Monday, December 31, 2007

A very merry Christmas

Just before the holidays, Jack started to babble. He had been groaning and grunting for a while, but something clicked in his head, and the boy figured out that if he moved his lips and tongue, new sounds would result. Apparently, Jack knew he was about to embark on a social whirlwind of a Christmas trip to Ohio, and he wanted to communicate his thoughts to all the family members he'd be seeing.

Oh, and did I mention that he is super-smiley, too? Between the chattiness and big grins, this kid was a lot of fun over the holiday.

Our trip started in Vermilion and Lorain-- west of Cleveland-- with Jen's family. Grandma Debbie and Aunt Niki took Jack to see Santa (see previous post) and I'd say that Santa got this boy everything he could possibly want.

Thanks to a pair of parties, Jack got to see a bunch of family members, including his cousin Alexandria who already had her passport and was on her way to London! Jack isn't a jet-setter just yet, but he is thinking about some summer travel that will put him in his first airplane.

On Christmas Eve, we set off around 8:30p for Centerville-- south of Dayton-- to see my family. Jack was worn out from all the parties and, since it was his bedtime anyway, slept the entire 200 miles. We took advantage of this rare in-car sleepytime and blitzed straight through without a stop.

Just like up north, there was a long parade of people for Jack to see in Dayton. Jack turned 6 months old on Dec. 26th, and it turns out this was a great age for him to be during the holidays. Not only was he very verbal and smiley, he also engaged people by looking them in the eye.

The long ride home was a small price to pay for a memorable first Christmas. Be sure to click the album below for pictures.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hey Santa!

Our annual Christmas adventure started on Friday. The drive to Vermilion (west of Cleveland) began around 11:30am after a morning of packing the wagon. Aunt Niki always rides the first leg of the big Ohio trip with us and then flies home when we continue down to Dayton, so we had three adults with luggage and presents plus Jack and all the stuff that he needs (Jack has two suitcases!) I picked up a rooftop carrier over the summer and put it to good use on this trip.

We made good time on dry roads. Jack was in fine spirits until about the last half-hour of the 400 mile drive, when he decided "enough is enough." Fortunately, we were able to settle him down right away. Grandma Debbie swooped Jack up and he immediately drenched her with smiles and coos. The boy is extremely social right now!

Yesterday, Grandma and Niki took Jack to the mall to get his picture taken with Santa while Jen and I enjoyed a nice date at the movies. As you can see in the photo, Jack didn't panic like other kids when he sat on the big guy's lap. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Floor exercises

For a while, Jack was fairly content laying there like 2nd base (my dad's expression) and making some grunting and groaning sounds. Things changed since Thanksgiving, however, and our boy has decided he wants to get his groove on and make small-talk.

Jack's got a big ol' head. I call him Charlie Brown from time to time (such a blockhead). Naturally, we assume he's a genius. But while he's a baby, he's got a fair amount of weight at the top of his little body. Lifting himself up is more work for him than the average baby. Despite early protestations, Jack has gotten plenty of "tummy time" and we're starting to see the results.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Big Sleep

Pop quiz: When you hear the phrase, "The Big Sleep," what is the most appropriate reference?
  1. A 1939 murder-mystery novel by Raymond Chandler
  2. The 1946 film adaptation featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
  3. The 1978 re-make with Robert Mitchum and Joan Collins
  4. The first full night of sleep Michael and Jen have had in the 168 days since Jack was born (but who's counting?)
There are innumerable books on the topic of how to help your baby acquire better sleeping habits. The methods out there vary dramatically-- from "Let your baby cry for 12 hours" to "Keep your baby in bed with you until he's 5 years old." Jen has been exploring this literature with her trademark research analyst's approach and established a very sensible routine. Starting at 7 o'clock, the "wind-down" occurs with a bath (or just a warm soak-- we don't want to dry his skin out with too much soap) and then a night-time bottle. Right around 8 o'clock, Jack is in his crib, down for the count.

The routine has been going great and we feel like the kid really knows "bedtime," but stretching through the night has been his big challenge. Some babies (especially, we have learned, cesarean, breech, reflux...) have more trouble getting through the night than the average baby. Jack habitually woke up between 1-3 in the morning, often for extended periods. Not fun for mom and dad, especially after 5 1/2 months.

The latest modification to our routine is what the books call a "dream feed." This is an additional bottle that you give the boy between 10-11 o'clock. Basically, you scoop him up while he is still asleep and put the bottle to his lips. With eyes closed (and maybe a little annoyed at the disturbance), he eventually starts eating his late-night snack-- without ever becoming fully awake.

After the dream feed, the little guy goes back down, "tanked up" for the night. Our first dream feed on Wednesday night got us to 3:30 (better than 1 AM, but still not great), but last night Jack slept all the way through from 8 PM until 6 AM. At six, Jen fed him and he slept for another hour and forty-five minutes after that.

We're obviously not going to get too optimistic about last night's result because it could be an isolated event. Nonetheless, it seems that no matter what approach you take, consistency is the key. Kids do better with routines than without. Hopefully our routine will help Jack establish solid sleep habits.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Just like everybody else, we're pretty busy this holiday season. I put up the outdoor decorations and lights, and over the weekend, we trimmed the Christmas tree. Hooray, it's Jack's first Christmas!

Last night, Jeff & Kathleen brought Ellie over for a holiday photo shoot and then dinner at our favorite local joint, Los Tios. The babies were extremely cute and very well-behaved, although Jack crashed early when we got home and then was wide awake for an hour in the middle of the night. His sleep habits have been improving steadily-- he typically goes down around 8 o'clock-- but we still haven't made it all the way through the night without interruption. When he does, I'll call it the Mircale on 34th Street.
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Monday, December 3, 2007

The future in-laws

Following our return from Thanksgiving in Ohio, we had the pleasure of catching Shannon & Steve in town with their twins, Wil and Fiona. Steve's mother lives in Bethesda, so we dropped in on Sunday before they headed back to Pennsylvania.

Previously, I gave "WiFi" a shout-out when they turned 1 earlier in November. Seeing them in action is really wild, especially now that they're both motoring around like big kids! Oh the adventures we will have with Jack...

Jack has a few girlfriends in the neighborhood. There's Ellie (Jeff & Kathleen's girl), Sonja (Danna & Sanjay-- our nannyshare neighbors) and #3 is on her way-- Kurt and Courtney are due on Valentine's Day. But Fiona is not "the girl next door."

What does the future hold in store for these little ones? Well, let's just say that the concept of an "arranged marriage" doesn't sound so absurd all of the sudden.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"I wish turkey only cost a nickel"

After our last big road trip over Labor Day weekend (when Jack was 2 months old), we were a little nervous about how Jack would hold up for a long Thanksgiving drive to Dayton. 500 miles each way took its toll on all of us, but I'm happy to report that our little family survived the drive! We also got to enjoy a wonderful holiday with my family.

Highlights of the trip included seeing my sister 5 months pregnant, Jack dazzling everyone with his new moves and the young prince meeting two great-grandmothers. Oh, and a lot of food. I'm glad I wore sweatpants for the drive home. Be sure to check out the Thanksgiving photo album.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Office

I downloaded 15 more Halloween pics from the lost-but-now-found camera and added them to the end of the existing Halloween album. Click the link to check them out.

My office invites everyone to bring their kids in to trick-or-treat the Friday before Halloween. Jack's pumpkin outfit was too warm for indoors, so he just met some of my co-workers and had a good time.

Scott, pictured above, started at my company the same day I did, nearly 6 years ago. He and Jess got married a week after me and Jen. They had their first baby, Drew, about five months before Jack was born. Between Scott and another co-worker and father of two, Juan, I get a lot of pointers on what to expect from fatherhood.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Big 10 Champs!

Thanks to a jersey gifted by Cousin Ethan and socks from Aunt Niki, Jack was all geared up for today's big game against Michigan. Jen decorated his diaper before the game.

The game-day party was hosted by Ben and Tara. They put out a great spread of food and drink. Matt & Mae came without Alex, which was almost a jinx since the two youngsters are undefeated this season watching OSU games together. Fortunately, we were bolstered by dyed-in-the-wool Buckeye fans, Paul Wells and, of course, Aunt Niki.

Jack says, "Bring on the Rose Bowl!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

WiFi at 1

We last saw Shannon & Steve's twins over Labor Day weekend. Jack was 2 months old and not really happy in the car yet, but it was fun to see Willem & Fiona a.k.a. WiFi (prounounced Wee-Fee).

On Tuesday, WiFi turned 1 year-old. Shannon keeps us connected with the little ones on their terrific site, from which I lifted the collage pictured above. Watching these two grow up is like a sneak-peak of what's coming down the line with Jack. We also learn neat things to try with our baby someday, like tricking him to eat a lime.

We hope to bring the babies together again during the holidays. Jack isn't mobile yet, but he is becoming much more social. He's also quite a flirt the way he smiles for the ladies. Watch out, Fiona!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cold-weather gear

Jack joined our family in a warm summer month. Jen and I were laughing at ourselves this morning remembering how for the first two weeks, we didn't dress him in anything but t-shirts because we were nervous about pulling onesies over his head.

We've had a cold snap here lately that forced us to assess Jack's winter gear. Obviously the boy is wearing more clothes (we got over our new-parent nerves), and we even outfitted his stroller with bunting to keep him nice and snug.

Jack has a pretty good-sized noggin. (His parents are sure he is a budding genius, of course.) This has made hats a bit of a challenge. We jumped straight to 1-year old hats to make sure he'll be protected through the winter months. Before long, I'll have him loaded into a jogging stroller and going on runs!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mr. Clean (a.k.a. Uncle Kevin)

My cousin, Kevin, has been on the road a lot for his work. This weekend, he found himself about an hour-and-a-half away from us and made the trek in to visit the new kid on the block. Technically, Jack and Kevin are cousins, but Kevin has always been a brother to me, so he is Uncle Kevin.

Kevin's work-truck is an F350 Super Duty with a 75-gallon auxiliary diesel tank in the bed. He turned a few heads driving that beast into our fairly urban neck of the woods. Thank goodness we don't live in DC-proper anymore. I'm sure he would have been stopped by somebody.

As you can see in the short video below, Uncle Kevin was a natural with Jack.

We enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon chatting about Kev's new house, the upcoming holidays and, of course, home projects. Kevin has his hands full finishing the inside of his house, while Jen and I are looking at a major backyard project this spring to create a hospitable play environment for Jack. Kevin had some excellent suggestions on design and execution.

We also went on a nice walk through Del Ray, and Uncle Kevin bought a couple of dessert treats for us all at Mancini's. Jen claimed that the cats ate half her chocolate cupcake before dinner, but I'm not buying that story.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

First Halloween

Del Ray has a Halloween parade down on the Avenue that is quite a sight. Kids (and their parents) walk the parade route dressed up in their costumes. There's a stroller decoration contest and also a pet costume contest. The weather was fantastic this year.

We decided to get Jack dressed up in his big ol' pumpkin outfit (a "Jack-o-lantern") and watch the parade from the sidelines. Our neighbors, Jeff and Kathleen, came over with their daughter, Ellie, and we all walked down together. With the batteries dead in our camera and Aunt Niki's camera, we were thankful Jeff had his camera and shared the pics with us. The quality is really sharp, which makes me want to buy a new camera. (I also want Jeff's eye for photography.)

First Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Street Soccer

Here's a quick video from this past weekend. After a week of rain everybody was happy to get outside. Sorry the quality is kind of grainy-- I'll have to learn from somebody who knows how to encode these better for uploading to the web.

Friday, October 26, 2007

4 months old today

Jack celebrated his 4-month birthday by staying up past his bedtime. This makes two nights in a row the young prince got a second-wind when he should have been heading to Sleepytown.

Last night, we only had ourselves to blame. We were just having a blast with the boy, dancing around and singing "Twist & Shout." Jack loved all this and then, of course, wasn't in the mood to sleep. Tonight, who can guess his reason. The mischevious smile you see in the picture above is fresh off the camera-- that is one wide-awake 4-month old!

He's down now, but he's got a big weekend ahead with lots of fun in store. A little road trip tomorrow and a Halloween parade in Del Ray on Sunday. Get some rest, young man-- you need it! (And so do your parents!)

As promised, here is an album pictures from October. We'll do a separate one for Halloween.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Best buds

Jack and Alex have hung out the past two weekends in a row. This past weekend, Matt & Mae brought Alexander to Alexandria (sorry, couldn't resist) and we all watched the Buckeyes play Michigan State. During halftime, we strolled the boys down Mount Vernon Avenue to The Dairy Godmother, a great little shop that makes frozen custard and sorbet. Del Ray is very baby-friendly. Our neighbors up the hill wrote a good post about Art on the Avenue, a neighborhood festival in Del Ray that everybody walks through, on their baby blog.

The weekend before last, Jack rode out to Centreville. I mention that drive specifically to discuss Jack's big improvement in handling car rides. Readers of this website no doubt will remember the Labor Day fiasco when Jack, then 2 months old, couldn't be subdued for hours on end in the car. Nowadays, he handles these trips much better.

What changed? Well, Jen found a neat product (cue endorsement): the Tiny Love clip-and-go mobile. It's simple, battery-operated and offers a great distraction when strolling or riding in the car. It's not on all the time, but it's a great thing to be able to turn on when he starts fussing.

In more interesting news, the young prince has become incredibly vocal. I will have to catch his ramblings on film again and share them with you. Sometimes he pumps his fist to emphasize the points he is making like a politician giving a stump spech.

Jack's 4-month birthday is right around the corner, and we have a check-up (and immunizations-- poor guy) scheduled for November 1st. I have a small stash of pictures I'll put up in an album before then, and of course Jack's first halloween is coming right up!
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too sexy for his onesie

Parents are always good sources of unbiased information about their children. Having said that, I'm happy to objectively report that Jack is the most handsome kid ever. No matter what he's doing, he's a darned cute little guy. This picture was snapped over the weekend at Matt & Mae's house (more pics to be posted later). Check him out-- he's cute just laying on the changing table!

It's a good thing he's got his looks going for him, though, because his sleep habits have gone retro and we are no longer enjoying the nice long stretches of uninterrupted sleep at the start of the night. This isn't a total surprise-- babies often have adjustment periods when mommies go back to work-- but knowing a thing doesn't make it all that much easier to handle. Fortunately, the little charmer keeps smiling his beautiful smile at us. We know he'll make it through, and so will we!
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Monday, October 15, 2007

"Subscribe. Get your issue."

Have you ever logged onto your computer Monday morning expecting to see new pictures of Jack only to find that we haven't put any up yet? Or are you worried that one of these days Jack will do something really cool (like roll over) but you won't hear about it because you don't check the website very often?

Now you can avoid both of these tragic scenarios by subscribing to the website! Just pop in your email address in that new box in the left-hand column and you'll get updates delivered to you automatically.

Friday, October 12, 2007

While one moon waxes, another wanes

True Story: My sister, pregnant with #2, called last night to report to Jen that she could no longer button her pants. On this same day, Jen had happily discovered that she fit into a pair of jeans she hadn't worn in quite some time. It's the circle of life.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The social butterfly

After Jen's first day at the office last Friday, she surprised me by calling me as I drove home and suggesting we invite Jeff, Kathleen and Ellie over and order carry-out from Bombay Curry. I thought the babies weren't ready for Indian food just yet, but I was thrilled Jen felt up for it. We had a great evening with our neighbors and Jack got to try his smoothest "yawn-and-stretch" move on Ellie. Or maybe he was actually tired.

The next day, Jack got to see his buddy, Austin, when we popped over to visit Josh and Jenn. These guys were cracking each other up.

Now when all the fun was over and we were done visiting with friends and letting the babies play, (well, not exactly "play" at this point,) Jack went down to sleep. The weight of it all caught up with momma Jen, who became very sad as she thought about the demands of modern life and the "two-income trap" of living in the DC-area. It's very tough to leave young Jack in the morning and this adjustment period is a real challenge.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pictures from the family visit

I'm finally getting those pictures up I promised last week from my family's visit to DC. It's no small effort to transport four adults and one child from Ohio to DC for a weekend-- Jen and I are very grateful for the effort. The weather was picture-perfect and we were thrilled Jack got to meet his cousin, Ethan.

Click on the album for a bunch of pics. I may add a few to this album down the road if I can get my hands on Karin & Dave's camera.

Family Fall Visit

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hot momma goes to work

I used to think having a camera on your cell phone was a gratiutious "convergence" product that didn't serve any real useful purpose. But then, this morning, I realized I had a chance to document a fairly momentus event-- Jen's return to work-- as I dropped her off at the Pentagon City metro. Now I think my cameraphone is nifty.

Things to notice in this picture:
  • Jen's pants fit. (Wow.)
  • Jen can't button her blouse all the way up. (Awesome.)
  • Jen is carrying her breast pump in a discrete black satchel. (Slick.)
  • There is a mailbox in the background decorated to look like R2-D2 from Star Wars. (Why?)
Once in a while I have to pause to pay tribute to my wonderful wife for all that she does. Jen has been amazing in the run-up to her return to work. Jack and I are lucky to have her in our lives, and I will be sure my son always appreciates his mother.

This weekend I'll post an album of pics from my family's visit last weekend, but in the meantime, here are a few tidbits from the World of Jack (also in list form):
  • All the mothers who said Jack had tooth buds were wrong! Jack's doc said they are "pearls" and they go away. So much for the early-teether theory.
  • With the teething theory shot, it turns out Jack might have a touch of reflux, after all. He's been struggling a bit with some of his feedings, so we are going to give him the reflux medicine. Put in perspective, this is a small thing, but for first-time parents like us, it's been an emotional rollercoaster.
  • Jack likes to face out when he is carried. In fact, he insists on it. The boy likes to look out on the world, not at your shoulder.
  • Jack is discovering his hands. In addition to putting them in his mouth, Jack is grabbing onto things with great deliberateness.
  • Jack continues to be Mr. Smiles, especially in the morning. This kid can melt your heart with all his happy faces.
  • Jack is also Mr. Talker now. He is making all kinds of noise. It's hugely entertaining.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Jack set a sleep record last night. He must have known that his momma would need a good night's rest before going to the office, because he went down at 9 o'clock and slept until 6 am. Nine full hours! What a great little boy. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention that we moved him out of our room to his crib earlier in the week. It's been a big week for our little family!
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Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Family in DC

We hosted my parents and my sister, Karin, her husband, Dave and their 5-year-old son (my nephew), Ethan over the weekend. This was a picture-perfect weekend in DC, with high temps in the mid-70s and the air conditioning OFF.

It's a really special time for the family-- Ethan got to meet his young cousin, Jack, and he got a sneak peek at what his future holds since Karin is bringing another bundle of joy into the family next year.

I will post more photos in an album down the road, but the one of Ethan at the White House is a favorite. I can just imagine the snipers on the roof checking him out.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Glorious Sleep

On the verge of his 3-month birthday, Jack is starting to figure out his sleep routine. On both nights over the weekend, Jack went down around 9 o'clock and put in a solid 5 1/2 or 6 hours before waking up to feed, and then he went down again for a few more hours. Very civilized.

Last night, Jack went down at 8:30p, slept for 8 hours, woke up to feed at 4:30a, and then slept until 7:15a. What a little champ!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Meeting Alex

Approaching his 3-month birthday, Jack already has a great circle of friends, and it continues to grow. In the previous post, we welcomed Alexander into the world. You'll see more photos of young Alex in the new album.
Jack and Alex
There are also a couple of great shots of Ellie, Jack's unofficial girlfriend, in the album. She is doing great and it's fun to see these little babies next to each other.

Of developmental interest, our little guy is super advanced in at least one category: teething. According to baby literature, "The vast majority of babies sprout their first teeth between 4 and 7 months of age." Try telling that to Jack, who already has three tooth buds. This makes him a little cranky, especially because he doesn't know how to gnaw on a teething toy yet. In fact, he's just starting to figure out how to get his hand in his mouth. Mostly, he finds himself tonguing the sore tooth spots (top and bottom) and wondering what the heck is going on.

Despite the early teething, we find that Jack is a good-natured boy who graces us with buckets of smiles every morning and charms everyone he meets. How can you not love this little guy?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jack's new best friend, Alex

On Saturday, Matt & Mae had friends over for a baby shower. Jack was on his best behavior and didn't even fuss when mom and dad gave Aunt Mae a practice run at bottle feeding and a diaper change.

Maybe Jack took that opportunity to telepathically communicate with the little package Mae was carrying, because on Monday morning, Alexander Joseph Fromm decided he was ready to come into the world.

Everyone is happy and healthy, and the new family will be returning home on Wednesday. I'm sure there will be many more pictures of Jack with his friend, Alex, in the years to come!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Labor Day weekend pics (finally!)

Sure, it's two weeks after the fact, but I finally uploaded some pics from our Labor Day weekend journey to Ohio. As you read in the previous post, we stopped in Pennsylvania on our way there. The first few pics in the slide show are the only shots I got in PA since we were so wiped out from the drive, but I do have some good video footage to splice together.

And then we made it to Ohio! Jack did great with Jen's family and got to meet a lot of people. Remember cousin Kristy from the baby shower back in April?

Well, time marches on and here now we have Jack and his cousin, Alexandria!

Bill threw a party on Saturday for Jack with the Engle clan, while Debbie and Steve invited Jack to "crash" Steve's party celebrating his retirement from Ford on Sunday with the Ramsey clan in attendance. Fortunately we had Monday to recover from all the excitement. Tuesday was a long ride home, but the little guy made it intact!

Click the album below for more photos from the weekend:
Labor Day Weekend

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I haven't had a chance to get the Labor Day pics and video put together, but Jen shot this moment with Jack last night and I had to put it up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day weekend adventures

Jack thought he was hallucinating Friday night when he arrived at the Telenko family home in Pennsylvania and came face-to-face with a coyote. Well, a stuffed coyote head, anyway. Like any respectable Keystone-state resident, Shannon's dad has a couple of hunting trophies in appropriate places (e.g. the den.) Jack thought the coyote was a great distraction after his less-than-steller debut as a road warrior.

It is well established that Jack hates traffic. With this in mind, we decided to break up our road trip to see Jen's family in Ohio into a two-part drive. Part 1 would get us about halfway there on Friday and allow us to stop and visit with Shannon & Steve and their twins at Shannon's parents' home, a short hop off the PA Turnpike. Of course, we're dunderheads who didn't head out the door until 2:30pm. On Labor Day weekend. Leaving DC. It's 75 miles to Hagerstown and it took us 3 hours to get there, with another 125 to go. Yeah. So Jack wasn't so pleased about all that.

Although the hospitality was wonderful and the twins were a hoot (should have some video of them up soon), our confidence was completely shot. Maybe our boy wasn't cut out to travel, or maybe we just were terrible parents who couldn't convince a baby to enjoy a car ride. Either way, we thought it would be nicer to stay with the Telenkos or just turn around and drive home rather than continue our journey to Ohio.

With great trepidation, we decided to press on. And then, The Innovation. Jack was starting to fuss about 20 minutes into our Saturday morning drive (part 2 of the trip) when dad thought, "What the hell, I'll open the sunroof." Magically, the boy quieted and peace settled into our car. After a stop on the turnpike for a feeding, we continued with the top popped for 2 hours as the boy peacefully slept all the way to the Ohio state line. At one point, we were passing through a construction zone which dropped our speed and wind noise, prompting me to quip to Aunt Niki: "The bus can't go below 50!" as if our little Jack were the bomb on the bus in Speed (Keanu Reeves finest hour.)

There's a lot more to come from this trip-- pictures, videos, descriptions of the people he met at fun picnics. But that's for another night. Dad is tired and ready to sleep!
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Friday, August 31, 2007

"Auntie" Shim

Our wonderful friend, (and fellow Toledo Rocket,) Shamila, met Jack on Sunday. She and Chris stopped through on their way back from the airport-- Shim was in Ohio for a family event. Jack was, of course, completely smitten with Auntie Shim. I'd put a picture of Chris up, but he's not as photogenic as Shamila. (Face it, Chris, you're lucky this hottie even stands next to you much less dates you!) Alright, now that I've got everyone curious, I promise you'll get to see Chris in the next photo album we put up.

We're heading out for Jack's first big road trip this Labor Day weekend. I promise it will be a well-documented affair!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2 month check-up

Our little guy had a tough day. At his 2-month pediatrician appointment, things were looking bright. He weighed in at a very healthy 11 lbs, 4 oz. He was chipper, smiling and happy. And then came the vaccinations. 4 shots and 1 oral vaccine. Ouch.

The nurse was swift, but needless to say, Jack fired up pretty quickly. Red-faced and screaming, Jack was mad as hell and he wasn't going to take it anymore! Dad swooped him up to comfort him, only to turn around and see that mom was crying, too. Jack stopped crying before his mother did!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Los Tios!

Wow, what an adventure of a day young Jack has had this Saturday. The fun began around 11:30am, when Mom left for her hair appointment. This was scheduled in advance-- a chance for dad to prove he had the chops to take care of the young prince for a full three hours without mom. It went pretty well (except that Jen wasn't wild about the haircut), and Jack was happy with dad up to the point he realized he was getting the bottled stuff instead of the "real thing" when he gave hunger cues. Fortunately, mom returned in time to avert a real crisis of faith.

While Jen was gone, I stopped over at Jeff and Kathleen's house to see them and their daughter Ellie (Jack's unofficial girlfriend, born July 7th). Kathleen's sister, Christie, was visiting from Washington (the state, not the district) and we chatted about the hot weather and baby stuff while the kids snoozed away. Later in the day, after Jen had returned, our neighbors called with an audacious suggestion: "Would you like to go to Los Tios for dinner tonight?"

Tios is a neighborhood restaurant that is within walking distance of the house, down in Del Ray. We love Tios and have had more than an occasional margarita there. Since Jack was born, though, we haven't been out to a restaurant. Could we do it? Yes we could!

The kids were very well behaved while we ate, only fussing a little bit and otherwise napping the evening away. Of course, we were dining at 5 o'clock on a Saturday night, so it wasn't exactly hopping yet, but it felt great to be "out on the town" with our little guy.

The short video below is kind of dark (shot with the old digital camera), but it is very fun. Jack gives Ellie a kiss!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's in the water

I've mentioned in the past that our neighborhood is very family-friendly. Walking down Mount Vernon Avenue on a Saturday morning can often land you in a "stroller-jam" with all the traffic, and those sidewalks are pretty wide. The playgrounds and parks have kids of all ages and parents watching them grow. We're very excited to be part of a real community, and consider ourselves lucky to have landed here almost three years ago with very little fore-thought about what it would be like to raise a child.

We recently learned that neighbors Kurt and Courtney (pictured here holding Jack when he was only 1-week old) are expecting their first bundle of joy this winter. Courtney's due date is Valentine's Day, already a big day in my family because it is Grandma Doris' birthday. With my b-day only a day later and neighbor Zane's 3rd birthday in February, it really is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Jen and I had our suspicions about Kurt & Courtney. They were asking a lot of very detailed questions about Jack and how we were caring for him, arranging the nursery, etc. At one point, Kurt inadvertently commented, "So that's what I have to look forward to," after I had finished describing a sleep-deprived night of walking outside at 3 am to lull Jack to sleep. I didn't call Kurt out on it, but shortly after, they told us the big news. We're big fans of K & C, especially of their hospitality. Kurt is an amazing chef; they choose great wines and pour so generously you're never sure how much you've had to drink. It's a good thing they only live a few doors down.

I love the picture at the top of this post because it shows an impromptu gathering on the stoop out front, which is a fairly regular occurrence. 2-year old Erica might look like the cutest thing you've ever seen, but watch out! She has two older brothers and is as likely to throw an elbow as charm you with a smile.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Get off my plane!"

Jack has been working on his smile lately, and it's been very rewarding for mom and dad to see this development. However, it's very tough to capture with the digital camera. Part of me wants to blame our 4-year old camera and run to the store for something newer and faster to capture these moments, but then I come to my senses and realize that Jack isn't suffering from his life being under-documented, so a new camera is probably overkill.

One of Jack's new looks is a half-smile that Jen labeled his "Harrison Ford" smile. Although the picture above doesn't quite capture it, you get the idea. It's a crooked, endearing smile. (Sidebar: If you want to see Harrison Ford playing the part of my dad, rent "Sabrina." It's uncanny how the hair and glasses create this effect.)

Jack obviously can't talk yet, and so we often put words in his mouth. His grunts or yells are helpfully translated for our entertainment. Aunt Niki, recipient of several Harrison Ford smiles today, was holding Jack when he let out a loud yelp. Niki didn't miss a beat when she reported "Jack said, 'Get off my plane!'" Personally, I thought he said, "Who's scruffy lookin'?" but baby linguistics is not an exact science.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Bjorn Ultimatum

My wife always makes me laugh-- usually with her spontaneous comments, but once in a while with a premeditated joke.

Earlier this week, as we were readying Jack for sleep, he was having a fussy cluster feed. If you never heard of cluster feeding, that's because it is the dark side of infanthood. Everyone warns you about your newly acquired sleeping habits, but no one tells you, "Oh, the kid will want to eat for 3 hours straight every night before going to bed, and he'll be a pain in the arse about it." Cluster feeding is tough on mom, and dad has to be at the ready to whisk the boy away for a quick walk outside to relieve some of his restlessness.

So Jack was having this fussy cluster feed and Jen says, "Okay, boy, either you settle in for some more food or else dad will have to give you the Bjorn Ultimatum," (referring to the Baby Bjorn carrier that I strap Jack into for longer walks and Matt Damon's new movie.) I laughed out loud and Jen, quite pleased with herself, admitted that she thought of it earlier in the day and was waiting for an opportunity to say it.

Good times this week. Jack hit us with his first non-sleep smile. It really blew us away, and he practiced it some more on Saturday when we took him to his first social engagement-- Mae's birthday party (pictured above). Jack got passed around and was a very good sport about it. He made his parents look a lot better at their jobs then they really are at this point.

The ride home was a little dicey because it was right in the middle of-- you guessed it-- his evening cluster feed. Poor kid screamed bloody murder until mom found a way to sooth him and get him to sleep for the remainder of the trip. Jen was sitting in the back seat and was able to put her hands on both sides of his head. Perhaps this is a Reiki technique to calm babies.

Click on the album below for a fresh batch of pictures:

Early August