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)