« October 2004 | Main | December 2004 »

November 01, 2004

The Great Pumpkin

Every once in a while I'll play a computer game. It's usually to kill the time between Jack's bedtime and his last bottle before really falling asleep. That way Fabulous Babe can stay asleep and doesn't have to wake up.

I'm not alone in this. Mr. Racetrack plays Everquest a lot while taking the early shift for Kate duty. (We can see each other through the windows of our offices.) It's fun, you can stay in touch with your friends, and on the bad day whooping up on some bad guys can be very satisfying.

The only online game I play is City of Heroes. You play as a superhero fighting monsters, bad guys, etc. (It's not as complex as some games and fits the bill for not having a lot of time to play.) This weekend the powers that be decided to unleash some Halloween themed monsters on the players. The monsters included witches, scarecrows, vampires, etc., as well as this guy:

Halloween.jpg

Yikes!

That's yours truly preparing to face off against something that Linus on his worst day could not imagine. I have an embarassing screenshot of me being knocked ass over teakettle by one of his flaming pumpkin missiles but that's the way it goes. In the end good triumphed over evil and the gigantic burning gourd went crashing down.

Also this weekend if you "knocked" at a door in the game there was a chance you would receive a treat. (Small in game bonuses.) Every once in a while instead of a regular treat you would receive that a really special treat: a rock.

*chuckle*

Get it? A rock? A la the Peanuts Halloween special and Charlie Brown's bad luck?

"I got a rock."

Priceless.

I'm almost scared to think of what we'll be fighting on other holidays. I can see axe wielding turkeys, demented elves, and packs of rabid pastel bunny rabbits.

Posted by Jim at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

Jack's first Halloween

After a long week last week Jack did well over the weekend. His snuffly nose continued but he was feeling much better. He's taking to laughing and "talking" at great length and is very animated when doing so.

I was still recovering over the weekend. Fabulous Babe started to come down with some variant by Sunday. (A migraine creeping up on her on Sunday didn't help.) By Sunday night we both just wanted to go to bed.

Jack's scary lion costume was a hit with all. We had some marvelous costumes this year and I tried to capture a few with the camera. Last year's favorite was the Oompa Loompa. This years best?

DSCN0309.jpg

This was the best matching duo. The kid on the left is Batman from "Batman Beyond". He had red wings under his arms that gave him no end of difficulty in trying to get around with his bag.

The kid on the right? A black widow spider. Huge red hourglass on the front. (I didn't have the heart to tell him he was walking backwards.) I liked the light up "eyes" on his head and his droopy legs.

These two were very funny and good sports. They scored well candy wise.

Here's my candidate for the sweetest costume:

DSCN0310.jpg

Being a complete goofball I chopped off Dorothy's shoes but trust me, they were red and glittery. Paige was as cute as could be and her mom did a great job. Like the boys she got a handful of candy.

Finally we have the most creative:

DSCN0311.jpg

Care to guess? I had no clue.

A tornado.

He made the frame from chicken wire and then wrapped it in a sheet and stapled, glued, welded all the things you would find in a tornado: cows, houses, barns, news helicopters, etc. The best part? He stumbled getting around but it was clear from dad that there was no straying off course from the original design.

His reward? A double handful of candy.

There were more great costumes but a lot of the kids ran before I was able to get the camera and capture them. Please don't take offense if you don't see a photo here.

When I carried Jack upstairs and layed him down he passed right out. For him the night was a blur of colors and shapes, his name and happy voices. Not bad for a first Halloween.

Posted by Jim at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

Ok. Let's all just take a breath...

It's over.

No more Swift Vets, Move On, "Selected not Elected!", 527's, etc.

It's done.

Hats off to Kerry for handling the situation with grace and dignity.

Do everyone a favor: If your guy won buy someone on the other side lunch today. If your guy lost try to congratulate someone on the other side.

Despite the hyper-partisan rhetoric of the last few months we are still Americans. We may have different beliefs and values but we still stand as citizens in the greatest experiment in democracy in the history of mankind.

Yoda said it best: "Fear leads to Anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." This election cycle we've all suffered. (Especially those of us in a swing state.) Lets shake hands and live our lives.

Jim

Posted by Jim at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

4 Month checkup...

Jack had his 4 month checkup tonight. He's fit as a fiddle and in good shape.

The basics: A whopping 27 and a half inches long, 17 pounds, 5 oz. He's in the off the chart for length and the 100th percentile for head size. Weight is somewhere around 90th I think. All in all a healthy and happy little boy.

Until the shots.

Having to hold my son down while he screams as he gets his shots has to be one of the most unpleasant experiences in a long while. The look in his eyes was of a complete lack of understanding. He just didn't know what was going on or why. All he wanted was for the two people in his life who are constantly there to make the bad situation stop.

Afterwards, when I picked him up, he tilted his head into my neck, little tears running on to my shirt. I whispered all the things I normally do and prayed that, while the words might be meaningless, the sentiment was conveyed none the less.

Posted by Jim at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2004

Getting ready for the Baptism...

Next Sunday Jack's getting baptized.

What does this mean?

It means I spent all of this weekend and the next 5 days cleaning for the arrival of a lot of fam damily.

Dusting, laundry, shopping, etc. When Friday arrives our home will be in a state of clean that will make it a shame to live in.

Whose coming?

My Dad and Mom, my Mother, Farmer Mom and Dad, Fabulous Babe's sister Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker, Tall Princess, Number Two Billy Goat, and El Jefe. Dinner on Saturday night will include the local Pastor and his wife.

Yikes!

I told my mother-in-law today that if things don't go well we'll still be ok: the bar is fully stocked.

We're sprinkling the boy at the local Lutheran church that FB and I found a year or so ago. I'm a Methodist and don't fear the religious implications so much as I do the immediate aftermath: Fabulous Babe leaving for a business trip.

That's right. She's leaving me and the boy for a work trip to Chicago. (She has to be at the airport by 1:00) It's just going to be me and Stinkerbell until Wednesday night.

Expect lots of stories this week. (Mostly on a cleaning theme.) Today alone I had an encounter with a Shop-Vac that was more than a little disturbing.

Posted by Jim at 11:01 PM

November 08, 2004

No pressure. None at all.

Mrs. Racetrack has a picture of Kate and Jack in their costumes from Halloween. An adorable picture of the two of them side by side. At least I think it's cute. The reason I say "think" is pretty clear. I haven't seen it yet.

Mrs. Racetrack is bogarting the goods. This despite having the Racetracks over for some delicious cherry pie on Saturday night.

Desperate times require drastic measures. Mr. Racetrack please note: Until the wife coughs up the goods I have to officially place you on pie embargo.

*chuckle*

Posted by Jim at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2004

Hey Moose! :-P

Despite what Moose may say I'm not a slave to Halo 2. We've been finishing prep for the incoming arrivals and I'm preparing some massive updates.

More later today.

Jim

Posted by Jim at 08:40 AM

November 15, 2004

He knows that Mommy is gone...

Jack spent most of tonight looking around the house. (Even though I was sitting directly in front of him.) Every time a woman spoke on the television he would turn around and try to see who was talking.

Towards the end of the evening he started to cry and I just walked him while bouncing up and down. Eventually he just passed out and I laid him in bed.

I thought of something when he woke up the first time and called Fabulous Babe's work phone on our cordless and held it up to his ear. He smiled when he heard her voice and was much better.

God bless modern technology.

Posted by Jim at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2004

Baptism weekend or "A lot of Fam Damily!"

After almost a week of preparation, for which I apologize to you regular readers, the weekend of Jack?s baptism managed to go off without a hitch. All family arrived safe and sound and managed to leave under similar circumstances.

Friday was spent running the last minute errands and taking care of the ?Honey Do? list that Fabulous Babe had made for me. Pies were ordered, clothes were dropped at the dry cleaners and litter boxes were sanitized for everyone?s protection. We had agreed to take Jack to daycare to make it easier to accomplish things but at one point we both found it a little odd not to have him around. Friday was the first time since July 7th we were on our own and it was more than a little weird.

Around 2:00 in the afternoon FB?s parents arrived with Grand Ma Ma in tow. Much to their consternation Jack was still at daycare and fast asleep. (We had previously agreed we wouldn?t bring him home if he was asleep.) Finally we got the call that Jack was up so I scooted down the street and retrieved him.

My Mom and Dad were next to arrive just as I was going to collect El Jefe from the hotel. A grim realization had set in before leaving that our puny 4 cup coffee maker wasn?t going to be able to keep up with the gathering crowd of coffee drinkers. After picking El Jefe up we swung by Target so I could buy a new coffee maker for the house. This was easily the smartest decision of the weekend as we went through about 12 pots in 3 days.

Friday night was mostly spent catching up and watching Jack pass from grandparent to grandparent. (With the occasional visit to Grand Ma Ma.) We did however open some gifts my Mom and Dad had sent which included the saucy number here:

DSCN0325.jpg

Undoubtedly you?ve forgotten our child has pre-ordained disposition to becoming the greatest Himalayan climbing guide since Tenzing Norgay. (If you have to ask who that is then check out this website.)

Saturday saw the arrival of FB?s twin sister Mary Jane Watson with Peter Parker and the girls, Tall Princess and Number Two Billy Goat. Despite my inadequacy with a camera I still managed to capture Mary Jane demonstrating why she never lacks for teenage boys willing to do yard work at cut rates while whistling the tune to ?Stacy?s Mom?:

DSCN0330.jpg

Over the weekend we discovered that Grand Ma Ma has an unusual quality: the ability to put small children to sleep. On Friday night she knocked Jack out like she had thrown a switch. By Saturday afternoon Jack was now wary of her hypnotic powers. I managed to snap a photo of that apprehension before he once again fell sway to her powers:

DSCN0331.jpg

I was going to blame the turkey for the next photo but the truth is that Peter Parker drove across three states with his wife and small girls in the car for over 8 hours. All he needed was a hug from Grand Ma Ma and, well, the results are pretty clear:

DSCN0334.jpg

Our early Thanksgiving dinner went off quite well. So well that none of my pictures turned out. (Except for the ones of my arm.) Pastor and his wife came to dinner and the Racetracks came by for some desert. (Mrs. Racetrack sent the photo last week and ended the pie embargo.)

Sunday was the main event. Here?s an action shot:

DSCN0348.jpg

Notice my supportive hand on FB?s shoulder. (Running the website and knowing how to crop pictures means never having to have your photo appear.) That?s El Jefe to the left of Mary Jane Watson in their role as Godparents. Our fine Pastor was in great form on Sunday and did a great job. (Lutherans here sprinkle like Methodists so I wasn?t too out of my element.)

A quick note here: Picking Godparents is a tricky thing. It?s a role that carries a burden you hope will never have to be assumed. I kept asking myself how do you pick someone for that role? I have no shortage of great friends who I hope don?t feel slighted. Here?s what I wrote to El Jefe?s parents shortly after asking him to be Jack?s godfather:

?When the time came to start thinking about trying to choose someone to be the godfather a few weeks ago I sat down to sketch out some notes on who I was looking for. I wanted to ask someone who I thought would prove to be the best role model for our child on all the levels that are so important to the upbringing of a child. I wanted humor, wit, charity and caution, spirtuality and practicality, devotion to family and friends, honor and strength. I wanted to make sure that were something to happen to Fabulous Babe and I that our child would have someone they could turn to for guidance and council in times of doubt. A steadfast resource of honest advice and heartfelt concern tempered with understanding and wisdom. (Also someone that our child could drink beer and watch hockey with but I digress.)?

The knights of the round table were equal in all measure but someone still had to lead them. If I perish or am incapable of providing what Jack needs most I know in my heart of hearts that as my closest of friends, lieutenants, Consigliere, and spies will gather to carry that burden. I also know that I El Jefe will do an excellent job of guiding them collectively in helping Jack become all that he can be.

Meanwhile here?s Jack using his eyebeams to silence a surly Lutheran child in the back of the sanctuary who dared disturb his moment:

DSCN0355.jpg

After church we gathered at the house for some refreshments. Fabulous Babe was in a hurry to catch her plane so she had to rush and change clothes and finish packing. I did manage to catch her with Jack before we changed his clothes:

DSCN0360.jpg

That's right. She skipped town and left me alone with Jack until Wednesday night.

I also got El Jefe with Jack after his clothes change:

DSCN0361.jpg

If you?re struggling I?ll help you out. Jack is wearing his stylish Toronto Maple Leafs outfit that was a gift from the King of the Zulaks. While we couldn?t squeeze him into the toque the rest fits like a charm. (At least for another week.)

Gotta run. Jack's crying.

Posted by Jim at 11:19 PM

November 18, 2004

Best line of the weekend...

"I have a Ph.D. but can't even operate a children's toy." - My stepmom.

Runner up:

"How do I turn the vibrator off?" - My mother in law, referring to the gizmo in Jack's bouncy seat.

Honorable mention:

"I'm feeling sleepy." - My dad when hugging Grand Ma Ma goodbye.

Posted by Jim at 12:11 AM

Mighty Morphing Super Baby

Poor Jack is frequently subjected to my lifting him over my head to a chorus of "Superbaby!" He seems ok with this as he more often than not smiles when he is soaring over head. The only problem: he's getting heavier and heavier.

It's daunting to see how quick Jack is growing. The baby seat is probably just under a month or so of being too small to use. Clothes that once seemed impossibly large are now getting tight on him. You hear parents talk about how fast their children grow but until you experience it yourself it's hard to have a frame of reference.

Jack's hair has been thinning out on the sides. He had a full head of hair at birth but the thick portion is now a mohawk like strip down the middle. (Fabulous Babe tells me she won't let me spike it up.) It's a bit of a race between mom and son actually as FB's hair production is falling to pre-pregnancy norms. (No bald spots so don't worry.)

Jack's going to be starting some cereal in the next week or so. The first attempt, this weekend, was a complete disaster. (A gnashing of gums with maybe a spoonful successfully emptied down the gullet.)

Jack's language skills are progressing. He's beginning to discover that he is capable of making more noises than just "oooh" and "aaaaa". Literally two days ago he began going "bbbbbbb" which fascinates him. We must have spent a half an hour last night carrying on an intensive "bbbbbbb" conversation.

Motor control is making gains as well. Yesterday he started making a "serious" face that our daycare provider swears looks like FB. I tend to agree as I've seen her making the same face while working on her laptop with papers spread around her on the bed. As I've said before it seems the only part of me this child seems to have inherited is a chromosome.

Many of you may remember that Jack's neighbor, Kate, is all but walking at this point. (The parallel bar work in the front yard strikes me as just rubbing it in.) She rolls, cavorts, and even does cartwheels. Meanwhile our poor son, burdened by his Jupiter-like mass, can only now manage to roll on to his side. I'm worried that they will no longer place Kate next to Jack for comparison for fear of Jack rolling and smothering Kate. Oh the burden we bear.

Obviously something is in the water. The reason? Wonder Woman is now pregnant. When I told her that "Tag, you're it!" I didn't realize that they had already been up to some production activity. We're trying to convince them to move into the house that is for sale in our neighborhood but no luck.

On Saturday I sat watching my father play with Jack and was struck by the moment. I told my father I had never been prouder of anything in my life than I am of Jack. The funny part is that the amount of work that goes into him is backloaded. The easy bits are now. The hardest is yet to come.

Posted by Jim at 11:38 PM

Jack's sexy, come hither look...

DSCN0318.jpg

Nothing says "Hot!" like a spot of drool and some blazing bedroom eyes.

My little heartbreaker. I can only hope that he carries on his father's tradition and brings home a first grade report card with a note that says "Jack needs to stop kissing girls."

Posted by Jim at 11:48 PM

November 19, 2004

Making room for the Moose

Moose and Moosette are coming to visit this weekend. They fly in this evening and then out again Sunday. It's the Moosette's first trip on a plane and she's been counting down the days as only a 5 year old can.

Sadly Mrs. Moose and Moose Jr. are staying home. I believe she's using the weekend to plan an elaborate "Welcome home!" ceremony she's going to spring after the kids go to sleep: "Go start the laundry. I'm tired. Good night!"

Our agenda this weekend? Nothing particularly. I'm certain we'll play some Halo 2 and drink some beer. (Twist my arm! Twist my arm!) A trip to the wretched Mall of America might yield some Hello Kitty items for the Moosette. It will be fun to have a 5 year old running around the house.

After they visit I'll have him write up the visit.

Posted by Jim at 12:03 AM

November 21, 2004

"A,B,C,D. You're a donkey!"

That's one of several sage observations from the Moosette this weekend, leading to more rampant speculation that Mrs. Moose simply cloned herself.

As with El Jefe I'm going to let Moose tell the tale of the weekend. After he sends me his summary I'll post it here.

Expect editorial comments.

Posted by Jim at 11:59 PM

November 22, 2004

The Moose's Weekend Report

Maggie had been looking forward to the trip ever since I first mentioned it. She has followed Jack's progress on the website and thinks he is really cute. That week we counted down the days each morning. She was thrilled to be going on a plane like Daddy does. Mrs. Moose was scared for Maggie but tried not to let it show.

During the ride to the airport we ?ooh-ed and ?ahh-ed? at the planes going overhead. Little Miss "I don't need a nap!" (a recurring theme) passed out for about 20 minutes. The NWA registration lady was very sweet to Maggie and talked to her while I did e-check-in. Once she found out it was Maggie's first flight, she gave her a pair of pilots wings. Maggie of course was thrilled and wore it on the front of her Pooh overalls. She was also in charge of handing her boarding pass to security. Daddy had to remove his belt, but her predications of my pants falling down were thankfully in error.

Boarding the plane, the stewardess guided Mags into the cockpit where she met the pilot. She thought the controls were "cool". I think she was a little overwhelmed as she backed out quickly and said "come on Daddy!" as she grabbed my hand and led me down the aisle. We got a window seat!

It was dark during take-off so there wasn't much to see. The lights were interesting for a bit, and then she chattered for two hours about every feature in the plane. The arm went up and down many times. Thankfully she understood not kicking the seat in front of her. We had to go to the potty twice much to the disgust of our aisle mate who we determined was a Grouch. (Maggie gives the "thumbs down" symbol for grouches. Apparently Oscar does this but I think she has been watching the Glory of Rome on the History Channel.)

[What every child needs: a father with an addiction to the History Channel. Ed.]

Weird Uncle Jim met us at the airport and quickly scooted us to his car. If flying was an adventure, it was nothing compared to driving with Uncle Jim! First we got in the electronic exit lane from the parking garage - but had no e-ticket. 3 or 4 cars stacked up behind us as Jim begged the speaker for help. No one ever did show up but they turned on the "Lane Closed" sign which made everyone switch lanes before they would succumb to road-rage and flip Fabulous Babe's car. Alas, the cash lane was a good 7 lanes to our left. With no way to simply cut across, we backed up, turned the car 180 degrees and drove into the oncoming traffic. With enough distance from the toll booth achieved, Jim cut across to the register lane where we settled our bill. He had promised Maggie 48 hours of fun and clearly it had already begun.

[Oncoming traffic was light. Really. Ed.]

Once home we met an exhausted Fabulous Babe (a long week of her own) and got to peek at Jack. Dominos pizzas awaited our arrival - including one with black olives for Maggie. Dominos in St Paul are apparently not on a first name basis with Jim like the ones in Baltimore. (Ask him about the pizza cutter they delivered to him one Christmas.) Traveling must really take it out of a kid because - wonder of wonders - Maggie ASKED if she could put on her pjs and go to bed. One zonked out 4yr old, 4 month old and Fabulous Babe later and the boys were left with Halo 2 and beer.... As we put paid to the Covenant scum, I noticed that Jim seemed quite familiar with the game already.

[I plead the 5th. *cough* Finished on Heroic. *cough* Ed.]

In the morning, the ever-shy Maggie announced to Fabulous Babe that she would pick what she wanted for breakfast. Mags inspected the fridge, took a piece of cheese and that was that. We had some time to play with Jack who was very smiley.

DSCN0375.jpg

[Jack tries out his best pick up lines to no avail. Ed.]

Jack is very tolerant of his dad's shenanigans and pet names. He seems to know his dad is a cartoon character. After a bath for Maggie, we were off to the train show. GAK! A school gymnasium full of cantankerous old train nerds!

DSCN0376.jpg

[The Moose carries Maggie to safety above the smell of men enjoying themselves. Ed.]

Jim is one of them however so we were safe with a native guide. [Hey! I'm not THAT old. Ed.] The show turned out quite nicely as they had a running train layout that Maggie liked and a gentleman running one booth with trains and toys gave her a plush rabbit. Then it was off to Scale Model - an uber hobby store bigger than any I have been to before. Huge and with rows upon rows of models, slot cars, trains, etc., including some 20+ yr old sets from the company that I work for. (They must never put anything on clearance.) Maggie was well-behaved and nearly collapsed when we entered an entire row of Breyer horses.

I should note here that Mags has been in the traditional little girl "horse phase" for about a year now. ?Spirit? on dvd, toy horses of all sizes, a big plush horse to sit on, and a bazillion horse rides on me. The topper was the pony we rented for an hour on her 4th birthday in May. [It?s all about the ponies. No spoiling here. Ed.] She and the kids got to take turns riding and feeding it. So an entire aisle of horse toys stunned her for a few moments - quickly followed by "can I get this one?" Naturally, she found the $65 rare, collectible horse but was thrilled with the pair of smaller horses that I chose ($6) because there were two of them and they came in a little cardstock stable. Phew.

Off to the Mall of America! This place is ridiculously huge. It should be seen for the sheer scale alone. I normally avoid the aggravation of malls but the MoA is pretty darn impressive. It helped that Jim got us a parking spot right next to the door. (No derring-do this time, just proper planning.) Lunch on a third floor balcony overlooking the indoor amusement park had Maggie on the edge of her seat. She asked about the roller-coaster for the next hour as we worked our way down the three levels past hundreds of stores. We stopped a Libby-Lu (where they dress up little girls in frilly clothes, put glitter in their hair and take pictures). I thought this would be big hit as Maggie likes to dress up, especially in a "spinning dress". (dresses are only fun if they flare outwards as you whirl in place). "Do you like this store, Maggie" "yeah" "Do you want to get dressed up?" "ummmm...I wanna go on the roller coaster!" Air travel and Jim's driving had turned my daughter into a reckless thrill-seeker, so off we went.

[Libby Lu is to little girls what Glamour Shots is to grown women just without the low cut tops. Same big hair though. Ed.]

She was too little for the big spinning roller coaster but luckily they have one for kids. We got on and put our hands in the air as it whipped around. Much giggling as we were jostled about.

DSCN0380.jpg

[Waiting for excitement. Ed.]

DSCN0383.jpg

[More proof of my crap photography. Ed.]

Then we found what may be her second most favorite thing after horses (well third if you include chocolate) - a moon bounce. Minnesotans worship the canine god Snoopy, and Mall of America is his temple. Beneath a 20ft tall inflated deity, children bounce and cavort. Poor Jim tried to take her picture but she only stopped moving once. A few collisions with other revelers but no harm was done.

DSCN0378.jpg

[Here a Camp Snoopy employee pays the Moose to take his dead sexy self away before causing any larger of a distraction from her workday. Notice the Moose's pleased expression. Ed.]

Back home, we had some more playtime with Jack. He likes to be tickled and is quite a talker - though I have no idea what he is saying. Then realization set in that it was TIME FOR A NAP. I carried Maggie up to the guest room under much protest. She was certainly not tired, did not want to rest, and was not going to close her eyes. She did agree to stay in bed if I lay next to her and we played with her new horses. Two hours later we woke up for dinner. Jim claims there was snoring, so Maggie may have some allergies.

[He saws wood like a beaver. A beaver with so many sinus issues he needs a subscription. Ed.]

FB, Jim, and Jack took us to a great Mexican restaurant - Los Margaritas. Ethnic food is always a sure thing if the entire staff is of that ethnicity. We just beat what turned into a huge Saturday night line and were seated immediately. A great meal in great company. Jack was simply amazing. I am always reluctant to do dinner out with infants and found it very tough with our own two kids, but Jack sat patiently through the whole meal. Of course, he also gathered a good deal of attention just for being cute. Maggie was finicky and decided she no longer likes quesadillas and ate a side of shredded cheese instead. (Cheese has been in demand this week. I have no idea why)

Throughout the weekend Jim had been pointing out that Jack looks like Fabulous Babe, that he will probably like the same things as Fabulous Babe, that he will think dad's interests are dorky, and that clearly there is no way to tell that Jim and his son are even related. This came up again at dinner but I jumped to the rescue by pointing out that they share the same hairline on the sides. (FB found this much more amusing than Jim did.)

[Great. Just what my wife needs. Another partner in crime. Ed.]

A second round of preparing the families for bed (including a waffle for Maggie who realizes that she is hungry after all) and Jim and I are left to our own devices. Back down to the tv room. Jim has the basement all guys want. Huge, full of his personal nerd gear (books and trains in this case), and with a tv bigger than my car for dvds and the Xbox. And what is best in life? The open steppe, wind in your hair, and falcons at your wrist? NO! Conan on a screen as big as my car! Much fun as we wax sagacious about the elements of Howard's work that were captured so well in this first film and done so terribly in the awful sequel. I never realized that Oliver Stone was involved in this film. The dvd extras are a treat as there is a clip with Ah-nold getting pulled down by wild dogs and you can hear him cursing as he tumbles (it was supposed to be a narrow escape scene). Commentary from the director and Arnold reveals how much loving detail the director remembers from every stage of filming and that Arnold is not even sure if he was in this movie. The revelations about the llama are best left unmentioned.

Sunday was simply R&R. Fabulous Babe whipped the flapjack factory into high gear and served up some great pancakes. [My wife is never sexier than when she's whipping up some batter. Ed.] Maggie got chocolate chips sprinkled on hers. She LOVES to make chocolate chip pancakes with Mommy, so this was a great treat. More playing with Jack, talking about books, and Jim showed me City of Heroes. He must be cahoots with my wife, because now both are tempting me with the idea of a new computer. [We?re both looking out for you. Ed.] Maggie, Jim and I made a quick run to the store to buy Boboli crusts, sauce and toppings and everyone got to build their own pizza for lunch! Maggie had a lot of fun with the making though she didn't eat much. (Eating half a can of black olives while waiting for her pizza to cook might have had something to do with it)

That afternoon we reluctantly packed. Maggie wanted to stay at Jack's house and hid in the basement. I had to carry her out to the car in tears as we said good-bye to Jack and FB. The mid-afternoon nap-time set in and she slept on the way to the airport. When she woke up she was back in good spirits, looking forward to another airplane ride and asking if we could get ice cream first. We said good-bye to Weird Uncle Jim and grabbed some cones - chocolate for her of course. Waiting for the plane was much more fun this time. The window at our terminal faced the runway, so we could see dozens of planes taxi by and take off.

A daytime flight gave us some great views and Maggie pointed out all of the rivers and lakes. She also saw our house which is pretty amazing for 900 miles away. Most of the flight was spent talking about our trip and reading story books. She fell asleep on the car ride home, woke up briefly to say hi to Mommy, told us she wasn't sleepy and passed out for the night.

Today she went to morning day care and told all of her friends about her trip. At lunch Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop took her to visit my sister and her three month old twins. Then Grandma stopped by just before dinner! With all of them, she showed the pictures on the cd that Jim gave to us just as we left. Then the carpet guys showed up and put new carpet in her room! Another big day.

Posted by theotherjim at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

Giving thanks...

This weekend marks the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving commemorates the holiday that was declared by Governor Bradford of the Plymouth colony to celebrate the success of the fall harvest. More importantly it paid deference to the Native Americans whose assistance clinched their survival. If Samoset and his friend Squanto hadnít helped it's doubtful the colony would have survived.

How bad had things been? Try this on for size: after the first horrid winter only 50 of the original 110 settlers survived to see the spring. Try looking around and imagining a little over half your neighbors dying in the space of 6 months. Ugh.

Over 90 American Indians attended the first celebration. (There were displays of archery and musketry between the two groups.) Two years later the Governor marked a similar occasion with what is now regarded as the first Thanksgiving.

For many this has become a holiday of traditions far removed from the original intent: Things like the Macyís parade and football games are the memories many associate with the holiday now. (Fabulous Babe parks in front of the television and cannot be moved once the parade starts.) These arenít bad things, just different from the original intention.

What remains true is the sentiment behind the holidayís name: giving thanks. Having that sentiment about the blessings, gifts, rewards, etc., that your life over the previous year has brought to you.

Letís be clear: You donít have to be religious to be thankful for the good fortune in your life. The sentiment that only the adherents of a religious belief can be thankful for the positive things in their life is silly.

In no particular order hereís my list for this year:

Iím thankful for a decision made last May that has brought into this world by healthy, happy, incredibly large son. Every day he gives me hope and courage. Every day with my son is a gift that I never thought I would receive.

Iím thankful for my wife who bore that enormously large child. Her love and patience, sincerity and faith, inspire me. Sometimes she aggravates the bejeezus out of me but never once do I hesitate to wander around Best Buy dealing with slack jawed morons in an attempt to find the new Sarah MacLachlan live DVD and CD combo. (Hey. That reminds me. Didnít she make some sort of deal with me a couple of months ago?) There are so many fabulous things about her I often lose track.

Iím thankful for all of our families that Jack unites. Their histories are long, rich and colorful. (How colorful can sometimes boggle the imagination.) Best of all theyíre loving and caring people who only want the best for both of us.

Iím thankful for my friends. No group has ever been as widespread or as close to my heart. Through their highs and lows this year, their joy and pain, I have been fortunate to call this wide and varied group my dearest companions. In the event of my leaving this mortal coil the wake these people are going to throw is going to be a lively one.

Lastly I am thankful for you dear readers. While most of you fit into one of the paragraphs above this one some of you fall into the category that I call ďfriends I just havenít gotten to know yetĒ which is my way of saying the door is always open and Iím glad you choose to stop by and follow this effort of mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Jim at 11:03 PM