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.