April 28, 2008

Surprise Visit

My dad came up to see Alden and me today, on a spur of the moment trip. Alden was in an awful mood this morning. Utterly inconsolable, which is so weird because he's always consoled by a boob when nothing else works and even that wasn't working this morning. I live in fear that he is already starting to teethe. The thought of returning to the first 6 weeks of his life (i.e. no sleep and very sore nipples) when we've made so much progress makes me want to crawl into a corner somewhere and rock. He's producing extraordinary amounts of drool - the kind that would put any Great Dane to shame. It puddles in the corners of his mouth and on his shirt collars. And he's really getting serious about the hand gnawing. He's recently figured out how to grab objects he wants to bring to his mouth, including his own fist. That's right, he now prefers to grab his right fist with his left hand and guide it to his hearty jaws rather than just bringing up the hand directly. Perhaps he's so excited about this new grab-and-nosh technique that he's temporarily abandoned more parsimonious methods. Who knows? It's really funny to watch, though.
Anyway, it was an overcast morning and he was crabby, so we bundled him up and took him out in his new jogging stroller. When he's well bundled, he fits in the seat really nicely, which is good to know. I desperately need to start jogging, as my midriff is alarmingly blubbery. I burn ever so slightly with shame when I try to squeeze myself into my pre-prego pants, especially when it seems like all the gals I know with new babies are also now sporting gleaming size 2 slacks and 6-packs. It goes without saying that this jogging stroller was a very welcome gift indeed (thanks Joseph, Sandy, Kenny and Beth!). I'm happy to report that Alden was placated by our 2 hour stroll and the jogger handles like a dream. I even did a little (gasp) jogging with him it and he slept soundly. Whatta stroller!

After the walk and a meal, Alden and I were feeling much better. He even had a few smiles to share.
My dad helped to clear out our raspberry patch before the rain came. It's been frightfully neglected and we've only recently been able to try to rein it in. Geoffrey did the lion's share of this task when he was up visiting last month, cutting the canes down to the ground. Kerstin started clearing the pathways through the raspberry patch over the weekend. My Dad finished this task and took the rogue canes home to transplant in his backyard.

April 27, 2008

Weekend Work

Taking a break from gardening, we decided to introduce Alden to our neighbor llamas.

April 26, 2008

Going Mobile

Alden's latest favorite thing is a mobile Grandpop Joseph sent to us from Oregon. It's a local craft-person's handy work. Someone who specializes in balancing stuffed felt animals I suppose. When Alden first saw it he just stared at it and smiled. Now he's a little more serious about using it, but it's become the #1 diversion / play time activity in these parts.

April 25, 2008


Passover was fun as usual. I think of it like a Jewish Thanksgiving, but instead of being thankful the Native Americans and bad weather didn’t kill everyone, thanks is given to not having the first born male killed and for having the All-Mighty whoop ass on the Egyptians. Otherwise it’s similar, minus the dinner roles. Family and friends get together and have a feast, catch up with each other, hang out, and generally slack off unless you’re the one who has to make the meal.

Aunt Kay is the one who always hosts Passover, and she has it down to an art and a science. The food is always magnificent, her kitchen is kind of small so I don’t feel too guilty for not helping, and there’s a pool table in the basement. There is also a little park at the end of the block to stroll in should you need some fresh air. Alden got to see spring for the first time and got to hang out outside without being bundled head to toe. For all our excitement about this new experience ("Look, Alden, GRASS! FLOWERS!!") he was very nonplussed.

Kay, Alden and Barbara

Cousin Sarah

Alden was a big hit with everybody, and got passed around like a doobie in a drum circle. He had not met Kay and Rob and their family (Sarah Jessie, Rebecca), or Ilana’s brother Aaron and his wife Elizabeth, or (now Great) grandpa Herb yet.
Alden has gotten much bigger and stronger these past few weeks. He is almost too big for his inchworm straight jacket, which helps him (us) sleep at night. It's like a swaddle, but with velcro closures to keep him snug all night. He was able to kick and wiggle his way out of it over passover and then again after we got back home. We are currently trying to figure out how to entice Alden into sleeping for 5 hours straight without it - so far without success.

Alden using restraint...but for how long?

April 21, 2008


We went for our first big trip this week. We travelled down to Maryland for Passover holiday with Ilana’s family. Over 1000 miles round trip in a rented Ford Focus. Our family van is having some difficulties and will likely be sold by the end of the month. It’s one of those situations where repairs will be between 2000 and 3000 dollars, and if they don’t happen the engine will eventually destroy itself. I hope we can find an econo-honda or efficient Toyota with medium-miles on it . Unfortunately, Alden’s car seat won’t fit in the truck (passenger air-bag) so being a one vehicle family isn’t an option.
The trip down was pretty good, all things considered. We went with the understanding that we could only drive in 3 hour segments of time before having to stop and feed/change the kiddo. The stop-start traffic in Connecticut bothered Alden, and he took a tremendous dump in New Jersey. For some reason the traffic getting off the NJ turnpike at 11pm was a disaster. It took the entire Wallflowers first album to travel the two miles from the off-toll booths to the bridge.
We arrived safe and sound in Maryland around 1:30am and went to sleep as quickly as we could… after feeding and changing Alden.

April 17, 2008

3 Months!

Folks told us that the first 3 months of life should be considered the 4th trimester - in that during that time people are not really ready to be in the world. I think that observation is mostly true. Alden has come a long way in 1/4 of a year. I've been thinking about his attributes and figure I'd share them.

Describing Alden at 3 months:
He is somewhere between 12 and 13 lbs, length - no idea... 23" maybe... He has blue eyes, sandy blonde-brown hair with a cowlick at the front of his head. The hair is rubbed down to peach fuzz on the back of his head where he lays on it and he can get gnarly cradle-cap if we don't keep on it. His weight is in the 50th percentile, his body is in the 25th and his head circumference is in the 90th. I think his eyes are in the 110th... maybe his ears too. He eats somewhere between 20 to 24oz of milk per day (which I guess most babies do) and Dr. Brown #2 nipples are his favorite bottle nipples. He dresses in one-piece pajamas usually. He loves having his diaper changed and enjoys baths a great deal. He is very smiley and good natured and seems to enjoy meeting new people and seeing new environments. He is pretty verbal with his 'ilks' 'goos' 'unghees' and 'ahhhs'. He went to daycare for the first time this week. He was so stimulated there that he didn't sleep much during that time (for 8 hours), but instead ate a ton and then crashed when he got home. He wakes up at 3:45 every morning - give or take 15 minutes - and he goes to sleep right away when in the car. He is still fascinated by light sources and has recently become very interested in color. He is just beginning to grab at things, but isn't coordinated enough to put things in his mouth. He exhibits signs of being left handed - he's grabbing with his left hand mostly.

That's all I can think of for now.

April 14, 2008

Play Time Series

Kerstin and I played with Alden on his tummy and for the first time and he genuinely seemed engaged. I have to say, tummy time is much better now that there's a pillow to lean on. He won't start picking up his head until he gets pissed, but for now, we'll take what he'll give us.
Fun with the rings, do di do.
Enter friend the dino... (perhaps a little too close).
Fun's over.

April 13, 2008

Alden Moves Out

With warm weather upon us, along with Alden's 12 weeks of existence, we decided to move him from the bassinet beside our bed into the crib in his own room. Of course since this is new and we worry, we all moved into his room for the first night. We grown ups slept in the guest bed and Alden got to spend his first night in the crib. Alden didn't seem that interested in sleep initially because there was so much new stuff to look at in his room and he gets really keyed-up in new environments (not fussy, but really engaged). All Alden wanted to do that night was examine everything. He eventually went to sleep and made it almost through the night, as is his normal sleep schedule these days. Down around 10 pm, up at 4:00 am, up again at 6:30 am, then utter randomness all day. Perhaps tonight we will leave him alone in his room. I think it will be strange not to have him sleeping beside us anymore, but we're right next door and can hear him if he cries.

Alden, giving us his best impersonation of an anime character, while we coax him to sleep. It's tough to say no to a mug like this.

Asleep at last
Another new development discovered in the crib (but not necessarily associated with it) is that Alden is beginning to grab at things! We gave him some tummy time with his child-sized boppy (in the crib) and he pawed at the plastic rings... kind of! As of a couple days ago Alden also discovered colors. Bright colorful things in the house have new appeal, and he's at the developmental stage where 'they' claim he's able to appreciate colors. I don't claim to understand how that works ... one day everything is some infant gray-scale, then the next, COLOR!
Unbelievable cuteness after his bath this morning.

April 8, 2008


Alden taking his first stroll in the stroller. We took a walk around the block and got to see some horses, who seemed very excited it was spring and ran around in circles. The weather is getting warmer and I am hoping the snow in our back yard will be melted by this weekend.
More guest pictures from the weekend. Lydia , Alden and Ben.
This is the great dinner Ben and Lydia made as a pre-birthday treat for Ilana
Alden seems to be getting fussier these days. For the past week he has been complaining quite a bit. No major melt-downs or outbursts, but there is a growing level of grumbling we don't quite know how to reconcile. My suspicion is that he is getting smarter and has made it past the communicating needs stage and is experimenting with communicating wants. I have no idea when this is supposed to happen on the developmental time line, but something is afoot, and it appears to go beyond just wanting to be clean, warm, fed and rested... suspicious.

He is getting quite active these days.

April 6, 2008

Weekend Visits

Ben, Ellen, Dad and Lydia came up for a visit this weekend and made me an awesome birthday dinner. Paella with crawfish, scallops, Maine shrimp and Haddock and a chocolate cake. It was incredible. Ben is an amazing cook. Alden was enjoying being passed around... mostly

Mutual meltdown in the arms of Uncle Ben.

Alden has been very active this week. The wiggles have turned into something more akin to frenzied stomping. Especially when he gets changed, he goos and stomps, stomps, stomps.

The blue blurs are his hands. We have to keep him in gloves, as he'll still claw out his own eyes, given half the chance.
One major milestone this week is tummy time. He normally tolerates it for exactly 4 seconds before losing his shit. This week he was able to hang out on his tummy for a good 5 minutes before meltdown. This is a BIG change. I even managed to snap a few photos of him being pleasant on his belly!

The cutest little socks ever! (Courtesy of Grandma Sandy)

April 1, 2008

The Home

With spring on the way I wanted to share some developments on the home front.

First- My glacier is moving eastward at an impressive pace. That's right, I have a glacier. It sits on top of my garage and is currently looming over my pile of unwanted appliances, threatening to crush them sooner or later, or at least -F- them up some before I drag them to the curb for Gardiner spring cleaning day (when the city will haul away your unwanted junk for $15). The glacier is the product of a metal flat roof garage. For those of you not familiar with metal roofs, they are used in cold climates so snow and ice will slide off the roof-pitch and not stick (as it does to tar shingles). Why someone would put metal on a flat roof is beyond me. These pictures were taken 4 days apart, as you can see my glacier is moving at a mighty clip

On another note I wanted to show off my ability with a chainsaw and clippers. Ive been doing some late pruning of out plants. I figure as long as there is snow on the ground pruning is okay, even thoug most book say otherwise. This is our apple tree.

Tree before

Tree after

With warmer weather on the way I hope to get back to working on the house and making it a premium place to live... More to come.