Thursday, August 19, 2010

Meet Millie!

This is Millicent Mitchem Valentine. She entered this world from the friendly confines of her mother's tummy at 7:55 AM on Thursday, August 19th, 2010. The picture above was when she was about an hour old.
In this picture she is about 5 minutes old. She weighed in at 6 pounds and 7.8 ounces and measures 18 and one half inches long. Mother and daughter are doing fine as you can see below.

Her brother Finnegan is having a bit of trouble with his definition of the word "gentle" but is otherwise thoroughly enthused.

Momma had a hard day, but is as lovely as ever and has made her husband very, very proud. As well a slew of grandparents and great grands.

There will be more to come. Thanks to all of you who have already called with best wishes and congratulations.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Fun So Far 2010: The Indiana State Fair

Today we went to the Indiana State Fair.
Finnegan and I were part of that special crowd that breakfasts at the fair. A little Dairy Barn action and make sure that's chocolate milk.
The DNR pavilion was lotsa fun, but mostly because now we know he wants an Arctic Cat four-wheeler for Christmas.
It was cooler, or at least as cooler as it was gonna get all day, so we rushed the joint and saw ourselves some livestock. The donkey's were a lotta fun but the boy was mainly drawn to their little wagons.
Finn was all about the goats. They were about his speed.
Only you.
He got kinda mesmerized near the end of the day by this sleeping calf. It was eerie. He'd not touch or pet it but, stood motionless watching it sleep for like four minutes, which is like standing still an hour to a not yet two-year-old.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Welcome Kitty


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We now have a cat. Alisha wanted one for her birthday and found a real cutie she got from a foster mom who just about cried when we asked for her. The cat's name was Compass, but so far the closest thing to a name Finnegan has given her is Mao.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer 2010 So Far: Bowling

Sunday night I had to miss a fundraiser I slightly helped pull together. I regretted it as I went about the duties that drew me away. But upon returning to see these pictures and hear from Alisha how much fun they had, I regretted it even more.

It was a fundraiser for a great not-for-profit called Reach for Youth which provides counseling opportunities for at-risk children and teens. A great organization and a worthy cause. The fundraiser was called Roll for youth and was held at what is apparently a beautiful bowling alley called the Woodland Bowl.

Alisha took Finnegan and their night went a little something like this.

Start with some tasty cheese pizza and when mom points the camera at you say what type of pizza you are eating, "Cheese!" Check.

Begin with some skee-ball just to reintroduce ourselves to rolling heavy non-bounce balls.
Didn't collect a lotta tickets, but the concept has been laid out. Check.
Next, get the young person cheats in place. Check.
Select a pretty blue ball from the broad and delightful array of technicolor balls. Check.
Accept a little help in aiming from a qualified adult. Check.
But you gotta get a feel for the ball and it's weight, as well as its shininess. Check-erino.

Roll it. Wait for it... Wait for it.... Wait... Wait...Wait...
BINGO! Clap when stuff falls down. Check! And the joy passes to another generation. Now I gotta get him a bowling shirt.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer 2010 So Far: Playdate

Today, Finnegan and I ventured to the east-side for a play-date hosted in the home of Anne-Marie and Tim and their lovely daughter Evyn.
Four children total in the house, with Max and Nathaniel, plus three more parents and Andrew a childless friend of us all who mixed mojitos and marveled at the well-behaved kids.
I have to say, if you were gonna go to your first multi-child playdate, this was a great one. They were all in incredible moods and shared better than I've seen.
They took turns playing Tim's grown-up drumkit in the basement, which Evyn is really pretty good at. There was this great toy I'd never seen before called an Elefun which blows butterflies out its blue trunk into the air for kids to catch with nets.
They were all so well behaved to allow for some decent adult conversation to take place. Goldfish helped though.
After some goldfish our hosts offered up the mojitos and kale lasagna which was really great and, to my amazement, was very appreciated by the increasingly finicky Finnegan.
It was a great time had by all and I really appreciated Tim and Anne-Marie hosting. They definitely out did our efforts which usually just involve some grapes and juice and crackers.
Next time we host, I'll feel compelled to get a keg of good beer and do some barbecuing. Tim and Anne-Marie have stepped up the game and now we must all follow suit.
They all played well and we fit a brief bit of story-time in with Nathaniel and Finn on my lap.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer 2010 So Far: Summer Love

I don't know who this fetching young lady was, but she absolutely owned the affections of young Finnegan at the playground on the beach of St. Joe, Michigan on a lovely July day. He met, pursued, charmed, did tricks for and eventually lost this beautiful beach damsel.

They were enthralled and then as suddenly as this, his first summer romance had begun, it was over with a sweet but heartbreaking, "I gotta go see my mom now." Stunned at her sudden departure he scanned the horizons with a pensive painful stare, but like a good man, kept his chin solid and took the punch to the gut. Later he drowned his sorrows in fruit snacks and a nap.

Summer 2010 So Far: Gard'nin, Part 2

Pickle cucumbers, hot peppers, basil and one serious squash.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer 2010 So Far: Gard'nin

We started a garden at our old house with our good friend Nicole who rents it these days. I got us/lucked into some free ready-made boxes from the nice folks at Indy Glass Center and carried some too wet, too heavy Mike's Mix from Indiana Mulch to fill them in April and May first Nicole and I planted some of each of our seedlings.

Nicole has done most of the weeding and daily maintenance of the garden, but every now and again I pop over with Finnegan to ruin things. But try as we might, food still grows.

Tonite's dinner featured one hot pepper in Alisha's delicious tequila-lime chicken and a green pepper in her black bean and corn salad.

The project started for me as something to do with Finnegan. Until this week, he has only been interested in the throwing of the dirt. He now seems to get the plants as part of it, but I know he loves to do the watering.

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In this clip, the quality isn't very good, had to lower resolution to fit it in the blog, you can hear him call it, "gard'nin." He was soaked at the end, but he said "gard'nin" and "wat-ter" all the way home, or at least 16th street where he passed out in the car.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer 2010 So Far: Mowing

The picture below with me wearing a red shirt, were taken at the Indianapolis City Market Farmer's Market last week. It is notable for two reasons: First, you will note Finnegan's crook'd finger and serious stare. You've seen the same look right before Sean Penn or Alec Baldwin takes the paparazzo's camera and busts it on the pavement. It would have been his first of what I suspect will be several such incidents over the course of his live and career. I talked the little tough guy down and fortunately for Will the cameraman, there were no fisticuffs.

Below you see the killer stare continues. The second reason is to point out this nifty ride along backpack. It has become a major piece of our summer gear.
It carried Finnegan around the 500 Festival Parade, it has hauled him around the neighborhood for short afternoon visits to watch soccer or flag football.
But most notably, it has become a part of our lawn care regimen. One day I needed to mow the lawn and was home with Finn alone and felt comfortable mowing in our backyard fenced in area, but didn't trust him to watch from the sidelines outside the fence. He has yet to truly learn to fear the street.So a lightbulb lit above my heard, which frightened and confused the tike for a second and in seconds I had loaded him on my back and started the lawn mower.

It was a revelation for the boy. He reached his arm over my left shoulder for the next thirty minutes and said "mow!" no less than 700 times. He loves it. Since then he has taken to riding a bit quieter and more relaxed. Last week, he had an open (as opposed to a sippy) cup of ice water with him for the whole front yard and I never wore it. Not a drop.It soothes him most times. If you time it right he'll go out on your back just as the clock strikes naptime. Out like the proverbial light bulb. It is one of the things I will always remember about this age.And for those of you wondering about my knee surgery, I had it on a Thursday and these photos are from mowing that Monday. So, I'll be fine. But thanks for the concern. Shh. Don't wake the kid.

Summer 2010 So Far: Racing With Pa

The rain and humidity of the early 2010 Summer not withstanding there is a lot of great fun stuff to report and I've got a backlog I need to catch up on. So here is the first installment of The Summer So Far:Lets start with racing. As previously published, our first-born is a big fan of the drag races and a while back got to be there, with proper protective gear as you can see, to stay up late and witness his Grandpa Larry win his division under the lights.
Finnegan says "Wow!" and "Loud!' a lot at the races. But mostly he just grins and giggles. claps and points at Grandpa Larry and says "Pa!"


Pa was pretty excited by the win and told Alisha as they headed for the winners' circle photos, "This doesn't happen very often. Lets get that boy up here with me."

I was home stripping furniture, more about that in a future post, and missed the whole thing and kick myself for it. In a few weeks Finnegan will be spending the weekend with Pa and Grandma in Michigan at a race and we know they will share with us great photos from that. But for now it's just fun to look at the boy at the track.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mondays are for Swimming

Last year's swimming classes for Finnegan were pretty fun and he never seemed too scared of the water. This year he continues the trend. After five weeks of swim classes, he wakes up just about everyday and says "swim" in an excited sing-song fashion that just makes you wanna load up the car and hit the beach.

He's learning to kick, though he does it more when he's at home talking about swimming than when he is actually in the pool. But the concepts are getting there. Mostly though, he socializes.
He spends a lot of time hanging on the walls and the stair railings saying "hello!" and shouting out the names of other kids.

Below he is with his best swimming buddy, Bryce. Bryce's mom teaches the class (Monday's at the Jordan Y) and deserves as much credit for putting up with Finn's Dad during class as much as teaching Finn.

Bryce, as you might guess, is the best swimmer and as such he exudes a confidence that makes Finn want to party with that dude.

Swim class has made Monday's our favorite day of the week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday at the Drag Strip

Not that I want to, but it is becoming clear that it will be tough to keep the boy from the track. Finnegan's Grandpa Larry (known to Finnegan as Pa) and his Aunt Kara and Grandma Terry were in town from Evansville to race at the O'Reilly Raceway Park for IHRA drag racing


Finn spent at least one hour of our eight hour visit at the track attached to this scooter.


He spent at least another hour helping his mother, grandmother fly our kite. That kitew is getting a lotta play this spring.

Lunch time was spent largely with their dog Harley.

The boy is pretty good-natured when he's walked around the track. He brings quite the entourage.
Here is ain't Kara watching Pa warm his tires.

Grandma and Finn watched from the stands. He was pretty impressed.

But the little adrenaline freak just had to fade after awhile no matter how many cars there were to see.
There will be other opportunities.