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the tj chronicles 80
this is the last entry in the tj chronicles saga! i know, this is a sad day for everyone … but, you will be able to follow the adventures of travis in facebook … if you are lucky enough to be his friend, that is.
i would like to dedicate this entry to a summary, both in words and in picture from both denise (blogger) and me (facebook), of the weirdeurotrip2012 from which we just returned.

without further ado …

i hope you enjoyed it!
wednesday, june 20, 2012

the tj chronicles 79
i know, i know, long overdue … just been very busy, but the good news is that i have post-processed all pictures i hadn't done yet and there were over a 1000! without much further ado, here's 12 pictures from the last 5 weeks.
travis in his now most favorite spot, on the entertainment center messing with the dvds, after eating his favorite food, bwead teela:

he is still loving bath time, but his skin reacts more (and worse) to water in wintertime, because it has been unseasonly dry:

of course, he still hams it up, too:

even though, and i'm not sure if you can tell, this is a totally fake laugh:

dead asleep:

like a monkey, travis still likes picking up or holding things with his feet/toes:

when he gives it, travis has a beautiful, radiating smile:

and his laugh is truly infectious:

eating a cadbury cream egg:

this is his face after eating yo-yo (yogurt):

playing on the floor, a "train riding the train tracks":

his luscious and bedhead hair:

during a recent, unofficial measurement, travis now weighs about 41lbs (18.5kg) and 40in (101.6cm), so he is as big as a 4 year-old and he is not even 3! we have ordered a booster seat, both for in the car and for our upcoming trip to europe, because he is fast outgrowing the car seat he has now. even though we hoped this car seat would last us 5-6 years it still has been great, since we've been on 5 long road trips since we've had travis. now it's on to the next level. this goes for everything. we hope to put him in daycare for a couple of days per week, just so he can interact with other kids his age, or older, since he is lacking that at home. even though he is very comfortable around us, he does need some outside stimulation as much as we, but denise the most, need some reprieve from him. the terrible twos and threes are no joke!
saturday, march 10, 2012

the tj chronicles 78 first edition of 2012, happy new year!
now that the holidays are behind us we can focus on daily routines again after overeating and overdrinking. not that it made a difference to travis, because he didn't really grasp the concept of christmas just yet, although he didn't mind getting presents.
this is travis playing with one of his gifts (outside of the frame) on the desk:

he finally got the hang of his pop-goes-the-weasel sock monkey:

i call this the brad pitt, a look designed to make him look a lot dumber than he is:

bathtime:

you have seen a variation of this particular picture numerous times before, but travis still loves taking a bath and playing in the water:

he goes crazy if pours the water out of his cup:


i think i will "blow up" this picture because it is just full of win:

travis typically concentrates very much when he is in the process of filling his cup and pouring it out again:

getting a little upset, because he can't seem to grab and hold on to the water coming out of the faucet:

but happy as a clam making splashes in the bathwater:

these next pictures i have already shared on my facebook wall, because it was just *too* cute when he asked for a nutella sandwich, so here they are again, without any commentary:







suffice to say, travis likes bwead ateela!
travis still also likes going and being outside. here he is playing with a ball:

anatomy of a travis throw. first he counts one, too, fwee:
br> then he lets go:

and then he looks at the ball intently, as if to will it higher:

throwing the ball into the sun:

and still the sun shines in his eyes:

this picture is taken against all basic principles of photography, but i turned out quite alright:

and another one in black & white:

this is travis getting a little angry at me for taking pictures:

the travis death glare:

once his big sister came home from school and played with him and his ball he was OK again:

personally, i love this shot of our two youngest:

and this concludes another two weeks in the life of travis :-)
saturday, january 7, 2012

the tj chronicles 77 the xmas edition!
and what a christmas it was, hoo boy! it started, on friday, with prepping gifts, or, getting rid of a ton of bananas that were doing an #occupyourfreezer:

yes, you are seeing 20 small and 2 large loaves of banana bread, and how they looked after baking, a nice golden brown:

it almost looked too good to give away, but we are not about the #occupythegrinch:

on friday night, after travis went to bed we also set up the tree. typically we would set it up the day after thanksgiving, but since the cats are into the bottom branches of the tree, even though it is a fake, plastic tree, and the skirt we thought we'd wait a little longer. and of course, there's travis who has a difficult time understanding the word "no" and its meaning. this is the top of the tree:

the tree has a pretty white bow:

lookit, it is i:

you knew i had to do it, an abstraction of the lights in our christmas tree:

this is the entire tree, minus one ball … yes, travis got to it; he took one off of a tree branch, held it up and then tested to see if it would bounce when dropped onto the hardwood floor … guess what, it didn't:

a couple of packages of banana bread and a small jar of christmas spices:

the foil wrap with the red ribbon looked pretty nice:

travis does not understand the concept of christmas, yet, so he was oblivious to all that was going on around him. here he is playing with a tonka toy train, which he calls thomas:

here he is banging thomas on the desk:

and playing quietly on the floor, finally giving me one of his great smiles after me goading him for hours:

after christmas eve's dinner we and our guests, chris and sam from carrolton, spent some time in the kitchen talking about all sorts of stuff:

another abstraction of the christmas tree lights:

one of our prized christmas tree balls, a clear ball with a rainbow ribbon inside of it:

travis woke up at 8.30 on christmas day and instead of taking him down, i made pepper make his bottle and took him in our bathroom after i got him up and changed/cleaned him. denise was still sleeping after staying up into the wee hours of the morning and i knew that if travis would see the presents under the tree he would be unstoppable. after about an hour we had to take travis downstairs and as soon as he saw the boxes he was over it like white on rice. the first thing he saw was a cars puzzle of lightning mcqueen:

this is the rest of the christmas packages:

denise, pepper and travis opening their gifts:

for travis there was the cars puzzle, a curious george game set and a cars board game:

this is the cars puzzle completed (travis helped pepper complete it):

travis leafing through the curious george numbers book:

denise seeing santa's present, a dvd collection box of all of christopher titus' 4 stand-up routines, signed by the man himself:

travis also got a cars/lightning mcqueen tent:

pepper got books and a new nintendo ds with a game, a hello kitty nail kit and some other stuff. denise also got house slippers, which are photobombing this shot:

the tent set up:

travis coming out of the tent, after chasing his big sister through it:

but as far as travis goes, the big winner of this year's christmas was the train set:

it sings the alphabet, it has an elephant up front, you can shoot blocks into the carriage on which you can sit, clearly this thing is the awesomesauce:

driving his train past the cars tent:

saying "train":

and back on the train again:

and riding around on it:

breakfast was on request, because it's christmas:

travis kept on playing with his train:

it really is a nice piece of work, very intricate, even though it's probably made in china … don't mention it to #ows or the 99% ;-)

travis showing me the block with the double-u/worm on it:


and like with all of his toys, he gets close to the surface on which it sits to observe how it works:

dinner preparation started around 11am with the bird (duck? duck? goose!) being prepped for the oven, after more than a day brining in a cooler in the garage. below is the stuffing for the goose:

sweet potatoes boiling in the foreground:

braising red cabbage in the background:

steaming brussel sprouts off to the side:

and this is the goose cooking in the oven:

(i should have cleaned the inside of the oven window, i guess …)
watching titus episodes in anticipation of dinner:

travis still/again playing with his train, as he has been pretty much all day:

dinner table, set:

the goose (and i know it looks like it is charred, but that's how goose cooks) and underneath the skin it was pretty tender:

the dinner table with the plates loaded with sprouts on red cabbage (green on red, get it?!), a bowl of mashed & creamed sweet potatoes and sliced goose breast and some wings:

here we are digging in, even travis helped himself eat:

although everything tasted very nice, everyone's favorite, i think, were the mashed taters:

most of us cleaned up our plates:

after dinner we watched some more titus before our guests, chris and sam (remember?) headed back home. my christmas was complete by knowing that travis, denise, pepper and in their own way, campion and ellen, had a nice christmas at our weird place. naturally, i got presents too, but for me the biggest present was to see travis completely geeking out over his train. and now i am geeking out over this blog, since i am actually publishing it before i said i would … because i am *that* much of a geek :P
sunday, december 25, 2011

the tj chronicles 76 the post-halloween and pre-xmas edition!
this will be a weird (LOL) blog entry, because there are not many pictures that i haven't shared yet in facebook, but i wanted to do another blog before christmas, since i have a feeling i will be taking some pictures over the holiday weekend.
this is from the first time denise spoke at #ows #occupyatlanta about #blankettheearth and you can clearly see how interested travis is in what is going on right around him:

a beautiful fall day in our backyard, where pepper and travis are playing with the large blue ball:

just see how he is keeping an eye on the ball's trajectory:

a shot from up close while he was telling me about something:

during thanksgiving dinner, being a goofball:

eating something delicious, and wanting to share with the rest of the world all of this deliciousness:

at the #blankettheearth event for #ows #occupyatlanta, holding down the blanket with his sister and their goldfish:

checking out the trees in woodruff park:

at the #familiesforpeace event in piedmont park, personifying the 99%, the oppressed:

the event was right next to the playground, and he loved the small slide:

and he loved the swing:

and he loved the big slide:


couldn't get enough of it, we had to literally drag him out of the park when it was time to go home.
drinking appelsap, eating microwaved crackers with cheese and a side of marshmellows:

geek in training:

travis likes sitting in my lap at the desk watching youtube videos and it depends from day to day what he likes to see; sometimes it's sesame street videos with number counting, other times it's thomas the tank engine:

happy holidays everyone and check back soon for christmas pictures!
friday, december 23, 2011

the tj chronicles 75 the halloween edition!
travis after dressing up and make-up, mini-me:

there definitely is a resemblance … intentional or not *halo*:

although it took a whole lot to get him to smile AND look at the camera:

stepping off our driveway for his third halloween, although he probably doesn't remember the first two … and likely he will not remember this one either:

returning after one of the first trick-or-treats:

travis would ring the door bell, twice, and then start knocking on the door, followed by just turning the knob:

when the door would open he wouldn't say "trick or treat" but just a very well-meant "hi!":

denise had to stay behind, so she "manned" our trick-or-treat food stand:

pepper dressed up as juliet:

this was our jack o'lantern, still in style, so i guess you can see we did #occupyhalloween :P

travis d(r)owning his milk after bringing home the loot:

monday, october 31, 2011

the tj chronicles 74
it pains me to say, but i have been guilty of neglecting this blog. my work schedule and other household duties has been the lead cause for this neglect. also, as opposed to take pictures of travis i have actually been spending a lot of time playing with travis on the days i am home. so i guess, i personally have no lack of pictures, because there's tons of footage in my mind's eye. but, to assuage those of you who look to my blog to keep track of travis' growth, here's a load of pictures from the last 4 (four) months! (of course, some of these you may have already seen on facebook.)
travis "dressed up" as a rock star, complete with angry young man-look:

these blocks are to shout for:

a failed close-up turned pretty awesome, because you can clearly see travis' awesome smile:

one-two-threes, one-two-threes, one-two-threes:

(and this is what he is watching.)
travis has discovered discovering and he likes to take any toy, any object and watch it closely while dragging it in front of his eyes:

and while discovering he may sometimes pause and watch tv with intensity:

if it is super why or curious george or sesame (specifically elmo's world) he can completely lose himself:

travis still loves bathtime:

and he can still look like a rock star when his hair is shampooed:

this is how much he likes taking a bath:

playing with the water coming out of the bath faucet:


a quiet moment in the tub:

this is the look one would get if one would take away his lightning mcqueen shampoo bottle car:

but his radiant smile typically returns very fast:

followed by another pensive moment:

watching cars (by far his favorite movie):

two close-ups of travis' milk mouth:


… because sometimes Y …:

playing with lightning mcqueen in the bath tub:




us lazy and dirty hippies prior to going to the #ows #occupyatlanta event in woodruff park:

travis on marta:

travis looking at the protesters during the general assembly:

more pictures

travis comfortably asleep:

no, this is not a cut on his face, just a line from a fold in his mattress cover:

when we went to the #ows #occupyatlanta #globalchange event travis attracted quite some attraction:

travis eating a turkey sandwich:

checking out a picture someone took of him:

playing and coloring with a few other kids:

more pictures of #oct15

travis all dressed up in kahkis and a plaid shirt:

travis playing with a toy thomas the tank engine:

it even comes with a track and the engine is batter operated. this is travis watching with glee how thomas passes him by:



FAO My Schwartz:

Travis cracking up at a singing giraffe:

hope you enjoyed these :-)
coming to an internet near you, soon, pictures of halloween!
sunday, october 30, 2011

the tj chronicles 73
since it took me 2 months to put a blog post up, you get to have a 2-for-1 special :-) lucky you :P
in the last month we went on 2 roadtrips (totaling 5000+ miles!) and following is the downpour of that.
at the beginning of july we drove up to vermont to spend independence day with aunt laurie and uncle kevin.
drinking at the kitchen table:

in the backyard, enjoying a fire:

during the pre-independence day fireworks at corey's in new hampshire:

looking at the fireworks:

running around all "fired up":

climbing the stairs:

eating a bagel with cream cheese …

… even there may be more around his mouth than in his mouth:

eating barbecued bratwurst in kevin's father's backyard on the 4th of july:

swinging in a swing for the very first time:

(travis likey!)
pepper and travis in the pool:


since my lovely wife bought me a waterproof (video) camera now there's also moving pictures of travis and the rest of the family :-)
the first one is recorded by pepper so don't blame me if you pass out watching it:

now if you survived the first video you may also try the second one, also filmed by pepper, where travis recites his 123s and ABCs:


two weeks after the vermont trip, we went on another cross-country trip, this time to denver, colorado. just like going up to vermont, getting to denver was a 2-day trip.
this is travis drinking his morning bottle in our hotel room in columbia, misery:

we stopped in topeka, ks, to meet with auntie kat in her cool refurbished place of business. travis was having a blast running through the long hallway … not sure what these expressions are, though:

after arriving saturday evening, on sunday we went for a drive through the rockies, more specifically the ridge trail road. in granby we stopped the tank up the (new) car and get provisions and we found a playground to let travis roam free for a bit. this is his second time on a swing:

travis in his car seat on top of the ridge trail road at a height of 12,183 feet (3,713 m) - hence travis' facebook status "i got high!":

on our way out of the rockies we were surprised by a thunder hailstorm. when we started our trip it was about a 100F (35C) but when we drove into the storm it got as cold as 40F (5C)! denise shot a video of us driving through it and this is the picture you see me taking:

the homewood suites in denver also have a pool, so one night we all went down to it, because we all know how much travis loves the water. he doesn't really swim yet, but he will kick his feet if you ask him to do so:

even denise went into the water and clearly that pleased travis greatly:

travis following me around with his eyes while i took pictures of our hotel room:

on friday we went to ft. collins to see our friend cami and while waiting for her outside her house travis walked around in the grass:


the friday after our return from denver we attended connor's 5th birthday pool party. travis walking and drinking through the fountains in the kiddie pool:





a close up of travis drinking and walking:

happily posing in front of the fountains:


trying to stop the water from coming out of the fountain shoots:

and since it didn't work with his hands he'd thought to try it with his foot:

travis in the big people pool:

this is The Undertoes!

the birthday boy, connor:

being taught the fist bump:

making friends:

last but not least, another video featuring travis and the birthday boy and a whole host of other kids and people:

it's been a pretty busy period for travis and i'm sure he's gonna be thrilled to just be at home for a while.
sunday, july 31, 2011

the tj chronicles 72 the birthday edition
even though it's a little late …
… and it was published before, but i want it in my blog as well :-)
the dork likes dry bread:

even better is dry bread sitting ON the dining table.
the "birthday" banner as made by auntie patty:

birthday ballons:

food:

the birthday cake as made by orna, the cake lady:


chaunte and dylan at/on the slide in our backyard:

having a good time out in the sun:

inside where it was a little more comfortable:

(we sang kumbaya ;-))
drinking something, probably water:

dylan posing on the couch:

connor explaining the universe, or his birthday hizzle …:

off in a corner:

"hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil:"

everybody playing around the yard castle:

all serious and bizniz:

practicing for the bleachers:

more fun in the sun:


we're behaving …


inside again, playing with a doorstop:

what time is it? cake time!





(i think he's alright …)



(seriously …)

and so is lorelai:

and connor:

and pepper:

eating cake all by yourself is not as easy it some people make it look:

sneezing and eating at the same time is quite a challenge:

but once the sneeze is gone it's business as usual:

the help was appreciated:

chaunte and dylan:

after dinner it's time for reflection:

opening presents:

excited onlookers:

his favorite gift:

showing his elmo camera to daddy:


handsome dylan with his handsome smile:

mesmerized by bubbles:





awesome:

so that's where the bubbles come from!

they were not supposed to do that:

travis' big ABC blocks:

chasing bubbles again:

opa explaining the bubbles:

travis had a great birthday and the pictures show exactly that.
sunday, july 31, 2011

the tj chronicles 71 happy mother's day!
and because it of this momentous day there will be no banter, just pictures.
travis running in the back yard (for some reason he enjoys just running up and down the garden):

being "tackled" by his big sister makes him laugh almost uncontrallably:

and yes, he's got a cold again, but that doesn't stop him from climbing on everything:

travis doing his best george costanza pose:

he likes using both lily and sadie as pillows and both cats actually let him get away with it:

playing by the front door:



in the back yard again:

he loves his big sister:

he loves the sun, too:

a moment, by himself, pondering life's big questions:

in just a little over 2 weeks, grandpa and grandma will be here and i'm hoping that travis will have an absolute terrific time. next blog will probably be around the first week they're visiting, so stick around :-)
sunday, may 8, 2011

the tj chronicles 70
and another month just flew by again … you can see from the schedule i posted below what the last few weeks have looked like and what the rest of the year will look like. this means that only on the weekend i will have a chance to spend time with travis and contrary to what i have been doing i really should take more pictures of him.
he is still changing on a daily basis, growing up all healthy and stuff, eating all he can, with pasta being his absolute favorite. right now he is coming down with a cold again, so he is sneezing his little nose off, but despite his running nose he still wants to play and laugh.
he is learning every day as well, he knows his alphabet backwards and forwards and now i am working on teaching him the dutch alphabet, which confuses him, because he thinks that after 'e' (NL) comes 'b' and after 'i' (NL) comes 'f' … but i'm sure he will get there. he also knows the names of both our cats and he recognizes clocks and trucks when he sees them.
last weekend we did a road trip to attend the wedding of our very good friends eric and julie. on thursday evening, at travis' bedtime we started driving and around 9.30am we were at our hotel in dekalb, il, but since our room wasn't ready yet we had to hang out in the metropolis that is dekalb … while being mesmerized by the endless possibilities dekalb had to offer denise bought hair dye for pepper. after this we hung out at the local starbucks and as a surprise eric dropped by to welcome us.
after settling into our room and taking a nap all together, we went out for a dinner and after getting back denise washed, and highlighted pepper's hair. the next morning, after doing her hair and face this was the result:

the wedding and reception was from 12.30pm to 9pm and we were at the wedding location a little after noon and that's when we met up with our other good friend, sterling, who made looking cool cool:

travis slept through the wedding ceremony (luckily, considering the alternative: crying and screaming) and this is a shot of the wedding party after vows, rings and kisses were exchanged:

this is my absolute favorite shot of the day! not long after the wedding ceremony it actually started to snow and because the wind was directly on the windows of the town clubhouse, it left nice long streaks on them and when the wedding party went out on the balcony for official wedding photos, i took one from the inside:

travis actually got to play with kids his age (one 2 months older and one 1 year older than him) and he had no problem going over to introduce himself:

this is a picture of the official wedding photographer, donna, who flew in all the way from liverp…i mean manchester, england, and she tried and tried and tried taking a picture of travis (i hope she got one!):

travis and his new friends for the afternoon:

travis doing his wave and "hiiii":

by the looks of it this showing donna get a good & clear shot of travis:

the boys hamming it up:

the wedding cake, but the top tier only (there were 3 tiers):

and this is my second favorite shot of the day, the newlyweds out of focus behind the tables' centerpieces:

travis playing with a half empty water bottle:

this is where travis has his (wedding) cake and eats it:

it was so good, the wedding cake was literally all over him:

and another shot of pepper, noticing i was taking pictures of her, while she was checking out pictures she took:

the next 2 shots are showing what a happy and content little boy travis can be:


another one of pepper, where she is unsuspecting *grin*:

for some reason, travis found it hysterically funny when we drove his toy car from the table into his stroller:

travis comfortably asleep in his stroller:

after two sleepless nights, because travis refused to sleep in his hotel crib and pretty much also refused to sleep, period, we drove back home on sunday arriving home early early monday morning. travis went to sleep around his normal time in his car seat and he did not fuss when we transferred him to his own bed. we actually managed to get him back into his regular schedule within the day.
since sunday is easter, we colored eggs on saturday evening after dinner. here's the coffee mugs filled with dye and travis in the background shredding paper:

travis right after sneezing:

travis shouting at the egg demanding the chick to come out:

the colored easter eggs:

travis completely engaged watching super why:

travis is just 5 weeks away from being 2 years old, but already people think he is at least 3 years old, based on his size and him knowing the alphabet. next month opa and oma are visiting and we'll celebrate travis' birthday when they are here, which will be tons of fun.
saturday, april 23, 2011

the tj chronicles 69
and yet another month has passed … y'all have to forgive me for not updating my blog more regularly, but i have been away from home a lot lately and the time i have been home i have spent with travis. without a camera. of course, this is not entirely true, because otherwise i'd have a hard time explaining the pictures in this blog :P
travis, for the most part, has been doing pretty good. still some issues with eczema but with the various ointments, and benadryl (and does travis loves him some benadryl!) we seem to be getting a handle on it. it helps that spring has started and temperatures are rising and dry air is slowly being replaced with humid air. he is still growing like a weed, moving around pretty agile and therefore getting into trouble more and more.
he knows almost the entire alphabet, while his favorite letters are c, i, q and y. he can even recognize letters on sight as well as knowing what a clock is. he still loves curious george, dinosaur train, super why, sesame street (in particular elmo's world) but now he has also developed an interest in fetch, which is really something for kids in the age range between 10 and 14. travis still likes music and he will stop whatever he is doing if there is music on tv. and of course, he tries to sing along with the theme music of his favorite shows.
since i know y'all have been pining for more photos of "little" travis, here goes …
travis in denise's lap eating crackers:

here you can see the crackers with travis in the background:

travis having a great time getting water poured out on him:

he still loves getting a bath, but because of the eczema it can't be too long, much to his disliking. after bath enjoying his last bottle of milk for the day:


travis asleep on the floor, as i recall after a relatively short night:


after his nap, in the back yard playing with the spiked green ball:

our two youngest in the same shot. travis likes playing with pepper and she likes playing with him:

travis in a rare moment of tranquility:

not sure what pepper is doing with travis here:

you can see the naughty in his expression:

even though travis now has his own leaptop, he still prefers ours:


i guess pepper is showing travis around on the internet:

and travis can't believe what he is seeing:

you can see the escher in the reflection with travis monkeying with my laptop:


last weekend we got a little bit of a scare, when travis started fussing and crying and screaming (at around 11am) and didn't stop, not even when he went for his afternoon nap. this is something that is very atypical for him. when denise noticed he did not want his binkie (which he actually is forgetting about for days on end) and kept pulling his ear, we thought it best to take him to the er, because we thought it could be an ear infection and waiting to have his pediatrician look at it may have been too long. of course, as soon as we strapped him in the car seat he stopped crying and he was almost back to normal throughout the er visit. he was very good, didn't complain or "fight" the doctors and it was determined that in at least one ear there was an inflammation (the other ear had too much earwax to see), so we got a prescription for a 10-day cycle of antibiotics. weird as he is, he likes the flavor of that too!
so, this is travis after coming home from the hospital, still wearing his hospital bracelet:

and a close up of the bracelet, his first after his birth (and hopefully (we can hope, right?) his last):

the next few weeks will be quite hard, because after this week's trip to puerto rico i will have to spend a weekend in denver so i'm gonna be not seeing travis for 11 whole days. but when i come back from denver we're gonna have a couple of days of downtime, although it's also going to be somewhat hectic since we're gonna drive to dekalb, illinois, to attend the wedding of good friends of ours, eric and julie. since pepper now has my old digital camera, i'm sure there will be tons of pictures of travis and the wedding and the wedding party, but probably not before another 4 weeks or so …
saturday, march 26, 2011

the tj chronicles 68
february is a short month, but still there's almost 3 weeks between this and the last post. that's mostly because i have been on travel for at least 4 days out of every 5 working days. in the next few days i will be posting my new schedule as well, and you will notice that nothing much is changing in that regard, at least not for the coming 4 weeks.
during the weekends i spent a lot of time playing with travis, one to catch up on lost time and two, more importantly, to give denise a chance to work on her dissertation, since she doesn't get much opportunity to do so when it's just her and travis.

travis is a snugglebum. he will (quietly) play by himself, but he'll come by every so often to give hugs or climb in your lap. he loves cuddling and he gives kisses freely. i hope he will never lose his giving nature!
since we went to the pedi-dermatologist who prescribed travis stronger stuff for his eczema, it seems to be clearing up. of course, it helps that the weather is changing again, because spring is almost here. so no more freezing cold and dry air.

now the weather is getting better again, we have started taking travis out in the backyard and he loves it. he loves it almost as much as the swimming pool or the bath. you will see examples of this toward the bottom of this post.
but, first things first. travis had his first real cold at the end of january and beginning of february. he never got the flu, but his little nose was running off his face. it goes without saying that it didn't bother him much, because he let the snot freely flow into his mouth through his binkie … i think he just likes salt, a lot ;-)
in this shot you can clearly see the snot running down his face:

snot in soft focus actually looks kinda nice:

even though he wasn't feeling well, he never became apathetic or lethergic, he kept on playing and smiling and running and laughing … and climbing on the coffee table:

he still likes the cheap "toys" the best:

drool and a white cat hair hanging from his lips:

what is difficult to see is the bottle travis placed in the bookcase and for whatever reason he is making faces at it:

then, when he is done with the bottle, he just throws it on the floor, to watch it bounce:

he hasn't figured out how to use his scooter, yet, so he uses it to get a higher view of things. and he uses it to transport toys from room to room:



travis has also found his cabinet in the kitchen island, where he sometimes crawls into to play peek-a-boo:

laughing and drooling and slobbering:

when he is told "no" he has taken to throwing temper tantrums: crying, running into doors and/or walls, falling dramatically to the floor and more crying:

but usually those tantrums only last for a few minutes and then he is all right again:

travis also sometimes doesn't want to drink his bottle in his playpen anymore. as soon as we put him in he starts flopping around, kicking and screaming, but he is perfectly content taking his milk on the couch:


"don't push the button":


travis' first steps out on the back porch:

sitting in one of the haul-away lawn chairs:

i think travis is making his O-face:

at least, judging by this coy smile:

since he didn't wear shoes he had some trouble adjusting to the feel of the (still) hard grass and you can see him curling his fingers and toes at the end of the concrete slab:

i took him out back earlier this afternoon, for almost two hours, and after a short adjustment period (maybe 2 minutes) he was walking back and forth through the yard:

he chased after the ball i was throwing and kicking around:

(not sure what this facial expression is, but it is hilarious and i didn't know i captured it until i looked through all the pictures i took.)


(doing a mick jagger imitation maybe?)
throwing the ball, against the wind, which had him puzzled:

but in spite of the wind he had a "ball":

as you can see from his smile. although his smile is a little distorted because he has a piece of grass in/near his mouth:

at one point travis and me coaxed sadie out:

(love travis' shadow on the wall!)
love travis' shadow on the wall here too:


to celebrate pepper's birthday week, we went out to dinner @ fuddruckers and this time we sat in the rolling stones booth (sigh) and travis seemed to like mick jagger:

so seemed to enjoy keef richards:

travis also enjoyed the macaroni & cheese and onion rings and wedge cut fries and cookies & cream milkshake and sprite. i think he also enjoyed the rest of the scenery and the (not too) noise.
as you can see, travis is doing pretty good, he is still growing like cabbage, which has its downsides, because he can reach a long way now to get his grabbity hands on anything he is not supposed to touch.
but, he is eating well and he is sleeping well. all we have to do is say "travis go night-night" and he drops whatever he is holding or doing and come running with his arms in the air. it's adorable as hell.
more awesomeness soon!
friday, february 25, 2011

the tj chronicles 67
wow, a month just flew by … guess time really flies if you're flying a lot …
apart from one week in january, where atlanta got snowed in (yes, seriously, atlanta got snowed in!) i traveled every week so far this year and the next 3 weeks i am traveling as well. after that, who knows, supposedly i have a long engagement coming with just one client, but no-one has been in touch with me about particulars and i don't even know who the project manager is, otherwise i would reach out. hopefully it means i don't have to travel each week, something i think is not too hard to believe, knowing who the client is :P
since i have been gone so much i have been missing travis and he has been missing me too, i'm sure, although he doesn't really have a way of showing. in the time i've been gone, his eczema has started to be bothering him more, but denise has taken him to the dermatologist, who prescribed a stronger ointment/lotion (to which travis seems to be responding quite well), but he didn't see anything outrageous. it's good to have the confirmation it is eczema, which is no surprise, because both travis' dad and grandpa have (had) issues with eczema.
from time to time, the dermatologist warned, travis will be kicking up a shit storm, because he'd be itching so bad he wants to jump out of his skin and today i witnessed one of those moments. patience is a virtue … as well as good medication. still, knowing how horrible a bad itch is, i know it must be doubly bad for travis, since he can't let us know what is wrong with him or where it hurts and/or itches.
but, through it all, he still tries to be the friendly and loving travis we've come to know and that is a character trait we will be sure to keep strong in him! :-)
now, back to snowpocalypse 2011.
on sunday night january 9 it started snowing and it snowed all evening. then it started lightly raining. all the while it was freezing, so what happened was that there was anywhere between 3 and 8 inches of snow covered with a layer of ice. this actually closed down the three major highways that intersect in atlanta. and if it closed three major highways, you can guess how side streets were?! i learnt that atlanta metro has a grand total of 10 plow trucks and the georgia department of transportation spent $10 million to keep the highways clear, which in the end took them three whole days, from monday to wednesday.
i was slated to go to ohio on monday afternoon, but after postponing the trip with a day, on tuesday i actually decided to completely cancel the trip, because there was not even a way to get to the atlanta airport at that time. next to that, in the middle of the week, the detroit would get hit with a snow storm as well and i would be flying to detroit and driving to toledo/maumee, which didn't sound like a great idea.
so i stayed home.
travis got his first experience with snow, and you have seen these pictures before, but they are just too cute.
i know denise doesn't like these pictures because she is wearing her bathrobe, but so what, i was in my pajamas (even though you can't see that :P).
travis sitting in the kitchen doorway feeling the snow:

after feeling the snow and going into a sort of cold shock, we took him out front where he at least he had the cover of the porch. of course, he still was a little apprehensive:

denise got him to hold a "snow ball":

he enjoyed throwing the snowballs on the concrete porch to see it splatter:

for some reason, the next two pictures remind me of the cover of maxwell's embrya album:


extreme bed head:

playing with an empty water bottle, throwing it against the wall and floor to see it bounce. it's always the simplest thing that gives kids the most joy:


travis has also mastered climbing onto the coffee table and this is him looking thriumphantly at me after doing so:

the cool glass most feel good against his itchy skin:

travis reaching for the empty water bottle on the kitchen island:

the last one for this blog, travis' great smile as seen from the side:

in spite of his eczema, travis is still progressing nicely, although he still is not really talking, yet. he says words here and there and he has taken to reciting his version of the alphabet, but apart from a handful of words that's it.
i think it is because i am speaking dutch to him (mostly, it's near impossible to always speak dutch, simply because it's hard for me to switch back to my native tongue) while denise, obviously, speaks english to him, so he is having to learn two languages which will slow him down a bit.
but, we have time :-)
saturday, february 5, 2011

the tj chronicles 66 merry new year!
i am a little late with the new year's wish, but i originally planned to do a blog on 1/1/11 but figured that it could wait until i had some more pictures of tj.
and of course, most of last weekend i was not feeling well (flu) and right after the weekend i had to go visit a client in cold and snowy weatogue, connecticut.
those two days at the client went well, although i clocked almost 24 hours of work in little over 2 days leaving me kinda weary and tired, because i was still recovering, for the rest of the working week, which was still quite busy.
now i think i am pretty much fully recovered, although i still have a little bit of the sniffles.
now that the holidays are behind us things here at the weirdz residence will settle down into our "normal" routine:

  • denise is in class again and working on her dissertation

  • campion is back into the fold (though we still don't see him a lot)

  • pepper is back in school, thank dog, because her boredom drives us bananas

  • for travis it is business as usual (and he likes saying "nananas")

  • i am back to work, even though i never really had a break, and it is going to be busy the first 2 months of the year (as you can see from my previous blog post)

  • now back to the actual topic of this blog, travis :-)
    after seeing the pediatrician and setting an appointment with a dermatologist for the 19th of this month (the first available date!) we are keeping his eczema spots covered and well-lubricated and it slowly is starting to look a little less bad, so here's to hoping that it is mostly a reaction to the cold weather.
    otherwise he is doing really well, getting more active by the day, reaching into more places every day too and he is (finally) starting to "talk". it is in quotes, because most of the time we still have no idea what he is babbling about …
    travis drinking from a sippy cup, something he still hasn't quite mastered. he likes to hold the sippy cup, shake it, turn it upside down, but the mechanics of drinking out of it still escape him:

    but he doesn't care that he can't:

    here's a new year's smile:

    even a little more up close and personal:

    y'all remember this from my new year's post, but it is so darned cute that i had to repost it:

    travis in the background waiting for a taste of "his girlfriend's mother's" marble brownies:

    travis standing up in his playpen after finishing a bottle of milk:

    he has a tendency to pull off a sock or both of them:

    pepper feeding him pieces of a bread, but obviously not fast enough, so he will do anything in his power to get it into his mouth and belleh faster:

    since he has been growing steadily and is also getting stronger, travis can now actually climb in his tripp trapp himself:

    he is such a lounge lizard:

    denise sharing videos of puppies with travis:

    a little blurry, but i love his smile:

    yes, travis still loveslovesloves taking baths and getting water poured down his face:

    my name is earl:

    piggyback riding with his sister:

    he holds on, but he is not really *holding* on:

    and in this blurry shot you can clearly see he likes the piggyback ride:

    and that concludes this blog … more news later, i'm sure :-)
    saturday, january 8, 2011

    the tj chronicles 65 the xmas 2010 edition
    merry christmas, happy holidays!
    sorry everyone, it has been a while since the last chronicles, but i have been busy the last month, mostly with travel only being home in the weekends. and because i was working long weeks i wanted to actually spend time with travis rather than taking pictures of him. all in all travis is doing really well, he's growing and he's only gaining a little bit of weight, but because he is much more active he has also starting to tone, so his big buddha belly is slowly disappearing.
    but he still likes his binkie:

    and he still self-soothes by turning his hair into circles:

    a couple of weeks ago, our former neighbor came over with her little one, so travis and tristan could have a play date:

    and they get along really well, despite the age difference:

    and sadie is such a good cat for putting up with this double decker hug:

    tristan giving travis a kiss:

    aunt lauri sent us christmas gifts and the present for travis had to be opened right after we received it and it is an indoor tent. at first he was a little apprehensive, but once pepper showed him the way he went in as well:

    playing with his roller phone in the tent:

    the other thing that hasn't changed is that he likes to move furniture around; he pushes his tripp trapp throughout the kitchen and hallway:

    somehow that brings him enormous amounts of joy as you can see by the smile:

    only last thursday evening we set up our (fake) christmas tree, mainly because we weren't sure how travis was going to deal with it, since he has a knack for taking the books off the shelves, but much to our surprise he really didn't give it any attention. the cats however … we moved the tent from the dining room into the living room and here you can see travis playing inside of it:

    and then today is christmas day. on christmas eve we put the presents santa dropped off underneath the tree after travis had gone to bed:

    travis was the first one to open his present and it was a car, one that when you roll it backwards it propels itself into the opposite direction. after i showed him how that worked he tried it himself of course, but he kept rolling it the wrong way so it kept bumping into him, much to his frustration. so he just carried it around:

    and played with it on the carpet, where of course, it wouldn't roll at all:

    this is pepper hiding behind one of her presents, a board game called mexican train:

    and this is campion, almost disappearing behind one of his presents, gnome chomsky:

    travis trying to steal the limelight, just because he's awesome:

    campion enjoying one of the CDs he received:

    and pepper being intrigued by something, i think it is the usb charger for the nook her dad so generously sent her as a christmas present, and for which it took us hours of urging her to call him to thank him for it (she still is very angry with her dad and her grandfather).

    the oldest two kids and denise in one shot:

    one of my christmas presents was a plastic flask of 100 proof (50% alcohol) southern comfort, something travis immediately took a shine to once he got his hands on it:

    and he did not let go willingly, we had to wrestle it away from him … wonder what that is a sign of … :P it goes without saying that i had to take a bokeh shot of our christmas tree, because a little (or a lot) bokeh makes everything look really pretty:

    these are two other gifts that i got, an advance reading copy of shampoo planet by douglas coupland and a coffee mug with a picture of travis on one side and this on the other side:

    and what do you know, much to everyone's surprise it started snowing in the middle of the morning, so we are actually having a white christmas here in the deep south:

    and, like bokeh, snow also makes everything look very pretty:

    after the presents we watched a movie, everything is illuminated, during which travis took a short nap. after travis woke up, he seemed to be quite bothered by the eczema, something we will definitely have a pediatrician-dermatologist take a look at as soon as possible; he was crying and scratching, which only makes matters worse. nothing we did could stop him, but after a dose of benadryl, slathering the eczema spots with hydrocortisone and wrapping his feet in gauze he finally calmed down and stopped rolling around on the carpet trying to scratch.
    at this moment we are waiting for christmas dinner to be ready and i will take some pictures of that as well, so this blog will be updated …
    … which is now, after dinner and after little butt has gone to bed.
    there were a few more episodes of crying and scratching, but denise slathered him in ointment and then dressed him in long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and for a long time he was actually ok. we watched an entire episode of thomas and friends (on gpb) sitting next to each other on the couch, while denise was readying christmas dinner. this year, the feast consisted of stoved potatoes and lambchops with green bean casserole and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. this is the entire spread, with travis in the background anxiously awaiting his share:

    leaning in to somehow make it clear that he is ready for some food:

    travis' expressions when eating things he hasn't tasted before are priceless:

    but so far, he has taken to eating pretty much anything he gets fed, as witnessed here by his wide open mouth:

    tonight, the winner, in his estimation, was the pumpkin pie with whipped cream:

    he could not get enough of it:

    after his last bite, a sense of sadness showed on his face:

    not long after dinner, travis got his evening bottle, got his diaper changed and made ready for bed. at first he didn't want to go down, but i think he was still pretty worn out from feeling itchy. plus the excitement of having the entire family together, if only for a couple of hours.
    christmas 2010 is the first white christmas in atlanta since 1882, so that deserves some more shots:


    in the next one you can see pepper peeking through the window above the garage:

    christmas was good … let's see how travis is doing on boxing day …
    saturday, december 25, 2010

    the tj chronicles 64 the thanksgiving 2010 edition
    *gobble gobble*
    first a couple of shots of travis finally enjoying his rocking chair:




    above pictures are from yesterday (wednesday), the day before thanksgiving …
    … and the night when denise started prepping thanksgiving dinner: steak & kidney pie, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie with whipped cream. when i was taking a shower denise broke out the fine china and also set travis' official flat wear:

    this tin set used to belong to me, and now we have handed this down to the next generation of weird.

    i can't remember if my parents bought this for me, or if it was a gift or was it something that was handed down as well? this is the table with all the food set and the glasses filled (wine for denise and me, pomegranate italian soda for the kids):

    the food, clockwise from bottom: whipped cream, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, steak & kidney pie, cranberry sauce:

    travis staring his plate down:

    denise "carving the turkey":

    travis applauding in anticipation:

    a close-up of travis'plate:

    travis taking a bite of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce:

    he didn't take all that much to the steak & kidney pie, but neither did denise, because she insisted the pie stank like a barn. me and the kids did not smell that, but i guess that's what happens when you slave over the stove for almost a day, you start resenting the food you're preparing … a close-up of the sweet potato pie and whipped cream:

    travis getting ready to kiss his spoon … yes, he's a goofball like that:

    pepper getting ready to take a swig off her "wine":

    and a cropped panorama shot of our two youngest kids:

    campion came home for the occasion as well, but i didn't capture him, but then again, neither did i manage to get denise :P
    after dinner was the clean-up, which took quite a long time, because our fine china is made of porcelain and cannot go in the dishwasher, unfortunately. but it got done, as well as the coffee that was made ready for tomorrow morning and travis' bottles. speaking of tomorrow, tomorrow is black friday!!!! this means i may get up at 4am to be at the north georgia outlet mall to get my annual shopping on, because daddy needs new shirts, shirts, socks and shoes. so with this, i bid you good night … and happy thanksgiving :-)
    thursday, november 25, 2010

    the tj chronicles 63
    it's been a while since the last tj chronicles, because i've been pretty busy with being a "single" dad and travel for work, but now things are back to normal … well, as normal as normal can be :P
    denise is headlong into her next class after finishing her year 3 residency and she's heavy into getting the xmas cards & gifts together.
    campion … well, you can read more about that "train wreck" on facebook :P ;-)
    pepper has "lost" her braces, after having them for 2 years and 2 weeks. now all she has is a temporary retainer for her upper teeth (pretty much for the rest of her life, though, although at some point she will only have to wear it at night) and a permanent, hardly visible retainer for her bottom teeth.
    me, i am doing good, like i said at the beginning, i have been travelling a lot and i will be travelling a lot in the coming weeks, maybe even months, because it finally looks like things are looking up economy-wise, which means that there is more demand for my services. see my schedule for more details.
    and travis, well, he is doing great, as he has been :-) pepper got pink eye (dutch = bindvliesontsteking) and then strep infection (dutch = tonsillitis), but travis skated through. the only problem he seems to be having is a case of eczema, and that doesn't surprise me. at least he does not seem to be bothered much by it. he scratches his eczema spots from time to time, but whenever we touch these spots he doesn't recoil or scream or cry, so that's a plus. we treat it with ointment after he gets his bath (in running water only) and before he goes to bed. other than that, he eats good (he likes pretty much everything, but of course he has his favorites), he sleeps good (he loveslovesloves his bed) and he seems to be developing well.
    but now, without further ado, the picture y'all have been waiting for ;-)
    travis, happily laughing after he finished his morning bottle (and they go down fast …):

    travis in bath playing with his soap car:

    travis looking for the meaning of life on the bottom of this cup:

    travis is able to climb onto the couches now. sometimes he manages by himself, sometimes he needs a little help. and whenever he can't get up and no-one is there to help him he gets very frustrated:

    the other thing he has started to do is walk in his tippy toes (even though it is hard to tell from this picture):

    and here's another thing travis finds enjoyment in; pushing stuff around the house … it can be his rocking chair, a box or, in this case, his tripp trapp:

    i think we need to get a vacuum cleaner that is low enough so he can push it through the house, you know, killing two birds with one stone:

    travis fooling around with the drawers in our bathroom before his bath. he likes making things "disappear" and then "discovering" them again … yes, he is a dork that way …

    travis with a shampoo faux-hawk:

    and a better view of his messy faux-hawk:

    and still looking for the meaning of life in this cup:

    travis pointing out the statuette and the clock:

    (i am learning him different items around the house, in dutch, and he points them out when i tell him an item, so he is recognizing things and associating them with what i tell him what they are called … not always, though, because sometimes he wants to point things out in his order)
    pepper and travis playing on the floor:

    travis lounging in the couch:

    travis pointing out the ceiling fan/lamp:

    and travis sliding off the couch, showing off his best "ass"et *grin*:

    since travis is getting more and more mobile, we pretty much constantly must have a pair of eyes on him, because he is fast and he can reach. items he likes to grab are: (cell) phones, pens, remote controls and books. every day, he still spends time in baby jail for taking books off the book shelves or for taking out items from our office drawers, like calculators or camera lenses. for some reason he is attracted to all the things he is not allowed to get/do, even though he clearly understands the meaning of the word "NO", but he is choosing to ignore us in those instances. i wonder whom he got his stubborness from ;-)
    monday, november 22, 2010

    the tj chronicles 62
    before i am off to sandusky, ohio ("that's gonna leave a mark!")(see my schedule below somewhere) i wanted to leave y'all with some pictures of our little boy demon.
    travis in the bath tub with his hair in a faux-hawk made out of shampoo:

    he is always playing with either the shampoo bottle or the big cup:

    a sideways glance and it took a while to get him distracted enough for him to look at me/my camera:

    smiling big with a shampoo beard:

    denise carefully rinsed out his hair to have his faux-hawk intact for as long as possible:

    but then she poured water all over his hair and he loved it:

    travis looks like a dork, but you can see how much he enjoyed the water running down his face:

    it's like he is rubbed down in vaseline, or like he's wearing a full body condom, but regardless of how it looked he didn't mind and he wouldn't stop laughing at the water being poured out over his head:

    after his bath on our bed trying to eat a tube of medication while looking at either the light overhead or at pepper, whose hand you can see in left frame:

    a classic shot of his gorgeous eyelashes:

    travis walking around the house with a bed head:

    playing with his phone on wheels, but i don't think he realizes he's doing it wrong:

    earlier this wee he discovered bouncy balls, those things keep him busy running around the house:

    sitting in the study trying to downplay him getting in trouble for trying to get into books and drawers he isn't supposed to be in:

    like here:

    of course, there's other places to get into trouble, like the dining room, where travis overturned a chair and triumphantly claims his victory:

    speaking of triumphantly, look at the smile behind his binkie:

    the quality of this shot is not too good, but look, he is ambidextrous! he uses both his left and right arm to pick up and throw the bouncy balls around. he also uses both hands to take books off the book shelves. i will be definitely working with him to keep him ambidextrous and i will certainly try to also have him able to kick a ball with both his left and right foot :-)

    since a couple of days, travis is not feeling too good, he's got a cold or something stuck in his chest and he coughs and wheezes. here he stands in his playpen (or baby prison) after making farting noises by blowing on his arm:

    and this is him blowing, not on his arm, and you can see the spit fly everywhere:

    travis cleaning his chin after blowing spit and drool everywhere:

    only to be calm and quiet and pensive for a moment:

    only to continue blowing raspberries, showering his surroundings with his saliva:

    last night we heard breathe through the monitor, and tossing & turning and coughing every few minutes. he never really woke up, but he probably didn't rest very well. but this morning he seems active and happy enough. he sometimes coughs like an old man who's been smoking cigars all his life. denise picked him up some otc (over the counter) cough meds, so hopefully that will be all that is needed to make him all better again. so far he has not been running a fever, so fingers crossed that he won't.
    i'm gonna be gone for 4 whole days and i will be missing travis and i hope he doesn't get really sick. but when i get back on thursday afternoon i will be spending a lot of time with travis since denise is going away for more than a week to attend her year 3 residency. yes, her final residency. add another year and she may be done with her doctorate degree! i am so proud of her!
    anyways, this was it for this time around … there will be more, i'm sure :-)
    sunday, october 24, 2010

    the tj chronicles 61
    since today is 10/10/10, which is 42 in binary, is the outcome of this equasion that travis is the answer to everything? not sure if he knows everything, but he is definitely trying to figure out everything (like sid the science kid).
    this is travis' first experience with ice cubes:

    and as you can see, sadie is just as interested in ice cubes as travis is:

    travis walking, which is a rare sight these days, because he likes "running" more than just walking; everything he does is with purpose and determination and that includes walking:

    travis being teased by his big sister:

    when denise goes outside to smoke and/or to read, travis looks out the windows next to the front door, but she is usually just out of sight, which makes him contort himself into different positions to be able to see her. what i did miss when taking this particular picture is that he is standing on his tippy toes:

    travis looking all growed up and business like with two computers …

    … and a cell phone:

    travis quietly watching thomas and friends:

    travis being a goofball:

    and he was actually being shy and coy at the same time:

    he is such a happy camper:

    and this is the reason he was such a coy, shy happy camper:

    travis really really REALLY likes claire and it is safe to say the feeling's mutual:

    travis has taken to be somewhat of a "spoiled brat", because whenever he is told no, he will fuss, cry, stomp his feet, throw his arms in the air:

    now it is getting colder, travis is going to be wearing socks and since the hardwood floors are a little slippery denise got him socks with rubber patches on the soles:

    travis in the spotlight:

    travis twirling his hair:

    he does this for self-soothing and self-comforting:

    and yes, he needs a haircut, we all need haircuts:

    travis with his "football":

    travis is not playing with this toy much anymore, probably because the batteries in it are empty:

    travis and his favorite pastime: taking books off the shelves. and he is lightning fast at it:

    travis by the back door:

    all in all, travis is doing great, save for some skin sensitivities: ring worm, diaper rash, dry skin, but nothing really serious. he is eating everything that we put on his plate, although he does have favorite foods. for instance, he loves his bottle and he loves loves LOVES bananas. hmmm, maybe he is a monkey … *giggle*
    sunday, october 10, 2010

    the tj chronicles 60
    technically it has not been two weeks since my last blog, but truth be told that i started the previous blog exactly two weeks ago, but couldn't finish because of google's update to blogger, which pretty much rendered it useless.
    but, it looks like they made improvements, so perhaps this time i can actually finish what i started in the customary 20 (or so) minutes :-)
    now back to the purpose of this blog, tj and pictures of tj!
    travis with bed hair:

    and i think it is adorable he has bed hair …
    … although this looks like a very bad mug shot, hugh grant style:

    travis has discovered the joy of throwing his soft cube, and this is the anatomy of his pitch, first he raises the cube over his head:

    then he moves his arm down and forward, letting go of the cube at head height:

    with a nice follow through of his pitching arm, pointing in the direction of the cube:

    maybe this technique will help get him on the mound of yankee stadium!
    not really sure what this expression is:

    travis in the bath tub, getting his hairs washed:

    all shampooed:

    after his bath his hair is all kinds of fuzzy:

    travis in a pensive moment:

    (this is currently my desktop picture!)
    travis approaching sadie, who has become his second mother:

    travis in his playpen drinking his milk:

    and laughing while he does so:

    travis goofing off while trying to drink his milk:

    sadie watching over travis:

    mommy watching over travis … denise was actually trying to get travis to smile/laugh for me to take a picture of:

    denise took a picture of me while travis was sitting in my lap:

    this is travis crying real tears, because i just punished him for messing with the books:

    and this is his big brother consoling him:

    of course, travis was inconsolable:

    spinning around is fun …:

    … and a little dizzying and nauseating :P
    the next weeks and months i am going to be traveling a lot, so i will be missing travis a lot too. in the meantime, i will try to spend as much time as i can with the little monster, because no matter how "bad" he gets he still is a very easygoing little man :-)
    saturday, september 25, 2010

    the tj chronicles 59
    right before i go on travel again, here is an updated blog with pictures of our own little dennis the menace.
    travis eating breakfast while sitting in mama's lap:

    travis' smile of approval:

    smiling with his mouth full:

    he has no class:

    he has no social grace, but he looks so darn cute:

    travis eating lunch, possible a banana:

    travis impersonating roman emperor nero:

    travis with a somewhat sullen look on his face, which is something that happens only very rarely:

    travis eating his breakfast cereal, while giving me the *side-eye*:

    he likes his cereal and therefore he opens his mouth wide, very wide:

    sitting on the floor, making fun of someone:

    travis' best side (*wink*):

    travis pensively looking out the kitchen door while it is raining outside:

    travis musing on how rain works:

    travis playing amongst his many toys, but actively playing with cake forms:

    travis reading one of his books:

    travis basking in the golden glow of a late summer georgia sunset falling through the kitchen doors:

    the few times i am going to be home in the next 4 weeks i will have to remember to take lots and lots of pictures. i love spending time with travis and he is still very responsive and attentive, so something beautiful will come out :-)
    of course, now he is fully mobile (he rarely crawls anymore) he is also becoming quite the menace. he likes pulling books out of the bookcases and in some cases he even takes the sleeve off the book. telling him "no" and/or slapping his hand(s) (no matter how hard) doesn't seem to have any effect on this behavior. so, now he is learning all about time-outs: whenever he does something that he is not allowed, he gets to spend quality time in his playpen. sometimes he doesn't care, other times he'll scream and cry.
    as far as eating goes, he eats pretty much what we eat and so far he has eaten pretty much anything. yes, he is a true garbage disposal. the one thing he still has not mastered is to drink his bottle or sippy cup when sitting or standing up. for some reason it hasn't clicked yet in his mind to hold the bottle up when he sits or stands. instead he'll throw a hissy fit and he only calms down when he is laid on his back. it could be, of course, that he just is lazy … i wonder who he got that from *halo*
    by the by, the recent enhancements royally suck, worst move by google ever in a long series of pretty good moves! i will have to rethink my loyalty to blogger, because getting this post up took almost two hours and three spearate tries, while previous instalments never took more than 15-30 minutes depending on the number of photos.
    shame on you google!
    tuesday, september 14, 2010

    the tj chronicles 58
    happy (belated) birthday henri (opa) and ronald (uncle)
    what? a blog? again? well, what can i say, i got a few pictures of travis and i wanted to share them. so sue me :P
    travis walking around with pepper's water bottle:

    travis walking towards me:

    travis sitting in my lap on the kitchen floor:

    travis being mesmerized by me "hypnotizing" him with one of denise's slippers:

    travis giving me a hug:

    travis laughing … at something:

    travis playing with lily, who has finally come around the not being completely freaked out and scared out of her mind of this crawling, walking, diaper monster:

    travis in denise's lap:

    travis in the bathtub, with his cup, that no-one can take away from him:

    travis being adorable:

    travis making waves:

    and he is loving it:

    clearly:

    i wish my camera could record sound as well:

    travis eating a cheerio, his afternoon snack:

    travis looking for a cheerio that escaped and is hiding under the couch:

    travis watching as if in a trance while denise is cooking dinner:

    travis practicing his curve ball (and yes, he is ambidextrous!):

    that's it for now :-)
    saturday, august 28, 2010

    the tj chronicles 57
    so, we are finally completely unpacked and we're loving the new home :-) travis really likes it, too. he likes his room, he likes the space he has to walk all over, he likes his own kitchen cabinet where he "hides and seeks" his toys, he likes to play with the cats and especially sadie is very interested in playing with him and she lets him get away with abuse. lily comes out to play with travis, too, but the second he "pets" her too hard, she's gone (she's always been a bit of a pussy *grin*).
    anyways, here's a series of photos of the last few weeks.
    travis' mischievous smirk:

    using sadie as his pillow. for some reason he likes just putting his head on her body and granted, it is very soft, but there must be another sort of appeal to it as well …

    travis walking:

    travis cuddling my leg:

    travis holding on to my PJs:

    travis sulking, a little:

    this is the face of someone who tastes a dill pickle for the very first time:

    and yes, travis had a few bites of a firehouse sub, too:

    travis eating cheerios:

    he grabs a cheerio with his whole hand, but he manages to get it from the table into his mouth:

    and then he questions my quizzing look:

    followed by laughing at me:

    his (monkey) feet, which are still grabbing into the carpet for a solid stance:

    travis playing with his cell phone, which now he likes, because the batteries are near dead, so the sounds sound funny:

    travis being shampooed:

    travis hamming it up, he loves getting a bath and he could just play in the tub for hours and hours:


    travis laying on top of sadie again:

    petting her gently, but you can see sadie's claws digging in the carpet:

    and this is the one reason why we don't like travis being mobile all that much; he opens every drawer or cabinet he can get to. and he not only puts things in the drawers and cabinets but he also takes things out and then stores it somewhere else:

    travis trying to run a finger across his lips, but he still uses his entire hand and it goes very slowly:

    travis is doing very well, he is walking more than he is crawling, he is sleeping from approximately 8pm to 7am and he takes one nap in the afternoon, usually from 12noon to 3pm. it looks like he is not gaining weight anymore or at least very slowly but he is getting stronger by the minute. he is "talking" more and more as well, although it is still gibberish, but he has more sounds and he repeatedly says things like "baby" and "OK". i am talking more to him in dutch now, and he always has to giggle when i pronounce the letter g; but, sometimes he actually imitates that sound. he hardly throws temper tantrums, only when he is hungry or when his diaper is really really full. sometimes he gets cranky when it's time to sleep, but usually that completely evaporates when he is put to bed. all in all, travis is still a pretty easy little boy :-)
    sunday, august 22, 2010

    the tj chronicles 56
    it's been 3 weeks … and it may well have been the three busiest weeks in our lives! we've moved, even though we're still in the process of setting up and unpacking, which is a long and arduous process, because we want to organize everything as much as we can. travis really seems to like his own and new room. for the last week we have been taking him to his room at bedtime while he was still awake and every time he went to sleep without fussing or fighting or crying. guess this is another milestone. the other big milestone in the last month has been that travis has started walking, so we had to travis-proof the kitchen cabinets where we keep the cleaning products and the pantry door. the cabinets on the kitchen island are now travis' cabinets, because for some reason he likes to open and close doors. he also uses the cabinets to (temporarily) store things like an old cell phone, a thermos, an old remote control and a half empty plastic bottle of water. but now the moments you've been waiting for, pictures of the little dude …
    standing in his playpen, which he has pretty much outgrown, chewing on his fisher price cell phone:

    travis is "speaking" more and more and this is him saying "wawawawawawawawawa":


    this is him saying "leedl-leedl-leedl-leedl":


    he loves playing hide and seek with the pieces of mail and his mailbox:

    travis parading in the living room with denise in the background sitting in the loveseat with her laptop in her lap, which is now something in the past, since we have our study set up, with ergonomical chair desks:


    no, he is not wearing a lamp shade as a hat!:

    travis fast asleep in his playpen:


    the next pictures are of travis walking as seen on facebook before:





    sadie is very good around travis, she lets him pet her and she also lets him use her as a pillow. and only rarely does she gets fed up with him being a little bit too rough:

    the last few days he has been crying a lot more than usual (a lot more, because he usually doesn't cry at all) because he's got another molar coming in. and when he is feeling sore or sad he will come walking up to get some love and comfort:


    and how can you deny that if he looks like this?! this is a close-up of him getting ready to put his head on my leg:

    and this is him hugging my leg:

    (this is my current windows desktop picture)
    another shot of travis using sadie as a pillow:

    and although it looks like he is biting into her, he isn't, he is just giving sadie and open mouth kiss, the way he gives each of us open mouth kisses :-)
    travis eating pizza, standing up:

    travis eating his cereal while sitting in his newly adjusted trip-trap:

    sadie giving travis headbutts:


    she almost genuinely doesn't care anymore how travis treats her, she actively looks for him up to a point where she meows when we take travis to his room for his nap:

    we'll get the rest of the house organized, slowly but surely, and hopefully (even though it looks like it's contradictory) i will get to travel more in the second half of the year, since the first half has been kinda slow. yes, i'll be away from home more, but that also means i appreciate being home more.
    saturday, august 7, 2010

    the tj chronicles 55
    a quickie update of my blog, since we're in the throes of moving house. about a week and a half ago we safely returned from our road trip, putting 5,312.8 miles (8.549,72km) on the mazda, which held superbly, having played 1,430 random songs on the zune (out of 16,781), having taken 2,623 photos (most of which i still need to post-process and everyone survived! before i share the good news first a few pictures from the last night of our stay at the beach house on the north carolina outer banks.
    the first two are sunset shots:


    this is uncle barry enjoying the sunset as seen above with a beer and travis in his lap:

    ok then, the good news: travis is walking!!!! well, really it is more like shuffling, but he gets around by carefully taking small steps. that is, if he doesn't wimp out and crawl. this is travis taking a step:

    as you can see, he is cheering for himself :P in the next 4 shots you can see he can even walk while carrying something:




    we're so proud! last night i gave travis a bath and before the bath we weighed him and his average weight is about 32lbs (14.5kg), so because of all the moving around he does he has lost a little weight, which is good news for denise and me, because he is pretty heavy to carry around:

    in the bathtub with me, but not paying attention to mama who is taking the pictures:

    and now he has seen the camera, and he is not pleased:

    or so it seems. i tried holding him still to make him look at the camera, but it is like trying to wrestle eel in a tub full of snot:

    finally, a moment of levity:

    travis is extremely curious, so even though he just threw a shampoo bottle out of the tub, he wants to make sure it is on the floor:

    today, travis took even more steps, so he is gradually building his confidence and it will not be long anymore before he runs around the house. oh joy! speaking of house … today and tomorrow (saturday and sunday) we are having a garage sale, trying to sell some stuff that we're not moving to the new house. so far, the response is not all that great (i believe campion made one sale), but the weather is not in our favor (rain and thunderstorms, or at least the constant threat of rain and thunderstorms). hopefully tomorrow we'll make some sales :-) campion began packing his things from his bedroom a few days ago and today i packed 22 boxes, clearing out the living room shelving units (all our CDs, DVDs, LPs and books) and the second floor landing cases. on sunday we'll do pepper's room and our bedroom and the drawers in the living room. the kitchen will need to be packed closer to the moving date, which is friday july 23. we have hired a moving company to help with the move. they will disassemble and reassemble all furniture for us, which will help us tremendously. especially since denise's back is on the fritz again ('on the fritz' betekent 'speelt weer op') and i don't really feel like doing it all pretty much by myself. sure, it's not cheap, but at least if they break something they are insured. in any case, my next blog will come from the new house, where we hopefully have an internet connection, because comcast is living up to its nickname, comcrap!
    saturday, july 17, 2010

    the tj chronicles 54
    the trip from sierra vista to albuquerque was beautiful, because we decided to take a scenic route that had us driving through apache national forest and gila national forest and some of the vistas were spectacular:






    on our way to i-25 we came across this interesting looking location:

    there was nothing in albuquerque except a hotel room to sleep, so the next day we drove to yukon (near oklahoma city) to visit and stay with mary beth. we arrived kinda late, so the next morning i took a few group pictures of everybody:



    after those pictures we made our way, over various toll roads and while getting completely sidetracked, to angie's in st. louis. we settled in for the night. the next day we visited downtown lou, which is actually a pretty neat little place. this is everyone figuring out where to go next after parking the car:

    some of the streets are still cobblestone:

    again, everybody getting sunscreen sprayed:

    the arch through an alley:

    the arch in a bright, beautiful and blue sky:

    the arch behind the former court house:

    at lunch/dinner, waiting to place our order:

    travis after having been fed his:

    campion with angie in the background:

    pepper and kaden discussing something important:

    travis licking his lips after being fed grown-up food:

    campion playing outside busch stadium (while the cardinals lost their game aginst the diamondbacks):

    the arch, a few different ways:


    downtown st. louis from the top of the arch:

    the shadow the arch casts on the mississippi river:

    campion, michael, pepper, denise and travis on top of the arch:

    the arch from dead center below:

    michael contemplating SLC loss:

    the arch from a distance, postcard style:

    kaden making a face:

    stewie, angie's 10 year old golden retriever:

    michael relaxing:

    on thursday morning we left st. louis for someplace in west-virginia and angie and michael waved us goodbye:

    of course, the only time we were really lost was in west virginia, because there is one highway (64) with two exits 44 and naturally we took the wrong one first; the second exit was 60 miles further south. we spent the night eating at hooters and staying at a fairfield inn. on friday we had a relatively short drive to raleigh, but we needed to be there in time to be present for sterling's show opening. after arriving at the wonderful marriott on fayeteville we walked the 1.3 miles to the edge office where his solo exhibition was. this is part of the family crossing a (rail)road close to our destination in a newly gentrified neighborhood:

    pictures of sterling and his show can be found here.
    after having dinner at the big easy on fayeteville we returned to our hotel and this is rockstar campion on his cell phone in the swanky lobby:

    the next morning, before heading out to south nags head on the outer banks of north carolina we caffeinated ourselves at the in-lobby starbucks and we found earlier that travis likes whipped cream:


    after a short drive (even though it seemed to never end) we arrived at uncle barry and aunt makk's beach house, where pepper immediately got ready for the pool:

    after getting everything inside the house we also went down to the pool:



    aunt makk took a few pictures of me with travis in the pool, of which this is one:

    after the pool we headed out to the beach, which is within 5 minutes walking distance and we learnt that travis is not a big fan of the beach, although for a while it seemed to be going just fine:

    after throwing a hissy fit, i took him back to the house, dropped him in the pool (where he was alright) and then got him ready for his dinner, which he ate sitting at the big dining room table in his own high chair:

    after dinner (unfortunately) we noticed a doe just outside the backyard:

    and this is, as i was told, a pretty boring sunset:

    travis with barry, who labels himself as someone who always seems to make babies cry, but travis behaved and responded very well, so this is proof positive:

    and not once, but twice:

    our generous hosts:

    kat, rocky and dagny arrived a few hours after us the day before. this is kat and rocky:

    on july 4th the day started out relaxed, also for travis:

    in the afternoon, we went for a boat ride and this is the sir reel in the passenger side mirror:

    this is rocky backing up the trailer, very manly/studly:

    we met the people who didn't/couldn't go on the boat ride in picturesque manteo:

    this is the cargo for the second half of the boat ride (i switched out with kat):

    after all these independence day festivities travis conked out in his high chair after his dinner:

    denise at dinner with barry and makk's friend bill in the background:

    dagny and rocky:

    pater familias:

    mater familias:

    kat with a somewhat very serious expression:

    dagny and campion in a discussion on wines with bill:

    pepper listening to the various conversations:

    matchka on the upper deck:

    she was not liking us enjoying the sunset, probably because she wanted the porch for herself:

    on monday i drove over to the bodie lighthouse and of course, it was shrouded in scaffolding:

    but from a distance it looks alright:

    when kat, rocky and dagny left for the airport i took a couple of group shots of the keyes in front of the keys:




    this is pretty much the end of the vacation. after dinner we will drive through the night to be back at home in the morning. all in all it was a good trip where we never really encountered anything bad and everyone sorta behaved as well as could be expected. not sure if we're gonna do this again any time soon. surely not in the next few months, because we have our next project starting the second we return home: prep moving into our new house! :-)
    monday, july 5, 2010

    the tj chronicles 53
    the social stuff we were doing in el paso was meet up with patrick-david walker at the peter piper pizza place just opposite of our hotel. it took him a while to find the right hotel, but after we met, we made our way over. after parking the car i noticed the very nice colors in the sky:


    and this is patrick in deep conversation with denise. travis, of course, is distracted:

    back in our room, patrick sat behind my computer and i took this shot of him in the living room mirror:

    the next day we took time getting ready for the relatively short drive to sierra vista and even travis took it easy:

    this is us crossing the arizona state line and i found it quite amusing that i managed the "block" the state slogan - the grand canyon state welcomes you, because, really, after SB1070 they do not:

    right after the thing we drove through texas canyon, which was pretty amazing:

    after driving around in sierra vista, showing us the sights, denise finally drove us to her dad's place where i was finally able to meet her dad. we stayed for a while and at around 6pm we made our way to the motel at the end of the street to check ourselves in and to get something to eat. on wednesday we went back to travis' other grandpa and hung out for a while:

    pepper and grandpa pete playing rummikub:

    i took a few shots of his house, mainly because i love cypress trees:

    it wasn't easy to get travis to warm up to grandpa pete, mainly because travis is going through a phase where only mom or dad will do, but when i sat him between us he was more or less fine:

    pepper took above and below photographs:

    this is a shot of travis in the sierra vista mall (yes, it's HUGE!):

    after the mall we had dinner at my big fat greek restaurant. we decided that on thursday we would be tourists and visit tombstone and bisbee. this is the tombstone courthouse:

    this is the tombstone courthouse with a horse and carriage in front of it:

    this is a look down allen st:

    they still have the old boardwalks:

    campion and pepper interrogating a gun shop owner:

    i had some fun with the coach of this horse carriage ride:

    the family walking down the boardwalk:

    the family waiting in line for the tombstone trolley tour:

    during the tombstone trolley tour travis fell asleep in his big brother's arms:

    outside of boothill there is an old hearse and of course campion wanted a picture of him inside:

    of course, pepper had to follow suit:

    and here's both of them:

    at boothill cemetery there is this grave, which is pretty awesome:

    these are the dragoon mountains, in a stitched panorama shot from boothill:

    travis in his seat on the way from tombstone to bisbee:

    part of the family at the copper queen, where we just missed a tour through the mine:

    this is one of the open-face mining sites in bisbee:

    after walking/driving around in the southern arizonan dry heat we decided to cool off in the pool:

    travis loves loves loves the pool:

    to him it's a big bath and he can't help but splish & splash:


    after the pool we went back to grandpa's and the pool definitely wore travis out … dunno why campion fell asleep:

    denise made dinner at her dad's and after dinner one of denise's oldest friends, audra, came by with her two daughters. this is jaz smooching with travis:

    and this is me, wearing campion's domo cap:

    this is audra's oldest daughter, ali, smiling at travis:

    grandpa looking at the hubbub the youngsters are making:

    he tried to make travis walk, but travis did not take more than one step, no matter how hard grandpa tried:

    on friday morning we had breakfast @ denny's with another old friend of denise's, holly, and her daughter sam. travis enjoying some apple sauce:

    travis flirting with holly:

    sam in a pensive mode:

    pepper smiling (i know, it hardly happens and i usually miss it):

    holly holding travis:

    back at grandpa's house, campion and pepper played rummikub with their granddad:




    denise in an animated conversation with travis seemingly understanding everything that's being said:

    in the afternoon we went to the local swimming pool, the cove, where campion goofed off:





    after the pool we went back to grandpa and we finally had travis close to grandpa without him going nuts:

    saturday was the day of the 20 year reunion of denise's graduation high school class of and also the last day to visit denise's dad. by now travis felt more comfortable around him:

    denise in an animated conversation, again:

    the three kids:

    travis at the coffee table:

    the reunion started at 5.30 and we arrived around 6pm for introductions, dinner, dance and drinks. i took 339 pictures during the event and some of them will show up on a facebook page near you, soon-ish. we got home late, or rather early the next morning and after a very short amount of sleep we packed up and left sierra vista for albuquerque where i typed this. so far travis is still doing good during the road trip.
    monday, june 28, 2010

    the tj chronicles 52
    happy summer solstice everyone!
    travis is three weeks into his first year and he is now on his first roadtrip across country (details, see here) and we are now on day 5 and so far he has been behaving splendidly :-)
    we left home on thursday night right around the time travis would be falling asleep and after picking up some coffees for the road we swung by our new house as well to turn key. after that it was about 13 hours of night driving to houston, where we spent a day, night and morning at uncle raymond and aunt winnie's place. on saturday afternoon we drove to austin, only to get lost somewhere on 290, but after buying a texas roadmap AND asking for directions we soon found the way back to austin. we were going to meet someone we knew from both deviantArt and facebook, but before we went to the meeting place, the oasis at lake travis (coincidence, i think not!) we stopped at a starbucks to get some coffees. after that it was a short drive to the oasis where we met misha and a few of her friends (see pictures here).
    dinner was nice, conversation and company even nicer, but around 7.30pm we said our goodbyes and headed for our hotel in san antonio. we checked in a little after 9pm, unpacked and settled in for the night. our storm-artist friend mike joined us in our hotel room for a few hours and it is always nice catching up with him, it's become quite the staple for everytime we are in san antonio. on father's day we went to visit denise's mom, travis' other grandmother, in the assisted living facility where she lives now (which coincidentally is right up the road from aunt margaret's!). although she was thrilled to see us, she was also a bit peeved because we only spending so little time with her. nevertheless, we took her out for mexican lunch (she had 2 margaritas!) and after this late lunch we dropped her off and made our way back to the hotel, because we had a dinner date with another mutual friend we know from friendfeed, steven. at least we had a few hours to relax, so denise, travis and pepper took a nap while campion roamed the hotel grounds :P
    we were going to meet steven at our favorite seafood place in san antonio, which happened to be right in front of our hotel (coincidence, i think not!), pappadeaux at 6.15pm. right as i walked in to sign up for a table i spotted him so we did our introductions and had pleasant conversation during the 1+ hour wait for our table (remember, it was father's day, so everyone and their mother (*grin*) was out). travis took to steven, see pictures here. dinner was great and steven was as cool a person as i thought he would be. we parted after dinner and after getting back to the hotel we decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool (a big bath, really) and guess what, travis loves loves loves the water! we played in the pool for about an hour and it was getting close to midnight, so we called it a night, since today we would have a long day ahead of us with a 536 mile drive from san antonio to the west most corner of texas, el paso.
    on the start of summer we got up earlier than anticipated, because travis woke up at 6am, started the day slowly and at a little after 8am we took to the road. since we were going to go past it, and since pepper hadn't been yet, we stopped for a brief moment at john's grave. but after that we gunned it down i10 (really, we gunned it up i10, but that is just a technicality …) and right before reaching el paso we had a slight frightful moment, because we were running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, so we had to get off the freeway and take our chances in tornillo and we did indeed find a gas station *phew* from there it was another 20 minutes till we reached our hotel for the night where we checked in and chilled for a couple of hours, waiting to meet up with another storm-artist friend, patrick. yes, we know peoples everywheres ;-)
    travis has been good, only fussing and screaming when he was either hungry or had a full diaper: he is such the good trooper! :-)
    anyways, i'm sure y'all are dying to see pictures of travis, so here goes.
    first a handful of pictures i had already posted on facebook for my parents:





    the next three pictures are travis in our new house during the second inspection:



    this is a tiny lizard somewhere around uncle raymond and aunt winnie's house as seen and photographed by pepper:

    we went out to dinner to the humble inn in humble, a houston satellite city:

    uncle raymond dreaming away while travis is keeping an eye out for the camera:

    travis ate, amongst other things, crawfish, crab, frog leg and he liked it all:

    he also doesn't mind biting into a lemon:

    even though it does make him make a sour face:

    *grin*:

    these chihuahuas are bunker and little bit:

    somewhere in austin we gave travis some whipped cream, and of course, he likes it:

    no, really!:

    campion, travis, denise and pepper:

    at dinner at the oasis when everything was still fine:

    and, after travis managed to pull down my plate of condiments for the fajitas i ordered:

    (of course it was pretty damn stupid of the waiter to put this right in front of travis, right after we moved the sizzling plate of chicken fajitas he put in front of travis!)
    in our hotel, while mike was visiting, pepper spun travis around in the desk chair:

    travis meeting grandma phyliss for the second time and this time it took a little longer for him to warm up to her:

    see the blank/vacant stare:

    but he had no problem getting kisses:


    this is my current desktop and total fluke shot of travis in a moment of tranquility:

    out in the courtyard on a smoke break, denise and grandma, not travis:

    out to lunch eating sweet potato puffs:

    a picture of grandma with travis' older brother and sister:

    pepper and travis in our hotel room in el paso:

    tomorrow we drive to sierra vista to stay with denise's dad for 5 nights. there will be a chance to do some sightseeing and relax, so maybe by the end of friday i will be able to put up another blog. or maybe not, depending on all the social stuff we are planning to do …
    monday, june 21, 2010

    the tj chronicles 51
    happy birthday travis, gefeliciteerd met je 1ste verjaardag!
    travis' first year flew by, that much is sure, he's gone from 7lbs 14oz (3.5kg) at birth to 34lbs 11.5oz (15.7kg) on his birthday. he grew like wildfire as well, best illustrated by him wearing 4T clothes! so far he did not have any major problems, just a slight case of ringworm, a couple of cases of the sniffles, probably caused by allergies, but that's it. he's pleasant, he's easy-going, he's friendly, he's cuddly and … he's heavy ;-)
    before showing his birthday party pictures, first some shots from earlier this week.
    travis having a great time in bath:

    for some reason his eyes are very blue when he takes a bath:

    as you can even better see in this shot:

    in this shot you can eight of his teeth:

    looking up at his mama:

    on saturday denise baked 6 cakes, one of which was travis' 1 cake:

    travis making a face standing by the fridge:

    travis does not walk independently yet, but he did crawl over the base of the dining room table:



    travis in aunt kat's arms, clearly having fun:

    travis in denise's lap, clearly still having fun:

    he's developed a need for sticking out and playing with his tongue:

    then, the pictures of his birthday. in the playpen, drinking (or at least trying to) his milk:

    travis in bath before changing into his birthday outfit:

    little boy … big dreams:

    waiting for the guests to his party to arrive, chilling out with aunt dagny:

    his birthday cake with a picture of him in a frame on the cake:

    travis' custom birthday banner, made by patty, ronald's wife (you may remember seeing him about 2 months ago in this here theater):

    the cake decorated with safari animals:

    and this was travis' own little cake with a little giraffe standing guard:

    some of the guests:

    travis can reach almost to the ground while standing in his exersaucer:

    the usual suspects in the kitchen:

    some more guests:

    (the woman who's in a coversation with denise is our famous cake lady: orna from taste of success!)
    travis not quite sure what to do with his little cake:

    until he decided to just smash hit with his hands:

    which wasn't messy at all:

    and he managed to pretty much slam it to pieces:

    and yes, he did enjoy the cake … hitting it, not eating it though:

    you can tell from the proud face he's making, like he really accomplished something quite big:

    as you can clearly see:

    after the mess he got another bath and this outfit he's wearing is one of the gifts from opa & oma:

    drinking his bottle after the party ended:

    for those of you who are interested, i recorded parts of the party with my webcam and you can view some videos here. around 8pm he had his last bottle and after he finished it he crashed a happy little 1-year old.
    sunday, may 30, 2010

    the tj chronicles 50
    i am not apologizing for this sneak attack of cuteness :P
    i did not plan on putting up a blog with pictures of travis before his birthday party. but i managed to get a few good ones in and that i did not want to withhold from y'all.
    travis standing up at one of the kitchen cabinet doors:

    he is getting better at standing up from any position and sometimes he even stands without holding on to anything:

    his chunky legs:

    here i am messing with him … or he is messing with me:

    he likes to be held, but he doesn't like to be smothered:

    a good shot of travis and his big sister:

    next to having an interest for the texture of the kitchen cabinet door knob, travis also likes the feel of the kitchen blinds:

    his little toes:

    and what about this intense look?:

    travis by the front doot (he likes going towards the light …):

    travis getting ready to eat some carrots:

    he took small bites and with every bite it looked as if he was expecting something better than the previous bite:

    and even though carrots are not his favorites he still opens wide:

    and if there's something on tv he likes (curious george, super why, word world, dinosaur train or word girl) he will not avert his eyes:

    a quintessential smile:

    anyway, that's it for now. i am not promising i will not surprise you next weekend, but i will not rule it out either … P
    sunday, may 16, 2010

    the tj chronicles 49
    happy mother's day to all mothers! :-)
    in two weeks travis has been continuing to grow nicely. 6 teeth have fully (4 uppers and 2 lowers) come through and now he is working on pushing some molars through the gums. we suspect that the molars are causing him some pain, because he keeps rubbing his ears from time to time and the amount of drool he produces is spectacular at times. this also has impacted his sleeping pattern a little. this may also be caused by him becoming more mobile. he can crawl around pretty fast and getting up on his feet is easy enough. he can walk, but only if he has something to hold on to, but i think it's not long anymore before he finds his feet. we've already begun teaching him the word "no" ("nee") and he usually listens, but like any other baby, he's all about pushing boundaries. travis is getting strong as well, especially his legs, and pepper already has some trouble containing him when she picks up to play or cuddle. hell, even denise and me have difficulty trying to hold on to him and his 32lbs plus of torque and thrust *LOL*
    in the past 2 weeks i have not taken too many picture of travis (took 400 shots of campion's prom, though), so below are a few of the cutest shots i did make.
    travis asleep safe in mom's arms:

    travis on the scale, 32lbs 2.5oz (he wouldn't sit still long enough to get an accurate reading, though)(14.6kg):

    in the bathtub:

    sneeking in some product placement:

    isn't he precious?

    all clean and smiling:

    on our bed, getting powdered and oiled and combed and dressed:



    when he is falling asleep he has taken to twirl his hair with his fingers:

    butt in the air, hands folded underneat him:

    looks uncomfortable, but apparently travis doesn't mind:

    look at those muscular legs :P:

    usually, right after travis wakes up and it is time for food is the only time where he can get really cranky, so here's the anatomy of him crying. first he kinda yawns:

    then he rubs his eyes and his face:

    realizing he is awake and really really really hungry:

    and the next shots would be of him pouting and crying, but when that happens keeping still for the camera is not much of an option anymore … ;-) and precisely 3 weeks from today travis turns 1, who'd've thunk time would go by so fast?!
    sunday, may 9, 2010

    the tj chronicles 48
    two weeks have passed and really nothing much has happened since. travis, denise and me are all a litte (or more) affected by the burst of pollen, but all in all it's pretty good. in the meantime, ronald, who visited us two weeks ago, sent some pictures he took when he was here and i am sharing them here.
    travis and me at the coffee table with sesame street on the tv in the background:

    (picture credit: Ronald)
    travis on the kitchen floor, looking a little miffed:

    (picture credit: Ronald)
    our entire family at fuddruckers:

    (picture credit: Ronald)
    travis looking down into the camera:

    (picture credit: Ronald)
    ronald holding travis:

    (picture credit: Ronald)

    a week ago, denise was able to take a few shots with my camera of travis asleep on my chest:


    i would argue that this is one of travis' favorite places to fall asleep :-) of course, travis also falls asleep in other places, whether it is comfortable for him or not, as the following three shots clearly show *giggle*:



    denise rescued him from this precarious situation:

    one night, denise brought us all blizzards, an ice cream type milkshake from dairy queen, and we fed travis a bit of it. you can tell he wasn't quite sure of either the temperature or the taste:


    today i took a number of pictures of travis relaxing in his exersaucer. here he is not distracted by anything:

    here he is totally absorbed by the mirror in the rhinoceros:


    really, oblivious to anything that happens around him … close-up of his hands while he was bouncing:

    and finally, looking at the bottle of formula denise is holding up (off camera); you can almost see him licking his lips:

    last time we weighed him he was 31lbs 8oz (14,3kg) and he is still proportionate. he low crawls a lot faster now and he is able to walk around the coffee table. sometimes in his playpen, he stands without holding on to anything; it never lasts for much longer than a few seconds, but he is able to maintain his balance. i get to see a lot of him, because i have not been traveling for the past 4 or 5 weeks and i won't be traveling for another 2 weeks. which is great for me, because i love spending time with my son. (disclaimer: this is not to say i do mind spending time with denise, campion and pepper, of course :P)
    saturday, april 24, 2010

    the tj chronicles 47
    we had a week long break in between my mom leaving and our next guest arriving. a chance to take it easy and. of course, for travis it doesn't make any difference, he does what he always does: sleep, eat, play & poop. he gets around quite easily doing his marine style crawling, much to the chagrin of the cats, although sadie is a lot less scared (or maybe i should say apprehensive) than lily is.
    this is sadie basking in the sun playing with travis:

    they don't mind each other's company and we are teaching travis to be gentle with the cats (so no grabbing or slapping) and we are teaching the cats to sit still and keep their claws in. so far, no tears :-)
    travis and sadie minding their own business:

    travis being intrigued by the texture of the blinds:

    and this is travis gently petting sadie:

    on monday night, my friend ronald arrived. he took a few days out of his busy schedule to come visit us for a couple of days. alas without patty and their 3 kids, but still, it was great to see him and to (finally) do some catch up. he arrived a little after travis' last meal, but since we were having dinner, travis got to sit with the grown-ups and have some yogurt bites:

    you can see the dribble on his bottom lip:

    his favorite pastime, banging:

    travis playing with one of the gifts ronald brought:

    (of course, i am going to encourage him to get the square block into the round hole *grin*)
    the next day ronald and i messed with travis and the cats by letting them play with ice cubes on the kitchen floor. those are the water trails you see in front of travis:

    you can see that lily is much more on her guard, hiding under a chair, while sadie will brave being in travis' way:

    travis had a hard time picking up the ice cube , with it being all slippery:

    this would be lily braving her way around travis:

    so close and no aggression, sadie is actually looking out for travis:

    travis with his monkey feet in his monkey pants *giggle*:

    ronald feeding travis:

    yesterday we let travis crawl around the house wearing just his diaper (yes, it is getting warmer and warmer, and there are some downsides to that, which you will see at the bottom of this blog) and when denise went outside he followed her:

    outside in the sun (well, on the shade side, though):

    a tender moment:

    travis likes grabbing denise's hair and then pull it (makes me glad for having short hair *grin*):

    later that day we went on a walk through the neighborhood and there's one thing travis does not like very much and that is sunlight in his eyes:

    but he likes everything else about the outdoors, hence his big smile:

    and from time to time he glares at the man with the camera:

    travis likes to pull himself upright in his stroller:

    in the evening he got a bath and first step in the bathing process is to weigh him and you can see he gained only half a pound, so it is safe to assume he is plateauing around 31lbs (14kg):

    sitting in the bathtub:

    his eyes are still very blue:

    travis playing with rubber duckies:

    a close up of travis after he got cleaned up:

    like i mentioned above the weather finally turning into full-blown spring does have its disadvantages. this is the hood of our babymover:

    (picture credit: Denise)
    the roof of the baby mover, which looks like it got sahara sand dumped on it, a truck load full, but all it is is pollen!

    after the rain, even the rain water coming from the drainage pipes was yellow from the pollen:

    yeah, pollen is awesome … there was an almost record breaking number of pollen on wednesday! and notice that a count of 120 means the amount of pollen is extremely high, wednesday the count was 5,733 … *sigh* … when is it winter again?
    sunday, april 11, 2010

    the tj chronicles 46
    for opa and oma :-)
    it was great having oma around to help out with travis, since i was actually gone a couple of days out of every week she was here and because denise's back went out (and still is). oma's visit was also great timing because travis is in a really cool phase:
  • he pretty much mastered crawling (even though he still favors marine-style crawling)

  • he is getting up on his feet by himself now and he is walking (taking steps really) whenever he has something to hold on to

  • he responds to stimuli, like saying his name, tickling him and talking to him (in both dutch and english)

  • he still is very easygoing, only cries when he is sleepy, hungry or when he has a full diaper

  • it must have been hard for opa to a) not be here to see travis and b) to miss oma, so here's a couple of shots taken before oma left.
    oma feeding travis:

    you can see travis' response to something oma did or said:

    of course, travis is also distracted easily (in this case by me):

    this was the shot i was taking that distracted travis:

    oma wiping his face after he finished his dinner:

    and always smiling, travis likes oma, very much:

    once again in his exersaucer, looking up at me, and you can see the smile behind his binkie:

    travis looking down on me:

    full frontal facial of the stud muffin:

    and in B/W:

    young blue eyes:

    travis on the scale, still plateauing around 31lbs, this time 30lbs and 13oz (almost 14kg):

    travis splishing and splashing in the bathtub:

    i love his eye lashes, especially when they're wet:

    (and that is my foot you see in the background …)
    travis standing up at the coffee table:

    travis admiring himself in the reflection (yes, we have another narcissus …):

    proof that travis looks like me (at least as a baby):

    now we're getting ready for a visit from uncle ronald, who'll be spending a few days with us. we're excited that he's coming to visit. i wonder how travis will do, though, because so far, historically, he's been doing much better with women than with men (yes, he is the quintessential flirt and shameless at that!) …
    sunday, april 4, 2010

    the tj chronicles 45
    for opa, again :-)
    oma's visit is almost at an end again, just three more nights and she's gonna go home again and i'm sure travis is going to miss his oma.
    travis with his big sister:

    travis clapping his hands:

    travis "walking" from the couch to the end table:

    travis feeling safer leaning against the couch:

    "what you lookin' at?":

    travis with his oma at the dinner table:

    travis in anticipation of his bedtime bottle:

    and this happens when the bottle doesn't come fast enough:

    everything is alright again:

    had to do a similar shot in black & white:

    travis on the kitchen floor:

    he has discovered everything is making sounds when he hits it, one of those things being the refrigerator:

    of course, nothing is safe for his grabby hands anymore:

    enjoying his time on the floor:

    getting close to the camera:

    i'm lucky not to be traveling too much these days, so i can spend a lot of time with travis, especially since he is going through fast changes. and he loves to snuggle and i love to snuggle with him. he is such a snuggle bunny :-)
    saturday, march 27, 2010

    the tj chronicles 44
    for opa! :-)
    oma the day after she arrived for a 2.5 week vacation, visiting travis … and the rest of us:


    travis getting ready for a nap in oma's arms:

    anatomy of standing up, first travis sits by the coffee table with his hands on the table:

    then he pulls himself on his knees:

    he puts one foot on the floor:

    and a second foot on the floor while at the same time pushing his arms up from the tabletop:

    and presto, he stands up, all by himself:

    travis is quite proud of his accomplishment (as he should be):

    travis answering a call:

    travis checking messages on his smartphone with oma in the background as well as the pictures of his siblings and himself:

    the same picture, but with the focus on oma:

    oma making sure travis doesn't hit himself while standing at the coffee table:

    toes, toes, toes:

    after all that standing up travis was well tired, so he took a nap in the swing (the swing that can't be swung anymore, because the swing does not have enough battery power to swing his 30lb ass *wink*:

    travis in the stroller on our evening walk through the neighborhood:

    animated conversation:

    travis in front of the pool:

    official portrait:

    (that is pepper looking confused … in case you're wondering.)
    travis smiling behind his binkie:

    oma has been here for over a week now and i think she is liking her quality time with travis and he enjoys her. this evening, for instance, he feel asleep in her arms when it was bedtime. the good thing also is that he is going through rapid changes: he is crawling (scooting really) faster, he is getting up by himself, he is responding to contact (verbal or physical) and he is always pleasant. her timing couldn't have been better, because it's these changes that are awesome to witness. i'll try to get another blog post in next weekend, but i'm gonna be gone for most of the coming week as well, so there may not be a whole lot of pictures to show.
    saturday, march 20, 2010

    the tj chronicles 43
    since oma is coming to visit in just 2 days i thought i'd put up a few pictures before her visit.
    travis in his exersaucer:


    travis trying to get to something through pepper's legs:

    travis crawling:

    travis showing an odd interest in denise's louis vuitton bag:

    travis follows his own p90x regime; he grabs the chair like this and then slides it to and fro:

    travis checking out the kitchen:


    travis by the staircase, doing something denise despises, running his fingernails across the wall which to denise sounds like nails on a blackboard:

    travis at the table:

    travis trying out yogurt melts (by gerber), but he's not quite sure …:

    extreme close-up:

    travis clapping his hands, which he continues doing if you encourage him with "yay!":

    wednesday, march 10, 2010

    the tj chronicles 42
    again, it has been way too long, but circumstance are what they are and in between travel for almost two solid weeks with only one day at home, which happened to be for pepper's birthday party (at some point in time i will post pictures of that event, too, but first i need to post-process 300+ images …), there was not a whole lot of time to write a blog or take pictures. and as time is moving on travis is geting more mobile, low crawling everywhere now, so actual crawling is just moments away. he can stand up inside or outside of his playpen and move sideways a little bit, so pulling himself up and walking are also not that far away anymore … yeah, it's about time we should be nailing things down :P
    what we did do already is lower the mattress in his crib, because he was getting to a point where he was pulling himself up by the railing and there was imminent danger of him toppling over. he has no fear or sense of depth/height yet, so even if we take him into our bed we have to be careful that he doesn't scoot his way over to the edge, because he will keep on going. luckily, for us and for him, we have shag carpet almost everywhere, so the drop will not be too hard ;-)
    for a couple of weeks, travis' weight has remained stable at around 29lbs and 8oz (13.409gr) and even though he is on 3rd foods the higher mobility is keeping his weight in check by turning his abundant amounts of fat into muscle. and he already is very strong, especially in his legs (just like his daddy actually).
    and here's pictures of our stud muffin:

    patiently sitting on the scale (because he's too large to lie down on it):

    enjoying his bath:

    a most gracious smile:

    having dinner:

    as you can tell, he gobbles it up, no matter what we feed him:

    a pensive look:

    followed by sticking out his tongue (that's my boy!):

    he actually jumps up and down in his exersaucer while eating, he is that excited about it:

    anatomy of low crawling:

    he stretches out his arms:

    he shoves his knees under his ass:

    his ass goes up in the air:

    then he stretches out flat again:

    sitting on our bed waiting for a bath:

    his dessert left a little ring around his mouth and he filled it with drool, isn't he gracious?:

    on the scale again:

    looking perplexed for some reason:

    travis' first glam shot (i'm sure blue streak will appear some time soon …):

    that's it for now, perhaps more next week(end) …
    saturday, february 27, 2010

    the tj chronicles 41
    happy valentine's day, travis!
    in the past two weeks since my last blog post, nothing of note happened (at least not in travis' world), so let's go directly to where it matters, photos!
    travis is beginning to learn to crawl. when put in his belly he will inch forward, but his preferred method is still rolling from back to stomach and back:

    using his binkie as target practice for himself, he will pick up the binkie …

    … and then push/throw it out of reach …

    … so he can reach/crawl/inchworm to it:

    he can do simple push-ups:

    he can stick to the ceiling:

    but he still can't walk or talk ;-)
    in his tripp trapp opening his mouth as wide as he can for the dessert-y goodness he is about to receive:

    licking his lips once he's done masticating and swallowing:

    proof of how far he will go if he likes something:

    (but in all fairness, he still eats anything we feed him!)
    travis patiently waiting for the rest of us at the dinner table to finish eating:

    and this is what we were eating, homemade deep pan pizza:

    *omnomnomnom*
    on the floor playing with his almost empty bottle:

    milk all over his chin:

    gnawing on the nipple with his gums:

    the binkie says it all, really:


    this weekend we had snow in atlanta (in fact, all 50 states of the ustated nights of america had snow on the ground!) and this is proof. a night shot of one of the bushes in our driveway:

    the houses across the street:

    view from our backyard:

    close-up of our fence with the neighbors:

    and that was it for this blog :-)
    sunday, february 14, 2010

    the tj chronicles 40
    since my long term stint in cedar rapids has come to an end i was able to spend some more time at home. sadly, more than an entire week was spent in pain and the same (still) goes for denise; both are backs were out. yes, we are in need of, at least, a new mattress. i went to the doctor's last monday and had blood work done again and the results are in: my bad cholesterol is down from 276 to 196, but my triglycerides are still a little but on the high side. but, at least everything is out of the "danger" zone. doctor told me that i will probably have to take medication for the rest of my life, but if after 6 months my bad cholesterol is down even more, we may expirement with just the diet. i think the diet that denise has put us on (no high fructose corn syrup and/or palm oil) has helped tremendously. the positive side effect of the diet is that homemade bread and homemade pizza are delish! of course, travis is healthy as a horse, getting closer and closer to crawling. he can stand up (while being pulled up and being held), but he still only rolls around to get around. he gets frustrated when he tries to crawl, he wants to so bad, but he hasn't figured out how to use his knees so he ends up trying to pull himself forwards by his hands. so far he pretty much likes everything we give him to eat, although as last blog's previous showed, he does have his preferences. he doesn't like steak and turkey all that much, chicken is ok, but his favorites still are the dessert yoghurts, those cannot be fed to him fast enough. travis eating meats also led to more interesting diapers; they're getting fuller and more aromatic :P
    naturally, travis doesn't mind the smell, but he does not like having a full diaper. this is a good thing, because that will make potty training a lot easier :-)
    anyways, here's what you all been waiting for, adorable baby pictures …
    travis' big brother goofing off:

    sitting at the table like a big boy:

    standing up in his playpen (he doesn't get up by himself, but if you help him stand up and hold on to the railing, he'll happily stand there until his legs give out):


    sitting at the table again, playing with his first, very colorful, cutlery:

    and of course, the litmus test is stuffing the cutlery in his mouth:

    travis on our bed, waiting for a bath:

    travis arching his back … this is his means to rolling over:

    yesterday, on the scale, 28lbs 1.5oz (12744gr) and it looks like he is platforming at around 28lbs:

    sitting in the bathtub waiting for his hair to be washed:

    wet baby:

    instant baby mohawk:

    on our bed after cleaning travis up:


    more news next week …
    sunday, january 31, 2010

    the tj chronicles 39
    i was out most of last week, in what appears to be the last visit to cedar rapids, at least for a little while. and like i mentioned in my previous blog, it was definitely strange being away from travis after spending three straight weeks with him. of course, this meant that i was not able to take a lot of pictures of him, but i made up for it over the weekend, believe it or not *grin*
    it is now pretty much official, travis loves bath time:

    even washing his hair doesn't bother him anymore:

    and he can sit upright by himself, although he is scootching backwards through the tub:

    this is one to keep for when he brings his first date home:

    here is travis flirting with mama:

    since travis has started eating meats and vegetables, when we had steak on saturday, so did travis. he had his reservations about the first bite:

    after a few bites his reservations were turned almost into revulsion:


    but when it is time for dessert, he opens his mouth as wide as he can:

    last wednesday travis' high chair arrived. denise and i decided to get the stokke tripp trapp for 3 reasons:
    1. it has a very small footprint
    2. it "grows" with travis and it is able to hold up to 300lbs (136kg)
    3. it is available in cherry which goes well with our dining room furniture and, as a bonus, it is one of the most awarded high chairs available.
    travis demonstrating his high chair:

    travis reaching for my hand across the dining table:

    other than that, there is not much to mention. travis is doing fine, he is sitting up my himself, he rolls around the living room, he crawls backwards, he can stand up while being held and he has gone behind saying "dada" and is now barbling more, trying different sounds. from time to time he throws a temper tantrum, but overall he is mostly a quiet and happy little man :-)
    monday, january 18, 2010

    the tj chronicles 38
    i thought that before i'd go off to cedar rapids again, i'd post some pictures of travis. you know, for those of you who need their weekly fix.

    in the bathtub, enjoying himself with the water:

    as you can see, he is starting to enjoy bath time:

    making the water splash:

    when he eats his solids he can sit up by himself while denise or me feeds him and generally he's pretty good about it:

    and sometimes he makes funny faces (monatoetjes):

    proof that there indeed was snow in atlanta:

    and it froze too:

    proof that babies are pretty flexible … travis falls asleep in the strangest positions:

    in bath again, making eyes at his mommy:

    thoroughly enjoying himself:

    it's gonna be weird, having to leave today, after being home for 3 whole weeks. it was heaven to spend so much time with travis and the rest of the family. but, it is back to life on the road, even though beyond this week's assignment there is nothing scheduled yet, although i'm sure that will change rapidly.
    monday, january 11, 2010

    the tj chronicles 37
    happy new year, dear readers!
    2009 was a great year and the only thing i can wish for is for 20-ten to be as great or possibly even better :-)
    so, christmas day was interesting on many levels and the next day we packed up the car, checked out of our hotel and left san antonio for houston, tx.
    this is travis enjoying the scenery:

    once we arrived at uncle raymond and aunt winnie's house, we put travis on a blanket, because he was already kinda cranky from sitting in his car seat for several hours, with the sun directly on him, something he doesn't really care for. but, once stretched out and changed into a onesie that was a christmas present, he was all smiles and giggles:

    of course, travis was passed around the family members like a bag of chips. here it is christopher holding him, under the supervision of aunt winnie:

    christopher still holding on to travis, with to the left of him his wife lulu and to the right it's brandi (who recently got married, on hawaii):

    looking up to lulu (travis really like the shiny glasses :P):

    acting crazy in the arms of lucretta:

    staring off to something on the ceiling, probably a light fixture or a ceiling fan:

    in the kitchen, feeding travis:

    the next morning we left, after winnie made us a wonderful breakfast and drove home in about 13 hours, including several stops for gas and a stop for breakfast for dinner; waffle house for the win! all in all, our christmas trip, although exhausting at times, was a success :-)
    back home "normal" life proceeded. travis on the scale, showing 25lbs 11oz (11.652gr):

    in the tub, enjoying the stream of warm water:

    as you can clearly tell from his enormous smile:

    lost in though for a moment:

    checking himself out in a shiny fixture in the bath (do we have another narcissus in the house?):

    playing with his toys as he is sitting up all by himself:


    sitting and playing can really wear him out:

    he is also beginning to stand up, although we have to lift him to his feet and he still is a bit wobbly:

    looking around at the toys on the exersaucer:

    travis making a face (i think blue streak isn't far off …):

    getting a bath in the kitchen sink:

    on sunday we drove to south pittsburg to pick up pepper from vegetation and that evening we "celebrated" christmas with presents for the kids. this is our xmas tree:

    we are back to being a complete family, and travis is really happy to be able to play with his big sister again.
    monday, january 4, 2010

    the tj chronicles 36
    finally an update with pictures again :P
    the last couple of weeks before the xmas week have been quite hectic, so i never really had the chance or time to whip up an update, but now i'm on christmas break i am caught up with most things, including getting pictures ready for this blog. and there's gonna be a lot: 40!
    of course this week is all about our trip to texas, but let's kick off the photos with a picture taken on last friday, showing that travis is actually sitting up by himself while being fed his solid food:

    then, last saturday we started our trip, first dropping off pepper in south pittsburg, tn, for her two week vegetation with her dad (although she very reluctantly agreed to go - this may be the last year). then we made our way to little rock, ar, via nashville, tn and memphis, tn. i started the drive, but at the drop off point, denise took over the wheel, while i took this shot from the passenger seat:

    campion fed travis solid and it is him that is playing the invisible person holding the spoon:

    after nashville, campion got to drive the mazda for the first time:

    despite campion driving for almost 3 hours we arrived safely in our hotel in little rock, ar, after stopping at a waffle house for breakfast for dinner. i got this room on my points and the room was very nice. travis liked his crib for the night, since it was the exact same playpen he sleeps and plays in during the day at home:

    after his last bottle of the day:

    falling asleep in my arms:

    the next morning, after his first bottle, waiting for a change of clothes:

    we had a long, but boring drive from little rock, ar to spring branch, tx to have dinner with denise's biological father. at the end of the drive travis was really testy and us getting lost on the way to roger's house didn't help matters. luckily we found our way to our hotel in downtown san antonio, tx a lot easier. after a good night's rest this is travis pretending to still be asleep:

    a close-up of his rosy cheeks:

    when i was taking pictures of the small room in the riverwalk plaza i didn't even notice travis was grinning like a madman:

    all dressed up waiting for us to get ready, he was playing with his big brother and this is actually one of a series of shots where he was hitting his brother right in the nutsack:

    on monday, first order of business was visiting john's grave and of course i had to get a picture of travis with one of his namesakes:

    back in the car, the motion made him fall asleep, while denise was visiting with ex-colleagues at the american red cross:

    while we were touring southeast san antonio (el barrio, the slums, the place to avoid, really) showing where denise had lived and worked, we got a call from the nursing home where denise's mom lives, so we had to change our plans and surprise visit her then instead of on wednesday. but her face lit up like a christmas tree when she saw travis:


    and although it doesn't really show, travis took to her as well:

    that evening we went for a stroll down the riverwalk and we settled to having dinner at boudro's:

    travis slept through most of this outstanding meal:

    the next morning travis took a bath:

    and he cleaned up pretty nicely, even though drinking his bottle has the potential to mess him up again:

    in the afternoon we went to go see aunt margaret, a sister in law to denise's mother's mother. you wouldn't tell from this picture she is in her late eighties or early nineties!:

    her brother in law, one of denise's grandmother's brothers dropped by as well, which was really nice. campion was playing with travis while waiting for us to get ready to go out again:

    we picked up mother and headed back out to john's grave, because she wanted to see it as well. and we needed to take a picture of the christmas tree with a lemon ornament, which we did. after doing some minor shopping we had lunch at taco cabana and from there we made our way to the fort sam houston cemetery to visit denise's older brother's grave. travis lamar (chigger), travis's namesake, died at 6 months old, from meningitis:

    what we didn't realize before we went there is that this day was the 41st anniversary of chigger's death:

    after dropping mother back off at the nursing home we went back to the hotel and got ready for the switch. the next day, after staying three nights in the riverwalk plaza, we moved to the holiday inn riverwalk for three nights. this is travis drinking his morning bottle:


    after settling in we made our way to the alamo (remember?):

    travis was all excited about that, because with his family lineage and name he can be perceived as a son of the texas revolution:

    of course, all this excitement wore him out, so he fell asleep while we coffee'd up in one of the few starbucks in downtown san antonio:

    after getting back to the hotel and prior to going to dinner in the (empty) hotel restaurant, travis drank his bottle:

    as you can see, he can hold it pretty much all by himself now. of course, during our meal, he needed to be fed as well:

    then it was christmas day. while denise was picking up her mom to spend the afternoon and evening with us, this is travis drinking his bottle:

    and travis playing with the nipple on the bottle:

    and travis having a grand old time after getting his tummy filled:

    when denise finally brough mother to the room (it took about 2 hours) she could watch travis eat his solid greens for the day, in this case his solid orange: carrots:

    since he wanted to impress his grandma he was quite feisty while eating, which resulted in him being a total mess:

    after cleaning him up he spent some time with grandma:

    at 5pm we left for our christmas dinner, the sole reason for this trip. we managed to reserve a table at the grill at leon springs (one of very few restaurants that were open on christmas day in the san antonio metro area!):

    in the beginning travis was pleasant, but after his solid dessert and a bottle of milk he just refused to go to sleep, even though he was tired, which turned our dinner into kind of a spectacle. but even so, we had a good time and a great meal:

    thanks to our waiter, jose i believe his name was (not entirely sure), denise had a warm meal as well and after two and a half hours, two bottles of wine, a starter, entree and dessert we dropped grandma off at the nursing home. she had a fantastic christmas ("the best christmas ever"), so that is definitely something to feel good about. as i am typing this, late christmas day bleeding into saturday morning, denise is already sound asleep because the stress of the last few days has worn her out. and once i have posted this, i will go join her in the small double bed …
    merry christmas everyone!
    christmas, friday, december 25, 2009

    the tj chronicles 35
    no pictures this time (i promise there will be some soon-ish), but i couldn't not let you know the following: travis john carlin wirtz did done said his first word on monday december 21, 2009 between 4.45 and 5.15pm central standard time. i only recognized it the third time. we were surprise visiting grandma in san antonio and travis said "dada" while he was in grandma's lap. she pointed it out to me, but he wasn't looking at anything or anyone in particular, so i didn't count it. after a few minutes he said again, but the same rule applied. then he was handed over to his big brother campion and while i moved past campion to grab something from my bag, travis looked at me, locked eyes and said "dada"! three's a charm :-) of course, after that he said a like a million gazillion times more. but what a great christmas present :-)
    tuesday, december 22, 2009

    the tj chronicles 34
    i don't have a whole lot to write about. mostly been busy at work for and at my client in cedar rapids. things are going well there, but the tensions are rising now we are nearing the go live date. this is not unusual for large implementations like this, but it is something that is impossible to get used to. the downside of all this work is that i have to spend a lot of time away from home and away from travis. on the other hand, it is kinda cool to see travis' progression after not seeing him for 4 or 5 days. and travis changes a lot, he is growing like cabbage on acid, but everything is very proportionate, so even though in almost all facets he is in the highest percentile, there is no cause for concern whatsoever; he is just a very healthy boy and here are the pictures to prove that :-)
    he can roll from tummy to back easily (today he turned from his back to his tummy for the first time):

    he still like to stick things in his mouth, whether it's his fingers or rattles or other people's fingers or chins:

    travis has a beautiful smile:

    for some reason travis has developed an interesting interest for the giraffe on the exersaucer:

    and of course, he doesn't mind sticking it in his mouth:


    on the changing table while waiting to have a diaper bomb changed:

    in bed with momma:

    his binkie says it all … even though he loves me, there is one person who will always be the go-to person and that is mom:

    showing off his baby blues:

    entertaining himself while waiting for his bath:

    on the scale - 24lbs 4.5oz (11.014gr):

    splishing and splashing sitting on a floater in the bathtub:

    travis' feet all pruned up after a long bath with denise:

    travis also has a pretty mischievous smile:

    he is gazing adorably at his sister, who is just outside of the frame:

    here is pepper, brushing his hair:

    that was it for now … maybe more next week(end).
    monday, december 7, 2009

    the tj chronicles 33
    tomorrow, monday november 30, travis john carlin turns 6 months old. congratulations travis, sorry i can't be there for your half birthday. since not too long ago i posted a tj blog and because i have been recovering from some minor surgery, there are not many new pictures to share. here are some of the nicer ones. travis on the scale earlier this week, 22lbs 15oz (10404gr):

    travis starting to really enjoying bath time:

    travis still really enjoying his right hand:

    travis laughing after getting a mani pedi and a rubdown:

    travis in the exersaucer we bought secondhand earlier this week:

    travis eagerly awaiting the food to be deposited into his mouth:

    travis taking a nap in his playpen:

    more pictures again next week …
    sunday, november 29, 2009

    the tj chronicles 32
    we're gearing up for the holidays. later this week it's thanksgiving, the day after it's black friday and a month from then it's chrstimas. fun and exciting times, but also hectic and stressful times. to travis, none of this matters, he is just going his merry way :-)
    i was happy to come back from a almost 5 days in cedar rapids and the good news is that i am home till the monday after thanksgiving (the bad news is that on that day i need to get up 3am to catch a red-eye flight). so next week i will be able to spend some qualitime with our baby boy, who is still doing very well, as you can see in the following pictures.
    finally got denise so far as to use my camera to take pictures of me holding travis, so here he is, asleep in my arms:

    don't mind the bed (or is it bad?) hair, this was pretty much right after i got up:

    arching his back is preferred way to roll over from his belly to his back:

    or he just lays there looking at the world around him, with all sort of plushy toys nearby:

    contrary to popular belief, travis does not have his grandfather's blue eyes :P:

    travis enjoys the hell out of himself by reaching for, grabbing his feet and then try to shove them in his mouth:

    even with his binkie in his mouth he smiles, the problem is that his smiles come and go so fast that it is nearly impossible to capture them on camera, hence the more serious look, but trust me, he smiles more than he is serious-looking:

    almost like this, but not quite:

    the other thing travis gets a kick out of, is looking at his right hand … he can stare at it for long stretches of time … maybe it's a sign for things to come …:

    mother and son, right after a nap:

    more news later this week! :-)
    sunday, november 22, 2009

    the tj chronicles 31
    a little later than anticipated, but i didn't get around to writing this blog on sunday, then yesterday i was at my hotel in cedar rapids quite late while i had to prepare for today, so this is why i am only now posting this. last week, again, i wasn't home much because i was out of town from monday afternoon to friday evening, and all during this time i missed spending time with travis. of course, i also missed spending time with pepper and campion and denise, but it is a strange thing, watching a baby develop. i never thought i would get as attached to him as i am, even though i still think i am doing well with being away from home as much as i am. tj is still developing nicely. he has now discovered that he can make himself laugh and the thing that does it, is him grabbing his own feet. he will giggle, laugh and than laugh so hard he makes himself almost choke and cough. but then, right after he has composed himself again, he grabs on to his feet and starts all over. and it never seems to get old. a couple of weeks ago i have been starting to teach him the g-sound, that gutteral, cat-gutting sound dutch people make and he seems to enjoy making that sound. in the beginning he would try gurgling after i did, but now he initiates when i hover over his swing or play pen and for some reason, the ggggggggggggggggggg makes him giggle as well, probably because it tickles his throat. (sneezing makes him giggle as well!)
    anyways, it won't be before friday evening that i see him again, so, just like you, gentle reader, i will have to do with the following pictures …
    travis sure does have blue eyes:

    of course, the blue binkie makes it come out even more:

    on the scale last saturday, weighing in at 22lbs 11.5oz (10.305gr):

    travis "washing his own hands"; really he was trying to catch the water:

    smiling at his momma:

    belly-time on the floor. he is starting to understand some of his squeaky toys:

    although, preferably, he wants to put everything in his mouth:

    all play makes this little boy tired:

    travis' (monkey) feet:

    poetry in motion:

    sporting a tommy pullmyfinger onesie, clearly thinking he's a winner … (and he is):

    a close-up from the first tooth that broke through his gums:

    intently staring at the ceiling fan:

    next week i'm going to be home for thanksgiving, so there's a much higher probability of getting some good shots of travis and the whole family.
    tuesday, november 17, 2009

    the tj chronicles 30
    another week went by, a week that i mostly got to spend at home, enjoying some quality time with travis. his development is awesome to see: he reacts to his name, he makes eye contact and keeps eye contact throughout the room, he initiates play, he gives kisses and what i find most adorable, he loves to laugh :-)
    as part of our live more healthily, we try to go on daily walk around the neighborhood, because it's also good to expose travis to the "great outdoors":

    on the scale earlier this week, weighing 21 lbs 13oz (9894gr), while on friday he weighed 21 lbs 15.5oz (9965gr):

    for some strange reason travis has taken to licking things, much like what cats do:

    but he is starting to enjoy bathtime; there is no more screaming and thrashing. he still doesn't like he fat rolls being scrubbed, but overall he enjoys the warm water … and his hands, of course:

    he is gnawing away at his hands as a way to assuage the teething pains. i can clearly feel the rims of the bottom teeth when he bites down on my finger or hand, but i understand the soothing effect it has:

    sitting up, although still supported, also goes better and better:

    in this picture you can clearly see the fat rolls i mentioned earlier:

    asleep on his tummy on the floor, lookit those fingers:



    arching his back is another feat travis has mastered and he uses it to roll from his tummy to his back:

    extreme close-ups of travis drinking his bottle of formula:


    on saturday we all went to sears to have our very first family portrait taken and these three thumbnails below are the three best and only of which we have selected to be printed (with soft focus and vignetting):



    i'm not gonna tell which one, because i still want it to be somewhat of a surprise to see the real deal in full size (because these thumbnails really pixellate when you enlarge them).
    the next two weeks i will not be able to spend much time with travis or the rest of the family, because i am spending a large portion of my time in cedar rapids. after that it's thanksgiving week, for which i will be home, but after that i'm going to be in cedar rapids all the way through to christmas. and speaking of how time flies, it really does, doesn't it? only 2 years ago i was still single, living in a nice bachelor apartment in downtown rotterdam, and now i am happily married, working and living in the usa (permanently legal now), stepfather to two teenagers and father to travis … who'd've thunk?!
    sunday, november 8, 2009

    the tj chronicles 29
    this week marked the beginning of a new era in the weird wirtz household … we're gonna live more healthily. this is mostly spurred by my health issues, issues that only started after i moved to the united states. my cholesterol count at the end of august was 277 (which was slightly down from a year ago, so those centrum cardio pills may actually work, a little). also, my triglyceride level was too high and there was also a concern about my blood sugar levels. in researching, denise found that a possible and probably very highly likely cause is high-fructose corn syrup, a sugar subsitute that is used in pretty much everything; just take a look at this list of foods and products that contains hfcs! high-fructose corn syrup is thought to be responsible, in part, for:

    this is interesting, because i have all of these symptoms and the even more interesting part is that, if anything, my lifestyle improved after i moved here. when i lived in europe, i traveled as much, if not more, ate in restaurants more and when i was home i didn't eat as healthy as i do now. the one thing that i did do, on a quasi regular basis, was play squash, something i have not done since i moved stateside. that said, i have found a fitness club that offers squash, so i will make an effort to play squash at least once a week, as my travel schedule allows, of course. next to that, my wonderful wife has taken it upon herself to shop more health conscious. with that, she is dropping all food items that have hfcs, making her own breads, making homemade pizza, stocking up on meats and chicken, making lunchables for the kids. on top of that, she has made laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and regular detergent. perhaps all this effort also has a positive effect on our budget (not that it needs to, but it's always nice to be able to tuck away a little more in savings :-) anyways, i had to steal a bit of travis' corner (but this change in our lives is quite significant and i'm sure it will benefit tj too!)
    so now we go back to this week's regular schedule: pictures of travis …
    … a glimpse:

    a focus on winnie the pooh:

    and a focus on the feet of the pooh onesie:

    travis asleep on the couch after his bottle:

    travis trying to pull my finger in his mouth, while simultaneously drinking milk:

    a hand:

    eye lashes:

    asleep in his crib:

    saturday was halloween, or all hallows' eve, or all saints' eve, so naturally the kids dressed up. campion went to a halloween party at a friend's house, but before he left i made him pose:

    pepper was a sheet ghost this year (she was a sushi roll last year, so this year she didn't want anything elaborate) and for travis we had a pumpkin onesie:


    despite the drizzle we did go out for trick-or-treating:

    the first stop on our walk around the neighborhood was the club house where travis was gaga'd over:

    and pepper blended in and out:

    we saw a ghost go up to several houses, only to disappear and then return with candy:

    coincidentally we ran into a former class mate of pepper, ariana:

    again this ghost:

    and again, getting creepier as it got darker:

    until the ghost was eerie and fleeting:

    upon returning home travis was both excited and tired from his first halloween, so right after his late supper we put him to bed, and he slept like a rose, an orange rose:

    and one last one for a good measure:

    sunday, november 1, 2009

    the tj chronicles 28
    tons of pictures, a lot less words …
    travis is getting the hang of eating off a spoon:

    and he is becoming more and more pleasant (if that was even possible *wink*):

    four days ago, weighing in at 21lbs 4.5oz (9653gr):

    travis is now understanding that there is nothing to fear when he gets a bath, so no more screeching, no more thrashing:

    as you probably have noticed, he is deeply in love with his hands:

    with a little support, travis can actually sit up by himself, sometimes for up to a minute, sometimes he falls over pretty much immediately:

    when being held, he does a lot better:

    travis' big sister trying to get travis to grab and hold on to miffy:

    eating again:

    love his tongue in this shot:

    apparently travis liked what he was eating, a lot:

    he has taken a liking to (trying to) grab his feet:

    sometimes it works out:

    sometimes he grabs both feet, sometimes he just chooses one:

    a couple of days later, on the scale again, this time weighing 21lbs 4oz (9638gr):

    in the bathtub, loving on his hands:

    see how he takes a hold of denise's arm?:

    dead focussed on his hands and fingers:

    travis likes being sung to and/or his arms being moved all about:

    you can tell, he lost a lot of his black baby hair and it is slowly coming back and a lot lighter. it's also harder to give him that baby curl:

    travis can haz intenz focuz:

    sometimes he looks, well, special:

    and no, the sock puppet didn't scare him at all, he was mesmerized by the sound, though:

    travis in a hawaiian outfit, size for 6 month olds, and yes, he has outgrown it every so slightly already:

    travis in another hawaiian outfit, size for 1 year olds, and this fits him much better. and he looks cool in it, too:

    sitting by himself, watching cartoons:

    travis is doing excellent, still only fussing when it comes time to eat, or when he has a lot of pee in his diaper. strangely enough, when he's sitting in a diaper full of (green) poop, he is happy as he can be, all smiles and giggles … since a couple of days he sleeps through the night completely, even if he gets to go to bed at around 10pm, so he is transitioning into sleeping a lot more during the night and being awake more during the day. denise is also adjusting his feeding schedule, so he gets more solid foods like rice cereal, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, supplemented with formula. growth-wise we have nothing to fear, other than maybe him being to "fat" so that our insurance can drop him because of a pre-existing condition: obesity! *rolls eyes* it is true, in america health insurance companies can actually refuse to insure a baby for being too fat. the usa really needs to join the civilized world by offering universal health care … but that's a rant for another day on another platform …
    sunday, october 25, 2009

    the tj chronicles 27
    i have not been home a lot last week, so all pictures are from yesterday.
    for lunch he had pureed bananas:

    and he loves the mess it makes:

    see, there's his "oooooooooh" face:

    after the solid food he gets topped off with formula:

    in the evening we went to the fair and because the temparature called for it (46F, 7C), we dressed him up in a winter outfit:

    at the fair, travis seemed just as excited as the other two kids:

    very alert, by way of all the lights and sounds at the fair:

    he was watching the pirate ship when denise and pepper went on it for a ride:

    and while he was enjoying the spectacle i was able to snap some pictures of him giggling and laughing:


    of course, all this excitement made him a very hungry boy:

    when we got back home we found that his feet, despite socks and shoes and two blankets wrapped around him, were ice cold, but it didn't seem to matter to him. we fed him a last bottle and put him down for the night and he fell asleep like a, well, baby …
    oh, en voor morgen, een hele fijne verjaardag (z)Us, groetjes en knuffels van ons allemaal :-)
    sunday, october 18, 2009

    the tj chronicles 26
    time flies, even when i'm not having fun, like: not being home much, not spending time with travis, but sitting in meetings and working all day and night, about 907 miles away. but, it makes being home all the better, espcially with the world's bestest baby waiting for me. as you will be able to tell from the following pictures :-)
    we started travis on solid feed last weekend and his first "dinner" was rice cereal:

    he likes the rice cereal, hence the big smile, while eating, and having his food all over his face:

    even looking a little sad and disappointed when the spoonful doesn't reach his mouth fast enough:

    travis is also getting closer to holding his own bottle, but for now he still pulls the bottle to his chest with both hands, though if we angle him just so in the couch he can actually pretty much feed himself:

    (i guess this makes us lazy parents *wink*)
    even when he is asleep, sorta, he will finish the bottle:

    he also seemed to like bananas:

    as demonstrated here with a big smile:

    although in this shot he looks distracted or aloof:

    and now he even looks angry (maybe a little milk added to the mix would have not made it so dry …):

    yesterday, travis got a bath again, and before cleaning him he was weighed and he has officially passed the 20lbs mark, as he hit 20lbs 1oz (9100gr):

    he has taking quite a liking to his own hands and even when he is getting a bath he is trying to squeeze a hand into his mouth:

    proof that he can almost sit up supporting himself:

    this is a shot for a friend of ours in hawaii (on oahu) and the onesie travis is wearing bears the state fish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa:

    he is growing fine and apart from the occassional hissy fit, he still is very pleasant and easy-going, which is best shown, and heard, when he laughs/giggles, which is quite frequently.
    sunday, october 11, 2009

    the tj chronicles 25
    so yeah, life has been pretty hectic for the last 2 weeks, so hence the lack of updates of late. and the hecticness/hecticicity ain't over, yet … i will be posting a new scheduling agenda after this one. last time i posted, i dropped off my parents at the airport while simultaneously traveling to cedar rapids for the week. i came back on friday and within 2 hours we left to drop off pepper for a weekend vegetation with her dad. the next day i picked up aunt lauri from the airport; she'd be staying for a week and i would be home for most of the week as well (only 1 client visit, on monday, in downtown atlanta). on sunday me and aunt lauri took the drive to south pittsburg to pick up pepper again. denise stayed home, because she put her back out earlier in the week and i didn't want her to be constricted in the car seat. of course, travis took to aunt lauri straight away, although i do have the impression he is liking mommy (denise) the best. alright, on to the good stuff, the pictures.
    on saturday we weighed travis before his bath and he was about 19lbs (8618gr) but still not liking the process:

    in the bath, after his hair is washed he is actually liking it:

    and here's a tender moment between mom, pseudo-grandma and travis:

    after his bath aunt lauri fed him his late night bottle:


    a couple of days later, a day before his pediatrician appointment, travis got weighed again, this time an accurate reading of 18lbs 15oz (8590gr) - at the pediatrician he came in at 18lbs 16oz (8619gr):

    making faces in the bathtub:

    afterwards he went from pleasant …

    … to "unpleasant" …

    … and back in seconds, but some of the faces he makes are just priceless. giggling on momma's chest:

    sticking out his tongue:

    on tuesday we let travis sleep in (in our bed) and he looked so content and at peace:


    on thursday we all went to colonel poole's bbq in east ellijay in the appalachian foothills, where they have a pig hill of fame:

    this is almost the full thing as pointed out by pepper:

    we know travis is teething, he has been "frothing at the mouth" for a while now, but, according to denise, him trying to chew on her chin is a clear sign:

    we must find a teething ring
    … other than that, travis is doing well, growing like cabbage, comfortably in the 95th percentile in weight, length and head circumference. and he still is a charm!
    friday, october 2, 2009

    the tj chronicles 24
    a day after the begin of fall and what a begin it was. my parents arrived back at our place after their tour across the southeast of the usa. during their 2 week, 2400 mile driving tour they did not have much rain, just the occassional shower. but when they came back they evidently brought the rain, because it would be raining pretty much non-stop for the next 6 days. we had plans to visit downtown atlanta, stone mountain park, fox theater, the pool and whatnot, but only on thursday my parents and me ventured downtown atlanta. when we left cumming the sky was overcast, but it was dry and the weather forecast called for 50% chance on precipitation. when we came above ground after the marta ride to peachtree center we noticed it rained. and quite hard as well. looking at the skyline we saw that the tops of most skyscrapers were disappearing into the clouds. nevertheless we made our way to the westin observation deck on the 72nd floor (for free on account of the bad weather) and yes, we couldn't see much at all. we only saw bits and pieces of the surrounding area when the wind blew the clouds apart. still, we walk around peachtree center, did a tour of the cnn center and we walked through underground atlanta and ended our walkaround at the state capitol. after that we went home again, in the rain. our plans to go to the fox theater and stone mountain on saturday fell through. of course there was an upside to all this is well, because it meant that my parents could really maximize their time with their grandson.
    on sunday last week, travis weighed in at 16lbs and 15.5oz (7697gr):

    after that shower he was in an extremely good mood, so i managed to capture him smiling and in full laugh:


    after all that he crashed and slept like a rose in his play pen:

    when oma was back, she pretty much monopolized travis and he did not mind it in the least; he took quite a liking to her, being comfortable to be fed by her, smiling, giggling and laughing at her and sleeping in her arms:




    on saturday evening, before his bath, he got weighed again and the inaccurate reading said 17lbs and 12.5oz (8065gr):

    travis did not particularly like this bath, so he cried through most of it, even after his big sister made him a mohawk:

    mom and oma tried to make him feel better, but he could just not be consoled:

    then, while getting his bottle he relaxed again:




    on sunday morning pepper and campion made us a french toast breakfast:

    for dinner, my parents treated us to asian cuisine at pacific spice:



    yesterday, came the dreaded day for goodbyes. my parents were to fly back home and i had to leave for cedar rapids again. because of the rain and the subsequent floods we left a little earlier than i would normally had left, just to be sure we made it to the airport in time. that we did. and my parents' flight actually left on time, but my flight got delayed for more than 3 hours, which in turn led me to be stranded in minneapolis. the hassles of getting the second leg of the trip re-booked, getting my bag pulled from a luggage hold, waiting for the bag to come to bag claim and the relatively hassle free calls to get a discounted hotel room are all part of the joys of travel, i guess … but at least i was able to get to a hotel, with my stuff, so i could charge anything that needed to be charged (phones and laptop) and even i got to be a little bit re-charged by a nice shower. (sometimes it's the little things in life that matter most.) and of course, after we left, the wonderful usps delivered travis' passport:

    in the next few weeks i will start the process of getting him a dutch passport as well, so that by the time he turns 18 he can make the decision to be either a dutch or a us citizen. it is weird, travis, having to leave you and then be stranded. i wish i could stay home all the time so i could be near you every minute, because every minute i am away from you is automatically not my best minute. it doesn't really matter that you are in the more than capable care of your mother; it's just that i don't like not being with you. who'd've thunk that i'd care so much. that makes you a lucky little man, travis, because you are surrounded by people who adore you.
    tuesday, september 22, 2009

    the tj chronicles 23
    it's been quite a week and a half. on the day of my previous post i started feeling pretty bad and i was quite under the weather till sunday with very weird symptoms: muscle ache, joint ache, headache and exhaustion. on friday my sister and her husband, ursula & harm, arrived in atlanta to stay with us for a couple of days before they would go on their driving trip in the west of the usa (las vegas, hoover dam, grand canyon, zion, bryce canyon, antelope canyon, las vegas, death valley (?), sequoia, yosemite, san francisco, pacific coast highway, los angeles, las vegas). of course they were very curious about travis too … so i took a few picture of them …
    the first four are shots of right after they arrived at our house:




    on saturday we went to the north georgia premium outlets to do some discount shopping, mostly for harm's benefit, because you can see from the pictures he has lost considerable weight, so he doesn't fit any of his clothes anymore. brands like polo, hilfiger, boss and quicksilver are about 50% to 66% cheaper here than they are in holland! this is a shot of travis and his mom patiently waiting outside of the tommy pull-my-finger store:

    my sister trying to persuade travis to smile because she really is not a stranger:

    and this is travis looking his smartest, NOT!:

    on saturday night (and sunday night) ursula and harm decided to forego our comfortable eddie bauer inflatable queen bed and stay at a hyatt place near the north point mall. my sister has trouble sleeping and she's had that for a long time and the conditions in our house are not very conducive to getting a good night's rest if you have trouble sleeping. while they were doing some more shopping at the mall i took a picture of travis comfortably asleep in our bed:

    later that day ursula fed travis his bottle and i think the next 3 pictures tell a story:



    on monday morning i drove ursula and harm to the airport for their flight to las vegas and i left for cedar rapids at the asscrack of dawn on tuesday. the three days at the client were quite grueling, but i survived and i was happy to be back home on friday afternoon. the next two pictures i took later that afternoon when travis was asleep in his playpen:


    today we didn't do much, i slept in, denise didn't feel right for the most part. tomorrow we'll all go get our haircuts, except travis, because he finally is losing some hair, so now he has a few bald spots on his head. next week is going to be exciting and fun. my parents are returning on tuesday from their drive around the southeast of the usa (charleston, savannah, tallahassee, panama city, new orleans, natchez, memphis, nashville, chattanooga, galtinburg) and i know they are already looking forward to staying with us for a week. i have a couple of days off so i can actually spend some time with them and i'm sure we'll venture out and explore things around where we live.
    saturday, september 12, 2009

    the tj chronicles 22
    it is here, finally, my "green" card:

    and it indeed is not green, but what's in a name anyway?! before the expiry date i still have to jump through a few hoops to get it extended and i have not yet looked at the requirements, but in another half year or so i will get those ducks in a row. on saturday my parents arrived in atlanta for their 3 week vacation. i picked them up from the airport and drove them to our house where they would stay for two nights before embarking on a long but very interesting drive through the southeast of the usa. it goes without saying that they were extremely excited to see travis and i hope the photos below convey my parents' pride.
    at the kitchen table drinking, talking and watching travis eat:

    mom giving travis the bottle:


    as a birthday present we gave my dad a bootleg dvd, cocksucker blues:

    travis still eating/drinking:


    after a change of clothes travis was all smiles and giggles:

    the next day travis was very pleasant again:

    it is really cool to see how he is reacting to facial expressions:

    and when he laughs, the whole world smiles:

    on sunday evening my dad also got to hold travis. he was quite apprehensive about it, because he has a shoulder injury, but i think he was more nervous than anything:

    travis has no difficulty showing off his "sixpack":

    both my parents and travis:


    on monday morning i drove my parents to the car rental place in dunwoody, made sure my dad understood the technical stuff of the car and showed them the way to get to 85N in order for them to set course to athens, augusta and first destination charleston. the rest of their trip takes them to savannah, tallahassee, panama city, new orleans, natchez, memphis, nashville, chattanooga, gatlinburg and after all that they are coming back to our place to stay for another week. and this friday my sister and her husband are arriving in atlanta and staying for the weekend, before they start their 2.5 week vacation in the west of the usa. so travis gets to see his auntie and uncle and later on his grandparents again. and later on this month, or else early next month, denise's aunt is coming down from vermont to spend some time with all of us.
    wednesday, september 2, 2009

    the tj chronicles 21
    first of all, denise and i had our interview at ins (department of state, immigration and naturalization services) earlier this week and i was told to expect a green card in the mail by the end of this week :-)
    the interview itself was kind of a farce. first of all, the woman who interviewed us had a very, very thick african accent, something which caused denise to ask her to repeat a question, two times. then, we learnt that the interviewer thought that denise was rene. we get that a lot, i am dennis and my wife is rene … *rolls eyes* but, the end justifies the means *grin*
    and now, without further ado, pictures of young travis.
    the first three are pictures of travis in three different singlets made by the mother of an ozzie friend of ours, patty:



    denise made them a collage that we will have printed and then sent to his mother.
    The story behind these Wizard of Oz shots is directly attributable to patty, beruthiel, and … interestingly, Pat's mom. The singlets that Travis is wearing in these shots were made by Pat's mom…and Rene & I were beyond touched by such sweet generosity -unfettered by the thousands of miles and undivided despite continents and hemispheres. Ele & Pat made a beautiful card with the main face decorated with what is unmistakably signature Patty's art (and we're still trying to pick apart the symbolism within that artwork). Ele has not only a brilliant and beautiful mind, but remarkable penmanship…and while I also deeply admire Pat's likewise amazing mind - his penmanship is…well, I'll just say it was challenging to read. In any case, this is what we put together for them - and while I'm posting this here, my plan is to print each segment of this triptych and the compilation onto quality photo paper as a gift to Pat's mom. I know this isn't going to be a “surprise” like their gifts to us -- but it's done with all the love in the world…from all of us here.

    mother and child asleep:

    i just adore how travis puts his little fist on the chest he is laying on:

    when we gave him his bath yesterday i was finally able to catch travis in a full smile:

    a photo taken with flash to show his eyes are still (very) blue:

    and here's a few close-ups:



    travis on the scale and as of saturday august 21, approx 10pm est, he weighs 15lbs 1oz (6832gr):

    a shot of denise cleaning travis' ear:

    travis sporting his boxing face, yeah, he is tough alright:

    today i was able to finally to shoot a series of shots where travis smiles:




    one more week and then opa and oma are going to be visiting us. and i just talked to my mom and i get the impression she is kinda excited, sorta … 7 more nights :-)
    sunday, august 23, 2009

    the tj chronicles 20
    almost another week's gone by, so here are some more photos of an everchanging travis. i'm pretty sure he grows on a daily basis, getting more focus with his eyesight, getting heavier, gaining control of his muscles and i was glad to spend this whole week not traveling so i could actually bear witness to the changes.
    this is travis, calmly asleep in his crib:

    and the following is pretty much the same shot, but then in black&white:

    friends of ours in san antonio sent us a portable play pen and so far he likes it:

    we think that wherever he falls asleep he is content:

    last night denise gave travis a bath again and this time he weighed in at 13lbs 14oz (6293gr):

    during the bath he gets better and better, very little fussing and crying:

    i believe he is starting to enjoy getting baths:

    of course, the transition from warm water to cool air still doesn't sit right with him, but once he's curled up inside a hooded towel he's enjoying life again. also in this picture you can see his eyes are still bright blue, but sometimes it also looks like they are turning green:

    taken earlier today when he was sitting in his swing:

    i tried to get him to smile, but everytime he smiled and i pulled up my camera, the smile was gone. yeah, he definitely got that from his mother! and he has such a wonderful smile, his entire face smiles, but i will persist, i will get a (series of) picture(s) of him smiling like there is no tomorrow:

    as you can see from below agenda, the next two weeks i will be away from home, but at least i got family visits to look forward to at the end of the month and the next month.
    saturday, august 15, 2009

    the tj chronicles 19
    after a tough couple of days at my client in cedar rapids i came back home late thursday night to start my long weekend as a single parent. denise had her year 2 residency at the airport renaissance hotel for three grueling long days leaving me to take care of baby travis and bigger babies pepper and campion.
    i hoped that i would have time to wait around for travis to smile and on friday i came really close to one:

    but his smile disappeared quickly to be replaced by him sobbing and/or pouting:

    on saturday we went to the pool. in hindsight it may not have been the best of ideas, because it was sweltering hot (96F - 35.5C) and there is no shade to be found anywhere around the pool. so, this is travis lying in his stroller sweating profusely:

    but, it has to be said: he not once fussed or cried! campion also came to the pool and he brought his guitar to entertain (or annoy, even though we didn't get complaints) himself and others:

    pepper wanted to show me that she can swim, and she can, but she spent more time on the waterslide than doing actual swimming:

    this is her coming out of the pool after sliding in face down and feet and first:

    (love the fact that i captured the drops of water splashing off her hair!)
    i am a big fan of reflections, that is not a secret to anyone, so when i saw that pepper's shades were reflective i couldn't resist the urge … and she even let me get that close with a camera, only to be disappointed to find out she can't see her eyes:

    ultimately, campion joined his sister in the water, so i was able to snap this shot of our 3 kids, chillaxin' at the pool:

    i'm not sure why campion is showing disapproval here:

    here's the two oldest babies:

    after we got back from the pool, travis' onesie was pretty much soaked from all the sweating, so i laid him on the giddy-up-and-go to let the airco cool him off. then i brought him over to the couch to change his onesie and diaper. after i put his new diaper on i let him cool off a little more, so here's nekkid baby:

    after denise got back on sunday she picked up travis, laid him on her legs and lo and behold, he smiled, big, and i managed to miss most of it:

    (the bastard … did i mention already that he is grounded for, like, the first 25 years of his life? *wink*)
    travis calmly falling asleep in denise's arms:

    everyone survived this weekend, nobody got really upset about anything, so i guess that's a good thing. next year's residency will be harder, because then denise is going to be gone for a week and a day … but maybe we'll turn that into a mini vacation.
    sunday, august 9, 2009

    the tj chronicles 18
    even though i am not home i was clever enough to take with me some pictures i took over the weekend. it was a very short weekend at home so there's not much to tell or share other than that travis is doing pretty good overall. still a happy baby, unless he wants, needs, to eat or has a full diaper. since now we know he smiles, it has become my goal to get as many pictures of him smiling … of course, he takes after denise *grumble*mutter*grumble* the second there is a camera around.
    so this shot is of him where i thought he was going to smile:

    and he almost did, but not quite:

    and this one is actually pretty close, but not as good as the one in my previous blog post:

    on saturday evening travis got a bath again, and as is customary, we weighed him and as you can see he is now 11lbs and 15.5oz (5429gr):

    during his bath he is quieter, he is getting used to the sensation of warm water:

    but he still does not like the transition from warm water to cool air:

    once he's dried, diapered and dressed he is all smiles again:

    although once he needs to get a fart out, his demeanor changes, if only for the shortest moment:

    once the fart is out, all is right as rain again:

    this is it for now … more this weekend, hopefully. by the way, this weekend will be interesting, because i will be a single dad: denise has her second year residency from friday to sunday, so i shall be taking care of travis all by myself, assisted by my lovely assistants campion and pepper, i'm sure.
    tuesday, august 4, 2009

    the tj chronicles 17
    i'll start with some pictures.
    travis lying on the couch with that freaky binky in his mouth:

    an exercise in focus:

    and i don't know whether i like the color version or the b/w version better:

    and here's travis' feet in jazztoes:

    of course, after all that lying around and eating and farting and pooping and peeing, he's gonna be wiped out:

    since he is starting to really smile from time to time i am wanting to capture his smile, but those smiles go across his face so fast it's still near impossible to catch. this is the start of one:

    and this is an almost smile:

    but he really smiles with his whole face. and once we know what we can do to make him smile and to make him keep the smile, you will see pictures of it, believe you me. as of today we're a complete family again. yes, pepper is back from vegetation, woohoo. so today, travis took his first long car trip, a total of 7 hours in the car and really only when we were within 10 minutes from home he started to really fuss. other than that, he was happy just snoozing and watching the landscape go by. and he still remembers pepper, even though they only spent 2 weeks together before she had to go to her dad's for 6 week. of course, she was excited to see travis and she immediately wanted to feed him, but she had to wait till we got home.
    but once we were home she got to bottle feed travis:

    yes, denise made the switch to formula. the pain while breastfeeding from her left breast was too much. the other factors were that the blocked milk duct wasn't going away, even with antiobiotics, and even if the antibiotics would have worked, it would not have been a guarantee for it not to happen again. she at least breastfed travis for 8 weeks so he got pretty much all the antibodies he needs, so now we continue with formula. which means that i get to feed him as well :-)
    and travis is still doing fine: eating well, sleeping well (still gotta work some more on his days and nights) and growing well. he actually passed the magic 10lbs mark! and to prove this we gave travis a bath and the first thing denise always does, is strip him to nekkid bebeh and then put him on the scale.

    after that he got his bath, during which he still cries when his hair gets washed, he fusses when his body gets washed and then cries when he gets taken out of the water he is finally getting comfortable in, but after getting dried and powdered and baby oiled and diapered and dressed,he is content again:

    travis and his alien binky:

    priceless:

    also priceless:

    a close-up of travis eating/drinking and his awesome ("awesome, A S O M E, awesome") hair:

    denise thought that after getting a nice bath and a fresh diaper and some food he'd be happy and smiling, but it still needed her playing some tricks on him to get him to laugh, but the first one i captured is gold:

    in this one he's not so sure anymore:

    i love that he looks at me straight through the camera lense, and i adore that you can see the sarcasm in his expression already:

    in closing, a ga ga shot:

    figured it had been a while since the last time i posted and it's probably gonna be a while before the next one i can post, because, sadly, i leave on monday afternoon for a trip to two clients, one in san antonio for one day and one in lakeland (close to tampa) for three days, having me back home late friday night.
    saturday, july 25, 2009

    the tj chronicles 16
    it still is a strange thing, traveling for work, and therefore not being able to see, smell, feel and hear travis. when i'm gone i also can't take pictures of him. as it so happened, i went one full week without taking a picture of him, which is a nice reprieve for him and denise ;-) but yesterday and today i took quite a few shots, partly to make up for lost time and partly because he is becoming more and more expressive and i want to capture all those changes. health-wise everything seems to be going well for him: he's eating good, gaining weight (slowly but surely), he's sleeping pretty good (although still better during the day than at night) and he is very active in working his back and neck muscles (he can arch his back and neck for a full minute … before flopping around like a fish on dry land). denise has run into some bad luck, though, with a blocked milk duct in her left breast, which makes breastfeeding excruciatingly painful. and so far the solutions (hot baths, ibuprofen and continued breastfeeding) do not seem to help in alleviating the pain or removing the clogged milk from her breast. not sure what we (although it's really denise's decision) are going to do about it: continue breastfeeding or switch to formula?!
    anyways, here's the united expressions of travis … sound asleep in his crib:

    still asleep, but from another angle:

    looking quite paranoid:

    travis during baby-robics:

    his elvis presley face:

    we call this the bill engvall:

    gimme gimme gimme some food, woman …:

    … or else i'll just chew on my arm:

    a burp's gonna come:

    his o-face:

    "i am so tired i could sleep … oh wait":

    still waiting for blue steel, though … all day long i tried to get a few snaps of travis smiling, but i wasn't successful, obviously, because otherwise you would have seen a smiling travis right here. i promise i will try again tomorrow and later in the week when i'm back from cedar rapids.
    sunday, july 19, 2009

    the tj chronicles 15
    on travis' front there really is not much to say, other than more of the same. he is finally growing, both in length and in weight, he still isn't crying much, but he still has trouble going to sleep at night, although he is getting better at it. or, we are getting better at spacing out his meals and naps, so that come bedtime he can sleep for a good 4 hours :-) so without further ado, i give you pictures that you cannot resist because of its staggering amounts of awesomeness :P
    earlier this week, i was letting travis fall asleep on my chest and the cutest cat in all of atlanta decided to join us:

    on thursday night travis got a bath again. this is travis right after denise placed him on the couch to take off his onesie and diaper. you can tell he has his doubts:

    this is where denise unbottened the onesie and where he shows mixed emotions; he likes getting nekkid, he does not like his bottom cleaned:

    undoing his diaper, which was very shitty this time around:

    once the diaper is off and his butt cheeks and crack are cleaned he is a bit happier, although he still fears the cold wipes:

    all clean, although, since he doesn't get a new diaper, he looks kinda paranoid:

    he doesn't like the bath much; he likes the warm water, but once the warmness of the water has dissipated the cool air touches his skin and that does not sit well with him:

    all dried up, diapered, clothed and pacifiered everything is right with the world again:

    he's something, that boy of ours! we know he recognizes faces and voices now. when pepper calls, to tell us that she would rather be home because she misses travis, and we hold the phone to his ear and she calls his name he stops what he's doing and first listens intently, then looks around for her. it quite amazing! he's also already very strong. sometimes when denise changes his diaper i tell him to squeeze my finger and when he does his grip is strong like a vice. unfortunately (for denise, campion and pepper) he also holds on to hair like that *grin* yes, travis is quite the little boy :-)
    friday, july 10, 2009

    the tj chronicles 14
    wednesday we had red beans and rice for dinner and as you may or may not know, beans are good for gas. and poor travis got quite a whiff of it, too, because all of thursday he was crying and fussing and screaming, even up to a point of screeching. his poor tummy had a hard time digesting the red beans and rice he ate through proxy of denise's breast milk. but by friday afternoon things were already much better and he returned to his normal, relaxed self.
    on that thursday campion was brave enough to try and console his little brother by giving travis a supplemental bottle:

    and in between eating and crying there were a few moments where he was quiet and still:

    so friday was our usual day for shopping and by noon our family was reduced to just three people, because campion headed to spend a day with a friend of his in a cabin on the chattahoochee river. denise and me just vegged out and watched a movie in the evening, white oleander, which i had never seen before. good movie, and even though the cast is almost all female, it is not a chick flick. definite recommended viewing! yesterday, saturday, was independence day and what do you know, i happened to shoot the red, white and blue:

    and this is our stud muffin wearing a pacifier he got from his opa and oma (and it's my favorite binkie):

    in the evening we watched boogie nights, a movie denise hadn't yet seen, and it was fun seeing the dress anomalies of the late 70s and the early 80s together with a soundtrack filled with "wrong" music. and just like the night before, travis slept from his last feeding till past 4am, so we're slowly getting him to the point of sleeping longer at night. this will give us some much needed reprieve, too. got up at a decent hour today, early enough to catch almost all of the wimbledon final and after that the day just babbled on. when travis was asleep on his giddy up and go i took a few pictures.
    at total peace with himself and his surroundings:

    sly product placement:

    after dinner it was time for travis' bath and for the first time he was actually not squirming like a madman when denise put him on the scale, so we were able to get a good reading:

    yes! he's 8lbs 6.5oz (3813gr). after his bath travis felt frisky and ballsy, so he showed us how he felt:

    after which he made a dramatic face, like he was going to tell us something very very important, and he was only going to say it once:

    after denise dried him, diapered him and combed his hair, with a part on the side, i just had to climb a chair and shoot it:

    with that said and done, we're gonna end our sunday by watching a movie … think i'm gonna pop in the illusionist, so watch for a review (or at least a thumbs up or thumbs down) later this week. i said in wednesday's blog that i'd post my agenda, but i had a hard time establishing firm dates, because of the fact that friday was a day off for a lot of people, so now i will (hopefully) publish my new agenda tomorrow. and it's a tough one, so you consider yourself forewarned!
    sunday, july 5, 2009

    the tj chronicles 13
    since i am home this week, and probably next week too, i can actually do a mid-week update :-)
    but there's not a whole lot to say, so i'll just get down to brass tacks, the pictures *grin*
    travis checking out his own pictures on facebook:

    safe in the arms of mommie:

    a slightly censored version of one of travis' more well-filled-out diapers:

    a total fail in technical photographic terms, but one of my personal favorites:

    his little and yet slender fingers:

    travis in his typical position, ass in the air, like he just don't care:

    a thoughtful moment:

    his tiny toes:

    and another shot of his tiny toes (because i know that denise wants to eat his toes *omnomnomnom*):

    travis showing off his most pathetic sad litte face, while getting a bath:

    right after being taken out of the bathtub and wrapped in a towel it still takes a few moments to calm down:

    in other news, i received an invitation for initial interview for my green card application. the word initial kinda has me worried, because how many interviews will there be and how incredibly redundant are they going to be and how much of my time, and denise's since she has to be there, too, is it going to waste? but, i have 6 weeks to prepare for it, so that gives me plenty of times to find out what denise's favorite color is ;-) more news tomorrow, but then strictly related to my travels …
    wednesday, july 1, 2009

    the tj chronicles 12
    another week has passed and it seems that time just flies, whether i am at home or whether i am away on business.
    on sunday evening i took another couple of shots of travis (currently i have about 550 pictures of him!)
    comfortably asleep in denise's lap:

    sucking on the hospital pacifier, so far the only one he wants to suck on:

    "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK." - travis "bickle" wirtz:

    did i mention already that i love my new prime lense?


    monday afternoon i left for a long stint in cedar rapids and this time, i drove myself to the marta station in the pt cruiser. it was the weirdest thing, to pull out of the driveway and leave my beloved wife and our much loved baby boy behind … i'm sure it will get easier over time … it has to … my working week in cedar rapids was full.
    this week was pilot week, where the core team had to be trained and then perform a series of tests to see if they could do anything they currently do in their job (in different pieces of software) and if anything performs exactly the way they are expecting it. i spent most of tuesday between troubleshooting issues with the database, while my colleague was training his segment of people, and writing a 45 page training manual i would be using on my training session on wednesday. oh, and prepping the database with a number of leases that were not yet finished. my wednesday was pretty much a disaster. not because of me or my training material, but because of all sorts of technical issues.
    the first thing i had to deal with was to stall time, so that their IT people could install a service pack. i needed this service pack, because otherwise my training would fail right there and then. i started at 9am with some other things first. at 10am the install would be ready, so i planned a 30 minute bio break at 10am. of course, at 10 it wasn't done, so my colleague came to the basement training room to do a dog and pony show for about 30 minutes at 10.30am, because they told us the install would be ready at 11am. at 11am it still didn't work, so we decided to go an alternate route and give everyone in the training room access to our sales database. no sooner i had started creating user logins, both client databases went offline, meaning they were actually doing something to it. so i paused for a moment and then word came that the service pack was applied. and lo and behold, it worked. so after more than a 1 hour long break i was able to continue my schpiel. everything went fine till lunch.
    during the lunch break i did some other quick checks to see if the database was working as i hoped it would. and it did. but then i looked over my shoulder at the projector screen, only to see a large dark blob in the middle. and i smelled a funny smell: the projector bulb was burning out. when i mentioned this to the client's project coordinator she started grinding her teeth. apparently, their facilities group doesn't keep a projector bulb in stock, and that it would took an act of congress to get one replaced within the lunch period. she logged a call and indeed they did not have a replacement bulb, which meant that she would get another projector to use. not a problem, you think?
    but there was, because the video cable was not nearly long enough to reach from my presenter desktop machine to the location where the projector needed to be positioned. fine, i would use her laptop instead of the desktop to do my training from, but then we found that the network cable didn't reach all the way over to where we could position the laptop. great. she went out and found a longer network cable, so we hooked everything up, only to find out that for some bizarre reason her laptop refused to display her screen onto the projector. bizarre, because she uses that combination of laptop and projector almost on a daily basis without any issues. fantastic.
    so, we decided to use one of the trainee desktops as a last resort to keep going and finally i was able to project my screen onto the projector. of course there had to be a downside and that was tha because i was using the monitor port on that desktop machine, i could not see what i was projecting right in front of me on the computer screen, so i had to turn my head from the projector screen to my audience. and oh yeah, my audience was a very diverse group of over 20 people. and oh yeah, did i mention the training room being in the basement? with no windows? with a very noisy airconditioning unit that really couldn't handle the heat that all these people were generating? yet, i pulled it off and i received more than one compliment for being able to dance around all the issues of that day. but let me tell you, it totally drained me. and i was already operating on 6 hours of sleep after a 14 hour working day, after a night of only 5 hours of sleep, because my flight from atlanta was delayed with 3 hours, meaning i only got to the hotel at 1am.
    suffice to say that on thursday i woke up with a killer headache. i tried to stave it off with drinking coffee, because usually caffeine gets rid of my headaches, but not this one. luckily, i only had to do a half day in the training room and i only spent 30 minutes going over the test scripts and then my trainees had to perform the things they need to do. i was there to field any questions. i was happy that everyone in the room had at least 1 question and afterwards i heard how great they thought it was for them to finally log on and see their own data. and they were liking what they saw, so even though, these days felt like a failure, they may turn out to be really good. to hear that was a huge relief. on thursday afternoon i finished the training manual, because it was missing some key screenshots.
    my colleague and i left on a decent time as well, because i wanted to go to a balloon glow event on the brucemore estate close to downtown cedar rapids. we went out to dinner at an italian restaurant a little ways down the road from our hotel and it is very likely we'd be returning there: good food, very reasonable prices. i went to the balloon glow thing by myself and i must say that it may very well be the best $1 i have ever spent. i ended up shooting 882 pictures, 882 saved pictures that is!
    friday turned out to be a very relaxed day. in the am we worked at the office, tying up some loose ends, planning for the near future, etc. at noon i drove my colleague to the airport and since our client is on a summer schedule, letting out at 1pm, i did not go back to the office, but instead went on a shooting spree again. i drove through the corn fields to the amana colonies, then back through the corn fields back to downtown cedar rapids, where i roamed about for about 45 minutes before heading back to the hotel. when i got back to the hotel, to my surprise, i found there was a chevy nova convention, so i hung out there for almost an hour, took 80 pictures of some of the coolest nova models i have seen, before retiring to the hotel lounge. there i drank a couple of beers, downloaded my pictures, had dinner, and just fiddlefarted on the computer till it was time to go to bed. and i had planned to go to bed early, since i had to get up at 3.45am to catch my 5.30am flight home. of course i didn't really go to sleep till after 11pm, so i was glad i actually woke up at the alarm.
    the flight home was uneventful and we actually arrived 30 minutes before eta, so i actually made it home just a little after 10am. which was great, because i had missed travis more than i thought i would. i spent the rest of the day more or less snuggling with travis, which was glorious! we had a late dinner, just the two of us, because campion first hung out at a friend's pool and then at a school play, which meant i had to let him drive to the pool first then pick him up to let him drive to school. at dinner time i took a couple of pictures of travis that shed a different light on our perfect baby :P
    whenever he is hungry or when he has a dirty diaper, he can get pretty stroppy :D
    this is him after he went from a smile to a yawn to crying:
    this is his lower lip quiver, which i'm sure is purposefully designed to be so damned adorable that all you want to do is pick him up to console him:

    and this is him opening his eyes mid-cry to see what is taking the mommy and daddy so long to pick him to tend to him:

    pretty irresistable *LOL*
    on sunday i was actually able to sleep in and boy did i ever need to sleep; i remember barely being able to say goodnight to denise when we got in bed; i just slipped into a very comfortable coma the minute my head hit the pillow. my parents called me in the beginning of our afternoon (the beginning of their evening) and while i was on the phone, sadie braved the odds and climbed into denise's lap while travis was in her arms:

    she's the cat that is not afraid of this new crying, smelling, small new humanoid in the house. lily is still very careful about being around travis, avoiding him pretty much. sadie is more comfortable around him. which is fine, just as long as neither of them become aggressive around him. but i'm sure they won't, because both cats just have too sweet a personality. and for now, i'm gonna take it easy the rest of this sunday, only going to post-process the 80 shots from the nova convention to burn those to a disc to send them to the organizers. other than that, restfull bliss :-)
    sunday, june 28, 2009

    the tj chronicles 11
    happy solstice!
    it's been a week since my last update and since i have started traveling for my work again the updates are likely going to be weekly. it was very weird going back to work again, after spending so much time at home, with travis. i spent time with the others, too, but tj kept us pretty much occupied, because he is still struggling with day and night. monday was an especially hectic day, because campion had to be driven to summer school, travis had an appointment with the pediatrician and pepper had an appointment with the orthodontist. all pretty much at the same time. denise drove campion to school in the mazda to go to the doctor after that and i took pepper to her dentist in the pt cruiser. when we were done there i asked for a few more bags of elastic bands for her braces, since later that day she was going on vegetation with her dad for six weeks. around noon i left for south pittsburg, tennessee in the mazda, alone with pepper. (i had transferred the car seat into the pt, so denise could pick up campion from summer school.) it was an odd ride, just the two of us, but it was kinda cool. we talked, a couple of times we sang along with the radio and we had a few discussions on a range of topics. we arrived at the drop-off/pick-up point about 20 minutes before the scheduled time, so we had to wait. when her dad arrived, pepper actually reluctantly got out of the car and i could see she was dragging her feet. she was unsure if she wanted to go on visitation or not, moreover since she likes hanging out with travis and i think the thought of not seeing him for 6 weeks was not something she was looking forward to. but, she knows that her dad loves her and that he wants to spend time with her as well. i rolled her suitcase over to his car and asked if he could please make sure to have pepper brush and floss her teeth twice a day and he mumbled what sounded like yeah while not directly looking at me. because i rolled the bag over, pepper and i didn't have a chance to say our goodbyes and we found out later that she was bothered by that. but she shouldn't be, because i will not hold it against her. i know her dad makes her uncomfortable showing any kind of affection towards me, because he has repeatedly told her that "i am not her dad". thing is, i never claimed to be her dad, nor will i ever. but someday soon he will have to deal with her reaction to him stifling her and then he has nobody to blame but himself … the ride home was kinda lonely, but at least gave me a chance to test out the car and its stereo *grin*
    the rest of the monday was quiet. on tuesday i worked from home and prepared for my travel to cedar rapids.
    in the afternoon denise took a nap and that is when i snapped the following shot:

    at 5pm we left for the airport. i know i could use the pt as my airport car, but i wanted to maximize the time i had with denise and travis, so i drove myself to the airport. saying goodbye was a lot harder than i thought it would be and i actually kinda rushed it, because i got the feeling that if it would take too long i might have been tempted to get back in the car and go home again. i didn't, so i got on my plane to cedar rapids to spend the next two days on-site with my client. missing travis. meh. at least i was "distracted" enough not to break down. next week is going to be much harder, because i will be gone for 4 full days and on top of that i am going to be busy as hell. perhaps that is a good thing …

    of course, he loves the motion, so he was very comfortable and very asleep for all of the two rounds we made:

    saturday was a pretty uneventful day. we slept in (me more than denise, because i slipped into a coma almost the second i hit the bed) and pretty much just lounged around. in the afternoon i let campion drive himself to yet another girlfriend he'd be accompanying to get her pierced somewhere. for him it was a fact-finding mission, because his birthday present consisted of getting him a navel piercing *rolls eyes*
    when i got back, denise was taking a nap on the couch, which give me a chance to play around with my 50mm lens some more:

    after dinner i went a little up the road to take pictures of hay bales in the field next to the road that leads to our subdivision. i saw them when campion and i drove by earlier and i had never seen that so close. i parked my car in someone's driveway and not minutes after i walked into the field a bit i was approached by redneck #1. he told me that i was free to roam the field if i wanted to, but clearly he was just checking me out. a little later, redneck #2 wandered over from out of the house across the street. that actually turned into a nice conversation, because he is an artist of sorts (a sculptor designer for large installations) and all he really wanted to do was warn me about the location where i had parked my car i got some good shots of the bales of hay and after that i returned home and vegged out for the remainder of the evening.
    next to being the official beginning of summer today is also father's day and i received no less than 3 father's day cards. that warmed my heart. and i still have got to get used to being a father, since now i really am one … it still is weird to me. anyway, enough rambling for now, i'm gonna see if i can spend some quality time with my wife and my son (the other son has left for one his friends, so it is just the three of us this afternoon).
    sunday, june 21, 2009

    the tj chronicles 10
    everything is progressing as it should, even though not as fast as i would like. travis still has night and day confused, which leaves us very little sleep.
    and of course, during the day he sleeps like a rose:

    on thursday evening, travis got his real first bath, since he lost the last part of his umbilical cord on tuesday night or wednesday morning. he wasn't too fond of the sponge baths he had before and he didn't care much for his bath either:

    at first he screeched, but once he got used to the water he kinda mellowed out a little, still not fully liking it though:

    and of course, after the bath, he was crying again, because of the transfer from the nice and cozy bathwater into the airconditioned kitchen:

    on thursday night we went out to dinner at ichiban to celebrate 3 birthdays (and if travis could really participate, 4 birthdays): denise, campion and myself, all within the same week. this was travis' first real trip outside of his home cocoon and he didn't fuss or cry at all, not even when the cook set fire to the cooking plate, generating lots of light and heat. not bad for a baby of 12 days! friday was a busy day for me, with dealing with grocery shopping, laundry and several errands. and i did these with help from pepper, because in the morning denise was feeling sore, and later in the day, after a nice long nap, she put her back out on top of everything else, so i pretty much put her on couch rest.
    we received a buttload of clothes in the mail today, an entire washing machine full, actually:

    but i also got my "birthday present" of sorts: a home theater surround set (with multi-region dvd player) :-)
    in the evening i snapped a great facial expression while travis was being fed:

    the degree of sarcasm and glee is just awesome! on saturday i tried to set up the new home theater set, but to no avail. everything works, we have hdtv, we have the dvd player video hooked up, but i can't get the sound through the a/v receiver. there's 4 components in the set up: the digital set top box (high def tv), the tv, the dvd player and the a/v receiver. this means that there are 4 manuals and none of the manuals actually show me a wiring diagram to get them hooked up properly. there is one complicating factor: i have 2 hdmi cables. i tried searching online for diagrams, but i have yet to find a correct diagram. very frustrating. the other thing i failed at getting to work is my webcam in live messenger. i updated the webcam software, i updated the windows driver, but still, when i start a video chat, i can see both parties' video, but the other person on the chat cannot see my webcam. again, i tried searching online for troubleshooting tips, but i have yet to find a solution. very frustrating.
    at least last night (or really early this morning) i was able to snap a few shots of travis in his bassinette:

    in above picture you can clearly see his eyes are blue, even though in daylight they are slowly turning green. even with a prime lens it is really hard to shoot travis in low light, because all his limbs are very active:

    and below my favorite from the pictures i took:

    for today i have nothing planned, just relax to hopefully save and/or recreate energy for the week to come.
    sunday, june 14, 2009

    the tj chronicles 9
    the past few days have been relatively quiet. travis is still doing great: eating, sleeping, pooping. the only problem, if you could call it a problem, is that he doesn't sleep at night. during the day he sleeps like, well, a baby, but when we go to bed, he fusses and fights, wanting to eat and, as a result of the eating, he poops and pees more. so, our nights have been pretty short, moreover since campion has been going to summer school (to make up for his history grade) starting this week, which meant i had to get up at 7.30am each morning to have him drive himself to school and then pick him up again at 12.30pm. in the meantime i have been working off and on as well, trying to get a nap in here and there. denise's recovery is going pretty well and as of today she is off the pain medication, so perhaps that will help both her and travis to have an easier bowel movement. yesterday a new lens i ordered arrived and this lens will help me shoot portraits of travis better, because it's a macro lens and it's a prime lens and it shoots very well under low light conditions. last tuesday it was campion's birthday and the dude is 17 now! he didn't know what to do for a birthday party, so we didn't arrange anything, nor did we order a cake from orna.
    what he did want to do for his birthday is make his own pizzas for dinner:

    he made a regular pepperoni & sausage pizza …

    … but the one that stood out, was the white pizza:

    olive oil, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes. yummy! and here's a few shots of travis taken with my new lens:



    i know the last one is overexposed, but i like the colors and focus. i'm gonna be having fun with this lens. perhaps later tonight, when he will get his first real bath. but first we go out to dinner …
    thursday, june 11, 2009

    the tj chronicles 8
    saturday evening and sunday were spent in relative rest. as is demonstrated perfectly by travis:

    on sunday campion drove himself to north point mall where he met yet another girlfriend of his and on the way back i showed him the way to central high school, where on monday he would have to report for summer school. pepper spent some time holding/cuddling travis, something she asking for at least a couple times a day now:



    today, june 8, was denise's birthday: 29 years with 8 years of experience. in order to celebrate this we all went out for a haircut, some grudgingly (campion), some happily (me). travis tagged along and even though he has a full head of hair, his doesn't need any trimming, yet. but he was a trooper throughout the time we were gone from home, because after the salon we had to stop at the bank, go get some new clothes for pepper (since she is growing out of most of her clothes slowly but surely) and to our mailbox. on the way back denise decided to treat us to taco bell for (late) lunch, which meant that dinner today was at 9pm, a royal time :P
    before that i caught a few snapshots of our handsome son:


    and denise and i are not the only ones who think he's kinda cute; everyone who sees him, in real life or in pictures, thinks he is very handsome. he must have denise's genes then ;-)
    monday, june 8, 2009

    the tj chronicles 7
    the time has come to slow down the frequency of updates. reasons are 1) the most exciting days are behind us 2) i need my time to care for this new life 3) i need my time to get in a little rest. but don't worry, we're still very excited about travis and i will keep on posting about everything that is going on with him and with us. so far it is steady as he goes: eat, sleep, poop, pee, lather rinse repeat …
    two tender moments between mother and child:


    travis in his bassinette, isn't he a star?


    i brought the bassinette down from our bedroom to the downstairs living room, because so far he has trouble getting to sleep at night, so we hopefully are able to train him to sleep in his bassinette as well as he does in bouncy chair. denise is healing, slowly but surely. even though she still needs to take it easy, because she did have major and invasive surgery, she can move about a lot better than a few days ago. we enjoy travis every minute of every day; he is such an easy baby. he only cries when he is hungry and when he has a dirty diaper. once he is fed or cleaned up he is quiet and peaceful. he responds to our voices, he responds to our touch and he doesn't seem to be fazed by much. in short, he is all we could wish for.
    saturday, june 6, 2009

    the tj chronicles 6
    nothing spectacular to announce today, just another day of growth of travis and another day of recovery for denise.


    thursday, june 4, 2009

    the tj chronicles 5
    last night actually went pretty good altogeter, woke up at 5am because denise was having trouble getting travis to go to sleep after feeding him. i took over the task of keeping him quiet and denise laid down in bed, with her feet elevated on 2 sets of cushions and about 5 seconds after she closed her eyes she slept. and travis followed suit not much longer, i only had to settle him down twice with his binkie and his magic spot (yes, i found it!) we all woke up at 8am and started our relatively relaxing day. i worked a little in between looking after travis.
    during one diaper change session i made a couple of shots:




    while pepper was preparing dinner (her speciality, after all, is meatloaf and wednesday is meatloaf day!), i made a picture of travis sleeping in his bouncy chair:

    after dinner it was time for travis' first sponge bath. we can't give him a proper bath until his umbilical cord falls off his belly button. even though i made a manly pact with travis beforehand, he screamed throughout most of his cleaning:



    and yes, in this last shot he does look like sting … i wonder what's up with that?!
    wednesday, june 3, 2009

    the tj chronicles 4
    today at 9.10am travis had his first doctor's appointment with his pediatrician. and guess what, everything checked out perfectly fine. he lost a little weight, he went from 7lbs 14 oz to 7lbs 2oz, but that is perfectly normal in the first two weeks after birth. his eyes, ears, spine and reflexes are all good, so other than being cold in the examination room, he was cool as a cucumber.
    unfortunately, this was not the first thing we did today. we went to bed at midnight and while denise was tending to her wounds travis laid on my chest, slowly drifting into dreamland, and so was i. when denise took him to feed him, i fell asleep. i woke up, with a jolt, at 3.30, to denise being bent over at the dresser, wincing in pain. i asked her if we should see the ob/gyn after travis' appointment with the pediatrician and she said she couldn't wait that long. she was in some real pain. when she stripped she showed me that pretty much all of her body was swollen, retaining water. i packed a diaper bag with diapers, wet wipes, a set of clothes and a blanket, and i told denise we were going to the er. downstairs i packed a bottle of formula (similac), a nipple and a full can of iced water and off we went.
    slowly, because denise could hardly walk because of the pain. we installed travis in his car seat, where he pretty much immediately fell asleep. when we got to the er i jumped out to sign denise in and to get a wheelchair, because i didn't want denise to walk any more than absolutely necessary. and i asked for help as well, so as i was helping denise into the chair a nurse came out who actually took denise into an examination room. her blood pressure was measured and it was way up. they didn't take temperature, but they couldn't because she'd been drinking cool water. after about a 15 minute wait the er doctor came in, asked some questions and, in our eyes, jumped to a conclusion. he only looked at her c-section stitches and from our answers deducted that denise probably just overdid her activities and that she just should have rested. in a large part this was true, but that didn't justify his demeanor, which we both thought was abrasive. he'd asked for a nurse to set denise up with an ice pack and denise had to have her urine sampled to see if she had urine tract infection. taking the culture took forever, so denise was slowly nodding off at the hospital bed and i was nodding off with travis in my arms in a very uncomfortable chair.
    in the middle of all this travis needed to be fed, so denise did that, with great discomfort, because he was laying across her belly, which hurt just as it was. but she soldiered through with a little of my help and encouragement. the urine sample was negative for uti and her blood pressure also dropped a little, so the er doctor advised denise to take it easy, very easy: only two trips on the staircase (down in the morning and up in the evening), no lifting, no bending and keep feet elevated.
    by the time we were discharged it was after 7am and we were back home at 7.30. denise fed travis once again, still in pain. in the meantime i assembled the stroller. then denise went to the bathroom. and i heard her whimper and moan and curse. ten minutes later she called me into the bathroom and what i saw still boggles my mind. i kid you not, there was a turd the size of a brick. since the colon passes right behind the uterus it wouldn't surprise me that that log pressed into her uterus, which is still sore from the c-section, which in turn pressed the stitches outwards, which were also still sore from the c-section. after that release she instantly felt better, still in pain, but a lot less.
    that's when we had to leave for the pediatrician. that visit took us almost two hours as well, so we were back at home at about 10.30am and by that time i was already starting to fade. denise put in a call to her ob/gyn asking about bowel movements. he called back saying that the epidural and the pregnancy vitamins actually cause the bowel to stop working. and whatever is in the bowels actually hardens/calcifies. she got recommendations for two items, a drink and a suppository, and i drove to the cvs/pharmacy to find them. i actually found them, without asking for directions, and got back and much to her chagrin denise took both to the bathroom and went to work. it didn't work straight away, but after a little while she managed to push another brick, one even larger than the first one! if that was even possible!
    while she was paving a road, alex and karen rang the doorbell again. they had to drop something off for when my parents come over for vacation later this summer. and i finally had a chance to show off my car *grin* they had to leave at 4pm to go back to the hotel to check in for their flight home tomorrow and after that make their way to turner field to watch the atlanta braves play to chicago cubs. when they left denise gave pepper instructions on how to make tonight's dinner and she did so splendidly. we had dinner and right after dessert two of campion's friends came over to ogle travis. and he flirted back. campion must already feel the competition and to travis' cuteness overload there really is no way he can win *wink* i put on the channel that broadcasted the braves game and so far, in 6 innings there were three runs over home plate. against the braves, so they will likely miss out on the fireworks … ah well, maybe next time … as for us, we're going to take it easy and go to bed early, see if we can make a decent night. denise certainly deserves a good night, with plenty of rest in between the feedings. and i am in desperate need of some sleep too …
    i will leave y'all with some pictures i managed to take today.

    these two pictures are almost identical, but i couldn't choose which one to put up, so i decided to do the ultimate thing, put both of them up …


    the cats have been curious about travis, too, but they are also very guarded. sadie is a bit more brave, she sniffed him out a couple of times already, as she is doing in the picture above. lily has been more intimidated and possibly even angry at the new intruder, so she keeps her distance, as you can see in the picture below:

    and the last picture shows a very intimate moment between mother and son, it's precious:

    more news tomorrow, hopefully a lot less exciting!
    tuesday, june 2, 2009

    the tj chronicles 3
    i had a hard time waking up this morning so i texted denise that i had a hard time waking up and that i might not make it to be at the hospital at 9. well, t-mobile messed up my message and within a minute denise called me telling me to drag my ass in asap. the reason: denise & travis were being discharged! so, i dragged my ass out of bed, got dressed, ate some krullers for breakfast and headed over the the women's center of northisde hospital forsyth:

    denise had already packed a few items, but the first thing we needed to do was the watch a dvd with instructions on importance of the proper use of the car seat, in order to prep ourselves and travis for the car seat test. this is no joke, we had to put travis in his car seat, hooked up to a monitor to check his blood pressure, his temperature and his oxygen levels, for an hour!

    luckily, travis didn't mind at all and he slipped into a comfortable sleep:

    in the meantime i settled the bill with the hospital (they first charged me for the wrong person, so after she double checked that our balance was only minimal, i made a "profit" of $1100, and we we will billed for the difference later on, which should only be about $150. of course, there was much more paperwork to be signed and they double checked our bracelet numbers with travis's bracelet number, making sure we were not swapping babies. (not that we would have, because ours is the cutest baby boy, ever :P) then denise had to take place in the wheelchair (hospital rules require each patient to be rolled out *rolls eyes*) and at the nurses' station they cut travis' ankle monitor off:

    security is extremely tight: there are sensors in all three bracelets and if either just me or denise would walk out of the hospital with the baby, the hospital doors would go into complete lockdown! baby theft is a pretty major issue in the usa …
    a nurse rolled denise down the hallway, into the elevator and out the building and another nurse who was on a break enjoying the warm weather volunteered to take a picture of the three of us:

    we installed travis in the car seat and drove to cvs to get denise her pain medication and while she was waiting for it i snapped a picture of travis:

    at 12.15 we were back home, so all in all denise had only been in the hospital for 48 hours! pretty amazing! once i got the car unloaded, campion and i went back to the hospital to pick up the vase and flowers that our friend alison dropped off as i finished installing the car seat after the test. the vase is huge and heavy and i didn't want to risk any breakage or leakage, so i decided to leave it at the hospital and return for it. the ladies at the nurses' station were disappointed that i took it away from them, because they loved it.
    back home, we started assembling the swing (campion) and the bouncy chair (pepper), which kept us busy for a while. then we cleared all the bags of goodies we received from the hospital, i did my finances and by that time it was getting close to dinner time. i didn't want denise to cook so we all agreed on greek/middle eastern, so i drove over to the only gyros shop in a perimeter of 30 miles. when we were halfway through dinner alex and karen arrived on out doorstep. we talked for a bit, i gave them the tour of the house (they liked the nursery and karen really liked the walk-in closed) and then we said down in the living room for some more conversation. before we knew it it was 10.30pm and they left, because karen was getting a bit tired … which is totally understandable seeing as she is 22.5 weeks pregnant! and pretty much we all kinda shut down and got ready for bed. one thing i would like to mention is that our choice of 8 pictures, that the hospital photographer took yesterday, are available from this website.
    monday, june 1, 2009

    the tj chronicles 2

    you would think that after a day like yesterday, with travis being born and all, the day after would be more quiet. guess again. from the moment i got up, after 6 hours of sleep, by myself, i was in the hospital room with denise and travis 8 hours after i left.
    first order of business was getting a few snaps of travis together with denise:

    at around 10am, the best man at our wedding, alex, you remember him, the really really really really really tall guy from neverneverland, and his life partner (or girlfriend, whichever you prefer) karen texted me saying they wanted to drop by between 11am and noon, which of course was not a problem:

    after i took this picture i drove home to pick up pepper, because she wanted to see travis, but when i left the house earlier this morning she was still asleep on the couch in the living room. at the same time we were trying to host concurrent video chats with my parents and my sister and with sean, the young man who gave denise away at our wedding. after alex and karen left for the mall of georgia we had a few moments to ourself, so i took a couple more pictures of denise and travis:


    throughout the day nurses and lactation specialists and photographers and nurses kept coming into our room to perform their routine. it's like we are in a maximum security prison where the guards come in every 30 minutes to check if all bodies are still accounted for. at around 4.15pm pepper and i left to pick up campion at the house, because at 5pm we were scheduled for an official photoshoot. we were back in the room at 5.01pm and right after i closed the door, the photographer came in. she took about 50 pictures, travis by himself, travis with me, travis with denise, travis with campion, travis with pepper and a family shot. tomorrow we should be getting a link to the website where 9 of them will be posted, so i will share that here, too, because she managed to get a couple of really good shots. denise got her dinner by the time we were finishing up the photo shoot, so after she left, campion and i drove to pizza hut to get our dinner. when dinner was gone i brought the kids back home, because they were bored out of their skill. upon my return i was able to talk to my best friend, ronald. he is new york at the moment and using a calling card he managed to get in 4 four minute calls. it was good to hear his voice again and to find out how he, patty and the kids are doing.
    then, finally, i had some quality time with my son. he laid on my chest and legs, uninterrupted, for a good 30 minutes:

    today was a very exciting and busy day for travis. today was a very exciting and busy day for denise and me and we both are pretty tired … more news tomorrow …
    sunday, may 31, 2009

    the tj chronicles 1
    congratulations travis, it's your naught birthday :-)
    denise slept on the couch mostly last night, so she was back asleep when i got up. i had breakfast, denise wasn't allowed anything. after breakfast we both took a shower and before we knew it was 11.30. i loaded all the bags, which have been ready for over a month now, our laptops and camera gear into the car and checked in at the hotel northside hospital. we were taken to a prep room where first an ultrasound was done, confirming that travis was still very much in breech. so that ruled out a normal vaginal birth and after that denise was prepped for c-section; she was administered all sorts of iv drips and at the last moment she got the epidural (ruggeprik) and the catheter. in the meantime i had to scrub up, too:

    at close to 2pm denise was rolled to the operation room and i had to wait outside till she was lifted from the stroller bed to the operation table. when i was called in a whole host of staff was busily working on denise. i was sat on a chair near denise's head, and only when they told me to stand up and look i could see what the surgeons were doing; unmentionable things really. but i got to see him pulled out of the uterus and almost immediately he started crying, which was a good sign:

    after he was cleaned he was bundled up and placed on denise's chest, while the doctors were putting the contents of her belly back in place:

    when the doctor's were ready travis was put back in a little crib for some more cleaning and post-op stats:

    when everything was done & dusted in the or, we were brought to the recovery room, where they washed travis, took all his vital stats and clothed him in northside gear:

    denise tried to give travis his first feeding, which took a little doing, but in the end he laid down comfortable and ate for about 20 minutes:

    after his first early dinner we placed him back in his bassinette:



    after all paperwork was finished we were rolled to our room, 2w02, where denise and travis are going to be staying till they are dismissed. at that time it was close to 6pm and that meant dinner for denise. i took that opportunity to pick up the kids, who were waiting at home, get some dinner (they agreed on chik-fil-a), get some coffees and go on visitation. both kids were excited, in their own ways, to see their baby brother.
    if travis was just as excited we can't tell for sure:

    after they finished eating and washing their hands, the kids got to hold travis. campion was up first, and even though he played being cool, we have photographic evidence (that we're saving for a later time *grin*) of him actually genuinely smiling. but this shot is good too:

    (he may or may not like his hair)(and, of course, has a wonderful head of hair *grin*)
    next up, was pepper, who with a little help from me, got to hold him too:

    she did actually shine, even though she was a little disappointed she was not allowed to squish his little potato head … visiting hours ended at 8.30, and the kids were getting kinda restless, so i dropped them off at the house and came right back to spend some more time with my tired, but otherwise fine, wife and baby. and as i am typing this i have already posted the 12 pictures from this blog in facebook and i want to thank all y'all for your comments there. now daddy is getting a little tired, too, so once denise is done with feeding him i am going back home to see if 1) the house is still there and 2) to get a little sleep. i will be back in the morning …
    saturday, may 30, 2009

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