Wednesday, April 29, 2009

three words

Since the visit to the pediatrician when he was concerned about Kiddo's lack of expressive vocabulary, she's chosen three words. I think the order the words emerged depends on who you ask.

The first one she said was "da-da." She says this word on command, and I use it shamelessly to defuse bedtime stress. When my husband is losing patience I tell Kiddo to say it, she smiles and complies, and my husband is reduced to putty. I'm not sure how long this will work, but he even knows what I'm doing and still succumbs to the trick. Today she announced "da-da" when she found the recorder, not because she thinks it's him, but because he plays it with her.

The first word she volunteered was "bye." Since she has waved bye-bye for a long time, we instruct her to "say bye-bye" all the time, when we're leaving, when a parent is leaving, when we put the computer away, turn off the TV, or whatever. One day she started saying it too.

And then there's the first word she uses in multiple contexts, which is "mama." She says it sometimes when she sees me, sometimes when she wants me, and she used it on Sunday when I bore my testimony, so my husband had to remove her from the chapel because she was so loudly horrified that I left, and she pointed to the speaker to identify whose voice she heard.

I think she's about to say "Jesus." She recognizes Him in many pictures, and said something almost like it when we were looking at her sacrament book on Sunday. I would like her to learn that word.

She may only know a few words, but she loves to talk. Call us up, and you'll hear.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

open and shut

When people get married, they realize that they do things differently. For example, my husband likes doors to rooms to be shut (it looks orderly), I like them to be open (it looks, well, open). I won that difference of opinion; we keep the doors open.

My daughter apparently takes after my husband in this respect, she pushes closed all the doors in the house. But, whenever she closes a door, that implies that she has now shut herself into a room, and is not able to open it up to get herself out. (It is a skill she wants, but is both not tall enough or dexterous enough to accomplish - yet.) So far being stuck in the room has not concerned her, but that could be because I only give her a few moments before I open the door, and surprise! it's mama!

In fact, we played that game for a long time today. She would close the door to my room with her in and me out. After a few moments I would knock then come in. She would squeal with laughter, then walk to the door so she could close me out again, and again, and again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

saying prayers

We had dinner with some of my friends from school yesterday. It was really nice. The three of us met in my first year here, their second. Since that time we've all gotten married, and now have four kids amongst the three of us. In two months, we will also all have our PhDs (yeah, I'm the last one, but I started later...)

As we all gathered at the dinner table, Kiddo found herself in her chair while people were still gathering. She faithfully folded her arms, bowed her head, and started jabbering. I was impressed, and went to get my husband to show him. My friends asked if she was okay, and I just smiled and explained "she's blessing the food." She gets it, or as much as she can at this age.
I'm pleased with what she knows.

Monday, April 20, 2009

enough said

a good visit

Here is Kiddo and her grandma doing what they do best, reading books. Oh, and they also sing: speckled frogs, miss molly's dolly, snowman, hands on head, ducks, all these songs and more. And walks. Cause Kiddo loves a good walk to the mailbox and back (okay, so she's not so hot on the back, but she loves going down), and to the park. What a fun week they had together.

My week was less fun, but super productive, and I'm that much closer to being done. And my husband received a teaching award! He's amazing. His department gives two teaching awards, yeah, he won both.

Thanks for coming grandma, and hanging out for the week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a release

Yesterday I was released from my calling as Stake Young Women's President. There are still a few loose ends to tie up (for example, I have 12 table cloths still hanging in my closet, and the church key), but today I feel strangely focused. It's as if a large portion of my worries have suddently disappeared - oh wait, they have, they are someone else's responsibility now.

There are not other things clamouring in my head for attention, there is not an alternate to-do list (one for school, one for church). I just do school today. Kiddo hangs out with Grandma. It's so quiet in my head. I could get used to this.

One other time in my life has a release felt this liberating, it was when I returned home from my mission. I loved my calling, but I can appreciate the silence.

Friday, April 10, 2009


As a congratulations to myself, I am actually posting a picture of my daughter today. (In the next picture in the series, the cheerios are all over the floor, she loves dumping food out of bags. I won't show you that one.) From this picture it looks like we are moving. But no, on the right is my disseratation data, and on the left are some quality boxes that showed up at Christmas time. We have no better place for them, and we will need quality boxes soon.

So, the fourth chapter is drafted. Soon, my mother-in-law shows up, and she gets to sing to the baby while I edit, edit, and edit. As you may remember from your schooling days, after you write the rough draft you feel so proud of yourself. Then you re-read it, and want to cry because it is so poorly written, and there is still so much to be done. Remember me in your thoughts next week, because I'm about to go to that dismal land of second draft.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

sing a song

This last weekend I was at my aunt and uncle's house, and spent some time with some cousins. One of them taught my daughter a new song. It starts with "My hands upon my head I place..." She loves it. We sing it 30 - 40 times a day... or, I sing it, and she does some of the motions. It's nice to have one more for the continual repeat of my life. She's really good at folding her arms now. I try to think about how I will miss singing for her, and her cute little self insisting that we sing "Once there was a snowman" or "Five little ducks" or "I have a little turtle" or "Eensy, weensy spider" over and over again, but somehow, I'm just sick of the songs.

My daughter's a screamer. If you hear a loud piercing shriek in the store, look around, we're there. Maybe this is related to my ennui of the songs, I know I'm being held hostage by the scream.

But today she climbed a hill by herself, despite a steep incline for someone her size. And climbed on the dishwasher door so she could get to the good stuff (the butter knives). And she ate a good lunch and dinner. And signed more after her piece of candy. And was really well behaved when we talked to the stake president (one of my religious leaders who I work pretty closely with in my responsibilities with the young women).

I'm tired. I work 5-6 hours on my dissertation, watch Eleanor for 10-11 hours, and then sleep in whatever's left over. Sorry husband. Posts will be few and far between in the next while, as I finish up, and try to use my computer time wisely.

But I've completed the rough draft of a second chapter (three down, two to go!) and will finish the rough draft of the fourth one tomorrow. Can I do this after all? I guess so. My stake president asked if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Coming like a freight train I replied.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

go towards the light

On the afternoon of June 12th you can call me Doctor (of Philosophy).

About six months ago someone asked me when I was going to finish my degree. I told them that while I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel, I had it on good authority that there was a light, and I was still headed towards it.

On and off for the last few weeks I could see glimmers. The light just got brighter, and steady today. I finally set a date to defend my dissertation. I have 10 weeks to finish. The race, which has been going for a long time now, just got more intense.

the many hoops of a PhD

Like anything in life, getting a PhD is a series of hoops. I celebrate each one with gusto, leading more than one member of my family to say, "wait, I thought you were done," when I am not. Here (for those of you who are interested) is a primer of PhD hoops. (This will be particularly helpful for one brother.)

First you have to get accepted into a program (which entails choosing schools and what to study). Once you start you are a PhD student.

Once you're in you take classes. After you take some prerequisite classes (about a year in my program) you take a series of tests called qualifiers, or candidacies, which basically show your professors that you are actually talented/dedicated enough to finish the degree. After passing these tests you can call yourself a PhD candidate.

At some point you take enough classes that you can say "I am done with classes! forever!" (and mean it, cause there are no more degrees to get). Once you get to this point, you take another set of tests, often called comprehensives. For me, I wrote two 25ish page papers at home, and two 10 -15 page papers sitting in a room with just my head and a computer, writing everything I knew about two subjects. Once you've passed this test you can claim that you are A.B.D. (all but dissertation). This test is both a measure of your progress, and hopefully a jumpstart on your dissertation.

(Did I mention that you were supposed to be publishing journal articles and making presentations at national conferences along the way?)

Then you propose your dissertation, which is a meeting with your committee (four professors helping you move from student to collegue) where you tell them what you want to study, what you know about it, and why it is worth studying. A green light from your committee allows you to try to collect data (pending review board approval) and write the paper.

I've already blogged about the paper itself. Once it is written, then a dissertation is defended, which means you present your findings to your committee, and others who may be interested, then they ask you whatever questions they'd like. If (when) you pass your dissertation defense, then you are officially have a PhD degree.

But there are most likely still edits to do on your paper.

girl needs her glam (and phantom croup)

I'm not so much of a jewelry person. I think it makes an outfit look complete, but I tend to be lazy (and cheap) about getting that taken care of. Sometimes on Sundays. But not so much with my daughter. Any toy with a hole in it qualifies as a bracelet. Here she is with many of her plastic rings that she has carefully placed on her arms as bracelets. She loves them.

This is her cheesy grin that she will do for me when I ask her to smile. We've finally come to an understanding with the camera. If she will let me take the picture, then we can both look at the little screen together. I often request that she smile for the picture. Here she is.

Two nights ago Kiddo had croup: the barking cough that improved with cold air, and then came back a few hours later. It lasted 8 hours. The day before this adventure she was fine. Yesterday she was tired (although that could have been her interrrupted sleep as opposed to her being sick). And last night she coughed, but no barking. If she had to have croup, this wasn't a bad way to go (especially since my husband took the longer portion of the night duty - thanks!). Now she has a cough, but I can handle that.