Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chicago, 2009

Christian and I had the great fortune of spending the past weekend in Chicago. Mom took care of La Luz and James, Loki checked in at the local doggy daycare, and Christian and I were on our own for the first time in a long time.

The weekend was incredible. I love what I got to see of Chicago - a Cubs game, the architecture tour on the river, strolls through random gardens and parks, a lovely run ending on a bridge with a perfect view of Soldier Field, drinks in the lobby of The Palmer House, dinner at Avec - but I know I barely scratched the surface. I had no idea that Chicago looks like this:

It really does...huge buildings and water and large swaths of green space. It is something.

And then there are all sorts of things like this:

just there for the public to enjoy.

Here I am at Wrigley:

and at Avec with Josh:

Baker and Christian, waiting to be seated, indulging my desire to eat at Avec at whatever cost:

I can't wait to plan my next visit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pulverized Peas Please

James has two teeth coming in. The bottom right started first about two weeks ago and the bottom left followed about a week later. He is seven months, almost eight months, which is a full four months later than La Luz got her first tooth, but that was back in the day when I drank milk produced from grain fed, hormone-filled cows.

The new teeth are just barely poking through the skin but I think the really painful part is over. Unfortunately, they are not quite visible enough for me to get a picture of his teethy grin, something we have been treated to more often lately now that the teething pain seems to have subsided and his respiratory issues have improved. He has been so obliging lately that Christian has managed to train him to waive and say "bye-bye" and "baba" for bottle (I think he also said 'dada' but I don't believe it). I say trained because I don't think he has any clue what he is saying or any inkling of the context. He is mimicking, but you have to start somewhere.

With new teeth comes the joy of new foods. James is not yet particularly discriminating when it comes to what he likes to put in his mouth. Here he is thinking about what to eat (attack) next:

Attempting to take a bite of Sam...golden retrievers are the most kid-friendly dogs:

Eating Margot's watch:

I am telling you, nothing is safe as long as it is somewhat within this guy's reach.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Can You Feel The Excitement

La Luz's first day of school:

Wow. Heartbreaking and wonderful all at once.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eyes Glued

We are in the middle of this right now:

and I just cannot get enough of it. I am as addicted to it as I was to Long Way Around and hope that the rumors are true about a third motorcycle trek through South America. It is not just that it satisfies, to some extent, my wanderlust or that Ewan McGregor is incredibly charming. There is something about the production quality, the whole package, that is really quite captivating. I have recommended it to everyone I know. Sometimes people listen and they are always so happily surprised.

So check it out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Home Improvements, August 2009

Over the past two weeks somewhere in between James' first ear infection and La Luz's first overnight stay in the hospital for severe dehydration and what was later determined to be (probably) an acute virus, we transformed this:

into this:

It isn't anything particularly fancy but at least I am not scared to go in there to check email anymore. It is not totally complete but it is getting there. The flooring is made by Flor and I love it. It was totally easy to install, super cheap and good quality.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

James, 7 Months

James is now seven months old and his development over the last month culminated in one of the most challenging weekends of my life as a mom. 6 month shots coupled with teething and being curious but also incredibly lazy resulted in long nights for me and very little satisfaction for James.

At almost 20 lbs and 27 inches it is starting to become impossible for me to carry James in my arms and bounce him up and down when he is fussy. It is also increasingly more difficult because he grabs at everything within his reach - picture frame, sure; lit candle, don't mind if I do; full glass of ice water, who am I to say no. When I tell people to be careful, that he will grab whatever object is in front of them, they are cautious but don't really understand what I am talking about until minutes later when James is proudly chewing on a chunk of about 100 pieces of hair pulled straight from someone's head.

After hectic and incredibly active days I always looked forward to James' evening baths. The routine was always so calm and relaxing for both of us, until now. I have decided that I might as well wear a swimming suit to bathe him and that it would not be a bad idea if I came up with some system of tethers and pulleys to secure him in place in a harness and dangle him over the tub in order to make bath time more manageable. James spends most of his bath trying to eat the rag, drink the water, splash, climb out of the tub, pull me into the tub and then, somehow, pull himself to the faucet to do god only knows what. That said, if I let him splash and drink the water and eat the soap and generally cause a huge commotion, he is all smiles and usually that makes it okay.

Maybe this is what everyone said about baby boys, about how it is such an incredible mix of physical exhaustion and pure love. No doubt there is an amazing amount of both.

Like most things this weekend, capturing the 7 month picture was a challenge. I had to call in reinforcements and never could get quite what I had in mind. The pictures speak for themselves and, I suppose, probably give you a sense of how I feel at the end of the day:

Monday, August 03, 2009

New Favorite Toy

James is fascinated by his feet. Fascinated. It started about a month ago and has now turned into a borderline obsession. Babies do weird things and James is no exception. Sure, the foot in mouth compulsion is a bit odd, but it pales in comparison to his most recent development, incessant pelvic thrusts for no particular reason. It is getting to the point where I second guess a decision to take him out in public.

These are pictures from last weekend at the beach. He is enjoying the somewhat less odd compulsion of eating his feet. These photos were taken on Sunday afternoon...the sunlight was just perfect. I love portraits and cannot wait to get a wider angle lens one day so that I can enjoy a greater depth of field when I am taking pictures of people.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sand Between My Toes

We had the great fortune of spending the past few days at the beach. As far as I am concerned, summer just isn't summer unless you have had your hair matted to your head with sticky, salty, sea water and have fallen asleep with the warm, beachy sun on your face. It happened to me and I think summer now feels complete. I hope I am still finding stray sand grains in my flip flops and in the pages of my book for the next few weeks so that I am reminded of the sound of the waves and the feeling that I had about how sweet life is.

I went to the beach all the time as a kid, at least it seems like I did. What stands out for me among all of those beach vacations is one thing (save a few memories triggered by old photographs). I remember, more than anything, my dad holding me in the waves while we searched for dolphins. He always called them porpoises and he would always ask me if I saw them. I never did but I always said that I did, figuring that it would make him happy (though now that seems so silly to me). It always felt like we were miles away from the shore, so far away I couldn't imagine having to get back on my own and, even though the waves were huge and were crashing down around us, I always felt safe, as if in the hands of Poseidon himself. I was reminded of that today as I held La Luz against the waves and the undertow, struggling to secure all thirty pounds of her with all of my might. I will have sore muscles tomorrow, but I bet she felt untouchable and I know she will remember it.