Monday, January 31, 2011

Things just aren't the same anymore

Dear JJ,

Getting ready for a play date
Before you were born, and before I met your mom - I spent every Saturday afternoon at a cigar shop - enjoying a fine cigar and company.  This was one of the highlights of the week-- to relax with some acquaintances and talk for a couple of hours about a host of subjects. It was such a part of my life that I had written a book about it (and added a couple of chapters after I met your mom).

This Saturday your mom and you went for a "play date" so I was left to head back to one of my old haunts and spend some time with a cigar, some friends, and  - well, it just wasn't the same.
My conversation - was all about my beautiful son and wife
First - I couldn't wait to hear from your mom that you two were done and we could all be home. Second, I spent most of my time filling in my old buddies with what had happened - meeting your mom and you! Some of them had heard from about it.  Most of the gang had gone before I left, and then just the manager of the store and I were there.  He has known me for a long time- and we spent the next hour talking about what a joy kids are- and lots of "dad" stuff.  He said to me, "You know Terry, five years ago I would have never believed that you would be married and having a son."

He was right- I couldn't have imagined it either.  Yes, things have changed - in a wonderful way that I would have never believed or thought about. My best times of the week are now with you and your mom. I never knew how much I was missing until you and your mom came into my life.

Thank you son



Your mom took this photo of me the night we met- it became the cover for the book
Sitting up on your own is pretty routine now

You love solids

And your daddy  loves you

Friday, January 21, 2011

Goodbye Nuk - and thanks

My smiling boy
Dear JJ,

About a week after you were born your Grandpa Grosshans and I were up early with you one morning and you were crying like crazy.  Your mom was sleeping and I thought that you might be hungry. So I fed you some formula that the hospital sent home with us.  You stopped crying, and started smiling, and your grandfather and I felt a bit of pride (two guys figured it out) - and  a bit guilty that we didn't wake your mom.  A couple days later, our pediatrician assured us that you would be just fine with a combination of breast milk and formula.

With his blessing off I went to the store to pick up bottles- and was immediately overwhelmed. There are hundreds of baby bottles.  We had some ottles at home- but they seemed too messy for you (later discovering that infants in the first few months suck very hard and you need to work a bit for the formula).  So I found some bottles- they were from Nuk- they had a label that said these bottles were for the first few months.  So I bought four of them. For months we steamed them, traveled with them, used them.  But as you grew, you needed more formula, and hence, a new nipple.

Today, coming back from Alaska- we said goodbye to the last one.  I was trying to fill it for the descent of the airplane when the top went rolling off the seat and back to someone else's seat who was sleeping. As the flight went on- it kept going further back the down the plane.  You didn't need a bottle on the way down- you did just fine (unless you count that messy diaper - but it all comes out in the wash).

We have new bottles for you, and some new foods, and spoons.  But those Nuk bottles- and your mom, kept you going for these first six months. They were well used, and now we are starting to see how you like your sippy cup.

BTW - happy birthday son - six months old.

You provide us with a lot of smiles, son - never knew that I would feel sentimental about a baby bottle- or that I would look up words to Camptown Races (a song you like me to sing) - or Twinkle Twinkle - but I wouldn't change this for the world,



You are a great traveler - in this case back to Anchorage
Same room- same view- always showing you home

Your place in the hotel - you play and sleep here

But we have to go home- Anchorage Airport- showing you the snow and Alaska Airlines

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Family is everything

Aunti Kim and Uncle Bob always love to see you
 Dear JJ,

Family is everything- sadly this week Gigi went back to China- but the good news is that you were able to see Aunti Kim and Uncle Bob when we went to Park City.  What can we say about Gigi? She was there from the day you were born- stayed with us for seven weeks - and they came back for December to see you (and get some papers sorted, so they say). 

Last winter, your mom was pregnant with you - so no snowboarding - but this week we went to Park City to join her sister, Kim, and family. Your mom was able to use her new Christmas gift- her snowboard and be with family.  She got to board up and down the mountain - and your mom even got up early for that (you will understand that your mom, unlike you, your dad, and your grandpas - is not a morning person)

The hardest part- we left you in child care for the first time in your life. We had a lot of anxiety about it- but you did great, and all the people who watched you loved you. 

The best part - we had a nice transition, from your grandma  being here to seeing your Aunti Kim and Uncle Bob.

Our family is spread across the earth son -- from China, to Alaska, to Oregon, to Georgia. But they all love you- from around the world you are loved. We love that they love you, as much as we love them. Through this all we found an extended family- others who love you.

You see, son, having you has opened my eyes to a lot of things. I always knew family was important- but now - through your eyes- I value each and every family member more and more- even those who we are not related to. Love is a great thing, son.  You have taught me a lot about love.



Gigi is smiling - because she is holding you - but misses you now that she is back in China

Get use to snowsuits son -something tells me your mom will be taking you to a lot of places with snow - oh, those feet will soon be attached to some boards

Watching the snow- on my lap looking over the slopes in Park City. I know that in about two years you will be skiing  - probably better than your dad!

JJ meet EJ

I think Uncle EJ believes you are named after him
Dear JJ,

Your mom is blessed with many great friends- which have all become your aunts and uncles - and this week you finally got to meet Uncle EJ!!  EJ was always there for your mom- whether it was someone to talk to, someone to lend her a hand- and he was one of the first to know that you were going to make your appearance.  We had to come to Park City, Utah to meet him - but it was great.

In the days when your mom and I were commuting back and forth between Tampa and Phoenix sometimes your mom needed a hand - and EJ was ALWAYS there to help. Even to the last day- he helped box stuff up, and gave your mom and I our last ride out of Tampa and to her new home in Phoenix.

So last night was great, son - you got to meet EJ, who has known you forever.  And when it comes to the kind of man I want you to be -- be like EJ- someone who is kind, someone who says "let me know if I can help" - and means it. 



Monday, January 3, 2011

A Happy Baby

Even with peas!
Dear JJ,

Even with a cold, cutting teeth, and eating peas - you are a happy baby.  You smile, you laugh, you giggle. You love playing with mom, the dog, and your dad. We think you are tired and you want to go to sleep- but you struggle until we take you marching down the hall-- singing as loud as I can "You got to keep on moving," and all the while you are bouncing in my arms, laughing- until you lean back and the eyes just close.

It made me think of all the babies in the world- and how naturally happy they are- and all the bad circumstances that can happen that change that.

I hope to keep you warm, and comfortable, and safe, and be around to keep you smiling and happy.

I love you son- keep smiling - the world needs it.



Your first mouthful of green stuff

Always with a smile

You love to fly!

Happy New Year from the Boys

JJ, Grandpa Grosshans, Uncle Peter
Dear JJ,

This morning I'm missing your grandpa Grosshans and your Uncle Peter.  They are back in China - so our morning routine has changed.

It was wonderful having your Grandpa Grosshans here-- every morning when you wake up he would be awake two and we would watch you eat your solid food, and then spend time playing with you. Peter would get up around 6 am, and then with Lucky- your morning would be complete.

So I felt a little lost the last couple of mornings- just you and I and Lucky- then your mom got up. 

You are sleeping through most of the nights now, son - still have a cold. But every morning you wake up with a great smile, and a lot of laughs - and this morning you kept looking at your mom. No doubt wondering- what is she doing up so early, and where is Grandpa and Uncle?

I'm getting ready to head to the office- and you are snuggled in with your mom-- my two beauties getting their rest. Hard to imagine- half way around the world there are two other people thinking about you.

Lots of love for you son-