November 30, 2008

Family Portraits

Another Thanksgiving came and went. It was a pretty good Thanksgiving this year with lots of food and stories. Alden's schedule got completely thrown out the window with our visitors and the long meals. His night schedule was somewhat consistent (getting up twice 12:30 and 3:30) but the day schedule was full of missed naps, late meals, and overdue diaper changes. Alden was a little crankier than usual because of this, but he was always able to redeem himself by babbling and smiling.

November 29, 2008


The feast included lobster this year, because lobster prices are at historic lows and the lobstermen and women are struggling. There was a statewide campaign to promote lobster on the Thanksgiving table to give lobster prices a little bump. I'm not sure if it worked (I bought these little crustaceans for $2.75 a lb!!), but I know lots of other folks who did this too. Hopefully our collective efforts increased the price a bit. Besides the lobster we had a small (10lb) turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, olive bread, roasted squash, and salad. Dessert was pumpkin pie - of course.
Alden's started making this face when he's done eating. He does this while snorting through his nose, like some sort of triggerfish with a head cold. We welcome this behavior - it's much more informative than vomiting!
Alden has been touchy around Sandy, Joseph and Geoff. He won't let them hold him and clings to Karen most evenings. This stranger anxiety is sad, especially when all these loving people traveled so far to see him. We've been working on acclimating him to everyone, so I'm sure that he'll start warming up to everyone on Sunday, when they leave.
Napping before the big dinner.

November 23, 2008

New milestones on the horizon

Alden's top right incisor came in this week (the left is still hidden somewhere in the gums). He has also started to... I hesitate to call it crawl. Let's call it quasi-directed motion instead. I like the think of it as more of a belly slink. He does the same sort of slow creep on his butt when he's sittting.

Here's the wiggle, shot from another angle. Note the awesome "Cool Hand Luke" cinematography.

A new level of drumming for Alden

Alden's weight is still a little low and his crawling skills need some work, but he makes up for it on the drums.

November 17, 2008

Basket Case

The laundry basket is our child retainer of choice these days.
Alden helped me rake the yard today. I decided it was finally time to move the piles of decaying leaves in our lawn across the street into the woods. Alden helped by sitting in his basket and accepting the compliments of passing strangers.

November 16, 2008

Spitty Baby

Alden has developed into what his pediatrician calls a 'spitty baby'. Alden is no stranger to vomit, especially when he had his ear infection, but about two weeks ago, he lost the entire contents of his stomach for no apparent reason. Since then, every other day or so marks another major spew. Being a spitty baby is not serious, and of the three of us Alden seems to be the least upset by it. At first we thought it could be a food allergy, and we still thinking it may be related to overfeeding, but spitty-ness is exacerbated by the development of his esophageal sphincter, or lack thereof. It's something I hope he will grow out of, but in the meantime we have to be vigilant for that panicked T-minus-6-seconds worried look before all spew breaks loose.

Fortunately Alden's vomiting is not encouraged by aerial tossing, one of his favorite things ever.

November 15, 2008


Alden has been particularly active lately. His motivation to move has increased and the time he spends standing and trying to walk is abundant. The other day I had to lower the crib mattress a level. There are three levels with the highest for babies, the middle for when the babies start to stand, and the lowest level for when babies become toddlers. After the third level I suppose I will have to put a piece of plywood and a cinder-block over the top of the crib to keep him in... for safety.
Besides insulating the house for the winter and taking a class for the remote-learning system at the University (I may be teaching there this winter as a second job for some additional scratch) I have been busy building a filtration manifold n' crate for Ilana's boss at the lab. The manifold is meant to filter ocean water from between one and six bottles. A pump is connected to the mechanism to pull the water through and valves can be turned on or off depending on which bottle the technician wants to filter.

Building the custom crate was just as difficult as building the manifold. I had to go back and forth to be clear on the design, but basically the front and top of the crate can be removed and the top also has a lid.

We have started building fires again, as there have been some cold days lately. The cold is not constant yet, but that is only a matter of time.

We have not yet seriously childproofed the house yet, I suspect that will be my next project.

More Alden talk

November 14, 2008

First Word


November 9, 2008


Election-night preparations for Guy Fawkes Day. This pea and fennel soup was delicious.

This was the week for bonfires and celebrations. On Tuesday, we gathered 'round the computer and breathlessly awaited the election returns. I was in the kitchen making soup and bread dough in an effort to calm my jitters, at which I was pretty much an utter failure. I think I made about 86 million trips from the kitchen to the computer to refresh the NY Times electoral map. Ben eventually took to slapping my hand away when I'd reach for the mouse. To quote the great Indigo Montoya, "I hate wait". But when Ohio went for Obama, we knew it was all over and could finally relax and start celebrating! What an incredible moment!! Until now, every election I've lived through I've met either with apathy or abject disgust. It was a strange sensation, this feeling of excitement and hope after an election. All week people have been walking with an extra spring in their step, making eye contact and smiling at each other. Yes, the country is still in the toilet, but it's so wonderful to have a thoughtful, articulate and highly intelligent person who pronounces "nuclear" properly to take the reins. That he's African American to boot is just so sweet.

Wednesday, was the 5th of November (remember, remember) or Guy Fawkes Day. Ben made a rather rude Guy and we had the excuse we needed to burn the brush pile we'd amassed for, oh, one and half years.
We had about a dozen neighbors and friends join us, including 2 Brits (to add authenticity to the event) who brought beer and sparklers. They both were almost a little too excited to see Guy burn. To see that twinkle of chaos in their normally calm and reserved eyes was a little unnerving. And of course, everyone was buzzing about Obama's election. Ben made Obamacakes (cheesecake and chocolate swirled cupcakes - sooooo tasty!), creme brulee and beer bread and I made pea soup and pumpkin soup. Spirits were very high all evening.

Alden was intrigued with the fire and the shadows it cast on the faces of the revelers.

On Friday, my bosses finally got married after an 11 year engagement, a 4 year-old daughter and a son on the way. They were kind of strong-armed into it by their immigration lawyer who complained that it would make the application for their green cards so much easier if they WOULD JUST TIE THE GODDAMNED KNOT ALREADY!!!
So they went to the Nobleboro City Hall for a dog licence and thought, what the hell, and came out with a marriage application. They asked me to be the witness for their wedding and gave me all of two days notice. I think the world of these guys and wasn't about to let them get hitched without at least a little bit of fanfare, so I dusted off the ole pipes. Willie is Scottish and claims that he hired me because I play pipes, although he had never actually heard me play until today. I hadn't played pipes in about 2 years and pipes (and pipers!) tend to sound awful when they aren't played regularly. There aren't many people for whom I'm willing to publicly make a loud ass of myself, but Willie and Susie certainly fit the bill. Willie was thrilled with the bagpipe surprise, which, despite loosing both tenor drones and a squeaky reed just outside the town hall, made it all worthwhile. I got to pipe the whole wedding party into and out of town hall. Afterwards, they had a bonfire and potluck at their place. Lorna, their daughter, and I made a Guy for their bonfire and Willie put a veil on it to make it more.... nuptial? I dunno, I didn't really get the veil thing, but it burnt really well.

Willie dances with his "bride".
Guy on the bonfire.Cutting the "cake", called parkin, which is a traditional food eaten on Guy Fawkes Day. It's very dry and dense, and reminds me of a homemade Clif bar.

November 2, 2008


Alden's first Halloween was surprisingly uneventful. We dressed him in his cow pajamas (not pictured because I forgot to pull out the camera) and waited eagerly by the kitchen door for what would surely be a veritable tsunami of trick-or-treaters. At least, I thought we'd have a huge turnout because kids hang out on our street all the time. They've literally beat a path to the river just across the street from our house, which is heavily used all summer long. So I figured the 10 lb bag of Reeses peanut butter cups we'd purchased the night before would be depleted within minutes and that we'd need to make several trips to the drug store over the course of the evening to replenish our sugary provisions and keep the little ghouls happy.
Instead we had no trick-or-treaters. None. Not even an older chaperon to tell us how cute our son looks as a cow. In hindsight I can understand why. Our house is not close enough to others to make for efficient trick-or-treating. There are only of couple homes on our side of the road and on the other side is the river. We also don't live in an upscale area, the kind where heavily manicured moms give away entire KitKat bars or tickets to Celtics games to make an extra trip worth while.
So Halloween was quiet and no candy was doled out. However, between the three of us we managed to consume the entire contents of the candy bowl before the night was over. Oblivious to the holiday, Alden was in a remarkably good mood nonetheless and entertained himself with his squeaky chew toy and a spice jar full of whole coffee beans. Overall, I'd say his first Halloween was a success.