Additional Photos

September 29th, 2008

The benefits of having photographer friends!

Birthday Fun

September 29th, 2008

Violet attended her first party in the Hollywood Hills. She was a lovely guest until she projectile-vomited all over Rick’s new house. She felt just fine afterwards. Actually, she felt just fine beforehand. It’s Stevel who doesn’t feel fine. The doctor says he has a virus.

I got a fun new camera for my birthday from Stevel. So here are some photos!


September 27th, 2008

Today we say goodbye to Kelly. We’ve had a fun visit. We shopped and shopped and watched “Gone with the Wind.”

Also today, I am 33.

All Bets Are Off

September 24th, 2008

There’s a lot to catch you up on, so very quickly …


We had a wonderful trip to Oregon recently, where we enjoyed the crisp, pre-fall mornings and hot afternoons in Corvallis and were treated to the company of Steve’s family and our friends the Kissers and Kate in Portland. You can check out
photos here.


No sooner were we back at No. 6 than we headed out to Palm Springs for a relaxing overnight. Steve’s sister Debi (from Corvallis) had a conference there, and it’s just two hours from Santa Monica and such a fun getaway. Debi said, “We’re going to get together every weekend now, right?” I do wish. What a good time.


I’m teaching my one class at Otis, and I have an enjoyable group of students this semester. Engaged, positive, on-board, and all at 3:45 in the afternoon. So it’s going well. I teach one day a week, and Stevel comes home from work early to stay with Vibble.


Speaking of Vibble, ALL BETS ARE OFF. I don’t know if it’s the teething or some kind of seven-month-mark phase or her true personality coming out or what, but she is a bit moody, and anything resembling a schedule or consistent demeanor … well, I just can’t predict her. She is still the world’s smiliest baby, still LOVES people everywhere we go. But she cries quite a bit more now, crawls around crying a lot. Pulls herself to standing and stands there and cries. Cries a lot at night in her sleep (or wakes up and cries). Sometimes she cries because she is being restrained. Sometimes, because no one is holding her. Sometimes because I have left the room. Others, because I have ENTERED the room. Cries because she is hungry, cries because we have put her in her high chair and suited her up with a bib. Cries—SHRIEKS—because we are trying to change her diaper and would like her to remain on her back on the changing table for five seconds. Cries about twenty times a day because she has fallen backwards and bumped her little head.

But then she will be happy as can be for hours with no complaints. I don’t know how to make this happen on purpose. I just enjoy it when it comes. The rest of the time, I go down the list. Teething pain? We have MANY solutions to help with this, from a frozen washcloth to Orajel to Tylenol. Hungry? Bananas? Cereal? (If I could just stop her from snorting them all up her nose.) Sleepy? She still calms to the swaddle. Want to crawl? Want to cruise? Change of scene? Need a little Baby-Einstein-in-your-swing time? (Amazing how miraculously this sometimes works; the reaction on her face reminds me of when I’m really stressed out and step into a hot bath.) Most often, the only thing she wants is to be in my arms. “Hold me, Mom.” OK. We live in 15-to-20-minute chunks. Change it up often, that’s the Vibble ideal. But a schedule? Not so much. I mean, some days she does her “usual” thing, but other days, it’s up in the air when she will sleep, for how long, how much she will eat, etc. Fortunately, she still does the whole night-sleeping thing for the most part.

Meanwhile, the crawling is quite accomplished. She is compelled to pull herself up now on anything she can reach. This involves a lot of falling down. A LOT. And also a lot of crying while standing, presumably because she’s not sure how to get down without falling?

Summary: She is more enjoyable than ever … and more work than I imagined. Hm. Also, her cheeks are tasty. I eat them frequently.


Kelly is here! Hooray!!!!!


September 22nd, 2008

Been pretty occupied, mostly hanging out with the kid. But here’s a quick Vibble Fix for you.

Off to Iraq

September 19th, 2008

My brother-in-law, Brian, is off to Iraq as I type this. It’s going to be a tough year for their little family, all being apart. We wish them all well, and especially send positive thoughts with Brian. As part of the 82nd Airborne, he was in the first group to go over to Afghanistan more than six years ago. He’s since moved over to the National Guard and been promoted in rank, and we’re all very proud of him. His attitude about going is this: “If I can go over there and relieve people who have been there three and four and five times already, I’m glad to be able to do it.”

It Crawls

September 12th, 2008

Things to do when you’re seven months old while Mom takes a hot bath:

[1] Spend five minutes playing with the toys Mom left for you on the floor
[2] Spy Mom in the bathtub
[3] Visibly think very hard about how to get to Mom in the bathtub … very far away
[4] Spy Mom’s clothes on the floor. Roll to Mom’s clothes and lick her shirt.
[5] Realize you have learned in the past few weeks how to sort of crawl
[6] Commence crawling
[7] Pause to lick the rug
[8] Restart crawling
[9] Cross threshold into bathroom
[10] Pause to lick bathroom floor
[11] Commence crawling
[12] Reach bathtub
[13] Squeal with glee and pride
[14] Roll over and wad up fuzzy bath rug
[15] Lick fuzzy bath rug until Mom gets the message and finishes her bath to pick you up

A few comments …

Yes, I know: A decadently hot bath! On a Friday morning. With a baby in the house. People, I don’t know what kind of shit-shoveler I was in my past life, but I am being rewarded for it. I must be. Nothing I have ever done in this life points to my deserving such an awesome, delightful, easy baby. (Yeah, teething blows, but it’s worse for her than for me, so I can’t complain about my being inconvenienced by it.) Right now she is watching Baby Beethoven in her swing. She loves Baby Beethoven. It is about 30 minutes long and can be set to repeat. Every time in the loop the credits come on, she fusses and cries. She calms back down when it starts up again. Eventually she takes a nap.

Regarding the licking of floors. I’ve just given up on that one. She licks the rug several times a day. She licks the hardwood. While I water the plants, she licks the courtyard. The guy who cleans our carpets every few months uses a disinfectant, but it only takes a day for the World’s Grossest Cats to cover 80 percent of that carpet with vomit, hair, cat litter, and who-knows-what. Vibble, may your immune system develop beyond scientific comprehension.

She’s now eating jars of food and plenty of baby cereal, along with her human-dairy diet. Changing her diapers is a different kind of task now. Let’s just say I’m not buying any more jar-carrots. Poop should never, ever be that color.

Yesterday we spent a fun evening with the Hills, formerly of West Side L.A., thereafter formerly of Vancouver, and now of Irvine, Calif. We went for shabu shabu and watched Violet do her thing back here at No. 6. We’re glad to have them nearby and look so forward to the arrival of a wee friend for Vibb soon.

Here is your Vibble fix. Steve has been getting some crawling video, so watch for that soon.

We Are Still Here

September 2nd, 2008

We have been so busy I can’t even TELL you. We returned from West Virginia to find that the kid had outgrown all of her clothes. This meant every closet and shelf in No. 6 had to be reorganized, a days-long job. We also found that the kid was compelled to work on her crawling at all times, making the organization overhaul a weeks-long process, instead. She must now be watched much more closely, both because she moves faster than we think she will and because she frequently wipes out and must be consoled. She’s still not crawling, but she finally figured out how to move forward some with a knee-scoot (she was stuck in reverse for weeks). She also does still revert to her on-the-back tripod maneuver, using her head and feet to push herself around, kind of like a squid, from time to time. But for the most part now she wants to be on her hands and knees as much as possible. This makes the following things unacceptable:

- being strapped into a stroller
- being strapped into a car seat
- sleeping without sometimes, IN HER SLEEP, rising to her hands and knees and then collapsing again
- remaining on her back on the changing table, making changing her a lot like trying to get into a moving car
- leaving the changing table without having stuck all four appendages in her own poop

She has also been working on her shriek volume. Yes, we are now “that family” in any restaurant. It’s a real problem for us, since we don’t make food in our house. We are soon going to starve, Violet, and it’s your fault. Actually, what we do right now is eat in shifts, or we do our best to keep her happy until the food comes, and then I swaddle her and eat with her on my lap—the swaddle is the only way to keep her from obsessively trying to grab my fork and food, and on-my-lap is the only place she seems to want to be quiet.

SHE is NOT going to starve, though. She’s happily taken to her gruel and is also eating jarred peas. We started with an attempt at jarred pears, but after she three times made the face you can’t help making when you do a shot of Jack at 8 o’clock in the morning—you know the one—we agreed to stop torturing her with pears.

Right now she’s sitting in her high chair at my desk, doing her “work.” This work involves sliding her toys one by one over the side of the desk until there is one toy left, which she bangs repeatedly with her super-muscle arms until I refill her inbox. If I do not, she grabs the mouse and tries to consume it. She tries to consume everything—her toys, electronics, my face—and is clearly working on the muscles she will need to eat more solid food and to talk. She already understands a little bit of what we say, I think, in an abstract way.

Vibble is a real people person. Everywhere we go, she charms cashiers and wait staff, strangers in line and bus drivers. Everyone. We kind of hold up the works while people lean into the stroller and talk like idiots. Vi eases into her big gorgeous grin, and the idiocy increases in intensity. It’s really something to see. When we got back from West Virginia, Stevel and I took her to the aquarium in Long Beach. We’d seen her enjoy the fish store around the corner and wanted to know if she would like the giant tanks. She seemed to enjoy it thoroughly, but in the end, she was much less into the tanks than the people—especially the kids. As Steve said, we could have just taken her to the grocery store.

In summary, six months is amazing. We’re having more fun with her than I even knew was possible. She’s a riot, extremely cute ALL THE TIME, and sweet sweet sweet.

Here are links to …
- a few new recent photos
- a little video of the first truly successful cereal meal

So that’s the Violet update. We had a great visit in West Virginia with so many wonderful friends and family joining us, including Bridget and Dave; Cindy and Matt; Tracey and her two kids; Kristen Russo; Emily, Elizandro and Jazlynn; my sister and her crew; my mom, Mike, and my grandparents; my dad and Pauline; and Mike’s sister Jane and her son and granddaughter. It was a real getaway in the woods, but with plenty of adventures in the local fun. We also got the chance to see Jitu and Reshma and their two kids on our way from the airport to the woods. Here are links to …
- photos from the trip
- a video of my niece Dani
- a video of my niece Erica

Now we are off (tomorrow) to Corvallis, Oregon, to spend some time with family and friends of Steve’s.