Saturday, December 22, 2007

Atlanta to New York

This post is long over due and the process of getting to it has been equally as long. If you did not already know... I am now working in NYC while Janice and the kids are in Acworth, Georgia. As that may have taken some by surprise I will back up a bit to fill in the blanks.

Around the beginning of the year I officially took on a second set of responsibilities with Carter’s. The second job came from IT, as they needed assistance working on the Mac’s there at Carter’s. My original job was research, training, process development as well as filling a variety of technical needs for the Art and Design community at Carter’s. On the technical side I worked with IT to make sure the needs of the Art and Design teams were being considered and met. My work with IT often included trouble shooting computer issues and assisting in the roll out, training and install of new software. The additional job was just increasing a portion of my original job.

Two jobs are a lot of work but as I worked, IT watched and about mid-year I was asked if I would be interested in an IT position covering the NY offices. Now we can fast forward to the last week of November which was my last week working in Atlanta. It was hard to leave 9+ years of history but it culminated into a wonderful send off party and an extraordinary card (thanks guys!). I started this new position on Monday, December 3rd. I am working in Manhattan but take the bus in from Brooklyn where I am currently living. Janice and the kids are still in Atlanta. I will be in Atlanta for the holidays and will return to NY the first week of January. We will move everyone to NY as soon as possible.

It has been an amazing year, an amazing career really. Going from creating art to fixing computers – a rather odd progression which I am enjoying immensely. My desk is on the 6th floor of our OshKosh office in Manhattan (SoHo) office 625 Broadway in between Bleeker and E. Houston (pronounce that “House-ton”). So far the hardest part is not having Janice close nor getting to spend time with the kids. Although I do get phone calls, video chatting, pictures and even received a package. Here is a screen capture of one of our iChat conversations. The kids were soooo excited!

I will soon have pictures and maybe even some video of my NY experience but for now let me just say it has been a happy adventure so far.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just for laughs...

I was playing with the new iMovie 8 this morning using the little video camera in my laptop. I thought it would be fun to pass it on to you. Nathaniel's laugh is really infectious. Enjoy. If you cannot see the video click here.

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Life is very busy right now (more on that later) so this will be very brief.

We missed a few events so here are the links to the pictures (since they do speak a thousand words I thought it would be okay to send you over to them.

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Halloween 2007
Nathaniel dressed as Batman, Ben as Diego, Joelle as a Ballerina and Evleyn as a little chick. Click here for more pictures.


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Joelle's 2nd birthday
Click here for more pictures.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Evelyn's Big Day

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Big family occasions are a lot of work - especially with four kids - but there are times when it seems like you have all your bases covered. Usually the mirage fades amidst a sploosh of milk on freshly ironed clothes or the crash upstairs on the opposite side of the house from where your child is said to be brushing his teeth. Sunday was a mirage day. There I was standing at the front of the sanctuary in a state of bliss. Our friend Ryan had and knew how to operate the video camera. His wife Cheryl panned the sanctuary planning shots and testing angles with the digital camera while the church filled with people. In the pew beside me, mom and dad each smiled that grandparent smile which generally precedes a wallet full of pictures. Glazed with a happy grin I leaned back against the pew in front of me and took in the moment. It was Evelyn's dedication. Friends and family celebrating and affirming the joy of raising a child. My child. My Evelyn.

But for a moment the mirage wavered and I noticed something - no Evelyn. The pastor made his way to the front. No Evelyn. The room settled down to a thin quiet moment and Cheryl leans over and whispers "Did you notice that the dedication happens first?" The mirage wisps away as I rush down the side isle and out the door.

I found Evelyn with Janice in the nursery. In the brief moments allotted between Sunday school and church Evelyn had nursed, napped and was nearly dressed. Our little princess had three attendants quickly dressing her for the special day. One tying the bonnet, one slipping on socks and mommy buttoning her slip. She smiled and cooed at each compliment. I announced "We're up after announcements!" and was handed Evelyn. A final "She's so adorable" followed us down the hallway as we rushed away.

All was good again. We just needed to wait to be called up to the front and the dedication would begin. The doors in to the sanctuary were closed as we approached and one of the ushers opened the doors for us and smiled. Back in my glazed state of mind I offered a proud-dad-look-at-my-beautiful-wife-and-daughter smile back to him. Then he ushered us down the isle. At that point I should have noticed that there was a violation in basic ushering rules - only take people down the isle when everyone is standing and/or singing. Everyone was sitting and staring at us - which should have been my second clue. I flashed my glazed smile at someone and then noticed the pastor was making his way down from the pulpit. Suddenly I realized the dedication had begun and I was the only one in the church that did not know it.

Fortunately everyone else knew exactly what was going on and the dedication went really well. Below is a video of the dedication (or you can click here if you do not see it). Although it does not capture my moment of confusion it does show the dedication which includes a cute conversation between our pastor and Nathaniel.



After church we had a relaxing lunch at Bugaboo's and later a quiet afternoon and evening at home just enjoying a cool fall day. Everyone played, Grandpa took a nap, the weather was fine, no mirage necessary just joy, most notably Evelyn Joy.

Click here to see all the pictures from the dedication:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/totblogs/sets/72157602425513505/

Click here to see the movie of the dedication:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8575848929474009965&hl=en


Monday, October 08, 2007

Our Backyard Ballerina

We gave Joelle the chance to try on a costume over the weekend which produced very interesting and exceptionally cute results.

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Nathaniel did some posing too - he dressed up as Clark Kent (notice the cape coming out from under the button down shirt).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The New Tent

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Tents are cool. We make tents all the time around our home. About a year ago we received a great find from the thrift store, a nice set of queen size sheets, otherwise known as tent lumber. The sheets have been used to build homes, space ships, pirate ships, school buses, castles and just about anything else. We are all about tents and now we have a REAL tent that was a gift from Grandma and Grandpa for Nathaniel's 5th Birthday. The Cabela Trekker Classic Dome Tent was on back order when we placed the order before his birthday, so we celebrate now. We told the kids if they cleaned up their toys then we could then pull out the "surprise". The word 'surprise' is one of the most powerful words in a child's vocabulary. The house was clean in a matter of minutes. The video above shows the process of opening, constructing and finally sleeping in the tent. It was a great time for our kids. They were so excited they did not fall asleep until 10:30 which is 3 hours later than normal. Here are some of the pictures:

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nathaniel's wonderful week!

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Kindergarten here I come!

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When you have Superman covering your back - life is good.

On my computer at work I have some of my favorite pic's of our kids running as a screen saver. Normally it serves as a reminder of what is important but this week it focused my mind on the past. Our kids are already so big. The time passes by soo quickly.

Nathaniel started kindergarten last week. After his first day we all went to pick Nathaniel up from school. He was all smiles coming out to the car. We could not wait to hear about his first day. We pressed him for information asking question after question trying to reveal the hours behind closed doors. Nathaniel eventually looked over at Janice and said "Mommy, you know that list that had everything I was going to do on it?" We smiled triumphantly. Finally we will know about his first day in Kindergarten. "Yes" she replied. With a thoughtful look Nathaniel asserted "That's everything I did today!"

That was it. That was all the information we were able to gather about his first day. His subsequent days revealed more (thankfully!). The big event of the week was his class birthday. Janice brought in the whole clan and a container pilled high with vanilla and chocolate cupcakes topped with candy sprinkles. It was a fun time until the end when Nathaniel's class was dismissed to go to the indoor playground and Ben had to go with Janice. Ben cried. He wanted to go with his big brother. Ben has had a rough transition with Nathaniel gone during the day. He lost his best friend who has been by his side 24/7 for the last three in a half years. Although there is hope. On Tuesday Ben got a book and read it to Joelle as they sat together on the couch. He is a good big brother.

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He was soooo proud!

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Here is just a little reminder of another Nathaniel milestone four years earlier.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nathaniel's Kindergarten Orientation

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Last weekend Nathaniel and I went shopping. We had a list. We needed two boxes of crayons, eight #2 pencils, scissors, glue sticks and various other schoolish sort of things. Our search took us through Walmart, Target, The School Box, and Sam's club. After a couple hours we had everything but the lunch box which we found today (a Diego Lunch box). All items are labeled and ready. Tomorrow is the first day.

The pictures above and below are from last week when we went to Kindergarten orientation - Nathaniel was so excited. I had not seen the school yet and he could not wait to show me. First we pilled in to a large auditorium filled with kids and their parents. It had the same look and feel as an unearthed ant hill - the whole place was moving with children. The director of the school did her best to orient the parents while the parents did their best to make sure their children were listening. Fortunately we all got hand outs. Eventually the director gave way to the wriggling crowd and dismissed the room. As one person we all got up and en masse pushed our way out the doors.

Like a loosely connected nomadic tribe we all wandered around searching for our homes. The landmarks were various smiling teachers each next to small decorated sign. We found "Mrs Frenier" standing next to a sign that said "Kindergarten". Once inside Nathaniel located his place at a long table with a "Nathaniel" name plate, a bag of goodies and a school t-shirt. Drool mouthed chewing took up most of the children's time as the teacher provided the parents with details. We then took a quick tour of the room while Nathaniel pointed out his name on calendars and schedules. He was so proud.

Before leaving Nathaniel had his first test. He was directed to a notebook with the question "Are you excited to be in Kindergarten?" He could sign his name under 'Yes' or 'No'. After being read the question, Nathaniel curiously asked "What happens if I say 'No'?". I smiled. Kindergarten here we come.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

7 minutes of fame...

Now EVERYONE knows that Evelyn is lucky. Well at least everyone in Marietta, GA. The day before we were discharged from Northside Hospital a person from their Public Relations department came to visit us. He came in response to a message I left with the hospital asking if they would be interested in the fact that another lucky baby was born in their hospital. His visit was brief with lots of scribbled notes ending with a snap of Janice and Evelyn.

About a week ago we found out that an article had been written and published with the picture in the Marietta Daily Journal just after she was born! We are searching for someone with a printed version for the baby book (let us know if you have one!). Janice did however find a digital version of the article (see below). Too much fun...

Acworth Family Has Lucky Baby (Born 07/07/07) at Northside Hospital [link to the article]

Janice Stewart of Acworth gave birth to her fourth child last Saturday at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. This may seem like a fairly routine, if not mundane, occurrence, seeing that Northside leads the country in births, but what makes the birth of Evelyn Joy Stewart out of the ordinary is its time and date: 7:07 p.m. on 07/07/07.

Janice's husband Craig said he had thought about the possibility of the baby's birth date being on the "lucky" day soon after doctors indicated that the due date was July 6. Janice said she didn't pay much attention to the special day; she just didn't want the baby born on July 6.

"I just kept saying 'I can't have this baby, I can't have this baby,'" Janice said, recollecting last Friday. "The sixth is my birthday, and I wanted the baby to have its own."

The Acworth mother said she had a sense of relief when the clock struck midnight, signaling July 7 had begun—two hours later she began contractions.

The couple originally told family members that the baby would probably be born soon after lunchtime, but when it hadn't come as of 6 p.m., Craig had a lucky feeling.

"I didn't say anything out loud, but, at about ten til', I started thinking, 'you know, it'd be kind of cool if it was born at 7:07,'" Craig said.

At exactly 7:07 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2007 (07/07/07), Janice and Craig, not previously knowing the gender of the child, were happily surprised with their lucky baby girl. Evelyn Joy is the couple's second girl and fourth child overall. All four children were born at Northside Hospital.

"It was a lucky day for us," said Janice, with a big smile.

For more information about Northside Hospital, visit the hospital's Web site at www.northside.com.

Caption: Janice Stewart holds her new daughter, Evelyn Joy, in her room at the Women's Center at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. The "lucky" baby girl was born at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2007 (07/07/07).

Northside Hospital is a 537-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving North Metro Atlanta. Northside has one of the largest medical staffs in the Southeast with more than 1,800 physicians and 5,000 employees. This highly skilled team of professionals served more than 430,000 patient visits in 2006. While primarily known for its expertise in women's services, Northside Hospital provides comprehensive cancer care, cardiology and other medical specialties, emergency services, surgical services, outpatient treatment and behavioral services. Northside Hospital is dedicated to delivering optimum patient care and achieves this goal by embracing technological advances, striving for clinical excellence and never forgetting that every patient deserves to be treated with respect and compassion.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Plastic Pool

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The boys LOVE to be outside especially when water is involved. I have 6 of the pictures from their most recent pool adventure but there are 7 more over at our Flickr.com account. The photos really show off the fun our boys have together. It is a great camera and deftly captures the water in mid flight. Janice must also get credit for her beautifully crafted high speed photography.

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Anticipation....

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Ben looks sooo happy in this shot. He loves being outside.

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Now that's a figure! :)

If you would like to see the rest of the photographs go here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/totblogs/sets/72157601391737450/

Sunday, August 05, 2007

the faces of Joelle...

Joelle (21 months old) loves to see herself in the mirror and to make faces. Our cell phone is PERFECT to capture all of her wonderful expressions since she can see herself in the viewer as the pictures are taken.

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"So this 'bedtime' of which you speak - is it negotiable?"

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"CHOCOLAAAATE!!!"

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working on perfecting that "Daddy please..." face

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"Pretty Puhhhleeeeseee?"

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"I love you!"

More Joelle expresions can be found here at our flickr.com account:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/totblogs/sets/72157601170094086/

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Family Portrait 2007

2007 Family Portrait

On Father's Day we got together with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and all the cousins (missing only two - congratulations Amy and Eric on your soon to be family of 6!). All 20 of us ate at a long table of booster seats, click cameras, buzzing video cams and lots of noise. It was a GREAT time! With full bellies we lumbered out to our cars and in a large procession wandered through adjacent neighborhoods looking for a park. After an extensive tour of the suburban portion of Dalton, GA we found a wonderful little park. We set up a tripod and snapped away taking a BUNCH of individual family and group portraits (great job Janice)!

In an effort to communicate all theses wonderful photos to everyone we now have a Flikr.com account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/totblogs/). Use the Flikr.com tool bar to find the different portrait "sets". There are sets for each family and a special set of portraits that I liked and used PhotoShop to "enhance". As an example, the family portrait above is a composite of 6 different photos - that way EVERYONE is in the best possible pose that we had available. Check out the Flikr.com account and let me know what you think - more photos to be added soon!

GOT PICS?
- a copy of the original high resolution image files can be found here on Flikr if you would like to download it or have it printed. We just sent some to Sam's club and they came out beautifully.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

To nap or not to nap is that a question?


Carter's offers (and I am currently taking) 2 weeks paid paternity leave (woo-hoo!). Janice's mom was here until last week so I started my paternity leave on Monday this week. It is a mix of vacation and boot camp for dealing with four kids vs three. We all get tired. After just a few days at home I have come to believe that napping is a mystic discipline found only in old Kung Fu reruns. Somehow Janice or I have to enter a state of perfect harmony indifferent to all of the chaos swirling around to achieve "the nap". Might happen - right? Sure if some rather potent over the counter medication is involved and even then it's probably a gamble.

Evelyn seems to believe that napping is for the weak and unoccupied. She may have a point. Currently she is the focus of all attention. Especially when she is within reaching distance of her siblings. Joelle is the little mommy while the boys love to find toys that might entertain her.

Joelle is the "nap alert". She will wait until mommy's eyes close completely until she, with all the subtlety of squealing brakes, shrieks "MOMMY!" Then of course everyone wakes up, Evelyn, the cat, the neighbors, the old neighbor dog, sleeping astronauts on the space station and anyone else within ear shot. Joelle is the "Naphililator" [Nap-hi-ill-lay-tor].

The boys have another approach that is probably the part of human nature that draws men to watch wrestling on TV.

So much for napping maybe when we retire but then you have the grandchildren and with 4 kids who knows how many grandchildren that could provide. Bring on the medication!