Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marc smiles...

Those of you with kids certainly understand the excitement of seeing your kid's first smile... We finally started to enjoy that pleasure ourselves, so far it does not come for free, Marc mostly smiles when we play with him clapping his hands with ours... One picture is worth a thousand words...

Paperwork update...

Well well well, we finally got Marc's birth certificate in the mail on Thursday. Not the copies we requested from the hospital (these would still take a couple of months since the office of Vital Records is still working in the certs for babies born in July), but the one I requested in person (more details in a post from a couple of weeks ago).

Getting the birth certificate allowed us to get started in preparing for our Christmas trip to Spain:

- we bought the air tickets before their prices get even higher.

- we applied for Marc's US passport.

- we will go to the Spanish Consulate to register Marc, apply for his Spanish passport and Lily's Spanish visa.

We also got scheduled for our green card interviews... hopefully all these procedures will go smoothly and very soon we will be able to stop worrying about visas for a while... We can't wait.

Once again though, reading through all the laws and regulations it's quite amazing to see how easy is to run into catch-22 situations. We already ran into this last year when Lily could not get a Spanish visa, we basically had everything ready for her to apply for a new US visa at the US embassy in Spain. Unfortunately she could not get a Spanish visa because she had a single entry visa for the US and therefore could not guarantee that she would be able to come back...

This time the dependencies were between Marc's SSN and passport. It's recommended to have SSN when applying for the passport, but it's almost required to have a passport when applying for an SSN (unless the SSN application is filled by the Hospital). In theory the Hospital did apply at the same time they applied for his birth certificate, however in true Chicago fashion that may take over 4 months, so I was considering re-applying in person... not a chance, after reading what it would take to verify Marc's identity as a newborn I decided to apply for his passport without SSN.... we will wait for his SSN, hopefully he'll get it before he graduates from college :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

One more weekend flew by....

Not a whole lot to report, this was a fairly quiet weekend, after the craziness at work and the short trip to DC I took Friday off. What did we use the long weekend for? Just chill out, go for walks, go for coffee, read a little bit, clean, cook (Lily cooked some really tasty ribs on Sunday, great stuff!!!!!). The highlight of the weekend was probably our outing to downtown, we decided to take the EL and this was Baobao's first trip on the train. He slept the whole time on our way there, while we were walking around Millennium and Grant Park, when we stopped for coffee at Intelligentsia and on our way back. Amazing! He definitely sleeps like his dad, once he's focused nothing bothers him matter how much noise, vibration, people,...

A few pics from the last couple of weeks:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blogging from DC again...


After more than half an hour typing a very cool and fun post, somehow I lost it all... darn you blogger, I don't like you anymore :(

I'll try again (too much for auto save)....

One more time I'm blogging from the Dulles International Airport (DC), which basically means we had another crazy week at work which resulted in a urgent trip out here to deal with another crisis... I can't say that things are getting any better or more relaxed...

We (John, my co-worked who joined me this time) and I had tickets to go back home at 9:50 pm tonight, however, we got done with most of the critical stuff at around 2pm and decided to rush to the airport hoping to make it into the 5:20 pm flight. Unfortunately, so did some other 2000 people... finally we did not make it and had to wait around (thus this blog).

Waiting in stand-by (and not being called) gives you time to witness some really interesting stuff:

- some people really wait until the last minute to board.
- even better, some of this people don't really get stressed out about it even a tiny bit. This one guy literally came walking as he had all the time in the world, enjoying the airport decoration at 5:19pm, approached us and asked us if they were already boarding the 5:20pm flight... ALREADY????? Did you mean STILL??????? What the hell....
- I don't understand how they manage the stand-by list thing. Today they really created a big mess, in the last 5 minutes they decided to let some of the folks in the stand-by list in ("just sit wherever you see a seat available"), basically assuming that the actual folks with boarding passes would not make it. Sure enough 2 minutes later a family of five showed up running at full speed through the terminal..... all of a sudden they had more folks into the plane than they could sit, what a mess.... I'm happy I wasn't one of them, otherwise they would have to call the national guard to get me out :)
- I also don't understand what the lady in the boarding desk types in her computer, but it's gotta be some really complicated stuff, like nuclear reaction formulas, the new federal budget for 2009 or something.... it always reminds me of "Meet the parents".

Anyway, I have some time in my hands so decided to post, too bad I could not make the other flight, I would be almost home by now... the good side is I'll get lots of stuff done tonight and I'll take tomorrow off, LIFE IS GOOD.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's tough to be a mom... and a baby...

No explanation needed, I took this picture today at noon, after his feeding Marc fall asleep in mom's arms... and she followed soon. It doesn't get any sweeter than that, when I saw them enjoying their sleep like that, I can't stop thinking how blessed I am to have them both in my life.

This other one shows mom and Marc all pimped and ready to go out for a walk (Marc is wearing his first pair of blue jeans, talking about cool).


Saturday, October 11, 2008

2nd doctor check and paperwork

Hey hey hey,

It's taken me another week to finally sit down and blog, another week of economic crisis, stock prices dropping, increased insecurity, 401ks becoming 201ks... oh well, we'll take it one day at a time.

The first half of the week was pretty uneventful: work and more work, some short walks around the neighborhood, etc. Wednesday night, I took Marc to the library, we got him a cool little book in Spanish titled "Cocorico" :)

On Thursday we had Marc's regular scheduled checkup with his pediatrician, everything is good, Marc is growing fast and healthy, he's up to 11 Lbs now (5 Kg) and 23 inches (58.5 cm).

That same day, I decided to go to the city hall to request Marc's birth certificate which we need to apply for his passports (Spanish and American). Now, this was quite a frustrating experience, one that tells a lot about how the public services work (or better don't work) in this city... you really have to wonder how Chicago could even consider organizing the Olympic games when it has all these very basic issues (really poor public transportation, poor public services, ...).

Anyway, here's how the story goes. When Marc was born the hospital filled all the registration paper work with the city of Chicago as usual. They gave us a document that we have to fill and mail to request the birth certificate to be sent to us. In that document it was written that processing time is 3 to 4 weeks.... well, 5 weeks later I called the office of vital records, to ask about the status and the lady on the other side of the phone told me that they were still processing requests from July!!!!!! (we are almost in mid October).

I asked her what could I do to get the certificate faster and she told me to go to the city hall to request it person... so I did, this is where things get really messed up. They have 2 offices for vital records, the regular one and one for kids under 6 months old. The second one only opens from 2 pm to 4 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but that small detail is nowhere to be found in any document or even in their website. Most of the people who had already taken a day off from work, obviously decided to stick around until 2 pm, queuing in front of that very tiny office, most of the people actually brought their kids along (again, most of them under 6 months old), I'm glad I didn't. You can imagine the amount of stress in the parents, kids crying... all while the queue kept growing as if we were waiting to buy tickets for the Superbowl.

Once they finally did open things only got worse... the office is tiny and barely has space to sit or stand up, everybody was very crowded with diaper bags and strollers all over the place... you take your number like you would in the deli and wait again..... once your number gets called a rather impolite lady takes your documents and informs you that there's no chance in earth you will get the certificate the same day because they close at 4 pm...

So at the end of the day, after all this waiting in a tiny crowded dirty office you really don't get anything other than their commitment to send you the certificate within 5 business day, now again, they had also committed to attend my initial request within 3 to 4 weeks and we are up to 6... and they are still processing apps from July.... so really, confidence is very low...

It's amazing to witness this is how public services work in the 3rd biggest city in the US, the whole time it felt like I was in some 3rd world country.... one thing is for sure, I will never again complain about bureaucracy in Spain.... all things considered, it turns out things work pretty good back home.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Baby fashion

Marc is almost 5 weeks old now, he's getting bigger and can start wearing cool clothes. Those of you who know us, know that we like our fashion, we could probably participate in the Olympics if shopping was a competition, so getting cool clothes for Marc is one of the things we are planning to enjoy to its fullest :)

The next picture shows Marc asking his paparazzo Dad to leave him alone:

... but we all know this whole fighting the paparazzi is just a pose, at the end of the day we all enjoy modeling:

The weekend that was...

It's getting increasingly difficult to post often, work is crazy as usual and finding motivation to sit in front of the computer when I get back home every night is quite a challenge, specially because what I really feel like doing is spending time with Lily and Marc, go out for walks or just chill out doing nothing.

To make things even crazier, this week Chicago held Wimax World, the most important trade show for the technology I've been involved in
for the last over 3 years. Since I refuse to blog much about work, one of the biggest events of the week was to use for the first time the front baby carrier. Marc seems to like it and we've used it a number of times since, it's really convenient, specially when you go grocery shopping.

The weekend was a lot busier. On Friday we got together with our dysfunctional family (Kula dixit) and went for dinner at one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in the Argyle area, I'm a big fan of Pho, the delicious Vietnamese beef noodle soup, so I was happy to see the rest of the folks enjoying the experience. After dinner we went for a late coffee and cake to Kopi. We brought Marc along and he pretty much slept the whole time, no matter how noisy, how many people... he really is an easy guy, no drama whatsoever.

Saturday was even more eventful: shopping at Target and Babies'r'us. The Spektors came to the city to visit us and meet Marc in person. It was a very nice evening, we went for a walk to enjoy the nice cool weather, enjoyed a great dinner at Andie's where they prepare some mean kabobs and couscous and afterwards we went back to Kopi (yep, amazingly in a neighborhood like Andersonville, Kopi is one of the few places where you can catch a late coffee). Once again we brought Marc and once again he behaved amazingly, this time he did not sleep, but he was just quiet, enjoying the "action" surrounding him... So far, we are truly blessed with Marc's behavior, which is why our life has not changed so much after he was born. We can still get together with friends, we can go out for walks, shopping, coffee,... he is cool with everything and really easygoing.

Sunday was time to relax, I did get out for my long run of the week and for a long walk with Marc in the afternoon, but mom really needed a long nap and some do-nothing-at-all time, which she finally got.

I had to use most of the remaining time on Sunday to complete my on-line traffic school class... About a month ago I got a ticket for speeding, so I had to spend 4 hours going through this class. There are definitely more important reasons for not speeding (safety being the top 1), but not having to take this looooooooooooooooooooong online class is a pretty big one.