Batty Bat!

If you're familiar with old time Sesame Street, there is a bit with the Count, doing the Batty Bat. Anyway, that's been going through my head a lot these days.

On Saturday, Gulliver will make a Halloween appearance in his awesome costume. Today I was a good mother not because I cleaned the house (I didn't), not because I fed my son three square meals with nutritious snacks in between (I didn't), and not because I put away the loads of clean laundry we have (I didn't). Today I was a good mom because I made my boy a Halloween costume. To me, Halloween costumes are supposed to be made. I don't think that I ever wore an out-of-the-box Halloween costume, and I'm fairly certain that I did wear a Halloween costume made out of a box. At least once. Anyway, before Gulliver can be old enough to beg for and request any of the prepackaged Halloween costumes out there, I needed to at least knock ONE out of the park. And I'm SOOOOO proud of what I did today. I don't have great photos, but there will be more to come after Saturday!

Gulliver is a bat this year (I still will keep a secret what our coordinating costume will be). I bought him girl leggings (an excellent suggestion from Jenny) and a black turtle neck (unfortunately, my idea that Gulliver could be Steve Jobs for Halloween only occurred to me today...).

Today I bought some black felt and some black glitter felt. I made up a bat-wing shape, and I cut it out of both felts. Then I put that iron-on glue interfacing between the two felts and iron-glued them together. That way, I made a pretty stiff wing! Then I sewed on snaps to the wings and to Gulliver's black turtleneck. I'm REALLY happy with how it turned out, and I promise some better pictures, but this is just a teaser.

Tomorrow I'll buy a black toque (stocking cap) and I will sew huge bat ears onto it. And Saturday, Gulliver will be the most awesome bat you've ever seen. All home made!

My Tough Boy

Here's one more post about Gulliver, but I didn't want it to get lost in the last post. Today, he made me very very proud. We took him to the doctor for his flu shot today. Because I was there for another appointment, when they called Gulliver, Murray went with him alone. I reminded Murray to please ask if they had suckers because Gulliver is old enough to be mollified with sugar now.

Then I waited in the waiting room and listened. I didn't hear a peep and all of a sudden, Murray came back into the room carrying Gulliver, and Gulliver was completely dry-eyed. And carrying a candy.

Apparently, Gulliver got his flu shot and did not even cry. Let the record show that Gulliver is 21 months. (At this point, you don't need to chime in with comments about your children not crying when they received shots at 21 months because I am completely happy ignorantly believing that he is the strongest boy in the world!)

Murray, our eye witness, did say that he whimpered a little. But that was it.

Heck, even during MY appointment, I whimpered a little bit, and when they apologized for hurting me, I explained that I just had to be tough because my 21-month-old just got his flu shot without crying. And then they celebrated with me and told me that he must be REALLY tough.

I really am proud of how tough Gulliver is. I think I always heard that if you give kids too much attention when they hurt themselves then they'll learn that hurting yourself gets you love and attention and then they are wimps. So I have gone to the other extreme and I have actually cheered most times that Gulliver has fallen pretty much his entire life. And either as a result of my superior parenting, or a result of super-tough genetics, when Gulliver falls, 49 times out of 50, he picks himself up and dusts himself off and goes on playing as if nothing happened. (Because let's face it. Nothing happened. He just tripped and didn't actually hurt himself.) When Gulliver DOES hurt himself, he lets me know because he cries. And then I can pick him up and love him. Most of the time, if he hurts himself only a little, he'll come to me holding out the injured part to let me kiss it. But even then, he doesn't cry.

So there you go. I love my tough boy and I'm proud of him.

(And my mom and I have talked about instead of watching out for bullies, I'm going to have to watch out and make sure that Gulliver doesn't BECOME the bully!)

Gulliver Loves

Here is a post all about Gulliver, who Murray and I continue to be in love with.

Gulliver loves the swings at the park more than any other piece of equipment. Today I even let him go on the big boy swing and he held on the whole time.

Gulliver loves the moon and the stars. Every time it's a little dark out (and sometimes when it's completely light out) as soon as we step outside, Gulliver starts saying, "Moon! Moon!" It's hard for me to get his exact pronunciation here. It's very exaggerated, with an extra little syllable at the end, like MOON-uh. When we're driving at night, it's pretty much a steady stream of babble about the moon. And then he also loves stars and will point them out, too. He calls them "Tar."

Gulliver loves some of his shirts! But usually if there's something on it that we can point out. Like his shirt in the above picture, which is one of his favorites because not only does it have a moon and stars, it also has LETTERS, which we're coming to. Whenever he wears a shirt with something on it, I ask, "Where's your monster?" Or "Where's your star?" Or "Where's your plane?" and then he stops, looks at his shirt, and points it out.

Gulliver loves planes. This started at my parents' house last month where on the deck, my parents started pointing out the planes overhead. Now whenever he hears a plane, he stops and looks for it in the sky. He LOVES planes. He pronounces it PEEN! or PEENuh!

Gulliver loves letters and numbers and he's SO GOOD! Wherever we are, whenever he sees a number or a letter, he reads it to us. I am considering decorating his room with some numbers and letters since he loves them so much. So far, he can do the whole alphabet other than L, Q, T (he pronounces this too, and I think it's a combination of both T and U, so we're not counting it), U, and W. Although lately, it seems like when we get to W, he just tries to put a few random syllables together, thinking that that must make a W. As far as numbers go, he still doesn't do 1 (although sometimes I feel like he's making a monosyllabic try at it) and he doesn't do 7. Other than that he can count to ten, and this weekend even counted 10 pumpkins in a pumpkin patch. I think this is the first time that he properly counted ten objects. Gulliver also loves 13. He waits for us to do 11 and 12, though. And then he just does variations on 13 (random syllable + teen) until we get to 20.

Gulliver loves his baby cousin Frosty, and other babies too. Recently Frosty, who is 4 months old, was put down on the ground in a Bumbo, and for the first time was accessible to Gulliver at his level. Gulliver immediately went over and gave her a hug. And then another hug. And then another and another and another hug. He basically kept hugging her until we dragged him out of the house. And Frosty loved all the adoration.

Gulliver loves baths. When I ask him about the bath, he says "Bathoom!" Recently, as soon as I mentioned it, he went to the bottom of the stairs, turned on the stair lights, and headed upstairs into the bathroom himself to get ready. He doesn't know how to take his own clothes off yet though.

Gulliver is starting to learn about bodily functions. We're prepping him for potty training and even bought a potty yesterday. My mom said that we were all trained before we were 2, and I didn't even realize that was an option!! I'd like to give a HECK YES to the idea of getting him out of diapers before we have the next one! So we are trying to at least make him more aware of his bodily functions because we need to have names for things if we're going to do this right. He doens't really respond to "Pee" but if you call it "Pee pee" he does. And then instead of saying "Poo" or "Poop," he says "Poot!" Which we think is really really funny.

So there is your update on Gulliver's development! Basically we believe that our child is the smartest, strongest, handsomest, most adorable boy on earth.

Holy Guano

A conversation between me and Murray, concerning some details of our party costume for this Saturday that will be revealed at a later date:

Murray: We could have guano.

(I think Murray just likes to show off that he knows the word for bat poop.)

Me: We could do that.

Murray: I think it's white.

Me: It is not white.

Murray, in a borderline condescending tone: I'm pretty sure it is white.

Me: I know what guano looks like. It's not white. It looks like mouse poop.

Murray: No, I think it's white.

Me: I will bet you ten thousand dollars that it looks like mouse poop.

Murray looks it up online.

Let's take this small moment to just point out that Murray knows a lot of random things. But there are times that I know a random fact or two and when I happen to know it, it seems that Murray rarely believes me. Like the time that I was trying to tell him that superman was invented by a Canadian. That debate I would say got fairly heated.

So back to the guano:


What does that look like?

Murray, trying to save face: See all this white area around this image? That's the guano.

Me: And then a mouse came and pooped all over it. So. Murray. Do you realize that when I speak somewhat authoritatively on a matter it is because there is an actual real reason for me to know something? Like for example, we had a hunt camp when I was growing up and the attic was full of bats and the ceiling had holes in it and the bat poop would drop down on us every day and we had to sleep with our mouths closed and sweep it up in the morning. I know what guano looks like.

Murray: Well why is bird poop white?

Me: I think they pee and poo out the same hole.

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

Monkey Man

Last week, we were driving down University Parkway and all of a sudden Gulliver started screeching and oo-ing like a monkey. We thought it was funny so we joined in.

Last night we were driving down University Parkway and in the exact same location, Gulliver started going monkey crazy again, and was clearly very excited.

Obviously he was seeing something but what? We thought it through and realized it must be the blow-up missionary on top of the missionary mall.

Today we tested out that theory and sure enough it proves correct. Gulliver thinks that Utah's own giant blow-up missionary is a monkey.

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

Gulliver's Hat

This is the first hat that Gulliver has worn voluntarily for more than 10 seconds at a time. He's had it on his head most of the morning. I call it his bat hat. But he also likes to share. He will say, "Dada! At!" when he wants Murray to put on the hat and "Mama! At!" when he wants me to wear it.

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

Gulliver's First Movie Night

Tonight I got the idea to take Gulliver to his first theater movie. Of course I'm not counting that time when he was a newborn and we took him to a late show and he didn't sleep a wink during the whole thing.

I called Murray at 6:15 and told him Toy Story 3 was at the dollar theater at 6:45, so rush home from work! About five minutes later Murray was home and we all packed into the car and rushed off to Movies 8 in Provo for Gulliver's first theater movie! We had discussed recently that he was probably ready, since he sits through all of the first two Toy Stories when we watch them at home.

It did occur to me on the way over that we may be in trouble because school kids are out for the week.

By the time we got there, the 6:45 showing was sold out. And the next 2D showing was at 9:30. They had 3D but Gulliver would never understand wearing the glasses.

So we left to go grab some dinner. But I did look up Toy Story 3 and saw it was playing at the Spanish Fork theater at 8:50. So we made our way over there. We did discuss the fact that they charge full price but we concluded that neither of us had been there in years and they couldn't possibly charge full price anymore.

We got there a little (very) early and bought our tickets at about $6.50 each. So not a dollar movie by any means. Then we hung out for a while trying to entertain Gulliver before it was time to head into the theater.

Here he is playing inside the car. That kept him entertained at least 15 minutes.

Finally it was time for us to go inside. The movie theater is dollar theater quality for sure. At least there was hardly anyone there and we almost had the theater to ourselves. Unfortunately the sound quality was unacceptable, but Murray complained and since they couldn't fix it they offered us free tickets. And a refund. But we just took the free tickets because we are nice people.

Gulliver enjoyed the movie for sure. The beginning elicited a couple of "Wow!"s and the climax elicited many "Oh no!"s. Especially any time Mr. Potato Head's parts were not on his own body. He also screamed along with the monkey.

He got a little bored in the middle and got up to walk back and forth in our aisle a little but for the most part he watched the movie like a big boy. We are very proud.

At the end he couldn't sing along with You've Got a Friend in Me though (he usually chimes in on all the "me"s) because it was in Spanish.

So that was Gulliver's first movie trip!

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

Shoe to the head

This photo was taken in the act of Gulliver bludgeoning my head with a shoe.

In all fairness it was after I dressed him in a pair of girl's black leggings to see if they'd work for a bat costume this Halloween.

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

Passenger Trains in Utah County?

So our studio is in Springville, Utah, which is the southern part of Utah County and we are located beside train tracks. Trains go by a few times a day, which really doesn't bother us unless 1) we're on a business phone call or 2) we're recording video content and have to trash an entire video.

Of course my assumption would be that all the trains are freight trains. But the other day out of curiosity, I watched an entire train go by. Most cars were freight but then, there were a couple of double decker passenger cars!

It was evening and I could see that the cars were lit, but I don't quite recall if I was actually able to see people inside or if I didn't get a close enough look to see if there were people.

But my question is: Passenger trains in Utah county?

Yes, that's a question.

Are they for real? Or were they just moving some new passenger cars up to the Front Runner in Salt Lake?

I have also heard that you can take a train to San Francisco from Salt Lake City. Really?? Where is this train and how much does it cost?

Google is failing me. What do YOU know, Internets?

In Canada, you get free babies.

So among the many things about the American healthcare system that bother me is that there is no way to actually properly financially prepare for anything. You can't know the price of having a baby, for example, because there are so many people involved with individual fees.

Here's what we knew we could expect:

Doctor's fee (prenatal care and delivery): $2100

Hospital stay, 48 hours: $4900 (less if we only stay 24 hours, but if we're preparing, we may as well prepare for the most possible)

Epidural: $2000 (estimate)

So that is what we were looking at. About $9000 IF I get an epidural. About $7000 without. (NOW can you see why it's actually an issue of money to get one or not? It's not like it's a $2000-decision. It's a $2000-MORE-than-what-we're-already-paying decision.)

Only one thing that neither of us had accounted for were other costs that are not included in this. And these are things that you don't expect, necessarily, because no one has told you about them, and no one informs you, "By the way, we're going to do this and it's going to cost you $XXX.XX." They just do it and send you the bill.

Murray called me VERY concerned this week to inform me that we got a bill from Lab Corp for lab work that matched up with the date of my first visit to the doctor. Yes, I remember that they took blood. And yes, I remember that at my most recent visit to the doctor, she told me that all my work came back looking good; everything was positive that was supposed to be positive, and everything was negative that was supposed to be negative.

What Murray was most concerned about was an item on the bill called "Chlamydia Amplification." This cost $131.50. Now for someone who is one hundred percent sure his wife doesn't have any STDs, I'm sure this item came as an absolute shocker for Murray, because why does Chlamydia need to be amplified if you don't have it?? Of course I don't have it, and I explained to Murray that I'm sure this is a test that legally HAS to be done so that STDs don't get transmitted to babies. But still. It does suck to have to pay $131.50 for someone to test you for Chlamydia, which you've done a really good job of avoiding your whole life.

Anyway, the total bill was $616.70.

At my next doctor's appointment, we will have our ultrasound. For that to be done at our doctor's office, we will receive a bill from the ultrasound technician (anywhere between $220 and $400). The ultrasound tech will then send the ultrasound to a center that will view it and study it and send the results to my doctor. And send me a bill for who knows how much. Who knows, because when does anyone ever inform you of how much you can expect to pay, or even ask your permission?

Then there will be other things to expect (but not actually know how much they will cost). Like getting tested for Gestational Diabetes. I am pretty sure it's a separate charge, and guess what. That orange soda is about $60 a bottle. Not kidding. If I come out positive after the first test, I'm not going to ask for a follow-up test where I can spend another $60 on soda. In fact, I'm really just tempted to ask if I can mix my OWN sugar drink with the needed amount of sugar and substitute it for the soda. Let's face it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be GDS positive again.

(Oh, and by the way, to manage my GDS myself, I will test my blood 4-6 times a day for the last three months of my pregnancy. The test strips cost $1 each, and since this is related to my pregnancy, I don't know that my insurance will help with any of that cost. So I might expect my GDS self-management to cost an extra $300-$400. That's AFTER I got permission from my doctor to manage it myself and forego the biweekly visits to the Diabetes Management Clinic.)

Another thing. I will have to get a shot because my blood is rH negative. How much does that cost?

What about the hospital stay itself? Yes, I know how much the hospital charges for me to stay there. But what tests are done at the hospital that they charge me for separately? How much are they going to charge me for a Tylenol? What are the extra costs that one might incur while staying at the hospital (that again, you're not informed of as they happen; you're only sent the bill afterwards and you realize that that Q-tip cost you $8).

So it's really frustrating. I hope to get together with a friend soon who had a baby last year and also went to my doctor, and paid for everything in cash. I think she's pretty financially organized and I hope that she's got a folder of all her expenses so that I can add it up and get an idea of what we might have to pay for the baby.

Because we have NO CLUE and I think that a system where you can't actually properly financially prepare for service SUCKS.

(And just to let you know so that I don't start getting anonymous donations in the mail, we've saved lots of money and we do have Aflac that will kick in a little help, and we are 100% confident that we have the money to cover everything [and if there are expensive complications, then my insurance will kick in]. It's not that I'm worried that we don't know if we can afford it, it's just that it's frustrating not actually knowing how much something like this will cost us.)

(And just to be clear as well, as a reminder, if you are self employed in Utah there is NO MATERNITY COVERAGE AVAILABLE in any healthcare plan. It's not that we're in this mess because we chose a bad plan. We're in this mess because we chose to start our own business and make our own way in the world.)

(That's why I like to travel lots, so that I can take advantage of the perks of self employment as often as possible to remind myself that I really do actually prefer this.)

Feeling the Guilt

Yesterday when I was working at our studio, I went to use the ladies' room.

Twenty minutes later, I went to use the ladies' room again. I'm pregnant. This is what happens.

Except this time, there was a mouse in the middle of the floor, blocking me from getting to the stalls, without having to actually step over it.

Which is weird, right? Because normally mice run away.

And I promise you, I let out a sound when I saw it. (I'd like to say a feminine scream but it was more of a manly grunt... possibly an indication that I'm having a boy?) It still didn't move.

So I took a picture of it to send to Murray.

And then I ventured even CLOSER to see if it was breathing. And it WAS!!

So why was it just sitting in the middle of the floor like that, all slumbery?

I went back to the studio and checked our mouse poison. When we first moved in here, there was some evidence of mice, so naturally I bought mouse poison. The bags of mouse poison have remained in tact ever since and we've seen no further evidence of mice.

This time, there was a hole in one of the packs of mouse poison. Which would explain why the mouse was just sitting there.

So then about 20 minutes later, curiosity (and thirst) got the better of me. I went to the drinking fountain outside the bathrooms and I went into the bathroom again to peek. The mouse was no longer in the middle of the floor. I looked around, and found it a few feet away, around the corner by a trash can. Still the same position. Still breathing.

Then about 2 hours later I went to check on the little victim again. It was about another foot away from where it previously was, and its legs were splayed out in behind it and it was most obviously not breathing.

And I cannot help but feel guilty that I left the tiny (and let's face it - cute!) little creature to internally hemorrhage to death! AND that I didn't have the guts to just put it out of its misery when I first found it. AND that I just left its little corpse lying there instead of disposing it. And probably a sweet little church lady is going to find it (because a church also shares our office building).

(At least I can use the pregnancy and protecting my unborn child from unknown diseases as an excuse for not getting near it.)