Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Littlest Laundress

I came home from work yesterday and found Clementine inside the laundry basket right by the front door. She was flopping around, refolding laundry and having a blast. So cute!



By the way, she's not smiling in these photos because she likes to protest getting her photo taken lately. She'll smile until you pull the camera out!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Clemes Just Want to Have Fun

Our friends Graham and Tracy got Clementine a musical birthday card a while back. It has a party dog on the front and when you open the card, it blasts a section of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." Last night Allie was showing it to Clementine and when the music started playing Clementine laugh-smiled and signed "play" and "slide" -- things she thinks are fun! In fact Cleme has been very into "fun" lately. When she's happy she might flap her arms up and down. She might let loose an excited laugh/grunt kinda like "Hee! Hee! Heh! Hee!" or, in the middle of playing, she might just repeat "Fuh! Fuh! Fuh!" which is how she says "fun."

Carry Me Home

Wow! I didn't know the Beach Boys outtake "Carry Me Home" was on youtube -- it's amazing. This is a Dennis Wilson song with Blondie Chaplin. I had previously only heard the Primal Scream cover. The song is sung from the point of view of a soldier dying on the battlefield in Vietnam. This is a Holland era outtake. I hope this makes it on the supposedly upcoming Beach Boys box set Made in California. Fantastic!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Partying with Papa

Allie agreed to work for a friend at their Crafty Wonderland booth today so Cleme and I spent the day together. Nine hours together without Mama is the most time we've ever spent together so far.

Cleme slept in until 10AM! I finally got up at 9:30AM which is the first time, probably since before Cleme was born, that I've slept as long as I wanted to.

We had a lazy morning, Cleme chugged coconut milk and had a peanutbutter sandwich and clementine orange for breakfast. We listened twice to a Merle Haggard record. I listed Guapo books on amazon and sorted my LP collection. Clementine played with her Calico Critters and rode her little bee car. I had noodles for brunch and shared a little with Cleme. She also had a hardboiled egg and crackers.

We caught the bus at 12:50 and headed down Hawthorne. Got off at 35th and walked north to the Sunnyside Swapshop/Co-op. I pushed Cleme around in the big plastic cars there and helped her learn how to crawl through tunnels. We interacted with a little white kid (nick?)named Tupac.  I snagged a Bettie Serveert CD (free). After an hour I knew Cleme would be ready for a nap so we walked back to Hawthorne.  She ended up falling asleep in the carrier while I shopped for CDs and records. I raided CD/Game Exchange's dollar section and got Grandaddy, Jimi Hendrix, Roger McGuinn, Randy Newman, M. Ward, and Zwan CDs for a buck a piece. Also got a Kanye West CD for 2.50. Went over to Jackpot and bought the first Suicide album for full price which felt like way too much money - but then again I just found out I'll be getting a nice Christmas bonus so was determined to celebrate. We missed our bus when it came five minutes early so we waited at Pepinos. Cleme ate half a tamale and I had two taqueria tacos (plus her leftovers). By the time we got home (at 4:45) Cleme was pretty burnt out. She insisted on watching her baby-signing time DVDs as soon as we walked in, so I pulled up her chair and let it play, she giggled in glee when the opening logo popped up on the screen. I pulled Guapo books and emailed customers while Cleme soaked up signs. Now she's also verbally repeating (in her fashion) all of the words they teach. Today was the first time I've seen her sign "outside." After she did it, I asked if she wanted to go outside and she got really excited.

We headed out one last time, to Fred Meyer for a frozen pizza and wine coolers. We heated the pizza and prepped a salad just in time for Allie to get home around 6:20 after a long day's work. Clementine ate a slice of "peh" and some more orange, then it was time for reading, tooth brushing, milk and now bed.

By the way, we had a pediatrician appointment yesterday and got the latest stats. Cleme is 23 pounds (50th percentile--she was always single digit percentile before-- and 32 inches long, 78th percentile for height.

How it's time to hang with Allie, eat ice cream, and watch a movie. It was a great day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012 Zine Simposium

What happened to our blog? I've felt so under the gun, I haven't dared touch it. Clementine turned one early August! We had a great party for her and were super busy in the weeks leading up to it; cleaning, organizing, repainting the kitchen and living room.

 A couple weeks later was Allie's birthday (another party) and this past labor day weekend we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.

August 11 and 12th I worked for Guapo at the Portland Zine Symposium. I spent the week beforehand finally wrapping up my 2011 Music in Review Zine (only eight months late!). The cover features EMA my favorite artist of 2011.


I tabled at the show with Gariet and Orly and had a great time, though sales were down. It was very nostalgic and flash me back to the glory days of Guapo. I saw a lot of old and familiar faces which was very nice.

 
(Photo by Blue)
 
Gariet and Orly both debuted awesome new zines, which I helped them copyedit. Orly put out the third issue of Backstage Past and Gariet put out a second installment of his diary comic Don't Stop Now. Clementine and I had a few cool appearances.


 
I hope to blog again soon. I have a backlog of things I would like to mention.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Soap Sellin' at 26th and Clinton

I meant to mention that a couple months ago Allie got hooked up with a new craft/gift store called Tangible Gifts. It shares space with Bluebird Real Estate on 26th and Clinton (the address is 2615 SE Clinton to be exact). We dropped off her soap there on a Saturday a couple months ago. Here's Cleme playing inside on that visit:


Here's the storefront with Allie and Cleme inside:


Here's a view of the inside, before it was fully set up:


Right now, the store is just finding its feet. It is open on weekends only. The lady who runs it is really nice and contacted Allie this week to let her know she could pick up money from her sales. We went out with Cleme this Saturday and were excited to see Allie had already sold 9 bars of soap--that's an average of one every other day of business operations. We used to sell Allie's soap at Guapo--that's obviously over, so it feels great that Allie has a new outlet for her soap.

After picking up Allie's earnings we stopped by Little T on 26th and Division to visit our friend Shea, who was on the clock. We indulged in drinks and a split pea and bacon pretzel which was delicious. After, we walked to Hawthorne where I had a chance to go record shopping. I got 7 awesome albums for only $13. It was a fun day and felt great to get out in the nice weather. Allie got a little sunburn--I forget how easily she burns--but we did have it together enough to put sunblock on Clementine.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Clementine Tunes

Before Clementine was born we were aware of "her" song - "Oh My Darling Clementine." When she was born, we sang this version to her, except with alternate, happy lyrics like, "Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine, you are such a little cutie, how I love you, Clementine." I've previously mentioned discovering the Jan and Dean version of the folk song. We also knew Elliot Smith's original composition "Clementine" both from his version and a cover of him by the Decemberists.

Last night, after finally getting Clementine to sleep around 10:45, we spent nearly half an hour looking up alternate Clementines. I played Allie the Johnny Cash "Clementine" which I had originally discovered earlier in the week, a random by-product of online window shopping for his albums.



We found a lot of great covers of the old folk song last night. Most surprising was the BRAND new Neil Young & Crazy Horse version, from their Americana album which just came out on June 4th.


There was also an original by Pink Martini, much less sad than the popular folk tune.


Will Clementine appreciate all the cultural baggage we've saddled her with? I hope so. Growing up I always wanted to see myself in pop culture but the only Jeremy songs were by Pearl Jam and Three Dog Night ("Jeremiah was a bullfrog") both of which annoyed me to no end. I guess time will tell how she feels. I personally think it's good for her to have a name so tied into our musical tradition.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Teethin'

As we've mentioned to many of you, Cleme's been having a tough time with teething lately. Her first two teeth have popped out with more locked and loaded - I can see them lurking there beneath her gums! She's also been having some obvious brain development. Yesterday she busted out the sign for "change" which is her third official sign language word.

This morning, when Clementine was in a good mood, I took the moment to harass her and get Allie to snap a few shots of her little teeth. This definitely requires teamwork because she is very touchy and protective when it comes to her teeth - we usually only get glimpses when she is laughing, smiling, or screaming at us.



Last night she was so wound up from teething that she couldn't sleep. She stayed up until past midnight, mainly playing and having a good time. She did lose it for a while -here she is in a calm moment between fussing.


We got out an ice cube for her to suck on. Here she is holding the cube (in a mesh with a handle) and a teething "thing" as well.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Plus Minus, 6-3-12

I'm late posting this--and it is two weeks of "stats". Again I barely made my goal of getting rid of more stuff than I bought. Looking at this list below makes me feel like an out of control consumer. In my defense most of the stuff I got was super cheap. For instance the Wholphins were only $18 for all five (cover price is $100!), the Roald Dahl books were 69 cents each, the Le Tigre record was $1.99, and the Alan Moore comics were free. I'm also making it a point to actually use the stuff I buy. In the past I would buy more movies that I could even watch. I'm trying to fight this. You may notice another new Beach Boys product in the plus column. With their 50th Anniversary it seems like there's always something new to get--it is a great year to be a fan. My dad, Allie, Clementine, and me are going to see them live in July!

MINUS:
1.      POLO SHIRT
2.      POLO SHIRT
3.      POLO SHIRT
4.      POLO SHIRT
5.      BUTTON UP SHIRT
6.      KITCHEN TIMER
7.      CRYSTAR ACTION FIGURE (I owned this for 25 years!)
8.      ZOMBIE STUFF FROM GUAPO COLLECTION
9.      ELECTRIC BEARD TRIMMER
10.  A BOX OF CD CASES
11.  13 BURNED CDS (did not keep the mp3s)
12.  GUAPO SHELF

PLUS
1.      WHOLPHIN #2
2.      WHOLPHIN #3
3.      WHOLPHIN #5
4.      WHOLPHIN #6
5.      WHOLPHIN #7
6.      LE TIGRE REMIX 12"
7.      THE GIRAFFE AND THE PELLY AND ME BY ROALD DAHL
8.      THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX BY ROALD DAHL
9.      MAGIC CARDS
10.  1963 COMICS BY ALAN MOORE AND RICK VEITCH
11.  BEACH BOYS LIFE STORY MAGAZINE

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bachelor Weekend & Cleme Update

This weekend was my first time alone in over 10 months. Allie and Clementine left me Saturday afternoon to spend the weekend with girlfriends at the coast. It was almost eerie having the house to myself that Saturday evening, Sunday, and Monday morning. I made Allie send me a photo on Sunday which was my first full day away from Clementine ever.


During my time alone I attached four bookshelves to the wall (to protect our standing/climbing baby), mowed the lawn, did yard work and cleaning, played Magic, hung out with friends, blasted country music albums on my record player, ate lots of tacos, and watched Youth in Revolt.

The previous Monday or so Clementine finally sprouted her first tooth—on the bottom middle—and when she and Allie came back from the coast she had another—one of her upper canines! Clementine got to play in the sand for the first time and visited Tillamook Cheese Factory where she enjoyed the free cheese samples and got a rubber toy of Tillie the Tillamook Cheese cow. Apparently, she grabbed it and immediately put her mouth on the toy cow udder! The girls finally got back around noon Monday to my great relief.

Clementine is really growing into a toddler. I keep saying, "She's so grown up!" She has stood freely on her own a few times (not holding onto anything), and has started walking while holding onto things. Last night she stood up, moved down the coffee table and grabbed a large, glass mug. She expertly put the lip of the mug to her mouth and tilted the cup back. Unfortunately (for her not us) the glass was empty. Still I was so impressed with her coordination.

Last night she pulled the screen shammy out of Allie's kindle case and was playing with it for 10 minutes or so. I kept talking to her about the shammy, the first time she's heard the word I would imagine. When she finally lost track of it and dropped it, I said "Clementine, where's your shammy?" She turned her little body around and looked back and forth until she spotted the thing, grabbing it in response to my query. I was so impressed that she had already learned the word—I know she is learning like crazy but since she doesn't speak back, it can be hard to judge how much she's actually picking up.

Clementine also reached a milestone on May 29. She turned 42 weeks and 5 days old. Meaning she has officially been out in the world for as long as she was in her mother's womb. She'll be ten months old on the 4th of June!

Xiu Xiu Live!

Tuesday night I went out with my friend John I. to see one of my favorite modern bands – Xiu Xiu! I took the bus and got there at 10PM in time for the second opening band. Xiu Xiu played a great set, speeding up the tempo on a lot of the songs. Jamie Stewart played tons of guitar. I was especially excited to see them perform New Order/Joy Division's "Ceremony," their recorded version of which is one of my faves. For the encore, they did an amazing, intense cover of "Frankie Teardrop" by Suicide. I had never heard the original until after the next day. It's a great song, but very sad and disturbing. I think it is worth noting that 1 out of every 7 people who have watched the song via youtube do not like it.



John took this photo at the show:



The show was at Doug Fir on 8th and E. Burnside. That's pretty far from our house and I was worried about the trek home. Luckily I was able to catch both of my buses. It took 80 minutes to get home. I made it halfway through George Orwell's Animal Farm during the journey. I spent half an hour sitting outside a Popeye's Chicken on NE 82nd. A shack across the street advertising live nude girls was the only thing open. I got home at 1:45 AM, showered, and climbed into bed with my family at 2:00 AM. It was a great night!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Red Carpet Family

Last night, there was a big retirement party for a lady at my work. The theme was "Oscar Night." I stayed at work late and Allie and Clementine met me there. Cleme enjoyed the deluxe appetizers- mozzarella balls, goat cheese, dates, chocolate-dipped strawberries. Everyone was very complimentary of our little cutie. At the end of the night we posed in front of a green screen for this glamour shot.

Plus Minus, 5/20/12

Oh no! My first week coming out even. The problem is I finally started spending a bit of our tax refund money. Allie and I got rid of our matching Lava Lamps. Both of our mothers bought the same lava lamp when we were 17 or 18. We thought this was cute when we started dating, but finally had to let them go. We've been getting rid of tons of other stuff, but I'm not listing it since it's more Allie's stuff than mine--some of the bigger stuff includes a treadmill, an exercise bike, and a screen projector.

MINUS
1.      LAVA LAMPS
2.      PILLOW CASE
3.      EXTRA VEGETABLE PEELER
4.      KITCHEN RUG
5.      CINERAMA CD
6.      HOT CHIP CD
7.      DARTH VADER NIGHT LIGHT
8.      GUAPO SHELVING UNIT

PLUS
1.      DO IT AGAIN: A TRIBUTE TO PET SOUNDS CD
2.      BRIAN WILSON IMAGINATION DVD
3.      BEACH BOYS FAQ BOOK
4.      SQUEEZE: SWEETS FROM A STRANGER (RECORD)
5.      THE VENTURES: WHERE THE ACTION IS (RECORD)
6.      RON WOOD: I'VE GOT MY OWN ALBUM TO DO (RECORD)
7.      THE MONKEES: INSTANT REPLAY BOX SET
8.      NEIL DIAMOND: HOME BEFORE DARK CD

PLUS MINUS, 5-13-12

I was really disappointed in Peter Kuper's quasi memoir STOP FORGETTING TO REMEMBER and had to get rid of it after reading it. The computerized coloring and color scheme, the narration, and the computerized lettering (only in the black boxes) were all so unappealing I couldn't keep the book. Plus I feel like I read a lot of those stories in different versions in his older books. I got rid of GRACE (which I snatched from the Guapo inventory) when I realized I would NEVER get into Jeff Buckley's album (outside of "Hallelujah").

MINUS
1.      STOP FORGETTING TO REMEMBER GN
2.      JEFF BUCKLEY'S GRACE (33 1/3 BOOK)
3.      BIG BAG OF SHEETS AND BLANKETS
4.      THREE PAINTINGS

PLUS
1.      JOHNNY CASH'S AMERICAN RECORDINGS (33 1/3 BOOK)
2.      BEACH BOYS ISSUE OF MOJO, WITH PET SOUNDS TRIBUTE CD!
3.      CS LEWIS BOOK

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Plus Minus, 5-6-12

I skipped last week's "Plus Minus" because I didn't buy anything. However, the next week I went nuts. In my defense, items 3-8 all came in our once-a-month Guapo order, where I get myself comics at wholesale cost. We used our tax refund to get the new couch and computer. Our old laptop busted the very weekend in April during which we finished our taxes (thankfully all of our data is tracked in and an online software.
 
MINUS
 
1.      SPIDER-MAN: NEGATIVE EXPOSURE TP BY BRIAN K. VAUGHN
2.      REED COLLEGE MAGAZINE (I wouldn't normally count this, since I never keep the magazine, but I've been saving this one for a year so I could read a particular article in it. I finally got off my butt and read it!
3.      MONKEES: OUR FAVORITE EPISODES DVD
4.      THE CITY BY DERF
5.      CD
6.      RETURN BEACH BOYS RECORD TO DAD (after 4 years or so of borrowing)
7.      RETURN DONOVAN RECORD TO DAD (after 10 years or so of borrowing)
8.      RETURN DOORS RECORD TO DAD (after 14 years or so of borrowing)
9.      RETURN ELECTRIC PRUNES RECORD TO DAD (after 10 years or so of borrowing)
10.  RETURN LOVE RECORD TO DAD (after 4 years or so of borrowing)
11.  RETURN OUTLAWS RECORDS TO DAD (after 14 years or so of borrowing)
12.  GOT RID OF BOX FULL OF HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS (Who needs 'em? We're going as natural as possible.)
13.  RECYCLED OLD RABBIT CAGE, THREE OLD LITTER TRAYS, TWO OLD GARBAGE CANS, ONE OLD LAUNDRY HAMPER
14.  OLD COUCH
 
PLUS

1.      BEACH BOYS: 50 ANNIVERSARY ZINEPAK/CD
2.      ROD STEWART: ATLANTIC CROSSING CD
3.      HARVEY PEKAR'S CLEVELAND
4.      JERUSALEM GN BY GUY DELISLE
5.      NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC VOL 4
6.      RESET #1 BY PETER BAGGE
7.      SAGA #2 BY BRIAN K. VAUGHN
8.      PRESIDENTIAL PEZ BOX SET
9.      NEW COUCH
10.  NEW COMPUTER
11.  MAGIC AVACYN DECK plus more cards

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It Worked!

Don't you just love it when you think long and hard on something and actually come up with a solution that works?


About 3 weeks or so ago, we walked up to Starbucks on a nice and sunny Saturday. By now every time Clementine sees us eat or drink something, she needs to eat or drink something too. I was trying to think what in the world would be suitable for her at Starbucks. I semi-remembered seeing a little pouch of organic applesauce there for kids once, but the last time Cleme ate applesauce it wasn't a hit with her. We ordered it for her anyways. We twisted off the little cap and handed her the pouch. Cleme tried it and loved it! Being a breastfed baby has led Cleme to being unable to work a bottle really. She tries to hold bottles up near the top like it was a boob and the bottle ends up slipping out of her hands. The pouch was nice and light enough for her to hold in her clumsy little way and slurp from out of the package. It was also impressive to see her eat this because recently Cleme decided that she didn't want to eat anything that was the consistency of a puree. Apparently, at 8 months old she is beyond purees now. Even though she has NO teeth.

I wondered out loud to Jeremy if there was anything like these pouches that were reusable. When I got home I Googled "reusable baby food pouch" and saw the two most common options the Babypote and the  Sili Squeeze.  I thought they were kinda spendy for one and the reviews seemed to be a little mixed on them. I put off the idea of buying one. A couple of weeks later we were at a friends house for a play date. At the play date, Clementine was served some herbal tea in a baby bottle that had a Green Sprout sippy cup nipple replacing the previous baby bottle nipple. Seeing that put the idea in my brain to Frankenstein my own pouch feeder somehow.

I had remembered seeing a foldable water bottle a year or so ago, but couldn't remember where. I thought that the foldable water bottle could work as one of these pouches somehow if  I could get a straw lid or something for it. I came home to research it on the internet. I quickly found the name of the water bottles I had seen- Vapur. Then I Googled Vapur + baby puree. Nothing came up. I was really hoping someone had already done the work for me and would say what kind of bottle lid converter would work on the Vapur bottle. No luck. After more research I found these Gerber Spill Proof Water Bottle Spouts. Long story short, as you can see from the photos above, these two work great together! I poured in a jar of Earth's Best Mango Peach and Cleme slurped it up and because the lid has a control valve there is no leaking! The Vapur bottles are dishwasher safe and you can freeze them too! Just thought I would share in case anyone else has the same idea and wonders if it would work!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Plus Minus, 4-22-12

Another decent week getting rid of stuff. I've been going through some of the comics I've been hoarding and ditching the inessential.

MINUS

1.      KEEP OUR SECRETS BOARD BOOK
2.      VERTICAL COMIC
3.      ONE PAIR CHECKERED PANTS
4.      ONE PAIR SWEAT PANTS

PLUS

1.      AL JARDINE: A POSTCARD FROM CALIFORNIA CD
2.      XIU XIU: ALWAYS CD
3.      BOB DYLAN: OH MERCY CD

I don't always buy so much music (though I wish I did!) but I hit the record stores for Record Store Day on 4-21-12. Everything I wanted was sold out, but I did finally get the two new CDs I've been pining over - Xiu Xiu and Al Jardine - both of which are excellent. I got these from Music Milennum my favorite shop in town. I picked up the Dylan album at a garage sale by Reed College for two bucks. Oh Mercy is the late '80s masterpiece produced by Daniel Lanois. I've been obsessing over Dylan (in a way) and even started a Dylan book called On the Road with Bob Dylan about his return to touring in the mid 1970s.

Kasabian Live

My friend Nick P. took me to see Kasabian on April 11. Nick is one of only two high school friends I still keep in touch with (not counting Allie of course!). Nick lives in the Eugene area and drove up to Portland. The show was at the Wonder Ballroom, a nice intimate venue, and Kasabian were great. Their synth-laced brand of rock music sound was powerful and enveloping live. I really admire Nick's concert fortitude--he comes up so often too see shows, and often, as on this night, drives right back home after the show.

Here's a photo Nick took--there was a lot of intense lighting throughout the show.


I don't always give Kasabian the credit they're due. They're always slightly off my radar but I remember listening extensively to their first album. This may still be my favorite jam of theirs--an obvious choice that deserves to be on of their biggest hits.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Plus Minus, 4-15-12

I'm starting a new "column" on this blog called Plus Minus, in which I track my efforts to get rid of junk. I'm a collector by nature and have no reservations about this. However, I'm also trying to fight nostalgia for nostalgia's sake, and trying to get our house organized.

The goal is to keep my net amount of possessions from exponentially growing. Therefore, each week I am pushing to increase the minus column. I succeeded for the week ending 4/15/12.

MINUS
1.      SIMPSONS COVER ROLLING STONE
2.      BAZ LUHRMAN DVD
3.      GARDENING BOOK
4.      SMASHING PUMPKINS BOOK
5.      COMIC ANTHOLOGY

PLUS
1.      LL COOL J: BIGGER AND DEFFER CD
2.      ROD STEWART: A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN CD
3.      THE BIG RED ONE DVD
4.      EASTER EGG PEZ DISPENSER

I was super-stoked to pick up LL Cool J's second album at Walmart for five bucks. I used to watch the video for "I Need Love" when I was a kid. We didn't have MTV but it played on the local pay-to-play video channel in Sacramento.



Everything about this song rules. What's bad (cheesy 80s synths, LL's sometimes graphics love rhymes) is good. What's good (the beats, LL's earnestness and convincing delivery) is great.

Clementine has one favorite TV show which we let her watch now and then - Yo Gabba Gabba. Allie rightly spotted an homage to LL's song, "I Love Bugs." We've checked out all the YGG CDs from the library which are really quite good--especially for kids music.




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Ever Changing Clementine

Man, Clementine is like a new person every time I come home from work. She's eight and a half months old. We've been signing with her since 6 months. Around a month ago she started using her first sign - "more." This last week she's unveiled her latest-- a combination of "milk" and "eat", the same gesture done either away from her body or at her mouth. It's so trippy to have her communicating back at us. It's a little eerie too. Allie was out for her weekly girls' night last night. Cleme and I were having a good time just hanging on the bed, reading and playing after dinner.  Suddenly, she idly starts signing "milk/eat" to herself. It was a little window into her thoughts. A lot of her new communication skills still have a small ambiguity. "Milk" also seems to equal mom right now. Cleme may be using her first spoken word too. She mastered the "ma" sound weeks ago and likes to bust it out randomly. Sometimes, however, she'll say it when she's really sad or when Allie leaves, or when Allie comes back. When I put her to bed last night, she saw the dark room, heard the white noise machine and was convinced she wasn't ready to sleep. She cried out "mamuh" repeatedly and started bawling. I think it's more than coincidence. I think it does mean Mama, but sometimes it also means "I'm sad," "I'm tired," "I'm hungry," and "I'm lonely." Mama of course, is the cure for all of these ailments.

Clementine is now a crawl master, though she does it flat on her stomach with her arms doing most of the work. She's obsessed with standing. It's hard to take baths lately, cause all she wants to do is pull herself up using the tub ledge. The combination of slippery wetness and hard enamel means this is not the best practice area. Here she is in her crib on April 8 after pulling herself up to a standing position.




Last night Cleme and I read Touch and Feel Farm Babies, an Easter gift from Grandma Pat. I encouraged her to touch the various furry spots on each page. I've been trying to teach her how to "use" these books without me having to place her hand on the spots each time. We finished the book and I let Cleme take it to chew on, as she loves to do. She did chew on it, but for the next TEN minutes she mainly picked the book up, opened it, closed it, put it down, opened it, closed, it and touched all the furry spots on all the animals. It was obvious, she understood the book now.

She's started initiating games as well. Allie plays a binky game where she puts the pacifier in her mouth. Clementine grabs it out of Allie's mouth and puts it in her own. Last weekend, as we all waited at a bus stop Clementine waived her clip-on binky at me. She pushed it towards my face. I leaned in to bite and take the binky and she gleefully pulled it away, laughing out loud. We did this game for several minutes and it was all her idea.

She still doesn't have any teeth but I swear I can see two on the bottom middle, lurking just beneath the surface of her gums. Meanwhile, she's moved past most baby foods and purees, considering them beneath her. She likes little chunks of food and eating like a grown up. Last night, she had potato, applesauce, Spanish rice, red bell pepper,  and zucchini--which she loved.

Anyhow, that's the latest on our little wonder. We hope to post more soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Support a good cause- the future of Sparkplug Comic Books

We spent the last two weekends busting our butts finishing up our taxes. And for the first time ever, they are ready in time. This was just the culmination of months of Guapo reorganization and bookkeeping we've been catching up on this year. Now I expect to have a lot more free time to work on our other chores, hobbies, and goals; including updating this blog a little more often.

For a quick entry, I'd like to shine a light on a good cause. As I mentioned in a blog post last fall, our good friend Dylan Williams, cartoonist and Sparkplug Comic Book publisher, passed away last year. His widow and friends are carrying on with his company and planning to publish their first three Sparkplug books. They have launched an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign which ends in a couple of weeks. Click here to see the campaign listing and watch a very touching video about Dylan and his work. Look closely and you'll see a photo of Allie and me in there with Dylan and friends. I was stoked to see this because we only have a couple photos of us with Dylan and I wasn't aware of this one until I watched the video. If you have any interest in art comics, independent art, supporting small business, or supporting DIY culture, please consider contributing to the Sparkplug campaign.

I hope to be in touch soon with more news and updates.
JT

Monday, March 5, 2012

Three Day Weekend Fun

Last weekend and early in the week I was in such a funk. I told Allie,"Everything's going good. I should be happy, but I just feel depressed." I've been trying to save my PTO (paid time off) ever since I depleted it on paternity leave, but Allie and I realized, what's the point if I am totally overwhelmed? So I took today, Monday off, and ended up having a great long weekend.

We watched the documentaries Best Worst Movie and Bill Cunningham New York. We rewatched old faves Superbad and Truman Show (every movie needs to be rewatched on my new widescreeen TV). Clementine turned seven months old Sunday and on Saturday we went to a baby shower for our friends Aron and Ariel. I am very excited that they are having a baby boy. Clementine was in a great mood at the shower. She smiled at everyone, ate several stalks of asparagus, and rolled around the floor playing with all the wrapping and tissue paper. There was only one other little kid there, less than I thought there would be, so Clementine had ample opportunity to shine as the star of the party (second behind the expecting mother of course).

Today, I asked Allie to pretend I wasn't here so I could work hard on the garage project, I am unpacking and organizing all the boxes of Guapo books--I've even cleaned them out of Cleme's room--in preparation for doing our inventory count for taxes. Normally Cleme wakes us up by 8AM, which I was actually looking forward to today - so I could get an early start. In the end, it was nice that she let us sleep in until 10AM because I was up with insomnia until 2:30AM last night! Yeesh. I finally had to turn on the light and read--finished The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi and made progress on Kids Say the Darndest Things by Art Linklater (with illustrations by Charles Schulz).

For my big moment away from the garage, I went with Allie and Clementine on their Monday Value Village trip. Every week they bring a bag of stuff to donate and hopefully come back with less. It's all part of our master plan to lessen our junk pile and quell the the impending avalanche.

We always look for books for Clementine but this week came up fairly short. I only found PEANUTS - A Charlie Brown Valentine -- a wordy picture book that will be best for Clementine in another year or so. It's kinda for me as much as her I have to admit. 

Then I got the nonfiction novel ALIVE -- after seeing it in used bins for years, it suddenly looked awesome--"'A classic in the literature of survival' - Newsweek." I've been obsessed with survival stories ever since I was a kid reading the Hatchet books by Gary Paulsen, growing up in Sacramento where tales of the Donner party's survival were local legend.


I also found the Twin Peaks TV show soundtrack (yes! I am listening to it now!), and Lucky Peach #1 for Allie. The issue was only 22 cents and was a great find since I just bought Allie a subscription starting with issue #2. Allie also got some jeans, leggings, and jeggings.



Cleme got a frog bath robe, a black sweater, and a cool Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar toy. Hers is missing the fruit, but Allie is just going to make some.



Allie is making carnitas and Cleme is sitting in her little pink car right by me. She is playing with her toys and staring at the cat, who jumped on my lap. I am feeding her Gerber Graduates snack puffs and picking up her toys as she throws them on the ground.

Did we drop off more stuff than we bought? Barely and that's just because I brought a second bag with me. That's okay though because I've been sorting my CD-Rs and videos and have a big stack to get rid of soon. I'm so glad I took the day off!

J

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yesterday, 2/7/12

I thought it would be funny to post my old school "blog"--my journal. I won't apologize for my handwriting--this IS my version of nice writing. You can double click on the pictures to see them better. My journal can be boring--I don't consider it great writing. I treat it as a an excercise in discipline and just try and record the facts of the day.




The book that cracked Clementine up was Great Day for Up! collected in the Big Green Beginners Book.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 31--Me and Baby CleMee

Since Allie has been so busy and gotten a bit behind on her daily blog entries I thought I'd do a guest entry for yesterday, the 31st. Every Tuesday Allie has craft night with the girls, at Andrice's house. This is my night to play Mr. Mom as she leaves the baby behind with me while she does things like knit baby hats while eating snacks and watching Dynasty DVDs with the ladies. It's up to three hours of freedom for her, her one break from Clementine in the entire week. Although it makes me a little anxious, I'm happy Allie takes this moment to breathe every week. I know it's good for her—plus it helps me build capital towards my own time away from the baby and family. For instance, I am going to the movies this Thursday with my friend Aron. Allie has never said I couldn't go out without her and Clementine, but I definitely feel guilty if I do it too much. And it has gotten much easier to watch Clementine alone now that she is so into eating solids.

Yesterday, craft night actually got cancelled but Allie and I decided to do our Tuesday routine like normal. I got home from work around 6:20 PM. I played with Clementine while Allie wrapped up our dinner. Clementine splattered me right in the face with a puddle of drool.

Allie made bell peppers stuffed with rice noodles and ground chicken—plus salad—for us, pureed yams with rice cereal for Clementine. She recently signed up for a dinner plan so each night this week has been a new, tasty, fresh dish. I did most of the feeding with Clementine so Allie could finish her meal first and "head out" for the night. This time away was extra important because Cleme was super clingy all Monday and Tuesday.

Allie's biggest fantasy has been that she would have the time to clean up our office, which is presently overflowing with stuff (as in it's hard to walk in). It's the part of the house where we keep the door shut at all times. So last night, Allie spent her two plus hours of freedom cleaning. We choreographed our movements so that Clementine didn't know Allie was home. Sometimes when I am hanging out with Cleme, she doesn't know she misses Allie until Allie walks by—at which point she'll start crying.

Cleme finished eating in a giddy state, chowing down her final spoonfuls with a grin, bobbing up and down. She waited patiently in her chair while I put on and blasted a James Brown CD and cleaned up quickly in the kitchen. We were convinced she had pooped her pants during dinner because there were a couple moments where she stopped eating to furrow her brow, give a concentrating look, squirm, and shiver. I undressed Cleme for her bath though and there was no mess at all. I guess she was just digesting.

I drew Clementine's bath and she played in the tub for 15 minutes or so. She loves her baths and we only take her out once she starts getting all raisiny. She likes to suck on her wash rag, collect her rubber duckies, and sometimes splash at the water.

I finally pulled her out of the water and wrapped in her baby towel cowl. We paused to look in the mirror at Mirror Baby and marvel at how clean and pretty she looked. Clementine coos and smiles at Mirror Baby, reaches out and touches her own reflection.

I put Cleme on her changing pad and gave her a few minutes to writhe around naked—as she loves to do, to grab at her feet, and try and suck on her toes (a new skill). Then I bundled her up in the most warm, cozy, and strategic pajamas I could find. Since she doesn't use blankets, it's important we keep her warm, but we also look for outfits that don't take forever to undo while we're changing Cleme (during which she screams at the top of her lungs) in the middle of the night. I put on her "One of a Kind" onesie, socks, some button up pjs and then a nightgown.

We worked on our daily dose of Guapo tasks in the garage—inputting the receipts for the day's sales, and pulling the latest batch of books for Allie to pack up. It was a slow day, so that all went really fast. Clementine likes to grab at the space heater buttons while I hold her and type at the computer.

Next it was back into the living room for some floor time. We have a semi-permanent blanket on the hardwood floor where Cleme likes to play and roll around. I put an episode of Louis CK on Netflix to watch while I finished up my dinner. At the same time, I played with Cleme, waving toys in her face, rolling her off her stomach when she got cranky, helping her sit up against me. She's actually getting real good at sitting up and last night made it two minutes sitting up on her own before falling over into my hands.

Then it was time to read our books like we do every night. We got into bed and saw Ouija curled up in a ball. I held Cleme up to the cat while she grinned and eagerly reached out to give her best "gentle" pets. It's cute how into the cat she has gotten these last few weeks. I was trying to give Allie maximum time and Cleme was still in a good mood so we read ten books. There was Noisy Homes, Touch and Feel Animals, Open the Barn Door, What's in My Garden, Where Did Mommy Go?, Feelings, Green Hat Blue Hat, Little Cow, Little Kitten, and Busy Barnyard. The "Little" series of finger puppet books are Clementine's favorites in the whole world. Every time I read them to her she coos excitedly and grabs out to pet them. I make the puppets kiss her goodnight and she tries to chew on them.

Finally, at 9:15, I swaddled up Cleme and invited Mom to "come home." She nursed our little honey, who promptly passed out for the night by 10:00 PM. We watched two episodes of Arrested Development Season Three while eating dessert and doing chores. Allie packed up amazon sales and I ironed my work shirts. At 11:45, it was time for bed.