Wednesday, September 29, 2010


For those tech-savvy friends of mine who use a reader of some kind to follow the blog, you may want to click through on this one. Trust me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Today is a special day, Juliette says. Because today is mommy's birthday!

Yes, that's right, today is Kathy's birthday! In honor of her birthday, we spent this past Saturday out and about doing some fun things.

First, we went to a Farmer's Market at Tower Grove Park, where Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three happened to be playing. So, Juliette officially has been to her first concert.

Juliette meets Cousin Ryan, of the South City Three

Afterwards, we went to Forest Park and met up with Aunties B and Jess. No, they're not really related to us, but they're still Aunties nonetheless. We had a great picnic in the park.

She was trying to tell me a joke.

After walking to our picnic spot and eating all that good lunch we brought with, it was time for a nap.

Best outdoor nap ever.

All in all, it was a good day, and a good birthday celebration.

Happy Birthday, Kathy!

Family Camp

To begin with, my sister was a Girl Scout. This is important information for the rest of this post.

Also important is that, when I was growing up, there were three families that were inseparable when they were at the same function; my family, the Van Hooks* and the K's (*Names have been changed to protect the unsuspecting victims, er, um, subjects of the following photos). The children consisted of three boys and four girls, all together. John, Carolyn and Mike from the Van Hooks, myself and my older sister Maureen, and Rebecca and Rachel from the K's. And of course, all the girls were Girl Scouts together (well, Rebecca was older, but Maureen, Rachel and Carolyn were all in the same troop). And every year over Labor Day weekend, the Girl Scouts in St. Louis hosted a three day camp called Family Camp. The idea was that it was a Girl Scout event at a Girl Scout campground, but the whole family could come. You'd stay in permanent tents or even cabins, bring your bicycles, and have a great weekend of archery, crafts, swimming, square dancing, silly games, scavenger hunting, bicycling, fishing, and eating some fine cafeteria food.

Only, we didn't stay in the permanent tents or cabins. Our three families (minus John, who was quite a bit older) stayed at the one campsite (Whispering Winds) that did not have these structures. It was tucked back by the archery range and it had a pavilion with some picnic tables. It had lots of trees for stringing laundry lines (or, in our case, hammocks). And we always had the most fun, thank you very much.

Anyway, we haven't been able to actually go to family camp since the girls stopped being Girl Scouts, so a few years ago, we all decided we'd do a Family Camp Reunion, and my parents hosted it. We had crafts, games, food, and good times. So we did it the following year at the Ks' house. And the next year at the Van Hooks. It's been fun, because the families have been growing through marriages and having kids, so now the number of people attending is rather large and rambunctious. In fact, this year, when Rebecca hosted it (because it's time for the kids to start hosting), we were apparently so loud that when Michael showed up, he said he could hear us shouting and having fun halfway down the street.

Anyway, as it was Juliette's first (and, also, her cousin Lydia's first) Family Camp ever this weekend, I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you.

Granny Gets Ding-Dongs Stacked on her face
Cousin Lydia's shirt says "Future Girl Scout"
Michael Attempts to find a Penny
Becca gets ready for another game, while Kathy and Juliette Cuddle
Rachel and her husband John blow up balloons while Juliette cuddles with Rachel's mom Jamie
Cheryl Van Hook and Jamie watch as Granny blows it for the living room team.

Carolyn's boyfriend Nelson has to transfer these stacks; one is empty, one is full.
Mike concentrates on apple stacking while Carolyn laughs at his valiant effort.
Having once seen a youtube video of cup stacking, I show Greg K how it's done.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Day In the Life

Most days, I leave for work in the morning, and I have to leave this behind:

But the good news is that I get to come home to this:

And, Kathy assures me, she spends most of her days like this:
9/16/10 - Six Weeks, Clearly Up to No Good

Sorry for the repeat of the first picture on this post, but it's called a Photo Series. Anyone who took Photography classes should know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Social Butterfly

Yes, I'm talking about my daughter.

In addition to the Art Fair on Friday, on Saturday we went to a trivia night with some friends. Juliette, per her usual out-and-about behavior, slept almost completely through it. She did have to eat at one point, so Kathy took her into a quiet corner and, using her awesome reverse-superhero cape, nursed her while the rest of us at the table got our trivia on. For the record, we came in 16th out of 40, so that's respectable. Certainly, we could have done better, but we could have done much worse.

But then, of course, we got home, and Juliette was all about the "I'ma be cranky and pretend like I want to eat but I'm not gonna eat and I'm gonna be sleepy without falling asleep" behavior, you know, to contrast her sleeping through a crowded room of trivia nighting. What.The.Crap? Oh well, that's babies for you.

Sunday morning we went to my parents' house for breakfast, so that my mother and father (Granny and Poppy) could get their grandparenting on. Not that they don't already have good grandparent skills, but it had been a week since either of them had seen Jules and my mother in particular was getting antsy.

Also, my father had a new toy to show me. It's white, curvy, semi-hollow and six stringed. Pretty nice, though actually not his. He's a high school music teacher, and he brought it home over the weekend because it's expensive and he feels safer with it in reach. That way, he can continue to make sure, all weekend, that it is in good working order and still able to be shredded upon.

After that, we came home and just hung out, then did some shopping (getting some Space Bags to put all of Juliette's clothes into, since she is too little to wear quite a bit of it yet). So we were out until about 8 or so...and then Juliette started fussing. And kept fussing when we got home. Until late.

Monday was actually a low key day. But still the fussing. Why all the fussing?

So last night I got a phone call on my way home from work. It was Kathy, and I could hear Juliette burbling in the background.

K: Hey, are you off work yet?

E: Yes, on my way home now.

K: What do you want from Bread Co?

E: Umm...what?

K: I've been at Jess' all day, and we're having dinner here. B's picking up dinner so we need to know what you want. Also, get some cash so we can pay B back.

E: All day?

Yes, it's true. Kathy left our house around noon-thirty and went to hang out with our buddy Jess, who was involved in a car accident over the weekend. For the record, she's okay; she was sitting shotgun in her friend's van when they ran into a pick'emup truck. She's got bruises and is sore, but she's fine. So we ate dinner with Jess and B, until B had to go home and clean her place. We left after that and came home. And Juliette fussed and fussed and fussed...but then we finally got her calmed down and laid her down on the bed. Kathy went to do some design work (she does graphic design and is doing a little light work for her office while on maternity leave) and I laid in bed next to our daughter for two hours.

She really is the sweetest thing. And while there was some fussing about later, not as bad as the previous few nights.

I guess the fussing is just a part of the babyness of Juliette. Some day she'll grow out of the fussiness and into toddlerness, but for now, I'm content.

She really is awesome.


So, this morning, I really really didn't want to leave the house. But I knew I had to, so I snapped this picture to have her with me all day:

Taken with my iPhone 9/15/10

Too sweet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let's Get Some Culture, Get Me Some of That!

Friday night, Kathy, Juliette and I went to the St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton. This is a tradition we've gotten used to, so why would we let a five week old baby stop us from attending? Actually, a friend of ours works at Aegis, which has its office in Downtown Clayton, and every year they throw a party during the art fair. So we attend for the free drinks, free food and company.

So this year, we brought Juliette, and she slept through the whole thing. We parked a couple blocks away in my office's parking lot, walked through the throngs past a multitude of art booths, up to Aegis, and the girl just slept. People staring at her, asking what her name is, how old she is, telling us how beautiful she is (and she is), and

That's not really too bad. She does that. Pretty much all she does these days is sleep, eat, poop, repeat, etc. And I understand, I mean, she's, you know, a baby. Babies tend to do those things and little else for a while after birth. I just think that it's nice to start her on the culture early. You know, art fair at five weeks, maybe the symphony at two months, an opera in the first six months, a Neal LaBute play on her first birthday, maybe the next time The Decemberists come to town we could check it out. I may have to clear some of this with Kathy first.

There is, however, a tragedy that took place on our Art Fair Outing; we didn't get any pictures. Kathy even made sure the battery for her point and shoot digital was charged and, guess what? It stayed in the diaper bag the whole time. What were we thinking?


[Insert Photo of Myself and My Daughter at the Art Fair in front of some Kinetic Sculptures]

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soon, She'll Be Driving and Bringing Home Boys...

Juliette was only six pounds three ounces and nineteen and three-fourths inches when she was born. We had her wearing premie clothes and disposable newborn diapers. We were fine with the clothes (Kathy comes from a large and generous family, I think we have enough clothes for Juliette to last until she's six without repeating an outfit) but the diaper thing caught us a bit off guard. It's not like we were expecting our child to come out and say, "Excuse me, which way to the rest room?" while doing one of those cute little kid "gotta go gotta go gotta go" dances. We planned on using cloth diapers. But we ran into a problem with our little girl.

She was too little for the cloth diapers we bought. I don't mean just a little too small; we could have laid one down and used it as a mattress practically. So we had to break into our small emergency stash of newborn disposables. Fortunately, the hospital provided us with a few days' worth and we had a box of them as well. And when those were done...she still wasn't big enough for the cloth ones.

So, out to the store to buy more newborn ones. And when those were gone, we were still at a loss. She was a little too big for the newborn size now, but still not quite big enough for the cloth ones. Our neighbor was very nice and gave us a present when we got home of size one disposables. Hooray for stop-gap measures, eh? Well, we ran out of those on Thursday night.

Lucky for us, Juliette is now big enough to wear them. She gained half a pound and grew half an inch each week in her first month (I sure hope that slows down, or else by the time she's five we're gonna need a conversion van just to get her to the doctor's office). So the first diaper change in the wee hours of the morning on Friday was a momentous one.

We've got Juliette wearing The BumGenius One Size cloth diapers. They're pretty nice, actually. We bought these specifically because, though they are more expensive per diaper than the sized ones (to say nothing of the disposable ones), it's likely we won't have to buy any more diapers between now and when she's out of them. They're adjustable, so they'll grow with her. Check the website for more info about them; they're cool. And, money-wise, they'll actually save us cash in the long run. And sure there's no doubt that the disposables are convenient (they are, for more than just the ability to toss them out; one of these BumGenius diapers takes up as much space in a bag as three disposables), but we're environmentally conscious folks over here at La Casa de StL Hipster Dad. And no, I don't know any Spanish at all, so feel free to criticize.

Anyway, Juliette seems to like them, and they're certainly more colorful than the disposables, so in addition to being a good eco-friendly citizen already, she's also stylish. No problems there!

Friday, September 10, 2010


So, I was born in St. Louis, grew up in St. Louis, graduated from preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school and college in St. Louis, and now I live and work in St. Louis. But, thanks to a year long sojourn in Minneapolis, MN, I met a wonderful woman named Kathy whom I then married. And now, we have...a daughter.

Trust me, those last two things would never have happened without going to Minneapolis.

So we've got this daughter, and it turns out, being a father is a tremendously awesome experience so far. Everything that's happened is a first. First baby, first smile, first time getting pooped on, first late night diaper change, first time having to turn down going to a bar or a concert because I've got this kid thing happening instead. And sure, missing Janelle Monae with Of Montreal will be annoying, but when will my daughter Juliette ever be this young again? The answer is, of course, never.

Anyway, it's been over a month since she was born, and I thought about doing some fatherly blogging over at my other blog (which you should totally go read right now) but decided, nah, let's keep that one focused on the life of Elliot-the-writer. But what to do about Elliot-the-Father?

Well, here we find ourselves, at the answer. A new blog. Pretty swank, I know.

So, the week Juliette was born, The Arcade Fire released their third album The Suburbs and NPR Music had an exclusive first listen. So, I gave it a listen, and I loved it. I was a fan of their first two albums but something about this third one just sort of...spoke to me at this moment in my life. And it actually wasn't until my second listen that I caught the moment at which this album spoke directly to what I was feeling.

This is the album's titular and opening track, and the lyrics to the third verse are what did it. "Can you understand/Why I want a daughter while I'm still young?/I want to hold her hand, show her some beauty/before this damage is done/But if it's too much to ask if it's too much to ask/send me a son."

Listen to it again, and pay attention to the way the verse structure sort of falls apart a little. Win Butler (the lead singer) sings the first two verses, but when he gets here, he's almost talking through it, working it out for himself, coming to terms. It's beautiful to me.

Kathy and I did not do the whole "Let's find out what the sex is so we can decorate accordingly" thing because, we think we might want to have another kid, and since you can't force it one way or another, a room decorated in all pinks or all blues would be an annoying inconvenience if the next child arrived expecting the opposite of what it got. So, neutrals (greens, yellows, etc). I'll freely admit, I was hoping or a boy. Boys, you see, are stereotypically the ones who play catch with their dads and follow their interests. It would be much easier, I thought, to get a boy to listen to Led Zeppelin records and for us to connect over stuff like that because, I thought, I'm a guy and this stuff is important to me, so if I have a son this stuff will be important to him. So, yes, I had my heart set (not firmly, but still somewhat) on a boy.

So when I heard this lyric, really heard it, it shifted me a little. The way he sings it. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the Save-A-Lot grocery store near our house, and I had gotten lucky streaming the Arcade Fire station on Pandora over my iPhone, and at that moment just before I got out of the car I heard it. I got the milk, or the bread, or whatever, and came home and thought that I would be just fine with a daughter. Because there are definitely going to be ways for me to connect to a child, any child, whom I care about. Because ultimately, it's not about the stuff that's important to me. That stuff isn't going to be what I connect with my child over; what we're going to connect over is the fact that that child-my child-is important to me. That realization hit me August 3rd, 2010.

At 10:45 PM on August 4th, two weeks and one day earlier than expected, my wife and I were in the car heading for the maternity ward. And at 7:17 on the morning of August 5th, I cried the most incredibly joyful tears I've ever shed as my beautiful daughter Juliette entered the world. I still haven't bought the actual album yet, but it will always remind me of my daughter. In eighteen years, when I'm sending her off to college, I'll probably spend my first Juliette-free hour listening to that record. Probably the first few of those hours, actually.

Dad and Daughter 8/8/10