Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reviewing a Year Through Books

Desmond is almost a year old. Hard to believe. One of the ways I'm remembering his first year is to look over all the books I've read. The first six months of nursing allowed me to read while Des ate. This was quite a luxury to me since I wasn't expecting to read much with a newborn around.

Despite the encouragement of my friend Kate N., I haven't started using Good Reads...yet. Until I do, here's a plain ol' text list of the books I've read in the past year. You'll see I went a bit heavy on the fiction, probably in reaction to all the pregnancy/baby books I read before Desmond arrive.

I didn't enjoy all of these books and I'm not endorsing all of them. I will say my favorites were Liar's Poker and Ender's Game.

The Haj, Leon Uris
Letters to My Younger Self, a collection of essays
The Drunkard's Walk, by Leonard Mlodinow
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Chasing Fireflies, by Charles Martin
Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch
The Hidden Art of Homemaking, by Edith Schaeffer
Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis
Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Echo
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Click - What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters, by Bill Tancer
Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Girlfriends' Guide to the First Year, Vicky Iovine
Secret Believers, Brother Andrew
Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, Kathleen Norris
Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
When Crickets Cry, Charles Martin
Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg
Happiest Baby on the Block, Harvey Karp
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - Marc Weissbluth
Babywise, Gary Ezzo
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Ender's Game, Scott Orson Card
Speaker for the Dead, Scott Orson Card
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter (only the first's going to take me forever to finish)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Not a Poser

My friend Holly R. once told me it takes about a year to find your identity after you have your first child. I think she's right.

I love being at home with Desmond. I'm grateful that I have the option to love, teach and grow with him each day. But after some soul searching during our vacation, I realized that I miss the intellectual stimulation from being in the work force. Sparing you my deliberations and brainstorming, it suffices to say that I decided to try tutoring high school students in math. It would allow me to brush up on my math skills, make a little bit of money, and allow me to help others. My high school math teachers changed my life for the better. I would be delighted if I could help someone to like math (or at least hate it less).

So I have my first (and, at the moment, only) student to tutor! She's taking AP Calculus, we've met once, and I'm *really* enjoying myself.

I have to confess that after seven years of not doing real math, I was starting to wonder if I was a bit of a poser. I'm quick to say that I love math, but what if I couldn't do it anymore?

Also, I am notorious for learning something then quickly forgetting the details. I claim that it's my learning style. I retain the big concepts and remember where to reference the details later. But what if I couldn't actually pick up the details of calculus again?

What if I were a big poser?

But, it's coming back to me! Picking up calculus again has been like sliding on your favorite pair of old shoes that you haven't worn in a while. It fits in all the right ways and makes you remember all the places you've been together. In fact, I've had so much fun brushing up on my calculus that it's been hard to make myself do anything productive in my free time this week.

So maybe I'm not a poser after all.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Thoughts - Part 1

There are a lot of things that make me happy in life. I'm trying to be more intentional about dwelling on them. As Desmond fights off his first somewhat-serious illness (not counting the NICU), it's especially good to consider the good in life.

  1. Babies or children laughing
  2. A good tickle
  3. Homemade ginger ale
  4. Clean teeth
  5. Anything daffodil
  6. Working up a good sweat
  7. My maiden name - Katharine Nicholette Knight
  8. A skirt rustling in the wind
  9. A good smelling husband (Peter is the least stinky white guy I know!)
  10. Homemade granola
  11. How my ponytail swishes against my back
  12. Fibonacci sequence
  13. Cooking with homegrown herbs

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


After time in the Outer Banks, the three of us flew down to southern Florida to visit my family in West Palm Beach and attend Peter's high school reunion in Miami.

Peter went to PACA in Brazil. I personally think there is some type of common thread that runs through most PACA kids that I've met. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it does make them special. I enjoyed hearing all the Portuguese and putting faces with names.

Everyone went on a bayside boat ride to see the amazing Miami coast and posh houses.

A few of the people at the reunion.

In West Palm Beach, we stayed with my cousin Susanne's family. They have two daughters Alexandra (6) and Julia (2.5). The girls and Desmond wore themselves out playing with each other and us. It was wonderful to see Desmond playing with his cousins, especially since that doesn't happen very often. (We never quite figured out if they are second cousins, second cousins once removed, etc. Who in the world understands all that stuff?!?)

Desmond also got to meet his great grandfather, Tom Knight. I was seriously impressed with my grandfather's ease with the baby. He's obviously practiced. :-)

Peter reads one of many stories to the kids.

Great Grandpa Knight loves on Desmond. Look at all the blue eyes!

Aunt Diane teaches Desmond to play the piano. She's got the magic touch with kids.