Today is Thea's birthday!
It's been an eventful year. Our toddler turned into a little girl and a great big sister. Thea tells jokes (funny ones!), sings songs (great ones! that she made up herself!), and paints lovely pictures. She knows her alphabet, can count to 20 in English and 10 in Spanish, and can even write a few letters.
Thea's favorite food is still pizza with olives, but she'll try almost anything. Although she still doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, she loves cupcakes. Who doesn't? Her favorite shows are Dora and Diego, her favorite color is purple, and her favorite movie is the same as her dad's, National Velvet. She loves animals, especially horses and whales.
Her weight is about 31 pounds, only about five pounds more than her linebacker little brother. But she's about 38 inches tall, a bit tall for her age. She started to learn how to swim, but still doesn't like to have her hair washed. She can jump on one foot and swing by herself, and she runs really fast.
Happy birthday, Thea!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Today is Thea's birthday!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Heather and Amy got Liam a very cool dumptruck for Xmas.
His face lights up every time he sees it, as if he's thinking, "Hey, it's my truck! I love my truck!"
He likes to ride it,
and he likes to push it around the house really fast.
Then he crams other favorite toys into the back of it. The truck has many uses.
Thea, though, is not so singular in her focus. Here she's wearing her new coin purse from Grandpa and watching her train from Heather and Amy go around the track with her three new horses (all of which she insists on sleeping with).
She feeds them with Liam's new stacking buckets. He loves them; I hope she lets him play with them again sometime.
Sue and Don got Thea this horse at Ikea.
Originally it was for her birthday, but she and Lila both love the horse with an affection that makes us all want to avert our eyes. We knew we couldn't give one girl that horse and not the other, so I picked one up for Lila, too, and we gave them to the girls before Xmas dinner with Don's family. We had them both open the horses at the same time, and they shrieked and galloped around the living room with such joy that it was worth the pierced eardrums.
This was a beautiful holiday, very nearly flawless. Part of what made it so fun is that it is incredibly gratifying to give Thea gifts. For example, her grandpa sent her a beautiful beaded coin purse that she loves and even went to sleep wearing. (We took it off soon after she fell asleep, no worries; I have a phobia about the kids choking.) It was wrapped in foam, and as she was pulling it out of the wrapping paper, she said excitedly, "Grandpa sent me a napkin! No wait, is it a towel? Mommy, is it a napkin or a towel? It's beautiful!" When she found the purse inside, it was like she won the lottery, then was told she'd be paid in ponies.
I'll post pictures soon!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
If I have your address, you've received the O's Christmas card already. (If I don't have your address, e-mail me!)
I know, we look weird, much like last year (though weird in new ways). But it was the best of 30 or so tries, god help us. Here are some outtakes:
We all looked great, but we could NOT get any enthusiasm out of either kid.
We just woke up and thought it might be a better time to try. Nope.
"Thea! Thea! Come here already and let's do this!"
Damn camera delay.
We were all losing patience...
... especially me.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
From The Best of Craigslist:
The Five Stages of Living in the DC Area:
Date: 2006-12-05, 5:38PM EST
Stage 1: Living downtown is the greatest! It’s so wonderful living in such a vibrant, diverse community. I love being able to walk to hipster bars, overpriced tapas restaurants, and leather furniture stores where the cheapest couch costs 6-months rent.
Stage 2: DC is a squalid cesspool, a third-rate wannabe capitol like Dakar or Isengard, full of hipster losers and youth violence gangs of rogue Uruk-hai.
Stage 3: Thank god I live in the suburbs! It’s so clean, the schools are great, and I don’t have to worry about being raped on the way back from Bed Bath and Beyond or having pennies thrown at my head.
Stage 4: Borf was right! The suburbs are a boring, sprawling wasteland of stripmalls, $tarbucKKK$s, and cookie-cutter McMan$$ion$. I read it in the Cliffs Notes to Foucault’s Madness and Civilization. $ma$h the $tate!
Stage 5: Go to Stage 1.
Monday, December 18, 2006
At thirteen months, Liam is cheerful, affectionate, and very sweet. He can say "Mama," but it's really more of a wail when I'm not picking him up fast enough. (And Todd says tonight he said "Boohbah"; we're so proud.)
He's fearless and pretty coordinated. His favorite game is face-planting onto cushions and leaning way, way over the arm of the couch to get to the telephone, god help us. Although he's only walking a little bit by himself, he's a speed demon on his push toys.
Liam is an adventurous eater. There isn't a lot that he doesn't like, and he'll try anything at least once. He's a lot like Aunt Heather that way. He's a healthy eater, too, and sometimes eats as much as Thea does.
Happy luniversary to our little man!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Liam has had a high fever (104.5 at times) this weekend and we've been hanging out inside. We're all getting a little testy. Liam's feeling a lot better, so we were playing on the couch when Thea, who was laying out felt squares for making Christmas decorations, said to me peevishly, "I'm trying to lay these out straight and you're making too much noise. Maybe you should go play over there while I'm busy."
She had a point.
Later, when Thea came home from getting Indian take-out with Todd, Liam was asleep in my arms. She rubbed his back, smoothed his hair, and felt his forehead. She whispered to me, "I think he still has a fever. You should take him upstairs to bed." She was right on both accounts.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Through DDM I found out some sad news about J. Robbins' family. (J. mixed and co-produced Todd and Heather's first album, and is an all-around swell guy.) His son was born with a rare, expensive, and usually fatal disorder: Type 1 SMA, or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. We're planning to make a donation, and our hearts go out to them.
I'm reminded of an essay Sue sent around a while ago, "Yes!" by Brian Doyle. It's a meditation on the inadequacies of language, but it's also about the fear and joy we feel for our children. Read the whole thing if you get a chance. It's beautiful.
... For I am terrified of the fates that may befall my children — fates over which I have no power at all, not the slightest, other than keeping my little new people close to me in the presence of cars and dogs and such. So there are times now, I can honestly say, for I am sometimes an honest man, and admiring always of honesty, that I am exhausted by, and frightened for, my raft of children, and in the wee hours of the night when up with one or another of the small people I sometimes, to be honest, find myself wondering what it might have been like to not have so many.
It would have been lonely.
I know this.
I know it in my heart, my bones, in the chalky exhausted shiver of my soul. For there were many nights before my children came to me on magic wooden boats from seas unknown that I wished desperately for them, that I cried because they had not yet come; and now that they are here I know I pay for them every minute with fear for their safety and horror at the prospect of losing them to disease and accidents and the harsh fingers of the Lord, who taketh whomever He wishes, at which time He alone appoints, and leaves huddled and broken the father and the mother, who begged for the joy of these round faces groping for milk in the dark. So as I trudge upstairs to hold my daughter in my lap, and rub my old chapped hands across the thin sharp blades of her shoulders, and shuffle with sons on shoulders in the blue hours of the night, waiting patiently for them to belch like river barges, or hear Joe happily blowing bubbles of spit in his crib simply because he can do it and is pretty proud of himself about the whole thing, or hear Liam suddenly say ho! for no reason other than Liamly joy at the sound of his own voice like a bell in his head, I say yes to them, yes yes yes, and to exhaustion I say yes, and to the puzzling wonder of my wife's love I say o yes, and to horror and fear and jangled joys I say yes, to rich cheerful chaos that leads me sooner to the grave and happier along that muddy grave road I say yes, to my absolute surprise and with unbidden tears I say yes yes O yes.
Is this a mystery and a joy beyond my wisdom?Sa - it is.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Every year at work they have an office-decorating competition. I haven't been here a year, so I assumed they meant some tinsel on the doorknob, maybe a wreath on the door, something like that.
My idea was to make decorations entirely out of office supplies. A couple co-workers and I made origami stockings out of post-it notes, one for everyone on our floor, then strung them together from my office to the next on a paper-clip chain next to a post-it wreath. Funny, right? Here are the pictures.
And here's the competition.
A Charlie Brown Xmas, life-sized and made from foamcore. There's even a small, pathetic tree behind the dog house.
The Physics of Angels; it spans two cubicles and lights up from underneath. Numerous angels float around Einstein.
Battle for a White Xmas; it's hard to see, but there's an intricate beach scene and a winter scene with snowmen and yeti.
This is a six-foot-tall gingerbread house. A SIX. FOOT. TALL. GINGERBREAD. HOUSE.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Salon.com has an article by Debra J. Dickerson on raising a son. She asks, "When I found out I was having a boy, I wondered: How can a feminist raise a man without becoming a hypocrite or a castrator?" While I couldn't relate to everything in her article, a lot of it rang true for me. Interesting stuff!
I should explain: When I say I don't like little boys, I mean that, before I had kids, all children annoyed me, albeit boys in particular because of their penchant for a mayhem that left obedient little girls ignored. When I was growing up in the inner city, children were the A-No. 1 way to ruin your life and guarantee that you'd be broke and tied to one loser or the other for the rest of your life. Once I was grown, and single till 40, children became the whining pests who kept my friends from being able to carry on a conversation for more than five minutes or who kept insisting that I exclaim over their crayon scrawls and stuttered nonsense.
While my own childhood was wonderful in some ways, it was so much grimmer than that of the privileged children I've encountered as an adult that I found myself resenting them both their freedom to be children and the unceasing stream of nurturing adult attention they received. Poor kids have to fend more for themselves emotionally; it makes us strong but it also makes us sad.
Putting the mourning of my own childhood aside, I just mean to say that children primarily meant to me that I'd always be taking care of someone, a fate too many women accept as given.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
We have a potty-training Elmo book that we got a while back for Thea. You press buttons on it and it says different encouraging things to kids to help them in their endeavor to poop in the potty. One of the buttons, though, always gave me pause. I played it for Akio on Sunday to see if he heard what I heard. Of all my friends, I knew he would.
It turns out we were right (sort of). Heh.
I love how seriously the newscaster takes her job.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Amy and I have known each other on and off for about 15 years. Our kids Liam and Eva are about three weeks apart in age.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Baby bjorn, as Lila calls her as-yet-unnamed brother, arrived yesterday around 3 p.m., a healthy 7 pounds 12 ounces. Lila is staying with us until her aunt gets into town, and it's wonderful to have her around. She and Thea make me feel a little like a third wheel; it's awfully sweet.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
"Baby Boy" by Fred Hughes
Today (12/06/06) would be a great day to be born, don't you think? The OCD in me loves the rhythm of the numbers in that date. I'm holding my breath for the N family....
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Maryland's supreme court heard arguments yesterday that the marriage ban should be struck down as unconstitutional. You could watch it live yesterday, and I think it's still archived. Heather watched part and said that one of the judges, probably Judge Cathell, was a complete asshole, saying "gay people can get married, it just has to be to someone of the opposite sex, har har har."
Leonard Link has a brainy synopsis of the arguments here.
Sometimes you come away from viewing an argument with a pretty clear idea how it is going to come out. I correctly predicted the final vote in NY and NJ based on viewing the arguments (although in the case of NJ it was not clear to me whether the vote would be for marriage or for civil unions, just that it would be a reversal of the appellate division). But I can't call this one, other than to predict that Judge Cathell will vote to reverse. I don't know enough about the other judges to speculate based on their backgrounds or judicial records, and nobody else said enough to help me form an opinion.
If it were to be decided on the basis of doctrine, logic and precedent, we would win going away... but same-sex marriage cases frequently are not decided on that basis, so we will just have to wait and see what they cook up.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Here's video of Liam's second unassisted steps, taken by Sue and Don's friend Kathy. I've watched this a hundred times and I get choked up every time.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Heather sent this article to me. I love how it's both incredibly sweet and incredibly opportunistic. You'd think our country would realize the capitalistic possibilities of marriage equality....
R20 000 gift for first same-sex marriage
Johannesburg, South Africa
30 November 2006 04:53
A Cape Town-based jeweller wants to give R20 000 worth of custom-made bling to South Africa's first legally married same-sex couple.
The jeweller plans to present handcrafted and designed wedding bands in person at the couple's wedding ceremony, Uwe Koetter Jewellers chief designer and director Johan Louw said on Thursday.
"I think it's a great marketing opportunity and it's a great event -- we are the first country in Africa to enshrine it and so it's something to celebrate," Louw said.
Same-sex couples can now legally tie the knot after the Civil Union Bill was signed into law on Thursday.
Louw said he would like to meet the couple, analyse their style and personality and to see what they liked.
He was optimistic the rings would be ready on time.
"If needs be we can do it in 24 hours. Even if we have to work through the night, the rings will be designed and sized for the couple in time for the nuptials."
Documents proving the venue and person officiating will be required to qualify for the gift.
"If there is no clear first couple, then we will have a live draw on radio," he said.
The budget was R10 000 per ring and possible materials included palladium (a type of platinum metal), 18-carat yellow gold, coloured stones and even diamonds.
"R10 000 is an ample budget that can give something special."
The jeweller saw the legislation as opportunity for business growth and as an opportunity that could not be missed.
The new Act seeks to regulate the solemnisation and registration of civil unions by way of either marriage or a civil partnership and provides for the legal consequences of the solemnisation and registration of civil unions. -- Sapa