Saturday, February 28, 2009

Book Review 2009 - 1

A lot of bloggers I keep up with post reviews of books they've read, and I decided that I wanted to start doing my own reviews. I was a voracious reader growing up and reading is still one of my favorite hobbies. I mainly want to do these reviews to have my own record of books I've read and my thoughts on them at the time.

The first book I completed in 2009 was "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. The book was a birthday gift from my mother in law; she was telling me about it during one of her visits, and I thought it was a book I would enjoy. The book is about Mortenson's quest to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mortenson was an ER nurse and mountain climber, and after a failed attempt to climb K2 he was separated from his guide and stumbled into a village in Pakistan. He was very ill and spent several weeks in this village while they nursed him back to health. To show his gratitude, he promised to return and build the village its first school. That one school built by a grateful nurse evenutally turned into a foundation that has since built over 50 schools.

Reading this book, I was amazed by Mortenson's dedication and the sacrifices he has made in order to give children in another part of the world a chance to get an education. Living in his car, time away from his family, learning about Middle Eastern culture and politics, making contacts (and, inadvertently, several enemies) - there were so many obstacles he faced in order to build these schools, and he always found a way to continue on. The book also offers interesting insights into the people and culture of these countries. There were many stories and lessons in this book that have stayed with me, but one of the things that impacted me the most was Mortenson's belief that one of the best ways to fighting terrorism is to provide access to education and alleviate poverty. The Taliban targets the poor and uneducated, and children who are unable to imagine a better future for themselves are easy prey.

I really enjoyed reading this book - it was a great reminder that one person CAN make a difference.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crib Fun

This is what I found when I went in to get Claire from her nap on Saturday - such a happy girl!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Sorry for going so long between posts - we've had another full week! Lately I feel like Claire changes and develops so much every week. She just started doing a full on crawl week before last, and now she loves to "cruise" - pull up on a piece of furniture, window sill, etc. and walk around holding on to the edge. We've had to move things off the coffee table - they were fully within her reach now! One of the teachers at her school told me that one of Claire's favorite things to do there is to walk around the outside of the Exersaucer playing with each toy. She's also started using her lion as an actual walker and can walk across the living room without any help. We got a video of her "walking" that I'll post soon. I don't think it will be long until we have an independent walker!

Claire's also started trying more to communicate with us. Sometimes her babbles take on the pacing and intonation of actual conversation - so funny. I think she's started saying "Mama" and actually meaning it in reference to me. It just warms my heart - so precious!

Sweet Claire has been a little under the weather the past few days. She's had a runny nose for quite awhile that didn't seem to bother her too much, but she started coughing on Friday and just didn't seem to be getting any better. We took her to the pediatrician on Tuesday and were relieved to find out that she doesn't have anything serious (I was concerned about RSV or bronchitis). The doctor went ahead and lent us a nebulizer to use for breathing treatments twice a day for the next 10 - 12 days. Claire doesn't love the treatments, but she doesn't fight them too terribly. They do seem to help her relax and breathe easier, so it's well worth the effort.

We're leaving for Arlington/Dallas tomorrow afternoon, and I'm excited to visit with some of our friends and family - and visit some of the restaurants we're missing!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Busy, Busy!

Claire has been busy in the past week! She's graduated from sitting and a sort-of modified Army crawl to a full-fledged crawl. She's fairly picky about what she deems worthy of crawling for - the leading contenders are her stacking cups and magazines (they are fun to chew on and tear up!). :) I have to admit to tricking her a little by putting these objects of desire just out of reach, and then moving them further and further away as she starts crawling for them. It's really cute! Mom and Dad visited over the weekend, and she really impressed them with her new trick.

We've also continued working on eating finger foods and transitioning from bottles to cups. She's having a hard time tilting the sippy cup far enough to get any liquid out, and doesn't really want any help. For the past couple of nights we've offered her a straw cup (it has a little valve that reduces some of the spilling), and last night she really seemed to start understanding how to use it. She would take a few bites of her pancake, then reach for the cup. I'd hold it for her so she could get a few sips of her water, then she'd turn back to her pancake until she would indicate she wanted more water. If anyone has suggestions on transitioning from bottles, I'd love to hear them!

Another big change - Claire is going to start at a new school at the beginning of March. She's been doing fine at her current school and always seems to have a good day, but we'd been feeling like she needed a little more stimulation. So, we decided to move her to another school that seems to have a better curriculum (it was my first choice from the beginning, but they didn't have an opening when we moved). Since she's so close to turning 1, they want to go ahead and put her in the 12 - 18 month room rather than having her start in Infants and move over a month later. I was really impressed with what her new class was learning - they sit in chairs at little tables rather than high chairs, nap on mats rather than in cribs, learn signs and new words, do lots of crafts, etc. The lead teacher of the class has a Masters in early childhood development, so I'm really excited that Claire will have such a qualified person watching over her while we're at work.

Claire demonstrating her favorite game - "Bang! Bang!"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Another Milestone

In the past week, Claire has learned how to sit herself up:

You reach for what you want...

...then push yourself back...

...until you're sitting!

We're proud of her, but it has thrown an unexpected kink into the bedtime routine. When teaching her how to get from laying on her tummy to sitting, we didn't really think about the fact that she'd be able to sit herself up in her crib. Rookie mistake. Yesterday morning I woke up when I heard her start babbling and turned on the video monitor to see what she was doing. When I saw her sitting up and grabbing for the front rail of the crib, I dashed down to her room to grab her before she could pull herself up. Robert lowered the crib mattress down to the lowest level, so now if she manages to pull herself up she can't get out...yet...

After we put her to bed last night, we watched her for awhile. She would roll over, sit up, play with lovey, lay down, roll over, sit up, play with lovey, repeat, repeat, repeat... After about 20 minutes we stopped watching her, so I have no idea what time she actually went to sleep. She does seem a little more tired today, though. Hopefully she'll eventually figure out again how to put herself to sleep quickly.

43 Weeks