Monday, August 28, 2006

Another Week of Firsts

Found this shot of Jacob from our last week in

London. Wow! He has changed so much in the past 9 months. He is pictured here in a cafe on Kensington Park Road (near Portobello Road) in Notting Hill getting a muffin before school. Seated at his left was the first love of his life, Edie Roth. So, two coincidences here: 1) she was born on the exact same day, year and city (April 29th 2003 in London) and her dad, Chris, like me is an Eagles fan. Anyway, we miss Edie.

First Number 1 - Schoolyard Bully. So a couple of firsts to report from the past week. Tania kept Jacob home from school because she was worried that he might have chicken pox since Andy had 8-10 bumps on his body and Jacob got one. He never developed any more. ??? So she took him to the park to be sure that he was still active (proving that there is no guilt in spreading chick pox as long as the people don't know you ;-) and he was playing in the water fountains. A bigger boy came up to him and shoved him on the ground making Jacob cry. Tania saw this happen and wanted to teach Jacob a lesson so she said, "You can cry if you want to but it's much better to shout back at the boy and tell him that pushing is mean and you don't like it." Jacob naturally asked, "Should I shove him back?" to which she replied "no." (side note: depends how big his Daddy is ;-) So Jacob told me about it when I put him to bed and I suddenly realized that this sweet boy of mine is going to have to grow up and learn all of life's lessons the hard way - one at a time. We'll just make sure he takes Karate!

First Number 2: We were in the swimming pool this morning and Jacob announced to me, "Daddy, I've got a good joke for you." Really? 3 years old and he's telling jokes? Even just the way he phrased it to me was so strange - like a teenager. Anyway, he soon proved that either he got his grandfather Zeide's strange Columbian sense of humor or he can't remember punch lines like his Daddy. Joke: "What do you get when you cross 4 lines?" "What, Jacob, I don't know?" "A cock-a-doodle-doo." Get it? Me, too. By bed time the joke had morphed into a cock-a-doodle-poo-poo - but I won't go there

Andy's still growing like a weed. He now wants to stand all the time and his top teeth are now fully visible. He is eating small types of food (Cheerios, Stage 3 Gerber with lumps, small unidentifiable food objects from the floor - presumably dropped by Jacob a week ago, carpet fuzzballs and basically anything that he can fit into his mouth. We now have to watch him when we put him in the baby playpen because he's using his new teeth like a rat and trying to gnaw through the mesh on the side of playpen.

Tania & I had a normal adult week and are getting back in the swing of things. Last weekend we had dinner out on Saturday night with the Kennedy's (first time alone out with them since we moved to Palo Alto even though he was my college roommate and lives 1 block away! - that's how hectic our lives have been). Aunt Eileen and the girls babysat so that we could have a few G&T's and a bottle of wine - we got home at midnight! Sunday moring wasn't feeling 100% after 2 straight nights of drinking (Friday night was a work event). We had our new friends, Gerardo and Nurit over for a later afternoon casual dinner. They're from Mexico City and MAN does he know how to make a Margarita. Just what I needed to cure my headache! Had a great afternoon / evening until the kids went into meltdown mode.

This past Friday Tania & I had a romantic dinner in San Francisco and a FAB restaurant called the Fifth Floor, which was modern French food in a chic, upscale urban environment. This really rivaled some of the best restaurants in London. We then went and saw A Chorus Line, which is playing in San Fran before going to Broadway. "Hello 12, hello 13, hello love."

Last night we went out for a couple dinner with Michael (Tania's friend from B-School) and his wife Ellen to Zibbibbo, a modern Mediterranean restaurant in Palo Alto while Uncle Matt stayed home with the kids. It was also our first night out alone with them as a couple even though they live a 15 minute drive from us. Hopefully this is a good omen and a sign of things to come.

Later this week we'll make the drive down to San Diego to go and see Bubbie and Steven. We're excited to see their new house and also to visit Lego Land and Wild Animal Park. Should get some good photos for the next posting.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Getting Vertical

August 17th is a day for the record books. It was the date that Tania & I each individually came into Andy's bedroom and found him standing up in his crib - a full 2 months earlier than his big brother! And 2 days later, as you can see, he has already become a pro. Can re-baby-proofing the house be far behind?

The last few weeks have been pretty challenging ones for ole' Blue Eyes and even more challenging for Mommy. We think Andy might have had a bout of infant chicken pox - he had about 10 bumps on his body and a temperature for 3 days. As a result he was up several nights in the middle of the need feeling pretty grumpy. What else is going on in Andy land? We confirm that his genetic DNA is closely related to his brother and Daddy (and, I guess, all of the male species) because he is obsessed with remote controls, telephones, the computer and his favorite meal has become wires. In fact, he is below my chair as I type trying to get the computer cables between his shiny new set of teeth. In addition to the 2 charming baby bottom teeth he now has an matching pair emerging from the top. So he also now eats Cheerios - he skipped right by those wimpy Rice Krispies.

And Jacob is doing well, too. He has grown out of his temper tantrum phase (momentarily, I'm sure) and has decided to stay in his classroom every morning in stead of driving Mommy crazy. Maybe Pavlov had a point? Chocolate ice cream good, naughty corner bad. He sure does love his chocolate, our boy. No mistaking from that chocolatey smile in the picture.

And he is maturing in so many other ways. (Note: all non parents skip to the next paragraph as you won't appreciate this one ;-) I remember Tania once told me that one of her mom's favorite child milestones was when the kids could blow their own noses. That must be such an wintery, East Coast pleasure. My favorite milestone to date has just been crossed. When Jacob "goes poo" he now wipes his own bum afterward AND washes his hands. YES! Nose blowing? He can save that for first grade as far as I'm concerned.

Uncle Matt is still with us. It has been enjoyable spending so much time with my little bro - even if it is just late night after a long day at work watching Jon Stewart together. I think he secretly watches them before I get home and then re-watches them with me later on. Just a guess. He has been staying in NorCal while Adrienne is back in San Diego trying to finalize a buyer for their house. Matt has a job in South San Francisco and they are planning to relocate permanently up here (if anything is permanent these days). It will be great to have them nearby and, as I witnessed with Chris & Katie, it is great for older cousins to play with younger ones - a fruitful two-way relationship. I haven't managed to snap any good photos of Matt with the kiddies - I guess I'm too tired every evening. Note to self: must do better.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Random Thoughts from Jacob ...

I was lying in bed with Jacob this evening trying to put him to bed and the neurons of his developing brain started to fire randomly. Where did he suddenly pull up the memory to say, out of the blue ... "Remember, Kay Mama and I laughed so hard when the birdie flew into the window. He he he." Before you start worrying that he made up a story about a near bird fatality he didn't. It really happend and the bird flew away fine. But HOW did that random thought from 2 months ago appear unprompted?

Other quickies:
1. I was reading him a REALLY f'ing boring book about Dora the Explorer and Christmas (which one of you tortured us with this present? can't be my family ;-) Anyway, I really hate this book (and all Dora books for that matter - so, no, I'm not anti Christmas) and it is loooooooooong (20 pages or so). So I decided to skip a page and see if he would notice. He didn't. Except that when I had finished the book he then told me I missed the page where Dora gives presents to the fishes and whales and he made me turn back to the page and read it.

2. I was reading my second least favorite book, Dora and the Animals. We got to the page where he has to do the sound of the chickens. He told me to do it and I HONESTLY couldn't remember the sound that a chicken made. I tried to fake it by doing a duck like sound, which he didn't buy at all. We laughed really hard. He then corrected me. In case you're wondering, it's "balk, balk, balk". Sorry, Moni, I only eat the things.

3. Another random memory from our last trip back East. He said, "Do you remember my cousin, Devon?" "Yes, of course." "We saw a deer at his house." I want to understand better how the brain and memory works - where does he pull these corkers from?

4. In bed this evening he asked me, "Why did you come here?" to which I obviously replied, "Where? What do you mean?" "California." To which I ask, was this really a profound question or did he just stumble on to this question randomly. I'm betting on the former. Three year olds are much smarter than I thought.

5. Finally, he got in trouble with Mommy this week. She put him in his room for punishment. He got out a black crayon and colored ALL over the walls. I called my mom that evening and told her Jacob finally paid me back for all my childhood mischief. Apple. Tree.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Enough Said

I have been asked many times why we chose to move back to California, but as they say, "a picture is worth 1,000 words".

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We recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and I surprised Tania with a trip to San Francisco for the weekend. We live about an hour drive South so with the kids Tania hasn't been able to have many urban experiences since we left London. We woke up Saturday morning and Tania had no clue. My brother Matt is staying with us and he had (bravely for a man with no kids yet) agreed to stay with the kids for the weekend. We left at about noon and made the journey up. We were a bit worried for Matt because the whether predictions was for the hottest 2 days of the year (and some of the hottest days on record).

We arrived at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, which is on the 38-48th floors of the 3rd tallest building in San Francisco. As you can see from the pictures our room had magnificent views of the city. In fact, we could see all the way from the Golden Gate bridge on our left to the SF Bay Bridge on our right and everything in between. We also had an unobstructed view of the sublime Transamerica building, Coit Tower, Alcatraz and the entire San Francisco Bay. It is amazing that we were actually able to tear ourselves away from our hotel room and visit the city.

We took a lovely boat ride across the bay to Sausolito where we had a couple of daytime margaritas in honor of Kay as we ate lunch staring back at the skyline of San Fran. At dinner we went to a local French restaurant, Fleur de Lys. The food was spectacular but we found the service wanting. At the top restaurants in Europe you have professional waiters that look at their jobs as careers. In the SF Bay Area it seems that all you get in semi-professional "surfs up" type mentalities where everything is so casual - not the experience we are used to for doling out the kind of cash they expect in a top-notch restaurant. But the experience was good and the mood romantic.

We have to admit that we did think often of the kids at home and of Matt. Not that we were worried about his ability to watch the kids (we were not) but we felt so bad that it was a sauna in our house in Palo Alto and Matt was stuck there. We obviously owe him a big thank you.

We continued the luxurious experience Sunday morning by ordering breakfast in bed and lounging about all morning reading the New York Times and taking in the views. So we promised ourselves to do this at least once a quarter.

Non sequiter - I am typing this Sunday morning August 6th. Andy woke up at 7:00 and has been crawling around the floor playing with toys while I type. I just looked down (he is beneath my legs) and he was chewing on my computer cord. Doh! See last post - these kiddies love wires!

Mr. Precocious

So Andy took his first crawl steps about 2 weeks ago and he is proving to be more similar to his brother than we thought. Tania was first able to get Jacob to crawl by putting the remote control about 5 feet in front of him and, as a boy, you know how much he wanted it. Andy was the exact same. My brother Matt did an experiment and laid out a bunch of toys in front of Andy and the remote control mixed among them. No prizes for guess which object he went straight for.

In just 2 weeks Andy is now crawling all the way across the entire room to the point where we need to baby proof again. And just like his brother he crawls straight behind the TV in search of wires and cables. What is it with boys? The one thing that really surprised us, though, was how quickly Andy was sitting up and even ... standing! As you can see from this picture he crawls over to the toy box, dips his head in to look and then stands himself up at just 7 months. Unbelievable. I think we also forgot how many bruises and bumped heads come from this stage. Andy's new nickname - egghead. Bye for now. So glad to be back in Cali.

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