Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Andy at 23 months

Andy still needs a haircut. I'll try to take care of that within the next week or so. (Photo op!)

He was sad because he wanted to play with the camera, but I got him to smile.

It's hard to believe he's going to be two. Yikes. He definitely keeps us on our toes. Our busy busy boy. I can't even put him in his crib anymore at all (unless he's asleep already) because he's up on the railing in two seconds, perching there like a jockey and giggling at me.

Andy is fascinated with letters and numbers right now. If I get out a paper and pencil for him, he doesn't want to draw himself, but wants to sit on my lap and watch while I write the alphabet over and over. If I try to hand him the pencil he pushes it back into my hand. "No, you do it!" He's also enjoying Hop on Pop and My Friend is Sad over and over.

He can say "Great job! Cool!" (which we think is awfully cute) but doesn't have many other words yet. Hi, ball, apple, and cheese. That's about it. He's also started doing a few animal noises, snake and bee being favorite. Those are the ones that he consistently gets right. Though we get a kick out of asking him random animals--"Andy, what does a hippopotamus say?" to see what noise he comes up with. He makes us laugh.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The snow started on Sunday (the 21st) while we were in church. We didn't think it was going to stick, but it kept coming down, and a few hours later we realized that the ground was turning white. I bundled the kids up as it was starting to get dark, and we went out to enjoy the snow.

Andy's not crazy about his hat, but he does okay once it's on!

The snow stopped overnight, but the next morning it started up again about an hour before Kate left for school. By 11:00 it looked like this. It was only a couple of inches, but a lot more than we got last year. When Kate got home from school she went out and played in the snow for a good long time with Glory and Sky.

The roads were icy, so school was canceled Tuesday and Wednesday. (Wednesday was supposed to be a half day, anyway.) Kate had a great time playing outside, all bundled up in her pink snowpants. She's pink all over. (She's been wearing my scarf, which is not pink, but I am crocheting a pink scarf for her.)

Last winter was so mild (and the summer was pretty mild too), but I have a feeling we'll be getting more snow this year. The schools have already scheduled makeup days for the two they missed, so I'm not sure how they'll handle that.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The week that...

Kate went to school on Monday and since then it's been all snow days and holidays. It's like being in limbo for a week. I feel like I should have more free time but somehow I'm not getting anything done.

We went over to Scott's house for Thanksgiving dinner and watched Ponyo. Kate kept saying she wanted a turkey drumstick but then she didn't actually eat any of it. (Andy ate well but something must have disagreed with him. He woke up hollering about ten times that night.)

I went back and checked out my blog for November and December of last year and was quite surprised at how much I managed to post. I'm not sure what's different now. Aside from Kate being in school. And me having this huge painting project. That's certainly different.

We all have the sniffles. Sniff.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Golden Autumn

The trees are all nearly bare now, with a few straggler leaves hanging on here and there. We enjoyed the color and the nice crisp weather while it lasted. Today we had our first snowfall. I did get some pictures, but I thought I should post some autumn pictures first. These were taken a couple of weeks ago.

When we passed this tree on the way to school one morning, I said, "Look, Kate, it's like a yellow sea!" and she said, "Quick, let's run through it before the yellow shark gets us!"

Our complex has such a great variety of leaves--islands of gold under some trees and red under others, and great big maple leaves that cover the sidewalk along the street.

We had some fun with the camera at our favorite picture corner:

Doesn't this make it look like my kids actually get along and enjoy playing together? It's an illusion. (Yeah, they're doing better... some!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

painting, so far

Making slow progress on the train table backdrop.

I've got things down to a science. I can fit two of the big boards on our kitchen table at a time, hanging off the ends. I keep my brushes in a jar of water and don't bother to wash them in between. I have a bunch of little containers with colors mixed up so I don't have to keep messing with that. The actual painting part has been pretty hit-and-miss, though. I can paint while Andy's asleep, and after he wakes up I can keep him contained in his highchair with a snack and a video. Some days it just doesn't work out. Andy hasn't been napping well this week, and seems crankier than usual. I think I've gotten about one hour of painting done all week. This is not good.

I've discovered the overdrive audiobooks at the library. I don't know how these had previously escaped my attention. Since my painting-outside-idea didn't work out so well, I've just been listening to them on the computer while I work. I enjoyed the first six Artemis Fowl books. (Doug says they seem to be full of techno-babble and overly detailed action sequences. I suppose this is true, but the narrator is very good.)

The sunset was looking pretty cool but there was something about it that wasn't quite right, so I've been re-working it.

We had a talent show at church last Friday. I took my unfinished painting. This was the first time I'd had all the pieces together. It was kind of disheartening to see how much I still have left to do.

(This was right at the end, after they started setting up chairs for a training meeting the next morning.)

Yeah, I'm a little stressed about this. But I think it'll be very cool when it's done, and it'll look great on the train table.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Kindle(s) in the house

A few months ago I started thinking that I might want a Kindle. This was kind of a surprise, as I had never really considered it before. When we went to Idaho in July I bought an audiobook (The Tale of Desperaux) from Audible.com to listen to in the car, and then realized it wouldn't play on anything that we had. Later I was checking out their list of compatible devices and saw the Kindle listed. "Ooh, that would be cool," I thought, "I could listen to audiobooks and read ebooks! Multi-purpose!" My friend Jeanette (in our ward book club) has a Kindle and loves it. I think the thing that really sparked my interest was when I read that the new model would support Korean. A couple of other factors also pushed me in that direction:

Having been in Korea and strapped for reading material more than once, the idea of being able to carry around an entire library in one small device was undeniably appealing.

A couple of years ago I read an unabridged edition of The Count of Monte Cristo that was 1600 pages long. The story moves along at a good pace but the book was really too big to comfortably read in bed.

Plus, it's a cool gadget. And cool gadgets are cool.

So I started researching (found the mobileread forums, which were very helpful), and decided to take the plunge. As it turned out, Kindles were not shipping right then, so instead I used the money in my paypal account to get an mp3 player so I could listen to audiobooks while painting. I ordered the Kindle a couple of weeks later.

When you buy a Kindle you have thirty days to decide if you want to keep it or return it. I spent a while exploring my new toy, checking out the features and figuring things out, but of course the real evaluation is in reading. The first book that I read on my Kindle was Connie Willis's Blackout(a time travel story set during the London Blitz, in the same universe as Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog). It really isn't like reading on a computer screen. The pearl e-ink screen is very nice and the contrast is good. The biggest adjustment was just figuring out comfortable ways to hold the device, but I got used to that pretty quickly.

Now, I love books as much as anybody. Not just reading but books. There are some really gorgeous books out there. Ebooks are not gorgeous. (Though I can see how one might find an aesthetic pleasure in the sleek design of the Kindle itself.) I don't see paper books going away any time soon. But the story is the same, the words are the same, just the method of delivery is different.

My first Kindle had a small spot in the screen, so I called Amazon and they sent a replacement. (I've seen a few posts from other people with the same problem--fortunately the return process is quick and easy!)

The second Kindle also had a minor screen problem--a thin white line that would sometimes show up, depending on how it hit the text on the screen (but not, oddly, on the screen saver images). It was really only slightly annoying, but I called Amazon and they said I could return that one too. So I got another replacement. Since I had thirty days to return the defective one we ended up with two Kindles in the house for a while. Doug used the other one, breezing through a large chunk of the D'Artagnan Romances (The Three Musketeers and sequels.) Maybe when I upgrade to a future model I'll pass this one on to him and we can share an account.

It turns out that the Korean font on the Kindle is really awful, and Amazon doesn't carry any Korean ebooks anyway, but at least they're starting to think about the global market. Their site says "Our vision for Kindle is to have every book ever written, in every language, available in 60 seconds from anywhere on earth." (I doubt that this is even possible, but it leads me to believe that they will at least have some Korean ebooks in the future.)

It has occurred to me that there isn't really any particular reason for me to have Kindle right now. I could see it being really handy for someone who travels a lot, or someone who works out of the home and likes to read on lunch break, neither of which I'm doing at this time. But I'm enjoying it anyway. I like the way it saves my place, and goes to sleep by itself, and I like the way I can download sample chapters from Amazon to help keep track of books that sound interesting.

I may get a cover, later, but for now I've crocheted this sleeve to keep it in when I'm not using it.

One unforeseen complication is that I can't read it when Andy's around, because he wants to play with it. (But he actually does the same thing with paper books, too.) Mostly I only get to read at bedtime, and then I fall asleep within about twenty minutes. I've been spending Andy's nap times painting, or trying to. I'll be glad when this painting is done and I can read at nap time.

I've also just joined goodreads, to post reviews and check out what my friends are reading. Fun!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Kate's pumpkin

Kate's field trip pumpkin is now a jack o' lantern! She drew the face
and I carved it.

The inside needs a little more scraping out....

Kate shows off what her jack 'o lantern can do!

All lit up! (It's a lot more symmetrical than last year's.)

You may notice some letter stickers in that last photo. Kate thought her pumpkin needed some additional adornment.