Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Nothing new to report, especially since we are just happy to be alive after last night's screaming fit...

I just wanted to say that I love this picture.  Can you love a picture that you are in?  I don't care, because I love this picture.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcome to the new page!

If you've ever talked to me for more than 3 minutes you know that I have an affinity for books and reading. If you've ever been to our home you know that the bookshelf is overflowing with books.  And if you've ever talked about sports for 3 mintues I will surely try to find a way to turn the conversation towards books. 

This love for books is relatively new for me.  Growing up, my mom sure worked hard to instill in me a desire to read.  She was moderately successful.  As a kid I liked reading enough.  In high school I enjoyed it enough to get my assignements done, but I rarely read for fun.  And I really didn't do much summer reading.  Even in college, as a literature major, I only enjoyed reading enough to complete my studies.  By the time I got to college I was reading more often for the pure enjoyment of reading, but part of the problem of being in college is being required to read so much from such a broad spectrum of books.  And more often than not, that required reading is tedious, sucking all the joy out of holding a book. 

But now I love it.  I am almost always juggling two or three books at a time.  I read fiction, non-fiction, classics and moderns.  And even more recently I've become fascinated with the world of antiquarian books and first editions.  My brother even occampanied me to an Antiquarian book fair in February. 

It is because of this love for books, mixed with my desire to see my own words in print, that I've started this new page on our blog.  Here I intend to write book reviews and share my thoughts on the books that I am reading.  On top of that, modern technology and the superpowers that be (Google and Amazon) now provide a way for me to get a little kick back as well.  Whenever I mention a book here, say Treasure Island or The Last of the Mohicans I will be able to provide a link directly to Amazon.  If you, my beloved reader, are so inclined, you can then click through to Amazon's site and purchase the book.  If you purchase the book then I get a kickback!  Isn't this amazing!  I'm motivated to do this because I know for a fact that previous mentions of books have lead to purchases and readings of said books (Reading Lolita in Tehran and Devil in the White City).  And frankly, I'm ready to start getting paid to read!

Come back soon to see what I've got in store for you!  (Bear with me while I try to figure out the formatting for this stuff.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Garrett Central

What? I know. Who would have thought this blog would have turned into Garrett Central the second he was born. Not me. I mean, I assumed that even with a newborn I would still have the time, energy and motivation to read new novels, try new recipes, and generally maintain our highly interesting lives. Ok, our life has had a serious drop in interestingness since leaving Germany (oh, how we pine for a hike in the Black Forest, a trip to cut flowers in the Blumen fields, a Fenferlei Salat at Funfschilling...). I digress.

I have this desire to still be me. To have something interesting to contribute to conversations that does not involve baby poop, baby spit up, or sleep deprivation. And yet, it seems like my life generally revolves around those three things. That, and laundry. I guess it is a good thing that we don't get out much...

The funny thing is, the only thing anyone wants to discuss with me is Garrett. How is he eating? How is he sleeping? Are you guys getting any sleep at night? Etc, etc. The very things that consume my life, everyone else is interested in too.

So, I will give the people what the people want...

Sleep- we had a rough go for a couple of days... no sleeping during the day, no sleeping at night. We may or may not be directly blaming the week of non-stop cuddling with Grandparents DeClercq for this issue. However, we are on the road to recovery and even got 5, that's right 5 hours of sleep in a row last night.
Spit up- Garrett has christened just about everything in our house. However, it seems like I get the brunt of it.
Eating- this child can eat like it is going out of style. You would think we are starving him (which if you take one look at his chubby cheeks, his roly poly body, or the rolls on his arms, you would know better!) when he eats... he gulps and gulps and then throws his head back with his arms over his head, with a little dribble of milk down his chin and collapses into the sleep of a satisfied man.

What else? oh. You want a picture?

Ok. Here you go...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Notes from a Father in Training

Whatever your plans are, cut them in half.

If you plan on going to the mall and In 'n Out, just go to In 'n Out. If you plan on running to the video store and to get gas, just get gas (especially since we all Netflix anyway). And if you are planning on going to Santa Barbara, don't. Cut it in half. Ventura is even pushing it.

Last week was Buena Park's Spring Break and my parents, the devoted and mildly obsessed new grandparents, came for a visit. It was delightful. There were extra, and experienced, hands to help out. But mostly those hands fought over holding Garrett.

On Thursday, we loaded the stroller, diaper bag (I remembered it this time!), baby, grandparents, and mom and dad and headed out for a nice drive up to Santa Barbara to spend some time on the coast. We never made it there.

We were just over an hour into the drive and the tension in the car had grown to the size of a tangible beast. There was no crying or loud fussing, but there was tension, worry, concern and fear of traffic. We started second guessing our decision to go to Santa Barbara. We're only have way there, we fretted. Can Garrett hold out? Can WE hold out? And so an audible was called. (Aren't you proud, Ricky-Joey, about the use of a sports term?) We were close to Ventura and figured it was as good as it was going to get.

And good it was. We drove along the scenic coast (which brought back fond and frantic memories from my college days), moseyed through downtown, and found a nice brewery for lunch.

On the way home we took the 1 south which is a spectacular drive. We flew right along the ocean's edge, cutting along the curves of the cliffs on the left and marveling at the clear day, the blue-meets-blue horizon, the foamy surf, and Santa Monica in the distance.

And from there things only got worse. By this time we were ready to cross over the the 5 to head home, just in time for rush hour traffic! It was a long, slow journey back to Hanover Street. One that tried the patience and wearied the eyes.

In the end, there were plenty of wonderful memories, but the lesson was this: Time is a pressing issue with an infant. Laura and I were hyper aware of feeding times, time in the car seat, wondering if we were pushing our luck and would, at any moment, have a vengeful, tired, screaming son on our hands. And so, I say to you other Fathers-in-Training, whatever you want to do, cut it in half. Everyone will have a much better time.

And now, without further ado (since he is really the reason you bother stopping by this site anyway) here is a new video of Garrett, my adorable son.

Alright, here's another one:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A boy and his dog

Before we had Garrett, we had Bobby. And now we have both. We have high hopes of these two forging a friendship that makes them inseparable. So far, Bobby has done his part to make the relationship work. He guards the nursery when Garrett sleeps, and comes in to check on us when I am feeding Garrett, and he snuggles when we let him. We have no doubt that if he could get in the crib, he would spend every naptime curled up next to Garrett.

If you aren't a dog person, you probably won't understand that we let our dog sniff and even *gasp* lick Garrett. But, we figure the house is covered in Bobby germs anyway, so why worry about it?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Notes from a Father in training

Today we took a family outing. As far as I can remember (which isn't saying much; the details of the last few weeks are foggy at best) today's foray was the first major outing of little Garrett's life. We had planned to go out to a park in Irvine, but we found out that the park was closed due to the recent rain. So, my mother, being ever so flexible suggested we venture out to the mall.

In preparation for this event I grabbed the diaper bag out of the car, filled my wife's water bottle, packed a few snacks and made sure we were fully stocked to be away from home for a few hours.

Into the car loaded mom, dad, baby, the always glowing grandma, and the ever-proud grandpa and off we went. When we arrived, I pulled out the stroller, pulled out the baby, and was all set to go when Laura asked for the diaper bag. Ah! The diaper bag! I left the fully loaded, freshly stocked diaper bad on the kitchen counter! How could I be so dumb!

And so here is the lesson, for the few to-be dads that I know: Remember the diaper bag. It wasn't the end of the world not having it, but it did slightly hamper the sense of freedom we had while we were out and about. But mostly, I felt stupid for forgetting it. The best of intentions never win bonus points, it is only the impressive, thoughtful follow through. Next time, I'll be prepared.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the man

What is it about a man with a baby??

Adam loves his son. Enough to wear the Baby Bjorn on a walk around the neighborhood and be proud.
Adam loves me enough to get up at 5 AM to change a diaper and console Garrett until I can force myself out of bed to nurse.
Adam loves his son enough to not gag at a full diaper or projectile vomit on the couch.
Adam loves me enough to do the dishes every night, even when he is exhausted, so I don't have to face them in the morning.
Adam loves his son enough to take hundreds of pictures and show them to his students and the whole staff... just because.
Adam loves me enough to ride his bike to work everyday so that Garrett and I can be mobile.
Adam loves his son enough to kiss him goodbye every morning and then hello again as soon as he walks in the door after work.
Adam loves me enough to kiss me right after he kisses Garrett... sometimes before.

We are fast becoming a true family of three (well, four, since we count the dog!). And Adam is the man of that family. And I love him dearly.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I never appreciated sleep like I do now. After a sleepless night, even the hour and half of sleep between the morning feedings is glorious. And so, there isn't much to see in this video, but to us, the sleep-deprived parents, it is monumental.
Plus, he is just so cute with his hands thrown above his head.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Breaking news!

I love my little boy! Okay, I know, that is old news. Nearly two weeks old, but it seems so much older than that. But this is old news that I feel very proud about. It was so easy to fall in love with him. It is so easy to sit and watch him. Laura and I lose track of the time so often while watching him.

I have been wondering though, when I'll start feeling like a father. So far, I've felt just like a guy taking care of a little one. As much as I love him, want to take care of him, and watch him, and give his little cheek kisses, I haven't felt any part of me become particularly fatherly. I think I keep waiting for Garrett to climb into bed with me in the morning and ask to go for a bike ride or to play outside. I long for a knowing smile and an eager laugh. My wife reminds me that this time is fleeting, that the time for play will be fast upon us; she reminds me that he won't be this small for long. So for now, I try to enjoy him and all his cuteness. I can't help from capturing it all, too. And, as a proud pappa, I can't resist sharing. So here you go, some more clips of my beloved son.