Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Christmas pictures

Cooper's going through a costume phase right now.  Really since Thanksgiving.  He wears costumes all the time.  Never to school, but definitely on weekends and at night and now, since there's been no school for two weeks, every day.

Here's his fireman costume:
(He was waiting in the yard for Alan to come home.)

And he spent much of Christmas in his pirate costume:

Making sugar cookies with Grandma Joan:

And the cousins got in on the action too.  Zoey helped sprinkle.  Vada mostly watched and ate dried peas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas village

My sister Kelly was into these Christmas village decorations at one time, but Mom and Dad are ready to move them out of the house.  So mom brought them to Coop.

He loves them.  He's got the whole town arranged.  Usually in the evenings, he takes his toy Santa around to every house to deliver presents.

Notice how every building now has at least one vehicle parked outside?

My favorite is the house with the tractor on the porch.

And the monster truck out behind the newspaper office:

Every now and then the village gets terrorized by a giant cat:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas prep

Reindeer pajamas:

Tortilla snowflake snacks:

A phone call from Santa! (via

And our yearly visit to Santa at our gas station/McDonald's (we're classy like that):

Coop told Santa he wanted "a Santa costume and a small toy for home."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Alan on tv!

Last week, Alan was asked to be a guest on Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano to talk about the economics of Seinfeld project.  It aired on the Fox Business News channel, which we don't get.  But here's the clip of his appearance:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thanksgiving break activities

We dug out the Christmas decorations:

Each year, I buy an ornament for Cooper.  This year, it was a pirate ornament:

And then the weather was wonderfully warm, so we headed outside to ride in the driveway.

(He's not really sleeping, just trying to avoid the camera.)

And the big trike:

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ok, get out your air quotes again.

"Alan" was "on" the "cover" of Business Week.  Here it is.  Can you see him?

Nope, not the big story about Ireland.  Look closer:

Still can't see it.  Try this:
There it is.  "Seinfeld Returns, As an Economist p26."  That's Alan!

To be fair, it is really cool.  The article's nice, and Alan's quoted talking about the project.  You can read the story here.

And.  AND.  The Today Show is planning to interview Linda about her Econ and Pop Culture class, and CNN will likely be interviewing Alan soon about the Seinfeld project.  And they haven't even finished their book proposal and already a publishing house has emailed to ask about publishing their book.

Note:  I drafted this post a week ago, and I have to keep editing it with the latest news.  Good heavens.  This thing has gone viral.  On Friday, Mr. President Literary Agent Man sent out the book proposal.  Within two hours, a publishing house rep emailed back that she "absolutely loves this" and was going to talk to her boss about it.  Alan's trying very hard not to starting counting his chickens.

Speaking of chickens (and with apologies to Alan for cluttering up this blog post), Red Hen is no longer with us.  We found her dead under a pine tree in the yard, and we buried her under her favorite roosting tree.  Man, she was a tough old bird.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast

This year, we had the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving at Cooper's school.  The Raintree Thanksgiving Feast is one of the biggest events of the school year.  The kids spend weeks making all of the Thanksgiving food, and then parents come for a special lunch.

The buffet table, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn bread, cranberry relish, cinnamon apples, rolls, butter (that the kids made by shaking cream!), and pumpkin cake.

Coop talked a lot about making the mashed potatoes, and using a big grinder to make cranberry relish, and making the frosting for the pumpkin cake.

Our table -- just the right size for Coop.  A bit small for us!

Coop and his best buddy Jackson.  I don't know how these two get anything done during the school day.  Whenever I see them together, they're giggling at each other and running in circles.

Since the Raintree Feast (and pretty much every day of Thanksgiving break), Coop has been making us a pretend feast at home.
Not quite as tasty.  But still appreciated.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have we talked about Seinfeld yet?

A while ago, Alan and his friend (and fellow econ teacher from Eastern Illinois University) Linda started using Seinfeld clips to illustrate various economic principles in class.  They eventually decided to present some of their ideas at conferences and maybe even in a paper.  So they starting "researching" Seinfeld.

(And yes, I always use air quotes when I talk about this "research.")

Alan was forced to buy all nine seasons of Seinfeld on dvd, and then sit on the couch and watch every stinkin' episode, taking notes on any scenes that illustrated (or even remotely sounded like) an economics principle.  Eventually, they put everything together in a website called The Economics of Seinfeld.  It's a nice set-up -- you can search by econ topic and then get a list of any Seinfeld storyline that addresses that issue. 

And then some magic started to happen.  Linda gave a talk about the economics of Seinfeld for a friend at a small college in Georgia, who posted the link on his blog, which got seen by some mildly important econ blog big-wig.

Well, before you could say "no soup for you," Alan and Linda's website was linked all over the internets.  And big name places too like the Wall Street Journal blog, the NYTimes blog, the Economist blog, the Atlantic blog, to name few.

Well then, people started calling including this random radio station in Connecticut, and some local television and newspaper places.

Lately (seriously, I have no idea how this all happened), CNBC did a little piece on the website.  And Alan and Linda were interviewed for an article in Businessweek.  Alan tells me that the article was mentioned on the cover of the latest edition. 

And in the midst of this 15 minutes of fame, the president of a literary agency in New York emailed Alan and Linda to ask if they had considered turning this into a book, and if not, could he visit with them about the possibility.  Um... yes please.

So.  Alan and Linda spent this past weekend working on a prospectus to send to Mr. President Agency Man who will help them polish it up and then shop it around to publishers for them.

Unfortunately for me, I still don't really like Seinfeld (*gasp* can I say that??) and I've been mocking this "research" project since the beginning, so I'm fairly certain that I will be cut out from the millions this book rakes in.  It's not too late for you, though!  Quick!  Send Alan an email nonchalantly asking if he's got any interesting research (don't use quotes around "research" -- that's been my fatal flaw), and then offer effusive praise when he mentions Seinfeld.  Tell him what a great idea that is and how much hard work (again, don't use quotes around "work") that must be.  (In fact, Alan mentioned to me today that he'll probably have to watch all nine seasons AGAIN now that they're working on this book thing.  Poor Alan.) 

You might even casually say that you saw something about that on CBNC and did he see that link?  "What?  It's YOUR link?  Oh my word, I had no idea."

Something like that.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Puzzle time:

Train track time:

Nutella time:
(You know, the chocolate hazelnut spread?  I had a small sample size container that Coop managed to lick clean.  That's my boy!)

Coloring workbook time:

Bedtime with witch:

Jack-o-lantern time:

Angry face time (just like the jack-o-lantern):

Monday, November 01, 2010


Cooper wanted to be Buzz Lightyear for Halloween.  Luckily, Walmart can accommodate that request with very little effort on my part.  Hurray!

We ended up celebrating Halloween three times this year, which was at least one (maybe two) times too many.  Friday night, Coop and I went to a church party.  He spent the entire time proudly announcing that he was Buzz Lightyear and that he could fly.  And then he ran in circles around the yard.
(The take-off to flight.)

Saturday, we met Parker and his family at the Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, KS.

They had several activities available for kids, including a train ride around the premises:

Coop rode it several times.

The old-timey school house was open:

And kids (or their fathers, in our case) could roast marshmallows for s'mores.
Nifty tip:  Instead of messing around with chocolate and graham crackers, use Keebler fudge stripe cookies.  Two of them fit in a cupcake holder, and then we just plopped the marshmallow in the middle for our s'more.

Sunday afternoon, we met Parker and family up in Lawrence to go trick-or-treating down Mass St.  That was a nightmare, and at least right now, mere hours after the event, I have no designs to ever go again.  Ever.
It was really crowded and Cooper was in fine form -- lost of random touching Parker with his feet or his pumpkin, and some screaming, and plenty of hopping.  (To Coop's credit, he was tired and hungry and unbelievably excited to be Buzz Lightyear.  But still.)

Monday, October 25, 2010


We've been enjoying some fall-related activities lately.  First, we made shrunken apple heads.  We peeled some apples, carved faces on them, soaked them in lemon juice:

And set them out to dry:

After about a week, they looked like little old people:
(One didn't make it the entire week before it got too moldy.  And the lovely umbrella hats are to keep them standing up.  Festive, don't you think?)

We've had lots of fun raking leaves and playing in them:

And Coop got to go to the pumpkin patch with his class at school.  (First field trip!)  He was allowed to pick a pumpkin "as big as my head."  He wanted to make pie with his pumpkin, but that sounded a bit complicated to me, so we made pie with canned pumpkin and then carved his into a jack-o-lantern: