Sunday, September 28, 2008

PhD Explained

This is Luke making a rare appearance. While I was freeloading at the David Byrne concert, I was struck first by the fact that I'm a total nerd, and second by how well the lyrics to one Talking Heads' song, Crosseyed and Painless, explain what I've gained from the PhD program. Here they are:

Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them
Facts are nothing on the face of things
Facts don't stain the furniture
Facts go out and slam the door
Facts are written all over your face
Facts continue to change their shape

And I'm not even done with the first semester!

Our Week

What a week! Mon-Weds we were convinced that Laurel was teething - she was absolutely inconsolable, always had her fingers in her mouth, ran a fever, and needed to be held constantly. (Which was an absolute pleasure - she's so independent these days that time for cuddling is a rarity.) However, we were worried that something else might be wrong, so I snagged the last appointment of the day at her pediatrician's Wednesday afternoon and sure enough: the croup, an ear infection, but no sign of teeth! She's still quite uncomfortable and I've been getting up with her at night every 2-3 hours. That's been a bit rough on everyone.
In other news, we had the missionaries over for dinner this week, and after teaching a YW lesson on marriage standards this past Sunday, I was craving a white layer cake. (The missionaries didn't get the connection between weddings and the stereotypical white cake - guess they're boys!) It was a from scratch half pound of butter, all cake flour recipe and it was luscious with its buttercream frosting. Luke's evaluation was that it was "pretty good". "Pretty good! What do you mean pretty good?" I had forgotten that unless there's chocolate somewhere in there, Luke thinks that cake is pretty bland. I had to remember that in spite of Luke's increduility, that is my response to his seemingly favorite Mexican food. "Sure, I suppose that enchiladas are pretty good" - but they just aren't something that I find appealing, no matter how good they are.
Also, this week was Austin City Limit's music festival. We started date night a bit late because Luke went to the David Byrne (formerly of the Talking Heads) concert. Conveniently, the hike and bike trail (steps from our apartment) skirts the festival venue, and the stage where David performed was right along the trail. Luke and about 50 other people hung out at the edge of the trail along the festival's fence [Luke's note: I have no idea what the average paying David Byrne concert-goer is like, but the mooching hippies that hang out on the fence are a rough crowd - lucky I didn't get stabbed with a shiv], facing one of the Jumbotron's, rocking out [Luke note: My idea of rocking out is not frowning when other people rock out, that's as much as I can loosen up] (and closer to the stage than most of those with tickets) and saving the $80 entrance fee [Luke note: some people call this stealing, I call it year 3 of 8 of grad school]. What a frugal husband!

11 Months


We had just returned from a baby shower where the 3 week old guest of honor was present - I can hardly believe my little girl is almost a year old!

Laurelangela's "The Creation"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy 28th!



We started the festivities early with a birthday dinner for Luke on Sunday. His annual birthday present from me: a spinach lasagna with a bechamel sauce which I only make once a year, and a cake-from-scratch of his choice. I love to bake a good cake, but find few reasons to do so, so I'm loving the birthdays in our family. They aren't the best looking cakes in the world, but they are yummy. This was one amazing German chocolate filling: not sweetened condensed milk, not corn syrup, but a custard of butter/egg yolks/sugar/heavy cream stirred constantly on the stove for half an hour until a thermometer reached 180 degrees, finished with a stir-in of pecans and coconut. Good merciful heavens yummy. We celebrated today with some bona fide Texas gelato (thank you Whole Foods). Check out that yummy pint-size container: half hazelnut and half chocolate. Wow!

Cuddles from Mom



The bonus of pulling Laurel's hair back in a barrette is that I can see more of my adorable baby's face - but Laurel no longer lets her barrettes stay put. She doesn't merely pull them out, she pulls them out and puts them in her mouth. Luke was watching Laurel during the third hour of church on Sunday while I was with the Young Women (new church calling), and after giving her a bottle, she fell asleep in his arms (lucky dad!!), but then started choking and she spit out her barrette. Somehow she had snuck her barrette in her mouth, drank an entire bottle, and then fell asleep with it in there! And today on a shopping trip to our local fabulous Goodwill store, I peeked at her in the stroller and she was chomping away at another one. Thus, no more barrettes for this little girl - we're unfortunately going to embrace the hair-hanging-halfway-in-one's-eyes look. Sigh.

Reading with Dad



Oh, isn't she getting chubby??!! She's expending so much more energy being mobile, I thought she'd slim down, but she is just becoming much more solid - maybe all that new baby muscle? To all you moms, I highly recommend the book "The Seven Silly Eaters"; Laurel doesn't yet have quite the attention span for it, but it's a great read for mom and dad. Also, see that big stuffed animal in the background? Well, for some reason I was never a fan of those "bigger than life" stuffed animals - maybe they reminded me of the teenage boy trying to impress his gal by winning an overstuffed teddy bear for her from the carnival con-man. But that's the penance paid for subjecting both Luke and Laurel to a 4-hour Ikea shopping trip shortly after our move to Austin. Both were getting a bit fussy until we walked through the kids section - Laurel loved this pup and Luke loved teasing her with it - it's why we all got out of the store still on speaking terms! It served dual purposes - a plaything for Laurel and a soft cushion for the bottom of the shopping cart when Laurel became restless and wanted to get out of the shopping cart kiddie straps. Happy baby + happy husband = excellent return on investment!

Stand-Up Baby



I foolishly thought that at least the top shelf would be safe!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Almost Settled


We are unpacked and almost everything has its place. And...drumroll please...I've figured out how to cook with green chilis! This was my one culinary goal for living in Texas, and it's already been met! Guess I can spend the rest of my time eating bon bons - or wiping said bon bons from Laurel's chin. (Grandparents, no, I am really not feeding Laurel candy.) Laurel's down with the culinary pursuits apparently, here she is surrounded by "The Vegetarian Lunchbasket", "KAF's Whole Grain Baking", "American Pie", and "Pasta Improvvisata". Someone is bored with baby food!

Weird Baby Toys


Carrot stick pilfered from off the floor, baby liquid vitamins, and the "Goodnight Moon" Bunny - well, the Bunny isn't such an odd choice, but he has some strange playmates!