2003 News about David Leppik

Saturday, Dec. 20

After my last post, people got the impression that things were remarkably easy for us. And they were. But that didn't last long. Before long she was crying regularly starting between 8:00 and 10:00 at night, and not finishing before 2:00AM. She's gotten better, now that Jordan has given up dairy products and gassy foods (e.g. onions.) But she's still very cranky at night.

On the plus side, Sylvia is smiling now. The smiles are supposed to come six weeks after birth, and she was right on time. At first it was mouth motions that looked like they might be smile attempts, but they became more certain over time. They're still unusual, but becoming more common. (One of nature's trade-offs is between prenatal brain development and fitting the head through the birth canal. We'd prefer smiles on the first day, but not at any cost.)

I've been back to work full time since December 1. Fortunately I've been able to work three days a week from home, which has been very helpful. I've done some videoconferencing to the office; Apple's latest videoconferencing software (iChat) works pretty well. As is usually the case, the flashy technology isn't usually the most useful. Email, the phone, and instant messaging have been the primary tools to keep me connected with the office.

Thursday, Nov. 13

The first baby crisis! I went to the grocery store the other day and, on a whim, bought some wasabi-flavored peas. These crispy snacks come in a mylar pouch and have more Japanese text than English. "A Happy Gift from the Earth." Turns out you can't stop eating the stuff. (Side note: real wasabi is rare and can't be found even in fancy American sushi bars; it's all horseradish with green food coloring, according to the Wall Street Journal. This was no exception.)

The baby crisis came a few hours after Jordan started snacking on the peas, during the next breastfeeding. Jordan ate a lot of peas, and therefore a lot of horseradish. Sylvia would take a taste and then pull away from the breast. She was clearly hungry, but wouldn't eat. Once we figured out what was going on, Jordan got out the electric breast pump we got from Carla and extracted the offending milk. I made a milk-friendly pasta alfredo to replenish Jordan. Meanwhile I did my best to distract the baby.

Actually, it wasn't that much of a crisis. Sylvia was very patient, even though she was hungry. She's the most mellow baby I know; she hardly cried at all. Of course, I was bouncing her around a whole lot to keep her from crying. I do that a lot. She cries less than half an hour a day (usually during diaper changes)-- compared with two hours a day, which is what the average newborn apparently does. She sleeps a lot-- we actually got over four consecutive hours of sleep the other night. Typical breast-fed newborns wake up every two hours to eat. But she is getting enough to eat-- we've got the dirty diapers to prove it!

In short, my paternity leave is much more like a vacation than I expected. There's still plenty to do, but it's not the sleepless blur everyone warns you about. Leaving the house at all is a major expedition, and everything takes two or three times as long as it used to. Still, most things are doable with the two of us taking care of Sylvia. I've had time to make at least one home-cooked meal each day. Then again, we've had our first meal at lunch time nearly every day.

We've also had gracious help from lots of people. For the first several days, my mom brought over dinner every night. Jordan's dad stayed for the first weekend and did all sorts of things around the house. When I first got home from the hospital, he and my mom were cleaning out our basement, so we could fit more baby stuff down there. This is the sort of thing parents are for: the basement storage room is one of those places where we throw things and try not to give a second thought. We dread cleaning it ourselves, and wouldn't dare ask anyone to do it for us. Now it's reasonably well organized.

On the minus side, Jordan's dad has an odd penchant for rearranging things in our kitchen. He did a few good things, in particular getting rid of all those plastic bags we'd saved for far too long, but most of his "innovations" were neutral at best. He uses his kitchen in a much different way than we use ours, so things that are convenient for him are awkward for us.

He's a home inspector by trade, and he brings those skills to bear every time he visits. This time he fixed our drainage problem. (Or so we hope; it hasn't been tested yet.) We'd been planning for years to get a sump pump and some fancy, expensive fixes. Turns out those fixes are overpriced and questionable. He just extended all our down spouts. He did a calculation he does when he inspects homes:
(house width) x (house length) x (annual rainfall) x 7.5 (gallons per cubic foot)
35' x 25' x 2' x 7.5 = 13,125 gallons of rain that fall on our roof

In the midwest, six inches in one thunderstorm isn't unusual. That's 3000 gallons in a day. No wonder our basement leaks! Several ugly flexible plastic tubes, with the intention to make a more pleasing fix later, were installed while Jordan and I took Sylvia to church.

Church was a real trip. It was also the first (and only) trip Jordan has made out of the house since getting home from the hospital. We knew staying for the service would be too ambitious, so we planned to show up for the coffee hour. Actually, my plan was to visit the Senior High group about 15 minutes before the end of the service and then go to the coffee hour afterward. (Normally I'm one of the Sr. High advisors, so they had heard all about the pregnancy.) Sylvia needed feeding, so we showed up a half hour late. We still saw lots of people who were very happy to meet Sylvia. Her birth had been announced during the service.

While Jordan was chatting in the social hall, I went up to the Sr. High room, where a meeting was in progress. "Dave!" several girls gasped as I walked in. It's the closest to being a rock star I've ever been, and it felt pretty close. I said, "Does anybody want to see a bay-bee?" I was rushed by eight girls and one boy, who followed me down to the social hall to swarm Jordan and Sylvia. To this group, Sylvia is bigger than the Beatles. As one person would get a chance to hold the baby, others would hug each other with excitement. This was really, really cool, and I'll remember it for a very long time.

The congratulatory cards have started coming in, including one from the Sr. High group, one from the minister, one (generically) from the church, and a few from random members of the church. I don't remember church being this family-friendly when I was a kid, but who am I to argue? We've also gotten tons of offers for help from all sorts of people. I'm keeping the phone numbers and email addresses, but Sylvia has been a dream so far.

Gotta go, baby's crying...

Saturday, Nov. 8

She's been born. Sylvia Anne Leppik, born at 10:29 AM on Wednesday, Nov. 5. I've got several pictures posted on her web site. Today's the first full day out of the hospital. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, but Jordan got far less. Here's the story of her birth.

On Tuesday morning at about 1:15 Jordan's water broke. She actually felt it pop, and there was a small trickle after that. We called the hospital and they told us to try to sleep and come in in the morning. Neither of us could sleep very well after that.

In the morning we finished packing, had breakfast, fed the cats, and did everything else on the list we'd put on the front door. Off to the hospital, where we moved into the birthing room and Jordan got examined. Throughout the pregnancy she was examined by nurse/midwives rather than a doctor, and today was no exception. Anne Johnson was the official midwife, but much of the work was done by Martha Hill, an RN and midwife-in-training. Not that she needs much training-- she was great! Anne was great too; she's incredibly gentle. As I'll get to later, the official midwife for the birth ended up being a third great person, Ann Page. We were blessed to have such wonderful people.

The midwives told us that there was a 75% chance of Jordan going into labor within 24 hours of the water breaking. (Anne's experience is more like 60%.) If not, the baby is in danger of an infection because with the water breaking the womb is no longer sterile. One option was to induce labor in the evening if it didn't start before. After much consideration, we decided to avoid inducing until the next morning. (Jordan needs rest to have the strength to push.) We spent the day walking around the hospital and doing other non-medicinal labor encouragement. I walked to a co-op and bought some grapes, pickles, and apple juice. In the evening mom and dad came by with pizza for me. Jordan had hospital food. It was odd that Jordan and I spent so much time in the hospital room, but only she got fed.

There was no new sign of labor by bedtime, so Jordan was given a sedative so she could try in the morning. She had contractions in her sleep, which gave her strange dreams. When she woke up around 5:00, they were close together, and labor was ready to start.

I woke up by 5:30, when she was talking to someone about starting labor. The midwives came in, and the next part was exactly what our birthing class had prepared us for: a minute or two of respite between enveloping pain. I and the medical staff could follow along with a seismograph-like display of her contractions. She threw up a lot, so they put her on an I.V. Mommy and baby need their strength, and can't be dehydrated. I tried feeding her ice chips, like the husbands in all the birthing videos, but spooning pellets of ice into her mouth was barely helpful at best, and a choking hazard at worst.

One thing I could do was set up the laptop to play music. I didn't even notice that I forgot to plug in the external speakers. Remarkably, Jordan did. She had set up a birthing playlist that consisted of the soundtrack from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Peter Gabriel's Passion (a.k.a. the soundtrack from The Last Temptation of Christ), the quieter bits of the Gladiator soundtrack, with a few Mozart sonatas for good measure. We got a lot of complements for our music.

Anne filled the bathtub while Martha water-proofed the I.V. drip. (Anne asked whether Jordan wanted the water hot, warm, or cool. I was confused by the question, since temperature preference is so subjective. But she knew what she was doing.) We moved Jordan into the bath tub, and I was given the job of spraying her belly with the shower head. This proved very soothing. Jordan would mumble "legs" barely audibly when her legs got cold, and would point at her belly when a particular spot needed a spray.

At about this time Anne Johnson went off duty and the next midwife, Ann Page, came on duty. I'd been hoping since the beginning that Ann Page would be our midwife at birth-- she's the sister of our next-door neighbor-- but at this point I really didn't want the other Anne to leave and any new person to take her place. The new Ann poked her head in before she had even taken her winter coat off. I'm not sure Jordan even noticed. Ann came back dressed in medical scrubs a little later; it must have been around 9:00, since Jordan's breakfast arrived at the same time. I ate her breakfast quickly as various nurses came in and out. Oatmeal, eggs, cake, a banana, and some yogurt Anne Johnson had snitched for me-- I ate everything but the ham: meat was suddenly unappetizing.

At some point Jordan started mumbling about pain killers. She requested an intrathecal, a spinal injection which is particularly easy to administer. She also said part of her wanted Nubain, which can be added to her I.V. drip. (Even in her state, she remembered all of the drugs and their side effects; at the time I'd forgotten Nubain and thought she was talking about an epidural-- a more invasive spinal anesthesia.) Martha started telling Jordan about the side effects of each of these options. Jordan also said that adoption was looking like a good option.

It was at times like this when I was actually valuable. I could interpret what Jordan was saying better than anyone else. Jordan spoke only between contractions, and then only in a weak mumble. We tried to build a bubble of calm and comfort around her, but the mood was more hurried just outside of earshot. I knew that when Jordan said "part of me wants..." it wasn't yet serious. Jordan keeps reminding me of one case of interpretation that she heard, as I was spraying her belly with warm water:

Me: Do you want any music?
Jordan: Maybe...
Me, to midwives: That means yes.

After probably 15 or 30 minutes of slow deliberation, Jordan got out of the bathtub to be examined before her intrathecal. To the shock of everyone, Jordan was fully dilated. Too late for drugs; time to push.

This last phase went by fast. From what I could tell it was the most painful. This was, after all, the part when an entire human being gets pushed through another human being's sex organs. I also suspect that it's the one time when your body refuses to let you pass out from pain. According to our birthing class, mothers start to forget birth pain about six months after the fact. This is necessary for the species to perpetuate itself. Let's just say I heard the evidence, and it is painful beyond description.

Jordan leaned on the bed (raised to counter-top height) and I leaned on the other side and held her hand, often holding her up. Both midwives rubbed her back and gave words of encouragement. At one point I let Jordan go so I could get a first glimpse of the head. That was really cool. Right afterward they had Jordan lie on the bed, so the baby wouldn't land on the floor. Not long thereafter Martha told me to put the camera in my pocket. For the longest time we were just a few pushes away from the head coming out.

Jordan would push, and something would come out. And then it might go back in a bit. During one push they had Jordan put her hand down there to feel the top of the head. I looked away for a moment, and the next thing I knew there was a tiny blue head coming out.

We'd been told carefully what would happen next, as it was an emergent situation. During the first pushes, there had been some meconium (baby's first stool, very sticky) found among the fluids coming out, which is a choking hazard. The neonatal intensive care unit had set up camp behind a curtain, and if the baby didn't cry immediately they'd take a look at her. If the baby did cry immediately, she'd visit mommy first. When the head appeared they vacuumed the nose and mouth carefully. An arm came out next-- elbow first, and with a few stitches worth of pain. The next arm came shoulder-first, and the rest came out easily. It was announced to be a girl. Things went really fast from here. I couldn't tell from my vantage point. The baby was handed off to behind a curtain, where she started to cry. The first cry was very reassuring. A few seconds later she appeared at the other end of the curtain, where they had set up a baby warmer. She had already gone from blue to pink.

One thing we'd forgotten when packing was Jordan's glasses. Since she hadn't put on her contacts, she hadn't been able to see anything farther than a foot in front of her the whole time. It may have been better this way, as it made the whole experience seem less real. As people started telling the intensive care nurse to show Jordan the baby, I slipped her my glasses. Not long thereafter the baby ended up on Jordan's chest. The reason neither of us is wearing glasses in the pictures is that whoever had the camera had the glasses.

Jordan spent much of the rest of the day recovering. I'm normally squeamish, but nothing phased me at that point: seeing the placenta, watching them pull out the last of the umbilical cord, watching them stach Jordan back together. ("Very minor," they said.) I called the relatives and closest friends, reporting the time of birth as 10:45 (or "quarter 'til whatever hour it is now"), as that was the first time I saw the clock. The official birth time was 10:29. My sense of time was shot.

It was an easy labor, as such things go. I can't imagine a difficult one, even though we planned for far worse. More accurate to say it was a quick labor. Only five hours. No pain medication. I heard more than a few times from each of the midwives how well Jordan did. Sylvia began suckling almost immediately. All of the nurses and the midwives did a wonderful job.

Birth is the ultimate story. Nowhere is the pain and the action more intense, and nowhere is the ending more rewarding. Our lives are permanently changed, and we're just starting to get used to it.

Saturday, Nov. 1


We've got our co-sleeper (in place of a crib), the changing station is ready to go, we've got a suitcase ready to go, the car seat is waiting. The baby room is overstuffed with hand-me-downs and gifts, while the basement freezer has enough food to survive an apocalypse. Now we're just counting the days. (Hint: Nov. 6 is the due date.) It's a frenzy of work and play, as we run out of time for either. We have some unvarnished furniture in the garage, but we're even over the hump with that work. Jordan's back hurts a lot, frequently. I've been giving her a massage probably every other day, on top of frequent visits to the chiropractor. Jordan's also sleeping a lot.

Jordan wasn't in a mood to do Halloween decorations yesterday, but fortunately it's down to a science. A black light, with glowing skeletons and spider webs, does the trick for our front steps. But the real crowd-pleaser is pointing our TV projector at a sheet we hang behind the arch to our living room, so that A Nightmare Before Christmas looms in our doorway. I set that all up within about half an hour of getting home. The last trick was to set the DVD on "chapter repeat" so every kid sees witches and skeletons; when we played the whole movie last year, kids said "Why are you playing Christmas stuff on Halloween?"

Melony and Brian came over, and TM joined us later on. We tried to play a game, Warhammer, while handing candy out, but that turned out not to be sufficiently mindless (it's only mindless once you remember all the rules)-- not to mention we randomly started the game with one of the toughest possible battles-- so we gave up on it. By then it was getting late for trick-or-treating, so we set the DVD for normal play and watched the movie.

Monday, October 13
[baby ducks] I just got pictures from Peter of the baby shower. The ducks in the diapers were a little game. The person who got the duck with a chocolate chip in the diaper won a prize. Peter got the winning diaper. John (who is recently out of diapers) put the chocolate chip in his mouth. I said, "ewww!" [cake]

Tonight was the last night of our birth & parenting preparation class. It's been every Monday for the last six weeks. I'm a little sad to see it end; it's been fun and thought-provoking, and we got to meet some interesting parents-to-be.

Thursday, October 9
[Jordan, 8 months] Jordan, as she looked last weekend. (Photo by David Wood.)

It's been a busy week so far, and it's not going to get any less busy. We had a birth/parenting class on Monday, a breast feeding class on Wednesday, and we were doing paperwork on Tuesday. The baby could come at any time (the due date is Nov. 6), and we're starting to feel the crunch.

In the middle of the night a few nights ago, Jordan told me something didn't feel right. She said it with the particular sense of urgency that suggests that we might be spending the night in the hospital. She seemed to want some reassurance so I felt her belly and it felt hard. "That could be a contraction" was my response. She wandered off to the bathroom and I went back to sleep. The next day I learned that she had been talking in her sleep and had no recollection of anything before I told her she might be having a contraction. At the time she thought my remark was silly since I was feeling the baby's back.

The baby shower was on Saturday, and Jordan and Melony had their birthdays on Sunday. The shower was fun; we played a number of good party games. It was mostly friends of Jordan and mine, although mom invited a few friends of hers. One of these was Marti Micks. I used to play with her kids at her house when I was little. I'm probably the same age (give or take ten years) that she was when I met her, and I'm probably six years away from that stage in her life. When I realized that I suddenly felt an odd sense of solidarity. Like suddenly realizing you're as mature as your Kindergarten teacher. Or like when you realize you're as old as your parents were when you were born. It's several realizations in one: everyone you know when you were six was really fumbling through life just like you are; even so, you're mature enough to raise the next generation; and you really, truly, absolutely cannot escape the inevitable march of time, indeed it caught up with you as you were trying to ignore it. And that you're about to have more in common with your parent's generation than you thought. Indeed, as I thanked Marti for her gift it's the first time I've seen her as my wiser peer.

In contrast, the most fun at the party was after many of the guests had gone and several of Jordan's and my friends were sitting in a circle playing a spontaneous game of that timeless Kindergarten party classic: keep the balloon in the air. There were about eight of us and at least twice as many balloons, so it was a reasonable physical and mental challenge.

Jordan's dad stayed with us over the weekend. There was plenty of father-daughter bonding, usually around a crossword puzzle. We were going to see a movie Sunday afternoon, but the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle took too long. (Jordan had a bit of a head start, since she'd started on it last Sunday when we were in Darien, CT for my grandfather's memorial.) In the evening we all went out to dinner with Melony and TM to celebrate the birthdays.

Friday, September 19

Went on a company boat ride last night. It was a little stormy for most of the time, but still fun. The ride ended a little early because the twins were getting cranky. In a five person company, two tired toddlers can have a profound effect on company events.

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, I got in this morning and my computer screen showed this:

Big hurricane over East coast

That's one remarkable hurricane!

Thursday, September 18

I use a program called xplanet to provide my window backdrop at work. There's a big thunderstorm in the midwest today, which should help the drought. Here's what north America looks like in xplanet today:

Bad weather on Earth
Sunday, September 14

Can't, shan't, couldn't, won't, ... Jordan. What do these have in common?

Contractions! Jordan woke up around 4:00 this morning with what she thought were contractions. We timed several of them, and they were far too regular to be anything else. She's due in about seven weeks, so it's a tad early for frequent contractions. We called the hospital, and they had a nurse/midwife call us back. We spent the rest of the early morning in the hospital, with Jordan strapped to a machine which measured the contractions and the baby's heartbeat. She's not ready to give birth (the baby hasn't dropped into place, etc.) so that wasn't a concern. Still, it's disconcerting. Fortunately it's not painful.

Tonight Jordan had more contractions. She's had them throughout the day, but the number to look for is five in an hour. By 10:30 she'd had that many, so she called the hospital again. The nurse/midwife on duty suggested she take a hot bath and drink a lot of chamomile tea. Jordan's just getting out of the bath. It seems to have helped. We'll see how she does through the night.

In happier news, the religious education classes at church started today. I'm one of the high school advisors again, and we had fun today. I had people do quick getting-to-know-you questions (thanks to Nancy Heege for the idea) using my hug line permutation. It didn't quite work-- I'm certain people weren't quite rotating right at first-- but it worked well enough. There were popsicles in the freezer at one end of the line, and you could tell how far the line progressed by how far from the freezer people had popsicles.

Sunday, July 20

It's busy around here. Jordan and I just got back from a trip to Duluth for our 6th wedding anniversary. We stayed at the Fleur de Lys Bed & Breakfast on its opening weekend. Setting it up has been rocky for the new owners, and they have a few logistics to work out-- in particular getting crepes made efficiently with new, too slick crepe pans. Even then, making the crepes was quite a show, with each of them working one of the two burners on a portable stove top. Nobody at the table particularly minded that the first breakfast took a while. It was, after all, a three-course meal, not counting the tea and doughnuts for appetizers, and the conversation was jovial throughout. We learned that when Virginia & Jean-Christophe (the owners) visit their relatives in Paris, they never see much of Paris because lunch begins soon after breakfast ends, dinner begins shortly after lunch, and bedtime is not long after dinner ends. This put our Saturday breakfast (9:00-11:15 or so) in perspective. Sunday breakfast was much quicker, which unfortunately left us with a lively conversation long after the food was gone.

We did a variety of touristy things in Duluth; we went on a boat tour of the harbor (more industrial than scenic-- but the raw scale of the industry was breathtaking: tons of coal per minute loaded onto a barge bigger than the Titanic for eight hours to power a single power plant for a single day.) We visited the Great Lakes Aquarium, the world's largest fresh water aquarium. And we saw The Lion King at the IMAX theater. Today we saw Gooseberry Falls and on the way back visited a silversmith shop a little ways north of Duluth. The shop is made of wood, ornately carved in traditional Norwegian style by the owner. He's currently working on a small house next to the shop, in the same style.

I spent the last week and a half of June in Boston and Salem, MA. The first half was a tour of the area with the high school kids from church. There's a lot of Unitarian Universalist heritage there including Walden Pond and a few Unitarian churches dating back to the 1600s. The second half of the trip was General Assembly, the annual business meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Since it was in Boston (the closest thing our denomination has to a hometown), this was the biggest GA ever. The Sunday service had over 9000 people mostly filling the Fleet Center (Boston's big sports arena.) The highlight of GA for me was just before that service, when I started the wave. At first it looked like the wave wasn't going to go, but it ultimately went around the stadium three times. This was the first time I've ever gotten 9000 people to spontaneously do something. One of the men in my section (without whose support I would have given up) used this as a lesson to show his kids that one person can make a difference.

While I was away in Boston, our cat Nero died. He had gotten sick right before we left, and I actually was late meeting up with the church group because of a vet appointment. He was only four years old, and had generally been healthy. He was our smartest and most polite cat. One of my favorite memories of Nero was when, as a kitten, we got him to pop bubbles while walking on the treadmill. He will be missed.

Did I mention we're busy? At the end of this week Jordan and I (along with Peter, Carla, and their kids) will be driving out to Albany, New York for my cousin David Kurtz's wedding. The week after that is Opus and ConCentric, another UU trip. Frequently while I'm in the shower or driving to work I think of things to write here, stuff that's more reflective and less newsy, but when I actually sit down to write I barely have time to mention the headlines. Too much happening all at once is why you don't hear much about Opus on these pages, even though I've been going every year.

Finally, a pregnancy update. Jordan is feeling kicks regularly, and this morning could actually see one from across the room. If I hadn't known otherwise, I would have thought it was a stomach muscle twitch. She's eating small meals with frequent snacks, and she's getting heartburn regularly. However, she's generally happy and the novelty of the situation has yet to wear off.

Thursday, June 12

We had the first ultrasound today. Pictures are here. The baby is squirmy and healthy, and probably a girl. Despite much searching around, they weren't able to say for sure, since the kid wouldn't cooperate. I suppose we can allow her (him?) that much privacy for now. The feet are about an inch long, yet despite a lot of kicking, arm movement, and shaking the umbilical cord, Jordan can't feel any of it. By the end of the appointment I could generally make out three-dimensional shapes from the picture on the screen, but I would have to look at the probe to try to guess where they were and at what cross-section. With the computer graphics I do, I'm used to making out weird patterns nobody else can see, but it was humbling to be that disoriented by that sort of thing.

Jordan is generally feeling good most days, especially compared to how she felt when she had morning sickness. Pickle consumption has gone way down-- I actually ate the pickle that came with her burger last night.

Yesterday we got our first shipment of veggies from our CSA. A lot of salad greens plus some rhubarb, garlic greens, colorful radishes, and flowers. Rhubarb crisp is in the oven right now, and we had a good salad for dinner. One of the challenges-- and opportunities-- of the CSA is that we'll be getting a lot of things we wouldn't normally buy.

In other news, I got a new 60 gig hard disk the other day, and Seebs was kind enough to install it. He did the same thing last week to his wife's laptop, and transferring the contents of a hard disk-- not to mention poking at delicate circuitry-- is not something to be done lightly. As the disks were doing their thing, we watched several episodes of The Irresponsible Captain Tyler where we could see the monitor.

As a sign of the effect of pregnancy on Jordan's mental aptitude, she purchased a hard disk for me as a birthday gift. She watched me order the disk, but forgot that I had actually purchased it. I should mention that I was in desparate need for the disk, since my 12-gig disk (itself an upgrade) was completely full. It's traditional to measure a computer by its processor speed. I got this machine in 2001, and it's had a memory upgrade and two hard disk upgrades. The processor isn't zippy, but it's still good enough.

Lest you think the 60 gig disk will last a while, I plan to get a camcorder soon (it goes with having kids), and I'll be able to edit only two hours of footage on the hard drive.

In nine days I head off to Boston with the high schoolers from church for a week. It dovetails with General Assembly, the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association, where I'll be doing lots of stuff, including keeping track of a few of the youth who will be staying for GA. The parents thank me for this sort of thing as if it were work, but I think it's loads of fun-- and most of the youth are very well-behaved. Perhaps being a parent wears on you, or perhaps the parent/child relationship puts kids and/or parents on guard in a way that suppresses joy. Or perhaps I just feel more comfortable letting kids learn from their (mostly) harmless mistakes. In any case, I hope it's as much fun when my kid is a teenager, but I'm not counting on it.

Wednesday, April 30

I've got a new version of my Mandelbrot generator! (Java required) In other news, Jordan is in the throes (& often "throws") of morning sickness. For the first time ever, I have to be careful to avoid nauseating conversation topics. A few weeks ago we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. Very cool.

Jordan's mother, Catherine, and sister, Hilary, came to visit a week ago for Jordan's grandmother's funeral. Jordan and I drove down to Windom, MN last Tuesday for the service. Despite the unhappy cause, we were happy to host them for most of a week-- they are wonderful guests. Then on Friday Jordan's dad, David, came to town for a self-improvement workshop and crashed at our place. We didn't see him much, although on Sunday morning as I was leaving for church he started giving us home improvement recommendations. He's trained as an architect, so he has good insights. He left with copies of our house blueprints on his laptop. Don't be surprised if we expand the house in a year or two.

The only downside of the comings and goings of the relatives has been a lack of time for homework. Jordan has been a stress puppy all week trying to catch up. And stress doesn't help the nausea.

Saturday, March 15

Spring is finally here: the snow is melting, and the air is aromatic. I've been home sick for the past few days, and it looks like today will be another day of bed rest-- though it's warm enough that I'll have to at least go for a walk. Jordan's spring break starts today.

The big news: Jordan's pregnant. Our best estimate is that she's due Nov. 6. We're both marveling at the changes her body is going through. We've been reading a lot of baby books. The latest one is Attachment Parenting by William and Martha Sears.

In January we went on a vacation in Ireland. We took lots of pictures, though I haven't put them online. At the time I hadn't cut my hair in far too long. When Jordan and I got home, I finally fixed my unruly hair once and for all. I also tried an extreme hair experiment. (Not bad for a haircut I gave myself-- Jordan didn't want anything to do with it!) My hair is growing back, and I'll probably keep it at a length that most people consider normal.

older news...