Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Real Kids

While listening to the Forrest Gump Suite:

DK: This song is nice and quiet and peaceful.
KK: Yeah, I like it. Does it make you feel quiet and peaceful?
DK: No Mom. I'm a real kid.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sad Things

Overheard while the grandparents were in town:

Babci: It's time to go inside.
DK: I don't want to. It makes me sad to go inside.
Babci: There are a lot of things in life we have to do that make us sad.
DK: Yeah. Like taking back library books.

Des and Vovô going outside.

Note: "Babci" means grandmother in Polish, "Vovô" is grandfather in Portuguese. It's what Desmond calls Peter's folks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Mighty Fortress

We bought a new dresser for Charlotte's room. The delivery men left the box. Box + 3 year old = lots o' fun. Peter and Des made a pretty cool multi-part fort that wraps around the sofa, complete with multiple look-outs, windows, skylights and doors.

Of course, not everything comes natural to all kids. Once inside Desmond said, "This is AWESOME.....uh, now what do I do in here?"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Musical Expression

Desmond is in love with listening music. More or less than most kids, I don't know. It's been a fun development over the past few months. When he hears a song he likes, we let him add it to "Desmond's Playlist." It's not kids' music either - country, rap, soundtracks, indie, religious, classical all make the cut.

Nothing related to music....I just never posted a Halloween photo.

Some of the fascinating aspects of this:
  • Emotional expression - He notices that songs have different feelings associated with them. The idea that Peter and I may think a song has a different feeling (hopeful vs. melancholy) blew his mind. It's fun to try to teach that people interpret art differently and that's part of its beauty. I've also been challenged to expand my own emotional vocabulary. Happy and sad just don't cut it. But it's also tough to explain the complexities of bittersweet, resentful, joyous, etc. to a kid. Tough, but fun. Emotional expression is my favorite part of this whole topic.

  • Musical vocabulary - Des enjoys being able to describe the non-emotive aspects of a song. Words like vocals, lyrics, instrumental, names of instruments, rhythm, etc. I can tell he likes the power of being able to categorize what he is hearing.

  • Language learning - He can recognize the artist and song title of over 30 songs on his playlist, regardless of the order. I know he isn't "reading" yet and has probably just memorized these details. I do think this is part of a stepping stone in his path to literacy.
And since this blog is partially for Desmond's future keepsake, here are some of the songs currently on his playlist. I think he has pretty good taste. You should check them out!

Montgomery Gentry - Gone
Dierks Bentley - Sideways
K-O's - Crabbuckit
Rusted Root - Send Me On My Way
Natasha Bedingfield - Strip Me
Decemberists - Sons and Daughters
Kanye West - Jesus Walks
Celtic Worship - Be Thou My Vision
Keith Green - Holy, Holy, Holy
Forrest Gump Suite
Ennio Moricone - Songs from "The Mission"
Eddie From Ohio - Number Six Driver
Slow Club - Christmas TV
Lady Gaga - Alejandro, Poker Face, Just Dance
Beyonce - If I Were a Boy, Halo, Single Ladies
Natalie Walker - Colorblind
Rockabye Baby - Just Breathe

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Charlotte Fern

It happened! Charlotte Fern Kraft arrived into the world on November 4th, 2011 at 9:13am weighing 8lbs 5oz at 20.75 inches long.

I'm not even sure where to begin with my thoughts about this little girl. Having Desmond has taught me how to love babies. Loving him and watching him grow into a fantastic three year old somehow makes me love baby Charlotte all the more. It's easier for me to slow down and just enjoy holding her, marveling that just a few days ago she was "alive" inside of me.

After Desmond's one week stay in the NICU, it was sheer joy to cuddle Charlotte while in the hospital. Once again, the staff at INOVA Fairfax hospital gave us excellent care. They seem to really enjoy their jobs and do them well. Peter and I both found inspiration in their excellence.

Desmond has been excited and kind to his little sister so far.
He speaks to her in the sweetest voice. It brings tears to my eyes.

So we have a newborn. Wow. I have no clue how anything will ever get done without family around to help. I see other families do it, but cannot fathom how it will ever happen here again. But as Scarlett O'Hara said, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

For those of you who didn't learn about this via email, Peter issued the geek challenge (see below) to figure out Charlotte's details. Carl M. won the bitcoin prize by submitting the first correct answer. He has generously donated his bitcoin to Charlotte's college fund. :-)

-------------- The Peter Challenge --------------
Now for the geeky part.  The reward for the first correct answer is 1 bitcoin.
Birth time = base64 decode the following: OToxMyBBTSAtIE5vdmVtYmVyIDR0aCwgMjAxMQo=  
Birth weight = A xor B, where...
A = Charlotte Fern Kraft - (A is a byte stream represented by 8-bit padded ASCII, trimmed whitespace)
B = e0gRHRkBEAdLDmhFR05PPhwCAwc= - (B is a byte stream represented by base64 encoded data)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Aunt Meg and Uncle Ryan

Aunt Meg and Uncle Ryan came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Besides from being incredibly useful to the adults (mopping, painting, etc.), they also lavished the love on Desmond.

It's fun watching Desmond's sense of humor develop. He made "jokes" all weekend about "Aunt Meggie-poo" or "Uncle Rynee-poo." He also started picking up on when other people were making jokes more quickly than he used to. All in all, it was a really fun weekend together.

Sword fighting.

Angry Birds meets real-life.

Fun at the playground.

Gussied up for a baby luncheon at Sweetwater.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Just a few more days left of our mom-dad-Desmond trio.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Leaves

No autumn would be complete without some leaf jumping.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Aunt Katie

Aunt Katie stayed with us for a while a couple of months ago as she worked on getting all the appropriate visas for her far-flung life. (Seriously, she will kick your butt at the Sporcle country quiz.)

One of the most fun parts of her stay (other than having someone to do all the bending involved in unloading the dishwasher - THANK YOU!) was watching her and Desmond hang out. Katie reintroduced the love of a dance party into our lives. She played endless games, read endless books (especially Frieght Train), and let Desmond hover as she developed her new blog , CulturTwined, and did other "boring" computer work. (Although now he will ask, "Can I pleeeease help do some boring work on the computer?")

I've come to realize that whether our family is physically near or far, our lives don't often afford us a chance to just live life with one another. It makes me cherish these moments all the more when Desmond (and soon-to-be little sister) get to see family.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Confession

I've been hiding something from you. For the past three months, Desmond and my average wake-up time has been around 8:15am. I didn't sleep that late when I was a "working" woman! It started somewhere in July. Usually I would adjust our schedule and try to get him back up on a 7:30-ish wake-up time. (It makes the day flow a little easier.) But then I started thinking...

In three or four months now five weeks I will have a NEWBORN. I will not sleep well for a year. I will be so sleep deprived that when I do actually sleep, it will be so deeply and desparately that I might dislocate my shoulder. (This actually happened when Des was a baby.) Neither riches nor chocolates will compete with the thought of a full night's sleep.

I would be insane to willingly give up sleep now, just for the convenience of some self-imposed schedule. As the discomforts of third trimester pregnancy try to rob me of precious sleep, I am zealously embracing my late wake-ups and secretly wondering if Desmond's natural inclination to sleep late seals his fate to be an engineer. And parents of newborns, don't hate me. I'll be joining you soon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Collar vs. Collared

As Peter was getting ready for work...

PK: OK Des, I have to put on a collared shirt.
DK: Oh! Then you'll be a dog!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Turning Three

Desmond turned three on September 8th. We combined a cook-out with some neighbors with a birthday party for him. Since he doesn't like cake, I made a donut tower instead. Then on his proper birthday Grandma came up (it was her birthday too!) and we celebrated again. I underestimated how much fun it would be watching him enjoy being "special." I was also really touched to see how excited he was that it was Grandma's birthday, not just his own.

I can't believe we've been parents for three years now. Life as a parent is so much more satisfying and fulfilling than I imagined. I'm really grateful for my family.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Canary

It's no secret that Peter and I have some fundamental, philisophical disagreements about air conditioning. Without going into many details, I will say while Peter doesn't mind the heat, he detests the humidity. Have I reminded you recently that we live in the Washington DC area? Humidity? It's not the Amazon, but sometimes I think it comes close.

Well, we've finally discovered our canary in the mine. If your cough drops start dissolving, you probably ought to turn on the AC.

Friday, September 23, 2011


At dinner Peter was explaining to Desmond how he makes coffee at work. Desmond thought "mug" was a really funny word and didn't know what it was. We got out a glass and a mug and began comparing the two.

PK: And sometimes a mug is insulated.
DK: Then a glass is EXulated!

Not quite, but points for creativity.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Rough housing

I've definitely hit a wall in terms of my mobility and energy this pregnancy. It's difficult to make myself rest instead of getting things done during Des' naptime. Now I'm earnestly on the hunt for fun activities for Des that require little from me.

All of this makes me extra grateful for Peter. He and Desmond have been getting closer lately, partially because Dad plays with him a lot more vigorously than I do. Des is learning the joy of rough housing, although he still does it best with adults who know when to stop. :-)

A photo series of one of their many games:

Monday, September 05, 2011

Good Reads

Do you use Good Reads? It's a social networking site that allows you to rate and comment on books you've read and then see what your friends are reading as well.

I've been on Good Reads for a while now and really enjoy the suggestions and comments my friends have on books they're reading. If you haven't signed up, I'd encourage you to consider it. (It hooks up with Facebook, in case that's a selling point for you.) Don't forget to find me on there!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Potty Talk

Desmond is pretty much toilet trained now. I usually avoid potty talk around non-parents, but some of the things he's said along the way can't be kept to myself.

About two weeks into the whole process, he got very picky about how we celebrated his success in the #2 department.
DK: (stern voice) Mom, you may not cheer for me. But I will take the juice box.
(Seriously?!?! Why not just leave for college now!!)

Overheard after another successful #2 episode:
DK: That's hilarious! Gravity pulled it [the poop] down.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pivotal Moments

Today we went to the library. Desmond has a few favorite books he likes to habitually check out. Today, Freight Train, by Donald Crews was on his mind.

Wanting to encourage him to explore first, I convinced Desmond to find some other books for us to read before we found Freight Train. As we read a different book, Des looked up and an expression of sheer panic seized him. Another family had chosen Freight Train and was reading it at a nearby table.

I explained they might end up taking the book home with them. He might not get to check-out Freight Train this time. "We were here first," he said with a quivering voice. True, I replied, but they got to the book before we did.

His lip trembled. His wide eyes filled with tears. He looked personally affronted. The next three minutes were character shaping.

I expected a tantrum. I expected him to forcibly take the book away. Instead, Des collected himself and we finished reading the other book. He asked if we could look for another copy of Freight Train. We did and found none. He stared at the other child longingly - dejection written all over his face. No tantrum. No show of force.

As it turns out, there was a special display of Donald Crews books that day (explaining why it wasn't on the shelf). There were THREE more copies of Freight Train, much to Desmond's delight.

Three minutes is an eternity for a 3 year old. I think it took the self-control equivalent of an Olympic athlete for Desmond to respond the way he did. I am so proud of my son.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Des emerged from the bathroom one morning having done his own hair. I think I have some job security as his mom for a while longer.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Late Night Conversations

I think we've hit a point where Desmond has probably said some pretty embarrassing stuff to adults when we're not around. For example, at the breakfast table one morning.

DK: Mom, why did dad knock you up and get you pregnant?
(I shoot a questioning look at Peter)
PK: Uh....boys talk about stuff late at night...

Peter's comment to me later was, "Well, I like to tell him stuff that will be just embarrassing enough..." Hmph.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Playing Catch

My recent lunch conversation with Desmond.

DK: Mom, are you still pregnant?
KK: Yep, baby sister is still growing in my tummy. (pause) Well, technically she is in my uterus, which is right below my stomach. (pointing to each)

I continue eating. After each of my bites, Desmond giggles.

KK: Why are you giggling?
DK: Cause baby sister is catching all of your food!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Defiling Geometry

DK: Dad, I really want to play Wii today.
PK: Sure. Do you want to play Geometry Wars or Donkey Kong?
DK: Geometry Whores please. It's my favorite.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Too Many Family Injuries?

DK: Dad, what do you think of me?
PK: I think you're swell.
DK: Oh no Dad, that only happens when you're injured.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Fourth 2011

On the 4th of July we went to the Fairfax County celebrations with our friends Jason and Ashley Head and their two boys who are just older and younger than Desmond. It was fun to watch kids playing happily together.

Ashley snapped a few pictures of Desmond during the day. She is starting a freelance photography business if anyone is interested. Check her work out at

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Shoo Fly

This one took me a while....

At the family reunion Desmond was delightedly scaring the flies away from the food. He kept saying "Shoo fly, shoo. Do what you are."

Friday, August 05, 2011

Family Reunion

We attended the Bailes Family Reunion (my mom's family) this past weekend at Hawks Nest State Park in West Virginia. I'm a Western NC girl myself, but I must say West Virginia is gorgeous.

The weekend was a bit of a bummer. Desmond got sick with some virus (and now has a lower respiratory infection). Peter came down with a vertigo-illness that we are still sorting out. Despite the sick boys, we still enjoyed seeing family.

A fun discovery on the trip is that Desmond enjoys books on tape. (No surprise there.) We listened to Charlotte's Web for part of the trip and I enjoyed it as much as Desmond!

The New River Gorge Bridge. Breath taking.

It's the third largest arch bridge in the world.

Sparing his pregnant wife, Peter carried Des up many, many stairs despite his vertigo.

Desmond loved his bed "nest" and spent most evenings "chirping" all his sentences before bed.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Feigned Altruism

Ever since Des learned Target sells those kids reading computers, he can't go often enough...

DK: There is a baby in my uterus and I need to go to Target to buy it a present.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mystery of Life

KK: Your new baby sister is hiding in my tummy.
DK: Please spit her out!
**thoughtful pause**
DK: Well, then I have a baby in my pocket.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not Playing with Fire

DK: Thank you Jesus for all the matches I don't play with.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moving on Up

Back in May Desmond moved into his new room. He is using the bunk beds that Peter slept in during the Baltimore years of his childhood. He transitioned really well into his new room and "big boy bed." I'm glad Peter talked me into waiting eight more months; I think the extra age made things a lot easier.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Really, Peter is the only Dexter fan in the house....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obey Your Muver

DK: Mom, I'll drive us to church today.
KK: Oh you can't drive until you're 16 years old. That's a long time away. You're only 2 and a half.
DK: (solemnly) And two year olds must obey their muvers. (mothers)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brace Yourself

In January Peter tore his ACL saving a small child from a being hit by a car.....or making a totally non-heroic basketball move.

In April he had surgery. If you live in DC and need knee surgery, Dr. Chris Annunziata is your man. Seriously. The Redskins and DC United use him. Not sure why he still works on mere mortals, but he does.
Anyway, a couple of months after the surgery....

DK: Thank you Jesus for my knee that bends.

Anytime Des sees someone on crutches with a leg injury, he makes up a long story about how they hurt their knee playing basketball. :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Little Napoleon

DK: Dear Jesus, thank you for technology, passwords, Firefox, pictures and.....balls to play with.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


DK: Dad, you're precious. You let me play with your phone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


DK: We get chicken nuggets at McDonalds AND Chick-fil-A
KK: True. I prefer to eat Chick-fil-A though.
DK: Mooooom, you can't eat Chick-fil-A. It's a restaurant!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mouth Watering

DK: Mom, a fountain of spit just came out of my mouth.
KK: Yep. That's called drool.
DK: Cool, can I do it again?!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Inside Voices

Desmond is at the stage where he says all kinds of funny stuff that I'll be sharing over the next few weeks.

KK: Would you prefer we read to ourselves, or that I read out loud to you?
DK: Oh Mommy, don't read loud inside. You can read out quiet to me.