Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lego Time

Do you realize how fun it is to play with Legos? Why did I ever grow up and go to law school, when I could have been staying home playing with these multi-colored snap-together wonders of modern engineering?

Look what I built last night:

Jack helped me take it apart later - it turns out that is his specialty. It's funny, he seems to have a peculiar disposition that requires things to not stay connected, stored, boxed or in place. From the very minute we got him some toy blocks, he was just totally dissatisfied when the blocks were in their container and he had to take them out. Same deal with the Legos - it his absolute mission to disconnect each and every one from the other. We though it was a great idea to get these neat storage baskets that fit right under the changing table, so we could store extra diapers and wipes and stuff. Apparently, the only thing that is an even better idea is whatever gets in Jack's head when we put him on the floor - he heads right for them with his gimp-legged little gangster lean and triumphantly pulls out the baskets, emptying their contents all over the floor.

Between that and Legos, I hope he finds his calling. I'm thinking demolition.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mmmm... Donuts!

Jack came home from daycare yesterday in quite a different outfit than he went away in. For an 11-month old, this is not entirely out of the ordinary. I think it was Ronald Reagan that said "Government is much like an Infant - just one big alimentary canal with an insatiable appetite on one end, and very little discipline at the other."

It was out of ordinary curiosity that I asked what my wunderkind had gotten into this day. Miss Vickie belted out a laugh, and informed me that it had been another little fellow's birthday, and to celebrate a whole passel of Krispy Kreme doughnuts had been trucked in for the kiddies. Unfortunately for his peers, I think Jackson quickly discovered the glory of Krispy Kremes and apparently left "no crumb uneaten," to such an extreme that he was so soiled with sugary goo that he needed a new outfit in order to carry on.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekend with Mom

Stephen spent this beautiful snowy weekend in Washington DC so Jack and I got to have two entire days all to ourselves. My, what one can learn in a weekend...

I don't know if it's just that Jack is growing at lightning speeds or I haven't really had the chance lately to spend 48 straight hours completely dedicated to being with him, but I swear I learned so much about him this weekend that I didn't know.

For starters, he can walk. Well, sort of. He can take a few unassisted steps before lunging at his stuffed animals...or me. He can sing. We were watching Faith Hill's Christmas Special and I realized as I was humming along that he was too. He can spin in circles on his bum. For hours. He loves, and I mean loves, to hear me make animal noises. Quack quack is his favorite. Arf arf is second. He smiles
with all of his teeth, now, and he gives of that smile freely. He will never go outside a 20 foot radius from me although he likes to get just out of sight long enough for me to say, "Where's Jack?" and he comes flying around the corner and into my lap. He needs periodic and regular hugs, about every 5-1o minutes. When upset, he has to be sitting in my lap. Not just touching me or sitting next to me, but on my lap squarely. If he's really upset, whilst on my lap, he needs to suck his thumb and hold his monkey at the same time for at least 1 minute.

He giggles at himself (or something that none of the rest of us can see) all the time. When he concentrates, he breathes very loudly and deliberately out of his nose and then laughs about it. He can say "Ma-ma" "Dad-dee" "Da-da" "Dean-Da" and "neh neh" (which is "more"). He loves to look out the window and watch birds or people or just the wind blow through the trees. He is very tenderhearted and likes constant reassurance. He understands "no no" and will almost always obey it after the 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) "did you really mean no, exactly?"
attempt. And when he goes back to said "no no" object after a few minutes, he always looks at me first to be sure I still mean it.

He loves my cell phone and now when I say, "Can you call Daddy?" he will put it up to his ear and smile. He will throw a ball back and forth for upwards of 5 minutes, which is an eternity for a 10 month old. He will even add Dean into the throwing party and Dean will very politely sit and roll it back. Speaking of Dean, he likes to share his food with him, either by handing it to him or letting Dean eat it out of his mouth. He likes to get my attention by saying, "Aya ya ya!" and
laughing when I look over at him and say, "Is that so?" He loves bath time but isn't a big fan of teeth-brushing time. He will take a nap without a fuss as long as I put two books in his crib with him. He likes to flirt with ladies at the store, especially the large ones.

I know he is only 10 months old, but I can already see the kind of person he is going to become and it is exactly like his father. His heart is big and soft. He thrives on affection and sweet conversation. He does not like to have someone cross with him. He will be funny and love to laugh. He will be awkward at first and because of that he will need some help to be as confident as he can be. He will never be arrogant. He will always need my hugs. At least I hope so.

I love you, Jackson. More today than yesterday and more tomorrow than ever before. Thank you for such a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

It's finally that time of year again - lights are on houses, the garland's on lintels, festive wreaths garnish candle-lit windows - and in the yards of some of our more tasteless neighbors, those big stupid inflatable Christmas lawn decorations. Well, at least out-of-towners aren't yet paying good money just to tour the neighboorhood.

Christmas is one of the finest times of the year, much like Independence Day smack in the middle of summer. Solstice is just around the corner, gingerbread and nutmeg cookies start popping up in the kitchen, the air has that certain snap (when it's not raining). Children go to sleep dreaming of sugarplum fairies, parents scheme and plan to get things just right. Everyone looks forward to family, food and fun that so characterize the season. But you know what is the absolute best thing about Christmas?

Santa's coming...


(not everyone is quite as excited as Jack).

Happy Holidays!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All Songs Considered: NPR's Best Songs of 2009

I love NPR. Everytime I get so tired of the s-o-s that is on conventional radio (read: ClearChannel Comm.) and the same top 40 country and pop and rock and whatnot, I suddenly realize that I should be listening to NPR and WUNC (also, WNCW!) That lasts for a week or so until I'm stuck in traffic and want to hear why and I switch back to something else.

One of the great features of NPR is the website, where they archive previous features so you can go back and listen to that really neat Story or All Things Considered you heard while driving but couldn't write down. Or even, the new song you heard and you have no idea how to find it again. Imagine my glee when a good friend pointed me to this: NPR Listener's Best Songs of 2009.

Really, this is a good list - The Avett Bros., Neko Case, The Decemberists, Wilco, Regina Spektor - plus a bunch of others. This will be on my playlist for some time.

Reader Challenge: Post to comments with your favorite song / album of 2009, or alternatively the CD (mild laughter) that you want most for Xmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Remember the Maine!

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."

Franklin D. Roosevelt - December 8, 1941

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Baby's a Winner

So its a boys weekend in the Matilda household - just me, Jack and Dean-o. I think we'll survive, but we sure do miss our girl. Guess we'll just have to watch a lot of basketball on TV.

Doc took off to Asheville NC for the NC Academy of Family Physicians Winter Conference. Besides getting to spend this weekend at the Grove Park Inn drooling over all of the yummy gingerbread houses, she's fixin' to get honorificated for all of her good works. That's right, loyal readers - Doc has been awarded the Most Outstanding Resident of the Year by the NCAFP for Moses Cone. That's pretty sweet, and definitely an honor she deserves.

Doc, first day on the job in July 2007. She was
the Most Outstanding from the very beginning.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blogging While Studying

I heard that an addendum to NC's new Texting While Driving Law (more blog posts about this ridiculous thing later) is a general prohibition against Blogging While Studying. Needless to say, I am up to my eyelids in Secured Transactions, Environmental Law, Estate and Gift Taxation, and Family Law (all coming up within the next week). Yay.

Fortunately for my morale, my lovely wife and the ever-beautiful Aunt Rachel dropped by the library and dropped off Jack so they could go giggle together. Not wanting to have anything to do with "girl talk," my boy immediately plunged into the stacks and started researching caselaw to help out his daddy.

Jack: "You can just call me 836 F. Supp. 1342"
Good boy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thirty one reasons

1) I love your Barry White voice and how little old ladies melt when you talk.

2) I love that you can bench press me, even if you do workouts named after other women.

3) I love your crooked smile that you give about freely and the twinkle in your eye when you're trying to get something you know you shouldn't have.

4) I love how you can stand up and give a fire-cracker speech about absolutely anything off the cuff.

5) I love your ingenuity and watching you fix just about anything, except maybe the toilet.

6) I love how well you can pack 1000 square feet of my luggage into our car.

7) I love that you don't (usually) complain about my excessive luggage.

8) I love you for that first picnic and that first run in the rain.

9) I love your hair and all the different directions it points at various times of the day.

10) I love the conversations we have in the middle of the night when you are sleepwalking, even when you tell me to go get into the dishwasher.

11) I love you for that time at your apartment right after graduation when you made everything perfect.

12) I love you because you've loved me since before I knew it and still now when sometimes I don't deserve it.

13) I love you because you're so funny, even when you don't mean to be.

14) I love you because you're _always_ happy and that makes me happy.

15) I love how tenderhearted you are and that you've given that trait to our son.

16) I love your height and that somehow you make my giant frame feel dainty.

17) I love your laugh, especially when it's so hard you can't breathe.

18) I love how you chase our son with as much joy as he gets from crawling away from you.

19) I love your sense of direction and your ability to tell which way is North just by looking out the window.

20) I love that you've fought overseas for our country just because you thought it was the right thing to do but gave it up when I asked you to.

21) I love that you know how to kill a man with your hands but that you have the most gentle soul of anyone I've ever known.

22) I love your unparalleled integrity.

23) I love that we have the same music tastes and I adore that I can predict when you're going to belt out to Willy Nelson or Johnny Cash when you start banging on the steering wheel.

24) I love how open you are to trying new things, even if they are green and leafy.

25) I love that you hate to argue and love to make up.

26) I love that our son has you as the example for all that a man is supposed to be.

27) I love how selfless you are no matter how tired or hungry or pained you are.

28) I love your cooking.

29) I love that you are my partner in absolutely everything and that being with you is the only place I really ever want to be.

30) I love how endless your memory is and how much of an asset you are when I need to impress someone.

31) I love you because I always have, beyond my understanding, and always will, beyond this life and the next.

Happy Birthday, dearest.
I love you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yum yum, eat 'em up

Thanksgiving 2009 has been a fabulous holiday. Not only were we able to see both of our families and have some wonderful quality time with the grandparents, but we've all eaten like kings. My brother roasted the juiciest most delicious turkey I think I've ever tasted and Jackson devoured it like his father's true son.

I think the thing I'm most thankful for this year (and every day) is my family. I simply could not be more blessed. My mother is such a peaceful, patient, creative, and open woman. She has a unique way of making playtime both entertaining and educational. I thought learning the state capitals growing up was what all kids did for fun. She routinely turned our power off to the house so we could cook s'mores over candles and play Yahtzee as a family by lantern light. She never missed a volleyball game or a school play or even a poster presentation and she would always sit patiently with a book whenever I was running late without so much as a cross word. She is The Most Positive Person I have ever known and is always happy to see me. And never have I been more impressed and proud and happy to have her in my life than when I watch her with my son.

She makes his eyes light up with all the adventures she is promising him.

I love her.

No one ever gets so blessed twice. But somehow, I slipped by fate and pulled out the golden ticket because my parents-in-law are just as amazing and adorable. My mother-in-law, aka Nana, is the one person in the world I would want in a crisis. She makes an octopus look handicapped with how easily she can multi-task. She is so kind and considerate and thoughtful. She is the epitome of generosity. I'll never forget watching her speak at her father's funeral when no one else could keep it together. She was poised, graceful, and full of peace. She has the strongest faith of anyone I've ever known. She has so much to offer my children.

I love her.

And then there's my father-in-law, aka Grandpa Bud. You have never heard a laugh so real and joyous and infectious until you have heard Bud guffaw. He thoroughly enjoys himself at all times and has shown me the importance of using the good china every day. Live life to the fullest is his motto. He is genuine and thoughtful and warm and a trueblooded Tarheel. He loves an adventure but is so pleasantly practical that he is easy to be around. Jackson has a special look for Bud that I have yet to figure out fully but most definitely has a mischievous gleam to it.

I love him, too.

And then there's my lovely husband...

Well, that's a blog entry for another time.

I am thankful for my family and my friends. My son and my husband. My health and my talents. My past and my future. Those still here with me and those that have already gone topside. And I'm hoping you have just as many blessings in your life this Thanksgiving as I.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Into the mouths of babes

Jackson loves our dog, Dean. In fact, we're 75% sure Jackson's first word is Dean Dog, well more like "Dee Da." He is always looking for him, particularly at meal times.
And Dean reciprocates the affection by licking him at every single chance he can get.

He likes him so much that I think he is starting to imitate him. I know I know, this is the oral fixation age. But still, the kid constantly has something in his mouth and it's not just for the enjoyment of chewing. He chomps down on things and carries them around the house that way.
I have stopped putting socks on him before we actually arrive at daycare because his left one always ends up in his mouth by the time we get there.

His absolute favorite thing to carry around in his mouth, though, is his lavender screeching monkey. We have tried to get it away from him long enough to wash it, but we're both scared that washing it will take away the stench that Jackson loves so much.
Thing is, Monkey has been discontinued so we have to wash him one of these days before we're arrested for child endangerment...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Front Toward Enemy - The Grand Finale

I thought I was clever when I picked out my own shirt this morning. Daddy laid me on a pile of clean laundry and I came up with this one in my hands, the one that Uncle Matt got me. Pretty cool, huh? You don't often see a 10-month-old (well, almost) with a M18A1 Claymore Anti-personnel Mine on his shirt.

What Mommy didn't know was just how clever I really was. No sooner than our happy tribe had arrived at the furniture salvage store, my gut totally rejected the Chicken and Noodle I had for lunch, plus the avocado and goldfish and yogurt I had for a snack. It was totally gnarly - yellow projectile vomit was flying everywhere, on the car and mom's foot and all over the parking lot. I thought it was at least pretty polite that I waited until we were out of the car, y'know?

Dean was with us, but Daddy wouldn't let him help clean it up. He said something about "embarrasing" but I don't know what that means. Anyway. There's plenty more where that came from.

Rock on, little readers. And remember this excerpt from life's little instruction book: Front Toward Enemy!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Welcoming Sidney

We are so proud to announce the newest member of our family, our beautiful and healthy niece:

Miss Sidney Janet Nicholas.

Mom, dad, and baby are all doing splendidly well and enjoying their new little family. On an interesting history side note (and I'm sure this had nothing to do with how she was named) some references suggest the name Sidney is derived from Saint Denis, the patron saint of France. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, which are a group of saints venerated together in the Catholic church because their intercession was thought to be particularly effective against various diseases. Saint Denis is invoked against diabolical possession and headaches. So, perhaps Sidney will follow in her mother's footsteps as a healer? Either way, I know who I'm calling the next time I run across a diabolical possession....

Welcome to the world, Sidney.
We love you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10th, 1775

Happy Birthday, Marines!

(and kudos to Maj Smith for making a guest appearance at 0:25!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vive la Revolucion

Twenty years ago today fell the Berlin Wall:

In 1988, according to the global liberty watchdog Freedom House, just 36 percent of the world’s 167 independent countries were “free,” 23 percent were “partly free,” and 41 percent were “not free.” By 2008, not only were there 26 additional countries (including such new “free” entities as Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia), but the ratios had reversed: 46 percent were “free,” 32 percent were “partly free,” and just 22 percent were “not free.” There were only 69 electoral democracies in 1989; by 2008 their ranks had swelled to 119.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Good Day with Grandpa

Man, it was nice outside today. We got to hang out for a while with Bud and I think Jack had a good time. I know his grandaddy enjoyed it!

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