Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Zoo Year!

We took Sam to the zoo today for the first time. We packed a picnic lunch, put Sam in the backpack and roamed around for the day. He loved it, but mostly loved the birds, and not the ones in captivity, but the ibis and ducks that roam there on their own free will! We were most excited to show him the tiger because the baby tiger "roar" is the one animal noise that he has perfected. (video to follow)

one of Sam's faves

our little monkey

taking it all in

The child will not sit in a stroller for more than 10 minutes but will sit in this backpack for days!

Sam and the Tortoise

Friday, December 26, 2008

Birthday Fiesta! Ole!

The Birthday boy

The birthday boy in his new convertible mini with his special guests Great Grandmama, Aunt Denise & Uncle LB.

The family :)

The birthday boy sharing his new wheels with his baby friend Aiden.

More photos to follow. I did not stay behind the camera much today because I didn't want to miss a moment. We are counting on our family and friends with cameras to provide us with more lasting memories! Come on guys!

We had a wonderful time. Sam was not a fan of anyone singing to him, which must mean he takes after his mother. He cried and cried and would not even touch his cake after that. Which works out because I wanted to do a separate "smash" cake photo shoot anyway, so we spared the mini cake....... for now!

Our most special guest was Sam's Great Grandmama delivered to us by Aunt Denise and Uncle Larry all the way from South Carolina! What a special Christmas and birthday gift!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

On Such a Birthday Eve


Tonight I sit, exhausted from our big day, your first Christmas. We woke up together this morning, just our little family and opened presents to and from our clan. We played, we laughed, we ate and we enjoyed our family. They trickled in and out and we ventured to them. I can't remember a Christmas filled with so much joy since I was a little girl. In my wildest dreams I can't imagine another happening again, but it will.

I am mesmerized by your joy and your laugh, your curiosity, your every move. Just as I was last year, Christmas night, with you still stirring in my belly. Last year this time, this very hour, your dad and I had finished up Christmas dinner much the same as we did tonight and settled in to our hospital room to change our lives, to have you. We laughed and we cried, we were nervous about the unknown and we were excited to meet you. We wondered would the world would be turned upside down when you arrived? Would we sleep, would we eat, would we still love each other when we knew we would love you so much? But, nothings changed really. Sure, it was a little crazy for a while and every once in a while it gets crazy again, and it will be crazy in the future, but we have each other and at the end of the day if we are together, we'll always be just fine.

We sat tonight after our family left, our bellies full, in the dim light of our Christmas tree and we laughed. Then we cried, about how it was hard to not forget where we were such a short year ago. How far we've come since then and how quickly it has all happened. You are the best thing that has happened to us. We love eachother more than ever because of you and you more than we could have dreamed. I see the best memories of childhood in the eyes of everyone that sees you and I daydream the best possibilities imagineable for your future when I look in yours. Life just keeps getting better with you in it. Thank you for making this the best Christmas ever.

Happy almost birthday, Punka!


Monday, December 22, 2008

It snowed in Florida!

So, not real snow, but we heared there were nightly flurries downtown so we headed down to Cityplace and we saw, snow, er bubbles. Sam was not fooled because he has seen real snow, but he had fun watching the Florida kids believe that this was the real thing! ;)

"uh, you call this snow?"

Paul was fooled, he thought it was real. We let him go with it ;)

Nanny, Sam & Paul walking in a winter-like wonderland

Friday, December 19, 2008

Love on the Rocks.....

Let me introduce you to this guy I know only as Jon....

Doesn't he seem happy? He is one of the stars of one of Elise's favorite Discovery Channel shows "Jon & Kate + 8". He is the proud father of 8-year old twins and 4-year old sextuplets. Yep, he looks thrilled. As far as reality TV stars go, he seems...well, for lack of a better word, 'real'. Let me tell you why:

When you think of father figures throughout the history of television who comes to mind? Ward Cleaver. Mike Brady. Cliff Huxtable. Ben Cartwright of 'Bonanza'. Homer Simpson (okay, so maybe not a shining beacon of fatherhood, but his heart is always...well, the right place.) But they all seem too good to be true. This guy...this Jon Gosselin...he's the real deal. He tells it like it is. Is he thrilled every minute of the day that he has eight kids and an overbearing wife? NO! In fact, 99% of the time the guy look thoroughly and unequivocally miserable. If you were a man contemplating fatherhood, watching this guy would send you screaming for a vasectomy.

I love the irony. He is the star of a television show based upon the commitment and love it takes to raise 8 completely out of control toddlers and, yet, he is berated and humilated by his wife constantly, rolls his eyes, and basically drags himself through every day. I do not canonize this man for his attitude or zeal. There's is a complex household, and until I have to deal with 8 screaming kids I can't cast stones.

Until today.

Let me preface this by stating, I don't think the guy in the picture above is Jon. But if it is, I have lost all the respect I may have had for this man. (And the girls he got caught with...? Why is it that when public figures have affairs, the women they have the affairs with are never attractive? Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky, Eliot Spitzer/Client 9 girl, Gary Hart/Donna Rice. Need I go on? I mean if I'm going to blow up my blossoming political career, I might as well blow it up with a hottie, right?) (And that is not to say that Jon had an affair. Allegedly, he was out partying with college girls. 3 nights in a row. Presumably, while Kate was at home taking care of 8 kids by herself.)

Am I surprised he snapped? No, probably not. He makes no attempt to hide how miserable he is or to sugar-coat the difficulty of their existence. Nevermind the fact that he splurged on hair plugs with the new-found cash begotten from his cable TV show. Kind of vain, Jon, and kind of a waste of money, Jon. Maybe he was already in the early stages of planning his getaway?
And yet, perhaps because he was the star of a TV show based around the concept that families come in all shapes and sizes this seems particularly, tragically sad. Probably more so, because we want to believe that because it is a TV show there is some part of it that transcends reality, even if it is, by very definition, a reality-based TV show. So, therefore, based in reality, the union is destined to fall apart?
I'm hoping that Jon pulls it together before it's too late. And I am not so naive to believe fault lies solely with him (it would be too easy to take shots at Kate. I cannot fathom what parenting 8 kids would do to me....turn me into some dual-personalitied freakazoid, no doubt, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) Some would say I am idealist, but I can't help but hope there is some fraction of time off-camera where they can reconnect and ground each other.
I do not perceive the world in black and white and know divorce has merit in many situations. It did not ruin my life or my childhood, but I think I am lucky in that regard.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things you did this week that astounded and amazed us:

On this, the eve week of your first birthday week, you have been doing crazy impressive things, my son! I know I look at you as though you are a maker of world peace, ender of world hunger and saver of lives, already, but, really, you are just a little boy and these are the things little boys do. But not every boy has such joy, so many smiles and such perfection.

1. Though we have been tirelessly teaching you the sign for "thank you" and "please" you signed "more" to us this week when you ran out of Cheerios and needed more. You were so proud of yourself when it actually got you more Cheerios!

2. You climbed the stairs, by yourself! You can't even walk yet, silly! What are you thinking?

3. You said "ra ra" a thousand times, but we finally figured out we think you are saying "run, run." Naturally! :)

4. You started letting go of our hands for just a split second as you gain confidence to stand and walk on your own.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Naughty or Nice?

And I'm not talking about Sam! This was by far the creepiest Santa I have encountered in all my days. I was more nervous than Sam (not surprising given my long history of breakdowns on Santa's lap) I was shaking and sweating as approached him! I hoped that that our mall and all its super fancy Palm Beach decorations would surely house the best Santa we'd ever seen within it's giant sparkly sleigh, but instead we got this fool. Nicotine stained beard, just returned from a 3 martini lunch, who didn't say one word to Sam, myself or Paul in the entire 30 seconds that it took to take two sub-par photos for $7 million dollars, throw us a light up bouncy ball and send us on our way. Next year, we settle for nothing less than the real Santa and I'm bringing my own camera on the trip to the North Pole! ;)

On a side big does this little boy look! What happened to my tiny baby?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Tonight, Dave was over for dinner and we jokingly asked Sam to say the blessing. As we all looked at him laughing for a moment, he picked a raisin up off his highchair tray and lifted it way up above his head and looked up to the ceiling, closed his eyes and smiled.

Perfect. I couldn't have said it better myself.
I think we become jaded about Christmas in our adulthood. I know, I am, I can say that it is not my favorite holiday. I like gifts and food, yes. But, I don't enjoy the stress or expectations that accompany it. I expect everyone to be patient, thankful, polite to store clerks, not cut, butt or otherwise bitch in line. I find this is the time of year when I put my "Officer Elise" badge on (as Paul like to call it) and defend the hard working clerks, tellers and servers of the world, instead of just flitting around in a holiday trance. Hard work, people, very hard.

I think we could all say at one time that we used to love Christmas, it was magical, mystical, cold, crisp and white(at least where I come from). It meant pajamas all day, the smell of mom's cooking, and late afternoon sledding trips, hot cocoa and laying under the tree rearranging clothespin people ornaments. It was a time when you dreamed of little elves making your toys, not factories, you sat on Santa's lap and didn't see the glue unglueing on his beard and couldn't identify the smell of Marlboro lights that he snuck on his break.

All the whimsy and mystery that makes Christmas so Magical seems to fade away and then become a forgotten memory, like training wheels, banana seats and braces. That is until you have a child of your own. Then you see it all again, those memories are not so hidden, not so hard to retrieve. You witness just how magical it is to a child to see a tree in their living room, and even more joy as it becomes wrapped in tiny lights and colorful dangling ornaments. To hear Christmas carols for the first time, to hear an orchestra and listen to the jingling of bells.

Paul and I have exchanged many a knowing glances in the past week, watching as Sam points and laughs with glee each and every time he comes in to the living room and witnesses our tree as if for the first time. He looks at the tree and then at us as if to say "Look! There is a tree..... in our house! Those are usually only outside! How cool!" He chased ornaments around the floor last night and stayed up way past bedtime taken with the excitement of the night. We love it. I will speak for both of us and say that we have a little spark in our hearts this year and a sparkle in our eyes (not sayin it's tears, not sayin) that may have been dimmed, even burned out for the past 20 years or so. It is, I guess, what life is all about, why we have children (besides to take care of us when we're old and grey) to remind that there is still such a thing as magic.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What a difference a year makes: Part 1

December 7th, 2007

December 5, 2008

Wow. Just wow. And I'm not talking about the fact that a year ago I was 36 weeks pregnant with a little stranger who was rolling around nudging me to get out, or the fact that today, a mere year later, we took our son to the "North Pole" (a parking lot with Christmas cheer a block from the beach) where he pointed at all the trees and giggled at the colorful lights, I'm talking about how in the hell did Paul keep me from eating that Christmas tree last year, because seriously, it looks like I ate about everything else in the house! Not saying I'm about to hit the runway these days in a size 0, but we're getting there (well not to a zero, I was never a zero but I'd be happy with a 6), 9 months up, 18 months down!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just another day in the parent "hood"

Just wanted to walk you through a day with an 11 month old..... for Sam to read one day and thank us and for us to look back on and laugh.

6am Crowing from the next room. Sounds of pacifiers clanking along crib rails and eventually dropping to the floor like a inmate trying to lasso the jailers keys to bust out.

7am Quiet moments while Paul and Sam go for their morning run. I've decided to pass on the brisk morning jog today and instead lay in bed and read a few more chapters of my nerd book, Twilight.

8am Greet the boys from the patio, entice them in for some waffles that I almost made (until I realized we were out of milk). Make breakfast for Sam and send Stinky up to shower.

9am Round up a morning bottle, a couple of lattes and a pumpkin scone with our friends at Starbucks.

10am A few more quiet moments on my email, work, and back and forth email banter with Paul about the latest CNN headlines and evening plans.

12pm Can't stay away today, we head down to meet Paul for lunch and get Sam some new clothes, he's got scoop-neck in his onesies again.

1pm Barely duck out of the way to miss Sam's projectile vomit, gross out the adjacent tables and abruptly end our family lunch.

1:15pm whisk vomit covered child to the hot car, strip him down, throw away his clothes and head to Tarjay (now we really need new clothes) This time, thankfully we have a backup onesie.

2pm Reluctantly head into Target with my child in just his "underwear," hoping no one sees me toting my kid around with no pants on. Must buy pants.

2:30pm Sam decides to do his business for the day in the middle of our visit to the store, I decide that I will finish up, not waste a trip to target and then bust a move to the checkout line wafting baby freshness all around.

2:31pm Sam starts crying, I pick him up out of the cart and realize that I have poo-ooo-ewwwwwww running down my arm, oozing out of Sam's back-up onesie and I have left the diaper bag in the car, as usual, I will not be caught carrying such a utilitarian objet.

2:32pm abandon cart, dash for car

2:33pm put child down on hot leather car seats (again), strip him naked and use an entire 150 pack of wipes to clean myself, the car and the baby. Put Sam in the car seat with nothing but a diaper on and whisk him home for his afternoon nap.

3:00 Call Paul to relay my second unfortunate "goo" situation of the day. He offers to go on a reconnaissance mission, recover my abandoned cart and purchase my items, thus saving me another trip to the now permanently jinxed Target. What a guy!

4:00pm I hear Paul screeching from upstairs, rush up to see Paul, hands in the air dripping in pee-pee and Sam laying on the changing table laughing.

Ah good times.

Soul of the Community

On Monday, the Gallup Poll released the results of a 3 year survey entitled "Soul of the Community". The study of 26 communities across the U.S. is, according to the study's website, "a fresh approach to determine the drivers of emotional community-citizen engagement and its role in community economic growth and well-being. The study focuses on the emotional side of the connection between residents and their communities." Basically, people were asked how much they liked their town.

The Palm Beach Post summed it up best in a Tuesday headline: "County not for young, poll of residents finds". It elaborated. "While respondents judged Palm Beach County a great destination for older people, it did not score as well for families or professionals." and "When asked whether Palm Beach County will be a better place to live in five years, more than half believe it would be the same or worse."

Fortunately, one of the other 25 communities surveyed was....drum roll, please....Boulder, Colorado.

In Palm Beach County, 46% of respondents didn't feel it was safe to walk within 1 mile of the home. Compared to 25% in Boulder. 57% were negative on the subject of public schools compared to 30% in Boulder. 42% were happy with the parks and green space in Palm Beach compared to 80% in Boulder. 53% of those polled in Palm Beach County didn't feel as though it was a good place to raise a family. Only 23% felt that way about Boulder. Sense a trend? Is PB a good place for gays or lesbians? 50% think not. Boulder? Only 21% disagree.

This info comes on the heels of a study published by the CQ press, the publishing arm of the Congressional Quarterly. Citing FBI statistics, New Orleans was the #1 place for hard crime in the U.S. West Palm Beach #47. Denver #129. Boulder #325 out of 383. hmmm......

No place is perfect. But, despite the saying to the contrary, some pastures really are greener than others. I cannot argue that Florida has been good to me. It has given me my childhood memories (some good, some bad), my wife and my son. But as Benjamin Franklin once put it, "Those who choose freedom over security, deserve neither." He was addressing national security and civil liberties, but couldn't the same be said for financial security and the freedom to choose. Life is about choices. We choose who to spend the rest of our lives with, what kind of car to drive, what to have for breakfast, paper or plastic, non-smoking or first-available, window or aisle, spicy or mild. We choose where to live.

We recognize that we are mired in an unprecedented economic quagmire (unprecedented, at least, in my lifetime), and that moving isn't as easy as pulling up the poles on our teepee and packing up our wigwam. But regardless of what the Dow Industrial is doing, leaves still change from green to a million hues of magenta and vermilion, snow still falls and tiny marshmallow pebbles still melt in hot cocoa. Give me 100 reasons to stay, I'll give you 1,000 reasons not to. But only one is important: because Elise and I want to.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Double bedhead!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dear Lady in Michaels,

Typically I do not appreciate parenting advice and or commentary from random strangers in public and would be writing this blog to you (which you would probably never read, but would make me feel better about the situation) but today lady in Michaels, I thank you. For kindly helping me to slow it down, in all the madness of holiday crafting and remember that even though my child is yelling (simply to hear himself yell in slightly varying octaves of glee) that someday when he is 16 driving around in a car somewhere I will wish for these times again. Times when I know right where he is and that he's safe, strapped into his little pod-like stroller, kicking and yelling with excitement at bad silk, glitter-covered poinsettias, and stretching to reach hideous foam cut-out Christmas trees.

I imagine, lady in the ribbon isle, by the look on your face today, that you have a boy, who not so long ago was just as small as Sam, and is now driving around somewhere in a car. For subtly sharing your wisdom and experience as a fellow mother, I thank you.


aka mother to small boy with large set of lungs who didn't' want to be thrown out of "Crafting Disney" because of said child.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

{ I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life --

and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do. }

Georgia O'Keeffe

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Most Annoying Couple in the World

On my recent trip to Colorado, I did a lot of channel surfing in the hotel at night. It's official. I hate these two. First of all...they must eat at Sonic every night! I can't believe they don't weigh, like, 400 lbs. a piece. Plus, have you ever met anyone that tries everything on the menu? I know when I go to McDonalds, it's fries and a Big Mac. That's it. I'm not tempted to try the apple dippers or salad shaker. Plus, they should really pay more attention to their driving rather than psychoanalyzing their food. These two are meant to be together!

Trip to Boulder

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that ever since Elise and I first realized we were going to be around one another for a long time we have wanted to load up the Conestogas and move back west.

I recently returned from a 4 days reconnaissance mission to Colorado. I squeezed in 5 interviews in 3 days (along with a few pints of micro-brew), slept miserably waking at 3:30 a.m. mountain time anticipating Sam's morning hooting, missed my family horribly and just missed the first snowfall (damn it!).

Usually, when there is breaking news, you get the news first and then the 'pictures at 11'. Well, in this case, you get a few pictures first and then, hopefully, the news in a week or two. Stayed tuned.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek...

View from Amante Coffee in North Boulder. (yes, there are people there! :) and the highest per capita rate of Audi allroad quattros.

A quaint neighborhood in Longmont called Prospect that has a rib joint within walking distance which serves eat-with-a-fork ribs. The 1/3 rack of ribs lops over the edge of the plate. And it's a big plate!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

T-Shirt by Sam Hanna

(adapted from the original, T-Shirt, by Shontelle)

Tryna decide, tryna decide if I
Really wanna sleep in my crib to night I
Never really to go to sleep without ya
Not sure I remember how to.

Gonna be up late, gonna be up late but,
my moms gon' have to wait cause
Don't know if I can doze with out you daddy
I tried everything from mom’s hugs to my paci.

Nothing feels right when I'm not with you
Sick of this onesie and these baby shoes.
Taking them off cause I feel a fool
Tryna snuggle up when I'm missin' you.
I'ma step out these footie pjs
Curl up in a ball with some a your hanes.
In da crib I lay
With nothing but your t-shirt on

Gotta be strong, gotta be strong but I'm
Really fussy when you’re gone. I
Thought maybe I'd do some crying
But, then mama said you’d be home Friday

Now I don't know, now I don't know if I,
Ever really gon' let you go with again out me.
I couldn't even bounce in my jumperoo
Stripped down to my diaper torn up about it.

Nothing feels right when I'm not with daddy,
Sick of this onesie and these baby shoes.
Taking them off cause I feel a fool
Tryna dress up when I'm missin' you.
I'ma step out these footie pjs
Curl up in a ball with some a your Hanes.
In my crib I lay
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on (I'm all by myself with mama)
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on (cause I miss you, cause I miss you)
With nothing but daddy’s t-shirt on (said I missed you daddy)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Everyone Needs a Tim Gunn in Their Life

If you ask me, I would be forced to deny it.

"Do you watch Project Runway?"

Of all the shows that Elise has turned me on to, this is one of my favorites. Others? 'So You Think You Can Dance'. (Love it!) and 'House Hunters'.

Though I don't appreciate it in the same way Elise does, you have to admit there's nothing that makes good TV like a bunch of catty designers talking smack about one another.

But the best element of the show, by far, is the host, Tim Gunn. I know little about Tim apart from his responsibilities to Project Runway. Evidently, he is the dean at Parsons School of Art. I wish someone would have told me this when I was deciding which college to apply to, because I don't think enough can be said about entrusting your higher education to someone who genuinely nurtures and cares for those around him like this man does.

Toward the end of every season, the cast of talented designers has been whittled down to 3 or 4 of the creme-de-la-creme. The process that determines who goes on to show at Bryant Park is long and arduous. It is basically the Ironman of the design world. Knowing nothing about fashion, even I can appreciate how difficult it must be to on creative point consistently 16 (or however many weeks it ends up being) in a row. Throughout the season, tempers rise, tension mount and nerves fray. Often, the ugly side of many of these individuals is brought to bear on nationally-syndicated television. Of course, that is what makes it so worth watching. And throughout it all, there is their sheppard, the Professor X of Project Runway, Tim Gunn, a messianic figure guiding his wayward disciples to the promise land that is Bryant Park.

On the eve of the Bryant Park show, Tim Gunn gathers the remaining designers for one final pep talk in which he--often with tears in his eyes--shares his genuine respect and affection for each of them. He tells them how very proud he is of each and one of them. Unconditionally and without regard of any malfeasance that may have occurred over the course of their journey. Up to this point, he has encouraged them, counselled them and mentored them. He has urged them to "Carry On" and "Make it work." More than catch phrases, these are words to live by. The Nike marketing guru that penned "Just Do It" couldn't have been more proud.

We could all, at some point, use a Tim Gunn in our lives, someone to encourage, counsel and mentor us. To urge us to "Make it work" when things aren't going exactly our way and "Carry on" when they are. When we just need someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent into, Tim Gunn would be there, saying, "Talk to me."

So, if you ever find yourself lost or confused, think about what Tim Gunn would say...

"Make it Work"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In the house I grew up in on Snug Harbor, we used to keep family photos in an old, tattered shoe box. The shoe box was so old the cardboard that had been used to construct it had long ago lost all structural integrity. It was more 4 floppy sides and a bottom than an actual box, yet it still somehow managed to hold this case, old photographs.

These were the pictures of me and my brothers taken when we were kids. Pictures of me running around naked, filling a Scooby-Doo inflatable swimming pool with yellow well water from a garden hose, Aunt Jackie dressed up as the Easter Bunny, Josh with an empty cardboard ice cream container on his head we pilfered from Carvel to complete his Headless Horseman Halloween costume (possibly one of the greatest homemade costumes of all time).

In the background of a very unmemorable photo (so unmemorable I don't remember anything else in the picture) is our TV set. Captured in time, Jimmy Carter is giving a speech. Thinking of this made me wonder what the days were like then, when I was 10 months old. What did my parents talk about on a daily basis? What were the conversations like when they came home from work and turned on the nightly news? What was important to them? What was Jimmy Carter saying? Was it historic? Was he--ironically enough--counselling the country to conserve energy in much the same vein we hear from our leaders today?

I wonder if Sam will ever wonder the same thing about his parents. What our everyday life was like--aside from raising Sam? What were the things that Elise and I talked about, stressed over and dreamed about? Current events, sports teams, events that happen in our lives now that seem so important but that we may never think to tell him about years from now.

Fall has always been my favorite season. But this fall seems more relevant than many. Someone once said that the events that will change your life forever often go unnoticed at the point in time in which they actually happen. You wake up that morning as you do any other day without knowing that it will be on that day that a life-altering event may occur and you often go to bed at night blissfully unaware that one of the many things that happened during the normal course of that day will go on to shift the stream of your life irrevocably. For whatever reason, it feels as though there are many pivotal, seminal moments occurring around me.

I don't mean the election. Though it will no doubt go down as seminal and pivotal. I would have felt this way regardless of who emerged victorious. I mean events like Granddad, runs to the end of Betz Rd., picnics under the turning leaves on EWU campus, cars ('nuf said), baked Cheetoes, a trip to Denver.

These are the things I want Sam to know about us. That's the reason we write this blog. So that thirty years from now when he dumps out a box of old photos (or, more likely, opens a long forgotten file on his computer) and sees a photo with our president speaking from a plasma flat-panel in the background, he will know why this is important to us. And if he is born in one place, but grows up in another--just like his dad and just like his mom--he will know and understand why we made the decisions we are making in much the same way Elise and I know and understand why our parents made the decisions they did. So that the events that are seminal and pivotal to us today always remain so.

Thank you...

For voting. Unselfishly, for our children's future not our pocketbooks, for equal rights for all regardless of sexual preference, we all deserve to be happy, for the health of our planet, and the health of our country.

And now for some Sally Struthers-like photos to remind you why you are voting.... mostly ....'cause it ain't all about you! Think.

Vote dammit!

(hey if P-Diddy can encourage you to vote so can Sam)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

From the Man in the Yellow Hat & Curious George!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I know one thing for sure:

The angels are rejoicing today.
The kindest, sweetest and most gentle man just joined their choir.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Real Fall.

Here are a few photos of our trip to WA, just a glimpse from our trip to the pumpkin patch. This is the real deal fall, crisp air, hay rides, hot spiced cider, corn mazes, leaves changing colors and slowly making their way to the soft grass. We LOVED every minute of it and didn't want to leave. Hey, maybe we'll move into may parents basement, they might cut us a sweet deal on rent! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random thoughts...

Today I realized that I don't like to use the grocery store divider to segregate my groceries from the persons in front of me unless I absolutely have to because, I think for some crazy reason it is rude. Like, "you're groceries might touch mine and I don't want your weird selection of hot dogs and anti-fungal foot ointment to taint my food." I figure if someone starts scanning my $20 diapers in with someone's $2 generic brand of dried prunes, one of us is going to say something.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Staycation all I ever wanted.....staycation all I ever needed...

Staycation had to stay at home.....

A couple of months ago we heard this nit wit news caster talking about the new "in" thing, a staycation, "due to rising gas prices and the craptacular economy....blah blah, people are choosing to cancel their vacation and opt for a staycation." This is where, one just stays at home and enjoys the things their local area has to offer. We thought that sounded like a real lame time. But, friends we, the Hanna trio, took a staycation of our own this weekend. And ya know what? It actually was fun, and not nearly as lame as you would think!

Now, I know, a staycation tends to be a little more vacation-like when you live in a tropical destination, but to the Hanna trio, we say poo-poo to tropical, we long for the pitter-patter of rain on roof tops, watching fat snowflakes pile up on tree branches dragging them closer and closer to the ground, the sound of moon boots crunching on freshly fallen snow. We opted to pass on all the things that one would do on a typical south Florida staycation, skipping the beach and the tiki bars.

No, we took advantage of this rainy weekend and pretended we were somewhere else. We suited up in our rain jackets, sipped coffee(which we do everyday, really), lunched out at new and different cafes and went to the toy store and took a long walk in the rain. For a moment, just a split second, we felt like it was fall, the real fall, not the fall where people sprinkle fake silk leaves around their yard, the one with rain and leaves and slowing cooling air, we felt like we weren't here among the growing numbers of car carriers dropping off cranky old folks who can barely see above the steering wheel. People who would never dream of a staycation, they wouldn't have to.

By all means, take your regular vacation, too, seriously you can't stay home forever, but when you have to stay at home, make it a staycation. Not because you have to, but because it is a state of mind, relaxed, unscheduled, spontaneous, with napping and good food. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sam's 1st Shishtawook

When we were young boys, my brothers and I were forced to go to the Lebanese-Syrian Club on Sunday afternoons. The "club" occupied a bunker-like building off of Forest Hill hidden by towering stands of Australian pines. Behind the building, lamb cooked on giant outdoor grills. There were cement picnic tables on a large concrete foundation, and we ate shish-kebob, kibbie pies and grape leaves off paper plates with plastic utensils. One young bearded man plucked a sitar while another beat on a pair of bongos as though he were attempting to resuscitate them as a circle of older men (some with scarves around their heads) chanted Arabic ululations into the air.

Sittie and Jidou were there, along with hundreds of Arabs we were probably related to. Auntie Rumsah would pinch our cheeks painfully hard and cackle "Dukalika! Dukalika! Dukalika!" into our ears. I have no idea what 'dukalika' means and I remember little else about Auntie Rumsah except this painful torture. We were made to play with distant, distant cousins we neither knew nor particularly cared for. The entire afternoon was miserable.

And yet, it is an intrinsic part of my heritage and a part of who I am, just as it is now an intrinsic part of Sam's heritage and part of who Sam is.

I dukalika his cheeks, though without the brutal force applied by my Auntie Rumsah. I don't know if there still is a Syrian-Lebanese Club. If there were, I would happily subject Sam to the same misery my brothers and I had to experience. Until I know for sure, Elise (who is also of Mediterranean decent) and I will take Sam to lunch at the new Pita Grille in Juno.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sam's fave 8

In honor of Sam's 9 month birthday, being alive and kicking for the same amount of time he was kicking me from the inside we decided to document a few of his current favorite things. This is for babies everywhere wondering what the coolest 9 month olds are diggin'. Here you go kids...

1. Baby i-pod: plays classical hits from Mozart, Chopin and other great composers...bonus it plays them in an extremely high pitch without the option of headphones!

2. Cheerios: Nuff said.

3. Our door knocker: Who would have thought, but it holds us up by the front door at every trip in and out so that he can make it knock.

4. Little Duck Finger puppet book: Mom has it memorized so when Sam rips it from my hands I just keep going.....I hate to give away the ending to a good book, but little duck is swimming in a pond waiting for someone to come along....guess who his best friend is???? you! Lucky, lucky, you!

5. Stuffed salmon: Purchased on his first trip to the Pacific Northwest, fittingly, and it is a source of constant entertainment, especially when Sam lays on the bed and Paul lays on the floor swimming the salmon along the bedside, as if it were in the river.

6. Electrical Outlets: Good, safe, fun :) The child plugs were taken out of this one for photographic purposes, but still it is so fascinating isn't it? Ha.

7. Puppy Dogs: Anybody's, any shape or size he doesn't discriminate, although not a huge fan of ones that poo in Mom and Dads yard, but the rest make for an extremely happy, giggly baby.

8. Light switches: Fun to look at but even more fun to turn off and on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


On August 19 began the second most exciting thing to happen to us in the past nine months. Though still in its infancy, Elise Hanna Photography has already affected lives. And I am talking about more than just our own. Were it to end today, it would already be an unmitigated success, but I do not forsee the end to this venture for a long, long time.

I just wanted to tell my wife how proud I am of her. I apologize I am not always there when you need me to pose in the kitchen for you. I hope my stand-in did an admirable job. Tell him I want my bandana back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

hey hotties!

me in 1972 (looking a bit like my mom! speaking of hotties!)

who doesn't love a man-baby in a turtleneck!

1991 (this is really what Paul looked like, he still has the sweater! I promise!)

Check out to pee your pants laughing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

iPods for Landscapers

A charity that both Elise and I feel very strongly about is iPods for Landscapers. Now, this, folks, is a charity truly worthwhile of your tax-deductible dollars.

iPods for Landscapers has as its goal to ensure the happiness and spiritual well-being of our areas landscapers by supplying them with iPods to listen to while they mow our lawns and trim our hedges. Some landscapers wear either fluorescent styrofoam ear plugs or the type of clunky ear muffs worn by baggage handlers on an airport's tarmac or '70's DJs. Most wear nothing, having to endure the annoying whine of their weed whacker or leaf blower. Wouldn't they much rather listen to music?

Long gone are the days of rakes and hoes. All their equipment is gasoline-powered and mechanized, so iPods wouldn't be a safety issue as it is for cyclists or runners, since landscapers can't hear over their machines anyway. The charity even acknowledges that most landscapers don't have access to a personal computer, so the charity uploads the iPods with mariachi music prior to distribution. What a service to the landscaping community!

So, the next time you see a flyer tucked under your windshield wiper for a race supporting iPods for Landscapers, don't delay, tell your friends to sign up today! I mean what else are you going to do with last year's outdated iPod?

(Unfortunately, due to style restrictions, the charity does not accept Sony Walkmen or those earphones that Richard Simmons might wear with the adjustable dial AM/FM radio. Thank you.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

120 Super Songs by the Super Stars

When I was a boy, my dad made me take guitar lessons from an old man in a small music shop on Park Ave. in Lake Park. I remember the shop smelling of old books. We would practice for an hour or so in a small room in the back of the shop. I didn't take the lesson seriously. But the old music teacher didn't seem to mind that we goofed off for 55 minutes only to spend 5 minutes or so in actual lesson. He reminded me of my jidou, a patient man who used to cut the crusts from the breads of our sandwiches. Though my specific recall of both men is fuzzy, I seem to remember them both having the same olive complexion, the same yellowing hair and same thick plastic glasses resting atop broad, cartilaginous, Mediterranean noses.

As I grew older (much 25) I grew to regret not having taken those lessons more seriously, so I reapplied myself and signed up for lessons at Jupiter Music. I started to learn to read music (a skill I have since forgotten) and to play stuttering versions of the Eagles, Nirvana and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" from a slightly overweight, pimply kid who know doubt had aspirations of becoming the next Stevie Ray Vaughn or Clapton. Photos of rock icons cut from magazines filled the small practice room, and the discordant thrum of a bass guitar and the arrhythmic staccato of a snare drum penetrated the particle board walls. Every pre-teen in north county with rock star ambitions came in and out of that shop. I felt as though I was the oldest student by, at least, fifteen years.

In Boulder, I again signed up for lessons. The instructor at Woodsong's on Pearl--a miserly man in his mid-40's who know doubt had a Phd in music theory--asked me what my goal was in taking lessons. I told him, "I want to play the whole neck of the guitar. I want to jam." (I might have used the word 'improvise' instead of 'jam', but you get the picture...) So, he taught me the blues, and I strived to become the least melancholy blues guitarist in town.

Since Sam was born, I will, on occasion, pull the dusty Aria acoustic guitar my dad gave me and play a song or two for Sam. I haven't played enough to keep the callouses on the tips of my fingers intact. I mostly play sputtering versions of Dave Matthews tunes, i.e. the opening lick of "Satellite" over and over and over again. Sam doesn't seem to mind. In fact, he often, when I attempt to sing (which I do not do well, I am reminded), joins in.

Recently, in an effort to expand my repertoire, Sam and I took a trip down to the garage and rescued a few more music books from the moldy cardboard box to which they had been relegated. (This particularly distressed Elise, as it know doubt meant introducing ants and silverfish into our home) What did we return with? "120 Super Songs by the Super Stars".

Everything about this book is OLD. The pages are yellowed and tattered. The spine has completely dissolved to little more than threads of glue. But, best of all, it is filled with my dad's unintelligible scrawl. This is the book he took to Park Ave. for his own music lessons. The staffs are scribbled over in red ink. I don't know what the slashes and scribbles mean, but he dates the lessons. They go back to 1983.

So, now I sing "Homeward Bound" and "Daydream Believer". And fight not to choke up when I sing, "I wish I was, Homeward bound, Home...where my guitar is playing, Home...where my Hewie's cooking, Home...where my Sam lies waiting...Silently for me."

BUT the best (or the worst, depending on how one looks at it) is Cat Steven's "Father & Son". I won't even attempt to sing this song. I couldn't do it without balling before Sam was born, so there's absolutely no way I could pull it off now. I can't even type the words without tearing up, so you'll have to google the song for yourself, but grab a kleenex first.