Sweet Potato Face

Over the last few days, little Chloe has added quite a bit to her repertoire: small scoots using her feet to inch towards toys; assuming the crawling position when you lift her chest off of the floor; her first upper tooth; repeated rolling over to move across the floor (she’s fast!); but most significantly, eating baby food from a spoon.

Sweet Potato Face

We started trying to get her to eat cereal back in November and she would have none of it. Spit it out every time. A few weeks later we tried some apple sauce which went marginally better. Earlier this month we actually bought baby food for the first time. We got a little bit of every fruit and vegetable that they had and started trying them. Initially, she wasn’t sure what to do but last week she started acting more interested and began getting the whole swallowing thing down.

So far, she seems to like apples, peas, bananas (temporarily out of the rotation due to constipation issues) and especially green beans and sweet potatoes. As you can see from the photo, not all of the food makes it into her mouth and we usually find ourselves wiping her face again hours later when we discover a new patch of something under her nose. We bought a strap-on high chair today to make the feedings easier for her. It has been pretty fun watching her grow and develop in this area. I’m glad she seems to like all of the foods we’ve tried so far.¬†And I have to say that this daddy is very proud of his little food-tasting girl.

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Chloe update

This week it seems like our little girl is learning something new every day. We are practicing some pre-crawling activities for a few minutes each day and although she gets frustrated a lot, we can tell that she is learning.

We have also started putting her in her Bumbo chair (which she previously couldn’t sit in) and feeding her some baby food and some sweet potato puffs for a bit each day. It seems like she is starting to get swallowing down pretty well and even took a try at a sippy cup today. Who knows what’s next?! She also started grabbing the puffs today and tried to get them in her mouth. She averaged about one in five, but a couple got there. The rest either ended up on the floor or stuck to her sleeve, hand or face. It was pretty funny, but it was also one of those proud father moments. I was really excited for her.

As I speak, she is asleep in her crib for her early afternoon nap. It took about 15 minutes, but she put herself to sleep. So J is laying down for a bit as well. If this takes, it could usher in a whole new era of restedness for J.

Oh, and it is snowing again. ūüôā

Changing of the guard

12" PowerBook G4

This week was a momentous one for me computer-wise. ¬†After nearly four years, I’ve retired my venerable 12″ PowerBook G4. ¬†During its term of service it saw two full operating system releases and at least that many releases of MS Office. ¬†It was the most rugged laptop I’ve ever owned and never failed to perform for me. ¬†I bought it almost a year after that model came out, so the technology is almost five years old. ¬†And yet, it took that long for it to feel like it was lagging behind or running slow. ¬†I was actually sentimental about saying good-bye to it. ¬†None of my Macs have ever had serious problems, but this one was the most problem-free of the seven (make that eight) so far. ¬†It is currently listed on eBay and I hope it goes to a good home.

13" Aluminum MacBook

Its replacement is a 13″ aluminum unibody MacBook. ¬†So far, I’m really enjoying it. ¬†Upgrades like a fast, dual-core Intel processor, 2 Gigs of RAM, an iSight camera, superdrive, a super-bright LED widescreen display and a multi-touch trackpad are all really nice. ¬†The unibody construction gives it a very solid feel even though it seems lighter than the old 12″ PB. ¬†I’m sure I’ll miss the firewire port at some point, but I haven’t yet. ¬†And I’m a little miffed that Apple won’t let the non-Pro MacBooks boot in 64-bit mode in Snow Leopard, but that’s just the nerd in me talking. ¬†Overall, I’m very pleased with the new computer. ¬†Still, I’m going to miss old faithful. ¬†May it bring someone else many more years of productive use.

Glasses (part 2)

This is a continuation of my last post, so if you haven’t read that one yet, you might want to start there. ūüôā

So a couple of weeks after getting my new glasses I started to notice a low-level anger in my heart. I was getting snappy with J more than normal and was just generally grumpy. After a few days of reflecting on it, I realized that I was mad that no one had noticed that I had gotten new glasses. My first thought was, “well that seems sort of petty, doesn’t it?”

So I sat with that idea for a few days and came to a deeper realization. The reason I was mad and upset was that I am not around any group of people regularly enough for them to notice that I had new glasses. In the past, my work has been a part of a team of people that I spent time around almost daily. It was the kind environment that felt like extended family.

But my current work has me largely working alone in my office either reading or writing on the computer. I know that when class teaching starts that will change some, but it still feels like I’m pretty alone in my work. For those of you who know me, you might think, “hey, he is an introvert so why is working alone such a problem?” Well, I’ve known for some time that I’m more of a “social introvert”. I may get refreshment from solitude, but I need a certain amount of people in my life to feel whole.

Over the summer I took the Strengths Finder test and discovered that my number one strength is called Connectivity. In a nutshell it means that more than anything I want to do work that I really believe in with people that I really like. That, as they say, might explain a few things. I know that this year of work is only a “season” and won’t last forever. But it does make me wonder how long I can do what I’m doing if it doesn’t involve other people on a regular basis.

In the mean time, I realize that I need to take the initiative to have people in my life more often. So if I ask you to have lunch with me on a regular basis, don’t be too surprised.

Glasses (part 1)

tommy-hilfiger-3219-eyeglasses-BLU

Glasses. I’ve worn them since¬†I was nine years old, so I’ve had a number of pairs over the year. I really like getting new glasses. It only happens every couple of years, so it can be pretty exciting. But this time, it was a little more disappointing than usual. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new ones (see picture), but there was a lot of unexpected emotional baggage that came with this pair.

To start with, I discovered that this time I needed to move to “progressive lenses”, which is 21st century speak for bi-focals. Up to this point, living life as¬†a man in his 40s hasn’t seemed very different than it was in my 30s. But the shift to progressive lenses was one of those subtle reminders that I’m slowly getting older and my body isn’t always going to function like it did in my 20s.

The other issue that hit me was the price of the silly things. In the past, I’ve expected to pay around $400 for a pair of glasses. My vision is bad enough that I need the high-tech lenses which are much thinner than traditional ones, otherwise they would just fall off my face from the weight. So the “two pair for $99 in an hour or less” option has never been available to me.

But this time, I was hit with the extra manufacturing cost of progressive lenses. Combined with the high-index material, scratch coating (because if I’m paying this much, I don’t want them to scratch) and the anti-glare coating (I work with people so it helps to have them be able to see my eyes) I was looking at $650 just for the lenses. Add in frames, fees and taxes and now I’m up over $800!¬†$800! That’s a good used Stratocaster or Telecaster. That’s only a little less than a brand new MacBook Pro. That’s real money, folks. Ouch!

I know I shouldn’t complain. It’s mostly just the shock of it. Of course my vision is more important to me than things. And I did receive an offer from a friend for half off the frames, but I would have had to drive to Topeka for it to work (1 hour away). I guess it is just a little disappointing that I’ll have to pay so much to compensate for my deteriorating body from now on. Maybe this is part of the “groaning inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”¬†(Rom 8:23)

In that case, I guess I’m glad that I know the end of the story. Still, it makes me long for my real home and a day when my corruptible body will put on the incorruptible and no longer need glasses (and maybe even get hair?).

Baby milestone

For the last few weeks we’ve watched Chloe attempt to roll over from her stomach to her back with only occasional success. Yesterday she did it twice in a row but couldn’t muster up a third time so I could capture it on video. Today, she had five roll-overs in her and I caught one on video. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by_3M89xLec&feature=youtube_gdata

New address and life update

Welcome to the relaunched version of my blog. It’s been a while since I last wrote but a lot has happened in that time span.

Me and Chloe

The most significant thing of course is that I became a father to a wonderful little girl named Chloe. J gave birth in June (Father’s Day to be exact) and life has been very different for us ever since. We love our little¬†girl more than we imagined was possible. But parenting may be the most difficult thing we’ve ever undertaken.

I’m sure that all the other parents reading this will think I’m just whining, but I think J and I have a situation that is exceptional among our friends and peers. Both of us were single for many years before we got married. I specifically was 38 at the time. That’s a lot of years spent only having to think about yourself and it afforded a lot of freedom. Adjusting to marriage didn’t seem as difficult to us as we thought it would. In many ways, learning to live with another person who is totally capable of taking care of their self was fairly easy. After so many years of singleness, we had each had to work through issues of self-worth and identity apart from a relationship to another person. So we felt like fairly whole people when we married and weren’t looking for the other person to meet some serious need.

But a baby is an entirely different story. She needs us to meet needs she has that sometimes we aren’t even aware of. And it can be exhausting – both physically and emotionally. This week Chloe has been extra grumpy (possibly a three-month growth spurt a little early) and has even had her first few “meltdowns” (periods of serious crying). Up until now, she has been a really easy baby with minimal fussiness. But the last two days have been really different. It has been especially stressful on J. She has been completely drained emotionally and physically by the end of the day. I’ve never seen her so stressed. The crying is like fingernails on a chalkboard to her and pushes her buttons faster than anything I’ve ever seen.

As a work-at-home dad, I’m glad I can be here to help out, but it ends up draining me too. And J feels terrible that helping her takes me away from work at times – despite my assurances that I don’t mind helping. The tiredness level isn’t quite to the point of where it was the first few weeks home from the hospital, but I haven’t been this tired in a while. There have been situations in the last few days where I’ve been very aware that, at that moment, I’ve been living very much like Jesus. And there have been other situations where I’ve been aware that I’ve been a complete…well, let’s just say not very much like Jesus. I so want to meet Jesus in these challenging moments and help our little family trust Him with our circumstances. But often I feel a little over my head. If you are the type that is inclined towards praying, we would appreciate it. Maybe something along the Psalm 23 lines.