Father’s Day Firsts

My first Father’s Day has now come and gone. As it approached it all seemed so strange. I had little or no expectation of what it would be like, and Ali regularly interrogated me to gauge my excitement. Sadly, my excitement was lacking. With Hadley being only months old, it wasn’t as if she was going to surprise me. Yet, as always, Ali did.

Fred's First Father's Day

One of the funny things about my lovely wife is that when it comes to gifts she is extremely child-like. While she is profoundly sophisticated at conceiving and selecting gifts, always thoughtful and generous, she absolutely cannot stop talking about one after she has secured it. So, for the last month or so, Ali has been playfully taunting me with her regular chatter of "Are you exited about your first Father’s Day? I already got your present. I think you are going to love it. Do you want me to give it to you now? Ooooh, I can hardly wait to give it to you. I hope you like it!" Every major event where gifts are involved between the two of us, some similar build toward the point of bursting ensues. She simply cannot contain her enthusiasm. It is quite endearing. I am just glad that she holds off on the Christmas present. Otherwise, I might have my gift before September, because her excitement could possibly overtake her. Nevertheless, she scored well with two remarkably warm and wonderful gifts.

I Love Daddy   Working Single Handedly...Literally

As there is  a long standing tradition in her family of presenting fathers with an ugly tie, she playfully riffed off of this idea with Hadley’s gift to me. It features one of my favorite snapshots of Hadley in a random collage-effect, all printed on a black necktie. Not exactly an everyday tie, not that I wear one all that often anyway, but still one that is likely to get occasional use, especially as Hadley gets older and finds it more embarrassing. What larks wearing it will be then!

#1 Dad Shirt

The second gift was the real gem. Ali fashioned a book together which tells the story of my becoming a dad, complete with text and a stunning selection of photos from the past year, highlighting my newfound role. It is really quite beautiful. It is hardbound, like a small children’s book and prominently features many of my favorite pictures of Hadley. For a booklover, what could have been more loving? It was really quite touching and short story was not without Ali’s typical sharp wit.

The New Charcoal Chimney

All and all, it was a lovely day with many well wishes, which was quite nice. Not knowing what to make of the whole it turned out to be quite a treat. We celebrated the Ali’s Dad’ annual Mountain of Meat commemoration of the occasion, which is not to be missed. Plus, I even got a very generous gift from the in-laws, which was stunningly kind. It certainly makes me look forward to the whole event with a bit more relish for the future.

Here’s all the pics from Father’s Day.

Happy Holidays Hadley Days!

With the holidays finally coming to a real close, it is time to recap our annual trek back home to the Pride of the Prairie. This year, of course, was the first year we had an infant in tow, which provided surprisingly little challenge. Hadley was never the problem on the trip in either direction. More than anything, I was the problem, if you could imagine!

Hadley with Bunny
Hadley with Bunny
Originally uploaded by fritzwinkle

Coming off a week of feeling progressively worse at work, Friday evening brought an even more daunting feeling of illness, not to mention the fact that the multiple windows of our house began leaking just before we were leaving. So, our departure was delayed, I got even less rest in anticipation of the non-stop drive, and my demeanor was foul to be sure. I was certainly not up for my normal load of miles, leaving the bulk on the shoulders of Ali and Keri. Combine this with the fact that we had to stop more frequently for baby feedings, the drive was taking longer than it ever had when we finally collapsed into an Indiana hotel room late Saturday night. The blessing of this was that immediately after we pulled our necessary gear out of the rental and into the room all the inclement weather we would have faced passed over us while we slept comfortably in beds. Morning came, and we tripped across the rest of northern Indiana, arriving in Chicago late Sunday morning just in time for the Bears beatdown on the surging Packers.

Sleepy Hadley
Sleepy Hadley
Originally uploaded by fritzwinkle

Thus began a week of Happy Hadley Days. No longer were the traditional holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s, fully recognized they were eclipsed by a whole new celbration, Happy Hadley Days. They began before Christmas Eve and carried almost to New Year’s Eve, but we had to leave on the 30th. During this stretch, an outsider would have thought that our child was an Egyptian Pharaoh with all the loot that was piling up for her. We were lucky to stuff everything in the rented minivan for the return trip. Mind you she arrived with the largest suitcase of any of us, as she requires the most attire to fully exhibit the entire pre-Hadley Days gift giving extravaganza. Only Ali and I can fully appreciate and show gratitude for the bounty of gifts for our little daughter has received since her arrival on the globe. So, many thanks to all of you that made the first Hadley Days so stunningly kind.

The only mar on the cavalcade of cheer was that my intense cold began to work its way into our little darling, then Keri, and ultimately Ali, who now is suffering the full bloom. Poor Hadley was in such sad shape we had to harbor her a couple of days away from the outside world, as her little nose and chest crackled with cold and she required ever more sleep than usual. She still hasn’t quite been able to shake it all over a week later, but she has definitely gotten increasingly better with each day. I wish the same could be said for Ali who might not have experienced the full crest of misery before the mend just yet. Plus, a weekend check on Keri showed she has definitely seen healthier days.

Despite the insidious incubation of all these infirmities, we made remarkably great time on the return trip, whereupon we unloaded all Hadley’s booty, which has since taken over the living room of our never-ending work-in-progress home. All in all, it was a notably nice trip to the home front of the Midwest. Hadley coming down with the cold slowed things down just enough that we weren’t racing at breakneck speed to and fro the whole week. So we got to enjoy things in some ways more with the slower speeds, despite all of us travelers being at less than full strength.

So to all, belated Happy Hadley Day well wishes. We look forward to next year’s celebration, when the little sweet pea will be toddling around on wobbly legs and squealing with delight at all the fuss about her, while she rips down Christmas ornaments with fascination.

Digging Out in New England

Well, it has been an exciting last week here in New England. Today, was a good day to do some catching up on ye old fritzwinkle. In the last four days we have been slammed with somewhere over a foot of snow.

Half of it crippled the whole region Thursday smack in the middle of the afternoon rush. It was by far the worst conditions I can ever remember being a driver. It was absolutely ridiculous. My trip to pick up Hadley and head home took over two hours, and I nearly didn’t make it. This is a trip that normally takes about twenty minutes or so. Beginning about 1 PM somewhere between 6-9 inches fell fast and furiously until about 8 PM. The interstates were parking lots where it was not rare for people to simply put the car in park, get out of the car, brush off the snow, get back in and start driving again. The occasional abandoned car was not out of picture either. Ali, having to head west from the city spent five hours to travel about eight miles, before deciding to whole up at Keri’s for nearly the evening. She eventually, restarted the trek after 11 PM and pulled in around 12:30 AM. Luckily she doesn’t work on Fridays, but I do. So, after a fortunate delayed start I finished the week at school.

snow in new england

Originally uploaded by chrishanaka

Then today’s morning greeted us with an expected Nor’easter that dropped another 6+ inches on us. This leaves us up to our knees with the winter’s downy. Fortunately, our two great neighbor’s hit most of our driveway with a snowblower, which meant that I only needed to spend an hour and half with shovel in hand to clear the rest of the area and get the cars capable of use. While it sure looks pretty, it no doubt complicates just about everything. Yet it made for a good day to shut in and play with the baby and watch some football, with the sweet smell of Ali’s Christmas cookies in the air. Unfortunately, today’s odd mix of snow, then freezing sleet, and windy conditions thwarted the anticipated Patriot drubbing of the Jets, in the much anticipated Spygate Bowl, a mere 10 point victory when everyone was waiting for something in the neighborhood of 50.

Go Patriots!

Originally uploaded by fritzwinkle

Needless to say that the last couple of weeks have been hurried to say the least. As we prepare to head home for the holidays to show off the new addition, we’ve been doing all the last minute shopping and such. Ali even got the tree up and decorated to ring in Hadley’s first Christmas right. The way this season is going though, we are beginning to refer to the holiday as Hadley Day! Now that we have a baby, it is stunning how many gifts continue to arrive. My mother has particularly lost her mind with a gift giving fever for her one and only granddaughter. It is a good thing that we bought a house, because we need a place to put everything! Still, we couldn’t be more grateful. If only people could gift us some time. Then we could finish moving into said domicile.

But enough chatter here are some more pics of the golden child!