Friday, December 5, 2014

Baby's Firsts

Baby's firsts this week
JT has learned how crawl, sit up on his own and hold his own bottle this week. This month he also learned how to roll over persistently so that he complains about being put in his car seat. From Joy
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Student Expectations

This was is my first week teaching at TSU and I think I may be in love.

See, AUN was my first teaching job and I got used to the student norms there. Some of my colleagues there ranted pretty heavily about how almost no one came to class prepared to take notes, only 1/4 of the students bother to show up the first two days of class (one class I taught NO ONE showed up the first day) and some don't come until 3 weeks in, students regularly needed to borrow supplies from their prof, and they never came to class on time especially after the midterm when classes often couldn't start until 5-15 minutes after class began. There were a handful of exceptions, students who were bright, ready to work, and would have succeeded at Cornell or BYU, but usually only a couple in a class. This was all I knew, figuring my own preparedness as a student was a fluke and some of my colleagues were merely complaining about the younger generation's lack of preparedness which has been going on for decades. I adapted and tried to help teach some basic college skills as best I could.

Monday I walked into my first TSU class 10 minutes early to have plenty of time to set up before the students got there. The room was already packed. Only about 5 students entered after I did in a class of 115, and only 2 of them were late, both by less than 5 minutes.

I put the syllabus up on the projector and showed them my contact information. Instantly and in synch, 115 heads lowered as 115 sets of fingers started writing the information down on paper and devices. Any time a new slide appeared, the same thing happened.

A few students have already informed me of planned absences for school functions months in advance. Before classes started I had multiple emails asking about the textbook.

This is ... so beautiful! At first seeing so many students ready was a little intimidating, but I VERY quickly warmed to the excitement of it. Students who are actually ready to WORK! It is amazing to me. Who knows, maybe these students won't even think my tests are hard and I'll have to actually raise standards.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pregnant with my 3rd child

First I have to say that this pregnancy was the easiest one so far and the only  I way I can explain it was that it was a miracle. Every difficulty that I usually have during a pregnancy (besides my varicose veins) was much less or nonexistent. I spent most of my first two pregnancies sleeping on the couch because of worse allergies during pregnancy, but I didn't have to sleep on the couch once for this pregnancy. I am usually very emotional and I hardly ever lost it for this pregnancy. A few times I broke down, but at least they were usually when I could skype with Derrill and didn't last more than an hour or 2 instead of days. I was also able to care for my two children alone without bitterness. I found a family member that could go with me to my doctor appointments. I was truly blessed.

We had some difficulty with getting pregnant this time, because apparently I wasn't ovulating. So I had seen an OB in American Fork for that purpose, but I didn't like his bed side manner, so I was looking for someone else to deliver my baby when I found out I was pregnant. We found out before Derrill had to leave for Nigeria in August 2013 but I hadn't chosen a doctor yet. My sweet Relief Society President suggested someone to me named Dr Woodmansee that I decided to try. I went to him a few times and then Derrill came home for Christmas.

Over Christmas, I talked to Derrill about and realized that I was not very happy with my doctor and that I needed to find another one. But I had tried that search in the last few months and didn't know what more I could try to find someone. So, I started praying about it and tried not to worry about it otherwise, because we were on vacation in California. One morning while we were there I woke up with a clean impression that I should call my old OB office and request a different doctor from that office. As I pondered this idea I was not at all comfortable with it, embarrassment wise. But was sure that I would be blessed if I followed the prompting. I called and scheduled an appointment with a Dr. Hasketts in American Fork. Derrill was able to go to that appointment with me and I just thought he was the greatest from the very beginning and didn't change my mind. He could even make a nervous pregnant mother like me laugh at almost every appointment.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pez Romana

Way back in the time of the dinosaurs, my parents had a problem. My brother and I had birthdays fairly close to each other and always wanted to play with the other guy's toys. The solution they came up with was to give me a present on his birthday and him a present on my birthday. This at least reduced the sibling rivalry. We instituted this too, once Superstar was old enough to need it.

This year I was super sneaky. He and I had just started watching Star Wars for the first time and he likes C3P0. I got him a Threepio Pez dispenser, recognizing that he might not like the candy (which he doesn't much).

I explained to him that  this was a useful present. Princess, you see, not only loves all things edible, but the #1 way she shows she loves someone is to share her food or ask you to share your food. I told Superstar he could offer to share one of his Pez candies if she would share a toy with him.

The best is that it works. Princess is willing to trade some, but not all, of her toys and has the ability to say no if Superstar's deal isn't good enough. They each feel loved from each other and are happier with the transactions than otherwise. Prices have tended to stay at one candy for renting a beloved toy for 2 hours, but Princess has sometimes held out for better terms of payment (now vs. later) or rental length.

The other best part is ... markets are great! As an economist I am very geekily happy every time they bargain and see that creating a market has restored peace to our home. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today's Thunder Storm - Nigerian flashbacks

Today we had quite a down pore of rain. It was also a thunderstorm and Princess was getting into a bath and was nervous about the noise. The electricity went off a couple of times, but it did that yesterday when it rained as well. Then the electricity went off completely and stayed off.

Derrill and I say to each other in such a circumstance "Welcome to Nigeria."

The real difference of course that we expect the electricity to be on all the time here and in Nigeria we plan for when it will be off (always have things charged, use surge protectors, etc) and the private generator nearly always kicked in right after. So since we expect the power to always be on here, having it out is less convenient here. But in Nigeria we are trained to do without it when necessary. I must confess I was grateful just to have some electricity in Nigeria. How quickly we forget or come to expect. I am grateful for the ability to expect again. ;)

Oh I should mention that we got our electricity back on an hour later. Thank you land of the free and New Mexico customer support or whoever.

 - Joy

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Some cuteness

Our kids - Princess in particular - are quite taken with the family statues in UT hospitals. Her are the two of them posing for the statue when we picked JT up from his second hospital visit.

One month ago yesterday, JT learned how to smile for his daddy. Overall he likes to stay with Mommy so he can smile at Daddy.

Superstar in his first suit. He loves how grown up and handsome he looks in it.

JT is trying to figure out how to be comfortable in his high chair, so far with little success.

Enjoying some Youtube together time.

Princess likes her new tight braids. They don't hurt nearly so much as the hair bands we were using before.

Off to Texas we go.........

As usual plans change. We had printed off a list of truck stops and planned which ones we would meet at along the way. Derrill was driving the Pensky and I and the three children were nestled in the van. As luck would have it our infant needed me to stop almost every hour that first day (as I learned on following days he just needed some time to cry himself to sleep), so we stopped a lot of times more than the truck stops.

The first day of driving was really beautiful. We saw Wilson arch since it is along the highway and got to see a lot of red rock and plateaus. There were several places that I wished we had time to pull over or drive into park wise. At a truck stop both of our phones had lost connection and I had stopped to feed the baby again, and Derrill had already been about half an hour ahead of us before that. He was getting worried about us, so he had us drive in front of him the whole rest of the trip. We thought the truck would be the slower vehicle, but with the children I ended up being the slowest one most of the time. We broke up each day into 3 sections. One of Superstar's highlights was driving a stretch of highway everyday with daddy in the Penske. We also brought along activities for the kids to do and changed them at the stops between sections. Because of the cleaning that morning we got in real late to our first sleeping place in
Bloomfield, New Mexico.

[DW - As the sunset disappeared I saw a car on the side of the road just on the inside of the New Mexico border and thought I should slow down to see if whoever it was needed help. Lo and behold it was Joy and the kids, stopped for feeding. We had a second stop before we reached Bloomfield. We all felt better about driving in close caravan - if only it were more practical.]

At our hotel I met a lady on vacation from Texas who said she had been to Glen Rose and said it was a beautiful place. They were with a large group of family coming home from Lake Powell. The front lounge was very close to our room and had a lovely mural on the wall that they serve breakfast from (right).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A week before Texas - Princess' first 3rd Birthday

A week before we left for Texas was Monday, June 16. As I said before that morning we celebrated Princess's birthday. Derrill gave her the option of a birthday breakfast made by him and she chose Abelskievers (pancake balls). So, Derrill made breakfast. I can't remember what order we did presents and cake.

 She opened a My Little Pony book from us with several My Little Pony figurines included [DW - And you'll notice she's wearing her Twilight Sparkle outfit] and Superstar got her a huge coloring book of princesses. She also received a couple of movies [Aristocats and Ducktales]. She spent the morning playing with the ponies. We went to the store and bought her cake, chocolate with pink frosting and had Oreo cookie ice cream, the children's favorite these days.

9th Anniversary - some Teton/Yellowstone pics

We were fortunate that western Wyoming has seen more rain this year than for the last several. It meant there was a great deal of greenery to enjoy as we drove to and around the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone national parks. I'm not that thrilled with most of my pictures, but here are some.

[Joy excuses me that I was taking many of them from inside a car.]

We had grand plans of driving to a lake, hiking up to see majestic waterfalls (with our 7-week old), and exploring a large portion of the Tetons and Yellowstone in only two days.

Pfft. Yeah, right. With all we'd been overtaxing ourselves already getting ready for the move, we were lucky to be able to do all the DRIVING, let alone any hiking. We enjoyed the sights from the comfort of our car for the most part and were exhausted enough as is.

This was our favorite waterfall: Kepler Cascades. I'll post a video or two later too. It's well worth stopping along the road to Old Faithful.

[Joy adds that Yellowstone was her favorite of the two parks because it had a lot more water features. "Once we entered Yellowstone we followed a river most of the way and that's how you get to see waterfalls and rapids.]

You may notice that we really like water - rivers, waterfalls, lakes, geysers, rapids, even snow and glaciers. Among the nice points of our new home is that we are on the banks of the Paluxy river. We can't see it too well this summer for the trees, but I imagine in winter we'll have a nice view.

Oh, and I discovered the panorama function on my camera for the first time.

Snow in June. I had no idea Yellowstone was that kind of cold. We left without any sweaters or anything, so a quick stop at The Mangy Moose gift shop in Teton Village was in order. Joy was not too thrilled about the name of the shop, but I overcame her reticence. [Joy: "We also found a really cool salt shaker set."]

 Don't take it wrong when I say I've always had a thing for mooses. I loved the talking moose, deer, and buffalo heads at Disney's Country Bear Jamboree. [We went to dinner at a place with very similar animal heads on the walls, and I was disappointed they didn't sing. I told Joy if we ever had some in our house, they needed to sing.] I called the deer head in my high school theater Moose. One of my first Christmas gifts to my beloved was an ornament wishing her Merry Kiss-Moose.

I was very excited to see a real moose so close. I jumped straight out of the car (yes, I remembered to stop it first) and ran over to take pictures. This was not very good as I forgot to get Joy's door, which I normally do. I made it up to her later.

"You left me with the baby."
I did. I'm still sorry.
"I love you."

Speaking of His Cuteness, I forgot not only a sweater, but also a hat. HOW could DERRILL WATSON forget his HAT?? So I just had to get a new one. Here is JT sporting it.

When will we go to Texas?

When would we leave for Texas? Our home would be waiting for us June 1 and our currently lease agreement was up June 30. That gave us a month of leeway.  How soon could we get everything done?

Well, we wanted to pack our things, clean our house and go on an anniversary trip to Yellowstone National Park. We first plan was to send Derrill on June 1st & 2nd to look at the home,  and fulfill some other obligation we thought we had to the owners, go on our anniversary trip June 3-6, and then get our moving truck on June 11. That would give Derrill a day to drive up to California, a day to pack the truck, and a day to drive back,  Saturday we would pack the car in Utah with our other stuff and finish cleaning the house. Sunday we would rest and Monday June 16 we would start driving to Texas.

We found out that Derrill did not need to go the first week of June to the house, so that freed up a few days for more packing. We did go on anniversary trip June 3-6 since my sister Fran watched our two older children. It was wonderful and I will have to blog about that sometime too. But on the night before our Yellowstone trip was supposed to end we noticed that our infant who had been coughing for a few days had developed a fever. We decided to forgo our plans for the last day and rush home to get him to a doctor. We were very glad that we made that change of plans, because by morning his temperature was 103 degrees F.

Choosing a home in Texas

We got a new job Southwest of Dallas and at the end of June we moved to Texas. I had never been there before. Derrill had only been there when he had his flyout interview. He is going to be working in the Texas A&M system teaching Economics which is what he loves. We really just been having one adventure after another because in April we had our third child, but that story is for another time.

After Derrill got his job, we planned to look for a house to buy and move down here after we bought it. We spent some time before we had our baby looking at homes online and narrowing down some of what we wanted in a home. After we had our baby and we were trying to choose a time to come and see homes, we realized that we needed to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan in order to start looking at homes. I got some names of some lenders and made some phone calls. One man I talked to said that there would be no way to close on the loan until after Derrill started his job. We didn't want to wait that long to move here and get settled. We were thinking late July, early August would work.

So, I started looking into places to rent and I found that there were not very many 3 bedroom apartments available. I could find about 7. As I made calls, I also discovered that apartments were being taken quickly because there was a shortage of places to live given the influx of new students - TSU is adding more than 3,000 next year. I called people and started realizing that we were not going to be able to visit and see something and choose what we wanted to live in. I began to think that we would be really lucky if we could get into a 3 bedroom. I discussed my thoughts with Derrill and he suggested he would rather live in a 3 bedroom and commute from Dallas than live in a 2 bedroom. I began to panic and determined that I had to take the first 3 bedroom that I could get.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Arrived in Texas

Wed, June 25, about 10:30pm we pulled up to our new home in Glen Rose, Texas. I hadn't realized it had been two solid months since I last posted, and I wanted to remember the last couple weeks. Hopefully more regular blogging will resume. We'll see. In the meantime, here's what we've been up lately.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh yes, we have two other children

This was the first day I ever did my daughter's hair. Not that you can see the hairdo, but that isn't the point.

They love each other
They love their brother

The Sesame Street Word of the Day was sculpture. Princess and I practiced sculpting with marshmallows and toothpicks, peanut butter playdough, and other nefariously edible objects. We made some snowmen, faces, a Mario level, and a mess - not necessarily in that order. It entertained her for more than 90 minutes straight.

I let the kids take a picture for the very first time. They took pictures of the royal Sophia family.

Superstar made Easter eggs at school he is proud of.

But not nearly as proud as he is of all his missing teeth - 3 out and 2 more wiggly so far.

John-Thomas and family

More baby pictures

Because you can never have too many of your baby's pictures.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Which baby?

Several people have thought John-Thomas looks just like a miniature version of Superstar. I got wondering how easy it is to tell them apart. Here are some pictures of both of them. Can you guess which is which?

Superstar can get 3/4 right

It's really good to be home

Knowing we were expecting JT nine months ago, AUN very graciously allowed me to double up my classes this semester - teaching 4.5 to 6 hours weekly. I gave final exams at the end of March and left to return to the US April 1. It was the earliest I could make it, which was quite nerve wracking when Joy went in for her first "non-stress test" the Friday of my last final exam. The last time we had a non-stress test, Superstar was born! Thankfully, she passed that one and the next one Friday after I got home.

Welcoming our third child

Tuesday evening Joy was delivered of a baby boy, 19.5", 6 pounds 2. All our children have my blue eyes, much to my brown-eyed wife's surprise. Like Princess, he has some red in his hair.

It took us a while before we found his real name. At first we were going to call him John-Thomas. We decided against it eventually, but that frees up JT to be his pseudonym on the blog. So now we have Superstar, Princess, and John-Thomas.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's Next? TSU

Joy and I are happy to announce that we will be moving to Stephenville, TX, this summer. I have been hired at Tarleton State University's Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics. We are very excited about it, for many reasons.

I had a Skype interview with TSU in December. It was a remarkably comfortable and enjoyable interview. As I described how it went to Joy, she said that I would know where we were going next because the interview would feel like that. She didn't mean we were going to TSU necessarily, just that it would feel that way wherever we were going. One of the best parts was that they were willing to talk about a possible fly out interview before I left for Nigeria. That would make life a lot easier.

I had several good interviews at the economics conference in Philadelphia at the beginning of January - almost as good as TSU's - so I was happily optimistic about my prospects. I flew out to TSU the week before I went back to Nigeria and it was a very pleasant experience. I really liked the people I met. The town felt cozy. Some friends happened to be driving along the interstate and took an hour long detour to have dinner with me. It all just felt really good.

When I had flown to AUN three years ago to decide if I should accept their offer, I didn't feel cozy, but I felt welcome and I felt needed. At TSU I feel welcome, needed, and comfortable. That's a nice upgrade.

I returned to AUN in expectation that I would have to return to the States in early-mid February for other flyouts. It turned out there was no need. Just at the very moment I thought it was time to start worrying about why I hadn't heard back yet, TSU made me an offer which we were very happy to accept. We waited a few weeks before making this public announcement until we had a contract in hand.

The position is mostly teaching. I'm part of a fairly large group of people the business school is hiring to strengthen their research output and offerings. One of the funnier moments from my interview with them was when the mentioned the teaching load was 4-4 and they still expected research; was I comfortable with that idea? I responded that that's exactly what I've been doing at AUN, plus being department chair and other service responsibilities. I think this is the mix I'm looking for.

Several people at Tarleton mentioned that the college is like a family and they want to keep it that way. I contrasted that with another interview I had where they asked me how I dealt with difficult colleagues - sends a totally different signal, doesn't it? *lol*

Tarleton State is part of the A&M system. They have a strong agricultural section which will be very useful for my research and outreach, particularly since I've studied meatpacking. Now this is dairy country, not meatpacking, but they're not that far apart; the ag school even has a packing facility where they can hold classes.

At the moment we are planning to move out there in late July, though our son who will be born one month from now may have other ideas.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What I read in ... the Book of Mormon title page

I love that, no matter how many times we have read the scriptures, there is always more to find and discover. Last night I read the title page to the Book of Mormon and found something new.

The title page was written by a guy named Moroni just before he buried the record for Joseph Smith to find 1400-some-odd years later. Its main job is to tell the reader what they are about to get themselves into: it's written to the house of Israel and the Gentiles so they know that Jesus is the Christ and that He will fulfill the covenants He made with the house of Israel. It also gives the world's briefest synopsis of the Book of Mormon story.

The new thing I saw came before all that. In that all-caps, serif font it says


I asked myself: What are the very first things Moroni, probably unconsciously, wants us to know?
1 - This is my dad's book. He wrote it. He physically wrote it with his own hand. I'm not going to take credit for my dad's life work.
2 - He wrote it on plates. The gold is irrelevant. It's just plates. Of course, if you're holding these plates right now, you kind of know that.
3 - Mormon, my dad, used sources. His primary source material came from other plate records we call the plates of Nephi.

In other words: MORMON AND MORONI CITE THEIR SOURCES!!! and that is the first thing they want us to know.

My number one single greatest complaint about the students at AUN is the constant plagiarism to which I am subjected and the neverending headaches and struggle I have trying to convince them that the quote-mark key is not their enemy. Here in the very first words of the Book of Mormon, we see the prophets taking care to cite their sources and give credit where it's due.

It flooded back to me how often Mormon mentions the plates he's working from, explaining that he isn't recording even 1% of it all, adding a whole section just to explain what he's copying and where these other plates came from, mentioning that the words he's about to write came from Alma's very own record, and evaluating the reliability of the sources (now if the guy who kept the records didn't make any mistakes, it was this year....).

I didn't weep, but that was beautiful to me. Mormon and Moroni cite their sources. Just one more reason why I love this book. :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A conversation with Hugh Nibley about my answer key

I was writing an answer key for my International Finance class just now. In passing, I mentioned an "Edenic business climate." That's when the imaginary ghost of Hugh Nibley walked into my office and took a seat.

Hugh: That is a contradiction in terms. There is no business in Eden, so there cannot be an Edenic business climate.

DW: Alright, fine. I'll call it idyllic then.

Hugh: Idyllic for Bablyon?

DW: Listen, Hugh, I'm trying to write an answer key here, and I'm not teaching a religion class.

Hugh: Why not? Shouldn't you be preparing them for the real world?

DW: I'm not being paid to teach religion. I'm being paid to teach about that part of the real world that deals with international finance and that means talking about business.

Hugh: 'Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business: charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of [international finance] were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!' Do your idyllic business conditions improve those?

DW: Thank you, Charles Dickens. Look, I do the best I can to bring ethics into my teaching. I have students consider the impact of these policies on the poor; I continually challenge them to "rove beyond the narrow limits of their money changing holes" to serve their fellow Nigerians; every semester at least one class gets to see me tearing money into shreds to convince them that money is not the point and never has been; according to their answers on the midterm, I seem to have convinced my principles of macro students that their businesses will be best served by paying their workers more; 

Hugh: Which you weren't trying to do...

DW: I'll take it anyway. I gave a mini-lecture just last week on Christian and Islamic finance. I do what I can. It's hard being an economist and a preacher at the same time.

Hugh: You mean it's hard to have one foot in Babylon and one in Zion at the same time? Some day you're going to have to choose.

DW: That's not a fair description of me and you know it.

Well, either he gave in at that point or else I had successfully fought against the light long enough to go back to the darkness of mere economics. 

And idyllic business climates.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What do you remember about Nigeria, Superstar?

We figured the Princess would be too young to remember anything about Nigeria. There was some chance though that Superstar would keep some memories of his home here. So now that they have been gone for almost a year, I interviewed Superstar to see what he remembered.

DW: What do you remember about Nigeria?
S: We didn’t have Mario Galaxy 2 yet. …. I had a train track.
DW: Do you remember any of the people?
S: Monday, Friday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

[This is only partly a joke. Monday is a guard and Friday is a driver. I also know multiple people named Sunday. I have yet to meet Tue, Wed, Thur, or Sat. I assume this is because I don't get out much.]

J: Do you remember any of the children?
S: Dahiru, Ethan, and who was the little one? Issa. I remember what he looks like because he looks like one of my friends at school here.

[Superstar did not remember his bedroom, so I took him on a Skyping tour of it.]
S: I remember the alphabets on the wall and the Winnie the Pooh clock and that is it.

That is most of what Superstar remembers from being a 3-5 year old almost a year later.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The many identical love interests of Modesitt

I've been enjoying two of L.E. Modesitt's series - Imager (a trilogy and one at 5+ books) and Recluse (a long series). In trying to keep the chronology of Recluse straight, I visited his Wiki page, which notes some criticism that his characters are all the same. Now, he's written a ton of books in many series, and I assume he is right to point out that he has a lot of other characters.

On the other hand, I'm 12 books in and having a hard time distinguishing the male heroes' love interests.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superstar learns about jobs

I got home to UT. We left for CA to spend Christmas with my parents. We went back to UT. I left again for the big economics job market conference at the beginning of January in Philadelphia where I had a number of preliminary interviews. I came home and had another phone interview. I flew out to Texas to have a major interview with Tarleton State University. I came home, had a last phone interview, and flew back to Nigeria.

It was not quite the Have-Daddy-Stay-At-Home the kids were hoping for. I forget whether I was in Philly or TX, but Joy reported on a conversation she had with Superstar:

S: I don't want Daddy to get a job.
J: Why not?
S: I want him to stay with us all the time.
J: But if Daddy doesn't find a job, then Mommy will have to get a job. Would you rather Daddy stay home and Mommy goes to work?
S: No. I want you both to stay home, always.

Joy managed to convince him that if we're going to eat, someone needs to work. When I came home, I spent a good bit of time talking with the kids about how my goal was to find a job in the States so we could all live together again.

For Family Home Evening one night I decided to have a lesson on setting goals - it being so close to New Years, it seemed festive.

So bright, his father calls him Son

My dad's a smart guy. He made sure to train me to do some math in my head. While waiting in lines at Disneyland or for a restaurant to seat us, he'd play math games with me.

Having a grandson is a fun thing for Pop because he gets to do it all over again. Imagine his surprise when Superstar - who is only 5 years old - walks into his office, asks to practice his math with Pop, and wants to work on fractions and division.

Superstar's school is a wonderful place. Recognizing he already has remarkably advanced math skills, they let him join the older kids for math. One day the teacher was showing a movie in her class, and he complained that he was there to do math and wanted to do his math. They have him work on addition Tuesdays, subtraction Wed, multiplication Thur, and he gets to choose what he wants Mon and Fri, which is usually subtraction. Just before I left to return here, he passed a multiplication test. (One school I was interviewing with during lunch heard about this and asked if he got an A or just a passing grade - as if that made a ton of difference in a 5 year old. The answer is: he got a B.)

Now, I'll grant you, the way he does his multiplication is by adding numbers quickly. So you give him times tables to fill out and he can do them, 6x7 is just the last question 6x6 plus 6 more, and 6x8 is that plus 6 more and .... But he can still figure it out if they pick problems at random too.

Superstar, Joy, and I played Quirkle - a Scrabble-like game using colors and shapes instead of words. Superstar was able to keep track of his score in his head, adding up double-digit numbers to over 200 almost flawlessly.

My dad's a smart guy. He's in a little bit of awe about Superstar. That's my boy! My son, the math will be with you, always.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A day with my daughter

Princess' first selfie, taken on the plane back
from Christmas, was the last picture taken
on my iPad before I lost it.
I just got back from vacation with my family in Utah. Most people are astounded at how verbal our 2.5 year old daughter is. She's not only verbal, Princess says some adorably cute things - though some of it you
may have to have been there for. I decided to write down just one day's worth while I was home. This was mid-December when I had been home for just a few days.

At breakfast we tried to figure out what fruit she wanted. Joy asked her if she wanted apricots.
"Yes. I will eat apricots. You like apricots, right, Daddy?" as if my liking apricots was an important factor in the decision.

After breakfast she announced, "I will put the milk away." She lifted the heavy jug and took it to the fridge. "Will you open the fridge?" I did. "Where does it go?" On the top. "On the top ... I did it! I put the milk away."

I forget the situation, but she was apparently very cute when she said "I crossed them out."

We could hear the children not playing together well. Before we came to them, Princess came to us: "[Superstar] is playing with the pink car and he won't let me play. That makes me mad and I don't 'preciate it."