Saturday, February 21, 2009

Difficult concepts

Our efforts to teach Elaina how to read have had mixed results. She can recognize certain words, but the whole concept of phonics hasn't sunk in yet. Heather tries, asking her things like "What starts with M?" Elaina's replies are sometimes correct, but usually not.

This morning we went to Krispy Kream for breakfast, and as we drove past Fred Meyer on the way home Elaina pointed and said "There's the grocery store! Tuh - tuh - tuh grocery store." We tried to explain that it's "Guh - guh - guh grocery store" but her reply was "Tuh - tuh grocery store." And a few days ago it was "Mmm - mmm - mmm princess."

In one of those free-associative things our minds do to link mostly unrelated memories, we were somehow reminded of a few months ago when, while singing "Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam", she threw out the line "At home, at school, at shopping." Now that she has equated shopping with play, I'll definitely work hard to teach her about concepts like self-sufficiency, hard work, and scarcity. She'll probably be the only first grader at her school to understand downward-sloping demand curves.

They know what they're doing, and how much it's worth

So today we took our (roughly) annual trip to Kiddie Kandids - for the first weekend in about 2 months, the kids aren't sick and are looking pretty good. Elaina is still recovering from a basketball injury - she bumped her head taking a fall in the gym. The bruise is now a nickel-sized green spot on her forehead, but her bangs cover it up pretty well. Heather's been looking for a window of opportunity for a while, and declared that today was the day.

Admittedly, it's not my favorite day of the year, but I'm kind of resigned to the fact that this expense will appear in our annual budget. Also, KK is better at working with kids than JCPenney, Target, etc. And they definitely don't send out coupons in the blue Val-pak envelope. Cost matters aside, I doubt I'll ever be excited about the logistics of getting the kids all cleaned up and trying to keep them that way while hauling them and their nice portrait clothes to the local Babies-R-Us.

Camden was very happy during the shoot but wasn't flashing any characteristic big smiles - he was all grins and loud noises. He drew a lot of attention. Elaina has a cheesy "on-demand" smile that the photographer skillfully subdued with some silliness and threatened tickling. Below are two pictures that didn't make the final cut. We don't want to ruin the surprise for those who are getting prints in the mail soon. Witness Elaina's somewhat cheesy (but authentic) giggle look. And here's an example of Camden's general silliness, with the biggest smile we got from him during the sitting.

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

One of the few (but awesome) highlights of this time of year is the many great TV shows that start up, and because of sweeps, they really make every effort to entertain! It's a little pathetic how much TV Torry and I have been watching. To help facilitate this pastime, we have been enabled by our TiVo. Seriously - how did people live before this wonderful invention? Word to the wise: don't get one unless you are willing to have a monthly payment for the rest of your life - it's like crack. One key benefit is that since you can skip commercials, we spend about 30% less time watching shows than we would otherwise. A lot of these shows are better (in our humble opinion) than many movies. Here are our favorites:

1. Lost (the best show EVER) It's a must to watch with friends - you almost need to discuss what is going on to understand it all. Went off the rails a bit in season 3, but has been solid since then.
2. 24 - this season is so good. We were a little worried, because the last two seasons were a little disappointing
3. House - Even though it's the same plot line in each episode, we still love it
4. Bones - It's fun and David Boreanaz is HOT
5. Life - Best police drama ever. Damien Lewis is amazing - funny, controlled, yet full of lethal rage. You won't believe how well you can see it in his eyes.
6. The Office - "Would I rather be feared or loved? Um... Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me. "
7. Project Runway - Those people are so talented. Unfortunately we don't get Bravo right now.
8. American Idol - yeah, us and everyone else
9. True Beauty (our recent guilty pleasure)
10. The Mentalist - The leading man in this one is hot too. (Note from Torry: would it ruin it for Heather if I told her he plays a gay escort in L.A. Confidential?)
11. Psych - This one is always good for a laugh and probably my light favorite
12. Monk
13. Smallville

I often wonder what we could accomplish if we weren't spending so much time watching TV....