Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Now accepting nominations...

Every summer for the past several years I have chosen a "classic" to read over the summer, typically one that is longer in length that I didn't have time to read during the school year (yes, I know, ironic that the English teacher doesn't have time to read). As Memorial Day has officially passed us by and summer has unofficially begun, I have started to think about this year's classic. Past choices have included A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Mill on the Floss,Moby Dick, and Les Miserables. Any suggestions? There are still several Dickens I haven't read, Hardys I haven't read (and I do love Tess so), and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I haven't read any of the Russians. Let the voting begin...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

We celebrated Memorial Day with a nice weekend at home. Dave has had a busy month at work, so we did some things around the house (FINALLY we have pictures on the walls), relaxed, and of course, grilled some red meat. Our biggest excursion was down to the pool for the maiden voyage of Emma's new boat. I think we overloaded her senses a bit on Saturday--she was quiet but looking all around. Today she seemed to enjoy it more, though she needs some more practice sitting up in it. We ended the weekend by lounging on the couch watching a movie. Ahhh. What a holiday weekend should be.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


By Stephenie Meyer. Published by Little, Brown, 2005.

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking. It's YA--isn't that for teenagers? I haven't been a teenager for over a decade. Not to mention it's a high school love story. And oh yeah--it has vampires.

Once you stop laughing, run to the closest Barnes & Noble and buy it. It's absolutely fabulous. The characters (yes, I know they're vampires) are completely fascinating. The romance is suspenseful and clean (when one member of a couple thirsts for the other's blood, it's generally not a good idea to, well, you know). While the writing is not the best I've ever read, Meyer weaves an intriguing plot that sucks you in and surprises you. I'm not going to go into detail, because I don't want to ruin it for you, but take my word for it, this book is a delicious read.

Now, go on, what are you waiting for? Oh, and be sure to get a babysitter for the kids--you won't want to put this one down.

PS. Meyer is a BYU grad with 3 kids. And did I mention this was a New York Times bestseller and that Fox is optioning the movie rights?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Baby Read-Aloud Basics

By Caroline J. Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez, published by AMACOM, 2006.

I was given this book from my student teacher last Spring. Perhaps it was a thank you gift for all of the wisdom I imparted, or maybe he was trying to bribe me into not returning to work so he could get my job. Either way, I appreciate it, even if I just got around to reading it.

I highly recommend this book to all the parents out there, whether you have one child or five. The first part is sort of a testimonial about why reading aloud to your child is great, from your basic bonding experience to your major mind and language development, with some interesting scientific evidence (for example, you can read aloud to your newborn whether she is awake or asleep--brain patterns are the same). The next section of the book defines 6 stages, from the listener (birth to 2 months), to the cooer (4 to 8 months), to the phrase maker (18 to 24 months). Though I must admit that my child is so smart that she is a babbler (8 to 12 months) though she is only 6 months old. "Ba ba ba" that! :)

My absolute favorite part of the book are the lists of childrens books. Some are classics that you read with your parents as a wee one, and some I've never even heard of. (A disclaimer: I know some of you frequent the library with your kids and know tons of excellent books. So please share your favorties!) What I love is the sheer variety of the books. From a basic cloth book with pictures, to catchy ABC rhymes, to a touch-and-feel book about animals with bumpy backs. Does reading get any better than this? I love them all, and Emma seems to enjoy them too. The books gives suggestions on how to "read" these books to your babies, which often doesn't even include reading at all, sometimes just talking about the pictures and letting your child hear new words while repeating old favorites. This is all new to me, but we're having a great time reading. Anyway, if you have kids, get this book, or at least borrow it from the library or me for some great book suggestions.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Four Times the Trouble...

As you can see from the picture, Emma has managed to get up on her hands and knees with her tummy waving in the breeze. She had a great time playing on the astroturf at Central Park yesterday. She has been practicing this move for the past few days, and while she barely holds the position long enough to snap a picture, I have a feeling that I'm going to be chasing her across the floor pretty soon.

In other Emma news, we went to her six-month checkup today. She weighs 16 lbs. even (55th percentile), is 26 3/4 inches long (90th percentile--way to go for Kern genes!) and her head is 40 cm (3rd percentile. That's right, 3%. No wonder all her sunhats are too big). We got a nice, long list of foods to try so we are excited to get to it.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Happy Half-Birthday!

Today was Emma's half-birthday. We had great day: a trip to Target and playing at home. Emma practiced her new words: "ba ba ba" and even a "ma ma" thrown in there! After dinner we celebrated six months with half a cake. Of course, Emma can't eat cake yet, so she had an even better treat--rice cereal. Yum. We started feeding her solids on Saturday. She doesn't spit it out, which is good, but she doesn't get much in either. It's so hard to figure out how that mouth works! At this point it's more like practice than an actual source of nutrition. A special "ba ba ba" (or thanks) to Tyler, Brittany, Mumma and Poppa for their happy half-birthday messages!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Emma Tricks #3

Some babies like to chew on pacifiers; Emma likes to chew on her own cheeks. It's a habit she cultivated a couple of months ago and it's still going strong. Most often she makes a sort of fish face, like in the first picture. At first I thought it was kind of weird, then cute, and now I love it, because it is how she calms herself down when going to sleep. Such a bizarre habit, and who knows how she learned to do it, but it sure is fun to see the faces she makes!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Emma Tricks #2

Emma has been sitting with support for at least a month, but this past week she learned how to sit on her own! Dave tried it last Saturday and she could only sit for a few seconds, but we have been practicing every day and now she can sit for several minutes at a time. She even stayed sitting yesterday after she started crying--she had been sitting for a long time and I wanted to see how long she could go, but she was too sad. She still falls every now and then, but has learned to land on her hands and tummy. If only my abs were as strong as Emma's!
PS. As a bonus, the second picture provides an excellent view of the mohawk, which is getting quite wispy these days.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Emma Tricks #1

I've been a little behind on reporting Emma's latest tricks, so today I'm beginning a short series of posts on what she's been up to lately. (Also, a certain aunt and uncle have been begging for more pictures).
For the last month, Emma has been doing push-ups. Yes, push-ups, and she can definitely do more than I can. She rolls to her tummy and pushes her arms as straight as they can go. She can stay up there for a minute or two, but if you are playing with her, she gets distracted and laughs and falls down. It is adorable, of course. She no longer seems to care that much about rolling over and is aspiring to crawling, or at least scooting around. She has become the poster child for tummy time, as long as she can roll over and get there by herself.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

Ahh, spring. It has finally arrived, and the five-day forecast keeps showing sunny days in the high 60s to 70s. Today was one such day, and we enjoyed it immensely! We took the train into the city to visit my friend Jaime and her little boy, Jack. We grabbed lunch and headed for Central Park. We found a lovely spot of grass under a tree for shade (Emma, winter baby that she is, still kind of freaks out about the sun) and hung out for a while. Emma had fun scooting over to the edge of the blanket to play with the grass. It was wonderful to just be outside and relax with friends. Incidentally, New York can be a small town: we ran into two more friends in the park. All in all a great day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Five Years!

Today Dave and I have been married for five years. It sounds like a really long time--and I guess it kind of is. We've had quite a ride. In our first week together we graduated, went to Disney World, and moved across the country. We have lived in DC, New York, and New Jersey, and even managed to have our marriage thrive in 300 square feet and a full-size bed--Dave has the scars to prove it (so I'm not the calmest sleeper...). A few months ago we were asked to speak in church about adversity and we both had a difficult time because we feel we've been quite blessed. In honor of the anniversary, here are some lists:

5 Things I love about Dave:

1. He never fails to show affection, even on a bad day.
2. He's not afraid to be silly and fun.
3. He takes his role as father and provider for the family seriously.
4. He cleans the bathroom! and helps around the house a lot.
5. He frequently calls and/or emails throughout the day just to say hi.

5 Memorable Things We've Done in the Past 5 Years:

1. Went to Disney World--twice. It's really fun as an adult, especially when you have a built-in ride partner. :)
2. Visited London together, where we both went study abroad (separately). It was nice to share our favorite places together, because London has been a significant part of our lives.
3. We brought Emma home from the hospital in 2 hours of solid New York traffic. We actually got hit (okay, tapped) from behind trying to get through the Lincoln Tunnel. Dave continues to be extremely nervous when he drives with Emma in the car.
4. Ordered a pizza at 10 pm on our first anniversary, because it was finals week for both of us at Columbia and I had a night class.
5. I learned how to cook on an ancient, tiny oven which looked like it came from 1950s Korea. I burned everything for the first few months, but finally figured out how to adjust cookings times and have actually become a decent cook. Dave ate most everything along the way with no complaints. He also has become quite the cook on the grill.

5 Goals for the Next 5 Years:

1. Take more pictures together so in the next post about us I won't have to post one that is 2 years old (the one above is from my brother's wedding in September 2005).
2. Siblings for Emma.
3. Get a house!
4. Reestablish a date night even with a kid and late nights at work.
5. Finally scrapbook our wedding pictures. :)

Incidentally, tonight is Emma's first try with a baby sitter, so cross your fingers that she sleeps!