Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I won a raffle prize that included a $500 SouthWest Airlines giftcard. I gave it to my mom for her birthday so she could come visit her only grandbaby. She decided not to use it for her birthday and wait until fares were cheaper. Now she AND my dad are going to come in February. YAY! I can hardly wait.

Wednesday I go in for an ultrasound (finally), but Baby R is already starting to be noticeable (at least in my new maternity dress Christa got me for Christmas).

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Four Teeth

I forgot to mention. The Sunday before Christmas, Thomas's other front tooth came in. Now he can clamp down on things with his opposing teeth. He really likes biting the baby spoon. He looks like a narwhal with the spoon handle sticking out from his upper lip.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Day of Rest

Apparently, all that love and adoration Thomas got over Christmas was exhausting. We got back Thursday evening and he was asleep by 9:30. Friday morning, he slept later than he ever had in his baby life. At 10:40, I decided to wake him up to feed him. His diaper had long since failed, and he needed a bath and new sheets. He sat with his head down, sucking his thumb during the short bath and tried to fall asleep while I dried him off (which he usually hates). He took several long naps through the day and went to bed at his usual time. I guess he was just tuckered out. Today he seems much more like his usual self.

A Christmas to Remember

We survived Baby's First Christmas. It was not as bad as we feared; everything fit in the car. He got lots of toys, books, and adorable outfits.

But that was all overshadowed by Uncle Craig and the Christmas E.R. After preparing the Christmas Turkey, Uncle Craig was removing the pan of drippings from the barbecue. The pan splashed, fat hit the briquettes, flames shot up, and Craig got a second-degree burn over the back of his hand, a free trip to the E.R. with follow-up at the Burn Center, and a stylish bandage to wear for at least a month. He and his daughter missed Christmas dinner, and with Craig's wife, daughter, mother, sister, and mother-in-law in attendance, the level of worry and fluster reached previously unimaginable heights. They were back in time to open presents, which was good. Here's Craig's mother-in-law demonstrating a lobster maraca.

But overall, even Uncle Craig's hand had to take a backseat to Christa's Surprise Marriage. That's right, Thomas has his first uncle! We heard about this when we arrived on Friday, but apparently two days before, she told her parents that she got married August 20th. It was quite a surprise since no one knew they were even engaged. Here's a copy of one of the wedding photos, with her husband, Jeremy. They had gone to the local courthouse (which is next-door to the police station).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Six Days!!

We leave day after tomorrow. So far from ready. Can't post, must run around like headless chicken. But quietly, so as not to wake the baby.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It's been raining since last evening. I love rainy days. I love to sit inside where it's warm and leave a door or window open to listen to the rain and smell the wet air. Of course, a rainy day in SoCal is a disaster. I'm sure the news tonight will be full of mudslides and houses sliding down hillsides. And if there's more than a half inch, the streets all flood. But I still like a rainy day. Somehow I doubt Thomas would enjoy a walk in the rain though.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Favorite Time of Day

is when Thomas goes down for his morning nap. It's completely quiet. I read the paper and drink hot cocoa and the cat snores on my lap. It's all so calm that I can temporarily forget that we're leaving for the holidays in four days, house is a mess, cards aren't done, gifts aren't wrapped, gifts aren't mailed, and I'm still in my pjs. Maybe I'll write a blog post before facing all of that.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Footloose and Baby Free

Curtis and I went out yesterday WITHOUT the baby. Thomas spent the day with one of Curtis's students who loves babies while we went to the movie theater to watch a live broadcast of opera from the Met in New York. The opera was Romeo et Juliette by Gounod. Soprano Anna Netrebko was absolutely amazing. And the guy who sang Mercutio was totally cute. We hadn't been to the opera in a long time. It was so great. Thomas apparently had a good time playing with Lefty at her parent's estate, and she loves him.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Breaking News

Thomas's upper right incisor broke the surface this morning. It's his third tooth (he got his bottom two incisors months ago). I give the left incisor another week before it makes an appearance.


Someone found a new use for Thomas's outgrown car seat.

We joked over who got the job of buckling it in.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Creaky Cat Bones

If the cat is on the floor, it's lying on a piece of paper on the floor.
If the cat is on the chair, it's lying on a blanket on the chair.
If the cat is on the couch, it's lying on a throw pillow on the couch.
If the cat is on the bed, it's lying on my clean shirt that I just put down for a second to grab my pants to get dressed.

Curtis has developed a theory (rooted in physic) for why this is. Apparently, a cat lying on a surface is acted upon in the downward direction not only by gravity (mg), but also my an electrostatic interaction between the molecules of the surface and cat fur. The two forces push the cat into the ground with more force than a typical object of mass m would experience. Therefore, cats are always looking for a little more padding to cushion their bones when they lie down. Curtis calls this theory "creaky cat bones."

Well the cat has decided that a box spring, mattress, mattress pad, two sheets, two vellux blankets, and a down comforter are just NOT enough padding. What it's creaky cat bones really need is (in a addition to all that) a human for padding. It has started to sleep on our backs, usually mine. This also puts its nose mere centimeters from the ear, meaning the purring is EXTRA loud.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Like My New Doctor

Why my new doctor (Dr. Little) is WAY better than the guy I started going to:
* The building has large amounts of free parking.
* When I arrived, the staff not only knew why I was there, they also already had the copay form filled out for me to sign.
* My time was respected. I did not have to wait an hour in the waiting room; instead, I was walking out of the building an hour after my appointment time.
* My doctor spent most of that time TALKING to me. She covered her policies, the hospital, diet, supplements, medicines, and a whole bunch of other things.
* She tried to listen for a heartbeat, but the baby must have been back-up, since she couldn't hear anything. Next time.
* She requested an ultrasound from my insurance company. Hopefully next week I'll get the approval to make the appointment and finally see this baby.
* They also gave me a goody bag with a bunch of prenatal vitamin samples, coupons, info, and the hospital's pre-admission forms.
* She even looked over the records I brought from my first pregnancy so I didn't have to duplicate some blood tests, saving me (and the insurance company) money.

Yay! Reassuring Competence!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Two Weeks Till Christmas

Are you ready? I'm not.

We finally picked up the pictures for our Christmas cards, but I'm only 20-25% done writing cards. I still don't have the nativity scene or Advent wreath (!?!) up yet and I still need to make a couple of gifts and figure out what we're getting for one last person. Sigh. But before any of that can happen, I have to do laundry, wash diapers, and fill out paperwork for my doctor apt this afternoon.

Can I get an extension on Christmas?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pulling All-Nighters

Saturday, Curtis pulled an all-nighter. He was a chaperon for X-Night, where students get to spend the night at the school, eat junk food, watch movies, and play massive amounts of video games. They had two rooms of networked Halo 3 competitions, two Rock Band setups, several Guitar Hero 3, a couple of Wiis, and several other game systems. Curtis took comfy clothes, his toothbrush, and a selection of his favorite no-caffeine energy drink. Being a chaperon for this kind of event was not as fun as he thought it would be (teenaged boys are DISGUSTING to clean up after), but he did get to eat lots of pizza and hang out with the kids.

Sunday, I pulled a near all-nighter. It's been very windy (and dusty) around here and Thomas had a stuffy nose. When he laid down, he felt like he was drowning in his own snot and would wake up and wail. So I spent most of the night rocking, bouncing, patting, comforting, nursing, and hoping that THIS time, he'd stay asleep more than a half hour. He seems better now; he's been sleeping since 7:30am. But I think it's safe to say that Curtis's all-nighter was way more fun than mine.

Friday, December 07, 2007

We're Pregnant

Many of my 10 readers already knew that, but now we're officially announcing it. That's the reason for the sporadic posting. The nausea and exhaustion are starting to let up and hopefully things can get a little more normal around here. The baby is due in June, but no idea yet if it'll be Robert William or Ruthann Marie. I'm just hoping that there's only one in there, since the other newly pregnant woman in my mom's group has come down with a case of twins. I've already been having the dreams where armies of nurses bring in baby after baby. Ahh, pregnancy dreams.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pictures from Palm Springs

Thomas and his great-grandparents

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Old Stompin' Grounds

One of our Fresno friends in down in Glendale on business. We're meeting him for dinner tonight at Burger Continental in Pasadena. I haven't been there in many years, but it feels like I spent my entire freshman year there. They used to give Techers a 35% discount, which made it a VERY popular hangout, especially on weekends when the kitchens were closed. I have many fond memories of their outdoor dining area and its pigeons. I hope going back lives up to the memories.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Teething

Thomas has had two teeth for a while, but you can see the lumps in his gums that will become his upper incisors and upper and lower canines. I don't know which ones are about to come in, but there has been much wailing and misery over the last week or so. Every morning, I check to see if any have broken the surface, but nothing so far. Poor baby.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Travel Crush

Going places and visiting people is fun. But the day after we get back is always sort of depressing. The living room is full of all the stuff we hurriedly unloaded from the car, most of the fridge has gone bad, and there's an extra-large stack of mostly junk mail to sort through. There's also a distinct loneliness after days of close quarters and good friends or family. Of course, it is always nice to sleep in your own bed and have your own things and space. It just always seems to take me an extra day to get back into the routines of life at home.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And We're Back

Had a nice Thanksgiving. Lots of eating, relaxing, and CivIV. Thomas enjoyed all the grandparent love. His Noni made him a santa hat, which is adorable. He likes to take it off and hold it while sucking his thumb. You'll see the picture in our Christmas card. Speaking of, if you didn't get a card from us last year (and want one) or you've moved in the last year and think we may not have your new address, send me an email at (my first name) dot (my last name)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Exchange and Conquer

Curtis was moping. He had a stack of math tests to grade. I was trying to motivate myself to go tackle the mountain of dirty dishes before we leave for Thanksgiving. He half jokingly asked if I wanted to grade some math tests. I said sure, because it'd be another reason to put off the dishes. So we struck a deal. He would wash dishes for as long as I graded his tests. Both jobs still sucked, but you know, when you're managing to avoid your least favorite job, anything is better. Plus there is a wonderful aura of gratitude around here this morning.

Monday, November 19, 2007

School Softball Game

Sunday was the Parent's Association softball tournament. Curtis was the only teacher from the upper school to participate. Even though I forgot his hat and packed him a baseball glove instead of a softball glove, he still had a good time. His team won their two games in the round robin, but lost the championship game to one of the teams they had already beaten. Then again, the winning team had the head of school, so maybe the fix was in. Thomas and I hung around the (meager) spectators and enjoyed the chuck wagon (or at least I did). Tonight is another school activity. Curtis is one of the chaperones for laser tag night. I'll probably go and see if there is any good food or any of the parents or staff that I'm friends with.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Weather is Here, I Wish You were Beautiful

We just woke up in a hotel room next to the pool in beautiful Palm Springs. The sun is shining and the high today is forecasted to be 89 degrees. Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and pareo weather. Aaah, it's so rough visiting Curtis's grandparents. They enjoyed meeting their only great-grandkid last night and Thomas showed off all his skills: smiling, rolling, sitting, bouncing, standing (with help) and strumming his lips.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today, I am a Flaneur

Last week, I couldn't think of a single thing to write about Zifnab's word of the week. But this week's word (flaneur) describes my day to a tee. I couldn't sleep last night because I kept having random joint pain that made any position uncomfortable. In addition, Thomas decided to get up at 1:30 in the morning. So today, I feel wretched (and still have twinges in my ankles and right knee) and plan to spend the majority of the day lounging on the floor handing toys to Thomas for his perusal and tasting. That and the usual necessities of diapers and feedings.

Aah, loafing: the cure for what ails you. Maybe we'll even work up to loafing in the comfy chair with some FFXII.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Improving those Gross Motor Skills

Thomas made his first crawling steps on Monday. He crawled backwards. Soon he'll be going forward and I'll definitely have to get a baby gate.

Baby's First Eye Exam

Monday, Thomas went to our eye doctor in Fresno for an exam. The doctor wants to see kids once they are six months old. We were really curious how you could do an exam on a tiny baby. It was pretty interesting. He checked his eye movement and peripheral vision using a brightly colored Bert & Ernie. Then his assistant danced around with toys to draw Thomas's attention while the doctor looked into Thomas's eyes with his scope. This was highly entertaining, since she would have to set down the toys and grab his file to record the results.

The final results were that Thomas has more eyes more like Curtis than me (thank goodness). He's a little more farsighted than the average baby his age, but has better focusing. There's no sign of tilted optic nerves, which is what led to my nearsightedness.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Babies Will Love Anything Eventually

With enough exposures, babies will apparently learn to like any taste. We have proof in that Thomas now eagerly eats his liquid vitamins. To me, they smell like rotting vegetation and are supposedly "orange and cherry" flavored. At first he hated them, but now he opens his mouth for the dropper, tries to hold it, and sucks the vitamins out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Video of Thomas's Baptism

It's very hard to hear what the priest is saying in the video, but the dull roar in the background really was there. I couldn't believe how noisy people were through the whole ceremony.

Here is Thomas's christening (anointing with holy oil). I don't know how to rotate video, so you have to tilt your head. The oil smells really beautiful, so after this we passed him down the row and back so everyone could sniff his head.

Thanks Swan for the great video!

Nothing to See Here

I took some pictures last night, but the camera batteries died so they are trapped in the camera. Hopefully I'll find the charger and get it set up today, though today is also Kitty Clause day, wherein Beckham gets to go bye-bye. Other than that, nothing to see here, folks. Just move along peacefully. Check back tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

They Don't Like Free Food?

Sunday afternoon, we went to a "Parent Social" at the home of one of Curtis's students. It was a great party. I had lots of fun talking to people, Thomas got carried around and loved by many hands, and Curtis got some nice compliments from some of the parents. The home was pretty amazing with a pool, pool/guest house, tennis and basketball courts, and a huge, beautiful house. The food was really good and I got fairly full before they took it all away. Turns out, that was just the appetizers, because they brought out trays and trays of lunch, followed by desserts and coffee. There were so many leftovers, that they were giving them out to people to take home. We said we take some of anything and ended up with an entire tray of Caesar salad and three grocery sacks. I now see why the parents joke that the school should be renamed Gluttony High.

The weird thing was that while the entire administration was there, there were only two teachers including Curtis. The parents had to pay $15 for lunch, but the teachers were invited free along with any guests that they wanted to bring. So why wouldn't you go? Or at least stop in to see how the other half lives and snag some free food (and drinks, since the beer and wine was flowing freely)? Maybe Curtis and I are still influenced by our grad school days and would go to just about anything that promised free food, but I just can't think of an explanation for the pathetic teacher turnout.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Great Moments in Parenting

I'm laying on the floor reading a library book. Thomas thinks that he should play with (read: eat) my book, so I give him one of his plastic books. We are the picture of cuteness as he rolls around and chews on his book next to me as I read. Eventually, he tires of the book and starts moving around and playing with other toys. After a while, he ends up at the other end of the living room, kicking his feet and seeming very happy that he traveled so far. The next time I look up, he's facing the wall. "Hey baby, whatcha doinWHOA!" I jump up and run across the room, because the baby is laughing and scratching at an electrical outlet. Now my folded-up easel has a strategic, new home.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Since I helped Curtis do his course write-ups for the school's accredidation report, he took me out for steak to celebrate turning it all in. Turns out that Halloween is a great night to go out, since most people are doing stuff with their kids or going to parties at someone's house. There was no wait at Outback and several empty tables. We each had an enormous porterhouse steak with a potato-product and salad. I'm looking forward to having the left-over steak for dinner. Meat is soooo delicious. Afterwards, we stopped by Trader Joe's and there were, maybe, seven people in the whole store. It was funny watching the staff strip the place of Halloween decorations though. Maybe tonight we'll get around to carving our pumpkins. They can be All Saints pumpkins or something.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Look What Lidarose Sent Me!

Aren't we cute, Curtis, his parrot, and me?

I've Got Nothing to Tell You

Except that Mr. Mucus left for work, though Thomas, Beckham, and I are starting a pool on how long he makes it before he comes home. Since, I got nothing, I will distract you with a sleeping baby. TAKE THAT!

Monday, October 29, 2007


1. Little baby wants fed. He does love to eat and I'm surprised by how much solid food he'll eat at a time. I really should measure to see how much it actually is.

2. Big baby continues to wallow in his sick bed and run through the world's Kleenex supply.

3. Just found out that a recently-married friend is expecting a baby. Yay! Too bad they live halfway across the country, so I won't be able to hold the new baby. I love holding little babies, because after Thomas, they feel so light and easy to carry.

UPDATE: For his first solid meal of the day (2nd meal overall,) Thomas ate 1 whole banana mixed with a quarter cup of rice cereal flakes (plus water to make a paste) and then two tablespoon of mashed sweet potato.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Toothy Picture

Curtis has transformed into Mr. Mucus, but here's a cute picture of Thomas. You can see his teeth.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Step 1: Curtis brings a minor cold home from school. Runny nose, some coughing. Duration: 1 week.
Step 2: Jenny develops sore throat and runny nose with fatigue. Duration: 2-3 days.
Step 3: Thomas starts sneezing with congested breathing, general grumpiness, and occasional snot dripping from nose (total gross-out). Duration: 2 days and counting.
Step 4: Today, Curtis has a sore throat and runny nose.

Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dogs are the New Children

It shouldn't surprise me anymore, at least in California, but there were more Halloween costume options at Target for dogs than for babies.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Company

Sam's here (Yay, Sam!). It's nice having company and seeing good friends. Plus, it gives an incentive to cook better meals. Tonight is Mex-travaganza. We're having nopales (cactus paddles), chayote squash slaw, beans and rice. Yum, yum, yum.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Brilliant Ideas and Not So Brilliant Ideas

I decided that I'd get some exercise and stroller over to the bank (1.4 miles away) with a stop at the post office along the way. I looked outside and saw that it was still fairly windy, so I bundled Thomas up to protect him from the wind. He had a long-sleeved onesie, corduroy pants, socks, and his new tomato hat. Once out on the street, I realized that it was in the high 80's and that the wind was blowing straight from the desert. I strip Thomas down to his onesie, and stupidly, decide to soldier on. We made it there and back (with many breaks for water), but now I have two lovely, swollen blisters in the center of my foot. And, wouldn't you know, Thomas seems to only be happy if I'm walking him back and forth.

While I was at the bank, I stopped at the grocery store next door (mostly to suck in some air conditioning). I got Curtis and I new toothbrushes. The Wall Street Journal has a "tricks of the trade" feature where they ask experts how they perform common tasks. Recently, it was how a dentist cares for her teeth. She recommended using an electric toothbrush with soft bristles for two minutes twice a day and changing toothbrushes every three months. It turns out that a battery-operated toothbrush is only $6.50, so I got us each one and put a digital timer in the bathroom. I have to say, the vibrations are really weird and may take a while to get used to, but my teeth do feel cleaner. Curtis noticed the same thing. I still need to find us a dentist, though, since we are overdue for checkups. Anyone have any tips for finding a good (reasonably-priced) dentist?

Monday, October 22, 2007

No More Heathen Baby!

My mother crocheted this baptismal gown for me and both my sisters were also baptized in it

Thank goodness it had a ribbon on the front to keep the baby entertained

Thomas didn't cry a bit, but we had practiced pouring water over his head during each of his baths

School's Out for the Fire

Curtis came home at 9am this morning. Apparently, school had been canceled because of the fires burning in northern L.A. county. I guess a good number of the students live in that area. So, we're fine, nowhere near any of the fires (though we can see the smoke cloud), but Curtis gets a bonus day off.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fun in the Kitchen

Since Svan and her mom have been here, they can't complain that the dinners have been boring. Tuesday we went out for burgers. Wednesday was Mexican; I made chayote squash and nopales. Thursday was Indian, rice, daal, and an eggplant dish called bharta. Tonight we're having cioppino, which is Italian. Thank goodness for help doing the dishes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Second Tooth for Banana Boy

The left front bottom tooth (how's that for confusing) made its first appearance yesterday. It was also a very bad baby day with much wailing and very little napping. I'm not sure if the two are related, but hoping for better today in the race to finish unpacking and cleaning before the houseguests arrive this evening. We've also established that Thomas REALLY likes bananas. Possibly even more than nursing. I was trying to nurse him, but he kept fussing until we gave him some banana. He ate half a banana and was a happy, cute baby again.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Emotional Eating

There's a common stereotype about emotional eaters. You know, the people who eat when they are down. The image is that after being dumped by her boyfriend, a woman sits home and eats an entire lasagna, a half gallon of ice cream, and a package of cookies. Of course, everyone recognizes that this type of eating is unhealthy and will lead to serious weight gain. Food is not actually a substitute for love, companionship, or happiness. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get this idea across to Beckham.

We were away from the house for 40 hours this weekend. From 8am Saturday to midnight Sunday. Before we left, we made sure the cat had full food and water bowls. Normally, I only fill the cat's food bowl every 5 or 6 days. But sure enough, when we open the front door, the cat is yowling it's so happy to see us, and the bowl is empty. The cat immediately started eating the second more food hit the bowl as if it was starving. I have visions of the cat just living with its head in the bowl while we're gone. "I'm so lonely; nobody loves me; I'll just devour everything in sight."

Friday, October 12, 2007

No Posts This Weekend

Packing up the car for a mini-roadtrip. Going to a wedding near SF tomorrow, then brewing up a Christmas beer in Fresno on Sunday. Now if only the guest room would magically appear from the den/junk room while we're gone.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Six Month Checkup

Thomas had his six month checkup today with his new pediatrician, Dr. Rodriguez. He's right at the 50th percentile. He weighs 16 lb 9 oz (an increase of only 3 oz from two months ago) and is 25 1/2 inches long (an increase of 3/4 inch). He also had to have his immunizations. One by mouth and four(!) shots. He did not like the shots, but less than a half hour later, he'd already started playing with his band-aids, pulled one off and tried to put it in his mouth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The DMV Can't Kill the Excitement

I found out yesterday that two different friends are coming to stay with us in October. Add that to Thomas's godparents flying in for the baptism and we're going to have houseguests for two weeks straight. It'll be great, like a big house party! I'm so excited, but it does mean I've got to get everything put away in order and the last remaining boxes unpacked. It's so much more fun cleaning for company. Unfortunately my cleaning bonanza must be delayed to deal with the DMV. I just realized that our registration is about to expire and I need to switch states. Fun, fun, fun. I got the $mog check$ for both cars done and now I need to find the tools to get the plates off. I'd rather be cleaning.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


This post is being made solely to delay having to go into the kitchen and do battle with the dishes. I hate washing dishes. I miss having a dishwasher. Where's one of those poor street urchins who'll work for food when you need one? Send me Oliver Twist!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Football Update

On Saturday, Curtis's team lost, making them 1-3. They did pretty well considering that the other team had 2.5-3 times as many players. It was a low scoring game for the first half to three quarters though we never had a lead. Then our team just ran out of players to substitute in after two went out with minor injuries. Then they started to cream us. My favorite remark was from the head of school's assistant you thought that we did remarkably well considering that we had NO cheerleaders and the other team had at least a dozen.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Tiny Glimmer

marks where Thomas's first tooth has broken the surface.

Here at Last!

Thomas finally has a high chair. I had bought him one before he was born, a really nice wooden one. It was one of the most expensive pieces of baby gear he owned. I waited until they were on sale at Target and used some gift cards I had gotten at a shower. Since we knew that we were going to move before he'd be on solids, we just left it in the box. After the move, I was really excited to finally use it. When I opened the box, it had a manufacturer defect. The back of the seat was split and splintery. It took a while to get a hold of the company's customer service. I had to send them back some parts of the chair, then they would send me a whole new chair. I'm never buying anything manufactured by the DJG Juvenile Group ever again. The new chair also has a defect, but it's in a place Thomas can't get to and doesn't make the chair unsafe to use. I'm probably the only one who'll ever notice. But I'm glad that he finally has a seat to eat in and beat toys on.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Explore Your World

He was rolling around in the living room, when I heard a weird scratching sound. He was sucking on one thumb and scratching the underside of his dresser with the other hand.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Teething Tuesday

His teeth must be bothering him today, since he's being very scream-y. It was hard, getting him down for his morning nap. Here's a picture from a couple of days ago. He's actually sitting on Curtis's foot, but I think it looks like he's just hangin' out and chillin'.

Monday, October 01, 2007

6 Months Old

Today Thomas is 6 months old, and Curtis and I have survived half a year of parenting. I think we'll open a bottle of wine to celebrate.

Here's a picture of Thomas's bath last night. He's outgrown his baby tub and likes to lay in the big tub and play merbaby. He wriggles, smacks the water with his hands, and throws his legs out to make big splashes.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Big Day Out

Yesterday was a busy day. I think it was the most time I've spent out of the house (not counting overnight trips) since we moved. In the morning, Thomas and I went to a "Mom's Meeting" at the local church. It was nice to meet more people and see some older babies. It's just amazing what a difference a few months makes in development.

It was street-cleaning day, so we couldn't go home after the meeting and did our usual errands. I'm so proud to be a regular at Tommy's. The guy at the counter remembered me and most of my order. I only go there once a week when I have to move my car for street-sweeping. We also went to the library and the grocery store.

I made marinated, roast chicken and a creamy pear tart for dinner, then the three of us went to school for Back to School Night, which was basically the open house for the parents. Thomas was a big hit. Lots of people wanted to hold and entertain him. I think I may have given some of them the desire to start all over again. One woman there actually did have a sophomore AND a five-month-old. Thomas was fairly excited to see the other baby (though not as excited as for a mirror). At one point, Thomas vocalized and Shane (the other baby) started to cry. Both of us mom's wondered what it was that he said. I'm hoping it was something like "My mom's cooler than yours."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Baby For Sale - Cheap

I wasn't going to write much of anything since Thomas has been screaming most of the morning, but I set him on the floor to type a quick note here and now he's happy, holding a soft rattle and sucking his thumb. Sigh.

If this is teething, it sure involves a lot of screaming. Screams that could strip paint off the walls. Yesterday afternoon was awful. Thomas decided to scream most of the afternoon causing me to turn dinner into a thick layer of scorch. By the time Curtis got home, I had a massive headache, no dinner, and a very stinky apartment. The baby had finally calmed down, but I hadn't. So Applebees made dinner (thanks Marla & Craig for the gift card!) Of course, in the restaurant, he was good as gold and flirted with the servers.

Now he seems to have gone to sleep after rolling half onto some of Curtis's textbooks. The test will be if I can move him into his crib without totally waking him. Maybe I might actually get some dishes washed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yin and Yang

They've finally decided that they like each other. Thomas smiles and waves at Beckham and Becks treats Thomas like it would any other human; which is to say, it completely ignores him unless it wants to rub on some outstretched fingers. For this picture, I set Thomas on the bed for a second to pick up something and he rolled over into the cat and started sucking his thumb happily. After a moment, the purring cat leaned over onto its side towards the baby, who was now asleep.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Classic Parenting Line #1

Curtis and I have decided to number the "classic parenting lines" as we find ourselves using them. All parents of toddlers (and newly mobile infants) will recognize #1.

"No, no! Don't eat that!"

It has corollaries: "Don't put that in your mouth!"; "Spit it out!"; "We don't eat _____."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Look What I Can Do

Thomas has been making some advances lately. Now he rolls over and lifts his head and chest up to look at you. He can also play with toys this way. He's also started lifting up his arms and reaching for people when he wants held. It's very cute. My mother-in-law showed me that if you look at the front of his gums, you can see where his first two teeth are working their way up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New Phone Numbers

As of today, we have new phone numbers in the 818 area code. Both numbers start with 224 and mine ends with 8404 and Curtis's is 9882. Change your cell phone address books accordingly.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Fat Pants

The high yesterday was 90, but I saw a weather report that by the weekend, we should see highs in the 60's. Normally, I really love fall, but this year, I just sent fearful glances towards my closet. Cooler weather requires something more substantial than a pareo.

I was told that it was easy to lose weight while breastfeeding. I was told that many women have trouble keeping weight on while breastfeeding. I was told this by my mother, my doctor, my personal trainer, and at least two former La Leche League coordinators.

Apparently, I am a freak. By April 12th, I had lost 30 pounds. In the following week or two, my weight crept back up 4 pounds. And there it has sat. Through exercise programs, traveling, good food and bad. Nineteen pounds of baby-weight and 9 pounds of job stress just to get back to where I was 18 months ago. But I am not defeated! The weight will go! But I have acknowledged that the enemy is more devious than expected. I have settled in for a protracted battle and bought a pair of fat jeans.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We Found the Camera Cable!

The Children Asleep

Thomas's Awesome Jumper

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today's my 28th birthday. (Thanks Mom!) Curtis is taking me out for all-you-can-eat sushi tonight (since I get in free) and I'm trying to decide what kind of cake I want to make. I'm leaning towards and angel food cake and using the leftover yolks to make lemon curd. Or maybe I want to do something to practice icing skills on. Hmm, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Real Driving

Today, for the first time ever, I drove the L.A. freeway system. I also had to parallel park. I'm very proud of myself.

Monday, September 10, 2007

But I Want BBQ!!!

Sunday, we had a full day planned. After church, we were going to go to the Maltose Falcons (our new homebrew club) meeting at noon. Then at 4, was a Faculty/Staff BBQ at Curtis's school.

After church and brunch, I had this weird stomachache. I didn't want to miss our first homebrew club meeting and the pain was subsiding, so off we went. The meeting was lots of fun. Met some really nice people and no one minded the baby. There were even a few who wanted to hold him and make him laugh. The club even has a BBQ as part of the meeting. It was a good-looking menu for only $5, but we were going to the free school BBQ right afterwards. We had just gotten to the part of the meeting that involves sampling some beers, when my stomach started to hurt again. Curtis said that he didn't mind leaving and I thought that maybe if I laid down and took it easy, that it would be better in time for the BBQ.

On the way home, it kept hurting worse. It was weird, no nausea or anything, just lots of pain high up on my stomach. Curtis decided that I should call the Advice Nurse since I'd never had this before. I do, and she says I should go to the E.R. in case it's something serious. I say, well how about urgent care, since I know where that is. Curtis drops me off at urgent care, but they look at me doubled up in pain and say that they aren't equipped to handle abdominal pain and that I should go to the E.R.

Yay, the E.R. Again, Curtis drops me off (to try to avoid exposing the baby to whatever everyone else has). I sign in doubled over in pain and take the first seat available. Two and a half hours later, I'm still in the waiting room, but Thomas needs fed. They come and go, and I keep waiting. Of course, by this time, the pain has receded somewhat, then I'm finally called. Triage nurse, then waiting room, registration, then waiting room, at last there's a bed free. I give samples and get a port in my arm. It hurts to be poked in the stomach, so the P.A. orders an ultrasound of my gallbladder.

I had told the triage nurse that nothing made the pain better, but that straightening up and taking deeper breaths made it worse. The first thing the ultrasound tech tells me is to lie flat and take a deep breath. After an eternity of pain right up there with labor pain, the ultrasound reveals . . . nothing. But I finally get a shot of pain medicine through my port. Yay! Then I get chest x-rays that reveal . . . nothing. At this point, I've been at the hospital for 7 hours, the P.A. has no clue what's wrong, the pain medicine has kicked in, and I'm sleepy. So they send me home. I have wonderful discharge papers that basically say, "We have no idea why you were in pain, but it seems better now. Come back if it gets worse again." I also have a souvenir bracelet.

But I'd much rather have had barbecue!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Thomas's First Football Game

Curtis's football team had their first game last night. They lost, or as I like to think of it, had a Caltech victory since they did manage to score 50% of the other teams points. The final score was 26-52. Thomas loved the game. He was very excited by all the lights and by the kids who ran back and forth in front of the bleachers. It's finally cooled off here, so it was a beautiful evening to sit outside.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Define Science

Ah, the conversations nerds have; "hi honey, how was your day?" "Fine. How would you define science?" I would define science as a way of thinking that seeks to systematize the universe. To determine underlying rules and introduce predictability. As it happened, that morning while nursing the boy, I had watched a cool show on ancient knowledge all about the Greek scientist Thales who is sometimes credited with "inventing" science. Rather than the universe being controlled by the whims of the gods, Thales sought an underlying order and made predictions based on his findings.

That science is really a way of thinking is reinforced for me when I watch Thomas play. I got a great book from the library about neurological development in infants, babies, and young children. It turns out that Thomas has far more neurons than you or I; however, there are very few connections between them. Learning, for him, is all about building a neural network, making connections between things. When he plays, he is seeking rules for how things work.

Yesterday, I offered him his skish rattle. It's got three mutually orthogonal pairs of rods with beads on them. The rods are held together by elastic strings to form a flexible ball. He took it and starting waving it around. It would rattle nicely when it hit the floor or my knee. Things got much more interesting when the rattle collided with the frame of his jumper, which is hollow plastic. Thomas got really interested in the new sound. He started to experiment, tapping the plastic gently, then hard, then hitting the floor again. It was interesting to watch him try to test out how the rattle made two different sounds. It's clearly a sign that he's going to be a scientific thinker. It's also an indication that, at five months, he's become smarter than the cat.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rhythms of Life

I'm starting to feel more settled in here and developing some routines. For example, I have to park my car on the street except that there is street cleaning 12-2 on Thursdays. That makes Thursday afternoon a great time to run all my errands. If I get back right after 2, I can get a space close to our building. I found a great farmer's market that's on Wednesday nights. I really missed having good, cheap produce in Vegas. So Wednesday is a good day to clean out the fridge, throw out what's bad, cook up what's on its last legs, and decide what can live another week. It's nice to have a bit of predictability to the week.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Physics on the Cheap

Curtis has a budget for outfitting his physics lab. Looking through the science supply catalog, he was shocked at the prices for some of the stuff. For example, the "Guinea and Feather Tube" to demonstrate that objects fall at the same acceleration is $67.55. All it is is an acrylic tube with a valve at one end and it comes with a coin and a feather. A basic multimeter costs $66.15. A small block of wood with a hook at one end and sandpaper on two sides is $13.50. A soldering iron is $49.00 and doesn't say that it comes with a stand.

While his budget would cover all the stuff he'd need, Curtis decided it would be cheaper, more efficient, and funner to just buy a bunch of stuff at the hardware store. So yesterday, we had a great time going up and down all the aisles of Home Depot looking for cool science. We loaded up a cart full of stuff and spent around $300. There's nothing more fun than spending someone else's money. "Ooh, that's cool; let's get six!" It's also fun watching the Home Depot guys' eyes bug out when they come to check on us and we explain what we're doing. They actually back away a few steps as if they're afraid that we're going to ask them to solve some physics equations right there in the aisle.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Our Fifth Anniversary

came and went with nary a whimper. We spent most of the day loading the kid, the cat, the diaper pail, and a mountain of dirty laundry into the caddy and driving to my in-laws. There's romance. They were planning to go to a party at the home of one of Curtis's mom's collegues. Phone calls were made and we got a last-minute invite. There were several nice people there, but of course young Master Thomas stole all the attention. When we got back to the house, he decided to go on a crying jag and we all took turns holding and rocking him. He finally went to sleep and the four adults shared a toast with some pink champagne that Curtis had fetched from BevMo just as they were closing.

Thomas is officially five months old today and has celebrated by chewing on his toes, playing with the new toys his Nonie got him, fussing, and eating some baby cereal. Hopefully, he will take a nap soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Settling In

The mountain of boxes is growing progressively smaller, but you still have to think skinny thoughts to navigate the living room. I like this places kitchen a lot already though. I'm putting stuff away and can't remember what's in this one cabinet. I pull it open and it's EMPTY! To have an empty cabinet this late in the game is huge. This may be the first time that all (or nearly all) of our kitchen stuff is actually in the kitchen. My goal is to get totally unpacked in time to throw myself a birthday party in two weeks.

It's almost back to school time. Curtis has been in meetings most of this week. Thomas and I got to go to the new faculty welcome picnic. It was in the backyard of one of the administrators and was catered (steak and shrimp). The crowd was younger than the last school and seemed pretty nice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Das Internet!!!!!!

The cable guy just left and we, at last, have internet. Hmm, last post was 20 days ago and the last substantial one was when we got back from our road trip. So . . .

July 29-August 3 - Lots of packing. Thomas has his 4-month pediatrician visit: 16 lb 6 oz, 24 3/4 in, met all milestones except that he wasn't reaching for objects yet. The pediatrician was also very surprised that he could roll from his back to his front, since front-to-back is easier.

August 4-7 - Head to Fresno. We couldn't stand another minute in our apartment, so we drove up to Fresno and went to a Grizzlies (minor league baseball team, AAA) game. They were giving out free "backpacks" and I won an autographed ball. It was autographed by the Giants backup catcher Eliezer Alfonso.

When Curtis's mom heard that Thomas wasn't reaching for things yet, she decided that he needed something better to reach for. The result was like Christmas come early. She got him this awesome jumperoo. He loves dancing in it. She also got him a selection of rattles and toys to play with.

August 8 - San Francisco. Tuesday night, Lisafromlab calls to ask if I can come to Becca's bachelorette party tomorrow night. Hey, why not. Wednesday afternoon, Curtis and I and the baby drive 3 hrs to Lisa's. Curtis hangs out with Thomas at Lisa's and I go out to Asia SF, "where the women are strong, but the men are very pretty." After a few hours of fun, the three of us head back to Fresno. This is insane, but we've got big plans the next day.

August 9 - L. A. We get in around 3 am, but the baby wakes up about 7. We get ready and drive to L.A. to look for a place to live. Problem is, NO ONE answers their phone. I had called and left messages the previous day and we called and left messages that morning, but the only person who answered the phone either day was Jim. So we went to look at Jim's apartment and it was ok. No patio, but in our price range and 2 BD. Without any other options, we take it, and drive back to Fresno.

August 10 - Party! We spend the day straitening up Curtis's parents' house and buying groceries for a party his folks were throwing. Curtis's uncle made some mean mango-tinis and the steaks flowed freely.

August 11-13 - Carmel Valley and back. Drove to Becca's wedding. The location was beautiful and the bride's dress was gorgeous. I thought that she looked like a bride from the 1940's. After the wedding, we had planned to drive up to the Bay area to see Svan's parents' new house, but we had finally run out of steam. Curtis wasn't feeling well and was exhausted. We went back to Fresno, and slept in the next morning. On Sunday, I took two naps and the baby had a 6 hour nap in addition to sleeping through the night both Saturday and Sunday night. I guess we really were exhausted. On Monday, Curtis and I had our annual eye exams.

August 14-17 - Moving. Tuesday, the 14th, Curtis, me, Thomas, Curtis's dad, and the cat drive to Vegas. The car was just a wee bit crowded with all of us and all of the baby's new toys.

The next day was SPA DAY! Curtis had gotten me a $200 spa certificate at Teacher Appreciation Day that I wanted to use before we moved. I went to the Qua Spas at Caesars Palace. It was absolutely fantastic. I'd never been to a spa before. They had lockers, robes, fruit, juices, a small gym, and pools and saunas of different temperatures. And that was just the stuff that was free with any treatment. I used my certificate to get a one hour "Signature Experience" where they design a series of treatments for you. I had a Swedish massage, foot exfoliation, and a facial. Fantastic! Curtis and his dad watched the baby and took him to a buffet and out to a movie.

On the 16th, we picked up the 26-foot truck and also picked up Willowlaughter from the airport. She flew in to help us move and to wrangle that baby. We worked on loading the truck and doing the last minute packing. The 17th was officially Moving Day. We got a later start than we had planned. WL and I stayed behind to do the final cleaning and didn't leave Vegas until 8:30pm.

WE'RE HERE! Since then, we've been working on unpacking and waiting for the gas man, new cooktop, and cable guy. But, at last, everything is ready (except the unpacking) and it's starting to feel like home. It's tough to believe that next week Curtis will have orientation and we'll celebrate our fifth anniversary. Now I'm going to test our upload speed by sending a whole bunch of pictures to our Flickr page.

Our new address is 20336 Cohasset St. #5, Winnetka, CA 91306.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Stupidest reason for insomnia ever

Currently I'm up at almost two in the morning and can't sleep. Why? Because for the first time in over a week my back doesn't hurt.

Nothing like the absence of pain to keep you awake.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Westward Ho!

NOTE: Pictures will come later

Day 20 - Baltimore, MD to Indianapolis, IN. 590 miles. Estimated time - 9 1/2 hrs. Actual time - 12 hrs.

Thomas had been pretty fussy the day before, but was very good on the drive. We spent the night with Curtis's high-school girlfriend, Colleen, and her family.

Day 21 - Indianapolis, IN to St Louis, MO. 244 miles. Estimated time - 4 hours. Actual time - 4 1/2 hours.

Colleen rearranged her schedule to have the morning off so we got to explore Indi a bit with her. We went to a creamery and had a wonderful lunch of milk, yogurt, and ice cream at the bar. Then we went to the art museum, which was much nicer than I expected. They had an exhibit of Bellini and devotional art that was nice. The museum was also free, which is my favorite price.

In St. Louis, we were going to meet up with my sister boxedcookies and her boyfriend Craig. But they weren't coming up until she got off work, so we went over to Ted Drewes. Their frozen custard concretes are a St. Louis institution and were even on Alton Brown's road food show. My sister's working for a hotel chain now and used her employee discount to get two rooms in downtown St. Louis. (They live about 2 hrs south of St. Louis.) I had never stayed in a suite before. Boy-o got to sleep in the living room and it was the first time he'd ever not been in our room. The hotel also had free hot breakfast and afternoon cocktails. My sister also presented us with our own copy of the new Harry Potter book.

Day 22 - St. Louis

We went to Mass at the new cathedral (built 1907). It has gorgeous mosaics. Then, we did the Anheuser-Busch tour. We'd been to two other Budweiser factories, but this one was special. It's actually really pretty. There are intricate wrought-iron railings, stained-glass windows, and chandeliers all over. Boxedcookies and Craig took us to a microbrewery that they liked called Schlafly. Oddly, it was the same kind of beer that willowlaughter had had in the fridge in Baltimore. The tour wasn't much since the girl didn't know much about beer, but we enjoyed the free samples. They also had a surprisingly good restaurant that served venison and buffalo. We were going to go to the art museum, but it was closed, so we just went back to the hotel for cocktails. I never thought I'd ever go out drinking with my sister. For dinner, we went down to the historic Laclede's Landing district and had fun pushing the stroller up steep hills and across cobblestones. Thomas thought the world was ending. We wanted something cheap, so I got to add another Old Spaghetti Factory to my list. (We'd also gone to one in Louisville, KY.)

Day 23 - St. Louis, MO to Cole Camp, MO

In the morning we stopped at an awesome Catholic supply store that happens to be across the street from Ted Drewes. We needed to pick up the cat from my parent's house so we decided to just spend the night instead of having someone bring the cat up to I-70. My mom didn't seem to mind that her only grandson was coming back. We set up the tent in the backyard with with air mattress, which is the best way to camp. The baby slept in his portacrib in Renee's room, which was very weird for me. She brought him out to us when she had to leave in the morning.

Day 24 - Cole Camp, MO to Kansas City, MO.

In the morning, we had breakfast with my grandma and my dad who had just gotten off the midnight shift. Then we picked up the cat, and headed off again. We were staying with Becca who's getting married next month. Her fiance was out of town, but she was watching his son, Ryan (age 6.) The four of us went to a Royals game with more of Becca's family. I hadn't been to Royals Stadium for at least 15 years. Thomas didn't care about the game at all, but Ryan had fun sampling all the concession offerings. The game itself was terrible. The first inning lasted an hour. The Yankees sent up 9 batters, the Royals, only 3. It was like watching Yankee batting practice. It was getting late and the kiddos were tired, so we left at the top of the 5th. Derek Jeter was already 3 for 4 for the night and the score was something like 9 to 1.

Day 25 - Kansas City, MO to Golden, CO.

A long, long drive, but the baby was pretty good. He only wanted to eat every 3 hours and seemed to start fussing shortly before rest areas. Curtis thought that he was doing better in the car because he was older. It sounds strange because we haven't been on the road that long, but the trip does represent a quarter of Thomas's life.

Day 26 - Golden, CO

Sam had to leave at O'dark hundred for a business trip and Matt had to work, so Curtis and I got to amuse ourselves for the day. After we got back from their wedding, we'd been horrified to learn that New Belgium Brewing was practically walking distance from the airport that we'd flown in and out of. It was better going now, though, since I couldn't have sampled anything then. They're famous for their Fat Tire Ale, but all their beers are good. We sampled one the best beers we'd ever had there. It was called La Folie and was a brown ale that had been barrel aged for 1-2 years. The oak from the barrel had given the ale an amazing taste. It was certainly a let down to go from there to the Coors plant in Golden. It was a pretty good tour, though and it was the first time we'd ever seen a malthouse. Coors is alone among big breweries in malting its own barley.
We had been warned that parking at Coors Field for Rockies games was really expensive. Sam told us about a cheaper lot nearby. When we got close, we saw the sign for the cheaper lot, but couldn't get over in time. We ended up turning into the expensive, official lot. We got a pass to let us out and as we were driving back to the cheaper lot, we scored a major coup. FREE PARKING!! There was an open spot in front of an apartment building. Curtis parallel-parked the Explorer with about 18 in of extra space. The Rockies were playing the Dodgers, but it was just an ok game. When it started raining halfway through the game and I saw lightening (we were in the upper seats), we decided it was time to go. The rain lightened as we walked to the car and then came down harder. When we got back to the apartment, Sam was back from Kansas and pjdf was on his way over. He's still galavanting around the country climbing rocks and seems to be completely recovered from his last blog post.

Day 27 - Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig
We went to Sam's Club to get gas and took a look at their bourbon selection. Now we can tell what company makes what based on the town listed. Anyway, their prices were better than at the distillery. Of course, you can't get everything. Then we hit the road and didn't get home until midnight Pacific time. Thomas had a wailing/screaming fit around 9pm Mountain time, but once he finally went to sleep, he stayed asleep the rest of the trip.

It's weird being back. We'd forgotten what the place looked like (a mess) and there were a disturbing number of cockroaches (uuuugh). We're really looking forward to moving. The plan is to do a blitzkrieg pack and then hightail it to Fresno (because we've barely touched Curtis's side of the family.) Still don't know where we're moving too, but hopefully something good will show up on Craigslist this week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eastward Ho!

Day 1 - Las Vegas, NV to Golden, CO. 743 miles. Estimated time - 10 1/2 hrs. Actual time - ~16 hrs

I think the actual time versus the time Google Maps thought the drive should take says it all. Thomas decided to have a "bad day." There were many stops to feed baby or comfort baby and with exits few and far between, there was much wailing whenever he wanted out of his carseat, while we tried to find a place to stop. We got to Sam & Matt's after 11pm, exhausted and hungry.

Driving through Utah

Day 2 - Golden, CO to Cole Camp, MO. 728 miles. Estimated time - 10 1/2 hrs. Actual time - Didn't make it.

The plan had been to get a nice early start, but with another long driving day ahead of us, we needed some sleep. The child who had hardly napped the previous day didn't sleep any better at night, so I was up every couple of hours with him. I was in no condition to drive, so thankfully, Curtis was able to sleep in and was reasonably well rested. We dropped Sam off at the airport and realized that given how much time yesterday's drive had taken, we were looking at a 3 or 4 am arrival in Cole Camp. That seemed suicidal, so we called up Lisa and asked about crashing with her parents in Kansas City. It was quickly set up in exchange for plenty of baby-holding. Thomas slept for several hours in the beginning of the drive, but it was still around 10pm before we got to KC.
Lisa's mom, Nancy

Day 3 - Kansas City, MO to Cole Camp, MO. 118 miles. Estimated time - 2 hrs. Actual time - 4 hrs.

I realize that I haven't mentioned the cat yet. That's because Beckham is the best traveler of any of us. It would either lie on my lap, the back seat, or on a baby blanket thrown over some luggage in the way back. After the first couple stops, it decided that the car was much better than outside and didn't even want to get out. We had its litter box on the floor behind the driver's seat and its food and water on the other side. If only Thomas traveled half as well as Beckham. In any case, we arrived at my parent's house to much rejoicing. We spent the next two days lounging with my folks and visiting all my grandparents.
Thomas enjoys meeting his great-grandpa

Day 6

We took my dad and visited 5 Missouri wineries. Missouri grows some lesser-known grape varieties like Foch, Vidal, Chambourcin, and Seyval. It is possible to get some interesting flavors from these grapes if the wine is made well, but we found very little wine that was made well. Missourians apparently like their wine sweet. Very sweet. Sugar does not always cover up flaws in the wine, however. Another common addition was fruit flavoring and lots of it. All that said, it was interesting and we found a wine made from apples instead of grapes that I really liked.

Day 7

The entire Ives clan gathered for my cousin's wedding. It's the first wedding that Curtis and I have gone to that didn't generate a good story. It was a nice, traditional ceremony and a simple reception in the church's basement. We saw more of my relatives and enjoyed sandwiches and cake. No one did anything crazy and nothing fell apart. It wasn't boring, it was just . . . nice. Strange.

Day 8 - Cole Camp, MO to Shepherdsville, KY. 493 miles. Estimated time - 8 hrs. Actual time - 11 1/2 hrs.

Now we had gotten the hang of operating on Baby Standard Time (BST) and counting on adding 50% extra time to the map estimates. We were going to camp in Kentucky and I had already made a reservation and paid for the site. The camp office closed at 10pm, but we should have enough time to go to church with my family and have lunch out before we left. The drive went pretty well. We were able to take most of our baby stops at rest areas before he was too upset. Curtis was happy to see the Gateway Arch as we drove through St. Louis.

We arrived at the campground at 10 minutes to 10. Curtis had to set our tent up in the dark. Perhaps we should have at least taken it out of the box before we left. We were camping in comfort. Our new tent was large enough to hold Thomas's portacrib as well as our queen size aerobed, which we inflated using an inverter from the car cigarette lighter. It was extremely humid and fairly hot when we went to sleep, but I woke up at 3am freezing. We hadn't brought blankets, so I threw Curtis's shirt over Thomas (who stayed asleep the whole time) and huddled against Curtis (who only woke up from me shaking the bed). Hmm, so maybe I was the only one who was cold.

Day 9 - Kentucky Bourbon

We toured the Jim Beam and Maker's Mark distilleries. At Maker's Mark, we got to stick our hands in the vats of fermenting grain and taste it. It was fabulous. Jim Beam had the oldest still in the U.S. and also the smallest one. We visited the Four Roses distillery, but they were on summer shutdown, so we just saw a video, but we got to taste their bourbon. It's only recently been reintroduced in the U.S. after being sold exclusively overseas, mostly in Japan. Now you can only get it in KY and in NYC. We went to Wild Turkey, but missed the last tour, so we watched their video and hung out in the gift shop. It was a fabulous day. We decided that we wanted to visit another two distilleries before going to Baltimore. We camped next to the more western of the two at a state park, which was only $12 instead of the $36.75 we paid at the K.O.A. That price difference becomes important for the next part of the story.
I can't believe they let us do this

Day 10 - Bardstown, KY to Baltimore, MD. 600 miles. Estimated time - 9 1/2 hours. Actual time - I don't even want to think about it.

The alarm is set for 7 am. At 6:20, a parade of riding lawnmowers drives down the sidewalk that runs through the center of the tent area. Thanks a lot guys. At 6:30, the engine starts on one of the heavy equipment parked next to our tent. I had never figured on construction crews getting such an early start. We get up and the backhoe begins moving mulch. One of the guys comes up and warns us that he's going to be making quite a bit of dust and noise. He felt bad about waking us, so he brought us breakfast. McMuffins, OJ, and coffee. We had a nice chat and then our new friend Joe fired up his giant, remote-controlled chipper/shreader and got to work on some trees. We couldn't be too annoyed at the whole thing since they only charged $12 and we got breakfast out of it.
I love the smell of mulch in the morning

Since we were up, we got to the first distillery, Heaven Hill, before they opened. Only we had thought they opened at 9, but no, not till 10. Since we had over an hour to wait, we went into town and visited the proto-cathedral. A very nice old lady gave us a tour and told us all kinds of stories. We went back to Heaven Hill and watched their film (these films were great opportunities to nurse the baby), looked at their museum, walked through the warehouse, and had a tasting. Turns out that they make Evan Walker, Ancient Age, and almost every other bourbon we had heard of. It was at Heaven Hill where there was the big fire a few years ago that burned down 7 of their warehouses and their distillery. Rather than rebuild, they bought a distillery in another town.

We then went to the Buffalo Trace distillery. While they make bourbon under many labels that we had seen before, their flagship brand is only sold in KY and a few other eastern states. After that, it was already in the afternoon. I said we could find another campground, but Curtis wanted to push on and see how far we could get. Baby went to sleep, I fell asleep, but the Energizer Curtis just kept going. We arrived in Baltimore at 4:30 am.

Days 11-18 - Chillin' with the Godparents
We've had a great time with Willowlaughter and jonathan. We've done a lot of sleeping and just hanging out, playing video games and talking. Curtis read the first 6 Harry Potter books for the first time. We also went to D.C. and saw the National Zoo and the basilica there. In Baltimore, we went to the aquarium, an Orioles game, and a Mass in Latin at the basilica here. We also spent an afternoon in Philadelphia and had dinner with Curtis's sister in Princeton. Princeton, NJ was our point furthest east. Tomorrow (Day 20) we go west with stops planned in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Golden.
Thomas loved Philly. Here he is asleep in front of Independence Hall and asleep in front of the Liberty Bell.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

And We're Off!!!

Four weeks, three-month old baby, two fools, and one orange cat in an SUV.

Sounds like an adventure.

Will try to post updates as often as I can. Some planned highlights: lots of friends, lots of family, a wedding, Bourbon County, New Belgium Brewing, the Royals, barbeque

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our Favorite Games

His two favorite games rolled into one. "Baby stand up" and "The baby in the mirror"

Friday, June 22, 2007

Some Happenings

Sorry for not posting, the camera batteries had died.

1) The big news around here is that it seems as though Thomas has learned how to sleep through the night. He goes to sleep after his 9 or 10pm feeding and wakes up between 5:30 and 7am. It's pretty amazing, though it means that Curtis and I have to relearn how to go to bed at a decent hour ourselves.

2) I have a new favorite buffet. Todai's is a chain that has all-you-can-eat sushi and seafood. It's kind of expensive, but worth it if you love sushi. Curtis had to try one of every roll and nigiri they had. I wanted to, but my stomach gave out long before the rolls did. Oh, yeah, Curtis eats rice now. He can now say that he is a true omnivore and eats everything. It is a little strange now that he makes the rice and I make the beans (I used to hate beans.)

3) Charles, Preston, and Katie stopped by to see us while they were in town. It's hard cooking a nice meal for others when it's too hot to have the oven on and you don't have a grill. The added challenge was that we were very low on food since we've been trying to use everything up in anticipation of our vacation and the move. We had pot roast (crock pot), baked potatoes (microwave), and glazed carrots (stovetop). We also went out with them a couple of times.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Big Baby

It's amazing how fast he is growing. Here he is in his bathtub at 10 weeks compared to his first bath at three weeks.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

George and Norma

Went out to dinner at Spago (Wolfgang Puck's restaurant) with Charles's parents while they were in town. Thomas was in his public persona. We were sitting next to the server station and Thomas sat in his stroller and flirted with the wait staff all through dinner. We walked around Ceasers Palace with Norma for a while until he got hungry and fussy. We went up to their room for me to feed him. Boy are the rooms there nice. It had a flat screen tv, a minibar, and an enormous, gorgeous bathroom.

The Heat is On

There's just something about hearing a weather forecast that ends with the line ". . . and cooling to 104 on Sunday."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

School's Out for the Summer

Right now, it is blissfully quiet here. Curtis took Thomas to go and submit the grades. After this, we are free, free, free until sometime near the end of August. We've already got plans to be out of Vegas (and its heat) for most of the summer and visit friends and family. This month, we need to go to L.A. and find a place to live. July will be a 4 week trip to Missouri and Baltimore. And in August, we're going to northern CA and Washington. It'll be lots of fun, though I keep hoping that gas prices will drop soon.

In other news, Thomas is happily settled in his crib. It's the same crib that I slept in as a baby. He took to it right away (mercifully). However, with all the years of education between the two of us, it still took us way too long to put the crib together. I think we made every possible mistake. We tried to put the springs in upsidedown, then figured out that the side was also upsidedown. We were also trying to do this in a narrow space in our hot bedroom. But after some choice words and a lot of sweat, it came together. He looks so tiny in the crib after nearly filling his bassinet.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Two Month Checkup

Thomas turned two months old on Friday and to celebrate, he got his next round of vaccinations. One liquid by mouth and three shots in the legs. He was an unhappy fellow Friday evening when he seemed sore and fussy. The drugs also made his diapers powerfully stinky for a couple of days afterwards.

The pediatrician said that he is thriving. Now Curtis and I don't know much about babies, but as we look around at others, Thomas seems, well, big. The doctor showed me the growth curves. Thomas is 90th percentile in weight, below average in length, with a slightly above average head circumference. At this stage, this is good and healthy, but after he's six months old and starts getting taller, then they'll evaluate whether he might be overweight.

He is now 22 1/2 inches long and weighs 13 lbs 10 oz. He has outgrown his newborn/justborn sized clothes and is wearing the 3M (M=month) size. He's getting pretty big for his bassinet and we will be putting the crib together this week. I hope it's not too difficult a transition into the crib.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Does he know how cute he is?

Curtis and I often wonder at what point Thomas will be smarter than Beckham (who is one of the world's dumber cats). Beckham seems to be self-aware. It knows what is part of its body and what isn't (though it does sometimes miss its tail and wash the footstool instead). Thomas does not seem to realize that his arms and legs belong to him. Or perhaps he does and just can't control them. How do you tell the difference? Does he know who the Baby in the Mirror is? Is he trying to look cute?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Movie Rental Review

We've had Netflix for several years. When Blockbuster came out with a competing service a few years ago, we did the free trial and were very disappointed. So we weren't expecting much when Blockbuster started its big media push for its Blockbuster Total Access. It's the same price as Netflix, and at least in Vegas, has the same turnaround time for movies. They've improved the user interface and now have a comparable selection to Netflix. The big plus is that you can return your movies to any Blockbuster store and get a store rental as well as another movies sent from you queue. This essentially doubles your movies, though the store rentals are subject to the same rental periods and late fees as usual. After the free month, we've suspended our Netflix account and gone with Blockbuster.

It's really brought home for me how much Netflix has revolutionized video rental. Going to a Blockbuster store is a huge disappointment after online rentals. Renting online gives you your choice of 10,000+ movies. You also get recommendations based on what you've like in the past. The movies are cross-referenced into several categories and you can search by actor, director, producer, etc. The store has only a couple hundred movies, mostly new releases. The movies are display alphabetically by title in only action, drama, horror, comedy, and family categories. There are tiny displays of anime, television, and foreign. It's terrible for browsing. We end up just renting "something" when we return our movies. It's really hard to find something you like unless you've selected it beforehand and it came out fairly recently. I now remember why we never rented movies before we got Netflix.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Life After Six Weeks

The baby books are right, six weeks is the magic number. Life has been much better this past week since Thomas reached that magic number. No, he's not sleeping through the night. But he has become somewhat predictable. He gets up at 5:30 every morning and will usually go to sleep after a feeding between 9 and 10pm. During the day, a good working a assumption is that he will want to eat every two hours (at the odd hours). I've been able to go to church and to the gym every day that I want to by feeding him before I leave and being gone less than two hours, in order to feed him when I get back.

He's also smiling more and cooing, which makes him much more pleasant to interact with. Now there seems to be some intelligence in his eyes, instead of a blank gaze. He's supposed to start being able to laugh soon, making him even more fun to play with.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Baby's First Gym Membership

Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day was fabulous. I scored free pancake breakfast after church then came home and took a nap while Curtis amused Thomas. In the afternoon, Curtis and Thomas stayed home and I went out and ran some errands. I had to stop myself from going to deal with the carseat and then it hit me; it was only the 2nd time in the last six weeks that I've been alone. Just having some time by myself was a great gift, but Curtis also got me a certificate for a spa treatment at Qua Baths and Spa at Caesars Palace. I can't wait to go.

Our gift for our Mom's is this picture of their grandson's smile. I'm also posting a bunch of photos from last weekend on the Flickr page.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Thomas's godparents (unofficially until he gets baptized), Jonathan and willowlaughter spent the weekend with us. It was a little crazy because they decided Thursday night to fly to Vegas the next day after their kickball game was canceled. It was great seeing them. It'd been a long time since the four of us could just hang out. WL hit it right off with The Baby. I forget that other people my age can have experience with babies even if they don't have any. WL was a total pro. Even though it was their vacation, I felt like it was mine because she was always willing to hold and entertain The Baby. She and Jonathan had brought their camera of spiffiness and took a few (>112) pictures of The Bambino. Fortunately, they also took a few of each other.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

One Month Old Today

Today, Thomas had his one month checkup. He's doing fine. Length: 21 inches, Weight: 10 lb 3 oz. We'd noticed that he'd gained weight, since now he has chubby cheeks and (as Curtis put it,) thighs like a sumo wrestler. Here's a picture of him showing how much he's grown and one of him and his doctor today. He's happy in this photo, because it's before he got a vaccine shot in the leg.

Male Bonding - boys, beer, and baseball