Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat









He's too cute! I could just eat him up!

getting dumber

I'm going to blame it on the fact that--for 9.5 months--I haven't had great sleep. Or much sleep. Or any sleep. That's my story.

Tonight my world came crashing in on me. For the first time since baby Grant arrived on the scene, I sat down with Bret to watch Jeopardy. Now, we don't watch Alex Trebek often, but whenever the classic gameshow is on, I can hold my weight. I used to be lightening fast with my answers, and I had a fairly large scope of questions with which I felt compotent.

Tonight, I was tounge-tied, my brain was exceptionally lethargic, and I couldn't answer even the most basic of questions. I scored a few questions out of the gemstones category, one out of fictional females, and one out of 17th century artists. Usually, I end with a fairly decent number count, but tonight, I walked away with about 5 correct answers.

Sad. I'm slipping. Bret was proud that he took the championship with a sweep of the "valley" category and the "missing vowels" category. He's never won before, so I'll give him his moment of glory.

Monday, October 29, 2007

on the move

So, just as soon as you say that Grant can't yet crawl, guess what? He starts crawling. Now, it's not pretty, but it is self-propelled movement. It's really like a face plant, a leg push, and a rug burn on the cheek later, Grant has arrived at his destination. Of course, as predicted, once he realized he could move, he started testing the waters.

Here's a video of his patented move. Watch until the end. What you see at the end (when he grabs the cord that connects our surround sound system) is something most parents don't have on tape: the moment they had to start really parenting. Up until now, it's been about keeping him happy and healthy. Today, at the moment on this tape to be exact, the word "no" meant "no." Grant, upon first instance, started to cry. He was so upset that he couldn't touch the cord. But, give it a few seconds and wait until you think Mommy is watching the Colts game, and try it again. Hopefully, with some time and consistency, we can help Grant discover a huge world that is available for the taking, and he'll leave the things that are off limits alone. Wishful thinking, eh?


video



I've also posted a few fall pictures. We headed out this weekend to a local mall to do some shopping (along with a very, very long lunch stop at the Cheesecake Factory; can you say "banana cream cheesecake" without smiling?), and Grant got to play on some of the mall vehicles. He was stoked.

This picture is taken mid laugh (I swear... he wasn't crying)... and of course, it just makes me smile.


Who needs to put in the 75 cents (where did the penny machines go?) when I have just as much standing a pushing all these buttons?


Here's Grant's new spot in the house: in front of the fridge playing with the kid safe magnets.


Here's Grant praying before we eat. Okay, not really. He does this goofy face when the flash on the camera has gone off one too many times. I think he sees spots otherwise. It does like he is super deep in prayer though.


Here also is a recent highchair discussion with baby Grant. He's showing some of his supa' fly moves (clapping, eating Cheerios, etc), so he's pretty happy with himself.

video



Bee sure to check back later in the week for Halloween pics. Buzzzzz!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blog-stalking

I've got a daily routine. Aside from the personal hygeine and maintenance routine, I have the morning email routine. It's simple enough: I check my email, never responding (just seeing what's there); I check the weather to ensure best outfit picking-outage, and then I check my list of blogs.

That's right. I'm a tad bit of a blog addict. It's my morning newspaper. Some of the blogs I check make sense: family and friends the whole-wide-world over. There's my cousin's blog, and he's got cute kids who say and do cute things. And Bret's cousins have a blog too, and they go cool places, do cool things, and also have cute kids. Friends from high school, friends from church, friends from work, and even former students round out a nice and acceptable list of blogs I visit.

But, then there's the truth.

I'm a blog-stalker, a lurker. But, I'd like to think I'm not alone.

It started when we decided to adopt Grace because the Chinese adoption community is deep and wide and filled with bloggers (and every blog lists 50 more Chinese adoption blogs). And so, I'd go online in search of answers, in search of adoptive parents in the same boat. Inevitably, the blogs I was most drawn to were the ones where the parents were in China to pick up baby or preparing to go to China to pick up baby. It started innocently: what do you pack? what do you wear? But, then, I'd follow the whole trip in China, day by day, always breaking into tears of joy when the couple was united with baby.

But, it didn't stop there. I found myself interested in the adjustment when home. How were the first several nights? Sleep deprivation? Baby's motor skills? Attachment? And as parents launched back into their lives, I never lost cyber touch. Now, some of the blogs I visit from time to time (or daily if they post often) have families who have been back from China for years (or have even made a second voyage over for another baby), and I'm not reading about "attachment issues in institutionalized children" any longer. I'm reading about potty training, loose teeth, and Nana's visit from Maine.

I feel like these people, whom I have never talked to and don't even know I exist, are my friends. It sounds sad, I know. But, when one doesn't post for a long time (a recent favorite of mine took a unexplained four month hiatus), I feel deprived. What's going on in baby Emma's life? Did that foot fungal issue ever get cleared up?

Now, I am sure we have a lurker or two on our site. The crazy thing is that our visitor meter keeps a location map of anyone who visits, so for the most part, I can tell when ya' all stop by. If it says Notre Dame, I know Jenni's made a stop. If it says Seal Beach, California, I assume Kathy's stopped by for a visit. If it says Salem, Oregon, I know my friend Sarah is checkin' in on the Hawkins three. But, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida? That person visits from time to time, and I'd like to say hi! I know what it is like to have secret cyber friends, and I just want you to know that you're welcome here. You don't even have to lurk; you can say hi or stop by for dinner when you're in the Hoosier state. But, if you're like me, you just want to check in, make sure all is okay, and figure out a cure for your own child's raspberries. And if that's your pleasure, you're welcome to stay around and enjoy the Hawkins family ride from a distance.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Visit to the Doctor


Grant made his 9 month visit to the doctor today, and I am happy to report that our baby boy is back on the height and weight charts. He lunged off the charts last visit, but he's back on board. He actually weighs less now than he did at his last visit (a few months ago), so I guess all that diet baby food is paying off (just kidding).

Every time we visit the doctor's office, we get a sheet of "what your baby should be doing" kind of things. This paper makes me squirm. First on the list of "should be doing": crawling. Nope, not Grant. He's not real fond of those gross motor skills like crawling, rolling, pulling up. He's more of a cerebral type of kid. So, what is the latest update?

His fourth tooth is coming in (you can see a few in the pic above)
He claps (or plays patty cake)
He waves when he feels like it
He knows and uses the sign language sign for "please" (thank you is next)
He tries animal sounds (without much success)
Eats and loves Cheerios

He is trying to crawl, so we aren't too worried. Plus, as most parents out there already know, crawling ups the parenting ante. He'll be a wrecking crew. Bret and I are not fast people. We aren't in shape people. The time has come. I better dig out that blasted Tae Bo dvd (vhs really).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mama's Little Reader

Grant loves his books. He loves to flip the pages. He loves to chew on the corners. He whines like mad when you take a book away and don't quickly return with a new, different, brightly colored volume.

And, English teacher mommy loves to read books to Grant, but I must admit that I have a growing aversion to a few in our library. Now, we have a vast library of books, some of which are beautiful. Those books are the books Grant received as gifts. The majority of our books (and we have at least a hundred books) came from garage sales spread across the westside of Indianapolis, and sometimes they are old, sometimes torn, but most often, they are pathetic.

Most parents wouldn't find these books lacking, but these same parents are not the parents of an African-American child, especially an inter-racially adopted child who will no doubt struggle one day with identity issues. That said, I ask: "Where are all the black people?" Every old book we have is littered with pixie blondes in pigtails or pastey looking white boys with bowl cuts. They might have a semi-Asian looking child mixed in, but truth be told, that kid could "go either way." I let Grant unabashedly chew on these books.

So, if you want to know what my kid needs for Christmas, here's the short of it: some books with characters who look like him! Thankfully, our newer books have plenty of minority representation, but anything with a copywrite of 1985 or prior is a little Anglo-Saxy for my taste. Also, thankfully, many kids books deal with characters who are bears, or inch worms, or cats in hats, which--now that I come to think about it-- might do more damage in the end anyway.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Boston Wrapup


I realize that my lovely wife has already posted her final analysis of our ill fated vacation to Boston, but I thought I'd go ahead and post my thoughts as well.

On Saturday we decided to rent a car and trek out to Lexington and Concord. Our purpose was twofold, first to see some of the historical and literary sites and second to see some New England fall foliage.

After traversing the airport and renting our car (which was, shockingly, a big white Hyundai...who would have thought?), we started out to Lexington. Now everyone knows that driving in Boston is a wiley experience, but I figured that since we were heading to the outskirts of the city that things wouldn't be too bad.

I was mostly correct for the first few miles. I was navigating the famous rotaries (or roundabouts for those of us in Indiana...or at least for those of us on the northside of Indy which has gone lulu for them) with great ease, and my time in China has made me very agile when darting in and out of traffic, as Erin noted. But at some point, we were making our way through a quaint little suburb when I began to whizz by a stopped line of cars, only to be stopped by the screeching of my own brakes and the gripping stare of an elderly woman who just watched approximately 75 years of livin' both fly past her eyes and nearly come to a halt all at once. There was no way to see the crosswalk coming due to the, uh, angle of the road, but I suppose the other lane of traffic being stopped should have been a clue. I received a brutal staring from both the old woman and the guy in the truck next to me, but in the end, nobody but the rotors on the rental car were hurt, so all was well.

We made our way through Lexington and then along the Revolutionary battle road, all the while enjoying what was a truly a feast of fall colors. I was feeling pretty much back to normal, and Erin was hovering around 75% (but her cholesterol was at an all time low, since she had been taking my cholesterol pills thinking they were anti-diarrhea pills for the past two days).

As we approached Concord, we made a brief stop at the Louisa May Alcott home. Erin tells me she wrote some books 'bout some women and stuff. Who knows. (I can say that since Erin's response to the "American Revolution" was something along the lines of "Now that was a war with England, right?" Bless the California public schools, where history started with Walt Disney.)

Our next stop was the Author's Ridge at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Fascinatingly, at least to me, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Louisa May Alcott are all buried just a few yards from each other in this cemetery. The setting is beautiful, amongst large trees and rolling hills. Having just buried my grandfather, I was struck by how serene the cemetery really was, and somewhat inadvertently, this became one of the highlights of the trip for me. (Of course, I guess this is somewhat fitting given that a lot of the rest of the trip was spent on the toilet.)


Our next stop was Walden Pond, made famous as the location of Henry David Thoreau's two year stay. We took a hike along its banks, and eventually found the location of Thoreau's cabin. It struck me as odd that Thoreau moved out to the woods to get away from town, yet walked the whopping TWO MILES back nearly every day to see his mother. Actually, I learned a lot in high school about Thoreau that struck me as a little odd.


Next we moved back into Concord for lunch at Helen's. This was a recommendation from a friend of mine that grew up down the street from me and now lives in the area, and we were not disappointed. After sandwiches and caffeine, we strolled over to the Pricilla Candy Shop, where I purchased a moderate number of truffles which almost lasted the rest of the day. All in all, we found Concord to be quite lovely, and we both agreed that a future stay in Boston might better be spent in the outlying small towns.

We returned to the city and worked our way through the traffic to Beacon Hill. The Sox were playing that night, so we thought it best to get out of the city prior to the game, so we said goodbye and headed out to our hotel. I will say that it was endearing to see a city so devoted to its baseball team. Not being a baseball fan, I admit that I don't fully understand the way the game appears to bond the citizens of Boston, but we heard and met multiple people who had flown into town with their kids for the game or had been fans their whole lives. Everyone...EVERYONE was talking about the game that night. I guess it's similar to basketball here in Indiana or perhaps the Indianapolis Colts, but I got the feeling that I might be mortally wounded if I spoke out against the Red Sox, while I don't get that feeling in Indiana about our sports passions.

As it approached 6:30pm, I mentioned to Erin that pizza (a pie for those in Boston) sounded good for dinner. Part of what makes a vacation for me is poking around for local restaurants, so I did a brief (a bit too brief, as you'll see) search on the web for pizza places in the neighborhood. I was pointed to Luigi's Pizza (for whom I can now find no link to post...shoulda been a clue) which was only supposed to be a few minutes away, so we decided to head out.

I had a small, hand drawn map to the location, and as I studied this at 60 miles per hour in the dark, I realized I forgot to put an indicator showing where the restaurant was actually located on my map. I was fairly certain I remembered though, so we continued.

Obviously at some point this plan went awry. I missed a turn and we ended up in a place full of refinaries and the smell of bodies washed ashore. We drove around in circles for approximately 45 minutes, at which point the bruises on my right arm forced me to stop and have a discussion on how to get out of our predicament. To Erin's credit, she had us back (where we started, no less) in a matter of minutes.

Unwilling to give up on a dream, I restarted the trek. Much to my satisfaction, I knew exactly where I'd missed my turn, and when I corrected this error, there stood Luigi's. We'd only missed it by a few feet.

Luigi's was situated near the refinery district that was previously discussed. It was obviously a local's place, and I was excited by the prospect of a good pie and some sort of import brew. We entered to find a handful of locals watching the Sox pregame (surprise!). I moved toward the counter to order, while Erin chose her seat at the bar. I questioned this decision, given that the patrons at the bar appeared to have been there for some time, and her chatty friendliness came in stark contrast to the vibe given off by the locals.

I quickly ordered a pizza and then requested of Erin that we relocate to a nearby table. Nobody seemed offended that we moved, and we waited for our food and Budweiser products. (My dream of an import brew came crashing to earth upon entering Luigi's. I was pretty certain that I saw the body of some import-microbrew-orderin' sissy laid out near the stoop as we entered the joint.)

As we awaited our food, I could tell that Erin was dissasisfied with her life at that moment. Two drunk dudes were fighting about whether Bill Cowher or "that guy who used to coach at Green Bay" was the better football coach, and another guy repeatedly fell off his stool. At one point several guys pushed each other out the door to fight about something in the street. There was much wrangling until the bar maid ordered another guy out to break the whole thing up. It was intense. The whole time, Erin kept mumbling about the Twilight Zone and how "this always happens." I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (perhaps Erin "Thoreau-ly" enjoyed it...yuk yuk); although, in the end, the pizza was pretty subpar.

The next morning we got up bright and early for our, yet again, separate flights home. As I was making my way through the inspection at the airport, I got behind a family with four young kids, including a set of twins. The twins were just old enough to walk, and both were decked out in some primo nice clothes and little animal backpacks. They would have been just darling had they not been little demons.

The whole time during the line, we had to wait for them to decide to walk. Neither parent would ever push them along or pick them up, instead we all waited for them to move at their own pace. This wasn't so bad in line, until we reached the scanners. This is a giant hassle these days, as everyone knows. You have to take your shoes off, take your laptop out of the case, take off your jacket, pee in a jar, etc. (Erin told me later that nobody has ever made her pee in a jar at the airport, so perhaps an apology is due someplace.)

In any case, as people were putting all their belongings in the little plastic tubs to go through the scanner, twin #1 starts screaming his head off.

"Which bucket do you want?"
"Do you want this one?"
"This one?"
"This one?"
"This one?"
"This one?"
"Do you want this one?"
"This one?"
"Do you want this one?"
"This one?"

Just as I was about to go postal, the kid finally says, "That one." Unfortunately "that one" was full of another patron's belongings. Did this stop idio-parent? No.

"I'm sorry. Can you please move your stuff to another bucket? He wants that one."

I was stunned. Literally, stunned.

People, have we lost all grip with reality? How do people not see the craziness of this?

The guy politely dumped his stuff in an identical bin and handed the other one to her. If it had been me, I'm not sure I could have gotten out of the situation without saying something.

In the end, my flight to O'Hare was fine, and my flight home was only a few minutes late. We were both glad to get home, and we were even more glad to be reunited with Grant. We discussed the fact that we spent over nine hours trying to get home from Boston on Sunday. I think it's about a 12 hour drive. I'm beginning to think I'm willing to spend that extra three hours to not deal with airports and twins.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Two Year Pregnancy--Happy Belated Birthday Blog

We started this blog two years ago when the official paperchase for baby Grace began, and thankfully, life has taken many an unexpected turn, but in all of the twists and turns, we have continue to cultivate a heart for baby Grace.

I hear pregnant mothers complain all the time about how long nine months seems. I smile. Nine months, really? I know it's different because there's wear and tear on bodies and hormones associated with biological birth, and I don't think there's a pregnant woman alive who isn't ready to expell that 8 pound human from her body and see her feet again, not have to pee every two seconds, and just be comfortable. I get that. And, I get that nine months is a long time to wait to see the face of the baby you love.

But, let me tell you: two years and counting is no walk in the park. Baby Grace is coming. She's coming in the beautifully mysterious thing called "God's timing." We don't say that flippantly. We know there's a plan, a beautiful plan that brought us baby Grant. I just envy sometimes the pregnant moms the world over who know when their baby is coming... plus or minus a few months.

So, when is baby Grace coming? Here are our new projections: earliest we'd bring her home is May 2008... latest is January 2009. But, at the rate we're going, it could be 2010. You never know.

So, here's to baby Grace... we love her, have loved her, and will continue to wait with such eager expectation to bring her home to her forever family. And, here's to our blog, which has chronicled the journey of our lives and our babies for two years...

and counting...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back Home Again

Boston 1, Hawkins Family 0.

In the end, we salvaged some good times from what could have otherwise been declared a less than stellar vacation. When you've got four days away and half of them are spent sick in bed, it doesn't make for the fondest of memories. Here's the run down:

Subway trains taken: 12
Historical "places of interest" visited: 22
Times Erin slept on floor: 1
Emergency bathroom breaks: 9
Imodium tablets taken: 4
Bret's Cholesterol medicine taken mistakenly as Imodium (by wife): 2
Room service called: 1
Complete Japanese dinners tossed in trash: 1
Miles walked: 9
Depressing movies watched: 1
Toy planes purchased: 1
Dunkin Doughnuts visited: 3
Dollars paid to walk Walden Pond: 5
Planes taken to and from Boston: 7
Minutes spent looking for Bret's pizza pick: 52
Famous authors' graves visited: 4
Parents who are glad to be home: 2
Mommys who went about crazy to see baby: 1

Glad to be home. The next couples' only weekend will be someplace warm, with sand, and drinks with little umbrellas.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Aaaaagggghhhhh


This is the lone picture we have taken so far on our vacation to Boston, and it just about says it all. Things went well on Thursday morning. We set out to take a stroll on the Freedom Trail, and about 3/4 of the way through the trek, Erin started feeling somewhat poorly.

Now Erin is a very vocal patient usually; therefore, I disregarded her moaning and groaning as just the usual faire. But her pains intensified until we headed back to the hotel at around 2pm to relax for the evening.

We decided to dine at a Japanese steakhouse attached to our hotel, since she didn't feel like going out. About 15 minutes into the meal, she bailed, and I had to sit at a table with four other people waiting for the dude with the knives to finish our meals so I could pack up and head for the room. Once I arrived there, I found Erin in a bad state. We tossed her meal to the side, as it was apparent that she wouldn't be eating it any time soon.

I made it another couple of hours, and while watching the latest episode of Survivor, it hit me. I almost made it to the bathroom. Almost.

Realizing the severity of our distress, I threw on my clothes and jogged down the street to CVS, all the while doing a tummy crunch to prevent any further episodes. I bought the stuff you see in the photo and headed back to the room.

To make a long story short(er), we moaned and groaned all night (and not in the good, "left the baby at home for a weekend" way) and got very little sleep. Luckily by morning, the stomach pains were reduced somewhat, although we still slept until noon. We both noted that since this was what was most likely ailing our dear Grant earlier in the week, we had a new found respect for his ability to endure pain. This was some of the worst stomach pain I've had in a LONG time, and the poor little dude doesn't have Immodium to make his life easier. It's a shame.

This afternoon we headed into Cambridge. Upon disembarking from the subway, it immediately began to pour. We wandered about sick and cold, until Erin decided that we should see a movie. We settled upon "Reservation Road" featuring Joaquin Phoenix. Neither of us knew much about the film, but it started soon and was relatively short, so we dragged ourselves into the theater.

Now, as vacation movies go, people frequently see big summer blockbusters. Spiderman, Star Wars, etc. "Reservation Road" is about a family being destroyed by the hit and run death of their son. This had "feel good" written all over it. We endured the movie, but it did nothing to lift our spirits.

After the movie, we strolled around Cambridge checking out the houses and school grounds. We followed it up with a quick dinner and a stop for a delightful dessert at a local ice cream shop (my stomach can only stay sick for so long before it remembers that it has to stay full at all times).

We've returned to our room and are now planning our final day of vacation. Perhaps one of us will get gout or a bladder infection to finish off the trip.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boston Travelin'

Yesterday, Erin and I traveled separately by plane to Boston. I contend that this was due to me trying to use up some neglected frequent flyer miles, but Erin contends that this was an effort to dodge leaving Grant potentially parentless in the event of a not uneventful flight.

Either way, I arrived at the airport in Indy yesterday afternoon. As I waited for my flight to Chicago (stupid frequent flyer miles robbed me of a non-stop trip), I observed a somewhat disheveled man in the gate area. He appeared to be either high or drunk, and his beard led me to believe that he was either homeless or a college professor. It's frequently a difficult call.

As I boarded the aircraft and took my seat, I watched this gentleman stumble my direction, and as fate would ALWAYS have it, into the seat next to mine. He inquired as to my travel plans, and I told him I was headed for Boston. He was headed to Portland, Oregon, and he proceeded to launch into a lengthy discussion of baseball, of which I have little interest. I heard about him being a Dodgers fan as a kid, and I heard how he "divorced" that team at some point in the 80's. He asked me my feelings on the Sox, and I politely informed him that I was wearing a pair.

As we flew toward Chicago, he pointed out non-obvious things like farm fields and roads below us. Upon entering Chicago's air space, I was delighted when he showed me the Sears Tower and Lake Michigan, all with a bit of vodka on his breath. As we gathered our things to depart the aircraft, he said something about the Patriots getting beat. I replied, "Yeah, I hope so" at which point he started accusing me of being a lousy New England fan.

"No, actually I'm an Indianapolis Colts fan."
"Oh, I thought you were from Boston."
"Nope, sorry. Indy born and raised."
"Huh...how did I mess that up?"

Could be the liquor, sir.

I deplaned in Chicago for a brief stop. While awaiting my connection to Boston, I watched a well dressed woman approach the gate agent.

"I just got dripped on."

Sure enough, there was a very small bit of moisture on her shoulder. I turned toward the ceiling and noted that it was badly water damaged, but only appeared to be leaking a small amount, unfortunately over this woman's suede top. The gate agent made my list of favorite people. She was probably in her early 30's and possessed the usual flair of a public servant in the Windy City.

"Welcome to da city uh Chicago. Richaahd Daley's da mayuh."
"Will the airline pay for my dry cleaning?"
"Ma'am, you're in da O'Hare airport, owned by the city uh Chicago. Call them. The airline ain't doin' nuttin' for ya."

The lady walked off in a huff, her suede top obviously destroyed by the teaspoonful of water dispensed by Richard Daley's personally installed leaky ceiling.

They began boarding the plane, but with the caveat that it was apparently very hot on the aircraft. The pilots were delayed in arriving, and therefore the air conditioning (or more appropriately named "big germ circulation vent") had not yet been activated.

After about 10 minutes of boarding, they advised everyone not already on the plane to wait in the gate area due to the heat. I felt sorry for the poor saps who had already boarded. I boarded after a crew member had arrived to turn on the air and began getting settled for the two hour flight to Boston.

The woman next to me in the middle seat seemed friendly enough. She was flying home from Detroit after dealing with some adoption paperwork, so we talked briefly of the rigors of adoption.

We sat for a long time waiting to move. I checked my watch, and we should have departed 15 minutes ago. This wait eventually lasted a little over an hour. I was depressed because I fell asleep at one point and awakened a half hour later to discover we hadn't yet left the gate.

As we began moving FINALLY toward the runway, the kind lady next to me retrieved a surgical mask from her purse and began adjusting it to her face. I silently wondered how I ended up next to these people. I understand that planes aren't the healthiest environment, but a surgical mask? I had a flight not long ago where I sat next to a young boy whose father informed me a half hour into the flight that his son didn't have long to live. I felt bad, but I also sat there trying to figure out how I was going to avoid inhaling for the next two hours. But I still didn't don a surgical mask.

In the end, my flight landed an hour and a half late. To make matters worse, the luggage system in Boston was on the blink, and it took me 45 minutes to retrieve my baggage. I should have beaten Erin to town by a good two hours, and instead, I walked up to her gate just as she arrived.

Now we're having a lovely time touring the historical sites and breathing in the Boston air, a refreshing mix of Dunkin' Donuts and diesel fuel. Hopefully we'll have some pictures to show tomorrow. We both miss our little dude, although I missed him a little less this afternoon when I called his grandfather to inquire about how he was doing. "Man, can that kid poop" was his response, reminding me that not everything about a baby is to be missed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Bret and I head out today for a quick trip to Boston; the problem is that since we are leaving a recovering baby Grant with grandparents, it doesn't seem like a quick trip. It seems like FOUR LONG NIGHTS away from baby!

We've left Grant for many a date night, many an overnight, and let's not forget that he hangs out with grandmothers every morning as I head off to work. But, this is different. This is four nights, a thousand miles away, at the tail end of Grant being really sick (don't think for an instant that Grant's little vomit escapade at the viewing was his only episode). The kid is still drinking pedialite, and I'm skirting off to have a merry, married weekend. Let's just say that saying goodbye to him this morning wasn't easy. There were tears. Lots of them. Not from the baby.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mortified

Bret, Grant and I headed down to southern Indiana today for Bret's grandfather's viewing. It was held at their church, a church he served at faithfully for years, and it was touching to see so many people come out in support of the family.

Grant and I hung out in the nursery most of the day with an occasional trip to the sanctuary to spread some cheer. Half way through the evening, we were sitting in the back pew when I decided Grant was in need of some food, at which time I excused myself to go feed him. I was stopped in the aisle and introduced to a long time family friend, a very nice woman named Peggy.

Then it happened. It happened in slow motion. And it's been happening in my head over and over and over again since.

Projectile vomit. All over the nice lady's shoes. ALL OVER... no joke.

My face drained of color as I started stammering apologies and mopping up her shoes with a burp cloth. She was beyond gracious, telling me that she was "wash and wear," but I cannot tell you how terrible I felt. Nothing is worse than squishy wet shoes. Well, except squishy, wet vomit shoes.

Tomorrow we will return back to Bedford, sans Grant, for the memorial service. It's a heavy time for everyone as Bret's grandfather was deeply loved and sorely missed. He would have laughed pretty hard at the vomit, and that makes me smile.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Obituary

Here is the text of my grandfather's obituary, as originally printed in the Bedford Times-Mail.

Richard Dale Hawkins, MD, 84
BEDFORD — Richard Dale Hawkins, MD, 84, died on Friday, October, 12, 2007, at the Stone Bridge Health Campus in Bedford.

He was preceded in death by his parents: Hobart and Sally (Harrell) Hawkins, and by three sisters: Norma Wagner, Phyllis Lewis and Mary Marrow.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years: Jean (Hall) Hawkins, two sisters: Georgia Israel and Betty Kirkman; four children: Karen Weaver (Bill) of Birmingham, AL; Drew Hawkins (Peggy) of Greenwood, IN; Penny Hawkins Taylor of Carmel, IN, and Bret Hawkins (Barbara) of Bedford; eight grandchildren: Emily Weaver Johnson, Derek Weaver, Bret David Hawkins, Lawrence Taylor, Jr., Rachel Stiffler, Erin Taylor, Kate Hawkins, and Mary Hawkins, and five great-grandchildren: Aidan and Asher Weaver, Owen Johnson, Grant Hawkins and Brakston Taylor.

Dr. Hawkins began his education at Edwards one-room schoolhouse in Marshall Township. He attended Needmore High School, graduated in 1940 from Bedford High School, and in 1943 from DePauw University, which he attended on a Rector Scholarship. In 1946, he graduated magna cum laude from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and was inducted into AOA medical student honor society. Following an internship and residency at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, he served in the military as base pediatrician at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Following that, he practiced pediatrics at Wharton, TX, while he also taught in the Department of Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine (1949-51), and practiced in Biloxi, MS (1951-54). He returned to Bedford in 1954, where he practiced for over 25 years. In 1958, he and four other Bedford physicians founded the Edgewood Clinic, and he was instrumental in the creation in 1970 of Bedford Medical Center (BMC), becoming president of its board of directors. He also served as a consultant with Gilligan and Associates of Peoria, IL, where he was involved in the planning and construction of health care facilities in Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and New Jersey. In 1977, he became the Executive Director of the Edgewood Clinic and in 1991, took on the additional position of CEO of BMC. In 1994, he became the CEO when BMC became Bedford Regional Medical Center and remained in that position until his retirement in 1995.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Bedford, where he taught the Mary and Lazarus Sunday School class for many years and served over the years as a deacon and a member of various committees, including Pulpit, Pledge, and Building Committees. In addition to his family and church, his other interests included fishing, community, flying (private pilot), vacationing with family, and Bedford, BNL and IU basketball.

Visitation will be from 2:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. Monday, October 15th, and from 11:00 until 1:00 on Tuesday, October 16th, at the First Baptist Church (Washington Avenue and 20th Street). The funeral will be at the church at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 16th, with Dr. Kregg Burris officiating. Burial will follow in the Green Hill Cemetery.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the First Baptist Church of Bedford. Family and friends are invited to sign the guestbook and light a candle in memory of Dr. Hawkins at www.daycarter.com.

The family wishes to express its great appreciation for the extraordinary care provided by Jeannie Judah, and also for the compassionate care provided by Dr. Kamal Girgis, Bedford Regional Medical Center, the staff of Stonebridge Health Campus and Hoosier Uplands Hospice.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Papaw

Dr. Richard Dale Hawkins
July 13, 1923 - October 12, 2007

Last night, my grandfather passed away due to cancer. Having grown up with all four of my grandparents as active parts of my life, it's hard for me to imagine even one of them not being around. We were fortunate to get this picture this summer (although I suspect it will leave Grant thankful to not have the Hawkins nose and chin).

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this later, but for now, I'm just relieved that he doesn't have to struggle any longer. Our prayers go out to my grandmother, my dad, and his sisters and brother. Papaw was a larger than life figure, in many ways, and I will sorely miss him.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grant's Speech on How to Fix the World


video

All great men think in the bathtub. Right? Can't deny he's got passion!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Death by Doughnut

This morning I had to have my blood drawn for my yearly cholesterol checkup. It has been noted that when I bleed on something, it leaves a film like the inside of a Little Debbie wrapper, so I suppose a yearly checkup is necessary, but no more enjoyable none the less.

The worst part of having this test done is that it requires a 12 hour fast prior to my blood being drawn. For many people, 12 hours doesn't seem like a big deal. You stop eating at 9pm the night prior, and you have a late breakfast the next morning. For me, I'm dragging my cereal bowl around the house like a dog. I don't even handle the concept of Biblical fasting well, choosing to sleep or to think about what I'll be having for lunch during these sermons.

But I fasted like a good vascular disease patient and the blood draw was uneventful. As I returned to work, I did what any good cholesterol sufferer does and dropped by McDonalds for an Egg McAngioplasty. The drive-up line was backed up into the street (this IS Indiana, you'll recall), so I bagged it and headed for work.

After dropping my laptop off and grunting unenthusiastically at my fellow engineers, I headed for the vending machines. (We were pushing 10am by this point. It was dire.) Fearing pure chocolate might make me shaky, I looked to the bottom of the vending machines...you know, where they put the larger items like apple pies and bear claws.

The one item of any interest that remained was a single donut. It was nothing special. Just a plain old glazed donut. (Actually, I couldn't really see the donut very well, as the clear wrapper had been rendered somewhat non-translucent by whatever the donut was excreting.) I plunked in my $0.95 and out popped my round little friend.

As I began unwrapping the donut and heading for my cell, I happened to catch the "nutritional" information on the wrapper. I expected a 300 calorie, 20 grams of fat sort of hit on my heart, but what I saw left me speechless, cold, and with my left arm all a tingle.

58 grams of fat. 980 calories. I do not lie.

Now I thought for a moment about ignoring this bit of information, and downing the donut like a good Survivor contestant. I was really freaking hungry. But as I got to my desk, I saw the picture from my wedding day. I saw Grant's smiling face on my desktop. I have so much to live for! Knowing that there was little else to eat before lunch, I threw the stupid donut in my trash can. I looked at it for a second, then I threw a couple of used tissues and something off the bottom of my shoe on top of it, just to keep me from going after it later.

Erin asked me tonight why I didn't leave it at the vending machine for someone else. I told her that I couldn't deal with the blood on my hands if someone else ate that thing. It's pretty sad when a better nutritional option is a Big Mac at 10am.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Full Blown Melt Down

Well, we knew it would come. We knew at some point we'd have to get knee deep in the parenting of the boy wonder, and it came in full force the other day.

Many of you will recall that a while back we mentioned Grant's raspberry-blowing problem. It subsided because, for a long time there, he was not the world's best eater. But our little eater is back... and so are those raspberries. Back when they first made it on the scene, I don't think he really understood the word "no," but there's no excuse any longer.

So, two nights ago, when he started blowing raspberries, I swiftly (read quickly, not harshly) put a towel to his mouth and told him to stop. He endured a few rag-to-the-mouth-"we-don't-spit" routines, but then he lost it. That amazing thing called "one's will" came rearing up, and he cried (actual tears, Mom), fussed, and pounded his fists. He'd stop long enough to take another bite, start the raspberries again, be met with the, what I've dubbed, "towel no no trick," only to have him lose it again. He was so angry with me, so angry he didn't get his own way. He obviously wasn't hurting much: when the phone rang, he immediately stopped the charade to see who was calling.

On the whole, Grant continues to be an easy, easy baby, but this episode (which Bret and I had to work hard not to laugh at) was the first of many to come. The first one might be somewhat laughable, but a whiney, high maintenance child is nothing to laugh at in the future. So, I guess, let the real parenting begin.

Obviously, the earlier reprimand did little to harm his happiness for the rest of the evening.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Grant and Sermons

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment on the south side of town. Rather than make Grant's mamaw run the gauntlet of morning traffic on I-465, I decided to drop Grant off at her house, since it's only 15 minutes from my doctor's office.

Now Grant normally conks right out in the car. It's really a wonder that he's able to do so, given that his dear mommy is frequently protesting the way the vehicle is being deftly maneuvered through traffic by daddy. But none the less, he usually only lasts a few minutes before succumbing to the motion of the car. But yesterday was different, given that he'd only recently gotten out of bed. Therefore he was fired up and raring to go when we got in the van.

Now Erin and I have recently been listening to sermon's on the book of Galatians, as given by her cousin Nathan out in California. I am currently listening to Galatians 4, so I decided to listen to a few more minutes on my way to my mom's. About two minutes in, Grant started fussing. At first he was relatively subdued about it, but over the next few minutes it escalated to a relatively constant "aaaaahhhhh" as though he was falling from a high place.

While trying to avoid rear ending multiple vehicles on the freeway, I decided that perhaps the sound of Nate's voice wasn't cutting it, so I switched over to the Beach Boys. About 15 seconds later, the boy was asleep.

Now I quite enjoy Nate's preaching, but obviously everyone is entitled to an opinion. It appears that Grant has made his known. :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Welcome to the World Baby Girl!

Congrats to my cousins in sunny CA on the birth of their third daughter, June Love. Don't you just want to eat her up?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sheer Joy

This week's FFFF challenge from Lissa at Loving Lydia is Personality shots, those pictures that capture the true nature of the subject.

Grant is a happy baby. Sure, he's fussy from time to time, but truth be told, he is simply happy and greets the world with wide-eyed-wonder.

Here's my one pic that captures it best:

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bloggrrrr

The other night, the gentle whirr of my wife trying to suck air through her recently congested nasal passages was unable to lull me to sleep. Therefore I decided to get up and find something to do to make me comotose enough to fall asleep.

I decided to poke around on the web and check out some blogs by friends and family. After checking in on our family out west (who, by the way, we sorely miss and wish we got to see more often) and my good friends up in Chicago (who we also miss, but get to see slightly more regularly) I made a very dumb mistake.

This is one of those dumb mistakes that I, a seasoned computer engineer, should have known to avoid. I started clicking the little "Next Blog" button that appears up on the upper left side of our blog. DON'T PRESS IT... Wait for me to finish my tale of woe.

I started pressing that little button which takes you to random blogs within the "blogger.com" domain. At first, this was fascinating. I read some news about a guy wrecking his car in Chile. I saw some political dissent pages from Russia. I read multiple pages concerned about the situation in Iraq. I saw multiple pages in Japanese which were pink with lots of Hello Kitty stuff strewn about. (What IS it with Asians and Hello Kitty?) I saw a couple of pages that looked similar to ours...pictures of kids with dashingly handsome fathers. (Similar to Nate, Riley, and myself, right guys?)

And then it happened. I landed on the page full of ads for "hot women in the Indianapolis area" and, let's just say, male physiological enhancement. Before I was able to sigh and move on to the next page, my virus scanner started ringing like a doorbell. It was going crazy. Each time I clicked "delete" to remove whatever infected file had been transmitted to my computer, another warning popped up.

I was finally able to get my browser closed, and the virus scanner did stop complaining, but it was too late. I was in a sweat. It was slightly after midnight, and I have over 100 GB of ripped CDs sitting on my hard drive. I do NOT need a virus fouling up my precious iTunes cargo. I think Erin has some important school stuff on here as well, but that's not the point! It's my MP3s that we're talking about here!

I rebooted, hopeful that everything was fine. At first, everything looked good. No virus warnings, and the PC appeared to be content. But then I started noticing a few little weird things. These are those little weird things that I'll notice, but Erin won't, and they'll bug me. A new button in Internet Explorer. A couple of new files in the Windows directory. I started researching a bit on the web, and sure enough, the virus had left a few little pieces of itself lying fallow around my hard drive.

I decided that despite the fact that the virus scanner had prevented the virus from doing any harm, I still wanted to remove all traces of the stupid thing before it was able to reanimate itself, as these things frequently do.

To make the already long story short, I was up until 3:00am killing off the last traces of this evil website. I did manage to get it all (knock on wood), but my 6:30am conference call with China that morning was BRUTAL. I don't do well on three hours of sleep these days. Erin seems to do very well on no sleep. She has actually suggested that she should ALWAYS be the one to get up with Grant, since she functions like a well oiled machine on no sleep. Or at least that's what I THINK I heard her say.

Thankfully I got some sleep last night, so I'm in better shape today. And let this entry be a lesson to you. The wise web surfer will avoid that "Next Blog" button like a public toilet in Asia. It won't be a satisfying experience, and it will leave you with a long term stink that you'll have trouble removing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why I love Indiana

This is an easy time of year to love Indiana, and I am so thankful it comes because the summers here are hard to bear. Here in Indiana, we're experiencing an already beautiful autumn, and autumn--to me--is about as divine as it gets.

It doesn't hurt that I have a gorgeous drive to work. It takes me about 22 minutes to get to work, and the first (and last on the way home) 15 minutes of it are pristine: acres and acres of corn to be harvested (sometimes, in the process of being harvested), rolling pastures with cows, and protected park land where the trees all sport a different shade of yellow, orange (my fav) and red. It simply is majestic.

And then, there's all the festivals, the pumpkins, the football games in FREEZING weather, and the fireplaces you can smell at night. There's not a spot in the world that does autumn quite like Indiana... thankfully.

Being from California, I had never experienced a true fall, at least nothing close to the beauty of the midwest. I have family and friends who live in some of the prettiest places in the whole wide world, but I wouldn't trade them for a second when it comes to fall in Indiana. If you have ever considered a visit to the Hoosier State, you should consider October because there really is nothing prettier. Be proud, Hoosiers.

Today, Grant and I went for a hike in Eagle Creek Park (one of the country's largest municipal parks) which is just a few minutes from our house. Here are a few pics from our outing: