Saturday, November 28, 2009

Abigail is Walking!

Here are some short videos of Abigail from Thursday evening. She's doing pretty well! She'll walk only when we bribe her with something that she wants to play with (i.e. a cellphone, the camera, food, etc.). When she's playing by herself, she's doing well pulling herself up and walking while using the wall or a piece of furniture to stable herself.


In other news, Katie's family was just here for the last few days. Her parents, brother, and sister (Kyle and Karolyn) who recently returned from missions to Chile and Russia, respectively, came and stayed from Tuesday through Friday night. We showed them around Iowa City, visited the Kalona cheese store, made the "trek" to the Captain Kirk birthplace (bad joke, I know), and then we went down to Nauvoo and Carthage on Friday. It was fun to have all of them here for a visit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Latest Updates

This is Ben. A whole-hearted apology from both of us for leaving our weblog fan minions in the dark lately. It's been a busy couple of weeks. So I'm going to offer a quick recap and for those of you who really only want to see the latest Abigail pictures: skip down to the bottom.

Bottom line: I've been out of town most of the last two weeks and Katie's been swamped with homework and childcare duties. I was fortunate enough to get three different campus interview opportunities in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio over the last two weeks, and they were all scheduled one right after the other. That was wonderful news and we feel exceedingly fortunate (considering the dismal state of the economy and shortage of job openings this year), but that meant that Katie would be all by herself for about 11 days.

We were able to recruit the services of Katie's mother Lonna who came out on the Amtrack train last week to help take care of Abigail whilst I was gone. In addition to childcare duties, she also decided to take upon herself numerous home improvement tasks. She's really amazing that way. So in little over a week she and Katie have already tackled projects ranging from painting rooms to making curtains to ordering a new counter top and sink for the upstairs bathroom. Katie's dad and brother and sister (Karolyn and Kyle) will be driving out early next week to spend part of Thanksgiving week with us and then they'll all head back together on Friday or Saturday. As far as I'm concerned, it's going to be akin to cutting off my right arm in terms of losing all the help that Katie's mom has been lately.

And for interested parties: all my interviews went very well (from my perspective, at least). All three places seemed to be great schools in nice communities that would be fun places to live. It's going to be hard to beat Iowa City, of course, but we're excited that we maybe -- just maybe -- might be able to finally finish school in the spring and move on to the next phase of our lives next summer. Hopefully I'll hear from one of the three in the next week or two. We'll keep you updated. And thanks to all of you who have been keeping us in your thoughts the last few weeks/months regarding the job search.

So, as promised, here are the baby pictures...


(Above) Sporting a "special" hair-do in the tub.

She's doing better at mimmicking sounds that we make. She can immitate high/low pitched vocalizations and has even learned some animal sounds. She does "caw caw" for birds, growls when she sees a picture of a bear, and makes some sort of noise that I assume is her version of a "moo" when she sees a cow.

Abby plays peek-a-boo in her high chair with her bib. She's plays more often with us than we do with her these days.

Abigail recently learned "patty-cake" ("paddy-cake"?). She has the clapping part down, the "mark it with a B" part down, and the "throw it way high" part down, although not necessarily in that order. She can also do the "roll it" part.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Restaurant Review: Los Banditos

In an on-going effort to keep the greater Iowa City-Coralville area informed as to their choices for quality Mexican food, I offer a brief review of Los Banditos, a new Mexican restaurant at 327 Market St. in Iowa City.

Our view: not worth the time or the money. The food isn't necessarily bad, but it certainly does not come close to some other places in town (see our previous ranking blog post: http://inspirationknoll.blogspot.com/2009/07/iowa-city-mexican-restaurant-review.html). The menu is limited (not a criticism - they're just starting up), and what they do have is okay, but nothing memorable. The rice and beans are white rice and pinto beans. The enchiladas were bland and could have used some cheese and spices of some kind. The torta was actually okay, but too much bun and not enough filling. The tacos were extremely greasy (good, but greasy), but it took away from the taste of the carnitas, onions, and cilantro inside.

On the upside, the food can legitimately be considered "authentic" (e.g. they don't use cheddar cheese), but in this case that doesn't necessarily equate to tasty. The waitress was very nice and friendly. And there were no over-the-top stereotypical Aztec murals on the wall.

All in all, it ranks above Taco Bell and Pancheros, but falls far below such other places in the area like Plaza Jalisco and La Reyna.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update on Coburn Amendment

Just a quick update for the few of you out there that are even remotely interested. Last week the Senate rejected the Coburn amendment (62-36) that I ranted about a few weeks ago. So the National Science Foundation will continue to fund political science research. Hurray!

See how your senator voted and reward/punish accordingly next time they're up for re-election:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00336

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A few videos for all of you with free time. Ha!

Here are some videos of Abigail. This is for those of you who never see us because we are too busy this semester to hang out with anyone. Some of them are over a minute long, so I imagine only the die-hards will watch them all. I really like the dark one, in this one she is showing off her growl. Sorry it's so dark, we do not have an overhead light in our living room and the skylight only works during the day. The piano one is long, but gets better at the end. The stairs one is funny. The highchair one is short and shows her laugh. She's in her costume (Care Bear without the symbol on the middle, she kept pulling it off) in the Bumbo seat one. Oh. . . THEY'RE ALL GREAT! She's the best. Watch them all. :)