Sunday, November 18, 2012

John. One Word: Busy

John turned 2.5 on November 13th which also happened to by my mom's 29th birthday! Now we're the same age. I'm going to grow one year older so that I can set her curfew.

I thought an update on John was in order. Recently I asked him if he's acquired wisdom beyond is 2.5 years. He answered affirmatively.

Interspersed are some pumpkin patch pictures. We were going for action shots this year.  Not by choice.

 It's hard for me to distill all of his development into a blog post. It boggles the mind. Here is an anecdote to illustrate my point: Shortly after Isla was born, just before he turned 2, as we drove out of town one day he saw some cows in a field, and  he said "muh moo." This I knew to mean "more moo" or "I want to see more cows." A scant three months later his language had exploded into sayings like: "How you do that cow?" We were never clear exactly which of the cow's activities he was inquiring about, but you can still see quite a progression in the language. Now at 2.5, what isn't he saying? This week he told me: "It's not about you!" Surely this is a helpful reminder to all of us in our individualistic society, and yet Peter and I don't regularly bandy that phrase about, so I asked where he heard it. Turns out he was repeating it from the movie The Incredibles. He went on to tell me that it's not so much not about me as it's not about Mr. Incredible, since it was said to him in the movie.

His observation skills continue to impress me. It's funny that due to juggling the needs of two young children,  a smidgen of sleep deprivation, and possibly aging, my powers of observation (and mental acumen in general) seem to be on the decline. John is as sharp as a tack and you can't put anything past him which is unfortunate for me- one of the duller tools in the shed. Usually after our Saturday morning grocery run, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me is on the radio on our ride home. Today when we got in the car to go back to the house he said "I want to listen to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me." (Granted, it might not be crystal clear, but that's definitely what he said.) So, not only does he recognize the show, he also knows it's name even though we haven't discussed it. It seems that daily he has more to say and makes more connections about his environment.

More about John:
He can count to 12
He loves to read books
He loves music and singing songs (interestingly enough, he won't do this in public. We go to library time where there's plenty of singing and dancing, which he refuses to do. But he knows all the songs and will sing them at home.)
He's memorized several songs like the Alphabet song, Jesus Loves Me, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, as well as some scriptures put to music from these Seeds Family Worship CD's (I love these! It's Bible verses set to music that kids love and that don't make me want to skewer my ear drums.)
He likes playing blocks and trains
He loves dinosaurs
He loves all things construction and he will correct you if you mistake an excavator for a tractor
Whenever he falls down or bumps his head, etc, he says "I okay, mama."

Things that make him throw a fit:
Leaving anywhere fun (friend's house, park, zoo, etc)
When I turn off his afternoon "movie" (30 minute DVD)
He dislikes sitting still and sharing (we're working on these)

Where I wanted him to sit (next to the big pumpkin)

He is characteristically pushing limits behavior-wise, but overall he's very receptive to instruction and discipline.

He is a sweet, sweet happy boy. I'm very thankful that I can take care of him and see the constant changes that are taking place. Though, I do wish he showed more appreciation for the art of quiet contemplation.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

October Books

My October reading was scant. Well, not scant exactly, but of the two books I read, one does not lend itself to leisure reading.

Not Buying It by Judith Levine. A memoir of one woman's year of foregoing all but the most necessary purchases. It had some (at least one) interesting insights, but I didn't love it, and I'm still not sure exactly what she'd recommend as an antidote to consumerism/materialism. The author is a liberal feminist, which I only mention to say that the book definitely has an angle to it. She's a writer who was so fed up with Christmas-season consumerism (I can identify with that) that she vowed to only  buy necessities for a year. She spent that year navigating what constitutes a "necessity", mulling over what it means to be a consumer versus a citizen, and, of course, writing the book. And, like I said I'm still not sure what conclusion she reached. But I tend to plow through books and do not always contemplate them like I should, so maybe I just missed it.

 Fitness: Theory and Practice, a Comprehensive Resource for Group Fitness Instructors. If that title doesn't peak your interest, certainly nothing will. Recently during an aerobics class at the Y, the instructor suggested to me the possibility of getting certified to teach aerobics. I'd never thought of that before, but I quickly decided that if I could get paid to do something that I'm already doing (and in fact paying to do), that would be a good thing for our bottom line. So, I did the certification workshop a few weeks ago and got my certification card in the mail shortly after! This explains my blogging hiatus- I spent many an evening reading up on high school science class favorites like lever classification (bicep curl = 3rd class lever), oxygen metabolism (glycolisis, electron transport chain, krebb's cycle... any of that sound familiar?), and musculoskeletal anatomy. Now I can impress high school kids with all of that worthless information* knowledge. I'm looking for a job and surely soon I'll have my own line of aerobics videos. I'll let you know!

* I do not actually believe this to be worthless information. Yet, I don't ever expect it to come up in an aerobics class either. Stay in school, kids!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Baby Steps

I voted Tuesday! It was my first time voting despite the fact that I've been eligible for two previous elections. I usually struggle deeply over the candidates because rarely does either one represent my views very well. And I usually find that voting for either party requires me to endorse at least one policy that I find morally reprehensible. And, in fact, I still feel that way. I don't wish to say who I voted for because I don't particularly wish to be associated with either candidate. 

Despite that, I was excited to participate in the  political process. It is quite amazing that our country has transferred executive power 44 times since it's inception and, excluding #16 (Lincoln in 1860), I think all of those episodes have been non-violent and more or less by the will of the people. Well, the people and large corporations who are now considered people. Okay, so it's not perfect. But it could be so, so much worse. It is a privilege to  participate- one that so many people do not enjoy the world over. 

Next time, mark my words (and please remind me of them when the next elections are looming!), I'm going to know more about the local candidates. That's where I think my vote counts the most. Unfortunately this time around the only research I did was to google "Harris County ballot, who should I vote for?" which, as you might expect, yielded few helpful results. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that, and yet I think that's pretty par for the course for most Americans, sadly. So, baby steps. This year, I showed up at the polls. Next time, I'm going to have some (any!) information on local politics. 

We made our voting a family affair. Since we'd neglected to partake in early voting, it was very important to avoid lines on election day, which meant that we had to get there early. And we did with the help of our early-rising kids who, aided by the time change, are getting up before the sun (I will support any legislation that requires children to remain sleeping until a reasonable hour.)  All four of us were at our precinct voting location at 7 am. There was not a long line, so we got done quickly and went out to breakfast at Three Brother's Bakery. 

Sadly, only then, after casting my ballot, did I meet my dream candidates:

 If only I'd known, I would've written in for a bipartisan President/VP team of these yummy cookie candidates! They're like regular politicians, only they're cookies! This way, if their activities in office aren't satisfactory, they can double as a helpful blood sugar boost during those long filibuster sessions. This is much more delicious than the usual partisan squabbling that we've become accustomed to, don't you think?

If you plan to move to Canada, I really want to come visit! Not necessarily to avoid Obama's second term, more so because I  like to drink hot chocolate and I hear Canada gets chilly.