fruity solids

So we've started L on solid foods. Not so solid, though: rice cereal, oatmeal, sweet potato mush, etc. And we do this at the same time we're eating a meal so that we're all eating together. But we only do it at home. So yesterday we're at a restaurant (Chinese buffet) and just as J and I get our plates of food L starts whining. We figured out that she was basically saying, "Hey, where's my food?" So I went back to the buffet to see if there was anything I could give her and found her a piece of cantaloupe. She totally dug it. She was munching and sucking away at it until it crumbled into smaller bits all in her lap and the floor. So I got her a few more. It was totally cool. We had read that babies let you know when they are ready for solids and it turned out to be totally true.



L has started into some serious babbling this morning. Maybe she's getting close to talking? That would be cool.


she's getting bigger every day

Some quick L news. She's holding the bottle herself regularly now. She holds herself up in a sitting position if you put her there... and today she lifted herself into sitting from lying on her back. First time. She's got a new stroller and it's got shocks so rides are less bumpy. She celebrated her first Halloween yesterday - she dressed as a cow.

Cute story. This little girl came trick-or-treating with her mom. We put some candy in her basket and then showed her L who was lying in her stroller. This little girl sees L is dressed up so she reaches into her basket, takes out a piece of candy, and puts it in the stroller. Possibly the sweetest thing I've ever seen. So L has another first - her first Halloween candy (it's a Tootsie roll).


Random Baby News

Let's see... She's sitting up better. We have this highchair that reclines so you can use it with an infant and then ratchet it up when they are ready. Well, she is ready; she sits comfortably with it all the way non-reclined. I fed her this morning upright like that. I think next time we go to a restaurant we're gonna try a highchair.

Speaking of feeding, we've started giving her some rice cereal every day. Yay solids! Makes her poop really... uh... fragrant.

What else... nap time is getting easier. Today she fell asleep next to me on the couch (as usual)
and then when she stirred a few minutes later I moved her into the bedroom into her crib and she went back down. That let me get some household chores done, so that's good.

She's playing with toys a lot more now. She looks a the book you read to her. She rolls around. She just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Six months already! Oh yeah, today is her 6 month birthday. Yay! Happy birthday, sweetpea!


Five Slow Guys and a Burger

Let me get this out of the way: Five Guys and a Burger make a tasty burger. That said, they need to hire staff that gives a damn about their job. They are slow slow slow, inattentaive, lackadaisical, cavalier... you get the idea.

First time I go in there I'm the only customer. It's 9pm and they close at 10. Half the staff is cleaning up, preparing to close. The other half is goofing off or cooking food for themselves. I place my order and after waiting for a while find out that they forgot to put up my burger. So I wait a while more. Watching them assemble the thing is like watching a Buster Keaton film. I didn't think it was hard to put a list of toppings on a burger but apparently it's quite the challenge.

Second time I go in there I watch them put the wrong toppings on there, then throw it out and stare at the ticket for about a minute trying to figure who knows what out. I was just bbq sauce guys. Is it really that hard? You've got a limited list of things that go on a burger; you should know what all of them are.

OK, burger assembled and wrapped... it sits there on the counter while about 3 guys just stand around doing nothing. I tell one of them to give me my burger... and he complies by bringing it over to the fry station to do I don't know what since I didn't order fries. He then bags it in I swear no less than a full minute.

This is ridiculous. I get that you make all your burgers fresh to order so they take some time, but there is nothing about your operation that dictates that every other aspect of putting an order together should be as slow as humanly possible. If the manager of the Parsippany Five Guys reads this: You need to fire your staff and hire some people who can get their shit together or your franchise will fail.


Baby Milestone

Today Lila demonstrated complete mastery of rolling over - both onto her stomach and onto her back. I know those of you without kids are probably like "So what?" but believe me for a baby it is a big deal. And I know those who had infants 20 years ago are probably like "6 months
seems a bit late" but what I've heard is since the pediatricians started encouraging parents to put their babies to sleep on the backs a side effect is it takes them longer to get comfortable on their stomachs and longer to build up arm strength. So all in all I'm a proud daddy.

Oh and she's getting better at learning to hold her own bottle too. Such a big girl already!


White Manna

Made a White Manna run last night. They used to close at 9:30, which made it impossible for late night runs; I can't get out of the house before 10:30 or 11:00. So I could only get over there if I was running an errand in that part of town.

But recently they decided to stay open till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays so score! Although in reality it's more like 11:30 since after that they get more and more grumpy with every customer that comes in. They really don't mean to stay open till midnight; it's more that they want to be cleaned up and closed by midnight.

So last night put the wife and baby to bed, waited till they fell asleep, and then in the car by 11:10 and a half hour drive due East. I pulled up just in time to see them turn off the big sign. But the door still said "open" so in I went and placed my order with no grumpiness from the grill-guy.

If you've never been there, it's a tiny place, U shaped counter seating about 12 surrounding the grill, space in the back for fries and supplies. So intimate, so filled with the smell of burgers and onions. I recently read someone else's review and they said they felt the double had a better meat-to-bun ratio than the single. Usually I order singles 'cause I like buns. So this time I order two singles and two doubles (all with onions and cheese and pickles). And some fries. Fries often come out quick so I can munch them while watching the grill-guy do his thing.

I thought it likely I'd be the last order of the night but then one guy came in soon after me and put in a small order. Then while I was eating they put up the "closed" sign, about 11:50. A guy comes in anyway and wants to order. The grill-guy begrudgingly lets him. In my opinion, if they want to stop serving at 11:45 they should just say they close at 11:45. But for my part I'm willing to do it their way and just try to get there early enough.

So what's my take on single vs double? They were both good. The doubles also had twice the cheese and were quite goopy. It was all good though and I don't know how I'll order next time. Mmmmm. Tasty just thinking about it. :P


permission to fail

Everyone raising kids (and everyone else too) should read this article, think about it, think about if we stifle ourselves and others by not accepting and even embracing imperfection. I know I do all the time. I think "I'm gonna put out all that effort for something that's not very good? That's a waste." And then I end up doing nothing, not developing, not growing. Grr.



A while ago I made too much coffee so I poured it into an ice-cube tray and froze it. Today I put the cubes, a frozen banana, Hershey's chocolate syrup, and a spoon of sugar into the blender. I gradually added water until the consistency was right and then... yum! A frozen, chocolaty, banana-y drink with a coffee undertone (and buzz). :)


AMC Loews Wayne 14

If you find yourself in the AMC Loews Wayne 14 (the movie theater behind the Willowbrook Mall)...

There is a table but it's at a severe angle. I have now seen this same problem in a number of restrooms. My guess is there is a trick to installing it and whoever is doing it isn't checking their work.


Another first

I think L laughed her first laugh last night. I got her to do it a few times. It was a brief "heh heh heh". We are happy parents. :)



If you find yourself in the Applebee's in Parsippany...

There is a changing table. It's at an angle but not so much as to make it unusable. It also comes stocked with disposable changing pads.


a daily dose

I just discovered DailyLit (via this post on CoolTools. They take public domain stories, break them up into small chunks (about a five minute read) and then send it to you via RSS subscription. Brilliant! I'm currently reading "Moby Dick" (for the first time) and I am very much enjoying it.

Maybe this will be the way to get my friend, Earthshine, to actually read. ;)




If you find yourself in the T.G.I.Friday's in Parsippany...

Not only does the men's room have a changing table, but it comes stocked with disposable table covers! A rare find indeed.

Rockaway Mall

If you find yourself in the Rockaway Mall...

The Macy's men's room doesn't have a changing table.

The changing table in the food court men's room has a severe tilt, making it useless.

The one in the Lord & Taylor's men's room is also uselessly tilted.

The men's room in the mall proper (located near the Disney store) has a working table.

The men's room in the Borders outside the mall has a working table too.

Perkins in Parisppany

After being closed for years, the Perkins on Rt 46 (between Beverwyck Rd. & New Rd.) has reopened... and they have a working changing table in their men's room.

The Mall at Short Hills

If you find yourself in the Mall at Short Hills...

There is a working changing table in the men's bathroom in the Macy's. (There might be more than one bathroom in the Macy's; next time I'm there I'll be more thorough.)

Willowbrook Mall

If you find yourself in the Willowbrook Mall off R. 46...

There is a working changing table in the men's bathroom of the California Pizza Kitchen (CPK).


12 wk present

On this day, Lila's 12 week birthday, she for the first time held her bottle and fed herself. Not for the whole bottle, mind you, and with slightly more drooling than usual, but still a momentous event. I'm a proud daddy. :)


coffee beans and cool beans

Tore through the Garden State Blend. Ended up at another Whole Foods location to get more. They of course didn't have GSB so I bought Costa Rican Dota. I've had it before: not the full body I like but a decent taste. A lighter roast too, I think. Lighter color at any rate.

In other news... Tycho of Penny Arcade turned me on to Delicious Library. Use your webcam or firewire video camera as a barcode reader to create an inventory of all your books, music, and movies. Holy polka-dotted cow that is cool!


new flayvah

I discovered a new coffee blend today: Whole Foods Garden State blend. It is dark and full bodied like my previous fav (Espresso Sierra) but this one has some... I want to say chocolaty overtones. Really tasty. Might be my new fav. I like to see what's been roasted the latest and then try that. That's led me to some not-as-good-as-Espresso Sierra cups but this one is so good!


a momentous day

Today, I bought more diapers. But they were not newborn sized, there were size 1.
Sniff! My litle girl is growing up so fast.


a fair day

It was a nice day today and J says we gotta make efforts to do stuff we like or we're gonna go crazy. So she found a crafts fair to go to. About a 15 min drive, all paved paths so we used the stroller. L loves the car and loves bumpy paths so she slept most of the time. Got lots of compliments on how adorable she is and lots of "Oh my gosh she's so small!"

L is almost a month old already. Incredible. And she's going through a personality change these past few days. She's much harder to soothe but she's also more interested in dangly things (like the mobile or the stuff hanging from the play mat). She makes more eye contact too and I think can focus on further distances. So I think maybe her crankiness is boredom, that she wants more stimulation and play time. This is great because it's more I can do and interact with her.

I'm also feeding her once a day. J pumps a few ounces into a bottle and I take over one of the night feedings so she can sleep more. That's been wonderful, lots of eye contact. Real bonding time.


new bonds

I fed the baby last night (not formula, pumped breast milk). In hindsight I guess it went fine but at the time it was a disaster. I didn't know what to do and much to my surprise neither did J. Not that she should have, I guess. I just thought (wrongly) that as she was learning about breastfeeding she'd also be learning about bottle-feeding. So we're both flailing about and the baby is feeding and drooling and then had one of her big spit ups (which always unnerves me) and by the end of it I'm a wreck and feeling like a failure of a parent.

But tonight it's back up on the horse. This time I looked up bottle-feeding in some of our books and... they had nearly nothing to say. So I concluded that it wasn't as tricky or difficult as I thought it must be so I should just go for it and be confident and trust in my instincts. And I did and it went about as fine as last night (and with less split up but still enough that I changed both her outfit and mine afterwards). Still room for improvement but at least this time I felt great as we sat there - me trying to burp her or just keep her comfortable till she got her food down - it felt good and there grew a whole new level of connection and bonding. I'm very grateful J has let me share in this part of parenting (till now she's been the sole provider of food).

There's still some room for improvement but tommorow is another chance and I'm eagerly looking forward to it. :)


Baby Tetris

Will holding the baby upright get her to stop crying? How about on her side? In a football hold? Cradle hold? Over the sholder? Keep rotating the baby till you find the magic position.

Couldn't get through to Dancing With the Stars to vote. :(

I'd like to see Dancing With the Fellowship - the nine main actors from The Fellowship of the Ring competing on Dancing With the Stars. I think Sean Aston would surprise us all. You heard it here first.


lovely math

A rocking chair + a good book + my baby daughter sleeping bundled on my chest = a great way to spend an evening.


my accent

Courtesy of my friend earthshine.

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Mid-Atlantic. This is what everyone calls a Philadelphia accent although it's also the accent of south Jersey, Baltimore, and Wilmington. Well, everyone that lives near there, that is. Outsiders can tell you talk differently from them even though they can't tell what your accent is.

You're probably from somewhere near New York City, possibly north Jersey, or Connecticut or Rhode Island. If you are from New York City you may be one of the types who people never believe when you say you're from New York.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?


yay I'm a flood victim

Yes that's our apartment complex in the news.
Yes we've voluntarily evacuated ourselves to Dad and R's place.
Yes J's fine and no sign of baby yet.
No "Cars" is not as good as other recent Disney & Pixar films.


I used to feel overwhelmed, confused, scared...
but now I am totally comfortable, even confident...
about walking around Babies R Us.

We are nth in line for take-off

Woke up kind of grumpy this morning. I think I'm getting tired of the waiting. Any minute now my life is going to change in a major way forever. Any minute now... It's a little like waiting for the airplane to start boarding but it's delayed and they're not giving you any updates. You're free to bop about the airport - get some food, go to the bathroom - but you know you shouldn't wander off too far or get involved in anything too big because that plane could start boarding any minute.



jesus_jeff's post reminded me...

I'm gonna give this a try. I think it may be more my speed anyway since I usually only (feel like) I have a sentence to say and not a treatise. My point is: who else among you have started Twittering? I want friends. Feel free to post your Twittername in the comments; mine is kc2dpt.


video killed the radio star

Finally got past the baby-shower-weekend. Ugh. I am never planning a surprise party for anyone ever. I try very hard not to lie and juggling that with trying to not spoil the surprise is too much for me to bear.

But, the party was nice, lots of people, lots of presents for the baby, J got her "welcome into motherhood" party. And I got to hang with Atlas for a while. I asked him what he wanted to do and he immediately said "White Castle". For those of you in the know we hit the one on Hylan Blvd. Then we hit the mall for a bit. But like the time earthshine and I drove around the city (also enroute to sliders) there were too many cars and it took too long to get anywhere. In hindsight I should've picked a closer spot so we could spend more time hanging and less time weaving through traffic. Not that a nice drive can't be a good hang; it just requires less traffic. Nevertheless, it was a good time. Food: tasty. Talk: pleasant. As has been the case for a while, Atlas' conversation focused on his kids... but me being an imminent father myself made it much more relevant and (dare I say) interesting.

I just finished washing another pile of dishes and I feel satisfied by my efforts.

Earlier this evening, J and I watched a few MTV videos she taped from back in the day followed by an episode of the Muppet Show (guest: Elton John). That was fun. Now she's in bed, I'm eating a slice of Ellios and sharing the warm feeling in my belly and heart.