Rolling with it…

Finn’s had an interesting week. I think his two front teeth are about to make their big entrance, and it’s really thrown little Finno for a loop. I also think he’s got a lot going on mentally and physically as he’s sitting up all the time, and his dexterity keeps improving. There’s so much to learn how to do! (And it is with much glee that I tell you he seems to be favoring his left hand!)
Because of all this new and sometimes painful stuff, he’s been uncharacteristically fussy during the day. Nothing keeps him satisfied for long, and as we switch him from one location to the next, or try to distract him with toys, he squirms and cries and makes really strange expressions with his mouth. Although he’s been sleeping pretty well at night (thank goodness!!) his naps this week have been either very short or nonexistent, which does not help with his attitude. An overtired, teething Finn is not much fun to be around.
I think the good news here is that John and I are really relaxing into being parents, and we’re feeling a lot more competent and pragmatic when Finn is inconsolable, uncomfortable, or just won’t sleep. I guess we’ve hit the point of realizing that stuff is going to happen, you can’t plan for it, and you can’t always make it better or know how it’ll turn out, so you just do the best you can and try to keep your little guy cooled out (if possible). The phrase “this too shall pass” keeps popping up in my head–made very real by experiences with Finn that while unpleasant or unpredictable, do actually end at some point.
6 month check-up on Tuesday! We’ll report Finn’s stats. Any guesses on weight? (I’m saying 19lbs. Dude is HEAVY!)


They Live… In My Mouth

Back in the ’80s there was a crazy sci-fi movie called They Live in which aliens have quietly taken over the world & filled it with subliminal, mind-controlling messages. When the heros put on special sunglasses, they can see through the disguise and read what’s really going on (left, below).

I thought it would be fun to get a special modified pair of those glasses that would let us observe the world as it looks through Finn’s eyes (right):

;-P (Click either image for a larger view)
Trying to steer clear of that boca,


Hair Chomp Theater

Well, I can’t claim it’s our most cinematic outing with the video camera (to say the least), but I thought it would be fun to film Finn trying to capture the latest object of his “Get That In My Mouth” campaign–namely, dad’s hair.
Lately when I’ve had him sitting or standing on my chest, he makes a beeline for my face, then starts trying to gnaw the top of my head. In this vid you might notice that my hair is already wet from a few previous chomps. Fortunately, unlike with my face, he can’t break the skin up there!


Sunday at Whitsons

We spent this afternoon visiting with a group of friends down in Carmel. It was a gorgeous day for a drive, and we always love spending time with the Whitsons, our hosts for the afternoon. Finn got a little weary (ok, incredibly weary) of the carseat, but after we pitstopped at “Safeway-by-the-sea” for a breather, everything was jake.
And speaking of Jake, we got to see Tilden and Zak, family friends of the Whitsons, and their 3 month-old baby boy, Jake. It was fun for Finn and Jake to meet and subsequently regard each other, while our pals Huez and Alex, expecting their own baby next February, looked on. We were amazed at how different babies really are–Jake is so long and lean, and Finn is our little chunky monkey! Both guys seemed very happy and at ease with all the strange big people looking at them and holding them. Check out the gallery (HTML) here.


Hot air & B-day pix

During our trip to Galena, my folks sprung for one of the most memorable birthday gifts ever: a hot air balloon ride over the Galena Territory & surrounding farmland. (Nothing says “birthday” like terrorizing livestock from above. :-)) Margot and I were joined by Ted and his girlfriend Stephanie on an absolutely picture-perfect evening–speaking of which, here’s a photo gallery (HTML).
The next night we celebrated my birthday & Finn’s arrival at home with the Nack clan and our friends the Roths. When Aunt Dolores and Uncle Louie met Finn in SF a month after his birth, I managed to forget our camera; now I had a chance to make up for lost time. So, Aunt Dolores, if you’re reading, hello. 🙂 Here’s the gallery (HTML).

Photos Videos


As Margot mentioned earlier, we’ve just started offering Finn some solid chow. Man, he takes to that stuff like it’s his job! I captured a gallery of his first bites (HTML), as well as a little video from a follow-up feeding, below. My mom says that when she first offered me some solids, I lunged at the spoon. Now I know what she meant!



Finn keeps racking up new skills on a daily basis. It’s happening so fast we can hardly keep up! One of the best changes made itself known last night, and we’re hoping it’s the start of a beautiful new chapter in our lives. Finn slept 11 hours straight, from 7pm to 6am! Woohoo!!!
We’ve been giving him small portions of rice cereal in the evening to see if a) he’ll eat it, b) he likes it, and c) it will help him sleep longer. The results on all three counts are positive. He literally lunges at the spoon when he sees it coming, and gobbled down the entire bowl of cereal last night (which was 1 tablespoon of cereal to a few tablespoons of milk, proferred in a zillion teeny-tiny spoonfuls). I figured he was ready to start test-driving food when he was constantly making chewing motions and observing us carefully as we’d eat and drink.
So, with an 11-hour stretch of sleep under our collective belts (that equals eight uninterrupted hours of sleep for me, since I won’t go to bed at 7 p.m.!), we’ll keep up the evening cereal and see if we can establish a trend.


Bathtime & Foot Fun

Developments are coming fast and furious for our little squirrel-man. He’s now reaching very deliberately for things (to pop into his mouth, naturally)–things that somehow often happen to include pieces of M&D’s faces. We think he’s trying to disprove the saying that “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…”
He’s also developed a real taste for his Domendites, popping his little hind paws right into his maw. During bathtime Dad tried to get in on that action. 🙂 I’ve been running around with the camera, capturing what I can; here’s a little gallery (HTML) of the latest.


Little Dude, Big Uncle

Among the highlights of our trip was introducing Finn to his Uncle (!) Ted in person. Big T. in turn intro’d Finn to “Aunt Rose” and to the whole concept of “doggie.” In this little gallery (HTML) you can see all three interacting. I love Finn’s reactions and especially the last shot, where the small guy is looking up with some wonder at his ginormous uncle. I kind of think the three of them should go into business as CDS Partners — Colossus, Dachshund, and Squirrel, LLP. 😉

Big G Photos

Homecoming in Big G

On Thursday we introduced Finn to a whole new tribe in Galena. Margot’s Uncle Lyman and Aunt Brenda drove up from Rock Falls and rendezvoused with their kids Brad and Kristan, along with Brad’s kids Nick, Kaitlin, and Mary. By sheer coincidence my cousin Alicia, her husband Fito, and their little rambler Alejandro were en route from Austin to Iowa and were able to stop by. Not to be outdone, Galena cousins Joe, Tom and Sarah Nack dropped by with Tom & Sarah’s little dude Gus (who got called for “roughing the Finnster–illegal use of hands to the face” ;-)). Here are the photos (HTML).


Gold Medal Baby

Our Finn has been demonstrating some Olympic-style talents today. We’re having a tough time determining which particular feat is most deserving of a gold medal, so we’re taking a survey. Let us know which act is the biggest accomplishment, then we’ll dial up the officials and request a medal!

  1. Sitting up from a lying position almost unassisted
  2. Eating his first bites of semi-solid food (rice cereal)
  3. Tripod sitting (Finn propping himself up on his arms)
  4. Plank pose (Finn on hands and toes, body straight like a pushup)
  5. Taking nasty-tasting/smelling vitamins without complaint

Carlin Family Adventures

On Tuesday we took the Finn-man on a whirlwind tour of our Chicago-based relatives (the four other “Carlin girls” and their families). We got to see a ton of happy, familiar faces, and despite having traveled for 12 hours the previous day and not having gotten to bed until after midnight, Finn was his usual charming self.
First up was Hackney’s restaurant (kind of a family institution), where we met up with Aunt Jane & Uncle John, Aunt Anne & Uncle Bill, Aunt Judy and Uncle Bruce, as well as my cousins Andrew, Amy, and Liz with their kids, and Andrew’s wife Katie. It was such a treat to see everyone, especially as Amy lives in North Carolina and just happened to be visiting. The small fry amused themselves eating fries, drinking kiddie cocktails, and bombing around the little clubhouse out back (much as their parents’/my generation did before them). Aunt Anne made Finn a wonderful Red Kitty, just like the one that was inseparable from his dad; Aunt Judy knitted beautiful hooded sweater (complete with puppy buttons!); and Aunt Jane gave Finn a sharp-lookin’ toddler outfit that he can grow into. Here’s a photo gallery (also available in smaller HTML form).
After we pitstopped at the hotel for a pretty harrowing, unsuccessful attempt at napping, we headed over to see the Nadile clan–my Aunt Mary Kay, Uncle Tedy, their kids Christine, Kelly, and Patrick, Christine’s four kids & husband Chris. We were treated to an impromptu performance from young Christopher’s band, and Finn scored a nifty, fuzzy little pirate ship (perfect for chomping). Here are the photos (HTML).


Ups & Downs (and Ups Again)

We’re celebrating John’s birthday today (8-8-8!), which is also our last day in “Big G,” Galena Illinois (John’s hometown). We’ve been in Illinois since Monday, after a long, and to be totally honest, totally brutal journey out here. John and I are convinced that our trip from San Francisco to O’Hare was designed as an experiment in cruelty for new parents. Long story short, after a multitude of delays and several totally understandable meltdowns by a tired Finn, we made it to our hotel at about midnight local time. We made it without baggage or a car seat, but at that point we didn’t even care.

While Monday was mostly a downer, Tuesday was a mix of ups and downs. We got our baggage and cleaned ourselves up. We had two scheduled visits with most of John’s mom’s relatives in Chicago–all of her sisters and many of their children and grandchildren. We had a great time visiting with folks we hadn’t seen since our wedding, and introducing them to Finn. In between outings, we tried to get our sleep-deprived boy down for an afternoon nap, but it ended up just being two hours of crying.

After our second family visit, we returned once again to the hotel. Little did we know that naptime was only a taste of what was to come, and what we later dubbed “The Battle of La Quinta.” Suffice it to say that with only a 1-hour morning nap under his belt, Finn was completely overtired and completely overstimulated. We put Finn down to bed following our usual routine. He slept for 30 minutes then spent the next three hours crying and screaming his brains out. Nothing would calm him down, and we were all crammed into our hotel room, each trying to gut it out in our own way. Finally Finn wore himself out and slept for 10 hours straight.

Once we arrived in Galena, Finn’s schedule has evened out, and we’ve had a couple of more normal days. We’re happily back on the upside. Finn’s been catching up on his sleep and being a *lot* more fun to be around.

Thursday brought many of the Liggett relatives out from Wisconsin and other parts of Illinois, including my aunt, uncle, two cousins, and a few of cousin Brad’s kids. It was great to see them all, and Finn got a beautiful handmade quilt from his aunt. Thursday also brought many Nack relatives as well! John’s cousin Alicia, her husband Fito, and their adorable son Alejandro flew in from Texas and pitstopped in Galena on their way to Iowa for a funeral. The “lawyer Nacks” also came by–Joe, then Tommy and his wife Sarah, and their son Gus (3 months older than Finn).

Another “up”: Last night, John and I got to go on a hot air balloon ride with his brother Ted and girlfriend Stephanie. It was a gorgeous evening and floating over the idyllic rolling countryside was amazing. We wished Finn was old enough to enjoy it, but it’s motivation for us to do it again. Today brings us to John’s birthday party later this afternoon, so Finn is resting up so he can sparkle for the party guests!

Tomorrow we drive back to O’Hare for our flight out. After Monday’s ordeal, we were miraculously able to reschedule our return flight, which had us flying through Dallas and arriving home at midnight, to a much more reasonable nonstop back to SFO. That should cut about 6 hours off our travel day and hopefully keep Finn a little more even-keeled.


Finn Mark V!

Just a quick note: Today marks our little guy’s five-month birthday. Hooray!
Finn celebrated by showcasing his many new tricks: “talking” to the objects he puts in his mouth, rolling from front to back and back to front, bestowing huge smiles on his mom and dad, and practicing his “1-2-3-STANDING!” routine. This is where mom holds onto Finno’s hands, and says “1, 2, 3…” and pulls him up, at which point he completely bypasses sitting and shoots straight up onto his feet. (Look for videos soon!)
We capped our day with a short ride in the BOB and our usual bathtime/bedtime hijinks. Tomorrow dad will be looking after Finn while mom meets up with 2 expecting girlfriends for lunch and the 3rd-degree about all things pregnancy-related.


A face full of airbags

Finn was a dream traveler on our journey to and from Colorado, especially on the plane. The secret of his travel skills? He brings a his own travel pillow, built right into his face! Check it out:

Here’s hoping our little friend is such a good sport on Monday when we journey to Illinois, and especially next Saturday when we return late via a connection in Dallas.



My work situation is really ideal when it comes to work/life balance. Right now I get a lot of time with Finn since I don’t have an epic commute to and from work every day. I also get to see Finny at lunch for some cuddle and playtime, which is great.
I think I’ve gotten kind of spoiled, because when I do have to travel for work (which is only 1 day at a time), I’m amazed by how much I miss my squirrel! It really makes my day to see him first thing in the morning, smiling and babbling when he wakes up. After he eats, we play for a little while until I go to work. It’s a fantastic way to start the morning, and Finn is such a happy guy it just lights me (and his dad) up. And at the end of the day, it’s great to hang with Finn and do bathtime, storytime, and bedtime. Lots of goofing around and smiles, and lots of snuggles before we tuck him in.
Yesterday I was out the door by 5 a.m., and back at 10:15 p.m., so my only squirrel time was gazing at my sleeping boy. It made this morning that much sweeter–hearing him wake up and start talking to Leo, his stuffed lion, and then going down to greet him was terrific. There’s nothing like looking into those smiley big blue eyes and giving my boy a squeeze to start the day.