Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lightning Strikes Again?

Holy crap! What's that!?

We've gone and done it again. Ann is pregnant again and expecting to deliver a bouncing baby Jordan during the first week of July (fireworks, anyone?).

Back at nine weeks, the 'lil gummy bear weighed in at 24mm with a heartbeat of 174bpm. By today, after twelve weeks, the heartbeat had dropped to 157bpm. The grandmothers are following the flux in the heartbeat with bated breath, expecting that its speed or sloth will tell them if they'll have a granddaughter or grandson next summer. But they'll have to wait another two months to know for sure.

Truth be told, neither Ann nor I are known for being kid people. Ann once joked that she'd sooner eat her own baby while JD often runs to the far end of a house or office to avoid kids. But Jack has been phenomenal—and being his mom and dad has been an experience far more enjoyable than either of us ever expected. So why not have two?!

What could possibly go wrong?

The gummy bear at six weeks

A close up of the gummy bear at 9 weeks.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jack's Visit to the Evil Man in Red

Hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's Santa-fiasco, Ann took Jack on his annual Christmas pilgrimage to visit Santa at North Point Mall. JD was out of town on business, but JJ and Big John were able to attend.

Jack was happy and charming while waiting in the long line, patiently posing for Big John's camera and insisting that JJ and Big John take turns holding him. But when we were second in line, performance anxiety set in. Big John carried him over to Santa's lap for the big moment. After prying Jack from his arms and depositing him with Santa, the banshee screams began in earnest. Santa kept him in his lap long enough for 2 pictures, then returned the very upset toddler to his mommy. Once back in Ann's arms and a safe distance away from the evil man in red, all was once again well with the world.

Oh well...there's always next year!

Enjoy some pics of the ill-fated visit to the evil man in red:

Big and Little Johns

Jack introducing JJ

The "Good" official picture

Santa looks so "done"...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writing about Edward Said and September 11

When I was in the UGA history masters program I wrote two articles (about Edward Said and September 11, respectively) for the Encyclopedia of the Culture Wars: Issues, Voices, and Viewpoints. Well, the voluminous encyclopedia just came out on October 30 and I got my free copy today. Wooo!

And for the low, low price of $147, you can get yours too!

According to booklist: "This specialized encyclopedia groups a tremendously wide range of topics under the general rubric of “culture wars." Among the more than 600 entries will be found coverage of the American Civil Liberties Union; Barbie doll; Coulter, Ann; Fur; Gangs; Hispanic Americans; Moore, Michael; and Smoking in public. Each entry includes see also references and a bibliography. A "Topic Finder" helps readers find like articles under loose groupings such as “Activists and Advocates,” "Ideologies and Movements," and "Social and Moral Issues." The contributors, virtually all academics, display a rarely bland, sometimes quirky, and usually engaging style of writing. Entries do a good job of explaining why the topics they address are part of the culture wars, and many lay out opposing viewpoints as well as providing context and background. For example, Drug testing explains how the practice began and has grown and outlines the arguments and strategies on both sides. Longer entries, such as Globalization, Health care, and Right to die, offer useful historical summaries showing how various debates have evolved. Statistics, important court cases, and books and other documents are cited throughout the entries, bolstering their authority and objectivity. Culture Wars makes for interesting reading and is recommended for collections in academic and large public libraries.

My contribution is just a small part of this huge work, but any byline is a good byline and I'm thrilled that I had the chance to write on two topics close to my academic interests. Now, on to the next writing project!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Oh, Mommy!"

This fall was an odd season. JD was traveling for work almost every other week to the far ends of the country—Vermont, Massachusetts, Indiana, Arkansas—while rain mellowed what could have been an otherwise gorgeous fall. But we had a blast, just hangin' out at home or at the park (and everywhere in between).

The fall got off to a big start with the kid upgrading from the infant day care room at school, where he spent three days a week, to the curriculum-driven toddler room, where he now spends five days a week. At first he resisted the change, of course, but within a few weeks he began to love the new class. It's good for him to hang around with older more advanced kids and he's learning a lot from them and his new teachers. And the changes we've seen in the kid have been enormous! The improvement in his self-confidence (at home, in public, and on the playground) have been the most impressive. But his advances in language and behaviors (especially his new tendency to pick up after himself) have been equally welcome and surprising.

And when it wasn't raining like the end times, we even had time to get out of the house. We had a blast at the Oakland Park Victorian Festival, introducing Jack to his first bubbles, his first horse and his first horde of Zombies. And we also got back to Monkey Joe's, solo or with Haley and the twins in tow.

But highlights of the fall were certainly our trip the New York for our sixth wedding anniversary, Jack's first costumed Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

We were fortunate to have some holiday options this Halloween—an orange NASA spaceman suit GrandMary got Jack for his first birthday and a Darth Vader outfit Uncie Ed got him for Christmas last year. Ultimately we went with the Darth Jack option, matching his costume with some black Chuck Taylors and a plush red lightsaber. And while the 'lil sir was a little overwhelmed by all the festivities and older kids in costume (at least three of which were also representing the Anakin/Vader theme).

As for Thanksgiving, we were thrilled to get Ann's whole family up from Florida for a big multi-family gathering at JJ's house. And while Jack decided to reject all the fantastic Thanksgiving food until they made it home as leftovers, we had a blast just having everyone together (and letting the other six family members take their turns chasing Jack around while Ann and JD relaxed on the couch with a beer).

And, of course, the 'lil sir had some big firsts for this fall:
  • Jack went up to the toddler class at school.
  • Jack started using new two word/syllable constructions a lot. In addition to his previous "all done" and "hot dog" he now drops "big boy," "out-side," "one more," "up stairs," and more.
  • He's also trying out some long words, like "ambulance" (ambu-ba-du-ba), "elephant" (ele-ba-du-ba), and "buttercup" (be-de-be-de-be-de-be-de).
  • He's begun using the phrase, "Oh, Mommy" instead of "uh-oh." Ann regrets this trend. JD encourages it.
  • He's knows his farm and zoo animal sounds. Especially "oink."
  • He's developed an unhealthy, all-consuming obsession with trucks.
  • He's also developed an unhealthy, all-consuming obsession with hats.
  • He's begun sitting at the kitchen table to read his book.
  • And then he puts them away!
  • He used his first booster seat at a restaurant.
  • His first candy—Kit Kats and Oreos. He loved them.
  • His first ride on a tricycle. He's getting' the need for speed!
  • He played the Wii for the first time with Uncie Ed.
  • Jack started using the big slides at the playground—this is especially entertaining since he still clocks in at only about 30lbs, so he catches some killer air on the bumps and turns. But he LOVES it!
  • And he knows his name!
Enjoy some pics from the season!

Ann introducing Jack to his first horse at
the Oakland Cemetery Victorian Festival.

(Apparently, this horse was really a big dog in disguise)

Space Captain Jack!
(Jack's welcome to be anything he wants when he grows up
so long as he's a space captain)

Rockin' the big cart at Home Depot.

Darth Jack in full costume!

Darth Jack lookin' a little bewildered at
the 'hood's Halloween party

Still a little overwhelmed...

But back in the safety of his own home,
Jack was all about the kids coming out for candy.

Mounting the tallest slide at Riverside Park...

...and the payoff.

Ed and Jack playing Wii.

Jack and GrandMary reading their favorite story.