Sunday, February 20, 2011

Various Tidbits

- The new year just keeps charging along. I never even posted anything about Christmas. But now it's too late, I think. It's already past New Year's and Groundhog's Day, so we'll just keep moving...nothing to see here.

- But one thing about Martin Luther King weekend. We have now made it a tradition (well, for two years in a row) to drive up to the outlets at Park City to buy clothes for Emma at 70% off. Golly, what fun. Take for example the ensemble below: I think jumper and turtleneck together were $8.99 or something (and just now on the calculator I tried to figure out what $8.99 is 30% of...or 70% less than...and I have absolutely no idea how to figure it out. That's embarrassing. My niece Amy, who's a math teacher, would know. Amy?) Anyway, we got Em enough duds to see her through the next couple of cold months.

- Speaking of cold, one super freezing morning a few weeks ago we saw this fat fowl perched on a branch outside the bedroom window. Its tummy was exceedingly puffed up and it sat stock still for the longest time. Maybe it was trying to fluff itself up to stay warm. I'm sure this is a very common kind of bird, but I don't know what it is. My brother-in-law Tom would know. He's a birdwatcher. (Tom?)

- We were pleased as PUNCH a couple weeks okay to find out that Emma has been admitted to the Chinese immersion program at Draper Elementary starting this fall when she enters first grade. The program will go from grades 1 to 6. Half of Emma's school day will be taught in English (reading, writing, spelling), and the second half will be taught completely in Mandarin by a native speaker (math, science, and social studies). This goes for 6 years! There also are plans in the works for the local middle/high schools to offer courses in Mandarin so these kids can keep up their language skills once they're out of elementary. I'm just so excited for her. She and I have also been taking a Mandarin class at the school two mornings a week and it's been a blast. It's a fascinating, and hard, language.

You know, it's funny. When we went to China to bring Emma home, our guide taught us a few Chinese phrases. One of them was "bu yao" (boo yow), which means "Don't want." She told us that if we were out sightseeing and somebody tried to sell us something we didn't want, that we could say "bu yao" and keep walking. So then we meet adorable 18-month-old Emma for the first time. We bring her back to our hotel room and I bend down to give her a little hug and Missy Em pushes me away and says "Bu yao!" There I was knowing a total of about five Chinese phrases and she pops out with one of 'em! (and I didn't blame her a speck for feeling that way, either). Emma's native language skills diminished rapidly when we got home. She babbled a lot in Chinese the first few weeks -- not in full sentences (as far as I could tell), but in little phrases and sounds. She'd say the sound "dwaaay...dwaaay" a lot, and I later learned that the the word "dui" in Mandarin (pronounced "dway") is a colloquial way of saying "yes" or "yeah." After a few weeks she pretty much just stopped talking. We'd watch "Signing Time" DVDs every day and she started picking up some signs...and then saying little phrases like "Uh-oh!" But it was still several months before she could even say her name (she could say "Em" and "ma" but couldn't quite get them together). Meanwhile, she was still pushing me away with regularity (little sweetie).

So fast forward four years. We started taking Mandarin last September. Emma was shy in class. For the first few weeks she'd sit on my lap with her arms around my neck. Struck me as ironic that my little girl, who at first knew only Chinese ("Bu yao!") and eschewed my affections, was now melded to my lap and trying to relearn her mother tongue.

- Emma recently started receiving an allowance. She gets a dollar a week in exchange for doing a household chore a day. She gets paid on Saturday. She's been collecting her dollars and keeping them in a little box and putting tithing dimes in a little jar on her shelf. Yesterday she decided she wanted to spend some of her allowance money. She put all of her folding money in a smart little purse (with straps) and when we were at the Home Depot she purchased some Trident watermelon gum all by herself. She put her gum and two bucks up on the counter and got 68 cents in change. She got a huge kick out of it. She leaned over and whispered "I'm like a little grown-up!"

- Lately whenever Emma stumbles, or drops something, or falls down, she'll get right back up and cheerfully announce "I meant to do that!"

- She's very competitive and wants to make everything a contest or a race.

- A week ago Saturday I was mopping the kitchen floor (which I do, periodically) and in my vigor I knocked the clock off the wall with the mop handle. It crashed down on my head. Hard! I think I even saw little birdies and butterflies for a second. And it's not really that heavy of a clock. Just a normal one, as you can see:

Anyway, I was clocked by the clock and bleeding from a head wound! (And the poor clock was now six minutes fast.) It didn't really hurt that bad after the initial whomp, but Joe took me to the Lone Peak ER anyway (a very nice facility) and they put two staples in my head. Joe was conscientious enough to capture it on camera, too. Having your head stapled feels exactly like you think it will, despite the "numbing solution" they apply beforehand. Plus, it sounds just like you think it will. Just like a Swingline Cub punching through the left-hand corner of your term paper.

On our way out, they told me to have the staples taken out in 8 days. They said it could be done at home and gave us a staple remover for the job:

Joe took them them out this evening. Having staples removed from your head with a staple remover also feels exactly like you think it will.

But enough with the head wounds.

A couple of weeks ago we went for a walk along the Jordan River Parkway. It was on one of the first days of non-frigid temperatures, but still a little colder than we'd bargained for. Nice to get out in the fresh air, however. Emma rode her trike along the trail.

And here's what the mountains looked like that day. Nature: Ain't it majestic?

And those are all the tidbits for now.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Rib Photos, 5th Edition

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming. It's time for the annual Super Bowl Rib Eating Picture. So here's Emma in 2011 (at Uncle Matt and Aunt Erin's), followed by similar poses in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007, when she was a mere 22 months old. Oh, time. It truly doth fly on wings of lightning (we cannot call it back...)

I was going to write a longer blog entry, which I feel is owed to our rapidly disappearing readership, but I got sidetracked reading old posts.

But I will change the blog background so it doesn't say "Noel" anymore.