Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Fun

It didn't occur to me while we getting the kids ready for bed last night, but the growth of our little family is more than just the simple addition of Caroline. There is an entirely new product, maybe even exponential dimension now that she is added to the mix. Like we jumped suddenly from Shaw3 to  Shaw4 - that's a big deal. And it is a good thing to see, even though it took looking at a couple of pictures to make it sink in.

We were playing on the floor in Caroline's room, and Jack dragged out the big copy (yes, we have more than one) of Goodnight Moon.  It is less of a story and more of a poem/lullaby, the way the words and phrases weave about and repeat and suddenly come together in a soothing cadence. This edition is a particularly well-worn book, even though it is not yet two years into its hopefully long life. There was a period a couple of months ago when Jack liked to stand on it and try to rip the pages/cover off. So needless to say, it has fought its share of battles. But it is also the book we read to him nightly when he was just 6 or 7 months old, and barely big enough to turn pages, and certainly not old enough to pick his own books - which he now does, recently opting for one about fire trucks or bulldozers, or maybe Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, if he is in an introspective mood about the meaning of the universe (I mean, how else can you interpret "millions of monkeys, drumming on drums....").

But it was the funniest thing having Caroline there, because he brought it over and laid it on the floor and started flipping through the pages, narrating as he went in his lilting pidgin non-english language that we barely understand. I am pretty sure that "Li smo kat funan wip pig, li smo fat yon" means "Goodnight clocks, and goodnight socks". I was able to step back and take a picture or two, and looking at them later I realized just how big of an added dimension that Caroline brings to our lives, and to Jack's. It is fun to have a family.


Goodnight stars, Goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crime Fighter

It's just who I am.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Growth Pictures

Sweet Caroline is three weeks old today! Fortunately, we've remembered to take growth pictures along the way the same as we did with Jack. Here are the first three:


And now for Week 3, hot off the presses:

As you can tell, she's plumping up quite nicely.. ;-) That's my girl!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I love that movie, but law school was continually marred by professor's use of My Cousin Vinnie as a substantive reference of how to be a lawyer. C'mon, Profs. It's a movie. We are paying you money to show us how to do it for real. Come up with some new examples, for chrissake!

Now on to business: Doc and I have been repeatedly struck over the last few days by the striking (well, duh) similarity between our two kids, particularly at the coupla-weeks-old newborn stage. If I had to pick who Caroline resembles of the two of us, I'd say "neither" - but she is a spitting image of young Jack. Q.E.D.:

Can you see the resemblance? It is really uncanny. I need to try to take some similar pictures for comparison, before she gets too chubby. Speaking of which, little Caroline gained over a pound in her first five days since she left the hospital, and I wouldn't be surprised if she breaks 9# when she goes in for her checkup after Labor Day. She is eating like a champ. Next goal: sleeping!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Matilda's New Clothes

Faithful readers:

You will notice as you read this post that Waltzing Matilda has gone through a recent redesign. I have been trying out some of Blogger's new design templates, primarily to increase the width of the post column to support the 16:9 YouTube format. I know you will miss the custom photo header of the old design, but rest assured that the photo backdrop you see is just another in the series of pictures I took along the Black Mountain Crest Trail, looking West over the Cane River valley, just north of Mount Mitchell.

I am interested to get your feedback about the new formatting, the readability and how the blog displays in your browser. We're happy to receive your remarks in the Comments section, and if there is something that looks effed up on your screen, please let me know what browser/resolution/etc you are using.

The Management

There's a Wocket in my Pocket

Well, I am actually not quite sure about the Wocket, but I am quite certain there's a Jertain in the Curtain:

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Power of Facebook

So, I have posted before about my unbridled eagerness for more blog statistics, which Google/Blogger has handily provides with their built-in stats tool. And I have watched with excitement as people the world-over travel to Waltzing Matilda at the rate of about 25 people per day. But as cool as the stats are, they don't make their own traffic.

WM gets a lot of referrals from the Schueler's, the Williams', and Meredith Daniels, as well as random Google searches that stumble across our unique, varied, and enigmatic content. But imagine my surprise to log on today and see over 250 pageviews yesterday! Thanks to Rachel's Facebook post highlighting Callie and Caroline's recent photo shoot, over 100-something different people clicked the link.

Just goes to show, you can put whatever you want on the internet and it will just languish in semi-oblivion. But as soon as you dump it into the stream of social media with your stamp of approval, you might just hit the jackpot.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A tale of two (military history) books:

After reading the excellent war fiction Killing Rommel, I pulled the trigger on another North Africa campaign book, this one the recent military history text by rick Atkinson, Army at Dawn. The class of warriors that led us through the breach WWII are leaving us at the cyclic rate these days, to the detriment of our corporate knowledge and experience. I thought that North Africa would be a good topic, for it is where our Army as a world power was first bloodied - the dogfaces that stormed ashore at Omaha and Utah had first gotten their blood up at places like Kasserine and Sidi bou Zid. Sure, the Marines got bloody noses at every island in the Pacific from early '42 onward, but that had been happening to the Marines for years during the interwar period anyway.

An Army at Dawn skips the majority of the British Eighth Army's retreat to and subsequent drive out of El Alamein and begins with the Allied invasion landings at Morocco and Algiers. Atkinson ably chronologizes the personalities of the key characters of Operation Torch and devotes some time to the political and diplomatic interplay that form the underpinnings of any tactical maneuver of that size. Because of this, the focus on generals and interpersonal strife of the key players (which I grant is a key element of how things turn out in this sort of event), rather than the big blue arrows on the battlefield or the average Joe mucking it out, I had a hard time getting into this book. It is well researched and annotated, and provides a terrific bird-eye view of the strategic and operational levels. But it just wasn't a bell-ringer for me, although I'll try out the other two books in the trilogy just for res gestae's sake. To be quite honest, what really through me from the beginning was a writing style that was cumbersome and unreadable, with ridiculously long sentences and poorly chosen transition words. I recognize this might be law school speaking, but I just felt like I was slogging through each page.

On the other hand, although I have gotten just 30 pages into The Road to Guilford Courthouse, I can already tell it will be a favorite. Despite writing about the 18th century campaign of the British in the Colonial South, the pages fly by like the minutes in a battle and you quickly find yourself much more engaged than you anticipated. This single volume account of the American Revolution as it unfolded in the souther colonies of the Carolinas addresses an oft-overlooked aspect of that fight. Like John Keegan, Buchanan focuses on the sociological makeup of the armies involved and the civilizations that fielded them in searching for connections between similar results. It helps that the terrain is very familiar - from the battle of Fort Sullivan (later Fort Moultrie) and skirmishes at Breach Inlet, to landings at Seabrook and fighting at Cowpens and Greensboro, this is a story that unfolds in the backyard of my upbringing. I am looking forward to finishing this one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Little Sisters

It has been really fun to watch Jackson try to come into his own as a big brother over the past week, even though he still doesn't quite get the full import of what has just happened to his life. Just tonight, he got visible pleasure from making sure that Caroline's swing was rocking visibly, that the built-in rasta music was at a volume which she was certain to hear, and that she had as many pacifiers as she might need stuffed in her mouth.

I think being a big brother is probably a harder task than it gets credit for - it certainly seems more challenging in retrospect for me, because I have to wonder what sort of effect I had on my little sisters. Lord knows you don't get an instruction manual (which Shaw men have an impeccable track record of reading before departing on any task). I think it is easy to be selfish as a kid and damn-near impossible to see your own actions in the greater context of a family that is all growing up together. But somehow it all works out in the end (hopefully).

I stumbled across this picture of me and Sara at some point early in our childhood - possibly when it was just the two of us. It is a fun picture to look at, but probably wouldn't have been as pleasant if it was taken after I hid her favorite doll for several hours, a prank that I was prone to repeat every couple of months. Still, I do really enjoy having sisters and I think that Jack's gentle soul has the makings of a good older brother. Even though he is a little more stressed out this week than on last Tuesday (maybe he just got spoiled by being at Bud and Nana's, or maybe he is acting out a bit), he still is (relatively) gentle and considerate of Caroline. So far, he directs most of his angst to me or mommy, and treats her with equal parts awe and the sort of curiosity one brings to biology lab on dissection day.

Good luck, little guy. It's a tall order to be a good big brother, but I'll be with you the whole way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to Work

Matilda reported this morning for a little bit 'o reserve duty, but not before taking a few pics of the little guy in my boots.

"Do I really have to go to work today?"

Friday, August 6, 2010

And then there were four...

Little Caroline Grace, sleeping soundly at 2 days old.
We are proud to announce the arrival of our family's newest addition. Our sweet little daughter, Caroline Grace, was born August 4, 2010 at 12:02am weighing in at 6lbs 5oz and 18.75inches long. She is an entire pound bigger than her brother but still quite petite and it has been eye-opening being re-introduced to the world of newborn sizes. Big brother is so far fascinated by her and loves to pat her head and say "Sissy" which is the first word he has ever said on command. She shares the same birthday as Dean the Dog, who has embraced his new spot down on tier five.

Big Brother Jack meets his little Sissy for the first time!

Matilda and I are both over the moon and petrified about now being a family of four with all the adventures that lay in store for us. Our 4th wedding anniversary is right around the corner and we can hardly believe all we have squeezed into this quartet of amazing years.

Here's to our beautiful children and how insanely happy they have made us.