September 29, 2006

Someone posted this--someone I don't actually know--under one of the pictures of Elliot on flickr.

In that book which is my memory,
on the first page of the chapter
that is the day when I first met you,
appear the words,
"Here begins a new life."

-- Dante Alighieri, La Vita Nuova

afternoon tea


September 25, 2006

Weight Gain 4000

Elliot is now over 7 pounds. He gained 10 ounces this week.

The doctor said, "Are you feeding him quarters?"


Comfort Measures

In the Huichol tribe of Mexico, there's a tradition that "laboring mothers tie a string around their partners' testicles, yanking enthusiastically as each contraction peaks."

-- from Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born

September 24, 2006

Call us!

Hey there,

We wanted to just wave our arms, real big and enthusiastic like home-schooled kids do, and say: hello! We've been bad about returning phone calls and email -- in fact, it's phone bankruptcy at this point. We're going to have to wipe the slate clean, ask the forgiveness of our creditors, and start over. We like you, we're just a little groggy, that's all. And we can't find the phone unless it rings. We're ready to talk about stuff, even non-milk-related stuff. Come on and just . . . . phone moi, as Harry sings to Sally. Or is it her answering machine?

-sem and blwh

September 19, 2006

smoothie recipe

This is our working recipe at the moment.

1 cup Stonyfield farm whole milk yogurt (has 3g fiber)
half package of soft tofu (protein, iron, and completely undetectable)
1 or 2 tbsp wheat germ (fiber & iron, but can be bitter in large amounts)
1 or 2 bananas (2 makes it sweeter)
mess of berries from the freezer (Costco!)
in emergencies: half and half or ice cream ad libitum

If I have a slice of lemon or lime around, i'll squeeze it in to brighten up the berries.

This is a work in progress. Ideas and suggestions will be keenly scrutinized.

Also: does anyone have a recipe for a smoothie that involves peanut butter? We are huge fans of peanut butter and unsure how to make edible smoothies out of it.

Update -- faster:

Cup of plain yogurt (I've started making it myself -- it's really easy!)
A good, trusted egg (or two)
A heaping cereal bowl full of frozen berries, microwaved for 60-90 seconds

on Elliot's feet

from Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott:

Sam is unbelievably pretty, with long, thin, Christlike feet. I told my friend Carpenter this and he said, "It's an often-difficult world out there, and it's good to have long, grippy feet."


September 18, 2006

got milk?

Operation Bulk the Plum is in day two of its execution. We are doing double-shift feedings, to try to fill him out pronto. Report from the field: since commencing ops, Elliot has already gained THREE (3) ounces in TWO (2) days. These are medically certified numbers -- Mom's thumb was not on the scale. Now, if my calculations are correct (tap tap tap), if we keep this up, he'll weigh as much as I do in four and a half years. Not bad! Not bad at all.

Needless to say, the regimen leaves Sarah a little depleted. Neighbors like to exclaim over "how trim [she] look[s]" so soon after the arrival of the baby. Sarah favors these types of comments with a wan smile, usually while rifling through the contents of the visitor's purse and other belongings, seeking any items with high caloric density, such as, oh, I don't know, a stick of butter. If she comes up with something viable, she underhands it to me, and I alley-oop it into the blender and turn it into a nutritious smoothie. My job is a simple one, really: run the blender; don't drop the butter; answer the phone. If people call and ask (bless them) "What should I bring over?", shout "CALORIES" and then say "thank you".

Kelly and Rachel, Bob and Barb, Peter and Launa, Katie C, Kara: Thank you.


September 12, 2006

Note on Photos

About the photos that we've posted over on my page at

I wanted to make a few small clarifications:

  • The flickr page removes the need for us to "send" photos to anyone. The photos are stored on flickr indefinitely. Anyone can see them, from any computer, forever.
  • If you would like to see a photo at a larger size, click the photo.
  • Want to see the picture even larger? Look in the right hand column of the page for the words "See different sizes". Click that.
  • If you want to save a photo to, say, make a print of it, go for the "original size" photo (quite large). That is the real, original photograph file. It is now on your computer. You just want to save that off, and take it to the drugstore.
  • As you may already know, to save a picture from a web page, you just right-click on it. There will be some kind of "save" option there.


September 11, 2006

Elliot's name, variously

"Riding their shaggy ponies of Norse extraction, dressed in an assortment of helmets and homemade armor, the Elliotts and their counterparts brought sword and musket to bear against their enemies with neither rest nor mercy. Even when England and Scotland were officially at peace, the raids continued."


-- Of English origin. Anglicization of Elijah or Eli. (The boy's name Elijah is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "the Lord is my God." From Eliyahu. Biblical: Elijah, one of the foremost prophets of Israel). Surname first used as a given name in modern Scotland. Elliott has 5 variant forms: Eliot, Eliott, Elliot, Elyot and Elyott.

-- Diminutive form of Elias

-- from, Elliot as a last name, entry from Dictionary of American Family Names:
1. English: from a Middle English personal name, Elyat, Elyt. This represents at least two Old English personal names which have fallen together: the male name A{dh}elgeat (composed of the elements a{dh}el ‘noble’ + Geat, a tribal name; see Jocelyn), and the female personal name A{dh}elg¯{dh} (composed of the elements a{dh}el ‘noble’ + g¯{dh} ‘battle’). The Middle English name seems also to have absorbed various other personal names of Old English or Continental Germanic origin, as for example Old English Ælfweald (see Ellwood).
2. English: from a pet form of Ellis.
3. Scottish: Anglicized form of the originally distinct Gaelic surname Elloch, Eloth, a topographic name from Gaelic eileach ‘dam’, ‘mound’, ‘bank’. Compare Eliot.

Scotland's Opinion
Eliott the surname is thought to derive from an Anglo-Saxon forename Elewald which means 'the elf ruler', although the name could also be a diminutive of the name Elias. After the Norman conquest the name occurs as a forename in the form Heliot. Earliest records of the surname include a William Elyot mentioned in the Assize Rolls for Somorset in 1257 and a William Eliot mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327. It is thought that these south country Eliots have a surname which derived from Elias and that the Elliott families of the north were descended from an Elewald who lived in Cumberland in the year 1279. Until the fifteenth century the Elliott surname of the Anglo-Scottish border still occasionally occured in the form Elwald or Elwold. Spellings were inconsistent and other forms including Elwuad, Elwat, Elwood, Eluat, Eluott, Elioat and Elwand are recorded. Even today there are at least seventy derivatives of the surname including four different spellings of the basic name which are Eliot, Eliott, Eliot and Elliott. The last spelling is said to be frowned upon by the Scottish border Eliotts where according to an old rhyme:

The double L and single T
Descend from Minto and Wolflee,
The double T and single L
Mark the old race in Stobs that dwell,
The single L and single T
The Eliots of St Germains be,
But double T and double LL
Who they are nobody can tell.

And here is some more from the "shaggy ponies" author cited above:

"Some have speculated that Elwald came from Eld-wealh, which means in Anglo-Saxon "Old Welshman" - or "Old Foreigner". A Brythonic Celt would seem a foreigner to a Saxon. But so might a Sarmatian. In fact, there are place names in Ribchester, Lancashire, where the Sarmatians are known to have settled, that are derived from the word "wealh", and are thought to refer to the original Romanized inhabitants. Another derivation of Elliott is Elget - or "Old Gete". Getae and Getes were terms used in antiquity for eastern barbarian tribes like, respectively, the Thracians and Dacians, who served in large numbers at Birdoswald Fort, and the Indo-Iranians. Even if one cedes Eld-wealh and Elget to Roman auxiliaries, other Elliotts could still be Welshman, as some say the name comes from "Heliat", which is Welsh for "huntsman" or "pursuer".

"Finally, the Elliott name could have arisen independently in many different families from the name "Elias", which means "The Lord is God". Unrelated English parents could have given the diminutive of "Elias" - "Elyat" or "Elyt" - to their sons. When those sons grew to manhood, they may have passed their Christian name as a surname on to their children. "Eloth" itself could refer to "Elath", the name of a port city on the Red Sea that appears in the Bible. In this form, too, the name Elliott could have arisen in families that had nothing in common beyond a shared religion."

The China Connection
Not quite sure what this might actually mean, but here is a series of symbols purporting to be the "Chinese name for Elliot" ( and also a "transliteration into Mandarin" ( Thank you, Internet.

September 09, 2006

in sum

He was born September 7, 2006, at 6:39 am, in Oak Park, Illinois.
6 lbs 8 oz, 19 1/2 inches
Blue eyes, some short dark hair.

And he is doing GREAT.

Jeffrey is a name from Sarah's family; Walter is from Brandon's. Elliot is his own name.

Here is a brief synopsis of his hasty entrance into the world:

11:00 pm, Sept. 6: Brandon and Sarah go to bed, both pretty tuckered out. (Sarah had written "exhausted" here, but Brandon objects, wanting to save that word for special occasions. Like, oh, I don't know, TODAY.) They lie in bed re-reading all their "The Stages of Labor" materials from childbirth class. They agree they are both much too tired to go into labor, a long, long process akin to a marathon, something you want to go into refreshed. Brandon is coming down with a cold, and puts in a formal request: "I'm getting sick. Please don't give birth to my child tonight." Sarah says this seems like a reasonable request. But aha: Brandon has forgotten to check with the person in charge.

12:13 am: Sarah wakes up having contractions; not too bad. Flops around and winces for a while. Moves to couch so as to not wake up Brandon.

4:00 am: Sarah wakes up Brandon, who gets her into a warm bath. Judging from the noises produced there, he figures out two things: it's probably not false labor, and it's probably time to seek professional help. He calls Gail, the midwife, who says sure, let's all go to the hospital. He gathers the baggage.

5:00: Everybody except Ada leaves for hospital. Ada complains.

5:10: We stop at McDonald's because Sarah wants a vanilla milkshake. The milkshake machine, tragically, is broken, which gives Sarah a contraction. She has a large Sprite instead.

5:45 Arrive at hospital.

5:55: Sarah, on gurney, says "I can feel the head!" Now it's the nurses who are making the noises.

6:39 am: Elliot is born! Sarah catches him herself and flops him up on her chest. He is perfect.

To hear more about our adventures (ie: having a contraction in the alley in front of some strange man, Brandon's awesome hospital packing skills, the full moon that lit the way to the hospital, Sarah kicking the labor nurse, and the exciting details of the pushing itself) you should call us, or just come over (call first). It's a good time for a party; there are lots of grandparents around. Barb says that a ratio of 6 adults to one infant is about right.

Love from:
Brandon, Sarah, Elliot, Ada (with reservations), and all the rest of the family,

September 06, 2006

Overheard on Loyola Beach

dog owner/cross-dresser: "When are you due, girl?"

s.e.m.:  "Today."

dog owner/cross-dresser:  "Walk it on down, honey.  Walk it on down."

September 05, 2006

Place your bets

So, last weekend I was most excellently feted by all my Chicago girlfriends, who showered me with delicious foods and books and good wishes and all sorts of things. I cannot say enough how perfect the whole day was. One of its happy side effects was that Ms Kati Phillips took it upon herself to coordinate a birth-day "pool"--because what's a shower good for, if it's not a little gambling? Gambling goes great with quiche and cupcakes.

For posterity, I place the ladeez' bets here:

Sept. 4, 1 a.m., Girl -- Kate
Sept. 5, 2:37 a.m., Girl -- Kara
Sept. 8, 5:44 a.m., Boy -- Cassandra
Sept. 8, 9:31 a.m., Boy -- Liz
Sept. 8, 2:30 p.m., Girl -- Deana
Sept. 9, 3 a.m., Girl -- Sarah B.
Sept. 9, 4 p.m., Girl -- Anna
Sept. 9, 9:09 p.m., Boy -- Katy
Sept. 12, 12 a.m., Boy -- Kati P.
Sept. 13, 12:21 p.m., Boy -- Catherine
Sept. 13, 1:13 p.m., Boy -- Kasey

After the fact, Brandon's father Peter also wanted to weigh in: He bets Sept. 10, 7:19 AM, Girl.

My basic thought is that having your own ego (and, in the case of the original betters, your hard-earned dollars) invested in an event will make you think about it more--and thus, I encourage any and all to stake a claim to a date, time and gender! Because doing so might make you think more about me! And that is what I am all about these days: being the center of attention. Being attended to makes the swollen fingers and toes soooo much easier to tolerate.