Carson Grant Pritchard

All the Details
Name: Carson Grant Pritchard
Born: December 9, 2010 at 11:40 a.m.
Weight: 8 lbs. 15 oz.
Length: 20 in.

Somebody call Santa Claus and give him our thanks. We’re very happy to introduce our son, Carson Grant Pritchard. He was born this morning at 11:40 a.m. at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. The labor was relatively short, but intense. Everyone is happy, healthy and exhausted.

He was born naturally, just like his big sister. Speaking of Autumn, she met her brother tonight and concluded that he is “…a little bit scary.” Fair enough.

There are some photos posted on Flickr, with many more to come.

Rest

We don’t idle well. Most of our trips involve weeks of planning, bags full of gear and curious destinations. Even the weekend jaunts to Tahoe are an exercise in tactical recreation. But we love it. We take advantage of the time we have to explore. Since we’ve been together, I can remember few vacations that were totally dedicated to rest and relaxation. There was just a week in Belize (our honeymoon) and another in St. John that were genuinely slothful.

So it was with mild amusement that we found ourselves planning a short vacation with no plans beyond relaxing as a family. We aimed for somewhere we hadn’t been, and a friend suggested Avila Beach on the Central Coast. It’s a damn quaint place with a pier and a promenade, a farmer’s market and a petting zoo. The ice cream selection is fine and crowds are limited. We rented a house, spent time at the beach and generally took it easy.

A side trip to Santa Maria to sample the famous Tri-Tip was well worth the drive. Another to San Luis Obispo made us wonder why it had taken so long to visit. Serendipity drove me an hour south to check an item off my life list: the night launch of an Atlas V from Vandenberg AFB.

Five days of rest. Where next?

More photos from the trip on Flickr.

A Little Spring Hike – Short Film

The other day I was pulling some recent video off the camera and came across this hike we did sometime last spring. At the time, we thought the sour weather was a just a late-season squall passing through. So much for that theory.

Nonetheless, I thought this was too cute not to share. It also shows just how beautiful the Marin Headlands are in the spring.

We All Scream for Ice Cream

We take our ice cream pretty seriously around here. I’m a purist: vanilla, chocolate, a limited palette of toppings and stir-ins. In a dish; always in a dish. Jody thinks I’m boring. She’d rather be elbow deep in a waffle bowl of toasted coconut almond fudge-bunny truffle surprise (recipe forthcoming). It’s these little differences of opinion that keep our marriage passionate.

Our last field trip before Jody went into labor with Autumn was a visit to Bi-Rite Creamery on a sunny September day. An auspicious beginning? Not wanting to spoil our dear child before she could appreciate this frozen splendor and glory, we waited nearly two years to introduce her to ice cream. Part of the delay was my insistence that we offer her the best ice cream I know.

Now this may reek of conceit, but I know of no better ice cream than the dark chocolate I make a few times each year. It’s not my recipe. That honor belongs to Mr. David Lebovitz, or D-Leb as I call him. His chocolate ice cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop is simply the most indulgent thing to ever grace our freezer. Not the best chocolate ice cream or the best homemade ice cream. It’s simply the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Period. Hyperbole be damned.

I wanted to wait for a perfect summer day. Maybe a backyard dinner on a late summer evening. But this summer has been anything but. Foggy, misty, and just damned cold. Mark Twain was right. We couldn’t wait forever. Last week, I made a batch with the best ingredients I know: Straus cream, Scharffen Berger chocolate, extra-dark Dutch cocoa, fresh Petaluma eggs.

Autumn can be particular about what she’ll eat. But after tonight I can say with confidence that she is absolutely a Pritchard. She’s got the face to prove it.


A few more photos can be found over here. Video over here.

Life’s a Beach

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Our new digs are in the fog. I mean really deep into it. Summertime in San Francisco requires an open mind about what summer means. We wear fleece jackets, beanies and scarves in July as often as we would in January. That’s why when we get a weekend in the summer with no other plans – we head north, south, or east in search of a mystical summer that only appears in ads for hot dogs, mayonnaise, and Country Time lemonade. Head west – there’s only 25 blocks to the edge of the continent – and you’ll just find yourself deeper in the clouds.

We jumped on the day today and headed south to our favorite summer lunch spot in the small hamlet of Pescadero to be followed by some quality family beach time. Duarte’s Tavern has, and I’m not kidding here, the best soup on the planet. It’s a mix of green chili and cream of artichoke and is served with piping hot homemade bread. I could eat four bowls, even if I wasn’t pregnant. I look forward to this lunch a year in advance.

Once we stuffed ourselves so full it hurt a little bit (okay, a lot), we hit the beach and enjoyed some quality summertime fun. Autumn loves her sand toys almost as much as Elmo these days and had a ball. It wasn’t “warm” per se, but we were on a beach with nothing to do but hang out together and that’s a bit of summer that weather can’t touch. For more photos from the day, click here.

Blast Off!

F-1 Engine

My little girl can count to one. Starting at five, four, three, two…

One of Autumn’s favorite books is Curious George and the Rocket. In this weighty tome George is selected to become the world’s first space monkey. The technical inaccuracies of the book will be forgiven considering its pre-Mercury publication date (1957). Of course, Autumn’s favorite part is the countdown and BLAST OFF!

Our trip to watch the (repeated, failed, painful) STS-128 launch attempt rekindled my interest in the space program, which had waned a bit since its apogee during my SpaceCamp and Estes rocket days. Since then, I’ve been watching the shuttle launches online and Autumn loves to join me. Recently, we watched the successful test of the PAD-1 Abort and STS-132. And the Curious George book is in heavy rotation.

Autumn’s generation will consider civilian space travel an exciting and totally accessible activity. For now, books and videos will have to do. Lately, she’s points to the computer several times a day and says “Blast Off!” It’s enough to make a geek dad cry.

Photo: This is the nozzle of an F-1 rocket engine, the single most powerful rocket engine ever built. It was used to take a couple fellas to the moon back in the summer of ’69. I took this photo forty years later, during our trip to the Kennedy Space Center.

Thank you Easter Bunny

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Tradition says to decorate the egg. But after the blue dye spilled all over Marley and Mason had Autumn covered in stickers, we decided decorating the kids was a helluva lot more fun.

Easter was a full blown weekend affair with egg decorating on Saturday and Easter egg hunts on Sunday. By the second egg of the hunt, Autumn had it all figured out and was looking for anything else the Easter Bunny might have decided to bring her beyond the bunny, dog (both stuffed), and stickers. She even got a smidgen of Scharffen Berger chocolate. Next year she’ll build on her experience and will give her cousins a run for their money when it comes to the egg count. See more photos from our holiday here.

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Christmas Time Lapse – Short Film

Last year was Autumn’s first Christmas. But at three months, I think the sights, sounds and smells of the season come off more like a heavy acid trip than a time of joy and celebration. This year she was aware of the celebration, and it was so much fun to include her in the ritual of the season. Also, we simply know her much better than we did a year ago. We decided to try something different to record the celebration: a time-lapse video of Christmas morning and some preparations from the night before. It allowed us to enjoy each other without being stuck behind a camera. This might become a tradition.

May not be 100% appropriate for Santa’s faithful.

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