Where did the Time Go?

October 3, 2003 – 11:06 am by Aaron

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted. I have thought of many things I’d like to write about, but the idea of sitting down and typing it all out just exhausts me sometimes. I have some excuses, want to hear ‘em? Good. First, I came back to work in the middle of August, part time at first, but now full time again. I’m also sharing my time with another branch who lost a position (I work for the State of CA – big budget problems.) So I work half my day at my regular desk and half my day at “my other” desk. My other desk is much busier and it’s all new to me, so there’s a pretty steep learning curve. When I get home I’m tired and I want to spend time with Liam. After he goes to bed, I try to get some learning done at sessions.edu, where I”m enrolled in the Master’s Certification program for graphic and web design.

So, sadly, the ideas I have that I want to write about just keep circling around in my head. Lots of stuff happening to write about, too: Liam finally took some steps, though he’s not walking yet; we spent 3 days in Monterey; Liam is making all kinds of new sounds; we found he has some allergies; my in-laws bought a yacht on the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta. See, all the things I have to write about are overwhelming me. Maybe if I just wrote about it, rather than whining about it, we’d all be much happier.

more, more, more, moremoremoremore

August 26, 2003 – 1:18 pm by Aaron

The boy is an eating machine. I honestly can’t remember the last time he was actually full and refused food. Usually his plate just gets empty and we stop feeding him. We’re teaching him baby sign language using a program we found at “kindersigns”:http://www.kindersigns.com/index1.html. The first sign he learned, and so far pretty much the only, was the sign for “more.” To make the sign you put your thumb and fingers together like your pinching something and then you tap the finger-tips of each hand against the other. Once Liam figured out the association between the sign for more and him getting food, there was no stopping him.

He makes the sign and he says “buh” (with the ‘u’ sounding like “put”). Now anytime he sees food, smells food, hears food being prepared, or thinks about food he is immediately saying “buh” and putting his fingers together. A few days ago, I walked into the dining room holding a fork, Liam saw the fork and started signing and saying “buh, buh.” It’s really almost shocking how much the child eats. He went to a cousin’s birthday party this past weekend and my mother-in-law was surprised that he ate and ate and ate the entire time he was there: if he didn’t have food in his mouth he was signing and saying “buh,” or he was leaning toward food with his mouth wide open. When we were camping a couple of weekends ago, for breakfast he ate one serving of oatmeal, one whole banana, and 2 graham crackers. He was still asking for more but we were going out fishing so we just stopped feeding him.

For awhile I wasn’t sure where all the food was going. His mom will tell you that it is filling his diapers to overflowing. Then I decided to weigh him. Wow! At his 12 month appointment he weighed right around 21 pounds. That was two months ago. Now he weighs 26 pounds. I think it’s mostly in his chunky legs, but he’s a very solid little guy. Hard to believe he was so skinny when he was born. I think he’s making up for it now.

On an unrelated note, he got his second haircut today. He may now only weigh 25 pounds.

Life Saving Data Recovery with PhotoRescue

August 21, 2003 – 2:53 pm by Aaron

We went camping last weekend and as usual we took pictures with our digital camera. After we got home I took the SmartMedia card out of the camera (a Fuji FinePix 2400) and looked at the pictures using the Simpletec card reader. The next morning Jen asked me what had become of the pictures. I told her they were still on the card and that I had left it in the card reader. She said they weren’t there. When I got home I discovered she was right, the pictures had disappeared. Even the default folders that the camera itself creates on the card were gone. Knowing that when files are “deleted” they aren’t necessarily gone forever, I went to my good friend google to find advice on how to retrieve the lost photos. What I discovered was even better.

I knew that there was software and services that would recover lost data, but I also knew that they are fairly expensive. Then, via my google search, I came across “PhotoRescue”:http://www.datarescue.com/photorescue/index.htm and I was saved. I downloaded the trial version which will analyze your card and tell you if the photos are recoverable – to do the actual recovery you need the full registered version. But get this, the registered version is only $29!. I promptly registered the software and 5 minutes later all my lost pictures had been restored.

If you use a digital camera, don’t be without this utility.

Liam’s First Birthday

July 27, 2003 – 5:55 pm by Aaron

Liam turned one last Friday. The most exciting thing for me was that he now gets to ride facing forward in his car seat. I was thinking he would be much happier being able to see us as we drove. Not the case. His first ride facing forward he had absolutely no expression. I turned around and smiled at him and asked him if he thought it was cool being able to see mommy and daddy rather than the sky out the rear window. He just stared at me. No smile, nothing. I looked back again a bit later and he was asleep. I think it might be dangerous having him facing forward, I keep wanting to turn around to look at him.

From the time we woke up Friday morning I was trying to teach Liam to hold up his index finger when I would ask him “How old are you?” He never quite got it though. I figure by the time he’s about two he’ll have it down pat.

He had a well baby appointment on his birthday. It was kind of a lame birthday because he got three shots. It’s hard to stand and watch when your child gets stuck with a needle and starts screaming. You’re torn between wanting to comfort your child and sock the nurse in the nose. Seriously though, I don’t think the nurse enjoyed it any more than we did. She was very nice and very apologetic, and I’m almost certain that Liam forgave her before we left, so I did too.

His birthday was Friday but we had a party for him in the park on Saturday. The party theme was “Veggie Tales”:http://www.bigidea.com/, at least that was the plan. Jen had a really cool idea of making a Bob the Tomato round cake and cupcakes with green frosting that would look like the French Peas. Well, in case you’re not a culinary expert, it turns out that it’s really quite difficult to make frosting a very dark color using food coloring. It takes about a gallon of red food color to get frosting the color of Bob the Tomato and when you use that much food coloring it changes the consistency of the frosting. So we had a big pink cake. Until Jen’s mom went to the supermarket and got some kind of cake spray paint. No, it’s real. It’s some kind of color spray that you spray on cakes. So we had a nice tomato-red cake that looked very much like Bob the Tomato. That brings up a whole different issue of kids eating cakes that look like their heroes. Bob was a carrot cake and all in all he tasted pretty darn good. (Sorry Bob)

Planning a birthday for a one year old is a fairly stressful ordeal. The only experience I can compare it to is planning a wedding. You have to think of a place and a time. If you do it outside you have to be very conscious of the weather. You have to buy and send invitations and hope that people will actually RSVP. You have to get table cloths and napkins and silverware and drinks and cake and ice cream. You’ll need chairs and tables, balloons and ribbons. You’ll make lists and lose them. You’ll have boxes and bags full of stuff you never would think you would need for a child’s birthday party. It is really and truly absolutely insane. And after all that planning, all that stress, the argument in front of a hundred people at the church rummage sale, after all that the child sleeps through the first half of his own party. On some blankets, under a tree, the child did not stir for over an hour. And now our already overcrowded house has a dozen more toys to contain.

To be honest, I’m not sure who the party is for. Liam not only slept through most of it, the part he was awake for he was grumpy and won’t remember when he grows up. I don’t know if the wife and I enjoyed it or not. I know we were running around even during the party and it was at least a hundred degrees Saturday. I brought the video camera and never got a chance to even get it out. I’m pretty sure Jen took some pictures with the digital camera. At least I hope she did. So was the party for the guests? I’m sure they would have been just as happy at home basking in the air-conditioning. For the 45 minutes I actually got to sit down, it was a nice gathering. Maybe we do it more because it’s tradition. Some day we can look back and laugh at all that went wrong. Not today, probably not tomorrow, but some day.

Standing Tall

July 24, 2003 – 4:58 pm by Aaron

Liam started standing up last week. He’s been pulling up to things for a long time before he even started to crawl. What he did the other day was stand up while holding on to me (I was lying on my back in bed) and then suddenly he let go. He stood for about one second and then fell on his bottom. When I cheered and told him how good he did, I think I may have scared him a bit. He’s a trooper though and he got right back up.

Now what happens is that he will stand up and when he wobbles and falls we laugh and cheer and praise him and he thinks we’re laughing at the fall so he gets back up and immediately just throws himself down again and waits for us to cheer. So far I think the longest he has stayed up has been about 10 or 12 seconds.

He is also doing a lot of ‘cruising’ from furniture to other furniture or people or whatever is around that will support him. He’s having a great time and we’re really enjoying his curious nature and his boundless energy.

He’s going to start walking soon, and I think we’re going to be in trouble.

First Haircut

July 16, 2003 – 4:41 pm by Aaron

Liam got his first haircut a couple of weeks ago. It’s amazing to look at pictures of before and after and compare how different he looks. He was really starting to look like quite the little ragamuffin. Now he looks like a little boy, practically all growed up. It’s a little sad. But he’s so darn cute, the sadness never lasts long.

I took along the old video camera figuring I’d get some good footage of him screaming and having a good old fashioned fit. Didn’t happen. He just sat there. The ‘stylist’ gave him a little basket of toys to play with and he amused himself, and us, by dropping them one by one to the floor and watching where they rolled to or landed. After the first basket was empty, she fetched him another and he joyfully proceeded to do the same thing. When we apologized for the mess he was making, she said she didn’t care if he emptied 10 boxes of toys if he was sitting so still the whole time. Turned out to be one of the most boring home videos ever.

For $25 we got the haircut, a nice little certificate telling his name and the date, a before picture, an after picture, and a small lock of his hair. I thought that was pretty pricey until the wife got her hair cut and highlighted last week and it cost $70. I like my nice dependable flat-top. $10 a pop, you just can’t beat it.

High Five

July 15, 2003 – 3:17 pm by Aaron

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything, I get exhausted just considering it. That’s one reason it’s been a month and a half since I posted. At first it was because I was recovering from surgery, but then the time between posts became so huge, and the belief that I had to catch everyone up on everything that had happened since my last post became so intimidating, I did the writer’s equivalent of running and burying my head in the sand – I pretended this journal didn’t exist. Well, I’m done with that. I’m recovering very nicely from my back surgery so I can tolerate sitting in this chair long enough to bang out and entry every now and again. This chair is not good for my back, though, so I am in the market for a good, ergonomic computer chair.

Liam has been changing so much I don’t even know where to start. The most exciting thing is that he finally started crawling. I don’t remember the exact date, but I do know it was a Tuesday. He was lying on his tummy crying because no one was picking him up. I kept coaxing him to come to me and he eventually took a couple of tentative “steps.” He cried through the entire ordeal. He would take a couple of those “steps” and then fall on his tummy and cry. For the first couple of weeks of his new mobility his only destination was myself or his mom – he didn’t have any interest in crawling to his toys or exploring the house. All that has changed. Now he’s everywhere. It’s when you don’t hear any noises that you start to wonder what he’s into. His newest nickname (he has dozens) is Mr. Mischievous. Jen came into the living room one day to find him with her purse emptied, her wallet open, and her cards and money strewn about.

Liam gives “smoochies” instead of kisses. He just started responding to high fives a week or so ago. I say, “High five, buddy!” and put my hand up. Sometimes he touches my hand with an index finger, sometimes he actually slaps at my hand. He is a blast.

I never imagined having a child would be so amusing and fun. I love seeing him find something for the first time. The he looks at it, tentatively touches it, and then eventually feels it with his mouth. He was licking the sliding glass door yesterday. I guess it’s time to start making sure things are clean.

Back from Surgery

May 29, 2003 – 9:36 am by Aaron

I finally had my back surgery on May 7, and came home May 12. I still haven’t been terribly motivated to use the PC much. I’m in bed a lot of the time and trying to use the laptop is somewhat complicated and uncomfortable. I’m not yet able to sit long enough to use the desktop, plus it’s difficult to get into a chair. My surgery included three incisions: one across my abdomen where they went in to remove the bad disk, on in my him where they did a bone graft, and one (two small ones actually) in my lower back where they went in to add the bone screws to imobilize my spine to allow the fusion to fuse. Fun stuff. Recovery period is six to eight weeks, during which time I’ll be doing aqua therapy, physical therapy and walking up to five miles every day. I’ll probably be in the best shape I’ve ever been once it’s all finished.

Found out this past Saturday that I have pneumonia and I haven’t been terribly motivated to even turn on the pc. I’m feeling much better now, though, so I’ll try to start posting more regularly.

Liam has changed a lot since I posted last, I’ll need to write up a post all about him soon.

If You’re Happy and You Know it

April 30, 2003 – 11:54 pm by Aaron

Liam has started clapping his hands recently. It’s so funny because he gets a big smile on his face when he does it, like he’s really happy about something. When he does something and I clap and cheer at him, he will just stare at my hands as I clap and then he will do it too.

He had his first experience with snow a couple of weekends ago when we went to Markleevile, which is near Lake Tahoe. I had him outside while it was snowing and his hood came off of his head and the flakes were landing on him and melting and he was just kind of looking around and smiling. I wonder if the sensation of the landing snowflakes was interesting to him. I picked up a handful of snow and held it for him to touch it. He tentatively put a finger on it and then pulled it back and wasn’t too interested in having anything more to do with it. I tried to get him to look up into the sky to see all the falling flakes, but when I would point he would just stare at my finger. We got some pretty good pictures of the snow. As soon as I get them resized I’ll post them in the “Photo Gallery”:http://www.aaronjen.org/gallery/

Ear Infection

April 24, 2003 – 4:32 pm by Aaron

Finally heard back from the wife. Liam has an ear infection and he’s back on the Amoxicillin. Poor little guy. Then again, when I heard him in the background on the telephone, he sounded like he was having a grand old time. At what age do kids start faking sickness? If he’s anything like his mom, he’ll be a sneaky, devious boy who will get away with everything because of his cuteness.