Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Half Year.

Really, the amazing thing is that we've kept him alive and thriving for six months.

And happy! How did we end up with such a good natured baby? Even now, when he has a cold, he has the sweetest smiles for us. We're very lucky.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. You're amazing.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Two Faces of Jasper



* Yes, we are cruel parents: We laughed uproariously at this face and took a picture before soothing him. But c'mon. Look at that face.


Jasper doesn't know what Christmas is yet, but he's already making out like a bandit. Or maybe a pirate...?

Just a few of the things he's enjoying so far:

A book from Great Grandma Carrie (tasty!):

A Santa hat handmade by Grandma Janet:

Cool shades from Aunt Harriett and Uncle Tim:

He got to peek at a sweater Aunt Virginia is knitting him:

A nifty pirate doll from Uncle Adam and Aunt Marilyn:

A very special gift from Uncle Christian*:

* No babies were intoxicated in the making of this blog post.

These are just a few of the very generous gifts Jasper has received, and its not even Christmas yet. As always, I am amazed and touch by the generosity of our friends and family. Thanks, everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Late last week, Jasper startled us by letting loose a string of syllables. All the same one, mind you, but a hearing your son suddenly chanting "blah blah blah blah"* is pretty damn funny. Since then, he's alternated "blah" with "yah" "wah" "mah" and other one syllable words ending in "ah." Most humorously, he has also started mouthing the words, as seen below. I have no explanation.

* I refuse to acknowledge "blah" as my son's first word.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down.

Unfortunately my son is not a Weeble.

This is our morning routine. When Jasper wakes up, he gets a quick diaper change, then to the bed for a little rolly polly exercise. He's doing amazingly well; just in the last week, he's gone from barely able to sit to be able to do it for extended periods. Which is why I wanted to get this video today; a clip of him just sitting, while impressive, isn't nearly as much fun as one of him falling. Over and over again. Mean mom.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Me, not Jasper. I should have posted his five month status update on Sunday. Which was his five month birthday. In apology, I give you his official five month portrait:

Yep, we have us a couch potato.

Jasper is doing wonderfully, reaching all his milestones, etc. He's grabbing at everything, and anything he gets hold of goes into his mouth. He's done some unassisted sitting using his arm to tripod himself; he's still very wobbly, but getting there. He went on a little bit of a sleep strike this week, both skipping naps and refusing to sleep at night. Last night was better and as you can see below, naps are back, so hopefully we're done with that. He started to shout for the sheer thrill of it, and scared the bejeesus out of Isobel last night with an especially ear piercing shriek. He's become quite interested in all the pets and tries to "pet" them (petting involves grabbing fistfuls of their fur, and then trying to get his mouth on them). He's exceptionally involved in everything around him; he likes to watch us eat and then makes chewing movements with his little toothless mouth. All around, he remains a sweet happy boy. I think we'll keep him.

(The power of the swing cannot be denied; it can even lull the fussiest boys to sleee...)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jasper's First Thanksgiving

I can really only think of one thing I'm grateful for this year, and its my little boy. We had a very nice Thanksgiving, despite the fact that my poor boy's parents dragged him all over the Bay Area today. We got up early and ran a 5k Turkey Trot in Walnut Creek this morning (okay, I ran the 5k while Morgan and Jasper waited for me at the start/finish). And then we headed into the city for dinner at my mom's. And of course, photos were taken:

Harriett and Jasper

Tim and Jasper

Jill and Jasper

Walla and Jasper

and finally, Grandma and a very tired Jasper

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've always hated those baby boy's first haircuts - the ones that take them from sweet baby to sullen looking toddler. I love the kids I know whose parents have just let their hair grow. Clearly, I am revealing my hippie roots.

But. On Saturday, when Morgan and I were getting our hair cut, Susan offered to trim Jasper's hair a little to even it out. Jasper was born with a full head of hairs, and the top has continued growing. But the sides and the back have fallen out, giving him a patchy look. Morgan calls it his fallout look. Morgan plays too many post-apocalyptic video games. But I don't suppose I'm any kinder when I call him our Donald Trump baby. Or comb-over baby.

Anyway, Susan did a lovely job, snipping off just the ends (without snipping our very squirmy baby) and he looks much better as a result. Because this was entirely unplanned, Jasper's first haircut was entirely undocumented. But I can provide the following photo of evidence of how distinguished our boy can be.

Friday, November 20, 2009


substantiating my previous post, plus a demonstration of the Dodge mouth:


Jasper's latest skill? Blowing raspberries.

His latest little facial tick? Sucking in his lower lip, making him look like a little old man who took out his teeth.

My current favorite thing? When he tries to do both these things at the same time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

His favorite toy

and some pretty good grabbing skills.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The photo spot

I'm realizing we have a lot of pictures of Jasper on his changing table. It makes sense since in addition to changing his diaper there, we also change his clothes there. So any cute outfit tends to get photographed there. Plus, its a spot he can't (yet!) roll off, so when we want to set him someplace for a quick shot, it tends to be there. The problem is, he tends to get some crazy baby looks on his face when we just hold the camera out over him. See?

We were trying to get a picture of the door knob name plaque that Morgan's Grandpa made for Jasper (thanks, Great-grandpa!). But we went through a few takes before we got some thing that looked a little less... demented:

A little better:

Okay, as close as we're going to get to smiling:

It happened again this morning when I was trying to get a post-bath picture of Jasper. Crazy baby:

Cute baby:

Okay, maybe more gangster baby than cute.

Since this is a gratuitous photo post, here's one more, demonstrating Jaz's peculiar pattern baldness. Also, his adorable little profile.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My favorite thing

is watching Jasper wake up in the morning. He'll lie there looking around the room, all serious faced, as if checking to make sure everything is where it was last night when he fell asleep. And then he finds us in his sweep of the room, and he breaks out the biggest grin.

I've never had anyone always so happy to see me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dinosaurs of Distraction

(See? He's not always happy... but he is easily distracted by tiny blah-ing dinosaurs.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

He looks a little terrified,

but really, he was having fun.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Lately Jasper developed a couple little quirks with his hands, one slightly more uncomfortable than the other.

He's started grabbing things with pincher fingers. This is cool developmentally. but its also kind of hilarious. He's grabbing chins, noses, mouths, ears, hair... you name it, he's grabbing it. This is occasionally uncomfortable.

The other quirk is adorable. He's taken to stroking things. This closely related to the grabbing but is much gentler. Last night we hung out with him in my lap for a while; the entire time, he was grabbing/stroking my leg. Its like a tiny massage. And there have been a few times when the only reason I've known he's woken up from a nap is because I can hear him stroking the bed while he slowly rejoins the world.

I like watching my boy feel his way in the world.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some updates

Jasper had his four month well baby check up today, which he handled like a superstar. Apparently the crinkly tissue paper on the exam table is immensely fun to play with, and the safety mirror along side the table is a good time too. Jasper cried a little when he was being weighed (naked! in a strange place!) but then settled down to flirt with the medical assistant. She was quite taken with him, and played three or four rounds of peekaboo with him on her way out the door. When our pediatrician came in, Jasper was happily singing to his reflection while grabbing fistfuls of tissue paper. Doc was impressed. She says he is exceptionally expressive, both verbally and physically. Which we kind of knew, but its nice to hear anyway.

We talked some about starting solid foods; the doctor recommends waiting until six months to make sure his digestive system is mature enough and to prevent potential food allergies. We're fine with that (especially since, with the cloth diapers, I'm dreading the onset of solid food poops).

Jasper also had his next round of vaccines. The shots went quickly, but the silly tech gave him the shots before giving him his oral rotovirus vaccine. It apparently hasn't occurred to the silly woman that giving him something to swallow before he starts screaming will work better. Oh well. Next time I'll remember to request any orals before the shots.

And the stats:

Weight: 16 pounds 1.5 ounces (69%)
Height:: 24.5 inches (28%)*
Head Circumference:43.2 cm (71%)

* This is just wrong; even the doctor looked at the number and dismissed it. Jasper was 23.5 inches at his two month check up and its obvious from looking at him that he's a long baby. I measured him with a soft tape when I got home and estimate him to be around 27 or 28 inches. No idea what percentile that is.

In other news, Jasper has recently taken to the pacifier with a vengeance. My mom gave him one last week when he was fussy but not hungry, and he seemed to enjoy it. So when he started looking cranky on the train the other day, I gave it a try. The first efforts were kind of hilarious; he wanted to keep his hand between his face and the face shield. He tends to turn the pacifier sideways in his mouth, and a couple times he's shoved it to one side and squeezed his thumb in the other side. But it also seems to be helping him settle down for naps, which is great. He still tends to only want to nap on people, so anything that makes napping easier is a huge deal.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been working part time in the city, which means that Jasper and I have been mastering commuting. We've mastered which seats are best with the stroller and how not to stress when we can hear a train coming but there's no sign of the elevator to the platform. Mom and I have mastered the baby hand off at the Glen Park BART parking lot. And I'm drinking caffeine again, for the first time since I got pregnant. Turns out sleep deprivation and regular work are not compatible. It doesn't seem to be affecting Jasper though.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bonus Post

Story telling hour with our boy Jasper:


I can't believe its been over a week since my last post. Well, actually, I can; we've been pretty busy. But! Since today is Jasper's four month birthday, let's start things off with the requisite birthday photo.

The froglet would like to wish everyone a very happy Halloween.

As I mentioned previously, Jasper and I flew to Richmond, Virginia this past weekend for Dad and Paige's wedding. It was a very brief trip, but a nice chance to hang out with the Fortunas and to meet Paige's family. Everyone was very impressed with Jasper. He was especially taken with his cousin Margaret, and she was equally taken with him.

We also got to lounge around our cushy hotel room and take advantage of having a king size bed for just the two of us:

Who doesn't love sleeping baby pictures?

The wedding was on Saturday night, and even though it poured (it was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception), everyone rolled with it and it really was a lovely evening. Unfortunately, I remembered halfway through the evening that I had made a point of giving Jasper a mellow day when Jill got married so that he would be a happy baby all night. Instead of a mellow day, Jasper ran all over Richmond with us, eating barbecue and visiting train stations. As a result, he was a little fussy, but we had lots of volunteers to hold him and walk with him, so I actually got to do things like, you know, eat... Special thanks to Diana and to Betsy, who at one point turned David away when he wanted to hold Jasper.

Speaking of eating, our little boy got his own spot at the table:

After that one, I more or less failed to take any more photos. But this wedding photographer seemed just as enamored with Jasper as Jill's photographer*, so hopefully he got some good shots of our boy.

Thanks, Dad and Paige for making us so much a part of the evening. And I'm sorry Jasper started crying during your vows. It was his way of voicing his support, really.

Jill and Christian were brave enough to fly back east with me and Jasper, and they were absolutely invaluable in keeping the kid - and his gear - wrangled. Christian even requested to hold Jasper a few times - Jill has photographic evidence, but I don't know that it will ever see the light of day.

The day after we returned from Richmond, I started some contract work for my uncle Tim, so have had a series of partial days of work, which means that Jasper has had a series of days with Grandma. Everything seems to be going well, but its phenomenally weird being apart from him. We're so lucky we have family close by who are willing and able to take care of Jasper. (Sappiness alert!) I honestly feel like the last year has been series of strokes of luck or blessings or what have yous that has made our life with Jasper possible. I am incredibly fortunate.

Okay, enough with the sappy.

* While we're on a wedding and photo kick, here are a few photos taken by Jill and Christian's amazing photographer:

Monday, October 19, 2009

On a jet plane

Jasper survived his first plane trip - more than survived; he was a total trooper. We flew up to Portland on Friday so that Jasper could spend some time with his Grandpa Dodge. On both flights, the crew oohed and aahed over him and passengers close to us commented on how well behaved he was. He got a little fussy on the flight home, but overall I think it bodes well for later this week, when Jasper and I fly to Virginia with Jill and Christian.

Morgan's dad was thrilled to meet Jasper. He verified that Jasper is in fact a Dodge by testing the strength of Jasper's grip and requested a five-page report on Jasper's thoughts on life at four and half months (we couldn't convince him that Jasper is in fact three and a half months old). We think he'll be waiting a while for the report, but grandfather and grandson seemed happy to meet each other.

We also ventured down to Salem to visit with Morgan's great uncle and aunt. Bob is a professional photographer and sent us a few shots after our visit:

Those with a keen eye might notice the Jasper's hair has gone a bit nutty. He's started losing his hair along his temples, while the top continues to grow and be ridiculously fly away. Morgan says he looks like he's suffering from radiation poisoning (too many post-apocalyptic video games), but I think he looks like a little mini Donald Trump. Poor baby.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I don't think we can ever call Jasper an only child:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In less sappy news...

I was supposed to return to work today. Up until last Friday, I was working towards this. I was pumping milk daily to build up a stash. I was coordinating with my mom how we would handle her getting here to take care of Jasper. I was trying very hard to figure out how to make the two pairs of pants that fit work for a business wardrobe.

And then I talked to my boss. It turns out they've had a dip in their business and that the three or four contracts I was working on prior to maternity leave ended and weren't renewed. Bottom line: no work for me, not even enough for the part time schedule I had proposed. In theory, they hope to have enough work for me in a month or so. While that might pan out, I'm reviewing my resume and starting to send out applications. I'm contemplating pursuing some freelance work instead of seeking out traditional employment; I've shied away from it in the past because I wanted the security that comes with the employer-employer relationship. But having been laid off twice in the last twelve months, I have to question that theory...

The upshot of this is of course that I get to spend more time with Jasper. Which makes everything better.

On that note, some pictures.

Jasper has a new friend named Sophie.

Sometimes Sophie inspires Jasper to do his Popeye impersonation, but mostly she just makes him happy.

Also, apparently our child is secretly a gnome.

The hat was a gift from Morgan's very generous friend Eliza. Presumably its common for the English to dress their children like small woodland creatures.

A funny sort of anniversary.

A year ago today, I woke up at 5am. There was no particularly good reason for me to wake up that early; I was in my second week of unemployment after being laid off at the bank. But I did. And I got up and took a pregnancy test. And it was positive. I think I managed to resist the urge to wake Morgan up at that hour (or he resisted my nudging attempts to wake him up before his alarm went off). I told Pace that he was going to be a dog. And I started trying to imagine what it would be like to be some kid's mom.

People have asked me if being a mom is what I imagined it would be, or if Jasper is like what I thought he would be like. Truthfully, I hadn't thought much about what he would be like, or what we would be like, at this age. When I imagined him, I pictured him older, a toddler at least, because that's what I had more experience with. I'd never held a newborn before the nurses put Jasper in my arms the day he was born. But if I'd tried to imagine what it would be like, I would have failed. I couldn't have imagined how exciting it is to see who he is each day, as he grows and develops, or how happy one of his smiles makes me. Or the pure comfort of having him fall asleep on my chest, head tucked under my chin. I never could have known that the weight of his body in my arms would make me want to cry sometimes because it is so very right.

Friday, October 2, 2009


There's a lot going on here.

What exactly are these two plotting?

Why is Pax photographed with Jasper more than either of his parents?

How did Jasper perfectly coordinate his outfit with his bumbo?

What's the purple thing behind them?

And finally, OMG, when did my baby get so big?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Twice this week, I've taken Pace (and Jasper) on a hike up at Lake Chabot. The first half mile or so is pure up hill; I've used it as a training run when I wanted to work on speed. Its grueling. I love it.

The purpose of the hikes is to wear Pace out. He's had some behavior issues lately (increased anxiousness, aggression towards the cats - okay, towards Pax, barking in the middle of the night) that I'm pretty sure are related to not getting enough exercise. Before Jasper was born, he regularly got two walks a day; I would get up half an hour early to walk him before leaving for work, and then he'd get a longer walk after dinner. Since Jasper was born, he's just been getting one shorter walk in the evening. My bad.

All my life, my most foolproof exercise has been walking. In high school, I dropped a chunk of baby fat by walking the mile plus home from school everyday. I went to a college with a wonderfully sprawling forested campus; I walked everywhere. I didn't start driving until I was 24. Within a year, I had acquired a car, a desk job and moved in with Morgan. And started gaining weight. Over the years, I lost and regained that weight through diets or through running, but I've never had a consistent walking schedule since then.

Walking is still one of my favorite things. Today, with Jasper strapped to my chest and Pace being his goofy self, I felt strong. We powered up hills and dawdled in the shade. Even on the hills, even with 13 plus pounds of baby attached, even with the extra weight I'm still carrying, my breathing remained level. This made me happy.

I haven't talked about my weight here, but by the time Jasper was born, I had gained about 45 pounds. This is on top of the 20 pounds I put on during my hiatus from long distance running. By the time Jasper was five weeks old, I had dropped almost 30 pounds (water retention, anyone?), and I've lost a few more since then. Which is great. But I'm still about 30 pounds heavier than I was when I crossed my last marathon finish line. I don't know that walking will get me back where I was, but it seems like a good start.

So this is an unofficial sort of resolution, regarding my desire to get moving again, hopefully with the result of dropping a few pounds. But really I just want to continue feeling strong. That's all.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Someone apparently recently arrived at my blog by using the search terms "froglet stomach wrinkly."


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let's dance.

aka, the Jasper Dodge three-month dance performance:

(I love his look of concentration.)

Jasper celebrated his three month birthday by sleeping in - crucial for his mom since he has refused to let me lay him down for more than a few minutes at a time at night for the last four or five nights. I think he might have outgrown his little sleep nest, so we're going to try setting up the co-sleeper in the next day or two.

After a lazy morning, we took Pace on a hike at Lake Chabot. Pace is going a little stir-crazy, I think. The last two mornings, he has woken me up at four am (mind you, I'm not very deeply asleep, sitting up in bed with Jasper in my arms) by barking and whining in the living room. Not typical Pace behavior. When I take him outside, he wants to play. Sigh. So today's hike, which I guess needs to be a daily thing, was intended to exhaust him. Here's hoping it works. Jasper happily slept through most of the walk in his Ergo, which we have been successfully using for a few weeks now. During our walk, we ran into another Catahoula Leopard dog. This is what we've always suspected Pace of being, but after seeing him next to a confirmed one, I'm now sure.

We topped off the day by hanging out with Sage and Emily and Eli at Lake Temescal. This is the third straight week Emily has invited me to join her and her other mommy friends, but the first time I've actually be able to do so. Eli is about a month older than Jasper, and we were joined by another friend with a five month old, so it was fun seeing the developmental differences. Eli demonstrated rolling over for us, and James showed off his sitting up skills. Jasper just sat and gazed at the other babies with a look of amazement. A good time all around.

Happy birthday, baby boy. You're doing a great job being you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Its funny because its true.

DNA is a funny thing.

We've been told that Jasper is a little Morgan doppelganger. I agree that Jasper definitely has Morgan's mouth and hands and will probably have his nose.

We've also been told that Jasper looks more like me. He has my coloring certainly, and the shape of his eyes seems similar to mine, right down to the mismatched eyelids. Its looking like his eyes will be blue, but right now they're closer to the dark blue that both his grandmas have, instead of my light blue/gray.

Up until recently, I've just been saying that Jasper looks like Jasper. But the other night I realized... He looks like this guy from The Frighteners:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Motor Skills

Not only is Jasper holding onto that rattle the size of his arm, he managed to navigate it into his mouth. I think 1) he's developing some fine motor skills and 2) we are approaching teething. Yay for 1); cringe for 2). Today when I was out, I picked up some teething toys and some of these link thingies.

In other exciting news, head control:

(Note the elusive Morrissey and Chloe in the background.)

And, a visit from Grandpa and Paige:

And Aunt Jill:

Lordy, look at those baby jowls.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Random things

that make Jasper happy:

My electric toothbrush.

If I wander into the bedroom while I'm brushing my teeth, he gets the biggest grin on his face and starts cooing excitedly at it. I'm thinking about getting a disposable one to let him hold.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jill and Christian's Big Day

My little sister got married yesterday.

It was a very sweet (and short!) ceremony. My aunt Harriett and uncle Walla officiated. Both Christian's parents walked him down the aisle, and both our parents walked Jill down the aisle. Kensi the chihuahua was their ring bearer. Christian's two sisters read a passage from Tolkien, and I did a reading as well.

Because they planned everything themselves, Jill and Christian managed to throw a party that was very them. The tables were named after family pets (we were at the Pace table, of course). After dinner, they showed a video (inspired by the "Where the Hell is Matt?" video) encapsulating their 13 year relationship into four minutes. Their first dance was to "It's Only Time" (plus lots more Magnetic Fields during dinner). There was a photo booth with props. Instead of the traditional bridal bouquet toss to singles, they did a couples dance, where over the course of the song, the DJ asked couples to leave the dance floor based on the length of their relationship. (Morgan and I got booted in the same round as the bridal couple, when they went from 10 years or more to 15 years or more.) The last couple dancing, who have been together for 41 years, got Jill's bouquet.

And of course, Jasper was a huge hit. He danced more than I did, first with Harriett and then the bridesmaids and my dad and... Well, he was very popular. We weren't sure we'd get him back at the end of night.

Some pictures:

Jill looked gorgeous, of course, and Christian handled being the center of attention very graciously.

Jasper got all dressed up for the occasion.

As did all the grownups.

Making time with Latika, Jill's Maid of Honor:

Another over grandma's shoulder shot:

Exhausted baby, after the celebrations were done: