Step... Step... Step... Faceplant.

We have been incredibly stingy with Alex's firsts. I am not sure why. We are supposed to be the crazy first-time parents who count the first word at three months old when the baby babbles, "Dadda." But we aren't. We have strict guidelines which we are inclined to follow.

After about two weeks of Alex taking a few steps and then falling, we still were not counting it because he was not able to balance himself and stand. That has been conquered so we finally decided to count him as walking once he could stand for 10 seconds and take 10 steps! This happened on July 14th. Although, sometimes we will turn around and he will be walking across the room and we are not sure where he started.

He doesn't have to pull himself up on something anymore. He can be in the middle of a room with his hands and feet on the ground, stick his butt up in the air, and then stand up. He is definitely getting better and he trusts himself more as well. We are so excited for this new stage. He was been crawling for almost six months and we are definitely ready for the next stage!

It is nearly impossible to get a good video of him walking because he wants the camera so much. In this video, he takes a few steps and then starts playing with the cell phone. Oh well. Use your imagination.


Crazy Week

We have had a busy week so I am just going to dump everything we have done right here...

On Friday, we went to Sonic and then to the Drive-In theater. We saw Inception and Grown Ups. There was hardly anyone at the place because of the weather. It was so hot and humid and then there was a massive downpour during Inception. You aren't supposed to have your car on but we would sneakily turn it on so we could use the windshield wipers. We were definitely fogging up the windows. Alex woke up between the two movies and watched Grown Ups with us. So he went to bed pretty late that night. We ended up going to bed at 2:00am.

On Saturday, we went and mailed our passport applications. I am annoyed with myself because I didn't change my name on my passport within one year of getting married so I had to pay the full application fee in order to change my name. Wal-Mart refused to take Alex's picture so we had to go somewhere else to get his done. It ended up being very cute. Except that he has a huge bruise on his right cheek because he faceplanted onto the edge of the TV stand.

Then we went to the Easton Farmers' Market. It is "The Oldest, Continuous Open-Air Farmers' Market in the United States." I feel like that is a stretch. Whatever. It was fun. We got to see the Zucchini 500. People paid $5 to decorate a zucchini and then race it down a track. It was really entertaining.

After the farmers' market we went to the Crayola Factory. It was really expensive and it seemed like Alex was too young and we were too old so we decided to just hang out in the store until the meter ran out on our car.

We went to the Lehigh Valley Zoo that afternoon. I felt like we had the whole place to ourselves and I think it was because it was hotter than the surface of the sun. We got to see some really cool animals and there were employees standing around telling us interesting facts and answering our questions. I think I liked it more than the Philadelphia Zoo, even though it was much smaller. Like, way smaller. I think I could have held my breath and run around the entire place.

On Sunday, Sam and I spoke in church. I will not be posting my talk here because (1) I didn't think it was that great, and (2) boring. After church, Danielle came to visit! Danielle is my ridiculous friend and stand partner from high school (no, not that stand partner). She is currently in the Teach for America program and she is working in Philadelphia for a few weeks. The TFA program is intense and so every time we went to Philly she was too busy/popular to see us. We were so happy she was able to come visit. Alex had been acting funny for a few days and we noticed he was burning up on Sunday. I took his temperature and it was 103.5 degrees. Poor kid.

On Wednesday, we went to the Phillies/D-Backs game. I have been looking forward to this game all summer. But the D-Backs got rocked. It was so sad. Sam was cheering for the Phillies because he likes getting in fights with me. The D-Backs ended up losing 7-1. And that one run came in the top of the 9th. Embarrassing.


Diagnosis: Obsession

I am not sure why I even want to write this down but I think about this man a lot and so I feel like sharing.

I have gone through times when I love other actors (such as Christian Bale, especially in Newsies) but there is one actor who has, and I think always will be, my favorite actor. That man is Dick Van Dyke. How strange to choose an old man as a favorite actor when most girls are fawning over the most recent dreamboat. It's not like I want his sexy body or something ridiculous like that. Although I do think he is quite charming.

Growing up, I loved a show called "Diagnosis Murder." It came on TV at 9:00pm. I would sit in my closet with my portable TV (which was about 2") and watch it. On Friday nights, I was even allowed to stay up and watch it in the family room since my bedtime wasn't until 10:00pm! Dick Van Dyke played a doctor named Mark Sloan. He would solve murders. He was so smart but often got caught in very difficult situations, which probably could have easily been avoided but that wouldn't make for good TV. I still remember many episodes and have seen most of them more than once. They no longer play Diagnosis Murder on TV and that is a crying shame. When they stopped playing it, I moved onto to shows like "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and other TGIF nonsense.

I still remember one episode of "Diagnosis Murder" where a man died while muttering something about a blooty bird. Mark Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) could not figure out what the man meant and then finally realized he was saying, "Blue T-Bird." Saying that the person who killed him drove a blue T-Bird. Brilliant! Who writes these things?

So that is my celebrity crush. An 84-year-old man who once ran around with cymbals between his knees and was a chimney sweep, then became a crime-solving superstar. I think he is a pretty swell guy. Now if only I could find a way to meet him. Heaven? Done.


Tuesday Thyme: Creamy Pistachio Pesto over Whole Wheat Pasta

This has a pretty strong flavor so I am not sure how much little kids would enjoy it. I liked everything about it except the olives. I am not really a fan of olives in general. So Sam ate all of my olives. Otherwise, it was delicious. It is also good leftover, which I feel is essential in a recipe.
Creamy Pistachio Pesto over Whole Wheat Pasta
source: In the Kitchen the Costco Way
makes 6 servings

15 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
1/3 c. + 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 cloves roasted garlic (see below for recipe), or 6 cloves raw garlic
3 T. lemon juice
1/2 c. roasted, salted pistachio nuts, shelled, plus 2 T. for garnish
2 1/2 c. packed fresh basil leaves, plus sprig for garnish
1 T. light miso paste, or 3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 c. pitted kalamata olives, sliced into thirds

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a bowl and toss to coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil; set aside.
2. To prepare the pesto, place garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor and blend for 15 seconds. Add 1/2 cup pistachios, basil, miso, salt and pepper; blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
3. Add pesto to the pasta and toss to coat. Add tomatoes and olives. adjust seasoning.
4. Garnish with a basil spring and remaining pistachios. Serve warm.

Roasted Garlic
Source: The Spice House
makes 1 cup

1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Place the garlic in a small ovenproof container and pour in the oil. Use additional oil if needed to completely immerse all the garlic cloves. Cover the container with aluminum foil and roast 1 hour, until garlic is soft and light golden brown.
3. Strain the garlic and place in a blender along with 2 Tablespoons of the oil. Puree to a smooth consistency, adding a small amount of oil if necessary. Pour into a container and cover the top of the puree with a thin layer of the oil.
4. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Reserve the remaining garlic-infused oil in another container and refrigerate.


Death to another Love Fern

Remember that time our beloved Love Fern was robbed right from our very own balcony?

Well, right before we moved to Ohio we replaced it with another one. One that seemed much easier to keep alive since it was an inside plant. Ironic that being an inside plant brought the ultimate demise of this Love Fern.

You see, when we moved to Pennsylvania, I drove my car and Sam drove the moving truck that was towing his car. The usual form of transportation for our Love Ferns is to have them ride with us, like a pet. Sam has even been known to let the Love Fern ride in the front seat as long as it promises to wear its seatbelt.

For this move, we packed a lot of fragile things in my car and, without thinking, we put the Love Fern in Sam's car. There it would surely be safe. We forgot one crucial point: Sam wouldn't be in his car, thus it would not be turned on.

The poor thing shriveled to death from spending four hours in his scorching car. We tried to nurse it back to health but to no avail. It met an untimely death. Maybe it will meet Love Fern #1 in plant heaven and they can talk about their cruel murders (one of which, mind you, was not by our hands).


Roaming Pennsylvania

Sam's sister, Ellie, and her family came to visit from Columbus, Ohio. We were so excited to have visitors and a home to welcome them into. We met them Saturday (6.17.10) morning in Hershey. First we went on a tour of Chocolate World. It was too early in the morning for my mouth to be watering and I couldn't really hear anything that the recording was saying, but it was still fun.

After Chocolate World, we went to Hershey Park. We had originally decided Hershey Park was too expensive but Sam gets an employee discount from AP so we thought it would be worth it. The lines were ridiculously long and Sam and I each only went on one ride! I think the kids had fun though.

Alex slept in our closet so the kids could have his room. I was worried about it but he actually slept really well. I think it had something to do with us dragging him around the city and barely letting him take a nap.

While we were cleaning up breakfast on Sunday, water started flooding the kitchen floor. We cleaned it up and then I called emergency maintenance on my way to church. We got home to see a note that said, "There is no leak. The tenants above you are using too much detergent. I talked to them about it." So I started making lunch. It was a really nice meal, too! When I was about halfway done, the water sensor started beeping again. So I called the maintenance guy back and he came right back. He was banging around in our kitchen the whole time we were eating. I invited him to eat with us but he had just eaten.

After lunch, Sam took us to AP and gave us a tour. He drove with Bryan and Stephen in their car while I drove our car with Ellie, Nora, Andrew, and Alex. We got separated and I didn't know the way home. We drove around for an extra 30 minutes and took about every wrong possible turn. Sunday was not my day. The one redeeming point was that we saw a short limo and Andrew said, "I guess that limo has not been stretched yet."

I love the picture of Ellie after she blew out all of the candles in one try. She looks so proud of herself, as she should, since it was a lot of candles (33)!

We went into Philadelphia on Monday. We didn't have as much time as we expected so we didn't get to see very many things. Last time we went on a tour of Independence Hall, they didn't take us upstairs! This time we got to go up there and it was so cool to see it.

 We went to lunch at Jim's Steaks and then the Warnicks began their long drive home. Sam went and did a service ticket and Alex and I hung out in the car.

We loved having visitors and we are so glad we tricked the Warnicks into visiting! I think it helps that we live nearby a really cool city. If we end up coming back to Allentown, we hope to trick many more people into visiting us.


Black Eye

It has already been established that I bruise easily, but apparently it runs in our family.

Sam told me this was an accident but I didn't see it happen so who can say. We have had a week full of "Well, if he wouldn't be so insubordinate I wouldn't have to teach him a lesson..." type jokes. But I guess we did know this was coming.

Luckily, the universe gave Sam his just deserts*. He was playing third base at his softball game and a ball took a bad hop right into his shoulder. I think I heard Alex mutter, "Sweet, sweet revenge."

*"Just deserts" is the proper way to write this phrase. Because the accent is on the second syllable (so it is pronounced like "desserts") people often think that it is spelled the same. Those people are mistaken. "Just deserts" refers to a person getting a deserved reward or punishment.


It is a miracle we had a fourth date.

It should be clear by now that sports are very important to me. Obviously, it is an obsession of Sam's. However, I grew up playing baseball/softball and swimming. I would sometimes watch golf and a few tennis matches on television. Basketball was boring to me and I never watched it. Sam, on the other hand, watched as many Jazz games as he could. If he couldn't watch them, he would try to listen to them on the radio. That is dedication!

At the end of our third date (I think), we were back at my house playing ping pong in my basement. He started asking me about basketball; I had seen on his Myspace (we were so cool back then) that he really liked basketball.

Being that it was the beginning of our relationship, I was still trying to impress him in everything I did or said. He asked me who was my favorite basketball team. Now, remember, [pointing at self] not a basketball fan. I could only think of two teams. So I said, "Probably the Lakers or the Suns." Good idea, Emily; you can only name two basketball teams, how about you just shout them both out and see what he thinks. I could see the disappointment on his face. Sam's hatred for the Lakers runs deep and cold.

Sometimes I look back on that moment and think, "Wow, I was an idiot. Why do I pretend like I know things I know nothing about?" I am glad Sam decided to overlook my ditziness and continue to be seen with me. I still don't quite share his hatred for the Lakers, but I think it is entertaining and I don't like them, just out of respect for my husband.

I am not saying I was ashamed of my opinion. The difference is that I did not have an opinion.

I am really glad we had a fourth date, and fifth, and sixth. I am glad we still go on dates now. We even count a trip to the grocery store as a date. And if Alex is there? It is still a date, just because we are spending time together. Dating is the best.

This photo was taken three days before our first date. Good things start at Del Taco!
 Ben, Kaitlyn, and Sam (photo by Emily)


What happened to Tuesday Thyme?

Remember the birth and death of Tuesday Thyme? Well I have decided it is time to resurrect it! I have been cooking very frequently now and I want to share some of the recipes we love. I am always on the lookout for delicious new things to try and I figure other people are as well.

One of the main reasons I stopped doing Tuesday Thyme in the first place was because I was unsure of how to give proper credit to the source of the recipe. I felt like I was stealing their page views by reposting the recipe on my blog. However, it is my hope to give even more attention to the chefs who deserve it!

In general, I feel blogs are a cesspool of plagiarism. I have seen repeats of my posts come up on other blogs without any reference to me or my blog; that is a very sad thing to me. [On the rare occasion that I post something you think you would like to do on your blog, please link back to my blog!] I doubt I will be posting any original recipes since my improvisation skills in the kitchen are nonexistent. That means that all of my recipes will be found from other sources. I will do my best to link back to the site I found it on or cite the book if I cannot find a link online.

Second, I am not an expert. I have had my share of disasters in the kitchen.

Third, what is a cooking blog without pictures? I will try to post a picture I took of what my food looked like for every recipe. If there is no picture, that probably means don't make it because it is gross and I didn't want to document it. I won't be posting any sick recipes though.

Fourth, this will not be a weekly thing. It may be, but no promises either way. I will just post a recipe if we find a good one. That way I will not feel obligated to post a recipe every Tuesday, even if I only have a mediocre one.

I know there are some people who do not like recipes clogging up their Reader. I will only occasionally post recipes and most of the time I will sprinkle your Reader with delightful pictures of Alex.

Now, get cooking!



I received this pamphlet in the mail a few weeks ago:


Immediately after reading it, I knew I did not like the feeling I was getting. I had a hard time putting my finger on exactly why I was feeling that way. When I was growing up, I cleaned a lady's house a few times a week. I liked doing it and I felt like I was helping her. I was giving her more time to play with her grandkids, spend time with her husband, or scrapbook (which was something she really enjoyed doing). Now, looking back, was I actually hurting her? Was a taking away a critical part of her life?

From the picture, I gather that if I clean my own house then I will never see my family. Is this how people think? I was reading more on the internet about this company and I found this quote from a woman:
I am helping my life to be a long one, by cleaning my own house. I am 76 years of age and I make the chores around the house into exercises. Bend at the knees put the dishes in the dishwasher. Reach up high and take down a plate. Get on your hands and knees and wash the kitchen floor, making long sweeps with your arms. Every month I change the interior decoration in one room. Pushing furniture and lifting tables. I have the radio on and I dance while I vacuum and I vacuum like I am skating. When I am standing at the kitchen counter I walk standing still while I make a pie. I sit down and watch television and make myself get up for every commercial and dance or move to the music background. Life will be too short if you don't clean your own house, in my opinion.
 I would really like to see this woman cleaning her house. I think that would be entertaining.

My life is valuable. It is important for me to teach good values to my children. One of the most important lessons I feel I learned from my parents was how to work hard. It is part of life to take care of things; you should clean up the messes you make, even, or especially, in your own home. I am so satisfied when I finish cleaning  our apartment and I feel like I finally did something exactly to my liking. I am glad I am able to clean my own home and I hope to have a long life.


Wait for it...

Sam is on one of AP's softball teams. It is intra-company play but it is still fun. We went to a game on July 12th even though we could see a storm was coming.

Slow-pitch softball is painful for me to watch. Everything is so, well, slow. The pitcher would throw the ball, say something to the batter like, "That's a good one," and then the batter would swing at the ball. It was ridiculous. I am not patient enough for that. Also, the slower it comes in, the slower it goes out. Then people stumble around trying to get each other out. I asked if there was a mercy run-rule after the top of the first because Sam's team was embarrassing the other team. They got three innings into the game and then called it because of the lightning. The sad part was that they called it right in the middle of Sam's at-bat! It was pretty lame but they are going to reschedule that game so we will probably go watch that one, too.

The picture of me with Alex has a pretty cute story. I would throw a softball and then run and bounce over to it. He was cracking up and it was so fun. I guess he likes when he is not the only person chasing after a ball.


Solo Vacation

When I was in Arizona at the beginning of June, Sam went to New Jersey to visit his friend, Jason. One of their activities was to go to a Mets game. The picture quality is poor because I took the camera so he only had his phone.

So this is a rare in-post comment by Sam, so appreciate it.  The Mets game was great and while I was there I was actually thinking about posting, crazy, eh?  Anyway, the reason I was thinking about blogging was because I was going to tell everyone the beauty of baseball games.  Even if you are not a fan of the game it is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or an evening. 

Here are a few reasons why: 
1.  It's a good chance to spend time together. Baseball games can be a little slow at times, so there's plenty of opportunity to just talk and enjoy each others company. I know how you girls love that.
2.  It's a great opportunity to get all decked out in cute sports attire.
3. The picture of the hot dog may not look that appetizing, but let me describe what that thing has on it. On the bottom level closest to the brat, grilled onions and peppers, next layer--freshly cut onions, and then the reddish stuff on the top is cooked onions in a tomato sauce. Quite possibly the best stadium hot dog I've ever had. You can be a traditionalist and only do ketchup and mustard, or you can go all out.
4. Peanuts and crackerjacks.
5. Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.
6. The feeling of camaraderie as you cheer for the home team, or the playful heckling you get if you cheer for the visitors.
7. The smell of freshly cut grass.

I could go on and on, but if you have a chance to go see a game live you should, your husband will love it.


It's just because I'm better than you.

We often have yelling competitions with Alex. He will yell and then we will yell, back and forth. This continues until we are trying to top each other by yelling louder and longer. While driving in the car the other day, I took the deepest breath I could and yelled for a long time. Alex joined in a few times and then stopped. He eventually became confused that I wasn't giving him his turn. I had to stop because I was laughing too hard. Then Sam said, "That's Mommy owning you."

One day he will probably be able to yell longer than me, and I am sure he'll be tugging on my leg repeating, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy." I pray for patience at those times. Or maybe I will just tug on him as I follow him around repeating, "Devil, Devil, Devil!" I feel bad this kid got a mother who acts his same age. Not too bad, but just a little.



Hill Cumorah Pageant

We were planning on leaving to Palmyra on Saturday morning and going to the Pageant on Saturday night. On Friday morning, Sam said we should just leave when he got home from work so we could stay in Ithaca that night and then go to the Palmyra temple and do endowment sessions before the Hill Cumorah Pageant on Saturday. So when he got home from work, we packed and drove (3 hours) to Ithaca. Our friends (the Dredges) are gone on an internship and they were so kind and let us stay in their apartment. It was kind of fun to eat oatmeal for breakfast and soup for lunch. I felt like we were camping or something. Camping in a really nice apartment.

On the drive to Ithaca, my wonderful, amazing, most-beloved car got to 100,000 miles. I have been driving that car since before I turned 16. Then my parents gave it to me as a wedding present. I love it. We are trying to sell it so I will probably post a long, tear-filled goodbye at a later date.

 Sam and I had to alternate going to sessions in the temple so one of us could be watching Alex. I am not sure how Sam dinked while I was in there, but while Sam was in the temple, I went on a tour of the Smith farm and then walked around the Sacred Grove. I met a Deaf couple and they were so sweet. I was signing to them and we realized we were both from Mesa, Arizona. Turns out he is the Bishop of the Deaf Branch! It is a small world! It was cute because they were making a narrative movie. He would sign to the camera about the First Vision and then wave the camera to follow him as he walked into the Sacred Grove.

After Sam got out of the temple, we went on a tour of the Grandin Printing Press. We ran into friends from Ithaca, the Asays! It was fun to see them and go on the tour together.

Before the show started, many cast members walked around and met people. Lots of the people we talked to were from Utah. It got to the point that I noticed they would shrug their shoulders and say, "Oh, I'm just from Utah." I was like, "Hey, wait! I'm the one who's supposed to be shrugging my shoulders and saying it's not a big deal that I am here because I only live a few hours away!" Oh, Utahns are crazy. The Hill Cumorah Pageant was amazing. Alex was so entranced by it. The set was incredible and I had never seen anything like it! I would highly recommend for everyone to see it. One day, I think I would like to be in it.

Across the street from the Hill Cumorah Pageant, there were many anti-Mormon demonstrators. They were calling us sinners and yelling rude things. But then one of them said something that really stood out to me. He said, "You are all leaving here so happy and goofy..." Even he noticed that we were happy, and yet he condemned us for it. Being happy should be a good thing.

On Sunday morning, we went to our ward in Ithaca. The time has changed from 9am to 11am and I am not happy about it. I had to feed Alex solids and make him take a nap at church! That is not going to work out with his schedule! Also, I was starving because church went right through lunchtime! Whoever decided to change times needs a thorough kicking in the shins! After church, we drove to Cornell to see the status of the perpetual construction projects. Then we realized we went to Ithaca exactly one year ago to find an apartment there!
I found out while I was at church that Brother McInelly, a man from my home ward, passed away. When my mom told me Brother McInelly had died, I was confused. Who is Brother McInelly? To me, he was always known as Grandpa. And he really was a grandfather to me. I would spend hours at his home while Hillary (his grand-daughter) and I played together. Hillary and I would have sleepovers and Grandpa was always there with the occasional joke or attitude adjustment (which was surely necessary). He would tell us to be safe as we jumped off the wall onto the trampoline but it seemed he warned us more out of duty than concern: he trusted us. He was so hardworking and he expected everyone around him to be as well. He wanted to see us do our best. I just saw Grandpa last month at a fireside while I was in Arizona. He came up to me, held my hand, and asked me how my life was going and what I was up to; so sweet and selfless, as always. I don't think I asked him how things were going with him, but I am sure he would have said everything was great. He was always happy and that was the main reason I was so drawn to him. I could always count on him for a smile and a kind word; that's why he will always be Grandpa to me.


"I'm a piranha!"

Teeth just keep showing up and we have no idea when they are coming! Alex is not fussy at all. One day we were trying to show a friend Alex's third tooth and then noticed that a fourth one had come in! He is still nursing strong. He bit me once but I rectified that and we haven't had a problem since. Alex is such a good baby and, although his top teeth make him look a little funky, he is still so cute. He has a serious attitude and it cracks us up. Sometimes he gets angry and pouts. He is so serious about it but we just laugh. Then he stares at us, looks confused, and then chuckles. Oh, he is the bright spot of every day.


DaVinci Science Center

Alex and I went to the DaVinci Science Center with the Walkers. They are some friends we met in the ward here in Allentown. I bought a membership because I found out it can be used at the ScienCenter in Ithaca as well (along with many different science centers around the country). It was a really cool place and Alex didn't even try to dive down the stairs! I call that a successful day. It has been so hot here and it was nice to do something inside; I think Alex is getting sick of me pushing him in flaming hot swings.


Independence Day Weekend

We enjoyed the long weekend very much. We went to New York City on Saturday and Philadelphia on Monday. I was supposed to take a cake decorating class that started on Friday but I was the only person to sign up so the class got canceled. We decided to go to a drive-in movie instead of just sitting around. We went to a different theater this time and they had funnel cakes! I think Sam got two bites; I was so excited that I practically inhaled it (which is a bad idea with powdered sugar).

Some highlights of the day in NYC:
-I asked Libby the elevation of NYC.
-The awesome feeling in Yankee Stadium.
-The Yankees fans were not annoying! I guess they didn't have to be defensive since it was their house.
-We had perfect seats to the Yankees game and we were in the shade the whole game.
-Yankee Stadium was nice but the grass was the worst I've seen on an MLB field and it made me happy.
-I drove on the way there and I am very proud of myself for not dying in the city.

Some highlights of Independence Day:
-The National Anthem recording was having some problems and it kept repeating.
-A lady said, "Oooh, it looks like a star!"
-Kids were chanting, "Hit the plane" for each firework.
-Alex was more interested in playing with the empty baby food containers than watching the fireworks but would squint/flinch at the fireworks sometimes, too.
-The gold weeping willow fireworks with sparkles at the end were my favorite.
-I love the smell of fireworks.

Some highlights of the day in Philadelphia:
-At the zoo, a man lifted his son up to an exhibit and said, "This is a cactus." Had the child never seen cactus before?!
-The giant elephant shrew was my favorite. It could move its nose like a finger! It was so cute!
-We practically had the zoo to ourselves because it was about 100 degrees and 50% humidity (or something ridiculous like that). It was not a highlight that I had to sit down on the dirty sidewalk because I thought I was going to faint.



Surprisingly, he has never been late for his internship. Maybe he should just set his alarm for the time he wants to wake up... But I would do the same so I still love him.


Muhlenberg College

There is a nearby college that we wanted to go see. We went on a Sunday so only a few people were on campus. It was a very old campus (founded in 1848; Cornell was founded in 1865) and was beautiful. The only downside was that there was major construction going on and it was in a little bit of disarray.


It's Independence Day!

I wasn't planning on posting anything like this, but while I stood in church today to sing the National Anthem, I was holding back tears. The first verse is beautiful and powerful but I feel the other verses are often lost and forgotten. Today, the third verse was especially poignant to me.

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between  their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The Founding Fathers were inspired and I feel grateful to live in the United States of America. I hope we can uphold enough of the Constitution to protect the rights of our children. I am grateful for those who fight for our country. The only freedom lies within God's plan for us. Happy Independence Day!


Alex is aging! (11 months)

Weight: 18 pounds, 4 ounces
Length: 28.5 inches

I wish I could have Alex's entire life thus far on video and replay it on fast-forward (because I don't want to miss what is currently going on just because I am looking back!) so I can remember how happy I am right now. People tell us all the time that kids are so fun... until they are teenagers. Do people really hate their kids once they become teenagers? I cannot imagine ever disliking Alex. The things below are such a small percentage of what he is doing. He is constantly learning new things, making adorable faces, and terrorizing our house. It would be impossible to capture it all. Sometimes when he does something extra adorable I think, "I should get my camera!" Sometimes I do get it, but most times I just sit there and hope I will be able to pull that mental picture from my file folder of memories for the rest of my life. Alex is an angel to us and we worship the ground he drags his little toes around on.

 He lounges off the side of his high chair.

 He takes big bites.

He has some awesome karate moves.

He is filthy rich!

He is still obsessed with books.

He stands for a second before he falls.

He loves looking up.

He drinks out of cups and spills all over.

He puckers his lips.

He gets confused.

He chews on pencils.

He claps his hands (and bangs them on everything).

He just lies on the floor. For no reason.

He loves playing with doorstops.

He stands at the door and pounds on it.

He tries to fall off the balcony.

He makes adorable angry faces.

He gets Cheerios stuck to his chin.

He tries to climb trees.

He helps unload the dishwasher. Even if they're dirty.

He gets food stuck between his only teeth (at the time).

He loves carts that let him face forward.

He is obsessed with Mommy's hair brush.

He is always carrying around pacifiers. Notice the marks on his face from his nap.

He tried some spaghetti, but it ended up on his head.

He has got some groovy moves.

He jams out by sitting on the guitar.

He eats Daddy's headphones.

He hides under the bed.

He pinches his fingers in doors and cabinets.

He pulls on his ear.

 He walks around with this toy all day.

He loves the pool. Loves it.

 He will not let any toys stay the way they are supposed to be.

 Action shot: He stands between the chair and desk and dances/falls.

He learned how to turn pages!

He yells...

...And yells some more.

He can yell for a loooong time.

He fights with his toys.

He will do just about anything to get to a pacifier.

He spins around and around with this chair.

A rare calm moment (right when he wakes up).

He bites my toes.

He plays with Al, his xylophone.

He thinks it's funny when WE get hurt.

We mostly hurt Daddy.

He is a biter!

He loves playing with doorstops.

He gets startled.

He helps his uncle play the piano.

He had never seen a phone cord before!

He loves watermelon.

He loves Cheerios.

He is good at getting things OUT.

He loves portable toys.

He thinks he's taller and stronger than he is.

He gives Mommy's head a rest and pulls Daddy's hair.

Favorite video: He shows off his muscles.

He has some new tricks.

He is a pro at climbing up stairs. We're still working on coming down.

He never stops moving.

We love stealing his pacifier.

He crawls back and forth over a small bump. Weirdo.

He throws temper tantrums when we take away his toy.

We torture our son in the following ways:
We put him in plastic bags.

But sometimes we are nice and let him peek out.

We make him slide down railings.

He make him drink from a baby fire hydrant.

We put our feet on his high chair.

We make him do tricks while he is sleepy.

 We take pictures instead of moving him away from outlets.

We stick his head under water falling off the tent.

Here are a few more things Alex does for which I do not have a matching picture:
...acts like he is conducting music, even if no music is playing.
...had his very own laptop for one week (thanks Grandpa Neil!) that he happily pounded on and removed many of the keys.
...will mimic every simple sound we make.
...loves getting knocked over.
...will crawl up to me and put his head on my leg or arm (whichever he can reach) when he wants picked up.
...will always eat big people food, even if he is stuffed of baby food.
...tries to yell when he has the hiccups. It is entertaining.
...will immediately stop what he's doing and head for an abandoned pacifier if he sees it on the ground.
...knows how to put in his own pacifier and flip it the correct direction.
...yawns when he is choking.
...arches his back when we put him in his carseat so we can get the buckles from behind his back.
...wraps his fingers around Mommy's arm while nursing.
...will spit out the pacifier he currently has in his mouth when he comes across a new one to replace it.
...has lots of questions (he is frequently raising his hand).

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