12/2017

Friday, December 01, 2017

Maia Week #21 Battle Report

Maia is now 21 weeks old, which is the legal age for gambling in our household. Weighing in at 14.2 pounds, she can escape from tummy time through a sideways roll whenever she feels like it, but cannot roll onto her stomach yet. Her schedule has solidified to a 9 hour nighttime and an extended daytime with staggered 30 minute naps throughout. They're really not long enough to do anything productive in, so I squander the time as best as I possibly can.

We continue to give her solid foods in addition to boob milk, and she greatly prefers salted lentils to avocado. Aware that there are different tastes in the world now, she watches us eat with more clinical interest and yearns for the day she can eat sour cream and onion potato chips like her dad. Her favourite toy is now Sophie, the squeaky giraffe that is pervasive across babified households, and she can fit an entire leg into her mouth like a turkey leg at the Renn Faire.

All in all, we've got things pretty well under control. With our alternating schedules, Rebecca and I have to make sure that we also spend time with each other and we're not just handing off the baby all the time. It might be nice to have a few more hours in the day to relax and do non-baby things, but then again, Maia probably wouldn't sleep during those either.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, December 04, 2017

Songs of the Enrichment Jungle, Volume II

The songs in this volume are about Mr. Lion, Orange Squirrel, and Boring Felt Owl. Orange Squirrel was written by Rebecca.

Other Posts in This Series: Volume I | Volume II | Volume III

tagged as offspring, music | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 26 years ago, on Christmas Day 1991.

I was 12 years old and in seventh grade, and I was clearly more interested in playing the Super Nintendo game I had unwrapped on Christmas Eve (ActRaiser) than looking at the camera. You can see our creepy animatronic angel atop the Christmas tree, and the first in a long line of electronic keyboards with questionable General MIDI compatibility in the background (I presume it's not wrapped so as not to waste excess wrapping paper).

The presents in the foreground are all still wrapped as we never started opening them until Mom got out of bed around 8 AM. There are way too many presents which is why I'm ambivalent about getting Maia more than a few at a time when she's growing up. The pendulum has to swing back and forth so that she can give a million presents to her kids because "her dad was stingy".

tagged as memories | permalink | 4 comments

Friday, December 08, 2017

Recipe Day: Fish Tacos

Makes enough for 2 - 3 people, depending on how voracious your appetites are.

Ingredients

  • Marinade
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon Old Bay
    • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • White Sauce
    • 3 tablespoons whole yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons light mayo
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 pound of a boring fish you wouldn't normally eat, like tilapia.
  • 1 bag shredded cabbage
  • 6 stalks chopped green onions
  • 6 soft flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour into a freezer bag full of boring fish and express the air. Marinate for a couple hours, jostling occasionally.
  2. Combine all white sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Grill the newly exciting fish over high heat, 5 - 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and slice into taco-sized chunks.
  4. Serve fish in a tortilla over a bed of cabbage and green onions, liberally coated with white sauce.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Songs of the Enrichment Jungle, Volume III

This next batch of songs does not revolve around characters in the Enrichment Jungle, but they'll be included in the same anthology when it goes to print.

The Nap Song: This is the song I used to regularly hum to Maia to get her to nap in the joey pouch while walking around the basement. When you get to the end, you repeat it ad nauseum. Most of the notes are staccato so you can hum it while out of breath on the nature park hill. She has since transitioned to 70s funk jazz as a soporific, but this still gets hummed occasionally.

Poop Bike: This is the song I use when Maia is working on her outputs. In measures 1 - 3 and 5 - 6, you should be gyrating the baby's legs as if she is on a tiny bicycle. In measure 4 and 7, you should accentuate each beat with unison leg presses. Like any good rhythm game, you may get a reward for the proper moves.

Other Posts in This Series: Volume I | Volume II | Volume III

tagged as offspring, music | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

7:01 AM: Showered and ready for work.
7:09 AM: Arriving at the office.
8:31 AM: Someone's hungry for breakfast.
8:45 AM: Breakfast for Dad.
10:56 AM: Back from a Costco run.
12:14 PM: Happy in the swing while grandparents visit and Amber eats.
2:51 PM: Helping me locate the burnt out bulbs.
4:19 PM: The daily nature walk has moved into the mall because of the cold. There are way fewer deer here.
5:08 PM: Helping me wrap presents.
5:22 PM: Bottle service.
6:16 PM: Taking advantage of the (strictly enforced) hour-long evening nap.
7:45 PM: Prepping some stuffed peppers for dinner.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, December 15, 2017

Twelve 12 of 12s

a recap of 12 of 12 posts from 2017

January: Working from home with Booty.
February: Dinner at Singh Thai on Lake Anne.
March: Alice tries out the Oculus Rift.
April: First one in the new office space gets to choose the best desk location.
May: When did this happen?
June: Nurturing our new fig tree.
July: Feeding Maia at 6 days old.
August: Learning all about ring birds and ring worms.
September: Conceptually grasping the concept of grasping.
October: Maia's daily nature walks.
November: Bath time.
December: Merry Christmas!

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, December 18, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne:
Overall, this play wasn't as bad as everyone said it was. It works better on a plot level than an emotional level, as it requires a deep knowledge of the book series and uses the tricky device of time travel to carve out new plot additions that actually have meaning in the broader Potterverse. The plot features the children of the main characters from the books and revisits several important points in time from Book Four.

Final Grade: B-

What We Did Today by Just Jack:
Just Jack continues his streak of lo-fi tunes without as much rapping or heavy rhythmic content. This is a pleasant enough album but I do wish he would go back to the type of music he released on All Night Cinema (like 253) at some point.

Final Grade: B

Orphan Black, Season Five:
This is the final season of Orphan Black and though it functions passably as a wrap-up to the series, it's less effective as a standalone season. The plot takes a while to get moving and there are lots of transitional "running through the woods" scenes that just highlight how small the budget must have been. They also brought back many dropped plot points from Season Three (the weakest season) -- while it was nice to have a conclusion that tied it all together, I kind of wish they had left those threads permanently dropped as it seemed they would be in Season Four. However, it concludes well, with plenty of breathing room at the end to give every main character a nice ending. It also has the most effective use of the line "Chickens!" of any show, which is why we spent several days afterwards shouting "Chickens!" at Maia to make her laugh.

Final Grade: B

Narcos, Season Three:
This season was better than Season Two but it's still an uphill battle to watch without much in the way of plot twists or really interesting characters. Things always happen as you'd expect them to, and the paint-by-numbers approach turns into a slog by about halfway through.

Final Grade: C+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Top Reviews of 2017

Looking for content to consume like a dirty American consumer over the holidays? Check out my recommendations from this past year!

Movies

  • Okja (A) (Netflix)
  • Baby Driver (A-)
  • Hell or High Water (A-)
  • What Happened to Monday (B+) (Netflix)

Television Shows

  • Sneaky Pete, Season One (A-) (Amazon)
  • Patriot, Season One (A-) (Amazon)
  • Black Mirror, Season Three (A-) (Netflix)
  • iZombie, Season Three (A-) (Netflix)
  • American Vandal (B+) (Netflix)
  • Detectorists, Season One and Two (B+) (Netflix)
  • The Night Manager (B+) (Amazon)

Music

  • Cardboard Castles by Watsky (B+)
  • Mondo by Electric Guest (B+)
  • Lazy Fair by Bryce Vine (B+)
  • Off the Grid by Bliss n' ESO (B+)

Babies

  • Maia (A+)

tagged as reviews | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, December 22, 2017

Maia Week #24 Battle Report

Maia is now 24 weeks old, 15 pounds heavy, and 1000 IQ smart. She has progressed quickly in the sitting department, going from your basic tripod pose a couple days ago to being able to sit up independently just yesterday. We have two loaner cats visiting us this week, and their antics have given Maia some extra incentive to sit up.

Life has progressed pretty normally since the Week 21 report -- the main difference is that we do our daily nature walks in the Dulles Town Center whenever the outdoor temperature drops below the 40s. There are fewer wildlife options in the mall but more chances for daddy fries from the food court.

We're staying local for the holidays and I'm off work for a couple weeks, so it should be a pretty relaxing close-out to 2017. Our friend, Sara, is also staying in our basement for the holidays so we will probably just abandon the baby with her for a couple weeks and hit up Adams Morgan.

Incidentally, these Battle Reports are not as thorough as I had originally planned for them to be, simply because I'm not great about writing things down as they occur to me -- instead, each report is just whatever fragmented thoughts I happen to remember the night before I post, frantically typed as Maia tries to add letters. I should hire a stenographer to follow me around and write down baby milestones. I think I once had that same idea for the melodies I invent as I walk around the house (now hiring: freshman music majors that can take dictation in tenor clef for an unpaid internship).

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Timeline

A smattering of events from 2017

January: B
  • Finally dropped my daily print newspaper subscription in favour of Sundays and web access.
  • We started going out a little bit more once Rebecca felt less sick because of internal Maia.
February: B
  • Had a gender reveal party for our parents.
  • Continued to work long hours at the startup but greatly cut back on trips to Fairfax (and the associated breakfasts at Denny's).
  • Bought an Oculus Rift with my tax refund.
March: B-
  • Got a visit from Alice of South Carolina.
  • Had St. Patrick's Day party with plenty of corned beef.
  • My office moved to Herndon.
  • We started registering for a bunch of baby nonsense.
April: B+
  • Let friends play with the Oculus Rift and watched Evil Mike cower from robot spiders.
  • Painted my former home office as a nursery.
  • Sent our friend, Michelle, off to Berkeley.
May: A-
  • Went to a bunch of baby showers.
  • Had a babymoon in Ocean City.
  • Had "Friend Dinners" once a week with Sara, Car, and Ben.
June: B+
  • Kitty died.
  • Discovered a new restaurant where the Tuesday special was 35 fried shrimp.
  • Helped Sara move across Reston.
  • Waited impatiently for Maia's arrival.
July: A
  • Celebrated the 4th in Taylorstown.
  • Had Maia, and a lot of late nights.
  • Had homemade sushi in our kitchen.
August: C+
  • Booty died.
  • We helped Sara move to Minneapolis for grad school.
  • Went to a wedding while Maia complained at Grandma in the hotel.
  • Maia met everyone and her 3 Binder cousins.
  • I quit my job at the startup.
September: B+
  • We had our first barbeque of the year.
  • Maia hated sleeping.
  • I did the stay-at-home dad thing.
October: B
  • We went to SterlingFest.
  • I got a new part-time job at my old job.
  • Maia got to meet Felicity in Fredericksburg.
  • We went to a Halloween party as a family.
November: B+
  • I got in the rhythm of having a part-time job and staying at home dadding.
  • We had a yoga holiday potluck dinner.
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving in Taylorstown.
December: A-
  • Maia started solid foods, learned to sit up, and learned to clap.
  • We got a wee bit of snow.
  • We went to a Scotch Night at Car and Ben's.
  • Sara stayed in our basement for the holidays.
  • We celebrated Christmas with both sets of grandparents in sequence.

How was 2017 for you?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, December 29, 2017

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

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

  • Events
    • Went to Eric B's son's (Cruz) 3rd birthday party on S 12/2 and walked the W&OD trail afterward to give Maia a nap. Did the 3rd and final raking for the year. Had the night off as Rebecca took Maia to Ghazaley's Christmas Party.

    • Had another Cafesano family dinner on F 12/8.

    • It snowed on S 12/9. Rebecca took Maia to the farmer's market and then we went to the Smiths for Game Night.

    • It hail-snowed on F 12/15 and we got pizza from Joe's Pizzaria for dinner, finding it much better than what Domino's has degraded to these days.

    • We went to "Scotch Night" at Car and Ben's on S 12/16. Maia did not partake.

    • It was warm enough to take a walk in the park on M 12/18.

    • Mary came to visit Maia on W 12/20, then Sara moved into our basement for the holidays.

    • Maia learned to clap on H 12/21.

    • We discovered that Sara knew how to play multi-person solitaire as well, and played all evening long after a dinner of shrimp quinoa on F 12/22.

    • Rebecca threw a bachelorette party for Annie on S 12/23.

    • We walked up Juniper Avenue to see Christmas Lights on S 12/24.

    • We visited both sets of grandparents on Christmas on M 12/25.

    • Maia learned to roll over completely, but only towards the left on W 12/27.

    • We had Jonathan over for a salmon dinner on H 12/28.

    • Had a Cookie Decorating Party on F 12/29.

    • Went to Grace and Andrew's wedding with Maia in Alexandria on S 12/30.

    • Had a low-key New Year's Eve with Sara, Car, and Ben.

  • Projects
    • Installed new venetian blinds for the upstairs rooms after the last cheap 2004 set finally split in half from vigorous cord pulling on F 12/1.

    • We got a tiny red food processor and Rebecca started pureeing everything for Maia on S 12/2.

    • I bought a recorder and started learning to play it for additional Maia distraction opportunities on H 12/14.

    • I took the last half of the month off from work because why not?

    • Took care of some baby.

  • Consumerism
    • Bought a Nintendo Switch and a few games on T 12/5 to open up new options for things to do while walking around the house with Maia sleeping on me.

    • Got to level 961 in Overwatch.

    • Not a lot of TV or music this month -- slowly slogging through the second season of Stranger Things.

December's Final Grade: A-, The unusual cold severely reduces baby-distraction options, but it has been a fun, relaxing month with good company.

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