Monday, March 26, 2012

My Little Love and Bunny Ears

I find myself naturally referring to my children with terms of endearment. I suppose, also naturally, some terms I naturally go to for Ana are also terms I have used for Tami but I already asked and Tami said that it's ok.

Well, My Love, my little love- to be more specific, is growing up so much! Today she waved at me when I left for work. Today she walked over to hang out with me when I was getting ready for work. Today she came up to me, arms raised, when she... wanted to tell me I wasn't paying enough attention to her signs to go potty and now needed to change her diaper. But later!...she came walking right up to me again, arms up, because she wanted me to pick her up and love her. I melted. She just made herself comfortable in my arms and let me love her. I was going to be late today already but I would have been late just for this as I do for both my babies quite often. And, it was so worth it. My Ana is starting to openly love me and I can't imagine how much I would do to get this if I didn't already have it. And, she waved bye to me. I love this kid so much.

Here are some pics of bunnies. Tami pulled out the ears from the decorations in the garage.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Reading in Bed

This morning I was so tired but I got up when Enzo did so that Tami could sleep a little longer. I have been doing that for a while now; one of the ways to show her that I love her. Increasingly, however, it is not a one way gift on weekend mornings. I was so tired again this Saturday morning that when Tami woke up I jumped back into bed and she had both children while I slept a little more. But before I could fully relax and sleep, Tami jumped in the shower and that meant that I could only be half asleep. Luckily both kids were willing to be completely focused in bed flipping through books and I was able to occasionally open one eye to see them and assure myself all was well. Ana amused herself with Rainbow Fish and Enzo "read" to himself from various pages of Go, Dog. Go! and Buenas Noches Luna.

This was so fun for me in my half sleep. I enjoyed hearing what Enzo has picked up and memorized from the countless bedtime readings of these books. I generally make a bigger deal of sounding out each letter on the cover of Go, Dog. Go! and so did Enzo. Then I realized how well he knew up and down, in and out, the sun is up, and more from various pages. I know he knows these words in real life but it was cool to hear him "reading" the words to himself in the morning. He turned the pages but several pages grabbed each time and he simply read from his memory of which ever page showed up. "You like my hat?" Super awesome. The whole time Ana looked at the pages of her book. Tami says she doesn't remember Enzo liking books this much at her age and this is yet another interesting difference caused by her learning from him.

Then Enzo opened Buenas Noches Luna. This is a book we have in Spanish and in English, Good Night Moon. I totally enjoyed listening to Enzo read this one. Two favorite parts of that reading? When Enzo got to the picture of the cow jumping over the moon and read it both ways and pointed (I opened my eyes for this) "vaca over the moon, vaca luna, cow over the moon, cow, vaca." The other favorite is when Enzo got to the end of the book. I always get quieter the last couple of pages and whisper the end, so does Enzo. I couldn't even hear the words he chose for the last pages as he whispered but the very last was "good night." Adorable.

I keep wanting to record a couple of other reading-with-Enzo-facts. Every time we get to this page of Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Enzo gets excited, points, and says "Mariachi Class!" He loves mariachi class and apparently this picture is what his class looks like to him. He gets so excited I never have corrected him. I just let him enjoy his thoughts about mariachi class.

Also, when ever we get to the party in the tree at the almost end of Go, Dog. Go!, Enzo will usually point to the dog with his legs up out of the tree and the dog helping him on the right side of the tree and say "Ayuda." That means help and I think that is sweet.

And now for the funniest thing today, no book involved. It was nap time so all four of us were in bed. Ana eventually fell asleep and Enzo was lying down talking away but just wouldn't doze off. Eventually, after a very long and amusing rest in bed, we all got up and left Ana to sleep. But before that, I got a good laugh in. Some of the highlights included listening to my son sing Jingle Bells. I have no idea how that got into his head at this time of year. "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, ye-ye-yeallyeahayeall-la-la-yea-ya-ya-a Wayyyyy." Awesome. And then there was my super favorite moment. I was fake sleeping, eyes closed, the whole time and constantly trying not to laugh or smile too obviously big. I was just hoping he would finally close his eyes and sleep. Enzo was lying with his nose two inches from mine. We share a pillow. Yes. He never used a pillow for two years and several months ago I offered him a corner and he liked it. Now, we share a pillow. Yes, I need to buy another pillow. So, as I was saying. We are two inches away, nose to nose. I am wide awake with eyes closed and fake sleeping and had been for twenty minutes. Enzo starts playing peek-a-boo with me but not expecting a response because I am "mimis." So, he says peek-a-boo in that kind of high pitched fun game voice people do when playing with kids. And then he continued in a higher pitched voice with "I see you "Papiiiiiiiiii, I seeeeeee youuuuuuuuuu. I seee you Papiiiiiiii, I seeeeeeee youuuuuuu!" Ha! I couldn't hold it! I smiled, I laughed, the ruse was over. The Kid started laughing when he realized I wasn't asleep either, enjoying the response he got out of me and then we were done with "nap time."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

3 Teeth!

Guess who has three teeth? Ana! Top, right of center, has joined the party.

Also, check out this picture. Evan and his son George joined us for Sunday brunch and we enjoyed the excellent company. Evan and Sarah will be having their second around the same time Ana turns one. But Evan already knows how to read to three at one time!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ana and the Soccer Ball

Ana seems to have grown again over night. I don't mean in height though she has gotten taller. I should really say that she seems to have matured over night. When I got home yesterday from work, Ana was more mature, more alert, more "talkative" and even casual; relaxed in her conversational tone of babel. Yes, relaxed conversational babel; it's adorable and delightful. Though she had said her first clear word some time ago, she has not spoken in clear discernible English or Spanish since and so we have decided to enjoy that experience as a fantastic talking anomaly and are expecting to again enjoy the first word experience with Ana some time in the future. I wonder what her first word will be the second time around. Well, as I was saying about yesterday; Ana has matured. She is still a baby but at a next new phase of baby-ness. She looks with clarity. She moves with purpose. She is more confident. Though she was never lacking in confidence; there is noticeably more confidence in her possession now.

Tami had also texted me while I worked yesterday that Ana was now kicking around the soccer ball. Cool. When I got home after a late meeting, Enzo was asleep but I did get to spend some time with my daughter. Besides being able to see this new level of maturity that she has developed, I also got to see her kick the soccer ball. It wasn't just a kick of the ball. She is dribbling the ball; kicking it one foot after the other, controlling the ball and moving along with regular short kicks without stopping her progression across the whole room. It was so cool to see this little baby dribbling the soccer ball; a baby that was just learning to walk for any distance a couple of weeks ago. Like Enzo did when he first got these soccer balls as gifts from my coworker Linda, Ana kicks the ball and takes it to the end of a room and then calmly bends over, picks up the ball, sets it down in a new direction, and goes off again as if these biomechanic accomplishments were no big deal and not the absolutely impressive success of physics and human biology that they most definitely are. My super star. She is amazing. Because she is still so young, all of this happens in comparably slow motion and allows one to savor the beauty and adorableness of my gorgeous girl as she walk-kicks a ball across a room. I will try and stop next time to get video. This time, it was too difficult to stop watching.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I left work late on Wednesday, came home, took a short nap, and we all packed for a trip. I had taken two days off so that we could go to a CABE conference for bilingual education in Sacramento. Tami was presenting and that meant I got a lot more kiddo time. And, one thing Tami and I are great at is traveling together. Every overnight trip, even if educational and work related, is vacation. Here is the trip in pictures.

This always makes me laugh. This picture was taken at 3:32 am on Thursday morning when we arrived at our hotel in Sacramento, California. That's not what makes me laugh. What does? All of this for two adults, one toddler, and one baby for three days and three nights. In the upper right area of the mass of "necessities" is a blue bag. If I were alone, that's all I would have had.

The number of birds in the trees on one of our walks was truly remarkable. Thus my remark. It would have taken more pictures to show all of the trees so heavily "bird-ed" and audio to hear the cool sounding commotion.

Kids playing in the park of the California State Capital. You can see the Capitol building through the trees.

The cutest walker. I know, no favorites. Enzo is currently the most adorable runner, though.

When the kids were asleep I downloaded an app that lets me play with filters and borders, etc. on my phone. The next three photos I experimented with it on.

Eating lunch on the steps of the Capitol. Those are our bags, not litter. We picked them up.

On the bench at the giant Capitol Park surrounding the Capitol.

Ana gets her first restaurant meal! Until this one, we had only ordered sides of avocado, or fruit, or given her food from our meals. She, as you can see, enjoyed it very much. Tata asked who got more, Ana or the floor and table. My honest answer was that it appeared to be a close call and probably a tie. Look how cute my Ana Uku is.

Exploring downtown Sacramento. This was the best part of each day. As much as I enjoyed all of the time, it was fun when Tami joined us and we all explored together. Look how happy Enzo is with his Mama.

"I like it," Enzo said, pointing to the "big truck" inside the building. This was in the Pizza Rock where we enjoyed a delicious late breakfast for me, lunch for Enzo, and nap for Ana while Tami learned new good stuff. Which reminds me, Tami's session where she presented went awesome. I heard the pre-version as she practiced in the car on the drive late at night. She was complimented on her delivery and content. No surprise to me. I had thought she was good looking when I met her but I fell for her after every time I saw her speak to a crowd of adults or students when I met her as a teacher. She is an impressive woman and knows her stuff, and how to address a crowd.

Also of special note, Tami told me that the time when she took Ana to a session on our vacation and Enzo and I had just Papi and Enzo time, she saw Jose-Luis Orozco between sessions, a famous bilingual children's musician who also presented at the conference and who's music Tami and the kids are very familiar with. Actually, she heard his guitar before she saw him. And he asked for Ana's name and sang to her a song for Ana! Awesome.

Ana walking the halls of the Sacramento convention center. It was a long hall and the longest walk-crawl-walk-crawl-walk I have ever seen her do. You can tell she enjoyed the stretch after sleeping in the stroller for over an hour.

I missed the photo by the time I got my phone out of Enzo talking to Oso, holding him standing at the window, and pointing out the world outside. It was awesome. What you see here is Enzo still talking to Oso and making him comfortable for a nap; "Mimis Oso." Enzo has never been one to carry around an animal, and does not sleep with any, but before this photo, Enzo had carried, snuggled, and talked to this Oso for a long time in the stroller while I pushed the kids and we walked through the city.

On the way home, the kids slept. Then, close to home, maybe 45 minutes away, they awoke. We pulled over as Ana was making the noise that she needed to pee. Enzo said he's hungry so I gave him a squeezy and we drove on, hoping to get home before Ana decided she was in the car too long. A squeezy is our non-environmentalist-guilty-pleasure. They are pre-packaged little packets of organic vegetables, fruits and grains in a disposable squeezable package that comes up to a built in straw with a twist-off cap. Thirty-five minutes away from home, Ana decided that she has had enough of this whole sitting in a seat belt experience. We were forced to stop listening to The Help as an audio book and now have to wait for the next trip to hear the last 30 minutes. So, we pulled over at the Newpark Mall to walk around and that's when I discovered a mess in Enzo's side of the car and he told me, in the shortest "Spanglish" sentence possible of explanation:

"He come." Pronounced like He Comb-Eh, meaning, "He eats." Ha! and Arghhhhh!!!!

Can't even think of being frustrated with a kid this cute. Even if his Mama did just wash 20 gallons of food out of his car seat covers the day before this trip. I'm in trouble as a parent with authority, for sure. The things I have noticed that make me non responsive or frustrated with my children are, respectively, falling without hitting the head area in any way and aggression towards a person or animal.  If they avoid that, they can probably control me to get whatever they want in life. Wow. I just typed that. Didn't mean to, but I just saw a major revelation take form that I shall have to consider later. In the mean time, so adorable.

Back to the non-philosophical. It was a very good trip. Home on Saturday, and that means Sunday breakfast day soon after. Both my parents and Tami's parents went out of town. We wondered if this would be the first Sunday with no guests for breakfast. Not so. Nicole, Kelley and Tiffany joined us for food and friendship. Nicole also stayed late and played with us in the back yard.

My kids playing in the designated digging-in-the-dirt pot. Peter Gabriel lyrics come to mind; a good song. Better yet though, a favorite poem by Rumi comes to mind and makes me happy and smile. (I'll add it to the end of this post.)

Hockey in the back yard with Nicole. Oh yeah; last Sunday we sang happy birthday to Shea, Nicole's adorable daughter who joins us every other Sunday. Every single day since, without fail, Enzo has sang happy birthday to Shea though we haven't seen her in that time. Of his own volition. Every day. My favorite was in Sacramento, the day Ana ate her first kids meal ordered just for her, when a nearby table had a birthday and the employees started to sing happy birthday. Enzo sang out "HAPPY birthday to SHEA!" Ha!

Because we missed Kelley's birthday, Tami and I both thought Enzo would be happy that he would get to sing to Kelley today after breakfast. But as Kelley and Tiffany were leaving on their new motorcycle and I tried to sing happy birthday to Kelley, Enzo sang "Happy Birthday to Shea....." Clearly, he adores that child, but how can one not?

My thoughts for Ana in this picture: "Fine, if no one is going to explain this game to me, then I'll teach myself while you all are chasing a soccer ball."

More of my thoughts for Ana: "Look Papi, I'm a SPIDER!"

It's a good life, indeed.

I am a fortunate one.

Lucky mud.

And now, to close, as promised, with the above referenced Rumi poem. A favorite Rumi poem of mine.

An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.
A head has one use: for loving a true love.
Legs: to run after.

Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,
for learning what men have done and tried to do.
Mysteries are not to be solved. The eye goes blind
when it only wants to see why.

A lover is always accused of something.
But when he finds his love, whatever was lost
in the looking comes back completely changed.

On the way to Mecca, many dangers: thieves,
the blowing sand, only camel's milk to drink.

Still, each pilgrim kisses the black stone there
with pure longing, feeling in the surface
the taste of the lips he wants.

This talk is like stamping new coins. They pile up,
while the real work is being done outside
by someone digging in the ground.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ten Months!

My beautiful girl is ten months old today. Following is the picture and accompanying text message my wife sent to me while I worked. They make me smile. I love my Ana Uku. This weekend she laughed over and over as I tickled her feet and pretended to eat them up one evening. It was the best thing I did all weekend and I did some good stuff. And now she climbs up onto chairs by herself.

"She climbed up by herself & sat down. She then climbed down. Up, down, up, down, up, stand up n chair, almost fall over, sit down, climb down... She continues..."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Trip Facts

I finished the calculations from the 2009 cross country motorcycle trip I went on. They are listed on the web page here. Here are the interesting facts copied from that web page:

Start Date: 6/14/09
End Date*: 7/9/09
End Date 2*: 11/8/09
Riding Miles: 7,561
Days*: 28

Cost of Trip*: $3987
Total Cost to Me*: $4687
Cost/Mile*: $0.53
Cost/Day*: $142.39

Cheapest Gas: $2.39/gal in Brookshire, Texas
Most Expensive Gas: $7.50/gal at Hwy 10 near Hwy 20, Texas**
2nd Most Expensive:
$3.40/gal in Barstow, CA

Miles/Gal Trip Avg: 31.69
Miles/Riding Day: 329
Miles/Day*: 270
Most Miles Day: 665
Least Non-0 Miles Day: 10

Waffle House Visits: 6

* = After day 26 I flew home and left my bike in AZ.  I returned to complete the last 2 days of the ride several months later. I used 28 days for the trip fact calculations and run costs with and without expenses of flying away and driving back to finish the ride. Also, some expense documents were lost and estimates were used for those expenses.

** = A huge multi-state southwest power outage meant gas stations were all down for miles and miles and I was way too empty.  I, and others, had to buy two gallons off guys selling gas from gas cans at a closed gas station far from anything (those guys ran out while I was there and many were still hoping to buy- I was lucky to get 2 gallons). Then I rode the highway at 45mph to conserve gas and make it until I eventually found a station with power.