Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Enjoying the Last Few Warm Days

Sorry that the video is sideways. I always forget when I am taking them that they can't be flipped. I love to watch her walk up and down the sidewalk. She only stops to try to steal lawn signs and to try to eat pebbles.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Our ward had an amazing Halloween party yesterday. Good job Primary! They thought of everything and had tons of fun games, yummy food, a donut eating contest, coloring, crafts, costume contests, and a trunk-or-treat. We had a lot of fun.
Abigail went dressed as Funshine Care Bear and I was the grumpy blue one (I had a rain cloud on my front but it fell off. I thought the ears were a nice touch). This fun costume was worn by Ben when he was a little baby. I'll see if I can find a picture of him in it. I'm pretty sure that his mom made it, way to go!!

Here she is in our exceptionally well-decorated trunk. I gave her her first dum-dum and she loved it. What a mess! She enjoyed trick-or-treating and would grab the candy out of the bowls and put it in her bag about fifty per cent of the time, the rest of the times it went straight into her mouth and the binky would fall to the ground.So technically she's not old enough to be eating candy, so I guess that we will have to sacrifice and eat it for her. Maybe she'll get some in the milk. :)

I did it!

I read the required novels for the course (all in Spanish). They were: La vorágine by José Eustasio River, Don Segundo Sombra byRicardo Guiraldes, Los de abajo by Mariano Azuela, Cuetnos de amor, locura, muerte by Horacio Quiroga, and Las memorias de la mamá blanca by Teresa de la Parra.

Then I read many many many many articles about all of them and then many articles specifically about La vorágine and Los de abajo.

Then I wrote a TEN page research paper (all in Spanish) comparing the two books and the charcaters all while trying to pay attention to literary theory and how it affects everything. I even submitted it to my professor eight hours before the Saturday morning deadline.

It wasn't pretty, but I got it done and I am proud of myself. It took me most of the entire week. Ben helped with Abigail and our nanny/babysitter was here for three days in a row too. I get kind of jealous when I hear her upstairs playing while I work.

Only one more of these to go before the class ends.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and here's a poem that I wrote for one of my other classes. It's only a draft, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.
I tried to use the 'k' sound a lot throughout the poem in an effort to imitate the sound of the clicking of the keyboard.


Oooh, I got mail!
Benjamin Knoll, do I know him?
I wonder as my hand hovers
over the mouse
waiting to hear the click clack of the keyboard
Should I click?
I pause to think. . .

What if it contains a virus?
my hard drive could be destroyed
my files, my pictures, my computer
without it I could lose
my occupation
my quiet apartment
and have to move back in with my parents
and learn to cook and clean
for my keep
The pressure might cause me to crack
disconnected from the Internet, Facebook,
and of course, email
I can’t do it.
I shouldn’t
but. . .

I’m curious

Maybe I’ll just take a quick peek

It’s not infected.
He’s my sister’s friend
she wants to hook us up
he’s cute, too.

The keyboard shakes noisily as I
write him back
commenting on his pictures
and accepting his invitation.

I’m glad I took the risk.
--Katie Knoll

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy October

The good news is that the semester is HALF over! I wish that I could say that all my major assignments were half completed, but that is no where near being true. Sigh. We are still encouraged by the half way point and feel that we might survive. We are both so busy that we feel a little overwhelmed. My Spanish class scares me so much that my eye started twitching last week. We now have a good babysitter who comes and watches Abigail in our home three times a week while I try to do some homework, yet we still feel overwhelmed. Oh well. Perfectionists at their best, I guess we do it to ourselves.
Ben has applied to many many jobs and has a couple of people interested in interviewing him from Liberal Arts Colleges. We are excited about the prospects but are unsure of where in the country we will end up. He is also teaching a class this semester and has great student evaluations. He also is working on his dissertation and recently sent out a study to all university of Iowa students for a chapter of his research. All U of I students are eligible to take it, please encourage everybody you know who is a U of I student to take it.
Abigail is growing and learning and is a joy to be around, most of the time. Today she pulled a cup of juice down and poured it all over herself and Ben. She also slipped and hit her face on the table leg (poor baby). She now has a dark bruise on her cheek that I am going to have to explain to the doctor tomorrow. Wish me luck.
We are doing great! Abigail is a fabulous baby and even though we're busy, life is good and we can't complain. Best of wishes to everyone in this fall season. :)
Here are some random pictures.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandma!

I made you a birthday card, but it's not in the mail yet. Someday soon it will be. Hope you have a great day! The paint is nontoxic and she didn't like the taste so she didn't eat it. . .much. It also washes right off, so, on the whole it was a fun experience.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10 Months and Growing

We are too busy to post very often. She when we do post, we go all out:

What a fun ten months it's been. We are so proud of Abigail and we love to watch her grow and explore her world. Here are some of the things she’s learned how to do recently:
She waves bye-bye pretty regularly, even to characters in books and to toys.
She can sign bye-bye, agua (water), guácala (gross), abanico (ceiling fan), leche (milk), all done, and comer (eat).
She says uh-oh a lot and also seems to say dada once and a while. I don’t think she knows the word mama.
She cuddles when she’s tired.
She is a good girl for the babysitters and takes long naps for them.
She has four teeth on top, two on bottom and one more on the bottom that just broke through.
She cries when things don’t go her way.
She is a fast crawler and can really book it when she wants something. She even crawls up and over the obstacle courses that I make for her.
She walks along furniture but never tries to stand on her own.
She climbs. We found her standing on the dishwasher door yesterday.
She sleeps well, usually from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. with a 5:00 a.m. feeding.
She hates being held down, be it for a diaper change or outfit change.
She always wants to feed herself and will refuse food on a spoon that she will gladly eat smeared on her tray.
She loves it when other people pay smile at her and she seems put out when she smiles at someone and they don’t pay any attention to her.
She plays with cars and will roll them along.
She learned to put things in containers and then take them out. She did this first with spoons in the dishwasher, then with a lid in a plastic container, and last of all she started stacking her stackable cups inside each other in the bath tub. I love her face when she is doing this, she seems so intent.
She plays peak-a-boo and will initiate it by hiding behind something and then popping out.
She claps for herself when she does something well.
She giggles and laughs when you blow on her tummy, tickle her, throw her in the air, or entertain her with puppets.
Her new favorite game is UH-OH. She drops things off her high chair tray and then she says uh-oh, which also doubles as meaning ‘mommy, pick that up so I can drop it again.’
We have a video where you can see her messy self cry, sign water, and say uh-oh. (She feeds herself, hence the mess). Another video is of her stuffing her face. This is how she eats. She acts like she can't get the food to her mouth fast enough. She is eating shark shaped cheddar crackers that she managed to find, dump, and devour. We, being the responsible parents that we are, decided to let her eat off the floor and to video it instead of cleaning it up.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Senator Coburn vs. Political Science

I have a quick favor to ask of everyone who reads this blog.

Today, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) proposed an amendment to the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill which would eliminate the National Science Foundation's political science program. This would eliminate all federal funding of political science research. And why? From Senator Coburn's website:

NSF spent $91.3 million over the last 10 years on political "science." This amount could have been directed towards the study of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. These are real fields of science in which new discoveries can yield real improvements in the lives of everyone.

I particularly appreciate how he put "science" in quotation marks. And my favorite part:

The largest award over the last 10 years under the political science program has been $5.4 million for the University of Michigan for the "American National Election Studies" grant. The grant is to "inform explanations of election outcomes." The University of Michigan may have some interesting theories about recent elections, but Americans who have an interest in electoral politics can turn to CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, the print media, and a seemingly endless number of political commentators on the internet who pour over this data and provide a myriad of viewpoints to answer the same questions.

Laugh-out-loud comedy. Just because news commentators provide a "myriad" of viewpoints doesn't mean that their analyses are in any way accurate or of high-quality. On the contrary, they often don't have a clue what they're talking about because they simply don't have the tools that they need (multivariate statistical analysis software for starters) to answer their own questions. That's the one lesson I constantly drill into my undergraduates.

And for the record, the ANES survey has been the gold-standard of election survey data in the United States for the past sixty years and has been used for countless research projects -- including a few of my own!

So what can you do? Please call your Senator (contact info here: and politely urge them to vote against Senator Coburn's amendment. It is amendment No. 2631 to the Senate's consideration of HR 2847.

The full text of Senator Coburn's entertaining press release can be found here:

Recent responses from the political science community can be found here: