" /> Toads-in-the-Hole: April 2006 Archives

« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »

April 29, 2006

Ear-to-Ear Saturday

Saturday Smiles

Not too much news to report, except that we've been busy just laughing and giggling around here.

April 27, 2006

The Curse of Stubble

It is a truism frequently expressed that the birth of your first child completely reshuffles your priorities. Things that seemed crucial just a few days before the new arrival’s arrival dwindle to insignificance. Other things that you took for granted, did without thinking, or didn’t do at all suddenly rule your life. Does every new parent experience this reorganization, directed by the tiny little C.E.O. of the nursery? I don’t know, I don’t really have time to ask anybody. I’m too busy shaving.

After the first few heady months of adolescence when having to occasionally harvest my patchy fuzz represented my triumphant ascension to manhood, shaving quickly became a chore. There was always too much paraphernalia, mess, and, of course, minor hemorrhage. It was also surprisingly expensive to keep supplied with all the blades and lotions that a good safety razor required. I tended to skimp, and eventually I’d wind up lacerating myself with a jaggedly blunt rusty razor without any cream/gel/foam.

So I eventually switched to an electric, and again I was too cheap to buy a good one, so while I sometimes looked like I’d shaved, my face always felt rough. And I was definitely too lazy to shave everyday, which I guess is what my medium-to-low level of testosterone requires when I’m not using a Gillette mega turbo six-bladed safety razor. So Aimee would occasionally complain, and I’d occasionally grow a beard, get sick of it, shave for a while, and the cycle would continue.

Adelaide, of course, has changed all that. She never complains about my facial hair, but her skin is so sensitive that even a short exposure to it causes major exfoliation, leaving her peeling like she’d just loofa-ed a sunburn. Even worse, during a ride in the Baby Bjorn, always a good time for all, her forehead rhythmically scrapes against my neck and the underside of my jaw, always a tricky place for me to shave smooth. Again, she doesn’t wince or cry when exposed to my stubble, but looking at the destruction of her once-pristine skin causes great white-capped breakers of guilt to wash over me. “I swore to keep you safe from the world, and here I am, flaying you alive with my love! Curse you facial hair!” I cry, while shaking my fist at my own neck.

So now I shave everyday, often more than once, rubbing fruitlessly at my raw skin with my cheap-ass electric. When those ridiculous Gillette or Braun commercials come on TV, I find myself staring with open envy as glossily-smooth man-androids are stroked by awe-struck women, their hands sliding off the android’s face as though it were frictionless.

If only it were winter, I’d reduce the surface area of the problem somewhat by wearing a turtleneck all the time. As it is, I’m probably going to have to switch back to safety razors, with all those blades, batteries, scary green handles, and pungent gels and lotions. So here we have it. I’m a changed man. Fatherhood has opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at the world. And my neck.


April 25, 2006


For those of you who know me, it may be a bit obvious to say that I have somewhat of a love affair with overalls. Although this fondness began in my late teens with a pair of conductor-style blue-and-white pinstriped bibs, it has endured through my twenties with my most recent purchase of a chic denim pair from those fine bib-makers at OshKosh in Wisconsin. Simply, I find overalls to be one of the most comfortable clothing items ever created, and practical, too, with all those wonderful pockets just the perfect size to hold just the perfect right thing, be it a crowbar for those clever escapes or a pencil to calculate -1^1/2 = (x + [-1^1/2])^1/2/(x – [-1^1/2])^1/2. So, how proper and fitting is it, then, that I school my daughter in fashion freedom with her first tiny pair of overalls?


April 22, 2006

Look, Ma! No Hands!

Bjorn-It, Baby!

Oh, let us sing the praises of that piece of Swedish kid-carrying precision, the Baby Björn! Allowing parents to snuggle with their infants while moving freely about with two hands available to interact with the world is a gift, indeed!

We were first introduced to the wonders of the Björn while on a hike in the Oregonian wilderness with newborn, Megan, and her mom, P-Smitty. In the photograph below, Megan demonstrates the versatility of the Björn as she snoozes peacefully while pausing to enjoy nature - All thanks to an engineering feat of fabric and buckles!

Megan Bjorning-It

Thanks so much, Megan and your ultra-hip, thoughtful, generous parents, for making our lives a wee bit more fun and fancy-free!

Got One!

Finally, we captured a smile.
adelaide 196.jpg
(The giant towel she's looking at is not, as you may assume, a mound of whipped pistachio cream but is actually Aimee, fresh from the shower.)

April 21, 2006


Capturing fleeting smiles is tricky ...

To not smile ...

But, we've managed to snare a smirk ...

Or, to smile.

(For the past week, Adelaide has been smiling socially - not those little milk-drunk, feelin-good-inside smiles, but really making eye contact and giving us wide, cheesy grins in response to our own ever-present wide, cheesy grins.)

April 19, 2006

Easter Sunday

It's been awhile since our family has gathered together on Easter weekend, but there's nothing like a new little person to encourage long-hours of travel time for doting grandparents whose sweet and tender ways,


result in happy smiles for sleepy parents.



Last weekend we had a visit from no-fewer than five Mirons (including two four-legged friends)! Suffice to say, our humble, tiny apartment was busy, filled to the brim with lots of laughs, lots of chat, and lots of cooing, oohing, and ahhing over Adelaide.

A sort of tradition in my family (where gargantuan family reunions inevitably devote half a day to such photo-ops), I requested that we snap a generational photo for Adelaide ... Pictured below you'll find (left to right) Adelaide's Papa, Great-Grand Mar, and Grandma Molly.


April 10, 2006



It had to happen eventually, but it's impossible to prepare oneself for the heartbreak that accompanies the little snuffles and the pint-sized wheezes of a three-week-old person's very first cold.

How did it happen? Spring has finally come to our midwestern hamlet, and many of us are cooped up indoors, coping with snotty noses, congested sinuses, and raspy coughs. Poor Joel, wavering under the pressure and stress of last week's full-day final pathology exam, fell victim to those symptoms on Friday and is still not quite right ... I've been holding on to my health from what would appear to be the sheer force of willpower and the relaxing, soothing hormones of breastfeeding, but am expecting the axe to fall as soon as Joel recovers (or as soon as I finish the huge nursing case study and presentation I've been toiling over).

Still, we've managed to set aside fears and complaints for our own bodies, and focus all our energies on standing by and watching our dearest girl's immune system do battle with your average run-of-the-mill virus. It's one of our first big parenting tests, right? Of course, Adelaide is doing her best against the cold's attack, but will Joel and I survive watching her attempts to foil the bug?

Kids With Kid

Yesterday many of our Vermillion family of friends gathered together to congratulate Joel and I on Adelaide's birth and to meet and welcome Adelaide into the social circle. None of the townsfolk performed this act of generosity more so than the youth of the group, asking politely to hold Adelaide, making promises to teach her how to stand up to bullies and use her eyelashes to win favor with her parents ... It's true Adelaide's neighborhood friends have her best interest at heart, best summed up by a chivalrous proclamation from Joe (pictured below): "When I'm in college and Adelaide's in high school, if she doesn't have a prom date, I'll take her."


(Abby, Anna, and Adelaide)


(Seth, Joe, Adelaide, and Gray)

April 5, 2006

String Bean


Our deepest suspicions have been confirmed: Adelaide is officially a string bean.

Two-Week Old Statistics:

Weight: 7 pounds, 14 ounces (7th percentile for her age)

Length: 21 1/4 inches (40th percentile for her age)

5K Walk

Last August, I made the first child-related purchase of my pregnancy at a neighborhood garage sale: a jogger's stroller. Although Adelaide was the size of a pinhead when I traded $20 for the slightly-used, only-moderately dusty pram, in my mind's eye I flashed forward to this day ... A beautiful, seventy-degree afternoon with a gentle north-northeast wind blowing through the newly budding trees as we shake winter's cobwebs from our bones with a walk in the park.

5K Walk

What leaves our family puzzled is the slogan "5K" printed on the side of Adelaide's stroller ... Is the stroller intended specifically for 5K races? Is one supposed to stroll a baby at 5 kilometers per hour? Maybe it is a reference for the legendary Cabal of Five that rules the underworld, consisting of John F. Kennedy (of the 35th presidency), Ken (of Ken and Barbie), Kenny Rodgers (of Islands in the Stream fame), Omar Khayyam (of the Rubaiyat), and Madeline Kahn (of filmic persuasion)? One can only guess ...