Our morning routine

Amber takes care of Fitz during the day while I’m at work, and I take him for overnight duty and mornings.

He typically gets up either around 5:30 or 7 depending on if he woke up for a feeding in the middle of the night or not. After I feed him and change him, I put him in his bouncy seat in the kitchen and he watches me make breakfast, take care of any dirty dishes, feed the birds, and any other miscellaneous chores. He’s usually in a very good mood during this time, smiling and interacting with me.

Then I try to get him to take a nap, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. He’s a great nighttime sleeper, sometimes going out for a stretch of 9 hours straight at night. He’s not a great daytime sleeper. It’s been hard, and getting harder, to get him to sleep during the day.

Amber is usually showering during this time, and she takes over when she gets out and I get ready for work.

(I didn’t promise you excitement on this blog, I’m writing this purely for my reference later)

North DeKalb Mall is awesome

Tonight was an impromptu date night since we got a sitter at the last minute. We went and saw the most recent Harry Potter movie at the AMC theater at North DeKalb Mall. There was a guy on our row making loud, inane comments most of the time, which was annoying ’til the end when people were getting up to leave. He got up and immediately did a faceplant in the aisle. His reactions were too slow for him to bother trying to break his fall.

Before seeing him, I thought he was some dumbass kid. Amber correctly guessed he was a grown person whacked out of his mind on one drug or another.

Also seen at North DeKalb Mall:

  • A hurricane simulator kiosk. I imagined this as a guy hiding behind a curtain with a cup of water and a 2×4 who splashes then clubs you after you insert quarters.
  • A public bathroom blocked off with stacked chairs from the food court

Letter to baby #7

Dear baby,
I often think about how things I take for granted are going to be new to you, and wonder what you’ll think and how you’ll react.

Sometimes a song comes on the radio or my iPod I’ve heard a hundred times before, and I skip over it, and it occurs to me you have never heard that song before. So then I think when you’re here I’ll need to stop and let you listen. Then again maybe it’s optimistic of me to think you’ll be interested. Maybe all kids are meant to grow up and think their parents have terrible, dated taste in music.

When I heat leftovers in the microwave, I know not to put metal in there. And I know not to twist the stove knobs without letting the spark light the gas first. And I know that forks are for eating food and not for filling electrical sockets. These are things I will need to remember to tell you so you don’t blow up the house and yourself.

You’ve never been to a grocery store, or a baseball game, or a movie, or a museum, or an aquarium… there are just so many things, most of which aren’t scary, that we’ll get to experience together. Some of them you’ll enjoy, some of them you won’t. The fun will be in finding out.

Almost everything is ready to go out here, we’re down to a couple of things on our list before “baby watch” starts April 8. I’m so excited to meet you!

Love,
Dad

Letter to baby #6

Dear baby,
You’ve been kicking your mom a lot lately, and I can feel it from the outside! You’re usually awake in the evening when we’re watching TV. You seem to kick more during one show we watch called Fringe. I like to think it’s because you share our disgust with the writing and are asking us to change the channel to X-Files, which Fringe is ripping off. I hope we’re not traumatizing you in there, we’re just trying to stick it out until season 2 since our friends tell us it gets better.

Your room is really coming along. This week several more things to stock it have come in the mail: a crib mattress, a wall shelf, a hamper with an owl on it, a picture with birds on it, and some more of your diapers. We also ordered a recliner for your mom that we hope will help her sleep when you get even bigger in a few weeks, though it won’t be here for a little while yet.

I’m trying to take as much time off from work as I can to spend with you early on since you’ll only be a baby once. There will be plenty of time for me to work.

Love,
Dad

P.S. – I’m keeping a list of the people who make “is this your sixth baby?” jokes after reading the title of this letter. The day they meet you, I’ll make sure your diaper is loose and point you in their direction.

Quitting Flickr [Updated 2/4]

Recently, a set of photos I took of Amber disappeared from Flickr with no explanation. I’ve attached them to this post so you can see what I’m talking about.

It’s still unclear whether this was a technical glitch or whether they were pulled for violating terms of service or some other unknown reason. The possible terms of service violation (I’m guessing) is that she’s in her underwear (scandalous!), though nobody has actually said as much yet. I have a ticket outstanding with their support team to get an explanation. It took several days for a person to answer the ticket initially, then another several days to answer my first response, then another several days for the ticket to be escalated to a “senior staff member” who has yet to offer an answer after another several days.

I’m past caring much about the explanation, and am now fixated on why it’s taking this long to receive an answer when I’ve been a paying customer for several years. I shouldn’t have to go to this much trouble to find out why my photos were removed. And I should have been notified when they were removed. How many of my other photos have disappeared in a similar way without anyone ever telling me? How would I even get an answer to that question when they can’t tell me about one specific item in a reasonable amount of time?

So while I haven’t actually quit yet (3,900 photos aren’t moving overnight), I am coming up with a self-hosted contingency plan.

My initial evaluation led me to look at Gallery and Zenphoto. I could talk a lot about pluses and minuses of each, but for me it came down to Gallery has an API, Zenphoto doesn’t. That means there are third-party programs and plugins to upload photos into Gallery without having to go through the website.

Currently I edit photos in Aperture, then use the built-in export features to send them to Flickr and Facebook. The Gallery Export for Aperture plug-in by Ubermind would allow me to switch to self-hosted Gallery with little disturbance to my workflow. I can fill out titles once in Aperture and have them show up in multiple sites, and also use it to copy albums directly from Flickr to Gallery (I would prefer a one-button move like Migratr, which didn’t work for me, but this is still better than filling out 3,900 captions manually).

So I have a reasonably easy option to switch to self-hosting photos. The migration would probably take me a day.

I do want to hear Flickr’s explanation before I pull the trigger. I’d miss some of Flickr’s community features, especially the random comments I get from people providing additional background and anecdotes about photos. Moving photos from Flickr to self-hosted is the digital equivalent of taking my money out of the bank and storing in a shoebox under my bed. But I guess in my old age I’m starting to get more paranoid about who has control over my data.

Update – Flickr support said there is a record of an API call deleting the files in December. This is possible since I use Aperture to interface with the API. Why the hell did it take them this long to tell me that? Still undecided on my long-term solution.

Letter to baby #5

Dear baby,
It’s the first day of 2011, the year you will be born. In Chinese astrology, 2011 is the year of the rabbit. I don’t put much stock in this, as I was born in 1978, the year of the horse, and the description of what that is supposed to mean isn’t accurate for me. Your mom and I have been calling 2011 “the year of the baby,” which is unrelated to astrology, Chinese or otherwise.

The most important thing that happend since the last time I wrote is we saw you for the first time on your 20-week ultrasound. It was amazing to me how much you were moving. You looked like you were trying to get comfortable, but I know that was probably just your way of exercising. Any day now I should be able to feel you moving from the outside.

You also racked up lots of loot at Christmas, including a stroller, car seat, diaper bag and clothes among other things. Those things are nice and helpful and will be important to creating a healthy environment for you. But ultimately you won’t remember any of that. I’ve had lots of Christmases (32 to be precise), and I don’t remember many of the gifts I received.

What I do remember are all the fun things we did leading up to Christmas: decorating a tree; hanging a cloth ornament on the fabric tree that’s been in our family a long time; big lunches with our family; sugar cookies; and trying to find where my mom hid the presents, among other things. Those memories will last you a lot longer than any of your gifts will. We can think of all sorts of fun things to do together at this time of year.

One thing I won’t make you do is see Santa if you don’t want to. My mom made me do that until I was about 14 years old and I hated it. We won’t take you at all unless you ask to go.

I can’t remember if I told you or not, but I put your crib together. Your room is really coming along, we’ve got almost everything that’s not related to you out of there.

Love,
Dad

Letter to baby #4

Dear baby,
Something I hope I can make you aware of at an early age is how important it is to make time for people you care about. It’s so easy to get swept up in the grind of daily life that it will become very easy for you, as it has for me, to put off doing the things that will actually mean something to you later. I won’t look back eighteen years from now, when you’re a grown person, and remember that time I worked over the weekend to impress someone I barely know. But I will remember writing these letters to you.

I wonder sometimes what sorts of things you’ll be interested in, and how many interests we’ll share. I was at a University of Tennessee football game a month or so ago. The Pride of the Southland Band featured two soloists: one who was currently a student and member of the band; and his father, who was a member of the band several decades ago. They played together in front of 100,000 people, and it was poignant. It made me a little weepy to to think that we might be able to share something like that together when you grow up.

But I also know you’ll be your own person, and I won’t try to force any of the things I’m interested in on you. Whatever you’re into, I’ll take an interest in it.

All the books say you won’t really care what your room looks like for a while, but that hasn’t stopped us from trying to make it nice for you. We had a mural painted for you (with birds, naturally) and I put together your crib this past weekend. We’ve also been cleaning out some things we were storing in there to make room for your things.

So much else has happened since the last time I wrote. We’ve taken more classes, heard your heartbeat through the sonogram a second time, and your mom thinks she felt you move again. It’s all going by so fast, and before we know it you’ll be here.

That’s all for now. I can’t wait to see you on the ultrasound next week.

Love,
Dad

I write things, which may or may not interest you.