Archive for the ‘Sophie’ Category

The opposite of progress

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Profiles in Courage is an award-winning book by JFK, published in 1955, describing eight senators from history and how they courageously acted for what they believed, fighting against popular opinion and crossing party lines.

Now, more than 50 years later, someone should write a book about any eight random senators that we have today, listing all the pork and entitlements and gerrymandering they fought for, while promoting politics as usual. It should be written in list format, in the world's ugliest font. Call it Profiles in Courier.

For Barbara

Friday, December 12th, 2008

My Aunt Barbara called me last week. She told me she checks this blog every day, hoping to see a picture of Sammy or Sophie. I can’t help but feel I’ve been letting her down lately.

So, this is for you, Barbara…

Sammy and Sophie, laughing on the couch, Mountain View, CA, December 12, 2008

Not the greatest shot, I know. (The one I liked best is next.) But this is the one Sammy wanted to give you.


Friday, November 7th, 2008

I have been so remiss in updating the blog that I have not really described how quickly Sophie transitioned from cruising to walking. She’s firmly in the middle of an adorable stage where she has almost figured out walking entirely, but wobbles to and fro as she goes. A few weeks ago she’d handle a step or two. A week later she was good for ten steps. Then twenty. Now her record is probably thirty.

Sophie peeks through a toy slide, October, 2008, Mountain View, CA; photo by Tracee Z.

Sophie’s travels

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Sophie has, thankfully, been sleeping through the night for the past few weeks — in fact becoming a champion sleeper, sometimes sleeping as long as twelve hours. The pitfall of having two kids is that Sammy, in contrast, has been really fighting his bedtime. This is due to the increased daylight hours (bedtime is 8, but darkness is more like 9:30), plus he’s used to having his own room. (We’re still camped out in the temporary house while the remodeling work is done.)

Sophie has become a much more vocal (and strident!) babbler. In the last couple of weeks she’s learned how to sit up by herself, and she can roll over adeptly now, but still no crawling. She’s moved from baby food level 1 to 2 to 3 to real solid food quickly, and in just two days went from being unable to pick up a piece of cereal to mastering the pincer movement pretty much right on.

The other night as Kimi gave her a bath, she started splashing the water and cracking herself up. Over and over and over.

This last weekend for Father’s Day we joined up with Kyrie, Jack and Andy and headed up to Pier 39 for lunch at a crab place and a visit to the Aquarium of the Bay. A better father’s day I can’t imagine.

Sophie Mack, almost 9 months old, eats breakfast, Palo Alto, CA, June 17, 2008; photo taken on iPhone (apologies for bad quality)

Variegated miscellany

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Today I attended Jack and Andy’s fifth birthday party at Hoover park, and watched Bob get pelted by water balloons and shaving-cream-filled sponges by ten ecstatic kids. (How I escaped that fate, given I’m a co-godparent? Dunno! But I am oh so grateful.) Aunt Beth made two cakes, one a race car, and the other a chocolate volcano with lava made from melted orange lifesavers. Amazingly beautiful cakes.

* * *

While I was feting twins, Kimi took Sammy and Sophie to the Hiller Airplane Museum, which never gets old for Sammy.

Me: Sammy, what did you see at the airplane museum today?
Sammy: Airplanes.
Me: What kind of airplanes?
Sammy: Old airplanes. With wings!

* * *

Yesterday was Sophie’s eight month birthday. She babbles incessantly now, has the tiniest of teeth buds coming in, gives a smile to everyone, likes to wave somewhat erratically at people, and can roll over, but seems to show no interest in crawling. We’ve started the ferberizing to break her of her 3 a.m. feedings, and so far so good; she slept through the night for the last two nights.

* * *

Yesterday was also photo day at Sammy and Sophie’s school, and in addition, teachers’ lunch out for Sophie’s class. This semi-annual event asks the parents to donate their time and a little money for the teachers to get an escape, while parents come in during the lunch hour to watch the kids. There are eight kids in Sophie’s class, ranging from four months to almost a year old. For the noon to 1 shift where I helped out, we had five parents. When we first started our shift, the teachers had left us well-fed, happy, clean-diapered kids. Within about, oh, ten minutes, half of the kids were bawling, and most had dirty diapers. We parents just looked at each other and laughed. What a profoundly difficult job. The two teachers handle four infants each, with aplomb. We parents were having difficulty with less than two each. Things soon settled down though, and the hour ended up flying by.

* * *

While the photographers set up outside the school and we lined the kids up to have their individual and class photos taken, smoke and haze filled the sky from the nearby Santa Cruz mountains fire. Yesterday morning over 3,400 acres had burned, dozens of homes were destroyed, and the fire was less than 1% contained. Even though we were fifty miles away, kids rubbed their eyes and coughed; and the strange air reminded me of a smell from my childhood, in London: walking down the street in winter evenings, with seemingly every house having a fireplace with a blazing wood fire, smoke pouring out of chimneys, getting on your clothes.

Chim chimminee, chim chiminee, chim chim cheroo.

I was very glad to see the unexpected and unseasonable light rain today, giving the firefighters the break they needed to control the mountain blaze. The dull weather was not so much fun for five-year-olds attending a birthday party, but everything in life is a trade-off.

* * *

Earlier in the week, I caught Speed Racer and then snuck in to a showing of Prince Caspian. It took me about thirty minutes to catch on to Speed Racer’s vibe, but once I did, I loved it. I think this is a vastly underrated movie. The critical smackdown is somewhat intense; I guess most of the critics never watched the original cartoon, because I think the movie catches the goofy tone of the movie pretty much perfectly. And the visuals do not disappoint, exceeding even the hype.

Prince Caspian, on the other hand, is a dreadful bore, missing all spark of charm and whimsy of the first Narnia movie, laying the religious theme on over-thick, and really missing the point of the book (which I read probably twenty times before I was 12).

Speed Racer is over two hours but feels like 60 minutes. Prince Caspian is over two hours but feels like three or four.

* * *

Rob and I have been playing a new card game, Race for the Galaxy (which Steve and Larry introduced me to when they visited a couple of months ago). We play whenever we get a chance. I love this game. It’s a bit fiddly to learn, and the fact that you’re not directly interacting with your opponents takes a few plays before you understand how you can actually have a huge effect on your opponents’ play — but it’s such a short and intense game, I find myself even dreaming about it. Get this game!

* * *

Kimi gave me the new Flight of the Conchords CD for my birthday (among a lot of other CDs, thanks sweetie!). Although I loved the first season of the HBO show, I had thought some of the songs were hit or miss. But I was able to really listen to the lyrics (thanks to the iPhone making it easier for me to carry around music), and now I love all the songs. Buy this CD. Please mister, you won’t regret it.

* * *

There’s a friends-and-family deal at TiVo right now for a TiVo HD. If you’re a friend or family and want a new HD DVR, drop me an e-mail.

* * *

While I do aim to generate content, rather than pass along content from elsewhere, here’s a link. I have to say I applaud these two for their convictions and avocation.
* * *

Kimi: “Your blog is so random. No one likes all the content. No one!”

Guilty — variegated miscellany is what this is. I do tend to be all over the place. Everything’s connected, somehow. Just think though — there are half of the categories listed on the right not even touched by this post. But comments are what I like best, so let me know what you’d like to see more of, and less of.

An excruciating update

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Tough weekend.

On Thursday last week, one of Sammy’s teacher’s reported that Sammy had a condition that I will not describe in detail (this being a family blog). Friday it continued, even causing an accident on the floor at one point. But then he was better. Friday night, Kimi gave me a break and I snuck off to see Iron Man (thoughts on that later). Saturday morning, Sammy woke me up at 5:45 and I felt miserable, my stomach in knots, weak, in pain. I soon discovered I was suffering from that same unmentionable condition as Sammy.

Now, previously, Kimi had worried that handling the burden of watching the kids mostly solo (while she recovered from the back surgery of two weeks ago) was too much for me, but I dismissed her concerns. After all, I had handled the first weekend all right, right?

(I had taken Sammy and Sophie to Happy Hollow on Saturday, and we went out all day Sunday as well. For once, work on Monday felt more relaxing than the weekend…)

But now Kimi was right, the lack of sleep and Sammy’s bug had caught up with me, and I hadn’t arranged any backup. I was too exhausted to call around much, but our usual fallbacks for help with kid care were either out of town or dealing with their own kids. So, Kimi, despite recovering from back surgery, stepped up while I recuperated, and John and Yvonne helped by taking Kimi and Sophie out to a rummage sale in the morning while Sophie and I slept. Then Kimi took Sophie in the afternoon while Sammy and I napped. By the late afternoon, I finally had started to feel better. I didn’t eat a thing all day. On Sunday, I was still a bit weak, and still dealing with the condition, but was mostly better. (The only thing I ate on Sunday was half a rice cracker.)

Kimi was now exhausted, however; still, she kept Sophie while I took Sammy for an abbreviated version of our usual morning cafe-and-Farmer’s-Market routine, picking up some food for a barbecue with Rob and Kelly at noon. (Which was fun.) We all took it easy that afternoon.

Alas, the bug that had bit Sammy and me then got to Kimi at around four in the morning on Monday. Only she got it much worse than either of us. After I dropped the kids off at daycare Monday morning, her condition had got much worse. She was alternating between being unable to get warm from chills and unable to cool down from hot flashes. She wasn’t able to keep food or even water down, and was in so much pain that Urgent Care was the only option. They saw us right away, which gave me hope, but then it was so inefficient: First a nurse took her vitals. Then wait 20 minutes in the room. Then another nurse for more vitals. Wait 20 more minutes. Doctor finally comes in, asks all the same questions. He gets called away (it is an emergency room after all). Wait 20 more minutes. He comes back, resumes exam. Decides it’s the same stomach bug. Writes an order for anti-nausea shot. Wait 20 minutes. Nurse comes in to give shot. Wait 20 more minutes. Doctor comes back to re-examine. Writes a prescription for anti-cramping. Kimi convinces him she needs a pain-killer, so he grudgingly orders some vicodin. Wait 20 minutes. Wait 20 more minutes. Meanwhile Kimi is moaning and shivering from the pain (although no longer nauseous). I go looking for a nurse for the pain. Finally she arrives, Kimi takes the pill, we get a wheelchair, off to the pharmacy, then finally to the temporary home so she can sleep. I’m still a bit weak (plus it’s been weeks since the kids have slept through the night — the 3am and 4am back-to-back wakeups are really getting to me), so I grab a couple of hours before it’s time to get the kids. So much for work on Monday.

Today we’re all better, finally, so that’s a relief. And both kids slept through the night last night (well, at least they did after 10pm — before that, not so much). And even better, Sophie slept in until 6:30am and Sammy until 7am, so everyone had eight hours.

Twenty-four hour stomach flu bugs — put them on your list of things to avoid.

* * *

This next part I wrote a week ago but never got around to publishing.

* * *

Last Wednesday, Kimi and I checked in with our contractor to see how the house reconstruction was going. They’ve been at work for a week, and in that time have removed all the carpet and old flooring down to the foundation (revealing far more cracks and patchwork than we had imagined even pessimistically), knocked open the walls we’re removing, and removed the shower in the master bath where they was extensive dry rot and termite damage.

Sammy was with us, because he was in a weepy mood and didn’t want to be left with the sitter; he seemed to take it all in stride, asking (as he frequently does these days), “What’s that!?” with great interest as each barely-recognizable-room was explored.

It’s been a bit challenging to live in one big room for the past few weeks as Kimi recovers from her back surgery on April 22. The good news is that Kimi’s back pain is gone, and she’s recovering from the surgery well (after being initially underprescribed for painkillers). She’s still supposed to be taking far more bed rest than she actually does, and for another week she’s not allowed to drive, and for five more weeks no bending, twisting, or lifting anything more than 8 pounds.

* * *

I took a fair number of pictures from the Happy Hollow expedition on Saturday, April 26. It’s conceivable I might actually load them and publish a couple. Suffice to say a great variety of happy experiences were enjoined. Except for me keeping him out long past his normal nap time, which caused quite a host of difficulties for the rest of the day.

* * *

Kimi: [reading from a new book about Africa, picked up at Sunday’s rummage sale]: This is a picture of a pygmy hippopotamus. Can you believe there used to be hippos that small? There used to be a lot of them in Madagascar, but now they’re all gone.

Sammy: Now they’re pretend.

* * *

Update, 12:40am Wednesday: Sophie’s turn. She just went through three cycles of throw-up/clean-up and is now out of clean pajamas. She seems to be in good spirits, despite all the vomit. She is now on my lap wrapped in a towel, while I wait to see if she throws up a fourth time, babbling happy noises that sound suspiciously like “uh-oh.”

Life’s ups and downs

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Sammy pushing Sophie on a swing, Palo Alto, CA, May 4th, 2008

Cherry Sunday

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Sophie Mack in a cherry-decorated pink onesie held by Kimi Mack, Mountain View, CA, February 10, 2008

Tummy Time

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Sammy and Sophie Mack on their tummies, Mountain View, CA, January 19, 2008

Hello Sophie

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Sophie, aged 3 months, dressed in her Santa suit, Mountain View, CA, sometime in December, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Well, I just left out the cookies and milk and Santa’s note, the stockings are out (poor Sophie doesn’t get one this year, too young…), and I’m about to head to bed. But before I do, wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas, assuming you celebrate that sort of thing.
We had Tom, Jennifer and Miranda over for Kimi’s clam chowder and lasagna, followed by a gift exchange — and already Sammy’s rolling in the gift loot, earning a new Cars shirts and another toy airplane. (That’s on top of the airplane I got him from the Hiller Aviation museum which we visited this morning.)

Sophie gave us a wonderful present last night: I took her with me to drop John and Yvonne off at the airport at 10pm (their flight was delayed 3 hours, yeowtch), and she slept from then until around 7am. Nine hours is her longest stretch of sleep by a huge margin. She’s not quite ready to sleep through the night regularly (she just woke up a bit ago, for example, and needed a bottle). But man, I am very pleased she’s starting to be able to sleep for so long.

Kimi pointed out to me that Sammy had started a new game with her, his way of telling a joke: He’ll rhyme a word with another word when answering a question, and laugh uproariously. “Sammy, ready for bed?” “Yes mess!”

At bedtime, when we’re done with the stories and I turn out the light, I always tell him, “Time for sleeping. Head on the pillow. No more talking.” (That’s in addition to the gushy stuff about who loves him.) Tonight, it was “No more talking, no more walking” and he thought that was hilarious.

Okay, I’m rambling now. Night! Merry Christmas!

Christmas parties…

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

We had a brief one with Nancy, Kyrie, Jack, Andy, George, Nick, and Tommy tonight to do a gift exchange before Kyrie and her boys head off for Boston.

This morning Kimi went to Sophie’s upcoming classroom’s Christmas party. (Sophie will be joining the “Butterfly” room at the Children’s Preschool Center in Palo Alto starting mid January.)

Yesterday, Kimi went to Sammy’s CPSC classroom’s Christmas party (he’s in the “Hummingbird” room).

Last week Kimi and I went to TiVo’s Christmas party.

I think that’s it for parties until Christmas itself.

Sophie, almost 3 months old, dressed for Christmas, December 18, 2007, Mountain View, CA; photo by Kimi Mack

Kimi dressed Sophie for the occasion and I have to say, as biased as I am, I think she looks adorable. She’s starting to smile a lot more, although not reliably enough that I’ve been able to catch it well in a picture.

You can’t really tell in the picture, but Sophie has some infant skin conditions. There’s her “cradle cap,” which is a euphemism for all kinds of crusty gunk on her scalp. There are her “angel kisses,” which is a euphemism for blotchy red skin on her face. There’s her “stork bite” which is a euphemism for a bunch of red bruising around her left eye (birth trauma, a side effect of her rapid delivery). All of it should fade in a few months. She’s definitely filling out, much like Sammy did at the same age — she’s really pudgy! Almost 12 pounds now.

At 12 pounds, an infant can start possibly sleeping through the night. Sophie’s not to that point yet regularly, but she is starting to sleep in 5 hour blocks now. She’s had 1 or 2 nights where she slept for 8 hours. Not consistent yet, though. Sleep glorious sleep, how I miss you.

We had our friend Howard over on Sunday for a quick visit; he brought his son Ethan and his twins Brian and Katie with him. Sammy had a great time. Howard, who works for Pixar, was impressed by Sammy’s Cars paraphernalia: Sammy was wearing his Cars shirt, Cars shoes, and had his Cars jacket nearby, and was playing with his Cars speedway. (“Speed? I am speed!” “You’re one gutsy racer!” Repeat ad infinitum.)

Good thing we didn’t show Howard the Cars towel, Cars socks, and all the other Cars toys. But anyway, Howard was telling me about the first year after his twins were born, and how crushing the exhaustion and sleep deprivation was for that entire first year. I have to say as hard as it is having a 2 year old and a 2 month old, at least we’re not dealing with twins. I am in awe just thinking of it.

Meeting Sophie; pictures by Erin

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

My brother Phil, my sister-in-law Erin, and my niece Sarah visited today for lunch and to meet Sophie; and later Erin sent me these pictures that she took.

Kimi Mack holds Sophie Mack, October 28, 2007, Mountain View, CA; photo by Erin Mack

Big Cousin Sarah hold Sophie, October 28, 2007, Mountain View, CA; photo by Erin Mack

Philip, Erin and Sarah Mack with Sophie Mack, October 28, 2007, Mountain View, CA; photo by Erin Mack

Sleeping with the elephant

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Much better night for Sammy last night; he went to bed gracefully (with a lot more coddling than normal), and slept straight through again. He’s in a great mood, and had a fun time at Hot Shots at school, learning how to play with hoops.

In contrast, Sophie needed feeding at 3am, 5am, 6am and 7am. So Kimi didn’t get much sleep.

Sophie’s sleeping calmly now, and Kimi’s napping (I napped earlier). Having Jen relieve us for naps is great. Jen’s on vacation Thursday and Friday, however, so the next four days it’s just the four of us.

Sophie Mack, sleeping in her crib with an elephant blanket, October 3, 2007, Mountain View, CA

Sophie and Talia

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Talia and Sophie at the Mack home, October 1, 2007, Mountain View, CA

Today, Monday, October 1, begins the second week of my paternity leave, and Sophie is now eight days old. She’s starting to fill out a bit. The bruising around her eye (from her quick entrance into the world) is starting to fade. She’s been a great sleeper. In the photo here, Natalia (Talia) is holding her. Talia is our nanny Jen’s daughter, and she and Sammy are great friends. Having a nanny has made things a lot easier on us than when Sammy was born; Jen is a lifesaver.

Sammy has been very resistant to napping and has been throwing fits at bedtime. We’re trying to spend as much time with him as we did before Sophie arrived, but I know it’s a very confusing transition for him to welcome someone new into the home.

Tonight we’re going to have Tom, Jennifer and Miranda (Kimi’s uncle’s family) over for dinner, and Kimi’s cooking now. She wasn’t able to cook much in the last few months of her pregnancy, and I think she really missed it. It smells delicious!

Joanna and Sophie

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Auntie Jojo paid a visit this morning.

Joanna Mack gives a bottle to her niece Sophie Mack (aged 8 days), Mountain View, CA, October 1, 2007

Yvonne and Sophie

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

We took Sophie and Sammy out this morning to the Valley Fair mall for a portrait session. It was our first expedition as a family of four. We had a ten a.m. appointment, and were a bit late; it’s much harder loading up and moving out with four people than three. Sammy lost patience early on in the photo shoot, but Kimi still managed to select some good shots which we had framed. I may scan them in later, although they’re a bit big for our scanner. We had big plans to get some outfits and shoes for Sammy but really it took us about six hours to just get the pictures done, if you count from dressing the kids in the morning to unloading them aftewards. Sammy didn’t really want to nap when we got home and put up a fuss. I have to say the trip kinda wore me out.

Fortunately we are having John and Yvonne over for dinner. Our neighbours Corey and Denetra (with their daughter Kaitlin) dropped off some delicious manicotti for us.

Yvonne Chachere and Sophie Mack, Mountain View, CA, September 30, 2007

We also had John and Yvonne over yesterday, on Saturday, when Sophie was a bit more awake.

Yvonne Chachere and Sophie Mack (with Sophie awake), Mountain View, CA, September 29, 2007