Archive for the 'news' Category

Gather Around the Christmas Cactus

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Max spent his first Xmas holiday in Tucson, Arizona, with much of Amalia’s family.  The trip here was fine — another uneventful flight, with Max largely cooperating the entire time — and the weather is what you’d expect of Arizona in the winter:  roughly 60 degrees F.  A nice break from the Zhivago-esque landscape we left behind back in Seattle.

Technically, Max had some gifts at the house in Seattle, shipped to us from various relatives, that we let him dig into before our departure.  He hasn’t exactly figured out the “unwrapping” thing yet.  Amalia could sometimes convince him to tear away sheets of wrapping paper, but then he’d just try to stick the paper in his mouth, or start gumming the box.

This type of behavior didn’t change much in Arizona.  He got to meet some new relatives, re-meet some old ones, and take part in lots of gregarious festivities.

I didn’t take many photos myself, and of those I took, only a few were salvageable, so please bear with me.  Amalia’s brother, Matt, took some better photos that he sent us on CD-R, which I’ll try to put on the photo gallery when I get time.

All in all, it was a fun event with no major injuries, Max made lots of friends, and his feet almost never touched the ground in over two days.

Seven Months of Goofiness

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

A super-quick update:  Max is seven months old today.

I last wrote a couple of days ago, so there isn’t much news since then.  Max still seems really happy, and he’s now eating puréed food as a regular part of his day.  He’s still not sleeping through the night — ever since following the advice of the cursed pediatrician, actually — but it’s good having something to look forward to.

And there’s still snow everywhere, hopefully not too much that we won’t be able to leave for the family holiday trip in a couple of days.

Snow, Joy, Snow, Fun, Snow, Cabin Fever, Snow, Blood, Cannibalism, Death, Snow …

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

The snow has been coming down quite steadily now, in what has become a most un-Seattle-like experience.

It started on Wednesday, with the threat of snow.  Literally, this city has such a freak-out reflex when it comes to snow, the Seattle School District closed their schools on Wednesday morning, because of the elevated possibility that it might snow in the afternoon.  “Run for your lives, snow might fall from the sky today!”

It didn’t snow.  They looked like dorks.

It did start falling during that night, and there was a few inches on the ground the next morning.  Of course, schools closed.  Even Amalia’s big conference was canceled.  (A conference with several hundred people, fully catered, with an evening reception.  Canceled only 45 minutes before it was scheduled to start.)  My workplace — a research non-profit that takes pride in making people come in to work on days when you might need to rent a sled dog — threw in the towel at around noon, closing the center to everyone but essential personnel (of which I’m not, since I don’t keep specimen freezers running or research animals alive).

Not much more snow arrived by Friday, but my workplace decided to close anyway.  Wusses.

The temperature stayed sub-freezing, so the minor streets were icy.  In particular, the hill outside our house was a problem to more than a few motorists.  As such, we stayed in most of the day.  It must be said, this was influenced by the fact that our Honda wouldn’t start, thanks to the cold.

Max, that goofball, was completely oblivious to the goings-on outside.  He only noticed that we were around a lot more than usual, and was a big happy goofball the entire time, just bubbling and overflowing and visibly oscillating with positive energy.

The snow really decided to kick in on Saturday evening, starting at around 6pm.  We stocked up on food and ammo.  It kept snowing, all through the night, allegedly eight inches worth.  And it kept snowing through the day.

We took advantage of it, to see if Max might find some interest in the stuff.  Max’s initial introduction to snow had been underwhelming, but now there was more of it, and maybe his mood had changed.

Max showed more interest this time around.  We only pasted him in the face with an iceball once, and he and his mom performed some enjoyable cohesion experiments.

So Max seems to enjoy the snow.  He seems to be enjoying the entire experience, actually … the weather, the close company, the harrowing confinement … and now it is Sunday night, and while the precipitation has ceased as I write this — for now — there is the threat of more, and my workplace has already declared closure for Monday.

While Max is definitely faring well, and is showing no signs of a fraying sanity, I can’t say that about the rest of us.

Max’s First Snow

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

There was a bulk delivery of snow last night, starting just before we slept.  It was what Seattle calls a blizzard, but what Eastern Washington refers to as a light dusting, and what Norway regards as springtime.  So we all awoke to a few inches of light, fluffy snow on the ground.  With global warming threatening to eliminate snow from our lives at any moment, we felt that it was imperative to expose Max to the stuff as the soonest opportunity.

I can’t say that Max seemed very impressed, or even interested.  We let him play with it, we pelted him a few times with well-packed snowballs, and ignoring the advice of my Boy Scout Handbook, we even let him eat some.  Behold, his abyssal interest level:

It didn’t seem to be a big hit.  In fact, he seems to express more interest in packaging materials.  Undaunted, we decided to go straight for the excitement:  Max’s first sledding experience, using a deep-dish pizza pan as his vehicle.  He traveled — in the company of his mom — about fifteen feet over four seconds, but alas, it didn’t seem to faze him.

So anyway.  With his apparent lack of interest in snow, maybe he won’t mind global warming after all.

Under Construction

Monday, December 8th, 2008

You might be wondering why there’s a photo of a gutted room on Max’s blog.  The reason is that this room — that desk in particular — is where my computer used to reside.  And this room is currently under renovation, so we are experiencing a dearth of computing resources at Chez Magaret.

What does this mean to you, the loyal Maxwatcher?  This means that updates to the photo gallery likely won’t be coming until later, although I will still try to update the blog when circumstances allow, with photos.  Especially fun photos like this one:

Granted, this is assuming that the remodel goes according to schedule, which should have the computer back in action before the end of the year.  If that’s not the case, we may have to improvize.

Still, Max is doing well.  No news for now, but it will come as we find the time.

Blink, and he’s different

Monday, December 1st, 2008

This past few days, it has been a time of rapid metamorphosis.

First, Max ripped through the walls of his leathery cocoon with his sharp, clawed forelimbs, and now he’s been feasting upon solid food.

Seriously, we’ve attempted several different types of non-formula-based solid-esque food — including sweet potato, mashed potato (even with butter), banana mush, and pureed grasshoppers — but only just now have we found something that he appears to enjoy:  cream of rice cereal, formulated especially for infants.  He can’t get enough of it, and just goes to town.

What else has been going on?  In this short period of time, Max has also been:

  1. Babbling non-stop; I mean, literally, the guy just won’t shut up, he’ll sputter out these polysyllabic ramblings that just keep going on and on and on and on, and he just keeps on going, completely utterly non-stop, and he’s taking it so seriously, blah blah blah, as if he’s lecturing quantum physics to a bunch of rabbits, and seriously, I really mean it, he just won’t shut up, he just keeps going on and on and on …
  2. Pulling himself up into a standing position; that is, without assistance — although he still needs help keeping his balance.
  3. Sitting up by himself.  This is now his favorite hobby.  Forget lying on his back.  And come on, lying on his stomach?  As if.  That’s so November.

What’s next?  Time will tell!

Turkey Day in Cowtown

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

It’s official:  Max endured his first road trip of any significant length.  The three of us braved the fog to make the 250 miles across the state, to Pullman, to spend Thanksgiving with Max’s paternal grandmother.

The trip over was not without difficulty.  The normally five-hour trip lasted in excess of seven hours, mostly because Max had frequent moments of discomfort and sleeplessness that required stops at whatever roadside stop was convenient.  Burger King, convenience stores, Mexican restaurants, whatever was open.

After the arrival everything went great.  Max acclimated to Pullman’s stieflingly dry air and Antarctic temperatures just fine, and he didn’t have any mid-night freakouts in his new travel crib.

To top it off, the trip back to Seattle went swimmingly well, with only one stop of any significance (at a familiar-looking Burger King), and we cruised the distance in just under six hours.  All in all, a fun holiday for everyone.

Max’s Half-Birthday: You can pick your nose, and you can pick your son’s nose, but you can’t pick your son

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Max is six months old today.  Hooray!

This is a noteworthy day in at least one (morbid) regard:  this is the point in which SIDS is no longer a realistic threat.

To celebrate his robust health, we took him for a walk through Ravenna Park.  He got to interact with lots of dogs, explore lots of plants, and stare rapturously at a babbling brook.  He even tolerated the embarrassing antics of his frolicking parents.

It was altogether a beautiful day, albeit cold.  Of course, an outdoor adventure on a briskly cold day isn’t complete without at least one au naturale diaper change.

For some quick (inaccurate) morphometrics:  we weighed him again, via displacement method, and he came in at around 17 pounds.  This means his his birthweight has been doubled-and-a-half.

Some milestone events

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Please pardon the lack of photos with this post.  With luck they’ll come later.

Some quick news: While at the JFK airport, leaving NYC (Monday, 3 Nov), Max successfully rolled over, without assistance, for the first time.  And the second time, and the third time.  And a few more times.  In both directions.  He was on a roll.  As of this writing, he hasn’t done it again, but perhaps he just hasn’t been properly motivated.

On Friday (7 Nov), Max was offered (and reluctantly ate) some of his first solid food.  The food was pureed sweet potato, and he ate a few bites, making funny faces each time, before losing interest.  We tried again on Saturday, although he wasn’t interested at all, perhaps because he wasn’t hungry.

Yesterday (Saturday, 8 Nov), Max’s hair was cut for the first time.  We placed him in the flying-saucer chair, kept him hypnotized by turning on the TV, and Amalia trimmed away whenever he was cooperative.  By and large it looks great, and it even makes him look older.

Max in NYC

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

So the three of us went to NYC for the New York Marathon.  This was Max’s first time on a plane, and his first trip of any serious duration anywhere, by any means of conveyance.  He was a super-trooper.

He tolerated both flights with effectively zero difficulty, and made friends along the way.  In NYC itself, he didn’t even recognize the time difference (although we actively tried to keep him localized to Pacific Time, since our visit was so short), adjusted to the new surroundings like nothing had changed.  Again, he made friends every step of the way, sometimes from people who we would’ve preferred kept to themselves.

Max survived going to the top of the Rockefeller Center and back, several walks through Central Park, several taxi rides, several nighttime walks through Manhattan, a ride on a pedicab, and more questionably affectionate interactions from strangers than I can remember.  He even soldiered through the marathon itself as a chest-bound member of the support crew, going from waypoint to waypoint, and even enduring a diaper change in the 40-degree air on a public sidewalk.

We deem the trip a success.