Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Write On

Lori's often talked about her desire to stay home with Rachel, and she's talked about writing children's books as a way to do it. I've asked her if she's given it much thought, but she says she hasn't had the time. Today I was reading in Reader's Digest about a guy who gave up a life as a computer programmer to become a teacher, but to make ends meet on the salary cut, had also enlisted in the reserves. The story was about him being called to duty in Iraq. I didn't get too far into the article, but he had also written a couple of children's books and the name of one of the characters made me think about a stuff animal Rachel had. The animal had a name on the tag, but we didn't like the name, so we came up with a new name for the animal. I asked Lori if she thought that would be a good name for a children's book character and it just seemed so obviously. A search on Amazon yielded only one book with that character name in the title, published in 1978 and now out of print. Further searching, however, led us to Wikipedia where we learned that there was a Muppet character on Sesame Street in the 90's with that name. Out of respect/fear for The Jim Henson Company and Disney, we sadly abandoned the name, even though the name might be retired. But, by changing a few letters, we had a new, just as good name that Wikipedia and Google could find now such existing character name for. In the clear!

Very quickly, the ideas began flowing and we had the premise for 5 or 6 books and a different discovery idea for each... one would be a pop-up book, one would be about colors, another about textures, another about letters, another for numbers, you name it. One more idea too cool to even reveal here yet. Nothing really new in those concepts, but they are repeatable concepts appearing over and over in books. We also came up with two additional little story devices that we haven't come across in children's books that we think will excite a publisher.

Our next steps are to contact Lori's brother about creating some sample art for us, fleshing out the storylines, and finding a publisher. Hopefully our labor of love will pay off and provide entertainment and education for other families and allow us to spend more time as a family ourselves...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Feels like...

The baby has really gotten into the feel of things, rubbing her hands along any surface she can find, mostly by flexing her fingers as she holds her hand above the surface. She really seems to like rough surfaces and hair. Right now she's in her crib with a bee that has crinkly wings and she's making them crinkle on and on and on.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Leap Frog Discovery Ball

This is the Leap Frog Discovery Ball. Rachel enjoys playing with this toy. But will the toy last? Read my full review on

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Fending for herself

Baby has been bored and fussy today because mom and dad have been laid up with food poisoning all afternoon.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Guilt and Overdocumentation

I took some more pictures of the little one as she was waking up this morning. She didn't appreciate it because she wasn't a morning person this morning. Usually she is, but perhaps she's tiring of me singing "Good morning, good morning! You've slept the whole night through, good morning, good morning to you!" over and over again. Or the medicine she's taking for her cough is making her sleepy. Or, maybe 6 am is just too darn early. It certainly is in my opinion, and by then I've usually been up for an hour. Anyhow, I took a picture of her and her face was all scrunched up in a frown and so I pulled it up on the camera and hit delete and then when it asked me to confirm it, I couldn't do it. I later thought about it and about how with digital cameras and massive amounts of storage, it's far too easy to save way more than we ought.

(Like this whole train of thought I'm now committing to Blogger... is every thought in my head worth being preserved for everyone to read? Fortunately, no, very few things I think actually get preserved and fortunately also if everyone is blogging, there's less chance my thoughts will be read by too many people.)

The other thing... the guilt... we have friends whose children are... well, presenting them with more of a challenge. Not developing certain skills along the standard norms, choosing to do their own thing, basically requiring a lot more time, concern and worry of their parents. More doctor's appointments, more medication, physical therapy, and so on. And it makes me feel guilty sometimes because of how great and easy Rachel has made it for us so far. Sometimes we have a desire to see in our child skills she doesn't yet possess as all parents do, but sometimes I think there is legitimate proof that Rachel is excelling or picking up skills earlier than is typical. (Sure, she won't roll over, but we know she can, she just doesn't seem to want to.)

And then our families interact and I don't know how they feel, but I worry that it becomes a new sense of frustration or disappointment on their part. I don't mean a disappointment in their child, but a disappointment in circumstances. It makes me want to minimize our family's contact with them, to shield them. It's hard to put into words, but I know that when I am faced with challenges, I say "Why me?" or "Why not me?" or "Why them and not us?" Sometimes it's my own doing, but it's so much more frustrating when I can't understand why, or there's nowhere that blame can be attributed or an identifiable cause or solution available to affect change. But, on the flipside, they say God never gives you more than you can handle. Perhaps that's telling of a stronger ability to cope than I possess.

Another family we know was a month or two behind us. They had left the area and we didn't hear from them for awhile, but eventually we heard through friends that their baby had been born, spent the entire first month in intensive care, has to be fed through tubes and the person relaying the information wasn't sure if the baby was expected to live for very long. When I found that out I felt so crushed, so guilty.

Our baby is so beautiful and the process to get to welcoming her into the world was challenging, exciting and in the begining discouraging and frustrating and I remember asking "Why us?" I am convinced that their babies are also beautiful (especially to their parents), but the circumstances are so different that I cannot imagine the emotions they are feeling. But I am reduced to tears every time my mind wanders back to the little baby in the intensive care unit, which is quite often. I remember how bad I felt for the family I saw sitting outside the ICU at Huntington as I rolled Rachel around in the cart just one afternoon the day after she was born. I know if our baby had been in the ICU, that we would have spent every moment we could there, just sitting outside the windows on the floor praying, crying, sitting in shock. I cannot imagine an entire month there as new babies were being born every few hours, most of whom would not see the inside of the ICU. I would be asking if we could have done anything differently and why it had happened. I just don't know how I would handle it.

It makes it even hard to be thankful because it feels like I'm being thankful at someone else's expense, or I have the feeling looming over me that anything could happen at any time. I know a plane could crash into my office building right now, or something could happen to my wife on the way here to pick me up. But you don't think about that. It's so different when it's a little fragile life that you've watched from the beginning. So I try my hardest to be thankful and to pray for her safety and health every day but I know ultimately it's out of my hands. So I pray for my friends and their families as well, because that too is out of my hands and even when I can't understand, God understands and when I can't relate, God knows what it's like to have lost a son and I think He's felt with the parents every time a little child has been lost. No matter what, I know all of the children are so cherished and loved by their parents, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the outcome.

Please do remember the families in your prayers, even if you don't know who you're praying about, He'll know who you're referring to.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Look who came to visit me at work! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

But I WANT pancakes!

The little one turned four months old yesterday. In the past few days, she's shown a marked interest in what's on our plates. We would typically feed her while we were having dinner, but lately, she's started grabbing the plate and pulling it towards her, trying to grab at food, or just plain stopped eating so she can watch us eat. It'll be a little while still before she gets solids, but she's trying to say she's ready now.

At the moment, she's cooing and shrieking with joy at a Pooh cartoon while we get ready for the day.

D&L, P&M and D&J recently announced their pregnancies. That brings us up to six or seven again. C&J and Y&J had successful ultrasounds, girl and boy respectively.

Monday, October 11, 2004

There Goes My Life

All he could think about was I'm too young for this
Got my whole life ahead
hell I'm just a kid myself
how I'm gonna raise one

All he could see were his dreams going up in smoke
So much for ditching this town and hanging out on the coast
Oh well, those plans are long gone

And he said
there goes my life
there goes my future, my everything
might as well kiss it all good-bye
there goes my life.......

A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later
That mistake* he thought he made covers up the refrigerator
Oh yeah..........he loves that little girl.

Momma's waiting to tuck her in
as she fumbles up those stairs
she smiles back at him dragging that teddy bear
sleep tight, blue eyes and bouncing curls

He smiles
there goes my life
there goes my future my everything
I love you, daddy goodnight
there goes my life

She had that Honda loaded down
with Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and his American express
he checked the oil and slammed the hood, said your good to go
she hugged them both and headed off to the west coast

And he cried
there goes my life
there goes my future, my everything
I love you
baby good-bye

(* Rachel - you were no mistake... I just like this song.)

Tough Little Boys

Well I never once, backed down from a punch.
Well I'd take it square on the chin.
Well I found out fast the bullies just laugh,
And we've got to stand up to him.
So I didn't cry when I got a black eye,
As bad as it hurt I'd just grinned.
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.

Scared me to death, when you took your first steps,
Well I'd fall every time you fell down.
Your first day of school, I cried like a fool, and
I followed your school bus to town.

Well I didn't cry when Old Yeller died,
At least not in front of my friends.
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.

Well I'm a grown man but as strong as I am,
Well sometimes its hard to believe,
How one little girl with little blond curls,
Can totally terrify me.
If you were to ask my wife would just laugh,
She'd say, "I know all about men,
And how tough little boys grow up to be Dads
They turn into big babies again."

Well I know one day I'll give you away,
And I'm gonna stand there and smile.
But when I get home and I'm all alone,
Well I'll sit in your room for a while.

Well I didn't cry when Old Yeller died,
At least not in front of my friends.
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.

When tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Rachel's Recordings (audio)

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

TV Free

I don't remember my parents watching much TV at all growing up. I thought that odd, especially as I began to be out on my own, off to college, studying communications and broadcasting and watching a lot of TV.

Now, the TV back then was pretty lame, but I suspect when Rachel sees reruns of what we're watching now, she may think the same.

But what I suspect actually happened is that time became more and more precious for my parents to the point where there was just no time left for TV. I'm already giving up shows I just started watching. Not because they're not good, but because I just don't have the time. With Lori back at work, our day starts around 5 am, earlier if the baby gets hungry, later if we snooze a little. It's a mad dash to get ready and out the door, off to the daycare, then drop me off at work and then Lori races on to work. In the evening, the opposite. Lori races out the door at work, swings by and picks me up and then it's off to the daycare to collect the little one. And then it's home again... feed the cats, play with the dog, do some laundry, eat some dinner, watch some TV, feed the baby, play with the baby, shower the baby, feed the baby, several diaper changes, and time permitting, clean the catbox or water the plants, and then off to bed to start the whole thing over again. It's not a rut, but it does not leave much time. Thank God for PVRs that can skip commercials with ease.

Mommy and Baby - Laughter (audio)

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Baby was being fussy last night and we held out a clean sock. Her fingers grasped around it, she pulled her arm back and threw it as if to say "What's this? I don't think so." Was quite funny.

She's becoming more steady in standing when we hold her arms. If we sing, she "dances". And she sent her second email this morning. At one point, she found the caps lock key and so most of it was in caps. But in some more amazing randomness, she hit the alt and s keys simultaneously and suddently "Your message has been sent." appeared and the little envelope flew away. Or perhaps, intentional as she was becoming fussy.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Happy Birthday, Mommy! Posted by Hello