Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When You're Smiling

It would seem as though I prefer videos to just posting a plethora of pictures. (I know, people overuse "plethora" to the point where it has become cliche, but I'm still using it for the sake of alliteration.) At least for now I prefer videos. I may change my opinion later, or tomorrow, or whenever. You people should know by now that you get no guarantees from this guy.

So yeah, just one more piece of evidence that my daughter is the ne plus ultra of baby beauty.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fat Bottomed Girl

We just had Matilda's four-month checkup on Friday, December 12. One would never think that such a chunk of a baby could have come from my petite little wife, but it is true--we have a heifer child. We are practicing telling her that it is okay to be portly, since obesity is undeniably her density. (<--Intentional spelling error for comedic effect. Geez, do I really have to spoon-feed you people everything?)

After the doctor used a pulley device and two nurses to haul her lardness onto the scale, she broke it. They eventually had to bring out two scales and weigh her half at a time. When all was said and done, she weighed 11.02 pounds (5th percentile) and was 23 inches long (1oth percentile). Her 5-day younger cousin, Andrew, is going to have some catching up to do if he does not want to forever live in the literal shadow of our tubby Tilly. I heard that last week his parents had him weighed, and he weighs under 17 pounds. I guess some kids are just small.

Enjoy the video.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I meant to briefly (not boxerly) mention Halloween and move on, but then this happened. Maybe I'll post about Thanksgiving by Easter.

First things first. Here are some pictures of my daughter, Matilda, of whom I am the world's biggest acolyte. Even when that girl just don't want to be sleeping, I cannot help but smile at her. Most of the time she will smile back, too! And I tell you what, one of my favorite things has become going to see her in the morning. Often she will wake up and just coo and goo and fart, but not really cry yet. She just sits and stares at the polka dots on her bedding, the ceiling fan (which she thinks is funny for some reason), or her fist. If I can catch her when she is in such a state, I just poke my head over the side of her crib and wait until she sees me. As soon as she does, the biggest and warmest smile engulfs her face. Even her ears smile at me. Can a person's ears smile? I did not think so, but then Matilda's did at me. Then I saw her ears, now I'm a believer without a trace of doubt in my mind. I'm in love. I'm a believer. I couldn't leave her if I tried.

If you want to hear more about what we did on All Hallows Eve, I refer you to Allison and Camie. Both documented the evening's events more than adequately. I have nothing to add. I do wish to note that Megan sewed Matilda's witch hat by herself (no patterns, pictures, or anything but brain power to work from) while we watched Hocus Pocus on the 30th. I helped by having bought the dress (on super-sale at Hanna Andersson) and the pants (on super-sale from Old Navy). I didn't have the whole costume in mind when I bought those things, but everything came together nicely into the cutest little witch ever. If I were to write a book about her in Italian, it would be called La Bella Bambina Streghina. And without further ado, the Halloween pics.

I put a spell on you...

...and now you're mine!!

The witch on white. Almost sounds like a sandwich, eh?

Joel-Bone, Strega-Tilly, and Samnocchio. All three in costumes lovingly sewn (at least in part) by their wonderful mothers. And Paddington Bear wanted to play too. Happy 50th, PB!!

I'm pretty sure she is thinking, "I could turn you into a pumpkin seed if I wanted. A purple pumpkin seed. A polka-dotted, pansy-purple, prissy, prancing, prickly, pimply, partially-hydrogenated pumpkin seed. If I wanted to. Lucky for you I do not. Not at this time, anyways."

Last cute picture of Witchy Matilda. She used to twitch a lot while sleeping as a newborn. I joked that I was going to nickname her "Twitch". Too bad she stopped, otherwise I could have called her "Twitch the Witch". This is my favorite of the Halloween pics, by the way.

And finally, my Mario pumpkin. There's a little "M" on his hat that you cannot see from this angle. I roasted his seedy guts and ate them. They were delicious. Better watch your back, Luigi.

I was about to go on with this post, but I have decided not to. Enjoy what I have provided you with. Don't be greedy.

P.S. If any of you want a great scary movie, watch The Innocents (1961) with Deborah Kerr. We did not get it in time from Halloween from Netflix, but it gave us a good scare the following Tuesday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Saturday Muffin Adventure

We did not have the ingredients for pancakes on Saturday, November 1, 2008.

So I made muffins instead.

But what does one do when one has just a little bit of extra mix left over--not enough for another batch but too much to throw away?

One uses the mix and then employs equations to figure out how much more oil, water, and egg to add.

But what happens when the extra batter does not fit in the muffin tin and one only has one muffin tin?

One uses a Pyrex bowl to make a MUFFONE!!

And then one makes a video of said muffins dancing.

And then one consumes said muffins.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Sun Valley and Oregon

Sorry for all of you who have had to look at my ugly drawing of Sarah Palin for so long. I have been busy posting and responding about all matters politico on my blog. And for those of you who I offend with my blatantly pro-Obama and anti-McCain writings, let not your heart be troubled. I am done. I participated in early voting today and cast my vote for Senator Barack Obama. Next Tuesday, McCain will call to concede the election right after California is called for Obama--I'm guessing at 11:00 PM MST. After all is said and done, I plan on turning my blog into a site where you can find reviews of foreign films, or maybe something else.

Last thought...Obama v. Romney 2012. Gonna be good.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging! All things Matilda.

Two weeks ago on Thursday we left for Sun Valley, Idaho. It has become a yearly tradition for my family to go up there for a weekend in October when my dad has work off and my youngest sisters have school off thanks to an educators' conference. It is a beautiful place, and the weather is usually great. We stay at the Sun Valley Inn, which has a circular pool (which they keep at 100+ degrees), bike trails, two ski mountains, and more. We actually got to stay in a lodge this time around, and thanks to Matilda, we three got our own room and bathroom.

Megan and I in a big ol' cowboy chair in downtown Ketchum.

The Murphy Family (less Erinn, who had to work) Yes, I have since gotten the much-needed haircut.

James showing off on his bike.

Tilly demonstrating one of her and her mother's favorite passtime.

Our house - The Guest Lodge

Activities included napping, me running with my brother, me running up Dollar Mountain, the family getting on beach cruisers and heading two miles up the canyon, a smaller part of the family heading 5 miles into the valley (forgetting that we had to ride the slight uphill all the way back), lounging in the pool, eating dinner with some wealthy friends of my dad, and eating some really good Italian pizza at Ricco's (no, Nate, it's not even close to Settebello, but still yummy).

As a side note, I drove our part of the carpool to and from Sun Valley and kept the cruise control set on 65 mph the entire time. Yes, even when the speed limit went up to 75 mph. Do you have any idea how much gas this saved?! A lot. Normally the VW Passat averages 25 mpg, but on this trip we averaged close to 32 mpg. I did the same thing with my Ford Focus on our trip down to St. George in the beginning of October, and my car, which normally averages 27 mpg got 36 mpg. Driving conservatively saves a lot of money. And you are less likely to get pulled over. And believe me, 27 encounters with the fuzz later, who has two thumbs and knows all about getting pulled over? This guy.

Anyway, the next week flew by and on Wednesday night we left for Oregon--flying, not driving. My resolve to only go 65 mph may wane on such a lengthy trip. This was our first time flying with Matilda, and we were a little nervous, but we should not have been. The little pooper slept the whole way from SLC to PDX and then some. She even slept through when we had to put her through the x-ray machine. I hope it didn't mutate her. They told us afterwards that next time we should take her out beforehand. Who knew?

Tilly on the fligh back home from Portland. I know it's a bit out of chronological order, but I needed a picture of Tilda on a plane.

What followed was a fun and relaxing weekend in McMinnville. We enjoyed seeing family, going to our nieces' soccer games, eating at a local Spanish and a beachfront seafood restaurant, decorating cookies and carving pumpkins with Annie, and much more. Sunday morning pancakes were a rousing (not "an arousing", let's be clear) success as I debuted Murphy's Stopped Water flapjacks for the Rudens. I also made some really good baked pumkin seeds from the leftover goop at Annie's Halloween party. I'd give you the recipe for them, but they are so darn good that once one starts comsuption of said seeds, one cannot stop until they're gone. And that's not even mentioning one's resulting offensively stinky excrement. I think it is worth it, but now that we are back in our one bathroom house, Megan is considering filing a motion to explore the option of a temporary outhouse for your's truly. Matilda said that she wouldn't support such a motion, so I'm safe for now, but she does have a history of flip-flopping.

Zach, my nephew, and I took a trip back to the playground where he had fallen five feet, knocked out a tooth, and split his chin not too long ago. The little guy just scrambled right up the offending piece of said playground, only pausing for a moment where the fall happened. I presume he was contemplating if it'd be better to only have one tooth for the next four years or if he should dive through again and try to knock out the other one too. It's not worth it, Zach. The ability to eat an apple is so much more important than symmetry.

The Murphy family at the beach. Matilda's loving that salty sea air.

Andrew is very happy for his cousin Adisyn, who just scored two goals to help her team beat the bigger, stronger green team. Good work, Adi!

Jacie and Zach in the 3-tier structure which robbed the latter of one of his chompers.

I love my nieces and nephews. I love kids in general. You don't have to put up any pretenses. I can just be my goofy, true self and they love it. Whoever invented growing up should be shot. I do prefer to just be around kids, though, without other adults around. I get a little self-concious when people find out that the adult Sean is no more than a carefully not-quite-perfected act. Like when Annie caught me using Ryder's pumpkin to barf guts, or when I got into a name calling rodeo with Zach right before Sunday dinner which quickly spiraled into a jamboree of kids under 6 calling me every name from Poopy-Head to Gramma. Each child got louder and louder until the other more adult adults couldn't help but notice and came to take their respective children away from my bad influence.

I thought that playing in the rabbit hutch was a great idea! Only until their parents came out and told me otherwise. Sorry Jacie and Ryder.

And speaking of nephews, it was great to finally meet Drew-Bob, Dan and Annie's newborn and Tilly's 5-day inferior/5 lb superior cousin. We got some great shots of the two together. Matilda is just about at Andrew's birth-weight and Andrew is well beyond. Putting them together is quite laughable, not only because of the size difference, but also because they just become this octopus of punching and kicking and swinging, taking no notice of each other and often clocking one another in the face and elsewhere.

Tilly and Drew-Bob. Check out the arms and legs. Nuff said.

Another couple cuz pic

And the older cousins too! McKenna and Kale both love Tilly. And she loves them

I was told by a few people recently that my blog is long and wordy. I reviewed how much I wrote on this post alone and almost felt the same shame that I did during the Poopy-Head melee, but then I reread it and thought, "Hey, this is good stuff. Don't start catering. If you do, your Settebello pizza will slowly devolve into a Little Cesear's Hot-N-Ready." For those of you who prefer a Hot-N-Ready, wonderful. I myself enjoy them on occasion. Just do not expect them at this restaurant.

It was sad to say goodbye to Oregon and its scenic foliage, but alas we did. Matilda was awake for the whole flight and just as pleasant as a pumpkin pansy. Everyone who walked by commented on what a good baby she was (most of them said this while levelling a face-melting death glare at the two screamers a couple rows back).

Halloween so far has been great. But I'll kowtow to the appellate of, "The Wordy One" and save that story for another day. Here's a Halloween joke I made up:

Q: What did the pumpkin say when his brother asked if he was excited about Halloween?
A: "I'm pumped, kin!"

Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Well I think I'm funny.


Grandma Judy, Bapa Alan, and Matilda

Little baby Peyton, who is kind enough to donate her clothes to the Tilbert fund after she has outgrown them.

Adisyn holding a cookie she made for Tilly. We crushed it up and put it in her next bottle. She loved it.

The Pirate Pumpkin Percivald, seediest character to sail the seven seas. Also the first Jack-o-lantern to grace the exterior of Alan and Judy's new house. It was my honor creating it.

And finally, here's a video of Tilly's silly reaction to light and dark.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If you plan on voting McCain/Palin...

...and want my highly valued opinion on the issue, please visit my personal blog at http://seanpatrickmurphy.wordpress.com.

Thank you, my friend. That is all.

P.S. And thanks also to Camie for her dedication and for letting me know about this site. Hopefully my addition, pictured below, will make the cut.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just to See Matilda Smile

Matilda turned two months old on Sunday! And on Monday, as a birthday present, we decided to paint her room. It was not a bad color, at least if you do not mind a nice masking tape color, but we decided to freshen things up anyway. I have painted quite a few rooms in my life, including the bathroom in our former apartment, but never have I attempted to tackle a room with a 14 foot ceiling. Boo. It felt like I was trying to mop a cafeteria with a toothbrush, or build a sandcastle with tweezers, or mow my lawn with nose-hair trimmers, or win a presidential election by putting Sarah Palin on my ticket--all utterly ineffective activities. After a few hours of back breaking rollering and mind numbing fumes, I thought I was painting rainbows and daisies on turtles' shells with my roller, so I decided to get some French air. (I worked at a group home with a guy, Kenneth, who said he wanted some "French air" whenever he wanted to go outside and I liked it, so now I use it.) The worst part was that I had to prime everything first because of all the crappy patch jobs the former owners did on the walls and blah blah blah...

I'm complaining about painting walls. That's probably about as interesting to most of you as watching said paint dry. I still have one more coat to put on (to keep the walls warm in the winter), and I will post some pictures of the finished product. Matilda seems to like it so far.

Speaking of Matilda, I really enjoy spending time with her now. Not that I did not enjoy it before, it is just that now she will look at you and react to what you do. I am sure that as she becomes even more interactive I will enjoy my time with her even more. All part of the natural progression of things.

My favorite thing to do with her now is have her sitting up against my knees facing me. Most of the time she will focus right in on my face, at which point I will start into a musical series of doos and dees and dahs. I have found that she likes jazz melodies the best, whether they be original standards (i.e. In the Mood) or modified into jazz (I've Been Working on the Railroad, Waltzing Matilda, etc). I will do about ten seconds of a song, usually with her staring intently at my mouth with a furrowed brow and/or a frown. A few seconds after I stop, she breaks into a gigantor grin, and I think I have even gotten a laugh out of her too. That is what we were doing in the video at the end of the following movie (except I muted out all of my noises, leaving only hers). I would do anything to see her smile.

Che bella ragazza! Noi abbiamo quasi finito di leggere "Harry Potter e la Pietra Filosofale". Non so che faremmo dopo averlo finito, perche quello e l'unico "Harry Potter" libro che ho, e comprare gli altri mi cosarebbero quasi duecentoventi dollari. Menaggia la miseria...

In other news, I have to thank my Brodder-in-Law Nate for taking me to the best Italian pizzeria this side of the pond - Settebello of Salt Lake City. Mammia mia, here I go again. I am a connoisseur of fine pizzas, and this was about as good as it gets. Their margherita is a true Italian margherita in all its simplicity. The flavors of the bianca are bitter, creamy, sweet, and altogether very palatable. I could eat there daily.

Now bear in mind that you will not find a "pepperoni" or "Hawaiian" pizza. If you want deep dish or cheese in the crust, this ain't the place for you, buster. This is for pizza snobs. This is the haute-couture of pizzary. I do not recommend it for all. But if you do go, make a reservation.

Megan and I also gave talks on Sunday on "Salvation and Exaltation". But honestly, I do not feel like writing any more. So I am done.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rolling Matilda

For all you nay-sayers out there, not only did our Matilda roll over TWO DAYS IN A ROW, not only did she roll TWICE this morning, but she also rolled to BOTH SIDES! Don't believe me? Check out the video.

WARNING: Since it was very early in the morning as I filmed and I was still in my robe, you may see a moment of man-thigh. I'd apologize, but they are just so darn sexy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Let Me See That Tilly Roll!

So after reading another chapter of Harry Potter and downing a 4 oz bottle (supplemental to feeding with Megan) at 6 AM this morning, Matilda was just being about as pleasant as a plywood peacock (which is very pleasant for those of you who don't know). She was doing a great job of holding her head up and looking around, staring at me for extended periods of time, and smiling. Since our last tummy-time session was less than productive (she fell asleep), I decided to capitalize on the moment. Carpe diem. That's when Matilda decided that it was time to take things to the next level.

I put her down on her stomach flat,
but she was not content at that.
She looked around, from left to right,
and rested briefly before the fight
began to push to her to one side
(so proud was I, I nearly cried).
She looked to me and then she plopped
on her right side, and there she stopped
but for a moment, and with one push more
she rolled to her back, then out the door!
I jest, I jest. She out no door
did roll. She stayed there on the floor.
But on this the Seventh day of October,
Matilda rolled.

I tried to get her to do it again with the camera rolling, but she ain't no hobo painted white with some tin can on the streets of San Francisco waiting to do "the robot" (i.e. she does not perform if you throw money at her). She ain't no Comcast either (i.e. she does not perform "on demand"). So alas, I did not get any pictures of the roll. But fret not, faithful readers. I shall prevail.

I'm so proud of my little girl. She's such a good sleeper, eater, gasser, looker, and now coo-er and roller. She makes some of the cutest cooing noises when she is happy.

And she's proud of her daddy! Megan told me so (she acts as a translator for me, since I do not speak babble). I just finished my second marathon this summer. I ran it down in St. George on Saturday, October 4th. My goal was to finish under 3:30:00, and my official time was 3:29:08. In my first marathon (San Francisco - August 3, 2008) I had run 3:37:31, so I cut just over 8 minutes off my time. I'm confident that with a little more training and dedication, I can cut another 19 minutes out and qualify for Boston. My goal was to run Boston in 2009, but with the lack of marathons left that I could use to qualify for Boston between now and then, and the lack of money to enter and travel to those marathons, I am now shooting for the 114th Boston Marathon in 2010. Giddyup!

A special thanks to my High School buddy, Mike Nelson, who gave me this awesome lime-green t-shirt at the expo Friday night. It says "I am a real runner!" and refers to his running, social-networking site realrunners.com. Check it out and set up a profile. It also helped Megan pick me out of the crowd at the Finish.

It was funny how many people liked my beard. Quite a few spectators along the course shouted out, "Go Beard-Man! I like your beard!" I bet they just liked that my hair was dark and my beard is red. I wonder why it is that virtually no runners have beards? Is it because those with a body-type which is better for running have less testosterone?
P.S. For those of you familiar with my nipple woes after the San Francisco Marathon, I have to give a shout out to my brother, James. He magnanimously bought me both a sleeveless and long-sleeved compression Under Armor after seeing my suffering. Donning the long-sleeved version, even though it rained the whole 26.2 miles, my nipples came out of the ordeal unscathed. Many other men at the finish line were not so lucky. For you Office fans out there, Andy feels my pain.

Maybe I should send Andy some Under Armor. After all, he did go to Cornell.

P.P.S. During the last mile of the St. George Marathon, I did not think that I could finish without walking. That was my other goal, to not walk other than to go to the bathroom (at which point I could slow to a walk). As mentioned, I did not think that I was going to make it.

I began taking things mile by mile. I'll walk when I hit 20 miles, I thought to myself. Then I made it to 22, 23, 24 and 25. I had nothing left at that point - physically, mentally, emotionally. I've heard it said that no matter how well you train for a marathon, the last three miles are all inner strength. I testify that is true. Then the guy next to me said, "Think of people less fortunate than you. Think of people in the hospital, or in Iraq. Dedicate this last mile to a loved one." I decided to do the latter, and dedicated the 26th mile to my loving wife, Megan, and my daughter, Matilda. I could not have finished as strong as I did without remembering Tilly's smile, or all the amazing experiences Megan and I have had together in our 21+ months of marriage. And then they were there at the Finish line, cheering and waiting in the rain. It gave me that extra boost I needed.

What an experience, this marathon. I highly recommend it.

And a final word of praise for Megan - she began running on Monday. She said she only wants to work up to a 5k, but I'll have a marathoning family yet. You are doing great, Love!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Matilda in Living Color

I just realized that I have not yet taken advantage of the little "add video" button. Since many of you have not yet had the opportunity to see a video of our little Tilly, today will be the day that said advantage will be taken of. Enjoy! You're stupid if you don't.

P.S. It says 30 September 2008 because that is when I made this. That is not when she was born. That kind of thing should go unsaid, but with people these days it is usually best to defer to the lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Saturday Morning Pancakes (cont.)

I have found that Google's Reader doesn't like it when I go back and edit prior posts, so I will simply start a new entry. Va bene?

Every Saturday since the birth of the beloved hot tub of my gene pool, I have gotten up early (around noon) and made pancakes for Megan and I. It may seem unfair that Matilda cannot participate, but don't worry, I shake up a little Bisquick in one of her bottles. Keep the ratio the same as that of baby formula, add just a drop or two of syrup, a tablespoon of butter (babies need their fat), and voila! Liquid babycakes are a meal fit for baby royalty*.

*I hereby declare that my mention of liquid babycakes is farcical. If a reader is dumb enough to actually try this and harm comes of it, I take no responsibility, legal or otherwise. Your reading of this statement constitutes your acceptance thereof.

Weeks 1-2 - Powdered pancake mix. I have since forsworn this kind of pancakery. It is expensive, boring, and the end product delighteth not my tongue like unto other made-from-scratch-thereof recipes. If you are allergic to effort and must buy a mix, I recommend the Chappawhodapoopie Falls. It's the best mix I have ever had. Another great variation is to take the pancake mix, add a couple thinly sliced bananas and some cinnamon, then cook as normal.

Week 3 - German Pancakes. This delightful little number hails from the mountain regions of Deutchland. Baron Von Paken Kakken IV, Jr., had had just about enough of sauerkraut and blood sausage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One morning, after the krauty aroma waftily wafted into his hairy Slavic nostrils, something snapped. Normally a mild-mannered Baron, he flipped. He ran around the family farm shaking and squeezing the livestock in his intense gastronomic frustrations. After a short while (Paken Kakken was, short, flat, and a bit of a chub chub) he sat to rest and began to observe the carnage left in his wake. Shaking the chicken had produced a smallish white orb. Squeezing the cow left behind a pool of creamy liquid. Punching Mr. Cinnamon in the mouth left behind a dusting of sweet brown dust. And there were lots of pretty flowers (Baron got distracted easily by beauty). He mixed them all together, threw the batter in the Dutch Oven he had recently bought in neighboring Dutchyland, and about 30 minutes later the thing looked like it was trying to escape. Growing up with wolves had left him with some wild instincts (and a little social awkwardness), and so in his state of fight-or-flight he decided to bite the thing into submission. Luckily, the concoction wasn't alive (he wasn't nearly the genius his cousin Frankenstein was). But it was frightfully delicious! German Paken Kakkens (later shortened to pancakes at an Ellis Island eatery) had made their debut.

Week 4 - French Toast & Nun Puffs (another story for another day)

Week 5 - Buttermilk Pancakes from scratch.

Weeks 6-7 - Murphy's Stopped Water Flapjacks. Why the name? Well, I call them "Stopped Water Flapjacks" because they're damned good. Seriously. I don't have time to include the recipe now, but I will later. Normally I would not share such a valuable secret, but I figure that since I probably offended many of you with their name, I can placate your fractured feelings with through your tummy. That's why they have been around for two weeks, and are making a strong case for an unprecedented third. And just so you can prepare your conscience, anyone who wants to use the recipe when I post it will have to swear a syrup oath to preserve the name "Murphy's Stopped Water Pancakes".

Two weeks ago was especially enjoyable because I got to spend the entire morning alone with Matilda. I'm not kidding myself, I know that majority of bloggers, ergo my readers, are women, so women take note! Men need alone-time with the baby. You got nine months with them. They have the father snip the umbilical cord for a reason. It be daddy time. So on said Saturday the 20th of September, I stole zee baybee! I stoled it frahm a stoo-pid taikhini (sp?)! After loading the stroller with all the necessary supplies, Tilly and I went for a walk to Smith's whilst Megan slumbered. Luckily, she was as content as could be as we strolled around and I got all the necessary ingredients.

I admit, I was nervous venturing out into public with an infant and no milk available from me to calm her should I need to. (FYI, my original version of the preceding sentence was much more funny, but since I already offended you once, I decided against using the boob word). But it was great! Really a meaningful bonding experience. "It is as we nakedly venture into our most vulnerable situations that we find ourselves clothed with the experiences upon which a life is built." - Sean Patrick Murphy, 2008.

Unfortunately, I bought too much stuff. I knew I did not have a car, but that sure did not stop me from getting enough crap to break a camel's back, even without straw. Being a bearded man means I'm tough, though, so I hefted it home. An hour later, after the feeling and color returned to my appendages, I got out the cookbook and experimented a bit.

Murphy's Stopped Water Flapjacks were born.

And now a few a bit on Matilda. She is stopped water AMAZING! Best baby ever. Hasn't gotten sick. Sleeps for 6-7 hours a night in her crib. Doesn't spit up. Isn't fussy. Makes great eye contact and follows objects well with her eyes. Can reach out to grab faces and objects that are close enough. Coos constantly. And much to the extreme happiness of Megan and I, she has begun smiling at us. Not that weird baby twitching that looks like a smile. This morning she had been awake for 15 minutes or more when I got in her line of vision and our eyes met. We held each other's gaze for 10-15 seconds, then she smiled a big, genuine smile. She loves her daddy. My heart melted. I love you too, Matilda. I also love my wife, Megan, without whom none of this wonderful life would have happened.

Smiley in polka dots...

...and in her flowery blue dress
I have this picture as the background on my laptop.

Enough with the pictures! *PUNCH*

Check out the definition in those arms. She may be little, but she could take you. Seriously. But you can't take her. She's mine. And that would be kidnapping.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Saturday Morning Pancakes

This post will be about Saturday morning pancakes. I will write it tonight at our internet-less home, then post it tomorrow morning. For now, enjoy a few pictures of Matilda.

Playing in the Bumbo Babysitter. She doesn't like it much. Maybe once she actually fits in it she'll like it more.

Cross-eyed on the couch. Nothing more to say.

She likes to fall asleep while I read her Harry Potter in Italian.

You remind me of the babe. What babe?
The babe with the power. What power?
The power of voodoo. Who do?
You do. Do what?
Remind me of the babe.

Tilly doing a little Tae-Bo to David Bowie.

Another one of those weird things that Matilda likes to do. She is exceedingly strong for a 7-week old. I have the bruises to prove it.
More to come...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blame it on Aida

These last couple weeks have been filled with preparations for Aida, which opens next Tuesday, September 23rd, at the Hale Center Theater Orem. For those of you who don't know, the Hale Center Foundation for the Arts and Education, of which HCTO is a part, is my employer. My official title is Director of Advancement, and as such I am in charge of all the marketing, advertising, special events, fund raising, sponsorships, philanthropy, communications, publicity, etc. Along with that comes the dubious honor of working to produce a quality playbill for each show. This includes writing sections about the history of the show, the authors/composers of the show, and the history behind the setting of the show. I'm also responsible for proofing the grammer and legibility of all other written material and ads in the playbill. It can be kind of a daunting task, but I enjoy it.

For all of you local yokels, you definitely need to come and see the show! Why? 1) So you can get your own copy of my published writings. 2) Because it will be one of the best shows ever produced in Utah Valley. I'm not kidding on this. We've got top talent, top music, top costumes, lighting, effects, etc. And if you ask really nice, I might just be able to offer you some kind of discount. As a teaser, here is the piece that I wrote about the history of Aida and its most recent authors/composers:

From Shakespeare’s “star cross’d” Romeo and Juliet to Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, from Austen’s Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet to Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester, forbidden love never fails to capture the attention and hearts of all. Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida takes the same theme—love between a Nubian princess and an Egyptian heir to the Pharaoh’s throne—and wraps it in a rapturous rock-musical score, immersing the audience in the woes and heartbreak of their plight and the dire consequences of what a decision to transcend the easy road and submit to true love would mean. Unlike Romeo and Juliet’s tragic finale, there is a ray of hope gleaming off the Egyptian hieroglyphs for our protagonists. Perhaps Westly from The Princess Bride expressed the sentiment best when he said, “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”

But the road to Broadway—and more importantly to the Hale Center Theater Orem—was not short for Aida. It began in 1869 with Giuseppe Verdi when the Khedive of Egypt wanted to commission Verdi to write an opera worthy of Egypt’s theaters. Verdi refused twice, but after reading an outline for Aida his interest was piqued and he agreed to the task. Egyptologist Mariette Bey is generally credited with the original story.

Aida opened to universal acclaim on Christmas Eve in Cairo and Milan in 1871. At one point in the opera over 300 performers (and a few elephants) were on stage. The theater in Cairo only sat 600 people! Verdi’s Aida remains popular around the world to this day. It has also been remade over twenty times for television and the big screen. In 1998, Elton John and Tim Rice collaborated to bring you the version of Aida that you are enjoying tonight.

Elton John – Born in Middlesex, England, in 1947, John took up the piano at the age of four and continued throughout his youth, later honing his skills at the Royal Academy of Music. Although his first few years in the industry were rough, once he produced hits like “Your Song” and “Rocket Man”, he hit the top of the charts and stayed in orbit for over 30 years. His rewritten version of “Candle in the Wind” remains the biggest-selling single of all time. In 1998, in honor of his contributions to charity and the arts, the Queen of England knighted John, bestowing the title of Sir Elton John CBE.

John first teamed up with Tim Rice for Disney’s 1990 film and 1997 Broadway Musical The Lion King, and has since worked with him on The Road to El Dorado and of course Aida, which won the 2000 Tony® Award for Best Score.

Aida presented John with a challenge unique to his prior experience, writing a full-length musical directly for the stage. Although he found the project daunting, says John of Aida, “It’s a beautiful, complex love story, where bigotry and hatred are swept out the window, and love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding triumph. In this day and age, I’m a great believer in the human spirit triumphing over evil in any way.”

Tim Rice – Although he began his career as a lawyer, in 1965, at the age of 21, Rice teamed up with the 17-year-old Andrew Lloyd Webber as a lyricist, and together they went on to create such monumental Broadway musicals as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Evita. He also worked with Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba fame to create the 1986 musical Chess and contributed to Disney’s Aladdin after the passing of Howard Ashman midway through production. He also contributed to the original music added to the stage version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and won three separate Academy Awards® for Best Music, Original Song. Rice also received British Knighthood in 1994.

Of Aida, Rice says, “When you approach the creation of a new musical, the story is the most important thing, and we begin with one of the great ones. If you can add a wonderful score, you have a really good chance of coming up with a great show.”

There you have it. And I blame the show for now posting last week or until now this week. Not that I feel like I have any sort of ah-blog-ation to any of you (yuk yuk yuk). Just wanted to be open with you. That's what healthy relationships are about, isn't it? Openness? Communication?

And now for an update of my daughter, who is now over 5 weeks! She has begun sleeping for 5-6 hour stretches at night, and has 1-2 major ppd (poops per day). She can hold her head up for 30-45 second stretches, and at our best estimates tips the scales at 7.5 lbs, 23 inches. She loves having staring contests and will follow you with her eyes if you move around. She'll also start looking around when she hears Mommy or Daddy's voice. And when she has also learned the feeding position and pillow so that when the two combine, her mouth is open and head is shaking from side to side just waiting for a drink. Sometimes I like to put the Boppy pillow on my lap and put her in "the position", just to tease. My teasing is age-blind. I don't want to get slapped with an age-ism suit, you know. So yes, I do tease my 5-week old. And speaking of feeding, this child could out eat me in the evening. Megan will just finish feeding her and she's hungry again. Another 30 min and she's hungry again. 10 minutes later and she's gotta eat. Pacifiers won't do it. Nothing calms her except food. Maybe that's why she sleeps so long.

Favorite Songs:
Braham's Lullaby (Mom)
A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief (Mom)
Elephant Love Medley (Mom & Dad)
Waltzing Matilda (Dad)
Your Song (Dad)
The Mockingbird Song (Dad - with improvised objects bought - i.e. ball of twine, humming bird, toilet seat, etc)
I Believe in a Thing Called Love (Dad)
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony - Allegretto (iPod)
Stronger (instrumental version - no lyrics) by Kanye West - (iPod)

And now for some pics!
Tilly can't believe I've got the camera out again.

I pledge allegience, to my dad...
Daddy, Tilly, and Thing taking a nap

A good profile shot of our tightly bundled baby holding her head up.

Matilda on her one month birthday!

One too many flashes. Just kidding, she always makes this face.

This one, however, was a first. Not sure what inspired it.

Happy and cute, just like a one-month old should be.

Taking an interest in the rattle Mommy bought her.

...and she's done. Probably hungry. She always is.