Posts Tagged 'baby'

Quick Family Updates

Well, I don’t have a lot of time for these things, but I just had to make time to share a few things with you all.

First off, as of last weekend Sophie is taking her first steps! She’s really good at the whole walking thing. Check out these videos:

They were taken on a cell phone, so they aren’t great quality (notice the audio that lasts longer than the video). At least you get to see Her Royal Cuteness walking. Be grateful, very grateful (as I am).

Also, in other significant news, our car finally died. It was in bad shape, we knew it wouldn’t last very long, and we’re not all that concerned about losing it (don’t feel too bad for us). Here is a memorial photo of our old car (this is an actual photo I took of our car):

Our old car, RIP.

Our old car, RIP.

All in all, it’s better this way. We were going to try to sell it to someone. I would have felt bad if we had sold it and it had died right away on the buyer; especially if that buyer had been a friend of ours.

Man, for some reason everything I type feels like it’s coming out awkward and wrong. Perhaps I am out of practice… I can’t wait to be done with this schooling.

Speaking of which, I have about five weeks left away from home. I’m finally beginning to feel that the end of the tunnel is near. Oh, and for anyone worried about my grades, I’ve got a 96% average in class right now. Not bad when you consider how much time I spend studying…

Just because I feel like doing something fun, I’m going to stick a poll in here. Keep in mind, the poll is just for fun. We are looking in both categories and will probably buy the best deal we can find given our financial restraints. Out of curiosity though:

I thought I had one more thing I wanted to share, but since I can’t think of it (and I’ve been racking my brain for about ten minutes now trying to remember) I’ll have to finish this thing off.

As always, thanks for coming by to read about our goings on. Keep in touch.

Sophie’s First Oreo

We’ve had a very busy last couple of months. Allow me to attempt a summary here.

It has been crazy. We traveled, we found a new job, we novelled, we did some shopping, we fed Sophie an Oreo cookie…

Photo by Rochelle – From Family Stuff

Like I said. It’s been crazy. If you check out the Family Stuff album, you’ll likely see more photos of Sophie’s first Oreo experience. One of my favorite shots is of her examining the slimy remains of one of the cookies.

Ok, poll time. I spent the entire month of November writing for NaNoWriMo and completed the first draft of a 50,000 word “novel” (really, more like half a novel in length, and far less in actual content). This site (blog thing) is decidedly not for me to post entire chapters of a mediocre first novel draft. However, I might make it available for curious eyes via DeviantArt if enough people would be interested in reading it. Please be honest, the poll is completely anonymous and I won’t be upset if nobody wants to read it (I’m not sure I really want to read it again). To be fair, it is titled “Alex” and it is a science fiction novel that would most likely appeal to teens (though they might need to be drugged or bribed to actually read the story). It contains very little of my famous witty humor, and was written with the sole goal of reaching the 50,000 word count mark.

Most likely, I’ll spend some of my writing nights going over the draft and using it as practice for some of the editing techniques I’m learning about in the various books on writing that I’ve accumulated. With a massive amount of luck and stupidity on my part, the draft may even one day find itself polished enough to not  embarrass me as much as it does today.

For those of you who haven’t followed us very closely while I wasn’t posting here for a while, our Thanksgiving trip to Arizona went really well. We had a great time and my parents were extremely gracious hosts. We all got to meet my sister’s friend (of the male variety). I found it surprisingly easy to resist throwing most of those embarrassing jokes at him. I had hoped to find it in me to ruffle him up a little, but alas – he came away unscathed. Maybe next time.

We had considered visiting other people while in Arizona, but we didn’t even get confirmation that our travel plans were approved until the last minute, and since we drove out (a 12+ hour trip) most of our vacation week was spent in the car. Eventually we do hope to visit all of our dear friends and family members (except those who live too far away for our meager world-travel budget – we’re sure you understand).

In the way of a quick update, our family is doing very well. I recently received a call about an assignment. Training begins in the early parts of January (don’t send any perishables for my birthday, I’ll be done with training sometime in March). Micah is making steady progress adjusting to school life, Sophie is making steady progress adjusting Mommy to slave life, and Mommy and Daddy are nervous about the move (we still don’t know where we’re going to be sent for this job).

Photo by Brian – From Family Stuff

Most of my time at home these days is spent laughing at Sophie (like when she climbs into the space under the sink as seen above, but then decides its too far up to get down on her own) or working on a new family project (tentatively titled, “The Family Book” – including our family mission and the system outlined below, among other things). Ok, there are plenty of other things I spend my time doing, but those are the big ones.

Our family is developing a financial system. It’s something like a reward system and an allowance all rolled into a tortilla. At school, Micah is rated by his teacher based on his performance during different class activities. He comes home with a rating of a star (excellent), happy face (only one warning, then he did better), sad face (the warning didn’t improve his behavior) or a rain cloud (his behavior was terrible). 

Under the old system, we used the Wii as our leverage to get him to keep his bed dry and his school behavior satisfactory. If he went three or more days in a row with a dry bed, he was allowed to play the Wii for any amount of time that we saw fit. Wii privileges were removed when he woke up with a wet bed. However, if he behaved well at school, he could earn up to half an hour of play time per day regardless of his bed. At the time he was rated in five different categories in the classroom, so it followed that stars and happy faces were worth six minutes each, and anything else was worth nothing. Too many rain clouds though, and he got nothing.

The new system is much cooler, in my opinion. Using a free program called InkScape I designed our own family money. When Micah gets home from school, he gets two family dollars for a dry bed, two for each star and one for each happy face (he’s been way too satisfied with happy faces lately, but that still means he was doing something wrong and the teacher had to correct him). If we catch him doing anything extraordinarily wonderful at any time, we (his parents) can hand him some family money to say thanks.

Here’s a sample of the family one dollar bill:

There are also $5, $10, and $20 nominations available.

There are also $5, $10, and $20 nominations available.

Whenever he wants, he can use his family money to purchase things from the family store (a list of available items that we have posted on the refrigerator). Among the items for sale are: minutes to play the Wii (five minutes for one family dollar), going out for a scoop of ice cream (twenty family dollars), and going out to breakfast at a restaurant with mommy or daddy (thirty five family dollars). The prized item on the list (as far as he’s concerned) is a little card I made in InkScape that entitles him to play the Wii without purchasing minutes. The card is nice, with pretty graphics and everything, and we even had it laminated. The back of the card explains:

This card entitles the holder (child) to unlimited time on the Wii (with no need to purchase additional play time) according to standards and regulations to be determined by the parents of said child.

This card may be revoked at any time by the parents based on infractions to any set household rule.

Basically: as long as you hold this card you don’t need to spend your family dollars on Wii time, but if you break any rules or wet your bed, we’re probably going to take that privilege away from you and you’ll have to save up your money to buy it back. We didn’t want the card to be impossible to get, so it only costs ten family dollars. On a really good day, he could earn two for a dry bed and he now gets three ratings from his teacher so up to six family dollars from school behavior – that’s eight family dollars a day. Even if he doesn’t have perfect days, he should have enough to buy the card after a couple of days with no problem. Although, today he only got two family dollars (two happy faces at school, a sad face and a wet bed in the morning). We gave him his own wallet to keep everything in (the money and the Wii card, when he buys it) and basically told him to treat all of this stuff like the real thing. He seemed excited, but a little depressed that he only got two dollars on his first day of doing the new program.

When Sophie gets older (old enough to count and do basic addition with some help) we’ll start her on this too. I think it’s a good introduction to money and it is a great reward system for children who can handle it. If we tried it right now with Sophie, she would eat the money. She loves eating paper. We really have to watch her lately, because anything she can tear goes directly into the mouth for consumption.

She’s been experimenting with new sounds as well, and a lot of what she says sounds like real, deliberate speech. She forms rudimentary sentences using phrases like “bite bite” which sounds more like “bye bye” combined with “mama” or “dada.” She also says “dis” (this), “dah” (that) and “I did id” (I did it). She also claps (occasionally her hands even slap together to make the traditional clapping noise, but most of her clapping is silent) and says “yeah!” Most of her expression is in her beautiful face, though, and she makes the most adorable happy sounds (lots of raspberries, grunts and squeals).

Everything she says is said with a fat, heavy tongue that causes spit to go flying everywhere and all of her attempts at “S” sound more like “SH.” Imagine our surprise, then, when she attempted to say “sit” this morning. If she hadn’t demonstrated the action immediately after saying it, we might have thought she had picked up a bad word from somewhere (though we couldn’t imagine where – nobody in our house uses words like that). Since she was already seated when she said “sit,” the only logical place to go from there was to the reclined position, which she achieved by throwing herself backward.

To demonstrate to us that she had completely mastered the word and technique, she sat back up, said “sit” (with the “SH” sound still, but a little clearer), and threw herself back to lay down again. 

To give you an idea of how I spent my November, as of right now, this entry contains roughly 1,500 words. To meet the requirement of 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo last month, I had to average at least 1,667 words a day (for thirty days) or, since I wanted to finish early, I set the goal for  myself of hitting at least 2,500 words a day. I didn’t always meet that goal, but I did finish the story a few days early and there were at least two times when I didn’t write for a few days in a row.

Well, that’s all for today. I’m sure there is more I can share, but it’s late and I want to get this posted and send out an e-mail so you all can enjoy my meaningless ramblings. Thanks for reading, and be sure to keep in touch.

Family Good

The purpose of this post is to provide our family and friends with an update, but first I have a technical gripe to get off my chest. In advance, thanks for listening.

Sometimes the lessons I was taught as a youngster conflict with the situations life throws at me as an adult. This is, in all actuality, one of the lessons I learned from my parents. Life is one giant school, and you have to be willing to learn new tricks all the time.

Take, for instance, a formatting rule I was taught while writing papers for school. Between words you place a single space, but sentences get two spaces between them. As I grew older, I learned about all of the different styles of formatting that govern such things and found that the rules change dramatically between styles.

These days most of my writing is published here on WordPress, where HTML is the technical language behind the formatting. Remember, HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it governs how things appear on web sites. In true HTML formatting, spaces do not aggregate. In other words, if I were to write out a word in a web page and put five spaces after it before the next word, the HTML rendering engine process those five spaces as one space. The only way to force more spaces to be drawn is to write out a special character code for the additional spaces. The character code is called a “non-breaking space” and is written like this:  

The “non-breaking space” does two things. First, it demands to be rendered in the text. Two NBSP characters next to each other actually render as two spaces, not just one. As the name suggests though, the “non-breaking space” also maintains line integrity with the following non-breaking character (normal spaces are breaking characters, groups of letters are not). You could say that a non-breaking character is any character that sticks to the character after it no matter what (like the letters of a word).

While browsing through some of my posts you may notice a very small detail that bothers me. Sometimes, if the conditions are just right (the end of a sentence in the middle of a paragraph happens to fall at the end of the line and the new sentence begins on a new line) you will see a space that slightly indents new lines in the middle of a paragraph. The reason? When I put a double space between sentences in the WordPress word processor, the only way it knows how to maintain the multiple spaces in HTML is to make one of them a non-breaking space. So the first space is normal, allowing a break, but the next space is a special character that sticks to the next line causing the strange indent.

This is not acceptable to my picky eyes, and after months of agonizing over what to do about the situation, I have come up with a simple solution. It is better to abandon the double space rule than to continue producing strangely formatted text on WordPress. So despite my good upbringing, I am now placing single spaces between sentence.

Let me tell you, in all of the above paragraphs, I have placed double spaces after every single sentence with only a couple of exceptions. Double spacing is a tough habit to break.

OK, I got that out of the way, now to talk about our family.

Sophie has been having a rough time lately. She’s been teething, and after at least two months of pain and suffering she has nothing to show for it. She had been demanding a lot of late night comfort feedings that were beginning to really eat away at our sleep time, so we recently decided to put an end to it. The transition has been rough for all of us, but there has been progress and we expect her to be sleeping through the night soon.

Unfortunately, she has been extra clingy today since we “abandoned” her yesterday. Abandoned is the word she would choose to describe our actions, but in reality we got a trusted babysitter and went out on a date. We went to a formal ball (family and close friends interested in seeing our outfits can e-mail me a request) with a good steak and chicken dinner, a wise speaker and a dance afterward. We had fun, the kids were fine for the sitter, and we came home before ten.

Sophie was traumatized. She tends to be a little dramatic about things anyhow (every time she bumps her head or falls down she would have us believe she is paralyzed from the neck down), but she has carried the drama through to today and it is getting old.

Her speech has developed into some very interesting babbling though. She now distinguishes almost perfectly between “mom” (or “mama”) and “dad” (or “dadadada”), and she uses other definite sounds to ask for things or alert us to her needs, though this behavior is a little inconsistent still. She tends to put an “a” before things that aren’t mom or dad. Example: “a-gi-gi” (the “g” is gargled) = a general word meaning “hungry,” “sleepy” or “stinky,” all of which follow the vowel sounds of her phrase very closely.

For a while her favorite sound was “ba” and she started substituting more familiar sounds with “ba” just for fun. For example, I became “da-ba” and mom became “ma-ba.” Play time sounded like this: “ba, ba ba ba, ba-ba.”

If we say “boom boom,” she starts whacking things. If we say “cookie” she looks around expectantly for cookies. If we say “come here” she crawls to us very quickly, unless she is busy playing.

She gets around very well, and it looks like she’ll be walking before the end of the year. She is very stable on her feet, and can balance in place with no support for almost a second. With one hand grabbing something for support, she can stand and walk around just fine.

Finally, Sophie has been playing a lot more intensely. She will now take two toys and make them interact, give them individual sounds, and make them scream when they are in distress or attacking. This morning, I watched her playing with a guitar toy, a green duck and a koosh ball. The koosh ball and the guitar talked for a while until the green duck came sliding in from the side for an attack, screaming a shrill war cry.

Sophie is really the most interesting person in the whole house right now, the rest of us aren’t doing much of anything at all. Micah has been out of school for the last week and will be off this week as well. I have the day off tomorrow, so we’ll all get to spend one more day together before I go back to work.

I can’t think of anything else to write about, and my wife needs a break from the clingy baby. Don’t forget to write your thoughts and comments, and if you’re related or a friend, write us an e-mail!

New Updates & Videos

Yesterday I shared something fun and wrote about a side project of mine and mentioned a few other updates all in one post.  If you haven’t read it yet, you probably should (use the link at the end of that last sentence).

Late last night I uploaded the videos I promised and I’ll embed them here.  One is long (nearly six minutes long) and the other is short but cute.  Also, there’s a great video about not being proud or showy…  The family web album also has new photos under Family Stuff.

Meet the Scan Toaster

Meet the "Scan Toaster"

First, though, a quick look at a product that isn’t for sale and we want it!  It uses innovations on existing technology to burn images and text onto bread.  It is only a working prototype for now, a finalist in a design competition.  Hopefully, if it wins, we’ll begin seeing them in stores before I get tired of eating toast.

Another great reason we’re tempted to hold our breath for this one has to do with Micah.  He loves toast, but doesn’t realize it.  Every time we give him toast he picks at it and takes forever to eat it.  We figure that if we had a toaster that could burn images and text onto the toast we could make it more interesting for him.  His toast could have “Eat Me” burnt right into the surface, or it could have a big picture of something he enjoys eating, like a doughnut or a cookie.  As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and even though we don’t seriously expect the gimmick would actually achieve anything for Micah, we like the idea.

Clicking on the image takes you to the article where I read about it, and clicking on the same image at that article takes you to yet another article with even more information and a diagram of how it works (for if you’re interested).

It sure is a nice looking little appliance though, isn’t it?

Sophie has begun trying to use simple sounds and words to communicate, but so far her efforts have been only sporadically successful.  She can say “dada” though it usually comes out “dadada” or “dadadadadadadada” and we discovered this morning that half the time she says it she is really referring to her mother.  When she gets upset she will often call out to her mother in no uncertain terms with “MA!” or “maaaam.”  This morning we spent a few minutes trying to set her straight that I am “dadadada” and my wife is “mam.”  I think we made some progress, but in the end she still went crawling off in mom’s direction chanting “dadadadada.”

When eating something she likes she will say “yum” and while playing with her big brother, Micah, she will call out “aiga,” which is close enough (and it tickles Micah to histeria).  Many times, when we ask her if she needs a new diaper, if she’s hungry or if she want’s to be picked up, she responds with a loud and enthusiastic “YEAH!”

She will also say “Hi” occasionally and “will you kindly cease all personal activity and pick me up before I make your life miserable.”  Well, it sounds something like that anyhow.  Sometimes her babblings do seem to make little phrases (like “I like that” or “I did that”), but I’m sure that’s just our imagination.

Even without words she is very expressive, as I am sure you will see in this video titled “Almost Six Minutes of Heaven” starring Sophie, Rochelle and Micah.

Sophie is also doing some serious practice for walking, pulling herself up and getting up on her feet.  The first time this happened we didn’t have the camera ready.  We rushed to get it going and in my hurry I forgot that only photos should be shot in portrait mode (with the camera turned on its side) – videos shot on their side are no fun to watch.  So, later she pulled herself up onto a short box and I got it recorded.  The box isn’t is tall as the other things she was pulling herself up onto, but you can see how good she’s getting at being on her feet.

The only problem is, she’s got pretty sweaty feet most of the time, and those don’t stick to wood floors very well.

Finally, a lesson in pride.  I was going to embed this video like the other ones, but it is hosted from a site whose embed code doesn’t work here as well as YouTube’s does.  If you need a good laugh and a reason not to show off, click here.  Parental guidance recommended, video contains an act of violence (but no blood or cursing) that may not be suitable for children who will not understand the context.

Long-Awaited Update

I’m sure thousands of pairs of eyes are anxiously reading this in hot anticipation of the mounds of news I’ve been sitting on for the last three weeks. This particular post will serve it’s purpose as an update for friends and family, and the geekiest of you are going to have to wait a little longer for a solid update on my current project.

Just on the side though, my project is coming along nicely and little remains to be coded by way of the engine. All that’s really left is to design the levels, maps and events that will make up the story of the game. Much of that exists on paper for now, but coding is proceeding at a steady rate as I have completely dedicated my writing time to the development of this side project (as you’ve all noticed). Once it is finished, the stories that have been brewing in the back of my mind will begin to spew forth in a garbled flush. You may want to have your rain coat handy.

Now for the family news. Micah started school, of course (this should be old news to you by now). We only recently got the photos from his first day downloaded from the camera to the computer and subsequently uploaded to the Internet. OK, we only uploaded ONE photo to the Internet. Allow me to explain…

Photo by Rochelle, edited in Photoshop by Brian | From Family Stuff (album)

OK, if you’ve got relatively sharp eyes or if you are actually paying attention to the photograph, you might have noticed the background (what is BEHIND Micah). No, we didn’t send him to study in Egypt, he’s safely sleeping in his room right now. What you see in the photo is the product of my last half hour’s work in Photoshop.

You see, I wasn’t there when my wife took these photos of Micah before taking him to school, so I wasn’t there to suggest they turn on a light or take the photos outside instead of against the front door in the entry way with the light off. When I filmed a short video clip of Sophie crawling a week and a half later, and tried to transfer it to the computer yesterday, I didn’t realize there were photos on the camera as well.

As can be expected with technology, there was a hiccup, and the data on the camera’s card became corrupt. The software that handles the transfer of our photos reported a complete failure and I had to reformat the card. We were depressed because the video was really cute, but today I caught her doing her thing again and shot a couple more videos (more on those below).

When I downloaded the videos and a couple of new photos of Sophie, I was surprised to find that yesterday’s attempt hadn’t been a complete failure. All of our photos and the video were still completely in tact.

Unedited Photo by Brian | From Family Stuff

Well, when I saw the pre-first-day-of-school photos I was not impressed. I was impressed that Micah wasn’t making an entirely ridiculous face or pose in every single one of them like he usually would be; but the lighting was horrible, and thus the images were grainy, and the backdrop was completely flat and dull (our white, plain door with parts of the door knob and dead bolt showing).

Perhaps the saddest part of it all was that Micah was so presentable in these photos. We don’t have any nice photos of Micah because he always loses it in front of the camera (even if the camera is off, fake or broken). He goes bonkers, and we can’t get a good picture.

Well, being the Photoshop lover that I am, I decided to see if a little touch-up could work a miracle for one of these ill-fated photographs. I fixed the histogram and levels, then I did a cheap trick with the despeckle and unsharp mask filters (I hate doing it, but sometimes it’s the only way…), and finally did a little more with the brightness/contrast until it looked descent.

My biggest gripe was still the backdrop, so I edited out the door knob and dead bolt, and started thinking about what kind of background would look better. That’s when I remembered the horrible shadow from the flash and cloned it out.

In the end I went with an Egypt backdrop (from my Egypt photos album) because I thought Micah would enjoy visualizing himself there. I finished blending the edges and realized the image still looked flat because everything was in focus. So, I blurred the background and it looked better.

Not by best image manipulation, but not a bad job for half an hour while tending a crying baby off and on. I did a test trying to deepen the lighting effects on him (more shadows and highlights to simulate the outdoor lighting of the backdrop), but decided to leave him lit the way he was (flat). Not because it looks better flat, but because my painting skills stink at any resolution greater than 64 by 64 pixels (but I don’t think I’m a bad pixel artist).

There isn’t much more news to share that you can’t get by watching the three videos I uploaded today. I’ll provide links at the end, and if I feel like it I’ll even embed them here so you don’t have to jump to YouTube to watch them. Be sure to check the third photo I uploaded today too at our Picasa Web Album (the google album). The videos deal mostly with Sophie’s newest trick: CRAWLING! You may remember she was trying a month ago to get it. Well, as of a week and a half ago she’s been totally mobile around the house. We are still baby-proofing everything, but so far the worst she’s done is stick trash from the trash can in her mouth.

As always, keep in touch with us via e-mail (it’s easier than phone calls because we are always running around). Let us know if there is any news and we’ll keep you informed as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy the videos!

Oh, and sometimes I wonder how many of you don’t ever see the notes I write about the videos on the video page at Youtube (in the upper right-hand area by the video window). Sometimes I put little antecdotes or facts about the video there that I don’t mention here. Make sure you read them (you might have to click the “more” link to expand/lengthen the text).

BONUS VIDEO!  Since I love Wall-E, I thought I’d share a video of my favorite little robot with you!  Enjoy it until next time.

Three is a BIG Number

When you’re stressed, tired or just four months old, three can seem like an awfully large number.  We had three events today, all of them sizable, and all of them enjoyable (when taken one at a time, per day).

First, a movie!  I love movies, and I especially love Pixar movies.  Today we saw what may soon be known as my favorite movie – WALL*E.  I generally consider movies either one of my favorites because I don’t want to actually say one good movie was better than another good movie.  In this case, though, you’ve got some great animation, wonderful characters, good story, fun laughs, stunning visuals and strong emotional elements.  Before this movie I loved Stardust, A Knight’s Tale, The Incredibles, and a few others – each as one of my favorites.  Now, though, I may begin saying that WALL*E is my favorite movie (until I find something better).

After the movie my five-year-old had to go to the bathroom and I was left holding Sophie in the lobby.  There was a huge, cardboard model of WALL*E, so I had the baby pose for some pictures in front.  Click on the smaller images to see larger ones:

Next, a birthday party for two little girls each turning one in the same month.  Silly?  Yes.  Excuse for adults to get together and drink?  Also.  We left at the first signs of tipsiness from one of the hostesses.  Not because she was getting drunk, but because we have a four-month-old and we had other things to do.

Before I leave the subject of that little party, I have to mention that it is so funny to watch the four-month-old baby when she gets her little fist wrapped around a Twizzler and starts to suck on it.  She absolutely loved the Twizzlers and the chips (don’t worry, I only let her suck until they got too soft but before they broke apart).  She also enjoyed sucking on ice and baby carrots.  Oh, and Laffy-Taffy.  She enjoyed the Laffy-Taffy for almost fifteen minutes.

Finally we headed over to the home of our friends (D’n’A) and ate dinner.  After dinner we played some games among screaming babies.  It was a good time despite my utter exhaustion and high stress levels.  I get stressed for reasons most people would scoff at, and the stress often gets worse if I begin worrying about whether my stress and social awkwardness are making others uncomfortable with me.  Fortunately for our friends D’n’A, I don’t stress much at their house because I don’t worry about whether they are uncomfortable with me or not.

At last we ended up at home with a very tired baby girl who had too much to do in one day.  I played a few minutes of a Wii game while my wife fed the baby, then I started typing this (which turned into a much longer project than I thought).  I think I hear the baby making some noise now, so I’m off to work.  Soon I’ll begin writing for the sake of writing again.  For now I’ve been using this mainly for family updates.  Before long I’ll get back to work!

Sophie, a Vibrator & Other Funnies

I’ll start off light.  I found this artist that does some pretty fun cartoons, and I especially loved this one:

In other news, I got another video up on YouTube.  It’s a little longer than the last one, but it’s worth watching through to the end (unless you just don’t care about my baby, and I would understand seeing as how she’s not YOUR baby).  Here it is:

That does it for now.  I’m not actually writing right now, this was just to share some stuff with you.  Good night!

Sophie Loves Zippers

Sophie just started laughing last weekend. Today we found something she laughs at for no reason – zippers. Sorry the sound is so bad, we don’t have a video recorder (yet) so we’re just using our camera to take the video. The picture’s never awful, but the sound doesn’t always come out so great.

She ate a lot of baby food today as well. She finished her normal helping of rice cereal (mixed with baby apple sauce for taste) and was still hungry, so we took half of a thing of sweet potato stuff from the refrigerator. At first she didn’t like that it was cold, but it tasted too yummy to refuse. At one point it looked like she was getting brain-freeze. It was cute.

Anyhow, she ate all of that too, and ever since then her spit-up has been a lot grosser than it was before.

Oh, great news: last weekend we finally got some pacifiers that she will take, and she has been a quiet, happy baby ever since. She loves to take her pacifier, even when she’s upset (but not too upset). We even have a CD of her favorite songs in her room (with the crib) and she sleeps in there. We put her in the crib with her pacifier, turn on the music, kiss her on the cheek and say, “good night,” and she puts herself to sleep! Yeah.

Blah, I’ll come up with a title later.

I decided not to bother coming up with another title. That will do fine.

Just a quick note before I begin my post today: This is not going to become a habit. My goal in the morning of getting up early every day is not to provide me with more opportunities to blab on this “thing,” but to write short stories, fiction novels, or nonfiction essays that push my skills as a writer and provide me with adequate creative venues. I do not intend to blast my subscribers with nonsense thoughts and minor life events on a daily basis. Eventually, these kinds of posts will be once, twice, maybe three times a week, and the rest of my mornings will be spent crafting stories you will get to read when they are finished.

But, for today I just wanted to tell you about my day yesterday. Thanks for reading.

I’m a little bit tired this morning. Of course, it’s all my fault this time. I was going to defrag my laptop after clearing some space off the hard drive (several gigabytes worth) so I wanted to back some stuff up online before going to bed and beginning the defrag. OK, most of what I was uploading was already mostly backed up online, but not full resolution. You see, I have some really good photos that were the result of good luck and timing that I wanted to share so I put them on my DeviantART account last night. Not all of them, mind you, but it’s a start. I think I’ll upload a few at a time for the next few weeks until all the good ones are up at DeviantART. For now, you can view my web albums in two locations.

The first is my Google web album, the second is my Kodak web album. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the Kodak service and I think I’m going to start using the Google/Picasa service more often. I even prefer the DeviantART site more than the Kodak one, but I feel bad uploading anything to DeviantART that isn’t art.

I wish I could share more than just this one photo with you here. OK, I could share more than just this one photo with you here, but adding more photos would be a lot of work and I’m too tired to do it right now. Be grateful for the one photo I managed to get up here.

Doesn’t she look like she’s just loving that cereal? For more photos of her enjoying the rice cereal, check out the the Picasa/Google web album. You can download a full resolution copy of this photo from this DeviantART page.

Yesterday was a pretty good day. We took it easy. In the morning, after breakfast, we played some of that great game, Defend Your Castle, then we went to the store and prepared for a picnic in the park, which could have gone better. Overall, it went well. Sometimes, though, I forget that my legs get super white compared to my normally tanned skin because I wear pants a lot. Yesterday, at the park, I wore shorts. My shins are in a lot of pain right now.

After the park we came home, rested, got some work done, and then fed the baby some rice cereal for the first time, which went extremely well (as you can see). After that, the five-year-old decided he was done being nice and following rules for the day, so we had an early dinner and put him out of his misery with an early bedtime. Then we watched a two hour movie in just under five hours (not bad with the baby). You know the rest of the story – I stayed up too late updating my DeviantART account with some good photos.

Well, I’m happy to say that I can finally return a movie to a friend. We have borrowed movies from her before, and the last time was a disaster. We returned the movie in good condition, so it could have gone worse, but we held on to it for far too long (many months). This time we managed to watch it in something like three weeks, which is great.

The movie wasn’t my style. It was a drama, which is already a huge deduction in points on my part, and it didn’t really get me pulled in that well. I rate dramas and other movies that don’t appeal to me on their ability to pull me into the story (the plot and other story elements have to be crafted really well) and evoke an emotional reaction from me. This one did evoke that emotional reaction from me, but I wouldn’t have been devastated if I had walked away from it halfway through, meaning the story could have grabbed me better. This is not, by any means, actual criticism for the film, because this is simply a question of taste. The friend who loaned us the movie, for example, just loves this movie. The story must have really pulled her in, it must have connected with her deep down, and it probably evoked a stronger emotional reaction from her because of it.

Overall I’d say it was well made and fun, but not for me. I enjoyed watching it, I’m glad I watched, and I’m glad I don’t own it.

Oops, I suppose you’d like to know what movie we watched last night now? Ha. Silly me. We watched “The Holiday.”

Well, as much as I’d like to extend my writing time this morning beyond the hour I usually write, I think I’m going to lay back down and close my eyes in the hopes of falling back asleep and waking up feeling like I slept a full eight hours in stead of less than four. Or, I might finish writing, or not, and find that the day is starting whether I like it or not, and have to skip on the rest until we get home from church. Either way, my bed and I will probably be seeing each other before the actual end of the day.

If I don’t make it back to bed, I feel that I might cry. I know, my fault. Tonight, nap or no nap, I’m going to bed at ten. That’s final.

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January 2021

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