Thursday, August 31, 2006

Autism Awareness

mom says....

The title of this post is not a new expression... in fact if you keep your eyes open you will probably see it on more cars than you ever thought possible. My best friend has a son, Lucas, who is autistic. He is an adorable, smart, interested, kind, gentle and GOOD 3.5 year old boy. Like most boys his age he loves his trains, his brother and sister and wants to be close to his mom and dad. In summation Lucas is a great kid.

I am not an expert on Autism but with Lucas's help and his mom's explanations I am learning about what life is like for autistic families. I have heard about special diets, health issues, behavioural traits, and the support system which exists for autism. I have also learned that not everyone in the world is lucky enough to have a teacher and a friend like Lucas. Not everyone understands that autistic kids may act a little different than other kids. They may not talk as much, or they may talk more... they may like playing alone, or they may love nothing more than being touched or hugged ... they may like a routine or they may need their space.... tonight i was reminded of how little people know about autism.

We went out to dinner tonight to a local family friendly restaurant. There were more kids than adults eating tonight.... kids running around and getting into this and that. Kids making a mess and kids sitting still. There was only one couple there who didn't have kids and I watched the woman as she watched Lucas. It should be said that Lucas was very well-behaved... he ate his fries and chicken fingers without incident. But he also explored the place, he walked around, he looked out the windows, he touched the empty tables... he was mobile, but he was good.

The woman who inspired this post clearly felt he should be sitting down and focused solely on his food ....I overheard her commentating on Lucas's wanderings and I couldn't help but think that she has no autism awareness. She didn't recognize nor appreciate what an amazing kid he is... she didn't understand that life is a bit different for him .. all she saw was a kid who couldn't sit still. I wish I could have sat down with this woman and explained why she shouldn't judge when she didn't have all the facts.

I am so thankful that through Lucas i have gained some autism awareness- I only wish others could be so lucky.

A rough night

It's my second last day at work. So, of course, our little bundle of joy picks last night to be Miss Fussypants. She was up and down like the NASDAQ last night, wanting food, hugs, diaper changes... admittedly, the things we signed on to provide. It's just hard when you're asked to provide them during the time you're used to sleeping. This morning ended with her on the bed between us sleeping. As time goes by, I suspect this will happen a lot more.

So anyway, later in the morning, I got up and took the girls for a walk. Then I fed them both, Lucy of course only requiring that I pour a whack of food in her bowl. Autumn's food requires a little more time and effort. Plus, the added burp – which this morning came from a really deep place and didn't sound like anything that should come from something so little and cute.

Still, last night she was following a little toy around as we shook it. And, of course, she was smiling like a star. Plus, we ran into the Doctor that took pictures of her when she was first born. The doctor just moved into a house a street away.

It’s awesome that I am going to be able to take two weeks off to hang out with her. I promise to blog a lot during that time. Tonight though, I suspect sleep will be in order.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Autumn is a smiley happy baby

She has been a smiling machine lately. And not just when she poops. Last night, we were playing, and she was smiling, and making so many noises that I grabbed the camera. She loves this thing:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Autumn on her throne

mom says:

So, today Autumn and I were out for a drive after visiting dad at work. Things were going well, although truthfully the rear facing carseat is tough for me. I would like to be able to see her without having to do a backbend/pivot over the front seat - either way- we are driving along and suddenly the screaming began... I reached back and popped in the pacifier (I can do that without even turning around - kind of a over the shoulder, feel for the mouth move)- but no luck even with her pacifier she kept wailing.....

So, I began looking for a quiet, private place where one might whip out the boob inconspicuously.... having secured the perfect long parking lot of a somewhat empty office park I crawled into the backseat and got to work.

released her from her carseat shackles, changed a poopy (and I mean poopy) diaper. and began feeding... and continued to feed.... and feed some more.

After roughly 35 minutes we were back on the road- no harm no foul. Actually it was kind of fun hanging out in the backseat and listening some great music on the lake (107.7 the lake).

I think I am getting the hang of this motherhood thing.

Autumn at work

My daughter came to work today. Partly because I want to show her off, and partly because my last day is Friday. Leaving a place to go to a new place is tough. I know my dad doesn't understand it, but then he worked at the same place for over 30 years, whereas this will be my 7th paid by the year job. My third American paid by the year job.

Not that I move around a lot. I did quit one of them to go curling back in the day. I also quit another one to move to the US to get hitched.

Anyway, going to a new place involves a lot of excitement. Plus, you think bad thoughts about the place you're leaving. That's human nature. The bad thoughts you think help validate the decision to move. Even if you move jobs for more money, or more vacation time, you still sometimes find yourself thinking about the bad when thinking back - that helps you to convince yourself you made the right decision.

So I am excited about my new opportunity. I had a great time at the place I am leaving, and notwithstanding the previous paragraph, I have only some minor complaints. And I know that looking back, I'll remember my time here fondly. I met some great people and did work that I am very proud of.

And it's true that I am leaving because my new place is in bike-riding-distance. And while I will admit that theoretically everything is within bike-riding-distance if you have the time, this is a 15-minute bike ride. Which is less than my current 19-minute commute.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The party Saturday

True, Saturday night did sort of take over the weekend. We had the Elmwood Arts Festival all weekend. It gave us a sneak peak into the future in that we only bought things for Autumn, and nothing for ourselves. Anyway, on Saturday we also went to a friend's house for his son's birthday party. This is him hitting a pinata. It was a nice party. Autumn was great as she was passed around the room.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Night of Pooping

Alright, so this is obligitory post about my daughter's ability to poop. i can't help it. It was Saturday night. After a cool party on Saturday afternoon, I was left alone with Autumn. We walked around town, me the proud papa, her the giggly, smiley magnet of joy. Anyway, there we were, sitting watching some bad TV when all of a sudden a sound came out of her butt that sounded the exact opposite of joy. It made Lucy jump. Heck, it made me jump. So, I've changed diapers, this would be a breeze. Little did I know.

The first sign of trouble was the little grin on her face. She's smiling a lot these days, but this was different. I had her on the changing table, really poopy diaper off her and in my hands when all of a sudden, a stream of poop followed a quick fart. Recall please that I am alone. Rhona is out at a party. Anyway, while the stream went a good foot and a half, things were contained. I threw a cloth over it, re-armed myself with a diaper, and went back in. That's when I caught another little grin. Another quick fart, and, another stream of poop. This one with a much better arc than the first. Which was good, because I caught most of it with the diaper in my hand.

So, my daughter is lying on the changing table beside the first dirty diaper. Her feet are on a burp cloth that's covering the first pile of poop from the second explosion. In my left hand, is a poopy diaper that I just caught her third projectile poop. Things seemed under control. I tossed the diaper, grabbed her legs and watched in amazement as another stream of poop came shooting out of her butt. At this point, you could tell she was tired. This one shot meekly, which sounds okay until you realize that it most of it ended up on her back.

At this point, even the dog left the room.

So, I pulled off her clothes, which where covered in poop, and realized there was only one option. A solo bath. Rhona and I have bathed her many times, but she was always there. This was me, Autumn, and a whole pile of her poo. Solo.

We struggled through the bath. I dried her, and dropped her in the car seat. It was at this moment that Rhona, thankfully, walked in. I said, thank god you're home.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shaky leg

Ah YouTube. Apparently they have come up with a revenue stream to pay for the estimated $1 million per month bandwidth fee. See, they host this video of Autumn at no cost. Meaning you can click on it and watch it for free. So, I don't know, go to YouTube or something so they stay in business.

P.S. You can comment without registering now!!!

A shot by Rhona

My wife has an excellent eye. As a mom staying at home for 7 month's, she's doing a great job with Autumn. They go for a walk together around the city, both Autumn and Lucy, and Rhona brings her camera. The digital camera offers her a chance to shoot a lot of the city. From pictures of buildings to neat shots like this one.

And we're lucky to live in the city where there are a lot of huge trees. the other day I was showing a coworker our house on Google Earth. He lives in the burbs. As I zoomed in, he was struck by how many trees there are in Buffalo. It's really a great place to walk, especially in the next few months. The leaves will change, the air will be cool but not cold. Perfect.

There is a lot going on this weekend, so we'll take some pictures. There's a festival on Elmwood, a few blocks from our house. It's also Buffalo Old Home Week, where ex-pats come home to see what they're missing. Should be a fun weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Oh my god, this is hilarious. Watch it, then come back and answer this question: is this short film rude?

A fussy baby

Even with the swaddle, she was fussy the last couple of nights. It could be the tail end of the shots. It could just be that she's a 9-week-old baby. Either way, fuss.

Last night, Rhona went out. So dad was left with the two girls. I fed her the bottle, I walked her, and then we had tummy time. Groaning and grunting, she moved along a little mat, pulling herself. Yes folks, we had locomotion. Which is a milestone for dad, but not what this post is about.

As stated, she woke up a few times last night. The last one being at 5:00AM. Mom, who has been doing an awesome job by the way, was trying to calm her. She had just fed a little, and we were looking for calm baby. The binky wasn't cutting it. That's when I pulled her to my chest and began to shake her just a little bit. I was like the little vibrator on her bassinette. Anyway, I guess the shaking worked because she settled right in. Her head was basically in my pit, which if I may be so bold, isn't a bushel of flowers on the best of days.

But then I was thinking: for millions of years dads have probably pulled their daughters in close, either for comfort or protection. All I did this morning was what billions of dads have done throughout history – offering my daughter a place to snuggle. And to be honest, I would have stayed there all morning if I were independently wealthy because it was amazing. Her little breathing, her warmth, her contentment. Awesome. Anyone here with kids have that moment in their heads that they want to remember? Because ladies and gentelmen, that's what I had this morning.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A note about the pictures

The pictures on this blog will take you to more pictures. Anytime you click on one, simply follow the MHames Photostream link, and you'll see a bunch more pictures. And we update them often. Just so you know. This is the link. And as you can imagine, these represent 5% of the pictures we actually have of Autumn. And we have video. And our phones are full of pictures of her.

Think about this: Autumn's life will be recorded better than most other lives. I don't mean that in a 'look at all the toys we have' way. I mean that she lives in an era where digital cameras are all over the place. Plus, the ease of blogging makes recording a breeze. If she becomes famous and people write biographies about her, they'll be able to find this blog and write cute little anecdotes about the first time she projectile vomited. I have to look hard through old pictures to find baby pictures of me, but I'm old. She'll have a disk, flickr, a DVD, video podcasts, old phones and things we don't even know exist yet to record her life. Cool.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bathing Baby

Bathing Baby
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
So tonight, we experienced a first. Projectile vomitting. Mom fed Autumn. That's when dad decided to administer the vitamin D stuff. It goes into her for about 5 seconds, when all of a sudden, a simply crazy amount of vomit came shooting out. Dad called for mom. Mom picked up Autumn and another few shots came out.

Then, we bathed her and put her in her little robe (thanks Aunt Melissa). That's what you see in this picture. A bathed, re-fed, happy baby.

An ad guy said

"At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a person, what insights dominate their actions, even though their language so often camouflages what really motivates them. For if you know these things about a person, you can touch them at the core of their feelings"

Bill Bernbach said this. When advertising really gets fun, it does so because there's an insight that has been generated, and we're drilling down on the insight. It doesn't matter what the insight is, but insight driven advertising gets people a lot more excited. I had seen this quote a long time ago, but I read it on a Romanian bloggers blog. His blog is about marketing, and I often check it out. This is the world Autumn will live in. Where her dad can find a cool ad quote from a guy blogging in Romania and it isn't neat, it just is.

Monday, August 21, 2006

No pictures of the shots

Forget it. Are you kidding me? A two-inch needle stuck straight into Autumn's thighs? Not turned sideways like we get needles, straight in -- like a stabbing.

This reminds me of my old doctor, Doctor Deisch (DEESH). Honestly, I don't even know if I'm spelling it right. He was European, possibly German. And I swear, he reveled in my pain. One time, when I got a shot in my teens, he just jabbed the needle straight in. No pinching of the skin and easing it in on an angle. We're talking straight in. Holy smokes it hurt.

Anyway, same thing with Autumn, but the needle was in her pudgy little thighs. She turned beet red, and let out a wail that was both terrifying and heartbreaking at the same time. We didn't take a picture. That face, or that moment, isn't something I want to remember. We'll update Autumn's swollen thighs later tonight.


It's monday morning. We're about to take Autumn for her shots. Talk is, this isn't all that fun. But it's an important part of being a parent, I guess. She needs these needles in her legs(?), in order to be healthy. So, we'll go together; mom to soothe the baby and dad to help soothe mom. Which leads to the obvious question: who is going to soothe dad?

We'll try to post later today to tell all. We're talking a camera as well, so watch for it.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Autumn and Jessica

Autumn and Jessica
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
This ia a photo of Jessica Guzzino and Autumn. Mom took Autumn to Pam and Dave's house, for about the millionth time this summer. They have a pool and a big backyard.

We love Pam and Dave. And we should point out that when things were dicey in the first few weeks, Pam stepped up and helped in so many ways (from food to cleaning to simply talking on the phone) that honestly, without her, we might not have made it in one piece. Pam was outstanding to me the few times I talked to her on the phone and to Rhona when Rhona needed her. We're lucky to have such a great friend. Thanks Pam.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Killing time

This is great. If you're ever bored. That's about it. It's friday afternoon -- it's slow at work right now and the clock couldn't possibly move any slower.

The first part of 2000

As you all know, Autumn was born in 2006. 6 years into what will be remembered as the Bush Presidency. I suspect millions of books will be written about this time. To sum up, it goes something like this:

The last President is caught cheating on his wife. He lies about it to the American people and is almost impeached. But the economy is doing awesome, the internet is building storm, the world survived Y2K, and everybody seemed to be making money at the Stock Market. In light of how good things were going, there was a historic low turnout (51%) in an election between a Southern Vice President, labeled wooden, and a folksy son of a former President, governor of Texas who pledged to unite America and not get into Nation Building.

Anyway, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Gore V. Bush that essentially handed the presidency to Bush, and still no one seemed to care. Then along came a defining moment for America and things changed. Autumn was born into a post 9/11 America.

It's hard to remember all the changes, but one thing is for sure, there were changes. Anyway, there's a speech made by a character in a TV show that I feel encapsulates the first few years of the Bush Presidency. I know, a speech in a TV show, am I kidding you? I get that there are more nuances on the subjects addressed in this speech. But I like this show, and remember watching it thinking it was incredibly subversive of ABC to put this on TV.

Mostly in this blog we talk about cute girls (Rhona and Autumn), and politics is left at the curb. That will still mostly be the case. This is merely a detour.

Have a great day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Summer goodness.

Summer goodness.
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
Just a moment to thank Matt for being such a good provider... not only is he bringing home the bacon for the next half of the year- he is also bringing home the tomatoes!!!! It took several years for Dad to find the best spot for growing them- but man oh man do we have 'em now! Cherry toms, heirloom tommies, and other roma-like yummy tomatoes. Thanks to the URBAN ROOTS tomato sale at the start of the summer we had a lovely meal of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella.

next stop- cows. thanks dad.

Let's dig a hole to china

Remember when you were young and you thought, I could dig a hole in my backyard all the way to China? Well, according to this website, it's a good thing you didn't dig. Because you would have gotten wet -- that assumes you live within a few hundred miles of our house. Click on, and it shows you where the hole would come out if you decided to dig clear through the earth.

Of course, it doesn't take into consideration the heat of the earth's core, but then, what kid would think about that?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Matt and Autumn alone

Autumn working on being cute
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
So last night (Tuesday night), mommy went to see Tom Petty in concert. That left Dad all alone with Autumn. After picking her up from two smiling happy Grandparents, we then proceeded home for a night of feeding, burping, pooping and that was just dad! (C'mon, you saw that coming right?).

Anyway, we had a nice night. We went for a walk with Lucy and then came home and Dad worked on making his first podcast. I plan to make a few. Then, I'll see if I can figure out how to add that to this blog. It seems like it's easy. We'll see.

Tonight I plan on making some movies out of the movies we have of Autumn. Currently the ones on YouTube right now are straight off the camera. I plan to add some effects. Don't hold you're breath.

Oh, this picture was taken a few days ago. She's right cute isn't she?


Monday, August 14, 2006

Autumn and Nanny Hames

Autumn and Nanny
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
One thing we should say now. My Mom has been awesome. From the first night when she stayed over, to the time she came over so we could go out on a date, she's been great. Without her, the first few weeks would have been tough. So thanks. Autumn thanks you, but mostly, the tired parents thank you.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

So you're a baby, and you need soothing

Things have been a little a weird. You were inside of a belly where it was warm, peaceful and entirely liquefied. Then one day, they open up the roof and pull you out, under bright white lights, to the glee of many people, and you find your lungs and cry. Basically, you have no idea what is going on, which is a theme for the next few months. A poopy diaper, you cry. Looking for some food? You cry. Got the sniffles? Waaa.

Mom and dad try to respond to all the cries, but they don't speak baby. So it's hard to figure out what you're crying about. They change your diaper, feed you, walk you (the bumps put you to sleep), burp you, hold you, and yet, you cry. And the cry has a little snort, as if your nose is plugged.

Enter baby saline solution. This is the deal: you get salt water stuck up your nose, while you're complaining about how your nose is plugged. We've all probably swam in the sea and had salt water up our noses. We sort of know what the result will be. You didn't.

Still, as sad as Autumn appeared with a runny nose, the result will be a baby with a clearer nose, and that was worth that moment of incredible discomfort. I think. Anyone here know what else to do? What's the best way to soothe a baby?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Autumn in video

This is Autumn, swinging. It gets good if you stay until the end. I really suggest you stay until the end. Right at the end. Honestly. Watch it all. What do you think?

Then watch this one, a few moments later.

We're getting the hang of this. Honest.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Daily Shot

Maternal Shot
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
Each day we take a photo together and send them to Matt at work. This day Autumn found the camera - or at least she found something on the screen that peaked her interest. I love the hand stroking the chin like an English professor listening to a student's take on a short story.

She is lovely.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Modern Man, 2006

Part of the point of this blog is to have a snapshot in time for Autumn. Years from now, when she's surfing the net, she can periodically check in on this blog to see what it was like back in 'aught 06.'. A funny story: My dad always thought he walked about 5 miles to school. With the aid of Google Earth, we plotted the trail he took and learned that it was just over a mile. The point: our memories of events are, at best, sketchy, and at worst, unreliable. This will be the reliable moment. That being said, here's George Carlin on the Modern Man, circa 2006. And yeah, it might not be suitable for youngsters, but youtube will most likely be out of business within a year so enjoy it now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Is that a pillow or what?

Zaky Infant Pillow – Simulates a Mother’s Hand

This is a fairly weird thing. A co-worker sent me the link. Take a look.

Sort of nuts isn't it? Could you get one of those? And as a copywriter, I love the description. The pictures are creepy but hilarious. I guess this might work.

The thing is, Autumn has her moments when she's a little distressed, but for the most part, she's good. Partly because we swaddle her. That's right, a full-on swaddle. We're pretty happy with the swaddling. Swaddling rocks, just so you know. It's allowed a few 8-hour nights. Which is truly outstanding since she's only 7 weeks old (today).

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

She's getting bigger

She's getting bigger
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
Our little girl is getting bigger. Take a look at the other shot of her. Now look at this one. It's true, when you feed babies, they grow. I'm all about local food, and trying to get food locally. Autumn wins. She just turns to mom.

At the Family Picnic

family picnic
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
Autumn went international again. This time, she hit her dad's hometown of Brampton, Ontario for a picnic. Food, beers, good cheers and family. That's what it was all about. In the foreground of the picture, you can see the shoulder of Nanny, holding a little foot belonging to Autumn. If you click on the picture you'll be taken to flickr where you can see more of the pictures. We had a great time. Autumn likes to be ga-ga-d at.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Grandpa Cadenhead

Grandpa Cadenhead
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
This picture wasn't taken on Grandpa Cadenhead's birthday, it was taken a week before. But today (the date of this blog entry) is his birthday. If Autumn could speak, she would say "Happy birthday Grandpa". Instead she just kind of says "groo, woo, wah."

Fatherhood (an outside observer)

Fatherhood (an observer)
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
mom says:

A baby brings a great deal of change- a change that requires the emergence of a new skillset. I have watched Matt as he has become adept at burping, changing, feeding, bathing and calming via his nervous tick of a shakey leg.

I am so enjoying watching him as he cares for Autumn. For example, this morning before his coffee- we had her in bed with us (post morning feed) and he was' sleeping' with her in our bed. They looked so sweet together- her small little hand reaching up to his face during her somewhat restless dreams while he carefully and delicately soothed her with soft touches.

It is nice to be a mother, but part of the fun is most certainly watching the father.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wow, it was hot, wasn't it?

Wow, it was hot
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
So Aunt Tracey's visit coincided with one of the hottest weeks we've had in a while. Tracey slept on the couch, to try and keep cool. Only mommy and daddy have AC in their room. Anyway, I fed Autumn, I handed her off to Aunt Tracey so I could go take a shower. When I came back down, I saw them both sleeping on the couch. Autumn is small right now, and snuggly. I suspect she'll be snuggly for sometime, but right now, having her sleep on you, or beside you is priceless. She really is great.

Speaking of hot, it's about to cool down around these parts. Thankfully. But one marketer is taking advantage of the heat wave. Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth has just rolled out a new ad campaign to take 'advantage' of the heat. I guess I can't fault them - the movie is about global warming afterall. So why not hitch a ride on a heat wave and make some noise?

We're looking forward to tomorrow, where they tell us it could be a chilly 82 degrees. Cool. And people think it's cold and snowy in Buffalo. Right.

Code Red!

A lot of friends of ours who are parents told us that the best time to go to a restaurant is when Autumn is still a little baby. Basically, she'll sleep, they said. And while we had a little bit of a moment a few days ago, we had some pumped milk packed, so we could feed her at the table - you know, without Rhona having to feed her.

Which bring us to yesterday. Rhona and Autumn met me at a local eatery for lunch. You could tell Autumn was on the edge of screaming for most of the lunch. So just as we were both wrapping up, she started full-out complaining. Some would call it kicking and screaming. Rhona took her into an empty banquet room that was part of the restaurant and fed her. For 40 minutes. I always thought Rhona would become a great mom. She's proving me right.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Please comment!!

Looking at the flower
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
We should point something out: the goal of this blog is to have an online memory for Autumn. When she's older, she can look back on some of the things we posted and read comments from friends and family. That is, if friends and family actually comment. Underneath this post and all of the posts you'll see a 'comments' link. Click on it and comment. Autumn will appreciate it. Next time she see's you, she'll give you a big goo goo, ga ga.