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the tj chronicles 80
this is the last entry in the tj chronicles saga! i know, this is a sad day for everyone … but, you will be able to follow the adventures of travis in facebook … if you are lucky enough to be his friend, that is.
i would like to dedicate this entry to a summary, both in words and in picture from both denise (blogger) and me (facebook), of the weirdeurotrip2012 from which we just returned.
without further ado …
i hope you enjoyed it!
wednesday, june 20, 2012
the tj chronicles 79
i know, i know, long overdue … just been very busy, but the good news is that i have post-processed all pictures i hadn't done yet and there were over a 1000! without much further ado, here's 12 pictures from the last 5 weeks.
travis in his now most favorite spot, on the entertainment center messing with the dvds, after eating his favorite food, bwead teela:
he is still loving bath time, but his skin reacts more (and worse) to water in wintertime, because it has been unseasonly dry:
of course, he still hams it up, too:
even though, and i'm not sure if you can tell, this is a totally fake laugh:
like a monkey, travis still likes picking up or holding things with his feet/toes:
when he gives it, travis has a beautiful, radiating smile:
and his laugh is truly infectious:
eating a cadbury cream egg:
this is his face after eating yo-yo (yogurt):
playing on the floor, a "train riding the train tracks":
his luscious and bedhead hair:
during a recent, unofficial measurement, travis now weighs about 41lbs (18.5kg) and 40in (101.6cm), so he is as big as a 4 year-old and he is not even 3! we have ordered a booster seat, both for in the car and for our upcoming trip to europe, because he is fast outgrowing the car seat he has now. even though we hoped this car seat would last us 5-6 years it still has been great, since we've been on 5 long road trips since we've had travis. now it's on to the next level. this goes for everything. we hope to put him in daycare for a couple of days per week, just so he can interact with other kids his age, or older, since he is lacking that at home. even though he is very comfortable around us, he does need some outside stimulation as much as we, but denise the most, need some reprieve from him. the terrible twos and threes are no joke!
saturday, march 10, 2012
the tj chronicles 78 first edition of 2012, happy new year!
now that the holidays are behind us we can focus on daily routines again after overeating and overdrinking. not that it made a difference to travis, because he didn't really grasp the concept of christmas just yet, although he didn't mind getting presents.
this is travis playing with one of his gifts (outside of the frame) on the desk:
he finally got the hang of his pop-goes-the-weasel sock monkey:
i call this the brad pitt, a look designed to make him look a lot dumber than he is:
you have seen a variation of this particular picture numerous times before, but travis still loves taking a bath and playing in the water:
he goes crazy if pours the water out of his cup:
i think i will "blow up" this picture because it is just full of win:
travis typically concentrates very much when he is in the process of filling his cup and pouring it out again:
getting a little upset, because he can't seem to grab and hold on to the water coming out of the faucet:
but happy as a clam making splashes in the bathwater:
these next pictures i have already shared on my facebook wall, because it was just *too* cute when he asked for a nutella sandwich, so here they are again, without any commentary:
suffice to say, travis likes bwead ateela!
travis still also likes going and being outside. here he is playing with a ball:
anatomy of a travis throw. first he counts one, too, fwee:
br> then he lets go:
and then he looks at the ball intently, as if to will it higher:
throwing the ball into the sun:
and still the sun shines in his eyes:
this picture is taken against all basic principles of photography, but i turned out quite alright:
and another one in black & white:
this is travis getting a little angry at me for taking pictures:
the travis death glare:
once his big sister came home from school and played with him and his ball he was OK again:
personally, i love this shot of our two youngest:
and this concludes another two weeks in the life of travis :-)
saturday, january 7, 2012
the tj chronicles 77 the xmas edition!
and what a christmas it was, hoo boy! it started, on friday, with prepping gifts, or, getting rid of a ton of bananas that were doing an #occupyourfreezer:
yes, you are seeing 20 small and 2 large loaves of banana bread, and how they looked after baking, a nice golden brown:
it almost looked too good to give away, but we are not about the #occupythegrinch:
on friday night, after travis went to bed we also set up the tree. typically we would set it up the day after thanksgiving, but since the cats are into the bottom branches of the tree, even though it is a fake, plastic tree, and the skirt we thought we'd wait a little longer. and of course, there's travis who has a difficult time understanding the word "no" and its meaning. this is the top of the tree:
the tree has a pretty white bow:
lookit, it is i:
you knew i had to do it, an abstraction of the lights in our christmas tree:
this is the entire tree, minus one ball … yes, travis got to it; he took one off of a tree branch, held it up and then tested to see if it would bounce when dropped onto the hardwood floor … guess what, it didn't:
a couple of packages of banana bread and a small jar of christmas spices:
the foil wrap with the red ribbon looked pretty nice:
travis does not understand the concept of christmas, yet, so he was oblivious to all that was going on around him. here he is playing with a tonka toy train, which he calls thomas:
here he is banging thomas on the desk:
and playing quietly on the floor, finally giving me one of his great smiles after me goading him for hours:
after christmas eve's dinner we and our guests, chris and sam from carrolton, spent some time in the kitchen talking about all sorts of stuff:
another abstraction of the christmas tree lights:
one of our prized christmas tree balls, a clear ball with a rainbow ribbon inside of it:
travis woke up at 8.30 on christmas day and instead of taking him down, i made pepper make his bottle and took him in our bathroom after i got him up and changed/cleaned him. denise was still sleeping after staying up into the wee hours of the morning and i knew that if travis would see the presents under the tree he would be unstoppable. after about an hour we had to take travis downstairs and as soon as he saw the boxes he was over it like white on rice. the first thing he saw was a cars puzzle of lightning mcqueen:
this is the rest of the christmas packages:
denise, pepper and travis opening their gifts:
for travis there was the cars puzzle, a curious george game set and a cars board game:
this is the cars puzzle completed (travis helped pepper complete it):
travis leafing through the curious george numbers book:
denise seeing santa's present, a dvd collection box of all of christopher titus' 4 stand-up routines, signed by the man himself:
travis also got a cars/lightning mcqueen tent:
pepper got books and a new nintendo ds with a game, a hello kitty nail kit and some other stuff. denise also got house slippers, which are photobombing this shot:
the tent set up:
travis coming out of the tent, after chasing his big sister through it:
but as far as travis goes, the big winner of this year's christmas was the train set:
it sings the alphabet, it has an elephant up front, you can shoot blocks into the carriage on which you can sit, clearly this thing is the awesomesauce:
driving his train past the cars tent:
and back on the train again:
and riding around on it:
breakfast was on request, because it's christmas:
travis kept on playing with his train:
it really is a nice piece of work, very intricate, even though it's probably made in china … don't mention it to #ows or the 99% ;-)
travis showing me the block with the double-u/worm on it:
and like with all of his toys, he gets close to the surface on which it sits to observe how it works:
dinner preparation started around 11am with the bird (duck? duck? goose!) being prepped for the oven, after more than a day brining in a cooler in the garage. below is the stuffing for the goose:
sweet potatoes boiling in the foreground:
braising red cabbage in the background:
steaming brussel sprouts off to the side:
and this is the goose cooking in the oven:
(i should have cleaned the inside of the oven window, i guess …)
watching titus episodes in anticipation of dinner:
travis still/again playing with his train, as he has been pretty much all day:
dinner table, set:
the goose (and i know it looks like it is charred, but that's how goose cooks) and underneath the skin it was pretty tender:
the dinner table with the plates loaded with sprouts on red cabbage (green on red, get it?!), a bowl of mashed & creamed sweet potatoes and sliced goose breast and some wings:
here we are digging in, even travis helped himself eat:
although everything tasted very nice, everyone's favorite, i think, were the mashed taters:
most of us cleaned up our plates:
after dinner we watched some more titus before our guests, chris and sam (remember?) headed back home. my christmas was complete by knowing that travis, denise, pepper and in their own way, campion and ellen, had a nice christmas at our weird place. naturally, i got presents too, but for me the biggest present was to see travis completely geeking out over his train. and now i am geeking out over this blog, since i am actually publishing it before i said i would … because i am *that* much of a geek :P
sunday, december 25, 2011
the tj chronicles 76 the post-halloween and pre-xmas edition!
this will be a weird (LOL) blog entry, because there are not many pictures that i haven't shared yet in facebook, but i wanted to do another blog before christmas, since i have a feeling i will be taking some pictures over the holiday weekend.
this is from the first time denise spoke at #ows #occupyatlanta about #blankettheearth and you can clearly see how interested travis is in what is going on right around him:
a beautiful fall day in our backyard, where pepper and travis are playing with the large blue ball:
just see how he is keeping an eye on the ball's trajectory:
a shot from up close while he was telling me about something:
during thanksgiving dinner, being a goofball:
eating something delicious, and wanting to share with the rest of the world all of this deliciousness:
at the #blankettheearth event for #ows #occupyatlanta, holding down the blanket with his sister and their goldfish:
checking out the trees in woodruff park:
at the #familiesforpeace event in piedmont park, personifying the 99%, the oppressed:
the event was right next to the playground, and he loved the small slide:
and he loved the swing:
and he loved the big slide:
couldn't get enough of it, we had to literally drag him out of the park when it was time to go home.
drinking appelsap, eating microwaved crackers with cheese and a side of marshmellows:
geek in training:
travis likes sitting in my lap at the desk watching youtube videos and it depends from day to day what he likes to see; sometimes it's sesame street videos with number counting, other times it's thomas the tank engine:
happy holidays everyone and check back soon for christmas pictures!
friday, december 23, 2011
the tj chronicles 75 the halloween edition!
travis after dressing up and make-up, mini-me:
there definitely is a resemblance … intentional or not *halo*:
although it took a whole lot to get him to smile AND look at the camera:
stepping off our driveway for his third halloween, although he probably doesn't remember the first two … and likely he will not remember this one either:
returning after one of the first trick-or-treats:
travis would ring the door bell, twice, and then start knocking on the door, followed by just turning the knob:
when the door would open he wouldn't say "trick or treat" but just a very well-meant "hi!":
denise had to stay behind, so she "manned" our trick-or-treat food stand:
pepper dressed up as juliet:
this was our jack o'lantern, still in style, so i guess you can see we did #occupyhalloween :P
travis d(r)owning his milk after bringing home the loot:
monday, october 31, 2011
the tj chronicles 74
it pains me to say, but i have been guilty of neglecting this blog. my work schedule and other household duties has been the lead cause for this neglect. also, as opposed to take pictures of travis i have actually been spending a lot of time playing with travis on the days i am home. so i guess, i personally have no lack of pictures, because there's tons of footage in my mind's eye. but, to assuage those of you who look to my blog to keep track of travis' growth, here's a load of pictures from the last 4 (four) months! (of course, some of these you may have already seen on facebook.)
travis "dressed up" as a rock star, complete with angry young man-look:
these blocks are to shout for:
a failed close-up turned pretty awesome, because you can clearly see travis' awesome smile:
one-two-threes, one-two-threes, one-two-threes:
(and this is what he is watching.)
travis has discovered discovering and he likes to take any toy, any object and watch it closely while dragging it in front of his eyes:
and while discovering he may sometimes pause and watch tv with intensity:
if it is super why or curious george or sesame (specifically elmo's world) he can completely lose himself:
travis still loves bathtime:
and he can still look like a rock star when his hair is shampooed:
this is how much he likes taking a bath:
playing with the water coming out of the bath faucet:
a quiet moment in the tub:
this is the look one would get if one would take away his lightning mcqueen shampoo bottle car:
but his radiant smile typically returns very fast:
followed by another pensive moment:
watching cars (by far his favorite movie):
two close-ups of travis' milk mouth:
… because sometimes Y …:
playing with lightning mcqueen in the bath tub:
us lazy and dirty hippies prior to going to the #ows #occupyatlanta event in woodruff park:
travis on marta:
travis looking at the protesters during the general assembly:
travis comfortably asleep:
no, this is not a cut on his face, just a line from a fold in his mattress cover:
when we went to the #ows #occupyatlanta #globalchange event travis attracted quite some attraction:
travis eating a turkey sandwich:
checking out a picture someone took of him:
playing and coloring with a few other kids:
more pictures of #oct15
travis all dressed up in kahkis and a plaid shirt:
travis playing with a toy thomas the tank engine:
it even comes with a track and the engine is batter operated. this is travis watching with glee how thomas passes him by:
FAO My Schwartz:
Travis cracking up at a singing giraffe:
hope you enjoyed these :-)
coming to an internet near you, soon, pictures of halloween!
sunday, october 30, 2011
the tj chronicles 73
since it took me 2 months to put a blog post up, you get to have a 2-for-1 special :-) lucky you :P
in the last month we went on 2 roadtrips (totaling 5000+ miles!) and following is the downpour of that.
at the beginning of july we drove up to vermont to spend independence day with aunt laurie and uncle kevin.
drinking at the kitchen table:
in the backyard, enjoying a fire:
during the pre-independence day fireworks at corey's in new hampshire:
looking at the fireworks:
running around all "fired up":
climbing the stairs:
eating a bagel with cream cheese …
… even there may be more around his mouth than in his mouth:
eating barbecued bratwurst in kevin's father's backyard on the 4th of july:
swinging in a swing for the very first time:
pepper and travis in the pool:
since my lovely wife bought me a waterproof (video) camera now there's also moving pictures of travis and the rest of the family :-)
the first one is recorded by pepper so don't blame me if you pass out watching it:
now if you survived the first video you may also try the second one, also filmed by pepper, where travis recites his 123s and ABCs:
two weeks after the vermont trip, we went on another cross-country trip, this time to denver, colorado. just like going up to vermont, getting to denver was a 2-day trip.
this is travis drinking his morning bottle in our hotel room in columbia, misery:
we stopped in topeka, ks, to meet with auntie kat in her cool refurbished place of business. travis was having a blast running through the long hallway … not sure what these expressions are, though:
after arriving saturday evening, on sunday we went for a drive through the rockies, more specifically the ridge trail road. in granby we stopped the tank up the (new) car and get provisions and we found a playground to let travis roam free for a bit. this is his second time on a swing:
travis in his car seat on top of the ridge trail road at a height of 12,183 feet (3,713 m) - hence travis' facebook status "i got high!":
on our way out of the rockies we were surprised by a thunder hailstorm. when we started our trip it was about a 100F (35C) but when we drove into the storm it got as cold as 40F (5C)! denise shot a video of us driving through it and this is the picture you see me taking:
the homewood suites in denver also have a pool, so one night we all went down to it, because we all know how much travis loves the water. he doesn't really swim yet, but he will kick his feet if you ask him to do so:
even denise went into the water and clearly that pleased travis greatly:
travis following me around with his eyes while i took pictures of our hotel room:
on friday we went to ft. collins to see our friend cami and while waiting for her outside her house travis walked around in the grass:
the friday after our return from denver we attended connor's 5th birthday pool party. travis walking and drinking through the fountains in the kiddie pool:
a close up of travis drinking and walking:
happily posing in front of the fountains:
trying to stop the water from coming out of the fountain shoots:
and since it didn't work with his hands he'd thought to try it with his foot:
travis in the big people pool:
this is The Undertoes!
the birthday boy, connor:
being taught the fist bump:
last but not least, another video featuring travis and the birthday boy and a whole host of other kids and people:
it's been a pretty busy period for travis and i'm sure he's gonna be thrilled to just be at home for a while.
sunday, july 31, 2011
the tj chronicles 72 the birthday edition
even though it's a little late …
… and it was published before, but i want it in my blog as well :-)
the dork likes dry bread:
even better is dry bread sitting ON the dining table.
the "birthday" banner as made by auntie patty:
the birthday cake as made by orna, the cake lady:
chaunte and dylan at/on the slide in our backyard:
having a good time out in the sun:
inside where it was a little more comfortable:
(we sang kumbaya ;-))
drinking something, probably water:
dylan posing on the couch:
connor explaining the universe, or his birthday hizzle …:
off in a corner:
"hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil:"
everybody playing around the yard castle:
all serious and bizniz:
practicing for the bleachers:
more fun in the sun:
we're behaving …
inside again, playing with a doorstop:
what time is it? cake time!
(i think he's alright …)
and so is lorelai:
eating cake all by yourself is not as easy it some people make it look:
sneezing and eating at the same time is quite a challenge:
but once the sneeze is gone it's business as usual:
the help was appreciated:
chaunte and dylan:
after dinner it's time for reflection:
his favorite gift:
showing his elmo camera to daddy:
handsome dylan with his handsome smile:
mesmerized by bubbles:
so that's where the bubbles come from!
they were not supposed to do that:
travis' big ABC blocks:
chasing bubbles again:
opa explaining the bubbles:
travis had a great birthday and the pictures show exactly that.
sunday, july 31, 2011
the tj chronicles 71 happy mother's day!
and because it of this momentous day there will be no banter, just pictures.
travis running in the back yard (for some reason he enjoys just running up and down the garden):
being "tackled" by his big sister makes him laugh almost uncontrallably:
and yes, he's got a cold again, but that doesn't stop him from climbing on everything:
travis doing his best george costanza pose:
he likes using both lily and sadie as pillows and both cats actually let him get away with it:
playing by the front door:
in the back yard again:
he loves his big sister:
he loves the sun, too:
a moment, by himself, pondering life's big questions:
in just a little over 2 weeks, grandpa and grandma will be here and i'm hoping that travis will have an absolute terrific time. next blog will probably be around the first week they're visiting, so stick around :-)
sunday, may 8, 2011
the tj chronicles 70
and another month just flew by again … you can see from the schedule i posted below what the last few weeks have looked like and what the rest of the year will look like. this means that only on the weekend i will have a chance to spend time with travis and contrary to what i have been doing i really should take more pictures of him.
he is still changing on a daily basis, growing up all healthy and stuff, eating all he can, with pasta being his absolute favorite. right now he is coming down with a cold again, so he is sneezing his little nose off, but despite his running nose he still wants to play and laugh.
he is learning every day as well, he knows his alphabet backwards and forwards and now i am working on teaching him the dutch alphabet, which confuses him, because he thinks that after 'e' (NL) comes 'b' and after 'i' (NL) comes 'f' … but i'm sure he will get there. he also knows the names of both our cats and he recognizes clocks and trucks when he sees them.
last weekend we did a road trip to attend the wedding of our very good friends eric and julie. on thursday evening, at travis' bedtime we started driving and around 9.30am we were at our hotel in dekalb, il, but since our room wasn't ready yet we had to hang out in the metropolis that is dekalb … while being mesmerized by the endless possibilities dekalb had to offer denise bought hair dye for pepper. after this we hung out at the local starbucks and as a surprise eric dropped by to welcome us.
after settling into our room and taking a nap all together, we went out for a dinner and after getting back denise washed, and highlighted pepper's hair. the next morning, after doing her hair and face this was the result:
the wedding and reception was from 12.30pm to 9pm and we were at the wedding location a little after noon and that's when we met up with our other good friend, sterling, who made looking cool cool:
travis slept through the wedding ceremony (luckily, considering the alternative: crying and screaming) and this is a shot of the wedding party after vows, rings and kisses were exchanged:
this is my absolute favorite shot of the day! not long after the wedding ceremony it actually started to snow and because the wind was directly on the windows of the town clubhouse, it left nice long streaks on them and when the wedding party went out on the balcony for official wedding photos, i took one from the inside:
travis actually got to play with kids his age (one 2 months older and one 1 year older than him) and he had no problem going over to introduce himself:
this is a picture of the official wedding photographer, donna, who flew in all the way from liverp…i mean manchester, england, and she tried and tried and tried taking a picture of travis (i hope she got one!):
travis and his new friends for the afternoon:
travis doing his wave and "hiiii":
by the looks of it this showing donna get a good & clear shot of travis:
the boys hamming it up:
the wedding cake, but the top tier only (there were 3 tiers):
and this is my second favorite shot of the day, the newlyweds out of focus behind the tables' centerpieces:
travis playing with a half empty water bottle:
this is where travis has his (wedding) cake and eats it:
it was so good, the wedding cake was literally all over him:
and another shot of pepper, noticing i was taking pictures of her, while she was checking out pictures she took:
the next 2 shots are showing what a happy and content little boy travis can be:
another one of pepper, where she is unsuspecting *grin*:
for some reason, travis found it hysterically funny when we drove his toy car from the table into his stroller:
travis comfortably asleep in his stroller:
after two sleepless nights, because travis refused to sleep in his hotel crib and pretty much also refused to sleep, period, we drove back home on sunday arriving home early early monday morning. travis went to sleep around his normal time in his car seat and he did not fuss when we transferred him to his own bed. we actually managed to get him back into his regular schedule within the day.
since sunday is easter, we colored eggs on saturday evening after dinner. here's the coffee mugs filled with dye and travis in the background shredding paper:
travis right after sneezing:
travis shouting at the egg demanding the chick to come out:
the colored easter eggs:
travis completely engaged watching super why:
travis is just 5 weeks away from being 2 years old, but already people think he is at least 3 years old, based on his size and him knowing the alphabet. next month opa and oma are visiting and we'll celebrate travis' birthday when they are here, which will be tons of fun.
saturday, april 23, 2011
the tj chronicles 69
and yet another month has passed … y'all have to forgive me for not updating my blog more regularly, but i have been away from home a lot lately and the time i have been home i have spent with travis. without a camera. of course, this is not entirely true, because otherwise i'd have a hard time explaining the pictures in this blog :P
travis, for the most part, has been doing pretty good. still some issues with eczema but with the various ointments, and benadryl (and does travis loves him some benadryl!) we seem to be getting a handle on it. it helps that spring has started and temperatures are rising and dry air is slowly being replaced with humid air. he is still growing like a weed, moving around pretty agile and therefore getting into trouble more and more.
he knows almost the entire alphabet, while his favorite letters are c, i, q and y. he can even recognize letters on sight as well as knowing what a clock is. he still loves curious george, dinosaur train, super why, sesame street (in particular elmo's world) but now he has also developed an interest in fetch, which is really something for kids in the age range between 10 and 14. travis still likes music and he will stop whatever he is doing if there is music on tv. and of course, he tries to sing along with the theme music of his favorite shows.
since i know y'all have been pining for more photos of "little" travis, here goes …
travis in denise's lap eating crackers:
here you can see the crackers with travis in the background:
travis having a great time getting water poured out on him:
he still loves getting a bath, but because of the eczema it can't be too long, much to his disliking. after bath enjoying his last bottle of milk for the day:
travis asleep on the floor, as i recall after a relatively short night:
after his nap, in the back yard playing with the spiked green ball:
our two youngest in the same shot. travis likes playing with pepper and she likes playing with him:
travis in a rare moment of tranquility:
not sure what pepper is doing with travis here:
you can see the naughty in his expression:
even though travis now has his own leaptop, he still prefers ours:
i guess pepper is showing travis around on the internet:
and travis can't believe what he is seeing:
you can see the escher in the reflection with travis monkeying with my laptop:
last weekend we got a little bit of a scare, when travis started fussing and crying and screaming (at around 11am) and didn't stop, not even when he went for his afternoon nap. this is something that is very atypical for him. when denise noticed he did not want his binkie (which he actually is forgetting about for days on end) and kept pulling his ear, we thought it best to take him to the er, because we thought it could be an ear infection and waiting to have his pediatrician look at it may have been too long. of course, as soon as we strapped him in the car seat he stopped crying and he was almost back to normal throughout the er visit. he was very good, didn't complain or "fight" the doctors and it was determined that in at least one ear there was an inflammation (the other ear had too much earwax to see), so we got a prescription for a 10-day cycle of antibiotics. weird as he is, he likes the flavor of that too!
so, this is travis after coming home from the hospital, still wearing his hospital bracelet:
and a close up of the bracelet, his first after his birth (and hopefully (we can hope, right?) his last):
the next few weeks will be quite hard, because after this week's trip to puerto rico i will have to spend a weekend in denver so i'm gonna be not seeing travis for 11 whole days. but when i come back from denver we're gonna have a couple of days of downtime, although it's also going to be somewhat hectic since we're gonna drive to dekalb, illinois, to attend the wedding of good friends of ours, eric and julie. since pepper now has my old digital camera, i'm sure there will be tons of pictures of travis and the wedding and the wedding party, but probably not before another 4 weeks or so …
saturday, march 26, 2011
the tj chronicles 68
february is a short month, but still there's almost 3 weeks between this and the last post. that's mostly because i have been on travel for at least 4 days out of every 5 working days. in the next few days i will be posting my new schedule as well, and you will notice that nothing much is changing in that regard, at least not for the coming 4 weeks.
during the weekends i spent a lot of time playing with travis, one to catch up on lost time and two, more importantly, to give denise a chance to work on her dissertation, since she doesn't get much opportunity to do so when it's just her and travis.
travis is a snugglebum. he will (quietly) play by himself, but he'll come by every so often to give hugs or climb in your lap. he loves cuddling and he gives kisses freely. i hope he will never lose his giving nature!
since we went to the pedi-dermatologist who prescribed travis stronger stuff for his eczema, it seems to be clearing up. of course, it helps that the weather is changing again, because spring is almost here. so no more freezing cold and dry air.
now the weather is getting better again, we have started taking travis out in the backyard and he loves it. he loves it almost as much as the swimming pool or the bath. you will see examples of this toward the bottom of this post.
but, first things first. travis had his first real cold at the end of january and beginning of february. he never got the flu, but his little nose was running off his face. it goes without saying that it didn't bother him much, because he let the snot freely flow into his mouth through his binkie … i think he just likes salt, a lot ;-)
in this shot you can clearly see the snot running down his face:
snot in soft focus actually looks kinda nice:
even though he wasn't feeling well, he never became apathetic or lethergic, he kept on playing and smiling and running and laughing … and climbing on the coffee table:
he still likes the cheap "toys" the best:
drool and a white cat hair hanging from his lips:
what is difficult to see is the bottle travis placed in the bookcase and for whatever reason he is making faces at it:
then, when he is done with the bottle, he just throws it on the floor, to watch it bounce:
he hasn't figured out how to use his scooter, yet, so he uses it to get a higher view of things. and he uses it to transport toys from room to room:
travis has also found his cabinet in the kitchen island, where he sometimes crawls into to play peek-a-boo:
laughing and drooling and slobbering:
when he is told "no" he has taken to throwing temper tantrums: crying, running into doors and/or walls, falling dramatically to the floor and more crying:
but usually those tantrums only last for a few minutes and then he is all right again:
travis also sometimes doesn't want to drink his bottle in his playpen anymore. as soon as we put him in he starts flopping around, kicking and screaming, but he is perfectly content taking his milk on the couch:
"don't push the button":
travis' first steps out on the back porch:
sitting in one of the haul-away lawn chairs:
i think travis is making his O-face:
at least, judging by this coy smile:
since he didn't wear shoes he had some trouble adjusting to the feel of the (still) hard grass and you can see him curling his fingers and toes at the end of the concrete slab:
i took him out back earlier this afternoon, for almost two hours, and after a short adjustment period (maybe 2 minutes) he was walking back and forth through the yard:
he chased after the ball i was throwing and kicking around:
(not sure what this facial expression is, but it is hilarious and i didn't know i captured it until i looked through all the pictures i took.)
(doing a mick jagger imitation maybe?)
throwing the ball, against the wind, which had him puzzled:
but in spite of the wind he had a "ball":
as you can see from his smile. although his smile is a little distorted because he has a piece of grass in/near his mouth:
at one point travis and me coaxed sadie out:
(love travis' shadow on the wall!)
love travis' shadow on the wall here too:
to celebrate pepper's birthday week, we went out to dinner @ fuddruckers and this time we sat in the rolling stones booth (sigh) and travis seemed to like mick jagger:
so seemed to enjoy keef richards:
travis also enjoyed the macaroni & cheese and onion rings and wedge cut fries and cookies & cream milkshake and sprite. i think he also enjoyed the rest of the scenery and the (not too) noise.
as you can see, travis is doing pretty good, he is still growing like cabbage, which has its downsides, because he can reach a long way now to get his grabbity hands on anything he is not supposed to touch.
but, he is eating well and he is sleeping well. all we have to do is say "travis go night-night" and he drops whatever he is holding or doing and come running with his arms in the air. it's adorable as hell.
more awesomeness soon!
friday, february 25, 2011
the tj chronicles 67
wow, a month just flew by … guess time really flies if you're flying a lot …
apart from one week in january, where atlanta got snowed in (yes, seriously, atlanta got snowed in!) i traveled every week so far this year and the next 3 weeks i am traveling as well. after that, who knows, supposedly i have a long engagement coming with just one client, but no-one has been in touch with me about particulars and i don't even know who the project manager is, otherwise i would reach out. hopefully it means i don't have to travel each week, something i think is not too hard to believe, knowing who the client is :P
since i have been gone so much i have been missing travis and he has been missing me too, i'm sure, although he doesn't really have a way of showing. in the time i've been gone, his eczema has started to be bothering him more, but denise has taken him to the dermatologist, who prescribed a stronger ointment/lotion (to which travis seems to be responding quite well), but he didn't see anything outrageous. it's good to have the confirmation it is eczema, which is no surprise, because both travis' dad and grandpa have (had) issues with eczema.
from time to time, the dermatologist warned, travis will be kicking up a shit storm, because he'd be itching so bad he wants to jump out of his skin and today i witnessed one of those moments. patience is a virtue … as well as good medication. still, knowing how horrible a bad itch is, i know it must be doubly bad for travis, since he can't let us know what is wrong with him or where it hurts and/or itches.
but, through it all, he still tries to be the friendly and loving travis we've come to know and that is a character trait we will be sure to keep strong in him! :-)
now, back to snowpocalypse 2011.
on sunday night january 9 it started snowing and it snowed all evening. then it started lightly raining. all the while it was freezing, so what happened was that there was anywhere between 3 and 8 inches of snow covered with a layer of ice. this actually closed down the three major highways that intersect in atlanta. and if it closed three major highways, you can guess how side streets were?! i learnt that atlanta metro has a grand total of 10 plow trucks and the georgia department of transportation spent $10 million to keep the highways clear, which in the end took them three whole days, from monday to wednesday.
i was slated to go to ohio on monday afternoon, but after postponing the trip with a day, on tuesday i actually decided to completely cancel the trip, because there was not even a way to get to the atlanta airport at that time. next to that, in the middle of the week, the detroit would get hit with a snow storm as well and i would be flying to detroit and driving to toledo/maumee, which didn't sound like a great idea.
so i stayed home.
travis got his first experience with snow, and you have seen these pictures before, but they are just too cute.
i know denise doesn't like these pictures because she is wearing her bathrobe, but so what, i was in my pajamas (even though you can't see that :P).
travis sitting in the kitchen doorway feeling the snow:
after feeling the snow and going into a sort of cold shock, we took him out front where he at least he had the cover of the porch. of course, he still was a little apprehensive:
denise got him to hold a "snow ball":
he enjoyed throwing the snowballs on the concrete porch to see it splatter:
for some reason, the next two pictures remind me of the cover of maxwell's embrya album:
extreme bed head:
playing with an empty water bottle, throwing it against the wall and floor to see it bounce. it's always the simplest thing that gives kids the most joy:
travis has also mastered climbing onto the coffee table and this is him looking thriumphantly at me after doing so:
the cool glass most feel good against his itchy skin:
travis reaching for the empty water bottle on the kitchen island:
the last one for this blog, travis' great smile as seen from the side:
in spite of his eczema, travis is still progressing nicely, although he still is not really talking, yet. he says words here and there and he has taken to reciting his version of the alphabet, but apart from a handful of words that's it.
i think it is because i am speaking dutch to him (mostly, it's near impossible to always speak dutch, simply because it's hard for me to switch back to my native tongue) while denise, obviously, speaks english to him, so he is having to learn two languages which will slow him down a bit.
but, we have time :-)
saturday, february 5, 2011
the tj chronicles 66 merry new year!
i am a little late with the new year's wish, but i originally planned to do a blog on 1/1/11 but figured that it could wait until i had some more pictures of tj.
and of course, most of last weekend i was not feeling well (flu) and right after the weekend i had to go visit a client in cold and snowy weatogue, connecticut.
those two days at the client went well, although i clocked almost 24 hours of work in little over 2 days leaving me kinda weary and tired, because i was still recovering, for the rest of the working week, which was still quite busy.
now i think i am pretty much fully recovered, although i still have a little bit of the sniffles.
now that the holidays are behind us things here at the weirdz residence will settle down into our "normal" routine:
this is interesting, because i have all of these symptoms and the even more interesting part is that, if anything, my lifestyle improved after i moved here. when i lived in europe, i traveled as much, if not more, ate in restaurants more and when i was home i didn't eat as healthy as i do now. the one thing that i did do, on a quasi regular basis, was play squash, something i have not done since i moved stateside. that said, i have found a fitness club that offers squash, so i will make an effort to play squash at least once a week, as my travel schedule allows, of course. next to that, my wonderful wife has taken it upon herself to shop more health conscious. with that, she is dropping all food items that have hfcs, making her own breads, making homemade pizza, stocking up on meats and chicken, making lunchables for the kids. on top of that, she has made laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and regular detergent. perhaps all this effort also has a positive effect on our budget (not that it needs to, but it's always nice to be able to tuck away a little more in savings :-) anyways, i had to steal a bit of travis' corner (but this change in our lives is quite significant and i'm sure it will benefit tj too!)
so now we go back to this week's regular schedule: pictures of travis …
… a glimpse:
a focus on winnie the pooh:
and a focus on the feet of the pooh onesie:
travis asleep on the couch after his bottle:
travis trying to pull my finger in his mouth, while simultaneously drinking milk:
asleep in his crib:
saturday was halloween, or all hallows' eve, or all saints' eve, so naturally the kids dressed up. campion went to a halloween party at a friend's house, but before he left i made him pose:
pepper was a sheet ghost this year (she was a sushi roll last year, so this year she didn't want anything elaborate) and for travis we had a pumpkin onesie:
despite the drizzle we did go out for trick-or-treating:
the first stop on our walk around the neighborhood was the club house where travis was gaga'd over:
and pepper blended in and out:
we saw a ghost go up to several houses, only to disappear and then return with candy:
coincidentally we ran into a former class mate of pepper, ariana:
again this ghost:
and again, getting creepier as it got darker:
until the ghost was eerie and fleeting:
upon returning home travis was both excited and tired from his first halloween, so right after his late supper we put him to bed, and he slept like a rose, an orange rose:
and one last one for a good measure:
sunday, november 1, 2009
the tj chronicles 28
tons of pictures, a lot less words …
travis is getting the hang of eating off a spoon:
and he is becoming more and more pleasant (if that was even possible *wink*):
four days ago, weighing in at 21lbs 4.5oz (9653gr):
travis is now understanding that there is nothing to fear when he gets a bath, so no more screeching, no more thrashing:
as you probably have noticed, he is deeply in love with his hands:
with a little support, travis can actually sit up by himself, sometimes for up to a minute, sometimes he falls over pretty much immediately:
when being held, he does a lot better:
travis' big sister trying to get travis to grab and hold on to miffy:
love his tongue in this shot:
apparently travis liked what he was eating, a lot:
he has taken a liking to (trying to) grab his feet:
sometimes it works out:
sometimes he grabs both feet, sometimes he just chooses one:
a couple of days later, on the scale again, this time weighing 21lbs 4oz (9638gr):
in the bathtub, loving on his hands:
see how he takes a hold of denise's arm?:
dead focussed on his hands and fingers:
travis likes being sung to and/or his arms being moved all about:
you can tell, he lost a lot of his black baby hair and it is slowly coming back and a lot lighter. it's also harder to give him that baby curl:
travis can haz intenz focuz:
sometimes he looks, well, special:
and no, the sock puppet didn't scare him at all, he was mesmerized by the sound, though:
travis in a hawaiian outfit, size for 6 month olds, and yes, he has outgrown it every so slightly already:
travis in another hawaiian outfit, size for 1 year olds, and this fits him much better. and he looks cool in it, too:
sitting by himself, watching cartoons:
travis is doing excellent, still only fussing when it comes time to eat, or when he has a lot of pee in his diaper. strangely enough, when he's sitting in a diaper full of (green) poop, he is happy as he can be, all smiles and giggles … since a couple of days he sleeps through the night completely, even if he gets to go to bed at around 10pm, so he is transitioning into sleeping a lot more during the night and being awake more during the day. denise is also adjusting his feeding schedule, so he gets more solid foods like rice cereal, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, supplemented with formula. growth-wise we have nothing to fear, other than maybe him being to "fat" so that our insurance can drop him because of a pre-existing condition: obesity! *rolls eyes* it is true, in america health insurance companies can actually refuse to insure a baby for being too fat. the usa really needs to join the civilized world by offering universal health care … but that's a rant for another day on another platform …
sunday, october 25, 2009
the tj chronicles 27
i have not been home a lot last week, so all pictures are from yesterday.
for lunch he had pureed bananas:
and he loves the mess it makes:
see, there's his "oooooooooh" face:
after the solid food he gets topped off with formula:
in the evening we went to the fair and because the temparature called for it (46F, 7C), we dressed him up in a winter outfit:
at the fair, travis seemed just as excited as the other two kids:
very alert, by way of all the lights and sounds at the fair:
he was watching the pirate ship when denise and pepper went on it for a ride:
and while he was enjoying the spectacle i was able to snap some pictures of him giggling and laughing:
of course, all this excitement made him a very hungry boy:
when we got back home we found that his feet, despite socks and shoes and two blankets wrapped around him, were ice cold, but it didn't seem to matter to him. we fed him a last bottle and put him down for the night and he fell asleep like a, well, baby …
oh, en voor morgen, een hele fijne verjaardag (z)Us, groetjes en knuffels van ons allemaal :-)
sunday, october 18, 2009
the tj chronicles 26
time flies, even when i'm not having fun, like: not being home much, not spending time with travis, but sitting in meetings and working all day and night, about 907 miles away. but, it makes being home all the better, espcially with the world's bestest baby waiting for me. as you will be able to tell from the following pictures :-)
we started travis on solid feed last weekend and his first "dinner" was rice cereal:
he likes the rice cereal, hence the big smile, while eating, and having his food all over his face:
even looking a little sad and disappointed when the spoonful doesn't reach his mouth fast enough:
travis is also getting closer to holding his own bottle, but for now he still pulls the bottle to his chest with both hands, though if we angle him just so in the couch he can actually pretty much feed himself:
(i guess this makes us lazy parents *wink*)
even when he is asleep, sorta, he will finish the bottle:
he also seemed to like bananas:
as demonstrated here with a big smile:
although in this shot he looks distracted or aloof:
and now he even looks angry (maybe a little milk added to the mix would have not made it so dry …):
yesterday, travis got a bath again, and before cleaning him he was weighed and he has officially passed the 20lbs mark, as he hit 20lbs 1oz (9100gr):
he has taking quite a liking to his own hands and even when he is getting a bath he is trying to squeeze a hand into his mouth:
proof that he can almost sit up supporting himself:
this is a shot for a friend of ours in hawaii (on oahu) and the onesie travis is wearing bears the state fish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa:
he is growing fine and apart from the occassional hissy fit, he still is very pleasant and easy-going, which is best shown, and heard, when he laughs/giggles, which is quite frequently.
sunday, october 11, 2009
the tj chronicles 25
so yeah, life has been pretty hectic for the last 2 weeks, so hence the lack of updates of late. and the hecticness/hecticicity ain't over, yet … i will be posting a new scheduling agenda after this one. last time i posted, i dropped off my parents at the airport while simultaneously traveling to cedar rapids for the week. i came back on friday and within 2 hours we left to drop off pepper for a weekend vegetation with her dad. the next day i picked up aunt lauri from the airport; she'd be staying for a week and i would be home for most of the week as well (only 1 client visit, on monday, in downtown atlanta). on sunday me and aunt lauri took the drive to south pittsburg to pick up pepper again. denise stayed home, because she put her back out earlier in the week and i didn't want her to be constricted in the car seat. of course, travis took to aunt lauri straight away, although i do have the impression he is liking mommy (denise) the best. alright, on to the good stuff, the pictures.
on saturday we weighed travis before his bath and he was about 19lbs (8618gr) but still not liking the process:
in the bath, after his hair is washed he is actually liking it:
and here's a tender moment between mom, pseudo-grandma and travis:
after his bath aunt lauri fed him his late night bottle:
a couple of days later, a day before his pediatrician appointment, travis got weighed again, this time an accurate reading of 18lbs 15oz (8590gr) - at the pediatrician he came in at 18lbs 16oz (8619gr):
making faces in the bathtub:
afterwards he went from pleasant …
… to "unpleasant" …
… and back in seconds, but some of the faces he makes are just priceless. giggling on momma's chest:
sticking out his tongue:
on tuesday we let travis sleep in (in our bed) and he looked so content and at peace:
on thursday we all went to colonel poole's bbq in east ellijay in the appalachian foothills, where they have a pig hill of fame:
this is almost the full thing as pointed out by pepper:
we know travis is teething, he has been "frothing at the mouth" for a while now, but, according to denise, him trying to chew on her chin is a clear sign:
we must find a teething ring
… other than that, travis is doing well, growing like cabbage, comfortably in the 95th percentile in weight, length and head circumference. and he still is a charm!
friday, october 2, 2009
the tj chronicles 24
a day after the begin of fall and what a begin it was. my parents arrived back at our place after their tour across the southeast of the usa. during their 2 week, 2400 mile driving tour they did not have much rain, just the occassional shower. but when they came back they evidently brought the rain, because it would be raining pretty much non-stop for the next 6 days. we had plans to visit downtown atlanta, stone mountain park, fox theater, the pool and whatnot, but only on thursday my parents and me ventured downtown atlanta. when we left cumming the sky was overcast, but it was dry and the weather forecast called for 50% chance on precipitation. when we came above ground after the marta ride to peachtree center we noticed it rained. and quite hard as well. looking at the skyline we saw that the tops of most skyscrapers were disappearing into the clouds. nevertheless we made our way to the westin observation deck on the 72nd floor (for free on account of the bad weather) and yes, we couldn't see much at all. we only saw bits and pieces of the surrounding area when the wind blew the clouds apart. still, we walk around peachtree center, did a tour of the cnn center and we walked through underground atlanta and ended our walkaround at the state capitol. after that we went home again, in the rain. our plans to go to the fox theater and stone mountain on saturday fell through. of course there was an upside to all this is well, because it meant that my parents could really maximize their time with their grandson.
on sunday last week, travis weighed in at 16lbs and 15.5oz (7697gr):
after that shower he was in an extremely good mood, so i managed to capture him smiling and in full laugh:
after all that he crashed and slept like a rose in his play pen:
when oma was back, she pretty much monopolized travis and he did not mind it in the least; he took quite a liking to her, being comfortable to be fed by her, smiling, giggling and laughing at her and sleeping in her arms:
on saturday evening, before his bath, he got weighed again and the inaccurate reading said 17lbs and 12.5oz (8065gr):
travis did not particularly like this bath, so he cried through most of it, even after his big sister made him a mohawk:
mom and oma tried to make him feel better, but he could just not be consoled:
then, while getting his bottle he relaxed again:
on sunday morning pepper and campion made us a french toast breakfast:
for dinner, my parents treated us to asian cuisine at pacific spice:
yesterday, came the dreaded day for goodbyes. my parents were to fly back home and i had to leave for cedar rapids again. because of the rain and the subsequent floods we left a little earlier than i would normally had left, just to be sure we made it to the airport in time. that we did. and my parents' flight actually left on time, but my flight got delayed for more than 3 hours, which in turn led me to be stranded in minneapolis. the hassles of getting the second leg of the trip re-booked, getting my bag pulled from a luggage hold, waiting for the bag to come to bag claim and the relatively hassle free calls to get a discounted hotel room are all part of the joys of travel, i guess … but at least i was able to get to a hotel, with my stuff, so i could charge anything that needed to be charged (phones and laptop) and even i got to be a little bit re-charged by a nice shower. (sometimes it's the little things in life that matter most.) and of course, after we left, the wonderful usps delivered travis' passport:
in the next few weeks i will start the process of getting him a dutch passport as well, so that by the time he turns 18 he can make the decision to be either a dutch or a us citizen. it is weird, travis, having to leave you and then be stranded. i wish i could stay home all the time so i could be near you every minute, because every minute i am away from you is automatically not my best minute. it doesn't really matter that you are in the more than capable care of your mother; it's just that i don't like not being with you. who'd've thunk that i'd care so much. that makes you a lucky little man, travis, because you are surrounded by people who adore you.
tuesday, september 22, 2009
the tj chronicles 23
it's been quite a week and a half. on the day of my previous post i started feeling pretty bad and i was quite under the weather till sunday with very weird symptoms: muscle ache, joint ache, headache and exhaustion. on friday my sister and her husband, ursula & harm, arrived in atlanta to stay with us for a couple of days before they would go on their driving trip in the west of the usa (las vegas, hoover dam, grand canyon, zion, bryce canyon, antelope canyon, las vegas, death valley (?), sequoia, yosemite, san francisco, pacific coast highway, los angeles, las vegas). of course they were very curious about travis too … so i took a few picture of them …
the first four are shots of right after they arrived at our house:
on saturday we went to the north georgia premium outlets to do some discount shopping, mostly for harm's benefit, because you can see from the pictures he has lost considerable weight, so he doesn't fit any of his clothes anymore. brands like polo, hilfiger, boss and quicksilver are about 50% to 66% cheaper here than they are in holland! this is a shot of travis and his mom patiently waiting outside of the tommy pull-my-finger store:
my sister trying to persuade travis to smile because she really is not a stranger:
and this is travis looking his smartest, NOT!:
on saturday night (and sunday night) ursula and harm decided to forego our comfortable eddie bauer inflatable queen bed and stay at a hyatt place near the north point mall. my sister has trouble sleeping and she's had that for a long time and the conditions in our house are not very conducive to getting a good night's rest if you have trouble sleeping. while they were doing some more shopping at the mall i took a picture of travis comfortably asleep in our bed:
later that day ursula fed travis his bottle and i think the next 3 pictures tell a story:
on monday morning i drove ursula and harm to the airport for their flight to las vegas and i left for cedar rapids at the asscrack of dawn on tuesday. the three days at the client were quite grueling, but i survived and i was happy to be back home on friday afternoon. the next two pictures i took later that afternoon when travis was asleep in his playpen:
today we didn't do much, i slept in, denise didn't feel right for the most part. tomorrow we'll all go get our haircuts, except travis, because he finally is losing some hair, so now he has a few bald spots on his head. next week is going to be exciting and fun. my parents are returning on tuesday from their drive around the southeast of the usa (charleston, savannah, tallahassee, panama city, new orleans, natchez, memphis, nashville, chattanooga, galtinburg) and i know they are already looking forward to staying with us for a week. i have a couple of days off so i can actually spend some time with them and i'm sure we'll venture out and explore things around where we live.
saturday, september 12, 2009
the tj chronicles 22
it is here, finally, my "green" card:
and it indeed is not green, but what's in a name anyway?! before the expiry date i still have to jump through a few hoops to get it extended and i have not yet looked at the requirements, but in another half year or so i will get those ducks in a row. on saturday my parents arrived in atlanta for their 3 week vacation. i picked them up from the airport and drove them to our house where they would stay for two nights before embarking on a long but very interesting drive through the southeast of the usa. it goes without saying that they were extremely excited to see travis and i hope the photos below convey my parents' pride.
at the kitchen table drinking, talking and watching travis eat:
mom giving travis the bottle:
as a birthday present we gave my dad a bootleg dvd, cocksucker blues:
travis still eating/drinking:
after a change of clothes travis was all smiles and giggles:
the next day travis was very pleasant again:
it is really cool to see how he is reacting to facial expressions:
and when he laughs, the whole world smiles:
on sunday evening my dad also got to hold travis. he was quite apprehensive about it, because he has a shoulder injury, but i think he was more nervous than anything:
travis has no difficulty showing off his "sixpack":
both my parents and travis:
on monday morning i drove my parents to the car rental place in dunwoody, made sure my dad understood the technical stuff of the car and showed them the way to get to 85N in order for them to set course to athens, augusta and first destination charleston. the rest of their trip takes them to savannah, tallahassee, panama city, new orleans, natchez, memphis, nashville, chattanooga, gatlinburg and after all that they are coming back to our place to stay for another week. and this friday my sister and her husband are arriving in atlanta and staying for the weekend, before they start their 2.5 week vacation in the west of the usa. so travis gets to see his auntie and uncle and later on his grandparents again. and later on this month, or else early next month, denise's aunt is coming down from vermont to spend some time with all of us.
wednesday, september 2, 2009
the tj chronicles 21
first of all, denise and i had our interview at ins (department of state, immigration and naturalization services) earlier this week and i was told to expect a green card in the mail by the end of this week :-)
the interview itself was kind of a farce. first of all, the woman who interviewed us had a very, very thick african accent, something which caused denise to ask her to repeat a question, two times. then, we learnt that the interviewer thought that denise was rene. we get that a lot, i am dennis and my wife is rene … *rolls eyes* but, the end justifies the means *grin*
and now, without further ado, pictures of young travis.
the first three are pictures of travis in three different singlets made by the mother of an ozzie friend of ours, patty:
denise made them a collage that we will have printed and then sent to his mother.
The story behind these Wizard of Oz shots is directly attributable to patty, beruthiel, and … interestingly, Pat's mom. The singlets that Travis is wearing in these shots were made by Pat's mom…and Rene & I were beyond touched by such sweet generosity -unfettered by the thousands of miles and undivided despite continents and hemispheres. Ele & Pat made a beautiful card with the main face decorated with what is unmistakably signature Patty's art (and we're still trying to pick apart the symbolism within that artwork). Ele has not only a brilliant and beautiful mind, but remarkable penmanship…and while I also deeply admire Pat's likewise amazing mind - his penmanship is…well, I'll just say it was challenging to read. In any case, this is what we put together for them - and while I'm posting this here, my plan is to print each segment of this triptych and the compilation onto quality photo paper as a gift to Pat's mom. I know this isn't going to be a “surprise” like their gifts to us -- but it's done with all the love in the world…from all of us here.
mother and child asleep:
i just adore how travis puts his little fist on the chest he is laying on:
when we gave him his bath yesterday i was finally able to catch travis in a full smile:
a photo taken with flash to show his eyes are still (very) blue:
and here's a few close-ups:
travis on the scale and as of saturday august 21, approx 10pm est, he weighs 15lbs 1oz (6832gr):
a shot of denise cleaning travis' ear:
travis sporting his boxing face, yeah, he is tough alright:
today i was able to finally to shoot a series of shots where travis smiles:
one more week and then opa and oma are going to be visiting us. and i just talked to my mom and i get the impression she is kinda excited, sorta … 7 more nights :-)
sunday, august 23, 2009
the tj chronicles 20
almost another week's gone by, so here are some more photos of an everchanging travis. i'm pretty sure he grows on a daily basis, getting more focus with his eyesight, getting heavier, gaining control of his muscles and i was glad to spend this whole week not traveling so i could actually bear witness to the changes.
this is travis, calmly asleep in his crib:
and the following is pretty much the same shot, but then in black&white:
friends of ours in san antonio sent us a portable play pen and so far he likes it:
we think that wherever he falls asleep he is content:
last night denise gave travis a bath again and this time he weighed in at 13lbs 14oz (6293gr):
during the bath he gets better and better, very little fussing and crying:
i believe he is starting to enjoy getting baths:
of course, the transition from warm water to cool air still doesn't sit right with him, but once he's curled up inside a hooded towel he's enjoying life again. also in this picture you can see his eyes are still bright blue, but sometimes it also looks like they are turning green:
taken earlier today when he was sitting in his swing:
i tried to get him to smile, but everytime he smiled and i pulled up my camera, the smile was gone. yeah, he definitely got that from his mother! and he has such a wonderful smile, his entire face smiles, but i will persist, i will get a (series of) picture(s) of him smiling like there is no tomorrow:
as you can see from below agenda, the next two weeks i will be away from home, but at least i got family visits to look forward to at the end of the month and the next month.
saturday, august 15, 2009
the tj chronicles 19
after a tough couple of days at my client in cedar rapids i came back home late thursday night to start my long weekend as a single parent. denise had her year 2 residency at the airport renaissance hotel for three grueling long days leaving me to take care of baby travis and bigger babies pepper and campion.
i hoped that i would have time to wait around for travis to smile and on friday i came really close to one:
but his smile disappeared quickly to be replaced by him sobbing and/or pouting:
on saturday we went to the pool. in hindsight it may not have been the best of ideas, because it was sweltering hot (96F - 35.5C) and there is no shade to be found anywhere around the pool. so, this is travis lying in his stroller sweating profusely:
but, it has to be said: he not once fussed or cried! campion also came to the pool and he brought his guitar to entertain (or annoy, even though we didn't get complaints) himself and others:
pepper wanted to show me that she can swim, and she can, but she spent more time on the waterslide than doing actual swimming:
this is her coming out of the pool after sliding in face down and feet and first:
(love the fact that i captured the drops of water splashing off her hair!)
i am a big fan of reflections, that is not a secret to anyone, so when i saw that pepper's shades were reflective i couldn't resist the urge … and she even let me get that close with a camera, only to be disappointed to find out she can't see her eyes:
ultimately, campion joined his sister in the water, so i was able to snap this shot of our 3 kids, chillaxin' at the pool:
i'm not sure why campion is showing disapproval here:
here's the two oldest babies:
after we got back from the pool, travis' onesie was pretty much soaked from all the sweating, so i laid him on the giddy-up-and-go to let the airco cool him off. then i brought him over to the couch to change his onesie and diaper. after i put his new diaper on i let him cool off a little more, so here's nekkid baby:
after denise got back on sunday she picked up travis, laid him on her legs and lo and behold, he smiled, big, and i managed to miss most of it:
(the bastard … did i mention already that he is grounded for, like, the first 25 years of his life? *wink*)
travis calmly falling asleep in denise's arms:
everyone survived this weekend, nobody got really upset about anything, so i guess that's a good thing. next year's residency will be harder, because then denise is going to be gone for a week and a day … but maybe we'll turn that into a mini vacation.
sunday, august 9, 2009
the tj chronicles 18
even though i am not home i was clever enough to take with me some pictures i took over the weekend. it was a very short weekend at home so there's not much to tell or share other than that travis is doing pretty good overall. still a happy baby, unless he wants, needs, to eat or has a full diaper. since now we know he smiles, it has become my goal to get as many pictures of him smiling … of course, he takes after denise *grumble*mutter*grumble* the second there is a camera around.
so this shot is of him where i thought he was going to smile:
and he almost did, but not quite:
and this one is actually pretty close, but not as good as the one in my previous blog post:
on saturday evening travis got a bath again, and as is customary, we weighed him and as you can see he is now 11lbs and 15.5oz (5429gr):
during his bath he is quieter, he is getting used to the sensation of warm water:
but he still does not like the transition from warm water to cool air:
once he's dried, diapered and dressed he is all smiles again:
although once he needs to get a fart out, his demeanor changes, if only for the shortest moment:
once the fart is out, all is right as rain again:
this is it for now … more this weekend, hopefully. by the way, this weekend will be interesting, because i will be a single dad: denise has her second year residency from friday to sunday, so i shall be taking care of travis all by myself, assisted by my lovely assistants campion and pepper, i'm sure.
tuesday, august 4, 2009
the tj chronicles 17
i'll start with some pictures.
travis lying on the couch with that freaky binky in his mouth:
an exercise in focus:
and i don't know whether i like the color version or the b/w version better:
and here's travis' feet in jazztoes:
of course, after all that lying around and eating and farting and pooping and peeing, he's gonna be wiped out:
since he is starting to really smile from time to time i am wanting to capture his smile, but those smiles go across his face so fast it's still near impossible to catch. this is the start of one:
and this is an almost smile:
but he really smiles with his whole face. and once we know what we can do to make him smile and to make him keep the smile, you will see pictures of it, believe you me. as of today we're a complete family again. yes, pepper is back from vegetation, woohoo. so today, travis took his first long car trip, a total of 7 hours in the car and really only when we were within 10 minutes from home he started to really fuss. other than that, he was happy just snoozing and watching the landscape go by. and he still remembers pepper, even though they only spent 2 weeks together before she had to go to her dad's for 6 week. of course, she was excited to see travis and she immediately wanted to feed him, but she had to wait till we got home.
but once we were home she got to bottle feed travis:
yes, denise made the switch to formula. the pain while breastfeeding from her left breast was too much. the other factors were that the blocked milk duct wasn't going away, even with antiobiotics, and even if the antibiotics would have worked, it would not have been a guarantee for it not to happen again. she at least breastfed travis for 8 weeks so he got pretty much all the antibodies he needs, so now we continue with formula. which means that i get to feed him as well :-)
and travis is still doing fine: eating well, sleeping well (still gotta work some more on his days and nights) and growing well. he actually passed the magic 10lbs mark! and to prove this we gave travis a bath and the first thing denise always does, is strip him to nekkid bebeh and then put him on the scale.
after that he got his bath, during which he still cries when his hair gets washed, he fusses when his body gets washed and then cries when he gets taken out of the water he is finally getting comfortable in, but after getting dried and powdered and baby oiled and diapered and dressed,he is content again:
travis and his alien binky:
a close-up of travis eating/drinking and his awesome ("awesome, A S O M E, awesome") hair:
denise thought that after getting a nice bath and a fresh diaper and some food he'd be happy and smiling, but it still needed her playing some tricks on him to get him to laugh, but the first one i captured is gold:
in this one he's not so sure anymore:
i love that he looks at me straight through the camera lense, and i adore that you can see the sarcasm in his expression already:
in closing, a ga ga shot:
figured it had been a while since the last time i posted and it's probably gonna be a while before the next one i can post, because, sadly, i leave on monday afternoon for a trip to two clients, one in san antonio for one day and one in lakeland (close to tampa) for three days, having me back home late friday night.
saturday, july 25, 2009
the tj chronicles 16
it still is a strange thing, traveling for work, and therefore not being able to see, smell, feel and hear travis. when i'm gone i also can't take pictures of him. as it so happened, i went one full week without taking a picture of him, which is a nice reprieve for him and denise ;-) but yesterday and today i took quite a few shots, partly to make up for lost time and partly because he is becoming more and more expressive and i want to capture all those changes. health-wise everything seems to be going well for him: he's eating good, gaining weight (slowly but surely), he's sleeping pretty good (although still better during the day than at night) and he is very active in working his back and neck muscles (he can arch his back and neck for a full minute … before flopping around like a fish on dry land). denise has run into some bad luck, though, with a blocked milk duct in her left breast, which makes breastfeeding excruciatingly painful. and so far the solutions (hot baths, ibuprofen and continued breastfeeding) do not seem to help in alleviating the pain or removing the clogged milk from her breast. not sure what we (although it's really denise's decision) are going to do about it: continue breastfeeding or switch to formula?!
anyways, here's the united expressions of travis … sound asleep in his crib:
still asleep, but from another angle:
looking quite paranoid:
travis during baby-robics:
his elvis presley face:
we call this the bill engvall:
gimme gimme gimme some food, woman …:
… or else i'll just chew on my arm:
a burp's gonna come:
"i am so tired i could sleep … oh wait":
still waiting for blue steel, though … all day long i tried to get a few snaps of travis smiling, but i wasn't successful, obviously, because otherwise you would have seen a smiling travis right here. i promise i will try again tomorrow and later in the week when i'm back from cedar rapids.
sunday, july 19, 2009
the tj chronicles 15
on travis' front there really is not much to say, other than more of the same. he is finally growing, both in length and in weight, he still isn't crying much, but he still has trouble going to sleep at night, although he is getting better at it. or, we are getting better at spacing out his meals and naps, so that come bedtime he can sleep for a good 4 hours :-) so without further ado, i give you pictures that you cannot resist because of its staggering amounts of awesomeness :P
earlier this week, i was letting travis fall asleep on my chest and the cutest cat in all of atlanta decided to join us:
on thursday night travis got a bath again. this is travis right after denise placed him on the couch to take off his onesie and diaper. you can tell he has his doubts:
this is where denise unbottened the onesie and where he shows mixed emotions; he likes getting nekkid, he does not like his bottom cleaned:
undoing his diaper, which was very shitty this time around:
once the diaper is off and his butt cheeks and crack are cleaned he is a bit happier, although he still fears the cold wipes:
all clean, although, since he doesn't get a new diaper, he looks kinda paranoid:
he doesn't like the bath much; he likes the warm water, but once the warmness of the water has dissipated the cool air touches his skin and that does not sit well with him:
all dried up, diapered, clothed and pacifiered everything is right with the world again:
he's something, that boy of ours! we know he recognizes faces and voices now. when pepper calls, to tell us that she would rather be home because she misses travis, and we hold the phone to his ear and she calls his name he stops what he's doing and first listens intently, then looks around for her. it quite amazing! he's also already very strong. sometimes when denise changes his diaper i tell him to squeeze my finger and when he does his grip is strong like a vice. unfortunately (for denise, campion and pepper) he also holds on to hair like that *grin* yes, travis is quite the little boy :-)
friday, july 10, 2009
the tj chronicles 14
wednesday we had red beans and rice for dinner and as you may or may not know, beans are good for gas. and poor travis got quite a whiff of it, too, because all of thursday he was crying and fussing and screaming, even up to a point of screeching. his poor tummy had a hard time digesting the red beans and rice he ate through proxy of denise's breast milk. but by friday afternoon things were already much better and he returned to his normal, relaxed self.
on that thursday campion was brave enough to try and console his little brother by giving travis a supplemental bottle:
and in between eating and crying there were a few moments where he was quiet and still:
so friday was our usual day for shopping and by noon our family was reduced to just three people, because campion headed to spend a day with a friend of his in a cabin on the chattahoochee river. denise and me just vegged out and watched a movie in the evening, white oleander, which i had never seen before. good movie, and even though the cast is almost all female, it is not a chick flick. definite recommended viewing! yesterday, saturday, was independence day and what do you know, i happened to shoot the red, white and blue:
and this is our stud muffin wearing a pacifier he got from his opa and oma (and it's my favorite binkie):
in the evening we watched boogie nights, a movie denise hadn't yet seen, and it was fun seeing the dress anomalies of the late 70s and the early 80s together with a soundtrack filled with "wrong" music. and just like the night before, travis slept from his last feeding till past 4am, so we're slowly getting him to the point of sleeping longer at night. this will give us some much needed reprieve, too. got up at a decent hour today, early enough to catch almost all of the wimbledon final and after that the day just babbled on. when travis was asleep on his giddy up and go i took a few pictures.
at total peace with himself and his surroundings:
sly product placement:
after dinner it was time for travis' bath and for the first time he was actually not squirming like a madman when denise put him on the scale, so we were able to get a good reading:
yes! he's 8lbs 6.5oz (3813gr). after his bath travis felt frisky and ballsy, so he showed us how he felt:
after which he made a dramatic face, like he was going to tell us something very very important, and he was only going to say it once:
after denise dried him, diapered him and combed his hair, with a part on the side, i just had to climb a chair and shoot it:
with that said and done, we're gonna end our sunday by watching a movie … think i'm gonna pop in the illusionist, so watch for a review (or at least a thumbs up or thumbs down) later this week. i said in wednesday's blog that i'd post my agenda, but i had a hard time establishing firm dates, because of the fact that friday was a day off for a lot of people, so now i will (hopefully) publish my new agenda tomorrow. and it's a tough one, so you consider yourself forewarned!
sunday, july 5, 2009
the tj chronicles 13
since i am home this week, and probably next week too, i can actually do a mid-week update :-)
but there's not a whole lot to say, so i'll just get down to brass tacks, the pictures *grin*
travis checking out his own pictures on facebook:
safe in the arms of mommie:
a slightly censored version of one of travis' more well-filled-out diapers:
a total fail in technical photographic terms, but one of my personal favorites:
his little and yet slender fingers:
travis in his typical position, ass in the air, like he just don't care:
a thoughtful moment:
his tiny toes:
and another shot of his tiny toes (because i know that denise wants to eat his toes *omnomnomnom*):
travis showing off his most pathetic sad litte face, while getting a bath:
right after being taken out of the bathtub and wrapped in a towel it still takes a few moments to calm down:
in other news, i received an invitation for initial interview for my green card application. the word initial kinda has me worried, because how many interviews will there be and how incredibly redundant are they going to be and how much of my time, and denise's since she has to be there, too, is it going to waste? but, i have 6 weeks to prepare for it, so that gives me plenty of times to find out what denise's favorite color is ;-) more news tomorrow, but then strictly related to my travels …
wednesday, july 1, 2009
the tj chronicles 12
another week has passed and it seems that time just flies, whether i am at home or whether i am away on business.
on sunday evening i took another couple of shots of travis (currently i have about 550 pictures of him!)
comfortably asleep in denise's lap:
sucking on the hospital pacifier, so far the only one he wants to suck on:
"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK." - travis "bickle" wirtz:
did i mention already that i love my new prime lense?
monday afternoon i left for a long stint in cedar rapids and this time, i drove myself to the marta station in the pt cruiser. it was the weirdest thing, to pull out of the driveway and leave my beloved wife and our much loved baby boy behind … i'm sure it will get easier over time … it has to … my working week in cedar rapids was full.
this week was pilot week, where the core team had to be trained and then perform a series of tests to see if they could do anything they currently do in their job (in different pieces of software) and if anything performs exactly the way they are expecting it. i spent most of tuesday between troubleshooting issues with the database, while my colleague was training his segment of people, and writing a 45 page training manual i would be using on my training session on wednesday. oh, and prepping the database with a number of leases that were not yet finished. my wednesday was pretty much a disaster. not because of me or my training material, but because of all sorts of technical issues.
the first thing i had to deal with was to stall time, so that their IT people could install a service pack. i needed this service pack, because otherwise my training would fail right there and then. i started at 9am with some other things first. at 10am the install would be ready, so i planned a 30 minute bio break at 10am. of course, at 10 it wasn't done, so my colleague came to the basement training room to do a dog and pony show for about 30 minutes at 10.30am, because they told us the install would be ready at 11am. at 11am it still didn't work, so we decided to go an alternate route and give everyone in the training room access to our sales database. no sooner i had started creating user logins, both client databases went offline, meaning they were actually doing something to it. so i paused for a moment and then word came that the service pack was applied. and lo and behold, it worked. so after more than a 1 hour long break i was able to continue my schpiel. everything went fine till lunch.
during the lunch break i did some other quick checks to see if the database was working as i hoped it would. and it did. but then i looked over my shoulder at the projector screen, only to see a large dark blob in the middle. and i smelled a funny smell: the projector bulb was burning out. when i mentioned this to the client's project coordinator she started grinding her teeth. apparently, their facilities group doesn't keep a projector bulb in stock, and that it would took an act of congress to get one replaced within the lunch period. she logged a call and indeed they did not have a replacement bulb, which meant that she would get another projector to use. not a problem, you think?
but there was, because the video cable was not nearly long enough to reach from my presenter desktop machine to the location where the projector needed to be positioned. fine, i would use her laptop instead of the desktop to do my training from, but then we found that the network cable didn't reach all the way over to where we could position the laptop. great. she went out and found a longer network cable, so we hooked everything up, only to find out that for some bizarre reason her laptop refused to display her screen onto the projector. bizarre, because she uses that combination of laptop and projector almost on a daily basis without any issues. fantastic.
so, we decided to use one of the trainee desktops as a last resort to keep going and finally i was able to project my screen onto the projector. of course there had to be a downside and that was tha because i was using the monitor port on that desktop machine, i could not see what i was projecting right in front of me on the computer screen, so i had to turn my head from the projector screen to my audience. and oh yeah, my audience was a very diverse group of over 20 people. and oh yeah, did i mention the training room being in the basement? with no windows? with a very noisy airconditioning unit that really couldn't handle the heat that all these people were generating? yet, i pulled it off and i received more than one compliment for being able to dance around all the issues of that day. but let me tell you, it totally drained me. and i was already operating on 6 hours of sleep after a 14 hour working day, after a night of only 5 hours of sleep, because my flight from atlanta was delayed with 3 hours, meaning i only got to the hotel at 1am.
suffice to say that on thursday i woke up with a killer headache. i tried to stave it off with drinking coffee, because usually caffeine gets rid of my headaches, but not this one. luckily, i only had to do a half day in the training room and i only spent 30 minutes going over the test scripts and then my trainees had to perform the things they need to do. i was there to field any questions. i was happy that everyone in the room had at least 1 question and afterwards i heard how great they thought it was for them to finally log on and see their own data. and they were liking what they saw, so even though, these days felt like a failure, they may turn out to be really good. to hear that was a huge relief. on thursday afternoon i finished the training manual, because it was missing some key screenshots.
my colleague and i left on a decent time as well, because i wanted to go to a balloon glow event on the brucemore estate close to downtown cedar rapids. we went out to dinner at an italian restaurant a little ways down the road from our hotel and it is very likely we'd be returning there: good food, very reasonable prices. i went to the balloon glow thing by myself and i must say that it may very well be the best $1 i have ever spent. i ended up shooting 882 pictures, 882 saved pictures that is!
friday turned out to be a very relaxed day. in the am we worked at the office, tying up some loose ends, planning for the near future, etc. at noon i drove my colleague to the airport and since our client is on a summer schedule, letting out at 1pm, i did not go back to the office, but instead went on a shooting spree again. i drove through the corn fields to the amana colonies, then back through the corn fields back to downtown cedar rapids, where i roamed about for about 45 minutes before heading back to the hotel. when i got back to the hotel, to my surprise, i found there was a chevy nova convention, so i hung out there for almost an hour, took 80 pictures of some of the coolest nova models i have seen, before retiring to the hotel lounge. there i drank a couple of beers, downloaded my pictures, had dinner, and just fiddlefarted on the computer till it was time to go to bed. and i had planned to go to bed early, since i had to get up at 3.45am to catch my 5.30am flight home. of course i didn't really go to sleep till after 11pm, so i was glad i actually woke up at the alarm.
the flight home was uneventful and we actually arrived 30 minutes before eta, so i actually made it home just a little after 10am. which was great, because i had missed travis more than i thought i would. i spent the rest of the day more or less snuggling with travis, which was glorious! we had a late dinner, just the two of us, because campion first hung out at a friend's pool and then at a school play, which meant i had to let him drive to the pool first then pick him up to let him drive to school. at dinner time i took a couple of pictures of travis that shed a different light on our perfect baby :P
whenever he is hungry or when he has a dirty diaper, he can get pretty stroppy :D
this is him after he went from a smile to a yawn to crying:
this is his lower lip quiver, which i'm sure is purposefully designed to be so damned adorable that all you want to do is pick him up to console him:
and this is him opening his eyes mid-cry to see what is taking the mommy and daddy so long to pick him to tend to him:
pretty irresistable *LOL*
on sunday i was actually able to sleep in and boy did i ever need to sleep; i remember barely being able to say goodnight to denise when we got in bed; i just slipped into a very comfortable coma the minute my head hit the pillow. my parents called me in the beginning of our afternoon (the beginning of their evening) and while i was on the phone, sadie braved the odds and climbed into denise's lap while travis was in her arms:
she's the cat that is not afraid of this new crying, smelling, small new humanoid in the house. lily is still very careful about being around travis, avoiding him pretty much. sadie is more comfortable around him. which is fine, just as long as neither of them become aggressive around him. but i'm sure they won't, because both cats just have too sweet a personality. and for now, i'm gonna take it easy the rest of this sunday, only going to post-process the 80 shots from the nova convention to burn those to a disc to send them to the organizers. other than that, restfull bliss :-)
sunday, june 28, 2009
the tj chronicles 11
it's been a week since my last update and since i have started traveling for my work again the updates are likely going to be weekly. it was very weird going back to work again, after spending so much time at home, with travis. i spent time with the others, too, but tj kept us pretty much occupied, because he is still struggling with day and night. monday was an especially hectic day, because campion had to be driven to summer school, travis had an appointment with the pediatrician and pepper had an appointment with the orthodontist. all pretty much at the same time. denise drove campion to school in the mazda to go to the doctor after that and i took pepper to her dentist in the pt cruiser. when we were done there i asked for a few more bags of elastic bands for her braces, since later that day she was going on vegetation with her dad for six weeks. around noon i left for south pittsburg, tennessee in the mazda, alone with pepper. (i had transferred the car seat into the pt, so denise could pick up campion from summer school.) it was an odd ride, just the two of us, but it was kinda cool. we talked, a couple of times we sang along with the radio and we had a few discussions on a range of topics. we arrived at the drop-off/pick-up point about 20 minutes before the scheduled time, so we had to wait. when her dad arrived, pepper actually reluctantly got out of the car and i could see she was dragging her feet. she was unsure if she wanted to go on visitation or not, moreover since she likes hanging out with travis and i think the thought of not seeing him for 6 weeks was not something she was looking forward to. but, she knows that her dad loves her and that he wants to spend time with her as well. i rolled her suitcase over to his car and asked if he could please make sure to have pepper brush and floss her teeth twice a day and he mumbled what sounded like yeah while not directly looking at me. because i rolled the bag over, pepper and i didn't have a chance to say our goodbyes and we found out later that she was bothered by that. but she shouldn't be, because i will not hold it against her. i know her dad makes her uncomfortable showing any kind of affection towards me, because he has repeatedly told her that "i am not her dad". thing is, i never claimed to be her dad, nor will i ever. but someday soon he will have to deal with her reaction to him stifling her and then he has nobody to blame but himself … the ride home was kinda lonely, but at least gave me a chance to test out the car and its stereo *grin*
the rest of the monday was quiet. on tuesday i worked from home and prepared for my travel to cedar rapids.
in the afternoon denise took a nap and that is when i snapped the following shot:
at 5pm we left for the airport. i know i could use the pt as my airport car, but i wanted to maximize the time i had with denise and travis, so i drove myself to the airport. saying goodbye was a lot harder than i thought it would be and i actually kinda rushed it, because i got the feeling that if it would take too long i might have been tempted to get back in the car and go home again. i didn't, so i got on my plane to cedar rapids to spend the next two days on-site with my client. missing travis. meh. at least i was "distracted" enough not to break down. next week is going to be much harder, because i will be gone for 4 full days and on top of that i am going to be busy as hell. perhaps that is a good thing …
of course, he loves the motion, so he was very comfortable and very asleep for all of the two rounds we made:
saturday was a pretty uneventful day. we slept in (me more than denise, because i slipped into a coma almost the second i hit the bed) and pretty much just lounged around. in the afternoon i let campion drive himself to yet another girlfriend he'd be accompanying to get her pierced somewhere. for him it was a fact-finding mission, because his birthday present consisted of getting him a navel piercing *rolls eyes*
when i got back, denise was taking a nap on the couch, which give me a chance to play around with my 50mm lens some more:
after dinner i went a little up the road to take pictures of hay bales in the field next to the road that leads to our subdivision. i saw them when campion and i drove by earlier and i had never seen that so close. i parked my car in someone's driveway and not minutes after i walked into the field a bit i was approached by redneck #1. he told me that i was free to roam the field if i wanted to, but clearly he was just checking me out. a little later, redneck #2 wandered over from out of the house across the street. that actually turned into a nice conversation, because he is an artist of sorts (a sculptor designer for large installations) and all he really wanted to do was warn me about the location where i had parked my car i got some good shots of the bales of hay and after that i returned home and vegged out for the remainder of the evening.
next to being the official beginning of summer today is also father's day and i received no less than 3 father's day cards. that warmed my heart. and i still have got to get used to being a father, since now i really am one … it still is weird to me. anyway, enough rambling for now, i'm gonna see if i can spend some quality time with my wife and my son (the other son has left for one his friends, so it is just the three of us this afternoon).
sunday, june 21, 2009
the tj chronicles 10
everything is progressing as it should, even though not as fast as i would like. travis still has night and day confused, which leaves us very little sleep.
and of course, during the day he sleeps like a rose:
on thursday evening, travis got his real first bath, since he lost the last part of his umbilical cord on tuesday night or wednesday morning. he wasn't too fond of the sponge baths he had before and he didn't care much for his bath either:
at first he screeched, but once he got used to the water he kinda mellowed out a little, still not fully liking it though:
and of course, after the bath, he was crying again, because of the transfer from the nice and cozy bathwater into the airconditioned kitchen:
on thursday night we went out to dinner at ichiban to celebrate 3 birthdays (and if travis could really participate, 4 birthdays): denise, campion and myself, all within the same week. this was travis' first real trip outside of his home cocoon and he didn't fuss or cry at all, not even when the cook set fire to the cooking plate, generating lots of light and heat. not bad for a baby of 12 days! friday was a busy day for me, with dealing with grocery shopping, laundry and several errands. and i did these with help from pepper, because in the morning denise was feeling sore, and later in the day, after a nice long nap, she put her back out on top of everything else, so i pretty much put her on couch rest.
we received a buttload of clothes in the mail today, an entire washing machine full, actually:
but i also got my "birthday present" of sorts: a home theater surround set (with multi-region dvd player) :-)
in the evening i snapped a great facial expression while travis was being fed:
the degree of sarcasm and glee is just awesome! on saturday i tried to set up the new home theater set, but to no avail. everything works, we have hdtv, we have the dvd player video hooked up, but i can't get the sound through the a/v receiver. there's 4 components in the set up: the digital set top box (high def tv), the tv, the dvd player and the a/v receiver. this means that there are 4 manuals and none of the manuals actually show me a wiring diagram to get them hooked up properly. there is one complicating factor: i have 2 hdmi cables. i tried searching online for diagrams, but i have yet to find a correct diagram. very frustrating. the other thing i failed at getting to work is my webcam in live messenger. i updated the webcam software, i updated the windows driver, but still, when i start a video chat, i can see both parties' video, but the other person on the chat cannot see my webcam. again, i tried searching online for troubleshooting tips, but i have yet to find a solution. very frustrating.
at least last night (or really early this morning) i was able to snap a few shots of travis in his bassinette:
in above picture you can clearly see his eyes are blue, even though in daylight they are slowly turning green. even with a prime lens it is really hard to shoot travis in low light, because all his limbs are very active:
and below my favorite from the pictures i took:
for today i have nothing planned, just relax to hopefully save and/or recreate energy for the week to come.
sunday, june 14, 2009
the tj chronicles 9
the past few days have been relatively quiet. travis is still doing great: eating, sleeping, pooping. the only problem, if you could call it a problem, is that he doesn't sleep at night. during the day he sleeps like, well, a baby, but when we go to bed, he fusses and fights, wanting to eat and, as a result of the eating, he poops and pees more. so, our nights have been pretty short, moreover since campion has been going to summer school (to make up for his history grade) starting this week, which meant i had to get up at 7.30am each morning to have him drive himself to school and then pick him up again at 12.30pm. in the meantime i have been working off and on as well, trying to get a nap in here and there. denise's recovery is going pretty well and as of today she is off the pain medication, so perhaps that will help both her and travis to have an easier bowel movement. yesterday a new lens i ordered arrived and this lens will help me shoot portraits of travis better, because it's a macro lens and it's a prime lens and it shoots very well under low light conditions. last tuesday it was campion's birthday and the dude is 17 now! he didn't know what to do for a birthday party, so we didn't arrange anything, nor did we order a cake from orna.
what he did want to do for his birthday is make his own pizzas for dinner:
he made a regular pepperoni & sausage pizza …
… but the one that stood out, was the white pizza:
olive oil, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes. yummy! and here's a few shots of travis taken with my new lens:
i know the last one is overexposed, but i like the colors and focus. i'm gonna be having fun with this lens. perhaps later tonight, when he will get his first real bath. but first we go out to dinner …
thursday, june 11, 2009
the tj chronicles 8
saturday evening and sunday were spent in relative rest. as is demonstrated perfectly by travis:
on sunday campion drove himself to north point mall where he met yet another girlfriend of his and on the way back i showed him the way to central high school, where on monday he would have to report for summer school. pepper spent some time holding/cuddling travis, something she asking for at least a couple times a day now:
today, june 8, was denise's birthday: 29 years with 8 years of experience. in order to celebrate this we all went out for a haircut, some grudgingly (campion), some happily (me). travis tagged along and even though he has a full head of hair, his doesn't need any trimming, yet. but he was a trooper throughout the time we were gone from home, because after the salon we had to stop at the bank, go get some new clothes for pepper (since she is growing out of most of her clothes slowly but surely) and to our mailbox. on the way back denise decided to treat us to taco bell for (late) lunch, which meant that dinner today was at 9pm, a royal time :P
before that i caught a few snapshots of our handsome son:
and denise and i are not the only ones who think he's kinda cute; everyone who sees him, in real life or in pictures, thinks he is very handsome. he must have denise's genes then ;-)
monday, june 8, 2009
the tj chronicles 7
the time has come to slow down the frequency of updates. reasons are 1) the most exciting days are behind us 2) i need my time to care for this new life 3) i need my time to get in a little rest. but don't worry, we're still very excited about travis and i will keep on posting about everything that is going on with him and with us. so far it is steady as he goes: eat, sleep, poop, pee, lather rinse repeat …
two tender moments between mother and child:
travis in his bassinette, isn't he a star?
i brought the bassinette down from our bedroom to the downstairs living room, because so far he has trouble getting to sleep at night, so we hopefully are able to train him to sleep in his bassinette as well as he does in bouncy chair. denise is healing, slowly but surely. even though she still needs to take it easy, because she did have major and invasive surgery, she can move about a lot better than a few days ago. we enjoy travis every minute of every day; he is such an easy baby. he only cries when he is hungry and when he has a dirty diaper. once he is fed or cleaned up he is quiet and peaceful. he responds to our voices, he responds to our touch and he doesn't seem to be fazed by much. in short, he is all we could wish for.
saturday, june 6, 2009
the tj chronicles 6
nothing spectacular to announce today, just another day of growth of travis and another day of recovery for denise.
thursday, june 4, 2009
the tj chronicles 5
last night actually went pretty good altogeter, woke up at 5am because denise was having trouble getting travis to go to sleep after feeding him. i took over the task of keeping him quiet and denise laid down in bed, with her feet elevated on 2 sets of cushions and about 5 seconds after she closed her eyes she slept. and travis followed suit not much longer, i only had to settle him down twice with his binkie and his magic spot (yes, i found it!) we all woke up at 8am and started our relatively relaxing day. i worked a little in between looking after travis.
during one diaper change session i made a couple of shots:
while pepper was preparing dinner (her speciality, after all, is meatloaf and wednesday is meatloaf day!), i made a picture of travis sleeping in his bouncy chair:
after dinner it was time for travis' first sponge bath. we can't give him a proper bath until his umbilical cord falls off his belly button. even though i made a manly pact with travis beforehand, he screamed throughout most of his cleaning:
and yes, in this last shot he does look like sting … i wonder what's up with that?!
wednesday, june 3, 2009
the tj chronicles 4
today at 9.10am travis had his first doctor's appointment with his pediatrician. and guess what, everything checked out perfectly fine. he lost a little weight, he went from 7lbs 14 oz to 7lbs 2oz, but that is perfectly normal in the first two weeks after birth. his eyes, ears, spine and reflexes are all good, so other than being cold in the examination room, he was cool as a cucumber.
unfortunately, this was not the first thing we did today. we went to bed at midnight and while denise was tending to her wounds travis laid on my chest, slowly drifting into dreamland, and so was i. when denise took him to feed him, i fell asleep. i woke up, with a jolt, at 3.30, to denise being bent over at the dresser, wincing in pain. i asked her if we should see the ob/gyn after travis' appointment with the pediatrician and she said she couldn't wait that long. she was in some real pain. when she stripped she showed me that pretty much all of her body was swollen, retaining water. i packed a diaper bag with diapers, wet wipes, a set of clothes and a blanket, and i told denise we were going to the er. downstairs i packed a bottle of formula (similac), a nipple and a full can of iced water and off we went.
slowly, because denise could hardly walk because of the pain. we installed travis in his car seat, where he pretty much immediately fell asleep. when we got to the er i jumped out to sign denise in and to get a wheelchair, because i didn't want denise to walk any more than absolutely necessary. and i asked for help as well, so as i was helping denise into the chair a nurse came out who actually took denise into an examination room. her blood pressure was measured and it was way up. they didn't take temperature, but they couldn't because she'd been drinking cool water. after about a 15 minute wait the er doctor came in, asked some questions and, in our eyes, jumped to a conclusion. he only looked at her c-section stitches and from our answers deducted that denise probably just overdid her activities and that she just should have rested. in a large part this was true, but that didn't justify his demeanor, which we both thought was abrasive. he'd asked for a nurse to set denise up with an ice pack and denise had to have her urine sampled to see if she had urine tract infection. taking the culture took forever, so denise was slowly nodding off at the hospital bed and i was nodding off with travis in my arms in a very uncomfortable chair.
in the middle of all this travis needed to be fed, so denise did that, with great discomfort, because he was laying across her belly, which hurt just as it was. but she soldiered through with a little of my help and encouragement. the urine sample was negative for uti and her blood pressure also dropped a little, so the er doctor advised denise to take it easy, very easy: only two trips on the staircase (down in the morning and up in the evening), no lifting, no bending and keep feet elevated.
by the time we were discharged it was after 7am and we were back home at 7.30. denise fed travis once again, still in pain. in the meantime i assembled the stroller. then denise went to the bathroom. and i heard her whimper and moan and curse. ten minutes later she called me into the bathroom and what i saw still boggles my mind. i kid you not, there was a turd the size of a brick. since the colon passes right behind the uterus it wouldn't surprise me that that log pressed into her uterus, which is still sore from the c-section, which in turn pressed the stitches outwards, which were also still sore from the c-section. after that release she instantly felt better, still in pain, but a lot less.
that's when we had to leave for the pediatrician. that visit took us almost two hours as well, so we were back at home at about 10.30am and by that time i was already starting to fade. denise put in a call to her ob/gyn asking about bowel movements. he called back saying that the epidural and the pregnancy vitamins actually cause the bowel to stop working. and whatever is in the bowels actually hardens/calcifies. she got recommendations for two items, a drink and a suppository, and i drove to the cvs/pharmacy to find them. i actually found them, without asking for directions, and got back and much to her chagrin denise took both to the bathroom and went to work. it didn't work straight away, but after a little while she managed to push another brick, one even larger than the first one! if that was even possible!
while she was paving a road, alex and karen rang the doorbell again. they had to drop something off for when my parents come over for vacation later this summer. and i finally had a chance to show off my car *grin* they had to leave at 4pm to go back to the hotel to check in for their flight home tomorrow and after that make their way to turner field to watch the atlanta braves play to chicago cubs. when they left denise gave pepper instructions on how to make tonight's dinner and she did so splendidly. we had dinner and right after dessert two of campion's friends came over to ogle travis. and he flirted back. campion must already feel the competition and to travis' cuteness overload there really is no way he can win *wink* i put on the channel that broadcasted the braves game and so far, in 6 innings there were three runs over home plate. against the braves, so they will likely miss out on the fireworks … ah well, maybe next time … as for us, we're going to take it easy and go to bed early, see if we can make a decent night. denise certainly deserves a good night, with plenty of rest in between the feedings. and i am in desperate need of some sleep too …
i will leave y'all with some pictures i managed to take today.
these two pictures are almost identical, but i couldn't choose which one to put up, so i decided to do the ultimate thing, put both of them up …
the cats have been curious about travis, too, but they are also very guarded. sadie is a bit more brave, she sniffed him out a couple of times already, as she is doing in the picture above. lily has been more intimidated and possibly even angry at the new intruder, so she keeps her distance, as you can see in the picture below:
and the last picture shows a very intimate moment between mother and son, it's precious:
more news tomorrow, hopefully a lot less exciting!
tuesday, june 2, 2009
the tj chronicles 3
i had a hard time waking up this morning so i texted denise that i had a hard time waking up and that i might not make it to be at the hospital at 9. well, t-mobile messed up my message and within a minute denise called me telling me to drag my ass in asap. the reason: denise & travis were being discharged! so, i dragged my ass out of bed, got dressed, ate some krullers for breakfast and headed over the the women's center of northisde hospital forsyth:
denise had already packed a few items, but the first thing we needed to do was the watch a dvd with instructions on importance of the proper use of the car seat, in order to prep ourselves and travis for the car seat test. this is no joke, we had to put travis in his car seat, hooked up to a monitor to check his blood pressure, his temperature and his oxygen levels, for an hour!
luckily, travis didn't mind at all and he slipped into a comfortable sleep:
in the meantime i settled the bill with the hospital (they first charged me for the wrong person, so after she double checked that our balance was only minimal, i made a "profit" of $1100, and we we will billed for the difference later on, which should only be about $150. of course, there was much more paperwork to be signed and they double checked our bracelet numbers with travis's bracelet number, making sure we were not swapping babies. (not that we would have, because ours is the cutest baby boy, ever :P) then denise had to take place in the wheelchair (hospital rules require each patient to be rolled out *rolls eyes*) and at the nurses' station they cut travis' ankle monitor off:
security is extremely tight: there are sensors in all three bracelets and if either just me or denise would walk out of the hospital with the baby, the hospital doors would go into complete lockdown! baby theft is a pretty major issue in the usa …
a nurse rolled denise down the hallway, into the elevator and out the building and another nurse who was on a break enjoying the warm weather volunteered to take a picture of the three of us:
we installed travis in the car seat and drove to cvs to get denise her pain medication and while she was waiting for it i snapped a picture of travis:
at 12.15 we were back home, so all in all denise had only been in the hospital for 48 hours! pretty amazing! once i got the car unloaded, campion and i went back to the hospital to pick up the vase and flowers that our friend alison dropped off as i finished installing the car seat after the test. the vase is huge and heavy and i didn't want to risk any breakage or leakage, so i decided to leave it at the hospital and return for it. the ladies at the nurses' station were disappointed that i took it away from them, because they loved it.
back home, we started assembling the swing (campion) and the bouncy chair (pepper), which kept us busy for a while. then we cleared all the bags of goodies we received from the hospital, i did my finances and by that time it was getting close to dinner time. i didn't want denise to cook so we all agreed on greek/middle eastern, so i drove over to the only gyros shop in a perimeter of 30 miles. when we were halfway through dinner alex and karen arrived on out doorstep. we talked for a bit, i gave them the tour of the house (they liked the nursery and karen really liked the walk-in closed) and then we said down in the living room for some more conversation. before we knew it it was 10.30pm and they left, because karen was getting a bit tired … which is totally understandable seeing as she is 22.5 weeks pregnant! and pretty much we all kinda shut down and got ready for bed. one thing i would like to mention is that our choice of 8 pictures, that the hospital photographer took yesterday, are available from this website.
monday, june 1, 2009
the tj chronicles 2
you would think that after a day like yesterday, with travis being born and all, the day after would be more quiet. guess again. from the moment i got up, after 6 hours of sleep, by myself, i was in the hospital room with denise and travis 8 hours after i left.
first order of business was getting a few snaps of travis together with denise:
at around 10am, the best man at our wedding, alex, you remember him, the really really really really really tall guy from neverneverland, and his life partner (or girlfriend, whichever you prefer) karen texted me saying they wanted to drop by between 11am and noon, which of course was not a problem:
after i took this picture i drove home to pick up pepper, because she wanted to see travis, but when i left the house earlier this morning she was still asleep on the couch in the living room. at the same time we were trying to host concurrent video chats with my parents and my sister and with sean, the young man who gave denise away at our wedding. after alex and karen left for the mall of georgia we had a few moments to ourself, so i took a couple more pictures of denise and travis:
throughout the day nurses and lactation specialists and photographers and nurses kept coming into our room to perform their routine. it's like we are in a maximum security prison where the guards come in every 30 minutes to check if all bodies are still accounted for. at around 4.15pm pepper and i left to pick up campion at the house, because at 5pm we were scheduled for an official photoshoot. we were back in the room at 5.01pm and right after i closed the door, the photographer came in. she took about 50 pictures, travis by himself, travis with me, travis with denise, travis with campion, travis with pepper and a family shot. tomorrow we should be getting a link to the website where 9 of them will be posted, so i will share that here, too, because she managed to get a couple of really good shots. denise got her dinner by the time we were finishing up the photo shoot, so after she left, campion and i drove to pizza hut to get our dinner. when dinner was gone i brought the kids back home, because they were bored out of their skill. upon my return i was able to talk to my best friend, ronald. he is new york at the moment and using a calling card he managed to get in 4 four minute calls. it was good to hear his voice again and to find out how he, patty and the kids are doing.
then, finally, i had some quality time with my son. he laid on my chest and legs, uninterrupted, for a good 30 minutes:
today was a very exciting and busy day for travis. today was a very exciting and busy day for denise and me and we both are pretty tired … more news tomorrow …
sunday, may 31, 2009
the tj chronicles 1
congratulations travis, it's your naught birthday :-)
denise slept on the couch mostly last night, so she was back asleep when i got up. i had breakfast, denise wasn't allowed anything. after breakfast we both took a shower and before we knew it was 11.30. i loaded all the bags, which have been ready for over a month now, our laptops and camera gear into the car and checked in at the hotel northside hospital. we were taken to a prep room where first an ultrasound was done, confirming that travis was still very much in breech. so that ruled out a normal vaginal birth and after that denise was prepped for c-section; she was administered all sorts of iv drips and at the last moment she got the epidural (ruggeprik) and the catheter. in the meantime i had to scrub up, too:
at close to 2pm denise was rolled to the operation room and i had to wait outside till she was lifted from the stroller bed to the operation table. when i was called in a whole host of staff was busily working on denise. i was sat on a chair near denise's head, and only when they told me to stand up and look i could see what the surgeons were doing; unmentionable things really. but i got to see him pulled out of the uterus and almost immediately he started crying, which was a good sign:
after he was cleaned he was bundled up and placed on denise's chest, while the doctors were putting the contents of her belly back in place:
when the doctor's were ready travis was put back in a little crib for some more cleaning and post-op stats:
when everything was done & dusted in the or, we were brought to the recovery room, where they washed travis, took all his vital stats and clothed him in northside gear:
denise tried to give travis his first feeding, which took a little doing, but in the end he laid down comfortable and ate for about 20 minutes:
after his first early dinner we placed him back in his bassinette:
after all paperwork was finished we were rolled to our room, 2w02, where denise and travis are going to be staying till they are dismissed. at that time it was close to 6pm and that meant dinner for denise. i took that opportunity to pick up the kids, who were waiting at home, get some dinner (they agreed on chik-fil-a), get some coffees and go on visitation. both kids were excited, in their own ways, to see their baby brother.
if travis was just as excited we can't tell for sure:
after they finished eating and washing their hands, the kids got to hold travis. campion was up first, and even though he played being cool, we have photographic evidence (that we're saving for a later time *grin*) of him actually genuinely smiling. but this shot is good too:
(he may or may not like his hair)(and, of course, has a wonderful head of hair *grin*)
next up, was pepper, who with a little help from me, got to hold him too:
she did actually shine, even though she was a little disappointed she was not allowed to squish his little potato head … visiting hours ended at 8.30, and the kids were getting kinda restless, so i dropped them off at the house and came right back to spend some more time with my tired, but otherwise fine, wife and baby. and as i am typing this i have already posted the 12 pictures from this blog in facebook and i want to thank all y'all for your comments there. now daddy is getting a little tired, too, so once denise is done with feeding him i am going back home to see if 1) the house is still there and 2) to get a little sleep. i will be back in the morning …
saturday, may 30, 2009
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