Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day At the Museum

Last Wednesday when Matt was in town we spent the day at the Museum of Natural History. I hadn't been in a while so it was really fun. We saw all of the classic exhibits (dinosaurs, African mammals, the blue whale) and also took in an IMAX movie about excavating dinosaurs. Emma wasn't a fan of it, but Matt liked it and I liked the few minutes that I saw. :)

Here are some pics:

It's a little dark, but here's Matt and Emma with the blue whale. Emma is obviously extremely interested.

Emma woke up for the dinosaurs and did a little roaring of her own.

Emma with the baby clothes in the Native American exhibit.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fun at the Zoo

Dave's brother Matt has been in town this week so we've been doing all sorts of fun things. Today we went to the Bronx Zoo, which we've been to but not in a couple of years. It's a beautiful zoo with some great exhibits. My favorites were the Jungle Monorail (which takes you on a ride above Asian animals) and the Gorilla exhibit. Emma was a trooper. She took maybe a 20 minute snooze in her stroller but was up and looking the entire time, though I think she found the people more interesting than the animals. Here are some pictures from our day:

How do we compare to a tiger? Me, Emma, tiger, Matt

Me, Emma, and the red pandas

Some sort of kangaroo with a baby in the pouch

Dave with a baby in a pouch

Baby gorilla!

Big gorilla

Emma and me riding a komodo dragon

Emma riding a turtle while Matt and I look on

PS. For those of you locals, I became a member of the zoo and can bring up to two guests, so let me know if you want to go! (Ditto for the Central Park Zoo and the Aquarium).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jen's Wedding

My dear friend Jen married David Hatch on Saturday. Jen and I met in fall of 2000 during out junior year at BYU. We were both Writing Fellows (Writing Fellows were assigned to specific classes to improve writing across the disciplines--we had to attend class once a week and tutor 10-15 students at least twice during the semester). We bonded immediately and Jen was one of the first close friends I had in my major. We became running buddies and hung out a lot. Jen was arranging the perfect apartment for our senior year, and I was lucky enough to earn a spot in it. We both went to London that summer, though at different times--but she borrowed my raincoat so it got to go twice! Ah, how I miss Jen's closet. :) We were roommates for our senior year (along with Oertel and Laura) where we made countless fabulous memories and threw some great parties. We all went on to earn master's degrees and live in different parts of the country but continue to keep in touch, and Jen, Oertel, and I were even able to meet up in Chicago for a long weekend in 2005.

Jen gave us a great excuse to get together this summer. She met David two years ago while she was working as a librarian in the suburbs north of Chicago (David is getting his PhD in plasma physics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison). From the time she first told us about him we knew he was perfect for her and we couldn't be more thrilled about this match. There was an open house at her parents' home in Draper, Utah the night before where we got some great roommate pictures. Jen and David had to see all of their guests, of course, but Oertel, Laura, Laura's husband Tyler and I all had a great time catching up. (Tyler and my Dave were our 5th and 6th roommates). We tried to arrange a marriage between Emma and Laura and Tyler's son, Talmage, but neither of them seemed too interested. The ceremony was on Saturday at the Logan Temple. I drove up from Salt Lake to attend the luncheon beforehand and the ceremony, but I missed the reception that night (I'm sure that Chris and Kallee, who were watching Emma for me, thought 8 hours was MORE than enough). It was a delightful weekend and I'm really excited for Jen and David.

From left, Emma, me, Oertel, Jen, and David.

Emma and Talmage hang out at the open house.

From left, Tyler, Laura holding Talmage, me holding Emma, Oertel, Jen, David.

Laura and Talmage, Oertel, Jen, me holding Emma. Four roommates plus kids being silly.

It was a pleasant but windy day, and Jen lost her veil!

The happy couple reunited with the veil.

Oertel and I showing off the new dresses we got when we were supposed to be taking Jen out on Thursday.

Me, Jen, and Oertel.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fun in Salt Lake

This last week, from Wednesday to this Monday, Emma and I traveled to Salt Lake. The main purpose was to go to the wedding of my friend Jen, but we were able to visit with family and friends. We stayed with my brother Chris and his wife Kallee, and they were delightful hosts (as well as willing babysitters--thanks again for watching Emma for 8 hours during the wedding!). All in all we had a wonderful time. Here are some pictures from our trip:

Emma below Y Mountain, wearing the appropriate attire, of course.

Chris helping Emma with her walking skills.

Kallee and Emma in front of the Salt Lake temple.

Emma on the "bride's pedestal" overlooking the temple. Maybe she'll get married here someday....???

Emma playing in the grass on Temple Square.

Coming up next: wedding pictures!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The difference between flying with a 2 month old and a 7 month old... sleep! When we traveled to Detroit and Tucson last Christmas, Emma slept almost the entire time on the plane. This time, even though our five hour flight was in the evening, she slept a scant 20 minutes. She has skipped naps the past couple of days too, though she's been really good--only a few minor breakdowns when she should be screaming from lack of sleep. I think she's enjoying the change of scene. Perhaps that's why she wouldn't sleep on the plane. Now that she's older, she notices other people and can't help but watch what they're doing!

We are having a lovely time here in Utah. More to come on our trip next week when we get home and can upload our pictures.

Friday, June 8, 2007

100 Things About Me

1. I am the second of five children.

2. I have lived in every state in the tri-state area (Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, in that order). I have also lived in Massachusetts and Utah.

3. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

4. I am a total Anglophile. I love all things British and have lived in London twice
(once for a study abroad in college, and once during and internship).

5. I'm a wannabe foodie. I look at magazines and and imagine that I could be a gourmet cook, but I'm scared off by ingredients that I've never used.

6. I am a magazine junkie. I currently subscribe to 10 magazines--Real Simple, Cooking Light, Martha Stewart Living, Everday Food, Ensign, LDS Living, Reader's Digest, Health (a freebie when I renewed Cooking Light), American Baby, and Parenting. I'm a little behind in my reading.

7. I have been scarred by books. When I was little I was running with a hardcover Dr. Seuss book, tripped, and now I have a nice scar at the corner of my left eye.

8. That didn't stop me from becoming an English teacher. I taught 9th grade English and writing for 3 years in Queens, New York.

9. I also had a dresser fall on me when I was about 2 years old. I escaped injury, but I don't know how.

10. I was a total tomboy as a child. I always wanted to do whatever my older brother was doing (sorry Chris!).

11. I have a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MA in English Teaching from Columbia Teacher's College.

12. I like to write fiction for children. I am currently working on a middle-grade novel, but it is going verrry slowwwwly. I'll let you know if it ever gets published.

13. I never had any idea how much I would absolutely enjoy being a mother.

14. I love to scrapbook, though my husband would say I love to BUY scrapbook supplies more than I actually use them.

15. I have a fantasy of having a house big enough to have a craft room, or even a craft corner. I would get Pottery Barn's craft table (or the cheaper knock-off from Pier 1).

16. I'm a shopper. I'm not even going to count how many catalogs I get. Though I only requested about half of them.

17. I'm a bit of a clothes snob. I have semi-expensive tastes, although I don't like to pay full price for anything. My best find recently was a dress from J. Crew for $15. I think it originally went for $118.

18. I am not an animal person. I think we had a couple of fish growing up, but they were pretty short lived. My youngest sister was able to talk my parents into a dog a couple of years ago, but I'm not a huge fan. Don't even ask, Emma.

19. I have visited six countries: Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Wales, and France.

20. The Scottish Highlands were my abolute favorite place.

21. I have good teeth. They are straight and relatively white. I have never had braces or wisdom teeth and I haven't had a cavity in years. This is a trait we hope that Emma inherited.

22. I don't like to clean. I prefer to organize things and call it clean. However, I keep my house clean enough: most of the "mess" is things (books, papers, etc).

23. I am a pack-rat. This particularly applies to the aforementioned books and papers. And remember those magazines?

24. After I finish reading a magazine I rip out all of the articles I'm interested in or think I will need in the future, put them in page protectors, and organize them in binders. I have binders for recipes, excercise ideas, decorating ideas, health information, parenting ideas, and so on.

25. I have a label-maker and I love it.

26. When I was growing up, my crushes went by the year. 3rd grade: Joey Happy. 4th grade: Aaron...blast, I can't remember his last name, but I can still picture him. 5th grade: Brian Moir. Etc etc. In college it was sometimes a whole year, and sometimes by semester.

27. I absolutely love how my baby is always excited to see me, even if she's been crying for a couple minutes while I've run to the bathroom or something. Her tears instantly stops when she sees me. It is quite possibly the biggest boost to the ego ever. I know that this will end someday, but for now I relish in it.

28. I am not at all musically talented. I really wish I were. When I get a house big enough and some extra money, I want to get a piano and both Emma and I will take lessons.

29. Whenever I go out to eat, if it is a restaurant I have been to before, I always order the same thing. Yes, I know it's boring, but if you find something you like, why change it?

30. I spent a good part of my life rebelling against being a morning person. In college I decided to give in to it, even though I didn't like it. I shut down around 10 pm, but really can't get anything worthwhile accomplished past 9.

31. I have a love-hate relationship with Oprah. Sometiems I can't stand her and think she's totally arrogant, but I watch or TiVo her every day.

32. I have the same relationship with Martha Stewart, but I don't watch her show.

33. When I was pregnant I was so sick that I lost 15 pounds. I only ate at work and was so exhausted that all I did was drag myself to work and back, watch a little TV and sleep. During this time I became addicted to the Food Network. It was a little scary how much I desired to eat things I didn't like before or since.

34. I read every assigned reading in school up until my senior year of college.

35. I'm a nerd and I know it and don't care.

36. I could have worked harder in college but conciously decided not to. I was having too much fun.

37. I love getting to know my younger siblings more now that they're growing up. I really enjoy being friends with my siblings as adults.

38. In college I had a guy buy me lunch and a different guy make me dinner on the same day. I never dated or was even asked out by either of them (though I liked one of them for a while). But most of the time I didn't date much.

39. I have never broken a bone.

40. Besides my own birth and the birth of my baby, I have never spent time in a hospital.

41. When I was a baby I had an hemangioma, which is "a benign tumor consisting chiefly of dilated or newly formed blood vessels." It looked like a large bruise under my eye that lasted for at least six months. It went away on its own by the time I was 2 or so. People at the grocery store and other random places accused my poor mom of abuse.

42. In high school I did three sports for a couple of years. In the fall, field hockey; winter, indoor track; spring, outdoor track. I was never very good at any of them. I ended up managing the field hockey team with my friend Rachel.

43. My friend Rachel and I saw each other just about everyday for 5 years (high school and freshman year at BYU). We'd get annoyed with each other every once in a while, but she probably knows me like no one else.

44. I'm a homebody.

45. I read every day. It's probably why my house isn't clean.

46. I constantly check my email (thanks, gmail, for automatically updating whenever there's a new message).

47. When I was in elementary school, my favorite color was Kermit-the-frog green. I went through a brief pink/purple phase when I was about 11, but since then my favorite color has been blue.

48. I have become a lot closer with my parents in the past 10 years. I love them and consider them some of my best friends.

49. I think I would do well on "Jeopardy".

50. I think Dave would do well on "Survivor."

51. I love Christmas and start listening to Chrismas music in September.

52. I love catching up with old friends.

53. Sometimes I have trouble making new friends because I'm shy, though I'm always glad when I do.

54. I don't think I'm interesting enough to come up with 100 things about myself, but I'll keep on plugging along.

55. I love buying school and office supplies. Last fall after I stopped teaching I had to physically restrain myself from shopping at Staples.

56. Tulips are my favorite flower. When I have a yard I'm going to plant them.

57. I kill houseplants, but not on purpose. This could pose to be a problem for #56.

58. Sometime during middle school I figured out that I would never be a "cool" kid, and I accepted it. It made high school easier and more fun.

59. I love lilacs. When I was little we had a big lilac bush at the end of our driveway and the smell always reminds me of being a kid and riding my bike in the driveway.

60. I love the smell of gasoline.

61. When I was in 8th grade I had to do a science experiment where I made 2 loaves of bread: one normally, and one without an important ingredient. It took my mom and I 3 tries to make the normal loaf.

62. I've actually become a decent cook over the years. I have yet to try bread from scratch, though I can make it in a bread machine. :)

63. I wish I were more artistic. I always wanted to be able to draw.

64. I love celebrating holidays.

65. I'm not terribly outdoorsy. I like to be outside when the weather is nice, but I just don't like the idea of being far away from a decent bathroom.

66. I'm very good at finding decent bathrooms in New York City. (Hint: Starbucks and Barnes and Noble).

67. When I was a kid I loved monkeys, apes, and gorillas. I had 30+ stuffed animal monkeys. I think many of them have since become dog toys.

68. I loved playing school when I was a kid, only that was too nerdy so I called it "Club." I was the teacher to my stuffed animals. I made up worksheets and my dad photocopied them for me. Most of my students got As.

69. Despite my teaching games as a kid, I changed majors about 4 times at BYU. I usutally went back to some form of English, but for a while it was Communications and Speech Langauge Pathology. I decided officially on teaching my senior year, but didn't want to stay around an extra year to get my teaching credentials, so I graduated in English.

70. I want to learn how to sew.

71. Places I want to travel to: Machu Picchu, a cruise in Alaska, a cruise in the Balkans, Hawaii, Italy, Spain/Portugal, Vienna. Mostly European destinations. I've never been big into Asia and I heard the safari at Disney World was as good as an African safari, minus the camping.

72. I'm a good speller.

73. I'm a grammar nerd. I don't have all the rules memorized per se, but I kind of know it intuitively.

74. I used to want to be an editor at a book publisher. Now I just want an editor to publish me.

75. I enjoy living in a place with four clearly defined seasons. I love all of them, but I wish winter were shorter.

76. I'm way too indecisive to have just one favorite book, movie, or song.

77. I am not a high heel person. I lust after them when I see a great pair, but I don't buy them because I cannot bring myself to wear them. As a teacher I was on my feet all day, and 3 hours of church is too long too. :)

78. I am a feminist in the sense that I think women should be able to make their own choices. I think the feminist movement has swung from "women need to be in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant" to "you're betraying your equality if you stay home rather than work like men." Why can't they just let us be?

79. I love children's literature as much as I love classic literature. And I hate literature snobs. This is one of the reasons I got a master's in teaching instead of literature.

80. I have a huge sweet tooth. I'm working on cutting back so I can cut back my bod as well. I recently decided that if I wanted to eat cookies I would have to make them myself. It's kind of working.

81. When I was a kid, there was one house that gave out full-size candy bars at Halloween. I want to be that house and have done so for 2 years. This will probably change, however, when we move some place where we get more than 3 trick-or-treaters.

82. I love how the places you live can become a part of who you are. However, I do realize that this can be both good and bad.

83. I love to throw theme parties. My roommates in college and I were famous for our crepe parties. We also threw a Harry Potter bash when the first movie came out. I haven't throw a party in a while, mostly because my house doesn't have room for more than one or two families at a time.

84. I'm much better at exercising when I can go to a class. In college I was into kickboxing classes, but I like any type of aerobics class.

85. My first job in high school (besides the random babysitting job) was as a bank teller at a tiny branch of a small Connecticut savings bank. I wasn't even going to apply because I didn't think they'd hire me, but my mom made me, and I'm so grateful! Because of that first job I was always able to get nice office jobs.

86. I haven't been to a library in a long time. I prefer to buy books, because I like to underline my favorite passages and take notes. I can't bear the thought of returning a book I've liked. This book-buying habit does not always sit particularly well with my husband.

87. I have thrown up on the campus of Columbia University and at Chichen Itza, Mayan ruins in the Yucatan penninsula in Mexico.

88. In our first week in New York City, we went to an outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play in Central Park (it was a Church activity). While there, we were interviewed by Toni Senecal, an entertainment reporter for the channel 11 ten o'clock news. We didn't have a TV at the time, though, so we never knew whether or not we actually made it on TV. Though we have little interest in entertainment, we always like to watch Toni on the news (she has since moved to channel 5).

89. I have been kicked by an ox while visiting Nauvoo, Illinois. No, it didn't hurt--I think I got too close to him and it was more of a nudge than a kick. I have a great picture of it.

90. I'm a big fan of Disney World. We went for our honeymoon and again in 2004. I think we're going to go this November, too.

91. My right hand is "webbed." There is a bit of extra skin between the middle and ring fingers. I probably could have it removed easily, but I don't think it's worth surgery. It's just annoying because I can't wear rings on that hand. Most people don't even notice it's there.

92. My favorite food is chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven.

93. I once snuck 2 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and 10 spoons into Movies 8 in Provo.

94. I love movies based in New York, especially now that I know where everything is. That goes double for 80s NYC movies.

95. I'm pround to be a child of the 80s. It was a fun decade. I'm glad that the toys I used to play with have come back. When Emma gets old enough, I'm going to get her a My Little Pony, a Strawberry Shortcake, and a Cabbage Patch doll.

96. I took tap and ballet classes for five years. I stopped because we moved and I never found a new place to take classes. Sometimes I wish I had continued, but most of the time I don't care.

97. I really enjoy tennis, wish I were better at it, and wish I had a place to play.

98. Tennis and NCAA basketball are the only sports I will watch on TV. I will occasionally watch other sports in person.

99. I prefer silver, white gold, or platinum to gold.

100. Whew! It took me a month (working on and off) to write this.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Just Call Me Martha

I've been feeling very domestic this week. Have you ever seen "Baby Boom," an 80s movie where Diane Keaton plays this hard core NYC businesswoman who inherits a baby and moves to Vermont to make gourmet baby food? I'm not exactly gourmet, but I have entered the realm of making baby food. Now don't get me wrong, I still love Gerber and the fact that I can throw a container of food and a spoon (and a bib!) into the diaper bag and go these days, but I thought I'd give making my own a try. It hasn't been too bad. Just a little cooking, pureeing, and freezing in ice cube trays. So far I've done mashed bananas, apples, pears, and peaches. In less than an hour (a little more if you talk on the phone while you're doing it and get distracted), I have a month's supply of each of those fruits for Emma. So far she seems to like it. Next week: vegetables!

I've found the following 2 books very helpful in this endeavor:

"Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron:
Okay, first a disclaimer: This woman is a *little* crazy. She makes her own everything, including her own diaper wipes and puts dessicated liver and sea kelp into her children's food. Ew. That said, this book is an extensive reference. She has charts of what foods to introduce at each month, how much your baby should be eating, nutrient tables, and a LOT of recipes. Some of which are a little involved, but nonetheless helpful ones are in there too. The index also contains a great section on individual fruits and vegetables, spelling out exactly how old your baby should be, preparation methods, peak seasons, and whether or not they may be frozen.

"First Meals" by Annabel Karmel:
This one is my favorite. The basic information is much more streamlined than in "Super Baby Food," but the recipes are fabulous (though I'm not sure Emma will be eating "fish with carrots and orange juice" puree anytime soon). But most of them are great, and it's published by DK, so there are lots of pictures too. The thing I like most about this book is that the recipes go up to age 7, with lots of fun ideas for feeding toddlers and preschoolers and making food healthy AND fun. (PS: Maren, I think you will really like this one). I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Lighten Up!

It's spring (almost summer!) so I thought it was time to lighten up a bit. Perhaps the brown will be back for fall. (If only it were as easy to paint your house as it is to change the colors on your blog).

Not much else going on today. I'm in the middle of re-reading Harry Potter, because I can't for the life of me remember what happened in books 5 and 6. Emma's been a little futsy...teething perhaps?

Check out Sk*rt if you're looking for great links on the web. Warning: it can suck you in. But, it provides entertainment now that there's nothing good on TV.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Six Month Portraits

On Friday I took Emma to have her picture taken at Kiddie Kandids at Babies R Us. I had been there a couple of times with my friend Shelly and her son, Damon, and they've turned out well. Damon smiled and they got some great pictures. Emma, however, was having none of that. Our photographer was an older woman who tried hard, but Emma looked shocked and nervous more than anything else. (Frankly, I couldn't totally blame her--as hard as the photographer tried, I probably wouldn't have smiled for her either). I think that I could have gotten her to smile, but I had to sit on the side within arm's reach of her at all times. (Memo to self: next time bring another adult). Even with all of the bad shots--we were there for 45 minutes--we did manage to get a few where her mouth is open, so it kind of looks like shes smiling. See for yourself: