Monday, December 31, 2007

Zoe's First Christmas

Blink! Tomorrow becomes yesterday.

Zoe's first Christmas is over. It was a great experience. Jess' parents came out from the 19th to the 24th. They played with Zoe, and Zoe was able to play back. She's such a unique little spirit. She's got a classic doughbaby smile. She's got pink cheeks, and wide-open blue eyes. Just holding her in my hands makes me feel impossibly gifted. The ridiculous reality of it is, she's there every morning! I wake up to her grins, her coos, her happenstance calls to the air in general. Someone always rises to answer her calls. She's got a trust in the world that only a child can securely adopt. I love her. I love trying to relate to her view.
She had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa. We took her for her first trip to the pool. She cautiously dipped her feet in the water. Her eyes were unafraid. I expected reluctance. Instead, I witnessed her unique personal replacement, studiousness. She studied the water matter-of-factly. She watched it ripple. When it splashed her mouth, she extended her tongue to explore it. She continued licking her bottom lip until she felt she understood the sensation. Then, she came alive. She kicked. She grinned. She was passed from grandma to grandpa to mom to dad around in a circle. It was a great time. Here's a picture:

She had many great experiences with Grandma and Grandpa. She is able to sit up by herself. And that offered her many new opportunities to play original games. She could play with her Christmas gifts all by herself. Sitting up, shed pick up her blocks, or her rattling-toys and wave them around. She was having a ball.

The day before Jess' parents left, my sister Molly and her husband Jason came into town from San Antonio. Molly was so excited to see Zoe. She wouldn't let her go. She wanted to hold Zoe, change her diaper, give her a bath, play with her, feed her bottles, feed her solids. She crammed six months worth of babysitting into 4 days. Zoe loved her time with Aunt Molly. She had seen Molly before, but she was pretty young, barely even able to smile. Now, she was really interacting and laughing and tickling and cuddling with her auntie. Here's a picture:

What a joy! 2007 was a great year. I sit here enraptured by nostalgia. And maybe my emotions overtake me. But I have to declare 2007 my best year ever!! I can only hope that 2008 will be as great.

Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Zostress, 1/2 a year old

DANG! Half a year old already. I can't believe it. Zoe is really something. She's really a little personality now. She grins and giggles, gets frustrated, pitches fits, eats everything she can grab, grabs everything in her reach, and much more. She's a funny one. We had a great time with her today. We had an appointment at Target to take her to have her pictures taken. After trying every trick in the book, we finally got some good shots. We ordered a ridiculous amount of photographs. It was a special day.

Jess' parents are in town. So we've had a lot of fun taking turns playing with Zoe. It has really been fun to witness many of the family specific traditions that they bring. I'm not talking about ceremonial traditions. I'm talking about babygames and phrases, styles of babytalk, methods of raspberry delivery, tickle attack rules of engagement, etc. All the small things. Jess' parents literally shipped 4 large boxes of presents for Zoe. Each box contained roughly 6-10 presents. Jess and I also got Zoe five or six presents. So Zoe is pretty much set for life. When she grows up, we'll pretty much be equipped to start our own toy museum. It's a time of absurd plenitude in our household. (I just learned that plenitude isn't spelled plentitude).

We saw things today. We learned things today. We changed things today.
I even learned that most people don't like baked potato chips. I personally love them.

Anyway, if you're reading this. WRITE A BLOG NOW!! Don't just read, WRITE!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Zoe, getting close to 6 months.

Wow, Zoe is getting older and wiser by the second. Her personality is really starting to shine. She smiles almost all day, and laughs several times a day. She's starting to really understand more of her world. She reaches for things she wants. And she responds unhappily to having objects taken away (such as a bottle). She's had this behavior in primitive form for a while, but you can tell, she is processing the information in a much more mature manner. Her two lower teeth have taken their pretty little time coming in. It's been over a month and they're still not all the way in. Only partially, probably 1/2-3/4 done, although it can be hard to tell how deep they go.

Zoe is really fun to be around. She's changing daily. She can now stand up as long as she has a basket or coffee-table or mommy-daddy to hold on to. She has to be really closely chaperoned in such cases, as she can instantly fall forward or backward or sideways. Of course, she's not even close to being able to walk, or even stand by herself. Those milestones are another 4-6months away. She can sit up by herself for 30 seconds or so IF she's playing with a stuffed animal or ball, and has it in her lap. It helps her counterweight as well as stops her from shifting to the side. If she has nothing in her hands, she pretty much flops sideways instantly. Jess is pretty excited about her abilities in this area (because Jess couldn't sit up until 8 months or so).

Zoe's favorite activities are 1) kicking and rolling the ball, 2) playing with her stuffed animals, and 3) laying on her back and holding her feet. I tried activity number 3 myself today, and hated it. It hurt my stomach muscles and also felt somewhat offputting and unsanitary holding on to my feet.

A few things about Zoe have reminded me of when I was a child. My memories are when I was a bit older 3-5 or something, however, I still can remember what these things feel like. 1) Having a wet collar from chewing or druelling on my shirt collar. 2) Being carried up to bed when half-asleep. 3) the feeling of wearing pajamas with feet. I even remember that as you outgrow the pajamas, you can feel them pulling against your shoulders and your feet. I remember that feeling.

Anyway, Zoe has had an amazing month, and a surprising week. She changes so fast. Christmastime is going to be amazing. Jess' mom and dad are coming out the 19th-24th. And my sister and brother in law are coming out for the 23rd to 27th. Zoe is gonna be spoiled crazy. Oh, I also have our company Christmas party as well as our personal Christmas open house coming up. We're gonna have an amazing and crazy Christmastime.

Anyway, I better get to bed for work tomorrow.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Zoe and the Tooth


Believe it or not, it finally busted through. It's been over a month that she's been teething. She has been drooling profusely for a long time. But now, it's finally happened. A little tooth has broken through. It's her right front bottom tooth. Soon, she'll be biting and drawing blood. We're really excited to see her take this important step towards adulthood. What a special little girl.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Zoe at 4 1/2 Months

Wow! So much has changed in Zoe's world since my last post. She's been teething. Her lower teeth are reluctantly making an appearance. Soon she'll be biting everything in sight. Also, she has started on rice cereal, which she eats voraciously. Her first feeding went unbelievably well. After reading articles and books that told me to expectant reluctance to solid food, I was surprised to see how much she loved the stuff! On her first sitting, she ate nearly an entire bowl full of cereal. It was funny to watch her snap at the plastic covered spoon. We called her our little "Snapping Turtle." It was cute.

Also, she's really started to laugh and giggle a lot more. It's easy to make her smile, but it takes a lot of work (and luck) to make her laugh. It's extremely rewarding when you finally get her grin to open wide and shriek.

What a beauty. We love her very much.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Zoe, Umpteenth Part!!

Sorry 'bout those Anti-Blogs. They commandeered my mind when I was in a corny mood (just seconds ago).

Here's the latest on Zoe!!


SHNEEP!! I'm too shy to blog! But I'm taking up space anyway!! SHNEEP!


Pah! I am the antiblog! I have come here to put a temporary stopper in Ryan's philosophical and hyper-sentimental nonsense!!! BLARB!

Enjoy the Rest!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Kid Nation

It's 2:00am on Wednesday night. I should be asleep. I have work tomorrow. Well, I'm not asleep. Instead I'm typing here. I'm too tired to really make any significant sense. Zoe is asleep. She's out like a light. Her grandma spent the day with her. She'll be doing the same tomorrow and Friday. My mom really loves spending time with Zoe. They play with every toy. They lay a blanket down in every room. They sing every song. They read every book. Zoe will probably be asleep for an entire week after all the stimulation she got today. By the time I got home, Zoe was in a trance. She was sleep-squawking and waving her arms in every direction. She finally calmed down. I held her, walked her around a bit. Calmly, she drifted to sleep.

She's 3 1/2 months old now. She really looks like Jess and Jess' mother. Her forehead looks like me a little bit, but that's it. She's kind of a watcher. She studies people. I think she's gonna be pretty outgoing. That's the vibe I get. She'll be kind of wild. She has ringleader potential, but it's too early to tell.

Jess and I watched "Kid Nation" tonight. It's really funny to see all the kids competing in these challenges, and trying to communicate rationally. The show is kind of wild. Some people feel that it's unethical. I don't think that. I think there's potential for great danger and disaster (if it weren't secretly chaperoned). Ultimately, I think it 's kind of inspirational. It really champions all the different personality recipes that the human race is comprised of. One episode, the hero is a calm orator. In another, its the diligent dishwasher. In a third, it's the courageous cowboy wild-child that becomes the hero. I see these kids do things that I couldn't do now, let alone when I was 8-13. They have their struggles no doubt. They really fight and argue and gang up on each other. The drama of the confrontation always seems to give way to a somewhat reasonable approach to their dilemma. It can seem like their society is a slippery slope (sound familiar). One catastrophe, and all is lost. But that's not likely.

They do a good job of selling the concept of the show. They sell the question, "Can kids be responsible and skillful enough to make a small town work?" The question is cute in itself. The show isn't necessarily true to the question. The show introduces separate working-classes, and frames out a new problem to be solved each week. That's obviously unnatural. I accept it though.

I tend to hate reality shows in general. Because people are hip to them. I like sincerity. Sincerity is interesting to me. Adults are usually insincere in the front of the camera (whether they mean to be or not). But these kids, even though they possess really impressive social intelligence. They're still young enough to not have a very concrete identity. And so they have less to lose, and they put it all on the line. I'm impressed with their leadership ability, and often with their ability to stand up against a large group with an opposing opinion. Anyway, I'm just rambling now.

What I was really saying was, I like to daydream about how Zoe would act if she were on the show. I like to meditate on that question. It's fun. You daydream about how you would want her to be. And in that daydream, you can learn a lot about your personal concept of a hero. You can learn about your concept of social responsibility. Despite its obvious caveats, the show really does a great job of paring down the challenges and conflicts that take place in the larger world.
It's good fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Neighborhood Traveler

Zoe and her Mama are suited up for the adventure of the century ... a trip around the block.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cosmos II

Zoe partakes in Jess' cosmic grin.

Cosmos I

Neeka partakes in Zoe's cosmic grin.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rapps, Golden Age

I don't feel like waxing poetic tonight. So I'm just gonna go straight at it. Zoe is awesome. She's got "It." She's got that certain something. I feel like I should have to run a triathlon every day just to have the rights to see her. Or maybe pay tribute to her with a Big Mac. She can't eat it yet. She's only 3 months old. How quick it has gone. She's gone from being a 7lb 6oz baby, to a 13lb juggernaut of emotion. She's a presence. When she's carried into a room, the walls shake and the floor drops out. Everyone is left hovering in a stupor. They're staring at her. She just looks around.
What a goddess. She smiling. She complains when necessary. For example, if she's prematurely put to bed. There's gonna be dialog about it. She's gonna rule that dialog. It's gonna be the Zoe show. And for the grand finale, she'll get what she wants. She's got that touch. It'll be tough to tame it when she's older. They say you can't spoil a baby this small. But she had a fully decorated room before she was even born. Is that really necessary? She'd say so.
And I should give credit where credit is deserved. The Zostress has the best mother in town. She's a lover. She's smart. She's hard working. She's a fireball. She pulls no punches. She plays from the heart. We were watching "Kid Nation," and Jess wept. She cried first from being inspired, then second from compassion, then a third time just from laughing. She loved the show. She loves Zoe. Zoe is set for life. We could have a war on American soil. There could be a battalion of baddies in the backyard. Jess would just go out there, the trees would shake, the earth would drop out, and the world would be hovering in a stupor. Apparently, it's a genetic trait. It's a special power. It's like mine. I'm really good at eating nothing but Corn Flakes. I got the gift.
So back to Zoe. She's at it. She smiles. She holds her head up proudly. It bobbles, but it bobbles proudly. Her eyes are still inquisitive. They'll always be. She calls out in her raw sub-language. The language of pure accident. She gawks, She guggles (not a word), she grieves, she grunts, she's just gusting with the wind of will. I guess I AM waxing poetic. She's Zoe. It's special to be around her. She's so small. She's so warm. When you hold her in your hands, you wonder where her wheels are turning. It's a fun mystery. Soon, it won't be so mysterious. She'll be talking out loud. She'll be asking questions, barking commands, conveying legacy logic, motioning for puppy and feline delivery, giving food reviews, clothing reviews, commandeering the remote, etc. She'll be growing up fast. I already know it.
I feel lucky to have Jess and Zoe around. They're a funny little team already. We're in a golden age.

Friday, September 7, 2007

My First Non-Zoe Blog

Well, I am a software engineer after all. And I have to give kudos where it is deserved. Todays Kudos go to RSS feeds and RSS feed readers (ESPECIALLY THE FREE GOOGLE READER). They have revolutionized how I waste time on the internet!! Now all the information comes to me, and I don't have to go out to the information.

For a layman's description and demo, visit this link:

If you choose to partake in the Google reader, you will be given the choice to subscribe to a series of pregrouped subscriptions. Many of them are junky and annoying. They can be removed at any time.

You will soon begin to notice the little RSS icon when you surf the web. If you use Firefox (You are evil and stupid if you don't), you will notice the icon on the right side of the HTML-address bar. If it has the icon, that means that the website is "subscribable." You can then create copy the sites address in the subscribe line on the google-reader page. Note: All blogs on Blogspot are automatically subscribable. Once you take the time to subscribe to your friends blogs (one time deal per subscription), you can just go to "" and login. You will see ONLY their NEW messages/blogs.

Some of my favorite blogs are David Byrne's from the Talking Heads, Robert Scoble the Techie, Mark Cuban (good for entertainment), and almost all the blogs under the Science and Thinking subheadings.


It's not half as complicated as it seems. I've managed to overcomplicate it. Kind of like if you tried to write a step-by-step instruction manual for retrieving, opening, pouring, and eating a box of cereal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Zoe, will be ten weeks in half an hour

I will rewrite this later to make it readable. Right now I'm too tired.
Zoe had a doctor's appointment today. It went great.

She's now 11lbs 13 1/2 oz.
She's also 21 3/4 inches long.

Her weight has increased 60% since birth.

Also, she's open mouthed smiling. Smiling like she's got teeth!
What a sweetheart.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


As I sift through this jargon, from empty butter plate to happenstance manifesto, the requests pour in. Grace is requested in the face of absolute bafflement. My attendance is requested as the salve of familial security. I am requested to lead the untouchable perfection of an infant. There is a request that my face should always resonate with calm security, my posture should remain strict yet forthcoming, inspiring yet unassuming. And amongst the requests, a small voice asks, can you pass me the butter?

There is nothing failsafe in this map of directions. There are no completed trails. But now, there is a child that rides with me through undiscovered neighborhoods. One day we find Memphis. On another, we find the road to nowhere. I'm in for it all. Anything. Everything from the strictest hymn to the whispering in the background of an alt-electronica impulse act. I'm present for the Grateful and the Gothic. I'm on the smile with any mystery. Even the unsolvable, impenetrable cases that offer only the clues that wave and wink as I fall asleep. I'm up for any vast adventure, even the flirtations of an empty adventure that refuses to make eye contact, but continues to leave messages on your refrigerator. They remind of the ultimate adventure, a small handwritten note, that states, can you pick up some butter?

I can't claim wisdom, grace, peace, omnipotence, hypnotic presence, calm fatherhood, ghosthood, mirth, apathy, inconsolable bafflement, intelligence, worthiness, saintliness, greed, an altruistic nature, innocence, a violent nature, or anything left to hold with a look of pride or desecration. I just can't claim anything. And so I walk through the supermarket. I walk toward a general guess at my best qualities. I walk with a confessional cloud of confused intent. A gentle mist of intent, made up of individual droplets of best familial guess. I have a notecard in my fingers. It says, "Don't forget to pick up the butter."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Zoe, in half an hour she's two months

Am I impairing your sarcasm?
Do I do that?
Am I looking past you again?
What are you holding in your arms?
See me go.
Did I do that?
Am I impairing your greed?
We're so innocent
Am I ashamed to be laying here naked?
Kicking my legs.
Swinging my arms.
Are you ashamed?
All your walking and all your talking.
Am I impairing your judgment?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Zoe , on the brink of seven weeks

Zoe, on the eve of seven weeks. She still looks beautiful. There is still something mystical in her attention. She can watch you for hours and never feel like she's staring. It's a special talent. I think it has something to do with innocence. She's too young to judge.

And what is she up to? She's not quite smiling yet. She's dropped a grin here and there. She's got a variety of curious expressions at her disposal. A few of them contain half-smiles. She's starting to practice vocal communications a bit. Of course, her greatest vocal achievement is a simple "heh." She can play it loud or soft. As if either interjecting or rambling. It's cute.

She's just now been upgraded to size-1 diapers. Huggies. Also, she's just had to retire some of her very first onezies (body-suits?). Yep, she's growing up. As we walked around the neighborhood today, I noticed that she's beginning to fill out the front pack. She's still very small though, with her legs dangling free, her head still does not clear the front of the Bjorn. She huddles behind it, with her hands in front of her, or under her chin. She watches and looks around as we cheer her on. I put rocks and bark and leaves in her hand. She holds on to them a while. It's always fun to see when she opens up her palms and lets 'em go. It's an example of one of those small mini-miracle-mysteries that babies are constantly telling.

We really love our Zoe, and are having a great time with her.

This friday, Grandma Kathy is coming to town.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Zoe's Greatest Trick: Watching

I know what you're thinking. What is Zoe up to this week?

Zoe quizzes us with her eyes. She watches intently. If we tell a joke, she watches intently. If we sneeze, she watches intently. If we eat a ritz cracker with cheese-whiz, she watches intently. She watches intently. That's what she does.

You hold a mirror up to her, she watches intently. You shake a rattle at her, she watches intently. You lift her in the air and spin her around singing "whirlybird whirlybird," she watches intently. The dogs lick her forehead, she watches intently. With great attention, she watches us.

We buffoon around. We prepare bottles. We change diapers. We talk about plans for napping. We get the mail. We reach for stuff. We sit on furniture. We do all this and more.

She watches intently.

I'm beginning to feel watched.

Zoe's on the verge of a smile. I'm on the verge of kissing her on the nose. Jess is on the verge of making a new bottle. We're all in transition. We're transitioning. There's something changing every moment. There's something new to be learned. Zoe's learning. I'm learning. Jess is learning. Even the dogs are learning. The cat is learning. Neeka sits on the new air conditioner. She's learning to like the breeze. She watches Zoe intently. Zoe watches back.

It's the most quiet chaos imaginable. Everybody is so studious. There's elation in everyone's silent intent. We look close. We listen close. We feel close. There's an unexpressable intimacy to the entire day. I picked up a washcloth and handed it to Jess. Jess wiped Zoe's face. Zoe watched intently. It goes on like this for hours.

I love it.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


She'll always be our perfect miracle.

It's strange to know that babies are born each day. Every single day in every single nation. Yet, they are ALWAYS special and are ALWAYS accompanied by their respective magical moments.

I love Zoe. Jess and I are having so much fun with her. She is her own mysterious being. We have very little access to her thoughts and feelings. But we do have some. We watch her sleep. She is not yet able to smile, but you can get her attention. And her attention itself is maturing. She watches closer. She watches longer. Her expressions change with the object of her focus. She listens. She doesn't quite understand. But she listens. That's a start.

For now, we obsess with figuring our little one out. We try to get a handle on her needs. We try to determine whether her fusses are problems that need to solved by us, or fully experienced by her. We try to entertain her. We try to relate to her. We succeed in varying degrees. But these challenges and emotions are all magically free-of-charge, and so we'll shoot for the stars!

I'm excited to see what she's got in store for us!

Visions of Zoe!

Zoe is born!!

Will all cliches come true? What a beauty! What a miracle! What an unexplainable glory! How sweet she is! How innocent! How vulnerable! How perfect! Jess and I have been rendered stupefied by this little master of art and science. I've never felt anything like this before.

My brain is lit! It doesn't understand. It's convinced that I'm dreaming. It's drenched each moment in surrealism. There is no fantasy that can match the reality of the newborn baby asleep in the swinging chair. And the next day, the miracle is chugging a bottle of Enfamil as a dog scratches its ears in the window. Is this life? Is this real?

Usually in life, magical moments are fleeting. They're a quick darting day at Disneyland, or an exhilarating new freedom at a graduation ceremony. But ever has elation lasted this long. Will it always be this way?

My girl was born at 10:26 am on June 21st. I was there, although I feel like an entirely different man that writes before you today. I was actively participating in all the graphic realities before me. I was watching the top of her head approaching and retreating with each push and associated rest. I was inches away when Her head finally cleared, and she seemed to hover in the air. She was looking at me, not even completely born! Her body still inside her mother. It seemed to last for hours. It seemed to last for an instant. And before I knew it, she was free. She was laying on Jess' stomach. She was crying. But it didn't feel like sadness. It felt like the miracle itself! It felt like the miracle describing itself to me in the language of a little newborn Girl!

And the miracle cried. And I looked at her. I put my hand on her back. and I said "It's Ok Zoe. It's me! It's your daddy!" And she immediately stopped crying. She looked at me, and then rested. And each time she felt the confusion overtake her, she'd begin crying again. And I'd reassure her, and she'd rest again. Even now, two weeks later, she is easily consoled. Just with a word.