Thursday, January 16, 2014

Three Months Old

No rolling over yet, but we got our first laugh on Jan. 14. Favorite pastime this month: hearing books read aloud while looking at the pictures. We're finally getting some more smiles, but he's definitely lagging behind Tor in that regard (who, at comparable age, was about the smiliest baby known to man--we've got evidence here). Maybe he just doesn't like us as much as Tor did. Or maybe he's just been focused on packing on the weight--the little bowling ball is 15 pounds if he's an ounce.

A feline voyeur comes standard in all furnished flats

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We Made It!

I don't even know what to call this post. It covers one of our family's most momentous transitions, rivaled only (I think) by the kids' births. Yet most of it is my backlog of Christmas and birthday photos, so let's start there.

Col is actually getting a personality. I think this is one of my favorite ages because he's not crying that much, he can go anywhere and sleep or nurse as necessary, he sleeps reasonably well at night (two or three wakings), and he stays where I put him. He's starting to use his hands to bat at things and to wring his fingers together like a cartoon villain, which is exciting to see. And he's just so much mellower than Tor.

Very friendly lion

Absorbing skepticism through his rear

Human heat blanket

Thing is, because Tor is the Ham of the Century, he's more photo bait than Col is right now. So the ratio may be skewed for some time to come.

Aunt Judi overlapped with us for a few days in Genoa before we left and helped watch the kids while we did last-minute stressful things like packing the ridiculous amount of stuff I thought we needed to bring on the plane.

Learning the card names--"The Trickster" is his favorite

"England? I'm way beyond that."

We got to spend two days visiting with our old friends Dan and Julia, who brought their nearly two-year-old daughter Molly with them, to Tor's great delight (and hamminess).

Trying out Molly's new tent while awaiting our brunch table . . . 

. . . and at said table with life-sized Mickey Mouse pancake

Drum circle with dads

Kaleidoscope vision, courtesy of Auntie Em
For Tor's actual birthday, Pakka got out huge bins of DaDa's old toys, including (*gasp*) Spiderman. Spiderman has now crossed the Atlantic and Tor is channeling him daily, particularly when anyone asks his name, but also whenever we walk outside. Passers-by likely think the crazed American kid is pretending to shoot them, but really he's wrapping them in webs.

"I'll just take those off your hands"

Nothing says "party" like a plague mask

First order of business: lick the Ninja Turtle

The day after Tor's birthday, we drove down to Orinda in preparation for our flight out of San Francisco. Occasional signage greeted us at the Andersen house (originally laid out in BurmaShave fashion):

When we hopped out of the car, I asked, "Tor, what does that sign say?"
He reflexively replied, "I don't know," but then actually looked. "T . . . O . . . R. That's ME!" The word is escaped him, but he got the idea when he saw the 3 sign.

That night we partied with the Orinda Andersens, including Mormor, Laura, and Hanne and Meg, both home for the holidays.

Center of attention yet again

"This is the family you bring me into?"

Mormor: Eliciting newborn smiles since the baby boom

On New Year's Eve, we trekked up the hill from the Andersen house to the Karplus house, where 35 Karpluses and affiliates worked to prepare the evening meal. Some of you may recall that every year, the family selects a theme for the meal through a rigorous voting process--this year's was "oceans," with "puns" as the runner-up. We then divide into teams, each assigned a dish, to cook our assignments and create a thematic presentation. This year, Lars and I were on the same team for the first time--side dish--so that we could share child duty. One of the highlights was that a bunch of cousins were around, so Tor got to play with them.

Bringing up the rear


Aunt Barbara buffering Col from the ado

We left the festivities around 9 p.m., celebrating New Year with New York as I did as a child.

Partying like it's 1899: family bed, old media

The next morning we had a belated Christmas celebration with my parents and siblings, since we were at Ah-Bee and Pakka's this year. Tor insisted on being Spiderman for most of it.
"Make the Spiderman face, Tor!"

Surprise! Waiting for Tor again

"Sure I can't charm you into a pediatric residency, Aunt Caitlin?"

"Now I'm bored"

Pre-airplane antics

Immediately following that celebration, we headed for SFO and our overnight flight. Oma and Opa drove along with us and we grabbed some lunch before heading into security.

Tell me you wouldn't want this family emigrating to your country

Honestly, I expected the airplane ride to be worse than it was. Lars and I both got some sleep after Tor passed out around 9 p.m. British Airways let us reserve a bassinet for Col, although they drew the line when we tried to make Tor a bulkhead-floor bed (why, BA?).

Great for diaper changes as well as sleep! (Our rowmates loved us)

Good morning!
Heathrow was a nightmare, though, since we had four huge suitcases plus carry-ons, two strollers, and two car seats--and there wasn't a luggage cart to be found. Lars heroically pulled all four large bags while balancing Tor's car seat on his head, making us far more of a spectacle than we really cared to be when we met our car service (which Ah-Bee and Pakka sprung for--thank you!).

The Incredibles trumps Oxfordshire views

Some parking-related hijinks later, we got to our short let (i.e., short-term furnished rental apartment). The kids and I crashed for two solid hours while Lars got groceries and ran by campus (tip o' the hat to SuperDad!).

So per the title I chose, I'll stop this post at the point where we've arrived and save a discussion of what it's actually like to be here for the next one. Here are a few photos of the kids in Oxford, though:

Milk coma (or, in which this shirt
is apropos of more than Thanksgiving)

First English purchase for Tor: finger gloves

Unimpressed by the architecture