Monday, May 28, 2007

some details

She was born at 1:11 in the afternoon.

She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces.

She was 18 1/2 inches long (why, when you are born, is it "long" and when does it switch to "tall"? I guess once you become vertical?).

She is a sweet little baby who likes to eat, but then almost immediately falls asleep.

She'd rather sleep with her mom than anywhere else. (And at this point, mom is a destination and so definitely a "where.")

Her name is Camille.

More pictures coming. More posts coming. Eventually.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Proxy Post from a Postpartum Father

Hello faithful bloggers. I have tracked my way through piles of diapers, half-colored pony pictures, bits of pizza crusts, and chewed-up board books to sit at this computer and bravely (though briefly) carry the blogging torch on behalf of my absent spouse. You have probably guessed the reason: a baby has been had.

Allysha, even at this moment, may be sitting in her robot hospital bed composing something much more eloquent than I ever could manage about today's heroic events, so I will leave it at this: all is well. (Except of course for the half-colored pony pictures and pizza crusts strewn about our place. I mention those only because they will be hastily cleaned up shortly before Allysha returns, and thusly unaware she will have nothing to say about them.) And I should mention that I love that Allysha gal tremendously. And here is a picture of the other gal, of whom I am also quite fond, though I have known her only briefly:

Now you can see why I have taken to her so. It's the outfit. (I hear her mom dresses her.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

since I know you're all dying for an update

I'm due tomorrow. I feel like I'm crawling to the finish line, when I can get off the floor. My other pregnancies seem to have ended more gracefully than this one, but whatever.

I have an appointment on Thursday where I get a non-stress test and an ultrasound. If things are fine then they will kindly wait until Tuesday to induce me. If my fluid levels are low, etc., etc., then they'll induce me on Friday.

If I plan on being induced on Tuesday morning, then I figure if anything else happens before then it will just be a happy surprise. In the meantime I will be eating steak and ice cream and watching The West Wing. Isn't that what they recommend?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

once upon a time

Last night we sat at the dinner table, chaos flying around us. I asked Ben what he thought our reaction would have been if the night before our wedding we were given a glimpse seven years into the future. I don't think either of us had any idea what we were getting into.

But it's good, whatever it is.

Friday, May 18, 2007

10 o'clock and all is well

Darn it.

Baby is taking her sweet time. And honestly, I am all for babies doing their thing when they are ready to do it. Last night I had some happy contractions that I willed to carry on and get stronger doing some Jedi mind tricks. Apparently it's been awhile since I watched Star Wars, because I think I am a little rusty. The contractions
despite becoming stronger, refused to hit any decent sort of regular interval and around 2 a.m. I fell asleep and woke up with no reason to go to the hospital this morning.

I have my 7th wedding anniversary tomorrow. I really don't want to have a baby on my anniversary. Not to be selfish or anything, I'd like to keep it between Ben and myself. So at some point today if nothing is going on I will be focusing on not going into labor.

And here's something exciting! It looks like we will be heading out of here a little earlier than expected. As in almost a month earlier. As in about seven weeks from now. You who have born babies know that one's ideal recovery from childbirth and the following sleepless nights is not really enhanced by packing up a house and moving it cross country before that time.

So, I say cajolingly to the little girl hanging out in my belly, how about helping your mama out? maybe this afternoon? Alright, alright. Whenever you say go is fine.

Within reason.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I knew Copland before he promoted beef- It's what's for dinner. I danced in my living room to Gershwin before some airline claimed him to help us want to fly the friendly skies. I fell in love with Sara Crewe and Mary Lennox through the words of Frances Hodgson Burnett before they hit the silver screen. Since The Princess Bride came out as a movie when I was a teen, I didn't grow up automatically knowing, due to repeated home viewings, that Prince Humperdink was indeed a humperdink, so the reveal in the movie the first time I saw it was shocking to me!

I want my kids to have similar experiences. I want their first real exposure to stories and art and music to not have to come by way of the popular culture express. I want stories and movies that have a few twists and turns to be seen when my children are old enough to be able to get the Ah-ha! moment. Because I love those moments myself.

Granted, I will not be able to make sure my kids have read every book before they see the movie, or know every good piece of music before it hits the commercial circuit. That is perfectly okay. I did indeed see TPB before I read it. But I'd also like to make an effort to help them be familiar with the real-deal before they associate it with some chicken selling soap on T.V. in between the 7th and 8th innings of a baseball game.

Maybe it's silly. Maybe it's snobby. Maybe it's a little bit naive. But it's one of the reasons I pull out Rapsody in Blue and Rodeo and play them on the stereo, and why, even though I have DVD's of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, I am not taking them out for viewing until the books have been read to or by my little girls. Bummer, they've already seen The Princess Bride. But maybe if I keep it away from them long enough, they'll forget that Humperdink is really not so great, and that Count Rugen has six fingers, and that the man in black is really...!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

my bro (a.k.a. the joe and angie show)

Of all my brothers and sisters, Lincoln is the one I've grown up with the longest. That's because he was born about 2 years after I was and we've been about 2 years apart, ever since. When you are the oldest kids in a family of eleven, this is important, because Linc and I grew up in a different family than my younger siblings are growing up in. That's the nature of time. But having grown up in the same family, we experienced a similar childhood, and that means something.

There are a lot of great pictures of the two of us in the early years. Sadly they are stashed away in Utah somewhere so I can't pull any of those out for you to look at, but they document the jolly times we had together growing up, and the awesome seventies wardrobes we sported back then.

Through the years we've had many good times, walking back and forth from school, swimming in the canal by our house (probably a pretty dirty one at that) while looking for garter snakes to catch and bring home (my mom loved it when they would escape in the house) playing all sorts of games, daring each other to eat cat food- you know, all that good sibling growing up kind of stuff.

Lincoln and I served LDS missions at the same time, and so got to share the ups and downs of a missionary life through letters and photographs. When we got home we both went to work at the same place and had some good times living through some inter-office drama and such. We like to sit around and hash out the meaning of the universe. We liked to double date, except that Ben says it's not such a great thing when we do that because Lincoln and I go off on some conversational tangent leaving those not experienced in our journey just waiting around the water cooler for us to get back.

I have a hard time putting down in words exactly what's so great about having Lincoln for a brother.
Lincoln is an incredible person with so many talents. We have a close but undemanding relationship and have seen each other through good and bad times. What really can I say, though, to get across what I want to say? Maybe this... Right after I was married (seconds after, I mean) and family and friends were coming up to congratulate Ben and me, amid all the joy and emotion of that day, Lincoln's hug was what finally made me cry.

Today is his birthday. I hope it's a good one. Happy Birthday, Lincoln.

Friday, May 11, 2007

verdict deciphered

I didn't think I was being that cryptic, but apparently I underestimate my own propensity and talent for mystery and suspense. And so without further ado I share with you the results:

Ben got the job.

What is this job, some of you may ask? It's a faculty position at Brigham Young University in the Theatre and Media Arts Department, a.k.a. film, specifically non-fiction film (documentary) and some other stuff. He'll start sometime in August and so we'll move sometime in July. That is about the extent of our knowledge about the subject, but if you have questions, by all means ask them and I will find out the answers.

In the meantime I am praying for this baby to show up soon for reasons that, I promise, are almost completely altruistic. Happy Weekend, everybody!

the verdict is in

The wind has blown.

Apparently the cat is sorry to be losing us, and was saying a mournful farewell.

! ! !

More information coming soon...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

long distance virtual dress sizing & fitting

Let's see, where were we? Ah yes. Hopefully soon to be delivered. Today I officially hit 38 weeks of pregnancy. Two of my babies arrived 10 days early. The other one was a few days late, but I'm ever the optimist. The question is, how much of an optimist should I be?

Here's the real issue: The other day my sister called me from some department store requesting to know what size of skirt I would be fitting into in the middle of July. "Wwweeeeellllllll...." I said....???

The thing is, this isn't just some random act of "oh, here is a skirt I think Allysha might like that I can send her in July" kindness, no. This is to be part of a bridesmaid ensemble for her wedding reception that I will be flying in for a day or two before the actual event. The skirts are on sale. They need to be bought. They may be, may be, may be alterable. Maybe.

So, let's see. I need to estimate what my postpartum body will be doing in July, approximately two months from now. I need to do that estimate while still inhabiting a presentpartum body, a body that is currently prone to retaining water and craving fattening snacks. So how much of my present weight is water and how much of it is real, gulp, weight? How was I to answer this question? The only thing that kept coming to my mind was a confused sort of incredulous "I think I understand that you're trying to ask me what size of skirt I will be wearing in July, but my brain is having a very hard time wrapping it's self around the idea of wearing anything without a good elastic waistband."

I did what any reasonable, pregnant, older sister would do. I asked to talk to my mom. I mean absolutely no offense to my sister, but someone who has never been pregnant before, and has never experienced the random shifting of curves through the months during and after a pregnancy has absolutely no way to help gauge what size of skirt I should ask for.

If you have been pregnant before you know that each one is a little different. Each weight loss experience is also different from any other pregnancy. Sometimes the pounds come off faster, sometimes slower. More often a complicated mix of slow then fast then slower and hopefully fast again (okay that last one is part of my optimism).

My mom is about my size although our body shapes are a little different, but she tried on the skirts for me and gave me her experienced opinion. She is coming out when the baby is born and could bring the skirt, but we both know that trying on a skirt at that point isn't going to be a lot different from trying on the skirt at 38 weeks and counting.

We decided to go with buying 2 sizes just to be safe. Let's clarify, that is not a size 2, but two different sizes of skirts. (Heck, I would have suggested 3 different sizes, but that seemed a little over the top.) But it's done.


Another sister gets home from her mission a week before the wedding. And while it's not pregnancy, mission body shape shifting and weight can also be tricky. Taking this into consideration my mom picked up some different sizes for her too. Between the two of us and all those different size skirts, we should be able to work something out. Otherwise, at least we'll have someone to hang out with behind the punch bowls and to laugh with as we try to stealthily avoid the wedding photographer.

Monday, May 7, 2007

It figures

... that I would find the perfect maternity t-shirt with only 2 1/2 weeks to go before my due date.

But darn it, I plan to get some good use out of it before then.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

why do we?

I'm in the bathroom putting on my makeup. My girls watch, fascinated at the process.

"What's that?" a daughter asks.

"Mascara." I answer.

"What does it do?" she wants to know.

"It makes your eyelashes darker."

"Why do you want your eyelashes darker?" It's a good question.

"I don't know. Social convention, I guess." Ben rolls his eyes at me when I give answers like this.

"I don't really know what that means," she says.

"You know, neither do I."


Sometimes I recall walking down a narrow aisle in a dim light. Ahead of me is a box, the front made of glass, lit, and containing chains that may have been used to bind the apostle Peter. Then, turning to the right, there He is. And every time, my breath is taken away.

My recollection of San Pietro in Vincoli is obviously flawed. What I remember is a small dark church, but when I look at pictures I see that it is bigger, actually more grand than my memory gives it credit for. Maybe it’s because there was some renovation and construction going on inside at the time, or maybe it’s because I was jet-lagged and just coming inside after being out in the bright Italian sun. Or maybe it’s because Michelangelo’s work is so overpowering as to completely dwarf the building in which it is held.

The statue of Moses was not originally intended to be housed in the church known in English as Saint Peter in Chains. In fact the final product of which Moses is a part is a massively scaled down version of what was going to be a gigantic and amazing structure, a tomb for Pope Julius the Second, and housed in none other than St. Peter’s Basilica. Moses was to be but one of almost 40 other statues for the three tiered sepulcher. This was a commission that could live up to the imagination, ambition and talent of the extraordinary Michelangelo and he was up for it.

My relationship with Moses (beyond your basic Bible stories) began when I was about seven years old. My parents had just returned from a trip to Egypt and Israel, first stopping in Rome. They brought home a book full of pictures of the astounding city with all of its wonders, and two small marble replicas: the Pieta and Moses, both by Michelangelo. The Pieta was placed on our piano. Moses started out on a bookshelf, and eventually made his way up to Salt Lake City to my dad’s office, where I would see him sitting seriously, contemplating the great matters of the universe when I went to visit. Even in miniature he seemed a little fearsome. And why a prophet of God would have horns on his head was a mystery to me.

Pope Julius II, who I can only imagine had a huge ego and an incredible opinion of his holy self, had asked Michelangelo to create the masterpiece that would house his body once his spirit had left this earth. However, the commission was put on hold. Some speculate that funds were diverted to the rebuilding of Saint Peter’s itself. Having imagined and even sketched out this spectacular piece of creation, Michelangelo abandoned Rome for Florence. He was eventually lured back by Julius to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which was signed upon completion by “Michelangelo the Sculptor.”

Though later on, when the pope died, the contract was reduced to a shadow of what had originally been agreed upon, the great monument was never abandoned completely. The sculptor turned painter turned sculptor again, and unleashed his talent on what must have been a massive piece of marble to create an awesome work.

Living in the Paris suburbs for sometime, I had ample opportunity to see many statues, including the famous Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory (a.k.a. Nike) at the Louvre. My favorite Paris museum, the Musee D’Orsay has so many marble statues it’s easy to become almost blind to them. They are nice, some of them lovely, but their creators were no Michelangelo.

The statue of Moses has a soul. There is a palpable energy about it that reached out and grabbed me and I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stand there for the rest of the day just soaking it in. I wanted to know how it could be humanly possible to create such a work. That someone could create such a life like, larger than life, creature from stone is incredible to me.
The detail of the muscles, of the placement of the hands and fingers, his kneecaps, for heaven sakes, are amazing to look at.
Due to a mistranslation of the Bible in Italian, the horns which caused me such consternation are supposed to be beams of light.

Many talk about the smoldering wrath of Moses, the controlled anger in his face and body as he holds the stone tablets, but that is not what struck me as I stood before him. I would talk about power, definitely. I would talk about a terrible strength. And an awesome beauty.

I have never seen a picture that does the sculpture justice. They all come across as flat. But this image from a postcard we picked up in Rome manages to illustrate something, since it focuses on the detail which makes Moses so astounding, instead of trying to capture the entire piece.

It has been almost four years since I stood in Rome, marveling at the creations that were before me, almost four years since I stepped into that church with anticipation and was not disappointed. As I analyze my reaction to Moses, which was not just a response of the mind, but of my whole soul, I think I realize why I am so moved by the work of Michelangelo.

Michelangelo’s work is not a pagan worship of man alone in his glory. Nor is it the embodiment of man’s
weaknesses and frailties. The wonder of Michelangelo’s art lies in the fact that in his recreations of the human body, he manages to direct us firmly to the majesty and power of God, the Creator of man in the beginning.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

wish I may

This past week I read Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy, a biographical novel about Michelangelo. When I finished the book I felt like someone who had been swimming laps long enough that being out of the water and not moving my arms anymore felt odd. I wanted to jump back into the pool and keep on reading. Today I will pull out my art books and marvel some more at Michelangelo's genius.

I've been fortunate to see many of Michelangelo's works in person, and as promised (see #32, 33, 34) tomorrow I will post something I wrote about one of my absolute favorites. Although using the word "favorite" about a Michelangelo creation seems a bit trite and incomplete. But I have already discovered that I lack the vocabulary to adequately describe his work and my feelings about it.

Italy is calling my name. It's time to get my passport renewed.