Thursday, August 06, 2015

little goals

This week I've been happily exercising--walking, biking, yoga-ing, and ellipticalling. I felt inspired by an essay in the new Fresh Courage Take, in which a stay-at-home-mom feels more purpose and joy in her life my making little life goals about things other than keeping her kids alive. I have two physical health goals I'm working towards: I want to bike to bridal veil falls and back with Piper, and I want to hike Mt. Timp. I'm thinking I should have some intermediate goals too. I'd like to try out the Murdock river trail on my bike, and I'd also like to hike that mountain up Provo canyon again.

I and some of Adam's friends have been working on a video game project we've entitled Midnight Blues, and for a while I was writing away at things like backstories and lore. Right now I'm not really sure what the most productive thing I could do one it is, and it might just be to wait until the engine and art and story are a little further. I know I'll be a lot busier towards the end of the production cycle (assuming we can finish it) when I head up the PR/Marketing front of things. I feel like writing the story is a lot more interesting to me, but someone (i.e., me) has to do the less-interesting parts of game manufacturing in this situation. In the meantime I can work on other things!

Admittedly I haven't been doing very much creative stuff. I did design a little overcoat in Animal Crossing, among other things:

I've also been planning and cooking dinner each night, which is a good habit to be in. I have some other goals to try to make things I haven't made before. Life is pretty good.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Shameless terrible food photos

New post over on the private photo blog! Also here are some other photos.

I thought this typo was funny. From Last Window.

We had an open house and these were the foodstuffs. 
Oh and some healthy stuff too.
We went to La Caille for our anniversary! I think this is the beet salad, which was really good. 
I had the Boston salad
Adam had... some kind of seafood thing. I think that's Halibut.
Peking duck! I was delighted to find duck on the menu since PF Chang's no longer serves it.
And Pavlova for dessert.

When summer is or isn't relaxing

I feel like part of my identity has been taken over by my offspring Piper. I think it's pretty common--on Facebook many women with children have children with them in their profile pictures, which I think is indicative of how it affects a caregiver on an almost subconscious level. I am down to one breastfeeding a day, and I'm kind of looking forward to being more separate from Piper. It feels like she will always be clinging to me and wanting something of me.

I thought I might be one of those moms who wants to breastfeed their baby for a long time and hold them all the time, but I'm not. I think I might be a bit opposite that, actually. I might have mentioned this before but I feel like I'm trying to optimize my parenting to not include effort from me. I like Piper just fine! I just have other things I want to do. Sometimes I feel like I'm not savoring the baby moments enough, like I'm going to miss her being a baby or something, but I think that will be nostalgia and not actually wanting to go back in time. Although right now I am remembering how much time I had to myself when she was sleeping half the day!

The main thing I do that is not related to childcare and housekeeping is to consume media like books, TV, and videogames. My life is pretty good, so I don't feel like I NEED to "escape" it, although sometimes I feel like I'm trying to forget about my daily responsibilities for a few minutes (and is that so wrong?). I also like feeling like I'm a part of a common experience with popular media and sometimes it gives me something to talk about with other people. I know that if I spent more time on creative pursuits like writing or even doodling I would probably be happier about how I spend my leisure time! I guess that's why I'm writing this blog post.

We are getting Google fiber internet today! We had Utah Broadband (UBB) for about 3 months until we could get fiber installed. UBB had great customer service and they were able to install their antennae on our house pretty quickly. We got their lowest tier which is $40 a month and sort of okay. With the faster internet we won't have to think ahead of time for game downloads and I'll be able to stream TV in higher quality.

Last week my family on my dad's side had a family reunion. Adam took the week off and we tried to hang out at the Timp lodge where we had the reunion as much as possible. I enjoyed seeing my relatives and getting to know them a bit better. I have to admit though, it wasn't exactly a relaxing vacation. Lots of people helped with Piper pretty much constantly, and the rest of the family took care of the majority of meals. So I'm not really sure why it was stressful? Besides the fact that we ended up keeping Piper up late every night and she missed some of her naps. I keep telling myself that my "time off" is more like the time that everyone is on-schedule or at work and my "crunch time" is when we're on vacation or when we have company, but it still always surprises me how not relaxing it is to simply have people over (but I enjoy having people over!).

Friday, May 01, 2015


There's a new picture post over on my family blog. We moved and it was pretty stressful, but we had lots of help. My parents visited and helped unpack more things and my in-laws helped get our former house ready to sell. Piper is crawling around and getting into everything. We've been buying lots of new stuff (bedding for the guest room, rug for the library, a more childproof media stand) and I feel bad about being such a consumerist. I haven't been exercising every day like I was, and I feel like I should do that more.

I've been helping with a new game project with my husband, two of his siblings, and some friends. I kind of feel like everyone has something important to contribute except for me, but Adam is hoping I can help everyone stick with the project long enough to complete it. I guess in the past I have excelled at being consistent and persistent. But ever since I dropped out of graduate school, I feel less obligation to finish things. On the third hand, I know if I'm determined I can stick with something.

Meanwhile, some other pictures that didn't make the "family photos" cut:

love slow-cooker meals but can't stand the smell? My neighbor has the perfect solution.
gnarly dude
I found a fungus in our new backyard! I'm not sure what it is, if it's even a mushroom. It's rigid to the touch.

sunsets here are pretty great too
saw lots of this field crescent butterfly on a hike

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!