Another Summer Ends, Another Autumn Begins

As if the last day of summer rang a bell for the seasons, New England is already beginning to show its fall colors. The leaves are just now visibly changing, speckling the green with red, yellow, and orange. We have had a couple of sharp, biting cool nights which usually helps make for a beautiful autumn.

Of course autumn signals the start of football season, and the indoctrination process has long since begun. Of course soccer has started across Europe too. Plus, more games than ever are now on ESPN. I am loving it.

Go Pats! Cutest Pats Fans

School has gotten off to a good start this year, at least more noticeably than the typical first month. The only real trouble is that our computer network has rendered the internet almost unusable, which significantly impacts the day. Yet, I have been able to work round this for the most part. It is just mighty inconvenient, especially now that three out of the five classes I am teaching rely heavily on regular internet components, one is exclusively online, one is half online, and the other will spend half this term involved in a project that is almost exclusively online. Despite all of this, I am very much enjoying the classes and it looks to be a good year.

In His Grill

On the soccer front, my team of freshmen girls look like they are about to start really making progress and getting results. It is still a bit early to tell for sure, but the early indications are good. Their last game was the best they’ve played yet.

Ali continues to be a remarkable mother of our beautiful children. Fritz is really starting to reveal his personality now that he is smiling and cooing. He definitely has quite the expressive little face, in spite of his Chuchillesque cheeks. His expressiveness seems to be focused in the brow and mouth, as opposed to the eyes like his sister. Sadly, the photographs don’t quite capture this as well as video. As for Hadley, she continues to talk away with enthusiasm. If only she would do more of it when prompted by the phone. Then everyone could hear her little chipmunk voice cuteness.

Hopefully, the videos reveal a bit more about each of them that a simple photograph can’t quite capture.

Returning to Work & Kid Update

The new school year is officially underway and our daughter turned two years-old. Much has been happening. Since the arrival of Fritz, time has become even more of a challenge, especially for Ali. What we are finding is just how much more work two children are than only one. Still, Ali continues to be the most wonderful of mothers.

Warning, I'm Two!   Cookie Monster Cake

Sharing Cake with a Friend

Hadley remains absolutely delighted with her brother. It is hard to refer to him as little, considering how big he has gotten so quickly. Fritz routinely charts in the 90th percentile for height and weight and definitely qualifies as a big boy. The pictures don’t quite accurately demonstrate his size, unless there there is something else in the frame to provide scale. Regardless of the photograph what is more obvious is why we often introduce him as “Fritz and his cheeks.” He certainly is a bit more fickle than his sister was and has quite a set of lungs. He definitely lets everyone know when he is having some trouble.

Smiling at Sis   New Sheriff in Town

Two Kiddos

Cutie with the Flowers

As mentioned, Hadley is taken with the little man and showers him with kisses and conversation. She is definitely becoming Mommy’s little helper, doing everything she can to help out with Fritz. Plus, her conversation skills are improving at a rapid rate. She is already stringing together short sentences and is turning out to be a most polite little girl, with pretty regular use of “please,” “thank you,” and “welcome.” She also regularly celebrates her actions with a joyful, “I did it!” even when it is quite debatable as to whether that statement is true. The kid takes credit for everything. No matter, we get great pleasure from her little chipmunk voice.

With Mom at the Orchard

Purple Outfit   New Stroller

Daddy's Girl

Everything has Compounded

After capturing our first child’s birth two years ago in writing, I was feeling a whole lot of pressure to repeat things this time around. So I’ve waited, far too long, in hopes of better seizing the moment of our newest child’s birth. Well, here goes.

Nearly two years ago our daughter Hadley burst into the world as the sun broke across the morning sky. Instantly overloaded, everything I felt was raw and new. With my wife’s latest pregnancy, this time our preparation was even better. However, the moment when her labor was to begin remained wildly unpredictable. So recently, as I rose on a Thursday, near dawn with a full day’s schedule ahead of me, the last thing I expected was the new round of surprises awaiting me. In fact, the previous day I had accompanied my wife to her now weekly doctor’s appointment, reinforcing my certainty that labor was still some time to come – a week or so, the doctor and I surmised. However, as Ali cautioned my departure, incredulous that I was to spend the better part of the day over thirty-five miles from home, she followed with the quintessentially on-cue declaration, “You’re not going anywhere, because I think my water just broke.” With that statement, we entered our own peculiarly new phase. It was all remarkably familiar but diametrically different.

Last time our baby was born in the morning. This time the sun descended across Boston, nearing the golden hour of soft shadows and gilded gables. Again, Ali proved brilliant, delivering a blessed baby boy. Our son entered the world at 5:01 PM, on July 16, an instant namesake, triggering a whole new round of emotional tumult, again paradoxically familiar yet strange. The memorable gush I experienced during our daughter’s birth was stopped in seconds after on this evening. There were no instant cries of new life, but the briefest stay on Ali’s chest before being swiped for a support team of physicians. Following delivery, commotion and cacophony. Our baby boy’s face was the color of blueberry.

Fear and anxiety filled me as I waited for his first scream. Before I realized, I left Ali’s bedside, finding our newborn in the warmer, now screaming, with a new doctor cooing over him, accompanied by a team of other doctors and nurses, all assuring me that everything was alright. “It is only bruising,” she said in a rich Italian accent, “but we wanted to be sure.” As a result of the speed and force of delivery, his face bruised. Yet upon seeing a violet faced newborn a sequence of actions were immediately set in motion to ensure that he had not been deprived of oxygen. As a nurse would later explain, “We have a lot of resources at this hospital, so we like to use them.” In a blur, the little lad was wrapped and safely back in mother’s arms and the beautiful scene was slowly returning. The blueberry shade would fade quickly, revealing his handsomeness. It was all too much, again, but in such a different way from last time.

Minutes Old with Mom

Fritz, Ali’s honored nod to a family nickname, stirs something far below the surface. When I was a boy, my grandfather nicknamed me Fritz, as he too had been called when he was a boy. My nickname would later morph into Fritzwinkle, where the winkle came from I know not. Now, we had our own little Fritz, bringing with him more nuanced complications and complexities that I am still trying to understand. Yet, now I have a son, a namesake even, and he is a fantastic addition to our family. I only wish the first Fritz were here to see him.