Both of James's grandmothers make it a point to see James once a month. This is doubly lovely for us because that means that two weekends a month we get to spend time with our mothers, and James get showered with even more attention. Here are a few favorite photos from the last four visits.
New Years Day with Grandma Kathy
January kisses for Grandma
January visit from Nana Ana
February visit from Grandma Kathy
Nana rocking James to sleep at nap time in February
I got to meet Hudson the first week after he was born. I think that's the fastest I've ever been able to see a baby. I was shocked by his tininess even though he was a normal 7 pounds plus. I'm not sure I'd ever seen a baby that small, since even James was born at almost 10 pounds! He's adorable and I think he looks like his mother's family right now, but I know them better, so perhaps I'm partial. I'm totally in love with the little guy and I'm looking forward to my next visit. Luckily they live nearby.
Can you see the love here?
Christina is lucky to have her mom helping for the first two months!
My wife watches a lot of what I consider to be good television. She watches dramas like Mad Men and she watches comedies like Modern Family. She also has a seemingly insatiable appetite for terrible television, which three factors have conspired to bring out in horrifying fashion.
Factor #1: DVR. Because FIOS is cheaper than Time Warner, I felt justified in paying extra for DVR technology, which has emboldened my wife to record shows she would never risk the shame of watching in real time. Did you know, for instance, that there are several programs about families with at least ten children? That there are several programs about people with hoarding disorders? That my wife has watched, or is currently watching, all of these programs?
Factor #2: Netflix streaming. With the assistance of the Roku box, my wife is able to stream some of the worst programs, documentaries, and films ever created. Many of these shows nobody has ever heard of, including the people involved in the acting, production, and distribution (I leave out writing because these shows could not possibly have employed writers). It is not uncommon to find my wife on Episode 72 of a show that not a single person alive has seen.
Factor #3: James. At the age of ten months, James does exactly two things: (1) run into things and (2) cry about having run into things. If you put James in a rubber room with no furniture, he would run into the rubber wall, cry about having run into the rubber wall, and begin licking the rubber while also crying. While James does the two things he does, my wife often watches television.
What does my wife complain about? You're not going to believe this, but there are a few things. She complains about my skill operating the DVR. I fast forward too fast. That's an actual complaint. When I offer to let her operate the DVR, she complains that I won't do it for her.
She complains that I turn off the television when she's not watching it. The idea is that she might want to watch it again soon, and if she does, what is she supposed to do? Turn it back on??? My wife mistakes energy efficiency for not caring. We had a conversation about this.
She complains that Netflix doesn't offer closed captioning, an essential when James is crying on the floor, which again is half of the time. This is not a complaint against me, but my wife sees Netflix's lack of closed captioning as one of the singular injustices of the modern world.
1) Unplug television
2) Never turn off television, practice DVRing, hire a stenographer to write transcript of Netflix dialogue
Holy cow, James's birthday feels like it's just around the corner and I haven't made any plans yet! Will you guys come to my place the weekend of April 28th to celebrate?
James at 10 months
James is 10 months old as of Monday and 44 weeks as of Wednesday. And wow, I think he's officially a "toddler" already. "Infant" doesn't seem right for a child who walks and gets into so much trouble.
Moving- James is walking quickly! He zips from the living room down the hall into our bedroom faster than I can get up to follow him. We mainly keep all the doors closed, but sometimes he manages to wiggle into a room and shut the door behind him. This takes a while to remedy because he usually just sits behind the door and I don't want to hurt him, so I can't just knock him out of the way.
Sleep- James has been sleeping through the night for a full month now! James sleeps in his crib from 7:30 p.m. to 5 or 6 a.m. I'm off the night shift now, so I'm doing half the morning shifts. (After I wrote this, he slept horribly on the night of 2/21 so I had to get up at 4 a.m.) Now that I'm spoiled with him sleeping at night, I've moved on to complaining about how we have to hold him while naps two or three times a day. James, it's time to learn to sleep in the crib and give your mother a break!
Eating- James eats anything and everything. His favorite foods are still apples, bananas, oatmeal, wheat bread, mango baby food, yogurt, and sweet potatoes. He's tried a little chicken here and there but it doesn't rock his world. Though he liked chicken better when it was Pad Thai-flavored. That's right, he's being raised to be an international food lover. He's experimenting with a sippy cup but hasn't quite figured it out yet.
Nice try at eating
Growth- James had a quick doctors appointment this month with no vaccines or blood work. (Lucky him!) The doctor measured him at 31 inches tall (perhaps an extra inch than he deserves) and 22 pounds and 10 ounces. Even at 30 inches though, he's reached half my height already! He's in 12-month shirts now because of his arm-length but in different size pants depending on the cut. I had to put all his 9-month stuff away yesterday and it was a little sad. James has two top teeth and two bottom ones, and three new ones coming out next to the ones he has.
Look, 4 teeth!
Social- Nothing much has changed here. He wants constant attention from both me and Kevin, simultaneously.
Language- James definitely understands the word "no." Whether he chooses to respect it is another thing entirely. He still doesn't really say any words, but the doctor said that since he's being raised bilingually we can expect up to a four month delay on the regular timing of things. So he probably won't be saying anything until he's at least 14 months.
I've taken a little break from reading to him because he's obsessed with eating the books. I've hid most of his books and replaced them with "bath books" than he can chew on without consuming.
Enjoying the photos on the fridge (paci backwards)
Games, Toys, and Trouble-making- James still loves his cause-and-effect and music-making toys. He also likes trying to pass a ball back and forth. He still plays his own made-up version of croquet. He still loves to pull all our books off the shelves, opening drawers and emptying the contents onto the floor. He's gotten really tricky at stealing the TV remotes from us.
Favorites- He still loves the Itsy Bitsy Spider so much we have to sing it sparingly so as not to drive him crazy with joy. He continues to rock his pacifier backwards as he thinks the hard part is better for teething. The paci also doubles as a rattle he shake is the air.
He likes photos-- looking at them and having them taken. He enjoys admiring himself in the mirror even more. He loves loves loves peekaboo and now that he's walking around, we sometimes dart into several different rooms while playing. He wrestles on the floor with his dad. He's super quiet during walks which we take as indication that he enjoys them. He hates the shoes we got him and immediately tries to tear them off. I don't blame him though, he can barely walk in them.
He loves darting into the tupperware drawer when I open it and running away with as much tupperware as he can handle. More than he can handle... and I'm left following a trail of tupperware down the hall.
There was a lot of excitement about the actual arrival date of Christina and Dan's baby as opposed to the due date. The official due date was next week! There was talk that he might even be a leap year baby, something that Christina was rooting against. (Am I the only one who thinks it's cool?) However, as Christina's pregnancy progressed her doctors decided the baby would be evicted by today via induction, and if necessary by c-section if the baby didn't take action on his own. Well, Hudson is precocious, and decided to come on his own this weekend, a week and half early. He's already back home after staving off a little early jaundice.
I don't have a family photo of all three of them yet, but the cuteness in this photo should more than suffice for now. Anyway, I plan on going to meet him today, so there will obviously be more of him on the blog then. Congratulations, Christina and Dan! You're a mom and dad now! Isn't it wild? And Hudson is beautiful!
The surprise party was held in her own house in Maryland so her family stayed overnight at a hotel so that they wouldn't tip her off. Her friend Laurie took her out to get her nails done to distract her. Meanwhile everyone rushed in to cook and decorate in a jungle-theme to compliment the baby's nursery theme. Melissa made a delicious jungle/Spanish theme spread. Think empanadas, mango salsa, and banana-vanilla smoothies. Yum.
Megan and her sister Melissa with the impressive jungle cake
Jungle-theme nursery wall-- isn't it amazing?
Besides the usual present-opening, someone had the clever idea to let the guests decorate some plain white bibs using fabric markers. Some of the guests were extremely artistic. Others made up for their lack of artistic ability with funny sayings. Amusing for the guests and for the parents.
Check out her awesome giraffe bib
Friends since college (a very long time ago) Laurie, Janice, Megan, and me
As I mentioned before, Donald is kind of a big deal and is a Supreme Court clerk. While I was in town, he offered to take me on a tour of the Supreme Court, the behind-the-scenes weekend tour. It was awesome. We walked around the normal public tour spots, but he also showed me where he works, the beautiful library, and the basketball court. We shot some hoops and we all made baskets--even pregnant Sarah. How awesome is that?
Donald gives me a tour!
The Burkes in the Supreme Court Law Library
Getting a basket in the Supreme Court Basketball Court--swish!
While we were there, I also wanted to take a nice photo of Donald and Sarah outside the Court to remember this super exciting time in their lives when Donald is clerking and they're both about to become parents. This was my favorite of a long series that they tolerated me taking with the sun in their eyes. Aren't they fabulous friends and models?
Donald and Sarah outside the Court
Donald outside his job
If you've read this far, you deserve to know that Justice Scalia has a bobblehead of Justice Thomas on his desk. True story.
I can't believe I met Sarah when she was just a wee-bitty 23-year-old starting law school. Her first niece had been just been born and she constantly admired Rosie's picture on her laptop in Contracts class. Now she's married to Donald, who sat across the room in that same class, she has 3 nieces she admires on her laptop, and she and Donald have their own baby boy on the way!
For Sarah's birthday, Brian made a delicious multi-course dinner: chicken stuffed with goat cheese, potatoes au gratin, perfectly broiled brussel sprouts, and the pièce de résistance, bacon-wrapped scallops. He also made dessert! It was a light mango pudding with strawberries on top. Afterward, we gave Sarah baby-gifts that we hope Baby Burke will enjoy soon.
Kevin and I went out for sushi at Sushi Ya in Long Island for Valentine's Day, because Kevin is nice and knows that it's one of my favorites. Michele very kindly came over to watch James. Without her there would be no love day. James was particularly happy about her visit because he loves her, and she was his first Valentine's Day date. With a cute face like that, I'm sure it won't be his last.
James posing with the roses Kevin got me
James's first Valentine's Day!
James's first Valentine's Day date, Michele
Last year, I was very pregnant and we also went out to eat in Long Island. I ate a lot. The year before, we were still fancy childless people and went to the ballet.
Today is Kevin's birthday! Happy birthday! Sadly, he had a cold and he has to work all day, but we were able to celebrate his birthday this weekend.
Kevin and I were super excited to go out for his birthday. This is because we have a baby and it's extremely difficult to go out together. We're not comfortable leaving James with someone we don't know. We basically only go out together when one of our moms comes to visit and watch James. Last month, Kevin's mom kindly let us go out for New Years Eve. My mom came later in the month, so we were able to collect on our Christmas present to each other- a couples massage (thank you Groupon deal).
Kevin and Briggs enjoying the bourbon at Fette Sau in Williamsburg
Kevin wanted to go to Williamsburg to try barbecue and bourbon at Fette Sau and to return to one of his favorite bars Barcade to play his favorite game, Ms. Pac-man. Briggs, Lukas, and Sarah met us at Fette Sau. The men got in line for the food and bourbon samplers, while Sarah and I unsuccessfully saved bench seats and sipped our half pints of cider. Pounds of delicious brisket, pork shoulder, and mac and cheese later, Sarah and I decided we also needed cookies from Momofuku's Milk Bar. (If I never lose the baby weight, you'll know why.)
Me, Sarah, and Lukas enjoying the barbecue
All the food and drink didn't keep us from dominating at the arcade games at Barcade. And by dominating, I mean getting fired as the neighborhood Paperboy again and again.
The High score board at Barcade
Kevin playing his favorite game- Ms. Pac-man
On Kevin's 31st birthday, a few of us went to BXL Cafe in Manhattan for Belgian food and Belgian beer on draft. I didn't have any beer of course, because I was super pregnant, but I seriously enjoyed the food. For his 30th birthday, we had a multi-day extravaganza that we kicked off with steaks at Peter Lugers and then to the Brooklyn Inn for beers. Do you see a theme in his birthdays?
This weekend, Chrissy and Jason got to attend the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles! How amazing is that? Let's live vicariously through them, shall we?
Chrissy and Jason on the red carpet
They saw Katy Perry, Adele, Blake Shelton, Rihanna, Paris Hilton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Neil Patrick Harris, and Lady Gaga up close! If that's not enough to make you totally jealous, consider that they saw live performances by Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Brown, Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Rihanna, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Foster the People, The Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Adele, Glen Campbell, Tony Bennett, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson (performing a tribute to Whitney Houston), Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Paul McCartney. And I'm only naming the ones I know. There were a bunch more.
Kevin was pretty excited about the Patriots being in the Super Bowl, and since I don't have anything against the Patriots the way I do with the Red Sox, I was pretty excited too. To have an excuse to have a party that is. I was pretty excited to see Kevin happy from the Patriots winning too. Especially after we had a busted party in Charlottesville for the Patriots-Giants Super Bowl in 2008. Plus the Patriots were favored to win. Plus it was James's first Super Bowl! Our little good luck charm- no pressure, kiddo.
Me and James by Kevin's Drew Bledsoe signed magazine cover
So we gathered our friends, put up some decorations, got beer, snacks, and pizza...
Everyone is watching football except the girl posing for the camera
Jaime teaching James how to celebrate touchdowns
... and as you all know the Patriots lost in the saddest most soul-crushing way possible. I've never even cared about football before, but this hurt so slowly and painfully. Ugh, why am I even writing this post? I guess this means I'm a real Patriots fan now, and not even a fair-weather-fan. So depressing!
On Saturday, a group of us went to the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg. It was Ash's idea of how to spend an afternoon and it was a really good idea. I'm not usually much of a beer person, but the beer here was really good, and at $20 for 5 beer chips (1 chip per beer, except the reserves which are 2 chips) you can't beat the prices in New York.
Outside the brewery together
We decided to do the free tour of the brewery as well. I heard from a few people not to do it because it's just one room and mainly someone just lectures to you, but I thought it was decent. You can get a beer before the "tour" and drink it during, so it in no way wastes your time. The guy who gives the talk about the brewery is funny. Part of the talk is about the owner of the brewery Steve Hindy, who turns out to be a super interesting person. Hindy started brewing his own beer while he was a war correspondent in the Middle East. The New York Times just wrote an article about Hindy.
This is what the tour looks like
Mainly, it was a really fun group of people. Jaime came all the way from Virginia to hang out and watch the Super Bowl the next day. Ash and Kate came down from upstate New York. Michele, Kate's brother Matt, and their cousin Brian live in the city.
Inside the brewery tour: Matt, Kate, Ash, Michele, Jaime, me, Brian (l-r)
And did I mention the beer was really good? These are the beers we tried: Brooklyn BLAST! (9.0% abv and my favorite), AMA Bionda (6.0% abv, my second favorite, brewed by Amarcord Brewery in the small medieval town of Apecchio, Italy), Mary’s Maple Porter (7.5% abv), Brooklyn Lager (5.2% abv), Brooklyn Brown Ale (5.6% abv), Brooklyn East India Pale Ale (6.9% abv), Brooklyn Radius (4.8% abv), and Brooklyner Weisse (5.1% abv).
Oh yeah, and thanks to my beer love I broke my autofocus on my Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens, so now I'm buying my first non-kit lens. Sometimes something bad turns into something good.
I stopped including weight updates along with my updates of James because I wasn't making much progress. I gained 42 pounds with my pregnancy. Of those, 23 came off in the first 6 weeks post-partum without any effort on my part. Then, things got tricky. I was half breastfeeding and half formula feeding. I was hungry all the time, but I wasn't burning very many calories with my limited breastfeeding. After a while, James would only take the bottle, so pumping and making formula all the time, usually while James was napping, was exhausting. I ended up gaining back about 6 and half pounds.
At the 6-month mark when I stopped breastfeeding, I got serious about losing weight. Since then, I've lost 10 pounds, bringing me to a total of 27 pounds lost, 15 pounds to go. Since I really started trying to lose weight in September, I would like to lose the weight in no more than 9 months, so hopefully by June.