Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas video

If you'd like to see pictures and video from our Christmas morning, click here.  It was a very nice day.  Ruby doesn't really get it all yet (as evidenced by not wanting to put her hand into her stocking to pull out presents!) but she definitely enjoyed playing with her toys.  And Allen and I definitely enjoyed the gifts we gave and received. In the evening (and I don't have any pictures to document this, sorry) we went over to his grandparents' house for dinner and gift exchanging with the extended family.  Ruby did pretty well although it went past her bedtime. It was a great day.  I hope yours was, too!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Almost Christmas...

Nearly midnight, what on earth am I still doing awake?! I've been working on the wedding dress, that's what!  I have finished all 5 bridesmaid dresses (well, two of them need to have the elastic fitted to the bridesmaids but that won't take long).  I have all the fabric cut out for the wedding dress, and today I did part of the bodice, all of the lining, and the train.  The pattern requires some rather tricky seamwork (I think they are called princess seams) where you have to match up a rounded shape to a straight line without it getting all puckered and gathered up.  Not to mention that the silky fabric is very slippery.  It's the kind of thing where you need to use a pin about every eighth of an inch!  It's going to be absolutely lovely on her when it is done.  That's what I remind myself!
I tried making cinnamon rolls but even after several hours, the dough is nowhere near doubled in size.  Bad yeast, perhaps.  I used a recipe I found online that called for rapid rise yeast, and I think I used regular yeast, which apparently made a difference.  Oh well.  I have an egg/sausage/cheese/apple casserole that's chilling overnight to bake for breakfast, so the cinnamon rolls were really just an afterthought anyway.
One of my parents' Christmas presents to Ruby was this cute little play kitchen.

It was most definitely a case of "some assembly required."  Thankfully, Allen (and his friend Daniel, who was hanging out with us this evening) were up to the task.  I think Ruby will be very excited to play with it.  Several people have asked me, "Is Ruby excited for Christmas?"  No, she is not...she doesn't understand it yet, and we haven't gone out of our way to try to make her understand it.  Her language is not to the point where she can really communicate what she does and doesn't understand when it comes to abstract ideas.  I am sure she will enjoy playing with her new toys tomorrow, but she doesn't know that they are going to be there.  Probably next Christmas, when she's 2 and a half, she'll have more awareness of the holiday.  It's the same with the new baby.  Although we have not kept it a secret from her, she doesn't really seem to understand what we're talking about when we say that she will have a baby brother next year.  I don't think it will really be real to her until he actually comes home from the hospital!  Everything else is too abstract.  I have been getting out a lot of baby stuff and rearranging closet space.  Yesterday I was rearranging her closet so that it would hold just her clothes that she has outgrown...and thinking, "Hmm, if we were having another girl, we would be all set for clothes!"  I went through Ruby's things, but very few of them were gender neutral or plain white in color.  Everyone was so excited for us that they got us lots of adorable pink, flowery, girly things!  I'm sure we'll amass a sizable collection of boy clothes, too.  I already got a bit of a start at the Salvation Army a few weeks ago: I found a very sweet little Halloween costume (a lion) and a blue onesie that has Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar on it.  I guess I'm having the nesting instinct that preggies go through.  25 weeks pregnant as of Thursday and everything good so far, thank you God!  
Okay, I should go wash dishes (because I probably wouldn't like to wake up to dirty dishes on Christmas morning, and Santa doesn't do dish duty).  The last two apartments we were in had dishwashers, and I'm still spoiled.  I'm just glad that the ants haven't been a problem in a while; that was the worst!  And if I had to choose between a dishwasher and a washer/dryer in house (as we have now), it's no contest that the washer/dryer is the better luxury item.  I imagine someday we'll be in a house or apartment that has a washer/dryer AND a dishwasher.  We're really very blessed to have all that we do.  
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
p.s. I forgot to show it off--and this isn't a great picture anyway--but I got a haircut a few weeks ago! I'm back to short hair and loving it!  Long hair was fun but I was good and ready to get back to easy short hair.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas-y pictures

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with flair, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there"

Like the penguins?  Allen has quite the collection of holiday stuffed animals from his youth.

Our little tree

Monday, December 5, 2011

Motherhood: when fashion concerns vanish

Anyone who sees what I am wearing today will find it hard to believe that a nickname of mine was ever "The Fashion Guru."  In truth, that nickname was probably ill-deserved, but in high school (well, starting in about 10th grade) I cared a lot about what I wore. I wore makeup to school almost every day for heaven's sake!  I can't tell you the last time I wore make up regularly...oh wait, how about high school?
It's not that I don't care about what I wear.  It's just that I care far more about other things:
1.  Does it fit?
Now that I am 6 months pregnant, I need to wear maternity pants.  I have precious few pairs of them, though, and only two that look in any way professional-quality, so those get saved for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday wearing.  The pairs that remain are mostly either stretch pants or sweats or somewhere in between.  Not fashionable.
2. Will it be ruined if it comes into contact with Ruby after she has eaten?
Ruby really enjoys feeding herself now, and although she's getting much better at manipulating a spoonful of yogurt or oatmeal, it's a safe bet that it will be all over her hands and face and probably clothes, too.  One careless move on my part, and I get smeared, too.  Whatever I wear must be machine washable, and preferably hide yogurt stains.
3. Is it comfy?
Back in the '90s there was a brilliant magazine ad campaign for a clothes company (I think Wrangler jeans, but I'm not sure).  I looked online to try to find it but couldn't.  The ad showed three outfits: one fancy, one slouchy, and one casual (featuring the Wranglers or whatever was being sold.)  Above the fancy one was the phrase, "Looks good, feels bad."  Above the slouchy one was the phrase, "Looks bad, feels good."  And, you guessed it, the third outfit said "Looks good, feels good."  I often think of that campaign when I am getting dressed these days.  Chances are that the clothes that satisfy criteria 1 and 2 listed above are also comfy and ALSO fall under the "Looks bad, feels good" category.  Allen is very patient and doesn't usually care what I'm wearing but he does dislike the big, formless, baggy, waistless-wastelands of sweats and XXL shirts or sweaters.  But they are so comfy!
4. Is it easy to get on and off?
I'm thinking of shoes here.  I have a pair of worn black leather clog things that really don't go with my sorry cadre of sweatpants and stretch pants (especially when worn, as today, with bright white athletic socks). They look terrible.  But they are really easy to get on and off without bending down to tie laces or anything, and that is a freakin' plus when you are (a) pregnant and (b) carrying a squirming toddler, a purse, a diaper bag, etc.
5.  Is it free (or cheap)?
I actually think maternity clothes can be really stylish and adorable.  I recently spent some moolah at the Motherhood Maternity store at the mall on a pair of nice looking maternity pants and a dress which can also be worn by non-preggies and look good.  But outfitting yourself in maternity clothes to the point where you actually have a selection to choose from is expensive!  Sometimes you strike it rich at Value Village or Goodwill or resale shops, but a lot of those maternity clothes are from a more ancient era which was much more into denim jumpers than my comfort level will allow.  I do have SOME standards still!  And then there is the guilt factor: can I really justify spending money on something that has such a limited lifespan?  I have gotten some good maternity hand me downs, and that's clearly the best solution...but it is also chancy whether the person you're getting them from is your size or not (which matters for pants more than for tops).
Today I'm wearing my clogs, white socks, stretch pants, a red Adidas sporty looking maternity shirt and a black hoodie.  My hair (hopeless case!) is back in its usual "I-don't-have-time-for-this!" bun.  One of these days I really will carry out my threat to get it all chopped off.  I may not be fashionable; I may even look silly.  But for the work I have on my to-do list today (cleaning, school work, laundry, Ruby patrol, and running errands), this is what works.  But lo, how the mighty have fallen!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My big project

Ever since I was in high school, I thought that I'd make my own wedding dress.  I learned to sew when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I was taught by a combination of people: my grandma Munson (although I later learned that my grandma Bethany was also an avid sewer), the mother of a lady at church whose name escapes me, and my home ec teacher, Mrs. Zaenker.  During high school I made a number of garments, but the most special were the formal dresses I made for proms and graduation.  Those projects were not easy but they were definitely satisfying, and they inspired me to make my own wedding dress.
Except that I did not make my own wedding dress.  Working full time and planning a wedding were far too time consuming to allow for creating a dress from scratch, and we were also on a tight budget.  While making your own dress certainly CAN be cheaper, there was no way it was going to be cheaper than the $20 dress I had found at Goodwill.  So, I let go of my big idea to make my wedding dress, and I'm not sorry.  I liked the dress I wore, and I didn't go insane trying to make a dress on top of everything else I was doing.  
Now you're wondering what all this has to do with the title, aren't you?  No, I'm not getting remarried.  But my brother in law is, and his fiancĂ©e asked me to make her dresses.  Yes, plural.  She wants one for the ceremony and another for the reception.  Oh, and I'm making the bridesmaids dresses, too.  This has become my other part time job.  I am going a little bit crazy!  The reason is that making these dresses is taking me to a new place in my sewing knowledge: enlarging patterns.  See, the bride is a curvy lady, and her curves can't be contained by the pattern; her measurements are zestier than its biggest size.  So I have to enlarge the pattern pieces accordingly.  This is all about math and getting just the right proportions, and math isn't necessarily my strong suit!  It's also a pattern that has  a lot of pieces to alter, which is daunting.  Here's a picture (and yes, it will be in red and one shouldered, just like in the picture):
She also wants it to have a different bottom than it does...more of a mermaid/fishtail type of thing.  That part is easy enough to change.  It's the zig-zaggy bodice that will need to be stretched out a bit...and not uniformly, because she's got a killer hour glass figure, so I can't just make it bigger across the board.  It is perplexing me greatly.  I found an excellent book at the library about sewing for plus sizes which addresses in detail the issue of pattern enlargement. So far I've made two muslin mockups, and neither has been quite right.  Back to the drawing board...
And then there is the wedding dress. That will also need adjusting.  It will be very beautiful on her, though.
Finally, the bridesmaids' dresses.  I insisted that--since there are 5 of them--it has to be an easy pattern, and we found a good one. At least, I hope it will be good.  It calls for stretchy fabric, so that will help make fitting less of a precision thing (since all the bridesmaids are also plus sizier than the pattern calls for).  
They will be purple dresses. I'm not sure which way they will all decide to wear the dress, but it has two long strips of fabric that can be wrapped and tied in various ways. Maybe they'll all do something different!  
Anyway, this project is seriously pushing me as a sewer into new territories, and I won't's not easy.  But it's also bringing out a level of determination and stubbornness that I reserve for the truly trying things in life.  (Remind me to tell you the story of the 18 mile walk for a breakfast sandwich sometime.)  
So, that's the biggest thing going on right now.  Ruby's napping, which means I'd better get down to work on it. 

Long Overdue Pictures

Okay, it has been way too long since I posted pictures!  These go back to late September.  
My favorite lunch partner! I love that about working part-time...more days with Ruby

Daddy reads to Ruby and baby doll

Love those kitty pajamas!

Ruby enjoys pulling the clothes out of her dresser and trying to dress herself

I sense that the room is about to get a lot less tidy...

Showing off a new outfit from great-grandma!


Ruby likes to experiment with art

And here are a glut of Halloween pictures.  I found the ladybug coat at Value Village and it seemed perfect!  Ruby didn't go out trick or treating, but if she did, she would have kept warm!

Ruby, our bag of gleaner candy to give out to trick or treaters, and the pumpkin that never got carved into a jack o lantern!

Here we are waiting to welcome trick or treaters to our door

Ruby at a Halloween themed play group session near our house

Grandma Karla got Ruby some cute wings, which she likes  a lot

This picture doesn't do justice to the sparkling gleam which our bathroom was bathed in after Karla came over and spent hours scrubbing it within an inch of its life!  That was her birthday present to me, and I appreciated it!

I made some yummy butternut squash bread for a birthday dinner party...soooo good!

Look!  Look!  The cut glass/crystal punch bowl and matching cups are finally getting some use! (They were given to me by my grandma Munson)

On my actual birthday, we took a trip down to Salem to turn in my teacher licensure materials.  They were due that day.  Now I'm in the clear for another 3 years!

Ruby crawled into the dryer when I wasn't looking...

This is a pretty classic picture (except for the dryer part!)

Hope you enjoy this photo collage!  I won't let the next one go so long.  The reason for the gap was a series of computer problems, but I'm typing this from our new MacBook Pro (thanks Mom and Dad!) and I think we should be on Easy Street as far as computer issues go for a good long time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life with a Toddler is like Living in a Charlie Chaplin Movie

We watched a Charlie Chaplin movie with my class last year, and I was struck by the constant motion and the constant mishaps that ensued. 
As I write this, Ruby has just entered the room with a tube of diaper rash ointment in each hand.  I had just put those tubes away in the drawer where they go.  Prior to that, they were sitting on top of the toilet in the bathroom.  As I walked into her room to put them away, she was busily walking out with a jar of baby lotion. I don't know where she put it, but I'm sure I'll find it soon.  A few moments before that, she started carrying off dirty laundry that I was trying to put in the washer. 
Now she has knocked over a pile of papers for my class, systematically flung them around her, and looked up at me and said, "No, no!"  in exactly the tone of voice I would use to correct her. 
To be fair, she did pick them up for me (although this necessitated putting down the tubes of lotion in the middle of the floor.) 
There isn't a floor in the house that doesn't have something of hers on it.  She spends a good chunk of the day toddling from room to room, picking up one thing and then depositing another.  We also find things from Toby's room deposited around the house, especially his XBOX controller.  She really likes to get into that for some reason.  The older ladies at church all say things like, "My, what a busy girl!"  when she is in this mode.  "Busy" is a nice name for it! 
But even though I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of endless loop of putting away the thing I JUST put away five minutes ago that she got out again...I wouldn't trade it for anything! 
Now to go off to Gleaners to see if we can be helpful.  I'm wary that Ruby's "busyness" will not be an asset when the job is to sort out what food goes into what container, since she likes to take things OUT more than to put things IN...or put things into the wrong container.  But we shall see. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011


What a treat! Last night I got to go to a crop!  A crop, in case you don't know, is kind of the scrapbooking equivalent of a quilting bee. People go with their scrapbooks and spread out and work companionably on their own stuff.  I've been meaning to go for a while but things always came up.  But last night, Andy and Allen took turns watching Ruby so I could go.  I got several pages done and enjoyed being in the company of other ladies (several of whom had little kids, too). One of the best hings about a crop is that the consultant who holds it usually has a lot of Creative Memories tools (punches, cutting tools, fancy scissors, etc.) that she lets us use.  Good deal! 
Yesterday I also had an ultrasound.  The tech said that it would be too soon to tell the sex of the baby...darn!  I kept my eyes peeled as I watched the screen, and for a fleeting second I thought I saw some, ah, boy parts.  But I certainly couldn't swear to it.  But the baby is definitely looking more like a baby and less like a speck.  I have felt movement every so often, too.  My 20 week ultrasound will be in a month or so, and that's the one where I will hopefully find out the sex.  So excited!  Excited to start feeling more of the baby kicking, too.  I'm just starting to show a bit now.  I will put up some pictures when we get a new computer.  I don't know if I can get pictures from my camera onto the computer we're using now (my school-issued laptop, a PC, blehhh). 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Suffering from wedding fever...

My brother-in-law is getting married in a few months and I'm in a frenzy of wanting to help with their wedding planning.  I know.  NOT MY JOB.  I already had my wedding.'s the creative crafter in me that just wants to jump in and do cool things.  They, like us, are working on a tight budget.  I think we spent between $2500- $3000 on our wedding (that is including contributions from my parents for things like hiring a photographer, which I'm thankful for).  In this day and age, where it is considered a "budget" wedding to be under $10,000, that's pretty good.  I think they are shooting for a $500 wedding.  So, it will require a lot of creativity and friends pitching in.  I find myself looking at things in Goodwill or browsing online for ideas and getting excited for them. 
But I also don't want to step on their toes, particularly the bride-to-be's. After all, planning a wedding is very personal and something you only get one shot at (usually).  So, I'm trying to find the balance of being available to help but not getting in their business all the time. 
Just my random thought of the day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Warning: Rant Ahead!

[Thanks to Eleanor Clark for bringing this to my attention on Facebook.]

Watch the trailer, but be forewarned that there is offensive material in it. Alas, that is the whole point.  It's about how nearly everything the media portrays about women is OFFENSIVE.  When we're not being cast as promiscuous, sex-crazed nymphs, we're either "bitches" or "dykes" or "hags" or somehow all of the above.  Women in politics can't catch a break.  They're evaluated on how they do their hair or what they wear as much as what they say.  Their tone of voice is measured and found "nagging" or "mom-like."  God forbid we have a female president, because then what would happen to the country when PMS or mood swings hit her? Because men are never irrational and always get things done in government...ha! 
Look, women aren't perfect and they have flaws; and men certainly aren't portrayed as perfect by the media.  Men are told by the media that they need to be tough, womanizing, powerful, ruthless, sexy, and strong.  "What, you're 12 and you haven't looked at porn?  What are you, gay?"  That kind of talk is going on in the homes and on the playgrounds of schools right now, maybe even the school I work at.  There's tremendous pressure exerted on boys and girls alike to be a certain way and look a certain way and conform to certain ideas of how (and who) they should be.  I know that right now at my school some girls are getting teased and bullied because of the way they do their hair and makeup.  Of course, their teasers are sophisticated enough to know exactly the right moment to make the comment, write the note, or make a face so that they don't get caught. Kids aren't dumb; in fact, they can be be frighteningly brilliant when it comes to bullying effectively.  I think we've all heard enough stories lately to assure us of that. 
I know that it isn't fair to blame everything on the media.  And I don't really think the solution for this is going to come from the FCC cracking down or new government regulations.  After all, we're complicit when we watch or click or buy.  We support it, whether passively or actively.  I think it needs to start in more homes just turning off the tube or getting rid of it altogether.  We have a good solution: a tv set that only works to play DVDs and video cassette tapes. I can bring in what I want to watch with no ads. I'm going to do my best to keep Ruby from watching things until she is at least 2 or maybe older.  I heard a report on the news that the age domain that spiked the most in use of video games and apps was the 2 to 5 age bracket.  They can't buy the stuff, but they are playing it!  Yikes! 
But here's the really weird thing about all of this: why is it that women keep on buying into offensive stereotypes? Check out this ad:
Dolce & Gabbana ad showing a woman, fully clothed in a tight dress and spiked heels, lies on her back, hips raised as a bare-chested man holds her down and four other men look on.
  I bet you this ad can be found in magazines that are marketed to women.  Most high fashion ads are.  There aren't that many in men's mags, by and large.  It's usually magazines that have high women readership.  WHY?  What woman is going to look at this and think, "Hey, time to buy myself some Dolce & Gabbana (at outrageous prices, no less) so I can look good while I'm gang raped by a strange Art Deco pool!"  But it is in women's magazines and something about this kind of campaign is obviously working, because people by D&G products.  But wait, there's more!
Calvin Klein advertisementHey ladies, were you feeling in any way okay with your body? Not anymore, thanks to Calvin Klein and associates!  This woman looks like a weird misshapen Barbie that got left out in the sun too long and warped; but it's Calvin Klein apparel so it must be fashionable and sexy, right?  Everything about women's magazines are actually quite misogynistic.  And yet, when I am in airports or check out lines, my eyes are drawn to them against my best intentions.  The women on the covers are usually clad in something scanty and/or fancy, and they have flawless skin, hair, and makeup.  I know they are airbrushed, but somehow I find myself thinking, "Gosh, I wonder if Allen wishes I looked like that?"  I've asked him, and he looks at me like I'm crazy.  "Why would I want that? That's not real.  You're real!"  he replies.  But even he has had to fight off the conditioning that constantly goes on telling men that they should be satisfied with nothing less than some kind of living, breathing Barbie doll.  The porn industry has done fine work (please note the sarcasm) in making men lust after living breathing Barbies, by the way.  Women in those pictures and movies don't look like normal everyday women.  If this is what boys are growing up seeing (along with everything peddled on TV, movies, and the internet), how the heck are they supposed to have ANY clue about what real women and real sex and real relationships are like?  ESPECIALLY if their dads either aren't in the picture or aren't saying anything helpful to contradict what society is putting out there? 
I hope and pray that I can bring up my children and students to see the lies in culture for what they are: lies and deception trying to enslave people to things that will never make them happy.  May we see shackles in every offensive ad or image; they are binding us to something that is not going to satisfy. In the words of Sara Groves, "What a relief it is to know that I'm a slave to Christ.  Of all the masters I have known, I'm compelled to live this life, free for you."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October is here

And it has been here for over a week, but what of that?  I thought I would update you all on Ruby's growing lexicon.  Here are words she says:
up (pick me up!)
ball (used for balls, pumpkins, and anything round)
hi (greetings, used sparingly)
bye (also used sparingly)
ba (book)
huff (the sound a dog makes, and also the word for dog)
mao (the sound a cat makes)
guk (duck)
gak (quack)
no (nose, but also no)
eye (eyes)
mo (mole, like on your body)
mama (although she never says it to me, only when we are reading a book with a mama in it!)
dada (same as with mama)

She can also point to her (or other people's) nose, eyes, mouth, teeth, ears, hair, toes, feet, fingers, and bellybutton.  When Daddy's not wearing a shirt, she can point to his moles and nipple. Useful, I know.
Right now she is holding the screen of the laptop and trying to close it, then saying, "No, no!"  (anticipating what Mommy is going to say, no doubt!)
That's what our little talker is doing now.  I'm trying to teach her to say "help" and "please" so she can communicate better instead of just grunting and whining for what she wants.  It's slowgoing, though.
Today was the Harvest Festival at school.  Ruby had a great time.  There was a petting zoo with rabbits, chicks, dogs, goats, and someone even brought a tiny little kitten.  Ruby loved that area and made lots of animal sounds.  We went on the hayride (kind of scratchy!), bought some granola from Mrs. Ally's class's booth, ate a hotdog (thanks Tungate family!), and visited with lots of people.  The weather was PERFECT.  Probably the last sunny day in a long time...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fill in the blank Friday

Shamelessly stolen from another blog!  I'm kind of burned out because I've been doing coursework all day, but still felt like updating.  So, here you go:

1.   My current obsession is    craving Sour Patch Kids like it's my job.

2.    Looking at pictures of Ruby when she was a little tiny baby      makes me happy.

3.  My greatest strength is  writing   .

4.    Procrastination   is my greatest weakness.

5.  My life is   a gift.

6.  In high school I was    fortunate to have really good friends, really good teachers, and a good relationship with my parents.

7.  When I'm super tired    I become very cranky and/or very ridiculous.  I've never been drunk, but people tell me that I act like I'm drunk when I'm really tired.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another hint

My husband attempted to figure out the red letter puzzle and said, "This is impossible!  You should give another hint!"  So, here's a picture that should convey the meaning of the phrase (the phrase also contains a date, if that helps).  The shirt is a little rumpled but this one shouldn't be too hard to decipher!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy 100th post! A red letter day!

That's right, it's the 100th post on this blog!  Party!  I actually was going to update earlier, but I felt like the 100th post needed to be exciting, more so than just me commenting on the usual stuff of life. Look throughout the post for letters that are in red.  Collect the letters, rearrange them, and it will spell out a secret message!

First, I've had requests for more pictures and videos of Ruby.  Let's dig in, shall we?  Here's a collection I call, "A Visit from the Cleaning Fairy"
The Cleaning Fairy approaches the ugly scene....

"Whew, I've got my work cut out for me!  I don't know where to start!"

"One swish of my magic wand, and hopefully this place will start looking better"

"All in a day's work!"

Next, I need to put up some pictures from Allen's birthday, which was September 8th.  I checked back in the blog and I didn't write about it at all!  Oh dear.  Well, Allen's birthday dinner request was have homemade versions of the Burger King California Whoppers (which have avocado on them).  I did my best to work that BK magic, and I think they turned out pretty well.

Allen prefers pie to cake, so I got a Chocolate Silk Pie and festooned it with fancy birthday candles.

"Festooned? Really? That does not sound manly enough to describe this pie."
Of course, we felt obliged to take pictures of ourselves with the camera.  

It was a pretty good birthday celebration, I'd say.  Allen likes his birthdays to be low key events.  
What else shall adorn this 100th post?  Oh, I should mention by way of follow up to my last post that I my professor re-examined my work and had a colleague look at it, and the colleague said that it shouldn't have been graded so harshly.  So, my grade was upped to a 37 out of 40.  Yay!  
Here are some pictures of Ruby as she continues to refine the process of feeding herself.  I think she looks like Santa when she tries to eat Greek yogurt by herself!
Notice that she is holding the her other hand!

Ruby decided she was ready to hold her own cheese sandwich, thank you very much!
Last Sunday, we decided to take a day trip to Astoria, Oregon.  The weather wasn't great but we wanted to get out and do something different.  We drove up Highway 30, which is scenic and mostly follows the Columbia River.

In the parking lot of the Maritime Museum.  The quintessential "Are we having fun yet?" photo
"Of course we're having fun!"
"Whatever you say, Dad."
The Maritime Museum was pretty cool.  Ruby liked the exhibits of the fish that inhabit the Columbia River.

Okay, there's a good story behind this picture.  She spent several minutes just standing and staring at this display of the man holding the fish.  I was thought it was very cute how she just kept staring at it, almost reverently.  I wondered what about it had entranced her so.  As I got closer, I heard her grunting and a smell wafted through the air that revealed the reason behind her deep state of concentration.  Oh well!
Allen is good about remembering to take pictures of me so that my presence is documented on such outings.
Before we went to the museum, we visited a street market in downtown Astoria and had lunch at a local cafe.  After the museum, it was about time to head home, but not before driving up the hill to see the Astoria column, a Trajanesque column devoted to Lewis and Clark.
You have to pay to park at this memorial, so we just snapped a picture from the slowly moving car, like the cheapskates we are.

On the way down the hill from the Column, we saw a doe and her two little fawns out for a snack.  They were remarkably calm being right next to the road.  

Well, have you collected all the red letters?  You should have 25.  It will spell out a message that has 7 words.  Good luck!