Thursday, October 25, 2012


Rather than filling in the gaps since my last post, I'm going to just skip to now! Trying to catch up is just too daunting. 


We are really enjoying our time in IN. George and I are making lots of sweet friends and feel right at home. Everyone from David's work has really eased the transition by their hospitality and generosity. It is so fun to live so close to Lake Michigan and the dunes (basically the beach). We're only about 20 minutes away. Last weekend my dad ("Papa" to George) came to visit and we took the train to Chicago for a day trip. George had a ball riding on the train and hasn't stopped talking about it since. My mom was also able to visit about a month ago which was so fun! David's job is keeping him quite busy, but he's really enjoying it!


It's hard to believe that George is about to turn 2 on November 6! We're planning an intimate Curious George themed party for him on Nov. 3. I have to say that this age is the most fun yet. He is sweet, kind, compassionate, and thoughtful. People are always commenting on how mild mannered and mellow he is. He is very obedient and has never told us "no"... not yet at least! 

He absolutely loves reading books and playing with trucks. He can name all kinds of crazy trucks we see on the road: i.e. skid steer, street sweeper, volkswagen (not a truck, I know), tractor shovel, car carrier, cement mixer, excavator, UPS truck, etc. It's wild--half the time I never even notice until he points them out! Each time we go to Target he gets to pick out a new matchbox car/truck and he absolutely adores them. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he says is "go play with trucks." His favorite books are books about trucks. Lately, he's been really into Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. We read it dozens of times a day. He really loves reading the Bible too. We always read a few Bible stories at night. His favorite is David and Goliath--he can quote it word for word. He really likes Zacchaeus and Noah as well. He has two Bibles: The Beginner's Bible and The Big Picture Story Bible. Are there any other Bible story books that you recommend? Always looking for suggestions!

George also loves singing. He often sings himself to sleep and demands to be sung to sleep before his nap and at bedtime. Favorite songs include Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, ABC song, Daisy Bell (aka Bicycle Built for Two), B-I-B-L-E, Deep and Wide, Father Abraham, Praise Him All You Little Children, You Are My Sunshine, and Skidamarinky-Dinky-Dink. What other songs should I teach him? He's so eager to learn new ones!

This video is a month old, but it's just the most precious thing ever. I'll try to take another video soon. 

Random other amusing George-isms (for my records):
  • Parroting ANYTHING we or anyone else says. It's not uncommon for him to overhear someone else's conversation in the grocery store and to repeat it back to them.  
  • This child is such a lover. He is always giving hugs and kisses. He will say "give mommy hug and kiss and other hug." We love the "other hug" where he just hugs us on the other side of our neck. Sometimes George calls it my other neck (i.e. "hug other neck").
  • He loves jumping and has invented something he calls a "side jump" which looks an awful lot like a regular jump. It's still the cutest thing when he says, "Big jump... now side jump!"
  • Boo-boos are a big deal right now. He brings me his boo-boos and as soon as I kiss them, they disappear. He has even initiated kissing my boo-boos when I get hurt (I've had lots of accidents in the kitchen lately!)
  • Dramatic play with his Teddy Bear. Teddy Bear is his best pal. Just recently, TB has needed diaper changes, food, drinks, and to use the potty. TB dances, does finger play, and sits in George's high chair too. Just this morning when George lost a truck he said, "Teddy Bear knows how to find it." Unfortunately for all of us, he didn't and the truck is still missing. 
  • He takes such pride in his accomplishments. Yesterday he climbed the ladder by himself to the 5 ft. platform on the playground equipment in the backyard and exclaimed, "Yay, Georgie!!! Hooray!"  
  • We moved him to a toddler bed about a month or so ago and he never missed a beat. After all my worrying about the transition, it was really a non-event. He even started sleeping on a standard pillow a week ago and seems to love it. 
  • He says "bless you" when we sneeze.
  • He frequently says "thank you" and "i love you" without being prompted. He loves saying "thank you" to the employees that check us out at the grocery store. 
  • When I ask him if his has a stinky diaper, he often responds by saying "just a toot"
  • He pronounces elephant as "eff-i-dent" and crocadile as "croc-da-dile". 
  • He judges temperature of food or bath water as being "too hot" or "just right"
  • When he climbs into bed he says "who miss?" meaning who of his bedtime entourage are missing (i.e. bunny, teddy, lovey). It's like a bedtime rollcall. 
  • He has come up with some pretty incredible sentences. i.e. "How about some muffins and french toast and doughnuts and waffles and yogurt?" or "May I please have some honey bunnies?" (What can I say--the kid loves food. He comes by it honestly.) He often says "I want to go see the train." There are lots of trains in this town!
  • We'll ask him how old his is and he'll say "one!" and ask him his name and he'll say "George David Clark" (although "Clark" sounds just like "truck").
  • He pulls off books from David's bookshelf and asks David to read him a poem.
  • When he saw me wrapped in a towel after a shower he said "Mommy's wearing a washcloth!"
  • Today at Party City, he kept pointing to ghosts and calling them snowmen.
  • He made up a joke at mealtime where he says "uh-oh fork boom" or "uh-oh spoon boom" if he drops his food from his fork/spoon. 
  • He thinks it is hilarious to steal our seats.
  • He loves playing a game he calls "Where Georgie Are You?" where he hides behind us and we look for him around the house. Often he will give us suggestions of where to look, even though he's behind us. 

Whew! I know this is probably only amusing to us, but I don't want to forget these sweet things. Okay, moving on...


So we've decided to name our sweet baby girl Gemma Marie Clark. We've received mixed responses, mostly about pronunciation of the name (it sounds like JEH-ma; like "Emma" with a "J" sound before it). We have been calling her by name ever since we found out she was a girl even though we had not decided on a name, we both naturally just started calling her Gemma. If we have more kids, we're not going to stick to a "G" name. Gemma means "precious stone" or "jewel".

George and Gemma are going to be sharing a room so I'm not really doing a whole lot for the nursery. Here is her bedding, though. I'm not shying away from pink with this girl!

This week marks week 35 of pregnancy (she's due Nov. 26). She is moving constantly and seems to always have the hiccups! Last we checked, she was breech so we'll see if she ends up being stubborn till the end like her brother. Full term is any time after 37 weeks, so we could meet her VERY soon possibly. Everyone keeps telling us how second children tend to come earlier. I'm definitely starting to slow down a little, but I still feel pretty energetic. All in all, I'm pretty comfortable and confident with the idea of labor and having a newborn again. Perhaps I'm in denial?!


So I'll wrap up this long post with some recent photos:

Till next time!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Valparaiso and Summer Travel

We left Earlville on May 30th with David driving a U-Haul with our belongings and me driving our car with our little punkin. It took us 11.5 hours to drive from NY to IN and we broke up the trip by staying overnight in Cleveland. We had every intention of visiting Niagara Falls en route, but George was starting to lose his mind and we didn't want to put him through that.
Our newly forward-facing little boy! We decided to turn him forward since I'd be driving so far alone in the car. He slept so well and kept busy by reading books and singing with Mommy.

We pulled into Valparaiso, IN (or "Valpo" as everyone calls it) on May 31st. This was my first visit and I just love it! The town is bigger than I imagined and it seemed very quaint. We were also encouraged by the proximity to fun activities like the dunes on Lake Michigan, Chicago, outlet malls, etc. I'm excited to not have to drive 30 minutes to reach Wal-Mart/Target. Also, there's a Chick-fil-a nearby!!! It's the little things, right?

Here's a peek at our cute little rent house in Valparaiso. We'll move in around Aug. 1 and David will start his new job later that month.

We moved our things into a storage unit for the summer and then took off on June 1 for Chattanooga (another 10 hour drive). We are currently in Chattanooga visiting David's family and will spend July in Little Rock with my family. It has been so nice to spend time with family. My cup is full and spirit renewed. David and I even went on a date! (We saw Prometheus... I wasn't a big fan.) 

Pregnancy update: I'm about 16 weeks along at this point and thrilled to be coasting along in the 2nd trimester. I've been feeling movement pretty regularly from our little one. This week, he/she is about the size of an avocado! We will eventually find out the gender of the baby, but not until we get back to Indiana. 

George update: He is 19 months old and weighs about 25 lbs. He is talking constantly and has just recently started putting words together more. He loves to say "I see you", "big truck", "dada and momma", and "listen and obey". He can count to 10 without any trouble and can recite portions of the ABC's. He can identify just about any upper-case letter of the alphabet. It's so much fun to be able to communicate with each other better. He isn't too much fun to shop with anymore because he's so eager to run around. He loves to play hide and seek. He LOVES the park! Daily he asks "Park please?" and most days we indulge. He's happy anytime he's outside. What a delight this boy is! I can't get enough of him!

Here are a few photos from our time in Chattanooga thus far:
Braves game in ATL
G's first golf outing with Lookout Mtn. in the background.
Pregnant golfing. 
George's favorite activity at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga. 
Guess who has been sleeping in a big boy bed during our stay in Chatt???

More to come. We'll be heading to the beach at the end of the month and you can bet I'll take tons of pictures of George's first beach trip!

Leaving Earlville

I've been putting off updating the blog because our life has been absolutely crazy lately, but I think I'm ready to recount our latest adventures and process our departure from NY.

Let's back up to April and May. Packing a home while pregnant and caring for a toddler is not for the faint of heart. I'll admit that my heart fell faint a time or two--just ask my husband. It didn't help that I was still in the midst of 1st trimester nausea/fatigue. Truth is, I put off much of the packing until the last few days and somehow pulled it off (not without much help from David).

The final weeks in Earlville were filled with many sad farewells. We were only there for 10 months, but we met so many precious people that we will surely miss. A bit of history: I became a stay-at-home mommy when we moved to NY. Being a SAHM was/is my dream job, but moving to a strange, rural place while sharing a car with David made it very challenging to connect to other mommies. Did I mention that the population of Earlville is a mere 750? The first few months there were extremely hard. I loved having so much time with George at home, but I was really aching for some adult interaction. I also had to learn to live without some modern conveniences such as a dishwasher(!!!), disposal, air conditioner, and hot water in the washing machine! To me, I was really "roughing it" but lots of folks up there don't know anything different. (Needless to say, those items all topped my wishlist of amenities for our new place in Indiana.) I knew I could live anywhere for 10 months, but my attitude was one of "sticking it out". I quickly discovered that I needed people--I couldn't live with George in a vacuum for 10 months. This is where I turned a corner-- God provided the most precious people to befriend us. Since we didn't connect with a church while we were there (we couldn't find one with a nursery for George), I met others through storytime at the libraries in Earlville and Hamilton (town where David worked). Every week we attended storytimes on Tuesdays in Hamilton and Fridays in Earlville. This is where I met mommies and then was invited to playgroups and outings. Before too long, we had a pretty lively social calendar. These friends threw George a surprise 1st birthday party, babysat George countless times (especially while I was packing), helped us move, jumped our car when it wouldn't start, and threw us a sweet going away party, to name a few blessings. We already miss our friends and hope to see them all again someday!

While I never really loved our house (remember the pipes bursting while we were away?), some of my favorite memories happened here such as: George learning to walk, talk, give kisses, hugs, etc. His 1st birthday was celebrated in this house too. David and I loved sitting out on the front porch together after putting George to bed for the night.

Here are some photos of our final days in NY with our sweet friends:

George with some of his best buds at the library while I was home packing.
Some friends at George's farewell party
Cupcake time! 
The whole gang.
Last Colgate visit... what a gorgeous campus!
Last trip to G's favorite park. 
Last playdate with favorite friends.
Memorial Day parade with friends in Earlville the day before our move.

Farewell, Earlville! Thanks for the memories.
Next post: Valparaiso and summer travels!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Family of Four

MORE BIG NEWS: We are going to have another precious baby due on November 26! (We keep having November babies!) We found out the big news on St. Patrick's Day and couldn't believe it! It was much different finding out about this baby since we kind of know what to expect.

Big Brother George with baby #2's sonogram photos

David and I are so excited about our growing family. We called our families as soon as we found out and haven't been able to stop telling people. We are so grateful for this little blessing growing in my belly. God has truly blessed us.

Monday, March 12, 2012

We're Moving!

BIG NEWS: We're moving to Valparaiso, Indiana!

Earlville, NY to Valparaiso, IN

David has accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN. His position will begin in August so we plan to move this summer. His fellowship at Colgate was fixed for 1 year, so we knew we would be moving this summer. David has been interviewing tirelessly all spring and it's great to finally know where we're going! Unfortunately, the Lilly Fellowship only lasts 2 years so we'll have to move again. This transient way of life is certainly an adventure! 

Valparaiso is only an hour from Chicago so it will be fun to be so close to friends and the big city! David is thrilled about this fellowship because he will have lots of time to write and even be able to create his "dream course" and teach it while at Valparaiso. I'll also be able to continue to stay at home with George for the next two years. They have MOPS, Chick-fil-a, and a Target in "Valpo" so I'm all set! 

We are so grateful to God for His continued provision in our life. 

Our Chicago Vacation/George's NY Staycation

As I previously mentioned, David and I had the opportunity to represent 32 Poems at AWP in Chicago this year. David's parents came to stay at our house and watch George while we were away. This was our first time away from him and it could not have gone more smoothly! George didn't seem to miss us at all. He had a grand time with his grandparents. They built forts, went for walks, built a snowman, etc. Here are a few photos from his "staycation":

Meanwhile in Chicago...

View of Lake Michigan from our hotel room
 Our exhibit table
32 Poems/Smartish Pace Reading
Some of the amazing food we ate and my handsome date!

Chicago was so fun! We ate at some amazing restaurants including Blackbird, The Bristol, and Big Star Tacos. We enjoyed trying foie gras, bone marrow (photo top right), rabbit saddle/confit leg (photo top left), sturgeon belly, and lamb belly (lower right) among other incredible dishes. How fun it was to go out and get dressed up every night!

We also enjoyed catching up with some of our oldest, dearest friends including Lauri and Aaron (friends from Lubbock), Heather (Lubansky) Garrett (friend from high school in Little Rock), and Toria Edwards (friend from Union) and her precious son Duncan.

George at 15-16 Months

15-16 Months
  • The big event last month was weaning. His last feeding was on 2/17 and he hasn't seemed to miss it. I can't believe it was so easy. He still doesn't like whole milk, but we make up for calcium in yogurt and cheese.
  • He has become increasingly more verbal. He tries to mimic us when we talk and it's so sweet to see him discover language. Favorite words are still hi, bye, mama, dada, papa, dog, ball, book, banana, sock, shoe, duck, cat, hat, heart, oval, sit, yuck, yum, and owl. 
  • He's climbing on EVERYTHING! It's a little maddening trying to get him to sit once he climbs on furniture! We constantly tell him to sit on his bottom and that he may hit his head if he stands up. So he walks around the house chanting "sit-sit-sit" while patting his head. 
  • He still loves books, which definitely pleases his daddy. He will sit in his room surrounded by books and just thumb through them for the longest time. He brings me books to read all day long, often the same ones. Favorites include Dr. Seuss's ABC, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, Runaway Bunny, and, of course, Goodnight Moon.
  • He uses some sign language still including more, please, I don't know, and finished/alldone.
  • He loves to squint his eyes and stick out his tongue.
  • We moved to one nap a day on Feb. 25. He started fighting bedtime a little and we didn't want David's parents to have difficulty with his sleep when they watched him. The first couple of days he was pretty sleepy, but he quickly adjusted! He goes to sleep at 1 and usually wakes up at 4 or 4:30! He goes to bed at 8pm and wakes up at 8am. 
  • What an affectionate boy he is! I love how he he hugs my leg while I cook! He initiates lots of hugs and kisses throughout the day. Melts my heart. 
  • Molars... he now has 3 out of 4! He's been a champ through each one. 
  • George recognizes shapes now. He will even point them out when we're away from home!
  • He loves somersaulting (with help). He will put his head and hands on the floor and stick his booty in the air. 
  • I haven't been too great about encouraging him to feed himself. I need to get better about that. He does pretty well, but always makes a big mess!
  • We've experimented with coloring. He isn't too interested, but he does try. He just loses interest and want to play with his ball!
Enjoying the mild weather on the village green.
George practicing some of his words.
George kicking the ball in the park.
Georgie giggling

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kids and TV: We Gotta Get the Word Out

I don't stand on a soapbox much, but this is such an important issue. We gotta get the word out.

Early experiences condition the mind. Media influences our children and programs their brains for stimulation that the real world cannot provide.

Watch this compelling video:

Link also on this wonderful blog by Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson: 

Tumultuous Twenty-Twelve

  • We welcomed the new year in Little Rock with my family. My dad and his friends have a Beatles Party every year to celebrate New Year's. It was so fun to bring David and George to sing along with Beatles songs. George even wore his Beatles t-shirt! We also had Christmas with my family where George was showered with even more gifts! It was nourishing to the soul to see my family. Little Rock always feels like home.
A common scene throughout our entire trip...
 Playing piano at Papa's house on NYE
 Enjoying the mild weather at my dad's house
 Beatles Party

Visiting George's great-grandparents in Mtn. View, AR

 Playing at Grandma's house in Little Rock
Opening Christmas presents

Visiting great-grandparents in Little Rock
Fun at the Zoo

  • Friday, January 13 (aka Friday the 13th!) was supposed to be our last night in Little Rock before heading back North. David had a Skype interview with a university that night, so George, my dad, and I left for dinner to give David some privacy for his interview. While I was driving our (only) car along Chenal Parkway, we were hit by a car turning across our lane. Immediately after impact, I jumped out to grab George from the backseat. The only problem was that I didn't put the car in "park" first and the car, with my dad and George inside, began to roll forward. I had to chase the car down (not far) to put the car in park. Meanwhile, we were in the middle of an intersection and all I could think about was getting George out of the middle of traffic. So I scooped him up and ran with him into a grassy area as far from the road as I could go. George was screaming, but he looked okay. My dad came over to us and his head and hands were bleeding pretty bad. It was terrifying. It was incredible to see the number of Good Samaritans who stopped to bring us blankets (it was pretty cold) and ask if we needed anything. One woman even prayed with me and George. My right knee hit the steering column and it felt like it was stiffening up to where I couldn't move it easily. It turns out that my knee was fine, just badly bruised (and still hurting now because of fluid trapped under the knee cap). We all rode to the hospital with my dad in the ambulance since he had a head injury. Turns out he was fine too, needing only stitches and pain medicine.  The woman who hit us wasn't injured. The whole experience was quite surreal. We are so grateful to God for our lives and that no one was seriously injured. Our car was totaled, but we were able to buy another car in Chattanooga on our way back to NY. Our "new" car is actually just like our old car, but with fewer miles and white instead of tan. Praise God for watching over us during this terrifying experience!
  • We left Chattanooga to return to NY on January 20th. After planning to spend the night in VA, we opted to press on and drive a total of 16 hours to NY, avoiding a big snow storm headed our way. (16 hours is a very long trip with a 14 month old.) Fortunately, George slept most of the way. We pulled in to Earlville around 1am after stopping to get groceries at Wal-Mart and even got pulled over for speeding 4 miles away from home after such a long journey. ANYWAY, we finally arrived at our house and David wanted to go inside to look around before having George and I go in. While we were waiting, I saw David running towards us from the house. He screamed for me to call our landlord and said that the house was flooded!!! Sure enough, the ceiling had fallen in the kitchen, there was probably 6 inches of water in the kitchen and 2 feet in the basement. The pipes had burst while we were away. We have no idea how long the pipes had been hemorrhaging before we arrived. Water was still gushing in. The furnace was off, there was probably 8 inches of snow on the ground, and the outside temperature was 0 degrees. David's beloved book collection appeared to be ruined as all of the pages of every book were warped. The next day they seemed to have straightened out. We really think this was a miracle since the pages were SO bad the night before. The heat allowed the pages to straighten again. Thankfully, only 3 rooms of our house were flooded. George's room was just fine so we put him to bed and stayed up all night cleaning up the mess. When David left the house in mid December, he left the heat set on 55 and the faucets dripping. The pilot light went out on our furnace, however, and caused the house to freeze. We know of at least 4 pipes that burst. We're STILL cleaning up the mess and dealing with mold, mildew, etc. With the car totaling and the house flooding within a week of one another, we are considering these events as a "wake up call." We are trying to focus on the things in life that really matter: our faith, our family, and our health/lives.

    "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

  • This past fall, David has been applying for jobs. In fact, he's applied to over 50 around the country. This January and February, he was invited for a few on-campus interviews! I can't go into much detail, but we are grateful for the opportunities and looking forward to the next step in his career. He has worked tirelessly on applications and preparing for interviews. I'm so proud of him and I am confident that his hard work will be rewarded! 
  • Well, February has been free of drama (compared to January), but has been unbelievably busy. David has been traveling, teaching, and working on various other projects nonstop. I know he is beyond exhausted.
  • While Daddy has been away, George and I have been working on weaning. I've been breastfeeding him three times a day for some time now. The past few weeks I've eliminated one feeding a week. Tonight will be his last feeding--ever. My feelings are very conflicted. I know he'll be fine, but I'll miss our special time together, especially since my boy isn't a big cuddler.
  • David and I are going away to a big writers' conference called AWP in Chicago at the end of the month. We will be representing 32 Poems at the conference in addition to attending readings and social events. This will be our first time away from George together. David's parents are going to stay with George in our house while we're away for 4 days. It will be so fun to have time together again, but I know we'll still miss our baby boy. We're saving our Valentine's date for Chicago, too. It's been too long since I've dressed up for a date. :)
What another lengthy update! I hope to be better about updating the blog again now that we're back in NY and getting settled again. 

Till next time...