Thursday, December 30, 2010

Your first cold and the ugliest chair

Dear JJ,

Poor little guy - you are sick!  Stuffy nose, hard to breath, little bit of a fever, and not much sleep. Your mom and I just feel horrible that all we can do is hold you and rock you to sleep, with some occasional Tylenol. 

But we did find one thing that made it better.  We moved "the chair" into your bedroom. Not just any chair- but what your mom calls the ugliest chair. 

Before you were born we checked out rockers - and gliders, and all sorts of chairs that we could use so that you would be rocked to sleep easily.  I saw a beautiful rocker in Charlotte, NC at the airport- even did a blog about it. A friend of ours said-- "Go to Lazy-Boy, they have the best built and most comfortable ones around." Your mom  objected, "Their furniture is so ugly, I don't want that." But we bought one.

When you first came home, the only way you, and your mom, could sleep, was if you slept on her chest, and on this chair is where you spent your first two weeks at home, in our bedroom. We figured you were use to hearing your mom's heartbeat - and felt comfort being there.  After a couple of weeks you were into your own crib.

The chair has moved around the house.  It was in our bedroom for a while - and when Grandma and Grandpa Simpson came, we moved it to the living room so Grandma Simpson could enjoy it. Then back into our bedroom.  

Then you came down with your first cold. Your breathing sounded like a coffee percolator, and you didn't sleep  well.  The first night your mom was up into your room so many times. About 2 am your mom hadn't come back to bed so checking in there were the two of you sleeping peacefully - it was the best you had slept in a day!  So the next day with your grandpa Grosshans we moved the chair into your room.

The chair may not fit into our "decor." But it is my favorite chair because - with it you can sleep on your mom's chest, or mine- and feel comfort when you are sick, or afraid, or just want to be close.  It is the ugliest chair- and the most beautiful piece of furniture we own.

Get well soon, son.

We love you,

Your mom doesn't want her photo shown with this chair

We moved the chair to the living room when your grandma Simpson was here

The three boys of the house seem to like it

Maybe we like the chair a bit too much

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Golf, snowboarding, or JJ

From 196 yards
Dear JJ,

Sundays I get to play golf with my good friend Steve, and a funny thing has happened - I miss you. I know I have missed you before, but about ten years ago someone asked me why I didn't have children and I told them it would interfere with my weekend golf game.  Back then, when I thought I wasn't ever going to have kids- it seemed the highlight of my week was playing golf (and then I did it three times a week). 

Now the highlight of my week is seeing you.

Got your mom a new snowboard
Your mom's great passion in life was snowboarding. She was pretty excited when Santa got her a new snowboard with boots and bindings. Well - today, for the first time in almost two years- your mom and your uncle went to the slopes for a day of boarding. About an hour after she left I got a text from her saying she missed you already.

First oranges and fruit of loins
I know it seems a bit odd to write about this- but the two of us were pretty heavily into our games - and now we have more joy in our life being with you. 

The great thing about it- we still enjoy our sports- but we sure enjoy coming home to you- and what we really look forward is when you join us on the links, or the slopes- or almost anywhere.  See, son, we discovered that we love our sports every bit as much as we always did - but we found a new love - family. And there is nothing like it.



Monday, December 27, 2010

Thoughts of the Holiday

You love flying

And you tolerate your mom dressing you funny - for now

But you love your mommy

And you and Lucky wonder if Santa will ever come
And helping dad cook

And playing with Grandma

And being the third generation
Dear JJ,

What a great week -- not just the holiday- but having family here.

Grandma and Grandpa Grosshans came- and Uncle Peter -and it is clear why we have holidays - not to celebrate something long ago - but to celebrate what we have today.

I look back to last year's blog - and remember- on Christmas you were the size of a tangerine - and now we have you! We can play with you, and love you, and watch you smile and grow and notice things-- and you are almost crawling.

Son, you are a part of something - a family - and that is the best reason to celebrate of all. We all love you



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mr. Fezziweg

Shhhh -- silent night
Dear JJ,

Now I feel as if the season is upon us and I think your life has had a Dicken's of an effect -- in fact, your dad now wants to be Mr. Fezziweg instead of Mr. Scrooge.  I will be reading you that story soon enough- but for years I was more humbug than enjoying the season.

In the story there was one character -- Mr. Fezziweg, who, it was said -- "always had the spirit of Christmas. " Well- now I want to be that person -- the one who enjoys the season- enjoys the company of others - and it wasn't the spirt of Christmas, past, present, or future that brought that to me -- it was you.

thank you, son



Monday, December 20, 2010

Eating has never been so fun

Rice cereal
Dear JJ,

Suffice to say you come from a family that enjoys food- and for the past four months you have been on liquids - and then we got the word from the pediatrician that we could start feeding you.  Yup- you love your food!

So we started - very gingerly with rice cereal. The pediatrician warned us that your mouth was more use to breast than a spoon, and that the actions were different- and he was right.  More of it ended up on us than in you-- but we persisted.  A few days later we were in Atlanta and I fed  you some mashed potatoes-- they seemed to go down much easier (Norwegian's love potatoes) - so apparently less runny food the better)

I was eating some oatmeal while you were on my lap - looking at it.  So I put a bit in your mouth- and you liked it.  Your mom looked at me and admonished about the sugar and the milk and the oats. I assured her that I didn't give you sugar- that the oats are ok, and that you have been drinking milk. "I should know better than to argue with a surgeon," as she laughed.

So, now every morning you sit in your high chair as I feed you - either rice cereal or oats-- and you love it.  In fact, you are eating a lot. Your mouth goes after that spoon like a frog at a fly.

Feeding you is just one of the great joys of being a dad.  I never knew I could enjoy food with you so much. Someday son - we will share a burger - but I won't forget these moments of watching you take a rice bath!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Decorating the tree

Dear JJ,

One year ago your mom arrived on a plane to spend two weeks here - she was 7 weeks pregnant with you - and we had our first Christmas tree.  We spent the weekend buying ornaments- and a train set - and found a single ornament that said "baby." We hid that on the tree - to see if anyone noticed.

Now you are 21 weeks old - we put that ornament back up- and your mom and I no longer live 2000 miles apart. And your dad is the luckiest guy alive. In fact- it is Lucky's first holiday also.

I never knew that my heart could be so full



Monday, December 6, 2010

I miss my family

Mom and JJ
Dear JJ,

This weekend we got to head to Atlanta to see your auntie Kim, uncle Bob, and a whole bunch of other nice friends. But, I had to leave early to come home to work-  while you and mom stayed there.

Funny thing- during the day - while at work, I am use to not seeing you-- I think about you a lot- but it sure is difficult not seeing you when I get home, or this morning when I woke up and my little boy with his smile isn't there.

Then I realized it-- I miss my family. Family - something I never really had of my own. I know it is difficult to imagine- but at 53 years old it has been a long time since I lived home- and for years I felt as if I was a wandering soul from place to place. But now I am "settled." Your mom, and you - a feeling I never have experienced before.

So, son- you and your mom will be home tomorrow. And I am really looking forward to it. First time I have been away from you since you were born.  I love you son- see you tomorrow.


You enjoy your baths

Always happy

starting to sit in your high chair

and you seem to enjoy chewing on your feet.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The other Jimmy

You have his smile
Dear JJ,

You have had a wonderful and busy time and Thanksgiving - and we had the entire family here. But today is a bit of a sad day- because today would have been my brother's 59th birthday.  Jimmy, my brother, died in 2006 - on December 7th- so the first part of December is a tough time for our family. You were named after him- and you have become the light of our lives -- all of the Simpson family.

I miss my brother- but I noticed something when you started to smile-- I noticed that you have the same smile that my brother did - and every time you smile- it makes my heart warm. It reminds me that life is a cycle, and with every rough bump there are some great things.

We never know when our time on this earth is done-- for your uncle, my brother - it was too soon. But if I ever have a last pleasant thought- it will be your smile and laugh.



Your Namesake, Jimmy and his dog, Gracie

The three beautiful ones in my life

Your grandmother loved having you in her lap

Grandpa Jim - he sure loves his grandson

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One year

It was a year ago we found out about you
Dear JJ,

One year ago your mom and I found out that we were pregnant with you. Your mom and I were so excited.  I didn't want to be "that guy" who jumped up in down in the movies when he found out his wife was pregnant-- but I couldn't help it. When your mom and I met we had this feeling- and after seeing each other for a while we confirmed it- and then we decided life just wouldn't be happy without you.

So this is a pretty special time for us- -because it brings us a lot of memories.

But nothing is as fun as having you here-- having your smile - and watching you grow, and develop a personality - and smile at us.

So son, your dad is going to spend this Thanksgiving season a bit misty - because more than any Thanksgiving ever- I am so glad that I have your mother and you in my life.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Four months

Dear JJ,

Four months! We have been able to kiss you and hold you for four months!

This last week you seem to be noticing Dr Lucky a lot more. Not just when he licks your feet, but you follow him -- we call it "tracking."  In fact, you love to watch the dog. 

So your mom and I always wonder what new thing will be happening next. Like most new parents we have five hundred books, websites, and google constantly and find you are on target for all the things that you are suppose to do - but somehow it all seems special with us. 

You have been a part of us for four months- and no matter where we go, we cannot imagine being anywhere without you - you are just a part of our family-



You've started to notice your furry best friend

And you seem to like sleeping with your other one

Monday, November 15, 2010

The progress continues

Sitting up
Dear JJ,

You are sitting up so well - in fact your mom got you a new chair that lets you sit up and watch us - and you seem to watch us with great intensity these days.  You seem to pay a lot of attention to Lucky - who is always available to lick excess formula from your face.

People all say, "enjoy these moments, they go quickly." Your mom and I do. We are enjoying every minute -- even the 3 am times when you wake up.  Ok, well that does lead to our 5:30 am times when your dad makes coffee and gets your formula (we both need our starts to the day).

One of my patients said to me, "You don't think you can love them more, or that you can enjoy the next stage -- and you do."  Wow - its true, son.  Every new milestone you pass, every new trick you learn, every smile just shows me how much room I have in my heart.


The men of the house
enjoying a nap

you are a football fan

The perfect nap

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

teething and singing

the teeth are coming
Dear JJ,

This morning as I write this I feel those little teeth coming in and find you get comfort in two things- that little pacifier and my fingers.

Your mom and I feel so bad when you are uncomfortable - and we want to do what we can to help you with that comfort.  We know we always can't do that- but we loved what our pediatrician said to us:

"You can't spoil him the first six months- all you want to do is gain his trust."

No matter what age, though, your mom and I will always want to see that smile of yours. And we will always enjoy holding and loving every bit of you.

I do have to apologize for one thing though: your dad doesn't know the words to a lot of songs - so when I sing to you I tend to make up verses as I go along.  Someday you will be in school and insist that those are the words to that song -- and so forgive me, and your mom, when we laugh. Til then you seem to enjoy me singing "Old Man River - he just keeps moving JJ along."



Friday, November 5, 2010

The person I most want to meet

Grandpa George- one of the first fathers to tell me about the joy of being a dad

But that love came the minute I knew you were going to be

and even traveling with you is a joy. Don't want to travel without you

And my dad (snuck this photo of you two). 86 years he waited to be a grandpa

Dear JJ,

Every year people ask - who is the person you most want to meet - in all of history.  In the past I said I would love to sit down and chat with Thomas Jefferson, or Bertrand Russell, or anyone of a number of interesting characters.  This morning that question was answered for me.

History and political science, and many things capture my interest.  And having the opportunity to sit down with great historical figures- or even some contemporary ones, would be a lot of fun.  I'd love to have coffee with Bill Clinton, or George Bush - chat with them about what makes them tick.

Then I thought about the conversations that I have enjoyed over the last few months- and how being a dad has taken over many of them.  I'm pretty sure people are sick of me talking about the wonders fatherhood.  But dads aren't, nor are moms.  The little gems I pick up from dads -- like my dad, Grandpa Jim - or your other grandpa George -- those are precious.  We have this exclusive club - fatherhood-- one that I am a member of.

The person I most want to meet in history is you- when you are at the stage where I am- having a child and seeing the wonders of it all. 

So, JJ-- take your time being a dad- and I'm going to hang in here - and hope that I can pass some pearl off to you about the joys and wonders of the club -- the club of dads



Your new friend. Who is as big with you as Dr. Lucky is with me

Always with a smile

And no doubt scared some goblins away at Halloween

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We never would have imagined

Dear JJ,
Your mom and you - all of us enjoying lunch at True Foods

Every day your mom and I look at you and say, "I never knew it was going to be this good."

Neither one of us thought we were going to have a child -- both of us had lived a lot of years without children and our experiences with kids were from that perspective. But it all changed when we met each other and our world is so much better with you in it.

We have spent our lives being driven by career, and driven by vacations. We moved so fast in this world, that we thought we had it all. Then we met each other-- then we decided to have you - then we had you.

Many people who have children early say, "I can't wait til they are gone so we can do what we want."

Your mom and I have done all anyone could want - -and now we can say with you in our lives we know what we want -- and we are so happy you are in it.



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leaning from dads

Here you are wondering why Grandpa Jim doesn't have the beard your dad does
Dear JJ,

Sitting with you this morning I thought of all the lessons we dads learn from one another. Then I wondered what kind of a dad you might be.

I'm lucky to have two great examples of dads -- my own, and your mom's dad.
Grandpa George when you were a bit smaller!
From Grandpa George I get to see how a dad interacts with his near teen age son- and then I remember back to when I was a teenager.

What I learned was this - I was lucky to have a dad that was patient, that would gently guide me, and who if I needed him was there. The influence was subtle, but unmistakable. What I accomplished professionally was directly related to my dad.  But the real lessons I learned from my dad, and watching your Grandpa George -- are the best lessons.  How to raise a boy.

Yup- we dads have a unique role in life - something I didn't appreciate before. And now my favorite job is to take all those lessons, and be the best dad I can be for you. 

Someday, son, you may have your own boy- and I hope I am there to hold him and pass on little pearls like I get from both your Grandpa Jim and Grandpa George.  But for now I am going to enjoy every minute of holding you, and making you smile. Plenty of time for you to grow up- but while we both make this journey - I'm enjoying every smile.



Monday, October 25, 2010

True treasures

Meeting Aunt Sandi
Dear JJ,

You have had another busy week!

While many would say- you, the  jet-set baby, went to San Francisco, and enjoyed dining in two of America's finest restaurants -- Michael Mina's in SF and Zuni Cafe - the real value of the week happened early on -- meeting Sandi.

Aunt Sandi is one of your mom's dearest friends --  one of the first to know that your mom was pregnant -- in fact, she guessed it. She came to the wedding. She reads about you every chance she gets - and has for months wanted to come see you -- and this last week, she did.  She went to blog world in Las Vegas, but her real mission was the trip to Arizona.

Son, there are a lot of lessons to learn about this last week - but the real one is this:

No matter where you go, or what you do, or how much privilege you have -- the most important thing in life is to surround yourself with wonderful people.  Things and places are just that - but people with great hearts are treasures that no one can steal or take.

You have riches son - a lot of wonderful friends and family who love you.

Of course, its morning - and that means your dad, the luckiest man in the world, gets to spend his time with you.


Uncle Rick also came to see you

Aunt Lori drove Rick and Sandi from LV to here. You first met Aunt Lori on your first day

I caught a quiet moment when Aunt Sandi was just enjoying your company

I don't think anyone was as excited to see you and feed you
And your mom - the prettiest lady in the world and most wonderful mom and wife

Of course, your biggest fan -- I remain