Wednesday, December 30, 2009


For posterity, just wanted to upload the short speeches Jonathan and I said at Ben's party.

It’s so cliché to say that having a baby changes your life forever. Well after a year of being a parent, I’d like to say that having Ben has changed my life forever. Now there are only two phases in my life: before Ben’s birth and after Ben’s birth.
Just how much as my life changed? Well, all of my memories of before Ben’s birth seem like a distant dream; told to me by a third-person narrator. I know that I had experiences before Ben’s birth, but they seem like some old VHS tapes that I haven’t watched in a long while. Now, over the past year, my wife and I have been living fully in the present as main characters of Ben’s rapidly unfolding life-story.
I believe that children are an amazing blessing to us because they present incredible challenges to our daily lives. And I’m not just talking about the challenge of collapsing a Pack ‘n Play, or measuring formula at 3 o’clock in the morning. I’m also talking about the challenges that children bring to our way of life and our pre conceived notions. A child’s mind is purely idealistic, untarnished by fears and biases that we adults accumulate throughout our lives. If we let them, children will change not only our daily routine, but also our values and ideals.
It’s so fitting that the stories of the central figures of the Jewish and Christian traditions begin at birth. Scripture goes into vivid detail of the early lives of Moses and Jesus as babies and as children; two leaders who eventually upended their respective societies. Throughout history these stories have inspired hope that the next generation will bring positive change to our lives; even change that we don’t know we need.
Shortly after the near-collapse of our economy last year, a friend who is a parent asked me: “Isn’t it scary raising a child today with all of the world’s problems, not knowing if the future will be positive?” After thinking about what he said, I have confidently decided that no, it is not scary. I have faith that my son and those of his generation will solve the problems of the today because they are not weighed down by our biases and our fears. The future is not captive to our wrongs and our mistakes, but it is free to fly to the endless heights that this youngest generation can lift it to.
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Jonathan and I would like to thank you all for being here with us today to mark the occasion of Benjamin’s 1st birthday.
Because we did not have a bris or baptism for Ben, this day is quite important to us, and we feel that we’ve hit a huge milestone as a family. We are honored that you took time out of your busy lives to pause and celebrate with us. We feel that our Benjamin is worth celebrating.
To say that it has been an amazing year is an understatement. It has been an amazing, exhausting and exhilarating year. To be responsible for a child, a human life, is an awe inspiring responsibility. To have a partner such as Jonathan with whom to walk this road is truly my greatest fortune.
We would be remiss to gather you all here today and not mention the four people without whom we would not be here today (literally)—our parents, Ronna, Les, Carole and Phos.
They have helped us and supported us and loved us, unconditionally and intensely through the last year.
Every new family should be so lucky to have the support of four grandparents close by to bring food, change diapers, to listen, encourage and gently guide.
Obviously they did a fantastic job with their own children, if I do say so myself, and we could not be luckier to have these four amazing parents in our lives for us and for Ben.
A million thanks are not enough to adequately express our deep gratitude. We will do our best to raise our son using the morals and tenets that you have taught us.
We cherish the relationship you are building with our son and soon he will realize just how amazingly lucky he is to have you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ben's 1st Birthday Party

On the 19th we celebrated Ben's 1st birthday with family and close friends--60 of them, to be exact.
We hosted the gang at Jonathan's church, as we couldn't have accommodated everyone (and fed them) in our house. I was anxious to see how Ben would do, as the party was schedule for during part of his typical nap time, and he hasn't been a huge fan of large crowds in the past.
Our big boy rose to the occassion and seemed to enjoy himself...I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the tale.

Such a lovely celebration for a lovely little dude!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy 1st birthday, Benjamin!

Dear Ben,
I have been thinking about this day for a long while—364 days, to be exact. What will you look like at one year old? What will your personality be like? What will you be eating? Will you be sleeping through the night?
All of the hopes and dreams for our first year together have been superseded. You have made me happier than I have ever imagined. Although there have been some challenging times, the good times are what stick out most when I reflect on this last year.

Let’s hit the details first:
What will you look like? You are just adorable. Some people say you look like me, some say you look like Daddy. Regardless, you have the most sparkly smile and twinkly eyes. You have one dimple on your right cheek and your hair has a neat swirly pattern at the top. Your eyes seem to have settled into a light brown, although in the light I can still see some hazel tones. You have four teeth in fully and two coming in. You like to bite and flip your tongue over in your mouth.
What will your personality be like? I used to think you were a shy boy, and occasionally that still holds true. Mostly, I think you just like to feel out a situation before you get comfy and settle in. You love playing at Grammy and Pops’ house and adore when Grandma and Grandpa come over for a visit. You feel very comfortable in the homes of our friends in playgroup and seem to be totally relaxed and happy with their moms, too. Your demeanor is generally pleasant, except when being changed or getting buckled into the car seat. Then you are sure to let us know that you are not happy. Diaper changes are more like WWE matches these days. I will not be sad to see this phase pass!
What will you be eating? Anything. And. Everything. You are a fantastic eater. Boy I hope it sticks! You have preferences (avocado, cottage cheese, blueberries, bananas) but will eat just about anything we put on your tray. We are switching you from formula to whole milk and it feels like a big milestone to me. Not sure when we’re going to stop using bottles—at least in the morning and before bed. No rush, I guess.
Will you be sleeping through the night? Mostly. You still go to bed around 6:30 and I hear you cry out during the night about 50% of the time. It’s rare that I have to go in and soothe you, fortunately, and the crying usually only lasts for a minute or two. Breaks my heart though. You still take two naps and you really do need them. On days when you skip one of your naps, your behavior is, shall we say, unpleasant. Schedules are a good thing for us.

You have grown into such a good boy—so smart, so interested in life and what’s going on around you, so yummy—and I am very interested to see what next year brings.
My life before you is a little blurry, as if my mind wants to hold on to all of the memories we are creating together, at the expense of other things in my mind. You really are the center of our universe and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy 1st birthday, Benjamin Jay. You are loved.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One small step for Ben-kind!

Yesterday, two days shy of Ben's 1st birthday, he took his first steps.
It was quite exciting--we were hosting playgroup at our home, and were celebrating Ben's birthday a little early with our little friends.
Ben was standing up, and I was holding out my hands to him, encouraging him to walk over to me. One of the moms suggested that I hold my hands up, so that he reaches up to me instead of down and voila--a few steps. It was great being able to share this moment with some of our wonderful friends and moms from the neighborhood. Sad that Daddy wasn't able to be there but Ben put on a command performance later in the evening so Daddy could see.
As one might expect, I have been unable to capture this event on film so far. But trust me, it was momentous!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Chanukah, 2009
Because of how the Jewish calendar works, this is actually Ben's second Chanukah--in one year!
Last Chanukah we were just being discharged from the hospital the day the Begoun Family had their annual party. This year we were there in full force, and enjoyed every moment! We lit the Menorah and sang the prayer. Notice the cell phone Grammy is holding...Uncle Dan was live from L.A.!
We ate latkes (Ben was, not surprisingly, a big fan).
But Ben had the most fun chasing after Roxie, the Markowitz' dog. Good thing she was a good sport--Ben really went after her! Guess we have a dog in our family's future!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last night

I walk into your room in the dark of the night, with the moonlight sneaking in through the shades
(Actually, that’s the streetlight)
The soft night sounds make for a gentle soundtrack
(Actually, the city is quite noisy but no sirens, at least!)
I can make out the outline of your peacefully slumbering body
(Actually, you are thrashing around a bit, trying to get comfortable)
You have such a serene expression on your sleeping face
(Actually, you keep rolling into the side of your crib and bonking your head, bringing a grimace to your grill)
I gently lift you out of harms way, into the middle of your comfy crib
(Actually, I’m kind of short and you are at the furthest point away from me in your crib, making my lift more of a hoist—there might have even been some grunting)
You settle back into sleep, and sigh contentedly
(Actually, there is some stretching and your eyes flutter open…pleasedontwakeup pleasedontwakeup!)
I rub your back and your soft head and feel my heart fill with love and happiness
(Actually, that much is true)