Thursday, December 29, 2011

Birth day?

Today I am 41 weeks and 6 days pregnant.  Since people seem to think you combust at 42 weeks, I scheduled an induction for today.  Can I just say how extremely NOT happy I am about being induced?  This decision has caused me a great deal of turmoil and fear.
However . . . the stars and planets must be aligned, because exactly one hour before leaving for that appointment, I started labor at home.  Maybe we'll get to meet that baby today!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Maybe this baby is waiting to be born until we choose a name for him.  We have it narrowed down to four for the first name, and we picked the second name.  If you ask Miles, he would say, "How 'bout Train Anderson?"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Estimated Due Date

Miles is is bed, Alvin is reading the news online, and I'm not in labor, so I think I'll post a few pictures of our lovely trip to Utah.  My sister Amber got married December 3rd, so it was the perfect excuse to visit our families, who we've been missing.

Utah is much colder than Oklahoma, but we brought enough warm clothes to go for a little hike/walk.  My Aunt Rosie was in town for the wedding, and since she's been taking a geology class, she requested Alvin lead a geology "field trip."  He did great, and it reminded him how much he likes teaching people about geology.  Miles was happy to find some tractors at one of our stops.

Here come Brian and Amber out of the Salt Lake Temple.  Don't trip over Miles' blue Dinoco car!  He borrowed it from Aunt Ann and wouldn't let it out of his sight the whole trip.  I loved Amber's dress, and I cried through the wedding.

Here we are at the reception.  Oma brought a new toy for Miles: a red tape measure.  He asked me to lay on the floor so he could measure the baby in my tummy.  Guess who's been coming to prenatal appointments with me :)

We made a quick stop to visit Miles' old friend Ella and her brother Calvin.

The whole trip was really very nice.  It was sooo good to see our families and take a break from work, fixing the house, cooking, and being in charge of Miles.  He had so many attentive relatives doting on him that I got to really relax.  Also, Miles loved playing with his cousins and their toys.  It made me sad to think that he is missing out on that while we live so far away.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Here's a recipe for one of Miles' favorite snacks. He helps me measure the ingredients, then tries to snarf big handfuls before I'm finished stirring. "Peanut butter balls" must have been quite a mouthful, so he calls it "P-beeb."

Peanut Butter Play Dough
1/2 c. peanut butter
2-4 T. honey
1/3-1/2 c. powdered milk
1 T. wheat germ or wheat bran (optional)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (optional)

Stir everything together, adding just enough powdered milk to make a firm (but not dry) dough. Use for edible play dough or roll into balls for convenient snacking. Store in the refrigerator.

This post is in honor Liesel, who is about to turn one, and her peanut butter-loving mom. I guess one is the magical age when peanut butter is suddenly o.k. for infants. Happy birthday, Liesel!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Catching up

It's been an eventful week in Oklahoma:
  • huge rainstorm (2 or 3 inches overnight)
  • a 5.6 earthquake (Alvin burst in the room after it was over and said, "Did you feel that?! That was probably a 5-point-something!")
  • a tornado
Fortunately, the rest of October and November have been pretty mild. In fact, this evening we went for a walk in the dark in our t-shirts. I guess we're still used to Utah's chilly autumn weather.

I didn't really anticipate how much this move would disrupt our lives. Now that we've been here for a few months, I can look back and see some progress. I found a gym with a swimming pool and "Kid's Korner." I'm learning people's names in our ward, which I love. I've met some other young moms who I've really clicked with, and Miles is making friends with their kids. I got a Joy School going with 4 little boys - every Monday morning Miles gets to go to a new house and play with new toys. We've found good parks, a Science Museum with trains, grocery stores besides Walmart, and midwives and hospital to deliver this new baby.

Alvin likes his new job . . . up to eight hours a day. Unfortunately he works much more than that. On the weekends, in the middle of the night, on Sunday mornings. His company Chesapeake has acquired quite the reputation around here. Everyone seems to know that they treat their employees well with benefits and perks, but they also make them work. Geologists especially have a high turnover because they just get burned out. Alvin copes by doing yard work on the weekends. The other Saturday I heard him out in the yard grunting and saying, "HEH! HEH! HEH!" I looked out the window, and I saw this redhead in the forest with his shirt off, hacking at the trees with his machete! Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his hard work, but I really wished he could focus his effort inside our fence. He said, "I'm cleaning up the forest. Doesn't it look so much better?"

We are also working on the inside of our house. I think we go to Lowe's or Home Depot once or twice a week. This is challenging and stressful. I keep wishing my dad was around so I could ask him things like, how do you change out light switches and power outlets? How do you repair stained wood without sanding and refinishing it? Should I buy the entire toilet repair kit or just the flapper? Does carpet go below or next to the base boards? Everywhere I look, I notice things that need to be fixed or updated. Being pregnant makes things worse because it restricts my mobility and energy and puts a deadline on our big projects. Next time we buy a house, it's going to be nice, updated, and ready to live in. I'm thinking now that a nicer house that costs more is definitely better than a cheaper house that needs work.

Here are some pictures we salvaged from our broken camera:

From the roof. Notice the toys our kind neighbor lent to Miles and the trees Alvin trimmed. He did a great job, and he enjoyed spending the day climbing and sawing.
Here's me digging some angel food cake out the pan. It is nice to have a house-sized kitchen instead of an apartment-sized kitchen. There is space in the cupboards for all my appliances and dishes. Alvin hates the back splash, but I don't mind it. I just don't like the cupboards. What do you think?
Alvin wanted me to include this picture of the living room, even though that's not our furniture.

This was from Alvin's birthday. Miles put in the candles and helped light them. Well, he lit one or two before we took over.
Smoke from 33 candles!

Well, if I don't end up blogging for awhile again, here are our plans:
November: finish painting and carpeting our house
December 2-6: fly to Utah for my sister's wedding
December 16: estimated due date for Miles' baby brother. Hopefully he's not born as late as Miles (11 days)!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Settling In

Here are a few pics from our new life in Oklahoma.We found a house, and hopefully it will be ours next week. Crazy. I don't feel old enough to be buying a house and making all the grown-up decisions related to home buying. It will be fun to have our own place, a back yard and trees, and a big project to work on. It was built in 1979, and no one seems to have done any updates, except for granite counter tops in the kitchen, which Alvin the rock man thinks are ugly.

Aside from the counters, Alvin is very pleased with the house. I think he liked it from the get-go because 1) the dining/living room reminds him of his family cabin, and 2) it backs up to some of the only wooded open space in residential Oklahoma City. He has big plans to build a trail from our back yard to the park just beyond the woods.

Here's Miles riding a rhino at the zoo. The zoo is lovely, but of course it is outdoors and Oklahoma had a record-breaking heat streak this summer (temperatures over 110 degrees every day from June to September). We wanted to go to the zoo, so we went a Saturday morning as soon as it opened. It was still pretty hot. The shade and occasional air-conditioned buildings helped.

Miles took this picture of his trains. I think the composition and lighting show promise! Yes, he still loves trains. Visitors to our apartment always remark on the plethora of train illustrations taped to the wall. Miles loves to direct Alvin and me in drawing trains, especially green steam engines. He won't let us stop until we've drawn the cowcatcher, tracks and smoke.

I don't have a great picture of me yet, but for an update, I cut my hair, which apparently was a good move, because lots of Oklahoma women have short hair. (Poor Alvin really prefers long hair, but I feel so liberated that I don't have plans to grow it out in the near future.) I'm buying maternity clothes again to accommodate my six-month belly. I really love our new ward - the moms have done a stellar job at inviting me to events and including me and Miles in play groups. I think a lot of people here don't have many relatives close by, so the ward really becomes your family. We've had dinners and watched football games with new friends here.

Hopefully Alvin will give y'all an update on his new job (which included a Blackberry and many opportunities to use it during the night and on weekends).

Monday, September 5, 2011

For your viewing pleasure

Life is good here in Oklahoma. Laura and Miles are doing well. Work is keeping me plenty busy...lots to learn. I'll have a post with pics soon...but here are some fun videos in the meantime.

Crazy Base Jump/Wing Suit Video (Jeb Corliss Grinding The Crack)!

Funny Romney/Mormon Colbert Video

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Last hurrah in Utah. Destination: Fairview

After packing up our apartment and sending our belongings to Oklahoma in three little U-Haul storage containers, we took a trip to Fairview to hang out at the Anderson cabin and see the demolition derby.
Alvin, according to Laura: The Fairview Demolition Derby is probably the best in the state. Have you ever seen a bunch of old, windowless cars drive around in a dirt arena, crashing into each other, trying to be the last vehicle that can move? If you haven't, then you haven't lived. The hot sun nearly blinds your view, and the deafening revving engines muffle all conversation, but this is the time of your life. Only 5 heats before a winner is declared? Too bad, but the fireworks after the show will be amazing, too.
Laura: The kettle corn is good, but how much longer until I can unplug my ears and go home to bed? I can't believe this thing is sold out. Did you see that booth selling fried pickles, fried cookie dough, and fried Oreos?
Miles: Cars crash de-mo-li-shun der-bee! In dirt! Ta-tees (tractors) come take cars away!
Being at the cabin was lovely - not too hot, fields of summer flowers, and even a little snow left over from winter. Miles' cousins had so much fun entertaining him that I got to finish my book, Born to Run. Great read - I'd never even wanted to run a marathon before, but now I'm convinced I could put "run an ultra" on my list of life goals.

Yeah, we moved to Oklahoma

This is the snippet I wrote for the Anderson family annual newsletter:

Alvin and Laura Anderson Family News

August 2011

This year has brought big changes for our family.

The beginning of the year found us living in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Alvin, the geologist, worked at TerraTek, an oil service company in Salt Lake City. Laura, the mom, hung out with Miles, the train-loving two-year-old, and worked part-time from home as an actuary. Alvin spent several months applying to schools across the county in hopes of returning to academia, obtaining his Ph.D. in geology and becoming a university professor. Alvin visited graduate schools in Pittsburgh, North Carolina, and Indiana, while the real application-filler-outer stayed home with Miles.

Late one night while Alvin was desperately trying to decide which, if any, school to attend, he found and filled out an application for a geologist job in industry. Well, he got the job and decided to take it, and we just arrived in Oklahoma City, where we will be living for the next few years. Alvin’s working at Chesapeake Energy, an oil and natural gas company. Miles and Laura are trying to survive the record heat (it’s been in the 100’s since June) and wishing we had some mountains to escape to.

We’re all looking forward to an exciting Christmas present this year – a baby boy! Any ideas for his name??

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Unstable air

So Miles thinks he has a baby in his tummy, too.

This week I was riding the airplane with him to Oklahoma City when we hit some turbulence. After a big drop, Miles grabbed the chair with a surprised look on his face. I said, "That was the airplane going up and down. Did you feel it in your tummy?"

With eyes wide, he nodded and, pointing to his tummy, said, "Baby sad!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's a . . .

Looks like we're getting a baby boy for Christmas this year!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Redwood Forests

You know that lovely picture of a misty forest that’s been tucked away at the bottom of our blog for ages? Alvin took that on his trip to Redwood National Park about 5 years ago. Last week I finally got to see the trees in person. Amazing and beautiful.

Alvin and I spent 4 days in California near the border of Oregon touring the state and national parks that boast 300-plus-foot redwood giants. The temperature was ideal – between 55 and 65 night and day. We hiked through the trees, did scenic drives, relaxed at bed and breakfasts, read, and played at the beach.

My sister Amber was gracious enough to stay home with Miles for the 4 days. This was my first trip without him since he was born! Okay, so I was worried about being gone for so long, and by day 3 I wished we were on our way home to see him. But he really was fine. (But for a few days when we go back, he seemed to have forgotten who is the boss.) About a month ago, I started telling Miles bedtime stories about how me and dad were going to fly in the airplane to California and Amber was going to stay at our house and take Miles to nursery. I think it helped! When Amber asked him where we were, he said, “California.” And she wore him out with fun activities – riding the train at the zoo, playing at the park, and meet boyfriends’ nieces and nephews. (Yes, I meant to put the apostrophe after the ‘s.’)

Here's a picture of Alvin climbing the massive roots of a fallen tree:

The trip wasn’t completely without child because . . . I am with child. (Hee, hee.) You can see a 4-month bump in the picture below. Pregnancy really takes a toll on my energy level - we did an easy 6-mile ramble through the woods on the first day, and the rest of the trip I could barely get one foot in front of the other!

This is Miles camping in Fairview Canyon. Alvin took him overnight up to the cabin for the 4th of July, and they loved it! Alvin came home and said, "And when it was time for bed, Miles said, 'Okay, Dad,' and went right to sleep." I asked what time that would have been. "Oh, ten or ten-thirty," Alvin admitted. No wonder he slept well!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red-letter Day

Miles loves trains. He
points out the tank cars, hopper cars, and "hmoke" in train picture books,
spends hours laying on the floor moving his engine, car, and caboose along their tracks,
knows where to spot train bridges when we drive down the freeway,
watches library DVDs about trains,
asks me to sing train songs (I know 3 and will make up more on request),
asks me to build trains in the sand and draw them on the sidewalk, and
rides TRAX and goes with Alvin to watch freight trains.

I get the biggest kick when Miles asks to color. That means he wants to hand me markers and tell me to draw the engine, cars, wheels, "cup-lahs" (couplers), and caboose. Then he carries the completed illustration around - in the car, to bed, next to his plate at the table.

How can we help but feed his fascination by finding iPod apps with trains, taking him to play with the train toys at Grandma's house, and ...
visiting Golden Spike National Historic Site? The two-hour drive was worth it - he saw two old steam engines coming down the tracks, whistling, clanging their bells, and puffing steam and smoke.
Miles clings to his souvenir postcards, and he even found a page in a library book featuring one of the trains we saw. He points it out with great pride.
On the way home from Promontory Point, we stopped at the International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park. Miles found a little house just his size in the Swiss garden, and he wasted no time hopping around plants and bushes to make his way up the little stairs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

You'll Never Know, Dear . . .

Alvin has been putting Miles to bed lately. Lucky Miles gets a good long bedtime routine:

  • brush teeth
  • practice sitting on the potty
  • diaper and jammies on
  • story
  • recite the First Article of Faith
  • prayer
  • song

Miles asked Alvin to sing the train song, which Alvin doesn't know, so he made one up: You Are My Sunshine with a few key words like train, coming down the tracks, and honk. I love listening to Alvin improvise! This is the best part of my day.

Last night, Alvin went to the grocery store to pick up some things for his Ragnar Relay this weekend. (Good luck on those 15 uphill miles!) So I put Miles to bed. When it came time to sing a song, I told him I'd sing the train song. He asked for something, and had to repeat it four or five times before I finally understood: "Train Sunshine." He wanted me to sing Alvin's Train Sunshine song! I had a great time trying to make up my own version.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spring Recap

April 29: We drove to St. George and Las Vegas. Here's a clip of the Bellagio fountains.

May 7: My sister got married. She had a 40's-themed reception with an ice cream bar, photo booth, and bridesmaids in period dresses.

Once Miles discovered the old loader parked outside, not even the ice cream could bring him back in to the reception.

May 18: Went outside on a sunny day to enjoy the Royal Farms pond and ate dinner at a park.

Will he go for it?

Of course!

May 28: Alvin's BYU roommate Logan was in town with his family. Brennan, 2 1/2, and Miles hit it off immediately. We went on a 2 year old-paced hike in Ferguson Canyon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Translation, please

Miles has been saying this lately:
"Look high deed!"
Alvin finally figured out that it means, "Look what I did!"

The other day, Alvin asked Miles how many fingers were on his hand. Miles held out his hand, pointed to each finger, saying, "Dee, dee, dee . . ." When he was finished counting, he turned to us and said, "Eight!" I burst out laughing. I've never even heard him say the number "eight" before.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Our kind neighbors invited us to an Easter Egg Hunt. The mom in charge said she was trying to make up for her childhood disappointment of never being quick enough to find many eggs. In this hunt, you don't have to be quick - you just need eyes and legs.
Miles put two eggs in his basket, then he wanted to go play on the swingset. Alvin helped him collect a few more (and has been helping him eat the candy, too).
The last hurrah with Ella, Miles' best friend. She moved to Chicago two weeks ago, but Miles still asks if she can come over. We took him to see her empty apartment and explained that she moved to a new home. He stood looking through the window, very quiet, for a long time.
My new bike! Can I say how much I love road biking?!? The speed, the wind on your skin, ahhh. I'm still getting used to the clipless pedals. Fortunately I've tipped over on BOTH sides of the bike so the scuffs on the seat and handlebars are symmetrical. So were the bruises on my hips.
Miles is ready to go! But where will he need my scriptures, shoes, AND his Cars DVD?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life Goes On

We decided. Alvin is not going to school this year. It was a difficult decision to say the least. Ultimately, the decision came down to the research projects. The schools that accepted him would have involved research projects that were not a good fit for Alvin's interests and career path. So he turned them down.

We will be staying in or near Salt Lake and Alvin will continue working at his current job, which he likes. We are looking forward to having the time and money to enjoy hobbies, family, and travel. We feel good about the decision. And now we get to once again decide what we want for our future. Lots to look forward to and plenty of possibilities. One possibility...after hearing about Alvin's decision to not attend Purdue, a professor there sent Alvin an encouraging email. He said to keep in touch - he's requesting funding for a project next year that Alvin would really enjoy.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Decisions, decisions

After a busy winter of filling out college applications, Skyping with potential advisors, and flying across the country to visit universities, Alvin is ready to decide which school to attend for his PhD in geology.
    Schools which have accepted Alvin:
  • Purdue University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of North Carolina
      Schools which Alvin would like to attend:
    • University of Colorado
    • Oregon State University
    • Dartmouth
        Another option that we started discussing a week ago is this: not going to school at all. Alvin is already qualified for excellent geology-related jobs in industry. These positions pay very well, have increasing demand, and offer reasonable work hours. That option is very alluring, especially after finding out more about the academia option.
          A PhD takes 5 years to complete, most graduates do a 2-3 year post-doc, and the availability of tenure-track faculty positions is declining rapidly. Alvin has talked to current PhD students who work 50-70 hours a week for a paltry $20,000 annual stipend. Why would we do that when the job competition at the end of that path is so steep? Even if he were to find a job teaching at a college or university, he would have to work extremely hard to obtain tenure. You've heard it: publish or perish.
            Academia is not without its allure. A tenured professor enjoys job flexibility, variety of work, teaching, travel for field work, sabbatical every 7 years, and working with interesting, intelligent, driven people.
              We have until April 15 to decide. What should we do???
            • Wednesday, January 26, 2011

              Tales from Joy School, Part 1

              These two kids were born on February 21, 2009. Their mommies thought they would love going to each other's house for Joy School (a term they use loosely since the curriculum is actually from Brightly Beaming). The kids play, do art projects and action songs, and learn fun things, like shapes, colors, letters, and animals. Miles likes to show Ella his battery-powered cars and how to jump on the bed. Ella can sing songs and likes to ask for cheese. Their favorite games are London Bridge and Ring Around the Rosy.

              Tales from Joy School, Part 2

              Yesterday Miles and his friend Ella were playing in the living room while I was getting a snack in the kitchen. I heard a crash. Is that ever good? Well, it wasn't too bad. Ella, fascinated by a bookend, had picked it up, and the books had tipped over and slipped to the floor.

              Here is the bookend. Alvin got it from an artist in Jerusalem who catered to Mormon tourists.

              After Ella handed it over, I showed it to the kiddies. "Who is this?" I asked. "She-she [Jesus]," said Miles. "No, this is Joseph Smith." Just as I launched into my explanation about how Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw Jesus, Miles reached out, grabbed the statue's nose, and said, "Onk!"