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Month: December 2011

Growing the Family

When David first told me he was ready for us to grow our family, I was nervous and excited at the same time. We have only been married a little over seven months, but for us, that was enough time to build a foundation on which we could comfortably welcome not one but two new ones. We needed two of course: one for each of us.

Before I dive into the process of undergoing this big change, I would like to spend a moment stressing the importance of preparation.  Since it is an emotional and challenging lifestyle adjustment, it’s really important to prepare as much as possible. People say you can never prepare enough, but those people lack vision. You can always prepare, and you can certainly prepare enough. Resources on the web, ranging from images to interactive simulations, all help with the preparation stage. You can go clothes shopping, you can check your camera batteries and memory cards, you can make space, and you can research compelling learning activities. There is no shortage of what you can do while it’s still just the two of you.

Now, as you may have suspected, David and I are both very romantic, sensitive people. For example, last night our eyes glistened with tears after watching Chris Rene’s “Young Homie” performance on The X Factor. We were wracked with emotion when that performance was followed by Melanie Amaro’s powerful rendition of “Listen.” Two hours later, tears streamed down our cheeks as we watched The Help.  This is what we, as romantic, sensitive people do with our free time. We feel.

Anyway, we knew this wouldn’t be a “wham bam thank you ma’am” occasion. No, for this to happen, we both needed to be there, figuratively and literally, of course. And we knew the best place for this magical thing to happen would be none other than New York City, the city where we first really fell in love, and the city where we continue to make love. It was only fitting that this would also be the city where we would create love.

And so, when we were in New York on December 17, we set out to grow our family. We started out the day by attending a holiday concert, put on by the Brooklyn Youth Choir. During the concert, I selected features of several children that I appreciated most, such as hair style and color, disposition, voice quality, eagerness, etc. “David, how do you like the child that is the third from the left?” I would ask, trying to get a sense for what kinds of things David values. “Shhh,” he would respond, unhelpfully.  It was no matter. After the concert, we set out for a late and delicious seafood lunch.

Well then, then it was time for our big event! We boarded the subway and headed towards the 59th street/5th avenue station. There was a line to enter FAO Schwartz, so we had to stand for a little while. But even from outside the window we could see the delight within! When we finally entered the store, we headed straight for the factory. They handed us books, so that we could experiment with different designs, and we began the muppet making process. You can stick on different potential noses and eyes for your muppet and see what combinations you like best. Since I had done some online research, this process was less daunting than it might have been.

Selecting the muppet designs
Selecting the muppet designs

Then, you finalize your selections, sealing their fate and yours with a signature.

Signing the selection form
Sealing the deal

After that, the doctors take over, treating each newborn as if they were their own, careful to ensure all parts stay in tact and healthy.

Building the muppet with great love and care
Building the muppet with great love and care
More love and care
More love and care

When the work is complete, you have to let your new loved ones sit in the nursery for a little bit. This is so that the glue dries. Then, they are wrapped for transport. Warning! This image below may be jarring.

Preparing to leave
Getting ready to go home

We got back on the subway, where everyone “ooh”ed and “awwww”ed. They could tell we were going to be one happy family.

One happy family
Our happy family

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

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Hungry for Survival

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is about an America in the future in which there are 12 districts, governed strictly by The Capitol. Every year, to punish the districts for an uprising that happened around 74 years ago, each district randomly selects two teenagers, a boy and a girl, to represent them in the Hunger Games. These games are a fight to the death. The victor then receives a lifetime of money and food and brings prestige to their respective districts.

Our protagonist is Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who has been caring for her family ever since her father was killed in a terrible mining accident. Katniss has a few qualities that make her decently equipped to win, including hunting skills, killer instincts and a love for her family that motivates her to live in such a twisted world. Unfortunately I only have one of these three qualities, and I suspect the one I have would be the least useful in a fight to the death.

So as you can imagine, I’m deeply troubled by this. If I ever have to fight to the death, I may not win. I become irritable when the temperature drops below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, I run at a mediocre speed, and my climbing skills have declined considerably since the need to retrieve balls stuck in trees went away 15 years ago. That leaves me to rely on my wits, which I suspect are also in decline. The other day I bought a cardigan that didn’t quite fit, just because the price was good. Who does that? Surely not the quick witted.

So after ruminating over this latest dilemma – survival, for those who have not been paying attention – I have come to some important realizations.  The most important of these realizations is that I need to build up some valuable survival skills.

Here are the top three skills I need to build, and how I will go about building them.

Skill 1:  Learn how to capture, prepare, and cook my own food.
In the book, Katniss captures game by using her bow and arrow and setting hunting traps in the wild. Because it is silly for me to use a bow and arrow in a grocery store, we will say that putting food into a grocery cart and then paying for it, counts as a successful capture. Katniss skins her game, and I, I will rinse it so that any bacteria on the plastic is less likely to end up on food. And finally, Katniss can build fires, so much like her, I will attempt to fire up our gas stove, assuming the capture and prepare steps have gone smoothly. If I can accomplish this, I am one step closer to being able to survive.

Skill 2: Learn how to run fast.
Obviously, running fast is necessary for survival in case zombies or animals are chasing me. I don’t know how to learn how to do this. So…um…maybe I can start by sprinting to Pinkberry, instead of my daily leisurely stroll.

Skill 3: Learn another language.
Katniss does not speak another language, but it’s not relevant to the world she lives in. In my case, it could be a really powerful skill.  What language should I learn? Well, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski makes me think I should learn German: “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity,” he said, last week. This suggests to me that only speaking German might make me a powerful force without even doing anything else and more specifically, by doing absolutely nothing. This is much easier than sprinting to Pinkberry. German it is.



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