Friday, May 27, 2005

Star Wars outing

Charline, Jude, Grandma Barger and I went to see the last Star Wars movie Sunday. It was incredible, of course, as the reviewers are saying. Jude was fussier in this movie than he was at the first two he sat through. For about the first third of the movie, he was threatening to become a problem. Charline had to take him out of the theater for a little while. The last two thirds of the movie were peaceful and pleasant.

Normally, we wouldn't go to a crowded theater with Jude, but this was a special event (and we had four free tickets, thanks to Cingular; I gave one away outside the theater; the guy was pleasantly surprised). For future movie outings, we might be able to leave Jude with his doting Barger grandparents. We just need to get him accustomed to drinking from a bottle occassionally, rather than only breastfeeding.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Family Outing #2 - Dinner, Shopping and Movie

Charline and I took Jude out on the town again this past weekend. We went to the big, new shopping center, "St. Johns Town Center."

The sling-type-thing that Charline bought to carry Jude around sure worked well. And, it was a good thing we had it, because Jude didn't seem to like riding in the stroller very much -- even though his Peg Perego "Aria LB" is practically the Ferrari of baby strollers.

In the sling carrier, he was great. We had a very tasty meal at a place called "Ted's Montana Grill." Then, we strolled around and checked out several shops. Jude fussed a bit now and then, but once we gave up on the Peg Perego, he was fine.

After the shopping trip, we took Jude to his second movie, a simple romantic comedy called "A Lot Like Love," starring Ashton Kutcher. I thought it was pretty enjoyable, although it did get to a point where I thought the plot was repeating and dragging out too much. Funny stuff, at times, though.

Jude only made a couple little noises during the movie. He never cried or screamed or ran around the theater yelling. So, it was another theatrical success for the boy. The next big test, if we are brave enough to try it, will be the final Star Wars installement, which opens Thursday. We have some free tickets to see it during the weekend, thanks to our mobile phone provider, Cingular.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Jude on Mother's Day

The Bargers Celebrate Mother's Day

This past Sunday was my wife's first Mother's Day as a mother. It was also our son's first big excursion out of the house and around the town. He was amazingly calm and content the whole day.

To start the day, we took our son, Jude, out to a brunch with his paternal grandparents, the "elder" Bargers. We went to a typical Mother's Day brunch at a hotel restaurant. I did have to walk around the outside walkways of the hotel with Jude for a while to keep him calm. Later, his grandmother did the same for a little while. But, we were able to have a whole meal together. I thought that was impressive enough and would have been happy just going home at that point and declaring the day a success. But, Jude was ready for more.

Charline thought it would be nice to go to the Cummer Gallery of Art to see their impressive riverfront garden and take some pictures of Jude there. We invited the grandparents and headed across town to the gallery/museum/garden. It went very smoothly, except for the time I wasted trying to figure out how to put the car seat into the stroller (I'll have to figure that out later).

We walked around the good-sized garden and got some nice photos of Jude and the rest of the family. I even managed a group photo of all of us, in spite of the fact that the Cummer forbids camera tripods. A had brought a tripod along, but was told I had to leave it in the van. Little did they know I had a miniature tripod inside my camera case. Ha! You can't stop a determined photographer. The mini-tripod did the trick nicely, when placed on a table on the garden lawn.

Now, once again, I was thinking "This is great. I'm impressed that this has been so easy with a one month old baby." But, Charline was feeling gutsy. When the grandparents turned down an offer to go get ice cream, Charline and I decided to take Jude to his first movie. Yes, that's right. A one month old baby at a movie theater. Crazy, right? Wrong. It actually worked.

We went to see "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," which was a cinematic version of the renowned book of the same name, which I loved when I was in junior high school. Amazingly, this was the easiest part of the whole day. No crying. No noticeable fussing or agitation. And Jude did well too. But, seriously though... Jude didn't seem to mind the movie sounds or popcorn smells or being in one place for two hours. It was wonderful.

Afteward, Charline said something to me along the lines of "And you thought you'd never see another movie again." It's true. I thought it would be years before we could peacefully sit through a theater movie again.

Of course, all this is due to Charline being in tune with Jude's needs and having good instincts. Also, I think the fact that Jude is breastfeeding makes it easier. Charline tells me you need to lug around a fair amount of apparatus when bottle-feeding the kid. Having a minivan to sit in while changing a diaper helps too.

So there you have it. A full day of activity: brunch, photos at the museum, and a real theater movie. Not bad.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Summer on the Road

My best friend and I took a road trip around the contiguous 48 states in the last summer that we would both be in college together at the University of Florida. The western boundary of our clockwise circumnavigation of the country was the Pacific Coast Highway. It was a gorgeous drive. We travelled the full length of it. My only regret is that we were driving north. For the best view, one has to drive south on the PCH, so as to be as close as possible to flying off the edge of the continent. (Because we drive on the right side of the road here, in the States.)

Kerouac and Pooh

Try “On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac. If you don’t like this book, you don’t like life. It’s full of it. Life, that is. And, “The Tao of Pooh” is also a great book for anyone who wants to jump start their reading habit. It’s quick, fun and truly inspiring.

Read the Tao of Pooh. It helps.

I highly recommend the Tao of Pooh for anyone who likes being happy and content. It really helps.

Find your mate on a Southwest flight

Southwest airlines lets passengers choose their seat when they board the plane. Do this. Wait until plenty of people are on board, but not so late that all the seats are filled. Then, be prepared to scan quickly, follow your intuition and sit next to that person who looks intriguing. Strike up a conversation about the in-flight peanuts. It worked for me. We’re happily married and just had our first child. Thanks, Southwest!

Buy a digital camera

A good digital camera, along with a good printer (with built-in card reader) makes photography so easy that it can be a regular habit. Digital cameras have reached the point where the quality and flexibility matches that of traditional film cameras. Try one.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Fatherly Advice from a Three Week Veteran

Ever since April 9, 2005, I have been a father. So far, it's been much easier than people led me to believe. That's mostly due to all the work that my lovely wife, Charline, has been doing. It's also due to the fact that our son, Jude Dylan Barger, is pretty easy to get along with. He's not too demanding or temperamental (yet?).

Here's my advice to all those novice fathers, from a guy who's been at it for a solid three weeks.
  • Choose a mate who likes the idea of breastfeeding. If there's no bottle, the father doesn't have to get up at crazy hours to feed the kid. Kudos to Mother Nature!
  • Get a midwife during the pregnancy. Many midwives adhere to a philosophy that says the father should not be expected to become some kind of coach or expert advisor in the childbirth process. He should be there and help out during the birth. But, why try to teach a man to tell a woman how to give birth? It's much better to have someone with experience do that.
  • Take time off work to get to know the kid. I took a little more than a week off work and plan to take off more time in a couple months. If I lived in a more rational country, like Sweden, Switerland, France, Germany, etc., I could take several weeks off work without having to give up my paycheck during that time.
  • Move to Sweden, Switzerland, France, or Germany before having children. That way, you benefit from real paternity benefits, unlike America where the benefit is that you're "allowed" to take all the time you want to be with your new child, so long as you don't expect a paycheck during that time.
  • Buy more trash cans. Those kids can really help increase the total waste output for a household, even when they're not doing anything useful.

That's all I've got so far. Look for more wisdom here as things develop.

Hey, Jude!

Over on our main Web site, Charline and I recently announced the birth of our first child, Jude Dylan Barger, born in Jacksonville, Florida on April 9, 2005, at 11:06 a.m.

Jude was born weighing 9 lbs. 9.6 oz., at a length of 21.5 inches.

Mother and child are doing very well and are relaxing at home.

See our Photographs page for more images, including shots of the nursery.