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Preview: The Roberson Family Web Log

The Roberson Family Web Log

Follow the misadventures of Bill, Savannah, Caleb, little Liam and Ella the Dog as they deal with a new baby. Welcome to our blog!

Updated: 2018-03-05T18:20:05.626-08:00


A Warm October


By BillHello everyone!Well, we had a great summer here in Portland, and its been especially memorable for Savannah and myself as we have watched young Liam transition from a wobbly baby to a chattering, curious, sweet and always-in-motion little boy (including while sleeping).Sure, he's still wearing diapers (we're working on that), and he's only a little bit taller than he was in the spring, but the changes have been constant and drastic. It was a great summer with good weather and lots to do. Caleb came up from Texas for a too-short visit and should be driving by now. Savannah got a very nasty staph infection in her foot that left her bedridden so that was a challenge for us all. She has since healed up with the help of some $2,000 antibiotics ($100 per pill!!). I've been shooting photos and video all summer and into the fall, and in the past few days, the weather has been just terrific. We have been taking Liam to the park nearby for some hours of playtime.Here are some very recent photos with descriptions underneath. I promise more will be coming after Halloween. Thanks for reading, and as always, click on the photos for a larger version!Love,Bill, Savannah, Liam, Caleb and Ella the dog.This is what Liam looks like today, this photo was taken just days ago. But still - the changes keep coming. See those shoes? They're history, too small now.Liam runs ahead of daddy to go play on the carousel. He is always running, figuring how to go fast. There's lots to see and do at the park. Here, Liam is entranced by a juggler who regularly practices near the tennis courts.What kid doesn't love the teeter-totter? Liam is no exception.Liam is super-active. He loves to walk and run. Keep on truckin', son....Savannah needed a picture for her blog (she used a slightly different one) showing adults "rediscovering" their inner child. Not a problem for me since mine never got lost. Liam won't remember this moment in the future, so I broke out my electric trains that I got when I was 5 and set up this shot (Savannah pulled the trigger). He'll be getting these trains in a few years.Here's a shot from mid-summer at a city children's fair. A bright sunny day where we had some fun.Same day at the fun fair. Liam makes friends easily.Liam is a cute kid, but not all babies are cute. Most are, like his buddy Asher.Remember the 70s movie "Tommy" by the Who? Well, here's our little Tommy with his headphones on and pacifier in. Truth be told, Liam never did take a pacifier as a baby and only does now on rare occasion. As for the "headphones," they're actually shooting earmuffs that cut sound. He found them one day and loves to wear them. Couldn't resist the photo.Liam still loves his peas - and broccoli. He definitely got Savannah's taste in food. Broccoli? Ick.Liam's pal Ella persists in her eternal hunt for squirrels. So far, the score stands at: Squirrels: 3,729, Ella 0. Fall has arrived here in Oregon, snow is starting to fall on Mt. Hood, which is over 11,000 feet tall. Ski season is almost here! This view is from close to our home.We're having a great time watching the little guy grow up. Thanks for reading. See you again soon.[...]

Happy Sweet 16 Caleb!


Caleb turns 16 today! We had such a great time with him this summer and are so proud of the man he is becoming.

Brother Caleb is here!


We are all excited to have brother Caleb with us for the month of June. He returns home before his birthday (16th) to do important stuff like get his driver's license and run the streets with his friends. Until then, we are loving every minute with him as we explore the Oregon coast, visit the Aquarium, go see movies and soak in the occasional Portland sunny day at the park.

One year ago, Today


By Bill

Has it really been a year?

A year since Savannah was almost delerious with pain, sleep deprivation and exhaustion? A year since I passed a newborn Liam to his mother's arms at 2:14 a.m. on a Wednesday morning? A year since I watched a nurse put on his first diaper, weigh him in at 7 pounds 6 ounces, and measure him at 19.5 inches? A year since he slept all the way home from the hospital wrapped in a tiny blanket and nearly swallowed up by his car seat?

It indeed has been a year since that clear, cool first day of Spring, 2007. A year of watching Liam, whom we affectionately call The Little Guy, go from a nearly motionless, fragile, spindly newborn to a dynamic child who can really no longer be called a baby.

He is a child who likes to wrestle while laughing uncontrollably, a child who likes to walk - yes, walk - around the house while brushing his five little teeth, and sometimes the dog's teeth. A child that carefully feeds himself a seemingly endless mountain of peas one by one by one with hilarious precision.

A child that has captured our hearts as he rolls around in bed at night while asleep, always making sure he is touching mom or dad with a hand, foot or his head.

What a year it has been. A year of first smiles, first laughs, first steps, first teeth, first solid foods, first colds, first shoes and first rides on the merry-go-round at the park.

Even today, on his birthday, he literally took more steps away from babyhood. In the morning, mom said he got off the bed (which he has been able to do for months) and walked out of the bedroom instead of crawling. Given a baby xylophone by his Nana and Pa Roberson, he immediately picked up the little wooden mallet and hammered out a tune. At the local burger joint, he seemed genuinely slighted that he was not offered ketchup for his small alotment of birthday french fires. And when given ketchup, he delicately dipped a fry in the red sauce, took a taste, and dipped it in again.

It's been a great year, full of learning by both Liam and his parents. I could go on for pages, but mostly I want to say thank you to his family, both those in Oregon and in Texas - and California, too. Thanks for all the support, advice, babysitting time, patience and most of all, love.

Liam, and you, mean the world to us.

Happy Birthday, my son. And many, many, many more.

Love, Daddy


and now....


I wanna be like my BIG brother!



In the tub the other day, Liam fashioned himself a mohawk and demanded loud punk rock music. We are wondering where he gets it?



Lunch Mouth



I think Liam's Nana, Mary Alice, coined the phrase. We were talking about how much he loves to eat and she said, "He is such a little lunch mouth!"

So true!

Liam loves food of all kinds and now that he is able to feed himself pretty much everything, he eats what we eat. We are committed to an organic, health-focused diet. Some of his favorites are peas, carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, any type of bean, meat (like ground beef or turkey), and pizza.

Yep, pizza. Well, he had his first slice (or should I say slices) of plain cheese pizza the other day and snarfled it with relish. He also slept through the night so seems like it stuck to his ribs mighty fine! I was very hesitant to introduce wheat and dairy with my family history of food allergies, but it seems that he got Bill's constitution and can eat it all!

Little lunch mouth is also talking more and more. Last night he started saying "Issy" when he gives kisses. He has said mini sentences like, "No more," or "Hi Papa (Mama) (Ella)." He says "Up," "Down," and barks when you ask him what doggies say. Everyday is a new adventure in fun with this little guy or TLG (the little guy) as we sometimes call him.

Thanks for keeping up with us and we look forward to his first birthday in only three weeks!

A Swing In Winter


The other day, Savannah said my mom took Liam to a park near our house, put him the kiddie swing and away he went, swinging like a crazy man.

I'm pretty sure he's not going to be a shy kid. He is always in motion, even while alseep sometimes. He's a pretty good dancer now, and he can't even walk yet, although he will very soon.

So we shot some video of Liam in the swing at a park near our place, and he seemed a little unsure of it at first, but pretty soon he was having a ball, despite the cold February air.

Savannah took Liam to the park again today. It was very nice today, mild for February, sunny and about 50 degrees.

Liam was back on the swings again, and Savannah snapped this photo of him with her cell phone.

Hope everyone is well!

Bill, Savannah and Liam (and Ella the dog)


The First First Step


Well, today it hapened. Liam took his first step.

Momma Savannah says that Liam was near the bedroom door and after she went through, he shut it (he likes to play with doors of all kinds now). Then, while standing up, he opened it, took two hestitant steps to Savannah, and called it a day for walking. I could not get him to repeat the performance.

I am sure many more baby steps will be coming soon, but there is only one first step. I was at work at the time, toiling on an editing project miles away. I am sorry to have missed the first steps, but thems the breaks.

I was lucky enough to be present for his first crawl on October 5 ,2007, and even more furtunate to capture the moment on video (I always carry a camera of some sort).

Liam has been close to walking for weeks. He does a lot of "cruising," which is standing up and scootching from object to object (or object to person/dog). All this is by the numbers for baby development (admittedly the walking thing is a bit early), but it is still pretty wonderous to see it happen to your kid. And, he likes to dance. It started as just a bounce but now he's added a side-to-side move that is pretty cute. I have the video camera at the ready.

Not so wonderous is Liam's health.

Yesterday he was sporting a temp of 104.1, so we took him to a clinic and the doctor said he has a bit of pheumonia, so he is on a course of antibiotics now and seems to be much better. Poor little guy, he was really out of it Friday, like a rag doll, all glassy-eyed and lethargic. He's pretty much back to his rambunctious self now, grabbing at everything, playing with toys and torturing Ella the dog. A little grumpy, maybe, but lots better all the same.

So I missed the First First Step. Soon there will be the First Step That Daddy Sees (and records), followed by the first walk to the park, the first run, the first tumble, the first swing on the park swing set, the first teeter-totter ride, the first bicycle, the first game of Little League, soccer or what ever sport he seems to take to.

So many firsts to go.

Editors note: Sorry for the long time between posts, but it's hectic as I'm sure you know, and we only like to post when there's something worth posting about. We know your time is valuable, too.



by Savannah

At eight months old (today!), Liam is a talker! He chats while he plays, he sings while he eats and he babbles at us in long baby language sentences. We know where he gets it...

Flashback: My Grandmother "T" and my mother Jan in a full kitchen, their voices harmonizing in a stream of busy chatter. My Grandfather Max laughs from his brown leather chair in the adjacent room, "You gals could talk the stripes off a tiger!"

I am a sometimes talker. When I am stressed, excited or have something to share, I can keep up with the best of them. Other times, I am happy to observe or listen. Caleb was quite plithy as a youngster, but these days, he is a more reticient teenager.

At five months old, Liam was laying on the changing table, looking up at his Papa. "Baby," he sputtered. "What did you say, Bop?" Again, "Baby". He performed his miracle for me a few days later in the car. Some unknown, to me, musician was crooning on the radio, "Baby,oh, baby, baby..." And from the backseat I hear a little response, "Baby."

Next came the standard "Ma, ma, ma, ma" and "Da da da". Then, "Hi!" And once, "Hi mama!"

Lately his favorite word is "Errah" (Ella). In the morning, he stands on the bed, peering over the guardrail and calls in his loudest voice: "Errah". She stumbles into the room (after sleeping for sixteen hours) and he laughs at his powers.

Some people spend the first year of a baby's life waiting for them to talk and the next seventeen hoping they will be quiet. We look forward to all eighteen years of his childhood chatter! (uhm, someone remind me I said this when the four-year-old "why?" shows up!)

The World According to Liam


by SavannahEverything is changing fast with the little guy these days. Just a couple of months ago, he was a little immobile baby, satisfied to bat at a hanging toy or mouth a wooden rattle. Now, suddenly it seems, he is crawling (and fast!), pulling up to standing, grinning with sharp little teeth in his mouth! His perspective of the world seems so different. Every piece of furniture is an obstacle to be considered, tested and then climbed. Food is fascinating and he begs for the most improbable things from my plate (like a hamburger). Watching him explore with innocent curiosity the light through a drape or the space beneath the chair can be a true teaching on mindfulness. His favorite obstacle to explore is Ella, the dog. He digs his little hands into her fur and drags himself up over her body. She is tender. She bats her lashes at him and considers any attention to be good attention (especially now that she is “down a peg”). And her rawhide dog bones? Well, Liam thinks they are great teething toys… Yuck!Liam also got to see a bit more of the world a few weeks ago on a big trip to Florida and Texas. We stayed in the beach town of Destin in a beach condo for several days with my parents and brother and sister-in-law. The sand and salt were no fun for Liam, but he soaked up some love from his family (more Florida pix are below).Back in Texas, he got to spend time with his big brother Caleb. At first, he shocked by Caleb’s blue Mohawk! He cried and pulled away when he saw his brother’s head. But in no time, he was back in Caleb’s arms. He also met more of my family, including our beloved Memom, matriarch of the Mayfield clan.What a joyful experience it is to see the world through the purity of his eyes: his radiant smile at the sight of Grandpa Johnny’s face; his surprise at the sweetness of a fresh peach; his chubby hand signing for “milk” as he nurses himself to sleep. So far, in the world according to Mr. Liam, all is good.More photos!!Happy Halloween![...]

Summertime and Nicknames


What's the date? September 12th? Where does the time go? I know where: into hours of playing with our bouncing baby boy, Liam. Also known as Bup, Nox, The Little Vampire, and of course, The Little Guy. Or to be more precise, "thelittleguy," said fast, as in, "what's thelittleguy doing now, Savannah?"How do nicknames like "Bup" start? Who knows. It just seems like he bups along, happy and laughing.Nox we don't use much, but I called him that after he was born on the Spring Equi(nox). Little Vampire? He gets that at 1 a.m. from sleepless mom after he plays for two solid hours in the middle of the night. In the dark. By himself. His teeth are coming in, we are checking for fangs.As for "thelittleguy," that's no mystery, he's a little guy. But we say it so often it sort of runs together into a name of its own. Soon enough, though, he'll be Little Houdini, Chatterbox or some such, as the crawling and talking phases are coming on strong.It's been a great summer. Savvy and I have both been working very hard, but we did take some breaks, including an overnight stay near Government Camp in a cozy creekside cabin and numerous walks to parks around Portland. We did a longer hike up to Mirror Lake and even got lost - for about 15 minutes. We hope you have had a good summer as well. Here are the latest photos! Just click to see them super-sized or to print one up.This image was on Liam's baptism announcement. The "big dip" went well. We have no photos of the event, just video (shot by Angela), and, uh, even we have not seen it yet. But I will post it to YouTube this weekend.Guess who's turning 3? Ella is a great dog - the best. Liam pulls out handfulls of her hair, pokes her in the eye and yanks on her tail. She doesn't move a muscle in anger. He favorite spot during the day is anywhere close to Liam. Here she is relaxing in the car after our Mirror Lake hike. That's a happy dog.Liam sits up now. We have to get him there, and he still topples over, but less each day. Here he is exploring the field at Rose City Park.That boy has a way with the girls - already! While playing in the park, a gaggle of kids from a birthday party happened by. This girl, Ariel, was instantly smitten. She just had to hold him.It's a Liam attack! Actually, this behavior is called "birding" or "flying," and is a prelude to crawling, except all the landing gear is up. It's still pretty funny to see. Liam cried for his first home bath (captured on video). I think that was the last time, though (for the crying, not the bathing). This kid loves to get in the tub with mom or dad and kick, splash and laugh. Uh oh, you know what's coming when all the gear is down. At this point he's frozen in place. Not for long, I'm sure.This one of my favorite photos so far. He looks ready to pounce!This was taken during the sequence I shot for his baptism card. It was not what I had in mind for the card (the one I used was), but this was an unexpected treasure from that photo session, which took 5 minutes at most. Be sure to take lots of photos of your kids. It's important.Here's our little hiker on the trail in Mt. Hood wilderness in August, actually on the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Canada to Mexico. We took a lunch break and during that time a guy came by who was doing the whole trail. Nice guy, too. He was 62 and had been on the trail since April. Now that's impressive.Back at the park, sittin' in the grass. Man, these summer days go by so fast.Here we are at Mirror Lake near Mt. Hood. Liam is getting some hands-on with the local timber. Gotta have a hat or the sun at that altitude (4,000 feet) with burn baby skin in just a few minutes.Our friends have a house with a big pool and threw a swell party. Liam loves the water. Swim lessons will come early.Back out on the Pacific Crest Trail with Sa[...]

Say Cheese


Well, faithful blog readers, thanks for checking back in. We have been remiss about updates this summer as we are so busy as expected, but I wanted to take this time to post a bunch of photos. Not much to report - summer is here, Liam is growing and growing and becoming more of a little person each day. His blonde hair is growing in, he babbles like crazy and loves to giggle and laugh. He is healthy and we are thankful for that most of all. We hope you are well and enjoying summer. Onto the photos! (Captions are under each photo. Click on the photo to see it larger or for printing.)This photo of Liam and very big brother Caleb is indicative of their bond - right from the start. While Caleb was here and not in the same room as Liam, Liam would look and look and look for him. Brothers indeed. Photo by Savannah.Hmmm... I wonder if we're related? Photo by Caleb.We had a super fun weekend in Astoria with our friends Angela and Pete. Angela is our dearest friend and was a great support during Liam's birth. She makes the world more beautiful with plant design and feng shui. Pete is a new-found friend we are thrilled to know. He is a talented musician, plant person, general instigator of chaos, and maker of miracle 40-foot baskets while playing HORSE. Photo by Bill.Liam in fine orange hat form while in Astoria. On July 21, he was four months old. Photo by Bill.Too low on the hat, dad! Too low!! Most teen boys want to keep their mom at a distance as the transistion to being a man gets rolling. Not Caleb. His great love for Savannah and his communication skills are quite amazing. It was a great day at the beach. Photo by Bill.Not much to say here from me. Choose your own 1,000 words. Photo by Bill.Mr. Caleb has taken an interest in photography and has quite an eye. I only gave him a few pointers, and I was elated to see him take most of his photos in Black and White, and take good ones as well. The mark of an emerging master! Photo by Caleb.Our sweet Savannah as photographed by her son, Caleb.Aye, there be some fine eyelashes, just like daddy has. I'll teach you to use those later, my boy..... Photo by BillAh, the favorite spot for Liam. Baby packs are great (thanks, Native Americans!). He's outgrown this one and is into a bigger one now. Photo by Bill.Steps to get Liam to sleep: 1) Insert Liam into pack. 2) Begin walking.A fine color photo by Caleb of Doc and Mary Alice's constant companion, Uncle Joey.Caleb walks the beach with the Astoria Bridge in the background. Photo by Bill."Buy 500 shares of Google, cancel my meeting with Bono and warm up that bottle, pronto!" Photo by Savannah.A little peck for my little guy. Photo by Caleb.We'll post more photos soon! Love,Bill, Savannah, Liam and Ella the dog...[...]

Happy Birthday Caleb!


15 years ago today, I became a mother.

Caleb came into the world with intensity and fierce will. He was a “fussy” baby. There were many long hours that we sat together in the night, rocking and rocking. Later that intensity turned into a very inquisitive and precocious toddler. He was talking in full sentences at age two and his favorite phrase was, “Yes, I know, but WHY?”

As a young boy, he was all physical energy and willful strength. Out in the yard swinging a stick at the tree or rolling around on the floor, playing with anything and everything, he was just plain fun to watch.

Caleb taught me my current parenting style by pure survival. I learned that children develop into independent humans with a sense of personal responsibility when you meet their needs foremost and invite their participation. And with Caleb, I found I could never win by coercion, but we could win together through connection.

I have for years called Caleb my “cling-on”. He is a nurturing, affectionate guy with lots of love to share. Particularly with his Mama; how blessed I am!

He is now a compassionate, creative and communicative young man. I am so proud of his kindness and maturity as a human being. I think one of the greatest things a parent can feel is that their kid is someone they actually are honored to know.

I am better person because he came along.

Thank you Caleb for being my boy, for teaching me about being a mother and for making the world brighter.


Two Months Young


Remember, to see a larger version of a photo, click on it!___________________________Liam was born two months ago today. Sixty days. What a short time for a life. I can hear a radio announcer’s voice saying:“Try our product for sixty days and if not satisfied, return for a full refund.” I think we will keep him.He had some exciting firsts this weekend:He met his “due date” buddy Kiran (they were due the exact same day) and had a play date with him on Mama Breana’s couch. Liam was feeling quite the pirate that day. His first ride on a max train went really well. He snuggled up in my babyhawk carrier and enjoyed the motion of the train while being close to my body (so much nicer than a car seat). He met his Grandpa Johnny from Texas for the first time. We all had brunch in a restaurant with nice tablecloths and wine glasses and he didn’t even howl. He fell asleep peacefully in his Papa’s arms without a whimper. And he slept for five hours in a row one night! I woke up after four hours in a panic wondering if he was still breathing (he was right beside me in bed). I had not had more than two hours sleep in a row for over two months. I feel like a different woman, more alive, more human, with more brain cells. All in all, the past two months have been exhausting and wonderful. Here are more recent photos of Liam![...]

A Mother’s Heart


By SavannahI am the mother of two boys.I never thought I would say that.When I found out that Liam was a boy (at around 20 weeks pregnant), I felt excited, surprised and nervous. I already have a boy. Caleb will be fifteen (really? REALLY???) in July. We have gone through a lot together and I almost feel like I grew up right along with him. As a mom at 21, I had a lot to learn and he taught me well. I sometimes worry about all the mistakes I made. When he found out about Liam he said, “You get a second chance.”He and I both knew exactly what he meant.Before Liam was born, I couldn’t imagine loving another son as much as Caleb. There is something so unique about him. I know every mother says that about her child, but everywhere we went, folks said, “who is that kid?” I was known around Austin as “that cool kid Caleb’s mom.” I remember vividly the first minute I met him, tiny fist stuffed in his mouth. I can still feel his the weight and trust of his body in my arms, the smell of his newborn head and milky breath. I can hear his sweet toddler voice and the funny and wise things he said. As a young boy, his clarity and connection to his own emotions was startling. He saw right through any bull and spoke up. He used vocabulary words that would put a college student to shame. He expressed himself minute by minute with such focus. And now as a teenager, he is startling in his sense of self. I have no idea what the future holds for him, but have always trusted that he would make a difference in the world.And now there is Liam. We are just getting to know each other but already he reminds me so much of his bigger brother (the loud wail, the direct eye contact so early, the “I know what I want and I want it now” voice) and yet he is uniquely himself with aspects I can not yet imagine. And these two boys have yet to meet. Caleb is in Texas with his Dad and Step-Mom, He is struggling through the usual challenges of maturing. Sometimes when I talk to him, I remind myself what it felt like to be a freshman in High School. I hated everything and almost everyone. That he will even speak to me regularly is in itself a miracle. He will be here in June for his summer visit.I have this sense that my heart will split wide open when I see these two boys side by side. How could I have created so much beauty? "Making the decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." --Elizabeth StoneOne piece of my heart I can keep close to protect and nurture, at least for a few more years. The other is about to get his driver’s license. My experience of being a mother right now is both bewildering and tender.[...]

Don't Blink


By BillI was at work last week and was showing a co-worker the blog. My co-worker is a mother of two boys, who are under 10 years old. She was looking at the photos of Liam, tiny as he is now, and saying “I’d give anything for my boys to be that small again – just for a few minutes.” This statement struck me as odd, and I asked her why. For a moment, she had that faraway look and quietly said, “Oh, I don’t know, I guess it was just a special time. And then you blink and they are in school.”Being the latest New Dad, I get a lot of advice from my coworkers and from my big family. Cherish this, enjoy that, remember this time. You’ll blink and he’ll be in college. That one I get a lot.I checked and in the last six weeks, I have shot about 30 minutes of video of Mr. Liam since he was born, most right after his birth. For a video guy like me, that’s not much (I’ve taken about 1,000 photos, however). So I’ve been doing more video lately, and shooting some really pedestrian stuff, like me holding Liam while he’s asleep, or while he’s fussing a bit on his own. And we finally got his really cute sneeze on tape. All are good moments. Upon reflection, I realized why I thought my co-workers comment was odd to me. I really look at this time in his life as sort of something to “get through” until bigger moments arrive: talking, walking, and general participatory activity.Right now, it’s basically lots of diaper changes, crying, lack of sleep (mostly for Savvy) and trying to figure out what he wants. He also has a bit of colic, so that can be a challenge as well. His quiet, playful times seem few and far apart.Don’t get me wrong, I love having the little guy around and am so thankful he is healthy and (usually) happy. But when out and about with him on a walk in the park, I see other parents with kids just a bit older. They are pushing them on the swing sets, giggling on the teeter-totter, and learning to play catch. Those are the days I look forward to. However, I realize that looking forward is a trap as well, as it makes you forget about the present. A central tenet of Buddhism is to be mindful of the present, and I try to incorporate that into my busy life (although working in the news business helps). To paraphrase Zen Master Yoda (yeah, from Star Wars): “always with you it is the future, the far horizon. Never your mind on where you are, what you are doing.” Or something like that. But that describes me sometimes, and probably most people. It is part of our consumer culture: show me the Next Big Thing.So I am trying to focus on the present. Today is Sunday, and Liam woke up around 7:30 a.m. He was fussing and grunting, which means he has gas, so I gave him some Gripe Water with an oral syringe and that seems to help (as does farting). Then we listened to Air on my laptop on iTunes, with the visualizer on, which he loves to watch (we think it will give him mathematical superpowers). Today, we have a few errands to run, nothing major, and later on, dinner with the folks. The future, as it were, soon to be the past. Now he is asleep, taking his morning nap. Mom is asleep as well, trying to pay down the large sleep debt. Soon enough he will be awake, hungry, with a poopy diaper and probably some gas that will make him cry and cry. It is the present moment, and I am working to be mindful of the here and now, that which is, and not so much what will be. Soon enough, these days will be gone, never to return for Liam and his parents.Don’t blink.[...]

Out in the BIG big world


By SavannahLiam and I had a day out in the world yesterday. For the most part, he has been home or out only for short visits to Nana and Pa Roberson or the grocery store. I have been feeling a bit stir crazy with little sleep or social interaction, so yesterday we decided to make a day of it. Papa was on a "season opener" motorcycle ride with his buddies to the coast till 4 p.m.First we went to Mama/Baby yoga, taught by my dear friend Camille ( It was so fun to see other babies of Moms I met in prenatal yoga and to show off Liam. I needed the yoga! My back and neck have been pretty sore from so much holding, nursing and carrying Liam. Of course, he had a crying jag and then a blow-out poop right at the beginning of class...He loved hearing the sounds of the other babies and once he relaxed, he was cooing back at them. I could hear him thinking, "finally she brings me around my own people!" After class, I popped him in his front pack and walked across the street to Clinton St. Cafe for a yummy sandwich. We sat outside and enjoyed the sunny day (71 degrees!). We were visited by a tall thin man on a bike wearing a Bob Marley shirt who told me stories about his four grown kids, his eyes light and full of life, a black lab named Cleo who ate a piece of turkey that I dropped, and a friend I hadn't seen in over a year who was working nearby. Then we drove over to Auntie Angela's new apartment. We went for a walk around her neighborhood in the Multnomah Village area. It is hilly and it felt good to exercise! I took off my shoes and felt the hot ground under my feet. She came home with us and we had dinner (veggie pasta) and then Angela and I went out to hear my good friend Ellis Paul ( play at Mississippi Studios. Ellis is one of the best singer/songwriters of our current times and a person of real integrity and heart. It was my first evening and three hour stint away from Liam. I missed him but he did great with Papa and even took my milk in a bottle! I only called to check on him once... I gained so much perspective from my day, both with and away from Liam. Sometimes staying home with a new baby can feel isolating. I was beginning to get a bit loopy. Slipping into bed with Bill and Liam that I night I felt my heart creak open a bit more and the little pulse of "home" singing in my body. Sometimes you have to leave home to find it, right?[...]

"New Baby, Must Sell"


If you own motorbikes (or boats, or quads, or other big toys), and you troll the internet for-sale listings fantasizing about your next ride (or boat or whatever), then you’ve no doubt seen those four words or a variation on them, such as the popular “baby on the way, must sell!”People (typically, fathers or fathers-to-be), usually sell their big-boy toys for one of four reasons: no time left to play with said toy, financial pressure, spousal pressure (“that bike/boat/quad/pool table goes, or I go!”), or strong feelings of self-preservation in the face of the new arrival. That last one is a toughie. On a recent sunny day, I took my beautiful 1982 Honda CBX for a short ride. The CBX is a bike I lusted after as a youngster, and several years ago, when the chance came to grab one, I sold a bike I had then and grabbed it. It’s been bliss ever since.But the question remains: as a father, how much risk should you take? What’s reasonable, and what’s foolish? I am sure many people will condemn me or call me selfish for riding in the face of having a baby, and truth be told, I did not do any riding after last fall in order to remove one risk factor as Liam’s birth got closer. I usually ride all year round. Billions of people around the world ride motorbikes each day, and for some, it’s their only transportation. Sometimes their very survival depends on a little Honda or Yamaha beater bike. Often, a whole family will motor around on a little bike. But in the U.S., the typical way most people get around is in their car. Our society is built around the automobile. Motorbikes are recreational vehicles in this country. That may change when gas hits $8 a gallon, but I digress.I did a lot of thinking about how (or if) my behavior would change with the arrival of a child. Most people get more safety conscious, and that is normal. I think I drive slower now. Maybe.For some, there’s nothing to consider. They lead “safe lives:” they get up, drive to work, drive home, go to the gym, maybe do an outside thing like bicycle or golf, and then watch some TV. Pretty safe. And that’s fine if that’s what keeps them happy. To each his own.But it does not work for me.I am an adventure seeker, and a photojournalist on top of it. My idea of a good time is running with my camera towards the forest fire, not away from it. On our honeymoon, I strapped myself into a barely-airworthy powered hang glider and flew around Kauai at 40 mph, at elevations ranging from soaring 6,000 feet over Waiimea Canyon to skimming 10 feet above the ocean. Fantastic!! Ask to see the video sometime.But still, if it is in your nature to take risks, what do you cross off the list when family obligations come to the fore? Should climbers stop climbing mountains? Should skiers swear off the slopes? Should cyclists park their bikes and start driving their cars? Should police officers turn in their badges? Should soldiers lay down arms and tell their commanders, “you know, this is just too dangerous, I’m going home.”?As a journalist at KATU, I see some of the craziest things, especially when people get killed, and a lot of people are getting killed. I swear, we do one fatality story every day – at least. Many times, the victim was hapless: they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, just minding their own business. Then, boom: hit by a car that went up on the sidewalk where they were walking. Or run over on their bicycle on the way home from work. Or skied into a tree or ravine. Or killed in an act of violence through no fault of their own. We think we live in a safe world, and for the m[...]

On Our Own


Papa Bill is back at work, our doulas are gone, the lovely friends with meal deliveries have slowed and now it is just me and Liam, on our own.
We sleep off and on in the night, waking often for diapee changes, nursing and snuggling. During the day we laze on the couch and I watch Liam grow, by the minute it seems. Suddenly a newborn jumper that swallowed him at birth is almost too short for his long legs. He doesn't cry or fuss much. I listen for his cues and respond to his needs. He will grunt and bop his head when hungry. He will squirm and turn red in the face when needing to be burped. And as much as he eats, it seems his diaper needs to be changed just about anytime I can think to do it.
We can't wait till 2:45 because that is when Ella will jump up and pace and whine at the door. Papa Bill is home from work. We have been enjoying afternoon time going for walks as a family. I look forward to a few minutes to myself to fold laundry, soak in the tub or answer my email.

Somehow our days seem both long and short. Long in that we accomplish very little that is tangible; some days feel like a lazy sunday afternoon that never ends. Short in that every minute something amazing is changing within Liam and I want to notice every inch of it.

Getting to know each other


By Savannah

Today is Tuesday and tomorrow will be the two week mark of our time with Liam earthside. The first two weeks are such an adjustment time. We are all just getting to know each other.

Liam is getting used to his body, all its functions and feelings, needs and development. (image) Sometimes he seems surprised at his body, the little motions it makes jst beyond his control. He makes a noise and I can see on his face his wondering where it came from. At times it seems he has one response to everything: mouth open, little grunting sound, head bonking and rooting. He is an easily soothed baby and if bouncing on Papa doesn't work, nursing always does.

I am getting used to waking up many times a night to feed him. I am surprised at the deep sense of patience that I feel. I can sit for hours and snuggle him, nurse him, stare at the window with him. It is not my usual personality. I am a go-go on the move kind of person.(image) So is it hormones or a miracle or just the fact that I know now how short these days are and want to relish the few moments of babyhood?

Bill moves around us like a protective force. I can feel him watching our dance together, waiting to fill a need. He feeds us, steps in to help with Liam, and watches us some more. Sometimes a Papa's place is confusing in these early days. He goes back to work next week and we will miss him. I like the look of amazement on his face as he falls in love a bit more every day. (image)

And poor Ella. She is just plain confused. We call her "down-a-peg". She is the baby no more.

And then there is this new entity called, Our Family. We are all getting to know each other in new roles. I am seeing Bill as a Papa for the first time. I have been a Mama since we first met (of Caleb) but now I am the Mama of a baby who is very demanding of me as such. Things have changed around here...
And will continue to change, daily.

In My Time


By Liam*Today was a good day. I slept good most of the night, except for the part where I woke up and it was real dark, and I felt a bit damp, but Mom and Dad took care of that and it only took about an hour to get back to sleep. I think they like getting up a lot to make sure I'm OK, so I try to do it several times each night.When I woke up in the morning I was hungry, so I stuck out my tongue and pretty soon Mommy had some breakfast for me. I felt damp again, so I had to take another trip to the special warm table where I get dry. Daddy loves to play with me at that table. Later on, Dad set me up in my special place by the big window, where I like to watch the people, dogs, cars and clouds go by. It's one of my favorite spots. I also like to look out the window when Big Fuzzy is there. She likes to bark at the squirrels. Later on in the morning, I went to the park with Mom, Dad, and Big Fuzzy. I'm not good at walking yet, so Dad carried me in his special shirt. I like the special shirt a lot, sometimes it puts me to sleep. The sun was shining at the park, and it was warm out. After a little nap and a snack, Pa and Nana came over to visit. Pa held me for a while, so did Nana. They are both real nice and I like it when they visit. Pa held me under my arms until I went to sleep. After that nap, mom said it was time for a bath. I like to take baths, the water is warm, and I can stretch out. Sometimes I get real cold when I get out of the water, though. Dad dried me off today while mom took a longer bath.Daddy held me for a while after my bath and I looked around a lot. Daddy is real big, bigger than Mommy. I hope I'll be real big someday too. Then Mommy played with me for a while, too. Mommy is soft and warm, and she feeds me. Daddy needs to shave and take a shower. Sometimes I think I like Mommy better. I hope tomorrow is as good as today was.(*NOTE: Liam's comments have been edited for spelling and grammar)[...]

The Big Cry


By Savannah

I have been looking forward to today. My good friend and LMT Kristy came over to give me a wonderful in-home massage (as a gift). My neck and low back have been so achy since the two-day labor/birth ordeal and lack of sleep.

Kristy arrived, the boy was well fed and tucked into Papa's arms and we were upstairs to relax....

Until: SCREAM!!!
Liam is howling. Despite the heater, the cd playing, the fact that we are upstairs with the door closed, I can hear him loudly crying. I can also hear Papa Bill walking, shooshing, talking to the boy in his best calming voice. I think, this will work. He will calm down and I will relax.

Kristy is an awesome therapist. She is working deeply on my sore back and I am breathing with her strokes.

But baby is still crying. Not just crying. He is hysterical. And he has never done this before.

There is something so instinctual in the mama desire to fix the crying. I knew that popping a nipple in his mouth would probably do the trick. But, I am relaxing and the boob-less Papa is caring for his son.
Bill is one of the more patient people I know. He is like a rock. I know I can always count on his calm, easy-going ways to mellow even my most fiery mood. I knew he was holding that baby, listening to him cry and trying all his soothing tricks.

And yet, I wanted to jump off the table and fix it myself.

I remembered when Caleb was a baby. He was fussy for the first three or so months and cried a lot if not with me. I called him (for many years actually) my Cling-on.

Now, he is grown. A teenager and no longer my sweet, clingy boy. This reminds me how short these days of baby-land really are. How the long nights, the moments of comfort on the couch, the little snuggled body against me will only last for a blink of the eye.

So we can make it through the crying moments and maybe even relish them a bit if we just remember they will be over soon and take with them all the sweet tenderness of baby Liam.



The Wise Old Man


It was another long night Monday night as Mr. Liam again was awake and hungry through most of the wee hours. We are working to turn his sleep schedule. It can't happen soon enough for Savannah and myself. Kimberly Beppler, a good friend, mother of two small children and professional doula, stopped by and helped out today. She is very knowledgeable about things like proper feeding position, different ways to hold the baby, and how to make humbau, an Asian bun filled with yummy veggies and cheese. I had many while in Japan. She made us over a dozen from scratch. Wow.While Kimberly helped with laundry and did other things around the place, Savannah was able to get some sleep and I ran a few needed errands. And the humbau are divine. Thanks, Kimberly.Later in the day, Savannah, Liam and myself drove to Core Source, where Savannah has an office but today had an appointment with Amy, her chiropractor. Having a natural childbirth is akin to being in a car accident for most women, and Savannah was helped greatly by Amy. Liam also got a check from Amy, who is a state certified pediatric chiropractor. He didn't need anything in the way of adjustments, she just checked his hip motion and such and suggested some gentle movements to keep his development on track. It was while we were waiting to see Amy that the following photo was taken (I always carry a camera). Babies in general sometimes go into a state called 'quiet alert,' a short span of time where they soak in their surroundings while remaining fairly still. They may do it a few times a day, but only for several minutes each time. It is a neat behavior to observe. During quiet alert, Liam's eyes open wide (unless he's in bright light), and his hands and feet come to rest. He has strong neck muscles (our pediatrician even commented on it) and likes to look around a lot, especially at lights. If you are seated in front of him, he will stare right at you.This young, most babies have little control over their facial expressions, and run through them moment to moment. No big smiles yet, those come later. But you still get a sampling.We've spotted a trend of sorts. My mom, Mary Alice, said he looked "wise" when she first saw him. Since then, several other people have said the same thing. One of our more hippy friends commented that he was an old soul, back for another journey through life. He seems to have a strong sense of calm about him.Frankly, it kind of freaks me out a bit, they way he looks at me sometimes. Liam does not yet blink much, so those dark blue eyes just kind of bore into you. I stare right back, but I get the distinct feeling I'm the one being closely watched, not the other way around.____________________A couple of other photos from today:[...]

The New Reality


Liam is now nearly a week old. It seems like he was born over a month ago. The hospital visit seems like a distant memory. Sleep deprivation will do that to you.In just five days, his appearance has changed somewhat, as have his behaviours. He looks around a lot with those dark (kinda evil-looking!!) baby eyes, especially at night, which is when he seems to most enjoy being awake. Count Liam? Poor Savannah is feeding the guy every 90 minutes or so. She is very short on sleep but continues to do a great job and is very patient. This morning, about 3:30 a.m., he needed another feeding and diaper change, but after that I got up and dropped him into the sling and puttered around the house until 6 a.m. so Savannah could sleep. It seemed to help, and I'll probably repeat as needed. Lots of people told me "your life is about to totally change" or some version thereof before Liam was born, and I guess I was waiting for some kind of lightning bolt of change to hit me when he arrived, and was kind of disappointed when it didn't. I was a bit scared of it, truthfully, and a bit let down there was no sudden I've-seen-the-face-of-God moment. He was born, and there we was.I felt guilty that I still had this constant feeling of "this will all be over soon," as if relatives were visiting or something, and Savvy and I would soon be back to movies on a whim, dinners out, free time to play with my big-boy toys and budgets that did not include things like diapers, doctors and $40 cowboy pajamas. But nearly a week later, I can better see what people meant. We drove Liam to the pediatrician today for a checkup (all is well), and it took nearly 30 minutes to move the boy, Savannah, myself and the needed luggage (diapers, sling, etc) to the car. Holy cow! WIll it be this way each time? New systems will have to be put in place. With the whirlwind of activity surrounding the home care of a fresh newborn who essentially will die without total support from us, the changes kind of creep up on you. I skip showers. Meals. Bike rides. Dog walks. Editing projects. Motorcycle repairs. Pretty soon, it all seems to stack up. It's all dirty diapers all the time. You just have to manage the time better. And I'm not even working right now.Soon, I'll be back at work at KATU. I'm extremely lucky in that my shift is great: 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (barring major breaking news). If that holds, I'll be able to pick up Liam after school, go to Little League and so forth while still working full time. And I still go to bed about 9:30, which is pretty normal. I'm very lucky to have a job that has given me time off (three weeks) to support Liam and Savannah, has solid health insurance and is something I love doing, news/tech junkie that I am.So, slowly, I am beginning to see the future differently. It's not a lightning bolt of change, it's more like a change of seasons. Time management will be paramount. As Liam gets older, gets toilet trained, learns to speak, and goes to school, things will change again and again. We'll adapt as needed, panic is not required.But for now, it's diapers and breastfeeding pretty much 24/7, with some early, early morning sessions online, checking news web sites, answering emails, and puttering around the house doing chores while Liam dozes in the sling and Savannah gets a much needed block of rest. It's the new reality.[...]

Happy Birthday, Savannah


Some quick blog notes: If you want to see a photo in a larger size (and they are easier to print), just click on it twice. Also, we have enabled comments. Feel free to leave your thoughts.___________________________Savannah's mother-in-law, Mary Alice, calls shortly after Liam is born and asks me what kind of cake Savannah likes. I ask Savannah what kind of cake she likes. She looks at me quizically and asks with complete sincerity, "Why does she want to know what kind of cake I like?" Happy Birthday, sweet Savannah, even though you had forgotten all about it.It's Day 4 with Liam and last night was not very easy for Savannah. Her milk is not quite all the way in (I thought it was), and he can only draw a bit at a time, therefore he wants to nurse ALL THE TIME.Tiny babies don't know what time it is, so Savannah gets no sleep. If he's not nursing, he's crying (loudly). And diapers must be changed. He has that merconium stuff for poop, and its like street tar. OK, way too much information, I know.After one feeding session in the morning, I put Liam in a body sling and putter around the house while Savannah rests. Slings rock, doncha know. The baby is in swaddle position, can hear your heart beat and they doze off almost immediately. Your natural walking motion is highly calming. You get both hands free to do stuff. Liam is out like a light. Once he wakes up, he just likes to look around, no crying. He also likes to play pull my finger (GOOD BOY!!).At 11 a.m., Rhonda, one of our doula's, shows up and takes the reins. I am able to run some needed errands and most importantly, Savvy is able to sleep for a while.Doula's are great. They are professional baby wranglers and also knock out chores like laundry, dishes, food prep and minor housekeeping. They help you make the transition from two people to two and a highly needy third. It is a luxury to be sure, but we appreciate the short window of time the doula provides for us to leave 'the bubble' and live in reality for a short time. It's worth it.About 2 p.m., it's time for bath #1 for Liam. Daddy gets the call for the first bath. He (Liam, that is) squalls mightily as he gets in the water, but pretty soon he finds he likes it, and I splash some warm water on him after the washing duties. He likes it and splashes around happily.Once out, the cries of bloody murder begin anew. Then he is handed off to Mom for some lunch.Mother-in-law Mary Alice shows up with said cake and a present for Savannah. Angela is also here, and we all enjoy some cake while Liam sleeps. Doc Roberson declines the birthday party as he is suffering from a bad cold (and is probably watching some hoops on TV).Then its time for another diaper change. For the first time, no black tar poop, just little mustard poop.I know, I know, waaay too much information.See you again soon.[...]