Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Christmas!

There were lots of photos being taken at Christmas, not all by us. Here are a couple more, courtesy of my Dad (pictured at left). You can see more at his website:
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 256 - Swings!

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Day 253: Freedom! We spent Ruth's first (extra-uterine) Christmas at my Aunt Connie and Sharon's place in NJ. Ruth thinks that the dog's crate is the coolest thing ever. But, bear in mind that when we were there for Thanksgiving, she didn't have enough motor skills to actually climb in.

Oh, and she also likes presents.

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Day 250: To complement Frog Butt, Naked Butt!

Oh yeah, this one is going in the first boyfriend/girlfriend slide show.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eight Crazy Nights

Day 249 - And the oil totally burned for eight days. No joke. No, this isn't "Jewish Christmas."

Tonight was the first night of Chanukkha (I can never spell it either). We used the menorah that my mom bought for me when I was a kid (and she worked at the shul... I think she was probably their only gentile employee... wait, did I tell this story already last year? Has this blog been going on for over a year?), and To Be a Jew, the same "I'm not an observant Jew and need to look up the prayers every time" book that my dad always used. Tradition is good, even if we're technically celebrating the victory of terrorist religious fundamentalists over cosmopolitans (assimilationist cosmopolitans, though!).

M and I will be heading up to my aunt Connie and Sharon's on Christmas Day this year. Christmas Eve I'll be making the newly-traditional Schober-Levine Christmas goose (with fried potatoes and red cabbage with raisins, yum!). It's nice to have a little thing that we do with just our little family.

Family can be difficult. I'm certainly not the easiest son to have - I can be self-absorbed at the best of times (remind me to tell you about the Jamesway Father's Day Card contest some time, an occasion on which I acquitted myself particularly shamefully), and it's easy to annoy me (and I have difficulty hiding when I'm annoyed - that's why Ruth is the peacemaker in training, not me). So, despite the fact that my folks and I generally have nothing against each other, we can tend to make each other tense. I love them anyway, and appreciate all they do for us, even if we all have very definite ideas about things that rarely mesh.

Trying to remain connected to family and tradition can be tough. When I was a kid, every year, we'd all pack into my dad's Ford Econoline van (with the racing stripes my brother and I installed one summer) and drive 4-5 hours up to Western MA to see my grandparents. Things have drifted since then... my brother and I live farther away and have things of our own to attend to, my grandmother can't travel very easily, my grandfather died a few years back (7 actually... wow), and things just... drift. This year, we'd hoped to travel up to Boston to see M's folks, but with their work and M's work and everything it didn't work out. And it reminds us how easy it is to go eight months, and how much Ruth has grown in that time. Unfortunately, M's grandmother has only ever met Ruth once, and only for a few minutes, and hasn't gotten to the library to read this blog. We took the trek out to see my grandmother in CA over the summer, and we hope that won't be the only time she gets to meet Ruth, either.

Family can be difficult. I guess you do your best and hope for relatively few regrets, and that your daughter eventually has a child to whom she can explain her ambivalent relationship to that oil menorah.

Oh, and I've been listening to Erran Baron Cohen's Songs in the Key of Hannukha, which is surprisingly good (worth it just for the Ladino songs).
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Day 249 - Kwanzaa drumming circle. There was no way that these were going to come out all that well, what with the motion and the no flash and the fact that my hands were shaking from the DTs. You can check out some video clips below, if you like.

The Baltimore Museum of Art was having a free Kwanzaa celebration day, and we thought Ruth might get a kick out of it, especially the drumming and dancing. She was a bit tired, but seemed to be really fascinated by the drumming circle. The fellow leading it was from Ghana, and could play "Dreidel, Dreidel" on a talking drum, which is pretty darn impressive, as far as I'm concerned. When I finally make it to West Africa (cross your fingers that I work things out soon with my field contacts and the IRB), I'll have to try to get her a drum.
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For Full Effect, I Should Wear My "Heckler & Koch: When Negotiations Fail" T-Shirt, Too

Day 249: Peacemaker in Training. My colleagues over at USIP gave us this nifty onesie when Ruth was born. Unfortunately, it was getting cold by the time she was big enough to fit into it (and she'll grow out of it in a few minutes, probably). But, today, she snuggled up in it under her heavier winter clothes.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Food Notes

Our daughter loves the onion family of foods.


The other day, we were at the farmer's market, and she reached down and grabbed part of the top of a bunch of leeks. We figured that she'd put it in her mouth and spit it out. No. She stripped it of all its green (putting much of itself on herself), and reached for more. If you want to make her happy, give her a piece of leek to chew on.

Then, we were out at Cafe Hon, and she grabbed a piece of raw onion off M's plate. Kid kept a death grip on that ring of onion through dinner, through a trip to the bookstore, and part of the way home. She treated it like it was the most delicious thing in the universe.

Today, at the farmer's market, M gave her a bite of her spicy lentil bread, and Ruth would fuss for more as soon as she finished a bite. Not an onion, but still noteworthy.

I'm going to try making her roasted garlic cubes for baby food. But M will have to change those diapers.

Thankful for Video

Both of these are from Connie & Sharon's at Thanksgiving 2008.

Frog Butt!

Day 247 - Frog butt! Oh, come on, when I found these PJs in the baby 2nd-hand store (yep, our daughter is an only child who gets hand-me-downs - don't want to spoil her, y'know), there was no way I wasn't going to get them for her. I just kept forgetting to get a photo, and now she's almost grown out of them (we're going to stop feeding her anything nutritious, so as to keep this weedy growth in check. Seriously! She's going to be, like 5'6" tall if we're not careful.)

Our day care has just instituted a new thing where, 1/month, parents can leave their children on Friday evenings, and they have movies, and popcorn, and games, and such (we already have a baby sitter who comes in 1/month as well, and who usually gets paid for at least 20 minutes of chatting with me, since she's a Philosophy student - it's criminal that St. John's University won't let her write on the Churchlands!). It's nice - we took the chance to go out to a restaurant named Clementine and eat snails, and then snapped this shot of Ruth on our way back in.
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Day 247 - Sleep

Another one in our "1,000 views of Ruth sleeping on Dad" series. Not the most flattering picture of me, but you're not looking at these for me. C'mon.
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Day 245 - At the Office

Last Wednesday, my office held its holiday party, and the Institute also (much appreciatedly) decided to make it a belated baby shower for Ruth. Unfortunately, M was at work, and needed to prep for the big yearly dinner (including some unpleasant work, but also the pleasant and necessary job of tasting the catering offerings), so she couldn't make it. But Ruth and I made the train ride into College Park and hung out in my very much non-baby-safe (but apparently endlessly interesting) office. We discovered that Dad can indeed survive a day on the road with the little one, especially since she really likes cottage cheese. I'll have to get off my ass on my cheese-making plans (something besides queso fresco) and make her some. Maybe on my furlough day.

The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy (clockwise from L): Xiaorong Li (China, human rights), Barbara Cronin (administration and paperwork wrangling), Robert Wachbroit (bioethics, health policy, research ethics), Mark Sagoff (environmental ethics, information technology, fearless leadership), Alec Walen (deontology, law, torture), Dave Crocker (democracy, development ethics, Rawls), Daniel Levine (just war, peacekeeping, anarchism, feminism, lone consequentialist), Ruth Z. Schober-Levine (Anaximander, philosophy of language)
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Day 242 - New cat! Our friends Adam & Steph were kind enough to invite us out to their home (their white, white, white home) for their cookie swap last weekend. It's nice to have the occasional kid-friendly gathering to head out to. A delicious time was had by all. Ruth was more interested in the cats, though. M and I just wondered how they managed to get the cats to wear their little santa bell collars (not obvious in this photo).
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Day 233 - Masterpieces, pt. 2

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Bag[] --> Cat

Day 233 - Creating the masterpieces. This year, like with everyone else in the world, things are a bit tight chez Schober-Levine. But, we've also got this cute little one living with us, so we decided we'd go the home-made gift route for the nuclear family. We thought it would be nifty to give Ruth some (non-toxic - an important issue, as these photos demonstrate; the J-horror effect of the first image is acheived by a mouthful of blue paint) finger paints and let her go crazy on some heavy-weight paper (and a shower curtain). But, as we wanted her grandparents and great-grandparents to be (pleasantly) surprised, we figured we should embargo these photos for a bit. But, everything is FedExed out now, so we can share them with the world.

We did save one for ourselves.

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Thanksgiving Straggler

Day 226 - with Sharon and Connie. I'm putting up some straggling photos that we've missed, including this cute one with everyone from Thanksgiving. Fortunately, we're getting to go back to Connie and Sharon's for Christmas!
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