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

Saturday, August 11, 2007

National Night Out

I have a bunch of great photos to upload tomorrow, but I wanted to put a separate post up commemorating National Night Out. Del Ray and Warwick Village put on a great community event on Tuesday the 7th for families and Alexandria law enforcement. I volunteered and managed a water balloon toss game for the kids, which was a lot of fun. After we ran out of balloons, we had time to socialize with our neighbors, including Jeff and Kathleen (with daughter, Ellie) and Frank and Nancy (with daughter, Katie.) Above is a pic of the proud papas with their children.

Katie has a fun blog powered by Frank's excellent multimedia skills. I encourage you to check it out-- he's been at it since Katie arrived back in February. His videos are fantastic and inspire me to set Jack's future adventures to music. Jack's not as active as Katie yet, but I'm sure it won't be long before he's putting his foot in his mouth like her.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Hot August Night

It's a hot weekend in DC, but Jack is staying cool. After a generous week of night-time sleeping, Jack decided he had to throw mom and dad a curve on Friday night. Awake for a feeding around 1:30am, Mister Fussypants decided he wanted to stay up and party.

Mom and dad traded shifts with the boy, employing every trick at their disposal to try to get him to fall back to sleep. Finally, around 3:30 or 3:45, dad strapped on the baby bjorn and went outside for a nighttime stroll. Jack was happy to be outside, enjoying the fresh air. Jack learned that the Washington Post van that stocks the vending machine at the end of the block is different than the one that drives through later in the morning to throw the home deliveries onto the stoop. (These are the fascinating details of a night spent sleepwalking with your infant son.)

Aunt Niki is over for a visit and we took a few pics. Last time she was here, he was in a real mood, but he's having a much better day today.
Hot August Night
We dropped in on our neighbors, Jeff and Kathleen, to see how Ellie is doing. No pictures from that brief visit, but she looks great. She's longer than Jack, but I think he caught up to her in weight. It's fun to see how quickly he is growing-- his face is filling out and his hands and feet are definitely bigger.

The Rest of July

After that last post, Jack had his 1-month birthday. We were excited about it, but too busy to do much. We've been pretty tied up learning how to keep Jack happy and well-fed. After the first two weeks at home, our families left and we had to learn to be parents without the benefit of full-time help. Thanks to our strong start and the generosity of friends and family who made sure we had all the baby gear we needed, we've settled into it nicely. Sure, we have some crazy nights and fussy days, but that comes with the territory.

Breastfeeding has improved dramatically for mother-and-child, and the results are clear-- Jack tipped a scale at 9 pounds on July 27, when Jen was at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington, a facility that provides weekly support groups and one-on-one sessions for new moms.

The pictures in the album below are sort of random. After those first two weeks when our families were around, we didn't take too many pictures (unless visitors were dropping by.)
The Rest of July