Sunday, May 30, 2010

Graphic Novels

We went to the library the other day to find some reading materials for Denali. I recommended graphic novels because they are fun, yet filled with lots of text to read. Denali picked out a few. Once Abigail got her hands on them she wouldn't let go. She LOVES looking through these. She reads to herself as she goes. Turn up the volume if you want to hear her "reading."

These pictures turned out pretty funny. One even looks like Abs is being choked, although she isn't. Denali was just trying to turn her head so that she was facing the camera. Thanks grandma for the cute outfit and Robyn for the bows. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

We Made A Cake

It wasn't just any cake, though. Ever since I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs (click here for the recipe) I've wanted to try it. However, the time commitment looked daunting. In comes Denali. A perfect excuse to take a long time making something unique and fun. She was helpful although I am somewhat OCD and did not let her help much. I tried to not to worry about it being 'perfect' and should have let her do more. That being said, I had a lot of fun making it with her and it turned out nice.

This cake looked good and was yummy. I probably should have waited for a special occasion, then I could have shared it with someone instead of eating most of it myself. Whoops.

The only thing that I would change was to use WHITE frosting in between the layers instead of the multicolored frosting from the freezer that I had left over from making this cake for a baby shower last month.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The finale of Lost...

So here are my thoughts on the series finale of Lost. (SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you haven't watched the program and care if you find out what happens in the end.)

I still can’t decide whether I’m barely satisfied or simply ticked off. Lost was a great show and one of the few “intelligent” programs out there. I loved that you had to do some serious thinking to fully appreciate it. I dutifully watched the entire series. I especially appreciated the faith vs. reason themes and conflict that were present throughout. And I loved the frequent references and tie-ins to political philosophers (Locke, Bentham, Rousseau, Burke, Hume, etc…).

I saw myself as like John Locke (the original). I had FAITH that the answers would all eventually be revealed to the faithful who stuck it out to the end. I REALLY wanted answers for stuff like 1) what really is the smoke monster and where did it come from?, 2) what is the light in the island, really…? 3) where did the original island guardians come from?, 4) why do pregnant women on the island die?, 5) what does the island have to do with the world at large and the bigger question of good/evil in the world?

But the finale disappointed. Not a single answer on any of the show’s “big” questions. We never really learned what Jack – and everyone else – ultimately died for. Did he save only the island or the entire world and all mankind? How is the island connected to the rest of the planet? What really would have happened if Smokey/Locke was able to escape? Why was it so important that Smokey/Locke not be allowed to leave? Like the original Locke, I kept faith up until the final five minutes when I realized that these answers would not be forthcoming. My faith was not rewarded.

And I’m sorry, I think it’s lame to end a show/movie with “oh, it was all just a dream” or “oh, they were really all just dead”. It’s a cop-out which relieves them of responsibility for pulling the threads together. That just my own humble opinion.

However… I do appreciate that on the faith vs. reason theme of the whole series, it eventually sided with faith. I appreciated that the finale gave us an emotional reward for all the characters that were brutally killed off time and again – we got to see them all “alive” and happy again. And I suppose that, by coming down on the side of faith, the show’s writers are obligated to leave some questions unanswered… in effect, asking us to “have faith” in whatever interpretation of the island/the light/Smokey, etc. we choose to believe in, without having proof or a final explanation, or an ultimate “answer.”

But that doesn’t mean that I’m happy about it. I mean, I spent the last four years of my life investing a lot of time into that show! Whenever the naysayers said “all they ever do is bring up more questions without answering any” I disagreed and said that “no, all the answers will be given before the end.” But I was wrong. And now I’ll never know. The show was the ultimate tease. Cruel, cruel, cruel. Boo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Catch up

So many things to blog about. So little will and time. I have a list of topics that I want to blog about and I never find time to actually do them. They will just have to wait. Today I will post of quick recap of some of the fun things we've done since Denali came to stay with us. I love having her here. She has been extremely helpful with Abigail, she helps us get the house ready for the endless showings (and no sellings), she has fun ideas about things we can do, she is a good sport and goes out with us daily for our exercise without complaining too much, and she even helps me cook. She is so grown up and asks great questions about the world and the gospel. I've enjoyed having daily Book of Mormon study with her. She even remembered to have us read on a day that we had forgotten. She is definitely a modern girl and spends half her time playing DS, chatting with family on yahoo, and texting. One of the funnest things we do is turn on the music and dance. Abigail loves to dance too, no matter the song she will say: 'asis, asis, faw down" and then she falls onto the floor. So fun.

We loved having grandma (wa-ma) here for a week. Abby really misses her (and her computer) and walks through the house calling for her.

We had fun taking pictures up on campus.

We played in the pool and sprinklers. Abigail was fearless. Also, I successfully got warm water to the pool by hooking the hose up to my kitchen sink. I was pretty proud.

We painted with pudding. D. was fairly creative and A. was fairly hungry. Most of her pudding made it into her mouth. We had to grab her hand and drag it on the paper for her.

We went to Nauvoo but didn't take very many pictures. D. and I had fun trying out all the games that the pioneers used to play. We both tried the stilts but were unsuccessful.

We go to the park at least once a day and sometimes twice. Abs loves the slides. Denali found an elementary school playground that she wants to call her own. I love watching her play on the equipment and use her imagination.

Here is a picture of Gigi. We sneakily took her and her mom to the park while the husbands planned a surprise birthday party for S.

Here are some pictures from the hike that Denali to be on.

I thought that these flowers were beautiful. We'll miss green Iowa.

We also went to the "beach" near Lake MacBride. Abigail loved loved loved it and wanted to throw herself into the water. It took all my strength to keep her safe. Denali had fun too, until we saw lightning close by. Then we had to end our beach trip short. We'll have to go back.

Today we are making homemade granola bars and hopefully soon I will post about the awesome cake the we made.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Follow up on AZ immigration law

Again, my effort is not to be inflammatory or contentious, but this is something that I feel strongly about. I thought I'd post a link to a recent news story on how the Arizona immigration law is harming LDS missionary efforts in Arizona and around the country:

Now, I certainly don't mean to assert that anyone who supports the AZ law is opposing the Church's missionary efforts. However, at the very least I think that it should give us reason to reflect on how our actions, words, and opinions all reflect on the Church's reputation to the non-members around us.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Graduation Weekend

It was Graduation Day for Katie and me last Saturday. My mother and sister Denali have been in town since Tuesday. Grandma and Denali have had a wonderful time with Abigail and Abigail has loved the attention. She has especially taken a liking to Denali and always asks where she is whenever she's not in the room. Grandma's going back home tomorrow and Denali will be staying with us for the next few weeks.

Below is a link to a Picasa album with pictures from our graduation. Here's a quick preview. This is Denali's graduation outfit that her Grandma made for her:

More pictures here:

UPDATE: I obviously meant "Abigail's graduation outfit" above. Thanks to Jennifer for pointing that out to me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Abbys First Joke

Nana was trying to talk to Abs on the phone. Ben said to her "Dile algo" (say something) and Abigail looked him in the face and said "algo" (something). That made Ben laugh pretty hard. She loves to mimic.

Her new nickname is ABBA because that is what her best friend Gigi calls her.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Here is Abigail singing the alphabet song. You probably wouldn't be able to tell that that was what she was singing if I hadn't told you. It's still super impressive though.

In this second video she sings some of the abc's, says lots of words, and cries. You can hear her froggy little voice really well in this one. You can also see how sad her eyes were.
Today she woke up happy and is actually feeling better. I am so glad to have my happy baby back. She is talking more and more every day and even puts two works together. Yesterday she pointed to my shoes and said 'mommy patos' which stands for 'zapatos' which means shoes. Cute. She is also really good at saying bye bye to things. Bye bye gorilla. Bye bye patos. Bye bye mommy. Etc. Try not to make fun of me for my mistakes in the song. Apparently I need to relearn it too.

Only a few more days until Grandma and Aunt Nali arrive. We're excited!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Princesses, Pigtails, Pebbles, & Pails

Abigail has been fighting a cold for the last week. She has been miserable and cries and whimpers every time she coughs. This breaks my heart. She's been sick before, but I've never seen her so sad and in pain. Poor poor baby. The only thing that would help out was taking her outside. She loves being outside. These pictures of her are from Sunday. We stayed home from church due to the fever, the cough, and the sneezing. We played outside for over an hour. She would carry the pails around and move the pebbles from pail to pail and from pail to sidewalk. She was happy most the time we were outside.
I love how the ruffles on this dress flounce up when she sits down. So cute.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Iowa City Architecture

Ever since we found out that the house that we might purchase in Kentucky has a particular "style" to it, I've become unusually interested in American domestic architectural styles. It's really a very random thing and came out of nowhere. But all of the sudden about a month ago I began to think that knowing what "style" different houses were built in was fairly interesting. House styles say a lot about the character and culture of the country at the particular time that it was built, so I suppose it's only natural that this be interesting to me, as it's connected to American cultural/political history.

Anyway, I checked out a few books from the library on American house styles and have tried to see if I can "spot" different styles in the historical houses around town. There are houses all over Iowa City that I've driven by almost every day for the last four years that I've never noticed before but are actually pretty cool!
So the day after I passed my dissertation defense (i.e. when I had some free time!), I got up and took Abigail for our regular morning constitutional. This time, however, I took my camera.
This is an American Foursquare "Prairie Box" on Muscatine Ave. This is the same style of house of the one we might purchase in Kentucky (still waiting to hear back a few things about the inspection!). It was popular throughout the Midwest in the 1910s and 1920s. The low-pitched roofs and big, boxy shape was supposed to reflect the wide, flat plains of the American Midwest and our desire to "spread out".
This house is on Burlington Ave. It looks like a "Federal style" house - like the ones built in the Colonial era (1780-1820). The front of the house is flat with a door in the middle, built out of brick, and the two chimneys on either side. Most of the houses in Nauvoo are of this same style, I think.
This is one of several "Craftsman style" houses on Seventh Ave. in Iowa City. I think these are pleasant-looking houses and would maybe be a nice place to live if you don't need much space. I like the porch columns and the variety of colors.

Anyways, I took several more pictures, which are available here:

Maybe before I leave town I'll put together a few "Iowa City architectural jogging tours", complete with maps and pictures. :-)