Log in

No account? Create an account


You enter the new world uncertain of all save that you enter.

early summer
cait and me

cait and me

Breakfast: a photo from Jay's dad
cait and me

Happy holidays everyone. Here are one gazillion photos of our baby.
It's a Murrah Chrussmans photo dump!
We're down in Portland at Cait's family's house, where Finn is working hard on his proto-crawl, in order to best topple the precarious Tree of Books.
Our housemates got him this bow-tie and dress shirt, so he can go to important meetings. He loves them, or maybe just life in general, who can say. Not him, that's for sure.
Letting our nerd flag fly:
We skyped with Auntie Sayer out in Oberlin on her birthday. What is this strange space age the next generation is growing up in?

OK, and then because we've been lax, here's a quick photo tour of the last few months - back to now unthinkable late summer! An unseasonably sunny October day in Volunteer park.
We ride the bus a lot. (Although as you'll see, that may change soon - stay tuned.) Here a little bus napper naps.
Then an early fall walkabout - a long 3-hour family date around our beautiful neighborhood, lake and bridges and forests and gardens....
Sleepy papa, Finn eats leaves.
Just cause.

In November we all flew down to San Francisco so Cait could give a talk at a big human genetics conference. Finn viewed, reviewed, and rechewed the safety information.
From the top of acid rock.
It was a millionty times more fun being at a conference with family to keep me company. Phineas loved the beanbag chairs and people watching, and especially my nametag holder. He went to quite a few talks, including a 2 hour panel on gene patenting that he seriously thought was hilarious. We got only a very rare dirty look, mostly people were super supportive and accepting of us toting this baby around the conference; the climate of the scientific world seems to be changing - thanks to all the women who forged that path... so grateful.
What. We're eating salad, ok.
Also beach sand.
Cait's dad also happened to be down there, so we had a wonderful little grandpa hangout time.
Then after the conference we went to Cait's aunt Laurie's beautiful, light filled heaven in San Rafael for a lovely, restful couple of days. Simply luscious. Thanks La!
Then back home! Finn is learning to make lots of weird faces. What do they mean? We know not.
We harvested the last of our fall garden, including these monster carrots, pink popcorn, and enough apples for loads of applesauce, chutney, hard cider and apple juice. We now have a bunch of garlic and shallots and arugula growing over the winter (and mustard greens - does anyone like mustard greens? we don't really eat them but they have exploded in our garden.) and worms making compost for us. So thankful for our garden!
On the train to Portland. Finn hanging out with his Papa and his best friend.
Jay's anti-racist activist group had their annual retreat - a truly wonderful group of people so seriously engaged in the question of making the world a more just place. Cait's also been getting more involved with them and we're pretty excited about conceiving of new ways to participate as a family in this work.
Phineas helps sort the junk mail every day. He sorts it all into the "junk" category.
I cannot look at this picture without laughing.
9-month checkup! All is well. 
The OTHER important thing that happened at 9 months is duder is old enough to ride a bike!! This is Cait's electric assist cargo bike in action, on our first test ride with the baby seat. It was wet, cold, and totally exciting. 
That's all for now! Love and scowls.

cait and me

one half of one year
Did you read that article in the NYT a while back about the cult of Busy? And how the deliberate overfilling of schedules that a lot of us do today is kind of automatic and kind of a sign of status? And how it's different from Tired, which is what you are when your life requires those long full days of you? I almost want to say something like - I used to be busy but now I'm getting tired, but it's actually not quite that. I will say - my relationship to both busy-ness and tiredness has changed dramatically. I am starting to feel a little worn down, with both my dissertation and the Princess Seismograph record and book offering a seemingly endless list of things to be done, on top of the ever-changing but always present requirements of parenting. But the thing is all these responsibilities are completely full of joy. Especially the Phineas ones. I mean look at this guy!

It’s hard to even comprehend how much has changed in the last month. We have our 6-month appointment tomorrow, and I was remembering that at his last visit – 4 months – he had just mastered the skill of tracking an object around the room with his eyes, and was making vague gestures with his hands. Now he reaches, grabs, bangs, holds, drops, eats, drinks, hugs, claws your face with the sharp nails we neglect to cut nearly as often as we should… He rolls and scoots and sits up on his own, bounces like a maniac in his Johnny-jump-up, stands supporting all his weight so he can look at all the people sitting behind us on the bus… He laughs at “jokes”, blows so many raspberries he ends up with a little cappuccino-foam spit mustache, buries his head in my arm out of delight or shyness, insists on doing things on his own (things he quite frankly lacks the qualifications for)… Dudes, he is like, totally human now.


We continue to be extraordinarily blessed with family, housemates and friends taking care of our little family in so many ways. Our house is so vibrant and alive and full of amazing people (though we miss Alex, our dear dear housemate who is now travelling around the whole world) and our friends find ways to include us in their fun despite our full schedules and a baby who turns into a pumpkin at 6:30. We have a good little rhythm going now that feels pretty balanced most of the time. I think the next challenge will be prioritizing a little more just-the-two-of-us time for me and Jay. We haven’t had a date in a long, long time. It’s tough because the evenings with Finn are so precious, and we have such a settled rhythm for putting him down to bed that we don’t generally feel like going out in the evenings, and we work all weekdays… I guess we have to learn how to do evenings away or have weekend daytime dates. And we have this amazing group of folks who do regular childcare for us, but haven’t really set up a community of folks wanting/willing to do one-off babysitting. (If you are such a person, let us know! Dates!)

And that’s it. Or at least that’s what I’m writing tonight because it’s 10 and certain people like to wake up verrrrry early in the morning. I would also love to tell you about our anti-racist parenting group and my electric-assist cargo-bike and losing baby socks and our garden and the silly song Karen inspired me to write and the beautiful weddings and teething and teeth and baby comparisons but....

Love to you dear readers who are sticking with our sporadic stepchild of a blog.

Mark's hair is delicious I guess.
We had our birth class reunion! This is about half the babies from the class. We had to wake Finn up from a nap to put him on the couch which as you can see, he was not happy about at all.
A rare drawing date with Helen (and Sam!), who are among Finn's devoted caretakers.
Liz and Siobhan dusty and happy, just back from Burning Man! So great to live it vicariously through them and soak up all their joy.
Uncle Piers is pretty cool.
And so is Aunt Sayer! A rare jewel of an appearance from this college JUNIOR omg.
Finn's got a little Rippey in him, yeah? He's not pure mini-Jay? With his grandpaul.
We had an amazing time in - bear with me - BELLEVUE because the Art Museum there has this incredible exhibit of mostly improvised quilts by African-American quilters... it was so inspiring, I can't even...
Also there were mirrors, which fill Finn with delight.
Don't he have purty eyes?
He went through this phase - is still in it a little - where bottle and cups were like the most amazing and fascinating objects in the world. He could be hanging out, just looking around, playing or whatever, and when a bottle would enter his field of vision, you could basically hear the record needle scratch as everything else in the world lost all importance and every muscle and neuron in his body would reorient to the monoloithic goal of Touching Bottle. Here's his bottle face:
SO the other day we drove our CAR which we BOUGHT and can kind of DRIVE out to Seward Park for a glorious early fall walk through pristine forest. Look at this city! Remember when all of Seattle looked like this? me neither. i'm new here.
On our way to Alex and Emily's masquerade wedding spectacular!

I wish I looked happy 2 minutes after I puked all over my dad
cait and me

Meeting of the Board
Many weeks ago now, we went to visit our friends Momo and John out on their land on Whidbey island, along with the extended jnanalada family (john, anna, ayla and dakota!). Anna, Dakota, Phineas and I had some serious business to figure out, and some footage of the board meeting is here:

Meeting of the Board from Caitlin Rippey on Vimeo.

Oh hai guys whats up
6:40 AM, riding the bus to work for day 4 of a big experiment I'm doing, hoping hoping for a cool result. It was a logistical coup figuring out how to do this - cells have to incubate here for 36-40hours, there for 4, here for 24. I need to be in this day for 5 hours, this day for 30 minutes twice, and so on, fitting it all together like a puzzle in between jay's work schedule, doctor's appointments, picking up and dropping off Finn for his weekly babysitting dates with (thank you, so grateful, couldn't do it without you) grandparents and Helen. Jay and I had both expected to be doing more at home work, but I still have a fair bit of experimental work to finish up, and since Jay's team got decimated by layoffs, it's been more important for him to go in in person. So we run around and around. My boss had warned that transition times - like time between house and work, between work and daycare - are the real killers in making working mamahood work. It's true that if I could instantly teleport to work, I would do it, and there would be more time in the day, but I rarely actually resent the time on the bus. The quiet alone time, playing scrabble on the device, or actually filling in my lab notebook, or reading a letter, or drinking tea, is welcome.
Anyway though, we are both running around town a lot, working really hard at our jobs, giving Finn maximum cuddles, and usually by the end of the week we both feel a little bit like tissue paper butterflies.


Later, and the experiment didn't work. But grad school is all about refining your palate for not working, and this one didn't work in an OK way - more like a didn't work yet than a negative result, an inexplicable inconsistency, or a total catastrophe, the kinds of not working that would have been worse.

But this is a baby blog, not a grad school blog (for that I refer you to whatshouldwecallgradschool.tumblr.com). Little Phineas is really exploding with new skills and personality these last few weeks. He went through a period of being pretty grumpy, when I think a lot of things colluded to make life difficult. Jay and I both started working more often, he started teething in earnest but hadn't learned how to chew on his own hand yet, I tried reintroducing some foods back into my diet, and he had some sort of virus I think so he was not sleeping well (back to every hour and a half wake-ups, ouch) and was having these humongous throw-ups in the middle of the night and was congested and just generally in pain. But then we moved through that! And now it's just delight, pretty much morning to night, and in the night he's mercifully doing 4 hour stretches generally, which is utterly liveable.
He's started giggling and squealing when something awesome happens (like when Jay sneezed in the bath the other day - that was a real hit with the younger set) which is a hilarious sound, all snorty and high pitched. He's getting the hang of having hands - definitely understands now that he moves them around and they can grab things and then those things can be in his mouth. He tries to do this when breastfeeding though - grabbing the boob with both hands - but then he just ends up with a mouthful of fist and is confused and frustrated. He'll get there. He's also in this period where everything everything everything is incredibly interesting and he doesn't want to miss it, so if he's trying to eat in a room where adults are talking or somebody is moving, or really anything is happening at all, he does this one-second-on, five-seconds-off breastfeeding that's cute but not really effective. It is an interesting world, I sympathize. I'd probably be annoyed if I had to be pressed into a flesh wall whenever I ate too.
He's also a lot more mobile - we'll wake up in the night to find that he's a foot closer to me, perpendicular to how we put him down, and headbutting me in the arm with a sober determination, like Sauron's army at the doors of Helm's Deep. Plus he rolled over back to front a couple days ago too, in his growly chompy eagerness to eat. So that's a signal that a lot in our lives is about to change again. Until recently we could just put him on his back on the ottoman, looking up at the ceiling fan, his third parent, and he would contentedly stay in place for like an hour, chirping and purring. Those days are ending....

OK, and now for the pictures...
Finn asleep in the bathtub:
We took an All-Sibling All-Cousin outing to the Ballard locks, which included, of course, kid-tossing. Here Caden is terrifyingly airborne.
The old house got back together for Shauna's graduation - which was SO COOL, I cannot overemphasize. First of all, tremendously proud of Shauna who overcame a ton of obstacles and worked her butt off (she basically wrote a novel as her senior project) to get that paper. Second of all, tremendously grateful for Nova, her high school, which works so hard to honor and accommodate all these creative, unusual kids who don't thrive in regular high schools. I cried so much at the ceremony - a teacher spoke about every student, and every student got to say a few words if they wanted, and it was so moving to hear about all these amazing young people.
The proud, possibly slightly shell-shocked graduate:
Phineas has certain concerns about your plan. Please reconsider.
I made him a sweater! Raglan sleeves like my grandmother used to always knit. It is dashing.
We're so lucky that Jay's brother Charles and his girlfriend Bri come to visit so often. Finn just loves them so much.
Esme and family returned for one last visit. Esme drew some fish. Here they are.
Papa walk! I love those skeptical eyes peering over the carrier.
This last weekend we went on an awesome camping/hotel/music festival trip to Anacortes with our dear friend Kaia - so fun!

(no subject)
cait and me
Took a quiet afternoon, thinking to write, read Robert Duncan (the primeval man 'ravening toward such rest / a diamond has in structure'), stare out the window. Spent it tidying instead, cleaning out my inbox to Buddy Holly, writing this for you, our dear invisible friends. Here are picture stories from the last month, word stories from the last few days.



Family here, beloved friends coming and going.

The other afternoon, on an island, Finn fritzy and overstimulated and sleeping only up against one of our bodies, Cait and I walked in the woods. I told him, I hope this land is going to be your home like it was mine, indicating to him (he was asleep) the lichen-channeled fir and alders, fiddleheads, benign-looking ubiquitous nettles ('you get over the burn'), robins, the sleepy syrup light over all of it, and maybe, by extension, the pent impassive unseen presences of the Olympics.

Out there I wished I knew bird calls: pweetle-eetle-eetle, distress or joy, eagle-out or I-am-here gusto? And local flora, and the other islands by sight... Does anyone else imagine that further general knowledge would ground their lives in some way, let them look more deeply, longer, slower at the world?

Three-hour-long six-vehicle trip back, he was the best part of it!

We're having laugh conversations now with him: he has this way of throwing his fists up over his head when he's too happy to do anything else and making this wild choking exhilarated little string of sounds.

Today: "When you're choosing between what's urgent and what's important, choose what's important first." But even as I type this, some quadrant of me thinks: Laundry? Weather forecast? Medical paperwork? Internet bill? Another cup of coffee?