Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baker's Dozen

The last couple of weeks, we've been a) super busy at work, b) stricken by various colds and viruses, and c) trying to socialize in our rare free/healthy time, so I've got a backlog of pictures to post. (Everyone's recovered now, although work continues to monopolize all aspects of our lives.)

Tor just lifts my spirits when I'm around him. I miss him all day. He does so many fun things, like point to his foot if you say, "Where's your foot?" or point to his head if you say, "Donde esta la cabeza?" (They taught him that one at daycare.) He'll make a "quack" sound if you ask him what the duckie says, and a "bow wow" if you inquire about the doggie. He asks for crackers by name, and identifies other food items he wants by pointing and whining (we're working on that). He drinks both breast milk and whole milk from a sippy cup and is working on his spoon dexterity. The world is by turns hilarious and intriguing to him and he wants to explore the whole thing. It is so fun.

To the pictures. We had a great time attending Lars's hockey game and going out for schnitzel and beer afterward. We had a less great time that night, as schnitzel does not agree with Tor.
Slap a beard on him and call him Daddy
"Allow me to moisten your straw
while I fill my pants"

Tor has been enamored of magnets ever since we visited my Uncle Erik and Aunt Heather's house over the holidays, and while they won't stick on our stainless steel fridge, our doors happen to be made of metal.

That little climber used to have a partner
and a rope

At twenty pounds, Tor is just the right size for magic carpet rides.
The only cleaning our kitchen floor sees these days

On Sunday, January 29, we held an open house so friends could drop by and belatedly celebrate Tor's one-year birthday with us. Lars and I hung streamers and balloons and made a bunch of food: dips, veggies, chicken satay, meatballs, red velvet cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies. A lot of folks showed up and many brought children, which just made Tor's day. He melted down around 5:30, but lasted for three solid hours.

Nuttifying the chocolate-covered bacon...
oh yeah, Lars made chocolate-covered bacon
The spread

Tor, months zero through twelve
Proffering the duckie (with, from L to R, fellow youths Evan, 4, Anastasia, 12 months, and Conor, 4.5 months)
The house looked great. Tor looked great.
We didn't leave much time for personal hygiene.

A few folks generously brought Tor gifts even though we set it up as a giftless party. Since one can't open gifts if not everyone brought a gift (people might feel bad/guilty/miffed), we opened them later as a family. Thank-you notes to follow!

Getting passionate about Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing

Dumping a load
Madeline got Tor an undulating wooden alligator on a string. (Below, he tests the friction of diverse dragging surfaces.) Maybe now we can walk Dendro and the alligator together, since all the snow is melting.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

EPIC 2012 POST: Featuring 39 photos of Tor and 1 of Tor's cake

Before anything else, because I'm super late on this: HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, LITTLE BUDDY!!

You don't often see me write in all caps. But making it to ONE YEAR is huge! And it's not just Tor who made it. All three of us survived, and we even survived as a family unit.

Tor, you have caused me to experience a range of emotions I never knew was possible. It defies description, and you won't understand until you're a parent anyway--and I guess you may never really get it, since you'll never be a mom. Suffice it to say that it is a joy to watch you learn to be human and to be in the world.

"But how did you celebrate this moving and momentous occasion?" you might ask. Well, settle in, folks, cuz it was a long day. It began at Grandma Charmaine and Grandpa Norm's house with Martha Stewart's strawberry cupcakes served on Tor's great-great-grandmother's birthday-cake platter...

Don't be fooled; they're all out of his reach

...which led directly to a dizzying series of circuits around the kitchen island using the high chair as a walker.

It's probably clear why he's not wearing pants at this point

Finally, Tor opened presents from Grandma and Grandpa and posed for a (slightly feminizing) family portrait.

This is what people do in Tahoe when there's no snow
After party the first, we drove the four hours to the Bay Area (with Mr. Birthday Boy asleep for three-quarters of that. Thanks, insulin spike!) When we arrived at our Berkeley vacation rental, we commenced party the second with my mom and dad, Christina and Caleb, Tim and Caitlin, and an epic cake.

And it's all edible
No, no, he totally blew out his own candles
No wonder babies think they're the center of the universe

Party the third took place the next day, where Tor was a co-celebrant with my grandmother (80) and uncle (50). The theme: LUAU!

"How come THEY got hats?!"

This bodes ill for his future bride

From the London Andersens: a puzzle that makes SOUNDS!

Thanks to all who shared the occasion and who wished Tor well on his birthday. We are so thankful for our wonderful support system of family and friends!!

And now I will jump backward in time. So much has gone on in the last six weeks that I feel like I must be leaving some stuff out no matter how careful I am, but I'll try to sketch our happenings. At the beginning of December, Lars packed up the dog and drove west to attend his annual American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. A day later, my mom arrived to stay for nine days, keeping me company and helping with Tor. I was grateful on both counts! Although it was definitely a work week, we had two weekends surrounding it, and we fit in plenty of quality time.

Policing the wine rack 

Tor was the delighted recipient of several early Christmas gifts.

Opening his new scooter/walker...
...and preparing to face-plant!
Hopefully he won't outgrow the snowpants before
we actually get some snow around here!

Sharing or showing?

Mom even put new batteries in all his old toys, to his delight.

We did some pre-holiday visiting with friends and their babies (ex and in utero, although I've delayed in posting so long that the in is now also ex, and his name is Owen).

Tor and I are apparently on our first date

On Dec. 11, I flew out to San Francisco with Tor and Mom flew back to Oregon. Norm, Charmaine, Lars, and our friend Steve met us at the airport, and we motored up to Tahoe for two weeks of relaxation, work, and general family time.

Learning his ABCs with Grandma

The ol' chair share

Mesmerized by the lights

A one-Tor open sleigh (pants optional, natch)


Sharing the joy with cousin Nolan on Christmas Eve

Aunt Bern and cousins John, Molly, Sophia, Nolan,
Beau, and Nicole brought the lucky lad gifts 

"I knew it--YOU GUYS are Santa!!"

We had a cozy Christmas morning, just the five of us, Dendro, and Gracie.
A stocking memorializing Baby's First Christmas

Unwrapping his new pet tarantula

Post-Christmas carnage

Tor was showered with awesome toys all day long...

...yet ya can't beat a good box.
On Tor's birthday, as I said above, we headed to Orinda. Sadly, my Morfar (Tor's great-grandfather) had passed away on Christmas, so we added Morfar's memorial service to an already full social calendar. Tor was a trouper throughout, charming and patient, although he just doesn't sleep great while we travel. (Thank goodness we're still nursing so that I can soothe him easily in the wee hours.)

How not to use a stomp rocket

Playground teaser...see you in the spring, slide

During New Year's Eve at my Grandma Karplus's house, Tor serendipitously awoke only a few minutes before midnight. He was surprised when, instead of being soothed back to sleep, he was thrust into a mob of adults chanting "TEN...NINE...EIGHT..."

One thing's for sure: it beats last New Year's Eve

Somewhere in here, Mr. Tor began to walk. Maybe. It started with a swift move from one object to another, then progressed to two steps, then three, and who sets the standards by which a movement is "walking" or just "taking some steps"? Even now, he can cross a room if he sets his mind to it, but he still prefers to have a few anchors along the way.

"No I WON'T go back to the Minnesota winter, Mother!"
I suppose we didn't expect him to walk ALL the way around the lake

Once back, we settled easily into our routine. I admit it's nice to just be our little family again after all the excitement. Enjoyment is created through contrast, though, so we'll be ready to enjoy visiting/visitors again soon!

A late Christmas/birthday present

Acculturation at work

Dendro's plaid shirt was in the wash
One final milestone: Tor had his one-year doctor's appointment last Wednesday.

Height: 29" exactly, 21st percentile (the car seat upgrade has been justified!)
Head circumference: 45 cm, 12th percentile
Weight: 19 lbs 10 oz, 7th percentile
Immunizations: MMR (measles/mumps/rubella), DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)

Full speed ahead for year two! Again, because I can't say it enough, sincere thanks to all who sent well wishes, cards, and other tokens for Tor's birthday. We are so grateful that he is so loved.