August 19, 2008

Eric is busy


Eric is working on some tricky work problems that are making him grumpy.


Eric is writing questions for the Indians.


Eric is pondering writing a book. Jenny has offered to write the witty bits that begin each chapter. She argues that she is wittier than Eric. He does not concur.


Eric is kicking ass on the hockey ice. He is playing a lot of games as the summer season comes to an end. His team has been doing very well of late.


When Eric is not working or playing hockey, he is busy parenting and being an excellent spouse. He constructed a citation database for his wife's dissertation for which she was immensely grateful.


Eric also spends a bit of time trying to figure out the nearly impossible puzzle his father sent that makes us feel stupid.


Eric noted that so far every recipe attempted from Veganomicon or Vegan with a Vengance has been tasty.


Eric has not been overly influenced by Suede on Project Runway. Eric has outsourced updating his blog to his wife. Who should be working on her dissertation, but isn't.

July 21, 2008

A couple of things I forgot...

I forgot to mention a couple of awesome things Ollie is doing lately...

1. He sings along to all kinds of things, but especially the tooth brushing song (he likes singing the "clean" and "mean" parts) and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" (where he does the Awooooooooo werewolf bits). Pure adorableness.

2. His life is filled with so much more intentional noise these days. He talks about what he's doing, what we're doing, he names things (and quizzes us, tries to catch us making mistakes, too!), asks what things are, and makes sound effects for whatever he's playing with. I'm sure in a few months I'll be blase about it, but for now it's totally awesome to see him driving a toy police car along the table edge going "Wee Wee Wee" for the siren. :)

July 20, 2008

Ollie Update

At 18 months Ollie is such a different person than he was at even a year old. He is learning words so fast, and learning to say so much it's amazing. He knows more names than just Mama and Dada, and he'll talk about or ask about people who aren't present (we came home from DC and he was asking us where MeMe, Ree, Nana, and Papa were; he talks about his friend Coco from daycare frequently too). He asks for "cookies" (which can be a cracker, a cookie, bread, etc, although he can say "bread" too) in the cutest, hardest-to-resist voice he can muster.

He's learning subtle distinctions; he can now identify a car vs. a truck, and while all birds are still "ducks" he'll imitate different bird noises when he hears them. He still loves airplanes, especially watching them take off, but he's a big fan of trains ("Too-too") and emergency vehicles (if he sees one, he makes a siren Wee Wee Wee sound, and if it has its lights or siren going he just can't get enough) too.

He still loves reading; in fact, as often as not he just wants to sit in my lap and read to himself before bed, instead of having me read to him.  He has an entire book (Moo Baa La La La) memorized, where as you read or recite the book he does the animal noises right on cue.

He's learned to give closed-mouth kisses and even puckers up for them, and he makes happy Mmming noises when cuddling. He gives backrubs and hugs and he loves to dance.

He's definitely in a challenging phase, though; his two favorite words are "Me" and "No", usually repeated at high volume, and he wants to do more and more things for himself. (Which is often a good thing, because he's getting too heavy to carry everywhere :)). He loves crossing the street, so we're practicing doing that safely. He loves pushing limits and seeing what he can get away with. He bites and hits and headbutts when he's tired or frustrated, which is sometimes the hardest to deal with because it tends to be when we're tired or frustrated too. :)

He's sleeping. Oh my heck is he sleeping well all of a sudden -- down for bed by himself (no rocking, just a Sleep Sheep and Gertrude) about 7:30-8, and the last several days he's slept until anywhere from 7:30-8:15. Jenny and I actually stayed up until midnight (our usual pre-Ollie bedtime) the other night and weren't exhausted the next day. He's taking a solid nap each day, too.

All in all I love him to pieces and I'm really glad to be his dada.

May 5, 2008

I am a bad blogger.

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Okay, so it's been... almost 5 months since I last posted... anything. I'll try to post a catchup post, and then maybe be more regular about things, at least until I get busy/distracted again.

What was I talking about again? ;) Right.

Since the last time I posted, so much has happened. Ollie's 16 months old, which is amazing. He's not only walking but very nearly running, he learns new words all the time (he said his own name for the first time just the other day, which is super cute, and he says "bubble" all the time right now), and he's still an incredibly affectionate, clever, stubborn, perfect little kid. 16 months is by far my favorite age yet; I'm currently brainstorming ways to keep him this age forever. :-P

It doesn't hurt that he is, finally and truly, sleeping through the night most of the time now. We did some very mild sleep training (basically progressively teaching him to put himself to sleep) and so I can read him a book after his bath, then put him down with Gertrude and just leave the room, and he'll put himself to sleep. Even when he wakes up in the middle of the night I really just have to open his door and let him know I'm there and he'll go right back to sleep.

He plays soccer too, not formally, but he loves to run around and kick a ball (or pick it up and throw it, depending). Last night he picked up a spare blade I had bought for my hockey stick and was whacking at balls with that, which made me grin. I think it would be neat if he liked soccer or hockey; if he likes both, that will be even more fun.

Work has been up and down lately. I got a great promotion, to System Architect, which is pretty much exactly what I want to be doing, and really exciting. On the downside I've been a cranky overstressed husband/dad entirely too much of the last few months, since I'm under a lot of deadline pressure and that always puts stress on my easygoing personality. :) That should be easing up soon, fortunately, and I've been trying to keep my mental keel more even in any case.

We came into a little extra cash at the beginning of March, and bought a fancy new camera with it; since, we've managed to take at least several hundred photos, many of which you can see in the gallery. :) I still need to encode and upload a bunch of video from as far back as Christmas, so maybe I can do that this week or something.

The spring season of hockey is nearly over; we have two more games and then the playoffs. We've had a very roller-coaster season; some games we play well, some games we look like we've never been on skates before. I've had a couple of good games (including one where I very nearly had a hat trick), and a couple of really rotten ones. Hopefully next season will be smoother. :)

I know that's not nearly enough detail for five months, but I'll try to be more consistent. If I can't remember things week to week, I pretty much have to post once a week or so just so I don't forget, I guess. :)

December 15, 2007



Last night Ollie slept eight hours. Straight. From 8-4. He might have slept longer, but Jen and I checked on him and I think woke him up; regardless, getting that much sleep all at once was so nice. I don't know if it was a fluke or if he's really learning to sleep longer...

December 1, 2007

Ollie again

Two days ago Ollie and I were sitting on the floor and I was feeding him peas from a jar. Suddenly he got really upset, reaching for the jar and crying. After a moment Jenny suggested I give him the jar, and after a few false starts he dipped the spoon in the mashed peas, pulled it out, and stuck it in his mouth.

Then he got so excited he hurled the jar and spoon away and started clapping for himself, which was pretty much the cutest thing ever. :) I gave him the peas and spoon back and he fed himself quite happily (if slowly) for about 15 minutes. He learns so fast right now, every day you can see him getting more coordinated and determined.

He's mastered sitting up, yesterday morning he had crawled away from his little pile of Cheerios, then turned and crawled back to them and sat up only to realize he'd sat up too far away, so he crawled closer and sat up again--still too far away. So then he just ate on his tummy, but the idea was there. :)

November 27, 2007

Ollie Update

Every month there's more exciting things to report. :)

Ollie sat up by himself for the first time over Thanksgiving week. I knew he could, because Wednesday when I went in to get him in the morning he was sitting up in his crib, but I didn't see him do it until the next day, at a friend's house. He's done it a few more times since, although he still prefers either playing with stuff on his tummy or getting Jenny or I to pick him up. :)

He's such a smart little boy. Our friends have a little wooden block with pegs in it to hammer down, and as soon as he saw it, Ollie scooted right up to it, grabbed the hammer, and pounded three of the pegs down. He's seen Jen and I wielding a hammer for about the last six weeks, so it's no surprise he knew what it was for, but the amount of coordination he showed was pretty dang neat. He's starting to play games with us, too; one of his favorites is for us to "tackle" him and nibble on his ribs or neck, but in the last few weeks he's started doing the same to us, growls and all. It's really really cute, and very funny.

He loves walking, although he still needs something to hold onto--either someone's hands, or his little walker. I don't think it will be long, although I'm kind of hoping he waits until we're in Louisville so everyone can see his first steps for themselves. He's doing less army crawling, too, starting to lift up a bit and move one leg at a time, which is neat to see. His signing and talking are getting better every day, the other day he signed what I think was "I want milk" -- the milk sign with one hand and his current all-purpose sign (which looks kind of like a wave) with the other. He doesn't do "more" very much at all, though. I think he said "block" a few days ago too, while holding a block over his head.

Jenny went to a conference in Phoenix weekend before last for four days, leaving Ollie and I alone here in Austin, and I had Wednesday through Friday off last week and Jenny's been sick, so we've spent a lot of time together the last two weeks, which is really great; I think we've definitely grown a little closer the last two weeks. :)

Finally, he's getting a lot better at feeding himself. He still chokes occasionally when he stuffs too much food in his mouth, but he's learned to bite off bits of larger objects (like crackers) and actually chew things, so it's progress. :) He knows to stick a spoon in the food jar, but he hasn't quite connected that to putting it in his mouth again yet.

October 22, 2007

We go out of town and he, like, evolves

I don't know if somehow the sunshine in Florida is more potent than what we get here in Austin (it seems unpossible, but you never know), or if the sea air had some strange effect on his system (he does sleep better any day we go to the beach...), but Ollie moved another few notches up the baby development ladder last week.

First, he went from being intensely frustrated by being on his stomach, to crawling (army crawling, although he's also pushing up on hands/knees and hands/feet, so it won't be long now...). He's pretty fast when he wants to be; it's kind of amusing to see him charging across the floor like an inchworm on amphetamines.

Second, he's improved a lot on pulling himself up; he can get from sitting to standing by using the coffee table, which is a pretty good feat as he can't quite reach the top of the coffee table from sitting, he has to kind of get up on his knees first. He loves standing up, especially if there's a window he can look out of. He stood at the window of the airport for probably an hour, just watching trucks and people go by.

Third, not one but two new teeth popped out last week, one on the bottom and one on the top (making the score 3 and 1, which looks a little odd ;). He has another top tooth about to show as well.

Fourth, he's really getting good at feeding himself cheerios, small bits of bread, fruit, etc. He still gets a little overenthusiastic and chokes a bit now and again, but the difference from before is pretty stark.

There are lots of pictures and some video, but I have to dig out my digital photo studio software since my PC is packed up right now, and the video will have to wait until I get it unpacked. The house is virtually empty, but it's under contract and as long as we can find a new place soon enough we'll be able to unpack everything in a few weeks.

Other random notes: We flew first class on the first leg of our flight back from Tampa, because as we were leaving Tampa the first time our plane developed problems (the kind that lead to emergency vehicles following you down the runway "just in case") and we had to turn around. Our replacement flight went through Chicago and since it was full we ended up with a free upgrade to FC. Super-snotty flight attendant aside, it was really nice--free alcohol and a hot dinner go a long way to making air travel more bearable, and on our second leg (back in coach again) we had an empty seat between us that Ollie could sack out in. So although we got home eight hours later than planned, it actually didn't go all that badly, I guess.

October 12, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

Ollie clapped for the first time this morning. I was changing his diaper (in this house, an activity always accompanied by a rendition of "Dry Butt Is Better Than Wet Butt") and he started clapping, slowly and very deliberately. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, but then after his bath when I was wrapping him up in his towel he did it again--guess it was the real deal.

Unfortunately we have to get up at 5AM tomorrow and it's going to be a long one. And he's not sleeping well tonight. :(

October 8, 2007


Ollie pulled himself up from sitting to standing without assistance for the first time this weekend. He did it on a cardboard box full of books first, and then yesterday he was playing with some toys in his crib while I folded his laundry. I turned around and he was standing up, holding the edge of his crib, and grinning at me. So we had to lower the mattress, so he can't hurl himself out of it just yet. :)

It's pretty cool to see him learning this stuff; I know he's behind pretty much all of his peers in mobility development (which is apparently fairly normal for smaller babies; Ollie has the additional disadvantage of a huge noggin, since his body weight is 5th percentile but his head is 50th...), but I think he's going to catch up pretty quick.

Part of it is that when Jen and/or I are watching him, he seems less inclined to really try stuff. Perhaps we're a little too eager to help him out, or he just expects us to help for some other reason; he seems to have a lot more "stick-to-it-iveness" when we're not looking. Which does make it hard to capture these moments on camera. ;)