Monday, June 28, 2010

Standing Room Only

Along with the baptism we had another big milestone achieved, Arianna (surprise, surprise) has discovered how to pull herself up to standing position in her crib. And she's gotten so good at it she is able to do it in her sleep. ...literally. However, like most new dare-devils she has yet to figure out her landing before she's airborne. This leaves a predicament. You've managed to stand yourself up at 4 in the morning, but now how do you get back down. So far the only thing that works is screaming like a banshee. Hopefully, we discover a new tactic soon as this one is getting old.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baptism

Well, the big event has come and gone. The baptism was yesterday and to say it was beautiful would not do it justice. Those of you who were there we thank you for your support. Those who missed it were missed, but we know you were there in spirit and we thank you for that. The service it's self was very nice. First time parents we really didn't know what we were supposed to do, but the priest walked us through it and was very patient. If you didn't know we selected Gina's sisters as the Godmothers (Nouna's) and because she's not Greek Orthodox but a very important figure in the girls lives my youngest sister, Cassie, stood up there with us and assisted. The girls did great, Genevieve got a little fussy but nothing a binky and a stuffed giraffe couldn't fix. Arianna ate it up, smiling and twisting around to look at the attendants. Two highlights were when the priest (middle aged and balding) commented that the girls had his hair style, and when he went to give Genevieve communion and she voraciously consumed it, eliciting a "brava" from the priest. I had a little flashback when the priest handed me two large lighted candles like the ones from our wedding. I thought maybe I'd get some more matching scars from the melting wax, but fortunately that didn't happen this time. The party after was exactly as we had hoped. A gorgeous sunny day, everyone happy and smiling and the girls just perfect in disposition. I gave a little speech that got me chocked up quite good. It's amazing that as comfortable as I am speaking in public, either on stage or in debate, I lose myself when I talk about my family. I can't refer to my wife with out getting misty eyed and now, even acknowledging my children turns me to a weepy babe myself. I feel like the Stay Puff Marshmallow man in Ghostbusters. Large and intimidating, but at the end of the day I'm just made of gooey sugar and creme. Party lasted until almost 9pm when the final stragglers made their way out. Exhausting day, but truly one that we will remember for ever.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anniversary

Let me first apologize, it's been far too long since my last post but I'm sure you'll forgive me. As most of you know life's been very busy the last few weeks all coming to a head with tomorrows baptism. I promise to pick up the slack after that. I did, however, feel the need to share with you our Anniversary adventure last night. Gina and I celebrated our 4th year - I know, crazy! Gina's godmother had given us gift certificates to the Melting Pot a while back, which (as a law student I love) came with a babysitting clause. We could only use them if she got to watch the girls. So we thought free money and a new experience (neither of us have been to this restaurant) sound like a good combo for our anniversary so we cashed them in. We opted to go early so if there were problems we could get back and help out before it was too long past their bed times, and we figured it would be empty at 5:30 on a Thursday. After last nights events Gina and I talked at lenght about our personality types when it comes to planning. We aren't much for plans. We like general directions and then just go with the flow after that. And it tends to work out. People who plan have a good time 99% of the time, because they stick to their schedules and plans. But people who don't have a GREAT time 50% of the time because they stumble into better situations then they could have ever planned. The other 50% are total disasters, but hey, you win some you lose some, right?! So we don't plan, thus we never made reservations for a restaurant we'd never been to. Thus we don't eat at said new restaurant because they are booked until after 7. Idea number 2 was Beni Hana's down the street. Not even a parking spot. Seriously, not a single one. We then tried another restaraunt down the street, but the valet only and the dozen exotic imports parked out front told me it was way out of our price range (remember we were originally working with gift cards here) so I said no, much to starving Gina's chagrin. As we sat on the non moving 405 pointed in the direction of home we laughed at the thought that we might end up with a Subway footlong meatball sandwich and a box of Chardonnay to split for the evening and the fact that such a scene would fit us perfectly. Fortunately, after we made the ill advised decision to transition on to the 55 (moving even less) a much more perfect idea hit me. Up a little further, West on the 22, exit at The City Drive, park in the North lot, walk towards the theater. There's our Mecca. The place that has and always will define us. The place we should have gone to in the beginning. Tu Tu Tango's. It's been a long while, but it's still home - and Clara the waitress still remembers us by name (we actually didn't see her at first so we sat outside and when she was walking by a window she noticed us and came out to say "hi" and ask about the girls, who were barely little sea monkeys the last time we came here). The girls got to bed fine with out us, we enjoyed some wine and brilliant food, and our adventure came to a wonderful close. The night truly embodying all that we are, especially the return home. The past four years have been wonderful, but what really excites me is the years that have yet to play out. I think the purpose of an anniversary is not just a celebration of the past accomplishments, it's a pep rally for the ones yet to come. And boy am I excited.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How do you know when to stay and when to go?

Out of fear of jinxing the situation, we've remained mum the past couple weeks but it seems official that we've finally transitioned to sleeping through the night (if you recall the evening of Queen, that was the start of something beautiful). So now, for the most part, the girls are going from 7:30pm to 5am, with a few peeps and whines here and there, but nothing that requires us to get up and rush to feed them or settle them down as they are able to sort things out themselves and go back to sleep. Well last night we hit a little bump that we've not encountered so far in this new era. Genevieve woke up crying at 11:30 - possibly because a friend of ours is in town staying with us and we were still up talking, which is not normally the case - but it was a little more than what she's typically done the past week or two so I buckled and I went in to settle her. Because of my actions Gina will blame the next 45 minutes on me. In my defense, most of the evening leading up to bed time she had acted like her tummy was hurting her - and she's not normally very whinny so I assume something really was bothering her. I don't have a problem letting a crabby kid cry for a bit, but I do have a problem letting her cry if she's genuinely not feeling well. No one likes to be alone in the dark when they are sick. However, after I rescued her, rocked her for a bit and settled her down she decided that she very much liked having the company and was not in the mood for me to leave. So crying became balling became screaming became finger pointing at Daddy. I tell you what, you do a kid a favor and this is how they repay you. So it brings me to the quandary of today's title: How do you know when to go in and rescue and when (and more importantly how long and how hard) to let them cry once you've established this new sleeping pattern? After the 45 minutes or so Gina gave her some water from a bottle and she settled down and went back to sleep - by know the once successful Queen CD was well into it's second time around and I'd tried rocking her and putting her back down 2 more times. So was this really my fault or would she have naturally gone through this sequence with out my involvement? It's a tough call. As I said I have no problem letting them cry when they're just being crabby for no reason, but if she's really in a bad way I want to be there for her, I want to reassure her that when she really does need me I will be there for her. Of course I am also really liking this sleep thing - as is Gina. Trust me. She was pissed at the thought that I've completely destroyed the last two week run of success. I guess this is just one of those things you never really know the right answer to. Like how do you know the mirror in the GAP isn't lying about the way those jeans look? How many jelly beans are in the jar? And why is it that Bjork was ever signed to a recording contract?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Joy to the World

After the girls were born our biggest concerns were health. Can they breath, is that jaundice, how bad is the cold, are they eating. Things related to their simple survival on this planet. Now, 4 days from the 8 month mark, the checklist has grown quite a bit, but not exclusivly in the health department. There are questions of are they smart for their age, are they social, are they to rough on the dog. You relax quite a bit on the bumps and bruises after the 20th face plant and focus more on these other, more difficult to measure concerns. My biggest concern after health is happiness. I take solace in the knowledge that my girls are so incredibly full of joy. I think that has such a direct effect on everything else and is too often over looked. A lot of people try and force joy by creating false situations and spoiling their children. They give them anything they want so that the child feels they are happy, they must be! They've got a happy meal, a go cart and a pony, what could be lacking? But I think true joy is at the same time easier and harder to obtain. It comes from the environment around them. Not they physical but the emotional. Is there happiness in the home? Is their laughter? Is there tension? These things bring out the joy, and I can see it in my girls. They aren't old enough yet to "want" anything. They need food and an occasional nap, other than that they're happier with the dogs toys then their own, and probably prefer to go with out cloths and jewelery. And despite the lack of "wants" they are so freakin' happy all the time. They laugh at us, they laugh at each other, they laugh at the cat, the dog, even the ceiling fan. If you are playing with one you can almost always look over and see the other watching you play and laughing right along with you. I don't know if all babies are this way, I'm limited in my few experiences. But this brings me joy. And I'm sure that becomes cyclical, my joy feeding theirs feeding mine. I hope this joy continues, because this is the one thing I truly wish on them in life. To be genuinaly happy for what ever amount of time God decides to give us on this rock. The rest of the needs and wants will follow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sushi



We're so trendy, we don't even wait for tables anymore. We just belly on up to the sushi bar. Genevieve made friends with the sushi chefs, Arianna made friends with her neighbor. All around a wonderful Friday night out. Who says kids limit you?! If anything they force you to go early and take advantage of happy hour! $3 rolls. Cha-Ching!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dad's don't know $h!t about earings

I found my kryptonite. My Achilles Heel. The weak spot in my armor. Earrings. Decorative items worn by women. They are my ruin. Allow me to explain. After Gina had left for class last night, we were in the process of finishing up our dinner. We made our way through avocado, sweet potato, bread and a little homemade yogurt with pears. Literally 2 bites away from completion Arianna gets a look on her face. Before I could ask "what's wrong" the child from the Exorcist showed up and a fire hose of avocado colored, homemade yogurt textured and sweet potato spotted discharge spewed from the mouth of my 7 month old. Three separate heaves in total, each more voluminous then the last. The floor was covered, my child was covered, I was covered. I sat for what seemed like minutes in total shock (Genevieve laughing in the background) until I snapped too. I unbuckled her from her high chair - no way to avoid plunging my hands into the pile to find the buckles, that was lovely - and rushed her to the sink. Karma followed in hot pursuit trying to clean the floor like it was mana from above. I got her shorts off, and was working on the shirt - now I can't tell you why but I was trying to avoid getting it in her hair. As Gina scolded me later, she needed a bath anyway after that why would you care if it's in her hair at this point?! I don't know. I'm a guy. We don't think, we do. 20,000 Nazi's over that hill? Charge! What's this button do? Push it! I won a hand of blackjack? Let it ride! So as I'm navigating the shirt over her head I feel tension, release and then hear the god awful sound of metal dropping. Arianna starts to wail, I get the shirt over her melon and. ... only one earring. A trace of blood where the other was. Oh. ... dear. ... god. Now I've never had my ears pierced. Never studied up on earrings. Wasn't even there when my girls got theirs done. I've only picked up small amounts of info, like you have to clean them and turn them twice a day. You can't leave them out cause the holes can close. They shouldn't be swallowed - stuff like that. But the details are missing. In the moment, I'm operating under the impression that they close up in like 30 seconds. I'm freaking out. I'm now holding a naked baby, covered in puke, on my hands and knees looking for a small gold flower earring with rainbow petals. Where's the security video footage of this. I find the earring next to the dog bowl, but the back is no where to be found- now I have visions of Karma scarfing her food and a backing. I'm sifting through dog food with my free hand, earring in my mouth trying not to swallow - that rule was important to remember. I can't find it, but I'm totally afraid of this hole closing up. I run to the couch, steralize my hands and the earring, go to push it through the hole and the back pops off. ... it was stuck to the back of her earlobe the whole freakin' time. So I get the back, sterilize it, get the earring through the hole, Arianna wipes her head to the side and the earring goes flying. Now I've got the back in my mouth, naked vomit baby in one arm, on my hands and knees trying to grab an earring from beneath the entertainment stand. Back and forth like this. Lose earring, find earring, drop back, find back. I must have resterilized everything a dozen times. The problem was that I didn't know you had to push really hard to get those things in. I'm afraid too much force and I'll ripe her ear off. I'd rather have a cool '90's baby with one earring then a Van Gogh baby. But, somehow, I finally snapped the damn thing in. Drenched in sweat, covered in vomit and Genevieve still sitting in her highchair, laughing away.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And then there were teeth

As if one big milestone this week weren't enough, the following day brings the discover of teeth. .. and that's plural for more than one reason. Not only did Arianna and Genevieve both cut a pearly white - Genevieve cut two! They went to bed on Monday night toothless, and Tuesday morning there they are, like magic. Everyone said it would work like that, but let's be honest, so far most of what everyone has said has pretty much fallen short. But this topic they were spot on. ... on. I told the cats to watch out. Not only are these children becoming mobile, they can now leave bite marks as well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Houston, we have lift-off

Arianna is officially crawling. She's been doing the army crawl for a few weeks, but she's quadrupedal, limbs moving independently crawling now. And the cat is rightfully terrified. Gina called me with the news yesterday but I finally got to see it for myself when they got home last night. Plopped her on the floor and she just kind of looked at me, then Fila strutted by and like a shot out of a canon she was off. ... cat couldn't believe her eyes. This display shows the vast personality differences in the girls too. Geneveive isn't really army crawling at this point - but not because she lacks the ability. Genevieve is the stronger of the two, she just isn't ready. See Arianna is the "leap before thinking" personality. She is constantly in motion and eventually she'll figure out something that makes sense. She started with flopping around, turned into spinning on her belly, progressed to army crawling and now she's mobile. She put the pieces together until she got something she liked. Genevieve is a very different bird. She thinks out her moves. She sits and she watches and she sees her sister rolling around and you can see the little wheels turning in her mind almost like "Ok, that doesn't look fun. There's got to be a better way!" So she digests it for a while. Now she's finally come to the determination that "moving is nice, but the floor is not. Mom and Dad seem to get around with out crawling so why don't I just do what they do?" Every time I try to put her down she straightens herself out to stand up. It's hard to get her to sit and if you lay her down she gets pissy so I let her stand and she holds on to my fingers and then starts to move her legs - it's like she just figures she'll skip the whole crawling thing and move straight to walking. So I have a "mover" and a "thinker" in my two kids. ... which is shaping up to be trouble. Because in the future I know that Genevieve will come up with some "brilliant" plan and Arianna will not hesitate to execute it. That spells trouble. But for the moment, the trouble is limited to dogs, cats and anything else that hangs out on the floor. I do, however, think that Genevieve might find inspiration to crawl when she suddenly sees her sister barreling toward her and she has no current mobility options. That'll get her going.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Genevieve "Greek Dancing"

video

Sometimes it takes a little Queen to put two princessess to bed

The last few weeks (pretty much since the festival season has started) Gina has fallen into a pattern of getting up to feed the girls around the midnight hour. The problem with this is that this doesn't then replace the 3 am feeding - it's in addition to. So now Gina is getting up twice a night for feeding, and I can assure you she was not happy about the arraignment. So last night, as she stormed toward their room muttering full force we decided instead to stop this madness cold turkey. I know, we've tried this before, and I wish we could say that this time we had more resolve to see it through but we've been pretty determined in the past too. Sometimes I feel like we're the children and we're throwing tantrums, stomping our feet with arms crossed screaming "noooooooooooo!" So we went for about 50 minutes, trying frozen binkies and repositioning. Finally, in desperation I suggested playing some music. We bought this CD player for them and we got all these great CDs - Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, even some Green Day and Queen that have been turned into lullabies with harps and xylophones. And as the Bohemian Rhapsody melodically floated over the early morning air the screaming slowly subsided. Another One Bites the Dust ironically took us into sleep and Under Pressure put the final touches on, sealing the deal. We crept back into bed, feeling both proud and dismayed. Pride in accomplishment, dismay that we didn't come to their rescue. Sometimes doing the best thing doesn't always feel the best.