Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New photo post; cuttlefish video!

Here's a new post on the family photo blog. Lots of pictures and videos! Here are some that don't have humans in them:
we visited California in December
these clouds are cool
rainbow from our backyard!

Here's a video of a cuttlefish from our aquarium visit if that isn't exciting enough:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Marriage survival-sim I helped with is now live!

Hi friends and family!

Our Personal Space, the marriage survival sim I helped write with my sister, is now live! Download it here for Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android. I wrote about my experience writing/designing the game over on The Ludi Bin, my gaming blog. There are many genres of videogames, and in this one you don't have to worry about jumping over things or shooting anyone. But you do have to worry about how your choices will impact the other characters! Please let me know how you like it, if you play it.

Friday, January 02, 2015

2014 summary

Every year I like to read over my daily, handwritten journal and summarize it, so I can have a quick reference for what happened in the year. Here's what 2014 was like:

January - We found out that I was pregnant with a girl, and I started stressing out about baby stuff. I still felt tired all the time and I slept a lot. I usually went to bed around 11 or 12 and woke up after 10am. One night I had a huge plate of nachos with refried beans, sour cream, tomatoes, and olives. I remember enjoying that! I made salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts and I wrote, "I like it with enough vinegar to burn my lips and tongue." I played Radiant Historia and watched Sherlock Holmes.  I got rid of a bunch of t-shirts and shredded a bunch of documents. Adam and I started playing board or video games together every Monday night as an FHE tradition.

February - We saw Swan Lake at BYU. At my cousin's baby shower my grandma told me how she had all of her children naturally, which I thought was interesting. I also found out at her birthday party that she wrote a column for a community paper while she was in Texas. Adam and I ate at the Communal one night and we got to sit at the bar and watch the chef. "He put like a spoonful of butter into all the root veggie sautees." We made pizza, and I wrote that "I always regret not putting more zucchini on my pizza." One day going to the grocery store was my "feat of the day." I scraped a car with my car while trying to park at DI and even though I was able to contact the car owner and get our insurance to pay for it I felt really dumb and rude. We spent a week visiting my parents and Adam worked while we were there. I found the birds and sunshine energizing. I resolved to not procrastinate cleaning the kitchen.

March - I got rid of more stuff, including an old desk, to start making room for the nursery. I played Bravely Default and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. I ate some delicious Reuben sandwiches. We bought baby furniture and a new kitchen table at IKEA. I got grumpy when it snowed.

April - We saw the MOA art exhibit with the Bloch paintings. We went to a prenatal class. I got into cleaning the bathrooms every week, at least the mirrors (I haven't kept that up). We made beef bulgogi and pizza with a metal plate (like a pizza stone). My neighbor friends threw me a delightful baby shower. Adam and I played a bit of Netrunner together.

May - My sister-in-law threw me a baby shower, and afterwards some of my college friends came over to hang out. We decided to make hanging out a monthly or bi-monthly tradition. Adam made an airship board game that we started prototyping. I made a butterfly origami mobile. I messed up a Hollandaise sauce. Adam bought an elliptical at the neighborhood yard sale which he sometimes used.

June - Sitting for long periods became uncomfortable. I had to be induced and gave birth to Piper (remember that's my internet name for my daughter?). The labor and delivery part went fine, thanks to my very supportive labor team. She had a little apnea when she fell asleep (i.e., she stopped breathing in deep sleep) and even though she didn't have any infections or any more apnea she had to spend a week in the NICU. It was kind of hard, because we basically just wanted to go home, but I got a lot of support and advice about breastfeeding and getting her on a schedule. I still had to pump milk and give Piper supplemental bottle feedings after each feeding, which I got sick of quickly (luckily we were able to transition to just breastfeeding about a week after she came home).

My mom visited and I got a bit of "baby blues" around 2 weeks after I delivered. I remember just crying over stupid things and being amazed that there were so many PEOPLE in the world, and that each person represented a time that a woman gave birth and successfully took care of a newborn. Adam made beef ribs that he sous-vide-cooked for 72 hours and I remember feeling bad that I didn't appreciate them and crying over beef ribs. I had Adam get me a Kindle for our anniversary, which I still use all the time to read while nursing. I watched TV and played videogames while nursing too.

July - Piper started sleeping 6+ hours a night sometimes, which was a huge relief. I started cloth diapering her. Various people visited me to see the baby. At the end of the month I finally got out to do some errands and I thought I lost my keys at the car wash. After looking everywhere, including the inside of a vacuum, I found them in the key hole of my trunk. I started doing abdominal workouts to help ease my back pain.

August - Two of my friends from high school visited us for 5 days and we took them (and Piper) to Timp caves and Arches national park. In some ways hiking with Piper was empowering, because it helped me realize I could still do stuff with a baby. But I hurt my knee hiking downhill with her, so I had to take it slow afterwards. Adam met with a bunch of builders and picked one to start building our house in Provo. We had lots of family over for a luncheon and Piper's blessing.

September - I tried to go through my religious beliefs and make them rational and logical, but I feel like it failed, because religious epistemology is inherently subjective (i.e., whether or not something is true depends on the feeling of the Holy Ghost, which isn't quantifiable and easily confused in my brain with how I feel about it). I tried out various goals to change my life in little ways, and I proved to myself that I can make myself a hot breakfast in the morning if I want to.

October - I started unfollowing everyone on Facebook. I felt depressed about how my identity is tied to my consumption of goods. I thought Piper had a yeast infection but it turned out I wasn't washing the diapers properly (and she probably got an ammonia rash). My sister and her kids visited us, and my parents also visited for a weekend. I made some weird vegetarian dishes, and threw a party for my little brother's birthday. I remembered that I dislike horror games.

November - I made some pixel art to help Adam with his game (it is still pretty ugly but I want to keep working at it). I voted for like the second time ever. I started a tradition of having a big breakfast on Monday mornings. I started reading scriptures in the morning while I fed Piper. I made cherry JELLO salad for Thanksgiving with my in-laws. We moved Piper and her changing table into the nursery. We watched our neighbor's dog for a few weeks.

December - Adam went on a business trip for 5 days and I somehow managed to keep Piper alive that whole time. I took Piper to IKEA and shopped by myself too. We spent Christmas with my in-laws and it snowed a lot on Christmas day. Then we flew over to California and visited my family.

The whole year we did cub scouts almost every week, and I practiced organ and played monthly until September. We subbed for primary quite a bit. I read quite a bit of epic fantasy as well as some other books (I reviewed them all on goodreads). My in-laws fed us dinner at least once a month. We had friends over and visited friends. We ate lots of sous vide meat. I supported various Kickstarters.

Looking back on last year's summary, it looks like I didn't have very many aspirations for this (2014) year other than to have a baby. Well, I did that! I gave up on learning kanji, which is kind of sad, but I think if I try to learn kanji again I need to include it in a more holistic approach to language learning. This year I'd like to keep up on trying out pixel art, or at least some kind of creative pursuit. I want to continue our family traditions of having a big breakfast on Monday morning and playing a game Monday evening. I want to continue keeping the kitchen clean. I want to go hiking with Piper more in the spring, and maybe try snowshoeing before then (and I definitely want to take her sledding!).

I felt like a pushed myself with learning babywearing and cloth diapering this year, and I want to keep pushing myself to learn new skills (even if it's something as simple as learning how to make pie better or knitting a potholder). I want to build a terrarium in 2015, and I want it to look pretty. I don't feel the need to read more or play more videogames--I probably do enough of that on my own, without making a goal to do so. I want to help my sister with PR/outreach for her/our game, and I'd like to keep spending time with family. More short-term, I hope that I can prepare for our move in March in an organized fashion and not leave anyone with lasting scars or emotional trauma!

Hope you had a happy new year!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Thanksgiving thankful tree

I stole my friend Tamsin's idea and we had a "Thanksgiving tree" this year. I took some of the stockier weed things we were cutting down in the backyard, took off their leaves, and put them in a vase of stones. Then I bought some luggage tag things that we wrote on and hung from the branches (I guess ideally they would be leaf-shaped, but it's fall so I am okay with having a leafless tree).

It was good to remember what we were thankful for. Here were the things I was thankful for:
forgiveness - this sounds dramatic. I was kind of rude to someone on the phone and later I said I was sorry.
baby toys/chairs
loving family
good food
people who believe in me and my abilities
pizza and restaurants
domesticated animals - I was thinking of chickens and cows specifically, but dogs are nice too.
a strong body
easily-cleaned couch - Piper spit up a huge amount one morning.
that Piper is alive and well - I tried to walk Piper and Koko at the same time, and Koko knocked over Piper's stroller while she was in it. Luckily she landed in the grass and was fine.
online shopping
home-cooked food and a clean kitchen - I wanted to capture more than this - that I have a good habit of cooking and cleaning the kitchen, and that I'm mentally healthy enough to keep up that habit.
breastfeeding - it is really convenient
running water
our dishwasher
Adam's list:
our two working cars
good friends
online palettes
our cute baby
funny internet videos
baby cooing noises

our visitors:
warm blankets
good books
I bought some more Thanksgiving history books (I'm not sure why but I just love reading about early colonists' lives).  Our Thanksgiving display improves! Now I just have to find a way to use up those decorative squash...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

roll cloud

Another baby pic post up. Here are some bonus pictures:

icey hike!
I think that is a roll cloud. I could be wrong. 
I thought artists made up the clouds with lots of fine dots/grains. But then I saw some!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rituals for Atheists (or anyone, really)

One thing I've been thinking about is if I didn't believe in God, what religious rituals would I retain? Or in other words, what does science have to say about religious rituals or values?

  • Spend time with family, get closer to family. This one seems pretty obvious. A common way to spend time with your immediate family is through family dinners, which are correlated with a lot of positive things, and have a pretty good effect on lessening depressive symptoms and helping children feel they have a stable environment. One problem with family dinner research is that it is hard to separate families who eat together from families who are middle- and upper-income brackets. This article explores the limitations of such research. There's also the BYU study about how daughters who played videogames with their parents exhibited more pro-social behavior and felt closer to their families. I like the Mormon tradition of having a night set aside to spend with families (Monday night is "family home evening"), and I think it logically follows that if you spend more time with your family, they will know each other better and feel closer to one another (whether or not your family members like being close to one another is up for debate though).
  • Gratitude. Being thankful for things in your life and for the things other people do for you is associated with feeling happy and optimistic and such. There's a time and place for cynicism, but personally I don't struggle with being a realist and I could use a dose of optimism some days. Daily prayers encourage us to be grateful, but if you don't pray, you could have some of the benefits of prayer by taking a little time each day to think about what you're grateful for.
  • Goal-setting. This isn't a religious ritual per se, but when I pray for something I feel like it's a goal I've set and I start to think of ways I can help make it happen. Of course, sometimes I pray for things I have no control over, but I think that the act of praying for something can make you more receptive to having ideas about how to help that desire.
  • Prayer. I'm not sure if you have to believe in God in order to pray. There are benefits to praying, like if you pray for your spouse or friend you are more likely to forgive them, and some people experience less pain. Maybe part of the relaxing effect of prayer is having faith that God is taking care of you, and that praying will help you in your life somehow. When I pray for someone, it motivates me to see things through their eyes and have more compassion towards them. I'm not sure what the secular equivalent to prayer would be--maybe meditation?
  • Knowing your family narrative helps adolescents have a fallback identity. In my religion family history work is part of our missionary work, since we believe that we can perform saving rituals (like baptism) on behalf of the deceased. Most people don't know very many dead people, so you start with your own family members. 
Those are a few I've thought about. I think there's probably a benefit of knowing other people who live near you (like the people you meet at church) and having adults other than family members interact with your children.