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Monday, May 22, 2006

Another Brick In The Wall

Before Jeffrey starts his educational career at the Brick City this fall, it seemed appropriate for him to do a freshman tour, just like everyone else. Though instead of taking him to Margaret’s House, RIT’s onsite day care, I brought him to class with me.

Fridays are the easiest day of the week for me. I don’t have any classes, just meetings. And since it’s the last week of school before finals, there really isn’t a lot going on at the campus, so it seemed like a good time to visit.

Stroller? Check! Diaper bag with extra bottles of milk? Check! Bjorn? Check! Laptop? Check! Baby… um, check!

Jeffrey was very well behaved. He sat in the front pocket of the Baby Bjorn during my whole presentation on “Customer and Developer Perspective for the Adoption of Hardware Security Tokens”, just rocking back and forth while I talked about device drivers, installer modules and API sample code. (HASPERS! CHA-CHA-CHA!) He took a bottle while our team devoured 2 sheet pizzas. Since RIT doesn’t have baby changing stations in the rest rooms, I used an unoccupied classroom when he needed new pants.

During his visit, Jeffrey got to visit with Prof. Barido, Prof. Beaton, Prof. McQuade, Prof. Stackpole and graduate assistant Tim May. My professors have all been aware of the stressfulness of Jeffrey being born prematurely and have been very supportive. It was nice for them to finally get to meet him after talking so much and sharing pictures with them. Also, many of my professors and research team members contributed to our March Of Dimes WalkAmerica fund raising.

Jeffrey fell asleep in his stroller next to a bench of computers while my lab partner and I did some experiments with the hardware keys. Mom showed up about 5:00 pm and we all went home together. I think some of my classmates may now have a different perspective on me. Hopefully, meeting Jeffrey will have shaped, in a good way, their perspective on potential parenthood. And hopefully Jeffrey has gained something from the experience too. Oh no, he's already wearing an MP3 player. I guess he'll fit right in.

PS: Jeffrey's next pediatrician visit is Wednesday. We're betting on 11 pounds!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Purple Rain

We had another great visit from our friends Kurt and Steph over Mother’s Day weekend. They live near Albany, so it’s a big trek for them to visit, but we always have a good time. Last year at about this time, we were just leaving to go on vacation with them to the North Carolina Outer Banks. We stayed in a big vacation home on the bay and flew stunt kites.

They picked a great weekend to come visit, since the Rochester Annual Lilac Festival started this weekend. Every year, artisans and vendors crowd Highland Park while throngs of visitors come to eat the carnival food, listen to the free outdoor concerts and smell the beautiful lilacs. This year was one of the best in recent years, due to warm temperatures, adequate rainfall and an unusually mild winter.

We arrived at the festival with sunshine overhead, despite calls for rain over the weekend. Oh, if we had only listened! Parking was at Monroe Community College and RTS provided shuttle services to the event for $1. We piled on the bus with all of Jeffrey’s necessities in tow. Liane met us on the festival grounds and we all had some good ol’ fashioned healthy carnival food before wandering around the attractions. Heading up the hill to the reservoir we saw a campoeira mandinga group practicing – or doing a demo, we couldn’t tell. Dani and Kurt got snow cones and popcorn from the vendors once we reached the top of the reservoir. From there, you could see the whole festival. How did we miss those impending rain clouds?

Surely, the skies opened up when we were furthest from the bus pickup. We heard the thunder and tried to take a shortcut around the park, but we foiled by… well, we took a wrong turn, really. Yeah, that’s when the hail started. We made a mad dash through the festival grounds until we found shelter under a tent from the vendor of Hammock Chairs of Death. To be fair, his weren’t the Chairs of Death variety, just the standard overpriced hammock chairs that you can buy here and here. Being the well-prepared, resourceful newbie parents that we are, our son knew none of this as his stroller comes equipped with a force field-like rain shield that we (remembered) immediately threw over the stroller and carseat gestalt once the hint of rain began. And if it began with a hint, it made to “clubbing you over the head with the obvious stick” of thunder, lightening and hail before it finally subdued to an incessant drizzle for the rest of the afternoon. Thoroughly soaked, but with a dry baby, our soggy party headed back to the bus stop.

Cue graphics for Stephen Colbert’s Tip O’ The Hat/Wag O’ The Finger segment. And now a Wag O’ The Finger to the RTS bus driver for our return trip. We boarded the bus, and we were immediately told that the stroller had to be collapsed. No problem, I thought, and I unclipped with carseat and proceeded to fold the stroller up. “Where does the carseat anchor to?” I asked the bus driver. Surely there are latch points or a seat belt… No. There wasn’t. I told them then I would be putting Jeffrey back into the stroller, locking the wheels and securing it with the wheel chair tethers (he was very concerned about the stroller careening off and taking someone’s eye out!). That’s when the bus driver began screaming at us and making quite a commotion. He told me that our stroller cannot go on the bus, and I told him that I’d find another damn bus! And that we did. An RTS representative was standing by and overheard the row made by the driver. She secured us a spot on the next bus, which had no qualm with our transportation system.

The next morning we had breakfast at what is quickly becoming a new Kurt & Steph tradition, James Brown’s Place. Mmm… the Atlanta Heap is so yummy! Some lady came up and asked us how old our little girl was. I told Danielle that they shouldn’t have dressed him up in that damn cow outfit!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Monster Mash

Behold Frankenbaby! I, as a mom, am anxiously awaiting the sweet coos and babbles that I have been promised. We seem to be on the receiving end of Frankenstein’s monster. Jeffrey knows how to cry, grunt occasionally and sort of growl. He sounds like a Frankenbaby! Mom continues to tell me that coo’s are coming but I’m not sure.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Walk This Way

I would first like to say that I know these things happened a while ago, but I’m backdating them and posting anyway. It’s been busy (big surprise, like I expect it to change!)

Today we did the March of Dimes Walk America. It was a 3.5 mile walk starting at the Dome Center in Henrietta NY. We walked through a suburban neighborhood and it was a lot of fun. According to the newspaper there were about 1200 people walking and the event raised aver $200,000 for premature babies. It was a fun walk with lots of children and many former preemies. We took Jeffrey with us. He slept peacefully through the chaos and noise of the Dome Center and I had high hopes that he would sleep through the walk. Alas, about ten feet into the walk he decided that he was starving, uncomfortable, and did NOT want to be in the stroller. So… Dad carried him the three and a half miles. It’s a good thing he’s still small enough to carry with one arm. It was a good walk, the weather was beautiful and Jeffrey even got to hang out with the Hooters girls. When we were done we fed the boy, hung out for a bit, and met grandma and grandpap for lunch at Dinosaur BBQ. Next year we want to try and get some more people to walk with us. We saw a couple of people we knew from the NICU and it was nice to catch up with them. Brian and I collected almost $450 for March of Dimes. We would really like to thank everyone who donated to us. Thanks so much for supporting our little guy!!