Over on my photoblog, I’ve posted pictures from my trip to Phoenix and Denver.
We’re back safe & sound in Knoxville, by the way. Loyette was once again a champion flyer — though I think we’ll be paying for the disruptions to her schedule in the form of weekend fussiness.
We’re safe and sound in Phoenix, having flown in from Tennessee yesterday with no Friday the 13th complications. :) Loyette was amazing; she didn’t cry or fuss at all during takeoff, and she literally slept through landing. At one point in the middle of the flight, she woke up and cried for about 10 seconds — but that was it. Otherwise she was completely calm for the entire flight. She’s an amazing baby. :)
Also amazing: the view out the left-hand side of the plane, where we were sitting, looking south directly into a thunderstorm over west Texas. Neither the photos nor the video that I took remotely do the sight justice, but just for a taste, here’s a photo:
It was really, really cool to see — the second time in a week that I’ve been treated to a great lightning show. This time, of course, we were watching it from 36,000 feet, so it was a very different sort of view. There was lightning every couple of seconds, flashing across the sky and lighting up the clouds in all sorts of awesome patterns. Absolutely incredible.
Here’s an archived radar image of what I believe is the line of storms that we were looking into:
The remarkable Democratic primary and caucus process of 2008 — the “campaign that wouldn’t end” — finally ends today, whether Hillary Clinton likes it or not, with primaries in Montana and South Dakota. After tonight, there’s nothing of any significance left on the calendar until the convention begins on August 25.
There’s been a lot of talk about what a long, drawn-out campaign it has been. (Remember when it seemed exotic to look past February 5?) I have a unique perspective on that, as the Iowa caucuses occurred the day after Becky and I came home from the hospital with our firstborn child. So we barely remember what our lives were like before this election began.
For Loyette, the situation is even more extreme. This campaign has literally been going on for her entire life. :) She was three days old when the first votes were cast; now she’s five months and three days. She’s more than doubled her weight, gotten five or six inches taller, and has changed from a tiny, dazed and confused newborn into a vibrant, happy, bouncing baby girl with a distinct personality and an ever-increasing set of skills. And all the while, the Democrats have been fighting over who’ll be their nominee. Remarkable.
Anyway… what are your predictions for today’s election? And when will Hillary drop out? Tonight? Tomorrow? Thursday? August 28? January 21? ;)
P.S. Remember how Mitt Romney dropped out, and endorsed McCain, at a speech in front of CPAC? Well, is it possible Hillary will drop out, and endorse Obama, at the AIPAC convention tomorrow? She and Obama are both scheduled to speak there tomorrow morning.
It was very fun, if somewhat exhausting. (The hike to the campsite at the end of the trail was relentlessly uphill; the walk back was, naturally, downhill, and therefore mercifully less tiring.) We carried Loyette in her Kangaroo Korner slings, Becky using the fleece one and me using the mesh one, as we always do. We passed her back and forth throughout the roughly six-hour hike, and whoever wasn’t wearing the baby would wear the backpack. So that worked out pretty well.
Loyette was amazingly tolerant of the long day. She got cranky exactly three times — twice just before taking a long nap in her sling (i.e., she was tired), and once just before lunch (i.e., she was hungry). She’s a great baby that way. :) Throughout the vast majority of the hike, she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and seemed very interested in all the new sights, sounds and smells. Of course, that meant not just the natural wonders of the forest, but also the more mundane “wonders” like the feel of cold condensation on the outside of our water bottle, and the way a plastic bag full of peanuts (a handy trail snack) changes shape when you grab the outside of the bag. To a baby, everything new is exciting and wondrous.
Anyway, the trail we hiked is renowned for its beautiful wildflowers in early spring. Since it’s late May, there aren’t as many wildflowers now, but there are some, and they’re pretty. Here are a few that I photographed:
Oh, and the trail also has a somewhat scary bridge, quite reminiscent of the Bridge of Khazad-DÃƒÂ»m (although with a railing, admittedly):
It’s hard to tell from the photos, but there’s really quite a steep drop-off; the water is maybe 15 feet below you in the middle. And given the narrowness of the bridge, it’s legitimately somewhat nerve-wracking to walk across.
I really wanted to find a large stick, hold it up, and proclaim, “You cannot pass! I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. Dark fire will not avail you, Flame of UdÃƒÂ»n! Go back to the shadow! You shall not pass!!!”
But alas, there was another pair of hikers sitting on a rock nearby, well within earshot, so I had to contain my weirdness. :)
I did, however, do what my dad and I call the Indiana Jones pose — notwithstanding the fact that, to my knowledge, Indiana Jones never did any such pose.
Anyway, I’ll upload some more pictures of the hike to Flickr shortly, and link to them here when they’re online.
P.S. I think this photo is cool:
UPDATE: As promised, here’s the Flickr gallery. It’s two pages long. Enjoy!
I neglected to mention it at the time, but this past Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of my graduation from law school, and Wednesday marked one year to the day since we moved to Knoxville. Wow!
It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Time flies, I guess, particularly when we’re talking about a year that began with Loyette being the size of a kidney bean and ended with her approaching five months old, growing and learning and changing every day — so much so that it sneaks up on you, and you’re amazed when you ponder memories or look at pictures from even a couple of weeks ago, let alone a couple of months. At this point it’s hard to remember what my life was like in February, never mind December… and as for May? Fugghetaboutit.
Anyway, I guess this milestone means I’ve now officially concluded my first year in the “real world.” And wow, what a year it’s been. I know I don’t talk about my own life in this space as much as I used to; I guess the combination of having a baby and starting my career have caused me to show a wee bit more discretion in terms of what I blog about. But suffice it to say that, on all fronts, things are going very well, and I’m really, really happy. And the anniversary of my graduation seems like a good moment to stop, take stock, and give thanks for all my blessings — most especially the one who is currently sleeping soundly in the other room. :)
We went to the Aquarium of the Smokies in Gaitlinburg this afternoon. It was suprisingly awesome, and Loyette was totally fascinated by the fishies, including this jellyfish.
Loyette, Becky, Casey (visiting for the weekend from Rochester) and I went on the March for Babies this morning on UT’s campus. It was fun!
That’s Becky pushing Loyette’s stroller above, and Casey next to her. Here’s a photo of Loyette and me, relaxing after the walk:
My t-shirt, if you’re wondering, says, “Fatherhood: the toughest job you’ll ever love.”
Anyway, thanks again to everybody who sponsored us! We ended up exceeding our goal, with $620 in donations!
If you didn’t sponsor us, but would still like to donate to the March of Dimes, why not sponsor the Neudorffs? They’ll be marching next weekend in Rochester.
After the jump, some more photos of today’s march here in Knoxville.
I linked yesterday to a YouTube clip of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy singing "Rambles of Spring." That’s just one of a whole new treasure trove of Clancy/Makem video clips that have been recently uploaded to YouTube. You might recall that I posted a bunch of clips last August, after Makem’s death, but a lot of new videos have appeared since then. Here’s another one, a real oldie but goodie, showing a much younger foursome singing "Brennan on the Moor" in 1963:
That, incidentally, is — like the Kingston Trio’s "M.T.A." — one of my favorite songs to sing to Loyette. Hey, just because I’m a lawyer doesn’t mean I can’t teach my daughter a "good, healthy disrespect for law!" Hee hee. Actually, I just like singing it to her because it’s fun, bouncy and repetitive. No doubt I’ll regret this when she gets a little older and, just like I did when I was little, starts bursting out in bawdy Irish songs at inappropriate moments. :) History repeats itself in the new generation…
In an e-mail this morning about possible travel plans for the Fourth of July, I referred to Loyette as "a six-month-old," then added: "OMG, she’s going to be six months old!! That’s DOUBLE her current age!! She’ll be going to prom and heading off to college before I know it!!
This brings to mind the Blue Plate Special last Friday, when I was holding Loyette in the back of the room, "dancing" with her to the old-timey bluegrass music — and a vision popped into my head of our father-daughter dance at her wedding someday. Argh! Why must I think these things?? The pre-nostalgia is killing me! :)
As a follow-up to my dad’s post, Loyette and I would like to wish you & yours a very happy St. Patrick’s Day:
Awww. :) Cutest. Leprechaun. Ever.
Actually, that photo was taken on Thursday during the Pac-10 tournament. But I have a feeling it will be a common scene both tonight and throughout the next few weeks. :)
(Just before the picture was taken, Loyette was actually staring straight at the TV screen for several minutes. It was really cute.)
Oh, and yes, we realize our entertainment center isn’t remotely baby-proofed. But we should have a little while yet before she starts crawling around and that becomes an issue…
Back in December, as I pondered what to buy Becky for our second wedding anniversary, I had a brainstorm: wouldn’t it be cool to get her (er, us) tickets to the Ron White comedy show on March 8 in downtown Knoxville? Becky’s a huge live comedy fan generally, and a Blue Collar Comedy fan specifically, so I knew she’d love it.
There was only one problem: by March 8 we’d have a two-month old, so we’d need a babysitter. And I figured new mom Becky wouldn’t want to entrust our brand-new little one to just any old babysitter. But I knew Loyette’s SHA-girl “aunties” all wanted to come visit at some point, so I figured maybe I could get one of them to come out that (i.e., this) weekend. I e-mailed Kristy, she enthusiastically agreed to come visit, and long story short, yesterday she flew in from Denver, and tonight she’ll be babysitting Loyette while Becky and I go out on out first real post-baby date.
You know your friends rock when they’ll fly in from 1,500 miles away to babysit. :) Anyway, here’s a shot of Loyette and her Aunt Kristy at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this afternoon:
P.S. Here’s a photo Kristy took of me blocking Becky’s shot at the Hall of Fame’s court:
Shannon’s visiting us this weekend, and today we drove out to the Smokies. Here we are in Cades Cove with a sleepy Loyette:
Shannon, incidentally, sat next to Lady Vols star Nicky Anosike’s 6-foot-10 brother, Ifesinachi (a.k.a. “E”), on her flight into Knoxville on Thursday. (He had requested to change seats because he couldn’t fit well in his original seat near the back of the plane, and being next to 5-foot-3 Shannon worked well.) She said he was a really nice, friendly guy, and they had a nice time chatting on the flight. Their flight ended up making the news, in the lede of the AP article about Tennessee’s senior-night win over Florida on Thursday:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nicky Anosike’s family arrived just after halftime to see her play in her final home game at Tennessee on Thursday night.
By then she and the third-ranked Lady Vols had already taken care of business.
“They are always late. I expected that, and I was prepared for it,” she joked after her family’s flight from New York was delayed.
Anyway, back to today’s trip to the Smokies… I also got a couple of nice photos of deer:
Fight on Trojans! Beat the Bruins!
(Onesie and blanket courtesy of Keri and Jake. “Fight on” socks courtesy of Papa & Nana.)
P.S. Of course, Mike Tran is hoping the Trojans lose tonight… which just proves that Mike Tran hates babies. :)
Freakin’ baby-hating Bruins. Have they no decency? ;)
We went to an Obama rally, and a Lady Vols game broke out!
Becky and I decided to check out the Obama rally outside Thompson-Boling this afternoon. We figured it would be a good excuse to get out of the house with Loyette, and I wanted to take some pictures of the festivities. So we drove over to UT, tucked Loyette snugly inside her kangaroo pouch (which I was wearing), and ventured out toward the arena. We ended up getting free Obama signs of our own…
…and struck up a few pleasant conversations with Obama supporters heading into the arena. Several people were curious to see the baby inside the pouch — the “youth vote,” we said. :) Then one of those conversations took an unexpected turn: a middle-aged couple was looking for someone to give their tickets to, and asked if we’d like them. We figured, what the heck? If Loyette didn’t do well with the crowd, we could always leave. So we accepted the tickets, and thus ended up unexpectedly taking our baby to her first basketball game.
And she did great! She was sound asleep inside her pouch for pretty much the entire affair. The crowd noise didn’t seem to bother her at all, and after flinching the first few times the P.A. announcer yelled, she got used to that, too. At one point, with my hand on the bottom of the pouch, I could actually feel her snoring — out like a light in the midst of a crowd of 19,259. Heh. She’s a sound sleeper! We ended up staying till the final buzzer, much to our surprise.
Tennessee won the game, by the way, routing overmatched Kentucky, 79-51. And Candace Parker dunked!
Oh, and lest my Connecticut readers be concerned, I sang the UConn Huskies fight song to Loyette during the car ride home. Wouldn’t want her to get too indoctrinated with this Lady Vols stuff. :)