Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Letter 2007

Our 2007 Christmas letter is posted in PDF format here: http://www.hudsonic.com/files/Christ_is_Born-Glorify_Him_v2.pdf
We mailed out a bunch the day after Christmas. If you haven't received yours in about a week, drop us a line and we'll send one out. Our address book may need updating.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

In the Hudson home the annual Christmas letter is a mostly unrealized ideal. The last one we wrote was 4 years ago when we bought our house. Whenever we think about writing one it usually isn't near the computer... Now is the time to act!

Many things are the same... we enjoy being homeowners and are still in the home we bought 4 years ago, we attend St. Michael Church in Whittier where we were married 6 years ago, we visit with family nearby and out of state as often as we can... Yet much has changed.

Our biggest news since our last letter is the birth of our daughter Claire Rebbecca on May 27, 2006. She arrived 9 weeks before her due date and spent her first 8 weeks in the hospital. During this time we began a blog at http://markhu.blogspot.com along with pictures on http://www.flickr.com/photos/hudsonthego. Since two weeks before Claire's arrival I stopped working and have the privilege of staying home with Claire.

The joy of celebrating Claire's first birthday in May was preceded by the sorrow of attending the funeral for our pastor, Fr. Michael just two weeks prior. Reflecting on his full life while holding Claire in my arms during the graveside service reminded me of Spring's theme of new life springing up in the place of old.

Claire is now 18 months old and just started walking on Christmas Eve. She took three steps walking between a very proud mom and dad. She is very verbal and social and loves books, especially about animals. When she wakes up from a nap or in the morning the first thing she says is either "read read," or "bow-wow-wow!" Her current favorite book is The Napping House by Audry Wood which features a dog, cat and mouse. Claire loves to pet our two cats (can't say the cats feel the same about the experience) and she is learning to be gentle. Sometimes she "barks" at them through the screen door as they sit outside on the porch. We are especially thankful with each new benchmark Claire reaches because she had a brain injury at birth and we didn't know what the outcome would be.

Mark has switched jobs a couple of times since our last letter. After working at Critical Path for five years, he returned to Symantec, a former employer, for two years. He is now working for Ticketmaster.com in Hollywood which looks to be his best job yet. After the lease on his truck ran out in 2005, Mark gained an affinity for public transit and continues to ride the bus a few times a week, both for the exercise and opportunity to read.

We flew to Oklahoma in November and visited three sets of people: Beth (Claire's godmother) at her pre-wedding reception, Jen's relatives in Weatherford, and Mark's relatives in Oklahoma City. This was Claire's first plane flight and she did great. Our only traumatic moment was when Claire got a paper cut in the rental car office and screamed and bled all over Jen until we found out the matter.

Jen's new hobby is organic gardening, supplemented by trips to the farmer's market. She also enjoys baking now and then and is working on perfecting a no-knead bread recipe. Mark's new hobby is European-style boardgames. But both of these willingly take a back seat to raising Claire. Despite her rough start, she is growing and learning steadily and we are proud and joyful parents.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Read Alouds--Jen's current favorites

read alouds
Originally uploaded by hudsonthego
Claire has been participating more and more identifying objects and animals in the illustrations of books as we read. She has also demonstrated that she can handle non board books carefully with assistance. Thankfully this means I can start reading books that were in my collection as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. (And I don't have to get bored with our limited supply of board books.)
Claire is fascinated with The Napping House because it has both a dog and a cat in it. The illustrations are gorgeous. Don Wood is a master at showing animals and people in motion and evoking emotion. Old Hat New Hat continues to hold her attention after steady usage for months, Mouse Mess is a new favorite because I just love the illustrations and it has some of Claire's favorite words in it, "hush, mess, and house" Quiero un beso is a favorite with Claire because it ends with hugs and kisses. Sandra Boynton has a knack for creating clever scenarios with her critters and Claire gets to practice saying her animal sounds.

PS new Spanish word today mono (monkey)
and first experience with finger painting see Flickr for photos.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Primeras Palabras

I was thrilled when upon handing Claire a small rubber duck I heard her soft sweet voice saying "pato." She also will repeat "bebe" and "agua." So, my not-so-concerted efforts of teaching her some Spanish are finally bearing fruit. It is hard to remember to talk to her in Spanish.

Speaking of language learning. I want to record a list of all the words she says by category. It may take a while, in the bits and snatches of time I have for such things.

Body parts

Animals and sounds
bird tweet
chick cheep
monkey [mono] eee eee
cow moo
sheep baa
horse neigh
duck [pato] quack
cat kitty meow
doggie bow-wow
pup puppy ruff, woof
tiger grr

Sounds only
"cah-doo-doo" for rooster
and uuu, uuu for Owl
gobble gobble for turkey

hungry (hun-yee)



Saturday, December 15, 2007

a top-10 board-book list

10 current fave children's booksHere are some of Claire's current favorite books. Many of them are thrift store finds.

The touch-and-feel books are the lightest on the literary scale, but she really likes the extra tactile elements.

Some enduring classics are: Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann-- I'd like to see this in a larger format since the pictures are very detailed --it doesn't have much text on the pages, so leaves the parents free to ad-lib. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle -- she likes several of his, but this one has tactile features. The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown has a very catchy rhythm to its rhyme (1948), and the pictures by Felicia Bond are warm yet sharp (1989). Linda Bleck's illustrations for A Children's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes are retro-cool reminiscent of the 1960's.

Honorable mention goes to Fuzzy Bee and Friends which is a floppy cloth book, one of her first, and still a favorite. I couldn't find it for this photo--probably in the car with Mom who is away at a Lady's Advent Tea.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Now that Claire has a sizable vocabulary the trick it to figure out what she means.

Claire Dictionary

cah-doo = Cock-a-doodle-doo (if she says this she probably wants to read the Big Red Barn

ba-ba = bottle, can be confused with ball or baa baa sheep sound.

on or "hon" (this may mean she wants you to light a candle or that she wants to turn the light switch or that she noticed the fan or light is on.) Not to be confused with "hun" which means hungry.

push (she wants to push a door or drawer closed.)

bunny (she want a bunny graham.)

kees = kiss or keys

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Read, READ!

pushing truck Claire now request books by saying, "Read, READ!"
I checked out some board books in Spanish with her early last week. I can't seem to remember to use Spanish with her much, so having Spanish books around helps.
She learned the numbers 1 and 3 today. Yesterday she learned neck. and today I heard her say lace (referring to her shoelace.) She is fascinated with undoing her shoelaces.

She can walk pushing a folding chair or her "car" (thanks to her Aunt Jill.)
It won't be long now till she is officially a toddler.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Claire requests that a book be read to her by saying, "book." As soon as I put the book down the says, "book." This continues for a dozen or more books or until I finally distract her with some other activity. At bedtime when it is time to stop reading and go to sleep she cries and says, "book." She wakes up in the night and says, "book." Awaking from her nap the first thing she says is, "book." We are happy for her love of reading but are trying to encourage her to broaden her horizons.

On the sleep issue, last night was better. She slept from 7-12:45 then from 2:00-5:30 and 5:40-6:45. That first stretch was especially golden since us parents went to bed at 8:30. The only down side was the coughing fit and wakefulness from 12:45-2, but we all awoke much refreshed in the morning, and optimistic for the future of sleep in the Hudson household. Claire also went to bed quite easily tonight. Maybe she is learning how to sleep better.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Claire has been coughing at night for the past 5-6 nights and she gets all riled up and ends up staying awake for an hour or two. I took her to the doctor and he gave us some drops to give her at 6 hour intervals. We can't seem to get the timing right to avoid the long wakeful period though! UGH! There have been no more 4.5 hour stints of sleep either. My only reason for staying sane is that Beth has been entertaining Claire from 6 am to 9 am every morning so I can sleep in. Beth leaves on Thurs for Greece so I hope Claire's cough has subsided by then.