Friday, November 30, 2007

Brian McFeely, Musical Genius. Erin McMiller, Captive Audience.

Finally, someone who appreciates my music. During the change of a poopy diaper tonight, I came up with a little ditty that Erin just loved. All on my own. Because I'm a musical prodigy. Finally. At 33 years of age.

Sung to the tune of nothing I recognize:

"Poo poo poop,
Poo poo poop.
Poo poo poop,
Poo poo poop.
Poo poo poop,
Poo poo poop.
Poop poop poo poo pooooooop.
All songs copyright Brian McFeely 2007."

As you can see from the above picture, Erin has been smiling for the past two weeks. She's got a great smile, and all it takes is some clever lyrics using words she's familiar with.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chocolate's not just for breakfast.

Lil' E and Ms. A met Christie and Henry (pictured) at Via Delizia for "lunch" today. Yes, gelato, mochas, hot chocolates, and chocolate cake count as lunch. Must say the gelato was perfect - creamy, no traces of ice, perfectly smooth with balanced flavors. The cake enjoyed by Christie appeared wonderfully gooey and very attractive complete with a sugar monkey. While not sampled by our table, the panini looked very fresh, flavorful, and reasonably priced. The comfortable environment made for a great visit - we were free to chat, take our time, enjoy the afternoon. And since both the little 'uns had lunch as well, the establishment is very breast-feeding friendly. But then again, this is Portland.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Erin's First Threepeat

(Opening the third diaper of the session)
Brian: "Hey there, sweetie, you sure are prolific!"
(Wiping Erin's hindquarters)
Brian: "Do you know what prolific means?"
(Attaches the diaper tabs to the front of the diaper)
Brian: "Well your butt sure does."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Polite dinner conversation

Grandparent #1: The exchange rate hit $1.50 per
Euro today.

Ms. A: Wow. Bummer for travel, but that's really good for the US export market.

Grandparent #2: Hmm. What is the main export for the US?

Mr. B: Hegemony.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This. Is. War.

Meet Steve. This is the first kitty in the McMiller household when he was a baby. (He's now 2 1/2 and not as fuzzy, but still cute.) It is my humble opinion that Steve was the cutest kitten ever. Don't believe me? Check this out:

Kitten War!

There. I've met my quota for warm fuzzies today.

Many thanks to S.N. for the link.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This counts as a date!

Last night, we actually cooked something for the first time in over a month. Never mind that it was potatoes from our CSA that made its last veggie box drop in early October. We cooked, darnit, and it was delicious! Who can resist stick-to-yer-ribs comfortfood scalloped potatoes with cheese?

To top it off we watched two ENTIRE movies, start to finish, without significant breaks. Will wonders never cease? Sat. night was "Sicko", followed on Sunday by "Michael Moore Hates America." Both are recommended - the former being a commentary on the US health care system, the latter being at first an expose on the rotund docomentarian but quickly morphing into an introspective work on the act of creating a documentary film. An interesting quote (not 100% correct): "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity." The McMiller household believes in fair, balanced entertainment.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Siblings Visit

Alternate Title: Those Siblings Who Can Easily Travel Because They Currently Do Not Have Children Visit

So, we had a great visit last weekend with Sharon, Matt, David, and Linnea.

They stayed that the Travelodge out on 82nd Avenue, which Sharon and Matt report was a great place for a great price on Friday but which they and David and Linnea described as "the crack hotel" after spending Saturday night. I think the whole thing hinged upon the simple fact that David and Linnea were pissed because the night they were there the hotel ran out of doughnuts in the morning. Please note the review half way down this page.

Anywho, Saturday we took a walk in the park, went to Saturday Market, checked out the waterfront, then came home for fajitas and, most importantly for Ashleigh, cervezas. Then, I had an opportunity to show Dave (using our new super-duper Tivo technology) why 30 Rock is vastly superior to Scrubs.

Sunday morning we went over to Drew's to watch him prepare to brew some beer with Josh, then we hit a fancy lunch at Zupan's with Mark and Erik. Cupcakes were had from Saint Cupcake, and then the party had to go their separate ways.

Big weekend. Good weekend.

Encouraging Words

B: "Oh, yes, you're a little princess, aren't you? (Pause, thinking). A karate princess. With a PhD. In astrophysics. A karate princess with a PhD."
A: "Way to go, Erin!"

Grandma McFeely Visits

Two weeks ago Grandma McFeely was here to kindly help out. There was cooking, there was cleaning, there was great conversation, and, of course, there was walking Erin around at midnight while Erin spends hours trying to break the world record for baby decibel level:

Grandma Carol: "Erin, Erin, why are you crying? What's wrong?"
Pappa Brian: "You sure you don't want earplugs, Mom? They sure help."

(As you can see from the above exchange, I've sort of decided I have to sort of steel myself during these colicky periods. These plaintive cries would kill a softer man. On a good note, life with Erin has been so much better the past week or so. Keep your fingers crossed!)

The week with Mom went great. We ate great (I mean, just check out the great spread in the pic above), the ladies had a fun time together, and, as a nice bonus, the weather was pleasant. We were fortunate to be able to have my mom spend this time with us. Yay, family!

And, props to my dad for giving my mom the opportunity to come up solo. OK, Dad, you're next!

Babies... Just Like Us!

We've just discovered that babies are Just Like Us!

They watch TV!

They have Social Security Numbers!

They go bald!

They make stinky poops!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I like it raw.

Mmmmmm... sushi. One of the things I greatly missed while pregnant. That and delicious, hoppy beer. So a few nights ago we splurged and spent half of our generous Delivered Dish gift certificate (thank you, Tripwire!) on a sushi feast from some local purveyor. My was it delicious. The salmon had just that buttery sweetness, the spicy tuna was creamy, zesty, crisp. And then I didn't taste the rest but ate it over the next two hours in stolen swallows. See, the critter (a.k.a. Erin, a.k.a Angry Badger) likes to have lots of attention in the evening hours, making mealtime more like prolonged snack time. But man it was delicious.

For those of you interested in reading a sharp op-ed piece on prohibition of sushi during pregnancy, I ask you to look at this NYT piece. The part that really hit home was the cultural insensitivity aspect. That never occurred to me. Still, I refrained because, well, it's so hard to get out of that guilt-laden, puritanical mindset of "no risk is too small".

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Erin On Safari

Whew! Just back from our exotic, day-long African safari. We saw giraffes, parrots, and tigers. It was pretty awesome.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Achtung Adult

OK, there's something on my mind, and I'm going to just come out and say it. I'm going to stand up before the Church of the Child, and just say it, just let the truth be told.

Here it is: having a newborn is hell. Yep, you heard it right: having a newborn is hell. Consider this a warning, all ye future parents!

They don't laugh at your clever jokes or silly faces. All your good material? Wasted on them. I'm thinking of instituting a two-drink minimum with Erin before I give her my good jokes.

Newborns never smile. I'll say it again for those, like myself, didn't know this: newborns never smile. The only facial expressions they have are (a) blank, (b) vaguely curious, (c) crying, and, eventually, (d) screaming. They will track your face with their eyes after a few weeks, but they don't really interact with you in any way you're familiar with.

The only power you have to influence the way they feel is to (a) feed them, (b) change them, or (c) hold them. And other times, especially at night, none of these three have any affect on the child. It sort of leaves you helpless -- at times there's nothing you can do to help your screaming child. It's pretty heartbreaking.

They don't give a crap about your sleeping schedule, your need to show up reasonably alert for work, or the sensitivity of your eardrums.

This thought really occurred to me as Erin (just three weeks old) started to interact more with us. Nothing that you can really point to, but I just get this feeling that within the past few days she reacts more to my facial expressions and tone of voice. The change really spelled out for me how hard it was to interact with her only the week before.

Of course, it's sort of stupid of me to expect to have a deep, complex inter-personal relationship with someone who has been in the world less than a month. It probably says I needed to get out more.

Before having the baby, I had one person, one, who said that the first months are "tough". And, I suppose if you include Anne Lamott with her terrifying "Operating Instructions", two. Now that we have Erin, people are now, um, feeling free to tell us their horror stories. I've even pressed people who have now changed their tune from, "Brian, the first few weeks were just magical, I really cherished them." to "Oh, crap, you're right. I guess I forgot." Sure you have.

I'm sure I'm on my way to pariah-dom for publishing this, however, it's how things are going. Our little Ms. Fussypants is lucky she's so cute. Very lucky.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Millers Visit

Week 3 of Erin's life featured a visit by Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Heath Miller. Their presence was invaluable. For six nights and days we were fed, laundered, vacuumed, dusted, tidied, napped, and much more thanks to them. Highlights included Erin's first bottle, Erin's 2-week doctor's office visit, and the eternally memorable Erin's first trip to Costco. Plus they brought some choice movies such as "Runaway Jury", "Thirteen Days", and "Young Frankenstein." We enjoyed their company, greatly apprappreciated their assistance and had a great time.

Let's hear it for family!

Prime Minister McMiller

B: "You know, she looks like Winston Churchill in drag."

A: "Yep."

Another friend: "We need to get her a small cigar."