07/2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

Timelapse Day

41 weeks and no baby yet! I start my 6 weeks of leave today anyhow and we're passing the time with nature walks and rare movie theatre trips.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

No baby yet!

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Friday, July 07, 2017

Welcome Baby Uri!

Maia Holly Uri! entered the world at 8:49 PM on Thursday, July 6, 2017.

She weighed 6 pounds and 0 ounces. Mother, father, and daughter are all doing fine!

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

12:52 AM: Feeding #1 for the day.
5:09 AM: Feeding #2 for the day.
8:19 AM: Feeding #3 for the day.
9:03 AM: Soul sisters.
9:36 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
10:55 AM: Feeding #4 for the day.
1:22 PM: Taking Booty to the vet for a swollen lower jaw.
2:57 PM: Waking up for Feeding #5.
3:11 PM: Belated lunch of leftover bean chili. Booty is surprisingly chill for having been needled at the vet.
6:53 PM: Bonus dessert during Feeding #6.
8:46 PM: Not a fan of bath time.
9:59 PM: Content after Feeding #7.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Maia Week #1 Battle Report

Maia is one week old as of yesterday and everyone is doing well. Rebecca has dibs on the birth story and days in the hospital, so I can skip ahead to the days spent since we got home on Sunday afternoon.

Babies have to eat 8 times a day in the beginning, and some early concerns about Maia's weight and ability to breastfeed resulted in a byzantine progression of feeding steps requiring two people. This involved boobs, pumps, and syringes, such that each feeding took 1 - 1.5 hours for both of us to accomplish (8 - 12 hours per day).

Boiling down to pure logistics, caring for a newborn is really just a discrete calculus of hours in the day. With a fixed number of hours required for feeding both the baby and yourself (which you can overlap if you are a pro like me), what you do with your "free time" really comes down to how many hours of sleep you want to get. Every hour you spend doing something fun is an hour of sleep you'll never get back.

For the most part, my free time has all gone towards sleeping and critical errands, a far cry from the week I played Far Cry 3 for 6 straight hours a day. As a result, I am constantly tired, but definitely not sleep-deprived, and reserve a little bit of "me" time for sorting through 8 million photographs, updating this blog for you worthy readers, replying sporadically to work emails, and rereading the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander to verify that they are a safe recommendation for reading by Anna's precocious youngsters.

After getting an "A+" from the lactation consultants we visited with today and the extrapolation that Maia will regain her birth weight far ahead of schedule, our feeding time should drop down to about 30-40 minutes in each sitting, during which Rebecca will feed Maia with her magical founts of life-giving mana and I will tackle small household chores like cleaning dishes, starting laundry loads, or fixing the slowly dripping toilet tank. This will increase the amount of sleep we get and pave the way for non-sick visitors to stop by (Maia has met both sets of grandparents so far).

Being a dad is pretty easy so far, especially since Maia is a very calm baby who communicates her needs well and doesn't get dramatic about much. She spends a lot of alert time looking around at the beauty of her parents and our 1978 Sterling house decor and rarely wakes up in distress. She has only seriously cried a couple times and spends the rest of the time being super cute. She is an overachiever in all medical tests performed on her, but I'll be totally content even if that is the most overachieving she ever does in her long life to come.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Okja (Not Rated):
This whimsical Korean film tells the tale of a farmer girl and her giant pet pig as they become embroiled in a tug-of-war between a multinational corporation that wants to feed the world and a PETA-like group. The movie mashes an incredible number of themes and moods into its dense 2 hour running time but manages to be charming and evocative throughout, with over-the-top performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton among many others. Definitely worth a watch. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A

Baby Driver (R):
At its core, this is just a car chase movie, but it's put together with plenty of style and just enough character development to make you care. Its use of a musical soundtrack to tie scenes together is reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy (but way better than that boring movie) and we enjoyed it thoroughly on one of our rare trips to a real movie theatre.

Final Grade: A-

Fortitude, Season One:
This entry in the "Arctic Noir" genre is a murder mystery in a remote Norwegian town, where scientists have recently stumbled upon something valuable, deadly, or both. The interplay between Stanley Tucci and Richard Dormer is a lot of fun, and the shades of grey in every character is well-explored. To an extent, it reminded me of the old Nolan movie, Insomnia. Worth catching in spite of its awful title credits music. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

House of Cards, Season Five:
House of Cards as a series suffers from Frank Underwood's rapid rise to power in the second season -- watching him try to stay afloat is much less interesting than watching him get ahead. The plot is too tangled and references too many minor details from previous seasons that I no longer remember nor care to go back and refresh my memory about. The payoff that comes in the 13th episode of this season is too slow and makes very little sense from the perspective of Frank's character. Watch for Kevin Spacey's always-great monologues, but don't expect to care much about anything that happens plotwise. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken yesterday at 8:08 AM.

Maia was 12 days old, Booty was 14 years old, and I was 37 years old. It was not quite feeding time, so I'd gotten up a few minutes early to have a quiet moment with Maia and teach her how to cosplay as a Roman mummy. Meanwhile, Booty is trying to give me pink eye -- Classic prank, Booty!

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Maia Week #2 Battle Report

Learning to understand Maia has been a lot like the level progression in a well-designed video game -- new challenges are introduced as we master the old ones, but not so quickly that we uninstall the game. We stopped the extra 20 minutes of syringe feeding at the end of week #1, which was immediately replaced by 20 minutes of post-feeding fussiness that we had to deal with, not unlike that friend that always orders the extra cheese fries then spends the end of dinner complaining about how much gym purgatory said cheese fries will require.

Once we'd gotten the handle on the fussiness, she switched to "cluster feeding", which sounds like a distributed way to feed her with four computers in parallel over the Internet, but is actual just a fancy way to say that she stays up for four hours and eats every hour on the hour. We passed this challenge as well and have allocated our level-up experience points in "playing Overwatch with a baby on your chest", "finally getting to watch TV again at least once per day" (currently watching: season one of Goliath and GLOW), and "blasting Palestrina during afternoon naps". Just yesterday, she fell asleep to Elevator by Flo Rida (and when she woke up, she asked why Elevator was in my MP3 collection and why I still have an MP3 collection).

Maia passed her two week pediatrician visit with flying colours. Her height remains unchanged, but she's gained 9 ounces over her birth weight and is in the 64% percentile for babies with big heads. Eventually her height, weight, and head size should normalize -- if not, she will probably look like a female Danny DeVito for a little while, which is not a bad thing because look what that man has accomplished.

Being a data-driven dad, I've been keeping track of my sleep time and was surprised to find that (other than the first night in the hospital) it never slipped under 7 hours in a day, albeit in tiny chunks of 1 - 3 hours at a time. We are also diligently tracking the hours slept, poops made, and other minutia as you are supposed to do as a new parent. Look for exciting brown-coloured charts some day when sufficient data exists for the purposes of science!

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Rainmaker (PG-13):
I missed this movie back in the 90s when I used to read all of the John Grisham books. Though not an amazing film, it hews very close to the book and has some good performances by a very baby-faced Matt Damon and Claire Danes. It also has a 90s orchestral score that feels pleasantly retro today. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Halt and Catch Fire, Season Three:
This season functions very much like the middle chapter of a trilogy -- it takes awhile before there is any hint of an overarching plot, but all of the great character development in the middle is necessary to reach the point that all the characters arrive at by the end. If you're already tired of the (often whiny) characters, you'll probably not find this season worth watching. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Glow:
I like that Netflix is trying out different things even when they come up with clunkers like Sense8 and Bloodline. This dramedy about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling takes a few episodes to find its tone, but is a pleasant diversion that ends well. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Al Franken: Giant of the Senate by Al Franken:
This book is as funny as you might expect, and is equal parts autobiography, Senate record bragging, and Republican-bashing. The latter gets old pretty quickly -- it will resonate if you're on his same side but distracts from his other points if you're not. I enjoyed that he reserved an entire chapter on bashing Ted Cruz. A good plane ride read -- long but moves very quickly with tiny chapters that make you feel like a faster reader than you probably are.

Final Grade: B

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken two years ago today, on July 26, 2015.

Following an 8-hour train ride out of Munich, we arrived in the tourist town of Grindelwald, where every sign had too many letters on it and every sidewalk had too many Asians on it. We were impressed by the vertical scale of the Alps just minutes away from the single main road in any direction, a far cry from the Blue Ridge mountains that grow imperceptibly steeper over several miles until you suddenly realize you're already at the top and driving down the other side.

We checked into the Hotel Tschuggen, which kept cute rabbits in the back yard, and ate dinner at the Di Salvi Ristorante, whose rotisserie chickens could be smelled from one end of the town to the other.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Maia Week #3 Battle Report

Maia is now 3 weeks old, which is a longer shelf life than many of my ambitious hobby project ideas. Caring for a newborn is much easier than sitcoms would have you believe -- at this point I believe that we're supposed to be stressed out over every shriek, gurgle, or burp she emits, like a very cute Geiger counter, and we're supposed to be badgering the pediatrician's after-hours number until they block our calls.

The reality is much simpler and can be boiled down to three cardinal rules:

  • Get sleep.
  • Get help.
  • Use common sense.

The fact that Rebecca and I have the luxury of maintaining a united front while I'm taking six weeks off from all of the software bugs that Mary is assigning to me in Jira at work is critical. It takes a village to raise a child (a phrase first coined by Hillary Clinton) and villages don't really exist in our society anymore. With the two of us, we have the space to get a few rejuvenating naps, buy groceries, and even take showers.

With rest and a second set of hands, everything is exponentially easier. Figuring out what's preventing Maia from sleeping reads like a Tier One Help Desk flow chart (probably hungry, has a wet diaper, or gassy, and sometimes we have to turn her off and then back on again), and when the issue needs to get escalated to Tier Two, you have that much more brain power available for creative troubleshooting ("Maybe if we hold her upside down over the toilet she'll fall asleep!"). It also helps to remember that to the baby, everything is brand new and confusing, like the experience of a retail cashier hired to start on Black Friday without any training -- it's not her fault!

This week, Maia has graduated up to needing a little extra carrying time before being willing to fall asleep -- sometimes from all the gas she's getting from Rebecca's weird diet of non-processed foods from the EARTH and sometimes just because she's bored and clingy. We take long walks around the basement while I watch Ozark, Season One or fake her out with extra boob time, which has the side benefit of extending the time for naps until the next feeding (I call this "feeding the meter"). She spends much of the day alert and looking around and her output is still prodigious (she's like the Georg Philipp Telemann of poop). Yesterday, she finally discovered the hanging toys in the lie-on-the-floor jungle mat we got at the consignment sale and I'm also pretty sure she understands basic conversational French.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2017 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Took a trip to the Alamo to watch Baby Driver on S 7/1.

    • Took a nature hike through Algonquian Park then had Chinese food at Chengs with Rebecca's parents on S 7/2.

    • Made bean chili for Monday Night Friends Dinner on M 7/3.

    • Went to Taylorstown for the traditional 4th of July party at the Whitmers on T 7/4.

    • Took Rebecca to the hospital for induction (the least popular mathematical skill) on W 7/5.

    • Maia arrived on H 7/6.

    • Came home from the hospital on S 7/9.

    • Called the cops on a wild teen party across the street while awake with Maia at 2 AM on S 7/15.

    • Someone hit Rebecca's car while it was dormant on the street during our first two weeks home. Booo.

    • Maia got to meet a bunch of friends throughout the month.

    • Made sushi in our kitchen with Car, Ben, and Sara on S 7/29.

  • Projects
    • Taking care of this baby, this wife, Booty and her tumor jaw, and the house that protects all three.

  • Consumerism
    • Only got to level 791 in Overwatch this month because of other priorities.

    • Enjoyed watching Baby Driver and Okja, and just started the third season of iZombie.

    • No new music this month.

July's Final Grade: A, baby everywhere!

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