Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Haircuts Suck

I felt like the guy who plays violin outside the gas chamber. The poor guy trusts me. He likes me. I bring him to a colorful fun looking place. It has a little jungle gym even. I pick him up and sit him in a shiny toy car. We put the larges bib he's ever seen on him. He's gotta be thinking, "This is awesome! Dunno what we're eating but it must be big and messy? That Dad guy is a little bit of alright."

Then the snipping begins and it's right in his ear. And he is certain that he is back in the emergency room again getting stitches.
Did I mention that he had just minutes before had his stitches removed? Did I mention that he fell down and hit his head and got stitches last week? Well, he did. There you are all caught up.Anyway, he was pretty inconsolable about the whole situation. Even a remote control in his hand did little to ease his ill temper.
But in the end there was a blue balloon and a nap. He bounces back pretty well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Old Things Are New Things If You Son Has Never Seen Them Part III: The Resurrection of Seabiscuit

Don't tell me miracles don't happen. In our house we spell miracle G-R-A-N-D-P-A. If you are among the small cast following this blog you will remember that when last we left our hero and his mighty steed Seabiscuit, the ancient horse had shed his mortal coil and proceeded on to his eternal reward. All of us were saddened at the passing, especially young Finnegan.

But alas a mysterious figure entered our story. Seabiscuit was taken away and trough the laying on of hands, and no doubt some drilling, gluing and driving of screws, new life was breathed into the old fella.

Who was that masked man who saved our heroic horse. I don't know, but he left behind a silver screw.

1964-2009, 2009-?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Old Things Are New Things If You Son Has Never Seen Them Part II

Remember a few weeks back when I got all sentimental about my son playing in my old toy box and on my old rocking horse? Well the bittersweetness continued today when I turned around to check why Finn sounded flummoxed and saw this.

I saw it coming. Seabiscuit had become a tad wobbly of late and had to go down sometime. I'd like to fix the old boy up but it looks like we'll have to take him out back and shoot him. Finn was inconsolable until the apple juice showed up.

It was quite a ride.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Finnegan's grandpa Larry found this cool pumpkin hat for the little guy and we think its awesome. But we couldn't get him to keep it on long enough to get a picture. He has yet to develop his father's affinity for chapeaus.

Fortunately he will do almost anything for his Grandma Sandy. Especially when she plies him with goldfish, the crack of the 14-month-old set.

Anyway, we think it's a good look for the holiday. Thought we'd share.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bath Time

We are still big fans of bath time at the Valentine homestead. And these from last night are just a slice of the life here during a bath. What's new? Well with new found walking comes new found tub walking. Graceful? Yes. Inspiring? Certainly. Terrifying in a steel clawfoot tub with protruding chrome fixture that seem to demand his attention. A little.

Not much to say about this, just good bath pictures. And very natty in the robe with the fox on the pocket. Very Hef.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Old Things Are New Things If You Son Has Never Seen Them

I try not to idolize stuff. That is I hope to avoid longing for material goods. Things are just tools to be used. Don't get me wrong. I've bought a lot of stuff. I've bought a lot of useless stuff. And, though Alisha may not see it this way, most of it I've gotten rid of over time. But we develop attachments to some things. Sometimes even things that aren't really that important or that have outlived their use, we find ourselves wishing we had kept them. I'd love to have back some of the comic books I know ended up in a landfill or in some evening newspaper. I wish I still had the 1971 Ford Maverick I finally destroyed after several attempts.
Now and then though, things show up that you thought were gone forever. And you'd have probably been alright with them being gone until you look over and see your son playing with it or climbing out of it.When Finnegan was born my parents regifted my old 1960's era wooden plank and rope-handled toybox to him. It's original era is clear due to the faded white cowboy stenciling that is still an emblem of a time when there were three networks and they all were dominated by westerns. Mom cleaned the wood and Dad added locking hinges to keep him from smashing his hands with the lid, something that didn't concern parents (spelled l-a-w-y-e-r-s) of that day.
But now it is Finn's first stop after breakfast. He pulls out a toy and either plays with it or doesn't for 23 seconds and then reaches in for another. More recently he has just made it his job to get the toys out as fast as possible so there is room inside for him. This morning as he stared up at me from the inside corner of the box with a questioning look that could only mean, "What did you do when all the toys were on the outside and you were on the inside?" I didn't have an answer for him so I responded with Confused Father Trick Number 7: Get the camera.
This weekend at the birthday party for our friends' daughter Bryn, a lovely little peer for Finn, my boy started playing on a very plush, well-designed, low-to-the-ground rocking horse. It actually might have been an elephant, but I digress. Finn tried to ride it and understood it instantly. He tired of it just as instantly. Because, while it rocked similarly to the rocking horse he had at home it lacked that 1960s danger.By far Finn's favorite toy, other than my stomach, is the rocking horse that my parents regifted from the Spencer collection. This red and white painted and lacquered pony with a simple flat seat a good 14 inches above runners seemingly designed to pinch, if not sever, plump bare toes, and a painted on face that I have always thought looked more like a muzzled collie than any kind of horse. If it were a horse it would be three decades late for a glue factory. But Gads does he love it!Tirelessly, he will grunt and gasp as he tries to get on, rocks three or four times and then slide off. Pushes it. Stands and grins next to it. Pauses and starts again. He has run over his feet, fallen on his head, pulled the Disney-like wooden head down on him and cried as if bucked by a live bronco. Every time after you pick him up, he grasps at it again with greedy eyes that also seem to call you a coward for not trying to ride.So now my old steed, which I am reminded was beloved by me as well, and my old western toybox have a new life with a new cowboy and I have never enjoyed any of my childhood possessions more. I wouldn't trade them for much of anything. It wouldn't matter if I did. Little cowpoke wouldn't let me.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mother & Son, Part 1

Sometimes it is just important to remind yourself... beautiful life can be.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finnegan's First Birthday

Well, Finn is one year old. There's a party for him Sunday, but we had to give him his first cake on his birthday Thursday. He was a mess. A cheery, beautiful, ravenous mess. At one year he is completely capable of walking, but, as yet, doesn't really see the point of letting go of the chair and rail. Which is odd because he has no fear whatsoever of the stairs.
In the last month he has been to his first ballgame, had his first juice and said his second word. First was 'banana' and, in keeping with an apparent theme, he followed that up with 'monkey'. Being good parents who like to recognize our child's predispositions, so we will be taking him to the zoo Monday.
Tonight he heard his first bluegrass band and for the first time we saw what had to be called dancing. For months we've seen things that looked like dancing and convinced ourselves it was dancing, but tonight there was no doubt. He was a little dancing fool. He seemed to especially light up for the fiddle. Sorry we have no footage of this, but you will note above the initial inklings of dance that made us so proud.
He's been to the state fair and really liked the horses and llamas, but not much else except of course, grilled cheese sandwiches from the dairy barn.

He is great.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Great Indiana State Fair

Just days before Finnegan was born last year, Spencer and I went to see A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor at the Indiana State Fair. It was one of our last nights out as just a couple and it was a beautiful night. I always enjoy a trip to the fair, especially the Dairy Barn. But this year was extra special seeing Finnegan experience animals up close for the first time.

He was hesitant feeding the sheep.

He warmed up to the piglets.

But he was a big fan of the horses.

We are only blocks from the fairgrounds, so I'm sure future years will involve many trips to the see the animals (and the Dairy Barn!).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Life's a Beach

We're on our first family vacation -- a trip to St. Joseph, Michigan with our friends the Millers. Not only is the beach soft and wide (and one of the top rated by Parents magazine -- oh how the reading material has changed in the last 10 months!), the Millers have a boat they keep docked here. Finn's first trip to the beach was a success -- with lots of sand consumed. I hope he likes sand and sun as much as his mama because I need some beach time every couple of years.

While southwest Michigan certainly isn't tropical, it's plenty warm. And the area has some serious blueberries -- which have been quite a hit with the boy. But they stain, so it's best for him to eat them naked.

And the boy is traveling in style now. This week he got the car seat that will be his hang out for years to come. Note the fauxhawk -- when there's lots of sunscreen on his head, it stands up perfectly!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Finnegan's First Fourth Finished Full of Fireworks on the Fifth

Well, Finn's first fourth of July was almost a bust what with the unrelenting rain. But he made the most of it. First by spending some great quality time with Grandma and Grandpa V while Mom & Dad used the rainy weather to see the first movie in a theatre in 8 months. Then we cooked out in the rain with our great neighbors (Thanks Marty, Anne-Marie and Jeramie) until the fireworks were cancelled.

So we found our way to the fifth of July and after a decent day around the house, we cooked out with more neighbors (Thanks Kate and Jason and Vivvy and Sam) and then caught the fireworks just close enough to see. Finn was interested if exhausted as he stared vacantly at the pretty colors while his mother provided some low volume "oooooohs" and "aaaahs."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Swim Classes

Swim classes are a bittersweet event for Finnegan. He enjoys it right up to when he really really doesn't. On the upside he sleeps really well the night after a swim class. It's great to watch he and Mama share time in the pool. He's a great little trooper. But you can just feel his frustration. He is a surprisingly strong little cuss who likes clinging to the side of the pool. I'm certain he will be enjoying it more next week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finnegan logs his first swimming pool time.

Finnegan has logged his first swimming pool time this week. First with a trip to the Northside Indianapolis Knights of Columbus thanks to our invite from the Megan Garver and the three Garver boys, Freddy, Michael and Peter. Also was nice to hang with John and Molly Kramer and their girls Caroline and Anne-Marie. He is still pretty tentative and stoic around the water, but you can coax the occasional smile.

Alisha has also taken him to the pool at the Jordan Y wearing his sunproof swim uniform. It look totally kowabunga dude!

Then there is the naked time in the baby pool out back. You gotta slather the waterproof sunscreen pretty liberally, what with him having daddy's irish skin and all. But, it's worth it. Look at that serious face.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I know that there are a lifetime of smiles ahead from this kid and I am certain that they will warm our hearts forever. But I will soon, I am certain, miss the toothless baby grin. There is something so unpracticed about it. It is truly a natural smile. Finn's is slightly crooked and often employs visible tongue. It is just great and in a few short weeks I know it will be gone.