We have officially moved into our new home in College Station. (And by moved in I mean that all of our possessions are inside the house... no guarantees on which box it might be in.) Paul started school on Tuesday. He has two weeks of orientation, which I like to call Summer Camp for Graduate Students. I think he's had a pretty good time. I must admit that the heat has come as a bit of a shock to him. He wrote an email to his parents that described it in this way:
"Boy is it hot. I'm in air conditioning all day so it's not too bad; but when I walk out the air feels like a wall. A very hot wall that wants to suffocate me until I die."
I myself feel relieved to finally be oppressed by the heat again. All that wishy-washy warmth in Idaho... it was hard to tell if it was really summer. Ella and I have gone to the pool every day, I think. And honestly, when you're not wearing clothes, the weather is great! Mostly we stay inside, and try to park in the shade. I do have to go to the grocery store at least once a day, because it is really hard to build up the basic things in one's fridge. And you just don't think about it until you need it.
Ella is almost walking. I'm not really sure what is holding her back, actually. There are moments where she just does it successfully, and then the next minute she's back to the drunken sailor moves. We're not being very pushy this time. I figure she sees us walk all the time, so I can just lead by example. She does love to hold my hand and follow me around the house, or lead me around the house, depending on what's going on. Talking is also a work in progress. She said "more", maybe six times at breakfast two days ago, and now refuses to try it again. Back to the point and squeal method. She kind of marches to her own drummer. If she's in the mood she'll try words, even hard words like strawberry and banana, but if not, she is a pretty effective communicator, so she reverts back to the old standby.
Actually my favorite part of Ella's development right now is that she frequently wants to sit on my lap and read books. And on a regular basis, she lets me read the whole book to her. (For most of Ella's life, I have had to finish the book on my own, just to see what happens.) We have been trying to read books with her since she was tiny, but mostly she would stare off into the distance, or squirm, or outright cry. And you would think to yourself, have the baby book authors ever tried reading a book to a baby? Or do they just wish they had in retrospect? Well, she has arrived. And it is so fun. We probably read ten books a day, maybe even fifteen. (I mean, often it's the same book ten times, but I think that's normal.) It is great. I love reading with her. And the funny thing is, her favorite book right now is about Texas. It might be the dorkiest book I have ever read, but I am growing fond of it. It features oil wells and mariachi musicians, prairie dogs and rattlesnakes. Oh yeah, she is embracing her Texan heritage.
As for me, I am fine. I'm excited to get a calling and start meeting people at church. There is a playgroup in our ward but it's suspended until school starts. We had the missionaries over for dinner this week. It was successful and slug-free. I have already visited the farmer's market twice. Life is good.