But we both sense a major purging coming on, within the new year.

Anyway. Tonight I have more or less wrapped up my online course. And tomorrow I can start laying out my content in InDesign to create the textbook. And one day this will all be over, and Murray and I will look back on this dark period of our lives (as we're bathing in liquid gold from all the money we'll be making of course) and laugh and talk about how crazy we were.

Mall Cut or Mom Cut, Part II

So I'm still trapped inside my computer. I'm hoping that I can wrap every major project up by December 14th so that December 15th, the more important but oft-forgotten December holiday, can be celebrated without stress. To celebrate my 29th year, Murray and I plan on a 2-night stay at Château Terre d'Amour, a members-only resort that boasts on suite parking, a fireplace, a jetted tub, live entertainment (including the Terre d'Amour shuffle), and a free babysitting service, which includes a special "sleep-in" service where your child is fetched and cared for in the morning. It is heaven, I tell you. Heaven.

But enough about that. Let's get back to the fact that I'm still under the gun and super stressed and overburdened. And since I haven't been taking proper care of myself, I feel my body is falling into disrepair. (What? Fast food and chicken nuggets don't keep you healthy?) And speaking of not taking proper care of myself and eating not-homecooked meals, on Saturday we decided to run out to a local Mexican restaurant. Since Gulliver was happy, it was best that we did it right away. So I just ignored the fact that I wasn't showered and wasn't wearing nice clothes. And was wearing no makeup and my hair looked terrible. I mean, I've been needed to get a haircut for over a month now, but I haven't had time to do this, so it's just been getting mangier.

We also had a booth at the Beehive Bazaar, mecca of all local cool people. And we had to take down our booth that evening. I thought I was okay because we'd have time to go home and I could get presentable before going to the BB for take down. But alas, we decided after our meal that it was best to stay out rather than try to go home just to turn around and go out soon after. So we found ourselves in Provo/Orem with a couple of hours to kill, and decided to take our annual venture to the mall. We went to Gap, where I found a totally cute shirt (for $22). But trying on said shirt just reminded me of how bad my hair was.

And then it hit me! We still had an hour to kill at the mall, and I could get a HAIR CUT! You know that I love me a good mall cut! So I found my nearest mall hair salon and got a cut.

And you know what? After that cut, which looked awesome, it did not even MATTER that I was not wearing makeup. Because I looked cool. And in my new Gap shirt (that I may or may not have worn every day since Saturday... but only for a few hours at a time) I looked very presentable, even hip.

Here are a couple shots of my new hair. Also? Totally new part. My mall hairstylist suggested a new part for me. And you know what? I like that in a stylist. So in case you're interested, check out Amy at Regis. She was awesome and made me into a new woman. So although I'm still stuck in a computer, I have really really fabulous hair. Really. Now I am a mom with a mall cut.

(Also, my hair looks darker in these photos because it's 1:00 a.m., and it kindof makes me want to dye my hair dark. I mean, I may as well, before I get pregnant again, right?)

(P.S., those purple lights above my head are my shoulder angels. One of them is telling me to go to bed. The other is telling me to stop blogging and send more proofs to my client.)

Help Me!

I feel like I'm going INSANE. All work and no Gulliver makes Cicada crazy. Murray and I needed to do some recording. We budgeted one big workaholic day for it, where we took Gulliver to Murray's parents' house. And then we worked like crazy working fiends!! Only to find out at 9:30 p.m. that all of our work had been in vain because we recorded everything at way too low quality. Yeah.

So Murray's mom was very kind and took Gulliver again today. My boy! My baby boy! Two days without my baby boy! (We picked him up last night and dropped him off this morning, and I'll be leaving in a bit to pick him up again.) But still.

I am almost done. I am two videos away from being done. And I can't for the life of me bring myself to do them. And I raided the freezer and found a hidden stash of frozen cookie dough and I ATE IT. I ate it, even though I've been sooooo good about this no-sugar thing! And I LIKED it, so there. But really. I'm going crazy. And to prove it, I thought I'd leave you with this very special clip. All the recording we're doing doesn't feature us on camera at all, but I thought I'd document my beautiful headset.

O Tannenbaum, Day 0.5

Well, Murray and I got the Christmas tree up yesterday during Gulliver's periods of wakefulness. I loved all the good advice I got, so this is where I'm at so far:

We put up the tree not in the place where the image from the last post showed, but in the place where we put it a year ago---it's kindof in a corner between the couches. So already, the tree is 80% protected.

I did not put ornaments on the lower 1/4 of the tree (although some beaded garland may be hanging a little low currently) except for some nice fabric ones that will come off the the tree easily and will not break.

I loved Azucar's advice of wrapping very heavy boxes. So I figure that will become my primary line of defense if Gulliver becomes interested in the tree. I even thought that I could wrap them in nice FABRIC, which Gulliver won't be able to tear. Smart, huh? And then, I can bring out these "box barrier bags" every year as part of the whole Christmas decoration, because guess what--we're going to keep having children, so I need to keep worrying about this problem for the next decade.

So then this morning I put Gulliver down in the living room and let him explore. No interest at all in the tree. I brought out the vacuum (gasp! on the Sabbath!---I know, I know) to make sure I got all the little pieces of crud on my carpet that were left over from putting up the tree, because having a self feeder means that he feeds himself carpet crud. He was very interested in the vacuum, and when the skinny nose attachment fell off of it, it was even more exciting because that became a weapon of assault that he could use to attack the vacuum as I tried to work around him.

But even after I put away the vacuum and Gulliver was ready to play again, he still wasn't interested in the tree. He ventured over because he is now much closer to being able to access Kermit, who is sitting happily near the tree. But he didn't grab the tree.

So. Day 0.5 has been a success! (And he is currently playing happily in the kitchen where he has taken everything out of the bottom drawer, but don't worry! I moved all the blades to very safe places and filled the accessible drawers with linens.)

Calling All Mothers: Advice!

All right, mothers. The Christmas season is in full swing tomorrow and I have a question! How do I have both a baby and a Christmas tree? Appropriate answers do not include having a tree on a table because I'm not going to do that for ten years and because we have a tree that we bought last year. So please share with me your collective experience and advice!

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.


I thought I'd mention another thing about what Gulliver does. I don't know if every baby does this, or just our Gulliver. I think it might be every baby but here goes.

Gulliver loves when there's one spot of something different. Like if I'm feeding him, and ONE drop of food spills onto his plate, he'll go after that one thing. It's very entertaining until he's spread it all over his tray and thus taken care of. This is the same for if there's one spot anywhere else. Like on the floor. He always finds the one spot of dirt, or the one nut that I've spilled.

Well, now combine this with his tendency to smash things with blocks. At this point in his life, that's what blocks are for. Smashing things. Now that he's a self feeder, all of a sudden I'm much more accountable for keeping my floors clean. So yesterday I was doing a thorough vacuuming and sweeping and mopping. I found a collection of blocks near a forgotten area of tile floor. And you know what I found? I found nuts and food debris encrusted on every single one of those blocks. Obviously he was chasing around misplaced food crumbs and obliterating them with his blocks!

Last week, Gulliver couldn't play on his own at all. It got to the point where I wondered if he had ever really played on his own before, or if it had just been a figment of my imagination. This week, he's back to his normal busy (and independent) self, and it's so much fun to watch. I feel like I'm able to see his imagination develop.

Here are some shots of Gulliver playing. In this first series, you can see a stick amongst his toys. This is a push-along duck that he loves. Of course he's not old enough to push it along yet, but he will grab it and then travel with it around the entire house. It's ball top is especially good for smashing things. 

Here Gulliver is inside one of his boxes. I have two toy boxes for Gulliver. In addition to organizing his toys, they have the added benefit of being places that he can crawl into and out of, much to my amusement. I've got to admit it. I think there are few things cuter than seeing a pair of legs sticking out the top of a box as Gulliver dives to the bottom to find a toy.


Gulliver's New Trick

Still really busy with stuff, but I thought I'd take a moment to share a big milestone that Gulliver reached this week. Gulliver up until now has not fed himself. I think that he's a little late, but I attribute his lateness to:

1) He's a first child, so his parents can give him all the attention he needs.
2) He's never been an oral baby. He just doesn't stick things in his mouth (except for his stuffed Ernie's nose, which coincidentally looks like a bright red nipple)---and didn't really love the whole pacifier thing, either.
3) He's too busy crawling around the house and walking along furniture (and getting into kitchen drawers) to take the time to figure out self feeding.

But the other day, we went to a Mexican restaurant. At restaurants, I'll give Gulliver large pieces of food so that he can have something to play with (and the restaurant staff can have something to clean up) while we eat. Well, I gave him a tortilla chip to play with at the restaurant, and like a little chipmunk, Gulliver took a bite out of it. Then another bite. And another. It was the cutest thing in the world. He ate that chip right up!

This morning, he gobbled down his food and my yogurt, so I grabbed a few of his dad's Cinnamon Toasters, and Gulliver bit into those, too! He even found one on the floor later and I didn't realize it until I heard him crunching and smacking his lips.

In other news related to Gulliver's development, here's how he's driving us bonkers these days. Gulliver has a sense of what is OFF LIMITS. And that means that it's especially ON limits. So for example, we have an air intake vent on the main floor that we can't do ANYTHING about. It's just there. And Gulliver loves to strum it. BUT it cuts his fingers. Drives me CRAZY. So in the beginning, I had the idea that if I just ran and picked up Gulliver every time he strummed the vent, he'd just learn that it was a reliable way to get mom to come! So I tried to sit down on the floor with him and hold his hands to the ground for a minute, immobilizing him. I thought maybe that would be a negative consequence associated with the strumming. Of course, that was more annoying (to me) than having to just get up and grab him every time, so I didn't stick with the plan. Well, surprise surprise, but now Gulliver has REALLY learned to associate strumming with parents' attention. He does one big strum and then turns around to see who's going to run after him. When he's especially playful, he'll start laughing and crawling away from you as fast as possible to make you chase him. When he's feeling especially musical, he'll just keep strumming as much as he possibly can before we get to him and stop him.

Gulliver also loves drawers and cupboards. If we're into this whole negative consequences association thing, you'd think that he'd learn from the times he's smashed or pinched his fingers that playing in the cupboards and drawers isn't a good idea. Or like the time he broke one of my bowls in the 0.5 seconds that it took him to get into the cupboard, right when we were madly trying to pack and leave the house for a few days. He also has blade radar, meaning that he KNOWS where my handheld blender blade is. It was previously in the bottom drawer, which he accessed very easily. I moved it up one drawer, since he never opens that drawer. The next day, he graduated to that very drawer. So I moved it up one more drawer, and, you guessed it, he's now capable of opening the THIRD drawer up. I currently have rubber bands on my cupboards. I have those plastic latches somewhere in this house, so I'll have to hunt them down and start using them on the drawers. And maybe consider moving all my rags and towels to the bottom drawers...

The fridge and the dishwasher are Gulliver's ultimate destinations, though. If he sees into the kitchen when I have the dishwasher open, he kicks the crawling into turbo speed, making really excited noises as he charges into the kitchen. Then he tries as hard as he can to get into these places while I try my hardest to keep him out. (The other day, I found a tupperware of mashed potatoes on the ground outside the fridge, evidence that Gulliver was able to get in while I wasn't looking and sneak something out without my noticing.)

So that is the Gulliver update. He's been pretty high maintenance for about a week, but today he seems to be back to his playful, low-maintenance self. Now if only we could get him a little brudder to play with...

Productivity Report

Today was supposed to be a very productive day for me and Murray. To begin the day's production, I needed to print off a sheet to test the resolution of screen shots for my up and coming book. (I know: I will soon be a [self] published author! The book is about the riveting world of Illustrator.)

I couldn't print it. (Have I ever mentioned how vehemently I hate home printers? Because they NEVER work. Not ever. Not even after you pay $300 for a brand new one that's supposed to be good for graphic art. Epsonality, my @$$.) We recently switched internet providers and set up a new wireless network for the home, but forgot to have the installer set up our printer on the new network.

So most of the morning was spent with Murray on the phone with Epson trying to figure out how to set up our printer on the new network. Eventually he just got disconnected, which was fine because it was time for a Costco run anyway.

At Costco we purchased toilet paper, diapers, bacon bits, and chicken nuggets. Emphasis on the toilet paper; the rest of those items could have waited for another day.

Then we went to Target, where I felt it was a good idea to stay in the car (to avoid spending money) but ventured into the store anyway, where I found my dream chairs on sale for $55 for a set of two. (We've already been through two sets of dining room chairs in our home, before I really learned that we'd do better with chairs that don't have arm rests. So now I have these sleek, fantastic, green chairs. And what a price!!)

We came home, put Gulliver down for his nap, and Murray got on the phone again with Epson. And then with Quest. Two hours later, we had answers, but no solutions. It turns out, our Epson printer isn't made to work with the type of network we have set up here, and ultimately, Quest is going to have to send out a technician to solve the problem.

So with our printer hard-wired to my computer (it's currently sitting on our leather reading chair---not the best place for a printer), I was able to finally print the page I was needing. At 8:00 at night.

The GOOD NEWS is that the screen shots print just fine.

The bad news is that I should have been able to find that out 12 hours ago.

(The GOOD news is I have new chairs!)

Rite of Passage

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Hand-Delivered Turkeys

I want you to close your eyes and imagine something very, very special.

Except don't really close your eyes, because you need to read this. Unless you can get someone else to read it to you while your eyes are closed. In which case, close your eyes.

[To the reader: Please read all of this in a very positive, enticing voice. Because it is positive and enticing.]

Imagine a world in which turkey came delivered right to your door, by the farmer's wife. Imagine a world in which you didn't have to speed-thaw your Thanksgiving turkey in the bathtub because you can just stick it straight in the oven, frozen. Imagine a world in which your turkey came out perfect with absolutely no effort on your part. Perfect succulence! Perfect flavor! Perfect turkey! Imagine all your Thanksgiving guests adoring you for the perfect turkey that you have prepared. Oh, and imagine yourself not being exhausted because you didn't have to go to as much effort this year.

Now open your eyes and get this: My adorable sister-in-law is a turkey farmer's wife. And she will deliver your turkey to your door the week of Thanksgiving if you live in Utah or Salt Lake County. And you can put it frozen into the oven, and your guests will love you and you will enjoy Thanksgiving because you won't be exhausted! Does anything sound more wonderful?

Oh yes, something does sound more wonderful! You will get good karma for supporting Utah turkey farmers! (Whereas if you buy Butterball, you can count on the Mormon cricket breaking into your house and eating your young because that is basically what you deserve.)

Here's the info on all the turkey products available (for delivery to your door!!):

Sweetheart Breast Roast $3.75 lb
Turkey Pot Roast $ 2.75 lb
Turkey Burger $ 1.50 lb (these come in 1-lb pkgs)
Sanpete BBQ $ 4.50 lb
SWEETHEART BREAST is a Boneless Turkey Breast Roast that comes in a cooking bag ready for the oven. This makes a very moist turkey! They are sold in 2 different sizes. They come in a 5-6 lb range or 10- 12 lb range. This is a perfect Sunday dinner choice. This product does not need to be thawed. It can be put in the oven frozen. It takes about 35 minutes to pound to cook. This is our family favorite.
TURKEY POT ROAST weighs about 6 1/2 - 7 lbs. It tastes very similar to a beef roast. It is very easy to cook. I usually just thaw it and cook it in my slow cooker. This product is fully cooked and just needs to be warmed. I love to serve this product at a family party. We make warm BBQ sandwiches or I use it a lot to make Tacos. Our family really likes to make the Cafe Rio Salads and Burritos with this. I usually just flavor the meat with a BBQ sauce and some honey to make it sweet.
TURKEY BURGER comes in 1-lb packages. It makes it very convenient for dinners. I use Turkey burger in replacement of Hamburger in most recipes. It is a healthy choice.
SANPETE BBQ weighs about 9-10 lbs. Pieces of breast meat are already marinated in soy sauce and 7-up. (Shut up: Did she just give away the secret recipe?) Ready for the grill. This is the product that they serve during the Manti Pageant. It is very Yummy!
Please email me if you have any questions:
Melanie Blackham
weloveturkey [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wrong search terms

As I was trying to google "what to feed baby with diarrhea" I was filled with joy as I could hear and watch my precious baby boy playing independently with his toys. What a cutie!

What I should have been googling was "how stupid do you have to be to let your diarrhea baby play around on the floor wearing only a onesie."

For those who Google these words in the future and find this post, the answer is "Very."


My mom said recently that she sees it as a personal failure that only 2 of her 5 children made it out of her home with their front adult teeth intact. I don't remember what happened to Captain Fabuloso's front tooth. I know that I chipped Richie's by swinging my lunchbox in his face somewhere around the third grade. As for mine, when I was about 9, my dad needed to do some work up at the church one night while my mom was busy, so he took all us kids with him. The church was deserted and the five of us decided to play tag in the dark of the cultural hall (gym). I was "it" and I was sure I was hot on Captain Fabuloso's trail, so I was laughing. And running. In the pitch dark. With my mouth agape. (Note: Laughing loudly is probably not the best strategy when you're "it" during dark tag.) Instead of getting Fabuloso, I ended up running right into a wall, front tooth first.

I chipped the tooth and we never did find the missing piece. I remember going through what seemed like days with half of a front tooth, which even in 4th grade is pretty humiliating. When I got into the dentist, he was able to put a cap on it. I was told not to do things like eat corn on the cob.

I wasn't told not to chase after El Senor up a slide, playing park tag. After a few months of a successful tooth cap, that's what I found myself doing. Laughing again. That is until I slipped and fell tooth-first into the slide. And out popped my cap.

The next time I lost my cap was ridiculous. Remember that "no corn on the cob" thing? Well, I was served corn on the cob, and like an obedient little girl, I cut all the corn off of the cob. Then, I put my first fork full into my mouth and... the cap just fell off! How insulting!

This all eventually led to a root canal, and for the past two decades of my life, I have lived with half of a dead front tooth. It hasn't bothered me at all, except that I started noticing it in pictures and wondering if other people noticed it, too. It was just one of those things about myself that I took for granted and therefore never actually noticed when I looked in the mirror. But recently I started wondering if this is what people noticed when they looked at me. To that end, I have created a poll on my blog and I would love for you to participate! It's totally anonymous, and I guarantee you that my feelings are not wrapped up in this at all. I really do want to know how much people have noticed my tooth over the past few years. Because, you see, I just paid for a crown!

Now, don't judge. The crown is not coming from a superficial standpoint at all. If it were up to me, I'd just go through life with the half-tooth showing because sometimes I have to show people that I'm not all perfect. And when people look at me and my perfect husband, child, and my perfect life, it probably helps to show them that I don't have everything. I don't have two front teeth! But dentists over the years have kept telling me that it was time to put a crown on it, which insurance would pay for, because it needed to be strengthened. And if I didn't put a crown on it, the tooth would eventually just fall out, or something awful like that. But I've been really afraid to do this because the known evil was much better than the unknown evil. What if they shaved down what was left of my real tooth and then replaced it with a bubble tooth that was way more obvious?

Currently I have a temporary crown, and I have to say, even the temporary one is better than what I had. So I guess this isn't all bad. In a couple weeks, I'll get my real crown and this will be the end of my front tooth woes.

Or will it? Check back in two more decades to find out!

(Seriously, respond to the poll! I'm dying to know!)

Oh! The Cuddles!

After our big art weekend last week, I promised myself (and Murray) that we'd take Monday and Tuesday off. It was going to be wonderful. We were going to go see Harry Potter at the dollar movie for a matinee. We were going to lounge around in our pjs doing nothing. And I wasn't going to touch a computer or my cell phone.

Things didn't exactly turn out that way. Gulliver got sick (for the first time in his baby life) by the end of the Art Weekend. We got home, and found a black widow hanging out right outside Gulliver's room. Murray's friend called him up and invited him on a spur-of-the-moment trip to San Diego. We found out that our backyard has a mouse problem. I had a crown put on my bad tooth. So things haven't all be pajamas and parties. But good things have come out of it, I'm sure!

1) Gulliver being sick means that he is more cuddly than normal. Monday we couldn't put him down at all and he slept most of the day in our arms. (That at least helped with the "slowing down" aspect of taking a couple days off.) He seems to be doing a lot better, but even still, this morning he woke up at 7:30. I got up with him, played a little, and changed his diaper, but when I put him down to play, he just cried and reached up for me. So I picked him up and he snuggled right into my neck and hummed himself back to sleep, less than 30 minutes after waking up. I put him back down to sleep in our bed, so now I'll be hanging out here with him and the laptop till he wakes up.

2) Murray, like the very brave soul that he is, killed the black widow. Then we were able to get the pest control guy to come out the very next day. And that is when he pointed out our mouse problem, and set the needed traps to take care of it. So we should have no mice and no more deadly spiders in our home!

3) Murray is long overdue for a fun boy's trip (or man's trip) so it's fun to see him get to do something like this. And since it's his friend's business trip, pretty much everything is paid for.

4) I will blog about my tooth separately.

5) Things may not be all pajamas and parties, but Jenny came over last night and we were both kindof in pajamas, and I made her do some work with me. Because that's the kind of friend that I am.


As part of our anniversary this year, Murray took us to the zoo. Because I had to do a little work in the morning, we didn't make it to the zoo till 4:04. Exactly. In fact we may have pulled up to the parkinglot at 3:59 but unpacking Gulliver takes up to 5 minutes.

When we got to the ticket counter they were CLOSED. They closed at 4; the park was open till 5:30. Sad!!

We talked to the zoo gate keeper and said we'd just driven up from springville--was there any way we might still purchase tickets?

And you know what? She let us IN!!! YAY!

And then we had the place almost to ourselves for the next 90 minutes. Perfect crisp weather. I love the fall outdoors!

BELOW: what's Gulliver looking at?


-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Magic Mouse: A Review

Glad to see all the interest in my Magic Mouse! Let me tell you what I think, even though I risk severe marital problems by publicly saying that anything Apple creates is less than perfect. My thought process is like this:

If it works correctly, the Mighty Mouse is capable of the following:
1. Scrolling up, down, sideways, and 360 degrees.
2. Middle clicking, which you can assign a function to. My middle click function was to reveal my desktop.
3. Sqeeze clicking (genius!!), which you can assign a function to. My squeeze click was to show all open applications. Loved it and relied on it!

The new "improved" magic mouse is capable of the following:
1. Scrolling up, down, sideways, and 360 degrees, with enhanced scrolling capabilities like momentum scrolling. And no breakable scroll wheel.
2. ?
3. ?

Where did my other buttons go?

So to me, the mouse is currently slightly disappointing. I say slightly because I do love the design and I love the scrolling features. I say slightly because I have the hope that through a software update, my beloved features can be restored.

Some people who I am married yo might point out that I can use the keyboard or hot corners to use my beloved features. But these are the same insane people who don't see the need for a right click. A right click!!

I might also point out using the same logic that you don't need a mouse to scroll either. You can use the scroll bars on the windows or the up and down cursor keys. So what if Apple introduced a new, beautifully designed mouse that was capable of only one click. No scrolling. But it uses touch technology! Wouldn't that be wonderful?

So. To boil it down again. I really do love this mouse. And I would rather be able to reliably scroll than to reveal my desktop or see all windows. But I wish I could have it all, like I should have had if the Mighty Mouse had been able to do its job for more than a year.

Will you still love me Murray?

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

How to not gain weight on Halloween

1) keep not eating sugar
2) buy dorritos to hand out because they are disgusting

Why it's easy:

Because my pants haven't been able to stay on me unassisted today.

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

Happy Mouse Day!!

I am totally devoted to Apple computers. Did you expect anything less from me? "I'm a PC"? Give me a break. Apple all the way. It makes me feel more secure in my superiority.

I have been pretty sad though about their less-than-mighty mouse. I mean, it was great for the year that it worked. I liked that I could squeeze the sides and that was a button. Of course, they added a right-click (very important, and I think that those who maintain that a right click is unnecessary are whack). And then there's the tiny scroll wheel in the middle of the mouse. Awesome, since it scrolls in all directions. Until, that is, you reach a certain day and the scroll wheel decides to stop scrolling down. LAME. And did you know, using the scroll bars at the sides of your page is not fun, not even one little bit? And don't give me that crap about cleaning off the ball to get it to work again. Believe me. We have THREE mighty mice in our home (count 'em: THREE) and none of the scroll wheels work anymore. And I have definitely tried to clean them all out in every single way listed on the sites and forums.

Well, Apple has invented a new way to get our money (besides the 27-inch iMac, which I don't even want to talk about right now) and that is the new mightier mouse, called the Magic Mouse. I can't really figure out how it works, but I just know it's going to be good! (Because Apple has a history of really good mice. [Note: Not true, because HOW long did it take them to finally add a right click?]) Anyway, it's supposed to arrive today, and basically every truck I hear drive by, or every neighbor that I hear getting out of their car, makes me look up in eager anticipation. PLEASE, FedEx! End the anticipation and deliver my Magic Mouse! I want to scroll down again!


I'm in the middle of work but just wanted to take a moment to report that I got on the scale this morning and there was a major jump down, which is very encouraging because since this "no sugar" thing, I haven't lost too much weight, and finally told myself that I was gaining weight before, so cutting out sugar has stopped the weight GAIN and is helping me to gradually go down.

But today, I'm weighing in at a whopping 8 lbs less than when I left for Maryland a month ago! (I started the no sugar thing in Maryland.) Hooray! Hooray! Halloween, I have (almost) conquered you! You will not tempt me with your sugary sweetness!

And to tell the truth, I would say that I'm probably happier now than I am when I'm eating sugar because when I'm on sugar, I'm always thinking about what the next treat will be, and focused on getting my next "hit." Now, I don't even have to think about it!

So I am thinking that I'll probably apply this as a general life rule, and limit myself to sweets for special occasions. Like for the rest of this year, I think that I've decided that I'll go ahead and have sugar on my anniversary, birthday, and Christmas. How much damage can three days do (compared to a whole holiday season of binging)?

Our Perfect Pumpkin

Here is a series of photos from Gulliver's first pumpkin picking day. I love the fall!! After picking the pumpkin we came home and fed Gulliver chili and then let him play with the pumpkin guts (sans seeds). Then it was to the bath and then bed!! What an exciting day!!

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

We are freaks!

So every year, I get a genius halloween idea that is so nichy that it would only lend itself well to an office party among people who are in my same field. You remember the Scare Quotes idea. (OOooo, I just thought this would go well if done by two people. One person is dressed scary and the other is dressed nerdy. Each of them has quotation marks on either side of their head. When people ask the scary one what he/she is, he/she says "I'm scare quotes. BOO!" When people ask the nerdy one what he/she is, he/she says, "I'm smart quotes, stupid." Hahahahaha! It's ingenious. And I will never be able to use it! Someone please use this idea!)

Last year, too little too late, I got the idea that Murray, the future child, and I could dress for Halloween as CMYK, RGB, and FFFFFF! So all year long, I've kept this in mind, finally collecting a piece of cyan clothing just barely! Yay! I had Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black to wear! It was going to be perfect! Until, that is, Murray put the kaibash (sp?) on it the DAY BEFORE Peter and Jennie's annual Halloween party when we had absolutely no time to develop any other costumes or ideas. He said (and rightly so) that absolutely no one would get it, it would be too much explanation with absolutely no payoff when people learned what it was.

Okay. So back to the drawing board. We had to figure out a family-themed costume and FAST.

A shopping trip, some fake fur and hair, and a few staples later, we became a family of circus freaks. Murray was the armless man. I was the bearded lady. And Gulliver was wolf boy. Genius! And we even claimed third prize at the party!

Sugar Free

So this time last year, I had the diabetes. In fact, I think I remember it being around the 26th of October maybe. Right in time for Halloween. And truth be told, I loved having gestational diabetes! It was a time in my life where I felt in control of what I was eating. And remember, I learned that my happiness was not in the least impacted by my limited food choices. And that's even throughout all the holidays (including my anniversary and birthday)! In fact, I was thrilled to have eating restrictions through the holidays because it meant no holiday weight gain. Hooray!

Well, while I was out in Maryland visiting my parents (prior to going to Disneyland) my mom and I were eating our way through a bag of less-than-fantastic Hershey Bliss chocolates and talking about how we have such a hard time controlling ourselves and how we're addicted to sugar. So we brought up the idea of going sugar-free through the new year. It's not that sugar is inherently bad, or that it's my only problem. It's just that I tend to binge on sugary foods much more than I ever do on other types of bad food. (I'm not a potato chip person at all.) And I'm actually really good at not buying foods that are bad for me. But I will bake foods that are bad for me, so I end up making a batch of cookies and either eating all the cookies and/or all the dough within 24 hours.

When my mom asked when we should go sugar-free, although the idea of one last binge was reeeeeally tempting, we decided that the best answer was "right now." Why not? The bag of not-great chocolate was already gone.

Well, I'm proud to say that since then (almost two weeks ago), I have been sugar-free. It's not a really strict sort of thing where I won't eat chili or ketchup and stuff like that. But basically I stay away from sugar as a general rule so that I can avoid the binge triggers. At Disneyland, I indulged in one bite of a chocolate bread pudding (that was reported to be the best ever tasted by my brother), one small serving of Coldstone low-cal frozen yogurt, and---by far my biggest "cheat"---a Dole Pineapple Whip near the Tikki Room. And you know what? If my biggest splurge in two weeks is a serving of pineapple soft serve ice cream, I can still live with myself.

I am interested to see how this works out for me. In addition to my sugar ban, I'm going to be working on portioning my food more appropriately. But knowing myself, cutting out sugar alone will be enough to get me through the holidays with no weight gain. I'm considering allowing myself a few sugar days (like our anniversary, my birthday, and Christmas) so that I don't feel like I'm missing out entirely, but to be honest, like I've said, my happiness doesn't depend on it, so why would I need sugar those days, anyway?


Okay. So I know that typically I don't write about specific work projects on this blog, because I try to keep as anonymous as possible. And I know I don't do a great job of being very anonymous. So this time, without actually saying my name, I'll at least let you know that I've just finished a project that I am very excited about. I was contacted back in September about doing illustrations for a children's card game. I jumped at the opportunity! I've never done anything like this before, and I felt that in addition to being incredibly fun, it would also be a great way to diversify my portfolio. So without further ado, here are some images from Booyah! by Olivia.

The card game is fun and family friendly. Anyone over 5 can grasp the concept and play. And since there's no strategy involved (it's just luck) then kids and adults can play together and all have fun!

If you're looking for a unique stocking stuffer this year, this game is a good find! Plus, a dollar from each purchase is donated to charity. So, you know, you can feel extra good about buying this game: 1) you're supporting me and 2) you're supporting charity and 3) you're buying a game that a little girl invented and she's going to love you forever for buying a copy. Go you!!

Pre-order yours today at! They should be available by Thanksgiving!

FYI: Don't Gamble

Just FYI, even though I rationalized our gambling and said it was okay because we set a $1 limit (this may be like drinking near beer or decaf...), the Powers That Be decided to punish us anyway.

Since traveling with Gulliver, I never worry about checking in for our flight 24 hours in advance. (Ironic in context of this story, since in my last post about how much I love Southwest, I said that checking in 24 hours in advance is the closest to gambling I ever come...) We find that it's just fine to board between the A group and the B group. We can always get a row to ourselves, and that's all we care about anyway.

Well, yesterday when it came time for family boarding, I searched frantically for our boarding passes and couldn't find them anywhere. We were sent to customer service, where they reissued our boarding passes while the rest of the plane boarded. We were the very last people on the plane and thus had to sit in the very back seat, in a row with a cocaine addict (so says Murray because the guy continued to sniffle in twos for the duration of our flight), and as it turns out, there is even less room on the back row than in the middle rows because the plane tapers towards the back. Needless to say, it was a very uncomfortable ride home. The guy ahead of me put his seat back (and mine was incapable of going back) which left me with about 1 inch of space between Gulliver's head and his seat back. And Gulliver hit his head and face repeatedly on the seats in front of us. It was miserable (except that at least I was sitting between Murray and the aisle. Murray had to sit between me and the cocaine addict).

We cannot account for our lost boarding passes. My only explanation is that somewhere in the euphoria of winning 26 dollars, they were put down, dropped, or thrown away.

Moral of the story: Don't gamble. Not even $1.

Murray Wins Big!!

At the las Vegas airport, I gave Murray one dollar to play the slots. I wasn't allowed to play the slots because Gulliver is not 21 yet. I'm okay with gambling when there's a $1 limit.

Murray came back to me and I was about to chastise him for coming back empty handed when he showed me his winnings. Twenty-six big ones!!

Like a true smart man, Murray cashed out as soon as he made a profit. Hooray Murray! He celebrated by buying an over-priced airport soda.

-- Live from The Happiest Place on Earth


Here we are waiting for the fireworks on our very last day. You can tell by the look on my face that the fireworks were very near starting!!!

I may talk about this more later, but I have not been a big Disneyland fan my whole life, and Murray, the ultimate Disneyland fan took a chance on me and married me anyway. Phew! After this week I am truly converted. I can't wait to come back! Hooray for Disneyland!

-- Live from The Happiest Place on Earth

A Happier Place

Today is in the 70s. Still not the sweater weather I was dreaming of but much better than friday.

Yesterday we drove around to see the neighborhoods where my mom grew up. We had a great time till Gulliver decided he'd had enough of his car seat and went into total, never before seen, foaming at the mouth meltdown. We were with my parents so we kept gulliver out of the car till he was tired enough to go to sleep and then drove back to the hotel.

Saturday was beach day. Check out for awesome pictures.

Today we have done the nemo submarine, which was not my favorite. Or Gulliver's for that matter. Then we did buzz lightyear's astro blasters, which was awesome, and then we came to California adventure and did the mr. Potato Head ride where you shoot things and that was so good we did it twice. Gulliver was good at pulling the gun but not letting go.

Now he's taking a little nap and I'm enjoying sitting down with a nice breeze rather than in the sweltering sun.

-- Live from The Happiest Place on Earth

Lilcis at Disneyland

We are out to dinner and lilcis, a blog reader, totally just came up and introduced herself to me. This just legitimizes my fame status. I mean, getting recognized in Utah is one thing. Getting recognized in California?FAMOUS!!! So so so nice to finally meet her. (In your faces, Jenny and Nemesis!) I remember her very first comment on Nem's blog, years ago! Anyway, I'm very glad she didn't listen to her humiliated husband (who ran away outside the restaurant) and came to talk to me.

Single Tear?

I'm a cold weather girl. I was envisioning myself during this trip wearing loose tops and colorful scarves. Some light sweaters, even. Damn you, California. Damn you.

-- Live from The Happiest Place on Earth

We've only just begun...

-- Live from The Happiest Place on Earth