Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jenny Signs

I captured on video our wee one demonstrating the signs she has learned. Sorry about the lighting. I tried to recreate it with better lighting, but then she wouldn't perform, so this is what you get. She is learning so fast!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baby's Blood

Today I took Baby Jenny to Primary Children's Hospital to have her blood drawn. An ordinary lab couldn't do it because she's so little (our wee babe is not even 17 pounds yet, which puts her in the 3rd percentile!), so we had to drive up to the U. They were so great with her. They had baby-sized tourniquets that were soft. An assistant came in an blew bubbles to distract her. They even gave her a stuffed duck to soothe her after the trauma. I thought the duck was just to play with temporarily, but they told us to take it home. Maybe it's a good karma kind of move: they're trying to stay on the good side after tormenting a wee babe. She cried when the needle went in and as long as it was in her arm, but as soon as it was done I swooped her up and she was just fine. It is such a comfort to have a fantastic facility like Primary Children's Hospital in the area. I hope we'll never need to go there, but it's nice to have it there all the same.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Allergies & Epi-pens

Today was a fun day. I took Jenny to an allergist at the referral of her pediatrician. She has exhibited a dairy allergy since she started eating solids at 6 months of age. She had the skin-scratch allergy test for ten different things, and five of them were positive. These were not just mild reactions either; she got hives the size of quarters all over her back.

She was an angel and was perfectly happy and didn't act upset or itchy or anything. Things got even more fun when I was told she now has to go to Primary Children's Hospital for blood work. Since she's so young and so small, a normal lab can't draw her blood. The tests from the blood work will quantify her allergies, reveal any false-positives, and give an indication of the severity of her allergy and the likelihood of her growing out of it.

Then came the epi-pen demo. An epi-pen is an adrenaline auto-injector. Sounds like a good time, huh? If Jenny accidentally is exposed to an allergen and has a severe reaction (hives all over her body, swelling throat, trouble breathing, etc.) then I get to stab her in the thigh with one of these fun toys and rush her to an emergency room. Wherever the baby goes, an epi-pen must also go.

If all of that didn't sound fun enough, I now also get to educate all of her aunties/grandparents/potential babysitters about all of this. Hopefully she'll grow out of her dairy allergy before she is old enough to be invited to friends' birthday parties and I have to send her with her own tub of soy-ice-cream so she doesn't feel left out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weight Off My Shoulders

About two months ago I was asked by our Stake Music Director if I would accept the assignment to have our ward choir participate in an Interdenominational Choir Festival. Of course I accepted, because that's what you do in this church when you're given an assignment. We had our Easter program to get ready, but as none of those songs would have really been appropriate for the Festival, so they were of no use.

We had to perform two songs by ourselves and prepare three more to do combined with the other choirs. The combined songs were HARD and freaked my whole choir out when we tried to sight-read them. I continued to reassure them and tell them that they would be surprised at how quickly they came together when we were there with the other singers. They didn't believe me, but I was proven correct in the end.

There were a few songs that were so clearly protestant, that a lot of my singers were weirded out by them. My singers just haven't been exposed to anything other than LDS-Sacrament-meeting-appropriate music. They've never sung upbeat spirituals with percussion. They were out of their comfort zone, but they still had a good time.

I was totally stressed about it because my singers haven't been very diligent or consistent in their rehearsal attendance. On top of that I was told about how the other choirs all have professional directors and professional accompanists, etc. etc. I was expecting them to be fantastic, and I wanted to be too.

We rehearsed two hours last Thursday night and two hours this afternoon. Then we had a 90 minute rehearsal combined right before the performance tonight. (That doesn't include the two hours I spent singing on Saturday with another choir.) So I have been a little burnt out and worried. I have been looking forward all weekend to Monday (can you believe it) because that would mean that this Choir Festival would finally be over!

Well, I was all prepared to hang my head in shame, because as many of you know, I am a music snob and perfectionist and am always dissatisfied with my performance. However, as soon as I heard the first choir sing I knew we had it in the bag. The first choir was terrible. The second choir was only moderately terrible, but picked a couple of really nice songs. Then we sang, and if I do say so myself, we were good. Pretty darn good. Not quite fabulous, but nearly. The first song was a little shaky, but the second was BEAUTIFUL. We did an arrangement of "Come Thou Fount" that I sung years ago with Aimee & Erin Palmer entitled "Blessings". It is a gorgeous arrangement, and I have had every ward choir I've directed since perform it.

I truly felt that angels came down and sang with us; our performance was consecrated by the Lord and the Spirit was there and we did so well. I was so proud of my singers. Hopefully they enjoyed themselves and haven't completely burned out. Now I get an emotional break and it feels good!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Birthday Girl

Yesterday was Jenny's 1st birthday. We had her aunties and uncles and cousins and grandparents come over for cake and ice cream. I spent the day getting ready for the very low-key and simple party. I was at the party store buying balloons when I spied a plethora of "first birthday" merchandise. Suddenly everything I had planned seemed inadequate. I had baked a yummy cake, but it didn't have any cartoon characters on it. I bought balloons to color-coordinate with Jenny's dress, but there was no theme! Do I need streamers? What about matching paper plates, napkins, and plasticware? This is my first time throwing a birthday party as a mom, and I'm going to be a failure!

Then I reminded myself of my big sister's first experience throwing a birthday party for her first-born. She made individual Mickey Mouse cakes for everyone and frosted them laboriously. I helped her and I remember her stress level that afternoon. She has since learned her lesson, but every birthday party still she has a theme, and somehow, miraculously, the cake always matches the theme (thank you Costco). Now my sister will be the first to admit that she is a classic over-doer when it comes to projects like these, but will I be able to be so self-aware as my mommy-coordinated events continue? Perhaps I can find the balance that eludes so many moms.

In the end the party wasn't fancy and it didn't last long. But the cake was yummy, the pictures are cute, and Jenny will never remember it. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jenny's Second Easter

Jenny was born the day before Easter last year, so even though that was her first Easter, she wasn't very cognizant of it. She wasn't very sure about what was going on this year either. She didn't like going outside and sitting on the grass. She wasn't even interested in picking up an egg that was sitting on the ground right in front of her. Only when I picked it up and shook it like a rattle did she become remotely interested.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Joy in Daily Drudgery

I love vacuuming. Is that strange? I get great satisfaction from the whole experience. As many of you know, my husband is a bit of a slob. He is a packrat, rarely puts things away, and when he does put things away he places them in the wrong spot, making them impossible to find when I need them later. When I am frustrated at the mountain of possessions on his half of the room which leads me to be less than tidy myself, and the clutter is making me depressed, I get out my vacuum.

In fifteen short minutes I have entirely satisfying experience. I get my sluggish, tired, and pain-ridden body up and moving. I suck up dirt particles, nasty crunchies that the baby has either left or will roomba up later, and the ever present kitty litter that is strewn across my stairs. When I finish I leave a clean floor with beautiful parallel lines running across it. I love those lines. Vacuum lines in carpet are a great testimony. They testify that the room is clean. They testify that I have been productive. They testify that I accomplished something on my to-do list more than just keeping the baby alive and happy. And they look pretty. Maybe only a homemaker can fully appreciate the beauty of vacuum lines, but beautiful they are nonetheless.