Thursday, September 27, 2007

Road Trip

Two things in this world are guaranteed to make Kristin happy: me in a onesie and roadtrips. Since I don't fit as comfortably in my onesie as I used to, we roadtripped today. From DC to Ann Arbor, MI, you could see the Ellis-mobile rockin' the kids crying. I mean, wow, the two of them were like a symphony of anger, alternating between strong bellows of hatred from Max and simple, untrained wimpers of confusion from Vivi.

But we're sure glad we're here for Keely's birthday party.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Naked Time

Max has gotten into a terrible habit: after he's been put in his crib for the night, he strips off all his clothes and his diaper and lays in his crib naked. Now, it's easy to understand his behavior -- what man doesn't sleep better in the nude? -- but it's hard for us to allow this going forward. One, he's got horrible bladder control; although he has managed to get some of his "poopies" into the toilette, including a "bigh poopie" yesterday, he's never managed to control in any way his peeing. Second, his room has horrible climate control and becomes the coldest room in the house during the winter.

Any suggestions on how to correct this behavior?

(PS -- we will try and get photo evidence the next time this occurs.)

Vivi's 3rd Dr.'s Appointment

Vivi met with the Dr. again today and all indications are that she will quickly follow her brother into the realm of brilliance. She has gained more weight, now weighing in at 7 lbs. 6 ounces. She's also got a "really strong neck." She's otherwise very healthy. Of course, they gave Vivi a shot today and she about lost it. Saddest thing you'll ever see is a little baby cry like that.

We had a return visit from the Lollipop fairy, as the magic beans sprouted new lollipops. The lollipops barely made it however, because in the middle of the night -- after Jackson had "watered" the magic jelly beans -- the neighbors in whose garden the beans had been planted came home. Mr. Allen thought that Aida had planted the lollipops for him and so he swooped them up and took them inside, so when Aida and Max awoke there were no lollipops. Later that day, when Ms. Joanne, Mr. Allen's wife, was on her daily trip to Panera with Jackson, she told him about the cute little lollipops Aida had planted for Mr. Allen. Boy was Jackson upset. Ms. Joanne went straight home and replanted the lollipops. What a great neighborhood we live in.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mount Vernon

Today the family took a mini-tour of the Commonwealth (of Virginia) by touring the estate of George Washington: Mount Vernon. It's 14 miles south of Washington, and the drive is scenic and the estate truly is worth fighting to the death for. The view is stunning.

Garrett had luxurious accommodations, as he drew the seat between Max and Aida in the back of our '92 Accord. He smiles as if he actually enjoyed the ride, but something tells me that between having to play hide and seek with Max for 15 minutes (yeah, Max loves to play, even if the only place to hid is the car seat in which he is stuck), Aviva crying for food on the other side, and his knees being lodged between the front seats in way that proved not all riders require seat belts.

Once we arrived, Max loved the statutes of George and his family. Again, we failed to capture appropriate Max's parting kiss to George's grandson, but you'll see he blended in perfectly with American royalty.

It was a nice visit, but relatively short. Luckily, Kristin got a yearly pass and Max is free, so Max and Kristin should be going back pretty regularly.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Max Update

I fully forgot to give stats on Max as of his 2-year appointment. He's 75% for both height and weight and this trends accurately with prior results. We haven't run an IQ test yet, but anecdotally he's brilliant. Clearly a prodigy.

Nilo Table

Max loves to play with tools and help me build things. Sadly for Max, we don't do a lot of building in our house. I learned a long time ago to leave the wood building to Spencer Brinton.

But, Max had a special surprise over the weekend as Max received a delayed birthday present, a nilo table. Max spent the majority of our time singing, "turning, turning" and putting his tool in any hole he could find and rotating it. Then, after a few verses, he would exclaim, "fixed it, daddy, fixed it!" and he would raise his hands in exclamation.

Then, once he had put together the nilo table, with a little help from me, he scampered to the top of the table and proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs the various colors of the legos we had placed on the table for him to play with. He appeared to be playing some game where the colored legos were germs and he was doing his best to rid the table of infection. He did this for some time until all the legos were on the ground and then he asked for "notherone." He did this several times.

Very cute.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lollipop Forest

Not much happened today in Aviva news. She seems to have issues with bottles, as we try and do one bottle a day so she'll be used to it in case of emergency. It gives her some serious indigestion. But, that's not really good news. In any case, attached is a photo of the effects of said indigestion.

Max had a fantastic day. First, he reaped the harvest of his lollipop forest. A neighbor of ours, Jackson -- who is married to Aviva's fair god mother -- helped Max and Aida plant "magic" jelly beans in his garden last night, so when Max and Aida woke up they had a lollipop garden awaiting. It was extremely cute. Jackson learned this trick from his dad, who used the magic jelly beans on Jackson's kids and now, as Jackson says, "Grandpa lives forever."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Baby Love

As you can tell from this picture, Max loves his baby sister. Sometimes he loves her a little too much. The other day he was at the table eating and Vivi was on the couch. I ran upstairs to get something and when I came back down, Max was standing by her, obviously pleased with himself. He saw me and exclaimed, "Juice! Bee!" (Bee is how he says baby). I looked at Aviva and half of her head was covered in orange juice. And this is what he does to show he loves her. I can only imagine what tricks he's got up his sleeve for when he starts resenting her.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Hello Avi"

Garrett continued to win over Max and Aviva continues to be charming. Max and Garrett spent time at the park with Max showing Garrett that he can hold his own amongst bigger kids, and that he's even got a little charm with the ladies. No fewer than two girls approached Max to play, and one of them was forward enough to get a hug in advance of the play time. Garrett has also taught Max to say to Aviva by saying, "Hello, Avi."

Aviva is doing the one-week old thing: sleepy, eating, and hiccuping. It may just be our kids, but the hiccups appear to be a true rite of passage that every Ellis-Quinn child must endure. Even Max has learned to make fun of Aviva's hiccups as he'll smile and imitate the hiccup and then laugh.

Shauri arrived tonight to rekindle her rapport with Max, and her return did not fail to create a buzz in the home with Max running around screaming "shauri." Yes, he even got a little of the "sh" sound in there, which is quite the improvement.

As you can see from the picture, max didn't get the memo that the family photo involved green colors, but he just loves his elephant pj's.

And, demand for more pictures of Aviva has been heavy. We aim to please.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Garret Part Deux

Garrett renewed his aim for the title of "Favorite Uncle" with an early-morning viewing of Finding Nemo, Max's favorite movie of all time. As you can tell, it looks like one of Garrett's favorites also.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Uncle Garrett

Aviva met Uncle Garrett for the first time tonight. And as the pictures show, there was an instant connection. Of course, I felt the same way when I met Garrett, so I'm not in any way surprised.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Vivi and I went to the Dr's office today. The conversation went something like this:
Dr: "It seems we've lost your file. Can you tell me why you're here?"
Me: "Dr. Josani (the Dr. we saw on Friday and not our usual Dr., the one we saw today) thought there was a risk of jaundice and wanted us to come back."
Dr: "From here -- and i'll check a little closer, she doesn't look yellow at all, does she look yellow to you?"
Me: "She didn't look yellow on Friday."
Dr: "Oh, OK."
[Dr. examines Vivi]
Dr: "Yeah, you can tell your wife there's absolutely nothing to worry about, there's no risk of jaundice."

Yeah, it felt good.

In other news, Aviva has gained weight at an incredible pace and she now weighs more than she did at birth. We're all so proud.

We took Max to the natural history museum today, and of course his love of all things monkey led him to befriend the statue of a monkey placed in the auditorium for the film on evolution. As you can see, Max spent most of the movie with his arm tightly around his new best friend. Unfortunately, we didn't capture the tender scene when Max kissed the monkey twice on the cheek before leaving. And no, Max never kisses us twice before or after anything.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Today was a great day -- friends and family visited, Chris Cutler made the BEST lasagna we've ever eaten, and V survived another day without Max smacking his giant noggin' into hers when kissing the top of her head.

Max refused to take a nap today at his regular time, demanding instead to go to "(n)ursery," where all his church friends would be playing. He even fell asleep in my arms while we were in services and when I told him we were going home, he sprung up screaming "ursery"! He sure does love his church friends.

He also became quite intrigued by Kristin's breast-feeding. He kept trying to peek under the blanket and finally just flung the whole thing off -- luckily, Kristin's cat-like reflexes prevented any long-term Delsa-like embarrassment.

Vivi didn't really do much today except remain very cute and push her tongue in and out, in and out. She loves the feel of the cool breeze whistling across the tip o' the tongue. It's really cute.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ella's birthday party

So Max has this friend, Ella, who probably has the most extensive wardrobe this side of Keely McKell. Today, Ella celebrated her 2-year birthday and did so in style. There was the blow-up gymnasium for the kids to jump around in, there was music time directed by a music teacher, and the party favors and deserts were simply adult-licious. None of that crappy kids-only stuff that's laced with 99% sugar and 1% flavor.

So how much of this party did Max enjoy? About 1 minute of the 45 we were there. He cried the entire time; he dropped elephant tears and exhaled monkey screams. That's why there's no pictures for today's blog -- I was too busy consoling and had no time to play gorillas in the midst.

So, to make up for it, we rented Happy Feet and let him watch that movie for his Saturday night activity. BTW, the movie -- it's really strange. Maybe those of you who saw it in the theatre caught something we missed, but wow. Crazy. And I'm pretty sure Max will be messed up for years because of it.

Tomorrow's post will have more to do with Vivi. But today she had her first sponge bath. And from what I heard, she didn't like it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jaundice v. Sleep

Vivi's doctor is afraid of jaundice. The doctor has counseled that we "wake up" Aviva at night to feed her. Apparently she has never heard of the well-known maxim, "never wake a sleeping baby." Kristin and I would really rather deal with a baby with jaundice than deal with a baby that's not sleeping because we're waking her up. If Aviva wants to sleep for 5 hours in a row, without a feeding, we're going to let her.

So, I have a poll for all experienced parents. Very simply: who's crazy, (1) Aviva's Dr. or (2) Abram and Kristin.

**Editor's note: upon reading the above entry, Kristin voted for (2), but really only thinks Abram is crazy. Kristin wants it clear that she would not rather have a baby with jaundice than a baby with bad sleep habits. She "claims" that Abram is prone to hyperbole.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fairy Godmother

Baby Aviva has been blessed with something every baby needs: a living Fairy Godmother. Blessed with wit, charm, and sensitivity, V's Fairy Godmother -- known to mortals as Becky -- lives across the way and adores Max. She has offered to be Vivi's fairy godmother because we hope that Vivi grows up to be sociable, intelligent, and funny just like her. She's even a republican, to offer a little balance.

We note that Max has a regular godmother who also presents Max with a strong female archetype, but we really hope Aviva's fairy godmother is more involved in Aviva's life than Max's non-fairy godmother. We will keep you posted.

In Max news, I took Max to art class for the first time today. Apparently not all parents teach their children to roar and knock over towers. That was what I learned today.

Oh, and the picture of Max shows both his love of Mickey Mouse (he we just had to take to the park today) and his classic mean-mug shot, which we get about a gizilion times a day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Aviva -- Better than "Francisco"

Demand for pictures has been insane. In response, I give you a collection of photos entitled, "Better than Francisco," in homage to Amy's children (see Amy's comment regarding Elf). Kristin and I suspect V's tongue will become a prominent feature in photos, just as Max's head was his prominent feature for many years. Where Max used his head like an extra hand (to lift heavy objects out of the way, to balance his body while going up stairs, etc.), Vivi uses her tongue like an antennae to scope out the flavor of her environment.

And, yes, we Max still adores Vivi and even asked nicely if he could play with her new toys. And, since I think he's cute, I included a picture of him from today as well.

Daddy Time

Nothing is more exciting than being a dad for the first time. And thanks to the generosity of Simpson Thacher, I get to enjoy the first four weeks of Aviva's life in real-time. Paternity leave is one of the greatest advancements of our life time.

As a result of my freedom, I will be managing the EFN Blog for the next four weeks. Some of you may have already noticed a change in style with my first post announcing Aviva's birth. There's more of that where that came from.

But, you really want to know about Aviva and Kristin, not my editorial style. So attached are some pics of Aviva and Kristin. Max seems perfectly enthrawled by his little sister and appears protective, even reminding the cleaning lady to be quiet while Aviva is sleeping. We'll see how long it lasts.

She's HERE!!!

Baby Aviva arrived early on September 12, 2007 (at 12:51 AM). She weighed 6 lbs 10 ounces at birth, and was 20 inches long. Also, she was remarkably quiet, especially compared to the boy born across the hall -- he didn't stop screaming for like an hour. But not our Baby V, she was a dream right from the start.

Kristin is doing well also and is relieved to be done with pregnancy. She insists that it will be a while before the next child, but we all know she can't keep her hands off her man!

Pictures to follow later.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Apple Orchard

Mary and I took Max and Nikolai to an apple orchard today. I didn't last long in the heat (2 days people! 2 days), but we picked a few apples and saw the animals. You know, you watch enough Disney movies and you start to think farm animals really are cute. Well, here's a dose of reality: they're not. They're dirty and smelly. Pigs? Yuck.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Happy Happy Birthday

Last night we had a joint family birthday party for Max and his cousin Sarah. Aunt Misty made the most amazing cake (see left). Luckily, Sarah and Max are both going through a big sea creatures phase, so there's your theme. It really was so much fun being with family and watching the two of them open presents and get so excited. When we brought the cake out, we hadn't even finished the song before Sarah and Max had blown the candles out. Much improved since last year when Max just reached for the candles and burned his finger. Not so fun for him, but it made
for a good home video.

Aida stopped by to bring Max a present. When she walked in she let us know that she had a present, but she had better help Max by opening it for him. Which she proceeded to do. Max didn't seem to mind though. She got him a book "Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" which I highly recommend. It's really funny.

Again, it was so great to see Max so happy with his cousins. He clearly couldn't have had a better night (unless Preston was there too). He gave us a play by play this morning about what all had happened, and even acted out his favorite part (blowing out the candles). So thanks everyone for making it such a great night.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Max and I went on a field trip today. It was supposed to happen on Tuesday, Max's birthday, but Abram had to be on a call, blah blah blah... so we went today instead. We took the train downtown, went up to Abram's office so he could show Max off a little bit, and went to lunch at Potbelly's (who has a surprisingly tasty Oreo Chocolate Milkshake, btw). Max charmed the ladies at Potbelly's and scored a free cookie. I'm hoping he's taking after his Auntie Ryan who I swear I have never been in public with when she hasn't received something for free. Max was a little skeptical about the train, but when I saw he got to take an enormous escalator up to it, he got on board. His favorite parts were when we stopped at the airport and he saw 5 huge airplanes all lined up next to each other, and when we went over the Potomac and he saw all the bridges and boats. He was so thrilled by the possibility, I didn't have the heart to tell him there are no sharks in the Potomac. So here's to Max on his 2nd birthday and here's to not having to have a party because he really has no clue what it means anyway :)

P.S. These are the adorable burp cloths and bib that Hillary (our friend who works with Abram) gave us today.