Thursday, October 26, 2000
Danae's visit. Danae brought her father Chris (Kathy's brother) to see Maya and Bryn for the first time.
They're only here for a very short time, so Danae's working hard to help out as much as she can with her baby cousins.
The adults really liked this shot:
This one is Danae's favorite:
All this work can be pretty tiring for a four-year old:
As the kids continue to get more mobile, you can't just put them side by side and expect them to stay there. For example, it's not uncommon to find them overlapping:
This behavior can have consequences, though:
Mmmm! Tastes like chicken! :-)
Wednesday, October 25, 2000
For any two-career couple, getting the life/work balance right can be a real effort, so when we moved to California, we started a tradition of "fun days". Basically, the idea is quite simple -- each week, we try to make sure there's one day when nobody's allowed to do any work at all. We have to do something fun. Together. (As rules go, this is a pretty nice one.)
Once we started arranging our work commitments so we could set aside that time (i.e., no looming deadlines), it wasn't hard to follow through on the fun day rule. There's so much to do around here that, so long as one of us had enough energy to drive, we could just hop in the car and go do something fun. This worked out really well until the medical realities of getting and being pregnant walloped us.
Now that the kids are sleeping through the night, we've been slowly emerging from the haze of long-term sleep deprivation, only to realize that it's been almost a year since we've had any fun days. Not good.
So, this past weekend we set out to have our first fun day with the babies. As you might imagine, we couldn't just "hop in the car and drive off" anymore. :-)
Instead, the day started off more like this:
Notice a pattern here? :-) Actually, this is when we knew that all of our up-front work was going to really pay off.
- 12:20 pm: Start feeding both babies.
- 1:00 pm: Assemble gear for outing. Repack diaper bag (really a backpack). Load kids into car seats, then into car.
- 2:00 pm: Ready to go. Leave driveway.
- 2:10 pm: Locate weekend traffic jam. Choose alternate route.
- 3:00 pm: Arrive in downtown Half Moon Bay. Start looking for someplace to eat lunch.
- 3:30 pm: Place order. Gotta eat fast, kids are overdue.
- 3:45 pm: Start feeding babies.
- 5:00 pm: All four of us have been fed and have used the facilities. Ready to go.
- 5:10 pm: Locate weekend traffic jam. Choose alternate route.
There we were, driving up the coast with happy kids in the car -- and they didn't need to be fed for two hours! All we had to do was find the right spot to pull off the road. Bingo!
6:02 pm: Those ocean breezes can get really chilly, so make sure everyone's securely bundled up.
6:03 pm: How do you wrestle a full-body suit onto a small baby? The front seats slant too much, and the back's filled with car seats. So...
6:22 pm: With the kids safely loaded in their chest carriers, spot a break in traffic, cross the road, and then work our way down to the shore. The direct route was too steep, so we used the stairs instead.
6:25 pm: Talk about perfect timing! Here's what we saw when we got down to the beach:
6:27 pm: Discover an unexpected advantage of using a digital camera. Usually, when you ask a stranger to take a picture for you, you always have them "take two just in case"...
6:28, 6:29, 6:31, 6:32 pm: Watch the sun go down.
6:38 pm: In the lingering twilight, stroll up to the other end of the beach. Don't miss the awesome spray on the rocks.
7:05 pm: Head for home. Everyone will be hungry when we get there, but the kids will sleep in the car on the way.
One final note. Yes, despite the temperatures we were able to confirm that this was a clothing-optional beach. No, there are not any pictures. Shame on you!
Tuesday, October 24, 2000
Miscellaneous. A few more pictures from the trip back East.
When we arrived late at night, Paul couldn't resist showing off the pictures from the plane trip. Rather than having everyone huddle around the camera, he plugged it into the TV for everyone to see. As it turns out, when it's hooked up like that, you can even use the TV display as a huge viewfinder. Who do you think is more surprised -- Farfar or Rob?
In a more sedate picture, Jen introduces Grummy to her newest grandkid:
Two shots of the twins sleeping peacefully at the Stotts -- one using natural light (and artifically enhanced), the other using a flash:
For some reason Maggie was saying goodbye to everyone upside-down:
And finally, the first picture of the entire Evohr family!
Silly faces. One of the neater things about owning a digital camera is the instant feedback it provides. For example, Karen, Jessica, and Robert were reading a story when the following picture was taken:
Jessica was quite incensed that anyone would take a picture of her without warning. Little did she realize that the camera was still on:
Boy was she surprised to see this picture! Her brother Ben, not terribly impressed, said he could make an even sillier face.
And so it went. After each picture got taken, the kids would crowd around to see it, then compete to see who could come up with the next silliest face.
This sister-and-brother pair have spent entirely too much time in front of the mirror:
Young Robert is off to a good start:
Big Rob is just downright scary:
Put it all together and you get quite a rogue's gallery indeed!
Visiting hours for Uncle Phil were on the afternoon of Monday, October 9th. On display were two collages of pictures from his life.
On a table in between was a large collection of Uncle Phil's hats and "wild" ties. He wasn't a formal guy, and was most comfortable wearing caps like these. As a teacher, he did wear ties to work, but felt it was important to show his students that formality didn't mean giving up your individuality.
In his honor, friends and relatives each chose a tie to wear. The pallbearers each wore one of his caps.
After the funeral the next morning, Uncle Phil was buried in the family plot, next to his brother Keith and his father Erwin. It was a pretty gloomy day, but the sun broke through and shone on the coffin for a few minutes just after the final words were said.
Across the way, a single tree turned colors prematurely.
Meet the relatives. On the trip back East, the girls got to meet a bunch of relatives for the first time.
Liz's daughter Maggie was entranced, eagerly reaching out to hold the hands of her cousins Maya and Bryn.
Maggie's brother Robert showed how big he is by getting to hold Maya. Although you wouldn't know it from her expression, he did a great job!
Paul's cousin Jessica (Don and Patty's daughter) was a tremendous help with the babies all weekend. Here's a picture of her holding Maya:
Here's a collage of Bryn meeting her Great-Grammie:
Maya with her Great-Grammie:
Bryn with Paul's aunt Anne:
Maya with Phil's partner Karen:
Thursday, October 19, 2000
Flying babies! As mentioned previously, the kids' first overnight trip turned out to be a transcontinental plane flight at the age of 3.5 months. (The usual advice is to work up to this more gradually -- first a local overnight, then a short hop, or a several-day car trip.) So how did it go?
They fly through the air Although we were very intimidated ahead of time, thanks to a little advance planning and the world's best babies, their first plane flight went incredibly smoothly.
With the greatest of ease
Those daring parents
And their flying babies!
Indeed, the only problem was getting onto the plane in the first place. That morning, we stocked up at the fall twins club sale, which meant that we were running very late when it came time to get to SFO. Suffice it to say that when the Juice did his famous runs through the airport back in the 70s, he was only carrying a briefcase. Even he wouldn't do those jumps with a pair of fully-loaded car seats. 'Nuff said.
After that, it was all clear sailing. We'd brought the bases for the car seats, which made installing them on the plane a cinch. Before the plane took off, we introduced the kids to brand-new pacifiers -- hoping that constant sucking would help avoid ear-pressure problems -- and dosed them up with a little baby Tylenol as a backup.
All that rumbling during takeoff made Bryn a little nervous, but constant eye contact from Kathy kept her reassured. Maya pretty much slept through the whole thing, as this picture during the climbout over Oakland attests. By the time the plane reached cruising altitude over Tahoe, we were all set.
Not long after, the flight attendants came by and handed us a pair of cards that said, in part:
Welcome on United Airlines flight 170 As Dave Barry would say: "I'm not making this up!"
We have prepared this BABY
especially for you. Enjoy your flight!
While it may seem that some copywriter at United is taking entirely too much credit for the extensiveness of their customer service, they did do a great job with the special meals. :-)
In addition to the special meal pictured here, one of the flight attendants proposed an even more special meal: mentioning that she missed the nine-month-old she was nursing at home, she offered to fill in for Kathy if needed. Now that's customer service!
The rest of the flight was quite uneventful. Here's a nice shot of the colors at sunset.
Inside, it looked more like a scene from 2001. Note that both pictures used ambient light (ie, no flash), but I did mess with the exposures a bit.
Finally, almost six and a half hours later, we landed safely in Boston, where late night temperatures were in the low 40s. Did it bother those California girls? Nope, they were well bundled up in their quilts (from Grummy) and new hats (from the morning's twins sale).
We carried them like this through the airport to baggage claim, waited outside at the curb for the noisy rental car shuttle, and rode over to pick up the car. They even slept patiently while fumble-fingered daddy figured out how to get the car seat bases installed. All that woke them was the flash...
Friday, October 06, 2000
After a long struggle with cancer, Paul's uncle Phil died this morning. We were able to get seats for all four of us on a direct flight to Boston tomorrow afternoon. The funeral is scheduled for next Tuesday, and we'll be flying back that evening.
Anyone with helpful hints on how to keep three-month-old twins happy during a 6-hour flight is encouraged to contact us. Pronto. We'll do the best we can, but the prospect is kind of daunting.
More news when we get back.
Monday, October 02, 2000
Another milestone. A few days ago, Maya decided that rolling onto her side (from her back) put her in a really comfy position to suck her thumb. Last night, she was caught rolling all the way from one side to the other.
Then a few minutes ago, she went the rest of the way for the first time -- rolling from her back all the way to her stomach. This meant that one of her arms got trapped underneath her for a bit. No problem. After a brief rest, a little pushup action got her free.
It was such a lovely day today that shortly after lunch, the kids decided to take their Gramma for a walk. First, they got into their hats and sweaters.
To prevent any misunderstandings, we double-checked: "Are you sure you want to do this Bryn?"
Then we got everyone settled in the stroller, making sure that everything (diapers, extra blankets, sun shade, etc.) was packed in the baskets underneath.
And away we go!
Of course, within 15 minutes the walk was over -- halfway up the hill Maya changed her mind and let everyone in the neighborhood know. Next time, we'll be sure to double-check with both babies!
Grip. When the kids were first born, they'd grab anything you put in their hands. It's a normal reflex reaction that they were born with, so we kind of took it for granted. Unfortunately, by the time we started trying to give them toys to play with, they'd lost that reflex.
Not that that stopped us. Being first-time parents, we went to all kinds of trouble trying to introduce our younglings to the joys of rattles -- including prying their little hands open to teach them how grasping works. (Now for a brief pause while the experienced parents all chortle at us -- yes, we'll definitely regret this later.)
Even as recently as a week ago, we weren't really having much success. For example, here's Maya asking "OK, what do you want me to do with this?"
Now if you suddenly found a google-eyed polka dotted fish dangling off your hand, what would you do?
Maya says: "Hey, a little affection is always welcome, but ... I'm not sure I like this."
What a difference a week makes. Tonight, we're happy to report, she's decided that she knows exactly what to do with any rattle you put in her hand, namely:
1. Wave it around a bit to see how much noise it makes.
2. Bring it to your mouth and get it as wet as you can.
3. Drop it and wait for those
suckers loving relatives to bring you a fresh one.
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