Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Gideon Discovers the Spoon and Handheld Video Games

Sitting firmly on my lap, Gideon looked at me suspiciously as if he knew something was up. He looked at Alexa holding a bowl of baby rice cereal with her left hand and waving a bright red plastic spoon full of the stuff with her right hand. At first, he didn't want to open his mouth, though he smiled as Alexa and I made funny noises. He started spreading the cereal all over the place, including my arm, shirt and face. After much trial and error he ate some of it too. The photo below tells the rest of the story about our first adventure with Gideon and spoon fed food.

Gideon has 2 first cousins. They are my only brother's sons. When Gideon gets together with his cousins, the fun never stops. They all love music too. Luis is the older one and loves to read and play piano. Israel is a ball of energy and makes Gideon smile a lot. I say Israel has ants in his pants. Him mom says all the ants have pitchforks. He just never seems to run out of energy. To them I am their "Tio Alex." As you can see from the picture below, boys will be boys.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Question of the Day:

What would you give up if you had to:


Thank God this is not an actual decision any of us have to make. I read this survey on a food blog, and most people chose to give up chocolate. I personally would also give up chocolate, although I can't imagine a world without dark chocolate, or hot chocolate. But then, what about mac & cheese, or grilled cheese? My favorite snack is a piece of soft cheese with fruit, then FOLLOWED by a piece of dark chocolate. Ok, so comment away! I would like to know what you all think.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dinner and a Baby

OK, so I know Alex told everyone in the last post that I would tell the story of our dinner out in Union City the other day, so here it goes. Alex and I love food (in case you haven't noticed by our chubbiness). We like eating out. We enjoy trying out new places. And we don't mind driving to fulfill a craving. One Sunday afternoon, we both had a craving for cheese steaks. And if you have a cheese steak craving, you get in the car and you drive to Philly. That is what you do. However, on this particular afternoon, we had a Cuban craving. Really to me, it was just a Spanish food craving. But Alex had a Cuban sandwich craving.
Now, for all of you that have kids, you know that your criteria for restaurants has changed. It's no longer the best reviewed place, or the restaurant with the great view. It's the "does the stroller fit here?"restaurant. It's the "if he starts crying, how many people will he annoy?" restaurant. So, we take the stroller and start walking down Bergenline. This is a main street with lots of shops and restaurants. Very urban; very Hispanic.

We don't have a specific restaurant in mind, just following our noses. We see a promising little Colombian bakery that promises the best Cuban sandwiches, however we walk in and there is no way our giant stroller is going to fit. We keep walking. Then we see a sign for "The Havana". Promising, right? Havana, Cuba! We look in and see that it is very spacious; not too many people. And, lo and behold, there is another family in there with a baby in a stroller! So, in case he starts crying, we have someone who will look over at us with compassion and understanding. Alex and I feel we hit the Cuban sandwich jackpot. We maneuver the stroller around various tables, until we reach the perfect table with a large enough space to park the monster stroller. We sit and the waitress comes over. She leans over with the most cleavage I have ever seen on another woman ever. She asks me a question, yet I cannot hear her.
Why, you may ask? Why can I not hear the cleavage exposing waitress, when she is not 6 inches away? Because at that precise moment, the loudest and most obnoxious Mexican music has started playing on the jukebox. I don't just mean loud, like in club loud or bar loud. I mean loud, like in rock concert loud. Heavy metal loud. Except that it is tejano music. Tex-Mex music. Really, really annoying music. Now, if you are reading this, and you are a tejano music fan, then I am sorry. For you. For your horrid taste in music. But, I digress. You may wonder why they are playing tejano music in a Cuban restaurant. Aha, this is where the sleep deprivation comes in. We THOUGHT it said "The Havana". However, it really said "The HaBana". With a "B". Like in Habanero pepper. Sigh. I know. Now, do we walk out? After all the maneuvering? Does Alex ever get his Cuban sandwich? What about all the drunk Mexican men? Stay tuned until next post dear friends. For now, enjoy the last snow of the season (Please God, no more snow). Gideon sends his love. (in a screeching kind of way.)

Baseball Inheritance

My dad walked over to the local PAL (Police Athletic League) office and signed my brother up for little league baseball. Always the little brother looking up to my big brother, I wanted to play baseball too. But I was too young for little league baseball. They did have a minor league, which was really peewee league. After much persuasion, generally achieved through consistent whining and crying, my dad brought me over and signed me up too.

Back in the day, peewee league was not for the faint of heart. Only during practice did you hit off a tee. During the games, there was a pitcher that hurled an actual baseball at you with all their strength. Many times the ball hit you. Other times you would hit the ball. But all the time you would play your little heart out and run as fast as you can with an oversized uniform as you slide into all bases like the pros for no reason other than to be like them. Don't forget the big league chewing gum.

Once I made it to little league, I knew that I wanted to play baseball for a living. My parents encouraged me. Both my dad and my mom would pitch to me and help me with my swing in the park. As I grew older I got better. A pure homerun hitter I was not, but I was strong defensively, ran fast and made contact with the ball.

I also had what they called in the neighborhood a "Clemente Arm." Just in case you don't know, the term refers to one of my baseball favorites, Roberto Clemente, who tragically died in a plane crash en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Though I began as a short stop, I moved onto right field where I proved to be able to throw out anyone at home plate without having the ball touch the ground.

In high school, I tried out for the football team in my freshman year at an all-boys, prep school. I made the team, but for personal reasons, was not able to play. I moved to a co-ed school and made their baseball team the following year. The high school baseball coach remembered me from little league when he used to volunteer at the league. I threw out one of his players. He had high expectations of me, perhaps too high. I never performed at the level I could because of the pressure and was benched in the latter part of my junior year. This is where I quit the team.

I tell most people that this was the first, biggest mistake in my life. And it was. It is a day where I severed my close ties to baseball and became only an observant fan. A sad day it was.

Will Gideon love baseball as much as I did? Will he have a laser, rocket arm like his daddy used to have? Or will he play soccer? Alexa's side of the family are HUGE futbol fans, so this a possibility.

I won't pressure him into anything. I'll just slowly lead him to the local little league sign up booth and say to him, "Hey Gideon...look at this! What a coincidence! We're at a little league sign up booth. How did we get here? And here's a pen and form to fill out!" I mean he's a bit young now and still hasn't mastered standing let alone catching, but when he's 4 or 5 we may find ourselves trying out gloves, tossing the ball, and going to the batting cages (wiping tears of joy away). Ahhhhhh..... what a wonderful vision.

For now, I'll just continue to dress him up in Mets gear as we rev up for the 2007 regular season. We were dissappointed last year, but have high hopes this year.

One thing is certain. He surely looks like he belongs in a Mets uniform, despite what you Yankees fans say. Yeah, you know who you are (giving the evil eye).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gideon’s Smile

He is known as a menacing cat.

Over 8 years ago, I found him in a precarious situation enclosed in an empty apartment full of broken glass and feces. He had a slight cut on his nose and was at least half the size he is now. A large English Springer Spaniel puppy that had known nothing but negligence was harassing him. Sitting atop a windowsill with a ray light reflecting in the background and nothing but his paws to offer some minimal protection, Miggy cried.

His body language indicated to me that he hadn’t been fed in days. He was hungry, as was the dog. This created a survival of the fittest scenario where Miggy’s life was in danger. That day I brought him home.

This scene is one that is part of a much larger story of abuse and neglect. I’ve mentioned in the past that I saved Miggy, but never offered an explanation. Fortunately, I have been able to purposefully forget some of the details.

He is about 10 years old now and we’ve been together for a long time. I call him my shadow for he follows me everywhere I go. Sometime between mid-February and mid-March is his birthday. So, happy birthday Miggy.

The past few weeks I have witnessed numerous interactions with Gideon and Miggy. I remember a few weeks ago when Gideon was speaking to Miggy as Alexa and I speak to Gideon sometimes. It was cute.

Their eyes meet often these days as if they are getting to know each other – always from a distance though. Yesterday, Gideon smiled at him, as he does with everyone else who isn’t scary. No prejudice. No recollection of history. No fear. Just the pure smile that many of us have experienced already.

There is a certain peace that emanates from Gideon’s smile. For that brief moment in time, all is forgotten. I’m not sure if Miggy recalls his sad past, but I wonder if he felt the peace as others do when Gideon smiled at him.

Here are some recent random pictures for your enjoyment.

Whoa! Look out! Look out rubber ducky!

This photo was taken at our recent, loud Mexican restaurant
adventure in Union City. Story by Alexa to come soon.

Another picture of Miggy

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Finding Inspiration at 1:30am

I've become accustomed to the sounds of the night. Miggy's water fountain with the constant flow of running water for him to drink. Airplanes flying right above our roof every once in a while. Sometimes the neighbor's dog across the street barks at passing cars. The smooth flickering sound of my WoodWick candle fooling me into believing that I have an actual fireplace. The pitter patting of paws running across our wooden floors as Miggy gets spooked by some odd occurence just outside the window. And the sound of typing as produced by my fingers.

Sometimes, I have to pull an all nighter to accomplish some very tight work deadlines. This is something many SAHDs (stay-at-home dads) can relate to. Admittedly, finding inspiration during this time to write is hard to come by, especially when the eyes start closing by themselves and the bed calls you by name. But I think it's easy to see 2 big sources of inspiration in the pictures above.

Aren't they cute?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! And Me! (see the resemblance?)

It's funny how a baby changes everything. Usually I revel in my birthday, loving the extra attention. The entire week before is all about what restaurant am I going to have dinner at, what gifts am I getting. This year, a night with no dinner out, with no extravagant gestures, a night I spent at home with my baby, was the best birthday ever.

Every year, we have a Dr. Seuss Party at the library. Mr. Geisel and I have the same birthday. The Cat in the Hat usually steals my glory. This year, Alex brought Gideon to celebrate. Here are some of the pictures from that day.

The family all together.

Shinae and Jen - They kept me sane during the mayhem.

Gideon was exhausted.

Watching Mama read in a funny hat was just too much for him.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What is Gideon Doing At The End of This Video?

1. Having Church!

2. Celebrating a Mets Homerun!

3. Raising the Roof!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gideon Versus Boppy.

It all began innocently enough. Andrea was taking pictures of Gideon on his boppy. Then, suddenly, a battle ensued. Here, see the carnage for yourself.

Looks like boppy was the victor this time. But Gideon will get him next time.

As I see it, boppy started it. What do you think?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Letter to My Husband on His 32nd Birthday

Dear Alex, (and no, I am not mad at you)*

I debated about using the blog to write you what would usually be a private letter. However, I feel compelled to let the world know (or at least our blog readers) what a wonderful husband you are. When we were dating, you told me that one of your life goals was to be able to stay home with your child. I remember thinking that it was sweet, but unlikely. I mean, how many men do you know that actually do that? And how many actually really set that to be a goal for their life? I can't tell you how many people are shocked when I tell them that you are the person at home with our baby.
Women (mothers especially) sigh wistfully as they imagine their husbands doing the same. Not too many men would be able to juggle the time consuming task of caring for and entertaining an infant, while at the same time managing to get their work done. (I still don't know what you do for a living:) And not too many men would love doing it, like you do. Thank you, honey, for allowing me to go to work everyday with peace in my heart. Thank you for paying most of the bills. Thank you putting up with my moods and my messiness. I love your sense of humor, I love your Louis Armstrong impression, which is just like your Cookie Monster impression. I love that Gideon looks like you. Happy Birthday, honey. May God bless you and keep you, may He shine His light upon you and give you peace.
All my love,
your wife Alexa
*I usually only call him Alex when I am mad at him. He tends to get the hunnie/sweetie treatment.