15 May 2012

Things I Learned at the Zoo

I like taking my kids to the zoo. Benjy sleeps in the stroller, and Sam really enjoys the different animals. I like to read the signs by the animal habitats. I learn a lot of interesting tidbits at the zoo, such as:

The black howler monkey has the loudest call of any creature, capable of being heard by other black howler  monkeys up to 3 miles away.

There are a lot of different stroller models on the market.

Elephants can drink 50 gallons of water a day, and are quite good swimmers.

Ostriches are huge, and taste pretty good. Okay, I didn't learn that at the zoo. My grandpa bought ostrich burgers once at a fancy grocery store. Although, looking back as an adult, that seems like the kind of prank my grandfather would enjoy pulling on his grandkids. So maybe I don't actually know what ostriches taste like. My world has been turned upside down!
I can't even finish this post because I am laughing so hard at pre-teen Kara for actually thinking she ate an ostrich burger. So enjoy these pictures from the zoo.

Pointing at the baby elephant

Riding the carousel

An unusually active tiger, sitting in the "river"

08 May 2012

Handy Household Tips

If you make potato leek soup in your Crockitty Pot, then decide to puree it in your blender, make sure the lid is on tight. Otherwise, hot soup will explode out of your blender. Trust me, that stuff burns.

Sometimes, when you are newly married, buying a white couch will seem like a good idea. If you plan to have children, save yourself some time and just start using the couch as a plate now.

Flip the doorknob for your child's room so that the lock is on your side of the door. It's a handy way to keep the kid contained while you get stuff done (like blogging or sleeping).

Socks are really just wearable mops.

If you have a baby that spits up a lot, don't put him/her down for a nap on your side of the bed. Put the baby on the side of the bed that you don't sleep on. Then you don't have to wash your sheets every time the baby spits up.

07 May 2012

I Like the Library

When I was a kid, I hated the library. I could never find the books I wanted, and if I found a new book that I liked, I had to give it back. That's quite painful if you are like me and enjoy reading books over and over again. So for years, I purchased just about every single book I ever wanted. 
Then I got married and went to graduate school and suddenly had no money for books. Or free time to read, for that matter. But the summer I graduated, I threw myself back into reading. Only problem? No money!
Side note: Whenever I hear "Mo' money, mo' problems" I think "More like NO money, mo' problems. But I digress.
The Salt Lake City public library system has a branch within walking distance of the married student housing at the University of Utah, where we used to live. Once I was done with school, I packed Sammy into his stroller, and headed down to the Foothill Branch to sign up (sigh) for a library card.
Libraries sure have changed with the advent of the Interwebs (not really a thing when I was a kid). I learned that on the SLCPL website, I could request a book and have it delivered to my branch under my name for me to check out. AND you get to keep books for an entire month! You can even check out DVDs! My entire attitude toward the library changed in an instant. Now, I almost never buy books.
Sammy loves the library, too. It's not within walking distance anymore, but there is a branch in Sugarhouse that we frequent because it's a handy location to get all kinds of errands done. We go there about once a week.
This library is a gorgeous old building

Sammy plays with the bead maze while I check out my books

A giant sugar beet, for which the Sugarhouse neighborhood was named

That's my PSA for today- Support your local library!

05 May 2012

I'm Going to Make a Hat

My friend Michelle is teaching me how to crochet. There are some things you just can't learn from a book, and for me, this is one of them. Thankfully, Michelle is a very patient teacher. She let me borrow some yarn and a crochet hook so I could practice.

Ta da! That's right, I did that.

We decided that I would make a hat for my first project. I dragged the kids along to JoAnn's to buy my own yarn and crochet hooks. I picked out two skeins (what a fun word!) of blue-ish yarn because they were on sale. Sammy wanted to help carry the "blue blankies". My son can already see the potential that these hunks of yarn have! Either that or he has a tendency to call everything a blankie. Only time will tell.
I found a pattern online, and I can already tell that I'm sunk because apparently to make a hat you have to crochet in a CIRCLE instead of a straight line. Even so, I am determined to learn this skill. Then Michelle and I can open our Etsy store and fulfill our lifelong dreams of making stuff for other people to buy.
Just kidding. Unless you're interested in buying...

03 May 2012

A Tolerance for Ambiguity

"Ambiguity tolerance (AT) refers to the way an individual (or group) perceives and processes information about ambiguous situations or stimuli when confronted by an array of unfamiliar, complex, or incongruent clues. AT is a variable that is often conceived on an unidimensional scale. The person with low tolerance of ambiguity experiences stress, reacts prematurely, and avoids ambiguous stimuli. At the other extreme of the scale, however, a person with high tolerance for ambiguity perceives ambiguous situations/stimuli as desirable, challenging, and interesting and neither denies nor distorts their complexity of incongruity." (Tolerance of ambiguity: A review of the concept, its... By: Furnham, Adrian, Ribchester, Tracy, Current Psychology, 10461310, Fall95, Vol. 14, Issue 3)
I find myself being the kind of person who does not tolerate ambiguity well. I like to know exactly what time an activity is going to start, I follow recipes to the letter, and I usually don't try new foods at restaurants. I've realized, however, that being married to Ryan has definitely increased my tolerance for the unknown, as he is much less exacting in almost all things. I appreciate that about him, but let's face it: sometimes I hate it. 
There are some areas in my life in which I do tolerate ambiguity very well. For example, when I had a miscarriage in 2010: I don't know what caused that to happen. And normally not knowing the "why" behind something drives me nuts. But in that case, I've been content not knowing why. There are also a lot of spiritual questions with unknown answers (well, unknown to us at present) that don't ruffle me at all. Like, why did the early Latter-day Saints have to practice polygamy? How did the Atonement work? Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? (okay, the last one is a joke) I don't know the answers to these questions, and I'm okay with that. I trust that the answers, whatever they are, are good ones.
I think that's called faith.