Friday, November 30, 2007

Fall Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your found your penis and seem to find it interesting!
2) Mommy is pregnant!
3) You got your first cold and none of us got any sleep.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Summer Girl, Beck, Guero (released 2005)
2) Save it for Later, The English Beat, What is Beat? (released 1983)
3) Stray Cat Strut, Stray Cats, Stray Cats (released 1981)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Halloween … Halloween, Halloween

Dad’s First Year and Three Months

The hot humid summer has lost its stranglehold and a chill has crept into the air. Night arrives early summoning hidden and imagined things. We slip into costumes, shed out of our daily persona and bare our darker nature. The dark side has its own freedom and humor -- mischief is just a blending of the two!

The Weller brood is tight with Halloween, the tradition of mischief it delivers and the history it holds for us. To prove it, here is a picture of your Great Grandpa & Grandma in costume.

Halloween is the day Rachel and I first met at Merrick Bernstein’s party in Atlanta circa 1999. So Halloween is in your blood buddy.

Rachel was your Aunt Vanessa’s mysterious new friend. She was off limits because I considered hitting on a sister’s friend akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Furthermore, your Godfather, Rick Tuley, had a crush on her. So I arrived at Merrick’s in my worn leather pants, wife-beater t-shirt and long white wig convinced Rachel was unfair game. But it was Halloween where the rules are pulled inside out, everything is turned upside down … and she was such a saucy Pippy Longstocking! I fell for her at once. And Rick forgave me.

Though you are too young to explore your sinister side (aside from your normal tantrums), Rachel and I felt compelled to share our holiday with you. We joined a neighborhood Halloween parade of children in costume. We plopped into a comic book of midgets! You were a fighter pilot, Rowan was a lion, and Jack was some kind of gray spidery thing that looked squished. Your green flight jacket, a gift from your Aunt Vanessa, coupled with your baldness and stout demeanor cast a genuine albeit miniature illusion of an aviator jockey! You even had the cocky strut.

Earlier this quarter, we took a vacation to Hilton Head Island. Grandpa Weller, Vanessa and her boyfriend Tavis, Samantha and Godfather Rick all came to visit us. We had a cool house on the fringes of South Beach Harbor right next to the Salty Dog. Here's a set of pictures of you on the porch at the Doooaawg!

Hilton Head has a special place in my heart because Great Grandpa and Grandma used to own a villa there. I spent my childhood, teen, and college years playing on those beaches.

Oh, yes, you are walking and so you’ve morphed into a toddler. Frankly, it’s a miracle of physics that you can walk with that bulbous belly. You look like a lower case “b” with spindly legs kicking. How gravity doesn’t bowl you over is a mystery to me. Seeing is believing, I suppose, but symmetry argues it is all fiction.

Identifying your first day walking is a subtle science of truth and fiction as well. Rachel and I have different definitions of “walk” it turns out, my definition bleeding out inversely with the number of steps I witnessed (few). In my mind, you first walked in the living room from my hands to the stereo cabinet … one, two, three, GRAB! This was on Friday, August 3rd. Perhaps this could be construed as a controlled fall but a landing airplane is a controlled fall too and no one argues the plane is flying!

Your first day of, lets say, a more refined trot was Wednesday, August 29th. You showed glimpses of the skill early at Jessica and Matt’s house down the street. By the end of that day, you could motor though your endurance didn’t allow you range. Today you walk with the gait of a drunken sailor.

The freedom of walking has unveiled all kinds of emergent Luke phenomena. You have a special poop place. We often find you standing behind our table in the Kitchen with a beet red, grunting face. I suppose it is the privacy you hunt for?

As I noted in my last blog, you are highly coordinated and your ability to walk has underscored that. You now take a few steps and SLAM DUNK a small basketball into a toy hoop. You can dribble and kick a soccer ball. You even know which balls are for which purpose! When you are in a good mood, you highlight all of his with a little jig, shaking your butt to some internal tune. Your love of the outdoors is made apparent by your ability to put yourself places: you and Churchy often get cranky by the front door until someone takes you outside.

Your vocabulary reflects these interests and others as well. Not surprisingly, you say “baaa” for ball. The front porch and yard of the MacArthur house looks over busy street and you love watching the traffic screaming “caaaa!” (car) and, your absolute favorite, “BUUUUU!” (bus). “Bu” also means airplane which you wildly gesticulate for when one is heard overhead. It’s electricity to hear you communicate.

We got an incredible surprise this quarter: Rachel is pregnant! I'm not sure the three of us are prepared for another player on the team, but ready or not, we've got one coming. Luke, here is your new playmate:

Cute, huh? I suspect you are in for a big surprise buddy. I suspect I am too.

Since you’ve been born, I’ve traveled all over the world. This year alone I’ve been to South Africa, China, and the U.K., the latter two several times. As I write this, I am flying over Hong Kong having just left an unintentional visit to the city because my Visa was rejected in Beijing. I see tons of opportunity in these places. However, as time passes, your awareness of my absence grows and so does mine. I miss you and your mom and I dream about you on these trips.

Ik zie oe geerne,


Friday, August 31, 2007

Summer Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your first birthday and Grandpa and Grandma Moore visited to celebrate!
2) Rachel and I threw our annual crawfish festival and had a band at our house. The crawfish showed up this time but most were dead.
3) Dad went to South Africa with Rick, China, and band jam Bonnaroo (Tennessee) all in three weeks.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Little Cream Soda, The White Stripes, Icky Thump (released 2007)
2) Beautiful Worlds, ATB, Trilogy (released 2007)
3) Leave (Get Out), JoJo, JoJo (released 2004)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Birthday Boy

Luke & Dad’s First Year

Happy First Birthday Luke! All great adventures transform their participants and our journey with you is no different. We started as two individuals, a turkey-dog hybrid, and a screaming plasma bag. Somehow, slowly, we evolved into a family. Good God, I have a family! College is over.

Parents seem to announce similar milestones during the development of their children. “Jack is crawling.” “Rowan said ‘book!’” “Jacqueline is eating hard foods!” I trumpet a more primordial accomplishment, one your mother does not relish: “LukeStar loves hot women!”

Rachel and I first noticed this behavior when we hired a young, pretty, petite, dark-haired Lithuanian named Victoria to babysit. When she first walked into view, you froze and cut fussing, your eyes bulged and jaw slackened -- the picture of awe. Then you smiled your devil cute smile. And giggled. I wasn’t sure whether to be ashamed or proud.

We’ve now experienced this scene a number of times in the presence of a beautiful woman. So I’ve got an answer to one of Man’s greatest mysteries: Is the perception of beauty learned or programmed? Well Luke, we are hard-coded! (Though I think, like wine, age refines taste.)

Speaking of wine, I’ve instituted a tradition for your birthday. I bought you a vintage 2001 bottle of Bordeaux as a birthday gift. I am going to do this for every birthday until you are 21 ending in a vintage 2021 matching your official legal drinking age. My friend Thomas Kramer, father of Mats, scoffed at the idea. His criticism is that at 21 years of age you won’t appreciate nice wine as you might at 35 years old (or later, I am still figuring out Bordeaux). He said the idea is a bit stodgy or even encourages a bad habit. I think it’s brilliant.

You are now crawling with a style all your own. Rachel calls your approach the “peg-leg crawl” where, instead of crawling on both knees, you leave one knee on the ground and utilize your opposing foot, knee off the ground, to push off. The result is a tougher, grittier, old sailor like crawl that has a lopping cadence. We now have the challenge of keeping track of you as your new favorite hobby is climbing the stairs. In fact you like climbing at lot of things; I wouldn’t be surprised if you become a mountain climber.

Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are a talented athlete in general. At a couple of months old you could aggressively toss a ball astonishing uninitiated onlookers. (Only recently have other children your age accomplished that; yes, I’m a proud dad.) A couple weeks ago at a park and you watched some kids playing basketball. Next thing we knew, you were trying to put a ball through a toy hoop at home! At a soccer game at Palisades park, I could barely contain you from running onto the field!

Thanks to a great birthday present from your mom called the Mailcart Walker, you are very nearly on your own two feet. You can think of the device as a miniature version of a grandma’s walker. It is a riot being chased down by a baby that is gleefully trying to run you over. Churchill hates it.

In the last few weeks, I’ve realized how much of your environment you perceive and understand. You are a big time pointer. Actually, you don’t point, you present with a grand sweep of your arm and open palm! You love introducing fans, light fixtures, cars and trees. When you wake up, you have a routine where you point out several items, then you clap, then wave, then repeat. That routine is also applied when you want to entertain, say … a pretty woman.

I am also very happy to report that you have said your first word, “Daddy.” Unfortunately, the word “daddy” or “Daaa—Deeee” has many meanings, nouns and verbs, none referring to me. The only person object you consistently call “daddy” is a rather mangy golden retriever.

Ek het jou lief,


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spring Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Pregnant (with a boy!) Thomas & Jessica moved next door to us on MacArthur.
2) We took our first real vacation in Moab, UT where you got to hang with Grandpa Moore.
3) Rachel got back down to her pre-baby weight and waistline.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Bathtub Gin, Phish, Hampton Comes Alive (released 1998)
2) Lie in Our Graves, David Matthews Band, Crash (released 1996)
3) The Hand that Feeds, Nine Inch Nails, With Teeth (released 2005)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Socialite LukeStar

Dad’s Third Three Months

Luke, you have a cadre of friends in your life to whom you lavish a huge two toothed smile. Your regular favorites include your aunt Keara and your buddies Rowan Drant and Jack Grossi. However, other than your mommy and me, you have two friends that are the true pillars of your day.

Your best furry friend is Churchill, our imperfect but loving golden retriever. He is a less than courageous creature with a snowstorm in his long red coat (excessive dandruff). We got him as a puppy and he was our “baby with training wheels,” our first experience taking responsibility for another living being (other than an infamous Macaw … ask your mom).

Churchy didn’t know what to think of you at first. He just saw an object stealing attention. But soon a mutual dawning of perception occurred: “wait a minute; this furry/pink thing is kind of fun!” Today he allows you to crawl all over him as he paints a demeanor of tolerance though he loves it. You bite him, pull his fur, yank his collar, tug his ears and pound him like a drum. He just smiles and licks you. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you look for after your bottle is Churchy and you don’t have to look long -- he often steals into your room to sleep. The perennial chicken, Churchill even growled at a dog that got too close to you!

Your second best friend is your nanny, your 9 am goddess of the morning, Icelan Nation. She is a devote Christian, Jamaican, and she is perfectly sized for you … a soft place to land. She is a tad bossy frequently injecting her principles into our lives. When I cook my signature breakfast dish, “Eggs in Hell,” she tolerates it with pointed jokes. She doesn’t approve my favorite nickname for you: “Pooper.” She has an estranged husband and seems to have a love interest in Florida; I haven’t normalized that moral equation.

I’ve learned a lot from watching Icelan interact with you. Luke, you have mastered the power of your voice to get what you want: an object, removal from your car seat, food, or most frequently a hand in standing, your new favorite pastime. Icelan does not bend to your demands but rather watches you wallow disgruntled until you figure things out for yourself. She is breeding independence by killing the need and expectation of dependence. And by definition she has a high tolerance for your wails!

That tough love has led you to the very brink of crawling. You now can get on your hands and knees and raise that anchor belly off the ground. You haven’t learned to use your legs to propel you forward but you do push yourself backwards, a strange thing to watch! I once looked forward to your impending mobility because, in theory, you could entertain yourself. I now fear such freedom of movement because you have an eye for the dangerous and valuable like your dad. I suspect I’ll have the same misconceptions when you are driving age.

With the right leverage, you can pull yourself to a standing position, strike a funny pose of accomplishment, before teetering and plopping back onto your pampers. The best leverage is any arrangement of vertical bars, think bars in a jail. It’s simply hilarious to see you peer through the bars of our stairwell banister like a small prisoner.

Your other new pastime is eating real food. Feeding time is an explosion of slop accompanied by whoops and wails. Luckily, Incline has limited the damage somewhat by teaching you to keep your hands out of the spoon flight path. What I never expected is your extreme preference in taste. You like all fruits but if I dare put meat, chicken or pasta in your mouth your body will violently shudder, face contorting. When your mom isn’t around I sometimes feed you a lemon wedge just to watch the show.

This quarter, we took our first vacation as a family in Moab, Utah. We have some family history at Moab: Rachel and I fell in love at a camp sight in the Manti-La Sal Mountains overlooking Moab, I asked your mom to marry me at the very same camp site, and we were later married at the Red Canyons Inn four miles outside of Moab. So it only makes sense that you had your first vacation there.

We treated you to your very first hike on the Black Hill Canyon trail in the Canyonlands. Hiking with a nine month old requires strapping you facing outwards in a contraption known as a Baby Bjorn. You have always loved being outdoors on walks in the Bjorn this was no exception. You arms were constantly outstretched, hands grasping for branches as they brushed by. You want to interact with your environment and we had to make sure you were not interacting with poison oak!

Ngo oi nei,


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Winter Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Rachel threw a 60th birthday bash for Grandma and Grandpa Moore (you cried the whole time).

2) You had your very first Christmas and you saw snow for the first time.
3) You started realizing that Churchill, our golden retriever, is something interesting.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Le Disko, Shiny Toy Guns, We are Pilots (released 2006)
2) Jerusalem (Out of Darkness Comes Light), Matisyahu, Youth (released 2006)
3) Lost Cause, Beck, Sea Change (2002)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gerber Baby

Dad’s Second Three Months

In the last three months you have transformed from a screaming raisin into pink ball topped with a bobble head, pillow cheeks, and blue-blue eyes with lashes ending in innocence. You’ve graduated from infant to baby.

Luke, you are beautiful. Now mind you, the perception of a child’s beauty is skewed by the potent hormones of parenthood. Most babies are a Frankenstienian mash of their parents’ features. Moms and dads see beauty and we all reinforce that illusion with the perfunctory “how cute!” The parents believe it, deeply.

So if my judgment is impaired, how do I know you are beautiful? Independent third party verification, that’s how. Random strangers routinely urge us to put you in baby commercials. No kidding. “He should be in Gerber advertisements!” I’m already devising ways to embarrass you in high school; pulling out a Gerber jar with your image will do the trick!

Your cotton candy looks, however, betray little of your personality. You are an intent spirit thrusting your fat little hands wherever the action is. Drinking from a water bottle in your presence has become a ritual of feints and parries avoiding the tangle of your hands. We both wind up far wetter than quenched. Your hand-eye coordination has developed since the last blog!

You’ve evolved in other ways too. You are now even longer (the top 90th percentile) and, despite your pudgy looks, you remain an average weight (50th percentile). Your height originates from Rachel’s side of the family; your grandpa Moore and his brothers are all very tall. (I’m not sure if I like the idea of you taller than me.) On the weight side, I find it hard to believe you are normal. You can sit up now and when you do your bulbous belly is a thing of wonder. No one can resist rubbing it! I often find myself massaging that belly chanting “Buddha” over and over.

Your belly “anchor” prevents you from crawling but you are the world’s greatest hopper! Your godfather, Rick, bought you a seat that hangs from the ceiling leaving your legs dangling, feet just touching the floor. The contraption allows you to spring from the floor, and up and down and up and down you hop! When you do this, you wear a grin a mile wide, cheeks even wider. Watching you hop for the first time was an enchanting and bittersweet experience … it was the first time I glimpsed your coming independence.

Not only do you grin, Luke, you’ve evolved from a crying machine into a steady chatter box. You experiment with wordish noises, contorting your mouth into new shapes. You started with blurts like “Bah Bah” and have moved on to “Dah Dah.” You are not referring to me but rather testing different twists of the tongue. You have also shown signs of mimicry. If I start saying, “bah bah” you sometimes copy me -- our very first conversations! They say when you are in your teens we will be talking with more sophistication but saying just as much!

Volim te,