Sunday, December 21, 2003

December 21, 2003:The adventures of Puppy and Little Rhino

Story by Mommy, Illustrations by Daddy

Puppy was sad. The sky was as blue as a sky-blue crayon, the sun was shining, and all of Puppy’s friends were playing a game of tag together.

But still, Puppy was sad.

You see, while everyone else seemed perfectly happy to play tag or catch or hide and seek every day (except on rainy days when they all went inside and watched television), Puppy was not. He wanted to do something different.

He wanted adventures, and he wanted a friend to go adventuring with him, because as you probably already know, an adventure that you go on by yourself is no fun at all.

In fact, it can actually be quite scary.

What if you meet a dragon?

Or a giant?

Or a lion?

Or an enormous spindleblarp, the kind with eight eyes and spiny purple tentacles?

If you go adventuring alone and you meet one of these creatures, you would be smart to do one thing every time.

Run away.

But if you go adventuring with a friend—a true friend who will never let you down—then you feel much braver.

You might feel brave enough, together, to pet the lion, or shake the giant’s hand.

You might even distract the spindleblarp by doing a silly dance while your friend snuck up behind it and tickled it’s tentacles.

Then, because spindleblarps hate having their tentacles tickled, you would probably be smart to run away.

But at least you and your friend would be running away together.

Puppy had many friends, but none of them wanted to go on adventures with him.

“Would you go on an adventure with me, Squirrel?” Puppy asked.

“I’d rather play catch,” said Squirrel.

“Hey, Quacky,” Puppy said, “have you ever been on an adventure?”

“I’m not supposed to get my clothes dirty,” said Quacky.

“I don’t like adventures,” said Molly the cat. “I like to sit in boxes.”

“I can tell,” said Puppy. “But why does the box you are sitting in now say GRAPEFRUIT on the side? You’re not a grapefruit.. You’re a cat.”

“Go away, Puppy,” said Molly.

So Puppy went away, feeling sadder than ever.

But as he was walking home through the woods he heard something that made him forget about being sad. Instead he felt scared.

What he heard was a sound like this:




And it was coming from behind him.

Puppy knew that a sound like that was only made by a really big animal.

Like a dragon.

Or a spindleblarp.

Or maybe even an animal he’d never heard of before.

Without even meaning to be, he was on an adventure!

Puppy walked faster down the forest path, and the sound got louder behind him.


Puppy started to run.

He ran faster and faster and faster down the path until suddenly—WHAM.

He tripped over a tree root and fell down. And the sound behind him was so loud that it was almost on top of him, right there on the forest floor!

Puppy squeezed his eyes tightly shut and hoped that whatever it was wouldn’t hurt him when it stepped on his head.

And then he felt someone pulling at his hand.

“Come on, Puppy!” said a voice. “Get off the path before the spindleblarp gets here! Hurry!”

Puppy opened his eyes and saw who was holding his hand and tugging, hard. It was Little Rhino. Puppy got up and together they tumbled off the path and into some bushes. Then they crouched down and waited.

A few minutes later, the ground around them started to shake as if a giant was walking past, but it wasn’t a giant.

Like Little Rhino had said, it was a spindleblarp, and it came tearing down the path waving its tentacles and snarling,




Puppy and Little Rhino pressed up close to each other in the bushes and waited for the spindleblarp to pass. Then they crawled back onto the path and brushed leaves off themselves.

“Thanks!” Puppy said. “I almost got run over!”

Little Rhino blushed. “You’re welcome,” she said. “You were very brave, though. I wanted to run away.”

“Me too,” Puppy said. “It’s hard to have an adventure like that when you’re by yourself.”

Little Rhino’s eyes got very wide.

“Was that an adventure?” She asked. “I’ve always wanted one.”

“Really?” Puppy asked. “Me too.”

Puppy and Little Rhino smiled at each other.

“Maybe,” Little Rhino said, “we could go on some more adventures—together?”

“Like finding a dragon’s lair!” Puppy said, “Or a giant’s cave.”

Little Rhino was nodding her head, but then she stopped and her smile faded.

“There’s just one thing,” she whispered.

Puppy felt his heart sink. “Don’t you want to be my friend?” He asked.

“No!” Little Rhino cried. “I do! That’s not it. It’s just that, well, I might get scared sometimes and want to run away.”

“Oh!” Puppy said. “that’s okay.” He squeezed her hand. “We’ll run away together. That’s what friends are for.”

Puppy and Little Rhino walked home together and promised to meet at the entrance to the forest path the very next day.

An adventure was waiting.

Puppy and Little Rhino and the Thing that Was Not an Aspirin.

Posted by claycomb at December 21, 2003 10:34 PM


please, hurry! more puppy and little rhino! i laughed, i cried... i learned an important lesson that truly arrived at the perfect time (after all, many pre-holiday anxieties are often spilled all over one's special adventure partner, and said special adventure partners hardly ever like being spilled on.) thank you thank you thank you! and i do hope molly returns in the next adventure, appearing in a stylish box, of course.


Posted by: fritz at December 22, 2003 11:56 AM

You two always amaze me! Thanks for the joy.
Aunt Betsy

Posted by: Aunt Betsy at December 22, 2003 12:11 PM

Great story ! Are you published yet??

Posted by: Betty Lou at January 28, 2004 11:31 PM

Sunday, December 14, 2003

December 14, 2003: Physical update

By the way, we never gave the update on the babies' 1-month doctor's visit on the 2nd. Obviously, this was a couple of weeks ago, so a lot of it is out of date, but as of last count, Collin had caught up some in weight, and was only four ounces and one inch behind his sister. We estimate that they are now both between 8 and 9 pounds, and are probably 23 inches or so. We'll go back for their next check up after the new year, and will post the results then. Otherwise, the doctor said they looked great!

Posted by claycomb at December 14, 2003 10:25 PM


Those babies are too cute! I'm in awe that you've been able to keep this web page updated so well. I can't even keep my baby books current!

Posted by: Dris at March 10, 2004 8:27 PM

Baby books? What baby books?

Posted by: Ryan at March 18, 2004 9:50 AM

December 14, 2003: The rarity of sleeping

We wish this were the normal state of affairs:

This past week has been week six in our darlings' development, and we suspect that a sudden disruption in what was becoming a reliable schedule means one thing: Growth spurt.

The immediate effect of this has not been too-small diapers, or a progression into the next set of baby clothing (not yet, at least), but a screwy eating and sleeping schedule. And while Ann is affected by the former, we are all affected by the latter.

It all began last week when we had the kids out two or three days in a row. by the second day they were both getting a little overtired, but Collin especially was feeling it.

Several things conspired to make a long week. 1) Collin was over-tired, which meant that not only was he fussy when he was awake, he was having trouble sleeping well because he was so upset. 2) Collin has trouble falling alseep when he is not beeing held, which meant a lot of holding of the fussy baby by the soon-to-be-fussy parents 3) Lilah lives here too, and since she was also a bit overtired, but not so much, Collin kept waking her up with his crying. 3) This made Lilah very fussy.

Thursday evening was VERY Long. We started the bedtime routine early--about 5:30. They both finally got to sleep at about 8:00 slept for 20 minutes, and woke up hungry again.

Fortunately, Friday offered Collin some catch-up sleep, and we seem to be back on track a bit more by tonight (Sunday). But if we look sleepy in the next few days, you'll know why.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

December 9, 2003: On Collin

(Part 2 of a 2 part series)
Allow me to introduce you to our boy, Collin:

Like his sister, Collin's name is significant. But unlike his sister, his name has significance in the family. His first name honors his paternal grandmother, whose maiden name is Collins. Wanting to distribute the honor equally, we decided to look for a name on the Boerner/Standaert side that worked well, and we found Francis, which is Collin's Uncle Paul's middle name, and his Gramps' confirmation name, too. It also call to mind Grandma Mirene's brother Frank. Coincidentally, Francis also has signifcance on the Claycomb side as well, since Pappy's middle name is Francis, and MomMom's mother and sister both got the name Frances (Frances Collins, in fact). So while Lilah's name honors the things her parents have in common, Collin's name honors the generations before them that helped bring them about.

But Collin occasionally gets turned into "Collie" which may contribute to his nickname "Puppy" or "Pup." The nickname may also dervive from the preponderance of cute clothes with small dogs on them--check your baby announcement for an example.

He, like his sister, is a genetic miracle, since he has features from so many places , it's hard to say he looks like any one person. He has his Grandma Mirene's nose, and his mommy's chin, his Daddy's wrinkly forehead and his MomMom's eye shape, and his Pappy's eye color (so far at least). His voice isn't as loud as his sister's, but he can be more persistent when he is fussy. He is VERY affectionate, and loves to be held, to the exclusion of takinig naps alone sometimes. Good thing he has a sister to nap with!

Since Collin was born a little small, we have been working on his comportment so he will appear more confident and more charismatic. Since his nursery has a fairy tale theme, we're trying to teach him how to be Prince Charming:

Both Collin and Lilah like to go out, but Collin seems especially attuned to it: he sleeps better after an outing, and he loves to be held by lots of people. Those who visited us in the hospital after his birth will remember how well he slept even as he was passed from person to person. This has remained true when people come over, and also when we go out. A recent trip to Costco found the pup in our arms greeting all the well wishers who walked by.

Collin also seems to like the outdoors. In fact this past weekend, he saw his first snow, and went out onto the balcony with daddy to look.

He is a sweet child, and there is no better feeling than when he falls asleep on my shoulder. I was initally afraid of having a boy, of raising him to feel too entitled to the blessings he's been given. But when he wakes up from a nap and stretches out that little hand, I want to fill it with the world.

Posted by claycomb at December 9, 2003 12:46 AM

Oh are these pictures fabulous!~! I am currently going through a bout of CollinandLilah withdrawal! (This may also explain their fussyness!) I can't wait to get them in my arms once again.
Much love,
Posted by: Mom-Mom at December 15, 2003 11:58 AM

I can't wait to get them into my arms....period!
This is not fare...Mom-Mom cheats.
Aunt Betsy
Posted by: Aunt Betsy at December 22, 2003 12:16 PM

Monday, November 24, 2003

November 24, 2003: Oh Lilah

(Part one of a two part series on Collin and Lilah)

As most readers know, our daughter, despite having very small fingers, has many adults wrapped tightly around them. Here is her biography.

Lilah Paige Claycomb has a story behind her name. Were she one of two girls, her name would have been Lilah Grace or Paige Emily. She got the best of both of those names: Lilah is from a song that her parents love:

"Oh Lilah, to sleep like a baby--
To open the window and feel the fair wind
Oh Lilah to sleep like a baby again."

We heard that song together at a Don Henley concert (It is not one of his hits, but it was one of Ann's favorite songs). After the concert I said, "We could name a baby 'Lilah.'" It stuck.

Paige, while it is not musical, does honor the first source of our daughter's parents' love and respect for one another. We once considered the name Schuyler Paige ("Schuyler" being Dutch for "Scholar")--thus tagging our child with our professions as scholars of the page. We thought that might be going too far, but wishing our daughter to be a reader was something we felt comfortable with. "Paige" therefore honors our love of knowledge, of books, of reading, and the mutual love for those things that brought Ann and I together.

We were going to call her "Paige:" publicized it and everything, months before the birth. Suddenly though, we had a baby girl who looked more like a Lilah than a Paige. Who knew?

Here's what we know about Lilah: She has her mother's skin tone, which means even though she has lots of pink, she looks best in purple, and also dark green. She is chagrined abouth the dearth of dark green baby clothes. She looks rather poor in red.

Her eyes are blue for now. She has an "angel kiss" over her right eyelid, but this should be fading soon. In some photos, whe looks remarkably like baby pictures of her Mom-Mom Claycomb. Perhaps a side-by-side comparison soon will illustrate.

She is bigger than her brother and has stronger lungs, which makes her seem angry when sometimes she is just exercising. She has a strong sucking reflex, which means that sometimes, the only thing that calms her down is her Daddy's pinky finger.

She has a remarkable habit of generating powerful grunts for no apparent reason. Over the baby monitor, it is difficult to distinguish them from adult grunts. I sometimes expect to go back to the bedroom to find the furniture rearranged. She is sometimes known as our little rhino for this feature. She is also our our angel, angel baby, stinky angel baby, or angel biscuit, depending on the mood and diaper status.

Her eyesight is developing remarkably, and she tracks faces well--especially those wearing glasses, which makes all of her grandparents happy. She also likes to stare in wonder at bright shiny objects like the origami mobile crafted for her by Gramps.

When she sleeps, she makes my chest feel too full; her loveliness is overwhelming. When she cries, her voice is loud, strong and clear. May it always be so. We are so glad to have her with us.

Friday, November 14, 2003

November 14, 2003: Week 2

Collin and Lilah (yes, Lilah seems to be sticking, although "Paige" still pops up occasionally) turned 2 weeks old yesterday, and with it has come even more remarkable health. They have both exceeded their birth weight which is the two week target, and both are looking more adorable all the time. And as one who adores them, I should know.

Their last week has been a busy one, particularly Saturday.

The day started off with Collin and Lilah saying a "See you soon" to Collin's Godfather, Brian. Brian embarked on a return trip to Seattle, the city he will now (again) call home. We will miss him, but the kids both say they are looking forward to checking out what the West Coast is all about.

We also had another out-of-town visitor all week: Ann's friend Katy from Wellesley.

Katy has already been through the first weeks of parenthood with her two little ones Jack, 6, and Sam, 3. Jack sent along a note to our little ones, as well. I shall quote it in its entirety:

"Welcom Page and Collin I hope you have a grate time groing up. From Jack."

On the back is a picture of celebratory fireworks. Did I mention that Jack just started Kindergarten? Boy genius, surely.

That evening, we had a Wellesley reunion of another sort since Grandma Mirene (Wellesley '55) came over for a photo with class of '93 and class of 2025 grads.

Our friend Greg came over, too, but his picture was blurry.

In the meantime we've been experimenting with clothing. Since Ann wears blue all the time, and I happen to look smashing in my pink oxford (humility is another of my strong suits), and since there's a lot of laundry to do, we've had them in matching colors, (like in the duck suits below), or both in blue. Collin happens to look fantastic swaddled up in a nice lavendar blanket we have, but looks pretty much like a seasick elf in pastel green.

We have further helped out cats, Molly and Ziggy get to know the new residents. While Ziggy has retained his attitude of haughty disdain, Molly has moved from sheer terror, to curiosity followed by sheer terror, to occasional acceptance of quiet babies. Cryin babies still make her dash around like mad, prompting a purchase of new lampshades to replace the one she broke yesterday.

There will be more pictures forthcoming of other visitors, including a "drop-by" from Mom-Mom and Pappy, but they haven't yet been downloaded from the camera.

And finally, a rumination on disposable body parts. Lilah's umbilical cord came off this weekend, and Collin's is just about to drop. Back when my cousin Carla and her husband Ben (for whose children Ann and I serve as guideparents) had a toddler and an infant, Carla remarked to me that the most important and difficult job of a parent is to prepare our children for the day when they won't need us. Our little'uns are only two weeks old, and here is that first reminder. Yes, they need us for food, clothes, warmth and lots of love, but two weeks ago, they needed us (Ann, more appropriately) for Oxygen. Now they can breathe all on their own, and they're reminding us already: "Mom and Dad, I'm not so little anymore. I can breathe by myself thank you very much."

No Collin and Lilah, you aren't so little anymore, but I'll be darned if I'll still want to help you breathe long after you've learned. And besides, who cleaned off those stumps with alcohol swabs. Doesn't that count for anything? A phone call would be so hard??? Sorry. I digress.

Posted by claycomb at November 14, 2003 8:05 PM


Ann you look terrific! These pictures are so wonderful. Ryan, I can tell you are not the least bit emotional......cough cough!
Please keep it all coming at least until Uncle
David and I can get there. tee hee.
This is the best/the twins are the greatest/and you two are not so shabby either!
Love to All!

Posted by: Aunt Betsy at December 3, 2003 9:52 AM

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

November 5, 2003: The First Seven Days

We here are more concerned about the babies than about the presidency, so instead of giving the "first Hundred days" update, we'll give you the first week update.

On names: While Collin is going to be called, well, Collin, we are still waffling on Lilah Paige's shorter nomenclature. See, while we both love the name Paige, and it represents the love of books that first brought Ann and I together, Lilah just seems to be fitting better. So yes, we ytold everyone that she'd be called "Paige,' but now we're not so sure. We're trying out both names and the little one will make her decision soon. For the purposes of this post, though, I shall call her Lilah.

On Pediatricians: We've found a practice in Greenbelt that we're quite happy with. When the kids met Dr. Glaser on Monday, he was a little, though not very, concerned that their weights had dropped 13 ounces each since birth. While a little weight loss is fine, more than a pound would be bad, and 13 ounces is getting close. He said we'd keep an eye on it. He also wanted to keep an eye on Lilah's bilirubin levels, since she's a little jaundiced. The return visit on Tuesday was Lilah and Daddy's first trip out just the two of them.

Today's visit yeilded much better results. Not only is Lilah's jaundice going away, each twin has gained seven ounces of their weight back since Monday. Dr. Berkowitz gave them a big thumbs up. They go back for their crucial two-week check-up next Thursday.

On schedules: Well, babies don't really do schedules, so our earlier effort to have them nursing simultaneously on a three-hour schedule has been thwarted by a growth spurt and by small tummies. Ann's sleep has been sporadic the last few days, and mine has only been a bit better (while she has to nurse them through the night, I have to actually get out of bed to change most every diaper or crib sheet or onesy that needs changing.)

On visitors: We've seen many of you over the last few days, and your concern has been not only heartwarming, but also helpful, since Erin Sadlack's baked ziti got us through more than one meal, for example. There will be a lot of visitors to our place this weekend and next, but if you'd like to stop on by, especially if you have weekdays free, just give us a ring.

On cute babies: Ok. You've wading through the text for the pitures, so I will herewith indulge.

So: our first family portrait, taken in the OR:

On the way to the nursery:

Their first night with Mommy:

Lilah relaxing:

Three generations of Claycomb Men

and finally, a portrait taken by Ann:

More pictures on the way, but for now, someone needs a diaper change.

Posted by claycomb at November 6, 2003 12:02 PM

These are all so wonderful! Uncle David and I
are very happy and so very proud. Keep the notes and pictures coming! We love all of you!!!

Posted by: Aunt Betsy at November 10, 2003 12:08 PM

Thanks for the updates! But what's the deal with the odd photo of the twins and a beheaded Ann? Hope to see you soon :)

Posted by: natalie at November 12, 2003 12:03 PM

November 5, 2003: The Grandparents

Over the weekend, Collin and Lilah Paige got to meet their grandparents. Here are a few pictures of those first moments.

Grandma Mirene:

Mom-Mom and Pappy Claycomb:

and Gramps:

November 5, 2003: The Godparents

Collin Francis and Lilah Paige are very fortunate to have four fantastic godparents: his will be Paula Pagano and Brian Eskridge, and hers will be her Uncle Paul and her Aunt Kelly (since he gets the family name, she gets the family godparents).

Here is a picture of Lilah Paige with a rose from her Fairy Godmother, Aunt Kelly:

And here is one of Collin with a rose from his Fairy Godmother, Paula:

November 5, 2003: Birth Announcement

I am thrilled to announce that the famous Claycomb twins are here for an indefinite performance at Chez Claycomb, after a nine-month tour of the womb circuit.

Collin Francis Claycomb was born at 10:57am on 10/30, 2003. He was 18 3/4 inches, 5 pounds 12 ounces. He has his mommy's nose and very cute little chin, and apparently he wrinkles his forehead up, just like his Daddy did when he was first born, according to sources who wished only to be known as "Mom-Mom" and "Pappy."

Lilah Paige Claycomb followed a minute after at 10:58, but fearing she'd be stuck with the "little sister" moniker for the rest of her life, came out with a whopping 13 ounces on her brother, weighing in at 6 pounds 9 ounces, 19 1/2 inches. After careful consideration, she has decided that her name shall be, for the time being, "Paige." She will consider "Lilah" down the line, but she believes "Paige" better matches her adorable dark hair.

Ann is doing great, and coming home tomorrow. Nurses say her recovery is going remarkably well. She is pleased about the success of her "birth weight loss plan" (TM), although she does admit to some side effects, including the eighteen year, $100K cost of such a diet.

I am, of course, and emotional ball of nerves, but that's to be expected.

And without further adieu . . . the photos:


Fantastic!!!!!!!! Keep the pics coming. Can't wait to give them a hug.

Posted by: Betty Lou at November 6, 2003 9:32 AM

It's like looking in a window! Thanks for all of the online pictures. The babies are beautiful!!!

Lots of love,
Kim and Curtis

Posted by: Kim and Curtis at November 6, 2003 12:41 PM

Congratulations!! Glad they're healthy and doing well. Can't wait to meet them. Love and hugs.
Stu 'sTc' Goldman

Posted by: Stu Goldman at November 6, 2003 11:11 PM

cute pics. i was wondering if they are related to me somehow? please email me back if /'s or whatever.

Posted by: Jennifer Claycomb at April 9, 2004 5:56 PM

found your web site a had to take a peek.
congragts on your twins...and love the last name!

todd claycomb

Posted by: todd claycomb at November 18, 2004 2:16 PM