Thursday, November 25, 2004


Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


You should know by now what the all-caps "congrats" means. That's right, a new baby.

Benjamin James Thurman was born today to Subdeacon Tikhon and Rachel Thurman at 3:49 pm eastern. The baby is 8 lbs 8 oz, 20 inches long. Mother, father, and baby are doing well.

May God grant them all many many years.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

open letter

Today, David spent the day with Grandma Susie, who is in the state for Thanksgiving. In his bag Jaime included this letter:

For those that are not the Momma,

I would like to start with a disclaimer. I am going through a rough time. Doctors tell me it might be awhile before I get better and this "spell" could last until my early thirties. I ask for your forgiveness and understanding.

Contained in my bag are three containers of baby food, bottles, and formula, and one container each of rice and oatmeal. Please microwave my food for ten seconds, but not the bottles. I'm picky and distacted when I eat. If I fuss a lot, I probably want water or diluted juice. If I start to gag and throw-up, I've either had enough or I don't like the consistancy. I don't eat fast and I like you to talk, sing, or make silly noises. Remember, you are my floor show, make it good.

After you microwave the food, stir it with the spoon. If the food is too hot, then spoon will turn white. If this happens, just test it with your finger and use your judgement.

Keys to success:

Naps! Good luck :-).

Right now, I am a pill and have no nap routine. Some days I sleep 20 minutes two-or-three times. Other days, I sleep for one-to-three hours twice a day.

If I am overly fussy and not hungry and/or rubbing my eyes, try to put me down.

Because my parents love me so much (and are idiots) I still need to be held/rocked/accompanied to sleep. If you don't have a rocking chair, the best thing to do is lie down with me on the bed. I want to hod your hands and occationally grab your face. Usually, you will fall asleep first and then I will follow your lead.

It's a crap-shoot whether I will fall asleep in the car or not. Remember, I don't like lots of car rides in one day.

Mommy says I'm not supposed to grab faces, necks, hair, etc. So please take my hand and gently say, "no."


stand up and be counted

So, it happened like this: when I left him, he was sitting.

I had to use the restroom. Sometimes, I take him to the bathroom with me figuring that someday he is going to have to learn things that I am uniquely qualified to teach. But this time he couldn't come and everyone else was busy, so I set him in his crib facing his toy that hangs on the side with the switches and levers that he loves. He was happy.

When I returned, he was standing at the end of the crib facing me and smiling.

I called to mom in the next room, "mom, did you stand David up?"


I yelled downstairs to Jaime, "did you stand David up?"


He did it himself and he was darn pleased with himself.

I have been waiting for this. He has been trying hard for a week or so and we have been very careful to raise the gate after we put him down so that he doesn't pull himself up and over and down head-first.

Interestingly, he cannot sit up on his own yet so we are still not at the point where he will be waking up and then standing to let us know about it. But he is on the way.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

good quote

. . . an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, . . . and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt wether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures of the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleaure often is.

--C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Friday, November 12, 2004


I am agonizing over a decision.

I haven't been blogging about what is going on with my state of employment since the museum closed. Basically, I decided a couple of months ago that I would like to be a freelance writer and have been doing the research to see if it is feasible or not. Freelance writers write all the words that get you through life but that you basically ignore--brochures, marketing stuff, annual reports, newsletters, Web copy, ad, copy, whatever copy (and quite a bit journalism and magazine writing, but that is lower-paying). I've been writing, editing, and producing this kind of stuff (except journalism) for years now in my various jobs. It's something I enjoy, and there is a market for freelancers.

The main reason is this: in about five (less that four-and-a-half!!) years, David will be ready for formal education. I would like to give him that education myself. Chances are, Jaime's Social Work degree is not going to support our family by itself, so I will need part-time income. My goal is to work full-time for five years and then be able to cut to part-time and still earn enough per hour to contribute to the family income. Ideally, Jaime and I would both have part-time-but-good-paying jobs and we would both share the schooling, but those jobs are few and far far between. (Also, I hope that writing regularly will hone my skills and contribute positively to my writing novels someday, when the kids are in school or jail or whatever gets them out of the house.)

As part of my research I took a class on creating a business plan and starting up a business. This 36-hour class is a requirement for someone wanting a small business loan from the Chamber of Commerce. I wasn't intending to get a loan, but took the class because I wanted to start my business right. In the process of taking the class, I have put together a fairly comprehensive cash-flow report, and it has me depressed. With modest expectations for startup income, minus expenses and a very low salary (barely what unemployment insurance pays me), I will have to run a deficit for the first eight or nine months.

That is standard business, I know. But it poses two problems for me: 1) I hate debt; I loath it. Debt is the #1 reason that I haven't really ever been interested in being an entrepreneur. 2) I have an unreasonable amount of unsecured debt--especially for someone who hates debt soooo much. It's mainly wedding and Cambridge debt, and it's way below the national average, but it don't like it. Plus, as soon as Jaime graduates, that will be more school debt. Even though I currently own four cars (more on that later), they are not worth much so I am not sure that I could get a small business loan if I wanted too--even by the liberal standards of the COC.

I have this vision of myself in six months or five years failing in this business and being saddled with so much debt that I have to miss large chunks of my children's lives working to get it paid off.

If you have read this far, bless your little heart. You have to be wondering, "so, what is your point? What are you going to do?"

Funny, I am wondering the same thing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

backlog cont.--congratulations to the Dales

Me, I'm a looser. At the end of September, our friends Jason and Amy Dale had a baby. Not only did I not post in a timely manner, I lost the email with the details (date, weight, length). But I have this picture of me holding the baby a week later:

Yes, the father is named Jason and the baby is named David. We are greatly admired and often imitated in our little community.

later imitator

let's have a big round of applause

I've been paying "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, bakers man" with David for months--clapping my hands and clapping his hands--because a book told me to and we are pretty much raising David by the book. He enjoys it, but hasn't shown any real aptitude for the manual dexterity needed to participate. He couldn't clap.

I just finished a 36-hour business course and we had a "graduation" ceremony Monday evening. Jaime and David went. You can perfectly imagine the event--men and women in suits giving inspirational speeches about how most of us will fail but we shouldn't feel bad about that because failure is part of success--even though most of us will never succeed unless we change our definition of success to "my wife didn't divorce me for bankrupting us"--and being an entrepreneur is so great. There were about three-dozen of these short speeches followed by applause.

I've mentioned before that I think Topekans like to applaud more than average and this evening was no exception. At one point I looked down at David on my lap and realized "hey, he is a Native Topekan, look at him applaud." Yep, he was clapping his little hands. Now, it's his new trick.

But he is not content just to clap. What he really likes to do is just grasp his hands in front of his face and hold them there. This cracks him up. He grabs them and giggles and laughs about what he has accomplished.

David: "Look! I and hold this thing here with this other thing and that thing with that other thing! Cool!

Me: "Yes, David, very cute, now move them so I can put food in your mouth. Come-on, just lower them a bit"--smack!

David: "Look! I can smack things like that spoon and then go back to holding these things like this!"

I also forgot to mention that he can finally shove his toes into his mouth, but that was weeks ago.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

backlog cont.--labor day

We spent Labor Day weekend in Salina with Grandpa Brice. On Monday, we visited Lindsborg, where Uncle Cory goes to school. Lindsborg is a beautiful little town with a great park.

The city mascot is the Dala Horse, shown here with David and Grandpa Brice.

David's first (and second) swing in a park.

We also visited Bethany College, where Cory goes to school. The highlight (after sneaking into Cory's dorm room and rearranging)was the gym, where Grandpa Brice and I played "Stroller Catch." I think this should replace Dwarf Tossing as the international sport of choice.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

C is for cookie

Last night I read through the "baby manual" to find the answer to the question:
Why is my son eating soooooo much?!
Never found the answer but what I did find was a shock. At 7 months he could be eating chicken and fish and crackers and porterhouse steaks.......

"W" I bought the wrong kind of greenbeans the other day and he won't eat those unless you blend them up again. It has little pieces of rice in it that he gags on.

So the book says to get the new textures in now because as he gets older it will be more difficult. This morning I tried oatmeal. I cooked it up, put it in the baby food processor and gave him some. Gag, Gag, Gag.

We tried a cracker next. He picked it up, rotated it in his little hands, making sure to hold his pinkie finger out, and then stuck it in his mouth. As he broke off chunks of the cracker he would make a face and let the pieces fall out of his mouth.

It was like watching Cookie Monster eat in slow motion.

Lets hope next time some of it stays in.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

backlog 2--balloons

Back in early September, David, Skylar, and I went to the hot-air balloon rally out at the lake. Here are a few images.

We miss you too, Aunt Skylar

Shopping for the 21st century

One day Grandma Suzie called me and said she wanted to get David some Old Navy clothes she had found online on sale. In a matter of moments I jumped online and joined her at the Old Navy site. We spent the next 30 minutes looking at cute outfits and complaining that everything we wanted was not availible in his size. In the end we found some cute things, grandma ordered them and had them shipped to me. A few days later David's new clothes arrived and there was much rejoicing.

And now Skylar is a Victoria's Secret girl. Oh the fun that shall be had. Call me and meet me online. I can't wait.

So, for all you new and soon to be parents with family in far off places. Give 'em a call, catch up on current events and then shop til you drop and have them ship it right to your front door.

For dinner tonight David ate 6oz of Squash and 4oz of peas with 4oz of diluted apple juice to wash it down.

Grandpa Alex and I have named his tapeworm Bob.

In talking with a coworker I came up with a cheap solution. Remember the little pill thingies you could buy. When you put them in water they would inflate into foam shapes like dino's or barn yard animals. I think tomorrow night I will give David one of those to take up space in his tummy and give Bob something to play with.

Happy Birthday Grandma Carla & Grandpa Alex! Thank you so much for everything!


I took David to the polling station today. He was content until I got to the booth. I turned my back on him and just as I started marking the ballot, he started to cry.

I turned to comfort him: "It's ok, your mom will come this afternoon and cancel my vote anyway."

step two

I don't remember learning how to crawl, so I am not clear how to help David along.

I posted quite awhile ago that he went from a sitting to a crawling (to a hitting the floor with his face) position and he has kept that up. However, if he doesn't fall on his face, he just lays on his tummy.

Today, he was on his tummy on our bed when pushed himself up onto his hands and knees and rocked back-and-forth several times. Then, when I put him down for a nap, he hit the mattress with his hands and knees and remained that way for a moment. I have previously not been able to get him to do that.

So next is learning to do that contrapostal thing with his shoulders and hips while lifting alternate knees and arms. How does someone who has never used his arms and legs for locomotion, and who has never seen someone crawl, figure that out?


David has barfed on me, peed on me, drooled on me, coughed on me with a mouth full of strained peas, and he has gummed me--alot.

Today he did something new.

He bit me.

He grabbed my finger, shoved it into his mouth so that the knuckle is right in the middle, and then chomped down.

Actually, he chomped up, two new, little, barely-visible teeth sinking just far enough in to make me yelp.


keeping pace

In that last email, Jaime was complaining that her post took several days to actually appear on the blog. Sometimes we post by sending an email to blogger. Lately that doesn't seem to be working, so by the time you get the information, it is outdated.

David now eats like a fiend. This morning, he ate a full jar of green beans and half a jar of peas. An hour later, he drank 8 oz. of formula. We are trying to figure out just how much to feed him. The doctor says he won't over eat. If he is eating, he needs the food. But the problem is, when he is hungry, he SCREAMS for food. Then, he will eat enough to satisfy him to the point that he is distracted by the dogs, shadows, curtains, bugs, whatever, but he hasn't necessarily eaten enough to fill him up so that he can go more than a couple hours before he needs to SCREAM again.

This is a particular problem at night.

Again, the doctor said that if he is waking in the night out of habit just to nibble, then he needs to be taught to just sleep through the night. By seven months, a baby should not need to eat at night. Well, maybe 90% of babies don't need to eat at night, but up at the 97th percentile, babies appearantly need to eat at night--six-to-ten ounces every two-to-four hours. The doctor says that if he is eating that much, then he needs it.

So now we are being more persistent during the day. Instead of holding back and stopping just when he seems done, we are being more insistent. Even so, we can't keep pace--at the dinner table or on the blog.

Later, famished fans.

Not always what they seem....

OK, that last post was sent a WEEK ago and FINALLY posted.  Stupid internet.
He eats a lot more than a tablespoon.  He is up to almost a half a jar a sitting.  And no matter how much begging and pleading we do he will not eat the cereal.  If we want to see projectile vomiting for old times sake we give him some, but other than that we have given up on it.  Next week is mom's all time fav, green beans.
So, the teeth.  Teeth.  Teeth.  Teeth.  Teeth. 
The word has lost all meaning to me.   Teeth.
I used to love teeth.  Bright shinny teeth.  Grandpa O plays with teeth all day.  Keeps em nice and smooth.  Love the teeth.  Alas, no more.
Teeth are evil.  Vile.  Loud.  Screaming.  Pain in the.........
And not just evil in a, put your pinkie finger to the corner of your mouth Evil.  I'm talkin' total and complete evil.  The kind that keeps you up ALL NIGHT LONG.  With the screaming and the screaming and the spitting the bink out with the force of a bullet.
After a while your finger ventures in and you discover a new feeling.  The top of the tooth. 
Hooray!  It's hear!, you scream.  It broke the skin.  The sun is shinning.  The fuss is over.  Life is back to normal.
Your tongue counts the number of teeth you have in your head and you realize you have that many more nights x3 of the screaming and the screaming and the spitting the bink out with the force of a bullet.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Goodbye financial stability, hello to lots of babies.