Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Cash & Dad’s Second Three Months

Life as your mom, my Rachel, has been interesting these days. Imagine drinking coffee at an outdoor café in Georgetown when a gaggle of Hell’s Angels approach, leering at your baby. Just as you clench defensively, one says with a smile, “that’s a knockout baby!” As you push a baby carriage through Lenox mall in Atlanta, you notice your baby staring behind you giggling. You swivel glimpsing a guy in full hip-hop regalia parading for your baby. He leans over the carriage unveiling a golden grill of smiling teeth. “He’s got as much bling as me!”

We’ve been charmed with a baby that enraptures strangers. Your smile belays your temperament and it takes hold of your face upon eye contact spreading quickly to the point of overwhelming you. It's infectious. You naturally to engage people and draw them in. Nothing is more flattering than a baby's attention!

You graduated from infant to baby -- from an expelled, wrinkled creature of womb-world to a fat, bouncing, earthbound, cute-bucket. You’ve adapted creatively. For example, you’ve taken rolling over, a basic developmental step for a baby, and elevated it to a form of transportation. If you want something, you will roll across the whole damn room if you have to. We watch our feet.

You’re appearance has matured. Your head, formerly bare on both sides parted by a Mohawk, is now fully fuzzed red-brown, but pointy at the top. Your onion head is punctuated by two large, dark blue eyes. You are now in the 90th percentile in height and 50th in weight though you are solid, like a bag full of marbles (padded in the middle and on the bottom). My shoulder is sore from carrying your around.

Your delightful presence comes with work. A recurring theme with Weller children is resistance to sleeping patterns. Only recently have we been able to improve upon three to five wakeups per night with Rachel taking the brunt of the workload, sacrificing herself so I can function at work. You and Luke have adjoining rooms so crying fits bounce into competitive screeching crescendos. Sometimes Churchill, your smelly golden retriever, is the only chipper creature in the morning.

You took your first major trip this quarter to Atlanta to celebrate Christmas. You, Rachel, Luke and I visited Grangie, Samantha, and Rick. We crashed at Rick’s house near Lenox mall. He was nice enough to lend us his place while he stayed at his girlfriend Samantha’s place. We celebrated Christmas at Samantha’s apartment and spent Christmas dinner at a hip Chinese restaurant called Aja in Buckhead. It turns out you and Luke don’t care for dark, hip restaurants as the two of you raised hell the entire time, neither happy with the local or the company apparently!

Speaking of Luke, he continues to adore you. While he hasn’t mastered the idea of sharing his toys, it’s fun to watch the two of you in the back of Rachel’s blue Toyota FJ Cruiser in baby seats side-by-side. Luke will mimic your baby talk earning a great big smile from you, and then the two of you will feed off one another’s giggles until breaking down into hilarity. Your delight in one another and witnessing the two of you interact spontaneously is a beautiful thing to watch.

Here is our quarterly interview:

Volim te,


Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your first Christmas with Grangie, Samantha & Rick in Atlanta.
2) Grangie moved into her new condo in Buckhead.
3) Barak Hussein Obama wins the presidential election.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) M79, Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend (released 2008)
2) Just Dance, Lady GaGa, The Fame (released 2008)
3) Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie, Plans (released 2005)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fall Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your first day of school!
2) Rachel ran a half marathon in Moab, UT and you and I had a boys’ weekend with Grangie.
3) We went to Hilton Head Island, SC for vacation.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie, Plans (released 2005)
2) New Slang, Oh, Inverted World, The Shins (released 2001)
3) Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer (released 1997)

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Tantri Two

Luke & Dad’s Second Year and A Quarter

Feeding chocolate cake to a herd of terrible twos is igniting a batch of bottle rockets inside your home. Sugar in these monsters is as dizzying as a college keg party on acid. Nonetheless, the occasion of your second birthday demanded that we cast down the chains of routine infant rearing and, damn the torpedoes, throw your birthday party, cake and all!!

We knew you liked parties because we took you to a German Oktoberfest celebration and nearly every evening afterwards you inquired: “Oktoberfest?!” So, Rachel and I now have the distinction of throwing your first party, birthday or otherwise. No matter how crazy the parties of your future, it all started with a bunch of shrimps and their parents on August 2nd, 2008 at the MacArthur house. Jack, Emily & Tom Grossi; Matts, Jessica & Thomas Kramer; Jamie, Melissa & Mark Bildner; Grady, Annie & Eric Burnquist; Rowan, Charis & Ryan Drant; Ryan, Ronda & Tom Williams; joined Rachel, Cashy, Keara, Churchill and me at your first fiesta.

You loved the Birthday festivities but your main takeaway was the power of “presents.” These mysterious boxes contained treats of all kinds. However, you quickly figured out that presents could transformed into something far more useful: negotiating tools for the unpleasant tasks in your life. Here is a typical case study. After sniffing soiled air I say, “Luke, you did a poop. Time to change your dipes!” You make a break for it and I make the inevitable capture dodging kicks, screams and fake tears when, suddenly, sweetly, you say, “Can I have a present?”

Admittedly, your dad also liked parties at two years old:

If Birthdays number the early chapters of your life, memories of school will fill those chapters. Rachel and I dropped you off at your first day of school on September 17th, 2008 at Aiden Montessori in Washington, DC. I’ll never forget watching as you as the teacher’s assistant, Ms. Allen, grabbed your hand and turned you away from us, guiding you into your very first class room. I stared at the back of your blond head wondering if you could possibly feel more lost than me.

I doubt it. You love school. Your teacher’s name is Ms. Smith, “Miss Smiff” in Lukanese. She is the perfect teacher for you; a twenty-something redheaded “Annie” who looks at any moment about to break into song. Under her guidance, you love painting, drawing, and playing with water (apparently this is a common interest for two year olds). She says you are incredibly focused and very nimble with your hands, a potential surgeon! Ms. Smith says you have empathy, that you try and comfort the other children when they are upset. You are like your mom.

Like me you are psyched about Halloween! We did our first trick-or-treating excursion this year with Rowan the Fireman and Jack the Builder. You were supposed to be a Pirate, but you refused to wear your pirate hate until I showed you a mirror. One glance and you transformed into a fierce, hat wearing Pirate stabbing your sword at the Builder at every opportunity.

You guys were hilarious swaggering up to houses, squeezing past one another to reach up to door bells, needing to be reminded to say “trick-or-treat!” before grabbing candy. As Rachel put you to sleep that night, you asked if you could go trick-or-treating again. Rachel said you could next year. Then you said, “Can Cashy come?”

You and Cashy have become quite a pair. You've adopted a new language for Cash taking some of his baby sounds and creating words: "Iga!" "Shaaa!" "Ca Ca!" Peering into the back seat of the Toyota cruiser I often glimpse you and Cashy sitting side by side in baby seats staring at one another. You test your mimicry words on Cash. Cash will smile, you will smile; Cash will giggle, you will giggle; Cash will laugh out loud and so will you. Brothers.

Halloween summons other creepy and crawly things and this season the Weller brood has been exorcising a nasty species of Wooobop from our household: a Tantri. As a refresher, Wooobops are fat, friendly, colorful, gently mischievous monsters that reside in less populated areas like closets, attics, basements and exercise rooms. However, the Tantri is a vicious Wooobop that victimizes young children all over the world by taking possession of their minds. These vaporous, ghostly creatures hunger for form and a child’s budding mind has few barriers. Once there, the Tantri wants everything, refuses anything, and will throw wild, head banging, screaming, fits. These fits are known as Tantrums and the disease is the Terrible Twos.

A Tantri, above all, needs attention to feed it. If you have a tantrum lying on the floor of the kitchen kicking and yelling, I will often ignore you and move to the living room. Your tantri will pick you up sniffling, walk you into the living room, lay you down, and reinitiate kicking and screaming all over again. Sometimes a little Luke will pop out during a tantrum like the time Rachel was trying to read “I Stink” to calm a loud tantrum. Suddenly, you abruptly stopped, finished a sentence exactly on queue, “You'd be on Mount Trash-O-Rama Baby!” and then thundered on.

This month we did our quarterly interview and it pretty much melted down. You thought hiding from the camera was the height of comedy!

A couple days after that video, I caught you playing with my computer camera. Needless to say, you loved yourself!

I'd also like to show you some of your recent art work. Though I haven't gotten hold of your school paintings yet, I do capture some of your art at home. Here is a nice piece:

të dua,


Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your first day of school!
2) Rachel ran a half marathon in Moab, UT and you and I had a boys’ weekend with Grangie.
3) We went to Hilton Head Island, SC for vacation.

Luke's most requested song:

Girl, Beck, Guero (released 2005)

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie, Plans (released 2005)
2) New Slang, Oh, Inverted World, The Shins (released 2001)
3) Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer (released 1997)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ice Ice Baby

Cash & Dad’s First Three Months

You’d think the alien battleship in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was going to arrive at 5360 MacArthur not a newborn. Terribly edgy times pervaded the Weller household in the final weeks leading to your birth. We were convinced you were going to arrive early. You didn’t. The due date passed with apprehension compounding each passing day.

We worried about your health, labor, colic, Luke’s reaction, our lifestyle, the complexities of two kids, and, most of all, the pregnancy’s impact on Rachel’s figure! (US Magazine didn’t help by setting unrealistic expectations showing stars shedding baby fat in weeks.) If you got too big, how were we going to get you out! The final stretch of Rachel’s pregnancy was being stuck outside on a searing hot, humid day. We were tired, uncomfortable, irritable, and, well, like you, stuck.

Then, like a blast of cool air, you arrived! Truthfully, we got impatient and you were induced into this world on Tuesday, June 24th 2008. You plopped out at 5:09 pm at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC. You weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and arrived with a full head of black curly hair. All our worries blew away!

From that moment, Cash, you have been an incredibly chill baby, mellow almost, quite the opposite of your brother at this age! Your overall presence is that of a thoughtful observer. You are no push over. When you want something, you are insistent, loud, but not frantic. You’ve got a deep voice as infants go and you chatter to yourself after a big meal. Yes, thank god, you are an easy baby, laid back and sharp.

As far as looks go, well, most babies are lollipops; you are milk chocolate. Dark hair, blue eyes and square head, you warm the eyes. You are simply handsome and you are going to be trouble with the ladies. As far as height, you measure in at the 70th percentile, and weight, the 50th percentile though I suspect you are growing quickly past the average.

Your most powerful feature is your smile. You first smiled to me on September 12th, 2008. The smile opened up wide, mouth open, like you were gulping the positive vibes around you. You made a noise, a sort of exclamation, of happiness as you held me in your eyes. The moment captured me totally pushing all thoughts aside – you shared a moment of pure, uncontaminated joy, and it gripped me. I was so thankful, so “I’m sooo there with you man!”

Your arrival has revealed facets of Weller family personalities that until now haven’t been exposed. Your big brother Luke has surprised us most. Prior to your arrival, Rachel and I heard horror stories about sibling jealousy. Hell, I was a devil when Vanessa arrived so I feared Luke would react similarly. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Luke is your biggest fan. He simply loves you and that caring was clear immediately. Every morning we wake up to these exclamations: “Cash is my friend!” “What a good brother!” “Want to see Cash!” He loves hugging you, petting you, delivering Eskimo kisses nose to nose.

These activities are delivered with a giant’s touch; the huggings are muggings, the pettings clubbings, and the Eskimo kisses are face plants. But, the enthusiasm is rampant … possibly too rampant. Luke, “the department of helping too much,” smothers you in his effort to hold you and he often attempts carrying you to his next play spot! Yikes! We have to keep an eye on him needless to say.

Cash, you’ve rewarded Luke’s attention with your very first smiles. You watch him constantly; your eyes follow him everywhere. You don’t cry when he manhandles, pets/clubs, or faceplants you. You seem rather delighted. Rachel and I feel terribly lucky (so far).

Every quarter I'm going to interview you for two minutes. Here is our first in depth interchange!



Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your brother Cash Henry Weller is born!
2) Grangie, Vanessa, Grandman & Grandpa Moore all came to visit.
3) Vanessa received her masters at NYU in digital animation.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Jiggy with It, Phish, Hampton Comes Alive (released 1999)
2) Viva la Vida, Coldplay, Viva la Vida (released 2008)
3) Unchained, Van Halen, Fair Warning (released 1981)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So Proud

Luke & Dad’s (Almost) Second Year

I’m posting this blog on Tuesday, July 29th one day before your birthday. Your birthday deserves its own celebration so we will wait because another significant event in your life has taken place …

You’ve got a new baby brother!

Cash Henry Weller was born on Tuesday, June 24th 2008 around 5 pm at Sibley Hospital in Washington, DC. He weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and arrived with a full head of black curly hair and nice olive skin. If he hadn't come equipped with a long index toe, I would’ve asked for a DNA test.

I brought you to Sibley Hospital the next day, Wednesday, June 25th, to visit Rachel and your brother, the later for the very first time. You knew something was a foot. We entered the red brick hospital and you were curious, so piqued that you didn’t run screaming at the sight of nurses (shots).

We entered a crowded room filled with visitors including Ryan and Charis Drant. When I finally shuffled you close enough to look at Cash, you didn’t say much. You looked contemplative. That lasted a few seconds as if you thought, “interesting … ok … but why are you still holding me over this thing?” Any further attempts to show you Cash resulted in, “Don’t want it!”

The arrival of a new sibling can be a cataclysmic event for a first-born two year old. It’s that startling discovery that the world doesn’t rotate around you alone! Heck, an entire society couldn’t accept Galileo’s observation that earth was not the center of the universe. Why should we expect more of a child?

As usual, I am saying more about me than you. When I realized Vanessa wasn’t just visiting, I dedicated several years to crushing her. Ask Grandpa Weller about “the Cookie Monster Puppet Attack” he captured on film. Let’s just say I tried to blame the puppet.

So your life, like ours, has changed dramatically. Instead of playing in mom’s lap, you watch Cash breast feeding. Instead of you and me going to breakfast on Saturday morning, you eat eggs quietly while I soothe Cash. Instead of visiting the zoo with mom, you play by yourself in the kitchen.

That’s why I’m so incredibly proud, PROUD of you. You've welcomed your brother in the face of a million reasons not to. The changes have stressed you with painful moments that show at times -- sadness for no reason, tears without provocation -- but you treat Cash with love and deep interest. You huge him, give him Eskimo kisses, and shout, "such a good bruder!" We’ve seen a grace, a true beauty in you we’ve never seen before and it makes us so terribly proud to know you.

Stepping out of the ray of sunshine, life continues as does your development. Most entertaining to me is your relationship with music. You recognize songs and artists. If “Teenage Wasteland” is playing, you scream “Da Whoooo!" This behavior has evolved to incorporate some creativity and therefore unpredictability on your part. For instance, at Rowan Drant’s crowded birthday party, Coolio's “Gangsta’s Paradise” reverberated. Out of nowhere you shouted,

Barak Obama!"

(I have no idea where that come from. Charis Drant is a huge backer of Obama. Just shoot me.)

Our favorite song right now is “Jiggy With It” by Phish, or “Jiggy For It” in Lukanese (interesting preposition twist). We’ve taken to dancing together to it.

Speaking of creativity, one afternoon you randomly started referring to “Wooobops” as if they were running around the house. I was confused and a little concerned. I decided we should draw a Wooobop collaboratively to try and identify this mysterious noun. While tangling over who should pilot the crayons, we drew wacky creatures, eliminated inanimate objects, and finally discovered Wooobops: silly, colorful, comfortable monsters. I still don't know where they came from, but I like them too. May I introduce you to Wooobops:

One morning working out, I made the mistake of pointing out your shadow. You screamed bloody murder. The dark specter was following you everywhere! AAAaaaaaah! Of course, I couldn’t eradicate this beast. (I experienced one of those "why do I do this to myself" moments.) So I claimed the shadows were Wooobops. It took some convincing, but now it’s amusing to see you give Eskimo kisses, nose to the floor, to your Wooobop.

You are now making attempts at counting and you generally know your ABC’s. You can see this progress in our quarterly interview!

One final note, your aunt Vanessa received her masters from NYU in digital animation this quarter. We are so, so proud of her! Here is a sampling of her work:

Ana Behibak,


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spring Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Family vacation in an incredible house overlooking the beach in Ziwataneo, Mexico.
2) You hunted for Chocolate Eggs in your first Easter egg hunt with Rowan and Jack.
3) Rachel had a girls weekend in Bermuda with Jessica.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes, Mistaken Identity (released 1981)
2) Unwind Your Mind, The Greyboy Allstars, Live (released 1999)
3) Get it On (Bang a Gong), The Power Station, The Power Station (released 1985)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Luke & Dad’s First Year and Three Quarters

A child is carving out a piece of your heart, giving it a pair of legs, a sense of independence and setting him free. He is at once you and not you at all. Luke, I relish your victories as if they were my own, maybe more, set free from the reins of my own humility and denial. The bumps have been sudden and shocking; the smallest disappointment is a needle jabbed into a daddy voodoo doll.

From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense. I am a protector with superhero sensitivity to the dangers you face and an enabler, giving you a safe place to test the edges of your confidence. I push you to take risk even as I'm terrified you are going to get hurt. Together we dance in experimentation often stumbling over one another’s feet.

In this process, our interchanges have become rich, but our most meaningful dialog is captured in a single word ...


If you Googled “Luke’s vocabulary,” “No” would be number one on the buzz index. “No” is your simple statement of independence, that you have a say and you’re not going to be pushed. It’s actually a very healthy word and you provide a healthy dose of it! Admittedly, if you Googled “Harry’s vocabularly,” “No” would be number two after “Oh NO!”

(Of course, “No” for me is about control too. You change my environment as much as I change yours and it’s not always comfortable.)

Things would go more smoothly if you didn’t like leaping off couches, jumping from chairs, dashing down hills and tackling Churchill. We’ve bred a stunt man. Your head is a portrait of bruises and your nose is burned red from a face plant that scared the hell out of Grandma Moore. On our recent vacation in Ziwataneo, Mexico, you underscored the extent of your lunatic fringe -- you took a running leap off a ledge screaming “Darebebillll!” falling onto your unsuspecting father lounging below.

You are an adrenaline junky at one and three quarters years old and your body has somehow managed to adapt. You are a tough, physically gifted boy for your age. When we go to the park, you make three and four year olds look slow and uncoordinated, dribbling the soccer ball around them. I often apologize to embarrassed fathers when they realize your age. Yes, I’m a proud father, I admit it.

You can flat out run. It’s not a graceful stride but rather a fast paced bobble. Nonetheless, you are the superhero boy in The Incredibles, Dash: a short, blonde and speedy two footer.

You often highlight your skill to strangers as you fly by: “Me Fast!” I’m getting a sponsorship from Crocs, your sprint shoe of choice.

Your heart still belongs to all large, moving, mechanical things – trains, planes, automobiles – but you’ve refined your tastes to subtle things like color and feature. Trucks aren’t just trucks anymore; you like blue trucks with big tires and interesting trim. By the way, “BaaaLuuuu" seems to be your favorite color. Though you still love pointing out vehicles, you haven’t mastered all the tongue twists leading to exclamations like,“Big Red fireFUCK!!!”

In February we took a family vacation to Ziwataneo, Mexico. This was your first international trip and as a result we got your first passport. Icline took you to get the passport photo and you were clearly dubious of the process:

I love that picture.

We rented a beautiful house from your Godfather Rick’s uncle that overlooked the beach. Keara and Grandpa Weller visited while we were there. My favorite memory was catamaran sailing with you and Rachel across the bay. Up until that point, boats where cool objects sitting lazily on vast water. I held you tight as the water whipped by and savored your expression of "Holy Shit!"

Unfortunately, the vacation wasn’t without stress because the house was built on a cliff with an embedded infinity pool. I was terrified you would either fall off the cliff edge or fall into the pool. I fabricated a fence from fishing net and wood rods to bar you from those areas. It worked but next time we’ve got to do more diligence on our rentals!

I'm going to add a new feature to these blogs which is a video interview of you every quarter. Here is our first interview in the Ziwataneo vacation house.

This quarter we’ve investigated schools for you and we've had a heck of a time of it. It’s silly looking for a school for you at this age, but apparently the competition has begun! Fighting for a school slot is pure insanity but tolerating evaluation or judgment of us or you is abhorrent (even when they make the “right” call). Man, I hope the human race slows its pace. It’s getting scary out there.

Lakh tirikh,


Friday, February 29, 2008

Winter Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) You are going to have a baby brother!
2) Mom and Dad got a night off in Teluride.
3) You finally said “Mom” on December 15th, 2007.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Eminence Front, The Who, It’s Hard (released 1982)
2) Here’s Where to Story Ends, The Sundays, Reading, Writing & Arithmetic (released 1990)
3) Satan, Love Tractor, Themes from Venus (released 1989)

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Luke & Dad’s First Year and a Half

Before you were conceived, an emerging cult among my friends dashed any hope that peer pressure eroded with age. The Cult of Parents was on a mission to convert the unwary by exploiting guilt, the fear of lost youth, and the sense your kind was dying off. “When are you going to have children? It’s a blessing! You’re not getting any younger!”

I was suspicious. Claims of parental utopia were always expressed through tired, weary faces. Was it reaffirmation that demanded our conversion into parents? I loved my weekends and from what I could tell, parents didn’t have weekends. Every waking moment was spent chasing their blessings around!

But I miscalculated. When I first saw the spark of recognition in your eyes, I was flooded by the rush of a first crush and the gripping love of a sibling and the yearning for a parent all mashed together. It was a new awareness, a new sensation that upset my emotional balance of power, recasting my priorities anew.

Ok now, don’t get me wrong. I haven’t transformed into a hear-no-evil/see-no-evil fundamentalist parent who has never seen a tough day with their child. (Luke, those folks are the worst.) However, I look forward to weekends like never before. I get to hang with my new best friend!

I particularly look forward to Saturdays. Every Saturday morning, you and I hit the town for breakfast and some activity. Rachel stays home to get a little extra sleep and a nice unencumbered workout. I should note that parenting coupled with pregnancy is incredibly tiring work and Rachel has coped with grace. You seem into it too; you occasionally point at her belly and shout “babeee!”

You and I have a reasonably consistent pattern on Saturdays. To give you a flavor, I’ll take you through this past Saturday, January 26th, 2008:

-- I wake to the sound of you fussing and take you out of your crib after asking you to hand me your pacifier (you are only allowed to have your “papee” when in bed). You oblige after some careful consideration. You then chant “Chuuch-hill, Chuuch-hill!” who comes crashing in.

-- I change your diapers while you stick your feet in my face. I used to feign smelling your feet to distract you while changing your diapers; I’d scream “smelly feet!” and now it’s become entertainment for you and required duty for me.

-- We dress you in your room and then move to the guest room where I pull on clothes while you pull out clothes from the drawers.

-- We go downstairs and you open the fridge babbling about your “ba ba.” You climb in my lap and down the bottle of milk.

-- We go to the basement for a 20 minute free weight workout. You basically hang out playing with the weights saying “weets” over and over. I count my reps as loud as I can in the hopes I am teaching you numbers.

-- We jump in the Toyota FJ Cruiser to our favorite Georgetown breakfast haunt, Furin's, where you’ve become a local celebrity. You say “hi” to Pat and Nancy, a retired couple who are always there at 8 am. They brought up three sons and love giving me tips. The young waitress, Uyanda, fawns all over you.

-- You scarf down pancakes and a piece of toast. I eat two eggs, bacon and toast.

-- We hunt around Georgetown for cars, buses and trucks to look at. As I’ve said before, you like all moving objects, the bigger the better. Today, you surprised me with a newly acquired word, “taxschi!”

-- The auto show is in town so we hit the Reagan National Convention Center and look at new cars. Your favorite is a red Nissan and you walk around and around it. My favorite is a Lexus ISF 2008 that I somehow talk myself out of buying.

-- We start the drive home to see Rachel. We both scream “Blaaah” stick our tongues and make like the Maori War chant. I have no idea how this got started but we do it all the time when we are driving.

-- We get home and you run in screaming “Mommy, Mommy!” I go on a run. Rachel gives you lunch and a nap.

As you can see, our relationship has evolved from babysitting to hanging with you. Watching your perception bloom has been an exhilarating experience of rocketing progress, sometimes more than I grasp.

You are now stringing together words in a very sophisticated but unintelligible way spattered here and there with recognizable words. If one were not listening closely, your tone and pace would sound downright professorial. I tell everyone you speak Lukanese.

If not speaking Lukanese, I have to watch what I say. You understand more than you let on. For example, I was talking on the phone with Grangie as you were playing. She wanted to say hi so I put the phone to your ear. You listened momentarily and turned back to your toys seemingly uninterested. A couple moments later, you bolted out of the room and then returned flashing a picture of you and Grangie from your bedroom. I was shocked. Grangie was overwhelmed with glee!

Speaking of Grandparents, we spent your second Christmas in Grand Junction with Grandma and Grandpa Moore and Keara. Their house was designed and built by Grandpa Steve and it is packed full of books. You were a one man wrecking crew, snatching and reshuffling books all over the house, with an intensity that suggested there was a method to the madness. I wonder if there was ...

Here is a picture of the two of us goofing off there.

I got an unusual treat a couple days ago. Your very first voicemail to me! Here is the recording from my mobile phone.

Before I sign off, we got some surprising news this quarter. You are going to have a brother! Here's a picture capturing his butt and the proof:

Boy are the two of you going to have fun! I'm not sure what to think of two sons running around. I'm accustomed to sisters.

Miluji te,