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!

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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


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:

As you can see, she loved her book:

From Mommy and Dada:

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.