Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aunt Jenny and Cousin Sage visited today.  They brought vittles from Whole Foods (YUM!) and Jenny brought her camera.  Jenny is the bomb with her camera.  Here's some of her latest work.

Good Night!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

I just flew in from the coast and MAN are my arms tired...


Henny Youngman he's not, but not bad for 10 days old....

We were not consulted

Seriously, who is this newcomer?  And what is with that racket in the middle of the night?  Although there are lots of new smells in the house, which we are definitely going to investigate.

Are you down with my threads?

Jeff's mom called today because she heard Jeff's favorite song from his childhood and it made her think of him.  Jeff guessed it was Nancy Sinatra singing "These Boots are Made for Walking."  His mom reminded him of his undying love for the song "Delta Dawn."  Of course, both are classics, now aren't they?

In honor of ONE of Jeff's favorite childhood songs, Jack decided to dress up in some of his new duds.  The Converse HighTops came all the way from his Uncle Jon in England and the hat ("I was worth the wait") came from Uncles Brett and Eric.

So although we are jiggy with the oversized shoes and hat, we told Jack if we catch him with his diaper pulled way down in the back showing off his boxers, he was gonna be in a heap of trouble with his dads...

Heaven must be rockin' cuz when those Mulvaneys get together it's loud and it's fun...

Ruth Mulvaney Yester, my mother's sister passed away tonight after a long and fruitful life. 

Grandma and Grandpa Mulvaney had 11 children: Kathleen, Jim, Mac, Ruth, Dee, Peggy, Tommy, Bitsy, Johnny, Gert (who is my mom) and Noreen.  After tonight, only Uncle Jim and Mom are still here.

I am sad that Ruth never got to meet Jack.  She, like all the Mulvaneys, loved kids, especially babies.  She had a passel of her own kids just like Grandma and my mom.  Something in that Mulvaney gene pool drove them to try to make up for all the Irish souls lost during the Famine.

To know Ruth, you simply had to know her husband, her children, or her friends.  She was surrounded by people of good will.  She married possibly one of the sweetest men I have ever known.  She raised a family full of the funniest and kind-hearted children (now adults) that you will ever meet.  She was a strong and proud woman who knew her own mind and wasn't afraid to express it.

Although I am saddened by her death, there is still enough of the believer in me to think that tonight she is reunited with her mother and father, her brothers and sisters, her husband, and some of her children.  Given that mix, I would not be surprised if they all started playing cards and dominos 10 minutes after she passes through the Gates.  I hope she takes everyone's money.

Ruth, rest in peace.  You were a good woman and you will be missed.  Watch over my son, Jack, and put a good word in for us with Grandma and Grandpa Mulvaney.

Love,  Mark

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Physics Quiz: Determine the velocity of 6 ounces of spit up from the splatter pattern on my shirt.

This will be a short post as we have soooooo much to do.  Jack was a pro on the plane.  He ate when he was supposed to, slept for most of the rest of the time, and did not struggle when we had to change him.   All in all, he was perfect.

During the landing phase of the flight, Jeff fed him to keep his ears from hurting.  Then we were off the plane to the luggage department.  Our bags were among the first 5 bags offloaded - again, picture perfect.

We walked outside and Bill was there with his hyper-safe, German SUV toasty warm and ready for the quick trip home.  Jeff went in first,  the dogs and took them for a walk and then I slipped in to await them for the introduction.  Both Jake and Tucker were perfect gentlemen, sniffing, but respectful and very attentive.  Again, couldn't have gone any better.

Bill went home to pick up Josh and bring over a gift.  While he was gone, we discovered that Jack had shattered all previous records in the poop department.  This was one of those "oil derrick" types that found it way along his legs, back, and stomach.  It covered a third of his pajamas.  

As we stripped him out of the soiled footie pajamas, he deftly lifted his poop covered foot and put some on his cheek. We found poop all over him.   We then began to scramble, as we had literally just walked in the door and the bags (with ALL of the cleaning supplies) were littering the foyer.  
After what seemed like 15 wipes and a couple of diapers, we had him clean and rediapered and were putting him into the last clean footie pajama that we had.  Josh and Bill walk into the kitchen to witness that timeless, sweet vignette of a father picking up his freshly cleaned son.

As Jeff lifts Jack toward him, Jack decided it was time to remind us all exactly who was running this show and let loose with 2-3 rifle volleys of spit up, which caught Jeff on his chest, shoulder, sleeves and jeans.  It only took seconds but it was widespread and catastrophic in its reach!

Josh exclaimed that it looked just like that little girl from the Exorcist.

More later; gotta get stuff organized.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kinley Manor Coach House

Here's an exterior of the Coach House.  As Tom would say: "A-Dora-Bell!"


Someone is getting ready for the Superbowl.  Jeff wants to know if that's the one with the puck or the ball with the nice checkerboard pentagons.

Heading home tomorrow morning!

It's a lovely snowy day in Portland.  This is the view out the window of our little home away from home, the Kinley Manor Coach House.  (  Rupert and Scott have been lovely hosts and this has been the perfect place to cocoon while we waited for the paperwork to resolve itself.  We are walking distance from restaurants, an upscale mall, and yet it still retains its old historic neighborhood feeling, with lots of victorian houses, big lawns and wide avenues.  Jack has some real concerns that we would be leaving such a perfect set up, but we have assured him that it will be ok!

We are ready to return to DC.  We leave tomorrow, Wednesday around 9 am (PST) and get into DCA at 5 pm.  Thanks for all the support and we will see many of you soon.

xoxo  MGS, JD and JGDS

Jack loves Natalie!

Jack and I just got off the phone with Natalie who is helping us change our flights.  Sadly, we are not coming back to DC on Tuesday as originally planned.  We hope to make it back on Wednesday.  We are awaiting some paperwork signoff between DC and WA St.  

Natalie is our newest friend who works at the airline flying us home.  She was gracious and kind and helpful and thrilled about Jack.  

Jack said "That's all very well and good; can I have some more formula?"

Some things change.  Some things stay the same.  Hopefully we will see you all soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Project Runway -- the Hat Challenge

With apologies to Tim and Heidi, and in honor of the most dedicated Project Runway aficinados, Jason and Chris, we present the latest challenge in Project Runway: The Hat Challenge.

"Designers, your challenge is to create a signature couture hat for a small infant, who has no say whatsoever in the matter.  You may use only 100 percent cotton didies, swaddles, or other infant clothing.  You have a budget of no dollars and one afternoon.  

Make it work.

CONTESTANT NO. 1:  I took my inspiration from millenery of the Bullfighters of Espana, a representative sample of which is displayed below.

Nina:  "I am touched by the paean to my heritage and I like the simple approach.  But maybe you could have given us a little more?"
Michael Kors:  "I have seen this so many times.  Really it is quite been there, done that."
Heid: "I am thinking more Princess Leia than Spanish Bullfighter."


In this design, I am harkening back to the carefree days of Marlene Dietrich and Isidora Duncan, and the long white flowing scarves of Hermes.

Nina Garcia:  "I just don't get it.  There is no there, there.  The classic Hermes scarf is white and you just gave us the same blue waffle cloth as Contestant No. 1.  I am disappointed."

Michael Kors:  "I WOULD be disappointed if I weren't so bored.  I mean, sure, the movement is nice and all, but Miu Miu just did that last season."

Heidi: "Isidora Duncan?  An Hermes scarf? Didn't that end rather badly?  I am not so sure I would have gone with that."


In this entry, I wanted to do something that deconstructed the concept of couture hats and at the same time, echoed the animal head coverings of the lost tribes of the Asian plains.  I really didn't budget my time or cloth wisely.  I just ran out of time."

Heidi:  (Giggling).  "Just stop, stop, stop.  I am laughing so hard I may burst my werchersnercher."

Michael Kors:  "Ran out of time and material? Honey, it looks like you ran out of taste.  Did you even look at this before you sent your model down the runway?  I am sensing some definite taste issues.  You know you can't teach taste."

Nina:  (Sniffing).  "I have nothing to say.  Nothing.  Please take it away."


I was struck by the beauty and simplicity of the homburg adaptations used by the Quecha peasants in Ecuador, which you can see below.

I found a lovely textured fabric and tried to evoke the simplicity and utility of the homburg, while softening and rounding its silhouette.

Heidi:  "I like it.  I think it works."
Nina:  "Finally, you are showing us something we can believe in.  This is a nice use of that fabric and yet stays simple and connected to its inspiration."
Michael Kors:  "It's a little tall for me.  But I appreciate the work around the brim. "


Louis XIV, the SunGod, was my muse.  In my design, I wanted the full radiance of a gilt monstrance.  Like Louis, I wanted no boundaries for my design.

Michael:  "Impressive and outrageous, which is the essence of couture.  And friend, let me say there are no boundaries for this hat.  Just duck your head on the way into Versailles!"
Heidi:  "I want it very much.  You have to make it for me for my next trip to Cannes."
Nina:  "It is statuesque.  It is moderne.  It is dramatic.  It speaks loudly.  But I still think there is some detail work missing.  But a very good effort, all in all.  I am, for the most part, well pleased."


I liked the flow of this fabric.  I wanted something off the shoulder but balanced and organic.  I just tried to listen to the interior of the fabric.

Michael Kors: "I love it.  Smashingly elegant.  Touchable and yet sophisticated."
Nina:  "This tells me something about the very interior of your designer soul.  I appreciate your needle work, your design parti, and your choice of color."
Heidi:  "You are In!"

Jackson's First Trip to His Lawyers, Ex Utero

We have the distinct honor and privilege of being represented by two fantastic lawyers throughout this process, John Chally and Erin Robinson, of the law firm, Bouneff & Chally.

The old saying (which I take credit for making up) is "Everyone hates lawyers until they need a good one."

Suffice it to say, we love John and Erin. They are consumate professionals. They mind the little details. They respond promptly. They shrug off the constant nagging of friends advocating on your behalf and don't hold it against you (thank you Marc Herzog and Heather and Laura for being our advocates in chief).

John has been involved from the get-go on making Oregon's adoption laws some of the best in the nation. He has an ability to cut through the fluff and get to the heart of whatever matter is before you. He is comforting, but never misleading. He loves being a father, but is not maudlin. Like my ancestors have said, he's good people.

In their practice, Erin is the frontline for new mothers seeking adoptive parents. She is on call 24/7. She is unflappable, exceedingly polite (at all hours of the day or night), and very, very bright. She has an intuitive sense about people and brings a great deal of joy to the whole, exasperating process. She also has John's gift for cutting through the crap and getting you to the important stuff.

A big blubbery smack on the face to the both of you.


A collage of the first day of Jackson's life

Yes, that is Jeff and Mark walking to National Airport to catch their flight on Inauguration Day!

To guard against injury...

Never, never, never listen to David Sedaris when you are out running.  The risk of falling over from laughing out loud is just too high.  (The whole clip is good, but the dangeros part starts at about 5:50 and lasts about 14 minutes.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hotslings and Moby Wraps

Jeff and I have found Portland to be the perfect place to begin our little adventure.  Seeing two guys with varying amounts of grey hair walk in with a four day old does not phase anyone here, which is really nice. 

We have also discovered the crunchiest of crunchy baby stores, Bella Stella.  It's a baby consignment shop that specializes in all sorts of hyper organic stuff and carries kids clothes with names like "knucklehead" and "urban guerrilla anarchist baby gear."  (Ok, maybe that last one was a meet up poster I saw tacked to the telephone pole outside.)

We went in to Bella Stella because we are getting ready for the flight back to DC.

Wise people whom we trust recommended that we get a sling to carry Jack because it allows you to carry the baby right on your body, frees both hands, and has the baby stashed away so that well-meaning, but disease-laden strangers can't cough up congratulations and cootchie coos.  
(FYI: Last night when I had "Jackson-Watch," I offered a thousand apologies for every time I was the unknowing, well-meaning disease vector to a newborn.)

The sling we are using is made by "HotSlings."   For those of you trapped at home and worried about a recession/depression, etc., here is a perfect way to make people pay outrageous amounts of money for what is basically a loop of fabric that can be doubled back on itself.  

(If none of this makes sense, just go to the Hotslings website.  You will see lots of pouty-lipped women modeling the slings with what must be drugged children.  Jeff and I have been working on our pouty-lipped, smiling stance.  Jackson is thus far unimpressed.)

We were initially concerned about how goofy we would look in the Hotsling.  THEN we tried on the Moby Wrap.  The Moby Slingis even more money for less manufacturing.  The Moby Wrap is a piece of soft stretchy fabric that is about 3 feet wide and 25 feet long.  I kid you not.  It was so long that as I draped it over my neck (like a scarf) a full yard of fabric on each side of me lay on the floor.  My first thought was "Hmmm, how much stuff can I drag up into the folds of cloth and then wrap around me and the baby.  I could just  see someone putting this thing on in a truck stop bathroom in Manassas.  "Oh don't mind the floor.  Someone mopped it in 1985 and only three people have expired here since...."

I won't explain the complicated maneuvers required to put it on, but instead refer you to the website,

In the fifteen minutes it took me, Jeff, and the very sweet, incredibly competent and totally crunchy helper to twirl me into the Moby Wrap, three different women customers came up to me and swore the Moby Sling had saved their lives.  It apparently has also been instrumental in instigating the "Eat Local Food" effort, reducing global warming by a factor of 10, and some have even linked it to restarting the peace process.

Even with all that going for it, the Moby Sling was just more crunch than we could muster,  so we opted for the Hotsling.  

Now if I can just get my pouty lip thing down.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

and another video

A special video message....

Day Two in Moses Lake

Grandma Ruth pulled out her South Dakota cowgirl and told me I better get her some new pictures before Jack is all grown up.  Word is Grandma Gert feels the same way.

So in honor of his delightful, dedicated, and dreamy Grandmas (who, with Grandpas George and Gordon taught us everything we need to know about raising little boys), here is a set of pics of Jackson

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Friday, January 23, 2009

A New Day, in So Many Ways

January 20th brought new life to our nation. On the east coast, Barack Obama stands tall and becomes President. On the West coast, Jackson Gregory Dygert-Seifert bursts into our lives, and, in a very real way, becomes our Commander-in-Chief. Sorry Jake. Really, really sorry Tucker.