Archive for the ‘dara’ Category


Friday, August 13th, 2010

It’s really fun now that Dara is old enough to have real conversations with Toby. Yesterday in the car they were, for some reason, talking about penguins. I can’t remember why and it seemed a bit inappropriate considering that it was 7:30am and already about 85F.

Anyway, at one point Toby said “FACT: penguins can run faster than humans”. Dara expressed skepticism, to which Toby said “I know it’s true, because I read it in a book of fiction. Um, why’s mom making that funny snorting noise?”


Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Dara has been rather obsessed lately with my face, specifically whether or not I have shaved on a certain day. She has taken to touching my face and asking if I am “smoothie” (clean shaven) or “crunchy” (stubbly): “Daddy, are you crunchy today?”

On Saturday she did this before I had had a shower or shave – at which point I was crunchy – and then once I had cleaned up she checked again. She noticed that I had shaved and said “Daddy, did you smooth?” I told her that I had indeed smoothed, and was told “Then you are not a man anymore”. I was a bit upset, but apparently it means that I was a boy instead because boys are smooth.

Christmas photos

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Thought you might like to see some Christmas pics. Here is the 2009 set, and for contrast here’s the 2008 set, and the 2007 set.

I couldn’t find any old ones specifically labeled from earlier Christmases, but you are welcome to hunt around at Enjoy!

ask nicely

Friday, October 9th, 2009

At dinner tonight:

Dara: I want some more.
Me: Ask nicely, please
Dara (brightly): Hello! I want some more!

more toby and dara pics

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Having a bit of a picture organizing and posting frenzy. Here’s a selection from summer of this year, and our pics from our recent vacation in Canada

Bermuda pics

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

So it’s only taken four months, but I finally got around to putting together the photos from our Bermuda trip and posting them to Toby and Dara’s site. Hope you like them!


Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Dara’s speech is really coming along lately – lots of words and sentences. Sometimes it’s hard or impossible to understand the longer sentences, but they’re said with such sincerity that they really do sound meaningful. But on the whole her speech is pretty clear. She has a few cute speech impediments, primarily that words starting with an S or SH either have the S dropped (like asking for a nack instead of a snack) or with the letter Y at the front. My favorites are when she talks about giving the cats their yupper, or about her arms and youlders. She also talks about her yoos and yocks, which makes me glad that she uses a letter Y – it could be worse:




Monday, May 4th, 2009

An exchange yesterday:

Emma: We have enough kids’ toys in the house. I don’t think we should get the toy kitchen for Dara.
Me: We should, otherwise how will she learn womanly skills?
Emma: Probably by watching you.
Me: Well played, madam, well played.

ten glorious years

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Today it’s ten years since I arrived in these United States (specifically, this particular one – the Great State of Minnesota (whenever politicians refer to a state, it’s always a “great state”)).

I can’t quite believe I’ve been here this long, but I’m pretty happy about it. When I got on the plane in 1999 I had never been to America before, and to be honest I’m not sure what I was thinking apart from that it would be something of an adventure, and it would be good for me to see if I could do it – live in a different country. It was quite a culture shock when I arrived – much more than I expected. I had visited a couple of friends shortly before I moved here, one in Berlin and one in Tokyo, and while they found the culture differences quite challenging I think that they expected it more than I did. My take was that people speak English here, so how hard could it be? Well some things weren’t too bad, but as most people know there are a lot of differences between American and British English, but actually more than you would expect. Apart from the words themselves, there are a lot of subtleties, word ordering in sentences, idioms, turns of phrase and even body language. Also I had never really lived in a suburb before – certainly not one without obvious public transport. It took quite a while to make friends beyond my initial circle of expat buddies (and thank goodness for them!) and sometimes I would go a whole weekend without really speaking to anyone. But you know, that was actually OK, and it was probably good for me to have that time.

Anyway, still here, and at a quick reckoning here’s what I’ve done in the last ten years:

Lived in a couple of different apartments
Bought a house in a great neighborhood
Joined a great choir, of which I am a section leader and also choir president
Made some wonderful friends
Built up some decent retirement savings (even with recent stock market disasters)
Learned to barbecue a fantastic steak
Traveled to several states in the US, plus Canada
Traveled to India a few times, and to Bermuda
Got married
Got my green card, and now my US citizenship
Progressed in my career in a way I really wanted to, got a bunch of great opportunities, and have learned a ton
Put on a few pounds, but not as much as I deserve to
Gained tons of confidence by doing pretty much all of the above through a combination of good fortune and hard work
Had two wonderful kids

Speaking of those kids, I also just put up some new pics here – hope you enjoy them

or even pleurisy

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Well we were back to the doctors’ again today, this time with little Dara. She got quite sick last night, with a lot of wheezing and a fever of about 103, and while we wouldn’t normally take her to the doctors’ right away, there has been a bit of pneumonia going around at her daycare, so we thought it was worth getting checked out – we didn’t want to be negligent parents (or at least get found out).

Of course once we arrived at the medical center, she was all happy and saying hello to everyone, and her fever was right back to normal. Plus she only coughed when she wasn’t near a member of the medical staff. But when the doctor started to check her out she immediately saw that she has an ear infection (which surprised us because she hasn’t been showing any signs of ear distress). She also noted that Dara’s oxygen levels were at the low end of normal, and that she was breathing quite fast and with effort. So she was sent off to get a chest x-ray. When I had mine last week it was pretty easy – stand in front of a screen and wait for the picture to be taken. For a toddler, it’s not so easy to hold still, so she was put in a sort of plastic tube which held her body still and her arms out of the way. For anyone who knows toddlers, they will appreciate that being held still is probably the thing toddlers like the least, so this didn’t go down well, especially when they had to re-take the shot, but apart from that she did really well. The doctor said that if she has pneumonia, we’ve caught it good and early so it should be easy to get rid of quickly.

She’s now got some amoxycillin, which should kick in really quickly for both the ear thing and the pneumonia – I think at the moment she’s just really wiped out (as are we after not much sleep last night). It now means that both of the members of the family Toby refers to as “the D people” (Dara and Daddy) are a bit under the weather, and I’m continuing to be in awe of how Emma’s dealing with all this. Right now she’s on the sofa watching TV, eating fruit crumble and drinking wine, looking like the picture of calm, so I’m impressed.

Incidentally, the title of this and the previous post are from Billy Connolly’s The Wellies song, which you may have got if you are Scottish. I wasn’t actually planning it that way when I wrote my post yesterday, which is a bit alarming. At least Dara doesn’t actually have pleurisy, which while also being a lung infection, sounds a lot worse than pneumonia.