Friday, December 28, 2007

Gus in 2008

It's a bit early to start talking about this time next year when Gus will be 15 month old, but because he has two very cool twin friends, named Cole and Graham, who are exactly 1 year older than him, we get a preview into whatever he will likely like and want to be, when we visit the Hinds Family in Springville.

One word and a digit for Christmas next year: 4-wheeler!

Gus' Dad is soooooo excited about that, Mom will do whatever she can to compete with that....piano lessons anyone?

Gus' first Christmas

We had a blessed and relaxed Christmas here at Granna and Pap's in Locust Fork, Alabama. Gus got the biggest present (a new car seat) as well as lot of littler ones (all in primary colors with one sound effect or another).

But the best present is the constant cuddles and attention from everyone around. Gus can never have enough of those!
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gus's buddy Boone

Yesterday our dear friends Drew and Leah Baldwin called and agreed to stop over at our house on their way from Wake Forrest to Tennessee...we're so glad they came and spent the night...the last time we saw them, Leah and I were both at that akward stage where you are pregnant but nothing shows or is cute yet...only your pants are really they have a wonderful little son named Boone who is 2 months Gus' senior...we hope they'll be great friends someday...because their parents really like hanging out with each other.

We hope we'll get to see them again real soon for skiing in the swanky (not) ski resort of Sugar Mountain North Carolina.

My beautiful bowl

Our dear friend and accomplished Wood Artisan, George, brought us a wonderful present yesterday - it's not a Christmas present, but that's because giving gifts on a schedule doesn't agree with George's creative nature - nevertheless I am so very excited about this beautiful bowl made from Hickory wood...I walk by and touch it and it makes me here adore it with me (and if you want one, look up George on his Web site at

Early Christmas

Auntie Say-Say and Uncle Will stopped by the other day and brought Gus his very first Christmas present - Tiny yet completely authentic Carhartt bib overalls and a Union suit complete with a rear trap door...he and his Daddy can now wear matching outfits...

For now, Daddy is content to demonstrate how his favorite brand holds up (literally)

Thank you Sara and Will for thinking of us! We love you! Rook and Dinner is in the Future, I promise

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Seeing Santa - at the bank

With temperatures hovering in the high 60s it's been a (sweat-inducing) chore to get in the spirit of the tonight we packed up our little bundle of energy and walked on over to our bank, where Santa and all our friendly tellers were waiting with free barbecue, a bad 80s band, and as much coffee and cider as you can drink.
Gus wasn't so sure about Santa, but he gamely hung on for the ho-ho-hos...
Everyone was jolly at Mountain First Bank in Brevard - if only Santa could get a bit of a cold front to come through here, we've been suffering through all the snowy reports filtering back to us from Colorado.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gus - A 3-month review

Friday, three months ago, Gus, our son, joined our little family.
It's an occasion simultaniously momentous and minimal.

It seems like yesterday that we first held, felt and experienced him, and yet I feel like a veteran mother, seasoned through hundreds of dirty diapers, tell-tale spit-up stains on the shoulder and sleepy nighttime feedings...
Here is what I've learned so far:
- Babies, no matter how perfect, are not impressed, by to-do lists, comittments, schedules, and aspirations to effiency.
- Gus is his father's child. He loves the simple life - as in "hang out with me..spend time with me, sit and be still with me"
- He is the ultimate sleep aid (I rarely make it past 9 p.m.) but at the same time can cheer me out of a near comatose state with the mere flick of an eyelash (3 a.m. chat anyone?) and I don't even mind

- Despite his parents questionable hygiene habits (we shower at least twice a week) Gus is a sucker for a dry clean makes him positively giddy to be cleaned up, it must be the ultimate payback...the two slobs get the tidy kid
- His happy place? On the changing table, under his mobile, in his Daddy's arms
- His favorite thing? The ceiling fan, his paci, story books
- His best trick? Shoving all four fingers sans thumb (that would be so common) into his mouth and slobber all over them
- His favorite state of being? Neked, nude, no clothes, nada none
- His least favorite thing? His car seat, despite the fact that it is stylish and European

- His words so far? Ru, ra, ba, da and any combination thereofs
- The weirdest Gus thing? He can roll his "Rs" better than either of us
- His favorite time of the day? Waking up in the morning, he usually bursts with sheer exitement for a new day...using all his words at the top of his lungs...HE...IS...READY!!!

- His next big accomplishement? To roll, he the verge...
- Mommie's favorite thing? "Milk drunk Gus" that's when he falls off the nipple and has to contract into a tight sideways curl to wring out a burp, so he can at least breathe...

- Daddy's favorite thing? Balancing Gus sitting on his outstretched hand...please, don't call social services...he has another hand to catch him!

- Neither of us can imagine life without Gus, at the same time we keep offering him to friends and strangers for's funny as long as no one says yes

- He is the best baby is know and that I know for sure...

- He can melt my heart and steal my breath with a single gurgely giggle

- I have never had a male companion quite like him. He is so loyal, so gamely in shopping malls, so handsome we can't help but collect compliments. He wears whatever I pick out and he makes me look good even on the worst hair day.

- He has the bluest eyes of anyone - and his Daddy has VERY blue eyes.
- He is wonderful and a wonder to us.

American I (finally) am...

Hard to believe this was me 5 years ago, when I started on my path to citizenship...

It took 5 years, a mountain of patience, 3 sets of fingerprints (that I can remember), one divorce, 12 wonderful letters of support from friends and family, two interviews (one grueling, the other pleasant), at least 4 different forms, two lengthy questionnaires ("have you ever been, employed or otherwise engaged a prostitute...have you ever spied or conspired against the United States...etc.", one bossy lawyer, who charged $250 an hour and $17 per page faxed, and at least 2000 miles in driving time and gas...

...but here I am American as apple pie! (I baked two this past weekend, just in case)

Yep, yesterday after living in the US on one visa or another for the past 16 years I was told I no longer needed to have a stamp in my foreign passport, or carry my resident green card...but that I could apply for the American-the-Beautiful blue passport myself...I'm star-spangled and stamp-approved, a genuine Naturalized Citizen!

I can't quite believe it all yet. I registered to vote today...Obama, Hillary, Rudi and all you presidential-wanna-be's watch I opinion finally counts now!

The ceremony was a let-down, hastyly conducted in a drab conference room, me and my "fellow American" (that's what Bush called us with a thin smile in a special canned movie bit for us new citizen) got to raise our right hands and pledge away - to carry arms if asked, to help our government if asked, to conduct ourselves with dignity and lawfully all the time - so help us God.

We didn't even get a paper flag...just an ugly certificate....but nevermind, I am an American now

After almost two decades of pursuing...I not have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Second Advent

Images from our "tree-raising party" yesterday evening. ...which made me realize...all I want for Christmas I already have...

Ho Ho Ho!

Ho-ham, not ho-hum...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grateful for grandparents

On Sunday, Gus said goodbye to his Grosmami und Grosbape as they headed back to Switzerland, but before that we all enjoyed a harmonious and fun-filled Thanksgiving break in Locust Fork, Ala. with both sets of grandparents.

Needless to say Gus had a rapt audience at almost all hours of the day and couldn't have wanted for more hugs and kisses. Here are some pictures I took, while I had lots of two-hands time. My Dad got in touch with his farmer roots (he grew up poor on one), my Mom celebrated her 60th birthday and Gus discovered his love for picture books (he really enjoys them!)
I am grateful for family - and my son.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lil' baby, lil' tree

When my Dad was a young man, he met an old jewish man who told him a tale, he's been fond of ever since.

For a man to reach his full potential in life, he must:

Own land
sire a son
and plant a tree...

Granted my Dad remained the father of a daugther for about 7 more years and didn't own his own piece of land for another 14 years, but he held on to that saying and he did eventually plant his tree after my brother Dominic was born in 1977.

So it came as no surprise that soon after taking up temporary residence in our Brevard home, my Dad came home from Lowe's (his favorite shopping spot) with a little fir tree. It's been planted now and Jacob has been patted on the back for being a man who has reached his full potential.

As an aside in my mind, any man who is the father of a daughter, should just plant a pretty fruit tree and consider himself fully potentialized, as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Long - gone.

Yesterday morning I had my long tangled locks cut off... as anyone who knows me will surmise, that's a big step for me. I resist change, especially self-initated change. Once it happens I rise to the challenge of adapting, but bringing it on goes against my very DNA. I am a creature of structure, order and tradition. I adore things staying the same and steady... so it was with a heavy heart and a fair portion of trepidation that I made an appointment at the beauty shop.
Logic dictated the move. Gus was cute when he held on to my braid as if it were a life raft during his second bath (that image will stay with me forever and bring tears to my eyes whenever), but watching him spit up in my pigtails twice in one day wasn't as cute. In between we would get entangled in it together and more than one time he emerged victorious clutching a few long hairs after we had gone through a painful separation of his hands and my hair.

So for the past nine weeks I've been sporting either a messy ponytail, a hasty knot or a frumpy braid... anything to get it out of my face and out of Gus' reach.

And since the pregnancy hormones that made my hair for once lush and glorious is quickly draining off - leaving it its wake, coarse, rapidly grey and less and less hair on my head and more in the drain, the move was a no brainer... still it's a change...

So here it is, a bit shorter than I imagined (my hairstylish got really inspired and started cutting before I was done talking, so I just shut up and prayed silently that it would still be befitting of me once she was through with me) but sassy and healthy feeling.

It's a bit Posh Spice and a bit flapper chic. I just hope I can deal with it... because it is definitely too short to put in a braid.

Grosi & Grosbape are here!

Gus has been spending lots of quality time with his Grosi & Grosbape, who are visiting from Switzerland. He is being emersed in the language and against all her advise, Grosi lavishes him with constant attention and plenty of kisses and hours of gentle rocking either on her shoulder or in the brandnew and oh-so chic Euro stroller. He loves it as he begins to coo and react to faces and expressions. We are enjoying him more deeply every day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hit the Pause Button

Gus's Grosi & Grossfatter came to town a little over a week ago, and - against my usual inclination, I've been busy snapping pictures - only I lost all of them today, making a dumb move on an unfamiliar computer because my office computer is down and I currently rely on the ones at the library...I'm mourning the loss of some adorable candid shots of Gus meeting his grandma and grandpa, as well as pictures of Gus in his first Halloween outfit, courtesy of his great-grand-Meme...I'm sorry but there is nothing I can do to get them back, and true to my neat nature, I already deleted them off my camera...

So all I can do, is move on, take more pictures and try to capture that magic that is developing between Gus and his Swiss grandparents...he is being spoiled without a minute to spare and he loves it...busily cooing away at an always attentive and appreciative audience.

I'll try to be back with some photos in a couple of days, until then, be patient.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Living in Transylvania!

In case you're not familiar with North Carolina, Brevard happens to be in Transylvania County - that's not a joke, early settlers apparently thought the Western North Carolina Mountains with their dark deciduous forests and lingering evening fog resembled the Romanian backcountry where Count Dracula lived...

Anyways, for a little town filled with friendly faces, Halloween is serious business. Last weekend Brevard's Halloween Fest took place amid a blue sky and mild temperatures - we went - as ourselves - last year we dressed up and even ran the midnight 5 K - this year we just showed up with Gus in tow. But we had a great time sauntering around our lovely little town (which also is the proud home of a toy store of epic proportions, currently is inhabited by some truly spooky monsters hovering over the town square).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cousin Eddy!

Yesterday we received wonderful news. My sister-in-law, Leah, and her husband, Andy, will have a boy!
His name is going to be Edward Mitchell, which I just love because it means Gus and Eddy get to be the two little boys with the cool old-fashion names...Cousin Eddy (yep, it's a movie reference) is expected to arrive in March and we are overjoyed along with his parents.

Gus can't wait to meet his little cuz.

My spooky cute babyboy!

The cute little pumpkin on the left is the work of Granna, who sent it to Gus (on the right) in time for Halloween. It sits on his crib and he loves staring at it first thing in the morning...

The present is worthy of a photo op...Gus loved romping with his little orange friend on his belly and held still for at least one second sitting up.

He is spooky cute isn't he?

Monday, October 22, 2007

A shot of sweetness...

Like father like son? Whenever I come up on a moment like this I want to stand and marvel and I want to run and get the camera, this time the latter won, oftentimes I just stand and life is full of sweetness these days.

Roll Tide!

Since Gus is half-Alabamian, he has to have a College Football allegiance - it's the laaaaw around here. So this weekend he sported his colors - and dare I say, though as Mommie I'm likely partial - he looks fetching in them.

And even though he didn't watch (he slept) he is a very effective new mascot for the Crimson Tide. They pounded Tennessee. I reckon every new little fan counts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Gus now weighs a proud 9 lbs and 14 oz. (50 percentile)
He is 21 1/2 inches long (79 percentile)

And he has received the first of a long list of shots ... he only cried briefly ... his Mom is still cringing.

Mommie & Me

I'm only posting this picture by popular demand ... I admit I hog the camera and have not really explained its inner workings to my a result most of my posts involve pictures of my two favorite guys - sans the most important woman in their lives...

So here is the proof - I'm still alive (albeit sleep deprived and it shows) and I have mastered holding my infant son and his ever so bobbely head...I no longer hold my breath whenever I put him through complicated baths and nail clipping sessions ...and I spend hours trying to imagine what Gus thinks as we spend time together ... here is a selection of Gus' deep thoughts:

About Mommie ...

She likes to kiss me, she does it a lot...I don't really like least I don't like to show that I like it.
She totes me all over town, because she enjoys getting out and because she says she needs the excercise...but I know the truth...she is just showing me off...she looks in every window for our reflection and she loves it.
She acts surprised and pleased about my dirty diapers...but I know that can't last.
She talks about cutting off her hair, because I like to get my tiny hands tangled in it...but she will wait because during our last bath together I looked cute holding on to her braid while she washed me.
She sometimes nods off while we "share" a late night dinner...thankfully we sit in a large chair and her head bobbs back up when it hits her chin. It looks funny from where I am.

About Daddy
He kisses me too...stubbly kisses...I crunch up my face when he does makes him laugh.
He plays the guitar and the banjo for me...I like it and I try to look his way when he does it.
He and I are great napping buddies...we both sleep with our mouths open.
When Mommie is too tired to burp me any longer in the middle of the night, he comes and walks with me. I like it. Sometimes I hold out for him. Mommie doesn't know this.
He calls me Fussy-Gussie when I am uncomfortable or want to start a conversation... or when I cry for no reason. I don't do this very often.

About Life
I like it so far. Save for the hiccups, hepatitis shots, wet diapers and giving footprints.

The women in my life ...

This past weekend Gus met two more women who, without question, will have great influence on his life - his aunt Leah and his Great-Grand-Meme ...
Check out how taken he is with his aunt and how relaxed he feels with his family's matriarch...
Also look at the adorable footwear he is wearing in the picture with Leah - those are slip-proof and water-proof (I'm not making this up) crib moccassins from Teva ... a lovely and oh-so-fun gift from our dear friends Theresa and Ricky Lotspeich ... we are stylish because our friends are...