Sunday, January 31, 2010


This morning we left the house early to drive down to the inlet and watch the boats motor in and out. We stopped for bagels and coffee before spotting the WEINERMOBILE! We guessed it was headed down to Miami for Super Bowl week, so Sam and I jumped out to get our picture taken with it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sam Hanna, A User's Guide

When Elise and I went to the hospital to have Peter, she wrote the following 'manual' for the grandparents. I want to keep it for posterity and I think this is a better place than my computer...

Sam Hanna, A User’s Guide:

Wake up: Between 6:00am and 7:00 (preferably 7:00 for a more ‘spirited’ morning!)

Change Diaper: All Sam’s clothes/diapers are in the right hand side of dresser

Breakfast: (He eats at the counter on a stool or at the table at a bar stool)
Cup of milk (‘milk dis’ can be heard for miles when he wants some) some typical breakfasts: 1 egg scrambled & banana, cheerios with or without milk & banana, pancakes & syrup, waffle

Get dressed (good luck!)

Play/go outside/go to park down by mailbox/read books/go on errands

Lunch: Sam is not a big fan of lunch but will tend to eat better if he eats before his nap. Cup of milk & raisins, pretzels, applesauce, turkey or ham, ½ a peanut butter sandwich (flattened like a pancake and grilled like grilled cheese, or not!….paul’s trick!) a little schmorgazbord of a little bit of a few different things for him to pick at usually does the trick.

11:30- 12:30 Naptime Starts: (if he got up early he’ll start getting cranky and dazed about 11am if he got up later he’ll be ok until 12:30 or so.

Change diaper, Yellow Blanky, pacifier and read two books then into the crib awake, door just pulled closed not latched and he should be out like a light. He may want to take one small truck or train into the crib to play while he drifts off. He may cry or whine for a minute or play for a few minutes then ‘zonk’ out.

1:30-2:30 Naptime ends: Try not to let him sleep more than 2 or 2.5 hours, you’ll most likely have to wake him up. Just open shades and bang around and he’ll wake up…usually slowly :)

Change Diaper, & have a snack. Crackers, cookie, piece of a banana….

Play/go outside/go to park down by mailbox/read books/go on errands

5:30 or 6:00 Dinner: Cup of milk and a few ideas…… Noodles, plain or with butter, green peas (in freezer), shelled edamame (in freezer), corn, cheese quesadilla, rice, pizza, cous cous

Dessert: if he eats a decent dinner, a little tiny bit of ice cream or a couple of animal cookies (in pantry)


7:00 Bathtime (if you dare!) :) his room, toys in tub, towel hanging on hook above toilet, washcloths in left-hand bathroom drawer

PJ’s in bottom right-hand drawer of dresser, comb in diaper drawer Pacifier and Yellow blanky……Play for a few minutes and read stories in his room. Give him a five minute warning before bed time or tell him ‘just two more books’

8:00 Bedtime: he should go right down, no lights, no nightlight, door just pulled closed, light on in our bathroom until we go to sleep usually is his only light. He may cry for a few minutes, if longer than that you can get him up and let him read a few more stories and try again at 8:30.

All is negotiable, all is at your discretion. This is our typical schedule but don’t worry if it doesn’t go this way, this is just a helpful hints guide to the day. If you can’t manage or don’t want to manage a bath or can’t get him to bed by 8:30 or even 9pm we don’t care and it won’t kill him for a few days!

He will drink a gallon of milk a day if you let him. Try to give food first before milk or just a half a cup to start then food then more milk after he’s eaten a bit.

Car seat in J. Arms through straps, latch chest harness (clicks together) then snap each latch into crotch latch :) to release press red/orange button between legs and unlatch chest harness with center circle/button and remove arms.

Orange stroller is in the trunk of the J if needed

Helpful Translations for Sam-speak:
“ma dis” = milk please
“ass” = yes
“mlecks” = water
“bom” = ball

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 30th, 2009

There are parts of this day that I will never forget, but there are also parts of this day I have already forgotten. For example, I had forgotten that Elise's dad drove us to the hospital until she mentioned it in a previous post. I have to write this down now before more of the day is lost.

The day started like many others of the previous few months. Elise's parents stopped by early to watch Sam while we went to the doctor. My expectations were low. Our hopes had been high two days previous that the baby was close to coming, but there had been no advancement since last week, and we left the doctor's office on Monday discouraged.

I believe we had resigned ourselves to wait another week. Nonetheless, Elise delved into her bag of tricks and invoked every urban myth and old wives' tale in order to expedite Peter's arrival. She ate spicy food at Leftovers Tuesday night and took a brisk walk with her mother around the neighborhood. She even had me massaging pressure points on the back of her ankles.

Well...whatever she did, worked.

She had advanced significantly in three days and the doctor told us to go home, pack our bag and head on over to the hospital.

"Huh? Wait a sec...what was that?"

"Go ahead and head on over to the hospital."

"Right now...?"

We were having a baby today.

As we left the doctor's office, she called back and reported that the maternity ward somehow inexplicably filled in the last hour, so take our time. Head over around noon. We rushed home, regardless. Showered and got Sam squared away. We left him in good hands. Nanny, Grandad and Ma were in control (see previous post... :)

When we arrived at the hospital, the nurse took us to the recovery room while a delivery room was readied. She asked us a technical question, I don't recall now, and Elise and I both just kind of looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. We didn't have any answers. Elise suggested she call the doctor. She just told us to come.

Once we settled into our room, Elise started on an IV and the medication that helps facilitate contractions. We watched "You've Got Mail" with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The rest, as they say, is history...

The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

I think it has been said that it is always darkest before the break of a new day. I recall from cycling that it is always coldest right before the sun comes up. I wouldn’t write this at all if I didn’t feel in my bones that the worst was behind us and that we were slowly crawling back into the light.

Getting through the last year has been the hardest thing I have ever done.

I am used to things coming easily to me. But keeping our ship true to course, navigating the splintered deals and fractured spirits took everything out of me. The year was filled with so many wondrous memories, but those pinpoints of brilliancy were surrounded—in my mind—by the weight of worry. I ardently hope one day to recall 2009 happily, to only remember Sam’s 1st words, his 1st steps, Elise’s emergence into her professional own, Peter’s emergence into the world and I hope to one day forget the thoughts that came rushing in the middle of the night when Elise was breathing and the night was quiet and yet sleep refused to come.

I would go to sleep every night exhausted. I would want to go to sleep at eight at seven, just to get the day behind me in the hopes that the next one might be better. At one point I would have felt myself immune to the miseries that haunted CNN and Fox News but now, somehow, inexplicably, I find myself living the headline. I don’t know how I found myself there…one bad decision after bad decision. Foolishly, I rode the ship until it completely sunk.

I am getting out. I don’t exactly know what will happen. That’s the best part. But I do know that whatever we decide will be the right decision, regardless.

I’m getting out. It feels too late, but it still feels earlier than some. I know we are better off than some. I know, in spirit, in health and in happiness, better off than most. That’s all that should matter.

I don’t go to the office anymore. Elise’s asks me every evening if I am going into my office tomorrow. It’s become a running joke. I get more done in a day, cell phone in hand, walking the neighborhood with Sam or playing soccer at the playground than I do stuck behind my desk. I tell Elise I will go back to my office when there is reason to, when business has been restored to a level sufficient enough to siphon off the black cloud of negativity surrounding it. For now, I am relishing every moment with Elise, Peter and Sam because perhaps soon, I will have to be in an office and behind a desk or somewhere that prohibits me from reading Curious George at 12:30 to put Sam down for his nap or grab a middle-of-the-day coffee with my wife and boys.

I took statistics at the math sciences department at one of the eastern seaboard’s most prestigious universities. I swam from Alcatraz. I ran a marathon. I won the heart of the woman of my dreams. And smiling through 2009 was still the hardest thing I have ever done. I don’t know if I was entirely successful. I hope never to forget how hard it was…and I hope never to think about it again.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, faint as it may be. Things are brighter. Days are better. Dances and skits and songs come more easily, more spontaneously. The other day Sam woke up and asked to watch “Little Einstein’s” on TV. Traditionally, we only let Sam watch Saturday morning cartoons, and it wasn’t Saturday, so I asked him if he wanted me to act out a skit of Little Einstein’s. He said, “Yessee!”, so I did.


We have options. We have choices. I color. I get bossy. Elise hasn’t seen that side of me in awhile, where a renewed spirit reaches out and takes hold of what is around it and demands, rather than slinks depressingly to the end of the day.

I don’t want to go to bed. I am sleepy, but not tired. I want to stay up all night to live, to experience every moment, every sleepless night with Peter, every diaper change in the dark (dodging fountains of errant pee), groping blindly for diaper tags that tear off between my fingers. I want to eat strawberry ice cream and watch House Hunters every night, because it will remind me of this time of transition when things went from hopeless to hopeful.

Peter: Initial Thoughts


Ok little boy, you are four weeks old today and your transition into our home and lives has been as seamless as your transition into our hearts. I write this now, not because I have not had the time or could not have made the time, but because, like with your big brother Sam, I care not to waste a minute of your babyhood, time I could be staring into your sparkly grey eyes, smoothing your fuzzy raven hair or kissing your velvety soft cheeks, on cataloging your seconds on my computer but instead forever in my mind and in my arms.

When you were born we were surprised, delighted. Most thought sure you were a girl, I for one had no idea. We drove to the hospital with your Grandad while Grandma, Nanny & Sam eagerly waited at home for your arrival. We nervously joked about you being a boy, what we might name you, but nothing seemed quite right. Looking back, naturally nothing seemed right, there could be only one name for you not an entire list to sort through before we met you. Once you made your entrance into the world we took our time, spent a day gazing at you, getting to know you. From your very first moment, you were gentle, sweet and peaceful, my little Peter rabbit.

I imagine you as a little boy hopping playfully around a lush garden whispering to trees and playing gently with God's creatures. I know you will be an incredibly kind and thoughtful boy, and eventually a good man, like your daddy. You will wear you heart on your sleeve, listen when people speak and reach out to everyone you can.

We gave you many gifts upon your arrival, all of which cost nothing, a most important lesson you will learn:

We gave you the best big brother in the world. He will take the best care of you and you will be the best of friends. You will guide each other down twisting paths, you will lean on each other when times are tough, you will laugh more together than should be allowed. Never let each other go. You will always have a friend to turn to when you turn to your brother.

We gave you the most loving family. Nanny, Grandad, Ma and Udie, Uncle Dan, Aunt Jackie & Uncle Bill. They love you because you are you. You can always count on any of them and they will always be there for you.

We gave you a home. It has no furniture, it has no walls like the standard definition of a home, instead it has arms and hearts and laughter, it is the most safe place to reside. It is where ever we are together as a family.

I love you with all my heart, I miss you while your sleeping, I look forward to each day that we spend together with Sam and Dad. I will always love you, no matter what.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My New Facebook Profile Picture

Courtesy of Elise (of course!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Loudest Scooter in the World

One of the main purposes of this blog, I feel, is to capture snipets of our life now that 5, 10 or 50 years down the road we may forget. One of those snipets is: the loudest motorscooter in the world.

Okay, so the loudest scooter in the world and I have quite a history. I feel as though I know the rider of this scooter intimately, like we are old friends or colleagues, though I have never met him, and, in fact, have no idea who he is.

When the weather turns cooler (which is infrequent) we are able to open our windows at night. The nights here are mostly quiet, barring a holiday that is celebrated by fireworks, which, evidently, in our neighborhood, is every holiday. Yes, I believe they even celebrate Valentine's Day and Columbus Day here by shooting off fireworks. I don't know what it is. Our neighbors love their fireworks. Anyway, every night around 2:00 a.m. we here the loudest scooter in the world drive by our house.

Because it is the loudest scooter in the world (I'm not kidding...this thing is louder than a Harley) the noise doesn't come and go in thirty seconds. The event last a full 5 minutes. He passes the house, then we hear him going through the round-about, fully a mile away. I guess he then heads west, because the squirty brrreeeeet of the scooter fades for a moment, only to reemerge miles away, like all the over by 95.

Since Peter's moved in with us and we are awake in the dark more often than not, we've grown closer to the pilot of the loudest scooter.

Elise and I have hypothesized that the scooter's rider buses tables (of course, he's not a waiter because then maybe he could afford a modest car payment). When we hear the scooter around 11 or 12, one of us will turn to the other and say into the night, "He must have gotten off work early tonight." The converse is also true. When he passes at 3 or later, usually a Friday or Saturday night (err, I mean Saturday or Sunday morning), the brief conversation begins and ends with, "Must've been a late night."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Peter found his toy box

...with a little help from big brother.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sam's 2nd Birthday Party

No rest for the weary. So, shall be our December motto from now on! Sam's 2nd birthday followed hot on the heels of Christmas Day!

Elise and I deliberated long and hard, pondering a motif splendorous enough to capture the significance of the day. We ended up motif-less, but don't feel we copped out. In light of Peter's impending arrival, we envisioned a dream afternoon for Sam, a few hours that were all his, where we indulged his every fancy and tickled his every whim...such is what birthday's are and should be made of...especially when in a few short days you will start sharing the spotlight. That day, however, was, and by design, all Sam's.

We gathered on the green in New Haven, setting up a small birthday oasis at one end of the grass, two folding tables and a dozen folding chairs, adorned with a colorful table cloth and balloons. We ordered pizza and a cake and made sure that all of Sam's favorite people were in attendance. He opened presents, ate p'tah and icing and ran around gleefully. He could have just been outside and been content. Add Nanny, Bill & Jackie, Mark & Cameron, Bobotz, 'Ma and Granddad and Uncle Josh, some bocce balls, a new remote control car and several ounces of blue-tinged sugar and he was on cloud 9.

A Christmas Story (in photos)

Finally I have carved out a naptime of time to post the photos from our family Christmas morning. I gave up on photos about the time I started cooking my standing rib-roast extravaganza dinner.

a delicious little curly haired angel asleep among presents on the sofa.

the parents-eye-view of a most successful Christmas.

Monday, January 11, 2010


....could look a lot like this:

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

In the case of Christmas morning 2009, the picture of Sam's face as he descended the stairs and emerged into the twinkling wonder of our tiny, woodland creature-themed Christmas tree is worth 10,000.

That picture is on its way, so for now, the words will have to suffice.

Early on, Elise and I had decided this would be the year Sam's got his 1st bike. Or trike, to be exact. We ordered it online. It came in a box. It was a Schwinn, kind of half tricycle/half Big Wheel. It was hid away in our garage until I could find time to put it again, hoping against hope that I would find time before Christmas eve and hoping against hope that it didn't come in 500 pieces with instructions written in Swedish or stick figure pictograms. I was granted both wishes. A Christmas miracle! There were only 5 pieces and I think I put it together Christmas eve eve.

I walked down to the garage, opened the box and very literally was awed. I had no idea how red and shiny it would be. I could even smell the new leather on the tassels hanging from the ends of the handlebars and the sickly sweet stale smell of brand new rubber. I knew immediately that if the color and sheen of this bike had this much effect on me, now, in the dim light of the garage, that it was going to absolutely blow Sam's socks off.

I was right.

It was everything a brand new tricycle sitting under a Christmas tree that Santa brought for you was supposed to be. Right down to the giant-sized bow perched on the handlebars. The Christmas lights twinkled on the polished aluminum frame. It sat there, begging to be rode, imploring to be taken on a ride, whispering, "Let's roll!"

Years from now I won't remember anything else Sam received that year or anything I received or anything I gave Elise, but I will never forget that bicycle nor the exclamation that followed his first glimpse.

"WOOO-OOW!!!" (two syllables!)

Christmas morning, Sam woke right before or at dawn. Elise ran downstairs to put the finishing touches on all. I held Sam at the top of the stairs. I recalled speculation as to when toddler's fully appreciate what goes on at Christmas. Not the biblical significance, but the other significance, i.e. the arrival of Santa, reindeer and the anticipation of Christmas morning. Well....there was no doubt Sam knew exactly what was going on. He had mastered Santa's, "Ho ho" (Not "Ho ho ho" but "Ho ho"...even better). He pointed to the roof of the Gardens Mall, where Santa's moose were parked. (Somehow "moose" was one of the 1st words Sam learned at a tiny cabin restaurant in Cannon Beach,, for now, Santa's sleigh is pulled by moose...not reindeer). We took walks at night through our neighborhood marvelling at the lights, the lit up alligators (only in Florida), to which Sam replied "Natch!" and drove through the Heights and Snug Harbor to see the grand light spectacles and the Santa attached to a boom swinging over someone's house. He learned the word "snow man" (and even today wonders where they went).

He wriggled in my arms as we waited for the okay from mom. When it came, I held his hand as he descended the stairs slowly and saw the bike. I got a lump in my throat at his reaction, his utter amazement, the thrill in his voice. Over the last year, I had witnessed his fascination with wheels, spokes, bikes and scooters and the excitement as a bike or skateboard or scooter zoomed by. Even then, Sam knew he wanted to do that, even though wasn't quite physically capable. He was born to ride.

Sam got the hang of unwrapping presents quickly. Each gift was accompanied by a "Whoah!" of appreciation. He meticulously unwrapped each gift, taking each individual piece of wrapping paper and depositing it in the trash before proceeding. We tried moving the trash bin closer to the tree to speed things along, but he pushed it back into the pantry (where it belongs) and kept going in this manner. Sometimes, I think we teach him too well.

Udie came home from work and Elise's Aunt Joyce and Uncle Robert showered all with gifts from the State Dept. :) Even the unborn baby received a gift, a onesie trimmed in lavender that read "Future Secretary of State". For the second year in a row, Elise stunned us with an amazing dinner, including her soon-to-be-patented standing rib roast with cranberry and orange sauce. I know I am leaving out details I don't want to. I couldn't write this sooner to keep them. I wish I had, but events mandated I wait. I am glad I wrote it now, so more didn't slip away.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Boy and His Motorcycle

Motorcycle courtesy of older brother...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Peter Grey Hanna

...was born at 7:01 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009. He weighed 6 lbs. 11 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches tall (the EXACT same dimensions as Sam! though he sure seems a lot tinier than I remember!). Pictures coming soon...

Hide and Seek

I know I have a lot of catching up to do. I think you will understand, when you take into consideration how much has happened in the last week. I want to write down my thoughts on Sam's 2nd Christmas, his 2nd birthday and the birth of our 2nd son, Peter, before the memories fade. Needless to say, we have had a very busy house the past few days.

Yesterday afternoon, a cold front (it really was cold!) settled in. Sam and I snuck outside to play in the front "yard" with his new tricycle and new remote control car. We bounce the ball on the stucco over our front door, pretending there is a hoop there in a make-believe game of hoops. We also tried to play hide and seek for the first time.

I was "it" first. I realized Sam was ready to play when I caught him trying to hide behind a tree from me, a game he most likely picked up from his Nanny. So I told him I was going to "cover" (really, I can't leave this kid out of sight for 2 seconds) my eyes and count to 10. I did and he ran behind the same tree, but started to wander back before I got to 10, so I had to change tactics and tell him I was going to count to 5, thinking this would give him enough time to hide before losing interest.

I started to count to 5 and Sam ran to an open patch of grass in front of our house and turned around, with his back to me and just stood there, perfectly still but out in the wide open, presumably "hiding". I guess since he couldn't see me, he assumed I couldn't see him. I had to coach Sam abd tell him that just because he couldn't see me, didn't mean that I couldn't see him.

I think he lost interest soon after that and got back on his tryke and made motorcycles noises while he spun doughnuts on the sidewalk.