Sunday, April 05, 2009

RIP, Old Faithful

Last night, after 5 faithful years of service, my beloved iBook laptop rolled over and died. One minute I was happily surfing the web, the next the screen turned white and stayed that way. The hard drive, thankfully, was fine, but the LCD screen couldn't be saved. After much gnashing of teeth and shedding of tears, I went to sleep last night convinced that my days as a laptop owner were at least temporarily over, but woke up this morning to a new MacBook courtesy of Juan. He's kind of a great husband, if you haven't picked up on that by now.

The new computer is great. It's got a bigger screen; more memory; and because we were able to save the hard drive from my old computer, the transition between the two has been seamless. Even my Internet bookmarks are all where they're supposed to be. Still, I miss my iBook. That computer saw me through a lot of hard times, and it's going to be hard to let it go.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Milestones ahoy!

Luke has officially been invited to his first ever birthday party. It's for one of his daycare classmates, a little girl he evidently likes because whenever I mention her name he gets a big smile on his face and starts gabbing away incomprehensibly. It's beyond cute. I'm oddly anxious about going to the party, though, since I don't know any of the other daycare moms beyond a quick smile we sometimes exchange during the craziness of dropoffs and pickups.

In other news, Luke's recently become quite a fan of the Sesame Street puppets we found for him, and he now refuses to do anything some days unless he can have both "Bidda Bird" and "Grober" on his hands.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Break in Pictures

I am in love with this picture of my mom, Luke, and me walking to the park. It really exemplifies everything about our trip--the boy had a blast as did all the adults.

More on the way to the park.

At the park--swings were a big hit.

As were the slides--he loved the slides.

Checking out bunnies at the zoo

Giving the side eye to some snakes.

Climbing Mt. Daddy

Happy at the library

Being a ham with friends Taylor and Robbie.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Since there hasn't been enough toddler cuteness here for awhile

"Lucas, can you say O-ba-ma?"

"Uppy Mama!"


"A-B Mama!"


"Ah-da Mama!"

He's trying, I'll give him that.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Testing Video

Luke dances with our nanny, Esther. Listen at the end for some vocal stylings!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive

M asked me to make a more lengthy case for why the Kindle rocks, so here goes:

1) CARRY YOUR WHOLE LIBRARY WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO! For non-bibliophiles this may not seem like a big deal, but if you're a book whore like me you know that sometimes you just have to, have to, have to re-read Chapter 4 of your favorite book when you're on the bus/in an airport/at work/somewhere not home where you favorite book happens to live. With a Kindle, not only can you read that chapter (or the whole book) anywhere you want, but even if you didn't bother to download it before you left home that day you can run to Amazon (or a wide variety of other eBook retailers) and buy it no matter where you are. Well, no matter where you are in the continental U.S. International Kindle book buying requires a few more steps and access to a computer, but that detail won't matter to most American readers. The added bonus for those who travel frequently is that you don't have to pack a ton of books or be left with nothing but the in-flight magazine to read if you run out of reading material.

2) E-INK TECHNOLOGY! This really is see-to-believe stuff. Reading a Kindle or other e-book reader is no different from reading a paper book in terms of eye strain. The e-ink technology isn't anything like a computer screen, so even if staring at a monitor for hours on end isn't your thing, it should be a non-issue with a Kindle. You can only buy Kindles through Amazon, but Target carries the Sony 505 Reader and should have one on display if you're interested to see e-ink in action. It's very cool.

3) MAC COMPATIBILITY! Frankly, I probably would have bought a Sony 505 if it had only been compatible with my beloved iBook. Sadly, Sony's readers (which are cheaper than the Kindle, though you can't download books onto them without the help of a computer) only work with Windows. I love my Mac, I will always love my Mac, so the Kindle was my best eReader option.

4) CHEAP(ER) BOOKS (MOSTLY)! There's a lot of debate in the e-Reader community (yes, I'm a member of the e-Reader community now, yes Juan has mocked me for it) about the price of ebooks. Frankly, they're not much lower than the price of most paperbacks, and in some cases the price of the ebook is actually higher than you'd pay with a discount card at, say, Barnes & Noble. Still, if you shop smart you can still usually pay significantly less for your ebooks than you would for the paper versions. When you're plunking down $$$ for the reader in the first place, it's nice to know that eventually you'll make up the cost in book savings.

5) REDESIGN! The original Kindle still has a lot of fans--people love how distinctive it looks, how you can expand your book collection by using an SD card (not available with the Kindle 2), etc... The Kindle 2, however, which I have, is an improvement on the Kindle 1 in several ways. The most significant from a regular user point of view is the fact that it's now very difficult to accidentally turn the page because Amazon redesigned the page turn buttons. Turning pages on purpose requires next to no thought, but you aren't going to accidentally flip through several chapters and lose your place the way you could with the Kindle 1.

6) ANNOTATION, BOOKMARKING, TEXT-TO-SPEECH, ETC...! Just like with a paper book you can make margin notes with a Kindle (you can't with any of Sony's readers), you can bookmark several spots in a book, and unlike a paper book the Kindle will read your books TO you if you choose. This last feature is very controversial and may eventually be phased out because of copyright/legal issues, but for now you can use it on most ebooks. Given that the price of audiobooks is hideously high, text-to-speech technology rocks since the cost is just that of the ebook itself.

7) DID I MENTION PRETTY?! Yes, see previous post. The Kindle is pretty.

8) LOSING SIGHT OF THE DEVICE! I've now read two average-length novels on my Kindle and can verify that, at least for me, the device doesn't prevent me from slipping into the story the way I do with paper books. Some people argue that the white color of the Kindle makes this difficult, but so far it hasn't made a difference to me.

Bottom line--I love this little machine. If you're on the fence about buying an e-Reader, I would strongly recommend checking out this forum for the scoop on a wide variety of e-Readers, including the Kindle.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


If you've been wondering why I haven't been updating much lately there are two reasons. One is that work has been crazy busy and by the time I get home at night the last thing I have mental energy for is blogging. For that I suck, since this blog is essentially the best record of Luke's early years that I have. If I don't post, what will I be able to look at years from now to remember this time in his life? Bad Mama.

The second is that lately I've had a compelling incentive to put down my laptop and read instead. Here it is:

It's pretty and it's white and it almost makes me never want to buy another paper book. Now I can carry around my entire library with me wherever I go! This is basically the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Kindle = love.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Daycare WTF, or Why Other Parents Are Crazy

Luke's class at daycare exchanged Valentines today which, whatever. They're all under age 2--like they have any clue what a holiday is in the first place, much less one like Valentine's Day. I still went out and bought some cute Pooh and Tigger valentines, filled them out, and sent them in with him this morning. Imagine my surprise when he came home with a bag FULL of cards that fell into one of the following three categories:

-fancy schmancy homemade cards complete with google eyes (hello, choking hazard) and glitter.

-cards attached to candies a toddler shouldn't be eating (like suckers and conversation hearts) even if you're the type to give your toddler candy in the first place.

-store bought cards from parents like me who clearly don't feel the need to be an overachiever for a toddler Valentine's Day party.

I'm sorry, but WTF is with two-thirds of these parents? I can see making homemade cards if you're into scrapbooking and have some free time on your hands, but who doesn't realize that the crap you're gluing on said card could choke one of the recipients? The hard candies I just don't get. We don't let Luke eat candy at all, but it really worries me that some of these parents apparently think that a Blow Pop is an appropriate treat for an 18 month old.

Thankfully his teachers gave out nice age-appropriate cards that included every toddler's favorite thing in the whole wide world, stickers. Still, I can't quite wrap my brain around these other parents. WTF, moms and dads?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

No, David!

Last week Luke discovered one of the few picture books I bought (and lugged around from dorm to apartment to apartment to apartment) during college. No, David!, in case you've never read it, is based on a series of pictures the author drew at age 5 depicting him doing various naughty things while his mother told him "No!" I thought it was hilarious the first time I read it, and now that Luke's discovered it he's decided it's the only book he wants to read at naptime and bedtime. The pictures are...interesting (Juan thinks David looks demonic) but I think the real draw for our son is the text. Luke, like all toddlers, is very interested in doing things himself and the fact that he can "read" almost the whole book delights him. Every turn of the page results in a hearty, "No, David!" from Luke, followed by giggles.

As passionate as I am about books, I can't say how happy I am to see Luke taking real joy in books. I really don't even care what books he loves, as long as he keeps loving them.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Hefty Dose of Reality

This afternoon I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend who's about to have her second child. Most of the invitees (including the mom-to-be) have kids around Luke's age, so the shower morphed into a playdate involving 9 adults and 6 kids under 3.

Rather than get into all the messy details, let's just say that my house is covered in stickers, there are mysterious stains on the living room rug, my TV has sticky fingerprints all over it, and Luke went to bed half an hour early because he was so exhausted from all the activity. If this is what it's like to have a big family, I am officially ruling out more than one kid after Luke.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Things that are new

I keep meaning to update my blog, if only so I'll be able to look back at it years from now and remember what Luke did a X years and months old. Then I get distracted by grading, eating, or (more often) trashy TV and blogging just gets pushed to the back of my "To Do" list for yet another day.

Not tonight, though. Tonight, I blog because there are just too many cute new things Luke is doing right now for me to put this entry off any longer.

Cute Thing the First:
Luke is learning new words and phrases every day (really, today's was--"yellow ball, blue ball" complete with pointing at balls that were, in fact, yellow and blue) but the cutest by far lately has been "um". I've tried getting him to say it on camera and he gets too interested in the camcorder to focus on anything else, so you'll just need to take my word for it that, in between half-real words and half-nonsensical babble, he now punctuates almost every sentence with "um". The other night he was getting impatient with how slowly I was turning the pages on his bedtime book and started saying, "Um, um, um" while pointing at the next page as if to say, "Um, not to be rude Mom, but can we speed this up?" CUTE!

Cute Thing the Second:
Along with "um" Luke has picked up shrugging. I'm sure another kid at daycare does it and Luke is just succumbing to toddler peer pressure, but OMG the cute! The best part is that while he does plenty of just-because shrugging, he's also frequently using it in the correct context. This morning we asked him if he wanted to eat another bite of waffles, he shrugged, said "Um" and babbled for a minute before shoving a piece in his mouth. CUTE!

Cute Thing the Third:
Luke loves to talk on the phone. Absolutely loves it. It started last month when Juan was working long hours and wouldn't see Luke at all Monday-Friday. It was hard on all of us to have him gone so much, and our nightly phone call with Daddy became something Luke really looked forward to. He wouldn't just listen to Juan talk, either. Oh no, my son monopolized the conversation with his own very elaborate (nonsensical) stories. We now talk to Grandma and Grandpa on the phone, Mama on the phone (when I'm the one working late), and of course, Elmo on the phone. Or at least that's who Luke says he's talking to when he picks up one of his toy phones (or toys that kind of look like phones) and starts talking. He even says, "Hello?" when he puts it up to his ear. CUTE!

Cute Thing the Fourth:
You wouldn't think that Luke's picky eating would be cute, but it is. Don't get me wrong, it drives me nuts, but some of his finickiness is just hysterical. Take pizza. If you call it pizza, he won't touch it. Call it "bread with sauce" and he'll eat as much as you'll give him. That's when he's not insisting that it's really "pa-tah" (pasta). CUTE!

I could go on and on, but I have to save something for my next entry, don't I? So I'll leave you with a picture of the (do I need to say it?) cute boy from Christmas.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Home Again

Juan's grandmother passed away the day after Christmas, so we packed up and spent the last week in Idaho. It was good to see everyone and to share stories about Granny, and having Luke there certainly helped to lift my in-laws' spirits. Luke, naturally, had a ball being the center of attention.

Of course, in order to get to Idaho we had to fly through Salt Lake City (and were stranded their for an extra day due to plane problems) and ended up going out to dinner at a popular local Mexican restaurant. Trust me, the irony of going to eat Mexican food in Utah considering that we live in El Paso wasn't lost on either of us, but this place actually makes pretty decent food. As I am wont to do, I ordered a margarita with dinner and was a bit gobsmacked when, instead of asking for my ID, the waiter asked "would you like that with or without alcohol?" Clearly, some things in Utah never change.

We're home again now and just readjusting to our semi-normal routine before returning to work on Monday. This vacation didn't feel long enough by half.