Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Reversal of last night...

I feel like I talk about the rough moments far too much on this blog. It's not that I'm upset, it's just that the sleep deprived moments are far more interesting than the well-rested moments (not always, but sometimes). I know I need to give some better details about the life and times of the Thornburg family (I still blush at the thought of us being a "family." Maybe it's the season, but my pride is overwhelming).

Trust me, if there's one thing that parenting has taught me, it's that I now know that seeing a mother with her child at any time of the day could cause world peace...if you watched it long enough (Rachel and Tenzin together is a cute pie with adorable filling).

So here's another moment...a reversal of last night, if you will. This is an evening wake up. We're trying something called a "schedule" where apparently, your child sleeps when you want them to sleep. We've been trying for a while, and this is what we get....the most adorable baby on the planet. Half the fun is seeing how long this cooing lasts. Amazingly cute!

Tenzin is NOT a shark.

By flipping a shark on its back, the shark will fall into a trance-like state, thus immobilizing its movement. Researchers, for quite some time, have been exploiting this natural trait (tonic immobility) to handle sharks safely. Our next child better be a hammerhead.

Last night began with fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Rachel read to a very receptive Tenzin for almost an hour and a half. She has the cutest way of talking to him and using her "poetic license" to decorate the story. Her edits work two ways:

1) The Plot Twist: "Little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet" will turn into something like "Little baby Tenzin tangoed on a mango"

- or -

2) The ?Huh?: She'll end every nursery rhyme with "Now that doesn't make any sense!" As in, "Stuck in his thumb and pulled out plum, and said 'What a good boy am I!'…now that doesn’t make any sense?!?! How does a plum make him a good boy?"

Tenzin will watch her face with the most intense expression, reacting to her every word. It's an adorable sight to see.

Unfortunately, all good stories must come to an end. After fantasy time, he ate and ate and ate...... then bubbled and bubbled and bubbled. This is where the rollercoaster began.

We've done everything we can - stayed away from dairy, switched on/off of multivitamins, stayed away from spicy foods - but it looks like he's inherited his dad's flatulent DNA. There's no kicking it. And it might not be any comfort for Tenzin, but I'll try to explain it to him by saying, "One day you will not only appreciate these, but enjoy them!" He has yet to find his dad funny.

So here's the rundown of the ways we tried to get Tenzin comfortable/stop crying (last night), in order:

Bouncing, bouncing with swaying, on his stomach accross our legs, rocking in glider, walking up and down the steps, bouncing on the couch, sitting in vibrating chair, sitting in vibrating chair while Dad drinks a quick Heineken, swaddled in sling, sitting in car seat, strapped in car seat, swinging in car seat, strapped in car seat on top of vibrating chair while Dad makes fake car horn noises, strapped in car seat with zerberts applied to belly and feet, held while Dad cleans lips after realizing Tenzin put his heel in the diaper during last changing, watching Dad rinse out mouth with new Heineken, out of car seat held to chest, laying on chest, walking up and down the steps, and finally, back in Mom's arms sound asleep.

I'm sure I missed a few positions, but I'm also sure this won't be the last post about sleeplessness....I know I'll have plenty of time to take notes in the future. Just sometimes, you wish you could place him on his back like a shark.

Also, I'll try and get some late night video. When he's crying at 2:00 AM it's not a deathmetal scream or anything, but a confused whimper cry that's hard to explain. Kind of like a combination of kicking and cooing. I just want you to know that it's really not that bad. You just feel lost as a parent when it seems like nothing is working! Trust me, the facial expressions alone are worth the tape.

In the meantime, I'm happy to tell you that Tenzin is 100% healthy. As of his 1 month check-up, he is 9lbs, 11.5 ozs and 22 in long. For those keeping track, Tenzin almost doubled his birthweight in two weeks (his Mom has the tender chest to prove it!)! I NEED to get some new pictures up....his chins are developing chins!

Much Love,

James, Rachel and Tenzin

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Laughter is the best medicine!!!

The smiles have arrived! I've never seen Rachel more amazed than at the smile of her son. Definitely one of God's miracles...

I haven't been able to get a really big one on camera yet, but here's a small one for you to enjoy:

Craziness at the zoo...

It's that time of year and the ais putting on their annual Christmas lights show (For those outside of Ohio, the Columbus Zoo is comparable to the San Diego Zoo, only our lions and elephants are a hell of a lot colder right now).

It was great to get out, but the stroller gridlock was horrible...add into the mix the fact that it was black Friday, and everybody already had the push-and-grab mindset. Pure mayhem, all in the name of Christmas. And although it was fun to get out, there really wasn't much we could do with Tenzin. I was trying to get pictures, but all I could really do was push him in front of stuff and snap a shot. "Here's Tenzin sleeping in front of an aquarium. Here he is in front of a goat." The irony is, I should have got a picture of him in front of the elephants, who were, ironically, hiding in the back, sleeping.

Tenzin handled it quite well, snoozing for all but the last 20 minutes...although those last 20 minutes, he made it quite clear that he was ready to go. He cried the rest of the way home, demanding to now why Mom still had her bra on. Calmer waters followed with new diapers and full bellies.

The video is dark in the beginning, but the lights are pretty nice:

We'd also like to thank Rachel's Uncle Phil for sending us some great Thanksgiving pictures from California. You know we wish we could have been there! Tenzin stared down that turkey like you wouldn't believe. In case you want to know what the tryptophan in turkey does to mother's milk, check out these pictures. after Rachel ate and fed Tenzin, they were both out like a light!!!

Well, sorry this is so short, but I've been summoned to a diaper blowout. Tenzin is growing, as are his bowels. You've got to see this! (Don't worry, I promise I won't post any pictures).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tenzin TV is on the air!!!

After much fanagling, I finally discovered/figured out/realized that my camera has a camcorder feature on it! So let me first off apologize that there isn't much to this video, but it it definitely the first of MANY that will be uploaded.

This is just Tenzin and I lounging on the couch, trying to fend off a case of the grumpies.

I hope the "cooing" stage never ends!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Professor Felice

Also (last one for today, I promise)...

A HUGE congrats to Professor Bill Felice, my mentor and professor at Eckerd College. He was recently named the 2006 Florida Professor of the Year by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Professor Felice was the most amazing instructor I ever had and I can honestly say it was a privilege to study under his tutelage. He changed my life in many different ways and I not surprised that he was awarded with such recognition.


Tenzin's Tapestry

About 5 months before Tenzin was born, Rachel and I were shopping at one of our favorite stores in the Short North, Global Gallery. We ran across a tapestry that seemed perfect for the nursery. This was long before we had even thought about Tenzin's name. This tapestry was one of the first accessories we placed in the nursery, and it's still one of our favorites to this day.

I thought I would add to the last post by including these words:

Loving Kindness
Right from the moment of
our birth,
we are under the care
and kindness of our parents
and then later on in our life
when we are oppressed
by sickness
and become old,
we are again dependent
on the kindness of others.
Since at the beginning
and end of our lives
we are so dependent on
other's kindness,
how can it be
that in the middle
we neglect kindness
towards others?

-H.H. The XIVth Dalai Lama

The Name, Tenzin...

I was online and ran across this:

"Sleep is the best meditation." -H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama

Oh, the irony.


OK, so many of you have inquired as to the origin of the name "Tenzin." I'd like to explain, but I'm not quite sure where to begin...

For quite some time now, Rachel and I have been studying Buddhism. Our interest in the thought and principles behind the ideas of compassion and non-violence have led us on a pursuit for something more...not in a religious sense of "more," but a study for knowledge and understanding. It's not that Buddhism was a deviation away from our previous religious pursuits, but rather a need to understand Buddhism given the current state of affairs. Simply put, studying peace just sounded good! As a result, our recent studies have allowed us a lot of social and personal reflection.

Tenzin's name:

We do not necessarily consider the name "Tenzin" to be Buddhist, but more of an homage to an amazing person. It comes from Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. As leader of the Tibetan people, he has bared witness to many different extremes of enlightenment and suffering.

Persectued by the Chinese government in 1958, the Dalai Lama was forced to live in exile. He later witnessed numerous deaths of his colleagues and countrymen, but the Dalai Lama has endured, continuing to advocate the Buddhist principles of non-violence and compassion in the face of hatred. On December 10th, 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Rachel and I could not think of a more inspirational figure in which to name our son. I encourage you all to study his teachings, but take them as such. They are, in his own words, just teachings.

"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." -H.H. the XIV Dalai Lama

For a more Hollywood synopsis of the life of the Dalai Lama, try renting Kundun or Seven Years in Tibet. Or, there are many excellent documentaries that chronicle the struggle of the Tibetan people (Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion, On Life and Enlightenment)

For me - I know, hindsight is 20/20 - this [click here] was the essay that truly inspired me. The Dalai Lama gave a very poignant and cautious speech concerning the US response following 9/11. I won't summarize it, but I encourage everyone to read it.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Unfortunately, the last ten days have flown by and the Thomas family is back in sunny California. First of all, I need to say a quick thank you to Rachel's mother and sister. We're still having some rough nights and they were WONDERFUL this past week. I would not have been able to go to work, otherwise. It's not easy to leave your wife at home when she's been up for 30 hours straight, but Cathy and Ashley happily took Tenzin in the wee hours of the morning (at his fussiest) and let Rachel get some much needed rest. In addition, there were numerous changings, bouncings, feedings, swaddlings, cleanings, wipings, and burpings they helped out with. They were a ton of help.

So what's new? Well, Tenzin, Ashley, Steven and I watched our very first showing of Breakin II: Electric Boogaloo. For those of you that haven't heard of this fine film, it's the story of a local developer trying to bulldoze a community recreation center, and the local breakdancers that are trying to stop it - starring "Turbo," "Ozone," and Kelly (aka "Special K). It is quite possibly the best film ever made.

Why is this important? Because Rachel's brother Steven discovered that Tenzin can breakdance. In one very important scene in the movie, the community center dancers are confronted by a rival "dance gang." They threw a spraypaint can through the window of their community center and Ozone knew immediately who it was, loudly exclaiming "ELECTROCK." A dance battle ineveitably ensues. [Watch Clip]

Steven became obsessed with this scene, loudly mocking Ozone's "Electrock" yell, only to discover that Tenzin would tense up "robotically" every time he would say it. It's kind of karate-meets-C3PO. Needless to say, we had quite a bit of fun with this for the rest of the night. If you'd like to see what this looks like, here's the closest thing I could find (FYI: this is NOT Tenzin)

Funny, eh?

So like I said, this last week has pretty much been controlled insanity. We had the biggest football game of the year (OSU vs. MICHIGAN). Steven did well on Saturday as an honorary Buckeye fan, tailgating like a true professional. The day before that, we had a Turkey Shoot Out at the Columbus Blue Jackets game (vs. Colorado Avalanche), where Steven announced his love for any and all things French Canadian. The girls shopped till they dropped (far less, actually, than I anticipated). We all ate VERY well, thanks to the generosity of the Thomas parents and a last-minute impromptu BBQ at the Thornburg house.. Even Jared and Brandi Sweitzer are in town! Craziness! But I won't bore you with any more details. I know what you're here for. Some more pictures!

Also, the Ofoto Website has also been updated!

All for now...more later!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No Sleep Till Brooklyn....

First of all, I would like to thank Uncle Mike for introducing Rachel and I to the wonderful world of workout balls. No, no, no...don't get ahead of yourself here...we're not getting into shape. The workout ball is the last bastion of baby sleep! (We've had a couple of rough nights with Tenzin's sleep schedule (or lack thereof))

Just like his cousin Henry, Tenzin sometimes requires help to get to sleep. Bouncing, for parents, has been a staple for quite some time, but I had no idea that there were so many variations therein. Here are some different levels of bouncing we just recently discovered:

Defcon 1: The Arm Cradle Bounce. Simple sitting/standing, bouncing and/or swaying. Feel free to pat the back/butt at your own pace. Beware that such patting can loosen man farts.

Defcon 2: Standing Bounce. Can be done in Arm Cradle or Chest Squish (chest to chest). This is also the first stage of panic. Parents now realize that baby is not simply fussing, but possibly swelling with impatience/discomfort/man farts. Fussy could escalate to Soprano (ability to break wine glasses).

Defcon 3: Peak-A-Poo. The new parent, knowing full well that their child is capable of blasting stucco from their ass with precision, lifts the side of the diaper from the butt to see if there are any yellow/green/brown presents. All done while bouncing.

Defcon 4: Confuse the Neighbors. If Decon 3 is poop free, reseat yourself on the corner of the bed with baby in the Arm Cradle position, bounce just enough so the bed lightly squeaks, thus "confusing the neighbors."

Defcon 5: Baby Bawl. When neighbor pounds on wall screaming, "Do you know what time it is?!?! She just had a baby, for the love of God!" move to workout ball with baby in the Arm Cradle position. Proceed to bounce for the next 5 minutes or 6 hours (whichever takes longest). Severe back cramps, nausea and vomiting are perfectly natural. Baby might get sick, too.

Defcon 6: Regifting. Give thanks to God for blessing you with such a miracle, then remind a close family member/friend/complete stranger how long it's been since they last held said blessing. This is acceptable at all hours of the night, regardless of what family member/friend/complete stranger/police officers say.

I might joke, but in all honesty, I haven't experienced half the sleeplessness Rachel has. She's been handling a good majority of the nighttime bouncings. How? I don't know. But she started this thing a badass, and appears to want to continue her badassedness throughout Tenzin's infancy. She's still amazing. Tired and amazing.

All for now. I'm going to go take a George Castanza under the desk.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oh, I got some Rachel boobie milk on me!!!

Yay! Rachel's family has arrived (well, half of them, at least!). Ashley and Cathy are finally here, with Steven and Steve coming on Thursday. We can't wait for them to arrive! (Steven, Tenzin says he hopes you had a Happy Birthday! He drank a bottle in your honor) Day 1 at the house and Rachel's sister was thrown straight into the mix. As you can see by the title of this blog, Ashley got her first dose of breast milk. Rachel was pushing the rest of the air out of the bottle when a small fountain fell on her sister. I like to think of it as her baptism into Aunthood.

Let me also say that Grandma Cathy is a natural. 100% proud. Upon arrival, she immediately took Tenzin in her arms and he cooed with his approval. She seems to be a pro at calming him down when he reaches maximum restlessness. She even took Tenzin for the day on Saturday, and Rachel and Ashley took the Ohio State game. (They had a good time…out of the house…woohoo! - but we really need to work on Ashley's clapping. She's going to get kicked out of the state by Buckeye fans if she doesn't start cheering at touchdowns, field goals, and turnovers).

We've had a couple of rough nights. Not all have been bad, but it appears as though Tenzin still likes to party till dawn. He usually wakes up around midnight or so and waits patiently, open-eyed, till sunrise. We've tried, to no avail, to flip around his hours, but nothing seems to work right now. I've searched every Starbucks for baby coffee, thinking I could pump him full of caffeine during the day, but apparently infant espresso can stunt a child's growth. So we'll have to wait, for now, and see if he can alter his sleep patterns on his own.

In other news, Sunday was a great day for me. The girls went shopping, so we had a boys' day out on the town. We went shopping, saw a college friend (Katie Comer) at a local coffee shop, cruised the newborns in the pink section at Babys-R-Us, and wowed the elderly at Old Navy. Tenzin, by the way, is a hit with the senior citizens. I was told numerous times just how blessed I was by every blue-hair in the store…not that I needed to be reminded. He's more popular than an early bird dinner at Cracker Barrel!

We've got a big week ahead of us. In addition to Steven and Steve's impending arrival, Jared and Brandi Sweitzer will also be arriving. All of this, mind you, is happening during OSU/Michigan week. I can't wait to show the Thomas family how crazy it is in Columbus this time of year. 110,000+ in the stadium, with another million fans tailgating outside. We'll start slow with a boys' night out at a Blue Jacket's game on Friday (as a warm-up), and figure out Saturday gameday from there.

As a sidenote, the family now has cable and internet at the house now. We finally broke down and stepped back into "modern world." So if any of you have Yahoo Instant Messenger, send us your handle and we'll get the webcam going. As entertaining as the pictures are, we'll be more than happy to link up with you and show you some real-time video footage. If we can get audio, I might even be able to get him to coo coo coo (or detonate one of his patented "man farts").

So sorry it's taken so long for an update, but as I'm sure you can probably understand, things have been quite the circus around here. He's growing so fast that we're just trying to keep up. The doctor says he's grown almost two whole inches, while gaining over a pound. It looks like it's all in the cheeks and neck! His legs are still as skinny as ever, but his face is definitely filling out. Too many drinks and the "freshman 15" are staring to show!

More to come…I promise.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tenzin's Cousin, Henry.

Some of you might remember Henry from the wedding pictures, but he's a lot bigger now! If you want to see what he's up to, click HERE.

He's a walking, talking, signing, dancing, pooping machine! Tenzin is going to learn quite a bit!

Baby = God's opinion that life can continue.

Kurt Vonnegut, renowned author/award-winning writer, once said: "…we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." Wiser words have never been spoken.

For the past three days, Rachel and I have had one mission: Get the gas out of that baby! Here is the breakdown of the Furp Cycle (fart and/or burp)…

20 Minutes = Feed Tenzin
10 Minutes = Burp Tenzin
5 Minutes = Fight Hiccups
5 Minutes = Change Diaper
3 Minutes = Sleep
Repeat x 9.

By my calculations, we've now had - on average - 33 minutes and 16 seconds of sleep per night…about what we expected. God love our little bubble machine.

And for some reason, I want to get back to it as fast as possible. There is no greater anxiety than restarting full days back at work. I'm now toiling from 7:00am to 5:00pm, Mon-Thurs, and 7:00am to 12:00pm Fridays (actual hours may vary depending on gas cycle above). I miss the little bugger so much…from the moment I kiss him goodbye, to the moment I kiss him hello. It just feels weird to be back again. I know there's a job to do and I know it pays the bills, but there's a bigger job at home.

You just feel like you're abandoning so much by tackling on pre-existing responsibilities. I can only compare it to our hospital experience. The blinds were closed for three days straight and we had very little time to watch television. We finally turned on CNN and it felt weird, after all that time, to see news stories. News? What do you mean, news? Didn't the world stop with the birth of our child? We made life, damn it! Why hasn't somebody hit the pause button?!?! Acknowledge our friggin' miracle!!!

So, coming back to work simply seems bizarre. It's almost like your at a really bad party, and you know there's a really good party going on at your friend's house just minutes away, but you've already promised the first friend that you would go to their party instead. Then, the next day, everybody tells you about all the really cool stuff that happened at the "fun" party. "Man, you should've been there!" So I'll get home (the fun party) and Rachel will tell me about everything Tenzin did while I was at work (the not-as-fun party), and I'll spend the next day at work wondering why I'm not down the road rockin' out with my son. But noooooooooo......We need money. Damn capitalist society.

I'll get used to it, I'm sure. For now, let me pout.

Rachel is still being a big ball of amazing. The breast feeding schedule is so demanding, but she doesn't ever complain. We're finally at a place where we can store some milk, too, so it's great for dad to get some "bottle time" in. [This is usually the point in the blog where I'd usually say something crass about enjoying the new "twins" that came with the baby, but I'm a sensitive husband and will not do so] I just can't believe how the human body works...its resilience, transformations, modifications, and so on. The preparations and changes made both pre and post partum are astounding. She's really taking it all SOOOO well.

And we're all REALLY REALLY REALLY looking for to the Thomas Family's arrival. Mom and Sis will be here on Friday, with Dad and Brother following soon after. I can't tell who's more excited? Rachel wanting to show Tenzin off, or Aunt Ashley wanting to see him! We're definitely counting down the days.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Uncle Jared Comes to Town...

Jared came in last night from Arizona. Came straight from the airport to the house to see Tenzin. What do you think? He's a natural... (Sorry, Brandi...You'll get your turn)

I'll try and get a better update when I have some time. Sorry these have been so short.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Our pumpkin is a pumpkin....

We accidently took teddy bear home from Mike and Sarah's last night. It was pretty easy to get confused....