Wednesday, January 28, 2009


To watch:
What You Ought to Know
I love these video podcasts. Very funny.
North and South -- A grittier Pride and Prejudice

To read:
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (if you are open to the idea of what my friend Sara calls "dragon books", but which the rest of the world terms "fantasy")
Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose (best WWII book I've read yet)
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (non-fiction, about the Hmong people of Southeast Asia and their cultural clashes with Western medicine)
Babycatcher by Peggy Vincent (very interesting--so interesting, in fact, it almost convinced me to have a non-medicated homebirth. Well, almost convinced me to consider the possibility of a non-medicated homebirth. Maybe just to consider the very remote possibility.)
Canning Season by Polly Horvath (So funny. If you are someone who thinks that people getting eaten by bears can be absolutely hysterically funny, this is the book for you. I'm that kind of person.)

And fun websites to check out:
Creative Chicks at Play -- fun and crafty sisters (I especially like this dress, and this butterfly wall.)
This Young House -- such a fantastic resource for do-it-yourself-ers. They have loads of great ideas.
Pioneer Woman Cooks! -- Doesn't everyone read this? I've never made one of her recipes (although they all get rave reviews), but I think she is worth reading just because she's so funny.

Now I want to get your recommendations. Books? Movies? Websites? Recipes? Craft projects? I'm in the winter doldrums, and I need some fresh material.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Five Months

Bella is five months old. Yes, I believe she does look a little like a cockatoo.
She loves tummy time (a miracle!), being swaddled (still?), making loud noises to startle her parents, her sisters, and herself, sticking her long skinny tongue out the corner of her mouth, blowing billions of bubbles, and being passed around to everyone at parties and church.
In comparison to herself at 1 month: (I think she's getting cuter)In comparison to Olivia at 5 months (not the mustachioed one):

And Mimi at 5 months:

I've been hearing lately that she could be Mimi reborn.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We love Rob!

My oldest brother Rob finished off his Christmas vacation from law school (at the University of Texas) with a visit to South Bend. His birthday happened before he arrived, but we are nothing if not partyers, so we celebrated anyway. Rob's birthday was wonderful, complete with princess crowns (as per his request--he wanted all the trappings of the perfect little girl birthday party) and peanut-butter stuffed chocolate cupcakes. Apparently Rob shared a flight home with another young man who celebrated his birthday this last week--only his party was at a strip club. Compare and contrast, my friends, compare and contrast.
The snow came down and down and down on Saturday morning. Normally, I'm willing to ignore the snow and refuse to shovel the driveway, but I decided that 12 inches could turn into one heck of an obstacle if it thawed and refroze. (It hasn't thawed yet.) So, Rob and I shoveled my rather long driveway. Then, because my neighbors are grandparents and I had seen them drive away on an errand, we shoveled their driveway and walk. Somehow, I think that second driveway had accumulated twice as much snow as my driveway. Ow--my aching back. (It's funny--Bill, my neighbor, called me when he got home. The errand they had gone on? Yeah, it was to buy a snowblower. I've decided to chalk it up to a great workout. I needed it after all the delicious food we ate.)
Rob still had enough energy after all that shoveling to bury the children.
They loved it.

Snow pants make a great handle for tossing small children around. And to think that he could have been in 70 degree Austin all this time. Who wouldn't want to be in freezing South Bend instead?
We also went to the HealthWorks! Museum, where Rob and I played game after game on the touch-sensitive light-up floor. And we saw "Tale of Despereaux" which Mimi said was "SO much fun!" and Olivia loved. (I thought it was okay. Not quite enough character development for my taste.) And we bought fun gourmet foods at Target, which is, without a doubt, my favorite store. And we watched loads and loads of Psych. And Rob had two, very small, middle-of-the-night visitors who interrupted his basement sleep.
Mimi cried when Rob got out of the car to get on the train. And Bella had a hard Monday, probably missing her buddy.
We miss you, Rob! Come back anytime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When you try to take a Christmas picture. . .

I was so grateful to receive all the Christmas cards, letters, and pictures that we did. They were so beautiful, festive, and creative. Here was my attempt. (I may still get out a Valentine's Day card. Last year, my Christmas cards were all mailed a week before Thanksgiving, due to our interviewing trip. In order to avoid an undeserved reputation as an overachiever, I am deliberately slacking this year. )
I did make a valiant effort, actually, at getting a Christmas card out. These crazy pictures represent one of several photoshoots.
I wanted to say something sweet and creative, like "Look what we found" with the "J-O-Y" on my three girls, but due to the combination of my poor photography skills and the uncooperation of any more than two of my children at a time, it didn't work out so well.
How did you all get your pictures looking so great?
Because, really, I didn't receive a single picture from any of you that looked like this. . .
. . . or this.
Or this.
What am I missing?