Monday, November 30, 2009

Jen is starting college today!

Jack and I spoke with his birthmom, Jen, on Thanksgiving Day. Jen sounds great. She and her cousin cooked the Turkey and many of the other dishes. The best news of the day was that she is starting college at the University of Antelope Valley in Lancaster CA.

We are so proud of her. She is super smart and is going to do great.

In honor of her auspicious beginnings today, Jack went down for his morning nap with just a minimal amount of squirming.

Go get 'em, Jen!

This JUST IN. A ruling from the court of the other Daddy...

Through the miracles of broadband, we have just received a ruling from the Court of the Other Daddy. To wit:

Please tell the petitioner that, as a prudential matter, the Court of the Other Daddy always gives considerations of comity substantial weight in these situations, and a simultaneous case in this court will not be worth the substantial legal fees that he will likely incur in prosecuting it.

I suspect, though, that the case has become moot, because his dissatisfaction has been replaced by interest in other toys and his generally sunny disposition.

Conservation of Judicial Resources

In the law, I believe there isa theory that we should conserve judicial resources by not allowing the same case to travel up different courts. This theory is known as the conservation of judicial resources.

This morning Jack is challenging the validity of this theory.

He is loudly protesting the removal of a piece of painters' tape from his grubby little hands (as his hand was headed toward his mouth).

He has failed in his appeal to the Court of Benevolent Grandparents.

He is now forum-shopping and is looking at a simultaneous case with the District Court of the Other Daddy. (Jack and I are in Birmingham extending the Thanksgiving holidays, while Jeff had to go back to DC.)

I explained to Jack that comity interests were sure to submarine his chances. He is undeterred.

Sorry for the rambling. It was a long day yesterday!

MGS

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I sure hope Aunt Cathy is cooking something better than this for Thanksgiving...

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Emily rocks...

Emily is on tour with Push Play. Last Monday, she sang at Jammin Java. She completely rocked. In addition to all the numbers on her new EP, she also covered a Radio Head tune and Joan Jett! We had so much fun.

Her hands look just like her mom's when she's playing the guitar.


Afterwards, we saw her backstage. On my left is Alanna, who is the daughter of Kerrie and Kevin, two good friends of ours from law school.

Jack was home asleep during all of this. He's not quite ready for the groupie role in life!
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Jack and Emily!

Cousin Emily is in town for her tour and Jack said it was time for him to meet her. They had a blast. Emily was fantastic with Jack.




Jack seems worried that the paparazzi are getting a little too close....

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Jack gets his first haircut...

The fabulous Lucero gave Jack his first haircut last Saturday. Jack was incredibly smooth throughout the process. Nary a peep. In retrospect, we were both wistful because with his haircut, he looks like a little boy now and not a baby.

This first picture is the "before" shot.


Lucero moved like the wind. She kept spinning us around to try and get at all the angles!
Jack seemed unphased by it all.

He's now got a "little boy" haircut.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good news; bad news...


I have some really good news and some bad news.


The good news is that today Jeff and I registered as domestic partners in the District of Columbia. (That's us below signing the documents....)


After 17 years, and one child, there is a local government that has allowed us to make it official --we are recognized as a family. (Never one to miss an opportunity for a celebration, I was singing "Going to the Chapel" on our way into the nondescript DC government building.)

Jack seemed pleased that his parents were making it official.

One of the benefits of registration is that now all three of us can take advantage of the family insurance plan of Jeff's incredibly progressive employer.

Although it was a simple ministerial act -- sign some papers, show an i.d., pay a fee -- it was nice that somewhere in this great big country, even if it was within the bowels of some nondescript government building, someone officially said "Hey these guys, in fact, ARE a family." this is just a first step, but it is a nice one.



Now for the bad news....

Apparently, by registering today, we have embarked on the destruction of all of our straight friends' marriages. For this, we are truly, deeply sorry. It was a difficult choice, but the insurance premiums are just killing us.

To all of our beloved straight friends whose relationships were annihilated at approximately 3:45 pm today, our profound apologies. If you are in the neighborhood, the first round is on us. Come on by and we can reminisce....

Man's best friend... or is it Dog's best friend?

Every morning, Tucker plants himself below Jack's suspended high chair waiting for the goodies to fall. Jack continues to develop his ability to feed himself. Besides the genetic predisposition for Cheerios, he has been experimenting with other food. We are getting past the need to puree everything and are starting to feed him what we are eating. This morning he cracked me up by feeding a blueberry to himself, then to me, then one overboard to the waiting brown dog.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sometimes you just want to squeeze them...


This is at the end of the day of the steeplechase. I have deftly framed the picture so that you can't see the evidence of a weeklong cold from his nares....
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Uncle Jeffie at the Races with Jack



Rob's partner Jeff is so sweet with Jack. That weekend, we went to Jack's first steeplechase, which was held at Madison's home. Jack's bottle had formula. Everyone else's bottle had more potent stuff....
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Jeff loves his dog...

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Celebrating Rob's birthday in the country...



Recently, we spent a glorious weekend at Will and Joe's place in the country celebrating Rob's birthday. Rob is a dear friend and is wonderful with Jack.

Happy Birthday to a real sweetie, Rob.

xoxo Jack, Jeff and Mark
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Jeff had his first big work trip at his new job...

Jack knew he would do just fine...

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Ummmmmm.....wooden block.

Jack loves his Grandma Gert

Catching up on the posting.

I saw this picture and loved how he's smiling at her....

Everyone needs a hero....

As I listen for my son to awaken from his nap, I am contemplating what it means to be a good father to him. I have to look no further than my own father to know what it means to be a good father, a good mate, a good man.

I am continuously struck by what a remarkable man he is.

At 81, Gordon still pole vaults. He throws a mean discus and javelin, and has been perfecting his high jump form for upwards of 63 years.

He believes in doing things himself.

We have to BEG him to stay off the roof during leaf season. (The back side of the house has a 40 foot drop. We have only been moderately successful in that endeavor. I threatened to steal his ladder if I found out he was on the roof again. Last year he sent my 53 year old brother up in his stead.)

My childhood memories are dotted with him under one of the numerous Seifert cars with an instruction book, a series of wrenches, and the occasional grunt and a smattering of PG-rated swearing.

(I remember once getting in trouble in 4th grade for saying "Dammit to Hell." While the authority figures at Our Lady of Sorrows were deeply disapproving, my more in-the-know peers mocked me for such low grade cursing.)

Dad has replaced, repaired, and reconstructed countless household appliances. Dishwashers, clothes washers, fans, blenders. All have had their guts spread across the nearest floor. Nearby would be Dad and an instruction manual. Often my role was to hold the flashlight.

Dad also believes in sacrifice.
When he met my mom, he was in the Army. The family lore is that with his success in multiple sports, coaching was an obvious career path. Loyola Ignatius Mulvaney, Mom's dad, told Dad he needed to get a real job. So Dad headed out to US Steel where he worked until retirement.

On the side he continued to coach - basketball, baseball, football, and his great love, track and field. He coached his children, his neighbors, the grammar school, the local high school and even a local college. (I always found it interesting that Alabama's flagship Baptist college relied on a Yankee Catholic to teach their athletes how to pole vault.)

Dad put all seven of us through 12 years of private education on his salary at US Steel. He and Mom understood how to stretch, to save, and to live within their means. Growing up, none of us even understood what a "new car" smell was. None of us felt the lesser for it.

As a result, through repetition and emulation, his children learned the secrets of frugality. All of my sisters still break out into a cold sweat when a particularly sweet bargain presents itself.

During our attempts to spoil our parents in their golden years, I still sense a bit of reticence on Dad's part. In his mind, there is simply no need to spend that kind of money, it's simply an extravagance -- which in his personal dictionary is a synonym for wastefulness.

I am happy to report that the joys of a Starbucks Vanilla Latte has proven that even the most frugal are susceptible to a little bit of luxury in a coffee cup...

Dad believes in generosity.

Any of us could bring home the random stray friend for dinner and Dad never said a negative word about having to feed another mouth. In thinking about this, I remember him always being the last at the table to get his portion of the meal. That way if there was not enough, he would be the one going short.

Although stretching dollars, Dad always gave at the collection during church. He and Mom collected for the Heart Association for decades. (Strangely prescient on their part given Mom's heart troubles late in life...). I remember growing up thinking how fortunate we were because Dad and Mom always had us doing things with and for folks that were less fortunate than we were. After the children finally left the nest, this portion of their lives really kicked into high gear. For years, they volunteered at a local woman's shelter. One year, they left their home to work on a "Habitat for Humanity" type of gig in Ohio. Over 25 years, they adopted various elderly people living on their own, bringing them food, taking them to church, playing bridge with them, and surreptitiously cleaning their homes and checking on their medical and mental health.

There is so much more that I can say...and probably will in later posts. But this has gone on a bit longer than I expected. So today, mostly I just want to thank him. In the last few years, Dad's mettle has been tested. He's taking care of my Mom who is suffering from Alzheimer's. When praised for his care-taking, he will protest loudly that he took a vow for better or for worse and in sickness and in health, and that he's just living up to that vow. He has also said that she would do the same for him. All of this is true.

But watching him with her day in and day out, through the insidious turns of this slow degradation, makes me love him more than I ever have in my life. He treats her with such respect and tenderness during episodes no one should ever have to witness. He is an absolute rock and yet still has a sense of humor and perspective.

As Dad constantly says, getting old is not for the weak.

After more than a half of century together, he's in love with her as much as when they were a young second lieutenant and a classically trained pianist, dancing to Glenn Miller.

Dad, sorry for embarrassing you this way, but I wanted Jack to know when he's all grown up just how deeply I respect, admire and love you. He will read this one day and will know how deeply important you are and how proud I am to call you Dad.

Mark

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sorry about the paucity of posts....

It's been a little crazy. I have some updating that I will try to do tomorrow to catch you up on the latest in Mr. Jack's life.

xoxo MGS

sorry about the paucity of posts....

It's been a little crazy. I have some updating that I will try to do tomorrow to catch you up on the latest in Mr. Jack's life.

xoxo MGS

Rubbing Heads

From very early on, I would touch my head to Jack's as a sign of affection. He was so tiny I was afraid I was going to whack him with my glasses or scratch him with my beard.

He must have picked up on it because about 2 months ago, I realized he was mimicking that by rubbing his head against mine. It is the sweetest thing. He's very deliberate and yet delicate about it. He slowly moves toward you and gently lowers his head until he's touching yours and then he rocks his head slightly.

When we were in Birmingham, Dad was on the floor playing with him and I caught Jack doing the head rub with Dad. I am the luckiest guy in the world....





Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Uncle Mike, Part II

A well-documented medical phenomena is the devouring of the adult brain by small children in situ. I am suffering under this syndrome even as we speak. If you are confused, just try listening to "Elmo's Song" 5 times in a row... it will give you a window into my confusion, brain-dead existence.

All of this is by way of prelude to my message to my lovely brother on the actual day of his birth, which is today November 6. We have a special surprise birthday gift for Mike. Mike spent 6 months with us last year and grew to know and love at least one of our dogs. (I will give you a hint, it was the old man that he fell in love with.) We think that it is just a matter of time before Mike comes to understand, know, and love the joy that is Tucker.


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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Uncle Mike!

Today is the Birthday of Uncle Mike! Uncle Mike is smart and loyal and kind and sweet and wickedly funny. November 2009 has to be one of the greatest months of his life and we are all so happy for Mike and Marsha.

Thanks for being a good brother, a fantastic role model and a great friend. Aside from the occasional deeply depressing book suggestion and your distaste for our brown dog, we are not sure you have any other faults whatsoever! We are so proud of you.

Be sure and have a slice of cake for Jack, since cake is not on his current regimen.

(forgive the stream of conciousness. It was an act of sheer determination to even get this video taken and posted. Himself is quite the mover and shaker these days and requires constant vigilance.

love Mark, Jeff, Jack, Jake and Tucker.


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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

With babies, sometimes you just have to improvise . . .


This is the morning Jack and I were leaving Birmingham to return to DC. I had Jack, a carseat, our big rolling bag, and the diaper bag that I needed to load into the car. (Mom and Dad were at church, so I was on my own). Not knowing what to do with Jack, I popped him in the trunk as I tried to get everything in the car. Three seconds later, he pops up like a gopher. It was too cute.

(For you OCD/clean freak folks, the rental car was brand new. The trunk was several magnitudes cleaner than our kitchen floor where Jack spends a fair amount of his waking hours, so for me, it was a pretty easy choice....)




(I am still catching up on pictures from the last month, so some of these posts will be out of chronological order. Work with me.)
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Jack Loves His G-Mom so much, he's stealing her hairstyle!


We had a lovely Halloween weekend with Jeff's Mom. She and Jack were joined at the hip the entire weekend. Jeff and his mom were up early early early this morning to catch flights out of BWI, but Jack wanted to make sure she got the proper send-off. We are looking forward to seeing Ruth and Ray (and Greg and Danielle) in Santa Fe over Christmas.
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