July 01, 2007

Reunion, and visiting Kira (and Julie and Paul)

Ella yanking on Abby

Last Sunday we went to my family reunion in Centerville, Indiana, outside of Richmond. Both my mom and dad are from the area, but this is the family from my father's side. My dad and stepmother came up from Florida, as did one of his sisters and her husband. My cousin and his family from Scottsdale (Az.) also came, along with a bunch of other people, including my cousin Kirk and his baby-loving wife who kept saying "Chunk!" every time she saw Ella. We missed my sister who wasn't able to come because of crappy work stuff.

Another person who came was another Chris Winters. And not the pretty boy one, either (no google juice for him). This one is a podiatrist in the Indianapolis area and he's actually related to me, a few generations back. It was his first visit to the reunion which he found from Kirk's site. Hooray internets. (He had seen the pretty boy Chris on the internet -- who doesn't google their own name? -- but hadn't seen the Christopher Winters on the Vietnam Memorial.)

Reading up on history

It was great to see everyone, if a little short. And everyone loved Ella, of course. The weather wasn't so great, but the house where we held it was. Everywhere you looked out back there was a little pond or a bridge, or set of rocks piled up nicely. He put a gigantic amount of work into both the inside and the outside, and it made me feel pretty lame for not wanting to pull weeds from our little front yard hillside.

After the reunion we drove up to Madison ostensibly to see Julie and Paul, but really to introduce Ella to her future BFF Kira, who is five weeks younger and just a hair less cute. (It is as impossible for me to say that another baby is as cute as Ella as it is for our President to admit a mistake.)

Kira, be healed!

Like any two babies close in age, Kira and Ella are fairly different. Ella smiles more easily, but Kira seems to smile more deeply and has more facial expressions. (Don't believe me? See for yourself.) Barb said her laugh is more adult like, building up rather than bursting out. Ella is taller and more solid (even considering that she's five weeks older), but she also started out bigger. Kira can't sit up as well yet, but she moves her legs like she's ready to go swimming next week.

One of the things that struck me was how our vacation was fundamentally different. Ella is always the first thing when we're thinking about something to do: if we eat there, will it be baby friendly? Will there be a changing table in any of the stores we're going, or will we have to use a concrete bench? Will we be out too long past the last feeding? And if so, where will Barb be able to feed her? Traveling around with both Kira and Ella only multiplied this because their scheduled weren't synchronized, but it was still fun. Just different.

Walking down State in Madison

We had one funny nursing incident: at a really cool bookstore, Barb took Ella to a nook far in the back with a stool, the US history section. Julie followed a few minutes later, and I hung around the nook's entry to let people know that there were two nursing mothers in there -- they could still come in, of course, but some people are weird about breastfeeding in public, even out-of-sight public. There was only one person, and after I gave him the warning he said, "Oh, I thought there were just a bunch of history lovers back here."

My impressions of Madison: didn't see that much, but it seemed like a typical college town -- great. Only 200K people (with UW in session), and they had tons of different types of food: Afghan, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese. Great walking area, tons of bicycles everywhere. The only part that sucks is the weather, which Paul says makes it basically uninhabitable for 33% of the year.

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