Today Murray and I decided to go to lunch at Tucanos. Because he'd be going to work right afterward, we took separate vehicles. I drove with Gulliver. So when I got to the Riverwoods I noticed a parking spot right in front of Tucanos was about to become vacant. So I circled around the roundabout until the car began to pull out of the spot. Then, a car zipped in front of me and took the spot. Three able-bodied men in the prime of their life got out. I wanted to roll down the window, shake my cast at them and chuck dirty diapers in their faces. Or at least I considered politely rolling down the window and telling them that I'd been waiting for that spot and I had a cast and a child to carry.

Instead, I parked in the nearest free spot, fetched my spawn from the back seat, hobbled disabledly to Tucanos, and complained about someone stealing my parking spot to Murray, knowing full well that the three men were well within earshot. Because I can be passive-aggressive like that.

During lunch, I told Murray that I figured I could manage a grocery shopping trip to Walmart if I used one of those motorized carts.

Murray: No! You mean the ones that fat people use?

Me: Yeah. I think people might stare at me, though. [I said this meaning that I look able-bodied and if I'm wearing jeans, you have to actually look at my foot to realize that I have a huge cast.]

Murray: Yes! They will! I always stare at those people! I mean, I try not to stare at those people. But I do look.

Anyway, suffice it to say, Murray is not a fan of the idea of me using one of these motorized carts. He says that he doesn't want to be there for it. Oh, the humiliation!

On my way home, I thought more about my mobility issues. My cast comes off on Murray's birthday, but that means that I won't be mobile for birthday shopping. Hooray for internet shopping! But I figure I'd like to get out and look at some actual stores, and since my mother-in-law's two favorite things in the whole world are Gulliver and shopping (in that order) I figure that I'll just invite her to come shopping with us and it will be a win-win-win.

So I thought about a razor scooter. I always wanted one of those. In college, I had visions of me being the cool girl on a razor scooter, scooting between classes. But scooters were banned on campus, so there went my dream. Anyway, with a razor scooter, I could put my casted foot on the scooter and just scoot about! My casted foot isn't in any pain. It's just really annoying to try and walk on it. Anyway. A scooter is still an option. But I can't really scoot and carry a baby, so I'd have to reserve it for times when Murray has Gulliver, or we all go on a walk together or something.

So I called Murray.

Me: Hey. What if I get a little razor scooter?

Murray: Oh boy.

Me: Yeah. It would be better than the motorized cart. In fact, I could just go to Walmart, get the scooter and use it while I'm in the store, but not even buy it!

Murray: We could go into the store together, I could run to the toy section and grab one, you could use it, and then I'd run it back to the toy section when we're ready to go! We'd just never cross the cash register line with the scooter!

Me: OR, I can just borrow one from the neighbors. I know I've seen several strewn across their front lawn all summer long. I'll just go over there right now and ask to borrow one and in return, you can teach photoshop lessons.

Murray: OR, I can teach photoshop lessons in return for getting help putting up our Christmas lights! He leaves his up all year long. He could help us get ours up next week so that we're ready for the Christmas season early!

Anyway. I finally had one last brilliant idea. What about temporary handicapped parking? If I got temporary handicapped parking, I would purposely go out more just to be able to use it as much as possible in the next few weeks.

So I called my doctor's office, and guess what. I can totally get it. Yay! It just requires two more trips (one to my doctor's office to get the signature and one to the DMV) but then I'm totally, legitimately, legally handicapped for 2.5 whole weeks!

Aaaaaand now for the obligatory and completely unrelated pictures of the baby because let's not kid ourselves---when I'm not looking AT my baby himself, I like to look at pictures of him. Sometimes, I look at pictures of him WHILE I am holding him and looking at him and THAT is pretty much Nirvana.

(Me writing this blog post, showing you that I can have it all.)

(Murray coaxing smiles out of Gulliver.)

(Both of my men like to sleep in if I let them. Unfortunately for them, if I'm awake, I just want them to be awake and play/talk with/to me.)

(Gulliver dreaming of giving his sustaining vote.)

(The reason why I worry ten times a day about crushing my baby with my cast! Oh, and my knee only looks shapeless and undefined because of the camera angle, okay?)

Shake it out baby, now!

In yet another attempt to make our future children feel not as loved because we will never possibly be able to take as many pictures of them, here are some pictures of Gulliver doing his morning exercises. At this rate, he should be in much better shape than I am.

Here's Gulliver in an outfit that Murray's boss bought him. I know that Murray is a little wary of me treating a baby as an accessory, but I can't help but think that he'll look darling in this once he's filled it out a little (it is 3-6 months) and I'm wearing a yellow top, navy cardigan, and white pants. Bring on spring!

How to Have a Relaxing Weekend

Drop your child off at your mother-in-law's house.

Go to a facility with your spouse.

Get into comfortable clothing and lie down in bed. A heated blanket would be nice.

Take a little something to relax.

Have a nap. A deep, deep nap.

Leave the facility. Let your spouse do the driving.

Make your spouse get you ice cream from Coldstone.

Make your spouse get you salad from Cafe Rio.

Go to your in-laws' and let your mother-in-law continue to take care of your child. Eat your salad.

Watch Dr. Phil.

Take another nap.

Make your spouse go to Target for you to get you some drugs.

Go home. Lay down. Put your feet up. You deserve it.

Nap some more. Have your mother-in-law make you dinner. While you're at it, tell the Relief Society president that you wouldn't even mind if women in the ward made you dinner.

Watch a movie.

Go to sleep. And sleep in.

Head downstairs and put your feet up again. Make sure you take some heavy-duty drugs. Why not?

Make your spouse make you food.

Commission a painting from your spouse.


Watch more TV. Eat yummy Relief Society food.

Well... you get the idea anyway. Just continue doing these activities for a whole weekend. And then, on Monday, have your mother-in-law come to the house and vacuum and do the laundry.

I had my foot surgery on Friday and everything went well. I now know what it feels like to be put under (it's pretty cool). And hopefully, in a couple months, I'll know what it's like to have a normal foot again. Fingers crossed!

(This is an iPhone picture that Murray did while the surgery was being performed. On my cast, he is painting an octopus's garden. I'll post a picture when it is completed.)

Work Avoidance Tactics

This morning I told little Gulliver that he was going to help me fold laundry. After all, it's almost all his and he should start pulling his own weight around here. So I put him in his bassinet while I went downstairs to grab the laundry and when I came back, this is what I found.

Ha. He thinks he can just nap through chore time! Not to be outdone, instead of folding laundry I went and took a shower. But Gulliver decided to wake up and cry. So I got him up and on the bed with me, ready to fold laundry.

But then he pooped his pants (or lack of pants). So I changed his diaper and found him his outfit for the day in the pile of clothes. And then he wanted to be fed. So I fed him. And then, we were ready to fold laundry together. And within seconds of me getting to work, this is what my #1 helper was doing:

So I folded all by my lonesome. Here is our finished work:

So I came into the office to blog about the experience, and within seconds of me leaving the room, he woke up and started to cry. This boy just likes to avoid work.

And here are some more photos!

Some more expressions. I finally got one with his tongue out. Of course, before I got out the camera, he was nothing but smiles. As soon as he laid eyes on the iPhone, he stopped performing.

This is the dress rehearsal for his baby blessing. I wanted to make sure that everything fit. His Mary Moo bought him the hat and sweater and matching booties. He's also practicing his cry for the main event.

I was enjoying some ice cream while cuddling Gulliver last night, and this was the result. What did I do about it, you ask? Well, at least Gulliver can never claim, like Joshua Giraffe, "My mommy doesn't lick me, even when I'm sticky."

Jacob and Esau

I read most of a home organization book a little while ago and it taught me some valuable lessons, like it's appropriate to throw away all the half-empty bottles of shampoo/conditioner/lotion that you've been storing in your bathroom for years, along with all the free samples that you aren't using. Or that the master bedroom should be a haven and not full of things that aren't related to sleeping and dressing. (I didn't get rid of the TV, though. Murray and I don't have a habit of watching TV in our bedroom, but it's really convenient to have in there for times when someone is sick, or nights when I know that I'm going to fall asleep during the movie. I guess in my mind, the destructiveness of having a television in the bedroom comes when it's on all the time and you just channel surf. Since we don't do that at all, I think that it's okay to keep the TV.)

One thing that the book said was that if you have sports or hobby equipment for sports or hobbies that you no longer participate in, you need to get rid of it. Well, the other day, I came across my beloved climbing shoes and it pains me to think of getting rid of them. But then I remembered something else I heard, which is if you're getting rid of items with sentimental value, take a picture of them so that you can keep the sentimental value and then give them away.

So here goes. Here are two pictures of Jacob and Esau, and here's the story behind their sentimental value.

Back in college, El Senor, Fabuloso and I were all involved with climbing. It started with El Senor, who became the weekend manager at a local climbing gym. Fabuloso and I, and all of our friends at that time, bought memberships to the gym and climbing became our social outlet. We'd get together most weekend nights and climb at the gym. Afterwards, we'd go to El Senor's apartment, cook a dinner, and watch a movie. I wasn't the greatest climber in the world, but I did make progress and if I remember correctly, worked my way up to a 5-10c. Mostly I was a social climber and just enjoyed the sociality of hanging out with my friends.

Eventually, El Senor inherited the presidency of BYU's rock climbing club, Y Rocks. He named me the director of communications (which meant that I wrote the emails for the activities) and Fabuloso conveniently became our faculty advisor (he was working full-time for BYU at the time and therefore qualified as faculty). We were, of course, accused of nepotism. But we didn't care. One major regret I have is not keeping a copy of all the emails that we put together for the activities. Some of them were quite creative, if I do say so myself. We had bi-weekly activities (and I explained that that didn't mean twice a week, but rather every two weeks) and I liked to throw in a way for members to get into the climbing gym for free for each activity. At one activity, I said that anyone who wrote a poem about climbing would be able to get in for free. And only five people wrote poems! It always amazed me what people wouldn't do to get into these activities for free. Admission was $8. If you just sat down and cranked out a haiku or a lymerick about climbing, I would have let you in for free. And yet only five people took advantage of that? I announced another get-in-for-free offer in 2002. I proclaimed it the year of the tutu, and any climber wearing a tutu would be allowed in for free at any activity. Only three people took advantage of that deal---a guy and two girls who all went to the fabric store, bought some tutu fabric, and wore their tutus over their clothes. Basically, all of my offers to get in for free involved making a fool of yourself for my entertainment. When we held a competition one day, prizes were such things as tube socks and gift certificates for Chuck-a-Rama. Fabuloso said that it would be more appropriate to rename the club Y-Jerks.

For a while I had no climbing shoes and had to use a spare pair that El Senor had acquired. But on my birthday one year, I was predictably at the climbing gym with my brothers and our friends. Someone suggested I try a particular route and everyone came to watch and cheer me on. When I reached the top of the wall and finished the route, I called to be let down, but I wasn't let down. El Senor told me to really finish the route by climbing even higher. There was technically room for me to go higher since the walls don't go all the way up to the ceiling, so I climbed a little higher so that my head was above the wall. They encouraged me to climb higher still so I did. Then El Senor said there was something on the other side of the wall that he needed me to get. I looked on the other side of the wall and there was a shoe box sitting there. It contained a gift from my parents---a pair of 5-10 Moccasins.

I loved the shoes and noticed that the suede of one was much shaggier than the other, so I named them Jacob and Esau. Now as I look at these pictures, I can remember fondly the days when I used to be a climber.

Gulliver's Expressions II

Here's some more photos! You can see that I'm trying to catch some smiles. It's difficult to catch smiles because there is a lag on the iPhone's camera, which accounts for the wide range of expressions I get from Gulliver any time I try to capture just one.

There's no baby like snow baby. I took Gulliver for his first walk the other day and since it was very cold outside, I bundled him up in his snow suit. Of course, he didn't love that, but that doesn't matter since he fell asleep approximately 30 seconds into the walk anyway.

My sister-in-law is lending me their family bassinet while Gulliver is sleeping in our room. It came with a fabric cover that had a ruffle on top that kept getting into the basket and blocking my view of Gulliver. So I realized that I had extra fabric that just happened to magically match our bedroom, and I sewed together a new cover for the bassinet. And I didn't mind using my fabric either for something that I only have temporarily because I didn't have to cut it up much for this project, so basically when I'm done using this, I can just put it back in the fabric pile and reuse it for future projects. Hooray!

Gulliver is wearing the yellow submarine onesie that his dad bought for him today. And Murray is wearing a yellow submarine shirt. (Gulliver is unhappy in this picture because I accidentally pinched him while putting on his shirt!)

So that I could participate in the fun theme, I am wearing a yellow shirt. Maybe we'll go out for a night on the town tonight. I mean, why bother dressing matchy-matchy if no one is going to see?


Lots of people let Murray and me know that it would be best to have our child before the new year so that we could get a child tax credit for 2008. That is true that we could have had that, but you see, for us there was financial benefit whenever Gulliver came, and in fact the greater financial benefit would be for him to come after the new year, just like he did. He's already a good kid.

You see, I've needed foot surgery for quite a while, and the last time I saw the podiatrist, he recommended my having it done before having children because pregnancy can wreak havoc on your feet. What I didn't know was that I was pregnant at the time of that consultation. So we put the foot surgery on hold, and along came Gulliver in 2009, which meant that we would meet our insurance deductible early on in the year. So 2009 is my official makeover year, where I will have surgery on both feet and maybe even have a gallbladder removed.

So yesterday I brought Murray to my podiatric consultation so that I wouldn't have to repeat any information to him and lose key info in the transmission and so that he'd have the chance to ask the doctor his questions. (Murray always thinks of questions that I don't think to ask.) That way we could both decide immediately when to schedule the first surgery.

We were in the waiting room for a while---we got there early and the good doctor was way late. We waited along with several people, one of whom was a girl in her late teens. She made a phone call and this is kindof how it went: "Hello? Uh, why haven't you called me? ... You could have borrowed someone else's cell phone if yours was broken. ... I have been worried sick about you for two days but you don't seem to care about that. ... You could have borrowed another phone. I can't believe you never even tried to call. ... Well maybe next time you won't have a girlfriend to forget to call. ... Yeah. I said maybe next time you won't have a girlfriend." At this point she went outside to conduct her very personal conversation more privately and make more ultimatums and stuff.

She was called in shortly before I was. After I was called in, Murray and Gulliver and I waited in the consultation room a while. We could hear the doctor telling the teenage girl that he could shoot steroids into her foot. I talked to Murray about my experience with the steroids four years ago where it was so painful that I couldn't keep quiet, but the only socially-acceptable noise I could make was laughter, so I basically laughed (barked) like a hyena. You'll find that story here.

Well, Murray and I were just talking and suddenly we heard screaming that turned into hysterical sobbing. Murray felt the need to continue talking because he felt it would be more awkward if we stopped talking and were obviously eavesdropping. So he said something like this: "Just keep talking... uhhhhh... so how do you like... world peace? Are you for it or against it?" I must admit that the girl's hysteria was even more entertaining than her waiting room breakup.

We did schedule the surgery for later this month, by the way. I know it'll suck for a while, but I'm looking forward to the day when I can walk for more than ten minutes without having to deal with pain.

Marriage to the Artist

Saturday evening, Murray and I had a reception to go to. As a new mother, any excuse to get out of the house is a good excuse, even for the simple reason that it means getting to wear something that is not sweatpants. I absolutely get giddy when I go to my closet to choose what it is I'm going to wear. This Saturday was even more special because I'd recently found my favorite headband that had been lost for over a year (another blog post on this later). There was one slight problem. The headband was kelly green but I couldn't find my matching kelly green shirt. But I could find my olive green shirt. And I wondered if I could really get away with this, and I finally justified it because the headband is a little iridescent and I'm sure that in the changing of colors, an olive hue was in there somewhere. And so it was that I put on a fabulous gray wrap, an olive green shirt, and a great pair of jeans. This outfit was so not sweatpants.

Murray, Gulliver and I got into the car. And we got about 0.25 of a block away from the house when this conversation began:

Cicada: Wait. What kind of a reception is this?

Murray: A wedding reception.

Cicada: What??? I can't wear jeans to a wedding reception! I thought that it was like an art show or something!!

[This despite the fact that Murray had said that we needed to meet his coworkers at 6:00 because they tended to attend these things together---just like they did at our wedding reception. Also despite the fact that I'm pretty sure Murray explicitly said "wedding reception" at some point. But because he initially said "reception at my boss's studio" my brain had latched onto the word "studio," assumed that it was an art show, and refused to register any additional information about the evening.]

Murray: You look fine. You'll be okay in jeans.

Cicada: I absolutely cannot do it. Or... maybe I can do it. No! I can't do it! Turn the car around!

[Murray drives straight through a roundabout.]

Cicada: That would have been an ideal time to turn the car around.

Murray: Are you serious?

Cicada: Yes. I absolutely cannot wear jeans. We need to go back to the house.

[We drive back to the house. Murray waits with Gulliver in the car while I run into the mess that is a bedroom as we're in the middle of a closet cleaning project that involves me getting out all my non-maternity clothes that have been packed away for months. I realize that the only skirt that will match the existing shirt and sweater combo is one that has been packed away. I find it and bless polyester because it is not wrinkled. I put it on and start the mad search for pantyhose, which I also haven't worn in months. I find a great pair of patterned black hose and in trying to put them on realize that they are torn to shreds and must go into the garbage. I start searching for my nude fishnets with no luck. I decide to do something I never do, and that is go out without pantyhose in the middle of the winter. And I thank the heavens that despite me being a new mother, I did actually shave my legs the day before. I run out into the car.]

Cicada: Ugh. I'm not wearing pantyhose. Do you think that'll be okay? I really wish I could have found pantyhose!

[Murray pulls away and gets onto the road again.]

Murray: No, you look fine. The lack of pantyhose doens't bother me at all. But I will mention, just so that you know, something about your headband.

Cicada: Oh no.

Murray: It's just that it's not the same color of green as your shirt. Your shirt is an olive green. The headband is more of a blue green. I'm just saying that they don't go together.

Cicada: I was wondering about that...

Murray: Some people just see two things and they think, "These things are both green! They must go together!" But those two colors of green don't go together.

Cicada: You know, this is something that you could have told me BEFORE I ran into the house.

Murray: I didn't really see it until you came out of the house.

Cicada: Well, are you embarrassed to be seen in public with me? Should we turn the car around again?

Murray: No, but couldn't you just take it out and fluff your hair?

Cicada: No.

Murray: I don't pretend to understand how women's hair works. But anyway, I love color! And I see color everywhere. It's kindof like you and how you're always watching for birds. I always look for color. Like that road sign back there. I don't just see a green road sign. I see blue-green. And I don't see orange. I see red-orange. I just can always immediately see differences in colors.

Cicada: By "immediately" you mean "after it's too late for me to change my headband."

Murray: Well, I don't want to give you a complex or anything.

And so it was that I wore a mismatched headband to a wedding reception. At least I wasn't wearing jeans.

Gulliver's Expressions

Here are some pictures from a photo shoot in bed this morning. Gulliver has lots of expressions. I think that he might be starting to smile socially, but it's hard to tell whether it's social or gas. I wasn't able to get any of his smiles anyway.

Speaking of gas, I have to say that Gulliver farts toots a lot. I don't know if this is typical of babies. He doesn't burp much at all. All of the gas seems to come out the other end, and he sounds like an adult. I can't wait to take him to church!

(Of course, I guess that just means that I can let loose in public and always just blame the baby.)

Return to Me

Among the gifts that Gulliver has received, one gift stands out as particularly unexpected and meaningful and funny. Petit Elefant and Victor came over soon after Gulliver was born and handed me a gift. I reached into the bag and started pulling out something a little puzzling. It was brown and black, and I couldn't quite guess what it was going to be, although it looked like it might be a little bit ugly or weird, which was what puzzled me, because I know Petit Elefant to have great taste.

When I brought the item out of the bag and could see it in its entirety, I started to laugh. And laugh and laugh. I had pulled out a used, somewhat dirty, stuffed beaver. But this was not any beaver. No. This was a stuffed beaver that I had made in my 7th grade home ec class. You'll remember that I did not have the best home economics experience in jr. high.

About eight or nine years ago, I was going through boxes of old belongings and came across the beaver. Although I had made it myself and put a lot of love and effort into it, I couldn't possibly imagine why I would need to keep a stuffed beaver, so I decided to put it in the good will pile. Then El Senor saw it and suggested that we give it to Petit Elefant and Victor for their sweet new baby, P.

The beaver has been a great friend to P and next their next child, C. But when Gulliver was born, Petit Elefant asked her children if they were ready to let go of beaver and give him to the next baby who could appreciate him.

So now, unexpectedly, beaver has made his way home again, and I'm much more inclined to keep him now that I have a baby who can enjoy him as a reminder of his mother's Canadian heritage. (I cradle him in my arms and sing, "Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver, where still the mighty moose wanders at will! Blue lake and rocky shore, I will return once more. Boom ditty-ada, boom ditty-ada, boom ditty-ada boom. Boo-oom.")

And once more, I can say "suck it" to my home economics teacher. I wonder if any of those students who received honors badges for home ec have given their 7th grade projects to their tiny babies. I should think not.

(Here, beaver is pictured with Gulliver. Gulliver is a little blurry because this is an action shot. He is enjoying his swing, a great gift from Gulliver's aunts that allows me to get work done and blog and stuff. Gulliver is also enjoying his warm fuzzy blanket, a gift from Murray's aunt. Gulliver is so blessed to have received such gifts!!)

For the Feed Readers

Gulliver took a long nap today that allowed me to redesign my blog, which I've been wanting to do for a while, and which was easy to do because Murray recently bought a tablet. Check it out if you're just reading the feed! And for posterity's sake, here's the old one...

(You can see this needed updating!)

Ben Snapper

Speaking of Real American Heroes, I thought I'd share another Grandpa story.

The last couple of times we've had visitors over who have brought their kids, Murray has pulled out his toy boxes. They're old-school lunch pails. One has the Muppets on it and the other has Star Wars. Murray has filled these with some of his childhood treasures like Star Wars figures and Pez dispensers. Anyway, they're great for entertaining little ones. Our nephew the Bean has come to expect being able to play with these toys when he comes over. And that reminds me of visiting my grandparents when I was young.

My grandparents had a drawer full of kids' toys, and we'd anticipate the opening of this drawer every time we went over to visit. Among the toys in this drawer, there is one standout, and that is Ben Snapper.

Ben Snapper was a little old action figure, and I don't think that he was from any particular show or story or anything. He was just an orange action figure. So Grandpa made up his own story about who Ben Snapper was. My older brothers loved to play with their Star Wars toys and their G.I. Joes, but Grandpa always would tell them that Ben Snapper could get the best of any of them. When my brothers would very emphatically explain to Grandpa why G.I. Joe or Luke Skywalker was the best, Grandpa would simply explain back, "Yes, but everyone, no matter who he is, has got to use the toilet. And that's when Ben Snapper gets 'em!"

I don't expect a television show to be made about Ben Snapper any time soon.

Real American Hero

I don't know what possessed me. I went to Walmart last night to get Gulliver a few more long sleeved onesies after I realized how much I like them. And I saw these camo pants. And I bought them. Murray may hate me forever because of it. We are not much of a camo family, and Murray is now wondering when I'm going to go out and buy Gulliver his 4-wheeler and shotgun. But come on. I think that he's so cute in his little camo pants. They're just for indoors anyway. When we take him out of the house into public, we'll dress him in much more appropriate outfits.

(Gulliver wearing the sweater and hat that Daltongirl made for him. Daltonboy says that it looks like candy corn, and I think that Gulliver is the cutest candy corn out there!)

(One of Gulliver's sleep positions. So cute. One of these days I'm going to need to take a picture of the series of fat faces he makes when he's done eating. It's this facial ritual that he performs every time he's eaten enough to be satisfied and it makes me laugh every single time. I dread the day that he stops doing it... of course now that I think of it, it's probably best that he stops doing it before he reaches adulthood because performing these facial expressions in public would make for one poor socially-adjusted adult!)

Baby Gulliver

Yay---we found a blog name for our sweet baby! He will hence forth be known as Gulliver on the blog. Sweet little Gulliver. My sister in law complained about a lack of pictures this weekend, so I'm putting more pictures on the blog. The first three are taken by Ootsie at our photo shoot when he was 1.5 weeks. The second two are from our photo shoot taken at 2.5 weeks. So far, no photo shoot has taken place for 3.5 weeks. We are bad parents.