drew.blog

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Turns out my daughter is more important than the internet.

I know, right? Can we say “high maintenance”? Jeez louis.

Yep, my blogging consistency has plummeted recently, but hopefully you guys will cut me slack on account of being a new dad and all. I have priorities now, folks!

I imagine posting frequency will stay pretty scarce, but blogging is still on my radar. I’ve actually been thinking of a few blog changes I’d like to make:

I’d like to do more topic-specific posts — stuff that requires me to do some research (dare I say soul-searching?) as opposed to just rattling off my opinions. I feel pretty good about the topical posts I’ve done before, but I think there’s room for me to kick it up a notch in this area.

I’d also like to focus a little more on quality in general. Even in the just-for-fun-type posts, I want to put my best writing out there. I like blogging as a creative output, and I don’t want to half-ass it. If you’re going to do something, might as well do it well, right?

So here’s committing to cranking out some decent posts at least every couple weeks or so. Stay tuned!

Filed under: Blogging, Family

Thoughts of a new dad

Five days after the birth of my first child seems like a good time to reflect on a few things.

First, the palpable beauty of new life. How amazing it is to consider that new life can simply be grown inside a mother, materializing from a few random cells into a full-fledged living person. It boggles my mind to consider that our Creator gives us, feeble and accident-prone humans, the ability to produce such masterpieces. My personal bias notwithstanding (she is my daughter), Jolie is the prettiest baby I have ever seen; I can hardly keep from staring at and studying her, completely captivated.

Equally amazing is the fact that Drea is literally keeping Jolie alive — the fact that her natural supply is the best possible nutrition for Jolie, inimitable even by the most carefully engineered baby formulas. If that’s not enough, Jolie is receiving immunities that will last her entire life, all in these first couple days of nursing. Simply incredible.

We had a great stay at Anne Arundel Hospital, and I have a greater appreciation for nurses, now knowing the amount of competence and energy their job requires, all while keeping a warm personality for their patients. I’ll look back on our hospital stay with fondness — especially the surreal, delirious feel of the nights, staggering half-awake across the hall to grab ice and juice for Drea as she nursed Jolie. We had a moderately steady stream of guests — not so many to make it overwhelming, but enough to keep boredom at bay. (Staying in a hospital for three days isn’t as exciting as one might think.) Thanks to everyone who took time to come see us!

Drea’s mom snapped this shot of Jolie, just a few hours old and before her first bath. Come on, does this kid look good or what?

Filed under: Family

Nepotism

[nepuh-tiz-uhm]

n: patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics

In that spirit, I’d like to promote the other Ackermann blogs that have recently materialized…

Abby Recently: My sister, the adventurous international traveler, is studying abroad in Leeds, England this semester. She started a blog to recount her experiences and all things European.

Vinny’s World: My dad just retired and is taking himself, my mom, and a beat up old Honda on a cross-country road trip. Myriad Bob Dylan quotes and probably some sarcastic commentary are sure to abound.

Go Ackermanns!

Filed under: Blogging, Family

Slice of life: October, November, December

When I started the “slice of life” thing in September, my plan was to make it a periodically recurring motif, something to force me to blog at least once a month about what the normal day-to-day has been serving up. But it’s now clear that even that was too lofty a goal for me, as the 48-day hiatus since my last blog entry will attest.

Sorry, folks. I could probably come up with some B.S. excuse about how I haven’t had time to blog on account of how busy we’ve been, blah, blah, whine, whine, etc. But when you think about it, the craziness of everyday life should be a reason to blog, not an excuse not to, right? So in that vein, I give you not one, not two, but three months’ worth of “slices of life”. Instead of breaking it down month by month, I’m just going to make it one big, gluttonous “slice”, so to speak. Imagine the year 2009 is one large apple pie, and you’re about to inhale an entire quarter of that thing in one sitting. Are you ready for this?

•••

Our house is feeling more like home every day. We ditched the mealtime practice of cramming our six bodies around our tiny kitchen table, in favor of a nice big 10-seater with sleeve extensions from Ikea. It’s long and narrow, so sitting at the head seat makes me feel kind of like a family patriarch about to pray the blessing over Thanksgiving dinner, and Drea and Tom and Renata and Hayden and Jack are all my grandkids. Come children, let’s join hands…

Renata’s dad Charlie has generously agreed to help us convert half our garage into a bedroom for Jolie. The work is still in progress, but we’ve managed to install a door, wall, and most of the floor so far. It’s fun seeing her little room come together, and Drea is especially anxious to start the “nesting” process (which, I’m sorry to report, will include a light pink shade on one or more of the walls. I tried, people.)

•••

We’ve spent quite a bit of time on the road recently, which I of course am quite keen on. Drea and I embarked on a “babymoon” to Florida — a last hurrah of sorts before the little whippersnapper’s grand arrival. We had a fantastic (albeit uncharacteristically ad-libbed) time celebrating the end of life as we know it! You can get the whole scoop here on our family blog.

Over Thanksgiving, my whole family piled into my aunt’s 8-passenger van and headed up to the Poconos for a long weekend of goofing off, playing games and hanging around northeast PA, including Scranton! (Fans of The Office might be interested to know that there is a real Steamtown Mall in Scranton, although it’s incredibly lame except for an out-of-this-world crêpe stand in the food court.) We toured a coal mine (more entertaining than it sounds) and spent some time in the charming town of Jim Thorpe.

Drea and I are excited to take yet another mini-getaway (I’m addicted to these things!) this weekend to New York to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. It was supposed to be my surprise Christmas gift to her, but I blew it! She asked me to give her a hint that she wouldn’t be able to figure out, but that would temporarily satiate her curiosity. The hint I gave her was “R.C.M.H.” and she guessed “Radio City Music Hall” immediately. We both kicked ourselves and sulked for a little bit, but we soon got over it. However, after underestimating both Drea’s clue-decoding talent and my own overwhelming stupidity for giving her such an easy clue, we both vowed to keep all future surprises for each other under stealth secrecy, no exceptions. 🙂

•••

Holiday music-wise, I’ve been enjoying Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas this year. Recorded over the course of five Christmases as five separate EPs and now available as a box set, it’s full of innovative, folksy takes on both well-known and obscure Christmas carols, as well as some colorful original tracks, including “What Child Is This, Anyway?”, “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!”, “Did I Make You Cry on Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)”, and “Get Behind Me, Santa!”.

I also feel compelled to mention that Bob Dylan released a Christmas album this year. I’m a big Dylan fan, but am quite unsure how to feel about this. I haven’t heard the album (besides the samples on Amazon), but something tells me Christmas music might not be his forte. And that something is Washington Post staff writer Chris Richards, who offers this observation in his review: “[Dylan’s version of] ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ sounds like a reason to bolt the doors…As ever, chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost is nipping at your nose — but this time, the man behind the microphone sounds as if he’s trying to dislodge a piece of tinsel from his throat.” My curiosity is piqued, to say the least.

Christmas at the AckerJanes is fun this year — devouring gargantuan waffle breakfasts on the weekends, watching Elf, making fun of Renata’s affinity for the Hanson Christmas album, and pooling both families’ Christmas ornaments together on one tree. As I type, Drea is stuffing our Christmas cards into envelopes as Sara Groves sings “Gloria in excelsis Deo” in the background. It’s a good moment, and “Glory to God in the highest” seems a fitting expression of gratitude — for the friends and family we send cards to, for the little Ackermann kicking away, for peace and good will to men.

Merry Christmas to all!

Filed under: Blogging, Family, Funny, Music, Slice of life, Travel

Slice of life: September

Brief reflections on life right now…

Drea and I have gone public with the pregnancy, ushering in a season of “whoa” for me. For some reason, having people know about it and asking questions has made me aware (as if for the first time) that we’re actually having a kid. Hoooooly crap. We can’t wait to find out the gender in a few weeks. If we have a girl, Drea wants to paint her room light pink. I’m more partial towards a “gender-neutral” tone. Maybe a poll can settle our debate once and for all. What do you think?

•••

In other news, we finally moved into our new house with the Janes a few weeks ago. So far it’s been great, but it also means I’ve had to step up my handyman skills a little bit. We bought a power drill from Home Depot, which Tom and I have been using to install blinds. Turns out installing blinds is a fairly meticulous process requiring a degree of measuring accuracy that surpasses — as I learned the hard way — “eyeballing it”.

We’ve enjoyed making our new place our own, as suggested by the photos Drea uploaded to our family blog yesterday. After a year of not having our own kitchen, this is actually one of my favorite things about our house. Gall-darnit, I even like doing the dishes at night. (We’ll see how long this lasts.)

•••

We joined a few of our life group pals on Sunday night to see a Derek Webb/Sandra McCracken show at Jammin’ Java. We learned upon arriving that it was a standing show, but we got in early enough to snag some dining area seats. Sandra McCracken’s opening segment was pitch-perfect. (We actually ran into her and her kids at Starbucks before the show, which was fun.) Derek Webb was outstanding as well, playing through his entire new record — the gutsy marriage of folk-rock and trippy electronica that is Stockholm Syndrome. Particularly enjoyable was when technical difficulties on stage forced him to scale back to just an acoustic guitar, playing old Caedmon’s Call tunes and one unexpected treat — Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin”.

•••

So, that’s life right now. In the absence of a decent closing remark, I’ll leave you to marvel at the fast food order-taking skills of a certain King Burger employee…

Filed under: Family, Funny, Marriage, Music, Slice of life, , , ,

Baby Ack

baby

babylegs

babyarms

Yep, Drea and I are expecting a kiddo in March! We’re thrilled to be welcoming another Ackermann into the world. Check for regular gestation updates by Drea on our old blog!

Filed under: Family,