Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Forget Pilates . . .

If you really want to strengthen your core muscles, get a baby to be your personal trainer. The most suitable age range is 3-5 months. Once babies learn to roll they don't like to lie around on blankets with lazy adults. If you don't have an appropriately-aged baby on hand, follow the simple instructions below for a full body workout:

Lie on your back on a blanket.
Bicycle both legs in the air while simultaneously rotating ankles. Continue for several minutes. Every ten or so bicycles, pause (keeping both legs in the air) to flap both arms. Rock side to side--not quite rolling over--several time and repeat entire back routine.

Lie on your stomach on a blanket.
Lift all four limbs off the blanket as well as your head and flap all four limbs wildly for several minutes. Return hands and feet to floor and push upper torso into "cobra" position. Hold for several minutes. Repeat entire routine.

Happy exercising!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kids don't need toys

Joseph is mesmerized by the lid of our salad spinner. He's mesmerized by pretty much anything that resembles a wheel. Usually I give him the rolling pin while I'm cooking dinner, but this one is clearly the new favorite. This is encouraging as we consider how much we can downsize our living space. As long as we still have a kitchen, the kids will be entertained!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

With parents like this . . .

. . . how did our kids ever get so cute? Even my very talented sister failed to make the Johnston parents seem photogenic, but here we are a few weeks before Christmas. Dont' be deceived by the domestic-looking structure behind us. It's a mere prop. We are still residing in the apartment building next door working as "dorm parents" (officially, Eric is the Residential Life Director) at the American Studies Program. Eric took over official duties in June as I prepared for baby Margaret's arrival. We are about to begin our last semester. In May we finish up and, sometime this summer, we'll move on to . . . well, your guess is as good as ours. We hope that gainful employment for Eric will figure significantly in our future. He hopes to finish up his Ph.D. in May--just a couple of months too late to get a real teaching job. We're looking into options in various cities and we'll put our photo-journalism skills to use keeping you posted as the search progresses.

Margaret's new trick

Today, just for fun, Eric propped Margaret up against the back of the couch. She loves it. She stood there for 15 minutes stretches over and over again today just looking around. Joseph thinks it's great and hangs out behind the couch so he can look up at her.

What Margaret thinks of Mommy

Margaret spends a lot of her day looking at me as if to say, "Do all kids have parents this wierd?"

Margaret laughing

Margaret laughed for the first time the other day at something Joseph did. Neither Eric or I have done anything funny enough to elicit a giggle but she was really cracking up with her brother. Joseph was very proud of himself and has since often asked to "make her laugh."

The kids together . . .

Hmm . . . so far we aren't blog-savvy enough to rotate this, but it's still cute. Margaret is in her very cute jumper (thanks Laura). Joseph loves to hold his sister and actually does pretty well unassisted (but well-supervised, don't worry!)

Serious reading!

Joseph has more books than any kid could ever need--especially a kid with a public library across the street. Despite our efforts to build him a varied, interesting library, Joseph asks EVERY NIGHT for the "Giant Book" (Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant). It's a complicated story with a high words to picture ratio but he absolutely loves it. Sometimes he'll even read it to himself--and fall asleep.