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Journal for 24 July 2008: Update on Lack of Updates


Well, there’s been a lot of stuff going on at once, and little time to write about it (much less to be online in general). So, here’s a short list of things going on that I hope to have time to write about, but may not:

  • As of yesterday, Mathias seems to be figuring out the entire crawling thing. It’s kind of a step back from his assisted walking, but, hey, whatever the little guy needs to do to get going is cool with his mom and I.
  • I’ve been accepted to the Carlson School’s “Managing in a Global Environment” international seminar, which means I’ll be traveling to India for the first two weeks in January. It’s a great opportunity for me both personally and professionally, and I’m excited beyond all belief.
  • Speaking of traveling, Lisa and I are heading to New York the middle of next month to catch a Yankees game, see some friends, visit the city, and have some much needed non-baby time. For the amount we’re spending on this trip we could do three weekend trips to Chicago, or two to San Francisco, or a week-long road trip along the gulf, a little fact I’m trying not to dwell on that much.
  • WALL-E was really good… But not quite as good as everyone else was saying it was. I’ll get a review up if I can find the time.
  • Our daycare situation has been… Challenging. The son of the friend Lisa has a daycare arrangement with is back in the hospital, which means we’re still relying on babysitters and half-days to take care of Mathias.  It’s getting expensive, quick.  (Lisa’s friend’s kid is at Children’s at Abbott now, so at least we know he’s in good hands.  Still, we’re all worried about him, and it’ll be good to see him healthy and back home with his folks.)
  • Lisa got a new pig. Sigrid needed a friend, apparently.
  • Up this weekend: The Dark Knight. One review too many ended up spoiling a significant portion of the movie for me, but I’m still excited to see it.
  • Money is tight these days. The above items may make it sound like we’re doing OK, but the truth is we’re mostly staying at home (and eating at home as well), and taking extreme-for-us measures like grocery shopping at (cringe) Wal-Mart. Granted, our debt load is roughly 60% of where it was the same time last year, but it still sucks.

And for the rest of the night tonight, there’s homework to do. More later.

Posted in Journal at 11:47 pm

BabyLog for 15 July: Baby Going Mobile


Warning: Long baby entry ahead.

I’m not sure what it was about the trip to Madison, but it seemed to have flipped a switch in Mathias causing him to find all new kinds of mobility.  He hasn’t started crawling–and, really, it’s increasingly starting to look like he’s going to skip that step–but all indications are the baby is about to make it difficult for us to keep track of him.

The changes started making themselves evident almost as soon as we got back from Madison.  Lisa gave me a call at work with the news the day after we returned.  Mathias had already been standing up using the coffee table and other items for balance for a month or so, but that day he realized he could move his feet while holding the table for balance. Lisa watched him slowly make his way down to the end of the table, where he eventually began crying until she picked him and put him around the corner. And so the cycle went: Walk, cry, get help from mom, repeat.

I have a patient wife.

I saw Mathias’ newfound skill first-hand last week Wednesday.  Mathias was again holding onto the coffee table, with Lisa sitting on the couch behind him.  I sat down on the floor at the end of the table and started talking to Lisa, and within a minute Mathias had made his way over to me.  He seemed quite pleased with this accomplishment. Or, at least, he did until he decided he wanted to turn the corner.

The other (and unfortunately somewhat more frustrating news) is that Mathias has learned how to sit up in bed.  In the big that’s a good thing, but the current problem is that he hasn’t figured how to lay back down yet.  The past few nights were extended well past his bed time as Lisa and I tried to get him down for the night.  All of the sudden we don’t have a baby as much as we have a little robot programmed to auto-sit.  Literally the moment after laying him down he flips onto his stomach, crunches his knees, and uses his arms to push himself into a sitting postion.  Over and over and over again.  Indeed, the only time he’ll relent and go down is when he’s completely and totally exhausted himself from sitting.  Earlier today Lisa watched as he basically passed out while sitting, resulting in a nasty meeting with the side of his crib.  You can guess how that went over.

On my list for this weekend: Babyproofing.

Posted in BabyLog at 11:42 pm

Pig Passing: Chloe, 2007-2008


This is already old news to some, but one of Lisa’s guinea pigs passed away on Sunday.  Guinea pigs are of course nowhere near the longest-lived animals one can have as a pet, but even by pig standard’s Chloe’s stay with us was remarkably short.  She was purchased on St. Patricks’s day in 2007, just under 16 months ago.

We don’t know what happened, but can say Chloe was never the healthiest pig.  She was spunky for the first few months we had her–Lisa was able to use her as an illustration to me of what popcorning means–but after that aged in her behavior rather quick.  She tended to be slow and skittish, and hid a lot.  Late Saturday night she started digging out a space in her cage, and early Sunday afternoon crawled into it, laid down, and passed within an hour.

Lisa has sworn off new pigs for the time being.  (She’s had a total of 15 of them over the years.)  I believe her, but it may be worth checking back in on the pig situation a few months from now.

Posted in Journal at 8:09 pm

Parenting in Minnesota


It seems that just about everyone born in Minnesota decides to stay here, meaning young families often have extensive support systems in the form of grandparents and relatives.  Of course, Lisa and I aren’t from around these parts, and so the past week has been rather challenging.

While in Madison we got the bad news that the two-year-old son of one of Lisa’s close friend Aimee was in the hospital with an unknown illness.  Aside from the obvious concern we had for him, this presented us with the practical problem of losing our childcare for the week.  Aimee and Lisa both work part time, and set up a babysitting agreement where each takes care of the other’s son for a few hours a week.  With both of the other sitters we know busy with day jobs, Lisa scrambled to cobble together sitters for the week.  I ended up having to work from home one morning, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if not for an important meeting I had to call into rather than attend in person.  (I was the only person not in the meeting room; the conference bridge had been set up just for me.)

We survived, of course, and in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t as bad as having our son in the hospital, but it did illustrate how we’re a bit on our own compared to many other parents in the area.  Sure, this may sound like a generalization, but it would take more than two hands for me to count the parents we know that have family around here, while for the parents who don’t…  Well, to my count, we only know two.

~ ~ ~

Over the past year Lisa has made some good connections with other moms in our neighborhood, and, to be sure, we have many friends around here we can count on.  For me, though, weeks like the one we just had are just another encouragement for me to get out of Minnesota.  That doesn’t mean I’d want to move closer to family, but it does mean I’d be interested in finding someplace where not “everyone is from around here,” wherever that “here” may be.

~ ~ ~

For what it’s worth, Aimee’s son is back home, still sick, but doing better.  He’d apparently caught a nasty virus that had been making the rounds.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 11:27 pm

TraveLog: Back to Minneapolis


One last warm, humid night in Madison. Tomorrow, it’ll be time to head back home.

Mathias and Nora’s dedications went well. I got kind of cranky about the sermon–I predicted references to Stephen Jay Gould, and we ended up getting a whole section–but the dedication portion at least was nice. I don’t want to say more about our time at the Unitarian society itself, as we were self-invited guests and put ourselves (and our baby) up to it. I can say, though, that if anything, this weekend served as a reminder that I personally don’t see much difference between spirituality and religion–religion, to a large extent, strikes me as little more than organized spirituality–and that I have a deep aversion to pomp and ritual of any sort. While in theory I’m OK with its use to highlight and identify the things we find important, the frequency with which its used to prop up ideas that may not stand up unadorned to scrutiny causes me to become uncomfortable whenever I’m in its presence.

In other words, I doubt I’ll ever regret skipping my college graduation ceremony to go camping.

Anyway, the party after the dedication was cool. My parents were able to drop in for a bit, and Ben and Beth were able to make it down from Two Rivers. It was good to visit everyone, even if the visits themselves were brief.

Mathias slept for most of his party. When out and about today, though, he was consistently chipper.

We have a great baby.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal,Travelog at 11:49 pm

TraveLog: Warm Days in Madison


Another warm summer day in Madison is in the books. Tomorrow morning is Mathias’ dedication. The trip has been OK so far, with a good range of parties, food and family drama checking in at random points. My parents are down from Two Rivers, which is a bit of a surprise considering my mom’s recent surgery to repair some side effects from an earlier operation, but I’m glad they were able to make it. As far as the family drama, I’m starting to treat it as I am my mom’s cancer–something chronic that’s not going away, just a fact of life that has to be addressed or ignored as appropriate.

Lisa and I were caught a bit off guard by the sermon accompanying the dedication ceremony–“When Buddha Meets the Big Bang,” about, as you may guess, how science and religion don’t have to necessarily disagree with each other, and, in some cases, may contribute to each other. As a topic, it’s far out side what Michele and Dwight have seen at the First Unitarian Society this year, and from all indications they were as surprised as Lisa and I were. I’m kind of disappointed that this would be the topic for tomorrow, and had I known would not have supported us taking part, but the sermons aren’t announced in advance, and we basically committed the moment friends and family started signing up to attend. (I am interested in how the subject will be handled, especially considering some estimates put over 10% of Unitarians in the “atheist” category, but still wish it wasn’t happening on the day of my son’s dedication.)

For what it’s worth, we’ll have a good crowd tomorrow.

Well, it’s late, and there’s still work to do for the party after the ceremony tomorrow. More later.

Posted in Journal,Travelog at 9:56 pm

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