Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Polar Express


Last night our neighborhood had a "Polar Express" activity. Emma enjoyed riding on the "train" (pulled by a tractor) and looking at the Christmas lights. If you ask her the sound a train makes, she will say "ding ding!", the sound of the bell on the Polar Express.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Fudge

If I could, I would show up at your front door with this:

But alas, most of you live too far away, and they haven't invented "beam me up, Scottie" transportation yet. So I suppose you'll just have to settle for the recipe.

Chocolate Fudge
-3 cups sugar
-3/4 cup margarine
-2/3 cup evaporated milk
-1 package/12 oz./2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
-1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme (it works best with Kraft brand)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Stir together margarine, sugar, and milk in heavy 2 1/2-3 qt. saucepan. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil 5-7 minutes over medium heat, or until candy thermometer reaches 234*, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
2. Gradually stir in chocolate until melted. Add remaining ingredients, mix until well-blended.
3. Pour into greased 13x9 pan. Cool at room temperature.

This recipe is hands-on for a good 15 minutes, and it's a bit of an arm workout with all the stirring, but it's totally worth it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's a...

(nother) GIRL! I must admit I'm a tad disappointed--I really wanted a boy. But it's nothing that a little layette shopping won't cure.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Story Time

When Grandpoppy and Grandmacita came for Thanksgiving, they brought birthday presents for Emma: a Noah's Ark play set and a book about Noah. The book about Noah quickly became a favorite, especially if Grandmacita were reading it!
video

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun

We were lucky to have Dave's parents and brother come out for Thanksgiving. Though their visit was short, we packed in a lot of fun.

There was play time with Grandpoppy.

What's a holiday in Texas without a little target practice? At the Bass Pro Shop.

We ran into a bear...

We went for a walk by the lake.

Emma loved storytime with Grandmacita and Grandpoppy.

Emma showed off her new bike.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Turkey Greetings

Yes, I'm aware that Thanksgiving was over two weeks ago. So I'm slow. But I thought I'd post this video anyway, because Emma is cute and had the weirdest/cutest "gobble" ever before I corrected her.
video

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brrrr!


Yes, folks, if you look closely you'll see white snow/ice/sleet on my roof. It might have dusted the ground last night too, but as I have a tendency to go to bed at 9 pm these days, I missed it. I'm not terribly thrilled about the cold--I actually think it was warmer in New Jersey today! (Not that I begrudge them warm weather--they need all the heat they can get!) Never fear though, it's supposed to get back up to 60 by Friday, and all will be right with the world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Forever Blowing Bubbles


To celebrate Emma's birthday, we invited over some of her favorite friends for pizza and cupcakes. And what better activity for the five-and-under set than blowing bubbles? Emma had a blast, until Dave accidentally dripped some bubble solution onto his pants. With frantic cry of "Napkin!" she ran into the kitchen, desperate to rescue her father from the renegade bubble solution. Dave was not nearly as upset, though he was touched by Emma's concern.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Birthday Presents

For her birthday, Emma received some great presents perfectly suited to her. From Grandma, Poppa, and Mimi:
video
As you can see, she loved her book:
video
From Mommy and Dada:
video

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Happy Bert-day!"


Emma turned 2 on November 7th, and she completely understood the whole "birthday" concept, except for the fact that it is only one day. She regularly sings "Happy Bert-day" to herself, and almost daily she asks for birthday cake. She has since gotten used to the fact that the birthday cake was eaten long ago, so she answers her own question. "Bert-day cake? All gone." Despite the serious look in the picture, she quite enjoyed her cupcake, though she was a bit dismayed at the mess the frosting made.

Here is a glimpse of Emma at 2 years old:
--She is a very happy girl, and this happiness is often manifested by jumping in excitment. She jumps when she watches Sesame Street, when she sees a friend, when Dad comes home, when she gets to eat a treat.
--She is quite physical and loves to move her body. We signed her up for a gymnastics class and she can jump, stretch, stand on one leg, do a somersault, and a hand stand (modified, of course, with her feet on the bottom stair) on demand. We frequently run the length of the backyard, which is quite large by Texas standards.
--She is also very much a talker, and parrots me anytime I say a word or phrase that is new to her. She began using sentences and phrases a couple of months ago. Her favorite sentence constructions are "I want," usually followed by a request for food, and "I like," usually followed by the name of a friend or relative.
--Emma loves to sing, and knows the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Farmer in the Dell, Wheels on the Bus, The Wise Man and the Foolish Man, Old MacDonald, and B-I-N-G-O. She doesn't like to sing on demand, however, and if you try to get her to sing with you, she won't sing and instead just listens to you. She sings most often in her crib before or after sleeping, or she sings when she is playing by herself and doesn't think we are paying attention. Some day I am going to try to video this.
--Emma is aware of social relationships and has started to talk about her friends, most of which we know from church at this point. This also includes old friends from New Jersey.
--She is also quite fond of her relatives, and loves to talk to Grandma and Papa, Grandmacita and Grandpoppy, and Mimi and Tyler and Matt on the phone. She is especially fond of her uncles, and often giggles instead of talking to them as she remembers past exploits and games.
--She has become a bit of a TV junkie. Her favorite is Sesame Street, and her favorite character is Elmo. When he is not onscreen, she constantly asks "Where Elmo?" until he shows up again. Several times a day she'll request to "watch a movie." Lest you think I am a lazy parent, this request is frequently denied, and she usually only watchs about half an hour a day.
--She is an extremely picky eater. If it were up to her, she would consist on fruit snacks, fish crackers, and pizza. She loves pizza and has been known to eat up to 3 slices (yes, regular, full slices) in one evening. She often goes to bed without eating hardly anything because she refuses to eat dinner (and I refuse to let her eat pizza for every meal). As you can imagine, this makes her quite enthusiastic about breakfast and she loves yogurt, bananas, and cereal. I suppose she eats a dietician's dream diet, eating a large breakfast and her meals getting smaller as the day progresses.
--She likes to run errands and is learning the names of the places we frequent: Target, Kroger, the library. She likes to have a label for everything and often narrates our day, all day long.
--She loves to read books, and will read them to herself, memorizing them after I read them to her a few times. She loves story time, though there she is less interested in the stories and more interested in the finger plays and songs.
--Emma loves animals. She doesn't like to get too close to them (with certain exceptions, like my parents' dog, Shadow), but she loves to look at pictures. We have a daily ritual of saying hi to the donkey who lives on the main road by our house.
--Emma has become a huge Daddy's girl, especially now that Daddy is home regularly to play with her. She gets a huge grin whenever she sees him and requests their special games. She often thinks about him during the day and will say randomly, "Dadda work."
--Emma is quite pious. She is well-behaved in Church and rarely needs to be taken out; the one problem is that she likes to narrate the proceedings at a higher volume than we'd like. She knows when to sing and pray and likes to find the pictures of Jesus in her church books.
--Her favorite companion is her stuffed dog, Shadow (who looks just like the real Shadow). She treats him the same way we treat her: she hugs and kisses him, gives him a blanket, pushes him in a toy stroller, tickles him, even plays the games her dad plays with her.
--Emma hates it when I hold another baby. We are working on this issue.
--She is very helpful around the house and likes to throw things into the garbage. She cleans up her own toys, mostly, with prompting. She also clears her dishes and throws them into the sink (thankfully, they are plastic and probably will be for a very long time).
--When she throws a fit, she will often ask for a "time out." We have 2 kinds: for a small offense, she has to sit on the stairs and count to 10. For times when she is overtired, she has to lay down in her crib with her blanket and Shadow until she calms down (often she falls asleep).
--She is obsessed with napkins and uses 2 or 3 with every meal (she would probably use more if I gave them to her). She gets very concerned if anything spills on herself or on others. At her birthday party, she cried and ran into the kitchen to get her dad a napkin because he was blowing bubbles and spilled a little of the solution.
--She is very smart. She knows her shapes, numbers, and colors. She can recognize written numbers 1-10 and random letters. We are going to work on the alphabet next. (The letters that she recognizes must have been picked up by Sesame Street. She is constantly surprising me with something new that she knows. The other day we were at Kohl's, and she pointed to the sign on the building and said "H!" I did not teach her that, though I can tell you that she is getting several alphabet-themed gifts for Christmas).

This is a long list, but I haven't done one in a while. And I really can't help it: I'm her biggest fan. We love her and count ourselves lucky that she's ours.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Halloween


The week leading up to Halloween was pretty hectic, what with all the moving and the errands and what not, but luckily I've had Emma's costume since last December when I found it for 75% off at Pottery Barn Kids. (So cute, but so not worth paying full price...) Thus all that was left to do was to practice saying "Bzzzzz" and "Trick or Treat!" Being the litle chatter box that she is, this was no problem.

Though our new neighborhood is a great spot for trick-or-treating, since Emma was so young (and since we had to spend a couple of hours that evening picking up the U-haul for the next day), we decided to just do the trunk-or-treat at the Church. It was the perfect setting for a trick-or-treating newbie. Emma caught on to the concept fairly quickly, but sometimes she was too shy to say "trick or treat." She was not, however, too shy to grab candy out of people's hands. :)

She had fun and has since learned to say "I want candy." But most of the time it's outta sight, outta mind, and Dave and I have enjoyed most of her loot.


Taking a little break...

Free candy makes her jump for joy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Conversation

Emma and I have the following conversation at least 3 or 4 times a day. It concerns the Roberts family (picture on previous post).

Emma: I like Ben.
Me: I like Ben too.
Emma: I like Sydney.
Me: Me too.
Emma: I like Emma.
Me: Yeah, she's nice.
Emma: I like baby Keira.
Me: She's really cute.

There you have it. Emma is officially the head of the Roberts Family Fan Club. It's nice to have good friends.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Autumn Fun

The end of October was crazy with the house closing and the DIY move, but we did manage to make it to the local pumpkin patch. It was kind of small and was a trucked in pumpkin patch, rather than the traditional farm type, but Emma had fun running around with her friends anyway.

Family portrait--or at least the best we could do with Squirmy McEmma.

The Roberts family, who has basically taken us into their hearts and home. Emma's pretty much infatuated with all of their kids, but especially their little boy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home


Some randome updates:
1. We're in the house! We closed on October 24th, spent the next week hauling carloads of stuff, and moved the furniture on November 1st. It's still a mess, but my in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving, which is motivating me to get finished. Perhaps I'll post some indoor pictures with Christmas decorations?
2. We've been without the internet or TV for 2 weeks. While I really missed some things (email, blogs, the weather report), I've been more than happy not to hear the news. I was electioned out months ago.
3. Emma turned 2! Birthday posts (not to mention a Halloween post) to come soon. She completely grasps the birthday concept except for the fact that it lasts a DAY. Her birthday was on the 7th and she's still asking for birthday cake 2 weeks later.
4. I'm feeling much better, though still puking randomly. Someone needs to tell the unborn that I'm well into the second trimester, and that good food will be on its way if s/he'll let me get my appetite back. I find out if it's a she or a he in the first week of December.
5. I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving! Either because we've been so busy, or the fact that it's still in the 70s here, it just doesn't feel like it. But I'm ready for the holidays!
More to come soon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why I Love This Girl

As Emma inches closer to turning 2, she grows more fun and more frustrating every day, as any parent of a toddler can attest. Being pregnant and feeling icky with a toddler is way harder than being pregnant and feeling icky and teaching a bunch of teenagers. So at the end of the day, after dinner but not quite bedtime, I often find myself draped on the couch, exhausted. During this time my little chatterbox loves to accost me, talking loudly and trying to climb on me and poke me in the abdomen with her pointy elbows or knees. Tonight I closed my eyes and made a sad face, telling her "shhhh, Mommy sick." She toddled off and I lay in a quiet bliss for a couple of minutes. When she came back, she was toting a throw blanket that I often use. She lay it on me and said "shhhh."

Inside that sometimes crazy toddler is a very sweet girl. I think I had little to do with making her this way, but I am so glad that she is mine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby Monitor

We've never had one, because when you're in 1000 square feet and your baby sleeps on the other side of the wall, you can always hear her. Emma rarely wakes up at night anymore unless she's sick, but since she'll be on an entirely different floor from us, I think it might be time to get one. Does anyone have a particular brand or model you suggest?

Monday, October 13, 2008

How to Make Your Daughter Bulimic in 4 Easy Steps

1. Get pregnant.

2. Feel crummy.

3. In your rush to make it to the toilet before you lose your lunch (or breakfast, or dinner), neglect to close the bathroom door.

4. As you bow to the porcelain throne, turn to see your two-year-old standing in the door frame, hunched over and making retching sounds.

Yeah. I'll never forget to close the door again.

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Word Tag

Here are the rules: I have to answer the following questions with one word answers and one word only! Then I must pass it on to seven others.

Here are the questions:

1. Where is your cell phone? Bag

2. Where is your significant other? Work

3. Your hair color? Blondish

4. Your mother? Friend

5. Your father? Twin

6. Your favorite thing? Books

7. Your dream last night? Donuts

8. Your dream/goal? Published

9. The room you're in? Office

10. Your hobby? Reading

11. Your fear? Bugs

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy

13. Where were you last night? Bed

14. What you're not? Skinny

15. One of your wish-list items? Furniture

16. Where you grew up? Connecticut

17. The last thing you did? Laundry

18. What are you wearing? Clothes

19. Your TV? Old

20. Your pet? None

21. Your computer? Old

22. Your mood? Hungry

23. Missing someone? Friends

24. Your car? Newish

25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes

26. Favorite store? Crate and Barrel

27. Your summer? Moving

28. Love someone? Family

29. Your favorite color? Blue

30. When is the last time you laughed? Hours

31. Last time you cried? Week

I tag...whoever wants to do this?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Why I've Been a Bad Blogger Lately

There's no question that I've been a bad blogger the last few months. At first my excuse was moving craziness, but for the last couple of months I've been at work on another project:



Yes, depending on how you look at it I've either been creating a baby or a jelly bean. I really hope it's the former, because I'm not much of a fan of jelly beans.

I'm about 11 weeks along and am due on April 21st, though with my luck the kid will probably show up some time in May. I've been feeling fairly miserable, though not nearly as bad as with Emma, so perhaps it's a boy?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trip to Utah in Pictures

Way back at the end of August, Emma and I went to Utah for a week. We had frequent flier miles and 3 reasons to go: 1) my family was out there from Michigan to drop off my little brother at BYU, 2) my cousin Rachel got married, which meant that much of my extended family was in town also; and 3) my SIL Kallee--who really needs to start a blog!--was due any day with her little boy. Unfortunately baby Jordan chose not to make his appearance until after we'd left, but we very much enjoyed spending time with our family for the first 2 events.
PS. There are a LOT of pictures, so feel free to skip if you're not related to me.

Emma hanging out with her favorite member of the family, Shadow

Emma on a slide we found at "Swiss Days" in Midway

Brooke and baby Chase, who graciously let us stay at their house and eat their food.

Various family members waiting outside the temple for the happy couple.

My dad is all the way on the right, his twin brother is on the left, and their sisters are in the middle. There are 2 other brothers who couldn't make it.

My family: Kallee, Chris, Dad, Mom, Emma, me, Brittany

Emma looks like she's holding a street meeting on Temple Square.

My brother Chris, practicing for fatherhood.

My brother Tyler is definitely Emma's favorite. Check out her face after he showed up!

Emma and Tyler getting down.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What happened to the economy?

This video is the best explanation I've seen on what's happened to our economy because of the subprime lending crisis. (Remember two weeks ago when all the "experts" on the news were all baffled?) It supports all its claims with evidence from sources such as the New York Times and government documents. Very worthwhile, but make sure you have a little time: it's about 10 minutes long.



I don't usually get political because to be honest I'm not really thrilled about either candidate. (This whole economic thing has made me really miss Mitt). So I apologize, but I thought this was informative without too much extra rhetoric that sounds pretty but says nothing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

House Update

We currently have 3 homes. Lest this sound appealing, I assure you it's not. Particularly when you have to pay for them on less than a "Lifestyles-of-the-Rich-and-Famous" salary.

Home #1: A 2-bedroom condo in Jersey City, NJ, that we don't need and don't want. We have given up on selling it this year and are currently looking for renters. If you know of anyone who'd be interested, please please please email me.

Home #2: A 3-bedroom apartment in Rockwall, TX that we don't want but really need. I don't know how old this complex is, but it has charming qualities like circuit breakers that randomly stop working, thus rendering your stove unusable at the worst of times (like when your toddler is standing next to you chanting "eat! eat!"). Really, it's not that bad, and it's nice to have an extra bedroom/study/storage room. But I don't particularly want to be here and sort of feel like now that I'm in suburbia, I really shouldn't have to haul groceries up two flights of stairs.

Home #3: A six-bedroom house that we really want but isn't quite ready for occupancy yet. Though, to be fair, it's getting really close and we should be in by Halloween. (We give up the lease on home #2 on November 3rd, and if we find renters for home #1 all should be pretty good. If not, well, home #3 is going to be pretty empty for a while and we'll be eating lots of rice and noodles).

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Dallas Aquarium

Note: Yes, I know I've been a blogging slacker. But I have repented and am catching up. So for your viewing pleasure, enjoy these pictures of our visit to the Dallas Aquarium. They are a little old (we went back when we were living in the La Quinta at the end of July), but it's one of the coolest aquariums we've ever been to. And we know fish! Well, Dave really likes them. But seriously, it was fabulous, and I'd totally get a membership if I had 4 kids to make it worth the $200. As an added bonus, instead of expensive fast food as your only dining option, they had an actual, moderately priced Mexican restaurant that was totally yummy. I'm a fan. Now if only I could justify that membership fee...

Emma and I with the cool foliage outside the building

Emma and I in front of the big tank. The blur at the bottom right is a sea turtle, and the blur above me is either some sort of shark or a manatee.

Emma conversing with the penguins.

Dave was there too! He and Emma hanging out with the penguins.

I thought I had more pictures than this, but you'll just have to take my word for it. It really is cool. The main part is 3 levels, starting with the top of a rain forest (with monkeys!), descending down to the shore (with alligators!), and then underwater (with manatees!). We had fun. Come visit us, we'll take you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ode to Kroger

Dear Kroger, you're my number one
You make shopping lots of fun.
The store is always nice and clean;
I prefer to buy food that is pristine.

There are lots of employees to work.
Their Kroger duties, they do not shirk.
Monday, Tuesday, any day
help is there to show me the way.

Stop & Shop could learn a thing or two
about customer service by watching you.
A person to scan my groceries, another to bag my stuff,
another brought it to the car--all without a huff!

I can always find a cart.
You're more convenient than the mini-mart.
The selection is wide, the prices are good,
I'm so glad you're in my neighborhood!

I can find what I need right in front of me,
specialized ingredients for any recipe.
The shelves are always fully stocked.
I love you, Kroger--you rock!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Emma at 21 Months

I have been neglecting my parental duties in blogging about my brilliant offspring. As I have not made the effort to search for the cord that connects the camera to the computer, and as I have not taken any pictures lately anyway, I will instead make a list showcasing Emma's sparkling personality.
1. Emma will put herself to bed, as long as she has her two "gankies" (blankies), her hippo, and her two Shadows (one, a black stuffed poodle that looks like the actual Shadow, and another one, a small stuffed polar bear, who somehow resembles a black poodle). Upon waking, she insists on taking all of these items out of the crib and brings them with her to the couch, where we drink milk and watch the news.
2. She has taken to giving me commands. Most often she'll say "Come?" and gesture in the direction she wants me to go. Hmmm, wonder where she picked that up?
3. She loves to "gee gook", or read books. Probably 50 times a day she will come to me with that request. I fulfill it about half the time.
4. She is obsessed with all things outside, but most especially the slide and swings. Another popular request is "Side? Wing? Slide?" I've taught her a new expression in my responses to her lately: "Hot" (as in, it's too hot to go outside, you'll burn your tush on the slide). Emma will often request to go on the swings in some of the most random places, like the pool or the middle of Target. She is becoming quite good at navigating a new playground by herself without me showing her how to do it.
5. Emma loves the pool, but only if she can do it by herself. This has led to the retirement of her boat, Toddler Speed Racer II, in favor of one of those tank tops with the built in inner tube. It only took her one day to figure out how to stay upright in it. She doesn't seem to mind getting dunked in water at all.
6. In a bizarre twist, lately she has eschewed the bath in a fit of rage, kicking, and crying. I can't understand how she can love the pool so much and hate the bath so much at the same time. But alas, playgrounds and pools necessitate baths.
7. I am constantly surprised by how much Emma remembers. New words and expressions only need to be taught once, and whenever I mention my brother Tyler, she makes a face like he made with her when we visited in June. Hooray for long-term memories!
8. She is very affectionate and will often pause in her busyness to give hugs and kisses. If she finds me sitting cross-legged on the floor, she will hug my back. She makes out with any stuffed animal, and even has a penchant for kissing random, real dogs around our apartment complex. (I never let her get close enough for lip-to-fur contact). She will gladly oblige if you ask for a kiss.
9. Emma loves music and will dance at anything from 90s pop to MoTab (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for those of you uninitiated). She will sing with help and her favorite songs are "Itsy Bitsy Spider" (gotta love songs with hand motions) and "Old McDonald."
10. Like her father, she is a picky eater and mostly sticks to her 4 personal food groups: gogurt (yogurt), dried cranberries/raisins, bananas, and carbs in any form, but particularly those that are the most processed. Occasionally I can get her to eat what I'm eating if I eat at the same time (which doesn't happen often, because I'm usually not hungry at 5 pm), and make loud exclamations of "Yummmmmm."

While she can throw a tantrum with the best of them, she continutes to be unfailingly pleasant. Sometimes it worries me what the next one will be like (no, that is not an announcement in any way, shape, or form). We love her to pieces!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Live from Texas

We made it to Texas without incident and are now semi-moved in to our temporary apartment. We've been by our house, which is coming along nicely and will probably be ready sometime in October.

Some random thoughts/observations on the moving process and adjusting to Texas suburbia:

1. Movers make the whole process relatively painless. Probably the worst part was the 2 hours it took to clean out the fridge and the oven (yeah, it had been a while). Dave, however, assures me that we are never moving again.
2. It's refreshing to see actual teenagers work in teenage-type jobs (ie, fast food).
3. Suburbia rocks. Instead of passing a ghetto bodega on my way home, I pass a 7-11. Hooray for cherry Coke slurpees!
4. Ten days of triple digit heat sometimes makes me think I accidentally moved to Arizona. But (as much as I hate to admit this) it really IS not so bad without the humidity.
5. We have been swimming at least 3 or 4 times a week, and in just 2 days Emma learned to stay upright in her brand new inner tube tank top.
6. Real church builings echo and Emma is louder during sacrament meeting than I originally thought.
7. There is parking EVERYWHERE! And it's FREE! And the spaces are large enough that I'm not worried about anyone (even those HUGE trucks that everyone drives out here) hurting my car!
8. Four teenage boys sitting the table over from us in Chili's the other night said grace before they ate their meal. I've never seen that anywhere but Utah. It's nice to live somewhere where people don't think you're an idiot if you believe in God. (Though I doubt that I, personally, will be saying grace in a restaurant any time soon...)
9. I own enough books to fill 2 large (for an apartment) closets. And I already bought 2 more books since we got here. (Don't tell Dave...)
10. I'm happy to be here, but I've been a little bored since Dave started work. I'm trying not to spend money and I don't know too many people yet, so it's off to the pool again!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just Call Her Pippi


(With apologies to my friend the Silly Witch, who has a Pippi of her own...) Emma looked especially like Pippi Longstocking today. Look at that hair! The butchered job I did on her bangs (which I will NEVER be cutting again) completes the look.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith


"How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?" This line from "The Sound of Music" kept running through my head after I finished this novel. It's a good question--how DO you capture the essence of a person, a relationship, even the very act of creation? Cassandra Mortmain attempts to describe all of the above and more in her journal of her life in a dilapidated castle in 1930s England. She is a compelling narrator; though there is not a lot of "action" in the novel, I was riveted to the story of her family. I think this book is definitely worthy of a spot in my top 5 favorite books ever. I'm going to pack it up this weekend, let it sit in boxes for a couple of months, and then re-read it.
PS. I must send my apologies to Stubben, who told me to read this years ago. Though it has been sitting on my shelf for at least a couple of those years, I didn't crack it until it was suggested for this month's book club. Please forgive me!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Images of the 4th

We had a fun but somewhat low-key 4th of July. In the morning we attended a breakfast party in Liberty State Park (that's in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, for you non-locals), where Emma worked up an appetite on the playground. Later we hung out out at home and barbecued some red meat like real Americans. We skipped fireworks this year because I was afraid someone would get scared--I'll let you guess who.

Emma running off into the sunrise with Asher. Maybe it's a good thing these two won't be together when they're teenagers???

Hanging out on the patio.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Declaration of Independence

Here's the last story from our trip to Michigan:

After driving from Chicago back to Michigan on Thursday, June 12, I tried (but to no avail) to put Emma down for a nap. She preferred to follow Shadow (the dog) around, so Tyler and I settled on the couch in the family for some Wii bowling while Emma and Shadow wandered around. About 10 minutes later, we heard a sound like the rustling of papers coming from the kitchen, and I was afraid that either Emma or the dog had gotten into the garbage. When we went into the kitchen, this is what we found:

Emma had developed an addiction to Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs cereal, and learned where they were kept (a low cabinet). She was determined to get some for herself without having to wait for anyone to help her. She is becoming a true toddler!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Moving Update

No, we didn't sell our condo yet. :(

But JD really wants us to come. And we're really ready to go. *And* they offered us a housing allowance for 6 months or until we sell our condo, whichever comes first.

So we are off to Texas in 3 weeks. I found a 3-bedroom rental (Dave wants an office, and Texas rentals are, oh, 1/8 the price of NYC rentals) and we move in on July 26th.

It all feels a bit surreal. The last time I moved (not counting our move from NYC to NJ, and not counting moves that involved school) was 1993. And as we are getting movers and don't need to pack, life is mostly continuing as normal. I suppose that will change as we get closer to moving day, but for now, we're getting ready to enjoy our last 4th of July in New York!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Visit to Chicago

While we were in Michigan, Tyler, Emma, and I took a road trip to Chicago to see my grandparents. Emma enjoyed how Mumma would read her books and play "Itsy Bitsy Spider":

She also liked how Poppa would took her to the playground and played ball with her:

And we even managed to get Emma to sit still for a picture:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Zoo Crew

Our membership to the Bronx Zoo expires next week, so we thought we'd plan one last trip. We invited our friends Maile, Kaia, and Asher to go with us. The weather was perfect and so was the company--in the last few weeks that she's been in nursery at Church, Emma has really become attached to Asher, who is also in the class. It was so fun to watch them chase each other. If Emma tried to run away, I could get her to come back by telling her to follow Asher, or Asher would follow Emma. We were at the zoo only a month ago, but Emma has gotten much better at spotting the animals.

Look Mom, it's a tapir!

Lookin' cool when it's hot.

Wait for me! Emma chases Asher, who chases Kaia.

Who needs animals?

Emma likes all kinds of doggies, even prairie dogs...

This one's for Kaia, who wanted me to take a picture of the pigs.

You know it was a fun day when it ends like this!