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    Skype is a many wonderful thing

    January 23rd, 2010

    S and I aren’t fortunate to live close to either of our families. The closest, distance wise, is 370 miles away. Although we all make an effort to visit as often as we can, this means that G doesn’t get to get spoiled by his Grammies, often, or ride horsie ontop of the Grandpas.

    This is where Skype comes in.

    We now Skype with our families about once a week. We reserve this activity for week-ends (or the occasional evening) when we can battle time-zones, and daily schedules. All grandparents & aunties are setup with their own Skype accounts, so G now gets to show off his belly-button…

    … and his nose

    … or his latest toy

    … LIVE to them all.

    Personally, I love this! I love seeing him excited about the person on the other side of the screen. The best is when he reaches out to touch them. Yeah, it’s not the same as having the physical person near, but I’m thrilled that we live in a time when this is possible, common… and frankly free.

    Thank you Skype!

    PS. Occasionally we cover-up the keyboard since G is just as excited to type up his comments as verbalize them.

    Who’s afraid of the big Grand-daddy?

    September 9th, 2009

    Meet my dad. We call him Grandpa V.

    He’s a logical guy, with a stern demeanor. However he’s a softie when it comes to G and laughs around him in ways I’ve rarely seen growing up. I love my dad, and am thrilled that he’s so excited about his grand-son.

    G on the other hand doesn’t share the same sentiment. Over the last month or so, whenever my dad approached him, G’s bottom lip would pout out and was followed, within a few seconds, by a yelp, then a cry, and then some more crying. Tears are included too in that package deal. What gives? Yes, Grandpa V has a beard… but so does Daddy. Grandpa V has slightly longer hair than (most) guys in G’s life, but it’s not like he hasn’t seen long hair before. I mean, c’mon – I was channeling Cousin It until I cut my hair a few weeks ago. So I don’t get it. It bums me out too because I’m SO excited that my dad is so in love with this little guy and is such a softie for him: he was never that way with me or my sister. I know this bugs him on the inside too.

    He doesn’t do it with any of the other grand-parents.

    I’m trying to show G that my dad is not scary. I sit next to my dad, holding G, showing him he’s alright. G comes around, and yet 5 min later… crocodile tears.

    It doesn’t help that we live far away from the grandparents. It’s just our fact of life. I’d say “Dad, I want you and G to spent more time together”, but 350 miles tend to stand in the way of that. I’m thinking of making a Skype video call part of a weekly routine, but I don’t know that it’s the same thing – besides I can make G sit still only for so long before he wants to crawl away to a stacking cube and lick it.

    So any ideas? More than welcome. Meanwhile, Dad – we love you. Please don’t be sad!

    That’s not my bed!

    June 19th, 2009

    We’re visiting family this week. S’ family is getting lots of G love. G in turn is getting oodles of people fawning over him. And a new toy from Auntie K! Yeah, his life isn’t sucking right now.

    On the way out here G had his very first plane adventure, and I must say he did pretty well. He cried on the first landing, either because he was hungry, or the ear pressure thing, but CA to Philly went rather uneventfully. He slept most of the way from Philly to Norfolk on the second leg and when he wasn’t sleeping he was smiling and grinning like a goon. He gets high marks for his first day of travel. I hope the return adventure will be just as uneventful.

    I was really worried that our first leg (a red-eye flight) would turn into a bloodshot -eye flight for all passengers around him, but he snoozed through almost all of it. He had the most comfortable seat in the house though, which might have helped.

    Meanwhile, I’ve come to the conclusion that US Airways is running a social experiment, trying to see just how uncomfortable they can get their seats before people would just prefer to stand instead. Maybe all my recent international travel has spoiled me, but even Lufthansa Economy looked (and probably felt) like First Class on US Air. I get nautious if I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t sleep well when I’m not comfortable. I felt sick most of my day yesterday. Draw your own conclusions.

    Our travel experience was also highlighted by our normal set of fiascos — they messed up our seats, so that NONE of us were seated together (maybe they thought a flight attendant would care for G on the trip), and they broke our luggage. At least this time it all arived with us. 2/3 times in the past it didn’t make it past our connection. It’s great to have to plan for lost luggage, lemme tell you.

    Back to the reason we’re here — family.

    We’re having a blast. G is letting people hold him without must fussying, which is awesome. His cousins even got to carry him while he chilled in their arms. He even trained Cousin G to change his diapers — yeah, there’s a memory he’ll appreciate when he’s in his teens 🙂

    We also met G’s great-grammie. She is 94 this year and sharp as can be. He was the talk of the adult care facility she’s staying in while she recoops from a broken hip. He brought many a smiles to aging faces, lemme tell you.

    Our only misadventure thus far has been bed-time. I don’t know if it’s the timezone difference, or G’s awareness that he’s not at home, but bedtime was rough last night. He did great for naps, but evening time was brutal. I hate having to let him cry-it-out, but after multiple pick-ups for comfort, nursings, and even cuddles with me in bed until he fell asleep, I had to give up. Every time I’d put him back in his crib he’d start crying. I hope this gets better by tomorrow, because a cranky G = cranky mommy, and that’s never a good thing.

    Ta ta! I’ll post pictures soon,

    The events of the last 2 days

    June 13th, 2009

    I spent some time writing down my thoughts on what happened over the last few days. It’s important to me to remember the details and how I felt.

    Given that these are long, and not quite in the theme of G, I marked them as private. That way if you are looking for your “All about G” fix in your blog reader of choice, I didn’t want you to get berated with my thoughts on loss.

    However, if you’re curious, you are welcome to read them — just log into WordPress and go to our main blog website: http://gnluv.wordpress.com


    June 12th, 2009

    My grandfather passed away Wednesday 6/10. He battled cancer and an ailing body for over a year now. I’m saddened that his last days were not the peaceful ones I wished for him, but I take solace in knowing that he will no longer be in pain and that he passed away in the company of those that loved him most: his wife and daughter.

    I’ll post on the events that followed in another story, but I wanted this to be about him. The picture above is how I want to remember him: vibrant, loving and dedicated to his family.

    The house certainly feels empty without him, even though he spent much of his last year resting quietly in his bed.

    You will be missed, Grandpa! Sending you much love from us all. Always.

    Baby’s 1st Christmas

    December 26th, 2008

    Our first Christmas with G was just about perfect. I say just about because S has been sick over the last two days and is feeling stuffed up and miserable.

    G gave me the best present possible: an extra hour of sleep by having a nice and long morning nap, allowing me to do the same. This was followed by a generally fuss free attitude with several good naps sprinkled throughout the day. I’d like to think that this is a gift, anyway, and not G getting sick himself. I’d hate for this to become G’s first cold instead of G’s first Christmas.

    My dad and sister came out to spend the Christmas with us (my mom is in Bulgaria again helping care for my progressively deteriorating grandfather).

    S and I have spent almost every Christmas with his family since we started dating. I love their big family celebrations, the excitement on the kid’s faces… However, spending time with my family this year has been a big treat for me. We’ve hung out in our PJ’s, had some great dinners, good wine, good talks, and even a round of Tangrams last night after G went to bed.

    I didn’t make any of the traditional Bulgarian breads this year (being a new mommy doesn’t jive with baking for hours right now) BUT we did observe an old custom that I’d forgotten about: growing up, the morning of the holiday, kids go from relative to relative and pat them (lightly) on the back with a decorated wood called “survachka”. While doing so, they wish them well for the new year and a long life. The tradition is rooted in wishing a good harvest, a plentiful year and health to the family. The decorated wood is typically made out of a branch from a cornel tree, which is the last tree to loose it’s leaves and the first to bloom. It’s decorated with popcorn, dried fruits, and wool. While children pat their relatives and family friends, they recite a poem, which loosely translates to:

    “Let the year be blessed and joyous,
    with green grain on the fields,
    big grape on the vine,
    yellow cob on the corn,
    red apple in the orchard,
    full house of silk;
    be healthy and merry
    til next year and forever!”

    The best part (for the kid that is)? After this is done, your relative turns around and gives you cash.

    So my dad made G his first survachka. Our yard lacks cornel bush branches, so he made do with our growing vegetation. We’re also a little short on loose wool, but some sewing thread seemed to do just fine. It came out really nice!

    Then after we opened gifts, he received his first annual survakane by G.

    grab stickpat grandpawalk away with loot

    … and G, in turn received, his first, hard-earned $20. Not quite the Jolie-Pitt twin millions, but not too shabby for a morning’s work 🙂 Of course this is going straight into G’s college fund.

    G’s been enjoying several of his gifts all week long. His diapers have been keeping his little bum dry for a week now (and they rock by the way). He’s enjoying time in his new Pikkolo carrier, and is thrilled hanging out in his Jumparoo. Since his feet aren’t long enough to touch the floor, I put an empty cardboard box under him to give him that long needed “boost”. He is bouncing himself up and down now, which is awesome. He can’t quite reach the toys around it yet, but boy does he want to. I see this thing being my saving grace for a long time to come. Can you say un-interupted cooking/eating time (I hope)? I need to take a picture of this to show you guys.
    He also received several really fun developmental toys, ornaments for his tree, and some great clothes. We’re really appreciating how loving and generous our family and friends have been to us this year. Thank you all!

    Before I sign off,  I wanted to show you our Christmas tree.

    For several years now I’ve talked about adding photo ornaments from each year, growing our tree with memories of loved ones. Well, this year I finally started. Not sure how practical this idea is, but it did turn out nice!

    And of course here’s Neko reminding us that as our first child he is a gift too! (PS, he got a brand new catnip sock for Christmas: his favorite. It’s already being smacked around the house)

    Merry Christmas everyone!!!