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February 20, 2016

Elmer's 4 years old!

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Well, here he is - 4 years old already! For Elmer's birthday, we went to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and met Grammie and Grampa there. We had so much fun riding the train, playing on the playground, and riding the carousel.
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Then Grammie and Grampa unveiled the boys' birthday presents - new tricycles! Both of the boys got to try them out at the park where there was lots of room to roam.
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After the park, we went home for our normal nap/quiet time, but after dinner, we had a brownie cake to celebrate. It was a really fun birthday!
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Here are the usual stats from his annual exam:

  • Height: 42 inches
  • Weight: 38 lbs
But the big news was that Elmer needs glasses. We weren't surprised - I always knew that my children would be doomed and it was only a matter of time. Elmer does like to have his books up close, and wants to be close to the television when he's watching Mighty Machines (thanks for the recommendation, Rachel!), so the signs were there. We'll get him into an optometrist pretty soon and after that - glasses! I think he'll be pretty cute.
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The other exciting news is that Elmer is officially a preschooler now! He started at a part time preschool the day before his birthday. He goes Mondays and Wednesdays for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and it's so fun to see him make friends and come home with a homework assignment for the weekend.
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We're getting used to a new schedule, and I think preschool is just as good for us as it is for him. It's breaking us in gently: remembering to do the homework, getting reports from the teacher, and making valentines for his classmates for their Valentine's Day party! We'll be pros in no time, right?

Arthur's birthday 20160108

It's so fun to see Elmer learning so much. He knows all his letters, and corrects us if we say the wrong words when reading familiar books. He loves to read and listen to audiobooks and music. For his quiet time, he's been listening to Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three lately, but he also loves some Classical Kids episodes: Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, and Hallelujah Handel. He's also getting to be much better at actually helping - he'll bring his plate and cup to the sink after meals, he'll help make his bed and put away his books, and he will help get himself dressed and undressed! I love discovering the things he can do, and it's a good challenge for me to give him more opportunities to be more independent and help.
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Of course, this path isn't always smooth and easy - sometimes he needs more encouragement than others, and sometimes our expectations don't match his capabilities. And sometimes he's just a fussy four year old. But sometimes I really can't believe he's so big and grown. He was such a tiny little guy, not all that long ago!
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And at 1:
15Jan13

at 2:
Hot daaaaahhhhgs! 14Feb14

and at 3:
Taking pictures 17Jan15

And now:
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We love him so much!


February 16, 2016

Arthur, talking

Arthur’s learning syntax from Yoda:

"Sit lap, want to.” 
“Eat it big, want to.”
“Play deetar, want to.”

The boy knows what he wants.

January 14, 2016

Arthur's 2 years old!

Last Friday, we celebrated Arthur's birthday! My little boy is already 2 years old!
Arthur's birthday 20160108
Since I took the day off, we had all day to relax and play. First, my assistants helped me make a brownie cake:
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Then we went to Riverview Park to run and climb and play:
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This kid just loves to climb - everything!

And later, after lunch, we had our brownie cake with peppermint frosting:
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Arthur loved it when we sang "Happy Birthday" to him, and was able to blow out his candles. The brownie cake was a big hit - it was a lot easier for the boys to manage than regular cake. They even ate the brownie after they licked off the frosting!

Today both boys had their annual check up at the pediatrician, so here are Arthur's latest stats:
Height: 34.8 inches
Weight: 28 lbs 4 oz
So he's not so much bigger than he was at 18 months.

His vocabulary has really grown, though, in the past 4 months. He uses phrases and even some sentences, and is getting really good at communicating what he wants or is thinking. Sometimes he'll say something completely incomprehensible, but his pronunciation is getting a lot better.

Elmer likes to encourage Arthur, often saying things like "Arthur, say loobdaloom" (living room), and Arthur will happily oblige. It's one of their favorite games, and sometimes Arthur will just repeat whatever Elmer says, with both boys dissolving into giggles.

Some of my favorite phrases are:
"Want it big" (when I ask if he wants some food cut for him)
"Elmer first" (usually when it's time to get dressed)
"Go work"
"Hold you" (when he wants me to hold him)
"Carry me"

Arthur loves to do whatever Elmer's doing, but he's also pretty independent. He often will pull out toys or instruments and play and sing to himself. He loves singing "Silent Night", and sang "Happy Birthday" to himself all weekend. He especially likes playing his little guitar, but also enjoys the tamborines we gave them for Christmas.

Playing "deetar"

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Fortunately, he likes to read just as much as Elmer does, just not always the same books, which means that story time can get complicated as we negotiate what will be read. Arthur's tantrums far exceed anything Elmer produced at two years old.

But he's still our little cuddlebug - we can rely on lots of snuggles throughout the day if we are sitting on the couch. And most of the time he's a pretty happy little guy. I can't believe how much he's grown this past year!

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January 03, 2016

Christmas 2015

I admit that I was pretty excited for Christmas this year. Elmer is old enough to remember last year's festivities, and Arthur is old enough to enjoy it and really get into celebrating! They were able to help me (a little) set up the Christmas tree, and loved all the lights and ornaments all month. We sang Christmas songs, played with our 3 nativity sets, and had 3 different advent calendars to manage. Anticipation was pretty high!
Elmer in front of the tree, Christmas 2015

Arthur, Christmas 2015

This year was also the first time both boys were in the Christmas eve pageant at church. Elmer was a shepherd, and Arthur was a sheep.
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But I think their favorite part of the Christmas Eve service was the candlelight Silent Night. Both boys really enjoyed holding their own candle (I helped Arthur with his).
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Christmas morning, my family came over for breakfast and presents. Everyone had a good time visiting and opening presents, though the boys were definitely overwhelmed. I think we'll spread out opening some of the gifts we get next year. We gave them a Duplo train set, which has been a lot of fun for Chris and me to play with.

New Train

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We went over to the Perry's for Christmas dinner and gifts. The boys always love playing with their cousins, and we love all the visiting with family. We were all tired and happy when we went home.
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I enjoyed a long weekend home from work, and then a short week last week. We celebrated the New Year with a few friends (Chris was playing a gig with Swing Memories), and had a pretty relaxing New Year's Day. But this weekend we took down the Christmas decorations, so we're ready to head into 2016 and get back to our regular routines.



Happy New Year!




December 30, 2015

Looking back at 2015

Today is my last day of work of 2015, so I've been tidying some things up around my office and reviewing my year. I've gotten out of the habit of posting about anything but kids, but I always find my annual retrospectives (2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009) useful, so I'll make the effort once again.
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2015-at work
All things considered, this has been a good year professionally. Now that the boys are older, it's a little easier for me to travel again to conferences. I attended and presented at the WLA/MPLA Annual Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the AzLA Annual Conference in Flagstaff - both trips were a lot of fun and I always feel recharged about my work after steeping in it with other librarians for a few days. At WLA/MPLA, I presented with some MPLA colleagues about evaluating open access journals, and at AZLA, I gave a presentation on personal productivity which was standing room only, and a lot of fun to do.
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I was also selected to be a presenter for the ACRL workshop: "Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement," which means that, starting this spring, I will be one of two presenters giving a full day workshop to a few universities who were selected from a pool of applicants to have the workshop brought to their location. This is especially satisfying for me, since I had twice applied and failed to have this workshop brought to ASU several years ago. And now I'm one of the presenters! On a related note, I was highlighted as an ACRL Member of the Week this spring.

I had a pretty successful Open Access Week this year, particularly with a fun faculty panel discussion on open access publishing (one of the professors even blogged about her participation). We did an article drive to add articles to the ASU Scholarship Showcase Collection, which is now up to 654 articles (from barely 200 last January).

One of my favorite things this past year has been the greater involvement I've had with other departments on campus. I worked with our online education department on fair use and copyright issues related to online courses and MOOCs, and have had discussions about working together to increase advocacy for open educational resources. I also worked with our graduate department to clarify university policies on embargoing and archiving theses and dissertations, and have met with lots of different people regarding the ASU Digital Repository, copyright issues, and open access publishing. I've really enjoying having so many interesting conversations with people.
We found a staircase!

2015-at home
It was a great year, all things considered. I feel that we're starting to get a little more freedom again, now that Arthur's no longer a baby and they're both getting so much more resilient. Our camping trips, road trips, and cabin adventures were all lots of fun, and I look forward to more of these family vacations moving forward.
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We added two kittens to our family this summer (I know - what were we thinking?!?), but now that they're all settled in with the other cats, it's not quite so much of an overwhelming amount of cat labor. Simpkin and Tabitha are really good with the boys, who adore them, and are lots of fun to play with. Tabitha and Sophie still get into it in the mornings, but I'm not entirely sure they're not just playing. In any case, that was one major change for us this year.
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Looking forward to 2016 and Resolutions
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I think we're going to have a lot of rapid change at my work this next year, as we hire some new upper administration. I hope we hire some really great people who are ready to shake this place up. There are plans for an entire remodel of Hayden Library, which may start as early as next January, so things will get pretty shifty around here. I've also got some balls in the air with respect to my own position,which, if they go through, will mean some pretty substantial changes to my responsibilities. I'm ready for change, though, and I have high hopes for a good year coming up.
Pretty amazing ride to work this morning! Also, hwy sign:"Aggressive driving is the path to the Dark Side."

I'm essentially rehashing my resolutions from last year, though. Trello is working pretty well for me for project management and to-do lists, and I've been following a lot of Cal Newport's writings with respect to productivity and time management. My big work resolution for 2016 is a ban on web surfing/reading at work, with the exception of specifically scheduled times. This is usually the cause of any productivity derailment for me. I've been severely limiting web-time for the last month or so, and I think it's really helped. I'm going hard core starting Monday!

And, while I'm better than I was, I still need to take better care of myself. This year, I am going to find a way to stretch and exercise on a regular basis again, and get back to better eating habits. I am going to plan more date nights for Chris and me - we need them!

I also want to be better about posting more regularly here. I love going back and seeing updates about Elmer and Arthur, and this is the best place I have for keeping track of their progress. So look for more regular posts about what's going on.
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Happy New Year!

November 22, 2015

October 2015

It's been a busy few months, but I thought I'd share a few of the highlights in October before we hit all the holidays coming up.

On October 10, we went up to Flagstaff for my 20th high school reunion! I can't believe it's been that long, but the sheer amount of children at the family picnic makes it clear that plenty of time has passed. We just went up for the day, and we all had a good time visiting with old friends and playing at the park.

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The next weekend, we went to the Arizona State Fair with Grampa and enjoyed some rides, looked at the animals, and ate fair food!

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Elmer was big enough to ride on the sky ride with us, while Arthur and Grampa walked below.
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We went on our last camping trip of the year with our friends Pat and Pam. We camped at Burro Creek.
Posing at the cactus garden

Roasting hot dogs

Arthur "helping"

Chilly morning by the fire

My party leader

And, of course, Elmer and Arthur dressed up for Halloween. Elmer was a black cat, and Arthur was a lion. We went to a Trunk or Treat event at our church, and then had fun handing out candy at home.
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It was a fun month!