Sunday, January 22, 2012

a sentence

Levi said a whole sentence today! (other than "Iant ____" which means "I want _____)

It was "I....ahh done.... chee-ohs"

Way to go, little buddy!


Today (a day later) Sam told me that Levi said, "Iant...moh (more) ...Kix" at breakfast. Apparently our boy is extremely motivated by breakfast cereals.

He must be part Stay....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

my new favorite blog

Why did I even write all that stuff about change when Ms. Melton sums it up so nicely? It's nice to hear I'm not the only one who suffers from Mommy Guilt no matter what. Though also disappointing- because if it's that universal, it's probably also not checking out of the Cosby household any time soon.

And for those of you who are not mommies and could care less about all this struggling to figure out how to be a mommy, I apologize. It's just what I happen to be thinking about. Every day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

the new blankie

When I asked Anna what she wanted for Christmas, she said she wanted a new blankie. I was a little wary at first since she had a perfectly good blanket already that topped all other blankies, so would she even actually like another one? In the end I decided that I needed to A) trust her and B) make it really cute so she'd have to like it.

Here's the end result:

Last minute I decided to embroider her hand on there, so on Christmas Eve, I crept into her room while she slept and traced her hand on a piece of paper. (She didn't wake up.) Then, as Sam and I watched parts 2 and 3 of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I finished tying the quilt, embroidering the hand, and pinning and sewing the binding. I finished at 2 AM.

Here is her Christmas morning reaction:

Anna immediately wanted to snuggle with it on my lap, which is the true test of a good blankie. Since Christmas, it has made forts, tunnels, tents, quieted baby doll beds, had a snotty nose wiped on it, and even been thrown up on. It's thoroughly broken in and thoroughly loved-- which makes it all worth it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

poor economics

I posted this on goodreads, but McKay asked about it in the comments of the blog post I mention in the review, so I thought I'd post it here too to answer his question:

I mentioned this book on my blog here, and now I've finally read it!

I'll admit I was a little disappointed that the book wasn't as detailed as her lecture on the actual experiments the Poverty Action Lab has been involved in. There was much more on larger picture topics and brief summaries of experiments and how they contributed to the dialogue on how to address that particular topic within development circles.

That said, it was still a fascinating read and I felt like it's been the best thing I've read to help me catch a vision of what life is like for the international poor- those living on less than $.99 per day. (If you want to shed some light on what life is like for the poor in America, I'd suggest Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich or Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas.)

Here's the thing that just drives me crazy when I read about/think about the poor: the little inconveniences and set backs they face. I mean, the little things that can ruin MY day, like not being able to get in to see the doctor that day, or a fee I wasn't expecting, or a price hike on my favorite yogurt, are the kinds of things that determine whether or not the poor get to EAT that day, or whether they'll be able to keep their business open. And those inconveniences are in addition to all the work the poor have to do to make the right choices for their welfare that we take for granted. For instance, they have to chlorinate their own water- every time they want to drink it or cook with it- if you forget, you can get water-borne diseases which can give you diarrhea which kills millions of children every year. They have to make an effort to buy iodized salt. They can't eat fortified cereals every morning, so getting adequate micronutrients is a chore. There's no social welfare program (like social security) to back you up, and banks are essentially inaccessible to the poor. When they can manage to save money, they have to use their (now very limited) supply of self-discipline to not spend it. It's so unfair that it makes my insides wriggle.

However, this book was full of relatively easy, simple, and inexpensive ways to ameliorate those inconveniences. Like putting cheap chlorine dispensers next to the public water source, or subsidizing iodized and iron rich salt, or simple information campaigns with usable information ("Sex with older men is more likely to give you HIV" decreased the number of high school girls who had sex, got pregnant, dropped out of school, and contracted HIV compared with the control group.) Deworming children, at the cost of about $1.50 per child per year, increased their average yearly wage by the 10's of percents.

Banajerjee and Duflo propose focusing on these small forms of assistance and little nudges towards making the right decision rather than trying to find some large-scale magic bullet to eradicate poverty. Let's get this generation a little healthier and a little more educated, and get some simple policies in place and then we'll be a little step higher for the next generation. I found it hard to disagree. They often mention Jeffrey Sachs and his book "The End of Poverty" (which is currently on my bookshelf) as an opposing view. I'm curious to see what Sachs has to say.

Also, here's the word on microcredit, according to Banjerjee and Duflo. It's great for giving small loans to the poor to run small businesses. However, many of these businesses fail because so many of their neighbors go into the same business and there's not enough demand. Microcredit loans do not encourage risk-taking (and bigger businesses mean bigger risks) since most loans have to start to be repaid only a week after taking out the loan, and the other debtors in your lending group don't want you to do anything to jeopardize their ability to make a payment. Microcredit loans aren't usually practical for educational purposes (like a tuition payment) since you may or may not have the money to start paying it back a week later. In studies they did, they found microcredit users purchased more consumer goods, but didn't spend much more on education or health. Essentially, they say, microcredit loans are a way for the poor to ensure they have a job, which is no small thing, and is a useful service, but it's not a cure-all for poverty.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

a perfect summary

Don't you love it when someone else says exactly what you mean to say, and says it well? I do.

Here's a wonderful lesson on NOT loving every minute, and still being a great mom.

Thanks to Kristy for sharing this on pinterest and my sister-in-law Lesli via email.

Monday, January 02, 2012

cosby family christmas card

I only sent out 40 Christmas cards this year. Of those, half went to family members. As such, few of our friends received a Christmas card/letter from us. So here's our letter, and the photos from our card, and our wish to you of a Merry Christmas and Happy and Peaceful New Year.

These beautiful photos were taken in April by my friend and cousin-in-law, Megan of We See Love Photography. As you can see, she is incredibly talented. I have been kicking myself for 5 years that I didn't think to hire her for our wedding. If you are in the Nevada/SoCal/Utah region of the country, you need to hire her. You will not only love your photos, but you will love how much fun you have while taking them. Sam actually said, "That's the first time I haven't hated getting our pictures taken." High praise, my friends, high praise. Now on to the letter.

"Sam started the LGO program at MIT in June. He is getting an MBA and an MS in Chemical Engineering. It was a bit of an adjustment to go back to school after 4 years of working, but Sam handled it gracefully. We were all happy when we moved to Cambridge in August so he didn't have to commute an hour each way to and from school. Since moving, Sam has been even busier with a heavy class load, but he did well in all his classes. Despite all his work at school, Sam has been a wonderfully supportive husband and playful father for which we're all grateful. In his little spare time, Sam read the Elantris series by Brandon Sanderson, played a duet with me at church, and fixed our computer. We also managed to fit in some fun and creative date nights.

"Living in Cambridge confirmed that I love city life! It's been fun taking the kids to museums, parks, book festivals, street fairs, and more free events than we can fit in. Since moving here, I've been involved in teaching Anna's Joy School class, a women’s discussion group, lunches with friends, lectures, and a kickboxing class. Despite the construction noise, water outages, expensive laundry, crazy heating system, and the rat problem, we love living in student family housing where there are lots of moms to talk to and trade babysitting with and friends to meet on the playground. At church, I'm on the community service committee, I sing in and play for the choir, and I have a spiritual feast each week in my classes. Cambridge is full of interesting and talented people and it's exciting to get to know so many of them.

"Anna is now 3 1/2 and loves to read books, make "crafts" (anything involving paper, scissors, glue, and stickers), sing songs, dress up, and make up stories. Anna and I make a good team as she helps with laundry, cleaning up after herself, cooking, and reading to Levi. She loved going to Joy School this year and made some great friends. Sometimes she surprises me with her kindness to them (and us). Anna always makes us laugh with the silly things she thinks up. Often I can’t believe how she’s grown from a baby to this imaginative little girl, but it’s fun all the same.

"Levi is 21 months and is a ball of little boy energy. Levi loves to wrestle, tickle, and chase more than anything in the world. He also loves digging in the dirt, playing with balls and trucks, and singing or dancing to music. Every single time Levi sees a bus, he shouts "BUUSSSSS!-- out his window, from the car, in a quiet McDonalds, in a quieter library, and an even quieter church meeting. That boy loves buses. He also loves making a mess. My favorite moments with Levi are when he will snuggle on my lap and read a book or sing a song with me.

"We're all excited to be moving to Thousand Oaks, CA early next year for Sam's six-month internship with Amgen. We're looking forward to a warm winter, beaches, visits from grandparents and siblings, and a chance to experience life on the opposite coast. For now we're enjoying the excitement of our two little children at Christmas. We love our Savior and feel overwhelmed by the love and guidance we have received from Him this year.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with love,
Heather, Sam, Anna, and Levi Cosby"