29 September 2009

Anders at 12 Months

(This is an "archival" post from September 2009 - yes, that's right: 2009.)

At Anders's 12-month "well baby" checkup, he did such a good job of charming the nurse that she asked, "Did you bring a camera?" I happened to have it with me so we captured a few pics. I'm sure the nurse enjoys Anders as he doesn't really mind when she measures him or gives him shots. And after she's done he still has smiles for her. (The nurse has told me that she has kids who see her in the grocery store and immediately start crying.)

After all the measuring, Anders had the following stats: 22 lbs 15 oz, 18.5 inch head circumference, and 29.5 inches long. And since we're engineers, here is a plot of his 3, 6, 9, and 12 month numbers against the standard "growth chart" from the CDC.

In general, he's following that 50% curve pretty well. The only exception (not shown in this chart) is the "head circumference" in which he is closer to 75%. And we're pretty sure that the 6 month length figure is probably the result of "measurement error," since it doesn't match up with the overall trend. We have lots more weight measurements than are shown here - a weekly measurement for his first 6 months - but we figure that you get the general idea.

A few more milestones achieved at 12 months: He has 6 teeth; 4 on top, 2 on the bottom. He stands up on his own and can pull himself up to standing. Once up, he will "cruise" around the furniture. He can go up steps, but he doesn't know what to do once he gets to the stop step. He waves. And he'll walk if you hold him up (and prance if he has shoes on).

Last but not least, he has started to appreciate reading. We used to try to read to him but for some reason he didn't like it. But now he has figured out that books are a good thing and will even read to himself.

It's not clear how much of the material he is actually retaining, though.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket

28 September 2009

PBE Reunion

In September I traveled to Boston for my fraternity's 119th Anniversary reunion. It had been a great number of years (a specific number that I care not count) since I've seen many of these guys, so it was good to get back in touch.

Here's looking forward to next time!

- Mike (and Corinne and Anders Rocket, from home!)
28 September 2009

25 September 2009

State of the Union

Inspired by Obama's eloquence, Anders has started working on his speeches.

I don't recall seeing the president fall over backwards in the middle of any of his speeches, though.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 25, 2009

22 September 2009

More Birthday Pics

Since first birthday's only come along once in a lifetime - literally - we thought we'd share a few more photos of the birthday boy celebrating!

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 21st, 2009

21 September 2009

Child of the 80s

Anders went to bed shortly after his bath and woke up the next morning with a stylin' hairdo.

We thought it was so funny that we left it that way for the day and dressed him as child of the 80's: navy shorts, leg warmers, and his jacket reminiscent of Members Only.

This same day, Anders had another first. Over the last several months at daycare, Anders had enjoyed looking at Zak through one of those tunnel tubes, but today he crawled through it. Debbie and I had tried to convince Anders to do it but Zak had the magic touch.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 21, 2009

20 September 2009

Happy Birthday, Anders!

It's hard to believe, but Anders is now one year old! When other parents have said that the time goes fast and we should enjoy it while we can, they were sure right. We invited over some friends to celebrate our little guy turning one.

At the party, Anders's "big brothers" Zak and Daniel spent most of their time with him. Since Anders couldn't walk by himself, Daniel would hold him up by his armpits while Anders "walked" around.

The kids all had a good time playing together, and the adults enjoyed the ability to socialize a bit while they played.

Then it was time to bring out the Rocket cake. Before singing Happy Birthday, we instructed everyone to not clap at the end of the song since Anders has on occasion started crying at sudden noises, and no one should be made to cry on their birthday!

Corinne decided to be "brave" and put the cake right down at Anders's level on a footstool. You'll have to watch to see what happens...

I'm still amazed at the way he handled that. Now that the obligatory song had been sung, it was time to eat! Anders sure did like that cake.

There were some gifts to open as well. Wheels... lots of wheels.

Thanks for a fun birthday party! Time to eat more cake.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders One-Year-Old Rocket
Date: September 20th, 2009

19 September 2009

Birthday Cakes

Inspired largely by fond memories of our childhood birthday cakes, we decided that we would make Anders an extraordinary cake for his first birthday. But before we go into that, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at some of those inspirational cakes that we had as kids.

For my second birthday, my Aunt Jill made me a merry-go-around (or is it circus tent?) cake.

Mike's 2nd Birthday: Merry-Go-'Round(?) Cake

I actually don't have a lot of pictures of my various birthday cakes, as most of the photos are still with my parents. I do have a few good birthday cake stories, though. When I was turning somewhere around 9 or 10 and my brother Drew was turning 3 or 4 (our birthdays are only a day apart), my birthday cake was sitting on the dining room table awaiting the arrival of the guests. But before anyone arrived, Drew decided that it would be fun to put his arm into middle of the cake. Oops.

And a few years after that my parents arranged a birthday party for me at the local roller rink, which was a pretty cool party setting in the 80s (actually, I wouldn't mind a roller-skating party now, either.) Everything was going great until the rink brought out the cake that they had made for my party, and the icing read: "Happy Birthday, Michelle." Decidedly uncool.

Corinne has very fond memories of some of the creative cakes that her mom made for her and her brothers when they were little. We recently dragged out the photo boxes, warmed up the scanner and brought those memories back to life.

Leif & Loren's 2nd Birthday: Circus
(I guess that must be the official 2nd birthday theme)

Corinne's 5th Birthday: Lamb

L&L's 5th Birthday: Trains
(These would become a recurring theme, as you'll see)

Corinne's 7th Birthday: Strawberry Shortcake

L&L's 7th Birthday: Trains (again)

L&L's 8th Birthday: Snoopy

L&L's 11th Birthday: Fishing

L&L's 12th Birthday: Trains

So with cakes and stories like those, we knew we wanted to do something memorable. (Of course, Anders is probably still too small to remember it himself, but that's beside the point.) Corinne decided that for Anders's first birthday she would make him a Rocket cake.

With a little searching online, she found some example cakes to use as a starting point. She picked out her favorite cake and frosting recipes, ordered cake molds and frosting tints, and set out to make the coolest birthday cake ever. The design consisted of a Rocket sitting atop a double sheet cake base. The rocket portion would be banana cake (Anders loves bananas) and the base two chocolate cakes with chocolate sour cream frosting. Since we're fairly proficient in the kitchen, making the actual cakes would be the easy part; the real challenge would be in the decorating.

Once Anders was in bed on the night before the birthday party, Corinne pulled out the cakes to decorate. It was a painstaking process that lasted late into the night; I think we finished close to 1:00am. But we think that the end result warranted the extra effort.

And now, the final result!

With the cake done, the only thing left was the party!

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 19th, 2009

18 September 2009

Company Picnic

Insitu recently held its annual employee picnic. One nice perk this year is that they hired photographer Michael Peterson to wander around and take pictures of the event. (They claim that it was not to "take attendance".)

The "newbie" shirt was a gift from our nerd friends Evan and Erin, and we thought it would be appropriate attire for the day. The shirt received quite a few chuckles from many engineers at the picnic.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 18, 2009

17 September 2009

Big Fan

Like most babies (or at least boys), Anders has been fascinated by ceiling fans since he was very little. He is constantly pointing at ours at home, and it's usually the first place he looks when entering a room.

I ran into IKEA the other day and found Anders staring at the ceiling. I looked up to discover a HUGE ceiling fan. I have to admit that it was pretty cool.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 17, 2009

14 September 2009

MIT Hopeful

We took Anders out for a stroll in the driveway, mainly to capture some photos of him in his new T-shirt, a gift from the Silvestros.

After the stroll, Anders sat down in the driveway and decided to eat rocks. We were taking photos at 1 second intervals and caught this sequence.

1: Eat a rock.

2: Cry because Dad took it away.

3: Just two seconds later, act casual and look for another rock.

4: Check to see if Dad is watching.

5: Eat second rock, then close mouth really tight so Dad can't take it away.

Hmmmm... Buddy, you're not doing much for the name on that shirt!

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 14, 2009

10 September 2009

The Nines

Our anniversary is in September, and we realized not too long ago that we would be celebrating our 9th anniversary on 09-09-09. Pretty cool! Then we read about this Wisconsin baby born on 09-09-09 at 9:09 AM weighing 9 lbs 9 ounces. (What an overachiever.)

We were still in Seattle, so for our anniversary "date" night we started with a nice dinner at Lark in Capital Hill. Food was delicious, small plates, but the highlight was the fig and goat cheese tart for dessert. We then strolled through Volunteer Park for a while, did some shopping in University Village, then to finish it off had dessert at Dilettante Mocha Cafe & Chocolate Martini Bar. (We were hoping for something a bit more "cafe" and a bit less "bar".)

Meanwhile, Donna and Aunt Joie had a great time with Anders while we were out. He was even asleep when we got home!

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 9, 2009

08 September 2009

Labor Day In Seattle

We decided to check on Mom again over Labor Day weekend, to see how she was recovering from her hip replacement. Since all of our other trips to Seattle this year had been hectic, we decided to take a few extra days to do nothing.

On the way to Seattle, Anders and I stopped in Wapato, the history of which is surprisingly interesting for the middle of nowhere Washington. As I drove the rural roads, I could see that this is the land of peaches, apples, and hops. We stopped and bought two boxes of beautiful peaches for $7/box, and boy were they delicious. We didn't think we were going to be able to eat two boxes but we did with no problem. It was a sweet week with the family.

We did make a few exceptions to our plan to do nothing on vacation. Dad joined us for Anders's first ferry ride. We all enjoyed some BBQ dinner on Bainbridge Island and then took the ferry back again.

The awesome sweater in the photos was knit by our friend Davy. We call it the "sock monkey" sweater due to the colors.

We also took Anders to the Woodland Park Zoo while in Seattle. Mom joined us via wheelchair and Leif offered to come along to propel her. Anders is probably a little young to truly appreciate the zoo, but he definitely tracked the animals with his eyes so I think he got something out of it.

I particularly enjoyed the hippo who did a barrel roll in the water for me. The penguins are always fun too. By this point in the day, Anders was too tired to give us his usual full-faced smile.

Of course, Anders enjoyed all the time with Aunt Taryn, Uncle David, Aunt Joie, Uncle Pete, Uncle Leif, Grandpa and Grandma. He found Grandma's walker quite useful for pulling himself up into a standing position. He learned a new game with his Grandma where he sits on her lap. She gives him a little squeeze and then he'll squeeze back to signal "do it again!". And Aunt Joie may have taught him the word "Peek" with all of her peek-a-boo games.

Years ago, Aunt Joie had stashed a toy box in the shed with many of Tor and Taryn's favorite toys. With Anders there to visit, Aunt Joie pulled out the toy chest and blew off the dust. Being the same age as my cousins, I had had many of the same toys so it was quite nostalgic going through the chest. Here is Anders with the vintage Fisher Price xylophone and Molly Moo Cow. He quickly turned them both over to spin their wheels.

In the end, some good relaxation time.

- Corinne, Mike, and Anders Rocket
Date: September 8, 2009